Жанр книги: Научная Фантастика
Robert A Heinlein To Sail Beyond The Sunset

‘Never. '

‘Are you going to ask our neighbours what they think about this? '

‘Mo, do you want me to? It's your house:

I don't think I hesitated as long as two seconds. But it was a new ides and I did have to decide. ‘Briney, several houses in this block have changed hands since we moved in here, uh, twenty-two years ago. I don't recall that we were ever asked our opinion about any of those transactions. '

‘That's right. We never were. '

‘I don't think it is any of their business to decide what a Negro can or can't buy. Or to tell us. What they do with their property is their business; what we do with ours is our business - as long as we obey the laws and abide by any open covenants that run with the land. That twenty-five-foot setback rule, for example. I can think of just one way they can legitimately keep us from selling this house to anyone who wants to buy it. '

‘What way is that, Mo? '

‘By coming to us before we are committed with the same sort of offer that Mr False Face has made but with more money. If they buy this house from us, they can do with it as they wish. '

Tm glad you see it that way, my love. A year from now every house in this block will be occupied by a Negro family. Mo, I could see it coming. Population pressure works much like a rising river. You can put up dikes or levees, but the day comes when the river has to go somewhere. Kansas City's Darktown is terribly crowded. If the whites don't want to live next door to Negroes, then the whites must back off and give them room. I'm not especially concerned about Negro problems; I've got problems of my own. But I don't fight the weather and I don't bang my head against a stone wall. You and I will see the day when Darktown will run south all the way to 39th Street. There is no use fussing about it; it is going to happen. '

Briney did get a good price for our old home. After figuring in the rise in prices from 1907 to 1929 there was only a modest profit, but Briney did get the price in cash - gold certificates, not a cheque; the recorded price was ‘ten dollars and other valuable considerations' - and Briney put the money straight into the stock market.

‘Sweetheart, if Theodore's predictions are correct, in a year or so we'll be able to take our pick of big houses in the Country Club district at about a third of the going prices today. .. because it will turn out that Black Tuesday will leave about half of the nominal owners unable to meet their mortgage payments. In the meantime try to stay happy in this old farmhouse; Justin and I have to go to New York. '

I did not have any trouble staying happy in that farmhouse; it reminded me of my girlhood. I told Father so, and he agreed. ‘But put that second bathroom in. Do you remember why we had two outhouses? You can't afford to encourage piles and constipation. '

Father was not formally living with us - he got his mail elsewhere - but, since 1916 and Plattsburg, Brian had insisted that we always keep a room for Father. When Brian went to New York to stay closer to his stock-market gambling, Father did agree to sleep (usually) at our house, just as he had when Brian was away in France. But by then I had had that second bath installed and a washroom downstairs and the outhouse out back, limed and filled.

My children readjusted to the change with little fret. Even our resident cat, Chargé d'Affaires, accepted it. He fretted on the long trip there, but he did seem to understand that the moving vans meant that home was no longer home. Ethel and Teddy kept him fairly well soothed during the move - I was driving that load; Woodrow had the rest of the family in his jalopy. Chargé looked over our land as soon as we got there, then came back, got me, took me with him while he went all the way around the inside of the fence. He sprayed all four comer posts, so I knew that he had accepted the change and his new responsibilities.

It was from Woodrow that I had expected the most fuss as he was due to enter his senior year at Central High School in September 1929 and was a likely candidate for cadet commander of the ROTC battalion at Central, especially as both Brian Junior and George had each commanded the cadet battalion in their senior year.

But Woodrow did not even insist on finishing the second semester; he transferred in mid-term to Westport High School - somewhat to my dismay, as I had counted on him to drive Dick and Ethel to Central, one in junior High there, the other just entering Senior High. So, willy-nilly, they had to transfer in mid-term, too, as I did not have time to drive them and it was an impossible trip by streetcar. Teddy and Peggy I put in Country Day School, an excellent private school, as Eleanor suggested that she could handle two more in her car along with the three she had in that school.

It was several years before I realised that Woodrow's willingness to switch schools abruptly had to do with a renovated cow pasture still farther south that had a sign on it: ACE HARDY'S FUING SCHOOL. Woodrow had acquired (I think that is the right word) his unlikely automobile in the summer of 1928, and after that we had seen little of him other than at meals. But I discovered later that Woodrow had learned to fly while still in high school.

As everyone knows, Black Tuesday arrived on the dot. Briney called me long distance a week later. ‘Frau Doktor Krausmeyer? '

‘Elmer! '

‘Children okay? '

‘Everyone is fine but they miss their Papa. As do I. Hurry home, dear; I'm honing to see you. '

‘Didn't that hired man work out? '

‘No staying power. I let him go. I decided to wait for you. '

‘But I'm not coming home. '

‘Don't you want to know why? '

(Yes, Briney, I do want to know why. And some day I'm going to put itch powder into your jock-strap for these guessing games. ) ‘Buffalo Bill, you'll tell me when it suits you and whatever suits you. '

‘Rangy Lil, how would you like to go to Paris? And to Switzerland? '

‘Hadn't you better make it South America? Some country where there is no extradition? ' (Damn you, Briney! Quit teasing me. )

‘I want you to leave tomorrow. Take the C and A to Chicago, then the Pennsy to New York. I'll meet your train and take you to our hotel. We sail for Cherbourg on Saturday. '

‘Yes, sir. ' (Oh, that man! ) ‘About our children - Seven, I believe. Are you interested in the arrangements I make for them? Or shall I just use my judgement? ' (What arrangements can I make with Eleanor? )

‘Use your judgement. But if Ira is there, I'd like to speak to him. '

‘To hear is to obey, Effendi. '

After Brian spoke to him, Father said to me, ‘I told Brian not to worry, as Ethel is a competent cook. If she needs help, I will hire help. So, Maureen, you mo run along and have fun; the youngsters will be safe. Don't pack more than two bags, because -‘ The phone rang again.

‘Maureen? Your big sister, dear. Did you hear from Brian? '