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

Aside from fixtures, which had been removed earlier, nothing was salvaged. So they tore down that fine old nineteenth-century frame structure in only a morning. Princess Polly watching, unbelieving. When the wreckers hitched bulldozers to the north wing and pulled it down, made it suddenly rubbish, she hid per face against me and moaned.

I drove us home. I did not like watching the death of that old house, either.

I took Polly back the next day. There was nothing but soil scraped bare and a basement hole where our home had been. Princess Polly would not get out of the car; I am not sure she recognised the site. She never ran away again. Sometimes gentlemen friends came to call on her, but she stayed home. I think that she forgot that she had ever lived anywhere else.

But I did not forget. Never go back to a house you once lived in - not if you loved it.

I wish that Priscilla's problems had been as easy to cope with as Polly's. It was Friday before I saw Dr Rumsey; Thursday we moved to our new house and any such move is exhausting, even though I used professional packers and handlers, not just their vans. It was simplified, too, by the fact that most of the furniture was not moved to our new house, but given to Good Will - I told both Good Will and the Salvation Army that a houseful of furniture, plus endless minor chattels, were to be donated to charity but they must send a truck. The Salvation Army wanted to come over and select what they wanted, but Good Will was not so fussy, so they got the plunder.

We kept only the books, some pictures, my desk and my files, clothing, some dishes and flatware, an IBM typewriter, and a few oddments. About eleven I sent Donald and Priscilla over to the new house with all salvaged food from pantry and freezer and refrigerator.

‘Donald, please come back for me after you unload. Priscilla, see what you can find for lunch; I think they will be loaded by noon. But don't fix anything for which timing is critical. '

‘Yes, Mother. ' Those were almost the only words she spoke to me that morning. She had done whatever I told per to do but made no attempt to use initiative, whereas Donald tackled the job with imagination.

They drove away. Donald came back for me at noon, just as the crew-was breaking for lunch.

‘We'll have to wait, ' I told him, ‘as they are not quite finished. What did you do with Princess? '

‘I shut her into my bathroom for now, with per sand box and food. She resents it. '

‘She'll just have to put up with it for a while. Donald, what is eating Priscilla? Last night and this morning she has been acting as if someone - me, I think - had broken her little red wagon. '

‘Aw, Mother, that's just the way she is. Doesn't mean anything. '

‘Donald, it's not the way she is going to be, not if she stays here. I will not cater to sullenness. I have tried to give all my sons and daughters a maximum of freedom consistent with civilised behaviour towards other people, especially towards their own family. But civilised behaviour is required of everyone at all times. This means politeness and a cheerful demeanour, even if simulated rather than felt. No one is ever exempt from these rules, no matter how old. Do you think you can influence her? If she's sulky, I am quite capable of telling her to leave the table. .. and I don't think she would like that. '

He laughed without mirth. I'm sure she wouldn't like it'

‘Well, perhaps you can put it over to her. Possibly she won't resent it from you. '

‘Uh, maybe. '

‘Donald, do you feel that there is anything I have said or done - or required of her, or of you - that she is justified in resenting? '

‘Uh. .. no. '

‘Be frank with me, son. This is a bad situation; it can't go on. '

‘Well. .. she never has liked to take orders. '

‘What orders have I given that she doesn't like? '

‘Well. .. she was pretty upset when you told her she couldn't come along and help decide which house we would take. '

‘That was not an order. I simply told her that it was my business, not hers: And so it is. '

‘Well, she didn't like it. And she didn't like being told that she had to be what she calls "poked at". You know. '

‘Yes, a pelvic examination. That was indeed an order. An order not subject to discussion. But tell me, what did you think of my requiring her to submit to a pelvic examination? Your opinion won't change my mind; I would just like to know what you think about it'

‘Uh, none of my business. '

‘Donald. '

‘Well. .. I guess girls have to have them. If her doctor is going to know whether she's healthy or not. Yeah, I suppose so. But she sure didn't like it. '

‘Yes, girls do have to have them for their own protection. I don't like them and never did and I've had them so many, many times that I couldn't begin to count. But it's just a nuisance, like getting your teeth cleaned. Necessary, so I put up with it. .. and Priscilla must put up with it too, and I won't take any nonsense out of her about it. ' I sighed. ‘Try to make her see it. Donald, I'm going to drive you back and drop you, while they are still eating, and then I'll turn right around and hurry back, or something will wind up in the wrong truck. '

I got to the house about two, then supervised where things went while carrying a sandwich in my hand. It was after five by the time the van left and still later before the house was arranged - if you can call it arranged when the back yard was strewn with cardboard cartons and ‘clothes were dumped on beds and books were simply shoved into any bookcase to get them off the floor. Was it Poor Richard who said that ‘Two removes equal one fire'? Yet this was an easy move.

By eight I got some supper into them. We all were quiet Priscilla was still sullen.

After supper I had us all move into the family room for coffee - and a toast. I poured thimble glasses of Kahlua. .. because you can't get drunk on Kahlua; you'll get sick first. I held up a glass. ‘Here's to our new home, dears. '

I took a sip; so did Donald. Priscilla did not touch hers.

‘I don't drink, ' she said flatly.

‘This is not a drink, dear; it is a ceremony. For a toast, if one does not wish to drink it, it is sufficient to lift the glass, say, "Hear, hear! " and touch the glass to your lips, put it down and smile. Remember that. It will serve you well at other times. '

‘Mother, it is time we had a serious talk. '