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´╗┐Title: Business For the Lawyers
Author: Robin, Ralph
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Business For the Lawyers" ***

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     Bump-Arch had to complete his experiment or spend five more years
     as an apprentice Scientist--and if successful, his feat would
     provide plenty of

                       BUSINESS for the LAWYERS

                           _By Ralph Robin_

                     _Illustration by Sam Kweskin_

     [Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from Other Worlds
     March 1953. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that
     the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]


"Time," said the Grandmaster of the Guild.

It was the formal word, and the scientists were silent; except
Proudwalk, a biologist, who laughed at something whispered in her ear
by a physicist named Snubnose, her brother.

"Time," the Grandmaster repeated, and in a moment even Proudwalk was
quiet, and Snubnose folded his arms.

"I do not need to tell you that today is the Day of the Candidate,"
said the Grandmaster, supporting himself with an air of great age on
his ceremonial staff of polished copper.

"But he will tell us--in many words," Snubnose whispered now. "Next
winter solstice I am going to propose we double the offering."

Proudwalk sniggered.

It was the practice in the Guild of Scientists that a grandmaster, once
elected, served for life or until he voluntarily retired. Every year
the body formally offered its grandmaster a lump sum to retire. Popular
incumbents were offered one tilsin, an obsolete unit worth less than
the smallest real coin. Others were sometimes offered large amounts.

This system did not encourage elderly grandmasters to be laconic.

Unnecessarily consulting his notes, the Grandmaster declaimed, "On
this Day of the Candidate, the 155th day of the year 1712, Dynastic
Reckoning Corrected--"

Snubnose muttered, "Anybody else would say DRC."

Proudwalk patted his lips. "Hush," she said.

"--we are initiating the consideration of the candidature of Bump-arch
apprentice physicist in the service of Crookback, a master physicist
beloved and esteemed by us all. The candidature of Bump-arch will
be governed by the Principles, by the Laws of the Guild, and by
Acknowledged Custom. The procedure--"

While the Grandmaster talked, Snubnose pondered the familiar
procedure--and some implications the venerable bore didn't concern
himself with.

To become a journeyman scientist, an apprentice had to do two things.
He had to complete his term of service. And he had to perform on a Day
of the Candidate a successful demonstration in his own branch of the
scientific art.

The demonstration always took place on the Field of Proof before the
whole body. It could be either an original experiment or a "restored
experiment"--one reconstructed from fragments of ancient texts.
Standards were low and almost anything was accepted, so long as the
candidate accomplished what he said he would. If a conceited or, as
occasionally happened, a gifted young man attempted a very complicated
demonstration, and it didn't come off--well, it was just too bad.

The unfortunate candidate could either serve another five years of
apprenticeship and try again, or give up all connection with the Guild.
If he left the Guild of Scientists, he couldn't be admitted in any
other Guild.

Which was no laughing matter.

Only journeymen and masters and kingsmen--in the general sense, both
men and women--had full rights of citizens, including the right to
marry by Public Law. Others might get married by Private Law, but that
was a rather uncomfortable method.

Under Private Law, a man and a woman would sign a contract to marry,
and if they succeeded in living together--"dwelling under the same
roof as husband and wife"--for five years without being discovered
by the Public Law police, they could then live together openly. They
would then be as legally married as the most respectable members of the
Guild of Merchants. But if the Public Law police caught them before the
"years of cover" were completed, they were separated and sold as slaves.

Permission of all the parents was required for marriage by Public
Law, whatever the age of the lovers. Consequently, even high-ranking
guildfolk sometimes took their chances with Private Law, although most
who tried it ended their lives threshing rye for the Lords of the West.

For example, Singwell and Gray-eyes....

Snubnose found such thoughts painful. He glanced at his sister and
wondered how she could go on looking so cheerful. "But I suppose I look
cheerful, myself," he thought. Indeed, he had the kind of face that
couldn't look otherwise.

Snubnose followed his sister's eyes to the Candidate's stool; where
Bump-arch, Proudwalk's lover and his friend, sat indolently, with his
long legs twisted under him.

He wondered what Proudwalk and Bump-arch were going to do.

Certainly they weren't going to get married by Public Law. He
winced as he remembered the furious screams of his mother every
time Proudwalk brought up the question. Snubnose took his sister's
side, but it seemed hopeless to win their mother over. And even if
they succeeded, it wouldn't do any good. Bump-arch wasn't going to
qualify for journeyman's rank, because he had stubbornly insisted on a
demonstration that was sure to fail.

It was a crazy situation, Snubnose thought. Here he himself was a
full-fledged journeyman, and here was his sister a full-fledged
journeywoman, while a talented fellow like Bump-arch would remain an
apprentice or become a guildless outcast. For that difficulty he had
nobody to blame but himself, Snubnose reflected, in the virtuous way we
meditate upon the mistakes of our friends.

Now the Grandmaster was introducing Crookback, Bump-arch's master, and
as late as the previous Day of the Candidate, Snubnose's master as
well. Snubnose looked at the old man more affectionately than he had
while in his service. But he blamed Crookback for permitting Bump-arch
to go ahead with his impossible demonstration. He was puzzled, as
usual, by the motives of the old master physicist, born with a bent
body and a clever, enigmatic mind.

A few formal words, a brief joke, and a couple of compliments--and
Crookback presented the Candidate.

Bump-arch unwound his legs and stood before them. "Elder ones," he
began traditionally, and Snubnose thought he caught a quick, impudent
look. Bump-arch was young--the three of them were young together in
their city and their time--but he was two years older than Snubnose and
a year older than Proudwalk. He had started his apprenticeship a little
later than was usual.

"I will say the thing. I will attempt the thing. Yours, elder ones, to
judge whether the thing is done, whether I am worthy to sit among you."
These too were traditional phrases.

"I will construct a chamber," he said casually, "in which I will go
irreversibly from today, 155th-1712 DRC, to a day in the future,
155th-1717 DRC. I would be proud to claim this demonstration as my own
discovery, but it is not; it is a restored experiment. I follow the
directions I copied, while still a boy, from an ancient inscription
in a vault outside the walls. The vault was afterward buried by the
earthquake."

"And very conveniently too," Snubnose added to himself. Bump-arch had
not admitted it, even to him, but Snubnose was convinced that the
chamber was his friend's own invention.

"Reverence, elder ones," Bump-arch said and walked to the arched door
of the meeting room.

"Time," said the Grandmaster.

Snubnose, rising, heard a conversation behind him, as two master
chemists shuffled to their feet.

"Do you think the youngster will do it?" one asked.

"Well, there's a tradition about it," the other said.

"Yes, and there's a tradition about the elixir of life and a hundred
texts as well, and you remember what happened to the young fellow who
tried to make it."

There was a chuckle. "I remember, and he's not so young any more, and
he's the best apprentice I have for washing glassware. Most experience."

Proudwalk had heard the conversation also, and her face turned red. She
raised her delicate nose--quite unlike her brother's snub--and sniffed
loudly.

"I think I smell hydrogen sulfide," she said.

       *       *       *       *       *

Carrying his copper staff the Grandmaster paced to the arched doorway,
followed by Crookback. Bump-arch bowed as they preceded him through the
door; and he had to bend his head again to pass through, for Bump-arch
was partly of Bowman stock and tall for a man of the City.

The masters and mistresses of the Guild, the journeymen and
journeywomen, filed out behind the Candidate in the order of their
seniority. When Proudwalk and her brother reached the Street of the
Scientists, already the kingsman and the godsman had taken their places
to the right and the left of the Grandmaster in the foremost rank of
the procession.

The kingsman wore his second gaudiest uniform--the most splendid was
reserved for coronations--and carried his silver mace of authority.
The godsman was naked, as above display and free of the temptations of
sex. He carried nothing, for his nakedness was his badge of office. It
was death for anyone except a godsman or a godswoman to be found in a
public place unclothed.

There came next the Candidate and his master, and after them by two's
the whole body of scientists. Proudwalk and Snubnose walked together,
the last pair.

Early in the morning Snubnose had determined to cheer up his sister as
much as he could on this unhappy day. Now she walked along so lightly
and smiled so much and so gaily, that it was obvious that she needed no
cheering. Snubnose was irritated.

"I don't see why you didn't talk him out of it," he said. "He might
have listened to you where he wouldn't listen to me. He has the odd
delusion that you're smarter than I."

"I am," said Proudwalk.

Snubnose growled.

He said, "You must not care about him as much as you let on, for all
your mooning around the gardens. Well, it doesn't surprise me much.
You women are all obsessed with family pride, no matter how liberal
you pretend to be. Of course you can't marry Bump-arch, whose mother's
father was a Bowman. Our--two to the tenth power--one thousand and
twenty-four ancestors, all pure City, all guildfolk from the very best
guilds, would disturb every palace in Spiritland with their wailing. So
now Bump-arch won't qualify, and it will be an easy out for you."

"Snubnose, you know that's not true. But I'll tell you something." She
lowered her voice. "I told Bump-arch not to listen to you and to go
ahead with his demonstration."

"But why? Even if you are only a biologist, you ought to know from your
basic studies that all the best thinkers in physics for five hundred
years have regarded time travel as a physical impossibility and all old
traditions of time travel as myths."

"Oh little gods. Whatever we can't do any more is impossible and a
myth. We just won't admit we are not as good scientists as our remote
ancestors. But some of us are as good, or even better."

"By all the gods, big and little, you really do love the poor fellow.
He's good, but not that good. What will you do now? Wait till he
finishes another apprenticeship and hope mother changes her mind
meanwhile? And then he would probably come up with another impossible
demonstration. Listen," he said, whispering in her ear, "if you two are
thinking of something crazy like Private Law at least let me know so I
can help you. I wish father were alive," he added helplessly.

"So do I. He was the only one in our family with any sense. Thanks just
the same, Snubnose," she said, and she pressed his hand.

For a little while he solemnly held her hand, then suddenly dropped it.

"I didn't think," he said. "This is worse than ever. If you really
believe that Bump-arch's demonstration is going to work, you don't seem
a bit worried about the fact that you won't see him for five years. And
another thing," said the young man, "if his physics are right you will
be getting old and he will be the same age he is now."

"In five years I'll be an old, old woman," said the girl sarcastically,
"and you'll be an old, old man, and we'll sit in the square in the sun
and talk about all this. But right now let's quit talking about it,
because I see that little Shrill-voice ahead of us there is pricking up
her ears."

But she herself said one more thing. "If you're so anxious to worry,
worry about the Principles. That's the one thing that is bothering me."

Then they smiled at each other and were silent. And soon a wave of
silence washed back to them as the head of the procession turned from
the Street of the Scientists, lined with its wind-ruffled oaks, to the
open shining Avenue of the Sun, where no person might speak without
sacrilege.

The godsman raised his hands to the sun, and everyone else, entering
the Avenue, bowed his head.

They marched in silence, formally, humbly, until at the Street of
Ward, arms clashed in salute. Here were the apartments of the honorary
militia, the warders. The street ran between their dwellings and the
city wall. The warders had formed their squads on the flat roofs, and
they were happily juggling their polished weapons; more effective for
their sparkle and clang, wiseacres said, than for repelling the Bowmen.

During the previous generation, mobile units of the Public Law police
had taken over the job of fighting the intermittent wars with the
Bowmen. For that reason, as Snubnose knew well, the police would be
especially vindictive in tracking down Bump-arch and Proudwalk if they
attempted a Private Law marriage. The Public Law police hated anyone
with genes of the Bowmen in his chromosomes.

The last squad of warders saluted, and the scientists trooped onto
the Field of Proof. It was called in one of the songs of the Guild
of Scientists "verdant place where truth doth reign." But the place
was only spottily verdant, because the apprentice biologists who
were supposed to keep the Field grassed were not conscientious. They
spent most of their time in the Ready Hall gossiping with prospective
candidates.

Dust rose from large bare patches beneath the copper-tipped shoes of
the scientists.

At a sign from the Grandmaster, the guildfolk spread in a single
circle. The Grandmaster took his position at the center of the circle
with the Candidate, the Candidate's master, the kingsman, and the
godsman.

The Bowman strain in Bump-arch was conspicuous, as he stood beside
the others. It was marked by his height and by the unmistakable way
the bones of his face shaped themselves. A romantic girl could look
at him and think of a noble primitive and fall in love, Snubnose
reflected. A family-proud dame could look at him and think of the
public slaves--Bowmen captured in battle--sweating and stinking in the
building gangs.

"What do I think?" Snubnose asked himself. He shrugged. "Bump-arch is
my friend."

He turned to say something to his sister, and he saw that she had left
him. While the circle had been forming, she had moved a quarter way
around. Now her eyes were fixed on her lover.

Snubnose felt vaguely hurt. He said to himself, childishly, "They're up
to something, and they're treating me like a little boy again."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Time," said the Grandmaster.

And what was time? Snubnose, the grown-up physicist, asked himself that
question.

In his physics it was the denominator of velocity; squared, the
denominator of acceleration. In old texts--incomplete, variously
translated, little understood--it was called a dimension when
multiplied by an imaginary number. But imaginary numbers had no place
in physics. So it had been decided in 1480 DRC, at the historic
conference of scientists, kingsmen, and godsmen. Imaginary numbers,
with some other concepts, had been declared metaphysics and had been
turned over to the godsmen. Just as neuroses, because of their
traditional origin in sexual impulses, had been taken away from the
psychologists and assigned to the kingsmen.

Snubnose remembered how Crookback had catechized the pair of them,
Bump-arch and him, on the Principles. How did that one go? "Science
appertains only to matter itself; not to the mysteries of matter or the
desires of matter. The mysteries of matter belong to the gods, and the
desires of matter belong to the king."

Or something like that.

He hadn't been quick with his lessons, like Bump-arch. His friend had
scoffed at the Principles when alone with him, but had learned them
by heart after a couple of offhand readings. Snubnose would sweat and
sweat and think he had them, but when the time came to recite, the
words would fly out the window into the fresh-smelling air.

Old Crookback had got so disgusted with him once that he had put him on
bread and water. And then Bump-arch had sneaked out over the city wall
and had caught a rabbit in a homemade trap and had talked one of the
women of the settled Bowmen into cooking it for them. Gods, that had
tasted good at midnight....

The circle of scientists was getting noisy. Snubnose's nearest
neighbors were loudly rehashing the latest Private Law marriage.
Snubnose wondered suddenly, why didn't the demonstration start? The
Grandmaster had said, "Time." Was there trouble?

In the center of the Field, while Bump-arch stood apart, the
dignitaries were carrying on one of those exasperating public wrangles,
obvious but inaudible. The godsman was doing most of the talking,
waving a plump arm. The Grandmaster looked unhappy, the kingsman looked
important, and Crookback looked polite.

The godsman was so excited he absent-mindedly scratched his bare
buttock. He caught himself and blushed--a total affair for a
godsman--and during his embarrassment, Crookback began to talk. The
godsman kept shaking his head and interrupting, but Crookback went on
talking, and finally the godsman seemed to give a reluctant consent.

The Grandmaster raised his hand high, with the fingers spread, and a
girl apprentice burst from the door of the Ready Hall. She ran across
the Field, and two scientists smilingly moved aside to let her through.
She stood panting before the Grandmaster. He handed her the symbolic
messenger's key and spoke to her briefly--briefly for the Grandmaster.

She was off on the run.

Snubnose didn't know what was happening, but it looked as if the
godsman had made some kind of a concession. He was sure that must be
for the good and felt relieved--until the Grandmaster, leaning on his
copper staff, addressed the guildfolk.

The Grandmaster began: "The holy one submitted an objection concerning
a possible violation of the Principles and proposed to forbid the
demonstration by the Candidate."

If that stood, Bump-arch would probably be tried for sacrilege in
Godsmen's Castle. Yet the godsman had seemed to give ground....

"Needless to say, both the distinguished master of the Candidate and
I myself, speaking individually for ourselves, and, in my own case
especially, speaking for the Guild of Scientists as a body, assured the
holy one of our reverent adherence to the Principles, and--"

He was interrupted by the angry voice of the godsman.

"Get on!"

The guildfolk buzzed. As often as they might have liked to tell their
Grandmaster to get on, this was an insult to the Guild. But they were
quickly silent, for it was an insult they would have to swallow, at
least in public.

The Grandmaster swallowed it too, visibly gulping, and he said mildly,
"The holy one has generously agreed to submit the issue to the High
arbiter of the Guild of Lawyers, and the High Arbiter has been sent
for."

It was the last thing said that alarmed Snubnose, and he looked at his
sister and saw that for the first time her face was tight with unease.
The High Arbiter was an old friend of their mother's, which was not
likely to make him a friend of theirs today. He moved in the same
snobbish society as their mother and had many times clucked with her
about Proudwalk's "infatuation for that lowborn young man."

Snubnose would have liked to leave his place in the circle of
scientists and join Proudwalk, but it was against Acknowledged Custom
to change position once the circle was formed.

Everyone now was shuffling uncomfortably in the hot sun, except the
godsman who was exposed to the cooling air and had the godsmen's secret
of escaping sunburn. And Bump-arch, who looked as uncomfortable as
anybody else but did not shuffle. He stood still and straight while
sweat ran down his face into the tight black neckband of an apprentice.
Once he seemed to look at Snubnose and wink, or perhaps he was only
winking the sweat away.

An elephant moved slowly down the Street of Ward and onto the Field
of Proof. It was a ponderous metal ovoid bearing on its roof a velvet
pavilion with the curtains drawn. The circle of scientists parted and
opened, and the elephant, with much grinding, came to a stop a few feet
from the group in the center of the Field.

The driver, an apprentice lawyer, climbed from his hole and parted the
curtains of the pavilion. The High Arbiter looked out at the world with
a sour expression. He did not descend.

"I will hear the holy one first," he said from his roost.

The godsman raised his hands to the sun, and spoke.

"Wise one! The Candidate and his master, abetted by the Grandmaster
of the Guild of Scientists, are shamelessly defying the Principles.
The Candidate is preparing to demonstrate the accelerated movement of
matter into the future. That is a mystery of matter. Only the gods
can know the path that things take from the dimming past to the dark
future. Scientists must confine themselves to their arts and not try to
steal the mysteries belonging to the gods.

"The gods grant knowledge of mysteries to godsmen who have humbly
supplicated, not to thieves. Let the scientists work to improve the
fire-wheels that spin through the night seeking out the encampments of
the Bowmen. Let them mix better fertilizers to sell to the Lords of the
West. Let them keep in repair the ancient elephants for the honor of
our exalted citizens."

The High Arbiter looked slightly less sour, and he nodded shortly. "I
will hear the Grandmaster of the Guild of Scientists," he said.

The Grandmaster lifted his head.

"Wise one!" he said. "The godsman jibes, and with some basis.
Generation to generation, the fire-wheels spin more slowly and seek
less surely. The fertilizers grow leaner. The ceremonial elephants
are fewer and worse. Perhaps the godsmen are not supplicating hard
enough for solutions to mysteries of matter--solutions which would
enable the scientists to control matter. In the impious days before the
Principles, matter served mystery and mystery served matter, and by
some inexplicable mercy of the gods, things went very well."

Years of banality, years of caution, years of looking to his retirement
offering had, for a little while, lost their hold on him.

Snubnose was silently raging. What a place, he thought, for the
Grandmaster to burst out with that kind of thing. True, scientists
sometimes talked that way in the Guild social rooms, especially
after drinking illegal grain distillate, but here it could only hurt
Bump-arch's cause.

Snubnose looked at his friend. Bump-arch was trying to suppress a
jubilant smile. Surprised, Snubnose looked at his sister. She was
jumping up and down with pleasure, as he hadn't seen her do for at
least two years.

"Romantics," he said to himself.

The High Arbiter had a talent for looking displeased, and now he did
not stint.

"I note the Grandmaster's improper tone," he said stiffly.
"Furthermore, his remarks are irrelevant to the issue. The holy one
says that the demonstration treats of a mystery of matter in violation
of the Principles. In view of the Grandmaster's failure to refute
that, it is highly probable. However, it will have to be established
by authority and precedent--unless the demonstration involves an idea
specifically forbidden, which would be conclusive. I will hear the holy
one."

"There is indeed a forbidden idea. It is known from tradition and old
texts that the mathematic of accelerated movement through time involves
imaginary numbers. At the conference of 1480 DRC it was confirmed that
imaginary numbers are a metaphysical concept forbidden to scientists."

"I will hear the Candidate's master."

A light cloud was filtering the sunlight, and the old man seemed cool
and calm. He took a step to a little mound of good grass as if he were
climbing to a rostrum.

"Wise one! Neither the holy one nor our own Grandmaster--both devoted
patriots with their minds on the welfare of the City--thought to
bring one very important fact to your attention. My apprentice's
demonstration is not an original experiment; it is a reconstructed
experiment. By Acknowledged Custom, reconstructed experiments are
permitted regardless of mysteries and ideas so long as the experimenter
does not comprehend any impious theory but merely follows the practical
directions of old texts.

"I declare that my apprentice is ignorant of the theory of his
demonstration--and who is in a better position to know than his master?"

Snubnose rejoiced. He was ready to forgive even the bread and water. In
a few sentences Crookback had excused the Grandmaster's rashness, had
made good the Grandmaster's oversight, and had set forth a strong case
for Bump-arch.

"I will hear the holy one."

"Let him prove that!" the godsman shouted.

"I will hear the Candidate's master."

"I regret that I cannot prove it absolutely. Negatives are difficult of
proof. I suggest that the Candidate swear to his ignorance by the God
Mother-Father."

"You should know that apprentices are not eligible to take oaths," the
High Arbiter said impatiently, dropping the formal manner as if in a
hurry to finish the proceedings--and finish Bump-arch.

Encouraged, the godsman cried, "Let Crookback swear to it. He was
willing to declare it."

"Will you?" the High Arbiter asked Crookback.

"Though I am sure of the truth, my reverence for the God Mother-Father
is too great to permit me to swear to the contents of another's mind--"

"That, and not wanting to be tried for false swearing," Snubnose
muttered. He admired his old master a lot less.

"--but I will swear by the God Mother-Father that I myself am ignorant
of the theory."

"What good is that?" the godsman demanded.

Cleverly, the master stood in respectful silence. There was an awkward
pause--awkward for the godsman and the High Arbiter--and then the High
Arbiter collected himself and said, "The question may be answered. I
will hear the Candidate's master."

"I am shocked and saddened," said Crookback, "that the holy one
believes that apprentices, still wearing their neckbands, excel in
wisdom the masters of the guilds."

The High Arbiter's driver, who had been squatting meekly by the
elephant, suddenly let loose a screaming laugh, which he cut off just
as suddenly with a scared catch of breath.

"I will hear the oath," the High Arbiter said.

Crookback swore by the God Mother-Father while the godsman glowered.
The High Arbiter said, "The demonstration may proceed. My apprentices
will present my bills tomorrow, including commutation of fees for
twenty journeyman lawyers, since you did not place the issue in King's
Courts."

Everybody winced, and the elephant rumbled away.

       *       *       *       *       *

The doors of the Ready Hall opened, and the whole body of apprentice
scientists marched on the Field. They carried sections of steel sheet,
lengths of magnesium tubing, and parts of machines unfamiliar to the
guildfolk. Under Bump-arch's direction they began to assemble the
equipment and to enclose it in a small building.

Bump-arch had planned well. They put the components together quickly,
and marched from the Field. They had erected a cubical chamber of
bright steel with an opening near the ground just big enough for a
person--not too fat a person--to crawl through. Above the opening a
closing panel was suspended in grooves.

The Grandmaster and the godsman and the kingsman inspected the setup
with the peculiar ignorant attention of high officials. Each walked
around the cube once and rapped it with his fingers here and there.
Each solemnly stooped to the ground and put his head in the opening,
although it was dark inside and nothing was visible. The plump godsman
made a move as if to crawl in, then backed away.

The kingsman brushed dust from his cloak, and the inspection seemed to
be over. The three officials and Crookback withdrew to the circle of
scientists and stood just within it, a little to the left of Snubnose.

Bump-arch took hold of the door panel, the only projection on the
smoothness of the cube, and scrambled to the roof, where he could be
seen by the whole circle.

Now Bump-arch was really enjoying himself, Snubnose thought. And
Proudwalk was enjoying Bump-arch with her big eyes.

"Elder ones, whether my experiment succeeds or fails, the outcome will
be self-evident. I make no qualifications and prepare no excuses. I
will now go ahead with the demonstration."

Snubnose said to himself, "It's a better performance than the High
Arbiter gave on his elephant." He would have liked to yell some words
of encouragement.

"Before I start," Bump-arch added, "as required by the Laws of the
Guild, I ask, are there any among you who wish to inspect my apparatus?"

It was no longer considered good manners to accept that invitation, but
a journeyman physicist named Red-hair stepped forward. He walked very
carefully, and Snubnose wondered how much grain distillate he had drunk
that morning.

Before he reached the steel chamber, Red-hair yelled to the Candidate,
"Tell me how to start it. I don't like our times anyway."

"It's not going very far," Bump-arch said easily.

"It's not going anywhere, boy," Red-hair roared. "Everybody knows that.
I don't know why we've wasted so much time today."

"You'd better not move any dials! There are a couple of ten-day lamps
inside, if you want to look around."

Red-hair crawled through the opening. Five minutes later he crawled
out, his hair in his eyes. "I can't make anything of it," he said to
everybody in general, and he resumed his place in the circle.

"Now, elder ones, does anyone else wish to inspect the apparatus?"

"I do!"

It was Proudwalk.

She walked on grass and over the patches of shifting dust; walked with
the graceful, slightly affected manner that had given her the name.
There was the pride in her walk, and there was sexuality.

Bump-arch leaped to the ground to meet her. He bowed as if they were
at the King's Councillor's Ball and he were asking her for the dance.
Proudwalk touched her palms together in the stylized gesture of
acceptance. Immediately she slipped through the entrance. Bump-arch
stooped, and quickly followed her. The door panel dropped down its
grooves, sealing the chamber.

The scientists chattered; the godsman shouted.

The kingsman raised his voice. "What's going on, Grandmaster?"

"A reconstructed demonstration attempting the accelerated movement of
matter through time to the relatively near future by an apprentice
who, having completed the requisite service, has been admitted to
candidature for the rank of journeyman physicist."

The Grandmaster took a breath.

"Ask the Candidate's master," the godsman said, with the calmness now
of more intense anger. "You heard him trick the High Arbiter into
ruling that a mystery of matter is not a mystery and a forbidden idea
is not forbidden. Maybe he can convince you that a desire of matter is
not a desire of matter."

Crookback spoke up at once. "It would seem an unlikely place to give
way to desire, but I am an old bachelor, as ignorant of the desires of
matter as of its mysteries. However, young men and women frequently
work together on scientific experiments."

"Not in windowless boxes," said the kingsman. "And who gave her
leave to help the Candidate? There is something odd about this whole
demonstration, and I'm going to find out what it is."

The kingsman strode to the little building. The sun had returned in
full brightness, and the alloyed-steel walls were glistening. The
kingsman glistened too: the smooth fabric of his cloak--his silver
ornaments--his mace of massy silver.

Sharply he rapped with his mace on the closed door. There was
afterwards silence. He rapped again. There was again silence.

The kingsman lost his temper. He brought back his mace and swung it
fiercely toward the wall of the chamber.

The blow of massy silver against steel did not come. The wildly
swinging arm and mace whirled through the air. The kingsman fell
forward.

He sprawled, splendid and ridiculous: defeated by air.

There was no cubical building. The guildfolk faced each other across
the Field. Where the steel cube had stood, the kingsman was getting to
his knees.

Floating gently through the air, separating and drifting down, were
many sheets of paper.

Snubnose picked up one of the papers as it fell. It was headed "COPY OF
CONTRACT" and dated that Day of the Candidate, 155th-1712 DRC. It said:
"Hereby do Bump-arch, apprentice physicist, and Proudwalk, journeywoman
biologist, contract under Private Law a marriage between them: and do
undertake to dwell as husband and wife under the same roof for a period
of five years in validation of this marriage: such period to terminate
for purposes of the Private Law upon 155th-1717 DRC, but to continue
under other roofs for the duration of their lives."

"Time," said the Grandmaster.

Walking slowly home to face his mother, Snubnose said to himself, "This
one will keep the Guild of Lawyers busy for the duration of all our
lives."





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