with moisture, clinging to the window. Mr. Forte himself looked dismal and depressed; he complained that the damp affected his throat and caused discomfort in his joints. He indicated with a weary gesture of his hand a pile of documents and ledgers connected with parish affairs, and some blank sheets of paper on which, owing to pressure of other business, his sermon for to-morrow had not yet been inscribed. He said he wished he could afford a curate, though to Coventry's consternation he affirmed that Rafella was as valuable to him as any curate could be, save in the matter of accounts and sermons.
“Is she not happy, then?” said Frances wistfully, which was a silly question, as she now saw as soon as she had uttered it.
“In my delicate position I was forced to deny any association with the man.”
He fumed because creatures intelligent enough to build steam fliers weren't intelligent enough to see what a racket their government was. Now that the new Grand Panjandrum had moved against him, Jorgenson made an angry, dogged resolution to do something permanent to make matters better. For the Thrid themselves. Here he thought not as a business man only, but as a humanitarian. As both. When a whim of the Grand Panjandrum could ruin a business, something should be done. And when Ganti and countless others had been victims of capricious tyranny.... And Jorgenson was slated to vanish from sight and never again be seen.... It definitely called for strong measures!
Hartford nodded, his face pale. The "A" of the Axenite's alphabet was Apprehension. As a germ-free—axenic, gnotobiotic—human being, he is superior in most ways to ordinary men. He's usually larger and stronger. He never has dental caries, pimples, appendicitis, the common cold or certain cancers. No matter how much or how long he sweats, the Axenite doesn't stink; nor do his other excretions. On a contaminated world, however, the Axenite is a tender flower indeed. A baby's breath can be death to him, if that baby be a "normal" human; for no microbe is benign to the man without antibodies. To him a drop of rain may reek with pestilence, the scent of evening may be a lethal gas. "I can't understand their stripping Pia, sir," he said. "Why would they do such a terrible thing?"
But it was the first time that the specimens had survived. He reviewed the work they had already done with the male specimen. He had shown himself unable to live in the normal atmospheric conditions of Hatcher's world; but that was to be expected, after all, and the creature had been commendably quick about getting out of a bad environment. Probably they had blundered in illuminating the scene for him, Hatcher conceded. He didn't know how badly he had blundered, for the concept of "light" from a general source, illuminating not only what the mind wished to see but irrelevant matter as well, had never occurred to Hatcher or any of his race; all of their senses operated through the mind itself, and what to them was "light" was a sort of focusing of attention. But although something about that episode which Hatcher failed to understand had gone wrong, the specimen had not been seriously harmed by it. The specimen was doing well. Probably they could now go to the hardest test of all, the one which would mean success or failure. Probably they could so modify the creature as to make direct communication possible.
She stood quite still, staring past him towards the door of her grandfather's room. She was again wearing the dress of pale gray linen in which he had
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