The squads peeled off and double-timed down the Hot Gut. Man by man they dipped into the Wet Gut for their swim outside. They'd been drilled for speed in exiting. If the Regiment were needed outside, the Syphon could become a literal bottle-neck. As the last squad splashed into the antiseptic solution, Hartford turned to Colonel Nef. "Sir, I have a question," he said.
"I shall know when to stop," the Aga Kaga said.
Jorgenson and Ganti immediately attacked their own creation. The framework was brittle; barely able to sustain its own weight. They furiously demolished the whole thing. They hauled its fragments into the cave. They worked furiously to remove every trace of its former presence.
Still leaning out of the window, he began to picture the proposal. He saw himself alone with Elizabeth somewhere—he might make some excuse to take her into the library—and then, beginning to overcome her levity and caprice by his earnestness—he would say that he had been in love with her from the first, but that he had been afraid to tell her—no prospects—that sort of thing. He imagined her becoming suddenly serious, reciprocating his seriousness, confessing that she, too, had always—liked him. They would be quite close together when she admitted that, and he would put his arms round her waist or over her shoulders—she had lovely shoulders—and kiss her....
Looking at the ship's officers, good friends, companions on a dozen planetside leaves, McCray started to speak, stumbled and was for a moment without words. It was too incredible to tell. How could he make them understand?
"How can I leave you?" he said, with passionate reluctance.
No, it was obvious that in no circumstances whatever, could she be permitted to face that kind of life. Plenty of nice girls did, of course; but she was different. And a city office would be just as bad, or worse. It was impossible to imagine her mixing with a crowd of dirty little Cockney clerks or greasy business men. Damn them.
Like a child's toy in a diminishing glass, McCray could see the planet he had left.
At this moment the reverie was interrupted by Mr. Mainwearing in cricketing flannels traversing the schoolroom. He was going to have a whack before tea. He just stood at the wickets and made the bigger boys bowl to him.详情 ➢
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