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.
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