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