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قراءة كتاب Business For the Lawyers

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‏اللغة: English
Business For the Lawyers

Business For the Lawyers

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 5

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