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"Get up, you coward!" I said, but he made no move. Suddenly I threw my sword down, and, stepping towards him, drew my dirk, at which he screamed and prayed for mercy with shrieks of terror.
"Och, him—-he would just be coming to Colin Dearg with the others after the battle."
Fat-legged and stiff, the men of Third Platoon waddled through the doorway and down the ramp into the bug-juice. One by one they went under, tugging themselves along through the turbulent area, past that; then turning over in three planes so that the man behind them could spot bubbles coming from any part of their safety-suit. A leak, of course, meant Decontamination. Decontamination meant an all-over shave, a load of antibiotics and quarantine. But it was better that one man should suffer this from time to time than that the Barracks should be sullied with a single bit of germ-laden dust.
I am certain that if I had not seen them with my own eyes I would never have believed that such very little children could carry such heavy loads, or that they could work so systematically and steadily as they were compelled to do in order to keep pace with the rapid movements of the older boy, who was molding the tiles from the soft clay. The older boy could not have been, as I have said, more than twelve years of age, but he worked with all the skill and the rapidity of an experienced piece-worker driven at the top of his speed. I was so filled with pity and at the same time with admiration for this boy that, as I was unable to speak to him, I ventured to offer him a small coin in token of my appreciation of the skill with which he worked. So intent was he on his task, however, that he would not stop his work even to pick up
"You sound as though you'd brought off a coup," Georges said. "From the expression on the whiskery one's face, we're in for trouble. What was he saying?"
"Diplomats and other liars require good memories," said Retief. "But as you point out, small wisdom to small minds. I'm here to effect a settlement of certain differences between yourself and the planetary authorities. I have here a Note, which I'm conveying on behalf of the Sector Under-Secretary. With your permission, I'll read it."
1.But it is a very different matter when the author of a book like mine ventures, as I have done for sufficient reasons but at the same time with regret, to sit in judgment on the works of men of research and experts, who belong to our own time and who exert a lively influence on their generation. In this case the author can no longer appeal to the consentient opinion of his contemporaries; he finds them divided into parties, and involuntarily belongs to a party himself. But it is a still more weighty consideration that he may subsequently change his own point of view, and may arrive at a more profound insight into the value of the works which he has criticised; continued study and maturer years may teach him that he overestimated some things fifteen or twenty years ago and perhaps undervalued others, and facts, once assumed to be well established, may now be acknowledged to be incorrect.
2.The Negro population of the Southern States is at present about nine million. In other words, the number of Negroes in the South is just about one fourth larger than the population of Greater London, which is something over seven million. Four fifths of this Southern Negro population still live on the plantations and in the small towns.>
Coventry stood for a moment to steady his senses. The syce crawled from the trap, rubbing his leg, calling encouragement to the prostrate pony, blaming some omen of evil he had observed in the stables only that morning. It was evident, even in the uncertain light, that the trap was badly damaged; both shafts were broken, and Coventry realised that he would drive no farther that night.