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The Emancipatrix   By: (1892-1924)

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New York

[Illustrated title: 'The Emancipatrix' in script, over a background of a bee silhouetted against a full moon on the horizon.]



The doctor closed the door behind him, crossed to the table, silently offered the geologist a cigar, and waited until smoke was issuing from it. Then he said:

"Well," bluntly, "what's come between you and your wife, Van?"

The geologist showed no surprise. Instead, he frowned severely at the end of his cigar, and carefully seated himself on the corner of the table. When he spoke there was a certain rigor in his voice, which told the doctor that his friend was holding himself tightly in rein.

"It really began when the four of us got together to investigate Capellette, two months ago." Van Emmon was a thorough man in important matters. "Maybe I ought to say that both Billie and I were as much interested as either you or Smith; she often says that even the tour of Mercury and Venus was less wonderful.

"What is more, we are both just as eager to continue the investigations. We still have all kinds of faith in the Venusian formula; we want to 'visit' as many more worlds as the science of telepathy will permit. It isn't that either of us has lost interest."

The doctor rather liked the geologist's scientific way of stating the case, even though it meant hearing things he already knew. Kinney watched and waited and listened intently.

"You remember, of course, what sort of a man I got in touch with. Powart was easily the greatest Capellan of them all; a magnificent intellect, which I still think was intended to have ruled the rest. I haven't backed down from my original position."

"Van! You still believe," incredulously, "in a government of the sort he contemplated?"

Van Emmon nodded aggressively. "All that we learned merely strengthens my conviction. Remember what sort of people the working classes of Capellette were? Smith's 'agent' was typical a helpless nincompoop, not fit to govern himself!" The geologist strove to keep his patience.

"However," remarked Kinney, "the chap whose mind I used was no fool."

"Nor was Billie's agent, the woman surgeon," agreed Van Emmon, "even if she did prefer 'the Devolutionist' to Powart. But you'll have to admit, doc, that the vast majority of the Capellans were incompetents; the rest were exceptions."

The doctor spoke after a brief pause. "And that's what is wrong, Van?"

"Yes," grimly. "Billie can't help but rejoice that things turned out the way they did. She is sure that the workers, now that they've been separated from the ruling class, will proceed to make a perfect paradise out of their land." He could not repress a certain amount of sarcasm. "As well expect a bunch of monkeys to build a steam engine!

"Well," after a little hesitation, "as I said before, doc, I've no reason to change my mind. You may talk all you like about it I can't agree to such ideas. The only way to get results on that planet is for the upper classes to continue to govern."

"And this is what you two have quarreled about?"

Van Emmon nodded sorrowfully. He lit another cigar absent mindedly and cleared his throat twice before going on: "My fault, I guess. I've been so darned positive about everything I've said, I've probably caused Billie to sympathize with her friends more solidly than she would otherwise."

"But just because you've championed the autocrats so heartily "

"I'm afraid so!" The geologist was plainly relieved to have stated the case in full. He leaned forward in his eagerness to be understood. He told the doctor things that were altogether too personal to be included in this account.

Meanwhile, out in the doctor's study, Smith had made no move whatever to interrogate the geologist's young wife. Instead, the engineer simply remained standing after Billie had sat down, and gave her only an occasional hurried glance. Shortly the silence got on her nerves; and such was her nature, as contrasted with Van Emmon's whereas he had stated causes first, she went straight to effects... Continue reading book >>

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