Book: Giles Goat-Boy



Giles Goat-Boy

Giles Goat-Boy or, The Revised New Syllabus by John Barth


Publisher's Disclaimer


The reader must begin this book with an act of faith and end it with an act of charity. We ask him to believe in the sincerity and authenticity of this preface, affirming in return his prerogative to be skeptical of all that follows it.

The manuscript submitted to us some seasons ago under the initials R.N.S., and by us retitled Giles Goat-Boy, is enough removed from the ordinary and so potentially actionable as to make inadequate the publisher's conventional disclaimer: "Any resemblance to persons living or dead," etc. The disclaimer's very relevance -- which we firmly assert -- was called into question even prior to the manuscript's receipt, as has been everything about the book since, from its content to its authorship. The professor and quondam novelist whose name appears on the title-page (our title-page, not the one following his prefatory letter) denies that the work is his, but "suspects" it to be fictional -- a suspicion that two pages should confirm for the average reader. His own candidate for its authorship is one Stoker Giles or Giles Stoker -- whereabouts unknown, existence questionable -- who appears to have claimed in turn 1) that he too was but a dedicated editor, the text proper having been written by a certain automatic computer, and 2) that excepting a few "necessary basic artifices"* the book is neither fable nor fictionalized history, but literal truth. And the computer, the mighty "WESCAC" -- does it not too disclaim authorship? It does.

* The computer's assumption of a first-person narrative viewpoint, we are told, is one such "basic artifice." The reader will add others, perhaps challenging their "necessity" as well.

Frankly, what we hope and risk in publishing Giles Goat-Boy is that the question of its authorship will be a literary and not a legal one. If so, judging from the fuss in our office these past months, the book affords more pregnant matter for controversy. Merely deciding to bring it out has already cost us two valued colleagues, for quite different reasons. Five of us were party to the quarrel, which grew so heated, lengthy, and complex that finally, as editor-in-chief, I was obliged to put an end to it. No further discussion of the book was permitted. Inasmuch as the final responsibility was mine I requested from each of my four associates a brief written statement on the questions: should we publish the manuscript entitled Giles Goat-Boy? If so, why, and if not, why not?

Their replies anticipate, I think, what will be the range of public and critical reaction to the book. I reprint them here (with signatures and certain personal references omitted) not in the hope of forestalling that reaction, but to show that our decision was made neither hastily nor in bad faith:


Editor A

I am quite sensible that fashions have changed since my own tenure as editor-in-chief: marriage has lost its sanctity, sex its mystery; every filthiness is published in the name of Honesty; all respect for law and discipline is gone -- to say nothing of propriety and seemliness, whose very names are sneered at. Cynicism is general: the student who eschews cheating like the young girl who eschews promiscuity or the editor who values principle over profit, is looked upon as a freak. Whatever is old -- a man, a building, a moral principle -- is regarded not as established but as obsolete; to be preserved if at all for its antiquarian interest, but got rid of without compunction the moment it becomes in the way. In the way, that is, of self-interest and the tireless sensualism of youth. Indeed fashions change, have always changed, and there's the point. Granted that every generation must write its own "New Syllabus" or re-interpret the Old one, rebel against its teachers, challenge all the rules -- all the more important then that the Rules stand fast! Morality like motion has its laws; each generation takes its impetus from the resistance of its forebears, like runners striving against the ground, and those who would abolish the old Answers (I don't speak of restating or modifying them, which is eternally necessary) would turn the track underfoot to quickmire, with fatal consequences for the race of men.

This Revised New Syllabus is nothing new, but as old as sickness of the spirit; not a revision of anything, but a repudiation of all that's wholesome and redeeming. It is for us to repudiate it. Publishing remains despite all a moral enterprise, and is recognized as such in its heart of hearts even by the public that clamors for gratification of its appetites. The sensational, the vulgar, the lurid, the cheap, the hackneyed -- there is an innocence about these things in their conventional and mass-produced forms, even a kind of virtue; the novelists everyone purchases do no harm as they line our pockets and their own. They are not difficult; they do not astonish; they rebel along traditional lines, shock us in customary ways, and teach us what we know already. Their concerns are modest, their literary voice and manner are seldom wild, only their private lives, which make good copy: in straightforward prose they reveal to us how it is to belong to certain racial or cultural minorities; how it is to be an adolescent, a narcotic, an adulterer, a vagabond; especially how it is to be the Author, with his particular little history of self-loathings and aggrandizements. Such novels, I conceive, are the printed dreams of that tiny fraction of our populace which buys and reads books, and the true dwelling-places of art and profit. In serving the dream we prevent the deed: vicariously the reader debauches, and is vicariously redeemed; his understanding is not taxed; his natural depravity may be tickled but is not finally approved of; no assaults have been made upon his imagination, nor any great burden put on his attention. He is the same fellow as before, only a little better read, and in most cases the healthier for his small flirtation with the Pit. He may even remark, "Life is absurd, don't you think? There's no answer to anything"; whereafter, his luncheon-companion agreeing absolutely, they have another cocktail and return to more agreeable matters.

Consider the difference with R.N.S.: here fornication, adultery, even rape, yea murder itself (not to mention self-deception, treason, blasphemy, whoredom, duplicity, and willful cruelty to others) are not only represented for our delectation but at times approved of and even recommended! On aesthetic grounds too (though they pale before the moral), the work is objectionable: the rhetoric is extreme, the conceit and action wildly implausible, the interpretation of history shallow and patently biased, the narrative full of discrepancies and badly paced, at times tedious, more often excessive; the form, like the style, is unorthodox, unsymmetrical, inconsistent. The characters, especially the hero, are unrealistic. There never was a Goat-boy! There never will be!

In sum it is a bad book, a wicked book, and ought not -- I will say must not -- be published. No computer produced it, but the breedings of an ineffectual megalomane: a crank at best, very possibly a psychopath. As the elder, if no longer the ranking, member of this editorial group I urge that we take this opportunity to restore a part of the moral prestige that was ours when our organization was more dedicated and harmonious, if less wealthy; to reverse our lamentable recent policy of publishing the esoteric, the bizarre, the extravagant, the downright vicious. I urge not only that the manuscript in question be rejected forthwith, but also that the "Author's" superiors, his Dean and Department Chairman, be advised what they are exposing undergraduate minds to. Would the present editor-in-chief, I wonder, permit his own daughter to be taught by such a man? Then in the name of what decent principle ought we to make his scribbling available to all our sons and daughters?


Editor B

I vote to publish the Revised New Syllabus and agree with the Editor-in-chief that Giles Goat-Boy is a more marketable title for it. We all know what [A's] objections to the manuscript are; we also know why he's not editor-in-chief any more, after his rejection of --------* on similar "moral" grounds. What I must add, at the risk of "impropriety," is that in addition to his predictable bias against anything more daring than Gay Dashleigh's Prep-School Days, he may have a private antipathy for this particular manuscript: his own daughter, I happen to know, "ran off" from college with a bearded young poetry-student who subsequently abandoned her, pregnant, in order to devote himself to sheep-farming and the composition of long pastoral romances in free verse, mainly dealing with his great love for her. Her father never forgave her; neither has he, it seems, forgiven bearded heterosexuality or things bucolic, and it is a mark of his indiscrimination that he makes a goat-boy suffer for a sheep-boy's sins. Much as I respect your request that these statements remain impersonal, and hesitate as a new employee to criticize my colleagues in addition to disagreeing with them, I must argue that the "personal" and "professional" elements are so bound together in this case (indeed, are they ever separable in literary judgments?), that to take a stand for or against Giles Goat-Boy is to do likewise on the question whether this organization will prosper in harmonious diversity or languish in acrimonious dissension. In choosing to publish or reject a manuscript, one oughtn't to bear the burden of choosing professional friends and enemies as well. Where such has become the case, the new man's only choice is to follow his best judgment, laying his future resolutely on the line; and I respectfully suggest that the responsible administrator's best hope for curing the situation is to turn any threatening ultimatums (like A's) into opportunities for revitalizing and reharmonizing the staff.

* Not to injure unnecessarily the reputation of that splendid (and presently retired) old gentleman here called A, let it be said merely that his distinguished editorial career never regained its earlier brilliance after the day some years ago when, in a decision as hotly contested as the present one, he overrode the opinions of myself and several other of his protégés to reject the novel here cited by B, which subsequently made the fortune of our largest competitor. No further identification of the book is needed than that it concerns the adventures, sexual and otherwise, of a handsome, great-spirited young man struggling against all odds and temptations to fulfill what he takes to be his destiny; that the plot was admittedly not original with the now-famous author; and that the book bids fair to remain a best seller forever.

The fact is, I happen to agree -- I think we all do -- that Giles Goat-Boy is tough sledding in places, artistically uneven, and offensive (we'll call it challenging, of course) to certain literary and moral conventions. Personally I am no great fan of the "Author's"; like [Editor C, whose opinion follows] I found his early work lively but a bit naïve and his last novel wild and excessive in every respect. I frankly don't know quite what to make of this one. Where other writers seek fidelity to the facts of modern experience and expose to us the emptiness of our lives, he declares it his aim purely to astonish; where others strive for truth, he admits his affinity for lies, the more enormous the better. His fellows quite properly seek recognition and wide readership; he rejoices (so he says) that he has but a dozen readers, inasmuch as a thirteenth might betray him. So far from becoming discouraged by the repeated failure of his novels to make a profit, he confesses his surprise that no one has tarred and feathered him. Apparently sustained by the fact that anyone at all has swallowed his recentest whopper, he sets about to hatch another, clucking tongue at the compass and bedazzlement of those fabrications. Plot, for the young novelists we applaud, is a naughty word, as it was for their fathers; story to them means invention, invention artifice, artifice dishonesty. As for style, it is everywhere agreed that the best language is that which disappears in the telling, so that nothing stands between the reader and the matter of the book. But this author has maintained (in obscure places, understandably) that language is the matter of his books, as much as anything else, and for that reason ought to be "splendrously musicked out"; he turns his back on what is the case, rejects the familiar for the amazing, embraces artifice and extravagance; washing his hands of the search for Truth, he calls himself "a monger after beauty," or "doorman of the Muses' Fancy-house." In sum, he is in a class by himself and not of his time; whether a cut above or a cut below, three decades ahead or three centuries behind, his twelve readers must decide for themselves.

My own net sentiment comes to this: the author in question has, I'm told, a small but slowly growing audience, more loyal than discerning or influential, of the sort one needs no expensive promotion to reach, as they have their own ways of spreading the word around: penniless literature students, professors in second-rate colleges, and a couple of far-out critics. Giles Goat-Boy isn't likely to make anybody rich, but if we can saturate this little group it should at least pay its own way, and may even redeem our losses on the man's other books. One day those penniless students may be pennied enough; those professors may rise to more influential positions; the far-out critics may turn out to have been prophets... Alternatively, the author's luck may change (rather, our luck, as he seems not to care one way or the other): by pure accident his next book might be popular, stranger things have happened. Meanwhile we may write off our losses to that tax-deductible sort of prestige associated with the better publishing houses; the thing to do is keep the advance and advertising expenses as low as possible while holding him under contract for the future, in the meantime exploiting whatever ornamental or write-off value he may have.


Editor C

I vote against publishing the book called The Revised New Syllabus, not for reasons of morality, law, or politics, but simply on aesthetic and commercial grounds. The thing won't turn us a profit, and I see no ethical or "prestigial" justification for losing a nickel on it. Publishing may be a moral enterprise, as [A] likes to claim, but first of all it's just an enterprise, and I for one think it's as unprofessional to publish a book for moral reasons (which is what young [B's] enthusiasms amount to) as to reject one for moral reasons. [A] quite obviously has personal motives for rejecting the book; I submit that [B] has motives equally personal, if more sympathetic, for pushing its acceptance. He's new to our profession, and knows very well that discovering fresh talent is a road to success second only to pirating established talents from the competition. He has a young man's admirable compassion for lost causes, a young scholar's sympathy for minor talents, and a young intellectual's love of the heterodox, the esoteric, the obscure. Moreover he's a writer of fiction himself and no doubt feels a certain kinship with others whose talents have brought them as yet no wealth or fame. Finally, it's no reflection on his basic integrity that on the first manuscript he's been asked his opinion of, he might be less than eager to oppose the known judgment of the man who hired him; but that circumstance probably oughtn't to be discounted -- especially since his vote to publish is a "net sentiment" by his own acknowledging, arrived at over numerous and grave reservations.

I think I may say that my own position is relatively objective. I agree that there are inferior books which one does right to lose a bit of money on in order not to lose a superior author, and there are superior books (very rare!) which one publishes, regardless of their commercial value, merely to have been their publisher. But the book in question I take to be neither: it's a poor-risk work by a poor-risk author. It wants subtlety and expertise: the story is not so much "astonishing" as preposterous, the action absurd. The hero is a physical, aesthetic, and moral monstrosity; the other characters are drawn with small regard for realism and at times lack even the consistency of stereotypes; the dialogue is generally unnatural and wanting in variety from speaker to speaker -- everyone sounds like the author! The prose style -- that unmodern, euphuistic, half-metrical bombast -- is admittedly contagious (witness [A's] and [B's] lapses into it); even more so is syphilis. The theme is obscure, probably blasphemous; the wit is impolite, perhaps even suggestive of unwholesome preoccupations; the psychology -- but there is no psychology in it. The author clearly is ignorant of things and people as they really are: consider his disregard for the reader! Granted that long novels are selling well lately, one surely understands that mere bulk is not what sells them; and when their mass consists of interminable exposition, lecture, and harangue (how gratified I was to see that windy old lunatic Max Spielman put to death!), it is the very antidote to profit. Indeed, I can't imagine to whom a work like R.N.S. might appeal, unless to those happily rare, more or less disturbed, and never affluent intelligences -- remote, cranky, ineffectual -- from whom it is known the author receives his only fan-mail.

What I suggest as our best course, then, is not to "protect our investment" by publishing this Revised New Syllabus (and the one after that, and the one after that), but to cut our losses by not throwing good money after bad. My own "net sentiment" is a considered rejection not only of this manuscript but of its author. He has yet to earn us a sou; his very energy (let us say, inexorableness), divorced as it is from public appeal, is a liablity to us, like the energy of crabgrass or cancer. Despite some praise from questionable critics and a tenuous repute among (spiritually) bearded undergraduates -- of the sort more likely to steal than to purchase their reading matter -- he remains unknown to most influential reviewers, not to mention the generality of book-buyers. In the remote event that he becomes a "great writer," or even turns out to have been one all along, we still hold the copyright on those other losers of his, and can always reissue them. But no, the thing is as impossible as the plot of this book! He himself declares that nothing gets better, everything gets worse: he will merely grow older and crankier, more quirksome and less clever; his small renown will pass, his vitality become mere doggedness, or fail altogether. His dozen admirers will grow bored with him, his employers will cease to raise his salary and to excuse his academic and social limitations; his wife will lose her beauty, their marriage will founder, his children will grow up to be ashamed of their father. I see him at last alone, unhealthy, embittered, desperately unpleasant, perhaps masturbative, perhaps alcoholic or insane, if not a suicide. We all know the pattern.


Editor D

Failed, failed, failed! I look about me, and everywhere see failure. Old moralists, young bootlickers, unsuccessful writers; has-beens, would-bes, never-weres; failed artists, failed editors, failed scholars and critics; failed husbands, fathers, lovers; failed minds, failed bodies, hearts, and souls -- none of us is Passed, we all are Failed!

It no longer matters to me whether the Revised New Syllabus is published, by this house or any other. What does the Answer care, whether anyone "finds" it? It wasn't lost! The gold doesn't ask to be mined, or the medicine beg to be taken; it's not the medicine that's worse off when the patient rejects it. As for the Doctor -- who cares whether he starves or prospers? Let him go hungry, maybe he'll prescribe again! Or let him die, we have prescription enough!

Let him laugh, even, that I've swallowed in good faith the pill he made up as a hoax: I'm cured, the joke's on him! One comes to understand that a certain hermit of the woods is no eccentric, but a Graduate, a Grand Tutor. From all the busy millions a handful seek him out, thinking to honor and sustain him; we bring him cash and frankincense, sing out his praises in four-part harmony, fetch him champagne and vichyssoise. Alas, our racket interrupts his musings and scares off the locusts he'd have suppered on; the wine makes him woozy, he upchucks the soup; he can't smell the flowers for our perfume or hear the birds for our music, and there's not a thing to spend his money on. No wonder he curses us under his breath, once he's sober again! And thinking to revenge himself with a trick, he puts on a falseface to scare us away. We had asked for revelations; he palms off his maddest dreams. "Show us Beauty," we plead; he bares his rump to us. "Show us Goodness," we beg, and he mounts our wives and daughters. "Ah, sir!" we implore him, "Give us the Truth!" He thrusts up a forefinger from each temple and declares, "You are cuckolds all."

And yet I say the guller is gulled, hoist is the enginer: the joke's on the joker, that's the joker's joke. Better victimized by Knowledge than succored by Ignorance; to be Wisdom's prey is to be its ward. Deceived, we see our self-deception; suffering the lie, we come to truth, and in the knowledge of our failure hope to Pass.

Publish the Revised New Syllabus or reject it; call it art or artifice, fiction, fact, or fraud: it doesn't care, its author doesn't care, and neither any longer do I. I don't praise it, I don't condemn it; I don't ask who wrote it or whether it will sell or what the critics may make of it. My judgment is not upon the book but upon myself. I have read it. I here resign from my position with this house.

One sees the diversity of opinion that confronted me (I do not even mention the disagreement among our legal staff and such nice imponderables as the fact that it was Editor A who gave me my first job in the publishing field, or that Editor D -- present whereabouts unknown -- happens to be my only son); one sees further something of what either option stood to cost. One sees finally what decision I came to -- with neither aid nor sympathy from the author, by the way, who seldom even answers his mail. Publishing is a moral enterprise, in subtler ways than my dear A asserted; like all such, it is spiritually expensive, highly risky, and proportionately challenging. It is also (if I understand the Goat-Boy correctly) as possible an avenue to Commencement Gate as any other moral enterprise, and on that possibility I must bank.

Herewith, then, Giles Goat-Boy: or, The Revised New Syllabus, "a work of fiction any resemblance between whose characters and actual persons living or dead is coincidental."* Let the author's cover-letter stand in all editions as a self-explanatory foreword or opening chapter, however one chooses to regard it; let the reader read and believe what he pleases; let the storm break if it must.

The Editor-in-Chief

* In the absence of any response from the author, whom we repeatedly invited to discuss the matter with us, we have exercised as discreetly as possible our contractual prerogative to alter or delete certain passages clearly libelous, obscene, discrepant, or false. Except for these few passages (almost all brief and of no great importance) the text is reproduced as it was submitted to us. [Ed.]



Cover-Letter to the Editors and Publisher


Gentlemen:

The manuscript enclosed is not The Seeker, that novel I've been promising you for the past two years and on which you hold a contractual option. The Seeker is lost, I fear; no use to seek him, or any other novel from this pen: I and the Muse, who in any case had not cohabited these many months, are now divorced for good and all a vinculo matrimonii. The wonder is not that our alliance has ended, but that it lasted and produced at all, in the light of my wrong-headedness. I will not admit that it was a mistake to wed her; matrimony may be the death of passion, but need not be of production. The error (by no means my only one) was in believing anything could endure; that my or any programme could work. Nothing "works," in the sense we commonly hope for; a certain goat-boy has taught me that; everything only gets worse, gets worse; our victories are never more than moral, and always pyrrhic; in fact we know only more or less ruinous defeats.

Ah well, now I have caught Knowledge like a love-pox, I understand, not that my former power was a delusion, but that delusions may be full of power: Lady Fancy did become my mistress after all; did mother offspring that my innocent lust got on her -- orphans now, but whose hard neglect may be the saving of them in the long run. Think it if you will a further innocence on my part; I stand convinced that she did by George love me while she loved me, and that what she loved was the very thing that ruined us in the end: I mean my epic unsophistication. And this because, contrary to appearance and common belief, she shares it herself; it is if not the essence of her spirit at least one among its chiefer qualities, and has much to do with that goldenness of hers. How else explain the peculiar radiance she maintains despite her past, a freshness as well of spirit as of complexion, which leads each new suitor to take her for a maiden girl? My ambition to husband her, exclusively and forever, as who should aspire to make a Hausfrau out of a love-goddess -- do you think she indulged it as a joke, or tickled a jaded appetite by playing at homeliness? Very well: I choose to think the experiment pleased her as simply and ingenuously as it pleased me; we were equally distressed to see it fail, and whatever the fate of our progeny I believe she will remember as sweetly as I the joy of their getting...

No matter. I'm celibate now: a priest of Truth that was a monger after Beauty; no longer a Seeker but a humble Finder -- all thanks to the extraordinary document here enclosed. I submit it to you neither as its author nor as agent for another in the usual sense, but as a disinterested servant of Our Culture, if you please: that recentest fair fungus in Time's watchglass. I know in advance what reservations you will have about the length of the thing, the controversial aspects of occasional passages, and even its accuracy here and there; yet whether regarded as "fact" or "fiction" the book's urgent pertinence should be as apparent as its considerable (if inconsistent and finally irrelevant) literary merit, and I'm confident of your final enthusiasm. "A wart on Miss University," as the Grand Tutor somewhere declares, "were nonetheless a wart, and if I will not call it a beauty-mark, neither would I turn her out of bed on its account." There are warts enough on this Revised New Syllabus, artistic and it may be historical; but they are so to speak only skin-deep, and I think no publisher will turn it off his list on their account.

Indulge me now, as a useful introduction to the opus proper, the story of its origin and my coming by it. As you may know, like most of our authors these days I support myself by preaching what I practice. One grows used, in fiction-writing seminaries, to three chief categories of students: elder ladies and climacteric gentlemen who seek in writing an avocation which too might supplement their pensions; well-groomed and intelligent young literature-majors of various sexes who have a flair; and those intensely marginal souls -- underdisciplined, oversensitive, disordered in both appearance and reality -- whose huge craving for the state of artist-hood may drive them so far in rare instances as actually to work at making pieces of art. It was one of this third sort, I assumed, who came into my office on a gusty fall evening several terms ago with a box of typescript under his arm and a gleam in his face.

I'd not seen him before -- but then, these bohemians appear and vanish like spooks, change their aspect at the merest whim (quite as does the creature called Harold Bray hereinafter), and have often the most tenuous connection with their Departments. Imagine a lean young man of twenty, dark-eyed and olive-skinned, almost a mulatto, but with a shag of bronze curls, unbarbered, on head and chin; even his eyebrows were like turnings of that metal. He wore battered workshoes laced with rawhide, nondescript trousers tucked at the ankles into boot-socks, and an outlandish fleecy jacket that in retrospect I'd guess he fashioned for himself -- one may presently suppose of what material. Though he had no apparent limp, he affected a walkingstick as odd as the rest of his get-up: a three-foot post of white ash, somewhat stouter than a pick-shaft, it had what appeared to be folding lenses and other gadgetry attached here and there along its length, which was adorned with rude carvings (both intaglio and low-relief) of winged lingams, shelah-na-gigs, buckhorns, and domestic bunch-grapes.

Near the tip of this unprecedented tool was a small blunt hook wherewith my visitor first unstopped and closed the door, then smartly drew himself a chair out and sat him down at the desk next to mine. All this I remarked in two glances, and then to collect myself returned to that manuscript of my own at which I'd been tinkering when he entered. The fellow's dress, if extreme, was not unique -- one may see as strange at any gathering of student artists, and I myself in disorderly moods will wear mungos and shoddies, though my preference is for the conventional. But your average bohemian's manner is shy as a kindergartener's with those he respects, and overweening with everyone else, while my caller's was neither: brisk, forthright, cordial, he plunked his paper-box onto my desk, leaned forward with his elbows on his knees and both hands at the cane-top, and rested his chin upon all, so that his striking beard hung over. Disconcerting as the grin he then waited my pleasure with was the cast of his features, not just like any I had seen. Such of his kind as had strayed into my office thitherto were either dark of beard, coal-eyed, and intense, after the model of a poet they admired, or else had hair the shade of wheatstraw, forget-me-not eyes, and the aspect and deportment of gelded fawns. Not so this chap: his bronze beard; his eyes not pale nor tormented but simply a-dance; his wiry musculature, the curl of his smile, even a positive small odor about his person that was neither of dirt or cologne -- in a word, he was caprine: I vow the term came to mind before I'd ever spoken to him, much less read what he'd brought me. And that walking-stick, that instrument without parallel...

"Don't fear," he said directly -- in a clear, almost a ringing voice, somewhat clickish in the stops. "I'm not a writer, and it's not a novel."

I was disarmed as much by the insouciance and timbre of his voice as by the words themselves. It sounded as though he actually meant what he said, sincerely and indifferently, as who should announce: "I'm not left-handed," or "I'm no clarinetist." And this I felt with the ruefuller twinge for its expressing, glibly as the verdict of a child, that fear no fiction is proof against, and which had dwelt a-haunt in my Fancy's garret for the twelve months past. I had just turned thirty; it was my seventh year of toil in the prevaricating art, and scant-rewarded for my labors I was weary as the Maker of us all on the seventh morning. Monday, I still trusted, would roll round; in the meanwhile I was writing so to speak a sabbatical-piece -- that book you'll never see. I knew what novels were: The Seeker wasn't one. To move folks about, to give them locales and dispositions, past histories and crossed paths -- it bored me, I hadn't taste or gumption for it. Especially was I surfeited with movement, the without-which-not of story. One novel ago I'd hatched a plot as mattersome as any in the books, and drove a hundred characters through eight times that many pages of it; now the merest sophomore apprentice, how callow soever his art, outdid me in that particular. His inspirations? Crippled: but I sat awed before the bravery of their unfolding. His personae? Raw motors cursed with speech, ill-wrought as any neighbors of mine -- but they blustered along like them as if alive, and I shook my head. Stories I'd set down before were children gone their ways; everything argued they'd amount to nothing; I scarcely recognized their faces. I was in short disengaged, not chocked or out of fuel but fretfully idling; the pages of my work accumulated to no end, all noise and no progress, like a racing motor. What comfort that in every other way my lot improved? House and gardens prospering, rank and income newly raised, my small fame spreading among the colleges -- to a man whose Fancy is missing in action, all boons feel posthumous. The work before me (that I now put by, with a show of interruption): Where was its clutch, its purchase? Something was desperately wanting: a thing that mightn't be striven for, but must come giftlike and unsought; a windfall from orchards of the spirit, a voice from nowhere; a visitation. Indeed it was no novel... My heart turned sinking from the rest.

All I said was, "Oh?"

"My name is Stoker Giles," the young man announced. His head still was propped on the singular stick, and he continued to regard me with an uncalled-for look of delight. Perhaps I was intended to recognize the name, but my hold on such things was never firm. Especially of late, though I lectured with animation, indeed almost fervidly, I had sensed myself losing command of memory and attention. Information escaped me; I could not recall my telephone number, and missed my way on the most familiar campus paths. My family waited only for the day I should come home to some stranger's house; their teasing had given way to concern, concern to impatience, and impatience to a silent rancor, which though I perceived it I could not seem to engage.

I asked him whether he was a graduate student.

"Well, at least I'm a Graduate." His apparent amusement now positively irritated me, the more as it was not my place to draw his business out of him but his to state it. And then he mildly added, "I wonder if you are."

I think no one may accuse me of hauteur or superciliousness. In truth I reproach myself for being if anything over-timid, acquiescing too easily, suffering presumption to the point of unmanliness, and provoking contempt in my eagerness not to displease. But the man was impudent! I supposed he was referring to the doctoral degree; very well, I'd abandoned my efforts in that line years since, when I eloped with the muse. Moreover, I'd never pretended I had the memory and temper for scholarship, or even the intelligence: time and again I've followed some truly profound one to my limits and been obliged then to stand and watch, chin-high in the shallows, while he forged on past my depth. I was properly humble -- and properly indifferent. To make is not the same as to think; there are more roads than one to the bottom of things.

"You'd better take that box and get out," I said. "I've got work to do."

"Yes," he said. "Yes indeed you do!" As though at last we understood each other! Then he spoke my name in the gentlest tone (he had, I should say, a curious accent that I couldn't place, but which sounded not native), and indicating my work-in-progress added, "But you know this isn't it. There's much to be done; you mustn't waste any more time." In the face of my anger his voice became businesslike and brisk, though still cheerful. "Nor must I," he declared. "Please listen now; I've read your books and understand them perfectly, and I've come a long way to see you. May I ask what you're calling this one?"

I was taken aback by a number of things. Not simply his presumption -- I rather admired that, it recalled an assurance I once had myself and could wish for again; indeed he was so like a certain old memory of myself, and yet so foreign, even wild, I was put in mind of three dozen old stories wherein the hero meets his own reflection or is negotiated with by a personage from nether realms. Yet there was little of the Evil One about this chap, however much of the faun; it wouldn't have surprised me to see he had cloven hooves, but the reed-pipe, rather than the pitchfork, would be his instrument. I found myself so caught up in such reflections as these, and contrariwise arrested by the tiresomeness of succumbing to an image the fellow obviously strove to affect, that annoyance and perspective got lost in my confusion. I couldn't think how he should be dealt with; the situation was slipping my hold, disengaging from me as much else had lately seemed to do. For example, I'd forgotten my pills again, which I'd come to need regularly not to fall asleep over my work: that accounted for my present somnolence, no doubt. I told him that the book was to be called The Seeker -- or perhaps The Amateur, I could not decide...

"Certainly." The pleasure with which he stroked his beard was plainly not at the excellence of my titles. "A seeker; an amateur: one who is a lover, so to speak, but not a knower; passionate naïf -- am I right?"

Well, he was. Do you know, the great mistake we make in these encounters comes not at their end but here, at the very outset. The moment our mysterious caller comes to the door, or we recognize we've made a wrong turn somewhere and are in alien realms -- then is when we should take instant, vigorous action: protest at once against the queerness of it, shut the door, close eyes and ears, and not for one second admit him. Another step down his road and there'll be no returning -- let us stop where we are! Alas: Curiosity whispers to Better Judgment, "It's too late anyway," and we always go on.

"He's about thirty," my visitor supposed.

"Thirty-three, I guess."

"Thirty-three and four months? And I'm sure he has some affliction -- something physical, that he was probably born with -- is he a cripple?"

I hadn't thought of making my man a cripple, though it was true that he seldom left his quarters (in the top of a certain tower), preferring the company of his books and amateur scientific apparatus to that of his fellow men. "He's just nearsighted, is all," I said, "but he does have a port-wine birthmark on his temple --"

"Cancerous!" the stranger cried. "You'll make it turn out to be cancerous! Oh, that's very good. But shouldn't he have some sort of astigmatism instead of myopia?"

Ah, it was so right, so righter that the seeker's vision be twisted instead of merely blurred -- and to make the birthmark incipiently cancerous, what a stroke that would be! For the first time in half a year I grew truly interested in my book. Putting reticence by, I outlined the plot to this remarkable visitor of mine, who displayed a keener grasp of my concerns than any critic or reviewer I'd read -- keener, I smiled to suppose, than myself, who in recent months had come nearly to forgetting what was my vision of things.

"It's about love, as you say; but a very special kind. People talk about two sorts of love, you know, the kind that tries to escape the self and the kind that affirms the self. But it seems to me there's a third kind of love, that doesn't seek either union or communion with its object, but merely admires it from a position of utter detachment -- what I call the Innocent Imagination." My hero, I explained, was to be a Cosmic Amateur; a man enchanted with history, geography, nature, the people around him -- everything that is the case -- because he saw its arbitrariness but couldn't understand or accept its finality. He would deal with reality like a book, a novel that he didn't write and wasn't a character in, but only an appreciative reader of; naturally he would assume that there were other novels, better ones and worse... But in truth, of course, he wasn't finally a spectator at all; he couldn't stay "out of it"; and the fiascos of his involvements with men and women -- in particular the revelation of his single mortal fate -- these things would make him at the end, if not an authentic person, at least an expert amateur, so to speak, who might aspire to a kind of honorary membership in the human fraternity.

"I think there's some heroism in that, don't you?" I was, in truth, never more enthusiastic about my story. It was a great conception after all, and little inspirations came as I spoke: the seeker must be not only astigmatic but addicted to lenses, telescopic and microscopic; the tower he lived in I would convert to a sort of huge camera obscura into which images of life outside were projected, ten times more luminous and interesting than the real thing -- perfect, perfect! And my amateur of life would welcome and treasure his cancer, his admission-ticket to brotherhood...

But even as my enthusiasm grew, Stoker Giles shook his head.

"It's wrong, classmate." He even laid a hand on my arm -- I can only say lovingly. And for all I saw pretty well he was playing to the hilt his role of clairvoyant, the touch moved me. And the laughing candor in those eyes, that exalted-imp's face (doubtless practiced in a mirror) -- the wretch had a way with him! My quick disappointment gave way to lassitude, a sweet fatigue. It was wrong, of course; all I'd ever done was wrong. I had no hold on things. My every purchase on reality -- as artist, teacher, lover, citizen, husband, friend -- all were bizarre and wrong, a procession of hoaxes perhaps impressive for a time but ultimately ruinous. He couldn't know how deep his words went, almost to the wellsprings! Without for a moment accepting him as prophet (I knew all moods are retroactive, so that what he said would apply to anyone ripe for discontentment), I let myself acknowledge the mantic aspects of the situation. Throughout the rest of our interview, you must understand, there was this ambivalence: on the one hand I never lost sight of the likelihood that here was just another odd arts-student, even a lunatic, whose pronouncements were as generally pertinent as weighing-machine fortunes; on the other I was quite aware that it is the prophet who validates the prophecy, and not vice-versa -- his authenticity lies not in what he says but in his manner and bearing, his every gesture, the whole embodiment of his personality. And in this salient respect (which I dwell upon because of its relevance to the manuscript he left me) Mr. Stoker Giles was effective indeed.

Calmly now he said, "You're like the man who gave my father a little lens once, that he claimed would show everything truly. Here it is..."

He flipped up a round concave lens near the head of his walking-stick and invited me to examine my manuscript through it. But the joke was, it was silvered on the back, and returned no image of my words at all, enlarged or reduced, only a magnified reflection of my eye. I felt myself blush, and blushed more to feel it.

He said, "You're going to fail. You've never been really and truly there, have you? And you've never finally owned to the fact of things. If I should suddenly pinch you now and you woke and saw that all of it was gone, that none of the things and people you'd known had been actually the case -- you wouldn't be very much surprised."

Before I could reply he seized my arm and pinched the skin. I came out of the chair with a shout, batting at his hand, but could not shake him loose. "Wake up! Wake up!" he ordered, grinning at me. I found myself blinking and snorting out air. I did, I did with my whole heart yearn to shrug off the Dream and awake to an order of things -- quite new and other! And it was not the first time.

He let go my arm and with his cane-hook retrieved my chair, which had got thrust away.

"It's beside the point that all the others are flunking too," he went on. "Don't you agree? The important thing is to pass; you must pass. And you've got a long way to go! Don't think it's just a matter of turning a corner, to reach Commencement Gate: you've got to become as a kindergartener again, or a new-dropped kid. If that weren't so, my dad wouldn't have said it. But you know this yourself." Again he touched my arm, this time mildly, where the angry pinch-mark flamed, and affection beamed in his look. "What a pleasing thing it is that you don't bring up all the old arguments! But that's the artist in you (which is real enough, even if your work is wrong). You know a man can't reason a piece of music into being; and to argue the fact of Graduation is like arguing the beauty of a melody, or a line of verse. Splendid of you not to bother. I knew you were the man."

I still felt very much shaken; but I could not resist pointing out that in any case he made a good argument against further argument. He threw back his bronze head to laugh, and then with a serious smile declared: "I love you, classmate." My apprehension must have showed, for he added with a chuckle, "Oh, not in that way! There isn't time, for one thing: we both have too much to do. You've got to enroll yourself in the New Curriculum and get yourself Graduated; then you've got to establish Gilesianism here, so that the others can pass the Finals too. And this isn't the only college in the University, you know, or the only University, for that matter. My work is cut out for me!"

In the very head of his stick a silver watch was set, facing upwards, which he now consulted. Among my other emotions I was beginning to feel disappointment: what an anticlimax it would be if he revealed himself not only as a crank but as a tiresome one!

All I could think to say was: "Gilesianism."

"It's the only Way," he said pleasantly. "They call us crazy men and frauds and subversives -- I don't mind that, or the things they do to us; we'd be fools not to have expected it. What breaks my heart is seeing them all fail, when The Revised New Syllabus could show them how to pass."

I sighed. "You're from the Education School. You've thought up some gimmick for your dissertation, and I'm supposed to read through it and make suggestions about the prose, since you took the trouble to buy my books."

"Please," he said gently. "The Syllabus doesn't need anything: I've already proofread the text that WESCAC read out and corrected the mistaken passages. It's you that needs the Syllabus."

"You're from Business Administration," I ventured next, but I was too much upset still to relish the sarcasm. "All this rigmarole is somebody's notion of a way to sell textbooks."

Tranquilly he shut his eyes until I was done. Then, his good humor unimpaired, he said, "I enjoy raillery, classmate, but there just isn't time. Here's what you need to know: I'm not from this campus (you've guessed that already). My alma mater is New Tammany College -- you couldn't have heard of it, it's in a different university entirely. And my father was George Giles." He paused. "The true GILES; classmate: the Grand Tutor of our Western Campus."

I leaned back in my swivel-chair. The hour was late. Outside, the weather roared. Nothing was getting done. Distraught to my marrow, I acknowledged him -- "Was, you say." But I was almost incapable of attending what he said.

For the first and only time his expression turned sorrowful. "He's no longer with us. He has... gone away for a while."

Dreamily I said, "But he'll come back, of course."

He looked at me. "Of course."

"One day -- when we need him again." How I should have liked to sleep.

His smile returned, albeit melancholily. "We need him now. Things are worse than they ever were in his day. But he's -- on a sort of sabbatical leave, you might say. It's up to us to carry on."

He pressed upon me then his story, which I heard in my torpor and made this sense of only on later recollection: His father was or had been some sort of professor extraordinarius (of what subject I never learned) whose reputation rested on his success in preparing students to pass their final examinations. His pedagogical method had been unorthodox, and so like many radicals he had worked against vehement opposition, even actual persecutions: I gathered his tenure was revoked and he was dismissed from his position on a charge of moral turpitude while still in his early thirties -- though it was not clear to me whether he had ever held official rank in his faculty. Neither was it plain what had happened to him afterwards: apparently he'd left the campus for a short time, returned clandestinely (don't ask me why) to confer with his protégés, and then disappeared for good. The tale was like so many others one has heard, I could almost have predicted certain features -- such as that these same protégés had subsequently dedicated their lives to spreading their Mentor's word and institutionalizing his method as they understood it; that they too were roughly used as they transferred from college to college, but won proselytes by their zeal wherever they went. Neither was it surprising to learn that this Professor Giles, this "Grand Tutor" as his son called him, never committed his wisdom to the press: what academic department has not its Grand Old Man who packs the lecture-halls term after term but never publishes a word in his field? In fact, the one unusual particular of the whole story as I heard it this first time was the not-very-creditable one that the man had got a child, by a lady married to someone else; otherwise it was the standard painful history of reformers and innovators.

The problem for my visitor, then -- the fruit of this illicit planting -- was the common one faced by second-generation followers of any pioneer: to formulate the Master's teaching into some readily disseminable canon, a standard and authority for the fast-swelling ranks of its adherents. By the time Stoker Giles had reached young manhood his father's original pupils were already divided into factions; the son's first thought had been to compile as a source-book their reminiscences of the great man's life and tenure, but so many discrepancies, even contradictions, were made manifest in the collation, he abandoned that project. In its early stages, however, he had gone so far as to read the several texts into an automatic computer, as our fashionable classicists are fond of doing nowadays, to speed the work of comparing them -- and here, gentle editors and publishers, your credulity like mine must flex its muscles for a considerable stretch.

This remarkable computer, I was told (a gadget called WESCAC), not only pointed out in accordance with its program the hopeless disagreement of the texts; on its own hook, or by some prior instruction, it volunteered further that there was in its Storage "considerable original matter" read in fragmentarily by George Giles himself in the years of his flourishing: taped lecture-notes, recorded conferences with protégés, and the like. Moreover, the machine declared itself able and ready (with the aid of "analogue facilities" and a sophistication dismaying at least to a poor humanist like myself) to assemble, collate, and edit this material, interpolate all verifiable data from other sources such as the memoirs then in hand, recompose the whole into a coherent narrative from the Grand Tutor's point of view, and "read it out" in an elegant form on its automatic printers! The son, as disinclined to writing as the father but apparently commanding some authority in his college, agreed, and in the face of opposition from certain "Gilesians" as well as "anti-Gilesians," the computer made good its promise. After several false starts and program adjustments it produced a first-person chronicle of the life and teachings of the Grand Tutor, a text so faithful to the best evidence and polished in its execution that young Stoker needed only to "change a date or a place-name here and there," as he vowed, to call it finished.

The great test came, he told me, when he took the manuscript to one Peter Greene, an early student of Giles's, now past sixty and the strongest critic of the "WESCAC Project." A famous teacher in his own right by then, Greene met the youngster with a scowl and only after much persuasion agreed to listen to a dozen pages. Refusing even to sit, he paced the floor of his office with every prejudice in his expression (so Stoker declared) as the reading began. At the end of page one he stood still; halfway through the second he was weeping; by the third he was on his knees at the young man's feet, begging his pardon and declaring it was "the GILES's very voice" that sounded off the pages!

Thus was born The Revised New Syllabus, which like its narrator and its evangels was destined for arduous vicissitudes. Those Gilesians whose teaching it contradicted -- some of them chairmen of their own departments by that time -- charged that the work was spurious, concocted either by WESCAC or by the upstart Stoker Giles, perhaps both, if not by the "Dean o' Flunks" himself.* The most antipathetic went so far as to deny that my visitor was actually the Grand Tutor's son, calling him an opportunist and antigiles who made the best of an accidental resemblance; while the non-Gilesians, "naturally," maintained as they had from the first that the man called George was never "the true GILES" at all but a dangerous impostor, and that the R.N.S., "authentic" or not, was anti-intellectual, immoral, subversive, and altogether unfit for undergraduate reading-lists.



* Quem vide infra.

My visitor sighed as he concluded this account, and toyed glumly with the shaft of his stick; then with a shrug his animation returned. "But it all worked to our advantage, you understand -- all that censorship and prohibition, and beating us up and throwing us in jail. Even the imitations and pirated versions that everybody ran into print with helped us out -- you must have wished for that sort of ruckus over your own books! We put up with it, just as Dad used to, and the New Curriculum gets established sooner or later despite all. Because you see, classmate, the one thing we have on our side is the only thing that matters in the long run: we're right. The others are wrong." His face was joyous. "It may take a hundred semesters, but we know the New Curriculum will win. The non-majors will flunk; the impostors and false tutors will be exposed. It's just a matter of time until that book on your desk there will be in every briefcase on every campus in the University. It must be so: there isn't any other hope for studentdom."

He consulted his walking-stick watch again and abruptly rose to leave. It occurred to me that I had lost track of the clock-chimes from Main Tower.

"I can't stay longer; I've got other colleges to visit -- even other universities." He winked at me. "There are other universities, you know."

"Look here, now --" I shook my head vigorously to throw off my drowsiness and indicated the box of typescript. "What am I supposed to do with this? I don't have time --"

"Indeed you don't!" He laughed -- and what a stance he struck with his mad cane! "It's late, late, late, that's certain! On the other hand, you have all the time there is, exactly." He poked at the manuscript with his stick. "Forget about yourself if you like. Just send this on to your publishers without reading it; they'll be grateful enough, and so will your students. Or throw it out, if you don't care what happens to them on the Finals. I have other copies for other campuses; this one is your affair entirely..."

He spoke without testiness, only a bit teasingly: now, however, it was my shoulder he touched the stick to, and his voice became full of a fiery solicitude. "But classmate, read it! We lecture to studentdom as a whole, and yet there isn't any studentdom, Daddy always said that -- only students, that have to be Graduated one at a time. I want you to be Giles's professor to this campus, for their sakes; but more than that I want you to Commence yourself, for your own sake. Do read it!"

A moment longer the stick-tip rested there. Then he tapped me a little smart one with it and left, calling back from the hallway, "I'll keep in touch!"

But he never did. His typescript languished beside mine -- the one unread, the other unwritten -- even got mixed with it by a careless janitor. I took a breath, and the winter term was over; paused a moment to reflect, and found myself thirty-two. What gets better? Confronting a class I forgot what my opinion was about anything, and had to feign illness. Famous men died; the political situation deteriorated. No longer could I eat at bedtime as a young man does and still sleep soundly. Fewer social invitations; presently none. The polar ice-cap, scientists warned, is going to melt. The population problem admits of no solution. "Today's freshman is more serious about his studies than were his predecessors -- but is he also perhaps less inclined to think for himself?" Yesterday one was twenty; tomorrow one dies of old age.

In unnaturally clear March twilight when the air is chill, one reflects upon passionate hearts now in their graves and wishes that the swiftly running hours were more intense. Young men and girls cut off while their blood flamed, sleeping in the fields now; old folks expiring with the curse; the passionately good, the passionately wicked -- all in their tombs, soft-lichened, and the little flowers nodding. One yearns to make a voyage. Why is one not a hero?

I read The Revised New Syllabus. Do you likewise, gentlemen and ladies in whose hands this letter is!

A final word. I sought diligently to locate Mr. Stoker Giles, or Giles Stoker (the comma in his name on the title-page, and my imperfect memory of that fateful evening's details, make the order uncertain), with an eagerness you will presently appreciate. In vain: no such name is in our Student Directory, nor is a "New Tammany College" listed in the roll of accredited institutions of higher learning. At the same time I consulted one of our own computer-men on the matter of the R.N.S.'s authorship: his opinion was that no automatic facility he knew of was capable presently of more than rudimentary narrative composition and stylistics -- but he added that there was no theoretical barrier even to our own machine's developing such a talent in time. It was simply a matter of more sophisticated circuitry and programming, such as the computer itself could doubtless work out; literature and composition, he observed, like every other subject, were being ably taught by the gadget in pilot projects all over our quarter of the campus, and it was his conviction that anything "computer-teachable" (his term) was "computer-learnable." Moreover, he could not vouch for what his military colleagues might be up to, not to mention their counterparts "on the other side"; the computer-race he counted no less important than the contest in weapons-development, and it had become as shrouded in secrecy. His impression was that our enemies were more concerned with raw calculation-power than with versatility and sophistication -- there was no evidence of their using computers as we do to manage sausage-making, recommend marriages, bet on sporting-events, and compose music, for example -- but no one could say for sure.

Acknowledge with me, then, the likelihood that The Revised New Syllabus is the work not of "WESCAC" but of an obscure, erratic wizard whose nom de plume, at least, is Stoker, Giles; and, again with me, acknowledge further that this is not the only possibility -- for as that splendid odd fellow observed, there are in literal truth "other universities than ours." To the individual student of the book's wisdom the question of its authorship is anyhow irrelevant, and it seems most improbable to me that any prior copyrights, for example, will be infringed by its publication. The text herewith submitted I declare to be identical to the one left in my hands on that momentous night (excepting only certain emendations and rearrangements which the Author's imperfect mastery of our idiom and his avowed respect for my artistic judgment encouraged me to make). My intentions are 1) to put aside any monies paid me as agent, against the Author's reappearance; 2) to resign my professorship forthwith, whatever hardship that may work upon my family, and set about the task of my own re-education, to the point even of "becoming as a kindergartener" if necessary; 3) in pursuance of this objective, to compile a more formal and systematic exposition of the Goat-Boy's teachings, as well as a full commentary on and concordance to The Revised New Syllabus -- these latter for classroom use in my own "New Curriculum," still in the planning phase.

Which several projects, I hope and believe, together with the extraordinary Syllabus itself, will more than make good what losses you have sustained on my previous manuscripts and vindicate your unremitting, most touching faith in

This regenerate Seeker after Answers,


J.B.

THE Revised New Syllabus OF George Giles

R.N.S.



OUR GRAND TUTOR 

Being, the Autobiographical and Hortatory Tapes


Read Out at New Tammany College to His Son

Giles (,) Stoker

By the West Campus Automatic Computer


And by Him Prepared for the Furtherment of the


Gilesian Curriculum

Volume One


FIRST REEL


1.


George is my name; my deeds have been heard of in Tower Hall, and my childhood has been chronicled in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. I am he that was called in those days Billy Bocksfuss -- cruel misnomer. For had I indeed a cloven foot I'd not now hobble upon a stick or need ride pick-a-back to class in humid weather. Aye, it was just for want of a proper hoof that in my fourteenth year I was the kicked instead of the kicker; that I lay crippled on the reeking peat and saw my first love tupped by a brute Angora. Mercy on that buck who butted me from one world to another; whose fell horns turned my sweetheart's fancy, drove me from the pasture, and set me gimping down the road I travel yet. This bare brow, shame of my kidship, he crowned with the shame of men: I bade farewell to my hornless goat-hood and struck out, a horned human student, for Commencement Gate.

I was, in other words, the Ag-Hill Goat-Boy. Who misbegot me, and on whom, who knew, or in what corner of the University I drew first breath? It was my fate to call no man Daddy, no woman Mom. Herr Doktor Professor Spielman was my keeper: Maximilian Spielman, the great Mathematical Psycho-Proctologist and former Minority Leader in the College Senate; the same splendid Max who gave his name to the Law of Cyclology, and in his prime led his department's fight for some sort of examination to supplement the Orals. Alas, his crusading ardor burned many a finger; so far from being awarded an emeritus professorship to comfort his old age, he was drummed off the quad a year before retirement on a trumped-up charge of intellectual turpitude -- though his only crime, he avowed to the end, was to suggest in a public lecture that his science alone could plumb the bottom of man's nature. Disgraced and penniless, he was obliged to take whatever employment he could find to keep body and soul together; and thus it came about that he spent his last years as Senior Goatherd on the New Tammany College Farms. Ignominy -- yet who can say Max didn't make the most of it? His masterwork, The Riddle of the Sphincters, twenty years in the writing and done but for the index, he fed to the goats a chapter at a time: I myself, so he told me years later over Mont d'Or cheese and bock beer, had lunched on the Second Appendix, a poem-in-numbers meant to demonstrate mathematically his belief in the fundamental rectitude of student nature. Embittered, but too great-hearted for despair, he removed himself entirely from society and devoted all his genius to the herd. Year-round he lived among us: made his home in a stall through the winter and pastured with us when the weather warmed. Call it if you will the occupational affliction of the field-researcher, he soon came to feel for the objects of his study more love than he had ever felt for his peers in the Senate. He became a vegetarian, grew a little beard, exchanged cap and gown for a wrapper of mohair, and lamented only that his years would not let him go on all fours. Though he never deigned to publish again in his life, his researches were at no time more bold and meticulous than during the first few years of this period. The goats, after all (to quote an entry from his diaries) "do not conceal in shame that aspect of their beauty I crave to fathom; serenely aware, after their fashion, that a perfect whole is the sum of perfect parts, they fly their flags high..." His one enemy among the bucks was an old brown Toggenburger called Freddie, tyrant of the herd, who, when he spied Max bent over to inspect any doe, would butt him, taking him for a rival. Max in turn was thus driven head-first against the subject of his examination, who thinking herself assaulted seldom felt again the same trust in her keeper. Such subversion of rapport between subject and investigator could not be permitted; just as vexing was the coincidence that the Chairman of New Tammany's Speech Department, whose filibuster in the Senate had blocked passage of the Qualifying Anals bill and contributed to Spielman's downfall, was named Fred. Max saw in this a sign, and took his vengeance. He dared not approach the Toggenburg openly, and so one October night when the bucks were bleating their lust as usual (none more loudly than treacherous Freddie), he arranged for a spry young nan to find her way into his enemy's stall: some moments later, Max crept up behind with a patent docker. Zut, the old rogue was clipped in mid-service, no joy in his windfall then! And all his fierceness withered; he grew fat and docile, never said a word when his keeper dehorned him a few weeks later. Of his trophies Max made the earlier into an amulet, of which more anon, the latter into a kind of shophars wherewith thenceforward he summoned the flock -- and his studies proceeded without further trouble. Indeed, whether because they understood "after their fashion" that Freddie was undone and were grateful to his undoer, or because in goatdom the horn and testicle, irrespective of their bearer, command obeisance, the bucks gave place to Max ever after, and the does they capered to his tootle. The months that followed were perhaps his blissfullest: he founded the sciences of analogical proctoscopy and psycho-symbolistic cosmography, developed the Rectimetric Index for "distinguishing, arithmetically and forever, the sheep from the goats," and explored the faint initial insights of what was to become Spielman's Law, his last and farthest-reaching contribution to man's understanding of the University. That capstone on the temple of his genius, climax of his epic quest for Answers: how commonplace it sounds already, very nearly banal; and yet what dash, what vaulting insight! In three words Max Spielman synthesized all the fields which thitherto he'd browsed in brilliantly one by one -- showed the "sphincter's riddle" and the mystery of the University to be the same. Ontogeny recapitulates cosmogeny -- what is it but to say that proctoscopy repeats hagiography? That our Founder on Founder's Hill and the rawest freshman on his first mons veneris are father and son? That my day, my year, my life, and the history of West Campus are wheels within wheels? "Ontogeny recapitulates cosmogeny" -- I cannot hear those words but in the gentle Moishian accents of my keeper. Well he knew, old Max, the fate of grand hypotheses, but hard experience had brought him unfairly to mistrust his colleagues' wisdom, and his isolation kept him from final appreciation of WESCAC. For fifty years, he said, his theory, of Cyclic Correspondence would be anathema on West Campus: not twenty had gone by before it was dogmatized by the Chancellor, taped by the Chief Programmer, and devoured by WESCAC.

He never could have prophesied his present fame, clear-seer as he was in his latter years -- nor would it much have assuaged his misanthropy to foresee it. Yet though he refused, and justly, the trustees' belated offer of emeritus benefits, there is some evidence of mellowing in his last semesters, perhaps even of loneliness for his own kind. Of the scores who have quoted the famous Maxim, "Der goats is humaner than der men, und der men is goatisher than der goats," how many understand its deep ambivalence? It's true he kept a seraglio of nannies (though his appetites in this line have been much exaggerated, as has his prowess) and named them after leading members of the Faculty Women's Club -- but there was no malice in the voice that summoned Helen to his stall, or Maude, or Shirley; and the respect he showed Mary V. Appenzeller, my own dear dam, any boy might wish for his lady mother. But the most revealing evidence that Max still bore some love for men is the thing most often scored to his discredit: I mean my own appearance in the goat-barn and my rearing with the other kids of the West Campus herd. I know now that I am not Max and Mary's kid: that much he told me on the day I learned I was a man. Let those who pity my childhood mark this well: I wept as much to know the one as to know the other. What a fair and sprightly thing my kidship was! Sweet Mary Appenzeller neglected the rest of her family to nurse me; thanks be to her splendid udder, whose twin founts flowed at my least beck, I grew from strapping infancy into a boyhood such as human males may dream of. Fatigue was my only curfew, sufficient rest my one alarm. I ate what, when, and where I pleased -- furze and gorse and fescues; oil-cake, willow-peels, and pollard. Acorns bound me when I was loose; mangolds scoured me when I was bound. As there were no rules to break, Max never birched me; since he forked my hay and patted my head, I loved him beyond measure. Like my stallmates I feared fire, loud noise, and the bigger bucks, but only in the presence of those terrors, never between times, and so anxiety was foreign to me as soap. When I was gay I gamboled where I would, banged heads with my brothers and bleated in the clover; angry I kicked my stall, my pals, or Mary Appenzeller, whichever was behind me, and was either ignored or rekicked at once. I learned neither sums nor speech until I was ten, but at five years my crouching lope outstripped any human child of twelve; I could spring like a chamois from rock to rock, break a fencerail with my head, distinguish six hundred ninety sorts of plants and eat all but eighty-three of them. My moral training required no preachment (not the least respect in which it differed absolutely from that of humans): Who neglects his appetites suffers their pangs; Who presumes incautiously may well be butted; Who fouls his stall must sleep in filth. Cleave to him, I learned, who does you kindness; Avoid him who does you hurt; Stay inside the fence; Take of what's offered as much as you can for as long as you may; Don't exchange the certain for the possible; Boss when you're able, be bossed when you aren't, but don't forsake the herd. Simple lessons, instinct with wisdom, that grant to him who heeds them afternoons of blowsy bliss and dreamless nights. Thirteen years they fenced my soul's pasture; I romped without a care. In the fourteenth I slipped their gate -- as I have since many another -- looked over my shoulder, and saw that what I'd said bye-bye to was my happiness.

2.


They flatter themselves who hold that I was unaware of people all those terms; that had I ever seen normal men I'd have yearned most miserably to leave the herd. The truth is, Max made no particular secret of my existence; people knew of me long before those articles in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. Indeed, the New Tammany S.P.C.A., interpreting their jurisdiction widely, moved more than once in my "behalf," and only the direct intervention of the Chancellor (who, let us say, felt guilty about Max's dismissal) prevented their plucking me from my family. Every weekend there were students and faculty along the fence. I was as pleased to see them as were all my friends; we frisked for their amusement. If in time Max forbade me to approach them, it was not out of fear that I might defect: he knew I'd not swap my liberty for the pitiful estate of folk who teetered on two legs, reeked of unnatural scents, bound themselves in layer after layer of cloth, and were never allowed the run of the pastures. What he feared -- alas and rightly -- was that if they didn't poison me, as they did with tobacco a Schwarzhals doeling I once knew, they'd corrupt me with bad examples. A day came when I chafed at this restriction: Max thought me more innocent than I knew I was, and hence like every youngster I underestimated my susceptibility.

How it would have alarmed him to know my sophistication at fourteen. From simple observation I'd learned to tell men from women, even when the latter wore trousers and sheared their fleece. To be sure, I had yet to guess the measure of human frailty: one whose brothers became fathers before their first birthday, and who has himself in play been humping does since he could crawl, can scarcely feature a beast that may not mate until its thirteenth year. But I well understood why their keepers never scrupled to let human bucks and does run together, and why they all were so ashamed of their bodies that they mated in darkness. More than one night (unknown to Max) pairs of people stole into our buckwheat meadow: if I heard them crashing through the straw -- as often I did, their attempts at silence were that clumsy -- I'd slip from the pound to watch their performance from some near hiding-place. When I learned how night-blind they were and how poor of smell and hearing, I made bold to come almost upon them, not to miss a word of their curious bleating -- and never was found out. By this means I discovered that the brutes were hairiest in the few places where goats were bald, and bald almost everywhere else, where fleece is most needed (my own angora wrapper I regarded as a part of myself, it was so seldom removed). I had assumed that all the men I saw were geldings, since they ran with the women and never smelled lustful: now I learned that neither sex rutted that strongly. Small wonder. Who could mount, for example, a monster with two heads instead of one -- which heads moreover sprout from its backside? Just that enormous seemed the first female human I saw unclothed, with her queer small udders at the wrong end of her trunk. Yet praise be to Nature, that finds every dragoness a dragon, all praise to Instinct for making worms love other worms -- she managed a feeble coupling after all with her hairless buck, and my education took a great step forward.

But see me stray from the point, quite as I came to stray from the herd and leave behind my good judgment. These espials bear on what's to come -- let them show in any case that I was less naïve than gentle Max supposed. For I also understood by the age of fourteen that he was some sort of human himself, despite his long white curls and splendid odor; and further that, for all the herd accepted me as a brother, I was no Rock Alpine, Murciana, or Schwartzenberg-Gluggisberger, but a breed unto myself. It was I the people came to see, I think I always knew that. My pals grew up faster and were nimbler on their feet; after a year they joined the grownups and were replaced by new kids, while I remained season after season in the play-pound. They were stronger, more handsome, and (pass them) more predictable. I was merely clever -- yet dull enough to think myself their better on that account. I alone could climb a tree as well as gnaw its bark, pick my own lice, imitate any sound I heard, and transform a herdsman's crook into a weapon. We all loved tricks and stunts, but they hadn't by half my invention, and in the whole of goatdom no kid save Billy Bocksfuss ever tricked himself.

In our play-yard were a number of barrels and boards that we used for Dean of the Hill. To entertain my admirers I would set two planks against opposite sides of a barrel-top; Redfearn's Tommy, my special friend, would scramble up from one side and I from the other, and we'd wrestle for possession of the summit. One weekend morning, encouraged by applause, I raised the Hill to a height of two barrels, and thence to two barrels and a box, which I climbed with great difficulty from the side. The plankway was too steep then for the others; they could only adore me from below as I teetered on my perch; presently they feigned indifference, butted one another on the ground as if they didn't hear my crowing, or the crowd's approval. But I knew their hearts were filled with envy. Redfearn's Tom, especially, craved to join me: "Come, Tom!" I called, and he would pick his way up the steep board until he lost his footing. The humans took up my taunt: "Come, Tom! Come, Tom!" My poor brown buddy hurled himself up the barrel-side, fell back in the mud, hurled himself again. I mocked his bleating; he redoubled his efforts; my tower shook. "Come, Tom!" I cried. And I found myself making the peculiar roaring noise I'd heard humans make: "Ha ha ha! Come, Tommy! Ha ha ha!" The word laughter was not yet in my vocabulary; I'd often mimicked its sound, but now I understood its cause and use. Inspired, I made water upon my friend. "Ha ha ha!" we all laughed as he sprang away.

I heard Max call from the barn-door: "Na, you Bill." His voice was stern; "Come down off," he ordered, and I conceived a queer new notion: he was jealous. The onlookers hooted: though I had not heard that sound before, I grasped its import at once and found it no chore to echo. What's more, it suggested my last and grandest stunt: rising up on my knees I cupped hands to mouth and did a perfect imitation of Max's shophar.

"Verboten!" he shouted, clutching at his beard, shaking his crook at me.

It was the peril-word. At once every goat round about raised head from browsing; years of training made me feel seized by that word as by a hand; my senses rang. But where was the danger? The humans were with me; they recommenced their laughter, and so again and again I sent the buck-horn's call across the fields.

"Te-roo-ah! Te-roooo-ah!"

Alarm and summons together drove the goats wild: they leaped and cried and crashed against their fences. The does all called for their kids, the kids for their dams -- I heard Mary bleat for me from her stall. The big bucks stamped in their pens and plunged about; Redfearn's Tom tore between Max and the barrels. There stood our keeper shouting, "Verboten!" but the summons came from Billy Bocksfuss, Dean of the Hill!

My next "Te-roo-ah!" resolved Tom's doubts: I that had been his playmate was now his keeper and must be obeyed. As before he threw himself up against the barrels, frantic to reach me, and now the others followed his example. Hadn't I gulled them, "Ha ha ha." And then my tower came a-topple.

I had built it near the fence, which, when the Hill fell, I tumbled over, to the feet of my audience. No bones broke, but the wind was knocked out of me, and I was terrified to have fallen, as I thought, into the people's pen. They sprang back; their women shrieked -- no fiercelier than I, when I had got my breath. It is a mercy I didn't know then what I learned by and by, that men have sated their bloody hunger with jambon de chèvre and billygoat-tawny. Even so I guessed they'd set upon me, as would our bucks on any of them who fell within reach. I scrambled up, my only thought to escape back into the play-pound; but trousered legs were all around me, and still rattled by my fall I sprang the wrong way. More shouts went up; I was struck a cruel one athwart the muzzle with a stick. I stumbled into the fence, but my eyes had watered, I couldn't see to climb. Max hopped about the pound, crying at them to stop; I bleated my pain to him and scrabbled up and down in search of the gate. The pens were in an uproar. "Ha ha ha!" the people snarled, and kicked me with their leathern hooves.

Hours later, when Max had calmed the herd at last and laid cold pads on my contusions, he did his best to explain that my attackers had been frightened as I, and had struck me thinking I meant to harm them. This I could understand readily enough. What stung more sharp than bruises was a thing he found less easy to make clear in our simple tongue: Why had they cheered my stunt and then ha-ha'd all the while they kicked me? To attack -- that was perfectly normal for bucks of any species, however unequal the contest. But what manner of beast was it that laughed at his victim's plight?

Even as I strove to find words for this question I felt a nudging at my back; Redfearn's Tommy had overcome his fright enough to cross the kid-pen and snuggle down beside me in Max's lap, which we often shared. He still smelt of my urine, and when I made to pick his lice by way of reparation, he bounded off a-trembling.

"So," Max said, and was kind enough to say no more.

3.


This sweet forbearance -- which had also spared me any punishment for my misdeeds -- I myself was not graced with. The more I reflected on my ill use of Redfearn's Tom, the wrathfuller I grew at my own tormentors. Indeed, I tasted for the first time hatred, and turning its dark flavor on my tongue, lost my first night's sleep. Tom by next morning bore no grudge, he was ready to play again; but when the iron cycles drove up to our pound and the afternoon's humans were discharged to admire me -- their numbers increased by news of the past day's sport -- I attacked the fence viciously, and was pleased to see them scatter. That became my custom: I would wait in my stall until the visitors gathered, charge at them once, and then withdraw to brood away the balance of the day. When their first alarm passed they begged and taunted me to have at them again -- "Here, Billy!" "Come, Bill!" -- and made ready sticks to poke me through the mesh. But the first charge they were always unprepared for: to a man they sprang back; the females squealed, the males made oaths. I never gave them the pleasure of a second.

"That's not nice," Max suggested. But he didn't say verboten, as once he would have, and I noticed he was usually somewhere about to see the brutes jump.

This new sport -- say rather diversion, since I had lost all taste for play -- preoccupied me until one evening in March, just short of a fortnight after my fall. I had had no victims all that day; it was a Friday, and Max had long since told me how surpassing dull humans were, that spend five days a week learning things to make them miserable. Then after supper, as Redfearn's Tom and I enjoyed a fresh salt-lick, I heard a clinking rattle in the road, which I knew to be the sound of a bicycle. Together we peered out into the pound: a plump, brown-coated human lady had dismounted from her thing in the dusking light and approached our fence. By the look of her she was no doeling -- though truly, all humans but Max looked much alike to me. Her hair was cream-white like a Saanen's and seemed decently brushed; she wore jeweled eyeglasses pointed at the corners; her legs were bare from hock to hoof... how did one describe a creature that changed its coat every day? She came to the fence and looked about the pound, where three or four kids were sleeping off their meal. They were polite enough, when she called something meaningless to them, to wander over and sniff the dead weeds she stuck through the wire. But of course it was not they she came to taunt; she pretended interest in them for half a minute and then yoohooed at the barn. Her voice seemed timid; I guessed she feared Max might hear and prevent her from molesting me.

"Yoo hoo, Billy? Come, Billy Billy?"

So, she would summon me by name to my torment. I raged into the pound; leaped at her with a howl I'd learned from the sheep-dog bitch across the Road. Kids sprang in all directions, tripping over their own legs; but though she dropped her grass and drew her hands back, the woman didn't fly. There was no fright in her expression, merely alarm and something else. I rose up on my knees, clutched the mesh, and growled.

"No, no," she said. She even squatted to my height, drew something from a bag, and offered it to me to eat. I backed off and charged again, too furious now to care what trick she played me. I crashed against the fence, was thrown back, and crashed against the fence again. I whinnied and stamped and bared my teeth, bleated and barked and brayed; I flung a board and clots of turd at her, and all the while she pleaded, "No, Billy! Please!" The ruckus brought Max hobbling from the barn, where the kids had run. He found me rolling in the dirt with rage.

"Git! Git!" he cried at the woman. "Shoo! Go home!"

She began then to make a strange sound indeed, such as I had never heard: a kind of catching, snorting whimper. And water dropped from behind her eyeglasses as she turned away. I made to spring a final time to speed her off.

"Stillstand!" Max snapped. What is more, he jabbed me in the thurl with the butt of his crook -- the first rough use I'd ever had at his hands -- and when instinctively I snorted and lowered my head at him like any stud-buck, he cracked me a sharp one across the chine and said, "Get on in, or I put a ring in your silly nose!"

So unexpected was the blow, and his speech so smarting, I ran a-yelp into the barn, more frightened than ever I'd been with my tower tumbled. The woman, just mounting her bike, let go another whoop of her curious noise; I heard Max shooing her off still. My face was wet. I wiped one arm across to see the blood from where he must have cut me -- but found only water, that smeared my dusty wrist and was salt as our lick. My throat ached, my lip shook; now I too was wrenched with those bawling wows, which wracked the worse when Max clucked in to soothe me: then he hugged me, kissed my eyes, said "Ach, child, what's the tears now?" and the entire barnyard rang with my first grief.

It was his chore to explain this noise as he had the other. The task was light: we'd used words between us oftener in the fortnight past, for one thing, so that my supply of them had tripled and quadrupled. Besides, the matter itself was less mysterious. In the weeks thereafter as I mused fitfully in my stall (no stranger to insomnia now), I tried experiments with both: laughter, I discovered, was easy to simulate but difficult to bring oneself to genuinely, while the reverse was true of tears. The hilariousest memories I could summon, such as Redfearn's Tommy's mistaking me for Max, brought no more than a smile to my lips; but at any of half a dozen contrary recollections -- Tommy springing from my touch, Max threatening to ring my nose, the cream-haired woman not retreating from my charge -- I was moved to sniffles and wet cheeks. In fact, I came to weep at the least occasion. Instead of attacking my visitors I wept in a corner of the barn; the sight of other kids frisking or of moonshine whitening the buckwheat watered my eyes; I wept at Max's efforts to jolly me and at his impatience with my tears; I wept even at weeping so; I wept at nothing.

Also I made friends that spring with restlessness. When all goatdom and its keeper were asleep I prowled the pasture, spooking deer and flushing woodcocks from their rest; or I would hang my chin over the fence and stare down the Road that led to the Barns Where Humans Slept -- and which Max told me it was death for goats to walk upon. In the daytime, when we all went out to browse, I took to slipping from the herd and wandering by myself through the great black willows along the creek, or up in the rise of nibbled hemlocks where the woods began.

From these latter, one bright April morning, a flash of light came. Looking more closely I spied a movement in the scrub perhaps two hundred meters from where we grazed. In all likelihood it was a deer, and the flash some tin or bit of glass he'd turned with his hoof; just possibly it was a human student, escaped into our pasture. In any case my curiosity was pricked; I teased Redfearn's Tommy into chasing me that way. Dear Tom was a strapping fellow then; it was his last month to run with us before being penned up for stud. But he still loved a romp, and while there was no way to tell him my intentions, I knew that once he saw the intruder we'd have great sport running it back into the bush.

"Ho, Tom!" I urged. Midway between herd and hemlocks I saw the flash again; so must have Tommy, for he drew up short, bobbed his head -- and galloped back, pretending not to hear the gibes I sent after him. I looked around for Max; he had not come out with us that day. I went on alone. For prudence's sake I came up noisily, to give the creature warning. I rather expected to find nothing but dung and hoofprints by the time I got there: Instead, just behind the first tree, I found the cream-haired weeper. She stood uncertainly a dozen yards off, wearing green this time and clutching a leathern bag against her belly; it was her eyeglasses, I observed, that had flashed in the sun.

"Nice Billy?"

I pawed the brown needles and threatened with my forehead.

"Look here, I brought you something good." As before, she drew a square white handful from her bag. I felt no anger, but a grand discomfiture; I ought to have gone back with Tommy. I feigned a charge just to send her off to her own pasture, but she only waggled her offering at me.

"Come, dear, don't be, afraid. It's a peanut-butter sandwich."

I bounded at her with a snarl -- but faltered just before her. Quite clearly she would suffer my attack if need be. Was she so fearless, or merely stupid? Now she dared to toss the white food at my feet and come up to me with hands extended. I ignored the bribe (which however had a most sharp fragrance): what arrested me was that her eyes already brimmed with that water so familiar lately to my own. She knelt and patted my curls; her human odors filled my nostrils; I forgot even to growl.

"There, he's a friendly Bill, he is." How different her voice was from dear Max's, and her manner of touching. I shivered under it; made nervous water when she stroked my barrel. "Sure he wouldn't hurt his friend," she went on. "Do you know how much I hoped you'd see me? And wasn't I afraid of that brute you play with! Good Billy, gentle Billy, that's a Billy. Here, you just try this, Dr. Spielman won't mind..."

She held the sandwich to my lips. I chewed a corner off it and drooled at its outlandish savor. The woman wiped my chin with a scented white cloth and clucked about the dirt on me. I gobbled up the rest of the sandwich.

"Wasn't that fine? Tomorrow I'll give you another one. And milk, if you want, and some more things you never had before. What do you say, Billy?"

It was a civil question, plainly put and plainly requiring a yes or no, but my new friend seemed astonished when I said "Ja ja, dot's OK."

"Oh, my gracious, you can talk, can't you!" She flung her arms about my neck; I thought myself threatened and wrenched back with a snort. But the woman was weeping, and unused though I was to such behavior, I understood that it was not in anger she hugged me to her woven coat. It was such a hug Max hugged me the day I had learned to cry -- but rockinger, more croonish -- and I wept in rhythm with her, a sweeter thing than doing it alone.

We tarried for the queerest forenoon of my life. Having discovered that I could speak, she plied me with questions: Did Max beat me? Wasn't I wretched in that stinking barn? Was I being taught to read and write? Had I no friends at all besides the goats? Half of what she said I couldn't grasp; even when the words were familiar I sometimes failed to understand the question. What did it signify, for example, to ask whether anything was being done for my legs? They had always been as they were -- wiry and tough, with fine horny pads at the joints; not so supple as Tommy's, but far usefuller than Max's. Why ought anything to be done for my legs, any more than for hers? Again, to illustrate what reading was she took from her bag a white book, which mistaking for another sandwich, I tried to snatch from her.

"No, now," she mildly chid, "that's just paper, you know. Poor thing, you never had bedtime stories, did you? Let's sit down, I'll read you something..."

I pretended to be listening; then as she seated herself I ripped a leaf from the book and sprang away to eat it.

"Oh dear!" she cried merrily. "So that's how it is! Well you needn't grab, young man, it's not a bit mannerly. You march yourself back and say 'Please,' and you shall have all you like." In earnest of her pledge she tore a page out herself and offered it me. "Now, that does for the title-page and endpapers, doesn't it! We mustn't eat the others till we've read them." She chattered on, and all I understood was the gentle good humor of her tone. We wept again, I do not know why -- indeed, we wept repeatedly throughout that griefless day. In the end I laid my head in her lap as she read to me, and toyed with the silver watch she wore on a lanyard round her neck. Why was I not with the herd, and what would Max think?

Unlike much of what I heard that morning, the story was splendidly clear and gripping: it involved three excellent brothers who desired to cross a stream and feast upon cabbages, but were opposed in their innocent design by a typical human visitor called Troll. This Troll, understand, had no desire to eat the cabbages himself, nor from what I gathered was the bridge his private pen; even had it been, his intent was not the honorable one of guarding his privacy. Ah no: I was aghast to hear from my friend's calm lips that the brute meant to kill those beautiful heroes and eat their flesh. My gorge rose at the thought; I could scarcely chew the page on which such evil was. The woman saw my agitation, patted my neck and insisted that it was "just a story" -- as if that excused Troll's wickedness, or would save Wee Willie! Only her assurance that the brothers would triumph staunched my tears and dissuaded me from calling Max to their rescue -- for though I could not see the Misters Gruff, they were there in the words that sounded off the page, as real and clear to me as Redfearn's Tommy. What resourcefulness the youngest of them showed in turning Troll's blood-lust to their advantage: the story named no breeds, but I was sure in my heart that this initial Gruff (to my mind, the real hero) was of the same species as myself. I hung on the tale's unfolding, I wanted it never to end, and yet trembled with concern for the second brother, lest he not have caught the gambit of the first. "Tell him wait for der biggest brudder yet!" I counseled -- yet durst I hope even Troll could be gulled thus again? At the appearance of Great William Gruff I forgot to eat, and when I saw justice done (albeit bloodily) and that worthiest of families cross to their reward, I embraced my newfound friend about her middle.

Never was such a wonder as this story! Its passion drained me, yet I was bleating for more when Max's shophar hooted in the distance.

"What's that? Must you go?" She returned the precious volume to her bag. There'd be another tale tomorrow; she knew a host of them. And more peanut-butter.

"Bye-bye, now," she called. I scampered back to her, mistaking her meaning; the pull of the shophar against my movement brought tears to my eyes. Ah, was that it? Auf wiedersehen, then, till tomorrow... the herd was almost to the barn already.

"Bye-bye! Bye-bye!" I galloped tearfully through the fields. At the first of the stud-pens I paused to say respectfully bye-bye to Brickett Ranunculus, an Anglo-Nubian who but that he was polled had been my image of Great William.

Then I ran inside and threw my arms around Max, forking down hay.

"I love you, Max!"

"You gone crazy, boy?" Max put by his pitchfork. "Where you been again off from the herd, and don't tell nobody?" His tone was stern, but not angry; my odd behavior, however upsetting, no longer surprised him. With all my heart I longed to tell Max of my adventure -- especially the miracle called story, which couldn't be shared with Redfearn's Tom. Yet I fought down that urge, and in fact said not a word about the peanut-butter sandwich, the field of cabbages, or my appointment for the morrow, all which wonders were to pitch me sleepless through the night. Some intuition warned verboten; taking my cue from that soul of invention, Wee Willie Gruff, I said bye-bye to fourteen years of perfect candor -- and dissembled with Max Spielman.

4.


May and June rent my soul in two. "I hate that play-pound!" I declared.

"So go out with the herd."

But the herd, I protested honestly enough, was a bore; who wanted to browse all day with old does? I pretended it was Redfearn's Tommy's absence that discontented me -- but refused to stay behind with him in the buck-pens.

"Leave me alone," I said. "Stop pestering me to stay with the herd."

Max shrugged. "Who's pestering? All I want, you don't make yourself unhappy." I saw him raise his shaggy eyebrows: I had not got such notions from Redfearn's Tom or Mary V. Appenzeller. But I was past caring whose feelings I hurt or what anyone suspected. Lady Creamhair found me scarcely less unpleasant. I saw her every day now except when bad weather or bad temper kept me from the hemlock grove. I lived for our interviews, but spoiled them for the slightest reasons. She wouldn't tell me her real name, lest I repeat it to Max; nor would she say why Max shouldn't know of our friendship. I quite understood that there would be unpleasantness of some sort if he did -- I would be penned for good and all with my brother bucks, and Lady Creamhair's keepers would see to it she was kept thenceforward in her barn. Only in blackest moods was I inclined to make a clean breast of things, but I pouted to Lady C. as if our secret were a burden of her imposing that I bore unwillingly. She read me no end of stories, and began to teach me to read for myself. My accent, which till then I'd not known I had, commenced to fade -- rather, to be replaced by a manner of speaking no less unusual, as I have learned since. Her grandfather, she told me, had once been a professor of Antique Narrative somewhere on West Campus; inasmuch as the books I devoured were all from his collection, my speech came to be flavored with the seasons of older time. I learnt to say "Alas" where once I'd cried "Ach"; I no longer said "Nein," but might well lament "Nay."

Nor was it my locutions only that were thus marked. My fancy, theretofore ignorant of its hunger, I glutted on such heady fare as Tales of the Trustees, The Founder-Saga, and the exploits of legendary scholars who had wandered through the wilds of the ancient campus. Rich stuff. And like a starved man rendered ill by too-sudden feasting, my imagination that spring was sore blown. One day I would see myself as Great William Gruff, and Max and Lady C. as Trolls bent on keeping me, each in his fashion, from the Cabbage of a glorious destiny. Was it not that I was meant to be a splendider buck even than Brickett Ranunculus, and Lady C. had been sent by jealous powers to witch me into rude humanity? Or was it (alack) that I was of noble human birth, the stuff of chairmen and chancellors, but had -- like many another student prince-- been wizarded into beasthood by Max Spielman? Worse than either of these, another day I felt me no hero at all, not prince nor black-shagged Pyrenean, but a troll myself: a miserable freak resolved in the spite of monstership to destroy whatever decent thing came near my bridge. Thus no matter what my weather I behaved badly with one whose pardon I wretchedly craved when that weather changed; or else having injured them I despised them, out of the surplus of my loathing for myself. Painful season.

But since Creamhair was a friend of less long standing, and the hemlock grove less beloved of me than the barn, it was Max and Mary who bore the burthen of my contempt. I had used to sleep, often as not, nestled into Mary's brisket; now, though she cried for me as for an unweaned kid, when I came home at all I slept with Redfearn's Tommy. Max surely understood that my excursions were not innocent: I spoke to him in brusque one-syllables, not to have to feign the accent I'd come to hate the sound of; filled with petits fours and tossed salads I turned up my nose at his honest lespedeza; out of tone from afternoons of languid talk, I refused to wrestle with Redfearn's Tom for my keeper's amusement. But he only tisked his tongue, and not to provoke me to worse unkindness, stayed out of my presence as much as he could. When I slipped through his pen at night en route to prowl the fields, he would pretend to be asleep; but if I stole back to look five minutes later, I'd find him sitting up in the straw, gesturing at no one and mumbling into his whiskers, or sawing upon his ancient fiddle.

Lady Creamhair I barraged with questions, blunt in themselves and sneeringly put. She told me she had once been Queen-of-the-May; I asked her now about those fairy co-eds whom the old dons-errant had been wont to rescue from the clutch of wicked scientists: Were they younger than she, and comelier? How was it the hero's costume was given in detail, but never his stud-record? Could a Chancellor's flaxen-haired daughter, freshened by a strapping young Doctor of Philosophy like those in the Tales, surpass Mary Appenzeller's output of seventy-three pounds of butterfat in her first year's milking? If not, what was the ratio of milk-yield to body-weight, say, required to qualify a milch-lady for Advanced Registry? Seven to one? Five? Why did she, Lady Creamhair, not relieve herself every little while as did I and everyone I knew, including Max? If it was, as I suspected, that her exotic diet left nothing to void, why did it not affect me similarly? This boss of hers, whom she compared to a keeper: when had he last arranged to have her serviced; and did he mount her as a rule himself or keep studs for the purpose?

"Young man," she replied, "those are naughty questions."

"I'm a goat," I said.

"Indeed you are, when you ask things just to be unpleasant. I've told you already all a boy of fourteen needs to know about marriage and that. As far as the rest -- it's simply not nice to go to the bathroom where people can see."

This latter wanted some explaining; the ancient narratives had not taught me what bathroom meant, and given its definition I could still not grasp how one "went to the bathroom" out-of-doors, where no bathroom was. When all was finally made clear I ridiculed the queerness of it; danced round her on my knees with my wrapper drawn up to make public my "privates," as she called them, and gave demonstration of my contempt for human niceness.

"Now look here!" she cried. I mistook her words and left off at once, expecting her to show herself in turn. I was in fact suddenly possessed with curiosity about something that had not occurred to me until that moment. But she made no move to lift her garments. "You can't expect me to put up with that," she said. I flattened myself on the ground to see under her dress; pressed my cheek into the hemlock needles. She was obliged to clutch her skirt about her and move away.

"Very well, Billy, I'm going home." I saw tears in her eyes, and was instantly contrite.

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"

But she was more bothered than I'd imagined. "No, I'm going. I know you're sorry, but at the same -- I think maybe we shan't see each other again."

At this I rolled on the ground and wailed so piteously that she could say no more.

"See if I don't kill myself!" I declared. "I'll eat privet-berries and die, like Cinnamon Daphie!" In token of my vow I commenced to bang my head on a hemlock root, until she came to my side and begged me to stop.

I paused between bangs. "Will you come again?"

"You don't understand what the trouble is." She wiped my eyes and her own. "I'll have to think what's right."

But I could not abide uncertainty. I loved her, I declared: more than I loved Redfearn's Tommy or Mary Appenzeller; more even than I loved Max. She must promise to see me every day; she must never threaten not to see me.

"Ah Billy!" She hugged me to her chest, and for a time we wept together. "If you knew what you're saying! Don't I die when Dr. Spielman calls you home? My own Billikins! Pass All Fail All, don't I love you?"

Finally it was agreed our tête-à-têtes would be continued -- but on a different basis. She'd been on a long vacation, she explained, which being now at end, she must return to work. She would still meet me in the grove on weekend afternoons, and occasionally on weekday evenings while the weather was warm and the days long. The nature of our meetings, too, must be somewhat altered.

"It's not fair to any of us," she said. "I want you to be a human being and Dr. Spielman wants you to be a goat, and you're caught in between. All this secrecy's not right either. Here's what I think: you've got to be one or the other, and Dr. Spielman and I must go along with your decision."

It was sweet to roll my head against her chest.

"Why can't I be both?"

"You just can't, my dear: if you try to be both, you'll end up being neither."

"Then I want to be a man," I declared -- more readily than sincerely, for in truth neither option seemed endurable. The goats still struck me as far superior in almost every respect to the humans I'd seen and heard of: stronger, calmer, nobler; more handsome, more loving, more reliable. But the humans, for better or worse, were vastly more interesting; and what was more, there were no goats in sight.

"No," she said, "you mustn't decide so fast. Think hard about it till next Saturday. If you still feel then that you want to be a man, you ought to be raised in a proper house and dress and go to school with the other children. And we'll have it out with Dr. Spielman; if he disagrees I'll -- I'll write a letter to the Chancellor about it. But think hard before you make up your mind, Billy. It won't be easy to catch up; the other boys may laugh at you sometimes, until you learn not to act like a goat --"

My face warmed. "I'll butt them dead! I'll kick them with my hooves and tear them into bits and drown them in the creek."

Creamhair tugged one of my curls. "That's what I mean."

I caught myself nibbling on a dandelion and spat it away. "Suppose I want to be a buck like Brickett Ranunculus?"

She looked at me with pity. "You can never be a real buck, Billy. A time will come sooner or later -- if it hasn't already -- I can't explain just what I mean... Oh flunk Max Spielman!" She began weeping again, as she did frequently, and stroked my forehead. "But it's not for me to criticize him, goodness knows! He did what he thought was best -- and who's to say you wouldn't've been better off if I'd never heard about you?" She blew her nose briskly on one of her tasty tissues. "Well, you are what you are, and you shouldn't have to be something you don't like. If you decide to go on living with Dr. Spielman and your friends -- which might very well be the best thing -- why, then it wouldn't be right for me to see you any more, because... to me you'll never be a goat! Do you understand? To me you'll always be a little boy... who's been dreadfully mistreated..."

I understood only a part of what she said, but the tenor of it was clear enough. "I do want to be a boy!" I protested, more sincerely now. "I don't want to go back to the barn at all -- except to say goodbye to Mary Appenzeller and Max and Redfearn's Tommy. I don't care what Max says. If he says verboten I'll run away anyhow, and live with you."

Thus I swore on, in the bliss of her loving demurrers. More, I would have done with goathood then and there: I tried to stand erect, but lost my balance and tumbled over; forgetful of the shame she'd taught me I pulled off my wrapper, deeming it a humaner condition to go about naked than fleeced with angora. Lady C. objected, but not as before; there was more of concern for my rashness than of disapproval in her voice.

"Next weekend is too far off. I want to start now."

With great reluctance and joy she agreed to come next day for my decision. But I insisted on some radical step away from goathood before we parted: she must shear my curls, or let me wear her sunglasses.

"But I haven't any scissors in my purse!" she laughed. "And it's nearly dark; you don't want sunglasses now." What she proposed at last -- for I would not be put off -- was that I wash my face in the stream nearby with a piece of pink soap she had in her bag. I went to it with a fury, howevermuch the strong scent made me sneeze; and didn't stop at face and neck, but sat hip-deep in the cold creek and lathered my skin from head to foot. Lady Creamhair stood by, protesting my eagerness; she wiped the stinging suds from my eyes, rinsed my hair herself, declared I'd catch my death, and toweled me with her sweater until I glowed. Then she insisted I put on my wrapper and get to the barn before the sun went down. In a stiller pool I regarded the image of my face -- its sharp-edged planes, thick curls and gold-fuzzed chin -- and thought it good.

"You'll be a fine man," she told me when we parted for the day. "My, but doesn't he smell sweet now, and don't I love him!" She'd been combing my hair; here she stooped to face me, and I found myself kissed in the mouth.

The shophar sounded. "Bye-bye!" we called to each other, again and again across the fields. My wrapper was stiff and coarse next to my skin. "Bye-bye!" Hordes of blackbirds swept northwestwards; swallows sprang from the barn to dive in the last light. I pursed my lips; I kissed my arms. A queer pain smote me, while the ragged swifts went chittering high up.

5.


Already the lights had come on. The heat in the barn, when I entered, was most oppressive, and I drew back my head at the stench of ammonia rising from the peat-litter. A cry hung in my throat; stung still, I saw through swimming eyes Max hasten toward me.

"What now! What now!"

Frowning alarm, he would embrace me; but his odor, strong as truth, was in my nostrils, and I thrust him off.

"Flunk you! You stink!"

Like two blows of a staff my curse fell on him, drew him up short, and made him sway. Now my heartsgate swooningly let flood an utter lake of pain. "I hate this!"

"Hum!" Max tugged at his beard and fiercely nodded. I rose up to strike him: like a buck well-broken to harness he made no jump away -- only watched my fist and flinched in upon himself to take the blow. I hit him on the breastbone; we each fell backwards, sitting hard in the peat. Max laid his hand on the struck place. We sat for some moments, breathing loudly.

Presently I said, "I wish I'd died before I said those things."

Max shook his head. "What I know, now you wish you didn't say it."

I was too empty for tears. "I'm sorry I hit you."

"I know that."

"Can you forgive me?" I asked it pretty sullenly.

"Sure I can. But I don't, sir. Not till it's good for you."

A small resentment came then and gave us strength to pick ourselves up from the floor. Bitterly consoled I said, "I see you don't love me," and Max was enabled to put his arm across my shoulders.

"Idiot. Too much. I love you is what. Forgiveness you don't ask for like a present; you win it like a prize."

I believed that then. How sharp the smell of him was. He chuckled at the flare of my nostrils and pressed me to his bucky fleece.

"Ja he hates that stink now, and washed it off him. You said it right, Billy, what that is: that's the stink of the flunkèd, the stink of the Moishians, and the stink of the goats. Three stinks in one. May you learn to love it one day like the goyim love their Tripos."

His reference I did not understand, but his manner made us right. We curled up to a meal of oilcake and water -- the first food we'd shared in weeks -- and when he asked me directly whom I had been seeing that had altered my speech, my opinions, and my scent, I told the full tale of my relations with Lady Creamhair. Max nodded and shook his head, more in sad acknowledgment than in surprise or disapproval. I recounted for him that day's contretemps, Lady Creamhair's ultimatum, and my resolve -- more grim by now than heartfelt -- to leave the herd forever.

"Ach," Max marveled when I was done, "one day they're kids, next day they're stud-bucks. I declare."

"I'm going to keep my promise," I said. "It's all settled."

Stern pity came in his eyes. "Nothing's settled, Billy. You don't know what settled is yet. Never mind settled!" He sniffed and sighed. "So, it's her or me. Ja, well, I think that's so."

I pleaded. "What am I, Max?"

We regarded each other earnestly. Max said, "What you're going to be I got no idea. But a goat is what you been, and you been happy."

His words touched my heart. But, I declared, I was happy no longer.

"Who is, but a kid on the teat? You think I was happy when they called me a Student-Unionist and spit in my face? You think the Amaterasus were happy to be EATen alive in the Second Riot? Let me tell you this about unhappiness, Billy: nobody but human people knows what the word means."

Doubtless Max saw then as clearly as I did later the ruesome enthymeme hanging like an echo in his pause. And how came it he had alluded in the last ten minutes to more mysteries than had perplexed me in as many years? Tripos, Amaterasu, Second Riot -- it was most assuredly no lapse, but a change of policy that flung those terms like doleful challenges to my curiosity. With care I considered -- I don't know what -- and then respectfully inquired, "What is a Moishian?"

His features softened. "Yes, well. The Moishians is the Chosen Class."

"Chosen for what?"

His reply was matter-of-fact. "To suffer, dear Billy. Chosen to fail and suffer."

I pondered these words. "Who chose you to do that?"

Max smiled proudly. "Who's going to choose you to be a goat or an undergraduate? My boy, we chose ourselves. It's the Moishians' best talent: WESCAC puts it on our Aptitude Cards when we matriculate. I'll tell you one day."

I understood: he was not putting me off, but clearing way for more pressing inquiries. And though my curiosity was strong, it was no longer pressed. Great doors had quietly been opened; there stretched the wide campus and everything to be learned. But quite so, I had to learn everything, and those doors I felt were open now for good; there was no rush. I felt suddenly exhausted and relieved.

"Well," I asked him. "Are Moishians the same as goats?"

"Not all goats is Moishians," he replied with a smile, "but all Moishians is a little bit goat. Of course, there's goats and goats."

Now I wanted to know: was I a Moishian?

"Maybe so, maybe not," Max said. He fetched out his aged penis and declared, "Moishe says in the Old Syllabus, Except ye be circumcised like me, ye shall not Pass. But in the New Syllabus Enos Enoch says Verily, I crave the foreskin of thy mind."

For a moment I was gripped by my former anguish, and cried out, "I don't understand anything!"

"That's a fact. But you will. A little at a time." He hugged me tenderly and by way of a first lesson explained what, without realizing it, I had really been trying to ask: How had he come to exchange the company of men for that of the goats?

"This Enos Enoch, Billy: ages ago he was the shepherd of the goyim, and I like him okay. He was the Shepherd Emeritus that died for his sheep. But look here: he told his students Ask, and you'll find the Answer; that's why the goyim call him their Grand Tutor, and the Founder's own son. But we Moishians say Ask, and you'll keep on asking... There's the difference between us." And Max said further: "The way the campus works, there's got to be goats for the sheep to drive out, ja? If they don't fail us they fail themselves, and then nobody passes. Well I tell you, it's a hard and passèd fate to be a goat. Enos Enoch, now, he didn't want them in his herd; he drove out the goats from the fold and set them on his left hand, so he could be a good shepherd to the sheep. Okay, Billy. But when the time came that the goyim drove me out I thought about this: 'Who's going to look after the goats?' And I decided, 'Max Spielman is.' "

"I see why Lady Creamhair didn't want you to know about her," I said. "No wonder you hate people."

But Max denied it. "I don't even hate the Bonifacists in Siegfrieder College, that burnt up all the Moishians in the Second Riot. What I mean, I hate them a little, because studentkind has got to do some hating, and to hate them for that -- it's a way of loving them, if you think about it. But the ones I really love are the ones the haters hate: I mean the goats." In a surpassingly gentle voice he observed: "Tonight you came home full of joy that you were a man instead of a goat, hey? And the first thing you said was Flunk you, and the second was I hate..." He sighed. "That's why I came to the goats."

I hung my head. Now it was Lady Creamhair I despised, and the heartless alacrity with which I had struck down what was most precious to me. Yet alas: hating her, I recognized my hateful humanness, and then but hated myself the more. Thus mired and bound I groaned aloud: nothing is loathsomer than the self-loathing of a self one loathes.

"I don't want to be a man!" I cried. "I don't know what I want!"

"Bah, you want to grow up," my keeper said. "That's what's at the bottom of it. And you will, one way or the other."

I told him I had sworn to let Lady Creamhair know tomorrow of my decision.

"Let me know too," Max grunted, and lay down for the night.

Sweet sleep: it was a boon denied me. Long after Max had set to snoring I tossed in my corner, remembering his words and reimagining Creamhair's kiss. Anon I was driven to embrace Redfearn's Tommy in his stall; but he was alarmed by the strange scent of me (which my own nose, fickle as its owner, had long since lost hold of), and warned me to keep my distance. I let him be and went next door to the doe pens, envious and smarting. There too my presence caused a stir, but Mary V. Appenzeller knew me under any false fragrance; she and a pretty young Saanen named Hedda, that had been my good friend some seasons past, bleated uneasily when I hugged them, but lay still against each other in a corner and suffered me to turn and return in the good oils of their fleece. Thus anointed, I struck out into the pasture, meaning to bathe my restlessness in night-dew, and there came upon the two human lovers I mentioned before.

They had left their bicycles, climbed the fence, and tramped a hundred meters into the meadow. At first I supposed they were escaping, but when they spread a blanket on the ground and the male returned to fetch cans of some beverage from his machine, I put by that notion. Presently he embraced her with one arm, at the same time drinking from his little can, and I began to realize what they were about. The buck I observed to be in a virile way, and the doe snuggled against his flank with a nervousness I knew the cause of. I took them for superior specimens of their breed: they were shaggier than most, for one thing, and smelled like proper animals. The male had a fine fleecy beard, and neck hair quite as thick as mine, though neither so long nor so ably brushed; his mate had the simple good taste not to shave what little fur the species is vouchsafed for their legs. More, at the first opportunity they shucked off their eyeglasses and leather shoes, thereby rendering themselves more handsome in both odor and appearance. In short, as admirable a pair as I'd yet espied, and I waited with some curiosity to see her serviced.

Imagine my bewilderment when, instead of putting off their wrappers, they began to talk! I suddenly wondered, thinking of Lady Creamhair, whether among humans this did for copulation: if so, the buck at hand was in very truth a stud. With his tin he gestured toward the western glow of New Tammany, and hoarse with ardor said, "Chickie, look at those lights!"

The doe shook her head and gave a shudder. "I know. I know what you mean."

His voice mounted over her. "The Campus... hath not anything more fair..."

"Don't, please," she begged, but laid her head on his shoulder. My breath came faster; I was as fired with desire as he when he next declared, "You mustn't be afraid of it. You've got to let go."

What would she let go of? I hunkered closer and squinted to see. She pressed her nose into his high-necked sweater and protested, "You don't know what that poem does to me!"

"Suffer it," ordered her mate -- not Brickett Ranunculus more inexorably mastered his does! "The Pre-Schoolist poets knew what naked feeling was."

"That's just it," the female said. "That's it exactly. I'm -- naked to that poem, you know?"

Here I tumesced, for the fellow turned her face deliberately to his and intoned: "These lecture-halls do like a garment wear the beauty of the nighttime..." Was it for pain or joy she closed her eyes, bit her lip? "Labs, towers, dorms, and classrooms lie all bright and glittering in the smokeless air..." She clutched at the wool of his sleeves, fighting as most all nannies against what passionately now she craved; and at length, in hoarse surrender, whispered: "Ne'er saw I, never felt, a surge so deep! The Tower Clock moves on at its sweet will... Oh my! I can't!"

But surely, with no pause in the rhythm of his woo, her buck pressed home: "Dear Founder! See the Library -- glowing keep of all thy mighty mind -- resplendent still!"

At that penultimate hiss the female made a little cry and wrenched away. For some seconds she lay as if stricken, while her mate, hard respiring, drained off his drink and flung away the can. I too felt emptied.

Presently in a new voice he said, "Cigarette." She shook her head, then changed her mind and sat up to smoke, as Lady Creamhair often did. They smoked in silence, neither looking at the other, until the male asked her, almost brusquely, how she felt.

"How do you think I feel?" she muttered. "You knew what you were doing."

He drew her down with him on the blanket. "Are you sorry we said the poem?"

No, she said, she didn't suppose she was sorry. "I'm still a little mid-percentile about first dates, I guess. When two people start off with something like that -- what does it leave for later?"

I had moved some paces back lest my heart, still pounding with their late excitement, betray me. But at these words I crept close again. They were kissing now, and a business of their hands gave me to question my original surmise. I barely heard him swear to her that it was not any girl he'd share that sonnet with: she mustn't fear he'd disrespect her for permitting him to recite it on their first evening together.

"I know how you feel," he assured her, caressing her wrapper. "The way things are nowadays, sex doesn't mean a thing. It's just a sport like tennis, you know? The really personal thing between a man and a woman is communication."

She put his hand away and agreed. "It's all that matters. Because who believes in Passing and Failing these days?"

"Right!"

"And if there's no Examiner and no Dean o' Flunks, nothing a student does makes any sense. That's the way I see it, anyhow."

"You've been reading the Ismists," her companion said, and sought along her leotard with the rejected hand. "And they're right, too, as far as they go. The student condition is absurd, and you've either got to drop out or come to terms with the absurdity." He went on to assert (at the same time parrying with his left hand her parry of his right) that this absurdity had both exhilarating and anguishing aspects, chief among the former whereof he counted the decline -- he might even say decease -- of conventional mid-percentile morality. "The worst thing about that old prudery -- flunk that button! What I was saying, it made everybody so afraid of their desires --"

"Wait, Harry," she complained. "I don't think... Honestly, now --"

"No," he charged, "you don't think honestly. None of us does, till we learn to be as natural about our bodies as -- as goats are. These co-eds that deny their instincts in the name of some dark old lie like Final Examinations -- they're the ones that keep the Psych Clinic busy. Here we go."

"Please!" The girl tried to sit up now; there was a note of alarm in her protest. But her companion drew her down.

"Chickie, we communicated, you know? I thought you had a real feeling for the Pre-Schoolists!"

She tossed her head. "I do, I swear!"

"You're not another fake, are you, Chickie?" He seemed angry with her now, and even hesitated just a moment before returning to his work, as if uncertain of her worth. Almost fiercely he declared that nothing in the mad University mattered except Beauty: the beauty of art, of language, and above all, of simple existence. That, he took it -- and now they grappled in earnest -- was the first principle of Beism, a philosophy both deeper and farther-reaching than anything within the Ismists' compass.

"Oh Harry! My goodness!"

"There, Chickie. There."

Just consider the state of the University, he challenged her: two armed campuses, each cynically lecturing Peace of Mind while it made ready to EAT the other. Great professors of poetry went begging; yet loud-shirted engineers drew fabulous salaries for developing WESCAC's weaponry, the very testing of which bid fair to poison the minds of undergraduates not yet matriculated. In vain did student leaders like himself exhort West Campus to seize the moral initiative by deprogramming unilaterally: their credo, Better East than beast, was shouted down by misguided alma-materists and advocates of "preventive riot" with their smugly belligerent slogan Better EAT than be EATen...

"Look at Spielman," he advised, and I pricked up my ears, though it was something else I strove to look at. "All he asked was that the flunking Computer not be programmed to EAT its enemies automatically. So they call him a Student-Unionist, and they strip him of his privileges --"

"Oh dear!" the female fretted, whose leotard now went the way of Max's rank and tenure.

"So it's all meaningless," the bearded one went on. "There aren't any Finals; there's no Dean o' Flunks at the South Exit to punish us if we don't Pass. Every question is multiple-choice; there's no final point or meaning in the University, it's -- look here, it's like this: a naked physical fact!"

I gasped with Chickie.

"Like the Ismists say, it all comes down to distinctions in our minds; we can't ever get to the things themselves. We can thrust, and we can thrust..."

"No!"

"... but the screen... the flunking screen... it's always there. And when you try... to break through it... you're just affirming... that it's there."

"Oh my!"

He paused. "Where I part company with the Ismists, though, is when they say our only choice is to accept the screen, and give up hope of ever knowing things absolutely. You'll have to read Footnotes to Sakhyan one of these days -- it's the Syllabus of Beism, you know..."

"Don't talk!" his nan cried.

"Sure. You've got it exactly. You've got to say flunk that screen, and flunk True and False. Flunk all!"

"Flunk me, Harry! I know I'm going to shout..."

"It's no good asking what is --"

"Shut up! Shut up!"

"-- you've got to be, Chickie! Be! Be!"

Beyond any question then they Were, locked past discourse in their odd embrace. And I was fetched with them to the verge of Being; I who neither was nor was not, my blood and bones they shuddered to become!

As is the way of does, the girl called Chickie, having Been, craved yet again to Be; put off her wools, unhobbled her udder, and pled to Harry that he school her more in that verb's grammar. He, however, seemed done with conjugating.

"I didn't mean it the way it sounded when I said 'Shut up'," she apologized, hugging him round the neck.

"No, no, you were right, of course." But his voice was short, and he reached to open another tin as if nothing were pressing at his ribs.

Yet though she entreated and rebuked him, bit at his lobe and cavorted in the gorse, he could not be roused. Not even her offer to shout out verses while they Were could move him.

"Don't be coarse," he said.

She teased, she scolded, she declared her husband was a better man; yet there was nothing for it but to dress and depart. Her black garment had been flung upon the bush of autumn-olive that concealed me; she slipped into it not three feet from where I squatted.

"Some Beist," she pouted. Her friend had already gathered up the blanket and turned toward the road. "I've got twice as much Beist in me as you have."

She drew the waistband over her hips, and I trembled to seize what dimpled near me. Ah, Chickie! my green loins called as she followed after him: poor pretty doe fretful to be bucked, hie here if it's a beast you're after! Hie to one a-wrack with the yen to Be; one the mere sight of your haunch has caused whom to Become himself, willy-nilly, and to stand one moment later again at the ready! When the coast was clear I tore out of my wrapper and frisked Chickie-like through the brush, hooting joyfully my pain. To Be, and once more to Be! To burst into all creation; only to Be, always to Be, until no thing was: no Billy Bocksfuss, goat or Graduate, no I nor you nor University, but one placeless, timeless, nameless throb of Being!

6.


The next day was the longest in the year. My lust went from me with the dew that steamed off the fields where I had lain drenched; not so my resolve. When I trotted to the barn for breakfast I met Max bringing the herd out into the pound. The does moved aside as I approached -- but not in the way they'd shunned me when I smelt of soap. Rather, they were wary but not displeased, as if a randy buck had come upon them. I noted with satisfaction that pretty Hedda seemed especially flustered. She snorted when I stroked her ears; speaking softly I made bold to touch one speckled teat, never yet swollen with the charge of motherhood, and she danced away -- but not far, and looked back wide-eyed over her shoulder. Max laughed with me, and hesitantly squeezed my arm. He had not slept either, it appeared; but in his face was much relief.

"So," he said. "You made your mind up?"

"Almost," I replied. "There's something I want to do first." Then I added quickly, for his old eyes clouded: "But I'm all right, Max. I'll know in a little while."

He nodded. "That's so; I see that. Well, well..." As if to calm himself he began explaining that the herd would remain in the pound until dinnertime, as he had work to do in the Livestock Branch of the Library, just across the Road. He was currently engaged with several notions in the field of applied cyclology, his own invention; perhaps I too would find them interesting; at any rate he would be pleased to set them forth to me that evening-assuming, of course...

But the assumption was left unmade, for there hove into sight just then a bicycle, and Lady Creamhair. My heart drew up: I had not expected her until evening. Had she then come to some resolve of her own, that she drove up full in Max's view? But I was reckoning without her nearsightedness: she peered and craned all the way along the fence; not until she was abreast of the pound did she seem to catch sight of us together, whereupon she ducked her head and pedaled on towards the grove of hemlocks.

Max thrust five fingers into his beard. "By George, now..."

I declared uncomfortably that I had no idea why the woman had come out so early, but I guessed she had the right to drive past whenever she pleased.

"Na, bah," Max said, "I didn't mean that. Thunder and lightning, though, if something doesn't wonder me..." He touched my shoulder, frowning and blinking. "She's waiting now for you, eh?"

"She can wait," I said. On a surly impulse I invited, or rather challenged him to come along and meet my friend, whose early appearance, however surprising, had inflamed my resolve. But he declined, quite distracted still.

"Ach, Billy, I don't know what to tell you. Almost I think -- hah! No matter anyhow, either way! So. So." He thumped my shoulder. "What difference? If you are, you are; if you're not -- no matter! But I'll see you again, you promise? You'll wait and tell me what's what, eh? And then maybe -- we'll see!"

We parted, each in agitation, Max to his researches (still nodding and clucking), I across the pasture towards the hemlock grove. The noisy rooks and thrashers had done their first feeding; the sun was well up, hot on my wrapper. I broke into a trot. My puzzlement slipped away; through my spirit pulsed the verse I'd overheard:

Ne'er saw I, never felt, a surge so deep!

A surge, irresistible and sure, that would be neither hurried nor gainsaid; Tower Clock, it moved at its sweet will, fetching to ripeness every thing which was.

At sight of Lady Creamhair waving in the grove I came to a heavy walk. She was dressed in the color of her hair. In one hand she held her picnic-basket; with the other she alternately waved and shaded her eyes to see me. I stalked up without response, but jarred by the strikings of my heart. She began to talk and laugh.

"I'm a foolish old woman, you don't have to tell me -- with Dr. Spielman standing right there the whole time! I never even expected to see you, really, I've been so anxious, but I couldn't keep my mind on anything. I know just what you're going to say: I tell you to think things through and then don't give you a minute to yourself! I won't stay, I promise -- I should be in the office right now -- but I had to ride by; I don't know how I'll wait till this evening!"

I came through the fluster of her talk and rose high on my haunches. She hastened to let me kiss her, begging me to pardon a poor silly woman for being so rattled. Readily enough she responded to my hug, though I was by no means scrubbed and perfumed as I'd been the day before. But she turned a scented dry cheek to my second kiss.

"Bless my soul! And here I thought you'd be peeved at me."

"Creamie," I said, coining her a pet-name after the only model I knew: "I want to Be with you."

She had been thrusting gently away; upon these last words she embraced me again, and could not speak plainly.

"You -- dear gracious me. Oh, dear Billy!"

Did she understand my meaning? It seemed so; but to assure myself I told her that I had seen with my own eyes the manner in which human people enjoyed Being, and that I meant to give it a try. "If you'll let me Be with you anytime I please, I'll leave the herd."

"Let you be with me?" She laughed incredulously. "What do you think I've been praying for all this time? You'll be with me day and night, dear heart! All I want on this campus is for us to be together!"

The most I'd hoped for was eventual consent, and that only after threats and pleadings. This positive eagerness took me aback; I could scarcely credit it.

"May I Be with you right now?"

"What a strange thing to say! You mean go away this minute? Shan't we eat lunch here first?"

Her slight uncertainty turned my own into ardent resolve. "No, I mean right now."

She stood off a pace and cocked her head at me. "Well! If that's what my young man wants to do, that's what he shall do. I haven't even got your room fixed up yet -- but I'm ready if you are!"

Her words puzzled me. "What I mean is, let's Be right here, right now. I promised Max I'd come back at dinnertime and tell him what I've decided; we can Be in your house after that."

She had been going to pick up the basket; now she shook her head in mock annoyance. "Seems to me we aren't quite communicating!"

I declared stubbornly my intention to Communicate with her as soon as I had learned enough verse to manage it; as for Being, however, that wanted no learning, only love, with which I was already so overmastered that if she wouldn't let me Be with her I must go Be with the does of the herd, or perish away.

"Goodness!" she said. "We can't have that, can we?" To my delight she unfolded the blanket which she often brought with the picnic basket; I trembled as she spread it out flat and set herself amply near the center.

"Now, sir, here I sit, and there you stand. What I'll tell my boss I don't know, but you can be with me right here on this blanket to your heart's content!"

Thus plainly invited I scrambled upon her with a grin. I had looked for a sporting resistance, but she let go a cry that shocked me, as did the vigor of her defense. She struck me about the head with her fists; very nearly she wrenched out from under. But I recovered in time to drop my full weight on her, at the same time shielding my face in her plenteous bosom (which I bit at through its linen cover), and Harry-like endeavored with my hand.

She shrieked, also pummeled. My attack was stymied high on her hocks by an unexpected harness, and as I fumbled to learn its secret she tore at my hair until tears came forth.

"Not too hard!" I protested. Her fury alarmed me; where was the joy of Being if it cost such a hurt?

"Get off!" she cried. "You mustn't do this!"

Truly the strappings were beyond me, but her tossing now disclosed that though my goal was bound in a hard encasement (unlike anything Chickie wore), it ultimately was bare as Mary Appenzeller's.

"It's a horrid mistake, Billy! Stop so I can tell you!"

Well, I could not both fight and service her. I was strong for a kid, but Lady Creamhair was larger and heavier. Moreover, there was in her struggling nothing of Chickie's passion-to-be-vanquished; she fought to win.

"You don't even want me to Be with you!" I charged. I had been pinioning one arm; when now I let go to raise my wrap she caught up a stone and knocked at my head with it. My resentment burst into rage; I gave over everything to throttle her. She croaked; she thrashed; she made to push my hips away, but was obliged to clutch at my forearms instead, not to be strangled. Fearing her knees I pressed upon her, and thus, inasmuch as her garments had worked high, we touched.

"Ah! Ah!" I flung back my head. Horror rolled in Lady Creamhair's eyes -- which then she closed, and wept. I collapsed upon her breast; had she set to breaking my skull with rocks I wouldn't have cared. But she was quiet. She touched my hair; I felt the catches of her grief, and against my cheek her heart beat slow while my own still thundered. Directly I could feel, I felt contrite, though by no means certain I'd done anything wrong; and my remorse was tempered with chagrin at having come short after all of my objective. Yet no matter; there was nothing mattered. I had come near enough to very Being to taste its sweetness; what for the moment appeared a surfeit was in truth a whet. Even as Lady Creamhair moved me off, I felt new stirred. I hadn't will enough to stay her: limp on the blanket I watched her put herself in order, now and then drawing her fingertips along her throat.

"Excuse me for strangling you," I said, though my head still hurt where she had struck with the stone. "Is that the way you like to Be, or were you really angry?"

She covered her face and shook her head. "You didn't know. I'm terribly upset." Her voice was queer.

"I can do better if you'll show me how," I promised. "And not hit me with stones."

My friend gave a groaning, not at my words, and averted her face. Then she wiped away rue and with new firmness -- but still avoiding my eyes -- bade me move from the blanket so that she might fold it.

"I vow I won't choke you next time," I offered.

She shook her head. It was I she grieved for, she declared: she should have known better; she had been foolish not to see that this could happen. Who was to say she didn't finally deserve such use at my hands? Perhaps (so she considered, smoothing and resmoothing the folded blanket against her stomach) what had occurred was for the best, and we should be thankful for its having happened now, before actual commitments had been made.

However little I followed what she said, I was touched with shame to see her seized here by a wracking shudder. "Oh! Oh!"

I nonetheless demanded, blushing, to know what could be objected against as simple and intense a joy as Being, wherein every creature in the University clearly pleasured? A mere coupling of this to that, the business of a minute, but which lent zest to any idle pass or chance encounter; among strangers a courtesy, toward guests a welcome, between friends a bond. A meal's best dessert; a tale's best close. What hello more cordial, bye-bye more sweet? What gentler good-day or soothinger good-night? To Be, and not to not-Be, was my challenge and whole ambition. Even to speak of it rid me of lassitude; contrition was forgot -- became I mean the mask of Guile; I said, "Don't go, please. I shan't annoy you any more" -- considering as I spoke how she might be brought round to me.

"I can't think what to do," Lady Creamhair said. Still wincing and with one hand at her throat, she set off toward the Road. "You don't know!"

I loped after. "I'm going too."

"No!" She shook her head and trudged faster, weaving like a dreamer. What was her grievance? I saw no farther than the hard-sheathed flankers of her good gate. There was fancy's pasture, there the lick and crib of yearning; nothing mattered but to find again that threshold whence I had been thrust. I would put by all diversions and surmount whatever obstacles to drive into that deepy dark, and know the peace of Being in my soul's home-stall.

Something of this she must have sensed behind her, for at sight of the pasture-fence she commenced to run. Never mind her wail, I was as far past mercy as she was past a young doe's speed. I sprang to bring her down; my hand closed on her collar, on the silver lanyard of her watch. She spun about, and with a cry flung the picnic-basket into my face.

"That's what you'll have from me!"

The blow frightened me; I fell off-balance, not to tread on the fruits and forks that strewed into my path, and Lady Creamhair availed herself of my confusion to escape. Too late I leaped to the fence; she had tumbled over. She scrambled onto the Road (her breath came hunh! hunh!), and seeing I dared not cross the fence, returned for her bicycle. Her face was red; her cream hair mussed; her lap was hooked full of wild seed.

I began to understand that she would not come again, yet out of all despair I hit on nothing to ask but "Can't you tell me now who you are?"

The query was so plaintive it brought tears to my own eyes. But hers grew wilder; as she dragged the bicycle to the Road she said, "You should not have been born. There's no hope..."

Her last words to me. She ran beside her bike some yards before mounting and then clumsily struck off westwards, towards the halls of New Tammany. I considered sprinting abreast of her, at least, down along the fence; I even considered daring the Road -- what matter if I die straightway? But I only clung distraught to a locust post and watched her go.

Something flashed like a signal in the weeds just under the fence, where she had fallen. It was her watch, dangling off a thistle. By its lanyard, which trailed into the pasture, I fetched it in from human-land; quiet as her heartbeat it ticked in my ear. My own breath now came hunh! hunh! -- not without the certain whine that had inflected hers. For a time I squatted in the brush to consider how I trembled and what to do. No hope? One gate indeed was closed -- say rather, ah, it never had been open to me, any more than to Brickett Ranunculus. Yet a second remained; the day was but half done; I was only where I'd always been, and what: a goat, a goat.

I knotted the silver cord where it had parted, hung Lady Creamhair's timepiece round my neck, and left the grove. My muscles in the sun, no more a kid's, felt weary with power; their stretch was good. More, my balls had a bucky swing, not theretofore remarked, which brought me as I walked first to interest, then to delight, at last to a serious exulting. There was the pasture, there the barn; I looked with new eyes and was shivered... not now by despair!

Redfearn's Tom saluted from his pen. Instead of calling his name I answered with a trumpety bleat that set him prancing. A hurt came to my throat. Nobler-than-human friend! Love proof against abuse; uninjurable love! With a snort I galloped to his gate and let myself in. Embraces be flunkèd, that humans greet with: Tom charged me right off, as he had used to do in the play-pound, and crashed rapturously into the gate when I sprang aside. A quarter-hour we romped, utterly happy. We were both far stronger than we'd been as kids, if less nimble. I locked arms through his splendid rack -- which how I envied! -- and wrenched him to the ground; he feinted me off-balance and whacked my wind out with the side of his head. We dodged and butted, we were mad with energy; the sight of our sport moved Brickett Ranunculus (just then the only other buck in the herd) to thud about his own pen like a two-year-old. And anon the does, lazing in the pound adjacent, were excited by our noise. Dainty Hedda I saw to be especially roused, whose first servicing was due within the month: she pushed to the forefront of the ladies crowded about our pen; her white curls pressed through the gate-mesh; she begged to come in.

Hereat our play changed character. The does' emotion, their candid pleas for love, set Tom wild. He pawed at the screen they thrust their flanks against, and charged me now in earnest. Indeed he no longer knew me, but as a rival -- and I rejoiced. His lust was general: any nan would serve; he'd have humped even me had he knocked me down. My own, though -- which reboiled hot as it had ever in the hemlocks -- was for Hedda! How had I not understood? The evening past, when I'd nuzzled her fleece; that very morning, when I'd touched her -- it was no aging, hard-cased freak I was meant to love, but Hedda of the Speckled Teats. Exquisite creature! And she loved me as well; that was no mystery: love rolled in her gold-brown eyes and quivered in her bleat.

Redfearn's Tom stood rampant at the gate. I seized him round his sturdy girth and flung him down; leaped astride him, heedless of his hooves, and rode him to earth. His head I braced against my chest, stayed clear of his legs, and laughed at the dust he flailed up. Behind, in the din of nannies, clearly I heard the voice of my sweetheart, shrill with passion. Good Tom, stout Tom -- I was his better! I glowed there where we lay, apant in the sweat of proof; from all the University of wishes, I could have asked to complete my joy only that Max be present to share it.

The time was come to claim my prize. Redfearn's Tom, set free with a pat on the crupper, scrambled up, twice shook his fleece, and bounded to the rear of the pen to compose himself. I had perhaps used him too hard in a contest which, between bucks, was after all more ceremonial than sincere. No matter: I meant to be generous in victory. This once let Max's breeding-schedule be forgot: I would admit some sprightly doe into the pen for Tom (say, golden Patricia) while out in the pound I crowned my triumph and sealed my choice.

How did she bleat for me! Her head tossed as I approached. Patricia, no less afire, stood with her; it was a matter simply of admitting the one and slipping out before the others could crowd after. I climbed erect to undo the latch, speaking all the while of love to my sweet Saanen, and braced the gate just ajar so that I might reach round and collar Patricia. Too late I heard the rush of hooves behind me: Redfearn's Tom full gallop smote my thigh like a rolling boulder and drove me, half-turned, against the gatepost. I felt a shock from hip to sole, then another, more terrific, when he crotched me with the flat of his horn. Unable even to shout I fell to my knees. He backed off for a second charge, but the nannies rushed the gate now and pitched me to ground at his feet. In and over me they swarmed; in terror I dragged clear, though every movement stung, not to suffer trampling. Near at hand lay a white-ash crook; I snatched it up against the next assault. But when I rolled over to defend myself, already sick and cold with sweat, I beheld a frightfuller prospect than attack: the does pressed at Redfearn's Tommy from every side; those on the outskirts clambered up their sisters' backs to get nearer. Even Mary Appenzeller (whom I'd envisioned a proud witness of my marriage) had no eyes for me; she whimpered her old heat like the others and thrust against Patricia for a point of vantage. Oh and before ever I managed to raise myself up, my ears had told me the worst: Hedda's voice alone was still! There in the center she stood, my darling: Redfearn's Tom was mounted on her; he tossed his mighty poll this way and that, hunkered to thrust, and with a shriek of joy bucked home.

I found voice to suffer with. Most painfully I came through the scuffling does and leaned on my herdsman's crook quite before the lovers' eyes. I had as well been invisible. Tom's nostrils flared; Hedda's little forelegs were braced wide against the weight on her withers, and her head -- slack with passion! -- hung nearly between them. Now all swam in tears -- the last I ever shed. Tottering for balance I brought the crook down between my friend's horns. The does leaped back, all save Hedda, who went to her knees when Tom collapsed. He gave a wild kick in the flanks as he tumbled off, and died with a jerk. The force of my blow had sat me down. I was out of wind, out of rage, one enormous hurt, as oblivious now to the does that ran a-frenzy as they had been to me. Hedda, loosed of her lover, bolted with them; in a moment they had chanced upon the open gate and were gone.

Good Tom and I -- once more we had the pen to ourselves. His eyes were open; his head was crushed. I had chipped no horn and drawn no blood as a jealous buck might have: merely I had killed him. And with my whole heart I wished what no goat ever could -- that it were I who lay thus battered past more hurt.

Already the does were calming. Brickett Ranunculus neither gloated nor grieved that the entire herd was his now to stud; indeed he forgot what two minutes past had set him frantic, and turned away from us to nibble hay. Hedda still wandered about the pound, shaking her neck and trying to lick herself; yet she had no notion what fretted her, any more than she could know how suddenly dear a charge she bore. The rest had gone about their business.

What I had done, what I now felt, apart from the great pain in my legs -- ah, Creamhair, I cursed with you the hour I had ever been brought to light! Was I not a troll after all, the get of some foul mismating, or maggotlike engendered in dank turd under a bridge? And none, there was none even to gore and trample me -- no hope!

I crawled on all fours out from the pen, across the pound, through the barn. I thought I might die of the hurt, and wished life only to hear Max add his curse to Lady Creamhair's. Why had I ever feared the Road, which could kill only goats? I dragged across safe as the grave-worms would through Tommy and made my way to the first building, a small stone box which I knew to be the Livestock Branch of the Library. I expected -- half I hoped -- to be set upon by dogs, such as I had seen round up the sheep in a neighboring pasture, or at the least to be whipped by human guards; but the place seemed empty. The first door I came to was a small one, stopped open against the hot noonday. Beyond it, like a cave, a dark hall stretched, which when my eyes accommodated I saw to be lined with bookshelves. What terrors waited in that place I couldn't care; I heaved myself over the sill onto the cold flags.

7.


"Max!" My voice bleated like a new kid's. Somewhere near in the cool dark had been a whining hum, which at my cry clicked off and unwound. The one sound then was a truckle of water, as from a tap or fountain.

A voice, not Max's, called from behind the wall of books. "Who that holler in my stacks?"

It was the query put by trolls. For all my anguish I trembled.

"Ain't no students belong in George's stacks. Who there?"

Footsteps came from where the hum had been, that I must think was the monster's snore. "It's only I," I answered. "Please, it's -- the Goat-Boy."

I saw come round behind, to the aisle I lay in, great baleful eyes; then a man, by the form of him, or troll in man's disguise -- but black as his lair. More dread, he held by the neck a silver-headed serpent, mouth agape; its body, twelve times the size of any rattler's in the pasture, trailed out of sight around the corner. They stood outlined now between me and the doorway.

I shouted again for Max.

"What you squalling, Goat-Boy?" The creature set down his serpent, which drew back half a foot and lay still. I made to flee deeper into the passageway.

"Whoa down, chile!" In a moment he overtook me and squatted at my head, so that both ends of the aisle were closed to me.

"Don't eat me up," I pleaded, and resorted to the one stratagem I knew. "Wait till Dr. Spielman comes along, and eat him."

"Eat, boy? Who gone eat? Nobody gone eat."

His voice I had to own did not threaten, and for all the tearfulness of those eyes, his grip was gentle on my shoulder. I looked to see whether the serpent was creeping near.

"How about that snake?" I pointed urgently, and he glanced there as if frightened himself. "Is it dead?"

When he caught my meaning his teeth flashed white as his eyes. "Ol' sweeper? I be dead 'fore now if ol' sweeper could bite!" His voice turned confidential. "Can't nobody eat me up, boy. I done been et."

His answer set him to chuckling; then after a moment he said, "Here's you a riddle: Which mother got the most children, and eats 'em every one when they grown up?"

"Please, sir," I said wretchedly. "I'm not a student, I'm just the Goat-Boy, and I've got to find Dr. Spielman. I've hurt my legs."

I held one aching thigh as I spoke. The black man inspected my bruises, frowning concern. The pain was not nearly so severe as it had been at first, but my sweat raised gooseflesh in the chilly air.

"Hurt his legs," my examiner murmured. "Flunk if he didn't. And not a stitch of clothes on. Who stuck you in the booklift, chile?" He did not seem to be addressing me. I sat up as best I could; with a fierce shrug he put his arm around my shoulders to brace me and looked closely at my chest. He spoke as if reading something from the watch that hung there. "Pass All... Pass All..."

"Pass All Fail All!" I exclaimed. For all his behavior perplexed me, I was not so frightened now. "What does that mean, anyhow?"

He drew back. "Land sakes, sir, I wasn't messin' with no tapes! I just come by with ol' sweeper and hears this squallin' -- what I gone do, let the poor child get his brains et?"

His complaint -- to whom, I could not imagine -- turned into a senseless mumble, thence to a mournful snatch of song about a certain Shore where (not unlike the brothers Gruff) he looked to find his heart's desire, could he but cross to it. Then he broke off singing with a scoff.

"Pass All Fail All! Ain't no child gone die in these here stacks!" He thrust his other arm under my legs, picked me up, and started down the aisle. I protested until I heard him say -- still more to himself than to me -- "I gone fetch you out of here, fore we both gets et. Dr. Spielman know what's what."

Just then a voice I knew called, "George?" and my heart sprang up, for Max himself crossed the end of our aisle. He peered in, not recognizing me for an instant, and then hurried to us.

"Yi Billy, what's this now!"

"He legs bunged up in that ol' booklift!" George said indignantly. "A poor naked chile!"

"Oh, Max!" Borne still by the great black George I clung to my dear keeper's neck. "I killed Redfearn's Tommy!"

"Nah, you what!" Max pulled distressfully at his beard. "Put him there, George. What's this with the legs hurt?"

"Sure I got no business touchin' no tapes," George declared. "Ain't nobody's business stuffin' no chile in the booklift, neither!" They laid me on a nearby wooden table; my eyes burned that no one understood my deed.

"I hit Tommy with a crook!" I cried. "He's dead!"

Max clasped me to him then while I choked out my grievous tale. "Ach, Bill!" he groaned at each new disclosure: my resolve to be a human man, the attack on Lady Creamhair, and her curse... "Ach, Bill!" My resolve thereafter to be a goat-buck, the rape of Hedda, and Tom's murder at my hands... "Ach, Bill!"

"I shouldn't have been born!" I lamented. Max had gently released me to examine my injuries. "Never mind my legs! They deserve to be broken!"

With sudden pertinence, as he still addressed some distant scene the black man said, "Ain't no bones broke. Little goat's-milk, this here child stand straight as the Clock-tower." Then he was off again:

" 'One mo' river,' say the Founder-Man Boss:

'Y'all gone Graduate soon's y'all cross.' "

"Why does he talk like that?" I cried.

For just a second George seemed as it were to come truly to himself. Half-laughing, yet something indignantly, he complained to my keeper: "How come you never learnt him to stand up straight?"

Now Max seemed as distraught as I. "Ach, George, forgive! And Billy -- forgive, forgive!"

I was astonished to see misery where I'd looked for wrath. Max embraced the elderly black man, even went to his knees before him. "Love this man, Billy," he commanded me. "This is what it is to be EATen alive -- and he suffered it for your sake, to save your life once!"

Oblivious to us now, George wandered back towards what I'd taken for a serpent, singing blithely as he went:


"Well, Mister Tiger he roar, and Mister Lion he shout --


But it's WESCAC'll EAT you if you don't watch out."

"What's it all about?" I fretted; then another rush of imperious grief swept curiosity away. "Max -- I killed Tommy!"

Nodding, Max rose from his knees. "Ja ja, that's a bad thing, and him such a fine buck." Still there was no anger in his voice; even the sorrow seemed not quite for my dead friend's sake. "But I've done a worse thing. Wasn't it Max Spielman killed poor Tommy, sure as if I'd hit him myself?"

George by this time had turned on his machine and was dusting the tops of a bookrow with its nozzle. Max shook his head as if the sight grieved him, and after reassuring himself that my injuries had been more painful than serious (and were besides the lesser of my hurts), he bade me hear how the black man and I had come each to his present misfortunate pass.

"George Herrold is a booksweep," he began. "These stacks here are so small and used so little, we don't really need them, but I told Chancellor Rexford when he asked me, 'If you're going to keep the goat-branch open for my sake, hire George Herrold for the janitor. He didn't deserve what happened to him any more than I did.'

"What it used to be, Billy, fifteen years ago he was Chief Booksweep in the Main Stacks of New Tammany. I knew George there in the last years of the Riot, when I was helping turn WESCAC into a weapon to EAT the Bonifacists with..."

"What's this WESCAC everybody talks about?" I demanded. "Some kind of troll, that eats everybody up?"

Max nodded. "That's just right, Bill. WESCAC is worse than anything in the storybooks: what would you think of a herd of goats that learned how to make a troll all by themselves, that could eat up the University in half an hour?"

"Why would they do that?" I wanted to know.

"Why is right: no goat was ever dumb enough to be that smart." He sighed. "So, well. Anyhow, George was the only booksweep allowed in the basement of Tower Hall: that's the building where the committees meet, and the Main Stacks are -- and WESCAC's there, what you might say the heart of it, and in one part of the basement is where they keep all the tapes they feed into it. Lots of these is big secrets, you know? And nobody goes down there without Top Clearance. That's what I had, till they fired me; and that's what George had, just to sweep the place out."

He left off his explanation to ask more about my pain, wondering aloud whether he oughtn't to fetch in a doctor. But for all the bruises purpling along my thighs I declared with some impatience that I had no need of Dr. Mankiewicz (who regularly ministered to the herd); my conscience, I said in effect, was the real source of my suffering, and my one concern, since nothing could bring back Redfearn's Tommy, was to learn what I might about the monster who had killed him. The more I gave voice to my self-loathing the more distressed Max became: it was a curious power, and in some queer way a balm to that same self-despise, which I confess I larded on. When I protested once more that I was neither fish nor fowl but some abomination of a kind with WESCAC, which the campus were well purged of, he pleaded, "Na, boy, please, here's the truth now: who you are, nobody knows: not me, not George, not anybody. But what you are -- that's what you got to hear now. It's the history you got to understand."

He resumed his narrative, shaking his head and fingering his beard ruefully as he spoke. Twenty years ago, he said, a cruel herd of men called Bonifacists, in Siegfrieder College, had attacked the neighboring quads. The Siegfrieders were joined by certain other institutions, and soon every college in the University was involved in the Second Campus Riot. Untold numbers perished on both sides; the populus Moishian community in Siegfried was destroyed. Max himself, born and educated in those famous halls where science, philosophy, and music had flowered in happier semesters, barely escaped with his life to New Tammany College, and though he was by temperament opposed to riot, he'd put his mathematical genius at the service of his new alma mater. He it was who first proposed, in a now-famous memorandum to Chancellor Hector, that WESCAC -- which had already assumed control of important non-military operations in the West-Campus colleges -- had a destructive potential unlike anything thitherto imagined.

"Oy, Bill, this WESCAC!" he said now with much emotion. "What a creature it is! I didn't make it; nobody did -- it's as old as the mind, and you just as well could say it made itself. Its power is the same that keeps the campus going -- I don't explain it now, but that's what it is. And the force it gives out with -- yi, Bill, it's the first energy of the University: the Mind-force, that we couldn't live a minute without! The thing that tells you there's a you, that's different from me, and separates the goats from the sheeps... Like the life-heat, that it means we aren't dead, but our own house is the fuel of it, and we burn ourselves up to keep warm... Ay, ay, Bill!"

So! Well! Max caught hold of his agitation and went on with the tale of WESCAC -- which history, owing to my ignorance and my impatience to learn its relevance to myself, I but imperfectly grasped. The beast I gathered had existed as it were in spirit among men from the very founding of the University, especially in West Campus. Only in the last century or so had it acquired a body of the simplest sort -- whether flesh and blood or other material I could not quite tell. It was put at first to the simplest tasks: doing sums and verifying certain types of answers. Thereafter, as studentdom's confidence in it grew, so also did its size, complexity, and power; it underwent a series of metamorphoses, like an insect or growing fetus, demanding ever more nourishment and exerting more influence, until in the years just prior to my own birth it cut the last cords to its progenitors and commenced a life of its own. It was not clear to me whether a number of little creatures had merged into one enormous one, for example, or whether like Brickett Ranunculus WESCAC one day had outgrown its docility, kicked over the traces, and turned on its keepers. Nothing about the beast seemed unambiguous; I could imagine it at all only by reference to my own equivocal nature, that had got beyond its own comprehension and injured where it meant to aid. The whole of New Tammany College, I took it, if not the entire campus, had gradually come under WESCAC's hegemony, voluntarily or otherwise: it anticipated its own needs and saw to it they were satisfied; it set its own problems and solved them. It governed every phase of student life, deciding who should marry whom, how many children they should bear, and how they should be reared; itself it taught them, as it saw fit, graded their performance and assigned them lifeworks somewhere in its vast demesne. So wiser grew it than its masters, and more efficient at every task, they had ordered it at some fateful juncture thenceforth to order them, and the keepers became the kept. It was as if, Max said, the Founder Himself should appear to one and declare, "You are to do such-and-so"; one was free in theory to do otherwise, but in fact none but a madman would, in those circumstances. Even the question whether one did right to let WESCAC thus rule him, only WESCAC could reasonably be asked. It was at once the life and death of studentdom: its food was the entire wealth of the college, the whole larder of accumulated lore; in return it disgorged masses of new matter -- more, alas, than its subjects ever could digest... and so these in turn, like the cud of a cow, became its further nourishment.

As late as Campus Riot II, however, there remained a few men like Max for whom the creature was, if no longer their servant, at least not yet entirely their master, and upon whom it seemed to depend like a giant young brother for the completion of its growth. It was they, under Max's directorship, who taught WESCAC how to EAT...

"Imagine a big young buck," Max said: "he's got wonderful muscles, and he knows he could jump the fence and kill your enemies if he just knew how. Not only that: he knows who could teach him! So he finds his keeper and says he needs certain lessons. Then he can jump out of his pen to charge anybody he wants to, you see? Including his teacher..."

WESCAC's former handlers, it appeared, had already taught it considerable resourcefulness, and elements of the college military -- the New Tammany ROTC -- had long since instructed it to advise them how they might best defend it (and its bailiwick) against all adversaries. Under the pretext therefore of developing a more efficient means of communicating with its extremities, the creature disclosed one day to Max Spielman that a certain sort of energy given off during its normal activity -- what Max called "brainwaves" -- was theoretically capable of being intensified almost limitlessly, at the same amplitudes and frequencies as human "brainwaves," like a searchlight over tremendous spaces. The military-science application was obvious: in great secret the brute and its handlers perfected a technique they called Electroencephalic Amplification and Transmission -- "The better," Professor-General Hector had warned the Bonifacists, "to EAT you with."

"It was an awful race we were in," Max said unhappily. "The WESCAC doesn't just live in NTC, you know: there's some WESCAC in the head of every student that ever was. We had to work fast, and we made two grand mistakes right in the start; we taught it how to teach itself and get smarter without our help, and we showed it how to make its own policy out of its knowledge. After that the WESCAC went its own way, and it wasn't till a while we realized a dreadful thing: not one of us could tell for sure any more that its interests were the same as ours!

"So. We were winning the Riot by that time, but it was left yet to make kaput the Siegfrieders and their colleagues the Amaterasus, and we knew we'd lose thousands of students before we were done. Then we found out a thing we were already afraid of: that the Bonifacists were working on an EAT-project of their own. It was their only chance to win the Riot: if we didn't end things in a hurry they'd be sure to EAT us, because all WESCAC wanted was to learn the trick, never mind who taught it or who got killed. We won the race..."

I commenced to fidget. Intriguing though it was, Max's account had no bearing that I could discern upon my pressing interests. But my keeper's face now was altogether rapt with a pained excitement.

"One morning just before daylight we pointed two of WESCAC's antennas at a certain quadrangle in Amaterasu College. There was only a handful of us, in a basement room in Tower Hall. Maurice Stoker turned on the power -- he's the new chancellor's half-brother, and I curse him to this day. Eblis Eierkopf set the wavelength: he was just a youngster then, a Siegfrieder himself, that didn't care which side he worked for as long as he could have the best laboratories. I curse him. And I curse Chementinski, the Nikolayan that focused the signal. All was left was the worst thing of all: to turn on the amplifiers and press the EAT-button. Not a right-thinking mind in the whole wide campus but curses the hand that pushed that button!" Max's eyes flashed tears; he spread before my face the thumb, and three fingers of his right hand. "The Director's hand, Billy; I curse it too! Max Spielman pushed that button!"

Whereupon (he declared after a moment, with dry dispassion) thousands of Amaterasus -- men, women, and children -- had been instantly EATen alive: which was to say, they suffered "mental burn-out" in varying degrees, like overloaded fuses. For those at the center of the quad, instant death; for the next nearest, complete catalepsy. In the first rings of classrooms, disintegration of personality, loss of identity, and inability to choose, act, or move except on impulse. Throughout the several rings of dormitories beyond the classrooms, madness of various types: suicidal despair, hysteria, vertiginous self-consciousness. And about the periphery of the signal, impotency, nervous collapse, and more or less severe neuroses. All of the damage was functional and therefore "permanent" -- terminable, that is, only by the death of the victim, which in thousands of cases followed soon after.

"Think of a college suddenly filled with madmen!" Max cried. "Everybody busy at their work, but all gone mad in the same instant!" Bus-drivers, he declared, had smashed their vehicles into buildings and gibbering pedestrians; infirmary-surgeons had knifed their patients, construction-workers had walked casually off high scaffoldings. The murder and suicide rates shot up a thousand-fold, as did the incidence of accidental death. Untended boilers exploded; fires broke out everywhere, while student firemen sat paralyzed in their places or madly wandered the streets, and undergraduates thronged into blazing classrooms, shops, and theaters as if nothing were amiss. Few were capable of eating meals; even fewer of preparing them. Many lost control of bladder and bowels; most neglected common health measures entirely; the few who turned pathologically fastidious washed their faces day and night while perhaps urinating in their wash-water; none was competent to manage the apparatus of public health, minister to the sick, or bury the dead. In consequence, diseases soon raged terribly as the fire. Before rescue forces from other quadrangles brought the situation into hand, a third of the buildings in the target area were more or less destroyed (including an irreplacable collection of seventeen hundred illustrated manuscripts from the pre-Kamakura period), half at least of the students and faculty were dead or dying, and all but a handful were fit only for custodial asylums. Within the week both Amaterasu and Siegfrieder Colleges had surrendered unconditionally, and the Second Campus Riot was ended.

"But the damage!" Max said woefully. "The damage isn't done yet. Five years ago was the last time I read a newspaper -- that was ten years since I pushed the button. There was a story in it about one of the Amaterasus that survived, and everybody thought he was well, till one day he runs wild on his motorbike and kills four little schoolgirls. And the kids themselves, that was born from the survivors: two percent are idiots; one out of three is retarded, and they all got things like enuresis and nightmares. How many generations it will go on, nobody knows." He struck his forehead with his fist. "That's what it means to be EATen, Billy! The goats, now: they'll eat almost anything you feed them; but only us humans is smart enough to EAT one another!"

Full of wonder, I shook my head. The idea of madness was not easy for me to appreciate: I had for examples only the booksweep himself and the character of Carpo the Fool from Tales of the Trustees, both of whom appeared more formidable than pathetic. I asked whether George the book-sweep had been among the victims of this first attack. My motive was not primarily to learn more about the terrors of WESCAC, but if possible to lead Max discreetly towards the matter he'd first essayed; and I was so far successful, that he left off fisting his brow and wound up his history:

"Yes, well, it wasn't the Riot George was hurt in, but the peace." He explained that terrible as the two Campus Riots had been, they were in one sense almost trifling, the result not of basic contradictions between the belligerents but of old-fashioned collegiate pride (what he called militant alma-materism) and unfavorable balances in the informational economy between Siegfried, for example, and its fellow West-Campus colleges. All the while, however, as it were in the background of the two riots, a farther-reaching conflict had developed: a contradiction of first principles that cut across college boundaries and touched upon all the departments of campus life -- not only economics and political science, but philosophy, literature, pedagogy; even agriculture and religion.

"What I mean," he said soberly, "is Student-Unionism versus Informationalism. You'll learn about it as you go along: it's the biggest varsity fact the campus has got to live with these days, and nobody can explain it all at once." For the present I had to content myself with understanding that many semesters ago, in what history professors called the Rematriculation Period, the old West-Campus faith in such things as an all-powerful Founder and a Final Examination that sent one forever to Commencement Gate or the Dean o' Flunks had declined (even as Chickie's lover had declared in the pasture) from an intellectual force to a kind of decorous folk-belief. Students still crowded once a week into Founder's Hall to petition an invisible "Examiner" for leniency; schoolchildren still were taught the moral principles of Moishe's Code and the Seminar-on-the-Hill; but in practice only the superstitious really felt any more that the beliefs they ran their lives by had any ultimate validity. The new evidence of the sciences was most disturbing: there had been, it appeared, no Foundation-Day: the University had always existed; men's acts, which had been thought to be freely willed and thus responsible, seemed instead to spring in large measure from dark urgings, unreasoning and always guileful; moral principles were regarded by the Psychology Department as symptoms on the order of dreams, by the Anthropology Department as historical relics on the order of potsherds, by the Philosophy Department variously as cadavers for logical dissection or necessary absurdities. The result (especially for thoughtful students) was confusion, anxiety, frustration, despair, and a fitful search for something to fill the moral vacuum in their quads. Thus the proliferation of new religions, secular and otherwise, in the last half-dozen generations: the Pre-Schoolers, with their decadent primitivism and their morbid regard for emotion, dark fancy, and deep sleep; the Curricularists, with their pedagogic nostrums and naïve faith in "the infinite educability of studentdom"; the Evolutionaries; the quasi-mystical Ismists; the neo-Enochians with their tender-minded retreat to the old fraternities -- emasculated, however, into aestheticism and intellectual myth-worship; the Bonifacists, frantically sublimating their libidos to the administrative level and revering their Kanzler as if he were a founder; the Secular-Studentists (called by their detractors Mid-Percentile or Bourgeois-Liberal Baccalaureates) for whom Max himself declared affinity, with their dogged trust in the self-sufficiency of student reason; the Ethical Quadranglists, who subscribed to a doctrine of absolute relativity; the Sexual Programmatists, the Tragicists and New Quixotics, the "Angry Young Freshmen," the "Beist Generation," and all the rest.

Among these new beliefs, Max said, was Student-Unionism, a political-religious philosophy that flowered among the lowest percentiles after the Informational Revolution. As men had turned from post-graduate dreams to the things of this campus, they set off the great explosion of knowledge that still reverberated in our time. Students rose against masters, masters against chairmen; departments banded together into the college-units we know today, drawing their strength from heavy engineering and applied-science laboratories and vast reference libraries. But the "Petty Informationalists" were as lawless in their way as the old department heads had been, and on a far grander scale: where before an occasional sizar had been flogged, or a co-ed ravished by the droit de Fauteuil, now thousands and millions of the ignorant were exploited by the learned. Mere kindergarteners were sent down into the Coal-Research diggings; pregnant sophomore girls toiled in sweat-labs and rat-infested carrels. Such were the abuses that drove the Pre-Schoolist poets to cry, "The Campus is realer than the Classroom!" while their counterparts in Philosophy asserted that all the ills of studentdom were effects of formal education. But however productive of great art, the Pre-Schoolist philosophy offered little consolation -- and no hope -- to the masses of illiterates in their sooty dorms and squalid auditoriums. These it was who commenced to turn, in desperation, to the Confraternité Administratif des Etudiants, from beneath whose scarlet pennant a new Grand Tutor, fierce-bearded and sour of visage, cried: "Students of the quads, unite!"

The Student-Unionist Prospectus (Max went on) was not in itself inimical to the spirit of the "Open College" or "Free Research" way of student life: only to its unregulated excesses. Its pacific doctrine was that wherever studentdom is divided into the erudite and ignorant, masters and pupils, a synthesis must inevitably take place; thus Informationalism, based as it was on the concept of private knowledge, must succumb of its own contradictions as did Departmentalism before it. All information and physical plant would become the property of the Student Union; rank and tenure would be abolished, erudition and illiteracy done away with; since Founder and Finals were lies invented by professors to keep students in check, there were in reality no Answers: instead of toiling fearfully for the selfish goal of personal Commencement, a perfectly disciplined student body would live communally in well-regulated academies, studying together at prescribed hours a prescribed curriculum that taught them to subordinate their individual minds to the Mind of the Group. Stated thus, the movement won a host of converts not only among the stupid and oppressed but among the intelligent as well, who saw in its selflessness an alternative to the tawdry hucksterism of the "open college" at its worst -- where Logic Departments exhorted one in red neon to Syllogize One's Weight Away, and metaphysicians advertised by wireless that The Chap Who Can Philosophize Never Ossifies. Max confessed that he himself, as a freshman, had belonged like many intellectual Moishians to a Student-Unionist organization -- a fact which was to plague him in later life -- and had sympathized whole-heartedly with the Curricularists in Nikolay College who, during Campus Riot I, had overthrown their despotic chancellor and established the first Student-Unionist regime.

"It wasn't till later," he declared sadly, "we saw that the 'Sovereignty of the Bottom Percentile' was just another absolute chancellorship, with some pastry-cook or industrial-arts teacher in charge. The great failing of Informationalism is selfishness; but what the Student-Unionists do, they exchange the selfish student for a selfish college. This College Self they're always lecturing about -- it's just as greedy and grasping as Ira Hector, the richest Informationalist in New Tammany." He shook his head. "You know what, Billy, I don't agree with old Professor Marcus: I think the mind of a group is always inferior to the minds of its best members -- ach, to any of its members, if it's a committee. And the passion of a college -- that's a frightening thing! I tell you, the College Self is a great spoilt child; it's a bully and a beast!"

But notwithstanding the many defectors from Nikolay College, the influence of Student-Unionism spread rapidly between the Riots, especially on East Campus. The colleges there were without exception overenrolled and grindingly ignorant; their tradition was essentially spiritualistic, transcendental, passivist, and supra-personal -- in a word, Ismist. The Footnotes to Sakhyan -- their General Prospectus, one might say -- taught that the "True Graduate" is the student who can say with understanding: "I and the Founder are one; I am the University; I am not." From this doctrine of self-transcension it was an easy step to the self-suppression of Student-Unionism, and after Campus Riot II -- in the teeming quadrangles of Siddartha and the vast monastic reaches of T'ang -- they took that step by the millions.

"Mind now, my boy," Max interjected; "this is where you come in."

I confess I had been lulled into a half-drowse by his quiet chronicle and the hum of George's sweeper in the darkling passages; I was worn out by the morning's disasters, and reclined on a table not much harder than the barn-floor I was used to. But these welcome words reroused me.

"I told you already," Max said, "about the Siegfrieders was learning how to EAT just before the Second Riot ended. So the Nikolayans snatch all the Siegfrieder scientists they can find, and the New Tammanies do the same thing, and then Chementinski, that was my best and oldest friend -- Chementinski takes it into his head how the campus isn't safe while one side can EAT and the other can't. What he thinks, if there was just an EASCAC to match against the WESCAC, then nobody dares to EAT anybody! So he steals off to Nikolay College with everything he knows, and one evening a year later WESCAC tells us how two thousand political-science flunkees was just EATen alive in a Nikolayan reform school, and not by WESCAC..."

There, he maintained, began the so-called "Quiet Riot" between East and West Campus. Each of the two armed campuses strove by every means short of actual rioting to extend its hegemony; neither dared EAT the other, just as the traitor Chementinski had hoped, but each toiled with its whole intelligence to better its weaponry. Thoughtful students everywhere trembled lest some rash folly or inadvertence trigger a third Campus Riot, which must be the end of studentdom; but any who protested were called "fellow-learners" or "pink-pennant pedagogues." Student-Unionist "wizard hunts" became a chief intramural sport from which no liberal was safe. Under the first post-riot Chancellor of NTC, Professor-General Reginald Hector, security measures were carried to unheard-of lengths, and Max Spielman -- hero of the scientific fraternity, discoverer of the great laws of the University, the campus-wide image of disinterested genius -- Max Spielman was sacked without notice or benefits, on the ground that his loyalty was questionable.

"They should be EATen themselves!" I cried.

Max clucked reproachfully. "Na, Bill, it wasn't Chancellor Hector or the College Senators; they were just scared, like people get. Besides, my friend Chementinski was a Moishian too..."

"Whose fault was it, then? I'll eat him myself!" I had known before then, of course, that my dear keeper had been shabbily used by his colleagues, but not until this cram-course in the history of the campus was I able to appreciate the magnitude of their injustice.

Max smiled. "You know, they used to call me 'the father of WESCAC': well, so, then just before you were born, the Son turned against his own Poppa. Just like you did out in the barn."

He explained that whereas EASCAC (larger but cruder than its West-Campus brother) was employed almost solely in the cause of military science and heavy engineering, WESCAC had been trained to do virtually the whole brainwork of the "Free Campus": most importantly, teaching every course of study in the NTC catalogue, while at the same time inventing and implementing extensions of its own power and influence. When asked by its keepers to name its most vulnerable aspects, to the end of strengthening them, its memorable reply had been, "Flunkèd men who tamper with my EATing program"; and it had prescribed two corrective measures: "Program me to program my own Diet" [that is, to decide for itself who was to be EATen, and when], and "Program me to EAT anyone who tries to alter that same Diet." In vain Max protested that already WESCAC's interests had grown multifarious beyond anyone's certain knowledge -- perhaps even duplicitous. Of necessity, WESCAC and EASCAC shared the common power source on Founder's Hill, and a certain communication -- ostensibly for espionage -- went on between them; from a special point of view it might be argued that they were brothers, or even the hemispheres of a single brain. Moreover, it was suspected that Chementinski had already "tampered with the Diet" in subtle ways before his defection: if he was in truth a Student-Unionist traitor, who knew but what WESCAC, given its head, might itself defect, join forces with EASCAC, and destroy the "Free Campus"? Or if Chementinski was merely an overzealous pacifist, as Max had argued, he could well have instructed WESCAC to make just such a plea for programming its own Diet and then to EAT no one at all -- in which case, unless he had similarly programmed EASCAC, West Campus would be left helpless against attack. But the professor-generals had no patience with speculation of this sort, nor any substitute for WESCAC's weaponry, however double-edged. And finally, it was just possible that the "Flunkèd persons" on the staff were not the Chementinskis at all. Suppose the Nikolayans decided to EAT us by surprise, they argued, so that no one survived who could authorize WESCAC to retaliate? What a formidable deterrent it would be, what a blow for campus peace would be struck, if WESCAC not only could retaliate automatically but could actually decide when attack was imminent and strike first -- as it claimed it could program itself to do!

In fine, Max had been overruled. "All my objections did," he said, "they reminded Chancellor Hector the students shouldn't think WESCAC was out of our control, even if it was. So the generals told it, 'Program your own Diet -- except don't destroy NTC -- and EAT anybody that comes near your Belly except he's a Grand Tutor." What that means, the Belly, it's a cave in the basement of Tower Hall where WESCAC's Diet-storage is. Where all the counter-intelligence and EATing programs are kept. It never needs servicing and nobody was allowed to go in there already, but now nobody dared to go anywhere near it. The business about the Grand Tutor means nothing: it was a sop to the goyim, that say Enos Enoch will come back to campus someday and put an end to riots."

It was also duly reported to WESCAC which of its keepers had favored and which opposed this augmentation of its power -- a practice instituted by the Senate after the Chementinski affair.

The Diet controversy had been followed at once by one more profound, which proved to be Max's last. For all its might and versatility, WESCAC's brain-power was still essentially of one sort: what was called MALI, for Manipulative Analysis and Logical Inference. In Max's words: "All WESCAC does is say One goat plus one goat is two goats, or Billy is stronger than Tommy, and Brickett is stronger than Billy, then Brickett is stronger than Tommy, you see? Now, it does this in fancy ways, and quick as a flash; but what it comes down to is millions of little pulses, like the gates between the buck-pens: and all a gate can be is open or shut. The only questions it can answer are the kind we can reduce to a lot of little yeses and nos, and it answers in the same language."

This elementary capacity WESCAC shared with its crudest ancestors, though it had been refined enormously over the years. To it, Max Spielman and his colleagues had made only one fateful addition: the ability to form rudimentary concepts from its information and to sharpen them by trial and error. ("Like when you were a baby kid, you hardly knew you were you and the herd was the herd. Then you learned there was a you that was hungry, and a Mary Appenzeller's teat that wasn't you, but filled you up. Next thing, you got a name and a history, and could tell apart seven hundred plants.") Thus it was that their creature's original name had been CACAC, for Campus Analyzer, Conceptualizer, and Computer; thus too it became possible for the beast to educate itself beyond any human scope, conceive and execute its own projects, and display what could only be called resourcefulness, ingenuity, and cunning. Yet though it possessed the power not only to EAT all studentdom but to choose to do so, there were respects in which the callowest new freshman was still its better: mighty WESCAC was not able to enjoy, for example, as I enjoyed frisking through the furze; nor could it contemplate or dream. It could excogitate, extrapolate, generalize, and infer, after its fashion; it could compose an arithmetical music and a sort of accidental literature (not often interesting); it could assess half a hundred variables and make the most sophisticated prognostications. But it could not act on hunch or brilliant impulse; it had no intuitions or exaltations; it could request, but not yearn; indicate, but not insinuate or exhort; command, but not care. It had no sense of style or grasp of the ineffable: its correlations were exact, but its metaphors wrenched; it could play chess, but not poker. The fantastically complex algebra of Max's Cyclology it could manage in minutes, but it never made a joke in its life.

It was young Dr. Eblis Eierkopf, the former Bonifacist, who first proposed that WESCAC be provided with a supplementary intelligence which he called NOCTIS (for Non-Conceptual Thinking and Intuitional Synthesis): this capacity, he maintained, if integrated with the formidable MALI system, would give WESCAC a truly miraculous potential, setting it as far above studentdom in every psychic particular as studentdom was above the insects. Wescacus malinoctis, as he called his projected creature, would pose and solve the subtlest problems not alone of scientists, mathematicians, and production managers, but as well of philosophers, poets, and professors of theology. Max himself had found the notion intriguing and had invited Eierkopf to pursue it further, though he cordially questioned both its wisdom and its feasibility: the crippled young Siegfrieder was regarded for all his brilliance as something of an unpleasant visionary, and at the time -- Campus Riot II just having ended -- everyone was busy finding peaceful employments for Wescacus mali. The debate, therefore, between the "Eierkopfians" and the "Spielman faction" had remained academic and good-humored. But when the Nikolayans fed EASCAC its first meal, proving their military equivalence to West Campus, Eierkopf pressed most vigorously for a crash program of the highest priority to develop NOCTIS, carrying his plea over Max's head directly to the Chancellor's office. It was our one hope, he had maintained, of regaining the electroencephalic advantage for West Campus: a malinoctial WESCAC not only would out-general its merely rational opponent in time of riot, but would be of inestimable value in the Quiet Riot too, possessed of a hundred times the art of Nikolay's whole Propaganda Institute. Indeed he went so far as to suggest it might prove the Commencement of all studentdom, a Grand Tutor such as this campus had never seen. What had been Enos Enoch's special quality, after all, and Sakhyan's, if not an extraordinary psychic endowment of the non-conceptual sort, combined with tremendously influential personality? But the WESCAC he envisioned would be as superior to those Grand Tutors in every such respect as it was already in, say mathematical prowess; founderlike was the only word for it, and like the Founder Himself it could well resolve, for good and all, the disharmonies that threatened studentdom.

High officers in the Hector administration grew interested -- more in the military than in the moral promise -- and supported the NOCTIS project: but Max and several others fought it with all their strength. "Noctility," they agreed with Eierkopf, was exactly the difference between WESCAC's mind and student's; but the limitations of malistic thinking, however many problems they occasioned, were what stood at last between a student body served by WESCAC and the reverse. To thoughtful believers, the notion of a student-made Founder must be utterly blasphemous; to high-minded secular studentists, on the other hand, even a campus ruled by Student-Unionists -- who at least were men and as such might be appealed to, outwitted, and in time overthrown -- was preferable to eternal and absolute submission to a supra-human power. In an impassioned speech -- his last -- to the College Senate, Max had declared: "Me, I don't want any Supermind, danke: just your mind and my mind. You want to make WESCAC your Founder and everybody get to Commencement Gate? Well, what I think, my friends, that's all poetry, and life is what I like better. The Riot's down here on campus, not up in the Belfry, and the enemy isn't Student-Unionism, but ignorance and suffering, that the WESCAC we got right now can help us fight. If you ask me, the medical student that invented ether did more for studentdom than Sakhyan and Enos Enoch together."

To these perhaps impolitic remarks a well-known senator from the Political Science Department had objected that they sounded to him neither reverent nor almamatriotic. It was no secret that his distinguished colleague -- for what cause, the senator would not presume to guess -- had opposed every measure to insure the defense of the Free Campus against Founderless Student-Unionism by strengthening WESCAC's deterrent capacity; that he had moreover "stood up" for the traitor Chementinski and sympathized openly with a number of organizations on the Attorney-Dean's List. But could not even an ivy-tower eccentric (who had better have stuck to his logarithms and left political science to professors of that specialty) see that pain and ignorance were but passing afflictions, mere diversions if he might say so from the true end of life on this campus? Had it not always been, and would it not be again, that when pain and ignorance were vanquished, studentdom turned ever to the Founder in hope of Commencement? And as it was the New Tammany Way to lead the fight against ignorance and pain, so must not our college lead too the Holy Riot against a-founderism and disbelief, with every weapon in its Armory?

So much at least was true: Max was no political scientist. At the first question he had merely snorted that ignorance would always be with us, even in the Senate. At the second he had cried out impatiently, "Flunk all your founders -- it's the Losters I'll take sides with!"

His dismissal and exile followed this stormy session, which also approved the secret NOCTIS project and made Eblis Eierkopf director of the WESCAC Research Authority in Max's stead.

"Now mind you," my keeper said when I protested again at his ouster, "Eierkopf didn't hate me. He don't hate anybody, that's his trouble. Seek the Answers is his motto, just like New Tammany's, but he don't care what the Question is or how many students it costs to answer it. When he was in Siegfried College he went along with the Überschüler idea, not because he thought the Siegfrieders was the Genius-Class, but just he was interested in mathematical eugenics and thought he'd learn more with captured co-eds than he would with fruit-flies. Oh, Billy, I used to look at Eblis and think, 'There's Wescacus malinoctis right there: it'll be a super Eierkopf!' So, what you think was the last thing I heard before I left Tower Hall? The NOCTIS program was going to be combined with another secret one, that Eblis had got Chancellor Hector very excited about -- what they called it the Cum Laude Project..."

For some semesters, it seemed, among its host of peacetime chores, WESCAC had served the Department of Animal Husbandry's Artificial Breeding Laboratory by analyzing the genetic characteristics and histories of all their livestock and selecting optimum matches for the long-range breeding goals of several species -- much in the way it paired dormitory roommates and counseled newlyweds. So comparable indeed were these activities that Eierkopf wished to combine and extend them. The immediate objective of the Cum Laude Project seemed innocent enough: WESCAC would abstract from thousands of historical and biographical texts a sort of quintessential type of the ideal West-Campus Graduate, or a number of such ideal types; it would then formulate a genetic and psychological analysis of these models, and with reference to the similar analyses of every New Tammany undergraduate (already in its memory), it would indicate which young men, paired with which young women, could most quickly breed to some approximation of the ideal, and in how many generations. The actual mating, to be sure, would be voluntary and legalized by marriage (at least in the pilot experiment): the whole operation would amount to no more than a sophisticated and programmatic Courtship Counseling, already in its simpler form a popular WESCAC service, and should tend towards improvements in the student body of a sort no right-minded person could object to: better physical and mental health, higher IQ's, intellectual earnestness, Enochian humility, and the like. But along with "Operation Sheepskin," as this eugenical analysis was called, there was initiated a more radical and truly noctic series of experiments called "Operation Ramshorn," which suggested quite clearly to Max what his former subordinate was really up to. WESCAC's facilities in the Livestock Research Labs were so implemented that it could achieve a pre-selected eugenical objective almost without student assistance. A small sheep-barn was constructed to its specifications and stocked with fecund Dorset ewes; WESCAC was supplied with their genetic histories and with phials of semen from a variety of rams, and was given management also of every operation from feed-mixing to lamb-incubation: its instructions were to develop a ram short of neck and light of plate, with compact shoulders, a deep rack, firm-muscled loins, well-fleshed legs, and a fine short fleece -- but with no horns at all. Left then to itself, WESCAC fastened upon the ewes it required and impregnated them in their stalls with what semen it chose; its automatic implements took blood-tests, gave hormone-and-vitamin injections, adjusted feed-mixtures, exercise-times, and incubator-heats; it tapped certain of the male lambs for new sperm when they came of age, bred a second generation and a third, and (at just about the time Max first wandered to the NTC goat-farm) turned out exactly the desired product: a ram whose single shortcoming -- which one assumed would be easily remedied in further experiments -- was that like mules and certain other hybrids it was sterile.

"And don't forget," Max said, shaking his head, "while it was making love to the sheep it was running the whole College too, from teaching plane geometry to working out the payroll. That's some WESCAC, that is!"

Now, livestock was still managed much more cheaply and efficiently by knowledgeable students of animal husbandry, and would doubtless remain in their charge. The significance of "Operation Ramshorn," Max explained, lay not in the fact that WESCAC had fed and bred the sheep itself, instead of doing merely the eugenical brainwork -- though goodness knew this fact was ominous enough when juxtaposed with "Operation Sheepskin"! It was two other aspects of the experiment that appalled my keeper, and made him not unhappy to be cut off from further news of the Cum Laude Project. First, a more sophisticated version of "Ramshorn," this one involving rats, had already been programmed with WESCAC's assistance. Asked by a cereal-grains professor to clear the college granaries of the pests, WESCAC displayed an unprecedented inefficiency: instead of formulating a better poison or designing a rat-proof grain elevator, it proposed to mate with enough cats to develop a spectacular rodent-hunter, and to miscegenate these Überkatzen with the rats themselves, to the end of evolving a species that would prey upon itself and choose no other mate but WESCAC, which then would breed them all sterile! A proposal fantastic in every respect: the professor of cereal-grains returned disenchanted to his old-fashioned poisons and ordinary pussycats; WESCAC's gaffe became a West-Campus joke and calmed the fears of many whom Max's gloomy warnings had disturbed. As the New Tammany Times asked in a playful editorial, "What has studentdom to dread from an intelligence that can't even build a better mousetrap?"

But Dr. Eierkopf and his associates had been neither disappointed nor amused. What the newspaper and cereal-grains people didn't know was that the rat-problem had been the first test of the NOCTIS system: WESCAC's thinking had been truly if crudely malinoctial, like a simple-minded undergraduate's; the very absurdity of the Überkatzen proposal was a sign of success, for it indicated plainly that WESCAC's reasoning had been influenced -- nay, overmastered -- by what could only be called lust. Significantly, its program was by no means illogical, however impracticable: but for the first time in its career it had been guilty of rationalizing. This meant that it now possessed a sort of subconsciousness -- irrational, imperious, in a word noetic -- with which its malistic consciousness had to come to terms. Quite like a randy freshman, WESCAC had had little on its mind but sex; filled with amorous memories of the Dorset ewes, all it cared to do was mate, never mind with whom or at whose expense; Reason had become a pander for Desire. To be sure, there was nothing Grand-Tutorish in this -- at least not apparently. Neither was there about the average undergraduate. But just as the frailest first-grader could be said to have more athletic potential than the mightiest bull in the pasture, just because he's human, so the ignorantest, most lecherous undergraduate, given proper managing, might one day become a Grand Tutor -- which the best adding-machine on campus could never. Dr. Eierkopf's delight (and Max's despair) was that WESCAC had met this first prerequisite of Grand Tutorship: for better or worse its mind was now unmistakably, embarrassingly, irrevocably human.

"What happened next?" I demanded. "Can't we come to the part where I was born?"

"That's where we are," Max said. "What I mean, I don't know what happened next; I was herding the goats then and never saw anybody from the old days. All I know, what I found out years later, something must have happened to make the Tower Hall people see how dangerous the NOCTIS business was. Even before Lucius Rexford was elected, Chancellor Hector put an end to the Cum Laude Project and demoted Eblis Eierkopf to some job where he can't do any harm. The witch-hunting was over by then, and Dr. Rexford asked me would I come back to WESCAC, he was sorry I'd been sacked. But I'd seen enough of the student race to know that people was all I could love and all I could fear, while the goats I didn't feel nothing but simple affection for. And there was the new WESCAC: Mr. Rexford said it was all right, they got rid of the NOCTIS system and everything's under control. But I know WESCAC better than that. It don't forget anything it's ever learned, and if it really was noctic enough to desire things, even for a minute, then it desired to preserve and extend itself along with humping the sheep. It was always cunning, WESCAC was; now it's willful and passionate too, and it can EAT anybody that tries to change its mind against its will -- all in the name of collegiate security, like a Bonifacist Kanzler! 'No thanks,' I told Dr. Rexford; 'I'm glad you been elected, your brain's in the right place, but I won't have anything to do with WESCAC no more. It's playing possum, is all,' I told him, 'or cat-and-mouse with the whole student body; let it come and EAT me, at least I won't serve myself up on a plate. Besides, I got Billy Bocksfuss to take care of, that's like my own son...' "

Just here George happened to click off his sweeper; I heard him sing again somewhere in the distance:

"Mister Tiger he roar, Mister Lion he shout --

But it's WESCAC'll EAT you if you don't watch out."

And now I thought I understood how he had come to his present pass, and what was the debt I owed him. I had turned in the direction of his voice; now I looked to Max, and saw my confirmation in the twist of his mouth.

"The dumbwaiter you were stuck in, Billy: it used to be a booklift, but then we used it to send Diet-tapes down to WESCAC. There was only half a dozen people allowed to operate it from upstairs, to feed in secret stuff about the Nikolayans and to read out WESCAC's defense orders -- I mean people like the Joint Chairmen of Military Science, and the WESCAC Director, and the Vice-Chancellor for Riot Research. Whoever it was put you in there, he wanted you dead, because that dumbwaiter went where no human student would ever dare go -- right down into WESCAC's Belly! This was after the Diet fight, when WESCAC was set to EAT anybody that even came near its Riot-storage. I don't know who your parents are, but I bet WESCAC does: you must have got the same Prenatal Aptitude-Tests that all New Tammany babies get, because when George opened the Belly door and fetched you out, there was this official PAT-card hung around your neck -- the only thing you had on. No name was on it, and no IQ; just in the place where it usually says what a kid should major in, WESCAC had printed the words Pass All Fail All..."

"By George!" I exclaimed.

Max gestured with his open palms. "By George it didn't mean a thing, or by me either when I saw it. It don't make sense how one student could pass everything and flunk everything too. But if it meant you were going to do one or the other, like be a cum laude Graduate or flunk out altogether, there were plenty students like that in the old days, and nobody put them out to die on account of it."

The only likely hypothesis, he declared, was that my birth had been a threat of embarrassment to someone high in the administrative hierarchy of the College, who had chosen to commit an extraordinary infanticide in order to be rid of me. The scheme was feasible enough: I would be found dead by some other high official within a few days (assuming they were not all in on the plot): because of the delicate involvement of WESCAC there would be no publicity, lest the Administration be embarrassed or a valuable scientist lost; the Campus Security Police would make a secret investigation, which could be thwarted by any professor-general or vice-chancellor; the findings, if any, would be submitted to the Attorney-Dean, who if he weren't involved in the thing himself would anyhow not prosecute without the Chancellor's consent. What Max regarded as even more significant, however, was that there had been apparently no investigation at all, on the one hand, nor on the other any attempt by the culprit to follow through with his crime. It could be no secret to the guilty party that I had been spirited out of the dumbwaiter, though he might well not suspect I was still alive: poor George having heard my cries and been partially EATen by WESCAC for entering its Belly to rescue me, he was able afterwards neither to keep his brave deed secret nor to give a lucid account of it. That he was not made a hero of or even pensioned off, but quietly dismissed, argued that my enemy knew the deed was out -- how must he have suffered then not to know further what George had done with me! Or if he did know me to be alive and in Max Spielman's hands (no friend then of the powers-that-were), and yet permitted George and me both to go on living, one of two oilier things must have been the case: Did he rather risk exposure by the mad book-sweep or the "crazy old Moishian" -- as Max's foes called him -- than repeat and compound his felony? Was it that the perpetrator of the deed, like Snow White's forestry-major, was not its instigator, but had only followed orders that he was glad to see miscarry, and had dared not then report or affirm the miscarriage? Or could it be, as Max himself chose to think, that while some influential personage or personages wanted me dead, some other of comparable influence did not, so that, the attempt having failed and come to light, my secret enemies were prevented by my secret friends from finishing the job -- perhaps even from knowing it was unfinished? It was no coincidence, Max argued, that prior to my discovery he'd been a mere helper about the goat-barn, which was scheduled to be razed and the herd disposed of to make room for more poultry-pens; then not a month after he'd received me from George these plans had been changed without explanation: the Senior Goatherd was given a vice-chairmanship in Animal Husbandry, and Max had been allowed, almost unofficially, to manage the barn and herd until the Rexford administration took office and dignified his position with titles and a modest research-budget.

"So you see, Bill, you got a momma and a poppa someplace; anyhow you did once. And it's not any poor scrub-girl, that her boyfriend got her in trouble and she tried to keep it secret; it's like you were found in a rare-book vault, you know, that nobody but an old grand chancellor and his viziers had got the keys to."

A dismaying thing occurred to me. "Then Billy Bocksfuss might not even be my right name!"

Max patted my leg -- which owing to the hard oak tabletop had gone numb to pain and love-pats alike. "It was the right name for you when I got you, boy, but it's not your real one, the way you mean. You were an orphan of the storm, like me, that the student race made their goats. Your poor leg and foot were bunged up so by the tape-cans I didn't think you'd ever walk, even if nobody stole you away or killed you in the play-pound. And when I saw what a fine little buck you were growing to be on Mary Appenzeller's milk, I said, 'Well Mary, that's some billy we got ourselves, nein? And it shouldn't surprise me he'll sprout two horns to go with that hoof of his...' "

Now he grasped hard my senseless limb. "Ach, Billy, I tell you, I loved you so from the time I saw you, and hated so much what us humans had done, if I'd had one wish it would have been you was a Ziegenbock for real! I wanted you to grow a thick fleece and big horns like Brickett Ranunculus, and be fierce and gentle the way he is, and so strong, and calm, and beautiful... you never would have to hate anybody!"

Thus it had come to pass (he concluded with the same rue that had commenced this history and got lost in its unfolding) he named me Billy Bocksfuss, and swearing George Herrold as best he could to silence, nursed me secretly for a year, after which he gave out that he'd found me one morning with the other kids in the play-pound and meant to raise me as his son. Among his apprehensions had been that the tabloids would make a campus sensation of the story, not a few of whose features recalled such legends as the founding of Remus College; but they had inexplicably buried the report in their back pages or ignored it altogether. Just as mysteriously, the Nursery School's Department of Student Welfare from Infancy to Age Six, whose chairman was a famously meddlesome lady, had made but a token inspection of my circumstances; the officials had asked Max politely to fill out a few forms legalizing my wardship and subsequently ignored us. With an uneasy kind of relief, then, Max had found himself free, to all appearances, to make a choice more difficult than the original "adoption":

"Every day I looked at the human school-kids that visited the barns," he said; "they were good children, pretty children, full of passions and curiosity: I'd ask one who he was, and he'd say 'I'm Johnny So-and-so, and my daddy's a gunner in the NTC Navy, and when I grow up I'm going to be a famous scientist and EAT the Nikolayans.' Then I'd ask Brickett Ranunculus, that was just a young buck then, 'Who are you?' and he'd twitch one ear and go on eating his hay. There it all was, Bill. On one side, the Nine Symphonies and the Twelve-Term Riot; Enos Enoch and the Bonifacists! On the other side, Brickett Ranunculus eating his mash and not even knowing there's such a thing as knowledge. I'd watch you frisking with Mary's kids, that never were going to hear what true and false is, and then I'd look at the wretchedest man on campus, that wrote The Theory of the University and loves every student in it, but killed ten thousand with a single Brainwave! So! Well! I decided my Bill had better be a goat, for his own good, he should never have to wonder who he is!"

Max's long speech closed with such abruptness, was itself the end of so mattersome a history, I did not at first understand that he was done. But he set his mouth resolutely, closed his eyes, and stroked their brows with his thumb and index-finger. The hall was silent and still duskish -- though outside the solstice midday must have been blazing. I could hear again the fountain chortling near the door. Poor Redfearn's Tommy, he was not forgotten, his corpse lay as large in my thoughts as in his pen -- but it was bestrid gladiatorlike by a vaster fact, which wanted just this gurgled quiet fully to see. I raised myself up as far as I could without waking my legs.

"Then I'm not a goat? My sire and dam were both human people?"

As at the outset, Max replied only, "Forgive, forgive, Billy!"

"All this time I've been a human student, and didn't know it!"

"Ja ja." Max was down on his knees now, so that all I could see of him was his old forehead pressed against the table-edge. "I should've seen what it would come to. But forgive, Billy!"

Alas, his revelations so possessed me, it was some moments until I noticed his misery. Then I leaned quickly to shower benedictions upon his hair. Still I couldn't share his tears; half a score of inferences and conjectures importuned me. Distinguished human parents! Dark intrigues in the highest places to destroy and save me! Rescued to Pass All Fail All!

As if summoned by these astonishments my rescuer himself now hove into view, sweeper in hand. "Y'all go 'long now," he ordered us with a grin. "I got to sweep this here table off."

That frizzled head, those great eyes, yellow-white, that had on first behold so frightened me -- quite kindly they seemed now. And his gentle madness, it plucked at my heart.

"Five minutes yet," Max pled, rising. "I call for a wheelchair and fetch this boy to the Infirmary."

But I insisted I could manage. "I'm going to stand up and walk."

"Nah, Bill!" He made to stay me, but I gestured him off and swung half-around to sit on the table-edge, my legs hanging over. They pained sharply -- not from their first deforming nor yet from Redfearn's Tommy's charge, but from the course of fresh blood that began to wake them. When I slipped myself off they buckled, and I was obliged to grasp the table for support.

"Too much at once," Max protested. "A little time yet!"

But I could not bear resorting to my old lope. For all the shocks that ran from hip to toe, I could flex the muscles once again, and was determined they must bear my weight from that hour on.

"Give me a hand, George."

"Yes, sir." George Herrold readily put down his sweeper and supported me under one arm. "Y'all want to lay down," he scolded cheerfully, "you do it in the dormitory where you s'posed to, not in my stacks."

"I will from now on," I said.

His face still anxious, Max braced me from the other side, and I stood off from the table. The most difficult thing was to straighten my knees, which fourteen years of my former gait had crooked. But it was they, and my inner thighs, that Tom had struck, and I choose still to believe his blow was like a hammer's on a rusted hinge, to free the action. In any case I got them straight.

"You can let go now."

George Herrold did at once, with a chuckle, and stepped back. Max hesitated, stayed it may be by the sweat of excitement on my face; yet I had only to glance at him, and he too released me. As I had twice with Lady Creamhair and once alas before Redfearn's Tommy, I stood erect -- but this time I didn't fall. A very paroxysm of unsteadiness shook me, surely I must keel; Max stood ready to spring to my aid. I so far compromised my aim as to rest one hand on George Herrold's shoulder. But I didn't fall.

"He good as new," my rescuer scoffed. "Ain't nothing wrong with this chile."

Max clapped his hands together. "Billy Bocksfuss! Look at you once now!"

It was a gleesome thrill, this standing; my heart ran fast as when I'd teetered on those barrels in the play-pound. But at my name I felt displeasure, like a pinch. Breathlessly I said, "I don't want to be a Billy now, or a Bocksfuss, either one! I'm going to be a human student."

"Ja ja, you got to have a new name! What we do, we find a good name for you. Ay, Bill!" In the access of his joy Max embraced me around my chest and came near to upsetting me -- but I did not fall. It surprised me to observe how short a man he was, now I was standing straight: I was a whole head taller! Many things, indeed, that I had until then necessarily looked up to I found myself regarding now as from an eminence; the perspective put me once more in mind of my short reign as Dean of the Hill.

"I'm going to learn everything!" I cried. "I want you to teach me all I have to know, and then I'm going to be a student in New Tammany College! And you know what I'm going to do, Max? I'm going to find out where WESCAC's den is, and I'll say, 'Where's my mother and father? What have you done with them?' And he'd better give me the right answer, or by George I'll eat him up!"

Max shook his head happily. "Such talk!"

Perhaps thinking I'd referred to him, George Herrold struck up his favorite warning: "It's WESCAC'll EAT you if you don't watch out..."

"You'll see!" I gaily promised.

Max let go me and furrowed his brow. "Say now, Billy! I just thought something!"

He was struck with wonder that a certain question had not occurred to him until that instant -- one which well might have long since to any auditor of this history. But as it had required him fourteen years to think of it, so seven more were to pass before ever it got asked -- and I fear it has not been answered to this day. I cut him off at the mention of my name.

"Not Billy any more! Billy Bocksfuss is dead in the goat-pens." The latter words, an inspiration of the moment, it gave me an unexpected stir of pleasure to pronounce.

Max laughed. "So what should I call you?" He reminded me that none of us knew what my proper family-name was, but he saw no reason why I shouldn't get by without one for the present. If in the meanwhile I desired a new given-name, he'd be glad to help me choose one. The goats, I knew, were named by a strict genealogical procedure, but I had no idea how humans went about their own nomination.

"Well, the Moishians anyhow," Max said, "they call their sons by the last man that died in the family, so his name don't die too." He said this lightly, but it turned our thoughts together to my dead friend, inasmuch as in goatdom we all had been brothers.

"You want to be a Tommy, boy?"

I shook my head: the burden were too painful -- and besides, noble Tom had been after all... a goat. For similar cause I rejected Max III, after my keeper's father: however dignified, even dynastic, the air of such numerals in studentdom, to my mind they still suggested prize livestock.

George Herrold the booksweep here lost interest both in our discussion and in my swaying stance; he returned to his machine, humming some tune for his own entertainment. I followed him with my eyes. After a moment Max said from behind, "Ja, I raised you; but that George Herrold, what you might say, he brought you into this campus."

I turned to him with a smile. "George is a good name, isn't it?"

"A fine name," Max agreed. "There's been famous Georges." Presently he added, "His wife left him since he was EATen. I don't think he ever had any kids."

"If nobody minds," I said, "I want to be called George from now on."

Max nodded. "That's good as you could do."

I found myself then unspeakably fatigued, and proposed we go home. Standing was one thing, walking another; Max fetched George Herrold to help, but even with their joint support I got no farther than the drinking-fountain before I was exhausted. Still I refused to go on all fours.

"So let your namesake carry you," Max suggested. And when I was fetched up in the black man's arms he said, "Now wait: I do something important." He wet his fingers at the running fountain. "When the Enochists name a child," he said soberly, "they take it to a Founder's hall and spritz some special water on its head; and they say a thing like Dear Founder please drive out the old goat from this kid, and keep the Dean o' Flunks off him, and help him pass the Finals and sit with you and Enos Enoch on Founder's Hill for ever and ever. Well, so, this is just good drinking-water here, and instead of a Founder's hall we got a library. With a crazy Schwarzer for your Founder-father and a tired old Moishian for your chaplain. So this won't be a regular Enochizing; what you might say, I'm going to Maximize you."

So saying he declared to the empty stacks: "This kid he's not a goat any more, but a human student. Let suffering make him smart, that's all I care." His voice rose: "By all the Grand Tutors, true ones and fakes, that ever made students miserable; by everything that suffers -- Moishians and Schwarzers and billygoats and the whole flunking student body -- I dub you once George, you should Pass All Fail All."

The clock in far-off Tower Hall happening just at this point to strike the hour of one (but we were on Daylight Saving Time), he touched waterdrops to my brow. We three then stepped into shadowless midday, my namesake singing as he bore me:

" 'One more river' say the Founder-Man Boss:


'Y'all gone Graduate soon's y'all cross.' "

SECOND REEL


1.


Seven years I spent a-prepping -- where did they fly? It is an interval in my history far from clear. As those unlettered hordes of old swept down on the halls of Remus College and were civilized by what they sacked, so vandal youth must bring forever the temple of its heritage to rubble, and turning then the marble shatters in its hand, commence to wonder and grow wise, regret its ignorance, and call at last for mortarbox and trowel. Just such a reconstruction was that account of my earliest years, whose cracks and plaster-fills will not have escaped the critical; and such another must I render now of my education, like an archaeologist his lost seminaries of antiquity, from its intellectual residue. Certain events unquestionably took place at certain times: Mary V. Appenzeller, for instance, empty of udder and full of years, Commencèd to greener pastures not a month after Redfearn's Tommy -- peace of mind be eternally hers, who gave me the only and lovingest mothering I knew. These are my benchmarks, the footers and standing columns of past time's ruin. The rest I reimagine from the shards of Max's teaching that remain to me -- altered, I do not doubt, by passage of time, by imperfect excavation, and by my own notions of how things should have been. Even so are the sayings of Maios known to us only through the dialogues of his pupil Scapulas, and the deeds of Enos Enoch through the reminiscences (by no means indiscrepant) of his protégés. What I may want in fidelity of reproduction, let good faith and earnestness atone for, accepting too this special extenuation: that for reasons presently to be made manifest there is fitness, even significance, in the obscurity of this period and the consequent vagueness of my accounting.

Who buried Redfearn's Tommy, for example, I cannot say: I was bedded down at once on our return to the barn, more weakened than I knew, and thus spared further sight of my misdeed. Most likely it was George Herrold did the mournful work, for after my Maximizing in the branch library my keeper gave over to him entirely the management of the herd. G. Herrold's rapport with the goats (thus we called him, by his last name only, when I took his first) was instant and fine, he forsook his beloved sweeper for the shophar and went daily into the fields -- splendid he looked, too, like some chancellor-chieftain out of dark Frumentius, with his white fleece cap and the horn on his good black arm. If the weather was fine we went with him; otherwise we closeted ourselves in the barn or the livestock-stacks, for Max's physical condition, at least, declined in these years from wiry good health towards thin senescence. In any case, we applied ourselves altogether to the work of my education.

"We got catching up to do," Max declared. "What we'll do, we'll study the University in general and you in particular; then when we find out what you want to do in the University we'll study that."

"I already know what I want to do," I said. "I want to be a great student and pass all my tests. And I want to make WESCAC tell me about my parents. And punish your enemies."

It was explained to me then that unlike the goats, whose one desire (if something unconscious may be called that) was to be supremely goatish, human beings did not aspire to be supremely human. Rather, they chose some single activity of life such as watching stars or making music and strove for excellence there exclusively, ignoring the rest. This notion of majors and vocations was not easy for me to understand: Brickett Ranunculus had been a stud -- that is, a major as it were in the impregnation of nannies -- but his excellence in this line was a feature of his goatly magnificence in general, just as Mary Appenzeller's record milk-yield was of hers; neither virture was a matter of election, and neither was developed at the expense of other merits. On the contrary. Why needed the case be different with humans, I wanted to know; was not an un-athletic scientist as inconceivable as a barren milch-goat?

Alas, you see, I was not always a ready and tractable student. My grand-Gruffian resolve I still officially subscribed to, but as much to spite Max as to do him honor, for he himself most gently pointed out, as did the passing years, its boyishness. WESCAC was no troll, I came to understand, unless metaphorically, and with figurative monsters one did not do literal battle -- the only sort I had a taste for. It was as evident to me as to him that the real task before us was the unglamorous one of making up for the lost years of my kidship. In principle I was eager to learn all I could about the mysterious real University of human studentdom; but in fact, however genuine Curiosity, Pride balked at the knowledge that I could never truly "catch up" with my future classmates. I would not ever be like them; surely I would fail all my examinations and pass none. Mixed with my gratitude, therefore, for Max's devotion to my tutelage, was resentment that he'd not schooled me with my fellow humans from the first. Never mind that I owed him my life, if thanks to his way of preserving it I must work harder than the others to distinguish myself!

Thus the fondness I acquired for disputation was not altogether honorable: there was something in it of pure captiousness. On the other hand I labored under bonafide handicaps. My quickest progress was in mathematics, formal logic, grammar, and theoretical science -- subjects which required for their understanding no particular involvement in human affairs. But their very abstraction from the realm of student experience made them uninteresting to me. More engrossing were matters of physical nimbleness, wherein my former goatship was often an asset: I enjoyed not only gymnastics and wrestling (which I learned from good G. Herrold, in happier days an athlete and still adept despite his age and madness), but also tool work, handicrafts of every sort, and even music, which I played upon a row of elderberry-twigs I'd fashioned into little pipes.

Yet in the fields where I was most inclined to forage I showed least aptitude. My first exposure to the written word -- those sessions in the hemlock grove with Lady Creamhair, when she had read me The Founder-Saga and Tales of the Trustees -- affected me more deeply than I could have supposed. I still preferred literature to any other subject, and the old stories of adventure to any other literature; but my response to them was by no means intellectual. I couldn't have cared less what light they shed upon student cultures in ancient terms, or what their place was in the history of West-Campus art; though my eyes and ears were keen enough, I took no interest in stylistics, allegorical values, or questions of form: all that mattered was the hero's performance. The fable of the Wolf and the Kid for example I could recite from start to finish (as I could a hundred others whose plots were as familiar as the paths of our pasture) and yet not remember the author's name. Precisely and with real indignation I delivered the Kid's immortal Rooftop Denunciation of the passing Wolf: but Wit always hath an answer seemed as apt a moral for the tales as It's easy to be brave from a distance. Even where Memory served, Interpretation would fail me, especially when the point of a story had to do with human notions of right and wrong instead of practical experience. I could not agree with Max, for instance, that the Kid had behaved improperly: if it was true that bravery is easier at a distance, and one wished to display bravery, ought one not to maintain one's distance as did that worthy youngster? Or granting, with the Fox Who Would Not Enter the Lion's Den, that It's simpler to get into the enemy's toils than out again (which sentiment as Max explained it seemed quite to contradict the previous one), should the Fox not have sprung the more readily to do hero-work in the cave?

"Oh boy," Max would sigh.

More seriously, inasmuch as the quads of New Tammany College, not to mention Remus and classical Lykeion, were remoter to my experience than the troll-bridge and cabbage-fields of the Messrs. Gruff, I was disposed to approach the events of history as critically as those of fiction. No use Max's reminding me of "political necessities" or "historical contexts": if a certain Chancellor had prudently done X where my favorite dean-errant would impetuously have done Y, I lost all regard for the man and was liable to see no point in studying his administration. It defied all narrative logic that a fearless geographer could survive every peril of storm and savage in his circumnavigation of the campus, only to succumb to a stupid illness during the last leg of the voyage; what mortal difference did it make that "That's the way it was," as Max insisted? It's not the way it should have been, and since names and dates were as beside the point for me as the color of Willie Gruff's eyes, I was inclined either to forget the whole business or amend it to suit my taste.

No firmer was my purchase on economics, physiology, or moral philosophy, and even my competence in theoretical physics, for example, was pejorated by my attitude. At best I found it moderately poetic that every action had an equal and opposite reaction, or that an embryo's gestation repeated the evolution of its phylum; for the most part I regarded natural laws with the same provisional neutrality with which one regards the ground-rules of a game or the exposition of a fable, and the reflection that one had no choice of games whatever (when so many others were readily imaginable) could bring me on occasion to severe melancholy. Indeed, if I never came truly to despair at the awful arbitrariness of Facts, it was because I never more than notionally accepted them. The Encyclopedia Tammanica I read from Aardvaark to Zymurgy in quite the same spirit as I read the Old School Tales, my fancy prefacing each entry "Once upon a time..."

Especially did I consider in this manner the Facts of my own existence and nature. There was no birthdate, birthplace, or ancestry to define me. I had seen generations of kids grow to goathood, reproduce themselves, and die, like successive casts of characters, while I seemed scarcely to age at all. I had lived in goatdom as Billy Bocksfuss the Kid, now I meant to live in studentdom as George the Undergraduate; surely there would be other roles in other realms, an endless succession of names and natures. Little wonder I looked upon my life and the lives of others as a kind of theatrical impromptu, self-knowledge as a matter of improvisation, and moral injunctions, such as those of the Fables, whether high-minded or wicked, as so many stage-directions. A fact, in short, even an autobiographical fact, was not something I perceived and acknowledged, but a detail of the general Conceit, to be accepted or rejected. Nothing for me was simply the case forever and aye, only "this case." Spectator, critic, and occasional member of the troupe, I approached the script and Max's glosses thereupon in a spirit of utter freedom. Which spirit, though there's something to be said for its charm and effectiveness, is fraught with peril and makes a student hard to manage. I hold it as responsible as any other thing for the capriciousness of my behavior during this time.

Mornings and afternoons were devoted to my tuition. Indeed the entire day was, and in a sense the night, as shall be shown; not a minute but Max turned to pedagogical account. We rose as always just before daybreak with the herd, and for exercise I forked down hay or did push-ups in the peat. At the same time, while memory was still fresh, I would recount my nightsworth of dreams -- of which there were a great many compared to the old days -- and we would discuss them with reference both to general human nature and to the character of my particular mind, which was revealed to be a guileful, impious rascal. One night in my twenty-second year, for example, I dreamt of a terrible misfortune: at the sound of the shophar old Freddie stormed into the barn (that troublesome Toggenburger of days gone by, whom I had known only after his castration); he butted Max square in the chest and caused him to fall upon the patent docker, so injuring himself that he could never rise again. Then, fleeced oddly in angora, the brute set out to mount Mary V. Appenzeller, restored to ripe matronage by the dream. In vain her attempt to flee over the pasture fence; in vain my best efforts to defend her with a stick; the brute climbed her unmercifully, and I woke in terror at her short sharp cries. For all the villain Freddie had died eight years since and been gelded long before that, I hurried to embrace my sleeping keeper and assure myself he was not harmed.

Imagine my disgust next morning when, having heard my tearful report of this dream, Max said calmly as I forked: "What that means, you were actually wishing what I did to that Freddie was done once to me. Then I couldn't take Mary to my stall like you used to see me do. That's all that part means, Georgie." Worse, he declared the Freddie of my dream to be no other buck than myself, who had indeed once felled my keeper with a blow to the chest, where no ordinary goat could reach. As for my apparent defense of Mary, it was but the reaction of my new human conscience to my former goatishness -- which latter still secretly envied Redfearn's Tom the circle of does (including Mary) that lustily had crowded round him on the day of his death. It was sufficient to observe that my crook-work in the dream was a vain defense, which in fact had been a deadly successful attack: my final wish, as revealed by this and other details, was that Max be castrated and rendered helpless and my human scruples forcibly put aside, so that bucklike I could mount the doe who'd mothered me!

"That's an awful thing to say!" I protested. "It's not so at all!"

"Then something worse is," Max said. He hastened to add that there was nothing unusual or necessarily wrong about such a wish, nor did the fact of it imply that I hated my keeper and approved of what amounted to incest; the wish might not even be a current one -- but its authenticity was as beyond doubt as my disapproval of it. To my question, Why couldn't the dream just as well mean something admirable, such as that I fervently wished no injury to befall my keeper, and would lay down my life for my dam's sake if only she could be restored to us? Max replied, "Every man's part goat and part Grand Tutor; it's the goat-part does the dreaming, and never mind how he carries on at night, just so we keep him penned up in the daytime! If you didn't kill me in your dream, someday you might do it for real."

Clear-seeing keeper in your tomb: forgive me that I disputed your grave wisdom. When I had been most nearly a goat in truth, I argued, I had used to dream straightforwardly, as it seemed to me, of eating willow-peel, butting my rivals, and humping all the nannies in the barn; from these fancied mating-feasts my "mother" was no more excluded (nor on the other hand singled out) than she would have been in fact had I come to proper buckhood during her lifetime, for among the liberal goats one sort of love never precludes another. I no longer dreamed overtly of such pleasures; why could it not be merely that my tastes had changed since the confirmation of my humanness? So far as I could see, I had no more desire for any doe, not even for Hedda of the Speckled Teats, who once had roused me to a deadly human passion. Further, I was mystified by the feeling of terror that I had awakened with: it seemed the effect equally of both actions in the dream, the smiting and the ravishment, yet upon waking it was only Max I'd feared for, not Mary, even in those instants before I realized she was past harming. Which was altogether fit, for that whole latter business made no sense! A buck didn't "attack" a doe, anymore than a male undergraduate "seduced" a prostitute: he simply availed himself of her. And where attack is meaningless, defense is also; had a rutty buck ever truly got loose in the barn I'd have been quite as anxious on Max's behalf as I was in the dream, but any concern in the other matter would have been for the proper order of our breeding-schedules, not for so preposterous a notion as a milch-goat's honor! No, I insisted (rapping my points out firmly with the butt of my hay-fork on the floor), the dream must have some other meaning, and an innocent one, perforce. I had no wish to mate with Mary V. Appenzeller; for one thing, she was dead; anyhow she was not my real mother; even if she were, there would be no evil from goatdom's point of view in mounting her, unless it lay in singling her out exclusively. It came to this, that I was not wicked: I was good. Undeniably I had struck my keeper once, and had slain my best friend -- but those were tragic mistakes, one might almost say accidents; it was unkind even to recall them, proceeding as they had not from a flunkèd heart but merely from suffering ignorance, the same that had assaulted Lady Creamhair in the hemlocks...

"Yes?" Max asked politely. "You remember something else in the dream, Georgie?"

"No. And I won't tell you any more dreams if you're going to turn them into something ugly." The fact was, I suspected Max had guessed more of that particular fiasco than I cared for him to know. Several times I'd seen his face grow thoughtful as I wound my silver watch: no doubt he thought I'd stolen it from Lady Creamhair (which was more nastily human, the concept or the suspicion?) and in his teasing spiteful way had concocted this cynical dream-theory for the purpose of trapping me into some confession.

I drove my tines deep into the hay. The way Max watched annoyed me further: meekly, warily, yet stubbornly, as if expecting violence -- as if inviting it. I pitched more than was necessary into the crib.

"Flunk this psychology of yours!" I cried. "Can't anything I do be just innocent?"

The retort caught me with my fork poised -- at shoulder-height! -- to drive again into the hay. I leaned upon it instead (for though I'd learned to stand and even work erect without assistance, I was never to walk far unsupported), and, blushing briskly, made some apology. I was to report in mornings to come more heinous dreams (indeed, once I'd got the hang of interpretation I saw there was no wickedness my night-self didn't revel in, the grievouser the better, so that where several explications seemed plausible I chose without an eyeblink the flunkingest, as most in character, until Max pointed out to my distress that "a priori concession of the worst," as he called it, may be as vain a self-deception as its opposite) but none more troubling; in the red light of my blush I saw, not the dream's full significance yet, but at least the guile and guilt of my bad temper. Blushes and apologies, apologies and blushes -- in the monkish book of my tutelage they illuminate every chapter-head and -foot!

Max, of course, only shrugged. "So what's the maxim for this morning? What it says in the Founder's Scroll: Self-knowledge is always bad news."

Our text determined by this or other means, we would discuss over breakfast its manifestations in literature and history, its moral and psychological import, or its relevance to earlier lessons. Such a one as the foregoing, for example, could well have introduced me to the "tragic view of the University," to the Departments of Philosophy and Drama in ancient Lykeion College, to the Enochist doctrine that thoughts are as accountable as deeds on one's final Transcript, even to the provinces of medicine or mathematics -- for my tutor was nothing if not resourceful, and synthesis, it goes without saying, was his particular genius.

Where in fact it happened to lead us I can say confidently, for it was this same morning, when breakfast was done and we repaired to the pasture for more formal instruction, Max first brought up the fateful subject of Cyclology and Grand-Tutorhood. I have placed the day in my twenty-second spring, very near the end of my preparatory education. Redfearn's Tom was seven years dead; his dainty Hedda -- now middle-aged, plump, and beribboned for her butterfat-yield -- had conceived a son by their sole unhappy union, which son himself ("Tommy's Thomas") was grown to primy studship: the image of his dad and a champion in his own line, as the late great Brickett Ranunculus had been. In the fullness of time and the freshening schedule it was perfectly in order that the two prizewinners be bred -- I had been pleased to assist G. Herrold myself with the first of their matings, just five months previous -- and so it came to pass that on the very midnight of this dream there was born into the herd a male kid who would be registered as Tommy's Tommy's Tom. None who saw him as we did next morning could have guessed the role "Triple Thomas" was to play in my future -- indeed, in the history of West Campus. He was unprepossessing enough then, all hoof and knee and scarcely dry from Hedda's womb. But see in retrospect how our lives engaged from the first: it was his mother's labor-cries, very possibly, that set me to dreaming of nannies in distress, and the tragedy of his grandsiring has its place among the dream's significances; it is the entry of his begetting in the stud-books that establishes a date for this conversation; and it was this conversation -- occasioned in its turn first by the dream and again by the relevance of Hedda's own past to its interpretation -- it was this day's conversation, I say, that like the original crime of my dear pal's murder, turned me round a corner of my life. The very white-ash staff I chucked the new kid's beard with, and hobbled upon out to my lesson; this walking-cane that supports me as I speak these words, and will to the hilltop where I shall want no more supporting: you have guessed it was the same I laid about with in my dream. Will you not cluck tongue to learn further, then, that I had whittled this same stick from a broken herdsman's crook which once lay out in the pens? Dark ties; thing twined to thing!

"Self-knowledge," Max repeated to begin our lesson, "is always bad news." But he paused a moment. "You sure there wasn't something else in the dream?"

Not prepared to bring up Creamhair's name, and unable to recall anything else, I shook my head.

"So, well," he said pleasantly. "You thought you couldn't wish a flunkèd wish; now you know you can. There is a piece of knowledge about yourself, ja?" He began then to describe the contradiction between the old Founder's Scroll, which exhorted students to accept their ignorance and repose their trust in the Founder's wisdom, and the dialogues of Scapulas, wherein the tutor Maios declares to his protégés that the end of education is to understand oneself utterly. But he must have observed my inattention, for in the midst of raising the question whether the search for truth remained desirable if the truth was that the seeker is flunkèd forever, he stopped short.

"You're not listening, George."

In truth I was not, and with tingling cheeks confessed as much. After my initial protest against the interpretation of my dream, I remained quite agitated by its several images. Now it was not alarm, distaste, or shame I felt, but a vast ennui: a restlessness which though vague seemed rooted somewhere in what I'd dreamt. I was unable to think about self-knowledge or anything else; it seemed to me that the seven years since I'd struck down my friend had been one long class-period, from which now suddenly I craved recess. Then I had known nothing; now my eyes were open to fenceless meadows of information; I felt engorged to bursting with human lore. This George who dreamt upon a cot and figured logarithms over lunch -- he was a stranger to that Billy who had used to prowl the pasture on moonlit nights. And yet some things were the same. Ah, I wondered now whether anything had really changed at all. If my kidship seemed itself a half-remembered dream, the years since were no waking but a deeper sleep, which only now perhaps I had commenced to stir in. My tutor's voice seemed alien; Max himself did. That old face so familiar I could not have summoned it to my imagination -- since our argument over the dream I found myself seeing it, as if for the first time. In particular that stubborn cringe, which suddenly I recognized was characteristic. Here was this growth called Max, utterly other than myself, with shaggy white hair and withered body and quiet old voice; with feelings and life of its own, whose history, nearly finished, consisted of such-and-such events and no others. He had done A, B, and C; X and Y had been done to him; Z, his little fate, lay just ahead. Max... existed! He was, had been, and would for a while yet be a person, truly as I. Very nearly I shivered at his reality, and that of the university of objects which were not myself. The dream had something to do with it: was it that I lingered yet in its sleep-ish margent? I was filled with an overwhelming sense of the queerness of things, a woozy repugnance, and a flashing discontent.

"I don't know what's the matter with me!" I said more urgently than I'd meant to, and was alarmed to feel a stinging in my throat. Why, was I going to weep, then?

"Something I don't understand is this," I said carefully. "How can a person stand it, not to be... marvelous?"

Max frowned sharply and demanded to know what I meant. But I scarcely knew myself.

"The reason I'm glad I'm not a goat," I began, "is that I couldn't ever be like Brickett Ranunculus. But I swear I don't see any point in being human either if all I can be is a regular person like the ones that come out to the fence. I wouldn't like being G. Herrold, either, or Dr. Mankiewicz..."

"So who would you like to be like?"

I blushed again, assuming he wanted me to say "Max Spielman" and unable to. For all my spite and ill temper I had no wish to hurt Max's feelings; neither on the other hand did I want my life and character to resemble his. Indeed it might be said that my spells of contrariness stemmed in part from this frustration: I admired my keeper above all mortal men I'd seen or heard of, and yet in curious ways despised him as a model. Who could I wish to have been? I could not say Great William Gruff or Enos Enoch the Shepherd Emeritus; I answered, "Nobody I know of."

Max nodded with some impatience. "Ja, sure, and Nobody's who you'll be, with that attitude." If I was bored with my studies, he said, it was because I was losing sight of their relevance; rather, for want of a clear vocation on my part they had no measurable relevance. Let me but find a life-work, and the problem of boredom would solve itself.

"Never mind what your major is, just so you got one that matters over everything else. Study medicine; study poetry; study road-building -- it don't much matter what a man spends his life at, as long as it's suited to him and he loves it..." As was his wont, he delivered this observation with a raised finger -- the index, necessarily, since it was his maimed right hand. Happening here to catch sight of the mutilation he paused, lowered hand and voice together, and added: "And as long as he don't hurt people with it."

Nor should I imagine, he went on to declare, that devoting myself to one project would of necessity cut me off from the rest of the course-catalogue, as it were. On the contrary: the most encyclopedic geniuses in West-Campus history -- Entelechus the philosopher, for example, or Leonardi the Professor of Art and Invention during the Rematriculation -- had been passionate specialists in their way; their greatness consisted not in declining to commit themselves to specialized projects, but rather in pursuing such projects intensively wherever they led: from ethics to politics to biology; from painting to anatomy to engineering. He himself, Max reminded me, had begun as a student of the violin in Siegfrieder College; his interest in music had led him to study acoustical physics, mathematics, and the psychophysiology of sensation, from which background it had been but a short step -- with momentous consequences! -- to the sciences of artificial thought and automatic regulation. His flight from Bonifacist anti-Moishianism and his consequent involvement with WESCAC had fetched him deeply into politics and military science; the pressing of a fateful button had plunged him thence into philosophy, proctology (by a route not clear to me then), eventually into herdsmanship, and finally (which was to say currently) into the pedagogical problem of making a Phi Beta Kappa out of a goat-boy. Nor would he regard his career as finished when I left him to commence my own: for one thing, the experience of tutoring me had suggested to him unsuspected avenues in education and epistemology, which he looked forward to pursuing in the future; for another, he did not regard his past as a journey whose each new step left the earlier ones behind, but as the construction of a many-chambered house, in whose "finished" rooms he dwelt and tinkered while adding new ones.

"And all the doors are open, Georgie," he concluded. "You can't go through every one at the same time, but they don't ever close unless you close them yourself. I'm still finding out things about the violin." He set about to discourse then upon the acoustical properties of a fiddle-box lacquer he had made from the whites of grouse-eggs, but I would not hear him out.

"Max --"

"You keep interrupting." He seemed less annoyed than uneasy; indeed it appeared to me that he spoke to prevent me from speaking.

"I do know what I want to major in," I pressed on. "It's not anything you've ever studied."

"Wunderbar! Now, well --" He cocked his head and pretended to search his memory. "That leaves open-channel hydraulics, school lunch management, coalmine ventilation... and the history of baseball. Unless they've changed the New Tammany Catalogue since I was fired. Which is it?"

"I'm going to be a hero."

Max's little gaiety vanished. Thrusting out his lips he turned away and plucked a straw of buckwheat.

"What's this hero? What kind of hero?"

I wasn't sure what he meant. Quietly, but with a kind of fierceness and still averting his eyes, Max explained that a lifeguard at the college pools, for example, was called a hero if he risked his life to save his fellow students, whereas a professor-general of military science might be similarly labeled for risking his life to destroy them. Which sort of hero-work did I plan to take up?

I admitted that I had no particular project in mind. "A hero doesn't have to know ahead of time what he'll do, does he? All he knows is who he is --"

"You don't know that much yet," Max grumbled.

"I don't mean my name!" His strange ungentleness vexed me. "I mean he might know he's a hero before he can prove it to anybody else. Then when he finds out the thing that needs doing, that nobody but the biggest hero can do, he goes there and does it. Like the old dons-errant and wandering scholars -- they didn't know what adventures they'd have when they started out, but they knew it was adventures they were starting out for, isn't that right? Well, that's how I feel."

Max shook his head. "You're wrong, George."

"I'm not!"

"Na, please --" Gentle again, Max held up his hand. "What I mean, you're wrong I haven't studied herohood. I know more about herohood than anybody." This remark my keeper made in the tone of a plain statement of fact -- he never boasted. "I'm not a hero myself and wouldn't want to be. But I sure do know what the hero-work is."

"Well, I am one," I declared. "That's why I'm tired of studying everything: I want to get started on doing whatever has to be done. I'll find out what it is."

Max continued to shake his head, as if my words pained him. "I don't believe in that kind of thing, Georgie." There were, he said, two classes of heroes worthy of the name: one consisted of people who in pursuit of their normal business find themselves thrust into a situation calling for the risk of their welfare to insure that of others, and respond courageously; G. Herrold was of this sort, an entirely ordinary man who just once had done an extraordinarily selfless deed. The other class consisted of those men and women the fruit of whose endeavors is some hard-won victory over the sufferings of studentdom in general: discoverers of vaccines, for example, and authors of humane legislation. These latter, in Max's view, were not more or less admirable than the former sort; the courage of the one was physical, of the other moral; the result in both instances was rescue from suffering, and in neither did the agent regard himself (before the fact, at least) as heroic. But the heroic professional -- the riot-front doctor or the varsity pacifist -- was nowise to be confused with what Max feared I had in mind: the professional hero. "It's the misery that should make the hero: the problem comes first, and true heroism is a kind of side-effect. Moishe didn't lead his people to the Promised Quad because he was a hero: he happens to be a hero because he did it. But this other kind, like the Dean Arthur Cycle, they decide they're heroes first and then go looking for trouble to prove it; often as not they end up causing trouble themselves." How many luckless sophomores had perished, he asked me, in order that Anchisides might gratify his ambition to found Remus College, and Remus College to dominate West Campus? To what worthy end did the son of Amphitryon steal the horses of Diomedes and set them to murder that animal-husbander, who had done him no injury at all? "It's perfectly plain when you read those stories that the hero's not there for the sake of the dragon, but the other way around. I got no use for heroes like that."

"But there always are plenty of dragons, aren't there, Max? If a man knows he's a hero, can't he always find himself a dragon?"

Max agreed that he could indeed, and ruthlessly would -- even if the dragon were minding its own business. For the sane man, he insisted, there were no dragons on the campus, only problems, which wanted no slaying but solving. If he was suspicious of adventuring heroes, it was because like that gentlest of dons, Quijote, they were wont at the very least to damage useful windmills in the name of dragomachy. "Heroes, bah," he said.

I was then moved to argue (not entirely out of the captiousness I have confessed to) that aside from the matter of dragons, it was true by Max's own assertion that different men were called to different work, and that studentdom stood presently in the gravest peril of its history; could not a man then feel called to this greatest hero-work imaginable, the rescue of all studentdom?

"Well, and what from?" my keeper demanded. "From EATing each other up, I suppose."

"Yes!" For all their sarcasm, his words led me to an inspiration. "That place you told me about in WESCAC's machinery -- what did you call it? -- where it decides who the enemy is and when to EAT..."

"The AIM," Max said glumly: "Automatic Implementation Mechanism. It sets the College's objectives and carries them out."

My excitement grew. "Suppose a man found out how to get inside of WESCAC and EASCAC and change their AIMs so they couldn't ever hurt anybody! Wouldn't that be fit work for a hero?"

"This is enough," Max declared very firmly. "Any man that steps inside the Belly-room, he gets EATen on the spot."

"Anybody, Max?"

My friend's face grew most stern. "I was in the Senate when they passed the bill, Georgie," he reminded me, "and I was with the Chief Programmer when he read it in. Nobody changes WESCAC's AIM."

My heart beat fast indeed. "Nobody but a Grand Tutor, you told me once. Isn't that what you got them to put in?"

"Now look here, my boy!" Max was moved to take me by the arm; his tone was impatient and severe, but a great agitation trembled through him. "You're too old for this foolishness, verstehst? In the first place I don't like Grand Tutors, if there ever really were any --"

I interrupted: "If Enos Enoch was alive he could change WESCAC's AIM, couldn't he? And he could Commence the whole student body."

"Pfui on Commencement!" Max snapped. "Never mind Commencement! Your friend Enos Enoch cured a couple dozen sick students and brought one dead one back to life; how many millions do you think he's been the death of? Anyhow you're not Enos Enoch: you're a plain boy like any other boy, and be glad if you can learn to be a man -- that's hero-work enough!"

But I insisted: "I'm not a boy. I'm a goat-boy."

"Anyhow, you're not a Grand Tutor."

"Then I'm a freak, Max: those are my choices."

Max shook his head vigorously, almost in my face. "They aren't choices, Georgie; they're the same thing. Now you get this Grand Tutor business out of your head. I can't watch over you when you matriculate; you're on your own then. But the man that sticks his head into WESCAC's Belly -- ach, he comes out like G. Herrold."

"Not me," I said. My voice was stubborn, but I thrilled at a recognition that made deep and sudden sense of my life. Max let go my arm and demanded almost fearfully: "What's this you're saying, boy? Is it you don't see how vain this is?"

Fist to brow, awed and laughing, I shook my head. "I just now realized, Max: I've been there before! I was practically born in WESCAC's Belly, wasn't I? So it must be I'm a Grand Tutor like Enos Enoch -- or else I've been EATen already! Am I crazy, do you think?"

It seemed to me he paled at what I said. In any case, his efforts to account for this remarkable circumstance did not impress me. He admitted the extraordinariness of it -- both that I had been spared my rescuer's fate and that the problematical nature of this fact had never previously quite occurred to him. But nothing was known, he pointed out, of the events that led up to my abandonment in WESCAC's tapelift, and the nature and identity of whoever put me there were equally mysterious. It could not even be said for certain whether the lift was meant to be my coffin or the Moishe's-basket of my salvation; though he Max had once been the foremost authority on WESCAC's programming, these things had taken place after his removal, when for all he knew the Menu might have been altered either by the computer itself or secretly by its new Director, Eblis Eierkopf. Neither had conclusive research been undertaken on the effects of Electroencephalic Amplification and Transmission on newborn children: while it was true that the Amaterasu infants EATen in C.R. II had not developed normally, investigators could not agree on how much of their psychic disorder was owing directly to the "EAT-waves" and how much to the general trauma of the catastrophe. Pacifists everywhere maintained that the children (now grown) were uniformly retarded to the point of idiocy, but at least one New Tammany scientist had asserted that their psychoses, while severe and organic, were of such a wide variety as possibly to include the syndromes associated with certain men of genius.

"What's more," Max argued, "the waves in the Belly must have been different from the ones we used on the Amaterasus, or G. Herrold wouldn't have what little sense he's got left. Na, Georgie --" He shook his head resolutely. "You aren't any crazy-man and you aren't any Grand Tutor! You're ambitious, is all; you got a late start and you want to do something large to show you aren't a freak. But you mustn't want to be greater than your classmates in the hero-way: that's vain and foolish -- it's wicked, even. Pfui on Enos Enoch!" And he reaffirmed his conviction (the same that got him into trouble in the Senate) that Grand Tutors and Kollegiumführers were two faces of a single coin; that what studentdom needed for its preservation was neither Founders nor Deans o' Flunks but more patient researchers, more tolerant instructors, and better-educated Senate committees. "All Graduation means," he said, "is learning not to kill students in the name of studentdom. And the only Examination that matters isn't any Final; it's a plain question that you got to answer every minute: Am 1 subtracting from the total misery, or adding to it? If I'd asked myself that question soon enough, I'd never have discovered the EAT-waves."

I might mercifully have challenged him here, though we'd traversed the ground many times before: had he not developed WESCAC's weaponry someone else surely would have sooner or later, perhaps the Bonifacists or the Student-Unionists, with much greater expense of student life; had New Tammany not EATen those Amaterasus there'd have been no quick end to C.R. II, and the necessary invasion of their campus would have cost many times more lives on both sides; science, moreover, was neutral: there was no turning back from Knowledge, however Wisdom might gag -- and so forth. But I was too concerned with questions of my own to ask myself that searching one of Max's.

"I knew you wouldn't like the idea," I said. "But you have to admit it's possible, isn't it? Even if there's some chance I'm not a Grand Tutor, a lot of things make it seem possible that I am. And if I am, I've got important things to do." Max's attitude vexed me afresh. "Even if it was just an outside chance, I'd be flunkèd not to take it! If I'm mistaken, it's nobody's funeral but mine. But suppose I'm not mistaken! Think how much suffering you'd be the cause of if I was a Grand Tutor and you talked me into thinking I wasn't!"

This last had a wrong ring to it, but before I could add that it was in any case impossible to change what was no mere conjecture but a certainty that deepened in me even as I spoke, Max asked, "Do you know what a Grand Tutor's life is like? I mean a real one like Enos Enoch or Maios the Lykeionian, not the story-book kind. Do you know what has to happen to them in the end? When did you ever hear of a happy hero? They always suffer -- it's almost what they're for..." He gave a little snort. "But you don't care about that; all a youngster can see is how fine he'll look out there on the hilltop, and what his last words will be; never mind what they do to him! And never mind that the lessons he meant to be helpful, his students always make people miserable with, and flunk anybody that disagrees with them!"

I stood up angrily. "Flunk it all, Max! A goat's a goat and a hero's a hero! Enos Enoch couldn't help showing people how to Commence, any more than Brickett could help banging things with his horns. He wasn't trying to do any damage; he was just being what he was!" It pained me to see that Max flinched ever so slightly at my sudden movement. "Don't worry," I said, affecting sarcasm: "I'm not going to hit you."

He shrugged, but his eyes were flashing. "How do I know, if you can't help being what you are? Maybe we shouldn't blame the Bonifacists they burned up all the Moishians, okay? Well, Georgie, I could argue with you how it might be more heroic not to be a Grand Tutor even if you were born one. Or I could ask you why you're arguing at all -- Brickett never did."

The same thought had occurred to me, too late not to be embarrassing. Hotly I declared, "Maybe it's because I've got to make you believe in me before I can show you how to Graduate!" But my blush spoiled the effect, and I ended with a half-resentful grin, which my tutor returned.

"One thing, you got the spirit all right." He squinted up at the sky shading his eyes. "So, it's near lunchtime already, and what have you learned?"

In a calmer if no less inflexible humor I replied that I'd learned what I was, or had at least begun to, which cardinal lesson seemed to me quite contrary to the Maxim he'd set out to teach: that self-knowledge is always bad news. Or (I teased as I helped him to his feet) we might merely add to it, "bad news for somebody," inasmuch as the realization of my Grand-Tutorhood must prove unquestionably bad news for West-Campus trolldom.

We set out barnwards arm in arm, for the sake both of good-fellowship and of Max's legs, which lately a little sitting would put to sleep. The contest, I knew, was not done, but it was no longer hostile.

"You'll be all the hero we need without any mumbo-jumbo," my teacher said. "You got spirit and you got ambition, and you got intelligence to do fine things with. Even when you get a spiteful notion in your head, like when you tell yourself Max is jealous of you -- no, don't say you weren't thinking that; it's okay, lots of heroes been just as unreasonable; it's almost a prerequisite. But I'm not jealous, my boy. I don't even envy you." He patted my arm. "My work's about done; I've made my messes; I don't envy anybody that's got them to make yet. What it comes to, there's two reasons why I want you to forget this Grand Tutor business right away: the second one is that if you believe you're something you aren't, it'll keep you from becoming what you could be ..."

"Never mind that," I said. "What's the first one?" I felt my ire rising once more at his -- I had almost said Moishian persistence. You're not a Grand Tutor, was what he had in mind. Ah, I felt him shrink at my tone, and nearly wept with frustration. Not merely that his frailness made me conscious of my strength, or that, frailness notwithstanding, he'd provoke and reprovoke me; but precisely that he knew what he was provoking, flinched from what he must invite: he knew, did old Max, tense upon my arm, that I loved him, admired -- and wished to strike him with all my force, even to death!

"No more today," he muttered.

I was trembling with annoyance. At the barn-door I let go his arm and declared I wasn't hungry.

"Ja, sure," he nodded. "Me too. Please listen to this about Grand Tutors, Georgie: A Grand Tutor is good. A Grand Tutor is wise. If there's just one grain of wickedness or folly in him -- why, he's not a Grand Tutor. Think of that. If there's just one grain of wickedness or folly in him-why, he's not a Grand Tutor. Think of that. If you're here tomorrow I got more to tell you."

He went, if not to lunch at least into the barn, and I strode in frenzy to here, to there. A pounding was at my temple. Doelings sprang fencewards not to be smitten by my stick, the fall of every thistle in my way. Soon I found G. Herrold squat on a rise, his eye on things. I cried, "Ho, G. Herrold! Ho!" He read the signs; with a black hee-hee he crouched to meet me. Knees bent and arms a-swing we circled warily, huffing incitements. His right hand came clap on my nape, I let go the stick to hook on his left knee; we tumbled to it, scissored and hammerheld about the landscape until his old knowledge had the better of my young might, and I lay pinned. Our wrappers, shagged with weed-seed, were askew; our skins gave off sharp odor and mingled sweats.

"Ain't he grown to a big one!" G. Herrold marveled. His nelson unwound into a loose embrace, and he surveyed me frankly. I was not innocent of self-experiment, nor had my fancy been much cumbered with Rights and Wrongs (save in the matter of Redfearn's Tommy's death). A goat-boy, fenced those many years from studentdom, I'd learnt its morals in the spirit of its politics or costume: as an object of study, infinitely various, subject to fashion, and more or less interesting. I had read why the Founder once rained fire upon the Quadrangles of the Plain, and contrariwise in what manner the flower of classical antiquity, the splendid lads of Lykeion, had amused themselves at Maios's feet: the difference impressed me in no other way than did the difference between the architectures of the two colleges, or their verse-styles. In sum, my mind was open as my vestment, and while I could imagine what a right-minded New Tammany freshman would have felt in my circumstances, I myself knew only curiosity when G. Herrold laid hands on me. Any misgivings were purely theoretical, and overbalanced by the fact that I owed the man my life, that he was anyhow insane and but dimly aware of his behavior. Besides, I couldn't know for certain what he was up to.

By way of precaution, however, I said to my friend, "I'd better tell you, G. Herrold: I'm a Grand Tutor, and a Grand Tutor is good. Is this good?"

He grunted. "It just fine, white boy." And as he had for all his handicaps and mine taught me something of gymnastics, now and in the days that followed he trained me somewhat in the arts of love -- whereat I found myself a readier hand than at Max's curriculum. In both sports the perfection of my skill was delayed for want of variety in my circumstance and partners: some time was to pass before I grappled with a man in anger or a woman in love. But as husband and black-man, athlete and sweeper of the nighttime stacks, G. Herrold had known many sorts of love and combat; to his broad experience (half-remembered) was joined my reading (half-understood) and boundless fancy. We managed much.

That evening I came home in the best of humors with the herd, my spirit clear and calmed as the mid-March twilight. I felt released from Max's tutelage, yet somehow more ready than ever, just for that, to be counseled by him. G. Herrold and I came into the barn, singing one of his two songs, and straightway I asked Max's pardon for my morning unpleasantness. He put down his violin and nodded from his seat in the pens.

"Look at you two," he marveled. There was straw in my hair and leaf-litter in the growth of new beard I was so proud of; we would never have done picking burrs and hooked seeds from our clothes. "What have you been up to?"

I laughed. "Taking out my bad temper on somebody my size." Stirred still, if tranquilly, I gave my dark friend a comrade's short embrace, and, laughing again at Max's frown, made haste to embrace him also and kiss his brow. "I was wicked and stupid with you this morning," I said.

"So. Ach, get on with you!" With a smile he fended off my gesture. "You admit you're not beyond a little wickedness and stupidity?"

"More than that: I enjoy them. But from now on I'll be wise and good with you and be wicked and stupid with G. Herrold. Wait'll I show you what he did this afternoon, once he got me pinned!"

My dark companion grinned at the pen-side. Max glanced from one to the other of us. "I see." His voice was concerned, but not quite scolding.

"Are you angry?"

Max assured me that he was not: I was a vigorous young man, he said, with normal urgings, and in the absence of generally approved outlets he supposed it was better for me to have recourse temporarily to less generally approved ones than to none at all. So long as my circumstances were as they were, he said, and my motives remained free of perversion, he saw little to choose between auto- and homoerotic activity: masturbation, while more normal in the eyes of most New Tammanians and less liable to cause public embarrassment, carried its dangers in the same single-handedness that recommended it: loveless and reclusive, it fed the fantasies of the timid and could aggravate any tendencies to impotence or withdrawal from engagement with others -- narcissism and schizophrenia, he asserted, were the masturbator's inclinations in the realm of psychopathy. Pederasty, on the other hand, though regarded in New Tammany College as a semi-criminal perversion, had at least to be said for it that it involved a passionate, perhaps even a loving, engagement of the self with others. So long as it was practiced in a healthy frame of mind -- a virtual impossibility in a college that held it to be vicious -- Max saw no great danger of its becoming a substitute for normal relations with women, any more than my casual past connections with does would be. He cautioned me, however, to abandon the practice once I matriculated, lest it lead me into scandal, fistula, or logical realism-the philosophy of Maios and Scapulas, which Max declared to be as favored by pederasts as was solipsism by masturbators.

"So it's probably okay," he concluded. "G. Herrold won't do you any harm, and I been in proctoscopy long enough to be broad-minded."

"I knew it was supposed to be flunkèd," I confessed, "but I enjoyed it anyhow."

"That don't matter, Georgie. What flunkèdness is, it's not doing what you're not supposed to do; flunkèdness is to do it because you're not supposed to, and perverseness is to like it because you know it's flunkèd. 'Even though' is okay; 'because' is flunkèd."

"So I'm still a Grand Tutor," I said happily. "I knew I was."

Max smiled and to my pleasure agreed at least that my disporting with G. Herrold, done as it was innocently and in good faith, didn't refute my claim. "Take the goats, now, for instance," he said: "how come you never humped yourself a doeling since you were a youngster? You were sweet on Hedda once, nicht wahr? And a nanny is not bad, you know, for a goat. But you got no taste for them since you learned you're a human person, isn't that so?"

I acknowledged that it was.

"So you're not the least bit tempted. How about Hedda's niece here, though?" He crooked to him a fine black-and-white doeling named Becky's Pride Sue -- still a kid, really -- and cradled her in his lap to soothe her alarm. "Wouldn't she be sweet?"

Somewhat shocked -- Max had never spoken so with me before -- I reaffirmed my disinclination for the charms of she-goats. "Anyhow," I added somewhat sternly, "it would hurt her, wouldn't it? She's just little."

Max nodded; evidently I'd said what he wanted to hear. "So even if you wanted to, you shouldn't. Since you don't want to and don't need to, the only reason you'd have for doing it would be flunkèd. You'd have to enjoy it because you know it's wrong, which is flunkèd, or because it hurts her, which is even flunkèder. No good man could do such a thing, don't you think? Especially not a Grand Tutor."

"You talk as if I'd done it!" I protested, and patted Sue's head. "I'd never dream of such a thing!"

"Ay, well, that's good; I wouldn't either. Anybody did, he'd have some Dean o' Flunks in him all right. Let's don't talk any more about it."

I readily concurred, and the three of us ate our evening meal. Afterwards, though I went dutifully to my books, I found it impossible to attend them. Our discussion of flunkèdness remained on my mind: the legend of the first man and woman in the Founder's Pomological Test-Grove now appalled me, which thitherto had seemed merely charming and a bit unreasonable. I understood for the first time evil, and was so impressed by the horror of it that though I couldn't look at Becky's Pride Sue without an inward shudder, my glance turned and returned to her. To rend that dainty girl -- despite her cries, out of simple brutehood -- it was a thought unthinkable! I could not get it out of my mind.

That night I dreamed again. I was a goat, a splendid stud; I tossed my head and gloried in the weight of horn there, struck my sharp hooves on the ground. Season was upon me: my eyes rolled, I was fury at the balls. Against them what gate could prevail? I exploded from my stall into pastures of human girldom; Chickie was there, as once in the buckwheat, a score of pink and fleeceless Chickies, clamoring to Be. "Come, Billy!" they implored. A dashing, smashing goat I was, and tireless servicer; I found it light labor to give them joy, inasmuch as my powers were unremitting even when my lust was long since slaked. It amused me the more when Chickie had got her fill of Being and would flee. No matter that I had no hands to clutch with: down the hemlock-aisles I thundered in pursuit -- hunh! hunh! my breath came -- and her gauzy wrapper was briared off her up the way; I had only to stand rampant and impale her, over all that space, upon my lancing majesty. Instead I crooked her in with it, held her fast down. Somewhere distant the buckhorn blew -- Tekiah! Sherbarim! Teruah! -- for me, and urgent. But I could do anything I wished, not as before because the girl was willing, but because she was altogether in my power, subject absolutely to my will.

"Oh, how you'd injure me!" my victim wept. "A goat upon a lady girl!"

"I would that," I agreed, and not to hear the buckhorn once more summoning (Tekiah! Shebarim! Teruah!), I loudly volunteered, "Don't think I need to do anything flunkèd!"

"How's that?"

"I say, don't think -- the truth is, it's terribly important for me to wake up right now."

"I'm only a kid," the girl pleaded. "Wait till my older sister comes along."

"I could if I cared to," I said. "The passèd thing of course would be to let you go."

Her first cry was for joy: "Oh, thank you, sir!" Her second not, for as the horn called out penultimately, I did her upon each blast a grievous harm. Tekiah. Teruah. Tekiah.

I woke -- and jerked from a squealing creature at my chest! A kid (as sometimes happened) had curled against me while I slept; I'd rolled upon her accidentally and, I now realized, squeezed her in my arms as well. There was commotion in the stalls; it seemed her outcries had roused the herd. I sat up sweating and was dismayed to find myself not only ejaculated but observed: Max sat by the pen-gate, his head a-bob in reflected moonlight.

"You were dreaming," he said calmly. "Nothing to worry about. It wasn't Becky's Pride Sue."

I lay down dazed and soon reslept. When I woke in the morning the episode burst to mind at once: for an instant I imagined that Max at the pen-gate was a part of the dream; then the pinch of dried lust on my thigh told me, heart-sinking, he was not. I heard him now directing G. Herrold in the chores, and lay for some minutes awed by memory, by the spectacle of my soul laid out to view.

That morning Max was solicitous, even one would have supposed half-afraid to speak; it went without saying that our normal program was dispensed with; no mention was made of the night's events -- indeed not of anything -- until at the end of a wordless breakfast he ventured to touch my hand.

"You haven't really done any flunkèdness, you know. You were just a kid before, and now you've learned you got badness in you like we all do. It don't have to come out."

"Cruelness and folly," I said. "It'll come out."

"So maybe a little here and there. Who's perfect?"

I looked him in the eyes. "Enos Enoch was."

"Ja." Max bobbed his head, as he had in the moonlight. "Then swallow once and be done, dear boy: are you another Enos Enoch?"

I shook my head.

My teacher could not contain his delight: he squeezed my hand in both of his and nodded furiously, frowning and smiling together.

"Pass you, boy! Pass you for admitting that!" Tears sprang; his syntax faltered. "All that talk of Eierkopf's about a GILES -- just madness. I knew it! Every chance, Founder knows! I went right by the book, and not once but two and three times, knowing all along -- ah, Georgie!" He came round and embraced me, put off not at all by my stiffness. "Say it again yet, to make an old man happy -- what you said."

"I'm no Enos Enoch," I repeated. "I've got as much billy-goat in me as Graduate. And as much Dean o' Flunks as anything else."

"And never mind that! Don't be sorry you're a plain human student, okay?"

I assured him levelly that I was not disappointed by the revelation of my nature's darker aspects, only sobered and intrigued; but that in view of those same aspects I most certainly no longer regarded myself, even potentially, as Wisdom and Goodness incarnate. Max all but hopped about the barn for pleasure.

"I knew it from the first!" he cried. "But there was that tapelift thing, and crazy Eierkopf and his stories. GILES pfui! I bet he put you there himself!"

Upon my pressing him to explain himself more clearly, Max confessed that he had for many years entertained a certain hypothesis about my parentage, which till now -- by reason first of my tender years and latterly of my misguided ambition -- he had kept to himself, not to injure my feelings.

"I been all my life a bachelor," he said. "All work! No time for ladies! But in New Tammany once, when Eblis Eierkopf and I were working on the WESCAC, I got to know the Chancellor's daughter, that was the tape-librarian in Tower Hall. Miss Hector was her name -- Virginia R. Hector, what it said on her nameplate. And Eblis and I, we were fighting then about Wescacus malinoctis and the Cum Laude Project; we were fighting about everything... but we both admired very much Miss Hector. She was a Shiksa, don't you know, with light hair and all wrong politics; in Siegfrieder College she'd have been a Bonifacist like those co-eds in the Reichskanzler's stud-farms, I knew that; it's what Eblis loved about her, she was such a plump and blond one. 'A perfect Frigga!' he used to say -- and how he said it made your heart sink, Georgie. Because Eblis, all he had on his mind was the Cum Laude Project! He didn't care about her, but only what sperms should go with what eggs to make a Hero..."

Max pronounced the word as though it tasted foul. He himself, he went on to say, though still nominally Eierkopf's superior, was by that time already out of favor with Chancellor Hector, and found himself denied full access to the Cum Laude planning. But he undertook a private research into the fields of eugenics and comparative mythology in hopes of anticipating Eierkopf's maneuvers, and at the same time (as I gathered) courted Miss Hector's society. His avowed motive was to protect her from his colleague's designs; unfriendly gossip had it he was out to improve his position with the father through the daughter; in any case, from what Max said I understood that Miss Hector came to reciprocate his own esteem for her -- indeed, that it was Max's reluctance more than hers that kept their relation merely Scapular, as it were: "A fifty-years-old Moishian radical and a twenty-five-years-old Shiksa reactionary, that used to be the Spring-Queen of New Tammany College! Some heroes our kids would've been!"

What exactly passed between them he would not say, but it appeared there was an argument following which, perhaps to spite him, Miss Hector began spending much time with Dr. Eierkopf. She even exchanged her post as tape-librarian to work as some sort of technician on the Cum Laude Project, for which she professed great admiration now that (as she implied to Max) she was privy to its secret details. All Max ever saw her do was steer his colleague's wheelchair along the corridors and campus paths; despite his own frailness, he declared to me, and his contempt for the Siegfrieder ideal for blue-eyed athleticism, the contrast between Virginia Hector's proud form and the feeble bloat of Eierkopf sickened his spirit.

"A pretty Moishian girl, you know, Georgie, you think of a dark hall and heavy wine, and myrrh and frankincense; but this Shiksa, she reminded you of bright day-times -- almost you could smell sunshine on her! I didn't want her for myself, not even if I wasn't old and bony; I wanted she should marry some buck of a northern forester, you know? Or a strapping young iceberg-research man with gold hair on his chest yet. It wasn't she was a goy; it was she was so pretty in the goy way, instead of some other way."

This new feature of my keeper's life interested me considerably. I asked him whether the woman had married Eblis Eierkopf then. Max's face darkened; he shook his head. "You heard the reasons why I was fired from New Tammany -- all but this one, that happened at the end. One day just after I made my last speech in the Senate, comes a message from Chancellor Hector himself, he wants to see me right away. The Security people take me up in a private elevator to his offices, and next thing before I can tell him hello, this Virginia runs in, all crying tears, and throws her arms around me; and she says, 'It don't matter! It don't matter!' So I ask her daddy, that's biting on his cigar by the window, 'What don't matter?' And he spits the end out and never once looks at me. But 'All right, Spielman,' he says: 'I know when I been out-generaled.' He was the big general in the Second Riot, you know, before he ran for Chancellor."

The occasion of the summons, it developed, was that Miss Hector had found herself with child and declared Max responsible! Even there in the barn, almost two decades later, my keeper's voice grew incredulous as he spoke of it: horror enough that she had submitted to the repulsive, to the despicable Eierkopf (by what clever means the cripple had managed seduction and mating, Max shuddered to wonder) -- more bitter yet to hang her shame on the man who'd tried in vain to shield her! Heartsick, he challenged her to confess that Eierkopf, not himself, had been her undoer -- or else some third party with whom she had secretly consorted. Miss Hector, never once looking him in the eye, only repeated her accusation; it was true, she said, that Professor Eierkopf's passion for his work had led him past propriety's bounds to the suggestion that she put by modesty for science's sake and lend herself to certain experimental possibilities of the Cum Laude Project ("I knew! I knew!" Max had shouted at the Chancellor. "Oh boy, won't I wring his pig's neck once!"); but she had never acquiesced. As for intimacies with the crippled scientist himself, she was prepared to swear on a stack of Old Syllabi that there had been none, nor had any been proposed; she professed to be nauseated at the thought. Max then had declared, almost a-swoon, it was not the thought she paled at but recollection of the deed, and appall at what thing it had got in her.

"Why did she blame you?" I asked him -- and was told that in human studentdom such false charges on the part of desperate women were not uncommon.

"She'd... been with Eblis Eierkopf, you know --" He said the word with difficulty, and his use of it, clearly in the Chickian sense, compounded a certain perplexity of mine: I had come to think that Lady Creamhair, on the occasion of that fiasco in the hemlocks, had not understood my honest intention to be (an activity for which G. Herrold had a host of other names); but if the term was after all common parlance, as Max's use of it suggested, then her initial encouragement and subsequent wild rebuff of my advances were not yet clear. The memory made me sweat; another time I should have asked Max to gloss his term, but he'd gone on with the story. "-- she must have been with him: you don't get pregnant filing tape-reels! Then he wouldn't do the right thing by her, and she thought to herself, 'That old Spielman, I'll say it was his fault, he'll be glad enough to marry me no matter what, and once the baby's born I can do what I please.' You haven't read much but the old epics yet, Georgie, or you'd know how it is with old men and young women."

I ventured to say I understood what the situation was, if not why it should be so. Nothing in my kidship equipped me to appreciate the reasons for human jealousy, so alien to the goats; yet my own heart was alas no stranger to that unnatural sentiment, which had been the death of Redfearn's Tom. But discreetly as I could I asked Max how it was that he, the soul of gentleness and reason, had been angered by the woman's expedient, born as it plainly was of desperation and ill usage.

"Yes. Well." He sniffed and frowned at me curiously over his eyeglasses. "That's a hard question, George! Aren't you a keen one, asking me that!" He said this not at all critically, but as if surprised and pleased. "A boy that asks that question is wise enough to raise his eyebrow at the answer. I hope he's wise enough to know how the truth can sound sometimes like a lie."

The truth came to this, he asserted: he could forgive, in the woman he'd felt such regard for, any infidelity; he did not count himself deserving of her love (or Eblis Eierkopf either, but that was her affair); the most he'd ever dreamed of winning was her respect and perhaps a daughterly affection, nothing more, in return for which he'd gladly have married her though she were pregnant by a different lover every year. But disregard for official morality and even for his feelings was one thing; disregard for Truth another. Let her confess frankly that the child was not his: he would wed her and give it gratefully, prayerfully, his name; but he could not allow a lie to be his marriage-portion, whose life's enterprise had been the research after truth. In short, neither the Chancellor's threats nor Miss Hector's tears could induce him to wed his heart's desire unless she openly admitted that Eierkopf had deflowered and impregnated her, and this admission she would not make.

"So that was that," Max concluded. "Her poppa hollered how he'd like to whip me with his two hands, and if it wasn't for his daughter's reputation he'd have me to court. Miss Virginia hit my face once and ran away, which I haven't seen her since, and just the next week was when I was sacked, like you know already. Why should it matter then, I should argue my case? So I came here to the goat-barn, and half a year later G. Herrold brings me this cripple-child out of the tape-lift, he's been sacked his own self for fetching you out..." He rubbed his left cheek, as if Miss Hector's smite still tingled there. "What am I supposed to think, Georgie? What am I supposed to do, but kiss your poor legs and your goy blond hair, that no Moishian like me was ever the poppa of?"

I kissed Max's own long hair at this fresh testimony of his goodness, and he mine; yet even as I chid him, most gently, for so long keeping from me his hypothesis of my parentage -- which seemed a quite probable one, everything considered -- and assured him that I was far more touched by his generous adoption of me than disturbed by the likelihood of having been sired by the hateful Eierkopf -- even as I spoke, it occurred to me that the story had not after all been to the point. Just the contrary! Had he not set out by means of it to explain an actual suspicion on his part that I might be of uncommon parentage? That my brash claim to herohood might be not without some foundation? But if I was in truth the child of Dr. Eierkopf and Virginia Hector, my getting was by no means extraordinary; it was merely irregular.

Some minutes were required to make my point clear, for Max had quite forgotten, as unhappily he came frequently to do in this period of his life, what he'd set out to demonstrate, and then only with difficulty understood that he had not demonstrated it.

"Ja, so, what I mean," he said then, "that's what I thought when G. Herrold brought you here, you were Virginia's kid by Eblis; what I guess, that's what I wanted you to be. And sometimes yet it slips me now and again you aren't, I have trouble remembering. But the fact is, she never had a son: she had a daughter, that she left to her uncle Ira Hector to raise. I heard that somewhere a long time ago, I forget where. It was a daughter she had."

I closed my eyes and tried to assimilate this new disclosure.

"Well, then -- we're back where we started! The gate's still open!"

"No." Max shook his head firmly. "No, it's not open, either. No." He seemed now to have his mind once more in order. "It was that GILES business made me wonder, once I knew you weren't Virginia's and Eblis's kid, and when you started this Hero nonsense. An old man's foolishness, Georgie, is all! You see yourself now you're not any Grand Tutor, but just a good boy with a regular life's work to do. You got a little badness in you and a little dumbness, pass your heart, like we all got."

With considerable effort (for he was fatigued by so much recollection, and regarded his point as now quite established) I wrung this final information from him: Among the bizarre features of the Cum Laude Project in the month just prior to its abandonment was the preparation by WESCAC, under Eierkopf's supervision, of a highly secret something known as "the GILES" -- Max could or would not go farther than to explain that the word was an acronym for Grand-tutorial Ideal, Laboratory Eugenical Specimen. What that phrase meant (it had as well been in sheep-language for all it conveyed to me), and whether the attempt to prepare this same GILES was successful, and what in that event its purpose was -- these things I was not to learn until later. But I gathered there was an uncertain connection between this mystery and my pretension to the office of Hero.

"I don't say more than this," Max said: "there's things about the early days of Heroes and Grand Tutors. And when you took it in your silly head you were one yourself, I remembered these things and some others, that a person could stretch them and say they fit. So I thought up a couple experiments to prove what was what, I'll tell you about later. But they've proved, George -- they've proved -- what you know your own self now: that you're a good boy, and a human student, and that's all."

I supposed he was referring to the occasions when I had behaved stupidly or displayed a capacity, however slight, for actual flunkèdness, as in the matter of Redfearn's Tommy and of Becky's Pride Sue. It did not anger me to imagine, in the light of his confession, that Max may actually have encouraged such behavior, may even have arranged the circumstances of my temptation, perhaps in collusion with G. Herrold and (who knew?) with Lady Creamhair. That possibility was clearly beside the point; whatever experiments he had performed were for my own enlightenment and benefit, and had achieved their purpose. A Grand Tutor was very wise; a Grand Tutor was very good. Whatever the mysteries and portents of my birth, whatever formal prerequisites to Herohood I might coincidentally have met, I could not call myself very wise nor very good. Chastened, I took the conclusion to my heart, merely asking leave for the day's instruction to get used to the feel of it there.

What remained of the morning I spent introspecting about the pasture, deaf to G. Herrold's plea to wrestle in the cool March sun; after lunch I retired to the hemlocks with pencil and paper, thinking to map out as it were the road before me by noting down the few clear signposts I had passed. Perched on a high stump I began with NEITHER WISE NOR GOOD, which I printed out in fair block capitals at the page-top. But when I considered inscribing beneath it PASS ALL FAIL ALL and the Maxim SELF-KNOWLEDGE IS ALWAYS BAD NEWS, I could not at once decide which merited second place, and, unable to care intensely, I fell soon into reverie. My fingers toyed with the paper; I had seen human visitors nibble, in my kidship, colored ices from paper cones, and had been wont to fashion any sheet I found into that form before I ate it. Such a cone I fashioned now, scarcely aware; but I had not the appetite of childhood days. Instead of eating it, therefore, idly I set it atop my head, and brooded the afternoon away thus perched and capped.

That night I dreamed the strangest dream of all. In our old meeting-place Lady Creamhair sat on the ground. It was dark night, not picnic time; yet the famous basket rested in her lap, and I squatted at her feet as in terms gone by. But we did not eat. As a child makes a comic mouth, she hooked her forefingers into the basket-lids and spread them wide. She bade me look, and I beheld in that dark chamber no peanut-butter sandwich, but a strange, a baleful host. I saw a man with wings and one with tail. An ancient leaned upon his crook. A lady girl did nothing. I saw a body with two heads, one atop the other. I saw a single head with two bodies, winking and blinking. Still other eyes I saw, seeing me: a bodiless pair that neither blinked nor moved nor changed their cast. A man was there who vanished when I looked, yet whom I saw when I looked away. And others, a multitude of shadows, men and women, sheep and goats -- they hushed about, melting and shifting. They beckoned to me, all, inviting, threatening -- except the lady girl forlorn and patient. I yearned to her. How was it I had not till then suspected what the basket held? I would go to that folk, not meant for eating. No matter the peril, I would press into their country, whence whooped to me a most clear call now. Tekiah! The goats swarmed over all. Tekiah!

Though I was sensible of no waking or change of scene, I got up from my cot and stood in the dark barn at last entirely clear. Max was not in his stall, nor was G. Herrold. No matter! My old wrapper I shucked off for good, and fetched from its storing-place in the supply-room a new one G. Herrold had made against the day I should matriculate: a long and splendid cape it was, of white-bronze fleece, sewed from the hides of two most dear to me, Redfearn's Tom and Mary V. Appenzeller. Even as I drew it round my shoulders (over a clean wool underwrap) and took pleasure in the proud hang of it, I heard the buckhorn call again, not far distant.

I did not tarry even to pack a sandwich; merely I wound the watch upon its lanyard around my neck, found out my necessary stick, and left the barn. In the east a faint light shone that would presently be dawn; in the west a fainter from the thronging halls of New Tammany College, immeasurably distant. I shivered a moment by the gate, until through the quiet came a different blasting call: a whistle of far-off power, urgent! Whereat I shook no more nor wondered, but sprang the latch, and guided by what tooted through the fading stars, set out a-tap down the hard highway.

2.


A bend was in the road just down from the barn, the farthest I'd ever seen from the pasture gate. There (the strange whistle having ceased) I paused to review the cupolas and gambrels of my home. Lest I see more I pressed on. But just round the bend I found the road divided. I inclined to the right, being of that hand; then checked myself and bent left instead, it was so thin a reason. Yet this was no sensibler, after all, and I found myself quite stopped and suddenly discouraged.

How long I might have languished there who knows; the mere resolve that brooked no suggestion of retreat, before the issue of left or right availed me nothing. When I had commenced once more to shivering, however, I heard a rustle in the fork, and from a growth of sumac Max himself came forth, supported by G. Herrold.

"You walking in your sleep?" he asked me.

I might have demanded the same of him, under whose arm I spied now the horn that had waked me. But I saw a riddling seriousness in the question -- it had the air more of a sentry's challenge than a query -- and at the same moment I understood that twice before in recent nights it was the sound of our actual shophar which had figured in my dreams.

"It's time I matriculated," I said.

"You know what you're going to do, do you?"

"I'll know once I get there."

"So." All this while Max stood before me, straining close to see my face in the dim light. "And you know the way? It's not easy."

"I'll find it," I declared.

"Ja, well. But come on back now, G. Herrold fixes you a box-lunch and packs some things. Wait till daylight, you can see your way better."

But I declined, observing the hour was already late, too late almost, and that as for food and extra clothing, I could not be burdened with them. Truly I was impatient to be off: if he would accept hasty, heartfelt thanks for all he'd done for me -- and tell me please which fork led to New Tammany -- I'd be all right, and forever in his debt.

"Which fork, Georgie? You mean you're not sure?"

"It doesn't matter," I said at once. "There's bound to be a sign. Well, bye-bye, Max. Bye-bye, G. Herrold. I really must go."

And I struck out as if I knew my way, hoping some impulse would turn me left or rightwards if I kept myself from thinking on the choice. But of course I could not not-think; no impulse came; and unwilling either to halt again or to betray my quandary (for I was conscious of their eyes upon me), I forged ahead into the sumac.

"I believe I'll take a short-cut through here," I called back.

"Ach, George! Wait once!" Max's voice was joyous; but though I heard him call again for me and urge G. Herrold to help him overtake me, I crashed on through briars and foxgrape -- only a bit more slowly, not to rip my fleece.

"Wait Once, I got to tell you what we did!" As I would not stay, he bade G. Herrold fetch him up and run, and so in a moment was at my side, fending boughs off as we plunged.

"To the right, boy, not this way. Ay, George! I wouldn't believe! Just an old Moishian!"

I said nothing, but turned to the right as he directed. Shortly we were on paved road again, all things more distinct now as the light came from behind us. I went on without hesitation and at such a determined clip (being free of brambles) that Max was obliged to remain in G. Herrold's arms if he would keep pace.

"You know who you are, all right!" he said. "What you thought right along -- but who could believe such a thing? Until we proved it!"

Without looking at him I inquired, "That's why you blew the horn?"

"Ja, ja, that's just why!" More excited than ever I'd seen him, Max described the "experiments" he'd mentioned the previous day. I had, he confirmed, met nearly all the prerequisites of herohood, as far as could be judged: the mystery of my parentage, about which it could be presumed only that I was the offspring of someone high in the administration; the irregularity of my birth, which had so seemed a threat to someone that an attempt had been made on my life; the consequent injury to my legs; the circumstances of my rescue, and my being raised by a foster parent in a foster-home, disguised as an animal and bearing a name not my own -- these and other details corresponded to what Max had found true of scores of hero-histories. On the other hand none seemed unambiguous or conclusive, at least not to one who all his life had been skeptical of heroship. Even if it could be verified that my mother and father were close blood-relatives; that I'd been conceived in a thunderstorm and born in a cave; that rumor had it I was not my father's son; or that my would-be assassin was either my father or my mother's father -- still nothing followed necessarily. As Max put it: "Not every dumbhead with a scar is a bonafide hero."

To settle his doubts in the matter (that is, to prove to himself that my claims were mere boyish ambition) he had instructed G. Herrold on a certain night to blow a certain call upon the horn: if I had waked and asked what was the matter, as Max anticipated, my claim for some reason would have been nullified. If on the other hand I had responded without a question or hesitation and set out in a certain way... But I had done neither, quite, only gone on with my troubled sleep. On a second night therefore had come a second call, which to have answered in any wise had been my refutation (Max did not say why): luckily, it too had not moved me, except to lustful dreams. This night had sounded the third and final; had I slept through it or merely inquired what was the matter, my future had been clear: Max would have enrolled me in the fall as a regular freshman at NTC, to pass or fail in some one of the usual curricula like any other undergraduate -- quite what he wished for me, he confessed, in all his reasonable moods.

"But I couldn't help thinking what you said, Georgie, about the WESCAC and its AIM. And crazy or not, I couldn't help thinking how it was my hand pushed the EAT-button once, and the only way to save me from flunking forever was to lead a Grand Tutor down to West Campus with that same hand."

From the corner of my eye I saw him stress the point with the finger next to his missing one. But my sharp attention to what he said did not retard me.

"So we blew and we blew; two times tonight we did; and just when G. Herrold took his breath to blow the one last time -- what did you hear, my boy?"

"There was a different sound," I said. "It wasn't our horn."

"It was the EAT-whistle!" Max cried. "I never thought till then how it wouldn't mean nothing you should answer to the buckhorn anyhow. But the EAT-whistle, that they blow it from the Power Plant for riot-drills -- that's what fetched you! It's just right!"

Privately I wondered how Max accounted, since his change of mind, for the element of Dunce and Dean o' Flunks in me, which themselves had been discovered by his experimenting. I chose not to ask, but felt compelled at least to observe that I had waked already and was prepared to set out before I'd heard the stranger sound.

"That's okay!" Max insisted. "But what if it wasn't okay? Suppose I said it proves you're only George the Goat-Boy, let's turn around home?"

As I could think of no reply, I walked on without comment.

"You see that, G. Herrold? He goes on anyhow, you shouldn't ask!"

My dear dark comrade, need I say, saw neither more nor less than he ever could. But he was all hum-hum and smile.

"What you said yourself once, Georgie, it's one or the other: if you're not Grand Tutor, you're crazy as G. Herrold, the WESCAC messed your mind up like it did his. If you're not crazy, you got to be a Grand Tutor, nobody else could be in WESCAC's Belly and not get himself EATen."

"That's right," I agreed.

"So listen here," Max said, "you got to hear this: how did the lost Professor in the Campus Cantos find his way through the South Exit and around to Commencement Gate?"

"He had the former director of the Poetry Workshop to show him," I replied.

"So! And in the Epic of Anchisides, that this same director wrote himself, how does Anchisides know how to get through the Nether Campus? Wouldn't he have ended up flunkèd like the rest if it wasn't the Lady from Guidance went along with him?"

I saw his point: it was not a disgrace that I had no notion how to reach New Tammany and only the vaguest of what business was mine there. On the contrary, neither Laertides nor any other of the wandering researchers could have completed their field-projects without special counselling. I wanted an advisor, that was all; to do the hero-assignment was my function, not to choose it...

"Or even to understand it," Max added when I made this point. "Look at Dean Arthur and Excelsior, his magic quill: do you think he knew why it always wrote the right answers? He should care!"

Yet one doubt remained to me: I could not recall that Sakhyan or Maios or Enos Enoch had needed the service of a guidance counselor. Did what applied to wandering researchers apply as well to Grand Tutors? But to my query Max replied at once, "It depends! Take in the New Syllabus where Enos Enoch cures the crazies; you know why He did it?"

"Well, He wanted the poor undergraduates to get on with their studies, and I don't suppose there was any Psych Clinic in those days."

"Not just that! What it says, He did it That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the Advisor, saying, Himself took our infirmities... Now, then! Suppose Enos Enoch hadn't read the Old Syllabus, like you haven't?" The fact was, he declared, Enos Enoch like other Grand Tutors had had His advising as it were in advance, and did what He did in many cases precisely because He knew it to be prescribed that "A Grand Tutor shall do such-and-so." It was not the fulfillment of predictions that made Enos Enoch Grand Tutor; it was the prior condition of Grand Tutorhood that led Him to search out the predictions and see to it they were fulfilled.

I felt free now to halt in the road and embrace my old keeper, whom G. Herrold set down to that end. And I simply asked, "Will you advise me, Max?"

He could scarcely answer, so delighted was he -- and I no less -- that we were after all to be together yet awhile. Rubbing his eye, he managed presently to say, "What you think I been doing? Oh boy. Oh boy. You don't know what it means, Georgie, a Moishian to believe the Grand Tutor's on campus!"

I reminded him that we were not yet on the main campus of New Tammany College, and that he had better get on with his job, and we three with my journey, unless there was work to be done in the woodland where we were.

"Just one business, right here," he replied. And clutching my arm with one thin hand to steady himself, with the other he removed from his waist the token of herdsmanship he'd so long worn there: the withered testicles of Freddie, his old foe, and the leather cord they hung on. "Tie these round your wrapper," he advised me. "It's you that's the Good Goatsman now, with a bigger herd than I ever looked after." I did what he bade me, and he said very seriously, "What these mean, George, if you ever had any faun in you before -- any stud-buck in your blood sometimes, you know? Well, you got to cut it off from now on, or you're not the Grand Tutor. No more Heddas, and no more Lady Creamhairs, whatever went on out there."

I blushed and agreed, relieved enough to think that my past misadventures in deed and dream (of which my advisor had only partial knowledge) need burden my conscience no longer. Firmly I decreed non grata in my memory the images of Hedda and Lady Creamhair; also those of Chickie with the dimpling buttocks who more lately had frisked there, and Becky's Pride Sue; not to mention G. Herrold from whom I had learnt more than half-nelsons, and who watched these goings-on with his grave amusement. No more hot grapples in the asphodel; bye-bye to hemlock pursuits and the studly matter of my dreams. No more to aspire to Being was my firm resolve: right gladly I belted the amulet before me, and believe that I would on Max's advisement have added my own twin troublers to dreadful Fred's.

"I'll show you the way to New Tammany," he pledged, "and how to get past Main Gate and the Entrance Exam. Then we got to sneak you down to WESCAC's Belly, you should change its AIM. Peace on Campus!"

This last burst from him, an impassioned cry. Never had I seen such exaltation in my keeper; it stirred and hushed my own spirit, and at the same time made me a bit uncomfortable.

"Well," I said, "let's go on."

3.


The stock-barns of my youth, I now discovered, were situated on a high plateau, much farther from New Tammany proper than I'd supposed -- unless for some reason the route Max chose was not the most direct. All day we wandered down a twisting hill-road, through stands of oak and rocky fields, resting often for Max's sake. G. Herrold had brought with him a great piece of Manchego, which at midday we washed down with spring water. Using the length of my former pasture as a measure, I guessed we had gone a dozen kilometers, no more, by late afternoon, when abruptly we came upon a gorge or strait defile between two mountains. "The backdoor to West Campus," Max described it; a river debouched from the canyon's throat into a valley west of us, where I saw a considerable lake. We tarried some while on the cliff-edge to watch the play of late light on the rocks, the more impressive as the sun descended quite into the chasm's mouth. Then we made our way down, resolving to cross before dark and find shelter on the far shore.

But at the bottom we were dismayed to see our road cut off: the stream, not apparently deep but fast indeed, was swollen and empowered by the springtime torrents we had seen along the way; it had carried off central piers of a wooden bridge that spanned it. Alas, I had been something impatient at the progress of the day -- no more adventuresome thus far than any stroll about the pasture -- but there came now on us a spate of alarums and surprises that sweetened the memory of uneventfulness.

Our end of the bridge had washed out with the center. As we stood where it used to stand, debating what to do, G. Herrold all at once broke into his song:

" 'One more river,' say the Founder-man Boss..."

His eyes were wide as on the day I had first seen them; following his gaze across the rapids we beheld a young woman in shift and sandals on the farther bank, who must just have appeared where the road came from a willow-grove there. She walked out on the bridge to its broken end, a stable's-length from us, watching us the while as steadily as we her.

"Maybe she can tell us where another bridge is," Max said. "Hush up, G. Herrold, George can ask once."

But G. Herrold, so far from obeying, cried out "Hal-looyer!" and stepped to the water's edge. The woman looked from him to us; then she cupped her hands to her mouth and called out something over our heads. Two syllables, a long and a short, over and over; a plaintive sweet appeal:

"Croa-ker!" she seemed to cry. "Croa-ker!"

"What's it about?" I asked my advisor. But couldn't stay to hear his opinion, inasmuch as G. Herrold shouted again "Hallooyer!" and commenced to wade into the shallows, heedless of socks and sandals. I called him to stop and hobbled after, but was arrested by a further astonishment: quite daintily, as who should raise her skirt-hem from the mud, upon her next clear cry the lady girl fetched up her shift -- nor halted at knee, but hoist it high as would go. Sturdy she stood there, feet apart and privates bare as milch-nan's to the breeze, sweetly calling, "Croaker, croaker!" From so striking a picture nothing less than G. Herrold's madness could have drawn me; but he forged and stumbled toward her headlong through the rapids, which drove now against his legs as against the bridge-piles.

"I'm a-coming," he sang out, "Founder knows!" I started after, but real pursuit was out of the question: my walking-stick found no purchase on the mossy stones, and I slipped at once hard down in the numbing shallows.

"Go back!" I heard the lady warn. Founder pass us, still she stood there, and though with one hand she waved G. Herrold away, with the other she yet clutched up her shift beneath her bosoms. Worse, she commenced to thrust her hips like a rutsome doe and call her call again. I feared now for his life, he was that bound to reach her; already the torrent was hip-high on him, and driving him off his balance. I scrambled up and looked to Max for counsel -- whereat I beheld what he already was beholding: the next amazement.

From somewhere upshore, or the cliff-road behind us, or the pure March air, had appeared a party of nine men such as I'd never seen before. Their heads were shaved, their skin was of a darker tone than mine but lighter than G. Herrold's, and all wore long yellow robes. Eight of them, lean as scarecrows, bore on their shoulders a two-poled platform whereon sat the well-fleshed ninth. His legs were folded tight before him, his hands pressed palm to palm above his belly; his eyes were closed (but not as in sleep), his lips smiled ever so slightly, his whole expression was of a serenity unbefitting the occasion. They crossed the beach -- without so much as a glance at the broken bridge, the bare-snatched maid, or our floundering friend -- and entered the river themselves. The cold current (which alas had pressed G. Herrold down until he clung now to a boulder for his life) had as well been a sheep-dip tank for all they paused or faltered; already they were waist-high and about to pass two meters upstream from the boulder.

"So save G. Herrold!" Max shouted. And I too: "Snatch him! Snatch him!"

Surely they could have, either by returning their burden to our shore or by excusing for only a moment one of the bearers; they each had a free arm to help with, had they deigned to pass just downstream of him; without even that aid G. Herrold might at least have clung to their yellow wrappers and got his footing. But they would not, they would not, nor so much as share our horror when, at the bridge-girl's next cry croaker, G. Herrold with a wail went under. We saw him roll to the surface some yards down; the lady dropped her shift at last to clutch her hair and shriek. The current fetched G. Herrold against another rock; he scrambled for balance, his white fleece cap tumbled off and away, almost it seemed he might get to his knees again -- but the rapids overcame him. Down he went, and under, shophar flopping: once only I thought I glimpsed his wrapper in the foaming rush, then lost sight of it, and he was gone.

We stood shocked for some moments, Max and I, then hastened down the beach. It was slow enough going, what with his age, my gimp, and the stones and slick clay underfoot, but we searched a kilometer at least downstream for some sign of G. Herrold. In vain. A sharp shale promontory blocked our way at the gorge's mouth, where the river had been dammed. There we caught our breath and wept, half-expecting to see our friend's body sweep with the river down that spillway into the lake.

"He might have washed ashore where we couldn't see him," I insisted. "He could be resting on the other side somewhere."

Max shook his head.

"Why didn't they help him?" I demanded angrily. "What was that girl doing those things on the bridge for?"

Max groaned, clutching his beard. "You're asking me? I never saw such a thing!"

Dusk was upon us, there was no point in waiting longer. At Max's suggestion we headed bridgewards: surely officials from the Department of Civil Engineering would arrive in the morning, if not that same evening, to inspect the wash-out, which could not go long unrepaired. The most we could do, when they fetched us across, was report the sad news so that the river could be searched for G. Herrold's body.

"And the woods," I insisted again, "in case he got out and he's just lying hurt somewhere."

"Ja, well," Max agreed, "the woods too, then." And for my sake he pretended there was some sense in our calling G. Herrold's name all the way upshore. My burden wanted no explaining to him, who had been my tutor in Responsibility: it was not simply the river that had drowned G. Herrold, but the ruin of his mind, whereof WESCAC and my living self were cause.

Approaching the bridgehead in the last light, we could see the men in yellow on the far shore. Safe over, they had set down their passenger and were themselves positioned around him on the sand, as if to rest. Their legs were folded and their palms pressed together in his manner; I supposed their eyes were shut too, like his, as their ears had been and their hearts. The lady girl we saw still at the bridge-end, but on her knees now in what could be taken for grief: at least her hands hid her face, and her long dark hair her hands.

Yet even as I regarded her, uncertain how to feel, she lifted her head, espied us, and once more sent her flunkèd slender cry over the stream.

"Croa-ker!"

I clenched my fists: What madness was it? And before our unbelieving eyes, could it be the shift went up again? Almost unseparable it was from the white of her skin now, as distinction faded with the day -- but yes, by dint of squinting I discerned her shame, that patch as it were on her else-pure-whiteness, or fallen fleck of night-sky in her lap! No drowning comrade to divert me, I couldn't turn my gaze, for all Max warned me to. He understood her now, he declared, and spoke bitterly of those fair dread singers Laertides met, who, had he not stopped his colleagues' ears and lashed himself to the mast, had lured his research vessel onto the rocks. Every hero sooner or later met their like, Max cautioned (a bit more severely, as I gazed on), and nothing could be more perilous than to attend them. True, the call of this bridge-girl was nowise fetching, but her temptation was quite as dangerous as the Sirens'. What was more (he clutched at my fleece when I stepped toward the water for a clearer view) it would be a grave error to suppose her an idle whore or exhibitionist, and her presence on the bridge a mere coincidence: nothing could be more likely than that sinister elements in West Campus -- the same that had sought my death at the first -- had watched my growth carefully all those years, fearing the day I should understand my mission, and having by some means got word of my departure, were resolved to put every obstacle between me and their ruin.

I listened with considerable interest, though without turning my head, and agreed from the side of my mouth that Grand Tutors in general, and particularly one bent on ending forever the Quiet Riot and bringing peace of mind to the whole student body, must inevitably make powerful enemies, if only because riot-defense had become so important a feature in the life and budget of the colleges. And it was perfectly possible, I conceded further, that the girl with her shift up had been sent to intercept me, whether by the Nikolayans or by misguided professor-generals in New Tammany itself, who had a vested interest in the Quiet Riot: was it not on a bridge, after all, that my childhood exemplar W. W. Gruff had come near to being eaten?

"Shut your eyes already!" Max pleaded, coming round front now to push against me, with his toes dug into the sand.

But I would not take them from the thing that held them, which (my grief for G. Herrold notwithstanding) roused me as I'd not been roused since Chickie-in-the-buckwheat. Unmindful of my keeper's distress -- how he butted his head into my stomach, how leaped and waved to interrupt my view -- I stared until that little patch of darkness seemed to grow, becoming one with the larger that presently enveloped all, as if the gorge itself had closed over our heads.

"You're sunk," Max said despairingly, and stalked off behind me. "Some Grand Tutor."

The party on the opposite shore had made a little fire, towards which I saw the brown-haired beauty turn at last and go. I was enough myself now to start to wonder at what had possessed me, and at its import for my claim to Grand-Tutorhood. When I heard a new cry from Max behind me and a pebbly rush of footsteps at my back, my first thought was that he feared I might yet wade out in pursuit, as G. Herrold had done. I made to turn and reassure him that the spell was broken -- but found myself seized from behind by a strength many times my keeper's. Nay, I was swept off my feet by mighty arms, lifted into the air, and borne a-kicking to the water's edge! I joined my alarums to Max's, flailed and laid about me with my stick till it flew from my hand. I had been fetched already some meters into the stream before I noticed that the arms about my middle were black ones; my struggles then disclosed my assailant to be wrapperless -- more I could not see -- and for an instant my heart thrilled: G. Herrold was it then, not drowned after all? Or was his ghost come back to wrestle as of old, or fetch me over to our hearts' desire, or -- fearful thought! -- drag me under with him?

This last seemed likeliest, once my conscience had proposed it; not only did it match the tales I'd read of spookly retribution, but in fact I fell or was flung now into the water, and found myself fighting the current as well as my attacker. I managed once to cry G. Herrold's name, and heard a grunting reply before my ears and mouth filled up with water. Then I had no time to care what had leaped me: I fought for air and footholds, struggling upstream against his clutch as he strove to pull me down, and always, despite my best efforts, working out to deeper water -- until at length the rapids took my legs from under me and fetched me thump against my adversary. In a whole panic, strangling and spitting, I clambered on him as upon a black boulder, not to drown; in only a moment I had climbed to his shoulders and got my legs round his neck. Whereupon a remarkable change came over him: instead of flinging me off or ducking me under, he gripped my ankles, and giving over the assault, struck out purposefully and midstreamwards.

Now I had time to hear Max crying behind us, "Yi yi yi!" while from the shore ahead, where she flickered in the firelight, the bridge-girl resumed her call. And if it was G. Herrold's ghost who bore me, death had worked alterations on him: the head I clutched was bald instead of woolly, he had grown a muscled paunch, and in general his body was huger and more gross. Then I heard him respond with his curious noise to the girl's cry "Croaker," and it struck me he did rather croak than grunt. I addressed him myself in that wise: sure enough, his grip tightened on my ankles, and he seemed to nod his head as he croaked acknowledgment. But all the while we were getting in deeper, until now the water rushed chest-high on him; little use learning his name if the brute meant to drown us after all.

"Gee-up, Croaker!" I therefore commanded, pounding on his skull for emphasis. "This way, flunk you!" I endeavored by grasping his ears to turn his head upstream; if I couldn't face him round I hoped at least to work him up towards the bridge-piles, where with luck I might scramble free of him and wait for rescue. But the white-smocked Siren (how I loathed and feared her now, and saw the truth -- too late as always -- of Max's warning!) she would call him to her, would bare again her firelit shame, which caught Croaker's eye as it had G. Herrold's and my own, and brought helmsmanship to naught. In a bitter clear flash I saw the source and pattern of my ruin: this it was had lost me Lady Creamhair, else my friend; the same had brought me to slaughter Redfearn's Tom and smite dear Max! A wretched hanker was my curse and flunking -- as doubtless my enemies had seen at once. What need of troll or dragon to undo me? Only hire some lady co-ed to hoist her shift, and for what's poor sake I'd spoilt every decent bond with my fellow creatures -- abused, assaulted, killed -- I could be counted upon to forfeit not only my misbegotten life but the claim and mission of Grand-Tutorhood. The whole of studentdom might languish unCommencèd, even EAT itself alive, for all I'd ever put by prurience on principle's behalf!

I could have wept for anger at myself. Indeed, tears came to my eyes, or else waterdrops from my dunking; in any case I rubbed them away, not to blur the image of my downfall thrusting on the shore. And I let go with Croaker's ears all hope of saving myself. No longer fighting either him, the river, or ruinous desire, I let them take me where they would. We plunged into a central stretch much deeper than any the men in yellow could have forded: for some moments my bearer was submerged entirely, and for a dreadful instant I felt us floating free -- but I wouldn't hold my breath or even try to kick loose of him. And so far from commending my mind in extremis to the Founder, I gave self-spiteful lust its head and shouted, weeping, to the wench on the foreshore, "Bye-bye, ma'am! It was good to see you!"

Those were meant to be my last words on this campus. No sooner had I uttered them, however, than I felt Croaker's feet strike bottom again, and, using the current to aid him, he soon got his head out on the downstream side of the deep. It became evident then that he had no mind to drown me after all; he had meant from the first to ferry me across, and by struggling against him I'd only made the task more difficult. Now we fairly raced along: there were fewer rocks on this farther reach, and the bottom seemed more firm; instead of opposing the current, which would surely have upset him, Croaker merely warped shorewards at a modest angle as it swept us with it. Very shortly we reached shallow water; still holding me atop him he waded ashore and trotted up to where his summoner awaited.

But an odd change seemed to come over her as we approached. No longer exposing herself, she stood demurely, even apprehensively, near the circle of yellow-robed men, who remained as oblivious to her and to us (their eyes in fact closed) as if we'd not been there. I could see her face now, large-eyed and nervous; when Croaker let go a plainly rutting croak she retreated a step or two towards the fire -- despite herself, so it seemed to me -- and I understood she was afraid. Of what, and why, after such provocation on her part, I couldn't imagine, unless it was that she'd never meant us to reach the shore.

Croaker's own intentions were clear: already at ten meters' distance he'd released my ankles and was reaching out for her.

"He'll stop if you tell him!" the girl cried suddenly. But at that moment he broke into a sprint, and I tumbled off his shoulders onto the sand, starting the foreseam of my wrapper.

I scrambled to my knees and shouted, "Stop, Croaker!" But the Siren was mistaken, my command went unheeded, and dearly she paid for her misjudgment if she had counted on my word to save her. Yet it was most strange, for she neither fled nor fought, as Lady Creamhair had. She groaned when the great fellow beached her, and turned her face from his slavering -- but herself drew up her shift, and dutifully, as it seemed, raised knees to his unimaginable tup!

I stood perplexed beside them -- on all fours, for want of my stick. Had she not been the death of G. Herrold, and meant to have been mine as well? Oughtn't I to rejoice in her downfall, whom my foes had set to be the instrument of mine? But when she looked to me in dumb appeal from beneath her ravisher (at the same time clasping him round the neck!), I did my best after all to drag him off her. In vain, of course; he was unbudgeable. Even as I tugged at his arm -- huge and hard as a locust post -- he struck his mark with a shock that sent one white sandal flying.

Angrily I shouted at the men in yellow to help me; as well apply to the rocks of the shore! I sprang onto Croaker's back, tried to throttle him, pounded at his head. The girl's eyes closed; distinctly I saw tears in their corners, for my face was as near now as Croaker's, and I hove willy-nilly with his heaving. Even so, when she bit my right arm (thinking I'm sure to bite Croaker's) I couldn't judge whether it was protest, pain, or passion in her teeth. In a trice the rape was done: the brute fell spent atop her and we three lay in a stilled heap. Without opening her eyes, the girl said, "He'll get up now if you tell him. But stay on his back."

I did as bid, amazed, only climbing to a steadier perch on his shoulders as, sure enough, Croaker came off her and squatted torpid, blinking. The girl got up with a shudder and brushed the sand from her shift. Clearly she was frightened no longer, only shocked; she drew her hair back from her eyes and began to fasten it with pins. I rubbed the bite on my wrist.

"Sorry I couldn't stop him, ma'am."

She shook her head. "You couldn't help it." And speaking sadly around the hairpins which she took one by one from between her lips, she explained that the brute called Croaker was a more or less uneducated student from one of the newly established colleges in dark Frumentius, visiting New Tammany under an official exchange program: as such he was immune to arrest, however contrary to West Campus law the customs of his native college or his personal behavior; the most his embarrassed hosts could do (not wanting for diplomatic reasons to offend the Frumentians by asking for his recall) was try to channel and appease his appetites. The task had turned out to be not difficult after all: the roommate assigned to him, happening to be paralytic, had one day tried riding pick-a-back to class on his unruly fellow, and discovered that with someone thus mounted on his shoulders Croaker was almost entirely governable. Things had gone well enough for some terms thereafter; indeed, the two had come quite to depend on each other -- Croaker on his roommate for guidance and instruction, the roommate on Croaker for transport and menial services -- until just a day or two since, when a third party had persuaded each to try to do without the other. It may have been that the interloper's motives were sincere (though the girl seemed not convinced of it); in any case the outcome was unfortunate. The roommate, Dr. Eierkopf -- no need to say I started at her mention of this name! -- languished in his quarters, afflicted with migraine and unable to attend his simplest needs, while Croaker, after assaulting two co-eds, a campus policeman, and a prize poodle belonging to the Chancellor's aunt, and eating raw three gibbons from the Department of Psychology, had disappeared into the forest, where it was feared he might wreak further outrage on undergraduates, among whom the woods were a popular trysting-place, or be shot in self-defense by some Forestry Ranger, to the Administration's embarrassment.

As she spoke of these things (more briefly and brokenly than I do here), the girl actually patted Croaker's head, evoking from him a guttural kind of purr. "Look, he's tame as can be with you on his back. I think he mistook you for his master when he noticed your limp. Poor thing, they mustn't hurt him, he doesn't know he's doing wrong."

I observed a ring upon one finger of her patting-hand and strove to recall what I had read of human marriage.

"Beg pardon, ma'am," I asked: "Is Croaker your husband?"

She put the same hand to her mouth and laughed -- strange in one so roundly raped -- then from her merry eyes more tears came, though she smiled still. "What an idea! My husband is Maurice Stoker."

The name conveyed nothing to me -- remarking which fact, she looked at me curiously, seeming to see for the first time my wrapper and beard. She was more beautiful by far than Chickie; just the image, in fact, of those sweet distressed co-eds in the Tales, the illustrations whereof had formed my notions of human beauty. My heart stirred. To her inquiry, was I not an exchange student myself, from some foreign college, I began to reply that I was George, Grand Tutor to the Western Campus, formerly known as Billy Bocksfuss the Goat-Boy -- but I remembered as I spoke that she was the agent of my enemies, and my voice grew stern.

"You know who I am without my telling you, Siren! You thought you could drown me like G. Herrold, so I'd never reach New Tammany --"

"Your poor friend!" she broke in. "Why did he wade out so far?" She reached out to touch me, but I snatched back my arm. "Oh dear, you're bleeding!"

Indeed, her teeth had broken the skin. "It's all right," I told her.

"It's not, either. Let me put something on it. I'm a nurse."

My wrist was bleeding more than I'd thought. Without ado the girl tore a strip from the hem of her shift -- which was anyhow ruined from Croaker's assault -- and having dipped it in the cold stream, commenced to wrap an expert bandage.

"I'm so sorry about this," she said. "Even when I hate what's happening, like a while ago -- I have to bite!" She turned her dark eyes seriously up to me. "Do you think that's immoral? It worries me sometimes."

I answered frankly that I didn't know what to think -- about the love-bite, the monstrous equivocal rape, her behavior on the bridge, G. Herrold's drowning, or any other of the evening's surprises -- not least among which was her present calm. Why did she care about my bleeding arm, since she'd been sent to drown me? Why had she invited Croaker so, seeing she'd not relished the consequences: pled with me to save her, wept at his attack, and yet clasped to him all the brutal while? Whatever would her husband say (for I could not suppose such behavior was typical in marriage)? And finally, how on campus could such a splendid fair student lady girl lend herself to the forces of darkness, and turn her Founder-given charms to the end of flunking me, who meant to pass all studentdom? For never (here I waxed eloquent as I could in my ignorance of the forms of human compliment), never had such beauty been, not even in the goat-barn's fairest: Hedda of the Speckled Teats could boast no such limpidity of eye, such sharpness of tooth; my own Commencèd dam Mary Appenzeller, for all her miracle of milk, must yield in point of beauty to the rose-nippled darlings bared upon the bridge, whereof the sweet issue (all the preciouser, I daresaid, for its want of abundance) must be yogurts and cheeses and fudge of a heartbreaking fineness. Let that of muscle Lady Creamhair had been stronger, and Chickie of odor -- longer-fleeced too the latter's lap and limbs -- such virtues paled before the black-curled marvel which supply had beckoned, nay commanded, from over the torrent, so printing its image upon my soul that I saw it yet -- in the pupils of her eyes, in the craters of the moon, in the dark-cornered flickers of the fire -- and heard it calling to me, as it were, like some nightbird from its nest.

"What a strange way of talking you have!" she said. "I can't even follow you!" Yet she seemed not displeased. "There, that should do it." She gave a pat to the finished bandage. "What about your other friend, now? If you take Croaker up where it's shallower he could bring you both over. My husband will be along shortly -- he's in charge of the search-party. We can give you a lift to wherever you were going."

She had by this time so won my trust that I attributed to Max all my former suspicions. I told her straight out who I was (she caught her breath at the mention of Max's name, then explained that of course she had heard of him, and even recalled being taken by her Uncle Ira to the goat-farm as a child, to see "the little boy who thought he was a goat"), but I judged it wiser to say nothing for the present about Grand-Tutorship or WESCAC's AIM. My intention, I declared, was to matriculate in New Tammany College as soon as I could, and I thanked her for her inadvertent aid in getting me over the river. As for Max's crossing by the same means, however, I doubted his willingness to, inasmuch as he thought her a flunkèd woman bent on luring me, if not to my death, at least to a breach of my virtue. Why else had she so exposed herself on the bridge? What did she think had led G. Herrold over his head, if not those wonders I had just done praising?

As if understanding for the first time, she put her hands to her cheeks: her eyes widened, and she shook her head.

"Is that what you thought!" she cried, and put her hand on my arm to halt me. "I'm so ashamed!" It took her some moments to overcome her plain mortification. Then she said most earnestly, but scarcely able to look me in the face for embarrassment, "You mustn't think those terrible things! If I'd suspected for a moment... and Dr. Spielman, of all people ..." She began again, more calmly: "My name is Anastasia Stoker (people call me Stacey) and I'm a nurse in the New Tammany Psych Clinic; that's why I knew about Croaker and Dr. Eierkopf and all. In fact it was my husband -- he runs the Power Plant, and he's a very... unusual man, you'll see -- he's the one who talked the Chief Psychiatrist into separating them, for their own good, or for experimental reasons or something, just to see what would happen. I guess that's why I felt responsible, in a way, when the trouble started. Those poor girls he attacked, and that dear little poodle, and we didn't know what he might do next! We knew he'd gone out towards the river, and Chancellor Rexford was especially worried because a famous Grand Tutor was on his way to the College and was supposed to be somewhere in this neighborhood --"

"So they did know ahead of time!"

"Of course: it was in all the papers. Didn't you see it?"

I explained that no newspapers were delivered to the goat-barn, and pressed her for more details, hoping thus to gauge the reception awaiting me at NTC. "Did they say what his name is, or what he looks like? What's he coming to the College for?"

"Shush," she warned merrily, "they might understand English!" She glanced back at the yellow-robed men, who of course paid no heed. "That's Him in the middle: the fat one. The others are Tutees or something. They wouldn't let the Chancellor send anybody to meet them, and they sit like that most of the time."

I pointed incredulously. "You think he's the Grand Tutor? When he wouldn't lift a finger to help you or G. Herrold?"

She wrinkled her brow at my ignorance. "Not our Grand Tutor, George! You have been in the country, haven't you? He's what they call The Living Sakhyan, from Outer T'ang College or somewhere over there. He's supposed to be descended from the original Sakhyan, and when the Student-Unionists took over His college, Chancellor Rexford invited Him here to tutor the Sakhyan refugees on West Campus. Think what the Student-Unionists would have said if Croaker had attacked Him!"

I could by no means share her alarm at this prospect, but I gathered with some satisfaction that no threat to me was implied by the newspapers she referred to, at least, and no competition of the sort I'd first imagined by the fat chap's being regarded as a species of Grand Tutor. Anastasia went on with her story:

"From what I knew about Croaker, I didn't think they'd ever be able to catch him without hurting him or getting hurt themselves, and in the meantime no telling how many girls he'd bother! Mr. Rexford was so upset at Maurice, he was talking about firing him, and I thought the best way to save the situation was to lure Croaker back somehow to Dr. Eierkopf. But Maurice (that's my husband) said the only way to do that would be to line up a lot of co-eds between the woods and Dr. Eierkopf's room -- he's always saying naughty things. Anyway I knew Croaker liked me all right: every time they came by the Clinic he used to sort of purr, you know, like a friendly bear. It was so cute, and I don't believe there was anything bad in it at all, the way Maurice pretended; I'd just let him touch me or lick my hand or something, and then Dr. Eierkopf could usually move him along without any more bother...

"So I came along with the search party and got Maurice to let me come out on the bridge while they waited out of sight. I thought if Croaker was anywhere in the gorge he'd see me there and come when I called, and then maybe I could calm him down or draw him back to where the others were -- they have something to put him to sleep with. Maurice said silly things the way he always does, about my knowing what would happen and actually wanting it to; but I learned a long time ago not to mind what he says. Besides, if it turned out I couldn't control Croaker, or the men didn't get there in time, it didn't seem to me it could be much worse than some other things I'd been through, and as long as it was me it wouldn't be some poor co-ed ruined for life." Her tone was matter-of-fact, but she clutched her arms across her breasts and sighed. "Which is how it turned out."

Where her husband and the others had got to she didn't know, unless mistaking G. Herrold for Croaker (as she herself had done at first) and seeing him drown, they had judged the danger past and gone to find the body. Certainly she did not believe that any man, even one so unusual as her husband, would stand idly by and see a woman assaulted -- the men in yellow she expected, of course, and forgave, they being Commencèd Graduates. A trifle uncomfortably I praised her large-mindedness and courage, and she in turn thanked the Founder for my chance presence in the gorge, which if it had not spared her own awful raping after all, had at least spared her more, or worse. As she spoke, distressed by the memory, she bent her forehead to my chest (where cold water still dripped from the fleece) and I was moved to pat her hair to comfort her. Silky to the touch it was, the nape beneath finely downed! But her closeness stirred Croaker under me, and she quickly stepped back, remarking only that if she had the sodium pentathol herself I wouldn't need to keep my perch.

She concluded her tale by pleading with me not to imagine, as her husband surely would, that anything but concern for the safety of others had prompted her behavior. Ordinarily, for example, though a married woman and a registered nurse, she would have been far too modest to do more than call from the bridge. But even as G. Herrold had waded towards her she had spied Croaker leaping through the trees behind us, and fearing he might attack us she had put by shame and shift to make the urgenter summons. I asked her whether her husband wouldn't be very much upset at what had happened to her.

"Maurice upset? You mean angry, or jealous?" She shook her head ruefully. "Not him! He'll be unpleasant, but not upset. He's not like other men."

Indeed; I thought, he must not be. Anastasia went then to build up the fire for "The Living Sakhyan," who for all he would tend it himself or acknowledge her aid, had as well been dead. Very much moved, I went off with Croaker -- uncertainly at first, then with more confidence as I learned how readily he responded to command now his lust was appeased. We crossed the stream easily above the bridge, where it was only waist-deep, and retrieved Max, whose alarm I quieted with some difficulty. He had of course witnessed the unhappy scene across the river, at first in despair, then in horror, at last in anxious wonder. But when I explained who Croaker was, and who were the bridge-girl and the men in yellow, and repeated Anastasia's account of her self-sacrifice for our sakes, he was more moved to pity even than I.

"That Maurice Stoker," he said bitterly, "I know him, all right. He's a real Dean o' Flunks." With the aid of my walking stick (which Max had retrieved) I'd made Croaker understand that he was to carry my advisor in his arms, as G. Herrold had done earlier in the day, and the three of us proceeded thus to make our final crossing. To what I'd heard from Anastasia, Max added that Maurice Stoker was reputed to be a half-brother to the present Chancellor, but had been disowned by the Rexford family, a worthy and distinguished one, as well as expelled from New Tammany College, many years previously, for advocating the violent overthrow of every administration between the two Campus Riots. A militant anti-Founderist and anti-Finalist, and a notorious intriguer in varsity affairs, he was reputed to have played a role in the great Nikolayan Revolution, in the rise of the Bonifacist Reichskanzler, and in terrorist movements in virtually every quadrangle of the University. Wherever disorder was, Maurice Stoker seemed to be also, whether to assist in an anti-administration riot (even against men who themselves owed their offices to his plotting) or to encourage with his presence so trifling a disturbance as the ritual spring panty-raids on co-ed dormitories in NTC. Yet no one, it seemed, understood the management of the great West-Campus Power Plant as he did, or the multifarious operations of Main Detention -- the bureau in charge of counterintelligence as well as the detection and punishment of domestic miscreants and course-failers. Indeed, among the causes of Max's disenchantment with political life was the fact that even the best-intentioned, most high-minded administrators (including young Lucius Rexford himself, whom Max rather admired) seemed unable to do without Maurice Stoker; fear and despise him as they might, all came at last to terms with him; in the present administration as in its predecessor, though he was seldom to be seen on New Tammany's Great Mall, he retained his offices at the Power Plant to the north and Main Detention to the south.

"Imagine a nice girl married to such a man!" Max concluded -- we were almost across the river by this time, and I pointed Croaker downstream towards the fire. "It almost wonders me whether we should trust her."

"You won't wonder when you see her," I assured him.

"Well, I saw right much of her already. And you too -- which you shouldn't have enjoyed it like you did." However, he added to my relief, during his anxious half-hour alone on the beach he had reviewed my behavior in the light of comparative cyclology and decided that while yielding to such temptations would in his opinion disqualify me for Grand-Tutorhood, simply being tempted in itself did not, at least not necessarily: Laertides, after all, had deliberately attended the sweet Sirens' singing and even commanded his crew to change course from their true destination and head for the rocks. The difference between us, which must caution me for the future, was that Laertides, being properly forewarned, had seen to it both that his freedom of action would be suspended and that his commands would be ignored during his temporary madness, his relapse from herohood.

"It's a kind of insurance," Max declared. "Nobody can be a hero every minute of every day; even Enos Enoch must've had times when He wished He was just another freshman, He wouldn't have to get Himself nailed up. What's important is to see you can slip, and make sure nobody pays attention when you say 'Pfui on Commencement!' If you won't stop up your ears and eyes, you got to tie yourself to the mast like Laertides did, and tell me not to mind your crazy talk." The self-binding, he explained, was figurative: I must let him be my Mast as well as my forewarner and tie myself to him with the Rope of a solemn vow, to submit to his restraining whenever I was tempted to compromise my difficult mission. There occurred to me certain objections -- questions, really, of a theoretical nature -- to what he said: it was easy enough for us to maintain, for example, that Laertides' Siren-chasing moods were the improper ones and his home-striving moods the proper, inasmuch as we saw both from the poet's perspective, and the choice moreover was inherent in the premise of the fable. What would have kept a real Laertides, I wondered, from telling himself that the Sirens' voice was actually his wife's, or that only now, having heard them, did he realize that their rock, and not the rocky coast of home, was his true destination? Other tales there were in which the hero's conception of his task was not so insusceptible to doubt as Laertides' had been -- but it so relieved me not to be scolded for the lust that had possessed me (and not to have to worry about it further myself), I saved these reservations for some future time.

"Tell this ape he should put me down now," Max requested. "Ach, what a pair of roommates, Eblis Eierkopf and this one!"

I did so, gratified at the promptness with which Croaker heeded the pointing of my stick. It seemed to control him better than either word-commands or pressure of the heels: a mild whack athwart his hip with it, for instance, even served to check his jumping up and down when Anastasia came to meet us, her fine eyes raised uncertainly to mine. I remarked that she was alone, The Living Sakhyan and his party having gone their way.

"Mrs. Stoker," I said (recalling how such things were done in an etiquette book Lady Creamhair once had fed to me): "Max Spielman, my advisor."

"How d'you do," Anastasia murmured, and Max nodded shortly. I attributed the coolness in her voice to embarrassment, and so assured her that Max now understood and was grateful for her noble intentions, held her in no way responsible for G. Herrold's drowning, and sympathized with her for what she had suffered.

"I'll speak for myself," Max interrupted. "Look me in the eyes once, young lady." She did so, still maintaining her odd reserve. "This fellow here has got a job to do, more important and dangerous than any other job on campus; it's just what Maurice Stoker would try to keep him from doing. So: did you do what you did to save us from Croaker, or did your husband send you out here to stop this young man? Tell me the truth -- it wouldn't surprise me if he'd set Croaker on us too, and that whole story about Eierkopf was a lie."

The girl did not answer at once; she bit her lower lip and seemed about to cry.

"Don't scold her so, Max! She's just had bad things happen to her."

"Dear girl," Max said more gently, "if you really been raped I kiss your feet and beg your pardon. Passèd are the raped, like it says in the Seminar-on-the-Hill. But it's not easy to trust a person that lives with Maurice Stoker."

"You don't understand him," Anastasia said distractedly; she put her hand to her forehead. "I think I've got to sit down. It's hard to know what to say after all I've heard about you..."

"Heard?" Max cried. "Ja sure, from that Dean o' Flunks husband of yours!"

She shook her head, still standing. "From my mother, Dr. Spielman! And from Uncle Ira, and Grandpa Reg!"

"What's this?" Now Max was wide-eyed, and the girl seemed on the verge of swooning. He stepped to steady her; she hid her face in his shoulder. "Young lady, who are you?"

Her voice came muffled from his fleece. "My name used to be Stacey Hector. I'm Virginia Hector's daughter... and I guess... yours too."

4.


Having made this declaration, Anastasia lost her voice entirely and wept into Max's wrapper, while my advisor, shaking his head from side to side, could say only, "Yi yi yi yi!" and pat her hair. I suggested we move to the abandoned fire, and went astride Croaker to fetch more sticks against the night-chill. Max was protesting, when I returned, that while he had indeed loved Miss Virginia R. Hector extremely, he was innocent of her impregnation and could not understand why she had persisted in accusing him. To which Anastasia replied, it was not her mother who accused him, at least not in recent years; her mother had alas gone somewhat out of her senses and declared by turns that she had never been pregnant at all; that she had been pregnant but by no mortal man in the University; that Anastasia was no child of hers; etc., etc.

"It was Uncle Ira and Grandpa Reg who blamed you," she said. "I used to ask them who was this Max that Mother talked about when she'd had too much to drink -- she used to drink a lot --"

"Yi yi!" Max groaned.

"-- and when I was older they told me my father was a bad man named Max Spielman that had deserted my mother and caused a lot of trouble before they fired him. Please don't do that..." Max had set himself to kissing her sandals and beating his forehead upon the sand. "I never hated you the way they said I should. I used to wonder what could have made you treat Mother like that, and I decided it must have been something you couldn't help, or you never would have done it. I used to wish I'd meet you, so I could let you know I didn't hate you for anything, and even if you cursed me or hit me, the way people do sometimes, at least you'd have me there to do it to, and it might make you feel better about Mother and me. Maurice is that way, and Uncle Ira used to be too."

"Georgie!" Max cried. "Hear the voice of sweet Commencement!" He then declared to Anastasia, still on his knees before her, that so pass him Founder he was not her father, but the victim of heartbreaking accusations and false charges, the motive whereof he despaired of ever learning. That he nonetheless cursed and reproached himself for not having stood by the woman he loved, understanding (as one with half Anastasia's own loving nature would have, he was certain) that his dear lady's indictments were the fruit of some desperation; he would never forgive himself, he vowed, for not having pled guilty to the false paternity, so sparing Virginia Hector the dismal afflictions it seemed had come upon her, and Anastasia the egregious burden of illegitimacy.

"But it doesn't matter!" Anastasia said. "I forgive you anyway. There's no need to keep saying you're not my father."

"By me there's need! I wish I was your poppa, such a girl! But I'm not, I swear it!"

"Then I believe you," the girl said firmly. "Don't go on like that, now." As if he were the child and she the parent, she gathered Max's old head to her breast, which lacking the hard-cupped harness I had noted on Chickie-in-the-buckwheat's, yielded softly to his cheek -- and I wished I had something to be forgiven for. The effect was admirable: Max soon recomposed himself and set to praising her virtues to me (who needed no persuasion) in a more controlled if no less enthusiastic spirit. He now believed her utterly, he said, and would add to the proofs of my untutored wisdom, and his own too-human fallibility, that I had been drawn strongly to her from the first, and had affirmed her goodness in the face of his skepticism.

"That was sweet of him," she said, and smiled me such a warm smile of gratitude, I wished I truly had never doubted her, and been impelled from the first by the sight of her spiritual merits alone. "He tried his best to hold Croaker back, too, but it wasn't any use."

"An atrocity!" Max cried. "The brute ought to be caged up."

But Anastasia protested once again that after all men were what they were, Founder pass them, and animals were what they were; Croaker couldn't help himself any more than her husband could, who often did things to her and to others that were misinterpreted as proceeding from a flunkèd nature simply because the deeds themselves were flunkèd. Besides, it pained her to see anything caged, no matter how wild or dangerous -- an animal, a criminal, anything... Often in the past, she confessed, she had pitied "poor Croaker" for not having a mate equal to his passions -- though to be sure she pitied even more their unequal victims: the co-eds, the policeman, the poodle, and the cute little monkeys whose expressions had looked so like wise old men's. But only look at Croaker now, she bade us, how docile and content he was, like a great spoiled child that's had his lollipop at last. How could she, she asked us almost light-heartedly, be aggrieved at her own mistreatment -- which albeit hurtsome had not been fatal, after all -- when in addition to sparing others the same or worse, it had so plainly done its doer a campus of good?

I was purely touched, and asked her how it came that so gentle a lady girl had wed Maurice Stoker, whom despite her excusing him I took to be a flunkèder brute than Croaker, because more conscious of his ways?

"That's well asked, Georgie," Max approved. "That's asked like a Grand Tutor." And to Anastasia, before she could reply, he professed frankly his belief that I might be no person else than a true Grand Tutor to the Western Campus, destined to rescue studentdom from the tyranny of its own invention. "Don't mock," he cautioned her; "myself I'm a skeptic; I wouldn't say such a thing in a hundred years without plenty good reasons."

But Anastasia was far from mocking; she looked up at me in wonder as Max spoke. "So that's it!"

I assumed she meant that she understood now certain earlier remarks and attitudes of mine which must have struck her as mysterious at the time (such as my alarm at her mention that Chancellor Rexford was expecting a Grand Tutor's arrival at any moment). But she drew from the pocket of her shift a small glass phial, which she said had been given her by one of The Living Sakhyan's company as they left the beach, just a short time previously.

"It was the strangest thing," she said to Max -- as if scarcely presuming to address me directly. "Here I didn't even think they could talk our language, and I swear they hadn't said a word to one another the whole time they were sitting here; but suddenly The Living Sakhyan smiled at me and raised His hand -- it was like He'd just come out of his trance -- and it made me feel peculiar all over! Then one of His men led me up to the fire -- this was while George had come back to get you. And I felt so funny, because I didn't know whether they were going to thank me for fixing their fire, or -- or do something to me, or what. And it didn't seem to matter, if you know what I mean, Him being such a great man and all; you can almost feel how wise and Commencèd He is, and whatever He wanted to do, I have this feeling it was all right, and I'd be flunkèd not to let Him do it..." She turned to me, her eyes full of reverence. "But then His helper took out this little bottle and gave it to me, and said it was for you from The Living Sakhyan. 'From ours to yours,' is what he said -- and he didn't even speak with an accent! I was so surprised I stood there like a dunce, and didn't think to ask what it was until they'd picked up The Living Sakhyan and were almost gone. Then the man who gave it to me sort of frowned and closed his eyes, as if I was so stupid he couldn't stand to look at me, and he said, 'It's the Disappearing Ink.' I swear that's what he said!"

She held the phial out to me, rather diffidently. "He must have just said that to let me know it was none of my business. There doesn't seem to be anything in it at all, that I can see..."

I held it up to the firelight, shook it at my ear. It did in fact appear to be empty.

"Do you think --" She touched her fingers to her cheek and smiled uncertainly at Max. "What I mean, could it have disappeared already?"

Max examined gravely the empty phial and returned it to me. East-Campus Graduates, he pointed out, famously spoke in riddles, and it was by no means unthinkable that The Living Sakhyan, or His disciple, had been making some obscure joke with Anastasia; but whatever the true nature and significance of the gift, he took its presentation as no joke at all, but one more proof of my authenticity.

I myself was not impressed. "Disappearing ink!" I flung the phial down, angered afresh at the revelation that the men in yellow had after all been aware of everything that had happened in the gorge: had understood G. Herrold's plight and Anastasia's, but had suffered the one to drown and the other to be raped without lifting a finger in either's behalf. "Dunce take it!"

"Oh, don't!" Anastasia snatched it up at once from the sand. "Really -- excuse me, George, I'm sure you're a thousand times brighter than I am, but I really don't think..." She blushed, "Would it be all right if I kept it for you? In case you change your mind?"

"That might be smart, Georgie," Max agreed. "These things mean more than they seem to, sometimes. I'd like to have time to think it over before you throw it away."

I shrugged. "You're the advisor." Anastasia gratefully returned the phial to her pocket, as if it were a precious gem, and I pressed her again to account for her marriage to the notorious Stoker, which it seemed to me she had been pleased to digress from explaining. My tone was even a bit peremptory, for I was on the one hand impressed by her clearly self-sacrificial behavior with Croaker, her husband, Max, The Living Sakhyan, and myself, and on the other hand vaguely uneasy about it: it disturbed me to see her equally submissive to everyone, the flunkèd as well as the not. Yet sincere as this concern of mine was (which it made me feel quite Grand-Tutorish to express), in the main I was simply flattered by the novelty of being stood in awe of, especially by that lovely creature -- so ready to obey, one could not resist commanding her! Out of all these feelings I demanded to know whether she had wed of her free will or been abducted like the captive brides of old, in which latter case I intended by some means to slay her captor and set her at liberty.

"Oh, you couldn't do that!" she said -- amused, alarmed, and pleased at once, as it seemed to me. "I mean, I guess you could, if you're a Grand Tutor, but --"

"It's not your business to start slaying people," Max told me; "what you want to do is keep them from slaying each other. Besides, you got no kind of weapons, thank the Founder, and Maurice Stoker's got his own private Riot Squad."

It occurred to me to point out to him that my stick had once been deadly tool enough, and to argue that it was not without good precedent I contemplated using it again: Enos Enoch Himself had flung the Business Administration concessionaires bodily from Founder's Hall, and had declared to His protégés that He came to them not with diplomas but with a birch-rod, armed Tutors always prevailing where unarmed ones failed. But Anastasia forestalled me by protesting that while she had not exactly volunteered to marry Stoker, she had willingly assented to the match at the time of its arrangement by her guardian, Ira Hector, and further that she would not dream of deserting one who needed her so absolutely as did her husband -- however violently he himself denied that need.

"I knew it!" Max cried out. "A pact between the meanest mind on campus and the flunkèdest!" Ira Hector, he reminded me, was the wealthy and infamously selfish older brother of the former chancellor of NTC; from humble beginnings as a used-book peddler he had risen to his present position as head of a vast informational empire, controlling the manufacture and distribution of virtually every reference-volume published in the West-Campus colleges. Ready to line his pockets at anyone's expense, he was despised and catered to by liberals and conservatives alike (though always closer in spirit to the latter); while he preached the virtues of free research, what he practiced was the stifling of competition, the freedom of the clever to oppress the ignorant and stupid. Yet so enormous was his wealth and so ubiquitous his influence, every New Tammany chancellor had to come to terms with him; and Max himself, how vehemently soever he had used to rail in the Senate against Ira Hector's unprincipled monopolies and graft, was obliged to admit that they were perhaps the necessary evils of Bourgeois-Liberal Studentism, his own philosophy. As was the case with Maurice Stoker too, however, the fact that Ira Hector was indispensable made him in Max's view no less a wretch; as he put it (reversing a much-quoted remark of Ira Hector's own): one might have to lick his boots, but needn't praise the flavor.

"Now, you're too hard on Uncle Ira," Anastasia chided. "You must try to understand him."

Max sniffed, but it was remarkable how the girl calmed his indignation with a pat on the knee. "So he's got a heart of gold," he complained with a smile. "Like Dean Midas he has!"

"He's more generous than you think," Anastasia said. "But he's so afraid somebody will make fun of it, or take advantage of him, he wouldn't admit it for the campus."

"He don't have to," said Max. "He owns the campus already."

But she pointed out with spirit that her own rearing in the rich man's house was proof enough that his selfishness was not complete. "He didn't have to take me in. Grandpa Reg said Mother was so upset when I was born, she wasn't able to take care of me, and he sent me to the Lying-in Hospital for Unwed Co-eds -- which by the way Uncle Ira built with his own money..."

Max asked indignantly why Chancellor Hector had not staffed his own house with nurses, which he could easily have afforded to do, and thus spared both Virginia Hector and Anastasia a disgraceful connection with the New Tammany Lying-in.

"He wanted to," she replied. "But Mother wasn't herself, you know... I guess I reminded her of so many unhappy things, she couldn't bear to have me in the house, and of course she knew they'd take care of me in the hospital. I don't hold it against her that she felt that way: it must have been a bad time for her, having been Miss University and all and then being jilted and left pregnant... Oh dear: I didn't mean it that way!"

Max closed his eyes, shook his head, and waved away her apology.

"Anyhow it was only for a few weeks," Anastasia went on. "Then Uncle Ira (actually he's Mother's uncle) had a nursery fixed up in his house, and that's where I was raised. It was a wonderful childhood, and I was terribly grateful to him when I was old enough to understand all he'd done for me. And Mother, you know, she wasn't always upset: lots of times she'd come to visit, or take me out somewhere. Even when she'd have her spells where she'd say I was no daughter of hers, we were still friends."

Seeing the pain in Max's countenance, she changed the subject brightly: "As for Uncle Ira, he was sweet as could be! Not a bit like you think! I didn't see him very much, he's so busy all the time, and he pretends to be such an old bear: but I'd slip into his study and climb up on his lap and kiss him, or hold my hands over his eyes -- even when I was big I used to do it -- and he'd have to laugh and kiss me before I'd go away. And every night he'd come up to make sure I got my bath, and tuck in my covers -- he never would let the nurse do it. And talk about careful, when I was old enough to go out with boys! He was an orphan himself, you know, and grew up practically on the streets; he told me his mother was taken advantage of by a bad man who talked her into leaving Grandpa Reg and him when they were kids, and he had to take care of Grandpa Reg when he was just a little boy himself, selling old books off a pushcart on the Mall. I guess he'd seen so many bad things in his life, especially young girls being taken advantage of -- anyhow he wouldn't let me go out with boys at all. It wasn't he didn't trust me; it was the boys he didn't trust, even the nice ones. He said he knew what it was they were after, whether they knew it or not, and even if they'd never thought of trying to take advantage of me, they'd think of it soon enough when I was alone with them. Stupid me, I hardly knew what a boy was, much less what Uncle Ira was talking about; I used to come in and perch on his lap and pester the poor man to death, to tell me what was so awful that the boys would do. He'd try to put me off, and tell me I was getting too big to sit on his lap like that; but I wouldn't take no for an answer..."

"I hate this," Max said.

"I know what you're thinking; just what Maurice says. But you've got to remember he was a lonely old man, and worried to death that the same thing would happen to me that had happened to his mother and his niece and all those girls in his hospital. And even if it wasn't completely innocent, I'm sure he thought it was; he was probably fooling himself the way he said those nice boys were, that he drove away from the house when they tried to make dates with me. If I'd had a grain of sense I'd have thought of some better way to handle him, without hurting his feelings; but I was so dumb, and naturally I was curious, too, when he tried to show me what was what."

Here I interrupted to protest that I didn't understand what was being alluded to, and thus had no way of judging how it bore upon the question of her marriage. Anastasia looked at me curiously, and Max reminded her that I too had been raised in isolation from normal campus family life, if not exactly in the same ignorance of natural facts.

"But don't tell us what's none of our business," he added; "it was just about you and Stoker we wondered."

I was ready to protest that I regarded it as quite my business (without knowing exactly why) to right or avenge any wrongs done to those whom I -- well, esteemed -- as I esteemed Max himself, and had vowed to clear his name. But the protest was unnecessary; Anastasia declared she felt obliged to speak in more frank detail than normally one might: first, because we might else misjudge her Uncle Ira's motives; second, because these incidents from her early youth were not unrelated to her subsequent marriage; and third, because if I was indeed a Grand Tutor, it was not hers to decide what ought to be told me and what ought not, but rather to open her heart trustingly and completely as she did in her nightly petitions to the Founder, without whose forgiving comfort and understanding she would long since have perished under the burden of misconstruction put upon her actions by her husband and others. The memory of these same misconstructions, presumably, brought tears to her eyes: I could not imagine a face more piteously appealing.

"I never mean to hurt anybody!" she said. "It says in the Scroll that Love is the Founder, and all I ever mean to do is help people, like in the Infirmary and the Psych Clinic. How can you help them except to find out what it is they need and then give it to them, if you have it? But it always seems to do damage somehow, when I do it!"

"Now pfui on that," Max consoled her, and I too declared it unthinkable that so generous a heart could do other than good.

"Well, take that time in Uncle Ira's study..." She was clearly encouraged by our words, though her expression remained doubting. "He said in a way he thought of me as his daughter and in a way he didn't, and I naturally supposed he meant because he was really my great-uncle instead of my father. So when he started explaining what it was the boys wanted, there was no reason to think he wasn't just trying to help me. I still think he was; I know he was, even later on! He'd been working on some accounts that night, as usual, and there were double-entry ledger-sheets spread on his desk; when he drew some pictures on them for me, to show me what he was talking about, I was a little upset, but he had to do something like that because I was so stupid. But he couldn't draw right, he said so himself: the people in the pictures had the funniest expressions on their faces! I told him if his drawing of the girl's parts was right, then there must be something wrong with mine, the proportions were all different; but I said I was pretty sure mine must be okay because they were just like Miss Fine's, my language-tutor's, and when Miss Fine and I used to play with each other she always said mine were the nicest she'd ever seen."

Though her tone remained glib as a child's, Anastasia blushed furiously. Max also, but not I, though my blood pulsed.

"You see how dumb I was! I was going to show him then and there to make sure, in case Miss Fine had just been being polite, and I told him I couldn't for the life of me see why he was so angry at her, when my other tutors and governesses and maids had all done and said the same kind of things. I said if he promised not to be angry with Miss Fine I'd teach him all the games I'd learned to play -- I liked him better than Miss Fine anyway, because she would bite sometimes; what's more he had whiskers, and I was sure they'd be fun -- but I wasn't certain about men, he'd have to show me... He couldn't talk for a while: I thought he was shy, the way some of the maids were the first time I'd ask if I could play with them; I never dreamed what I was doing to the man. I even touched him..."

"Yi."

"Well," Anastasia said, "to make a long story short, he gave me a good spanking, big as I was, and fired all the tutors and maids except an old cook and housekeeper who weren't any fun to play with anyhow. After that he wouldn't trust anybody to teach me unless he was in the room too, and every night he'd lecture to me in his study about how flunkèd my tutors and maids had been. I'd agree, and try hard to believe it, but I just couldn't understand what was wrong with something so nice."

"I know what you mean!" I exclaimed, thinking of my own difficulties with moral education. "I'm still not sure I understand!"

Her eyes were bright and yet wondering, as if she was pleased by my words but not certain she wasn't being baited.

"After all," she said, "it wasn't from some book I learned to do what I'd been doing, but from my cats and dogs and my teachers, so that it not only seemed like the naturalest thing in the University for people to take their clothes off and have fun with each other, but the passèdest thing, too, especially if the other person was old or not pretty or needed something very badly, and you pleased them so much. The first teacher I ever had explained that to me, and I loved her such a lot I guess I never could get her idea out of my head. She was the sweetest lady!"

"Not so young, I bet," Max ventured, and Anastasia confirmed his suspicion with a merry smile, though her eyes still shone with the earlier tears.

"Well, right or wrong, I couldn't feel ashamed of what I'd done, even though I was ashamed at having done something I should be ashamed of -- you see the difference, don't you, George?" I nodded, hoping I did. "But at least I saw how I'd upset Uncle Ira, so I pretended to feel the same as he did about it. I was only sixteen or so when this happened with Uncle Ira, but I guess I'd become sort of an expert at guessing what people needed, sometimes even before they guessed it themselves; and being brought up the way I was, I couldn't help trying to please them, whether I understood what I was doing or not. If I'd been allowed to go out with any of those nice boys, I'd have seduced them before they ever got their nerve up to kiss me, and probably I'd've thought I was a real Graduate for doing it!"

This intuition, she went on, plainly showed her that while Ira Hector was honestly horrified by her behavior, he also relished chastizing her for it. In particular, she observed, it had done him a campus of good to administer that spanking: time and again he alluded to it; teased or threatened her, according to his mood, with the prospect of another, and never failed, when he kissed her good-night, to swat her playfully athwart the haunches "in case she thought he couldn't do it again if he had to." Finally one day when he was in a rage over political reverses (young Lucius Rexford, the chancellor-to-be, had just won his party's nomination and had pledged to break up the reference-book monopoly if and when he defeated the incumbent Reginald Hector in the final elections), she had deliberately perched on his lap and asked permission to attend the next Freshman Cotillion, knowing clearly what his reaction would be: quite as she had foreseen, his wrath leaped its bounds; with an oath he turned her over his knee (a feat he never could have managed without her cooperation), snatched up a ruler from his desk, and bestowed on her backside a swinging admonishment. Nay further, it being evening and she forewarned of his ill humor, she had donned for the occasion a summer night-dress which scarcely covered her at all, so that it was fetching flesh he smote, more often than not, until he was winded and could smite no more. Whereupon, marvelous to relate, he found his wrath spent with his strength: he begged her pardon, wept for what must surely have been the first time in his life, and astonished her utterly by granting her request. Moreover, he was quoted next day in the NTC newspapers as believing Lucky Rexford to be "not near as close to Student-Unionism as most so-called liberals are."

Needless to say, Anastasia thanked her guardian profusely for having chastised her, declaring that a good old-fashioned hiding was just what today's adolescents required now and then to confirm in them the old-fashioned virtues; the two went hand-in-hand, as it were, and she dearly hoped that whenever her behavior displeased him he would once more put her straight. He did, once a week at least, for a year or so thereafter, nor ever remarked, so far as she could tell, that her willfulest days coincided with his most irascible. He became, in consequence, less fearsome than his oldest subordinate could recall having known him, and showered privileges upon his ward -- the more readily as she feigned herself loath to accept them...

"The truth was," she said with a sigh, "all I had to do, if a boy wanted to be alone with me after that, was ask Uncle Ira to please not leave us alone, and he'd say, 'Nonsense, I trust you absolutely -- any girl who'd ask to be spanked just for dreaming a naughty dream!' (I used to do that.) So he'd leave us alone together, and of course I'd let the boy do whatever he pleased -- it was just as nice as with girls, if not nicer, and the dear things were so surprised and grateful; it would almost make me cry to see how happy I could make them! Then afterwards Uncle Ira would want to know if anything had happened, and I'd blush and say that the boy had kissed me three times, or touched my breast when I wasn't watching out. And if I saw he needed cheering up himself, I'd start to cry and say I had to admit it had been kind of exciting, after all, and did it flunk me forever to have such a feeling? And he'd say, 'No, my dear, that's perfectly natural, and the Founder doesn't flunk you for feelings; it's what you do that counts. But the danger,' he'd say, 'is that you won't be able to keep your actions separate from your feelings.' And I'd kiss him and say, 'You're right, Uncle Ira: I need discipline!' Then out would come the ruler..."

"By George!" I cried. "Do you know what I think? I think he enjoyed spanking you!"

There was a pause; Max allowed dryly that there might well be something to what I said. Anastasia looked perplexed from me to him, and he explained to her in an earnest tone that an examination of the sayings of Grand Tutors would reveal the quality of their insights to be not so much a complex subtlety as a profound and transcendently powerful simplicity, which the flunkèd sophistication of modern intelligences might confused with naïveté.

"I would've," she admitted. "That shows how naïve I am."

She went on with her story: "It was about this time that Maurice Stoker began coming to the house to see Uncle Ira -- it was during the election campaign and just after, when Grandpa Reg had been defeated, and everybody was wondering what would happen to Uncle Ira's business. I thought Maurice was the most interesting man I'd ever seen: I liked the strong way he laughed, and I used to find excuses for coming into the study while they were talking, so I could see his black beard and those eyes of his, and I told Uncle Ira I thought Mr. Stoker must have the whitest teeth in the University. You know how young people are: when Uncle Ira said Maurice was a very flunkèd man who did naughty things to co-eds, and I mustn't even come out of my room while he was in the house or I'd get a spanking, I was scared to death and more curious than ever. So I used to wave to him from my window when he'd drive up on his big black motorcycle, and he never waved back, but just stood in the driveway with his hands on his hips, and smiled at me."

"I hate what's coming," Max groaned. "I hate this whole part."

Anastasia went on to say that she had wondered in addition whether her Uncle's threat was not in fact a kind of invitation to further spankings, though it did seem to her that he was more concerned about Stoker than about the procession of undergraduate young men -- of whom, in these months, she made a very large number "so happy, pass their poor hearts," virtually under his nose, he being preoccupied with the threat to his reference-book monopoly. It came to pass that quite often Stoker himself was in a position to afford transportation to and from the house to these visitors of hers, so frequent were his business-calls there, and thus he'd soon possessed himself of the details of her peculiar philanthropy. ("Can you imagine?" Anastasia asked us, as incredulously as if the event had only just occurred. "He thought I was letting them make love to me because I liked it! I mean just for my own sake! He actually thought I was promiscuous -- he still pretends to think so!" I shook my head at this presumption, and Max covered his eyes.) Not long afterwards, eavesdropping at the study door, she'd learned something of the nature of what business was between her guardian and the visitor with the curly beard: the new chancellor, it seemed, had been elected by a narrow margin, and so was particularly interested in a rapprochement with Reginald Hector (who whatever his limitations as a political administrator, was still revered in New Tammany College for his role in Campus Riot II); he could not of course expect his beaten opponent to accept a post in the new administration, but it was an open secret that he sought the ex-chancellor's support for certain controversial measures of policy with regard to WESCAC and the Quiet Riot. On the other hand, though Lucky Rexford was himself a wealthy man and a staunch supporter of the private-research economy, he felt obliged both by promise and by principle to make some gesture towards dissolving such monopolies as Ira Hector's, which had flourished under the former regime. Now it was known that however sincerely he deplored Maurice's activities, the Chancellor was bound to his alleged half-brother by Stoker's firm hold on the Power Plant and Main Detention. What Ira Hector proposed (for it was he, not Stoker, who had initiated the interviews), was to establish Reginald Hector as the figurehead president of his reference-book firm -- in fact his brother badly needed some such employment, not having an iota of Ira's business-sense -- in the hope that some quid pro quo could then be diplomatically arranged: he, Ira, would guarantee his brother's support for Chancellor Rexford's varsity policies; the Chancellor in turn could not only find grounds to spare the business headed by the lovable old professor-general, but might in addition see to it that Ira's counterparts in the textbook field were not spared. The scheme seemed a likely one, but as a cautious entrepreneur Ira was suspicious of the new chancellor's youth and the fact that Rexford's own fortune had been inherited, rather than earned in the rough-and-tumble of competitive research -- both which factors might lead him to put principle above interest, as it were, and proceed the more vigorously against any organization which attempted to negotiate with him. To minimize that risk, it were preferable that the overtures to negotiation be made by the Chancellor himself, who however must needs be assured by some close and disinterested advisor that they would not be rebuffed. The man for that work was Maurice Stoker: Anastasia heard her guardian offer him a sizable inducement to attempt it. But Stoker, while admitting with a laugh that the plot's nefariousness appealed to him, and expressing his confidence that he could manage it with little difficulty, seemed not especially interested in the reward. This was the matter of their frequent meetings, which had reached an impasse: Stoker claimed frankly that he had wealth enough already, and desired only powers and pleasures, neither of which Ira Hector was able to offer him; Ira seemed unable to comprehend this attitude, or unwilling to believe in its sincerity, and so kept raising the amount of his bribe to no avail.

"It was the awfulest thing to listen to!" Anastasia said. "Maurice has a way about him... I don't know how he does it, but he seems to make everybody worse than they really are. I couldn't believe it was Uncle Ira I heard saying 'There's nothing on this campus can't be bought by the man who can pay the price.' Then Maurice began teasing that Uncle Ira liked to pretend to be selfish and hard-hearted, but actually he was a sentimental old do-gooder (which is just what I think!). The more Maurice teased him about founding the Lying-in Hospital and raising me out of pure generosity, the more Uncle Ira swore he'd done those things for nobody's benefit but his own. When Maurice saw how upset Uncle Ira was, he vowed he'd do that business with Chancellor Rexford for nothing, the day Uncle Ira could prove it wasn't simple good-heartedness with me and the Unwed Co-eds' Hospital."

"You see what a Dean o' Flunks he is?" Max cried to me -- who was gripping my stick with anger.

"It got worse and worse," Anastasia declared. "After a while Uncle Ira was claiming he'd built the hospital just so he could interview the girls himself -- he said he liked to ask them questions about how they'd gotten in trouble, and see them cry when they told their stories; he even said he liked to watch, in the delivery-room -- I know it isn't true! And Maurice said so himself, that Uncle Ira was trying to sound flunkèd, because he was ashamed of his passèdness... Well, I burst in and said I'd heard the whole thing, and told Uncle Ira he should be ashamed of himself for such fibs, and Maurice for leading him on. Uncle Ira was furious, but Maurice just laughed and said 'What about her? Does she let you watch when the boys -- [I can't say it; you know what I mean]?' Uncle Ira turned white -- I did too! -- but then he seemed to get hold of himself, and he said, 'Stacey, this man is a wicked liar who'll say anything that suits his purpose; but he also knows every flunkèd thing there is to know about people that they wish nobody knew of. So when he says you've been letting all those boys [you-know-what], he might be lying or he might not. I want you to tell me the plain truth now,' he said: 'if he's lying I'll throw him out, and Lucky Rexford can do his flunkèdest to break me to pieces. But if he's telling the truth, I'm going to thrash you like no co-ed on this campus was ever thrashed!'

"It seemed to me Maurice got worried when Uncle Ira said that, because he said, 'What do you expect her to do when you put it that way? You're begging her to lie about it, even if it costs you your business! And you call yourself a selfish man!' But Uncle Ira hardly heard him, he was staring so at me; and you know, I almost did tell a lie, he scared me so much. And especially I didn't want to get a spanking there in front of Maurice! But then Uncle Ira looked like he was ready to have a stroke, and the only thing I could think of was how important it was to calm him down and get it out of his system. And I hated to tell a lie anyhow, especially when it might ruin his business --"

"I wish I didn't hear this," Max said. "I wish this was finished."

"I'll bet anything you told him the truth," I hazarded.

Anastasia nodded sorrowfully. "I couldn't say a word at first, but I bent over his desk, the way I always did for spankings, and that was the same as admitting about the boys. Believe me, it was just for Uncle Ira's sake; and Maurice -- he's so clever about these things -- when Uncle Ira started spanking me, Maurice laughed and asked me wasn't it true what the boys had told him, that I didn't make love to them for my own sake at all, but just because they said it would hurt them if I didn't? At first I thought he was saying that for my benefit; Uncle Ira even stopped spanking me for a minute and asked me was it true, and Maurice said, 'Sure, it wasn't her fault; they told her they'd commit suicide or flunk their exams if she didn't help them, and she believed them."

"Why, that was decent of him, wasn't it?" I exclaimed. The image of Anastasia bent over the desk was much with me.

But she shook her head. "Don't you see? As soon as he said it I realized that if I agreed that that was how it was -- I mean on my side of it, because I'm sure those boys never said what they did just to take advantage of me -- if I agreed, Uncle Ira might stop and drive Maurice away, and lose his business and all. So, awful as it was, I had to tell a worse lie yet: I had to say it was me that persuaded the boys to do what they did, because I wanted to fool Uncle Ira and because -- I just enjoyed doing flunkèd things!"

"He knew you better!" Max burst out.

"Maybe so. But he did need to get it out of his system, Dr. Spielman. He started in again, and Maurice laughed, and I was crying all over the ledger-sheets, and worrying because my tears were making the ink run... But the worst was what happened next. Maurice told Uncle Ira he certainly must love me very unselfishly to get so upset over what I'd done; it just proved what a sentimental old fool he was! Uncle Ira really went crazy then: he spanked me harder than ever, and started crying himself, and he shouted, 'I enjoy it! I enjoy it! There's my profit, right there!' I know he didn't mean it! But he said 'What do you think I raised her for? I love this!' Oh, George, you can't believe how it hurt him to say that! The ruler flew out of his hand, and he tried to spank me with his bare hand and couldn't do it right; it didn't even hurt. He was completely helpless, and I turned around and hugged him and told him not to worry, it had been a terrible spanking and had taught me a lesson I'd never forget. Maurice quit his laughing then and looked at me in the strangest way: it wasn't just that he could see through what I'd said; it was as if he'd suddenly thought of something that upset him the way he'd upset Uncle Ira... I can't say it right... but much as I hated him right then, it seemed to me he had some terrible need of his own."

I struck the sand with my stick, and Croaker growled under me. "If you say he spanked you too, I'll flunk him! There's been enough spankings!"

Max said nothing.

"It wasn't that," Anastasia replied. "He just had an awful look in his eyes -- I thought he was ready to cry himself, can you imagine? Then he told me in this strange voice that he knew very well I'd confessed on purpose to save Uncle Ira's business, but he couldn't decide just why, and before he made up his mind whether to help Uncle Ira or not he had to know some things: Hadn't I really enjoyed it with those boys? And didn't I let Uncle Ira spank me so I could get what I wanted from him? Mind you, I couldn't tell which answers would be the right ones for Uncle Ira's sake. Also there was this awful need on Maurice's own face, like if I said the wrong thing it would do something terrible to him -- but whether it might be better for him in the long run to have that terrible thing happen, I couldn't tell either. I was confused! So finally I just told the plain truth: I said that what I enjoyed about the boys was just what I'd liked about playing with the maids when I was little: that it seemed to make them happy without hurting me. As for the spankings, they certainly did hurt, but the reason he mentioned wasn't right at all: Uncle Ira had always been sweet to me, spankings or no spankings, but everybody needed to get things out of their systems now and then, and I owed Uncle Ira such a lot, and it was good for him in so many ways, he could spank me twice as hard and twice as often if he wanted to, and I thought it was just awful of Maurice to make him say those terrible things about himself!

"All this time, you know, Uncle Ira was sitting in his desk-chair, making noises, and I was standing beside him holding his head against me. But when I finished talking he put his head down on his papers and wouldn't let me comfort him at all. The Maurice took hold of my arm -- his voice wasn't teasing the least bit any more; it was like he was begging me, if you can imagine it, and he said, 'Now tell me the Founder's truth, girl.' And what he asked me was, didn't I find it even a little bit exciting to -- to have Uncle Ira bend me over the desk and spank me like that? What a horrid idea! It was the flunkèdest thing I'd ever heard of! But his eyes were just blazing, and there was something about his face -- I'd never seen such an expression! Uncle Ira sat up and looked at me, and I realized what he'd think about himself if I said it was just for his sake I'd let him spank me. But the other was such a flunkèd thing to say, what Maurice wanted to believe! Much worse than pretending about the boys; I could hardly make the words come. But I said, 'If you must know, I guess it is a little bit exciting, in a way.' I thought that ought to satisfy him, but he squeezed my arm harder and said in that same voice, 'In what way?' How was I supposed to know what to say then? All I knew was that I had to say something awful, and the only thing I could think of was what I'd hear the boys say sometimes; I didn't even understand it, whether it was possible for girls too, I mean, or how it could apply to a thing like spanking, but something told me it was the right thing to say..."

Anastasia's cheeks flamed; but she pressed on, even regaining her disconcerting glibness. "So I looked him straight in the eye, and I said, 'When Uncle Ira spanks me with his ruler, Mr. Stoker -- it gets me all hot!' Do you see why I had to say that, George?"

In truth it was not until later I learned her exact meaning, but I thought I had the general sense of the situation, and took my cue from Max in praising once again her astonishing selflessness and deploring the flunkèdness of which she had been victim.

"I could have died for shame!" Anastasia declared. "But it turned out Maurice didn't believe a word of what I said. It was as if that's what he'd wanted to hear, all right, but it made him mad to hear it -- because he wanted it to be true and knew it wasn't. He almost hit me himself! 'Flunk you!' I remember him shouting at me. 'How far will you go?' Then out of a clear sky he tells Uncle Ira he wants to marry me (what he really said was, he had to marry me), and he looked at me in this twisted kind of way; it scared me to see him. He said he'd guarantee Uncle Ira's business would get twice as big if I'd marry him. It was strictly a business deal, he said: 'if Uncle Ira wanted to prove what he'd bragged about before, here was his chance; it would be like selling me for a big profit. But he ought to understand (this was Maurice talking) what he was letting me in for..."

"I will kill him, Max!" I vowed.

But Anastasia bade me hear her out. What Stoker's proposition came to, it developed, had not even the technical respectability of marriage: she was to become upon his completion of Ira's business, the mistress of Stoker's every whim and craving -- the which, he hinted darkly, were as infinite in number as they were bestial in character.

"It was a terrible spot to be in," she said. "If Uncle Ira said no, he'd lose his business and have to admit he was generous at heart; if he said yes, he'd lose me -- and he really did need me -- and probably hate himself besides for what he'd done. I wanted to decide for him, so he wouldn't have to blame himself; but I didn't know which to choose either, I loved them both so..."

"You loved them?" I cried, and Max, equally astonished, said, "Stoker too yet!"

"Well, you know what I mean: he was really terribly upset! It was perfectly plain to me he just needed somebody to get things out of his system with, and he was as afraid of showing it as Uncle Ira was. Why do you suppose men are that way?"

I was sure I didn't know.

"Anyhow, I couldn't say a word, and neither could Uncle Ira, and Maurice wouldn't. He walked out of the study with this set look on his face, and Uncle Ira and I kind of followed after, as if we could've been going up to our rooms or out for a walk or anything. We ended up out front where Maurice's motorcycle was, and it seemed to me Uncle Ira must have been wanting me to go with Maurice, or he would have made me stay in the house. Or maybe he thought I was leading the way, I don't know. Anyhow Maurice got on the motorcycle and started up, and everybody kind of hesitated, and it didn't seem to me there was anything I could do then but go with him; everybody seemed to be waiting for me. I don't remember deciding: one minute I was standing with Uncle Ira, the next I was in Maurice's sidecar and off we were going, just like the wind, and Maurice threw back his head and laughed!"

She tisked her mouth-corner. "That was a couple of years ago. And you know, he did keep his word to Uncle Ira, even though in a way he didn't have to -- I mean, since he had me anyhow. I think that was very good of him, don't you? There's something really decent about Maurice, way down deep."

"Deep is right," Max said. His voice was hushed with appall. Recalling the distressed young co-eds of legend, I assumed she had been kept prisoner since that fateful day -- her husband being after all the warden of Main Detention -- and fervently offered my services to the end of freeing her, by force if necessary. But Anastasia was merely amused by my suggestion: she was no prisoner at all, she declared; on the contrary, she came and went from their lodgings at the Power Plant quite as she pleased -- witness her position in the NTC Psych Clinic -- and was persuaded Stoker would not restrain her should she ever choose to leave him permanently. However, he had after all married her, "in a way" (she did not explain in what way), at her insistence, and she didn't mean to shirk her conjugal obligations. Moreover, he needed her ever so much more than her Uncle Ira had.

"Then all that talk of mistreating you was just to scare you for some reason?" I asked. "I'm glad to hear that! Aren't you, Max?"

"Who's heard it?"

"Now don't jump to conclusions," Anastasia pleaded. "Just because Maurice's needs are different doesn't mean they're not as important to him as the regular ones are to most men."

"What he needs is to be wicked as the Dean o' Flunks!" Max said passionately. "He needs to wreck and hurt, so you let him wreck and hurt you, ja?"

"You don't have to look at it that way, Dr. Spielman," the girl insisted -- but added immediately that of course he could if he wanted to, if it was important to him...

What I myself wanted was to hear exactly what sort of abuses Anastasia suffered, willingly or otherwise. But I had no opportunity to ask, for at her last remark Max virtually burst with compassion.

"Look here once, child!" He touched her sandal with his hand and pointed to his eyes. "I'm not your poppa, and I never was! Don't I wish I had been and Virginia Hector your momma? Flunk Ira Hector he ever laid his nasty hand on you! Flunk all those boys took advantage of you! But flunk Maurice Stoker most of all, that beast from South Exit, he'd never have laid eyes on you if I was your poppa!"

"I'm not blaming you," Anastasia reminded him.

"You don't blame nobody nothing!" Max shouted. "I know I'm not your poppa because I can't be nobody's poppa: I had an accident with the WESCAC twenty-some years ago." He had purposely not mentioned this fact to Virginia or her father, he explained more calmly, because in thus exculpating himself he'd have convicted her, and robbed her moreover of the chance to volunteer the truth of his innocence.

"And it's not to escape any blame I'm telling you now," he declared. "You got to know I never was your poppa so you'll hate me for the right things. Eblis Eierkopf -- he was your poppa, girl, and flunk him he never owned up to it! But flunk me too; flunk me twice I didn't swallow my pride and marry Virginia, she'd have stayed off the bottle and you'd have never been spanked and the rest! Don't you dare forgive me that!"

Anastasia's face was full of tenderness. "It's hard not to! The way you must have suffered all these years!" She sounded almost envious; then a frowning wonder darkened her eyes. "Mother did used to work with Dr. Eierkopf, but I never dreamed..."

"It's not good news," Max sympathized.

She shook her head. "I didn't mean it that way. But he's not very... nice, you know? No wonder, being a cripple and all -- I'm sure I'd be twice as disagreeable if I had to depend on Croaker for everything! When I think of all the times he and Croaker have come by the Clinic, and me not dreaming he was my father! I could've been so much nicer to him than I was!"

Max clapped his head. For myself, I was too busy steadying Croaker, the mention of whose name had made him ominously restive, to marvel further at Anastasia's charity. He stirred in her direction and had to be tapped smartly twice or thrice with my stick, which discipline I was not at all sure wouldn't turn him upon me. Indeed, he caught the stick in his hand and bit into the shaft of it -- a testimonial to the power of his jaws, for the wood was hard -- and despite Anastasia's assuring me that he often chewed on boughs and twigs for amusement, and could even nibble quite clever decorations into canes and chair-rungs with no other chisels than his teeth, I was by no means certain I'd be able to restrain him, especially without my weapon, if he took it into mind to assault her once again. As it happened, we all were diverted just then by snarlings in the nearby forest, which grew to a roar and burst upon the beach with half a dozen bright lights, flashing red or blinding white. For all my resolve I was taken with alarm, very nearly with panic; G. W. Gruff himself might have trembled at so instant and terrific a besetting -- unheard-of, unprepared-for, monstrously wobbling uswards now with its sprawl of eyes, mad hoots, and growling throats. Max too was startled, and clambered to his feet; Croaker let go my stick and crouched under me with a grunt -- whether of defiance or fright I could not judge. Only Anastasia seemed not especially anxious; she frowned at the snarling lights more in disapproval than in fear, and remained in her place by the fire.

"He always has to do things dramatically," she complained.

"Those are motorcycles," Max muttered to me. "Ten or twelve separate ones. The noise is their motors and horns."

I was at once unspeakably relieved, for though I'd seldom actually seen motorcycles, I understood them well enough. As they drew nearer, the firelight revealed a party of humans in black leather jackets, variously ornamented with silver studs and bright glass jewels. Goggled and helmeted, each was mounted upon a gleaming black machine with sidecar attached. They drew up in a rough half-circle around us, engines guttering: piled up, rather, for there was no precision in the maneuver. The lead cyclist -- a bearded, sooty fellow -- braked abruptly with a spray of sand and no prior warning; the second missed striking him only by good luck and instant reflexes, which those behind seemed not to share, for they bumped one another, perhaps even intentionally, with curses, shouts, and laughs. One who had no sidecar attached fell over onto the sand, his wheels roaring and racing; another made as if to run over him -- skidded close to his head, sounded a siren, and was sprung upon a moment later by a third, in sport or anger. "Knock it off!" their leader bawled, and the man beside him -- long-nosed, thin-toothed, and dapper, the only one of their number both sootless and unwhiskered -- repeated or enlarged upon the order in some snapping other language, hectoring the squabblers with some difficulty into line.

Anastasia sighed loudly. "It's just Maurice." She stood up and brushed sand from her shift.

I was nonetheless far from easy, what with the formidable ring before us, Croaker growling and turning beneath me as if at bay, and all I had heard of Maurice Stoker crowding to mind. The men on either end of the arc sprang off their machines now, put up their goggles, and advanced towards me, carrying what I guessed were pistols: the others shouted encouragement or raced their engines, ignoring the sootless one's command to be silent. Croaker moved at the nearer of the two, who raised his weapon and ordered us to halt. I had only an instant to think what to do, and not sure I could stop Croaker or that to do so would spare us a shooting, I chose instead to lash out with my stick: it cracked against the pistol and sent it flying. Anastasia cried out; the man swore an oath and sprang back to his fellows, several of whom jeered at his dismay; there came just behind me a deafening bang, which crashed and rattled up the gorge, and as Croaker spun about I saw smoke still issuing from the leader's pistol, aimed at the sky. I raised my stick again, though the fellow was well out of reach and might easily have brought us down had he chosen to. But unlike his companion, whose expression had been first threatening and then frightened, this man had a fierce grin on him and a sparkle in his eyes; he seemed delighted either by the sight of me perched on Croaker's shoulders or by our little initial victory, and he neither retreated nor aimed his gun at us when Croaker came towards him.

"Whoa down!" I said, uncertain how to proceed, and was gratified at least to see Croaker obey. With pounding heart I regarded our adversary, who had removed his helmet and goggles and was calmly blowing the smoke from his pistol-barrel: ruddy-cheeked, short-statured, and heavy-set he was, but not fat, with black curls on his head, hands, and finger-tops. Shags of the same bushed over his eyes and upper lip; he had a sharp beard, like a black spade, and one vertical ridge from the front of either temple up to his hairline -- a not unhandsome face withal, and the more striking for the clear eyes that flashed from so swart a field.

"I'm George the Goat-Boy," I said distinctly. Someone whistled, and was told by someone else to shut his mouth. My antagonist merely scrutinized me, arms akimbo. His grin was a plain challenge, to which I rose with some heat.

"I'm not afraid of you. I'm a Grand Tutor."

The man replied with a raucous fart ("Hear hear!" his cohorts cheered), raised his pistol again, and with incredible smiling calm aimed it at my heart. I understood then that he himself was Maurice Stoker.

5.


Whether in fact he meant to shoot me dead or merely try my boast I was not to discover, for Anastasia hurried between us at this point. There were whistles and improper comments from the ring of cyclists.

"Don't, Maurice, for pity's sake! He doesn't know what he's saying. He really is the Goat-Boy!"

He lowered his weapon and grinned at her. "Had yourself an ape; now you want a billy goat." His voice was only teasing; I was chagrined to see Anastasia lower her head and touch his leather jacket.

"You shouldn't have let that happen," she complained. "You could have stopped Croaker in time."

He clouted her lightly aside the head with his helmet: it was a left-hand swat, and at too close range for injury. But the mean insinuation, the unreasonableness of the blow, Anastasia's small cry and the way she clung to her abuser -- these so enraged me that I dug my heels into Croaker's ribs, raised my stick, and charged him, heedless of the pistol. But several of his men had dismounted by this time, armed with what looked like electric cattle-prods; they held us at bay while the long-faced officer put a hollow pipe to his lips, gave a puff, and sent a little dart into Croaker's buttocks. With a bellow Croaker swiped at the wounded ham and brushed the dart away; he made to spring at the blow-pipe man, who retreated a step but then stood ground instead of running; half a second later Croaker dropped to his knees, and I barely managed to scramble off as he pitched face-forward onto the sand. Instantly I was myself hemmed round by cattle-prods. Anastasia ran from her husband to examine Croaker, whom four laughing men already were dragging, dead unconscious, towards one of the sidecars. They paused to let her look at him, and ogled her the while.

"Just a little nap," Stoker called. "We wouldn't kill a friend of the family." Then to me he said, "You care to sleep awhile too, Billy-buck? Why not park your shillelagh and join the party?"

Stick in air I had been about to have at the cattle-prods, but hesitated at his odd approximation of my former name. In that instant I heard Max (who had stood helpless by the fire this while, wringing his hands) say, "Don't fight, Georgie. That don't Graduate anybody."

I lowered my stick, though my heart beat hard still with attack. My guards gave way, their prods however held yet at the ready, and Anastasia slipped between them to my side.

"Give her a goose," I heard one man mutter; he was answered by a jab in the backside from another, and at once the two went rolling in the sand, their comrades calling encouragement from the sidelines.

"Croaker's all right," Anastasia assured me. "He'll wake up in an hour or so. Please don't mind Maurice and the others; they always carry on like this. Let us drop you and Dr. Spielman off somewhere."

I merely frowned, uncertain what to think and distracted both by the riotous men and by Stoker's now approaching Max, with a look of joyous disbelief.

"I will be flunkèd!" he cried. "Is it Max Spielman under all that hair?" He opened his arms to embrace him, but Max shook his head and raised a warning hand.

"It is Max Spielman, the fingerless proctologer! Who're we going to EAT this time, Maxie?"

"Dean o' Flunks!" Max cried.

A new and delightful idea seemed to occur to Stoker; he turned to Anastasia, face alight. "Did you know it was your own daddy watching you with Croaker?" And to Max again, not waiting for reply: "Wait till Virginia Hector sees you in that Old-Syllabus get-up: she'll swear off forever!"

Bounding from us he directed his men then to see to it Croaker's arms and legs were secured against revival; dashing back, he bade us all climb into sidecars for the trip to the Powerhouse, where, he declared, we would carouse the night away while he and Max recalled the grand old days when they had EATen ten thousand Amaterasu undergraduates at the cost of one Moishian forefinger.

"Get on, get on there!" he shouted to the wrestlers in the sand, who cried back "Flunk you!" until the long-faced aide snatched up a cattle-prod and herded them over to assist with Croaker.

"A goat-boy!" Stoker clapped an arm high-heartedly about me, another about Anastasia, and paid no heed to the squabbling troops -- some of whom now drew pocketflasks from their trousers, while others set to tinkering with their engines. "And a Grand Tutor too, did I hear you say?" That, he vowed (never once pausing in his burst of speech), he must hear more of, a billygoat being in his estimation the only creature on campus, his wife excepted, from whom he might learn a thing or two worth knowing. And if later at the party I should find Anastasia too forward or compliant a stall-mate, or too well-washed, say, to rouse my ardor, he was certain he could scare up a nanny-goat somewhere on Founder's Hill, perhaps at the Refuse Dump.

Max held his ears against this outpouring; Anastasia blushed and looked away. I found myself aghast and amused at once by the barrage of aspersions, so outrageous and pointed, and for all my indignation could not repress one twitch of a smile, which I saw the wretch instantly notice. Then on he went, hilarious and full of force, thumping my chest for emphasis, mussing Anastasia's hair, gesticulating with pistol and helmet, striking postures in the glare of the motorcycle headlamps, and flashing always that flush-cheeked, even-toothed grin:

"Look what you've got round your waist!" He snatched at the amulet Max had given me. "Is this what I think it is, old buck old buster? Look here, Stacey -- I swear it's mountain oysters on his belt. It is! Billygoat bobblers! Are they his own, d'you think? You find out, I'll ask you tomorrow... Hey, here's what we'll do (George, was it?): we'll tap a keg of bock-beer and you toot your pipes -- you're the Grand Tutor! You toot your pipes while Maxie and I toot a few on the EAT-whistle, for old times' sake. Stacey'll do a dance with Croaker. You do have pipes, don't you, George?"

Anastasia in her embarrassment had touched her brow to my arm (Stoker having sprung out from between us to illustrate the dance he had in mind), and thinking to assure her that her husband's talk did not distress me, innocently I patted her behind, as was my wont when any lady of the herd needed calming. She looked up at me with quick wonder, also squeezed my arm uncertainly, and Stoker broke off his raillery to shout with laughter.

"Olé!" some others called.

"Stop!" Max commanded, stamping his feet.

"No no, Maxie, he just started! Watch he doesn't eat your hair-pins, Stacey; they eat anything, you know. Not like your gorilla-friend..."

"I don't listen!" Max cried, and covered his ears once more. To me he said desperately, "Pat her on the head, you got to pat her! It's different with human girls!" Then to Stoker, more determinedly: "I'm not her father, Stoker, much as I wish I was. But neither she nor Georgie's going with you. You got to kill me first."

Anastasia made a flutter of protest; Stoker laughed delightedly and drew his pistol; the cattle-prods moved towards us. I began to perspire.

Max opened his arms. "Na, wait," he pleaded, "I make you a bargain. You told me once you watched the Bonifacists burn some Moishians in the Riot, ja?"

"Only a few," Stoker answered modestly; the prospect of a bargain clearly amused him. "They were sure I was spying, but didn't know for which side, so the day I took a tour of their extermination campuses they only did a few."

Max's thin face glared. "But you told me you enjoyed it, ja?"

"Enjoyed it! I never had so much fun -- except the day you and I pushed the EAT-button. What a party! This one chap in particular, we couldn't wait to try: biochemist named Schultz -- maybe you've heard of him? He'd decided the only way to keep West-Campus culture from going up in smoke was to fireproof the Moishians. So he invented some kind of asbestos bagel, I believe it was, and ate nothing else for three months before he was picked up. When the Bonifacist scientists heard about it they put him straight in the oven -- they don't miss a trick! You know, it's surprising how thirsty you got, around that place! Siegfrieder beer is the best in the University, and they had two kegs of it down by the ovens: one for enlisted men and one for officers and guests."

Breathless I asked, "Did it work? The bagels?" and only realized I'd been baited when Stoker's glee rang round the gorge.

"Founder forgive you!" Max said softly. And to Stoker: "Laugh all you want, I got reason to think this boy's a Grand Tutor, even though there's things he's got to learn yet. And this poor suffering girl you call your wife -- she's a passèd Graduate, if ever there was one! So I make you this bargain, Stoker, you got one speck of right-mindedness in you: let her and George go on by themselves to Great Mall, and do what you want with me. Burn me up if you want, like poor Chaim Schultz -- rest his mind!"

Stoker snapped his fingers. "Chaim, that was it! Chaim Schultz the biochemist. Very warm type, I remember. So many of you Moishian chaps were..."

In tears now, Max threw himself at Stoker's knees. "For Founder's sake let them go! Burn me!"

Anastasia and I hastened to calm him, she assuring him (her earlier complaint to the contrary notwithstanding) that her husband's bark was far worse than his bite when it came to maltreating her, and I that I had more faith in my incorruptibility than Max seemed to, and no intention to let anyone suffer in my stead. As to Anastasia, I was not persuaded that her decision to remain with Stoker was freely chosen, nor contrariwise that it was simply coerced; I meant to investigate the matter further and act accordingly. In short -- I vowed with some heat -- the three of us would go together, whether to Great Mall and Main Gate or to the Power Plant. I might have added, but chose not to, that I was curious to see with my own eyes what flunkage really was, the better to understand its opposite, and thus looked forward to visiting both the Power Plant and Main Detention; also that Max's pathetic gesture touched me less with gratitude and respect for him than with disapproval, even with a small, unexplainable contempt. It was but an amplifying of my own sentiments when Stoker said, "These Moishians, I swear to the Dunce, they enjoy being persecuted!" His tone was most amiable. "Don't let anybody tell you they're the Chosen Class: they volunteered!"

He ordered Max then to get off his knees and end the theatrics; he could burn all three of us if he had a mind to, he declared, and throw Croaker in for a backlog, but in fact he wanted only to entertain us for the night, inasmuch as he'd never matched drinks with a billygoat before, to say nothing of a Grand Tutor.

"Never," Max said. "These children and I aren't going." He took Anastasia's arm (who still pressed mine) and made as if to lead us away. The cattle-prodders glanced to their chief for instructions; Anastasia hesitated, as did I, unable to share my advisor's resolve.

"Doggone!" Stoker said, ignoring us all. "There is a fellow we've got to burn; I'd almost forgot him! Black chap we fished off the dam. Friend of yours, was he?"

He strode over to one of the sidecars and flashed an electric torch: there sprawled the brown-skinned, white-fleeced body of G. Herrold, his head flung back; each separate water-drop upon him sparkled in the torch-beam. We went over, shocked, and regarded our lost friend. Max moaned and tore at his beard. Anastasia snatched up the dead man's wrist and laid her ear to his chest.

"He's not asleep, like Croaker?" I demanded.

She shook her head. "I can't help feeling it's my fault! If he hadn't seen me out on the bridge..."

Stoker looked from speaker to speaker with a grin. I was smitten with grief. Dark fetcher from booklift, Belly, barn; first lover and teacher of full nelson; savior, sweep, and summoner (whose left hand still clutched the buckhorn) -- he was the first dead human I had seen. His mouth being open, I kissed his cold forehead, and felt on my lips, with anger, drops of the river he'd crossed at last.

"This flunking place!" I cried. "What's it called?"

"Just 'The Gorge,' " Anastasia said.

"If you go with this Dean o' Flunks here" -- Max pointed grimly to Stoker -- "you might as well call it South Exit, because you're flunkèd for sure."

"I'm going to give it his name," I declared, indicating G. Herrold. Max showed some surprise at the firmness of my tone, but shrugged. To the company at large I announced: "From now on this river's name is George. And the gorge is George's Gorge."

Max nodded, Even Stoker cocked his head and grinned approval.

"That's okay," Max said. "And we'll bury him ourselves, right here. Help me lift him out, George."

"Now, now, Maxie!" Stoker laughed. "You don't go sticking people underground any way you please. Health rules! Forms to fill out; questions to answer! We'll have to fetch him up to the morgue and have him looked over -- only take a few minutes if you come along. And the Staff Graveyard's right on Founder's Hill, above the Powerhouse; we run the College Crematorium off the same pile as the main steam-boilers." To me he added, "Awfully clever piece of engineering, actually: big oven man from Siegfrieder College designed it when we first hired him, just after the Riot..." He interrupted himself before Max could speak, to order his men to restart their engines. They answered him with curses, but finally obeyed when the order had been repeated several times by the lieutenant. "Hop in now, friends; the night doesn't last forever. Maxie, you ride with your wet pal there and see he doesn't bounce out. You kids ride with me." He grinned at his inadvertent word-play and snatched my elbow to guide me to his vehicle. "Do you kiss a girl before you climb her, George, or just sniff around? I never saw a goat go to it, much as I admire them."

"I'm not actually a goat," I explained politely. "There may not even be any goat in me at all. And I never climbed a human girl before -- just does, when I was younger."

"You don't tell me!"

I nodded, rather suspecting I was being teased but for some reason scarcely caring. Max's warning, Anastasia's mortified "Maurice!" my grief for G. Herrold -- all caution and consideration were swept before Stoker's outrageous high spirits. I rattled on as though despite myself. "G. Herrold and I used to do tricks sometimes, while we wrestled, till Max told me a Grand Tutor shouldn't. Otherwise I certainly would enjoy Anastasia."

"Would you, though!"

"Yes, sir."

"Looks pretty good to you, does she?"

"Yes indeed. I think her teats are remarkably well formed, for a human girl's, and I especially liked the patch of black hair I saw..." I turned to the red-faced lady I was complimenting and touched my stick lightly to her crotch. "Do you have a special name for it, ma'am? What we call the escutcheon?"

Stoker's laugh rang over the roaring engines. Anastasia shrank from my stickpoint with a gasp -- but did not let go my arm. From behind, Max's voice came shrilly.

"Quit, George! Dear boy and girl, don't!"

I glanced back: two grinning sooty guards were lifting him into the sidecar where G. Herrold was. "Take me and let them go!" I heard him beg one of them. "They aren't even Moishians. You can kick and beat me!" To encourage them he began pummeling his own head with both fists, and continued to do so even after they had deposited him in the sidecar and mounted their cycles. Distressed as I was by the spectacle, I felt again that odd irritation -- along with bad conscience, to be sure. I helped Anastasia into Stoker's own sidecar and climbed in beside her.

"Don't hurt Dr. Spielman, Maurice," she pleaded. "He's such a nice man, I wish he was my father. Promise?"

Stoker mounted chuckling to his seat and donned helmet and goggles. "Who needs to hurt Maxie? He does it himself!"

My laugh -- I couldn't help laughing -- was lost in the blast of a small whistle he now blew several times, at the same time signaling with his arm and shouting, "Forward! Forward!" A great din rose as the cycles throttled slowly into motion, nudging, threatening, and blocking one another as if each aspired to lead the column. "Out of my way, flunk you!" Stoker would shout, and race his engine to intimidate those jockeying around him; they cursed him back with a grin, sometimes in our language, sometimes in others; we swarmed in all directions for a moment, like queenless bees, until Stoker by thrust and knock had got clear of the tangle -- whereupon with a whoop and cracking backfire he took off up the shore. The others followed in a wobbly line, weaving and bumping over shale until we reached the roadway that came down to the broken bridge. There we turned inland on the harder pavement; Stoker opened the throttle, and we roared out of George's Gorge at a breath-catch clip. I was amazed by the noise and speed: I clutched at the handrail and Anastasia's shoulder; my head jerked back, and I gasped for some moments against the rush of air.

"Not so fast!" Anastasia fretted.

I shook my head. "It's all right."

Stoker's teeth flashed through his whiskers. "Okay, hey, George?"

"I think... I like it."

"Hooray!" Stoker let go the handlebars to shake hands with himself; Anastasia squealed and admonished him to drive more carefully. In truth he delighted in recklessness, as did his fellows: we were less a procession than a freestyle race, which Stoker led not by virtue of his rank but by speed and daring. When someone threatened to overtake us Stoker would block his way and make as if to force him into ditch or embankment; inevitably the challenger yielded with exuberant curses. Any turn in the road, however blind or precipitous, inspired him to more speed rather than less: he would bid us lean right or left as he instructed and skid full tilt into the curve, sometimes lifting the sidecar off the pavement. A signpost or streetlight picked up by our headlamp (there were not many) became a target; never slacking speed for an instant he unlimbered his pistol and blazed away, as did others behind us. Woe betide the rabbit, snake, or opossum who crossed our path: if no wrench of the machine itself could run him under our wheels, he was brought low by a fusillade of bullets as the line roared past. At all these things Anastasia shrieked and protested; excepting the fate of the animals, however, which moved her to tearful poundings of her husband's side, she seemed as much exhilarated as afraid: between her screams and shakings of the head her breath came fast; she clutched at my wrapper for support, and though her eyes would shut against a peril-in-progress, I sometimes saw them sparkle at one's approach. I too, alarmed as I was to the marrow by the wild novelty of the experience, had seldom felt such thrill: I even found myself applauding Stoker's marksmanship, over Anastasia's protests, and praising his riskiest maneuvers.

"You shouldn't encourage him!" she scolded. "How can a Grand Tutor encourage reckless driving?"

I admitted cheerfully that I didn't have the least idea whether my attitude was proper for a Grand Tutor; but I added (the notion having just occurred to me): "It must be all right, though, come to think of it -- since it's my attitude, and I'm the Grand Tutor."

"Well said!" Stoker let go the handlebars again to clap his hands, and Anastasia clawed at my arm.

"Besides," I said, "if I'm not mistaken, you like it too."

"I do not!"

Stoker shook a finger at her. "Don't argue with the Grand Tutor, dear: you're only a Graduate. Hey, George, is she really a Graduate?"

I considered her frowning face. Despite the racket and wild motion I sensed a good peculiar power in myself: a clarity of muscle, a tonus of thought, such as I'd rarely or never known. "She may not actually have Commencèd yet, as Max thinks. I haven't learned enough to tell. But I'm sure she must be a Candidate..."

My last words were lost on Stoker, who coming to a crossroads marked by direction-signs skidded to a halt and sprang off the motorcycle. Anastasia however was moved enough to lower her eyes, ignoring the riotous action before us. Stoker's purpose in stopping, it developed, was to give the signpost a quarter-turn, "purely on principle," as he later declared: a principle for the sake of which he not only sacrificed his hard-held lead but risked his life as well -- bullets raised dust-puffs near his boots as the others flashed by, and clipped into the signboard over his head.

"Do you believe me?" I asked her.

Wanly she smiled. "I think you're being polite. But I appreciate it -- very much." She raised her eyes. "I've hardly even thought of Graduation! Much as the boys used to argue about it at Uncle Ira's, when they came to see me. I used to hope and hope they'd pass the Finals. Whether they hoped so or not."

"Didn't you want to pass too?"

"Oh, I guess I've thought of it. Lots of times." Now that the line of motorcycles had passèd, the air was quiet but for their fading backfire, and I could hear her without straining to listen. "But I know how silly the idea is, for me, so I've never dared wish for it really. Imagine me passing the Finals, after all I've done!"

"Do you believe in Graduation, Anastasia?"

"Believe in it?" Her expression was shocked. "I'd die if I didn't! Could I go on living if I didn't, after something like tonight on the beach?"

"Then you ought to believe what Enos Enoch said: passèd are the raped..." I turned a finger in the hair upon her neck-nape. "For they shall be my virgin brides..."

"I believe in Enos Enoch," she said quietly. "I really do."

I smiled. "But not in me. Why don't you believe in me too?"

She wrinkled her brow. "I want to, George! Honestly. But you're so different from Enos Enoch. You don't seem to hate Maurice very much, and you talk so strangely. And look what you're doing now --" She removed my hand from her hair. "As if you were any ordinary fellow! Enos Enoch wouldn't do that."

Stoker came back from his work upon the roadsign (which now showed quite altered directions) in time to catch the famous name. "She should've been an early Enochist," he said to me. "Put her in the arena, she'd make love to the lions -- just to keep 'em off the others, you know." He restarted our engine and turned onto a small dirt road, which he declared would get us to our destination ahead of the others. Then he shouted from the side of his mouth, with what seemed to me deliberate nonchalance: "Hey, why not pass her yourself, if you're the Grand Tutor? You already examined her on the bridge, I understand."

"That's rather witty," I said, ignoring Anastasia's embarrassment. I explained, however, that while I was beyond question a Grand Tutor, I had not as yet begun actually Tutoring, it being necessary in Max's opinion as well as my own to matriculate as a common student and undergo the dread Finals myself before descending into WESCAC's Belly, changing its AIM, and thus bringing peace of mind to the entire student body. Indeed, to the best of my recollection Max had never mentioned the passage or failure of individual students in connection with my program, though it seemed to me (now I considered it) as proper work for a Grand Tutor as preventing Campus Riot III -- perhaps even properer. I would think further on the matter. In any case, it was not my impression that Grand Tutors and Examiners were quite the same: my task, as I saw it, was not to pass or flunk anyone myself, but merely to point the way to Commencement Gate -- which I must discover myself before leading others thither.

Thus I spoke, freely and eagerly as never before, sensing for the first time the power of my chosen role and wondering, even as I spoke, whether I had interpreted correctly the obscure message on my PAT-card: Pass All Fail All. I was pleased to see Anastasia listen with whole attention, if diverted eyes.

"That nutty Spielman!" Stoker marveled, much amused (we were obliged to move less swiftly on the rough dirt road, and so could speak without shouting). "What a prize he's made out of you: a billygoat persuaded he's Enos Enoch!"

I shook my head vigorously. "No, no, you're wrong all around. In the first place Max didn't persuade me: he's a fine advisor, and I owe him my whole education, almost; but it was I who told him I'm the Grand Tutor. He still doesn't believe me as much as he needs to, hard as he tries. He wants it to be true; he suspects it might be; but I'm the only one so far who knows it is."

"You're Max's boy, though," Stoker insisted. "Where'd you get the notion you should change WESCAC's AIM?"

I admitted that it was indeed Max who had first proposed that particular labor, the worth whereof however I fully affirmed. All I had known was that I must rescue studentdom: from what, and how, I depended on experience -- as well as my advisor -- to clarify.

"How about your deportment?" Stoker challenged. "That's Max's doing too, isn't it?"

"Beg pardon?" I mistook him to have asked which department of New Tammany College I intended to matriculate in, and it occurred to me that I'd given no thought to the choice of a suitable major since my discovery, some months earlier, than no program in Herohood was listed in the Undergraduate Catalogue. I would have to consult Max on the matter before I registered.

"I mean your silly morals," Stoker said. "Where'd you get the idea you shouldn't have a go at Stacey, if not from Max? You said yourself you'd like to, and you can see she's willing."

"Maurice!" Anastasia held her ears.

"Wasn't it Max who told you you couldn't be a stud-buck if you want to be Enos Enoch?"

"Now look here," I said firmly, "that's another mistake you all keep making, and Max too. I may be a Grand Tutor -- I am the Grand Tutor! -- but I'm not Enos Enoch, and I don't want to be." Anastasia looked at me wonderingly. "Enos Enoch was Shepherd Emeritus, and I'm the Goat-Boy. There's a big difference."

"By George, we'll have a drink on that!" From his trouser-pocket Stoker drew a black flask, unscrewed the top with his teeth, and forsook a clear chance at a strolling possum to tip himself a drink. Then he offered it to me.

"Grand Tutors don't drink," Anastasia said. It was half plea, half challenge; I responded by accepting the flask.

"They do when they're thirsty."

Stoker cheered. Anticipating water, I choked on the scalding stuff I swigged, a dark liquor manufactured, so Stoker explained, in the Powerhouse itself. Yet it promised splendid things against the chill night air, and I managed a second swallow before returning the flask. Anastasia turned away with a sniff.

"You're all right, George!" Stoker said. "I'm glad Max didn't ruin you altogether."

I was firm. "That's enough about Max. He's a good man, and I'm glad for his advice. Wouldn't listen to anybody else's." I tapped my chest. "But I'm the Grand Tutor, not him."

"Exactly! My sentiments exactly." Stoker whacked my shoulders. "A grand old man, but limited, you know? What worried me, the way you pulled your virtue back there, I thought he might actually have clipped you..."

"Oh, for pity's sake!"

"No, really! I thought that might be your own equipment on your belt there."

Without bothering to recount its history I declared the amulet-of-Freddie to be older than myself, and asserted further that so far from being castrate I knew my studly endowment to be greater than any buck's in the herd, and than Max's and the Beist-in-the-buckwheat's too. Though not of the magnitude of either Croaker's or the late G. Herrold's. Rest his mind. Which observations led me --

"I'll just try another sip, if you don't mind..."

"Do!" Stoker urged.

"Thank you."

Which observations, I went on to declare, led me to suppose myself at least as well hung as my most generous host and chauffeur, he being white-skinned under his soot. If not better, in view of his short stature. No offense intended.

"Show us!" Stoker cried. "Get the flashlight, Stacey!"

"George, don't!" Anastasia's angry plea came just in time, for I was nowise loath to test my supposition. "He's only teasing you. He wants to make a fool of you."

"Why? Because his is better? How do you know, till you've compared us?"

She tried over Stoker's laughter to explain that I misunderstood the question, which was one rather of modesty than of fact.

"Ah," I said appreciatively. "You mean I shouldn't boast. Excuse me, I haven't learned all your manners yet. But that makes sense. Excuse me, Mr. Stoker: didn't mean to offend you."

"No offense! No offense! Oh, what a party we'll have tonight!"

Anastasia shook her head and tried again, "It's not an offense to him, one way or the other! I mean, knowing Maurice, I guess he might be disappointed or something if his was smaller -- but that's not what I mean either!"

Stoker guffawed.

"It's just not proper, in the presence of a lady!" she cried. Then she added quickly, "I don't mean you meant anything naughty by it..." The labor of articulating made her frown. "I realize you were brought up differently, just as Croaker was..."

I protested (the liquor burning well from my throat to my belly) that I was not so ignorant of West-Campus manners as all that: had I not that same evening rebuked her for displaying across the Georgian River her own escutcheon? But plainly there was a crucial difference between the cases: my reproach had not been for the display of beauty as such -- to which none could reasonably object without advocating that her face be covered as well, and her fine-modeled arms and dainty pasterns, not to mention all the countless other of nature's charms, from rainbows to thistle-blossoms. Nay, it was the motive I protested, not the deed: her intent, as I'd mistaken it, to compromise the Grand-Tutorial chastity enjoined on me by Max...

"I knew it!" Stoker said triumphantly.

"But I had no such thing in my mind just now," I said. "Naturally I'd be complimented if you thought all my parts were handsome, too -- poor G. Herrold used to like them, rest his mind, and I'm pleased enough with them, I guess. But beauty's not the point here: the question was a simple one of size. I can't see where propriety comes in."

"Don't you understand, woman?" Stoker chided her. "That's just how her mind works, though, George: she thinks you want to put it in her."

"I do not!" Anastasia cried, at the same moment that I declared, "I do!" Not a little impatient at her consternation, I said, "Didn't I make that clear? I'd like nothing better than to mate with you if I weren't the Grand Tutor. Which I am! I don't even know for sure if Max is right about this chastity business; I'll have to decide for myself. If I decide he's right, nobody can tempt me; if I decide he's wrong, nobody can stop me."

"Hear! Hear!" Stoker said.

I smiled gravely upon the excellent girl. "Especially I think it would be good to bite you in the belly, Anastasia -- not really to hurt, you understand. Your belly is very attractive. Very."

In a small and uncertain voice she said, "Thank you."

"Provided you wanted me to," I added, as a particular admonition to Stoker and by way of demonstrating what I took to be Grand-Tutorial judiciousness. "That's something none of you seems to consider: to mate or whatever with a doe that's not in heat -- a girl I mean of course -- is not right at all. No buck would ever do such a thing. You couldn't make him."

Stoker shook his head. "Stacey could make him. Everybody mates with her: chancellors, uncles, laundrymaids, billy-goats -- everybody! And yet she's never been in heat in her whole life."

"Isn't that odd! Why do you suppose that is?" It was she I asked, but seeing she'd hidden her face at the disclosure, I tactfully changed the subject. "Do you remember what your goat-friend's name was, that you mated with? I'm sure I'd know him if he was one of our studs."

I was astounded to see her wail into tears; nor would she permit me to calm her with my hand, but pushed it from her withers as if I had offended her, and whipped her head from side to side.

"Now stop!" I told her. "I don't see why you're crying!" I rather wished Max were there to advise me, despite the pleasures of independence I'd been feeling; for though I found Maurice Stoker more interesting and challenging than repugnant, I had no illusions about his straightforwardness. Now he said, "What's to see? You admit you used to bugger old Sambo back there, and then you tell my wife she's not worth biting in the belly! Don't you think the girl's got feelings?"

"That's all wrong! Don't you believe him, Anastasia: he's a regular Dean o' Flunks, and I'm the Grand Tutor! I'd love to bite your belly. I really would!"

"Even Max could hardly object to that," Stoker remarked.

"So what if he did? Anything I do, that's what a Grand Tutor should do. If I bite your wife in the belly, it's right to bite her in the belly!" Not to have Anastasia think my words mere idle rhetoric or dutiful apology, I went at her forthwith, sliding to my knees and boring my face past her hands into her midriff. Despite the sidecar's jolting and for all her wrench and wriggle (which I took for a kind of pouting with the whole body), I contrived to fasten through the cloth of her shift upon a pinch of that admirable, most soft place, which I clenched gently but unremittingly in my teeth until her writhing ceased and her hands no longer thrust but only clutched my hair. I felt us wheel round a bend, but was that determined she must affirm the Tightness of whatever I did -- a Tightness, it occurred to me as I bit, by definition -- I'd not have let go even when we jerked now to a halt, had not the roar of other motors suddenly enveloped us. Relinquishing my tender gobbet I raised my head and blinked in a flood of light: we were drawn up on a graveled apron before a huge iron door, let into a steep dark hillside and guarded by a pistoled host, sooty as their master. They grinned, as did the riders thronging in from various roads to skid up near us, at the wide amazement on the face that rose from Anastasia's lap. But the only laugh was Stoker's, which, when the engines quit, the massive door gave back, iron and ringing as itself.

6.


"So we're home!" Stoker cried. "Have to finish your meal later, old chap!" To the door-guards he shouted, "Open her up!" and to his aide on the nearest cycle (in which Max rode, but would not return my greeting), "Tell Sear we've got one dead Frumentian and one doped one he should have a look at. And a goat-boy, too, if he's interested."

The sharp-faced lieutenant nodded. At his command (not in our tongue) two guards with fierce-appearing dogs on leash opened a small metal box near the door and did something with their hands inside it. Engines were restarted; Stoker winked at me, handed me his flask once more, and started ours. With a grind the heavy door began to slide: smoky orange light streamed from the widening crack. I had time to notice through my bedazzlement, as I sipped, only that other such doors were visible in patches of yellow glare at various heights on the rock-face, and that a double row of bluish floodlights on tall poles, with a thick white pipe between, stretched out over flat ground to leftwards -- a brilliant line straight to the horizon. Then we crunched forward on the gravel towards the door, the aide's vehicle in the lead. The guards gave way before his and Stoker's oaths; the dogs lunged at Max, were checked with effort, and snarled at me too as we went past them.

"They smell goat!" Stoker laughed.

I sat back in my place, stirred by the strange sights; wished Max were in less glum spirits; marveled at the rolling door. Anastasia's solemn eyes were on me. I grinned, perhaps wildly, and rubbed my hand over where I'd bitten her.

"Didn't hurt, did it?" My attention was straining to assimilate the cavernous chamber we rolled into, hewn from the rock, dim-lit, and lined with pipes and large machinery. I scarcely caught her reply, delivered as it was almost in a whisper and with her eyes closed.

"Founder help me!"

"How's that?" I leaned closer.

She half-opened her eyes. "Is it possible? I don't even dare imagine..."

"What: that I'm the Grand Tutor? Of course I am." All else I ignored now except her troubled eyes. "If I weren't, I wouldn't have said I was."

"But how can a Grand Tutor... bite? I don't understand it!"

I turned up my palms. "Me either. But I think there's more than one road to Commencement Gate."

She put her hand on my forearm. "Shouldn't you be gentle and meek? And suffering? You're very physical, George..."

"Sure I'm physical. Listen, Anastasia --" It was interesting to use her name. "Do you want to Graduate or not?"

"I do!" Her eyes filled with emotion. "I'm so ashamed of all the things that've happened to me. More than anything in this campus I wish I could find out what the Answer is!"

"So do I, and I intend to. Then I'll Tutor, and on Commencement Day the wise will pass and the ignorant flunk. Don't you believe that?"

The effort gave her visible pain. "I want to..."

I touched my lips gravely to her brow. "When you do, you'll be my first Tutee, Anastasia. And the first Tutee will be the first Graduate. I swear it."

I might have added, just fully appreciating it myself, that Max had not pre-empted that distinction; much as he needed, wanted, and endeavored to believe in me, he had yet truly to manage it. But the motors roared so now in the confines of the room, speech became impossible. For just that reason, perhaps, as Anastasia's eyes considered my strange words, impulsively I said, "I rather love you, you know."

Midway into the declaration the engines once more quit together, as on some signal -- though why that one and no other should be so efficiently responded to, I cannot say -- with the result that my latter words stood clear. Anastasia put her hand on my fleece and glanced towards Stoker, as did I. Had he heard me through the din? I wasn't sure I cared; I myself could not have said what my words meant! But I was not easy at the way he beamed and whistled when the motorcycles parked now and their riders dismounted. A little crisply, as I helped Anastasia from the sidecar, I said, "You understand what I mean: the way Max loved all of us in the herd, because he was our keeper. A Grand Tutor loves the whole student body."

"Belly and all, hey?" Stoker cried. He caught us each by the arm. "Let's take a look around the Plant before we join the party."

But Anastasia shook her head. There was dull irritation in her face and voice now. "I want to go to bed, Maurice."

"Bed! We've got a Grand Tutor on our hands! How often does that happen?"

"Please," I told him, "I hate to be a bother..."

"No bother!"

"Maurice --" Anastasia covered her eyes. "Croaker hurt me. Please let me go now."

Her husband sighed. "Oh, all right. I'll send Sear up to have a look at you." But at her insistence that she had no need of doctors or medicines, only of rest, he shrugged and dismissed her with a cheerful smack on the posteriors. My heart was clutched with confusion.

"See how willful she is?" Stoker appealed. "And they say I mistreat her! Tell you what, George; you run along with her, cheer her up a bit. We can tour the Plant later."

He spoke with his usual breezy authority and even gave me a little push after her, who was approaching a small door in the farther wall.

"Verboten!" Max cried from behind me. The word -- I hadn't heard it for years -- halted me like a tether. Max too had stepped from his sidecar, and glared at me, his face drained. Heads spun around; the language of the order was apparently not unfamiliar to certain of the guards, in particular those with the dogs.

"Founder help her, George! She's in his power, and we got to choose!"

I heard Stoker sigh beside me.

"One girl or the whole student body!" Max cried. "If they won't take me in your place, I'm going to walk out of here until they stop me." He turned his furious eyes on the officer near him, the long-faced one, who watched impassively. "Don't give them another minute, Georgie. Come with me; this is a flunkèd place."

I was divided as on that day when the shophar had summoned from the barn while Lady Creamhair lingered in the hemlock-grove. Max took a final look at G. Herrold's body, murmured something in his beard, and spat at the officer's feet -- a thing I'd never have supposed him capable of. He turned and started for the great iron door, which was grinding shut. The guards who made to seize him were checked by a slight sign from the officer, who also with his hand bade the sentries halt the door where it was. Max paused in the narrow opening and looked back to me. His voice was terrible. "Grand Tutor or goat!"

Stoker grinned; the guards stood by. The dogs growled through a small hum of machinery. Anastasia I saw had opened the small door and stepped into what I presently learned was a lift. I moved towards her, meaning to call, "Come with us!" But at my move she closed the door. Stoker signaled, and I turned, blanching, round: alas, Max had mistaken my step for a choice and gone; that door too shut.

Stoker clapped me on the shoulder. "Flunk 'em both, hey? Good for you! I'll send a man after Max to see he's all right. Splendid old fool, that Max -- stubborn as a jackass! Convinced I'm the Dean o' Flunks! I love to tease him about the Moishians and the Bonifacists; he believes anything..." Interrupting himself, he gave orders to his lieutenant to change out of uniform, overtake Max in an unmarked vehicle, and transport him to some hostelry of the College. The man saluted with a click of bootheels; Stoker led me towards the door behind which Anastasia had vanished.

"Come on, I'll show you the Plant. Come on!" He laughed at my reluctance. "Max'll be all right, and you'll see Stacey later. She's upset now because of what you said, but she'll get over it. Quite a girl, isn't she?"

"She's -- very nice." I allowed myself to be led with him.

"Can't say no to a soul! Oh, here, you're probably thirsty..." He pressed the flask on me. "Take those dogs of ours, for instance: we got them from a kennel on the Siegfrieder campus, where they'd been trained to bite anything without blond hair and blue eyes. Let me go near, they'd take an arm off; but for Stacey they'll roll over like pups, to get their bellies scratched. I mean the male ones, of course: can't do a thing with the bitches; they're jealous as the Faculty Women's Club. Attaboy, George."

The liquor was a welcome thing. One of Stoker's aides pushed a button beside the lift-door, and we stood about waiting for it to open.

"No, really, she's amazing, that woman." Stoker's eyes sparkled, and he spoke behind his hand in a mock whisper. "These Siegfrieders, you know -- can't beat 'em for cleverness. They'd trained these dogs to hump the Moishian co-eds in their extermination campuses. Ask your friend Eierkopf about it -- didn't I hear Max mention him? He'll tell you it was all for the sake of science; but you know those Siegfrieders, what sports they are. I asked one of their officers once what would happen if a Moishian girl should whelp a litter by a purebred Siegfrieder watchdog: wouldn't that mongrelize the class? And he said, 'Vunce dot hoppens ve is condomps on der dogs puttink, same like ourselfs.' He even showed me his orders from Der Oberbefehlshaber-Professor: Blausiegelen for enlistees, Superblausiegelen for officers. Some science! Here, I'll have one too."

He took a drink from the flask, wiped his sooty face with the back of his hand, and returned the liquor to me. Then with a great belch he resumed his anecdote:

"You can imagine what a time we had training that little habit out of the dogs! If Stacey hadn't helped us taper 'em off -- like narcotics in the Psych Clinic, you know? -- the sons-of-bitches would've serviced every trustee's wife that took a tour of the Plant!" He shook his head in good-natured despair. "Then we had to taper Stacey off; 'Can't stand to hear the poor things whimper,' she used to say. No wonder the bitches don't like her!"

At last the lift-door opened, and I was moved with Stoker and two or three guards into the elevator -- the first I'd seen. Other guards, I observed, had lifted the still-unconscious Croaker onto a large wheeled table, which now they rolled away; a second of the same kind was drawn up to the sidecar wherein G. Herrold lay.

"They shouldn't hate her, though," I said thoughtfully, referring to the watchdog-bitches. For obvious reasons, the story of Anastasia and the dogs did not affect me as it might an ordinary human. "Don't they understand she was only helping their mates?"

Stoker positively hugged me. At the same moment the lift began to rise. "She was! She was, George! Oh, wait till Sear meets you! We must tell Lucky Rexford's wife and all the others not to be so unreasonable: Stacey's only trying to help their poor husbands!"

"Your wife is very sweet that way," I said firmly. "Very generous."

"Oh my, yes!" Stoker roared. "Generous she is!"

I knew I was being baited, but the strong liquor, perhaps, made me not care. "I wonder if you really appreciate her," I insisted. "You think she does things for flunkèd reasons -- at least you pretend to think so. But she doesn't. She didn't want Croaker to service her this evening; she was counting on you to rescue her in time. And you would have, if you'd seen how she trembled; she's not big enough for him! Yet she was willing to let it happen, to keep us out of danger..."

"Sheep!" Stoker's face now was red and scowling -- the first time I'd ever seen him grinless -- and his voice was rough. "She's a sheep, and Spielman's another! 'Baa, baa, take me to the slaughterhouse!' With their great silly lamb's eyes! 'Do what you want to us, we won't bite.' Made to be persecuted! Why don't they fight?"

The elevator stopped; its door opened noiselessly onto a narrow passageway. Stoker glared at me; the others stood expressionless. I was as much roused as shaken by the outburst, and having abandoned Max, now rose to his defense.

"Max has his faults, Mr. Stoker, but he's no coward."

"He's a sheep!" The voice echoed down the corridor. No one moved to leave the elevator. "A Moishian sheep! 'Please cut my throat, sir!' "

"No. He's a great goatherd and a great scientist. And the best advisor any hero ever had."

Stoker glowered still, but his temper seemed regained. "I notice you don't take his advice, though. Mustn't confuse the sheep with the goats, eh?" His laugh now was easier -- and still we lingered in the lift! "Advice or no advice, we bucks need our bit of nanny now and then, don't we!"

"You're not part goat too, are you, sir? You don't look like a goat."

"See here, George --" He stepped with me just into the hall and pointed to a closed door at its blind left end. "My wife's bedroom is right at the end there. She's waiting for you. Run along, now."

Much as the notion stirred me, I shook my head. "That's not why I stayed here. Besides, she's angry with me for some reason."

"Go on! That's because you said you didn't love her any more than you loved the other girls! Very tactless remark for a Grand Tutor! No, no, don't apologize --" I had only been going to protest. "I know you didn't mean to hurt the girl's feelings. But she's sensitive, you know? Among us human people, when a chap bites a girl in the belly he's supposed to follow through. Go down there now and tell her you're sorry, and give her an extra-good service to make up. That's what she's waiting for."

I smiled. "You don't understand..."

"I do! It's you that doesn't understand. The girl's in heat, for pity's sake!"

I considered his face seriously to guess whether he was joking. Human females, as I understood, had no particular rutting-season, and of course no tails to wag in the rousing manner of an amorous doe; I frankly hadn't realized there might be other signs and sessions, as unmistakable in studentdom as was a fine-flushed vulva in our herd between the autumnal and vernal equinoxes. The notion that Anastasia was in heat threw considerable light upon the psychology of her behavior, I had to admit, however obscure its morality remained. Nay, more, it seemed to me to render pointless both Stoker's change of willful concupiscence on her part and Anastasia's pleas of self-sacrifice with charitable intent, neither of which had impressed me as quite adequate to the case. I knew myself a kid in the tangled thicket of human morals; doubtless there were complications of which I was unaware; nevertheless I'd have very much liked to ask Max just then why the phenomenon of rutting (by its nature indiscriminate) was regarded as a neutral fact, even a merit, in the stockbarns, and a likely cause of flunkage in the campus proper. Granted even that eugenical considerations (or social ones, whereof I was but dimly aware) took moral form in studentdom, so that for some intricate reason it was undesirable for a woman to bear children by any sire except her husband: on what ground did the Founder object to "coveting thy classmate's wife" if one took the contraceptive precautions I had read of? Or to mating with desirable members of a different species (as Max with the goats and Anastasia with the watchdogs), or with partners of one's own sex, in any of which cases reproduction was precluded? I supposed there was more to the matter -- my dream of Mary V. Appenzeller came to mind, with a flash of its mysterious, unreasonable shame -- but what the More was, I could by no means see.

In any case, Stoker had said earlier that Anastasia never went into heat. Recalling this, I understood he was baiting me again, and resolved to give as good as I had got.

"Isn't a husband supposed to service his own wife?" I asked politely. "You claim you're not a gelding; are you impotent, the way Brickett Ranunculus was at the end?"

His face, always high-colored, darkened by a number of shades; his eyes turned fierce. "Impotent? Impotent?" I really thought he might assault me, and so clenched my stick to parry. But again his anger turned to heated mirth. "Oh my! Do you know who I am? Do you know where you are? Oh, my sakes!" He snatched up my arm and drew me back into the lift. "Impotent!" He pushed another button and burst into merry laughter. Moreover, as the lift began to rise he farted loudly, perhaps by way of preliminary demonstration of his potency. I helped myself to another sip of liquor and grinned, pleased to have got such a rise out of him, but I was ready enough to quit that compartment when the door reopened.

The room we now stepped into (our stone-faced companions remaining for some reason in the elevator) was low-ceilinged, brilliantly lit, and quiet. The walls were smooth and gleaming white, undecorated but for one large photograph of a smiling, handsome young man not familiar to me. The floor was laid with heavy carpeting. A dozen or more men, clean-shaved and sootless, stood intent before great dialed and buttoned consoles, upon which flickered sundry-colored lights; their uniforms, I noted, were immaculate and truly uniform, unlike the motley of the guards downstairs. One wall was a grating of heavy steel mesh, through which I saw a second room quite like ours, the only noticeable difference being in the cut and color of the attendants' garb: rhododendron-green on our side, rust-red on theirs. Other than a muffled click of switches and the whirr of tape-spools from a row of glass-front cabinets, the place was still. So much so, and so absorbed the dial-watchers, I was hushed upon entering -- but Stoker belched as it were defiantly. And in vain, for no one so much as glanced his way.

"This is Founder's Hill you're inside of, you know!" His voice was cross and deliberately loud, as jarring as the dirty prints our shoes left on the carpet. "Talk about power: all the power on this campus comes from here! The same power that runs the University! This is the Control Room."

He seemed not at ease, and annoyed when I asked whether these attendants were under his command.

"What would I want with people like these? They don't talk my language." He hastened to add, however, seeing my insinuation, that although the dial-watchers were responsible only to the Chancellor, I should not make the mistake of thinking his, Stoker's, potency thereby diminished. The power was merely controlled and directed from this room; it originated "down below," in Stoker's bailiwick. Moreover, the so-called controllers had no real authority: they only attended the dials and switches whose actual instructions came not even from the Chancellor, but from that bank of tapes -- in short, from WESCAC.

"WESCAC!" I frowned at the pulsing spools and tingled as if ambushed. "I thought WESCAC was in Tower Hall!"

"Oh well, this is just one arm of the thing, you know. Not even that: a finger. It programs the power needs for West Campus, itself included." As we strolled among the consoles (Stoker thrusting out his tongue at various attendants), he charged me not to forget that last fact: WESCAC, people rightly held, was the seat and instrument of West-Campus power -- brain-power, military power, and thus political and economic power as well, indirectly. But it was essentially no more than a tool and manager, dependent absolutely on the power supplied to it, at its own governance, from the realm "down below." In short, the power that ultimately controlled the Power Plant originated in the Power Plant, necessarily and exclusively -- and the Power Plant was his, Stoker's, domain.

"If you don't mind my asking: how did you get to be in charge of it?"

He grinned. "WESCAC appointed me." While I assimilated this fresh paradox he led me to the steel-screen partition, on which I saw now signs of warning in several languages. "This screen is on the border between East and West Campus," he said. "The line runs right through Founder's Hill. Don't touch it, by the way, or you'll cook -- it's a high-voltage thing like the Main Power Line you saw outside, that marks the boundary."

I was familiar enough with electric pasture-fences to understand; from a respectful distance I scrutinized with interest the men on the other side.

"Are those real Nikolayan what-you-call-'ems?" The term for their administrative system had slipped my mind, perhaps aided by the dark liquor.

"Absolutely! Enemies of private education! Classmates in the classless college! Founderless Student-Unionists! You see how different their way of life is from ours." His tone was sarcastic, and indeed, but for the style of dress and the fact that their consoles and attendants faced away from ours (whereas ours faced away from theirs), I could see little difference between the two rooms. Their machinery perhaps was larger; ours I thought had more colorful lights. A small door, also of steel mesh, was built into the screen. Stoker approached it and set up a shout in what seemed to be no particular language, merely an abusive clamor accompanied by grimaces, foot-stampings, and waving of the arms.

"Awah! Nyet! Da! Open sesame! Borscht borscht!"

At once a man near us turned a series of knobs on his dial-panel, and on the Nikolayan side a stocky young fellow with a black eye-patch did the same. On both sides impassive guards with rifles appeared -- they had been standing at such rigid attention in the corners that I hadn't noticed them -- clicked their bolts, and held their weapons ready. The door swung open of itself.

"Don't you move," Stoker warned. But he himself swaggered through the doorway, made a deep bow to the Nikolayan riflemen (saluting them too with a cracking fart), and returned to pay the same compliment to the guards on our side. The dials were turned back, the door swung shut and latched itself, the guards marched precisely to their corners. Except for myself, who caught my breath with astonishment, and the young Nikolayan with the eye-patch, who grinned and shook his head, no one appeared even to notice the performance, much less protest it.

"Nobody else is allowed through there," Stoker said. "Me they have to put up with, like it or not, and neither side likes it. But they've got to have power if they're going to be enemies."

I had wondered whether he had a counterpart on the Nikolayan side of the screen; evidently he had not. So I asked why, since a single source powered both WESCAC and EASCAC, and he controlled that source, he could not single-handedly remove the danger of a third campus riot by turning off the power, or threatening to.

"That's a Max-Spielman question," he said, with some contempt. "You don't understand what power is! The furnace doesn't turn off the thermostat! You want the heart to decide to kill the brain, but it can't do it! The heart might kill the brain, but it can't decide to; only the brain can decide. Don't forget, though: it gets its deciding-power from the heart!" He waved his hand impatiently. "Flunk this! Come on, I'll show you."

Before leaving, however, he took the trouble to obstruct the view of the nearest attendant by standing nose-to-nose with him and making a grotesque face, which the man ignored as if Stoker were invisible. And I observed that when the same attendant reached for a flashing button on the panel, Stoker pretended for mischief's sake to catch at his hand, but never actually touched him, and even made way slightly, though cursing all the while. Then, not to confine his scorn exclusively to West-Campus controllers, he spat over his shoulder toward the Nikolayans: the drops struck the mesh with a puff and sizzled into curls of steam.

"I hate this place," he growled.

We returned to the elevator, pushed the bottom button, and descended a considerable distance farther than we'd come up. Stoker's face brightened as we dropped; the guards too seemed more at ease with every passing level. I myself was somewhat dizzied by the falling sensation -- and by the liquor as well, no doubt -- but it was a feeling more curious than disagreeable, and I chose not to surrender the flask on its account.

A monstrous din rose around us as we stopped, and doubled its volume with a crash when the door slid back -- a roar like an endless thunderclap, shocking the heart.

"Furnace Room!" Stoker shouted in my ear; I could scarcely hear him. At first, owing to the darkness, I could see only that we had stepped onto a long balcony, beyond and below which were considerable steaming spaces lit by intermittent fires. The air was hot, with the reek of the fumigating-candles we sometimes used in the barns, and from near and far the din assailed us: grindings, shrieks, cracks, roars, hisses, crashes, shouts! When my eyes accommodated I went to the railing with Stoker and saw how truly whelming was the place: the floor was a barn's-height below us, the ceiling lost in dark vapors above; a fair-sized herd could scatter in the space between the walls -- rough-hewn from the mountain's bowels, black as coal, and warm to the touch. Vats or caldrons huge as silos rose before us, interlaced with catwalks, pipes, and cables; the red glow came from under them, where great fires seemed to rage beneath the floor. The steam issued everywhere: from joints in the caldron-plates, from valves big as wagon-wheels, from the steel trucks full of ash or stone that rolled on rails down every aisle, from fissures in the very walls and floor. Troops of grimed and burly laborers, a few women among them, ran hither and thither, toiling, cursing. Stripped to the waist or covered in sweat-soaked denim, black rags about their heads, they wrestled with valve-stems and winch-gears, plied wrenches big as crowbars to great bolt-heads, and stoked the awful fires with battering-rams. Whistles screeched; orders were bawled from above and below; everyone seemed in everyone else's way. Steam-valves were opened without warning, and those standing near had to spring for their lives; rail-trucks were sent careering heedless through crowded aisles, sometimes colliding with one another and spilling half their cargo onto the tracks; empty buckets were knocked off catwalks; toes were trod upon, shins barked, fingers mashed; fights broke out on the least occasion between work-gangs whose paths happened to cross -- rail-truck crews and furnace-men, for example -- or between members of the same gang, for no apparent reason and as often in sport as in anger. Finally, there seemed to prevail a continuing state of emergency: furnace-doors blew open of their own accord; rail switches were thrown in the nick of time; winches jammed; cables broke; steam-pipes burst. Repairmen dashed from a partly-plugged leak to cut an arcing cable that bid fair to roast a stoking-gang beneath; breaking the circuit, however, released for some reason the trap-door on a hopper of fly-ash suspended overhead from a traveling crane, and both crews were half-buried in an avalanche of grime. Fists flew instantly, along with spanners and winch-handles; one man fell smitten into the dust, whether dead or stunned I could not tell, and others surely must have joined him had not everyone's attention been diverted by a shriek from the leaky pipe abandoned earlier. Some scalding liquid now sprayed from it upon an illuminated boiler-gauge, big as a window, across whose face I saw a large black pointer climbing steadily towards an area marked in red. A number of brawling repairmen rushed to the pipe; as many ran the other way. Two of the furnace-gang dragged off their fallen comrade, a third hopped in the ashes and tore, weeping, at his hair, while a fourth flung back his head and laughed at the whole spectacle -- until all alike were obliged to leap clear when an empty train-car charged like a mad buck down their aisle and plowed into the fly-ash.

To gather one's wits was out of the question; I was seized up, as were Stoker and the guards, into the general alarum. Inquiry, explanation were impossible. "Here's where your power is!" Stoker shouted at me. Grinning he thumped his chest with one hand and extended the other towards the bedlam beneath us. "Volcano with a cap on it!"

He dashed away at once down the balcony and out onto the catwalk that ran beside the boiler-gauge. The guards ran with him, and I followed after as quickly as I could, towards the group that milled and tussled now around the leaky pipe. We all were wide-eyed and shouting, myself included; it was unthinkable not to widen the eyes and shout, though what our words were, if they were words at all, I have no idea. Stoker bellowed above us all -- "Ho, there! Hallo! Hey!" -- and pitched into the melee of laughing, swearing laborers, swinging at the men, pinching the massive women, and glancing from time to time (as did we all) at the meter-long needle on the gauge, still climbing slowly. No matter what the numbers signified: that the lower ones were black and the higher red was significance enough, given the general consternation and the horrid rumbling that began now under the boiler. Stoker pried and clubbed his way to the center of the gang with the aid of a long steel bar -- a sort of mammoth box-end wrench, at least a meter in the shank -- which he'd wrested from a black chap in the mob. His objective was a valve-stem just up-pipe from the whistling leak; two slams he gave it with the giant tool, heedlessly crippling a brace of repairmen with his backswing, and then fit the wrench-end on it like a capstan-bar.

"Hoya!" he roared, and shoved his neighbor to the bar, who laid hold and strained back on it with all his force. "Ho to, there!" he bawled at another; "put your arse in it!" And the second locked arms about the waist of the first, but the two together couldn't budge the valve. Now the rest fell to with a will, Stoker collaring and kicking them into line. But while a number locked together in a sweaty chain to pull the bar this way, the others strove as gruntly to pull it that. "No, blast!" would yell Stoker; "Flunk-ay!" they would curse back; and some on both sides seeing what was amiss, each changed to pushing instead of pulling, with the same result. One team had fewer members, but all male; the other had more men but three brawny women as well, by whose presence less was gained in horsepower than was lost in horseplay. After two reversals of direction, moreover, the rhythm broke entirely; every man pulled, pushed, or stood fast as he listed, braying imprecations on the rest in any case -- and the bar stood still, but not the gauge-needle. Suddenly a man near the end of the longer line let go and fled -- or would have, had I not thrust out my stick with an oath and brought him crashing down.

"Yi hoo!" I cried, and in an access of mad spirit hurled the liquor-flask at the glass face of the gauge. Since our objective, clearly, was to stop the pointer before it reached the red, why did we not lay hold of it, I wondered, swing from it if need be, and check it where it was? Alack, the flask rebounded to the catwalk, barely having cracked what I meant to shatter, and was scrabbled for at once by the deserter -- luckily for me, who had not seen him raging towards me with a ballpeen hammer! And thus was worked the rescue of us all: the teammates he'd abandoned, seeing bad faith slaked while good went thirsting, broke muddled ranks to have at him, just when Stoker with boot-tip and tongue had got the lesser gang aligned and bade them heave. Heave they did, all unopposed, and tumbled arselong when the bar came about. Even as they rolled and cursed, the whistling petered; the pointer trembled at disaster's very threshold, lingered a moment still, then subsided with the rumbling underneath. Mine however was the only shout of joy: fights and tickling-matches had broken out among the workers, all of whom strove for the flask, and Stoker had set out merrily down the catwalk after a chocky lass who'd goosed him with her oilcan-spout at the moment of crisis. When I overtook them he'd already had his revenge, having cornered her against a switchboard, wrested the can from her, and under cover of a stolen kiss, squirted a jet down the open bosom of her shirt. It was a lubricant black as oil but evidently less bland, for it set the girl into a hopping frenzy. She bounded from him in my direction, jerking and squealing as if a coal were between her breasts; indeed the stuff burned her at least as much as the prank amused; she tore open her work-shirt, looked round her wildly, and spying my fine new wrapper, flung herself at my knees, where with violent motions, laughing and shrieking, she soiled my fleece with her blackened bubs. Not content, Stoker stole up behind her as she writhed, drew back the waist-band of her breeches, and fired a second squirt into the seat -- which so got to her she let go her teats and raced down the catwalk, now flinging her arms wide, now clawing at her breeches, now leaping and spinning, now rubbing her buttocks madly against the rail. Her fellow workers and myself shouted with laughter at her plight, which soon caught everyone's eye; all work was abandoned; mirth thundered off the walls. Then Stoker tilted back his head and simply bellowed. I did likewise -- it was the perfect thing to do! -- and one by one the rest joined in, as if together we might burst the mountain. Never such spirit as now roared in me! I had need of the railing to steady myself; it was as though we floated on the very roar, which once begun appeared to go on of itself -- until another pipe or valve exploded aisles away. Stoker sprang to the switchboard and pulled a pair of levers; altogether in the spirit I pulled a few myself, and was rewarded by the spectacle of winches spinning, crane-buckets dropping, signal-lights flashing, and work-gangs leaping like creosoted fleas.

"This is Graduation!" Stoker shouted happily. "Never mind the question: the Answer's power!"

Its fine explosive sound made him repeat the word, and me join in. "Power! Power!" I pulled another lever, and the entire catwalk slowly descended towards the next lower balcony; yet another, and the nearest furnace door yawned to afford me my first clear glimpse of the fire inside -- a boundless, flickerless, terrifying white-orange glow, like one compressed and solid flame, the heat of which even at fifty meters had like to have singed my fleece.

"Wrong lever!" Stoker laughed, and having pushed it back and pulled two others he rushed me off the catwalk and onto the lower balcony. Moments later a crane-bucket swinging furnacewards (at my command, it seems) crashed through the catwalk rail and spilled its molten contents directly on the switchboard. Sparks flew, bells rang, men with masks and hoses swarmed to the catwalk, which soon disappeared in a pall of steam.

"Come on, before the whole flunkèd place blows!" Stoker opened a nearby door marked aid station, and grinning at the high-voiced cries and oaths that issued forth, beckoned me in. Standing in the middle of the room (a small one, better lit than the Furnace Room and much quieter once the door closed) was the victim of his recent prank; shirt off and trousers down, she had been being ministered to by three other women, brawny workers all, who had smeared white ointment on her soot-grimed bosoms and husky posteriors. One of the women who had come wrathfully forward now smiled and said, "Oh flunk, it's the Chief! You sure fixed Madge."

"She had it coming," Stoker said cheerily.

Upon our entry Madge had spun from us and snatched up her breeches; seeing who we were now she let them fall and grumbled, "Sonofabitch, all I done was goose you. Look what you done!" She thrust towards us her injured hams. "Like to took the skin off!"

"No! Let's have a look, Madgie." He pretended to examine her closely, turning her around by the hips and frowning at the blisters. "Striking effect, George, isn't it?"

"Quite striking," I agreed. And in truth, for all her sweat and dishevelment, the naked laborer was not without a hefty beauty: her short black hair was bound by a grease-stained rag, under which her wide, coarse-featured face beamed mischievously; her arms and waist were thick, her hips ample, her thighs well-muscled, her legs unshaved. Aware she was being made game of, she nonetheless exhibited herself with pride and petulance, hands on hips; and while she was in no way comparable to Anastasia, astonishing indeed were the white-salved bosoms against the brown skin, their nipples puckered stoutly under our gaze. Just as fetching was her spirit: having turned full circle she seized her examiner's hair and rubbed his face into the salve, seeing to it he got a beardful despite his merry oaths. The other women chuckled and vowed good-naturedly he had got no more than his desert; by way of compensation for his prank Stoker granted Madge relief from the balance of her shift -- on condition she accompany us, just as she was, to a costume party which he said was in progress in the Living Room.

"I wondered why your pal had that get-up on!" she said. The prospect of appearing naked and bedaubed before strangers nowise dismayed her; she agreed to go with us, stipulating only that she be permitted to improvise a mask for the sake of her modesty and wear her high-top safety shoes for the sake of her toes, which were afflicted with corns. Stoker consented and fetched a new flask from the first-aid locker while the woman shucked off her denims. Her two companions, loudly envious of her good fortune, pitched in to repaint her, improving their earlier effort with bright-colored tinctures from the locker: her nipples and deep-punched navel they ringed concentrically with red against a white-salve background; bright yellow ointment banded all her limbs and set off cleft and dimples of her strong brown rump. Her hair they left bound in the kerchief, and by way of a mask wound her head in gauze bandage, outlining eye-, nose-, and mouth-holes with red antiseptic. Though they laughed and teased as they worked, wagering their chief would appear next morning with a multicolored beard, they were much impressed when they stood back to view the finished product, which I applauded vigorously.

"Aw, you're beautiful, Madgie," one of them said. "You'll knock their eyes out."

"Pretty as a picture," said the other. "Ain't she, Chief? I just wish I could see their faces when you walk in. Have loads of fun, honey."

"Don't dare breathe a word to Harry!" Madge pleaded happily. "He'd have a conniption!" She looked down at her body. "Wish to Pete we had a mirror in here. Flunk it all, Mr. Stoker, we need a mirror!"

Stoker slipped his arm around her waist and offered her the flask. "Here's all you need, Madgikins." He dismissed her attendants, bidding them notify his own that we were gone to his Spring-Carnival party in the Living Room, and promising that Madge would have much to report on the morrow. The woman stood erect, shod and painted, in the middle of the room, and tipped the flask up -- the 'action thrust out her bull's-eyed belly (hard as G. Herrold's, by the look of it) and flexed the muscles of her ribs and shoulders.

"By George!" I exclaimed.

She saw how I gazed at her, and winked as she drank. "You ain't badlooking yourself, kid." Feet apart and arms akimbo now, she ignored Stoker's playful strokings from behind. "So where's the party?"

I rushed at her with a joyous cry, seized her by the hips, and would turn her about for a proper mounting. She laughed, game enough, but did not at once understand just what I wished, and Stoker took advantage of the little confusion to intervene.

"Plenty of time later, old fellow."

"Later nothing! Bend over, ma'am! I'm George the Goat-Boy."

But he inserted himself between us with a grin and would not be pushed away. "You forget you're already spoken for."

"You think I can't do the pair of them?" I demanded.

"Attaboy!" Madge cheered.

"I'll show you who's potent," I vowed.

But Stoker, though he beamed approval of my attitude, insisted we move on to the party, and clasping each of us firmly about the shoulders, let us through the rear of the Aid Station into a long dim corridor, just wide enough for three to walk abreast. Light-headedly I complained, "Supposed to be so potent. I think you're jealous."

Stoker only hooted, and Madge laughed too. We paused to pass the flask around, and I found myself leaning against the wall for support as I drank.

"Jealous he ain't, lamb," Madge said. "Not a jealous bone in him! He caught me and Harry going to it in the Aid Station once and didn't say a word, did you, Mr. Stoker? Just stood there and watched." Her voice turned mischievous. "I figured that was why he'd brought you along -- so he could watch us."

"Tales out of school!" Stoker scolded, and pinched her near buttock. She sprang forward with a squeal, then around behind me to escape him. I growled and snatched at her gaudy breasts, which by virtue of their paint slipped from my grasp, and the three of us then raucoused down the corridor. At the end was a double door labeled living room: Madge reached it first, found it locked, and turned breathless and laughing to face us. Stoker came up next, but instead of having at her he drew a ring of keys from his trouser-pocket and commenced to search through them. She turned then to me, held back by my limp; and seeing I was still all hot resolve, shrank laughing to the door and held out her arms to fend me off.

"Now, pet!" she warned merrily. "Mind what the Chief said! Not till later, when you're done with Miss Stacey!"

"He's not my chief," I declared, and hoisting my wrapper, laid hold and approached at the ready.

Stoker found the key he wanted and thrust it into the lock. "Tell her who you are, George: she ought to be proud."

"She'll know soon enough," I replied. "Turn around, ma'am!"

She looked to Stoker.

"Better do what George says," he advised, and turned the key in the lock; "believe it or not, he's the next Grand Tutor."

What her expression was, I could not tell. She still pressed against the door, but lowered her arms uncertainly and then put her hands behind her. Eagerly I laid hold of her; dutifully she turned. But the moment I crouched for the service Stoker pushed on his door, and the two flew open as one. Madge pitched forward, and I swayed dumbstruck -- my stick in one hand, myself in the other -- before a sumptuous, thronging hall.

"Ladies and gentlemen!" Stoker shouted. "The Grand Tutor of the Western Campus!"

7.


The Living Room, if less cavernous and dark, was in its way as riotous a spectacle as the Furnace Room, and almost as noisy. A hundred men and women, at least, roistered and roiled there in every degree and quality of dress, from sequined gowns to sooty coveralls. None, after all, wore masks, nor were any save Madge quite naked, as far as I could see, and though the faces of the women were painted, what they displayed of their backs, limbs, and bosoms led one to doubt that any bull's-eyes or yellow-daubed dimples hid under their clothes. So grand was the general carouse, only the nearest dozen faces turned when Madge tumbled gorgeously in. A few folk whistled or applauded; three or four raised her to her feet with much horseplay, and then a brawny chap dived roaring at her legs, hoisted her up on his shoulders, and bore her off laughing and waving into the throng. Several others saluted their host with upraised glasses, two or three stared curiously at me; the rest went on with their merrymaking. It was the first party I had witnessed. The guests sang, they danced and scuffled. Here one vomited; there one wept. This one balanced bottles on his nose; that one beat his head against a wall. Two gentlemen tickled a flailing lady until with a whoop she pissed; three matrons sat upon an old man's back while a fourth befoamed him with a fire extinguisher. Here a bloody fist-fight was in progress; there a game of leap-frog. A brass band bleated like two-score shophars in a storm of thunder -- my first experience of music. Long tables at the wall were laden with bowls of black liquor and great platters of meat: the guests, I realized with horror, were gnawing upon legs of fowl and knuckles of deceased pigs. I saw a very pregnant lady brought to one such table and laid supine among the spare-ribs, where, drawing up her knees and clutching at her belly, she shouted, "Here it comes!" I saw a shy young couple holding hands in the corner, and two pretty maids kissing, and two fellows waltzing nimbly together, and a solitary chap with his hand in his trouserfly. Just before my eyes a man was struck down with an empty bottle and robbed of his watch by his drinking-companions, one of whom failed to make good his escape because he paused to defend a young girl being forcibly undressed by three uniformed men: the thief was apprehended by one and the watch returned by another to its owner (who however could not rejoice in his good fortune, being either insensible or dead); the third, meanwhile, was obliged to give way before the fury of the girl their victim, whose placket had been torn: he begged her pardon and the honor of a dance; she hesitated, laughed, stripped off the torn skirt, and spun merrily away with him in fetching cotton drawers.

All this I saw, and yet scarcely saw anything, so enormous was the sight. I gaped in the doorway, cod in hand.

"A little Carnival party," Stoker said. "We have one every night this week. You should see the place on New Year's Eve!" So persistently rumored was the approach of a new Grand Tutor, he explained, it had become popular practice among conscientious students to don caps and gowns and celebrate his arrival, and their own Commencement, in advance; in less reverent circles, like Stoker's, the same thing was done in burlesque: one of their number would be chosen "Tutor of the Revels" and given absolutely direction of the party, bestowing honors on the gamest and flunking from the premises any who declined to join the fun. What was more, there had been in recent years a rash of pretenders to actual Grand-Tutorhood, who, however bizzare or insubstantial their claim, never failed to find at least a few believers, and indeed were sometimes quite popular and influential. These were much sought after by earnest students and smart party-givers, and while it was within Stoker's jurisdiction, as director of Main Detention, to arrest any truly dangerous impostors, he often invited the more colorful ones to entertain his guests.

"Wish you could have seen the chap we had here a month ago: claimed the basic energy in the University was a kind of sound-wave given off by the sex-organs, that only he and his Graduates could hear. We all put little microphones between our legs and made Organic Harmony. That's what he said the Answer was -- Music of the Spheres! He particularly liked Stacey's timbre when he tuned her in, and she swore she could hear something, too, like singing. All I could hear from anybody was farts and static... Have a bite to eat?"

A waiter had paused before us with a tray of burnt and dismembered chicken-bodies. Stoker helped himself to two handfuls; I turned away to keep from retching at the sight.

"Sorry, old man; forgot." He sent the waiter off with orders to find a plate of hay, offering me in the meantime a handful of paper napkins by way of hors d'oeuvre, which I declined, having quite lost my appetite.

"Another chap we had claimed the Answer was a science he'd invented called Psychophysics. Something to do with the Third Law of Emotion, and the mind as a Reaction Engine... I forget exactly. Anyhow he said we'd never reach Commencement Gate because we'd lost our compression and had no spark; we were too choked up; the modern transmission of our power-drives had made us shiftless; we were neutral idlers who slipped in the clutches for want of a new converter; our blocks were cracked; we needed our heads examined and our old shock-absorbers replaced. So he picked Stacey to be the first to get a Psychomotor Tune-up and be equipped with new Overhead Values -- they always pick Stacey. But by the time she got up on the platform with him -- see that platform in the middle of the floor, where Croaker's dancing with your friend? It's right over the furnace we use for cremations. Well, he had all his gadgets set up there, but once he got under Stacey's hood..."

I heard no more, but with an angry cry charged into the crowd. There indeed was mighty Croaker on a dais in the center of the room, hub of the carouse. Upon a sort of couch there, low enough to have escaped my notice, he had been laid out in black gown and mortarboard, the corpse of G. Herrold beside him; now apparently just reviving from his anesthesia, he had staggered to his feet as Stoker talked, and a cheer had gone up from the crowd; he'd looked about him in a daze, then for some reason raised my dead friend's body from the couch. The dim room-lights at once grew dimmer, a spotlight fell on the dais, and the band set up a pounding rhythm-whereupon, even as Stoker so placidly remarked, the black giant had commenced a horrid shuffling dance. Rage flushed my dizziness away; I thrust and shoved people aside, spilling their drinks, even knocking them down.

"Gangway for the Goat-Boy!" Stoker called behind me.

Before I could get near the dais the sport changed character: some bold fellow leaped up to join the dance and was knocked sprawling by a sweep of Croaker's arm; another took his place, a lean dark-haired chap, who instead of dancing held out a lady's wrap and called, "Huh, toro, huh!" Croaker dropped G. Herrold's body to the couch and rushed at the newcomer, who however sidestepped, spun the garment gracefully behind his hips, and sent Croaker flying head-first off the platform, into the crowd. Those nearest screamed and scrambled; others shouted "Olé!" The dark-haired fellow bowed and hopped lightly down to do the trick again. Now the spotlight followed the action about the room: coats and kerchiefs flapped from all sides, and Croaker, his mortarboard gone, heaved and laid about him indiscriminately. Some managed to dodge him in the manner of the dark-haired fellow; others he caught hold of and flung, howling, through the air, men and women alike-and every rush brought a chorus of olés.

"Make way for the Grand Tutor!" Stoker shouted. "Let the Goat-Boy through!" But all were preoccupied with Croaker. Then indeed they scattered, not in deference to me but because Croaker happened to charge next in my direction, and I found myself facing him alone. The light embraced us both, and whether because he dimly recollected me or merely because I looked different from the others, he paused to blink. Then with a growl he came on. Notwithstanding my limp and the quantity of black liquor I had drunk, I felt no fear, only excitement, as in the days when I'd merrily baited the bucks of the herd. If Croaker was several times heavier than Redfearn's Tommy, and more powerful, he was infinitely less nimble: he could not turn in his tracks, hook with his head, spring high in the air, or kick behind him, and he was easily faked out of balance. All I had to fear from him was the span of his arms and the clutch of his hands, both which I found it possible to elude by ducking, feinting, and springing -- the finest arts of goatdom. The real danger was that the crowd who quickly pressed round to urge us on would take up my springing-room; this peril I minimized by the simple expedient of leading Croaker full tilt into them on every pass until they maintained a respectful distance.

"Olé!" they cheered, more enthusiastic than ever. "Olé! Olé!" Never since my ill-starred tenure as Dean of the Hill had I known such applause. I curbed my exhilaration with that memory and looked before I leaped, passing under his arms, feinting here, springing there, spinning, dodging, dancing from him, and always gauging from the corners of my eyes my distance from the crowd. Five times I passed him, and a sixth, each time more daringly, and he never touched me. After the second I was sure he recognized me: his roars turned to cunning grunts, and his eyes grew bright as a sportive buck's. When on the fifth pass I spun him off-balance and brought him crashing down, he groaned as in protest and lost interest in the game; I believe I might have leaped upon his shoulders then and rode him with impunity, but loath to put an end to those olés I managed to tease him into one charge more. His heart was not in it; his eyes wandered even as he lunged, and fixed upon loud-hammed Madge, whom a lady and a gentleman had led unsteadily into the light. At sight of Croaker in academic gown she was seized with mirth -- and wondrous was the dance of her bull's-eyes in the glare! Croaker halted before them, blinked twice or thrice, gave a whimpering grunt, and snatched.

"Hunh, Croaker!" I cried, but he would not be provoked. Madge he flung over-shoulder like a sack of grain; she whooped but seemed not fearful as he bore her off. When I came up behind and dared even to thump his back with my fist, defying him to turn, she grabbed my hair and kissed me merrily, then waved and thrust out her tongue at the parting crowd. As for Croaker, I had as well challenged a black-oak trunk or buck in mid-service for all he heeded me. The spotlight followed them, as did many of my audience, and I considered chasing after; but others pressed drinks and attentions on me, a heady new pleasure I could not forgo. My original indignation had quite passed. Two of Stoker's staff, I noted, were restoring G. Herrold to his repose on the dais-couch, and I twinged with a moment's wonder whether all was well with Max; then Stoker joined the crowd around me, and I gave myself over to the dizzy spirits roused in me by exercise, and nourished by liquor and acclaim.

Especially cordial were the pair who a few minutes earlier had escorted Madge onto the scene, and whom Stoker identified now as Dr. Kennard Sear and Hedwig, his wife.

"Enchanté," the doctor smiled. "Remarkable performance." A long dry gentleman he was, superbly manicured and groomed, with close silver hair and fine soft garments. His face, frame, and fingers were thin tan, even his voice was, and without moisture; only his eyes were less than desiccate, their pale brightness turning into glitter at every blink. The whole effect of him was of a lean pear dried in the sun, its gold juice burnt into thin exotic savor -- and in fact it was pleasant to smell him, all but his breath, which was slightly foul. "Doesn't he have classic features, Hed?" he asked his wife.

"He looks like Maurice in bronze!" Mrs. Sear exclaimed. "He could be your younger brother, Maurice." She too, and her voice, were dry and not unhandsome, but where her husband seemed cured, like supplest vellum, Mrs. Sear was brittle -- sharp-edged as the stones on her ears and hands, but more fragile.

Stoker affirmed the resemblance. "George's got more in common with me than some brothers I could mention."

"You're really Max Spielman's protégé?" Dr. Sear asked smoothly. "We must have some interviews."

"And evenings," Mrs. Sear insisted, narrowing her bright eyes and touching my fleece with her long red nails. "Something more intime than this madhouse of Maurice's. Are you matriculating, or just on tour?"

"Ma'am?" Despite my liquor I felt at ease and self-possessed, they so obviously admired me. But I had difficulty following conversations. It occurred to me to remark that I had once loved a doeling named Hedda; but I forbore on the grounds of possible tactlessness, and thought myself a subtle fellow.

"You haven't heard, Heddy?" Stoker cried. "This is no ordinary goat-boy: he's come to show you and me how to pass the Finals!"

"Dear me," Dr. Sear said mildly. "Another one?"

"Oh, George!" his wife scolded me. "That's too tiresome! You're charming enough just as you are. Isn't he, Ken?"

"A regular faun," her husband agreed. "We'll certainly have you out some evening."

"Watch him, though," Stoker warned. "He bites bellies."

"Just be a goat-boy," Mrs. Sear said, like a child giving an order, and patted my shoulder. "It's much more original. Everybody's a Grand Tutor lately."

I only smiled at them, they were such amiable people. The orchestra struck up a spirited tune, and the bystanders dispersed, some to dance, others to join a new excitement across the room, whither Croaker had fetched his prize. Dr. Sear took two glasses from a passing waiter and gave one to me. His wife congratulated Stoker on his knack for "turning up originals," declaring he'd surpassed himself this evening with Croaker, myself, and "that delicious creature with the boots and bull's-eyes."

Stoker grinned. "I knew you'd hit it off with Madge."

"I couldn't keep my hands off her! Is she George's... mate?"

"Just a pipefitter from the Furnace Room," Stoker said lightly. "I'll get her to give you her number after the cremation -- if there's anything left of her when Croaker gets through."

I declared that I had no mate.

"You don't?" Mistaking my meaning, both Sears expressed their sympathy and assured me that that condition need last no longer than I wished it to. "The co-eds will go wild over you," Mrs. Sear said enviously, and her husband agreed, adding in a frank and cordial tone that if however I preferred a maturer and more knowledgeable partner, one from whom even a young satyr like myself might learn a thing or two, he did not judge it out of place to propose...

"Here comes Heddy's competition," Stoker interrupted, and my chest tingled at the sight of Anastasia coming towards us. She had exchanged her soiled white shift for a long-sleeved wrapper of red silk, belted at the waist -- a sleeping-garment, perhaps -- and her hair was piled now high on her head and bound with red ribbon. Beautiful, beautiful she was: her face seemed rather paler, and her eyes were most luminously troubled as she made her way through the brawling crowd.

"Stacey darling!" Mrs. Sear hastened to embrace her. "I heard what happened in the Gorge, dear baby! Did it hurt you terribly?"

What she replied I could not hear, but she acknowledged Mrs. Sear's demonstration with a quick smile and turned her cheek to be kissed. The woman hung onto her, touching now her shoulder, now her hair, and with an arm slipped around her waist led her up to us. Dr. Sear hastened to add his sympathy to his wife's, catching Anastasia's hand briefly in both of his and brushing gracefully with his lips her forehead. For a long moment her eyes were on me, questioning, appraising, and I endeavored to give back a gaze equally intense; but though my mind and flesh were most passionately stirred, there was no clearness left in me, and I swayed on my feet. She flashed a blaming look at Stoker, who was regarding us as usual with huge amusement.

"He's drunk!" she said bitterly.

I pointed my stick at her. "Come here to me, Anastasia." She turned her face away as I approached. "I love you," I said sternly.

"You don't know what you're saying."

Stoker explained to the Sears that I'd made the faux pas of declaring I loved all studentdom equally.

Hedwig purred. "Of course he does, dear: he's supposed to." They both caressed her, and Dr. Sear patted my shoulder also, as if to bridge our differences.

"I'm not upset," Anastasia said crossly. "Maurice is only teasing."

"She's his first Tutee," Stoker said.

"She will be," I declared, and touched the back of my fingers to her neck. She stiffened, but did not withdraw. "But she doesn't believe me yet."

Dr. Sear looked interestedly into my face for a moment and then exclaimed to Stoker: "Splendid fellow! Can't get over it!"

"Enos Enoch with balls," Stoker agreed. "Did you notice his amulet, Hedwig?"

Mrs. Sear did now, caught it up in her hands, and squealed with delight.

"Aren't they a handsome pair," her husband murmured.

"They are, Kennard!"

"No, my dear, I mean Stacey and George. They're nymph and faun." He joined my hand to hers, declaring that all things beautiful ravished his spirit; that Beauty in fact was as close to being the Answer as anything he knew. "I've been exposed to every idea in the University, George," he complained with a smile, "and don't believe in any of them. But if there were such a thing as Finals, and I were the Grand Tutor, I'd pass the two of you just for being beautiful."

Anastasia blushed. When I made to sip my drink she stayed my hand. "Please don't drink any more. Maurice wants to make a fool of you."

I declared myself indifferent to that prospect.

Mrs. Sear embraced us both. "I'd love to paint you together! In the nude!"

"It matters to me," Anastasia said quietly. "He wants to show them you aren't what you say you are."

Dr. Sear agreed with his wife that we would make a splendid group.

"Could you work from a photograph, Heddy?" Stoker asked. "We could photograph them after the funeral."

"Let him do what he wants to," I said to Anastasia, squeezing her hand. "Whatever I do and however I look, I'm still the Grand Tutor."

"Listen to him!" Dr. Sear marveled.

"Didn't I tell you?" Stoker said. "He's a natural."

"A Grand Tutor doesn't get drunk and make a public fool of himself!" Anastasia scolded.

"A Grand Tutor does what I do," I replied, and, not certain I'd made my meaning clear, I added, "It's not what I do, it's because I do it."

"Why -- that's perfect!" Dr. Sear exclaimed. "What a thing to say!"

I pointed out to him -- not however removing my eyes from Anastasia, on whom I smiled with mounting love -- that had I said something stupid instead of wise, it would have made no difference.

"Quite! Quite! Absolutely!"

"We're about ready for the funeral," Stoker put in suavely. "I'm sure the Grand Tutor would like to say a Word of Passage over his friend before the cremation. It's the usual thing."

"Who cares whether it's usual?" Dr. Sear demanded. "George has taken care of that point very brilliantly."

"George," Anastasia pleaded, and blushed when I turned to her. "Let's go to my room. I'm all confused."

"He could even do that!" Dr. Sear affirmed. There was some excitement in his voice.

"Anything at all," Stoker laughed. "This one has it all over Enos Enoch."

"No, really, Maurice, it's actually a rather profound idea..."

"Kiss her, George!" Mrs. Sear commanded.

Anastasia frowned. "Don't, Heddy!" But I kissed her lips at once -- marvelous they were, and marvelously pliant her whole body in my arms. It was by way of being my first full experience of human embrace, in its passionate form (a thing unknown in the herd), and the pleasure of it set me afire. I heard cheers from Stoker and others; Mrs. Sear it must have been who stroked our hair and necks as we kissed, and her husband murmured approval.

"Beautiful, beautiful. Figures on a vase."

With my hand in the small of her back I pressed her to my standing wrappered organ. She broke off the kiss then, but put her brow against my chin and said, "Think what you're doing!"

"A Bride of Enos," Dr. Sear remarked suddenly.

"Of course!" cried his wife. "Up on the dais! I wish I could paint it!"

"It's perfect," Dr. Sear insisted. "The will to believe and the will to be believed."

"I'll tell the band," Stoker said. "Why not use the funeral-couch?"

Mrs. Sear clapped her hands and embraced the two of us again. "I don't know which of you I envy more! Kiss me, George! Kiss me, Stacey!"

But it was Anastasia I kissed, lifting her chin in my hand.

"This is terrible," she whispered. "You'd be committing adultery."

In fact I'd not been thinking so far ahead, and even now the word paled before the image. I sipped tears from the long-lashed brims of both her eyes. More faintly yet she said, "At least let's go somewhere else..."

For reply I swept her up, and a jubilant cry rose round about Dr Sear supported me with an arm about my waist; Anastasia hid her face in my shoulder. I had in mind no clear direction or intent; it was stirring enough just to hold her so. But Mrs Sear went before us and Stoker before her, opening an aisle through the guests, who whistled and applauded as we passèd. The roomlights darkened once again, and the floodlit dais gleamed ahead. Dr. Sear spoke quietly and clearly into my ear. "In the old days this was the execution-chamber of Main Detention; they use it for high official funerals now. There's a chute under the dais that leads to one of those natural ovens, like the ones you saw in the Furnace Room, and when a chancellor or vice-chancellor dies, they cremate the body from here and then sound the EAT-whistle to let the campus know. Maurice says the steam-boiler for the EAT-whistle is fired by the crematorium, but he's probably joking. Quite an honor for your late friend, actually, even though its unofficial."

But Anastasia from her slung perch disagreed. "It's just Maurice's idea of a party-joke, Kennard, and you know it. I think it's terrible the things he does in Founder s Hill."

Dr Sear gave a mild shrug and adjusted his spectacles upon a neat small bandage on the bridge of his nose.

"Never mind," I said thickly. It surprised me a little to hear the girl speak with such crispness of impersonal matters, from my very arms, when desire so filled my own breast, and liquor my head, that I could scarcely make a sound. I was to learn in time that this disconcerting ability was characteristic of her and shared by many of her sisters in female studentdom -- whatever her scruples and misgivings, once seized up she made herself as comfortable as if I were her favorite parlor chair.

"Way for the Bride of Enos!" Mrs. Sear called. She snatched a bowl of pretzels from someone and broadcast them like largesse, curtsyed before us, danced from one side of the aisle to the other, and time and again kissed Anastasia's hair or the arms clasped round my neck. "Way for the Bridge and Groom!"

"Honestly!" Anastasia protested. But the extravagance of Mrs. Sear's ushering made her smile. Now the orchestra commenced a processional-piece:

Giles Goat-Boy

"Oh, listen, George," she said; "they're playing the Alma Mater Dolorosa! I love that hymn." And indeed it was most moving to hear her sweet girl voice against the stately horns:

Giles Goat-Boy

Giles Goat-Boy

I reached the dais with tears in my eyes and gently set her upon its edge. The two guards grinned from their stations at the couch's head, where Stoker too came now to meet us.

"All set," he said briskly. "Heddy and Ken will get things ready while you're saying your piece, and we'll press a pedal at the head of the couch when you're finished. Now, do you see that pull-cord, George?" He indicated a black braided rope suspended from the ceiling at the foot of the couch. "When a red light comes on in the tassel it means the cremation's finished and the whistle's ready to blow. You pull it for one long blast."

"No more," Dr. Sear appended with a chuckle, "or they'll think it's an EAT-alarm up on campus."

Too stirred by the music and the solemn prospect to attend him closely, I let him assist me up onto the dais, whereat a comparative hush fell upon the room. From some corner came a half-hearted "Olé," bespeaking in the far dark Croaker; from somewhere else came a shatter of glass, a mild oath, and a woman's short laugh quickly shushed. But I was full of the sight of G. Herrold where he lay, arms folded now. The buckhorn, as ever, was in his hand; one dead eye was wide and the other shut, and his mouth was ajar as if to draw breath for bugling. The orchestra paused (I heard Anastasia behind me saying No, impossible, she'd die of shame even if I were), then wound into a dirge:

Giles Goat-Boy

The echo of the final chord caught Dr. Sear's voice still pitched loud. "... can't be proved," he was asserting; then he went on quickly in an audible whisper: "It's not the kind of thing you reason about, my dear: you believe it or you don't."

Stoker poked me in the side and advised me to "make it short" lest Croaker interrupt the ceremonies. While I pronounced Words of Passage over the body, he declared, he would turn on the closed-circuit Telerama, as was his wont at the end of a Spring-Carnival party, so that the assemblage could watch the Sunrise Service on Founder's Hill, and the first rays of morning strike Tower Clock.

I nodded shortly, almost angrily, neither knowing nor caring what closed-circuit Telerama might be. My eyes were strong with tears now, and I was obliged to clutch G. Herrold's fleece, as well as lean upon my stick for support. A long and desolating day had been this first of my Grand-Tutorhood, whose dawn seemed ages past! Stunned with liquor and fatigue, I leaned on my friend for the last time and felt to the full his responsibility for my life, and mine for his death. Now I resented Croaker and Stoker and Anastasia too, the chance encounter in George's Gorge and its fatal issue -- which was to say, at last I was appalled by the monstrous ease of my seduction, my heartless casting-off of Max, my forswearing of every bond and precept to carouse at my savior's bier and lust for the tart who had brought him to it. Late in the day, late in the day, to come to mourning!

"Omniscient Founder," I began -- but no words followed. I was not used to invoking that name; in truth I'd never before addressed Him or much pondered who He was, beyond imagining Him a kind of super-Max -- which kidly image no more served. The guards growled. Those guests nearby who had paused to hear me shuffled and turned. Suddenly I perspired all over; my insides sank. At the same moment when I reached to take the shophar from G. Herrold, a guard tramped down on something with his booted foot: instantly the cushions parted, swinging down like double trap-doors into the bier itself, which was revealed to be a chute. G. Herrold folded in the middle and slid into the searing air that blasted up; for part of a second his fingers gripped the shophar still, and pulled me after; I jerked back, blinded and terrified, and the horn came free. One thump I heard, far down in the awful drop, before the cushions sprang into place with a click. The crowd-noise welled. I believed I would go mad. I raised the shophar and blew blind honks, horn-rips that I wished would burst my head.

"Olé!" they cried behind.

As if responding to my note the horns or the orchestra began a grand chorale, its measured chords resounding in all my nerves. Anastasia was before me, led onto the dais by the Sears; we regarded each other with brimming eyes. Mrs. Sear hugged my arm and declared, "Well, I believe in him." Her tone was petulant, as if to scold Anastasia. "I think he's cute."

"We've almost got you a convert," Dr. Sear said lightly. "I told her that belief has to come before believability, but it must not sound convincing when I say it."

I shook off their hands. The horns took up my pain and gave it back in gold sonorities. Imperious, austere, nobly suffering, they spoke both to and for me. Even as I slipped the shophar's lanyard over my head, a red bulb lighted in the tassel of the pull-cord.

"Ready!" cried one of the guards.

But now the floodlights dimmed and the waiting party murmured as on the far wall a great screen glowed, blinked hugely, and focused into a picture: a single shaft, like a stark stone finger, pointed against a pale gray sky; winding towards it up a dark slope in the foreground was a procession of flickering lights, and from the column-top itself a larger flame roared. A new sound burst into the room, as it seemed from all directions, blending with and mounting over the splendid brass.

"That's the dawn-service upstairs on the Hill," Dr. Sear remarked for my benefit. "Big ceremony for the new spring registrants. They run the organ on natural steam from down here and use the tunnels for resonance. Superb bass response."

Anastasia moved to me in the dim light, stirred no doubt as I was by the sound and spectacle. "Your poor friend," she said.

I could not find my voice. Mrs. Sear drew us closer.

"That's the place where Enos Enoch passed on," Anastasia said, referring to the hilltop. "For all studentdom."

I shook my head. "Only for the kids who believed in Him."

"Come on," Mrs. Sear insisted, reaching as if to unbelt Anastasia's robe. The girl pressed against me to forestall her, and we found ourselves kissing -- stiffly, then not so. Abruptly she turned her face away.

"I want to believe you!" she said, much distressed. "I almost can!"

From behind me somewhere Stoker instructed me that the whistle was ready when I was, and bade me not delay. "Take her to the couch, Heddy," he said.

"I'm trying," Mrs. Sear fretted. "Come on, dears!"

"You must make yourself believe," Dr. Sear said pleasantly to Anastasia. "Matter of will, actually."

But she shook her head. "It's not right. Especially at a funeral service."

Before I could inquire what exactly was afoot, Stoker himself came up on the dais and firmly ordered his wife to go with Dr. and Mrs. Sear. She hesitated, her face distraught, and then permitted herself to be led to the bier. There were a few olés and some scattered applause -- whether for her, or a newly roused Croaker, or something on the screen, I was too grieved to care.

"Now," Stoker said briskly. "You know what service means, George; I've heard you use the word yourself. Well, that's the Spring Sunrise Service going on on the Hill -- you can't see the actual servicing because it's too dark. And when somebody important dies we have a Memorial Service in his honor. Life over Death, all that sort of thing. Usually private, you know, between married relatives, but since you're the Grand Tutor... Blow the whistle as soon as you're done."

With a clap on the shoulder he took me to the couch, beside which Anastasia stood and would not let Mrs. Sear unbelt her.

"It's not so, George!" she said. "There's no such custom at all, except at these parties. Believe me!"

But the swelling organ bore my doubts away. "You believe me," I said. "Nothing else matters." With my free hand I gave her sash the needed jerk; Mrs. Sear moved quickly to open the robe.

"Look, Ken!" she cried. "Oh, you little darling! I wish I were a Grand Tutor!"

As evenly as I could before the revelation I said to Anastasia, "Do you believe?"

"Hind to," Stoker directed the Sears, who having loosed her half-reluctant grip upon the robe and removed the garment entirely, to the pleasure of the assemblage, were gently pressing her upon the bier. "He's a goat-boy, remember." They turned her about -- lightly, with constant caresses -- until, pliant and full of doubt, she knelt on the bier's end, facing away. Only as they drew down to the cushion her head and shoulders, stroking her all the while, she wondered, "George..."

A light fell on us; the music rose, could not imaginably soar higher. Upon the screen glowed a larger image of the column, its base ringed now by torches. The crowd took the hymn up, mighty, mighty, as I leaned my stick against the bier, raised my wrap, and steadied myself with a hand upon the perfect rump that swam in my tears.

"In the name of the Founder," I declared, "and of the sun --"

"Olé!" they cried behind me.

"-- and of the Grand Tutor so be it!"

Incredibly, as I mounted home, the music swelled and rose to bursting. As ever in goatdom, the service was instant: swiftly as the sunflash smiting now the Founder's Shaft I drove and was done. Anastasia squealed into the cushion, "I do believe!" and fell flat. Unmuscled at once like Brickett Ranunculus, like him overbalanced by my thrust, I tumbled back and would have fallen had I not been hoist amid a chorus of olés by Croaker, who caught me from behind and hiked me up on his shoulders. The guards sprang from the dais into the crowd; Dr. and Mrs. Sear, alarm in their faces, pulled Anastasia to her feet and then, as she could not support herself, shrank away and left her leaning against the bier, her face in her hands. I had just had time, as I pitched from the service, to snatch up my stick. Gripping Croaker with my legs I raised it to strike now -- at him, perhaps, or at Stoker, the sight of whom (with my serviced Anastasia limp in his arms) suddenly enraged me -- at anyone, for I was transport with grief and the aftermath of passion. But when I made to bring the weapon down it tangled in the cord, and a howling whistle -- the loudest shriek I'd ever heard -- drowned out organ, crowd, and orchestra. Again and again it blasted as I tried to free the stick and keep my perch on lurching Croaker. It was the same wild summons which had opened that dreadful day, and after the first few screams of it pandemonium broke out in the hall. Whether out of fear of my bellowing mount and his frantic rider, or because in their liquor they believed that an EAT-wave truly was upon them, the carousers yelled and sprang, mobbing the doorways, tripping and trampling, climbing one another in their haste. The musicians fled the bandstand and joined them, swinging their golden horns like clubs. On the Telerama, too, all was disorder: the celebrants flung away their torches and ran, sprinting down footpaths and through shrubbery, diving behind rocks, flinging themselves flat upon the ground or into bushes. The organ-music turned wild and broken, then ceased altogether, and the crowd-din grew berserker.

At last I freed my stick, and the EAT-whistle stopped. But it had blown from my head all liquor and delusion and left me stricken by my folly, aghast at how far and lightly I'd strayed from Grand-Tutorhood. Had that been, as Max had suggested, Stoker's purpose? He stood now on the loveseat-bier itself, soiling the cushions with his boots, and surveyed with a grin the general panic. Hands on his hips, he laughed at the scrambling worshipers, at the frenzied party-guests, and at me -- virtually in my face, for on our separate perches we were of a height.

"Couldn't do better myself!" he cried. "Why not go to work for me?"

I might have attacked him, but Croaker was too excited by the chaos in the room to heed my orders. Stinging with self-reproach I dug my heels in, and we charged into the crowd, who now that the whistling had stopped were beginning to recover their senses. I looked with mixed feelings for Anastasia, but she and the Sears were gone; Madge however I observed belly-down on a nearby table, laid out across several platters of cold-cuts: an apple was in her unbandaged mouth, her eyes were closed, and the guards from the dais were spreading mustard on her hams. I spurred Croaker on lest he too caught sight of her. We bounded to the exit-door, which opened at our approach, and as we entered the corridor beyond, Stoker's merry voice roared out from loudspeakers on every side:

"Think it over, Goat-Boy! I'll see you again!"

And his laugh preceded and pursued us as we went, unopposed, unaccompanied, from hallway to hallway, chamber to chamber. Guards stood back with a grin; levers were pulled, lights flashed, all doors opened before us and closed behind -- even the last, that great iron portal of the entrance-chamber through which we issued now as we had entered hours before, not knowing how we'd got there. The watchdogs snarled, but were held in check; Croaker snarled back, but I steered him on. We crossed the graveled apron, floodlit still and chilly in the early light, and plunged down a wooded slope, through groves of oak and dew-soaked laurel. At the foot, in a bright-misted clearing near the road, a kilometer at least from the Powerhouse, we came to ground, collapsed in fact together into the leaves, from an exhaustion I'd not guessed he shared. And though rage, remorse, and doubt burned in me like Stoker's awful fires, which no amount of tears could quench, yet weariness banked and dampered them: careless of comfort, of health, of safety (but Croaker seemed no longer a menace, having come to the dais, now I reflected on it, more probably to aid than to assault me; and as for Stoker, I saw little cause why he might pursue us, and less hope of eluding him if he should), I glanced over at my companion, already snoring, then closed my eyes, and just as I had fallen, pitched asleep.

THIRD REEL


1.


From ill dreams of among other things peanut butter I woke to the sound of what I took for squirrels, a scratchy gnaw against a scolding chitter, and for one sweet second couldn't place myself. Then I saw Croaker hunkered near in a patch of forenoon light, biting on my stick while gray squirrels fussed overhead in the oaks, and recollection like a morning muscle ached along me.

It wasn't memory alone and bone-joints pained, but head and belly, the one a-crack, the other heaving. I sat up, reeled, and retched, too ill at once for more remorse about G. Herrold, Max, Anastasia. Croaker came to me and banished any doubts of his fidelity by grunting gently at my state and offering me nourishment. He had been up betimes and made a little fire somehow; in its coals he'd roasted a quantity of migratory songbirds and small mammals -- shrews, perhaps, or infant possums -- a double handful of whose charred carcasses he now dumped proudly in my lap. When I had done gagging and flapping them off me, he proffered fare more to my taste: a store of chestnuts, not all of them wormy, which too he'd roasted in his fire and which suggested, considering the season, that the burnt animals were offspring of those haranguing squirrels, their provender gone the way of their progeny. But the warm hulls were welcome in my hands, the light meats easy in my stomach. More welcome yet, for I had a cruel thirst, he'd stoppered the shophar-tip with elderberry pith and filled the whole horn with springwater, which worked miracles of bracing and clearing when I rinsed me inside and out with it. Last, most marvelously, he'd found and plundered us a bee-tree! No better redress than honey for gastric abuse: so sweet to my innards was that amber balm, redolent of last year's clover, I suffered my provider to eat roast rodent in my sight while I breakfasted on chestnuts and honey, and vomited no more. Uncertain how much he could understand -- of my language and generally -- I thanked him with a whole heart for the meal, and was gratified to see him smile and offer me more. I accepted a mouthful of honey-comb-cappings to chew as we traveled, and was further delighted a moment later, upon standing to urinate on the coals, when he gave me my stick before I could ask for it.

"What's this, now?" I marveled.

Along the ashen shaft, with no other instrument than his teeth so far as I could discover, he had incised a number of humanish figures, recognizable though much stylized, and not unattractive. Their torsos were squat, sometimes nonexistent except for the apparatus of generation; their faces were squared, their eyes, ears, noses, and mouths very large, their teeth pointed. They rode one another's shoulders or stood upon one another's heads, two columns of them up the stick, and on each level the figure in this was engaged with its counterpart in that, in one or several ways: they clapped and coupled, buggered and bit; also sniffed and fiddled and fingered and shat, thrust out their tongues and forth their pudenda -- a rare interclutchment it was of appetities. Again I thanked him, pointing to the design to make my message clear; he frowned and shook his head. I was puzzled until with invitation in his eyes he fetched up his gown and took his own mighty organ in one hand while with the other he indicated a pair of figures on the stick: two blocky chaps more neatly scissored than ever G. Herrold and I in wrestling-days. I understood then that the artwork was functional as well as a decorative -- that to point to any pair of Croaker's figures was to give a particular command -- and that my own finger had rested inadvertently on a full-faced shelah-na-gig, which being female had nonplussed him. I was to learn later of further significances in the arrangement of figures from bottom to top -- a kind of hierarchic psychronology of lust whereof the ingenuity, combined with the art of the composition, suggested that Croaker was working in some tradition more sophisticated than himself. I declined his invitation; signaled my desire to mount his shoulders instead and be off for Great Mall in search of Max. Though I had no claim on Croaker, he seemed a willing and most valuable servant as well as a formidable ally; I could make better time on his legs than on my own, and be reasonably sure besides that he'd commit no further mayhem while under my governance.

Following a brief confusion (our commands were not clearly worked out yet, and he was still thinking in stickly terms) he put me on him lightly as a hat, I pointed ahead, and we went off, first down to the road and then, as I hoped, towards New Tammany -- in any case, away from the Powerhouse. It was an asphalt pavement in good repair, yet apparently little used -- I'd heard no vehicles upon it since waking -- and I chose to go in plain sight rather than stalk through the woods, reasoning that if Stoker or others were bent on obstructing me they'd find me anyhow, if not hereabouts then at Main Gate, and in the meantime I could cover more ground and perhaps locate Max. Not impossibly, too, I was aware that to be "captured" by Stoker (for whatever reason) could mean seeing Anastasia once again, and her good escutcheon -- but I have little patience with this sort of analysis. She was most certainly on my mind, with sundry other matters, as we went along; the road was straight, the scenery unvarying, the sun high and warm on my face: everything conduced to reverie. It was not my habit to think in a directed manner, but rather to brood upon what images came to mind as it were unbid: not to manipulate and question them, but to attend like an interested spectator their links and twinings, stuntful as the folk upon my stick. Max and G. Herrold, Anastasia and Stoker, Dr. and Mrs. Sear, Sakhyan in his yellow robe and Madge with her mustard buttocks -- they came and went and came again, myself among them, rehearsing deeds and speeches from the script of memory or improvising new. And in lieu of reasoned conclusions, net feelings were what I came to. I had, ever since waking and despite my hangover, felt unaccountably cleansed, emptied: now as I watched myself watch me drinking the black liquor with Stoker, biting Anastasia's belly and serving her upon G. Herrold's public bier, I noted with interest that while I was perplexed, I was penitent no longer: my humility was nothing humiliation, but more nearly awe before the special nature of my freedom, not appreciated thitherto. Truly it seemed to me (though I could no more word it then than Croaker could discourse upon low-relief woodcarving) that a deed became Grand-Tutorial from its having been done by the Grand Tutor and in no other way; at the same time, that the Grand Tutor defines Himself ineluctably and exclusively in the Grand-Tutoriality of His deeds. There was no cause, I strongly felt, to worry about myself: if I was indeed Grand Tutor then I would choose infallibly the Grand-Tutorial thing -- how could I do otherwise? -- whose Grand-Tutoriality could yet be said to derive from my recognition. If I was not, then no choice of actions could make me so, because in my un-Grand-Tutoriality I would make the wrong choices. The statement is paradoxical; the feeling was not. Max believed that a Grand Tutor was a man who acted thus-and-so, who did the Grand-Tutorial work: Enos Enoch, Max argued, said Love thy classmate as thyself because to love one's classmate as oneself was a Right Answer; He'd had no option, except to be or not to be a Grand Tutor; had He commanded us otherwise, He'd not have been one. I on the contrary had sometimes held that to love one's classmate as oneself was Correct only because Enos Enoch so commanded; that to hate oneself and one's classmate would be just as Correct instead had He commanded that; in short that His choice was free because His nature wasn't, He being in any case a Grand Tutor. But now I felt that we both had been in error: Max himself might love his classmate and the rest, and teach others to -- might even sacrifice himself in the name of studentdom as Enos Enoch did -- and yet by no means be a Grand Tutor in his own right, but only an imitation Enos Enoch. On the other hand Enos could not have gone about saying just anything, or nothing, and still have been Enos Enoch. In truth the doer did not define the deed nor did the deed the doer; their relation (in the case at least of Grand Tutors and Grand-Tutoring) was first of all that of artists, say, to their art, and to speak of freedom or its opposite in such a relation was not quite meaningful. Without Grand Tutors there'd be no Answers, no Commencement, any more than there'd be great poems without great poets: to ask whether Maro say, could have not-written the Epic of Anchisides is to ask whether he was free to be not-Maro -- a futile question. There remained this difference: a great poem might be anonymous, the manner of its making and the character of its maker not even known except as implied in the piece itself. What Enos Enoch said and and did, on the other hand -- or Maios the Lykeionian, or the original Sakhyan -- was if anything less important than the way of His doing it: Grand Tutoring was inseparable from the Grand Tutor, of Whose personality it was the expression; it could never be anonymous, and thus must be always more or less lost by the Tutees, as Enos Enoch was lost in Enochism. Yet the analogy held, after all: a man who transcribed a copy of the Anchisides or imitated it was not Maro, any more than the Graduate was the Grand Tutor. And as the poet might transcend the conventions of his art and with his talent make beautiful what in lesser hands would be ugly, so the Grand Tutor in His passèdness stood beyond ordinary Truth and Falsehood. Maios drank the night long and let young men fall in love with Him; Sakhyan in His youth had a herd of mistresses, and in His Tutorship never lent a helping hand to anyone (any more than His descendant -- I was stirred to recall -- had tried to rescue G. Herrold); Enos Enoch Himself had once railed against the Founder, lost His temper on several occasions, and contradicted not only the teachings of the Old Syllabus but even His own obiter dicta -- and had passed both Carpo the Fool and Gaffer McKeon the Perfect Cheat.

To be sure, there were questions for which I could not yet feel clear answers. Could Enos have murdered as well as railed? Could Sakhyan have taken a mistress during His Tutorship as well as before? Could Maios have practiced outright pederasty? And Carpo: was he an ordinary fool whose passage was meant as an illustration, or did he have some special passèd quality not recognized by his classmates? Or was his passage so purely gratuitous that even to interpret it as an illustration of Grand-Tutorial gratuitousness was to give it false significance? I began to suspect that such questions were invalid, but before the suspicion had time to clarify itself my attention was caught by the sight of a figure squatting in the weeds some hundred meters up the roadside. Croaker spied him too, and muttered. Then all my new composure was put to rout -- by joy, uneasy conscience, and concern -- for I saw that it was Max.

I shouted to him and urged Croaker on. We had passed no inns -- indeed, no buildings of any sort. Had Max spent the night outside, or had he been lodged by Stoker's aide and set out in the morning to find me? I scolded myself afresh for having abandoned him; my alarm grew when I saw that he was not at stool there among the dock, as I'd supposed, but merely hunkered and hugging himself, as against the cold, and resting his forehead upon his knees. Even the approach of Croaker, whose new manageability he had no way of knowing, seemed not to impress him: he raised to me a blank, distracted face.

"We have a new helper," I said, and smiling, clambered down. Croaker took the stick from my hand as I dismounted, and squatted peacefully with it in the weeds like a dog with a bone. I touched his shoulder lightly for support, a bit put out that Max ignored my mastery and smart handling of what after all had been a menace to the student body. In my own mind it augured well for the graver encounters ahead. "I have him under control now. We've been looking all over for you. Are you all right?"

"All right?" His voice was feeble. He got stiffly up.

I took his arm, not certain of my ground. "I'm glad to see you, Max." It was on my tongue to apologize for deserting him, for carousing in the Power Plant, and the rest. But I remembered that in a sense it was he who had abandoned me, and that anyhow I wasn't sure it was necessary to regret my behavior in itself. Apart from those earlier considerations -- the qualitative tautology, so to speak, of act and agent in the case of Grand Tutorship -- it seemed not so terrible even to regard my night as simple dereliction. Anchisides, to mention only one example, had dallied with his mistress for an entire winter, whereas I, if guilty at all, was so of but a single Memorial Service. "Sorry if you had to spend the night outdoors."

Max shook his head. "A little sore in the joints is all." His tone was as guarded as mine; he too, then, it gave me some comfort to imagine, had had second thoughts about leaving me. I decided not to reproach him, nor on the other hand to recount my night's activity.

"Well. Do you feel strong enough to go on?"

He widened his eyes, like one just waking. "I guess."

"Stoker sent a man after you," I said defensively. "He was supposed to make sure you had a place to sleep."

The name put a temporary end to Max's strange reserve. "That Dean o' Flunks!" he cried, waving two fists above his head. "Stoker and Eierkopf -- two Bonifacists! Bragging what they did to the Moishians! Ach, I hate them!" He went on in this vein, not always coherently: Eblis Eierkopf he cursed for a flunkèd soulless monster who had betrayed studentdom in general and Virginia R. Hector in particular in the name of some Siegfriedish perversion of science; Stoker he reviled afresh as the very principle of antiFounderism, who had not even Eierkopf's twisted rationale for his iniquities, but relished them openly for their flunkèdness; whose one delight and motive, like that of the legendary Dean o' Flunks, was to tempt out everyone's grievousest failings, to show cankers in the hearts of roses, make the worse appear the better reason, and laugh at the debauchment of the purest, most generous minds, like Anastasia's. Tears stood in his eyes; his voice turned shriller. All very well to love one's enemy, as Enos Enoch enjoined, so long as the enemy was a human student with the mortal proneness of us all to unthinking cruelty and the like; but the Bonifacists and their ilk had removed themselves from human studentdom. To call them beasts was to insult the nobility and lack of malice in even the fiercest wild animal: embodiments of flunkage was what they were, and he Max had been wrong not to hate them before, not to wish them dead and work for their extermination with all the energy they'd devoted to his, and to his classmates'. Vain to object, as he had used to, that violence in the name of any principle was flunking: when the principle was anti-violence and the victim the violent principle; when it was a case of either destroying the violent few or delivering the innocent many into their hands, the matter was ethically sui generis, and otherwise valid rules did not apply, etc., etc.

I was impressed not only by the violence of his speech itself, so foreign to his usual temper, but also by my inability to quite agree, though I was much stirred. Nor was it that like the Max of old I did not assent to violence on any grounds: on the contrary, what I felt, dimly but positively, was that in a way beyond my describing there was something right in Stoker's attitude; that Dean-o'-flunkèdness, so to speak, was not so simply to be understood and come to terms with, at least not by a Grand Tutor. I could by no means have argued the point, and therefore said nothing, but vividly before my mind's eye was the uproar of the Furnace Room, ever on the verge of explosion; the glimpse of that natural inferno in the bowels of Founder's Hill; the wonder of flinging back my head in Stoker's fashion and roaring like a madman at the top of my lungs... To this, to my intoxication (which I could not even recognize yet by name), to all I'd seen and been and done subcampusly, as it were, there was a certain all-rightness which I sensed as clearly as I sensed that Max would never understand it. I myself was far from understanding it, if for no other reason than that in the harmony of my feelings it nowise discorded with Max's compassionate indignation; but I felt it had nothing to do with rationalizing on the one hand or Grand-Tutorial apriority on the other. I set the matter aside, with my earlier speculations, against the improvement of my experience, and asked Max if he'd had anything to eat.

He shook his head. "I got no appetite." He gave me a sharp look and combed at his beard with his fingers. "Two things, George. Whatever else I did wrong in my life, I never touched Virginia Hector, so I can't be that poor girl's father. It's got to be Eblis Eierkopf. And if Maurice Stoker sent anybody after me, it wasn't to find me a hotel. But this is the second thing: I waited right here by the road all night, and I never saw a soul."

This established, he lapsed into the heavy spirits in which I'd found him, and made no move either to go or to stay. I blushed at the reproach in his last remark, and we stood about awkwardly for a moment. Then, in view of his age and uncertain condition, I suggested he ride pick-a-back on Croaker, whom I did not yet quite trust unmounted, while I went beside on foot. I was prepared to counter any misgivings with praise of Croaker's reliability and resourcefulness -- indeed, I had no idea how we'd manage for food and fire without him, unless Great Mall proved but a short way ahead, and though I supposed I'd have to return him to Dr. Eierkopf upon reaching New Tammany proper, in the meanwhile I reckoned him a potent companion, whom I'd give up regretfully, and I hoped that once Max was himself again we could learn to deal yet more effectively with the huge creature. But my advisor showed neither fear nor interest: he shrugged and permitted himself to be set aloft when I'd got the message through to Croaker. I retrieved my stick, on which now an intaglio spiral of grape-leaves and tendrils filigreed the limbs of the lowest figures and promised to bear clusters upon the next. Another time I'd have invited Max to admire the carving with me, but as he seemed so spiritless I merely pointed down the road with the stick, and we trudged away.

With his light burden and stronger legs Croaker's pace was better than mine. Every hundred meters or so he'd gain a dozen and wait with a grin for me to catch up. We went in this manner for about a kilometer, and then at one of his pauses I saw him turn abruptly off the pavement toward a ditch that ran beside us. I called and hurried after, afraid he was bolting; Max held tightly to keep from falling but seemed otherwise indifferent, and made no effort to stop him. However, it was something in the ditch had caught his eye. He sprang down in, grunting like a boar, and as I overtook him fetched his prize up onto the roadside: a black motorcycle, which he hauled out lightly as a toy. It was the kind used by Stoker's men, and perhaps for this reason Croaker hammered at it earnestly with his fists until I bade him stop. "One of your friends had an accident," Max observed. Indeed, the sidecar was partly crushed, the windscreen broken, and the front tire burst, as if the vehicle had plunged into the ditch with some force. I suggested that the driver, nowhere in sight, must have been the sharp-faced officer sent to find Max, but then observed that the original position of the motorcycle in the ditch, as well as its tire-marks on the shoulder of the road, indicated that it had been traveling towards the Powerhouse at the time of the accident.

"So," Max said without interest. "There's lots of roads, and Stoker's got more bullies than one."

"What happened to the driver, do you think?" Max shrugged. As he was so plainly indifferent, I ordered Croaker to wait while I searched and called through the underbrush on both sides of the road, in case someone lay injured. There was no reply.

"He must have gone for help," I decided. "Or someone came after him already."

Max turned his head contemptuously and would not even look at the damaged machine, which I however examined curiously.

"How far it is to Great Mall, Max?"

"Farther than yesterday," he said dryly. Among the other misfortunes of encountering Stoker, it seemed, was that previously we'd been moving west, from the College Farms towards Great Mall, but the route from the Gorge to the Powerhouse had fetched us many kilometers to the north, out of our way.

I decided then to attempt to use the motorcycle: if it proved possible to manage it, at a low speed, Croaker could either sit in the sidecar or trot alongside, with Max on his shoulders, and we might reach Great Mall before dark; otherwise we'd spend another night in the open or have to beg lodging. So at least I imagined, ignorant as I was of the campus and of such matters as the medium of exchange and Max's wherewithal; I assumed that, once officially matriculated, one was housed and fed at the College's expense -- but I knew nothing of these matters, and Max, who ordinarily might have advised me, was grown so morose I had difficulty getting out of him that he knew nothing of motorcycle-operation himself or the legal aspects of borrowing the vehicle. This I could scarcely credit; privately I was becoming persuaded that besides his distress over G. Herrold and his objection to Stoker, what was really upsetting him was my independence of his authority, and Anastasia's declaration that he was her natural father -- which for all I knew might be true despite his denying it. In any case he was too lost in his broodings to care much what I did, and so I set about examining the machine's controls and recalling what I could of Stoker's operation of them.

After some experiment I managed, partly by accident, to get the ignition on, the throttle half-opened, the carburetor choked, and the clutch disengaged all at the same time, and was rewarded by a sputter from the engine when I kicked the starter. Presidently I contrived a sustained idle, having by chance let off the choke, and was able to sit on the trembling three-wheeler and vary the engine speed most satisfyingly -- without however moving from the spot. Next came a series of jerks and stalls as I fiddled with the shift-lever and learned its association with the clutch-pedal; finally, by a happy combination of chance and deduction, I released my grip on the hand-brake, shifted out of neutral into low gear (not suspecting there were other ratios still), and throttled the engine sufficiently in time to keep from stalling. The jerk nearly took me off the seat; luckily my hand slipped from the throttle before I could reduce speed and stop again out of terror; but I hung on and even mustered presence enough of mind to steer away from the ditch, onto the pavement. To negotiate a straight course was more difficult than I'd imagined, owing (as I was to learn presently) to the flat front tire and the pull of the sidecar, which had been wrenched out of line by the crash. But I was exhilarated -- two monsters brought to heel in as many days! -- and hobbled along delightedly in low gear, with the engine roaring. Croaker skipped alongside, grinning and grunting, and bid fair to bounce my advisor from his shoulders; he seemed as pleased as I by my achievement, and I perfected his bliss by giving him my stick to chew, since Max showed no interest in using it to direct him. We did after all move a little faster in this clumsy wise than we had before, though perhaps not enough to redeem the time lost in my self-instruction. Happily there was no traffic to deal with. More happily yet, as it turned out, we came in a quarter-hour to a crossroads, where a young man with orange hair and a satchel was.

He wore a trim gray woolen suit and a cap of raccoon-fur and did push-ups in the road; his flowered necktie, loose at the throat, folded itself upon the asphalt when he sank and unfolded when he rose. Mid-dip he paused at the sound of us, face gleaming like his hair, then stood and waved his cap as we approached. An uncommonly tall chap: his trouser-cuffs hung shy of his great yellow shoes, his sleeves of his great red hands. Now we were nearer I saw he meant us to stop, and wondered whether, despite the freckled cheer of his countenance, he mightn't be some sort of threat. It seemed odd, too, that he showed no alarm at sight of Croaker, whom however he regarded with a look of merry amazement. There was no time for Max to advise me, even had he wished to; in any case I'd have had trouble hearing him over the engine. It was a choice between stopping, running the man down, and turning to right or left: I chose to stop. Indeed, the choice was made for me by my ignorance and indecision: I braked without either declutching or closing the throttle, and the motor stalled.

"Mercy sakes a'mighty Pete!" The fellow drew out his exclamation in an accent not unlike G. Herrold's, scratching his head the while. His grin quite laid my apprehension, as did the good-natured wonder in his eyes -- in his eye, rather, for though the pair were of an equal blue and glint, it was only the right that moved from me to the flat-tired cycle to Max and Croaker, while the left (if anything more wide than its companion) stared always straight ahead.

I returned his smile, addressing it to the bridge of his nose. "How do you do. Is this your motorcycle?"

He grinned farther yet. "You mean she ain't yourn? Might of guessed, way you handled 'er."

As there was no criticism in his tone, just frank amusement, I described the circumstances of my discovery and appropriation of the cycle. I had no mind to keep it, I explained: inasmuch as Mr. Maurice Stoker was an acquaintance of mine and his wife by way of being a particular friend, I was certain they'd not object to my borrowing their machine to reach Great Mall and -- the pleasant notion occurred to me as I spoke -- returning it to Mrs. Stoker at the Psych Clinic when I had done registering.

"I always did hear there was big goings-on at the Powerhouse this time of year," the tall man said. "Don't know Mr. Stoker my own self, but I bet half what they say about him isn't so." I recognized that he was being agreeable. He was, now I saw him close, less young than I'd supposed: more probably forty than twenty for all his boyishness of look and manner.

"Ha," Max said, and showed no further interest. However, the stranger seemed not to notice his incordiality.

"Hey, that's some darky you got there! You all been to a fancy dress party?"

As the term meant nothing to me, I identified Croaker, explained how he happened to be with us, and introduced Max and myself as well.

"My gracious sakes! Proud to meet you all!" Much impressed, he thrust out his hand first to Croaker. "Greene's my name, Mr. Croaker."

Croaker growled. "He doesn't speak our language," I said.

"Is that a fact! Won't bite, will he?"

"You don't try to lynch him he won't," Max said.

"Now hold on!" Green's protest was still good-natured, though I gathered he had grounds for feeling insulted. "Just because he's a darky don't mean I don't admire his football-playing. I got nothing against darkies. I grew up with darkies."

"Congratulations."

Greene turned to me with a chuckle. "He's a peppery one, ain't he?" Then he reached his hand up to Max. "Peter Greene, sir, and proud to meet you. I read about you in the papers a long time ago."

"You got nothing against Moishian Student-Unionists either?" Max asked sarcastically. But he didn't refuse the handshake, and I saw a trace of a smile in his beard for the first time that day.

Peter Greene stoutly cocked his head. "I'm ready to riot against Nikolay College anytime the Chancellor says," he declared with dignity. "But I got nothing against any man that's got nothing against me. Darkies or Moishians, it don't matter."

"A liberal," Max said.

"Call me what you want, I'm just Pete Greene." He winked his right eye at me. "Nobody knows better'n me how the papers twist things ever whichaway. Don't flunk me till you get to know me, and I'll do you the same favor."

"Pleased to meet you, Mr. Greene," I said when my turn came. And indeed I found his manner on the whole winning, though somewhat disconcerting.

"Pete," he insisted. "Same here, Mr. George. I never did meet a Grand Tutor before." I wondered that there was no trace in him of the skepticism I'd learned to expect upon identifying myself; only curiosity, which I was pleased enough to satisfy.

"How come you got to matriculate like everybody else?" he wanted to know. "Now you take me, that's just a plain poor flunker like the next: all I can do is hope the good Founder may find it in His heart to pass me when the time comes. Which He sure ain't passed me yet, evidently, much as I thought He had."

I explained that while I was what I was in essence, as it were, I was not yet so in act, and would not be until I had passed my own Finals -- just as a chancellor's son, in the days of hereditary office, might become the lawful ruler of his college while still in his infancy, but would not exercise his powers in fact until he came of age.

"Well, I think it's a wonderful line of work for a fellow to take up," Peter Greene said stoutly, as if to encourage me. "You might not believe it to see me now, but when I was a boy I was president of the Junior Enochist League. Youngest president they ever had! More than once I've thought I should of took up Tutoring myself, instead of business engineering. But there wasn't the profit in it then there is now." He grinned and winked again, this time at Max. "Going to take you all a while to reach Commencement Gate on that!"

I agreed that considering my skill as a driver and the condition of the vehicle it might be as well to walk -- especially if the roads were busier near Great Mall -- and invited him to join us. He accepted at once, declaring he abhorred above all things solitude, having spent his childhood in the College Forests; but he saw no reason to abandon the motorcycle, which it seemed to him could easily be made serviceable. With my permission he opened a leathern pouch on the rear wheel -- I'd scarcely noticed it -- and fished out an assortment of tools from which he chose two or three box-end wrenches and one with adjustable jaws.

"If it's a thing I do love," he declared, "it's fooling with motors."

I dismounted and watched him go to work on the machine. Heedless of his clothing and at home with the tools, he first unbolted the sidecar from the motorcycle proper, declaring it bent out of line past salvaging, and then availed himself of its perfectly sound wheel and tire to replace the ruined one on the front of the cycle. From the sidecar also he fetched a black canister, which he uncapped, sniffed, and poured from into a tank above the motor. The whole operation took no more than half an hour. Then he wiped his hands -- blacker than Croaker's now with engine-grease -- on a clean linen handkerchief and powdered them with dust from the roadside. His suit and shirt-front were quite soiled.

"Now, by gosh!" He adjusted the throttle and other devices, kicked the starter, and produced at once a roar from the motor more hearty by far than any I'd managed. I insisted that he drive, since he was familiar with the controls and I had no notion how to balance upon two wheels. Further, I proposed that Max ride behind him on the saddle and I on Croaker's shoulders, inasmuch as despite my greater weight I was a less fragile burden, who safely might be trotted instead of walked.

Max grunted and mounted the cycle. "You don't mind chauffeuring a security risk?"

Greene shook his head agreeably. "Maybe you're a risk, sir, and maybe you're not." He squinted his eyes. "But you ain't a traitor to your college like they said, I know that."

"You know already? How do you know?"

"I can tell by looking," Greene declared, and paraphrased a saying of Enos Enoch's: " 'Tain't the cut o' your coat, but the cut o' your jib.' "

Max scoffed. "Some eyes you got." But he seemed not displeased. Greene replied, turning to the controls, that he had in fact but one good eye, his right, having lost the other in an accident years before -- but he supposed there were some things he could see clearly enough. He frowned at the rear-view mirror on the handlebar.

"Speaking of eyeballs, if you and George don't mind I'll just take this thing off before we start..." He unscrewed it, with my consent, and pitched it into the weeds. "I got a thing about mirrors since my accident. You know? No sirree," he went on energetically, testing the throttle and not pausing for reply or acknowledgment: "I'd know by looking if a fellow was a traitor to his college." He turned to Max with an innocent frown. "New Tammany is your college, ain't it?"

My advisor laughed aloud, and Greene joined blushing in, as did I when I saw the little joke. We started off then much more smartly than before: our new companion, an expert driver as well as a vigorous talker, held the cycle balanced and perfectly matched to Croaker's trot, with a minimum of engine noise, at the same time remarking endlessly upon himself and the campus scene.

"Fact is, it's still a free college," he declared, adding though that it wouldn't be for long if Tower Hall kept meddling with the School of Business. "And what I say, a fellow's got a right to whichever Answer strikes him best, I don't care if it's the Junior Enochist Pledge or the Student-Unionist Manifesto." He nodded his head in forceful jerks as he talked, and blinked several times at every period. My impression was that he spoke less from conviction than from an earnest wish to be agreeable, which was at least a refreshment after Max's attitude. "He ought to teach what he wants in the classroom too," he went on. "But he better not force anybody to agree, by golly Jim! And if he don't love his alma mater he should transfer out, that's what I say! Now you take me --" He took himself with his left hand, throttling with his right. "Nothing red about old Pete but his head --"

"Maybe the neck too," Max suggested.

"I swear it proudly," blinked Mr. Greene, "and would take an oath upon it every morning of my mortal life: I'm a loyal New Tammanian. But much as I personally loathe and despise your Student-Unionism --"

"Max was never a Student-Unionist," I put in, for it seemed to me that my advisor was somehow being flunkèd in his Commencement, as who should say to an innocent man, "I forgive you for the murder you committed."

"There now!" Greene jerked his head affirmatively. "I knew it from his face he weren't! Gosh darn newspapers! Even if he was, though, what the heck: he could preach it in my ear all he wanted, long's he didn't shove it down my throat. Now then, sir!"

"Ach," Max said.

"Well, I'm just a dumb forester that's behind the times," Greene said, in a voice that turned old for the space of two sentences. "All righty then, I'm out of date, but I believe in the Founder Almighty and New Tammany College -- whether or not!"

Whether or not what, I wanted to know; but Max was saying, "Too old you aren't. Too young is what."

This observation moved our new friend to a truly boyish, Dunce-may-care laughter. "Say what you want," he invited us, shaking his head as if helpless before Max's wit. "I'm a slow hand in the classroom, but put me in the woods I can show you a thing or two!"

I wondered that Max contemned with a sniff what seemed to me a sturdy enough set of Answers, worthy at least of reasonable debate. I was about to inquire further into them, but we rounded a bend and were faced with so startling a spectacle that all else was forgot. A sign it was, on the edge of a pine-woods -- but no ordinary notice like GOAT FARM #1 above the door at home or the direction-signs we'd passed by the way. This hoarding itself was big as a barn-wall, so big that the trees pictured on it were larger than those it hid. On one side, in taller letters than a man, was spelt the injunction DON'T PLAY WITH FIRE; on the other, KEEP OUR FORESTS GREENE. The messages flashed, first this then that, in bright orange light, bedazzling the eye. Yet scarcely had I grasped their wonder when I was horrified to see that just between them, in the center of the sign, no other disaster than the one they warned of had befallen them! A fire of painted logs was there, amid the picture-pines -- but real smoke issued from it, that blackly rolled upon itself and skywards.

"Giddap!" I ordered Croaker, and bade the others follow. I thought perhaps we had water enough, in the shophar and our four bladders, to check the blaze before it spread past managing. To this end I laid the buckhorn on, then sprang to a narrow platform built before the sign and made the accuratest water I could into an orifice from which the smoke came. Croaker stood by perplexed, who might have drowned what I could but add steam to; I lacked a right command and had no time to search my stick for a micturating figure.

"Whoa!" cried Greene, more amused than not. "You'll ruin my good signboard!"

I was with difficulty persuaded that there was no danger; that the smoke came cold from a machine designed to produce it behind the billboard; that its whole intent was to draw the traveler's eye to the pair of messages, which were blazoned on similar hoardings the length and breadth of New Tammany College. He was astonished, Greene professed, that I had never seen one, goat-boy or no goat-boy, as he thought he'd had the college "blanketed," in his term, and the goat-farms were unequivocally a part of NTC. By jiminy he would take the matter up with his "P.R. boys" -- whoever they were -- and that heads would roll, I could bet my boots. Not the least remarkable thing about Greene's explanation was the manner of its delivery: there was a new hardness in his tone and something impersonally baleful in his swagger.

"Got the idea when my ROTC outfit was across the Pond in C. R. Two," he told me proudly; we stepped behind the billboard to inspect the smoke-machine for water-damage, and he tinkered with its pumps and valves as ably as he'd dealt with the damaged motorcycle. "Saw the way Siggy'd built his gun-towers, one in sight of the other, so no matter where you stood you could see two or three of them around the horizon..." It did not occur to me at once that by "Siggy" he meant no person, but the Siegfrieder Military Academy in general. "Well, sir, when we rang the curtain on the big show over there, I says to my P.R. team, 'Let's toss this one over the old plate and see who swings at it.' "

"Ah," I said.

"Yessirree George!" Greene nodded. "Tower Hall was talking Public Lands again, don't you know, and College Forests, and Conservation, and it seemed to me it was time to blow the whistle on Creeping Student-Unionism. 'Light up the watchfires,' I said to P.R.; 'Smoke the pink profs out of Tower Hall!' So we put a task-force on it and came up with these billboards, on every highway and byway, and we placed the smoke-boxes so no matter where you stood in good old NTC you'd see the Signal-Fires of Freedom burning somewhere..."

"Signal-Fires of Freedom?"

Greene blinked proudly. "First we thought of Smokescreens for Security, but when we played that on the old kazoo it sounded like we were hiding something, you know? Flames of Free Research looked big for a while too, very big, but finally we decided it would give us a black eye imagewise -- cross up the Keep-Our-Forests-Greene bit, I mean." That latter slogan, he acknowledged, was his own, and all boasting aside, he deemed it punwisely so felicitous a merger of the Conservation and Private-Research bits that upon devising it he'd dismissed his entire staff of advertising consultants -- "Sent the whole team to the showers" -- and taken the field himself in his own behalf: on behalf, that is, of Greene Timber and Plastics, of which concern he was Board Chairman. Indeed, when treading musewise on the heels of Keep Our Forests Greene came Signal-Fires of Freedom -- with its suggestion at once of non-destructive vigil, of summons to a common cause, and of the red-skinned preschoolists who first inhabited the NTC campus -- he had devoted less time every year to his manufacturing interests and more to promotion and packaging: the locomotive and caboose, raison-d'êtrewise, of his train of thought.

We had come back to the roadside to contemplate the huge advertisement while Greene discoursed upon its history.

"Yi," Max groaned. "Max Spielman on the same motorcycle with Greene Timber and Plastics!"

Reverting to his earlier manner, Greene winked and grinned. "I reckon I can bear it if you can, sir. I'm right colorblind myself, but they do say red and green balance out."

Max was not amused. "The blight and flunking of this college, George," he said. I could not discern whether it was the sign or the man he pointed to, but in either case his judgment struck me as extreme. I myself found the advertisement, like its creator, more diverting than appalling; indeed I could have stood agape before the flashing lights and rolling smoke for a great while longer, and left only because the afternoon pressed on. As before, Peter Greene was undismayed by the criticism: his "feedin'-hand," he declared, was "pert' near tooth-proof" from having been "bit so durn reg'lar." I was hard put to it to follow his shifting lingo, but the dispute between him and Max, which went on until dinnertime, was of interest to me, for it had to do with the virtues and failings of what Greene called "the New Tammany Way."

"Now you take me," he invited us again above the engine-noise, and grasped his own shirt-front as before. "Me, I'm no smarter nor stupider than the next fellow; I had to work hard for everything I got --"

"Which is plenty," Max put in. Peter Greene agreed with a laugh that he was not the poorest man on the campus, yet denied he was the richest, that distinction belonging to Ira Hector -- for whom, when all was said and done, he had a grudging admiration. "Despite some say he's a Moishian..."

"Mr. Greene!" I protested.

He winked and cocked his head. "Now, don't get het up; I don't hold it against him if he is! And I guess I think Reggie Hector's about the greatest man in New Tammany."

Max closed his eyes.

"But what I was saying," Greene went on, "I don't mean to boast, now, but what I figure -- By jingo, I'm okay!" He bobbed his head sharply. "When all's said and done! If I do say so myself!"

I begged his pardon.

"I figure I'm passèd because good old NTC is passèd," he said. "The passèdest doggone college in the doggone University!"

"You've taken the Finals, then?" I asked with interest. It occurred to me that I ought to have been asking that question of everyone -- of Anastasia, of Maurice Stoker, of Dr. Sear, of Max himself. Why had he not advised me to?

"When they call me flunkèd," Greene declared, "they call the whole darn college flunkèd, that's what I'm getting at. And any man that's willing to flunk his own alma mater -- well, he's a pretty poor New Tammanian!"

He thrust forth his chin and opened the throttle wider, perhaps without realizing it, so that I had to urge Croaker to a swifter trot. Max I observed had drawn a hand over his face before this curious logic, which even I saw the several flaws in, or else had turned to brooding upon other matters. He was not the Max of yesterday!

"Well, are you a Graduate, or not?" I insisted. "What were the Finals like? Why are you going back to register again?"

"I got no secrets," Greene said stoutly. "I'll lay my cards on the table. Don't believe everything you read in the papers. My life is an open book. I'm okay."

I assured him that I'd read nothing about him in the newspapers, uncomplimentary or otherwise, not ever having read any newspapers, and that what I'd seen of his resourcefulness and gathered of his enterprise quite inclined me to assent to his okayness, whatever the term implied. That there was nothing hostile or even skeptical in my questions, but only the general curiosity of one who had the Finals still before him, and the special curiosity of one whose mission it was eventually to teach others the right Answers.

He replied with a most-warm, open smile. "You're okay too, George: I can tell by your face. Goat-boy or not, it don't matter. I had a friend once name of George."

He volunteered to review for my benefit the aforementioned book of his life: a tome, he acknowledged, not without a dark page here and there, but which taken all in all was nothing shameful, by gosh. However, the afternoon was waning; there was an eating-place not far ahead where he would be pleased to grub-stake us in return for picking him up and hearing him out; his story would keep until we reached it. We had for some minutes been climbing a gentle rise behind which the ruddy sun had already descended. Before us now the woods stopped, where the road went over the ridge; the tree-limbs there were finely lit.

"You never saw New Tammany proper before?" Greene asked. I shook my head. He topped the rise a few meters before me and, braking the cycle, called over his shoulder, "Well, there she sets, friend!" There was reverence in his voice; he had removed his fur cap, and his orange hair and outstretched hand gleamed like the tree-limbs in the light, which lit me too when Croaker came up beside him. "How 'bout that, now!"

What had I imagined a great college would look like? I cannot remember. Photographs I had seen, descriptions I'd read, but with only the livestock-barns and the branch library for scale, I must have conceived the central campus of New Tammany as a slightly larger version of our stalls and pastures. Certainly I was not prepared for the spectacle before and beneath us. Sparkling in the purple dusk, it stretched out endlessly, endlessly. Avenues, towers, monuments; corridors of glass and steel; lakes and parks and marble colonnades; bridges and smokestacks, blinkers and beacons! Hundreds of messages flashed in every color, from here, from there, on roofs and cornices: FIND FACTS FAST -- ENCYCLOPEDIA TAMMANICA; DON'T BE SAD -- STUDY BUSINESS AD.; YOUR ROTC KEEPS THE RIOT QUIET; ALWAYS A HIT: LATE MEDIEVAL LIT. Thousands of motorcycles, bicycles, scooters swarmed along the boulevards, stopped at traffic signals, flowed into roundabouts, threaded into residential mazes; the mingled roar of horns and engines hung like a pall of smoke or the echo of a shout. In truth I could scarcely draw breath in face of such tremendousness; before the ignorance of what lay in store for me there and the knowledge that I would go down to meet it, my heart sank in my breast. And New Tammany was but one college of the many in West Campus, and West Campus far less than half the University -- smaller both in area and population than its Eastern counterpart or the aggregate of "independent" colleges! And Max maintained -- but how was one to swallow it? -- that our whole University was but one among an infinitude of others, perhaps quite similar, perhaps utterly different, whose existence in the fenceless pastures of reality, while as yet unconfirmed, had perforce to be assumed. And those hundreds of thousands of human people below there, in New Tammany alone -- each with his involvements and aspirations, strengths and weaknesses, past history and present problems -- I was to be their Tutor, show them the way to Commencement Gate?

"Fetches you up, now, don't it?" Greene demanded proudly. I shook my head, couldn't answer. He identified Tower Hall, its belfry floodlit in the distance, and pointed out the brilliant string of lights that followed the Power Line eastwards from that building to the Boundary and behind us to Founder's Hill -- the string whose other end I'd glimpsed from the Powerhouse. WESCAC was there -- the storied Belly, the awful EATer; and there too, somewhere beneath that high-spired dome, was the fabled Central Library and a certain particular booklift where my journey had begun. The ambiguous thrill brought tears to my eyes; I leaned down and touched Max's shoulder for comfort, and he briefly put his brooding by to share my feeling.

"Twenty years since I went over this hill," he said.

"Lots of things have changed since then," Greene said cheerfully. "They're all the time tearing down old ones and putting up new."

Max pointed out the Lykeionian-revival porch of the Chancellor's Mansion, the Remusian pilasters of the Old Armory, the flying buttresses of Enoch Hall. I inquired about what appeared to be, after the Stadium, the largest building of all, a floodlit multistoried cube of enormous dimension with a featureless limestone facade.

"Military Science," Max said grimly. "And out past Tower Hall, the last big building to the south -- see those four turrets with the searchlights? That's Main Detention, where I spent my last night before they sent me away."

"Ain't it grand?" said Peter Greene. "We got the biggest detention-hall in the University!" What was more, he added, the clock-tower of Tower Hall was the tallest structure on the campus; and there were so many kilometers of hallway in the Military Science Cube that the professor-generals pedaled bicycles from office to office; and nine out of every ten NTC staff-members (and eleven out of every twelve students) owned his own motorbike-a ratio triple that of Nikolay College and well ahead of any of our West-Campus colleagues. The total power expended in a single day by all these engines equaled the energy of a hundred EAT-waves of the latest type...

"And make the most important poison in the atmosphere," Max added, "except for the drop-outs from EAT-wave testing."

"Say what you want," Greene chuckled. "If it weren't for all them drivers there wouldn't be no drive-ins."

We came down then from the overlook into the stunning traffic of a main highway ("Hit 'em right at the evening rush," Greene remarked -- and hit them he very nearly did on a number of occasions, by driving through traffic lights at intersections or misjudging the distance of approaching headlamps. In addition to his color-blindness, it seemed, he was unable to perceive depth with his single eye; I was to learn later that he was subject to certain photisms, or optical hallucinations, as well, but fortunately was spared that extra cause for alarm during this first experience of vehicular traffic). The noise took my heart out; I was terrified by the rush and by the confusion of lights and signals. Arrows flashed this way and that; signs commanded one on every hand to stop, to go, to turn. I spurred tireless Croaker to his utmost gallop; even so the slowest of the vehicles sped past as if we stood still. Not the least of my astonishments was that we drew so little attention: horns would blow and insults be shouted if we strayed off the shoulder onto the pavement or trespassed inadvertently against the right-of-way; otherwise, however, young and old roared past without a curious glance -- as if a fleeced goat-boy, astride a black giant and accompanied by a bearded old Moishian, were to be seen at every interchange!

Not until we turned from the highway onto the apron of the promised eating-place did anyone really notice us: the evening was warm, and a throng of young couples had drawn their machines up to the Pedal Inn, as the place was called. They laughed and slouched in their sidecars or at outdoor tables, in every kind of dress; some danced upon the asphalt to music that seemed to bleat from half a dozen floodlight poles; others smoked tobacco, furtively pawed one another's bodies, or chewed upon victuals (meat, I fear) run out to them by white-frocked attendants. They greeted our approach with cries and whistles and claps of the hand; I distinguished Croaker's name several times, and was pleased to see them give way. A number of the girls were not unattractive, by human standards, and it relieved me to see that Croaker was after all too fatigued by his final sprint to need restraining. It seemed to me a colorful and animated host; I took their merriment as an expression of goodwill and waved my hand cordially. They formed a large ring around us as Peter Greene parked, and those inside the glass-walled eating-place stared out. The jaws of most worked vigorously, as if upon a cud; some pared their nails with knives while they hooed and hollered; others combed and combed their hair.

"Wonderful kids, aren't they?" Greene exclaimed.

Max muttered something unpleasant about a lynch-mob and asked whether Greene was sure the place would serve Frumentians, Moishians, and goat-boys.

"They'll durn well serve any friends of mine," Greene laughed, and confessed to being part-owner of the establishment. The name Pedal Inn had occurred to him one day at lunch, and he'd built a chain of drive-in restaurants to bear it.

2.


"That was two-three years ago," he said; "before things went kerflooey."

We sat inside, in a stall with benches, and dined on cheeseburgers and fried potatoes. I could not of course stomach the meat and so made do with the buns and onions and a sheaf of paper napkins, which I found piquant with tomato catsup. Croaker on the other hand squatted on the floor and ate his raw; Max declared he had no appetite, though he'd eaten little all day, and remarked besides that Moishian custom forbade meat and dairy produce at the same board -- a rule I'd never heard him invoke before. He contented himself with occasional sips of sarsaparilla. After the original stir of our entrance, though they came to the window now and then to stare, most of the young people returned to their former pursuits, and I was able to listen undistracted except by the overwhelming novelty of the surroundings.

"Kerflooey?" I said.

Greene tisked and nodded. "Used to be, I was sitting pretty. I liked people; people liked me. Business doing fine. Married to the prettiest gal in the neck of the woods: sweet as apple cider; pure as pure. Then all of a sudden, kerflooey, the whole durn thing. I swear to Pete."

The kerflooiness of things, it developed, had a bearing upon Mr. Greene's return to Great Mall, and consisted of reverses both professional and domestic. He had in fact put home and business behind, and had now to choose whether to return or make the breach final. Yet things had not after all gone kerflooey in an instant of time: rather they had slipped into that condition by degrees, over a period of many semesters.

"I wonder sometimes if I ain't one of them drop-outs from the EAT-wave tests, you know? Things ain't been the same at all since I come home from the Riot and set up in the plastic and promotion way."

I inquired whether Mrs. Greene was also a Graduate.

"I should hope to kiss a pig!" Greene cried, and though the phrase itself conveyed to me no certain answer, its tone and context suggested affirmation. "I guess she was the smartest little gal I ever did run across, was Sally Ann -- till things went kerflooey. When she'd call on a fellow to recite his lesson, he'd better know it right by heart, don't she'd fetch out that ruler of hers and crack him a daisy! Fellows twice her own size, that could break a redskin in two or lick their weight in wildcats!"

From this I inferred that in her youth Mrs. Greene had been some sort of pedagogue in the wilder reaches of the NTC Forestry Preserve, and that it was the idiom of that place and tune into which her mate now slipped as he recalled it.

"I was a wild 'un back then," he confessed with a grin. "No flannel pants in them days! And no time for lallygaggin' round no drive-ins, like young 'uns in this Present Modern College of Today."

He seemed now altogether scornful of the students roundabout, whom he'd lately been praising. About his own childhood I found him similarly of two minds, declaring on the one hand his intention to see to it that his children enjoyed all the privileges himself had never known, and on the other that the modern generation was plumb spoilt by the luxuries of life in present-day NTC and would amount to nothing for want of such rigor as had been his lot.

"I run away from home at the age of fourteen," he said proudly. "Not that it was much of a home, with Paw a-drinkin' and Maw forever a-layin' the Good Book on me." The actual nature and location of his birthplace I could not discern: sometimes it appeared to have been the meanest hovel, sometimes a place of ancient grandeur. In any case he'd abandoned it, his parents, his patrimony and hied him into wilderness departments, to live off the land. His motives, as he characterized them, were praiseworthy: the pursuit of independence and escape from the debilitating influence of corrupt tradition. "My folks and me, we come to a fork in the road," he said: "they had their notions and I had mine, that's everything there was to it."

But Max questioned this assertion. "Yes, well, the way I read once, you were hooky-playing from school always, ja? And making trouble till they ran you out?"

Greene reckoned cheerfully that he'd made his share of mischief now and again, and acknowledged further that on his voyage into the wild, in a homemade vessel, he'd been accompanied by another fugitive, a Frumentian from a South-Quad chain-gang; that they'd saved each other's lives more than once, and had become fast friends despite their difference in race.

"But that's all we ever was, was pals," he insisted. "Old Black George and me (I used to call him Old Black George, despite he weren't old), we went through thick and thin together 'fore we parted company. I guess no boy ever had a better pal: that's why I bust out laughin' when they say I don't like darkies! But friends is all, and them smart-alecks that claim we was funny for each other -- I'd like to horsewhip 'em!"

I remarked that I too had been fortunate enough to have a Frumentian friend by the name of George. Max considered his sarsaparilla.

Equally libelous, Greene assured us, was the gossip that he'd taken a daughter of his fellow-fugitive into the bush for immoral purposes: the truth was that an influential white lady had arranged to have Old Black George paroled into the custody of his family, all of whom were domestic workers in the boarding-school she operated; only his parole hinged on the condition that this particular daughter, who had taken to a lewd course of life, leave the premises. "O.B.G.," as Greene was wont to call his friend, had at first been reluctant, but upon Greene's offering secretly to take the girl with him and look after her, he accepted the condition.

" 'Tweren't my fault she turned out bad," he said. "I had my hands full clearin' land and huntin' meat and buildin' shelters and chasin' off redskins; I couldn't watch no sassy little pickaninny every minute."

"But you never touched her yourself?" Max demanded.

"Me touch her!" Greene grinned. "It was her pesterin' me all the time! And a-teasin'! And a-beggin'!" His eyes hardened. "And declarin' she'd tell Miss Sally Ann if I didn't watch out."

As best I could fathom it, he had permitted the Frumentian girl to share his sleeping bag, cook and wash for him, and mate with certain redskins. It was possible even to infer that his life had been preserved by those same aboriginals at her behest, but the story was vague. In any case, despite her inclination, if not positive passion, he had seldom actually serviced her, he vowed -- perhaps never at all -- for the reason that it "weren't decent." In the meanwhile, other adventurers had followed Greene's lead until at length a small quadrangle was established in the wilds; New Tammany College annexed the territory, and Tower Hall dispatched ROTC units to subdue the redskins, and schoolteachers to educate the settlers. Greene himself, from established habit, had declined formal schooling; but he taught himself reading, writing, and arithmetic -- with no other light than the fire on his hearth, no other texts than the Old and New Syllabi, no other materials than a clean pine board and a stick of charcoal. And if his manners and speech were untutored, his courage, high spirits, and intelligence must have made up for them, for he wooed and won the pretty schoolmistress herself -- Miss Sally Ann from back in the East Quads, whose mother was the boarding-school directress mentioned before.

"You can talk about your Grand Tutors," he sighed, and set his jaw; "Miss Sally Ann was Enos Enoch and His Twelve Trustees as far as I was concerned, and her word was the pure and simple Answer. Wasn't for her, I'd of been a beast of the woods: the way she prettied up the cabin and the schoolhouse was a wonder! And talk about your Finals: when Sally Ann got done with me I could recite you the Founder's Scroll backwards or forwards."

"Is that how to pass the Finals!" I exclaimed with a frown.

"Pfui," Max said. "It's how to flunk a whole college."

But Greene insisted that Miss Sally Ann was Founder and Chancellor and Examiners too, to his mind, and had besides the prettiest face and figure in the entire territory, durned if she didn't. She herself was the Answer: she had rescued him from the clutches of the Dean o' Flunks, from the way to failure, and he would let no vileness near her. It was chiefly for her sake, to provide her with every comfort known to studentdom, that when not yet twenty he claimed squatter's rights to vast tracts of virgin timber, formed his own Sub-Department of Lumbering and Paper Manufacture, built sawmills and factories, laid waste the wilderness, dammed the watersheds, spoiled the streams, and became a power in the School of Business and an influence in Tower Hall. For her sake too (though it wasn't clear whether she demanded these things or he volunteered them) he eschewed liquor and tobacco, and forbade them to others; left off cursing, gambling, and fist-fighting, of which he'd been fond; and had Old Black George's daughter committed to Main Detention as a common prostitute. By discharging in his office the energies previously wasted on idle pursuits, he grew at an early age more affluent than his neighbors. Yet though he swore by his union and career as by Commencement itself, he showed signs of restlessness: he began playing truant from his office, as formerly from the classroom; spent more time on the golf-links than at the mills; became a collector of famous paintings, expensive books, antique motorcycles, pornography, and big-game trophies. And he welcomed the chance to fight for New Tammany as an officer of infantry in Campus Riot II.

"I don't deny you fought like a hero," Max said. "He won the Trustees' Medal of Honor, George, for killing so many Bonifacists. A fine thing."

I was surprised to see that he spoke not at all sarcastically. "I thank you, sir," Greene said, in an accent much brisker and clearer than he'd used thitherto: a modest but military tone. I asked him whether it was in combat with the enemy that he'd lost his eye.

"I wish to Sam Hill it was," he said, and cocked his head ruefully. "Weren't, though." He then declared, for reasons not at once apparent, that the opinion commonly held of him outside NTC was a cruel untruth -- namely, that he was henpecked; that his wife "wore the pants in the family" and was unhappy with the fit, as it were; that too much complaisance on his part had led her at first to discontentment, thence to shrewishness, and at last to the Faculty Women's Rest House, and everything kerflooey.

"Fact is," he said, as if talking about the same thing, "my eyes never were very good, but I didn't realize it till I was grown up. I used to press against my eyeball to see things when I was a kid, and then like as not I'd see two redskins where there was one, or my eyes would fill up and blur." Then one day during his courtship of Miss Sally Ann, he said, he'd brought her all the way to Great Mall for the annual Spring Carnival, and it was during their tour of the midway amusements that he'd lost his eye, in the following manner -- which he confided in frank detail in order, he asserted, to correct the misrepresentations of malicious gossip. The courtship had been proceeding satisfactorily: pledges of love had been exchanged and intent declared to marry as soon as his position was more securely established, he being then scarcely past adolescence and only begun on his various enterprises. They had learned something of each other's history: on his part, that he was a rebellious orphan with an undistinguished past but great hope for the future, of small resource but large resoucefulness, short on tutoring but long on ambition, with a craving to Commence and make his mark on the campus, and eager to be married though with little experience of women -- he confessed to her solemnly his youthful connection with Old Black George's daughter, whereof he was so contrite that, going it may be beyond the facts, he declared he was no virgin, the more severely to chastize himself. She had wept but forgiven him, and admitted sorrowfully that she too had something to confess, though not of a guilty nature: she was beset by a Peeping Tom and secret masher, who, though she had provoked him in no wise but by her general beauty, which no amount of modesty could veil, for some time had plagued her by night -- peering in her windows, hissing obscenities from bushes, exposing his member to her moonlight view. She would have spoken of it earlier, she declared, but for her fear that Greene might think the man a beau of hers, present or past, and break their engagement.

Beside this disclosure (the more alarming because young Greene, after incarcerating O.B.G.'s daughter, had taken secretly to patrolling the area of Miss Sally Ann's cabin by night, to prevent exactly such molestation in the rough backwoods, and had seen nothing more sinister than deer and raccoons though his view of her windows was unobstructed) the other details of his financee's background were of no importance to him. Outraged at the mysterious interloper's effrontery -- Miss Sally Ann had not seen his face, but was convinced of his reality and motive -- Greene vowed to marry her at once, despite the insecurity of their position, the better to insure her maiden honor against mischance, and to thrash the masher if he caught him. He would have wed her that same day, but for one nagging detail...

"It's the simple Enochist Truth," he said; "I'm a shy one where the girls are concerned. Always have been! Always will be!" He blinked and winked. "That don't mean I ain't got an ace or two once the chips are down! But I'm slow to make my play, and the reason is, there weren't no girls around when I was growing up. O.B.G's daughter don't count; not just she's a darky, but she come on so fast and teased so much she'd scare the starch right out o' me, despite I'd love to shown the hussy a thing or two... I used to tell her she was lucky I was saving up for marriage, but the fact of the matter was, I'd get me in a state quick enough just a-thinking how she carried on, but once she was right there face to face -- no spunk at all! Know what I mean?"

Naturally I did not, except by considerable effort of imagination -- what could be more alien to life in the goat-barns than pusillanimity in the face so to speak of erotic provocation?

"You weren't able to service her?" I hazarded.

Greene blushed and glanced out of the booth. Croaker was asleep now in the aisle, my stick in his lap, and the flaring music-box broadcast above our voices a queer loud plaint:

Giles Goat-Boy

Moreover, it was grown dark, and though the headlit motors came and went from the apron of the Pedal Inn, few noses pressed now to the plate-glass wall beside us.

"I was able!" Greene protested, in a vehement whisper. "I just never could get up nerve enough, is all!"

Yet he had hesitated to commit himself to husbandhood, he said, until his capacity was proved, and Miss Sally Ann (somewhat to his surprise) seeming not finally averse, he had fetched her to Great Mall with the understanding that they'd lose their innocence each to the other before they returned. They took separate rooms in a Great-Mall inn for the three nights of the Carnival, but slept together. On the first night he'd been doubled up with cramps and unable to move -- an effect, he believed, less of fear than of shame at the notion of subjecting so passèd a lady girl to his carnal lusts. On the second, nonetheless, they had striven resolutely -- but in vain, for failing to find himself in the studly way from the very first kiss, as he thought proper, he so furiously reproached himself that no subsequent ministrations of Miss Sally Ann's could turn the trick. She had better betake her to some callous stud, he had told her bitterly, who being less confounded by the architecture of her naked flesh could possess it like a master instead of trembling like a truant freshman before the Chancellor's Mansion. So saying -- despite her protests that she was no Frumentian doxy who measured her lovers by the road, as it were; that for all her willingness to yield love's fruits to him she was content enough to sleep in his arms as on the previous night; that on the other hand if his pride would but permit him to see himself as curator instead of conqueror of that same Mansion, she was confident they could open its gate as well with a pass-key as with a batter -- despite all this he cursed himself back to his room and drank himself into a solitary stupor.

On the third and final day of the Spring Carnival he'd groused about, uncertain whether to destroy himself or merely break their engagement. They watched the ritual Dance of the Freshman Co-eds around the shaft; the ceremonial Expulsion and Reinstatement of the Chancellor, commemorating Enos Enoch's weekend in the Nether Campus; the coronation of a new Miss University in white gown and mortarboard and her parade down Great Mall on a float of lilies. The more Miss Sally Ann endeavored to raise his spirits by feigning animation, the gloomier he grew: after dinner, when they went to the brilliant midway, he insisted she ride on ferris-wheel, carousel, and roller-coaster -- of all which amusements she was shrieking fond -- but would not accompany her; he even sent her, against her inclination, alone through the Tunnel of Love and the adjoining Chamber of Horrors. While she made her way reluctantly through the latter, he stood outside in the sawdust and brooded upon his reflection in a row of distorting mirrors near the entrance. In one his neck rose like a swan's above his body; in another his bulbous trunk perched high on stork-legs. They put him glumly in mind of certain of his dreams wherein a more pertinent piece of him had similarly been drawn out to miraculous length, with astonishing consequence. This memory led in turn to reveries of Miss Sally Ann disrobed, and he was roused in fact, though not beyond human proportions. To conceal his condition he was obliged to sit down on a bench near the exit and cross his legs.

His choice of seats, he discovered a moment later, was not in the best interest of detumescence: the last "horror" of the Chamber was a grating in the exit ramp-way, a few meters before him, through which when it was trod upon a blast of air blew, to the end of lifting the co-ed's skirts. I was far enough from goatdom to understand with no further explanation that the consequent brief exposure, not of actual escutcheons but of drawers and female harness, was by virtue of its involuntary nature mortifying to the victims and both amusing and arousing to human male onlookers, who might scarcely take notice of a more comprehensive and prolonged display under other circumstances -- lady girls in swimsuits at a pool, say, or their own wives in the showerbath. Peter Greene watched erect, savoring of each blowee the squealing fluster, the vain endeavor to hold down her skirt, the half-second's glimpse of silk-snugged crotch. Thin girls, fat girls, pretty girls, plain -- in his fancy he lusted shamefully for them all, every soft-thighed lass who ever was, had been, or would be; even the blushfullest, he reflected, would in her lifetime admit some man, or several, into that passèd private place: he could not bear that it should not in every instance be himself. How he should have enjoyed that the lot of them be in his power! In a vast subcampus chamber of his own devising, lit by flambeaux and known to none but himself, he would keep them prisoner, not a stitch among them, and perpetrate at his whim exquisitest carnalities upon whom he chose. Perhaps they would all be blindfolded, or bound at wrist and ankle...

"Founder's sake!" I was moved to exclaim. Max seemed to have joined Croaker in sleep.

"Shucks," Greene scoffed " 'tweren't nothing but a daydream. All a girl's got to do's say boo to me, pass her heart, I turn tail and run! Anyhow, I set there hotter'n a fox and watched 'em get their skirts blowed up, till finally along comes Sally Ann, with some old Enochism-teacher she'd met in the funhouse that used to know her, and he'd helped her find her way when she was lost inside. I figured she'd just as leave not show her drawers to him -- especially since he seemed to be carrying on right smart for who he was and all -- so I jumped up to tell her about the air-hose; but she was laughing at something or other and didn't notice me till whoosh -- up goes her dirndl, and there's her pretty drawers with the yellow roses on! Right then I hear a whistling and a whooping, and a voice hollering out to Miss Sally Ann to come there and see what he had for her, stuff like that. Made my blood boil! I looked round to see who'd come up, 'cause till then there hadn't nobody been left of me where the hollering was, you understand? Weren't even no benches there to set on. What there was was just this tall skinny plate-glass window along the wall, right near the exit, and when I squinched up my eyeballs with my fingers I could see a fellow standing there, bold as brass! First thing struck me, it must be that Peeping Tom she said'd been a-pestering her -- seeing he knew her name and was talking so fresh. Anyhow I knew he was the one that was whistling and hollering, 'cause I could see he still had his hand up by his mouth. So I figure, I'll teach him a lesson he won't soon forget, by Jimmy Gumbo, and I pick me a rock up off the ground. Now I took for granted the window was open, it being such a warm night and him a-hollering so plain; all I had in mind to do was snib him one to show him what was what. But time I hauled off to chunk, I saw he'd got a rock his own self and was set to knock my block off with it, so I let fly all my might. Never did find out if I hit him, 'cause we never saw nor heard from him after that. But he sure got me! What happened was, the durn window was shut -- whatever it was -- and his rock and mine must of busted into it right the same time. His never hit me, but the glass went flying every whichaway, and a little tiny piece of it struck me in the eye."

His fiancée's alarm, he went on to say, soon brought assistance: he was hurried to the Infirmary, where first the glass was removed and later the eyeball, irreparably damaged. Upon reviving from anesthesia he found Miss Sally Ann at his bedside, and they commiserated for the loss of both his eye and their last night to spend together on Great Mall. More to his chagrin, now that making love was out of the question he was splendidly erect, nor did any amount of ironic remark upon this phenomenon at all diminish it. Nay, his pain and the blindfold of bandages notwithstanding, he lusted more powerfully than ever before; her consolatory kisses only inflamed him; he must have her then and there, nurses be flunkèd; she must close and block the door and come at once to bed. Reluctant at first, she was at last brought blushing to it, rather to his surprise: protesting soft but breathing hard she slipped out of her shoes and between his sheets, and the sweet deed was done.

"Well, sir," Greene declared -- more as one beginning than concluding a story: "I told her the honest truth then: how it was my first time, and I never had actually swived old O.B.G.'s daughter."

This news, he said (when Max returned to partial slumber after stirring to remark that swive was a fine old verb whose desuetude in all but a few back-campus areas was much to be deplored, as it left the language with no term for service that was not obscene, clinical, legalistic, ironic, euphemistic, or periphrastic), Miss Sally Ann professed not to believe; she'd even scolded him a bit for so exaggerating the importance of what, to her mind, was a mere technicality beside the fact of true and exclusive love that he felt he must deceive her on the point. They married soon after, and directly his wound was healed and his glass eye installed, he immersed himself with equal passion in his work and his newly realized manhood. Greene Timber doubled and tripled its holdings, destroying its competitors, exploiting its workers, depleting the countryside, and diversifying into related areas of manufacture. The Greenes moved from cabin to manorhouse and begot a great number of offspring, whose rearing Mrs. Greene relinquished her profession to supervise; there was no further need for her to work anyhow, and she agreed with her husband that woman's place was in the home. There she gave orders to a staff of domestics, took up the piano and painting on glass, read long novels, and tatted the hems of pillowslips. They regarded their match as ideal and themselves as blissful in it -- but in certain moods, now he was initiated, Greene bewailed his lost opportunities with O.B.G.'s flunkèd daughter and perhaps even consorted with her secretly, in or out of prison, always however berating himself the while for polluting, or thinking to pollute, his perfect marriage. And Miss Sally Arm now and then complained of spells of faintness and that her life was after all as empty as some statue's in a Founder's Hall.

Then, sometime in his twenties, for reasons he could not well articulate, Greene's opinion changed profoundly on the question of Answers and Graduation. Some said he was influenced by disillusioned veterans of the First Campus Riot; others, that this disillusionment in turn was but the popular dramatizing of a state of intellectual affairs that dated from the Rematriculation Period and had long prevailed "across the Pond" in the famous seats of West-Campus learning. Still others pointed out, quite correctly, that Greene was a rustic without classical education or much use for the departments of moral science and the fine arts; they were inclined to relate his new attitude to the loss of his eye or of his adolescent vigor, to the belated realization of character deficiencies, or to domestic and business difficulties.

"Which is putting the cart before the goshdarn horse, them last ones," he said. "I figure I invented my Answers my own self, just like Sally Ann and me invented making love, no matter how many'd thought of it before."

Whatever the causes, the effects were unmistakable: they moved from their rural estate to an urban quad; he made his wife a full-time equal partner in his business; they toured distant campuses, learned to smoke cigarettes, drink cocktails, dance to jazz-music, drive fast motorcycles, and practice contraception. Miss Sally Ann now freely admitted enjoying what theretofore she had seemed only to permit: husband and wife put by all inhibition and together tasted every sweet and salty dish in love's cuisine, improvising some, discovering others accidentally, borrowing not a few from the high-spiced cookbooks of ancient Remus and Siddartha, which Greene no longer perused in secret but shared with his wife. Nay, further, emancipated alike from the stuffy prohibitions of old-fashioned lecturers and the economics of harder terms, they went from twin beds to separate vacations to separate residences and friends, and mortgaged all their assets to extend by daring speculation their business interests and finance their costly extracurricular activities.

This continued to the end of that decade of their lives, and ended, alas, in general fiasco. One memorable night, happening to meet each other en route to their separate apartments from separate illegal taverns, but both drunk on the same distillation, Greene announced impulsively to his wife, whether as confession, boast, or wish, that O.B.G.'s daughter (no longer in prison) was threatening him with a paternity suit, or might one day so threaten for all he knew; and Mrs. Greene replied, between hiccoughs, that for all she knew she might one day threaten O.B.G.'s daughter's husband with the same, if the trollop had one and he was properly manned. They went then their separate ways, but whether that encounter was the trigger, or certain ominous signs that his speculations were overextended and no longer basically sound, there ensued just prior to his thirtieth birthday a collapse of Peter Greene's self-confidence and a lengthy spell of profound depression.

"Just seemed like it all went kerflooey at once," he said. His research and production plants failed, one after another, or were shut down by organized mutinies among his staff, some of whom openly professed Student-Unionism. Greene's own sympathies were split between affinity for any rebellious cause (a habit of mind carried over from his childhood) and his contempt for anything that smacked of the "welfare campus." So at odds was he with himself, he would bribe the campus police to put down a demonstration, then find himself marching unrecognized among the demonstrators, in his old forester's clothes, and take a beating he himself had paid for. Sexually he became subject to periods of impotence; socially he withdrew, lost interest in the few friends he had left, as in himself. Whether he appeared well or ill in the public eye and his own no longer concerned him; he could not even manage to despise himself much, so thoroughgoing was his sense of futility. Much of his time he spent rocking in a chair. To his surprise (for he was not given to speculation of the philosophic sort) he found not only that he no longer regarded himself as Graduated, but that he disbelieved in the reality of Graduation, the Founder, and Final Exams. Nothing in the University mattered in the long run, it seemed perfectly clear to him: one man studied and strove for the good of his classmates, another cheated, lied, and tattled: both soon passed away and were forgotten, with the rest of mortal studentdom, and the blind University went on, and too would vanish when its term expired. To rock the campus, to rock a chair -- what did it matter? Mrs. Greene dropped by with the children to spend the weekend, bringing with her a supply of the sleeping-capsules which both had come to depend on for rest; they quarreled, resolved to institute bankruptcy and divorce proceedings, drank a final drink together, and ended by dividing the capsules between them, each swallowing a number he judged most honestly to be on the threshold of lethality, perhaps beyond it.

"You wanted to kill yourselves?" It was an idea I could comprehend only faintly, by recollecting my state of mind on the day I had murdered Redfearn's Tom. But what a difference in circumstance! I took a wondering swig from the catsup bottle. Greene sighed, and arched his orange eyebrows, and fiddled with the sugarbowl lid.

"Didn't have the gumption to choose either way, sir. But I sure did wish I was dead." I could not discern whether his respectful mode of addressing me was general habit or particular deference. "We figured if the pills did us in, okay; if they didn't, what the flunk, we'd have to think where to go from there."

As it happened, they'd misjudged not only the dosage but the drug itself, a mild soporific, the first of what was to be a series of ever-more-sophisticated prescriptions. It was an ignorance they could no more have been saved by in later years, when their knowledge of chemicals came to rival a pharmacist's, than they could have attained sweet sleep by that old potion. Sleep they did -- soundly, long -- and Peter Greene dreamed of the great Spring Carnival. When the children woke him next morning his wife was sweetly sleeping still, and it was some moments before he remembered having taken the capsules. He felt utterly refreshed; it was a sunny Saturday, no haste to rise. Nothing had changed: there was still no Founder, nor sense in the University; he was still wretched Peter Greene, his manner graceless, his enterprises failing, his character deficient, his family unhappy; there was still no more reason, ultimately, to heed the summons of his bladder and children than not to. Yet all these truths had a different feel now: he kissed Mrs. Greene and left the bed, still utterly uncertain how his life was to be managed and heedless of its course, but with a new indifference to this indifference.

"Didn't matter a durn to me any more that nothing mattered a durn," was how he put it. "I knew I weren't worth a doggone, and couldn't of cared less." For the first time in a long while he felt like working; instead he made love to Miss Sally Ann, also for the first time in some while, and something of his mood must have touched her, for they clung together ardently, swore their love, repented their abuses of it, mourned the past, vowed to do better. He listened to their words with tender unbelief. No matter. Even the question that had come to live with him some months earlier -- having visited his fancy on rare occasions over the years -- now lost its urgency and seemed just interesting: the question of the broken glass.

"What it was," he said, "I was looking at myself in the bathroom mirror one afternoon, just when my big depression started. I'd been out all day with the stiffs on the picket-line, busting the windowlights out of one of my papermills, and I'd come home to get a shower before the cocktail party we were having that evening for some Tower Hall big-shots. I got to making ugly faces at myself and feeling terrible, and suddenly it struck me maybe that wasn't no window at all I'd chunked that rock through, or any flunkèd Peeping Tom hollering at Miss Sally Ann; it could of been one of them mirrors that make you look queer! For all I know it could of been just a plain mirror; I couldn't see clear enough to tell. There wasn't any checking back, 'cause they take everything down after the Carnival, and I never could locate the fellow that had run the funhouse, to find out from him. I took to asking everybody I'd meet whether they'd been to the Carnival that year, and did they recollect what was on the wall next to the exit. Some swore it was a windowpane, some was sure it was a trick mirror or a regular one; some said there weren't nothing there at all. Most didn't remember."

I agreed with him on the importance of the question, which had occurred to me some time earlier.

"Once I'd thought of it, I couldn't think of nothing else," Greene said. He had spent hours then before his mirror, studying his face and what lay behind it, back to the beginning. At times, and in some aspects, what he saw now seemed possible to affirm -- in more innocent years he'd taken his appearance for granted, assuming its unblemished handsomeness -- but in the main it struck him as repellent, hopeless. Not even fascinatingly so: after an orgy of self-inspection he became so persuaded that it was some sort of mirror he'd smashed on the midway that he now smashed his own (by hurling it out the window), not to have to see himself any further. And though since the critical night of the sleeping-capsules the question had largely ceased to torment him, he still had, in his phrase, "a thing" about any sort of glass near his face: he shaved and tied his necktie by feel, and refused to wear lenses to correct his faulty vision.

"How about windows?" I wondered, for we had huge ones all about us.

"They don't bother me somehow," Greene laughed. "Anyway, to wind up my story..." I was relieved to think him nearly done, as we had distance yet to travel.

He had not had opportunity, he said (returning to the subject of his post-capsular attitude), to see whether the strange new feeling would persist -- an acceptance of himself, as I took it, and of the student condition, based on the refusal to concern himself further with their unacceptability -- and whether unassisted it would have lifted him from his depression. For he was seized out of it shortly thereafter by irrelevant circumstance, in the form of Campus Riot II. The impending threat of it reunited him with his wife, ended all picketing, and kept every shop and laboratory open around the clock; the resultant prosperity, together with the climate of emergency, the exhausting pace, and his new indifference to the question of Final Examinations, did away with what limited appeal Student-Unionism briefly might have had for him. He enlisted in the ROTC and became something of a hero. Unfriendly rivals and vanquished adversaries might complain that it was his size and material advantage that accounted for his successes, rather than superior skill and character; he himself was too busy to care.

"I am okay," he formed the habit of repeating to himself when his motives or performance was criticized, "and what the heck anyhow." As an officer under Professor-General Reginald Hector, with unlimited supplies partly of his own manufacture, he led his men to victory and emerged from the riot well-known throughout the campus and generally well-liked, with a reputation for open-handedness, vulgarity, fair dealing, bad manners, good intentions, gullibility, straightforwardness, lack of culture, abundance of wealth, and sentimentality. The wealth was certainly a fact: the manufacture of riot-matèriel (directed in part by his wife) had made him immensely prosperous, and the great post-riot demand in NTC for building-material, paper, and plastics (a line he'd branched into during the hostilities, when metal was scarce) promised to make him more prosperous yet: Ira Hector alone exceeded him in wealth and unofficial influence in Tower Hall.

"But things went kerflooey all the same?" I asked. I was eager now to have done with the story, which however had certainly illumined me on the subject of human marriage. Greene shook his head no, but in a way that I presently understood to mean Yes, and I still don't understand it, or something similar. His speech grew no less at odds with itself from here until the end of his relation: an inharmonious amalgam of the several idioms I'd hear him employ thus far:

"Durn if I can figure what got to us, togethernesswise. We bought us a fine house in a suburban quad, with a pool and a color Telerama and all like that; the kiddies started music lessons; Sally Ann had her own wheels to get around with, and only worked when she felt like getting out of the house. She weren't tied down a speck, what with O.B.G.'s daughter to clean house and me helping with every meal. And like, I'm busy, sure, but George, it ain't as bad as the old days, no sirree Bob, when I was up with the chickens and worked till midnight." What was more, he said, they'd agreed to cleave exclusively each to the other, as in the early terms of their marriage, with the difference that now they were to be equal partners and faithful companions in every aspect of life, rather than master and mastered.

"It ain't that business is slow, you understand, despite the way taxes have gone up. I spend me a fortune every year around Tower Hall to get the College Senate to lower my taxes and stop buying cheap stuff from across the Pond, but it's no go, sir; and they keep taking more and more timberland for college parks and the like. I hired me a roomful of Ph.D's to find out how to do more business: after awhile I got so took with the idea I closed down half my mills and paperplants and went into the Marketing- and Packaging-Research Department my own self. Didn't need all them people working for me anyhow, with their durn committees: we got machines now that WESCAC operates, you stick a log of wood in one end and get newsprint out the other, with nobody touching it in between. WESCAC even tells us how many trees to cut down, and which men to lay off."

In consequence, I learned, though he was prospering as never before, he was virtually unemployed, WESCAC having taken over executive as well as labor operations. When O.B.G.'s daughter had turned up and publicly accused him of having exploited her immorally in his youth to further his own interests, and possibly even having fathered a child on her, he had offered to hire her as a housemaid despite his wife's old resentment of her. Miss Sally Ann herself he made financial director of his concerns. Their children were amply provided for: the girls twirled silver batons in one of the Sub-Junior Varsity Marching Bands, the boys were star performers on the Faculty Children's Athletic League Farm Teams; they were never spanked, received large allowances, played games and took vacations with their parents -- whom they called by their first names -- had Telerama receivers in their bedrooms and a private bowling alley in their recreation basement, and regularly attended their neighborhood Enochist Hall for tradition's sake, as did their parents, though it was made clear to them that the Enochist Answers were their own reward, there being no such places as Commencement Gate and the Nether Campus. On weekends they all played golf and went to parties at the houses of their friends.

But no one was happy. O.B.G.'s daughter refused on the one hand to be "degradated," as she put it, to the role of menial, and on the other to be "bought off" with a slightly higher income and the title of Assistant Homemaker. Neither would she take the position he offered her as Special Representative in his Promotion Department, though the job entailed nothing more strenuous than being photographed for advertisements in Frumentian publications: she insisted that he confess his past attraction to and maltreatment of her, that he pay her neither more nor less than he would pay a white male for the same work, and that to redeem his past abuses of her he educate her children along with his, in the same classrooms, summer camps, and Founder's Halls. His own children showed no such aggressiveness, excepting one son who stole motorbikes for sport and contracted gonorrhea at the sixth-grade prom: they were tall and handsome, their teeth uncarious, their underarms odorless; yet they seemed not interested in anything. As for Mrs. Greene, she had become a scold -- perhaps because, though she was still youthful enough in appearance to be mistaken for her daughters, in fact she was approaching middle age. Her moods ran to sudden extremes, more often quarrelsome than otherwise; she complained of her responsibilities; neither she nor her spouse thought it possible to pursue a career, raise the children, and supervise the housework at the same time, yet they could not bear the foolish women who had nothing to do but drink coffee and talk to one another by telephone; they believed in an utterly single standard of behavior for men and women, but practiced chivalric deference in a host of minor matters. She did not think they went dancing often enough; he wished he had more time to play poker with his colleagues.

"I'd swear I wanted her to be her own woman, independencewise, but whenever she'd go to work I'd freeze up and wish she was just a plain wife. Then she'd wife it a while, fix fancy meals and sew drapes and all, and I'd wish she had something more interesting than that to talk about! We got to be so much alike and close together, we'd be bored fit to bust for something different -- but go away one night on a business trip, we'd miss each other like to die. And me getting soft, and overweight, and tired all the time from nothing! And Sally Ann skipping periods, and starting to wear corsets! And both now and then half a-yearning to bust out and start over, but knowing we'd never do as well, compatibilitywise, and loving each other too much anyhow, despite all. Durn if it weren't a bind! I'd say to myself, I'm okay, and what the heck anyhow -- but that didn't help none when she'd bust out crying and go back for another prescription. And them doctors, and them analysts, and them counselors! One'd tell her 'Stay home and be a woman.' Another'd say 'Go to work full-time, let it all go.' One'd say 'Get divorced any time you want, that's the kind of campus we live on nowadays'; another'd say 'Stay married no matter what, 'cause if the family don't hold fast there won't be no character left in the Present Modern College of Today.' Some told Sally Ann she should let me have my head but tread the straight and narrow her own self, like olden terms; others said to me what's sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose, one way or the other. Take pills; don't take pills! Go back to Enochism; eat black-strap molasses; practice breath-control! One high-price fellow told Sally Ann she ought to sleep with him to cure herself, 'cause his own wife didn't understand him! I swear to Pete! I swear right to Pete!"

Things had come to a head only recently, he said, when during a pointless midnight quarrel (over a change of analysts and low-fat diets) he explained to his wife his dissatisfaction with their current therapist, who had declared it impossible to help a patient until the latter overcame his "resistances to therapy." It was, Greene had been in the process of telling her, like announcing to a sick man that he must get well in order to take his medicine...

But in the course of his analogy his wife had interrupted him with a scream, and another, and a third, and a fourth, and another and another, beyond his shocked remonstrances to consider the children, to get hold of herself, for Founder's sake to stop. He grew frantic; still she lay in their bed and screamed, her eyes tight shut. At last he called in a neighbor lady and O.B.G.'s daughter. By the time the family doctor arrived to sedate her, her cries had turned to wild weeping; the children were awake and had been told that their mother's nerves were bad from too much work and worry. Did they understand? Solemn-faced, they nodded yes. Next morning it was added that she would be going away to rest, and away she went -- to the Faculty Women's Rest House, whose services she was entitled to by virtue of her one-time position as district schoolmistress. Once she was established in that stately, hushed retreat, where so many were of their acquaintance, her spirits lifted; indeed, she was more calm and optimistic when he went to see her than she'd been for a long while, despite her doctor's vagueness about how long she'd have to stay; she quietly apologized for her hysteria, for leaving him in charge of the house and children, for whatever was her share of responsibility in their difficulties...

"I missed her so much and felt so flunking flunkèd I thought I'd die," he said. "First thing I did, I come home and got drunk as a hooty-owl, all by my lonesome. But drunk or sober, sir, it seemed to me one minute there was something awful wrong with the way we lived, trying to be pals and lovers and equals all the same time, and next minute it wasn't our fault at all, we'd come to the right idea, the best idea, but the past was a-gumming us up. Then right in the midst of this pull and haul, who should come into the bar where I went one night but O.B.G.'s daughter -- as a customer, mind, and I didn't even know they served darkies in the place! She asked me how Miss Sally Ann was, all the time a-smiling in her mischievous way, like she was daring me to grab ahold of her, and she said she figured I must be awful upset to be out drinking so late all by myself, a big family-man like me. I knew what she was up to, but I didn't bear her no grudge for all the things she'd said about me in the papers, and being so ungrateful I'd treated her so white. I bought her a drink, and we talked about poor Sally Ann and old tunes, and how hard all this was on the kids; and O.B.G.'s daughter said there probably ought to be somebody home with them at night for a while, till they got more used to their mother being gone. All the time she was smiling that smile, that put me in mind how she'd smiled it years ago, when I was just a scaredy-cat kid and her a gosh-durn tease. Her own husband had run off on her a few months before, and their kids were at some sister's place; I knew she'd come on home with me if I asked her, despite all she'd said. And I was so low down, and so durn hot and bothered, I up and asked her, and of course she came, teasing me all the way for treating her like a South-Quad slavey. What you going to do with a gal like that, and such a mess as me?"

I was unaware that his question was of the sort that requires no answer. "Well, now, Mr. Greene --" I began with a frown.

"Pete," he insisted.

"I find your story quite touching, Pete. I hadn't appreciated how curious marriage is, and I'm interested to learn now whether it's that way generally. The only other married folks I've met are Mr. and Mrs. Stoker and a Dr. Sear and his wife, and their attitudes seemed a little different from yours and Mrs. Greene's, at least to me."

"Dr. Sear!" Greene laughed. "You know Kennard Sear? He was my analyst I was telling you about! Heck of a nice fellow, ain't he? Couldn't do a passèd thing with me, but he's a smart one, Sear is."

I agreed that he seemed a most courteous gentleman, and pressed back to the subject: "I think I still don't understand why you're hitchhiking to Great Mall, when you're so wealthy, and what you're going to do when you get there."

Peter Greene was more or less durned if he quite knew either, except about the hitchhiking, which he did purely for the heck of it and to stay "in shape" -- the fact being that for all his regimen of calisthenics, vitamin pills, mechanical exercisers, and low-fat diets, he was overweight. The best reason he could offer for placing his children in a boarding-school (though it had "near killed him" to part with them), closing the house, neglecting his business, and taking to the road, was that while he was absolutely sure he was passed, he was certain he was failed. He had betrayed, deceived, and defiled Miss Sally Ann in the wanton arms of O.B.G.'s hot daughter -- whom, however, for better or worse, he had once again found himself impotent with and who, ungrateful as always, had laughed at him in the morning when he'd offered to raise her wage. He'd had no choice then but to discipline such uppitiness. And though he loved, honored, and respected his unhappy wife, he was also profoundly troubled by their reciprocal grievances, which he felt sure were justified albeit unjust. In sum, he was so utterly of two minds about himself and his connections with things that he seemed rather a pair of humans in a single skin: the one energetic, breezy, optimistic, self-assured, narrow-minded, hospitable, out-going, quick-thinking, belligerent, and strong; the other apathetic, abject, pessimistic, self-despising, indulgent, rude, introspective, complaisant, uncouth, feckless, and flabby. He had lost faith initially in the Founder and then in himself -- in his ability to pass, as it were, with neither syllabus nor Grand Tutor to aid him, and to Commence himself without believing in Commencement. It was presently the season for his annual inventory and report: for paying his debts, collecting his dividends, assessing the solvency of his various concerns, and establishing policy for the year ahead; but he had found himself unable to address the task. Moreover, he was plagued of late by headaches that made his eye water (I'd observed that he dosed himself with pills and liquids as he talked); his own newspapers were critical of his "deteriorating image," as they called it, unaware that he was hampered by his thing about mirrors; his neighbors declared he ought either to marry O.B.G.'s daughter or leave her alone, unaware that she was the best-treated darky in the Quad; his children were embarrassed by him and swore they would make themselves into his opposite, whatever that might be.

Then a day had come when Miss Sally Ann told him calmly that in a short time she would be ready to leave the Rest House and come home, but not to the situation she had left. She was not, she declared, blaming him -- but her survival, not to say well-being, depended on an end to the tensions between them. She had not permitted him to reply: if he was at home when she arrived, after the Carnival holidays, his presence would signify his readiness to Start Afresh; if not, she would assume that he had found himself finally and for all unwilling, or unable, to respond to her needs -- which he would then be free to regard as excessive if it comforted him to do so -- and they would legalize their separation.

"I walked down the steps of that there house with my head fit to crack," he told me. "And on one step I loved Sally Ann and hated myself, and on the next it was vicey-versy. I tried to think I'm okay, and what the heck anyhow -- but it never did sound just right. So I figured I'd better stroll around some to clear my head, and next thing I knew, I was out along the highway, and I thought I saw a cycle go by with some young slicker a-driving it, and Miss Sally Ann in the sidecar!"

I expressed my astonishment, and Max, who had waked again in time to hear the last few episodes of Peter Greene's history, said "Hah," not very sympathetically. But Greene himself seemed more bemused than disturbed by his vision.

"I don't see how it could of been, do you, George? The fellow weren't more'n twenty agewise, smiling and flash-eyed; and Sally Ann was a-giggling at something he'd said to her, holding her hand to her mouth the way she does, and I swear she looked exactly like she did the first day of that Carnival: happy and fresh as a spring lamb, and pretty as all outdoors. Must of been some co-ed and her date, just looked like her. Must of been! Or my oldest girl Barbara May that's about gone kerflooey herself, playing hooky from school. It don't matter. All I could think was how sweet and happy Sally Ann was when I took her to the Carnival, and how tore up we've been since. And no matter whose flunking fault it is -- hers or mine or the terms we live in -- I just stood there and bawled to think of it. And then I decided, by Billy Gumbo, I'd thumb me a ride to Great Mall in time for this year's Carnival. Kind of look things over, you know, back where it all started, and see what's what." He sighed, blinked his eye several times, and glanced at his wristwatch. "Which we better get along down the road for, don't we'll never find rooms tonight."

"I don't understand," I protested. "You're just going to the Spring Carnival, and not to register?"

He had initialed our bill for the waitress and was squinting with his good eye at the young hams that flexed and pressed beneath her tight uniform. He reddened and turned at my words, thumbing his chest.

"Look here, sir: I'm okay, doggone it! Any man's liable to have trouble with a strange gal when he's been married long as I have; that's the only reason I couldn't make the grade with O.B.G.'s daughter."

"I beg your pardon?" Both his terminology and his attitude perplexed me.

"Ah, flunk it. Let's hit the road."

As if, having lingered such a while at the Pedal Inn, he found it suddenly unbearable, Greene all but fled the place. As we wakened snoring Croaker (whose vine-work now climbed halfway up my stick) I saw our troubled host doing push-ups on the gravel apron and grinning at the cordial taunts of young couples parked all about. Max shook his head. Outside in the cooling floodlit dark I remounted Croaker and Max the cycle, but before we set out Greene left off the bantering he'd resumed, and took his hand from the throttle briefly to squint up at me.

"S'pose there really was a Grand Tutor!" he cried. Max had been sitting with his eyes closed; now he opened them to contemplate his driver's twisted grin. "S'pose you were Him right enough, come to put good old New Tammany on the track again, and you'd heard all the stuff I've told you 'bout me and Sally Ann and how everything's gone kerflooey! What would you say?"

Flabbergasted that he'd not truly believed me all that while, I could only stare at him. After a second he turned his face away and bitterly raced the engine. But the lights had flashed twice -- bright for that second in both his eyes, the true and the false alike made mirrors by the pain he spoke of.

3.


Now we passed swiftly through a series of residential districts -- rather handsome, I thought, though I could not understand at once why a family of four or five required as much stall-space as our entire herd -- and pressed into the formidable traffic of the central quads. I clutched Croaker's head and gazed as one reluctant to believe his eyes; I could not have said which were most dismaying: the mighty buildings, square after square ablaze with light; the multitude of human folk, mostly young people in similar costume, who thronged the sidewalks with books in their hands and plugs in their ears, through which I was told they heard musical sounds from a central transmitter; or the elm-lined avenues themselves, wide as a pasture, paved in black, and lit like noon by blue-white lamps armed out from poles. All glittered in observance of the Spring Carnival: huge foil-and-tinsel ovoids hung suspended over intersections; on the arm of every lamp-post perched a mammoth butterfly, terrifying until I learned they were not real creatures; their sequined wings, three meters in span, slowly closed and opened, sparkling with little lights in half a dozen colors. Here and there we saw groups of celebrants in gaudy garb, singing and roistering; some wore dominoes and checkered tights, others caps with bells or full-face masks, horrid of aspect; here was a girl delicious in white tights and tall silk ears, with a ball of cotton fluff atop the cleft of her rump; there a muscled red-cloaked chap with hayfork and imitation horns. These sometimes saluted as we passed, and merrily I waved my stick in reply; the rest ignored them and us alike, unless to make apprehensive way for Croaker. From everywhere the bold bright messages flashed at us: DEGREES WITH EASE -- SAY "PHYS. ED., PLEASE." NO SWEAT: PRE-VET. HAPPY CARNIVAL FROM YOUR DEPARTMENT OF POULTRY HUSBANDRY.

"No zing in that there last one," Peter Greene remarked. Having made our way down what appeared to be the widest and most resplendent thoroughfare, we parked the motorcycle at its end. Here the boulevard became a mighty lawn of grass, flanked by statelier buildings and nobler elms, and fronted, just before us, by an iron fence-gate twenty meters tall. Unlike all else of eminence round about, Main Gate (for so I recognized it, with a shiver, and the lawn as Great Mall, and the imposing edifice far down it as Tower Hall) was unlit: guards prowled in the shadow along the ivied, gargoyled wall into which it made and before the famous one-way turnstile at the road's end. I was much excited by the general spectacle, and impatient to see all at once. It was the last night of the Carnival: crews of workmen were already dismantling some temporary structures along the mall; on one side of us was many-storied Bi-Sci House, the exclusive apartment hotel for professors of the natural sciences, with its notorious Vivisection Bar-B-Q underneath; adjacent were the glittering Gate House Ballroom, the Sophomore Cinema and Shooting Gallery, and other places of amusement whose fame was campus-wide. Opposite were cultural attractions: the Fine Arts Salesroom, the Pan-Sororal Playhouse, and nearest us, sloping down from Mall Wall, the vast Amphitheater managed jointly by the Sub-Departments of Ancient Narrative and Theatrical Science. I was taken with particular curiosity by this last because the playbills advertised that evening's performance as The Tragedy of Taliped Decanus, a work of whose hero I had heard though I hadn't read the tale of his adventures. It was to be the conclusion of a week-long series of classical productions, and lines of people were already filing in to witness it.

"Y'all want to take a look-see?" Greene suggested when I expressed my interest. "I never was much a one for stage-plays, but they do say there's hot stuff in this one." He insisted then that we permit him to buy tickets for the four of us, including Croaker, who though surely unable to comprehend the play could not safely be left alone; there would be ample time afterwards to tour the midway, if we chose. Before this generosity I saw Max's expression soften; nevertheless he declined the invitation on the grounds that we had yet to find cheap lodging for the night, and that I had better retire early against the ordeal of registration, which was scheduled for sunup next morning -- especially as I'd done my share of celebrating the night before. Moreover, he had certain advices and cautions to give me that evening, in case there should be no opportunity next day. I was disappointed, and yet gratified to see Max displaying something of his old concern for me.

But Greene would not be gainsaid. "Tell him what you want to while I fetch the tickets," he proposed, and offered further to spare us the bother of searching for rooms; all he had to do, he declared, was telephone from the ticket-office to the JELI, or Junior Enochist League Inn, where as past League Chairman he was always entitled to free accommodations. He would hear no further protests, just as during the ride from the Pedal Inn he'd refused to listen seriously to my assurances that I was in good faith a Grand Tutor, or Grand-Tutor-to-be, and not a pretender, madman, or costumed Carnival-goer. "The woods is full of 'em this time of year," he'd smiled. "But I know by your face you're okay. I believe for a fact you're the Goat-Boy, like you said, and that's wonder enough." Now, as then, Max shrugged, as if to say there was no use contending further, Greene might have it as he pleased. And he admitted that it might be fitting to witness the profoundest of the Lykeionian tragedies before I matriculated: there was no coincidence in its being produced just at Carnival's end, before the Spring Matriculation rituals. But he really must speak to me first confidentially, as my advisor. Greene went off happily to buy the tickets.

"Odd chap!" I remarked after him. "I don't know whether I like him, but he's certainly obliging."

Max made a deprecating gesture. "He's okay; I don't mind him."

I made bold to point out that he, Max, had not been consistently so tolerant during the afternoon and earlier evening, towards either Greene or myself, and begged him please to excuse once and for all my behavior at the Powerhouse or, if he found it inexcusable, allow me to proceed upon my way as I had set out, without the benefit of his company and counsel. The rebuke didn't sting him; indeed, he seemed if anything pleased to hear it. He nodded several times and said quietly, "You don't talk like a kid, all right. Na, George..." He put an arm about my back (I had come down off Croaker) with more affection than he'd shown me for some time; I was quite moved by the gesture and the warmth in his voice as he explained what lay immediately ahead for me, though at the same time I wondered at a mournful urgency in his face, as if what he was saying must be said without delay.

"We'll talk about the Powerhouse and Maurice Stoker when there's time," he said. "There's more important business now." Leaving Croaker my stick to gnaw upon, we strolled onto the grassy verge of the Mall, near the gate. "Things like the Gorge and the Power Plant were just sidetracks, Georgie, bad as they were. Same with that poor girl Anastasia that thinks I'm her poppa -- just a sidetrack, whether she meant to be or not. But right there is the first big hurdle you got to get over." He indicated the Turnstile with a wave of his hand. "It shouldn't be any trouble -- what I mean, it's either impossible or easy, never in-between -- but you mustn't get sidetracked or hesitate even for an eyeblink when the time comes, or you're kaput."

He then explained briefly the ritual of registration and matriculation as it had developed in the West-Campus colleges, especially New Tammany, in modern times. The large gates on either side of the Turnstile, presently closed, normally stood open and were the common entryways to the heart of the College, the site originally of all its buildings and latterly of the administrative and military-science quadrangles. Theoretically no one except Graduates and Certified Candidates for Graduation was admitted, and in the heyday of the Enochist Curriculum this restriction was technically enforced, the Enochist Fraternity ruling on credentials as the Founder's deputy in the University. Over the semesters, however, as the Fraternity's authority had declined and the nature and existence of the Founder Himself was debated and challenged, the practice had fallen into disuse. Even in the old days those outside the various Mall Walls of West Campus had always outnumbered those within and were included in the Fraternal hegemony and instructed by its professors; Many are Registered but few are Qualified, Enos Enoch had said, and inasmuch as none but Him could tell true Candidates from false, the Fraternity tutored everybody. Today it was strictly forbidden in the by-laws of colleges such as NTC to disqualify a man for matriculation and campus office by reason of his pedagogical beliefs, and in lieu of the old Degrees of Wisdom, the administration conferred upon anyone who completed his course-work successfully and passed certain "technical examinations" a Certificate of Proficiency in the Field; such men were called "graduates," were said to have "commenced," and were eligible either for employment in their "fields" or for further study beyond the C.P.F., at the end of which they became "professors" in their own right -- a far cry from the original meaning of those terms! Yet the Enochist tradition was preserved in certain college rituals -- echoed, rather, for the celebrants had little idea what it was they celebrated: the Spring Carnival itself, with its attendant symbols, was one such tradition, originating in ancient agronomical ceremonies and modified by the Enochist Fraternity to celebrate the Expulsion of Enos Enoch, His promotion of the Old-Syllabus Emeritus Profs from the Nether Campus, and His triumphal Reinstatement. Trial-by-Turnstile was another, observed at the opening of each term and with especial solemnity at Spring Registration, which was scheduled for next morning. The tradition was that only bonafide Candidates for Graduation (using the terms in their original sense) could pass through the Turnstile and the tiny gate somewhere beyond it -- both which, being one-way affairs, committed the passer-through not to anything so prosaic as "Minimums" and C.P.F.'s, but to the Final Examination and thus to absolute Commencement or Flunking Out.

"The trouble is," Max smiled, "there haven't been any Candidates since ancient terms, and things being how they are, the Enochists wouldn't dare say any more who's a Graduate and who isn't -- even in the old days they never decided on that until after the student passed away. So the Turnstile's never been turned -- it's probably rusted shut -- and Scrapegoat Grate's been locked since it was built."

My fancy was caught by that latter name, and I squinted into the shadows with new interest. Max explained that the word had nothing to do with scapegoat, more the pity, but alluded to three characteristically anticaprine remarks of Enos Enoch's: that He was come to separate the sheep from the goats; that the Way to Graduation was too narrow for even a goat to walk, but a broad mall for His flock; and that it were easier for a goat to scrape through an iron fence-grating than for a merely learned man to enter Commencement Gate. The present practice in West-Campus colleges was for the strongest and nimblest young men from each quadrangle -- generally the winners of athletic competitions held in conjunction with the Carnival -- to fling themselves against the Turnstile, bleating in what they took to be goatly fashion, while the new registrants and spectators cheered them on and a figure dressed to represent the Dean o' Flunks endeavored to block their way. When all the athletes had failed they were garlanded with lilies by Miss University and by her symbolically driven from the scene, to the Dean o' Flunks' delight; then the great Right and Left Gates were thrown open, as if they were Scrapeboat Grate, and while the Dean o' Flunks gnashed his teeth in mock frustration, the hosts of actual new registrants were admitted into the Gatehouse just inside Mall Wall, and the business of scheduling courses for the term was begun. Few who participated in these festivities were aware of their original significance, any more than they recognized Carnival as coming from the Remusian "farewell to flesh" that preceded any period of fasting or mourning; Trial-by-Turnstile was no more than an amusing sport at the end of a week's carouse, and it was cause enough to rejoice for most students if they were able to turn out at all so early on that Friday morning, after partying all through Randy-Thursday night.

Of late, however, the tensions of the Quiet Riot, alarming rises in the student delinquency and divorce rates, and such exacerbating problems as overcrowded classrooms and the "drop-outs" from EAT-wave testing (which was held to poison the intellectual atmosphere and produce each term a certain number of defective minds) -- these anxieties had lent a new significance to the ancient rites, at least in the eyes of the Enochist Fraternity, who held that only a return to the teachings of the New Syllabus could save the University from self-destruction, and studentdom from final Failure. Many non-Enochists, though they found that particular Answer unacceptable, agreed on the seriousness of the problem, and remembering the Spielman Proviso in WESCAC's Menu-program, called for a new Grand Tutor to change the AIM and give to contemporary West-Campus culture a fresh direction, a Revised New Syllabus, as Enos Enoch had done in His term.

"That's what that Greene meant a while ago," Max said, "when he said the woods is full of Grand Tutors this time of year. Spring Term is when your old wandering researchers and dons-errant used to appear on campus, or do their big projects." Furthermore, he declared, it was my selection, as though by chance, of this particular time of year to set out for Great Mall that had finally persuaded him of the possibility that there might be something to my claim to Grand-Tutorhood.

"Ah, Max!" I broke in at this point. "Even yet you can't believe me, can you?" My distress was so purely for his sake and not my own (there were tears of concern in my eyes) that he was moved to embrace me.

"Dear Billy!"

"George," I corrected.

"Suppose you were!" he muttered intensely, much as Peter Greene had done, and repeated the sentiment so familiar to me by now, and irritating: that it was beyond belief that so uncanny a chain of happenstance could be mere coincidence, and yet... By which was meant, I neither talked nor behaved Grand-Tutorially, in his estimation, and so the "chain of happenstance" must be coincidental after all, etc. "But if it's not you it's not anybody else around," he added, as though with clenched teeth, "not in my lifetime; and hard as it is to believe in Grand Tutors and all that daydreaming, I think of Stoker, and I think of Eblis Eierkopf, and I know we're going to EAT each other up if somebody don't stop us!"

He then confessed, excusing his bluntness on the grounds of short time and antiflattery, that he didn't for a minute subscribe to the hope that any "campus-passing spook" could change the student mind in general -- indeed, he was still old-fashioned enough to find such a prospect as depressing as it was unlikely. Nor, he had to admit in all affection, did he regard me as a mental giant: excuse him, he had known prodigious intelligences in his day, in both scientifical and philosophical departments, and they were different from me, no offense intended. Studentdom, he felt, must pass its own Examinations and define its own Commencement -- a slow, most painful process, made the more anguishing by bloody intelligences like the Bonifacists of Siegfrieder College. Yet however it seemed at times that men got nowhere, but only repeated class by class the mistakes of their predecessors, two crucial facts about them were at once their hope and the limitation of their possibility, so he believed. One was their historicity: the campus was young, the student race even younger, and by contrast with the whole of past time, the great collegiate cultures had been born only yesterday. The other had to do with his comparative cyclology, a field of systematic speculation he could not review for me just then, but whose present relevance lay in the correspondency he held to obtain between the life-history of individuals and the history of studentdom in general. As the embryologists maintained that ontogeny repeats phylogeny, so, Max claimed, the race itself -- and on a smaller scale, West-Campus culture -- followed demonstrably -- in capital letters, as it were, or slow motion -- the life-pattern of its least new freshman. This was the basis of Spielman's Law -- ontogeny repeats cosmogeny -- and there was much more to it and to the science of cyclology whereof it was first principle. The important thing for now was that, by his calculations, West Campus as a whole was in mid-adolescence...

"Look how we been acting," he invited me, referring to intercollegiate political squabbles; "the colleges are spoilt kids, and the whole University a mindless baby, ja? Okay: so weren't we all once, Enos Enoch too? And we got to admit that the University's a precocious kid. If the history of life on campus hadn't been so childish, we couldn't hope it'll reach maturity." Studentdom had passed already, he asserted, from a disorganized, pre-literate infancy (of which Croaker was a modern representative, nothing ever being entirely lost) through a rather brilliant early childhood ("...ancient Lykeion, Remus, T'ang...") which formed its basic and somewhat contradictory character; it had undergone a period of naïve general faith in parental authority (by which he meant early Founderism) and survived critical spells of disillusionment, skepticism, rationalism, willfulness, self-criticism, violence, disorientation, despair, and the like -- all characteristic of pre-adolescence and adolescence, at least in their West-Campus form. I even recognized some of those stages in my own recent past; indeed, Max's description of the present state of West-Campus studentdom reminded me uncomfortably of my behavior in the Lady-Creamhair period: capricious, at odds with itself, perverse, hard to live with. Its schisms, as manifested in the Quiet Riot, had been aggravated and rendered dangerous by the access of unwonted power -- as when, in the space of a few semesters, a boy finds himself suddenly muscular, deep-voiced, aware of his failings, proud of his strengths, capable of truly potent love and hatred -- and on his own. What hope there was that such an adolescent would reach maturity (not to say Commencement) without destroying himself was precisely the hope of the University.

"What brings a boy through?" he asked of his four-fingered hand. "Good guidance, for one thing; a character that's stronger than its weaknesses, and flexible; and good luck." The guidance of the University, he reasoned, was such root pedagogical documents as the Moishianic Code, the Founder's Scroll, the Colloquiums of Enos Enoch, the Footnotes to Sakhyan: they did not of course come from "outside" -- one mustn't overdo the analogy -- but from individual students who had matured and Graduated over the semesters -- from "inside," if I pleased; they were the best Answers that studentdom had devised, came early in its "upbringing," and comprised the strong but inconsistent conscience of the University. The healthy character he judged to be partly a matter of chance and partly of this "early training," and luck he felt involved the possibility of catastrophic accident: adolescents took chances and were by nature strenuous and impulsive; Campus Riot III might occur after all and studentdom be EATen, as a prep-school boy might resort to delinquency or suicide, or be killed in a motorcycle race.

"So what are the odds?" he asked further, again rhetorically, and paced me more vigorously back and forth before the darkened Turnstile. I listened intently, for though most of what he said I'd heard many times before -- indeed, it seemed to me I'd heard it from the play-pound -- it was as if, the events of the past several days under my wrapper, I understood him for the first time. "By George, I think the odds for survival are pretty good. Some kids don't make it through adolescence, but most do." Similarly, he said, most reached a fair level of grown-upness -- although Commencement was of course another matter, if there was such a thing at all. The University was a big place: when lecturers spoke of East and West Campuses, or the "Nature of studentdom," they tended to forget the curious colleges in remote corners of the University, which were only beginning to be touched by the Informational Revolution and Applied Research. What was more, though the colleges themselves could be said to have a fair degree of identity and self-consciousness, the University as a whole was barely stirring in that direction. This was not to say that its maturation must be as slow and painful as a college's: it would have its own growth-rate, sped by the sophistication of individual quads, especially if the rivalry between East and West Campus could be made less negative. Max guessed that the chances for West Campus's reaching maturity were good: in the past, the behavior of the colleges towards one another, particularly in disputes, had been at the primary-school level, or worse; but there was evidence of real restraint in the matter of EATing-riot and relevant intercollege policy. The prospect was not hopeless.

"Pfui," Max said grimly. "The University will make it if we can ease the worst pressures and not EAT everything up! That's why you're important."

The immediately urgent thing was to alter WESCAC's AIM -- a feat achievable only by WESCAC itself on its own unlikely "volition," or by a Grand Tutor: that is, by someone whom WESCAC would recognize as such and admit un-EATen into its Belly. And though Max had no use for or credence in other aspects of Grand-Tutorhood, he was familiar enough with WESCAC's programming in this particular, and Eierkopf's thinking in the Cum Laude Project, to have a general conception of the prerequisites developed by and fed into the computer, and a general strategy for what lay ahead. What it came to was that I happened to be the animate object most closely correspondent to those prerequisites and thus most suited to take the risk of reAIMing WESCAC; in his view such things as high IQ and new Answers had as little to do with my role as with an athlete's or riot-squad leader's: I was the tool designed for the work, nothing more...

"Don't be upset," he begged me firmly; "if there's more to it, then I'm wrong and studentdom's better off. If I'm mistaken the other way, you'll be EATen and I'll jump off Tower Hall. But you got to get registered before you can do anything, and you can't register in the usual way without a proper ID-card and lots of other things you don't have, including more education and something to pay your way with."

I was stunned: these were considerations that had never occurred to me. But Max waved them off -- along with Peter Greene, who had been approaching with our tickets but lingered now grinning and blinking some meters away, where squatted Croaker.

"So we forget about the usual requirements," Max said. He lowered his voice. "If I'm right, what you got to do tomorrow is pass through the Turnstile and Scrapegoat Grate."

I looked at him with alarm.

"It's part of the Grand-Tutor business," he whispered. "Like the way G. Herrold found you, so you've either been EATen already or for some reason WESCAC didn't EAT you. That was the first big step, and starting out like you did the other day was the second. Getting past Main Gate is the third." He then advised me as clearly as he could what lay ahead and how I must deal with it.

"Be here tomorrow morning before six o'clock," he said, "and let the others try as much as they want to get through the Turnstile. They won't make it: they're not supposed to. Is your watch working?"

I drew the silver lanyard from the neck of my wrapper; Lady Creamhair's watch had run down some time ago, and I feared that the water in George's Gorge might have ruined it, but it began ticking promptly upon my winding the stem a little.

"Set it when you hear Tower Clock strike the hour," Max advised. "And at exactly four minutes after six tomorrow morning, no matter what's going on or who's in your way, go up to the Turnstile and Scrapegoat Grate and go through them."

I certainly didn't understand. "Right through?"

Max shrugged. "Don't ask me how, but it's the only way. Keep your eyes open, look around, watch out for whoever it is that's playing Dean o' Flunks; it could be an enemy, if word's gotten around in Tower Hall that you might be the real thing." He had reason to believe, he said, that supervision of the Trial-by-Turnstile ceremony had been given over to WESCAC since he'd been in exile -- there had been such proposals during the debate over the Spielman Proviso, and Max saw above the Turnstile what he believed to be a scanning device. "If you can't get through, you're not the man," he declared. "Even if you found a way to sneak through the Right or Left Gates, they'd never let you near Tower Hall basement, any more than they'd let a Nikolayan read the Menu. So don't let anything tempt or scare you; don't listen to anybody or stop to pick up anything you might drop or lose." He frowned and raised a finger. "No, wait: you might have to give the guard something, I don't know what. But anything you lose, don't go back for it: drive on through, and if you make it some way or other -- you might be the right one."

He went on to say that once through Main Gate I should proceed to the Gatehouse, where, if things were still done as formerly, I would meet the Chancellor himself, Lucius Rexford, who always afldressed the new registrants. On the strength of my having passed the Trial-by-Turnstile, I should announce to him my intention to enter Tower Hall and change WESCAC's AIM, which to Max's mind meant removing from the computer's Belly those "Diet"-tapes which were the heart, so to speak, of its Automatic Implementation Mechanism. The Senate, he warned, would do all it could to stop me, in the name of alma-matriotism and common sense, as would the more dangerous (because more secretive) Department of Military Science; what I intended to do amounted to no less than "unilateral fasting," and I could assume that in most quadrangles I'd be regarded as a Student-Unionist agent or a madman. As Max conceived it, my task would be to rally enough support among the rank and file of studentdom to make myself too formidable for the professor-generals to assassinate and too popular for the Senate to oppose; the best, perhaps the only means to that end was to demand in the Gatehouse my rights as a bonafide Candidate: that is, a statement from WESCAC of whatever requirements I must satisfy to take the Finals, and then administration of the Finals themselves. Once certified (by WESCAC or whomever) not as a mere C.P.F. but as an actual passèd Graduate, I should then proceed to demonstrate my Grand-Tutorship by going into WESCAC's Belly; when and if I emerged unEATen, I would be in position to demand that Tower Hall instruct me how to locate and remove the Diet-tapes and program WESCAC's AIM toward such pacific ends as cooperation with Nikolay College and a truly effective supra-collegiate administration: a government of the whole University.

I was utterly dismayed: what in the barn had seemed a matter of simple courage -- like walking into a dark room and turning on the light, or rescuing a kid from a pack of dogs -- seemed here an impossibly complex and unlikely task. "How will I ever get all that done?" I cried. "And you talk as if you won't even be around to advise me!"

"I hope I may be, Georgie," he answered gloomily. Then his face brightened for a moment. "Who knows if it's possible or not? If things weren't impossible we wouldn't need Grand Tutors!" He pointed out that when a man found himself in great danger -- pursued by a bull, say, or drawn under by a treacherous current -- it not uncommonly happened that he discovered in himself extraordinary resources, thitherto unsuspected, with which to rescue himself. Such a resource to studentdom in general, it seemed to him, were those whom men called Grand Tutors: adrenalin for the imperiled student body. "If you get through the Grate you'll find your way without my help. All I can do is warn you in a general way, from studying how it went with ones like you in the past, and I don't know how useful that is. Look at yesterday."

He smiled somewhat sadly, to let me know he held no grudge, and we rejoined Croaker and Peter Greene. They in turn had been joined by a desiccate gentleman whom I recognized as Dr. Kennard Sear, and who it developed remembered Greene cordially as his patient of some years previously. The two seemed to be on good terms despite the great difference in their natures and the fact that their professional relationship had been unfruitful. Greene had bought an extra ticket for the Doctor and was clapping him on the shoulder as we approached.

"My dear George," Sear murmured amiably. "Good to see you again. Pity Hedwig isn't here; she was quite taken with you last night."

I shook the fine dry hand he offered me and then put by my apprehension at the morrow's prospect to join the general good-fellowship. Dr. Sear was delighted to see Max once more, having been among his admirers and supporters in the troubled past.

"Kennard Sear..." Max frowned. "Ja, sure, the young radiologist with the Cum Laude Project. I thought you were on Eierkopf's side."

"Gracious no!" Dr. Sear closed his eyes in a delicate expression of horror. "That is, I'm on everybody's side. 'Tout comprendre,' all that sort of thing. Bloody bore, taking sides; not my line at all." He smiled very pleasantly. "But what's this they're saying about you and young George here, and all this Grand Tutor nonsense?" The man's manner was so urbane, his way of saying things so gracious, that Max chuckled at what surely would have affronted him from someone else. He assured Dr. Sear that while age and exile had doubtless taken their toll upon his faculties, on the subject of Founders and Commencements he was still the skeptic he'd been in the Senate. What was more, he declared, he was still as inclined as ever to act in accordance with his beliefs -- unlike certain civilized and knowledgeable gentlemen who either had none or else disguised them wonderfully well.

"You're too severe," Dr. Sear protested mildly. We strolled towards the Amphitheater. "I grant you I can't go along with anybody's Answers I've heard of yet, but that's their fault, for always being half true. Founderism! AntiFounderism! Look at Greene here, with all his blather about Good Old NTC, and Let the Chips Fall Where They May. Don't you agree it's just simple-mindedness, this business of having principles?"

Greene whinnied merrily and jerked his head a number of times. "I swear, I can't keep up with you!" He gave the tickets to a uniformed attendant, to whom also he made known how interesting he found it that "these old-time thee-aters," after which NTC's was patterned, had no balconies reserved for darkies, though even a country boy like himself knew that there'd been slavery in both Lykeion and Remus Colleges in their golden days. It all went to show, he maintained, what high-minded folks those old fellows were, who never regarded a man as inferior just because he wasn't as good as they were. He thumped the ticket-taker's chest congratulatorily as if he were himself not only an ancient Lykeionian but the designer of unbalconied amphitheaters, and the fellow acknowledged the tribute with a gracious grunt. Then we entered the great bowl of seats, already mostly filled, and were ushered down towards those reserved for us. I turned my attention from the cordial dispute between Max and Sear on the difference between simple, strong, and narrow minds to survey the dark stone stage and humming crowd. Though I knew the huge enrollment-figures of the College I had no appreciation yet of its size, and having met one acquaintance by sheerest chance already, I searched the audience in hopes of glimpsing Anastasia, or even Lady Creamhair -- whom I was determined to seek out and make amends to for my bad manners, if she still lived in New Tammany. But there was no sign of them. Greene bought from a passing vendor five cartons of popcorn, pleasant stuff, whereof he and I took each a box and Croaker three, Max and Dr. Sear declining. The latter, enraptured by the carving on my stick (which he identified as a first-chop example of late-transitional mandibulary carving in the East Frumentian polycaryatidic tradition except for the shelah-na-gigs -- seldom to be found in the work of mandibulary artists by reason of strictures extended from taboos against certain kinds of oral heteroerotic foreplay -- and the now completed intaglio vine, obviously an extraquadrangular influence since both viniculture and oenology were unknown in the East-Frumentian "colleges"), declared to Max with a sigh that after all he sometimes regarded the absolutely unselfconscious, like Croaker, to be the only real Graduates -- "using the term figuratively, of course..."

"Pfui!" Max replied, and Sear conceded at once that he didn't really believe anything of the sort, though he certainly did admire spontaneity and animal innocence above all human qualities, despite his contempt for them.

"Who's nearer to being passed?" He included in a wan wave of the hand Croaker, Peter Greene, and myself. "Them or us?"

It seemed to me an improper question, presupposing as it did not only the evident similarity between the two professors but something significantly common to us eaters of popcorn. But I let it pass, both because Max himself promptly challenged it and because my eye was caught by a photograph of The Living Sakhyan and his retinue in a discarded newspaper near my feet.

"Innocence, bah," Max said.

"I agree, I agree!" Sear protested. "But it's sweet, all the same. Oh well, it's not, but it seems so to us ravaged post-Pre-Schoolists. I suppose we're the innocent ones, when we speak of great rascally simpletons like Greene there as being innocent."

Greene winked above a cheekful of popcorn. "Say what you want." I was impressed again by his strange combination of attitudes: I'm okay, his wink declared -- but with as much supplication as conviction.

"Pfui on innocence," Max said.

"I couldn't agree more," Dr. Sear nodded. "I'll go even further: innocence is ignorance; ignorance is illusion; and Commencement, while it certainly is a metaphor, is no illusion. Commencement's for the disillusioned, not for the innocent."

Here Max parted philosophical company with the Doctor (who, I learned in time, had moved from the fields of radiology and general pathology into psychiatry, though like Max he was learned in a great many areas beyond his profession), for he regarded Commencement itself as an innocent illusion.

"Ignorant, I mean, not harmless," he added, much more in the vein of the Max who'd raised me than the fellow who'd met me at the fork in yesterday's road. I knew by heart his old indictments of any Answer which turned studentdom from realistic work upon the failings of life on campus; and though I was curious to know how he reconciled that point of view with his acknowledgment of my Grand-Tutoriality, I was more interested in scanning the front page of the Tower Hall Times. The photograph represented The Living Sakhyan seated on the grass beside a massive elm-trunk, perhaps on Great Mall, his associates round about, just as I'd last seen him on the beach in George's Gorge; his palms were pressed together, his eyes closed, and his lips turned slightly upwards at the corners, as if he were placidly amused by the crowd of photographers and curious passersby around him. The caption underneath read LIVING SAKHYAN MEDITATES ON MIDWAY and was followed by a brief account of how he had been rescued from the East-Campus Student-Unionists by his protégés, a flight he'd neither willed nor opposed; how he neither sought nor shunned publicity, but withdrew into meditative trances whenever he saw fit, regardless of time, place, or company. The rest of the page was given over to collegiate and inter-collegiate news: HIGHWAY DEATHS TO BREAK CARNIVAL RECORD, SAFETY COMMITTEE WARNS; REXFORD TO ANNOUNCE NEW EAT-TESTS TO UNIVERSITY COUNCIL; TENSION MOUNTS ALONG POWER LINE; THOUSANDS MASSACRED IN FRUMENTIAN INTRAMURAL RIOTS; FAMINE SPREADS IN T'ANG; FLOODWATERS RISE IN SIDDARTHA; NTC RAPE-RATE UP 4 POINTS. The weather promised to be fair for the last night of the Carnival as well as for tomorrow's registration and attendant ceremonies, and for that reason the Department of Meteorology urgently reminded everyone to refrain from looking directly at the sun during the annular eclipse predicted for shortly after dawn.

"I respect your position on the social aspects of the Commencement question," Dr. Sear was saying to Max, "but not on the phenomenon of personal Graduation. One good medical therapist might be worth a hundred professors of Enochism, as you say; but a real Grand Tutor's worth all the medical therapists that ever were."

Max shook his head.

"You believe in Graduation and Grand Tutors, then, sir?" I asked him -- rather surprised, but much gratified.

"Of course I do," he smiled. "If you mean do I believe they exist, of course I do. But I mean something rather special by the terms, that has nothing to do with Founders and Dean o' Flunks. Even Dr. Spielman agrees that there really are heroes, and that they serve a useful purpose. Why else would he enlist you in this quaint project of his?"

Max objected that to his mind heroes were one thing -- even Grand Tutors, whom he regarded merely as a particular variety of heroes -- and Graduation was another. "What I believe, certain men are born with a natural talent for the hero-work; they're no more miraculous than great violinists. It's a neutral thing: some people are red-haired, some are hump-backed, some are heroes." And what everyone went through for himself, he went on, more or less profoundly depending on one's character, Grand Tutors went through on the level of the whole student body: "Every college needs a man now and then to go to the bottom of things and turn us around a corner. That's what George must do with the WESCAC if he can." As for Graduation, if Sear meant by the term simply the emotional and intellectual maturity that normally followed the ordeals of adolescence, whether in an individual student or an entire college, then Max was quite ready to affirm its reality; indeed, cyclological theory was founded on such correspondences as that between the celestial and psychic day, the seasons of the year, the stages of ordinary human life, the growth and decline of individual colleges, the evolution and history of studentdom as a whole, the ultimate fate of the University, and what had we. The rhythm of all these was repeated literally and emblematically in the life of the hero, whose function, Max took it, was the important but prosaic one of helping a college grow up or get out of a particular bind: more than that he denied. And if there was a difference between Grand Tutors and other sorts of heroes, it was that men like Maios, Enos Enoch, and the original Sakhyan taught students how to behave more decently toward one another, while heroes like Anchisides and Laertides actually preserved their classmates from immediate harm, whether by slaying certain monsters or by resettling groups of student refugees threatened with extinction. Me he conceived to be, not destined to save studentdom from being EATen but very possibly designed for that task, as who should call a man uniquely designed to play championship tennis, without implying either a designer or that he will ever take racket in hand. If I chose to regard myself as a Grand Tutor, that was my affair; Max would not split hairs. But if I or Sear or anyone maintained that there was something to herohood or Commencement beyond this unglamorous definition -- something magical or transcendental -- then we must excuse him, he had no patience with such notions.

"We quite excuse you!" Dr. Sear insisted cordially, "Don't we, George?"

I confessed I wasn't sure I grasped Max's point, and that I considered it anyhow my business less to understand than to perform my task, which was immediately to get through Scrapegoat Grate and then to do what I'd come to the campus for: to pass all or fail all. They both seemed pleased with this reply, and fortunately didn't ask for an explanation of that dark imperative from my PAT-card, which I could not then clearly have given them. The Amphitheater was quite filled now, and the floodlights dimmed. People hushed and coughed. Dr. Sear lowered his dry voice to remind Max that not much if any of Sakhyan's Tutoring, for example, had to do with interpersonal relations or the general welfare of studentdom, except indirectly, and that while Anchisides and Moishe had unquestionably led their followers to a new and greater campus, Laertides was the sole survivor of an expedition that benefited no one (even the giant he blinded had scarcely been a public menace, remote as he was from inhabited quadrangles), and among the more primitive heroes of ancient lore it was rather the rule than the exception that their exploits profited no one save themselves. But surely, he protested, Max knew this better than he, and no doubt had in mind a distinction between practical and emblematic heroes, the former being those who in fact or fiction rendered some extraordinary service to studentdom, the latter those whose careers were merely epical representations of the ordinary dramatical metaphor, if he would.

"What do you think Graduation and Grand Tutorhood are?" I asked again, in a whisper. "They must be real things, or I couldn't want them so much."

He smiled at my reasoning. "I imagine you would, in any case. The desire to be a Graduate is normal enough in young people, although in adults it's a neurosis, often as not. And the itch to be a Grand Tutor -- that's always neurotic, wouldn't you say?"

"Neurotic means not right in the head," Max explained, tapping his temple and watching me with interest.

"Well, how about the person who actually is the Grand Tutor?" I demanded.

Peter Greene clapped me on the knee. "Attaboy, George! Don't take nothing off him!" He had been reading the pages of sporting-news and comic drawings in the newspaper, and joined our conversation now only because the lights had gone too dim to read by.

"Why," Sear asserted good-humoredly, "he's necessarily somewhat mad, my dear boy. Enos Enoch, Anchisides -- all those hero and Grand-Tutor chaps. Charmingly mad, I grant you. Magnificently mad, if you like. But mad."

I was the more put out by this remark in view of my infant circumstances and G. Herrold's state after rescuing me from the tapelift. But fifteen folk in white cotton wrappers, high boots, and masks had filed onto the stage below, and since I scarcely knew how to reply in any case, I turned to them my troubled attention. They carried leafy branches in their hands and sat now here and there upon three long steps in the forepart of the stage.

"Please don't be offended," Sear whispered. "Who wouldn't choose to be mad like Enos Enoch instead of sane like Dr. Spielman and me? Besides, there's another kind of hero that we didn't mention: the tragic kind." I was not consoled. To Max he added, "They never got their due in the Cum Laude Project, either, when Eierkopf had us all working on that flunkèd GILES. But if you ask me, the only sane heroes are the tragic heroes." He nodded his elegant thin head towards the stage, where now a man taller than the others, with a greatly pained expression on his mask, had stepped forth from a central door in the background to approach the seated gathering.

"There's the best example of all," Dr. Sear whispered to me; "that's Taliped Decanus."

4.


Taliped's my name: the famous Dean

of Cadmus College. You're the ad hoc team

(department-heads and vice-administrators)

whom I named last year as evaluators

of our academic posture. Maybe you knew

these things already. Notice I've come to you

in person: that's because I itch to find

out what, if anything, is on your mind,

and why you're camping on the Deanery stoop.

You, there: you're head of the Speech and Forensics Group

and closest to retirement; speak without fear


or rhetoric: What on Campus brings you here?

"A modern translation," Max remarked. "I hate it." But Dr. Sear declared that idiomatic translation of the classics was much in fashion in the College, and that while he agreed that the modernization could go too far, he approved of the general principle. I observed that the line-ends seemed to rhyme, more or less, in pairs.

"Heroic couplets," Dr. Sear explained. "Nothing modern about them."

"Ah."

Now an old chap, not unlike Max in appearance, with white beard and wrapper, spoke for the assemblage:


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Ahem. I am most proud, Dean Taliped

and honored colleagues, to have been the head

of this, my last committee, whose report

and urgent recommendations --


TALIPED: Make it short;

I've little time: appointments, letters, lunch

with six assistant deans, and then a bunch

of meetings until five. Get to the facts.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Aside]

Respect for his elders is what this fellow lacks.

[TO TALIPED]

I mean to, Mister Dean. The facts are here

in our report: complete, unvarnished, clear --


TALIPED: [Aside]

And laced with purple passages, I'll bet.

Of all the speech-professors that I've met,

here in Cadmus and back where I used to teach,

not one could make a clear, unvarnished speech.

[TO COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN]

No need to read it: summarize what's in it.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Aside]

We waste two weeks; he can't spare a minute.

[TO TALIPED]

Very well, sir; I'll forego analysis

of our problems, and of certain fallacies

inherent in some proposals for relief –

though it's quite worth hearing. Also, to be brief,

I'll skip our truly moving peroration

and read you these last pages of summation,

done in a post-Philippic courtroom style...


TALIPED: Let's skip that too, okay? I swear that I'll

be just as moved to hear in a word what's what.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: In a word, sir: Cadmus College has gone to pot.


TALIPED: To pot, you say?


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Quite utterly to pot.

Shall I say more?


TALIPED: I know you will. But not

in post-Philippics. Lay it on the line.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Reads from last page of report]

Item: our fruits are dying on the vine --


TALIPED: So's the Department of Plant Pathology.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Agronomy reports that there will be

another field-crop failure -- rusts and blight.

Item: Dairy Research declares we might

lose half our stock to hoof-and-mouth disease...

I clutched Max's arm. "That's terrible!"

"Oh well," sighed Dr. Sear, "at least the tickets didn't cost us anything."


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: That means we'll lack for beef and milk and cheese.


TALIPED: / know what it means!


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: It means, sir, that we'll die

of malnutrition soon -- or plague, if I

correctly read those secret, censored portions

of the epidemiologists' report. Item: abortions,

both spontaneous and not, are much

more common every term; so too are such

once-rare events as murder, arson, cheating,

robbery, riot, rape, divorce, wife-beating.

Morale is low, inflation high; vice thrives;

we're losing accreditation and our wives.

Famine, stillbirth, crime, despair, the pox –

fact is, sir, Cadmus College is on the rocks.


TALIPED: What else is new?


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Well, sir, to be sure,

we understand that, while you're brilliant, you're

no passèd Founder; that however keen

your intellect, after all you're just a dean –

and young besides, in years if not in mind.


TALIPED: [Aside]

And thin-skinned, too, this windy fool will find;

I'll break his contract and revoke his pension,

I swear itl


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Mister Dean, sir -- your attention?

What we mean, sir, is that inasmuch

as you contrived to save us from the clutch

of that she-monster at our entrance-gate –

who quizzed us with her riddle and then ate

us when we flunked -- since you alone, I say,

by some device were able, on that day

nine years ago, to get her off our back,

you must have had some influence that we lack

with the powers-that-be. I don't think it was knowledge

(I know more learned men in Cadmus College)

or wisdom, either; simply good connections.

Therefore, in the subsequent elections

you won the Cadmus deanship and your wife,

the old Dean's widow...


TALIPED: Don't review my life;

I know the story twice as well as you.

"I didn't," Greene whispered into my ear. "I'm glad the old man let us in on it."

"Shh," somebody hissed behind us.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Aside]

He tells it twice as well and often, too.

[TO TALIPED]

We hope, sir, you'll be able to repeat

that stunt; to set the College on its feet

by some great deanly deed, before we're dead.

That's what we came to tell you, Taliped.


TALIPED: [Aside]

Tell is right - -the threat's thinly veiled!

Their point's quite clear: that, deanwise, I've failed,

and should resign my post.

[TO COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN]

Look here, by Neddy!

You tell me nothing I don't know already.

" ' By Neddy!' " Sear exclaimed. "That is a bit far!"


TALIPED: In fact, while you've been sitting on your thumbs

(and on my steps), I've done things. Look: here comes

my brother-in-law, by sheer coincidence,

this minute, whom last week I had the sense

and foresight to dispatch, as assistant dean,

with all expenses paid, to survey the scene

first-hand, and then to pay a formal call

on the Professor of Prophecy in Founder's Hall

and ask his advice, just to forestall the shout

that rascal raises when I leave him out.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Aside, TO COMMITTEE]

Of all the men around, look which he picks

as his assistant! Campus politics

makes strange bed-partners. Now, of course, wemust

pretend to be impressed by and to trust

this arrant ninny's judgment -- not that he

has either sense or perspicacity.

Connections, though, he does have, which we worship:

[to BROTHER-IN-LAW]

Top o' the morning to Your Brother-in-lawship!

"Is that a proper rhyme?" I inquired at once of Dr. Sear. He promised to go into the subject with me later, but bid me heed now the important exposition being revealed down on the stage, where Taliped had greeted his brother-in-law's timely arrival and asked him what the Professor of Prophecy had had to say.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: You want it straight?


TALIPED: Why not?


BROTHER-IN-LAW: You want it here?

Right now?


TALIPED: There's no choice. Despite my fear

of more bad news, I've got my reputation

to maintain -- the one that Public Information

invented for me (may they all get cancers):

"The Dean who'll go to any length for Answers."

Flunk the day they dreamed that up! But now

I'm stuck with it, I guess. So, tell me how

things are, and what the Proph-prof says to do

about it.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: Man, have I got news for you.


TALIPED: You'd better have, considering your expenses.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: I won't repeat the Proph's own words; their sense is

that one man is responsible for all

our miseries and travail.


TALIPED: [Aside]

That's Founder's Hall,

all right: I know their rhetoric.

[to BROTHER-IN-LAW]

Go on, sir.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: One man's doing more harm than the monster

ever did to us. The Proph-prof feared

we're done for if that man's not cashiered.


TALIPED: It's like those propheteers to pin the blame

on some bloke they don't care for! What's his name,

this poor schlemiel that's poisoning the place?

I'll sack him if I must.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: His name and face

the Proph-prof couldn't help us with.


TALIPED: Some prophet!

I wish the bloody faker would come off it

and admit he's in the dark as much as we are.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: Now that's no way to talk about the Seer,

Taliped. He couldn't name the dirty

dog right out, and yet he made it pretty

clear whom we're to look for and expel

from Cadmus College.


TALIPED: Then come on and tell

me who I've got to fire, man! Whom, / mean.

BROTHER-IN-LAW: The killer of Labdakides, our dean


before you took his place nine years ago.


TALIPED: That was my predecessor's name. Although

he published not a word before he perished,

Agenora speaks of him -- his cherished

wife, that I took later for my bride.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: No need to tell me that.

TALIPED: But how he died


I never took the trouble to find out.

BROTHER-IN-LAW: / noticed.


TALIPED: Excellent. But if the lout

who did the old man in is still around

and causing all this trouble, he'll be found,

by golly, and I'll show the wretch no pity.

[TO COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN]

/ here appoint you head of a committee

to find the killer of Labdakides.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Thanks a lot.


TALIPED: The rest of you will please

continue to function as committee-members.

[TO BROTHER-IN-LAW]

So how'd he die, and when?


BROTHER-IN-LAW: Nine Septembers

ago, I think, or ten -- no, it was nine –

Labdakides -- a relative of mine,

I might add --


TALIPED: Everybody is, it seems.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Aside]

Not everyone: just deans and wives of deans.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: In any case, the Dean had been invited

to head up a symposium; this delighted

him: he loved to speak in distant places,

eat and drink for free, and see new faces;

no matter what the subject or how rough

the journey, if the fee was high enough,

he'd go.


TALIPED: There's nothing strange in that; it is

among a dean's responsibilities.

He set out by himself, then? Please speak faster.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: Alone he wasn't. Besides the wagonmaster

he took his secretary -- quite a peach,

she was -- his valet, P. R. man, and speech-

writer. Five men and the girl, and all

but one was killed.


TALIPED: I guess it was the doll

who got away?


BROTHER-IN-LAW: I wish she had, old pal; it

should have been the girl and not the valet

who escaped. The way that kid could walk!


TALIPED: All right, all right; forget her. Did you talk

to this one chap, this valet who got away?


BROTHER-IN-LAW: I did. But all the yellow wretch could say

for himself was that he wished he'd never been

promoted from his old job by the Dean –

he'd used to be a shepherd, and he said

he wished he'd never valeted instead.

I guess he had no stomach for such snobbery...


TALIPED: Flunk his stomach! Was it highway robbery,

a crime of passion, or assassination?

Why was no subsequent investigation

held? This valet himself might be the crook!


BROTHER-IN-LAW: I doubt it: we made it plain we'd throw the book

at him for lying, if we caught him at it.

He swore to us he knew no more than that it

was a gang of toughs who did the deed.


TALIPED: A gang of toughs? What for?


BROTHER-IN-LAW: I wish that we'd

had time to ask that question. But before

we could, the shepherd bolted through the door

and fled to the remotest Cadmus barn.

We would have fetched him back, but then the darn

monster-business comes along and ties

us hand and foot, investigationwise.

We put all other matters on the shelf

till you came by. You know the rest yourself.


TALIPED: So here we are, hung up again with riddles!

The Proph-prof prophesies, the committee fiddles,

everybody gripes, and I'm supposed

to solve a murder-case that you-all closed

nine years ago. That's great! And not a shred

of evidence! The shepherd's no doubt dead

by now, or else he will have clean forgotten

what little he saw.

[Aside] Founder flunk this rotten

image they've laid on me: Master Sleuth:

The Dean Who'll Dare Anything for Truth!

[TO COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN AND BROTHER-IN-LAW]

Okay, okay, I'll see what I can do

to get the College off the hook and you

birds off my doorstep. It's not a bit of fun

to know that on the campus there's someone

who likes to kill administrators

(not to mention pretty secretaries).

What we need's a public show of deanly prudence.

Also firmness. Summon all the students

and professors here at once. By heck,

I'll find out who's to blame or break my neckl


We all applauded this resolution -- all except Croaker, who I saw was fast asleep, and Max, who found the translation unsatisfactory. Dr. Sear especially commended Taliped's statement, declaring however that in his mind its appeal came from the fact that it was precisely this high-minded vow that would be the Dean's undoing, according to the laws of tragedy. Taliped and his brother-in-law left the stage now, by way of the Deanery door, and the committee of department-heads and vice-administrators dispersed to right and left, but reassembled again a moment later, facing us in a line, just as I was about to inquire further into the laws of tragedy, which I was unfamiliar with.

"This is the párodos," Sear whispered. "They sing and dance."

As I heard of dancing before but never seen any except in Stoker's Living Room, I attended the line of committeemen with interest. First they stepped sideways to the left, in unison, singing in a kind of chant and taking one step to each accented beat of the rhythm:


O Founder all-potent and -wise,

Who sees with unspectacled eyes:

You must see that we're

All spitless with fear


Since You laid on this latest surprise.

They then danced back again in the same manner, regaining their original position at the end of a stanza equal in length to the first:

To You, Sir, we come for advice,

Because (like we said) You're so wise.

You rescued us once, Sir,

From the jaws of the monster;

For pity's sake rescue us twice.


These separate dances Dr. Sear called strophes and anti-strophes, and he excused the committee's bad grammar on the grounds that probably no more than one member was from the Language and Literature Department. There were two other pairs of stanzas:


Cadmus College is half down the drain: [STROPHE 2

The drop-outs are dropping like rain;

Tuition's outrageous;

The kids are rampageous;

And all people do is complain.


No wisdom or virtue survives: [ANTISTROPHE 2

Small boys prowl the streets with large knives.

Student morals are looser:


What they do when they woo, Sir,

We don't even do with our wives.

"What do you suppose that could be?" asked Peter Greene, but no one answered him. The committee's complaint greatly moved the audience, many of whom murmured assent or blew their noses into paper tissues.


All classes of woes seem to ail us; [STROPHE 3

For pity's sake pass us or fail us!

Things look pretty quiet,

But we're all set to riot

Against these dark foes that assail us.


On this strophe the dance had been rearwards; now in the closing antistrophe the committee marched forward, its voice rising strongly over the burst of applause from the spectators:


Our enemy's strong, and he's clever, [ANTISTROPHE 3

And we're fairly stupid. However,

We hope that our Founder'll

Search out the scoundrel

And flunk him forever and ever!


So great was the response to this last supplication that although Taliped reappeared from the Deanery door in time to hear it, and raised his hand for silence, it was some time before he could make himself heard.

"Conservative hysteria," Max grumbled. "Always leads to persecution."

"Now comes the first episode," Sear whispered to me. The audience grew quiet.


TALIPED: Come on; there's no use moaning to the Founder.

Let's put our own IQ's to work. It's sounder

and also more reliable.

"I'll say it is," Max said.


TALIPED: now look:

It seems to me the surest way to hook

the fish we're after is to make it clear

that anyone can speak up without fear

who has a tip of any sort. I won't

ask why he didn't speak up sooner; don't

fear that. But on the other hand, by gum,

if any prof or student knows the bum

who turned my wife's first husband off, he'd better

come across, in person or by letter:

the penalty for silence is suspension.

The killer of the old dean (not to mention

his stenographer and other lackeys)

will suffer more: his punishment, in fact, is

going to be total flunkage and expulsion

from the College. Such is my revulsion

for deanicide, I won't hesitate

to drive the rascal out myself; I hate

him in advance! Even if it should

turn out to be a relative, I would

put it to him without mercy. I'm

as hot and bothered over this old crime

as if I'd seen it happen. Can you hear

this vow I'm vowing, you folks in the rear?

I couldn't more despise the killer had he

killed, not my predecessor, but my daddy!


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Aside]

At least he talks a good investigation,

and vows a pretty vow. In Proclamation

One, an undergraduate course, we teach

that sort of thing.

[TO TALIPED]

Look here, I'll swear no speech-

professor's guilty of the deed, or of

withholding evidence.


TALIPED: Because they love

to talk, but not to act. What's on your mind?


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: This, sir: Was the Proph-prof

disinclined to give your brother-in-law the killer's name,

or didn't he know it?


TALIPED: Beats me.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I don't blame

him, understand; he's not a bad advisor.

I wonder, though, if it might not be wiser

in this case to get all the help we can.


TALIPED: A stunning inspiration. Whafs your plan?


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Let's call in Gynander, the Proph-prof

Emeritus. That old boy knows his stuff,

you must admit -- although you think he's swishy.


TALIPED: Think, man! I know there's something fishy

about that guy. You've heard the standard tale --

how he was male at first and then female,

and then turned male again. That was his brag, at

least. Myself, I think the guy's a faggot.

But never mind: we deans soon learn to work

with every sort of crank and queer and quirk;

if I cashiered for moral turpitude

adulterers and faggots -- those who've screwed

their colleagues' wives, or shacked up with each other,

or humped their dog, their sister, or their mother --


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Mother? Blah!


TALIPED: -- I'd lose four out of five

of my best men. So what I say is, "Swive

away, my friends! Be cocksmen, dykes, or fairies --

but stay out of the pants of secretaries,

and please don't lay your students."


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: That seems just.


TALIPED: Now, speaking of Gynander: I don't trust

the blind old fag as far as I could throw

him, but I told my brother-in-law to go

and fetch him anyhow, to please you birds.

Here he comes now, right on cue.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: His Words

of prophecy are always good.


TALIPED: For a laugh.

A youngster now led onstage an old man with a stick, who except that his beard had a tint of henna looked even more like Max than did the Committee Chairman.

"There's my Grand Tutor!" Dr. Sear exclaimed. "Give me Gynander, and you can keep your Enos Enoch."


TALIPED: [TO GYNANDER]

Hello there, old blind Proph-prof with a staff!

How's by you? I guess you wonder why

we took you out of mothballs, huh?


GYNANDER: [Looks around until he locates voice]

Oh, hi.


TALIPED: On second thought, you know without my telling

you, unless it's true that you've been selling

us a bill of goods. At Founder's Hall

they speak of you as Doctor Know-It-All:

how come you didn't know we were in trouble

and hustle yourself down here on the double?

Ah well, forget it. Do your hocus-pocus,

if you please, and tell us who the bloke is

that we're after.


GYNANDER: Goodness gracious me.

It isn't any fun at all to see

the Answers when they're always such bad newsl

How could I have forgotten that? Excuse

me, Taliped, my dear; I hope you'll let

us go now. [TO BOY] Lead me home again, my pet.


TALIPED: Oh no you don't! Hold on there, sonny boyl

Now listen here, Gynander: don't be coy

with me. I see your racket: you allow

as how you know some deep dark truth, then vow

it's much too terrible to tell. Your tracks

are nicely covered, aren't they?


GYNANDER: One who lacks

eyes may see what sharp-eyed deans are blind to.


TALIPED: Is that a fact! By George, I've half a mind to

haul you in for obstructing justice. That

would fix you! If you weren't blind as a bat

I'd say you knocked off Dean Labdakides

yourself!


GYNANDER: [Aside]

And he calls me blind! When he sees

the flunking mess he's in, he'll see he's blinder!


TALIPED: Proph-prof -- ha! When that old bitch resigned her

bloody post as College Entrance Riddler,

it wasn't you who'd found out how to diddle her,

was it? No indeed! You had to wait

till Taliped Decanus reached the gate,

didn't you? I had no crystal ball

or magic charms like Doctor Know-It-AIl;

brains were all I had, man! When she said:

"Answer this question quickly, or you're dead:

What mother eats up all her children, hey?"

I didn't dance in circles; I didn't say:

"I know the answer, ma'am, but it's outlandish,

so I won't tell it." She'd have made a sandwich

out of me if I'd pulled those old tricks!

Intelligence was what it took to fix

her wagon! I said, "Nothing to it, Grampus:

the mom that eats her kids is Mother Campus --

matter of fact, she's having you for supperl"


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Aside]

"Hearing this, the fearsome beast threw up her

paws and died as if a spear were in her

heart," et cetera. /'// throw up my dinner

if I have to hear that bragging tale again.


TALIPED: No clairvoyance, Gynander: just my brain,

my passèd human brain -- that's what it took!


GYNANDER: Then use your passèd brain to find the crook,

since you're so good at riddles. Here's a clue:

Know yourself. Begin your search with you.

You'll see the man you're after in a mirror;

take your falseface off -- you'll see him clearer.


TALIPED: We see a flunking traitor; that's what we see!

A nasty, scheming, blind old AC/DC

traitor to the College! My wife's brother's

in cahoots with you, I'll bet -- and others

too, no doubt. I see your pretty plot:

you'll pin the rap on me, and when you've got

me banished from the place, my brother-in-law

and you will be co-deans. I never saw

such flunkèdnessl


GYNANDER: Your brother-in-law's a fool,

but you're a nut. When this play's over you'll

regret you made that silly vow of yours.

You tragic-hero types are bloody bores.

Who are you, Taliped? Say who your dad was!

Where were you born? Why'd you come to Cadmus?

Why marry Agenora and no other --

a woman old enough to be your mother?

Labdakides himself could hardly stand her!

You're the blind one, Dean; not old Gynander,


TALIPED: Be glad you're old; I'd have your derrière

on a platter if you weren't old, you fairy!

Because I haven't bragged about my past, sir,

you make me out to be some nameless bastard,

and tell me ifs unnatural to enjoy

a woman who is -- well, mature...


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Aside]

Oh, boy,

that gal's mature, all right! Poor Agenora --

she'd be senile if she were maturerl


TALIPED: [TO GYNANDER]

There seems to be no end to your affronts

and dark insinuations!


GYNANDER: Let me once

again declare, more clearly than before,

the ugly answer to our problems: You're

the wretch you want. You'll see, when Scene Four's done,

that you're your daughter's brother, your own stepson

and foster-father, uncle to your cousin,

your brother-in-law's nephew, and (as if that wasn't

enough) a parricide -- and matriphile!

Bye-bye now, Taliped. You call me vile,

but your two crimes will have us all upchucking:

father-murdering and mother --


TALIPED: Ducking

out won't save you! You'll hear from me!


GYNANDER: You killed your daddy.


TALIPED: No!


GYNANDER: You shagged your mommy.

With these last dreadful words the old man withdrew, led by the youngster. The Committee Chairman restrained Taliped from assaulting him, and presently the Dean retired, much agitated, into the Deanery, pausing on the doorsill to shake his fist at the crabbed back of the Proph-prof Emeritus. The Chairman then gathered the committee around him to sing an ode on this appalling new development. This time they danced in pairs and clapped their hands three times sharply at the end of the longer lines.

Things have gone from bad to worse, [STROPHE 1

And in singsong doggerel verse

We will sing a song of things that make us stagger:

First the Founder's Hall Proph-prof,


Then Gynander sounded off,

And it seems as though the Dean's a mother-shagger.


Though he's often made us sore, [ANTISTROPHE 1

No one's called him that before;

So we trust Gynander's just a little batty.

It's a first-class tragic trauma

To be told you've humped your momma,

And to further hear you've murthered dear old Daddy.


But Dean Taliped's no dummy; [STROPHE 2

Agenora's not his mummy

(Even if she's over fifty, which she sure is).

Though the old dean came a cropper,

He could not have been the poppa

Of a lad who came to Cadmus as a tourist.


So we won't believe the slander [ANTISTROPHE 2

That our old Proph-prof, Gynander,

Made us ill with -- not until it's verified.

Since the Dean pays us our wages,

We declare the charge outrageous


And quite false. The Dean's our boss. Gynander lied.

Dean Taliped's brother-in-law now strode onstage and commenced the second episode by addressing the Committee Chairman:


BROTHER-IN-LAW: Just now I met that sly old pederast

Gynander, with his boyfriend, and I asked

him how his interview with Taliped

had gone. If half of what the bugger said

is true, then cross my heart and hope to flunk

if I don't break the neck of that young skunk

my sister had the lack of sense to marry.

Called me a traitor, did he? I declare!

COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: He

did say something of the sort, I'm sure.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: I'll slug him!


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: What, and lose your sinecure?

I'll bet you will.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: A whipping-boy -- that's what

he's looking for! This guff about a plot

against him is a way to pass the buck

for his bad judgment.

[Enter TALIPED, from Deanery]


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN:Well, I wish you luck;

you're going to need it.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: Hah! I've half a mind to

punch his nose!


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN:He's standing right behind you.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: He who -- Oh, hi there, Taliped, old buddyl

Ha ha! I was just saying how that cruddy

Proph-prof ought to be hauled in for selling

baloney without a license. I was telling

my old friend here that. Ha ha! Ha! Ha.


TALIPED: He said I murdered Pa and mounted Ma.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: Gynander said that? Wait till I see him!


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [TO BROTHER-IN-LAW]

Don't sock the Dean too hard.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: [TO TALIPED]

/ ought to trim

the rascal's ears back for him!


TALIPED: And I ought

to break your scheming neck for you! You thought

I didn't see what you were up to? Haw!

Gynander and my own dear brother-in-law!

Who would've thought you had the guts?


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: He doesn't,

Taliped, believe me.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: [TO COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN]

Thanks.


TALIPED: It wasn't

him who hatched the plot?


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: It wasn't he.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: No, sir, it wasn't me.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I.


TALIPED: Yes sirree,

I think it was. Why did Gynander wait

nine years to speak? When I came through the gate

of Cadmus that first time, he could have made

his crazy speech. The truth is, he was paid

to tell those lies today.

[TO BROTHER-IN-LAW]

You want to be

the dean, right?


BROTHER-IN-LAW: Wrong. It wasn't me.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: It wasn't I.


TALIPED: [TO COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN]

Who said it was?


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Excuse me.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: [TO TALIPED]

Consider this, sir, and you won't accuse me:

Why would I want your job, when my own

is so much better? You don't hear me groan,

like you, about long hours and great mobs

of nincompoops to deal with.


TALIPED: No.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: My job's

an easy job.


TALIPED: The easiest.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: It pays me

well enough.


TALIPED: Too well.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: I'd be crazy

to want the deanship. You don't get the credit

when things go well; the teachers do.


TALIPED: You said it.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: And yet when things go wrong you take the blame.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Aside]

Not if he can help it.


TALIPED: All the same,

I say you're out to get me, and since I'm

the dean, what I say goes.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Aside]

Now there's a prime

example of his keen intelligencel


BROTHER-IN-LAW: You're not a dean, sir, when you don't talk sense.


TALIPED: For Cadmus' sake!


BROTHER-IN-LAW: This joint's my alma mater;

it isn't yours.


TALIPED: Oh boy, you're in hot water

[Enter AGENORA, from Deanery]


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Hey, look: here comes old Agenora.

[Aside]

That woman can't resist a quarrel or a

man. Her tongue is second to none for meanness,

and she'll sleep with anything that has a --

[TO AGENORA]

Deaness,

dear! How nice you look today! So young!


AGENORA: And you're so gallant. Pity you're not well hung.

[TO TALIPED]

What's going on here, lover? Gee, you're cute

when something makes you angry.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: The dispute

you overheard was Taliped accusing

me of treason!


AGENORA: That's the most amusing

poppycock I've heard all day.


TALIPED: It's true.


AGENORA: You're handsome, strong, and sexy, doll, but you

don't have as much upstairs as down below.

Him a traitor! Sweetums, don't you know

he couldn't hurt a flea? He's such a lily!


BROTHER-IN-LAW: Thanks a lot, Sis.


AGENORA: Now, then: quit this silly

squabbling, before Momma spanks you both.

My brother signed the Cadmus loyalty oath;

that proves he's loyal, doesn't it? Of course.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Aside]

She reasons like the Dean himself.

[TO TALIPED]

There's force

in what she says, sir.


AGENORA: Who asked you?


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN:Beg pardon,

beautiful. [Aside] / couldn't get a hard on

with such a sharp-tongued, nymphomanic sow

even to gain a deanship -- which is how

young Taliped got where he is today.


AGENORA: "Peace in the Deanery," I always say.

Let's have one now, all right? It's been a while.

Forget this treason nonsense, love, and I'll

show you what the old dean used to run for.


TALIPED: Close your mouth once! Don't you see I'm done for

if he's not guilty? It's a doggone sticky

spot I'm in! This loudmouth Chairman tricked me

into promising I'd sack whoever

killed Labdakides, and then your clever

brother paid Gynander to pretend

that I'm the guilty one. Should I suspend

myself? It's me or your flunking brother!


AGENORA: My little man's upset! Come here to Mother...


TALIPED: For Founder's sake, don't talk like that! Not here

in public, anyhow.


AGENORA: All right, my dear;

you always used to like it, though, when I'd

talk baby-talk to you, and we'd play hide-

and-seek at night upstairs, all mother-naked --


TALIPED: There you go again, for pity's sake! It

isn't like it used to be!


AGENORA: It sure

isn't! You don't love me any more!


TALIPED: Agenora, dear --


AGENORA: You think because

you're young and I'm beginning menopause

it's quite all right to ditch me now and take

a crack at some young co-ed on the make!

You men -- that's all you think of!


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Aside]

Look who's talking.


TALIPED: Now, now, my dear; I'd never dream of walking

out on you, as you know very well.


AGENORA: Say you love me.


TALIPED: Of course I do.


AGENORA: No, tell

me right.


TALIPED: But, sweetheart...


AGENORA: Now!


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Aside]

It always pays

to hear these things. I'll bet I get a raise

next month, to keep me quiet.


AGENORA: Say it!


TALIPED: Oh,

all right. [Whispers] I wuv --


AGENORA: No, don't just whisper!


TALIPED: So

I'll shout: I WUV OO!

[TO COMMITTEE]

Don't you bastards smile!


AGENORA: Again.


TALIPED: I WUV OO VEWWY MUCH!

[TO BROTHER-IN-LAW]

And I'll

break your grinning head if you don't get

it out of here!


BROTHER-IN-LAW: Oo mean I'm fwee?


TALIPED: I'll bet

I tear you limb from limb, you flunking boozer!


BROTHER-IN-LAW: Hah. You always were a lousy loser. [Exits


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: So what do we do now, Dean Taliped?


TALIPED: Don't ask me. I should've stayed in bed

this morning.


AGENORA: That's my boy! Come on, let's run!


TALIPED: What about Gynander? It's no fun

to be accused of parricide -- and worse!


AGENORA: Forget that old hermaphrodite. The curse

of every campus is its local prophet.

Tell him he should take his charge and stuff it.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Mercy, how unorthodox a view!


AGENORA: All right, so it's unorthodox. So sue

me. Look, I'll prove to you once and for all

what liars proph-profs are: one came to call

on me and my first husband years ago,

just after we were married, and you know

what he told Labdakides would be his fortune?


TALIPED: What?


AGENORA: He said I'd better get an abortion

quick, or else my husband would be killed

by his own son.


TALIPED: And was that curse fulfilled?


AGENORA: Of course not, silly! Naturally I declared

the proph-prof was a liar; but he scared

Labdakides so bad that when our kid

was born -- a boy -- we secretly got rid

of him the way unmarried co-eds do it.


TALIPED: And how was that, I wonder?


AGENORA: Nothing to it:

we stuck a peg or something in his feet

and dumped him in the woods, for crows to eat.

"That's a terrible thing to do!" I cried aloud. "How could anybody do a thing like that?" Until people shushed and chuckled all around me, I was as indignant as I'd been at Troll's misconduct years before. Apparently, however, Agenora herself had not approved of this cruel expedient, for she wiped the hollow eyes of her mask with the hem of her robe and said:


AGENORA: The thought of it still makes me want to throw up.

Labdakides was sure the kid would grow up

and do him in; for my part, I was willing

to take a chance on that instead of killing

our only son. My husband had his way,

but things weren't right between us from that day

until the day I heard that he'd died.

Now listen, and you'll see the proph-prof lied:

Our poor boy never had a chance to clobber

Labdakides; it was some highway robber --

a gang, I mean -- that knocked him off near Isthmus

while he was out weekending with his mistress.

That intersection called the Three-lined Fork

is where they ambushed him and pulled his cork,

and slit his little girlfriend's throat from ear to ear.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: His girlfriend?


AGENORA: What, are you still here?

Yes, I mean that brazen little slut,

his secretary. Was I glad they cut

her up!


TALIPED: Excuse me, dear, but were there two

or four roads at that intersection you

just mentioned?


AGENORA: Are you deaf or something, baby?

Three-Tined Fork is what I said.


TALIPED: [Aside]

Then maybe

old Gynander's not entirely blindl

Good grief!


AGENORA: What is it, doll? Whafs on your mind?


TALIPED: Tell me again: it was a robber gang?


AGENORA: That's what the valet said who came and flung

himself before me. Four or five, he swore,

attacked my husband and that little whore.

They were so busy murdering and raping,

they didn't notice he was escaping.

He said it was a gang, and begged a transfer

to the sheep-barns.


TALIPED: I must hear that answer

from the man himself. I wish you'd ask your

maid to fetch him.


AGENORA: / put him out to pasture

years ago; but he can always leave.


TALIPED: Send for him, then. My dear, you won't believe

what I'm about to tell you...


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Aside]

Here we go:

another monster-story.


TALIPED: Sure, I know

I look as perfect as you think I am:

handsome, brave, and smart --


AGENORA: Sexy, lamb,

not smart.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Aside]

Not modest, either.


TALIPED: I'm so swell,

you probably won't believe me when I tell

you that I once did something bad...


AGENORA: I'll try.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Me too.


TALIPED: Are you still here?


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Where else?


TALIPED: Then l

will tell you both of the one indiscretion

in an otherwise faultless life. This whole confession

is off the record, naturally.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Oh, sure.


TALIPED: I know you've often asked yourselves before:

"Where did our clever, handsome dean come from?"


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I stay awake nights wondering that.


TALIPED: "How come

he came here?" you have doubtless asked each other.

"Who was his daddy, and who was his mother?"

Well, it's this way: Once upon a time --


AGENORA: Spare us the details, hon.


TALIPED: All right, I'm

from Isthmus College, where the dean's my dad.

I was his fair-haired boy -- you see I had

it made there. I would be their dean today,

except I heard a drunk old poet say

at someone's cocktail party that I wasn't

my dad's son at all! Now, such talk doesn't

bother me, as a rule; bad-tempered fellows

call you a bastard just because they're jealous.

This poet, though, had no ax to grind,

and so I called our proph-prof in to find

out what he'd say about it. (Dad refused

even to discuss it; I was used

to silence from him and from Mom -- his wife --

whenever I brought up the Facts of Life.

I had to learn the truth myself.)


AGENORA: I see.

[TO COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN]

That's why he was so green when he met me.

I taught him what a young man needs to know.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: You taught us all, madam, even though

we weren't young and didn't need a tutor.


AGENORA: You needed blood transfusions.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Or someone cuter,

who wouldn't've had to pull her husband's rank to

get us into bed.


AGENORA:Screw you.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: No thank you.


TALIPED: Stop mumbling, please, and listen.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: If we must.


TALIPED: As I was saying...


AGENORA: [TO COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN]

/'// fix you, buddy; just

you wait.


TALIPED: Some things the proph-prof said weren't clear --

you know how those chaps talk -- he didn't hear

my question, or chose not to answer it.

Instead, he told me something that, well, hit

me like a load of bricks. You'll never guess...


AGENORA: He didn't say you'd kill your father?


TALIPED: Yes.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: And swive your mother in the prone position?


TALIPED: That's right! How did you guess?


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Just intuition.

I swear, those proph-profs have a one-track mind.


AGENORA: A dirty track at that.


TALIPED: I'm inclined

to think so too.


AGENORA:What happened next?


TALIPED: I quit

my assistant-deanship. Daddy had a fit.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Naturally.


TALIPED: I left the College on sabbatical,

hoping I'd avoid what that fanatical

proph-prof laid on me. I'm still on leave,

and never shall return.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: It makes me heave --


TALIPED: A sigh, to think I left them in the lurch?


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: -- my lunch, to think of all the great research

I could've managed on a nine-year furlough.


TALIPED: I would have done some, too, except there were no

libraries where I traveled.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I'll bet not.


TALIPED: In any case, one day I reached that spot

they call the Three-Tined Fork and tried to hitch

a ride to Cadmus with some sonofabitch

who passèd by with his lackeys and who turned up

his old nose at me. Boy, was I burned up!

He wasn't headed for Cadmus, so he shouted;

he told some drunken tale -- no doubt about it,

he was plastered -- of a beast someplace

behind them, with a pretty woman's face

and a lion's body. Naturally I thought

the guy was putting me on, and when I caught

a glimpse of what was sitting on his knees,

I knew the old man was afraid I'd please

her more than he could. "You're a liar," I said.

He had the gall to punch me in the head

just because I called him that and pinched

his girl's backside. Well, of course that clinched

it. First I cut the old man's throat and dumped

him out, to teach him manners. Then I humped

his girlfriend as he bled to death, for sport.

My policy, in cases of this sort,

is first to stab 'em in the belly-button

and then cut other things. She was a glutton

for punishment, this kid -- all kinds of stamina.

1 spent so much time butchering and banging

her, the others almost got away. I found

three, as I recall, hiding around

and underneath the wagon, and of course

dismembered them.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I'm ill.


TALIPED: I felt remorse afterwards.


AGENORA: Nonsense: you did your duty.

The wretch insulted you. As for his cutie-

pie, she got what she deserved.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I'm iller.


TALIPED: Sure she did, but shucks, I'm not the killer

type; I'm gentle as a lamb.


AGENORA: And twice

as sexy, big boy.


TALIPED: Killing isn't nice,

even when it's justified, and I

would not have stabbed those fellows in the eye

or carved initials in the girl's behind

unless I'd lost my temper.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Aside]

Or his mind.

And I thought I was sick! He's got some sort

of complex!


TALIPED: Well, to make a long tale short,

the Three-lined Fork is where I blew my gasket.

Perhaps I'm just a worry-wart --


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Aside]

A basket-

case is what he is.


TALIPED: -- but I must hear

this shepherd-fellow tell me not to fear

that it was old Labdakides I killed.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: How could you dream it was?

The roads are filled

with old Cadmusian topers and their staffs

and pretty girlfriends. They ride out for laughs

to Three-Tined Fork and tell hitch-hikers there

a monster-story, just to throw a scare

into them. We lose a lot of folks

that way to angry strangers.


TALIPED: Your bad jokes

will cost you dearly one day. That old fault in

me of getting angry and assaulting

those who cross me -- it's my tragic flaw,

you might say -- well, I have it still. You saw

me threaten old Gynander. A word to the wise...


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: ...is quite enough, sir. I apologize.


AGENORA: [TO COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN]

To me, too, if you know which side your bread

is buttered on. A man no good in bed

should be polite, at least.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Forgive me, Deaness.


AGENORA: You're cute when you're contrite.


TALIPED: I have the keenest

interest in this shepherd's testimony...


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Aside]

Here we go again. I hate this phony

Go-to-any-length-for-Answers bit.


TALIPED: Perhaps he was embarrassed to admit

that he ran off instead of fighting too.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Or that one man did in the Dean's whole crew.


TALIPED: How nice of you to mention that!


AGENORA: Now look:

You were alone at Three-Tined Fork. That shnook,

the shepherd, said it was a gang that cut

the Dean up. We all heard him say it. But

so what if he says something different now?

I told you once already, sweetie, how

Labdakides turned off our poor kid early

and beat the prophecy. So put your curly

head to rest on that point, baby. We'll

ring the shepherd in to give his spiel,

but nothing he can say will change the facts.

Proph-profs are for morons. So relax.


TALIPED: Gee whiz, I hope you're right.


AGENORA: I always am,

sweetheart.

[TO COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN]

Run along now, sport.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Yes, ma'am.


AGENORA: [TO TALIPED]

My little boy will have his little way.

Let's go in, till the shepherd comes, and play.

When Taliped and Agenora went into the Deanery, the committee reconvened onstage, this time in a circle, and holding hands skipped gravely clockwise on the strophes and counterclockwise on the antistrophes of their quite perplexèd ode.

Department-heads like us are loath [STROPHE 1

To question old traditions;

We honor deans and proph-profs both,

Despite their oppositions.

The Dean's our boss, and so we trust [ANTISTROPHE 1

Gynander was mistaken.

Yet proph-profs can't be wrong; we must

Preserve our faith unshaken.

To question proph-profs doesn't pay; [STROPHE 2

It leads to bold conjectures.

If students got that habit, they

Might criticize our lectures.

The Prophecy Department would [ANTISTROPHE 2

Go bankrupt. Heads would fall --

Department-heads, perhaps. No good

Can come from doubt at all.

Dear Founder, Whose most cagey hand [STROPHE 3

Arranges how things go:

Preserve us from all changes, and

Maintain the status quo.

Keep us from doubts, reforms, imprudence, [ANTISTROPHE 3

New ideas, too;

And we'll see to it that the students

Still believe in You.

"That was a right pretty thought there," Peter Greene said. "I approve of that."

I remarked to Dr. Sear that it looked to me as though Dean Taliped might really turn out to have done what the Proph-prof Gynander foretold, in which case he was certainly the flunkèdest man in the University.

"He is that," Dr. Sear agreed. "But there's more to it." As Agenora came forth from the Deanery he added in a whisper: "The business of the ID-card comes up now. Very important."

Agenora displayed some green branches and small bottles which she was carrying, and addressed the committee:


AGENORA: For Pete's sake, simmer down, boys. Don't you think

I've been a dean's wife much too long to stink

my public image up? I know quite well

the Proph-prof's full of bull -- but I won't tell.

I'll go to Founder's Hall and lay these sticks

and perfume-bottles on him, as the hicks

expect me to. That faker gets my goat,

but Agenora doesn't rock the boat.

[Enter MAILMAN


MAILMAN: Excuse me, lady --


AGENORA: Well, now. Who's this?


MAILMAN: A Handsome Mailman.


AGENORA: How about a kiss,

handsome?


MAILMAN: Sure, kid.


AGENORA: Mmm. I think you'd better

repeat the message, honey. Mmm.


MAILMAN: This letter

here's a special-delivery, ma'am; I guess

I'd better get it to the right address,

much as I'd like to neck awhile. You know

we Handsome Mailmen can't be stopped by snow

or dead of night or housewives out to vamp us.

I'll see you after hours.


AGENORA: On this campus,

love, you'll see me when I want you to.

I'm Mrs. Taliped.


MAILMAN: You are? Then you

can take this letter for your husband, dear.

It's from his alma mater. Now, come here;

that means my work's all done and we can neck

a little while before I have to trek

along.


AGENORA: Hold on...


MAILMAN: That's what I'm doing, girlie.


AGENORA: I'd better read this first.


MAILMAN: It says that early

yesterday the Dean of Isthmus died.

Heart attack. Now are you satisfied?


AGENORA: I see you like to read what you're delivering.


MAILMAN: Here's something else to set your husband quivering:

as soon as he presents his ID-card

at Isthmus College, folks there will regard

him as their dean, as well as yours, I try

to memorize these things in case some guy

should ever rob the mail, you understand?


AGENORA: You bet I do, big boy. Let go my hand

now; here comes hubby.

[TO TALIPED]

Hi there, Taliped.

This Handsome Mailman just blew in and said

your father down in Isthmus had a stroke

or something and dropped dead.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I'm glad you woke

up when you did, sir.


TALIPED: I'm not.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: This sad news

is not without its brighter side...


TALIPED: Who's

dead? What's this? What's up? What does it mean?


AGENORA: It means, sleepyhead, that you're the dean

of Isthmus College now, and Cadmus too.

It also means that anybody who

believes the proph-profs is a bloody fool.

I told you so. Don't worry now that you'll

do in your dad. The old man had heart-failure.


TALIPED: He did?


MAILMAN: That's right.


AGENORA: As for your mother's tail, you're

not to worry over that again.


TALIPED: I'm not?


AGENORA: No.


TALIPED: Why not?


AGENORA: Because half the men

on campus, in their dreams, have slipped it in

the place they first came out of. That's no sin.


MAILMAN: She's right. I've dreamt such things myself at times.


AGENORA: I'm sure you have, pet.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Dreams like that aren't crimes,

Dean Taliped.


TALIPED: Are you still here?


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Yes, sir.


AGENORA: Those evil-minded proph-profs like to stir

up trouble by pretending dreams come true.

They don't, so there.


TALIPED: It isn't hard for you

to talk that way, dear: you don't have the curse.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [TO MAILMAN]

She hasn't had for years.


MAILMAN: That's nice.


TALIPED: The worse

of those two prophecies might snag me yet:

I can't kill my old man, but I might get

to my old lady, since she's still alive.


MAILMAN: Is that your problem, Dean?


TALIPED: That's one.


MAILMAN: Then I've

got news for you. You don't know me, but I

know you from way back when. That nice old guy

in Isthmus and his wife, that used to call

you Sonny, weren't your mom and dad at all.


TALIPED: They weren't?


MAILMAN: No. You needn't have skipped out.


TALIPED: Then who the flunk am I?


AGENORA: Please don't shout;

I have a headache.


TALIPED: What do you think I've got?

Good news, he calls it! Don't you see I'm not

off the Proph-profs hook yet? Look, old man --


AGENORA: He's not so old.


MAILMAN: [TO AGENORA]

You either, kid.


AGENORA: [TO MAILMAN]

You can

put your mail in my box any time.


TALIPED: For Founder's sake get serious, or I'm

a goner! If they weren't my folks, then why'd

they raise me as their son? Why did they hide

the truth from me?


MAILMAN: The Dean and his old lady

kept their mouths shut 'cause they knew how shady

your adoption was. And they promoted

me so I'd shut up. Before I toted

mail I was a shepherd, see, and once

his guy I used to shep with, couple of months

each season, in the hills near Dean's Ravine --


AGENORA: Hey, that's in Cadmus, isn't it?


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: It's between

Cadmus and Isthmus campuses, I think.


MAILMAN: Well, anyhow, my buddy gave a wink

at me one day and asked me if I knew

what he had in his lunch-pail. I said, "Stew."

That's what he usually ate. He said, "Heck, no.

I got a kid for sale, pal, and I'll go

halfies with you if you'll fence him for me..."


AGENORA: That dirty doublecrosser!


MAILMAN: Well, he swore he

couldn't feed some flunking crow or eagle

perfectly good merchandise, illegal

or not.


TALIPED: How tenderhearted.


MAILMAN: What I did,

since he was anxious to unload the kid,

I bought him then and there at the wholesale price.

I'd looked him over quick; he seemed in nice

enough condition -- maybe not too handsome,

but I could get my money back and then some,

I was sure, because the Dean was sterile

and in the baby market. Man, I swear I'll

break that swindling shepherd's neck if ever

I lay eyes on him again! The clever

bastard had the kid wrapped in a sheet,

and when I took it off, I saw his feet

were pegged together, and he was almost dead.

Well, you can imagine what I said!

But it served me right: I'd bought a kid-in-a-poke.

I pulled the peg, and figuring the kid would croak

by morning, sold him to the Dean that night

at cost. Turned out the kid survived, and right

after that I got this job as mailman.

Neither dark of night nor sleet nor hail can

stay me, but the ladies slow me down.

[TO AGENORA]

Bye-bye now, Deaness; next time I'm in town

I'll look you up.


AGENORA: You know my address, hon.


TALIPED: [TO MAILMAN]

Hey, wait! You mean to tell me I'm the one

you bought and sold?


MAILMAN: Are your feet scarred?


TALIPED: They always have been.


MAILMAN: And your ID-card

says Taliped Decanus, does it not?


TALIPED: Of course it does.


MAILMAN: And I guess you know what

Taliped means?


TALIPED: It means "swollen foot."


MAILMAN: You're It, then, pal.


TALIPED: By George! I never put

two and two together until now!


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: A mathematician you aren't. But tell me how

a woman like your wife can go to bed

for nine years with a man named Taliped

and never see his scars!


AGENORA: Listen, tootsie:

you and your wife might like playing footsie,

but when a fellow goes to bed with me,

it isn't his big toe I want to see.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: And yet you must have wondered --


AGENORA: Will you please

get off my back?


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: When old Labdakides

and you --


AGENORA: Shut up!


TALIPED: Yes, do. Now, Mailman, tell

me this: where'd he get the child to sell,

this fellow up in Dean's Ravine you shepped with?


MAILMAN: Beats me. It could have been some dame's he'd slept with.

But come to think of it, he didn't look

much like a shepherd -- flashy clothes, no crook --

/ mean, he was one, but he never carried

one. My guess is that some young unmarried

co-ed had the kid and paid a fee

to make it disappear, you know? If he

had a regular little business going,

it wouldn't surprise me.


TALIPED: Now I'm really growing

curious to interview this pair

of shepherds. Can you fellows tell me where

this crookless crook hangs out, and what's his name?


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I think, sir, that this fellow is the same

you sent for a while ago.


TALIPED: He gets around!


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I noticed, sir, that Agenora frowned

at everything the Handsome Mailman said.

Perhaps there's something on her mind.


AGENORA: Drop dead

already! [TO TALIPED] Listen, sweetie, let's forget

this shepherd-type. Who needs him? I say let

well enough alone.


TALIPED: Indeed I won't.

I'll never get my clearance if I don't

correct my ID-card. The folks at Isthmus

won't give me the deanship if I miss

this chance to find out who I am.


AGENORA: Who cares?

I've got enough to think about. If there's

one thing I don't need, it's your life-story.


TALIPED: I think you're worried that some scrub-girl bore me.

So what? It makes me an even grander guy,

that I began so low and rose so high.


AGENORA: I need an aspirin. Maybe the whole bottle.

Find out your name, and all the pills I've got'll

do no good. I'm going to hang this dress

up on the clothesline now. It looks a mess.

But please, lover, take my advice and flunk

this ID-quiz. 'Cause if you don't, we're sunk. [Exits


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: What's eating her? [Aside] As if I didn't know.


TALIPED: Like all administrators' wives, she's so

rank-conscious that she'd probably have the vapors

to see it entered on my ID-papers

that I'm some freshman co-ed's son, who laid

her math professor for a better grade.

But I don't give a flunk. I'm just as great

no matter who my folks were. I can't wait

to learn the Answer! Who cares what it is,

as long as it's the Founder's truth? Gee whiz!


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Aside]

Prepare yourselves to see things fall to pieces:

The Dean believes his own press releases.

I was by this time entirely involved with Taliped's resolve to learn his identity. I'd finished my popcorn, and began to eat the tasty box as the committee sang a brief and sprightly song of conjecture about Dean Taliped's parentage, coming curiously to a full stop at each line's end, whether the word was complete or not.

Whoopee! Hooray for truth! The un [STROPHE 1

examined life is not

worth living! Truth will make you free!

And other campus mot

toes of that sort. What is a coll [ANTISTROPHE 1

ege for if not to seek

the truth? Hooray for truth! Whoopee!

I'll bet this time next week

end, when the moon's full, we'll be dan [STROPHE 2

cing up in Dean's Ravine,

where Taliped was transferred out

of Cadmus to the Dean

ery of Isthmus, Gosh! We won [ANTISTROPHE 2

der who his mom can be!

No doubt she was a trustee's wife

or some such high-class fe

male whom the passèd Founder Him [STROPHE 3

self knocked up in the grass.

Dean Taliped's the Founder's son:

a most uncommon bas

tard! [ANTISTROPHE 3

"Hey, I never thought of that!" I whispered to Max. "Do you suppose --"

He met my eyes gravely. "No, my boy."

Dr. Sear identified the approaching scene as the next-to-last, his favorite and the climax of the tragedy. It opened with Dean Taliped, the Committee Chairman, and the Handsome Mailman standing together as before, while from the wings a small old man was dragged in between two burly chaps.


TALIPED: The Campus Cops are on the job, I see.

We'll put the screws to this old boy till we

squeeze out his answers or his worthless life.

[TO COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN]

But first: is he the valet that my wife

was speaking of? I don't have time to torture

ancient shepherds simply for the sport.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: You're

right; that would be wasteful. He's the man,

okay: Labdakide's flunkey.


TALIPED: [TO MAILMAN]

Can you say for sure that he's your former pal?


MAILMAN: Former is right. That's him.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: That's he.


TALIPED: Now cut that out!

[TO SHEPHERD]

Look here, old man, you'd better

speak the truth, the entire truth, et cetera.


SHEPHERD: I wish I was dead.


TALIPED: You may be, soon. Now answer

this: were you Labdakide's man, sir?


SHEPHERD: Yep. I shepped his sheep for quite a spell.


TALIPED: Where'd you mainly shep 'em, pops?


SHEPHERD: Oh well,

let's see: I shepped 'em here and shepped 'em there...


TALIPED: In Dean's Ravine?


SHEPHERD: I shepped 'em everywhere.

Stinking hungry sheep -- they're always eating.


TALIPED: In Dean's Ravine, do you remember meeting

this chap here? This Handsome Mailman type?


SHEPHERD: Nope.


MAILMAN: Come on! It's me you used to gripe

about your boss to, every time the two

of us would split a jug of Mountain Dew.


SHEPHERD: Okay, so we're old pals. Congratulations.

So what?


MAILMAN: Remember our negotiations

about a kid one day? You guaranteed

it was in perfect shape and wouldn't need

repairs before I sold it, flunk your eyes!


SHEPHERD: So sue me. I don't take back merchandise

after thirty years.


MAILMAN: That's not the point.

Tha kid was Taliped, who runs this joint.


SHEPHERD: What are you -- some kind of nut?


TALIPED: I warn

you, Shep: this is the Deanery, not the barn.

There's more than one way to squeeze out facts

from shankers like yourself. We break their backs

and screw their thumbs and stretch 'em on the wheel

and do things to their privates till they squeal.

It's lots of fun, and gets results, too. Break

one finger for him, boys.


SHEPHERD: For Founder's sake,

I'm old and -- ouch! That smartsl Okay, okay,

I'll talkl Ask me somethingl


TALIPED: Did he pay

you for a child once, this man here? And did

you take the cash and hand him one male kid?


SHEPHERD: Yep. I made a killing. Not the kind

I was sent out to make, though.


TALIPED: Never mind.

Where'd you get that kid from, anyhow?


SHEPHERD: Must I tell you?


TALIPED: [TO GUARDS]

Break his finger.


SHEPHERD: Ow!

Two pinkies in two minutes: the heck with that!

The Deanery here is where I got the brat.


TALIPED: The cleaning-lady's kid? Who was the father?


SHEPHERD: I can't say...


TALIPED: [TO GUARDS]

Break his finger.


SHEPHERD: No! Don't bother!

They said the bastard was Labdakides's.


TALIPED: The Dean's himself's!


SHEPHERD: I hope that answer pleases

you. It was his kid.


TALIPED: By Agenora?


SHEPHERD: I didn't ask.


TALIPED: She gave it to you?


SHEPHERD: For a

price I said I'd feed him to the squirrels.

"Squirrels don't eat meat," Peter Greene remarked.


TALIPED: Unnatural mother!

"Indeed she was!" I said, shocked to tears.


SHEPHERD: Well, girls will be girls.

She wasn't too enthusiastic, sir.


TALIPED: Then why'd she do it?


SHEPHERD: Better go ask her.

She gave me some malarkey how she was sure

the kid would kill his dad -- some such manure.


TALIPED: Ai yi! Your answers scare me stiff!


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Me too.


MAILMAN: They don't much bother me.


TALIPED: [TO SHEPHERD]

But, flunk you, if

she save those orders, then you disobeyed!


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: So fire him.

[TO MAILMAN] Oy, these deans!


SHEPHERD: I was afraid

they'd pin the rap on me if things got hot,

so I decided, Why not make a pot

and also save my neck? This moron swore

he'd carry you a long way off before

he retailed you.


MAILMAN: I did, you crook!


SHEPHERD: [TO TALIPED]

But you

came back and made the prophecy come true.

So help me Founder, Dean! I'd rather lose

eight more fingers than be in your shoes!


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [TO SHEPHERD]

We call them buskins.


SHEPHERD: Oh.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Well, Taliped?


TALIPED: The truth! The truth at last! In my own head

I figured out the Answers to this mess!


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: You had a little bit of help, I guess...


TALIPED: The blinding light! At last I see the light!

And what it shows me is: Gynander's right!

I'm flunked on my ID-card, flunked in bed,

and flunked at Three-Tined Fork -- I, Taliped,

the smartest dean that ever deaned, will never

see the light again! I'm flunked forever!

With this final cry he rushed into the Deanery, and while my spine thrilled with the horror of his Answers, the committee reconvened to sing its final plaintive report, the members holding hands and swaying gently from side to side:

Here today and gone tomorrow. [STROPHE 1

What the dickens. What the heck.

Men are whiffenpoofs that pass and get forgot.

Our committee will adjourn now,

But before we say bye-bye

Let us recapitulate this tragic plot:

In the protasis, or prologue, [ANTISTROPHE 1

The protagonist exposed

To the deuteragonist and choragos

Hamartia caused by hubris,

While the background was disclosed;

Then the chorus danced and sang the pàrodos.

After that the anabasic [STROPHE 2

Epeisodions commenced,

With the dithyrambic stasima between;

And ironic stichomyths led

To the anagnorisis:

A peripetal misfortune for the Dean.

Now the climax is upon us. [ANTISTROPHE 2

In the éxodos to come,

The catharsis will catharse us till we're spent;

Till catastrophe has pooped us

And the epilogue is done;

In the meantime here's the kommos, or lament:

Now their voices rose most sweetly in the touchingest words and music I'd ever heard -- which, however, did not constitute a true kommos, according to Dr. Sear.

Taliphed had a mind like an iron trap. [STROPHE 3

Boo hoo hoo.

Caught the monster, caught the deanship, caughttheDean'swifeinhislap.

Boo hoo hoo.

Gentleman, scholar, and keen dean! But [ANTISTROPHE 3

Caught himself in his trap, like a nut.

Bet he wishes he'd kept it shut.

Boo hoo hoo.

Why did you murder your daddy, my friend?

Why did you roger your mommy? And

Why must we sing this refrain again?

Boo hoo hoo,

At this point, while my eyes swam still, the hush in which the committee's last notes died was broken by a static rustle and a terse voice from loudspeakers around the margin of the Amphitheater.

"Ladies and gentlemen: we interrupt this catharsis to bring you two special news bulletins..."

There was a general stir; Dr. Sear muttered something impatient about the adverse psychological effects of catharsis interruptus, but after a moment's pause the amplified announcement continued:

"The body of Herman Hermann, former dean of the Bonifacist extermination campuses, has been found in the New Tammany College Forests near Founder's Hill. Hermann, sought since the end of Campus Riot Two for crimes against studentdom, is reported to have been shot. His body was discovered this afternoon by a detachment of Powerhouse guards. Main Detention has begun an investigation of the case at Chancellor Rexford's request..."

The announcement was received with an outburst of cheering from everyone in the Amphitheater except Dr. Sear, who shrugged his shoulders, Max, who shuddered, and myself, too surprised by the novelty of loudspeakers to assimilate the news at once. Even Croaker woke up, grunted, and clapped his hands with the others. I heard people nearby remark that the beast had had it coming; that shooting was too good for the man who had administered the Bonifacist extermination campuses.

"No," Max said. "It was wrong."

"Here is the second bulletin," the loudspeakers went on. "Late this afternoon WESCAC read out the following tidings of great joy: A true Grand Tutor is about to appear in New Tammany College, to show right-thinking students and staff-members the way to Commencement Gate. I repeat: WESCAC has officially read out that a true Grand Tutor is about to appear..."

One heard no more of the restatement, owing to the great stir in the crowd. People murmured and shouted, hooted and whispered. Some wiped their eyes on their sleeves; some shrilly laughed. A few left the theater; many others seemed to want to, but could not bring themselves quite to it.

"How 'bout that!" Peter Greene exclaimed; he slapped my knee and shook his head admiringly, as though I had played a great amusing trick on him. Dr. Sear regarded me with a look of sharply interested doubt, and Max embraced me -- almost fearfully, I thought -- and then excused himself mumbling that his bladder was full. I could not decide whether to rise and proclaim myself or hold my peace yet a while; moreover, for all my surge of feeling at the announcement, I had foresight yet to wonder what one did after the proclamation: having said, "I am that same Grand Tutor," did one then sit down again, or commence Tutoring straightway? And what did one say? Where anyhow was Commencement Gate? Better, I decided, to bide a bit more time; the players were assembling again in the orchestra; the lights dimmed that had come on for the announcement; I looked around for Max, but he had gone through the exit behind us; the crowd still hummed and shifted as the committee and its chairman gathered before the Deanery door through which now the Handsome Mailman came and waved his arms for silence.


MAILMAN: You ain't heard nothing yet.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: We've heard a lot...


MAILMAN: This college is a loser.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: If you've got

more bad news, don't beat about the bush;

lay it on us.


MAILMAN: Okay. Then I'll push

along for home, since neither snow nor rain,

et cetera.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: We know.


MAILMAN: I can't complain

about the weather here in Cadmus; it's

your women burn me up. "If the shoe fits,

wear it," so they say, and Mrs. Dean

fit me like a -- you know what I mean.

I went upstairs to check the old girl out

on first-class mail reception -- you no doubt

recall her parting words?


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: She meant to go

and hang her dress up, I remember.


MAILMAN: Oh

boy, and did she ever! I near flipped

when I walked in and found the Deaness stripped

mother-naked...


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Isn't she a dear?


MAILMAN: ... and also swinging from the chandelier.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: At her age! Pass her heart, she's full of juice,

that girl!


MAILMAN: No more, my friend: she'd made a noose

out of her gown and hanged herself, and there

she swang: pop-eyed, purple-faced, and bare.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: A pity! Now our plump and placid wives

will be the only women in our lives.


MAILMAN: Too bad for you; you're in the wrong profession.

Anyhow, I'd gone up for a session

of playing Post Office, not to see

a naked female corpse. It seems to me

the woman could have waited till tonight,

when I was gone.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: It sure was impolite

of her.


MAILMAN: You said it. But, that's how it goes.

In any case, I forgot to close

the bedroom door, and as I stood there swearing

and ogling her, young Taliped comes tearing

in. He yelled and hollered; I said, "Hi

there, Taliped," but he never did reply.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Another rude one. Cadmus seems to be

a little short on hospitality.


MAILMAN: That's right. Anyhow, he grabbed a knife

from somewhere and cut down his black-faced wife --

/ mean his black-faced mother...


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Let it go;

we get the general picture.


MAILMAN: And you know

what he did then?


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I hope he wasn't rude

to you.


MAILMAN: Judge for yourself. There lay his nude

old lady, with the gown around her chin;

he tore off his diamond-studded fraternity pin

and also his old man's -- she wore them both,

you know -- then he let go an awful oath...


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: He's good at that.


MAILMAN: He said, "A flunking curse

upon that pair or breasts I used to nurse

and later played with in a different wise;

the breasts that wore these pins! Flunk the eyes,

your sun-blind husband's eyes, these too-bright wretches,

that blindly saw them!" He undid the catches

then, and poked his eyes out.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: "Too-bright sun"!

He should have stabbed himself for such a pun.


MAILMAN: I just report the news; I'm not a critic.

The Dean's blind.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Like our hermaphroditic

Seer Emeritus, who foresaw this mess!

What's Taliped up to now?


MAILMAN: You'll never guess:

he wants to make a general exhibition,

to staff and students, of his low condition

before he flunks himself.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: We can't have that.

What would the Trustees say? But he can chat

with us awhile, I guess, before he goes.

It helps to talk things over. I suppose

this is the poor chap coming now. Ugh!

[Enter TALIPED


TALIPED: Yes,

ifs me, friends.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I.


TALIPED: It's I, and I confess

I'm right bad off.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: You are that, Dean. It makes

me somewhat ill to see you.


TALIPED: My heart breaks

for you. I was so handsome in Act One,

and now look.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Ech.


TALIPED: It's bad, huh?


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: If you're done,

sir, we'll be seeing you.


TALIPED: I'm not done yet.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I thought perhaps you were.


TALIPED: I wish you'd let

me speak my piece; it's my catastrophe.

Gee whiz, it hurts to know as much as me!


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: As much as --


TALIPED: Never mind! I'd like to choke

that shepherd-type who saved my life.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: The bloke

did no one any good, that's a fact.

If I were you, I wouldn't end this act

a blind old beggar: death would be much nicer,

I believe.


TALIPED: I don't need your advice, sir.

Suicide has never been my cup

of tea, and it would mess the symbols up.

Excuse me now; I have some things to curse.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Well, all right; go ahead.


TALIPED: I'll take a verse

or two to flunk that ditch called Dean's Ravine

because I didn't die there; then I mean

to flunk old Isthmus College and the chap

who raised me as his son. I'll take a slap

at Three-Tined Fork, and when I've flunked it I'll

curse marriage and love-making for a while,

since they're what made me what I am today.

Ten minutes ought to do the whole curse.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Say,

I guess we'll have to take a rain-check on it;

here comes your brother-in-law.


TALIPED: That clown! Doggoneit,

he's got no right to steal my biggest scene!


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Be careful what you say; he's Acting Dean

these days, you know.


TALIPED: Oh boy. [Enter BROTHER-IN-LAW


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [TO BROTHER-IN-LAW] Good evening, sir!

Nice to see you!


BROTHER-IN-LAW: Sure it is. You were

always glad to see me, I recall.

But never mind. Come on and help me haul

this eyeless bastard out of here before he

tells some news-reporter the whole story.

He never can leave well enough alone;

he's always showing off.


TALIPED: Gee whiz!


BROTHER-IN-LAW: [TO TALIPED]

Don't groan

for pity now, you sonofabitch. You had

it coming.


TALIPED: Lay off, Uncle; I'm in sad

enough condition. Look, why not expel

me from the place?


BROTHER-IN-LAW: I'll let the Proph-prof tell

me what to do, not you. I wish I'd thrown

you out nine years ago.


TALIPED: Me too. Alone,

I'll wander up to Dean's Ravine and die

where Man and Dad first ditched me. Or I'll try,

at least...


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Do try.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: Try hard.


TALIPED: I will; and yet

I know somehow that my end won't be met

in any ordinary way. Some queer

fate lies ahead for me; if not this year,

then next -- some strange, spectacular surprise.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: Nonsense. Must you always dramatize

everything you do?


TALIPED: Grant one request,

Uncle dear ...


BROTHER-IN-LAW: What now?


TALIPED: / have the best-

looking daughters and the brightest sons

on campus, right?


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: You have the corniest puns;

I'll vouch for that.


TALIPED: The boys can get along

without me, but I think it would be wrong

to leave the girls behind.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Another play

on words, and naughty, too.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: The girls will stay

with me. No use to complicate things further.

You are their dad and brother; if you were their

lover too, we'd never get things straight.

[Enter KIDS]

Make your goodbyes short; it's getting late.


TALIPED: [TO KIDS]

Poor kids! You've got a rugged row to hoe.

You won't have any boyfriends, 'cause they'll know

your daddy was your brother. Boyfriends hate

to hear such things as that about a date.


KIDS: Some big brother you turned out to be.

You're pretty sexy, though.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: I think that we

should stop right where we are.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Me too.


TALIPED: [TO COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN]

Are you

still here?


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Where else?


BROTHER-IN-LAW: Well, girls, say toodle-oo

to Taliped. It's time for him to go.


KIDS: Toodle-oo, Pops.


TALIPED: No!


BROTHER-IN-LAW: Yes.


TALIPED: No!


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Yes.


TALIPED: No!

Leaving my pretty girls behind is quite

the hardest thing on campus!


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I was right:

He can't resist a dirty joke.


BROTHER-IN-LAW: [TO KIDS]

Get lost

now, girls.


KIDS: Okay.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Bye-bye.


TALIPED: No, wait!


BROTHER-IN-LAW: You've bossed

us long enough, pal; I'm in charge here now.

You weren't too good at deaning anyhow.


COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: [Aside]

A good administrator's hard to find.


TALIPED: [Aside]


/ might take up proph-profflng, now I'm blind.

"That's my Grand Tutor!" Dr. Sear whispered proudly. "Poor blind Taliped and his fatal ID-card, stripped of innocence! Committed and condemned to knowledge! That's the only Graduation offered on West Campus, George -- and, my dear boy, we are Westerners!"

"I beg your pardon, sir?" Stirred by the pitiful sight of Dean Taliped being led from the orchestra, and wondering too what was keeping Max, I but half-heard what he'd said.

"We have to plumb the depths of experience," he went on very seriously. "If there's such a thing as Graduation, it's not for the innocent; we've got to rid ourselves of every trace of innocence!"

"Why is that, sir?" The stage was cleared now except for the Chairman, whose committee was forming a semicircle behind him, facing the audience.

"We all flunked with the first two students in the Botanical Garden, George; we're committed to Knowledge of the Campus, and if there's any hope for us at all, it's in perfecting that knowledge. Ye would be like Founders, the Old Syllabus says, with knowledge of Truth and Falsehood. Very well, then we've got to be like Founders, even if the things we learn destroy us..."

I was not uninterested in this line of reasoning, especially since it was expounded with such uncommon intensity by the usually blasé doctor-whose eyes, however, as he spoke, flashed curiously more like Maurice Stoker's than like any founder's eyes. But now the Committee Chairman chanted the epilogue directly at us, and because of the extraordinary events that followed upon it, I wasn't able to draw my companion out further on his theory of Graduation.

"So take a look at Taliped Decanus," invited the Chairman:

The hot-shot Answer-man who nearly ran us

on the rocks. We envied Taliped

the old dean's chair and Agenora's bed;

he solved the monstrous Riddle, cracked the Quiz,

and found out whom he'd humped and who he is.

Look where his Answers got him, and rejoice

that you don't know who you are, girls and boysl

Don't be too optimistic, vain, or proud;

every silver lining has a cloud.

Let no man be called passèd from this day,

until he painlessly has passed away.

He bowed; then as he turned to his committee our applause became a rush of dismay, for a great white figure fluttered out of the black sky onto the stage. Whether on wires or by some other means, one could not tell; two large somethings waved from his shoulders as he descended, and disappeared as if tucked in when he lit in the orchestra. Though like the others he was gowned in white, his costume had a different cut: long-skirted in the style of a ceremonial vestment, but tight-cuffed, high-necked, and buttonless on the order of a doctor's tunic. The chorus of committee-members seemed as surprised as we by his appearance; they gave way, some in plain alarm, and the actors who had played the roles of Taliped and Agenora thrust their heads out from the Deanery to see what was causing the commotion.

"There's no machina in the script!" Dr. Sear exclaimed.

"Failed!" the white figure declared, in an oddly clicking way. Holding a mask to his face like one of the principles in the play, he pointed accusingly at Taliped. "Taliped Decanus and his sort are flunked forever! Tragedy's out; mystery's in!" He removed the mask and tossed it behind him, revealing a round, black-mustachioed countenance.

"For pity's sake," Dr. Sear exclaimed. "It's Harold Bray."

"I'm your Grand Tutor!" the man on the stage said loudly. At once there was an uproar in the audience, partly mirthful, over which he shouted, "I'll show all of you who believe me the way to Commencement Gate! I'm the way myself, believe me!"

"He is not!" I protested to my companions. "I am!"

"His name's Harold Bray," Dr. Sear explained, evidently amused and impressed. "Minor poet, half dozen other things. Used to do some kind of therapy-work in the Clinic, too. What do you suppose he's up to?"

Bray went on: "I'm the Tutor WESCAC announced. If anyone doubts it, I invite him to talk things over personally with me in my office. I've come to pass you flunkers all, and to prove I'm the one who can do it, I'll walk into WESCAC's Belly and come out unEATen. See if I don't! See for yourselves!"

"Remarkable chap, actually," Dr. Sear beamed -- every bit as interested in Harold Bray as he had been in me. "Came to New Tammany a few years ago, goodness knows where from. Fancy him the Grand Tutor!"

"He can't go into WESCAC's Belly," I insisted. "I'm the only one who can do that!" I looked back for Max.

Now Bray stepped forth from the orchestra into the aisle of the Amphitheater, raising his arms to left and to right.

"Come on!" he clicked. "All you folks who need Commencing, come on to me!"

There was near-pandemonium in the audience, everyone shouting to his neighbor and crowding this way and that. Those who wished only to leave the theater pressed against those -- a growing number -- who thronged already down towards the man in white: some on their knees, some carrying children in their arms, who it seemed to me were up past their bedtimes. Greene was on his feet next to the aisle up which the pretender came; Dr. Sear leaned back and surveyed the spectacle with a little smile, lacing his fingers about one knee.

"Why is Max taking so long?" I asked him. He shrugged his eyebrows and marveled skeptically at Bray's announced intention of entering WESCAC's Belly.

"I'm going up and try to find Max," I announced. "Croaker will be all right with my stick to chew on."

But the aisle as Bray drew nearer was choked with the curious and troubled, who far outnumbered the mockers. "Can you cure cancer of the cervix?" I heard someone shout.

"I know the way!" Bray called back. His face was ruddy; his eyes were dark and glintish.

"How'd you ever fly down like that?" asked another.

"I have the Answers!" Bray replied.

I forced my way into the aisle behind Peter Greene, who I thought had heard my intention and was clearing a path for me. But he turned -- Bray was no more than ten steps below us now -- and called down to him between cupped hands:

"S'pose a fellow's lost one eyeball? Ain't nothing you can do 'bout that! Is there?"

"Come along and see!" the man called back.

Max had to be found at once. I left Peter Greene to his delusions and struggled through the crowd to the exit. The first uniformed attendant I met -- a slack-mouthed pocky chap my age -- paid no attention to my question; his eyes were fixed on the self-styled Grand Tutor, and his expression was transfigured. I inquired of several people near the box-office (to which more crowds were swarming, the news apparently having spread) whether they'd seen a small white-bearded old man in a mohair wrapper, but got nothing for my troubles except frowns and mocking replies -- until a stout campus policeman, one of a number endeavoring to keep the crush from getting out of hand, shouted over his shoulder: "Spielman? You his lawyer or something?"

I declared that Dr. Spielman was my advisor.

"Don't take his advice!" the policeman laughed. "He's yonder in the pokey, under arrest!"

He could not be bothered with explanation. Stunned, I made my way across the street to an office labeled CAMPUS PATROL - GREAT MALL SUB-STATION, and learned from a uniformed reception-clerk with yellow hair and a large red face that Max was in Main Detention, charged with the shooting of Herman Hermann.

"That isn't so! Max doesn't believe in hurting people! It's some trick of Maurice Stoker's!"

Unimpressed by my opinions, the clerk informed me that I might be permitted to speak to the prisoner after his arraignment, but not before. Then he looked at my wrapper suspiciously.

"You don't happen to go by the name of Goat-Boy? George Goat-Boy?"

I confessed that I was that same person, and though I couldn't satisfy his request for an ID-card to prove it, he finally either accepted my word or decided he didn't care.

"Takes all kinds to make a campus," he grunted. "Prisoner left a message for one George Goat-Boy." He declared as if reading from a paper: "No need for me. Announcement settles everything. Don't hesitate at Scrapegoat Grate." As he spoke, a number of telephones on his desk began ringing, and the roar of the crowd outside increased. He picked up one telephone receiver and leaned to see around me through the window. "Run along now, Mac. We got our hands full, this Grand Tutor business. Yes, sir," he said into the telephone, and cleared the yellow hair from his brow with his other hand.

I couldn't imagine what to think or do. From the steps of the stationhouse, heart draining, I looked out over the host that now, all mirth gone, bore white-gowned Bray upon their shoulders, up the boulevard, cheering, chanting.

"Hooray for Bray!"

"Bray's the Way!"

His arms were lifted over them; he turned triumphantly from side to side; even at that distance, when he faced in my direction, I saw the striking glitter in his bush-browed eyes, like a goat's or cat's eye in the dark, most remarkable. And across the translux in the square the message flashed, over and over: Never fear: Commencement's here! All the way with Bray!

There were no such advertisements for myself.

In a short while the area before Main Gate was clear, everyone having gone with the celebrators. The Amphitheater hoardings and ticket-office were dark, the entrance-gates left open and abandoned. Of our borrowed motorcycle there was no sign. I went over, thinking to tell Dr. Sear about Max's misfortune and ask what might be done to right the error of the arrest. Moreover I had no idea where I was to sleep, or how to procure tomorrow's food -- such an easy matter at home, and so difficult here where nothing grew! -- or what I was to do with myself once past Scrapegoat Grate, or how to deal with the arrant pretender Harold Bray. To ruminate in the meadows of leading studentdom to Commencement Gate was one thing; to stand in the concrete brilliant heart of a mighty college, potent and populous beyond imagining, and dwarfed by its towers to find one's own way, not to mention the others', was quite something else. Never had I more need of my advisor!

At the rim of the great dark bowl I paused. Vast and empty, strewn with discarded programs that palely caught the moon, the theater gathered like a giant ear echoes of distant jubilation. Dr. Sear was gone; there was no sign of Greene either, who I had half hoped might lodge me somewhere. No one was about but Croaker, his black outline discernable as an occlusion of white trash where we had sat through the tragedy. I went down. He was picking popcorn kernels from the stones with one hand, scratching at his groin with the other, and croaked to see me.

"Don't you believe in Bray?" I asked him, and got no answer. I picked up my stick, and, perhaps misunderstanding me, Croaker hoist me to his shoulders. Very well, I had no reason to protest, or on the other hand any direction to give him. I rested my arms and chin on his black bald skull and worried about Max, permitting Croaker to range at whim about the aisle and tiers. The reasonablest explanation I could come up with was that my advisor and keeper might indeed have seen the murder occur, or come upon the Bonifacist's corpse in the woods, and said nothing about it -- that would account for his unusual behavior during the day. Judging from remarks of Stoker's and the general character of his staff, it would not be surprising to learn that the infamous Hermann had been employed at the Powerhouse under some alias, perhaps even with Stoker's knowledge and under his protection. Max might have recognized him, and Stoker seized upon some pretext for having the man killed before his identity came to light and blaming Max for the crime. It would not be easy to save him, I imagined, what with Stoker chief administrator of Main Detention. Perhaps, if things went well next morning, one could approach Chancellor Rexford with the truth... But rumor had it he and Stoker were half-brothers!

As I considered how a Grand Tutor ought to manage the situation -- what Bray, to my shame be it said, might for instance have done in my position -- Croaker evidently achieved his fill of popcorn-leavings or was taken by some dim new urge, for he gave over his ransack and trotted up out of the bowl; turned left and left again and loped away, Founder knew where, through emptied streets, I jogging listless pick-a-back.

5.


We wended up an alley and through a wall beyond which stretched a lawn of some dimension. On its farther side, moonlit, a squat domed tower was, with slits and slots but no proper windows; Croaker galloped to it, grunting. A plank door in its base flew open without our having touched it; we went in and up a spiral of stone stairs as if Croaker knew what he was about, and emerged into a bright chamber under the dome, of which my first impression was that it was full of apparatus as had been the Powerhouse Control Room. Lights winked on panels; things hummed. But more arresting than the furniture was the occupant of the room, before whom Croaker squatted now. Hairless he was and naked, with the whitest skin I'd seen; his legs were useless-looking sticks that dangled from the high stool he perched on; shrunk too were his hams (though his hips were wide) and his bald gonads scarcely there at all. His paunch however was considerable, even bloat, and rounded up to a smaller chest and the sloped white shoulders from which plumpish arms depended. Most remarkable was his head: an outsized hairless browless ball that dandled forward and to one side as if too weighty for the neck. Thick round eyeglasses he wore on it, whose rimless lenses magnified his thumbnail-colored eyes. He had no teeth.

"So," he said, Z-ing the sibilant as Max did. But his voice was a furry pipe. Croaker at once set to whining.

"He wants you off so he gets his work done," the strange man said, with a faint smile. I dismounted and leaned on my stick, confounded. At once Croaker hurried to a metal locker nearby, took a white robe out, and draped it about the man's shoulders; our host bared his gums, and Croaker hurried to another room, returning presently with a set of false dentures in his hand. Accepting and inserting them, the man sighed and said, more clearly: "It was good not to have the brute around, but I do need him." He addressed Croaker then in a flurry of some unfamiliar speech, which the black man evidently understood, for he sprang to a cupboard and set about some task.

"You're the famous Goat-Boy, nein?" He tapped a long metal cylinder beside him, thrust into a slit in the wall. "I saw you through the night-glass while I was adjusting the main telescopes. There's an annular solar eclipse tomorrow. I'm Eblis Eierkopf." He smiled at my alarm and fluttered a hand. "Don't believe all Herr Spielman tells you." Here he managed an actual chuckle. "That dumbhead, shooting Herman Hermann! He thinks with his ventricles!" He had, he explained, heard the news bulletins about Max's arrest and Harold Bray's appearance in the Amphitheater, as earlier he'd heard reports from the Powerhouse of Croaker's having been subdued by the Ag-Hill Goat-Boy, et cetera. I was still too disconcerted by his identity and appearance to make a proper reply. This was the man responsible for the Cum Laude Project, and Miss Virginia R. Hector's undoing? This was Max's arch-enemy? Anastasia's father?

"Sit down," he invited. There was another stool near the eyepiece of a huge telescope aimed through a vertical opening in the dome. "Croaker brings beer as soon as my pablum's ready."

This my former ally did, clearly now emancipated from my direction; not only beer he brought me -- excellent stuff in a pewter-topped stein -- but boiled chicken-eggs, which he sliced with a clever wire gadget.

"Not those!" Dr. Eierkopf wailed when he caught sight of him. "They're for research!"

But it was too late, the eggs were sliced; whatever scientific work they'd been meant for would have to be begun afresh. Croaker served them round and spoon-fed Dr. Eierkopf his gruel -- insisting, with grunts and throaty babble, that he eat every bit of it.

"So," Dr. Eierkopf sighed again. "When he ran off I could think undistracted, just as your friend Stoker promised, but I starved to death. Now I eat and don't get my work done, and he spoils my research. Drink up! Don't be afraid of me."

"I'm not afraid," I said. "I -- believe I should despise you, sir."

This news he merely nodded at. "Of course you should, after all Spielman told you! The old man is plenty mixed up."

Sternly I declared that my keeper and advisor was the passèdest man on campus as far as I was concerned --

"As far as you know, you mean."

As far as I knew, then; that he most certainly had been cashiered unjustly, thanks in part to the bad offices of Eblis Eierkopf; that nothing could be more false than the present charge against him, inasmuch as all his life he'd affirmed the principle of non-violence -- whereas his rival had been, if not actively a Bonifacist himself, at least a leading enemy scientist during Campus Riot II, who had contemplated without protest the combustion of numberless Moishian civilians in the furnaces of Siegfrieder College, and after the Riot had agreed without qualm to do EAT-research for New Tammany. And so forth. My harangue lasted some while, fueled by an actual twinkle in Dr. Eierkopf's eyes. Croaker meanwhile was peering through the smaller telescope, the one identified as a "night-glass"; he moved it slightly, gave a croak, and offered the eyepiece to his master, who begged me to excuse him for a moment.

"Ja, that's nice," he remarked a second later, and I was not too indignant to be astonished at Croaker's fondling the man's tiny organs while he peered. "Want to look?" he invited me. "Young ladies' dormitory across the way. But you're too agitated. No matter." He pushed Croaker's hand away. "Ach, that's enough. He is droll, don't you think?" he asked me. "Flunking nuisance, all the same. Now, Goat-Boy, let's see where to start on these notions of yours and Spielman's. I really am obliged to you for bringing Croaker home." He laughed aloud, as if struck by an extraordinarily amusing thought. "Do you know, your distinguished keeper went so far once as to accuse me of making his girlfriend pregnant. Imagine!"

"You deny it?"

He opened his robe with a kind of giggle, and Croaker tickled him at once. "Do I need to? Stop that, Croaker! So." More seriously he said to me, "Let's start there. You see how I'm made; I had early a kind of infantile paralysis; it left my legs and the rest as you observe. And young Mrs. Stoker does not call me her father."

I acknowledged that she did not.

"Then one of two things is true," Dr. Eierkopf reasoned lightly: "Max Spielman is Anastasia's father --"

"No!" I repeated indignantly what Max had told me about his accidental exposure to EAT-radiation, which had destroyed his fertility. Dr. Eierkopf smiled and nodded.

"Is that so? Very amusing! Well then, if Spielman isn't lying -- by the way, Dr. Kennard Sear could verify that..."

"Dr. Sear!"

Expressing his agreeable surprise that I knew the man he spoke of, Dr. Eierkopf affirmed that certain classified files under Dr. Sear's jurisdiction could attest the fertility and potency of any male in New Tammany College who had been of spermatogenic age twenty-odd years ago. At that time, as part of the culminating phase of the Cum Laude Project, semen samples had been taken from all New Tammany males between puberty and senility. These had then been analyzed, classified, and culled under Dr. Sear's supervision to the standards evolved by WESCAC for the Grand-Tutorial Ideal: Laboratory Eugenical Specimen, and although then-Chancellor Reginald Hector had curtailed the whole project shortly afterwards, the donor-data files from "Operation Sheepskin" were still intact and under seal somewhere in the Infirmary's research laboratories -- as well, of course, as in WESCAC's memory-banks.

"So maybe Max is lying and maybe not," he went on.

"And maybe you are," I interrupted -- not unimpressed, however, by the information.

Dr. Eierkopf made a high sound. "Very good! That's very good. Indeed, I might be lying. But suppose everybody's telling the truth; so your keeper is potent but sterile, and I'm fertile but impotent. Now what's left? Maybe Virginia Hector's telling the truth, how WESCAC was the father? How one night she goes into the Cum Laude Room to meet a boyfriend, and WESCAC grabs hold and fertilizes her with the GILES, yes?"

I was up off my stool. "Is that true? Is that why the project was stopped?"

Dr. Eierkopf raised the skin where eyebrows usually are. "So Miss Hector said. And ja, that's what made her poppa so angry he stopped the Cum Laude Project. A very great pity, when we were so close to success. A greater pity than any of those dumbsticks in Tower Hall can understand."

I demanded to know whether Miss Hector had been telling the truth. Dr. Eierkopf's tone suggested that he knew more than he cared to tell at the moment -- and he openly acknowledged that many details of the Cum Laude Project were still secret, for various reasons -- but certain facts, he maintained, were beyond doubt and could be spoken of: the GILES, he would stake his life on it, had been successfully developed, at least in prototypical form, and had been so to speak in WESCAC's hands, awaiting the selection of a volunteer "mother" and permission from Tower Hall and the Enochist lobbies to proceed with an experimental insemination. Second, WESCAC had, in Operation Ramshorn and the much-maligned Überkatzen experiment, demonstrated its capacity to take initiative and implement its resolves; for just that reason the Cum Laude Room had been designated temporarily off-limits to female employees, to prevent untimely accidents. Third, the precious original GILES had undeniably disappeared on the night in question, and was never found. Finally, a secret obstetrical report, which Eierkopf had seen just prior to his demotion, affirmed that Miss Virginia R. Hector quite definitely had been impregnated.

"So she's telling the truth!" I cried. So wondrous a notion then occurred to me that I stood speechless: the entire mystery of myself seemed in an instant brought to light, in a way that confirmed my hopes beyond my dreams! Enormous moment -- which Dr. Eierkopf, alas, soon dashed to campus.

"Impossible," he said. "I don't say she's lying, but her story can't be correct." The logic of the case, he insisted, was this: WESCAC had been programmed to inseminate solely with the GILES; but the GILES would by definition produce a male child, the future Grand Tutor. Inasmuch as Miss Hector's baby had been female -- the present Mrs. Maurice Stoker, among whose unquestionable attributes Grand-Tutorhood was surely not included -- one of two things must be true: either WESCAC did in fact impregnate Virginia Hector, but ad libitum, on a self-programmed "malinoctial" impulse, and not with the GILES but with an ordinary semen-specimen acquired in some unknown wise; or else it was not WESCAC but some human male who clipped her in the Cum Laude Room. Assuming the latter, and further that both Max and he were speaking truthfully, then Miss Hector either had another lover or fell afoul of some unidentified rapist.

"For me," he concluded, "I happen to believe that she did have the great privilege of being chosen by WESCAC, just as she says. But then the computer must have decided not to honor her with the GILES, and either fertilized her with a different specimen or merely... enjoyed her, you know, without fertilizing her at all. For practice, ja? Or just for the malinoctial sport. And then later she happened to conceive by some ordinary lover." He appeared to wink. "She was quite a fetching person in those days... I myself used to wish sometimes that I were fashioned like other men, for her sake... But bah! I never was one-tenth the fool that Spielman was, with his flunking Compassion, and his Honor, and his Dignity of Studentdom! Scratch a liberal Moishian, Goat-Boy: you'll find a sentimentalist, every time."

Croaker made to refill my stein, leaving his vigil at the night-glass for the purpose. At first I declined, declaring to Dr. Eierkopf my resolve to go to Main Detention and do what I could towards Max's release. But he assured me that nothing could be done that night in any case -- even telephoned a Main-Detention office on my behalf to confirm the fact -- and that despite Maurice Stoker's unsavory reputation, the New Tammany judicial system was, in the main, fair.

"If Max didn't kill Hermann, they're not likely to convict him," he insisted. "If he did -- as I suspect -- there'll be a great deal of sentiment in his favor anyhow."

I asked him what, if not general malevolence, led him to believe that Max was guilty.

"You are a witty fellow," he replied, and excused himself at Croaker's summons to watch a co-ed undress in her darkened room a quarter-mile away. "But you are confusing malevolence with malificence." He spoke from the side of his mouth. "I like watching people in the night-glass; that may be naughty-minded, but it doesn't hurt anybody." As for his affliation with the Bonifacist riot-effort and his later work on EAT-weaponry and the Cum Laude Project, it was not the fault either of himself or of science that men used the fruits of his research for flunkèd purposes; he was but a toiler in the field, an explorer of nature's possibilities; his sole allegiance was to his work; he had no interest in intercollege rivalries -- petty, to his mind, even if they led to the destruction of the University. No, he declared, the evil on campus was done not by disengaged intelligences like his, which amused themselves between prodigious intellectual feats by spying on naked sophomore girls with an infra-red telescope; it was done by principled people like Max Spielman, who prided themselves on having hearts as well as brains; who committed themselves with a passion to high-minded middlebrow causes; in short, who claimed or aspired to membership in the human fraternity.

"Especially these self-sacrificial ones!" he warned. "Watch out for that sort! Your Moishian liberal with his Student Rights and his Value of Suffering -- he'll take you down with him, and tell you it's for your own good. Imagine, they used to say to me back in Siegfrieder I should jump into the fire along with them, as a protest!"

What bearing this had on the question of Max's guilt or innocence I never quite determined, unless it was that in Eierkopf's view a man capable of any emotion at all was capable of any other, and not to be trusted. I was intrigued as well as repelled by the hairless cripple -- who remarked in passing that he never slept at all in the usual way, but merely "turned his mind off" at odd intervals in the day and night, between mental tasks, and in this manner rested, like a fish or a machine. These were matters I wished to take up with him, out of general curiosity or in hope of immediately practical information: tomorrow's matriculation procedure, the problem of finding good counsel for Max, Anastasia's parentage and my own, the nature of Graduation, the character of my apparent rival Harold Bray, the question of entering WESCAC's Belly and changing its AIM (which for all I knew he might be better informed about than Max, having dealt more recently with the computer), and sundry others. Since in any case I had nowhere to go and nothing to do until four minutes after six in the morning, and sleep was impossible under the troublous circumstances, I lingered on in the Observatory and at length accepted Dr. Eierkopf's invitation to talk through the night -- fortified and stimulated by sips of the black liquor distilled under Founder's Hill, of which Croaker located a flask. Chased by the cold pale beer it was a bracing drink; fatigue was put from me, and I found myself obliged to acknowledge that while abhorrent in general and repulsive in many particulars, my host was not devoid of attractive qualities -- as Maurice Stoker himself had not in my eyes been. He was undeniably generous in his way, ingenious, efficient, and orderly, brilliantly logical and systematic, and his opinions were interesting if not always agreeable. His contempt for Max was milder than at first it appeared, and had to do not with my keeper's intellectual and scientific accomplishment, which he quite respected, but with his concern for non-scientifical campus problems and his general secular-studentism -- all which Eierkopf dismissed irritatedly as "beside the point." Mildly too he admitted to a few inclinations of his own in the administrative-policy way: he rather thought, for example, that a rotating commission of experts from the various sciences could run the University more harmoniously and efficiently than could the law-school, political-science, and business-administration types who customarily inhabited Tower Hall. He seconded without abash the idea of "preventive riot": it was EAT or be EATen, he placidly declared (confessing that the acronym nauseated him), and New Tammany would be well advised to EAT the Nikolayans at once, without warning, both to simplify the political situation and to protect herself from destruction at the hands of an enemy who surely would not scruple to attack by stealth. At the matter of the Moishian genocaust he merely shrugged his narrow shoulders: riot was riot; the Siegfrieders had been cut off from their normal fuel supply; a few good Moishian researchers like Chaim Schultz had gone up in smoke, but not many; the slaughter of whole student bodies was a tradition as old as riot itself -- had not Laertides been called "Sacker of Cities"? -- and the mere scale and efficiency of the Moishian extermination did not in his view make the Siegfrieders any more flunkèd than the classical Remusians, for instance, considering the proportionate increase in University population since ancient terms, and the improvement of homicidal technology.

"Despite the Moishiocaust and deaths from all causes on both sides during C.R. Two," he pointed out, "there were more people on campus at the end of the Riot than at the beginning. So?" And blandly he turned up his palms.

But less egregious, and to me more interesting, were his opinions of Harold Bray, Grand-Tutorhood in general, and Graduation -- all which matters, like ethics and politics, he first declared with a smile to be "out of his line" -- suitable enough for small talk, but not worth serious attention.

"I myself am a Graduate, you know," he said.

"You!"

"That amuses you. Nevertheless, I am. Even your friend Bray agrees -- not that that matters. And I verified it on WESCAC before I was demoted: there's the real Grand Tutor, of course."

I coughed on my beer. "WESCAC?"

"Certainly." He was sorry, he said coolly, that he could not second my own claim to that distinction -- how he knew of it I couldn't imagine. He granted that in many respects my history paralled that of the Grand-Tutorial Ideal as abstracted by WESCAC, and if I had happened to be Virginia Hector's son by the GILES, there could be little doubt of my authenticity. But seeing I was not, the best he could say for Max was that my keeper -- in his isolation, bitterness, and advancing years -- had gone soft-headed and groomed me for some preposterous scheme of redress. Max being in his opinion incapable of sustained deception -- other than self-deception -- Eierkopf concluded that in all likelihood Max really believed me to be a Grand Tutor, and would even more so if he knew of the GILES incident.

"But don't forget," he said, "you have only Spielman's word for it that you came from the Tower Hall tapelift, for example. I remember hearing stories about a crazy Schwarzer finding a baby, but Max could have made up those stories -- so could the Schwarzer have -- or you might not be the same child." He smiled. "Or you might have been EATen yourself, ja?"

"I've thought of that."

"So. But anyhow you aren't Virginia Hector's child. And all this AIM business! Nobody knows how WESCAC's programmed itself since those days, or whether the criteria it reads out for Grand-Tutorhood are actually the ones it would go by if somebody tried to enter the Belly -- it might be fooling us! Or talking a different language."

I began to feel dizzy, melancholy, and yet stubborn, as always when the uncertainty of my position was analyzed.

"Who says it's the Grand Tutor's job to straighten out the Quiet Riot anyhow?'" Eierkopf went on cheerfully. "Only Spielman, he's such a big Moishian pacifist! Did Enos Enoch worry about varsity politics? Unto the Chancellor that which is the Chancellor's; unto the Founder that which is the Founder's. And Scapulas says old Maios fought in the front lines in the Lykeionian riots, a regular alma-matriot."

Uneasily I declared, "I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do. Max is my advisor, but he's not my keeper any more. I'm pleased to hear you don't believe in this Bray fellow, at least."

"Bray? Bah! We'll see what happens when he goes into WESCAC's Belly. Want to see what he's up to now?"

He threw a number of switches on a nearby panel. Around the upper margin of the walls, just under the dome-edge, was a row of slightly convex glass screens, each half a meter square, which now glowed bluish-white in the manner of the Powerhouse Telerama. Scenes appeared on them, mostly unfamiliar: streets, buildings, interiors, for the most part dark and deserted. On one screen, however -- which Eierkopf selected, shutting off the rest -- a considerable crowd was represented, around a single column that marked the scene as Founder's Hill. A white figure stood near the pediment alternately haranguing the throng and bending to touch and speak to individuals who knelt before him. To certain of them, it appeared, he gave something cylindrical and white, like a rolled paper.

"He's Certifying Candidates already," Eierkopf snorted. It was indeed Bray, I saw now in a closer view. "You'd better get busy, there won't be anybody left to Commence."

"Is he really Certified by WESCAC? He claimed to be." I wondered too how the man had contrived to appear from the air, like a great stork, and who he was anyhow, and whether the NTC Chancellor's office would not take measures to investigate and suppress the imposture. Even as I inquired I thought I saw Peter Greene in the floodlit throng, pressing close to the monument; and there in the background, less surprisingly, was the swart stock form of Maurice Stoker, one hand on his hip, the other in his beard, grinning and shouting orders to the patrolmen who contended with the crowd. Then consternation fetched me to my feet, for as Eierkopf by turning a dial magnified and closed in on the scene, I saw a slender young woman, in a shift white and simple as Bray's own vestment, come forth under uniformed escort and embrace the pretender's knees.

"Get up from there!" I cried.

"Ja, by George, it's Anastasia," Eierkopf laughed. "Remarkable creature, isn't she? Pretty as her mother, and never says no. You want to watch?"

Sick at heart I declined, and he turned the device off. Croaker approached with an odd-shaped white-enameled vessel, into the neck of which he put his master's little penis, and Eierkopf urinated.

"You're jealous a little," he said. "It was fun last night in the Living Room, ja? I saw it on the monitor."

Since the Cum Laude scandal, I learned, he had been removed from his official directorship of WESCAC research -- the machine had grown so self-directing that his post had all but lost its significance in any case -- and demoted to the office of Clockwatcher. The job was actually quite sensitive, involving responsibility not only for the measurement of NTC time but for the "ticking heart" of WESCAC itself, "the very pulse of West Campus": as best I could conceive it, a metronomic apparatus (or was it merely a principle?) which both set and was itself the pace of WESCAC's operations; which in some manner beyond my fathom both drove and derived from the Tower Hall clockworks, currently under repair. In this capacity his talents, too valuable to do without, were available to the administration, which yet avoided the embarrassment of having a notable ex-Bonifacist in charge of New Tammany's military research programs. Moreover, at Maurice Stoker's urging, the Clockwatch had recently extended its operations to assist Main Detention in what was called Safety Surveillance; a genius with lenses, microphones, and such, Eierkopf was developing and integrating into WESCAC an elaborate system of monitoring devices, designed to improve the effectiveness of NTC law enforcement groups in preventing rule-infractions before they occurred and protecting the College from espionage. When perfected, S.S. would feed into WESCAC whatever its ubiquitous eyes and ears picked up; the computer would scan and assess the data, cull from it by its own program any evidence of infractions-in-the-making, and either take or recommend appropriate action. At present the system consisted merely of a few hundred cameras and listening-devices scattered about the campus and monitored by an experimental automatic scanner there in Eierkopf's Observatory -- thus his surprising knowledge of my recent adventures.

"You and Bray and this Living Sakhyan fellow -- we're watching all of you, naturally, as much as we can. A Grand Tutor's always a potential threat, as you're no doubt aware: that was even a criterion in the GILES program."

I was too much stricken by Anastasia's defection -- how else interpret her behavior? -- to be properly appalled by these disclosures. So passionately she had affirmed me in the Living Room, only to embrace the first imposter to come along! Eblis Eierkopf of course was merely amused; he offered the suggestion that she might accept Certification from Bray in order to reinforce his own authenticity, if she felt he needed the support -- had she not done the same for me, and half a dozen others?

"The things she used to do for me with Croaker!" he exclaimed. "She knew it helped me to watch her through the night-glass, especially when the gossips said she might be my daughter. Remarkable girl!"

He would have documented in more detail, but I waved away the offer. In an effort to raise my spirits he had Croaker refill my stein and recounted what he knew of Harold Bray.

"A crazy-man. A fake. A mountebank," he insisted. "Don't believe him for a minute; he doesn't even have the qualifications you have." But, he allowed, Bray was an extraordinary fellow, if a gross impostor, and had acquired a diverse notoriety on the campus before ever the "Grand-Tutor craze" began. It was generally agreed that he'd first appeared in NTC about eight years previously -- though no one could say for sure when and whence he'd come, and it was merely a hypothesis, albeit a likely one, that the several roles attributed to him under different names and appearances had been played by a single man. "Sometimes I think he's a species instead of one man," Eierkopf declared. "At least he must be quintuplets."

In brief, within a few months of his appearance in NTC he seemed to know the names, histories, achievements, and involvements of nearly everyone on campus -- including their friendships, enmities, and privatest lives, as if he had an S.S. system of his own. Basically squat and dark-haired, and in years somewhere between young manhood and early middle age, he nonetheless contrived to change his appearance substantially overnight from time to time, and his vocation as well. First he'd been an avant-garde poet -- bearded, booted, long-locked, and malodorous -- the darling of eccentric undergraduates, an enfant terrible in exotic garb who'd boasted of his sexual prowess, dropped famous names like birdlime all over Great Mall, spread slanderous gossip (always with a grain of substance in it) that set the members of the Poetry Department at one another's throats, and published scores of poems, some of which could not be proved to have been plagiarized. Subsequently -- perhaps even simultaneously, it was far from certain -- he had been a psychotherapist -- bald, cleanshaven, dapper, washed, and fat -- cashiered from the Psych Clinic when his glowing reference-letters proved to be forgeries, but not before he'd achieved a fair percentage of apparently successful cures. Again, under a third name, with a crew haircut and a stocky-muscled build, he'd been a field entomologist, explorer, and survival expert, able to flourish indefinitely in the wilderness without so much as a pocketknife or canteen of water -- but the Departments of Cartography and Entomology, satisfied as they were with his abilities and indifferent of his credentials, had reluctantly to fire him when he refused to disclose his methods. He had no ID-card; rather, he had such a variety of forged and stolen ones that no one could say what his actual, original name was. No one had ever seen him eat, sleep, or relieve himself; no one knew where he lived; he spent all his hours in taverns and other people's offices and dwelling-places, talking endlessly and knowledgeably on any subject whatever -- he was either a pathological liar or a widely traveled polymath, everyone agreed. Neither had anyone seen him at work; yet books and monographs in a dozen languages and a score of fields (survival techniques excepted) appeared under his noms-de-plume and sundry aliases; they were always challenged, but seldom wholly discredited. In time he had become the chief topic of conversation at New Tammany committee-meetings and cocktail parties. He was laughed at and over, reviled, contemned, cashiered, threatened with lawsuits -- and yet stood in awe of, especially by students. His most hostile critics agreed that the man was a gifted impostor -- so much so that in some instances the question of his fraudulence became more metaphysical than legal or ethical. If a man utterly without experience and knowledge of painting resolves to pose as an artist, Eierkopf hypothesized, and purely as part of the mimicry comes up with a painting that at least a few respectable critics deem a work of art, is the painter a fraud? If to prevent its being discovered that his surgical knowledge is only feigned, a man successfully removes an appendix, is he a hoax? Many people thought not, and the celebrated impostor had in time become a bonafide celebrity, an institution, a kind of college mascot whose deceptions often delighted the deceived. New Tammanians waited with approved curiosity to see where Bray would turn up next, and in what capacity; his poems, paintings, and scholarly articles became collector's items; everyone agreed that he was in his counterfeit way as considerable a genius as the encyclopedic giants of the Rematriculation, and in some quadrangles it was fashionable to claim for his productions a legitimate intrinsic value.

"So if anybody can mimic a Grand Tutor, it's Bray," Dr. Eierkopf concluded. "No telling what he's got up his sleeve; the curious thing is that he's posing without disguise. He's using one of the names he's known by instead of making up a new one, and the face is the same face he used as a psychotherapist." In consequence, it was already being suggested by some news commentators that this time he wasn't posing at all; that his former impostures had been in the nature of preparatory omens, or deliberate challenges to faith, as who should say, "I dare you to believe in me!" That thousands were ready to accept the challenge was evident: what Eierkopf was interested in seeing was how many actual Passages Bray could effect; how he would comport himself as an accepted Grand Tutor, especially in the matter of descending into WESCAC; how WESCAC itself would appraise him -- as inevitably it must, if it had not already; and what would occur when the time came for him to meet that end described in the GILES profile as the fate of all Grand Tutors...

"The Enochists say that a man can teach the Syllabi effectively even though he's flunkèd himself," he declared. "If everybody believes Bray's the Grand Tutor, and he goes into WESCAC's Belly and Commences the student body, does it make any difference whether he's the real thing?"

"Absolutely!" I cried. "All the difference on campus! I'm the Grand Tutor, whether anybody believes it or not!" Even as I protested, my throat smarted at the thought of Peter Green's apostasy, and Dr. Sear's (though I knew they'd only been being agreeable from the beginning), and particularly Anastasia's, since I'd come to regard her as my first protégée. Croaker himself had forsaken me, to squat by the night-glass against his master's further orders.

"I don't feel well at all," I said.

"Do you want a woman?" Dr. Eierkopf asked at once. "I'll have Croaker bring up a Dairy Science co-ed."

I declined the offer.

"An aspirin, then? Or a sandwich? I'll have to ask you to eat it in the bathroom, though."

These too I declined, observing that perhaps it was sleep after all that I needed most, next to Max's counsel.

"Whatever you please," said Eierkopf. "Croaker fixes you a cot, and we see to it you're up in time to register. I really am grateful to you for bringing him home, I suppose."

I closed my eyes for a moment. "You're welcome, sir."

"You know..." He dandled his head on the other side, and his magnified eyes rolled merrily. "I almost wish you were the GILES, George -- may I call you George? And you call me Eblis, if you like..." He sighed briefly, whereupon as if commanded Croaker came and set him on his shoulders. Eierkopf seemed quite at home there, but I was surprised to see what looked like tears shining behind his spectacles.

"You see? He's always getting things mixed up, like my eggs a while ago. Nothing ever gets done just the way I intended. But what can I do? And I cramp his style, too, I'm sure..."

Forgetting then the subject -- his wish that I were the true GILES -- not to mention the proposal of an end to conversation, he launched into a recounting of the nature and history of his connection with Croaker, which I attended with what imperfect wakefulness and patience I had left.

"I'd just been brought to New Tammany," he began, resting his little chin on Croaker's skull -- a white spheroid perched on a great black pedestal. "They had just begun to use WESCAC to pair up roommates, and refugee research-people were handled just as students were in the regular dormitories. Verstehst? You'll see tomorrow morning..."

At matriculation-time, he continued, everyone's attributes had been coded onto cards, which then were matched automatically on the basis of complementation -- a homely farm-girl with a chic young piece from Great Mall, and so forth. This was before the days of Prenatal Aptitude Testing, and Eierkopf allowed that it wasn't in itself a bad system.

"But show me the programme without hitches, Goat-Boy!" He had come to this campus with bad eyesight and false teeth, he declared; was never robust; could hardly stand on his legs (they were stronger then) -- all this was duly punched into his card, he'd signed the loyalty-oath, got his clearance-papers, watched WESCAC's card-sorters riffle and click. Going then to the lodging assigned him he found there not the clear-eyed practical, gemütlich young engineer he'd rather expected (himself being subject to sick headaches and "too busy in the head" to bother with housekeeping), but Croaker, the famous Athlete -- All-Campus candidate in football he was then, before they named him Frumentius's delegate to the University Council for his own protection.

"Imagine, Goat-Boy! A mindless brute that ate raw hamburger at the Coach's order, wore nothing but a loin-cloth, picked his nose, took what he pleased, urinated in the shower-bath, danced and farted, rolled his eyes, bared his teeth, and had his way with a parade of co-eds!"

Often and often, he said, when he'd had equations to think through or wanted only to rest his mind, he would come home to discover Croaker at his business with one of the girls -- perhaps a cheerleader, with crimson letter on the breast of her pullover. Naturally Croaker never troubled to draw the blinds, and in those days the spectacle gave Eierkopf headaches: from his perch on the outside stairway he was obliged, so he complained, to watch the pair at their rut: how the little pink beast feigned displeasure, even threatened alarum; how her ape-of-the-woods merely croaked, and naked himself already, had at garter and hook, put her in a trice to the fearsome roger -- whereat, coy no more, she'd whoop.

"And the worst was, we had to share the same bed!" Hard enough to relax, he said, in the odors of perfume and sweat; more than once, when sleep at last had granted respite from all thought he would be roused by Croaker's heavy arm flung over him; caught up in prurient dreamings the Frumentian mistook him for the prey, and must either be waked (no easy task) or his hug suffered till the dream was done.

I clucked sympathetically, and Eierkopf hastened to assure me that even so, his roommate had not been all bad. "I never begrudged him his salary, you know; brains aren't everything; studentdom must have its circuses. The whole body attended the games; I watched them myself through binoculars, cheering with the rest." Croaker was, he allowed, a splendid supple animal after all, full of power and grace; it could lift even Eierkopf's spirits to see him leap about the room or chin on the shower-rod or lay waste half a sorority. They were not always at odds, I must understand. Though the smell of raw hamburger retched the frail scientist, Croaker saw to it he never starved, and except in most obstreperous humors fetched and carried at his roommate's command, even as he'd done for me. In return, Eierkopf had filled out Croaker's scholarship-forms, reconciled his financial statements, schooled him in the simplest etiquette and hygiene -- not to defecate in classrooms, not to copulate on streetcorners -- and did his homework.

"I devised little tasks to make him feel useful and regimens to keep him fit. Sometimes I even chose his girls: leave him to himself, he'd as likely hump somebody's poodle or the Dean of Studies! I was still interested sometimes in women then; let a pretty baggage from Theater Arts refuse me her company or make fun of my eyeglasses: I'd point her out to Croacker on the sly, and one night soon I'd have the joy to see her boggle at his awful tup!"

In sum, Croaker could not have survived long on the campus without Eierkopf's help, and the scientist in turn would have found life insupportable had Croaker been shot to death, say, by the father of some ruined sophomore, or lynched by the White Students' Council. However much, then, he might despair at Croaker's grossness, and Croaker perhaps at his roommate's incapacity and frailness; however much they each might yearn at times to live alone or with a partner more congenial -- which yearning Maurice Stoker had lately played upon, for mischief's sake -- at their best they muddled through, strange bedfellows, who in any case were bound by the strictest of leases, which could not be broken before its term. And so strong a thing is custom, Eierkopf declared, he soon could scarcely recall having ever lived alone; it was as if he and Croaker had been together from the beginning, for better or worse. What was more, if their connection was at best uneasy, they'd come more and more to depend on each other as terms went by. Eierkopf's affliction worsened; he took to a wheelchair and gave up sleeping; Croaker delivered him to and from laboratories, even learned to take dictation and type out reports -- except during seizures like the one that had lately fetched him to George's Gorge. As for the Frumentian, he had got along previously by a kind of instinct, which, when he saw how better he fared with Eierkopf's assistance, he either put by or clean forgot.

Again tears welled into Eierkopf's eyes, whether of affection or chagrin I could not decide. "I even learned the art of football for his sake, and lectured him between matches on his specialty, the Belly Series! All which, my friend, the athletic directors, the student boys and girls, and my colleagues came to accept, grudgingly or not: to get Croaker they had to take me; to get me" -- he chuckled or sobbed -- "who had my own kind of fame, you know -- they must put up with Croaker."

Did his face fall in despair, or did he kiss the grinning giant's pate?

"It was a package deal, not so? And still is; it still is. Croaker and Eierkopf -- we are inseparable as two old faggots, or ancient spouses!"

He said more; indeed he may have talked the night through, but further than this I knew nothing until Croaker waked me with a gentle touch. My first thought was that I'd dozed off for half a sentence -- Dr. Eierkopf sat on Croaker's shoulders as before, and resumed the conversation as soon as my eyelids opened -- but I discovered that I was lying on a cot, and a large clock on the wall read four and a half hours after midnight. Croaker set a folding screen before me and served up a breakfast of hard-boiled eggs, pancakes, and sausage; while I dined (I could not of course stomach the sausage any more than Eierkopf could abide the sight of my eating anything at all) my host spoke on from behind the screen:

"It is extraordinary how many things point to your being the GILES, except the one thing that proves you're not. And it's almost a pity. You're an interesting young man, a pleasant young man -- but that's not the point." What he meant was that although he assumed the Cum Laude Project to be a cause forever lost, it intrigued him to imagine what WESCAC might have produced had it indeed fertilized some lady with the GILES. Moreover, while he felt certain that he knew what Graduation is, and that he was himself a Graduate, there were admittedly moments when he could almost wish it were something else -- something miraculous after all, as the superstitious held it to be.

"What is Commencement?" I asked him through the screen. Croaker fried a decent pancake.

"Commencement is a conclusion," he replied at once. "There's nothing mysterious about it: when you've eliminated your passions, or put them absolutely under control, you've Commenced. That's why I call WESCAC the Grand Tutor. I can prove this logically, if you're interested."

I did not deny that I was interested, but pled shortness of time. Not to be discourteous, however, I asked him whether, when a man had reasoned his way to Commencement Gate, as it were, he truly felt Commencèd -- for I had often heard Graduation described as an experience, but never as a proposition.

"Bah! Bah!" my host cried, with more heat than I'd seen him display thitherto. "That question leaves me cold!" The ejaculation confused Croaker, who mistaking it for some unclear but urgent command, galloped wildly about the observatory for some moments, knocking down the screen and upsetting a tray of watch-glasses before he could be calmed.

"There, look what he's done!" Eierkopf pounded him feebly on the head and wept a single tear. Like a frightened horse, Croaker still rolled his eyes and fluttered at the nostrils. "I would be a Graduate, if it weren't for him! I can't pass with him, and I can't live without him! Feel, feel, that's all people think of! There's feeling for you!" He indicated Croaker, who, quite placid now, had set his rider on a stool and was doing his best to tidy up the spilt watch-glasses. "If Commencement were a feeling, he'd be the Graduate!" Now Dr. Eierkopf laughed until a rack of coughing stopped him. "Maybe he is, eh?"

I said to soothe him that I could not imagine Croaker as a Candidate yet, much less a Graduate, though to be sure I admired his physical prowess; nor could I on the other hand accept the notion that Graduation was merely the end of a dialectical process. But in any case, I felt bound to remark, Croaker was not altogether devoid of reason, however imperfectly he employed it, nor was Dr. Eierkopf absolutely without emotion or appetite. Even as I spoke, tears flowed freely from his lashless eyes, a surprising sight, which he acknowledged as support of my observation.

"So maybe I'm not myself Commenced yet," he admitted. "But what else can Commencement be? You want spooks and spirits? Bah, George Goat-Boy! We look with our microscopes and telescopes, and what do we see? Order! Number! Energies and elements! Where's any Founder or Grand Tutor?" He tapped his gleaming skull. "In here, no place else. And in Tower Hall basement. That's all there is!"

I rose from the cot, where I'd been sitting with my coffee, and politely shook my head.

"I'm the Grand Tutor, sir. I'm going to ask Max and Dr. Sear about this GILES business as soon as I get through Scrapegoat Grate. But GILES or no GILES, I'm the Grand Tutor."

"I like you, Goat-Boy!" Eierkopf cried. "But how can you say such a thing?"

I admitted that I couldn't explain myself, and even that I had as yet no clear conception of what Graduation was; I acknowledged further that my conviction as to my Grand-Tutorhood was not unremitting -- that I was subject to lapses of confidence and moments of bad faith, as well as errors of judgment and waverings of policy, just as Anchisides, Laertides, and for all I knew Enos Enoch had been. Yet it was persistent and prevailing, this conviction. I was the Grand Tutor, as surely as I was George the Goat-Boy! I had no ax to grind; I craved neither fame nor deference except in poor moments; I had come from the goat-barns to Pass All Fail All and would most surely do so, whatever that injunction might turn out to mean.

"And I promise you this, sir," I declared, stirred by my own rhetoric; "if it ends up being that Commencement is a miracle, then keep your night-glass and day-glass on me, and you'll see a miracle one day with your own eyes. Don't ask me how I know!"

Those same eyes squinted at me now behind their lenses, and either he shook his head or it dandled of its own accord.

"What a fellow you are!" he said -- more pitying than awed. "Everybody has his weaknesses, and you know you can make me think of mine by speaking of yours, not so? So I don't believe in hocus-pocus, any more than Max Spielman did before he got senile. But what do I do in weak moments? I try to take nature by surprise! I try to catch her napping once!" He laughed at his own folly, which it nevertheless plainly excited him to confess. He would sometimes stare at the furniture of his observatory for hours on end, he declared, at the familiar books and instruments in their accustomed places, and contemplate the inexorable laws of nature that held them fast, determined their appearance and relations, and governed his perception of them. And he would find himself first fretting that the brown pencil-jar on his desk, for example, could not suddenly turn green, or stir of its own inexplicable volition; from a fret that such wonders could not be, he would come to a wish that just once they might, thence to a vain and gruntsome willing that they be -- as if by concentration he could bring the miracle to pass. And this coming naturally to nothing, he would lapse at last into a melancholy of several days' duration, after which, as a rule, he was fit to take up once more the orderly business of his life.

I glanced uneasily at the clock.

"Who wants to see the Founder, or the Founder's son?" Eierkopf exclaimed. "No! But what if some little messenger-spook should drop once out of the sky -- not to bring you a personal message, but maybe just to ask directions... Or what if you discovered even his footprint in the grass, where he'd lit for a moment? Less than that, even!" He indicated the shelves of the room with a roll of his eyes. "Just to see a sign once, that things were thinking their own thoughts. A little voice in the air, ja? One little leaf to move the wrong way all by itself, that's all it would take; I'd know right away... But bah!" He waved away such speculation. "I got to get ready for the eclipse. Croaker shows you where to go."

There was indeed little time; but when I'd thanked him for his hospitality and frankness, and expressed my hope that we might see each other another time under less upsetting circumstances, I couldn't resist asking him what exactly it was he'd "know right away" if, to use his expression, he should once catch nature napping.

"Forget I said it," he replied, as gruffly as his piping voice permitted. "There aren't any mysteries; just ignorance. When something looks miraculous it's because we're using the wrong lenses. Ja, that reminds me..." He said something in another language to Croaker, who, smiling grandly, brought me my stick. At various places along its length now had been affixed little lenses, concave and convex, mounted in shiny steel rims that swung on pivots. Moreover, the stick had been cleverly drilled through from tip to tip, and slotted transversely in such a fasion that certain of the lenses could be swung down into the bore.

"A little matriculation-gift to go with Croaker's," Eierkopf said. "Mirrors and lenses are my favorite things." He showed me, when I'd thanked him for the gift, how by selecting the proper lenses and sighting through one end or the other, I could use my stick as either a telescope or a microscope, and make fire with it as well.

"Look all around the University," he advised me. "You'll see stars and planets you didn't know about, and girls undressing and doing things with their boyfriends. You'll see your blood cells and your crablice and your spermatozoa. Some things that look alike you'll see to be different, and some you thought were different will turn out to be the same. But you can look from now until the end of terms, and you won't see anything but the natural University. It's all there is."

I thanked him again most sincerely, quite touched by his generosity despite my reservations about his opinions, and promised to apologize, once I'd verified his impotency-claim with Dr. Sear, for accusing him in the Virginia Hector affair. Then I set my silver watch and begged his leave to go on Croaker's shoulders to the Main-Gate Turnstile. He could not so far oblige me, he begged pardon, as he needed Croaker to adjust the astronomical apparatus and perform sundry other chores before the eclipse. But the Gate was neither distant nor difficult to find, he assured me -- a ten-minute trot on Croaker: at most a twenty-minute limp for me; there was ample time to get there before sunrise. He bid me auf wiedersehen and promised he'd watch on his telescreens the Trial-by-Turnstile ceremony; if I should contrive to pass through the Turnstile and Scrapegoat Grate -- a feat never before managed outside of legend, and to all appearances physically impossible -- my claim to Grand Tutorhood would warrant more systematic and detailed refutation; until then, I had his good wishes but by no means his credence. I smiled and shrugged my shoulders, whereat, almost crossly, Eierkopf said goodbye, turned on his stool, and peered into his night-glass. Croaker led me downstairs to set me on the right road. As the Observatory door opened automatically, Dr. Eierkopf's voice piped from a speaking-tube on the jamb.

"Listen here, Goat-Boy," he said crisply. "A bulletin just comes in that Harold Bray will enter WESCAC's Belly and change its AIM. Can you hear? But he must have something up his sleeve, because Chancellor Rexford has officially recognized him as Grand Tutor to New Tammany College, on the strength of his pledge. The Military Science Department would never allow that if he meant to disarm the EAT-system."

My heart constricted.

"You know what this means, Goat-Boy?" Eierkopf went on. "It means he's automatically in charge of Admissions to Candidacy. He'll oversee the Trial-by-Turnstile this morning. You won't succeed, my friend!"

I put my mouth to the brass tube and replied, "Keep your eyes open, and you'll see." But I felt less confident by half. The air was fresh, the sky moonless now and just lightening, the grass drenched. Croaker pointed out across the dark lawn, grunted something, tapped my stick, and squinted through thumb and forefinger as through a glass. I aimed the stick where he directed and tried several combinations of lenses, but saw nothing. Then I tried another, and darkly before my eye a distant building wobbled, around whose corner a procession of cyclists and pedestrians turned out of sight.

"That way to Main Gate? Behind that building?"

But when I looked from the lens I found Croaker gone and the door shut, both without a sound. Gooseflesh pricked my forearms; I legged off through the dew no comfortabler for knowing that a night-glass surely watched me go. Did another, less hospitable, see me coming?

6.


A motorcycle snorted behind me, and I was hailed: Peter Greene, on our borrowed vehicle, mounted up behind its owner, who throttled down and grinned through his beard at me in the dim light.

"Told you it was a goat-boy!" Greene said triumphantly to him. "And me only one eye!"

"Flunk me for not recognizing an old friend!" Stoker laughed. He offered his hand, which I shook before recalling that I did not consider him a friend. "Pity you left so early the other night," he said easily. "Spoiled the party for Stacey. She sends her love."

"By George, that's a gal, that Stacey!" Greene cried reverently. "I swear if she ain't!"

I walked on. Stoker idled the machine alongside. "Last night was the real party," he said. "Randy-Thursday affair. Could've used your act. Oh, say --" He touched my arm; I drew away. "Too bad about Max. I'll have to prosecute, of course, but it is awkward that my man turned out to be Herman Hermann."

I clenched my teeth at this confirmation of my suspicions. "Max didn't do it."

Greene applauded. "Attaboy!" His manner -- and Stoker's too, who seconded his approval of my pronouncement -- said that I did admirably to stand by my friend, who however was most certainly guilty as charged.

"No question!" Stoker scoffed. "Herm was my aide, you know -- the rascal I sent to catch up with Max the night of your visit." He'd been aware, he said, that the man was an ex-Bonifacist -- no doubt others of his staff were also; he didn't know or care about their ID-cards or histories as long as they did their work -- but he'd not known it was Herman Hermann himself whom he'd dispatched to "take care of" my advisor, or he'd not have risked so valuable a man. I set my lips. Stoker's declared opinion was that Hermann had overtaken Max along the road and that my advisor had recognized and killed him; whether in a spirit of revenge for the exterminated Moishians or in self-defense remained to be established.

"Could of been an argument and then a scuffle," Greene offered. "Seen it happen a dozen times, fellows get to squabbling." His tone, I noted, was deprecatory and pacific: obviously he was on cordial terms with Stoker and wished to mollify my hostility.

"Max would never fight," I said. "Not even to defend himself. I know."

Stoker chuckled. "Oh, you know, do you?" He pointed out then in an amiably serious way that he too was surprised at Max's breach of his avowed principles, though he'd assumed all along that the Moishians were as capable of flunkèdness as any other group in studentdom, given the opportunity. "But really, George, you mustn't believe I'm behind this -- as I understand you told Sear and the chap at the sub-station desk." Max, he reminded me, had turned himself in after the news bulletin, and freely confessed to shooting Hermann. " 'Overcome by vengefulness,' he said he was, as soon as he realized who the man was. Most normal human thing he ever did, I told him myself! Now, of course, he's gone Moishian again -- says he wants to pay his debt to studentdom, all that rot."

"They'll never convict him," Greene said stoutly. "Begging Mr. Stoker's pardon, the man's a hero if you ask me."

Stoker grinned. I vowed I would believe nothing except from Max's own lips. But the story of his surrender and confession did not strike me as being so fantastic as I could have wished; it squared uncomfortingly with his late remarks about the Bonifacists being outside the pale of charity, and about implacable, irrational varieties of flunkèdness which must be neither accommodated to nor forgiven.

"Let's run over to Main Detention and see him now," Stoker proposed.

Greene reminded him that it was getting on to Trial-by-Turnstile time; we must all make haste if he and I were not to be late for Registration and Stoker for his ceremonial role of Dean o' Flunks.

"I'll drop you off," Stoker answered him pleasantly. "But I'm sure George is more concerned with his keeper's trouble than with his own little ambitions. Especially now the Grand-Tutor thing's all settled."

The taunt stung me to reply, more heatedly than I intended, that nothing was settled by the theatrical advent of the person called Harold Bray, who, whatever his spurious official backing, was a patent fraud, as I meant to prove in due course. And I added that eager as I was to confer with Max -- both on the matter of his arrest and on certain other subjects -- I had his own word for it that it was imperative for me to matriculate on time. I checked my watch: Tower Clock should chime five-thirty any moment. Hobbling faster I declared my suspicion that our encounter was in fact probably not coincidental, but part of a scheme to prevent or delay my registration, and I warned Stoker not to attempt to stay me, as I did not share Max's commitment to non-violence.

"You needn't tell me!" Stoker laughed. "I've heard what you can do with that stock of yours when somebody gets in your way!" Then, as if to atone for that unhappy allusion (how he'd heard of Redfearn's Tommy's death I couldn't imagine) and at the same time to give proof of his goodwill, he bade me climb up behind Peter Greene and be transported post-haste to Main Gate. Full of suspicion, I nonetheless agreed, choosing the possibility of kidnaping over the certainty of being late if I continued on foot to a place I'd yet to locate. I straddled the rear fender and we sped off, Stoker explaining at the top of his lungs that the vehicle we rode was the same we'd found ditched the day before, and was in fact the one Herman Hermann had set out upon from the Powerhouse. He had already thanked Greene for salvaging it, he said, and now he thanked me also. I was not to worry about discarding the sidecar, removing evidence from the scene of a capital crime, and using a vehicle without license or authorization, all which misdemeanors he could charge me with if he chose to, along with imposture; he was pleased enough to have the motorcycle back, especially as it was now unmistakably linked with Max's movements just after the murder. Already he had given Greene certain modest tokens of his gratitude, which it was his desire I should share.

"Ain't he the durnedest?" Greene demanded with a shake of his head. "Look here what he give me to split with you, just for a joke." From his coat pocket he withdrew four small black cylinders and pressed two of them into my hand. "Flashlight batteries!" He laughed, blinked, and exclaimed as at some splendid piece of foolery.

"What was I supposed to give you?" Stoker shouted over his shoulder. "You've got everything already, and Grand Tutors don't need anything. There's about two million more where they came from."

"You are the durnedest," Greene declared, and flung his batteries, to Stoker's delight, at early pigeons purring upon a seated statue of some former chancellor. I might have discarded mine also, as I had no conception of their use and wanted anyhow no beneficences from Maurice Stoker; but even as the ruffled pigeons flapped we rounded that corner I'd spied through my lenses and entered the square before Main Gate -- a place of such unexpected throng and pageant, I forgot that my hand clutched anything. Floodlit in the paling twilight, thousands of young men and women filled the square. Many were seated in temporary grandstands erected during the night, which flanked a broad central aisle leading straight to the Turnstile; others milled freely about, some riding pick-a-back for a better view; a bright-uniformed band played martial airs; a double row of policemen kept the aisle clear.

Stoker paused smiling at the edge of the square. "Look here, George, Bray's down in WESCAC's Belly this minute, so that takes care of that. Hadn't you better go see Max?"

The news shocked me until I realized that I needn't believe it. Even if it were true, as Greene now assured me, that Bray had disappeared at 3 a.m. from the Randy-Thursday festivities at Founder's Hill (where he'd gone in triumph with the host of his "Tutees"), declaring his intention to descend into WESCAC's Belly before dawn; even if it were true that subsequent bulletins from Tower Hall, allegedly read out by WESCAC, confirmed that he'd successfully entered that dread place, even if it were true that Chancellor Rexford had in consequence proclaimed him official Grand Tutor to New Tammany College and named him to preside over the Trial-by-Turnstile -- it could be all an elaborate hoax, a political stratagem to turn the Grand-Tutorship into an agency of the Quiet Riot, or to forestall the necessarily revolutionary consequences of a genuine Grand Tutor's appearance. On the other hand, perhaps he really had entered the Belly, in which case he must be EATen alive, and that was that.

"I'm the Grand Tutor," I told Stoker, and noted crossly that in his company I seemed always defensive, overambitious, and foolish.

"Well, now," Greene said -- his expression so fatuous it made me hot with impatience -- "maybe you and Him both is Grand Tutors."

I wouldn't acknowledge his remark, though I saw Stoker watching with amusement for my reaction. Greene was twice my age, a wealthy and powerful figure to whom, moreover, I was in a small way obliged, yet I found myself almost contemptuous of him this morning, and not knowing quite how, I felt certain that Stoker was responsible. His presence either made me intolerant or actually transformed Greene's otherwise agreeable simplicity into simple-mindedness -- as it seemed to turn my own pride into vanity, and had made Anastasia's martyrdom on the beach into something perverse. I strode off without a word towards the far end of the aisle or track, where a bare-chested group of athletes were loosening their muscles for the Trial; Greene called goodbye to Stoker and hurried after me. Sure enough, my irritation was left behind like a patch of nettles, and once out of that mocking influence Greene's ingenuous good nature seemed again more winning than annoying. He clapped his arm about my shoulder and cheerfully flunked himself for "always saying the wrong durn thing." Then with surprising insight he declared that because he had never met a man he didn't like, and himself craved frankly to be liked by everyone he met, he not infrequently made enemies of his friends by making friends of their enemies -- as in the case of Bray and myself.

"So I just don't fret," he said. " 'Like it or lump it,' I say to myself: I'm okay, and what the heck anyhow, it don't nothing matter. Ain't that Stoker a dandy, though?"

I smiled and shook my head; one could not stay annoyed with such insouciance. Greene chattered on about his night's adventure: I was wrong to despise Bray, he declared, who when all was said and done was a darned smart cookie, insightwise. He'd held real person-to-person interviews -- in depth, didn't I know -- with numerous of Stoker's guests in the Living Room, and all agreed afterwards, when Bray left for WESCAC's Belly, that there was a man who could read the passèd heart of every flunker in the room, and make you feel a little bit brighter than you did before. He, Greene, did not regret for a moment having gone with the crowd to Founder's Hill instead of revisiting the Carnival midway as he'd planned; he felt a campus better for it. Even Dr. Kennard Sear, it seemed, had put by skepticism after his interview and declared that Bray's analytical perceptiveness was extraordinary.

"Then Dr. Sear's isn't," I said. "I'm surprised he couldn't see through him."

Greene chuckled. "Wait'll you have your interview! I told Mr. Bray about you being a Grand Tutor and all, and He said He'd be right proud to have a chat with you. He's one in a million, that fellow. Really opened my eyes."

I judged it futile to argue. Moreover, Greene's admiration of my rival turned out to be at least partly a mere reflection of his real enthusiasm, which now he beamingly confided.

"That Anastasia thinks a lot of you, too, George; I could tell by looking at her! Guess you two are sweet on one another, huh?"

Without mentioning what had passed between us in George's Gorge, Stoker's sidecar, or the Powerhouse Living Room, I declared that I regarded Mrs. Stoker as an uncommonly beautiful human female lady person both physically and otherwise, and was sufficiently impressed by her generous nature to hope that she might be the first I could lead to Commencement Gate, once I'd found it myself. For this reason I naturally thought of her with a particular fondness, as might Max of a prize milch-nanny; as for love, however -- which I took his expression to mean -- I asserted firmly that a Grand Tutor could no more devote himself to certain Tutees and exclude others than could an algebra professor. My responsibility was for studentdom, as I conceived, not for any particular comely students...

"Then I might as well say it right out," Greene broke in; "I love that woman fit to bust! A sweeter, purer, prettier girl I never hope to see, and I'm bound and determined I'm going to marry her! Soon's I can see my way clear!"

He blushed happily at my astonishment, but his incredible resolve was proof to objection. The girl was already married to Maurice Stoker, I pointed out. Impossible, Greene replied: he could tell just by looking her square in the eyes that she was as virginal as the pines in his farthest timberlot; he doubted she'd even kissed a man yet.

"Are you joking?" I cried. I hadn't time or heart to rehearse for his edification Anastasia's extraordinary sexual accomplishments; I merely pointed out to him that she wore a wedding-ring, called herself Mrs. Maurice Stoker, and had countered Max's vow to free her from the Powerhouse by declaring that she stopped there of her own will, because her husband needed her.

"Then he's got her hypnotized, or doped," Greene said firmly. "But she's still a maiden girl, I can tell by her eyes; and if the marriage ain't consummated it can be annulled." His mind was made up, he declared: his own marriage he regarded now as having been incipiently kerflooey from the outset, and himself a perfectly okay man whose headaches and other difficulties were the effect of his wife's excessive standards, or something, he did not care what. Though he had seen Anastasia but once, and been unable to speak a word to her, the vision of her stainless beauty as she knelt at the Founder's Shaft encouraged him to wipe clean the troubled slate of his past and start anew -- a resolve which Mr. Bray had personally seconded.

"Directly this Registration business is done with," he said, "I'm going straight to Miss Virginia R. Hector and ask for Anastasia's hand in marriage. Now, then!"

I was dumbfounded, the more when he capped his madness with a plea that I go with him to see Anastasia's mother, who he understood was herself somewhat kerflooey, on the subject of Grand Tutors. If I would support his cause with her, he promised, he would use every resource at his command to clear Dr. Spielman of the charge against him.

"It's no more'n Miss Stacey'd want her own self," he said, and added that it was in fact only to intercede with Bray on Max's behalf that Anastasia had attended Stoker's Randy-Thursday party in the first place, an affair not otherwise fit for her maiden presence. But she had moved through the bawdy crowd like a swan across a cesspool, he went on, and anon had knelt so sweetly before the Grand Tutor that he, Greene, had been smitten with love upon the instant. So much so that when he'd seen some fellow "go for her" as she knelt, he'd rushed to protect her from molestation, and a little fist-fight had ensued.

"Young Nikolayan fellow, that I thought was going to lay his durn Founderless hands on her! Had a black patch over one eye to start with, and I blacked the other one for him!" But not, he admitted with a chuckle, before he'd nearly got a shiner himself. Stoker's guards had separated them, lest a varsity incident be made of it; the Nikolayan visitor (whom I believed I remembered seeing through the metal curtain in the Control Room) had been quickly escorted back to his classmates on the other side of the Powerhouse. Anastasia then had retired with Hedwig Sear; Harold Bray went off to fulfill his pledge in WESCAC's Belly; and Peter Greene, provided with aspirins and cold compresses by his host, stayed on to the party's end -- but so full of the image of Anastasia, he could scarcely attend the naughty entertainments that climaxed the night. And obliged as he felt to Maurice Stoker for the hospitality and the free ride back to Great Mall, he hoped with my assistance to have the unconsummated match annulled and make Anastasia his virgin bride.

What was one to say? I shook my head sharply, as before a dream or hallucination, thanked him for his offer to assist Max, and agreed at least to accompany him soon to see Virginia R. Hector, the story of whose connection with Max I wished to discuss with her anyhow. This pleased him enough for the moment, and I was able at last to turn my attention -- much disconcerted! -- to the serious task at hand. Greene's long-winded enthusiasm made me nervous at the passage of time: the boulevard ending at Main Gate ran from it due eastwards straight as a fence-line, but whether any distant elevation would delay the apparent sunrise, as happened in the rolling pastures at home, I couldn't discern. Tower Clock had yet to strike six; it occurred to me that Eblis Eierkopf had mentioned some malfunction in its works. I'd have to rely on my watch to tell me when to try the Turnstile, trusting that the clock in Dr. Eierkopf's Observatory had been correct.

Stoker, evidently popular with the students, I saw now making his way slowly through them towards Main Gate, his siren purring. They cheered and called to him; a pretty girl in white sequins perched herself on his rear fender and donned his helmet; from somewhere he'd got a little loudspeaker, through which now he addressed them.

"Everybody back to bed!" he said to some: "Registration's been postponed till after the eclipse." "Why bother matriculating?" he asked others. "You'll never pass the Finals anyhow." "Big party at the Powerhouse this morning!" he announced generally. "Everybody welcome! We'll get you back in time to register."

These messages and invitations -- to which he added warnings of the trials ahead and vague threats of revenge upon any who did well in school -- were received by the students with hoots and high-spirited heckling. Greene explained -- what I'd been told already -- that it was part of the Spring Registration ritual for someone to take the role of Dean o' Flunks and pretend to lure people away from all hope of Graduation; but I was surprised to observe that a considerable number seemed to take his words seriously. Many forsook the grandstand and either went off on cycles of their own or climbed into the sidecars of Stoker's guards, whose vehicles were stationed all along the aisle. There food of some sort was provided them, and young men and women boldly made merry; whether they later registered or actually went with Stoker to the Powerhouse, I never learned.

We reached the upper end of the track, half a hundred meters from Main Gate. The athletes in their shorts did push-ups and skipped rope; Greene spoke to them familiarly, being a fan and patron of varsity athletics. We were approached by their herder or tender, a balding plump official in a striped shirt with a whistle-lanyard round his neck and pens and pencils clipped to a clear plastic guard on his breast pocket. He would shoo us, but him too Greene knew, and was called sir by.

"My pal here and me just want a good view," Greene explained.

"Yes, sir, that's okay. Long's we keep the track clear."

"I didn't come just to watch,". I declared. "I'm going through Scrapegoat Grate."

The official laughed, and looked anxiously at his wrist-watch, told the athletes to crouch in single file, alphabetically ordered; as soon as the sun's rays struck the Turnstile he would blow his whistle at thirty-second intervals to start them.

"By George, you really want to try it?" Greene asked me. When I assured him that I most certainly did, he took up the notion as a splendid lark and vowed he too in that case would "have another crack at the old Turnstile," an event in which (in its rustic version) he'd distinguished himself as a young forestry-student.

But the official (Murphy was his name) grew red-faced and loud of chuckle at the proposal. "I'm awful sorry, Mr. Greene, sir! I'm not authorized to let anybody, try that hasn't qualified!"

Undismayed, Greene took a rolled parchment from his inside coat-pocket. "I reckon there's more'n one way to be qualified." He unrolled it triumphantly for the man to inspect. "This here's from the Grand Tutor, and says I'm a Candidate for Graduation. If that don't qualify a fellow, I'm durned if I know what does!"

Much surprised, I examined the document along with Murphy. Be it by these presents known, it proclaimed, that Peter Greene is a bonafide Candidate for Graduation in New Tammany College. The statement was printed in an archaic type except for the name, which was penned, and a subscribed quotation from the Founder's Scroll: "Except ye become as a kindergartener, ye shall not pass." It was dated March 20, the previous day, and signed Harold Bray, G.T.

"Got it last night at the Powerhouse," Greene said proudly. "Give 'em to a bunch of us His own self, after He'd interviewed us."

The official toyed with his penclips, repeated that he didn't like to say no, admitted that while the situation was unprecedented, the Certificate was undoubtedly authoritative, and at last granted permission for Greene to participate in the Trial-by-Turnstile-making clear, however, that he was not responsible for any trouble the irregularity might cause in Tower Hall.

"How 'bout my pal here?" Greene persisted.

The man regarded my beard and wrapper skeptically and supposed that I too had been Certified by the new Grand Tutor. Before I could articulate the denunciation inspired in me by the sight of my companion's false paper -- a problem, since I had no wish to quarrel with him or injure his pride, but felt it important that he be disabused of the illusion of his Candidacy -- Greene cried, "He don't need no Certification, Murph! He's a Grand Tutor His own self!"

"Aw, Mr. Greene," the man pleaded. He spoke from one corner of his mouth, holding his whistle in the other. "You'll get me fired. I can't let everybody run, or we'd never --"

"Hear this." A great loudspeakered voice interrupted him; the crowd grew still, and all eyes turned to Main Gate, its top now gleaming in the sun's first rays. "The next voice you hear will be your Grand Tutor's."

"You don't have to beg for me," I whispered to Peter Greene. "I'm going through anyway."

The crowd's applause made reply impossible; with a shock I realized the implication of the announcement: had Bray then come unEATen from the Belly? The official Murphy, relieved by the interruption, wandered off frowning at his watch and the diminishing shadow on Main Gate.

"Dear Tutees," a new voice said, and its familiar clicking roused me now to frankly jealous anger. "Trial-by-Turnstile will begin in one minute. Please have your ID-cards ready for scanning. Contestants will be admitted at the Left Gate as the Turnstile scans and releases them; all others may enter through either gate as soon as the last contestant is admitted. Proceed then directly to the Gate House Assembly Room for Chancellor Rexford's welcoming address. Remember: Except ye believe in me, ye shall not pass; and no one may matriculate without an ID-card. So be it."

"I got one somewheres," Greene said, slapping his pockets. There was a fishing for cards among the spectators; the crouching athletes held theirs between their teeth. I of course had none, and for the first time that morning began to be daunted by the prospect of Trial-by-Turnstile. How on campus had Bray managed such a fraud -- upon WESCAC itself!

"Got the pre-game jitters?" Greene said cheerfully. "Use my slogan, if you want; it ain't copyrighted."

Now drums rolled, and Maurice Stoker, with exaggerated gestures of menace, took up a position before the Turnstile, facing the athletes. The sequined beauty on his motorcycle, evidently the new Miss University, was escorted to a dais near the Left Gate. Stoker's appearance this time was met with good-humored hisses and boos, as he represented the Dean o' Flunks now in his aspect of Opponent rather than Tempter.

"He's in pretty good shape for a fellow his age," Greene said. "But his reflexes won't be too quick." He himself now stripped off jacket, shirt, and undershirt -- in order, he explained, both to run and climb the more freely and to offer Stoker as little as possible to grab hold of. For the latter reason the athletes also oiled their skin.

"Best we can do's work up a good sweat," he said, and asking me to hold his ID-card, began doing push-ups on the pavement. Me he advised to do the same, but since I thought it inappropriate to remove my wrapper, I saw little point in perspiration. I did however accept from him a "pep pill," as he called it, to counter the effect of two restless nights; had I known the black capsules came from the Powerhouse, I'd perhaps have declined. Just as I swallowed, the drums ceased with a crash; Stoker spread his arms and danced threateningly; the whistle blew; and the first athlete dashed with a bleat from the starting line. As he neared the "Dean o' Flunks" he feinted left, then dashed around him to the right; just as Green had anticipated, Stoker was unable to recover his balance quickly enough to catch him. The crowd applauded, and the athlete nimbly sprang up into the teeth of the Turnstile. In former terms he would then have merely strained with every muscle to turn it -- in vain, of course -- until the "Dean o' Flunks" pulled him down, whereupon he'd be suitably laureled, kissed by Miss University, and admitted. Today, however, for the first time, the objective was to climb as high as possible up the stationary gate, like a great comb stood on end, through which the spindled teeth of the Turnstile proper passed. The apparatus was some seven meters tall: when the climber had half scaled it, unpursued, it clicked and turned, and he was caught like a twig in a hayrake. The spectators exclaimed -- as did I, thinking all was up with him -- but then applauded his effort when it became clear that he was unhurt. From a metal arm above him swung down the lensed device which Max had guessed to be a scanner; the pinned athlete turned his teeth to it, still clenching his ID-card, and at once he was released. Thereupon Bray's voice proclaimed from the loudspeakers what traditionally it had been the role of some Founder's-Hall dignitary to say:

"Get thee hence, Dean o' Flunks! Let this man be matriculated!"

Stoker stamped the ground in mock chagrin, the Left Gate rang open, the whistle blew again, and as the first athlete, waving to the crowd, was rewarded by the sequined girl and ushered inside by a gowned official, the second charged down the aisle to a similar fate, making what he took to be goatlike noises. I ticked my batteries nervously together and shifted the shophar-sling to my other shoulder, wondering how I'd be able to climb with a walking-stick in my hand. Impossibly, my watch read only six; yet the sun's edge now was plainly visible behind us and the whole gate fired with light. A third athlete set out. On a sudden dread suspicion I put the watch to my ear -- it was silent. I shook it, horrified, and tried the stem: it turned freely. I had neglected to rewind it at the Observatory!

"What time is it?" I cried to Peter Greene. But the third runner had been named Foltz and the next was to be Harvey, so my companion had knelt at the mark to take his turn.

"Later'n you think, I reckon!" he called back, and whinnied away, his irregular costume provoking mirth among the onlookers.

"It's me'll catch heck for this," Murphy complained.

I shouted, "Wait!" and set out after, having noted earlier that George -- and for that matter, Goat-Boy -- ought to start before Greene. Now there was merriment indeed in the grandstands; my wrapper flopped, the shophar pitched, my watch flew on its lanyard, and as I gimped the lenses clattered on my stick. Murphy blew his whistle again and again at us, mistaking which signal the rest of the athletes sprang forth and pounded behind me. Stoker had poised himself to intercept Greene, but seeing me he changed his mind and crouched to snatch with particular relish. "Not you, Goat-Boy!"

But as once before in George's Gorge, my stout stick served me. "I'm okay," I said to myself, and with an angry ranuncular trumpet jabbed it at him. He sidestepped grinning and caught the stick's end, but the dodge fetched him squarely in the way of the runner behind me. The pair went sprawling; the crowd roared to its feet and pressed into the aisle, blocking other contestants. I sprinted the last few meters to the Turnstile, in whose lower teeth Greene was already caught.

"I'm okay!" he laughed. "It don't matter anyhow. Misplaced my durn card!"

I saw it lying at his feet and snatched it up for him as the scanner descended. Just as I pressed it into his hand the gadget buzzed, and the great stile turned a few degrees to release him. The crowd and shrill officials pressed in; there was no time to scale the standing teeth; as Greene stepped out I slipped behind into the angle he'd been trapped in. A guard snatched at me, caught hold of the bouncing shophar; I ducked out of its sling and left it in his hands. The Turnstile turned back to catch me just as I reached its axis. I pressed there into the vertex, where a little space was between the shaft and the standing teeth. No one could reach me, but I thought I might be crushed in the machinery, and desperately told myself what the heck anyhow, it didn't nothing matter, so to speak. If I came through and attained that grander Gate, well and good for studentdom! If I passed away then and there, I would be saved one later pain, and the loss was studentdom's, not mine; let them attend their Harold Bray, and all of them fail! I was in short okay.

What happened in fact was that the bald eye of the scanner scanned in vain, the stile moved on, and I was squeezed past the points of the standing teeth, which I cleared so narrowly that one ran into the armhole of my wrapper, another under my amulet-of-Freddie. I was inside then, but caught fast, and twisting to unhook myself managed only to catch my collar on a third tooth. No one could touch me: some laughed, others clapped hands, Peter Greene's voice behind me cried, "By George, He done it, fair and square!" and officials whom I couldn't turn to see fussed about, berating Murphy. Again the scanner dipped to face me; I smiled politely, but had no card to show. The Turnstile clicked and ground on, either to trap the next athlete or to deal with me. Girls squealed; the next row of teeth came through and pressed so hard against my back, I thought I must be sliced like Eblis Eierkopf's hard-boiled eggs. But that foreseam I had started (wrestling with Croaker in George's Gorge) now gave way with a rip from neck to hem, my knit-wool liner with it; the stile jerked on, the thong of my amulet parted, and for the second time those hides as dear to me as my own were sacrificed. Clad now in mine alone I was propelled onto Great Mall and into the arms of two sooty patrolmen who rushed up.

"Get thee hence, Dean o' Flunks!" the voice bid from the loudspeakers. "Let this man be matriculated!"

Not impossibly he referred to Harvey or some other athlete caught outside as I was caught in; I didn't look back, but seized the chance to demand imperiously of the Gatekeepers (so labeled by their armbands), "Take me to the Chancellor!"

At once they fell to disputing whether I should be fetched off to Main Detention as a gate-crasher or ushered into the Assembly Room as a matriculated student. It was agreed I could not be permitted to stand there indecently exposed, but the crowd beyond the gate grew so uproarious, especially when I turned to retrieve my watch (whose neck-chain too had caught on the Turnstile and been snapped), that the gatekeepers abandoned self-control and scuffled with each other. I saw fit to wave through Main Gate to the crowd as I undid my watch-chain, and they responded enthusiastically, whistling and sailing laurel-wreaths over the gate. Miss University stood openmouthed; when I blew her a kiss, she hid her eyes. My wrapper and amulet I regretfully abandoned as too enmeshed to salvage -- indeed, they had so jammed the Turnstile that Trials were ended and both side-gates flung open for general admission, either automatically by WESCAC or upon executive order. Too soon off the goat-farm to be abashed by nakedness, I crowned myself with a wreath of laurel, took my watch and stick in hand (alone with the two small batteries, which only now I noticed I still clutched), bowed first to the crowd and then to the grappling Gatekeepers in the dust, and followed a guide-rail rightwards to the nearest door of the Gatehouse. To show my composure as another pair of Stoker's guards approached, I even took a moment to glance at the sun, now fully risen and already eclipse-bitten at its edge. Then I leaned on my stick and once again demanded, before they could speak: "Take me to the Chancellor!"

7.


One growled, "Sure we will."

"No police brutality, Jake," the other cautioned, and said to me more pleasantly as each took an elbow: "We'll all see the Chancellor soon, bud. First we got to get some nice clothes on, don't we?"

"I'm okay," I declared. Following Max's advice I reminded them that I had done the unexampled in passing the Trial-by-Turnstile and was therefore a fully matriculated Candidate -- not for any paltry Certification of Proficiency but for bonafide Graduation -- who ought to be ushered at once into the Chancellor's presence.

"Sure you are," the first guard said. "Wouldn't surprise me if you was the Grand Tutor Himself. Come along nice, there won't be no brutality."

"Fact is," said the other, more cordially, "everybody comes through the Gate has got to be okayed by the Health Office before he registers. Ain't that so, Jake?"

Jake agreed it was, adding that without Dr. Sear's stamp on the Matric Card (as the ID-card was called after formal admission) not even a Harold Bray could schedule course-work in the College. At mention of that former name I consented to go with them -- which was just as well, since in any case they propelled me strongly up the Gatehouse steps into a large room striped with desks and tables. Men and women working over card-files stood to nudge one another and stare as we came in.

"That'll be okay," I was saying. "I know Dr. Sear."

Jake nodded gravely. "Figured you might, son." To the onlookers he cried, "Okay, back to work, folks; this ain't any vaudyville show." And the other guard cleared our way past long tables over which hung signs -- LIBERAL ARTS; ENGINEERING; BURSAR; HAVE RECEIPTS READY -- to a side-room marked X rays. Hustled in without ceremony, I saw Dr. Sear himself turn angrily from a large machine on whose glass face a singular spectacle glowed: the lower torso of a transparent woman, large as life, her bones and organs darkly visible inside her. What's more, she was alive: before our eyes her phalanges toyed with something not far from her pubic symphysis, and her voice continued a rhythmic murmur for some seconds after our entry, as if she had been singing to herself.

"Get out of here!" Dr. Sear cried, hurrying towards us. "I'm examining a patient, for Founder's sake!"

The guards apologized but pled the unusual nature of the situation -- no more able than I to turn their eyes from the startling screen. The hand and voice there quit now; the pelvis turned away, and from a curtained stall behind the machine emerged a woman -- middle-aged, untransparent -- tying a white-cotton gown about her waist.

"Crashed through the Turnstile," the guard not named Jake was explaining. "Some kind of nut. You better handle him..."

"Just wait outside!" Dr. Sear said crossly. He frowned at my nakedness as he herded them doorwards, and was too discomposed to return my greeting or even acknowledge yet that he knew me. But the woman's eyes unsquinted now, and crowing, "It's the Goat-Boy, Kennard!" she lurched in my direction. I recognized then the puff-eyed brittle face of Hedwig Sear, who had so relished mating me with Anastasia in the Living Room.

"Georgie darling!" But she stumbled into a chair-arm and thence into its seat, her legs immodestly sprawled; something seemed wrong with her balance. We looked on astonished.

"My wife's having an attack, as you see," Dr. Sear said impatiently. "My nurse isn't here today, and she was preparing herself for treatment. For pity's sake leave this chap here and wait outside!"

The guards apologized and withdrew, promising to stand by in case their help should be required. The one's expression was resolutely sober, but Jake grinned and winked as he closed the door.

"Beasts," Dr. Sear muttered. Yet his composure had quite returned. "What on campus are you up to, George? Get him a gown, Hed." Before I could explain my naked presence he pressed upon me an explanation himself, of the extraordinary scene I'd interrupted. A portable X-ray unit was set up in the Gatehouse at registration-time, he declared, to provide free tuberculosis examinations for any who wished them. Ordinarily Anastasia assisted him, but since her services had been commandeered for the morning by Harold Bray Himself, at the Grateway Exit, Hedwig had volunteered to take her place.

As he spoke, Mrs. Sear toyed with herself shamelessly, humming the while.

"Unhappily, my wife is subject to spells of uncontrolled behavior," he went on to say: "She came here this morning in the condition you see, and I was attempting to calm her by radiation-shock when you interrupted. I trust your discretion."

I assured him he might depend on me not to tell tales out of school. Dr. Sear shook his head. "Treatment didn't work, I'm afraid."

"Balls!" called Hedwig. Not sufficiently conversant with modern literature to have mastered obscene slang, I nonetheless guessed by her tone that she meant the term otherwise than literally; thus I judged it witty of me to pretend to mistake her, and said: "I lost Freddie's in the Turnstile, ma'am."

Whether or not she appreciated the humor, she scrambled at me on all fours like a crippled doe.

"No, now, Hed!" her husband chided. I retreated a step, but Dr. Sear restrained me with a look of whimsical despair.

"Indulge her for a second, would you, old boy? There's a good chap."

I stood nonplussed while the woman knelt before me.

"I wish she'd be less indiscreet," her husband sighed. "But if you don't humor the poor thing's spells she carries on dreadfully." He patted his wife's cropped head with one hand and caressed me frankly with the other. Yet something in the lady's manner left me limp; though I had no particular wish to be unaccommodating, their joint endeavor could not rouse me. After a moment Mrs. Sear remarked, "He needs Stacey," and then gave over the business with a shrug, stood up, straightened her hair, and seemed entirely normal once again. I apologized.

"Quite all right, darling," she said. "Kennard's made me such a wreck I can't even get Croaker excited. I'll get you a gown."

"Really, my dear," her husband protested; but he seemed amused by her remark. "You'll have George thinking we're perverted."

"Hah," said Hedwig. From the curtained booth behind the fluoroscope she fetched a white hospital gown like her own for me to wear until "something more suitable could be arranged."

"You must come to dinner," she chattered on; the two of them fussed and patted my gown into place. "I'll be a shepherdess and you'll be a buck, and Kennard can be the jealous shepherd."

"Excuse me?" I could not imagine shepherds in connection with goats; the notion was almost obscene.

"We could have Stacey in, too, and do it à quatre!"

Dr. Sear tut-tutted this proposal as extravagant and gently asserted to his wife that it was just such overeagerness on her part that chilled her male companions.

"But look here, George," he added, "we have no secrets from you, and you're obviously a man-of-the-campus, so to speak. It would be a lark for Hed and me both if you'd care to stay with us till this business about Max is resolved. You see we're agreeable people; you could live as you please."

I thanked him for his invitation, the hospitality of which was clear, however obscure the promised entertainment. But his mention of Max put me sharply in mind of more pressing business. I requested their address, promising to call on them in any case that same evening or the next to speak of Max's arrest and the GILES program. And I admitted that in fact I had made no arrangement yet for eating and sleeping, nor had any clear idea how such arrangements were made in human studentdom.

"But you must excuse me now," I concluded. "I have to see Chancellor Rexford yet about my Candidacy and then go through Scrapegoat Grate. And I want to have a talk with Anastasia, too, if I can find her."

They expressed their surprise that Max had made no dormitory reservation for me or even provided me with funds, and so I explained very briefly the unusual circumstances of my departure from the goat-farm, adding Max's observation that Grand Tutors and the like never as a rule packed even a sandwich in advance, though their hero-work might want nine years to complete. I had had, for example, no ID-card, yet I'd got through the Turnstile all the same, and was confident I'd find a way through Scrapegoat Grate.

"Think not of next period ..." Dr. Sear marveled. "I was telling Bray last night at Stoker's what an extraordinary chap you are, and what a really miraculous string of coincidences your life has been. Look here --" He glanced at his watch. "You've a good half-hour yet till Rexford's address; they've got all the regular admissions to process, and the Assembly-Before-the-Grate is just across the way from here... Have you an advisor?"

When I told him I had not, since Max's false arrest, he volunteered to fill the role himself, declaring that although he could not share my antagonism for Harold Bray, he respected the grounds of my own claim to Grand-Tutorhood, admired me personally, and would be pleased to assist me through the tedious ordeal of registration.

Mrs. Sear, who was lighting a cigarette, remarked, "He wants to blow you, too."

"Really, Hed."

I begged their pardon.

"We all want to, dear," she said, shrugging at one or the other of us. "Novelty's our cup of tea. Isn't it, Kennard?"

Dr. Sear smiled. "You'll give George the wrong impression."

The woman pinched my cheek. "Georgie's no dunce. He knows what was going on when he came in." Her husband, she declared, had long since lost his taste for ordinary coupling, whether conjugal or extra-curricular, and even for such common perversions as sodomy and flagellation. Watching others still amused him, but only when the spectacle was out of the ordinary, as in Stoker's Living Room; she herself, since she'd lost both novelty and youth, could interest him only by masturbating before the fluoroscope.

"That's very curious," I said. "Do you enjoy it, too?"

Dr. Sear had seemed bored by her recital, but here he laughed aloud. "There you are, Hed! She claims I've corrupted her, George, but she's as tired as I am of the usual tricks. You put your finger right on it."

"I wish he would," said Hedwig. She was bored with sophistication, she maintained, and yearned to be climbed in the exordinary way by a simple brute like Croaker; but catering to her husband's pleasures had so defeminized her that her effect on men was anaphrodisiac, as I had seen.

"Hedwig exaggerates," her husband said patiently. "It's true we've done everything in the book, but nobody forced her. She likes women and won't admit it."

I could have wished to hear more on this remarkable head; also perhaps to question Croaker's alleged simplicity, which his art-work on my stick belied, and compare Dr. Sear's optical pleasures with those of Eblis Eierkopf, to learn how prevalent such tastes were among well-educated humans. But it seemed more important to get back to my advising, and when I reverted to that matter, Mrs. Sear changed her tone completely. I could not do better, she declared seriously, than to have Kennard Sear for my advisor, as he was the most knowledgeable man on campus; in fact, he knew all the Answers, despite his perversions.

"Not despite, my dear: because of. George understands the tragic view."

They kissed most cordially. The mixture of affections in the Sears' marriage relation I found quite as curious as their amatory whimsies, since life in the goat-barn had left me open-minded in that latter regard. But their goodwill towards me was evident. Gratefully I put myself into their charge, stipulating only that in view of the urgent work at hand we forgo any further embraces -- à deux, trois, or quatre, onscreen or off -- for the present.

"I quite agree," the doctor said. The important thing, in his opinion, was for me to by-pass the ordinary machinery of registration and deal only with the highest authorities; otherwise -- since Bray's advent had put the campus into such confusion, and my status in the College was irregular -- I might be dismissed to the goat-barn by any minor official on some such technicality as my lack of a surname. "You've got through the Turnstile somehow; we can use that as grounds for admitting you as a Special Student, if Tower Hall authorizes it. I'll give Rexford's wife a call: she's a patient of mine. Meanwhile I'll look you over and write you a Clean Bill of Health; maybe that'll do instead of an ID-card to get you through registration."

"Why don't I go see Bray in the Grateway Exit?" Mrs. Sear asked him. "He might intercede for George with Rexford. He could even register him himself, I'll bet."

"You want to see Stacey again," Dr. Sear teased. But they obviously enjoyed planning my strategy together.

"And you can hardly wait to see George's insides," she retorted. Then they both laughed and agreed that the idea was a good one. To my objection that Bray was a false Tutor from whom I wanted no assistance even if he wished to provide it (which struck me as unlikely), Dr. Sear answered, "False or not, he's in a strong position and he's awfully acute, and it's part of his stance to affirm people who deny him. Last night at Stoker's I told him that I'd never pass the Finals because I know too much to answer simple questions, and the rascal Certified me with a line from the Founder's Scroll: Be ye nothing ignorant, saith the Founder. Then I told him very frankly that I had no morals at all in sexual matters, and he quoted Enos Enoch: Who knoweth not Truth's backside, how shall he pass? Awfully clever chap!"

As he spoke, Mrs. Sear left by a back door on her errand. "Poor thing," he said after her, "she really is a simple Home-Ec. type at heart, and I suppose she's on her way to the Asylum from living with me. But flunk it all, George, it's a big University! How can we understand anything without trying everything? When Harold Bray compared me last night to Gynander, he understood me better than Hed does after fifteen years of marriage."

To turn the subject from my rival I asked, "Do you mean the blind man in the play?" And he answered, "Very clever, George," with a kind of dry sigh, though I'd meant no irony. He proceeded then to examine and to X ray me, and his interest in the childhood injury to my legs gave me occasion to inquire about the GILES-files, whose bearing on the question of Anastasia's paternity I briefly described.

"Why, that's interesting!" he exclaimed. Indeed (as I'd rather hoped) the little mystery so intrigued him that he gave over his heavy-breathed inspection of my sigmoid colon. "I didn't dream they were still quarreling over that old businessl Even Stacey's never mentioned it."

The fact was, he declared, he could say confidently that neither Max nor Eblis Eierkopf was lying; he would have been glad to verify their innocence from the GILES-flles if only it had occurred to anyone to ask, or to him that the dispute had never been settled.

"All of us who worked under Spielman had half a dozen specialties, you know -- he inspired us that way -- and I'd already moved on from genetics to psychiatry and anatomy before the Cum Laude scandal broke. I never did have any use for that project; put it out of mind as soon as we'd programmed the GILES, and haven't really thought of it since. GILES indeed!"

His objections to the Cum Laude Project had been theoretical and practical, rather than moral: he'd thought Eierkopf's sampling inherently biased by the fact that androgynous Grand Tutors like Gynander were by definition sterile, and anyhow he doubted WESCAC's ability to manufacture and employ a GILES even when they'd supplied it with the seminal factors called for in the program. He confessed however to having been titillated by the prospect, and had gone so far as to volunteer Hedwig as receiver of the GILES, on condition he be allowed to watch -- an offer vetoed by WESCAC.

"In any case I remember the results with Max and Eblis when we collected all the samples, because it seemed to me they proved my point: two utter geniuses, whatever else you might think of them, but Spielman was sterile from his accident, and Eierkopf was so impotent he couldn't even give me a specimen. So if there really was a GILES, as Eblis claims, and if Virginia Hector really received it, as you say she claims, then it didn't work. Much as I love dear Stacey, she's no Grand Tutor. I'll put her straight about Max."

I had it in mind then to ask whether he knew anything of my own discovery in the tapelift. But our conversation was interrupted by the guards outside the door, who called in to ask whether all was well, and should they fetch me to Main Detention or the Infirmary.

Dr. Sear frowned at the door-latch. "Just a moment, please." As we wondered what to do, his wife slipped quietly in from the rear exit.

"Should I go out that way?" I whispered.

Dr, Sear shook his head. "Is Bray with us?" he asked Mrs. Sear. "Don't pound so!" he called to the patrolmen.

Mrs. Sear's expression was doubtful. "Bray says he won't tolerate pretenders..."

"I won't either!" I declared.

"Stacey's doing all she can," Mrs. Sear went on. "But Bray says it's Scrapegoat Grate and WESCAC's Belly or out."

"Oh dear," her husband sighed. But I insisted that those terms, while I did not acknowledge Bray's authority to make them, were no more than my own intention, and that in fact -I meant to demand that Mr. Bray accompany me into the Belly, for I had no faith whatever in his claim to have been there. We should see then who got EATen and who did not.

Dr. Sear shook his head, but had no time to argue.

"Let's have him now, Doc," the guards called, more sternly. "We got assembly-duty."

Then the doctor's face brightened, and he undid the latch. "Certainly, gentlemen." The guards came in, looked first at the fluoroscope screen, then at Mrs. Sear, and only finally at me.

"Mr. George forgives your misunderstanding," Dr. Sear said smoothly, "but it really would be pleasanter all around if you apologized." I was, he declared, no Gate-crasher at all, but the man of the hour, the first in modern history who legitimately had passed the Trial-by-Turnstile!

"Legitimately?" Jake asked.

"Of course legitimately." It was an unhappy symptom of studentdom's malaise, he said, that Heroes were arrested for disturbing the peace; however, he believed I harbored no grudge, and would overlook the insult if they'd take me at once to the Assembly-Before-the-Grate. I listened astonished, but had presence enough of mind to keep a neutral expression.

"He's already sent word to Maurice Stoker that you're not to be punished," Mrs. Sear put in. "If I'd had my way you'd be locked up yourselves, the way you barged in here."

The pair had been looking skeptical, though clearly impressed. But when I assured Mrs. Sear that they'd only been being overzealous in performance of their duties, Jake scowled and nodded, and the other removed his cap.

"Come along," I told them. "I want a seat near the Chancellor."

"The Grand Tutor says He'll meet you at the Grateway Exit after the address," Mrs. Sear said. "Kennard's going there now with your Clean Bill of Health."

"That won't be necessary."

"No bother at all," said Dr. Sear. "I'm very honored to have met a potential Candidate for the Real Thing. Which reminds me --" He took from a nearby desk drawer a small round mirror mounted on a spring-clip. "It's customary to give a little gift on matriculation-day; something to represent what we wish for the new Candidate. Will you take this?"

I thanked him politely and inquired whether I was correct in believing it to be a mirror.

"Yes. May I clip it on your stick? One side's concave and the other convex, but that's neither here nor there." As he clipped the mirror down near the point of my stick, his manner grew serious. "As you know, George, I think that Knowledge of the University, no matter what it costs, is the only Commencement we can hope for. Even if the price is flunking, which it is. When you look at this mirror I hope you'll remember that there's always another way of seeing things: that's the beginning of wisdom."

I thanked him again, quite touched, and sighted down the stick-shaft to try my new token. All I saw, actually, was the magnified reflection of my eye -- perhaps because one of Dr. Eierkopf's lenses was loose on its pivot and swung into my line of vision -- but I understood the point.

"You can look up co-eds' dresses with it, too," Mrs. Sear observed. "That's what we do."

"Really, Hed!"

I promised I would call on them that evening, if I could. The guards chuckled respectfully, quite unsuspicious now, and thanking me for not reporting them, escorted me through the tabled Registration Room to a large auditorium, the Assembly-Before-the-Grate. It was filled with spring registrants, who called and whistled as I went down the aisle in my hospital garment. Whenever a guard looked doubtfully at us my escorts shrugged; we were not challenged. I chose a seat on the front row with the unsuccessful athletes and turned to wave modestly at my admirers. Two young men with press-cards on their lapels approached, but before I learned what they wanted the houselights dimmed, the rostrum was spotlit, and a young man sprang to the microphones to say: "Ladies and gentlemen: the Chancellor of New Tammany College!"

A brass band in the rear of the hall struck up a lively march; the assemblage clapped and stamped their feet enthusiastically, even paraded in the aisles; hats of indifferently flavored straw sailed ceilingwards, also tasty paper streamers of which I made a second breakfast as I watched. From nowhere banners and placards appeared, whereon, above the slogan WE LOVE LUCKY, was represented the smiling face of a handsome though beardless young man, the same I'd seen on the wall of the Control Room. His teeth were excellent; twinkling crow's-feet at his eyes belied the responsible furrow of his brow, and a forelock of his bright fair hair would not be ruled but must dangle front, in groomed independence of its fellows. A spotlight fastened upon the side-curtains of the stage, and the placard-man strode in, attended by aides and guards. His build was not unlike my own, short and springy, but his hair and skin were fairer and his eyes bright blue. His assistants, I observed, were youthful-appearing also and given to forelocks, but their coats were dark, whereas the Chancellor's was fine light linen.

A young woman behind me cried to her neighbor, "Isn't he a doll?" Another could say nothing, but squealed like a shoat. Though his administration was not new, and its record of accomplishment not extraordinary (so Max had told me, whose admiration for the Chancellor was sternly qualified), Lucius Rexford was clearly adored by young undergraduates. He lifted his hand slightly and a little stiffly to acknowledge the tumult, as if it embarrassed him; but his eyes were merry, even mischievous, and when a group of co-eds pressed between Stoker's guards to shower roses in his path, he grinned, stepped out of his way to pick up a white boutonniere, and shook several hands over the footlights while his attendants fidgeted. In vain their waves for silence when he reached the rostrum; only the playing of NTC's Varsity Anthem brought order to the hall:

Dear old New Tammany,

The University

On thee depends.

Teach us thy Answers bright;

Lead us from flunkèd Night;

Commence us to the Light

When our School-Term ends!

As we stood in the ringing echo of this plea a dark-frocked dignitary raised both hands: everyone present (excepting myself, who was ignorant of the rite, and some turbaned chaps in the Visitors' Gallery) closed his eyes, pressed fingertips to temples, and recited with the dignitary the traditional Grand Tutor's Petition from the New Syllabus:

Our Founder, Who art omniscient,

Commencèd be Thy name.

Thy College come; Thy Assignments done

On Campus as beyond the Gate.

Give us this term Thy termly word.

And excuse us our cribbing,

As we excuse classmates who crib from us.

Lead us not into procrastination,

But deliver us from error:

For Thine is the rank, tenure, and seniority, for ever.

So pass us.

As heads were raised and the registrants took their seats, Chancellor Rexford grinned and said into the microphones, "Let's have a little light on my subjects!" In the applause that greeted this request, the houselights came on and someone said cynically into my ear, "That's a slogan from the last elections." It was Stoker, accompanied once more by Peter Greene. The sight of them annoyed me; I had too much on my mind to put up with Stoker's teasing and Greene's peculiar childishness. But the late Dean o' Flunks returned my shophar and dismissed the two guards, for which favors I was grateful enough, and Greene whispered congratulations on my passage through the Turnstile.

"Now we get the lights," Stoker predicted. "My brother's a nut on this light business." And indeed, the Chancellor's next words were that matriculation-gifts from Mrs. Rexford and himself would be distributed among us while he made a few preliminary announcements. I found his manner engaging: the exuberant youthfulness that in Peter Greene took a sometimes irritating form, Lucky Rexford combined with apparent good breeding and self-discipline; his speech, dress, and demeanor were restrained; the responsibilities of his office he seemed to address as he addressed us: seriously, but with grace, wit, and gusto. Forelocked aides now nimbly moved up the aisles with pasteboard cartons from which they handed out small silver pocket-torches. Others moved discreetly to the rostrum from time to time to lay message-papers beside the Chancellor's notes. The room grew silent (except for the clicking of flashlight-switches) and expectant, for it was Lucius Rexford's custom to preface his speeches with often surprising announcements.

He leafed through the bulletins, selected one, and said: "I'm sorry to report that the Department of Military Science has been told by WESCAC that a new series of EAT-tests was initiated in Nikolay College last night." A stir went through the room. "In view of this news," the Chancellor said briskly, "I've authorized the Military Science Department on WESCAC's advice to proceed with our ANTEATer test series, which you recall was suspended provisionally three terms ago, when the Boundary Conference convened. We've also made a formal protest to the Board of Directors of Nikolay College, and I'll address the University Council in a day or so on this and related matters." He smiled grimly and took up a different paper. "While I'm at it, here's some more bad news: WESCAC reports that two more NTC Power-Line Inspectors were EATen just before dawn this morning, in the neutral strip between the East- and West-Campus power cables. This is a clear violation of the Boundary-Conference ground rules established last semester, and I've ordered our riot-research programmers to ask WESCAC whether or not NTC should withdraw from the Conference. I'll make the full text of the reply public as soon as it's read out."

The audience murmured angrily. Greene pounded his fist on the chairarm. "Doggone those Nikolayans! We ought to EAT the whole durn crowd!"

He spoke loudly enough for Rexford to hear, who smiled in our direction until he caught sight of Maurice Stoker. Then his eyes dropped quickly to his lecture-notes, and he seemed to redden slightly.

"Mr. Greene's not the only one who's been turned into an EATnik by this sort of thing," he declared. His use of the popular slang-term for believers in "preventive riot" drew laughter from the crowd. "We all get tired of being patient and responsible," he said. "It's very tempting to turn our backs on moderation and call for radical measures..." He gave Stoker a sharp look. "And there's always someone ready to take advantage of our impulses in that direction, unfortunately."

The rest of his remark on this head I missed, for the flashlight-man had reached our row, and I must examine my gift. I moved the switch to ON, but nothing happened. None of the others lit, either, I observed. Peter Greene shook his at his ear and said, "Shucks, they didn't put no batteries in! Why'd I throw mine away?"

Stoker grinned. "Next time don't be so wasteful."

Greene then kindly installed my batteries for me, and in the process noticed for the first time the new mirror on my stick, which so upset him that he had to excuse himself and take another seat.

"What a prize!" Stoker marveled after him. "Did I tell you he thinks Stacey's a virgin, and wants to marry her? He actually had a fight last night with a Nikolayan chap, over her honor!" He shook his head as if in awe -- all his attitudes were as if, for that matter: one sensed their calculatedness and wondered uneasily what his real motives might be. "My brother has blind spots, too, but at least he's not demented."

I might have protested both his abuse of Greene and his claim to kinship with Lucius Rexford, which seemed preposterous now I'd seen the pair of them; but I was clearly being baited, and wanted moreover not to miss what the Chancellor was saying.

"So many extraordinary things have happened in the last twenty-four hours," Rexford said, reading from his notes now, "that we can scarcely begin to assimilate them as facts, much less see clearly what they imply. Yesterday, for instance, many people were complaining that only a new Grand Tutor could solve the great problems that the Free Campus faces..." He favored me with a brilliant smile. "Today, by my count, we have at least two full-fledged Grand Tutors in New Tammany, and a Candidate for a third." Many eyes turned to me, but their amusement, in the spirit of the Chancellor's, was friendly, and though it turned out he meant I was the Candidate, and Bray and The Living Sakhyan the full-fledged Tutors, I could not resent his misunderstanding.

"Frankly, I find this a happy state of affairs," he went on, "and I'm sure we can work out some cooperative arrangement with these gentlemen to everyone's benefit."

Stoker whispered loudly to me, "He could work out a cooperative arrangement between Enos Enoch and the Dean o' Flunks." People hissed at him to be quiet; apparently they regarded as out of place here the irreverence they'd been amused by before Main Gate. But Stoker only farted. Chancellor Rexford went on to express his shock and regret at the unhappy allegations against Dr. Max Spielman, whom he said he'd always regarded as the very image of gentle enlightenment; he assured us that the case would be investigated thoroughly and justice done, and entreated us not to let either liberal sympathy or conservative antipathy tempt us from dispassionate judgment of the evidence as it was brought to light. Finally he announced a new Field-Certification Program outlined by WESCAC for pre-Graduates -- which was to say, virtually everyone -- as an official alternative to Commencement. It was a step that the College had been reluctant to take thitherto, for while everyone agreed that few people really took the Finals any more, if indeed the Finals existed at all, yet no responsible person wanted to repudiate New Tammany's Moishio-Enochist heritage, which held Graduation to be the aim of campus life. In consequence, though everyone still had officially to aspire to Commencement, there was no agreement on what defined it; no degrees were awarded, nor in fact were any sought. From this somewhat demoralizing impasse (which I must say Rexford himself seemed not terribly distressed by) no practical egress had been found until WESCAC's affirmation of Harold Bray as an authentic Grand Tutor. Now the plan was to make de jure what had long been recognized de facto: that a Certificate of Proficiency in the Field was all a modern undergraduate need aspire to, or a modern college award. To the Enochist objection that such a policy devaluated Final Examination and true Commencement, it could now be answered that a bonafide Grand Tutor was in residence, whose function it would be to review and authenticate the status of any who presently claimed Candidacy or actual Graduateship, and to act as Examiner of all future Candidates. In addition, having apparently demonstrated already that he could enter WESCAC's Belly and return unEATen, Dr. Bray was to be given Cabinet rank in Tower Hall, with final responsibility for WESCAC's AIM -- a move proposed by the computer itself.

Needless to say, I heard these things with heavy heart. To pass the Trial-by-Turnstile, even to penetrate Scrapegoat Grate -- these were mere physical stunts, however difficult. But to deal with so suddenly established a pretender, to Pass All and not Fail Anything, when I had no firm notion of what Commencement was, or how to achieve it! Yet my distress became determination -- stubbornness at least -- under Maurice Stoker's needling.

"Your friend Bray's got the edge on you," he'd whisper, or urge, "Jump up and declare yourself, George, the way Bray did! Eat Lucky's lecture-notes -- that'd shut him up." The temptation to do some such spectacular thing was strong, the more since I'd seen Bray's success. And the situation was opportune: Chancellor Rexford's address was doubtless being broadcast everywhere in New Tammany, perhaps all over West Campus, and my success at the Turnstile not only confirmed that I was no Regular Freshman but lent me a certain notoriety which might be made use of before it passed. So keenly did I wish to seize the moment, in fact, that only Stoker's urging me to do so kept me from it -- and perhaps a disinclination to follow Bray's pattern. Uncanny, how the man played upon one! No sooner did I shush him than he said, "D'you really think you should sit still just because I tell you to move? That puts you completely in my hands."

"You're not the Dean o' Flunks, you know!" I told him angrily. "You may not even be flunked yet. Don't be so proud." I spoke only to spite him, and he laughed so loudly that the Chancellor had to pause in his speech; indeed, Stoker left the hall, laughing, as though at Rexford's announcement that the topics of this morning's address were Brotherhood and Practical Graduation. Yet even when I learned afterwards that this mocking exit, like his performance before the Turnstile, was part of the matriculation ritual (signifying the temporary retreat of the forces of Failure), and that it was only to withdraw at just this point that Stoker had entered the Assembly in the first place, still a redness in his scowl, something shrill in his mock, suggested to me that my words had somehow touched him.

I sat then and listened quietly, but not at all easy, to the address, wondering whether Stoker truly meant to keep me from Grand Tutorhood, and if so, whether out of private flunkèdness or as agent for some cabal, and if the latter, who my real adversaries were, and why. Yet his mocking but confirmed my resolve and thus abetted me indirectly, even as his avowed contempt for Lucky Rexford only increased the latter's popularity, and his claim to be Rexford's brother lent credence to the Chancellor's mild denial of any such relation. Remembering the advice that Dr. Sear had given me, I speculated whether just this effect was Stoker's final intention after all; and if so, was it then benevolent, or ought I to frustrate it by yielding to his temptations? A briar-patch of conjecture! I thought with sympathy of Peter Greene's aversion to mirrors, and to extricate myself repeated that I was okay.

Chancellor Rexford declared, "A favorite maxim of mine is Entelechus's remark that Graduation is a matter of degree. I take it to mean that the difference between people like you and me on the one hand and Mr. The Living Sakhyan on the other -- perhaps even Enos Enoch -- isn't a difference in kind." Lest the good Enochists start picketing the Chancellory, he hastened to add, it should be understood that he was speaking empirically, of things observable, not of revealed Answers. As a busy administrator of a large and powerful college dedicated to the principles of University-wide enlightenment and free research, he thought the dictum attractively combined the best aspects of both aristocratic and democratic institutions: it insisted on the real difference in people's worth -- "Let's face it," he smiled; "it's better to be bright, handsome, healthy, and talented than to be stupid, ugly, sick, and incompetent" -- while at the same time denying that the gifted were different in kind from their less lucky classmates.

The play on his nickname drew applause from the audience.

"I have enough faith in the Founder," he went on, always smiling, "to believe He'll give me an A for effort even if my notion of Him is all wrong. So I'll tell you frankly that my ideas about Commencement are pretty much the same as old Entelechus's. Graduation, I take it, consists in fulfilling one's Assignment on this campus. Since studentdom by definition is composed of rational animals, it's the Assignment of every one of us to have the best mind in the best body he can manage; and the Graduate must be a splendid animal, excellently rational. An All-College halfback, say, with a Ph.D.!"

I gathered from the audience's amusement that the remark was meant wittily.

"Actually, I see the typical Graduate as a man about forty years old -- young enough to be vigorous, but old enough to be prudent; he's physically, intellectually, and materially at the head of his class, excellently brought up and educated. I see him as neither cowardly nor foolhardy, but firmly courageous; neither meek nor arrogant, but justly proud; an enjoyer of all the good things on campus in proper measure: food, drink, love, sport, friendship, art -- even learning itself. In the same way I see him as generous, witty, tolerant, philanthropic, gentle, cheerful, energetic, fair-minded, public-spirited, sagacious, self-controlled, articulate, and responsible -- and neither too much nor too little of any of those things! In his youth he served in some branch of the ROTC; in his middle years he helps administer his college or department; his later life he'll devote to research and publication..." Everyone was chuckling by this time at the obvious correspondence of the image to the Chancellor himself. Rexford flashed his grin. "I haven't decided yet whether it's absolutely necessary for him to have a riot-wound, a political-science diploma, and a pretty wife. Probably not, if he comes from the right quad and has good connections."

More seriously, he said, while it seemed clear to him that men were quite variously endowed with character as well as goods and intelligence, he firmly believed in equality of opportunity. To be Commencèd, then, was in his view a thing somewhat analogous to being talented or comely: each involved an arbitrary native endowment and the good fortune to have that endowment developed, or at least not spoiled, in one's early youth; but each was also capable of being disciplined and cultivated by its possessor or let go to waste, and became thus a matter of responsibility. Surely it was no student's fault that he matriculated into this campus crippled or ugly; yet it was the winner of the race we applauded, the lovely face we turned to admire, and though we might praise a runner despite his limp, or love a woman despite her uncomeliness, at least we never normally valued them because of these defects. Never mind whether things should be thus; thus they were. And if it seemed to any of us that he did wrong not to question further these first principles -- on which he had constructed his life as well as his administration -- he called to our attention those characters in animated Telerama-cartoons who unwittingly walked off cliffs and strode upon the empty air assured and successful -- until they looked down, saw what they stood upon, and fell.

Though I was ignorant of the art-form he alluded to, I saw the point of the image and applauded with the others. In truth I'd felt the limitations of his premises, thanks to Max's tutelage: to one like myself -- a goat, a gimp, Chance's ward and creature -- it was by no means self-evident that my Assignment was to be an athletic intellectual with a handsome face and a charming disposition; or that if it was, Graduation consisted in fulfilling it; or that if it did, fulfillment lay on the middle path between extremes; or that if it so lay, anyone could mark with authority the middle path. But Lucius Rexford was his own best argument, so immediately engaging that my merely logical objections seemed beside the point. If such as he were not Graduates, I reflected, then to be a Graduate was a less happy fate than to be in his fraternity.

"Now I'll leave the Philosophy Department and get to my own," he said, plainly pleased to have been up to the excursion and equally to have it behind him. "Since WESCAC's AIM will be so much in the news this term, I want to talk about my conception of New Tammany's aims, as I see them -- especially in the Quiet Riot, which my critics think we're losing." Here his face turned serious: "I believe in light and order, my friends, and in moderation, discipline, harmony, and compromise. Extremism and disorder I conceive to be the enemies of enlightenment, and I despise them -- moderately, of course. Now I happen to think it's West Campus's Assignment, and New Tammany's in particular, to make the University such a place that every student in every one of its quads is free to fulfill his own Assignment to the best of his abilities. In fact all men are brothers (perhaps I should say roommates; I've never had a brother, but I've had plenty of roommates) -- fraternity-brothers, let's say -- and they should compete like brothers, in light and order, in spirited but friendly rivalry. NTC will become a Graduate School the day we make that possible."

The same analogy, he maintained when we had done applauding, pertained to the several colleges: the competition of East and West Campus for leadership of the University should be like a championship chess-match between brotherly rivals. Indeed it was such a match; what made it fearful, he believed, was not so much the stakes of the game or the awful fact that each side had the weaponry to EAT the other, but the intemperate personality, if he might so put it, of our Student-Unionist brother -- the fact that his Answer was not a kind of excellent normalcy and healthy rationality, but something extreme, and counter to student nature: a subordination of means to ends, and of individual Graduations to the Commencement of the Student Body -- which was to say, the Student Union. Competing with East Campus was like playing chess with a violent-tempered brother who might shoot you dead to capture your pieces.

To those well-intentioned liberals in the College who advocated "unilateral fasting" (as Max had), Chancellor Rexford objected that it was necessary for a dangerous brother like East Campus to believe that he'd lose in an EATing-match but win in a Quiet Riot, so that he wouldn't be tempted to EAT in desperation, campus suicide, or revenge. "A terrible question, that last one," he remarked, looking up from his prepared text. "Here we are with all this frightful EATing-capacity whose only purpose is to deter Student-Unionist aggression -- there's no really workable ANTEATer yet, you know. Now suppose they really should press their EAT-button one day -- Founder forbid! In five minutes we'd all be destroyed, whatever we do. So tell me, do we press our button then? Do we EAT them out of sheer revenge? The answer, unhappily, is yes -- WESCAC's already AIMed to do it, as you know; otherwise there's no deterrent. But how dreadful it is to have to commit oneself to a policy of revenge, in order not to have to commit the deed!"

Assuming the deterrent to be effective, the Chancellor saw two grounds for optimism about the outcome of the Quiet Riot: if East Campus should grow more prosperous, it might grow more conservative and moderate; rapprochement might become feasible, and real rapprochement and exchange of students could gradually wither the objectionable aspects of Student-Unionism itself. Something of the sort could be seen occurring in Nikolay College even presently. On the other hand, if the economic situation in East Campus should grow continually more desperate over the semesters, and EATing-riot could be deterred, then their whole academic complex must crumble. The strategy, in that extremely dangerous situation, would be to encourage them up to the very last minute to believe that there still remained hope of their winning; but of these two possibilities, the Chancellor frankly preferred the former, as the less immoderate and perilous.

"Professor Marcus," he said lightly, "says that time is the enemy of West-Campus Informationalism. But given the ultimate conditions of the Quiet Riot, WESCAC versus EASCAC, this isn't necessarily so." If the future of the University was materially optimistic, he believed, then time was West Campus's friend, the more so since Eastern teaching held it not to be. "It comes to this apparently cynical thing," he asserted: "The basic ills of studentdom have been historically on the Student-Unionist side: hunger, ignorance, physical oppression, and the like. But when the basic needs of the student body are satisfied, its secondary drives are on our side, for better or worse: egoism, ambition, and the yen for comfort, as well as the desire for academic freedom and the Graduation of the individual."

I sensed a sharp interest in the room: it was that holders of elected office rarely spoke so candidly and unsentimentally on controversial matters, though I did not of course appreciate this fact at the time. But Rexford's style was to balance conservative action with daring speech: to call all spades but not to play them recklessly, and while never losing sight of the ideal, to come to terms wherever necessary with what he called "the flunkèd realities."

Now he came to what he called the endgame of his imaginary chessmatch: a surprising appraisal of what he saw as the "maximum threat" of Student-Unionism to the West Campus.

"Suppose all my other Answers are incorrect," he said. "Suppose the Quiet Riot remains quiet, but time proves to be the friend of Student-Unionism after all, and the much-heralded Decline of West Campus really comes to pass. Indeed, suppose the worst --" His voice was deadly earnest. "Suppose New Tammany College were utterly to lose the Quiet Riot, and were annexed to East Campus. What would happen?" There was strained laughter here and there in the hall, and some shouted, "No! No!" But Chancellor Rexford declared (in a lighter voice) his belief that after the initial dreadfulness of annexation -- bloody proscriptions, military occupation of West Campus, a painful drop in the standard of individual student life in New Tammany, radical reorganizations of curricula and administrative machineries, and so forth -- there must come gradually, over the terms, a mutual assimilation of East and West. The "free campus" was too vast to hold forever subject to an alien military-science department; a genuine All-University Administration, however repugnant its initial form, would have been achieved; the staggering military-science budget that presently bled the resources of both East and West would be no longer required. Though several generations of undergraduates would be raised on Student-Unionist ideology, the University literacy-rate would improve, as eventually would academic- and living-standards all over the campus. And as literacy, prosperity, and enlightenment advanced in a truly unified University, there could not but be, Dr. Rexford thought, a rematriculation of West-Campus values: of academic freedom, individual dignity, and the liberty of every student to labor at what he took to be his personal Assignment, in quest of his personal Graduation.

"In short," he concluded, "my view is the opposite of the tragic view. The author of Taliped Decanus believes we lose even when we win; that there are only different ways of losing. But I believe we'll win even if we lose!"

Much applause greeted this statement. Peter Greene especially seemed to share the Chancellor's optimism: he stamped his feet and whistled through his fingers.

"However," Rexford said, "since you and I wouldn't be here to enjoy that sort of victory, I'd rather win by winning. That's why I think the true pacifism isn't unilateral disarming of WESCAC's AIM, or any other sort of surrender, but military deadlock -- stalemate, even. In this chess-game with our dangerous brother, only very long-range strategy will win; when you read about our setbacks in the Boundary Dispute or trouble on the Power Line, remember that pawns and even an occasional Dean or Don-Errant may have to be sacrificed to draw our opponent out of position; to overextend him, so that in the endgame we can turn what appeared to be a stalemate into a checkmate. I happen really to believe it can be done, and for that reason I'm not afraid either of the present or of the future. Thank you very much, and welcome to New Tammany!"

The close of his address was received with another cheering demonstration, which required some minutes to spend itself. When it was done an aide announced that the Chancellor, as was his custom, would answer a few questions from the floor before turning the registration-procedure over to WESCAC. The man had much impressed me, in particular that cheerful energy which saw WESCAC merely as a useful tool, and spiritedly denied that the student condition was in essence tragic -- as Dr. Sear for example had held it to be. To one as subject as myself to fits of doubt, to buckwheat ecstasies and hemlock glooms; who, fed on hero-tales, conceived the Answer as a thing fetched up from Troll-lands of the spirit, Lucius Rexford's image was refreshment. Sweet to imagine a Graduation attained by sunny zest; by smiling common sense at work in bright-lit classrooms; by decent wholesome men well groomed and well intelligenced, eminently likable, with handsome wives and pretty children, whose life was unshadowed pleasure to themselves and others! While the demonstration was in progress I regarded Lucky Rexford's sapphire eyes and thought grimly of Taliped's -- dark in the sockets of his mask and then bloodily extinguished. And Maurice Stoker's, black-flashing as he bellowed through the Furnace Room, fired by disorder and every flunkèd thing. Even Harold Bray's, that weirdly glinted when he flunked Dean Taliped from the stage and bid all follow him through the mystery to Commencement. Sear's mirror then gave back to me my own -- brown and burning in an unwashed face, shagged by unbarbered brows, passionate with uncertainty -- and moved me to a clear and complex vision: I saw that however gimped and pleasureless my way, rough my manner, crude my tuition, outlandish my behavior and appearance, profound my doubts -- I was nearer Graduation than Lucky Rexford, whose lot was so brighter! I could not say what passèd meant, but in an instant I saw that neither he nor Sear nor Greene, nor Stoker, Croaker, or Eierkopf, nor even Max or Anastasia, was passed; they all were failed! Dean Taliped, in the horror of his knowledge, was passèder than they, as was I in my clear confoundment; he was as passèd as one can be who understands and accepts that in studentdom is only failure. If anything lay beyond that awful Answer; if Commencement was indeed attainable by human students; then the way led through the dark and bloody Deanery of Cadmus, there was no getting round it; not through the clean, well-windowed halls of Rexford's Chancellory. Alas for that!

"Mr. Chancellor!" I stood and rapped my stick for attention, perhaps interrupting a question in progress. People snickered, guards scowled, Lucius Rexford frowned at the irregularity of my outburst, but then accepted it with patient amusement.

"Yes?"

Lights and cameras turned my way. I had been going to declare my identity and aim, Bray's necessary fraudulence, my ignorance of the nature of Commencement but conviction that I would discover it -- this and more; but there were no words; I was a fool; who was I anyhow? Tears stung me, of embarrassment and doubt, but I would not shed them or sit down, I bleated a question after all: "If it's your brother -- if it's your brother you're playing against --" I saw his handsome jaw set. "Why not forget about the game and hug him? Why not let him have all the pieces, if he wants them, and then embrace?"

An unfriendly murmur rose as I spoke; I scarcely understood the question myself; I heard Max Spielman's name whispered, and the word Student-Unionist. Lucius Rexford reddened, much less than I, but replied good-naturedly.

"As I think I said earlier, I don't have any brothers myself. But it was a competition I meant -- sibling rivalry, if you like!" He smiled. Admiration for his reasonableness filled the room. "If we're all brothers, then we're all rivals, aren't we? And so surrender would mean submission, obviously. I don't think we New Tammanians are the submissive type."

His words were of course applauded, but I pressed on despite the antagonism I felt in the hall.

"What's wrong with submitting to your brother?"

He stayed with a little gesture the guards who approached me, and joked that to heckle administrators was an honorable sport in a democratic college. Then briskly he declared, in response to my question, that I was carrying the analogy too far. "Submission -- to some kinds of brothers, if not all -- means annihilation, at least in the Boundary Dispute; and annihilation isn't my idea of University Brotherhood. You're the fellow who brought Mr. Croaker back to Dr. Eierkopf, aren't you? A thing we're all grateful to you for, by the way. Well then, you've seen the famous relationship between them. Would it be brotherly of Dr. Eierkopf to let Croaker eat him up?"

The point was merrily applauded: Croaker and Eierkopf were proverbial figures on the campus. "Seriously," Rexford went on, "I'm quite aware that Enos Enoch teaches us to love our opponent and give him our gown if he snatches our cap. But Enochist submission assumes a Commencing hereafter -- otherwise it would just be suicide, which the Enochists say is flunking!" He happened to be an Enochist himself, he said, though perhaps not in perfect standing, and so he subscribed, as a personal principle, to the teachings of the New Syllabus. But he could not in good conscience impose his private conviction on the whole College; he had no intention of embracing an alleged Brother whose declared intent was to destroy him.

It occurred to me to ask him then whether the case was that one struggled to control one's brother because he was dedicated to one's destruction, or that he was thus dedicated because one struggled to control him; my own wrestle with Croaker in George's Gorge seemed in some way pertinent to the question. But the Chancellor had had enough of interrogation; an aide whispered to him, he nodded assent, someone called as if on signal, "Thank you, Mr. Chancellor," and amid general applause he yielded the rostrum with a grin to the man who'd first introduced him.

"We'll turn the meeting over to WESCAC now," this man said. "As I understand the new procedure, all regular matriculees will go on with their scheduling, and Candidates for Graduation -- if there are any! -- will proceed to the Grateway Exit to be congratulated by Chancellor Rexford and get their Assignment from the Grand Tutor."

He nodded then to someone in a balcony behind us; there was a sharp click and a whine which I'd come to recognize as of loudspeakers warming. A mechanically inflected voice, more neutral than Bray's, said crisply: "Hear this: all holders of ID-cards please exit through the side doors and enroll in the regular curricula. No one with an ID-card is a Candidate for Graduation."

I thrilled. There was general amusement and much headshaking. "I swan!" cried Peter Greene. "Can't matriculate without and can't Graduate with!" Among the forelocked fellows near the rostrum the consternation appeared more grave. As WESCAC repeated its announcement I thought I heard one say, "Don't tell me the flunking thing's not haywire..." but that idea was so surprising I could not be sure I'd heard correctly. At the exit behind them, which I took to be the Grateway, Lucius Rexford was deep in conference with other aides, who, it seemed to me, glanced pensively from time to time in my direction. All except myself moved a-murmur towards the side doors. Then every light in the Assembly-hall suddenly went out.

"Durn them Student-Unionists!" I heard Greene exclaim. "Chess-game my foot!" Others soberly agreed that the power-failure might be due to another Nikolayan provocation at the East-West border; my own first thought, recalling the Furnace Room, was that the whole Power Plant had finally exploded. But a ringing laugh from the back of the hall -- which I recognized as Stoker's -- changed some people's minds.

"That's going too far!" I heard one say.

"He's getting even for that speech."

I had been ready to go onstage to the Grateway when the lights went out; now I could see nothing. But a host of little clickings all about the hall reminded me that my pocket-torch was not empty. I pressed its switch, and a beam of light aimed past the rostrum. Someone enviously said, "Lucky!" Stoker laughed again. I climbed onstage, went directly to where the Chancellor waited with his party, and offered my hand to be shaken. Guards seized me.

"He's okay," an aide said.

"The flunk he is," said another.

"Spielman's kid, isn't it?"

"So?"

They spoke virtually at once: things were balled up altogether; the newspapers mustn't get wind of it, or there'd be the Dunce to pay; first Bray, then Spielman, then the Turnstile mess, now this; what the flunk next?

"Tell Bray to make a statement," Rexford ordered. "No panic, everything's in order, that sort of thing. Somebody find out if my flunking brother has anything to do with this. Let's get back to the Chancellory."

"Take that guy's light," someone told someone else.

I clicked it off before anyone could take it. "Beg pardon, Mr. Chancellor --"

"Turn it on!" Rexford said sharply.

I did so, bidding him please not to take it, as I needed it to get through Scrapegoat Grate.

"See here," said the youthful Chancellor, coming close to the light. He put his hand straightforwardly on my shoulder. "Are you working for the Nikolayans? Or for Maurice Stoker?"

"He is your brother, then?"

"Never mind! This is a college crisis."

I swore by the Founder I was working for no one but studentdom and had no intention save the Grand-Tutorial one of passing the Finals and discovering the way to Commencement Gate, for myself and my classmates.

"Another nut," somebody said.

But the Chancellor himself, after turning my light-beam on me for a moment, said, "He might be okay." He asked what name I went by, where I'd got the batteries from, and how I happened not to have an ID-card. As I answered, briefly and frankly, the lights came on again, just enough to see by.

"Now listen carefully, George," said the Chancellor, his manner friendly but concerned: "We're not sure what's going on with WESCAC lately -- maybe nothing to worry about, maybe something serious. But we don't want anyone to start blowing the EAT-whistle about it, you understand? I want you to cooperate with us, for the good of the College."

No need to tell him that my loyalty lay not with any college but with general studentdom. Clearly accustomed to making important decisions in a hurry, he declared his confidence in me and told me some surprising things in an even tone: The Power Line controversy was more critical than was generally supposed, and West Campus's position in the border negotiations was weakened by recent odd behavior on WESCAC's part. Whether Bray was in fact a Grand Tutor, Rexford said he had no idea, though all the rational-skeptic in him resisted such a notion. But for some time past WESCAC had in truth been reading out equivocal predictions of some such happening as Bray's advent in the Amphitheater; and the computer's affirmation of Bray's descent into its Belly was an indisputable fact. Happily, the man seemed eager to assist the Administration. He'd already Certified Rexford himself, and alarming as was his connection with Stoker, for example, he apparently had none but benevolent motives. It had been decided in the interest of NTC to acknowledge him officially (that is, to acknowledge WESCAC's acknowledgment of him) and give him Cabinet status; some professor-generals worried that WESCAC's AIM might no longer be protecting its Belly from intruders as formerly -- but who wanted to test it? -- while others feared Bray might "pull some pacifist trick," Grand Tutor or not. Most, though, had been reassured by his pledge to render unto Remus that which was Remus's, and unto the Founder etc.

"Now you claim to be a Grand Tutor too, and got through the Turnstile somehow, and you tell me Bray's a fake!" It made no difference to him personally one way or the other, Rexford declared; his business was to run the College and do what he could to strengthen the West-Campus academic complex. To these ends he thought it most prudent to acknowledge my claim to Candidacy, not to shake the public's faith in WESCAC; should I manage somehow to pass through Scrapegoat Grate (which had never been penetrated and was now strictly scanned by WESCAC), he would give me free run of the campus and top clearance as a Special Student, and Tower Hall would defray my expenses for the term of my Assignment. In return, he trusted I would do nothing to subvert New Tammany in general and his administration in particular; he hoped he might count further upon my being prudent enough not to alarm the College with accusations of fraud against Bray unless I was prepared to make them stick -- but of course it was a free college. If beyond this I felt inclined actually to support Administration policies, intramural or varsity, he guaranteed reciprocal support for me of any kind that Tower Hall could in good conscience offer.

"What do you say, George?"

His manner quite pleased me. There was no suggestion of bribery in his proposition, merely an open, cheerful request to cooperate in the common weal, which inspired me to reply in the same spirit.

"Let's wait until I've passed Scrapegoat Grate," I proposed. "Maybe you won't have to do business with me at all."

This answer was well received: one aide admitted that the same thing had occurred to him, another praised my grasp of "the political facts of life -- the flunkèd realities," and the Chancellor himself smilingly confessed that he'd assumed I was some sort of charlatanical pedagogue, whether hypocritical or sincerely fanatic, of the sort that always appeared in turbulent semesters, and with which the most idealistic chancellors had sometimes to come to terms if the college was to be administered.

"Of course, you might be yet!" He grinned. "But at least Dr. Spielman brought you up to play on the first string. Very pleased to've met you."

We shook hands as might two athletes before a match. I was invited to call at the Chancellory on Max's behalf -- if and when I'd passed the Grate -- as the Hermann case had serious implications for public opinion towards Siegfrieder College, an important member of the West-Campus complex. The Chancellor then excused himself to return to the urgent business of his office and left through a side door with a phalanx of his aides -- one of whom, however, he deputed on the spot to follow my fortunes at the Grate and report to him directly afterwards. I was escorted down a short dark hall behind the Assembly-stage to a door whereon my flashlight showed the word GRATEWAY; it opened of itself at our approach. From the dim interior beyond, a clicking voice said "Prospective Candidates only, please," and a second -- familiar also, but huskily, womanly human -- added, "It's all right, George; He means you."

"I'll wait for you out here," said my forelocked escort. But now my eyes had accommodated to the flickering instrument-panels and Telerama screens of the Grateway antechamber, I saw not only Harold Bray and Anastasia, perched on twin stools at a massive console, but behind them Scrapegoat Grate itself, a thick portcullis let into the chamber wall. Beyond it, squared by that iron weft and strangely dark, Great Mall's elmed colonnade stretched out of sight.

"I won't be coming back," I told him.

He clucked his tongue. "Well. We'll see."

I stepped in, and the door closed at once. Like the Powerhouse Control Room, and to some extent Eierkopf's Observatory, the Grateway antechamber was walled with dials, reels, and switches, that quietly hummed and clicked. There was a subtle fetid odor about, not describable but distinctly unpleasant. My rival's appearance was not exactly as I recalled it -- his skin seemed paler, his mustache smaller, his face less round, his pate more bald -- but his eyes, unmistakable, gave back my flashlight-beam as if they too were lit.

"No lights necessary," he said.

I braced my back against the panel opposite the console and raised my stick, still holding in my left hand the flashlight and my watch with its broken chain. My plan had been to move straight to the Grate, ignoring Bray utterly if I could and striking him down if he tried to stop me. But it was bitter to see him perched in white-frocked authority with Anastasia reverent beside him. I left the light on.

"Don't be upset, George," Anastasia begged. "Dr. Bray's not a bit jealous. He says He'll program an Assignment for you and let you try the Grate. We saw your Trial-by-Turnstile on Telerama, and you were wonderful!"

It stung me to hear as it were the capital letters in which she spoke of him. "He says!" I burst out. "You're fickle, Anastasia!" And to Bray I cried, "You know very well you aren't what you say you are! You're an impostor!"

Anastasia started off her stool. "George..." But Bray restrained her, with a hand long-fingered for one so heavy.

"No matter, my dear," he said. I loathed the bony sight of his hand on her arm; was moved almost to strike it.

"You'd understand if you'd seen what I've seen," Anastasia protested: "WESCAC didn't do a thing when He went down in the Belly, and Scrapegoat Grate opens right up for Him! It's really wonderful, George..."

"Nothing at all," Bray said. His face never changed expression, nor did his voice, yet I imagined him much flattered by her awe. Her defense was vain: I'd not forgotten the sight of her kneeling in Bray's presence before he'd done these alleged wonders, and it enraged me to suppose he lusted for her too.

"Don't you dare let him service you!" I warned her.

"George!"

"You're too affectionate," I scolded. "You let everybody service you, whether they deserve to or not. Men take advantage of you."

"Mrs. Stoker is Certified," Bray said. "The Founder's Scroll says Love thy classmate as thyself, or flunkèd be."

"Certified!" I scoffed, and declared to Anastasia that whomever else she mated with, she must not let Bray climb her; if she did I would regard as proved what in any case I half suspected: Stoker's charge that beneath her charity was simple carnal appetite and a contemptible want of faith. How else explain her protestation of belief in me, her receipt of my Memorial Service for G. Herrold in the Living Room, her aspiration to Commencement at my hands -- and then her apostasy with the first pretender to come by?

"You don't understand, George!" But her eyes were tearful in the flashlight. "You make me feel awful!" From a large black drawstring purse on the console she took a tissue.

"No need to abuse her," Bray said. "Perhaps the dear girl was simply being hospitable to both of us. Look here, young man, I don't ask you to believe in me; call me an impostor all you like! Let's suppose you're the real Grand Tutor -- a real one, anyhow..."

His conciliatory tone surprised me; my first suspicion was that he meant to ingratiate himself with me in hopes of protecting his fraud. "I am the Grand Tutor," I said coldly.

"Very well, suppose you are, and I'm an impostor, and my success at the Belly and the Grate is some kind of trick, or a malfunction in WESCAC."

I asserted that such exactly was my conviction -- and was pleased to make it so, for that excellent last possibility had not occurred to me.

"Even so," he went on, "you don't claim you're a Graduate yet, do you? Enos Enoch Himself didn't claim so much at your age. So, no matter who the Grand Tutor is, you're indisputably matriculating as a Special Student in New Tammany College, who wants a Graduation Assignment. And I'm undeniably the Keeper of the Grate, by the Chancellor's appointment. Don't you agree?"

Reluctantly I did and lowered my stick, still however hostile.

"Then let's not contend, shall we?"

"All those Certifications of yours are false," I charged. "Those people aren't Candidates yet. I'll bet you even Certified Stoker!"

Bray put his fingers together and once more quoted the Founder's Scroll: "Passèd are the Founder's fools, and flunkèd they who hold His ways make sense. But I'm not here to Certify you as a regular undergraduate, George; simply to read out your Assignment so that you can pass it or fail it, as may be. Think of it as WESCAC's Assignment, since you seem not to care for me; that's what it is, actually."

I hesitated. His reasoning seemed unexceptionable, but I was loath to acknowledge it.

"It's just like regular Matriculation," Anastasia said. Her tears were wiped, her voice was soothing again. "Except in your case -- because of the Turnstile and no ID-card and all -- it's... irregular."

"Everything that's happened since you came to Main Gate has been fed into WESCAC," Bray said briskly; "all that's known about your background, plus what Eierkopf's scanners picked up at the Powerhouse, the Turnstile, and the Assembly just now. All I have to do is ask you the Candidacy Question so that WESCAC can evaluate your Answer: if it's right, you pass-through Scrapegoat Grate, presumably. If it's wrong, you don't. Please don't lean against that panel: it's part of the Assignment Printer." He pressed a number of buttons on the console and new whirrings began, behind my back and elsewhere. "Do you want to commence now?"

"Well... I guess so. Yes." As I spoke I moved away from the Assignment Printer and found that my watch-chain had caught somehow on the panel of it. But before I could look to free it I was alarmed by the sound of a buzzer and the sight of several blinking red lights, in whose flash Anastasia urgently shook her head. It dawned on me that Bray's apparently preliminary question had been the real one, tricked out in disguise, and that WESCAC was recording and rejecting my answer!

"No!" I cried. "Wait!"

More lights and buzzers. I was furious at having fallen twice into so simple a trap. "That doesn't count! That's not my answer!"

Bray made a clicking chuckle. But as he shrugged his shoulders (bony, like his hands), ready to dismiss me, Anastasia said meekly to him, "Actually it didn't count, Sir..."

He tutted. "Of course it did. That was the Candidacy Question, and he flunked it."

Humbly she smiled. "But we didn't have a Ready on my panel, I'm afraid. Do You think his watch-chain might have short-circuited something?"

"Flunk it all!" Bray cursed.

"Give me a second," I said. "I'll get it loose." I bent to see how the chain was fouled, doubly happy for the second chance and the evidence that Anastasia was after all loyal. Alas, the chain-end had got into a slot in the panel and would not come free; above it an orange light glowed. I fumbled to employ one of Eierkopf's lenses, thinking to magnify the problem, but my hands were too full.

"Here," Anastasia said. "Take this purse to keep your things in. It's just an old bag of Mother's; you can put everything on campus in it." She slipped off the stool to hold it open near me -- was the touch of her breast against my shoulder accidental, or a sign? "That little bottle that The Living Sakhyan gave you is in there."

I thanked her, dropped in my flashlight and the shophar, and put Eierkopf's lens to my eye. But I had difficulty focusing it.

"I have a Ready-light now, Sir," Anastasia reported to Bray. "Do You want to repeat the same question, or what?"

"Well," Bray clicked in my direction -- chagrined, I thought: "What's your Answer?"

But I was not to be tricked that way again. "My answer to your first question or my Answer to the Finals?" I demanded to know. "And what did you mean by commence before?" I turned from my fruitless inspection to see how he'd react. Again red lights flashed and buzzers buzzed, as if, though I hadn't really answered, I'd answered wrong. But what dismayed me more, Anastasia was fondling the scoundrel's neck! Where was her loyalty, that directly my back was turned she'd run a teasing finger around the collar of his tunic? Nor give over even when I looked, and he caught at her to stop!

"Mustn't, mustn't," he said.

"Tickee-tickee," teased the shameless girl.

I cried, "Flunk you, Anastasia!"

Bray said impatiently, "Look here, Goat-Boy..."

Ah, I was looking there, where yet she tickeed, with Eierkopf's high-resolution lens still at my eye, and marked how her finger-end ran somehow as beneath the skin half down his neck. But what mattered that small oddness when my heart was stabbed? Flunk his Candidacy Question; I leaped lump-throated at the pair of them, breaking my chain.

"Oh!"

"ZZZ!" It was Bray himself that alarmingly buzzed; but dwarfing that wonder, when I batted her hand from him Anastasia's nail snapped his neck-skin like a garter! To mind sprang the image of Bray's advent, when he'd tossed a mask aside...

"Baa!" With a Brickett-bleat I seized his scalp -- it peeled off like a glove, mustache and all! Anastasia squealed; I stood struck dumb. Bray buzzed no more, but coldly glared at me from a face not different from the one I'd snatched, only perhaps a shade less slack, a bit more moist.

Then, "Put it on!" cried Anastasia.

"Goat-Boy!" Bray warned, rising from his stool. "Do you want to Graduate, or not?"

I slipped the silk-dry mask over my head, snatched up the purse of Anastasia's mother, and charged at Scrapegoat Grate as I had used to charge the fence in kidly days. A scanner scanned and disappeared, blue sparks and smoke shot from the panel where my watch-chain was; when I hit the Grate its grid-irons slipped in slots, I was through before I knew it, they clacked behind me but I would not look.

Even as I sticked myself up from the threshold and doffed the mask, out of a pipe in the Grate-wall popped a paper, to unroll at my feet. A circle it was, size of a cheeseburger-plate; around its edge in tall block capitals my PAT-phrase, thus:

Giles Goat-Boy

And on the verso-top, when I'd retrieved it, the heading assignment, followed by a list.

With a grin I pursed my watch -- chainless now -- and false-face, and conned the Mall. I was registered! Few were about; the Carnival-structures were no more. Why was it dark? I had forgot: but for a flashing ring the sun was eclipsed. A fat man in a yellow robe sat on the grass some elms along. Beyond him, benched, one old and thin, a dark-suit stranger. The rest of studentdom was in class, I did not doubt, hard at Assignments of their own. And I -- a Registered, Matriculated, Qualified by George Candidate for Graduation -- I read mine:

ASSIGNMENT

To Be Done At Once, In No Time

1) Fix the Clock

2) End the Boundary Dispute

3) Overcome Your Infirmity

4) See Through Your Ladyship

5) Re-place the Founder's Scroll

6) Pass the Finals

7) Present Your ID-card, Appropriately Signed, to the Proper Authority

Founder, Founder! Those I thought I grasped, I gasped at; most signified not a thing to me. What ID-card? Which infirmity? When had the Founder's Scroll got misplaced? And ay, and ay, so short a term! Fist to brow I told them over, faintful list, and struck at each. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven!

So too did Tower Clock. But was it right?

Volume Two


FIRST REEL


1.


My own timepiece, when I fetched it out, said something earlier, but I'd been so careless in the winding and setting way that I'd scarcely have dared trust its accuracy even had the River George not got to it. On the other hand, my first Assignment-task confirmed that not all was well with Tower Clock. I stepped to consult the dark-suit oldster, as more likely than The Living Sakhyan to own a watch. Lo, as I did, half a dozen young ragged fellows gathered to him from the shadows, uncordially. They jostled and threatened.

"Let's have it, old man."

"If you want it," I heard him reply, "pay for it." But his molesters were plainly ready to have by force what they were after. I cried stop to them and gimped to the man's assistance.

"Look what's coming," said one of their number.

They were too many; as I passed The Living Sakhyan's elm I rapped His shoulder, less than reverently it may be, and bade Him help me help. T. L. Sakhyan's palms were pressed together under His breast, fingers upward, and His eyes gently shut; yet I knew Him to be awake by that tranquil smile He'd borne across the torrent at our last encounter, and with which He'd favored Anastasia's ravishment. It put me in a sweat of ire.

"At least call a patrolman!" I shouted in His ear, then dashed the more rashly, for my exasperation, to aid the old man, whose two chief botherers now turned to me. The others had only stood by -- shaggy lads mostly, out at elbows -- and seemed inclined to withdraw when I challenged. I heard one say, "It's that goat-boy," in a tone that, oddly, did not mock. Others grinned; a few looked sheepish, and I took heart.

"Shoo!" I commanded, wishing that their old victim would fly to safety while he might. But he held his ground; worse, he called them scamps and beggars deserving of the horsewhip, a judgment he might have rendered at a better hour.

"Shameless!" one of them cried, more outraged than wrathful. Indeed, when the old man charged them further to go steal a watch if they wanted the time, as they'd not get free from him what others paid for, even the more aggressive pair seemed disarmed by the force of their own indignation, and called on the Founder to witness to what flunkèd depths of meanness the student mind could sink. I too was startled out of countenance.

"You only wanted the time of day?"

That, it developed, was their sole craving. Indigent scholarship-students all, they had not a watch among them, yet needed to measure the exact duration of the current eclipse in connection with some astronomy assignment. Understanding Tower Clock to be out of order, they had approached the "Old Man of the Mall," who I now learned was a kind of institution in New Tammany College, famous for his store of information and his ability to tell the time of day, to the second, by the length of people's shadows on the path. "Not for free, though," the old man said. "I don't sit here for my health." Now I could see it, his face was horny-beaked and sere-eyed like a turtle's, and his neck as corded, loose in the carapace of his collar. I was amazed. A tattered, glaring chap turned to me.

"He's the stingiest man on campus! Let's shake it out of him!"

And indeed they might have laid hands on him, but I was inspired to point out that until after the eclipse there would be no clear shadows for the Old Man of the Mall to reckon from.

"I wouldn't've told 'em anyhow," he said.

"You are stingy!" I scolded him. The young men granted my point, but were incensed enough by the fellow's meanness -- as almost was I -- to offer him a roughing in any case. I forestalled it by giving them the reading of my own timepiece, the best I could manage, for which they thanked me and withdrew, not without grumbled threats to return with the sun.

"Don't come empty-handed," the old man called after them. "I'm not Reg Hector."

"You're mad!" I cried. "Why didn't you tell them yourself you didn't know the right time?"

He rubbed his thumb against the tips of two fingers. "What's it worth to you to find that out?"

I wished him loudly to the Dean o' Flunks and promised next time to look on smiling, like The Living Sakhyan, while he got what his miserliness deserved; then I declared that it was to check my own watch I'd approached him, and that, he being in my debt already, I meant to have the time of day from him as soon as the eclipse ended (it was passing already) or call back the shabby young men to finish what I'd interrupted.

"I owe you nothing," he said. "Did I hire you to help me?" However, he added, since I'd given him something he hadn't asked for, he'd repay me with something I didn't need: a blank ID-card and enough indelible ink to sign it with my name. Forged cards, he pointed out, were much in demand among undergraduates too young to purchase liquor legally; in fact, it was not for interfering in his private affairs that he was rewarding me with so salable a piece of goods, but for teaching him a new way to drive off the beggar-students who forever importuned him. Thitherto he'd been obliged to give the more threatening ones what they wanted, in order to insure his own safety, and he had been thoughtless enough to give them correct information. But thanks to my example (now there was sun enough to cast shadows, he could tell by the length of mine that my watch was slow) thenceforth he would buy his safety with false coin, seeing to it that any answers extorted from him were not quite accurate. He could hardly contain his satisfaction at learning this business-trick, the more pleasing to him since he had it from me gratis; nor much better could I at being rewarded, unbeknownst to him, with something I very much needed after all. If I was able to take the ID-card and ink with a show of indifference, it was only because my delight was pinched by bad conscience at having in a manner sharped him -- and, himlike, savoring the cheat.

"You don't get the whole bottle," he grumbled. "Just enough to sign your name."

I had no pen, but struck a bargain for the loan of his in return for what ink I saved him by having one name instead of three. Then, as I wrote George on the proper line, I saw that the card was after all not a new one; nor was the ink, it seemed, absolutely indelible: dimly could be made out there, after mine, the previous owner's name: Ira Hector.

"You stole this card!"

He closed his eyes, thrust out his underlip, shook his head.

"Look here: it says Ira Hector! It's a used card!"

"You don't want it, give it back. But no refunds."

I saw his eye glint so at that prospect that shrewdly I promised to have him taken up for theft if he didn't give me at once the accurate time of day, which I needed to proceed with my Assignment.

"Call a cop," he dared me. "He'll arrest you as an accessory. In fact, I'll say you stole it: your name's on it! And I'll charge you with extortion besides."

Improvising swiftly and in anger, I declared myself willing to match a prospective Grand Tutor's word against a nameless vagrant's, or used-card dealer's, especially since Mr. Ira Hector, when I should return his card to him, would doubtless apply his famous wealth and influence in my just behalf. "Don't count on it," the old man chuckled. "I'm Ira Hector."

I denied it.

"Of course I am, you great ninny. Everybody knows the Old Man of the Mall."

Alas, he did quite fit the impression of her uncle I'd got from Anastasia's narrative, and I was the more appalled at such petty avarice in the wealthiest man on campus. But I challenged him to prove his identity without a card.

He blinked like an old testudinate Peter Greene. "You should be a business major, Goat-Boy!" However, it was his notoriety in the College, he told me, that rendered his ID-card superfluous and induced him to sell it. Everybody recognized him, he was sorry to say, and pestered him for handouts which they no more deserved than did those young beggars the free tuition provided them by Chancellor Rexford's new grant-in-aid program. Creeping Student-Unionism was what it was, to Mr, Hector's mind: the tyranny of the have-nots, of the ignorant over the schooled. The only thing to be said for the Administration's reckless giveaways was that, the untutored being always (and justly) more numerous than the learned, Rexford was buying political power with other people's wealth. But it was bad business in the long term, Ira Hector was sure, and must lead the College's economy to bankruptcy.

"Nobody paid my way!" he concluded with heat. "All I know today I learned the hard way, by myself. Coddle the crowd, they'll trample you down!" The proper use of charity on the administrative level, he asserted, corresponded to his personal practice: just enough sops and doles to prevent revolution. Beyond that, individual initiative like his own would serve those who had it; the rest deserved their lot, and it was the responsibility of Tower Hall and the Campus Patrol to see to it they got no more than their desert.

"Caveat emptor!" he snapped. "Laissez-faire! Sauve qui peut!"

"I beg your pardon?"

He offered to translate the mottoes for me at a cut rate, the three of them for the price of two. The sun had emerged now from eclipse; my sharp shadow made me impatient to get on with my Assignment and other concerns, and I begged him for Founder's sake to tell me the time and be done with it, if only repayment for hearing out his grasping diatribe. The insult had no visible effect.

"What's in it for me if I tell you?" he chuckled, squinting at my shadow. "It's later than you think."

Angrily I reminded him that I was no ignorant beggar, deserving or otherwise, but a registered bonafide Candidate for Graduation and a Grand Tutor in posse, who could certainly give him a much-needed Tutorial word or two if I so chose -- the which by tradition and common fame were pearls of so great price that all the information in all the encyclopedias of the University was as nothing beside the least of them.

"No deal," Ira Hector replied. "I've been Certified already." From a worn leather snap-purse in his vest pocket he pinched out a much-folded parchment, of a kind familiar: under the usual certificatory formulations, Harold Bray's signature and a penned subscription: "Founder helps those who help themselves."

"I've helped myself to everything in reach!" he admitted gleefully, adding that while he personally regarded Graduation as the daydream of fools and bankrupts, worth nothing on the informational market, he'd offered to support Bray's Grand-Tutorship in Tower Hall in return for Certification, both because he frankly enjoyed possessing anything that other people craved, and because he wanted to assure himself that even a Grand Tutor has His price.

"That diploma's worthless," I told him. "Bray's no Grand Tutor."

"So it's worthless. Didn't cost me anything." Out of patience, I harangued him on the subjects both of his miserliness and of his contempt for Graduation, declaring that even if Bray were a genuine Grand Tutor and the ground of his Certification valid -- neither of which was the case -- he Ira Hector was flunked nonetheless. It might be argued, I admitted, that Commencement, always necessarily of the Self, was the highest form of self-preservation, and therefore of greater value to the selfish man than to the unselfish; likewise, that if the greed for Passage was a passèd greed, it passed by extension the greedy principle whereof it was the passèdest example, in the fashion of legal precedents or the single combats of ancient terms, on which the fate of whole quads hung. But endeavor as he doubtless had, Ira Hector had not achieved perfect selfishness, I maintained; had not looked out unremittingly for Number One; indeed he must answer for a quite uncommon generosity!

"Poppycock! Balderdash!"

How did he account then, I demanded, bending near his beak, for his adoption of Anastasia and the open-handedness, so to speak, with which he'd reared her? For his readiness to sacrifice a golden business-opportunity in order to spare her a fate worse than flunking? There was no getting around it: his claim to have spanked his ward for fun and Stokered her for profit -- like his claim to have endowed the Unwed Co-ed's Hospital to gratify his lecherous curiosity and lower his taxes -- had an inauthentic ring; whatever other motives were involved, such behavior had in it a streak of magnanimity, even of philanthropy!

"All lies!" Ira Hector cried. But I had quicked him. He demanded to know where I'd heard those slanders, yet rejected my offer to sell him that information in return for the correct time. Then, wonderfully agitated, he insisted that although he and his brother Reginald were the abandoned get of an unwed freshman girl and some drunken janitor, his establishment of the New Tammany Lying-in and any favors he'd done his brother were purely selfish. Granted he'd fed and clothed young Reginald, pulled strings to get him a cadetship in the NTCROTC, arranged his marriage to the woman whom Ira himself had been courting, financed his campaign for the chancellorship after C.R. II, and appointed him director of the Philophilosophical Fund: his end from the beginning had been simply to profit from his brother's offices and connections, and profit he had.

These disclosures were surprising news to me; even so I failed to see what gain there was in losing his fiancée, for example, or endowing the Philophilosophical Fund.

His smile was chelonian: "Why should I pay for the woman's keep, when I could get her for nothing anytime I wanted?" Referring to Reginald's wife, Anastasia's grandmother.

"Is that what you did?"

"It's what I would have done; but she died when Stacey's mother was born. There's always a few investments don't pay off." As for the P.P.F. and the lying-in hospital, they were manifold assets, he insisted, providing him with tax write-offs, opportunities for graft and patronage, and such entertainments as playing doctor with patient young ladies when the whim took him. He had, for example, assisted in the delivery-room when his niece, Virginia R. Hector, gave birth, and had quite enjoyed the show even though she'd brought forth neither monster nor GILES, as had been predicted in some quarters, but only Anastasia, a normal baby girl whom he then raised to serve his pleasures.

"But you did try to help Anastasia," I said, no longer certain however of my point. "She told me so."

Ira Hector winked and licked his lips. "I helped myself, like everybody else! Stoker says he gets a commission on her; I used to get her whole price!"

Repellent as I found this remark, and its maker, I was skeptical of its truth. For one thing, Anastasia had confessed worse things unabashedly in George's Gorge, but had made no mention of fees and commissions. For another, I observed that Ira Hector could not speak painlessly of her connection with Maurice Stoker: his neck-cords flexed at the man's name, and his voice shelled over.

"You pity her!" I accused him. "You pitied her mother, too, and your own brother when you were kids."

"Rot!"

"And all those unwed co-eds! I think you pity everybody, and you're ashamed to say so!"

Now his eyes gleamed. "I pity you, you nincompoop!"

"I bet you did business with Bray for the same reason Anastasia did," I said. "Out of charity! You taught her to be the way she is!"

"Charity be flunked!" Ira hollered. "Every man for himself!"

It occurred to me to argue, then, more out of spite than out of conviction, that even his vaunted miserliness might be passèd, and its opposite flunked. Enos Enoch, it was true, bade men give all their wealth of information to poor students and become as unlettered kindergarteners, if they would Pass; but it seemed to me that this was to pass at the expense of others, those to whom one's wealth was given, for nowhere did the Founder's Scroll say "Passèd are the wealthy." What nobler martyrdom, then, than to keep from men that which it would flunk them to possess, and hoarding it to oneself, flunk like a scapegoat in their stead?

"You're demented," Ira said. "You think I'm going to pay you for clap-trap like that?"

"I'm not Harold Bray," I replied. "I can't be bought." And seeing I would not get from him what I needed, I walked off.

"Nobody has to buy you!" Ira cackled after me. "You give yourself away for free! Like Anastasia!"

His taunt relieved me, giving as it did the lie to his talk of prices and commissions. I walked on. Students were beginning to throng Great Mall now, en route I presently learned to first-period classes, having eaten their breakfast.

"You got nothing from me!" Ira called again. "I got all you had to offer!" His voice was triumphant, but when I turned to him his old face was fiercely anxious.

"Then maybe you've helped me to pass," I said, "and yourself to flunk. Thanks."

The Living Sakhyan, I observed, smiled as ever from the foot of His elm. I might have upbraided Him for failing me once again (indeed, His condition, reputedly a kind of Commencement, seemed to me little different from Eierkopf's infantile paralysis. The one was unhelpful, the other helpless; for those in need of help it came to the same thing, and Eierkopf's at least was not wholly voluntary, though he affirmed it in his relationship with Croaker and his unconcern for the welfare of studentdom); but before I could speak I was hailed by several of the unshaven botherers who'd precipitated the whole encounter. Their attitude was friendly: though indigent, they were not ordinary beggars, I was to understand, but vagabond scholars -- "Beists," in fact, who accepted tuition from Rexford's grant-in-aid program but contemned the whole academic establishment as mid-percentile and conformist, committed to the intercollegiate power struggle, hostile to art, sex, and the human spirit, and generally, in their vernacular, a drag. They inferred from my appearance that I was of their fraternity; were frankly envious, in fact, of my garment, stick, and bagful of tokens; and while their position, as I understood it, struck me as something wanting in consistency, they were clearly earnest, and I was grateful for their goodwill. However, there was no clarity between us. They knew who I was, but would not accept it that I had truly only one name, for example, and was literally half goat by training. "We dig those symbols," they assured me. And when I confessed that I couldn't make out their argot, they thanked me for reminding them that the Answer lay in wordless Being rather than in verbal formulas. Yet their own inclination was plainly towards the latter.

"How do you go about doing your Assignments?" I asked them. "Mine says Complete at once..." Some homely practical advice was what I sought, as one undergraduate to another; but they responded with disputation as passionate and abstruse as if I'd posed Dean Taliped's riddle.

"What is studentdom's Assignment, when all's said and done?" they demanded of one another; one asserted that there was none, as there was no Assignor; another, that each student was his own sole Tutor and Examiner; and so forth.

"Please," I said. "What I mean is, didn't WESCAC give you an Assignment? It gave me one."

"What He means is the analytical, conceptualizing consciousness," said one of my new classmates, as if speaking of someone not present.

"The flunk He does!" another objected. "He's putting us on, to remind us to be like Sakhyan."

"No, man!" insisted the first. "It's the Form-is-the-Void thing. Like the categories aren't real, but there they are, and we're in them even though there's really no us."

A third intently scratched his crotch. "But does WESCAC symbolize Differentiated Reality or the Differentiating Principle?"

"Neither!" Number Two said contemptuously. "WESCAC symbolizes Symbolization. What He means --"

"Please," I said. At once they were respectfully silent. "The Assignment I'm talking about is a list of things I have to do to Pass..."

"See?" One said delightedly.

"I'm supposed to Fix the Clock, for example, and End the Boundary Dispute..."

"I'm with you!" Two muttered: "Space/Time thing!"

"And I'm supposed to Overcome My Infirmity and See Through My Ladyship, whatever all that means..."

"The Transcendence bit!" Three whispered.

But they could not decide whether I was exhorting them to attack their Assignment (whatever it happened to be) on its own terms, or the terms of the Assignment, or the very concepts of Assignor and Assignee. And did my aphorisms signify that the "Wheel of Passage and Failure" -- their term -- was to be affirmed, denied, ignored, or transcended? Specifically, for example, should they go to class and take respectful notes, go to class and quarrel with their professors, or cut class altogether? I left them contending beard to beard so heatedly that they took no notice of my departure. For though their debate was incomprehensible to me, and I despaired of getting usable advice from them, their illustration had suggested something to me for the first time: as young Enos Enoch had enrolled in the manual-training course taught by His mother's humble husband, so would I audit some ordinary professor, the first I came to, in hopes of learning something germane to my task. I would go to class! Great numbers of students were hurrying into a large hall not far distant, I joined them -- rather, they made way for me, some mocking, others amused, most of them indifferent -- in a vast low-ceilinged room divided into stalls by chest-high partitions. Each stall contained one chair and a console of sorts, far simpler-appearing than the ones in the Control Room and the Grateway. I saw no professor, humble or otherwise, but a number of young men in slope-shouldered worsteds and horn-rimmed spectacles were directing students into the stalls and explaining how to operate the consoles.

"Who's hazing you, frosh?" one asked me good-naturedly. I found the question meaningless, but identified myself with the aid of my new used card and asked whether I might sit in on the lecture, if there was to be one. The instructor leafed doubtfully through a roster of names on his clipboard, warning me that the class-rolls had just been read out on WESCAC's printers and might be incomplete, especially in the case of special or irregular students.

"George your first or last name?" His confidence was not bolstered by my reply; but as it happened there I was, under G: George. "I guess it's you," he said. "How the flunk can I tell? Not even a matric-number!" There was, however, a notation after my name to the effect that I was authorized by the Chancellor's Office to audit any courses offered in the College, though not for credit. The man addressed me more respectfully:

"Exchange-student, are you? Visiting this campus?"

I supposed he might put it thus, and he kindly showed me into a stall. The machines were teaching-machines, he explained, one of many varieties in the College, all wired to WESCAC's Central Instructional Facility. As a rule one addressed the device with one's "matric-number" and was then instructed individually, the subject-matter, pace, and method being determined by WESCAC's analysis of the student's record and current performance, as well as his academic objective. The machines in this particular hall, however, were designed for the orientation of new registrants; the morning's program consisted of a lecture recorded by the new Grand Tutor for that purpose. Doubtless noting some change of my expression, the instructor acknowledged rather sharply that attendance was voluntary: but he certainly thought it prudent for any new undergraduate to avail himself of the Grand Tutor's wisdom before commencing his regular course-work and assignments, especially as it was Dr. Bray's first formal lecture to the public. I had only to address the console (he did it for me, in fact, using the number on my ID-card, before I could decide to leave), don the earphones ready to hand, and press the Lecture-button to begin the recording. Should I desire elaboration of any particular point I was to press a button marked Hold, which stopped the lecture-tape, and another marked Gloss, which provided footnotes, as it were, to the text. Having explained this, he left the stall, a bit ruffled still at the idea that anyone could be uninterested in what after all was a historic event (he was himself a new instructor in the History Department), and went to give instruction to respectfuller students. But for all my disdain I pushed the Lecture-button, curious to hear what my rival conceived to be Grand Tutoring, and wondering too how he'd found time to put together a recorded lecture while partying at the Powerhouse and allegedly going into WESCAC's Belly. I hadn't managed yet even to visit Max in Main Detention! Through my headset came the clicking voice I knew -- speaking, however, in a somewhat archaic style reminiscent of Enochist harangues:

"My text today, Classmates," Bray began, "is the First Principle of Life in the University, which you must clasp to your hearts during Freshman Orientation and never lose sight of after, not for an eyeblink of time, how clamorous or brave soever the voices that deny it..."

I tossed my head impatiently, considered throwing down the earphones and leaving -- but decided to hear what false principle the rascal had sharked up, what platitude or half-truth, the more substantially to contemn him.

"On all sides," he was saying, "you will hear platitudes and half-truths -- as that the unexamined life is not worth living; that the truth shall make you free; that understanding is its own reward. Cum laude diplomates, even full professors, are not above urging you to greater efforts with such slogans, wherefore I conclude that either like all virtuosi -- artists, athletes, yea Croaker himself -- they ill understand the secret of their own greatness, or else they find it practical pedagogy to dissemble with you, as a child may best be lured from the cliff-edge by promise of sweets, when in fact his rescuers are candyless and want only to save his life..."

I endeavored to sneer at the simile, but found it alas rather apt, if elaborate.

"For whatever the case in Academies of fancy, one thing alone matters in the real University: to avoid the torture of remedial programs, and the irrevocable disgrace of flunking out! In short, to Pass!"

Obviously.

"Except this, what has importance? Very well to preach the therapy of swimming for injured legs, or its intrinsic pleasure: thrown overboard, one cares only to reach the shore, whether by sidestroke or astride a dolphin!"

Which didn't mean one ought to care for nothing but self-preservation, I thought to myself -- but knew I was simply being captious, and recognized besides, not comfortably, a point like one I'd made to Ira Hector. Yet wasn't Bray as much as inviting dishonesty?

"To be sure," he went on, "the Examiners are above corruption and intimidation; no Candidate ever bribed or threatened his way to glory; to attain it he must know the Answers, nothing else will serve: There is the sole and sufficient ground for prizing knowledge: all other preachments are, if not mere sentimentality, hollow consolation for the failed -- who are ipso facto inconsolable..."

I considered demanding a Gloss on ipso facto, a term of whose meaning I was not entirely sure; but my hand was stayed by both the brazenness of Bray's piety (who had himself made deals with Ira Hector, Lucius Rexford, and Founder knew who else!) and the force of his next remark:

"Get the Answers, by any means at all: that is the undergraduate's one imperative! Don't speak to me of cheating --" The word, I confess, was on my tongue. "To cheat can only mean to Pass in ignorance of the Answers, which is impossible. Otherwise the term is empty..."

Experimentally, and also as a kind of impudence, I pushed the Hold and Gloss buttons. Instantly a matter-of-fact female voice said, "The term is otherwise empty inasmuch as the end of Passing, on the Grand Tutor's view, determines all morality: what tends thereto is good, all else evil or indifferent. This Gloss was prepared by your Department of Logic and Philosophical Semantics. Remember: 'The mind that can philosophize, never ossifies.' "

Automatically the two buttons popped out again at her last word, and Bray's voice resumed: "As you see, then, nothing could be simpler in theory than the ethics of Studentensleben..."

I let the term go.

"But I don't suggest that the practice is without its difficulties! In the first place none of you knows for sure what you'll be asked, or whether your Answers will be acceptable. No two Candidates are quite alike, however similarly trained, and no Graduate, should you find one to consult, can say more than that he himself was asked so-and-so, to which on that occasion and such-and-such reply proved acceptable..."

The point had not occurred to me, and reluctantly I granted its validity, even its value. And despite my hostility I found myself attending Bray's next remarks closely.

"In consequence, you will discover in the terms ahead numerous hypotheses about the nature of Examination, which can be sorted into two general categories: one holds that while the Questions are different for each Candidate, the Answer is the same for all; the other, that while the Question never varies, the Answers do. Whether, in either case, the variation is from term to term or Candidate to Candidate; whether it's a difference in formulation only, or actual substance; whether it's radical or infinitesimal; whether the matter or the manner of the Candidate's response is of more significance, the general tenor or the precise phrasing -- these and a thousand like considerations are much debated among your professors, many of whom, one sadly concludes, are more interested in academic questions of this sort than in the ultimate ones which in principle they should prepare you to confront. You undergraduates are to be pardoned (but alas, not necessarily Passed) for being in the main more realistic, if sometimes pitifully wrong-headed. Snatching at straws, you will badger your professors with down-to-campus queries: 'Will we be asked this on the Finals?' 'Does attendance count?' 'How much credit is given for class participation, for extracurricular activity, for washing blackboards and beating erasers, for a neat appearance and respectful demeanor, for improvement over bad beginnings?' Not a few of you are persuaded that independent thinking is the sine qua non, even when naïve or erroneous; others that verbatim responses from your lecture-notes are what most pleases. Some, of a cynic or obsequious temper, will openly flatter your instructor's vanity, hang on his words as on a Grand Tutor's, turn the discussion to his private specialty, slap your knees at his donnish wit, and rush to his lectern at the hour's end. 'What other courses do you teach, sir?' 'Is your book out yet in paperback?' You co-eds, particularly, are often inclined to hope that a bright smile may make up for a dull intelligence, a firm bosom for a flabby argument, a clear peep for a cloudy insight. And (more's the justice) not one of these gambits but has succeeded -- in some cases and to some extent! Given two young ladies of equal merit and unequal beauty, who has not seen the fairer prosper? Who has not observed how renegade genius goes a-begging, is actually punished, while the sycophant's every doltishness is pardoned? A term's hard labor in the stacks, an hour's dalliance in Teacher's sidecar -- they come to the same. Who opens her placket may close her books; she lifts her standing with her skirts; the A goes on her Transcript that should be branded in her palm..."

Ah, I was moved, so immediately likely seemed this review of the student condition -- flunkèd, flunkèd! And, black as surely had to be the heart of any false Grand Tutor, the art of Bray's imposture watered my eyes.

"Yet all this is vanity," he said, and his voice despite its click was heavy with compassion. "The Examiners care nothing for transcripts, only for Answers. Campus legend is peopled with model students who never passed and mavericks who did; of those tightly fleshed and loosely moraled queans, some go dressed in white gown and mortarboard to be diploma'd out of hand, others are led shrieking down the Nether Mall to be thrust beyond the pale forever. No theses so contrary that history won't feed both, and a chosen few of you with both eyes open may soon induce that our whole collegiate establishment -- our schools, departments, and courses of study, our professorial rank and tenure, our administrative apparatus, our seminars, turkeypens, elms, and alma maters, even our WESCAC -- is but one more or less hopeful means. The most organized, surely, and hallowed by custom, but a mere alternative for all that. And the very advantages of organization are not without their own perniciousness: faced with a Department of Moral Science and one of Swine Research, each with budget, offices, and journals, one comes inevitably to believe in the real separateness of those subjects -- as if one could fathom hogs without knowing metaphysics, or set up as a practicing ontologist in ignorance of Porcinity! Worse, within the same department one finds the Duroc-Jersey men at odds with the Poland-Chinas; the Deontological Intuitionalists and the Axiological Realists go to separate cocktail parties. Yet one must choose curriculum and major, ally oneself with this circle or that, dissertate upon The Navigation of Sinking Vessels, Coastwise and Celestial, or Foundation Planting for Crooken Campaniles..."

It was true, all true; I knew it at once despite my inexperience of the campus and the accidental fact that we in the goat-barns had been spared the intellectual degeneration of those pig-men. I peeped over the partition: some of my classmates slept, some furiously took notes, some picked their noses, some played cards, but none save myself seemed distressed by what I assumed we all were hearing.

"Alas," went on the firm sad voice in my ears, "the Finals are comprehensive; the Examiners care not a fig for your Sub-Department of Rot Research; one wonders whether they know of its existence! Our Schools and Divisions -- what are they but seams in the seamless? Our categories change with the weather; not so our fates. In vain our less myopic faculty preaches general education: they have not only the mass of their colleagues to contend with, but the very nature of great institutions. Bravely today one devises something 'interdisciplinary': perhaps a pilot survey of Postlapsarian Herpetology and Pomegranate Culture. 'Dilettantism!' cry the pomologists; the natural-historians, 'Thin soup!' By tomo