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    Herrell McCray swept the long line from Sol to Betelgeuse, with his perceptions that were not his eyes and his touch that was not of matter, until he found it. The giant ship, fastest and hugest of mankind's star vessels, was to him a lumbering tiny beetle.


    Hatcher, who was not human, did not possess truly human emotions; but he did feel amazement when he was amazed, and fear when there was cause to be afraid. These specimens, obtained with so much difficulty, needed so badly, were his responsibility. He knew the issues involved much better than any of his helpers. They could only be surprised at the queer antics of the aliens with attached limbs and strange powers. Hatcher knew that this was not a freak show, but a matter of life and death. He said, musing:



    “Thank you, Captain Black. Perhaps you could spare me a few minutes in about half an hour’s time?”

    “Is it misdoubting me word ye are” ses I. “Then see for yersilves.” And I showed them the can wid its pretty ligind: “Guvvymint inspeckshun.”

    ‘It is not the character (the marks used to characterise the genus) which makes the genus, but the genus which makes the character;’ but the very man, who first distinctly recognised this difficulty in the natural system, helped to increase it by his doctrine of the constancy of species. This doctrine appears in Linnaeus in an unobtrusive form, rather as resulting from daily experience and liable to be modified by further investigation; but it became with his successors an article of faith, a dogma, which no botanist could even doubt without losing his scientific reputation; and thus during more than a hundred years the belief, that every organic form owes its existence to a separate act of creation and is therefore absolutely distinct from all other forms, subsisted side by side with the fact of experience, that there is an intimate tie of relationship between these forms, which can only be imperfectly indicated by definite marks. Every systematist knew that this relationship was something more than mere resemblance perceivable by the senses, while thinking men saw the contradiction between the assumption of an absolute difference of origin in species (for that is what is meant by their constancy) and the fact of their affinity. Linnaeus in his later years made some strange attempts to explain away this contradiction; his successors adopted a way of their own; various scholastic notions from the 16th century still survived among the systematists, especially after Linnaeus had assumed the lead among them, and it was thought that the dogma of the constancy of species might find especially in Plato’s misinterpreted doctrine of ideas a philosophical justification, which was the more acceptable because it harmonised well with the tenets of the Church. If, as Elias Fries said in 1835, there is ‘quoddam supranaturale’ in the natural system, namely the affinity of organisms, so much the better for the system; in the opinion of the same writer each division of the system expresses an idea (‘singula sphaera (sectio) ideam quandam exponit’), and all these ideas might easily be explained in their ideal connection as representing the plan of creation. If observation and theoretical considerations occasionally

    Captain Coventry had just returned from India, and the glamour of the East was still upon him--the East that is so very different to look back upon when a man's whole service need not be spent in exile. Just now he was on short leave, and his regiment--an English line regiment--would be returning home in two years' time. India, to him, was yet a pleasant quarter of the globe that meant sport (his passion) well within his means, cheaper comfort, cheaper living, amusements that were welcome to his outdoor tastes, not to speak of soldiering experiences of the finest next to active service. He was on a visit to his widowed mother

    chapter 13



    She was unconscious. Broad, dark face, with no make-up; she was apparently in her late thirties. She appeared to be Chinese.








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