Page:Avon Fantasy Reader 10.djvu/100

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.


The professor's son was named John! Could anything be more commonplace?

"I'll have to take you around and show you things tomorrow," John said cordially, accepting the account of my arrival without surprise.

A red-headed servant-girl, roast-pork and rhubarb-sauce for dinner, and checkers afterwards, a hot bath at bedtime, the ringing of a telephone somewhere else in the house—is it any wonder that it was months before I would believe that I had actually come into a different universe? What slight differences there were in the people and the world, merely served to emphasize the similarity. For instance, I think they were just a little more hospitable and "old-fashioned" than we are. Making due allowances for the fact that I was a rather remarkable phenomenon, I think I was welcomed more heartily in this home and in others later, people spared me more of their time and interest from their daily business, than would have happened under similar circumstances in a correspondingly busy city in America.

Again, John found a lot of time to take me about the city and show me banks and stores and offices. He drove a little squat car with tall wheels, run by a spluttering gasoline motor. (The car was not as perfect as our modern cars, and horses were quite numerous in the streets. Yet John was a busy business man, the district superintendent of a life-insurance agency). Think of it! Life insurance in Einstein's t dimension.

"You're young to be holding such an important position," I suggested.

"Got started early," John replied. "Dad is disappointed because I didn't see fit to waste time in college. Disgrace to the family, I am."

What in particular shall I say about the city? It might have been any one of a couple of hundred American cities. Only it wasn't. The electric street cars, except for their bright green color, were perfect; they might have been brought over bodily from Oshkosh or Tulsa. The ten-cent stores with gold letters on their signs; drug-stores with soft drinks; a mad, scrambling stock-exchange; the blaring sign of an advertising dentist; brilliant entrances to motion-picture theaters, were all there. The beauty-shops did wonders to the women's heads, excelling our own by a good deal, if I am any judge; and at that time I had nothing more important on my mind than to speculate on that question. Newsboys bawled the Evening Sun, and the Morning Gale in whose curious, flat type I could read accounts of legislative doings, murders and divorces, quite as fluently as I could in my own Tribune at home. Strangeness and unfamiliarity had bothered me a good deal on a trip to Quebec a couple of years ago; but they were not noticeable here in the t dimension.

For three or four weeks the novelty of going around, looking at things, meeting people, visiting concerts, theaters, and department stores, was sufficient to absorb my interest. Professor Vibens' hospitality was so sincerely extended that I did not hesitate to accept, though I assured him that I would repay it as soon a I got established in this world. In a few days I was thor-

98