The Pnume | Chapter 11 of 15 - Part: 1 of 11

Author: Jack Vance | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 1057 Views | Add a Review

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THE NIGHT PASSED without alarm or disturbance. In the morning Reith and Zap 210 breakfasted alone at the cafe on the quay. The sky was cloudless; the smoky sunlight left crisp black shadows behind the tall houses and glinted on the water of the harbor. Zap 210

seemed less pessimistic than usual, and watched the porters, the hawkers, the seamen and outlanders with interest. "What do you


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204%20-%20The%20Pnume.txt think of the ghian now?" asked Reith.

Zap 210 at once became grave. "The folk act differently from what I expected.

They don't run back and forth; they don't seem maddened by the sun-glare. Of course"-she hesitated-"one sees a great deal of boisterous conduct, but no one seems to mind. I marvel at the garments of the girls; they are so bold, as if they want to provoke attention. And again, no one Page 54


"Quite the reverse," said Reith.

"I could never act like that," Zap 210 said primly. "That girl coming toward us: see how she walks! Why does she act that way?"

"That's how she's put together. Also, she wants men to notice her. These are the instincts that the diko suppressed in you."

Zap 210 protested with unusual fervor: "I eat no diko now; I feel no such instincts!"

Reith looked smiling off across the quay. The girl to whom Zap 210 had drawn attention slowed her step, hitched at the orange sash around her waist, smiled at Reith, stared curiously at Zap 210, and sauntered on.

Zap 210 looked sidelong at Reith. She started to speak, then held her tongue.

A moment later she blurted: "I don't understand anything of the ghian. I don't understand you.

Just now you smiled at that odious girl. You never-" Here she stopped short, then continued in a low voice: "I suppose you blame 'instinct'

for your conduct."

Reith became impatient. "The time has come," he said, "to explain the facts of life. Instincts are part of our biological baggage and cannot be avoided. Men and women are different." He went on to explain the processes of reproduction.

Zap 210 sat rigid, looking across the water. "So," said Reith, "it's not unnatural that people indulge in this kind of conduct."

Zap 210 said nothing. Her hands, so Reith noticed, were clenched and her knuckles shone white.

She said in a low voice, "The Khors in the sacred grove-is that what they were doing?"

"So I suppose."

"And you took me away so I wouldn't see."

"Well, yes. I thought you might be confused."

Zap 210 was silent a moment. "We might have been killed."

Reith shrugged. "I suppose there was a chance."


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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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