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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

suaded to have their temperatures taken. One pio
tures the totalitarian tyrant with fountain-pen poised
above some imperious edict, when the human touch
intervenes in the form of a trained nurse-secretary
(also a dead shot with a revolver), who slips a ther-
mometer into that ever-open mouth. One figures
him, with eyes dynamically dilated, breathing ster-
torously through the nose during this test of his sense
of supreme responsibility for the well-being of the
world. . . . "Just half a minute more, to make quite
sure". . . . With a bright smile she hands the tiny
talisman to a gravely-expectant medicine man, who,
it may be, shakes his head and murmurs, "Nine-nine
point nine. Your Supremacy should sign no docu-
ments till to-morrow morning." Poof! What a relief
for Europe! . . .

To return to my insignificant self: before I was half-
way to Edinburgh on the top of a tram I realized that
I had done something unthinkably foolish. But it was
too late now. The stars looked down on me, and soon
I should be making the most of them through the
largest telescope in Scotland. But the document which
might have a conclusive effect on my earthly career
was still unsigned.

Of my tea with the astronomer, I only remember
that he couldn't get the telescope to work properly.
He pushed and pulled, swivelled it and swore at it,
and finally gave it up as a bad job. So even the moon
wras a washout. Downstairs he took me into a darkened
room and showed me a delicate instrument which I
can only describe by saying that it contained a small
blob of luminosity, which was, I rather think, radium.
What was the instrument for? I asked. He told me
that it was used for measuring infinitesimal fractions
of a second. He then explained how it did it.