The Stillwell Degravitator
By Charles R. Tanner
The quiet which usually reigns over the main hail of the
big library was suddenly broken by a crash, and the
sound of falling books. A girl’s scream followed
immediately, and the scraping of chairs as startled
readers leaped to their feet. I looked up from the
article I had been reading, and was not surprised to
find that my opinion of the cause of the accident was
At the upper end of the hail, leaning over a fallen
rack of books, with a pained and apologetic look on his
face, was my friend Professor Isaac N. Stillwell
The professor’s huge bulk (he is six feet tall and
weighs over two hundred and ninety pounds) seemed even
larger than usual today. He wore a light gray topcoat,
and light colors always enhance a person’s size; and
this, combined with the fact that the little assistant
librarian who stood looking woefully down at the fallen
books was a small thin woman, made him seem almost
globular. He had removed his bat, of course and the
light from the skylight above, striking his immense bald
head, made it shine like the proverbial billiard ball,
and added immeasurably to the effect of ponderous
dignity. And that huge form was stooping, or attempting
to stoop, to remedy the damage done.
I left my seat and hurried over to the scene of the
accident, Though Stillwell is one of the most proper and
dignified men I ever knew, there is about him a certain
clumsiness that is cumulative, and when one accident
occurs to him, it is better to che4 him at once or you
will have half a dozen on your hands.
So I hurried over and tapped him on the shoulder and
after a nod of recognition, I motioned him to one side.
I assisted the little librarian to pick up and stack
the books, and then turned to my friend. He broke into
whispered thanks, but I silenced him and then made my
way back to the table where I had been sitting.
Stillwell followed and raised his heavy eyebrows in
interest when be saw what I had been reading.
“‘A Note on Further Aspects of the Universal Field
Theory,’ eh?” he whispered, “You know, Clement, I may
have a few remarks to make on that subject myself,
I noticed several of the readers about the table glance
up with that peculiar look that people assume to
emphasize annoyance. I made a gesture of silence and
Stillwell, after giving a glance about, motioned me to
follow him. I abandoned my magazine with a sigh of
regret and arose. We left the library.
“Quite a coincidence, Clement, my boy,” said the huge
professor as we stepped outside. “I mean, finding you in
there reading of Einstein’s theory of a universal field.
You see, I’ve been rather eager to demonstrate a little
experiment I have been working on. Could you come down
to the house for an hour or two?”
saw no reason why I couldn’t. In fact, I am always eager
to observe the experiments of my portly friend.
Stillwell’s intellect is as ponderous as his body and
his versatility is so great that there is hardly a
science in the books that has not been assisted by his
brilliant aid Of course there is a certain touch of
uncertainty about him, due to that amazing clumsiness of
his this really adds a certain tang to contact with him,
and so I have ‘never yet refused when chance offered to
watch this genius work.
So now I led the way to my machine and we started off
toward the professor’s house, and the beginning of the
strangest adventure that has yet befallen me.
For, once in the professor’s home, we repaired at once to
the laboratory in the basement. Here, in the middle of
the floor, surrounded by a maze of bent and broken
sections of pipe, yards upon yards of twisted wires and
the remains of half a dozen big shattered vacuum tubes,
‘stood an odd box-like apparatus, having at one end a
long extending tube of metal like an old-fashioned
blunderbuss. The blunderbuss pointed to a little table
with a white enameled top, on which lay a group of
crystals, among which I recognized quartz, beryl and
almandite, as well as a huge stone.
“Now, Clement,” began the professor, as soon as he had
removed his hat and coat. “I can see that you are
wondering and speculating already. So I’ll get right to
the point. As you doubtless know, modern theory
considers gravity not as a force, but as a condition of
space, a ‘warp’* I believe it is popularly called,
caused by the very presence: of matter. Suppose
there was some way of neutralizing - or rather, of
heterodyning warping impulse. What would be the
*All matter, even a single atom, warps the space
surrounding it, to a certain extent. The resulting warp
affects other matter so that its path of least
resistance is no longer in a Euclidean straight line,
but along a line that tends toward the warping body of
“Why—” I looked at him, incredulously. “Why, I suppose
it would be to neutralize, or even to reverse gravity.
But surely it will be hundreds of years before science
progresses sufficiently to enable it to do that.”
“On the contrary, my dear Clement,” the professor
chuckled, heavily. “On the contrary, that is just what I
have brought you here to see. I have devised a means to
accomplish that phenomenon, and this is it, right here.”
He moved over to the box-like apparatus and, ignoring my
exclamations of wonder, he proceeded to adjust the
various dials and switches which covered one side of it.
Presently he removed the crystals from the table, all
but the large boulder, and then he turned again to me.
“Now watch, my boy,” he exclaimed. “You probably know
that weight is a mere function of mass, do you not?
Well, the recently discovered positron has, I believe
you will recall, a negative mass. It weighs so much
less than nothing! Using this as a base of my investigations, and remembering that the proton, which
contains most of the mass of the atom, is like the
positron, positive electrically, I have succeeded
in inducing negative mass in the proton.”
made another adjustment or two on his machine and went
“This machine is the first one I designed, and so it is
rather crude. It only works on close-packed solids, and
is very hard to adjust. I have already worked out, in
principle, a far simpler apparatus, that will work on
anything. But this will do for a demonstration
He turned on a switch and I heard a whine from the box,
followed by a deep sigh. I half expected some
funny-colored ray to shoot out from the blunderbuss,
but if a beam of force did shoot out, it was quite
invisible. But the results most decidedly were not.
The piece of rock was a heavy thing and twice as big
as my head, but almost immediately after the switch was
turned on, it rose like a toy balloon and drifted to the
ceiling; and there it stayed, bobbing about with every
slight current, while I stared at it with open mouth and
the professor rubbed his freckled, pudgy hands together
At last I regained my voice and burst into frantic
congratulations. “Professor,” I cried, “this is the
biggest thing you’ve ever done! Why, there’s millions in
this. The burdens of the world will be lifted from its
shoulders. A hundred inventions will grow out of this
one discovery! We can make anti-gravity machines and
sell them by the million! This will be the biggest
thing since the gasoline engine. It’ll turn the world
professor beamed again. He caught a portion of my
enthusiasm and patted his box affectionately. “This is
only a very crude affair, Clement,” he protested. “Just
wait until I show you my perfected model. It will work
on anything, not just boulders. And I think it will be
far more compact, too.”
"Well, we sat there in the lab for an hour or more,
discussing the possibilities of the apparatus. The
professor saw only the fact itself; he had made a
machine that produced weightlessness, and that was that.
But I am a reader of science fiction, and I have read a
dozen times of the possibilities of antigravity; so I
was able to point out any number of ways in which the
principle could be applied. When I parted from the
professor at last, we were both flooded with enthusiasm
over what was to come.
CHAPTER II - Catastrophe!
For the following two weeks, I did my best to control my
impatience while the professor worked on his improved
model. At last, early one summer evening, the
long-expected call came and I hurried over to his house
to inspect the finished invention. The professor met me
at the door with an apologetic look on his face.
“I’m afraid I must postpone my demonstration,
Clement,” he said regretfully. “My very good friend,
Dr. Hayland, has just called me and requested my
presence at his home immediately.”
“Hop in,” I said, a little disappointed. “I’ll drive
you over to Hayland’s and maybe you can complete your
business and get back in time to show me your gadget,
Stillwell thanked me and squeezed himself into the car
beside me, and we started on our way. We had gone but
half a block, however, when there was a whishing sigh
from the right front tire and I drew up to the curb and
stopped, gritting my teeth to suppress an oath.
“Puncture!” I said wrathfully. “It would happen at a
time like this. And— Oh, my gosh!”
“What’s the matter?” Stillwell looked at me anxiously.
“My jack! I left it at home in the garage. Where in
thunder can I get a jack around here?”
The professor was puzzled for a moment, then: “Clement, wait
a moment till I run back home. I’ll give you a
demonstration of my perfected degravitator and supply a
jack of sorts at the same time.”
He squirmed out of the machine and waddled hastily up
the street in the direction of his home. A minute or
two and he appeared again, carrying a small object in
his hand. When he reached the machine I saw, to my
surprise, that the object resembled a rather complicated pistol.
“Here’s the degravitator, Clement. What do you think of
it, now?” "You mean-" incredulously “that that thing is
the whole degravitator?”
“Quite so. The thing is not very complicated. You see,
the real work is done by the atoms of the object
degravitated. This is only used to initiate the action.
Now watch how I utilize it as a jack.”
He directed the “gun” on the front of my machine
and squeezed a sort of trigger. As in the more
complicated machine, there was no sign of a ray or
other form of light, but the machine jumped back an inch
or two, and then the front slowly rose an inch or so off
the ground. Stillwell snapped off the force and turned
“There now, I think you can fix your tire, eh?”
I nodded and got busy, and in no time the tire was
changed and we were scrambling back into the car.
Now whether it was the novelty of the thing or the fact
that we were in such a hurry, I do not know; but the
fact remains that both Stillwell and I forgot that the
front of the car had been rendered weightless until we
had gotten into the car and I had started it. But then
we were reminded of it, and in no uncertain way. No
sooner had I started the thing than the front wheels
leaped up like a bucking bronco, and the car dashed
merrily down the street on its “hind legs.” I grabbed
frantically at the emergency brake and, out of a corner
of my eye, I caught a wild glimpse of Stillwell’s pudgy
legs, as that adipose gentleman went head over heels
into the back of the car. The brakes squeaked wildly,
and the front of the car gently settled back to the
Fluttery with excitement, I leaped out of the car and,
jerking the rear door open, helped the professor out,
not a little upset and bruised. He pulled himself
together and, shaking his head dolefully, proceeded to
neutralize the front of the car. Then we once more got
under way and at last reached Dr. Hayland’s.
Inasmuch as I had no idea how long it would take
Stillwell to complete his business with Hayland, I
suggested that I wait awhile outside. Stillwell agreed
and entered the house, and to my surprise, emerged again
in less than a minute. His brow was black as he pushed
his way into the machine beside me and: “That was
somebody’s idea of a joke,” he snorted. “Hayland hasn’t
been in all evening. Some half-wit thought he was being
funny. If there’s anything I hate, Clement, it’s
misplaced ‘humor.’ Let’s go home.”
His irritation increased rather than diminished as we
rode back to his house, for nothing could have ruffled
his stupendous dignity more than to be the victim of a
practical joke. By the time we reached his home, he was
bordering on a case of “jitters.”
“There’ll be no use of my attempting to give you a
demonstration tonight, Clement,” he sputtered. “Suppose
you just excuse me and come around tomorrow evening.”
So, unable to do otherwise, I offered such sympathy as
I could without further hurting his feelings, and
leaving him, I drove off to my home.
I was quite convinced that I would see him no more that
day and so you can imagine my surprise, when I drove up
to my own house, some ten minutes later, to find my
ward, Marjorie Barrett, and my housekeeper, Mrs.
Potter, both awaiting me on the porch. They burst into
excited cries when they beheld me.
“Professor Stillwell just called up—” began the Pest.
“And he wants you to come right over—” continued Mrs.
“He says it’s terrible. Whatever it is,” went on
“And he says under no circumstances bring the police,”
Mrs. Potter added.
“But he wants you to hurry, for he’s in a very dangerous
situation. And I’m going with you. Move over,” and
suiting the action to the word, the Pest seated herself
beside me and slammed the door. We waved to Mrs. Potter,
I spun the car around and we were off.
quizzed Marjorie all during the ten minute ride back to
the professor’s house, but learned nothing save what she
and the housekeeper had already told me. So it was with
uncertainty and peculiar misgivings that I rang the bell
at Stillwell’s home and waited impatiently for an
At the second ring, I thought I heard a muffled call
from within. I looked questioningly at the Pest, but
that young lady brushed etiquette aside by trying the
doorknob and striding boldly into the house. I followed
and was met by a call from the dining room.
“Clement!” came the familiar booming tones of
Stillwell’s voice. “Is that you? Come back, for heaven’s
We rushed into the room and I gave a gasp of involuntary
amazement. There was no sign of the professor. Then the
Pest screamed and pointed to the ceiling. I glanced up,
and my gasp was cut short half uttered, to be
immediately succeeded by another and larger one. Bobbing
about in the air currents occasioned by our entry into
the room, like a toy balloon that had escaped from the
hands of a child, and resting lightly against the
ceiling, was the ponderous, the dignified Professor
Isaac N. Stillwell!
CHAPTER III - The Pursuit of the Plunderer
“Stillwell!” I cried incredulously. “How did you get up
there? What in the world has happened?”
“I—I was held up. There was a robber here and I was
The Pest looked at him and veiled her astonishment with
sarcasm. “You’re still being held up, if you ask me,”
she remarked dryly.
“Please, my dear,” groaned the professor. “This is a
most ignoble position. Please remember this is no time
“Nor for levitation, either, for that matter,”
insisted the irresponsible one.
The combat between offended dignity and the realization
of his dangerous position rendered the professor utterly
speechless. He sputtered helplessly for a moment or two
until I came to his rescue. I waved the Pest to silence
and asked him, in as normal a tone as I could assume,
just what had happened and what we could do about it.
“When you left me,” the professor explained when at
last he could speak again, “I entered the house and at
once heard a noise, out here in the dining room. I
hastened out, and there he was! It flashed instantly
into my mind that that supposed call from Hayland was a
hoax to get me out of the house while he pursued his
depredations. With a presence of mind which I usually
possess at such times, I immediately realized that,
unarmed as I was, I was entirely at the mercy of this
creature, and, casting about in my mind for some bit of
strategy to deceive him, I thought of my degravitator.
As you have noticed, its resemblance to a revolver is
rather striking, and I depended on it to pass for one,
at least until I could gain the upper hand.
“So I immediately drew it from my pocket and demanded
that the criminal stand and surrender. His actions,
however, were most unexpected. Instead of raising his
hand in a gesture of surrender, as would have been the
obvious thing to do, the incredible wretch threw himself
upon me and seized my wrist.
struggled, and due to my unfortunate corpulence, I must
admit that he had the advantage. In less than a minute
he had twisted the degravitator from my hand and,
directing it full upon my breast, he squeezed the
trigger, closing his eyes as he did so, expecting, I
suppose, the usual sharp report.
“There was no report, of course, so he immediately
opened his eyes again, and by that time, the
degravitating influence had acted upon me and,
rendered weightless, I was ascending slowly to the
ceiling. I was horrified, and the rise was accompanied
by a most uncomfortable feeling of falling; but
my horror, I believe, was nothing compared to that of
“His eyes popped out, for a moment he seemed rooted to
the spot, then he uttered a wild cry and fled out
through the kitchen and the back door, frightened out
of his wits! And here is the calamity, Clement — in his
fright, he never thought of dropping the degravitator,
he departed, carrying it with him!”
“The degravitator gone?” This was indeed a calamity.
“But, Stillwell, how will you get down?”
“How will I get down, indeed!” cried the once-heavy
professor in agony. “It would take me weeks to build
another degravitator with which to neutralize my
condition. And in the meantime, I should have to float
around up here, listening to the crude puns and alleged
humor of—of Miss Marjorie.”
“Aw, now, professor, don’t get up in the air over my
remarks,” begged the Pest. “I’ll be good. Honest.
I’ll—I’ll go out and find your de-what-you-maycall-it.
Will that help?”
“That’s it! That’s it, Clement. That’s just what you
must do. Go out and find it. Surely the criminal will
leave some kind of trace. Please, my friends, say you’ll
hastened to assure Stillwell that we would do our best,
and Marjorie and I at once hastened out the back door
into the yard behind the house. There we stopped,
“Do you suppose we’ll find any trace of him?” I asked,
For once the Pest was serious. “I don’t suppose we’ll
find the slightest sign of him,” she admitted. “But I
had to calm the poor old fellow somehow. He was getting
all worked up and excited. Now he has hope, anyhow.”
She paused and broke into a chuckle. “He was always
wanting to lose weight, wasn’t he?” she laughed.
I frowned. I did not share her delight in poor puns and besides, the
constant howling of a dog in the next door yard was
beginning to get on my nerves. I had noted it,
unconsciously, even before we left Stillwell’s house,
but now it was definitely forced upon my conscious
mind. Darkness had fallen by this time, however, and it
was impossible to see why the dog was howling. Then a
sudden thought came into my mind.
“That dog!” I cried. “Listen!” I hastened over to the
low wire fence that separated the two yards, vaulted
over it and rushed in the direction of the howling.
Sure enough! There, some eight or ten feet in the air,
dangling by a chain that was fastened to the front of a
dog house, and howling at the top of his voice, was an
unfortunate brindle bull pup.
“Marjorie!” I called. “He’s been this way,” and as my
eye lit upon an open gateway leading to an alley—”He
went out this way.”
Marjorie joined me in the alley and we looked around
uncertainly. The alley ended blindly, further along in
one direction, but in the other— “Come on!” I shouted.
“He must have run down to Blair Street. Maybe Marco, the
fruit peddler, can tell us where he went.”
went down the alley, wildly enthused by the unexpected
success of our chase. We could see lights in Marco Di
Rosa’s fruit store and knew that it was open. We felt
sure that if our fugitive had passed that way, Marco
would have noticed him. So we sped around the corner
with hope in our hearts—and stopped with dismay in our
was an awning hanging over the front of Di Rosa’s little
store and, hanging up in the awning was a huge
heterogeneous collection of apples, peaches, cabbages,
pineapples and watermelons, in the midst of which
struggled futilely the little black-mustached figure of
been here!” shouted the Pest. “Which way did he go,
little fellow rolled his eyes in her direction, eyes
which were almost all white with fear and excitement,
but he said never a word.
inside,” I cried. “That’s an old awning, and if it ever
splits—” I said no more, but looked about for some means
to reach the little man. My eye lit on a long pole like
a clothes prop and seizing it, I instructed Marco to
take hold of it, and so drew him down to where we could
Then we brought him into the store and let go of him,
and he floated up to the ceiling. The Pest brought him a
drink of water and presently his fright began to lessen.
I asked him what had happened, but it was some little
time before he could answer.
“Look, Mr. Jordan" he stammered. “I’m standin’ by
my fruit stand, see? Justa standin’ there, wond’rin’ is
the Reds gonna win those pennant. An’ aroun’ that corner
comes a man. Little fella, he’s got a gun in he’s hand.
I’m scared, I make a jump for the door to go inside.
“But I guess that fella think I jump for him. Up come
the gun, an’ he’s pull the trigger ! Santa Maria—I’m
scared then. I think—’Gooda-night, Marco, you’re sunk
now.’ But no! Mister Jordan, I don’t sink. I’m rise!
“Up I go into the awning, an’ up go the apple, up go
the peach and up go the cabbage an’ the pineapple! An’
that feller, he’s look more scared than me. He scream
an’ close his eye—an’ away he run!”
“Which way did he go, Marco? We’ve got to catch him, or
you’ll never get down again. Tell us which way he went.”
Marco pointed down the street. “He’s run down
there. An’ across the street an’ around the corner into
DeCourcey. I watch him, you bet.”
Without more ado, the Pest and I were off. Down Blair,
across the street and into DeCourcey Avenue. And as
Marco’s little fruit store disappeared behind us, we
looked down DeCourcey and beheld a most amazing sight.
Some little way down the street, two gentlemen sat on
the curbstone, two gentlemen clad most properly in full
evening togs— white tie, tails, and all the trimmings.
As we drew near them, we saw that they sat, not actually
on the curbstone, but fully a foot above it, and even
before we came up with them, we could hear them
discussing the situation in loud but slightly befuddled
“Your conclushions, my dear Dinwiddie, are almost
certainly erroneous,” the nearest of them was saying.
“I have not—have not been drinking to exshess. This is
the firsht time I have been drunk since—since Thursday.”
“Do not tell me I am wrong, Claypoole, my boy,”
answered the other. “I—I have been here before. I was in
Doak’s Sanitarium for two months, one time. Just you
wait until the parade begins.”
“Parade?” The first one was curious. “I was
not under the impression there was to—to be a parade,
“There will be,” announced Dinwiddie. “There will
be elephants and reptiles. There are always elephants
and reptiles. Pinks ones, p-probably.”
“I am shtill unconvinced,” insisted Claypoole. “I
shtill claim that the fellow killed us. I f-feel like a dishembodied shpirit—and I am acting like a
dishembodied shpirit. How else could I be sitting here
We had stopped before them, but they paid
absolutely no attention to us, going right on with their
amazing conversation. The Pest finally
“Snap out of it!" she commanded sharply. “This is
real. Where did the man go who shot at you?”
Dinwiddie raised a bleary eye. “Shpirit, begone!” he
said loftily, and Claypoole, glancing up too, remarked
complacently: “Now the animals will be coming.”
Exasperated and quick-tempered as usual the Pest
suddenly reached forward and gave Claypoole a
resounding box on the ear. The result was surprising -
the man bounded across the sidewalk, struck up against a
building, rose some five feet into the air and slowly,
slowly settled back to the sidewalk.
The Pest turned to Dinwiddie. “Come on, now! Which
way did he go?”
glimmer of sobriety flickered through the fog that
showed on Dinwiddie’s face. “Down that alley,” he
gestured. “I—I— What’s the matter with me?”
“You stay right here!” I commanded. “You and your friend
will be in a pretty bad fix if we don’t find that
fellow.” We dashed down the alley, and I shouted to the
Pest as I did so:
“The degravitator is weakening. It couldn’t raise those
fellows more than a foot off the ground.”
IV - Happy Ending
The alley in which we found ourselves ran between a big
warehouse on one side and the back end of a theater on
the other. There were no doors facing the alley in
either building, but beyond these a group of slovenly
tenements had their rear entrances. We would probably
have lost the trail right there had not an incident
occurred that brought things to a climax. As we passed
one of the tenements, a window crashed above us and an
article hurtled to the ground, while the terrified
scream of a man followed immediately after. The Pest
hurried over to pick up the object—a little wooden box
“I’ve seen this sort of cigarette before,”
announced the Pest, excitedly. “I knew a fellow once—”
she paused and a disgusted look spread her
“We haven’t time for that now,“ I exclaimed.
“Wait minute. I’ve got a hunch.” She started for
the forbidding dirty entrance of the building, and I
followed perforce, if only to protect her. Guided by the
cries that still came from above, we forced our way past
a slatternly and protesting landlady and dashed up
rickety stairs and down a dark hall to the room from
which the cries were coming.
We threw open the door—and there he was. We knew that he
was the man we sought, at once, for he was hanging like
grim death to the edge of a big oak table, his feet
kicking wildly in the air above him, while one scream
after another burst from his lips. And lying on the
floor was an object that I immediately identified as
The man saw us and broke into a string of imprecations.
“Can’t I even die in peace?” he screamed, kicking his
legs wildly. "Is everything always goin’ against me? I’m
nuts, and I can’t even kill myself, let alone
I moved over and recovered the degravitator, narrowly
dodging a kick from the floating sinner. I swiped at him
angrily, knocked him loose from his grip on the table
and he slowly rose to the ceiling. He broke into renewed
“Come on, Pest,” I said. “Let’s get back to the
“Wait a minute,” she demanded. “I want to find out
something. What’s happened, you? How did you get in this
The thief eyed her truculently for a moment, and then
dropped his eyes, abashed. “I don’t know what’s wrong
with me, lady,” he said. “But I guess I got it comin’ to
me. A friend of mine gave me a pack of muggles ciggies.
Said they’d give me nerve. I tried one tonight, just
before I tried to raid an old gink’s house up on Vance
Street. It had the craziest effect. Every time I shot
anybody, it looked like they just floated right up into
the air. Started right off for heaven, without ever
waiting to die. It scared me so it drove me about nuts.
I come home as fast as I could, just about crazy. I
guess I was so scared I tried to bump myself off. stuck
that dam’ gat to my head and pulled the trigger. Now
look at me!”
“We can fix you up,” announced the Pest. “But you’ll
have to come with us. Where can we get some twine?”
"There ought to be a ball of it in the left hand drawer
of that chiffonier,” the crook said, hopefully. “Do you
really think you can fix me up?”
The Pest didn’t answer, but went and got the twine. She
tied it around his waist and started for the door, with
the thief swinging along over her head.
“Take the rest of this twine, Clem,” she directed.
“We’ll need it, before we get back to Stillwell’s.”
Well to make a long story short, some half an hour later
we re-entered Stillwell’s home, dragging along in the
air behind us one thief, one fruit peddler, one badly
scared and two arguing gentlemen in tails. Under
Stillwell’s direction, I recharged the degravitator,
neutralized the entire group and brought them all once
more back to argument as to the responsibility, which
the Pest at last cut short.
“It’s certainly not the fault of Marco or these two—er—gentlemen,”
she said “And I don’t see how any responsible person
could blame this poor reefer,” she indicated the thief.
“And so, professor, it seems that in the last
analysis, the blame must fall on you. Oh, I know what
you’re going to say,” she went on as the professor
raised his hand in protest. “It’s a splendid invention
and would lighten the cares and work of the world, I
know. But it’s not the sort of a thing that should be
left lying around like an old pair of socks, where any
ignoramus can pick it up and play with it. Put it away,
and treat it like the laboratories treat radium, or
dismantle it and forget it entirely until the world is
more ready for it.”
The huge professor smiled a little wanly. He was still
shaken from his undignified sojourn on the ceiling.
“I think I shall forget it,” he decided, meekly, as he
tossed the degravitator into a desk drawer.
“Yes, I really think I shall.”