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Highcastle: A Remembrance

By Stanislaw Lem

The writer describes his blameless adolescence because the son of a physician in Lvov among the 2 international wars, in which his so much shiny stories contain episodes along with his gossipy French teach, the view from a confectionary shop, and halvah stands.

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I certain the sums, amounts, paying for strength of the cash at my disposal, and from the doubtful worth of generalized gold switched to bricks, bars, ingots (my vouchers gave an actual description of the ingot, which I standardized, utilizing my physics textbook; my version used to be the platinum-indium bar saved in Sèvres, close to Paris, which served because the degree of 1 meter), and that i even gave the scale for nuggets, as defined within the books of Karl may perhaps and Jack London, to be paid in leather-based baggage tied with a lasso reduce into appropriate items. acquiring the mandatory info from Professor Wyrobek's Marvels of Nature, I accepted the disbursement of rubies, spinels, chalcedonies, chrysoprases, malachites, and opals, directory on removable stubs the grade of the gem, the lower, the carats, the quantity ordered, and that i additionally made booklets of certain bonus coupons -- which ended in an issue. was once it right, for instance, to offer somebody, say, a platinum dish via reliable channels? My bureaucratic intuition acknowledged no, that phrases like "give" or "gift" have been beside the point. "Disburse," "allocate," "deliver" have been okay. additionally, with a gold chain, the worst anyone may do used to be put on it, while a dish, even of platinum, a person might truly consume off it -- a prospect offensive to a clerk's cut-and-dried brain. Oh, it was once no longer lust for fabric issues that moved me to bathe pearls and rain emeralds (but counted to the drop); money for prone rendered was once easily an inescapable a part of the area I had created. and that i issued distinctive passes, additionally in accordance with a hierarchy -- for the Outer Gate, the center Gate, the 1st, moment, and 3rd doorways -- with stubs to be torn off by means of guards. the inner halls and passageways have been seriously guarded, and their names have been recognized to the reduce echelons; the following, extra inside, have been recognized in basic terms through code; and slowly a form started to emerge from nothingness, a construction, a citadel unbelievably excessive, with a middle of poser by no means named, no longer even by means of the main bold -- where the place, after passing via the entire gates, halls, and safeguard stations, you may eventually obtain complete authorization! you can actually describe now, yet how very some distance i used to be from the heart then, inching my approach as a conscientious and humble scribe, medieval calligrapher, sufferer as an ant over my uppercase and lowercase letters, now not figuring out how or whilst my incunabula may go the road from ebook to e-book, or how or while the scribbler might turn into a author, the copyist an artist! buying a definite skillability, even utilizing pink ink to make the Bureau extra flexible, I properly remained conservative as to content material. i used to be no longer prodigal within the dishing out of kingdoms, nor did I let, in anyone state, an excessive amount of energy to accrue to anybody person. it'll were effortless to have a common passport that opened each door of the fort and each treasury vault. yet -- and enable it's recorded to my credits -- I by no means drew up this sort of rfile. I take note a ebook I ready for an inspector remarkable and plenipotentiary.

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