mark my words: science has made great progress here, very great indeed. . . .

The bridegroom had quite a sizeable laboratory near the wood and a couple of reactors over against the imperial highway, and in the farmyard itself a smallish but neat chemical synthesis workshop. The bride had from her father a dowry consisting of a whole power station well situated in the centre of the village near the church. And in addition she must have had a good six patents dealing with biochemistry in her hope chest. Not surprising therefore that the young couple were suited and the parents quickly agreed to the marriage. And so a wedding was announced in Atomice.

I happened to be pressing sheet metal by the cold process when the bride’s brother came to invite me to the wedding. He was a good looking scientist, a college friend of mine. He praised God, wiped his feet on the mat and sat himself down on a stool.

We found it somewhat difficult to talk because that year the jets had come over in particularly large numbers and built themselves runways behind the stable; every now and then one would fly off and drown our words with its loud twittering.

“Eh well, we’re givin’ her away”, my guest sighed. “I only hope there won’t be no brawling at the wedding”, he added in a worried tone.