Thinking about a great read.

Open: Tues. - Sat. 10 AM to 5 PM

3645 C Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, CA, 94549

(925) 385-3026

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Reasonable Books is an independent bookstore in the East San Francisco Bay Area located in Lafayette, California. We are here to serve as a general bookstore with an emphasis on thoughtful and important subjects for the interested and discerning reader.

While we strive to make available illuminating materials you may not even realize you want to read, we also believe that the mind benefits from rest and healthy distractions. You will find books that can help you relax or escape for a well-deserved break here.


26 February 2021: Kent Gordon has added two of his books to the Local Authors bookcase. The first is "Victory over Anxiety, Depression & the Human Condition":

"This book is a compassionate and easy read for those who are hurting and in need of rescue on the road. It opens up possibilities where only dead ends are thought to exist. It gets those in need back on the road with the understanding and insight God intended."

Kent Gordon's second book is "Difficult Conversations: Restoring the Relationships Between our LGBT-Q Friends, Families and the Church":

"This book is a compassionate introduction to and discussion of Gods’ viewpoint for both the open-minded non-Christian and the Christian struggling to believe."

25 February 2021: Thank you, Peter Boffey, for adding two volumes of his series "The Three Naked Ladies of Cliffport" to the Local Authors bookcase!

"In Volume I, we hear the distinct yet disparate voices of Elisabeth and Katelyn Lowrie, and Jan McLoughlin, as they struggle to come to terms with one another and themselves. We witness Elise--despairing over failing communications with her headstrong daughter--retreat to the attic, there to embark upon her memoir composed as a long letter to her only child. Meanwhile, downstairs, buoyed up by her bottles of whisky and cartons of unfiltered cigarettes, Jan--the outspoken landowner returning after fifty years--launches out on telling her life story to Katie aloud.

"In Volume II, we watch Katie spanning the gap between the two older women while hatching a plan that may enable the Lowries (and Donald Duncan, Katie's 10-year-old son) to remain living on the place."

30 January 2021: Two books from James Benney have joined the popular "Native American Indian Sites in the East Bay Hills" in the Local Authors bookcase!

The Volvon tribal territory remains virtually untouched today. Many village and camp sites lie undisturbed in the Black Hills behind Mount Diablo, part of the Morgan Territory Regional Preserve. One can still walk the paths Kaaknu the Volvon tribal leader walked, and see the same panoramic views of central California that he saw. In thirty-five short years he saw the complete dissolution of his tribe and the total loss of all of their ancestral territory to Spanish soldiers and settlers and the Jesuit Missions.

"Grandpa: Eldred Tyrrell Benney" is a moving, wonderful tribute to the San Francisco Bay Area's rich history and a soulful retelling of one man's outstanding life.

23 January 2021: Hello, friends! The American Bookseller's Association has sent us a big collection of Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) of upcoming books. They also make it easy for us to send you an email preview of upcoming releases (like the printed ones we have in the store). If you are an avid reader and would like to learn about new books via email, and especially if you are interested in teaming up with us to read and write a short review of an upcoming book, please reach out at Spam is not our thing, we won't use your email ourselves for that, and there is a very high probability that the ABA won't, either :)

14 January 2021: Two books from Ken Kerkhoff have been added to the Local Authors bookcase: one, a collection of stories about the history and culture of India, and the other, a novel of historical fiction set in 21st century Central Africa.

Appreciate the incredible history and culture of India through the fascinating tales of Kerkhoff and Pejathaya in "Paper Boat: Discovering India with a Master Storyteller". Both write with remarkable feeling as they interweave Indian experiences. Their stories offer a refreshing look at a remarkable country, its people, customs and its maze of religious proclivity.

In "Four Degrees North: Confronting Terror in Central Africa", Alan Burke accepts his first assignment with the U.S. State Department and travels to Africa. His wife, Mona, plans to join him in Cameroon after she finishes an assignment in Nigeria for her U.S. law firm. Mona is forcefully abducted and held hostage by Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group. Alan, frustrated by the inability of the various governments to assist his wife, acts on his own. In defiance of protocol, he crosses the Cameroon-Nigeria border to track the terrorists. He is aided by Eric Mbando, a Cameroonian, who risks his life for righteousness and justice.

12 January 2021: Reasonable Books is pleased to announce that we have received copies of Deven Greene's newly released book, "Unnatural". Deven is a local author and this is the first book in the Erica Rosen MD trilogy.

From Indies Today:

Unnatural is a flawlessly written medical thriller that focuses on a Chinese mother who will sacrifice everything to save her children. Erica is a bold protagonist who follows her instincts to some amazing discoveries. The narrative is driven by intelligent dialogue and a clever, yet heinous, plot. The cultural aspects between Ting and Erica feel authentic and the technical medical language is just complicated enough to feel genuine without becoming difficult to read. Deven Greene has created a truly gripping international thriller with just the right amount of humanity and compassion.

6 January 2021: Our first new local author title of 2021 is "Journey To Self: Discovering Paths Beyond My Dreams" by Barry Hampshire.

For the National Association of Memoir Writers, he writes:

Over the past roughly seven years, I have written my memoir Journey to Self. It describes how a journey I took 42 years ago affected me and resulted in who I have become. In the last few years before retirement, I wrote short stories about my earlier life that I hoped my daughter may read, someday. As I looked at this mass of material, much of which related to the journey, I couldn’t deny that I’d had and was still living an incredible life. There were lessons to be found that could help other people steer their own lives to maturity and/or fulfillment.

2 January 2021: In celebration of the 101st anniversary of Isaac Asimov's birth, you will find an excerpt from his 1955 short story, "Youth", below. You can read the entire short story at

31 December 2020: 明けましておめでとうございます!

26 December 2020: A pair of new authors have joined our Local Authors section during this holiday season!

Denise P. Kalm is a Board-Certified Coach and President of DPK Coaching offering personalized transition coaching services and workshops. In "Retirement Savvy" she offers excellent practical advice and real-world examples about how people experience the challenges and opportunities related to retirement.

Denise also wrote "First Job Savvy" to show first-time and returning job seekers how to create a plan for success. "Readers will learn how to hit the ground running and be a standout success in their new job."

Spencer Mains shares how he sees the world around him, and asks, "What do you see?". Visit his website here.

17 December 2020: We have added a pair of new books to the Local Authors bookcase. The subject matter is a little different and hopefully timely for this holiday season.

Susana Sanchez-Young has turned a pandemic side-project into a purposeful activity, finding a following on social media. Her coloring book captures many themes of 2020 in a book that will delight young and old.

Local resident Carol Green has written a short, colorful picture book for the very young who have a new sibling on the way. Illustrated by Ron Clelland, it is meant as an encouraging and engaging aid for the growing family.

14 December 2020: The Local Authors section has a new bookcase today, and that's all the room we have for new furniture — for now. By the way, we are on Twitter here, but please note that it is not (only) typical marketing and promotion :)

10 December 2020: St. Mary's alumna Madison Mooney has published "Manny the Monkey", an engaging book for children, and we are pleased to have it available in our Local Authors section!

From Readers' Favorite: "Manny The Monkey by Madison Mooney is a charming story about self-discovery, self-confidence, and being unique, and Manny's inner journey will encourage readers to find themselves and understand that they can do anything as long as they use their minds. The illustrations are colorful and lively and breathe life into the characters and the scenes. The book is also a good way to introduce children to different types of animals and travel. Parents and tutors can use it for read-aloud and storytelling sessions at home and in schools to motivate children to find themselves, discover their life's purpose, and decide what they want to do in life."

4 December 2020: "The Lafayette Reservoir: A Visual Celebration" by Steve Hobbs is a beautiful book of photographs from Lafayette's own man-made lake, and has joined our growing collection of works by local authors. From the jacket:

People fall in love with the Lafayette Reservoir. Local photographer Steve Hobbs has conceived of this book of his photographs and essays as a tribute to that amazing place. His book celebrates the "lifescapes." of the Reservoir - its striking landscapes, the diversity and beauty of its birds and wildlife, and the people from all backgrounds who come there to walk and jog, boat and fish, or pursue other outdoor passions. Steve also includes a section devoted to the beloved dogs of the Reservoir. His evocative images capture the beauty and rich variety of the Reservoir, with a touch of humor and playfulness thrown in.

2 December 2020: It is typically a great pleasure to meet the residents of Lafayette and nearby either in person, or on the phone, or via email, and so we are keeping online ordering from Reasonable Books to a bare minimum. This means you should feel free to send us enquiries at We'll do our best to get you information on availability and pricing, and will happily place an order for you when you'd like us to do so.

We are also looking into hosting book-related events online, and are currently trying to gauge local interest in Richard Haiduck's "Shifting Gears: 50 Baby Boomers Share Their Meaningful Journeys in Retirement". Shifting Gears is based on interviews with retirees, telling how they are shifting gears in their retirement. Sometimes they shift smoothly, sometimes they grind the gears, and often they take some time to find their groove. The stories reveal the rich abundance of retirement ventures, from the exotic to the mundane. Discover their joys, challenges, and inspirations that were part of their journey in this next stage of life. If you belong to a book club or similar group that might be interested in attending an online event with the author (and perhaps someone from Reasonable Books), please reach out to us at You will find the book in our Local Authors section.

29 November 2020: An update to our reading section can be found below with an excerpt from the logician Charles Dodgson.

28 November 2020: Thanks to everyone for their support during 2020's Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. We hope you have a safe holiday season and thank you for your patience when visiting the store; we are currently permitted six persons at a time in the store according to the county's public health guidance.

The Local Authors section now includes "Invisible Wounds" by Lyn Roberts, "a powerful portrait of one man's struggle to heal from his trauma experienced in both war and personal life. When Steven discovers David Lane's Civil War letters, the similarities that haunt his own war in Vietnam set him on a path of redemption. With each discovered letter, Steven learns another part of the secret to healing and building a fearless life of purpose."

24 November 2020: We wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving for 2020! Our Local Authors display continues to grow with a book sure to draw the East Bay hiker and historical enthusiast, as well as a compelling work of historico-cultural fiction.

"Native American Indian Sites In the East Bay Hills" by James Benney guides you across Native American sites in the East Bay Hills along with a brief history of indigenous culture in the East Bay Hills. You can read more about it here.

Cheryl Vaught is a teacher, writer, and ex-Mormon activist. She lives in Northern California with her husband and near her two grandchildren. "Plural Bride To Be" captures in novel form the the historic 1953 statewide police investigation of polygamy called Operation Seagull as it leads to young Karen Hardy's Utah farm family. You can read more about it on GoodReads.

21 November 2020: We're very pleased to include Jill Hedgecock in our Local Authors section next to the counter. Jill is an award-winning and internationally-published author.

Rhino in the Room is a beautifully written and an intellectually stimulating debut novel from Jill Hedgecock. It's power is in advocating for a worthy cause-that of the rhino, using the storyteller's eye. This is a novel for anyone with an interest in the natural world and the rhino. This is a novel for everyone!: Read more here.

After orphaned sixteen-year-old Sarah Whitman rescues a Doberman, her secret living situation is jeopardized. Shadow’s incessant barking has drawn unwanted attention from the authorities. Desperate to keep her pet, Sarah turns to an animal behaviorist, Dr. Claudia Griffin, only to be informed that Shadow barks because her house is haunted. Sarah is skeptical until a chance discovery reveals that she can see ghosts through Shadow by placing her fingers between her dog’s eyes — an act that inadvertently draws her into a deadly feud instigated by Dr. Griffin. Can Sarah find a way to save herself and Shadow?: Read more here.

From the moment orphaned teen Sarah stepped through the door of her temporary foster home, her guardian’s “Mean Girl” granddaughter has made her life a living hell. More than anything Sarah longs to take her ghost-seeing Doberman, Shadow, and move back into the cozy home her father bought for her before he died. When Sarah brings Shadow to her new high school to model for a class art project, she spots the ghost of a toddler boy while petting the space between her dog’s eyes. Despite being warned to forget the incident, she becomes obsessed with finding out the child’s identity. Sarah’s investigation into the little boy’s death draws the attention of his murderer and she finds herself struggling to avoid becoming the killer’s next victim.: Read more here.

17 November 2020: "A Promised Land" has been getting a lot of attention and is available as of today. We also have two additional titles in the Local Authors section of the store from Mike Metcalf.

"In his new book, Inklings: John Wilkins Carter and the Carter’s Ink Company, Michael F. Metcalf tells the story of an old New England family and the companies they created and operated— beginning with Timothy Carter’s Old Corner Bookstore in downtown Boston and spanning a 150-year period." You can read more about this beautiful book here.

"In September 1979, newlyweds Michael and Sharon Metcalf set out on a yearlong adventure at sea on their yacht, Mystic Isle." "What's Luck Got To Do With It? Adventures at Sea on Mystic Isle" tells the story of how they "planned, prepared, hard sailed, made friendships, and, most important, how they learned self-reliance, faith in each other, and perseverance."

10 November 2020: Our selection of featured books by local authors is growing and has moved to the wall next to the counter. Six titles have been added to group.

Claudia Long's historical novel "Nine Tenths of the Law" is about "two sisters, their mother, and a Nazi thief: combining the strands of history, mystery and the enduring power of buried memories." You can read more about it here.

Raea Gragg's "MUP" is "a graphic novel for children ages 7-12. It's a coming of age tale that follows two girls on their adventure to save the earth and learn to accept the changes that come with time while staying true to themselves." You can read more about Raea and her book here.

Steven Burchik's "Compass and a Camera" documents his experience in the Vietnam war through his memories, wartime correspondence and photographs. You can learn more about the book at Goodreads.

Brian Donohue's "The Spirit of Fiat Lux" is a hard bound coffee table book with beautiful photography, prose and poetry; it is also a key source of information about Public Service Contracts to help fund public higher education.

Brian Donohue has also recently published "In the Company of Men", an examination of men's issues and Christian life.

"Al Davis: Behind the Raiders Shield" is "an accurate, detailed portrayal of a man in the pantheon of notable sports figures of the 20th century" written by some of the men who worked closely with him, including longtime Oakland Raiders scout and Lafayette resident Jon Kingdon.

6 November 2020: It's a good time to step back from your troubles and read a bit. Here's a story from James Joyce.

1 November 2020: Winston Churchill was an American novelist, and below you'll find an excerpt from his best-selling novel from 1901, The Crisis. Thanks to the Lamorinda Weekly and the East Bay Times for telling our story this week!

26 October 2020: Thanks to the patrons asking for gift certificates! We now have them available in a variety of amounts.

20 October 2020: We are very pleased to have books released recently by local authors. One is "Say Goodbye to Plastic: A Survival Guide for Plastic-Free Living" by Sandra Ann Harris. Sandra's book will help you live more sustainably in your daily life.

We are also happy to carry copies of "Meet the Principal: My Journey Beyond the Curriculum" by Jane Blomstrand, a veteran of public school leadership in California. Jane's stories will inspire and educate anyone with an interest in the important institution of education for the young.

17 October 2020: Do you know that the "Read" link above takes you to a bite-sized selection of public domain reading material that updates occasionally? The latest selection may help set the tone for Halloween season.

16 October 2020: A fallacy is an invalid pattern of reasoning, that is, a form of argument whose premises do not imply its conclusion (which may be true or false). For example, TU QUOQUE or APPEAL TO HYPOCRISY: Denying or excusing guilt by attributing it to the accuser.

15 October 2020: Shopping locally is an important way to help make up for the shortfall in local sales tax revenue, and doing so helps local businesses struggling during the public health emergency. You can find alternatives to online shopping by consulting the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Member Directory. Thank you for considering your local businesses!

2 October 2020: It is a pleasure to open the store each day and meet everyone who visits. Even short conversations about books and the love of reading are special. For those wondering, "Reasonable LLC" uses the word in this sense: fair, commonsensical, rational, practical and polite.

30 September 2020: The bookcases have been delivered and are now in place! This means we will be reorganizing the new and used books shortly, and expanding our selection. A number of visitors have asked for books we did not have, and we have copies of them now. We'll gratefully take any suggestions for good titles we lack.

24 September 2020: It has been a pleasure meeting so many visitors during our first two weeks! The topic of used books has come up on occasion. Currently, we are accepting used book donations and will try to find them a home, either through the store or with outside non-profit organizations. We hope to have a credit policy in the future, as space and time permit.

19 September 2020: What a week!

18 September 2020: Not making much noise about this, but... we are open for browsing, counter service and pickups. Still waiting on bookcases, so the inventory is tucked away in the back of the store. It has been nice to meet so many people during the quiet opening. The chairs in front are for anyone to use; we're thinking about how to put some reading material there for friends, neighbors and visitors. :)

13 September 2020: Thanks to our friends for all the work on the sign! Next: some chairs, tables, plants, bookcases. We will require safe practices for visitors, and hope to welcome you very soon :)

9 September 2020: An alpha version of our in-store inventory is available here.

7 September 2020: The latest work has been twofold: sorting and preparing new books for display on shelves arriving in the next week, and getting the new signage ready for installation next weekend. Once the sign is up, we have an eager crew ready to prepare the storefront with book displays and other elements to make an inviting shop. We will adhere to current safety precautions diligently while being ready to welcome visitors in numbers of three or so, safely distanced.

An online service via email should be straightforward since the kids have helped to create a database of all the current inventory. You will see a rough-and-ready list of everything we have soon, and please feel free to send comments. Soft-open will be the week after the sign is installed (this is an aspirational statement). Thanks for all the good wishes so far, Lafayette!

3 September 2020: Most of the new book inventory has arrived, and there are sizable offerings in the following areas: Current Fiction, Classic Literature, History, Philosophy, Humanities, Young Adult. The new sign will be delivered this Sunday, and after a week of preparation, painting and lettering, we intend to install it the following Sunday. We intend to soft-launch Reasonable Books the following week, with some work left to do :)

26 August 2020: That's a lot of boxes of books and it's only halfway done.

25 August 2020: The initial used book inventory has been moved to the store, and for now these books are living on our repurposed library shelves (we are fairly certain these came from the Alameda County Public Library). The timing on this is good, since the new book inventory will begin delivery tomorrow and continue through the rest of the week.

The store signage will be a challenge as it involves a full rebuild of the sign and installation over a sizable awning. We're keeping our fingers crossed that this will happen within a week or so.

10 August 2020: The build out of our space continues at the former Papyrus storefront at 3645C Mount Diablo Boulevard, in the West End Shops near Trader Joe's. This was the second Papyrus store and will feel familiar even after it has been repurposed for books. Stationery and children's books are already served in Lafayette, so please visit our neighbors as the holidays approach.

So far, a lot of the messy work is done, including patching, painting and cleaning, with flooring up next, and then installing shelving and stocking the initial inventory of books. This has already been fun as well as hard work, and it has been a pleasure to meet so many people. More updates are forthcoming :)

Retail restrictions related to public health circumstances are a challenge in addition to those one would already expect of a new independent bookstore, and we appreciate your understanding and thank you for your input as we launch Reasonable Books to serve the residents of Lafayette, and the greater Lamorinda and East Bay Areas.

Work is in progress to provide online and delivery services locally. This may begin with email orders and personal deliveries in accordance with required safety protocols. It will be great to meet you however we can.


Reasonable is owned and operated by Rudy and Betty Winnacker. Email:

(Public Domain)


The Astronomer entered the dining room with decorum. He felt very much the guest.

He said, "Where are the youngsters? My son isn't in his room."

The Industrialist smiled. "They've been out for hours. However, breakfast was forced into them among the women some time ago, so there is nothing to worry about. Youth, Doctor, youth!"

"Youth!" The word seemed to depress the Astronomer.

They ate breakfast in silence. The Industrialist said once, "You really think they'll come. The day looks so--_normal_."

The Astronomer said, "They'll come."

That was all.

Afterward the Industrialist said, "You'll pardon me. I can't conceive your playing so elaborate a hoax. You really spoke to them?"

"As I speak to you. At least, in a sense. They can project thoughts."

"I gathered that must be so from your letter. How, I wonder."

"I could not say. I asked them and, of course, they were vague. Or perhaps it was just that I could not understand. It involves a projector for the focussing of thought and, even more than that, conscious attention on the part of both projector and receptor. It was quite a while before I realized they were trying to think at me. Such thought-projectors may be part of the science they will give us."

"Perhaps," said the Industrialist. "Yet think of the changes it would bring to society. A thought-projector!"

"Why not? Change would be good for us."

"I don't think so."

"It is only in old age that change is unwelcome," said the Astronomer, "and races can be old as well as individuals."

The Industrialist pointed out the window. "You see that road. It was built Beforethewars. I don't know exactly when. It is as good now as the day it was built. We couldn't possibly duplicate it now. The race was young when that was built, eh?"

"Then? Yes! At least they weren't afraid of new things."

"No. I wish they had been. Where is the society of Beforethewars? Destroyed, Doctor! What good were youth and new things? We are better off now. The world is peaceful and jogs along. The race goes nowhere but after all, there is nowhere to go. _They_ proved that. The men who built the road. I will speak with your visitors as I agreed, if they come. But I think I will only ask them to go."

"The race is not going nowhere," said the Astronomer, earnestly. "It is going toward final destruction. My university has a smaller student body each year. Fewer books are written. Less work is done. An old man sleeps in the sun and his days are peaceful and unchanging, but each day finds him nearer death all the same."

"Well, well," said the Industrialist.

"No, don't dismiss it. Listen. Before I wrote you, I investigated your position in the planetary economy."

"And you found me solvent?" interrupted the Industrialist, smiling.

"Why, yes. Oh, I see, you are joking. And yet--perhaps the joke is not far off. You are less solvent than your father and he was less solvent than his father. Perhaps your son will no longer be solvent. It becomes too troublesome for the planet to support even the industries that still exist, though they are toothpicks to the oak trees of Beforethewars. We will be back to village economy and then to what? The caves?"

"And the infusion of fresh technological knowledge will be the changing of all that?"

"Not just the new knowledge. Rather the whole effect of change, of a broadening of horizons. Look, sir, I chose you to approach in this matter not only because you were rich and influential with government officials, but because you had an unusual reputation, for these days, of daring to break with tradition. Our people will resist change and you would know how to handle them, how to see to it that--that--"

"That the youth of the race is revived?"


"With its atomic bombs?"

"The atomic bombs," returned the Astronomer, "need not be the end of civilization. These visitors of mine had their atomic bomb, or whatever their equivalent was on their own worlds, and survived it, because they didn't give up. Don't you see? It wasn't the bomb that defeated us, but our own shell shock. This may be the last chance to reverse the process."


"Tell me," said the Industrialist, "what do these friends from space want in return?"

The Astronomer hesitated. He said, "I will be truthful with you. They come from a denser planet. Ours is richer in the lighter atoms."

"They want magnesium? Aluminum?"

"No, sir. Carbon and hydrogen. They want coal and oil."


The Astronomer said, quickly, "You are going to ask why creatures who have mastered space travel, and therefore atomic power, would want coal and oil. I can't answer that."

The Industrialist smiled. "But I can. This is the best evidence yet of the truth of your story. Superficially, atomic power would seem to preclude the use of coal and oil. However, quite apart from the energy gained by their combustion they remain, and always will remain, the basic raw material for all organic chemistry. Plastics, dyes, pharmaceuticals, solvents. Industry could not exist without them, even in an atomic age. Still, if coal and oil are the low price for which they would sell us the troubles and tortures of racial youth, my answer is that the commodity would be dear if offered gratis."

The Astronomer sighed and said, "There are the boys!"

They were visible through the open window, standing together in the grassy field and lost in animated conversation. The Industrialist's son pointed imperiously and the Astronomer's son nodded and made off at a run toward the house.

The Industrialist said, "There is the Youth you speak of. Our race has as much of it as it ever had."

"Yes, but we age them quickly and pour them into the mold."

Slim scuttled into the room, the door banging behind him.

The Astronomer said, in mild disapproval, "What's this?"

Slim looked up in surprise and came to a halt. "I beg your pardon. I didn't know anyone was here. I am sorry to have interrupted." His enunciation was almost painfully precise.

The Industrialist said, "It's all right, youngster."

But the Astronomer said, "Even if you had been entering an empty room, son, there would be no cause for slamming a door."

"Nonsense," insisted the Industrialist. "The youngster has done no harm. You simply scold him for being young. You, with your views!"

He said to Slim, "Come here, lad."

Slim advanced slowly.

"How do you like the country, eh?"

"Very much, sir, thank you."

"My son has been showing you about the place, has he?"

"Yes, sir. Red--I mean--"

"No, no. Call him Red. I call him that myself. Now tell me, what are you two up to, eh?"

Slim looked away. "Why--just exploring, sir."

The Industrialist turned to the Astronomer. "There you are, youthful curiosity and adventure-lust. The race has not yet lost it."

Slim said, "Sir?"

"Yes, lad."

The youngster took a long time in getting on with it. He said, "Red sent me in for something good to eat, but I don't exactly know what he meant. I didn't like to say so."

"Why, just ask cook. She'll have something good for young'uns to eat."

"Oh, no, sir. I mean for animals."

"For animals?"

"Yes, sir. What do animals eat?"

The Astronomer said, "I am afraid my son is city-bred."

"Well," said the Industrialist, "there's no harm in that. What kind of an animal, lad?"

"A small one, sir."

"Then try grass or leaves, and if they don't want that, nuts or berries would probably do the trick."

"Thank you, sir." Slim ran out again, closing the door gently behind him.

The Astronomer said, "Do you suppose they've trapped an animal alive?" He was obviously perturbed.

"That's common enough. There's no shooting on my estate and it's tame country, full of rodents and small creatures. Red is always coming home with pets of one sort or another. They rarely maintain his interest for long."

He looked at the wall clock. "Your friends should have been here by now, shouldn't they?"

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