Clifford simak – all the traps of earth

Clifford D. Simak. All the traps of Earth
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Copyright 1960 Clifford D. Simak Prepared by: Anada Sucka, August 12, 1999
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The inventory list was long. On its many pages, in his small and precise script, he had listed furniture, paintings, china, silverware and all the rest of it – all the personal belongings that had been accumulated by the Barringtons through a long family history.
And now that he had reached the end of it, he noted down himself, the

last item of them all:
One domestic robot, Richard Daniel, antiquated but in good repair.
He laid the pen aside and shuffled all the inventory sheets together and stacked them in good order, putting a paper weight upon them – the little exquisitely carved ivory paper weight that aunt Hortense had picked up that last visit she had made to Peking.
And having done that, his job came to an end.
He shoved back the chair and rose from the desk and slowly walked across the living room, with all its clutter of possessions from the family’s past. There, above the mantel, hung the sword that ancient Jonathon had worn in the War Between the States, and below it, on the mantelpiece itself, the cup the Commodore had won with his valiant yacht, and the jar of moon-dust that Tony had brought back from Man’s fifth landing on the Moon, and the old chronometer that had come from the long-scrapped family spacecraft that had plied the asteroids.
And all around the room, almost cheek by jowl, hung the family portraits, with the old dead faces staring out into the world that they had helped to fashion.
And not a one of them from the last six hundred years, thought Richard Daniel, staring at them one by one, that he had not known.
There, to the right of the fireplace, old Rufus Andrew Barrington, who had been a judge some two hundred years ago. And to the right of Rufus, Johnson Joseph Barrington, who had headed up that old lost dream of mankind, the Bureau of Paranormal Research. There, beyond the door that led out to the porch, was the scowling pirate face of Danley Barrington, who had first built the family fortune.
And many others – administrator, adventurer, corporation chief. All good men and true.
But this was at an end. The family had run out.
Slowly Richard Daniel began his last tour of the house – the family room with its cluttered living space, the den with its old mementos, the library and its rows of ancient books, the dining hall in which the crystal and the china shone and sparkled, the kitchen gleaming with the copper and aluminum and the stainless steel, and the bedrooms on the second floor, each of them with its landmarks of former occupants. And finally, the bedroom where old Aunt Hortense had finally died, at long last closing out the line of Barringtons.
The empty dwelling held a not-quite-haunted quality, the aura of a house that waited for the old gay life to take up once again. But it was a false aura. All the portraits, all the china and the silverware, everything within the house would be sold at public auction to satisfy the debts.



Clifford simak – all the traps of earth