What did Professor Sanzmann have in that cardboard box?
When the menace of Dr. Ludwig Sanzmann first appeared, like a cloud no bigger than a man's hand, Dr. Fred B. Turbyfil, at twenty-seven, had been the youngest museum director in the country; and now at thirty-five he was still one of the youngest. Moreover, he had a confident, if precarious, hold on greater glories to come: the Godbody Museum of Natural History; Dr. Fred B. Turbyfil, Director.
The salary would be splendid, the expense account lavish and tax-free, and the director would have ample time to finish his great work, at present entitled Man Before the Dawn — recondite, yet eminently readable. There were already seventeen chapters devoted to the Mousterian, or Neanderthal, Era alone. (It would be certain to sell forever to schools and libraries; a big book, firm in the grasp, profusely illustrated and done in so captivating a style that even a high school senior, picking it up unwarily in search of nudes, would be unable to extricate himself for hours.)
Mr. Godbody, the future source of all these goodies, was a skeptic of the old-fashioned sort. "Where did Cain get his wife?" was a favorite cackle, accompanied by a nudge of his bony elbow. "Found any feathers from angels' wings yet?" was another.
There was, at the moment, a minor hitch. Old Mr. Godbody affected to be shaken by the recent revelation of scandal in anthropology. From that respectable group of ancestors, whose likenesses were known to every schoolchild, from that jolly little club — judgment falling like a bolt of thunder— Piltdown Man had been expelled for cheating at cards.
If Piltdown Man was a fake, why not all the rest? Java Man, Peiping Man, Australopithecus Africanus — all bone-scraps, plaster of paris, and wishful thinking!
In vain, Turbyfil assured him that competent scholars had been leery of H. Piltdown for years; ugly old Mr. Godbody testily replied: 'Then why didn't you say so?"
Having lost one faith in his youth, the merchant prince was reluctant to lose another in his old age. But Dr. Turbyfil trusted his patron's doubt was only a passing phase.