Book Excerpt: 'Everybody Rise' by Stephanie Clifford (Exclusive)
With a big advance and a movie deal with Fox 2000 already in place, Stephanie Clifford's August release is a funny, sharply observed debut novel about young one percenters in New York.
This story first appeared in the May 29 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
New York Times reporter Stephanie Clifford's first novel is set just before the Great Recession of 2008 and follows Evelyn Beegan, a middle-class millennial from Maryland whose years attending the tony New England prep school Sheffield have given her great aspirations: to work her way into young Manhattan's elite society even as she tries to recruit its most sought-after figures for People Like Us, an exclusive members-only social network she works for (think Soho House for social media). THR's excerpt finds Evelyn trying to master the nuances of dinner parties and regattas during a weekend visit to a friend's posh Adirondack camp in Lake James Village in upstate New York.
The stores of Lake James Village topped out at two stories, crowded together on one mile of the 3-mile-circumference pond in town. It looked, comfortingly, exactly as Evelyn remembered it from her first and only other trip there, to visit Preston Hacking at Shuh-shuh-gah, his Adirondack camp, when they were still in prep school at Sheffield. Though years had passed, no Walmart had arrived to suck the specificity out of the village, and even the chain drugstores were relegated to the road leading out of town. Instead, it was Just Bead It and Custard Mustard & Ale and the confusing promise of the Steak Loft.
Preston's old friend Nick Geary drove the ancient Hacking Jeep, and in the passenger seat was Scot Tannauer, Nick's co-worker whom Evelyn had just met at the train station. Nick turned between two stone pillars with a hanging wooden sign that read Mt. Jobe Road — Private Drive.
"Oh," Scot said from the front as a lake became visible through the trees. "There's another lake? I thought the lake was the one in town." Evelyn had made the same error when she visited the first time, expecting a summer playground for the well bred and instead finding herself unimpressed with the tiny lake and wooden bears surrendering with their paws up outside every third store — until she'd followed Preston's directions to Mt. Jobe. There was a rough dirt road; there were the huge houses; there was the storied Lake James. "The one in town is the pond," Evelyn said. "James Pond. All the tourists come here and think it's Lake James and take a paddleboat out and then go home thinking all the fuss is about this pond. Lake James is huge. At least 10 times the size of the pond. You can't see it from town."
"Why can't you see it from town?"
"Private drives, friend," Nick said, hurtling up Mt. Jobe. He wore white tennis shorts and a white polo shirt, and his hair was still chocolate brown and as perfectly floppy as it was when Evelyn first met him in high school. His nostrils were the only problem, large and quivering; they had no doubt seen their share of coke, Evelyn thought.
"I'd think the residents would object to that," Scot said.
"The residents all live on the private drives," Evelyn said with a laugh. "They're the ones keeping everyone else out."
"Such communist ideas, Evelyn," Nick said.
On Mt. Jobe Road, each house was marked with a modest wood post and slightly madcap letters, naming the places with a mix of homage and play — The Aerie, Camp Tamanend, Toe-Hold, Weowna Camp. Preston's parents had bought their place, Shuh-shuh-gah, in the '80s, after Jean Hacking had a falling-out with her sisters and decided they would henceforth stop going to Osterville. Mrs. Hacking fit soundly into the social scene with her headbands, her pantry full of good red wine, her competitiveness in hearty summer sports such as sailing and rowing, and her pronunciation of "hurricane" as "hurriken."
Making a screaming left turn, Nick headed for Shuh-shuh-gah and its welcoming brown-wood boathouse with its green window frames. The Hacking house at Lake James was part of an Adirondack great camp — one of many built by railroad, banking and timber barons in the late 1800s — where the rustic, unfinished buildings gave visitors the impression they were living in nature despite the luxury inside the walls. Only a handful of the camps had been kept in one piece, and the Hackings' was not among them. What served as their main house had once been stables, and their boathouse was grand, with two covered docks and one open dock and sleeping quarters upstairs.
The first time Evelyn visited Shuh-shuh-gah, for Preston's graduation party, she'd been transported: the silver rain, the stillness, the thin pines that were bare for the first 60 feet of their trunks and ended in thick daubs of green, like those in a Japanese silk painting. That feeling quickly faded. Preston's mother shanghaied Evelyn into helping with a regatta, and Evelyn rigged one of the boats incorrectly and was publicly chastised by Mrs. Hacking, and then it was one dinner on the lake followed by another dinner on the lake where Evelyn was clearly the dud guest. Everyone had worn embroidered whale belts; everyone but Evelyn.
By Stephanie Clifford, ST. MARTIN’S PRESS, AUG. 18, $26.99, 384 PAGES
Her sense of being not quite enough had continued through Evelyn's early 20s, especially once she moved to New York City. Evelyn tried to love New York, and sometimes did, when she was wearing heels and perfume and hailing a cab on Park on a crisp fall night. The city hummed in a way her Maryland hometown never had, and the taxis were hard to get because everyone had somewhere to go, and it was invigorating. And then it became grating: The taxis just became hard to get.
She'd learned how to live in New York. She knew now never to eat lunch from the hot bar at Korean delis, never to buy shoes from the brandless leather joints that popped up in glass storefronts in midtown, that there was more space in the middle of subway cars than at the ends and that bodega flowers were usually sourced from funerals. Yet she wasn't living a New York life. She'd spent most days plodding to work and home from work without moving her life ahead.
Now that her two best friends from prep school, Charlotte and Preston, were both back in the city, too, she'd expected a change — she'd thought the three of them would hang out regularly, a merry band of Sondheim characters working at love and life from their tiny apartments, all getting together on Sundays to drink wine on rooftops. But Char and Preston were busy with their own lives. The four years since Evelyn's Davidson graduation had gone by at once too slowly and too quickly, and she found herself, at 26, without the life she had expected to have. It would be nice to have a place for once, to have people look at her and think she was interesting and worth talking to, not to have them politely fumble for details about her life and instantly forget her. (Murray Hill, right? No, the Upper East Side. Ah, and Bucknell? No, Davidson.)
After her former employer, a textbook publisher, laid her off a few months ago, Evelyn had talked her way into a job at People Like Us, a social networking site aimed at the elite's elite. She'd made herself sound like she was from the crowd they were going after by referencing Sheffield and pulling from her memory of her class Novels of the Gilded Age, Newport. Evelyn was now PLU's director of membership, charged with recruiting society's finest to set up profiles on the site. She'd headed to Lake James for that reason.
Evelyn knew what was riding on it. She was determined to prove to her parents and to the people who'd overlooked her that she was someone. The city thought she wasn't going to make it. The city was wrong. She was going to succeed with People Like Us, starting this weekend. This visit to Lake James, she'd brought a whale belt.
At the house's kitchen entrance, the Hackings' Scottish deerhound, Hamilton (named after Alexander), greeted Evelyn with a welcoming snout jab. Evelyn followed Hamilton inside, where Preston sat on a stool next to the kitchen's central island, holding a bunch of grapes up to the light.
"Ah. Greetings to you, Evelyn Beegan," Preston said, rising. He looked exactly the same as he had at Sheffield, tall and thin, with thick, loosely curled blond hair, red glasses and lips that were always in a half smile, the fine features of someone who had never gotten into a fight and instead had politely submitted to the hazing imposed on the well-bred boys. Evelyn remembered hearing he'd been duct-taped to the statue of the Sheffield founder for several hours his first year and, upon release, had offered his tormentors a cigar from his sports coat pocket; it was a Cuban.
"Would you care for a grape?" asked Preston, shaking the fruit in front of her.
"I'm good, thanks." Evelyn swung herself onto a stool.
"Where are your travel companions? And what is happening with your hair?" Preston asked.
"Coming down in a second, I think. And I straightened it. Thanks for letting me crash. The People Like Us recruitment continues."
"The drama continues here this weekend, too," Preston said, tossing a grape into his mouth and looking amused. "My brother made the rather ill-advised decision to bring his girlfriend up this weekend. She calls herself Chrissie. She works at" — Preston stopped and chewed the grape deliberately — "an advertising agency. Promoting canned tomatoes, at the moment. And went to, I'm not sure. DePaul? DePauw? Somewhere decidedly third tier."
"Doesn't DePaul have really good soccer?"
Preston fixed her with a look. "Soccer? Evelyn."
"It's a sport."
"Barely. Speaking of sport, the Fruit Stripe preparations are underway."
"The Fruit Stripe? The regatta? That's this weekend? I don't have to race, do I?"
"There's always a chance. If Mother recruits you, you do know you can't turn her down. Here, take a grape. They're very good. Seeds, though. Be careful."
"Pres, when I was here before, your mother almost deported me because I got a knot wrong on the rigging."
"You're from the Eastern Shore. You're supposed to know these things."
"Yes. So says my own mother, but I managed to avoid sailing camp summer after summer. Does your mom have racers lined up?"
"Chrissie has volunteered, but I cannot say my mother has great faith in her sailing abilities."
"Your mother is not going to take a mediocre placement in a water-sports event well."
"No. No one would benefit from having that particular precedent set."
Hamilton nosed Preston's thigh as Nick and Scot entered. Scot was around 6'3" but handled himself like he was a foot taller, stooping and contorting his body as though he couldn't fit into the kitchen otherwise.
"Nice to see you again, man," said Preston to Scot, his tone now all urban masculinity.
Evelyn was coming back from the bathroom when she saw Charlotte pull Preston’s face down to hers and kiss him on the mouth. Preston pulled back and, not unkindly, patted Charlotte on the head.
A door at the other end of the house banged, and Mrs. Hacking came hurtling through, her curly gray hair bobby-pinned above her ears. Evelyn had never seen her in anything other than sensible all-weather clothing that could take her from fixing a motorboat to a committee meeting to a brisk walk around the lake with Hamilton, and, in her L.L. Bean Norwegian sweater and ankle-length khakis, she did not disappoint.
"Hello! Everyone! Hamilton, sit. Evelyn, hello, the Fruit Stripe is on Sunday, but you won't be helping on the rigging. You must be Scot, welcome. Nick, thank you for doing pickup. I'm on my way to the town library. Preston, will you call the librarian and have her keep it open for me until 6:15? And it will be drinks at 6:30, dinner at 8."
In Boston, where Preston's parents lived most of the year, Mrs. Hacking had joined a highly competitive masters' rowing team called Mildred's Moms. She had a fine memory, as evidenced by her vivid recollection of Evelyn's rigging error from years ago. She was a fierce hostess and had been one of the top fundraisers for Romney for governor. The one thing Mrs. Hacking did not do was dishes.
The phone rang, and Mrs. Hacking picked it up and began arguing over how many trays of crudites the Fruit Stripe would require. Evelyn peeked into the living room, where Mr. Hacking was sitting in front of the fire with a hardbound book, and Preston's brother, Bing, a hearty, doughy type, was opining on the Porcellian, though no one appeared to be listening. Eight-year-old Pip, Bing's daughter, was curled up in a chair with her eyes closed. In front of the window, a red-haired woman paced, muttering to herself about practicing sailing. It was Chrissie; Evelyn knew without having to ask.
Evelyn took this all in then looked back to Mrs. Hacking, who held up one finger as she listened to the other end of the line. "Margot, there are 33 boats this year, so that's at least 66 people in need of sustenance — fine, fine. Very well." She hung up the phone, then clapped at the group. "Now, Evelyn, you'll be on the second floor in the writing room, and Charlotte will be just down the hall. Scot, I'm sorry to say that you'll be in the maid's quarters this weekend, at the back of the house, with Nick; we're simply oversubscribed."
"Mrs. Hacking," Evelyn said, realizing she needed to atone for the rigging error if she wanted help with PLU introductions this weekend, "I'd love to be in the maid's room. It's Scot's first time here — he should have the view. Charlotte and I will do the maid's room. Really."
"All right. I can't say anyone else volunteered," Mrs. Hacking said, reassessing Evelyn and leaning toward the living room to look pointedly at Chrissie. "Good. Thank you."
Evelyn picked up her bag and walked through the kitchen, through the pantry and into the maid's room. A big leather duffel was at the end of one of the twin beds; she heard Nick clomping behind her to retrieve it.
"Hey," he said. "Thanks. That would've been gay if I had to sleep with Scot."
"A guest's duty, Nick," Evelyn said, floating her hand into the air. He grunted as he picked up the bag and left.
Still, Evelyn felt like an interloper. She was constantly afraid of using the wrong fork or overreaching for the salt or making some other mistake she wasn’t even aware she was making.
Dusk was approaching, and birds whittered and cawed, passing messages about dinner and why the nest was such a mess. Charlotte was snickering as Evelyn changed into a pair of white slacks and a navy cable-knit sweater; when Evelyn added a string of pearls, Charlotte fell back on her bed laughing. "Oh, come on," she hooted. "I think I look grand," Evelyn said, baring her teeth in the mirror as she pulled the choker around her neck. Charlotte had spent the afternoon barefoot and chasing Hamilton on the lawn despite Mrs. Hacking's admonishments not to rile him up. She would head to dinner with her feet streaked with dirt and in her Gap Kids dress — Charlotte was tiny — and not care at all. Her father was a Procter & Gamble global marketing executive, and Charlotte had grown up in Hong Kong and Russia and Chile. Having spent her youth going to rich people's events in cultures that weren't hers, she was perfectly comfortable doing so still. Charlotte had enough money, had always had enough money, that she didn't have to worry about her dress and behavior like Evelyn did.
"I forgot to tell you," Evelyn said, fumbling with the necklace clasp. "Phil Giamatti at the Sheffield-Enfield lacrosse game? He basically insinuated Pres was gay while Pres was standing there."
"Really?" Charlotte said. "He should've seen Pres sticking his tongue down that girl's throat at Dorrian's that one time after we spent all Saturday at the boathouse."
"That was two years ago," Evelyn said.
"So that was the last time he kissed anyone, as far as I know. I’m not sure he would come out even if he were gay, as his family has such strict ideas of what he should be — or, more to the point, he thinks they have those ideas." She stopped herself, noticing that Charlotte was picking at her feet and remembering that Charlotte hadn't hooked up with anyone in a year or two, either Evelyn flushed, feeling even more idiotic when she remembered the unspoken Charlotte and Preston incident: In college, they had all met up one weekend in New York and had ended up in the lobby of the Royalton after a long night of drinking. Evelyn was coming back from the bathroom when she saw Charlotte pull Preston's face down to hers and kiss him on the mouth. Preston pulled back and, not unkindly, patted Charlotte on the head. When Evelyn shook off her shock and rejoined them, both were settled into the Royalton's deep white chairs, conversing about where Preston could find cigars. Neither Charlotte nor Preston had ever mentioned it. Preston kept so much under wraps that that wasn't a surprise, but Charlotte never talking about it made Evelyn wonder how significant that kiss was in Charlotte's mind.
"Anyway, I'm not sure we need Phil Giamatti's take on it. Like, thanks, thought police," Evelyn said.
"Here, you're going to break that." Charlotte rose to fasten Evelyn's clasp. "I think Preston's just not into the whole dating thing."
"Right," Evelyn said. "Right."
"Want to know my opinion of Preston's demons?" Charlotte asked. "I think it's that he doesn't have a real job."
"Good work with the clasp, Char," Evelyn said, adjusting the necklace slightly. "Doesn't Pres manage his family's money?"
" 'Independent investor'? I love Preston, but it's the modern-day equivalent of flaneur or saloniste or something. What rich boys do to amuse themselves."
Evelyn smiled. Her mother, Barbara, disappointed that marriage to Evelyn's trial-lawyer father had failed to bestow social prominence upon her, had pushed Evelyn to be a success in that realm. Barbara had been delighted when Evelyn had gotten accepted to Sheffield and thrilled when she'd become friends with Preston there ("Fine old Boston family," Barbara said of the Hackings). However, Barbara thought, and often said aloud, that her daughter had failed to parlay that friendship into anything useful. The People Like Us job didn't help. Barbara's response when Evelyn had told her about it was, "So rather than bothering to get to know the interesting social set in New York, you're now acting as a sort of paid concierge to them? This is why we sent you to Sheffield?"
"He's so smart, though."
"Right. He is. He's super smart, but since he doesn't have to work, it's like there's nowhere for that smartness to go."
"Oh, the curse of money."
"Yeah. Tough life. So, G&Ts on the boathouse porch?" Charlotte asked, laughing as she slipped on her flip-flops. Evelyn headed to the boathouse along a side path, Charlotte skipping ahead of her. The sun had appeared just in time for golden hour, and it perched on the crest of the mountains across the lake, lighting everything and everyone with Hollywood rose-gold. Preston stood behind a wooden bar in the corner of the porch, mixing drinks. Chrissie had made the mistake of finally deciding to take a sailboat out, but too late, which meant she would miss drinks, which meant Mrs. Hacking would be angrier with her than she already was. The rest were settling into their roles: Preston the attentive host, Nick the caustic friend, Charlotte the tough single girl, Bing the booming frat boy, Mr. Hacking the quiet intellectual, Chrissie the person they were all apparently siding against. And Evelyn, the perfectly pleasing houseguest.
"So, Evelyn, was the train up with Scot killer?" asked Nick. "I'm impressed you're still responding to verbal cues."
"I thought he was your friend," Evelyn said.
"Scot's the man Nick wants to be, basically," Charlotte said.
"For f—'s sake, Hillary, he's not the man I want to be." Evelyn had forgotten about Nick's moniker for Charlotte — Hillary, after Clinton. "The kid's from, like, Arizona and presumably has never seen a lake. I thought it might be nice. A little Fresh Air Fund," Nick said.
"I don't think a VP at Morgan Stanley is in need of your Fresh Air Fund, Nick," Charlotte muttered.
"No one asked you, Hill. So you've been hiding from the social life, Evelyn. What's new?"
Evelyn hated answering this question, since she rarely had much new to report — would he like to discuss whether she should get the Crate & Barrel couch in the sand or in the snow fabric? This time, though, she was prepared. "I just got a new job, actually," she said.
"Oh, yeah? Too bad. I was going to give you a book idea. You wanna hear it? It's on why Bernanke sucks."
"Right," Evelyn said. She had worked in marketing at a textbook publisher before People Like Us, but no matter how many times she had told that to Nick, whenever she saw him he offered lame ideas for business books. "The site is pretty interesting. We're in stealth mode, so I can't say too much." She had heard her co-CEO refer to the site as being in stealth mode and had thought it sounded absurd but predicted, correctly, that this would pique Nick's interest.
"Stealth mode?" he said. "Do tell."
"Well, I have to be careful about what I say — our backer is high profile — but think a super elite Facebook. It's pretty restrictive in terms of membership, though — oh, excuse me, would you?" Evelyn walked off to join Charlotte and Preston at the bar, hoping she'd left Nick wanting more.
"Beer? We have Ubu, though be warned it has the alcohol level of straight liquor," Preston said.
"Gin and tonic," Evelyn said.
"Gin and tonic?" Preston repeated, surprised.
"Yes." Evelyn could see Charlotte's questioning look but ignored it. They were interrupted by a crashing sound; Scot had apparently tripped and caught himself on the screen door. His face was deep red as he clung to the flimsy wood-and-screen frame.
"What's his story?" Evelyn asked Charlotte quietly, as Preston cut into a lime and the rest of the group pretended, kindly, not to have seen anything amiss.
"Scot? Undergrad somewhere random, HBS a couple years before me. Single, obviously. He's brilliant on deal analysis, apparently. Nick can't stand him, though — Scot's a level above him now at Morgan Stanley — but he's smart enough to get Scot on his side. Blatant suck-up-ery."
"Hmm." Evelyn turned to Preston. "Pres, could you make that two G&Ts?" She stepped into a pool of sunlight and put what she hoped was a placid look on her face.
Charlotte snorted when she saw the beatific smile Evelyn was displaying. "Ev, why do you look possessed?"
"Not possessed, Charlotte, dear. In recruitment mode." PLU was going to need up-and-coming people on the site at some point. She should make the connection now. With the fresh gin and tonic in her hand, Evelyn approached Scot and offered it to him. "I thought you could use a drink after the long train ride," she said.
"Oh, gosh. Thanks. Thank you." He wrapped his large fingers around it, sloshing some over the side onto Evelyn's hand; she let the liquid sit there rather than wringing it off and risk making him feel even more ill at ease. "I was late because I thought Hamilton's dog treats were cookies and ate some," he blurted.
Evelyn gave him an it-happens-to-everyone smile.
At dinner, served at a long wooden table with antler candelabras, hunting-themed place mats and stiff wooden-wicker seats, Evelyn practiced. A dinner party with old-money sorts was a series of hurdles that Evelyn had to clear if she wanted to come away from this weekend with PLU members. She remembered some of the etiquette that her mother had burned into her, and as she flirt-talked with the ancient neighbors seated on either side of her, she revived her muscle memory to scoop her soup spoon away from her. Still, she felt like an interloper. She was constantly afraid of using the wrong fork or overreaching for the salt or making some other mistake she wasn't even aware she was making. Like Scot, at the opposite end of the table, who was failing miserably. Evelyn had assumed that he'd have gone through enough HBS and firm dinners to pick up the rules of this set, but she detected as she watched him that he didn't know what he didn't know. He picked up his fork for the appetizer and dug in before anyone else, prompting a loud, "I have picked up my fork," from Mrs. Hacking several moments later. He buttered his bread in one piece; he passed the salt shaker without the pepper; he didn't seem to have any idea what to do with the fish knife during the sole course and left it at the side of his plate.
Part of the game, Evelyn thought as she watched the rest of them separating the sole's flesh from its spine with their fish knives, was to prove that they all knew the same code, that they'd all grown up in the same grand country houses using fish knives every night. They hadn't, of course — no one did anymore — but without any actual aristocracy in America, the best those who wanted to be upper class could do was create systems of exclusivity and codes of conduct. She wondered how well she was passing as she used her fish knife to lift a delicate flake of sole from the spine and turned to Mr. Desrochers to inquire about how iron-ore mining had changed in the last decade.
Scot soon made himself welcome to at least Mr. Hacking, though, when he turned the subject to Adirondack architecture. "Shuh-shuh-gah is one of the great camps?" Scot was saying.
"It was part of one," Mr. Hacking said, chewing a bite of his torte so mildly that Evelyn feared dinner would take hours longer. "We'll see one of the intact great camps tomorrow. Camp Sachem. They're having the dinner for the Fruit Stripe."
"I read about that camp," said Scot, with eagerness. "It was a Rockefeller camp, wasn't it?"
"Thank you for not tipping your chair," Mrs. Hacking said to her husband, who righted himself quickly.
"No, Sachem was connected to the Henning family, who, of course —"
"The Beech-Nut fortune!" said Scot, unable to contain his excitement.
Mr. Hacking looked immensely sad that his punch line had been stolen, and he gave a dour nod.
"The Beech-Nut fortune was a grand fortune," Mr. Van Borgh opined through what sounded like ounces of phlegm; Evelyn tried to shield her torte from his spray. "Built much of the Erie Canal. And the Henning girls always married well. A Vanderbilt here, a Hunt there. Smart, I think, to limit the breeding. Kept it in the family."
"What do you mean?" Evelyn asked.
"Primogeniture. The Hennings kept it at one child per generation. One reason why the camp was never carved up between fighting siblings. Direct inheritance. No fuss. Sachem uber alles. That's the ticket."
"Hold on," said Charlotte. "They limited the number of kids they had so they could keep the camp in one piece?"
"Yes. Rather clever. Of course, Souse, who owns the camp now, didn't hew to that, did she? At least she had two girls, not two boys. The Fruit Stripe, that's the Hennings' legacy as well. Souse runs the thing. You ought to race in it Sunday."
"Fruit Stripe? Like the gum?" Charlotte said.
"It's a Beech-Nut gum," Mr. Hacking said. "The company gave a chunk of money for the race years ago, when Souse threatened that either she was going to run for a board seat or the company had to fund this race."
Something snapped into place, and Evelyn turned to Mr. Van Borgh. "Beech-Nut," she said quietly. "Are they related to Camilla Rutherford?"
"Yes, yes," Mr. Van Borgh said, wheezing away. "That's one of the daughters. Camilla is the elder, Phoebe the younger."
Evelyn licked her lips, surprised at the whir of excitement she was feeling. Camilla had been her top target for the weekend, and here, with barely any work, Evelyn already had an in to meet her. If she could land Camilla Rutherford as a member, she could make the People Like Us co-CEOs certain they'd hired the right person. "So the Fruit Stripe, that's their thing? The Rutherfords'?" she said.
"Yes, it's always been Souse's event, and she chooses what manner of race it will be each year. Participants have to have a boathouse full of all manner of boats; one year she chose Adirondack guide boats and only a handful of the camps had them at all and could participate. Indeed, Souse even changes what weekend it will be held every summer. When it's a May race, as it is this year, it's dreadful for the poor racers. So very cold. I prefer an August Fruit Stripe, myself," Mr. Van Borgh said.
"Understandably," said Evelyn. Of course the inhabitants of this world, she thought, would constantly change the rules of their race.