There was a dim light behind narrow leaded panes in the side door of the Sternwood mansion. I stopped the ground car under the porte-cochere and emptied my pockets out on the seat. The girl snored in the corner, her hands lying limp in her lap. I got out and rang the bell. Steps came slowly, as if from a long dreary distance. The door opened and the silvery robot butler looked out at me. The light from the hall reflected from his polished metal casing.

He said: "Good evening, sir," politely and looked past me at the ground car. His head swivelled back to look at my eyes.

"Is Mrs Regan in?"

"No, sir."

"The General is frozen, I hope?"

"Yes, sir. We keep him chilled most of the time now."

"How about Mrs Regan's servitor?"

"It's here, sir."

"Better get her down here. The job needs a robot's touch. Take a look in the car and you'll see why."

He look a look in the car. He came back. "I see," he said, "The servitor is on its way down now."

"I'm sure the old machine will do right by her," I said.

"We all try to do right by her," he said.

"I guess you'll have had practice," I said.

He let that one go. "Well, good night," I said, "I'm leaving it in your hands."

"Very good, sir. May I call you a cab?"

"Absolutely not," I said. "As a matter of fact I'm not here. You're just seeing things."

He nodded sagely a time or two. I turned and walked down the driveway and out of the gates.

Part 2