ENGLISH ²¨¶àÔúÒ°"Seems as though 'e's only 'alf there," commented Mr. Bynes, noticing this incident.Only for a minute, a brief respite; then she must go down to her guests again.
The constable rubbed his chin thoughtfully, as though he thought this highly likely. "Whatdyemean by that," he demanded.Was it possible that some crime or tragedy was being enacted behind those grimy walls, all unknown to the police? The house was reported to be luxuriously furnished, the front of the place was all shuttered. Stranger things are happening in this London of ours every day in the week.
"You have to run," repeated Arthur, in louder tones.THE CLOCKOf course, Lilian's impression of his menag would have been unsatisfactory, even though he had escorted her over the house himself; but it was highly significant that she should have preferred to come alone. Holding advanced opinions about the simplification of the house, and of the woman's duties therein,[Pg 121] she would regard his establishment as unwieldy, overcrowded, old-fashioned, even musty. It would represent to her unnecessary responsibilities, labour without reward, meaningless ostentation. The Doctor's own tastes lay in the direction of massive, ornate furniture, rich carpets and hangings, a multiplicity of ornaments. He liked a house filled to the brim with expensive things. He was a born collector and accumulator of odds and ends, of things that had become necessary to his varying moods. He was proud of his house, with its seventeen rooms, including two magnificent reception rooms, four spare bedrooms in a state of constant readiness, like fire-stations, for old friends who always said they were coming and never did; its elaborate kitchen arrangements and servants' quarters. Then there were cosy little rooms which a woman of taste would be able to decorate according to her whim, workrooms, snuggeries, halls and landings. There was much in the place that ought to appeal to a woman with right instincts.
It was shortly after this episode that the Clockwork man experienced his first moment of vivid illumination about the world of brief mortal span."Yes," echoed Gregg enthusiastically, "a multiform world. A world in which man moves as he will, grows as he will, behaves in every way exactly as he wills. A world set free! Think of what it means!"
"Good-morning," I interrupted, quite in the General's manner, and made a spirited exit, but it proved a false one; one thing had to be said, and I returned. "Gholson, if she should be worse hurt than--" "Ah! you're thinking of the chaplain; I've already sent him. Yonder he goes, now; you can show him the way."By this time a certain sense of panic was beginning to be displayed by the restless attitudes of the fielders; and the spectators, instead of leaning against the barriers, stood about in groups discussing the most extraordinary cricketing event of their lives. There was much head shaking and harking back to precedent among the old cronies present, but it was generally agreed that such hitting was abnormal. Indeed, it was something outside the pale of cricket altogether."Indeed! to take up what?"
"But just now you were inclined to think differently," said Gregg, reproachfully."Yes, I started with a shaking chill. I'm afraid, every minute, I'll go out of my head. Oh, Smith, Oliver's alive! He's alive, he's alive, and I've come to save his poor wife from a fate worse than death!"
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He paused and unclasped his hands. The Clockwork man was looking at him very hard, and his eyes were rolling in their sockets in a most bewildering fashion. There was a long pause.Slowly, with his customary stiffness of movement, the Clockwork man raised his arms upwards and removed the soft clerical hat. He held it aloft, as though uncertain what to do with it, and the Doctor took it from him with a shaking hand.
They were facing one another now. The doctor swallowed hard several times, and he felt the blood tingling in his temples. The dreaded moment had come. He had got to see this strange instrument that distinguished the Clockwork man from ordinary mortals. There was no shrinking from the eerie experience. Underneath that borrowed hat and wig there was somethingsomething utterly strange and outside the pale of human ingenuity. In the name of common humanity it was incumbent upon the Doctor to face the shock of this revelation, and yet he shrunk from it like a frightened child. He felt no[Pg 160] trace of curiosity, no feverish anxiety to investigate this mystery of the future. His knees trembled violently. He did not want to see the clock. He would have given a hundred pounds to be spared the ordeal before him.
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