2021-04-17 01:16:11

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ENGLISH "But where is the Clockwork man?" demanded Gregg, presently."I dote on motors," she said. "Nothing pleases me better than to go out in my own alone. I am coming to see your steed, Captain. The rooms are so hot here that I have a great mind to run away with it."

"Pretty middling," said Mrs. Masters, reluctantly, "although at first I was put out by her manners. Such airs these modern young women give themselves. But she got round me in the end with her pretty ways, and I found myself taking 'er all round the 'ouse, which of course I ought not to 'ave done without your permission."

"It's only my clock," said the other. He clambered over the hurdle, a little stiffly, as though not quite sure of his limbs. Except[Pg 16] for a general awkwardness, an abrupt tremor now and again, he seemed to have become quite rational and ordinary. Arthur scarcely comprehended the remark, and it certainly did not explain the origin of that harassing noise. He gaped at the figureless strange now, although still puzzlingand noticed for the first time his snuff-coloured suit of rather odd pattern, his boots of a curious leaden hue, his podgy face with a snub nose in the middle of it, his broad forehead surmounted by the funny fringe of the wig. His voice, as he went on speaking, gradually increased in pitch until it reached an even tenor.For to guile[1] dat golden cha--ain. My Lawdy! it's a sinThe figure stopped with startling suddenness, but offered no explanation.

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"Need you ask?" Gordon Bruce said gallantly. "You are my patroness, you know. Your word is final in everything. And since you declared at a fashionable gathering that Dr. Gordon Bruce was the man for nerve-troubles I have found it necessary to hire a second horse.""No," I replied, although it was a thing I would have said Ned Ferry would not do, "no, no, it is she who has served both you and herself cruelly wrong. Captain, I believe that when Miss Harper has talked it over with her she will see her mistake as we all see it, and will call you back.""Oh--getting on, getting on," he replied. Doctors think patients are fools.

"Worth stealing," a Society journalist lounging by remarked. "I could write a novel, only I can never think of a plot. Your old housekeeper is asleep long ago. Where do you carry your latchkey?"The flowing tide of satin and silks and lace sweeping up the staircase swept young Gordon Bruce along. He passed through the glittering rooms faint with the perfume of roses. There was a dim corridor full of flowers and shaded lights. Gordon Bruce looked anxiously about him. A glad light came into his eyes.

"You must understand," resumed the Clockwork man, making a rather painful effort to fold his arms and look natural, "you must understandclickclickthat it is difficult for me to carry on conversation in this manner. Not only are my speech centres rather disorderedG-r-r-r-r-r-rbut I am not really accustomed to expressing my thoughts[Pg 143] in this way (here there was a loud spinning noise, like a sewing machine, and rising to a rapid crescendo). My brain issoconstituted that actionexcept in a multiform worldis bound to be somewhat spasmodicPfftPfftPfft. In factPfftit is onlyPfftbecause I am in such a hopehopehopeless condition that I am able to converse with you at all.""Well, then," resumed Lilian, triumphantly, "isn't all this possession of things, all this wanting to have and keep, a sort of death, beginning from the extremities? Wouldn't it be awful if the human body didn't change, if we got fixed in some way, didn't grow old or lose our hair, or have influenza?""And young Tom Driver here, he's seen the man himself," resumed the inspector. "That's 'ow we come by the 'at and wig. Tell the gentlemen what you saw, Tom."

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The Doctor, in establishing himself in the right quarter, had forgotten to allow for the fact that the force that had lifted the Paynes out of their urban obscurity had descended to their daughter. Lilian had been expensively educated, and although the Doctor denied it[Pg 124] to himself a hundred times a week, there was no evading the fact that an acute brain slumbered behind her rather immobile beauty. True, the fruits of her learning languished a little in Great Wymering, and that beyond a slight permanent frown and a disposition to argue about modern problems, she betrayed no revolt against the narrowness of her existence, but appeared, graceful and willowy, at garden parties or whist drives. It was the development of her mind that the Doctor feared, especially as, all unconsciously at first, he had acted as its chief stimulant. During their talks together he had spoken too many a true word in jest; and his witticisms had revealed to Lilian a whole world about which to think and theorise."I dote on motors," she said. "Nothing pleases me better than to go out in my own alone. I am coming to see your steed, Captain. The rooms are so hot here that I have a great mind to run away with it."

"But you are not going to Aldershot tonight. Captain Gifford?" Leona asked. "A cab? How extravagant!""Well? don't be afraid to say it."Within the same hour I met unexpectedly two other persons. First, Harry Helm; who, before I could speak, was deluging me with words, telling me for the twentieth time how, on that evening of the indoor fight, coming with a platoon of Mississippians which he had procured merely as a guard, he was within a hundred yards of the house before our shots in the bedroom told him he was riding to a rescue. Then suddenly he began to assure me that in what he had said about the two sisters he had sought only to mislead the surgeon, who, he declared, was more utterly dead-gone on Camille than both of us put together. We parted, and within the next five minutes I confronted the maiden herself.

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Apr-17 01:16:11