2021-04-17 02:10:57

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ENGLISH Some seconds elapsed before anyone realised that the ball had been hit at all. It was the Clockwork man who drew attention to the fact by gazing steadily upwards in the direction of the town. And then, suddenly, everybody was straining their eyes in the same direction to watch that little flying spot grow smaller and smaller until it seemed to merge into space. (As a matter of fact, this particular ball was discovered, three weeks later, lying in a disused yard three miles from the cricket ground.)

"'Tain't possible," objected her husband, "'e's pulling your leg, ma."

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.The log burst the door in at a blow, Ferry and I fired, and our foes sprang in. Certainly they were brave; the doorway let them in only by twos, and the fire-log, falling under foot, became a stumbling-block; yet in an instant the room was ringing and roaring with the fray and benighted with its smoke. Their first ball bit the top of my shoulder and buried itself in the wall--no, not their first, but the first save one; for the bureau mirror stood in dim shade, and the Federal leader made the easy mistake of firing right into it. The error sealed his fate; Ferry fired under his flash and sent him reeling into the arms of his followers. They replied hotly but blindly, and in a moment the room was void of assailants. Ferry started to spring from the bed, but Charlotte threw her arms about him, and as she pressed her head hard down on his breast I could not help but hear "No, my treasure, my heart's whole treasure, no!"II

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She dropped a hand to Ferry's to receive again the neglected letter, and chanced to take it by the corner that held the ring. With that she stared at us, fingered it, rended the envelope, gave one glance to her own name engraved inside a plain gold ring of the sort New Orleans girls bestow upon those to whom they are betrothed, and springing to the ground between our two candles, bent over the open page and cried through a flood of tears, "Oh, God, have mercy on him, he is gone! He is gone, Edgard! Oh, Edgard, he is gone at last; gone beyond all doubt, and our hands--our hands and our hearts are clean!""They say," responded the captain, "that in this handy little world there are always a few to whom policy is the best honesty; is that the few who will come?""Captain Ferry! if you knew how horribly it smells, you--"

It would require a mathematical diagram to describe the incident with absolute accuracy. The Curate, of course, had heard nothing about the Clockwork man's other performances; he had scarcely heeded the hints thrown out about the possibility of movement in other dimensions. It seemed to him, in the uncertain light of their surroundings, that the Clockwork man's right arm gradually disappeared into space. There was no arm there at all. Afterwards, he remembered a brief moment when the arm had begun to grow vague and transparent; it was moving very rapidly, in some direction, neither up nor down, nor this way or that, but along some shadowy plane. Then it went into nothing, evaporated from view. And just as suddenly, it swung back into the plane of the curate's vision, and the hand at the end of it grasped a silk hat.I"Yes, you might, easily," said Charlotte; "for I only mean shortcomings of the kind we readily excuse in others though we never can or should pardon them in ourselves."

"Thank you. Please understand, also, I have never uttered this but to one friend, a lady. There was no need; I have not wanted aid or counsel, even from friends. But I feel duty bound to tell it to you, now, because, for one thing, the brave soldier who wore that sword--" Her eyes rose to the weapon and fell again; she bit her lip.She gripped the girl's arm with fearful force. A strong man would have had no more firm a clasp. Hetty winced under the pain, but no cry escaped her lips. There was some dark mystery here, some evil connexion between the desolation of the Corner House and the brilliant establishment in Lytton Avenue. Else why would Countess Lalage have been so far from the centre of the small world called Society?

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"Unless what?" eagerly enquired Arthur, fearful of a final collapse."Have you heard anything fresh?" enquired Gregg, pleasantly.But the Curate shook his head. Fortunately, in his professional character there was no need for the Doctor to exhibit surprise. On the contrary, it was necessary, for his patient's sake, to exercise control. He leaned against the mantelpiece and listened attentively to the Curate's hurried account of his encounter with the Clockwork man, and shook his head gravely.

"Begin at the end, if you like," suggested the Clockwork man, affably. "It's all the same to me. First and last, upside or inside, front or backit all conveys the same idea to me."We had retraced our way but a few steps, when, looking behind me as a scout's habit is, I saw a horseman coming swiftly on the union Church road. "Colonel," I said, "here comes Scott Gholson."

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Apr-17 02:10:57