2021-04-14 01:05:40

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ENGLISH He looked out of the window, and there was that confounded figure still jigging about. It had come nearer to the ground. It hovered, with a curious air of not being related to its surroundings that was more than puzzling. It did not seem to know what it was about, but hopped along aimlessly, as though scenting a track, stopped for a moment, blundered forward again and made a zig-zag course towards the ground. The doctor watched it advancing[Pg 6] through the broad meadow that bounded the pitch, threading its way between the little groups of grazing cows, that raised their heads with more than their ordinary, slow persistency, as though startled by some noise. The figure seemed to be aiming for the barrier of hurdles that surrounded the pitch, but whether its desire was for cricket or merely to reach some kind of goal, whether it sought recreation or a mere pause from its restless convulsions, it was difficult to tell. Finally, it fell against the fence and hung there, two hands crooked over the hurdle and its legs drawn together at the knees. It became suddenly very stillso still that it was hard to believe that it had ever moved.He bent low for the faint reply, and when it came he sparkled with pride. "'It matters little,' she says, 'to either of us, now.' Give your report; but I tell you"--there came a tiger look in his eyes--"there is now no turning back; we shall go on." I answered with soft elation: "My news needn't turn you back: Oliver is dead."

Arthur heard a slight noise somewhere round the back of the cottage. "Someone coming," he warned."Then take my parole! I give it! you have it! I'll take the chances."

In a parlor under the room where Charlotte lay they made a bed for Ferry and one for me, and here, lapped in luxury and distinction, I promptly fell asleep, and when I reopened my eyes it was again afternoon. In the other bed Ferry was slumbering, and quite across the room, beside a closed door, sat Ccile and Camille. The latter tiptoed to me. Her whispers were as soft as breathing, and when I answered or questioned, her ear sank as near as you would put a rose to smell it. "The Lieutenant, sleeping? yes, this hour past; surgeons surprised and more hopeful. Miss Estelle? in another room with other wounded. Her aunt? upstairs with Charlotte, who was--oh--getting on, getting on." That made me anxious.

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"Did you ever publish it?" she asked, eagerly.I stopped him. "Why, Gholson, you're burning up with fever."

The Doctor's reply was equally breathless.[Pg 185] "Because I, for one, refuse to accept such a responsibility. If this monstrosity is indeed the type of the future, then I reject the future. I will be no party to any attempt to reproduce himfor that, I can see, is what lurks in your mind. You would have us all clockwork men before our time! But I tell you, rather than that should happen, rather than the human race should be robbed of a few more generations of freedom, I will take steps to prevent it ever being known that the Clockwork man has paid us this visit. I will hide him. Not even you shall set eyes on him again. He shall remain an unfathomable mystery. No pagan priest ever guarded the sacred mysteries of life from an unthinking populace as I shall this enigma sprung from the womb of time! Nobody shall know. He shall remain in my keeping, a memorial to the final fall of man!"

"Can we really afford it?" Hetty asked anxiously.

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"But, Lieutenant, you don't know she loves him; there are signs, I admit; but proofs, no. She's lost color, and her curves are more slender, but, my goodness! a dozen things might account for that."[Pg 211]It followed upon this experiment that the Clockwork man presently emitted a faint, quavering protest. He had certainly dwindled in bulk. His clothes hung upon him, and there was a distressing feebleness of frame. Slowly it dawned upon the Doctor that the face peering up at him was that of a very old and decrepit individual. Painful lines crossed his forehead, and there were rheumy lodgements in the corner of each eye. The change was rapidly progressive.

"We have automobiles and flying machines," interrupted Allingham, weakly.The Doctor seized hold of the other's collar and turned the huge body round. His hand fumbled wildly among the stops.[Pg 142]

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Apr-14 01:05:40