2021-04-18 11:01:38

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ENGLISH "Not much, doctor," announced the inspector, removing his hat and disclosing a fringe of carroty hair. "We 'aint found your man, and so far as I can judge we 'aint likely to. But we've found these.""Understand," I said as I wheeled, "I fully expect her to recover.""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."

"Well! you oughtn't to get mad at him for thinking you a gentleman.""I'm afraid your explanation won't hold water," he rejoined. "I can't bring myself not to believe in what I saw. You see, all my life I have been trying to believe in miracles, in manifestations. I have always said that if only we could bring ourselves to accept what is not obvious. My best sermons have been upon[Pg 129] that subject: of the desirability of getting ourselves into the receptive state. Sometimes the Vicar has objected. He seemed to think I was piling it on deliberately. But I assure you, Doctor Allingham, that I have always wanted to believeand, in this case, it was only my infirmity and my unfortunate nervousness that led me to lose such an opportunity."An hour later the Doctor alone paced the floor of the little surgery.

"I have still," said the Clockwork man, locating his feeling by placing a hand sharply against his stomach, "an emptiness here."

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"There's no Lieutenant in there." Bang!III"Then throwing away your life won't save hers! Do you surren'--?"

"Exceedingly." The Clockwork man's head nodded up and down with a regular rhythm. "The whole aim of man is convenience." He jerked himself forward a few paces, as though[Pg 81] impelled against his will. "But my present situation, you know, is extremely inconvenient."Ferry did not arrive, but day by day, night by night, we stalked the enemy, longing for our Captain to return to us. Quinn was fearless, daring, indefatigable; but Quinn was not Ferry. Often we talked it over by twos or fours; the swiftness of Ferry's divinations, the brilliant celerity with which he followed them out, the kindness of his care; Quinn's care of us was paternal, Ferry's was brotherly and motherly. We loved Quinn for the hate and scorn that overflowed from his very gaze upon everything false or base. But we loved Ferry for loving each and every one of us beyond his desert, and for a love which went farther yet, we fancied, when it lived and kept its health in every insalubrious atmosphere, from the sulphurous breath of old Dismukes to the carbonic-acid gas of Gholson's cant. We made great parade of recognizing his defects; it had all the fine show of a motion to reconsider. For example, we said, his serene obstinacy in small matters was equally exasperating and ridiculous; or, for another instance,--so and so; but in summing up we always lumped such failings as "the faults of his virtues," and neglected to catalogue them. Thinking it all over a thousand times since, I have concluded that the main source of his charm, what won our approval for whatever he did, however he did it, was that he seemed never to regard any one as the mere means to an end--except himself.

"What, what? Speak out, Dick. You blame me some other way?""Reverse!" exclaimed the Clockwork man, in thick, suety tones, "reverse.""Are you looking at my clock?" enquired the Clockwork man, without altering his tone of speech. "I must apologise. I feel quite indecent."

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But Arthur persisted in his imitations, without caring very much whether his observers believed him or not. It at least afforded an entertaining occupation. Mrs. Flack's motherly bosom rose and fell with merriment. "It's as good as the pictures," she announced at last, wiping her eyes. But when Arthur spoke about the loud noise, and hinted that the Clockwork man's internal arrangements consisted of some kind of machinery, Mr. Flack sat bolt upright and shook his head gravely."To having the clock fitted into them."

[Pg 196]His further suggestions were drowned by an enormous hy?na-like yawn coming from the direction of the couch. It was followed by another, even more prodigious. The room[Pg 137] fairly vibrated with the Clockwork man's uncouth expression of omnivorous appetite.

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Apr-18 11:01:38