2021-04-18 11:19:15

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ENGLISH "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."

The surgeon cackled again. "If that man," I dispassionately resumed, "was not perfectly sure that I am too honorable a gentleman to give Miss Camille the faintest hint of what he has said, sooner than say it he would go out and cut his throat from ear to ear." Sweetest ladies in de land--

"Ah, no!" interrupted Ccile, with her killing Creole accent, "not a woman so good to say that, only with the so-good sanse to say it.""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."

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The Clockwork man shook his head. "We have houses, but they are not full of things like yours are, and we don't live in them. They are simply places where we go when we take ourselves to pieces or overhaul ourselves. They are" his mouth opened very wide, "the nearest approach to fixed objects that we have, and we regard them as jumping-off places for successive excursions into various dimensions. Streets are of course unnecessary, since the only object of a street is to lead from one place to another, and we do that sort of thing in other ways. Again, our houses are[Pg 146] not placed together in the absurd fashion of yours. They are anywhere and everywhere, and nowhere and nowhen. For instance, I live in the day before yesterday and my friend in the day after to-morrow."But it was not to be yet. That was the burden of their subdued murmurings. It couldn't be done on Arthur's present income, and he was still less certain than ever that it could be regarded as cumulative or even permanent. Rose understood. To her country-bred mind it was marvellous that Arthur should succeed in adding up so many figures during the course of a day, even though the result did not always meet with the approval of the bank authorities. They would have to wait."Oh, Arthur," said Rose, suddenly, "I want to be like this always, don't you?"

"Then why" began the Doctor, as though this begged the whole question.CHAPTER ONE

"I'm not. I really noticed them. Of course, I didn't attach much importance to them at the time, but afterwards, when Arthur[Pg 56] Withers was telling his story, all that queer feeling about the strange figure came back to me. It took possession of me. After all, suppose he is a clockwork man?""So you came, after all, Dr. Bruce?" she said playfully. She pressed his hand gently, her eyes were soft and luminous on his face. Any man whose affections had not been pledged elsewhere would have felt his pulses leaping. "Why?""Ah," interrupted the Clockwork man, placing a finger to the side of his nose, "I begin to understand. You work upon a different principle, or rather an antiquated principle. You see, all that has been solved[Pg 149] now. The clock works all that out in advance. It calculates ahead of our conscious selves. No doubt we still go through the same processes, sub-consciously, all such processes that relate to Cause and Effect. But we, that is, ourselves, are the resultant of such calculations, and the only actions we are conscious of are those which are expressed as consequents."

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"Who was it?" I asked. "Where is he?"[Pg 128]I galloped away filled with an absurd foreboding that he was too sure, which may have come wholly from my bad temper at being started too late to see our ladies before morning. However, at two that night, my saddle laid under my head, and haversack under the saddle, I fell asleep with all Gallatin for my bedchamber, the courthouse square for my bed, the sky for my tester, the pole-star for my taper, hogs for mosquitoes and a club for a fan.

"Oh, Quinn's turn will come."

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Apr-18 11:19:15