2021-04-18 10:21:47

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ENGLISH "It's very hard," the Curate complained, "that my infirmity should have prevented me from seeing more. The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak." Come yo' lily-white hand,

"Not for a few thousand years," replied the Clockwork man, with a slight twisting of his lip. "Perhaps never."PfftPfftPfftPfftPfft

"Well, let him stop there," growled Allingham, restarting the car with a vicious jerk, "let someone else bother their heads about him. I don't want him. I tell you I don't care a brass farthing about the future of[Pg 109] the human race. I'm quite content to take the good and bad in life, and I want it to go on in the same damned old way."

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"Yes, of course; mercy--and comfort--and every sort of unarmed aid--to rebels.""We feel real when the dream states unroll within us, or the music records. But the makers are real, and they live in the real world. No clockwork man is allowed to get back into the real world. The clock prevents us from doing that. It was because we were such a nuisance and got in the way of the makers that they invented the clock."Arthur became aware of two other figures approaching the one he was watching so intently. They were Gregg, the captain of the team, and Doctor Allingham. The yellow braid on their blazers shone in the sunlight, and Arthur could see the blue emblem on Gregg's pocket. There would have to be a meeting. The two flanelled figures were strolling along in a direct line towards that other oddly insistent form. Arthur caught his breath. Somehow he dreaded that encounter. When he looked again there was some kind of confabulation going on. Curiously enough, it was Doctor Allingham and Gregg who seemed[Pg 23] incapable of movement now. They stood there, with their hands in their pockets, staring, listening. But the Clockwork man was apparently making the utmost use of his limited range of action. His arms were busy. Sometimes he kicked a leg up, as though to emphasise some tremendously important point. And now and again he jabbed a finger out-wards in the direction of the field of play. Arthur caught the sound of a high, squeaky voice borne upon the light breeze.

[Pg 127]"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?"

L THE BOTTOM OF THE WHIRLWINDThe figure stopped with startling suddenness, but offered no explanation."Was he going very fast?" said Gregg.

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But that would be impossible. The Clockwork man was the realisation of the future There was no evading that. The future. Man had evolved into this. He had succeeded somehow in adding to his normal powers some kind of mechanism that opened up vast possibilities of action in all sorts of dimensions. There must have been an enormous preparatory period before the thing became finally possible, generations of striving and failure and further experiment. But the indefatigable spirit of man had triumphed in the end. He had arisen at last superior to Time and Space, and taken his place in the centre of the universe. It was a fulfilment of all the prophecies of the great scientists since the discovery of evolution."When you get to my age, Gregg, you'll have something else to do besides consult your intuitions. The fact is, you want all these[Pg 108] wonderful things to happen. You have a flair for the unexpected, like all children and adolescents. But I tell you, the Clockwork man is a myth, and I think you ought to respect my opinion."

The expression on Gregg's face, as he read these amazing instructions, changed slowly from avid curiosity to puzzled alarm. He was frankly embarrassed by this sudden turn of events, and for a few moments he could make nothing at all of the matter. Yet the wording was intelligible enough, and its application to the Clockwork man only too obvious. The little piece of thin metal must have slipped from his pocket during the Doctor's examination, and its discovery was undoubtedly of supreme importance.CHAPTER THREE"Unless what?" eagerly enquired Arthur, fearful of a final collapse.

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Apr-18 10:21:47