ENGLISH 黑石京香邪恶动态图"Yes, go on," said Gregg, impatiently.Gregg failed to suppress an abrupt snigger. He lit a cigarette to cover his confusion. Once more he envisaged that flying figure on the horizon. "At the rate he was going," he remarked, steadily, "and barring accidents, I should say he's reached London by now."
A shattered crew we were when in the forenoon of the third day we reached our goal. Harry's hand was giving him less trouble, but both my small wounds were misbehaving as stoutly as their limitations would allow; my aches were cruel and incessant, my side was swollen and my shoulder hot. Miss Harper was "really ill," said the surgeon, but for whose coming with us we should hardly have brought our whole number through alive. Both Ferry and Charlotte were in a critical condition. "Take you in!" said our tearfully smiling Mrs. Wall; "why, we'd take yo' whole crowd in ef we had to go out and bunk undeh the trees owse'v's!... Oh, Mr. Smith, you po' chi--ild!... Oh, my Lawd! is this Lieutenant Do-wrong! Good Lawd, good Lawd! I think this waugh's gone on now jess long enough!"
He had done everything possible to calm himself. He had taken bromide; he had been out for a smart turn around the roads; he had forced himself to sit down and answer some letters. But it was impossible to ease the pressure of his thoughts; he felt that his brain would never cease from working round and round in a circle of hopeless enquiry. In the end, and late as it was, he had telephoned for Gregg.More days slipped by. Neighbors pressed sweet favors upon us; calls, joyful rumors, delicacies, flowers. One day Major Harper paid us a flying visit, got kisses galore, and had his coat sponged and his buttons reanimated. In the small town some three miles northwest of us he was accumulating a great lot of captured stuff. On another day came General Austin and stayed a whole hour. Ferry took healing delight in these visits, asking no end of questions about the movements afield, and about the personal fortunes of everyone he knew. When the General told him Ferry's scouts were doing better without him than with him--"I thought he would smile himself into three pieces," said the General at the supper-table.
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"Oh, they don't hurt us. We don't feel any pain or annoyance, only a dim sort of revolt, and even that can be adjusted. You see, the makers can ring the changes endlessly with us, and there isn't any kind of being, from a great philosopher to a character out of a book, that we can't be turned into by twisting a hand. It's all very wonderful, you know."CHAPTER III. THE FACE AT THE WINDOW.[Pg 170]
"What the devil!"It was certainly very odd. The doctor was so struck by something altogether wrong about the figure, something so suggestive of a pathological phenomenon, that he almost forgot his annoyance and remained watching it with an unlighted cigarette between his lips.
But when Gregg looked up, rather sheepishly, wary of meeting the Doctor's eye, he beheld a sight that sent an uncomfortable thrill down his spine. For the latter lay at full length upon the couch, his chest and stomach rising and falling in the convulsions of that excessive[Pg 190] laughter that at first sight raises a doubt of danger in the mind of the beholderfor men have died of mirth. Gregg stared at his prostrate friend, and his own countenance was transfixed with alarm. Many minutes elapsed before any kind of definite sound brought a relief to the strain; for the Doctor's laugh was prim?val; it racked his vitals, shook him from head to foot, began and stopped, proceeded in a series of explosions, not unlike those of the Clockwork man himself, until at last it reached the throat and found expression."Why not?" said Gregg, catching his breath.
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"I'm afraid you'll 'ave to make do," was the sharp rejoinder, for there was not much on the table, and the Doctor favoured a light supper. "There's watercress," she added, defensively.Uppermost in the Doctor's mind was the reflection that he of all persons should have been selected by an undiscriminating providence to undergo this distressing and entirely unprecedented experience. It was an ironic commentary upon his reactionary views and his comfortable doctrine of common sense. He had been convinced in spite of himself, and the effort to resist conviction had strained his mental powers uncomfortably. He felt very strongly his inability to cope with the many problems that would be sure to arise in[Pg 156] connection with the Clockwork man. It was too much for one man's brain. There would have to be a convocation of all the cleverest men in Europe in order to investigate such an appalling revelation. He pictured himself in the act of introducing this genuine being from a future age, and the description he would have to give of all that had happened in connection with him. Even that prospect set his brain reeling. He would like to be able to shirk the issue. It was enough to have looked upon this archetype of the future; the problem now was to forget his existence.
LXI WHILE DESTINY MOVED ON"Did the legs go on kicking?" said Gregg, quickly."Does Charlotte," I asked, "know--everything?"
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