: He laid the Clockwork man's hat and wig on the table. Gregg instantly picked them up and began examining them with great curiosity.。"Now that sounds interesting," murmured the Curate, as the other paused, although rather for matter than for breath, "it's so authoritative—as though it were a quotation from some standard work. All the same, and much as I should like to hear more—" The Doctor drew himself up stiffly, and just perceptibly indicated the door. "I think you need a holiday," he remarked, "and a change from theological pursuits. And don't forget. Rest, for a few days, in a sitting posture." 一加8相机下载安装 银行信用卡逾期会电话
How many times, in the course of a lifetime, would he repeat that operation? And he would always stand in exactly the same way, with his legs straddled apart, and his elbows spanning out like flappers. He would always pass the razor over his face in a certain manner, avoiding those places where even the sharpest blade boggled a little, proceeding with the same mechanical strokes until the job was once more accomplished. Afterwards, he would laboriously separate the portions of his razor and wipe them methodically, always in the same order. That was because, once you had decided upon the right way to do a thing you adopted that method for good.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.
"Where I come from," was the astonishing reply, "we are all conjurers. We are always doing conjuring tricks."Rose Lomas came slowly over the top of the hill. She was hatless, and her short, curly hair blew about her face, for a slight breeze had sprung up in the wake of the sunset. She wore a navy blue jacket over a white muslin blouse with a deep V at the breast. There was a fair stretch of plump leg, stockinged in black cashmere, between the edge of her dark skirt and the beginning of the tall boots that had taken so long to button up. She walked with her chin tilted upwards and her eyes half closed, and her hands were thrust into the slanting pockets of her jacket.The Doctor drew himself up stiffly, and just perceptibly indicated the door. "I think you need a holiday," he remarked, "and a change from theological pursuits. And don't forget. Rest, for a few days, in a sitting posture."
"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."
"Bless us!" Mrs. Masters could not help saying. "Manners!"III
After the disaster there had been much to do. Four times had Allingham's car travelled between the cricket ground and the local hospital, and it was half past six before the eleven players and the two umpires had been conveyed thither, treated for their wounds and discharged. No one was seriously injured, but in each case the abrasion on the side of the head had been severe enough to demand treatment. One or two had been a long while recovering full consciousness, and all were in a condition of mental confusion and gave wildly incoherent reports of the incident."Well, I admit I was rather mystified by that hat and wig. But when you come to rationalise the thing, what is there in it?" The Doctor was taking long strides and flourishing his leather gloves in the air. "How could such a thing be? How can anybody in his right senses entertain the notion that Dunn Brothers are still in existence two thousand years hence? And the Clarkson business. It's absurd on the face of it."
"You must understand," resumed the Clockwork man, making a rather painful effort to fold his arms and look natural, "you must understand—click—click—that it is difficult for me to carry on conversation in this manner. Not only are my speech centres rather disordered—G-r-r-r-r-r-r—but 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 is—so—constituted that action—except in a multiform world—is bound to be somewhat spasmodic—Pfft—Pfft—Pfft. In fact—Pfft—it is only—Pfft—because I am in such a hope—hope—hopeless condition that I am able to converse with you at all."THE CLOCKWORK MAN EXPLAINS HIMSELF
Pushing his companion into the surgery, the Doctor commenced opening tins for all he was worth. The process calmed him, and he had time to think a little. For half an hour he opened tins, and passed them over to the Clockwork man, without noticing very much what the latter did with them. Then he went on to bottles containing patent foods, phosphates, hypophosphates, glycero-hypophosphates, all the phosphates in fact, combined with malt or other substances, which might be considered almost necessary as an auxiliary diet for the Clockwork man. :II
"But the proof," interjected Gregg, "you cannot escape from the facts. There lies the Clockwork man. Explain him otherwise if you can."It was for this reason, perhaps, that the action of the Clockwork man was all the more noticeable. To this day, not one of the persons present is certain as to whether or not this eccentric individual actually did laugh; but everybody is sure that such was his intention. There issued from his mouth, without a moment's warning, a series of harsh, metallic explosions, loud enough to be heard all over the ground. One compared the noise to the ringing of bells hopelessly cracked and out of tune. Others described it as being similar to[Pg 30] the sound produced by some person passing a stick swiftly across an iron railing. There was that suggestion of rattling, of the impingement of one hard thing against another, or the clapping together of steel plates. It was a horrible, discordant sound, brassy and resonant, varied between the louder outbursts by a sort of whirring and humming. Those who ventured to look at the Clockwork man's face during this extraordinary performance said that there was little change of expression. His mouth had opened slightly, but the laugh, if indeed it could be described as anything but a lugubrious travesty of human mirth, seemed to proceed from far down within him. And then the hideous clamour stopped as abruptly as it began. The Clockwork man had not altered his position during the proceedings; but Arthur Withers, who was watching him with feverish intensity from the pavilion, fancied that his ears flapped twice just after the noise had subsided.
He achieved that second grand sweep of the left side of his face, ending at the corner of his mouth, and followed it up by a swift, upward stroke, annihilating the bristly tuft underneath his lower lip. Looking swiftly at the clock, he noticed that it was getting dreadfully late. That was another curious problem of existence.[Pg 72] You were always up against time. Generally, when you had to do something or get somewhere, there was this sense of breathless hurry and a disconcerting feeling that the world ended abruptly at the conclusion of every hour and then began again quite differently. The clock, in fact, was another tyrant, robbing you of that sensation of being able to go on for ever without changing. That was why people said, when they consulted their watches "How's the enemy?"
"Imagine an exceedingly complex kind of mechanism," Gregg resumed, "an exaggeration of the many intricate types of modern machines in use to-day. It would have to be something of a very delicate description, and yet rather crude at first in its effect. One thinks of[Pg 55] something that would work accurately if in rather a limited sort of way. You see, they would have to ensure success in some things at first even at the sacrifice of a certain general awkwardness. It would be a question of taking one thing at a time. Thus, when the Clockwork man came to play cricket, all he could do was to hit the ball. We have to admit that he did that efficiently enough, however futile were the rest of his actions."
"Well, he would insist," said the latter, laughing lightly, "and we're at least entitled to put eleven men in the field. There he goes again! That a six for certain."
"What sort of things," enquired the Doctor, slowly, as he listened to the Curate's heart. "You must make an effort to steady yourself."。
What was it then—this feeling of a fixation of himself—of a slowing down of his faculties? Was it some strange new malady of the modern world, a state of mind as yet not[Pg 126] crystallised by the poet or thinker? It was difficult to get a clear image to express his condition; yet that was his need. There was no phrase or word in his memory that could symbolise his feeling.。
"Wallabaloo," said the Clockwork man, faintly, "Wum—Wum—"。
"Oh, Arthur!" Her hand went up to pull[Pg 198] down his, for the moment, unwilling head. "Oh, Arthur, we will get married some day."。
Next moment the wig came off, and there was disclosed to the Doctor's gaze a bald cranium.。
"Well, he's making runs, anyhow," rejoined Gregg, his eye falling upon the score-board. "At this rate we shall stand a chance after all."。