时间：<2020-06-07 16:53:03 作者：id我的极品是前任第二季w4P 浏览量：9777
"Why not?" Gregg sat down on the couch and twisted his hat idly between his fingers."Why not?" Gregg sat down on the couch and twisted his hat idly between his fingers.
IGregg rested his head upon the back of the chair and puffed smoke out. "We will pass over the circumstance of his abrupt appearance at the top of the hill, for it is obvious that he might have come from one of the neighbouring villages, although I don't think he did. You yourself admit that his manner of approach was startling, and that it almost seemed as though he had come from nowhere. But let that be. There are, I admit, as yet few facts in support of my theory, but it is at least significant that one of the first questions he[Pg 53] asked should have been, not where he was but when he was.""Time," said Gregg, quickly, "is a relative thing. The future has happened just as much as the past. It is happening at this moment."
"So I was," said Allingham, aiming a pad at the opposite wall. "So I was. Never felt more like it in my life. And then some idiot goes and sticks himself right over the top of the sheet. An escaped lunatic. A chap with a lot of extra arms and legs. You never saw anything like it in your life!"[Pg 98]5. The Clockwork man should now sit up and take a little nourishment. This should be supplied at once in the form of two green tabloids (solids) and one blue capsule (liquids). Stop C should now be pressed, and the pressure maintained until a red light appears within the bulb X. 1. This registers that digestion has taken place.
"But do you all have clocks?" Arthur ventured. "Are you born with them?"One evening Arthur Withers and Rose Lomas sat together on their favourite stile talking in low whispers. The summer dusk lagged, and the air about them was so still that between their softly spoken words they could hear the talk of innumerable insects in the grass at their feet. There had been few interruptions. So familiar had their figures become in that position, that it had grown to be almost a tradition among the people who passed that way during the evening to cross the stile without disturbing the lovers. There are ways, too, of sitting upon a stile without incommoding the casual pedestrian."H'm, yes—chemical action—tonics. People get run down, and I have to give them something to stimulate the system."
Gregg smiled. "After all," he remarked, allowing a suitable pause to follow the Doctor's impassioned words, "it will not be for you or[Pg 187] me to decide the matter. Our humble part will be to produce the object of the problem. Wiser men than ourselves will have to interpret its significance."He sat down rather hurriedly, on the couch, and the Doctor scanned him anxiously for symptoms. But there were none of an alarming character. He had not removed his borrowed hat and wig."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."
But a second later there was stony silence. For the thing that happened next was as unexpected as it was startling. Nobody, save perhaps Dr. Allingham, anticipated that the Clockwork man was capable of adding violence to eccentricity; he looked harmless enough. But apparently there lurked a d?monic temper behind those bland, meaningless features. The thing happened in a trice; and all that followed occupied but a few catastrophic seconds. The umpire had stepped up to the Clockwork man in order to explain to him that he was expected to retire from the wicket. Not hearing any coherent reply, he emphasised his request by placing a hand suggestively on the other's[Pg 37] shoulder. Instantly, something blade-like flashed in the stammering air, a loud thwack broke upon the silence, and the unfortunate umpire lay prostrate. He had gone down like a log of wood.Arthur was startled back to common sense. "They don't," he whispered, as they held one another in trembling arms. "If they did they would be like us.""Have you heard anything fresh?" enquired Gregg, pleasantly.
There had been an outburst of derisive cheering when the Clockwork man actually commenced to run, but this now swelled up into a roar of merriment. And then Arthur saw what had happened. The Clockwork man had not stopped at the opposite wicket. He[Pg 34] had run straight on, past the wicket-keeper, past the fielders, and at the moment when Arthur spotted him he was making straight for the white sheet at the back of the ground. No wonder the crowd laughed! It was so utterly absurd; and the Clockwork man ran as though nothing could stop him, as though, indeed, he had been wound up and was without power to check his own ridiculous progress. The next moment he collided with the sheet; but even this could only prevent him from going further. His legs continued to work rapidly with the action of running, whilst his body billowed into the sagging sheet."Dear me," muttered the Doctor, "you find us rather short at present. I must think of something." He went on talking, as though to gain time. "It's quite obvious, of course, that you need more than an average person. I ought to have realised. There would be exaggerated metabolism—naturally, to sustain exaggerated function. But, of course, the—er—motive force behind this extraordinary efficiency of yours is still a mystery to me. Am I right in assuming that there is a sort of mechanism?""Death," said the Doctor, speaking from knowledge rather than from symbolical conviction.
"It is a quotation," explained the Clockwork man solemnly, "from a work I was reading when I—when the thing happened to me. It is published by Gamages, and the price is nine and nine pence—nine and nine pence—Oh, bother—"But in this attempt he was unexpectedly thwarted. The Clockwork man recovered himself; he ran straight back to the wicket and then stopped dead. The umpire was in the act of replacing the bails, for the wicket had been put down, and, fast as this eccentric cricketer had run in the first place, he had not been quick enough to reach the crease in time. By all the rules of the game, and beyond the shadow of doubt, he had been "run out." He now regarded the stumps meditatively, with[Pg 36] a finger jerked swiftly against his nose, as though recognising a former state of consciousness. And then, with a swift movement, he took up his position in readiness to receive the ball."Would you object," said the Clockwork man, "to having all your difficulties solved for you?"
"Oh dear, it is trying. It really is most dreadfully trying—"But the Clockwork man made no reply. He stood in the middle of the stage and slowly[Pg 96] lifted a finger to his nose. The Curate's doubts returned. Something seemed to occur to him as he examined his companion more closely. "You haven't been taking anything, my good man, have you? Anything of an alcholic nature?""You don't need to be reminded of that fact, I'm sure," sighed Mrs. Masters, "life sits lightly enough on you. I fear, too lightly. If I might venture to say so, a man in your position ought to take life more seriously."
He waddled swiftly along, and, to Arthur's great disappointment, disappeared round the corner of the hedge, so that it was impossible to get more than a fleeting glimpse of that fascinating object at the back of his head. But he was still speaking."You get along," he persuaded, "before there's trouble. I don't want to be 'arsh with you."The Clockwork man is now ready for adjustment. The chart should be studied with care, and a choice made from one of the types indicated. Having made a selection, proceed to arrange indicators in accordance with detailed instructions, taking the utmost care to follow the directions with absolute accuracy, as the slightest error may lead to serious confusion. A good plan is to hold the chart in the left hand, and manipulate the regulators with the right, checking each adjustment as it is made.