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    Software name: appdown
    Software type: Microsoft Framwork

    size: 904MB

    Lanuage:Englist

    Software instructions

      Mr. Flack shook his head thoughtfully. Presently he got up, walked to the end of the mantelpiece, placed his smoked-out pipe on the edge and took an empty one from behind an ornament. Then he returned to his seat and sat for a long time with the empty pipe in his mouth.THE MYSTERY OF THE CLOCKWORK MAN


      But what could it mean? Gregg rather prided himself upon the resiliency of his mind, but not all the elasticity of which he was capable could enable him to overcome a sudden sense of uneasiness. Was the Clockwork man, after all, no more than a very elaborate and highly complex puppet? But how could that be, since he breathed and spoke and gave every sign of the possession of an individual consciousness? Considered in this new light he was even more difficult to explain.On a day late in October our company were in bivouac after some hard night-riding. Some twenty-five miles west of us the brigade had been resting for several days on the old camp-ground at Gallatin, but now they were gone to union Springs. Ferry, with a few men, was scouting eastward. Quinn awaited only his return in order to take half a dozen or so of picked fellows down southward and westward about Fayette. Between ten and eleven that night a corporal of the guard woke me, and as I flirted on my boots and jacket and saddled up, said Ferry was back and Quinn gone. I reported to Ferry, who handed me a despatch: "Give that to General Austin; he has gone back to Gallatin--without the brigade--to wait--with the others"--his smile broadened.


      CHAPTER SIXThe Doctor was scarcely as yet in the mind to study these phenomena accurately. At the back of his mind there was the thought of Mrs. Masters returning with the supper. He tried to resume ordinary speech, but the Clockwork man seemed abstracted, and the unfamiliarity of his appearance increased every second. It seemed to the Doctor that he had remembered a little dimple on the middle of the Clockwork man's chin, but now he couldn't see the dimple. It was covered with something brownish and delicate, something that was rapidly spreading until it became almost obvious.

      "Of what?" enquired the Doctor, conscious of masculine stupidity.I hesitated, but a single flash of authority from his eye was enough and I had passed half-way to the door, when, through the window over the front veranda, I saw a small body of horsemen trotting up through the grove. The dusk of the room hid me, but there was no mistaking them. "Too late, Captain," I said, "they've got us."

      The face disappeared, and the Curate's doubts evaporated for the moment. "Will you come this way?" he continued, and led the way through a long, dark passage to the back of the hall. Behind the screen, upon which the picture was being shown, there was a small space, and here a stage had been erected. Upon a small table in the centre stood a large bag and some packages. The Curate adjusted the small gas-jet so as to produce an illumination sufficient to move about. "We must talk low," he explained, pointing to the screen in front of them, "the cinematograph is still showing. We shall be ready in about ten minutes. Can you manage in that time?""What's that," Rose exclaimed, suddenly awakened.


      "No, General. And in the last place, my motive in this errand is no mere sympathy for any one person; I am here from a sense of public duty--" The speaker seemed suddenly overtaken by emotions, dropped her words with pained evenness, and fingered the lace handkerchief in her lap.There was still a touch of complaint in his voice, as though he felt sorry now to leave a world so full of pitfalls and curious adventures. Something brisker about his appearance seemed to suggest that an improvement had taken[Pg 204] place in his working arrangements. You might have thought him rather an odd figure, stiff-necked, and jerky in his gait; but there were no lapses into his early bad manner.

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      The Clockwork man lay in the coal cellar, which was situated in the area, just opposite the surgery door. He lay there, stiff and stark, with an immobile expression upon his features, and his eyes and mouth wide open.

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      And so I began to hear the tale. I was startled by its strong reminder of Charlotte's own life; but Charlotte answered my anxious glance with a brow so unfretted that I let the reading go on, and so made a cruel mistake. At every turning-point in the story its reader would have paused to talk it over, but Charlotte, with a steadily darkling brow, murmured each time "Go on," and I was silent, hoping that farther along there would be a better place to stop for good. Not so; the story's whirling flood swept us forward to a juncture ever drawing nearer and clearer, clearer and crueler, where a certain man would have to choose between the woman he loved and that breadth and fruitfulness of life to which his splendid gifts imperiously pointed him. Oh, you story-tellers! Every next page put the question plainer, drove the iron deeper: must a man, or even may a man, wed his love, when she stands between him and his truest career, a drawback and drag upon his finest service to his race and day? And, oh, me! who let my eye quail when Charlotte searched it, as though her own case had brought that question to me before ever we had seen this book. And, oh, that impenetrable woman reading! Her husband was in Lee's army, out of which, she boasted, she would steal him in a minute if she could. She was with us, now, only because, at whatever cost to others, she was going where no advancement of the enemy's lines could shut her off from him; and so stop reading a moment she must, to declare her choice for Love as against all the careers on earth, and to put that choice fairly to shame by the unworthiness of her pleadings in its defence. I intervened; I put her grovelling arguments aside and thrust better ones in, for the same choice, and then, in the fear that they were not enough, stumbled into special pleading and protested that the book itself had put the question unfairly.


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