"You mean—" began Mrs. Masters, and then eyed him with the meaning expression of a woman scenting danger or happiness for some other woman. "That young lady is not suited to you, at all events," she continued, shaking her head.The surgery was a low-pitched apartment, and it was approached by patients from the outside by way of the area steps. One door communicated with the dark passage that led to the kitchen quarters, and the other opened directly upon the area. A double row of shelves, well stocked with bottles, occupied the centre of the room and divided it into two halves. Beneath the window stood the Doctor's neat bureau, and to the left of this was a low couch beside the wall. A shaded lamp on the desk was sufficient to light the room for ordinary purposes; but there was a gas burner near the further door, which had to be lit when the Doctor was engaged upon[Pg 155] some very close examination or had to perform a slight operation. Directly underneath this burner there stood an arm-chair of ample proportions, and it was here that the Clockwork man had seated himself at the beginning of his orgy. 一击 "G-R-R-R-r-r-r-r-r," growled the Clockwork man. "WOW—WOW—can't help it—WOUGH—WOUGH—most regrettable—wow—wow—atavism—tendency to return—remote species—moment's notice—family failing—darwinism—better in a moment—something gone wrong with the controls. There—that's done it. Phew!" Just for a moment the Doctor tried to realise that he was looking upon the supreme marvel of human ingenuity. He made an effort to stretch his brain once more in order to grasp the significance of this paragon of eight thousand years hence. But he did not succeed. The strain of the past hour reached its first climax. He began to tremble violently. His elbow went back with a sharp jerk and smashed three bottles standing on the shelf behind him. He made little whimpering noises in his throat. "Of course," he said, slowly, "you don't understand. It isn't to be expected that you would understand. Why, you haven't even got a clock! That was the first thing I noticed about you."
There was a pause. Mrs. Masters drew in[Pg 119] her lip and folded her arms stiffly. The Doctor stared hard at her for a moment, and almost betrayed himself. Then he threw back his head and laughed with the air of a man to whom all issues of life, great and small, had become the object of a graduated hilarity. "Then upon some other lady will fall the supreme honour," he observed. 在他 "That's my job," agreed the other, with a warning glint in his red eye. CHAPTER ONE The Clockwork man looked vaguely distressed. "Theoretically," he agreed, "what you say is correct. I can conceive it as a mathematical problem. But actually, you know, it isn't at all obvious."
"Hulloa," he exclaimed, "you look pretty bent." 伊人 "Stop it!" the Curate gasped. "My heart, you know—I have been warned—sudden shocks." He staggered to the wall and groped blindly for an emergency exit, which he knew to be there somewhere. He found it, forced the door open and fell limply upon the pavement outside. Upstairs in the bedroom, Arthur hastily removed his flannels and paced the limited amount of floor space between the two beds. What a little box of a place it was, and how absurdly crammed with furniture! You couldn't move an inch without bumping into things or knocking something over. There wasn't room to swing a cat, much less to perform an elaborate toilet with that amount of leisurely comfort necessary to its successful accomplishment. Ordinarily he didn't notice these things; it was only when he was in a[Pg 68] hurry, and had all sorts of little duties to carry out, that the awkwardness of his surroundings forced themselves into his mind and produced a sense of revolt. There were times when everything seemed a confounded nuisance and a chair stuck in your way made you feel inclined to pitch it out of the window. Just when you wanted to enjoy simply being yourself, when your thoughts were running in a pleasant, easeful way, you had to turn to and dress or undress, shave or wash, prepare yourself for the conventions of life. So much of existence was spent in actions that were obligatory only because other people expected you to do the same as themselves. It wasn't so much a waste of time as a waste of life. It was a sight to attract attention, but fortunately, as Arthur thought, everybody seemed too absorbed in the game to notice what was happening. The dawning of humour saved him from some uncomfortable misgivings. There was something uncanny about the experience. Somehow, it didn't seem natural, but it was certainly funny. It was grotesque. You had to laugh at that odd-looking figure, or else feel cold all over with another kind of sensation. Of course, the man was mad. He was, in spite of his denial, an escaped lunatic. But the noise? That was certainly difficult to explain. Perhaps he had some kind of infernal machine hidden in his pocket, in which case he would be a dangerous kind of lunatic.
[Pg 26] 终整 The doctor's astonishment was turned into annoyance by the spectacle of his shattered wicket. A vague clatter of applause broke out. The wicket-keeper stooped down to pick up the bails. The fielders relaxed and flopped down on the grass. They seemed to have discovered suddenly that it was a hot afternoon, and that cricket was, after all, a comparatively strenuous game. One of the umpires, a sly, nasty fellow, screwed up his eyes and looked hard at the doctor as the latter passed him, walking with the slow, meditative gait of the bowled out, and swinging his gloves. There was nothing to do but to glare back, and make the umpire feel a worm. The doctor wore an eye-glass, and he succeeded admirably. His irritation boiled over and produced a sense of ungovernable, childish rage. Somehow, he had not been able to make any runs this season, and his bowling average was all to pieces. He began to think he ought to give up cricket. He was getting[Pg 3] past the age when a man can accept reverses in the spirit of the game, and he was sick and tired of seeing his name every week in the Great Wymering Gazette as having been dismissed for a "mere handful." "Oh, well, you may be right there," blustered Allingham, "I don't know. I admit I'm not quite up to date in these abstruse speculations."”
CHAPTER NINE 的黑 The Doctor shut the door carefully and lifted a warning finger. "Gregg, this thing must never be known. It must never go beyond ourselves." "But the streets and houses?" hazarded Allingham, "aren't they like ours?" "What's that noise?" he demanded thoroughly frightened by now.”