时间：<2020-06-03 00:49:34 作者：0r镜子防爆膜G2H 浏览量：9777
But the authorities at the bank regarded them as grave defects in his character."Well, of course I can't explain that exactly, but the term so obviously explains itself. Damn it, he is a clockwork man. He walks, talks, and behaves exactly like one would imagine—"
"Exceedingly." The Clockwork man's head nodded up and down with a regular rhythm. "The whole aim of man is convenience." He jerked himself forward a few paces, as though[Pg 81] impelled against his will. "But my present situation, you know, is extremely inconvenient."The Doctor removed his hat as though in honour of the mere mention of his visitor. "Did you give her my love?" was his light rejoinder, hat still poised at an elegant angle.Still, if Gregg's conjectures were anywhere near the mark, in a very few hours it would be[Pg 114] known all over England that the jaws of the future had opened and disclosed this monstrosity to the eyes of the present. There would be a great stir of excitement; the newspapers would be full of the event. Indeed, the whole course of the world might be altered as a result of this astounding revelation.
In his growing excitement Gregg rose and paced the floor of the room, walking away[Pg 184] from the Doctor. He did not hear the slight snigger that broke from the latter; nor had he observed any signs of deeper incredulity in the features of his friend that might have led him to moderate his enthusiasm. He continued, in an exultant voice. "Think of what this means! We know the future! The accidental appearance of the Clockwork man may save the human race generations of striving and effort in a wrong direction. Or rather, it will save us from passing through the intermediate stages consciously, for everything has already happened, and the utmost we can hope is to escape the knowledge of its happening. We shall be able to take a great leap forward into the future. Once we have grasped the principle of the Clockwork man, the course of humanity is clear. It may still be several thousands of years before the final achievement, but we can at least begin.""I don't know." The thin voice sounded like someone shouting in the distance. "How should I know? It's all so difficult. But don't make it more difficult than you can help. Keep smiling—laughter—such a jolly little world.""Yes?" Arthur murmured, interested.
"What is this?" he enquired, presently.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."Lamp-post," rejoined the other, clicking his teeth, "L.A.M.P.-P.O.S.T. Lamp-post."
"Hulloa," he exclaimed, "you look pretty bent.""I'm sorry," he murmured, "our recruit[Pg 32] seems to be a little awkward. I don't think he quite understands."III
Still, if Gregg's conjectures were anywhere near the mark, in a very few hours it would be[Pg 114] known all over England that the jaws of the future had opened and disclosed this monstrosity to the eyes of the present. There would be a great stir of excitement; the newspapers would be full of the event. Indeed, the whole course of the world might be altered as a result of this astounding revelation.Arthur caught his breath. "No women?""We are creatures of action," hazarded the Doctor, with the air of a man embarking upon a long mental voyage, "we act from certain motives. There is a principle known as Cause and Effect. Everything is related. Every action has its equal and opposite re-action. Nobody can do anything, or even think anything, without producing some change, however slight, in the general flow of things. Every movement that we make, almost every thought that passes through our minds, starts another ripple upon the surface of time, upon this endless stream of cause and effect."
He sighed, and suddenly stopped in order to contemplate the two figures seated together on the stile. Rose was asleep in Arthur's arms.He jerked his head slowly round and gazed at the surrounding objects. "It's such an[Pg 79] extraordinary world. I can't get used to it at all. One keeps on bumping into things and falling into things—things that ought not to be there, you know.""Where I come from," was the astonishing reply, "we are all conjurers. We are always doing conjuring tricks."
He laid the Clockwork man's hat and wig on the table. Gregg instantly picked them up and began examining them with great curiosity.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.
"Oh, God," he cried out, at last, and shivering from head to foot. "Are you doing these things on purpose to frighten me, or can't you, can't you help it? Do you think I don't believe you? Do you think I can keep on deceiving myself? I tell you I'm ready to believe anything—I capitulate—I only ask you to let me down lightly. I'm only human, and human nerves weren't made to stand this."But Arthur Withers, still feeling a certain sense of duty towards that helpless figure battening himself against the sheet, ran up to him. He decided that it would be useless to try and explain matters. The Clockwork man was obviously quite irresponsible. Arthur laid his hands on his shoulders and turned him round, much in the way that a child turns a mechanical toy after it has come to rest. Thus released, the running figure proceeded back towards the wicket, followed close at heels by Arthur, who hoped, by means of a push here and a shove there, to guide him back to the pavilion and so out of harm's way."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."
"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.""Yes," echoed Gregg enthusiastically, "a multiform world. A world in which man moves as he will, grows as he will, behaves in every way exactly as he wills. A world set free! Think of what it means!"[Pg 201]