干部上门排查 群众上岗就业

类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-10-27 00:33:15


The Curate scarcely seemed to catch this remark. "Well, I'm glad you've turned up," he went on, "it's so pitiful when the little ones have to be disappointed, and they have been so looking forward to the conjuring. Your things have arrived."[Pg 8]He fingered nervously with his watch, and then his eye rested for a second upon the other's head gear.

Arthur had a strong sense of originality, although he would have been the last person to claim originality in his thoughts. He disliked interference with any part of his personal being. As a boy he had been perturbed by the prospect of growing up. It had seemed to him such a hopeless sort of process, a mere longitudinal extension, without corresponding gain in other magnitudes. He suspected that[Pg 70] other dubious advantages were only to be purchased at the expense of a thinning out of the joys of childhood. Later on, he discovered, sadly enough, that this was the case; although it was possible deliberately to protract one's adolescence. Hence his untidiness, his inefficiency, and even his obtuseness, were less constitutional faults than weapons in the warfare against the encroachment of time."Now that sounds interesting," murmured the Curate, as the other paused, although rather for matter than for breath, "it's so authoritative鈥攁s though it were a quotation from some standard work. All the same, and much as I should like to hear more鈥"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.

"Anything might happen," the Clockwork man continued, plaintively, "I feel as though I might slip again, you know鈥攕lip back another thousand years or so." He turned again. "I've got to get worse before I get[Pg 159] better," he sighed, and then stopped to examine the rows of bottles arranged along the shelves."I can't bear you not to have me," she sobbed. "It's cruel. It ought to be arranged. People ought to understand."It was this circumstance that accounted for the Vicar's late arrival at the entertainment given in aid of the church funds that night. He had lingered over his sermon until the last moment, and then hurried off with only a slight pause in which to glance at himself in the hall mirror. He walked swiftly along the dark streets in the direction of the Templars' Hall, which was situated at the lower end of the town. Perhaps it was because of his own desperate hurry that he scarcely noticed that other figure approaching him, and in a straight line. He swerved slightly in order to allow the figure to pass, and continued on his way.

Now, the afternoon was very warm and very still. Where they stood the only sounds that could reach them were the slight crack of the batted ball, and the soft padding of the fielders.[Pg 15] That was why the thing that happened next could hardly be mistaken. It began by the strange figure suddenly putting both hands upon the top of the hurdle and raising himself up about an inch off the ground. He looked all at once enormously alive and vital. Light flashed in his eyes.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.Such reflections flitted hazily through the Doctor's mind as he strove in vain to find a practical solution of the problem. What was the clock? He knew, from hearsay, that it was situated at the back of this strange being's head. Tom Driver had seen it, and described it in his clumsy fashion. Since that episode the Doctor had visualised something in the nature of an instrument affixed to the Clockwork man's head, and perhaps connected with his cerebral processes. Was it a kind of super-brain? Had there been found some means of lengthening the convolutions of the human brain, so that man's thought travelled further and so enabled him to arrive more swiftly at ultimate conclusions? That seemed suggestive. It must be that in some way the cerebral energy of man had been stored up, as electricity in a battery, and then released by mechanical processes.

He rescued his trousers from underneath the mattress. It was only recently that he had discovered this obvious substitute for a trouser press, and so added one more nuisance to existence. It was something else to be remembered. He grinned pleasantly at the thought of the circumstance which had brought about these careful habits. Rose Lomas liked him to look smart, and he had managed it somehow. There were plenty of dapper youths in Great Wymering, and Arthur had been astute enough to notice wherein he had differed from them, in the first stages of his courting. Early rebuffs had led him to perceive that the[Pg 69] eye of love rests primarily upon a promising exterior, and only afterwards discovers the interior qualities that justify a wise choice. Arthur had been spurned at first on account of a slovenliness that, to do him justice, was rather the result of personal conviction, however erring, than mere carelessness. He really had felt that it was a waste of life even to spend half an hour a month inside a barber's shop. Not only that, but the experience was far-reaching in its unpleasant consequences. You went into the shop feeling agreeably familiar with yourself, conscious of intense personality; and you came out a nonentity, smelling of bay-rum. The barber succeeded in transforming you from an individual brimming over with original reflections and impulses into a stranger without a distinctive notion in your head. The barber, in fact, was a Delilah in trousers; he ravished the locks from your head and bewitched you into the bargain."What are you playing at?" the Doctor demanded, glancing at the crumpled bonnet of his car. "It's a wonder I didn't kill you."CHAPTER TWO

Uppermost in the Doctor's mind was the reflection that he of all persons should have been selected by an undiscriminating providence to undergo this distressing and entirely unprecedented experience. It was an ironic commentary upon his reactionary views and his comfortable doctrine of common sense. He had been convinced in spite of himself, and the effort to resist conviction had strained his mental powers uncomfortably. He felt very strongly his inability to cope with the many problems that would be sure to arise in[Pg 156] connection with the Clockwork man. It was too much for one man's brain. There would have to be a convocation of all the cleverest men in Europe in order to investigate such an appalling revelation. He pictured himself in the act of introducing this genuine being from a future age, and the description he would have to give of all that had happened in connection with him. Even that prospect set his brain reeling. He would like to be able to shirk the issue. It was enough to have looked upon this archetype of the future; the problem now was to forget his existence.Falling in love had revealed the matter in a very different light. It was quite worth while yielding to fashion in order to win the affection of Rose Lomas. And so he had imitated his rivals. He cast aside all ties that revealed their linings, trimmed up the cuffs of his shirts; overcame with an effort a natural repugnance to wearing his best clothes; and generally submitted himself to that daily supervision of superficial matters which he could now regard as the prelude to happy hours. And Rose, interested in that conquest of himself for her sake, had soon learned how much there was beneath the polished surface to capture her heart.And yet, a slight alteration in man's perceptive organs and that wide blue shell might shatter and disclose a thousand new forms, like fantastic cities shaped in the clouds at sunset. Physiologists claimed that the addition of a single lobe to the human brain might mean that man would know the future as well as the past. What if that miracle had been performed? By such means man might have come to know not only the future, but other dimensions as yet unnamed or merely sketched out by the mathematician in brief, arbitrary terms.

But when Gregg looked up, rather sheepishly, wary of meeting the Doctor's eye, he beheld a sight that sent an uncomfortable thrill down his spine. For the latter lay at full length upon the couch, his chest and stomach rising and falling in the convulsions of that excessive[Pg 190] laughter that at first sight raises a doubt of danger in the mind of the beholder鈥攆or men have died of mirth. Gregg stared at his prostrate friend, and his own countenance was transfixed with alarm. Many minutes elapsed before any kind of definite sound brought a relief to the strain; for the Doctor's laugh was prim?val; it racked his vitals, shook him from head to foot, began and stopped, proceeded in a series of explosions, not unlike those of the Clockwork man himself, until at last it reached the throat and found expression."That I can follow," said the Doctor, wrinkling his brows, "that seems to me fairly clear. I can just grasp that, as the hypothesis of another sort of world. But what I don't understand, what I can't begin to understand, is how you work, how this mechanism which you talk about functions."

"Does that mean that you can mend people?" he enquired, at last."She's my sweetheart," Arthur replied.II

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[Pg 172]"It was not so, it is not so, and, indeed, God forbid it should be so.""Come back," shouted Arthur, scarcely knowing why he was so in earnest. "You must come back and tell us."

It occurred to the Doctor that here was an opportunity to investigate certain matters.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.CHAPTER TEN




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