- Software name: appdown
- Software type: Microsoft Framwork
- size: 621MB
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."
A few moments later Mrs. Masters entered the room bearing a tray with the promised meal. True to her instinct, the good soul must have searched the remotest corners of her pantry in order to provide what she evidently regarded as but an apology of a repast. Little did she know for what Brobdingnagian appetite she was catering! At the sight of the six gleaming white eggs in their cups, the guest made a movement expressive of the direction of his desire, if not of very sanguine hope of their fulfilment. Besides eggs, there were several piles of sandwiches, bread and butter, and assorted cakes.
He looked out of the window, and there was that confounded figure still jigging about. It had come nearer to the ground. It hovered, with a curious air of not being related to its surroundings that was more than puzzling. It did not seem to know what it was about, but hopped along aimlessly, as though scenting a track, stopped for a moment, blundered forward again and made a zig-zag course towards the ground. The doctor watched it advancing[Pg 6] through the broad meadow that bounded the pitch, threading its way between the little groups of grazing cows, that raised their heads with more than their ordinary, slow persistency, as though startled by some noise. The figure seemed to be aiming for the barrier of hurdles that surrounded the pitch, but whether its desire was for cricket or merely to reach some kind of goal, whether it sought recreation or a mere pause from its restless convulsions, it was difficult to tell. Finally, it fell against the fence and hung there, two hands crooked over the hurdle and its legs drawn together at the knees. It became suddenly very stillso still that it was hard to believe that it had ever moved.
"Courage, dear old boy," Hetty whispered. "It will all come right in the end. Good will come out of this evil."
On the whole, an appearance of candour would be best. She would go straight to Prout, who had the Corner House tragedy in hand, and tell him everything, at least everything that Lawrence had found out. She never guessed for a moment that this was exactly what the novelist expected her to do, in fact, he had apparently told all he knew to gain this end. Also, at his suggestion, Isidore had blurted out the fact that Prout had succeeded in laying Leon Lalage's brother by the heels."You see, I have found something out," he said. "I rather hoped--indeed, I have still hopes--that the culprit----"
LVIII THE UPPER FORK OF THE ROADIt followed upon this experiment that the Clockwork man presently emitted a faint, quavering protest. He had certainly dwindled in bulk. His clothes hung upon him, and there was a distressing feebleness of frame. Slowly it dawned upon the Doctor that the face peering up at him was that of a very old and decrepit individual. Painful lines crossed his forehead, and there were rheumy lodgements in the corner of each eye. The change was rapidly progressive.