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      I gave a sort of assent--attended with nausea--and turned to my saddle, but he clung. "Why, how can he hang around that way, Smith, and he a suitor who's just killed her husband? Of course, now, he'd ought to know he can't ever be one henceforth. I'm sorry for him, but--"So the argument had waged since the telling of Tom Driver's story. Gregg's chief difficulty was to get Allingham to see that there really might be something in this theory of a world in which merely trivial things had become permanent, whilst the cosmos itself, the hitherto unchanging outer environment of man's existence, might have opened up in many new directions. Man might have tired of waiting for a so long heralded eternity, and made one out of his own material tools. The Clockwork man, now crystallised in Gregg's mind as an unforgetable figure, seemed to him to stand for a sort of rigidity of personal being as opposed to the fickleness of mere[Pg 110] flesh and blood; but the world in which he lived probably had widely different laws, if indeed it had humanly comprehensible laws at all.

      Towards sunset the party took a stroll through the city, stopping in front of several shops, and entering one or two of the larger. The boys[Pg 277] were of opinion that the shops of Osaka were larger than those of Tokio, and there was one silk-store that was twice the size of any they had seen in the eastern capital. The goods that were displayed were not materially different from what they had already seen, and consequently they were not disposed to linger long on the way. They extended their walk to the upper part of the city, where several temples are situated, and they finally reached the famous Castle of Osaka, whence there is a line view from the walls. There was some difficulty in entering the castle, but through the explanations of John the matter was arranged and they went inside.

      I went down to the supper-table. Camille was there, dispensing its promiscuous hospitality to men who ate like pigs. I would as leave have found her behind a French-market coffee-stand. Harry Helm, nursing his bandaged hand, was lolling back from the board and quizzing her with compliments while she cut up his food. A fellow in the chair next mine said he had seen me with Ferry when we joined the Louisianians' charge. "Your aide-de-camp friend over yonder's a-gitt'n' lots o' sweetenin' with his grub; well, he deserves it."After that final collapse, the Doctor had succeeded somehow in restoring him to his normal shape; and then, by miraculous chance, he discovered a hand that, when turned, had[Pg 168] the effect of producing in the Clockwork man an appearance of complete quiescence. He looked now more like a tailor's dummy than anything else; and the apparent absence of blood circulation and even respiration rendered the illusion almost perfect. He looked life-like without seeming to be alive.

      "I should--have turned back, my boy." After a silence the hero said more to himself than to me "Ah, if my brother were here to-night--I might live!"

      Arthur finished his tea and got up from his chair. Conscious that his efforts so far had not carried conviction, he spent a few moments of valuable time in an attempt to supplement them.

      III"Now, Frank," the Doctor said, as he laughed over the conundrum, "making puns when we're a thousand miles from home and going west! However, that will do for a beginner; but don't try too often."


      "Generals' uniforms, for example?""Well, I will. From the very first the mystery has developed exactly on the lines laid down in that skeleton story I told you of. My locale was the corner house, and the plot started there. Did I not forecast all about the Spaniard and the lights going out and everything. It is easy when you know how it is done. Therefore I was quite prepared for the next move."


      Both thanked me and buckled on their belongings, but Ferry's look was peculiarly intelligent; "I was in the small parlor, looking for you," he said; "I thought you would be near the music." And so he had seen Gholson with his revolver on him, and must have understood it!Fred retorted that Frank was demanding too much of a boy to whom they only paid[Pg 290] fifty cents a day, and his expenses, and said he was reminded of the excuse of a soldier who was being censured for drunkenness.


      "The villain who set those fires--you know who he is, I hope."