- Software name: appdown
- Software type: Microsoft Framwork
- size: 271MB
Allingham had an explanation for everything. He said that the loud noise was due to some kind of machine that this ingenious lunatic carried in his pocket. He argued that the rapid flight was probably to be accounted for by a sort of electric shoe. Nothing was impossible so long as you could adduce some explanation that was just humanly credible. And the strange antics of the Clockwork man, his sudden stoppings and beginnings, his[Pg 44] "Anglo-Saxon" gestures and his staccato gait, all came under the heading of locomotor ataxia in an advanced form."Death," he reflected, "that was death, I suppose. They still die."
He was gone at last; the hall door closed behind him. His footsteps echoed on the pavement a few yards and then stopped. After that the whole world seemed to be wrapped in silence. It was nearly dawn before Leona Lalage crept into bed. She carefully locked away some papers that she had almost committed to heart. There was triumph in her sleepy eyes.My problem was indeed simplified. The despatch had been stolen, opened, read, re-sealed and returned. All I now had to do was to lie here till daybreak and then get away if I could, deliver the despatch to Ned Ferry, and tell him--ah! what?--how much? Oh, my bemired soul, how much must I tell? My shame I might bear; I might wash it out in blood at the battle's front; but my perfidy! how much was it perfidy to withhold; how much was it perfidy to confess?
I awoke aghast. If Kendall had still been with me I might, in the first flush of my distress, have told my vision; but in the place where Kendall had lain lay Harry Helm. Kendall was gone; a long beam of afternoon sunlight shone across my lair through a chink in the log stable. I sprang half up with an exclamation, and Harry awoke with a luxurious yawn and smile. Kendall, he said, had left with the company, which had marched. Quinn was in command and had told Harry that he was only going to show the enemy that there was no other hostile force in their front, and get himself chased away southeastward.
Gholson brought the mulatress. In the feeble rays of an old tin lantern, on some gunny-sacking that lay about the gin-room floor, sat old Dismukes cross-legged and smiling, with arms folded and revolver dangling from his right hand, at full cock. On one side crouched Harry and I, on the other side Gholson and the slave woman. Facing him, half sat, half knelt Oliver, bound hand and foot, and gagged with his own knotted handkerchief. The lantern hung from a low beam just above his face; his eyes blazed across the short interval with the splendor of a hawk's. The dread issue of the hour seemed all at once to have taken from his outward aspect the baser signs of his habits and crimes, and I saw large extenuation for Charlotte's great mistake. From the big Colonel's face, too, the heaviness of drink was gone, and its smile grew almost fine as he spoke.