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ce of his institutions? And wouldn't it be characteristic of man, as we know him to-day, that he should hold on to purely utilitarian things, conveniences? In this age we sacrifice everything to utility. That's because we're getting somewhere in a hurry. Modern life is the last lap in man's race against Time." He paused, as though to adjust

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the matter in his mind. "But suppose Time stopped. Or, rather, suppose man caught up with Time, raced the univer

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uccessive generations. Of

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course, it seems like a joke to us, but we've got to drop our sense of humour for the time being."

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"But how could it be?" exclaimed[Pg 107] Allingham, kicking a loose stone in his walk.

"This clock, I mean. It's—" He fumbled hopelessly for words with which to express new doubts. "What is this clock?" "It's an instrument," rejoined Gregg, leaning over the side of the car. "Evidently

it has some sort of effect upon the fundamental processes of the human organism. That's clear, to me. Probably it replaces som

e of the ordinary functions and alters others. One gets a sort

ctor,
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of glimmer—of an immense speeding up of the entire organism, and the brain of man developing new

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senses and powers of apprehension. They would have all sorts of second sights and subsi

diary senses. They would feel their way about in a larger universe, creep into all sorts of niches and corners unknown to us, because of their different construction." "Yes, yes, I can follow all that,

" said Allingham, biting his moustache, "but let's talk sense." "In a matter like this," put in Gregg, "sense is at a premium

. What we have to do is to consult our intuitions." Allingham

"I've
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frowned. His intuitions, nowadays, were few and far between. "When you get to my age, Gregg, you

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'll have something else to do besides consult your intuitions. The fact is, you want all

these[Pg 108] wonderful things to happen. You have a flair for the unexpected, like all children and adolescents. But I tell you, the Clockwork man is a myth, and I think you ought to respect my opinio

n." "Even if he's a myth," interrupted Gregg, "he is still worth investigating. What annoys me is your positive antagonism to

the idea that he might be possible. You seem to want to go ou

had en
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t of your way to prove me in the wrong. I may add, that once a man has ceased to believe in the im

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possible he is damned." Allingham shot a look of veiled anger at the other, and prepare

d to re-enter the car. "Well, you prove yourself in the right," he muttered, "and then I'll apologise. I'm going to let the Clockwork man drop. I've got other things to think about. And I don't mind te

lling you that if the Clockwork man turns out to be all that you claim for him, I shall still wish him at the other end of the

earth." "Which is probably where he is now," remarked Gregg,

ough o
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with a slight bantering note in his voice. "Well, let him stop there," growled Allingham, restar

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ting the car with a vicious jerk, "let someone else bother their heads about him. I don'

t want him. I tell you I don't care a brass farthing about the future of[Pg 109] the human race. I'm quite content to take the good and bad in life, and I want it to go on in the same damned old way."

Gregg beat his fist into his open palm. "But that's just what has happened," he exclaimed, "they've found a way of keeping on

just the same. That explains the Clarkson business. If the clo

f this
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ck is what I think it is, that precisely is its function." Allingham shouted out some impatient r

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ejoinder, but it was drowned in the rising roar of the engine as they sped along the roa

d. II 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 me

rely trivial things had become permanent, whilst the cosmos itself, the hitherto unchanging outer environment of man's existen

ce, might have opened up in many new directions. Man might hav

wild-

e tired of waiting for a so long heralded eternity, and made one out of his own material tools. The Clockwork ma

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n, 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 t

he 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. The clock, perhaps, was the index o

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f a new and enlarged order of things. Man had altered the very shape of the universe in order to be able to pursue his aims without frustratio

n. That was an old dream of Gregg's. Time and Space were the obstacles to man's aspirations, and therefore he had invented this cunning device, which would adjust his faculties to some mightier rhythm of

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universal forces. It was a logical step forward in the path

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