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      I call it one of the sweetest kindnesses ever done me, that Ned Ferry heard me to the end of that speech and did not smile. Instead he asked "Did she say that as if a'--as if--amused?"

      "But I'll swear to you," the Countess broke in vehemently. "I'll swear----""You do not! Gholson, Oliver's been food for worms these four months. I know he wasn't dead at Gilmer's; but he died--now, let me tell you--he--"

      In spite of his agitation, it occurred to him[Pg 140] that he must be prepared for worse shocks than this. It was no use giving way to panic. Incredible as had been the cricketing performance, the magical flight, and now this ridiculously sudden growth of beard, there were indications about the Clockwork man that pointed to still further abnormalities. The Doctor braced himself up to face the worst; he had no theory at all with which to explain these staggering manifestations, and it seemed more than likely that the ghastly serio-comic figure seated on the couch would presently offer some explanation of his own.

      "We'll stop now and say good-bye. We have seen China and Japan, and had a splendid time. We think we have learned a great deal about the two countries, and hope that what we have written about them has been interesting to those for whom it was intended. We have tried to see things, and think of them without partiality or prejudice. We believe that the people of the East have the same claims to respect that ours have, and that it is only a narrow mind that sneers at the ways of others because[Pg 421] they are not like its own. We know that there are many things in which we are superior to the Orientals, but we also know that we have our weak points, and might be profitably instructed by those whom some of us affect to despise. And the more we know these patient and industrious people, the more we shall be likely to respect them. We are soon to leave China, perhaps never to see it again; but both China and Japan will always be pleasant recollections to bothWith a spasm of eagerness I said it did: "Our acquai'--hh--Gallatin--hh--" But my soul cried like a culprit, "No, no, it begins only now!" and my whole being stood under arrest before the accusing truth that from Gallatin till now my acquaintance had been solely with that false phase of her which I knew as Coralie Rothvelt. At the same her kind eyes sweetly granted me a stripling's acquittal--oh! why did it have to be a stripling's?

      The Countess turned on her heel, and disappeared. A moment later, and she was back with the glittering stream of fire in her hand.

      "Charlotte, my dear," interrupted Miss Harper, "tell us the remainder to-morrow, but now--"The functions and adaptations of machinery constitute, as already explained, the science of mechanical engineering. The functions of a machine are a foundation on which its plans are based; hence machine functions and machine effect are matters to which the attention of an apprentice should first [11] be directed.


      "Well, I promise you I shall be more thrilling later on," said Lawrence. "I had to settle that part before I went any further. I tried to recall the conversation. How could you have got into my rooms? Then it came to me like a flash. A journalist who stood by asked me where I carried my latchkey--a joking suggestion that he would steal my plot. I said that it was in the ticket pocket of my overcoat."



      "I know. I remember that now. I said goodnight to the Countess--eh, eh, the Countess!--and there was a policeman outside talking to a man in evening dress. He said goodnight to me and I walked down the road. I don't recollect anything else."CHAPTER XLIII. A SLICE OF LUCK.