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      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.

      "That's a lie," he pleasantly remarked, and lay back, enjoying my silent wrath. "Send him, General," he added, "he's your man."

      "I can't do it," he gasped, "I can't really. You mustexcuse me."As she would have cried out he laid his hand on her lips. He could feel that she was trembling from head to foot.

      "I admit it. Leon discovered my whereabouts, and that I was apparently rich and prosperous. He demanded large sums of money. As a matter of fact I was driven to my wits' ends for cash then, and I refused. I had to drug him and detain him to still that fool's tongue of his. He might have done me a grave mischief. Then I had a bit of luck, and I gave Leon four hundred sovereigns. He knew where you could be found; he told me he wanted to send half to you. I allowed him to go so that he could change his gold into notes for the purpose."


      I turned upon her choking with anger, but her melting beauty rendered me helpless. Black woods were on our left. "Shall we turn in here?" I asked.


      "Freedom and revenge," she murmured. "What good words they are. Tomorrow! Well, tomorrow shall be my destruction or my Waterloo!"


      They crawled through and hid themselves in the black shrubs. A policeman came running up and surveyed the wreck thoughtfully. His lantern played all over it, he stooped down and rubbed at the dull frame-work vigorously.


      The Countess paused in her agitated walk. She had been striding up and down the room impatiently. She paused now with her hand to her head as if somebody had shot her in her stride, and collapsed into a chair.There was the best part of a mile to go; it was getting very late, but Hetty had not been out all day, so that she enjoyed the walk. She made her way back along the darkness of Alton Square. Most of the houses were dark, and nobody was to be seen.