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|When the Sleeper Wakes||H. G. [Herbert George] Wells|
The Sound Of A Tumult
|Page 5 of 8||
Then he perceived, repeated again and again, a certain formula. For a time he doubted his ears. But surely these were the words: " how us the Sleeper! Show us the Sleeper!"
The thickset man rushed suddenly to the archway.
"Wild!" he cried, "How do they know? Do they know? Or is it guessing? "
There was perhaps an answer.
"I can't come," said the thickset man; "I have _him_ to see to. But shout from the balcony."
There was an inaudible reply.
"Say he is not awake. Anything! I leave it to you."
He came hurrying back to Graham. "You must have clothes at once," he said. "You cannot stop here--and it will be impossible to--"
He rushed away, Graham shouting unanswered questions after him. In a moment he was back.
"I can't tell you what is happening. It is too complex to explain. In a moment you shall have your clothes made. Yes--in a moment. And then I can take you away from here. You will find out our troubles soon enough."
"But those voices. They were shouting--?"
"Something about the Sleeper--that's you. They have some twisted idea. I don't know what it is. I know nothing."
A shrill bell jetted acutely across the indistinct mingling of remote noises, and this brusque person sprang to a little group of appliances in the corner of the room. He listened for a moment, regarding a ball of crystal, nodded, and said a few indistinct words; then he walked to the wall through which the two men had vanished. It rolled up again like a curtain, and he stood waiting.
Graham lifted his arm and was astonished to find what strength the restoratives had given him. He thrust one leg over the side of the couch and then the other. His head no longer swam. He could scarcely credit his rapid recovery. He sat feeling his limbs.
The man with the flaxen beard re-entered from the archway, and as he did so the cage of a lift came sliding down in front of the thickset man, and a lean, grey-bearded man, carrying a roll, and wearing a tightly-fitting costume of dark green, appeared therein.
"This is the tailor," said the thickset man with an introductory gesture." It will never do for you to wear that black. I cannot understand how it got here. But I shall. I shall. You will be as rapid as possible? " he said to the tailor.
The man in green bowed, and, advancing, seated himself by Graham on the bed. His manner was calm, but his eyes were full of curiosity. "You will find the fashions altered, Sire," he said. He glanced from under his brows at the thickset man. ,
He opened the roller with a quick movement, and a confusion of brilliant fabrics poured out over his knees. "You lived, Sire, in a period essentially cylindrical--the Victorian. With a tendency to the hemisphere in hats. Circular curves always. Now--" He flicked out a little appliance the size and appearance of a keyless watch, whirled the knob, and behold--a little figure in white appeared kinetoscope fashion on the dial, walking and turning. The tailor caught up a pattern of bluish white satin. "That is my conception of your immediate treatment," he said.
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|When the Sleeper Wakes
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells
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