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18. What Am I To Do Now
Early morning saw Sweetwater peering into the depths of his closet. The hole
was hardly visible. This meant that the book he had pushed across it from the
other side had not been removed.
Greatly re-assured by the sight, he awaited his opportunity, and as soon as a
suitable one presented itself, prepared the hole for inspection by breaking away
its edges and begriming it well with plaster and old dirt. This done, he left matters
to arrange themselves; which they did, after this manner.
Mr. Brotherson suddenly developed a great need of him, and it became a
common thing for him to spend the half and, sometimes, the whole of the
evening in the neighbouring room. This was just what he had worked for, and his
constant intercourse with the man whose secret he sought to surprise should
have borne fruit. But it did not. Nothing in the eager but painstaking inventor
showed a distracted mind or a heavily-burdened soul. Indeed, he was so calm in
all his ways, so precise and so self-contained, that Sweetwater often wondered
what had become of the fiery agitator and eloquent propagandist of new and
startling doctrines.
Then, he thought he understood the riddle. The model was reaching its
completion, and Brotherson's extreme interest in it and the confidence he had in
its success swallowed up all lesser emotions. Were the invention to prove a
failure--but there was small hope of this. The man was of too well-poised a mind
to over-estimate his work or miscalculate its place among modern improvements.
Soon he would reach the goal of his desires, be praised, feted, made much of by
the very people he now professedly scorned. There was no thoroughfare for
Sweetwater here. Another road must be found; some secret, strange and
unforeseen method of reaching a soul inaccessible to all ordinary or even
extraordinary impressions.