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Chapter 6 (continued)
'Is Gates in?'
He spoke eagerly, as if Gates were extremely necessary to his well-being. It distressed Lord Dawlish to disappoint him, but there was nothing else to be done.
'Gates is in London,' he said.
'What! When did he go there?'
'About four months ago.'
'May I come in a minute?'
'Yes, rather, do.'
He led the way into the sitting-room. The stranger gave abruptly in the middle, as if he were being folded up by some invisible agency, and in this attitude sank into a chair, where he lay back looking at Bill over his knees, like a sorrowful sheep peering over a sharp-pointed fence.
'You're from England, aren't you?'
'Been in New York long?'
'Only a couple of days.'
The stranger folded himself up another foot or so until his knees were higher than his head, and lit a cigarette.
'The curse of New York,' he said, mournfully, 'is the way everything changes in it. You can't take your eyes off it for a minute. The population's always shifting. It's like a railway station. You go away for a bit and come back and try to find your old pals, and they're all gone: Ike's in Arizona, Mike's in a sanatorium, Spike's in jail, and nobody seems to know where the rest of them have got to. I came up from the country two days ago, expecting to find the old gang along Broadway the same as ever, and I'm dashed if I've been able to put my hands on one of them! Not a single, solitary one of them! And it's only six months since I was here last.'
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