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208                                WILLIAM
I expect the young ruffian's hiding somewhere but his mother's got worried about him so I said I'd have a look round. I suppose you've seen nothing of him ? "
" No," said the Professor absently. " I've seen no boys at all, " but," he added mysteriously, " as you're the first person who's come to the house since he arrived I—I'll show you him."
" Whom ? " said William's father.
" A Martian," said the Professor.
" A what ? " said William's father.
" A Martian," said the Professor, " an inhabitant of the planet Mars. I've been in communication with it for some time. He's asleep at present, but-----"
Cautiously he opened the bedroom door. The Martian leapt from the bed, tore past them with lowered head, dashed down the stairs and out of the door.
The Professor and Mr. Brown followed.
" Into the woods," gasped the Professor, " we came that way."
They ran out of the little gate that led to the wood and gazed about. There was no sign of the white-robed figure.
" I'm afraid he's gone," said the Professor sadly. " I've been afraid of this from the beginning. You see the atmospheric conditions may possibly be different. I mean, a Martian may only be able to breath this atmosphere for a short time. I'm afraid that he's gone back."
" How do you think he's gone back ? " said William's father.
" The same way as he came," said the Professor mysteriously. " I don't know what way that was. Nor does anyone except the man who came by it. . . .'
" And you really believe—" began William's father.
" I know," said the Professor solemnly, " I don't expect anyone else to believe me. In fact I know they won't. No further developments may take place in this particular branch of research for years—probably
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