"Seven hats!" said the Clockwork Book. "And not a word out of him!"
Tallie snorted. "He wasn't even a challenge," she said. "The big galoot hardly knew I was there." She threw herself down on the pillows and kicked at the air. "You were awful curious about that orb thing."
The Book's gears ground steadily away. "It is an object that interests me," it admitted.
Tallie was carefully not looking at the Book's face. "And this Finnegan guy... the clockmaker, the inventor. He just sort of disappeared, didn't he?"
The Book agreed that this was so.
"... and you said his story is based on an eyewitness account?" Several more gears began to spin. They were those very old ones that Lew had set in motion - the ones Tallie had noticed needed oil.
"Yes, Tallie. The story has a high index of reliability."
"Okay," she told the Book. "I just wondered."
The gears slowed down and that irritating squeak stopped. Tallie went for the oil can and on her way back, she put the kettle on to boil. "I'm making tea," she said, as she started to oil the gears. There was some nasty scale there, too: she reached for her file. "Will you tell me a story?"
"Of course I will, Tallie," said the Clockwork Boo