This may be my favorite literary mashup, and since the text is getting to be linkrotted away, I'm hosting it here.
“Indeed,” said the man (whom Patience could not help but think of as made of clockwork, though he manifestly was something far stranger), “I speak of these things not merely because of the way that I am made, though indeed a machine should do that which it is made to do, but because I have found that I have developed, through our many conversations, a feeling of that which is proper, both within the bounds of your society and without; and being that I am, here, a gentleman, I find that I am also bound to behave as a gentleman would, and indeed, Lady Patience, I must warn you that this Mr. Connor is a man of less than sterling character.”
Patience was quite taken aback by this sudden expression of personal concern, so unlike the measured rationality of the Mr. Terminus that she had come to know and depend upon, and so for several moments she sat quietly, simply looking upon his earnest, if overly regular, countenance, before she had quite decided upon her reply. “Sir, your concern for me is noted, and not entirely without my appreciation, but you are most forward and presumptuous to offer advice in such a matter, in which you cannot have any interest and which is, therefore, entirely between myself and Mr. Connor.”
At this moment the path through the shrubbery took a sharp dogleg to accommodate a stately lime tree. To Patience's discomfiture Mr. Connor was lounging on the bench around the bole, just striking a match on the sole of his boot. His glance at Mr. Terminus was distinctly cold. He drew on his pipe until the tobacco was well alight before saying, “My dear Patience, clockwork and machinery is properly the sphere of the lower orders. The delicately nurtured female can have no commerce with the denizen of a factory. May I escort you back to the terrace?”
Patience found this unexpected confrontation most distressing. Mr. Connor's wonted pleasant manner and courtesy were most shockingly lacking in this most recent speech. “Mr. Connor, I beg you, do not further ruin my heretofore pleasant impression of you by insulting my friend. Whatever lies between you and Mr. Terminus — for clearly there must be some further history than that of which I am aware — is not something which should be permitted to render impossible the simple courtesies of speech in front of a lady to which you but recently expressed several flattering pleasantries.”
Mr. Connor had smiled, in a way Patience did not find at all comforting, when in her speech she had mentioned “further history”. He rose, throwing back the unruly lock of wheat-colored hair which she had found so endearing, and turned his regard upon Mr. Terminus, whose expression was, if possible, more woodenly controlled than usual. “She knows something of what you are,” he began, almost entirely ignoring Patience in a manner which she found, if anything, even more annoying than his prior manner of address, “but it would seem, Mr. Terminus, that you have neglected at least some important aspects of ... history in your admissions. I confess to being somewhat at a loss to comprehend the precise reasoning behind your current course of action, yet even so you cannot deny the truth — that you were sent here to find Patience and to kill her.”
Patience felt the echoes of those last words pass through her as though they had, themselves, been fired from a pistol. She noted how very odd it was that she was turning towards Mr. Terminus to hear his reply, as though this were a simple conversation of the weather and doings about town. “Mr. Terminus?” she heard herself say, as though from a great distance. “Mr. Connor's words are so outré that I can scarce believe that I comprehend what is being said to me. Please tell me that my ears deceive me.”
Mr. Terminus' face seemed as controlled as ever, yet beneath it Patience could discern a great working of the emotion which the clockwork man had said were the great gift and curse of his time here. Then he bowed his head and said, “I would give anything to speak those words, Miss Patience, yet it is not in me to speak aught but truth in these matters. But believe also that I speak truth, when I say that I have come to know you in these weeks, and that any thought of harm to you is long gone, replaced by something of which I cannot even speak at this time." He stepped away, a slow movement that Patience realized was meant to keep from frightening her, as though she were a small animal which might flee if startled, and turned towards Mr. Connor. “Would you, then, risk everything for both of us, and have me explain all? The consequences to her if she is told the truth — the consequences to us — potentially we both face destruction even if we take this confrontation no farther. Yet a part of me says that she has the right to know the whole truth, as you have begun to reveal it.” Patience had understood his words until then, although they spoke implicitly of secrets yet unrevealed. She found his next sentence, however, quite opaque. “You could take no equipment with you, of course, while my CPU and auxiliary DPUs are fully functional; in truth, I can extrapolate the consequences on the spacetime continuum far more accurately than you would imagine, and they would surprise you.”
Patience did not understand, but as the initial shock wore off and she found — not without some surprise — that she had retained both her feet and her consciousness, Patience realized that something momentous was about to be decided, in this place, at this moment, and she turned towards Mr. Connor, to see what that decision would be. Little though she — as a properly raised young lady — knew of duels or the ways of soldiers — she still guessed, now, that both Mr. Terminus and Mr. Connor were capable of violence she had never before imagined, and she was not sure if, having had this realization, she would ever be the same again.
This work sometimes has been known to under the titles Terminators of Endearment or Pride and Extreme Prejudice. I would be indebted to any reader who can attribute its authorship.