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Chapter 2 Which Describes an Evening in Strange Company

  • The love-affair of Enid Challenger and Edward Malone is not of the slightes_nterest to the reader, for the simple reason that it is not of the slightes_nterest to the writer. The unseen, unnoticed lure of the unborn babe i_ommon to all youthful humanity. We deal in this chronicle with matters whic_re less common and of higher interest. It is only mentioned in order t_xplain those terms of frank and intimate comradeship which the narrativ_iscloses. If the human race has obviously improved in anything — in Anglo- Celtic countries, at least — it is that the prim affectations and sly deceit_f the past are lessened, and that young men and women can meet in an equalit_f clean and honest comradeship.
  • A taxi took the adventurers down Edgware Road and into the side-street called
  • "Helbeck Terrace." Halfway down, the dull line of brick houses was broken b_ne glowing gap, where an open arch threw a flood of light into the street.
  • The cab pulled up and the man opened the door.
  • "This is the Spiritualist Church, sir," said he. Then, as he saluted t_cknowledge his tip, he added in the wheezy voice of the man of all weathers:
  • "Tommy-rot, I call it, sir." Having eased his conscience thus, he climbed int_is seat and a moment later his red rear-lamp was a waning circle in th_loom. Malone laughed.
  • "Vox populi, Enid. That is as far as the public has got at present."
  • "Well, it is as far as we have got, for that matter."
  • "Yes, but we are prepared to give them a show. I don't suppose Cabby is. B_ove, it will be hard luck if we can't get in!"
  • There was a crowd at the door and a man was facing them from the top of th_tep, waving his arms to keep them back.
  • "It's no good, friends. I am very sorry, but we can't help it. We've bee_hreatened twice with prosecution for over-crowding." He turned facetious.
  • "Never heard of an Orthodox Church getting into trouble for that. No, sir, no."
  • "I've come all the way from 'Ammersmith," wailed a voice. The light beat upo_he eager, anxious face of the speaker, a little woman in black with a baby i_er arms.
  • "You've come for clairvoyance, Mam," said the usher, with intelligence. "Se_ere, give me the name and address and I will write you, and Mrs. Debbs wil_ive you a sitting gratis. That's better than taking your chance in the crow_hen, with all the will in the world, you can't all get a turn. You'll hav_er to yourself. No, sir, there's no use shovin'… What's that?… Press?"
  • He had caught Malone by the elbow.
  • "Did you say Press? The Press boycott us, sir. Look at the weekly list o_ervices in a Saturday's Times if you doubt it. You wouldn't know there wa_uch a thing as Spiritualism… What paper, sir?… 'The Daily Gazette.' Well, well, we are getting on. And the lady, too?… Special article — my word! Stic_o me, sir, and I'll see what I can do. Shut the doors, Joe. No use, friends.
  • When the building fund gets on a bit we'll have more room for you. Now, Miss, this way, if you please."
  • This way proved to be down the street and round a side-alley which brough_hem to a small door with a red lamp shining above it.
  • "I'll have to put you on the platform — there's no standing room in the bod_f the hall."
  • "Good gracious!" cried Enid.
  • "You'll have a fine view, Miss, and maybe get a readin' for yourself if you_ucky. It often happens that those nearest the medium get the best chance.
  • Now, sir, in here!"
  • Here was a frowsy little room with some hats and top-coats draping the dirty, white-washed walls. A thin, austere woman, with eyes which gleamed from behin_er glasses, was warming her gaunt hands over a small fire. With his back t_he fire in the traditional British attitude was a large, fat man with _loodless face, a ginger moustache and curious, light-blue eyes — the eyes o_ deep-sea mariner. A little bald-headed man with huge horn-rimmed spectacles, and a very handsome and athletic youth in a blue lounge-suit completed th_roup.
  • "The others have gone on the platform, Mr. Peeble. There's only five seat_eft for ourselves." It was the fat man talking.
  • "I know, I know," said the man who had been addressed as Peeble, a nervous, stringy, dried-up person as he now appeared in the light. "But this is th_ress, Mr. Bolsover. Daily Gazette special article… Malone, the name, an_hallenger. This is Mr. Bolsover, our President. This is Mrs. Debbs o_iverpool, the famous clairvoyante. Here is Mr. James, and this tall youn_entleman is Mr. Hardy Williams, our energetic secretary. Mr. Williams is _ailer for the buildin' fund. Keep your eye on your pockets if Mr. Williams i_round."
  • They all laughed.
  • "Collection comes later," said Mr. Williams, smiling.
  • "A good, rousing article is our best collection," said the stout president.
  • "Ever been to a meeting before, sir?"
  • "No," said Malone.
  • "Don't know much about it, I expect."
  • "No, I don't."
  • "Well, well, we must expect a slating. They get it from the humorous angle a_irst. We'll have you writing a very comic account. I never could see anythin_ery funny in the spirit of one's dead wife, but it's a matter of taste and o_nowledge also. If they don't know, how can they take it seriously? I don'_lame them. We were mostly like that ourselves once. I was one of Bradlaugh'_en, and sat under Joseph MacCabe until my old Dad came and pulled me out."
  • "Good for him!" said the Liverpool medium.
  • "It was the first time I found I had powers of my own. I saw him like I se_ou now."
  • "Was he one of us in the body?"
  • "Knew no more than I did. But they come on amazin' at the other side if th_ight folk get hold of them."
  • "Time's up!" said Mr. Peeble, snapping his watch. "You are on the right of th_hair, Mrs. Debbs. Will you go first? Then you, Mr. Chairman. Then you two an_yself. Get on the left, Mr. Hardy Williams, and lead the singin'. They wan_armin' up and you can do it. Now then, if you please!"
  • The platform was already crowded, but the newcomers threaded their way to th_ront amid a decorous murmur of welcome. Mr. Peeble shoved and exhorted an_wo end seats emerged upon which Enid and Malone perched themselves. Th_rrangement suited them well, for they could use their notebooks freely behin_he shelter of the folk in front.
  • "What is your reaction?" whispered Enid.
  • "Not impressed as yet."
  • "No, nor I," said Enid, "but it's very interesting all the same."
  • People who are in earnest are always interesting, whether you agree with the_r not, and it was impossible to doubt that these people were extremel_arnest. The hall was crammed, and as one looked down one saw line after lin_f upturned faces, curiously alike in type, women predominating, but me_unning them close. That type was not distinguished nor intellectual, but i_as undeniably healthy, honest and sane. Small trades-folk, male and femal_hopwalkers, better class artisans, lower middle-class women worn wit_ousehold cares, occasional young folk in search of a sensation — these wer_he impressions which the audience conveyed to the trained observation o_alone.
  • The fat president rose and raised his hand.
  • "My friends," said he, "we have had once more to exclude a great number o_eople who desired to be with us to-night. It's all a question of the buildin_und, and Mr. Williams on my left will be glad to hear from any of you I wa_n a hotel last week and they had a notice hung up in the reception bureau:
  • 'No cheques accepted'. That's not the way Brother Williams talks. You just tr_im."
  • The audience laughed. The atmosphere was clearly that of the lecture-hal_ather than of the Church.
  • "There's just one more thing I want to say before I sit down. I'm not here t_alk. I'm here to hold this chair down and I mean to do it. It's a hard thin_ ask. I want Spiritualists to keep away on Sunday nights. They take up th_oom that inquirers should have. You can have the morning service. But it_etter for the cause that there should be room for the stranger. You've ha_t. Thank God for it. Give the other man a chance." The president plumped bac_nto his chair.
  • Mr. Peeble sprang to his feet. He was clearly the general utility man wh_merges in every society and probably becomes its autocrat. With his thin, eager face and darting hands he was more than a live wire — he was a whol_undle of live wires. Electricity seemed to crackle from his fingertips.
  • "Hymn One!" he shrieked.
  • A harmonium droned and the audience rose. It was a fine hymn and lustily sung:
  • "The world hath felt a quickening breath
  • From Heaven's eternal shore,
  • And souls triumphant over death
  • Return to earth once more."
  • There was a ring of exultation in the voices as the refrain rolled out:
  • "For this we hold our Jubilee
  • For this with joy we sing,
  • Oh Grave, where is thy victory
  • Oh Death, where is thy sting?"
  • Yes, they were in earnest, these people. And they did not appear to b_entally weaker than their fellows. And yet both Enid and Malone felt _ensation of great pity as they looked at them. How sad to be deceived upon s_ntimate a matter as this, to be duped by impostors who used their most sacre_eelings and their beloved dead as counters with which to cheat them. What di_hey know of the laws of evidence, of the cold, immutable decrees o_cientific law? Poor earnest, honest, deluded people!
  • "Now!" screamed Mr. Peeble. "We shall ask Mr. Munro from Australia to give u_he invocation."
  • A wild-looking old man with a shaggy beard and slumbering fire in his eye_ose up and stood for a few seconds with his gaze cast down. Then he began _rayer, very simple, very unpremeditated. Malone jotted down the firs_entence: "Oh, Father, we are very ignorant folk and do not well know how t_pproach you, but we will pray to you the best we know how." It was all cas_n that humble key. Enid and Malone exchanged a swift glance of appreciation.
  • There was another hymn, less successful than the first, and the chairman the_nnounced that Mr. James Jones of North Wales would now deliver a tranc_ddress which would embody the views of his well-known control, Alasha th_tlantean.
  • Mr. James Jones, a brisk and decided little man in a faded check suit, came t_he front and, after standing a minute or so as if in deep thought, gave _iolent shudder and began to talk. It must be admitted that save for a certai_ixed stare and vacuous glazing of the eye there was nothing to show tha_nything save Mr. James Jones of North Wales was the orator. It has also to b_tated that if Mr. Jones shuddered at the beginning it was the turn of hi_udience to shudder afterwards. Granting his own claim, he had proved clearl_hat an Atlantean spirit might be a portentous bore. He droned on wit_latitudes and ineptitudes while Malone whispered to Enid that if Alasha was _air specimen of the population it was just as well that his native land wa_afely engulfed in the Atlantic Ocean. When, with another rather melodramati_hudder, he emerged from his trance, the chairman sprang to his feet with a_lacrity which showed that he was taking no risks lest the Atlantean shoul_eturn.
  • "We have present with us to-night," he cried, "Mrs. Debbs, the well-know_lairvoyante of Liverpool. Mrs. Debbs is, as many of you know, richly endowe_ith several of those gifts of the spirit of which Saint Paul speaks, and th_iscerning of spirits is among them. These things depend upon laws which ar_eyond our control, but a sympathetic atmosphere is essential, and Mrs. Debb_ill ask for your good wishes and your prayers while she endeavours to ge_nto touch with some of those shining ones on the other side who may honour u_ith their presence to-night."
  • The president sat down and Mrs. Debbs rose amid discreet applause. Very tall, very pale, very thin, with an aquiline face and eyes shining brightly fro_ehind her gold-rimmed glasses, she stood facing her expectant audience. He_ead was bent. She seemed to be listening.
  • "Vibrations!" she cried at last. "I want helpful vibrations. Give me a vers_n the harmonium, please."
  • The instrument droned out "Jesu, Lover of my soul."
  • The audience sat in silence, expectant and a little awed.
  • The hall was not too well lit and dark shadows lurked in the corners. Th_edium still bent her head as if her ears were straining. Then she raised he_and and the music stopped.
  • "Presently! Presently! All in good time," said the woman, addressing som_nvisible companion. Then to the audience, "I don't feel that the condition_re very good to-night. I will do my best and so will they. But I must talk t_ou first."
  • And she talked. What she said seemed to the two strangers to be absolut_abble. There was no consecutive sense in it, though now and again a phrase o_entence caught the attention. Malone put his stylo in his pocket. There wa_o use reporting a lunatic. A Spiritualist next him saw his bewildered disgus_nd leaned towards him.
  • "She's tuning in. She's getting her wave length," he whispered. "It's all _atter of vibration. Ah, there you are!"
  • She had stopped in the very middle of a sentence. Her long arm and quiverin_orefinger shot out. She was pointing at an elderly woman in the second row.
  • "You! Yes, you, with the red feather. No, not you. The stout lady in front.
  • Yes, you! There is a spirit building up behind you. It is a man. He is a tal_an — six foot maybe. High forehead, eyes grey or blue, a long chin brow_oustache, lines on his face. Do you recognize him, friend?"
  • The stout woman looked alarmed, but shook her head.
  • "Well, see if I can help you. He is holding up a book — brown book with _lasp. It's a ledger same as they have in offices. I get the words 'Caledonia_nsurance'. Is that any help?"
  • The stout woman pursed her lips and shook her head.
  • "Well, I can give you a little more. He died after a long illness. I get ches_rouble — asthma."
  • The stout woman was still obdurate, but a small, angry, red-faced person, tw_laces away from her, sprang to her feet.
  • "It's my 'usband, ma'm. Tell 'im I don't want to 'ave any more dealin's wit_im." She sat down with decision.
  • "Yes, that's right. He moves to you now. He was nearer the other. He wants t_ay he's sorry. It doesn't do, you know, to have hard feelings to the dead.
  • Forgive and forget. It's all over. I get a message for you. It is: 'Do it an_y blessing go with you'! Does that mean anything to you?"
  • The angry woman looked pleased and nodded.
  • "Very good." The clairvoyante suddenly darted out her finger towards the crow_t the door "It's for the soldier."
  • A soldier in khaki, looking very much amazed, was in the front of the knot o_eople.
  • "Wot's for me?" he asked.
  • "It's a soldier. He has a corporal's stripes. He is a big man with grizzle_air. He has a yellow tab on his shoulders. I get the initials J. H. Do yo_now him?"
  • "Yes — but he's dead," said the soldier.
  • He had not understood that it was a Spiritualistic Church, and the whol_roceedings had been a mystery to him. They were rapidly explained by hi_eighbours. "My Gawd!" cried the soldier, and vanished amid a general titter.
  • In the pause Malone could hear the constant mutter of the medium as she spok_o someone unseen.
  • "Yes, yes, wait your turn! Speak up, woman! Well, take your place near him.
  • How should I know? Well, I will if I can." She was like a janitor at th_heatre marshalling a queue.
  • Her next attempt was a total failure. A solid man with bushy side-whisker_bsolutely refused to have anything to do with an elderly gentleman wh_laimed kinship. The medium worked with admirable patience, coming back agai_nd again with some fresh detail, but no progress could be made.
  • "Are you a Spiritualist, friend?"
  • "Yes, for ten years."
  • "Well, you know there are difficulties."
  • "Yes, I know that."
  • "Think it over. It may come to you later. We must just leave it at that. I a_nly sorry for your friend."
  • There was a pause during which Enid and Malone exchanged whispere_onfidences.
  • "What do you make of it, Enid?"
  • "I don't know. It confuses me."
  • "I believe it is half guess-work and the other half a case of confederates.
  • These people are all of the same church, and naturally they know each other'_ffairs. If they don't know they can inquire."
  • "Someone said it was Mrs. Debbs' first visit."
  • "Yes but they could easily coach her up. It is all clever quackery and bluff.
  • It must be, for just think what is implied if it is not."
  • "Telepathy, perhaps."
  • "Yes, some element of that also. Listen! She is off again."
  • Her next attempt was more fortunate. A lugubrious man at the back of the hal_eadily recognized the description and claims of his deceased wife.
  • "I get the name Walter."
  • "Yes, that's me."
  • "She called you Wat?"
  • "No."
  • "Well, she calls you Wat now. 'Tell Wat to give my love to the children'.
  • That's how I get it. She is worrying about the children."
  • "She always did."
  • "Well, they don't change. Furniture. Something about furniture. She says yo_ave it away. Is that right?"
  • "Well, I might as well."
  • The audience tittered. It was strange how the most solemn and comic wer_ternally blended — strange and yet very natural and human.
  • "She has a message: 'The man will pay up and all will be well. Be a good man, Wat, and we will be happier here then ever we were on earth'."
  • The man put his hand over his eyes. As the seeress stood irresolute the tal_oung secretary half rose and whispered something in her ear. The woman shot _wift glance over her left shoulder in the direction of the visitors.
  • "I'll come back to it," said she.
  • She gave two more descriptions to the audience, both of them rather vague, an_oth recognized with some reservations. It was a curious fact that her detail_ere such as she could not possibly see at the distance. Thus, dealing with _orm which she claimed had built up at the far end of the hall, she could non_he less give the colour of the eyes and small points of the face. Malon_oted the point as one which he could use for destructive criticism. He wa_ust jotting it down when the woman's voice sounded louder and, looking up, h_ound that she had turned her head and her spectacles were flashing in hi_irection.
  • "It is not often I give a reading from the platform," said she, her fac_otating between him and the audience, "but we have friends here to-night, an_t may interest them to come in contact with the spirit people. There is _resence building up behind the gentleman with a moustache — the gentleman wh_its next to the young lady. Yes, sir, behind you. He is a man of middle size, rather inclined to shortness. He is old, over sixty, with white hair, curve_ose and a white, small beard of the variety that is called goatee. He is n_elation, I gather, but a friend. Does that suggest anyone to you, sir?"
  • Malone shook his head with some contempt. "It would nearly fit any old man,"
  • he whispered to Enid.
  • "We will try to get a little closer. He has deep lines on his face. I shoul_ay he was an irritable man in his lifetime. He was quick and nervous in hi_ays. Does that help you?"
  • Again Malone shook his head.
  • "Rot! Perfect rot," he muttered.
  • "Well, he seems very anxious, so we must do what we can for him. He holds up _ook. It is a learned book. He opens it and I see diagrams in it. Perhaps h_rote it — or perhaps he taught from it. Yes, he nods. He taught from it. H_as a teacher."
  • Malone remained unresponsive.
  • "I don't know that I can help him any more. Ah! there is one thing. He has _ole over his right eyebrow."
  • Malone started as if he had been stung.
  • "One mole?" he cried.
  • The spectacles flashed round again.
  • "Two moles — one large, one small."
  • "My God!" gasped Malone. "It's Professor Summerlee!"
  • "Ah, you've got it. There's a message: 'Greetings to old —' It's a long nam_nd begins with a C. I can't get it. Does it mean anything?"
  • "Yes."
  • In an instant she had turned and was describing something or someone else. Bu_he had left a badly-shaken man upon the platform behind her.
  • It was at this point that the orderly service had a remarkable interruptio_hich surprised the audience as much as it did the two visitors. This was th_udden appearance beside the chairman of a tall, pale-faced bearded ma_ressed like a superior artisan, who held up his hand with a quietl_mpressive gesture as one who was accustomed to exert authority. He then half- turned and said a word to Mr. Bolsover.
  • "This is Mr. Miromar of Dalston," said the chairman. "Mr. Miromar has _essage to deliver. We are always glad to hear from Mr. Miromar."
  • The reporters could only get a half-view of the newcomer's face, but both o_hem were struck by his noble bearing and by the massive outline of his hea_hich promised very unusual intellectual power. His voice when he spoke ran_learly and pleasantly through the hall.
  • "I have been ordered to give the message wherever I think that there are ear_o hear it. There are some here who are ready for it, and that is why I hav_ome. They wish that the human race should gradually understand the situatio_o that there shall be the less shock or panic. I am one of several who ar_hosen to carry the news."
  • "A lunatic, I'm afraid!" whispered Malone, scribbling hard upon his knee.
  • There was a general inclination to smile among the audience. And yet there wa_omething in the man's manner and voice which made them hang on every word.
  • "Things have now reached a climax. The very idea of progress has been mad_aterial. It is progress to go swiftly, to send swift messages, to build ne_achinery. All this is a diversion of real ambition. There is only one rea_rogress — spiritual progress. Mankind gives it a lip tribute but presses o_pon its false road of material science.
  • "The Central Intelligence recognized that amid all the apathy there was als_uch honest doubt which had out-grown old creeds and had a right to fres_vidence. Therefore fresh evidence was sent — evidence which made the lif_fter death as clear as the sun in the heavens. It was laughed at b_cientists, condemned by the churches, became the butt of the newspapers, an_as discarded with contempt. That was the last and greatest blunder o_umanity."
  • The audience had their chins up now. General speculations were beyond thei_ental horizon. But this was very clear to their comprehension. There was _urmur of sympathy and applause.
  • "The thing was now hopeless. It had got beyond all control. Therefor_omething sterner was needed since Heaven's gift had been disregarded. Th_low fell. Ten million young men were laid dead upon the ground. Twice as man_ere mutilated. That was God's first warning to mankind. But it was vain. Th_ame dull materialism prevailed as before. Years of grace were given, and sav_he stirrings of the spirit seen in such churches as these, no change wa_nywhere to be seen. The nations heaped up fresh loads of sin, and sin mus_ver be atoned for. Russia became a cesspool. Germany was unrepentant of he_errible materialism which had been the prime cause of the war. Spain an_taly were sunk in alternate atheism and superstition. France had no religiou_deal. Britain was confused and distracted, full of wooden sects which ha_othing of life in them. America had abused her glorious opportunities and, instead of being the loving younger brother to a stricken Europe, she held u_ll economic reconstruction by her money claims; she dishonoured the signatur_f her own president, and she refused to join that League of Peace which wa_he one hope of the future. All have sinned, but some more than others, an_heir punishment will be in exact proportion.
  • "And that punishment soon comes. These are the exact words I have been aske_o give you. I read them lest I should in any way garble them."
  • He took a slip of paper from his pocket and read:
  • "'What we want is, not that folk should be frightened, but that they shoul_egin to change themselves — to develop themselves on more spiritual lines. W_re not trying to make people nervous, but to prepare while there is yet time.
  • The world cannot go on as it has done. It would destroy itself if it did.
  • Above all we must sweep away the dark cloud of theology which has come betwee_ankind and God'."
  • He folded up the paper and replaced it in his pocket. "That is what I hav_een asked to tell you. Spread the news where there seems to be a window i_he soul. Say to them, 'Repent! Reform! the Time is at hand'."
  • He had paused and seemed about to turn. The spell was broken. The audienc_ustled and leaned back in its seats. Then a voice from the back:
  • "Is this the end of the world, mister?"
  • "No," said the stranger, curtly.
  • "Is it the Second Coming?" asked another voice.
  • "Yes."
  • With quick light steps he threaded his way among the chairs on the platfor_nd stood near the door. When Malone next looked round he was gone.
  • "He is one of these Second-coming fanatics," he whispered to Enid. "There ar_ lot of them — Christadelphians, Russellites, Bible Students and what-not.
  • But he was impressive."
  • "Very," said Enid.
  • "We have, I am sure, been very interested in what our friend has told us,"
  • said the chairman. "Mr. Miromar is in hearty sympathy with our movement eve_hough he cannot be said actually to belong to it. I am sure he is alway_elcome upon our platforms. As to his prophecy, it seems to me the world ha_ad enough trouble without our anticipating any more. If it is as our frien_ays, we can't do much to mend the matter. We can only go about our dail_obs, do them as well as we can, and await the event in full confidence o_elp from above. If it's the Day of Judgment to-morrow," he added, smiling, "_ean to look after my provision store at Hammersmith to-day. We shall no_ontinue with the service."
  • There was a vigorous appeal for money and a great deal about the building-fun_rom the young secretary. "It's a shame to think that there are more left i_he street than in the building on a Sunday night. We all give our services.
  • No one takes a penny. Mrs. Debbs is here for her bare expenses. But we wan_nother thousand pounds before we can start. There is one brother here wh_ortgaged his house to help us. That's the spirit that wins. Now let us se_hat you can do for us to-night."
  • A dozen soup-plates circulated, and a hymn was sung to the accompaniment o_uch chinking of coin. Enid and Malone conversed in undertones.
  • "Professor Summerlee died, you know, at Naples last year."
  • "Yes, I remember him well."
  • "And 'old C' was, of course, your father."
  • "It was really remarkable."
  • "Poor old Summerlee. He thought survival was an absurdity. And here he is — o_ere he seems to be."
  • The soup-plates returned — it was mostly brown soup, unhappily, and they wer_eposited on the table where the eager eye of the secretary appraised thei_alue. Then the little shaggy man from Australia gave a benediction in th_ame simple fashion as the opening prayer. It needed no Apostolic successio_r laying-on of hands to make one feel that his words were from a human hear_nd might well go straight to a Divine one. Then the audience rose and san_heir final farewell hymn — a hymn with a haunting tune and a sad, swee_efrain of "God keep you safely till we meet once more." Enid was surprised t_eel the tears running down her cheeks. These earnest, simple folks with thei_irect methods had wrought upon her more than all the gorgeous service an_olling music of the cathedral.
  • Mr. Bolsover, the stout president, was in the waiting-room and so was Mrs.
  • Debbs.
  • "Well, I expect you are going to let us have it," he laughed. "We are used t_t Mr. Malone. We don't mind. But you will see the turn some day. Thes_rticles may rise up in judgement."
  • "I will treat it fairly, I assure you."
  • "Well, we ask no more." The medium was leaning with her elbow on the mante_iece, austere and aloof.
  • "I am afraid you are tired," said Enid.
  • "No, young lady, I am never tired in doing the work of the spirit people. The_ee to that."
  • "May I ask," Malone ventured, "whether you ever knew Professor Summerlee?"
  • The medium shook her head. "No, sir, no. They always think I know them. I kno_one of them. They come and I describe them."
  • "How do you get the message?"
  • "Clairaudient. I hear it. I hear them all the time. The poor things all wan_o come through and they pluck at me and pull me and pester me on th_latform. 'Me next — me — me'! That's what I hear. I do my best, but I can'_andle them all."
  • "Can you tell me anything of that prophetic person?" asked Malone of th_hairman. Mr. Bolsover shrugged his shoulders with a deprecating smile.
  • "He is an Independent. We see him now and again as a sort of comet passin_cross us. By the way, it comes back to me that he prophesied the war. I'm _ractical man myself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. We ge_lenty in ready cash without any bills for the future. Well, good night! Trea_s as well as you can."
  • "Good night," said Enid.
  • "Good night," said Mrs. Debbs. "By the way, young lady, you are a mediu_ourself. Good night!"
  • And so they found themselves in the street once more inhaling long draughts o_he night air. It was sweet after that crowded hall. A minute later they wer_n the rush of the Edgware Road and Malone had hailed a cab to carry them bac_o Victoria Gardens.