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Книга The Land Of Mist. Содержание - 9. Which Introduces Some Very Physical Phenomena

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«I think you will find everything here,» he said, handing over the bag.

Roxton and Malone took him by either arm and hurried him down to the road.

«By Jove! You don't give us the slip again!» cried the nobleman. « Padre, you should have a row of Victoria Crosses.»

«No, no, it was my duty. Poor fellow, he needed help so badly. I am but a fellow-sinner and yet I was able to give it.»

«You did him good?»

«I humbly hope so. I was but the instrument of the higher forces. The house is haunted no longer. He promised. But I will not speak of it now. It may be easier in days to come.»

The landlord and the maids stared at the three adventurers in amazement when, in the chill light of the winter dawn, they presented themselves at the inn once more. Each of them seemed to have aged five years in the night. Mr. Mason, with the reaction upon him, threw himself down upon the horsehair sofa in the humble coffee-room and was instantly asleep.

«Poor chap! He looks pretty bad!» said Malone. Indeed, his white, haggard face and long, limp limbs might have been those of a corpse.

«We will get a cup of hot tea into him,» Lord Roxton answered, warming his hands at the fire, which the maid had just lit. « By Jove! We shall be none the worse for some ourselves. Well, young fellah, we've got what we came for. I've had my sensation, and you've had your copy.

«And he has had the saving of a soul. Well, we must admit that our objects seem very humble compared to his.»

They caught the early train to London, and had a carriage to themselves. Mason had said little and seemed to be lost in thought. Suddenly he turned to his companions. «I say, you two, would you mind joining me in prayer?» Lord Roxton made a grimace. « I warn you, padre, I am rather out of practice.»

«Please kneel down with me. I want your aid.»

They knelt down, side by side, the padre in the middle. Malone made a mental note of the prayer.

«Father, we are all Your children, poor, weak, helpless creatures, swayed by Fate and circumstance. I implore You that You will turn eyes of compassion upon the man, Rupert Tremayne, who wandered far from You, and is now in the dark. He has sunk deep, very deep, for he had a proud heart which would not soften, and a cruel mind, which was filled with hate. But now he would turn to the light, and so I beg help for him and for the woman, Emma, who, for the love of him, has gone down into the darkness. May she raise him, as she had tried to do. May they both break the bonds of evil memory which tie them to earth. May they, from to-night, move up towards that glorious light which sooner or later shines upon even the lowest.»

They rose from their knees.

«That's better!» cried the padre, thumping his chest with his bony hand, and breaking out into his expansive, toothsome grin. « What a night! Good Lord, what a night!» *

* Vide Appendix

9. Which Introduces Some Very Physical Phenomena

MALONE seemed destined to be entangled in the affairs of the Linden family, for he had hardly seen the last of the unfortunate Tom before he became involved in a very much more unpleasant fashion with his unsavoury brother.

The episode began by a telephone ring in the morning and the voice of Algernon Mailey at the far end of the wire.

«Are you clear for this afternoon?»

«At your service.»

«I say, Malone, you are a hefty man. You played Rugger for Ireland, did you not? You don't mind a possible rough-and-tumble, do you?»

Malone grinned over the receiver.

«You can count me in.»

«It may be really rather formidable. We shall have possibly to tackle a prize-fighter.»

«Right-o!» said Malone, cheerfully.

«And we want another man for the job. Do you know any fellow who would come along just for the sake of the adventure. If he knows anything about psychic matters, all the better.»

Malone puzzled for a moment. Then he had an inspiration.

«There is Roxton,» said he. « He's not a chicken, but he is a useful man in a row. I think I could get him. He has been keen on your subject since his Dorsetshire experience.»

«Right! Bring him along! If he can't come, we shall have to tackle the job ourselves. Forty-one, Belshaw Gardens, S.W. Near Earl's Court Station. Three p.m. Right!»

Malone at once rang up Lord Roxton, and soon heard the familiar voice.

«What's that, young fellah? . . . A scrap? Why, certainly. What … I mean I had a golf match at Richmond Deer Park, but this sounds more attractive…. What? Very good. I'll meet you there.»

And so it came about that at the hour of three, Mailey, Lord Roxton and Malone found themselves seated round the fire in the comfortable drawing-room of the barrister. His wife, a sweet and beautiful woman, who was his helpmate in his spiritual as well as in his material life, was there to welcome them.

«Now, dear, you are not on in this act,» said Mailey. «You will retire discreetly into the wings. Don't worry if you hear a row.»

«But I do worry, dear. You'll get hurt.»

Mailey laughed.

«I think your furniture may possibly get hurt. You have nothing else to fear, dear. And it's all for the good of the Cause. That always settles it,» he explained, as his wife reluctantly left the room. « I really think she would go to the stake for the Cause. Her great, loving, womanly heart knows what it would mean for this grey earth if people could get away from the shadow of death, and realize the great happiness that is to come. By Jove! she is an inspiration to me…. Well,» he went on with a laugh, « I must not get on to that subject. We have something very different to think of – something as hideous and vile as she is beautiful and good. It concerns Tom Linden's brother.»

«I've heard of the fellow,» said Malone. « I used to box a bit and I am still a member of the N.S.C. Silas Linden was very nearly champion in the Welters.»

«That's the man. He is out of a job and thought he would take up mediumship. Naturally I and other Spiritualists took him seriously, for we all love his brother, and these powers often run in families, so that his claim seemed reasonable. So we gave him a trial last night.»

«Well, what happened?»

«I suspected the fellow from the first. You understand that it is hardly possible for a medium to deceive an experienced Spiritualist. When there is deception it is at the expense of outsiders. I watched him carefully from the first, and I seated myself near the cabinet. Presently he emerged clad in white. I broke the contact by prearrangement with my wife who sat next me, and I felt him as he passed me. He was, of course, in white. I had a pair of scissors in my pocket and snipped off a bit from the edge.»

Mailey drew a triangular piece of linen from his pocket.

«There it is, you see. Very ordinary linen. I have no doubt the fellow was wearing his night-gown.»

«Why did you not have a show-up at once?» asked Lord Roxton.

«There were several ladies there, and I was the only really able-bodied man in the room.»

«Well, what do you propose?»

«I have appointed that he come here at three-thirty. He is due now. Unless he has noticed the small cut in his linen, I don't think he has any suspicion why I want him.»

«What will you do?»

«Well, that depends on him. We have to stop him at any cost. That is the way our Cause gets bemired. Some villain who knows nothing about it comes into it for money and so the labours of the honest mediums get discounted. The public very naturally brackets them all together. With your help I can talk to this fellow on equal terms which I certainly could not do if I were alone. By Jove, here he is!»

There was a heavy step outside. The door was opened and Silas Linden, fake medium and ex-prize-fighter, walked in. His small, piggy grey eyes under their shaggy brows looked round with suspicion at the three men. Then he forced a smile and nodded to Mailey.

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