She could not speak," said Mrs. Linden, in her business-like way. "It was your mother."
Malone went back half-stunned to his seat. It is only when these things come to one's own address that one understands their full force. His mother! Ten years in her grave and yet standing before him. Could he swear it was his mother? No, he could not. Was he morally certain that it was his mother? Yes, he was morally certain. He was shaken to the core.
But other wonders diverted his thoughts. A young man had emerged briskly from the cabinet and had advanced to the front of Mailey, where he had halted.
"Hullo, Jock! Dear old Jock!" said Mailey. "My nephew," he explained to the company. "He always comes when I am with Linden."
"The power is sinking," said the lad, in a clear voice. "I can't stay very long. I am so glad to see you, Uncle. You know, we can see quite clearly in this light, even if you can't."
"Yes, I know you can. I say, Jock. I wanted to tell you that I told your mother I had seen you. She said her Church taught her it was wrong."
"I know. And that I was a demon. Oh, it is rotten, rotten, rotten, and rotten things will fall!" His voice broke in a sob.
"Don't blame her Jock, she believes this."
"No, no, I don't blame her! She will know better some day. The day is coming soon when all truth will be manifest and all these corrupt Churches will be swept off the earth with their cruel doctrines and their caricatures of God."
"Why, Jock, you are becoming quite a heretic!"
"Love, Uncle! Love! That is all that counts. What matter what you believe if you are sweet and kind and unselfish as the Christ was of old?"
"Have you seen Christ?" asked someone.
"Not yet. Perhaps the time may come."
"Is he not in Heaven, then?"
"There are many heavens. I am in a very humble one. But it is glorious all the same."
Enid had thrust her head forward during this dialogue. Her eyes had got used to the light and she could see more clearly than before. The man who stood within a few feet of her was not human. Of that she had no doubt whatever, and yet the points were very subtle. Something in his strange, yellow-white colouring as contrasted with the faces of her neighbours. Something, also, in the curious stiffness of his carriage, as of a man in very rigid stays.
"Now, Jock," said Mailey, "give an address to the company. Tell them a few words about your life."
The figure hung his head, exactly as a shy youth would do in life.
"Oh, Uncle, I can't."
"Come, Jock, we love to listen to you."
"Teach the folk what death is," the figure began. "God wants them to know. That is why He lets us come back. It is nothing. You are no more changed than if you went into the next room. You can't believe you are dead. I didn't. It was only when I saw old Sam that I knew, for I was certain that he was dead, anyhow. Then I came back to mother. And" -- his voice broke -- "she would not receive me."
"Never mind, dear old Jock," said Mailey. "She will learn wisdom."
"Teach them the truth! Teach it to them! Oh, it u so much more important than all the things men talk about. If papers for one week gave as much attention to psychic things as they do to football, it would be known to all. It is ignorance which stands -- "
The observers were conscious of a sort of flash towards the cabinet, but the youth had disappeared.
"Power run down," said Mailey. "Poor lad, he held on to the last. He always did. That was how he died.
There was a long pause. The gramophone started again. Then there was a movement of the curtains. Something was emerging. Mrs. Linden sprang up and waved the figure back. The medium for the first time stirred in his chair and groaned.
"What is the matter, Mrs. Linden?"
"Only half-formed," she answered. "The lower face had not materialized. Some of you would have been alarmed. I think that we shall have no more to-night The power has sunk very low."
So it proved. The lights were gradually turned on. The medium lay with a white face and a clammy brow in his chair, while his wife sedulously watched over him, unbuttoning his collar and bathing his face from a water-glass.