To think of his upsettin' you like this. Why, you're shakin' all over!"
"I suppose I wouldn't be a medium if I wasn't high strung. Someone said we were poets, only more so. But it's bad just when work is beginning."
"I'll give you healing."
She put her little work-worn hands over his high forehead and held them there in silence.
"That's better!" said he. "Well done, Mary. I'll have a cigarette in the kitchen. That will finish it."
"No, there's someone here." She had looked out of the window. "Are you fit to see her? It's a woman."
"Yes, yes. I am all right now. Show her in."
An instant later a woman entered, a pale, tragic figure in black, whose appearance told its own tale. Linden motioned her to a chair away from the light. Then he looked through his papers.
"You are Mrs. Blount, are you not? You had an appointment?"
"Yes -- I wanted to ask -- "
"Please ask me nothing. It confuses me."
He was looking at her with the medium's gaze in his light grey eyes -- that gaze which looks round and through a thing rather than at it.
"You have been wise to come, very wise. There is someone beside you who has an urgent message which could not be delayed. I get a name . . . Francis . . . yes, Francis." The woman clasped her hands.
"Yes, yes, it is the name."
"A dark man, very sad, very earnest -- oh, so earnest. He will speak. He must speak! It is urgent. He says, 'Tink-a-bell'. Who is Tink-a-bell?"
"Yes, yes, he called me so. Oh, Frank, Frank, speak to me! Speak!"
"He is speaking. His hand is on your head. 'Tink-a-bell', he says, 'If you do what you purpose doing it will make a gap that it will take many years to cross'. Does that mean anything?"
She sprang from her chair. "It means everything. Oh, Mr. Linden, this was my last chance. If this had failed -- if I found that I had really lost him I meant to go and seek him. I would have taken poison this night."
"Thank God that I have saved you. It is a terrible thing, madame, to take one's life. It breaks the law of Nature, and Nature's laws cannot be broken without punishment. I rejoice that he has been able to save you. He has more to say to you. His message is, 'If you will live and do your duty I will for ever be by your side, far closer to you than ever I was in life. My presence will surround you and guard both you and our three babes.'"
It was marvellous the change! The pale, worn woman who had entered the room was now standing with flushed cheeks and smiling lips. It is true that tears were pouring down her face' but they were tears of joy. She clapped her hands. She made little convulsive movements as if she would dance.
"He's not dead! He's not dead! How can he be dead if he can speak to me and be closer to me than ever? Oh, it's glorious! Oh, Mr. Linden, what can I do for you? You have saved me from shameful death! You have restored my husband to me! Oh, what a God-like power you have!"
The medium was an emotional man and his own tears were moist upon his cheeks.
"My dear lady, say no more. It is not I. I do nothing. You can thank God Who in His mercy permits some of His mortals to discern a spirit or to carry a message. Well, well, a guinea is my fee, if you can afford it. Come back to me if ever you are in trouble."
"I am content now," she cried, drying her eyes, "to await God's will and to do my duty in the world until such time as it shall be ordained that we unite once more."
The widow left the house walking on air. Tom Linden also felt that the clouds left by his brother's visit had been blown away by this joyful incident, for there is no happiness like giving happiness and seeing the beneficient workings of one's own power. He had hardly settled down in his chair, however, before another client was ushered in. This time it was a smartly-dressed, white-spatted, frock-coated man of the world, with a bustling air as of one to whom minutes are precious.
"Mr. Linden, I believe? I have heard, sir, of your powers. I am told that by handling an object you can often get some clue as to the person who owned it?"
"It happens sometimes.