There was a battered brass speaking-trumpet, very discoloured, a tambourine, a musical-box, and a number of smaller objects. "We never know what they may want," said Bolsover, waving his hand over them. " If Wee One calls for a thing and it isn't there she lets us know all about it -- oh, yes, something shocking!"
"She has a temper of her own has Wee One," remarked Mrs. Bolsover.
"Why not, the pretty dear?" said the austere lady. "I expect she has enough to try it with researchers and what-not. I often wonder she troubles to come at all."
"Wee One is our little girl guide," said Bolsover. "You'll hear her presently."
"I do hope she will come," said Enid.
"Well, she never failed us yet, except when that man Meadows clawed hold of the trumpet and put it outside the circle."
"Who is the medium?" asked Malone.
"Well, we don't know ourselves. We all help, I think. Maybe, I give as much as anyone. And mother, she is a help."
"Our family is a co-operative store," said his wife, and everyone laughed.
"I thought one medium was necessary."
"It is usual but not necessary," said Mailey in his deep, authoritative voice. "Crawford showed that pretty clearly in the Gallagher seances when he proved, by weighing chairs, that everyone in the circle lost from half to two pounds at a sitting, though the medium, Miss Kathleen, lost as many as ten or twelve. Here the long series of sittings -- How long, Mr. Bolsover?"
"Four years unbroken."
"The long series has developed everyone to some extent, so that there is a high average output from each, instead of an extraordinary amount from one."
"Output of what?"
"Animal magnetism, ectoplasm -- in fact, power. That is the most comprehensive word. The Christ used that word. 'Much power has gone out of me'. It is 'dunamis' in the Greek, but the translators missed the point and translated it 'virtue'. If a good Greek scholar who was also a profound occult student was to re-translate the New Testament we should get some eye-openers. Dear old Ellis Powell did a little in that direction. His death was a loss to the world."
"Aye, indeed," said Bolsover in a reverent voice. "But now, before we get to work, Mr. Malone, I want you just to note one or two things. You see the white spots on the trumpet and the tambourine? Those are luminous points so that we can see where they are. The table is just our dining-table, good British oak. You can examine it if you like. But you'll see things that won't depend upon the table. Now, Mr. Smiley, out goes the light and we'll ask you for 'The Rock of Ages'."
The harmonium droned in the darkness and the circle sang. They sang very tunefully, too, for the girls had fresh voices and true ears. Low and vibrant, the solemn rhythm became most impressive when no sense but that of hearing was free to act. Their hands, according to instructions, were laid lightly upon the table, and they were warned not to cross their legs. Malone, with his hand touching Enid's, could feel the little quiverings which showed that her nerves were highly strung. The homely, jovial voice of Bolsover relieved the tension.
"That should do it," he said. "I feel as if the conditions were good to-night. Just a touch of frost in the air, too. I'll ask you now to join with me in prayer."
It was effective, that simple, earnest prayer in the darkness -- an inky darkness which was only broken by the last red glow of a dying fire.
"Oh, great Father of us all," said the voice. "You who are beyond our thoughts and who yet pervade our lives, grant that all evil may be kept from us this night and that we may be privileged to get in touch, if only for an hour, with those who dwell upon a higher plane than ours. You are our Father as well as theirs. Permit us, for a short space, to meet in brotherhood, that we may have an added knowledge of that eternal life which awaits us, and so be helped during our years of waiting in this lower world." He ended with the "Our Father", in which we all joined. Then they all sat in expectant silence Outside was the dull roar of traffic and the occasional ill-tempered squawk of a passing car.