It was apparently a wisp of luminous vapour. It whisked across from one side to the other and then circled in the air. By degrees it condensed into a circular disc of radiance about the size of a bull's-eye lantern. It cast no reflection round it and was simply a clean-cut circle in the gloom. Once it approached Enid's face and Malone saw it clearly from the side.
"Why, there is a hand holding it!" he cried, with sudden suspicion.
"Yes, there is a materialized hand," said Mailey. "I can see it clearly."
"Would you like it to touch you" Mr. Malone?"
"Yes, if it will."
The light vanished and an instant afterwards Malone felt pressure upon his own hand. He turned it palm upwards and clearly felt three fingers laid across it, smooth, warm fingers of adult size. He closed his own fingers and the hand seemed to melt away in his grasp.
"It has gone!" he gasped.
"Yes! Red Cloud is not very good at materializations. Perhaps we don't give him the proper sort of power. But his lights are excellent."
Several more had broken out. They were of different types, slow-moving clouds and little dancing sparks like glow-worms. At the same time both visitors were conscious of a cold wind which blew upon their faces. It was no delusion, for Enid felt her hair stream across her forehead.
"You fed the rushing wind," said Mailey. "Some of these lights would pass for tongues of fire, would they not? Pentecost does not seem such a very remote or impossible thing, does it?"
The tambourine had risen in the air, and the dot of luminous paint showed that it was circling round. Presently it descended and touched their heads each in turn. Then with a jingle it quivered down upon the table.
"Why a tambourine? It seems always to be a tambourine," remarked Malone.
"It is a convenient little instrument," Mailey explained. "The only one which shows automatically by its noise where it is flying. I don't know what other I could suggest except a musical-box."
"Our box here flies round somethin' amazin' " said Mrs. Bolsover. "It thinks nothing of winding itself up in the air as it flies. It's a heavy box too."
"Nine pounds," said Bolsover. "Well, we seem to have got to the end of things. I don't think we shall get much more to-night. It has not been a bad sitting -- what I should call a fair average sitting. We must wait a little before we turn on the light. Well, Mr. Malone, what do you think of it? Let's have any objections now before we part. That's the worst of you inquirers, you know. You often bottle things up in your own minds and let them loose afterwards, when it would have been easy to settle it at the time. Very nice and polite to our faces, and then we are a gang of swindlers in the report."
Malone's head was throbbing and he passed his hand over his heated brow.
"I am confused," he said, "but impressed. Oh, yes, certainly impressed. I've read of these things, but it is very different when you see them. What weighs most with me is the obvious sincerity and sanity of all you people. No one could doubt that."
"Come. We're gettin' on." said Bolsover.
"I try to think the objections which would be raised by others who were not present. I'll have to answer them. First, there is the oddity of it all. It is so different to our preconceptions of spirit people."
"We must fit our theories to the facts," said Mailey. "Up to now we have fitted the facts to our theories. You must remember that we have been dealing to-night -- with all respect to our dear good hosts -- with a simple, primitive, earthly type of spirit, who has his very definite uses, but is not to be taken as an average type. You might as well take the stevedore whom you see on the quay as being a representative Englishman."
"There's Luke" said Bolsover.
"Ah, yes, he is, of course, very much higher. You heard him and could judge. What else, Mr. Malone?"
"Well, the darkness! Everything done in darkness. Why should all mediumship be associated with gloom?"
"You mean all physical mediumship. That is the only branch of the subject which needs darkness.