Where it comes through the skin you get a bruise. Where it comes from mucous membrane you get bleeding."
"And when it comes from nothing, you get nothing"" said the researcher with a grin.
"I will explain the procedure in a few words," said Mrs. Ogilvy, when everyone was seated. "Mr. Linden does not enter the cabinet at all. He sits outside it, and as he tolerates red light you will be able to satisfy yourselves that he does not leave his seat. Mrs. Linden sits on the other side. She is there to regulate and explain. In the first place we would wish you to examine the cabinet. One of you will also please lock the door on the inside and be responsible for the key."
The cabinet proved to be a mere tent of hangings, detached from the wall and standing on a solid platform. The researchers ferreted about inside it and stamped on the boards. All seemed solid.
"What is the use of it?" Malone whispered to Mailey.
"It serves as a reservoir and condensing place for the ectoplasmic vapour from the medium, which would otherwise diffuse over the room."
"It has been known to serve other purposes also," remarked one of the researchers, who overheard the conversation.
"That's true enough," said Mailey philosophically. "I am all in favour of caution and supervision."
"Well, it seems fraud-proof on this occasion, if the medium sits outside." The two researchers were agreed on this.
The medium was seated on one side of the little tent, his wife on the other. The light was out, and a small red lamp near the ceiling was just sufficient to enable outlines to be clearly seen. As the eyes became accustomed to it some detail could also be observed.
"Mr. Linden will begin by some clairvoyant readings" said Mrs. Linden. Her whole attitude, seated beside the cabinet with her hands on her lap and the air of a proprietor, made Enid smile, for she thought of Mrs. Jarley and her waxworks.
Linden, who was not in a trance, began to give clairvoyance. It was not very good. Possibly the mixed influence of so many sitters of various types at close quarters was too disturbing. That was the excuse which he gave himself when several of his descriptions were unrecognized. But Malone was more shocked by those which were recognized, since it was so clear that the word was put into the medium's mouth. It was the folly of the sitter rather than the fault of the medium, but it was disconcerting all the same.
"I see a young man with brown eyes and a rather drooping moustache."
"Oh, darling, darling, have you then come back!" cried Miss Badley. "Oh, has he a message?"
"He sends his love and does not forget."
"Oh, how evidential! It is so exactly what the dear boy would have said! My first lover, you know," she added, in a simpering voice to the company. "He never fails to come. Mr. Linden has brought him again and again."
"There is a young fellow in khaki building up on the left. I see a symbol over his head. It might be a Greek cross."
"Jim -- it is surely Jim!" cried Lady Smith.
"Yes. He nods his head."
"And the Greek cross is probably a propeller," said Sir James. "He was in the Air Service, you know." Malone and Enid were both rather shocked. Mailey was also uneasy.
"This is not good," he whispered to Enid. "Wait a bit ! You will get something better."
There were several good recognitions, and then someone resembling Summerlee was described for Malone. This was wisely discounted by him, since Linden might have been in the audience on the former occasion. Mrs. Debbs' exhibition seemed to him far more convincing than that of Linden.
"Wait a bit!" Mailey repeated.
"The medium will now try for materializations," said Mrs. Linden. "If the figures appear I would ask you not to touch them, save by request. Victor will tell you if you may do so. Victor is the medium's control."
The medium had settled down in his chair and he now began to draw long, whistling breaths with deep intakes, puffing the air out between his lips. Finally he steadied down and seemed to sink into a deep coma, his chin upon his breast.