"I met you last month, you will remember, when your medium came to Maltraver Towers."
"Yes, yes, lady, I remember you. You have a little boy, Tommy, on our side of life. No, no, not dead, lady! We are far more alive than you are. All the fun and frolic are with us!" She spoke in a high clear voice and perfect English.
"Shall I show you what we do over here?" She began a graceful, gliding dance, while she whistled as melodiously as a bird. "Poor Susan could not do that. Susan has had no practice. Lucille knows how to use a built-up body."
"Do you remember me, Lucille?" asked Mailey.
"I remember you, Mr. Mailey. Big man with yellow beard."
For the second time in her life Enid had to pinch herself hard to satisfy herself that she was not dreaming. Was this graceful creature, who had now sat down in the centre of the circle, a real materialization of ectoplasm, used for the moment as a machine for expression by a soul that had passed, or was it an illusion of the senses, or was it a fraud? There were the three possibilities. An illusion was absurd when all had the same impression. Was it a fraud? But this was certainly not the little old woman. She was inches taller and fair, not dark. And the cabinet was fraud-proof. It had been meticulously examined. Then it was true. But if it were true, what a vista of possibilities opened out. Was it not far the greatest matter which could claim the attention of the world!
Meanwhile, Lucille had been so natural and the situation was so normal that even the most nervous had relaxed. The girl answered most cheerfully to every question, and they rained upon her from every side.
"Where did you live, Lucille?"
"Perhaps I had better answer that," interposed Mrs. Linden. "It will save the power. Lucille was bred in South Dakota in the United States, and passed over at the age of fourteen. We have verified some of her statements."
"Are you glad you died, Lucille?"
"Glad for my own sake. Sorry for mother."
"Has your mother seen you since?"
"Poor mother is a shut box. Lucille cannot open the lid."
"Are you happy?"
"Oh, yes, so gloriously happy."
"Is it right that you can come back?"
"Would God allow it if it were not right? What a wicked man you must be to ask!"
"What religion were you?"
"We were Roman Catholics."
"Is that the right religion?"
"All religions are right if they make you better."
"Then it does not matter."
"It is what people do in daily life, not what they believe."
"Tell us more, Lucille."
"Lucille has little time. There are others who wish to come. If Lucille uses too much power, the others have less. Oh, God is very good and kind! You poor people on earth do not know how good and kind He is because it is grey down there. But it is grey for your own good. It is to give you your chance to earn all the lovely things which wait for you. But you can only tell how wonderful He is when you get over here."
"Have you seen him?"
"Seen Him! How could you see God? No, no, He is all round us and in us and in everything, but we do not see Him. But I have seen the Christ. Oh, He was glorious, glorious! Now, good-bye -- good-bye!" She backed towards the cabinet and sank into the shadows.
Now came a tremendous experience for Malone. A small, dark, rather broad figure of a woman appeared slowly from the cabinet. Mrs. Linden encouraged her, and then came across to the journalist.
"It is for you. You can break the circle. Come up to her."
Malone advanced and peered, awestruck, into the face of the apparition. There was not a foot between them. Surely that large head, that solid, square outline was familiar! He put his face still nearer -- it was almost touching. He strained his eyes. It seemed to him that the features were semi-fluid, moulding themselves into a shape, as if some unseen hand was modelling them in putty. "Mother! " he cried. "Mother! "
Instantly the figure threw up both her hands in a wild gesture of joy. The motion seemed to destroy her equilibrium and she vanished.
"She had not been through before.