Could I get in touch with him?"
"You don't seem to bring any influence with you. I get no impression. I am sorry but we can't command these things. I get the name Edmund. Was that his name?"
"I am sorry, but it seems confused -- cross vibrations, perhaps, and a mix-up of messages like crossed telegraph wires."
"Does the name Pedro help you?"
"Pedro! Pedro! No, I get nothing. Was Pedro an elderly man?"
"No, not elderly."
"I can get no impression."
"It was about this girl of mine that I really wanted advice. My husband would have told me what to do. She has got engaged to a young man, a fitter by trade, but there are one or two things against it and I want to know what to do."
"Do give us some advice," said the young woman, looking at the medium with a hard eye.
"I would if I could, my dear. Do you love this man?"
"Oh yes, he's all right."
"Well, if you don't feel more than that about him, I hould leave him alone. Nothing but unhappiness comes of such a marriage."
"Then you see unhappiness waiting for her?"
"I see a good chance of it. I think she should be careful."
"Do you see anyone else coming along?"
"Everyone, man or woman, meets their mate sometime somewhere."
"Then she will get a mate?"
"Most certainly she will."
"I wonder if I should have any family?" asked the girl.
"Nay, that's more than I can say."
"And money -- will she have money? We are down hearted, Mr. Linden, and we want a little "
At this moment there came a most surprising interruption. The door flew open and little Mrs. Linden rushed into the room with pale face and blazing eyes.
"They are policewomen, Tom. I've had a warning about them. It's only just come. Get out of this house, you pair of snivelling hypocrites. Oh, what a fool! What a fool I was not to recognize what you were." The two women had risen.
"Yes, you are rather late, Mrs. Linden," said the senior. "The money has passed."
"Take it back! Take it back! It's on the table."
"No, no, the money has passed. We have had our fortune told. You will hear more of this, Mr. Linden."
"You brace of frauds! You talk of frauds when it is you who are the frauds all the time! He would not have seen you if it had not been for compassion."
"It is no use scolding us," the woman answered. "We do our duty and we did not make the law. So long as it is on the Statute Book we have to enforce it. We must report the case at headquarters."
Tom Linden seemed stunned by the blow, but, when the policewomen had disappeared, he put his arm round his weeping wife and consoled her as best he might.
"The typist at the police office sent down the warning," she said. "Oh, Tom, it is the second time!" she cried. "It means gaol and hard labour for you."
"Well, dear, so long as we are conscious of having done no wrong and of having done God's work to the best of our power, we must take what comes with a good heart."
"But where were they? How could they let you down so? Where was your guide?"
"Yes, Victor," said Tom Linden, shaking his head at the air above him, "where were you? I've got a crow to pick with you. You know, dear," he added, "just as a doctor can never treat his own case, a medium is very helpless when things come to his own address. That's the law. And yet I should have known. I was feeling in the dark. I had no inspiration of any sort. It was just a foolish pity and sympathy that led me on when I had no sort of a real message. Well, dear Mary, we will take what's coming to us with a brave heart. Maybe they have not enough to make a case, and maybe the beak is not as ignorant as most of them. We'll hope for the best."
In spite of his brave words the medium was shaking and quivering at the shock. His wife had put her hands upon him and was endeavouring to steady him, when Susan, the maid, who knew nothing of the trouble, admitted a fresh visitor into the room. It was none other than Edward Malone.
"He can't see you," said Mrs. Linden, "the medium is ill.