“Well, then, this longing soul uses every means at her disposal, concentrates every power she possesses. Is it so very unreasonable, so very unchristian, so very dishonoring to the love of God, to think that she sometimes succeeds...? that she is able, under comparatively exceptional circumstances, to re-establish that connection with material things, that was perfectly normal and natural to her during her earthly life.... Tell me, Mr. Baxter.”
Laurie shifted a little in his chair.
“I cannot say that it is,” he said, in a voice that seemed strange in his own ears. The medium smiled a little.
“So much for a priori reasoning,” he said. “There remains only the fact whether such things do happen or not. There I must leave you to yourself, Mr. Baxter.”
Laurie sat forward suddenly.
“But that is exactly where I need your help, sir,” he said.
A murmur broke from the ladies’ lips simultaneously, resembling applause. Mr. Jamieson sat back and swallowed perceptibly in his throat.
“You have said so much, sir,” went on Laurie deliberately, “that you have, so to speak, put yourself in my debt. I must ask you to take me further.”
Mr. Vincent smiled full at him.
“You must take your place with others,” he said. “These ladies—”
“Mr. Vincent, Mr. Vincent,” cried Lady Laura. “He is quite right, you must help him. You must help us all.”
“Well, Sunday week,” he began deprecatingly.
Mrs. Stapleton broke in.
“No, no; now, Mr. Vincent, now. Do something now. Surely the circumstances are favorable.”
“I must be gone again at six-thirty,” said the man hesitatingly.
Laurie broke in. He felt desperate.
“If you can show me anything of this, sir, you can surely show it now. If you do not show it now—”
“Well, Mr. Baxter?” put in the voice, sharp and incisive, as if expecting an insult and challenging it.
Laurie broke down.
“I can only say,” he cried, “that I beg and entreat of you to do what you can—now and here.”
There was a silence.
“And you, Mr. Jamieson?”
The young clergyman started, as if from a daze. Then he rose abruptly.
“I—I must be going, Lady Laura,” he said. “I had no idea it was so late. I—I have a confirmation class.”
An instant later he was gone.
“That is as well,” observed the medium. “And you are sure, Mr. Baxter, that you wish me to try? You must remember that I promise nothing.”
“I wish you to try.”
“And if nothing happens?”
“If nothing happens, I will promise to—to continue my search. I shall know then that—that it is at least sincere.”
Mr. Vincent rose to his feet.
“A little table just here, Lady Laura, if you please, and a pencil and paper.... Will you kindly take your seats...? Yes, Mr. Baxter, draw up your chair ... here. Now, please, we must have complete silence, and, so far as possible, silence of thought.”