The Necromancers eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 237 pages of information about The Necromancers.

II

The table, a small, round rosewood one, stood, bare of any cloth, upon the hearthrug.  The two ladies sat, motionless statues once more, upon the side furthest from the fire, with their hands resting lightly upon the surface.  Laurie sat on one side and the medium on the other.  Mr. Vincent had received his paper and pencil almost immediately, and now sat resting his right hand with the pencil upon the paper as if to write, his left hand upon his knee as he sat, turned away slightly from the center.

Laurie looked at him closely....

And now he began to be aware of a certain quite indefinable change in the face at which he looked.  The eyes were open—­no, it was not in them that the change lay, nor in the lines about the mouth, so far as he could see them, nor in any detail, anywhere.  Neither was it the face of a dreamer or a sleepwalker, or of the dead, when the lines disappear and life retires.  It was a living, conscious face, yet it was changed.  The lips were slightly parted, and the breath came evenly between them.  It was more like the face of one lost in deep, absorbed, introspective thought.  Laurie decided that this was the explanation.

He looked at the hand on the paper—­well shaped, brownish, capable—­perfectly motionless, the pencil held lightly between the finger and thumb.

Then he glanced up at the two ladies.

They too were perfectly motionless, but there was no change in them.  The eyes of both were downcast, fixed steadily upon the paper.  And as he looked he saw Lady Laura begin to lift her lids slowly as if to glance at him.  He looked himself upon the paper and the motionless fingers.

He was astonished at the speed with which the situation had developed.  Five minutes ago he had been listening to talk, and joining in it.  The clergyman had been here; he himself had been sitting a yard further back.  Now they sat here as if they had sat for an hour.  It seemed that the progress of events had stopped....

Then he began to listen for the sounds of the world outside, for within here it seemed as if a silence of a very strange quality had suddenly descended and enveloped them.  It was as if a section—­that place in which he sat—­had been cut out of time and space.  It was apart here, it was different altogether....

He began to be intensely and minutely conscious of the world outside—­so entirely conscious that he lost all perception of that at which he stared; whether it was the paper, or the strong, motionless hand, or the introspective face, he was afterwards unaware.  But he heard all the quiet roar of the London evening, and was able to distinguish even the note of each instrument that helped to make up that untiring, inconclusive orchestra.  Far away to the northwards sounded a great thoroughfare, the rolling of wheels, a myriad hoofs, the pulse of motor vehicles, and the cries of street boys; upon all these his attention dwelt as they came up through the outward windows into that dead silent, lamp-lit room of which he had lost consciousness.  Again a hansom came up the street, with the rap of hoofs, the swish of a whip, the wintry jingle of bells....

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The Necromancers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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