The clergyman too had seemed affected. He had watched, with turned-back head, the phenomenon from beginning to end, and at the close, with a long indrawing of breath, had looked once at Laurie, licked his dry lips with a motion that was audible in that profound silence, and once more dropped his eyes. The ladies had been silent, and all but motionless throughout.
Well, the rest had happened comparatively quickly.
Once more, after the lapse of a few minutes, the radiance had begun to reform; but this time it had emerged almost immediately, diffused and misty like a nebula; had hung again before the cabinet, and then, with a strange, gently whirling motion, had seemed to arrange itself in lines and curves.
Gradually, as he stared at it, it had begun to take the shape and semblance of a head, swathed in drapery, with that same drapery, hanging, as it appeared in folds, dripping downwards to the ground, where it lost itself in vagueness. Then, as he still stared, conscious of nothing but the amazing fact, features appeared to be forming—first blots and lines as of shadow, finally eyes, nose, mouth, and chin as of a young girl....
A moment later there was no longer a doubt. It was the face of Amy Nugent that was looking at him, grave and steady—as when he had seen it in the moonlight above the sluice—and behind, seen half through the strange drapery, and half apart from it, a couple of feet behind, the face of the sleeping medium.
At that sight he had not moved nor spoken, it was enough that the fact was there. Every power he possessed was concentrated in the one effort of observation....
He heard from somewhere a gasping sigh, and there rose up between him and the face the figure of the clergyman, with his head turned back staring at the apparition, and one hand only on the table, yet with that hand so heavy upon it that the whole table shuddered with his shudder.
There was a movement on the left, and he heard a fierce feminine whisper—
“Sit down, sir; sit down this instant....”
When the clergyman had again sunk down into his seat with that same strong shudder, the luminous face was already incoherent; the features had relapsed again into blots and shadows, the drapery was absorbing itself upwards into the center from which it came. Once more the nebula trembled, moved backwards, and disappeared. The next instant the radiance went out, as if turned off by a switch. The medium groaned gently and awoke.
Well, that had ended it. Laurie scarcely remembered the talking that followed, the explanations, the apologies, the hardly concealed terror of the young clergyman. The medium had come out presently, dazed and confused. They had talked ... and so forth. Then Laurie had come home, still trying to assimilate the amazing fact, of which he said that it could make no difference—that he had seen with his own eyes the face of Amy Nugent four months after her death.