“Step inside, brother,” he invited earnestly, almost eagerly, notwithstanding his monotonous nasal twang. “Step inside and find peace. Step inside and the Lord will help you. Throw your burden away on the threshold.”
The man’s first impulse at being addressed had seemed to be one of terror. Then he recognised the uniform and hesitated. The light which streamed out from the building seemed warm and pleasant. The rain was coming down in sheets. They were singing a hymn, unmusical, unaccompanied, yet something in the unison of those human voices, one quality—the quality of earnestness, of faith—seemed to make an irresistible appeal to the terrified wanderer. Slowly he moved towards the steps. The man took him by the arm and led him in. There were the best part of a hundred people taking their places after the singing of the hymn. A girl was standing up before them on a platform. She was commencing to speak but suddenly broke off. She held out her arms towards where the Professor’s confidential servant stood hesitating.
“Come and tell us your sins,” she called out. “Come and have them forgiven. Come and start a new life in a new world. There is no one here who thinks of the past. Come and seek forgiveness.”
For a moment this waif from the rain-swamped world hesitated. The light of an infinite desire flashed in his eyes. Then he dropped his head. These things might be for others. For him there was no hope. He shook his head to the girl but sank into the nearest seat and on to his knees.
“He repents!” the girl called out. “Some day he will come! Brothers and sisters, we will pray for him.”
The rain dashed against the windows. The only other sound from outside was the clanging of the street cars. The girl’s voice, frenzied, exhorting, almost hysterical, pealed out to the roof. At every pause, the little gathering of men and women groaned in sympathy. The man’s frame was shaken with sobs.
THE POCKET WIRELESS
Mr. Sanford Quest sat in his favourite easy-chair, his cigar inclined towards the left hand corner of his mouth, his attention riveted upon a small instrument which he was supporting upon his knee. So far as his immobile features were capable of expression, they betrayed now, in the slight parting of his lips and the added brightness of his eyes, symptoms of a lively satisfaction. He glanced across the room to where Lenora was bending over her desk.
“We’ve done it this time, young woman,” he declared triumphantly. “It’s all O.K., working like a little peach.”
Lenora rose and came towards him. She glanced at the instrument which Quest was fitting into a small leather case.
“Is that the pocket wireless?”
“I’ve had Morrison out at Harlem all the morning to test it,” he told her. “I’ve sent him at least half-a-dozen messages from this easy-chair, and got the replies. How are you getting on with the code?”