In the Houae today, replying to a question. Peter Wyllte. North Park Btreet. He heard his guardian's voice saying: Piss shooting from ass to mouth..
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Oliver isn't so bad, down in his heart He was fair enough. There's money enough. Francis, when I fall asleep, look in the trunk and hide the money, if you can — don't let them get it away from you! What a fool I was! I might have known. There was my grand- mother, she was mad, too. It may stop with me — oh, she was a dear little thing, though!
Weenie knows. Yellow hair, too ; it will grow gray soon enough! You snooping, sniping monkey! I'll tell you what you were looking at, you were watching the train to New York! You'll go to Toledo, will you? You won't find an rthing there. Go to New Orleans; there's plenty to find out in New Orleans!
In Denver, too, and way stations, but be careful, be careful! I was bom in Toledo. Two negatives make a positive, two pints make a quart, two fools make a quarrel, two quarrels make a fool. What language I I was at Vassar, too— I was secretary of my class! Oh, I want to see Victoria! She would understand, I'm sure!
Oh, Francis! For a moment she seemed to be asleep. Then a sudden convulsion frightened him. She spoke again without raising her lids. Come and kiss me, mother! Did Weenie send for you, mother? Oh, Weenie! Who's the old man? I never saw father on this side, did I, Weenie? He passed out when I was very little, didn't he?
So many people! Why, the room is full of them! He succeeded at last in bringing her out of her trance and she opened her eyes to stare at him. Her breath was coming harder. With a great effort she reached for the boy's head and pulled it nearer, gazing into his frightened eyes. Felicia Grant's hope! You have no name, dear; take that one, instead of mine— Francis Granthope— oh, this pain!
Remember the trunk — good-by! He waited half an hour in silence.
Sucking Balls Till CumThen he put Iiis hands to her arms softly. He arose and looked for her leather bag. He found it on the floor where she had fallen. Opening it, he found inside a heterogeneous collection — strings, hair-pins, peppermints, papers, a. It was all he could do to lift it to get at what was beneath.
He struggled with it until he had tilted it up and slid it down to the floor. Below was a mass of white satin and lace. He lifted this piece by piece, disclosing a heavy wedding gown, silk-lined, wrapped in tissue paper, and many accessories of an elaborate trousseau — a half-dozen pairs of silk stockings, a pair of exquisite white satin slippers, a box of long white gloves, anotiier of lace handkerchiefs, dozens of mysterious ardcles of lingerie, embroidered and laoe-trimmed.
Lastly he ftntnd a package securely wrapped in brown paper; opening this, he discovered six crisp, green packages of bank-notes. These he rewrapped and slid them inside his full blue blouse. Finally he stole back to the form upon the couch. There was no answer, and he shook her shoulder slightly.
Then, as she made no reply, he leaned over and looked at her face. Her eyes were open, fearfully open, but they did not turn to his. They were set and glazed with film. A horror came over him now, and he shook her widi an his strength. He noticed that she was not breathing, and his fear over- came him. Both were characteristic of her daringly original character, for, as Fancy's name had once been Fanny, Fanny's hair had once been brown.
Further indication of Miss Gray's disposition was to be found in her eyebrows, which were whimsically arched, and her mouth, which was scarlet-lipped and tightly held. Her eyes were brown and bright; they were as quick as heliograph flashes, but could, when she willed, bum as softly as glowing coals of fire. Her face seemed freshly washed, her complexion was trans- lucently clear, modified only by the violet shadows under her eyes and an imperceptible tint of fine down on her upper lip.
Her hands, well beringed and well kept, were fully worth the admiration which, by her willingness to display them to advantage, she seemed to expect on their account In New York, a good guesser would have put her age at twenty-three; but, taking into account the precocious effect of the California climate, nineteen might be nearer the mark.
She was, at all events, a finished product; there was no evidence of diffidence or gaucherie about Fancy Gray. If, as she evidently did, she considered herself beautiful, her claim would undoubtedly be acknowledged by most men who met her for the first time. It made one feel happy. As she sat at her desk in the waiting-room she could look across the comer of Geary and Powell Streets to catch the errant eye of passing cable-car conductors, or gaze, in abstraction, at pedestrians crossing Union Square, or at the oriental towers of the Synagogue beyond.
With the bait of a promising smile, she caught many an upward glance. Fancy Gray was not in the habit of hiding her charms, and she levied tribute to her beauty on all mankind. She gazed upon women, however, far less indulgently than upon men ; never was there a more captious observer of her sex. A glance up and a glance down she gave; and the specimen was classified, appraised, appreciated, con- demned, condoned or complimented.
Not a pin missed her scrutiny, not a variation of the mode escaped her quest for revealing evidence. The waiting-room bore, upon the outside, the legend: Upon the walls, painted wooden Chinese grotesque masks, ginning or scowling against the fire-cracker paper, hung, at intervals, from black stained woodwork. Between the two windows was a plaster column bear- ing the winged head of Hypnos; at the other end of the room was a row of casts of hands hanging on hooks against a black panel.
Whatever company she had, she was never careless of the light upon her or the condition of her tinted hair. It was a cool, blustering afternoon in August. San Francisco was at its worst phase. The wind was high and harsh, harassing the city with its burden of dust. Over the mountains, on the Marin shore, a high fog hung, its advance guard scudding in through the Golden Gate, piling over the hills by the Twin Peaks and preparing its line of battle for a general assault upon the pe- ninsula at nightfall.
Summer had, so far, spent its effort in four violently hot days, when the humid atmosphere made the temperature unbearable. Now the weather had flung back to an extreme as unpleasant; open fires were in order. She was there, making a picture of herself beside the hearth, having resolutely held her pose for some time in anticipation of his coming, when Francis Granthope arrived.
Tall, erect and able-bodied, with the physique of an athlete, and a strong, leonine head covered with crisp, waving, black hair, Francis Granthope had the comple- ment of the actor's type of looks ; but his alertness of carriage and his swift, searching glance distinguished him from the professional male beauty. Fine eyes of deep, rich blue, fine teeth often exposed in compelling smiles, a resolute mouth and a firm, deeply cleft chin he had; and all these attractions were set off by his precise dress — gloves, bell-tailed overcoat, sharply creased trousers, varnished boots and silk hat.
A short mustache, curling upward slightly at the ends, and a small, triangular tuft of hair on his lower lip gave him a somewhat foreign aspect. He had an air, a manner, that kept up the illusion. He reappeared in morning coat, white waistcoat and pin-checked trousers, with a red car- nation in his buttonhole. He held his hands for a moment before the fire, then looked indulgently at his blithe assistant Now, one of Fancy's charms was a slender, pointed tongue.
This, now, she did, tilting her head backward to give piquancy to the performance. Granthope laughed, and went over to where she sat. He stooped over and kissed her. She was graciously resigned, "Thank you, Frank," she said demurely. Fancy, but you'll grow up, I think.
Then she squirmed her head so that she could look upward at him. We've been through a good deal together, first and last, haven't we? I'd like to do it all over again. There's enough ahead. From what I've seen of life, things 'don't really begin to happen till you're thirty, at least.
All this will seem like a dream. Her gaze returned to him after a moment of silence. You're too good for these fakirs, really yon are! Why, you could mix with millionaires, easy! They like you. You've got the style and the education and the 'know' for it" He went back to the fireplace, standing there with his hands behind his back. What does it matter, anyway? There are as big fools and shams in society as there are in my business.
Look at the women that come down here, and the things they tell me! Why, I know them a good deal better now than I should if I were on their calling-lists and took tea with themt But you are right, in a way. I hate you when you're cynical. Fd lose you sure! I eould never make good with the swells. I'm only a drifter. Fan ; we've pulled together too long. You could make good all right You've got a pose and a poise that some ladies would give their teeth for.
I don't believe you've ever really been sur- prised in your life, have you? I fancy you know all there is to know about men. I wish I did. Youll do, Fancy Gray! Then he looked at her gravely. Don't forget that! I'm only too afraid youll resign. It's queer you don't get married. You must have had lots of chances. Why don't you.
She freed herself, and turned her face up to him. Far be it from me to flatter or cajole witfi the compliments of a five-dollar reading, but as between friends, and with my hand on my heart, I assert that jrou are beautiful. Beautiful women never get anywhere except into the divorce courts. Do say I'm pretty! You are actually and absolutely pretty. Now that's settled, let's go to work.
What's doing to-day? Telephone appointment. Girl with a nice voice. About her husband? The last time she came I tried a psychological experiment with her. I told her that normally she was a quiet, restrained, modest, discreet woman, but that at times her emotional nature would get the better of her; that she couldn't help breaking out and would suddenly let go.
I thought she was about due this week. There's been something doing and she wants to tell me about it to appease her con- science. Give them what they want, and anytliing goes! T wish you'd let me do it. No, any name will do Miss Smith? Granthope looked at his watch, then passed through a red anteroom to his studio beyond.
Fancy began to draw little squares and circles and fuzzy heads of men with mustaches upon a sheet of paper. In a few moments the palmist returned, his morning coat replaced by a black velvet jacket tight-fitting and but- toned close. Then, as he stopped to think, she remarked: Nobody else does. You've a good enough memory, and I think it's silly.
I feel as if I were a bookkeeper in a business house. There's no knowing when all this will come in handy. I don't intend to give five-dollar readings all my life. I'm going to develop this thing till it's a fine art. I've got to do something to dignify the trade. This doesn't use nearly all that's in me. I don't half try. But it's a living.
Fame's a gold brick ; you always pay more for it than it's worth. I suppose it's the sheer love of the game. I have a scientific delight in doing my stunt better than it has ever been done before. Some play on fiddles, I play on women — and make 'em dance, too!
Some love machinery, some study electricity — but the wireless, wheel-less mechanics of psychology for mine. Practical psychology with a human laboratory. Pour the acid of flattery, and human litmus turns red with delight. I peddle imagination. There aren't many men who have the chances you do, Frank. He shrugged his shoulders.
Then she bit her lip. It'll make things interesting. Nothing matters now. I haven't really wanted any- thing for years; and when you don't want anything. Fancy, the garlands arc hung for you in every house. I shouldn't know what to do with it, if I had one. I don't see much difference between right and wrong.
We give them what they want, as clergy- men do. It may be true and it may be false. So may religion. There are a hundred different kinds — some of them teach that you ought to kill your grandmother when she gets to be fifty years old. Some teach clothing and some teach nakedness. Some preach chastity — and some the other thing.
Who's going to tdl what's right? My readings are scientific; my pre- dictions may be true, for all I know. Some I help and some I harm, no doubt. But from all I can see, God Himself does that. Take that Bennett affair! He lost his money, but didn't he have a good taste of life? Well never know the truth, anyway.
Why not fool fools who think there's an answer to everything, and make 'em happy? Do you remember that first time we played for Harry Wing? I was new at it then. What was the result? He was so happy that he gave me his gold watch to be dematerialized for identification.
He got more solid satisfaction and comfort out of that trick than he had out of a year of sermons. I suppose I haven't any soul. But we must get to work. Are you ready? Age sixty- five. Spatulate, extreme type. Wrist, B. Fingers, B, X, 5. Head Heart 4.
Fate Venus B. Mars A. Thumb phalange over- developed. Right, ditto. Last husband knew General Custer and Lew Wallace. Accidentally drowned, Accused of murder and acquitted in Very poor. Go down to the library to-night, will you? Where did you ever get that old dame? She's easy, but no money in her.
Still, I like to be thorough, even with charity cases; you never know what may come of them. Number 15? Spell it Hold the line a minute. She wants to know if you've got anything about Oliver Payson? No, I don't think so, have we? Talk about method!
I wish Madam Spoil had some! Gk od-by. Granthope, meanwhile, had been walking up and down the room, frowning. Oliver Payson — Oliver Pay- son. Perhaps it will come to me. Granthope spoke abstractedly, gazing at the ceiling. A girl of perhaps twenty years with intense eyes entered timidly. Her hair was dis- tracted by the wind and her color was high, increasing the charm of her pretty, earnest, finely freckled face.
She wore a jacket a little too small for her, with frayed cuffs. Her shoes were badly worn ; her hat was cheap, but effective. The girl nodded. Fancy took inventory of the girl's points, looking her up and down before she replied, "All right; just be seated for a moment, please.
They spoke in whispers. She has a letter in her coat pocket, all folded up; you can see the wrinkles where it bulges out. Hat pin made of an army button, and she doesn't know enough to paint Make her take off her coat and see if her right sleeve isn't soiled above where she usually wears a paper cuff to protect it.
She is half frightened to death and she has been crying. Page walked into the reception-room, and nodded condescendingly. She was a vivid creature, with impellent animal life and temperament linked, apparently, to a rather silly, feminine brain. Her mouth was large, and in it white teeth shone.
She was all diadows and flashes, high lights and depths of velvety black. From her ears, two spots of diamond radiance twinkled as she shook her head. When she drew off her gloves, with a manner, more twinkles illuminated her hands. Still others shone from the cut steel buckles of her shoes. She was somewhat overgrown, flavorless and gaudy, like California fruit, and her ways were kittenish.
Her movements were all intense. Altogether she seemed to have a superfluous ounce of blood in her veins that infused her with useless energy. Fancy eyed her pragmatically, added her up, extracted her square root and greatest common divisor. The result she reached was evident only by the imperious way in which she invited her to be seated and the nonchalant manner in which, after that, she gazed out upon Geary Street.
Page, however, would be loquacious. Granthope first! Jt's very important. Granthope treated all his patrons alike. She watched the effect under drooped lashes. The effect was to make Mrs. Page squirm uneasily, as if she didn't know whether she had been hit or not.
She took refuge in the remark: Page minced and simpered: He told me such dreadful things, I'm afraid he'll discover more. Granthope usually strikes it about right" "Oh, of course, I'm satisfied," Mrs. Page admitted. But it's rather dreadful to know the truth, don't you think? You mean it's dreadful to have other people know the truth?
It's not my fault if I have faults. It's all written in my palm and I can't alter it Only, I mean it's awful to know exactly what's going to happen and not be able to prevent it" "It's worse not to want to. Page withdrew from the conversation, routed, and devoted herself to a study of the Chinese masks, casting an occasional impatient glance into the ante- room.
Fancy polished her rings with her handker- chief. Granthope's voice was now heard, talking pleas- antly with Fleurette, who was smiling, as he had promised. As she left, flushed and happy, Granthope greeted Mrs. Page, and escorted her, bubbling with talk, into the studio.
The door closed upon a per- vading odor of sandalwood, Mrs. Page's legacy to Fancy, who sniffed at it scornfully. Many cable-cars had passed without Fancy's having recognized any one worth bowing to, before the next client appeared ; but, at that visitor's entry, she became a different creature. Her eyes never really left him, although she seemed, as he waited, to be busy about many things.
He was a smart young man, a sort of a bank-clerk person, dressed neatly, with evidence of considerable premeditation. His hair was parted in the middle, his face was cleanly shaven. He laid his hat and stick against his hip jauntily, and asked: Granthope with- out waiting all day for it?
He took a seat, pulled up his trousers over his knees, drew down his cuffs, felt the knot in his tie and smoothed his hair, all with the quick, accurate motion due to long habit. I wish we'd have one good warm day for a change. He breathed on the crown of his derby hat and then smelt of it "No," she replied. I hate to go alone, an rway.
But I shouldn't thmk youM ever have to go alone. You don't look it. I know some one who'd be willing to chase out there with you at the drop of the hat. Then you can have a quiet little dinner at the Qiff House almost any night" "Can you? I never tried it" "It's time you did. Suppose you try it with me? You're rushing it a little too fast, seems to me.
I'm sorry you can't keep up. You don't look slow. The snub did not silence him for long. He recrossed his legs, drummed on the brim of his hat, and began: Everybody goes, you know — gay old crowd. They sing and ever rthing. It's the only really Bohemian place in town now. I guess it's kind of hard to call you down. You're not in a hurry, are you?
Gay P. Then she looked up and said: What are you going to do about it? What might possibly have happened for things do happen in San Francisco was interrupted by sounds predicting Mrs. Page's return. Then he turned to Mrs. He made an airy gesture and followed the palmist into the anteroom. Fancy grew listless and abstracted. After a while she went to the closet, examined herself in the glass on the door, adjusted the back of her belt, fluffed her hair over her ears and reseated herself.
Then she took her book languidly and began to read. There came a knock on the door. The new-comer was one who, though at least twenty- seven, was still graciously modeled with the lines of youth. Her head was poised with spirit on her neck, but, like a flower on its stem, ready to move with her var ring moods, from languor to vivacity.
In the pure oval of her face, under level, golden brows, her eyes were now questioning, now peremptory, but usually smoldering with dreams, hiding their color. Their customary quiescence, however, was contradicted by the respon- siveness of her perfecUy drawn mouth— a springing bow, like those of Du Manner's most beautiful women.
The upper lip, narrow, scarlet, so short that it seldom touched the lower, showed, beneath its lively curve, a row of well-cut teeth. With such charm and delicacy of person her small, flat ears and her proud, sensitive nostrils fell into lovely accord. She wore a veil, and was dressed in a concord of cool grays, modishly accented with black.
Her movements were slow and graceful, as if she had never to hurry. Granthope for half-past eleven," she said in a smooth, low, rather monotonous voice. The lady blushed an unnecessary pink, and blushed again to find herself blushing. She admitted the pseudon3mi with a nod. Granthope will be ready for you in a few minutes. The lady took a seat in silence.
She repaired the mischief the wind had done to her hair, raising her hand abstractedly, as she looked about the room. From that to Fancy, and from Fancy to the row of casts, her glance went, slowly, deliberately. Then she took a large bunch of violets from her corsage, and smelled them thoughtfully.
Fancy began to play with one of her bracelets, clasping and unclasping it. The lock caught in a bangle-chain, and, frowning, she bent to unfasten it In an instant the lady noticed her dilemma, smiled frankly, and walked over to the desk, drawing off her long glove as she did so. Fancy watched her amusedly. The lady was so close that she could enjoy the odor of the violets and a fainter, more exquisite perfume that came from the diaphanous embroidered linen blouse, whose cost Fancy might have reckoned in terms of her week's salary.
With careful, skilful movements the chain was unfastened, but the lady still held Fancy's hand in her own. I wonder if you know how pretty they are! Granthope must have told you! He has never seen a prettier pair, I'm sure! But it seems to me you've got a pretty small pair of hands yourself! No wonder you noticed mine! For answer, Miss Smith, as she had called herself, drew her violets from her coat, kissed them and handed them to Fancy.
Fancy played up; kissed them too, nodded, as if drinking a health, and tucked them safely away on her own breast Then she treated Miss Smith to the by-play of her delicious dimples, as she said, "Come in as often as you like, especially nrhen you have flowers! A kind of sh3mess seemed to envelop the visitor and she drew back, her color mounting, her lids drooping.
Summer in conversational dalliance with Fancy Gray, the lady followed the palmist into his studio. As she walked, her graceful, long-limbed tread, with its easy swing, seemed almost leopard-like in its unconscious freedom, her head was carried some- what forward, questing, her arms were slightly ex- tended tentatively from her side, as if she almost expected to touch something she could not see.
The walls were covered from floor to cornice by an arras of black velvet, falling in fully vertical folds, sequestering the apartment in soft gloom. Over the couch, this drapery was em- broidered with the signs of the zodiac in a circle — all else was shadowy and mysterious.
In the center of the room she stopped and looked slowly and deliberately about her. The cor- ners of her mouth lifted slightly with amusement, evidently at the obvious picturesqueness of the studio. Granthope watched her keenly. With his eyes and ears full of Fancy Gray's ardent, dramatic youth, sparkling with the sophistication of the city, slangy, audacious, gay, this girl seemed almost unreal in her delicacy and exquisite virginity, a creature of dreams and faery, the personification of an ideal too fine and fragile for every-day.
Her face showed caste in every line. He was a little afraid of her. Her bearing compelled not only respect, but, in a way, reverence — a tribute he seldom had felt inclined to pay to the mtmdaines who visited him. His confidence, however, soon asserted itself. And it's all so differ- ent! But I'm 'different' myself.
She smiled faintly and took a seat by the table and removed her veil. Her face was now clearly il- luminated, and Granthope's eyes, traveling from feature to feature in quest of significant details, fell upon her left cheek. His look was arrested at the sight of a brown velvety mole, a veritable beauty- spot, heightening the color of her skin.
At the sight of this mark upon her cheek, something troubled him. His mind, always alert to suggestive influences, registered the faintest impression of a thought at first too elusive to be called an idea. The impact died abnost as it reached him — a flash, vaguely stimulating to his imagination, and then it was gone, its mysterious message uncomprehended.
She watched him a little impatiently, seeming to resent his scrutiny. Noticing this, he summoned his distracted attention and seated himself at the table. But, from time to time, now, his glance darted to her cheek surreptitiously, searching for the lost clue. She laid her bare hand upon the black velvet cushion beneath the light, saying, "Fm sorry that something has disturbed you.
That's one reason why I came. He took her hand and felt of it, testing its quality and texture, preparing himself for his speech. Her hand was long and slim, with scarcely a fiber more flesh upon the bones than was necessary to cover them admirably. He had no thought at first except to give his ordinary routine of reading, but his study of her showed her to be an exceptional character.
She was beautiful, with the loveliness of an aristocratic and slightly bewildering spiritual type. Her hand in his was magnetic, delicious of contact, subtly alive even though not consciously responsive. Other women with more obvious charm had left him cold. She, aided by no suggestion of coquetry or complaisance, allured him. She awakened in him a desire not wholly physical, although he could not fail to regard her primarily in the sex relation that, so far, had been his chief interest in women.
She, as a woman, an- swered, in some secret way, him, as a man. This was his first wave of feeling. Her hint amused him, true as her intuition had been ; she had stumbled upon his embarrassment, no doubt, and had claimed pre- science, a common enough form of feminine conceit.
There he had a valuable suggestion as to the direction of her line of least resistance to his wiles. Following upon this, as the first feeling of her un- reality faded, upon contact, came the thought of her as a wealthy and credulous girl, who might minister to his ambitions. He was without real social aspira- tions, except in so far as his success in the fashionable world favored the game he was playing.
He saw vistas of delight and satisfaction in such an acquaintance. He had had his fill of silly women whose favors were paid for in ministrations to their vanity. Such trib- ute, easy as it was for him with his facility, irked him. Here, perhaps, was one who might hold his interest by her fineness and her mentality, and by the very difficulty he might find in impressing her.
There would be zest to the pursuit. Beneath these waves of feeling, however, and be- neath his active intelligence, there was an inchoate disturbance in some subconscious stratum of his mind. He felt it only as the slight mental perplexity the mole upon her cheek had caused; he had no time, , now, to pursue that incipient idea. His impression of her as a desirable, pleasurable quarry incited him to devise the psychological method necessary for her capture.
He remarked the extraordinary sensitiveness denoted by their cushioned tips. Nails, healthy and oval; knuckles indicating a good sense of order in mental and physical life. She was, in short, of strong, vigorous mentality, well-balanced, artistic, generous. Her thumb was wilful rather than logical, her fingers sug- gested respectively, jwide, perception, self-respect, mor- bidity, love of the beautiful as distinguished from the ornamental, tact He had thrown himself into a pose so haUtual as to become almost unconscious, though it was keyed to the theatrical pitch of his picturesque appearance and surroundings.
The girl's expression showed, to his alert eye, a slight disappointment at the convention- ality of his remarks. This spurred him to more originality and definiteness. He tossed his hair back with one hand in a quick gesture and turned to the lines in her palm, examining them first with a magnifying glass and then tracing them with an ivory stylus.
Her eyes were fixed upcm his, as if she were more interested in the manner than the matter of his task. That is, after a criticism of any one, you would immediately ask yourself, 'Would I not have done the same thing, under the same cir- cumstances? You are eminently fair and just, as you are generous. You have none of the ordinary feminine arts of coquetry.
If you liked a man you would say so frankly. His visitor began to show more interest ; it was evident that she appreciated the ingeniousness of his phrasing. Her lip curved into a dainty smile. Her eyes gleamed slyly, then withdrew their fire. He continued: You are not prudish. You are willing to look upon anything that can be regarded as evidence as to the facts of life, even though you may not care to go into things purely for the sake of ex- perience.
You are faithful and loyal, but you are not of the type that believes 'the king can do no wrong' — you see your friends' faults and love them in spite of those faults, yet you are absolutely indifferent to most persons who make no special appeal. You love modemness, complexity of living, the wonderful adjustments that money and culture effect, but not enough to endure the conventionality that sort of life demands.
You are fond of dress in a sensuous sort of way ; that is, you like silk stock- ings, because they feel cool and smooth; silk skirts, because they fall gracefully and make a pleasant swish against your heels ; furs, on account of the color and softness, but none of these merely because of their richness or splendor.
His concentration seemed to hold no personal element; there was nothing to resent in the contact of his fingers or the absorption of his gaze. He was instantly sensitive to this and by his attitude reassured her. Not, however, before she had blushed furiously, in spite of evident efforts to control herself.
His eyes glanced again at the mole on her cheek. Then, as if electrified by the sudden kindling and intensification of her personality, his subconscious mind finished its work without the aid of reason. As a bubble might separate itself from the bottom of the sea and ascend, quivering, to the surface, his memory unloosed its secret, and it rose, to break in his mind.
Like a tiny explosion the answer came — upon the cheek of the little girl who visited them that day, twenty-three years ago, at Madam Grant's — the day she died. It reached him with the certainty of truth. In a flash, he saw what sensational use he could make of die intelligence. Another idea followed it— an old trick — perhaps it would work again.
She drew off a simple gold band set with three turqucHses. He laid it upon the cushion, turning it between his fingers as he did so. In a single glance he had read the inscription engraved inside. His ruse was undetected ; her eyes had roved about the room. He turned to her again. You have a lover, or, rather, a man is making love to you.
I do not advise you to marry him. You have traveled a good deal and will take another journey within a year. Something is happening in connection with a male relative that worries you. It will not be settled for some time. He leaned back, to shake his hands and pass them across his forehead, theatrically. Another bubble had broken in his consciousness.
He determined to hazard a test of the inspiration. Then he said: I think I might got something interesting, for I feel your magnetism very strongly. Her eyes opened wider, she threw oflE her lassitude, awakening to a mild excitement 'Xet me take your hands again — both of them. Is that it? Wait— I get the name — " Beneath slightly trembling lids, a fine, sharp glance shot out at her and was withdrawn again.
It was as if he had stolen something from her. It's wonderful! Go on, please! He took advan- tage of her distraction to enjoy them lightly. When he spoke there was no hesitation in his voice. I don't know who these people are, or where they are, and it seems ridiculous to tell it. But there is a fearfully disordered room with the sun coming in through dirty, broken windows.
I see two women and a little girl. They are in old-fashioned costumes. She talks wildly sometimes; sometimes she's quite calm. The other woman is middle-aged and has a soft voice. The little girl is dressed in blue; she is sitting on a box listening.
The crazy woman is kissing her. Can you make anything of it? It was when I was four years old and I went with my mother to call on this strange, crazy woman — if she were crazy! I never knew. I never dared speak to father about it He never knew that we went, I think.
I had an idea that he wouldn't have liked it, had he known. We left San Francisco, father and I, soon after, and we lived abroad for several years. I didn't even remember the scene until long afterward, when something brought it up. Then it was like a dream or a vision. Miss Payson, I feel that you have very strong mediumistic powers ; I can feel your mag- netism.
I can never depend upon it, though, but my intuitions are very strong and occasionally rather strange things have happened to me. Experience had taught him it was a common enough assertion for women to make, and he was cynically incredulous. He was a little disappointed, too; as, in his opinion, it discounted jer intelligence.
Nevertheless, he found in it a way to manipulate her. What is written in the palm I can read; as a physician diagnoses a case from symptoms in the pulse and tongue and temperature, so I read a person's character from what I see in the hand. I have been particularly in- terested in yours. Miss Payson, and perhaps I have been able to give you more than usual.
He watched every motion with delight Her brief mood of irradiation had given place to her customary languor, and her fragile love- liness, emphasizing the opposite to every one of his virile, ardent traits, aUured him with the appeal of one extreme to another. Most of all, her mouth, wayward with its ravishing smile, enchanted him.
It was controlled by no coquetry, he knew, and it moved him the more for that reason. Yet she seemed loath to go and moved slowly about the room. She stopped to point with a sweeping gesture at one side of the velvet-hung wall. He glanced at the table, saw her ring, and made a motion toward it Then it occurred to him that it might be used as an excuse for seeing her again and he followed her out In the reception-room, Fancy was yawning; seeing them, she brought her hand quickly to her mouth and raised her eyebrows at Granthope.
He made no sign in reply. Qytie walked up to her impulsively and held out her hand. You're the only one who's ever really appreciated me. You make me almost wish I was a lady. Granthope, who had watched the two women, amused, opened the door for her, re- ceived her long, steady glance, her quiet, low "Good morning," and bowed her out.
As soon as she had fairly left, he turned quickly to Fancy. I don't want him to miss her. She's a good thing! I don't catch one like that every day. Why, she's worth all the rest put to- gether. Fancy shrugged her shoulders and sailed airily out of the room. Granthope stood for some time, his hands thrust into the pockets of his velvet coat, gazing abstractedly at the red wall of his reception-room.
Then he took up the telephone and called for Madam Spoil's number. He made himself known and then said, "I'll be round to-night before your seance. I want to talk something over. Builders accepted their constructive limitations and did their honest best. The sim- ple, flat, front wall of houses, now grown to three honest stories high, they embellished with dentil cor- nice, egg-and-dart moldings and chaste consoles ; they added to the second story a little Greek portico with Corinthian columns accurately designed, led up to by a flight of wooden steps; the fagade was broken by a single bay-window, ornamented with conventional severity.
Block after block of such dwelling-houses were built. They had a sort of restful regularity, they broke no artistic hearts. Capitals of columns became more fanci- ful, ornament more grotesquely original, till ambitious turners and wood-carvers gave full play to their morbific imagination.
Conical towers became the rage, wild windows, odd porches and decorations nailed on, regardless of design, made San Francisco's nightmare architecture the jest of tourists. Lastly, after an interregnum of Queen Anne vagaries, came the Renaissance and the Age of Stone, heralded by con- crete imitations and plaster walls of bogus granite.
Madam Spoil's house was of that commonplace, anemically classic style which, after all, was then the least offensive type of residence. It was painted ap- propriately in lead color — for the house, with the rest of the block; seemed to have been cast in a mold — a tone which did its best to make Eddy Street prosaic.
It had been long abandoned by fashion and was now hardly on speaking terms with respectability. It occupied a place in a row of boarding-houses, cheap millinery establishments and unpretentious domiciles. There was a dreary little unkempt yard in front, with a passage leading to an entrance under the front steps ; above, the sign "Madam Spoil, Qairvoyant and Medium," was displayed on ground glass, and below, hanging on a nail against the wall, was a transparency.
When the lamp was lighted inside this, one read the words: It was half- past seven o'clock. Devotees had begun to arrive, and, entering by the lower door, they paid their dimes to Mr. A few gaudy paper lanterns hung from the ceiling, and here and there were hung framed mottoes: It was separated by an arch from a smaller room beyond, where, upon a platform, stood a table with an open Bible, an organ, two chairs and a folding screen.
Only the front seats were at present occupied, these by habitues of the place, all firm believers, a pic- turesque group showing at a glance the stigmata of eccentricity or mental aberration. For the most part they were women in black ; they bowed to one another as they sat down, then waited in stolid patience for the seance to open.
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