Page:BulldogDrummondSapper.djvu/283

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279
LAKINGTON PLAYS HIS LAST "COUP"

entreaties. At length she undid the fastening and held the necklace out, but he only shook his head.

"You ask a great thing of me, your Grace," he said. "Only by the exercise of my power can I show you this secret—even if I can show you at all. And you are unbelievers." He paced slowly to the window, ostensibly to commune with the gods on the subject; more materially to flash once again the signal into the darkness. Then, as if he had decided suddenly, he swung round.

"I will try," he announced briefly, and the Duchess headed the chorus of delight. "Will the Presences stand back, and you, your Grace, take that?" He handed her the piece of material. "No hand but yours must touch the pearls. Wrap them up inside the silver and gold." Aloofly he watched the process. "Now advance alone, and open the box. Place the pearls inside. Now shut and lock it." Obediently the Duchess did as she was bid; then she stood waiting for further instructions.

But apparently by this time the Great Brooding Spirit was beginning to take effect. Singing a monotonous, harsh chant, the Indian knelt on the floor, and poured some powder into a little brazier. He was still close to the open window, and finally he sat down with his elbows on his knees, and his head rocking to and fro in his hands.

"Less light—less light!" The words seemed to come from a great distance—ventriloquism in a mild way was one of Lakington's accomplishments; and as the lights went out a greenish, spluttering flame rose from the brazier. A heavy, odorous smoke filled