I was getting a little vexed, but I replied simply—"Well, what would you do?"
"I would endeavour to pique your curiosity, and then I would show you that you could gratify it by putting yourself in my power, and then I would have your body even if you still insisted on keeping your soul."
"And which do you think it would be?"
"Well, I should have to be satisfied with your body, except in one event."
"And, pray, what would that be?"
"I might by the exhibition of some special or unaccounted-for power gain such influence over you as to get you to put your conscience at my disposal. Then you would be mine soul and body."
I was beginning to get vexed partly because I suppose I saw more truth in what he said than I liked, so I said shortly—
"What do you mean just now by all this?"
"I think our friend, the signor, is the devil himself. I don't mean any fee-faw-fum. I daresay there are a good many other men as much devils as he is, but he has all the power which great and special practical knowledge gives a man, and he is as full of malice as an egg is full of meat, and he is up to some very big