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her, he had no theory. He was aware
that anything might happen in New
York, and, closing the heavy front
door, he was ready for it.
The hall jets were burning bright
ly. She asked him to light the
sconces in the drawing-room, and he
did so, curiosity now thoroughly
Slowly he turned to the girl beside
him. A warm shadow dimmed her
delicate, features, yet they were the
loveliest he had ever looked upon.
Suddenly he understood the mute
message of her eyes: ",My impru
dence places me at your mercy."
"Your helplessness places me at
yours," he said aloud, scarcely con
scious that he had spoken.
At that a bright flush transfigured
her. "I trusted you the moment I
saw you," she said impulsively. "Do
riu mind sitting there opposite me?
shall take this chair rather near
She sank into an armchair; and,
touched and a trifle amused, he seat
edhimself. She lay there for a minute or .two
without speaking, rounded arms on
the gilt arms of the chair, eyes
thoughtfully studying him.
"I've simply got to tell you every
thing," she said at length.
"It can do no harm, I think," he
"No; no harm. The harm has been
done. Yet, with you sitting there so
near me, I am not frightened now.
It is curious' she mused, "that I
should feel no apprehension now.
And yet and yet "
She paused. Then:
"Tell me, did you ever hear of the
Sign of Venus? the-Signum Ven
eris?" "'; "I've-heard qf it yes" he replied,
surprised. "The distinguished, gen
tleman Who occupies the' chair of
Applied Psychics at the university
lectures on the Sign of Venus, I be
lieve." "Did, you attend the lectures?" she
asked calmfr. .J. - .
He -said he had not. V . ' ,
"They were probably amusing," he
"Not very. Psychic phenomena
bored me; I went during Lent I sup
pose you laugh at that sort of thing."
"No, I don't laugh at it. Queer
things occur, they say. All I know
is that I myself have never seen any
thing happen that could not be ex
plained by natural laws."
"I have," she said.
He bent his head in polite acquies
cence. She leaned a little nearer, small
hands tightly interlaced on her knee.
"The lecture on the Sign of Venus
was the last" She lifted a white fin
ger, drawing the imaginary Signum
Veneris in the air.
"The lecture," she continued,
ended with an explanation of the
Sign of Venus how, contemplating
it by starlight, one might pass into
that physical unconsciousness which
leaves the mind free to control the
She held out her left hand. On a
stretched finger a ring glistened,
mounted with the Sign of Venus
blazing in brilliants.
. "I had this made specially," she
said; "not that I had any particular
desire to test it no curiosity. It
never occurred to me that here in
New York one could could "
"What?" said Hetherford dryly.
" could leave one's own body at
She lifted her eyes to him calmly,
and the. direct beauty of her gaze
disturbed him. Then she' said:
"Listen to me. Last night they
gave a dance at the Willow Brook
Hunt It was nearly two o'clock this
morning when I left the clubhouse
and started hdme Across the lawn
with my mother- and the maid "
"But how on earth could " he
began, then begged her pardon and
She continued serenely: