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THE SIGN OF VENUS-BY ROBERT W. CHAMBERS
(Continued From Saturday.)
"There is no use in our being
frightened"," he said, "scarcely know
ing what he uttered. "This is 58th
street, New York." He forced a smile.
"Don't be frightened; there's an
explanation for this. You are not
asleep in Westchester; you are here
in your own house. You mustn't
tremble so. Give me your hand a
She laid her hand in his obediently;
it shook like a leaf. He held it firmly,
touching the fluttering pulse.
"You are certainly no spirit," he
said, smiling; "your hand is warm
and yielding. Ghosts don't have
hands like that, you know."
" Her fingers lay in his, quite pas
sive now, but the pulse quickened.
"The explanation of it all is this,"
he said: "You have had a temporary
suspension of consciousness, during
which time you, without being aware
of what you were doing, came to
town from Willow Brook. You be
lieve you went to a dance at the
Hunt Club, but probably you did not.
instead, during a lapse of conscious
ness, you went to the station, took a
train to town, came straight to your
own house " He hesitated.
"Yes," she said, "I have a key to
the door. Here it is." She drew it
from the bosom of her gown; he took
r "You simply awoke to conscious
ness while you were groping for the
jaatches. That is all there is to it;
and you need not be frightened at
all!" he announced.
"No, not frightened," she said,
shaking her head; "only only I won
aer how I can get back. I've tried
to fix my mind on my ring on the
Sign of Venus I cannot seem to "
; "But that's nonsense!" he protest
ed cheerfully. "That ring has noth
ing to do with the matter."
"But it brought me here! Truly I
am asleep m my hammock. Won't I
you believe it?"
"No; and you mustn't, either," he
said impatiently. "Why, just now I
explained to you "
"I know," she said, looking down
at the ring on her hand; "but you are
wrong truly you are."
"I am not wrong," he said, laugh
ing. "It was only a dream the
dance, the hammock these were
parts of a dream so intensely real
that you cannot shake it off at once."
"Then then who was that we
saw in the mirror."
"Let us try it again," he said con
fidently. She suffered him to lead
her again to the mirror; again they
peered into its blimmering depths,
heads close together. v
A second's breathless silence, then
she caught his hand in both of hers
with a low cry; for the strange profile
was slowly turning toward them a
face of amazing beauty her own
face transfigured, radiantly glorified.
"My soul!" she gasped, and would
have fallen at his feet had he not
held her and supported her to the
stairs, where she sank down, hiding
her face in her arms.
As for him, he was terrible shaken;
he strove to speak, to reason with
her, with himself, but a stupor chain
ed body and mind, and he only leaned
there on the newel post, vaguely
aware of his own helplessness.
Far away in the night the bells of
a church began striking the hour
one, two, three, four. Presently the
distant rattle of a wagon sounded.
The city stirred in its slumbers.
He found himself bending beside
her, her passive hands in his once
more, and he was saying: "As a
matter of fact, all this is quite capable
of an explanation. Don't be dis
tressed please don't be frightened or
sad. We've both had some sort of
hallucination, that's all really that