Zhukovsky suddenly grew tense. “What’s that? Sit down!”
"Stop that music!" muttered Backhouse, tottering from his chair and facing the party. Faull touched the bell. A few more bars sounded, and then total silence ensued.
"Anyone who wants to may approach the couch," said Backhouse with difficulty.
Lang at once advanced, and stared awestruck at the supernatural youth.
"You are at liberty to touch," said the medium.
But Lang did not venture to, nor did any of the others, who one by one stole up to the couch - until it came to Faull's turn. He looked straight at Mrs. Trent, who seemed frightened and disgusted at the spectacle before her, and then not only touched the apparition but suddenly grasped the drooping hand in his own and gave it a powerful squeeze. Mrs. Trent gave a low scream. The ghostly visitor opened his eyes, looked at Faull strangely, and sat up on the couch. A cryptic smile started playing over his mouth. Faull looked at his hand; a feeling of intense pleasure passed through his body.
Maskull caught Mrs. Jameson in his arms; she was attacked by another spell of faintness. Mrs. Trent ran forward, and led her out of the room. Neither of them returned.
The phantom body now stood upright, looking about him, still with his peculiar smile. Prior suddenly felt sick, and went out. The other men more or less hung together, for the sake of human society, but Nightspore paced up and down, like a man weary and impatient, while Maskull attempted to interrogate the youth. The apparition watched him with a baffling expression, but did not answer. Backhouse was sitting apart, his face buried in his hands.
It was at this moment that the door was burst open violently, and a stranger, unannounced, half leaped, half strode a few yards into the room, and then stopped. None of Faull's friends had ever seen him before. He was a thick, shortish man, with surprising muscular development and a head far too large in proportion to his body. His beardless yellow face indicated, as a first impression, a mixture of sagacity, brutality, and humour.
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