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HOME > Short Stories > The Mikado Jewel > CHAPTER X THE NEW-COMER
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Patricia was not a particularly imaginative girl, considering that she was of Irish descent and blood. But there was something in the clean-shaven face of the young naval officer which appealed to her. The clasp of his arms thrilled her, and although, on recovering her senses, she extricated herself from them hurriedly, yet for days she seemed to feel them round her. Basil was so strong and kind-hearted and virile, that all Patricia\'s femininity went out to him, and he became her ideal of what a man should be. Tall and slim, well-made and wiry, young Dane was as handsome and clean-limbed a man as anyone could meet in a day\'s march. His hair was brown, his skin was tanned by sea and wind and sun, and his eyes were hazel in colour. He had a firm chin and a well-cut mouth, which Patricia could well imagine could be set firmly at times. And, indeed, when she opened her eyes to find herself in his arms, the mouth was stern enough. It was evident that Basil did not at all approve of his brother\'s experiments.

Theodore protested that he had intended no experiment. "I simply burnt the incense to dispel the chilly feeling in the atmosphere of the room," he declared, "and the scent was too much for Miss Carrol."

"If that was all," questioned Basil dryly, "why did Mara come out to say that you had put Miss Carrol into a trance?"

"Oh, Mara!" Theodore looked disdainful. "You know what crazy things Mara says when she wakes up to ordinary life."

"Don\'t talk like that, Theodore."

"Well, then, don\'t quarrel with me the moment you arrive home," retorted Theodore, and Patricia, drying her wet face with her handkerchief, saw the latent animosity between these two ill-matched brothers leap to life. To throw oil on the troubled waters of fraternal strife, she began to laugh--somewhat artificially, it is true, but still sufficiently naturally to show that she was now entirely herself and not hysterical. "It was silly of me to faint," she said in a matter-of-fact way. "Don\'t trouble about me, Mr. Dane"--she spoke to Basil. "I am all right. It was my fault, not Mr. Theodore\'s, that I lost my senses. He was trying no experiments."

"There, you see," said Theodore, with a triumphant glance at his brother.

"You shouldn\'t burn these strong perfumes," said Basil angrily, and walked away without looking at Patricia. He evidently was annoyed that the girl should champion Theodore\'s doings in this pronounced way.

"One moment, Miss Carrol," said Theodore, when Patricia was about to depart also, for it was close upon the dinner-hour and she had to dress. "You called my brother Mr. Dane. That is wrong. I am the eldest, and my name is Mr. Dane, whereas he is called simply Mr. Basil."

Patricia heard the venomous tone of his voice and saw the angry look he darted at Basil, as that young gentleman stepped into the house. Her first inclination was to make an angry retort, but when she considered swiftly how wrong it would be to increase the enmity between these brethren, she curbed her temper, and replied deliberately: "You must excuse my mistake. I shall not make it again. When did Mr. Basil arrive?"

"He rushed into the room just when you fainted. Mara told him and he took you up in his arms and carried you out here into the fresh air."

"I did not faint," said Patricia, looking at him searchingly. "And although I defended you to smooth things over, you really did try and experiment on me. Is that not so?"

"You are such a sensible girl that I can admit as much," said Theodore, with an ironical bow. "Yes, I did use the perfume to put you into a trance. I wished you to--to----" He hesitated.

"To look for the danger which Mara said threatened you," she finished.

"Yes. How do you know?"

"Because when I was miles and miles away, bathed in a flood of light, I heard your voice very clearly, telling me to search."

Theodore gazed at her eagerly. "So you can bring back consciously what you see on the other plane. Did you learn what this danger was?"

"No. Some force drew me back."

"Basil." Theodore clenched his hand and his face grew black. "If he had not interfered, you might have found out."

"I doubt it; and, moreover, if I had found out, I should not have told you."

"Why not?" he asked, astonished.

"Because I don\'t like these experiments."

"But you ought to. Many people\'s souls depart and see things and can explain them when in a trance. But few like yourself can bring back consciously what they see. Tell me what you----"

"I shall tell you nothing, because I have nothing to tell. But I ask you to explain one thing to me?"

"What is that?"

"Why did Mara dance towards the door. I saw her as I became insensible."

Dane looked worried. "I don\'t know. When she smells that perfume she always acts like that. It isn\'t a dance exactly, but it is certainly a measured movement. I don\'t understand Mara," he confessed candidly. "She has powers which are not under her own control. I could control them, but she will not allow me to."

"She is quite right," said Miss Carrol emphatically, "and never again will I allow you to put me in a trance. It is dangerous," and with a nod she also went into the house.

Theodore Dane, with a lowering face and a savage gleam in his blue eyes, stood where he was, with bowed head, considering what the coming of Basil had cost him. He was greatly attracted to Patricia, not by love for her beauty or sweet nature, but because she possessed certain psychic powers which he wished to control. She could, as he now knew, go and return consciously, and that capability showed an advanced state of spiritual evolution. With such a messenger to send into the Unseen, since he could not go himself and Mara refused to obey him, he could accomplish great things. Had he been left alone with the girl, for a certain period, he might have managed to sap her will power and render her his slave. But the coming of Basil changed all that. Basil was young and handsome and ardent, and with a sailor\'s keen sense of beauty, would be certain to admire, and perhaps love, Patricia. If this was so, Basil certainly would prevent any more experiments being made, and Theodore\'s evil heart was filled with black rage at the unexpected thwarting of his aims.

"Curse him!" he muttered, alluding to his brother. "He always crosses my path and puts me wrong." And as he spoke he raised his head to survey the goodly heritage which assuredly Basil would gain in the end. "I shall not be driven from here," raged Theodore furiously. "I shall marry the girl and gain the property by getting Basil out of the way. But how is it to be done with safety to myself? I must think."

This meant that Theodore intended to draw to him certain evil counsellors, who, being supernatural, could guide him in the selfish way which he wished to take. And these powers, being evil, would be only too glad to minister to his wicked passions, since by doing so they secured more control of him, and could use him for their own accursed ends, to sow discord on the earth-plane. But Theodore, not being possessed of psychic powers, could not come directly into contact with these beings so malignant and strong. He was obliged to find a medium, and since Mara would not act in that capacity, and since Patricia was lost to him, or would be, through the influence of Basil, the man\'s thoughts turned to old Brenda Lee, the grandmother of Isa, to whom Harry Pentreddle was engaged. She was accredited with being a witch, and possessed powers which Theodore knew only too well to be real. He had made use of her before, for there was an evil bond between them, and he now intended to make use of her again. Pending a near visit to her and a consultation of those creatures he intended to summon to his assistance, Theodore smoothed his face to smiles and went in to dinner.

It was a very pleasant meal on this especial evening. Squire Colpster appeared to grow young in the cheery atmosphere of Basil\'s strong and virile youth. The sailor of twenty-five was so gay and bright, and talked in so interesting a manner of what he had seen and where he had been, that even the dreamy Mara was aroused to unexpected vivacity. And Theodore, with rage in his heart and smiles on his face, behaved so amiably and in such a truly brotherly fashion, that Basil and he were quite hand in glove before the time came to retire to rest. The younger brother, straight, honest-natured and kind-hearted, did not credit Theodore with crooked ways, although he knew that his relative was not so straight as he might be. But Basil, calling him internally a crank, set down his deviation from the normal to his secluded life and uncanny studies.

"You ought to go about the world more, Theo," he said at dinner. "It would do you a lot of good."

"Perhaps I may travel some day," said Mr. Dane, in a would-be genial manner. "Just now I have so much interesting work in hand that I don\'t want to move."

"Some of your cloudy schemes?"

"They are not so very cloudy, although you may think them to be so," said the elder brother significantly, and there was a look in his blue eyes which made Patricia move uneasily. The girl\'s instinct, let alone what she had seen when she recovered from her trance, showed her clearly how deadly was the enmity between these brothers. But it is only just to say that the dividing feeling was rather on the part of Theodore than on the part of Basil. The latter only mistrusted his brother as a slippery and unscrupulous man, who was to be avoided, but he did not seek to do him any injury. On t............
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