A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters 1 - Page 6

Wednesday , April the Twenty-First
In order that I be allowed to go , I did not inform Aunt or Uncle about the séance when I returned home .
When first I came to live here , I selected my room partially based on its having an easy point of egress via the ivy lattice . I was a forward-thinking child . I used it here , finding it more difficult to manage than I would have guessed . It was mainly the fault of my sleeves , I believe , as I was clever enough to tie up my skirt before descending — but one must dress in a proper fashion when one goes out , however unusual the manner of one ' s departure .
I discovered fully two dozen ladies waiting to be admitted to the séance . Perdina Meeks was there , of course , making herself the center of attention as usual , but not even she could upstage Miss Basilio . When that lady arrived , gorgeously arrayed in jet and black velvet , and on the arm of Lord Gorey himself , Perdina declined into a sulk .
Lord Gorey seemed too distracted to notice even the discontent of the woman attached to him . Poor man , he hardly seemed to notice anything at all . He gave the assemblage only the briefest glance before walking through the sorcery shop . In his hand Lord Gorey held a large leather case , bound across with iron and secured with a mechanical lock .
The proprietor , J . W . Wells , smiled politely at Lord Gorey . " I think you will find that everything is in complete readiness , my lord . If you and your party would please step through to the parlor ?"
Perdina and her group immediately pushed forward , clutching one another ' s hands and gaping about as if they were entering some exotic harem , rather than a perfectly ordinary room . A long table of black ebony-wood stood in the center of the room , scandalously unclad in any cloth , and fifteen chairs of simple design placed around it .
" Those of a more sensitive nature may find themselves more comfortably seated away from the main table ,” Wells instructed . “ The distance may diminish the more palpable visions and terrors .”
No one , it seemed , deemed they were likely to faint or have fits . I was able to claim the seat opposite Lord Gorey , and directly to the right of J . W . Wells himself . Even though J . W . Wells is judged an honest sorcerer , one still hears rumors of underhanded fakery at séances .
J . W . Wells stood , silent and still , until all the ladies had found their seats , and then he looked down the table at Lord Gorey . " I must ask ,” he said . “ How did your late wife pass ?” " She ... died in her sleep ." " There was no violence to her passing ?" Everyone ' s face turned avidly to Lord Gorey ' s . It was quite like observing a flock of black-clad vultures .
" No ," he answered . " No violence of any kind , whatsoever ." " Then ," J . W . Wells said . " We may begin ." He reached across the table and took my hand , and that of the lady on his other side .
" Now think of the lady ," J . W . Wells said . " Bring her into your minds and memory as though she yet lived . Give her spirit flesh ."
And then he was silent , and we all sat in the dark together , and no one dared even to breathe . I had considerable trouble giving Lady Gorey flesh . I had only met her once . I remembered dark pretty eyes , and a shawl I had envied of her , and little else . I wondered , if Miss Basilio were to become the second Lady Gorey ( as she so clearly wished ), would she then inherit this shawl ?
And then , I realized that his hand , which had been of a normal temperature when he had first taken mine , was now cold ... and
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