The World, the Flesh, and the Devil. 7
"Then you believe in his power of divination?" asked Mrs,
Champion, with languid interest,
" I can't help believing."
"Yes, because you have not found out the trick of the thing.
There is always a trick in these things, which is inevitably found
out sooner or later; and then people wonder that they can have
been so foohsh as to beheve," said Mrs. Champion.
The curtain of leaves parted as she spoke, and a young man
came through the opening—a young man whom Lady Fridoline
" I was just telling my friends how disappointed I should be if
you did not come," she said, and then, turning to Edith Champion,
she introduced the new-comer as Mr. Jermyn.
" Lady Fridoline has been trying to make us feel creepy by her
description of your occult powers, Mr. Jermyn," said Mrs. Champion,
" but you do not look a very alarming personage."
"Lady Fridoline exaggerated my poor gifts in her infinite kind¬
ness," replied Jermyn, with a laugh that had a gnome-like sound to
Mrs. Champion's ears.
" Mr. Jermjm was a pleasant-looking young man, tall, slim, and
fair, with a broad, strongly marked brow, which receded curiously
above the temples, and with hair and moustache of that pale
j'ellowish hue whicli seems most appropriate to the faun and satyr
races. Something in the way this short curling hair was cut about
brow and ears, or in the shape of the ears themselves, suggested the
satyr type; otherwise there was nothing in the young man's
physiognomy, bearing, or dress which made him different from other
well-bred and well-dressed men of his age. His laugh had a fresh
and joyous ring, which made it agreeable to hear, and he laughed
often, looking at the commonest things in a mirthful spirit.
Lady Fridoline insisted upon his taking some refreshment, and
when he had disposed of a lemon-ice, she carried him off for a stroll
round the lawn, eager to let people see her latest celebrity. There
was a little buzz of talk, and an obvious excitement in the air as he
passed group after group. He had shown himself rarely in society,
and his few performances had been greatly discussed and written
about. Letters exalting him as a creature gifted with superhuman
powers had alternated with letters denouncing him as an impostor
in one of the most popular daily papers. The people who are
always ready to believe in the impossible were loud in the assertion
of his good faith, and would not hear of trickery or imposture.