The Exploits of Elaine
13. The Devil Worshippers
Elaine was seated in the drawing room with Aunt Josephine one afternoon, when her
lawyer, Perry Bennett, dropped in unexpectedly.
He had hardly greeted them when the butler, Jennings, in his usual impassive manner
announced that Aunt Josephine was wanted on the telephone.
No sooner were Elaine and Bennett alone, than Elaine, turning to him, exclaimed
impulsively, "I'm so glad you have come. I have been longing to see you and to tell you
about a strange dream I have had."
"What was it?" he asked, with instant interest.
Leaning back in her chair and gazing before her tremulously, Elaine continued, "Last
night, I dreamed that father came to me and told me that if I would give up Kennedy and
put my trust in you, I would find the Clutching Hand. I don't know what to think of it."
Bennett, who had been listening intently, remained silent for a few moments. Then,
putting down his tea cup, he moved over nearer to Elaine and bent over her.
"Elaine," he said in a low tone, his remarkable eyes looking straight into her own, "you
must know that I love you. Then give me the right to protect you. It was your father's
dearest wish, I believe, that we should marry. Let me share your dangers and I swear that
sooner or later there will be an end to the Clutching Hand. Give me your answer, Elaine,"
he urged, "and make me the happiest man in all the world."
Elaine listened, and not unsympathetically, as Bennett continued to plead for her answer.
"Wait a little while--until to-morrow," she replied finally, as if overcome by the
recollections of her weird dream and the unexpected sequel of his proposal.
"Let it be as you wish, then," agreed Bennett quietly.
He took her hand and kissed it passionately.
An instant later Aunt Josephine returned. Elaine, unstrung by what had happened,
excused herself and went into the library.
She sank into one of the capacious arm chairs, and passing her hand wearily over her
throbbing forehead, closed her eyes in deep thought. Involuntarily, her mind travelled
back over the rapid succession of events of the past few weeks and the part that she had
thought, at least, Kennedy had come to play in her life.