Fire-Tongue HTML version

Clearly as though he had stood beside her, she seemed to hear the beloved
voice of her father. It was imagination, of course, she knew this; but it was
uncannily real.
She thought that he was calling her, urgently, beseechingly:
"Phil.... Phil...."
24. The Screen Of Gold
Paul Harley raised his aching head and looked wearily about him. At first, as
might be expected, he thought that he was dreaming. He lay upon a low divan
and could only suppose that he had been transported to India.
Slowly, painfully, memory reasserted itself and he realized that he had been
rendered unconscious by the blow of a sandbag or some similar weapon while
telephoning from the station master's office at Lower Claybury. How long a time
had elapsed since that moment he was unable to judge, for his watch had been
removed from his pocket. He stared about him with a sort of fearful interest. He
lay in a small barely furnished room having white distempered walls, wholly
undecorated. Its few appointments were Oriental, and the only window which it
boasted was set so high as to be well out of reach. Moreover, it was iron-barred,
and at the moment admitted no light, whether because it did not communicate
with the outer world, or because night was fallen, he was unable to tell.
There were two doors in the room, one of very massive construction, and the
other a smaller one. The place was dimly lighted by a brass lantern which hung
from the ceiling. Harley stood up, staggered slightly, and then sat down again.
"My God," he groaned and raised his hand to his head.
For a few moments he remained seated, victim of a deadly nausea. Then,
clenching his jaws grimly, again he stood up, and this time succeeded in
reaching the heavy door.