"You could? What are you going to do now?"
Mary's eyes sparkled, and she sipped her tea. "I thought it would be such great fun to have a séance."
"Are you quite certain? I mean, if you felt this sadness...that can't be good."
"She wants help, the poor thing," Mary said. "This is an old house. And after all those years of opening windows, she's finally gotten to trust me enough to appear and ask for my help.
"What does Roger say about your plan?"
"Oh, I haven't told him. You know what a stick-in-the-mud he is."
* * *
On a gray afternoon, while a desultory breeze ruffled the remaining leaves on the trees around his home, Orville Nesbit sat in the overstuffed chair in his library, holding the letter that the morning post had brought. Mr. Nesbit styled himself a psychic researcher. He was entitled to call himself a master of science, a master of arts, and a doctor of philosophy, though he seldom did. His degrees were quite legitimate, in psychology and related fields. He had never had to use them. Family money supported the house and the grounds it stood on. His personal needs were simple and his wants were few; but he was a gourmand and had a weakness for old books, and these habits required that he occasionally turn his hand to trade.
His library contained books that required a particular turn of mind to comprehend, as well as fluency in the archaic forms of several languages. Many were the sole surviving copies. Royal and ecclesiastical censors over the centuries had exhibited little tolerance about certain things, and such volumes were expensive.