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“I am glad you came, Clarke; very glad indeed. I was not sure you could spare the time.” “I was able to make arrangements for a few days; things are not very lively just now. But have you no misgivings, Raymond? Is it absolutely safe?” The two men were slowly pacing the terrace in front of Dr. Raymond’s house.
The Great God Pan PDF Book by Arthur Machen
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The sun still hung above the western mountainline, but it shone with a dull red glow that cast no shadows, and all the air was quiet; a sweet breath came from the great wood on the hillside above, and with it, at intervals, the soft murmuring call of the wild doves. Below, in the long lovely valley, the river wound in and out between the lonely hills.
And, as the sun hovered and vanished into the west, a faint mist, pure white, began to rise from the hills. Dr. Raymond turned sharply to his friend. “Safe? Of course it is. In itself the operation is a perfectly simple one; any surgeon could do it.” “And there is no danger at any other stage?” “None; absolutely no physical danger whatsoever, I give you my word.
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You are always timid, Clarke, always; but you know my history. I have devoted myself to transcendental medicine for the last twenty years. I have heard myself called quack and charlatan and impostor, but all the while I knew I was on the right path. Five years ago I reached the goal, and since then every day has been a preparation for what we shall do tonight.”
“I should like to believe it is all true.” Clarke knit his brows, and looked doubtfully at Dr. Raymond. “Are you perfectly sure, Raymond, that your theory is not a phantasmagoria—a splendid vision, certainly, but a mere vision after all?” Dr. Raymond stopped in his walk and turned sharply. He was a middle-aged man, gaunt and thin, of a pale yellow complexion.\
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But as he answered Clarke and faced him, there was a flush on his cheek. “Look about you, Clarke. You see the mountain, and hill following after hill, as wave on wave, you see the woods and orchard, the fields of ripe corn, and the meadows reaching to the reed-beds by the river. You see me standing here beside you, and hear my voice.
But I tell you that all these things—yes, from that star that has just shone out in the sky to the solid ground beneath our feet —I say that all these are but dreams and shadows; the shadows that hide the real world from our eyes. There is a real world, but it is beyond this glamour and this vision, beyond these ‘chases in Arras, dreams in a career,’ beyond them all as beyond a veil.
I do not know whether any human being has ever lifted that veil; but I do know, Clarke, that you and I shall see it lifted this very night from before another’s eyes. You may think this all strange nonsense; it may be strange, but it is true, and the ancients knew what lifting the veil means. They called it seeing the god Pan.” The Great God Pan PDF Book
Clarke shivered; the white mist gathering over the river was chilly. “It is wonderful indeed,” he said. “We are standing on the brink of a strange world, Raymond, if what you say is true. I suppose the knife is absolutely necessary?” When Clarke woke up with a start he saw Raymond pouring a few drops of some oily fluid into a green phial, which he stoppered tightly.
“You have been dozing,” he said; “the journey must have tired you out. It is done now. I am going to fetch Mary; I shall be back in ten minutes.” Clarke lay back in his chair and wondered. It seemed as if he had but passed from one dream into another. He half expected to see the walls of the laboratory melt and disappear, and to awake in London, shuddering at his own sleeping fancies.
But at last the door opened, and the doctor returned, and behind him came a girl of about seventeen, dressed all in white. She was so beautiful that Clarke did not wonder at what the doctor had written to him. She was blushing now over face and neck and arms, but Raymond seemed unmoved. “Mary,” he said, “the time has come. The Great God Pan PDF Book
You are quite free. Are you willing to trust yourself to me entirely?” “Yes, dear.” “Do you hear that, Clarke? You are my witness. Here is the chair, Mary. It is quite easy. Just sit in it and lean back. Are you ready?” “Yes, dear, quite ready. Give me a kiss before you begin.” The doctor stooped and kissed her mouth, kindly enough.
“Now shut your eyes,” he said. The girl closed her eyelids, as if she were tired, and longed for sleep, and Raymond placed the green phial to her nostrils. Her face grew white, whiter than her dress; she struggled faintly, and then with the feeling of submission strong within her, crossed her arms upon her breast as a little child about to say her prayers.
The bright light of the lamp fell full upon her, and Clarke watched changes fleeting over her face as the changes of the hills when the summer clouds float across the sun. And then she lay all white and still, and the doctor turned up one of her eyelids. She was quite unconscious. Raymond pressed hard on one of the levers and the chair instantly sank back. The Great God Pan PDF Book
Clarke saw him cutting away a circle, like a tonsure, from her hair, and the lamp was moved nearer. Raymond took a small glittering instrument from a little case, and Clarke turned away shudderingly. When he looked again the doctor was binding up the wound he had made. “She will awake in five minutes.” Raymond was still perfectly cool.
“There is nothing more to be done; we can only wait.” The minutes passed slowly; they could hear a slow, heavy, ticking. There was an old clock in the passage. Clarke felt sick and faint; his knees shook beneath him, he could hardly stand. Suddenly, as they watched, they heard a long-drawn sigh, and suddenly did the colour that had vanished return to the girl’s cheeks, and suddenly her eyes opened.
Clarke quailed before them. “Yes, my name’s Herbert. I think I know your face, too, but I don’t remember your name. My memory is very queer.” “Don’t you recollect Villiers of Wadham?” “So it is, so it is. I beg your pardon, Villiers, I didn’t think I was begging of an old college friend. Good-night.” “My dear fellow, this haste is unnecessary. The Great God Pan PDF Book
My rooms are close by, but we won’t go there just yet. Suppose we walk up Shaftesbury Avenue a little way? But how in heaven’s name have you come to this pass, Herbert?” “It’s a long story, Villiers, and a strange one too, but you can hear it if you like.” “Come on, then. Take my arm, you don’t seem very strong.”
The ill-assorted pair moved slowly up Rupert Street; the one in dirty, evil-looking rags, and the other attired in the regulation uniform of a man about town, trim, glossy, and eminently well-to-do. Villiers had emerged from his restaurant after an excellent dinner of many courses, assisted by an ingratiating little flask of Chianti, and.
In that frame of mind which was with him almost chronic, had delayed a moment by the door, peering round in the dimly-lighted street in search of those mysterious incidents and persons with which the streets of London teem in every quarter and every hour. Villiers prided himself as a practised explorer of such obscure mazes and byways of London life. The Great God Pan PDF Book Download
And in this unprofitable pursuit he displayed an assiduity which was worthy of more serious employment. Thus he stood by the lamp-post surveying the passers-by with undisguised curiosity, and with that gravity known only to the systematic diner, had just enunciated in his mind the formula: “London has been called the city of encounters; it is more than that, it is the city of Resurrections.”
When these reflections were suddenly interrupted by a piteous whine at his elbow, and a deplorable appeal for alms. He looked around in some irritation, and with a sudden shock found himself confronted with the embodied proof of his somewhat stilted fancies. There, close beside him, his face altered and disfigured by poverty and disgrace.
His body barely covered by greasy ill-fitting rags, stood his old friend Charles Herbert, who had matriculated on the same day as himself, with whom he had been merry and wise for twelve revolving terms. Different occupations and varying interests had interrupted the friendship, and it was six years since Villiers had seen Herbert. The Great God Pan PDF Book Download
And now he looked upon this wreck of a man with grief and dismay, mingled with a certain inquisitiveness as to what dreary chain of circumstances had dragged him down to such a doleful pass. Villiers felt together with compassion all the relish of the amateur in mysteries, and congratulated himself on his leisurely speculations outside the restaurant.
“It’s queer, isn’t it, parting with a man at the college gate or at Paddington, seeing nothing of him for years, and then finding him pop up his head in such an odd place. But I should like to have seen Mrs. Herbert; people said extraordinary things about her.” “What sort of things?” “Well, I hardly know how to tell you.
Everyone who saw her at the police court said she was at once the most beautiful woman and the most repulsive they had ever set eyes on. I have spoken to a man who saw her, and I assure you he positively shuddered as he tried to describe the woman, but he couldn’t tell why. She seems to have been a sort of enigma. The Great God Pan PDF Book Download
And I expect if that one dead man could have told tales, he would have told some uncommonly queer ones. And there you are again in another puzzle; what could a respectable country gentleman like Mr. Blank (we’ll call him that if you don’t mind) want in such a very queer house as Number 20? It’s altogether a very odd case, isn’t it?”
“It is indeed, Austin; an extraordinary case. I didn’t think, when I asked you about my old friend, I should strike on such strange metal. Well, I must be off; good-day.” Villiers went away, thinking of his own conceit of the Chinese boxes; here was quaint workmanship indeed. Clarke looked again at the sketch; it was not Mary after all.
There certainly was Mary’s face, but there was something else, something he had not seen on Mary’s features when the white-clad girl entered the laboratory with the doctor, nor at her terrible awakening, nor when she lay grinning on the bed. Whatever it was, the glance that came from those eyes, the smile on the full lips, or the expression of the whole face. The Great God Pan PDF Book Free
Clarke shuddered before it at his inmost soul, and thought, unconsciously, of Dr. Phillip’s words, “the most vivid presentment of evil I have ever seen.” He turned the paper over mechanically in his hand and glanced at the back. “Good God! Clarke, what is the matter? You are as white as death.” Villiers had started wildly from his chair, as Clarke fell back with a groan, and let the paper drop from his hands.
“I don’t feel very well, Villiers, I am subject to these attacks. Pour me out a little wine; thanks, that will do. I shall feel better in a few minutes.” Villiers picked up the fallen sketch and turned it over as Clarke had done. “You saw that?” he said. “That’s how I identified it as being a portrait of Herbert’s wife, or I should say his widow.
How do you feel now?” “Better, thanks, it was only a passing faintness. I don’t think I quite catch your meaning. What did you say enabled you to identify the picture?” “This word—‘Helen’—was written on the back. Didn’t I tell you her name was Helen? Yes; Helen Vaughan.” Clarke groaned; there could be no shadow of doubt. The Great God Pan PDF Book Free
“Now, don’t you agree with me,” said Villiers, “that in the story I have told you to-night, and in the part this woman plays in it, there are some very strange points?” “Yes, Villiers,” Clarke muttered, “it is a strange story indeed; a strange story indeed. You must give me time to think it over; I may be able to help you or I may not. Must you be going now? Well, good-night, Villiers, good-night. Come and see me in the course of a week.”