“Myra!” he groaned. “Myra, speak to me.”
“Control yourself, boy,” rapped Dr. Cairn, sternly; “she cannot speak until you have revived her! She has swooned—nothing worse.”
“We have conquered!”
CHAPTER XXXI THE BOOK OF THOTH
The mists of early morning still floated over the fields, when these two, set upon strange business, walked through 佛山桑拿全套一条龙 the damp grass to the door of the barn, where-from radiated the deathly waves which on the previous night had reached them, or almost reached them, in the library at Half-Moon Street.
The big double doors were padlocked, but for this they had come provided. Ten minutes work upon the padlock sufficed—and Dr. Cairn swung wide the doors.
A suffocating smell—the smell of that incense with which they had too often come in contact, was wafted out to them. There was a dim light inside the place, and without hesitation both entered.
A deal table and chair constituted the sole furniture of the interior. A part of the floor was roughly boarded, and a brief examination of the boarding sufficed to discover the hiding place in which Antony Ferrara kept the utensils of his awful art.
Dr. Cairn lifted out two heavy boards; and in a recess below lay a number of singular objects. There were four antique lamps of most peculiar design; there was a larger silver lamp, which both of them had seen before in various apartments occupied by Antony 佛山桑拿会所按摩全套 Ferrara. There were a number of other things which Robert Cairn could not have described, had he been called upon to do so, for the reason that he had seen nothing like them before, and had no idea of their nature or purpose.
But, conspicuous amongst this curious hoard, was a square iron box of workmanship dissimilar from any workmanship known to Robert Cairn. Its lid was covered with a sort of scroll work, and he was about to reach down, in order to lift it out, when:
“Do not touch it!” cried the doctor—”for God’s sake, do not touch it!”
Robert Cairn started back, as though he had seen a snake. Turning to his father, he saw that the latter was pulling on a pair of white gloves. As he fixed his eyes upon these in astonishment, he perceived that they were smeared all over with some white preparation.
“Stand aside, boy,” said the doctor—and for once his voice shook slightly. “Do not look again until I call to you. Turn your head aside!”
Silent with amazement, Robert Cairn obeyed. He heard his father lift out the iron box. He heard him open it, for he had already perceived that it was not locked. Then quite distinctly, he heard him close it again, and replace it in the cache.
“Do not turn, boy!” came a hoarse whisper.
He did not turn, but waited, his heart beating painfully, for what should happen next.
“Stand aside from the door,” came the order, “and when I have gone out, do not look after me. I will call to you when it is finished.”
He obeyed, without demur.
His father passed him, and he heard him walking through the damp grass outside the door of the barn. There followed an intolerable interval. From some place, not very distant, he could hear Dr. Cairn moving, hear the chink of glass upon glass, as though he were pouring out something from a stoppered bottle. Then a faint acrid smell was wafted to his nostrils, perceptible even above the heavy odour of the incense from the barn.
“Relock the door!” came the cry.
Robert Cairn reclosed the door, snapped the padlock fast, and began to fumble with the skeleton keys with which they had come provided. He discovered that to reclose the padlock was quite as difficult as to open it. His hands were trembling too; he was all anxiety to see what had taken place behind him. So that when at last a sharp click told of the task accomplished, he turned in a flash and saw his father placing tufts of grass upon a charred patch from which a faint
haze of smoke still arose. He walked over and joined him.
“What have you done, sir?”
“I have robbed him of his armour,” replied the doctor, grimly. His face was very pale, his eyes were very bright. “I have destroyed the Book of Thoth!”
“Then, he will be unable—”
“He will still be able to summon his dreadful servant, Rob. Having summoned him once, he can summon him again, but—”
“He cannot control him.”
That night brought no repetition of the uncanny attack; and in the grey half light before the dawn, Dr. Cairn and his son, themselves like two phantoms, again crept across the field to the barn.
The padlock hung loose in the ring.
“Stay where you are, Rob!” cautioned the doctor.
He gently pushed the door open—wider—wider—and looked in. There was an overpowering odour of burning flesh. He turned to Robert, and spoke in a steady voice.
“The brood of the Witch-Queen is extinct!” he said.
Chapter 1 The Fluctuation
THE STOCK MARKET—the daytime adventure serial of thewell-to-do—would not be the stock market if it did not have itsups and downs. Any board-room sitter with a taste for WallStreet lore has heard of the retort that J. P. Morgan the Elderis supposed to have made to a na?ve acquaintance who hadventured to ask the great man what the market was going todo. “It will fluctuate,” replied Morgan dryly. And it has manyother distinctive characteristics. Apart from the economicadvantages and disadvantages of stock exchanges—theadvantage that they provide a free flow of capital to financeindustrial expansion, for instance, and the disadvantage thatthey provide an all too convenient way for the unlucky, theimprudent, and the gullible to lose their money—theirdevelopment has created a whole pattern of social behavior,complete with customs, language, and predictable responses togiven events. What is truly extraordinary is the speed withwhich this pattern emerged full blown following theestablishment, in 1611, of the world’s first important stockexchange—a roofless courtyard in Amsterdam—and the degreeto which it persists (with variations, it is true) on the NewYork Stock Exchange in the nineteen-sixties. Present-day stocktrading in the United States—a bewilderingly vast enterprise,involving millions of miles of private telegraph wires, computersthat can read and copy the Manhattan Telephone Directory inthree minutes, and over twenty million stockholderparticipants—would seem to be a far cry from a handful ofseventeenth-century Dutchmen haggling in the rain. But the fieldmarks are much the same. The first stock exchange was,inadvertently, a laboratory in which new human reactions wererevealed. By the same token, the New York Stock Exchange isalso a sociological test tube, forever contributing 佛山桑拿按摩酒店 to the humanspecies’ self-understanding.
The behavior of the pioneering Dutch stock traders is ablydocumented in a book entitled “Confusion of Confusions,”
written by a plunger on the Amsterdam market named Josephde la Vega; originally published in 1688, it was reprinted inEnglish translation a few years ago by the Harvard BusinessSchool. As for the behavior of present-day American investorsand brokers—whose traits, like those of all stock traders, areexaggerated in times of crisis—it may be clearly revealedthrough a consideration of their activities during the last weekof May, 1962, a time when the stock market fluctuated in astartling way. On Monday, May 28th, the Dow-Jones averageof thirty leading industrial stocks, which has been computedevery trading day since 1897, dropped 34.95 points, or morethan it had dropped on any other day except October 28,1929, when
the loss 佛山夜生活兼职mm was 38.33 points. The volume of tradingon May 28th was 9,350,000 shares—the seventh-largestone-day turnover in Stock Exchange history. On Tuesday, May29th, after an alarming morning when most stocks sank farbelow their Monday-afternoon closing prices, the marketsuddenly changed direction, charged upward with astonishingvigor, and finished the day with a large, though notrecord-breaking, Dow-Jones gain of 27.03 points. Tuesday’srecord, or near record, was in trading volume; the 14,750,000shares that changed hands added up to the greatest one-daytotal ever except for October 29, 1929, when trading ran justover sixteen million shares. (Later in the sixties, ten, twelve, andeven fourteen-million share days became commonplace; the1929 volume record was finally broken on April 1st, 1968, andfresh records were set
again and again in the next fewmonths.) Then, on Thursday, May 31st, after 佛山桑拿女电话qq a Wednesdayholiday in observance of Memorial Day, the cycle wascompleted; on a volume of 10,710,000 shares, the fifth-greatestin history, the Dow-Jones average gained 9.40 points, leaving itslightly above the level where it had been before all theexcitement began.
The crisis ran its course in three days, but, needless to say,the post-mortems took longer. One of de la Vega’s observationsabout the Amsterdam traders was that they were “very cleverin inventing reasons” for a sudden rise or fall in stock prices,and the Wall Street pundits certainly needed all the clevernessthey could muster to explain why, in the middle of an excellentbusiness year, the market had suddenly taken its second-worstnose dive ever up to that moment. Beyond
theseexplanations—among which President Kennedy’s April crackdownon the steel industry’s planned price increase ranked high—itwas inevitable that the postmortems should often compare May,1962, with October, 1929. The figures for price movement andtrading volume alone would have forced the parallel, even if theworst panic days of the two months—the twenty-eighth and thetwenty-ninth—had not mysteriously and, to some people,ominously coincided. But it was generally conceded that thecontrasts were more persuasive than the similarities. Between1929 and 1962, regulation of trading practices and limitationson the amount of credit extended to customers for thepurchase of stock had made it difficult, if not actuallyimpossible, for a man to lose all his money on the Exchange.
In short, de la Vega’s epithet for the Amsterdam stockexchange in the sixteen-eighties—he called it “this gambling hell,”
although he obviously loved it—had become considerably lessapplicable to the New York exchange in the thirty-three yearsbetween the two crashes.
THE 1962 crash did not come without warning, even thoughfew observers read the warnings correctly. Shortly after thebeginning of the year, stocks had begun falling at a prettyconsistent rate, and the pace had accelerated to the pointwhere the previous business week—that of May 21st throughMay 25th—had been the worst on the Stock Exchange sinceJune, 1950. On the morning of Monday, May 28th, then,brokers and dealers had reason to be in a thoughtful mood.
Had the bottom been reached, or was it still ahead? Opinionappears, in retrospect, to have been divided. The Dow-Jonesnews service, which sends its subscribers spot financial news byteleprinter, reflected a certain apprehensiveness between thetime it started its transmissions, at nine o’clock, and theopening of the Stock Exchange, at ten. During this hour, thebroad tape (as the Dow-Jones service, which is printed onvertically running paper six and a quarter inches wide, is oftencalled, to distinguish it from the Stock Exchange price tape,which is printed horizontally and is only three-quarters of aninch high) commented that many securities dealers had beenbusy over the weekend sending out demands for additionalcollateral to credit customers whose stock assets were shrinkingin value; remarked that the type of precipitate liquidation seenduring the previous week “has been a stranger to Wall Streetfor years;” and went on to give several items of encouragingbusiness news, such as the fact that Westinghouse had justreceived a new Navy contract. In the stock market, however,as de la Vega points out, “the news [as such] is often of littlevalue;” in the short run, the mood of the investors is whatcounts.