Synopsis

Although frightened by the men’s proposal, Hannah agrees to it, believing it will allow her to lead a normal life.  She is horrified by the séance room, believing that the men are going to practice vivisection on her.  Hannah faints in an armchair and soon a spirit voice addresses them, revealing that Hannah is “one of the finest mediums this world has ever produced.”  He warns them to be careful, however, as she will assimilate any spirit that possesses her.  Ricardo immediately starts demanding to speak with his dead wife but is admonished by the spirit guide for his impatience.  The voice then ceases and Hannah awakens, completely oblivious as to what has happened.  Despite this experience, Steinberg is still sceptical, speculating that Hannah herself was responsible for the spirit voice.

Hannah complains about her role in the séances, as they leave her exhausted and she is also finding herself haunted by a foreign-looking woman in a veil.  Ricardo realises with mounting excitement that this is the ghost of Leonora and urges Hannah to summon her again.  Hannah has no desire to talk to “sperrits”, refusing even a financial incentive, but suddenly realises that she has been given a sleeping draught and is powerless to resist.

When the spirit guide again appears, Steinberg asserts that it is Hannah’s ventriloquism.   The guide urges him to fill her mouth with water, which he does, and the voice continues.  When Hannah comes round she confides that her powers had caused problems with her family and fiancé back home, so she’s hoping the “cure” will reconcile her with them.

Ricardo feels guilty for using her in this way but Steinberg argues that she is a legitimate sacrifice in the interests of science.  As a mere housemaid, and an ignorant one at that, she is unworthy of any greater respect.  Ricardo muses that Leonora speaking through Hannah might have a refining effect.

Mrs Battleby becomes very suspicious as to what is taking place with Hannah in the attic rooms, imagining a sexual element.  Ricardo and Steinberg’s subsequent colloquy is interrupted by Hannah entering the séance room of her own accord, and soon a spirit form materialises.  It turns out to be Mrs Carlile, a patient whose hand Steinberg had amputated.  Although the procedure itself had been successful, she never recovered from the chloroform anaesthetic.  Steinberg craves reassurance that she has forgiven him, but her response is enigmatic.  Just as she appears to be replaced by the spirit of Leonora, Mrs Battleby hammers on the door, demanding to be admitted.  She is rebuffed, but resolves to gain entry when the men are out.

She is appalled by what she finds, assuming that they are engaged in some form of sorcery.  She listens at the door the next time a séance is held.  When she hears the men crying out the names of Mrs Carlile and Leonora, she assumes there is an orgy taking place.  She writes to Hannah’s mother, explaining that funny business is going on and requesting that she comes to retrieve her daughter.  Unsurprisingly, Mrs Stubbs is horrified and she sets off for London with Hannah’s fiancé, Joe Brushwood.

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