But you are brewing a gas here!” said Mr. Parham.It is a gas a dangerous gas. What is itIt takes some brewing. If a crack in that retort let in the air well, somewhere else this thing would have to begin over again. Here it would be finished. This stuff you see here is only a stage in a long string of processes. Before our product is ready to use there have to be corrosive and destructive phases. It is unavoidable that there should be these phases of corrosion and destruction. What is adventure if it has no danger? But when we have done, the gas we shall have here will not be a poison gas at all. Instead we shall have a vapour to enter into blood and nerve and brain and clean the mind of man as it has never been cleaned before. It will allow his brain, so clogged and stifled still by old rubbish, so poisoned and cramped and crippled, to free itself from all that holds it back now from apprehending and willing to the utmost limits of its possibility. And that points to a new world quite different from the world to which your mind is adapted. A world beyond your dreaming. You don’t begin to imagine yet a tithe of the things a liberated human brain can do. All your poor old values will be mislaid and forgotten. Your kingdoms and empires, your morals and rights, all you find so lovely and splendid, the heroism and sacrifices of battlefields, your dreams of lordship, every romantic thing, the devotion of servants, the subjugation of women, and the deception of children all the complex rigmaroles of your old world will be washed out of men’s thoughts. We are brewing a new morality here and a new temerity. Instead of distrusting each other, killing each other, competing with and enslaving and consuming one another, we go on to a world of equals, working together under the guidance of realized fact, for ends too high for your imagination. . . But this is the voice of Satan himself,” interrupted Mr. Parham.This air max 1 is the Sin of Pride defying Heaven. This is Babel come again No,” said Camelford, and it seemed to Mr. Parham that he began to grow larger and tower over his hearers.It is the way of escape from our narrow selves. Forward to the new. Cling to this traditionalism of yours a little longer, cling still to what YOU call history, with all these new powers and possibilities we are pressing into your hands and there can be only one end Catastrophe The word Catastrophe reverberated in Mr. Parham’s mind. Then his attention was caught and riveted on Gerson’s attitude. The General’s one serviceable eye, dilated and intent, was fixed on Camelford, his lips were pressed together, his bulldog face was set in an expression of stern indignation. A deep Indian red had invaded his complexion. He was rigid except that his right arm was moving very slowly. His hand gripped the butt of his revolver and was tightening upon it and drawing it out. A strange conflict prevailed in Mr. Parham’s mind. He found this talk of Camelford’s antagonistic and hateful but he did not want to interrupt it, he wanted to hear the man out; above all, he did not want to have the talk interrupted by Gerson in Gerson’s fashion. And besides, what was Gerson doing here? He had not been asked to this party. But was it a party? This was not a dinner party. It was a séance. But no! What was it? Where were we? Cayme? Within the now frightfully confused soul of Mr. Parham intellectuality grappled with reaction. Not yet, at any rate, must things come to this. He made a weak movement of his hand as if in restraint of Gerson’s intention. Instantly Gerson had whipped out his weapon.Stand off,” he said in an aside to Parham, and then to CamelfordHands up!” Camelford did not seem to realize his danger.Put that old thing up,” he said.Give it to me. You’ll break something He came, hand out, towards GersonKeep back!” said Gerson.I’ll show you if this sort of thing is over. It’s only beginning. I’m the real Lord Paramount. Force and straight shooting. Do you think I care a damn for your gas or you? Catastrophe! A fig for your old catastrophe! Which is always coming and never comes. Hands up, I tell you. Put up your hands, you damned fool! STOP!” He fired. Then very swiftly the blue steel barrel under Mr. Parham’s nose sought Sir Bussy. Vainly. Gerson’s shot hit the metal door that closed upon that elusive being. Mr. Parham felt an instant pang of exasperation with both these uncontrollable spirits. He still wanted Camelford to go on. His air max 90 mind flashed back to Camelford. But Camelford was staggering with his hand on his throat. Then it was catastrophe, as Camelford had said. A crash and a splintering of glass. Camelford had fallen through the great glass retort, carrying down a transparent shattering triangle, had splashed into the liquid and now lay far below, moving convulsively on the curve of the nether glass. For a moment the air about them was full of ascendant streamers of vapour made visible as they changed to green and mingled with the air. They eddied and whirled. They spun faster and faster. Gerson had turned his weapon upon Parham.You too! YOU to talk of war! With the wits of a prig and the guts of a parasite! Get out of my world!” The vituperating mouth hung open arrested. No shot came. But now everything was moving very swiftly. One last flash of frantic perception closed the story. The rotunda yawned open as though some mighty hand had wrenched it in two, and through the separating halves of the roof appeared the warm glow of sunrise. A universe of sound pressed upon and burst the drums of Mr. Parham’s ears. An immense explosion which seemed to have been going on for some moments caught him and lifted him backward and upward at an incredible speed, and Gerson, suddenly flat and bloody, flashed by, seemed to be drawn out longer and longer until he was only a thread of scarlet and khaki, and so vanished slanting up the sky, with his revolver spinning preposterously after him. Part 5 Chapter 8 The world and all things in it vanished in a flash of blinding light. The wordextinction” sang like a flying spark through the disintegrating brain of Mr. Parham. Darkness should have swallowed up that flying spark, but instead it gave place to other sparks, brighter and larger.Another life or extinction? Another life or extinction?” With a sort of amazement Mr. Parham realized that experience was not at an end for him. He was still something, something that felt and thought. And he was somewhere. Heaven or hell? Heaven or hell? It must be hell, he thought, surely, for it was pervaded by the voice of Sir Titus Knowles, if one could call that harsh, vindictive snarling sound a voice. The very voice of Gerson. Hell and in the company of Sir Titus! But surely hell would be something fuliginous, and this was a clear white blaze. The words of Sir Titus became distinct.GOT you!” he bawled.GOT you! There’s the ectoplasm! There
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