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THE next afternoon, still simmering with indignation, I accompanied Miss Baker to the Albert Hall in order to hear Mirzarbeau's lecture, which she was still bent on attending. The place was very full; the subject was one that promised amusement, and a crowd of all sorts of people was there. Contrary to expectation, I did not see Dornton upon the platform, near which our seats were, though I fancied I recognized in the audience one or two men that I had encountered at the meeting of the Finis Mundi Society.

We spent the time of waiting in speculating as to whether these men had been deluded into wearing the green discs; they had not got them on their foreheads, at any rate.

The advent of the professor was the signal for a titter throughout the Hall. As he waddled forward to make his bow this titter rose to a roar of laughter, so loud and continuous that much of what he said was inaudible.

"I shall rule you all," he screamed, trying to make himself heard above the tumult. "I shall rule the whole world; all shall do exactly as I wish. Yes; you may laugh now; but, parbleu, you will not laugh for long. . . . You have had your fun at me, and now it shall be my turn. . . . Attend, I give you my orders. . . .

"The government by Parliament is folly; there shall be no more elections. . . .

"The education of the people is folly; there shall no longer be any . . .

"There is folly written in the newspapers— folly about me. Pardieu! no newspaper shall again give an opinion . . .

"There is" . . .

"Shut up, you old fool," roared some one in the body of the Hall, where a section of the rougher element had congregated. Then the cry of "Chuck him out!" was raised, and the people pressed forward to rush the platform.

Mirzarbeau stopped speaking, and beamed a smile upon the crowd. There was a telephone on the platform. He went over to this, and called out some message— what, I could not catch.

"He's calling the police," yelled a man in the crowd. "Chuck him out before the coppers come."

"I await you, messieurs— the Beast waits," said Mirzarbeau. Then he folded his arms and stood smiling.

In the rush that followed my companion and I were borne off our legs; we had no chance to escape. Pressed forward by the excited throng behind, we were carried right on to the platform where Mirzarbeau smiled and waited. I tried to shield Landry as well as I was able, hitting out right and left. Although the rioters were not dangerous, their horseplay was annoying to a degree. One black-bearded lout just behind us deliberately snatched off her hat, and with a coarse joke flung it up into the air. I turned and aimed a blow at his face.

My fist encountered no resistance!

I fell on to the floor, hitting my head violently as I fell. But it was not that which drew a shriek from my lips; an uncontrollable shriek that I repeated again and again.

Save for Landry, who had sunk swooning on the floor, the space around the platform was absolutely void!

On the platform Mirzarbeau still stood and smiled, motionless as before. Round the exits a panic-stricken crowd struggled madly to get out; a few people still left in the body of the Hall shrieked with maniacal laughter.

"So," said Mirzarbeau, "the Beast has power. Pray observe it, messieurs, before you pass."

He picked up the telephone again. The next moment there was no one in the Hall save Landry, the professor, and I. The rest had vanished!

I do not know what happened directly after that. The horror of the thing made me swoon away.

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