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The Last Séance: An Agatha Christie Short Story Agatha Christie A classic Agatha Christie short story, available individually for the first time as an ebook.A medium agrees to perform one last seance before retiring. But even she could not have anticipated the chain of events that it brings… The Last Séance A Short Story by Agatha Christie Copyright (#ulink_a0fbdb29-ecc0-5a16-848b-efb9747a181a) Published by HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 1 London Bridge Street London SE1 9GF www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk) Copyright © 2008 Agatha Christie Ltd. Cover Layout Design © HarperCollinsPublishers 2014 All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book onscreen. 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Source ISBN: 9780007438976 Ebook Edition © MARCH 2014 ISBN: 9780007560035 Version: 2017-04-15 Contents Cover (#u7541896c-43eb-5fe1-836a-cf470051efc0) Title Page (#u9c606d55-ae81-5564-b7f8-bc52a0c40964) Copyright The Last Séance (#ua0888208-0b56-55a1-913e-02e879e485e0) Related Products (#litres_trial_promo) About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo) The Last Séance (#ulink_3a58c323-adb6-5eeb-a403-91469c2ec512) ‘The Last Séance’ was first published in the USA in Ghost Stories magazine, November 1926, and as ‘The Stolen Ghost’ in The Sovereign Magazine, March 1927. Raoul Daubreuil crossed the Seine humming a little tune to himself. He was a good-looking young Frenchman of about thirty-two, with a fresh-coloured face and a little black moustache. By profession he was an engineer. In due course he reached the Cardonet and turned in at the door of No. 17. The concierge looked out from her lair and gave him a grudging ‘Good morning,’ to which he replied cheerfully. Then he mounted the stairs to the apartment on the third floor. As he stood there waiting for his ring at the bell to be answered he hummed once more his little tune. Raoul Daubreuil was feeling particularly cheerful this morning. The door was opened by an elderly Frenchwoman whose wrinkled face broke into smiles when she saw who the visitor was. ‘Good morning, Monsieur.’ ‘Good morning, Elise,’ said Raoul. He passed into the vestibule, pulling off his gloves as he did so. ‘Madame expects me, does she not?’ he asked over his shoulder. ‘Ah, yes, indeed, Monsieur.’ Elise shut the front door and turned towards him. ‘If Monsieur will pass into the little salon Madame will be with him in a few minutes. At the moment she reposes herself.’ Raoul looked up sharply. ‘Is she not well?’ ‘Well!’ Elise gave a snort. She passed in front of Raoul and opened the door of the little salon for him. He went in and she followed him. ‘Well!’ she continued. ‘How could she be well, poor lamb? Séances, séances, and always séances! It is not right – not natural, not what the good God intended for us. For me, I say straight out, it is trafficking with the devil.’ Raoul patted her on the shoulder reassuringly. ‘There, there, Elise,’ he said soothingly, ‘do not excite yourself, and do not be too ready to see the devil in everything you do not understand.’ Elise shook her head doubtingly. ‘Ah, well,’ she grumbled under her breath, ‘Monsieur may say what he pleases, I don’t like it. Look at Madame, every day she gets whiter and thinner, and the headaches!’ She held up her hands. ‘Ah, no, it is not good, all this spirit business. Spirits indeed! All the good spirits are in Paradise, and the others are in Purgatory.’ ‘Your view of the life after death is refeshingly simple, Elise,’ said Raoul as he dropped into the chair. The old woman drew herself up. ‘I am a good Catholic, Monsieur.’ She crossed herself, went towards the door, then paused, her hand on the handle. ‘Afterwards when you are married, Monsieur,’ she said pleadingly, ‘it will not continue – all this?’ Raoul smiled at her affectionately. ‘You are a good faithful creature, Elise,’ he said, ‘and devoted to your mistress. Have no fear, once she is my wife, all this “spirit business” as you call it, will cease. For Madame Daubreuil there will be no more séances.’ Elise’s face broke into smiles. ‘Is it true what you say?’ she asked eagerly. The other nodded gravely. ‘Yes,’ he said, speaking almost more to himself than to her. ‘Yes, all this must end. Simone has a wonderful gift and she has used it freely, but now she has done her part. As you have justly observed, Elise, day by day she gets whiter and thinner. The life of a medium is a particularly trying and arduous one, involving a terrible nervous strain. All the same, Elise, your mistress is the most wonderful medium in Paris – more, in France. People from all over the world come to her because they know that with her there is no trickery, no deceit.’ Elise gave a snort of contempt. ‘Deceit! Ah, no, indeed. Madame could not deceive a newborn babe if she tried.’ ‘She is an angel,’ said the young Frenchman with fervour. ‘And I – I shall do everything a man can to make her happy. You believe that?’ Elise drew herself up, and spoke with a certain simple dignity. ‘I have served Madame for many years, Monsieur. With all respect I may say that I love her. If I did not believe that you adored her as she deserves to be adored – eh bien, Monsieur! I should be willing to tear you limb from limb.’ Raoul laughed. ‘Bravo, Elise! you are a faithful friend, and you must approve of me now that I have told you Madame is going to give up the spirits.’ He expected the old woman to receive this pleasantry with a laugh, but somewhat to his surprise she remained grave. ‘Supposing, Monsieur,’ she said hesitatingly, ‘the spirits will not give her up?’ Raoul stared at her. ‘Eh! What do you mean?’ ‘I said,’ repeated Elise, ‘supposing the spirits will not give her up?’ ‘I thought you didn’t believe in the spirits, Elise?’ ‘No more I do,’ said Elise stubbornly. ‘It is foolish to believe in them. All the same –’ ‘Well?’ ‘It is difficult for me to explain, Monsieur. You see, me, I always thought that these mediums, as they call themselves, were just clever cheats who imposed on the poor souls who had lost their dear ones. But Madame is not like that. Madame is good. Madame is honest and –’ Конец ознакомительного фрагмента. 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