CHAPTER XVII
THE LEPRECHAUN

THE shell carried us straight back to the house of Yolara. Larry was awaiting me. We stood again before the tenebrous wall where first we had faced the priestess and the Voice. And as we stood, again the portal appeared with all its disconcerting, magical abruptness.

But now the scene was changed. Around the jet table were grouped a number of figures -- Lugur, Yolara beside him; seven others -- all of them fair-haired and all men save one who sat at the left of the priestess -- an old, old woman, how old I could not tell, her face bearing traces of beauty that must once have been as great as Yolara's own, but now ravaged, in some way awesome; through its ruins the fearful, malicious gaiety shining out like a spirit of joy held within a corpse!

Began then our examination, for such it was. And as it progressed I was more and more struck by the change in the O'Keefe. All flippancy was gone, rarely did his sense of humour reveal itself in any of his answers. He was like a cautious

-193-

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