The butler led Sir John and Marie into the large, well decorated bedroom. A middle aged maid was sitting across from the bed on which the young Lillian Copperwaite lay. The prone figure gazed vacantly into space from under the covers, with just her arms and chest exposed.
“This is Miss Copperwaite,” said the butler reverently. “Mr Copperwaite thought it best you see her first.”
“Quite right!” exclaimed Sir John excitedly, causing the maid to jump. “Objectivity is vital at this stage.”
Sir John donned a pair of heavy looking goggles. “Ectoscopic glasses,” he said half to himself. He wandered around the room looking initially at the walls and the desk.
“Miss Copperwaite is over here,” said the butler, looking bemused.
“It’s a background check for residual energies,” explained Sir John. He waved his hands to aid explanation, which didn’t seem to reduce the confusion of the butler. Sir John walked around to the head of the bed still looking at the wall. He turned and looked across the bed at the maid on the other side. He jumped back, making a loud gutteral noise. The maid emitted a shriek.
“Sorry,” said Sir John. He went over to the bed and looked at Miss Copperwaite, his head looking up and down her immobile body. Then he leaned forward to peer into her face looking closely with the goggles. He lifted up the covers to peer underneath. Marie coughed. Sir John stopped and took off the goggles to look at Marie.
“Are you alright dear?” he said. Marie indicated to her right with her eyes, and Sir John saw the butler’s face looking shocked.
“Yes, well, that’s, er, all straightforward,” said Sir John, flushing a little. He looked down at Miss Copperwaite and noticed her arm outside the sheets. He picked up the hand a little and let it drop. It fell like a stone. He picked up her forearm and held it a little higher and again it fell with a small thud. Then he lifted her whole arm up and was about to drop it when Marie said urgently, “Mon cher!” Sir John looked back and she made the same motion with her eyes. The butler looked highly agitated. Sir John wandered back to his wife.
“Well, that will conclude our, er, initial analysis,” said Sir John to the butler who looked somewhat relieved. Sir John then turned to his wife and whispered, “I can’t see anything paranormal at all.”
“Perhaps I may escort Sir Jenkins and his wife to Mr Copperwaite,” said the maid. She came over to the Jennings’ and the butler left the room, muttering under his breath and glancing at Sir John.
“You ain’t found nothing. I can tell,” said the maid. “And you won’t neither. This ain’t nothing medicinal and this ain’t no spooks. Miss Copperwaite is under the thrall… of …Mesmerism.”
Marie made a loud gasp. Sir John and the maid both looked at her.
“I am sorry,” she said. “I sat on this bit of metal and it was ‘ot.”
“That will be the central ‘eating miss,” said the maid.
“How interesting,” said Sir John.