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The Seventh Kama
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Nicol Brinn repeated the salutation, and quietly put his coat on.
"We greet you," said the Hindu. "I am Rama Dass of the Bengal Lodge. Have you Hindustani?"
"Where were you initiated?"
"At Moon Ali Lane."
"Ah!" exclaimed the Hindu. "I see it all. In Bombay?"
"When, and by whom, may I ask?"
"By Ruhmani, November 23, 1913."
"Strange," murmured Rama Dass. "Brother Ruhmani died in that year; which accounts for our having lost touch with you. What is your grade?"
"You have not proceeded far, brother. How do you come to be unacquainted with our presence in England?"
"I cannot say."
"What work has been allotted to you?"
"More and more strange," murmured the Hindu, watching Nicol Brinn through the gold-rimmed spectacles which he wore. "I have only known one other case. Such cases are dangerous, brother."
"No blame attaches to me," replied Nicol Brinn.
"I have not said so," returned Rama Dass. "But in the Seventh Kama all brothers must work. A thousand lives are as nothing so the Fire lives. We had thought our information perfect, but only by accident did we learn of your existence."
"Indeed," murmured Nicol Brinn, coldly.
Not even this smiling Hindu gentleman, whose smile concealed so much, could read any meaning in those lack-lustre eyes, nor detect any emotion in that high, cool voice.
"A document was found, and in this it was recorded that you bore upon your arm the sign of the Seventh Kama."
"'Tis Fire that moves the grains of dust," murmured Nicol Brinn, tonelessly, "which one day make a mountain for the gods."
Rama Dass stood up at once and repeated his strange gesture of salutation, which Nicol Brinn returned ceremoniously; and resumed his seat at the table.
"You are advanced beyond your grade, brother," he said. "You are worthy the next step. Do you wish to take it?"
"Every little drop swells the ocean," returned Nicol Brinn.
"You speak well," the Hindu said. "We have here your complete record. It shall not be consulted. To do so were unnecessary. We are satisfied. We regret only that one so happily circumstanced to promote the coming of the Fire should have been lost sight of. Last night there were three promotions and several rejections. You were expected."
"But I was not summoned."
"No," murmured Rama Dass. "We had learned of you as I have said. However, great honour results. You will be received alone. Do you desire to advance?"
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