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´╗┐Title: Professor Huskins
Author: Cummings, Lettie M.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Professor Huskins" ***

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Professor Huskins

By
Lettie M. Cummings

[Illustration: Logo]

BOSTON: RICHARD G. BADGER
TORONTO: THE COPP-CLARK CO., LIMITED.


COPYRIGHT 1916 BY RICHARD G. BADGER
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

THE GORHAM PRESS, BOSTON. U. S. A.



TO MY MOTHER

     Whose love and profound interest in my work was an inspiration and
     encouragement


PROFESSOR HUSKINS



CHAPTER ONE


"Here is a complication I know not how to solve and unravel. Three
different persons in equally quiescent condition, and equally good
'subjects,' are placed in a comatose state by the same operator, who
leaves them unbiased by his personal opinions, thinking to obtain in the
mesmerized condition, (with their material bodies completely subjugated
and inactive,) truth, upon a subject that man in his normal state cannot
positively ascertain nor agree upon. Each of these 'subjects' gives a
different opinion, and as all can be argued with more or less fluency,
there are, seemingly, reasonable points in all. How can the
discrepancies be reconciled? That is the question.

"I have thought the subject over seriously ever since the experiment,
and the only way I can see is to mesmerize other persons, until two are
found who do agree. It is a scientific problem of which we need an
explanation.

"There must be a law of uniformity governing the Universe; otherwise
such perfect order would not exist. But who can determine what that law
is?

"I cannot understand the cause of so much variance in the answers. If I
had held any preconceived ideas upon the subject, it would be different
entirely, as I would then know my personal opinion upon it had colored
the minds of my subjects. In such a case, however, there would be
uniformity of opinion and avowal, while now there is almost utter
variance.

"There seems to be logical reasoning on the part of each of them, but it
is impossible to reconcile their statements. One says practically the
opposite of the other. Which is right? Are any of them right, and what
is the cause of this diversity of opinion? I confess I am as much
interested in the cause of their disagreement as in the question itself.

"I believe myself to be a true student of life; that is, a person
desirous of obtaining and mastering a true knowledge of the exact laws
of existence, and hold myself aloof from all such preconceived plans of
my own brain's concoction as may prejudice me, looking always for
reasons and facts which teach me methods better than I know.

"My soul sickens at the word 'consistency.' Some of my colleagues seem
to regard consistency as the essence of wisdom, but I cannot understand
it that way. To me, consistency implies a clinging to old ideas and
customs, and is therefore a symbol of negativeness instead of
progression. I want to advance:--to grow in wisdom and knowledge,
though that advancement means the abandonment of every past idea,
however choice and excellent that idea may have seemed, either at the
time of its acceptance or now.

"A true student aspires to gain truth however much it may wound his past
thoughts, and I can only regard life as a school of experience, wherein
what to-day we consider precious, may tomorrow become valueless. There
is where I differ from my colleagues. I am willing to admit that two of
them at least are far beyond me in technical knowledge, but it seems to
me the further they advance in technical knowledge, the less pliable and
elastic are their ideas.

"Somehow, I cannot comprehend advancement or progression without
change,--'change,' of course, means the adoption of new ideas. If I
believe the same as when a mere child, how can I have gained in wisdom?
I cannot rid myself of the idea that consistency, that is, always
believing what you used to believe, instead of being the essence of
wisdom, is rather a pronounced indication of ignorance.

"Everything, so far as I am able to distinguish facts from that (to me)
inestimable book, Nature, tells me to continually search for and demand
new complications and expressions of types of life.

"The same law must hold good with man. How can I plan and work
successfully under the same conditions that would have furnished my
father success? I cannot do it, for the forces necessary and sufficient,
at even that recent date would be totally inadequate and impotent to
meet and overcome conditions the present produces. Advancement in
science, invention and education has made a corresponding advancement in
thought and methods of achievement imperative. Strict consistency to my
father's methods might, it is true, bring me some degree of success, but
if I wish to be found among the successful men of the present, I must
study existing conditions as closely as he did those of his time,
striving to keep my methods up to present advancement, appreciating the
value of his labor and methods, and knowing the suitability of them as
compared to the conditions he was called upon to operate. As he strove
to improve upon the methods of his predecessors, so must I strive to
improve upon his, adopting those which he demonstrated to be successful,
and applying them as stepping stones to higher accomplishment.

"Such a procedure cannot be called 'consistency,' but I know despite
what my colleagues say, that my own deductions upon this subject are
correct, for all nature bears me out in the assertion.

"Strict consistency to past methods never led any life to the goal of
higher understanding. I am not a man to be satisfied with what others
say or have said, though they may have acquired a reputation of
infallible authority, beyond whose assertions no man ought to seek
confirmation. I want to know personally; I want to know the exact truth,
though I renounce every idea men have in the past asserted.

"I am convinced after my experience of to-day, that there are scientific
as well as spiritual martyrs, but I shall, nevertheless, express my
opinions if it means social and professional ostracism.

"Lacking much wisdom and many graces my colleagues possess, I have one
quality which they lack, that is, absolute fearlessness of any person's
opinion. I am acknowledged by so-called experts (I use the term
advisedly) to be in advance of their most wisely proficient selves in
power, and for that reason I am growing extremely doubtful of their
expertness: possibly that is the very reason I doubt their wisdom, for I
realize how ignorant I am.

"All I know are facts gained by experience, and the longer I experiment,
the more non-plussed and doubtful I become, regarding even the efficacy
of that science I once declared infallible. If these so-called experts
acknowledge my supremacy over them, always calling upon and consulting
me when they know not how to proceed, surely they must have less
knowledge than I and they have no right to be called experts, for such a
term implies proficiency, and here are several experts completely
defeated by these mesmerized subjects whom they consider negative and
weak. It does not speak very forcibly for their expertness--this rebuff
they have received.

"My whole life since I entered manhood, has been one long study and
experiment; I never allowed any condition to elude me without finding
some logical reason for its existence, and this problem shall not escape
me without my having determined the principles which underlie the
phenomenon. How long it will take, I have no idea, but that is an
immaterial point. What am I living for, but to learn?

"Dr. H----, next to myself, the most powerful mesmerist, suggests that
we impress the minds of the 'subjects' with the theories so far
generally accepted, concerning the questions we ask, but I do not
approve of such an idea. There must be some way to determine the truth.
This experiment was planned and entered into for the express purpose of
trying to discover facts confirmative of old opinions, coming through
the organisms of persons totally ignorant of the subject, whose minds
must, therefore, be uncolored by past opinions.

"So far, we have met with blank failure, but that fact, instead of
discouraging me, as it has some of the others, only adds zest to the
work, and though they should all relinquish the task we have begun, I
shall go on, alone if need be, until I reach some conclusion that
satisfies me.

"The 'subject' whom I chose for this experiment is the best I have ever
used, and I felt positive he would answer the question better than any
other, but I am not cast down nor discouraged by this most unlooked for
result. Unlike the rest, I look not so much to present satisfaction
(especially to the confirmation of my preconceived ideas), as to the
acquirement of truth and knowledge.

"My 'subject' really gave less than some of the others, while I expected
him to give more, but I am convinced that the cause of this is the fact
I left his mind entirely unbiased. Knowing nothing, he could give
nothing, in the negative (by his unusual dumbness) he answered the
question which I so strenuously advocated, that the soul of man, in
whatever stage of unfoldment, contains all knowledge, and all that is
necessary to bring this knowledge into material manifestation, is to
mesmerize the body allowing the soul to speak forth, untrammeled by the
physical influence.

"I am proven to be wrong by this day's work. Of course my pride suffered
a little as the truth became apparent that my public teachings and
deductions were erroneous, but I hope I am too thoroughly sincere in my
quest for truth, by which I may help humanity, to permit any more than
transient disappointment to influence me.

"Strange to say, there was not one other operator present who seemed to
notice the great discrepancies between the assertions made in our
investigations of mesmerism, and the proofs before us. Had any one of us
been teaching a class of students in psychology, he would unhesitatingly
have said 'subdue the consciousness of your subject, and he will
intelligently answer any question you may give him.' We should have
believed it too, but our science, faith and belief has not changed one
iota the disappointing result.

"I realize I am entering a sphere of investigation where new revelations
are in store for me. I rejoice in the prospect, but earnestly wish I
knew precisely the conditions that would be most propitious to usher in
the new wisdom. How gladly would I comply with them, even though they
should call for much sacrifice on my part. I have consecrated my life to
the search for truth, and I will conform to whatever conditions those
powers who so zealously guard the realm of wisdom may demand.

"I shall never be satisfied to use any but the subject I chose myself
for this experiment, as I am inclined to believe the minds of the
others had been somewhat impressed regarding the subject before they
came this time.

"Possibly I made a mistake in selecting my subject after all my care and
deliberation upon the work. I know that women are considered the best
subjects, but it seemed to me that a man's brain was better suited to
receive and transmit scientific problems than a woman's; theirs seeming
fitted especially for spiritual work.

"I confess I am at a loss how to proceed, but longer reflection will
probably give me some clue to work upon. There is no use lingering over
it longer now, for all new suggestions will come to me as the old ones
have, unexpectedly and suddenly.

"I will take some recreation. Music always soothes and rests
me,--especially singing. There is a renowned singer here, and I will go
and hear her, giving my undivided attention to the witchery and
enchantment of the human voice.

"I will take Merle with me; he needs the change after having been held
so long in the trance condition. I noticed he seemed quite exhausted,
and he felt sincere sorrow to learn that our experiment had not been a
success, seeming to think our failure might be due in part to some
defect in him or his development. I think differently and want him to
know I am perfectly satisfied with him as a subject.

"He is a pure, clean fellow, one whose place it would be hard for me to
fill. He is always ready to be used for any of my experiments, and every
signal success has pleased him even more than myself. It is singular how
attached he has become to me. He has unlimited confidence in my powers,
thinking no feat too extravagant for me to perform. Every soul hungers
for pure love, and his love for me affords me a degree of pleasure I
would be loth to admit to anyone. Were he my own boy, I could feel no
greater pride in him.

"There is nothing that affords him so much pleasure as for me to invite
him to join me in some excursion where we go alone. It seems to make no
difference where we go or what we do, if we are by ourselves. He knows I
dislike crowds and empty compliments, and that I only attend social
functions when the call seems imperative. We are both happier alone. I
will send him word to be ready when I call for him. We shall have a rich
treat in music, and forget the work and disappointment of the day.
Somehow we will work out the problem as we have others before. Au
revoir, care and perplexity, I go to court pleasure and harmony."



CHAPTER TWO


The huge edifice was almost filled when William Huskins and his subject,
Merle Millard, arrived. The audience was composed of persons who
represented the affluent portion of society in ----, drawn together by
the fame and genius of the gifted woman who was to entertain them with
(reputation said) a matchless voice, under perfect control. This singer
had never been heard here, and curiosity and a desire to witness the
first appearance of so distinguished an artist in their location were
conflicting emotions in every person present. She was a star who had but
recently attracted the attention of musical critics, and was now lauded
with every variety of praise the ingenuity of such men could devise.
This splendid audience was the visible manifestation of their regard and
labor to bring her into prominence.

When Professor Huskins, as he was called, and the young man were being
shown to their seats, the entire audience was divided between their
expectancy of witnessing the beginning of the entertainment, and
watching the advent of those who came later than themselves. A man so
distinguished as the Professor for wisdom, and a power which, to most
persons seemed little short of miraculous, could not fail to create a
marked degree of interest and enthusiasm among so many people wholly
engrossed in looking for change and excitement.

He was scarcely less interesting than the artist they had come to see.
Many hoped to receive from him some token of recognition, that would
declare to those around that they were friends of so famous a man, but
few were so privileged, as the Professor's thoughts were upon any
subject but his own importance, and his gaze was not traveling in search
of acquaintances. He looked straight before him, taking the appointed
place with no idea as to what impression he might create.

It was not to be wondered at so many cast admiring glances at the two
men, for they were indeed goodly men to look upon. They were a little
above the average height, but their height ended all similarity in their
appearance. Both had unusual faces, such as, once seen, are never
forgotten. The Professor had a vigorous physique of seemingly perfect
proportions, and every movement of his body indicated power and
strength. His face was difficult to describe, as its great variance from
the faces of ordinary men laid largely in the contour of his head,
which, to a student of phrenology would have indicated well and evenly
developed organs, with few marked points of protrusion; in other words,
a man of understanding, who had command of many lines of thought. A well
centered brain, showing no abnormal propensities in any line. It was a
head pleasant to study, covered with a thick growth of dark brown hair,
almost verging on black, which he always wore closely cut and brushed
back from his face. He wore no beard, thus bringing his mouth into plain
view. He had what might be called a large mouth, with lips set firmly
together over a chin that no person could mistake to mean other than
firmness and decision. His smile was pleasant, and when he laughed or
talked he disclosed a set of even white teeth. But while his physique
and carriage were sufficiently marked with grace and symmetry to attract
notice wherever he went, it was his eyes more than anything else that
lifted him out of the likeness to common men.

There are no words that will truthfully and fully portray their beauty
and brilliancy. In color, they were gray when his more than active mind
was in repose, but with each varying emotion, they expressed a different
hue, and few persons who knew him agreed upon their actual shade, the
most general opinion being that they were very dark or black. They were
eyes all children trusted, but many men could not look into them. He was
always scrupulously attired.

Merle was as dark as the Professor, but unlike him had rosy cheeks. He
was slender in figure, the very expression of grace in movement. He wore
no beard, and copied the Professor in the arrangement of his hair--an
arrangement that displayed to the best possible advantage their
well-shaped foreheads. There was, however, a very marked difference in
the shape of their heads, and the color and expression of their eyes.
Merle's face was longer and thinner, while his eyes were a decided
brown, large, pensive and beautiful, fringed with long, thick, dark
lashes. The two men might easily have passed for brothers, and almost
any person, if asked for an opinion of the two, would have said, "the
younger is the handsomer, and you can approach him easier, but the older
is the one I would go to in trouble."

There was not so great a difference in their ages as many persons
supposed, but the firmness and sternness habitual to the Professor's
face made him look older than he really was. As you become better
acquainted with them, you will be able to picture them far more clearly
than my words can possibly do.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a perceptible hush and awe passing over the large audience.
They are awaiting the rhythmic harmony that only such musicians as those
now before them can produce, for these men represent the very acme of
excellence in their various lines. They are all in their places, and
only await the movement of their leader to burst forth into one of their
inimitable performances.

Instinctively all eyes are riveted upon the stage, and all seem to hold
their breaths, as there is borne into their ears such an influx of sweet
and soothing symphony as transports them from the present, with all its
agitation and conflicting influences, and carries them to that realm
where harmony and concord reign supreme. It is over. The Professor and
Merle instinctively seek each other's gaze, each drawing a long sigh of
satisfaction.

"Wasn't that glorious?" asked Merle, and the Professor, with one of
those flashes of his brilliant and dazzling eyes replied "It rewards us
for all our arduous work for the day. Let us drink our fill of this
nectar of the Gods, for it will give us new life and courage."

This was said with the joyous candor of a boy, and was the expression of
a side of his nature few persons were privileged to witness, or even
believed him to possess.

They appeared to enjoy to the full the musical treat, until suddenly
Merle was stricken faint and ill, so much so indeed, that, despite the
Professor's efforts to restore him to his usual strength, they were
obliged to leave the scene.

Merle had seemed well and happy all through the entertainment and
appeared to look forward with keen expectation to the advent of the
singer, (her name was Rosalie Earle) but just as she entered, he was
looking toward some friends whom he had discovered at a distance, when a
loud burst of applause drew his attention to her. He shuddered, grew
cold and faint, but as he looked in her direction, he could see nothing
clearly; everything became dark and distant and in the fading light he
could not see the woman.

He heard singing, but it seemed far away, and indistinct. Where was
William? He had the power to restore him. His voice rang out, clear and
trenchant--"William! William!" then he sank to unconsciousness.

So enraptured was the Professor with the marvelous singing he did not
hear the first cry, and it was hard for him to realize the exact
condition of his friend when the second had reached him.

His mind was temporarily absent when Merle's head dropped heavily upon
his shoulder, and he even hesitated before he turned his gaze upon him.

After a while Merle stirred and lifted his head, saying he could not
breathe nor see. The Professor bade him to be quiet until the song was
finished, when they would go out. It was soon over, but Merle was then
unable to walk, and the Professor was obliged to help him. It seemed
strange to him to be unable to see. His body was trembling and icy cold,
and William, who had so often cured him, seemed powerless to dispel the
awful sensation which had stricken him so suddenly.

Still, above all his suffering there came the thought he was depriving
William of a well loved pleasure, and as he regarded him with the
strongest veneration and affection, he exerted his will to the limit,
that he might regain his strength to such a degree his master might stay
and hear the beautiful singer whose sweet tones he had heard, but whom
he could not see. He strove as never before in his life to gain his lost
power over the physical body to animate and control it, but despite his
efforts, he sank down at William's feet, inanimate and cold.

William raised him in his arms and helped carry him to a carriage, and
they were soon at Merle's home, where his mother and sister were waiting
for him. They obeyed the Professor's every command, reverencing him
almost to the point of worship, but morning found them still at Merle's
bedside, as he revived from one fainting condition only to sink into
another, with a season of high fever between.

The Professor's power seemed incapable of producing more than transient
relief, and he confessed himself at a loss to understand the illness,
unless it might be that Merle had been overworked the day before, but
that seemed improbable, as he had been entranced many times for a longer
period. Finally he sank into a deep sleep, induced by the Professor's
power, and William, advising mother and sister to seek repose, went to
his own home, assuring them that all immediate danger was over, and
promising to return soon. He instructed them, however, to send for him
at once should Merle awake and resume the alternate fever and chills.

They promised to do so, and went to seek sleep, for their confidence in
his power was absolute. He had used Merle as a subject for years, had
always been good to him and them, and to question his will never
occurred to them, so they left Merle and went to their beds, while
William went home to study and think.



CHAPTER THREE


After leaving Merle, William walked slowly and thoughtfully to his home,
which was at some distance, but instead of resting or sleeping, after
the labors and excitement of the day, he went immediately to his private
study, and plunged into thought. The expression of his eyes at this time
was not charming, betokening not only doubt and suspense, but some
intensity of feeling that, to an outside observer would have been
nameless.

"Let me think. My brain seems in a maze; I cannot command my thoughts! I
cannot even speculate. What a day this has been. Will its memory ever be
effaced from my soul? My thoughts, even, elude my wishes. I, who prided
myself on the cogency of my reasoning, my control over my thoughts, am
reduced to the same condition of blank vacancy as is a new born babe,
looking, wondering, speculating possibly, but unable to realize or
reason.

"I who am acknowledged to be the strongest mesmerist of the age, have
twice in one day been completely baffled by my usually passive
'subject,' through no desire of his own to disobey. I am sure of that,
as he has been too faithful a subject for me to doubt for one instant
his loyalty. He wishes to please me. This night's work mystifies me
more than the day's, and I regarded that as an epoch in my life.

"Let me think how it all happened, and why I lost all control over him
to whom, ordinarily, I have but to suggest a thought or desire, and he
hastens at once to obey, whether in a trance or not.

"There is no doubt the boy is very ill, overcome by some powerful
influence, which, temporarily at least, is stronger than my will over
him.

"I feel shame,--the deepest of shame--that I, who usually glory in the
fact of calm nerves, invulnerable to the rudest shocks, should thus be
suddenly deprived of all self-control, and that before a multitude of
persons who will naturally say 'Professor Huskins must be losing his
power to allow his acknowledged best subject to create such a sensation
in a public place.'

"No wonder they would think so after all the tests many have seen this
same subject put through, he obeying implicitly my every thought, silent
or spoken. I could not only not prevent this public portrayal of my
weakness, but it required all of the will power I possessed to quiet and
subdue the disturbance after I had got him to his home where everything
was perfectly tranquil.

"This is not a very flattering picture to contemplate, and I walked
home purposely to cool my head and control my thoughts. If sentence of
death were to be passed upon me, if I could not tell one rational
thought that passed through my brain since I left home, until I arrived
here again, I should have to pay the penalty.

"All is confusion--doubt--chaos. I realize that I have no firm
foundation upon which to stand. Where I thought I was strong I find I am
weak; miserably and pitifully weak--so weak I feel acute shame for
myself.

"Enough of this. I must and will know the cause of Merle's sudden
illness. I know that, deny though he may, that sickness had its
foundation in the woman's appearance and nowhere else. Just before that
he was talking animatedly to me about his sister, and the thought went
through my mind 'how well he looks; all the fatigue of the day has gone,
and he is his old self again, quaffing enjoyment like a child.'

"I felt a sense of envy that he could be so light-hearted, and for just
one moment could have wished myself a negative subject instead of a
positive operator, but before that wish had been fully formulated in my
mind, the singer appeared and almost simultaneously rang out his
distracted cry 'William!' (the name by which he never addresses me
except in private) and that in so loud a tone as to penetrate, it seems
to me now, every portion of that immense auditorium.

"I heard the cry, still I seemed unable to turn away from that woman's
face; when, immediately there came another cry, so full of suffering it
broke the spell that bound me, but I could do no more than to calm and
quiet him.

"Was it selfishness on my part to remain that I might hear her sing just
once more, or was it really an unselfish desire not to disturb others by
going out while she was singing? I hope it was the latter. Is any man
capable to analyze correctly his own thoughts? If so, I am not one of
them. Why should Merle be stricken so ill by just one fleeting glance at
her? She is as beautiful as a poet's dream. There must be something in
their lives of more than ordinary acquaintance. He knows her;--he
must.--But even so, why should he be so affected? I shall know. He shall
tell me--if not waking, I will entrance him.

"It seems impossible that Merle has had any love experience with a
woman, yet there is no other way to account for the incident. I must be
wrong. He has been my subject now almost ten years; I know that in all
that time he has been free from any attachments with women, for he has
been continually under my care. Before that time, he was only a boy,
incapable of generating any strong attachment, still she would have
been a girl about his own age.

"Probably they met, and, like every other true-hearted man, he has
remembered and suffered, while she, with her beauty, has gone on
wounding new hearts. I will find out about it. He is too good a boy to
be the victim of a designing woman. I have warned him times enough, and
thought he heeded me.

"This is another proof of one man's inability to dominate the entire
consciousness of another so as to know for a certainty his exact
thoughts and emotions.

"I thought I was aware of all the principal traits, wishes and events of
Merle's life, while the strongest and most potent force of all probably,
was entirely undreamed of.

"I thought before I went to that concert, I had a difficult problem
before me,--one that would try my patience, ingenuity and knowledge, but
I am likely to find that one simple, compared to the last.

"However intricate, I will solve it. There is only one way to do it; I
will go to him as soon as I can get away from the consultation with my
colleagues, when we have arranged to talk over our failure.

"They must not notice the ravages that yesterday has made upon me. It is
useless for me to try to sleep; neither do I feel any inclination to
eat, but I will go and take a good cold plunge. That will restore me to
my customary equilibrium of mind sooner than anything else. Then I will
walk to Dr. H----'s office. By that time I will get myself into my
ordinary shape. William, you told yourself some years ago that you were
impervious to shocks; you had control of your nerves and body; now here
you stand, trying to keep yourself from trembling, and unable, even, to
eat or sleep!

"Wonderful power to possess! I congratulate you upon its possession!
Only yesterday, you prided yourself in one thing that your colleagues
did not possess--fearlessness of public criticism;--You have been as
nervous as a woman, thinking what impression Merle's disability will
produce upon the persons present at the concert.

"No wonder you are an advocate of inconsistency! You know no better
example of it than yourself. You surely have more to learn than you
thought."

       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER FOUR


Punctual to his appointment, William was ushered into the private office
of Dr. Harrington, which was a small, gloomy room barren of all beauty;
a fitting symbol of the uses for which it was designed, as its interior
was only known to those who were drawn there by sickness, anxiety or
discouragement. With thoughts dark and grewsome, they sought this place
in the hope of obtaining benefit or relief. Like being eternally
attracted to like, such persons would be out of place where brightness
or beauty or the fragrance of flowers or other cheerful conditions
exist, for such things harmonize only with health and happiness, not
with sickness and despair.

The doctor greeted William cordially, and with that punctilio that a man
offers to one whom he recognizes as his superior. After a few common and
casual remarks about the weather and kindred topics, the doctor remarked
that William did not look as well as usual, and expressed the hope that
he had not allowed a student's anxiety to acquire wisdom (followed by a
rebuff) to cause him uneasiness.

"Not at all," replied William, "I have really thought very little about
the experiment since I left you. Merle has been very ill, and I
remained with him most of the night. I feel grieved he should be
stricken just at this time, which is most inopportune, as I calculated
to use him every day for a while, that I might finish the book I am
working on. I depend upon his co-operation for much of the information I
am putting into it, as I am compiling a series of personal experiences
with him. Very likely I have used him a little too much, although I have
tried to be cautious. As matters stand I think I shall be compelled to
drop that work for a time, and give him a good rest.

"I have been, as I told you before, developing his sister, for the
purpose of determining the spiritual qualities and possibilities of man;
I have no faith in the dogmas of theology, but still I do not feel that
I can avow agnosticism or materialism.

"I took this girl when she was very young, and have developed her with
the greatest care I have ever used upon any subject, allowing her mind
to be biased by no teachings of faith of any kind, thus leaving her
entirely unprejudiced.

"She lives a very secluded life, seeing only her mother, Merle and
myself, is ignorant of the world, and is the best instrument that could
be found to give clear and unprejudiced answers to the questions that I
want answered.

"I shall employ an assistant who will come in after she has been put to
sleep, and take down every word she utters, so the public (for I intend
to publish her answers and my questions) will not be compelled to accept
my unsupported statements. In that case, many would think that I had
changed or modified her answers to suit my own ideas.

"So far, although I have mesmerized her often for many years, I have
refrained from questioning her while entranced, permitting her to talk
or not as she felt inclined.--That reminds me of a symbol she gave me
the last time she was in the trance. She was silent a long time, then
she became suddenly very restless, and began to beat something away with
her hands. I felt her heart beating very rapidly, and said, 'What is it,
Alice? Can I help you? Do you wish to waken?' She answered, 'Yes. I
cannot help you now, but I will by and by, for you have been so good to
mother and Merle and me. We do not want you to suffer. I can go through
it when it comes, but Merle cannot, for I see him failing, while I have
a desire to go into it.'

"'Go into what?' I said. She answered, 'That awful, black cloud that
envelops you so I can scarcely see you. I will find you and bring you
out.' I saw she was becoming so agitated I brought her back rather than
see her suffer, especially on my account. She, of course, had no
remembrance upon awaking of anything that had transpired in the trance,
still I knew something would come, as she has always been accurate in
her prophecies and symbols.

"It must be that as Merle's sickness has unfitted him to do the work I
had planned, she is going to take it up, rather than have me
disappointed. The mother, sister and brother have all loyal hearts.
Wonderful, isn't it, what surprises and knowledge the investigation of
the science of magnetism imparts."

"Indeed it is," replied Dr. Harrington, "and this age is to be
congratulated it has such a man as yourself to elucidate it, who has
devoted years to experiments, and speaks, therefore, from accurate
knowledge. Only a man such as yourself could afford to devote his entire
time and attention to investigation and research. Few such would do it,
and I wish to express my appreciation of the grand work you are doing
for humanity.

"Ministers' and missionaries' work pale into insignificance compared
with what you are accomplishing. I am proud to be reckoned among your
acquaintances. You have done much for me by your advice and
instructions."

"There! There! You know my antipathy for compliments. My motives in
working as I have are far more selfish than you give me credit for.
Baxter is late as usual,--probably he has met some 'charming woman' as
he always says, and thinks we 'poor men' should be pleased to wait while
he converses with her. Every man has some weakness, and Baxter's most
glaring one is certainly women.

"Women and science do not work well together I have found. Ah, here he
is now. Don't apologize, Baxter. It is altogether unnecessary, as we
know you intended to be here promptly as you promised, but some
perfectly irresistible creature, clothed in the habiliments of a woman,
crossed your path, temporarily erasing the memory of so insignificant an
affair as a scientific consultation, from your mind. Beauty and love
before science is your motto. Come, own up. You are forgiven; the
offense is not such a grievous one, after all."

"I own up to the cause of my absence being a woman, and a most charming
one at that, but Huskins, I do dislike to admit my estimable self was
not the object of her visit and solicitation and imploration. For once,
I have you where you have so often had me 'cornered.' Oh, you are a sly
fox! We have never been keen enough to discover the scent you were on,
but we know now too well to believe that there is now, or has been no
woman in your life. I wouldn't take money for this opportunity to return
your banterings (whether in private or public). But your day is over.
We are quits."

"Baxter, you are daft. One would think you had been imbibing too
liberally if he did not know you as well as I. What do you mean by
implying some woman kept you from an appointment for my sake? Go on.
Tell all you know, for there is not a woman on the earth I would turn my
head to look at, so you can't banter me. We have work to do; Merle is
ill, and I am anxious to go to him. He is more to me than your charming
detainer. Speak out, for you will not be in a condition to work until
you have had your say."

"Proud boaster, how little you appreciate the great boon I have in store
for you. You do not deserve it. I would give several years of my life to
be in your place. Do not look at me that way; I am going to tell you
fast as words will let me.

"I was called away from home early this morning. When I came back,
before I had a chance to eat, the colored boy came to me saying, 'There
is the most beautiful lady I ever saw waiting for you in the reception
room.' She wished to see me immediately, but would send up no card nor
name. She told him to tell me she would not detain me long. Her own time
was limited.

"As you may imagine, his glowing description of her beauty chased away
all fatigue and irritation that would naturally result from a man's not
having had anything to eat for nearly a day. I literally flew to her
presence, that I might relieve her of whatever pain she might be
enduring. Pain is so disfiguring that even beauty shows its ravages.

"I was prepared by the boy's account to expect something more than
ordinary, but I was not quite prepared to see such a vision of
loveliness as confronted me. An angel could not be more beautiful. I
know, Huskins, I must have stared when I saw her.

"She approached me eagerly, and asked, 'Do I speak to the celebrated Dr.
Baxter?' I can feel my heart beat now at the remembrance of the sweet
music of her voice. I never realized what a beautiful name I had before.
I assured her I was Dr. Baxter, and the thought came to me irresistibly
but joyously, 'What have I ever done, that such an angel of beauty has
deigned to come to me for guidance and help?' No words can express the
joy that pervaded my whole being at the thought of how wise I was in
choosing a physician's career which would make me of service to such
beautiful and suffering women. When she reached out that little hand for
me to grasp in my big--"

"Enough of your effusions, come to the point. I am in a hurry."

"Huskins, you are a great mesmerist, but you lack a touch of
sentimentality. I think with that you would be almost a god."

"Then you had better let your suppositions rest until you are ruminating
by yourself. What connection has the woman with me? Please answer
briefly. I am in a hurry."

"You are too hasty, but I will endeavor to tell you in a short way what
it took us a long time to talk over. She had come to me to implore you
(on my bended knee if necessary) to gain your permission to mesmerize
her, and you shall do it if I have to hypnotize you in order to make
you."

"You must excuse me for laughing, my dear Baxter, but it is really a
capital joke. Is it not, Harrington? Cannot you see the point? She has
used me as a catspaw to get into your good graces. You are the objective
point, not me, otherwise, she would have come to me immediately. I
couldn't count the number who have given me urgent invitations to do the
same for them. You see, she was a little embarrassed about asking you to
do that for her, but she was hoping you would volunteer, for everyone
knows that you are accounted an expert professional mesmerist. I wonder
at your denseness of understanding. You are ordinarily very keen and
shrewd.

"Harrington and I make no pretensions to gallantry toward the ladies,
yet either of us could see through that gauze of deception. Eh,
Harrington?"

"You are right, Huskins. I can see no reason for his attacking you in
such a manner."

"But you haven't it all. Do not be hasty in your conclusions. She told
me she had long been interested in the study of psychology, and the fame
of Prof. Huskins had reached her in several places she had visited. She
had always thought she would like to study upon the subject, and the
only way to do was to be put to sleep herself. She was not willing to
experiment with all persons, but would feel perfectly safe to be
mesmerized by such an adept in the science as the Professor. She had
likewise been informed that, being a rich man, and only practising the
power for his own pleasure, it would be extremely difficult to reach
him. Some kind person had told her I was an intimate friend of his, and
might be able to influence him to see her, and possibly experiment with
her, although she felt she would not be easily influenced. Her stay is
brief, and she was not accustomed to sue for favors, as she assured me,
but rather to be sued."

"There you are, running off on a tangent again. You may convey to your
fair charmer my compliments, and state I am sorry to disappoint her, but
just at present, I am too busy to comply with her wishes. If I were to
mesmerize all the women who wish me to, I should have no opportunity to
benefit science by any valuable experiments. Let us dismiss the subject
without further talk."

"But, Huskins, you have not heard her name. She is a very noted woman."

"That makes no difference to me. I have neither time nor patience to
exhaust upon her."

"You must see her, because I have promised to bring her to your home,
which report declares to be such an example of beauty and refinement."

"Really, Baxter, you are going a little too far. You know I consider my
home a place of refuge and enjoyment, where I am free from all
intrusion. You and Harrington are always welcome, as I think I have
proven to you, but I do not pose as a curiosity or freak to be exhibited
at any time to any of your friends or his who happen to want to look at
me."

"I shall tell you her name, whether you wish to hear it or not. She is
the famous singer, Rosalie Earle. Oh! You are surprised. So was I,
Huskins. Think what a rude thing it would be to refuse her the
hospitality of your home. I know you think too much of me to place me in
so embarrassing a position as to go to her and say 'My friend, Prof.
Huskins, refuses to permit us to enter his house.' Do let her call upon
you, even though you do not practice your power for her."

"Pardon my gruffness, Baxter; you may bring the lady by all means. I
will make every condition as agreeable as lies in my power. You come
too, Harrington;--possibly we can arrange with the siren to sing for us.
I must go now. We will talk over the business we have met here to
discuss at my house. Baxter has monopolized the time we were to give to
it here. I must go to see Merle, and I know Harrington should look after
patients. I will look for you both. Let us hope the amiable and
distinguished lady will be satisfied with her visit. Au revoir!"

"How quickly Huskins changed his mind, when he knew who the woman was! I
thought I was going to be in a deuce of a fix, he was so obstinate. He
is a good fellow. I wish you would come with me to visit a patient. I
want your opinion. It is a severe case with conflicting symptoms, and
you may be able to suggest something of benefit. Can you go right away?"

"Yes. I will be glad to accommodate you."



CHAPTER FIVE


William went directly from Dr. Harrington's to Merle's home, where he
was greeted by Mrs. Millard, who said, "I am so glad you have come,
Professor, as Merle does not seem at all well. He is feverish and
nervous, and has said every little while, 'I wish the Professor would
come.' He will be so glad to see you. You look pale yourself; I hope you
are not ill."

"Thank you, Mrs. Millard, I am well, but have just come from a
professional conference. I am sorry that Merle is not feeling well. I
will soon help him. Shall I go right up to his room?"

"Oh! He would get up and dress. He is in the parlor lying down. Go right
in."

"See that no one disturbs us until I speak to you. I shall put him to
sleep."

"No one will enter; I will see to that. I hope you will have time to see
Alice, too--she also acts strangely. I do not like to intrude upon your
time; you have been so good to us,--but mothers are nervous, weak
creatures."

"It will be a pleasure to do anything that lies in my power for Alice,
after I have restored Merle, and I will see her then. You must never
hesitate to ask favors of me, Mrs. Millard. It gives me real pleasure
to be of assistance to you at all times. Now I will look at Merle."

"I am sorry to see you looking so weak and sick, Merle. What do you
suppose caused your sudden faintness at the concert? You were apparently
well and rested before the singer's entrance. It wasn't a case of love
at first sight, was it? We may as well jest as look upon the dark side
of the picture."

"You don't know how grieved I was to be the means of depriving you of
the pleasure of hearing so exquisite a singer as Miss Earle, knowing, as
I do, your love of music. I think the very thought of how disappointed
you must have been has helped to make me sick. I would like to be
instrumental in bringing you happiness, but my weakness robbed you of a
special delight. Really, I tried not to give up, but an irresistible
wave of power seemed to pass over me."

"I understand. Do not think of me at all. My concern for you and your
health supplanted every other feeling. Merle, your father is dead, and
though I am not old enough in years to fill his place, my love and
interest in you are sufficiently strong to warrant me a father's
privilege of questioning you as to the cause of this undue illness. You
know me well enough to be sure that whatever you may say to me will
never be repeated. I would not ask you any questions except in the
interest of science, but I want to find out what has caused this
condition. You were apparently well and happy until the singer appeared,
then you were taken suddenly and seriously sick. Merle, what is she to
you?"

"What is she to me? Nothing. I did not even see her."

"Then what made you ill?"

"I do not know."

"Think well, Merle. Tell me every sensation you remember."

"I cannot recall anything but a clutching sensation at my heart, as
though some one had it in his hand, and tightened his hold until I could
neither see nor hear, and a loud rumbling sounded in my ears."

"What caused these sensations? That is what I want to know. Tell me,
Merle, did not the appearance of the woman evolve some painful
recollection?"

"How could it? I did not see her. I do not know whether she was young or
old, light or dark, large or small."

"I shall be obliged to put you into the trance state to find out the
exact cause. You know, Merle, I never permit a result to elude me. Are
you willing I should try to find the cause? I confess I am as ignorant
of it as you."

"You know I am always willing to be of any assistance to you, and if I
knew the cause, I would tell you more quickly than my own father, but I
do not."

"Very well. Now sleep. Speak. Merle, are you all right?"

"Yes."

"I am glad. Now I want to know what was the cause of your physical
weakness at the concert."

"I do not know."

"You do not know? Do not answer me that way. I want the truth, and will
have it. What made your body faint and sick?"

"I do not know."

"Merle, you have been a faithful, truthful subject for almost ten years.
I have always chosen you when some severe and important test was before
me. Never yet have you failed to respond to my wishes. Do not let this
be the first occasion of your disobedience. You know what made your
heart stop beating. Tell me. I demand it. What is that woman to you?"

"What woman? I did not see any woman."

"Merle, you are lying to me. Do you think you can make me believe such
an assertion as that? You can not deceive me. Tell me the truth."

"I am telling you the truth."

"Merle, I will you; tell me what that woman is to you."

"What woman?"

"I cannot tell you how it grieves me to find you so untruthful; no man
on earth could have convinced me of the fact that you would ever give me
anything but truthful answers. Probably you were afraid I would
reprimand you, if you were to tell the exact truth, but I will not. It
makes no difference into what conditions you may have been led, or what
you have done, I will remain ever your staunch friend. Be frank, be the
Merle I have so long loved and trusted. What made you ill?"

"I do not know."

"What is that woman to you?"

"What woman?"

"I have good patience, but you are trying it too far. You shall tell me
the truth."

"I am telling you the truth."

"You know the woman who sang."

"I do not know her."

"You do."

"I do not."

"I say you do. Where have you seen her before last night?"

"Nowhere."

"I say you have, and you shall tell me. Merle, why do you not speak?
What makes you act in this contrary manner? Speak. You know this
woman."

"Yes."

"I knew it. Did the sight of her make you ill?"

"Yes."

"Just what I thought. What is she now, or what has she formerly been to
you?"

"I was her lover."

"Ah!"

"She said she loved me and urged me on, but finally I discovered I was
only one of several admirers. When she appeared, the shock of seeing her
thus unexpectedly, made me faint."

"Why did you not tell me this when I first asked you?"

"I was afraid."

"You would have pleased me much more in telling the truth. There is no
disgrace in loving a beautiful woman. Where did you meet her and woo
her?"

"I do not know."

"Of course you know. Tell me the truth."

"I feel as though it were a long time ago, and everywhere there was
sunshine and flowers, but I don't know where it was."

"You do;--tell me."

"I cannot."

"Do you hear me, Merle? What ails the boy? I never saw him like this
before. Merle, answer me. Where did you first meet the woman?"

"I never saw her."

"You just told me you were her lover. Where did you know her?"

"I do not know her."

"You do, and I will you to tell me the truth. Again, where did you first
meet the woman?"

"I am tired."

"Tell me the truth and then you shall rest."

"I do not know any more. I cannot get it."

"Get what?"

"Where she was."

"Where were you?"

"With you."

"No; with her. Merle, you must be very ill when you talk so irrationally
and untruthfully. You, whom I believed to be the soul of honor and
rectitude. Sleep awhile. I will return, and then you will tell me
truthfully. Whom can I trust, if not Merle? Yet, he persists in telling
me lies, and defies my suggestions for truth. This proves to me that I
have yet much to learn of men's souls. I would have given much rather
than have this occur, for I can never again feel the same degree of
confidence in anything he may give me in the trance state. Heretofore I
have always put implicit faith in any assertions he made, but I am
grievously disappointed at this. Women are the source of all man's
iniquity. She has made him this, and yet he tries to shield her. He was
a good boy until her influence poisoned him. I will take him in his
normal condition and teach him to avoid women. I will obliterate her
memory even from his mind, for he is too good a boy to be ruined by a
frivolous woman's fancy. Sleep sweetly till I bid you wake, Merle; I
will go and see what ails Alice. It is strange she should also be
affected at this time. A few more experiences like this, and I shall
have good reason to believe that I have very little knowledge of the
human mind and mechanism."

"Mrs. Millard, I have put Merle to sleep. He will waken calm and
refreshed. I would like Alice to come here.--Ah! Here she is. Let me see
what is troubling you."

"I do not feel ill, Professor. I am just nervous and weak."

"Shall I put you to sleep?"

"I wish you would."

"Mrs. Millard, I will see you before I go. Sleep, Alice. That is well."

"Poor Merle."

"Why Alice, what makes you say 'poor Merle?' He is sleeping quietly, and
will awake refreshed and cheerful."

"Poor Merle! Poor Merle!"

"There Alice, that will do. Do not try to talk; just rest."

"But I want to talk; I know what made Merle sick."

"You do? What did make him sick?"

"You did."

"I? Why Alice, I am making him well, not ill."

"You made him sick."

"What power is working to make you and Merle talk so strangely to-day?"

"I say that you made him ill."

"There, you had better sleep now, you are in no condition to talk."

"You think the beautiful woman's influence affected him, but it was your
own that overcame him. That is the reason you could not control him. Had
your own mind been at rest and at peace, you could have prevented his
present sickness."

"You talk enigmas, Alice. Merle acknowledged while in the trance state
that he knew the woman, and that the sight of her overcame him."

"Then he told you an untruth. He does not know the woman."

"Which of you shall I believe?"

"Me."

"Under similar conditions, he would answer the same. I know not which to
trust. Balancing the two testimonies, at their intrinsic values, any
man would unhesitatingly accept Merle's as the more reliable. How did
you get your information that I caused his sickness? If my influence
made him ill, what agitated me so, leaving no sign of impression upon
me, yet causing another person to suffer? You have given me some strange
assertions, which you cannot hope to have me believe, unless you give me
logical reasons for so doing."

"It is very hard to get close enough into your magnetism to sense the
exact causes of your emotions, but I know that your own surprise at
seeing the face of that woman produced such a shock, the influence was
reflected upon Merle's body. You could control yourself by strong will
force, but Merle could not guard against the powerful wave of magnetism
your surprise generated. You have mesmerized him so much he is sensitive
to your every thought, either spoken or silent, and he cannot help it."

"Why should he be so strangely affected just at the present time? He
never exhibited such a tendency before."

"You have never been affected so strongly before, as you were at the
concert."

"Why was I so affected at the sight of a strange woman as to warrant
such an explanation of Merle's sickness as you have given me?"

"She was not a strange woman to you. You were not pleased to see her
there."

"Why?"

"I do not know. It is all dark before me now, but I will yet go into the
clouds as I promised you. I told you Merle could not do the work for
you, for I saw him falling down before it. I can--after a few times
trying. I cannot see the woman myself. I feel just as you feel, almost
numb from a severe shock. I cannot get any more now. Do not be impatient
nor vexed with Merle. He loves you, and told you the truth, but your
stronger will (believing he knew the woman) compelled him to say that he
did. He will not be well again until you become calm in your own mind,
for all the sensations that sway your soul will be reflected in him. You
are a very powerful man, but even you cannot set aside Infinite Law."

"Before you go, Alice, try to tell me something about the lady. Try to
see her."

"I cannot see her. The only sensation is sadness. Oh, so deep!"

"She looked anything but sad, when I saw her. I think you have not
gotten into her influence at all. She was the personification of
cheerfulness."

"You saw only the body of the woman, which was compelled to laugh, at
her desire to appear well. How do you know when a person smiles that it
is a sign of happiness? You laugh--I always knew you were not happy.
Would anyone have thought to have seen you at the concert, looking so
fine, your heart was aching as it did?"

"Try once more to see her. I will wait patiently."

"I shall not see her until you have again. I feel sorry for her. You are
so kind, and I feel you are going to be as cruel as your nature will
allow."

"There, Alice, wake up cheerful and strong. You have talked enough. Wake
up. There, you are feeling better; I know by the healthful flush upon
your face. Merle is still sleeping. Leave him as he is. I will be back
again to-day. He will soon be himself again."

"I am glad to hear you say that; mother and I have been quite worried
about him; he acted so unlike himself, but we felt you could cure him. I
will speak to mother; you may tell her anything you want done."

"Mrs. Millard, you may relieve your mind of all anxiety concerning
Merle. See how rosy and well Alice is looking. I will have Merle the
same. There is nothing you can do for him, any more than to keep him
perfectly quiet. I will come back later in the day. I have an
appointment at my home, so I must be going."

"A mother's loving gratitude will follow you, Professor. My constant
wish is that you may be as happy yourself as you make others."

As William walked briskly away from Merle's home to his own, Mrs.
Millard's parting words followed him, causing him to think sadly.
"Happy--me happy! Does a happy man work as I work, who has money enough
to gratify his every whim, but concentrates every thought and interest
upon science, experiment and work, just to lose sight of himself? I
flattered myself years ago that I had conquered myself; stifled every
sensation and emotion common to youth and man, transformed myself into a
student of science, and grew gradually to believe myself quite a power
in the use of psychology. After all my work, I am, in a day, brought
face to face with my great ignorance and weakness, at the very time I
seemed nearest to the goal I have so long held before me, while all my
boasted calmness and control over my nerves and body were
instantaneously dispelled by a woman's presence.

"No man could have made me believe I was so weak. I will overcome this
humiliating weakness, as I have similar ones in the past. It must have
been the suddenness of her appearance before me that temporarily
shattered all my self-control.

"Who would have expected to see her in the famous singer whom everyone
is adoring? Praise, flattery and homage! Well, that will make her happy
for a while, then she will find how empty and worthless it all is. What
reason can she possibly have for coming to see me, of all persons?

"I may as well acknowledge the truth to myself. I would have allowed
Merle to suffer before I would have gone out, while she stood there. She
would have thought I felt shocked to see her, but she will find me
entirely calm and collected;--master of myself.

"To think that now, of all times, Merle fails me! If I ever wanted his
help, it is now. I ought to be strong enough and shrewd enough to
compete with a woman. I cannot collect my thoughts sufficiently to even
try to conjecture the cause of Merle's and Alice's inconsistency in
talk. Truly, inconsistency, you never had a more ardent and faithful
pupil than I. My whole bearing is an example of inconsistency, without
modification. I am glad no person can know from my outward appearance,
the great tumult sweeping over my soul.

"Happy? Poor woman, she did not mean to be sarcastic, for she was
sincere in her wish, but my worst enemy could not give me a keener
thrust. Now to tell James. He and Mrs. C---- must not be seen by her. I
seem pursued by fate, yet I have always been an honorable man.
Sometimes I am almost convinced those who try least to be so are blessed
with the greatest happiness."



CHAPTER SIX


When William reached his home, he went directly to his private
apartment, telling the attendant who let him in to send James to him at
once. He had no more than removed his coat, when there was a rap on the
door, and in answer to his "Come in" an aged man appeared, small in
stature, but very erect, the personification of neatness and exactness.
Looking at this man, one would not suppose he had ever made an error in
system, or forgotten any of the rules respecting cleanliness and order.

It was easily to be seen at a single glance his whole soul bowed down in
admiration and homage to his master, whom he loved with that degree of
fervor that passes the bounds of ordinary affection, and servitude, and
enters the realm of adoration or reverence.

The horizon of his present and future was bounded by this man's pleasure
and displeasure. His eyes fastened themselves at once upon his master's
when he was bidden to enter. The most careless observer would have said,
could he have obtained but one glimpse of his attitude and deportment,
"that man is a slave to his master, still I would not want to stir the
depths of his nature towards me as an antagonist, for he is no ordinary
character, but a power whichever way he may incline."

For a brief interval after he entered, no word was spoken by either.
James, the newcomer, was looking at his master, while William hesitated
and seemed confused. Finally he spoke, but anyone would have noticed the
hot flush which diffused his face, and which was a very foreign
expression to his usually pale and colorless hue.

"James, I have sent for you to impart a most unusual command. Ever since
you came into my service, you have been faithful, loyal and considerate
of my every pleasure and comfort. Not once have I had any occasion to
censure you or doubt your loving service. Such faithfulness demands
recognition. During the darkest days of my life, you guided and thought
for me, when I was unable to think coherently or strongly for myself.
Such service can never be rewarded.

"I hope I have proved myself to be, at least, a kind and considerate
master. If I have failed in any respect, it is because I lacked wisdom
to express myself, as my heart has overflowed with gratitude."

"Do not say any more, Professor. Never was a poor servant blessed with
so kind a master before as I have been here. I have been with you too
long not to read the expression of your face aright. You are in sore
trouble. This is a chance for me to show the depths of my devotion to
you. Bid me make any sacrifice, ask me to perform any work, however
delicate or dangerous, and you shall see how much James loves you.
Believe me, Professor, I know only one aim and object in life,--that is
to further and guard your happiness, or I should say your bodily
comfort, for I know you are not happy, though the Gods have given you
riches, power and wisdom.

"You are too good a man not to have somewhere in store for you the same
amount of pleasure you are always striving to give to someone else.
Surely, you are ill--I will bring you some wine."

"No, James, I do not want it."

"But you have eaten nothing at home for a whole day. Your bed has not
been disturbed, and you tremble so I know that you are not well. Let me
send for Dr. Harrington."

"NO."

"There, I implore you, take some wine. Rest, and I will see no one
disturbs you."

"Sleep! I feel as though I could never sleep again. Wine is impotent to
restore my calmness, James. Only a powerful exercise of will can do
that. By and by I will gain it. I sent for you to help me pass a darker
condition than has heretofore entered my most disappointing and troubled
life. You have never yet failed me and I do not think you will now. I
would not have permitted any other person to see me so unmanned, but
when you came in just then, it brought too forcibly for me to control
myself, those old times, when your coming was the signal for my
happiness, and now the contrast is so great, it for a time overcame me.
I will be myself again soon."

"Pardon an old man's inquisitiveness. You know it can only arise from my
love for you, for I have given as good a test as one man can give
another of my faithfulness. I have never seen you so agitated and upset
since that awful time you forbade me to ever mention. I have been as
silent as the grave, but I feel you could not be so upset but by
something connected with that or some tidings of it. Forgive my speaking
of it when you have commanded my silence, for this is my first
disobedience in all these years."

"James, Clarissa is coming here to-day."

"Master--do my ears deceive me? My little Clarissa? My beloved Clarissa?
My beautiful lady?"

"James, are you beside yourself?"

"How can I be calm when I shall welcome my blessed lady? You say she is
coming. Blessed be the day when her feet cross your--"

"That will do. I see you still love her better than me, who have tried
to be your friend, when she forsook and forgot you. Such is the
gratitude of this world."

"There is no test or sacrifice any man can pass through, I would not
gladly and cheerfully endure to prove my loyalty to you. You tell me
Clarissa is coming here, then condemn me for rejoicing, when there
hasn't been a day passed for years I have not prayed for this very
thing. How can I help rejoicing at your happiness? Why do you look so
serious? I know--My God! They will bring her poor dead body here. Poor
child, we will cover it with flowers. I will cut all those we were
saving for the public exhibition. You will not care, will you Professor?
It is the last favor a poor old servant can do. You know I always keep
one plant of her favorite blossoms growing. There is only one spray of
them, but she would like them in her hand. I always felt she would come,
and I wanted her to find them in season, or out of season her flowers, a
fit sign of the constancy of the love we felt for her."

"Stop! You are giving her more credit than I feel is her due. Your love
for her is stronger than I had dreamed. It is well you have not told me
before of your keeping a particular blossom among my plants for her,
otherwise you would not have preserved the plants, and remained in my
service. If your love for her is stronger than for me, I will release
you from your allegiance to me, and you had better seek her service."

"Remember, I am an old man, no longer quick to understand. Let that fact
be my excuse. No other master will I ever serve willingly. I know not
how to talk or act. You say she is coming, yet you are angry when I feel
joy. Why does she come, if not dead?"

"By her own wish."

"I always told you she loved you."

"She is not coming because she loves me. She has heard I am a powerful
mesmerist, and wishes me to mesmerize her."

"No! No! You do not mean to say she is coming here unbidden and
unwelcomed by you."

"You may be sure I have extended her no invitation. I suppose she thinks
she can deal with me as before. If she can come unbidden, I am a very
weak man, if I cannot act the part of an hospitable host."

"There must be some mistake here; Clarissa is too proud to place herself
in such a place. She does not know whom you are."

"Why doesn't she? She went to Dr. Baxter and solicited his influence to
do for her what she knew I would not."

"My poor old brain is numb; but I know that Clarissa has some motive
good and true, or she would not humble herself to you. I know she
thinks by bending her pride, you will forget and forgive. She knows you
too well to believe you will seek her, although we all were to die of
lonesomeness and sorrow. That is the way she used to do when she was
small. Be imperious and wilful as a little queen, then come and--"

"There,--reminiscences are not interesting to me. They might be to her.
You have the privilege to choose between her and me, as you did once
before. There will be the same conditions attached to the bargain. You
cannot serve both. Consider yourself entirely free to choose. You have
served me well--I appreciate your faithfulness, but could not hope to
vie--"

"Do not say any more,--my head is going round and round. Won't you tell
me why she is coming here?"

"I have told you."

"Master, you do not think that is the only reason? I know she is hungry
to see you. You will not go to her, so she is coming to you. She is
proud, and must have suffered awfully before she could do it. When you
see her, you will forget what she did, same as I used to when she had
picked all my choice--"

"Enough. There is not the slightest resemblance between a man's heart
and a flower, though she does seem to think so. I told you Merle was
sick, and you professed to be sorry, as you said you thought him to be
an unusually fine young man."

"I meant it. He is, next to yourself, the best man I ever saw."

"What do you suppose caused his illness?"

"How could I know?"

"Your idol of admiration and worship--Clarissa."

"No, it cannot be so. She would not make an insect to suffer. I
remember--"

"I do not care to hear remembrances. He told me so himself. He had been
her lover at one time, and the knowledge he was only one of several
ruined his life. He had not seen her for some time, but, coming suddenly
into her presence, being weak from long entrancement, he received such a
shock he has been weak and feverish ever since. The same old story, you
see!"

"I do not think Merle would lie, Professor, but I cannot believe
Clarissa would willingly ruin any man's life. Everything seems to be
tending to a more dense darkness. When she comes, I will take her the
bunch of flowers I have raised for her, and tell her how perplexed I am.
She will explain. She always told the truth, no matter what she did."

"How she must have changed since childhood."

"Do not laugh like that."

"That was a droll remark. She always told the truth, no matter what she
did.--Well, time is flying. She will soon be here. Which are you going
to be loyal to, her or me? You have not much time to decide. That is her
fault, not mine. If you conclude to remain in my service, you must make
a quick decision, as I shall insist upon both you and your wife's
shutting yourselves up in your own apartments while she is here, that
she may neither see you nor know you are here."

"Not even see her? Not one glance?"

"No. Not and remain in my service; furthermore, your wife must not even
know she is coming. I do not trust women. She might promise secrecy, but
would yield to the temptation to look at her, to see how she had
changed. While she was looking, the famous Miss Earle would see her, and
then such a scene would follow as I don't wish Baxter and Harrington to
see. What are you looking at me like that for?"

"You do not mean that Miss Earle, the great singer, is Clarissa?"

"None other, James. Time makes many changes. But quick,--you must
choose."

"I never did, nor never will condemn or believe anything against her."

"Then you decide to go to her? No doubt she will be glad to have you
with her again."

"I did not say that. I said I trusted her, and I do. She had reasons I
did not know, and probably never shall, for doing what she did. I shall
serve you lovingly and faithfully as long as breath remains in my old
body, unless you send me away. I had rather die than know that she was
here though, and not hear the sound of her sweet voice, or feel the
touch of her soft, white hands, but I will follow your directions, and
so shall Nancy. I will keep her working. May I ask just one question?"

"I have never refused to answer you, have I?"

"Shall you mesmerize her? If you do, may I not take just one look at
her? She will not know it."

"I shall have nothing to do with her."

"But, master, everyone says you have wonderful power. I do not
understand it. Couldn't you mesmerize her and find out why she left us?"

"Nonsense. I know well enough."

"If you wanted to do so, could you make her tell you in that way?

"Yes."

"Then why do you not do it?"

"It is not worth the trouble. I want to thank you for your loyalty to
me. You will never be the loser, James. I trust you to keep both
yourself and your wife from sight while she is here. To reward you, I
will tell you the principal account she gives of herself during the
interview, after she has gone. I am done with you now. Do not look so
solemn, James; your part is far easier than mine."

"If you should mesmerize her, may I see her?"

"I can easily promise you that--"

"I will put those flowers in the library, under your picture, just where
she loved to see them. She will know she isn't forgotten here. When you
want me, tell Robert to come to my private room. Nancy and I will be
there.--I was only saying to send Robert to my room when you wanted me,
as Nancy and I would be there."

       *       *       *       *       *

As the door closed, William threw himself into the nearest chair,
repeating James's words "rather die than know she was here and not hear
the sound of her sweet voice, or feel the touch of her soft, white
hands." His lips closed firmer and firmer together, as he felt how much
easier it was not to see her than to meet her as he must; as a stranger;
calm and collected, while his whole being was swaying with emotions so
varied and conflicting; he could not separate nor enumerate them
himself.

Of all the bitter lessons life had furnished him, this was certainly the
bitterest. Then came the thought, "I must control my thoughts. I will be
brave and calm--apparently satisfied and happy with my lot in life. If
she has the heartlessness to seek me, she shall witness no ravages her
perfidy has made upon me. She shall not gloat over my misery. I will
dress now. I will show her that there is at least one man who can resist
the witchery of her presence, despite her fame."



CHAPTER SEVEN


When William had dressed, and entered his library to attend to the
writing which the day's excitement had caused him to neglect, not even
the most careful observer of human nature could have discovered signs of
a disturbed mind in either his face or his bearing. He seated himself,
and immediately began to critically examine the papers which awaited his
attention, and before the bell announcing the arrival of his guests
rang, he had done quite an amount of work.

He arose at once, and went to the reception hall to greet them. There
was not the least perceptible tremor in his voice when he bade them
welcome, and acknowledged the introduction to the lady who came with Dr.
Baxter.

After the usual salutations were over, he invited them into the
adjoining room, and Dr. Baxter said,--

"You see we were right on time, Huskins. One of my pet foibles, you
know, is punctuality. Miss Earle, unlike most of her sex, was promptness
itself, waiting for me, instead of keeping me waiting for her.
Harrington sent his regards, as he was unable to join us. He was
suddenly called from town, to be gone several days. I hope I will not
prove 'de trop' at this interview; if so, however, consider me yours to
direct. I will go into another room, and remain until you have finished.
Miss Earle, you look very pale, and you are trembling violently. You are
nervous. There is no occasion for fearing Huskins; he is a royal good
fellow. Most women are nervous toward him. Eh, Huskins?"

Miss Earle spoke up quickly. Her voice was calm, though she trembled
visibly. "I have no fear of Prof. Huskins. Far from it; but I am
troubled considerably with this most distressing form of nervousness. I
shall soon recover."

"You work harder than you should, perhaps. It is no uncommon thing for
women, and sometimes men, to be seized with a sort of vertigo when they
first meet Huskins. They seem to feel that he has some mysterious power;
their doubts and fears temporarily control them. You will feel more at
ease after you have talked with him a while. His power is just the thing
to remove your nervousness. It was wisdom upon your part that prompted
you to come to him to be mesmerized. Medicine could not do what he can
for you. Would you feel freer to talk if I were to leave the room?"

"You will please me best by remaining here. Both of you gentlemen have
doubtless heard, and probably believe, that women are but living types
of contradiction and inconsistency. I shall be to you but another proof
of the adage. Yesterday, I had but one absorbing thought--to be
mesmerized; and I naturally desired to be taken to the most renowned
exponent and operator. My exorbitant wish granted, my enthusiasm,
strange to state, entirely vanished. I am very sorry that any whim of
mine has discommoded you whose time is so valuable."

"Not at all, Miss Earle, it has afforded me great pleasure to be of
service to you, and Huskins has any quantity of time at his disposal. He
only works when he feels like it. I am sure your enthusiasm only failed
you because you are uncertain of the sensation accompanying the trance
condition. It is not unpleasant. I know that you would be a good
'subject' and could be put to sleep easily. Am I not right, Huskins?"

"Miss Earle has a temperament very susceptible to magnetic influence,
and would experience no unpleasant sensations while passing to sleep. I
am sure I could remove the nervous disorder."

"I appreciate your kindly interest in me, gentlemen, but all my desire
for personal experience with magnetic sleep has gone, never to return: I
feel now. It may seem strange to you,--I came to you, to two strangers,
for such an experiment, without bringing with me an attendant, or
obtaining your services through the intervention of mutual
acquaintances. The reason for my singular action was, I wanted no one
to know about it. Your reputations were both such I knew you to be
gentlemen. Really, I did not pause to think how it would look. It seemed
to me as though I was going to a physician. It is quite proper to go
there unattended."

"Such an apology is unnecessary. Do not allow such a trifling obstacle
to interfere with the accomplishment of your wish, for Huskins'
housekeeper is a venerable and estimable woman. She often assists him.
She is a woman you would trust as a mother. You may never have such an
opportunity again, for I had considerable work to gain the Professor's
consent to mesmerize you. I imagine, however, your remarkable singing
last night had more to do with it, after all, than any persuasion on my
part. Who could refuse anything to the possessor of so matchless a
voice?"

"Allow me to express the admiration I felt at the rendering of the first
number you sang--doubtless all were equally good. Unfortunately for me,
one of my subjects who went with me was taken violently ill, and we were
compelled to leave. He is a friend of yours, he tells me."

"You flatter me by your encomiums. I am pleased you enjoyed the song.
You say the gentleman who was with you was a friend of mine. May I ask
his name?"

"Merle Millard."

"Merle Millard? That is a strange name to me. I have no recollection of
ever having met him. No person who works in public can hope to remember
all the estimable people whom they meet. I hope he has recovered from
his indisposition."

"I am sorry to say he has not. It is strange you do not recall him at
all. He told me today he once knew you intimately."

"I have had few intimate acquaintances in my life. I have no
recollection of ever having heard that name before. I may have met him
at some reception, and forgotten him; more than that, I do not know him.
I hope he will have a speedy recovery. I will not intrude longer on your
time."

"Can we say nothing to induce you to carry out your original intention?"

"No, Dr. Baxter; I thank you sincerely and earnestly for your kindness
and courtesy."

"They are ever at your disposal. Would it be overstepping the bounds of
politeness to ask you to sing just one song? The Professor is quite a
musician, himself, and has a piano in perfect order; for I know he is so
susceptible to discords. I have never had the pleasure of hearing you
sing. Granting my wish, I shall always regard this day in my memory as
one of the most fortunate in my life. I know the Professor will gladly
accompany you on the piano."

"You have been too kind for me to refuse. I owe you both some return for
the patience you have shown my varying moods. I will not trouble the
Professor to play for me, as I am used to playing my own accompaniments.
I will sing you a song from memory, if that will be your pleasure."

"We will adjourn at once to the music room. The Professor is not a
married man, but he keeps an establishment of as many rooms as though he
had a large family. He is a lucky man:--rich, happy, powerful and
talented. How he has managed to escape designing mothers and beautiful
daughters, is a continual problem to his friends."

"Science is a jealous mistress, and is at present the wife of my choice;
the presiding mistress of the house. I hope, Miss Earle, you will find
the instrument in fairly good tune. Had I known I was to be so highly
honored, I should have had it especially tuned for you, but I know that
you are too gracious not to make allowances for any defects that may be
found."

       *       *       *       *       *

"What an exquisite voice! Words fail to express my gratitude for this
feast of music; I shall never forget it. Permit me to offer you these
flowers which have been placed beneath Huskins' picture. Such music is
only fitly rewarded by flowers."

"It is a beautiful bouquet. I appreciate your compliment and kindness.
These waxy, white tuberoses are very rare at this season of the year.
They are beautiful flowers, but their odor affects me unpleasantly.
Singers, you know, are very sensitive to the fragrance of flowers. May I
ask the Professor if he will kindly send them to the sick gentleman,
with my compliments and best wishes? Flowers bring such a cheerful
influence to the sick room. Permit me to thank you for your hospitality,
Professor, and to apologize for my unseemly intrusion. Believe me, I
truly appreciate all your kindness."

"It affords me great pleasure if I have been of any service to you, Miss
Earle; may success attend you always. I will call at your office
sometime tomorrow, Baxter. Au revoir."

After watching his guests depart, William strode quickly back to the
music room. Any person seeing him would have known that some strong
emotion was raging in his soul. His eyes flashed with that brightness
that only shows itself under stress of strong feeling, and he walked
straight to the bouquet which Miss Earle had left upon the table, near
where she had stood. He took it up, and throwing it upon the floor,
crushed the sweet flowers under his feet until all their beauty was
gone, but the whole room was filled with their fragrance.

"She dared ask me to carry these to her old love. She dared ask me! Me!
Is she not satisfied with past torture, and must she add present insult
to it? I carry flowers from her to another man? Why did I not crush them
here before her? She does not like their odor--they affect her
unpleasantly. She has changed her mind since I can remember. Once they
affected her differently. She was nervous and trembling like a child.
What sent her here? She shall not defy or humiliate me in the future.
She is a rarely organized sensitive. I am an expert mesmerist. I will
her to come and beg me to mesmerize her. First, I will refuse, then,
when I am ready, I will influence her. She shall see, think and act just
as I will her. I will put every particle of force in my soul into the
work. I will make her my obedient slave. Ask me to carry flowers to your
old lover! You dared to look me calmly in the eye, and to say without a
quiver, 'Carry them, with my compliments and best wishes to the sick
man.' My flowers, I was to carry to him. Think of it! My flowers with
her compliments. If there is any power in magnetism, and I have proven
its efficacy, I will crush out of your heart the pride that prompted
that insult, as thoroughly as I have the beauty of these flowers.

"Not one throb of pity for you. You are weaving a net for Baxter, too,
probably. Make the most of your time, for I solemnly swear I will make
you suffer just as much as you have made me. I have made a success of
every work I have ever undertaken, and I will make one of this. These
flowers make me feel faint and dizzy. I will go and walk and get the
air. Her presence has polluted the very atmosphere of the whole house."



CHAPTER EIGHT


After leaving Prof. Huskins, Dr. Baxter escorted Miss Earle to her
temporary home, and by every means in his power, sought to make her
cheerful and at her ease. Despite his efforts she seemed a different
woman, than she had been when he conducted her to the Professor's house.

He painted in the most glowing colors the remarkable wisdom and power of
the Professor, recounting all his virtues, and his singular manner of
living, acknowledging him to be the very "prince of men," of all his
large acquaintance.

To his keen disappointment, she seemed not at all interested in his
narration, and it might have been plainly evident to the most careless
observer her thoughts and interests were far from the subject under
consideration. His pride had been considerably wounded, but she was far
too beautiful and distinguished a woman toward whom to cherish any
animosity.

He was conscious of the fact that he had been signally honored by her
seeking his aid to reach the professor, and he attributed her sudden
change of purpose entirely to womanly fickleness of nature, being
convinced in his own mind that, desiring a mesmeric sleep or state of
unconsciousness, the presence of so austere and dignified a personage
as the Professor had inspired her with a degree of awe and fear that,
for the time, was uncontrollable.

He did not wonder greatly at this, for in all his acquaintance with the
Professor, he had never seem him appear to so great a disadvantage. He
was always affable and pleasing, especially when he desired to secure a
person's approbation to being psychologized. In this interview, he had
scarcely been hospitable, speaking only when he was actually spoken to
or necessity demanded. He had a degree of deference and respect for
Prof. Huskins that he felt for none other of his acquaintances, knowing
him to be superior, from a moral standpoint, to all the rest, and he did
not want an unpleasant impression to be left in this woman's mind.

Huskins had appeared to a disadvantage, and he endeavored, so far as lay
in his power, to remove the unsatisfactory impression from her mind, but
the woman did not appear to recover from the agitation, that the sight
of the Professor had produced, although to most women, he was not only
agreeable but captivating.

Arriving at her destination, she thanked him for his kindness to her,
and his intercession with his distinguished friend, in a most charming
manner, and he went away feeling well repaid for all his efforts. He
felt sure that, had he been the Professor, she would not have refused
to be mesmerized.

It was well for his egotism, and the peace of his mind, that he could
not see the woman when she had reached her private apartments.

No audience ever had or ever would see her portray such a tempest of
emotion as swayed and shook her soul. Her whole body quivered, like the
single petal of a flower that has been drawn into the fury of a gale,
and cannot control its action, but is swept hither and yon by an
irresistible force. Finally the tempest of tears and grief subsided,
leaving her languid and weak. Only then did her thoughts become cogent,
and they ran something like this:

"What did he think? What could he think? He must have believed I knew
whom he was, and went to see him, hoping for a reconciliation. How cold
and stern and unrelenting his whole bearing was! How well I remember
that expression in his eyes. I would have passed through any torture,
rather than put myself in such a position; even death itself.

"How could I know that the distinguished Prof. Huskins was William? The
two persons who quoted him, said he was an old man, a scientist who had
experimented years, and was capable of removing all bodily infirmities.

"It was only natural my thoughts should turn to Augustus, who, while
gifted with remarkable talent, is afflicted with a weak and impotent
body. My one thought and ambition has been to so improve his physical
condition as to make it easier for him to express his talent, and
hearing of the Professor's power, I thought perhaps he could help
Augustus. I would gladly be a martyr to benefit him in any way. He is
the one object of my interest and love upon earth. I have tried every
kind of physician, and, hearing of this man's marvelous and wonderful
powers, I resolved to submit myself to his influence, to test its power
and to see what it was, and if it was good, to secure his services for
Augustus, even though it required all the money I had.

"How could I know that he was Augustus' own father? What power, what
fate placed me in so embarrassing a position? What have I done that I
should be subjected to such humiliation and chagrin? I have been a
patient, faithful and devoted mother while he has enjoyed pleasure and
renown. If there is a God of Justice, why have I been compelled to enter
this cruel, selfish and heartless man's home in search of my poor
child's health?

"How well I knew that expression in his eyes. He thought me a woman who
seeks men of renown; he was as jealous and exacting as when his taunts
and suspicions separated us.

"I thank the Giver of all Good that William did not know the real
object of my going to him for the exercise of his powers.

"If there is a good God, and I sometimes question it, I pray that
William may class me as he used to do with wicked and depraved women,
for that would be preferable to the truth of a loving mother seeking her
child's strength. If he believed Augustus to be his child, he would take
him away from me, or I should at least have to divide Augustus' love. I
will never do that, if it costs my life. He is mine. All mine. I would
gladly suffer the torments of Hades to bring him one throb of joy.

"He shall never know his father's perfidy and treachery, if my suffering
can prevent it. How glad he will be to see me! Augustus, it is for you I
sing; not for the public who pay me. In me you must find both father and
mother. No power but my love for you would have given me strength to
resist the magnetism of your father's eye, which, in times past, has so
influenced me.

"My body trembled, but when the two loves of my soul were placed in the
balance, the mother's love was purer and stronger, and outweighed the
wife's. It is useless to deny I love William; the very sight of him set
every nerve aquiver, throbbing with an almost exquisite delight. I could
not have controlled that condition, had there not come to my mind the
memory and presence of one whom he denied, and who depends entirely upon
my strength, fortitude and love.

"This memory gave me the strength to conquer my woman's love, and only
manifest a mother's. The love of a wife, that is, of a true wife, is
enduring, but that of a mother is the nearest infinite love that can be.
A wife's love may wane and weaken by facts of infidelity, but a mother's
only strengthens with every token of weakness.

"Just in proportion to Augustus' physical infirmity, does my affection
increase in force and intensity. I once thought William the center of
interest in the world, but the love I had for him pales into
insignificance beside that for Augustus.

"William was jealous of me today; I saw it in his eyes, whose expression
I know so well. Once such a look would have controlled not only my
actions, but my very thoughts as well. His influence over me has not
waned. I am well aware of that by the weakness I manifested;--I actually
trembled visibly;--but there has come into my life a newer and stronger
influence--a mother's love, and that has rendered the other impotent. I
was weak and negative to him until I had placed in my arms a babe who
depended upon me for every comfort and shelter as I had depended upon
William.

"This dependence has generated in me a love and power he can neither
overcome nor remove. He loves me yet. I saw and read the fact in his
eyes. He appeared cold and unconcerned, but I know him too well to be
deceived. No other woman has filled my place. He would have been glad to
mesmerize me, and I am sure that I could never have resisted the power
of his influence over me, had it not been for my thoughts of Augustus. A
wife may be strong, but a mother is stronger, and I am to Augustus both
mother and father. He shall never know the sacrifice I made for him this
day. His father denied him, but his mother will be as true as his father
is false.

"I defy the power which has made him famous. My heart refused to beat
regularly while I was there. I know it was due to the sudden shock I
received. He could not have entranced me against my will, nor made me
tell of Augustus.

"He knew my condition when I left him, and he has never tried to find
trace of my child, nor whether we both died; still I am weak enough to
yield to the magic influence of his presence. Such a weakness shall not
be repeated. By all the powers of my soul I defy it. I am Augustus' only
natural protector, and my love shall be the insurmountable barrier that
shall separate him from his father.

"At the time when my very life blood seemed to stop, there came a
piercing cry that stirred the depths of my soul. Since that time, I have
known but one object in life--one only ambition and interest:--to be
famous for my darling's sake. If I could only purchase by suffering his
bodily freedom of action, I would endure the fiercest torture without a
murmur. It would be impossible to endure more excruciating agony than I
have experienced this day. Why was I, an innocent victim from the
beginning, compelled to encounter the humiliation of going to William's
house?

"I had almost rather that my darling Augustus, my heart's idol, remained
a hopeless invalid than have him rescued by his father's power. His
cruelty made Augustus a cripple, and me a hopeless and despairing woman.
That power which has been our scourge, can never be our hope of release.
Better the hatred of our crudest enemy than the influence of William's
love in our lives.

"I will leave this city. I cannot breathe the same atmosphere I know is
feeding him and live. I bid every idol but the image of my boy to depart
from my soul. I will go where he is; there I shall find peace and
happiness. How sharp love's eyes are! I must calm myself; I will be
cheerful and happy; otherwise, Augustus will note the difference, and
ask the cause.

"Never was a mother blessed with so noble a son as mine. I will be his
protector though the legions of ignorance and evil conspire against him
and me. Nothing can daunt my love. I will calm myself for your sake,
Augustus. Mother will come to you, and we will be happy despite your
father's influence. I feel it now. I will, Augustus, break this annoying
sensation."

Saying this, she arose with a visible effort, apparently suffering from
great lassitude, and went into an adjoining apartment to write her son,
where we will leave her while we follow the movements of William.



CHAPTER NINE


Before William left his home after the interview, there came a hurried
messenger from Merle, asking his immediate presence, as there was a
decided change for the worse in his condition. William knew such tidings
must mean a serious state of affairs, as in all the time he had been
using Merle as a subject, he had never before been summoned by his
people. On the contrary, Merle had improved physically ever since he had
been controlling him.

He hastened to Mrs. Millard's house as quickly as possible, trying to
keep Merle in his mind as manifesting strength, health and calmness,
yet, when he arrived, Mrs. Millard, who had been eagerly awaiting him,
let him in, he saw by the expression of her countenance, which was
clearly dejected, that his thought waves had thus far been futile.

Despite his own anguish and torture of mind, there arose the spectacle
of what a blow it would be to science, if he, one of its advocates and
acknowledged experimentors, should allow his principal subject to sicken
and possibly die. He tried to the utmost of his will to focus his mind
upon the thought, "Merle shall and is manifesting health."

How many times, when other men's minds had failed and their courage had
flagged and waned, had his shone forth like a bright and radiant light,
illumining the darkness and bringing out congenial conditions. Somehow
he did not seem to really know himself. He no longer felt secure or sure
of anything, still he greeted Mrs. Millard with words of encouragement,
and asked to be shown immediately into Merle's presence.

Arriving there, he was astonished to note how weak and feverish Merle
was. Even his presence did not seem to awaken him or to especially
attract his attention. He asked Mrs. Millard to leave them alone. He
would have been loth to admit how long a time it took him to gain
sufficient power to put Merle into a peaceful and refreshing sleep, but
at length he accomplished it, and passing out of that apartment, asked
if Alice was willing to be mesmerized, while her mother went to watch by
Merle's bedside.

In that house his word was law, and Alice was soon put into the trance
condition. Her first utterances were all of Merle, but by gradual
degrees her thoughts were directed into different channels. After
several questions, she was able to tell William that he had had two
callers, when he had expected three, and the visit of these two had been
productive of disappointment instead of satisfaction. He could not find
out from his questioning why such a condition existed.

He asked every variety of question he could think of, but, beyond what
he already knew, he could get no enlightenment. This exasperated him
greatly, for he was not in search of what he already knew, but striving
to obtain information upon a point about which he was ignorant. Why had
Miss Earle come to him?--That was the question he wanted answered, but
all he could get from Alice was "She came to get help for him she
loves."

Such a declaration, repeated over and over, by no means calmed William's
troubled mind. Finally she said:

"Do not force me. I do not know whom she loves, but I know she loves
someone better than you. Your power, which is strong enough to influence
Merle and me, is not strong enough to penetrate through the other love,
yet she loves you better than her life."

Realizing how futile it was to force her further, William bade her
awaken, and, after looking in to see Merle again, and leaving such
instructions as he thought it necessary to follow, left the house and
walked toward his own home.

His thoughts traveled rapidly, and the expression of his eyes showed
that anger or some kindred feeling was one of the most potent forces
operative in his spirit at the time.

His thoughts ran something like this:--"She came to me to get help for
him she loves.--She loves me better than her life, still there is one
dearer yet.--My power is not strong enough to penetrate through this
other love.--That remains to be proven; I think differently; I prophecy
her idol will fall separate himself from her, and she be compelled to
come to me for assistance. How she must love herself when she loves me
more! Love! She does not know what love is, but she shall know, and
shall suffer, even as she has made me suffer--and Merle. The boy is very
ill, and is weakening instead of growing stronger. I had hard work to
put him to sleep. His illness means the indefinite postponement of our
scientific researches. I am in no condition to conduct them now even if
Merle were well, so his illness does not really interfere with the
matter. I shall know no rest, but devote my every energy and power to
the bending and breaking of Clarissa's proud spirit. I will help her
loved one. Oh, yes, I will help him--to grow weak and negative, and the
very antipathy of her desires, and she shall come to me humbly, and sue
for help. She will never again ask me to carry flowers to her past
lovers. I swear it."



CHAPTER TEN


Six months have passed since we last saw William. During that time a
noticeable change has taken place in his appearance. He seems many years
older, and his eyes appear incapable of expressing anything but
sternness. In a way these changes add to his dignity in a manner not
altogether pleasant to contemplate.

Since last we saw him, his time has been given to the task of
controlling Clarissa's spirit, by silent thought suggestion, but so far
he had been unable to bring her to him by their power. Having
experimented so long and thoroughly with mesmeric power, he was able to
distinguish at a single glance those persons who were sensitive to his
influence, consequently knew her to be a sensitive of an unusually
susceptible and refined order, and he naturally thought that by
concentrating upon her with the entire strength of his will he would
cause her to gravitate to his presence, drawn by an irresistible force,
in a very short time, as many others had before.

There had been no lack of interest upon his part, as he had thrown into
this work all the force and intensity of his power, but so far as he
could see, there was no sign of Clarissa's yielding, and she made no
movement to seek his presence.

Such a result was exasperating in the extreme, and humiliating to him.
Almost every day he had questioned either Merle or Alice, after putting
them into a trance state, concerning her movements, but he only received
the most vague and indefinite replies, not one of which was
satisfactory. Alice had said several times that she would never come to
him, and told him to go to her, but the idea seemed preposterous to him.
He go to her? No--she should come to him. This at first, but after a
while he added "or send for him," and now, here he was in search of her.

It was easy to trace her movements, as her singing at any particular
place was advertised in all directions. He kept in close touch with her
movements, hoping to find a trace of the person whom she wished him to
assist, but so far he had been unsuccessful in his search. The last
reports he had had of her announced that she was in poor health as the
result of overwork, which necessitated a complete rest from all public
work.

He was not deceived by this report, as he knew his constant thought was
affecting her nervous system and undermining her strength, and this was
not wholly unpleasant knowledge. He made a sudden resolution to go to
her. It was useless for her to resist, so he immediately started on the
journey, and we now find him entering the hotel where he had learned she
was stopping.

All the way, he had been devising plans as to how he should get into her
presence. If he sent up his own name, she would claim she was
indisposed, refuse him admittance, and he was a man who disliked to be
thwarted in his plans. He would be compelled to send some name to her,
and it must be someone whom she would want to see, as, naturally in this
nervous condition, she would not see many people. She would see him
though--in that he was determined.

He had pictured exultingly the shock it would be to her, and trusted a
great deal in the fact that the force of the shock would be in his
favor.

Finally he decided to send up the name of Dr. Baxter. He had two reasons
for the selection,--Dr. Baxter was a noted expert in nervous disorders,
a man whom one in her condition would be glad to see, and she had
expressed herself as indebted to him for her intrusion upon his time and
patience to satisfy her whim. Everything transpired exactly as he had
anticipated, and he was soon following a guide to her apartments.

His countenance had that impassive expression that usually characterizes
so-called distinguished persons, but he was innately far removed from
the calmness and immobility that his appearance indicated. It seemed to
him his heart beats might be plainly heard by the young man ahead of
him, and pausing when he had arrived at his destination to calm himself,
he felt as though his strength were oozing out of his usually vigorous
body, and he noticed his hands were actually trembling. He soon regained
control over his nerves, however, and gave the signal announcing his
arrival.

The door was opened almost immediately, and as he stepped forward, in
the natural perturbation of his mind, he failed to notice who it was who
opened the door. All his attention was fixed upon the coming ordeal, but
just as he passed the threshold he heard someone say in a hushed and
awed tone, vibrant with emotion: "Master William! Master William!!"

He turned quickly toward the speaker, and as he saw the expression of
not only wonder but pleasure on the face of the colored woman, his own
eyes filled with tears, for he was just in the mood, wrought up and
nervous as he was, that any unexpected noise or temporary shock would
agitate him. He held out his hands to her, but no words came.

It was different with the woman; her face seemed to beam with happiness,
as she carried his outstretched hands to her lips, murmuring, "Master
William has come; now mistress will get well.--Augustus will be right
back, and Oh, Master William, we have been powerful sad and lonely.
Bless your heart, you are looking fine! I will go and tell mistress you
are here; You don't want me to tell mistress? Well, joy don't kill even
sick people. I reckon your face and love will do her more good than
medicine.--That's her voice--She's right in there and you shall not be
disturbed only when Augustus comes."

This unexpected welcome, too honest and sincere to be doubted for a
moment, did what nothing else could have done for William. He seemed to
break away from the cold sensation that had for so long been clutching
at his heart, and held every emotion in its relentless grasp. This
expression of faithfulness and these words of welcome when he had
schooled himself to look for and expect coldness, hauteur, and possibly
defiance, had defeated the man who had come there by dint of force,
carrying him back in fancy to scenes of past happiness, and had
unwittingly unlocked the volcano of love and emotion, which he had so
long repressed.

His whole countenance underwent an immediate change; his eyes shone with
a lustre almost dazzling, and his step quickened. He could not control
his voice to speak, but he pressed the hand of the servant tightly, and
with a quickness and agility of movement a youth might envy removed his
outer garments, and started for the place that the servant had pointed
out to him.

He met Clarissa just at the door, for she had risen to greet Dr. Baxter
as she supposed. As his glance fell upon her, he advanced yet more
quickly, and before she had time even to think, he clasped her in his
arms, drawing her tenderly to him. Neither was conscious of what
transpired, and of that scene there only remained in her memory in later
times the feeling of such happiness as deprived her of speech and
emotion, while in her ear was murmured words to her at the time
unintelligible.

The shock was so great she was powerless to resist and when he turned
his eyes toward hers, they seemed to hold her irresistibly. It seemed to
her he had never before been so handsome. How good it was to feel his
arms about her. She was sick and weak.--Closer and closer came his face
to hers, and when his lips met hers, there was neither power nor wish to
resist or repulse him. Without knowing or realizing what she was doing,
she raised her arms and placed them around his neck, and her head
nestled closer to his breast, instead of shrinking she gave kiss for
kiss.

Just then there came a joyous laugh, which was quickly shut out by the
closing of a door, but a large St. Bernard dog leaped upon William with
a savage growl. Before the dog entered William felt a change in
Clarissa; she was apparently changed from a loving woman to a rigid
statue. He had not noticed the boyish laugh, as his mind had but one
thought. He only knew he held Clarissa in his arms--the only woman he
had ever loved instead of repulsing had yielded lovingly to his embraces
and answered his caresses. Her eyes fed his hungry, starving soul, and
shed the glances and promises of love.

The whole world might have quivered and shaken at this time, and he
would have still been oblivious, but, looking into her eyes with all the
eagerness of his soul, and revelling in the unexpected happiness he
felt, he saw a change, that like some magical influence extinguished
from her countenance its expression of love, loosened her closely
clasping arms, and rendered cold and irresponsive the lips that had been
so warm. He did not try to analyze the cause, but instinctively drew her
more closely to him.

His eyes gleamed more brightly, as he pressed his lips more firmly to
hers, and then came the shock of the dog's attack upon him, and the low
sullen growl. Clarissa spoke quickly and sharply, and the dog moved
slowly away, while she strove to free herself from William's embrace,
but though she struggled, he drew her more tightly to him, and he felt
a quiver as of a strong emotion pass over her. Then for the first time
he remembered her illness, and a feeling of shame came to him that he
had startled her so.

Probably the shock of his sudden appearance had made her faint. He had
been the cause of her suffering--he would remove it. He lifted her
easily in his arms, and placed her upon the couch from which she had
risen when he entered. Her face was wan and pale, and her body seemed
cold and inanimate, but her color returned as a voice said, "Come,
Rex--get your supper." Then a door shut, and he heard no more.

With a sudden bound, and eyes flashing, Clarissa arose and confronted
him. The change was so sudden he was wholly unprepared for it, and
seeing the great struggle she was making to speak, he could only account
for it by the supposition she was enraged because he had come upon her
so unexpectedly, compelling her to admit by her acts if not by her words
that her love for him had not waned any more than his for her. Her pride
was wounded. He would not notice whatever she might say;--he would soon
have her back in his arms again.

Finally she spoke. Her voice sounded cold and strange, and her words
came slowly, and distinctly, but there was an apparent effort:

"You will excuse me if I retire. I am ill.--I will ring for my maid to
escort you out, and so long as we live, never enter my home again."

The expression of William's face never changed. He opened his arms and
approached her, intending to draw her to him, but something in her eyes
stopped him before he reached her; they stood there looking at one
another fixedly and neither spoke. She pointed her finger significantly
toward the door. This position, which William made no move to change,
became unbearable, and she exclaimed sharply: "If you have any of the
instincts of a gentleman, you will not wait to be again asked to leave
my presence."

Every word she uttered made a visible change in William's look and
manner; all the gladness fled from his face, and he seemed to strengthen
and expand, while his eyes glowed like orbs of fire. "I have always
understood that the customs and usages of the best society permitted a
gentleman to remain in the presence and home of his wife."

"William, go--I beg of you--don't look at me that way.--I feel faint and
dizzy."

"Then my arms are your proper resting place. See--I will forgive your
sharp words. I know you are not well. There, rest against me.--You won't
kiss me? You struggle to get away, but just now you nestled close to me
as you used to do. Be still. I have power; you shall be strong again."

"Mistress, Augustus is home and insists upon seeing you. Shall I let him
in?"

"No--I will be out very soon."

When the servant spoke, William released Clarissa, but his eyes did not
leave her face. When she had gone, he strode to her, and grasping her
arm in no gentle manner, said: "Who is Augustus? Why don't you answer
me? Another of your innumerable lovers, I suppose. Well, there have been
a few kisses since he left that did not go to him. They were as warm and
tender as any you ever gave him, and you may assure him, with my
compliments, that they are not the last I shall have either. A fool's
paradise is better than none. You belong to me by every law of God or
man, and no one shall ever again come between us, for I have the power
to slowly kill him.--Do you realize what that means? I will put him or
any other person out of my way as I would kill a viper. You need not
turn pale--I mean it. Your beloved Augustus shall die. I swear it."

"William, take that back."

"Oh, you plead for him, do you? I register a solemn vow to Heaven--"

"William! You shall not say it--It is too horrible.--Say that you do
not mean it.--See, my arms are around you.--Do not speak."

"Do not speak? I do not need to. My thought has power to blast him, soul
and body. Now--this very day. You need not cling to me. I will not share
your embraces with him.--He shall die.--I am not the first man who has
murdered for the sake of a woman. The sight of you has crazed me. I
swear--"

"Mother, Dinah said I might bring you these flowers. May I come in?"

At that word "mother," uttered by a voice in the distance, which kept
coming nearer, accompanied by the barking of a dog and the sound of
wheels, William stopped abruptly and looked at Clarissa, with severely
questioning eyes. Her face lit up at the sound of the voice, then her
whole body shivered and shook, threatening to prevent her standing, and
her hand went to her heart while she struggled for breath.

"Mother dear, may I come?"

The voice and dog stopped, for the boy would not enter till he was
bidden. William's eyes did not leave her face. He said coldly: "Why do
you not answer? It is evidently you who are addressed."

No wonder she trembled as she looked at him. She made a visible effort
and said, "What is it, dear? I will come presently."

"But, mamma, I want you to wear these, they are so pretty. Just let me
put them in your dress, and I will go back to Dinah."

By this time, William's eyes blazed, and his voice was calm as he said,
"Bid him enter." Clarissa seemed under a spell as she said with a vacant
expression, "Come, Augustus."

The words had scarcely left her lips, when the voice began, the dog
barked, and a young boy, guiding a wheeled chair, came into the room. He
was a remarkably handsome child, probably about twelve years old, a
cripple. His cheeks were flushed, his eyes glowing, and he looked more
like an animated picture than a real boy. Being the personification of
refinement and beauty, he needed only a robust body to appear a
miniature God.

One glance at the boy, a sudden start, and a complete change took place
in William's countenance. All the anger and jealousy and uncontrollable
rage faded away, and so kindly a light came into his eyes it attracted
the boy's attention. Rolling his chair to his mother's side, he put his
arm around her, and rising to his feet, with the other hand he placed in
her dress a bunch of tuberoses, and gave her a loving kiss. Then he
quickly sat down in his chair, bowed to William, and said "Come, Rex,"
at the same time starting for the door.

"Will you not speak to me, or give me a flower, or at least tell me
your name?" said William.

"Yes, sir. My name is Augustus Earle, and I will buy flowers with all my
money and bring them to you,--I won't even buy a picture or anything if
you will just cure my mamma. Dinah said you were a doctor, come to cure
her, and we are going to have a jolly time when she gets strong again."

"Your father must be very proud of you; such a bright boy as you are."

"I have no father. Didn't mamma tell you? No? Papa is dead, and Aunt
Dinah and Rex and I take care of mamma. Aunt Dinah says I look like my
father and have his temper, but you must not think he was a bad man, for
mamma says he was grand and good and noble. I would like to be like my
father when I am a man, only of course he could walk and I can not
without crutches. But I don't care, only sometimes. Have you any little
boys or girls?"

"Yes; I have one boy."

"I suppose he can walk and run and jump and swim. You just wait, I like
you--I am going to send your little boy a present, for you are going to
cure mamma, I know. How old is your little boy?"

"He is twelve years old."

"Just the same age I am. How do you suppose he would like a horse? Do
you think he would rather have a dog? Oh, I don't mean a truly one--only
one I draw. You tell him, when you give it to him, Augustus Earle, a boy
who can't run and walk like him, drew it, and sends his love with it.--I
will not be gone long."

After Augustus had left, neither spoke for some time; not till the
clatter of his chair was lost, then William said, and his voice was low
and gentle:

"Clarissa, why did you not tell me of this years ago?" She made no
reply. "Why did you let me remain ignorant that I was a father?--Won't
you speak?"

"He does not belong to you."

"Clarissa, you don't realize the significance of what you say. That is
my son--I know it, and it is useless to deny it. Why you should try to I
cannot understand.--What is the cause of his lameness? I may be able to
cure him, and make him so he can walk. He is a handsome boy."

"I say you shall not cure him;--I have cared for him so long, and--"

"Here I am, Dr. Baxter, I think I will send both of these, then he will
be sure to be pleased. I am so glad you are going to eat with us--Aunt
Dinah has put an extra plate, and made me promise to be on my best
behavior. You see, Aunt Dinah forgets that I am not a baby because I
cannot walk, but I can play and sing and draw better than boys that can
play games. I have a boat--I will go fetch it. Do you know, Rex has
learned to swim and sail it for me, and I sit and watch it. It is a good
boat, for a fisherman told me so. Rex, go and get my boat. Now Doctor,
you just see if he does not fetch it. He knows what I want, for he takes
care of me.--There is Aunt Dinah calling. I have to go and let her fuss
over me. She rubs my face and hands, and combs my hair just as they do a
baby's, and if I get angry and wash myself, she says I am not clean.--If
I do not go, she will come for me, and rub soap and water into my mouth
and eyes and say, 'You are the perfect acting image of your father, you
are.' I will be ready by the time supper is; I am so glad you are going
to stay. I will show you my drawings, and sing for you too. Mamma says I
sing splendidly.--There's Dinah again.--We will have a jolly time, and
you can tell me all about your little boy."

Various expressions had chased one another over William's face while the
boy was talking, and anyone watching his countenance would hardly have
believed it capable of expressing any but the kindliest of emotions, and
solicitude for others. Tears were in his eyes, and his voice trembled as
he thanked Augustus for the drawings he had given him, and as he started
to wheel himself away, William stooped to kiss him; but, as though she
had the power to divine his thoughts, Clarissa, who had remained silent
during the boy's last entrance, moved quickly between them, herself
kissing his animated face, and pushed his chair toward the door, saying:
"Dinah will be cross with you--go quickly.--Remain in your room until I
call you--I wish to talk with the Doctor, alone."

"All right, mamma; do not be long--I want to hear all about his little
boy."

Clarissa watched him until he had passed from sight into another room,
then turned, like an avalanche, upon William. The intensity of her
feelings seemed to lend her strength.

"If there was ever one faint spark of interest--I will not desecrate the
name of love by calling any feelings you may have entertained toward me
by that title, but if you have ever had even a passing interest, I
implore you by the remembrance of it, to leave my home immediately, and
so long as my child and I may live, never bring your unwelcome presence
to us again. Go.--You don't move? Whatever other feelings I may have had
for you, I always give you the credit of possessing the ordinary
courtesy of a gentleman.--You will compel me to resort to very rude
measures, and as I am not very strong, and this interview is not only
taxing my patience, but my strength--"

"Why should I go, Clarissa? Heretofore, there has been only one loved
object in my life; now I find another, unexpectedly, it is true, but
none the less dear. Where these two are, there I wish ever to be. You
both need me and I need both of you."

"You are mistaken. We do not need you, and love is a sentiment unknown
to your soul. Do not longer parley with words. Go--or I shall lose what
little respect I still have for you--"

"I cannot leave you ill."

"Who has made me so? I know you have. I know very little about the
science that has made your name illustrious, but I know enough of it to
know your power lies in the concentration of thought. Have I not been
pursued by your image and influence, sleeping or waking, ever since the
day I entered your house? Do not flatter yourself this image has been
welcome, for it has been far from it, and I have had but one means of
banishing it.

"It has been this continual struggle to throw off this unwelcome
influence that has shattered my nervous system. I am gaining upon the
power to throw it off, however. I thought, one while, I would surely
die, as at times my heart would cease beating, and everything begin to
turn black. You would have succeeded in your nefarious scheme, but for
the remembrance of my helpless boy, who has no one but me to depend
upon. I cannot and will not leave him alone.--

"Nights, when I have felt your evil power so strong, I could almost see
you before me; I would rise and go to Augustus, and, kneeling beside his
bed, I would pray for the powers of good to give me strength to live and
care for my blessed child. These prayers have been answered; I no longer
fear either your image, your influence, or your actual presence.

"A mother's love has strength to overcome every evil for her child's
sake. I defy you and your boasted power. I did wrong to ask you not to
try it upon Augustus; the power of my love will counteract any influence
you can send him. Will you leave us now?"

"I make all due allowance for your condition, and rather than cause you
more suffering, I will go immediately, leaving you by yourself to think
it over and reflect if you have not been a little harsh to me. Think
over the early days of our marriage; how happy we were. Can you recall
one act of mine that was not an expression of my loving solicitude for
you? Had I one thought beyond you and our home?

"Since you went away, I have lived the isolated life of a student. No
woman's smile has caused me a moment's thought. I have been as true a
husband to you as in those happy days so long ago. The misery and
suffering have made me old before my time, but I am clean in every
thought so far as women are concerned.

"Isn't that proof of some love? I see by your face you do not believe
me, but I will prove it to you.--Come home with me.--James and Nancy are
with me, and always have been. You will believe them, even though you
doubt me. They know my life. We will nurse you back to health--possibly
I can do much for my son--"

"Stop. I told you before that Augustus was not your son."

"I know he is. His every look and movement proclaims it. It is useless
to deny that I am his father. Why do you want to put such a stigma upon
the child?"

"I am telling you the truth. His father is dead, just as he told you."

"Then how do you account for his remarkable likeness to me?"

"Probably the dislike I had for you before he was born marked him with
your features."

"Clarissa, I do not believe you. If I am not his father, who was?"

"That is nothing to you."

"Nothing to me? Are you mad?"

"No. I was never more sane in my life. I can look you straight in the
eye, without the quiver of an eyelash, and say, you, William Huskins,
are not the father of my boy. Can a person telling an untruth do that?
Would it be natural for a mother to acknowledge her child to be
illegitimate, when she might presume upon a man's credulity to claim him
as his son and heir, unless she wanted to be honest?"

"I can only account for your words by that fact."

As he spoke the words he moved toward her, and she kept receding, with
her eyes fixed upon his. Paler and paler she grew, and larger and larger
became the pupils of her eyes, which were gradually so dilated that they
seemed to hide the other portions of them; still he gazed at her with an
unwavering and stern expression till, finally, she clasped her right
hand over her heart, and sank, without a word. She would have fallen
prostrate upon the floor had not William sprung quickly to her as she
fell.

Immediately he felt her helplessness, all the stern, steady look
vanished from his face as though by magic, and in its place there shone
all the eager ardor of a lover. Time and the memory of the past both
seemed to have been obliterated from his mind, and he was conscious of
but one fact. Clarissa, the only woman he had ever loved or who had
ever held either his heart or senses captive, was again in his
arms;--was his.

The thought made him tender and kind as a mother to her first born babe,
whom she believes to be the answer vouchsafed to her prayers for a
living example of her love for her husband; for this babe she would
offer her life, a willing sacrifice, without one thought of hesitation,
even if the sacrifice meant physical torture. Her love could generate
the power necessary to endure any kind of personal torment if she knew
her suffering would purchase the release or happiness of the child which
was dearer to her than her own pleasure or welfare.

So William felt, when his arms encircled the object of his love, and he
would gladly have endured any discomfort or suffering Clarissa had been
subjected to while the combat of their wills had been waging. He
realized as only a man whose experience had been as vast as his could
realize, that her nervous condition, combined with the unexpected shock
of his sudden appearance, had been a great ally to his cause, for
without these, despite her naturally susceptible temperament, he would
have had a severe struggle.

He lifted her easily and bore her to the couch from which she had arisen
upon his entrance. She looked so white and rigid and still and cold--so
much like one prepared for burial--that, despite his vast experience
with mesmeric sleep, he felt anxious. He was loth to admit, even to
himself, he was nervous--supposing she was dead! Supposing her spirit
had actually fled, leaving him alone again:--deserted--while her soul
was transported into conditions of which he knew nothing, and he could
not reach her?

The thought was agonizing. He immediately drew her to him, thinking to
warm her cold, inanimate body by contact with his own which was warm and
vigorous. Those lips that had but a short time before responded so
tenderly and lovingly to his were now cold and unresponsive. For a time,
the scientist was lost, while the husband caressed, loved and suffered.

He kept repeating "Clarissa--Clarissa--Speak to me," and after a long
interval of silence she spoke.

"Did you speak to me, William?"

If the voice of one dead had answered him, he would not have been more
startled. The shock broke the spell that bound him, and the man of
science was once more alert. He lifted her head, looked intently into
her eyes, rather at her eyes which were closed, and said--

"Clarissa, do you hear me? Are you awake?"

There was a brief pause, then she replied, but her voice sounded far
away. "Yes."

"Do you know who is talking to you?"

"Yes--William."

"Have you anything to say to me?"

No answer,--then he said timidly but tenderly, "Clarissa, do you love
me?" No words passed the cold, impassive lips, but her arms were raised
and entwined themselves about his neck, and her head nestled lovingly
and confidently against him. The answer seemed to satisfy him, and for a
while, he made no effort to talk, apparently quaffing the enjoyment fate
furnished him.--The past and future were a blank to him, and the present
was fraught with such exquisite bliss, that he heeded not when Dinah
spoke to him.

"Master William."

Not receiving an answer, she entered, spoke again, and not now receiving
a reply, and seeing her mistress and him in so fond an embrace, she
reverted to the rules of the past and touched him instead of speaking to
Clarissa. He looked up at the touch and smiled so pleasantly it seemed
they were all back in the past.

"Master William, the Doctor is here to see mistress. I have your dinner
all prepared. What shall I tell him? He insists upon seeing her. I told
him she was engaged. I would not come in. Do not look so cross, Master
William, but he said he would have to see her, and you know she has
great faith in him. Aint you, Honey?"

"Dinah, tell him to go."

"But, Master, he is waiting just outside here with Augustus."

"Augustus, my baby, mamma is coming,--mamma is coming."

As these words came from Clarissa's lips, William felt a great change
pass over her. He had put her to sleep by his power, but she was no
longer rigid, and her arms, which had clung so tightly and lovingly
about his neck, loosed their hold, and warmth and animation diffused
themselves to every portion of her being. She rose erectly and tried to
waken, but encountered a mighty resistance.

"Tell the doctor to remain where he is. I will come to him," said
William, while he tried to restrain Clarissa from rising.
"Sleep,--Sleep,--Sleep," he repeated, but his mind had been unsteadied
by the happiness of thoughts of his brief intoxication. His commands
seemed to have no significance for the woman who struggled to free
herself from his grasp.

"Augustus--I am coming--mother hears." This was all she said, but it
required all William's strength to hold her on the couch, and a feeling
of jealousy (which he was at the time ashamed of feeling) overmastered
him, and held him in thrall, and he repeated over and over again,
"Sleep--Sleep--Sleep" his vigor increasing as his jealously gained the
advantage over his judgment, and she finally collapsed into a comatose
state.

Dinah had watched her struggles, but, feeling her mistress was in safe
hands, had not interfered in her behalf, although she could not
understand the purport of what she saw. When she saw her mistress settle
back again, like one dead, she said--

"Master William, shall I show the Doctor in? She sure has fainted."

She received such a look from William as she was not likely to forget,
and he replied:

"Dinah, your mistress is sleeping peacefully and well. Take me to the
Doctor."

She offered no objections, but led him to a room where Augustus and a
man of mature age were waiting. When he had reached there, William's
eyes would have been a study for any man. He acknowledged the usual
salutation of introduction, but his head was visibly elevated from the
position it should have held considering the august presence of so
distinguished a practitioner as Dr. Goullard;--in fact, he could not
control his feelings sufficiently to remember they were both gentlemen,
and said abruptly, "Dr. Goullard, your services are no longer required;
I am here as Miss Earle's representative, and will at once discharge her
obligations to you for services rendered if you will advise me as to
the amount of her indebtedness."

"Who are you, who presume to represent Miss Earle? I only accept
dismissal at her injunction. I demand to see her. If she bids me to
visit her no more, very well, but I must receive some sign from her."

All the time Dr. Goullard was talking, William's face showed a scornful
expression, and when he had finished, William said, "I presume her
husband has some right to choose a physician?"

"Certainly," replied the Doctor quickly, "but Miss Earle's husband is
dead, therefore, as she has called me regularly for a long time, I
consider myself privileged to pass into her presence immediately."

"Not without my permission," replied William, and no person could have
mistaken the meaning of his expression. The doctor looked at him
interrogatively and he continued: "I presume you have heard of William
Huskins, the scientific expert upon nervous difficulties, or diseases; I
am he. I see you know of my reputation by your expression. Well, I am
Miss Earle's husband. Ah, that startles you.--It is the truth.--I am
this boy's father."

"I am acknowledged as an expert practitioner for difficulties and
disorders of the nerves, consequently, my wife can have no further need
of your services. Doubting my claims as husband to Miss Earle, and
father to Augustus, you may refer to Dinah, who has been an attendant of
Miss Earle since she was a young miss--"

"Prof. Huskins, I do not pretend to doubt your assertions, but you will,
I think, admit that it was quite natural I should make the mistake, as I
have been told by Miss Earle personally her husband was dead. I have
attended her for some time, and I should be pleased to offer her my
congratulations upon having so distinguished a husband as you. I will
not long intrude upon the privacy of your glad reunion."

Williams' mind had cleared while the Doctor was speaking. He realized
his conduct thus far had not been such as would naturally be expected
from one of his reputation. He was too proud to apologize, still he knew
some concession upon his part was necessary, and, throwing his head back
with that impetuous movement Dinah knew so well, at the same time
pushing the hair back from his forehead with his hand, he said, quickly
and courteously, "My wife is sleeping now; I have just placed her in a
trance condition, from which I shall awaken her shortly, calmed and
refreshed, and much stronger. I will take you to her if you desire it."

"I should consider it a great favor for you to do so. I have heard much
of your marvelous power, of which I must confess I know very little, but
of which I should be pleased to learn more."

Without another word, William turned and walked from the apartment,
followed by the Doctor, leaving Augustus and Dinah alone. While the men
had been talking, Augustus' eyes had not left William's face. He made no
effort to speak, now that William had gone, but fixed his gaze upon
Dinah. She said nothing and there was a long silence.

Finally he said abruptly, "Dinah, _is_ he my father?"

"Yes, honey."

"I want to see Mamma."

"Wait, honey, till the Doctor goes, and your father will take you to
her. He is a right good man, but he hasn't much patience. You are just
like him, honey;--I always said so. No, you cannot go now. We must wait
till we are called, child."



CHAPTER ELEVEN


After he had seen the doctor leave, William, instead of going to
Augustus, returned directly to Clarissa. He only felt secure regarding
her when he could see her. All the varied scenes through which he passed
seemed like a dream, and he could not rid himself of the impression he
would awaken and find Clarissa gone, leaving him alone again.

He had entirely forgotten Augustus, and in his distracted state of mind
the thought of the shock and surprise it must have been to the boy to
have him declare himself, a comparative stranger, as his father, did not
occur to him. His mind seemed incapable of comprehending or holding more
than one image; he felt the deepest chagrin that he, an expert thought
concentrator, had so lost control of himself as to make such a scene as
he had just gone through with Clarissa to mesmerize her. He had been
obliged to use upon her that which he had never used before upon any
subject he had ever put to sleep:--physical force.

Why was it she resisted his power so strongly, when she had been so
loving and obedient to his very thoughts but a short time before?

As he reached the couch and looked down upon her, a long, deep sigh
escaped him, and the thought passed through his mind: Suppose she had
not been here, but had gone out of his life again: how sad and lonely
and miserable it would be. The very thought was unendurable. He quickly
sank down beside her, holding her close to him, that he might have the
double assurance of sight and touch, of her actual presence with him.

So engrossed was he with the thought, he was unaware of Augustus'
entrance, though the wheel chair made some clatter. He had paused at the
door, expecting an invitation to enter, but receiving none, he came
directly to them and said:

"Mamma,--"

A tremor passed over Clarissa, so strong as to attract William's notice,
while at the same time a hand touched his arm. As he felt the tremor of
Clarissa's body, he tightened his hold, even as he turned his head. He
was impatient of interruption and his eyes did not express the most
pleasant mood as he turned toward the intruder, but when he saw who it
was, his entire countenance changed; he quickly noted the pallor of the
boy, and the brilliant flashing of his eyes, that told so plainly his
intense agitation.

He immediately removed one arm from Clarissa, and before Augustus could
divine his purpose, had lifted him from his chair and drawn him close
to his heart.

"My son--my boy and Clarissa's."

Augustus, taken completely by surprise, said nothing for a time, but his
eyes traveled quickly to his mother's face, which was cold and white and
rigid, then his voice rang out sharp and piercing--"Mamma--mamma--speak
to me--I am here--Augustus--speak to me."

There was no response. Never having seen his mother thus, as she always
devoted her undivided attention to him, he did not understand her apathy
and inattention to his call; he made up his mind she was dead, and this
man had killed her. That thought brought such a wave of anger and fury,
that for all his frailness of body, he had for the time strength to
release himself from William's clasp, and throwing both arms about her
neck, he tried to lift her, repeating over and over, "Mamma,--Mamma
dear, look at me."

The sight of the boy's suffering brought tears to William's eyes, and he
said, "Your mother is sleeping; she cannot hear you. She will waken
soon, and--"

"I hate you. She is not sleeping. She is dead, and you have killed her."

"Augustus, you will be sorry for such a speech. She is sleeping; gaining
strength to make us both happy. Have you no greeting for your father,
who loves you so dearly? I am proud to--"

"If you were very proud, you would go home, and not stay here where you
are not wanted. Mamma--Dinah--Mamma is dead, and--"

"Be quiet, Augustus. Do not shake your mother;--you will? Then I shall
be compelled to use force. I didn't want to do that, but you compelled
me to. Sit quiet and I will wake your mother."

Anyone having the slightest degree of doubt as to the parentage of this
child would have been quickly convinced, if they could have studied
their faces as William and Augustus confronted each other; Augustus'
excited and distorted face was a perfect miniature likeness of his
father's. Eyes flashed into eyes. For all the seriousness of the
condition, William thought, "What a perfect counterpart of my own
temper. He favors me much more than his mother."

He needed no proofs this was his boy, and he felt a thrill of pride. He
had an intense nature that no one understood. Most persons thought him
cold and distant, while in truth, he possessed an unusually affectionate
temperament, but was too proud to admit to anyone how he really hungered
for love. All persons could not supply this want; the whole force of his
nature had centered itself upon one object. She became his wife and no
other woman had ever had power to sway his thoughts and life. He was
regarded as austere and cold, yet could be influenced by this woman's
smile, to do anything man could do, and the pitiful, angered face which
looked into his was his child,--and hers.

For all time he must have second place in her heart, and the pleasure of
wife and child should be his study from this moment. Such thoughts
produced a very different expression upon his face, and he said tenderly
and affectionately,

"Clarissa--Clarissa--Awake."

Slowly her eyes opened. Her face pictured happiness and contentment as
she saw William's smiling welcome; who would have believed his proud,
haughty head could have bowed so humbly as it did when he saw the
bright, glad gleam in her eyes? He stooped to kiss her as though she was
just awakening from a natural sleep. As his arms encircled her, her own
entwined themselves once more around his neck, and with a happy sigh she
gave him kiss for kiss.

Augustus was, for the time, forgotten by both of them, but his eyes and
ears were active; for a time, he remained silent, then a tempest of
jealousy swept over him. He had ever been first in his mother's
thoughts; now he was forgotten for a stranger. His spirit had not been
disciplined to expect only his proper share of any one's attention, for
from the earliest time in his recollection, he had been the principal
object of attention in his home.

His very infirmity and physical weakness spared him criticisms of even
the most wholesome nature; one and all around him had known but one
object in life--to please him. He was totally unaccustomed to being
overlooked in this manner, and his was not a nature to endure this state
of things.

With all the might of his uncultivated and ungoverned will, he hated
this man who was engrossing his mother's attention and love. He raised
himself erect by the help of his hands, and rage nearly choked him as he
said--"Mamma!"

Was there magic in his voice? If not, why did she draw so coldly and
quickly from William's grasp?

"Mamma,--send that man away. I hate him."

"Yes, dear. Do not get nervous, Augustus. There--Mamma's little man is
not angry--"

"Mamma--I hate him. Send him home. He is not my father, is he? You told
me my father was everything noble--everything I loved--I hate that
man--I hate him. Mamma, I will not have him for a father--I will not--"

"Hush, dear."

"I will not hush if he stays here. I will not live with him. Come,
Mamma, let us go away and leave him here--I will make you a fine
picture. Come, Mamma, don't look at him--he is wicked. He sent Dr.
Goullard away--I hate him--hate him."

"Augustus, you will make yourself ill. Hush, dear."

"Don't kiss me all the time. Tell him to leave here. This is our home,
and we don't want him. I will get ill. I will get nervous. When I get
sick, you will know you are to blame for it. If you do not send him off,
I will be ill. He lied. He is not my father--I will not have him for a
father."

"No, dear;--there, be quiet. I will take you to Dinah."

"I will not go to Dinah unless you stay with me. Tell him to go home."

"Yes, dear; only calm yourself. There, the bell is ringing. Some one is
coming, and my little man must not be seen like this. Be yourself, and
you shall have anything you want. Here comes Dinah; let us see who is
here. Dinah, who has called? Augustus is nervous. You had better take
him, and give him some of that medicine for his nerves at once."

"I will not take it. I will not;--not unless you come too."

"Master William, it be someone to see you, and I let him in. Here he
is." William and Clarissa both looked toward the door. There stood
James with a parcel in his hand, his face beaming with pleasure.
Clarissa quickly reached him, and gave him her outstretched hands. He
tore off the covering of the package he carried, offering her a large
bunch of her favorite flowers. This token of affection brought joyful
tears to her eyes, and, still holding one of his hands, she led him to
Augustus, saying, "This is my son, Augustus. Augustus, this is the man
of whom I have so often told you, who was so good and kind to me when I
was a mischievous and wilful girl. These are my favorite flowers; he
always kept them for me, and you will have to hear him tell all about my
girlhood. Will you not, darling? James can tell such lovely stories. He
will tell you the same ones he used to tell me. I feel as though I were
a girl again. Bid him welcome, Augustus."

"I love you because you were so good to mamma. I welcome you to our
home--"

"Bless your heart, honey,--that is what we always called your
mother--there were never two persons who looked so much alike as you and
your father. I will tell you stories that will make your pretty eyes
stick out, all about your mother's naughtiness, picking my choicest
flowers. I remember every one. I never expected to be so happy as I am
this very minute."

"We will have a jolly time. You can wheel me out and tell me the
stories. Do you like my father? Was he a good man? You said I looked
like him, so you must have known him."

"Did I know your father? Was he a good man? There was never his equal.
He is the grandest, noblest, wisest--"

"That will do, James; possibly you can bring your thoughts away from the
past, to the seemingly insignificant present long enough to tell me what
has brought you here, and how you knew where to find me."

At the sound of William's voice, which was severe, James turned at once
and replied, "Forgive me, master, but you told me yourself that our Miss
Clarissa was the famous Miss Earle, the singer, and everyone knows where
she lives. I know no other person would make you leave home and come so
far, so I reckoned I would find you where she was. When you stayed so
long, and there was a telegram came for you, soon followed by another, I
knew it must be something of importance, and I thought I would bring
them to you. I hope you are not angry, sir."

"If you believed them to be so important, why did you not give them to
me at once?"

"Here they are. I admit I was wrong--but I am so happy to see Miss
Clarissa--"

"That is the most disagreeable man I ever saw. He shall not scold you.
Do not mind him. You come with me; I want you to tell me all about my
mother when she was little. I will show you all my pictures. I am so
glad you have come. You just push my chair. Dinah will show you where to
go. You will send him away, and come right along, will you not, mamma?"

"Yes, dear."

"Come: I cannot walk, but I can stand up. I can paint, and draw and
sing. Those were pretty flowers you brought mamma--"

The rest was lost by the closing of a door, which shut out further
sound. Clarissa had kept her eyes upon William's face, ever since
Augustus left her side; there was little to be gleaned from it. His eyes
had not once left the paper before him. As the door closed, he lifted
them and looked straight and steadily at her. There was sufficient power
there to make her shiver. Her hand went quickly to her heart, but her
gaze did not falter--she looked as steadily at him as he did at her. It
was an uncomfortable pause, and William was first to break it.

"I have sad news for you. Your lover, one of the numerous galaxy, is
very ill. I am sent for to restore him to health. Do not looked so
shocked and worried. I will not let him die, as he is my best subject,
and science would receive too rude a blow if Prof. Huskins' acknowledged
best subject should sicken and die, and he be powerless to prevent it.
He shall live; but as I stand here talking to you, I have the power and
will obliterate the memory of every other man from your mind. Pardon me
for so noisy a laugh, but the thought came to me quickly: 'William
Huskins, you have devoted the best years of your life to science and won
the distinction of being the most powerful demonstrator of mesmeric
influence living: now the sole use you find for it is to vanquish the
remembrance of past lovers from a fickle woman's mind, that you may
enjoy her embraces.' Ludicrous enough to make anyone laugh, isn't it?"

"You are talking enigmas. I have and have had no lovers. Your coarse
suggestions are an insult to my womanhood and motherhood. I am truly
sorry for any man who depends upon you for his life; he had better
die--"

"Beware how you try me. You have no idea of the power I possess. Pshaw!
You are doubtless tired of him, and would feel better if he were dead. I
will that he shall not die. He shall live. Possibly your memory can be
refreshed sufficiently to recall the fact that you requested me,--your
husband,--to carry him your favorite flowers, which oppressed you at the
time."

"I shall answer but one assertion you have made--"

"Mamma, come,--I want you to hear something."

"Yes, Augustus, I will be there directly. You said you were my husband;
you are not."

"It would not astonish me much if you told me that I was the second man
who had passed through the marriage ceremony with you."

"You are the only man who has ever entered my life. It is not necessary
for you to wear that sneering and sarcastic smile. I ought to know the
symptoms of your unreasonable jealousy by this time. Once it hurt me;
now I defy you. I am a mother, but I was never a wife. That is the
reason I said that Augustus was not your son. When I told him his father
was dead, I told him the truth. His father was the man whom I idolized
as men worship gods. Keep away. Do not touch me. That man was not the
William Huskins the world knows. He was what I thought you were.

"Your ardor worked upon my ignorant mind, until it created there an
image of a man whose only existence was in my heart, while you, who
passed for him, was in reality his exact opposite. Now you understand
why I say that I am a mother but no wife, for I believe, from the depths
of my soul, that marriage only exists where there is mutual love between
man and woman. I meant well, but--"

"Clarissa, I am going to forget every word you have just said, and
trust you in spite of all the dark appearances; remembering only what
you have said of your love for me before we were married--"

"I never loved nor married you; it was only the image of a man that I
had in my mind. Never for one moment in all your life, have you known
what it was to love me, and we were, therefore, never married. My child
is illegitimate. As this fact has come clearer to me, I have striven to
the best of my ability to bring as much happiness into his life as lay
in my power.

"The Bible says 'What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.'
I believe that God is love. You never loved me, and I loved only the
image of a man who had no real existence. Not you, William Huskins.
There was no love in our union, and God never sanctioned it; it was not
a real marriage."

"You do me a great injustice, Clarissa, when you say I never loved you.
How can you say so, when the memory of the past is in your mind? If I
lacked in loving demonstration, it was because of ignorance how to
express myself. You have seen a side of my nature no one else knows to
exist. Surely I proved myself a loving slave while you stayed with me.
In your greatest anger, you must admit I was ever beside you, never
bestowing even a passing thought upon any other woman. Your pleasure
and presence made up for me the sum of life's happiness, and words can
never express the black desolation of my heart since you left me."

"Love! What do you know of love! Let me tell you how you have loved me.
You were affectionate, happy and kind just so long as we were alone; let
me pet an animal, speak to a man or even a woman, with the most common
courtesy, and that kindness was replaced by a demon of jealousy that
would listen to no reason, but reviled me without--"

"Clarissa, I know I was hasty, possibly cruel; I did not mean to be so.
It was my great love for you that made me jealous. I will admit it was
torture for me to see you engrossed with any one, but surely there must
be some excuse for me when you think it was love that made me so. I do
not pretend I am blameless. I know jealousy changed me from a sane man
to a mad one, but I swear to you, give me your love again, and you shall
nevermore witness such scenes, for, should I feel the demon's influence
coming to me again, I will go away from your presence and only return
when I can bring you as much happiness as you give me, when you yield
yourself to--"

"That is just it, William,--so long as I yield, so long as I amuse you
and gratify your wishes, you are happy, and accept those signs as the
offerings of love. Stand where you are till I finish,--your idea is that
a woman's love is only expressed by a blind obedience to her husband.

"What is man, that he expects from a woman that which he will not give
in return? You believe now just as you have in the past; that is,--if I
loved you, I would see, think, feel and act according to your ideas of
how a woman should, consigning to your guardianship and care my
conscience and opinions, even as I would my body. You have no right to
expect from me anything that you would not do yourself. I learned what
love was when I became a mother. Do you think my love for Augustus
demands his giving up all his desires and expectations? No;--my love for
him is so strong I would endure with a smile and never a moan, if I knew
that my suffering would purchase his happiness. I do not want him to
see, feel and think as I do; I want him to have perfect freedom of
choice. I do and always will find my greatest happiness in witnessing
his joy."

"A mother's love is different from a husband's."

"So I have found them. Since Augustus was first placed in my arms, I
have known but one thought, one desire;--that was to please him. It is
for him I always sing; never for the public. I always feel he will be
proud to think, in after life, his mother was a gifted and talented
woman."

"Are you not a little selfish yourself, when you have left me sad and
lonely all these years since you have had our boy?"

As he said this, there resounded a peal of boyish laughter, ringing
clear and distinct. William hesitated, then resumed: "I make no
pretentions to goodness, but there are a few facts I have a right to
state. When you left my home, every ray of brightness faded out of my
life. I doubted everybody and everything;--I was proud--too proud to
want anyone's pity or sympathy, so I sought to hide my suffering beneath
a mask of indifference and coldness. What I suffered, no one but myself
will ever know. It has made an old man out of a young one;--it has so
completely crushed my pride I am willing now to sue for a second place
in your affections, when the first is filled by my son. It is impossible
for me to go back to my lonely home and endure what I have. If I have
been cruel, harsh and unjust to you whom I love better than my life, I
ask to be forgiven, and promise that, coming to me again, you shall be
the guiding influence of our home. Give me one chance to show the depth
and earnestness of my love. Few men have given women the fidelity I have
shown you. That ought to be a factor in my favor."

"William, I believe you have been true to me. I have heard you called a
woman-hater everywhere, but why have you been? You have not seen another
woman who happened to please you as I did. It was no sacrifice upon your
part, as you were not strongly attracted to them. I believe I am just
and honest with you when I say the feeling you held for me, and which
you called love, was only a physical attraction, and that was the cause
of your suffering so from jealousy. Do not interrupt me--I know that you
do not believe it, but I do, and with good reason."

"I must have been a most cruel husband indeed."

"No, William, I know you have not meant to be, and I am willing to
acknowledge I, too, have made many mistakes; we have both been at fault,
but you might at least have come and asked me to stay in your home, when
you knew my delicate condition."

"Clarissa! As there is a good Judge in the Infinite, I did not know it."

"You did know it, for I told you so myself, during that last quarrel."

"I will not dispute your words, that would be useless, but will admit
much of that interview is a blank in my memory. You know, as well as I,
when jealousy or rage controlled me I was not always responsible for
what I might do or say. If I were to be weighed in the balance of
Infinite Justice, however, I should firmly declare that, had I known
your condition, I should have humbled my pride and sought your presence,
shielding you from your pain and suffering so far as lay in my power."

"You are the cause of Augustus' infirmity, and every time I see him
looking longingly at other boys who can run and walk and play, how do
you suppose I feel?"

"How can I be blamed for that, Clarissa? Surely, I injured you in no
way."

"You never struck me with your hands, but you struck my heart; pride,
fears, disappointment, anguish of mind, and, yes, I may as well admit
it, lonesomeness produced such an effect upon me that, for a while, I
was unable to walk; my body would tremble and shake so that I could not
support myself.

"When my boy,--my idol came, he was physically perfect. How proud I was
of him; but when the time came all other children walk, mine could not
stand alone! He was called upon to pay the penalty of our sins. My love
for him increased when I knew I was the cause of his affliction; I could
not help feeling bitter and angry toward you, for without your senseless
and unreasonable jealousy, our boy might have been like others, only
brighter, for every one admits that he is unusually talented."

"If I could take his infirmity from him, I would gladly do so, but I
cannot. Every reparation man can make, however, I will make, if you will
give me a chance. You have been in my home. Won't you and Augustus come
there to live? I promise upon my honor to be guided by your judgment and
wishes. You will not believe me till you test it, but I know my love is
strong enough to bear any test. You think a mother's love is purest, but
that love which a good man offers the woman he wants to make his life
complete, cannot be exceeded by any sentiment possible to souls of
earth.

"Show me a test of endurance you would undergo for Augustus;--I will
double it for you without a murmur. Will you not give me one trial,
Clarissa? Come--how you tremble! I must go and leave you--kiss me before
I go. I will go ahead, for Merle is very ill and needs me. I will either
come back for you, or you and Augustus may come on with James. Nancy
will have everything in readiness. We will begin anew. Which will you
do?"

"We will come with James, William."

"When?"

"Just as soon as we can get ready."

"I cannot realize you are really coming to me again, Clarissa;--I fear
I will awake and find it is only a dream, as I have so many times
before. Look me straight in the eye, and swear you will come.--I believe
it now. I will not disturb James and Augustus. He was frightened and
thought you were dead. Thinking I had killed you, he disliked me, but
you will influence him to love me. Won't you write me while you have to
stay here? I will leave a check at my apartments for all you will need.
James will fetch it to you. Think of me sometimes, even though I am
unworthy."

When he left Clarissa, William walked quickly from the house, and sought
his own apartments, preparatory to going to Merle, who, as the telegrams
stated, was seriously ill.



CHAPTER TWELVE


Happiness is a great beautifier and youth imparting power, and when
William reached home, he looked so different even the servants noticed
the change. He made only a short stop at his home, and sending for
Nancy, without any explanations broke the tidings that James was shortly
to come, bringing Clarissa and her son with him; she must, therefore,
have everything in readiness that was best in his home.

Leaving her flustrated and nervous, he hurried to Merle's home, where
Mrs. Millard greeted him with visible joy and said, "We are so happy to
see you again, Professor,--Merle is much better; we have thought several
times he was dying. He seemed to start to improve quite suddenly, and
now he is looking almost his natural self. So much so, I am afraid you
will think we have intruded needlessly."

"Not at all. Not at all, Mrs. Millard. I am only too glad to know he is
improved. How are Alice and yourself? I see you look particularly
fatigued."

"That is from so much anxiety about Merle. Alice is the same."

"I will go and see Merle, then I will treat Alice. When they are both
better, you will feel better.--Well, Merle, I am sorry to see you here
so ill, but am glad indeed to learn you are getting better. You look
better than I expected to see you. My thoughts must have reached you
soon after I received the news of your sickness."

"You do not know how glad I am to see you. I was sure it was your power
that gave me strength again. I was feeling so despondent and weak and
discouraged. I would be ashamed to acknowledge how badly off I was,
when, all of a sudden, there passed over me a wave of courage,
cheerfulness and hope, and from that moment, I began to gain steadily.
Now life looks bright and cheery, and I believe I shall soon be in
condition for you to finish our experiments, if you wish to do so."

"Do not worry about them, Merle."

"You have been so kind to me, I dislike to feel I am the cause of any
disappointment to you. Is it because you have been away, or is it the
fancy born of a sick brain, for really you seem to have changed since I
saw you. You look younger and happier and more powerful."

"I think you must be turning flatterer. I have a surprise for you when
you are a little stronger. My silent and absent treatments are taking
good effect. I will not put you to sleep this time. I am a little
hurried, so I will go to Alice, then I must hasten home, as I have some
business there, and I will come in and see you again before I go to
sleep."

"Professor, your eyes are fairly dazzling they are so bright. You must
be happy, for I feel a desire to laugh or sing."

"I am happy, and I want everyone to participate in my joy. You must make
haste and get well, so your family will all be in condition and position
to celebrate my happiness. It will be an occasion that does not require
the services of nurses."

"I will gain just as rapidly as I can. I am so glad you are happy, and
hope you will always be as happy as you are now."

"Thanks, Merle, for your good wishes. Au revoir. Mrs. Millard, where
shall I find Alice? Oh, here she is now."

"Yes, Professor, and we are so glad you have come back. How well you
look! Does he not, mother?"

"Yes indeed, sir, you do."

"I am glad to know you think so. Alice, as Merle is not in a condition
to be used, and there are some things I am anxious to know about, would
you mind my putting you into the trance state? I will not keep you
long."

"I would be glad to do it for you. Shall we go into the parlor, or do
you prefer that I remain here?"

"We will stay here, and Mrs. Millard will go and sit with Merle."

Mrs. Millard went out, and William immediately placed Alice in a trance.

"Alice, are you waking?"

"Yes."

"Can you tell me what my wife is doing?"

"I did not know you had a wife."

"Find her. Tell me what she is doing. What is she thinking?" There was a
long pause. "Alice, can you find her?"

"Yes. But I do not want to tell you what she is thinking."

"Why not?"

"It would make you unhappy."

"Does she love me, Alice? Do not hesitate to tell me the truth. I want
it, and demand it. I am no coward."

"She loves you dearly."

"Then why do you hesitate to tell me what she is thinking?"

"Because you could not understand her feelings."

"Why not?"

"You cannot place yourself in her position. She is trying to discover
which she loves better, and Oh, I see so much misery. I want to wring my
hands. Please take it away."

"No, Alice, tell me exactly what she is thinking. You must and shall.
Who stands between her and me?"

"A boy."

"Thank God! Now, Alice, you have been a truthful subject,--I know you
love me and wish me well; help me pass this crisis in my life creditably
and right, for I begin to suspect my own powers of penetration and
wisdom."

"That means you are growing in knowledge. Only ignorant persons place
implicit confidence in their opinions. You are a grand man, but all
finite beings are fallible. This woman is an equally grand and noble
woman, but her thoughts are obscured by doubt at this time. She wants to
do just what is right, she is afraid to trust her own desires."

"Desires for what? Be very careful in answering, as the happiness of
several lives may depend upon your answer."

"She loves you, and wants to come to you, but the boy does not. She is
afraid her desire to be with you is a selfish one. She would do for him
what she would not do for herself; unless you use force, he will defeat
you--"

"How can he? She has promised to come to me."

"She wants to, but she feels in some way indebted to him, anyway, I know
she is struggling between the two influences, and if you do not go to
her quick,--right off--she will go away with him, a long way,--where he
wants to go, and you will be unable to reach her for a long time. Hurry,
for she does not want to go; she is crying, but he will make her go if
you do not go right off. She is afraid of him."

"But, Alice,--she promised to come here."

"And he insists on going there."

"You are sure, Alice, it is a boy who comes between us?"

"Yes."

"Whose boy is it?"

"Her boy,--and if you do not hurry, they will go on the boat. Go to her.
She is ill and suffering."

"If she is ill and suffering, she knows where to send for me."

"She dare not."

"Why? She knows I love her."

"No, she does not know it."

"I say she does."

"But she does not. Oh, hurry! Please go to her."

"I will not go a step. She promised to come to me. If she does not care
to do so, I shall never urge her more."

"She does want to come, but the boy does not."

"Then let her choose between us."

"No. Go to her. Heed my warning. Go at once. You will arrive in time to
save suffering to many. The boy is selfish. He is influencing her to do
what she does not want to do. If you go to her, she will mind you."

"I do not want her to come to me if she is forced to do so."

"She loves you. She is sick. Go to her, and you will never be sorry.
Merle is going to be ill again, but do not stay here, for it is your
suffering that affects him, and makes him so. You have magnetized him so
often, and he is so strongly charged with your magnetism, that whatever
affects you, influences him and affects him physically. You will come
out all right if you will only heed my warning, and go to her. Remember
I told you you were going through a cloud, and I would guide you. You
must follow my advice, otherwise I cannot guide you. Go as quickly as
you can. She needs you. If you love her, you will put away pride, and go
to her."

"Why should I do all the seeking? I have given her proof enough of my
love. If she does not want to come to me, and prefers his love to mine,
I shall not interfere."

"You shall. You must. She wants to be with you, but she feels it is
selfish upon her part to wish to. The boy is selfish, and you will both
be miserable. Do not be harsh with her. Show your love. Make her see it
is not selfishness to wish to be with you, and that it would cause both
herself and you so much suffering to gratify the boy. You need each
other, and the boy needs discipline."

"Alice, are you sure she wants to be with me?"

"Yes, I am sure. Will you not go to her now,--right away? She is
sick,--heart-sick as well as physically."

"Yes; I will go. If I find conditions as you say, you have earned my
lasting gratitude;--I do not know what to think, what to believe, what
to do. You have always been truthful, so was Merle for ten years, then
he told me untruths; perhaps you are doing the same. If I find you have
deceived me, it will be another of life's lessons well learned. I have
always advocated truth could always be obtained from an entranced
subject, if their minds were left totally unbiased by the operator's
will. I can never again teach that, nor place implicit confidence in any
assertions I may receive. My book I have put the work of years into is
practically valueless, for all I shall now give to the public will be
what Merle gives me, eradicating all my own views upon the subject."

"Why do you not go to your wife instead of staying here? I do not
believe you love her after all."

"Alice! Silence."

"You are making her suffer. You want to spare anyone you love from
suffering."

"There is no logic nor reason in your utterances. I seem to have struck
a cross tide, that brings me no good. Wake up, Alice."

"Promise you will go to her right away."

"Yes, I will go. Probably I shall find I have been duped, but I will go,
for I am weak enough to want to see her before me all the time. Wake
up.--Wake up.--There, you are yourself again. I think it would do you
and Merle good to go out in the air and sunshine. I will send a carriage
for you. Your mother can go with you, too.--Mrs. Millard,--

"Mrs. Millard, I have been telling Alice I think a ride in the air and
sunshine would be beneficial to both her and Merle. You had better go
with them, and see they do not over-exert themselves. On your way home,
call at my house for a luncheon and a bouquet of flowers. I will send a
carriage for you and notify Mrs. C---- to have the food and flowers
ready when you call. I am going away again for a very short time. If you
need me, send for me."

"What a good man you are, Professor Huskins,--always trying to make
others happy. The good God above ought to shower happiness upon you. We
shall miss you while you are away, but we always say, we hope you are
enjoying yourself. We can never even hope to repay your goodness to us,
but a mother's prayers ever follow you, because of the good you have
done me and mine."

"There, Mrs. Millard, you praise me beyond my deserts. I must go now. I
am glad to find Merle so much improved. Enjoy yourselves as much as
possible, and you will soon find me back with you. Do not hesitate to
send for me if I am needed. I will not speak to Merle before I go."



CHAPTER THIRTEEN


When William reached his wife's apartments, Dinah let him in as she had
upon his previous visit. Her face seemed to beam with happiness. He put
his finger to his lips, and, divining his wish to surprise Clarissa, she
said nothing, but pointed to a door beyond and, smiling, nodded and
disappeared.

Leaving his outer garments in the hall, he quickly traversed the
distance between him and the door, and without pausing to be announced,
opened and entered Clarissa's private room. She lay prostrate upon the
bed, crying and moaning piteously, and as she had not heard him enter,
was only aware of his presence when she felt his arms about her and saw
his face as he bent over her.

It seemed like a pleasant dream to feel his lips upon her own,--his arms
encircling her, and for a moment, she gave herself unrestrainedly to the
happiness she felt. Her perfect abandonment to his embrace was the
strongest proof William had ever had of her love for him.

Her greeting left no room for him to doubt her sincerity, and for a
while both were oblivious to time and their surroundings. Clarissa was
first to speak.

"Did you come in answer to my prayer?"

"I hope so. Tell me what it was, dear."

"I prayed I might be guided to do what was right, and not be influenced
by any selfish motive to gain my own happiness. I do not wish to be
selfish."

"Clarissa, let your heart speak, for our future happiness depends upon
your answer. Is my love and presence capable of bringing you any joy? Am
I ever necessary to you?"

"Always, William--always. I was never truly happy when you were absent.
Even when Augustus came, I wanted you to share my joy. I have been so
lonely and miserable. You will not leave me again, will you? I am
sick;--a weak and feeble woman."

"I never left you, Clarissa; you know that. You left me. I have been
thinking it over. I do not doubt my love was often obtrusive and
selfish, but I never meant it to be so. Let me now give you the benefit
of my riper judgment. All I ask is to see you and to know you are
present in my home, which has been so desolate without you. I promise
you, I will not obtrude myself upon you unless you ask me to do so. I
was selfish, but you know it was only my jealousy that got the better of
me. When such tempests come, I have not the power to resist; do not heed
my looks nor words, for they are not true to the real man, but come to
me, and place your arms around me as you have them now. The touch will
restore to me my lost senses. I do not doubt your honesty, Clarissa, but
at times, there sweeps over my soul such a wave of power I cannot resist
it, depriving me even of my reason. If any man were to come to me and
even hint that I should doubt you, I should resent it as a gross insult.
I do trust you, still, I do not. You cannot understand me; I do not
really understand myself. Just have patience. Help me to overcome this
monster. Really, I only doubt my power to please and satisfy you, and I
wish to be dearer to you than all else in life. Will you not help me to
conquer this Demon who rules and governs me, and renders me insane for
the time? The touch of your arms and lips will always dispel him if you
will but have patience with me. Try to realize how I love you. Tell me,
dearest, why were you sobbing when I came?"

"I am afraid to."

"If you have one spark of love for me in your soul, never think--much
less say that you are afraid to tell me anything. Whatever is to be
told, tell me, and let us work out the problem together. I have thought
over carefully all you said to me in our last interview, and acknowledge
I have often been selfish and exacting, still you were wrong, for God is
love, and love has the power to sanction the union of the sexes. My
soul was wedded to yours; we were married in the highest sense of the
word. I may have made exorbitant demands upon you and your patience
then, but, Clarissa, your love will give you patience to restrain my
selfishness, and hold me where I ought to be. Whatever I say,--whatever
I do, only come and put your arms around me as they are now, and you
will find, instead of a dictator, you will have a slave."

"I believe you, William. The assurance of your love makes me the
happiest woman upon earth, but what am I to do with Augustus? I cannot
help feeling I am responsible for his infirmity; therefore, I ought
gladly and willingly to sacrifice every desire of my heart to be with
him, doing what he wants me to do. I do not want to be selfish, William,
am I not so when I find my only happiness in your presence and your
love?"

"No, dear; love--real love--cannot be selfish."

"You ask me one thing, he asks me another totally different. Each says
if I love him, I will do as he wishes; I love you both, and I want to go
to your home, William, I am tired of struggling alone. I want your care
and love, but Augustus wants to go elsewhere, and thinks if I do not do
as he wishes I do not love him. When I see his helplessness, I feel
that I am to blame for it, and ought to do whatever he asks me. I cannot
please you both. I cannot do what both want. I love you both far dearer
than myself; what shall I do? Can you not help me, William? Am I selfish
when I long to put my trust in you,--to have you think for me? Tell me
what to do. I want to do for Augustus all that a mother could do, but my
soul hungers for you and your love."

"Clarissa, how can the love of man and wife be selfish? Augustus is our
child--I would gladly offer my life for him, but he can never be to me
what you are; I may be wrong, but it seems to me the love of husband and
wife is the strongest that can be expressed. Can a child's love for its
mother outbalance her husband's? Not if she loves her husband. As I
understand the Infinite law, man and woman blend their loves to make a
complete whole, while a child leaves its parents to unite itself with
its opposite. A mother's love may be strong and powerful, but I believe
the true love of husband or wife outweighs in power that of a mother, or
even of a child. Tell me truly;--which love satisfies you better--a
child's or a husband's?"

"Do not ask me, William, for I am so weak a woman, that my soul cries
out for your love and appreciation, and will not be stilled, although I
know my boy ought to engross every sentiment of my life."

"Why should he engross your whole attention any more than other
children? Are they the sole thought of their mothers? Is it not selfish
for him to make us both miserable simply because he took a dislike to me
for putting you to sleep? He was frightened. I was to blame for
announcing myself as his father with no preparation. He liked me at
first, and will again. We will make it the study of our lives to make
him happy. Where does he want to go?"

"To Australia."

"Australia?"

"Yes, William. How did you happen to come back just now, when you
expected us to come to you? I was just going to write you that you need
not expect us, and by the time you would have received my letter, we
should have left here. That was why I was crying. Augustus would have
made himself ill if I had not promised him he should go.--Now he has
gone out, happy; James is with him. He loves James. How did you happen
to come now? Is the young man better? James has told me all about his
family, and how you have lived since I went away."

"Merle was much better when I got there. I wanted so much to hear from
you, and how you were getting on, I asked Alice if I might entrance
her; she told me to leave at once and hurry back to you, for you were
thinking of going away where I could not reach you for a long time. I
left at once, and here I am, for I do not intend you shall leave me
again if I can help it."

"Tell me; how could she know I intended going? I do not understand much
of your power."

"I cannot explain it to you now. When we have more time, I will teach
you the science. There is Augustus. His voice sounds happy. What makes
you tremble so? Surely, you are not afraid of your child! I will deal
with him."

"No! No! You must not. It would make him so nervous he would be ill. We
have to be very careful not to allow him to become excited. We have
tried to spare him suffering in every way since he was a baby."

"You do not think I intend to be cross with him, do you?"

"No; but when he makes up his mind to do a thing, you cannot refuse him,
he gets so nervous. William, could not you go to Australia for a
journey? You have nothing to keep you here, and that would pacify
him,--to know you were willing to please him. I am sure we could soon
reconcile him to your going."

"Clarissa, I am surprised that you who were so fearless with me, so
impatient of dictation, should be governed by a mere child. Your own
boy! If I thought you, or he, either, really needed the change, or that
it would do you good, I would gladly go, no matter what I left behind,
for it shall be the object of my life to make you both happy.--As it is,
this is but a childish whim, and you will both be much more comfortable
in my home. You need rest and quiet. Do not look so pained and sad. I
will manage the boy easily, and promise that he shall not be ill."

"You do not know him, William, but I will promise him a pony that he can
drive himself. That may please him. He wants one--"

"You never tried so hard to please me.--There;--that was unkind--I will
take it back. Now let me make you sleep a while. You will wake rested
and calm. Do not resist. I will not make Augustus ill. Sleep. Sleep and
gain strength.--Now for Augustus. No wonder Alice said he needed
discipline. I shall need all my power to rule my home."

Having arranged her comfortably, William left the apartment, and
following the sound of voices, entered without announcing himself,
speaking pleasantly to Augustus and James and Dinah. James was delighted
to see him, but Augustus' face darkened at once. He did not offer to
return his father's greeting, but said quickly to Dinah, "Where is
mamma? I want to see her."

He started to leave the room, but William stood in his way, looking him
steadily in the eyes with a calm, quiet gaze.

"Get out of my way, or I will hurt you. I am going to see my mother. She
will send you away."

"Your mother is tired and sleeping. You do not want to disturb her. Have
you no welcome for me?"

"I hate you. I will not stay where you are. I will wake mamma. She will
make you leave. I will run my chair against you if you do not move. I
tell you I want to go to my mother. James, push him away."

"Honey, do not get nervous and sick; if you do, you can not go away."

"James, I tell you to make him move out of my way, or he will wish he
had."

Dinah went to the boy and tried to smooth his hair and pacify him. He
only pushed her away, glaring all the time with the might of his will at
his father. He was becoming very much excited. William had expected an
unpleasant scene, but not quite such as this. If it continued long, the
boy would make himself ill. What an indomitable will he had! He was
fairly choking with rage and anger.

"Dinah and James, you may retire. Leave us alone."

"They shall not go. They belong to mother. You have no right to tell
them what to do. You had better go yourself. Move out of my way, or I
will hurt you."

"James--Dinah,--leave us. I do not wish to speak to you again."

The tone of William's voice left no room for doubt he meant what he
said, and they closed the door behind them without a word. As they did
so, Augustus pushed his chair forward; William's face was white. He
stood with folded arms, right in the path, his eyes gleaming
brilliantly. They were stubborn wills that conflicted, but William's had
all the advantage, as he knew how to direct his thoughts clearly, while
Augustus was spending his wildly.

Just as the chair reached him, William put out his hand and stopped it
right in front of him. That he should be stopped so enraged Augustus,
who had always been accustomed to seeing everyone bow to his wishes,
that, raising himself to his feet, and supporting himself with one hand,
he struck William with all the force of his strength. William seized the
wrist with one hand and holding it firmly, with the other he forced the
boy back into his chair. Augustus was trembling in every limb. The
unconquered force of will was shining in his eyes, but his body was too
frail and weak to support it. He struggled to speak several times before
he could articulate.

"Let me go. I will be sick and frighten mamma so she will send you
away. Mamma! Dinah! James! Let me go, I say. If I were a man, I would be
ashamed to hold a sick boy. Mamma!"

"I am not holding a sick boy, but a cross one. Do not call your mother
or anyone else again. They will not come to you."

"What are you going to do, kill me? Mamma--mamma!"

"Do not dare to call her again. When you and I have finished, we will
both go to her. Stop. Stop struggling. You are powerless to get away.
Calm yourself and listen to me."

"I will not be calm. I shall be sick, and mamma will wish she had
listened to me. She is always scared--"

"You are not going to be ill."

"I will. I am sick. I feel my heart beating fast; that always means I am
going to be awful sick. Why are you looking at me that way? You are
hurting my wrist. I cannot breathe, I am--"

"You are feeling well. See, you are not trembling so much; Augustus,
look at me. There, there,--you cannot get away, so you may as well obey
me. Be a good boy and we will go to your mother. Let us tell her we are
friends. I know you are tired;--I will carry you."

"What will you give me if I won't be sick?"

"I shall not allow you to be ill. Come; you are exhausted. I will carry
you in my arms to your mother. You may rest beside her when you have
told me you are sorry for your behavior, and are ready to come home with
me."

"I shall never say I am sorry. We are not going home with you."

"You shall sit right where you are until you do say so."

Suddenly Augustus burst forth into a perfect tempest of crying. He shook
from head to foot, and every little while he called "Mamma--Dinah!"
William stood beside him, offering no remarks or assistance, but when
the fury had spent itself he said quietly, "It is useless for you to try
to frighten me. We will stay right here until you do what I say."

"Mamma will come soon. She will hate you for making me sick."

William said no more, but his face showed, even to the boy, he had no
intention of changing his mind, and they continued to look at one
another. Augustus was weak and exhausted, but he would not give in and
say he was sorry. As time slipped by, his head began to droop; the
excitement was too much for him. He was used to winning his battles
quickly, and this was a new experience for him. Seeing he was tired,
William spoke again.

"Shall I take you to your mother now?"

"Yes."

"Then say you are sorry and will go home with me."

"I will not. I will never say it."

There was another long wait. Augustus' eyes drooped heavily. At last he
gave his head a toss and said: "If you cure mamma, I will go home with
you. Then I may be sorry I struck you."

William could not help smiling at this answer. It was hard to give in,
and the boy wanted to get away. This was the best compromise he could
think of, but, having started to conquer him, William felt it his duty
to finish, as it would save that much trouble later.

"That is not what I asked you to say."

There was another silence. William pitied the boy, he was so tired and
weak. After a time Augustus said: "I am sorry you made it necessary for
me to strike you." As he looked in his father's face, he saw no signs of
relenting. This time the pause was longer. Finally he looked up with a
pitiful expression and held out his hands, saying: "Please take me to
mamma. I will tell her I have been naughty and cross."

William lifted him easily; as he laid his head against his shoulder,
Augustus clasped his neck and nestled down, wan and tired. That was the
hardest task he had ever done. He was thoroughly conquered, and looked
up with a pleasant smile when he felt his father's kiss upon his face,
and was soon lying by his mother's side fast asleep.

William was content to watch them, and as he sat there, he thought what
a blessing Alice's advice had been to him. He had his family back now.
Could he keep them? If love would hold them he would. He was tired
himself, but he must go and consult with James and Dinah. So he left
them together and went out to perfect his plans for their future
happiness.



CHAPTER FOURTEEN


It was not long before William had his family domesticated in his home.
For a while it required most of his time and attention to restore them
and Merle to even seemingly well conditions. By the time one was better
another would fail, yet this was the happiest period so far in his life,
and his contented mind showed forth in his every expression and act. Not
that every condition was precisely what he desired, for there were often
conflicts between stubborn wills, but he had been disciplined in the
stern, hard, rigid school of experience.

The loneliness he had endured in the beautiful home that was the envy of
so many, will never be known to any save himself. His wife can never
realize it, for she has had her child to occupy her attention. His was a
nature hard to understand, as he possessed a pride so deep and strong it
was easier for him to endure suffering than to accept pity or sympathy.

The darkest season of his life had been lived alone. In early youth he
had been left an orphan, inheriting vast riches. His remembrances of his
parents were very vague, and he had neither agreed with nor respected
his guardian. He had been practically unrestricted and developed an
imperious, haughty temperament, expecting his words and wishes to always
command obedience and attention because they always had.

When he met Clarissa, she embodied, to his mind, just the qualities with
which he had endowed his ideal of woman. She was beautiful in person,
gracious and graceful in deportment, cultured, refined, and gifted with
a glorious voice that cultivation had rendered little less than
marvellous in power and richness. He immediately gave her all the love
that was in his hitherto unexpressed nature, and cherished only one
thought--to call her his.

The force and power of his intense nature was great. From his earliest
recollections he had been accustomed to obtain everything he had
desired, and this fact lent extra power to his purpose to win this woman
for his wife.

Never having learned to curb his desires, nor to experience failure, his
thoughts went forth ardent and strong, with never a doubt he should win
her, and his thoughts were therefore charged with unusually strong
magnetism. His wooing was short and ardent, for his imperious nature was
unwilling to await patiently what he might desire, and his world of
happiness was encompassed within the radius of her presence and
affection. He was impatient of any intrusion upon their privacy, and
being accustomed to consider his word and wishes as law, he had
believed a husband was master and arbiter of his wife's fate and life,
and became furiously jealous, exacting and unreasonable.

Some women would have yielded submissively to the demands he made upon
her, but Clarissa had herself been nurtured and developed under a regime
of independence similar to his own, and likewise thought her wishes
should always be consulted. Her beauty and talent had brought her
admiration, flattery and homage, and it was impossible that she should
be content or satisfied with one person's favor.

She was proud of her husband, loving him beyond all else on earth, but
she had ever been used to command--not to obey. Dictation brought forth
all the resistance and ire of her nature, and she would not yield. She
loved to be noticed, flattered and praised, and William's extreme
jealousy was therefore a tax upon her patience. Neither would change to
suit the methods of the other, for each thought the other wrong.

Finally there came a climax, unusually severe. Clarissa, thinking
herself greatly injured, left him, and taking Dinah, who had been her
nurse in childhood, returned to her father. James and Nancy had also
been servants in her father's house, following her when she married,
and went into her new home. James' sympathy, however, was with his young
master, whom he idolized, and he remained with him, trusting in a speedy
reunion, but William and Clarissa were too proud to seek each other's
forgiveness. Each believed the other to be entirely at fault.

William never had known he was a father, believing she had left him
because she preferred a man whom he bitterly hated, therefore never
sought to trace or find her. That people should not think he was weak
enough to suffer through a fickle woman, he immediately left the place,
and sought a new home, where he devoted all his time, wealth and energy
to the study of mesmeric influence, the efficacy of which he had heard
much. His pride continually said to him--"She has left you of her own
choice.--She has disgraced you.--You must never admit you suffer."

When angry, he was actually irresponsible for many of the things he did,
and the words he uttered. To so impetuous a nature, no other feeling
could be so strong as jealousy, which seemed to render him temporarily
insane.

In the very vortex of his passion, Clarissa told him she was about to
become a mother. Under any other conditions, how happy such a revelation
would have made him! Under such as those in which she had imparted the
information, however, she might as well have gone to a person incapable
of understanding as to expect him to remember what she said after they
had ceased their quarrel.

Of course, she believed he remembered what she had told him, and because
it did not soften his anger, making him loving and tender to her, she
rushed to the conclusion he did not want to acknowledge the child as his
own. Such injustice angered and irritated her, and she had returned to
her father, telling him her side of the story. Her father, having always
indulged her every whim, felt William was unjust, so made no effort to
reconcile the conditions. While Augustus was very young, he passed away,
leaving them alone, with plenty of money to care for themselves. Thus
both she and William suffered, never learning, even in the severe school
of life, to curb the haste of their uncontrolled natures.

There could be no better illustration of their attitude toward one
another than that of two positive chemicals, which the chemist of love
was trying to assimilate and compound into united action. Being equally
positive, they held one another at bay, or at least, at such a distance
as to preserve their individualities from the influence of the other,
consequently were never drawn into concerted action as the object of
each seemed to be to enhance his or her individuality.

Neither being wholly right or wholly wrong, both did as well as they
understood, and the stern discipline of suffering was needed to refine
their souls and bring into prominence their real value and worth.

In like manner as a diamond when taken from the ground contains within
itself all the beauty and excellence it can be made to show, they were
obliged to pass through the tests of true love, which declare its real
worth, and bring forth such proofs of its superiority over mere physical
attraction, as the passage of the diamond through the fierce tests of
heat and fire, which proclaim its value beyond that of the ingenious and
skillful imitations, for while they become disintegrated and their
beauties are destroyed, the real gems only gleam the brighter because of
the severity of the test. Like the diamond, the jewel of true love must
always possess the ability to rise superior to those conditions which
quench and destroy the flame of physical attraction often masquerading
under the guise of love. The stronger and purer the love, the greater
and more severe the tests it can withstand.

Both William and Clarissa had suffered much; instead, however, of
estranging their souls, or, as many would say, their hearts, it only
served to draw them nearer together, though they were physically far
apart. No other woman could satisfy William's ideals, and no other man
could fill William's place in Clarissa's affections, although they were
unable to agree or satisfy one another, neither would acknowledge any
wrong, so while each longed for the other's love and confidence, neither
would make advances toward a reconciliation.

The fires of the furnace of suffering had destroyed much dross in both
their natures, while the real jewel of their loves gleamed brighter and
brighter as time passed.

Augustus passed his embryotic development and birth under such
conditions, while his mother was suffering and smarting from the wounds
of supposedly unappreciated love. Clarissa tried to the best of her
knowledge to fill the place of both mother and father to him, going to
the opposite extreme, mistaking indulgence for the expression of love.
In so doing she was quite as selfish as William, who had expected so
much from her, finding her own happiness in Augustus' pleasure,
deceiving herself into the belief she was unselfish.

Such sentiments can never be unselfish, for does not unselfishness mean
the unalloyed pleasure of giving, lovingly and generously to another,
without consulting one's own aspirations, that the happiness which they
enjoy may be for their good and betterment?



CHAPTER FIFTEEN


Less than a year has elapsed since William's reunion with his family.
Merle, Alice and Augustus are visibly stronger and healthier, but
Clarissa seemed to fluctuate between better and worse for a considerable
length of time. For quite a while after she came to William's home, she
appeared greatly improved, almost like a girl again, until after about
six months, she suddenly began to show peculiar symptoms.

Usually the soul and life of the home, all, from William to the humblest
servant looked to her for approbation, happy when she was happy, and
uneasy when she was sad. From her entrance into the home, she had
brought sunshine, not only to William's heart, but to his servants and
Merle's family as well.

Mrs. Millard and her children rejoiced in William's happiness as though
it had been their own, even more. He had been a friend in need, and they
regarded him as their adviser and guardian. Gladly would any of them
have suffered to purchase or enhance his happiness. The knowledge he had
a family was a great surprise to them. They were much pleased to learn
of his good fortune in being reunited to them, and would have found
anyone whom he had claimed as his family pleasing and agreeable,
whatever their characteristics might have been. As it was, a wife and
son, possessing as they did talents and qualities of mind that commanded
their esteem, had become, if possible, still greater objects of
veneration than the Professor himself.

Clarissa's marvellous voice charmed and fascinated them beyond
expression; to them she was more than a mere woman. Augustus' infirmity
endeared him to them; he would have been loved had he not possessed
other characteristics, but added to that, he possessed more than
ordinary beauty, also great skill in drawing and music. They vied with
one another to entertain and humor him, and this deference to his wishes
was just what he sought and enjoyed. He spent much of his time with
them, and in their home he was king. His slightest whim was law. They
were so accustomed to bound their lives by the Professor's work, that
they recounted to him such marvelous tales of his father's power and
skill, the boy had grown to think him the wisest and most powerful man
on earth.

When Augustus wanted to gain some favor or especial promise, he appealed
to his mother, whom he knew how to coerce, but no words of love or
praise she could bestow upon him filled him with such pride and genuine
satisfaction as he knew when his father expressed his approbation of
what he did. He grew to watch his father's face very closely, soon
acquiring the perception to know whether he was pleased or annoyed even
though such sensations were never expressed in words.

He possessed a very sensitive nature. The shock of seeing his mother in
a mesmeric sleep, which he had mistaken for death, was an experience he
could never forget, and while he was very proud of his father's
reputation as the strongest and most powerful mesmerist of the age, he
feared seeing anyone in that state; still, his mind was too active and
vigorous not to desire to know the principles underlying the phenomena
that terrified him, so he frequently questioned his father as to the
nature of it, although he could not be urged nor persuaded to either be
influenced himself or to see others placed in the trance state.

William was very anxious to place Augustus in a mesmeric condition,
believing that by so doing he could restore his physical vigor, and
knowing the boy's aversion to being, or seeing anyone else placed there,
he strove to control him without his knowledge. He soon found the
process did not conduce to improve the boy's health, however, as he
became exceedingly irritable and nervous, so much so indeed, that on one
occasion, when he had persisted in concentrating his thoughts upon him,
Augustus had become hysterical, and nearly gone into convulsions. He
would undoubtedly have done so had his father persisted in his resolve.

This was a condition William did not comprehend. He sought by every
method to reconcile Augustus to the idea to be mesmerized willingly,
hoping by means of the trance state to obtain some explanation of the
strange phenomenon, as the boy's personality promised him an unusual
subject if he could only subjugate his prejudice. He was the most
difficult subject he had ever encountered. This was not because he did
not possess the power to conquer his resistance either waking or
sleeping, but he disliked to evoke the conditions necessary to control
his individuality by force.

When Augustus sickened, he not only had this condition to combat, but
Clarissa and Merle's family and the servants all became agitated and
alarmed, and looked upon him as the source of relief. Thus, to control
Augustus, he was obliged to control them all. Strange to say, he could
control all far easier than he could Augustus. He tried to bribe him to
see Merle or Alice in a trance, hoping in this way to take from his
consciousness all thoughts of fear, but he was never successful.

Augustus could not separate the trance state from thought of death.
While in a stranger William would not have humored a repugnance, he,
like Clarissa, felt the boy's infirmity was due in part to his fault,
although unwittingly so, therefore thought it his duty to make all
possible excuses for him. His best judgment was never exercised toward
Augustus. Thus, when Clarissa began to show the desire to retire by
herself, the father and son naturally grew nearer and nearer to one
another, in thought and deed, while neither would acknowledge the vast
difference they noted in her actions.

Both were sensitive, we might even say, jealous, because they realized
their presence was no longer necessary to her happiness. She sought
seclusion, throwing them more and more into companionship, but both were
too proud to own the keen agony they felt, and as they realized more and
more deeply this lack of the necessity of their affections to her, a
common instinct seemed to draw them closer and closer together.

Augustus, like his father, was peculiarly sensitive and loved to be made
much of, but they both feared to intrude themselves upon her. It was not
because she loved them less, however, she sought seclusion, nor could
she have told why she wished to be alone. She only knew she desired
complete solitude, where, unmolested by anyone, she questioned and
requestioned facts she knew to be true. She was as irresponsible for
her actions as a person bereft of mind or consciousness.

Being shut so much from her presence, William came to confide more and
more in Augustus, who opened his heart toward his father in
corresponding measure, and each finding the other was not preferred more
than himself, they joined in mutual resistance.

As Clarissa drew herself further and further from her husband and her
child, she clung more closely to Mrs. Millard and Alice, and it seemed
as though she either desired to be entirely alone or in their company.
She only sang when begged to do so, and even then did not do herself
justice. Dr. Baxter and others of her husband's friends who had been
most agreeable to her at first, seemed now to only irritate her--she
could not herself tell why.

She had never loved William and Augustus more than now, still they
caused her much irritation, and although she meant to be patient and
loving, she was the exact opposite, and the more congenial and pleasant
and agreeable she endeavored to be, the more her strength deserted her.
She was an enigma to herself as well as to her family. Had anyone told
her she could ever be wearied or exhausted by Augustus she would a short
time before have resented it, now she found his very voice and presence
often vexing.

She fought with herself valiantly, and William watched, sad and
distressed as her infirmity gained upon her. It was a condition that,
with all his skill, he could not meet. He worked patiently and lovingly,
picturing her in his mind to represent health, vigor, cheerfulness and
happiness, but the harder he worked, the greater became the ravages of
nervousness upon her. He had tried mesmeric sleep, but despite his
confident thoughts she would wake with calmness, peace and contentment,
he could clearly see before she vented her feelings in words that she
awoke nervous and irritable, and shrank from his love and embraces. It
was inexplicable.

Once he would have hastened to the conclusion she did not love him, and
jealousy would have forced him into unkind measures with her, but when
he saw Augustus suffering a like banishment, the boy's suffering was so
acute, he felt he must amuse him, and think of him and until Clarissa
should again be herself, be both father and mother to him. They were
almost continuously together; both suffered, each pitied the other, and
tried to make the other forget.

William gave up his scientific researches completely; he had no heart
nor interest for it while Clarissa continued in her present state, and
despite his vast experience with nervous difficulties, he could not
account for the peculiar phases of her sickness. Had she shunned him
and clung to Augustus, it would have seemed less inexplicable. In a way
he would have suffered more, for his keenest suffering now was modified
by the fact that he must amuse Augustus and save him from suffering.

The boy could not understand why he was forbidden his mother's presence,
as he had been taught from earliest infancy to expect his wishes to be
regarded as law by her and the servants. Now Clarissa, although still
kind, no longer made him the center of her attention or interest. He was
sensitive, and his pride as well as his affections was hurt.

One day Clarissa had not appeared at the morning meal, but pleading
illness, had gone to Mrs. Millard's and remained till after the time for
him to retire. He became so aggrieved he wanted sympathy, and, although
during all the time they had been growing nearer and dearer they had
neither of them ever referred to what they considered their common
sorrow, when it became time for Augustus to go to bed, and his mother
had not returned, he went quietly with Dinah without a word, but noting
his father's pained expression, after he had been undressed and prepared
to sleep, he suddenly resolved to go back to him and tell him that he
loved him and not to grieve. Dinah could not control him, but she
insisted in wrapping him with shawls to keep him warm, and, placing him
in his chair, promised to remain where she was till his return.

With the help of one of the other servants, he soon reached the room
where he had left his father, and entered. William sat quietly looking
straight before him, so did not notice him at first, but afterward,
hearing the noise of his chair, he looked up, surprised and perplexed.

"Why, Augustus, I thought you were sleeping. Are you ill?"

There was no answer, but William saw the tears in the boy's eyes. He
said no more,--his heart ached for sympathy, and it was a relief to have
him near to lavish his affection upon. He lifted Augustus from his chair
into his arms, and as the boy's head went to his shoulder, his arms
wound around his neck in a tight embrace. For quite a time neither
spoke, then Augustus, lifting his head and looking piteously into his
father's face, said:

"She does not love us any more."

William could not speak; he only held his son closer to him.--So they
sat when the door opened and Clarissa entered. They both heard
her--neither moved. Each seemed to feel a comfort in knowing that the
other suffered too.

There was someone with her,--Mrs. Millard,--and they went directly by
the room where father and son were sitting. They strained their ears to
hear if she inquired for them, but were unrewarded. Her voice sounded
cheerful to them. They instinctively clung closer to each other, and
neither spoke. The voices grew fainter and fainter, and finally died
away altogether, and left them sitting there,--miserable, unhappy and
forgotten.

William bowed his head over his son until their faces touched; he
thought he had known misery before, but as he felt the boy's suffering
by the deep drawn sighs which were almost sobs, he realized that only
now had he touched the bitter cup. Jealousy was no factor in his
sufferings now, and no one could ever know what consolation there was
for him in those clinging arms and the companionship of his boy. He knew
they made him a better man, and resolved to do for him what he could not
do for himself. That close embrace seemed to feed his hungry heart, and
after a while Augustus slept. William rejoiced. Still he preferred to
hold him rather than be alone with his sorrow.

He tried to think where he had failed to win Clarissa's love. Not only
he had failed, but his boy also, who had previously been the center of
her interest. Neither of them was now necessary to her happiness. What a
void! Who could compass it?--He felt a touch upon his shoulder, and
before he could bring his mind to realize her actual presence,
Clarissa's arms were encircling them both, and her kisses, warm and
fervent, were upon his lips. As he looked up, her eyes gleamed bright
and tenderly into his, and his first thought was, "I wish Augustus could
see her."

He knew the boy's heart was as hungry as his own, and that Clarissa, the
old loving Clarissa, was before him. He removed one arm from Augustus,
placing it tenderly and closely about her, and drawing Clarissa nearer
said, "Kiss him."

What volumes the words implied! They proved how his nature had
broadened. Instead of thinking of his own happiness, he thought first of
Augustus. To be sure he was his child, but the time had been when even
his own child would not have come first. Not that he loved her less, for
he loved her more, but he was beginning to learn what love really was.
The boy did not stir as his mother kissed him, and Clarissa said, "Why
is not Augustus in bed?"

"He went," said William, "then came back to comfort me, I think,
although he did not say so."

As he said this, he looked up at her with a pleasant smile, and she
seemed to recognize its significance, for she bent over and, kissing
him, placed her arms above Augustus' around his neck.

A bright flush mounted to William's cheek as he drew her still closer
to him; his eyes sought hers eagerly, but hers sank before him. He held
the boy nearer and nearer, with a long drawn sigh that made Clarissa
sad, and she said quickly:

"William, do you doubt my love?"

No answer.

"William, tell me;--do you doubt my love?"

There was no response in words, but his arms held her a little closer.
The power of speech seemed to have left him. Again she asked,
"William,--you know I love you?"

After a pause he spoke.

"If you love Augustus, why do you not remain with him? See, he has come
to me for sympathy and love. Clarissa, even though you shun me, give our
boy your love. He must not be blamed for his father's--"

"William! William! Do you not understand?"

"No, Clarissa; I do not. I only know my heart is desolate, and Augustus
suffers. I have not questioned your motive. Probably, Augustus, like his
father, has failed to satisfy you."

"Enough, William. See; I am pleading humbly. No,--do not try to raise
me. I promised Mrs. Millard I would tell you the truth. I--"

"Clarissa!"

"Do not--do not touch me. Do not wake Augustus. I want to talk with
you,--alone. I love you, William. Do you believe me when I say I love
you?"

"Yes, Clarissa, though I sometimes have my doubts when you shrink from
me and my embraces. My love makes me desire your constant presence, but
you draw away when I come--"

"Do not say any more, William;--I cannot understand myself. I never
loved you nor Augustus more, yet I cannot endure your embraces. Will you
not have patience with me, knowing my condition? I want your affection.
I feel I must have it. Still, I want to be alone. I do not know why, but
Augustus' voice even, makes me irritable. William, I am a very weak
woman; will you not help me? You are the father of my children. Have
patience. Think for me. Believe me, William, I never loved you as I do
now, yet there is some power beyond my control that makes me long to be
alone. I long so many times to have your arms around me. I want a lover,
not a husband. Do you not understand?"

"I cannot separate the two, Clarissa. I am your husband, and have always
been your lover since I first saw you. I am as much so now and more,
than ever before. You were never so beautiful to me, so loving--"

"William, if I were suddenly to lose the beauty you love, would you
still love me?"

William was surprised to see the concern and anxiety in her face, and
said confidently, "Yes, Clarissa. Why do you question me? You have made
me very happy by your admission of your coming motherhood. It means a
new happiness in our lives. Let me share your feelings now. I was not
privileged to be with you before Augustus was born. You have relieved my
heart of a great burden. I thought you had grown weary of me, but now I
have a new joy. I am so glad you have told me. Lift your head, Clarissa.
Let us seal our new joy with a kiss. One for Augustus, too. Poor child,
he and I have suffered much. Why have you not told me before?"

Clarissa suddenly burst into such a torrent of tears that her sobs awoke
Augustus; he clung to her, half asleep, half awake; then sank back upon
his father's shoulder. William smiled and said:

"Kiss mamma. I will tell Dinah you are going to remain with me tonight.
Let her put you in my bed. I will come soon."

Without speaking to Clarissa, he went out with Augustus. Before long he
returned and without a word he clasped her in his arms. Soon she ceased
her sobbing, and he said:

"Clarissa, let us go and thank Mrs. Millard. I feel she has sent you to
me. She knows the strength of my love better than you do. In the
future, don't draw away from me; do not fear me. Give me the privilege
of sharing all your experiences. I will never obtrude upon you. Come,
let us go to Mrs. Millard,--then to Augustus. We three will unite in
thanksgiving for the new love we are to have."

"You are pleased, William?"

"Pleased is a faint word. Knowing the cause of your eccentricities, I
shall not grieve, though you exclude me entirely from your presence."

"William, what will Augustus say?"

"He is too much my boy not to rejoice too. Trust us, Clarissa; we are
jealous, exacting, and imperfect, but our loyalty and love are
unswerving. You are our all. Try to have patience with our
shortcomings."

"I am afraid Augustus will be grieved."

"You have made me most happy by your confidence. In all future times
come to me with your difficulties, even though I am the cause of them,
and permit me to change my methods when I am wrong. Act your own will.
Just love us, and I will prepare Augustus for the revelation. I know he
will rejoice too. He and I have grown very near one another in these few
days. We are much alike. I am glad to see you smile, even if it is at my
expense. Just a word, and then we will go to Mrs. Millard.

"Forget the past selfishness upon my part. I will try in the future to
do just what you want. Anything but isolation. If you prefer lover to
husband, I will be that; when you want neither, I will try to make
Augustus happy. Your smile makes me glad. How much I owe Alice and her
mother,--yes, and Merle, too! Come, let us go."



CHAPTER SIXTEEN


The revelation which Clarissa had made to William wrought a great change
in him. Even the next day he felt cheerful, and upon waking and finding
Augustus still asleep, he said to him:

"Come, Augustus, we must rise, for I have some work to do. I promised
your mother I would bring you to her early. She is not well, and we are
to shield and care for her. Shall I carry you just as you are, and put
you beside her while she is sleeping? Perhaps we can surprise her. Shall
we try?"

There was such jovial pleasure in his face that Augustus was surprised
and he looked at him suspiciously, and asked:

"Did she ask for you or me to come?"

"Both of us, boy. She came in and kissed you after you were asleep, and
said she wanted us to come and see her before I went out."

"Where are you going? May I go? I get so lonesome here with only Dinah
and James."

"You may go if you wish. I should like to have you. You love Merle. I am
going to him, and try to finish my book upon science."

"Father, are you going to make him look dead?"

"I am going to put him in a trance, Augustus. You are too brave a boy
to be afraid of anything your father does. Do you think I would injure
Merle?"

"No; but mamma looked as though she were dead. I do not want to go."

"You will always be nervous, Augustus, until you have watched the
process of mesmeric influence. When you know what I am doing, you will
not feel as you did, when, without warning, you found your mother in a
mesmeric state. Come, my boy, be brave. I like to have you with me, if
you will come. I will take you to the theatre after my work is done, and
we will ask Merle to go with us. Merle loves me. Would he love me if I
did him any injury?"

"No; but it makes me nervous just to think of it."

"All that nervousness will go when you see me work. Will you come?"

"May I go away if I do not like it?"

"Yes. Now let's go to mamma; we will not bother with the chair. Let's
surprise her. I will put you beside her before she awakes. We will go
very quietly."

"Will she want us?"

"I think so. Come."

       *       *       *       *       *

Later in the day, Augustus went with his father, but not without many
misgivings. He wanted to go, but he was afraid. He and Merle were the
best of friends, yet he felt a sense of nervousness about seeing him
entranced, although he was ashamed to acknowledge it to his father. He
did not doubt his father's power nor think that William would hurt
Merle, even temporarily, but the first shock he had received had
prejudiced him. He was very fond of his father, and had he heard anyone
doubt his abilities or powers, he would have resented it. He was glad
his father had asked him to go with him, while he was working upon the
evidence for his book, still, would have given much to have been
somewhere else at the time.

Arriving at Merle's house, each member of the family vied with the
others to entertain him, and after a while William said, "Come, Merle,
let's get to work."

"All right, Professor," responded Merle.

They started toward another room, and William said, "Come, Augustus."

Augustus took his crutches and started to follow them. His father was
ahead, thus did not see the boy's agitation and paleness, but Alice did,
and said, "Don't you think Augustus had better stay with mother and me
while you work, Professor?"

William did not turn his head, but said, "No, Alice; he wants to be with
me."

Alice said no more; it seemed to her that it was anything but a joyous
expression upon Augustus' face. She was accustomed to obey the professor
implicitly and without comment. It did not occur to her that the boy was
afraid. She thought he was displeased.

William had just begun to work upon Merle. As he said "You are waking,
Merle?" he heard a noise behind him, but did not turn in time to prevent
Augustus from falling. He was insensible when his father reached him.
William's first thought was "What will Clarissa do if he is dead!" He
had not realized the terror the child felt at seeing a comrade pass
through the successive stages between consciousness and trance
obedience. Custom had inured William to such scenes, but fear pictured
each transition in intensified colors to Augustus. When he saw the
pallor and rigidity which Merle assumed, he could not help but think he
was dead, and fell forward, without a word, in a deep swoon.

Merle was forgotten for the moment, and William was aghast at the
condition in which he found Augustus. He called quickly and sharply and
both Mrs. Millard and Alice responded. Augustus looked worse than Merle.
William rubbed him vigorously and continuously, calling "Come,
Augustus;--Augustus; wake up my boy, wake up. Mother is waiting for us."

They gave him air, water and stimulants, and finally he began to show
signs of life. William continued to talk to him. "Augustus, my
boy,--Augustus, look at me."

Finally, as William raised him, his eyes opened and looked into his
father's, then wandered to Merle. Such a piercing cry rang out as they
will never forget, and he sank back, rigid and still. William, the calm
man of science, was visibly disturbed. Anxiety was plainly written upon
his countenance, and, holding Augustus closely to him, he bade Merle
awake.

Merle was very soon himself again, and astonished at seeing Augustus in
his father's arms, with Mrs. Millard and Alice rubbing him. The
condition was very soon explained to him, and he took his stand directly
beside the boy, so when he regained consciousness he would be relieved
of his fears, finding Merle well and smiling.

When Augustus finally revived from this second swoon, and saw all the
loving solicitude upon the faces around him, his first feeling was of
shame he had shown fear, and although he had a weak body, he had a
strong will when he set about a thing, and the thought caused him to try
to raise himself. He threw his arms around William's neck, trying thus
to support himself, and looking earnestly into his father's eyes, said:

"I do not want to be a coward."

"Do not think about it, Augustus;--Mrs. Millard, will you and Merle and
Alice leave us alone for a little while? There, boy; rest. Keep
perfectly quiet. You shall not be frightened so again."

William lifted the child, and seating himself in a chair, held him
closely to him. The boy's head drooped upon his shoulder and everything
was quiet. After a long pause, Augustus spoke, but without lifting his
head.

"Father, are you very much ashamed of me?"

"Not a bit, boy. I only regret I caused you to suffer so. You are a
brave little fellow to stand so much without a word. I am proud of you.
Try to calm yourself; then we will do whatever you wish."

With a sigh of relief, Augustus relapsed into silence, and William
communed with himself. By the expression upon his face it was evident
that his thoughts were not altogether to his liking. He had many
questions to ask himself that could not be answered satisfactorily.
Where now was his boasted calmness? Even now, it was only by the
exercise of all his force of will that he kept from trembling, and all
because a boy had swooned.

That it was his boy was no reasonable excuse, for love should have made
him stronger instead of weaker. Why was it that he could not mesmerize
Augustus, who ought to be an unusually good subject? Why did Clarissa
draw away from him and Augustus at the time of all others when she
should be most dependent upon them for love and care?

If, before his family returned to him, another man had come to him with
similar difficulties, he would, without hesitation, have explained the
cause and offered to adjust the condition. He had tried all the methods
he knew upon his wife and child, and instead of bringing about the
desired results, Clarissa shrank more and more from him. He knew that it
was not because she did not love him. There was no other way to account
for it than by her physical condition.

He felt an almost irresistible impulse to give vent to a sarcastic
laugh. "Science baffled by a pregnant woman's whim and a child's fear.
Wonderful exponent of it I am!" As he thought this, William threw his
head back quickly and scornfully. Augustus said:

"What is it, father?"

"Nothing, my little man. How are you feeling now?"

"Better. I wish I could go riding out of doors."

"You may. There are your crutches. Go ahead of me, and ask Merle and
Alice to join us. They will feel relieved to know that you are well
enough to come to them; they were very anxious."

"Father, I would not want mamma and Dinah to know that I was afraid."

"All right, boy. You go and ask Merle and Alice to go with us, and I
will go and get a carriage."



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN


After the members of his household had retired that night, William sat
thinking as he had never thought before. He believed he had solved the
cause of various phenomena through the use of mesmeric influence. He was
able to demonstrate their basic principles to his friends or indeed to
strangers, by the application of his knowledge, without relying upon
theories or conjectures, and to perform marvelous feats by the aid of
his powers, yet he was completely non-plussed by two members of his own
family, who, although they did not doubt the efficacy of his powers,
exhibited the very opposite traits to what he desired when he endeavored
to work upon them.

While he sat there, deep in thought, he felt a hand upon his shoulder,
and, looking up, saw Clarissa standing before him.

"William, why are you not in bed and sleeping? Does anything trouble
you? You looked so sad when I came in--"

"I am a little perplexed, but not troubled. How came you here, dear? Can
you not sleep? Are you ill?"

"No; I went to sleep, directly I went to bed. I dreamed you were here,
alone and troubled, and I have little, if any recollection of leaving
or coming here, but here I am. William, did you will me to come to you?"

"No, Clarissa; I supposed you were sleeping, and I would not disturb
your sleep."

"Then how did I come here? I did not know you were here. I remember
dreaming you were here; that is all."

"You must have felt I was lonely, and your goodness of heart brought you
here to comfort me. That thought makes me happy. You must go back, or
you will take cold."

"But, William, when I first asked you, you said that you were not
troubled; now you say you are."

"Only troubled to understand myself, and some scientific problems that
have been brought to my attention."

"You are wise, William; I wish you would explain to me some of the
things I have seen since I have been ill. Oh! I don't mean right now;
tomorrow;--any time when you are not engaged."

"Certainly;--I will do my best. Clarissa, are you happier here than you
were before you came back to me?"

"Yes."

"Now I will go and stay with you until you are sound asleep. Here is
Dinah. Did you think she was lost, Dinah?"

"No, master; but she acted so strange I was afraid that she was sick."

"Acted strange when?"

"Why, master, she went to sleep right after she retired and seemed so
quiet like, I thought I would go and see Augustus. Then I remembered he
wanted me to do an errand for him--I promised not to tell what it
was,--as I was going back to him, I met Mistress Clarissa coming down
here. I spoke to her, but she did not answer me, and said, 'Yes, William
I know--I am coming.' I touched her, but she didn't look around, only
said, 'Yes, William.' I thought sure she was walking in her sleep, and I
ought to watch her, but if I had known you were here, Master William, I
would not have come in."

"You did just right, Dinah;--I am glad you watched her. Now go to
Augustus. I will stay with her till she sleeps soundly and well."

"William, I do not remember meeting Dinah; surely, you must have willed
me to come to you, or I would not have known where to find you, nor
failed to see Dinah when she spoke. Did you not call me, William?"

"No, Clarissa; no more than I do always when you are absent. Your image
is never away from my consciousness, and whatever subject may claim my
attention, you are always present in my mind. I did not will you. I
hoped with all the power of my soul you were enjoying a sweet and
dreamless sleep."

"I think it strange. I did not know you were here. I came here without
knowing it, and you say you did not call me."

"No; but do not worry about it. I am going back with you, and will stay
until you are sound asleep. Do not try to explain your coming here. We
will do that together later. I always want you near me; possibly when
you were sleeping, you became sensitive to that thought. Come. You will
be ill tomorrow."



CHAPTER EIGHTEEN


The night's experience furnished William with still another problem to
study, all the more perplexing because of the fact that Clarissa had
come to him without his having concentrated upon her doing so, and
apparently of her own will, while she had shrunk away, cold and
unresponsive when he had tried to bring her. What was the power that had
brought her to him? It must have been strong, although she had no
remembrance of coming, nor of meeting Dinah.

Long after she was asleep, he weighed cause after cause; there was no
disputing the fact he was becoming nervous, and, when her regular and
low breathing proclaimed beyond all doubt she was sleeping sweetly and
soundly, he would not move, nor leave her, fearing she might again rise
and walk about in her sleep.

If she had come to him at almost any other time, he would not have been
surprised, as she was so constantly in his mind; then he would have
thought his silent suggestions, finding her negative, had drawn her to
him, by the same law that a hypnotist draws a subject, but just at this
particular time he had been very deeply engrossed in other thoughts.

According to his ideas, there was only one way to account for it; that
was to ascribe it to her physical condition, making her negative and
sensitive; possibly producing a state of somnambulance, and that he was
in her mind in her dreaming, she had been guided to him by that
strangely inexplicable, but none the less true instinct that guides all
somnambulists if left unrestricted in their movements. This nervous
state might last throughout the entire period of her pregnancy. At
another time she might be drawn to Augustus, or any other person or
place.

Persons have been known to drown themselves in such a state, so he would
watch her. He knew somnambulance sprang from nervous excitement, and in
her condition, there was no telling what phases might develop.

This had been a harmless and pleasing incident, but there was nothing to
guarantee its repetition would be the same. It was not only his right,
but his duty to watch over her while she was in this negative condition,
for if harm should come to her, he could never forgive himself.

There was danger when she would seek him in an apartment he was
unaccustomed to be in,--especially at that time of night. Her very
accuracy was, perhaps, the most alarming feature. Women in her condition
are apt to exhibit very peculiar traits, and these usually entirely
foreign to their natural instincts. He would, therefore, watch her very
closely during the interval, doing what he could to help her, but he
must be careful she did not discover his surveillance.

How little he realized what an advancement he was making in true love!
Once he would have wanted her to know of every sacrifice he made, and
had she not desired his constant presence, he would have become
jealous,--perhaps furiously so--and felt she had no love for him. He had
learned much. He had learned love means more than attention even more
than endearing words and close embraces. These could all be supplied by
subterfuge, even while love was totally absent. Real love may exist
without these outward demonstrations.

He understood all this as he was compelled to hide his own affections
more and more, and as he witnessed Augustus' suffering upon being
banished from his mother's presence. He had been educated to believe
himself the one object of interest in the home, and it came harder to
him, therefore, than it did to William, to relinquish her constant
solicitude.

Altogether, it was a dreary season for them, full of heartaches, but to
William, even this, compared to the time when he was alone in his
beautiful home, was a veritable paradise, for now he had Augustus and
his love and Clarissa's presence. Humble indeed were his present
requirements as compared to his past exactions, and this state of
humbleness proved his great growth in wisdom, for ignorance is always
aggressive and egotistic, encroaching largely upon both possibilities
and the actual, while real wisdom, like charity, "vaunteth not itself."

For some unknown reason, William felt he wanted to talk with Alice when
she was entranced. Until Clarissa came to him, he had turned to Merle in
all seasons of doubt and perplexity, but now, he felt Alice could best
furnish him the information he desired. Augustus clung to his father's
companionship a large portion of the time, even in the matter of
education the family felt that they could best supply him with
knowledge, for they were even more sensitive about his infirmity than
himself.

They were unwilling he should mingle with boys about his own age, taking
especial care in cultivating his taste for music and art, which was far
beyond the ken of children of his age. William felt he must also devote
more of his time to him, so, on the day following asked him if he would
like to go with Merle for a long ride that would occupy some time,
calling for him upon the way back, when they would all go to the
theatre, where Augustus loved so well to go.

When his mother had swayed and thrilled such vast audiences by the magic
of her beautiful voice, she had rarely allowed him to be present; she
loved to think she was singing for him, and he was the one object in her
mind, but she felt she could do better when he was not actually present.
This very fact probably made Augustus all the more fond of public
performances, for he always thought "my mother can do better than that."

He was very proud of her reputation as a singer while his father was
extremely sensitive about it. William would have been loth to admit it
to anyone, but, growing to believe he had no other rival in Clarissa's
affection save this boy, he transmitted his hatred of supposed rivals to
her public achievements, and could not endure the thought of them.

What gave Augustus joy in this respect, gave him jealousy. He did not
like to think of her as singing to multitude, the object of their
unstinted admiration, therefore her reputation as a peerless musician
and singer brought him no whit of pleasure.

Few of her hearers could appreciate her singing as he, for he was a fine
musician himself, still he could not endure the thought of her singing
for public approval or money. Music, to him, was a sacred gift, and
although he gloried in her abilities, he deplored the attention it
brought to her publicly. Of all things, the knowledge she was working
for financial reasons was the most exasperating, and he was particularly
and peculiarly sensitive upon this point, not liking to hear her spoken
of as a public entertainer, while that was very pleasing to Augustus.

Whenever he attended a public performance, he invariably said that it
was good, but mamma could do better, deriving much pleasure from the
thought, though the mere mention of Clarissa's achievements and attempts
to win public favor was torture to his father.

Just now, however, William desired to see Augustus happy, so he planned
for every condition he felt would add to his pleasure, and while he and
Merle were riding, he would talk with Alice, thus both father and son
would be occupied and partially happy.



CHAPTER NINETEEN


William felt relieved when the boys had started upon their pleasure
trip, and he was left alone with Alice and Mrs. Millard. The Millards
seemed very near to him, and he felt almost as much solicitude for them
as for his own family. Alice was glad to be of service to him, and this
cheerfulness upon her part was, perhaps, one of the strongest factors in
her ability to do good work for him.

Merle was equally desirous of pleasing him, passing willingly at any and
all times into the trance state. William had never felt as much pride in
his work or the results accruing from it as Merle did, and never had
found another "subject" upon whom he could so fully rely. There was no
doubt the congeniality of their souls had much to do with the success of
their achievements. It gave Merle particular pleasure to know William
eclipsed all other demonstrators of mesmeric power, feeling flattered to
be chosen by so wise a man as his principal subject.

He never dreaded to pass into the trance state, and had, in so far as it
was possible for him to do so, followed the injunctions he had been
given at the outset, to try and eliminate all personal opinions, holding
no personal prejudices, and offering no resistance.

Not a little of William's prestige depended upon the evidence Merle had
given him in the trance condition, and Alice was equally zealous, but
had never been used for any public work.

She, also, felt flattered to think the professor should select her to
assist him in his investigations instead of Merle, whom she considered
to be her superior as a subject, and whose reputation as a subject was
as great as the professor's as a demonstrator.

She had no realization of the difference in the kind or nature of the
work done through them, nor, indeed, had she ever speculated upon that
point.

Mrs. Millard excused herself, leaving William and Alice alone, and he
soon placed her in a trance. She said nothing until he questioned her.

"Alice, are you waking?"

"Yes, Professor."

"Can you see my wife? Tell me what she is doing."

"She looks very thoughtful. I do not know whether she is sad or not."

"Why should she be sad?"

"I do not know that she is sad."

"Then why do you speak of it?"

"I do not know."

"Alice, can you read her thoughts? You ought to. Try."

"Ask her to come here. She will be here soon. I feel she will help you
more than I can. There she is."

"Alice, I cannot bring her. You ought to know that."

"You must. Ask her."

"Her health will not permit it."

Alice shook her head thoughtfully, then she said: "I want to see her."

"But, Alice, I tell you that she is not in condition--"

"I want to see her. Ask her. Did I not help you to get her? Ask her."

That last assertion alone moved William; he remembered how skeptical he
had been when she had advised him to return to Clarissa; she was right
then, and he had no reason to question her until he had found her advice
to be incorrect, at least once.

The first thought to arise in his mind was "Why did Clarissa come here?"
She had sent word to him and Augustus she was ill and could not join
them in their morning meal, but she was evidently not too ill to visit
comparative strangers, so he had no desire to force his presence upon
her, but Alice said she wanted to see her. He remained silent for a
while, then said, "If you want to see her, go to her."

The words were scarcely out of his mouth, when Alice arose with closed
eyes and walked out of the room. William hardly knew what to do; he
wanted to follow her to see what transpired, but his sensitive pride
said "She will think you forced the girl to come," and that thought
determined his action. He did not move. He waited and waited, still she
did not come. What was she doing? Why did they not come to him, knowing
he was waiting? Still he waited, too proud to go to them; then he
thought that Alice ought not to be controlled so long. As this thought
entered his mind, she came into the room, alone.

She looked wan and tired, and walked past him to the place of her
entrancement, and, drawing a long sigh as she laid her head back, said
"I am going to her tomorrow. She will not come here," then her head
drooped wearily. He did not feel he ought to force her further, although
he was filled with a jealous longing to know what had transpired.

She said nothing more, although he allowed her to remain in a trance
condition for some time. How keen his disappointment at the result of
the interview he had looked forward to was, no one save himself would
ever know. He hoped Clarissa was as pleased as he was disappointed. He
would have liked to know what had passed between them. As he was
thinking thus, he felt arms around his neck, drawing him closely and
affectionately, and looking up, surprised and astonished, he
saw--Clarissa.

She bent over him quickly, and drawing him closer still, and said, "Wake
her, William, she must be tired." He would have gone cheerfully, even to
his execution, while she held him thus, looking into his eyes with that
expression of love. His arms went around her, and he said, almost
unconsciously, "Wake, Alice. Alice, are you awake?"

He did not notice her answer, and Alice, feeling confused at seeing them
in their fond embrace, at once left the room, without being noticed by
either. They were engrossed with their own feelings. Clarissa spoke
first.

"William,--she helped me so much. Will you not try to help me be what
she says I can be? Do not move, dear. I have not finished yet. I
promised her I would tell you how much I loved you, but I cannot keep
that promise, for words do not express the full sentiment of the heart.
I love you more than words can tell. You know that, even if I am
irritable and distant."

"Clarissa, you and I have much to thank Alice for;--how little I
realized when I was developing her as a subject, what a flood of
happiness she would bring into my life! What did she mean when she said
that she was going to see you tomorrow?"

"That is our secret. She is coming to our home. You will entrance her
for me and then leave us alone, will you not?"

"With pleasure."

"There is Augustus. Mrs. Millard has invited us to remain and spend the
evening. Would you like to?"

"Yes--if you would."

"Then let's go and see what the boys have to say. Before long, William,
I will tell you the secret."

It was a happy gathering in Mrs. Millard's house that evening. Each
thought the others appeared to the best advantage, and they separated
only when Augustus became so tired that, despite his most heroic
efforts, his eyes would close. It had been a happy day for him.



CHAPTER TWENTY


From the day she had talked with Alice, there had been a noticeable
improvement in Clarissa. She became less nervous, and, instead of
shutting herself away from her family, she devoted most of her time to
them, at times appearing almost like a young girl, full of enthusiasm
for whatever she was doing.

Nearly every day since that time, Alice had been with her for awhile,
but no one except Clarissa knew what transpired. William would have been
most impatient at this had it not been for the change that had come over
Clarissa;--she was again the light and life of the home.

Three times, when he believed the entire household asleep, he had sat
alone, trying to straighten out in his mind the perplexing questions
that had presented themselves since that memorable night when he and
Merle had gone to hear the great singer who had proven to be his wife.
From that time to this, there had been one continual sequence of
surprises for him, few of which he was able to satisfactorily explain,
even to himself.

Until then, he had logically deduced the cause of every circumstance
occurring around him. Now he lacked that degree of confidence with which
he had previously undertaken their solution. One point in this long
chain of events always held him spellbound; that was his finding
Clarissa at the concert. Supposing he had not gone to that
concert;--what then?

It was by the merest chance he had gone, and nothing could have been
further from his mind than that he should find Clarissa there. Not going
to that concert would have meant living alone for him, as he had done so
long. The life had been so lonely and desolate it was only endurable
when he worked continually.

His resolve to go had been hasty and unpremeditated; what good influence
had been working in his life just at that particular time, that he now
had--

The interruption to this soliloquy was a pleasant one, for Clarissa's
entrance had finished his retrospection.

"Why are you here all alone, William? Are you troubled in any way?"

"No; I was only thinking, and was unaware that time was passing. How did
you know that I was here? I thought you were sleeping long ago."

"So I was; but I awoke suddenly, and had a strong inclination to know
where you were and what you were doing. I suppose it was imagination,
but I thought you called me."

"I did not. It would be selfish indeed, to call you from your sleep.
You were probably tired and nervous; thus your sleep was not sound nor
refreshing. Come, I will return with you, and put you to sleep again."

On two other occasions, under quite similar circumstances, she had come
to him when he had been trying to unravel the same problem. The
strangest part of the whole occurrence was that, when he had sat there
on several previous occasions, willing her to come to him, he had sent
her such suggestions as "Clarissa, come to me," she had failed to
respond, although he knew the thoughts had carried sufficient power to
draw her.

He was only a man; well meaning, but faulty and imperfect as all men
are. It hurt his pride to be thwarted when he knew the strength of his
power, so he threw all the force of his will into the demand, ashamed,
even while he was doing it, to use so much power upon a sensitive,
pregnant woman, but the disappointment was so great he rebelled against
reason. He made up his mind he would not stop until she did come. He
saw, later, that, while in the first instance, he was really anxious for
her presence, as time passed, and she did not come, his feeling was
unworthy a loving husband, bringing forth the practiced hypnotist who
disliked to be disobeyed by a negative subject.

His strongest efforts were unsuccessful, however, and what was worse,
Clarissa sent word she could not join the family at their meals, and
made no appearance during the entire day.

When she came, he was surprised at her appearance; she was pale, and
visibly uneasy, and darkly settled under the eyes; she shrank from him
when he offered to treat her, saying all she needed was quiet repose
alone. The repetition of this furnished another problem for William to
solve. Not only his pride but his love was humiliated, and he secretly
resolved that his book of personal experiences should not be finished
and given to the public until he was a wiser man than he then was; he
had thought he knew much, but he now realized that he understood only
very little of the science upon which he had worked so zealously.

It was a pitiable condition, when he had no faith in either his subjects
or himself, for he had always believed faith and confidence were the
greatest requisites for a mesmerist. His years of hard and patient study
seemed to have only brought him to this;--a state of general doubt.

Merle, who had been his most trusted subject, had proven false, and he
could never again place implicit confidence in any one. In the past, any
assertion that Merle had made was accepted without comment or doubt, but
now, that he had been untruthful in the trance condition, being honest
and trustworthy in his normal state, he knew absolute faith in a
subject's assertions would never again be his.

Time passed rapidly. One night, as he was sitting alone, planning an
excursion of pleasure for Augustus and Merle and Alice, knowing Clarissa
was with her son, she came to him with a large book in her hand, and
said:

"Here, William, is an exact account of all that transpired while Alice
was entranced. Read it carefully, and see if she was correct when she
told me we would give you knowledge you could not obtain for yourself,
because of reasons she has explained. I have not placed one word of my
own in it; everything is just as Alice gave it. You will see I have
asked very few questions, permitting her to choose her own subjects. I
bring it to you now, as I feel I shall soon be ill, and no one knows, at
such times, exactly how it will terminate. Do not look so surprised; I
am not afraid--I think all will be well, but I wanted you to have this
with my explanations. According to Alice's statements, we, working
together, have obtained better results in technical points and causes of
the various phenomena than you could; we have not obtained the highest
nor sublimest wisdom possible, but our united work of love (and that is
what this book is) is but designed to be a stepping-stone for you, who
have so much more knowledge and power in this line. She says you will
glean from it such facts as will enable you to become a still greater
power and more illustrious man in the realm of science. It is the work
of love of two loyal hearts. I hope it will be to you all that she has
prophesied. I cannot help the tears, William;--I am nervous."

"Come, you had better retire. You are trembling. How much pleasure you
have given me by this loving work, I shall not try to express in words,
but I will honestly try from the depths of my soul, to be the man you
want me to be. It is a very faulty foundation, Clarissa, but with your
love and patient help, I will do my best to be worthy of the wife who
was never equaled upon earth, I think. You deserve a better man--"

"William, your words fill me with shame, for I am just one mass of
weakness.--I am cross and irritable with both you and Augustus, but,
William, if anything should happen to me, will you not try to forget all
my faults, remembering only my love--"

"Clarissa! Clarissa! I will not listen even to your suggestion. Come,
let me try to put you to sleep. I am so happy I want to be with you. You
are never going to leave me again."

The next morning Augustus slept later than usual. He had been away with
Merle all day. He woke fractious and nervous, and nothing seemed just
right to him; dressing him was a slow and patient task to Dinah, who was
patience itself. After several prolonged altercations, when she had
great difficulty in appeasing him, she said:

"You just wait, Honey; Dinah has something for you that will make you
just the proudest boy she ever saw. You just wait and see what Dinah
brings you."

She passed quickly from the room, and soon returned with a small bundle
in her arms.

Augustus did not look up when she entered, so did not notice his father
was in the room. He was decidedly cross and petulant; he felt he was
going to have something he liked to eat proffered to him, and had made
up his mind firmly in advance that he would not eat it, no matter what
it was. The first thing he knew, Dinah placed the bundle in his arms,
and opening the covering, showed him a wee, tiny baby's face.

One expression chased another so rapidly over his face, that, keenly as
William and Dinah watched him they were both unable to distinguish the
predominating thought. They had all been anxious to know how Augustus
would feel toward the little stranger. William wanted to be present when
he first saw it, to assure him no one could possibly occupy his place in
the affections of either father or mother, and was just about to step
forward and speak, when the baby began to cry. At the first sound of
that cry, Augustus looked up at Dinah, his face a perfect picture of
wrath, and said:

"If you do not know how to take care of that baby, I do; I tell you it
wants something to eat."

This was such an unexpected result William burst into a laugh, and,
bending, kissed first Augustus and then the baby, saying, "Well, my son,
see what has been given to us to love."

Augustus paid little attention to his father, but turned, instead, to
Dinah, holding the baby close to him.

"Is that the way you treated me? It is a wonder I lived. It shall have
something to eat, if I have to go and get it myself. You wait; I will go
and tell mamma."

From that minute, there was only one anxiety about Augustus and the baby
in any of their minds;--that was he would smother it or feed it. He
would watch it sleeping, and drew it in every way. If it cried, he was
anxious. He was a greater trouble than the baby. It had been expected he
would be sensitive and jealous when the baby came, for he had been such
an object of attention himself. They were totally unprepared for the
real result.

He and Dinah were in a state of perpetual and continual combat, from
his rising to his sleeping. It seemed to him there was never such
another babe as that; he could not trust Dinah to care for it. All his
boyish plans for the future were changed, and everything was gauged by
"when sister is big enough." He insisted that she should be named for
his mother;--the dearest name in the world to him.



CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE


During Clarissa's illness, William devoted all the available time he
could find to the study of the book she had brought him. He had many
interruptions, for Augustus appealed to his father in his altercations
with Dinah, when they were too severe for him to conquer by might of his
own will.

There were many visitors, who came to inquire the health of Clarissa and
her babe. Clarissa seemed very nervous if William was long away, so he
did most of his reading near her. She said this uncontrollable desire to
know he was close beside her arose from the mental suffering she had
endured from his absence when Augustus was born. She suffered keenly
then, and the same conditions brought similar sensations. She was
perfectly satisfied to remain quiet if she saw him present, but if he
remained long from her, she was pursued by fears and thoughts that she
would not tell even him.

In her weakened condition, they quickly showed themselves in her
physical depletion. She was annoyed at her weakness, but her sufferings
were none the less acute because she knew that they were visionary.

She was not a weak woman in any sense of the word, but just now her
husband's presence furnished her a sense of security; his absence
brought weakness. The fact she had had no long or severe confinement
made it still harder to account for her subsequent nervousness.

Doctors Baxter and Harrington had for some time been trying to get
William to perform an experiment in psychology for them. He put them off
from time to time by different excuses, because he was unwilling to
leave Clarissa for a long enough time, knowing her confinement was near.
Not having been with her at the time of Augustus' birth, and having no
experience in such cases, he was more concerned about it than he would
admit.

After her easy and well nigh painless delivery, he felt so relieved the
next day but one, he went with them. He was gone almost the entire day,
as the physicians asked him to visit a patient of each, who was
suffering from nervous troubles, which eluded their powers, and which
they felt he could relieve. They were situated at quite a distance one
from the other, so it consumed considerable time to visit them.

William felt perfectly easy in his mind regarding Clarissa. He had told
her where he was going, and she said she was proud he could do what
others failed to do. She was comfortable and happy, when he left,
laughing gaily at Augustus' concern because baby slept so long. She had
an arm around each as he took his last look at them before leaving the
room. That picture of home and happiness had been with him all day.

Once he would not have thought that day's work an arduous one, as he
sought for years to crush every sentiment and interest but scientific
research. The more work he had before him, the more contented he was;
now he could not help thinking, even while he worked, of his family.

Both doctors remarked how quickly he placed each subject in a trance
state; in the last instance, especially, it was very noticeable, as the
sick girl was a peculiarly sensitive person, but being entirely ignorant
of mesmeric power was consumed by fear, exhibiting traits bordering upon
convulsions. She did the same when William began to work. Her heart
exhibited such erratic tendencies of action, the three men united in the
verdict it was better not to force her further.

As he witnessed the girl's suffering, he thought of his own baby girl,
similarly terrorized, for it was only terror that caused the condition.
Immediately the scientist and man of force was submerged, and the father
was the predominating man. Without any thought but loving sympathy, he
placed his hand upon the girl's head and said:

"Poor child;--do not worry;--you shall not be molested, nor forced by
me, any more than I want my baby girl so treated."

He smoothed her head, and she gave him such a look of gratitude as he
could not soon forget, then closed her eyes. He saw she was passing into
a comatose state, without his forcible dictation. Once placed there, he
gave her the customary suggestions, telling her to wake at a certain
time, then left the doctors to return home, feeling tired, but cheered
by the knowledge of the presence of the three loved ones who were
awaiting him.

How he pitied the two men whom he had just left, who were going to their
elegant homes, but for whom there was no wife or children waiting. Often
the three had communed together in the past, upon their good fortune in
having a place of quiet and repose, where they would be unmolested, and
free to think. Now William knew that, whatever conditions of perplexity,
even of discord and confusion awaited him in his home, it was infinitely
sweeter and preferable to the quiet and peace they had pretended to
like, for while he joined them in congratulations upon this condition,
his soul had hungered for his wife's presence. How did he know there was
no similar episode in each of his two friends' lives?

They believed him when he had lied. Yes. There was no escaping the
truth; he might as well own up to himself, if he would not to anyone
else. He, a truthful man, in all other respects, lied rather than reveal
a heartache he felt to be a weakness. No one but himself knew he lied.
How did he know that Baxter and Harrington were not lying too, actuated
by the same motive--their inability to secure the companionship of the
particular woman they loved.

As he thought of his own heartaches, when alone, he felt a profound pity
for them, while respecting the motives that kept them silent. It was as
natural for man to love woman, as it was to breathe the air into his
lungs. Yes, there must be some tragedy in each of his friends' lives.
His earnest wish was they might terminate as happily as his had.

He had arrived home by the time he had reached this conclusion, and, for
all his fatigue, he ascended the steps with the buoyancy and elasticity
of a youth, he was so anxious to look at his treasures.

His animation and joy received a rude shock, when he saw James' face,
and he happened to be the first person he met. There was such a look of
anxiety and sadness there, as was not to be mistaken by anyone who knew
him well. Without waiting for William to ask him the cause, he said:

"Oh, Master, I am so glad you have come! Mistress Clarissa was stricken
suddenly very ill. We are much concerned about her, long ago sending to
both Doctors Baxter and Harrington, thinking to bring them and you. She
isn't quite herself, sir. Won't you hasten?"

No need for this last injunction, for William was already ascending the
stairs with rapid strides, not waiting for all the steps. Soon he was in
Clarissa's room, where he found both Dinah and Nancy; Dinah was holding
the babe while Nancy tried by every means she knew to coax and divert
Clarissa's attention.

One glance showed William the condition of affairs. She had a high
fever; her face was red, and her eyes sparkled with an unnatural
brilliancy. She was talking rapidly but disconnectedly. How he felt, he
could have told no one, and, unlike his usually calm and sensible self,
he rushed at once to the conclusion this was that dangerous and
weakening fever that so often accompanies childbirth.

The sudden reversion from thoughts of happiness to those of acute
anxiety was too great for him to immediately overcome, for like most
anxious persons, he pictured the worst. Like a horrible panorama, there
came before his consciousness, instantaneously, the spectacle of her
death. For the time being, he lost sight, entirely, of his power to
control such conditions, and instead of being calm and collected, he
was anxious, and full of thoughts of doubt and suspense. He spoke in a
quick, agonized way:

"Clarissa--Clarissa."

She listened, then answered: "Yes, William; what is it?"

"Are you suffering?"

"No, William; now you have come. I thought I was alone again. That
thought made me so miserable! Will you not sit with me a while until I
become calm?"

"You may be sure I shall not leave you again. Now try to sleep."

He was fast gaining control of himself; as he gained in this respect,
she grew more quiet and soon was fast asleep.

The doctors both came in answer to the summons, but James told them that
their services were unnecessary, so they returned to their homes. After
this episode, knowing the cause of the difficulty, William remained
almost constantly with Clarissa, taking a large measure of happiness
from the knowledge his presence was necessary to her happiness. He kept
her as quiet and cheerful as possible.

As he studied the book she had given him, he discussed many points with
her, when she was awake, acknowledging frankly his surprise at her quick
understanding. He told her the truth when he said he enjoyed talking
science with her better than with any man he had met, for her perception
was very keen and accurate, though she had little knowledge of
mesmerism, as a practical and demonstrated science.

She proved herself capable to reason, and interpret some points obscure
to him, owing to the fact his mind had been trained in a certain groove
of thought, and was thus prejudiced and partial; having no certainly
defined theories, she could absorb and embrace new and higher facts far
more quickly than he. Whenever a new assertion was presented to him, he
could not help but compare it with his past work or ideas, and was
prejudiced in their favor when the balance was nearly equal, owing to
the fact he had performed such feats of power by following the guidance
of former schools of wisdom: on the other hand, Clarissa had supreme
faith in every word Alice had given her, so she tried to make William
believe all the book contained.

Her will was untrained, while his was, and developed to the highest
degree. What she lacked in training, she made up in persistence. She was
a staunch ally of Alice's assertions, striving by every ingenuity of her
mind to successfully pit Alice's ideas against William's tried
experiments. Both were stubborn;--William, because he felt actual
experience was of more value than theory; Clarissa, because she knew
both her own and Alice's mind was unprejudiced when the facts in the
book were given.

William had entranced Alice every time, and, in fact, brought her out.
Alice had never known for what reason she was entranced and did not now
know she had been instigating intelligence to produce a book upon
mesmeric influence.

Clarissa knew her mind had not prejudiced Alice in the slightest, as she
knew too little of the science to do so; thus when it came to a conflict
of faith between William and Alice, she always advocated Alice's
assertions with the full might of her power.

That book had been a work of love, upon their part. Alice had said while
in the trance, that the acceptance of those facts would make William a
greater and more illustrious man. Clarissa believed it, and used all her
power of persuasion and logic to make him understand and accept them.

She was successful, far beyond her hopes. He listened to her arguments
and reasons as he would have done to no man's. When their ideas clashed,
he tried by all the arguments he knew to convince her.

Take a man and woman of equally developed wisdom, and the woman's mind
has been acknowledged by the most competent judges to be the more
subtle and intuitive, avowing, often, upon the impulse, precepts and
assertions convincing to their listeners, which, if called upon to
explain, they would be powerless to do so. This fact has given birth to
the axiom "Men reason logically;--women intuitively." Thus it was that
Clarissa could confound, perplex and convince William, while the deep
basic principles underlying the effects she so strenuously asserted,
were entirely unknown to her.

William never acknowledged, even in after times, how much real knowledge
Clarissa imparted to him, and as her one thought had been to avouch and
do justice to Alice's work, she did not give herself the due amount of
praise. When she succeeded in convincing William, upon a point of
disagreement, she gave the credit instinctively to Alice.

In this communion and the almost constant conflict of wills both were
growing immensely, without their consciousness of the fact, but Clarissa
could never hope to be the practical demonstrator of the science that
William was, and would be. She could acquire through sensitiveness,
knowledge he could manifest, but could never gain originally.

This is a good proof of the law that all finite lives are fallible, one
excelling in one branch of knowledge or execution, and another, in
other branches. One eternally leans upon and depends upon the other for
something, as it is only the Infinite that embraces all there is within
itself.

The word "infinite" implies all; therefore, all individual or finite
lives are faulty and fallible, furnishing less developed lives with
power and knowledge, while they are, themselves, compelled to depend
upon other lives still higher in the evolutionary chain of existence for
similar favors.

Clarissa and William were both positive and strong souls, and the union
of their forces and intellects meant a much stronger power than either
could ever hope to reach alone. The very fact they took opposite views
of the question was a beneficial factor to both. The conflict of wills
drew from both higher wisdom than they knew they possessed. Neither
wanted to be defeated, so each tried to bring forth the most persuasive
and logical powers. The natural result was that both were benefited and
advanced.



CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO


It is unnecessary to give here all the assertions made by Alice in the
trance state. We will simply review and examine the most prominent and
salient points, one of which was "Thought, being the offspring or
expression of the individual's desire, or, as some persons prefer to
state it, the soul's desire; it must partake of all the predominating
chemical characteristics animating the generator at the time of its
conception and birth; therefore, it was no vague, tangible force, but
actual, tangible chemical substance as much as the atmosphere."

One man, if he is in normal condition, can see another one, but he
cannot see the potent chemicals that compose the atmosphere; still, the
force stored up and vented through the invisible agency (so far as man's
sight is concerned), is capable to, and does do much damage to man and
all material conditions, by this one demonstration, proving beyond the
shadow of a doubt, its superiority as we might say, in chemical
substance, as a weaker force can never injure a stronger one.

If there was no substance or substantiality in the atmosphere, it could
not affect and destroy substance, for, without tangibility, it would
pass through substances, creating no visible disturbance. Vague
nothingness never yet compelled obedience from solid matter. That which
disturbs and moves is much more powerful than that which is disturbed
and moved.

Thought, upon whatever plane of action we consider life, is the creator
and controller of all conditions. There is not, never was, nor ever will
be, a type of life so low in the evolutionary scale, as to be devoid of
some kind or specie of thought. In the humblest and simplest types, this
thought can vent itself in no higher form than a desire for the presence
of kinds similar to itself.

Thought is subject to evolution and progression as much as any form of
Infinite Life. From this one thought of desire, springs, in diversified
and innumerable channels, all kinds and manners of thought. One and all
having their primary origin in this humble beginning, the same as all
the high achievements and possibilities man can hope to accomplish in
the Infinite Ages, lie dormant in the embryo babe.

The babe, while in the state of embryo development, can express very few
and limited powers; but its soul, or spirit, must contain all the latent
essential powers the man will manifest throughout Eternity. Otherwise,
circumstances, however potent and powerful, could not materialize the
effects which are observable.

There is no power, be it ever so strong, that can evoke and bring forth
from a life, qualities and characteristics foreign to it. Those same
characteristics may be magnified, enlarged or intensified, until their
true proportions are lost sight of, but is there a new factor infused
into the soul? No.

A hypnotist, or psychologist, when we view them in a scientific light,
is nothing but a magnet, which, consciously or unconsciously, influences
and controls many, who possess similar innate traits of spirit upon
different planes or stages of development.

To the minds of many, a hypnotist or psychologist is one who, by a firm
and determined exercise of will, acquires the power, when they choose to
assert it, to influence less self-centered minds. It is, of course, to
be understood that many men who call themselves wise, believe not at all
in the efficacy of one man's mind to control another man's
consciousness, but all students of life know it is not what one, many,
or indeed, all men believe to be true, that is the motive power of
progression, but what the Infinite Law directs.

Those men who deny the creative power of thought, attributing all
favorable results to the fiat dictation of a Supreme Personal
Intelligence, are to be pitied rather than censured.

One might as well deny a rose seed will bring forth a rose, if it brings
forth any result at all, as to say "thought is not the motive cause of
every expressed result." Without a foregoing cause, there would be no
motion or action of any kind. Man never moves his limbs without a
thought "I want to go to such a place"; he would not have food in his
stomach, if there was not the thought of hunger, which causes him to
carry food from his hands to his mouth, and so on. There might be the
most bountiful of feasts spread before him, and if his desire could not
inspire activity and motion in his arms and hands, he might starve with
plenty of edibles in sight, unless some person were inspired to feed
him. His arms, hands and limbs will not operate until there has been a
foregoing thought.

If his thought or desire is strong, the physical members are but humble
instruments that obey his will as operator.

Enough of this;--a hypnotist or psychologist influences and controls not
only those persons they will to obey their desires, but many others whom
they have not the slightest desire nor intention of influencing. They
are in precisely the same position as is a material magnet which is
surrounded by a large number of negatives; it becomes the centre of
attraction to whatever negatives are within the radius of its magnetism
or influence. It may not want those negatives, but there is no escape
from their vampirage unless there is the conscious knowledge on the
part of the psychologist of how to throw off undesirable influences or
negatives.

It is possible for so many negatives to attach themselves to a material
magnet they draw away, or sap, all the individual magnetism and strength
of the magnet, making that which was previously strong and forceful to
become weak and impotent itself; so a man who has been a strong and
powerful psychologist, may become a centre of attraction to so many
negative lives he may be drained of his self-centered energy, thus,
instead of being a commanding life, he assumes the position of a
negative himself.

Those men who are familiar with the modes and characteristics of
material magnets know that, after a certain number of negatives have
attached themselves to it, the magnet must either be recharged from a
lodestone, or it will become a negative itself.

Every negative person within the radius of a psychologist's influence
feels the same draw toward them, that material negatives do toward a
magnet. The reader, of course, understands that both the material magnet
and the psychologist can only draw or attract similar natures, or
chemicals to themselves. There was never yet a hypnotist so strong he
could draw or attract to himself persons who were endowed with varying
or opposite characteristics from his own.

You can control another's personality in those qualities or habits you
could control, did they come into your own life; possibly you might, by
force of will, govern and control, a condition you had never faced nor
felt an inclination for in your own life, but you may be sure you cannot
control this in another person's life, if you could not have conquered
the same condition, had it arisen in your own.

Many persons measure what you may do by what you have done; such is
neither fair nor accurate judgment. No man knows surely and positively
what he would do under the severe and stern test of temptation, until he
has been actually subjected to the same. He may have many theories and
ideas, but these dissipate and vanish like mist before the sun, when
stern realities appear. The man who thinks he would do best, often does
the worst, while he who doubts his ability to rise superior to
temptation, will, because he wants to prove himself better than his
judgment, rise superior to the wave that wrecks and drowns him who was
too confident of his personal abilities.

In answer to the question (from whence flowed the wisdom and knowledge
voiced by Alice?): she gave this seemingly ambiguous answer to persons
who have no knowledge of the science of thought and creation--(I glean
from the highest wisdom generated by man as a mass, then for higher
knowledge I am limited to the kindness and wisdom of those individuals
among whom I am thrust by the will of the temporary projector.

If the question is one that is cogent to, and can be answered by
embodied man, I am instinctively attracted to him, from his aura or
influence, attaining the answer desired; if not, I am compelled to seek
higher from disembodied individuals, but by far the strongest factor is
the public thought or prejudice. The reason I give higher wisdom to
Professor Huskins' wife's thought is, being unprejudiced, but desirous
of wisdom, she draws from my spirit more power to probe and penetrate
into the aura of those persons who possess the knowledge requisite to
answer the questions from a standpoint of experience rather than
theory.)

The acquisition of all known facts can only be by the absorption from a
higher source.

The height of the plane of absorption depends on the state of
receptiveness of the hypnotist more than the subject.

It is impossible to control the consciousness of another individual and
not prejudice and limit him to a certain degree by the opinions of the
operator.

The operator may have no desire to do so, and may strive to the full
extent of his will to leave the subject free and untrammeled by any of
his preconceived opinions, but if he did not project a certain amount of
his personality into the being of the subject, he could not control him.

The subject therefore cannot hope to rise in execution above the
capacity of the hypnotist, provided the hypnotist has developed his full
powers.

A mesmerized subject is irresponsible for whatever sentiments he may
express in a trance.

In that condition he is no longer a normal person but acts as a
sensitive plate to picture and reproduce the strongest influences
bearing upon him at a given time.

He is the reflector of the thoughts and opinions of others and no more
to be censured for what he gives forth than is a mirror that pictures
the likeness of an ugly and exceedingly unpleasant face. The fault is
not the mirror's, for another, stopping before it, will reflect a
handsome and pleasing picture. The mirror is limited to, and bound to
reflect just such peculiarities as the object which is before it may
possess, and the mesmerist's subject acts as just such a reflector for
thought impressions. Several psychologists, using the same subject
equally desirous of obtaining knowledge upon the same lines, can and
frequently do receive very dissimilar results; so widely different in
sense as to make assimilation between them impossible. This is due to
the fact each directing will, compelling the subject to go forth in
search of knowledge, varies in its capability to send him to a certain
point or location.

The magnetism then absorbed which deadened their own consciousness,
limits their search for knowledge to just those spheres of action where
they find similar kinds and classes of chemicals operative. No two men
generate precisely the same kind of magnetism; therefore, no two can
bring forth the same results from the same subject, unless they, by the
exercise of will force, compel them to utter words and assertions they
wish them to.

One must also take into consideration the varying susceptibility of the
subject to the influences of different persons. A negative and good
subject will manifest very different characteristics under different
persons' influence.

The concord and harmonious feeling between operator and subject means
more than most men think, if real wisdom is to be gleaned. The
psychologist who uses only will power, considering his subject in nearly
the same light he would a material object, that could further his plans,
and wishes, will never acquire progressive wisdom upon abstruse subjects
that elude his own or his colleagues' understanding. He can to an
attentive audience who are ignorant of the principles governing
psychology, or mesmerism, perform through his subjects what I call
"physical phenomena," confounding the audience with facts of power they
can neither understand nor deny. He can fill them with awe, even horror
or fear, but he is limited to feats of physical prowess, or those that
are familiar to the majority of men. Request him to have a subject
perform some mental feat equally wonderful, and wholly beyond his (the
operator's) knowledge, and there follows a dismal failure. To be sure,
the subject may answer it to the understanding and satisfaction of both
questioner and operator; but compare that answer with demonstrated
scientific facts, and it will often be found faulty and inaccurate,
because the projecting will had only the power to force the subject into
the aura of persons possessing little knowledge upon the desired
subject.

A small amount of knowledge is always faulty and defective, being
tinctured so much with ignorance.

In the case we are considering, Clarissa had not the power to entrance
Alice, as she had never practiced in this line, and knew almost nothing
of the science. Like everyone who becomes interested in its efficacy,
having no experience by which to gauge her aspirations, she expected
more than demonstrated facts could illustrate. Her buoyancy of faith in
Alice's utterances while in the trance state, furnished the best of
conditions for Alice to work in, considering especially the refinement
and goodness of Clarissa's soul.

Her natural aspirations and desires were high and worthy of attention
for their own sakes. She was ambitious, progressive and desirous of
learning, she had little prejudice to overcome as she had almost no
knowledge of the efficacy of thought and she loved Alice for her own
pure self.

Alice had had a peculiar life and development. She had been kept quite
isolated; and knew little of the turmoil of material life, while the
love she bore Clarissa bordered upon worship. All her family loved
William, and had looked to him for years as the zenith of their lives;
he embodied to them all that was noble, excellent, grand and good. Never
once had he failed to be a loyal, staunch foundation. Both Merle and
Alice looked to him as they would their father, having supreme and
unfaltering faith in his every declaration.

Their love may not have been wise and judicious, but it was sincere and
earnest. The fact they made such excellent subjects was due to their
love and the desire to do whatever he wished. It was never a task nor an
inconvenience for them to do what he desired. They found their greatest
happiness in working for and pleasing him. Whenever either of them went
into a trance, it was gladly and willingly, and with the thought of
being honored by being selected by so distinguished a man as the
Professor.

They thought him not only the most honorable, but the wisest and most
powerful man living. Their sole anxiety was to please him and to do his
bidding, if by their quiescent obedience to his desire or will force
they could bring contentment or satisfaction, they were not only
satisfied but happy.

Alice was favored beyond Merle in this respect. She had not been forced
nor coerced, even in a trance. William had been a long time developing
her, but he had never asked her many questions, nor presumed upon her
negative state to yield him desired knowledge.

With Merle it had been different; he had been used, from the beginning,
to acquire knowledge of which the Professor was either ignorant, or
about which he had his doubts; Merle consequently partook of more of the
Professor's characteristics than Alice.

If Clarissa had tried to use Merle, although he was the acknowledged
best subject, he could not possibly have given her the same knowledge
Alice did.

Loving the Professor as they did, Merle and Alice actually adored his
family; Clarissa and Augustus were not common individuals in their eyes.
You can see what an effect of inspiration or almost superhuman power
this produced in Alice's life. She enjoyed any test imposed upon her for
the Professor's sake, through him or his family. He was wise and good,
his family were more. Her sincere love and admiration for Clarissa made
her an obedient slave, through love and not force.

Both subject and operator being actuated by sentiments of love, were
enabled to gather facts William, with all the force of his powers could
not obtain, owing to the fact he drew limits to possibilities and
actualities, judging by past or previous experiences, while Clarissa,
having no past theories, offered no prejudices to obstruct the flight of
Alice's imagination or inquiry.

She only waited patiently for answers to questions she furnished, having
the most complete faith and belief in the facts Alice avouched. Not
having definite ideas or theories upon the subject, she accepted without
comment, or prejudice, what William would have disputed. William's mind
brought into the balance, would have outweighed any new facts that she
gave.

Alice and Clarissa were actuated by love both for William and for
science, and the desire to do the best that lay in their individual
spirits, prompted them to rise above the limits, temporarily, of their
own possible achievements. Neither of them, reading the accounts of what
they had done, would have or could have valued it the same as he did, or
as any other person who possessed knowledge upon that line of thought.

They could acquire this knowledge, but could not practice it owing to
the same principle that causes the mirror to be capable of producing the
reflection, but not the tangible object which it may transiently
picture.

Clarissa did not pretend to understand the laws governing the phenomena
Alice avouched. This fact made her cling all the more tenaciously to
them. She knew her own mind or will had not, consciously or
unconsciously, influenced her, and her confidence and faith mounted
higher because of this fact.

William did not like to acknowledge the fallacy and fallibility of
thought as a creative power, and Clarissa, knowing less of its power,
gave full credence to all that Alice said. The united action or
combination of these two loving and loyal souls produced a large amount
of evidence or truth of life's actual manifestation. This truth, William
could neither deny nor condemn; he could not understand all the narrated
assertions or facts at once. Upon those points where he felt to
disagree, there was always some assertion or illustration he could not
refute, which drew his mind away from old theories, compelling him to
accept, even against his desires and will, the assertions as given.

He never acknowledged the advance in wisdom he made at this time;
possibly it was well he did not, as, if he had acknowledged himself in
error or faulty, they might have ceased to contemplate him as their
hero. This hero-worship was the principal factor that had brought about
the best results, lifting their souls out of the ordinary grooves, and
endowing them with momentary powers they could not live up to, but he,
their hero, gleaning knowledge of these facts, could live up to and
practice them.

Studying life closely, we find that the most fluent talkers lack
executive ability. Both are needed to materialize the most perfect
results. There must first come the realization of possibility beyond all
phases of expressed life that have been. It is the province of a
concentrator to materialize these possibilities.



CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE


As William and Clarissa talked over these scientific problems, the
mother's anxiety and perplexity kept presenting new problems to William.
His love for Clarissa, as well as for his children, made him negative
and receptive to many thoughts and conjectures of theirs he would not
have noticed in a stranger. One of the principal factors and questions
occurring to Clarissa's mind was, having children of her own, a boy and
a girl, would she wish to see them influenced and controlled by another
and outside influence from their own, the same as Merle and Alice were?

She knew her husband's motives were worthy and excellent, that he would
not impel them to do any deed he would not inspire his own child to do,
but he was only one man, and all men are not as honorable and
trustworthy as he. Many men, having the same degree of power, would have
used it for less honorable purposes. She knew just enough of it, to know
that the subject is not responsible and ought never to be blamed (where
justice is rife,) for the motive or intent that inspired the operator.

Before her range of vision was continually rising the picture of
Augustus or her baby girl, controlled and influenced by some powerful
mind concentrator. How did she know what such a person might make them
do?

This one thought haunted her like an unwelcome and unbidden guest, and
as her latest darling, the baby girl, lay close to her breast, she
pondered upon the subject more than she ever had with Augustus. Once
there had been a time when she had courted this influence, thinking it
might possibly, by some agency not known to her, restore strength and
vigor to his limbs. To obtain the power of locomotion for him had been
her supreme thought and desire. To gain this, she would have offered
herself a glad and willing sacrifice upon any altar that might have
presented itself between her and her goal.

When her girl baby was given her, for her keeping, its presence,
enriched by her husband's love and solicitude, her thoughts instead of
passing into the groove or channel of personal disappointment, roamed
into the path of conjecture and speculation of what might happen in the
babe's life.

She was still prejudiced by the popular thought, that will excuse in a
man's life that which they will not endeavor to condone in a woman's. As
she would hold that small, helpless baby close to her, finding
satisfaction in the intimate association of touch, she could not help
but think of the time or season when Augustus and this child would
mature and reach conditions proximate to those of Merle and Alice.

Somehow, there was an innate horror in her mind, when she thought of
their being in as complete subjection to the will and dictation of
others as Merle and Alice were to that of her husband.

This thought did not arise from anything she had seen either suffer, or
pass through at her husband's dictation; on the contrary, so far as
man's sight is privileged to scan material conditions, they had been
benefited and assisted by his presence and power in their lives; still,
that was no guarantee that every mesmerist wrought equally good effects
in his subjects' lives.

For a while, she kept these conjectures to herself, but the more she
reasoned, the less certain she felt, and finally she concluded to
consult William upon the subject. She knew he would laugh at her, and
that was the reason she had not consulted him before; possibly his
ridicule might relieve her anxiety.

One morning, they all (except Clarissa, who was still confined to her
bed,) sat watching Dinah wash and dress the baby. Augustus was now
always up and present at that occasion, causing Dinah no end of trouble
and annoyance by his countless questions and absurd directions. He
seemed to think the babe was his particular charge, and suffered keen
jealousy if he were not allowed to hold her as long as he thought the
rest did. She was the one topic of interest and conversation of which he
never wearied, although he tried the patience of others recounting her
excellence.

This morning, he had been unusually quiet and docile, so much so, that
when the baby was dressed, Dinah put her into his arms, kissed him and
patted his head before she went out. To her faithful heart, he would
never be anything but a baby of a larger growth. She knew something was
troubling him, and thought the baby would do him good.

His father and mother were quietly watching what was to them a lovely
picture, for Augustus was an unusually handsome child, and the baby gave
promise of being equally attractive, even at this early stage of its
development, although it must be confessed, it (of course) looked
similar to other equally young babies.

For quite a time, nothing was said. The parents were filled with pride
and happiness as they looked at that fair picture; those darlings were
theirs; the offsprings of their love for each other. The thought caused
each to seek the other's eyes. William rose to go to Clarissa, meaning
to tell her how happy he was. As he passed his children he stooped to
kiss them, for his heart was very warm just then.

Naturally, he kissed Augustus first and was surprised to see the boy
trembling, and as he turned to look in his face, he found the child's
eyes swimming in tears. He drew his arm more tightly around him and
said:

"My boy, what is it that troubles you? Tell me. Let me share your
grievance, or remove it."

The look that answered his loving inquiry haunted William for a long
time, and he was glad that Clarissa had not seen it. It was a look of
torture as keen as one might expect to see in some animal, wounded to
the death, and who makes no moan while its life blood oozes away. The
cause of such a look was more than he could divine. He drew both
children closely to him, and spoke again:

"Augustus, tell me."

The tears which ran down the boy's face were his only reply, while
William plainly felt the trembling of the child's body increase. The
sight of the boy's suffering was excruciating torture to him. He loosed
his hold upon Augustus, taking the baby from him, and carrying it to
Clarissa, who looked wonderingly at him for an explanation. He had none
to offer.

Augustus had not tried to resist when his father took his charge from
him, which was a new thing for him. Placing the babe beside its mother,
William returned quickly to Augustus, without kissing them both as was
his wont, and lifting the boy out of his chair, bore him in his arms to
his own private room. He let the tempest of tears vent itself without
comment, contenting himself by holding the boy close to him and stroking
his head. When he felt that Augustus was becoming calmed, he said:

"Now, Augustus, will you tell me of your sorrow?"

No answer, but Augustus' arms clung closer about his neck, and his head
nestled restlessly from one place to another, but he would not look his
father in the face. William waited patiently, knowing the boy's nervous
temperament, then spoke again, tenderly and lovingly:

"Can not my boy trust his father's love?--"

He never finished the utterance; the answer was so unexpected, and so
poignant of torture, it deprived him, temporarily, of both speech and
logical thought.

"Father, will she be ashamed of me when she gets older?"

"Ashamed of her brother? What an odd question! She will be proud of
you,--what thought prompted such a question?"

"Father, do you think she will ever walk?"

"Yes, my boy."

"When she sees all the other boys walking, will she be ashamed her
brother has to be wheeled around?"

William answered promptly:

"No; my son."

But that was the keenest pain he had ever felt, to witness the boy's
suffering, who was paying the price or the penalty of his own ignorance
and selfishness. The boy suffered keenly, but the father more as he had
a larger capacity for suffering. There was one thought that brought a
small degree of light; it was that Clarissa was spared this suffering.
How his heart ached for the boy, words cannot express.

They had tried in every possible way since Augustus' birth to reconcile
him to his infirmity. When he had expressed envy for boys who could run
and play, they had told him of the gifts and talents he possessed, and
that they were far more estimable and valuable than those the boys whom
he envied had. So much care had been taken with him, he had not thought
of his inability to walk in the light of shame, until he had thought of
what that tiny babe, whom he idolized and whom he wanted to think he was
as dear to as she was to him, would think of him, who could not guide
her faltering steps, because he could not steady and control his own.

He could not endure the thought that others could do for her what he
could not; no one loved her better (he thought, none so well,) yet they
could do for her what he could not; following this train of thought, it
flashed upon his consciousness she might be ashamed of him because he
was not like other boys.

The thought was too strong and horrible for him to bear without giving
some sign of suffering. She was his idol; all his plans were made from
the point of her supposed pleasure or displeasure; if she pitied him, he
could not endure it. He would rather she hated him. He could endure pity
from some one he did not care for, but never from Baby Clarissa. He had
not realized the enormity of his affliction until now. In the past, he
had been petted and loved, indulged and looked up to, and accustomed to
this homage from his birth, he had grown to believe it to be only his
due; his just deserts. Now there was a new factor and force come into
his life, dearer far than himself. He had felt, since the baby's coming,
he must watch over her and care for her, and his anxiety for her comfort
so far transcended his own, he forgot himself, a thing he had never done
before, and probably never would even now were it not for this helpless
little stranger who had come into his life.

Never having walked nor played, he did not fully realize the many
pleasures from which he was debarred, but it was borne home to his
consciousness suddenly and forcibly by the fact that the might of his
love would not permit him to do what a common stranger with no personal
interest in her might do. It was unbearable. Stinging horror filled his
soul at the thought of the comparison she might draw between himself and
other boys. He longed so ardently to be her ideal and hero among boys,
the same as she was and would always be among girls, that jealousy
became a fiery tormentor.

There was a time when his mother had been the principal object of his
interest and inspirations. It seemed as though all the force of his
nature, disappointed in his mother's loyalty to him as the one point of
interest on the earth, had been transplanted to this babe, gaining
intensity from the change, rather than losing it. Not even his parents
realized the strength of this devotion.

He could not help but partake of all the ardor and enthusiasm of their
souls, and this ardor, in the present state of his development, showed
itself in the admiration he felt for his baby sister, and as a
consequence, his suffering was both keen and loyal.

When his father, whom he considered the grandest and wisest upon the
earth (having heard so many eulogies upon his powers and prowess,)
assured him that Baby Clarissa would esteem him, and honor him, he
brought forth a deep sigh of satisfaction. He believed more fully in
what his father said than what his mother did. This was probably due to
the fact that his father had compelled from him that which his mother
never tried to exact.

Those persons who have made life a deep and profound study, have ever
found masters to be admired while servants are endured. Augustus had
governed and ruled, thus made servants of persons whom he had come in
contact with, until he had met his father. His father conquered his
imperative will, consequently his admiration had increased in proportion
to the degree he was conquered.

When he was a little more himself, William told him how proud Clarissa
would be of his art and music. Those boys who could romp and play could
not do what he could, and his sister would be as proud of his talent as
his parents were. He soon became cheerful and contented again. Then with
a mutual promise of secrecy concerning this interview, they returned to
Clarissa's room.

The baby was sleeping, but Clarissa was anxious to know what had
disturbed Augustus, still, being told that the interview was to be a
secret between father and son, and seeing Augustus cheerful, she
desisted from her inquiries, thinking it was some boyish whim William
had granted.

William had, however, received a pang of remorse he would not soon
forget. Augustus was the innocent sufferer for a lifetime for his own
hasty, unreasonable temper, while he, the cause, was a physically
perfect and happy man, coming forth from his past sufferings a better
one, while his boy paid the heavy price of his baseness.

The thought was nearly unbearable. From that time he became very
sensitive to Augustus' affliction. He resolutely made up his mind the
boy should walk if there was remedial virtue in magnetism. It should
become his one duty and ambition to study those limbs until they should
bear up, unsupported, the boy's body. He would never rest until he had
accomplished it. He was the cause of the boy's suffering, and he would
be his healer. If it was possible, his love increased for Augustus from
this time.



CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR


Merle came to take Augustus out, and William and Clarissa were left
alone; for a time both were silent, each wanting to impart to the other
the thoughts that were troubling them, but scarcely knowing how to
begin. Before the recent interview with Augustus, William would not have
hesitated referring to his condition and declaring his intention to try
to remove it, but now he felt a sense of embarrassment hard to explain,
and none the less excruciating because of that fact.

He could not overcome the thought he was a coward to let an innocent
child suffer for him, and felt deep shame. Unconsciously a deep sigh
escaped him which attracted Clarissa's attention. She was likewise deep
in meditation, wondering how William would receive her avowal of dislike
to have either of her children mesmerized. Hearing the sigh, she said:

"What is troubling you, William?"

"Nothing," said William.

"But you gave such a deep sigh--something unpleasant provoked it
surely.--Probably you think I cannot understand or appreciate it. Well,
I hope it will not trouble you long."

"I hope not, Clarissa;--I am going to try and make Augustus walk. The
cause of his inability to do so is nerve enervation. Thus the chords and
muscles are not supplied with sufficient energy to support his body. I
believe by the infusion of new and powerful magnetism, they will perform
the necessary and customary functions. It would be vastly different were
he not perfectly formed. His limbs are as perfect as any child's could
be; they are simply weak and impotent. Another great factor to his
disadvantage is his thought and the thought of all those around him that
he cannot walk. I intend to eradicate that thought from his
consciousness, making him have faith in the ability of his limbs to
support him. I think, Clarissa, I never suffered so, thinking of our
boy's weakness, as I did just now when he went out with Merle.--Merle
buoyant and well, but a needed support to my son, who is physically
perfect as he. I will take from Augustus the thought he cannot walk. I
will will myself to see him walking, running, and playing like other
children, then I will make him see himself as I see him. Think how happy
we shall be, Clarissa, when that boy steps. I feel responsible for his
weakness; therefore, I am glad I have studied Mind Power so thoroughly;
if I had not done so, our boy, whom we love so well, would have suffered
all his life; now I believe I can cure him--"

"Shall you hypnotize him to do this?"

"Certainly."

"Then I prefer him to be as he is--"

"Clarissa! You do not know what you are saying."

"Yes, I do, William;--that is why I say that I should prefer him lame or
impotent rather than have him mesmerized."

"I do not know what to make of that assertion.--It sounds as though you
doubted my ability to do what I have in mind."

"I do not doubt your ability in the slightest degree, but I do not want
Augustus nor our baby mesmerized as you do Merle and Alice."

"Clarissa, you astonish me.--I gave you credit for possessing
intellectual powers beyond the ordinary woman. Now you object to what
most women would hail with joy. Why do you not want our children
mesmerized by their own father, who loves them not one whit less than
you do? You imply by your remark I have in some manner injured Merle and
Alice by my power. I cannot help resenting that remark, as I have been
using Merle for years, and he has not, in all that time, done one thing
but was worthy of a gentleman. I kept him well until the time when I
suffered so acutely at seeing you so unexpectedly, that my mental
torture reflected upon him. Even that experience taught me a valuable
lesson, so a similar condition will never occur again. Go to the
Millards; ask them if I have brought anything into their lives they
regretted, or anything but good. Mrs. Millard is not afraid to trust her
children to me after our long experience together, but you, the mother
of my own children, do not dare to trust me with yours. Think of it!
Would I not gladly, think you, offer myself, a living sacrifice, before
harm should come to either of them? My desire is to remedy the evil and
wrong I unconsciously did years ago, and for which an innocent and
irresponsible person is suffering. Why, even you, yourself, came to me,
a stranger, and wanted my help to do the very thing I propose to do now.
You would have trusted our boy to a stranger, but will not to his own
father. I--"

"That is enough, William. I can see that you are still the same William
I married. Hasty--rushing to conclusions--"

"Who would not rush to conclusions? I never pretended to be a saint--"

"If you did, persons would not believe it who saw you just now--"

"Probably they would give that distinguished title to you, who are so
much more estimable in all ways. My memory is sufficiently clear to
remember you always sought--"

"William, have you no sense of either love or shame? You talk to me this
way when I am ill, and our baby here beside me."

"What love have you for me, when you do not trust my own boy to me?"

"I love you as my husband, but I am not willing my children shall either
of them be mesmerized, even by their father."

"You are not willing? May I ask you how you are going to help it if I
feel inclined to do so? I can mesmerize you any time I want to. How are
you going to protect your children from what you cannot protect yourself
from?"

"By the might of my mother's love."

"Ha--ha! So you think a mother's indulgent, negative love a secure
protection from positive and well directed thoughts. Wonderful logic,
that. It is worthy a woman's brain. You may be, as I know you are, a
proficient musician, but you have much to learn about science. Like all
ignorant persons, you talk loquaciously where you know nothing, and
possess no power. It is really ludicrous. You, a negative sensitive,
defy me. Why, I could, if I chose to exert the might of my will, make
you shrink from the embraces of both of your children, as though they
were serpents; yet you say I shall not mesmerize my own
children.--Excuse me, I cannot help laughing."

While William had been talking, he had not been looking at Clarissa.
When she spoke, he turned his eyes to her, and he would not admit to
anyone his surprise at the strength of character he found there. He was
too thorough a master of his work, not to recognize positive resistance
when he met it. If anyone had told him Clarissa could have looked him
firmly, unflinchingly in the eye, and dared him to use his will, he
would not have believed it. She spoke calmly and slowly: "I defy your
power; now when I am sick and weak, or at any future time, to influence
me in the slightest degree. You may be sure you will never affect my
children by any thought suggestions while my brain is clear and in
normal condition. Try it.--Begin upon me.--I not only do not fear
you.--I defy you and your boasted power.--You shall never mesmerize
Augustus. If I knew you had the power (which I doubt) to make him walk,
and that was the price to pay, I should say, 'Leave him as he is; a
cripple,' but you cannot mesmerize him."

As she spoke, Clarissa had risen to a sitting position in the bed. Her
eyes shone with a feverish lustre. An impartial observer would have
recognized the fact that here were two positive souls clashing in no
ordinary encounter. Undoubtedly they would have given the credit of the
final outcome to William, as he was working from the tried basis of
experience, while she was voicing the natural sentiments of a loving
mother's heart. Scientists have seen equally zealous mothers changed so
they would have felt very similar to William. He thought he knew
Clarissa, but he had yet some points to learn about her. The baby woke,
disturbed by the unwonted voices, and began to cry.--Clarissa reached
down, and drew her close up to her, then looked defiantly up at William,
and continued:

"You--you brave man of science, say you can make me dread my baby's
influence. Do it. Now is as good an opportunity as any man could ask,
for we are alone. I hold her lovingly to me--I defy you to make me put
her down. You are a coward--I see by your eyes you do not intend to try.
Only cowards talk without acting. Your words sound well to any person
who is afraid of you; I am not. I only feel I am chagrined and ashamed
to look my children in the face, and say, 'I chose and gave you such a
coward of a man for a father.' I--"

"Clarissa, stop; you will make yourself ill."

"I will not stop. I will tell you my opinion of you.--I defy you and
your power to influence me, or my children. You have yet to learn what
power and might there lies in a mother's love. I have not your power or
experience. I may not use my thoughts as scientifically as to furnish my
name with the lustre which surrounds yours, but I have power to protect
my children from yours, or any other man's thoughts, or the united
thoughts of them all. Put your mind upon me. You can hypnotize me any
time, can you? Do it now. Make me fear my baby. Do not dare approach my
bed, nor touch this child.--I do not care to listen to your further
conversation. This is my apartment. If you have left the faint shadow
even, of a gentlemanly instinct, you will leave it now, and forbear to
thrust your unwelcome presence upon me again until I am able to take my
children and leave."

"Clarissa--Clarissa!--You will not--"

"Have I not asked you to leave me and my baby alone? If you come one
step nearer--"

"But, Clarissa, you are making yourself ill. I cannot leave you in this
way."

"I cannot breathe the same air with you. My children appear serpents to
me! You are the serpent. If you do not leave this room at once, my child
and I will."

"Calm yourself."

"Not while you are here. I have all the strength of a lioness battling
for her young. Openly or secretly, you can never control or mesmerize a
child of mine. Try it, if you think you are stronger than I. You have
taunted me with negativeness. Words are easily spoken. I ask you to
substantiate that claim. Negatives, as I understand it, cannot look a
hypnotist in the eye without quailing. We will see who has the stronger
power, you or I. I am looking at you fixedly. Why do you not influence
me? You who are so proud of your power, ought not to falter when only
confronted by a sick woman."

"Clarissa, you will really make yourself ill. I did--"

"Do not talk to me.--Your presence is unbearable. Go by yourself; put
your mind upon me and my darlings, but never thrust--"

"I will not listen. You will not banish me again?"

"So long as Eternity lasts, may I never--"

"You shall not say those words."

"I will--"

"I say you shall not."

"See your face--"

"Clarissa, you are not yourself. I will go. Calm yourself."

"May this be the last time my eyes rest upon your form."

"My God! You do not mean that--"

"I mean every word--"

"You will not leave me again?"

"Not one step nearer. Do not dare try to touch me nor one of my
children. With all your boasted power, you will have no difficulty
making me do what you want me to. Just now, while you are getting there,
I prefer your room to your company; if you persist in remaining, I shall
leave."

"I cannot go without--"

"Your excuses are unnecessary.--Go.--After you reach your apartments put
your whole power of science upon me and my children; you will not affect
one of us three."

"Clarissa! I wanted to help Augustus--"

"Leave here now, or I will."

"Do not try to rise, dear--"

"Then leave me; and so long as life lasts, never enter my presence
again, unless you have me under such perfect mesmeric influence, I am as
you have said, 'Afraid of my own children.' Will you go or shall I?"

"Do not rise. You are not able."

"Then leave me."

"Not this way.--You misunderstood me--"

"You are mistaken. I understood you perfectly."

"Clarissa, do not banish me."

"Coward! I thought you were going to do all manner of things with
me.--Go;--either you or I leave here. I cannot endure your presence. I
cannot--"

"I cannot live without you again--"

"Where is the power of which you have boasted so much? I thought you
said you could mesmerize me any time you chose. This pleading does not
balance well with your large assertions; I must have some proof of them.
I throw you a challenge. We will see who has the stronger power; I say
I shall leave you and your home just as soon as I am able to do so. If
you are as strong as you pretend, capable of controlling me at any time,
you need not worry. If you want me to stay, all you have to do is to
will me to, making me dislike my children.--Go.--Your presence is like a
pestilence to me. I do not want my babe to breathe it.--Go--"

"I cannot--"

"Then I have more power than you."

Before William could divine her purpose, she had risen from the bed,
and, with the babe in her arms, she left the room. He started after her,
alarmed at the results that might follow; but he met Dinah, who resisted
him, by saying:

"Mistress Clarissa is anxious to stay in Augustus' room, and does not
want to see anyone."

To the servant, this seemed to be only one of the vagaries of the sick
woman. She had heard it said: "A very sick person turns against the one
he loves best." So when her mistress said that only Augustus was to be
admitted to see her, she felt her master's banishment was only one of
the symptoms of her sickness. She was loyal to both, but Clarissa's
sickness naturally appealed to her more than William's opinions and
prejudices.

How precious this sympathy was just at this time, nobody knew but
Clarissa herself. Clarissa naturally felt that she was the sole
protector and guardian of her children, whom she loved better than
herself. She had no reason to doubt William's affection for his family.
Her present attitude toward him was the result of her fear of mesmeric
influence, not her husband himself. He, being the strongest exponent of
the science of whom she knew, and telling her of his intention to
mesmerize Augustus had caused her (fearing that he would do so) to
picture in William, all the possible evil to be wrought by such a power,
exercised by an unscrupulous man.

Fear was the artist and conjurer that distorted to her eyes even
William's visage, as well as his intentions. Without her being conscious
of the fact, her fears had produced a state of self-psychology,
consequently, she could not see clearly nor truly, but beheld only those
points in William of which she was afraid.

A little knowledge of anything is often productive of harm. Clarissa had
but a limited knowledge of her husband's power, thus gave him credit for
possessing more than he really had. While defying him, she exaggerated
his possible power, but was sincere in her assertions she would protect
herself and her children. She was not afraid of him; it was her children
she worried about. Unconsciously, William had been responsible for this
condition. When he said he could make her shrink from her children's
embraces as though they were serpents, he gave her such a shock of
horror, to think there was any power that could so change the channel of
natural affection, she went directly to the opposite extreme, and saw
William as the serpent because he had suggested the possibility of so
horrible a thing.

It is impossible to talk and reason with a psychologized person when
they have an opposite opinion in mind, and Clarissa, being
self-psychologized, by fear, was no more amenable to reason than if she
had been put into the condition by another person.

She loved William, but in this highly wrought nervous state, she could
not see her kind and loving husband, who was an indulgent and thoughtful
father. She could not believe he was actuated by a worthy motive when he
spoke of mesmerizing Augustus. She pictured him selfish, commanding and
cruel, and no amount of reasoning could change her.

If the children were not with her all the time, she felt he had taken
them away to punish her. Keeping Augustus confined so much made him
restless and nervous when the baby was sleeping. He was contented enough
while he could hold her. When he began to manifest unrest, Clarissa
imagined his father's mind was upon him, trying to draw him away from
her, and she struggled with all the might of her soul to amuse and
please him.

To Augustus, his father was a wonderful man. He loved to talk of him and
what persons said of him. He often said "Let us call father." He did not
understand his father's banishment from his mother's room, for he had
been almost a constant presence there. Every time he mentioned his
father, Clarissa thought "that is William's mind affecting him."

Finally, she would not permit the boy to leave the room, telling him
that, being sick, she enjoyed having him always with her. This pleased
him, so he would draw while the baby slept, or Dinah and his mother
would tell him stories of their past life.

The sound of William's step or voice affected Clarissa's nerves so
visibly as to be plainly observable to anyone. Sometimes she saw him
right before her, then she would draw the baby close, set her teeth
firmly together, looking at the image defiantly until it would
disappear, when she would sink back, weak and despondent. Life was a
perpetual nightmare and horror to her, and she often thought "How long
can I live this way?" Then "I must gain strength for the children's
sake. We will go away soon now."

She wondered if her voice had been affected by the birth of her babe.
She almost dreaded testing it, still, if it had entirely gone, her
children were more to her than her voice. Her joy was complete when,
upon testing it, allowing for physical weakness, she was aware that her
tones were, if anything, richer than of old. That fact gave her courage.
She was not afraid to face life alone again, nor did she regret having
returned to William, for she now had another treasure added to her life.
The thoughts of how William would suffer, being left alone again, did
not occur to her. Her whole thought was bounded by her children's
presence.



CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE


William's feelings during this time would be impossible to portray in
words. Sometimes anger, sometimes love, sometimes discouragement,
sometimes hope swayed him. There was only one fact of which he was
always sure; he had never before known what abject misery was. He used
to think his home desolate; now he knew the much keener torture of
having his loved one in the same habitation and yet being sternly and
completely banished from her presence. It was even more disheartening
than to have her at a distance.

He worried about Clarissa's health, and the effect so much excitement
might have just at this time, especially, when she had gained strength
so slowly under happier conditions. Sitting alone, he would work himself
into a rage thinking of her injustice to him, when he had meant to do
Augustus the most good that lay in his power. Then the thought would
come "this nervous shock may make her sick, possibly take her from me."
Dinah's assertions did not satisfy him. He wanted to see her. Dinah told
him how his voice and step affected her, and he therefore used extreme
caution about walking within range of her hearing, or speaking loudly.

Augustus' companionship would have been a welcome relief, but he dared
not insist upon it, knowing Clarissa well enough to know she would
misconstrue his motive and come after the boy, if the exertion meant her
death.

Twice he reached the limit of his patience, and he made up his mind to
hypnotize her. He would rather be with his family if they were all
hypnotized, than to be isolated from them. How could he tell what she
would do? She was liable to go away, even before she was able, taking
the children with her.

This thought haunted him until he dared not leave the house. He felt
that he had been a good, loving father and husband; a sick woman's whim
should not separate them and ruin their lives again. It surprised him to
know that Merle and Alice, who had always been such welcome visitors,
were not admitted to see her or the children, and that Augustus was not
permitted to go with them to their home.

He felt he had been lenient long enough. She needed discipline, and he
would give it to her. Never before had he so completely thrown his whole
heart and soul into concentration, as he did now, thinking "She shall do
me credit. She shall send for me." The whole force of his soul was put
into the demand.

Before beginning, he had made up his mind he would not pause nor rest
till Dinah came with a message from Clarissa for him to come to her. One
thing that enraged him to use his power was he had himself plucked her
some rare blossoms, putting them, fraught with the influence of love,
beside the food Dinah was carrying to her. He felt those flowers would
carry to her the thought of his loneliness, and surely she would send
him some token of remembrance. He watched, expecting Dinah would have at
least a message for him when she returned.

He saw her coming, but did not wait for her to reach him, as he saw his
flowers, lying undisturbed where he had placed them. Disappointment, so
keen that it became rage, consumed his soul. He vowed he would break
that haughty, and (he felt) unjust spirit, so he set himself to the
task. How long he sat there he never knew.

He waited for Dinah to call him, and did not notice the approach of
Augustus. He started up as a man in a dream when he heard the agonized
cry:

"Papa, come quick; mamma is dying. Quick. Something is the matter with
baby; that is what frightened mamma so. Do not let them die."

William heard the words. He saw distinctly the boy's horrified and
suffering face, but he could not bring his mind back to the actualities
of the present.

"Papa,--mamma is dying, and sister is dead--"

Without stopping to console or speak to Augustus, William strode rapidly
from the apartment, ascending the stairs with long bounds, and was soon
in his wife's room. No wonder they thought she was dying. He will never
forget that drawn, suffering face. She was sitting up in the bed,
sustained by pillows, panting and gasping for breath, and holding
closely to her, her rigid baby, lifeless and cold. She did not notice
him when he entered, for despite her own suffering, her eyes never left
the baby's face.

"Clarissa."

At the sound of his voice, new strength seemed to come to her. Her eyes
flashed, even while her breathing came shorter and shorter. The words
were separated owing to her difficulty to breathe, but they were clear
and calm.

"You have killed one. Are you satisfied?"

"Clarissa! My God! You think I killed my child?"

"I know it."

"My God! Oh, my God! Clarissa, do not look like that. You shall not
die.--I say you shall not die. Clarissa--Clarissa--You shall not die
cursing me. Clarissa, I defy death to take you. My will is stronger than
yours. Live.--Breathe. Clarissa, I will you to breathe regularly.
Breathe, I say. Breathe. You cannot and shall not leave me. I will you
to breathe."

With his right hand placed upon her heart, he repeated over and over
this command, telling Dinah occasionally to give her stimulants. It was
a fierce struggle, and more than once he felt the utter cessation of her
heart's action. He shook her roughly, even, rubbed her and willed her to
breathe, until he was finally rewarded by noting the heart's action was
becoming more normal and regular, though her eyes had set fixedly, and
her arms refused to support the babe, as in one fierce struggle to
breathe, she put one hand to her throat. That let the baby fall, and
Dinah caught it. She was so distracted herself, she did not think when
she gave it to Augustus, who had just entered.

The boy thought she was dead and his mother was dying. He hugged her
close to him. She was cold; he tried to warm her by the heat of his own
body; he was so frightened he felt no sense of terror, which would have
been the natural sensation with him under different circumstances. He
wanted sympathy he was so frightened, so he held his sister clasped
tightly to him, with his eyes fastened upon his father and mother.

William worked as never before in his life, and gained the victory,
seeing Clarissa pass into a natural sleep.

Then only did he realize the amount of strength he had expended. When
he saw a natural perspiration break out upon her forehead, and her eyes
close in sound, refreshing sleep, he was seized with a strong vertigo.

Dinah brought him a stimulant, and even while he was drinking it, his
eyes did not leave Clarissa's face, and the unmistakable symptoms of
returning physical vigor, as evidenced by her regular breathing, did
more to restore his equanimity than the stimulant itself. The thought of
his children had not once occurred to him.

Augustus had been watching him closely, and knew by the expression upon
his face his mother was not dying, but better. That fact had no more
than made itself clear to him, relieving him from one horror, than he
became aware of the cold dead babe in his arms. His idol, his sister was
dead!

As that thought bore itself home to him, there came an accompanying one.
"Mamma was dying," he thought, "father saved her. He can do what other
men cannot. He can bring her back to life."

His faith in his father was supreme. Death and science were both
mysteries to him, but he had faith in his father's ability to conquer;
he had seen him do it just now. Knowing his mother was all right by the
expression on his father's face, he felt a strong resentment no one,
not even Dinah, had noticed the baby. He was her only friend. He thought
of her if no one else did. He would see to it she had as much attention
as his mother. Women could take care of themselves better than babies.
He hugged it closer to him, growing angry instead of sad, as he felt how
cold she was. He had not one doubt as to his father's ability to do as
well for it as for his mother.

He quickly directed his chair, with one hand, to his father, who did not
look up as he approached, but stooped over Clarissa to test her heart's
action again, although he knew from her breathing it was all right. He
had been under such a tension, such a nervous strain, he was in just
that mental condition where one goes from one extreme to the opposite,
therefore feeling a touch upon his arm, he looked around to see Augustus
with such a look of injured pride upon his face as caused him to feel a
sense of humor. A glad smile brightened his face and he spoke
cheerfully.

"She is going to stay with us a long time yet, my boy. If you had been a
little later--My God! Dead!"

Without a word, Augustus passed the baby forward for his father to take.
William had not thought of the baby. There it lay in his arms,
inanimate, cold--undoubtedly dead. That was what Clarissa had meant when
he entered. Why should she condemn him for murdering it? He had not
thought of the baby so much as he should have done. What would Clarissa
say when she awoke and found her baby dead? One thing he knew; she would
always hold him responsible for her death, though he was as innocent of
it as Augustus.

The dead baby between them meant the loss of Clarissa forever. The
children had always come between them. Her best love was theirs. He at
once made the resolve Clarissa must find that babe alive and warm beside
her when she awoke. He never paused to consider he could not raise the
dead.

This new obstacle restored to him his customary self-control, and
stooping with the babe in his arms, he kissed Clarissa softly and
tenderly, and without a word, placed the baby back in Augustus' arms,
who clasped it tightly to him, looking at his father with that same
injured look William did not try to explain or understand. His mind was
too busy with other thoughts.

He had determined the child should waken. He could not, and would not
bear the unjust stigma of its death. He hastily explained to Dinah he
would soon bring the child to her, and commanded her not to leave
Clarissa, telling her to let him know if there was any change in her.

Dinah's faith in William was as strong as that of Augustus, and, as he
had said that he would bring the baby to her well, she believed him
implicitly. That feat would be no more wonderful than what he had just
done for Mistress Clarissa.

After giving his directions, William leaned over with a pleasant smile,
and took both children in his arms, carrying them to his private room.
On his way, he met James and a strange gentleman. They were going
towards Clarissa's room. To William's surprised look, James answered,
"Master, this is the doctor Mistress sent for. She told me to bring him
to her at once."

A hot wave of emotion passed over William's face, that a strange
physician should be consulted, and have the privilege of entering his
wife's room without his consent. Without looking at the doctor, he said:

"Show him into the reception room. I will be there soon."

"Mistress Clarissa said for me to bring him to her at once."

"She is sleeping. I just left her, and do not wish her disturbed. I will
come to the doctor in--"

"Father! She moved--she moved!"

There was such exultation in Augustus' voice when he spoke, that James
and the stranger, despite their best efforts to look and appear
unconcerned, could not help showing astonishment.

"It is gone now, but she did. Hurry, father, hurry. Make her move
again."

The boy was beside himself with emotion. He was sure he had felt a
nestling motion in his idol. He was impatient to see her eyes open. She
was still cold. He thought she was not quite so cold as she had been.

William noted the looks of astonishment, but felt no desire to explain.
He spoke sharply to James:

"Take the Doctor to the reception room. I will come there as soon as I
have attended to Augustus, who is nervous and excited."

James dared not disobey his master, so he led the physician back, while
William, with his children, went into his study. Augustus was so excited
that his face flushed and his whole body trembled; his eyes flashed
brilliantly.

"She did move, father,--I felt it. Make her move again. She is not so
cold as she was. I want to see her eyes open, father."

"Yes, my son. Now remain quiet. What! You will not trust her to me?"

"I want to hold her."

"Do not hold her so tightly. I cannot work on her if you do. There; now
you can rub her feet, while I do her spine."

"She moved again, father. I felt it. Make her open her eyes."

"No, my boy, we will be content if she sleeps, like her mother. She is
becoming less rigid. Rub them vigorously. There. Her eyes opened just as
her lungs did. We cannot feed her. What shall we do?"

"I knew you would save her, father. I love to hear her cry. She shall
have something to eat. Will you carry us back to mamma, now?"

Without comment, William took them up, and started back, happy that
Clarissa would find her baby beside her, warm and living, when she woke.
Just before they reached her room, Augustus spoke:

"Father, I think sister will have as bad a temper as mine. I like to
hear her cry, but I think she is angry; do not you?"

"It sounds like it, my son."

"I expect she does not realize she would have died if you and I had not
taken care of her. It's a wonder I ever lived to grow up when Dinah is
so careless."

Hearing the baby crying, Dinah immediately took her from Augustus, and
put her beside her mother, who was still sleeping. William put Augustus
in his chair, where he could watch both mother and babe. He turned
toward the bed just in time to see the glad surprise upon Clarissa's
face as she heard the fretful cry of the baby. Never was music so sweet
as that. She drew the baby to her, and as she leaned to kiss her,
William left the room.

He went directly to the reception room, where the doctor was waiting for
him. He was by no means pleased a strange physician had been called in.
If she was ill and unwilling to have him treat her, why did she not send
for Baxter or Harrington? What would they think if they heard of this?
What a position it placed him in. He could not, and would not explain to
any person (even them) this last estrangement in his family. He would
conquer Clarissa's haughty spirit. Now was a good time for him to begin.
Entering the room, he bowed and said:

"I am happy to inform you the indisposition from which my wife was
suffering when she summoned you, has passed away. She is now resting
comfortably. We appreciate your compliance. I will now discharge our
obligation and indebtedness to you, if you will apprise me of the
amount."

The doctor was surprised at his dismissal, without even a look at the
patient, but no more so than at the summons to go to the Professor's
house. He thought it very strange that he should be called there,
knowing the Professor was the intimate friend of several prominent
practitioners. He felt greatly flattered at the call, but now he was
dismissed without so much as seeing the patient.

He quickly took his leave, after expressing gratification at the
recovery of Mrs. Huskins, and receiving a larger fee than he had asked
"as a reward for his promptness," as William told him.

Relieved of his presence, William went back to his study to try to work
out to his own satisfaction, the cause of the horrible scene he had just
passed through. That seemed the only word capable of expressing the
torture of mind he endured when he saw that look so closely resembling
death upon Clarissa's face. How he had fought to conquer that condition.
How many more such problems must he meet? Could he always conquer them
as he had this?



CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX


Think as he would, William could not account for this latest condition
of Clarissa and her babe. The thought of the babe had not once recurred
to him. From the time of her birth she had appeared to be physically a
well child. What could be the cause of this close resemblance to death,
which had temporarily deceived such keen eyes as his.

This was not the most perplexing problem either, although this was
unanswerable in his present state. The child's passing into this
deathlike state was not so remarkable, owing to Clarissa's physical
weakness and nearness to death, (for he knew how much the condition of
the mother affects the small and negative babe) as was its return to
health and vigor, without apparent labor upon his part first, for
Augustus had declared, while his mind had been taken up with James and
the strange physician, that the babe had moved. To be sure, he had
worked hard upon it after he had taken the two children alone to his
room, but what made her move before he had worked upon her? He believed
Augustus when he said she did move.

How to account for this apparent death and recovery was what baffled
him. Had he been the only one deceived, he would have thought his fears
and anxiety for Clarissa had rendered him temporarily nervous and
fearful, but Dinah and Augustus were equally deceived, and united in the
assertion.

It was the baby's coldness and rigidity that had alarmed and produced in
Clarissa the condition of a seeming death struggle. What could it be
that had caused this? He asked himself that one question until his mind
and brain was a complete tangle of conjecture, but not one plausible or
satisfying answer came to his consciousness.

While he was seeking the solution to it, let us try to account for the
same. William was a practised and proficient psychologist. He was
accustomed to control the individuality and personality of others, by
force of will, or, as some persons prefer to say, mind suggestions; use
whatever words you will, it all resolves itself to one point. He
temporarily dominated the consciousness of others, making them, for the
time being, obey and express his own thoughts and desires.

Being shut out from the association and companionship of his family, he
chafed, fretted and suffered as only such a nature as his can suffer. He
was pursued by pictures of Clarissa's leaving him again and misery of
the darkest type settled upon his soul.

His wife was the one object of adoration in his life. He loved his
children as well as any man loves his children, and would gladly have
suffered to spare them suffering, but never could they occupy their
mother's place in his affections, or satisfy his soul's hunger. They
could do this better than another woman could, because they were hers;
they were a part of her--an expression of their mutual love; therefore,
he prized their comfort and welfare beyond his own, but Clarissa was the
object of his veneration.

Her smile and approval gauged his happiness. That he was not equally
necessary to her tortured him.

Never had she bestowed upon him the same degree of affection he had
proffered her. He was satisfied and happy if he had her, but she was not
equally contented; after the children came, her first thought was of
them, and their happiness, and what time and affection they did not
require, she gave to him. He was an unusually jealous and exacting man,
and could not help feeling jealous of even his children, for he wanted
to be first in her affections and interest, and the thought she should
again leave him alone was simply maddening.

This second separation would be incomparably worse than the first. His
love for her as a bride had not approached the degree and depth of the
ardor he felt for the mother of his children. Having for so many years
been deprived of her presence and love, he prized it more highly now
than he could possibly have done in their early married days.

When he found no man had stepped between them in that first separation,
he felt so relieved, so happy, so proud of his boy, he thought at first,
he would be content with second place in her love; when little Clarissa
came, she was only another object upon which to bestow his warm love,
and he fervently believed her coming would cement and strengthen
Clarissa's love for him, the father of her children.

His hopes had been rewarded in her early sickness, furnishing him a
degree of happiness he had never before known; to be thus positively
assured his presence was necessary to their happiness, and then, without
warning, when he was planning to do his boy the greatest good possible
to perform for him, she turned upon him like a tigress, banishing him
from her presence, threatening to take her children and leave him again.

The first desolation had been bad enough, but the second would be
infinitely worse. Had he been selfish, cross, jealous or exacting, he
could have endured this new and unexpected banishment better, but so far
as he knew how, he had striven to make his family happy, consulting, in
every instance, their pleasure before his own.

Since she had returned to him, Clarissa herself had been the dictator;
he had faithfully kept his promise she should reign and not he, only
intruding upon her presence and life when she gave him permission. They
had both, he knew, been happier in their reunion than in their first
union, or marriage.

Clarissa had proven her love to him many ways. He could not doubt her
loyalty to him, and that was what puzzled him. He had not the smallest
shadow of a doubt she loved him only, considering other men as his
opponents but why--why did she threaten to leave him, when he spoke of
trying to heal Augustus?

He repeated over and over to himself that he would not be jealous of his
own children, knowing he had no occasion to be jealous of anyone else.
He was sorry he had spoken so harshly to her. She was ill and nervous
and knew very little about mesmeric influence.

Truly, he had no real distinct memory of what he had said. When she was
a little stronger, he would go to her and ask her pardon and assistance
to help Augustus, that he, an innocent victim, should not pay his
father's debt of jealousy and injustice. As William thought this out,
he did not realize what a growth in real true love it proclaimed.

Studying them from a psychologist's standpoint, it is easy to understand
the cause of the phenomena that disconcerted and puzzled him. He was, at
the time of the baby's sickness, throwing the full and complete might of
his practiced will into the thoughts of demanding his wife to send for
him, thinking he would rather be in her presence even though she were
psychologized than banished from it as he was now.

She was holding the baby close to her, just at that time, thinking how
she should plan out the future so her darlings should be best situated.
Suddenly she felt the strong, magnetic power which she knew so well from
her experience with it, producing in her head, a dizzy sensation.

Believing he was going to carry out his threat to make her fear her
children's presence, (for she knew it was his thought waves), she drew
her baby still closer to her, in defiance, while her eyes at once sought
Augustus' face to see if he was in any way affected.

She had no concern for the baby who was feeding from her breast; her one
thought was of Augustus. He was the one his father had threatened to
mesmerize; he should not do it while she was alive. Augustus sat drawing
before her. He was irritable and cross, for he had wanted to go and see
Merle, but his mother had insisted upon his staying with her.

Well as he loved to draw, the enjoyment vanished when he was crossed in
his desires and compelled to draw. His face was the picture of
disappointment. His mother's anxious scrutiny marked the pallor and
symptoms of yielding to what she thought his father's mesmeric
influence.

She could not fully understand and comprehend the boy's reluctance to
forcible restraint. She watched his face eagerly and saw that he was
nervous and uneasy, and strove to defeat the dreaded condition by the
might of her will.

Augustus finally threw down his utensils impetuously, and said, "I am
going to my father"; starting to move his chair back. This was a perfect
confirmation of her fears. She instinctively tried to rise, saying in a
harsh tone, "You cannot go." But as she arose, she became suddenly aware
of the babe and that it had stopped nursing, and looking down, she saw
it lay quiet and limp in her arms.

Her anxious, overwrought nerves rushed her to the quick conclusion that
William's power had killed her baby. Being weak, this sudden shock threw
her into such a vertigo her heart became erratic in its movement, and
she was fast sinking away, believing that her baby had preceded her,
when William came, compelling her to live and breathe normally.

Coming to consciousness and finding both children well, and hearing
Augustus' and Dinah's glowing accounts of William's powers, which were
largely exaggerated by their love for him and their ignorance of what
had produced these results, she began to feel her ire towards him
vanishing, and it was soon supplanted by a longing to see him.

Why should he work so to save her and her baby, if he had no love for
them? She longed for his presence, whether as father, husband or
hypnotist. Should she send for him? She was proud, and hesitated and
promised herself to do so the next day. She would not admit how nervous
she was, even to Dinah.

She fought with her inclination to see William all day. She had no more
trouble with Augustus, for he could not be coaxed from the room. When it
came time for him to retire, his mother granted his request that he
might this once sleep with the baby, and as she was sleeping he clasped
her close to him, seeming to be nervous about her.

Clarissa felt such pride in seeing the children sleeping, she wished
William could see them too. That was the most beautiful picture she had
ever seen. Augustus had the baby close to him in a loving embrace;
looking at her treasures, she wondered if any other mother had such
cause for pride as she. She turned over upon her side, that she might
look easily at them. The picture of their happiness soothed her troubled
nerves, and she fell into a refreshing sleep.

How long she slept, she did not know. She was vaguely conscious of an
arm passing around her shoulder, and holding her lovingly and close. She
knew that it was William's, without opening her eyes. She felt such a
sense of security in that embrace, she would not open her eyes, though
she was awake and conscious whose arm it was. She felt if she spoke, she
must censure him, and she was, at present, so content she did not want
to argue, or even talk; so she seemingly slept on.

William had felt so strongly he must see his treasures, he had sent word
to Dinah to apprise him when they were asleep. She did so. He told her
to lie down in her own apartments and he would call her when there were
any signs of their awakening. She was glad of a reprieve, and he was
happy to be with his family.

For a time, it seemed enough to look at them, then he felt a longing to
touch Clarissa. Sitting beside the bed, he leaned over, resting his head
near hers, while one arm passed over her. Afraid to waken her, he did
not dare to draw her to him, so his head moved closer to hers. He
thought her sleeping, and unaware of his presence.

His position soon became uncomfortable, yet he was afraid to change it,
for fear she should awaken and banish him. She seemed to be sleeping
soundly like the children, and he ventured as she made an uneasy
movement of the head, to as easily as possible pass the other hand and
arm under her head, at the same time, forsaking the sitting posture for
a reclining position beside her.

Her back was toward him, as she faced the children, but there was a
certain security in feeling his arms close around her. She must be
asleep, as she made no movement.

The pride of both prevented their speaking, and perfect quiet reigned
until the baby began to cry, waking Augustus, who was all concern for
his sister. Without speaking to William, nor attempting to move from his
embrace, Clarissa reached over and took the babe to her. William did not
speak nor move, except to reach out his hand and draw Augustus as well
as the baby into his embrace.

To Augustus' query "Is that you, father?" he answered "Yes, my boy. Now
go to sleep, that you and sister may be good natured tomorrow."

Putting one arm around his sister, and hearing her regular breathing,
Augustus was soon fast asleep. Neither William nor Clarissa spoke; each
was waiting for the other to make the first advances; both too proud to
acknowledge themselves in error. Finally, Clarissa fell asleep from
sheer exhaustion. Dinah found them so when she came, early the next day.

William offered no objections, when she ordered him to leave, for he
felt his banishment would not be long. Clarissa knew that he was there
before she went to sleep; she did not censure him, nor bid him depart,
therefore, she did not hate him. It was probably her sickness that had
made her hasty and harsh to him. That sickness was largely his fault, so
he would be patient.

Small babes are but sensitive plates upon which are reflected the strong
emotions of the mother. Clarissa was nervous and weak, and feeling the
strong magnetism flowing from William's thought, she was consumed by
actual fear, in her secret soul giving him credit for more power than he
possessed. The nursing babe imbibed all her nervous condition, but,
unlike her, had not sufficient power to throw off the depression, and
therefore it succumbed to a swoon. Clarissa thought she was dead, and
her anxiety produced an effect deeper still, owing to the fact that it
was only picturing her thoughts.

All physicians know that many of the illnesses of small babies are the
result of the nervousness or real sickness of the mothers; set the
mother's mind or body at rest and ease, and the baby revives as quickly
as a dry and parched plant, supplied with water. So much for the cause
of babies' sickness.

The cause of its resuscitation and movement, without visible aid, was
due to precisely the same cause that had made it sick;--its mother's
thought.

When William had succeeded in placing Clarissa in a sound, refreshing
sleep, there was no further depressing magnetism flowing towards it.
Dinah and Augustus had perfect faith he could restore the babe, and he
was determined she should not die, knowing Clarissa would always hold
him responsible for its death, though he was as innocent of it as the
baby herself.

Like any negative, a babe will reproduce the strongest power coming to
it at a given time. As it had no power to put away thoughts of
depression, it was equally powerless to thrust from it cheerful and
healthful ones. The strongest waves of thought at that time said "Live,"
and it began to manifest symptoms of life, while in close contact with
those two who had insisted it must and should live;--Augustus and
William.

It was only a case of temporary suspended animation, as the child was
physically well. Many psychologists would have made a similar mistake as
William, for while they can easily dominate the consciousness of
others, there are many subtle phases of thought and action they cannot
understand nor account for. The realm of thought action is as infinite
in its scope as is the Universe.



CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN


The next day Clarissa thought William would come to her, knowing she was
waking while he was there the night before, as she did not rebuke him
nor send him away. This thought pleased her and she determined he should
feel proud of his family when he came. Dinah marveled at the orders she
received, but she said nothing, thinking her mistress ill and notional.
She was too glad to have her mistress improved to care how much work she
was called upon to do.

First, there was the baby and Augustus to wash and dress, with Clarissa
directing and insisting upon their being arrayed with unusual care and
elegance. This was no easy task, for mother and son did not always
agree, especially about the baby. This over, Clarissa insisted upon
having herself robed with great care, and having her room changed in
several ways; finally all was arranged to her fancy, and Dinah drew a
long sigh of relief. It had been a trying time to her.

Baby was asleep, and Dinah left mother and son talking; Augustus coaxing
to go and see Merle. Clarissa was continually listening for William's
footsteps, believing, with her usual faith in conquering conditions, he
would come early to see her. She wanted him to find both children
there. Few fathers had such beautiful children. He must be proud of them
as she was; so she coaxed Augustus to remain, under one pretext or
another, but there were no signs of William.

She grew restless and uneasy. Suddenly it dawned upon her that he
expected her to ask him to come to her. He wanted to make her humble
herself; her pride arose at once. She would not do it. Thinking it over,
she grew restless and feverish--even anxious. Augustus kept plying her
with questions. He wanted to go to see Merle; he would come home by the
time baby sister would wake. Why could he not go?

Thinking it over, Clarissa thought "Here is a chance to reach William
without really sending for him," so she said cheerfully:

"You may go ask your father if Merle is at home and disengaged to-day,
also if he does not think baby sister ought to have some of James'
choice flowers."

Before she could say more, Augustus was out of range of her voice. She
lay thinking how she would greet William when he came in; she was sure
he would bring the flowers as a peace offering to her. He had been rude
and harsh to her; she would appear cold and distant to him to show that
she resented his conduct, and she would tell him just what she thought
of his mesmeric power. She was not afraid of him; he should see that.
If she acted pleased to see him, he would think his power had influenced
her, and that was not the impression she wanted him to have, so when she
heard Augustus' chair coming, and the boy talking animatedly to his
father, she quickly turned her back toward the door, and feigned
arranging the baby more comfortably.

The chair soon stopped beside the bed, and Augustus said, "See, mamma,
what father sent to sister. James did not want to cut them yet, but
father said that nothing he owned was too good for her, and of course he
owned them, so James had to do it. He said he was growing them to get a
prize from the public exhibition, but father said sister's pleasure was
more to him than any prize. Are they not beauties, mamma? This one is
for you; he told me I could have it to give you. You are to wear it
while we are gone, and think of me. Father is going to take Merle and me
to see all the lovely pictures somewhere. I forget where. Then we are
going to have dinner and go to the theatre. Won't that be jolly? He says
I look very nice this morning. He wants me to kiss baby for him. Good
bye, mamma."

Before she had time to remonstrate, he was gone. How deep was her
disappointment, she was unwilling to admit, even to herself. She had
been sure William would come with the flowers himself. He had sent the
baby rare flowers and allowed Augustus to give her one (they were her
favorite tube-roses, which James always kept in bloom). He had sent her
nothing, and was going away to stay all day, seeking pleasure with
Augustus and Merle, leaving her at home, ill in bed, without even a
question as to how she had recovered from her indisposition of
yesterday.

This thought produced anger that supplanted all the softness and
tenderness she had so lately felt. She heard them go, and drew her baby
to her with a sigh of injured pride. They were forgotten; she was ill,
but he could go and enjoy himself.

She did William an injustice. He thought if he went to her without an
invitation, she would consider it as an intrusion, after what she had
said at their last interview. When Augustus came with his request to go
to Merle, and said mamma asked him for flowers for sister, he thought he
saw signs of Clarissa's forgiveness, and he would have given anything
his money could have bought to prove to her how glad he was that she had
sent to him for a favor.

He had not dared to leave the house after her threat to leave him, for,
being there, she could not go;--even if it was necessary to use force.
He would not be left again. He knew she would not leave without
Augustus, so he thought to please her by making the boy happy therefore
he had planned to give Augustus and Merle a holiday.

He knew if Clarissa had intended to see him or send for him, she would
have sent her message by Augustus. He thought she would see his love in
the selection of the flowers. He was disappointed not to have been
called in when he went to the very door of her room with Augustus; she
knew he was there, for he had purposely talked all along the passage. He
was anxious to see how fully she had recovered from yesterday's illness,
and was not satisfied to take Augustus' and Dinah's words concerning her
health.

She might be taken suddenly ill again while he was gone, and die before
he could be reached. Augustus was away now, if he had not come to him so
quickly, she would have died.

These unpleasant thoughts began to haunt him about as soon as he closed
the door of his house. He said nothing to Augustus, for the boy was all
enthusiasm, but long before father and son had reached Mrs. Millard's,
he had concluded to go back at once. He would run no risk.

Arriving at the Millard's, he pleasantly asked them to join Augustus in
a day of recreation and pleasure, doing so in such a way he seemed to
consider it a favor for them to care for Augustus, and entertain him. He
planned out the programme, gave them the necessary money, and departed,
telling them that he had business that should be attended to, but must
first go home for something he had forgotten. He would send the carriage
back.

Arriving home, he ran up the steps, he was so anxious to know that all
was well. He met no one. Removing his street garments as quietly as
possible, and hoping that he would not be heard, he ascended the
stairway that led to Clarissa's room, looking for Dinah, whom he wished
to tell he was at home, and would remain there; thus she was to call him
if anything was wrong.

The door was open, but no Dinah was in sight. He hesitated then
approached the door, trying to make no noise. He wanted to look in;--and
did, undiscovered. Clarissa had been crying; that was easily seen. There
was too much color in her face. Was it fever or nervousness? He was glad
that he had come home. His gaze was so steady she looked up quickly and
saw him just as he tried to dodge from her sight. She was so surprised
she spoke before she thought.

"William!"

At the sound of his name, he stepped back into the room.

"Where is Augustus?"

"At Merle's."

"Why are you not with him? He said you were going with him."

"I did."

"What brought you back?"

"You want to know the exact truth?"

"Yes. Of course I do."

"You."

"Me?"

"Yes; I was afraid you might be ill again--"

"Probably you mean you wanted to work upon me again. Well, I am not
afraid of you."

"What do you mean?"

"You need not get angry; it was you, and you alone, that almost killed
baby and me."

"Clarissa, you do not know what you are saying. I make you sick!--Never.
It was I who cured you."

"William, let us not get angry with each other, but try to find out the
truth. Were you or were you not thinking of me when I was stricken
yesterday?"

"I was."

"I knew it. I told you you made me ill."

"I deny it. I was thinking of anything but your being ill. I swear my
only thought was you should send for me to come to you. I wanted to be
with you. I was lonesome and desperate at the thought you would leave me
again. I never thought of the baby. I am as blameless of the cause of
her sickness as you."

"It was the sight of her that frightened me so."

"I do not wonder, Clarissa. I have tried and tried to account for her
close resemblance to death, when she is physically such a perfect
specimen of health. Try to do me justice. I am not so unnatural a man as
to torture any person."

"You threatened to make me fear my children."

"I did no such thing. Only a vicious coward would do that. What a
husband I must have been to you, when you suspect me of doing such
things!"

"You did say so, William; that was what alarmed me."

"I say I did not. I said I could do it."

"I say you cannot."

"I shall never try. You are no more proud of the children than I, and
you may be sure if they never suffer injury or injustice at any but
their father's hands, they will have a pleasant life. Tell me why you
were so angry, when I wanted to help Augustus. Can you not realize how I
feel, when I know he is passing through life maimed for my sin? Is it
not a duty I owe him to use every means in my power to assist him to
walk? No person has ever been injured by my influence."

"Merle has."

"Merle? How?"

"You made him lie."

"That very experience brought me wisdom. I was jealous. I could not
account for his sudden sickness upon seeing you. Can you not forgive me
my indiscretions?"

"Knowing the cause;--yes. But has your gain in knowledge given Merle any
more power? William, think well. Think well. The power you use, I am
afraid of. Do not speak yet. Listen. You are a good man. Merle is a
truthful boy. You made him tell a lie, and then believed it, placing the
responsibility upon an innocent person. If a good man can make such a
blunder, what great evil a bad man could do with it! Knowing what you do
now, would you want Augustus or baby or me to be mesmerized, and subject
to the thought of any man you know? Think what it means, William. Would
you? Answer from the depth of your spirit."

The thought of the children did not so strongly impress him, but when he
thought of Clarissa's being subject to the commands of any man he knew,
he started as though he was stung by a wasp.

"No."

"What right then, have you to influence other men's wives and children?"

"None, I suppose. I had never thought of it that way. I honestly
believed I was doing good. Help me to unravel this problem. You have
shown me a picture I know is faulty, but I cannot detect the weak
points. Alice has said, and you seemed proud enough of it, that I should
be an illustrious exponent of science. I used to think it an infallible
power; now I do not know what to think of it. If it is true that I have
made my best subject lie, and almost killed my wife and babe--I who am
considered an expert in practice,--you are right. I do not want to think
of its force in the use of corrupt men. After all my study, and all my
work, I admit I know nothing. I am discouraged."

"Come look at baby. She has just awoke. Is she not a treasure? You have
not kissed her for days. Do you not want to?"

"Nor her mother either. Clarissa, what shall I do? I want to be just the
man you respect and admire."

"Wait until I am well, William, then you shall explain to me the science
of mesmeric control, and we will work together with Alice to find out
those facts that you do not know. Somehow, I feel you are really
stronger and wiser than you have ever been, though you do feel
discouraged just now."

"Clarissa, you will not leave me?"

"No. I took you for better or worse, and I shall stand by the contract.
I have been trying to think how you could help Augustus."

"How, dear?"

"By magnetic treatments the whole length of his spine and limbs. He is
only weak there; not deformed. I was the same before he was born; but
you will not mesmerize him, will you?"

"Never."

"Has she grown since you have seen her? She looks much as Augustus did
at her age, Dinah and I think, so she must look like you."

       *       *       *       *       *

Peace was restored, and a happier family would be hard to find than that
of William Huskins. With his wife's help, he became a noted writer and
exponent of mesmeric influence, reasoning from the effects or phenomena,
back to the basic principles which produce them.

They worked together, and he told his friends she was the inspiring
genius; he but the crude expresser. They both grew in character, making
it a study how they should and might do for others, as they would wish
their children done by.

Augustus, through his father's treatment, acquired sufficient strength
in his limbs to forsake the wheel chair and crutches, as manhood
approached, and was able to walk with a cane. He gave promise of being
unusually talented in art and music. His parents sought in every manner
to develop it.

Baby Clarissa was a mischievous child. James said she was the exact
counterpart of her mother. The entire household set their happiness by
her. The wonder is she was not spoiled and wilful, but, instead, she was
winsome, and charming, doing her mischief in such a way it added, rather
than detracted from her excellence.

Having passed through the fiery furnace of suffering, and coming forth
grander and nobler for it, let us leave William and Clarissa with our
best wishes that their children may represent them in worthiness of
heart and character.





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