Treating of Certain Scientific Events Succeeding
the Wedding Journey of William and Ethelinda
Sacharissa took the chair. She knew
nothing about parliamentary procedure; neither did her younger,
married sister, Ethelinda, nor the recently acquired family brother-in-law,
William Augustus Destyn.
"The meeting will come
to order," said Sacharissa, and her brother-in-law reluctantly relinquished
his new wife's hand--all but one finger.
"Miss Chairman," he
began, rising to his feet.
The chair recognized
him and bit into a chocolate.
"I move that our society
be known as The Green Mouse, Limited."
"Why limited?" asked
"Why not?" replied
her sister, warmly.
"Well, what does your
young man mean by limited?"
"I suppose," said Linda,
"that he means it is to be the limit. Don't you, William?"
"Certainly," said Destyn,
gravely; and the motion was put and carried.
The chair casually
recognized her younger sister.
"I propose that the
object of this society be to make its members very, very wealthy."
The motion was carried;
Linda picked up a scrap of paper and began to figure up the possibility
of a new touring car.
Then Destyn arose;
the chair nodded to him and leaned back, playing a tattoo with her
pencil tip against her snowy teeth.
He began in his easy,
agreeable voice, looking across at his pretty wife:
"You know, dearest--and
Sacharissa, over there, is also aware--that, in the course of my
economical experiments in connection with your father's Wireless
Trust, I have accidentally discovered how to utilize certain brand-new
currents of an extraordinary character."
became skeptical; Linda watched her husband in unfeigned admiration.
"These new and hitherto
unsuspected currents," continued Destyn modestly, "are not electrical
but psychical. Yet, like wireless currents, their flow eternally
encircles the earth. These currents, I believe, have their origin
in that great unknown force which, for lack of a better name, we
call fate, or predestination. And I am convinced that by intercepting
one of these currents it is possible to connect the subconscious
personalities of two people of opposite sex who, although ultimately
destined for one another since the beginning of things, have, through
successive incarnations, hitherto missed the final consummation--
marriage!--which was the purpose of their creation."
"Bill, dear," sighed
Linda, "how exquisitely you explain the infinite."
"Fudge!" said Sacharissa;
"go on, William."
"That's all," said
Destyn. "We agreed to put in a thousand dollars apiece for me to
experiment with. I've perfected the instrument--here it is."
He drew from his waistcoat
pocket a small, flat jeweler's case and took out a delicate machine
resembling the complicated interior of a watch.
"Now," he said, "with
this tiny machine concealed in my waistcoat pocket, I walk up to
any man and, by turning a screw like the stem of a watch, open the
microscopical receiver. Into the receiver flow all psychical emanations
from that unsuspicious citizen. The machine is charged, positively.
Then I saunter up to some man, place the instrument on a table--like
that--touch a lever. Do you see that hair wire of Rosium uncoil
like a tentacle? It is searching, groping for the invisible, negative,
psychical current which will carry its message."
"To whom?" asked Sacharissa.
"To the subconscious
personality of the only woman for whom he was created, the only
woman on earth whose psychic personality is properly attuned to
intercept that wireless greeting and respond to it."
"How can you tell whether
she responds?" asked Sacharissa, incredulously. He pointed to the
hair wire of Rosium:
"I watch that. The
instant that the psychical current reaches and awakens her, crack!--a
minute point of blue incandescence tips the tentacle. It's done;
psychical communication is established. And that man and that woman,
wherever they may be on earth, surely, inexorably, will be drawn
together, even from the uttermost corners of the world, to fulfill
that for which they were destined since time began."
There was a semirespectful
silence; Linda looked at the little jewel-like machine with a slight
shudder; Sacharissa shrugged her young shoulders.
"How much of this,"
said she, "is theory and how much is fact?--for, William, you always
were something of a poet."
"I don't know. A month
ago I tried it on your father's footman, and in a week he'd married
a perfectly strange parlor maid."
"Oh, they do such things,
anyway," observed Sacharissa, and added, unconvinced: "Did that
tentacle burn blue?"
"It certainly did,"
Linda murmured: "I
believe in it. Let's issue stock."
"To issue stock is
one thing," said Destyn, "to get people to buy it is another. You
and I may believe in Green Mouse, Limited, but the rest of the world
is always from beyond the Mississippi."
"The thing to do,"
said Linda, "is to prove your theory by practicing on people. They
may not like the idea, but they'll be so grateful, when happily
and unexpectedly married, that they'll buy stock."
"Or give us testimonials,"
added Sacharissa, "that their bliss was entirely due to a single
dose of Green Mouse, Limited."
"Don't be flippant,"
said Linda. "Think what William's invention means to the world!
Think of the time it will save young men barking up wrong trees!
Think of the trouble saved--no more doubt, no timidity, no hesitation,
no speculation, no opposition from parents."
"Any of our clients,"
added Destyn, "can be instantly switched on to a private psychical
current which will clinch the only girl in the world. Engagements
will be superfluous; those two simply can't get away from each other."
"If that were true,"
observed Sacharissa, "it would be most unpleasant. There would be
no fun in it. However," she added, smiling, "I don't believe in
your theory or your machine, William. It would take more than that
combination to make me marry anybody."
"Then we're not going
to issue stock?" asked Linda. "I do need so many new and expensive
"We've got to experiment
a little further, first," said Destyn.
"You blindfold me, give me a pencil and lay the Social Register
before me. Whatever name I mark you are to experiment with."
"Don't mark any of
our friends," began Linda.
"How can I tell whom
I may choose. It's fair for everybody. Come; do you promise to abide
by it--you two?"
They promised doubtfully.
"So do I, then," said
Sacharissa. "Hurry up and blindfold me, somebody. The bus will be
here in half an hour, and you know how father acts when kept waiting."
Linda tied her eyes
with a handkerchief, gave her a pencil and seated herself on an
arm of the chair watching the pencil hovering over the pages of
the Social Register which her sister was turning at hazard.
page," announced Sacharissa, "and this name!" marking
it with a quick stroke.
Linda gave a stifled
cry and attempted to arrest the pencil; but the moving finger had
"Whom have I selected?"
inquired the girl, whisking the handkerchief from her eyes. "What
are you having a fit about, Linda?"
And, looking at the
page, she saw that she had marked her own name.
"We must try it again,"
said Destyn, hastily. "That doesn't count. Tie her up, Linda."
be fair," said Sacharissa, hesitating whether to take it seriously
or laugh. "We all promised, you know. I ought to abide by what I've
"Don't be silly," said
Linda, preparing the handkerchief and laying it across her sister's
Sacharissa pushed it
away. "I can't break my word, even to myself," she said, laughing.
"I'm not afraid of that machine."
"Do you mean to say
you are willing to take silly chances?" asked Linda, uneasily. "I
believe in William's machine whether you do or not. And I don't
care to have any of the family experimented with."
"If I were willing
to try it on others it would be cowardly for me to back out now,"
said Sacharissa, forcing a smile; for Destyn's and Linda's seriousness
was beginning to make her a trifle uncomfortable.
"Unless you want to
marry somebody pretty soon you'd better not risk it," said Destyn,
"You--you don't particularly
care to marry anybody, just now, do you, dear?" asked Linda. "No,"
replied her sister, scornfully.
There was a silence;
Sacharissa, uneasy, bit her underlip and sat looking at the uncanny
She was a tall girl,
prettily formed, one of those girls with long limbs, narrow, delicate
feet and ankles.
That sort of girl,
when she also possesses a mass of chestnut hair, a sweet mouth and
gray eyes, is calculated to cause trouble.
And there she sat,
one knee crossed over the other, slim foot swinging, perplexed brows
bent slightly inward.
"I can't see any honorable
way out of it," she said resolutely. "I said I'd abide by the blindfolded
"When we promised we
weren't thinking of ourselves," insisted Ethelinda.
"That doesn't release
us," retorted her Puritan sister.
"Why?" demanded Linda.
"Suppose, for example, your pencil had marked William's name! That
would have been im--immoral!"
it?" asked Sacharissa, turning her honest, gray eyes on her brother-in-law.
"I don't believe it
would," he said; "I'd only be switched on to Linda's current again."
And he smiled at his wife.
Sacharissa sat thoughtful
and serious, swinging her foot.
"Well," she said, at
length, "I might as well face it at once. If there's anything in
this instrument we'll all know it pretty soon. Turn on your receiver,
"Oh," cried Linda,
tearfully, "don't you do it, William!"
"Turn it on," repeated
Sacharissa. "I'm not going to be a coward and break faith with myself,
and you both know it! If I've got to go through the silliness of
love and marriage I might as well know who the bandarlog is to be....
Anyway, I don't really believe in this thing.... I can't believe
in it.... Besides, I've a mind and a will of my own, and I fancy
it will require more than amateur psychical
experiments to change either. Go on, Billy."
"You mean it?" he asked,
"Certainly," with superb
affectation of indifference. And she rose and faced the instrument.
Destyn looked at his
wife. He was dying to try it.
"Will!" she exclaimed,
"suppose we are not going to like Rissa's possible f--fiance! Suppose
father doesn't like him!"
"You'll all probably
like him as well as I shall," said her sister defiantly. "Willy,
stop making frightened eyes at your wife and start your infernal
There was a vicious
click, a glitter of shifting clockwork, a snap, and it was done.
"Have you now, theoretically,
got my psychical current bottled up?" she asked disdainfully. But
her lip trembled a little.
He nodded, looking
very seriously at her.
"And now you are going
to switch me on to this unknown gentleman's psychical current?"
"Don't let him!" begged
Linda. "Billy, dear, how can you when nobody has the
faintest idea who the creature may turn out to be!"
"Go ahead!" interrupted
her sister, masking misgiving under a careless smile.
Click! Up shot the
glittering, quivering tentacle of Rosium, vibrating for a few moments
like a thread of silver. Suddenly it was tipped with a blue flash
"Oh, dear! Oh, dear!
There he is!" cried Linda, excitedly. "Rissy! Rissy, little sister,
what have you done?"
"Nothing," she said,
catching her breath. "I don't believe that flash means anything.
I don't feel a bit different--not the least bit. I feel perfectly
well and perfectly calm. I don't love anybody and I'm not going
to love anybody--until I want to, and that will probably never happen."
However, she permitted
her sister to take her in her arms and pet her. It was rather curious
how exceedingly young and inexperienced she felt. She found it agreeable
to be fussed over and comforted and cradled, and for a few moments
she suffered Linda's solicitude and misgivings in silence. After
a while, however, she became ashamed.
"Nothing is going to
happen, Linda," she said, looking dreamily up at the ceiling; "don't
worry, dear; I shall escape the bandarlog."
"If something doesn't
happen," observed Destyn, pocketing his instrument, "the Green Mouse,
Limited, will go into liquidation with no liabilities and no assets,
and there'll be no billions for you or for me or for anybody."
"William," said his
wife, "do you place a low desire for money before your own sister-in-law's
"No, darling, of course
"Then you and I had
better pray for the immediate bankruptcy of the Green Mouse."
Her husband said, "By
all means," without enthusiasm, and looked out of the window. "Still,"
he added, "I made a happy marriage. I'm for wedding bells every
time. Sacharissa will like it, too. I don't know why you and I shouldn't
be enthusiastic optimists concerning wedded life; I can't see why
we shouldn't pray for Sacharissa's early marriage."
considering money before my sister's happiness!"
"But in her case I
don't see why we can't conscientiously consider both."
Linda cast one tragic
glance at her material husband, pushed her sister aside, arose and
fled. After her sped the contrite Destyn; a distant door shut noisily;
all the elements had gathered for the happy, first quarrel of the
"Fudge," said Sacharissa,
walking to the window, slim hands clasped loosely behind her back.