The Green Mouse

Robert W. Chambers




The Green Mouse Stirs

"I've been waiting half an hour for you," observed Smith, dryly, as Beekman Brown appeared at the subway station, suitcase in hand. 
      "It was a most extraordinary thing that detained me," said Brown, laughing, and edging his way into the ticket line behind his friend where he could talk to him across his shoulder; "I was just leaving the office, Smithy, when Snuyder came in with a card." 
      "Oh, all right--of course, if----" 
      "No, it was not a client; I must be honest with you." 
      "Then you had a terrible cheek to keep me here waiting." 
      "It was a girl," said Beekman Brown. 
      Smith cast a cold glance back at him over his left shoulder. 
      "What kind of a girl?" 
      "A most extraordinary girl. She came on--on a matter----" 
      "Was it business or a touch?" 
      "Not exactly business." 
      "Ornamental girl?" demanded Smith. 
      "Yes--exceedingly; but it wasn't that---- 
      "Oh, it was not that which kept you talking to her half an hour while I've sat suffocating in this accursed subway!" 
      "No, Smith; her undeniably attractive features and her--ah--winning personality had nothing whatever to do with it. Buy the tickets and I'll tell you all about it." 
      Smith bought two tickets. A north bound train roared into the station. The young men stepped aboard, seated themselves, depositing their suitcases at their feet. 
      "Now what about that winning-looker who really didn't interest you?" suggested Smith in tones made slightly acid by memory of his half hour waiting. 
      "Smith, it was a most unusual episode. I was just leaving the office to keep my appointment with you when Snuyder came in with a card----" 
      "You've said that already." 
      "But I didn't tell you what was on that card, did I?" 
      "I can guess." 
      "No, you can't. Her name was not on the card. She was not an agent; she had nothing to sell; she didn't want a position; she didn't ask for a subscription to anything. And what do you suppose was on that card?" 
      "Well, what was on the card, for the love of Mike?" snapped Smith. "I'll tell you. The card seemed to be an ordinary visiting card; but down in one corner was a tiny and beautifully drawn picture of a green mouse." 
      "A mouse." 
      "Pea green.... Come, now, Smith, if you were just leaving your office and your clerk should come in, looking rather puzzled and silly, and should hand you a card with nothing on it but a little green mouse, wouldn't it give you pause?" 
      "I suppose so." 
      Brown removed his straw hat, touched his handsome head with his handkerchief, and continued: 
      "I said to Snuyder: 'What the mischief is this?' He said: 'It's for you. And there's an exceedingly pretty girl outside who expects you to receive her for a few moments.' I said: 'But what has this card with a green mouse on it got to do with that girl or with me?' Snuyder said he didn't know and that I'd better ask her. So I looked at my watch and I thought of you----" 
      "Yes, you did." 
      "I tell you I did. Then I looked at the card with the green mouse on it.... And I want to ask you frankly, Smith, what would you have done?" 
      "Oh, what you did, I suppose," replied Smith, wearily. "Go on." 
      "I'm going. She entered----" 
      "She was tall and squeenly; you probably forgot that," observed Smith in his most objectionable manner. 
      "Probably not; she was of medium height, as a detail of external interest. But, although rather unusually attractive in a merely superficial and physical sense, it was instantly evident from her speech and bearing, that, in her, intellect dominated; her mind, Smithy, reigned serene, unsullied, triumphant over matter." 
      Smith looked up in amazement, but Brown, a reminiscent smile lighting his face, went on: 
      "She had a very winsome manner--a way of speaking--so prettily in earnest, so grave. And she looked squarely at me all the time----" 
      "So you contributed to the Home for Unemployed Patagonians." 
      "Would you mind shutting up?" asked Brown. 
      "Then try to listen respectfully. She began by explaining the significance of that pea-green mouse on the card. It seems, Smith, that there is a scientific society called The Green Mouse, composed of a few people who have determined to apply, practically, certain theories which they believe have commercial value." 
      "Was she," inquired Smith with misleading politeness, "what is known as an 'astrologist'?" 
      "She was not. She is the president, I believe, of The Green Mouse Society. She explained to me that it has been indisputably proven that the earth is not only enveloped by those invisible electric currents which are now used instead of wires to carry telegraphic messages, but that this world of ours is also belted by countless psychic currents which go whirling round the earth----" 
      "What kind of currents?" 
      "Which circle the earth?" 
      "Exactly. If you want to send a wireless message you hitch on to a current, don't you?--or you tap it--or something. Now, they have discovered that each one of these numberless millions of psychic currents passes through two, living, human entities of opposite sex; that, for example, all you have got to do to communicate with the person who is on the same psychical current that you are, is to
attune your subconscious self to a given intensity and pitch, and it will be like communication by telephone, no matter how far apart you are." 
      "Did she go to your office to tell you that sort of--of--information?" 
      "Partly. She was perfectly charming about it. She explained to me that all nature is divided into predestined pairs, and that somewhere, at some time, either here on earth or in some of the various future existences, this predestined pair is certain to meet and complete the universal scheme as it has been planned. Do you understand, Smithy?" 
      Smith sat silent and reflective for a while, then: 
      "You say that her theory is that everybody owns one of those psychic currents?" 
      "I am on a private psychic current whirling around this globe?" 
      "And some--ah--young girl is at the other end?" 
      "Sure thing." 
      "Then if I could only get hold of my end of the wire I could--ah--call her up?" 
      "I believe that's the idea." 
      "And--she's for muh?" 
      "So they say." 
      "Is--is there any way to get a look at her first?" 
      "You'd have to take her anyway, sometime." 
      "But suppose I didn't like her?" 
      The two young men sat laughing for a few moments, then Brown went on: 
      "You see, Smith, my interview with her was such a curious episode that about all I did was to listen to what she was saying, so I don't know how details are worked out. She explained to me that The Green Mouse Society has just been formed, not only for the purpose of psychical research, but for applying practically and using commercially the discovery of the psychic currents. That's what The
Green Mouse is trying to do: form itself into a company and issue stocks and bonds----" 
      "Certainly. It sounds like a madman's dream at first, but when you come to look into it--for instance, think of the millions of clients such a company would have. As example, a young man, ready for marriage, goes to The Green Mouse and pays a fee. The Green Mouse sorts out, identifies, and intercepts the young man's own particular current, hitches his subconscious self to it, and zip!--he's at one
end of an invisible telephone and the only girl on earth is at the other.... What's the matter with their making a quick date for an introduction?" 
      Smith said slowly: "Do you mean to tell me that any sane person came to you in your office with a proposition to take stock in such an enterprise?" 
      "She did not even suggest it." 
      "What did she want, then?" 
      "She wanted," said Brown, "a perfectly normal, unimaginative business man who would volunteer to permit The Green Mouse Society to sort out his psychic current, attach him to it, and see what would happen." 
      "She wants to experiment on you?
      "So I understand." 
      "And--you're not going to let her, are you?" 
      "Why not?" 
      "Because it's--it's idiotic!" said Smith, warmly. "I don't believe in such things--you don't, either--nobody does--but, all the same, you can't be perfectly sure in these days what devilish sort of game you might be up against." 
      Brown smiled. "I told her, very politely, that I found it quite impossible to believe in such things; and she was awfully nice about it, and said it didn't matter what I believed. It seems that my name was chosen by chance--they opened the Telephone Directory at random and she, blindfolded, made a pencil mark on the margin opposite one of the names on the page. It happened to be my name. That's
      "Wouldn't let her do it!" said Smith, seriously. 
      "Why not, as long as there's absolutely nothing in it? Besides, if it pleases her to have a try why shouldn't she? Besides, I haven't the slightest intention or desire to woo or wed anybody, and I'd like to see anybody make me." 
      "Do you mean to say that you told her to go ahead?" 
      "Certainly," said Brown serenely. "And she thanked me very prettily. She's well bred--exceptionally." 
      "Oh! Then what did you do?" 
      "We talked a little while." 
      "About what?" 
      "Well, for instance, I mentioned that curiously-baffling sensation which comes over everybody at times--the sudden conviction that everything that you say and do has been said and done by you before--somewhere. Do you understand?" 
      "Oh, yes." 
      "And she smiled and said that such sensations were merely echoes from the invisible psychic wire, and that repetitions from some previous incarnation were not unusual, particularly when the other person through whom the psychic current passed, was near by." 
      "You mean to say that when a fellow has that queer feeling that it has all happened before, the--the predestined girl is somewhere in your neighborhood?" 
      "That is what my pretty informant told me." 
      "Who," asked Smith, "is this pretty informant?" 
      "She asked permission to withhold her name." 
      "Didn't she ask you to subscribe?" 
      "No; she merely asked for the use of my name as reference for future clients if The Green Mouse Society was successful in my case." 
      "What did you say?" 
      Brown laughed. "I said that if any individual or group of individuals could induce me, within a year, to fall in love with and pay court to any living specimen of human woman I'd cheerfully admit it from the house- tops and take pleasure in recommending The Green Mouse to everybody I knew who yet remained unmarried." 
      They both laughed. 
      "What rot we've been talking," observed Smith, rising and picking up his suitcase. "Here's our station, and we'd better hustle or we'll lose the boat. I wouldn't miss that week-end party for the world!" 
      "Neither would I," said Beekman Brown. 


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