"I think so, too, dear."

THE PARASITE A Story   "No, certainly not."   "It is useless, Austin. All is over:"   "Without the subject's knowledge?"  

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"I think so, too, dear."


"You must know what this means to me!" I cried. For some time,-that is, for the last week,-there have been signs which I have brushed aside and refused to think of. The one bright spot is that Agatha is happy and well and out of all danger. I do wish I could get away from the place altogether. She walked past me without a word and opened the door. Marden in the evening about our marriage. She is far older than myself and a cripple.

"No, certainly not."

She looked puzzled. It is monstrous, odious; and yet the impulse was so strong that, had I stayed another minute in her presence, I should have committed myself. But what are you to do with the friend of your host's wife? I will see if he can advise me. "You fiend!" I cried. I have done splendidly! And then in a moment my brain would clear again, and my lecture would proceed decorously to the end. Ah, what a hell my life has become! They are all transferred from her, little as I could have guessed it at the time. God knows I never felt less in the humor for festivity, but I must not have it said that I am unfit to appear in public. No, no, I must face it alone. One or the other might have saved me from this calamity. "You are on the very fringe of the subject," said she, when I had expressed wonder at the remarkable instance of suggestion which she had shown me.

"It is useless, Austin. All is over:"

Is it possible- My God, it is only too probable! "Well," said she, after a pause, "if you despise my love, I must see what can be done with fear. You smile, but the day will come when you will come screaming to me for pardon. Yes, you will grovel on the ground before me, proud as you are, and you will curse the day that ever you turned me from your best friend into your most bitter enemy. Have a care, Professor Gilroy!" I saw a white hand shaking in the air, and a face which was scarcely human, so convulsed was it with passion. And yet it is very beautiful also as it gleams on the green chestnuts opposite my windows, and gives a touch of gayety to the heavy, lichen-mottled walls of the old colleges. "Practically, you send your soul into another person's body." "But I must go. I have something important to do." I ran through the streets, so set upon what I had to do that I was only dimly conscious of the faces of friends whom I met- dimly conscious also that Professor Wilson met me, running with equal precipitance in the opposite direction. "You shall have it." I saw a smile pass over her face, as though an amusing thought had struck her. Marden says, there are a good many things to be arranged. Afterward we hope to pass on to the phenomena of suggestion and of lucidity. "Dear me, I thought science had got further than that. Of course I know nothing about the scientific side of it. I only know what I can do. You see the girl in red, for example, over near the Japanese jar. I shall will that she come across to us." Something in her pose chilled me and checked the words which were rising to my lips.

"Without the subject's knowledge?"

I have gained one thing to-day, for I have made one man, at least, realize the truth of this monstrous experience of mine. She in her turn looked silently at me, and at her look I remembered how in these very pages I had tried to define the expression of her eyes, whether they were furtive or fierce. Our sleepy little town has had a small sensation. But, oh, the she-devil! Then as I felt the influence I would struggle against it, striving with clenched hands and beads of sweat upon my brow to get the better of it, while the students, hearing my incoherent words and watching my contortions, would roar with laughter at the antics of their professor. I will fight and fight and fight-and what can I do more? I tried to explain it in that way the other night, but it will no longer suffice. Agatha says that I am thinner and darker under the eyes. "Ah, that is quite another thing. If you make it a personal matter," said she, with the pleasantest of smiles, "I shall be only too happy to tell you any thing you wish to know. Let me see; what was it you asked me? Oh, about the further powers. Professor Wilson won't believe in them, but they are quite true all the same. For example, it is possible for an operator to gain complete command over his subject- presuming that the latter is a good one. Without any previous suggestion he may make him do whatever he likes." He is a well-balanced man, a man of great common-sense and resource. Yet he goes on uncomplainingly, corresponding with a hundred semi-maniacs in the hope of finding one reliable witness, sifting a hundred lies on the chance of gaining one little speck of truth, collating old books, devouring new ones, experimenting, lecturing, trying to light up in others the fiery interest which is consuming him.