For about ten minutes he talked without ceasing. Mr. Vincent smoked tranquilly, putting what seemed to Laurie quite unimportant questions now and again, and nodding gently from time to time.
“And I’m frightened,” ended Laurie; “and I want you to tell me what it all means.”
The other drew a long inhalation through his pipe, expelled it, and leaned back.
“Oh, it’s comparatively common,” he said; “common, that is, with people of your temperament, Mr. Baxter—and mine.... You tell me that it was prayer that enabled you to get through at the end? That is interesting.”
“But—but—was it more than fancy—more, I mean, than an ordinary dream?”
“Oh, yes; it was objective. It was a real experience.”
“Mr. Baxter, just listen to me for a minute or two. You can ask any questions you like at the end. First, you are a Catholic, you told me; you believe, that is to say, among other things, that the spiritual world is a real thing, always present more or less. Well, of course, I agree with you; though I do not agree with you altogether as to the geography and—and other details of that world. But you believe, I take it, that this world is continually with us—that this room, so to speak, is a great deal more than that of which our senses tell us that there are with us, now and always, a multitude of influences, good, bad, and indifferent, really present to our spirits?”
“I suppose so,” said Laurie.
“Now begin again. There are two kinds of dreams. I am just stating my own belief, Mr. Baxter. You can make what comments you like afterwards. The one kind of dream is entirely unimportant; it is merely a hash, a rechauffee, of our own thoughts, in which little things that we have experienced reappear in a hopeless sort of confusion. It is the kind of dream that we forget altogether, generally, five minutes after waking, if not before. But there is another kind of dream that we do not forget. It leaves as vivid an impression upon us as if it were a waking experience—an actual incident. And that is exactly what it is.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Have you ever heard of the subliminal consciousness, Mr. Baxter?”
The medium smiled.
“That is fortunate,” he said. “It’s being run to death just now.... Well, I’ll put it in an untechnical way. There is a part of us, is there not, that lies below our ordinary waking thoughts—that part of us in which our dreams reside, our habits take shape, our instincts, intuitions, and all the rest, are generated. Well, in ordinary dreams, when we are asleep, it is this part that is active. The pot boils, so to speak, all by itself, uncontrolled by reason. A madman is a man in whom this part is supreme in his waking life as well. Well, it is through this part of us that we communicate with the spiritual world. There are, let us say, two doors in it—that which leads up to our senses, through which come down our waking experiences to be stored up; and—and the other door....”