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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 218 pages of information about The Darrow Enigma.

THE EPISODE OF THE DARKENED ROOM

CHAPTER I

What shall we say when Dream-Pictures leave their frames
of night and push us from the waking world?

As the part I played in the events I am about to narrate was rather that of a passive observer than of an active participant, I need say little of myself.  I am a graduate of a Western university and, by profession, a physician.  My practice is now extensive, owing to my blundering into fame in a somewhat singular manner, but a year ago I had, I assure you, little enough to do.  Inasmuch as my practice is now secure, I feel perfectly free to confess that the cure I effected in the now celebrated case of Mrs. P—­ was altogether the result of chance, and not, as I was then only too glad to have people believe, due to an almost supernatural power of diagnosis.

Mrs. P—­ was not more surprised at the happy result than was I; the only difference being that she showed her astonishment, while I endeavoured to conceal mine, and affected to look upon the whole thing as a matter of course.

My fame spread; the case got into the medical journals, where my skill was much lauded, and my practice became enormous.  There is but one thing further I need mention regarding myself:  that is, that I am possessed of a memory which my friends are pleased to consider phenomenal.  I can repeat a lecture, sermon, or conversation almost word for word after once hearing it, provided always, that the subject commands my interest.  My humble abilities in this direction have never ceased to be a source of wonderment to my acquaintance, though I confess, for my own part, when I compare them with those of Blind Tom, or of the man who, after a single reading, could correctly repeat the London Times, advertisements and all, they seem modest indeed.

It was about the time when, owing to the blessed Mrs. P—­, my creditors were beginning to receive some attention, that I first met George Maitland.  He had need, he said, of my professional services; he felt much under the weather; could I give him something which would brace him up a bit; he had some important chemical work on hand which he could not afford to put by; in fact, he didn’t mind saying that he was at work upon a table of atomical pitches to match Dalton’s atomic weights; if he succeeded in what he had undertaken he would have solved the secret of the love and hatred of atoms, and unions hitherto unknown could easily be effected.

I do not know how long he would have continued had not my interest in the subject caused me to interrupt him.  I was something of an experimenter myself, and here was a man who could help me.

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