She looked puzzled. “What do you mean?” she asked.
“You have not been out to-day?”
“No, certainly not.”
“Agatha,” said I seriously, “would you mind telling me exactly what you have done this morning?”
She laughed at my earnestness.
“You’ve got on your professional look, Austin. See what comes of being engaged to a man of science. However, I will tell you, though I can’t imagine what you want to know for. I got up at eight. I breakfasted at half-past. I came into this room at ten minutes past nine and began to read the `Memoirs of Mme. de Remusat.’ In a few minutes I did the French lady the bad compliment of dropping to sleep over her pages, and I did you, sir, the very flattering one of dreaming about you. It is only a few minutes since I woke up.”
“And found yourself where you had been before?”
“Why, where else should I find myself?”
“Would you mind telling me, Agatha, what it was that you dreamed about me? It really is not mere curiosity on my part.”
“I merely had a vague impression that you came into it. I cannot recall any thing definite.”
“If you have not been out to-day, Agatha, how is it that your shoes are dusty?”
A pained look came over her face.
“Really, Austin, I do not know what is the matter with you this morning. One would almost think that you doubted my word. If my boots are dusty, it must be, of course, that I have put on a pair which the maid had not cleaned.”
It was perfectly evident that she knew nothing whatever about the matter, and I reflected that, after all, perhaps it was better that I should not enlighten her. It might frighten her, and could serve no good purpose that I could see. I said no more about it, therefore, and left shortly afterward to give my lecture.
But I am immensely impressed. My horizon of scientific possibilities has suddenly been enormously extended. I no longer wonder at Wilson’s demonic energy and enthusiasm. Who would not work hard who had a vast virgin field ready to his hand? Why, I have known the novel shape of a nucleolus, or a trifling peculiarity of striped muscular fibre seen under a 300-diameter lens, fill me with exultation. How petty do such researches seem when compared with this one which strikes at the very roots of life and the nature of the soul! I had always looked upon spirit as a product of matter. The brain, I thought, secreted the mind, as the liver does the bile. But how can this be when I see mind working from a distance and playing upon matter as a musician might upon a violin? The body does not give rise to the soul, then, but is rather the rough instrument by which the spirit manifests itself. The windmill does not give rise to the wind, but only indicates it. It was opposed to my whole habit of thought, and yet it was undeniably possible and worthy of investigation.