THE GREAT HANLON
“You may contradict me as flat as a flounder, Eunice, but that won’t alter the facts. There is something in telepathy—there is something in mind-reading—”
“If you could read my mind, Aunt Abby, you’d drop that subject. For if you keep on, I may say what I think, and—”
“Oh, that won’t bother me in the least. I know what you think, but your thoughts are so chaotic—so ignorant of the whole matter—that they are worthless. Now, listen to this from the paper: ’Hanlon will walk blindfolded—blindfolded, mind you —through the streets of Newark, and will find an article hidden by a representative of The Free Press.’ Of course, you know, Eunice, the newspaper people are on the square—why, there’d be no sense to the whole thing otherwise! I saw an exhibition once, you were a little girl then; I remember you flew into such a rage because you couldn’t go. Well, where was I? Let me see—oh, yes—’Hanlon—’ H’m—h’m—why, my goodness! it’s to-morrow! How I do want to go! Do you suppose Sanford would take us?”
“I do not, unless he loses his mind first. Aunt Abby, you’re crazy! What is the thing, anyway? Some common street show?”
“If you’d listen, Eunice, and pay a little attention, you might know what I’m talking about. But as soon as I say telepathy you begin to laugh and make fun of it all!”
“I haven’t heard anything yet to make fun of. What’s it all about?”
But as she spoke, Eunice Embury was moving about the room, the big living-room of their Park Avenue apartment, and in a preoccupied way was patting her household gods on their shoulders. A readjustment of the pink carnations in a tall glass vase, a turning round of a long-stemmed rose in a silver holder, a punch here and there to the pillows of the davenport and at last dropping down on her desk chair as a hovering butterfly settles on a chosen flower.
A moment more and she was engrossed in some letters, and Aunt Abby sighed resignedly, quite hopeless now of interesting her niece in her project.
“All the same, I’m going,” she remarked, nodding her head at the back of the graceful figure sitting at the desk. “Newark isn’t so far away; I could go alone—or maybe take Maggie—she’d love it—’Start from the Oberon Theatre—at 2 P.M.—’ ’Him, I could have an early lunch and—’hidden in any part of the city—only mentally directed—not a word spoken—’ Just think of that, Eunice! It doesn’t seem credible that—oh, my goodness! tomorrow is Red Cross day! Well, I can’t help it; such a chance as this doesn’t happen twice. I wish I could coax Sanford—”
“You can’t,” murmured Eunice, without looking up from her writing.
“Then I’ll go alone!” Aunt Abby spoke with spirit, and her bright black eyes snapped with determination as she nodded her white head. “You can’t monopolize the willpower of the whole family, Eunice Embury!”