“Anyhow, you gentleman know, for I know you all belong to a big athletic club, that if you exercise any set of muscles regularly and for a long time, they will develop and expand and become greatly increased in size and strength.”
“Sure,” said Hendricks. “I once developed my biceps—”
“Yes, that’s what I mean. Well, sir, I worked at my forehead muscles some hours a day for months and I kept at it until I had those muscles not only developed and in fine working condition but absolutely under my control. Look!”
They gazed, fascinated, while the strange visitor moved the skin of his forehead up and down and sideways, and in strange circular movements. He seemed distinctly proud of his accomplishment and paused for approbation.
“Marvelous, Holmes, marvelous!” exclaimed Hendricks, who had discovered that Hanlon did not resent jocularity, “but—what for?”
“Can’t you guess?” and the young man smiled mysteriously. “Try.”
“Give it up,” and Hendricks shook his head. “I think it’s more wonderful to get thought-transference by wiggling your forehead than any other way I ever heard of, but I can’t guess how it helps.”
“Can’t any of you?” and Hanlon looked around the circle.
“Wait a minute,” said Aunt Abby, who was thinking hard. “Let me try. Is it because when the thought waves jump from the `guide’ to you they strike your forehead first—”
“And it acts as a wireless receiving station? No, ma’am, that isn’t it. And, too, ma’am, I owned up, you know, that the whole thing was a fake, a trick. You see, there was no ’thought-transference,’—not any—none at all.”
“Then what do you accomplish with your forehead muscles?” asked Eunice, unable to restrain her impatience.
“Just this, Mrs. Embury, the impossibility of my being blindfolded. As a matter of fact, it is practically impossible to blindfold anybody, anyway.”
“Why, what do you mean?” interrupted Hendricks. “Why is it?”
“Because the natural formation of most people’s noses allows them to see straight down beneath an ordinary bandage. I doubt if one child out of a hundred who plays ‘Blind Man’s Buff’ is really unable to see at all.”
“That’s so,” said Embury, “when I played it, as a kid, I could always see straight down—though not, of course, laterally.”
“And noses are different,” went on Hanlon. “Some prominent beaks could never be blindfolded, but some small, flat noses might be. However, this refers to ordinary blindfolding with an ordinary handkerchief. When it comes to putting fat cotton pads in one’s eye sockets, before the thick bandage is added, it necessitates previous preparation. So, my powers of contracting and expanding my forehead muscles allow me to push the pads out of the way, and enable me to see straight down the sides of my nose from under the bandage. Of course, I can see only the ground, and that but in a circumscribed area around my feet, but it’s enough.”