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The Mystery of
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A Hypnotic Story
By Albert Bigelow Paine
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Side Pocket Series
Arena Publishing Co.
A HYPNOTIC STORY
ALBERT BIGELOW PAINE
ARENA PUBLISHING CO.
A. B. PAINE
To HENRY J. FLETCHER.
While engaged in writing the story of Evelin Delorme it was my good
fortune to make the acquaintance of Dr. Herbert L. Flint, the well-known
hypnotist briefly referred to in chapter three. The science of Hypnotism
being a theme of absorbing interest to me, I eagerly availed myself of
the opportunity thus offered for exhaustive investigation of the
subject, and was accorded frequent and prolonged interviews with Dr.
Flint. During one of these I reviewed to him briefly the outline of my
story and the strange mystery of Evelin Delorme which had given rise to
the plot. I saw at once that he was unusually moved and interested. At
my conclusion he arose hastily and left the room, returning a moment
later with a quantity of papers which proved to be an unpublished memoir
which he was then preparing. From this he hurriedly separated several
sheets and placed them in my hand, remarking with suppressed feeling,
"Here is the missing link in your narrative."
He has allowed me to publish it here in his own words.
EXTRACT FROM THE UNPUBLISHED MEMOIRS OF DR. FLINT.
"The following is a brief account of a very curious case of hypnotic
suggestion, and one which, because of the mystery surrounding its final
outcome, has caused me no little anxiety.
"On the 9th of July, 1878, there came to my office in St. Louis a
strikingly beautiful young woman of evident wealth and aristocratic
breeding, who gave her name as Eva Delorme. Her dress indicated recent
bereavement, and her face impressed me as being that of one whom death
had deprived of all those near and beloved. She stated her errand at
once, and briefly. She had been pursuing the study of Mesmeric Sciences,
and, believing herself a good hypnotic subject, desired that I make a
trial with that end in view. A simple test convinced me that she was
susceptible to hypnotic suggestion, and further experiment revealed to
me that she was one of the most perfect subjects I have ever known. She
called again the day following and asked me if it were possible, through
the aid of hypnotism, to give to her a double personality; adding that
she desired to become for a few hours a heartless, haughty, gay woman of
the world - precisely opposite, in fact, to what she really appeared.
Believing that she wished to forget her sorrow for a time, I assured
her that I thought this might be accomplished and that it would
probably obliterate all knowledge of a previous existence for the time
being. To this she eagerly consented, and after some further
conversation concerning the details I asked her what name she desired to
assume in her new character. She replied that her full name was Evelin
March Delorme, of which, in her assumed personality, she would retain
the first two. She likewise gave me a memorandum of a street and number
to which she was to be directed; this being, doubtless, one of several
of her dwelling properties, for she impressed me always as a person of
abundant wealth. With a few passes I then placed her under the hypnotic
influence, and while in this state I impressed upon her earnestly the
fact that she would awaken a haughty and heartless woman of the world,
dashing and gay, free from past regrets and future misgivings, as she
had told me to do. That her name would be Evelin March; and I repeated
to her the street and number, and some minor details which she had given
to me. That she would retain this personality for twelve hours. This I
repeated to her several times, then bade her awaken.
"The change in her was complete and startling. Her whole
expression - even her very features - appeared altered. Accustomed as I am
to such things I could not avoid feeling somewhat nervous at this
wonderful transformation. In her new character she was as beautiful and
imperious as a queen, with a supercilious, almost coarse, expression of
countenance. She seemed much mortified at the somber simpleness of her
dress, and I judge went immediately to make changes.
"I did not see her again until a week later, when she came to my office,
apparently restored to her true character. She had a vague
semi-recollection of what had been her experience in the other state and
desired a second trial, to which I somewhat reluctantly consented,
though I must confess I was by this time deeply interested in the case.
"These transformations were frequently repeated, during the next few
months; then her visits ceased and I did not see her until a year later,
when I was astounded one day to meet her riding in Forest Park _in her
assumed character_, evidently having taken on the condition unaided,
either unconsciously or of her own volition.
"I never saw her again, and as I had mislaid the memorandum of her
address and the number had slipped my memory, I lost trace of her
entirely. I have always felt a great and somewhat guilty curiosity as to
the final result of this strange experiment."
Julian Paul Goetze died December 21st, 1885. This event removed the
final reason for concealment of that strange story whose dark reality
flung a shadow about his later years.
At his death Goetze was in his thirty-fifth year, and for more than a
decade previous had been considered one of the foremost portrait
painters of the younger school. I knew him intimately - was a frequent
visitor at his studio, and, I believe, the only confidant he was ever
known to have.
As I recall those years there is an unreality about them that I am
unable to dispel. The problems discussed - the theories maintained of
life, death, art, poetry, and any number of other unfathomed subjects,
appear to me now so preternatural - the conceptions of his wonderful
brain so startling, that I can hardly realize having ever been a part,
even though but a faint reflex, of that dazzling and unsated life.
In appearance he was no less remarkable. His figure was rather slight
than otherwise, and of medium height. His features, though greatly
modified, were distinctly those of the American Indian. High cheek
bones, slightly aquiline nose, dark olive skin. His eyes and hair were a
blue black. You would hardly have called him handsome, but there was
something in that fiercely intense face, in the lithe grace of movement,
in the small and exquisitely shaped hands and feet, that made him a
fascinating, if not a dangerous, companion for the other sex. All of
these had been bequeathed him by his mother, in whose veins ran the
French and Indian blood in equal parts. From his father, a fair-haired
German, he had inherited only his name.
His nature was a strange blending of opposing forces, forever at civil
war and each swaying him in turn. He had few friends, but those few
adored him for his splendid genius and prodigal generosity, pitying his
When, as not unfrequently happened, he locked his studio and plunged for
days into abject depravity, they sought him out and led him back to his
better self. After the culmination of that singular affair narrated in
these papers, and for which he doubtless felt himself greatly to blame,
these lapses became more and more frequent and protracted. The facts
which I have collected relating to this period of his life were many of
them gathered bit by bit as the events occurred, and later from brief
interviews during temporary periods of consciousness just prior to his
It was in one of these that he apprised me of the existence of certain
private papers, the contents of which would make the chain of
circumstances complete. Then the fires that had blazed forever within
him burned out his life.
ST. LOUIS, NOV. 4th, 1890.
NOTE BY THE AUTHOR. - The above, accompanied by a manuscript
roll of considerable size, a crumpled, and yellow letter
torn in halves, and a number of loose pages covered with
peculiar writing (unsigned, though evidently the work of the
unhappy artist) lie before me. It is with hesitating and
unsteady hands that I separate these silent voices of the
past, and gather them at last together into a living though
unworthy echo of my own.
"A little more to the light, please - so, that is better." The artist
worked rapidly; now and then letting his eyes rest for a moment on his
sitter, then returning to the face on the canvas, that was rapidly
growing under his hands.
The studio, a small Swiss cottage some distance from the business center
of St. Louis, was rather richly, though plainly, furnished. The walls
were tinted a neutral gray, an occasional piece of sober-hued drapery
hung here and there, while a heavily curtained arch at the back
connected with the artist's private apartments beyond.
On the opposite side of the room a door opened to the little entrance
hall, and near to this doorway was a carved oaken mantel, above which
were grouped together a number of curious weapons, evidently gathered
here and there as bric-a-brac, and used, perhaps, now and then, as
properties, in the arrangement of some picture.
There was the long-barreled and elaborately ornamented gun of the
Arab - the scimitar of the Turk - the blow-gun of the South American
Indian - the bow and arrow of his northern brother. At the bottom of this
array was a pair of French rapiers of the seventeenth century. The
blades were crossed and rested upon a brass-headed nail, and upon this
nail there hung, point downward, a jewel-hilted Italian stiletto or
dagger, suspended by a silken cord.
The room was lighted by a sky-light and one window - only the light of
the former falling upon the sitter - a large Japanese screen diverting
all other direct rays. Through the half-open casement a light breath of
summer crept in, from the little garden outside, freighted with the
mingled odors of sweet-briar and white flowering locust. A yellow
butterfly flitted in and out, now and then making a circuit of the room,
resting here and there for a moment to fan noiselessly with its bloomy
wings. A stray bee buzzed drowsily in, but, finding nothing so
attractive as the sweets without, hastily retreated, striking heavily
against the window-pane, where it sputtered and fumed for a time, and
gladly escaped. Then all was silent in the room save for the light
chafing sound made by the artist's brush against the hitherto untouched
He at the easel was a man of about thirty years - Julian Paul Goetze, a
name already ranked high among his profession. His sitter was a woman of
perhaps twenty-three. Her figure was somewhat above medium height and
perfectly developed. She was clad in a plain, trimly fitting dress of
silver gray, with a neat white collar at the throat. Her face was a
perfect oval in its contour, her complexion almost childish in its
delicacy. Her hair, a silky brown in color, was fastened in a knot at
the back of her shapely head, while in front it was a fluffy mass that
partially concealed the forehead, and softly shadowed what seemed to the
artist to be the sweetest face in all the world. The features were as
delicately chiseled as one would expect to find them in a statue of
Purity. The eyes were a deep gray, inclining to hazel, and the coloring
of the cheek and lips so tender that the artist looked a little
despairingly at the tints upon his palette; while through all there
pervaded such an expression of absolute innocence and freedom from the
world's taint, as to find expression in but the one word, saintliness.
And yet there was something about the face of his sitter that brought a
troubled expression to that of the artist. As with bold, rapid strokes
he laid in the ground-work for the hair he looked puzzled. As he traced
the exquisite outline of the ear his look was almost one of vexation.
Once he left his easel, and, going to another canvas that rested on the
floor, face to the wall, he turned it partly about and looked at it
intently for a few moments. Then he resumed his work, evidently in deep
thought. For awhile he painted on in silence. He was inclined by nature
to be diffident at first with his sitters, and with this fair being the
beginning of a conversation seemed to him a thing as difficult as it was
desirable. There was a suggestion of weariness in her face, too, which
he felt would disappear with awakened interest.
"I - I beg pardon," he said, somewhat abruptly at length; "have you ever
had a portrait before?"
His voice was rich and musical, and the face before him brightened.
"Oh, no! And it is only by accident that I am having one now. I was
passing and saw your name; I knew it by reputation, and it occurred to
me all at once that I would sit for my picture. Perhaps I should have
waited and worn a different dress. It was only a passing impulse. It
never occurred to me before; I cannot tell why it did now."
The animation and the faint blush that had crept over her face while she
spoke were enchanting. The artist was delighted.
"Your dress could not have been better chosen, and the impulse was
surely an inspiration," he said, smiling, "and perhaps," he added, "you
may have a friend or - a - a relative who has had, or is having a
portrait, which suggested the idea."
As he paused he looked at her inquiringly. The look of weariness had
returned to her face.
"No; I have no relatives, and" - she blushed deeply and was silent.
"Forgive me," he said, earnestly; "I did not intend to be inquisitive."
She did not reply in words, but as she lifted her eyes there was a
tenderness there that awakened within him all the sympathy, the
nobleness and the affection of his purer and better nature. Their eyes
met, and in a single moment there was formed between them an invisible
bond which both felt and neither sought to conceal. No word was spoken.
The artist painted on in silence; but a new light had come into his
sitter's face, and a new source of inspiration into his own heart.
For a long time neither spoke. A dreamy hush seemed to creep in with the
sweet odors from the garden, and, with them, a summer restfulness and
peace. The yellow butterfly that had been hovering about them, flitting
this way and that, came closer and closer, and at last settled
fearlessly upon one of the gloved hands that lay folded in the sitter's
lap. She watched it for a moment, then looked up at the painter with a
"The insect has a true instinct," he said, gently; "it has no fear of
"No; I should only hurt it and destroy its beauty."
"Butterflies," said the artist, "are like beautiful thoughts. They hover
mistily about us, flitting away whenever we attempt to capture them; and
if at last we are successful we find only too often that their wings
have lost the delicacy of their bloom."
"Yes; I have felt that many times."
While she spoke the insect rose hastily in the air as if frightened,
and, circling about for a moment above them, darted out through the open
"I have heard they are emblems of inconstancy, too," she said,
thoughtfully, as it disappeared.
A faint glow of crimson suffused for an instant the olive face before
her, but he forced a smile and did not reply.
The rest of the afternoon slipped away with but little interchange of
words between artist and sitter. When either spoke the words were few
and simple, but there was a tenderness in their voices that uttered more
than the spoken syllables.
The face on the canvas was growing rapidly. He had already worked longer
than he usually did at the first sitting, and yet he could not bear to
let her go. He had seen her for the first time less than two hours
before; he did not even know her name. The little white card which she
had given him he had glanced at without reading. He had only seen her
features, and heard only the gentle voice that had made known her
errand. And now he wondered if it were possible that only a few hours
before she had had no part in his life; a life wherein there had been
many lights and shadows, and the shadows had been ever as broad and
somber as the lights had been bold and brilliant.
An hour later Julian Goetze was standing alone in his studio. The sketch
fresh from his brush was before him, and beneath it, resting upon the
floor, was another somewhat farther advanced.
He had painted until the light had begun to grow yellow and dim, then he
had reluctantly told his sitter that he could do no more for that day.
"And when shall I come again?" she had asked.
He would have said, "Come to-morrow," had he dared; but remembering
other engagements, and knowing that the work could not be continued so
soon, he had hesitated before replying.
"I can go on with the picture in two or three days; come as soon after
that as - as you wish," he said, softly.
Their eyes met for a moment; the delicate color deepened in her cheeks,
her lips murmured a half inaudible word of adieu, and she was gone.
Julian left alone had flung himself into a large chair that stood near
the window, and looked out upon the little garden beyond. It was June.
The days were long and the sun was still touching the tops of the locust
trees. He was away from the bustle of the city, and an atmosphere of
peace almost like that of the country was about him. All at once he
covered his face with his hands, pressing his fingers hard into his
"I love her, I love her," he groaned; "she is an angel from heaven, and
I - oh, my God! if she knew she would hate me."
He rose and stood before the face on the easel; then, as if suddenly
recollecting, he approached the canvas that was turned face to the wall,
and which once before that day had claimed his attention, and, facing it
nervously about, placed it beneath the other.
It was the portrait of a woman. Like the one above her, she was fair and
beautiful; but here all resemblance apparently ceased. Nothing could be
more widely different than the characters that had stamped themselves
upon the faces of these two.
The picture on the floor was that of a woman whose age might be anywhere
from twenty-five to thirty-five; a woman of the great world of fashion,
of folly, of intrigue, perhaps of vice. Her dress was a rich ball
costume, exposing the white flesh of her beautiful arms, her perfect
shoulders, and her pearly tinted throat and bosom. Like the other, her
face was oval in shape, but seemed less perfect in its contour. There
was a certain lack of delicacy and softness about the outline that
suggested the fierce chase after the sham pleasures of the great social
The rest of the features were in harmony with this idea. The beautiful
mouth was hard and cruel. The lips and cheeks were bright as if
artificially tinted, or flushed with wine. The eyes were bold and the
pupils seemed expanded as with belladonna. The nostrils of the finely
shaped nose were full and sensual. Her luxuriant brown hair, singularly
like that of the portrait above her in color, she wore in the late
French mode, combed back from her high, broad forehead and twisted into
a massive device at the top. Her eyebrows were unnaturally dark. An
artificial air pervaded the entire picture - one felt that she had an
artificial soul. A perfect prototype of Folly's feverish and heartless
As the artist stood gazing from one to the other, the curious vexed and
puzzled expression that had come into his face once before that day
returned. He approached closely to the work as if to examine it more
minutely. As he bent low over the face on the easel he heard the street
door open. He started guiltily, and hastily turned both pictures to the
wall. A moment later a tall, fair-haired man of about his own age
entered without knocking. It was Harry Lawton, the artist's most
"Julian, old boy, how goes it?" he said, cheerily.
"Pretty well, Harry; come in."
"Yes, I should do that any way. I don't seem to be any too welcome,
"Nonsense, Harry, of course you are welcome; I am very glad, in fact, to
see you, just now.
"Well, that's better; although I must say your face doesn't indicate
"Sit down; not there - here by the door; I want to show you something."
"Oh, some new and wonderful work of your transcendent genius, I suppose.
By the way, how is the picture for the Salon getting along?"
"Tediously, Harry; I seem to have lost the spirit of the thing."
"Found too much spirit of another kind, perhaps."
"No, not that. I have been a model of abstinence of late."
"And the heavens do not fall?
"No - yes - that is - let your tongue rest for a moment, please, and use
While the artist had been speaking he had taken the large screen from
before the window and moved his easel into a stronger light. Upon it he
now placed the two portraits in their former position. The effect upon
the other was vigorous and immediate.
"Heavens! Julian, where did you get that angel and that dev - I beg
pardon, that extraordinary pair of beauties? Oh, I see! - why, of course!
a new idea for the Salon. A modern Guinevere and Elaine; Siren and
Saint; Sense and Innocence. I congratulate you, old boy; they are
"Please be quiet for a moment, Harry; they are not for the Salon. They
are two sitters of mine. The one beneath has been here twice - the first
time about a week ago; the second time day before yesterday. The other
came for the first time to-day."
"And they are real, live women, then?"
"Yes. I was in hopes you might recognize one or both of them."
The other shook his head, and gazed from one to the other in silence.
"Do you see any - any resemblance between them?" asked the artist, after
"Resemblance! Good Lord, no! Why? Are they related in any way?"
"Not that I am aware of; in fact, I am quite sure they are not. She told
me she had no relatives."
"Um - and which do you refer to as she?"
"Oh, the upper one, of course."
"Well, I don't see any 'of course' about it. She was here to-day for
the first time. I don't see why she should begin by exchanging family
confidences. All things considered, I should have thought it more than
likely you referred to the other. However, I suppose you are familiar
with her family history, too."
"Don't be sarcastic, Harry. I know nothing of either of them; at least
not in that way. The one who came first gave her name as Evelin March.
She came in suddenly, one morning last week, and asked for a sitting.
She had on a light wrap, which she laid off and stood before me as you
see her. During the sitting she was inclined to be lively and talkative.
Her voice is just a trifle harsh, but she is a remarkably brilliant
talker and a very fascinating woman. I had not met the other, then, and
foolishly allowed myself to say some rather silly things to her. When
she came again I did more. You know what a rash fool I am, Harry. Well,
I made love to her, off-hand. She stirred me up terribly for some
reason. Of course, there was nothing of real love in what I felt for
her; it was a brief madness of the head. You know about what I would say
under the circumstances."
"Oh, perfectly. You swore that her eyes were as are lights in a midnight
desert; that her tints would rival the roseate pearl of a June sunset;
that her smiles would be your only diet henceforth and forever; that her
frown would be as terrible as the day of judgment. And now what has the
other one to do with it?"
"Lawton, you will think I am crazy, and I am, perhaps - but I love her;
and more than that, I believe she loves me. No word of it has passed
between us, but - we understand."
"Oh, we do, eh? We - we understand," imitated Lawton. "Well, this is
exceedingly interesting, I must say, although quite the thing to be
expected from one of your temperament. How very fortunate you are in the
choice of subjects, too."
"What do you mean, Harry?"
"Well, I should judge you might divide up your affections on those two
without any serious confliction of sentiments."
"You are mistaken, though; I do not care for Evelin March at all, now. I
am sorry I ever met her. I shall stop this foolish flirtation with her,