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Charles B. (Charles Barney) Cory.

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dreaming, and the words had no signifi-
cance.

" He told Murphy to go back to the
stables, and that he would trust him implic-
itly, stating at the same time that it would
cause him serious inconvenience if by any
chance Murphy should not win, as he had
bet a large amount of money on the result.

" Murphy, with tears in his eyes, thanked
him for trusting him, and went back to the
stables. Afterwards I had a serious con-
versation with Collins, and learned that on
two occasions he had seen Murphy talking
with a strange man who often visited the
track.

" Upon inquiry we have learned that the
man in question is a brother of a man who
married Murphy's sister, and that Murphy



62 TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT.

has met him several times at his sister's
house. The man's name is Simms. He is
a low character, who is known as a habit-
ual frequenter of the race track, and who at
times does business as a poolseller and
bookmaker. Simms is described as being
thin and dark, with a big scar on his right
cheek, usually wears a soft hat, and carries
a cane with considerable silver about the
handle.

" Last night I decided to have an inter-
view with Murphy and rind out whether
the lad could be hypnotized or not. Why
this idea suggested itself to me I do not
know, except that, as you know, hypnotism
is one of my hobbies. With Blake's con-
sent I sent for Murphy, and asked him to
let me look him over, as I would like to
assure Blake as to his physical condition,
as naturally he was feeling, as I told him,
somewhat nervous after our interview of the
morning.



TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT. 63

" The boy consented readily enough, and
after listening to his heart, and asking him
a few questions which might suggest a
cause for his restlessness at night, I asked
him to look at me fixedly while I gently
stroked his forehead above the eyes with
my hand. Imagine my surprise when I
found him to be an extremely sensitive
hypnotic subject. He did not become
entirely unconscious, but was in a peculiar
somnambulistic condition, in which he con-
versed readily enough. He is one of the
best subjects for post-hypnotic suggestion
that I have ever seen.

" I tried several experiments with him,
and the thought occurred to me if it was
not possible that this susceptibility to hyp-
notic suggestion might be used by un-
scrupulous persons in many ways, which
might be especially dangerous in case he
was riding a good horse in a race.

" Upon questioning Murphy, after I had



64 TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT.

awakened him, regarding his susceptibility
to hypnotic influence, he told me that
Simms had often put him to sleep for fun,
-when they met at his sister's house. The
question which now presents itself is, Sup-
pose he has been hypnotized and has been
given a post-hypnotic suggestion, that he
is to 'pull' Emperor if a certain man
waves his handkerchief, how are we to
prevent his carrying out these instruc-
tions? Of course, we can take the boy
off the horse and put on another jockey,
but Blake does not wish to do this.

" In his waking moments Murphy does
not remember anything that has been told
him while hypnotized, and I 'doubt if we
could make Blake believe that there was
any real danger in that quarter. Again, if
we allow him to go in and ride the race,
it is more than possible that he could be
made to win or lose the race by any one
who had given him orders while in a



TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT. 65

hypnotic condition, and we also know that
he would forget entirely that he had re-
ceived such orders after waking.

" Now, the difficulty presents itself as to
how we can prevent him following out such
instructions, in case he has received them.
We know we cannot affect such suggestions
by re-hypnotizing him, because we do not
know the exact circumstances under which
such directions were given. To merely
hypnotize and tell him he is not to carry out
such orders would have no effect whatever.
Perhaps if we could tell him that under
certain described circumstances he was not
to carry out such orders we might succeed.

" But my experience has been that the
directions, as given, are carried out by the
subject if, at the time, the circumstance
described, which is to be recognized as a
signal for such and such action on the
part of the hypnotized sensitive, occurs
and is noticed.



66 TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT.

" For instance, if I should hypnotize a
young man, and say that at eight o'clock,
when he hears the clock strike, he should
at once go downstairs and get a glass of
water, he would undoubtedly do it when
the clock struck eight. But if the clock
did not strike eight, supposing some one
had removed the striker, and when near
the hour some one occupied his attention
so that he did not notice the time, in all
probability he would not obey orders. It
requires some special occurrence which
has been described in connection with the
act to suggest it again to his mind.

" In my opinion, the best we can do is
to let Murphy ride the race, and to take
all precautions possible to prevent any man
waving his handkerchief to Murphy during
the race. Of course, to have any real
effect on the race, the person waving his
handkerchief as a signal for Murphy to
' pull ' Emperor must do so far enough



TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT. 67

from the home stretch to make it certain
that Emperor can be prevented from win-
ning without attracting especial attention,
which could not be done in case Emperor
was in the lead if the signal was given
close to the Grand Stand. We, therefore,
must look out for our man, if such a man
there be, some distance down the race-
track.

" Now, if you will go to the track with
me to-morrow we will station ourselves in
places where we think it likely that such a
person would stand, and keep a sharp
watch for a thin, dark man with a scar on
his cheek. Will you join me?"

I assured him I would be more than wil-
ling to do so, as I was very much inter-
ested in the case.

"Good! Now, this is my plan. I shall
take Mike Falan with me, and he is worth
half a dozen men in the case of a row. I
have also engaged three private detectives



68 TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT.

to be on the watch at the entrance to the
Grand Stand, and another at the entrance
to the grounds, while a fifth is to station
himself at the side of the track, and do sen-
tinel duty about the half-mile post, with
orders to report to me the moment Simms
puts in an appearance, and to have him
shadowed. Of course, this elaborate plot
may exist only in my imagination, but if,
as I believe, there is a carefully arranged
scheme to beat Blake's horse, we shall have
done him a good turn, and perhaps saved
him a lot of money. I must go now, but
don't fail to meet me to-morrow at eleven,
at the track. You will find me in front of
the Grand Stand."

The next morning when I arrived at the
track I found Dr. Watson in conversation
with a powerful-looking man whom he in-
troduced to me as Mike Falan. We walked
slowly up the track to a point about a quar-
ter of a mile from the finish. There was a



TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT. 69

great crowd of people present, the numbers
had gone up for the first race, and most of
the horses were already out and " warming
up." Emperor appeared to be in splendid
condition. As he galloped easily up and
down in front of the Grand Stand his great
muscles rolled and swelled under the shiny
skin, and he looked and acted like a horse
fit to race for his life. He was a prime
favorite at the pools and was selling at two
to one against the field.

" I have seen Blake," said Watson, " and
he is feeling confident that Emperor will win.
He is somewhat nervous, of course, but he
tells me the horse is in first-class shape, and
that Murphy is all right. No signs of
Simms yet and the race will be started in
less than ten minutes. It begins to look as
though I have been frightened at a shadow."

At this moment a man touched Watson
on the arm and whispered something to him
and then moved quickly away through the



yo TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT.

crowd. Watson started, and turning to me
said,

" Come this way. Simms is here, he is
down the track, below the gate."

He hurried away, Mike and I following,
and upon getting clear of the crowd we
saw a man leaning against the picket fence
which separated the track from the carriage
drive, watching the horses through a small
field-glass. As we came up, Simms, for it
was he, glanced suspiciously at us, but as
we paid no attention to him and talked
earnestly together, apparently arguing as to
the relative merits of the horses, he soon
ceased to notice us and turned again to the
horses.

Hardly had he done so when he hur-
riedly put the glass in his pocket, and a
great shout from the Grand Stand and cries
of " They're off! " told us that the great race
had commenced.

We could see the horses far off on the



TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT. 71

opposite side of the track all running in a
bunch, until they neared the half-mile flag,
when two were seen to be well in advance
of the others. As they swung round the
curve we could see the red cap worn by
Murphy flashing in the sun, and we knew
that Emperor was leading. But another
horse, a deep bay, the jockey dressed
completely in blue, was very close to him.
On they came, and Watson and Mike
edged closer and closer to Simms, whose
whole attention was fixed on the race.
His face was flushed, and he was actually
dancing with excitement. We watched
him as a cat watches a mouse, and it was
very lucky for Blake that we did so. The
horses were now quite near us, and we
could see Murphy plainly, and noted how
white and drawn his face looked. Sud-
denly Simms pulled a large white hand-
kerchief from his pocket, but as he did so
the doctor snatched it from his hand and



72 TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT.

at the same instant Mike seized him in his
powerful arms, and dragged him from the
fence.

Mad with surprise and rage, he struggled
and kicked like a wild animal. "Damn
you," he yelled, " let me go ; let go, I
say! What in hell do you mean ?"

" Let him go, Mike," said the doctor.
Mike pushed Simms from him, and he
staggered back against the fence. The
man was crazy with rage, and I believe
for the moment he was really insane. He
half crouched as if to spring at us, snarling
and showing his teeth like a savage dog,
then his hand went to his hip pocket.

" I wouldn't try that if I were you,
Simms," said Watson quietly. " You will
get the worst of it if you do."

Watson's right hand was in the pocket of
his sack-coat, and his eyes said, " I'll shoot,"
as plainly as if he had told Simms so in so
many words.



TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT. 73

" See here, you," cried Mike, " if you pull
a gun I'll smash your jaw ! "

Simms looked from one to the other of
us, with the expression of a madman. His
face was ghastly white, and the scar on his
cheek stood out livid, in contrast with the
white skin. I thought for a moment he was
about to draw his revolver, but suddenly he
turned and ran toward the crowd, and in a
moment was lost to our view.

The shouting and cheering still kept up,
and, as we hurried toward the Grand Stand,
Watson asked a man which horse had won.

" Emperor, by a length, a great race ! "

We found Blake in front of the stand
He came to us and shook hands. His face
was beaming with the joy of success.

" Do you know," he said, " I do believe
that something is the matter with Murphy.
He was as pale as a ghost after the race.
He said he could remember nothing about
it until he found himself in the home stretch



74 TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT.

running neck and neck with Nettie B.
Then he seemed to wake from a dream, and
sat down and rode Emperor for all he was
worth. You know the rest. He won out
all right, but I tell you it was a confounded
sight too close for comfort."



THE STRANGE POWDER OF
THE JOU JOU PRIESTS.



DR. WATSON carefully opened the
little antique silver box, which was
about the size and shape of an ordinary
watch, and showed that it contained a
gray powder and a little gold measure
resembling a miniature thimble. It was
evidently very old, the cover being worn
smooth in many places, nearly effacing the
peculiar hieroglyphics with which it had
once been engraved.

" I consider this," he said, " my chef-
(Toeuvre, my ' star exhibit,' as it were. The
powder possesses such wonderful properties,
and is so unlike any known drug, that I
hesitate to describe its effects. That it is
75



76 THE STRANGE POWDER OF

a powerful poison there can be no doubt,
but when taken in small doses it is appar-
ently harmless enough."

" What is its history ? " asked Dr. Far-
rington.

" I picked it up in London. Got it from
Burridge, the explorer, who had just re-
turned from a year's trip in the interior of
West Africa. He went into Benin City
with the English when they cleaned out the
town. Burridge says he took it from a dead
Jou Jou priest, and he made me pay a pretty
stiff price for it. It is a wonderful drug,
entirely unknown outside of Africa. Bur-
ridge thinks it is made from the leaves of
some plant; but its preparation is a secret
of the priests of Jou Jou.

" Now, I propose that we each take a
small quantity of the powder to-night, and
then dine together to-morrow evening and
compare notes. I may as well tell you now,
it produces strange hallucinations. I tried



THE JOU JOU PRIESTS. 77

it once myself, and my experience on that
occasion was, to say the least, peculiar;
therefore I am more than anxious to try it
again, and compare notes with you after-
wards, and I think I can promise you a new
and novel experience."

Farrington and Forster were perfectly
willing to try the experiment which Watson
hinted promised such interesting results, and
it was agreed that each should take a dose
of the powder before retiring, and meet
together the next evening.

Promptly at the time appointed, the three
men met in Watson's study, and after cigars
had been lighted Watson asked Farrington
to be the first to relate his experience,
whereupon the Doctor drew from his pocket
several pages of closely written manuscript,
and began as follows:



AN AZTEC MUMMY.



[DR. FARRINGTON'S STORY.]

I WAS standing in a museum looking at
a case of mummies. One of them was
marked " Mummy of an Aztec, found in a
Cliff Dwelling," and it interested me very
much. In size it was that of a small man,
and was in a fine state of preservation, with
the exception that the bones of the legs
were exposed, and more or less disinte-
grated, in some places. The hands, even to
the finger nails, were perfect, however, and
there was a silver ring on the index finger.
One hand grasped a large stone axe the
handle being modern. The right hand
rested across the chest, clasping a necklace
of silver wire.

78



AN AZTEC MUMMY.



79



"Interesting specimen, is it not?" said a
voice at my side.

" Quite so," I replied. But I doubt if
it is really an Aztec mummy."

" What makes you think that ? " asked
the voice sharply.

"Because I don't believe the Aztecs
buried their dead in Cliff Dwellings. How-
ever, it is an interesting mummy, and in a
wonderful state of preservation."

I was so interested in examining the
mummy that I had spoken without turning
my head. Now, however, I looked up and
saw a tall, gaunt figure of a man dressed in
a suit of corduroy, and wearing a broad-
brimmed hat, or sombrero, such as is gen-
erally worn on the Western plains.

" Well," he remarked, " in my opinion, it
is a pretty good mummy. I made it my-
self, and ought to know."

" Excuse me, what did you say ? " I asked,
thinking I had not understood him aright.



8o AN AZTEC MUMMY.

" I said that was one of my mummies."

"What do you mean by that, sir?" I
asked.

"You will understand when I. tell you I
was a dealer in curiosities, and during my
time I furnished museums with a great
many interesting and valuable specimens ;
when trade was slow, I occasionally helped
nature a little, but that is all over now."

"Have you given up the business?" I
asked.

"Had to; but perhaps you do not know
that I am dead," answered my companion.
" Fell from a cliff last year and broke my
neck."

"Did you, indeed?" I answered, trying to
appear interested.

" That's what I did. But let me tell you
about that mummy. There was a scientific
chap who came to our place and wanted to
buy Aztec relics. Me and my partner made
a trade with him and sold him a lot of



AN AZTEC MUMMY. 8 1

stuff; but he was very anxious to be taken
where he could dig some up for himself,
* to be sure of the authenticity and antiquity
of the relics.' Well, me and my pard fig-
ured up that it might be to our advantage
to take him to a good Cliff Dwelling, and
we arranged that he should pay us so much
for everything he dug up. If he found a
mummy we got one hundred dollars; if
stone hatchets and axes, two dollars each;
arrow-heads, ten cents each; for stone
matats and grinders, one dollar each, taking
them as they came; and whole pottery, five
dollars."

" Where did you find the mummy? Did
you know of the cave ? " I asked.

" Well, we knew where there were lots of
caves, and where there were Indian grave-
yards. With the aid of a little stain and
judicious arrangement of a body we pre-
pared a fine Aztec mummy. Of course we
used the body of an Indian, one who had



82 AN AZTEC MUMMY.

been dead for a long time and was dried up
and crumbly. My partner was a clever
chap, and he fixed up the axe and the silver
necklace, and we took the outfit and started
for the Verde Canon. We picked out a
good-sized cave, and dug a hole in the floor,
in which we carefully placed the mummy
and covered him up with dry dust; then we
wet the clay over him, leaving the floor
hard and smooth as before. We also buried
about fifty axes and two or three hundred
arrow-heads, and half a dozen nice speci-
mens of Indian pottery, which we burned
up good and black.

" After we had ' salted ' the cave to our
satisfaction, we partly sealed up the en-
trance and returned to Flagstaff."

"Was that acting quite fair ? "

"Fair? Why, how do you think that
poor man would have felt if he had come all
the way out to Arizona, and gone to all the
expense of his car-fare and outfit, and then



AN AZTEC MUMMY. 83

found nothing? It was philanthropy, my
dear sir, the height of philanthropy."
"Was he pleased with the mummy?"
"Pleased? Why, bless your dear, inno-
cent soul, he screamed with joy like a
child, when we accidentally discovered a
piece of a toe while digging in the bottom
of the cave I He dropped on his knees and
removed every particle of dirt with his
hands, and almost cried over it. He carried
on so that my partner nearly gave us away.
He was a chump about some things : if
anything pleased him, he would laugh,
and his laugh sounded like the bray of a
jackass.

" Well, sir, when this scientific chap got
down on his knees, and commenced to paw
the earth away from the fake mummy, my
partner began to gurgle. I knew what was
coming and punched him in the ribs, but it
did no good. The scientific chap looked
up and asked what was the matter.



84 AN AZTEC MUMMY.

" ' Matter? ' shouted my pard, and then he
roared and yelled and howled.

"A look of doubt and annoyance came
into our victim's eyes; but pard saved him-
self just in time.

"'Look!' he yelled between his parox-
ysms of laughter, ( look at that buzzard over
there! I'm damned if he ain't the funniest
buzzard I ever saw in my life,' and then he
roared and yelled and jumped about.
'Look at him,' he laughed; 'see him fly!
did you ever see anything so funny?'

" I am not sure but what the scientist
thought he was crazy, but anyhow, he didn't
catch on to what he was laughing at, and
pretty soon went on with his digging. We
stayed there three days and dug the whole
place up and took back with us a basket
full of stone axes, arrow-heads, three large
prehistoric vases, and the mummy. He
drove the wagon himself every step of the
way, for fear something would get broken,



AN AZTEC MUMMY. 85

and when we got to Flagstaff he spent two
days packing the relics."

" Do you consider that sort of thing quite
honorable ? " I asked.

" Honorable? What is that you say, you
squint-eyed dude ? Now, my boy, don't get
fresh with me just because I am dead and
can't jump you."

I hastened to pacify him.

"Well, that's all right, but if you had
said that to me last year when I was alive
I would have marked squares all over your
body with a piece of chalk and then played
hop-scotch on you."

" I meant no offence," I said humbly.

" Maybe you didn't. But just you make
another break like that, and I won't forget
it; you will have to die sometime, and
then, oh, mamma!"

" Is your partner dead ? " I asked.

" No, Jim is not dead by a long shot. I
went down to see him last winter at his



86 AN AZTEC MUMMY.

place in California, where he has opened up
a new store. He has a good tourist trade
made a lot of money this year out of
mermaids and sea-devils there was a run/
on sea-devils this winter. He makes them
out of fishes.

u The mermaids he makes out of fishes'
tails and Indian children robs the grave-
yards, you know. Some of them are really
fine and artistic. I tell you he is an artist in
his line.

" He has a branch store still somewhere
in New Mexico, and made a stack of money
last winter in Navajo blankets and scalp-
trimmed Indian arms and shields. It is the
scalp trimming which catches the tourist.
He gets most of his scalps from California,
from hospitals there; but when he is short,
horse hair does pretty well, especially for
old Indian scalps.

" And then, Navajo blankets. Holy
smoke, a gold mine isn't in it! They make



AN AZTEC MUMMY. 87

them of Germantown wool and aniline
dyes, and they cost at the factory all the
way from six bits to $10, and sell to the
tourist for various prices ; sometimes as
high as $75 or $80. Oh, I tell you he
is shrewd; some day he will be worth a
million!

" Sometimes a chap goes into his shop
and poses as an expert those are the kind
of jays that fill Jim's soul with joy. The
fellow will pull over a pile of blankets, and
after looking at them wisely, will say,
" Haven't you got any real good blankets ?
These are Germantown wool and mineral
dyes.'

" Then Jim will say ' Ah, I see you
know something about blankets.'

" ' Oh, yes ; a little,' answers the expert.

"' The fine old-style blankets are mighty
hard to get now,' remarks Jim.

" ( I know they are,' remarks the wise
tourist, ' but still they are to be had some-



88 AN AZTEC MUMMY.

times, are they not? Come, now, haven't
you got something choice hidden away?'

" Then Jim will look about, as though
fearful that somebody might see him, and
will steal softly into a back room and pull
from beneath his bed a good cheap blanket
worth about $3 and spread it out lov-
ingly in front of the tourist.

" ' There,' he whispers ; < look at that ;
that is not for sale. I am keeping that for
myself, but I thought you would like to see
it, as it is very evident you know a good
deal about blankets ; isn't it a beauty ? '

" Then the tourist t bites,' and asks him
what it is worth, and admires it, agrees with
him as to the splendid old dyes and fine
preservation of the native wool prepared in
the manner of the old Navajo, speaks of its
great rarity, and at last ends by asking Jim
what he will take for it, and usually carries
it away with him, having paid three or four
times the value of a really good blanket.



AN AZTEC MUMMY. 89

"I've seen Jim pull their legs so hard
they'd pretty near limp when they went out.
Ah, those were happy days ! "

The departed heaved a deep sigh, and
gazed silently at his handiwork.

" Well," he said, I must be going 5 I
have a lot of things I want to do before
morning, but hope to run across you some-
time again. Glad you like the mummy. I
forgot to mention that most of the teeth
were gone when we first got it, and Jim put
in a fine new set, and improved it a whole
lot."

I glanced at the mummy, and when I
looked up again, my companion had disap-
peared.



A LESSON IN CHEMISTRY.



[MR. FORSTER'S STORY.]

I TOOK the powder as agreed, and sat
down to read the evening paper before
retiring, with the result that I did not
retire at all. I became much interested in
an article on new explosives with which the
Government has been lately experimenting,
and had nearly finished it, when I heard a
voice say to me, " Interesting subject, isn't
it?"

I turned, and saw seated on my lounge


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Online LibraryCharles B. (Charles Barney) CoryMontezuma's castle and other weird tales → online text (page 3 of 9)