Welsh Newspapers

Search 15 million Welsh newspaper articles

Hide Articles List

3 articles on this Page



A DREAM SKETCH. 1 A few evenings since I called to see my friend, Dr. Lord. After the news of the day had been discussed, and he had given me the details of a critical surgical operation which he had performed only the day before, he remarked that as I came in he had just been read- ing a few anecdotes Dr. Rush. And," said he, that relating to the subject of dreams called to mind an experience of my own. I do not pretend to say that there have not been dreams of surpassing wonder; but I am convinced that they are, after all, the result of operations of psychological laws, which, if properly understood, would render dreams as simple and easy of solution as are the phenomena of our waking senses. It will not do to cry out humbug against everything we cannot com- prehend nor do I believe it necessary to attach so much wonder and marvel to these unusual events. I can trace out and lay bare every nerve, muscle, ligament, 'artery and vein of the human body, and I can clearly demonstrate to my class in physIcal dynamics exactly how all these different parts of the body work. I can show how that wonderful net-work of nerves connects every part of the body with the brain; but when I am asked to show the connection between these nerves and the MIND, or WILL, I am at a loss. I can talk of the electric And, more subtle than nerve-matter, and more gross than mind; and by the galvanic battery I can demonstrate how this subtle agent can operate upon the musoles of the human body. But still, when we have reached the existence of this electric fluid, and clearly demonstrated its office, we are forced to stop. The grand power that sits upon the throne of the soul, and sends its mandates of will along the highways and byeways of the nervous system, is as far above our understand- ing as is the mystery of Eternity itself. "But enough of this. If I keep on much higher, I shall be very apt to find myself straying away into the realms of theology, and there I should certainly be lost. So I will tell you the story I had in mind when I spoke of Dr. Rush. "When I bad finished my medical studies-or, I should say, when I had graduated and received my diploma-I not only found myself very poor in health, but also very poor in purse. I was advised by one or two of the professors to take a little recreation before I settled down for practice. I was told that I had better travel. It was all very well to tell me this; but seeing that I had paid almost my last shilling to those very professors, I could not well see how I was to follow their advice. So I went home, thinking to spend a few weeks with my widowed mother, and arrange some satisfactory and feasible plan for the future. „ JL- In my native village was a manuiaoiuring nrm— Graves andHapgood—which had been established while I had been in college. Hapgood had been my play- mate and schoolmate in other years, and was still my warm friend; and when I told him, in the course of common conversation, how I was situated, he informed me that he had just the thing for me. He could put me in the way of travelling for both health of body and health of purse. He and his partner had just ob- tained a patent. It was a grand thing—a thing needed by every farmer-and if I would accept an agency for the disposal of town and county rights, he was confident I should make a good thing of it. At first the idea did not strike me favourably; but after much reflection I determined to try it. The firm allowed me to select my own ground, and when my decision had been made, they furnished me with the necessary certificate, and I started off on my travels. I had nothing to do with selling the manufactured article. I only sold the right to manufacture and vend, taking a single machine along with me that I might demonstrate its virtues. Had I possessed money of my own I should never have sucoeeded in such a business; but my poverty spurred me to exertion, and I did well. In less than three months, in addition to some < £ 2,000 which I had remitted to the firm from time to time, I brought nearly Xl,000 home with me when I returned. The next day, in my study, I completed my ao. counts, and made a pile of the bills and notes which were due to the firm, and having cut a strip of paper about half an inch wide, I folded it round the pile in the form of a band, and secured it -with a. wafer. Then I leaned back in my chair and wondered what I would do if all that money were mine. What volumes of valuable books should adorn my library; and what splendid oases of surgical instruments I would buy! I would have the most complete assortment of knives, and saws, and forceps, and machinery for reducing dis- locatiens and setting broken bones, that ever was. And from this my imagination wandered forward to the great times that were to come -when my name should be a household word, and when, far and near, people should send for me whenever a capital case in surgery was to be performed. I was in the midst of this day-dream when my mother came to my deor and asked me to walk with her in the garden, and thus I was engaged for, perhaps, fifteen or twenty minutes. I was just think- ing of going to overhaul some old newspapers which were piled away in my own room, when it occurred to me that I had left the pile of notes upon my desk, and I made all haste back to my study to take care of it. I entered, and looked where I had laid it, and it was not there! With strangely excited nerves and a palpitating heart, I looked into every nook and corner; but the money was not to be found. I called my mother, and asked her if she bad been into my study. She had not. I searched again, this time over- hauling every book and paper in and about my desk, and poking into every reoess in the apartment; but with no better result than before. "What could have become of the money? My study was on the lower floor, is a corner of the build- ing, with one window looking out upon the street, and another looking out into the garden. The sashes were not fastened down, and the curtains were up. Some one in the street or in the garden must have seen me counting the money, and had slipped into the room during my absence, and stolen it. This was not only the conclusion I arrived at, but it was supported by reason and evidence. I put on my hat and overcoat and hurried out; and until night came on I searched up and down the streets for the robber. I cannot tell you what were my feelings as I laid my head upon my pillow that night. I was utterly miserable, and almost wished that I might die if I did not find the monev. On the following morning I made another unsuc- cessful search in my study, and then, with spirits about as low as human spirits can be, I went to see Messrs. Graves and Hapgood. In a very few words I told them what had happened; and though they tried to cheer me, yet I fancied that I could detect in their manner a suspicion that it was not all as I represented. The loss was advertised, and a reward offered for the recovery of the money. I went home, and for three days I was sick. If it had been my own money that I had lost I should have cared not so much; but the fear haunted me that people would think I had used the funds myself, and that fear took away my appetite for food, and kept me awake when I should have been asleep. On the following Monday, tired and worn, I sought my bed at an early hour, and fe.l asleep very shortly after I had touched the pillow. I slept more soundly than I had slept before for a week, and as I slept I dreamed. I dreamed that I tad gone out and walked with my mother in the garden, an^rth^^Ja3 W ing to go up into my own room Mr. Jvew™e and asked if I could let him have the I held in my hands belonging to him. I told him **d asked him to follow me. I went to my study, moved a chair to the wall, and having got up°n I ° £ ed up and opened a small oupboard that had been let in by the side of the chimney, and twk the money out from beneath an old book, and handed it to him..tie counted it-found it all right, and went away. "I awoke, and heard the clock strike twelve, and my first impulse, as soon as my senses were fully aroused, was to arise and go to my study; for the dream had been so direct, and so seemiBgly real, that I was determined to test its significance. I lighted my lamp, and descended to the study. The lower shelves of the narrow cupboard could be reached from the floor; but the upper shelf was so high that I had to get upon a chair to reach it handily. I placed the chair against the wall and stood upon it, and when I held the lamp to the upper ahelf I saw the book-an old account book—jaat as I had seen it in my dream. I lifted the book, and beneath it I found the package of bank-notes. They were secured by the wafered band, and seemed all rirht. With a thrill ef joy I grasped them, and hurried to my desk, where I counted them. They were all there. It took me some little time to satisfy myself that I was not dreaming still; and I am sure you would laugh if I were to tell you of the ridiculous measures I took to assure myself that I was awake. But I succeeded m deciding the question at length; and then I went back to my bed, and went to sleep with the money under my pillow. 1 In the morning I told my mother of my discovery and of the wonderful manner in which I had been led I to it; and then I asked her if it was not possible that o she had accidentally, in clearing up my room, put the g money into that cupboard Her answer was not only a f very explicit negative, but she asked me if I did not r know that she was not in my room from the time of r my counting the money until I missed it. Of course, t my mother could not have done it; and, of course, I a was sure that I could not have done it. c "Very early the next morning I took the money and carried it to Mr. Hapgood; and when I had explained j AD him how I had found it, he joined with me in de- 1 daring that it was very wonderful; and when we had ] tiscussed the matter in all its bearings we came to the ] conclusion, or, at least, I came to the conclusion, that c the thief, when he found that the loss was advertised, ] and that the numbers of the bank-notes were given, was afraid to attempt to pass them, and that he had found opportunity to enter my study a second time and place them where I had found them. But how had my dream led me to that cupboard ? I was not willing to accept the old idea that a super- natural agency had been at work for me. I knew there were abnormal states, or spheres, in which the mind of man possesses wonderful powers; but I could not believe that the human mind could reach events entirely separate from all material connections. That is I believed that human knowledge could not fasten itself upon a fact entirely above and beyond the reach of some one of the common senses of human nature. And yet this dream, and its results, seemed for a time to rear an insoluble marvel against my philo- IOphy. One day, about two weeks after the finding of the money, as I happened to be at the office of the manufacturers, Mr. Hapgood asked me for some particular items of figures which I bad rendered in our settlement. I had given him a full statement in detail, which he had lost. I told him that I had made some rough figuring upoa a scrap of paper, from which I had perfected the account I had given him; and if that paper could be found, I could draw up another statement of items from it. When I went home I sat down at my desk and searched the drawer and pigeon-holes for the memoranda in question, but could not find it. I rested my brow upon my band and set my thoughts to work, and at length I re- membered that I had made those figures upon the blank leaf of an old account-book that had been lying upon my desk at the time. But where was the book now ? I pondered again, and presently the clue led me to an opening and unravelling of the whole mvsterv.. I remembered now very clearly that i nad set down the items of my sales upon a leaf of that old book, and also that with my pocket-scissors I had cut the strip from one of those leaves with which I had bound the bank-notes. And then I remembered that when my mother called me I took the book from my desk and tossed it upon the upper shelf of the cup- board; but at the time my mind was so full of the day-dream of new books and glittering surgioal instru- ments, that the act had no place in my thoughts. It was one of those involuntary acts which we are all liable to perform. Having remembered this much, I went to the cupboard and took down the book, and found it to be the very one under which I had found the missing bank-notes. I examined the lower cover of the book, and found adhering to it a bit of wafer. How clear the whole thing was now, and how easily I could call to mind all the circumstances. When I commenced my day-dream, I was holding that book in my hand, and as I became more absorbed, I let it fall upon my desk. It had fallen upon the package of bills, and a section of the damp wafer, which the end of the band did not entirely overlap, had adhered to it; and when I took it up and threw it into the cupboard, the money went with it. Thus you see, after all, my wonderful dream was but the creation of what I please to oall an abnormal memory. On that Monday night, when I had become so tired and weary of thought that I could think no more, I went to sleep and forgot my perplexity, and then it was that the inner sense, freed from the burden of fretful conjecture, caught the thread of forgotten facts, and opened the way to a solution of tt"The>1thousand and one flreama that disturb our slumbers with ridiculous fancies are the result of a disordered stomach. The great pneumogastric nerve, connecting the whole digestive apparatus with the brain, is apt to be very insinuating when we have eaten what we ought not to eat. But those dreams which have connection with the affairs of life, and which lead the mind to a discovery of things hidden from the waking senses, are really the results of an effort of the mental faculties to throw off a burden, and when the many misdirected thoughts and oross- purposes of the mind in its normal state are shut out by the closing up of the outer windows, the more aotive of the inner faculties, both perceptive and reflective, still retaining a hold upon the studies of the day, go at work to some purpose, and things forgotten amid the whirl of a thousand waking fancies are now remembered." Bnt," said I, how do you account for some of those dreams by which people have been forewarned of events to come." I account for them by the same coarse of reason- ing," replied the doctor. We are all in the habit of foretelling events. We reason from cause to effect. Sometimes we are wrong, and sometimes we are right. And in case of the dreams of which you speak, probably where one hits the truth, ten thousand fail, but the ten thousand are forgotten, while the one is remembered as a wonderful thing, but in all proba- bility there was nothing wonderful about it. Some tokens or signs pointing to the coming event, which had met the observation, but had failed to impress the normal memory, were in that abnormal state, caught up by the faculties that were busy in the dream-work, and thus, while reason slept, intuition perceived^ the sign, and jumped at once to a rational conclusion.