John Lansing first met Mary Hollister at the house of his friend Pinney, whose wife was her sister. She had soft gray eyes, a pretty color in her cheeks, rosy lips, and a charming figure. In the course of the evening somebody suggested mind-reading as a pastime, and Lansing, who had some powers, or supposed powers, in that direction, although he laughed at them himself, experimented in turn with the ladies.
Pinney's voice, seeming to come from very far away, was in his ears. "Rouse yourself, for God's sake! Don't give it all up that way. I believe there's a chance yet. Remember the mind-reading you used to do with her. You could put almost anything into her mind by just willing it there. That's what I mean. Will her to stop what she is doing now. Perhaps you may save her yet. There's a chance you may do it. I don't say there's more than a chance, but there 's that There's a bare chance. That's better than giving up. I 've heard of such things being done. I 've read of them. Try it, for God's sake I Don't give up."
At any previous moment of his life the suggestion that he could, by mere will power, move the mind of a person a thousand miles away, so as to reverse a deliberate decision, would have appeared to Lansing as wholly preposterous as no doubt it does to any who read these lines. But a man, however logical he may be on land, will grasp at a straw when drowning, as if it were a log. Pinney had
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