An Explanation From The Tomb
In the diary of the late Hugh Morgan are certain interesting entries
having, possibly, a scientific value as suggestions. At the inquest upon
his body the book was not put in evidence; possibly the coroner thought
it not worth while to confuse the jury. The date of the first of the
entries mentioned cannot be ascertained; the upper part of the leaf is
torn away; the part of the entry remaining follows:
". . . would run in a half-circle, keeping his head turned always toward
the center, and again he would stand still, barking furiously. At last
he ran away into the brush as fast as he could go. I thought at first
that he had gone mad, but on returning to the house found no other
alteration in his manner than what was obviously due to fear of
"Can a dog see with his nose? Do odors impress some cerebral center with
images of the thing that emitted them? . . .
"Sept. 2.--Looking at the stars last night as they rose above the crest
of the ridge east of the house, I observed them successively
disappear--from left to right. Each was eclipsed but an instant, and
only a few at the same time, but along the entire length of the ridge
all that were within a degree or two of the crest were blotted out. It
was as if something had passed along between me and them; but I could
not see it, and the stars were not thick enough to define its outline.
Ugh! I don't like this." . . .
Several weeks' entries are missing, three leaves being torn from the
"Sept. 27.--It has been about here again--I find evidences of its
presence every day. I watched again all last night in the same cover,
gun in hand, double-charged with buckshot. In the morning the fresh
footprints were there, as before. Yet I would have sworn that I did not
sleep--indeed, I hardly sleep at all. It is terrible, insupportable! If
these amazing experiences are real I shall go mad; if they are fanciful
I am mad already.
"Oct. 3.--I shall not go--it shall not drive me away. No, this is _my_
house, _my_ land. God hates a coward. . . .
"Oct. 5.--I can stand it no longer; I have invited Harker to pass a few
weeks with me--he has a level head. I can judge from his manner if he
thinks me mad.
"Oct. 7.--I have the solution of the mystery; it came to me last
night--suddenly, as by revelation. How simple--how terribly simple!
"There are sounds that we cannot hear. At either end of the scale are
notes that stir no chord of that imperfect instrument, the human ear.
They are too high or too grave. I have observed a flock of blackbirds
occupying an entire tree-top--the tops of several trees--and all in full
song. Suddenly--in a moment--at absolutely the same instant--all spring
into the air and fly away. How? They could not all see one
another--whole tree-tops intervened. At no point could a leader have
been visible to all. There must have been a signal of warning or
command, high and shrill above the din, but by me unheard. I have
observed, too, the same simultaneous flight when all were silent, among
not only blackbirds, but other birds--quail, for example, widely
separated by bushes--even on opposite sides of a hill.
"It is known to seamen that a school of whales basking or sporting on
the surface of the ocean, miles apart, with the convexity of the earth
between, will sometimes dive at the same instant--all gone out of sight
in a moment. The signal has been sounded--too grave for the ear of the
sailor at the masthead and his comrades on the deck--who nevertheless
feel its vibrations in the ship as the stones of a cathedral are stirred
by the bass of the organ.
"As with sounds, so with colors. At each end of the solar spectrum the
chemist can detect the presence of what are known as 'actinic' rays.
They represent colors--integral colors in the composition of
light--which we are unable to discern. The human eye is an imperfect
instrument; its range is but a few octaves of the real 'chromatic
scale.' I am not mad; there are colors that we cannot see.
"And, God help me! the Damned Thing is of such a color!"
Next: The Interval
Previous: A Man Though Naked May Be In Rags