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process of thought-reading, the plan of an imaginary military action. I replied that I had never tried such an experiment, but that I did not despair of its possibility. He thereupon offered himself as a • subject. In the experiment proposed he was to imagine that he was on a battle-field, and that he wished to lead a corps d'armée in a certain direction in order to capture a redoubt. To accomplish this he warned me he should make some very intricate maneuvres. The whole thing being firmly fixed in bis mind we left the big "yellow drawing-room'in which the guests were assembled, and at a jog-trot entered the red drawing-room' at its foot. For a moment we paused whilst we passed through a doorway into a passage. Here we went slowly and cautiously, the passage representing, in the General's mind, a rocky defile. At the end of the passage, however, I wheeled sharp round to the right and found myself in the blue room.' After going across to one of the corners of this chamber, which heads the centre ‘ yellow room,' I made a sudden dash with all my speed into that room, upsetting one or two people in my haste, and finally paused at a huge settee surmounted by flowers, upon which I planted a handkerchief which did duty for the Russian flag.
I was, the Governor-General afterwards said, exact in every movement.
This experiment caused considerable excitement in Warsaw, and when an account of it was sent to the local papers, the censor forbade its being printed. That functionary afterwards voluntarily assured a friend of mine that it would have been highly injudicious to have made such an affair public, as the Russians, in their superstition, would, in the first place, have imagined I was a greater man than his Excellency, and that, in the second place, I might, in time of war, use my skill towards interpreting the Governor-General's plans to
I think a lawyer might make some practical use of this process of thought-reading. For my contention is that so closely allied is the body with the mind that, under the influence of emotion or concentrated attention, the body not only acts in unison with the mind, but the physical system expresses the thought almost as distinctly as the tongue could. By carefully noting and weighing facial and bodily indications a skilful lawyer, gifted with a sense of perception sufficiently acute to enable him to successfully perform so-called * thought-reading experiments,' would be all the better able to arrive at the true value of a witness's evidence than by merely acting upon the replies elicited under cross-examination. It is true, habitual liars manage to assume an almost perfect control over their facial organs; but, for all that, if you watch them closely you will discover that what does not express itself in the face is bound to physically betray itself in some other way. . It may be a mannerism so slight as to be almost undetectable, or it may be a movement so strongly marked as to be at once distinguishable ; but in either case you will find that the expression is habitual with him, and that he will wear it on one and every occasion when he lies.
What is bred in the mind will come out in the body.
I once knew a man, whom Mark Twain would perhaps have designated as the prettiest liar in creation. He altogether falsified the adage about a liar not being able to look you straight in the face, for he would, whilst grossly lying, look at you in the most direct manner; in fact so straight was his gaze that you invariably would lower your eyes before his, as if you in reality were the sinner and not he.
He tried his hand with me, and momentarily took me in ; for I could not conceive it possible that a man could lie so glibly and yet maintain such an air of perfect, unblushing innocence.
The next time I fell in with him was on an occasion when it was to his advantage to lie, and that he was equal to the occasion goes without saying. Yet all the while his expression was ingenuousness itself. I, however, noticed, that whilst a smile wreathed his lips, and his light blue eyes danced in playful innocence, there was a suspicious nervous action of the fingers of the left hand as he grasped his watch-chain. To give the man credit, he never lied purposelessly, and only upon matters affecting his own interests; but when the purpose was there, there was no limit to where he thought himself justified in throwing the hatchet. On another occasion I had some business to discuss with him very much to his advantage ; and I poticed him involuntarily stretch out his thumb to hook in his watchchain preparatory to launching forth. Suddenly he paused, blushed and stammered, and in his confusion he actually told the truth.
On looking down where his hand had gone, I saw that he had come out without his watch-chain.
Naturally truthful men experience much greater difficulty than do habitual liars in controlling their feelings. That is to say, they much more readily give themselves away by some physical indication or other, in many instances the indications being so transparent that a child could run and read them.
It may or may not be an advantage for a man to be able to judge of another man's sincerity offhand; but I believe that I can, immediately I shake a man by the hand, tell what his true feelings are with regard to me. A man may wreathe his face with smiles when he receives me, but if they do not correctly express his thoughts there will be almost sure to be a bodily something about him that will betray him. A man may retain an idea to himself against all the thoughtreaders and clairvoyantes in the world, but he cannot retain a feeling. Some people do not of course attempt to hide their feelings, and their expressions of annoyance or dislike are so clearly marked as to be intelligible to the very dullest : others do try to hide their feelings under a mask, but their emotions are the more natural and powerful of the two, and either a corner of the mask is constantly turning up, showing what is beneath, or it, to a highly sensitive person, is so transparent as to be readily looked through.
Mr. Gladstone is, of all notable men I have met, about the least able to mask his emotions, skilful as he is in cloaking his thoughts. He is a highly emotional man, and there is about him, moreover, something distinctly mesmeric. His natural charm of manner, the softness of his voice, and the soothing nervous action of his hands, give him an immense power over men. It is almost impossible to be in his presence without feeling this mesmeric influence, and I can well understand people doing things at his dictation which may be against their better judgment.
I have often been asked whom I consider to be the best and who the worst 'subject' for thought-reading. With all the good 6 subjects’ I have at different times fallen in with it is somewhat difficult for me to particularise any one of them as being in advance of the rest, yet I think I might be justified in saying that for downright concentration of thought, mathematical precision, and earnestness of purpose, Field-Marshal Von Moltke would take the palm.
As to the worst subject,' I think of all the distinguished personages with whom I have operated M. Alexandre Dumas gave me the greatest trouble. Some people will be surprised, whilst others will be disappointed, at hearing this ; for I have been so repeatedly asked if I did not think Mr. Henry Labouchere to be a difficultin fact an impossible—“subject' that there will no doubt be those who will be expecting and desiring to see his name in the place of M. Dumas.
Contrary to general expectation, I found Mr. Labouchere, in the experiments I tried with him, to be an excellent subject.' His way of thinking was sharp and decisive; and, what was more, he was perfectly honest with me. I found in him a sceptic willing to be convinced, but one keenly on the alert to detect imposition and to discountenance pretence. With me he was from beginning to end both earnest and sincere; and, whilst he may to the British mind be counted as somewhat too versatile, there is no man in this world who can on occasion be more thorough 'than the senior member for Northampton.
M. Alexandre Dumas is a man of quite another stamp. He is as absolutely unemotional as it is possible for anyone to be. Then, in addition to his cold and passive temperament, he is extremely bigoted and self-willed. He has, I believe, a warm heart, from which good resolves and kindly actions repeatedly spring; but he has schooled himself to look upon such things as weaknesses, and he would deem it little short of a crime for him to betray his emotions. He is always seeking to have supreme control over himself, and he fully expects every one who is brought in contact with him to be equally subservient to his will. This naturally makes him a bad subject'
for a thought-reading experiment. Difficult, however, as he was, I eventually-as I took much time and great pains-succeeded with him. The test consisted of finding an article which he had hid somewhere in his daughter's house. When the object was found it turned out to be an early copy of La Dame aux Camellias, in which M. Dumas had written À M. Cumberland, hommage de l'auteur, Alexandre Dumas.' It 'will thus be seen that, whilst his natural thoughtfulness and kindliness of heart originally prompted this agreeable phase of experiment, his innate pride of self and domineering will put obstacles in the way of its fulfilment.
Naturally some persons are more suitable than others for such experiments; but I have found that with intelligent, thoughtful people, who act up to the conditions, I seldom fail. In fact the higher I have been the more certain has been the success. Smallminded people do not hesitate to trick and lie in their desire to be considered smarter than the operator;'but the truly great in thought and in position never, in such cases, stoop to such pettiness—hence with them all is from first to last fair sailing.
Much, I should add, depends upon the condition of health of both the subject' and the operator.' If either be unwell the chances of success are in a measure diminished; as the subject'finds it difficult, whilst suffering from a severe headache or other acute bodily ailment, to concentrate his whole thoughts upon a given object or action. He is only too apt to allow the knowledge of his ailment to distract his attention. The same with the operator,' who instead of placing himself in a receptive condition ready to receive the physical indications conveyed to him by the subject,' is forced by pain or exhaustion to turn his attention to the seat of his disorder, thus invariably entailing failure.
Taking all in all I have found the bestó subjects' amongst statesmen, diplomatists, mathematicians, literary men, and all those engaged in active brain-work. In diplomacy Count Julius Andrassy was perhaps the most striking exception, as in him I found a somewhat hard nut to crack.
Military meu-especially in Germany, where the officers have such an excellent mathematical training-provide some very good • subjects,' especially when the experiments have, as in the case with General Gourko, a bearing upon their profession.
Lawyers are often not bad ; but they are, as a rule, too much inclined to stop in the middle of an experiment for the purpose of arguing the question. Then they are sometimes very dodgy, and one invariably feels in their hands like a witness undergoing a crossexamination, whom the subject'feels it his professional duty to trip up at every opportunity.
Musicians—that is when they are eminent and one asks them to think of everyday commonplace things-are practically hopeless. Get them at a piano, and the thought-reader who doesn't know a single
note can invariably vamp out a tune thought of by them. But ask them to think of a pin, a man, any such object, and their thoughts are up in the skies immediately, the object selected having no place in their minds. M. Gounod afforded me an excellent example of how a first-class composer thinks.
Artists are better. They possess, as a rule, not only greater concentration, but they do not object to ordinary things having a place in their thoughts. Munkacsy, it is true, I found somewhat erratic, but Angeli, Camphausen, Begas, and Frank Lenbach proved admirable subjects.'
Clergymen, for experiments in the drawing-room, are absolutely perfect; but in public, especially where the tests are of an intricate character, they are apt to become nervous and forgetful. This of course militates against the success of the test, and, knowing this, they, in their natural conscientiousness, commence to reproach themselves for their own shortcomings, thus rendering the experiment all the more difficult of accomplishment.
Medicine provides some sterling subjects.' But the ordinary practitioner, whilst professing to obey the conditions laid down, is much too apt, during the progress of an experiment, to test his theories; and there is scarcely a doctor born who has not theories upon some subject or other. This would not matter so much in private, but where a public audience is concerned such interference, which will be sure to delay and maybe spoil an experiment, is altogether unfair. I am of course referring to cases where the operator' says, 'I cannot clairvoyantly read your thoughts, neither can I succeed with you unless you desire it. The success of the experiment as much depends upon your powers of concentration as it does upon my powers of perception. All I want you to do is to firmly and honestly fix your whole thoughts upon the object you have selected, and not in any way to endeavour to lead me astray. Remain throughout but passive: do not purposely exercise any contraction of the muscles or endeavour to prevent my going to any place or in any direction I choose. If you do so I cannot possibly succeed, for the thought which would dictate such action to you would become the dominant one and not the object you have selected. You can, if you choose, easily lead me astray, but for the time being I want you to place yourself entirely in my hands.'
In locating pains, imaginary or real, either in his own body or that of another, medical men are much better to operate with than any other class of persons.
I am somewhat inclined to think that this sleight of touch called thought-reading is not altogether without the sphere of practical medicine, and that a doctor who was an expert thought-reader might find his attainments in this direction of no little use in diagnosing complaints, being thereby, as it were, able to feel with his patient instead of having, as in ordinary cases, to be content with the patient's verbal statement of his or her symptoms.