Twain, Mark - from Mental Telegraphy 07
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Mental Telegraphy (extract)
Mark Twain, 1891
One Monday morning, about a year ago, the mail came in, and I picked up one of the letters and said to a friend: "Without opening this letter I will tell you what it says. It is from Mrs. - , and she says she was in New York last Saturday, and was purposing to run up here in the afternoon train and surprise us, but at the last moment changed her mind and returned westward to her home."
I was right; my details were exactly correct. Yet we had had no suspicion that Mrs. - was coming to New York, or that she had even a remote intention of visiting us.
I smoke a good deal - that is to say, all the time - so, during seven years, I have tried to keep a box of matches handy, behind a picture on the mantel- piece; but I have had to take it out in trying, because George (colored), who makes the fires and lights the gas, always uses my matches and never replaces them. Commands and persuasions have gone for nothing with him all these seven years. One day last summer, when our family had been away from home several months, I said to a member of the household:
"Now, with all this long holiday, and nothing in the way to interrupt - "
"I can finish the sentence for you," said the member of the household.
"Do it, then," said I.
"George ought to be able, by practising, to learn to let those matches alone."
It was correctly done. That was what I was going to say. Yet until that moment George and the matches had not been in my mind for three months, and it is plain that the part of the sentence which I uttered offers not the least cue or suggestion of what I was purposing to follow it with.