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All my life I
have had an awareness of other times and places.
I have been aware of other persons in me.—Oh,
and trust me, so have you, my reader that is to
be. Read back into your childhood, and this
sense of awareness I speak of will be remembered
as an experience of your childhood. You were
then not fixed, not crystallized. You were
plastic, a soul in flux, a consciousness and an
identity in the process of forming—ay, of
forming and forgetting.
You have forgotten much, my reader, and yet, as
you read these lines, you remember dimly the
hazy vistas of other times and places into which
your child eyes peered. They seem dreams to you
to-day. Yet, if they were dreams, dreamed then,
whence the substance of them? Our dreams are
grotesquely compounded of the things we know.
The stuff of our sheerest dreams is the stuff of
our experience. As a child, a wee child, you
dreamed you fell great heights; you dreamed you
flew through the air as things of the air fly;
you were vexed by crawling spiders and many-legged
creatures of the slime; you heard other voices,
saw other faces nightmarishly familiar, and
gazed upon sunrises and sunsets other than you
know now, looking back, you ever looked upon.
Very well. These child glimpses are of other-worldness,
of other-lifeness, of things that you had never
seen in this particular world of your particular
life. Then whence? Other lives? Other worlds?
Perhaps, when you have read all that I shall
write, you will have received answers to the
perplexities I have propounded to you, and that
you yourself, ere you came to read me,
propounded to yourself...
THE way led along upon what had once been
the embankment of a railroad. But no train had
run upon it for many years. The forest on either
side swelled up the slopes of the embankment and
crested across it in a green wave of trees and
bushes. The trail was as narrow as a man's body,
and was no more than a wild-animal runway.
Occasionally, a piece of rusty iron, showing
through the forest-mould, advertised that the
rail and the ties still remained. In one place,
a ten-inch tree, bursting through at a
connection, had lifted the end of a rail clearly
into view. The tie had evidently followed the
rail, held to it by the spike long enough for
its bed to be filled with gravel and rotten
leaves, so that now the crumbling, rotten timber
thrust itself up at a curious slant. Old as the
road was, it was manifest that it had been of
the mono-rail type.
An old man and a boy travelled along this runway.
They moved slowly, for the old man was very old,
a touch of palsy made his movements tremulous,
and he leaned heavily upon his staff. A rude
skull-cap of goat-skin protected his head from
the sun. From beneath this fell a scant fringe
of stained and dirty-white hair. A visor,
ingeniously made from a large leaf, shielded his
eyes, and from under this he peered at the way
of his feet on the trail. His beard, which
should have been snow-white but which showed the
same weather-wear and camp-stain as his hair,
fell nearly to his waist in a great tangled mass.
About his chest and shoulders hung a single,
mangy garment of goat-skin. His arms and legs,
withered and skinny, betokened extreme age, as
well as did their sunburn and scars and
scratches betoken long years of exposure to the
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