Page 17 - The.Unobstructed.Universe
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"Some is good, and some isn't," said she. "But some is. When pictures 
start--Joan being very susceptible to pictorial vision--it is hard to 

segregate her own memories from our impingement on her subconscious. That 
is why, in getting this, there will be some you may not understand."

In consequence of this cautious remark, when I took my notes to Millicent 
next day, I did so with no very keen anticipation of more than the usual 
proportion of "hits"; and hoped that enough would be recognizable to her 

to give her some measure of comfort and conviction. The result was 
amazing. I certainly should have been wholly satisfied with less.

"Now, the first thing Joan said," I told Millicent, reading from my 
notes, "was this: 'There is a man here. He has a watch chain across the 
front of his vest, and there's a sort of dingle-dangle thing on it. The 

watch ticks too loud, and it lies on a table by the side of the bed.' How 
about it? Of course he had a watch chain, and--"

But Millicent cut me short. She was staring at me and gasping a little.

"Why, Stewart! Why, Stewart!" was all she could say. After a moment she 
recovered herself and could explain. It seems that Francis was about the 
last man she knew to cling to an old-fashioned thick "turnip" watch, 

because it had belonged to his grandfather; that it had a chain so 
unusually long that, on his death, it was divided in three for the three 
boys and made for each of them a perfectly adequate chain; that a heavy 

seal--a "dingle-dangle"--depended from it. Furthermore, Francis tried to 
keep the watch on a table by the side of his bed, but abandoned that 
because its ticking kept him awake. It DID, indeed, "tick too loud." 

That short sentence had certainly proved full of meat. Presently we went 
on to the next.

"This is good enough, but by itself it does not mean much, I think," said 
I. "It simply reads: 'Boots he has. with his trousers tucked in.' Might 
be a sort of identification of Francis as a civil engineer."

"It means a lot more than that," Millicent assured me.

It seems that, when Francis was building the docks at Bordeaux, during 
the last war, he had bought a pair of French half-boots that had pleased 
him so much he actually used to bring them out to show dinner guests what 

proper engineer's foot-gear should be; and on the slightest excuse he 
would put them on and tuck his trousers in them to rake leaves or 
otherwise work around the place. That bit we agreed was rather splendid; 

for it was not only correct, but it meant so much more than I had 

"'Something about a surrogate court.'" I read the succeeding sentence of 
my record. That was a hit; for Francis had left an involved estate that 

had only recently been settled to the point of attention by the 
surrogate. However, I took up the next without expectation. "'Oatmeal,' 
Joan said, 'something about eating oatmeal.' Of course there's something 

about eating oatmeal--in any family with children," I remarked, and was 
about to proceed. Millicent burst out laughing.

"Oh, that's good!" she cried. The children ate breakfast alone. Francis 
was a great stickler on oatmeal for the children--many fathers are. The 
children grumbled and balked on the subject of oatmeal--many children do. 

All but the youngest. His face, and his plate, were always bright. 
BUT--when housecleaning time came around, behind every picture on the 
wall were discovered great dabs of oatmeal!


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