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Getting The Needle
by [?]

When Simms was outside I told them my idea.

“I’ll hold the needle in my other hand,” I said, “and then I can always look at it easily, and it will always be in a different place, which ought to muddle him.”

We fetched him in, and he took my left hand….

“No, it’s no good,” he said at last. “I don’t seem to get it. Let me try the other hand.”

I had no time to warn him. He clasped the other hand firmly; and from the shriek that followed it seemed that he got it. There ensued the “perfect blank” that he had insisted on all the evening. Then he pulled off the bandage, and showed a very angry face.

Well, we explained how accidental it was, and begged him to try again. He refused rather sulkily.

Suddenly Jack said: “I believe I could do it blindfolded. Miss Muriel, will you look at the needle, and see if you can will me?”

Simms bucked up a bit, and seemed keen on the idea. So Jack was blindfolded, the needle hid, and Muriel took his hand.

“Now is your mind a perfect blank?” said Simms to Jack.

“It always is,” said Jack.

“Very well then. You ought soon to feel in a dreamy state, as though you were in another world. Miss Muriel, you must think only of the needle.”

Jack held her hand tight, and looked most idiotically peaceful. After three minutes Simms spoke again.

“Well?” he said, eagerly.

“I’ve got the dreamy, other-world state perfectly,” said Jack, and then he gave at the knees, just for the look of the thing.

“This is silly,” said Muriel, trying to get her hand away.

Jack staggered violently, and gripped her hand again.

“Please, Miss Muriel,” implored Simms. “I feel sure he is just going to do it.”

Jack staggered again, sawed the air with his disengaged hand, and then turned right round and marched for the door, dragging Muriel behind him. The door slammed after them.

* * * * *

There is a little trick of sitting on a chair and picking a pin out of it with the teeth. I started Simms–who was all eagerness to follow the pair, and find out the mysterious force that was drawing them–upon this trick, for Jack is one of my best friends. When Jack and Muriel came back from the billiard-room and announced that they were engaged, Simms was on his back on the floor with the chair on the top of him–explaining, for the fourth time, that if the thing had not overbalanced at the critical moment he would have secured the object. There is much to be said for this view.