A huge, old-fashioned silver stand, containing one big fruit dish and four small ones, stood in the centre of the table, whilst all round were big silver cake dishes. To each place there were at least five too many forks and spoons, whilst on the sideboard was the most vulgar (you see, sir, I understand the real use of that word) display of silver bowls, cups, entree and bon-bon dishes, knives, forks, and spoons I ever have seen. The sole idea of the hostess seemed to be to impress her visitors with a sense of her wealth she had, so to speak, purposely made an exhibition of it.”I was so interested in my observations that, quite unconsciously, I left the shelter of the trees, and, stepping up to the railings, leaned over them. I was now close to the window, the lower panes of which were almost on a level with my face, and, as I peered through it, a tall man in evening dress entered the room. ‘Mr. Montague, I suppose,’ I murmured to myself, mentioning the name of the banker. ‘Why, he’s actually wearing red socks, and has a coloured handkerchief and a sixpenny ready-made tie,” You see, sir, I notice every detail in a gentleman’s dress; and, as you doubtless know, nothing gives a show away so much as loud-coloured handkerchiefs and ready-made ties; no one in tip-top society wears such things.”Now I didn’t know much about bankers, as most of the people at whose houses I visited were real gentry, but I never should have believed that even a moderately well-to-do business man would have dressed like that. I was gazing at him in astonishment, when he suddenly approached the window, and, seeing me, threw up the sash. ‘Are you the policeman,’ he said, ‘ who has been keeping an eye on this house during my absence?”’ Yes, sir,’ I replied, not a little embarrassed, for I felt I had done rather a mean thing in thus spying on him.”I am really very much obliged to you,’ he” went on, ‘ for I find everything is all right; but come in for a moment, I can’t talk to you out there.’ Now, as you are aware, sir, the pay of a policeman is no great shakes not as much by a long way as that of an ordinary mechanic, who has no responsibilities and very little education so that when the gentleman fingered his waistcoat- pocket I had visions of something that might come in very useful for my wife and kids. Without unduly singing my own praises, I’m not as selfish as many working men. I only had one child, because I knew full well I couldn’t afford to keep more. Of course it was wrong of me to think of taking a tip for merely having done my duty, and it was wrong of me also to leave my beat, even for a moment; but then we are all prone to weakness at times, sir, even Prime Ministers and Home Secretaries. Moreover, I must admit that, apart from the thought of a possible sovereign, I was curious to see inside a so strangely ordered house- hold, and the smell of the dinner to a half-empty stomach was very tantalising prime roast mutton, onion sauce, pheasant, fish and tripe an odd assortment, sir, but only in keeping with the arrangement of the cloth. The gentleman met me at the door, and insisted on my stepping inside.’ You can scent the good things, can’t you, Bobby? ‘ He laughed, ‘ and you may bet your whiskers they are good, too!’ he added, smacking his lips.’ Better than they give you at home, eh? ‘”Yes, sir,” I replied. We can’t afford much in the way of meat, one joint has to last us a week; and as for the entrees well, we generally manage to do without them.”Just so!’ the gentleman smiled, ‘ and that is why I am going to give you a treat to-night. In spite of the fact that I’m a pretty well-to-do banker regular City man, don’t you know I’m in my heart of hearts a bit of a Socialist : don’t believe in class distinction and all that sort of thing, like to see the poor man enjoying himself as well as the rich. Why the deuce shouldn’t he? The same God made them both. I am just letting you know my sentiments so that you need not be surprised at my asking you into my dining-room, which I have observed you admiring from the road for some little time. Oh! Bother the sergeant, he won’t see you, and you need only stay a few minutes, just to taste a bit of the good fare which you will find every bit as good as it smells.’ He badgered me so, sir, that in the end I gave in, and after assuring myself that the sergeant was nowhere about, I slipped through the doorway and into the dining-room. The gentleman very thoughtfully drew down the blind, and, bidding me be seated, left the room.”Well, I said to myself, ‘ here’s a pretty go” and no mistake! Here I am, P.C. Hardy K. 202, supposed to be on his beat, and stumping along towards the Common instead of which he is the guest of Leslie Montague, one of the best-known bankers in London. I examined the cutlery the best firm in Sheffield, of course; the glass nothing under-half -a- crown apiece; the serviettes Damask linen every one of them; and I was about to slip out of my seat and examine the pile of things on the sideboard, when the door opened and a foot-man, carrying a tray laden with dishes, entered. Following at his heels were Mr. Montague and a lady, who, from the very affectionate manner in which Mr. Montague addressed her, I gathered was his wife.”And here let me say that I only concluded she was a lady from the fact of her being Mrs. Montague, otherwise her attire, which was flash and fast in the extreme, would have led me to believe she was some very common person. I’m no judge of ladies’ dress, and couldn’t perhaps tell a real, soft satin from the inferior quality, I’ve heard my wife call papery stuff; but I do know a flaming scarlet velvet bodice with a short yellow skirt and high-heeled patent leathers are as out of place in most gentlemen’s houses as a pair of bishop’s pants would be in mine.”But then, of course, they were Socialists, and there is no accounting for anything, so I have always been told, among that class of people.”Good evening, constable, she said to me, smiling all over her rubicund face and making the trinkets on her bracelets rattle like half-a-dozen bead curtains. ‘My husband and I are so very much obliged to you for taking such care of our house during our absence, and we think the least we can do in return is to invite you to join us at dinner, after which my husband intends making you a little present. Are you fond of roast mutton?””Yes, ma’am,’ I replied, feeling very hungry all of a sudden, for the smell of all those good things I have told you about, sir, really made my mouth water.”And tripe? She went on”.”Again I answered, ‘ Yes”.”Then that is all right,’ she said, with a sigh of relief.” My husband and I ordered what we fancied you would most appreciate a good, homely fare and plenty of it so don’t be afraid to have a second helping. Now, Willie dear, let us begin”.”Well, sir, we all sat down. It was by far the” queerest meal I have ever had, and I cannot say I enjoyed it, for the meat was tough and the vegetables half raw. But there was no help for it.When I had got one plateful down and was congratulating myself that I could now give my jaws a spell of rest, they piled me up another; and it was not until I had at last eaten enough meat, even to satisfy them, they allowed me respite”.”Well, Policeman,’ they said, ‘we are indeed overjoyed at your appetite; it is, after all, only in accordance with your size you are a big man very. And now for the pudding.’At the mention of pudding, sir, I could barely” restrain a groan. Pudding! Why, there wasn’t the fraction of an inch in my middle, that wasn’t stretched to bursting point with grisly bits of mutton and hard wedges of potato. But what could I do? They begged and implored me not to be shy! I had a large frame, and should of necessity have a large appetite. It was in vain I told them I had had enough, they simply wouldn’t hear of it. The pudding came, an enormous suet roly-poly spotted monkey, my kiddie calls it bathed in butter sauce. Now, to tell you the truth, sir, its lather a favourite pudding of mine, still they need not have given me half of it. And then, sir, when I had helped the last piece down with my fork and was feeling like a stuffed Christmas stocking, on came dessert and wine.”What! You won’t have a glass of port?”Mrs. Montague cried, looking at me with a pained expression in her big, innocent blue eyes. ‘Oh, you must have one, Constable, just one! Come, you can’t refuse a lady!'”The sergeant, ma’am!’ I gasped, for I could hardly articulate a sound owing to the pudding and potatoes; ‘ if the sergeant smells port, ma’am, I shall be discharged!'”You needn’t be afraid of that. Constable,” Mrs. Montague laughed. ‘We will give you some peppermints, which I can guarantee will kill the smell of any port! Come, now, don’t be churlish!'”I gave in, sir. It was wrong of me, I know, but what else could I do? They filled my glass, not once, but three or four times, and I drank it up, every drop greedily! For the mutton, which was uncommonly salt, had made me very thirsty.”Then, sir, I looked at my watch and saw to my horror that I had only three minutes left; that is to say, I was expected to meet the sergeant in three minutes time. A quarter of a mile in three minutes, could I do it? If not, then – and” here the man on the bench snapped his fingers emphatically “I should be fined and dismissed the force! A quarter of a mile in three minutes! Fastest walking in a heavy overcoat and thick regulation boots, isn’t it?”Well, sir, I got up and tried to stand, but my I couldn’t. The port had got into my head, my back, my knees all over me and I’m blessed if I didn’t tumble into my chair with a thud. Ten times I made the attempt and ten times I failed, growing feebler and feebler, and drowsier and drowsier after each effort.”If ever anyone underwent the sufferings of the damned I did then, for muddled and fuddled as I was, I retained for some moments sufficient intelligence to depict what would happen, if I failed to meet the sergeant. At length, however, sleep overcame me, and realising with a groan what was happening, I sank deep down in the soft folds of the luxurious easy chair, and lost consciousness.”When I came to myself it was dawn. A few straggling beams of cold grey light, pouring in through the light blinds, enabled me to recognise my surroundings. I was still in the armchair, and before me on the table lay the dessert and wine.”Every vestige of silver had gone; and so had my host and hostess. Here the man on” the bench laughed bitterly. “I was duped, of course!” he added;” the man and the woman were no more Mr. and Mrs. Montague than they were Red Indians! They were part of a gang of notorious burglars who had been wanted for a long time!””Good Heavens!” I cried, *’ they were caught? ‘”Caught, yes” the man on the bench hissed; “seven years apiece, and as for me I got dismissed! Dismissed! And I have not had the heart to look for another job since!”I gave him five shillings all I had with me which he accepted gratefully, and I left him there muttering muttering that it was I who had been duped not he he had never been in the police force at all which so annoyed me, that I awoke! In this dream the significant features (which were fully verified afterwards) are as follows: Tobacco portends a visit to the seaside; a policeman, loss of a pet animal or some much-treasured article; silver, a present of flowers or vegetables; knives a quarrel; red (in the socks and handkerchief), great changes; yellow (in the lady’s dress), treachery on the part of a friend; jewellery in general, trouble; eating, an accident to the teeth; drinking, a visit to a place of entertainment; the swoon, danger from lightning; burglars, breakages; money, minor ailments and a surprise visit.When staying in York Road, Westminster, some years ago, I had the following dream and I think a more vivid one I have never dreamed. I fancied I was borne at a terrific speed through every description of varied scenery, in a country that was entirely new to me. I saw bare mountains rising to a prodigious height; wide plains where never a blade of grass grew; great sweeps of prairie alive with every kind of vegetable life; slow rivers, narrow rapid streams, and cataracts of hellish fury; forests of pines, moaning as in a hurricane; trees with strange faces like living things; woods full of flowers and peopled by maidens of exquisite beauty; meadows bathed in sunlight; and lofty cities built of coloured marble.And I was borne past all these and set down at the entrance to a sombre city, whose black and silent streets re-echoed to my footsteps. Cold with fear, for every building I saw was black, and destitute of any sign of life, whilst overhead the blue sky had turned to an intense grey I hurried on, urged whither I knew not. It seemed to me that I was seeking some familiar spot some known harbour of refuge against a vague, unimagined danger that pursued me; and, as I pressed forward, the air grew more and more oppressive. Then I met things horrible things with clammy hands that tried to keep me back; and as I felt their loathsome touch and foetid breath a great weakness filled my limbs.”God of mercy!” I cried, ”Help me, and keep me from these.”Then in some inexplicable manner a new strength came into my body. Taking courage, I leaped forward; I hurled aside my assailants, and I could hear them mocking and cursing as I broke through them.Just as the haven I longed-for came in sight and I know not what it was or how I knew it I saw a beautiful maiden with golden hair and great, deep blue eyes, who was evidently waiting for me and who beckoned me with arms that, white as ivory, gleamed against the blackness of everything around her. Only a few feet separated us. I gathered up my limbs to take a final spring and with a sigh of satisfaction, I felt her soft arms encircle me. It was a moment of infinite paradise.Then a hot, pitiless hand was laid upon my neck and I was hurled backward from her clasp my head struck the ground, and blankness swallowed me again. When consciousness returned, all was changed. A wonderful sensation of liberty, as it were of transition from the material to the ethereal, possessed me. At my feet lay the thing of flesh and blood which had served me as a body, and, to my horror, I saw bending over it a creature of copper hue a man in build and form, but enormous in size and development. ” See thy future!” it cried; and my free soul felt a strange pang of pity at the sight of its face it was so full of sorrow that I could not fathom; a vastness of pain that could only be immortal. Yet as I looked, my pity was changed to fear and hate; the creature became contorted with demoniac fury; its lips wreathed and twisted, its eyes flashed, and it cried aloud so that my soul longed to flee yet dare not.”See! See!” it shrieked. And I looked and saw myself. It was I, but how altered! I was an aged man sitting alone in a dreary attic, bathed in a flood of cold moonlight, waiting waiting for what? I looked a little further and saw a muddy river, and over it hovered the form of death.”Art thou satisfied?” asked my tormentor, ”satisfied, or wouldst thou see more of the days to come? Destiny, Destiny, Destiny! It rules the world, from the infant’s cradle to the roar of the guns or a watery grave. And thou hast seen Destiny. Wake and regard it as fancy if thou wilt. Stifle it, bury it, and drown it. Thou hast seen what thou hast seen, and it is Destiny!”The creature’s voice rose higher and higher, then dropped, and dropped, till it died out altogether.And as it died out, the horrid phantom vanished, and, in its place, rose a mass of red and curling flames, that in letters of fire wrote, in mid-air:”Art thou going to the zone arty?”A reply rose irresistibly to my lips.”Here eight hours chime,” I said, like one repeating a parrot lesson. And, as I spoke, I felt my despised body draw me back, and I entered into it, and experienced again the sensation of the sleeper returning to the living world.Then I dreamed I awoke, and lay in bed striving, in vain, to recall my own answer to that question of fire. It had slipped so readily from my lips, and it had slipped with equal readiness from my brain. I could only repeat, again and again, the meaningless question, “Art thou going to the ZONE ARTO? ”The sun was high and hot. I dreamed I rose leisurely, and, led by an invisible agency, made my way to the coffee-room of an adjacent restaurant. Sitting there was a man who, from his appearance, might have been an Italian of doubtful class, possibly one of the anarchists of whom Europe at that moment stood in dread. His companion was a girl, with dark hair and blue eyes, tall and beautifully dressed. As I sat down the latter looked up, and I saw, or fancied I saw, a sudden liking for me sparkle in her blue eyes, so that my heart went out to her straight. I was not accustomed to be noticed by women, and her interest was pleasant in my loneliness. Probably my face showed her what I thought, for she lowered her eyes quickly, with just the ghost of a smile on her full red lips.This exchange of glances did not escape the man’s observation. He frowned at me in such a menacing manner that I felt apprehensive as to his next movements; he was evidently jealous, whence I inferred that he must be either the husband or lover of the pretty girl; and ridiculous as it may seem, I rebelled against the idea, and began to form plans for freeing her from him, for I assured myself he was unworthy of her love.I would insult him, pick a quarrel, fight a duel and pose in her eyes as the conquering hero! This and much more nonsense rushed through my brain, as I ate my frugal meal and watched the two.Suddenly I was forced by some unrestrainable impulse, and, as much to my own surprise as theirs,I leaned forward and whispered, “Are you going to the ZONE ARTO?”The effect was marvellous.The man dropped his cup with an oath the hot coffee soaking through his trousers made him wince with pain and the girl gazed at me with dilated eyes.”Good God!” she ejaculated, a slightly foreign accent in her voice only adding to her charm, are you one of us? It was my turn to be amazed and puzzled.Was I one of them? What did she mean? Was it possible that my dream was no idle thing and that the haunting words had some deep signification? Out of pure mischief and curiosity I nodded a grave assent. “Do you intend to go?” I added.”Ere eight hours chime/’ was her reply, and the words brought with them a perfect recollection of my own dream-answer. Then I saw again the brown form and the brown river, and shuddered. The girl, I was sure from her face, perceived the tremor that made the cup and saucer I held vibrate in my nervous grasp.Meanwhile; the eyes of the man had never ceased to scrutinise me; I felt them like burning points.What an ill-looking ruffian he was sinister and repulsive, jealous as Othello, and ready, I felt sure; for any pretext whatsoever to assassinate me.I was not surprised when he addressed me, and his voice was in admirable keeping with his person.”If you belong to the society, signor; where is your insignia?” He put his elbows on the table, leaned his face on his hands, and fixed me with his great angry eyes. The question naturally staggered me. I had no answer, no excuse, no clue to its meaning; but the same strange inspiration seized me, and letting myself go, as it were, 1 calmly answered,”I was sent to meet you here.”He was still suspicious. “By whom?” he snapped.This was a poser. But it flashed across my mind that a few minutes before I had heard the girl mention the name ”Dusetto” She had articulated it so prettily that it caught my attention, and I ventured to pronounce it now, noticing its effect on both with a quiet smile. Still the man was not satisfied, and I was wondering how long I could bluff the matter out, when the girl came to my rescue. Laying her little hand on his sleeve she gave him a look just one glance from her eyes, as a woman very sure of her ground can do and said to me emphatically,”Then command us. What can we do for you?””Well, I said, trusting to luck and coolness to see me through.” I wish to accompany you to the ZONE ARTO. I have not yet been, and wish to repair the omission at the first opportunity.”The girl gave her companion another quieting glance. Then, addressing me with a curious mixture of friendliness and distrust, she said, ” We shall be pleased to have you with us; we are going to- night.”I was overjoyed. The adventure now seemed full of possibilities, and I was asking eagerly where I should meet them, when the Italian interfered.”If you would mind your own business we should be the better pleased to mind ours,” he hissed; adding maliciously before the girl could stop him, “the signor doubtless knows his own English proverb, ‘ Two’s company, three’s none’ “Perhaps it was the man’s manner more than his words that stung me, but, however that may be, my wrath was roused, and I should have made a passionate reply had not the door of the coffee-room swung open, and a whole bevy of customers entered.There was no possibility of continuing the conversation, and the man and girl, quickly finishing their meal, rose to go.”Meet me outside the Waterloo Hotel at 6.30,” the girl whispered, with a little trill of laughter.””You know, in Poverty Corner.””Of course, I replied in a low voice; “I would go anywhere to meet you.”Accordingly at 6.30, I dreamed, I went to the place of assignation. After waiting there for some time, I had just decided to go away when the girl, looking more beautiful than ever, suddenly appeared.”Come along”, she cried, touching me lightly on the arm, “come along, and I will take you to the ZONE ARTO She signalled to a hansom, and, before I realised what was happening, I found myself being whirled along through street after street. Through narrow byways, and crowded thorough- fares. On and on we went, till we finally arrived at a river wharf, where, rising and falling on the ebbing tide, was a boat containing a couple of dark-visage, fiery-eyed men in vermilion caps, to whom my companion beckoned. They drew up to a flight of stone steps and we took our seats behind them. In absolute silence, we glided over the murky bosom of the Thames, which was singularly devoid of shipping, and at length drew up alongside a low, rakish-looking steamer, whose sides and funnel were painted black. A gigantically tall man with huge, cat-like eyes met us as we stepped on deck, and, at a sign from the girl, escorted us down the companion-way. For some seconds he paused outside the door of what I took to be the state cabin, and appeared to be straining his ears to catch sounds proceeding from within. Then, apparently satisfied that all was right, he threw open the door, and, the next instant, I found myself in a dimly lighted apartment full of tall, silent; hooded figures.Anything more sinister and terrifying than this spectacle I could never have conceived. A cold sweat burst out all over my body. I turned to escape, but the door was shut and guarded. I was entirely at the mercy of the assembly.”He has come to see the ZONE ARTO,” laughed the girl.”And he shall see it!” murmured a dozen hollow and assumed voices. ”But first blindfold him.”Instantly, one of the figures stepped noiselessly up to me, and producing a green sash, bound it securely over my eyes. I was then swung round three times, and, the sash being suddenly removed, I found myself standing in a meadow hooded figures, girl, cabin, ship had vanished surrounded by nothing but grass grass of the richest emerald green. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and cloudless, and the air, which was heavily laden with the sweet scent of clover and newly-mown hay, reminded me in no small degree of the country through which I had so lately travelled in my dreams.”Well!” I said to myself as soon as I fully realised where I was, ”it is quite certain I am not intended to fathom the secret of the ZONE ARTO. They could not have sent me to a safer place. I wonder where on earth I am!”And then there arose a curious sound a prolonged sound in which all nature seemed to join, and whisper, ” The Zone Arto! The ZONE ARTO! This is the ZONE ARTO! You have returned whence you came. You have returned to the ZONE ARTO” And as I listened in sore perplexity, the space all around me filled with the forms of countless men and women composed of vibrating molecules of light. And the whisper continuing, I distinctly heard, ” These are radio-activities, the essences of life. The society of the ZONE ARTO alone knows the secret of their creation, and alone knows how to extract them from the material body. Souls, ghosts, phantasms terms by which you are accustomed to designate the super physical all are radio-activities. You are one of them yourself now.””What! I cried.” Do you mean I am no longer material?””Yes!” the whisper replied, ”pro tempus, you are no longer physical. The ZONE ARTO Society extracted your radio-activity from your material body, and the latter is now lying at the bottom of the Thames.””In other words, they murdered me! I said.””Yes, the whisper echoed, “If you prefer to use so harsh an expression, they murdered you!And they are now deliberating what physical body you shall next inhabit! Good-bye!”And with ”Good-bye” ringing in my ears. I awoke.In this dream (the following features have already been fulfilled): Being borne through the air signifies falling in love; the bare mountains, change of occupation; the plains, state of tranquillity; slow-flowing rivers, happiness; rapid rivers, difficulties; cataracts, great troubles; pine trees, death, illness, or a journey abroad; flowers in general, the forming of friendship; beautiful maidens, thoughts of suicide; sunlight, success in love, legacies and presents; marble, death; black in streets; illness and death; grey in sky, trouble and danger from unexpected quarters; golden hair of girl, success; deep blue in girl’s eyes, reconciliation, recovery from illness; the hand, a great change; copper hue of man, advent of someone connected with art; moonlight, illness, domestic and financial troubles, also death by drowning; muddy river, trouble; red flames, quarrels, voyages, great changes and accidents; fire, danger from water; the swarthy Italian, loneliness; the beautiful girl, thoughts of suicide; eating, accident to the teeth; brown in river, trouble; the meadow, tranquillity; sunshine, success in love; blue sky, reconciliation, recovery from illness; green of grass, success in the arts.But to certain other features, namely the horrible Things with the clammy hands, the reference to Destiny, the ZONE ARTO, eight o’clock and half-past six, the steamer, the tall man with the cat-like eyes, the hooded figures, and the whisper which owing to their vividness should be every whit as significant as those that have been already interpreted and fulfilled, I have, up to the present; been unable to attach any meaning.