A group of bachelors were sitting over their cigars and liqueurs after dinner, discussing magnetism, Donato's tricks, and Charcot's experiments. They began to share stories of strange happenings and incredible events that they believed had really occurred. One of the men, a skeptic who did not believe in anything, dismissed their stories as humbug.
Humbug! humbug! humbug! We need not discuss Donato, who is simply a smart juggler.
The skeptic then shared two stories of his own, which he believed he could explain. The first story was about a child in a small village who woke up one night, crying that his father had died at sea. A month later, the news came that the father had indeed been swept off the deck by a wave. The skeptic discovered that such dreams were common among the villagers, and when one coincided with a death, it was considered a miracle.
That I deny. Why are there none in our days?
The second story was about a young woman whom the skeptic had never paid much attention to. One night, while writing letters, he suddenly had a vivid mental image of her, and she began to haunt his thoughts. He dreamt of her three times that night, and the next day, he went to see her. Their eyes met, and they became lovers for two years.
The skeptic believed that the first story was just a coincidence, and the second story might have been the result of an unnoticed glance from the woman. One of the other men in the group called him an ungrateful wretch for not believing in magnetism after his experiences.