Daughter of a Dream aka Vapors of Death can be found in




ISFDB.org Magazine Entry



ents of Luther Trant


Originally published Hampton's Magazine, June 1911. Also appeared in Amazing Detective Tales, August 1930.


YOUNG Blythe, startled wide awake but not knowing yet what had aroused him, lay still for a moment blinking at the matchboard walls and ceiling of the bungalow bedroom, bright with the first level rays of the summer sunrise. Before it sounded again—that rapid, frightened knock upon his bedroom door—he had swiftly decided that what had aroused him at this unusual hour was only the twittering of the birds outside his open window, which came to him mingled with the soft dry rustle and scent of the pine trees. But now, at the repetition of the knock, he leaped out of bed. He pushed his feet into slippers, pulled on a bathrobe over his pajamas, and hurriedly unlocked and opened the door.

His mother and Edith Coburn, his fiancée, waiting anxiously in the hall outside, gasped with relief at sight of him.

"Oh, you are safe—you are safe yet!" The girl caught him to her, palpitating still in her relief and shaken by dry sobs. "I saw you dead! I have had that terrible dream again and saw you dead—saw you lying dead, Randall, as I found Charles dead the time I dreamt it before!" She shuddered.

Blythe's mother clutched the young girl by the shoulders and searched her face with hostile eyes.

"You say it is the same dream you had before when you were engaged to Charles Ritchie and—they found him dead?" she demanded. "So it was not merely that you dreamed that something had happened to Randall; it was the same dream that you had before Charles Ritchie's death? I did not understand that before! Then something must be done about it!" She dropped the girl as suddenly as she had caught her.

Young Blythe had flushed at first with the natural aversion of a healthy man to having a fuss made over him; but now he sprang swiftly forward and put his arm protectingly about the girl.

It was the second morning she had aroused the household in terror for Blythe's safety, waking from a dream of his death.

"Mother, mother!" he rebuked sharply. "Are we living in the Book of Daniel? And Edith—Edith!" he cried to the girl. "I can't let this go on, worrying yourself sick and wronging yourself so with mother! We are educated people living in the twentieth century. You know there can be nothing in dreams! "

"No, I don't know that, Randall!" the girl defied him desperately, as she watched suspicion of herself darken in the mother's eyes. "Neither would you know it, if you had seen that terrible dream come true as I have. Whatever your mother may think of me, I shall not. conceal that I am dreaming it again, until—as she says—something has been done about it. For even yesterday, when you told me that Mr. Trant, the psychologist from Chicago, had come to join the camping party at Black Lake, I determined then, if the dream came again, to ask for his help. That is what you, too, want now, is it not, Mrs. Blythe? "

Blythe hit his lip with vexation. He was visiting with his mother at this summer bungalow of Edith Coburn's, which capped a wooded knoll in one of the few spots of wilderness left in northern Michigan. While riding through the warm, damp woods the day before, he had learned and mentioned to Edith that Luther Trant had recently joined a fishing party at the neighboring lake; and he had discussed with Edith the reputation the young psychologist had made for himself in Chicago through his startling successes in tracing the workings of the minds of men through their most secret thoughts and motives to the solution or prevention of crimes.

Two hours later, in response to a letter from Blythe himself, as Edith sat with Blythe and his mother on the wire-inclosed porch, a red-haired man in canvas coat and leggings emerged from the pines which, protected by private ownership, still filled the hollows and topped the low crests of the glacial moraines about the bungalow.

Before the introductions were well over the girl stretched out her hand to him. "Oh, Mr. Trant, if you can only help us!"

"Mr. Blythe's note did not tell me what you want of me," the psychologist answered with an involuntary glance of admiration at the girl's unusual combination of clear olive skin with auburn hair, "and I must tell you that, after coming here for a rest, I would prefer not to take up any investigation at all, unless the matter is of such overwhelming importance that it cannot be put aside."

"The matter is Miss Coburn's peace of mind and my mother's right understanding of her, Mr. Trant," Blythe replied. "Both you can restore by two words, if you will."

"Two words?" Trant smiled, as he glanced at the stem-faced, elder woman.

"Yes. Sit down, Mr. Trant. I ask you as a psychologist only to assure Miss Co burn that her dreams cannot possibly have any significance, for she is not only worrying herself sick over them, but has aroused with them the most absurd superstitions and suspicions in my mother. Neither of them," Blythe went on, as Trant found a seat on the log steps of the porch, "will listen to me when I tell them how impossible their fears are; but they will to you, Mr. Trant, and I appeal to you professionally, as a modern, scientific psychologist," he repeated, "to tell Miss Coburn that her dreams cannot possibly have any meaning. "

"I am afraid you are appealing to the wrong side of me to have me tell you anything like that," Trant answered. "For the serious study of dreams, to learn their interpretation, is one of the most important and absorbing occupations of the modern psychologist. "

"Of course, of course!" Blythe protested hastily. "I understand that dreams may be fascinating to the psychologist as an abstract study. But practically—practically—Mr. Trant, as they certainly cannot be connected with any real experience, you can surely tell Edith that it is absolutely absurd for anyone to fancy, just because she happened to have a peculiar set of dreams before a friend died, that now another friend—in perfect health—must be in some indefinite danger because of the return to her of the same set of dreams under similar conditions."

"So that is how the matter lies!" the psychologist looked with more interest into the tense faces of the women. "But I'm afraid I can't say even that. For we have found, Mr. Blythe, that dreams must always be connected with some real experience."

"Good Lord, Trant!" Blythe ejaculated, with still greater impatience. "I don't want you to treat the matter seriously and frighten them still more!"

For the girl had turned chalk white at this apparent confirmation of her fears.

"Then you think...

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