On one occasion a curious set of incidents were described, which happened to be vividly present to the mind of a sceptical stranger who chanced to be in the room during the experiment; events unknown to the inquirer in this instance.
Of all such cases it is enough to say that it is impossible for the serious inquirer to establish any causal connexion between the omen and the event which it is presumed to foreshadow.
The best railways of the United States and Canada have, indeed; been greatly improved, and their main lines approach the high standards of safety which prevail in Great Britain, both as regards maintenance and care of roadway and vehicles (as a preventive of derailments) and the use of the block system (as a preventive of collisions); but when the inquirer looks at America as a whole - the total length of lines in the United States being over 230,000 m., ten times the total of the United Kingdom - he is considering a figure which includes an enormous mileage of railway lying in thinly settled regions where the high standards of safety maintained on the best railways have scarcely been thought of.
But, though he was an ardent politician (having from his childhood embraced republicanism and a peculiar variety of romantic free-thought), he was first of all a man of letters and an inquirer into the history of the past.
The inquirer will find that the first thing to know is intellect, because on it depends the knowledge of all other things.
He ought not, of course, to be told more than that he is to descry the inquirer's thoughts, and there ought never to be physical contact, as in holding hands, between the inquirer and the scryer during the experiment.
Yet again we must remember that the leading questions of a European inquirer may furnish a savage with a thread on which to string answers which the questions themselves have suggested.
The scientific inquirer will find a mass of material in the papers and reports contributed to the numerous.
The question as to which theory came first, whether Alcheringaism is a scientific effort that swept away All-Fatherism, or whether All-Fatherism is a religious reaction in despair of science and of the evolutionary doctrine, is settled by each inquirer in accordance with his personal bias.
The stranger, Isaac Beeckman, principal of the college of Dort, offered to do so into Latin, if the inquirer would bring him a solution of the problem, - for the advertisement was one of those challenges which the mathematicians of the age were accustomed to throw down to all corners, daring them to discover a geometrical mystery known as they fancied to themselves alone.