Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  10 (1885), 417–26.

A Modern Pandora

Charles Ledyard Norton


Short Fiction


Engineers, Railways, Theosophy

    Dorsey Everett Brokaw, the male protagonist of this romantic tale of lost luggage, is a 'railroad contractor and engineer by profession, [and] he had run his slender lines of steel over spurs of the Andes, through Rocky Mountain cañons, and across the Asiatic steppes. His life was divided into periods of intense activity and absolute idleness. The present was an "off year" on railroad construction, and having just completed a large Western contract, he found himself at the threshold of a long vacation, which might last six months, or a year, or more, according to circumstance'. Also notes that Brokaw's 'regular contract percentages had left in his hands a very considerable fraction of the millions intrusted to him for disbursement'. (419) Later, it is asserted that Dorothy Elizabeth Bradford (who, like Brokaw, is known familiarly as 'Deb') 'had never read Elphas Levi or Madame Blavatsky, and knew nothing of the alleged "Astral" being which, it is said, sometimes leaves us when we are asleep, and goes and does things which it shouldn't, and of which we get the credit or discredit when we return to our proper selves', but she nevertheless believes that in opening a trunk which belongs to 'Deb masculine' she has acted improperly 'under the bewitching influence of the full moon' (425).

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