Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  7 (1883–84), 143–49.

Colonel Ingham's Journey

Edward Everett Hale


Short Fiction


Experimental Psychology, Soul, Heterodoxy, Vitalism, Scientific Practitioners, Exploration, Government

    The eccentric narrator, Colonel Frederic Ingham, recounts 'a philosophical experiment' which he has conducted concerning the 'problems of Sleep'. He relates how the 'mystery of sleep' became clear to him when he realised that the 'soul has no care about distance. Of course the moment when this body does not need him, though for an hour of night, the soul has only to pass across there where it is day, and start up another machine, which is just ready to be wakened', and he proclaims, 'In that moment I saw that there are two of me—one here in Boston, and the other there in the Chinese Empire' (143). Having worked out that 'my other machine' must live at the 'antipodes on the parallel of latitude', Ingham comes to the conclusion that 'if I wanted to talk matters over with him, he and I had only to go to the north pole—on the meridian of 70o, and he on that of 110o', and he determines to do just that. Such a journey, he explains, 'is a much easier business than you think it, if you begin to think, as everybody does, by supposing an expedition there to be a government affair, with measurements of magnetic force, and declination, and dip, and all that'. Indeed, 'if a man cares about the difference between Tetrapus arcticus and Tetrapus borealis, he must carry a lot of books with him and a man of science. If he carries a man of science, he must carry the man's rations and his cook, and a man to drag his sled, and so on. Hence what are called "expeditions"'. (144) Ingham, however, 'had no scientific purposes. I was not to write a book, or to present a report' (145), and he soon ventures 'two hundred and fifty miles further north than man had ever been known to be' (146). At the north pole he meets 'Myself—my Other Self!', a Chinese government official called Kan-schau, but the two can communicate only by notes because, as Ingham belatedly realises, 'he must sleep while I walked; I must sleep while he walked' (148).

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