The scene begins in the gardens of the elegant mansion of Leon Fishback, Esq. in the future, June 1903. Leon is a properous bachelor and his widowed sister and children live with him. Laura Beardsley, a friend of Leon's sister has been living far away but has kept in correpondence with the sister and has returned to the area and come to this party.
When a Lady at the party sees Bella in the garden being wooed by Leon's brother Reginald she remarks how much Bella is like her sister, Teresa, who is now married.
"Is she?" asks Mr. Fishback.
"Why, don't you remember?" says the lady.
"I do not," replies Mr. Fishback, with emphasis.
Miss Laura hears what Mr. Fishback has said, makes two interrogation points of her silken eyebrows, opens her mouth to speak, but thinks better of it..."
It's clear Laura knows there was once something between her friend Teresa and Mr. Fishback. And it will be a phonograph (which Teresa calls the "magical casket") that settles that question.
The following is the story as it appeared in The Red Cloud Chief on June 20, 1878 just a little over six months after Edison completed his "Talking Machine," the Phonograph. This story also mentions other wonders like flying ships and telephone stations that shout their messages. "How glorious all of these Edisonian inventions are!" Fishback enthusiastically declares, "And what humdrum times our ancestors must have had without them! Why, they are the very life of the age."