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Title: Seen and Unseen
Author: Bates, E. Katharine
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber's Note: Inconsistency between TOC and Chapter headings
have been retained as in the original.



                            SEEN AND UNSEEN

                                  BY
                          E. KATHARINE BATES

                                NEW YORK
                        DODGE PUBLISHING COMPANY
                        214-220 EAST 23RD STREET

                                 1908



                   _First Published    July    1907_

                   _Second Impression  October 1907_

                   _Third Impression   March   1908_

                               ----------

                   _Popular Edition            1908_



                                  To

                               C. E. B.

                             IN MEMORY OF

                      ONE WHO LOVED AND SUFFERED

                   AND IN THE SURE AND CERTAIN HOPE

                       OF A JOYFUL MEETING WITH

                         HIM, AND WITH OTHERS

                           WHO HAVE CROSSED

                               THE BAR



CONTENTS


CHAPTER                                               PAGE

          INTRODUCTION                                  ix
      I.  EARLY RECOLLECTIONS                            1
     II.  INVESTIGATIONS IN AMERICA, 1885-1886          13
    III.  AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND                     49
     IV.  HONG KONG, ALASKA, AND NEW YORK               71
      V.  INDIA, 1890-1891                              80
     VI.  SWEDEN AND RUSSIA, 1892                       97
          AN INTERLUDE                                 129
    VII.  LADY CAITHNESS AND THE AVENUE WAGRAM         144
   VIII.  FROM OXFORD TO WIMBLEDON                     161
     IX.  1896, HAUNTINGS BY THE LIVING AND THE DEAD   176
      X.  FURTHER EXPERIENCES IN AMERICA               195
     XI.  A HAUNTED CASTLE IN IRELAND                  218
    XII.  1900-1901, ODDS AND ENDS                     232
   XIII.  1903, A SECOND VISIT TO INDIA                260
    XIV.  A FAMILY PORTRAIT AND PSYCHIC PHOTOGRAPHY    274
          APPENDIX                                     298



INTRODUCTION


Many years ago, whilst living at Oxford, I was invited by a very old
friend, who had recently taken his degree, to a river picnic; with
Nuneham, I think, as its alleged object.

Unfortunately, the day proved unfavourable, and we returned in open
boats, also with open umbrellas; a generally drenched and bedraggled
appearance, and nothing to cheer us on the physical plane except a
quantity of iced coffee which had been ordered in anticipation of a
tropical day.

Under these rather trying conditions I can remember getting a good
deal of amusement out of the companions in the special boat which
proved to be my fate. Our host, being a clever and interesting man
himself, had collected clever and interesting people round him, on the
"Birds of a Feather" principle, and I happened to sit between two
ladies, one the wife (now, alas! the widow) of a man who was to become
later on one of our most famous bishops; the other--her bosom friend
and deadly rival--the wife of an equally distinguished Oxford don.

The iced coffee combined with the pouring rain may have been partly to
blame, but certainly the conversation that went on between the two
ladies, across my umbrella, was decidedly _Feline_.

To pass the time we were valiantly endeavouring to play "Twenty
Questions" from the bottom of the boat, and the Bishop's widow was
asking the questions. She had triumphantly elicited the fact that we
had thought of a _cinder_--and an historical cinder--and the twentieth
and last permissible question was actually hovering on her lips. "It
was the cinder that Richard Coeur de Lion's horse fell upon," she
said eagerly. Of course, we all realised that this was a most obvious
"slip" in the case of so highly educated a woman; but the Bosom Friend
could not resist putting out the velvet paw: "A little confusion in
the centuries, I think, dear," she said sweetly. The unfortunate
questioner practically "never smiled again" during _that_ expedition.
But a still more crushing blow was in store for her.

The conversation turned later upon questions of style in writing or
speaking, and with perhaps pardonable revenge, she said to her rival:

"I always notice that you say 'one' so often--'_one_ does this or
that,' and so forth."

"Really, dear? That is curious. Now I always notice that _you_ say 'I'
so continually!"

The cut and thrust came with the rapidity of expert fencers.

And this brings me to the real gist of my story.

It is considered the most heinous offence "_to say I_," and every
conceivable device is resorted to, no matter how clumsy, in order to
prevent the catastrophe of a writer being forced to speak of himself in
the first person.

To my mind, there is a good deal of affectation and pose about this, and
in anything of an autobiography it becomes insupportable.

"The writer happened upon one occasion to be present, etc." "He who pens
these unworthy pages was once travelling to Scotland, etc. etc."

Which of us has not groaned under these self-conscious euphemisms? "Why
not say '_I_' and have done with it?" we are wont to exclaim in
desperation after pages of this kind of thing.

Now I propose "to say _I_" and "have done with it," and not waste time
in trying to find ingenious and wearisome equivalents.

That is my first point.

Secondly, in this record of psychic experiences I mean to keep clear of
another intolerable nuisance--I mean the continual introduction of
capital letters and long dashes in order to conceal identity in such
episodes.

The motive is admirable, but the method is detestable.

One can only judge by personal experience. I know that when I read a
rather involved narrative of sufficiently involved psychic doings, and
Mr Q----, Miss B----, Mr C----, and Mr C.'s maternal aunt Mrs G----
figure wildly in it, I am driven desperate in trying to force some idea
of personality into these meaningless letters of the alphabet.

To conceal the identity of Mr Brown, who was once guilty of seeing a
ghost, may be and most frequently is, a point of honour, but why not
call him Mr Smith, and say he lived in Buckinghamshire, and thus rouse
a definite mental conception in your reader's brain, instead of
calling him Mr Z. of W----, and thus setting up mental irritation
before the ghost comes upon the scene?

Having cleared the ground so far, I will now mention my third and last
point.

It is usual when writing reminiscences of any kind to anticipate your
reader's criticisms, and try to increase his interest in your
experiences by a sort of false humility in deprecating their value.
The idea is doubtless founded on a sound knowledge of Human Nature,
but it may easily fall into exaggeration. Nothing is, of course, so
disastrous as to praise beforehand a person, a picture, a voice, a
poem, a book, or anything else in the wide world, in which we wish our
friends to take any special interest. Such a course naturally rouses
unconscious antagonism in poor, fallen Human Nature before we even see
or hear the object of our later bitter aversion. But there is a medium
in all things, and it is scarcely polite to put the intelligence of
our readers sufficiently low to be manipulated by such obvious arts.

Moreover, it has been well said that the history of any one human
being--truthfully told (I would add, intelligently assimilated)--would
be of enthralling interest and value. If this be true on the ordinary
physical, intellectual, and spiritual planes it should not be _less_
true, surely, where a fourth plane of psychic experience is added to the
other three?

Then again, there is no need to apologise for experiences limited in
interest or in amount.

These terms are of necessity comparative. For example, my experiences
are limited compared with those of some people I have known, who have
been either more highly endowed with psychic gifts or who have
considered it advisable to cultivate such gifts to a high point of
efficiency; or lastly, with whom opportunities for experience have been
more numerous. But, on the other hand, my experiences have been great
compared with those of some people at least equally interested in these
subjects.

Geographically speaking, I have been peculiarly fortunate, having had
the opportunity of witnessing phenomena of this kind in many countries,
differing widely in Race, Climate, and other conditions.

I have been told many times that I could develop clairvoyance,
clairaudience, or sit as a materialising medium, but have had no desire
to go further in these matters.

I have seen quite as much as I wish to see, I have heard quite as much
as I wish to hear, and should be very sorry personally to increase
either of these psychic possibilities by the practice that makes more
perfect.

Some consider this lamentable cowardice and want of faith. Each one must
judge for himself in such a matter. Faith in this connection may easily
degenerate into foolhardiness.

"Greater is He that is for you than all those who are against you" has
been quoted to me again and again in deprecation of my attitude in these
things. It has always appeared to me a matter in which individual
judgment must be exercised, and upon which no broad and general lines of
conduct can be laid down.

One man can cycle fifty miles in the day, and dance all night, and be
the better for the experience. Another attempting the same feat, but
not having the same constitution, might do himself lasting injury. It is
exactly the same thing on the psychic plane. Our psychic constitutions
differ at least as much as our physical ones. We may overtax either, and
with similar consequences. We have no right to expect protection or
immunity on either plane, where we neglect the warnings of that inner
monitor who is always our best guide.

As a final word of warning, I would say: "Beware of your motives in
cultivating psychic capacity." It is so easy to mistake love of
notoriety, even in one's own little _milieu_, for love of Truth. There
is always an eager, curious crowd anxious to get "messages" or "hear
raps," or to see any other little psychic parlour tricks which we may be
induced to play for their benefit. At first one feels it is almost a
sacred duty to satisfy, or attempt to satisfy, these psychic cormorants;
but later, wisdom comes with experience.

At one time I felt bound to collect my friends and acquaintances round
me and tell them all I knew upon these subjects, and doubtless it was
right to do so whilst I "_felt that way_," to quote an expressive
Americanism.

But the inevitable day came when I realised that I had spent my strength
and my muffins in vain; for these gatherings generally took the form of
tea-parties, not too large to cope with single-handed--say from ten to
twenty people. They came at 4.30 P.M. and stayed till 8 P.M., when most
of them remembered they ought to have dined at 7.45 P.M., and went away
saying "How immensely they had enjoyed themselves," and "How
interesting it all was."

And so far as any permanent good came of it, there the matter ended.

Believe me, when people are prepared for this development of their finer
senses _they will come to you_. There is no need to go into the highways
and hedges and compel them to come in. If they do come they won't
stay--why should they? _They have not got there yet_, to use a
thoroughly hateful and ungrammatical but absolutely accurate sentence.

If you try to carry them on the back of your own knowledge and
experiences, you can do so for a time, but eventually they will struggle
down, or you will put them down from sheer fatigue, and then they will
run back to the spot where you found them, and thence work out their own
psychic evolution either in this or in some future term of existence.

When their interest is exhausted--to say nothing of your patience--you
will hear that they have called you a crank and lamented your "wasting
your time over such nonsense." That will be _your_ share of the
transaction.

I know this _because I have been there--moi qui vous parle_.

"Let every man be persuaded in his own mind," but don't try to persuade
anyone else. When the right time comes he will ask your help and counsel
without any persuasion.

Of course, I am speaking only of private work. Lectures and congresses
are of the greatest possible value; for no one knows whom he may be
addressing on these occasions, and the seed may be falling into soil
prepared, but often unconsciously prepared, for its reception.

To sum up the whole matter:

1. Be strong in the conviction that eventually good must always conquer
evil, but remember also that you individually may have a very bad time
meanwhile if you go amongst mixed influences and evoke that which at
present you are not strong enough to withstand.

2. Know when to speak and when to be silent.

3. Receive what comes to you spontaneously, but never allow yourself to
be cajoled or persuaded into developing your mediumship to gratify
curiosity; not even on the plea of scientific duty, unless you are fully
conscious in your own mind that this is the special work which is laid
upon you.

And bearing these three simple rules in mind, we may go forward with
brave hearts and level heads on the Quest which has been so plainly
opened out to us in this twentieth century.
                                              E. KATHARINE BATES.



SEEN AND UNSEEN



CHAPTER I

EARLY RECOLLECTIONS


Having set myself to write a personal record of psychic experiences, I
must "begin at the beginning," as the children say.

When only nine years old I lost my father--the Rev. John Ellison Bates
of Christ Church, Dover--and my earliest childish experience of anything
supernormal was connected with him. He had been an invalid all my short
life, and I was quite accustomed to spending days at a time without
seeing him. His last illness, which lasted about a fortnight, had
therefore no special significance for me, and my nurse, elder brother,
and godmother, who were the only three people in the house at the time,
gave strict orders that none of the servants should give me a hint of
his being dangerously ill. These instructions were carefully carried
out, and yet I dreamed three nights running--the three nights preceding
his decease--that he was dead. I was entirely devoted to my father, who
had been father and mother to me in one, and these dreams no doubt broke
the terrible shock of his death to me. How well I remember, that cold,
dreary February morning, being hastily dressed by candle-light by
strange hands, and then my dear old nurse (who had been by his bedside
all night) coming in and telling me the sad news with tears streaming
down her cheeks. It seemed no news at the moment; and yet I had spoken
of my dreams to no one, "for fear they should come true," having some
pathetic, childish notion that silence on my part might avert the
catastrophe. In all his previous and numerous illnesses I had never
dreamt that any special one was fatal.

During the next few years of school life my psychic faculty remained
absolutely in abeyance. In a fashionable school, surrounded by
chattering companions and the usual paraphernalia of school work,
classes, and masters, etc., I can, however, recall many a time when
suddenly everything around me became unreal and I alone seemed to have
any true existence; and even that was for the time merged in a rather
unpleasant dream, from which I hoped soon to wake up. This sensation was
quite distinct from the one--also well known to me in those days and
later--of having "done all this before," and knowing just what somebody
was about to say.

Probably both these sensations are common to most young people. It would
be interesting to note which of the two is the more universal.

I pass on now to the time when I was about eighteen years old, and a
constant visitor, for weeks and months at a time, in the house of my
godfather, the archdeacon of a northern diocese. His grandson, then a
young student at Oxford, of about my own age, must have been what we
should now call a very good sensitive. It was with him that I sat at my
first "table," more as a matter of amusement than anything else, and
certainly young Morton Freer treated the "spirits" in the most cavalier
fashion. They did not seem to resent this, and he could do pretty much
what he liked with them. This may be a good opportunity for explaining
that when I speak in this narrative of "spirits" I do so to save
constant periphrasis, and am quite consciously "begging the question"
very often, as a matter of verbal convenience.

In those days I don't think we troubled ourselves much about theories,
and when we found that Morton and I alone could move a heavy dining-room
table, or any other piece of heavy furniture quite beyond our normal
powers, practically without exerting any strength at all, we looked upon
it as an amusing experience without caring to inquire whether the energy
involved had been generated on this side the veil or on the other side.
We could certainly not have moved such weights under ordinary
circumstances, even by putting forth all our combined strength, and we
could only do so, for some mysterious reason, when we had been "sitting
at the table" beforehand. Ingenious Theories of Human Electricity raised
to a higher power by making a Human Battery, etc. etc., were not so
common then as now, and we accepted facts without trying to solve their
problems.

The dear, hospitable Archdeacon would put his venerable head inside the
door now and then, shake it at us half in fun, and yet a good deal in
earnest, and I think he was more than doubtful whether our parlour
games were quite lawful!

We were very innocent and very ignorant in those days on the subject of
psychic laws; and probably this was our salvation, for I can remember no
terrible or weird experience, such as one reads of nowadays when tyros
take to experiments.

And yet my knowledge and experiences of later days lead me to endorse
most heartily the well-known dictum of Lawrence Oliphant--namely, that
when he saw people sitting down in a casual, irresponsible way to "_get
messages through a table_," it reminded him of an ignorant child going
into a powder magazine with a lighted match in its hand.

Staying in this same house, I can next recall a flying visit from a
brother of mine, who had just spent three months, on leave from India,
in America, where he had taken introductions, and had been the guest of
various hospitable naval and military men, who had shown him round the
Washington Arsenal, West Point Academy, and so forth. My kind old host
had begged him to take us on his way back to London; and I remember well
his look of utter amazement when Morton and I had lured him to "the
table" one afternoon, and he was told correctly the names of two or
three of these American gentlemen.

"I _must_ have mentioned them to my sister in my letters," he said,
turning to the younger man. I knew this was _not_ the case, but it was
difficult to prove a negative.

It was a relief, therefore, when my brother suggested what he
considered a "real test," where previous knowledge on my part must be
excluded.

"Let them tell me the name of a bearer I had once in India--he lived
with me for more than twelve years--always returning to me when I came
back from English furlough, and yet at the end of that time he suddenly
disappeared, without rhyme or reason, and I have neither seen nor heard
of him since. I _know_ my sister has never heard his name. _That_ would
be something like a test, but, of course, it won't come off," he added
cynically.

The wearisome spelling out began.

The table rose up at R, then at A.

"Quite wrong," my brother called out in triumph. "I knew how it would be
when any real test came. Fortunately, too, it is wildly wrong--neither
the letter before nor the letter after the right one, so you cannot
wriggle out of it that way."

"Never mind, Major Bates," said Morton Freer good-naturedly. "Let us go
on all the same, and see what they mean to spell out."

Fortunately, we did so, with a most interesting result; for the right
name was given after all, but spelt in the Hindoostanee and not the
European fashion. The name in true Hindoostanee was Rám Dín--but
Europeans spelt it Rham Deen--and so my brother himself had entirely
forgotten when the A was given that it had any connection with the man's
name. When the whole word was spelt out, of course he remembered, and
then his face was a study!

"Good gracious! it is right enough, and that is the real Hindoostanee
spelling, too. I never thought of that when the A came!"

I think this episode knocked the bottom out of his scepticism for some
years to come.

Even now this case precludes ordinary and conscious telepathy. Mr
Podmore would be reduced to explaining that the Hindoostanee spelling
was latent in my brother's consciousness, though his normal self
repudiated it.

Another curious incident--still more difficult to explain upon the
Thought Transference Theory (unless we stretch it to include a possible
impact of _all_ thoughts, at all times and from all quarters of the
globe, upon everyone else's brain)--occurred under the same hospitable
roof.

One of the Archdeacon's nieces came to stay in the house about this
time. She was considerably my senior, and was very kind to me, with the
thoughtful kindness an older woman can show to a sensitive young girl.
This awakened in me an affection which, I am thankful to say, still
exists between us. This lady was considerably under thirty years old at
the time, but to my young ideas she seemed already in the sear and
yellow leaf from the matrimonial point of view! One must remember how
different the standard of age was more than thirty years ago!

It was also the time when marriage was looked upon not only as the most
desirable, but as almost the only _possible_, career for a woman.

So when Morton and this lady and I were "sitting at the table" in the
gloaming one evening, I said, with trembling eagerness: "Morton, _do_
ask if Carrie will ever be married," for the case seemed to me almost
desperate at the advanced age of twenty-seven or twenty-eight!

I must mention that for some occult reason (which I have entirely
forgotten) I trusted fervently that a Hungarian or Polish name might be
given after the satisfactory "Yes" had been spelt out, but, alas!
nothing of the kind occurred.

"The table" began with a D, and then successively E, H, A, V were given.
No one ever heard of a Polish or Hungarian name of the kind, and I
remember saying petulantly: "Oh, give it up, Morton. It's all nonsense!
Nobody ever heard of a Mr _Dehav_."

Once more Morton rescued a really good bit of evidence by his
imperturbable perseverance.

"Wait a bit! Let us see what is coming," he said.

I took no further personal interest in the experiment. Either Morton
concluded the name was finished, or there was some confusion in getting
the next letters, owing doubtless to my impetuous disgust. Anyway, he
went on to say:

"Let us ask where the fellow lives at the present time." This was
instantly answered by "_Freshwater_," and the further information given
that he was a widower.

None of us knew any man, married or single, who lived at Freshwater, and
the incident was relegated to the limbo of failures.

Several years later, however, my friend _did_ marry a gentleman whose
name (a very pretty one) began with the five despised letters, and he
was a widower, and _had_ been living in his own house at Freshwater at
the time mentioned. She did not meet him until some years after our
curious experience.

About the same time, but in the south of England, my attention was again
drawn to metapsychics by an experience connected with the death of the
famous Marquis of Hastings, of horse-racing repute. As a young girl I
lived close to the Mote Park at Maidstone, where his sister, the present
Lady Romney, was then living as Lady Constance Marsham. The Reverend
David Dale Stewart and his wife (he was Vicar of Maidstone, and I made
my home with them for some years after leaving school) were friends of
hers, and she sometimes came to see them in a friendly way in the
morning. On one of these occasions, when Lady Constance had just
returned from paying her brother a visit in a small shooting-box in the
eastern counties (I think), Mrs Stewart remarked that she was afraid the
change had not done Lady Constance much good, as she was looking far
from well. In those days Lady Romney was an exceptionally strong and
healthy young woman.

She said rather impatiently: "Well, the fact is I did a very stupid
thing the other day--I never did such a thing before--I fainted dead
away for the first time in my life."

Asked for the reason of this, she told us that she and her husband and
Lord and Lady Hastings were dining quietly one evening together, two
guests who had been expected not having arrived by the train specified.

Looking up Bradshaw, and finding no other train that could bring them
until quite late at night, the other four sat down to dinner. Soup and
fish had already been discussed, when a carriage was heard driving up to
the door, and they naturally concluded that their guests had discovered
some means of getting across country by another line. Lord Hastings
said:

"Tell Colonel and Mrs ---- that we began dinner, thinking they could not
arrive till much later, but that we are quite alone, and beg they will
join us as soon as possible."

The servant went to the door, prepared with the message given, flung it
open--but no carriage, no horses were there! Everybody had heard it
driving up, nevertheless.

Remembering the old family legend that a carriage and pair is heard
driving up the avenue before the head of the Hastings family dies, Lady
Romney fainted dead away, very much to her own surprise and
mortification; for she was, and doubtless is still, an uncommonly
sensible woman, "quite above all superstitions."

The episode struck me as curious at the time; but the impression passed,
and a few days later I went to pay a visit to friends of mine in
Buckinghamshire. Soon after my arrival I happened to mention the story,
and was much laughed at as a "superstitious little creature, to think
twice of such nonsense." "Of course, everyone had been mistaken in
supposing they heard wheels or horses' hoofs--nothing could be simpler!"

And yet before I left that house, three weeks later, all the newspapers
were full of long obituary notices of the Marquis of Hastings. These
were so interesting that my friend's husband had reached the second
long column in _The Times_ before any of us remembered my story, which
had been treated with so much contempt. It suddenly flashed across my
mind: "Owen! Remember the carriage and pair and how you laughed at me!"
They were forced to confess "_it was certainly rather odd_," the usual
refuge of the psychically destitute!

A shake of the kaleidoscope, and I see another incident before me of
more personal interest.

At the time of the outbreak of the Afghan War, in the autumn of 1878, I
was living with very old friends in Oxford. My brother of the Rám Dín
incident was once more in India, and had been Military Secretary for
some years at Lahore to Sir Robert Egerton, who was at that time
Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab.

When the war broke out, my brother, of course, went off to join his
regiment for active service; but at the time of my experience it was
impossible that he could have reached the seat of war, and I knew this
well.

I was in excellent spirits about him, for he had been through many
campaigns, and loved active service, as all good soldiers do. Moreover,
I had just read a charming letter which Sir Robert Egerton had sent him
on resigning his appointment as Military Secretary to take up more
active duty to his country.

Yet it was just at this juncture--when, humanly speaking, there was no
cause for any special anxiety--that I woke up one morning with the
gloomiest and most miserable forebodings about this special brother.
Nothing of the kind had ever occurred to me before, though he had been
through many campaigns in India, China, Abyssinia, and elsewhere.

It was an overwhelming conviction of some great and definite disaster
to him, and my friends in vain tried to argue me out of such an
unreasonable terror by pointing out, truly enough, that he could not
possibly be within the zone of danger at that time. I could only
repeat: "I _know_ that something terrible has happened to him,
wherever he is. It may not be death, but it is some terrible
calamity."

I spent the day in tears and in absolute despair, and wrote to tell him
of my conviction. Allowing for difference of time between Quetta and
Oxford, my mental telegram reached me in the same hour that my brother,
whilst on the march, and only thirty miles beyond Quetta, was suddenly
struck down in his tent by the paralysis which kept him confined to his
chair--a helpless sufferer--for twenty-eight years.

Perhaps, now that I know so much more of mental currents, I might have
received a more definite message as regards the true _nature_ of the
calamity. It could not have been more marked, nor more definite as
regards the _fact_ of it.

My condition of hopeless misery obliged me to put off all engagements
that day, and I did nothing but fret and lament over him, with the
exception of writing the one letter mentioned, in which I told him of my
strange and sad experience.

In time, of course, the first sharp impression passed, and soon a cheery
letter arrived from him, written, of course, before the fatal day. My
experience in Oxford occurred on the morning of 4th December 1878. It
was well on in January 1879 before the corroboration arrived, in a
letter written to us by a stranger. Communication was delayed not only
by the war, but also by the fact that my poor brother was lying at the
time deprived of both movement and speech, and could only spell out
later, by the alphabet, the address of his people at home.



CHAPTER II

INVESTIGATIONS IN AMERICA, 1885-1886


An interval of seven years occurs between the events recorded in the
last chapter and my first visit to America, which took place in the
autumn of 1885.

During these years no abnormal experiences came to me, nor had I the
smallest wish for any.

The table turnings with Morton Freer were a thing of the past, and were
looked back upon by me in the light of a childish amusement rather than
anything else. Quite other interests had come into my life, specially as
regards literature and music; and I never gave a thought to spooks or
spiritualism, nor did I really know anything about the latter subject.
It is true that on one occasion a curate at Great Marlow had spoken to
me about Mr S. C. Hall and his researches, and I think he must have
given me an introduction to the dear old man, for I remember going to
see him "with a lady friend" (he made a great point of this, somewhat to
my amusement), and finding a charming old man with silver locks, a fine
head, and a nice white frilly shirt.

He spoke of his dear friend "Mrs Jencken," whom he considered the only
reliable medium, and showed us some sheets full of hieroglyphics, which
he said were messages obtained through her influence from "his dear
wife."

It was all so much Greek to me in those days, and only true sympathy
with the poor old man's evident loneliness and adoration of his wife's
memory prevented my making merry over the extraordinary delusions of the
old gentleman, when my companion and I had left his rooms in Sussex
villas.

Later, I lived during two years with Mrs Lankester and her daughters
whilst looking after an invalid brother in London; and I need scarcely
point out that constant intercourse with Professor Ray Lankester in his
mother's house was not calculated to encourage any psychic proclivities,
even had these latter not been entirely latent with me at that time.

I heard a great deal about the "Slade exposure," both from Professor
Lankester and his friend Dr Donkin, who often came to us with him. When
arranging my American tour in 1885, Mrs Lankester kindly gave me an
introduction to Mrs Edna Hall, an old friend of theirs, who had been
living in their house during the whole period of the Slade trial. This
lady--an American--lived permanently in Boston, and curiously enough (in
view of the preceding facts) it was she who persuaded Miss Greenlow and
me to attend our first _séance_ in Boston. Mrs Edna Hall had honoured
Mrs Lankester's introduction most hospitably; but she was too busy a
woman to do as much for us as her kindness suggested, and she had
therefore introduced us to another friend--Mrs Maria Porter--a most
picturesque, clever, and characteristic figure in Boston society in the
eighties.

Both these ladies accompanied us to the "Sisters Berry." Mrs Edna Hall
had no sort of illusions on the subject. She said quite frankly that she
only took us there because it was a feature of American life which we
ought not to miss, and which would probably amuse us, if only by showing
the gullibility of Human Nature.

One is always apt to read past experiences in the light of present
convictions. Fortunately, I kept a diary at the time, and have a
faithful record of what took place, and, which is still more valuable,
of the impressions formed at the time.

The extracts connected with this _séance_ in Boston, and later
experiences in New York, are taken partly from my record at the time and
partly from the chapter on "Spiritualism in America," published in my
book entitled "A Year in the Great Republic."

Speaking of this first _séance_ in Boston, I see that I have said:

"I went to the 'Sisters Berry' in a very antagonistic frame of mind,
_determined beforehand that the whole thing was a swindle_ (italics are
recent), accompanied by friends who were even more sceptical than
myself, if that were possible." I go on then to describe the usual
cabinet, and pass on to the following extract:--


An old Egyptian now appeared, and a man in the circle, who had been
sitting near my friend Miss Greenlow all the evening, went up and spoke
to him, and then asked "_that the lady who had been sitting near him_"
might come up also, which she did; but she said she could distinguish no
features, and only felt a warm, damp hand passed over hers. Miss
Greenlow was next called up by the spirit of a young man who wished to
embrace her, but who was finally proved to be the departed friend of the
lady who sat next to her. Miss Greenlow returned to her seat, furious,
declaring that it was a horrible, coarse-looking creature, unlike anyone
she had ever seen in her life.

Mrs Porter made valiant attempts to investigate the figures who came
forth at intervals, but was invariably waved back by the master of the
ceremonies.

"Will that lady kindly sit down? This spirit is not for her. It wishes
to communicate with its own friends, and she is disturbing the
conditions, and forcing the spirit back into the cabinet."

There were evidently many old stagers there, who flew up like
lamp-lighters on every possible occasion, with exclamations of: "Oh,
Uncle Charlie, is that you?" "How do you do, Jem?" and so forth.

One old lady, in a mob cap and black gown, was introduced as a certain
Sister Margaret who had taught in St Peter's School, Boston. She came to
speak to a former pupil, who gave her spiritualistic experiences in such
remarkably bad grammar as reflected small credit on Sister Margaret's
teaching of the English language.

This girl told us how anxious she had always been to see her old
teacher, who had appeared to her several times in the _séance_ room, but
never in her old garments--a sort of sister's dress. After wishing very
fervently one night, Sister Margaret appeared dressed in mob cap and
gown, saying: "Don't you see my dress? I came in it at your wish."

"Yes," answered the girl; "and I thank you for gratifying my wish. Since
which time," she added, "I have been a firm believer in spiritualism."

A young French girl, in draggly black garments and a shock of thick
black hair, then came forward and rushed amongst us, trying to find
someone to talk French with her. My friend Mrs Hall went up first, and
then I was told to go up and speak to her. I took hold of her hands, and
grasped them firmly for a moment. They seemed to be ordinary flesh and
blood, but I am bound to confess that they appeared to _lengthen out_ in
a somewhat abnormal fashion when the pressure was removed.

Her face was very cadaverous, and she spoke in a quick, hurried way, _as
if time were an object_. She said she understood a little English, but
could not speak it. Her mother had been French; her father an Indian,
"un brave homme."

It seemed to me that a good deal of kissing and embracing went on. One
old grey-headed gentleman was constantly walking up to the cabinet and
being embraced by a white figure, whose arms we could just see, thrown
round his neck, in the dim light. (I note that the light here was much
less than with Mrs Stoddart Gray in New York.)

The only excitement was the chance of some disturbance before we left;
for Mrs Porter became more and more indignant with the "gross
imposture," which culminated when at length she was called up and told
that "a young man wished to speak with her." She asserted that it was
"the most horrible, grinning, painted creature who hissed into her
ears."

The master of the house begged her to be patient, and try to hear what
the spirit wished to say, but with a very emphatic "NO, NO, NO" she
resumed her seat, amidst a general titter of laughter.

At the last we were told that three little girls, whose mother sat near
the cabinet, wished to materialise, but found it difficult to do so,
owing to the absence of children in the audience.

The mother seemed very anxious to see them; but suddenly the gas was
turned up, and the _séance_ declared over--a very abrupt finale to a
piece of unmitigated humbug, I should say.


These extracts sufficiently show the spirit in which I entered upon my
investigations and the result of that spirit. I think even Mr Podmore
would have considered me _thoroughly sound_ on that first evening. I
have no doubt that the violence of Mrs Porter's antagonism, and the
smiling cynicism of Mrs Hall in face of the "American experience" she
had proposed for us, added to my own preconceived prejudices.

I am aware that the Berry Sisters have been "exposed," thus sharing the
fate of all other public mediums. In the light of later experiences,
however, I feel sure that I might have received something personally
evidential on this occasion had my attitude of mind given hospitality to
any possible visitors from the Unseen.

The next extracts from my diary refer to a _séance_ which we attended in
New York a few days after our arrival there, and some two or three
weeks later than the Boston sitting already described.

Our stay in Boston had extended to three months from the original
fortnight we had planned for the visit. I had taken a few very good
introductions there: to Dr Oliver Wendell Holmes, Colonel Wentworth
Higginson, and others of the Boston _alumni_, and as several receptions
had been kindly arranged for us, and my name had appeared many times
during the winter in various local papers, it would have been easy for
the Sisters Berry to find out something about me and my companion, and
utilise the knowledge by faking up a convenient spirit, who could have
talked glibly of my literary tastes, and so forth. Nothing of the sort
occurred, however, although our first _séance_ only took place a week or
two before we left Boston, after my three months' stay there.

This fact should certainly be "counted as righteousness" to the much
abused Sisters!

It was the more curious, that our first _séance_ in New York, within a
few days of our arrival, and in a metropolis where at the time we were
_absolute strangers_, should have been so much more successful as
regards evidential experiences.

I will again quote from my diary of 1886. The medium visited on this
occasion was Mrs Cadwell, who has since died.

       *       *       *       *       *

We knew nothing beforehand of the medium, who lived in a small flat in
an unfashionable quarter. Some eight people only were assembled in the
extremely small room. All were perfect strangers to Miss Greenlow and
me, but a fancied likeness in one lady present to a picture I had seen
of Mrs Beecher Stowe led me to ask if it were she, and I was told that
my surmise was correct.

There was no room for a cabinet, so a curtain was hung across a tiny
alcove, just the ordinary "arch" found in most rooms of the kind.

When I went behind the curtain with the female medium, before the
sitting began, there was barely space for us both to turn round in. The
carpet on either side the curtain was one piece. There was absolutely no
room for any trap-door machinery, even could such have been worked
successfully in the perfect silence in which we sat, within two feet of
the alcove. The room was about the size of the small back dining-room in
an ordinary London lodging--say in Oxford or Cambridge Terrace, for
example.

The medium sat amongst us at first, only going behind the curtain after
a few moments, when she was "under control" as it is called.

A little child of hers, who died some years ago at the age of four, is
supposed to help in the materialisations, but is never seen outside the
curtains. If she came out herself she would not be able to help the
others to do so. I mention these things in the words in which they were
told to me, offering no comment, but putting the case for the moment as
spiritualists would put it. To do this, and then to give a faithful and
unprejudiced account of what took place, seems to me the only fair way
of treating such a subject.

I was told again and again that too much concentration of thought on
the part of the audience was deterrent. This accounts for music as an
invariable accompaniment of all such sittings. It seems to harmonise the
circle, to break up over-concentration, and may also, unfortunately,
serve to cover the doings of dishonest mediums.

It must not, however, be supposed that in this case the materialisations
went on only whilst we were singing. This might point to a possible
"trap-door theory," although in a city where flats abound (rooms, not
human beings!) there would still be the difficulty of getting your
downstairs neighbours to look kindly upon such proceedings. As a matter
of fact, we were often sitting in absolute silence when fresh "spirits"
appeared.

I can corroborate the assertion that too much concentration of thought
upon them proves deterrent to the spirits, for on more than one occasion
I heard a voice from the curtain or cabinet saying: "Do get the people's
minds off us; we can do nothing whilst they are fixed upon us so
intensely," as though _thought_ in spirit life corresponded to some
physical obstacle on the earth plane.

The first spirit who came (the daughter of an old gentleman sitting near
me) intimated through him that she would like me to go up and help her
to materialise the white veil which all in turn wore, and which, though
perfectly transparent, is considered a necessary shield between them and
the earth's influences; on the same principle, I suppose, that we put on
blue spectacles to protect us from the blinding rays of the sun.

She came out from the alcove, held both her hands in front of her,
turning them backward and forward that I might be satisfied that nothing
was concealed in them. The soft, clinging material of her gown ended
high up on the shoulders, so there were no sleeves to be reckoned with.
I stood close over her, holding out my own dress, and as she rubbed her
hands to and fro a sort of white lace or net came from them, like a
foam, and lay upon my gown which I was holding up towards her.

I touched this material, and held it in my hands. It had substance, but
was light as gossamer, and quite unlike any stuff I ever saw in a shop.

The very softest gossamer tulle that old ladies sometimes produce as
having belonged to their grandmothers is perhaps the nearest approach to
what I then lifted in my hands, but even this does not accurately
describe it.

When long enough she took up the veil, unfolded it, covering her head
with it, and saying very graciously "Thank you" to me.

Other spirits now appeared for the other people in the room, who
conversed with them in low tones.

All these had evidently materialised before and could consequently speak
with comparative ease. One, called the "Angel Mother" (the mother of the
medium), answered questions on the spirit life in a loud American voice,
prefacing every remark, whether to man or woman, by an affectionate
"Well, de-ar!" Her answers showed considerable shrewdness, but not much
depth, and were often rather wide of the mark.

"Nels Seymour" (who appears to have belonged to a sort of Christy
Minstrel Company over here) cracked jokes all the time with a gentleman
amongst the audience in a good-natured but flippant and very unspiritual
manner, and even the ladies joined in the undignified punning and "play
upon words" that went on all the time.

The little child's voice came in as a relief every now and then. She
spoke broken, childish English, but used the expressions of a grown-up
person. She described several spirits as "chying" (trying) to come, but
not being strong enough.

I was becoming drowsy, and rather tired of the performance, when my
attention was once more aroused by hearing that a very beautiful female
spirit, with a diamond star in her forehead, had appeared and asked for
me, saying she had been a friend of mine on earth, and wished to
communicate with me.

This was conveyed to me by the little child's voice, the spirit herself
not having yet emerged from the curtain; but the medium's husband looked
behind it, and told me of the diamond star, which he said was some
"order" in spirit life.

Having no idea who the friend might be, I begged for some further
particulars before going up to speak to her.

"She passed from earth life about five years ago, and in Germany,"
answered the medium's husband, who had conducted the conversation behind
the curtain.

This was less vague, and now for the first time a suspicion of the
spirit's identity crossed my mind; but I would not go up until a name
had been given, and I asked for this before leaving my seat.

My travelling companion--a recent acquaintance--had never heard me
mention the lady in question, who _had_ died in Germany at the time
specified. The little child said the spirit would give the name through
her, and the process was a curious one. Instead of mentioning the whole
name or each letter of it to her father, the child _described_ each
letter to him as you might describe the lines of the large capitals in a
child's reading-book. The father guessed the letter from the child's
description, and asked me if the first one were correct? It was; but I
did not tell him so, merely saying I should like to have the Christian
name in full before giving any opinion.

In due time the six letters (Muriel, we will call it) were correctly
given, and I had then no further excuse for refusing to speak to the
spirit.

I went up to the curtain, and she appeared in front of it. I have been
frequently asked: "Should you have recognised her as your friend had no
name been given?" With every wish to be perfectly truthful, I find it
difficult to answer this question, for the following reason:--None of
the "materialisations" I saw were exactly human in face. There was no
idea of a mask or clever "get up," but if one could accept the theory of
a body hastily put together and assumed for a time, the result is
exactly what might have been expected under the circumstances.

My friend in real life was very pale, and had exquisitely chiselled
features, and the ones I now looked upon were of the same _cast_. The
height was also similar, and an indescribable atmosphere of refinement,
purity, and quiet dignity, for which she had been remarkable; all this
was present with this materialisation. More than this I cannot say, for
no materialisation I have ever seen could be truthfully considered
_identical_ with the human original.

I did not feel frightened, but I did feel embarrassed, and naturally so,
considering how unwilling and grudging my recognition of her
individuality must have appeared. She seemed conscious of this, for
almost immediately she mentioned her hands, holding them out for
inspection, and saying:

"Don't you remember my hands? I was so proud of my hands!"

Now, as a matter of fact, my friend was noted for her beautiful hands,
but she was too sensible and clever a woman to have been conceited about
them, and had too much good taste ever to have made their beauty a
subject of remark, even to an intimate friend.

Moreover, the hands now _en évidence_, although well shaped and with
tapering fingers, were as little identical with a human hand as the face
was identical with a human face.

Casting about for something to say to her, my first thought was for an
only and dearly loved married sister of hers, also a friend of mine, and
I mentioned the latter in a guarded way, saying: "If you are in reality
my friend, have you no message for _your sister_?"

In a moment, and without the slightest hesitation, she said: "_Tell poor
Jessie_," going on with a message peculiarly appropriate to the facts of
the case, but of much too private a nature for publication.

Almost immediately afterwards, and _with no shadow of suggestion from
me_, she added:

"_Poor Jessie! She suffered terribly when I passed away so suddenly._"

My friend had died in a foreign country, under peculiarly sad
circumstances. She was young, beautiful, and accomplished; a prominent
local figure in the well-known capital where she had spent several
winters. Her death was so sudden that there was not even time to put off
a large afternoon "At Home" arranged for that day. Moreover, this
sister, by a most merciful chance, happened to be spending a few months
with her, out of England, at the time. These were all special facts,
spontaneously referred to by her, but which would _not_ have applied
equally well to the death of any other friend, even supposing such a
death to have occurred abroad.

The spirit spoke feebly and with difficulty, "not having much strength,"
she told me.

I asked if her father (who had died a few months previously) were with
her.

"Not yet," she said gently; "but I know that he has passed over." She
then kissed my hand, and faded away before my eyes, not apparently
returning to the curtain (close to which I stood), but vanishing into
thin air.

Some ten days later my friend and I went again to an evening _séance_ at
the same house, different people being present on this occasion. A
stupid, "_unintelligent_ sceptic" woman put us all out of harmony by
making inane suggestions, always declaring that "_she would not for the
world interfere with the conditions_," but doing so all the same. The
"Angel Mother" came again, and rather lost her temper, I thought, with
an aggravating, illogical man in the circle, who hammered away about
Faraday's opinions on the spirit world without much idea of what he was
talking about. "Nels Seymour" _appeared_, as well as spoke, this time.
He took my hand and kissed it; but he does not leave the cabinet, as he
is the "control." It was eleven years on this day since he had "passed
over," so he called it his "birthday."

A very beautiful female spirit materialised and offered to sit on my
lap; an offer I closed with at once.

She was some five feet eight inches in height, and a large,
well-developed woman. Anticipating the possibility of her resting her
feet on the ground, and so concealing her real weight, I moved my own
feet from the ground the moment she sat down, which was easily done, as
my chair was a high one.

She remained for several minutes in this position, resting, of
necessity, her whole weight upon me, which was about equal to that of a
small kitten or a lady's muff, in the days when small muffs were in
fashion. There was an _appreciable_ weight, but I have never nursed any
baby that was not far heavier.

The veil this time was materialised in the usual way, my friend going up
to watch the process.

My spirit friend appeared again, and more strongly this time. At a
public _séance_, where so many are eager to communicate with their
friends, it is impossible to monopolise more than a few minutes of the
public time, and consequently any communications are as hurried and
unsatisfactory as a conversation with an intimate friend in the public
reading-room of a hotel would be.

       *       *       *       *       *

I pass over another most excellent and evidential incident as a
concession to family prejudice. It has already appeared in my book on
America entitled "A Year in the Great Republic," and may be found there.

       *       *       *       *       *

At a third materialising _séance_ at the same house an excitable Italian
friend of mine, who had never seen anything of the kind before, came
with much the same prejudices as I had felt at the Boston _séance_, and
disturbed the conditions very much by his attitude of determined
antagonism; whilst his comparative ignorance of English, and my feeble
Italian, made explanations, under the circumstances, rather hopeless.
The whole circle was put out of harmony, and a dead weight lay upon us
all. The materialisations continued, it is true; but personally it was a
great relief to me when my excitable friend left, declaring that
everything he had seen was "_physiquement impossible mon ange_."

He departed so abruptly as to bring down much abuse upon his absent head
for having "broken the battery" and almost "killed the medium" by his
sudden disappearance from the circle.

This awful threat had so much power over the rest of the party that we
sat out to the bitter end, leaving the medium at last still in her
trance, with husband and son hovering over her in an anxiety which, if
acted, showed first-class dramatic power.

Meanwhile I had made the acquaintance of a very beautiful and charming
woman in New York, to whom I had brought a letter of introduction.

She has had a tragic and remarkable history; is a woman of great mental
powers, in addition to very remarkable beauty; and is of the highest
rank, being an Austrian princess, I believe, in her own right, and
having spent her youth in foreign courts.

Apart from these facts, which had been told me by a mutual friend before
we met, I knew nothing whatever of her family history, nor whether she
had brothers or sisters, alive or dead.

I had spoken to her of my curious experiences, and she had discussed the
matter with me from the standpoint of a thorough woman of the world, of
strong mental power, who had seen too much of life to be dogmatic or
narrow in her views, but too much also to believe in what is called the
"supernatural," before every possible _natural_ hypothesis had been
admitted and dismissed as untenable.

Sitting in her pretty room the day before I left New York, we had talked
for some two hours on various subjects connected with life and
literature, and before the final "adieux" she said laughingly: "Well,
have you been to any more _séances_?"

I said "No," and that we did not intend to do so, as our time was now so
short. A few moments of careless talk on the subject ensued, and picking
up a newspaper, I cast my eye over the usual list of mediums,
clairvoyants, etc. A half-defined wish to see whether any spirit friend
would come to me under totally different conditions and surroundings,
and in an entirely different quarter of the city, led to my copying out
one of the addresses at haphazard.

I could not prevail upon my hostess to accompany me (she is delicate,
and dreads night air), but I took the slip of paper to my hotel,
thinking that my friend there might care to take the cars after dinner
to this distant end of the city.

My English companion proved rather indifferent and disinclined towards
the expedition.

This was very natural. She was not magnetic in temperament, and had no
expectation of seeing any of her own friends, although, of course, she
had both seen and spoken to those who came for me.

However, a good dinner at the excellent Windsor Hotel fortified us so
much after our fatigues that at the last moment we agreed to make one
more attempt, no one, ourselves included, having known five minutes
previously that we should leave the house.

On this occasion we were ushered into a much more imposing drawing-room,
and the lady herself was evidently some degrees higher in the social
scale than our first mediumistic friend.

The arrangements also were quite different. As we sat waiting for a few
minutes (having arrived very punctually), Mrs Gray looked at my friend,
and then described an elderly lady with grey hair who was standing over
her, but, of course, invisible to our eyes. Almost immediately Mrs Gray
began rubbing her knees, and complained of pain in them, adding: "The
impression of dropsy is being conveyed to me. This spirit seems to have
suffered from disease of that nature."

My friend--who was very self-contained and unemotional--gave no clue to
the fact that she recognised anyone by this description, but as we were
returning home in the cars she said quietly: "It is curious Mrs Gray
should have described that old lady with grey hair--I suppose she meant
my mother. _She_ had grey hair, and died of dropsy."

On my expostulating with this lady for having given the impression that
she did not recognise the description at the time she said, with
conscious pride: "You don't suppose I was going to let the woman know
that she had described my mother?"

To give a false impression in so good a cause as determined incredulity,
seems not only justifiable, but actually praiseworthy to many minds.

Later in the evening, the _séance_ being in full swing, a spirit dressed
in some kind of white "sister's" dress appeared at the door of the
cabinet; and Mrs Stoddart Gray asked if anyone in the circle could speak
German, as this spirit did not seem to understand French, Italian, or
English, and she herself only recognised German by the sound.

A gentleman volunteered his assistance, but apparently without much
effect, and being a German scholar, I then offered to come to the
rescue. The moment I went up to the figure she seemed to gain strength,
and came quite out of the cabinet, and said to me in the most refined
German (any readers who have studied the language know that there is as
wide a difference between the highest and lowest type of German accent
as between an educated Irish "accent" and an Irish brogue):

"_Ich bin die schwester von Madame Schewitsch_," mentioning the name of
the foreign friend with whom I had been spending that afternoon: "_Ich
weisz das Sie Heute Nach mittag bei meiner schwester waren._"[1]

 [1] Translation: "I am the sister of Madame Schewitsch--I know that you
 spent this afternoon with my sister."

She had evidently a strong, almost overwhelming desire to make some
communication to me for her sister, but the difficulty in doing so
seemed equally strong.

It lay beyond the question of language. She spoke with sufficient
strength, and I could understand perfectly her well-chosen and
well-pronounced words. But some insuperable obstacle seemed to prevent
her telling me what she wished to convey, and the despairing attempt to
surmount this was painful in the extreme.

I assured her of my willingness to help in any way possible, and made a
few suggestions, but all in vain.

"Is it that you are not happy?"

"No--no! That is not it."

It seemed to me some sort of warning which she wished to convey, and had
some connection with illness, for the words _achtung_ and _krankheit_
(warning and illness) were repeated more than once, but no definite
message came.

I then asked if she could _write_ it, and she caught eagerly at the
idea. So I borrowed a pencil and some paper, and placed them on a small
table in the middle of the room, with a chair in front of it. She came
quite close to the table (five gas burners were more than half turned
on, so there was plenty of light), sat down, and took up the pencil, but
almost immediately threw it down again, saying in a most unhappy and
despairing voice: "_Nein! nein! Ich kann es selbst nicht schreiben!_"[2]
and vanished before my very eyes as she rose from the table. Now had
this been a case of fraud, and supposing that some woman had means of
discovering the name of my New York friend and the fact of my having
spent that very afternoon with her, what would have been easier than to
write or give some commonplace message in a language of which she had
already proved herself mistress?

 [2] Translation: "No! no! I cannot even write it!"

The episode was so painful that I decided _not_ to write to Madame
Schewitsch about it. I have therefore no absolute corroboration of the
fact that the lady mentioned had a sister who became a nun, or who was
connected with some such establishment, and had passed over. This,
however, is much more probable than not, because in every high-born
Catholic family in Austria, one member in a large family almost
invariably takes the veil. I have given the real name in this case,
hoping Madame Schewitsch may perchance come across my book, and supply
the information needed. I may remark, finally, that three or four months
later, whilst travelling in California, I heard from my excitable and
sceptical Italian friend (who had given me the introduction to Madame
Schewitsch) that this lady had had a long and most serious illness
during my absence in the West, and that her husband and he had both
feared she would never recover from it. This fear, fortunately, proved
to be groundless.

To return to the sitting.

About twenty minutes after the "sister" had disappeared, a figure in
white came forward very swiftly, and without a moment's hesitation
pointed towards me, saying quickly: "_For you._"

I went up at once, recognising who it was, but determined to give no
sign of this fact.

The "spirit" looked at me for a moment with surprise, as one might look
at any well-known friend who passed us in the street without a greeting.

As I remained silent she whispered: "Don't you know me?" I am afraid _I_
gave the false impression this time, and asked her for her name.

"_Why, I am Muriel!_" came the instant answer, mentioning the name of
the first friend who had appeared to me, after spelling out her name, at
the previous _séances_ held in another part of New York.

On this third appearance my spirit friend asked me to kiss her. I must
confess that I complied with some amount of trepidation, which proved to
be quite unnecessary.

There was nothing the least repulsive to the touch, although it was not
exactly like kissing anyone on earth; but an indescribable atmosphere of
freshness and purity, which seemed always to surround this friend whilst
living, was very apparent under these changed conditions. Another
curious little point is that I had entirely forgotten my friend's love
of violets (she always wore them when possible, and used violet scent)
until I smelt them distinctly whilst speaking to her.

It must be remembered that until the day of the sitting, we had never
dreamed of going to Mrs Gray's house, nor had we even heard her name. I
picked it out of a newspaper by chance--amongst at least thirty others.

Until past seven o'clock that evening we had not decided to visit her,
and the _séance_ began at eight P.M., no single person in the room being
present who had been at the house of the other medium some weeks
previously. Under these circumstances it would be difficult to account
for the fact of my friend's reappearance on the ground of collusion
between the two mediums. Moreover, such collusion would not account for
the appearance earlier in the evening of a spirit claiming to be the
sister of Madame Schewitsch.

No one hitherto has been able to suggest any _intelligent_ explanation
of my personal experiences on these occasions. Conjuring tricks and trap
doors are, of course, "trotted out" by the _unintelligent_ sceptic, but
these do not meet the difficulty of an _accurate knowledge of names and
of family matters of comparatively small importance_.


As I am just now chiefly concerned with presenting incidents in my life
rather than in prosing over them, I resist the temptation to go further
into the question of _Materialisations_ either from the historical or
ethical point of view, and pass on to the subject of clairvoyance.



CHAPTER II--_continued_

INVESTIGATIONS IN AMERICA, 1885-1886


In speaking of clairvoyance I shall again have recourse to my notes
taken at the time of my American visit and on the spot.

I am quite convinced that where a life has been in any way eventful or
at all marked, any fairly developed clairvoyant can in some way "sense"
your mental and moral atmosphere.

In some three or four personal cases, the notes taken at the time of
such visits, paid several thousands of miles apart, might almost be read
as descriptive of the same interview, with different witnesses.

My travelling companion, who had led a very uneventful life, seemed to
puzzle them much more. There was apparently nothing to lay hold of, and
only a very shadowy, indistinct picture was given in consequence.

In my own case the colours were put on freely, firmly, and without the
least hesitation, and in every single instance the sketch was remarkably
truthful, and yet would not have described the life of one other woman
in three or four hundred.

That there is a good deal of guesswork done even under the supposed
influence of "trance" is quite evident to me. I am not prepared to say
that such trances were in no case genuine, but the remarks made during
them were frequently of a tentative nature, and the slightest good "hit"
was followed up with as much ingenuity as Sir Richard Owen displayed in
putting together his skeleton from a single bone.

I was told some six or seven times that my mother (who died during my
infancy) was my guardian spirit, and six times her name was given to me,
with some difficulty in one or two cases, but invariably without the
smallest guessing on the part of the clairvoyant or any hint from me.

One of my most successful interviews in New York was with a Mrs Parks of
Philadelphia--a very pleasant, good-looking, healthy woman, quite unlike
the usual cadaverous medium with whom one is more familiar.

Her terms being rather higher than those usually asked in America (where
competition has made mediums a cheap luxury), I demurred at first; upon
which she said brightly: "Well, don't come if you don't feel like paying
that; but I never alter my prices. But I won't take your money if I
don't give you satisfaction. Some get satisfaction from one person and
some from another--you will soon see if I am telling you the truth about
your friends, and I won't take a penny from you if you are
dissatisfied."

I left the house saying I would think it over, and Mrs Parks did not at
all press me to come, and from my manner could hardly have expected to
see me.

I had a most satisfactory interview with her next day.

After referring to my mother's presence, and giving her name without any
hesitation, she gave me several messages with regard to character which
were singularly appropriate, and finished up by saying: "Your mother
does not wish you to go to mediums or mix yourself too much up with such
persons. It is not necessary for you to do so; she says you have enough
mediumistic power for her to be able to communicate with you directly."

I could not help saying: "Well, Mrs Parks, you are going very much
against your own interests in giving me this message. I am a perfect
stranger to you in this city. I have told you that I am making some
little stay here, and as you have given me so much satisfaction I might
have been induced to come and see you several times again before
leaving."

She laughed, and answered: "That is quite true; but I am an honest
woman, and I am bound to give you the message that is given to me for
you, even when it goes against my interest."

Seeing her bright, pleasant home, with every trace of comfort about it,
and having received personal proof that money alone was not her
consideration, I could not help asking why she continued such an arduous
life.

"Well," she answered, "the truth is that I do it now against my own
wish. My husband has always objected to it more or less. He was afraid
it might injure my health, and for two years I gave it up entirely.
But," she added, "the spirits would not leave me alone. It seemed as if
I _had_ to come back to it, as if I were refusing to use the powers
that had been given to me for the help and comfort of my
fellow-creatures. I name a higher price than others, to limit my work
and to keep away those who would only come from idle curiosity." She
also told me that sometimes she had to give orders beforehand that
certain people should not be admitted on any pretext whatever. "I can
see their spirits round them before they reach the door very often, and
I would not have such people, bringing such an atmosphere into my
house--no, not if they gave me a hundred dollars for each sitting."

I must mention one more incident connected with this period of my
investigations, because it throws a strong light on some obscure
problems.

Whilst consulting these clairvoyants, in widely different parts of
America, two very near relatives of mine were almost invariably
described, and the names--one male and one female--were generally given.
The mediums invariably went on to say that the female spirit was further
on in development than the male spirit. Now there were circumstances
which made this statement, viewed from this world's standpoint, not only
absolutely mistaken, but almost ludicrously so. The woman's nature had
been a far more faulty one--more impetuous, less balanced, and so forth.
The male spirit described had been a man of very exceptional character
and spirituality, whilst on earth.

In spite of these facts the same "mistake," as I considered it, had
consistently been made by every clairvoyant who described them; which,
by-the-by, rules out telepathy as an explanation of these special
experiences. It certainly seemed strange that after giving accurate
descriptions of the two relatives referred to--names included--each
clairvoyant should make exactly the same mistake upon so obvious a
matter as the question involved.

Some months later, in the course of my travels, I found myself at Denver
in Colorado. We stayed here, at first, one day only, to break our
journey farther up into the Rocky Mountains. The previous day, when
wandering about Colorado Springs, my friend and I had come across a lady
doctor by chance; and having asked some trivial question, we were
invited into her pretty little house, where we chatted for half-an-hour
on various subjects--including spiritualism. We gave no account of our
experiences, but simply mentioned the fact that we had some interest in
the investigation.

Hearing this, and that we were going on to Denver next day, this lady
gave me the address of a young married friend who lived in that city,
and who had during the previous two years suddenly developed strong
mediumistic power, but was in no way a professional. She begged us to
call if possible, and I took down the address, but said it was very
doubtful if we could do so in the short time we should have at our
disposal.

At the end of a long afternoon's drive to the most interesting points of
view in Denver, we found ourselves close to the quarter where this young
woman lived, and called at the house mentioned. The lady was not at
home, and a friend who received us explained that it would be impossible
for her to come down in the evening to see us, as she was delicate, and
not allowed to go out at night.

As we were leaving Denver early next morning, this made a meeting
impossible, so we left our cards, and a note to explain our visit. Going
into the hotel office after dinner that evening, I heard a gentleman
inquiring for me by name, saying he had brought his wife to see me. I
explained that I was the lady he asked for, and he then said, with the
stoical resignation of the typical American husband: "I did not like her
to come out, but she was bound to have her own way."

The lady in question came into my bedroom upstairs after dismissing her
husband, and said she "preferred a room already permeated by my
influence." She then continued very simply: "I do not know whether I
shall be able to help you at all, but it seems there is something I have
to tell you or explain. When I read your note I felt bound to come,
although my husband tried to dissuade me. It seemed to me as if the
spirits came all the way with me in the cars."

She then gave me quite a good sitting, but on the ordinary lines, ending
up by the description of the relatives mentioned, and by making the
usual "mistake" about their relative spiritual positions.

This was all said in trance. When she returned to consciousness I said:
"Now, Mrs Brown (her real name), I must tell you honestly that you have
made one cardinal mistake, but I am also bound to say that five or six
professional mediums have done just the same as regards the same
matter." I then explained, and asked if she could account for such a
persistent and obvious misconception.

"Wait a moment," she answered; "perhaps the spirits will tell me."

She looked up with a very intent expression for a minute, as though
listening to some explanation which did not cover the ground of her own
experience, and then said very quickly and in a monotonous voice, as
though repeating a verbal message:

"It has nothing exactly to do with our earthly idea of 'goodness.'
Spiritual life can only come to those prepared for it, within the limits
of their capacity. The male spirit you mention was a clergyman of the
Church of England. He was a very holy man, but he was in some way creed
bound. He was a man of strong creed; he clung to his creed here, and
cannot quite free himself from it even now, although he has advanced
very much in spiritual perception. Now his wife had a very sympathetic,
_apprehending_ nature. She can therefore receive spiritual light more
fully and freely. That is why she has risen to a higher plane. This is
not a question of character so much as of _spiritual capacity_, and in
this she is the more highly gifted of the two. She is on a different
plane, but she is able to help her husband very much, and in time he
will join her, and they will progress together."

All this was said in a quick, decided way, and without the smallest
hesitation.

One would hardly have expected a young woman in the midst of the Rocky
Mountains to know the exact meaning of the term "_clergyman of the
Church of England_," for the word is almost unknown in America, where
they speak invariably of a _minister_. Yet the words were given with
quick, firm precision, exactly as written down.

Later, in San Francisco, a clairvoyant at once referred to my friend
"Muriel," and described her, but in rather vague terms. When I pointed
this fact out she said a little impatiently, as though we were wasting
time in quibbling: "_Oh, well, it does not matter. The spirit tells me
you know perfectly well who it is. She has already appeared to you in
New York._"

I had gone to this particular medium with several young friends, who
were all in a very sceptical and rather frivolous state of mind. She
described "an uncle," apparently over the heads of two of my friends,
and gave the further information that he was surrounded by water, and
appeared to have been drowned; also that he was extremely musical.

This was declared to be perfectly untrue and without a grain of
foundation, in fact.

The woman looked puzzled and a little mortified, but turned to others in
the circle, with better success, let us hope!

On our return home, when the young people were telling their mother of
the "awful humbug" amid shouts of laughter, the mother said quietly:
"But surely you remember, my dear children, hearing of your Uncle
Robert, who was drowned years ago, before any of you were born? He _was_
a great musician. He wanted to give up his life to art, but he was
persuaded to take up another profession."


I give this as an instance of the carelessness with which, when we are
_determined_ to find fraud, we may do so sometimes at the expense of
truth. These young girls had doubtless heard of their uncle, but the
fact had possibly escaped their memories for the moment, and probably
they had no wish to recall anything which could cast a doubt on their
preconceived notion that "the whole thing was a swindle!"

Before closing the chapter of my American experiences in the years 1885
and 1886, I must give one more personal detail.

When investigating various clairvoyants in the Eastern States in March
and April of the year 1886, I had been told more than once that a
guardian band of six spirits was forming round me, and would be later
supplemented by another band of six protectors. Whether this had any
bearing upon the following incident, I must leave my readers to decide.

       *       *       *       *       *

About three months after this pronouncement I found myself at Victoria,
Vancouver's Island. Miss Greenlow and I had gone there from San
Francisco for a week or two, not being able at that time to make the
further trip to Alaska. After a very stormy voyage of two or three days
we reached Victoria one morning about six A.M. There was only one large
double-bedded room available at the hotel, and we took this on the
understanding that two separate rooms should be found for us before the
evening.

As we lay on our beds for a few hours of much needed rest, quite
suddenly I realised that I saw something abnormal in the air--just above
and in front of my head. I mentioned this with much surprise to my
companion, who at once suggested the effects of liver after a sea
voyage so tempestuous as ours had been. For the first few moments I was
inclined to agree with her, and said so; but very shortly my opinion was
altered by the fact that what I saw first as an indistinct blur
gradually assumed a definite shape, and I then found there were six
little swallows in front of me, apparently connected with each other by
a waving ribbon, or so it appeared to me.

Opening and shutting one's eyes did not affect the vision. There they
remained, both at the moment and for several succeeding years, during
which time I was constantly in the habit of seeing "_my birds_," as we
used to call them. About six months after their first appearance in the
pure, clear atmosphere of Victoria (Vancouver), I was driving across the
Blackheath Common on a very bright, frosty day, and looking out of the
open window of my carriage, I saw my six birds as usual; but for the
first time, parallel with them and lower down, were six new birds of
just the same size and appearance (about half-an-inch between the tips
of the wings).

A few days later the new birds and the old ones had amalgamated, and
twelve little swallows floated in the air before my eyes. I could not
see them in the house. It needed the background of uninterrupted sky
apparently to throw them into sufficient relief to be recognised. After
some years, this special sign was withdrawn, and others have taken its
place. For example, I have seen in the same way, during the last
fourteen years, an anchor, with the chain attached to it, and caught
through one end of the former, a short reaping hook. This, doubtless,
has some symbolical meaning. Near the anchor I see a sacrificial altar,
with flames rising up from it; then a triangle, with loops at the
corners, which I was once told was the sign of Nostradamus. Then an
old-fashioned mirror in a quaintly-shaped frame, and finally a long
staff, with the sign of Aries at one end. I have since realised that
this is very much like the "Staff of Faith" found on the top of many of
the tombs in the Roman catacombs. All these latter emblems come together
as a rule, with a connecting thread binding them to each other. I cannot
see them at will, but when the atmosphere is at all clear they are
rarely absent, when I have time to look for them. I was much amused once
by an earnest Christian scientist, with whom I happened to be spending a
few days on the coast of the eastern counties. She had warned me
repeatedly against "phenomena" of every kind, spontaneous or induced. On
a specially bright morning we were sitting together in a beautiful park,
which is thrown open to strangers on special days, and, forgetting my
companion's prejudices, I exclaimed involuntarily:

"I never saw my signs more clearly than just now!--there must be
something very pure about the atmosphere."

This was too much for my friend, who bent forward eagerly, saying:--"_Do
let me try if I cannot see them too!_"

Well, she "tried" for the greater part of two hours, but absolutely in
vain, and then got up, and suggested going home to luncheon. She added
naïvely: "I _thought_ they must have something wrong about them, and I
am quite sure of it now, _or I should have seen them_."

But it had taken her two hours of failure to be absolutely convinced
that they came straight from the devil!

One sign--also birds--appeared to me on one occasion only. We had
returned to Denver, where Miss Greenlow and I were to separate after a
year's constant travel together. She was going back to San Francisco to
take steamer for the Sandwich Islands, and thence on to Australia;
whilst I was returning to England for family reasons.

I had arranged to dine with the hospitable Dean of Denver the evening of
the day of her departure, and I had not realised how much less lonely
one would have felt had my journey East corresponded more closely with
her journey West, especially as she was obliged to leave the hotel about
nine o'clock in the morning.

Waking early, and lying in bed, feeling very melancholy at the idea of
being left behind and alone in the very centre of America, I looked up,
and, to my delight, saw a new sign.

Not my little birds this time, but two big, plump father and mother
birds, with a short string attached, not horizontally as before, but
perpendicularly. At the end of this little string was a tiny bird, even
smaller than the swallows, being evidently guided by the two big birds,
and quite safe in their charge.

My room communicated with that of my companion, whose door was open,
and I told her of this new "sign in the heavens," adding that I hoped it
had come to stay. Fortunately, I found a pencil, and made a rough sketch
at the time, or I might have been tempted to imagine that I had never
seen it at all, for the trio never appeared again, though I have longed
to see them, and have certainly required the consolation quite as much,
many times, since that far-away summer morning in Denver, Colorado.

       *       *       *       *       *

On reaching home after this long American trip, I found a budget of
letters awaiting me--amongst them a little registered box containing a
kind birthday present from the brother who has been mentioned in the
Introduction to this book. Was it another case of mental affinity which
had induced him unconsciously to choose a gold brooch with two swallows
in gold and pearls? Not an uncommon design; but _the birds were exactly
the same size as those I was in the habit of seeing just at that time_.

I never told him how extraordinarily _à propos_ his present had proved,
but I have always looked upon that brooch as a mascot, and have
certainly worn it every day since it came into my possession.



CHAPTER III

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND


Shortly after the Jubilee of 1887 had taken place, I sailed for
Australia and New Zealand.

My first psychic experience in the Colonies took place in Melbourne,
some months after my landing in Tasmania.

The wife of one of the "prominent citizens" in Melbourne had been
specially invited to meet me at an afternoon reception in the house of
friends to whom I had carried letters of introduction, as she was said
to be so deeply interested in everything psychic, and would greatly
enjoy hearing my American experiences. Fortunately, the lady arrived
late, and we had already enjoyed some interesting conversation before
she came. A wetter "wet blanket" it has never been my fortune to
encounter. She was a very handsome woman, and therefore good to look at,
but in the _rôle_ of sympathetic audience she was a miserable failure.
She sat with a cold, glassy eye fixed upon me, whilst I endeavoured to
continue the conversation which had been interrupted by her arrival.

She might just as well have _said_ as have looked the words: "Now go on
making a fool of yourself!--that is just what I have come to see."

The position was hopeless. So I began to talk about the weather, which
is disagreeable enough from sirocco in the hot spring months (it was the
end of October) to be useful.

Presently the daughter of the house came up to me, and said:

"Do, please, go on telling us your interesting experiences, Miss Bates;
we can talk about other things at any time, and we asked Mrs Burroughes
on purpose to meet you."

The lady in question had joined another group by this time, so I was
able to whisper in reply: "I am so very sorry, but I cannot possibly
talk of these things before your friend--she paralyses me absolutely
from any psychic point of view. She is very handsome, and I like looking
at her, but I cannot talk to her except about the weather."

"How very odd!" was the unexpected reply. "That is just what Lizzie
Maynard says. And I did very much want Lizzie to hear about America too,
but she has gone off to the other end of the room, saying she knows you
won't be able to talk whilst Mrs Burroughes is here."

This was interesting, for I had not noticed the young girl mentioned,
who had not been introduced to me. So when my young hostess asked "if
she might bring Lizzie to see me at my hotel next day," I gladly
acquiesced, in spite of feeling very far from well at the moment.

This feeling of _malaise_ increased in the night, and was, in fact, the
precursor of a short but sharp attack of a form of typhoid which was
running through the hotel at the time. Being in bed next afternoon about
four o'clock, I was dismayed to hear that Miss Maynard had arrived to
see me, and, moreover, had arrived _alone_. I had never spoken to the
girl nor even consciously set eyes on her before, but I knew she must
have come at least three miles from the suburb where she lived, and
would probably refuse to have a cup of tea downstairs during my absence.
There was nothing for it, therefore, but to make an effort, order tea to
be brought for her to my room, and send a message hoping she would not
mind seeing me in my bedroom.

She came up--a modest, charming-looking girl of about twenty. I
explained the circumstances, and apologised for being unable to join in
the tea-party, but felt rather desperate when I realised that even the
effort of taking any share in the conversation was beyond me.

Suddenly a brilliant idea passed through my throbbing head. The day
before, in planning the visit, which Miss Boyle had been unable to carry
out herself, she had mentioned that her friend Lizzie Maynard was a very
good automatic writer, and this seemed a solution of the difficulty.

So when my little friend had finished her tea, but was still looking
tired from the long walk, I said to her: "I am so sorry to be so stupid
to-day, Miss Maynard. I cannot talk, but I can listen; or do you think
possibly you could get a little writing for me? Miss Boyle told me you
wrote automatically sometimes?"

"I will try, certainly," was the ready response. "I never know, of
course, what may come, and as this is our first meeting, it may be a
little more difficult, but I should like to try."

She found paper and pencil, and sat by my bedside, holding the pencil
very loosely between the second and third fingers, instead of between
the thumb and first two fingers in the usual way.

She continued talking to me during the whole time, and not being well
versed in automatic writing then, I could not believe that any writing
could really be going on in this very casual sort of way.

"Is any writing really coming?" I questioned at last.

"Oh yes; but I can't make out the last long word," she said, turning the
paper round, so that she could see it, for the first time. "Kindly give
me that word again," she remarked casually, and continued her
conversation with me.

Finally the three or four sheets of rather large but not always very
distinct caligraphy were submitted to me, and I saw that "Miscellaneous"
had been the long word at the beginning which Lizzie had asked to have
repeated.

The whole message was intensely interesting to me, for it began: "_I who
on earth was known as George Eliot._"

Now I had more than once seen, but had never spoken to, George Eliot in
earth life, and although admiring her genius, as all who read her books
are bound to do, there seemed no very obvious reason why she should come
to me. Moreover, Lizzie Maynard, a charming but not highly educated girl
(as I discovered later), seemed to know little about the famous author
beyond her name. Another, and infinitely inferior, lady writer had been
discussed with bated breath the day before in Lizzie's presence. Her
books--just then in the zenith of their popularity--had newly penetrated
to the Colonies, and were being talked of there as though Minerva
herself, helmet and all complete, had suddenly arrived in Melbourne. I
had personally been greatly interested by one of this lady's earlier
books, and had a much less definite opinion of the author then, than I
have at the present moment.

Threshing my brains for any sort of tie with George Eliot, I remembered
having often stayed at Oxford as a young woman, when Jowett of Balliol
was entertaining her and Mr Lewes, in his own home.

Of course, there was no question in those far-away days of my being
asked to meet such a brilliant star; but it amused me often to hear the
dull and uninteresting people of some standing in the University, whom
Jowett had _not_ favoured with an invitation, declaring that nothing
would have induced them to accept it!

This was, however, but a feeble link, even when added to the righteous
indignation one had so often experienced on hearing similar remarks
made, about a woman too far above her critics both in genius and morals,
for them to be able to catch the faintest glimpse of her personality.

Apparently it only now lay with me to cease asking _why_, and accept the
goods provided by the gods, making the most of such an opportunity. On
these occasions so many possible questions tumble over each other in
the brain that it is difficult to select any one to start with.

At length I asked the following question:--

"What did George Eliot think of the author who had been so much
discussed and so highly applauded on the previous afternoon?"

Very quickly came the answer: "_I have no sympathy there--a mere
puppet._"

Certainly this was not thought reading; for my own opinion then was very
indefinite, and Lizzie's views, as it turned out, were as enthusiastic
as those of most people in the Colony. It was not until several years
later that I realised that an extraordinarily _apt_ criticism had been
made; for a puppet is made to dance by other entities.

I was longing to ask another question, but had some natural hesitation
in doing so before such a young girl. Moreover, I feared the answer must
almost of necessity be coloured by the traditions of the latter, and
therefore would be of no great value either way. But taking my courage
"in both hands," I put the question:

"Please ask George Eliot if she _now_ thinks that she was justified in
the position she took up with regard to George Lewes?"

The answer came in a flash: "CERTAINLY. _We are one here, as we were on
earth._"

Anything less likely to emanate from the brain of an orthodox young girl
can hardly be conceived!

Amongst other details, George Eliot said finally that she had come to
know my mother in spirit life, where she was called STELLA. Now my
mother's name in earth life was Ellen, which has the same root for its
origin. Of course, Miss Maynard did not then know whether my mother were
alive or dead, and nothing naturally concerning her Christian name.

The last statement made by George Eliot on this occasion was that
"_before another year had rolled by, a great gift would come to me, and
I must be very careful to use without abusing it_." I was too tired at
the moment to ask whether "another year rolling by" meant a whole year
from 28th October 1887 (the date of the message), or the end of the
current year--namely, 31st December 1887.

When the message had come to an end, Miss Maynard gathered up the
scattered sheets, and promising to copy them out for me, took her
departure, and left me to muse--so far as a racking brain would
allow--on the curious and interesting result of her visit. No cup of tea
to thirsty wayfarer was ever surely so grandly rewarded!

My next adventure had a distant connection with these Australian
experiences.

I had come out to join the friend (Miss Greenlow) who had been my
companion in America, and who had thence sailed for Sydney when I
returned for a year to England. She had been anxious for me to rejoin
her in Australia, and from thence visit Japan and China; but my arrival
having been delayed by literary matters, this lady had finally lost
patience, and, without my knowledge, had gone on to New Zealand, and
thence, as it turned out, to Samoa. When I heard of the New Zealand
episode there was nothing for it but to follow her there, on a
will-o'-the-wisp expedition, as it turned out, but, fortunately, I was
unaware of this at the time. I say fortunately, because had I known that
she had already left Australia for Samoa, I should certainly have
returned to England, in despair of tracing her any further, and thereby
one of my most interesting experiences would have been lost.

The illness in Melbourne, already referred to, detained me for over a
fortnight, so it was necessary to transfer my New Zealand ticket from
one boat to another. So the illness also must have been one of the
factors that was involved in the adventure, as I have called it. For the
delay led to my meeting--in a friend's house--Mr Arthur Kitchener (a
younger brother of Lord Kitchener), who was introduced to me on the
special ground that we were to be fellow-travellers to New Zealand a day
or two later. As a matter of fact, Mr Kitchener was on his way from
England to New Zealand, where he was superintending a sheep-run for his
father in those days. He had come out by P. & O., and transhipped at
Melbourne after two or three days' delay there.

Several other passengers from the _Massilia_ were also going on to New
Zealand, and naturally they felt like old friends after the five or six
weeks already spent together. They thought _I_ wanted to be alone, and I
thought _they_ wanted to be alone, and so I kept severely to the upper
deck, feeling often lonely, and they all remained on the lower deck,
wishing I would come down and talk to them sometimes. In spite of these
misconceptions on either side, Mr Kitchener and I became sufficiently
friendly for him to give me a very kind and hospitable invitation to
spend the last few days of the year at his "station," about nine miles
from Dunback, in the Dunedin district. I think I must have told him of
my disappointment in missing my companion in Sydney, after travelling so
many thousand miles to join her, and doubtless he felt some interest in
this Stanley and Livingstone sort of chase, with two women taking the
principal characters!

Anyway, the invitation was given and accepted, and he kindly promised to
ask one or two people to meet me in his house.

All this came to pass some weeks later, on my return from the New
Zealand lakes, and just before an expedition to the "Sounds," generally
known as the "Sounds Trip."

This is a pleasure trip, organised for early January, which is, of
course, midsummer there. It lasts for ten days, and gives one the
opportunity of seeing to the best advantage these glorious inlets of the
sea.

My week at the sheep station was to precede this, as I have explained;
in fact, as the steamer sailed late in the afternoon, it was possible to
go on board without stopping for the night at Dunedin, whence we were to
sail. But at the last moment a slight contretemps took place. Owing to
some delay the steamer would not be able to leave till Monday, instead
of the Saturday morning as arranged, and our kind host insisted on
extending his hospitality for the two extra days.

Now each day there had been some talk about having an impromptu
_séance_, and each day I had successfully evaded the arrangement. I have
a great dislike to sitting in casual circles with strangers, and it
seemed to me that no good purpose would be served by doing so. It is
impossible on these occasions to convince anyone else that you are not
pushing or "muscle moving," or generally playing tricks, and it has
always seemed to me that the time wasted over mutual recriminations on
these points, or the silly jokes that appear inevitable, when two or
three human beings at a table get together in a private house; might be
much more profitably spent.

Table turning as a parlour game is about as stupid and aimless an
amusement as I know. I represented all this to Mr Kitchener, but in
vain. He had attended some psychic meetings in Dunback or Dunedin, and
evidently wished me to reconsider the matter. Also it happened to be the
last day of the year, when people are always more inclined to be
obliging, I suppose; anyway that Saturday night, 31st December 1887,
found me sitting down to a table in the little drawing-room of that
far-away sheep station.

As some reward for any virtue there may have been in yielding my point,
I remembered suddenly that George Eliot's message on 28th October--two
months previously--had been rather vague, and that it might be
interesting, if the chance came, to find out whether "_before another
year has rolled away_" meant a year from 28th October, or the year of
which so few hours still remained to us.

After the usual inanities--"_I am sure you are pushing._" "No; _you_
are! _I saw your fingers pressing heavily._" "_Why, how extraordinary!
that is exactly what I thought about you_," etc. etc., it was intimated
that a spirit was there giving the name of George Eliot, so I put my
question at once.

"I did not mean another year from October last--I referred to this
year," was the answer.

"Shall I be able to write automatically?" was my next query.

"No; leave that alone--it would be very dangerous for you at present."

"Shall I be able to hear? Shall I become clair-audient?"

"No," came for the second time.

My next question naturally was: "Then shall I be able to _see_ very
soon?"

"Yes; for you will become clairvoyant for the first time. Remember my
warning to use but not abuse the gift."

Now I must explain that all this time a good deal of the usual kind of
joking had been going on. Moreover, I felt intuitively that Mr Kitchener
thought I was deceiving myself into the idea that human muscles could
not account for the movements, and, in fact, the very worst possible
conditions for getting anything of value were present.

So much so that I did not for one moment suppose that it was really
George Eliot, or that she would countenance that particular sort of
buffoonery, and the incident made no impression upon me at all. I had
already taken my hands off the table, when someone--Mr Kitchener, I
think--banged it down four times, and then triumphantly observed: "_Yes,
of course, you will see somebody during the night, or rather at four
o'clock in the morning, you see!_" The whole thing was the kind of
fiasco I had expected, "degenerating into a romp," as poor Corney Grain
used to remark about the "Lancers" and the stern old lady in the
suburban villa.

The bathos of table turning had surely been reached when it came to
banging the leg of the table down four times, and calmly announcing four
o'clock as the time for my first vision!

But the remarkable point is that I _did_ have my first vision that
night, though it had come and gone long before four A.M.

It is necessary to remember that the sun rises about three-thirty A.M.
during the end of December or first week in January out there, so it
would have been fairly light before four A.M.; whereas when I woke out
of my first sleep that night, it was pitch dark.

My room was the usual whitewashed apartment to be found in the ordinary
colonial "station," with a wooden bed standing about two or three feet
from the wall, and parallel with the only window in the room; which
faced the door (at the foot of my bed), and was fitted with a very dark
green blind, on account of the hot summer sunshine.

But it was now pitch dark in the room. I woke facing the window, but
turned on my side, as one generally does on such occasions, and this
brought me face to face with the wall. To my infinite amazement there
stood between the wall and my bed, a diaphanous figure of a woman, quite
life size or rather more, with one arm held out in a protecting fashion
towards me, and some drapery about the head. The features were,
moreover, quite distinct, and, as I afterwards realised, the counterpart
of George Eliot's curious and Savonarola-like countenance. But at the
moment, oddly enough, I only thought of two things--first, how
extraordinary that what had appeared to me such a silly waste of time
overnight should have had any element of reality about it! Then swiftly
came the second idea: "And how in the world does it happen that I don't
feel a bit frightened?"

I lay there absolutely content and peaceful, with a feeling of blissful
satisfaction which I have never exactly realised either before or since
that one occasion.

"_Everything is all right--nothing can really ever go wrong--nothing at
least that matters at all. All the real things are all right. I can
never doubt the truth of these things after this experience. It was
promised, and the promise has been redeemed._" These were the thoughts
that passed idly through my brain as I lay--fully awake--and looked up
at the comforting woman's figure. For it seemed more--much more--than a
mere vision. I have spoken of the figure as diaphanous because it was
not as solid as an ordinary human being, but, on the other hand, I could
not see the wall through it: it was too solid for that. Then I
remembered a story told in _The Athenæum_--of all papers--and written by
a Dr Jephson, of his experience whilst paying a visit to Lord Offord,
and making notes--late at night--in the library of the house for some
literary work on hand. He had finished his notes, put away the book of
reference, looked at his watch, found the hands marking two A.M. (so
far as I remember), and had just said to himself: "Well, I shall be in
bed by two-thirty after all," when, turning round, he found a large
leather chair close to his own, tenanted by a Spanish priest in some
ancient dress!

Thinking it might be an hallucination, he deliberately turned
round--_away_ from the priest--rubbed his eyes, and then slowly looked
back again. Still the priest was there, and Dr Jephson then realised for
the first time that, although not _consciously frightened_ or alarmed in
any way, he was quite unable to _speak_ to the intruder. So he quietly
chose a pencil, sat down, and calmly took his portrait. The priest
politely remained until the sketch was completed, and then vanished.

This story, read some years previously, flashed through my brain, and I
thought: "_I_ will try turning round, and then seeing if she is still
there." I turned deliberately, facing the window, and then realised that
it was pitch dark in my room--not the faintest glimmer of light came
through the heavily shrouded window. "_Then it can't be four o'clock_,"
was my triumphant comment.

It would have been too disappointing had my distinguished visitor
condoned the unblushing banging down four times of the table leg, by
choosing that hour for her arrival in my room! But then again, how could
I _see_ her, since the room was quite dark? It was only necessary to
turn round once more to the wall to realise that I _did_ see her in
fact, although I ought not to have done so in theory! I saw her as
distinctly as I ever saw a marble statue in the Vatican Gallery by the
light of noon. Although I had recalled the Jephson story so
circumstantially, it never struck me that it might be interesting to
attempt any conversation, and see whether I also were tongue-tied. I did
not _want_ to speak--there seemed no special reason for speaking. It was
quite enough to lie there with this blissful feeling of protection and
love folding me round like a cloud with golden lining. And as this
consciousness held me in its loving grasp, to my infinite sorrow the
kind, protecting figure disappeared, gently and very slowly, sinking
into the ground on the spot where I had first seen her; and once more
all was dark in the room.

I lay, too happy and peaceful for movement or even speculation for some
ten minutes, and then it struck me that I had better light the candle by
my side, and find out what o'clock it might be.

Now I have a rather accurate idea of time, and can generally tell within
a minute or two how long any special work may have taken me. Looking at
my watch, I saw it was just two-twenty-five A.M., so I settled in my own
mind that I must have seen the figure at two-fifteen A.M., or possibly
at two-ten A.M., for I think the experience lasted nearly five minutes
altogether. Anyway, I felt sure that ten minutes, as nearly as possible,
had elapsed between the sinking of the figure out of sight and my
lighting the match in order to consult my watch. It may have been nine
minutes, or possibly eleven, but I feel confident the time mentioned
would be within these limits.

Therefore next morning, when our host appeared, and I was chaffed about
"the vision," I said boldly: "You think it all nonsense, and I confess
I did not believe anything that came last night when so much joking was
going on, but I was mistaken. I _did_ see, for the first time in my
life, anything abnormal." And I repeated my experience, just as I have
now written it down.

Incredulous looks greeted me, and then Mr Kitchener said quietly:

"Oh yes, you saw something at four A.M. I am not at all surprised to
hear that."

"Not at four A.M.," I answered, "but at two-fifteen A.M. I made a
special note of the time. I was asleep again long before four A.M., and
never slept better in my life."

He looked puzzled, and then suggested that my watch must have gone
wrong; but we compared notes, and our watches were registering exactly
the same hour within a minute or two.

I found out later that, having learnt something of the Thought
Transference Theory at the Dunedin Circle or Metaphysical Club which he
had attended, Mr Kitchener had attempted to _make me see_ a vision at
four A.M., but as he confessed he had been fast asleep _when_ I _did_
see (_an hour and three quarters before his efforts started_), it would
take a very ingenious person to prove that the latter had anything to do
with the occurrence.

A deeply interesting corroboration reached me, however, a few weeks
later, by which time I had visited the "Sounds," and many other places
of interest, and had arrived safely at Auckland, in the North Island.

On the morning of my vision, I must not forget to mention, that I had
spoken of it to Mr Kitchener's faithful Irish housekeeper, whose
nationality I knew would prevent her thinking me a mere lunatic. By this
time scepticism had the upper hand, and I was beginning to try to
explain away everything in the true Podmorian spirit.

Could Mr Kitchener or any other person present have had to do with the
matter? In this case my blissful feelings would naturally be merely the
result of imagination, and easily disposed of on this ground. So I
questioned the little housekeeper when she brought my hot water as to
whether it could have been possible for Mr Kitchener or anyone else in
the house to have access to a clean sheet or tablecloth, and to have
masqueraded in the garden outside my room. She indignantly denied the
possibility. "The linen is all locked up by me; besides, no one would
have been so wicked. It might have frightened you out of your senses,
ma'am! Do you suppose the master would have done such a thing?"

No; I did not really accuse anyone of such a cruel and stupid joke.
Moreover, it was a little difficult, even for Podmorian ingenuity, to
explain how man or woman, masquerading in a white sheet in the garden
outside, could convey the fairly solid figure of a faked "George Eliot,"
who stood well out between the wall and my bed; and this through a thick
green blind and curtains, when garden and room alike were shrouded in
_absolute_ darkness!

Foiled in all my attempts to find a "sensible solution" to the mystery,
I determined to write and ask Lizzie Maynard of Melbourne if _she_ could
throw any light upon matters, my decision in taking this step being
strengthened by the curious coincidence which I had just
discovered--_i.e._ that Mr Kitchener's housekeeper had lived with the
Maynards when they had had a house in Dunedin, which was later burnt
down, as so often happens in the Colonies. "Jane" had lost sight of the
Maynard family for years, and was much excited by my promising to write
and tell them of my meeting with her.

Of course, I mentioned my strange experience and all the details
connected with it--_except_ the exact hour of the occurrence. It was by
a pure oversight (as I supposed) that this fact was omitted. I have had
reason since to believe that I was unconsciously impressed to leave out
this special detail, in order that I might receive far better evidence
than would have been possible under other circumstances. Had I mentioned
the hour of the vision, the imagination of my young friends in Melbourne
might have been at work as regards the hour of _their_ experience, which
was as follows:--

Several weeks after leaving Dunback I reached Auckland, and received
amongst other letters one from Lizzie Maynard in answer to mine. Mr
Kitchener had also written, saying what nice girls my friends the
Maynards must be, and how kindly they had written to his excellent
little housekeeper, sending her welcome gifts, and saying that her
place had never been filled in their hearts, and so forth. Lizzie's
letter to me began also about the excellences of "Jane," and the
curious coincidence through which she had been once more put in touch
with her; then she went on to say:

"It is indeed very remarkable about your experience, dear Miss Bates,
but I think you will consider it much more remarkable when I tell you
what _we_ were doing that night. I was spending the week-end with our
mutual friends Captain and Mrs Boyle" (in whose house she and I had
encountered Mrs Burroughes), "and Lily Boyle and I were sleeping in
the same room, as the house was full.

"On the evening of 31st December there was a little dance arranged, to
'dance the old year out and the new year in,' and at midnight we
dispersed, the visitors going home, and those in the house retiring to
bed. Lily and I were too much excited to get into bed at once, so I
suggested that we should try to compose a letter to Miss Pearl" (this
being the lady whose writings they greatly admired. I had allowed them
to use my name as an introduction, should they wish to communicate with
her at any time).

Lizzie went on to say how nervous they were about writing the letter,
fearing that so popular an author might not take any notice of the badly
expressed letter of two young colonial girls. However, she did her best,
and Lily Boyle did _her_ best, and the result was a hopeless failure!
"Then," continued Lizzie, "a happy thought struck me--George Eliot had
used my hand to convey her message to you last October; might we not,
remembering this, appeal to her to help us in our difficulty? So we gave
up trying to write the letter ourselves, took down planchette from its
shelf, and started again. In a few moments an excellent letter was
written, giving your name as an introduction, with all the little
points you had specially begged us to remember in connection with Miss
Pearl's probable prejudices. It was so splendidly written, and so
quickly, that you can imagine our delight! We could not bear to give up
planchette even after both our names had been signed, and I said
pleadingly: '_Oh, don't go away! Do stop and tell us something more._'

"In large letters, as you see" (Lizzie enclosed the script), "was
written very decidedly:

"NO, I CANNOT STAY WITH YOU NOW--I HAVE PROMISED TO GO AND SEE
STELLA'S DAUGHTER.

"I remembered, dear Miss Bates, that G. Eliot had said your mother's
name in spirit life was _Stella_, so, of course, we knew that she meant
us to understand that she was going to see _you_.

"Unfortunately, you did not mention the hour of her visit, but we took
the time when enclosed message was written--very accurately--in order to
tell you about it, and the hour was just twelve-thirty A.M. Do write and
tell us that was the time when she appeared to you--we feel sure it must
have been--but are longing to have our idea confirmed, etc. etc."

Now my young friends had evidently entirely forgotten the difference
in time between Dunedin and Melbourne, and I must confess to my own
amazement when I found that it was considerably over the sixty
minutes, which I should have vaguely supposed it to be.

In fact, I was rather disappointed to think there was so wide a margin
between the two occurrences, until I casually asked a gentleman, who was
staying in my hotel, if he could tell me the difference in time between
the two cities.

"Not exactly, I'm afraid, but it is considerably over an hour. Ah,
there is a good atlas! I can easily calculate it for you." He remained
silent for a moment, and then raising his head, said: "As nearly an
hour and three quarters as possible." This was pretty good evidence of
the practically simultaneous experience of my friends in Melbourne at
twelve-thirty A.M., with my own at two-fifteen A.M. in the
neighbourhood of Dunedin.

When I first became acquainted with Mr Myers, shortly after my return
from Australia and New Zealand, I told him this story. He was greatly
interested, but pointed out that it was useless from the evidential
point of view unless I would take the trouble to write one or two
letters to the Colonies.

So I wrote to Mr Kitchener for confirmation of the fact that I was
staying in his house on the night of 31st December 1887, and had told
him of my experience next morning, exactly as here related. Then I had
to get Miss Lizzie Maynard's testimony with regard to her letter to
me, and finally, I think, the testimony of Lily Boyle and her father
that Miss Maynard was their guest in Melbourne on the occasion of the
New Year's Eve dance. These letters are presumably still amongst the
archives of the Society of Psychical Research, and the story was
printed by them in their Proceedings some years ago.

I may add a last evidential touch by saying that when I met Miss Pearl
for the first time after my travels, she referred to the letter she had
received--under favour of my introduction--and quite spontaneously
remarked upon its excellence, adding:

"I could scarcely believe that two young Australian girls, as they
described themselves to me, could have written such an admirable
letter."

I did not disclose the real source of the composition, as the popular
author thinks that she has no belief in spiritualism.



CHAPTER IV

HONG KONG, ALASKA, AND NEW YORK


The spring months of 1888 found me at Brisbane, _en route_ for China,
after spending a pleasant month with old friends on a well-known
station belonging to the late Sir Arthur Hodgson, named Eton Vale, and
situated on the beautiful and healthy Darling Downs of Queensland.

Before returning to Sydney from New Zealand, my female "Dr
Livingstone" had reappeared upon the scene in the most unexpected
manner. Our "historical meeting" took place in an Auckland hotel,
where she suddenly turned up one day, driven back from Samoa by the
intense heat. So after some gentle recriminations, she "having
supposed the delay on my part might mean an entire change of plan,"
and I having supposed--from her letters--that Sydney was such a
Paradise that she could hardly be dragged from it even by a flaming
sword, we agreed to cry "quits," and continue our travels together. So
Miss Greenlow spent the month of March in Sydney, whilst I paid my
visit to Queensland, and we met once more at Brisbane to take steamer
for Thursday Island, Cape Darwin, and eventually Hong Kong. Only one
small matter of psychic interest occurred during this voyage.

I have mentioned in a previous chapter the little "swallows," which I
first saw in San Francisco in the year 1886. I had been accustomed to
seeing them ever since that date, and had been frequently commiserated
for incipient eye trouble in consequence, by more than one sceptical
friend.

On the very day we went on board the Hong Kong steamer at Brisbane, a
new sign appeared: a single bird, holding in its beak a ring with half
hoop of five stones, presumably diamonds. I told my friend about this,
but neither she nor I could imagine any significance in it. At that time
we had not even met any of our fellow-passengers to speak to, for we
were all taken up with settling into our cabins and trying to make
ourselves as comfortable as circumstances would permit.

For a whole week the same little bird and the same ring were
persistently held up before me. Then an inkling of the possible meaning
broke upon me suddenly. Within a fortnight of our sailing this suspicion
was confirmed, and the little bird's warning or suggestion amply
justified. But "that is another story!" Curiously enough, the new "sign
in the heavens" was withdrawn as soon as I had grasped its meaning.

I must hasten over our delightful stay in Japan, because amongst much of
extreme interest from artistic, social, and various other points of
view, nothing occurred which has any special bearing on my present
subject.

Leaving Japan eventually by sailing from Yokohama to Vancouver
(Washington territory), the old threads were once more put into my
hands.

We made the acquaintance on board the old P. & O. _Abyssinia_ of the
late Captain MacArthur, a kindly and genial naval man. He was an
Australian by birth, but belonged to our English navy, and was just
returning home on his promotion as commander.

He became rather interested in my "queer ideas," and ended by suggesting
some experiments with "the table," so he persuaded the ship's carpenter
to put together a small rough wooden table. The sittings were held,
generally after dinner, in either my cabin or that of my "stable
companion" Miss Greenlow. So far as I remember, we three were the only
sitters, and I am bound to confess the sittings were sometimes very
monotonous, even viewed from the indulgent perspective of a sea voyage.
In fact, I can now recall only one incident of any real value.

The dear old nurse, spoken of in my opening chapter, had now been for
three or four years on the other side of the veil, but had never given
me the slightest sign of her presence. But she came several times during
this voyage, and always with the same object--namely, to entreat, and
finally _implore me_, to give up a projected tour in Alaska.

Miss Greenlow and I had been prevented from undertaking this, two years
earlier, when visiting Victoria (Vancouver), and she was very keen to go
there from Washington territory on this occasion. I was _not_ keen for
the expedition, but had made no strong objection to it, and it was
understood that we should go together.

This was the tour which my old nurse now pleaded so anxiously should be
given up, so far as _I_ was concerned.

"_It will ruin your health, my darling_," she said more than once.
"_Don't go there; take my advice._" And on one occasion, just before
landing, she added: "_You will find letters awaiting you which will
enable you to make other plans._"

This proved true--in a certain way. The first letter opened in the
budget which fell to my share, told me of the sudden death of our family
solicitor, which would have been a good excuse for a hasty return to
England had any such pretext been necessary.

But this was not the case, for my companion, although quite determined
to go to Alaska herself, was not in the least inclined to over-persuade
me to accompany her. She was a very independent woman, quite accustomed
to travelling alone, and I knew that neither her enjoyment nor her
convenience would be affected by my decision one way or the other. I had
no wish to go myself, and, moreover, thought it quite probable that my
dear old nurse's warnings might be amply justified. But there were other
grave considerations to be taken into account, and I still feel that I
adopted the right, although not the pleasanter course, when I allowed my
fellow-passengers to depart East, joking me on my want of faith in the
warnings from the spirits, and accompanied my friend, very unwillingly,
to Alaska.

My nurse's earnest entreaties were only too fully justified on the
physical plane, to say nothing of the miserable discomfort of the trip
(which in those days had to be made in an overcrowded cargo boat.) I
took a chill in those Arctic regions, which later developed into the
longest and most serious illness of my life. It took months to make even
a partial recovery, and the effects will remain during my life. Yet I
have never regretted my decision.

This little episode seems to throw some light upon the way such warnings
should be treated. To give no heed to them on the one hand, or to follow
them blindly, _in spite of every other consideration_, on the other;
these seem to me the Scylla and Charybdis of our lives. It shows that we
_must_ judge for ourselves; we cannot shift the burden of responsibility
on any other shoulders. How could we gain the real education of life
were it otherwise?

Had I turned my back on Alaska I should have gained enormously,
physically speaking, and yet failed in a moral test. But my dear old
nurse, who considered only--probably _saw_ only--the physical evils to
be avoided, was entirely in the right, _from her standpoint_. The
faithful soul was doing her best to shield her nursling from danger.

A severe illness was entailed by my Alaska experiences. "Livingstone and
Stanley" were once more separated. In other words, Miss Greenlow was
obliged to return to England alone, leaving me to be nursed through a
long and painful illness by kind friends and connections in Toronto. One
of my doctors--the brother of my hostess--kindly made time to take me
and my nurse to New York, in order that he might put me under the
special care of the ship's doctor, and also be able to certify, as
required, that I was in a fit condition to undertake the voyage.

It was during the day or two spent in New York before sailing, that I
induced this gentleman to accompany me one evening to a _séance_ held by
Mrs Stoddart Gray, who has been previously mentioned in this narrative.

Dr Theodore Covernton had all the ordinary doctor's prejudices against
anything unseen or unknown. He had read my book on America, and
considered the chapter on "Spiritualism" a lamentable lapse "from the
good sense shown in the rest of the book!" I represented to him that for
a physician to deny all possibilities of Hypnotism or Mesmerism, Thought
Transmission, etc., meant losing some very valuable aids in his
profession, and would probably soon mean being left pretty badly behind
in the race.

Knowing of no specially good hypnotist in New York, and as there was no
time to find one out, I boldly suggested that he should plunge into
still deeper depths of "folly," and accompany me to the house of Mrs
Stoddart Gray.

The usual performances went on, but whether owing to Dr Covernton's
attitude of mind or other causes, nothing of any special interest to him
or to me occurred.

One incident impressed him, I think; certainly he could suggest no
possible explanation of it, for it happened in a very fair amount of
light and close to our feet. A gentleman and lady were sitting in the
circle who had brought with them their little boy, a child of seven
years old. I had asked the lady if she considered it wise to bring so
young a child into such a _milieu_, several hours after an English child
would have been put to bed, and her answer was cheery and
characteristic:

"Well, I guess we shouldn't have much peace at home if we didn't bring
Charlie along with us to see his Granny. We took him once, and since
then he always insists upon coming. He loves talking to his Granny, and
he is not a bit afraid of her."

At this moment a small frail woman stepped out from the cabinet, and
came right up towards us, motioning to the little grandson that she
wished him to go into the cabinet with her. This he did without a
moment's hesitation, and the curtain fell, and concealed them both from
view. The interview lasted for some minutes, and when the little boy
reappeared, he was holding his Granny by the hand, and was evidently on
the best of terms with her. I do not expect my readers to believe me,
but this is exactly what happened next:

The child had brought some toys--a little train and some building
blocks--"to get Granny to play with him as usual," and the fragile old
lady knelt down on the floor, and played with him just as any ordinary
Granny might have done, only with far more agility.

In the very midst of their brick building and train starting, a terrible
catastrophe occurred, which spoilt the rest of the evening for the poor
child. Granny had evidently forgotten that her time was limited, by
conditions of which we are still profoundly ignorant.

Quite suddenly, and without a word of warning, she disappeared, not into
the cabinet at her back, but right through the carpet under our feet,
and well within a yard of the said feet, and this with two or three
gas-jets burning over our heads!

There was no mistake about it. Dr Covernton and I were sitting next to
the father and mother, whilst the child and his grandmother played at
our feet. One moment she was there; the next she had disappeared like a
flash into a mere cloud of mist, and even this was quickly withdrawn,
apparently through the floor. No trap-door theory could account for
this, because the _woman_ had disappeared, and only the wisp of ethereal
garments remained, before the latter were also dissipated. We must,
moreover, note the difficulty of working a trap door immediately under
the feet of a sceptical young physician, who at once investigated the
carpet, hoping in vain to find in it some solution of the mystery!

I have already mentioned that the whole incident took place, in light
sufficiently good to read a book without straining the eyes.

The poor little boy was terribly upset, and sobbed bitterly. His parents
said they had brought him many times before, and such a _fiasco_ had
never before taken place. Mrs Stoddart Gray was very indignant about it.

"Too bad! She ought to have _known_ she was staying too long, and
risking a fright for the child. If she had only gone back into the
cabinet he would not have been frightened. But she stayed too long and
had not enough strength to get back."

The child was too thoroughly frightened and upset to admit of any
consolation, and the parents were obliged to take him away, still
sobbing, and asking _why_ Granny had gone away like that and given him
such a fright.

A year later, in London, I took Dr Covernton--by appointment--to see Dr
Carl Hansen, who was then giving hypnotic treatment, and also doing some
work in demonstrations for the Society for Psychical Research. Dr Hansen
tried in vain to put either Dr Theodore Covernton or myself under the
influence, so was obliged to have recourse to his wife. Naturally this
was considered a "_most suspicious circumstance_" by my companion; but I
noticed that he was very much interested in his conversation with
her--from the medical point of view--and he was sufficiently honest to
admit that he could not explain what happened in his presence, upon any
normal hypothesis.



CHAPTER V

INDIA, 1890-1891


In the month of November 1890 I started with a young friend for my first
visit to India.

My companion was still at the age when social India was naturally more
interesting to her than either the historical or mystical aspects of the
country. And, for myself, I went there in those days rather to see the
glorious buildings of a magnificent Past, than with any view of wresting
occult secrets from the Fakirs and Yogis of the Present.

It was well perhaps that one's ambitions were so limited by the
Possible, for I am very much inclined to think that Mystic India is
and must remain a sealed book for the English.

We must always remember the natural prejudices of a conquered race
towards the conqueror. In addition to this, the Hindoostanees consider
(and who shall say without ample cause?) that Englishmen are
hopelessly "_borné_" and sunk in materialism, incapable of exercising
an imagination which they don't possess; with a top dressing of
conventional orthodoxy, so far as their own special religion is
concerned, but with nothing but ridicule or thinly veiled contempt for
the religious channels through which other races may be taking their
spiritual food. We have given them only too much reason for these
conclusions.

As a consequence of this state of things, Englishmen and women are
looked upon as "quite impossible" from the Indian point of view, and a
devout and educated Hindoo would no more think of discussing his
transcendental ideas with such people than we should think of discussing
delicate questions of Art--in its various branches--with the first
village yokel we happened to meet in the road. I was confirmed in these
ideas by noticing the difference in the welcome accorded to a charming
young Swedish lady, whom we met at Benares on her wedding tour. She had
brought excellent native introductions from her own country, where
certain Rajahs and Maharajahs had been entertained by her King, and
thanks to these, and, as she said, "_to the fact of my not being
English_," she had access to many interesting places, and took part in
interesting functions, from which the rest of us were debarred.

I am hoping to pay a third visit to India some day, with the special
object in view of occult investigation. It remains to be seen whether,
by any fortunate accident, I may then be more successful in encountering
anything more interesting than the ordinary clever conjurers, who
sometimes pose as Fakirs, and may be found by the tourist on every hotel
veranda in India.

Meanwhile I am limited by the title of my book to personal incidents, as
to which I find one or two notes in my Indian diary.

Making the usual tour, but including Lahore--where my brother had lived
at Government House for several years as Military Secretary to Sir
Robert Egerton (who was in _his_ day), Lieutenant-Governor of the
Punjab--we came in due course to Delhi.

Our first day there was devoted to tracing Mutiny relics of all kinds,
and about four P.M. in the afternoon we drove out to the famous Ridge to
see the Mutiny Memorial. This, as most people nowadays know, is a red
standstone tower, with staircase of rough stone inside, and small
windows pierced through at varying intervals. It stands upon an
extensive marble flooring, which is inscribed with the names of the
various regiments--officers and men--who took part in the renowned
siege, and died for their country in consequence.

As we drove towards the Memorial, the whole place seemed to be in a
flutter of excitement. Hundreds of coolies were flocking round, and we
both remarked how much more interested they appeared to be in these
monuments of past events than the corresponding class of English
labourers would have been. But on arrival we found there was no question
of intelligent historical interest. The fact was that a poor coolie--who
had just climbed up the Memorial Tower by the inner staircase--had
fallen out of one of the windows described, and was lying on the marble
floor below, at the far side from us, crushed and dying. We were told
that an Englishman had, fortunately, been present, and had driven off at
once for a doctor. So nothing could be done for the poor man until the
latter arrived.

Meanwhile our native servant--Bobajee--had, of course, rushed off to
see what was to be seen of the tragedy, and, rather to my horror, my
girl friend seemed about to follow his example! It was terrible to think
of the poor man lying there in his death agony; but he was already
surrounded by natives, and no real help could be given without fear of
doing more harm than good before the doctor was brought to the spot.
Therefore merely to go and look on, without being able to succour,
seemed to me an added horror to the tragedy, and I turned round rather
sharply on my young friend, and expostulated with her. As a matter of
fact, she did _not_ go; but I am obliged to mention the incident as
accounting for a certain momentary excitement and annoyance on my part,
which proved to be factors in the story about to be related.

Allowing for difference of time between Delhi and London, a very old
friend of mine, Lady Wincote (who was then living in London, where I was
in the habit of visiting her constantly when in town), was lying in bed,
resting after a disturbed night, at the very hour of our visit to the
Mutiny Memorial.

It was about noon in England; she was fully awake, and had been reading.
Looking at her watch she realised it was time to make a move if she
meant to come down for luncheon. Suddenly the door opened, and _I_
walked into her bedroom, and right round the bed, until I stood between
her and the window, which was to her left as she lay in bed.

I was dressed in ordinary outdoor attire, and seemed much excited and
annoyed about something. I was talking continuously, as it seemed to
her; but she could not make out any connected sentences, and "wondered
what had upset me" so much. She spoke to me, asking what had happened;
but I took no notice of her questions, standing with my face to the
window and my back to her for a few moments. Then I turned round, and
deliberately retraced my steps, past the ottoman, skirting round the
bed, and was just disappearing through the door, when she made a final
effort to attract my attention, asking a very practical question:

"Emmie! Do tell me before you go, what number you are staying at in
Oxford Terrace" (the part of town where I always stayed at that time).
Lady Wincote said: "You made no answer at all, but whisked out of the
door in a great hurry, and then for the first time I remembered _that
you were in India_. It had all seemed so natural, as you had often been
in my bedroom, that I only thought at the moment that you must have
returned unexpectedly to London from the country. My one anxiety was to
know which number on the Terrace would find you, in case you had changed
your address there."

Now all this was, fortunately, written out to me by my friend on the
very day that it happened--_i.e._ 8th January 1891--and _crossed my
letter to her telling her of the incident_. My letter was written a day
or two later I think; but I was keeping a strict diary at the time, and
under date of 8th January have the record of the event, corresponding
with the date of Lady Wincote's letter to me.[3]

 [3] Both my diary and Lady Wincote's letter were shown to Mr Myers on
 my return to England, also my letter which crossed the one from Lady
 Wincote to me. He was greatly interested in the account.

Probably in any case I should have written to tell this friend of the
incident, on account of a conversation I had with Bobajee when he
returned from his ghastly entertainment. I had looked inside the
Memorial, and had seen that the stone steps were crumbling away and
looked very unsafe, so when he came back and said: "_Something bad
inside there, Lady Sahib_," I concluded naturally that he was referring
to the state of the staircase, and attributing the poor coolie's fall to
some such cause.

But he denied this strenuously: "_No! no! Lady Sahib--some bad debil
inside there. He threw coolie over!_" Then he went on to tell us that on
one special night in the year no native man, woman, or child in the
whole city could be induced to pass the Mutiny Memorial at midnight. The
few daring souls who _had_ passed there, had found the tower all lighted
up inside, and the Sepoys and the British soldiers had come back, and
were fighting their battles over again! The man spoke in simple good
faith, and assured me that all Delhi people knew this to be a fact, and
gave the place a wide berth on that anniversary.

The idea of the "bad debil" throwing the poor coolie down from the top
of the tower, followed by this curious legend, interested me as a bit of
folk-lore, but my companion was drastic in her remarks. "Silly nonsense,
Bobajee!" was her reception of the story; and this made me feel
intensely sorry for the moment, that Lady Wincote, who would have been
as much interested as myself, should not have been present. Did this
moment of intense desire for her, project itself into the appearance she
saw in her room? Who can say? Certainly it was a curious coincidence
that she should see me in an annoyed and excited state just when I was
feeling annoyed and excited--so many thousand miles away.

Delhi seems to have been specially favourable to psychic experiences,
for I find another one recorded on the very day succeeding the last
event.

My friend, having some slight ailment, I had driven out alone with our
native servant, and we made a long tour, returning about six P.M. past
Ludlow Castle, of famous Mutiny memory, and still--in the year 1891--a
Government bungalow.

The present Czar of Russia was travelling through India at the time as
Czarewitch, with his cousin, Prince George of Greece, and they were
expected to arrive in Delhi that same evening. The Royal party and suite
were to be lodged at Ludlow Castle, and were expected within an hour.

Bobajee jumped off the box of my carriage, and urged me to "go look,
see!"

"No, Bobajee! Drive on--can't go look see--they no let me in."

"Yes, yes, Lady Sahib," he said eagerly--"everything ready--all gone
away--nobody in there yet."

With our English notions this seems inconceivable, but it proved to be
absolutely true. I went in, expecting to be turned back ignominiously
before I had crossed the hall, but there was positively no one there!
The place was like a City of the Dead. Yet within an hour, a banquet
arranged for about seventy people was to take place! I made the best of
my opportunity, ranged through the numerous bedrooms--with hanging
Japanese blinds shutting them off and each one inscribed with the card
of the special Russian or Greek general who formed part of the suite. At
length I strolled into the dining-room--a long, narrow room--arranged
for the coming festivity (at least sixty to seventy covers were laid),
the flowers arranged on the tablecloth in the pretty, artistic Indian
fashion, all the beautiful glass and silver placed in readiness.

Nothing was wanting but the presence of the guests for whom all this
preparation had been made.

The short Indian twilight was already upon us as I stood there for a
moment, contrasting the dead and almost eerie silence, with the lights
and laughter that would so quickly replace it.

A fireplace was close to me as I stood at the far end of the room,
looking down the whole length of the table. Glancing up, I realised that
the only picture in the room was hung over this fireplace. The picture
in question had no artistic value--the painting was flat and poor; even
the subject did not strike me for the first moment as anything very
remarkable. It was the portrait of a man in the prime of life--about
thirty-five, I should have supposed--with the long whiskers and rather
prim pose of a portrait made by an evidently poor artist, probably
thirty or forty years previous to my visit.

But as I looked again, a curious sensation came over me. In spite of the
painter's failure to convey anything more like a living man than a dead
pressed rose is like a living rose, there was something in the eyes of
the portrait that held me, something that rose triumphant above the
artist's limitations. At the same moment I was conscious of a Presence
behind my back; of _somebody who was looking at the picture with me_; of
somebody who was saying to me (not with the outer, but an inner voice):
"_That is a picture of me, but I am not there--I am here, close to you;
behind your shoulder--I am looking at it with you._"

The impression was so strong that it seemed almost as if a hand were
pressing on my shoulder. I turned round involuntarily, but no one was
there. Then I looked at the picture again, and always with the same
weird sensation that the man whom the picture represented had been
strong enough to make me feel his actual presence in the room, although
I could see nothing. There was no name on the picture of either subject
or artist, no possible clue to identity, and looked at as a picture
alone, there was nothing in the flat, conventional presentment of the
features to account for my experience. This made it the more remarkable.
I could scarcely tear myself away from the almost overwhelming sense of
the presence of some strong and strangely magnetic personality, but the
fast fading twilight warned me not to risk an ignominious retreat. So I
went hurriedly through the large and handsome drawing-room, which was
filled with portraits, chiefly of deceased governors and generals, many
of them admirably painted, and a striking contrast to the one poor and
commonplace picture already seen.

The absolute incongruity between the impression received and the object
which roused it, led me to make inquiries, in spite of my friend's jokes
over my powers of imagination.

"Anyway, I am going to clear this up," I said with determination; and in
a few days my perseverance was rewarded, and my impression amply
justified, by finding that I had been looking at the portrait--feeble
and poor as it was--of _Brigadier-General Nicholson_.

None of my readers need to be told that if any dead man could impress
himself upon the living, this would be the man capable of such a feat.

Even to this day there is a small religious sect in India called the
_Nicholasain_, who have handed down the memory of this "god rather than
man," who had to dismount from his horse occasionally, to thrash his
would-be worshippers, and put a stop to their inconvenient adoration!

Nicholson's brilliant achievements in the Mutiny; his absolute control
over men of the most diverse character; the devotion with which he
inspired his soldiers, and his own glorious death in the very moment of
victory--all these are matters of history.

I feel glad and grateful to have known, even for a few passing moments,
what that influence had been; and when I found out Brigadier-General
Nicholson's grave at Delhi, after my Ludlow Castle experience, I left my
flowers on the grave of an honoured acquaintance, rather than of a man
known to me only through historical records.

One more incident, or rather coincidence, and I must close my Indian
chapter.

This also is connected with the Mutiny and with Delhi, but the special
coincidence, to which I refer, took place at Agra, when my friend and I
were staying at the hotel there in the early spring of 1891.

One of my oldest and most valued friends is Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred S.
Jones, V.C., formerly of the 9th Lancers, and one of our Mutiny heroes.
As everything connected with that historical tragedy seems to have
perennial interest for every Englishman--no matter what his creed or
politics--I make no excuse for furnishing some details connected with my
friend's career. His record from Hart's Army List is as follows:--

"Lieutenant-Colonel Jones was present at the battle of Budlekee Serai,
and at Delhi throughout the siege operations, including the assault and
capture of the city, having been D.A.Q.M.G. from 8th August to 23rd
September 1857. Served with the 9th Lancers in Greathead's pursuing
column, and was present in the actions of Bolimshuhur and Alighur and
battle of Agra--where he was dangerously wounded, having received a
musket-shot wound and twenty-two sabre cuts. He was mentioned in the
despatches of Sir Hope Grant on three different occasions, and has
received the Victoria Cross for taking a nine-pounder gun, with the
assistance of some men from his squadron, in the action of Budlekee
Serai (medal with clasp and Brevet of Major)."

Although, as a child, I had heard of the bravery and the terrible wounds
of one who was to become later in life one of my greatest friends, the
actual details of the Agra catastrophe were hazy in my memory. Two
things, however, had remained firmly imbedded in my mind--first, that a
brother officer had told me that he was standing close by Colonel Jones
when, as a young officer, the latter attended the Levée to receive his
Victoria Cross, and that the Queen was so much agitated by his
appearance that she could hardly pin it on. Also, that this brother
officer heard her whisper to her husband: "My God, Albert! look at that
poor boy! He has been cut to pieces!"

The other childish memory is that the Taj had been turned into a
hospital at the time of the Mutiny, and that my friend, amongst others,
had been nursed there. This latter proved to have been a mistake on the
part of my informants. It was the Moti Musjid (the Pearl Mosque) which
was turned to this account, and in which my friend was nursed back to
life, to the surprise of all who knew the extent of his disaster.

It is specially important for people blessed, or cursed, with psychic
gifts "to give no occasion to the enemy" by exaggeration or inexact
memory of details. So, with the wholesome dread of a well-read reviewer
before my eyes, I determined to go to the fountain-head, and ask Colonel
Jones himself to supply me with the true incidents which make the Agra
episode a moving picture before our eyes. He has kindly consented to do
this, and I give the narrative in his own words:--


After the fall of Delhi, a column, under General Greathead, was sent
down to Lucknow, and as three squadrons of the 9th Lancers were told off
to go, I resigned my staff appointment, and went with my troop.

After two fights--Bolimshuhur and Alighur--we were hurried off to Agra,
sixty-six miles in thirty-six hours. But on arrival we found that the
Agra people had recovered from their fright and Greathead was fool
enough to believe their story that the enemy was twelve miles away, and
therefore took up ground for our camp, just by the graveyard and
parade-ground, which you will remember. There was a high crop of
sugar-cane, concealing everything beyond the parade-ground, and after
most of the officers of the whole force had gone off to Agra Fort to
breakfast with friends, cannon-shot began to fall amongst us; and
everyone had time to fall in, as the horses had not been unsaddled.

My squadron, consisting of French's and my troops, was told off as an
escort to Blunt's Battery, F.A., which formed the left of the line,
consisting of our other two squadrons, more F. Artillery, 8th and 75th
Regiments, etc., all moving to the front through high crops.

Then we saw the enemy--700 or 800 yards off--and Blunt unlimbered his
guns, and began to fire, when we soon saw a body of cavalry moving off
across our front, to turn our left flank, and Blunt said we must go back
to defend our camp. So he limbered up, and we all (_i.e._ our squadron
and Blunt's guns) began to straggle back through the high crops. But
Blunt said he must leave one troop with two of his guns, and French's
troop was stopped for the purpose. Instead of staying with it, he felt
so sure we should have a chance at the cavalry we had seen (Mutineers)
that he came on with me, and together we formed up my troop on the
parade-ground, close to Blunt's guns, which we saw already unlimbered.

A squadron of Irregular (mutinied) cavalry was coming in our direction
over the parade-ground, with a blue squadron of (mutinied) regular
cavalry in support, both trotting; so, of course, we went for the Red
(head of the echellon they formed).

Then I saw French shot, and the hind quarters of his grey horse pass
round the left flank of my little troop; then I gave the word GALLOP,
and the Red squadron, to my surprise, _halted_.

Observing its leader taking aim at me with his carbine, I inclined a
little to my left, in order to stick him, never dreaming that I should
be hit before I could do so, and I was almost within reach before he
fired, and his bullet went through my bridle arm, so I had to take my
reins on my sword hand and jam my horse into the ranks, just behind the
squadron leader who had shot me.

Now to clear up your mystery about my being left to my fate (I had
specially asked Colonel Jones how he happened to be left alone amongst
the Sepoys, whose numbers were registered by his sabre cuts in so
ghastly a fashion), I was not left to my fate; on the contrary, the man
on the left of my troop, who alone could see, put his lance through the
squadron leader, and stayed about--outside the ring--trying to get to me
to the last, and got the V.C. on my report to that effect.

My troop, occupying, in double rank, about twenty yards, went straight
on after the twenty yards or so front of the enemy's probable front of
perhaps fifty yards. So there were plenty of Sowars left to mob round
me and to keep off the man who tried to save me. Of course, my men were
quite right in pursuing the broken force as they did, right off the
field.


This account has the immense advantage of being taken verbatim from
Colonel Jones' letter just received by me. It has the _disadvantage_
that such a letter, from a brave man, would naturally possess--_i.e._
that of minimising his share in the episode to the point of making it
difficult for the lay mind to realise where the heroism came in--which
heroism is a vital point in my "coincidence." Fortunately, I have the
best authority for saying that the "Blunt" mentioned in this record
always maintained that Colonel Alfred Jones had "saved his guns." It
appears that at the time of the unexpected attack from the enemy,
Colonel Jones and two or three friends (who had not gone to the fort)
were breakfasting under the shade of the cemetery wall when the alarm
was given. My friend, wishing to rest his charger after the long forced
march from Agra, had taken a spare troop horse, saddled with a _hunting
saddle_.

When the round shot began to fall, there was no time to get his charger.
There was nothing for it but to put on sword and pistol and ride
straight in to the enemy's ranks. No wonder the poor people shut up in
Agra were enthusiastic over this "charge of cavalry in their shirt
sleeves," as they called it.

In 1891 I was staying in Agra, at the hotel, with my friend of the Delhi
incident. A certain Major Pulford, who had come to Agra to race some
ponies, divided us at the _table d'hôte_. He and I had been neighbours
for two or three days, when he asked me carelessly one evening what _I_
had been doing that afternoon, as my friend confessed to having taken a
"day off."

Now I had spent the afternoon at the Taj, and had made many inquiries
about the tradition that this building had once been turned into a
hospital. No one knew anything about it. One old Hindoo, evidently
thinking I wished him to say "_Yes_," remembered hearing that this _had_
been the case "_about eighty years ago_." This last artistic touch of
accuracy was fatal to his _bonâ fides_, and I turned away in disgust.

So I told Major Pulford my story, and we laughed over the well-known
fact that a Hindoo of that class always tries to find out what you wish
him to say, and _then says it!_

Major Pulford asked why I was so keen on the subject.

"Because a very old friend of mine was badly wounded at Agra during the
Mutiny, and from a child I have had the impression that he was nursed in
the Taj."

"No," he answered. "I am sure the Taj was never used as a hospital, but
I think the Pearl Mosque may have been. This would account for the
mistake, probably."

Now the point in this incident is the fact that I _had not mentioned my
friend's name to Major Pulford_.

Had the name been a more distinctive one, I might have mentioned it,
although realising that Major Pulford was too young a man to have known
anything about the Mutiny at first hand.

We talked casually on the subject for a few minutes, and then he said:
"Of course, I was a baby at the time, but I have read and heard any
amount about it, naturally. _My_ boyish hero was a fellow named Jones of
the 9th Lancers, who was so awfully plucky in their celebrated charge,
when surprised by the enemy on the Agra parade-ground. I know nothing
about the fellow except what I have read. I believe he is alive still,
but they say he was almost cut to pieces then."

"_That is the friend whom I thought had been nursed in the Taj_," was my
astonished answer.

Major Pulford's delight was unbounded to have come by so strange a
coincidence even thus near to the hero of his youth. For myself, I
recognised that I had sat next to the only man, probably then in India,
who could have given me the accurate and precise details of the whole
affair!

"I know every inch of the ground, and just where it all happened," he
said eagerly. "Do let me drive you and your friend over there to-morrow
in my buggy, and I will point out every detail."

He did so next day, leaving me with the most vivid impression of the
scene of my friend's gallant fight for life, against such overwhelming
odds.

That he should still be alive and active--nearly fifty years
later--seems little short of a miracle!



CHAPTER VI

SWEDEN AND RUSSIA, 1892


Travelling in Sweden in the spring of 1892, I carried with me from
England an introduction to the Swedish Consul at Gottenburg. One of
the sisters of this gentleman was married to an Englishman--a Mr
Romilly--and he and his wife chanced to come over for a visit during
my stay.

Speaking of psychic matters one day, Mr Romilly told me the story of his
first cousin (a well-known woman of title) and her Egyptian necklace. A
present had been made to her (I think on her marriage) of a very
beautiful Egyptian necklace with stones of the exquisite blue shade so
well known by travellers in Egypt.

These special stones, alas! must evidently have been genuine, and rifled
from some old tomb, for the owner of the necklace appeared one night by
the lady's bedside, and warned her that she would have no peace so long
as she persisted in wearing his property.

So the lady very wisely locked up the necklace in her dressing-case, and
fondly trusted the Egyptian ghost would be satisfied.

Not a bit of it! In a short time he appeared again, and told her that
she would be haunted by his unwelcome presence so long as the necklace
_remained in her possession_. She then drove off with it, and deposited
it with her lawyer, who locked it up in a tin case, doubtless with a
secret smile at his noble client's superstitions. But Nemesis lay in
wait for him, and the last thing Mr Romilly had heard upon the subject
was that the lawyer himself was made so exceedingly uncomfortable by the
attentions of the Egyptian gentleman that he was obliged to have
necklace and tin case buried together in his back garden! To have forced
a lawyer into such extreme measures was certainly a "score" for the
ghost!

A few months later, I met the heroine of the story at a friend's house
at tea, and speaking of her relation, who had married a Swedish wife,
and whom I had met in Gottenburg, I alluded discreetly to the story of
the blue necklace.

My companion at once endorsed it _in toto_, and did not seem at all
annoyed by the fact that her cousin had mentioned it to me. I remember
that Mrs Romilly "laid the cards" for me, with astonishing success, and
told me she had learnt the mystic lore from an old Finnish nurse, who
had been brought over from Finland by her own Swedish grandfather when
quite a young girl, and had lived in the family until her death. She
assured me that the Finns were specially gifted in all kinds of gipsy
lore.

From Stockholm we paid a visit to Russia, and in St Petersburg I had my
first personal experience since leaving home.

We had engaged, as courier during our stay in the city, a German who had
lived there for forty years, named Küntze, I think.

We were staying at the Hotel de France, and this man told me one day
that a celebrated French _modiste_ had rooms in our hotel, having come
there to show her beautiful Parisian costumes, and to take orders as
usual from the Russian Royal Family and Ladies of the Court. He also
mentioned the Frenchwoman's recent misfortune in hearing--since her
arrival in Russia--that her trusted manager in Paris had disappeared
suddenly, carrying away with him 100,000 francs.

Two nights later I had gone to bed as usual about ten-thirty P.M., and
must have slept for nearly four hours, when I awoke feeling the heat
very oppressive. It was almost the end of June at the time. Getting out
of bed to open my window still farther, I gazed down upon the courtyard
which it overlooked, noting the absolute stillness of the house and the
hot, oppressive air outside.

Suddenly this stillness was rent by the most horrible and appalling
shrieks! Peal after peal rang out. I have never heard anything so
ghastly nor so blood-curdling either before or since. For a moment it
seemed that one _must_ be dreaming. What horrors, to justify such awful
shrieks, could be taking place at this quiet hour and in this quiet,
respectable hotel?

Nothing less than murder suggested itself to me, and I quickly crossed
the room, and turned the key in the lock. My next thought was for my
companion--the Miss Greenlow of American days. She was sleeping next
door to me, with an intervening door between us.

I hammered loudly upon this, and finally opened it. I knew she always
locked her outer door, but feared she might go into the passage, not
realising the danger in the moment of waking, and might fall into the
murderer's hands. So I called out: "Wake up--wake up, Miss
Greenlow!--_but don't open your door_. Someone is being murdered out
there."

I had heard every other door in the passage opening, and the scared
inmates rushing to and fro, so there was no question of feeling bound to
give the alarm.

Miss Greenlow, being an extremely lymphatic person, was still sleeping
the sleep of the just. I gave her a good shake at last, finding knocks
and calls of no avail; but she only turned over sleepily, murmuring:
"Oh, it's all right! I don't suppose there is anything much the
matter--do go to bed again!"

So I returned to my own room, and as the horrible screams had now
ceased, I opened my door very gently, and looked down the dimly lighted
passage. My room was a corner one, exactly at the head of the wide
staircase; to the left-hand side, for anyone mounting the stairs.
Exactly opposite my door, with a wide passage between, was the room
which had been pointed out to me as belonging to the famous French
_modiste_.

Miss Greenlow was evidently the only person in the hotel who had slept
through the horrors of that night, for small groups were gathered
together at various points along the corridor, and at every door some
scared man or woman was looking out, anxious, like myself, to solve the
dreadful mystery.

At that moment my eyes lighted on my special German waiter talking in a
hushed whisper to a musjig--in the usual red coat. So I beckoned to him,
and very reluctantly he came to my door.

Being asked in German what was the meaning of the shrieks we had heard,
he said at once that a lady had been taken ill suddenly.

The man was a bad liar, and a child would have seen that he was
repeating a made-up story. But nothing more could be got out of him, so
I dismissed him impatiently, saying: "What is the good of telling me
such nonsense? I shall find out for myself to-morrow."

Once more I shut and locked the door, and lay for an hour or two
thinking over the ghastly disturbance, and wondering who could have been
the hapless victim. It was now about five A.M., and full dawn. As so
often happens, even after the most sleepless night, I dozed off then,
and slept for more than an hour, and during my sleep I dreamed--and this
was my dream. It must first be noted that the wide staircase I have
described as passing close to my room was thence continued upward to the
next floor. In my dream or vision I saw distinctly a woman in a white
nightgown, with dark hair streaming down her back, rushing up this
second flight of stairs in the most distraught and reckless fashion. In
one hand she held a knife, and was trying to stab herself with it, as a
musjig--in crimson coat--rushed after her, and endeavoured to wrench it
out of her hand. Two or three other people ran up the stairs behind her,
but only this peasant seemed to have the courage or presence of mind to
grapple with her. In a few moments, as it seemed to me, the vision, so
startling and clear cut, faded away, and I sank into a dreamless sleep,
I suppose, for it was past six A.M. when I woke finally.

When the German waiter appeared with my breakfast I said rather curtly
to him: "You need not have troubled to make up that foolish story last
night; I know what happened--_I have seen it_."

He looked very incredulous, so I went on: "The lady was trying to kill
herself, and rushed up to the next floor with a knife in her hand. I saw
the musjig run after her and force it from her."

The man was absolutely speechless. He said not one syllable, either of
corroboration or denial, but left the room as quickly as possible,
looking scared, and certainly left the impression upon my mind that my
vision represented what had actually taken place an hour or two
previously.

To my great surprise, however, our respectable and dependable courier,
Küntze, gave quite a different version of the affair.

He came as usual to my room to take his orders for the day--Miss
Greenlow being present--and at once referred to the terrible tragedy.

"Ah, poor lady! you remember my telling you about her the other day, and
how her manager had run away with all that money? Now _this_ frightful
misfortune has happened to her, and no one knows if she will survive it.
She is still alive, however, and is to be taken to the hospital at one
P.M."

"But what has happened, Küntze?" I said impatiently, rather irritated,
if the truth must be told, by his mysterious allusions and Miss
Greenlow's assumption of profound indifference. Of course, no
self-respecting person, having calmly slept through such a tragedy,
could be otherwise than indifferent next morning! Küntze's story was far
more artistic than that of the waiter, and was skilfully interwoven with
shreds of truth, as I discovered later.

He said that "the poor lady" was in the habit of making herself a cup of
tea in the middle of the night when wakeful; also that she wore wide,
hanging muslin sleeves with her night attire. She had risen as usual
from a sleepless bed to make tea with her little Etna. Unfortunately,
she had set fire to a sleeve, which at once burned up, and in a few
moments she was enveloped in flames, owing to the flimsy material she
wore. Then the shrieks began which had so thrilled our nerves. A Russian
gentleman, sleeping near her, was awakened by the noise, and knowing
that she was a rich woman, and had brought many valuables with her, he
concluded she was being murdered; so he rushed to the rescue with a
revolver, found the burning woman, and he and the musjig at length
succeeded in putting out the flames.

The story was well told, and perfectly credible. Miss Greenlow could not
resist pointing out how entirely it annihilated my vision. No
suicide!--no knife!--no rush up the staircase!--nothing, in fact, that
might not have been, and, of course, _must have been_ a mere freak of
imagination during my troubled sleep. In the face of Küntze's quiet and
detailed statement I could only agree with her, and so the matter rested
for some months. The poor woman meanwhile remained in the hospital, and
her son and daughter were telegraphed for from Paris. We found them at
the hotel on our return there, three weeks later, from Moscow. There was
then some slight hope of ultimate recovery, but within six or seven
weeks from the "accident" the unfortunate woman died from shock and
exhaustion.

From Russia we returned to Stockholm and Christiania, where Miss
Greenlow took the steamer for Hull, and I went up into the Dovre Feld
Mountains to join a Swedish friend, already mentioned in my chapter on
India.

I told her my story of the poor French _modiste_ and her sad and painful
accident, also about my curiously vivid and yet inaccurate vision, and
we discussed the latter in quite an S.P.R. spirit! We were then in a
very remote part of the Dovre Feld, where foreign papers were
practically inaccessible.

I had left my friend in Norway, and returned to England a week or two
before receiving a very interesting letter from her.

In it she said: "I have just got hold of some French papers, and I see
that poor woman you told me about, has just died in Petersburg, and the
real story has now come out.

"It seems that it _was_ suicide after all, so your vision was quite
true!

"She had received large sums in advance for commissions from some of the
Russian nobility, and had either spent or speculated with them. That was
why she had to invent the story of an embezzling manager, to cover her
own shortcomings. But the truth was leaking out in spite of her
endeavours, and she made up her mind to commit suicide rather than face
the horrors of a Russian prison. The paper goes on to say that she chose
a most terrible death, little realising what the torture would be. It
seems that she waited till the middle of the night you described, and
then covered her whole body with oil, and set fire to it! This accounts,
of course, for the horrible shrieks you heard. In her awful agony she
seized a knife--that she had either secreted or found in her
room--rushed out into the passage in a blaze, and when the musjig tried
to stop her, she ran from him, and attempted to stab herself as she made
her way up the stairs. All this you seem to have seen accurately; also
the fact that the musjig pursued her and succeeded in wrenching the
knife from her hands before she had injured herself with it. The paper
mentions that a Russian gentleman had gone to the rescue when he heard
the shrieks, but this was before she had got hold of the knife, and it
was the musjig alone who saved her, in the end, from immediate death."

During this Russian visit we had gone down to Moscow from Petersburg,
and here again a curious adventure befell me.

It was, as I have said, in the height of the summer, and one was
thankful to have a large, handsome room, with three windows looking over
the square, and the famous Kremlin Palace in the distance. My room was
divided into two unequal parts, separated from each other by a door
which was, during the hot season, thrown wide open and _fastened back
securely_. Between this door and the one opening into the outer corridor
the washing apparatus stood, and also a wardrobe of white painted deal,
with a very poor lock to it, as I discovered later.

On retiring to rest the first night, I locked the outer door, undressed
in this ante-room, and finally hung up my gown in the wardrobe I have
mentioned. Then, after looking out of the windows on the fast
diminishing crowd below in the square, I went to bed, feeling quite
cheerful, and looking forward to a long night's rest after a journey
which had been hot and tiring.

As so often happens, one was probably over-tired, and sleep was not to
be wooed by any of the usual methods. In vain I counted sheep getting
over a hedge, added a hundred up backward and forward, tried deep
breathing, and other little "parlour games." It was absolutely useless.
Twelve o'clock struck, then the half hour, and I gathered from the
stillness below that the good Moscow citizens had retired to their
respective homes. This seemed an added insult! Then one o'clock struck,
and after that I lay for a seeming eternity, before two strokes from the
clock outside indicated the half hour. Scarcely had the reverberation
ceased when I heard cautious sounds in the corridor, which gave me a
good fright, and made me regret the silence I had found so irksome. The
outer door of my room was quietly being opened, creaking on its hinges
in the most ordinary and commonplace way, but evidently opening under a
very wary hand. "Then I could not have locked it after all!" And yet I
felt so convinced that I had done so! Certainly I had _intended_ to do
so on my first night in a strange hotel! The best I could hope was that
some other new arrival had mistaken his room, and was returning late,
and consequently trying to be as quiet as possible. This flashed through
my mind, and brought a moment's comfort. I expected to see a man's head
round the open door at the foot of my bed, and to hear a hurried apology
and still more hurried retreat. I say a _man's_ head, for the footsteps,
though so quiet and cautious, were without doubt a man's footsteps. But
several moments passed in horrible suspense. The outer door had creaked
on its hinges and opened without a shadow of doubt. _Where was the man?_

The door had not closed again, so far as I could hear. From my bed I
could not command a view of the smaller portion of the room, where,
presumably, he must be hidden. There was nothing but the wash-hand stand
and the wardrobe there. What could he be doing or _waiting for_? My
comforting supposition of a mistake in the number of his room, made by
an innocent guest, could not be stretched wide enough to account for the
long pause. Perhaps it was some robber lurking about the passages! He
had tried my door gently, and found it open. I had heard the door creak
on its hinges in spite of all his care. Now he was doubtless waiting to
make sure that this noise had not awakened me before beginning his
operations!

This was the only reasonable supposition, and I lay in absolute terror
for some minutes, fearing to stir or almost to breathe at such close
quarters, and quite incapable of rising and putting an end to my
terrible suspense. I longed to hear the next "quarter" strike, but
nothing relieved the dead silence in my room and in the streets outside.
At long last the _quarter to two_ struck, and something in the friendly
tones of the massive clock relieved the tension and gave me courage--the
courage of desperation--to strike a match and light my candle before
starting on a tour of discovery. The middle door was fastened back, as I
had found it when taking possession of the room. In any case, that was
not the door which had been opened--the sound came from the _outer_
door. I _must_ find out if anyone were hiding in the little
dressing-room; and in any case, I must lock the outer door, which I had
felt so certain I had locked on coming up to my room. I passed through
the open _inner door_ with fear and trembling. To my relief, the small
apartment was apparently empty. The wardrobe stood partly open, but
nothing more terrible than my own gown was inside it. Then I made my way
to the outer door, which gave on to the corridor, determined to make
sure of locking it firmly _this_ time. After all, it must have been a
wandering guest, who had discovered his mistake at once, and retreated
noiselessly!

I have seldom been more absolutely dumfounded than when I turned the
handle of that door, preparatory to locking it, and found _that it was
securely locked already_, just as I had supposed! How could the hinges
have creaked then, and whose cautious footsteps had I heard?

Once more my eyes fell upon the wardrobe, with its cheap varnish and
lock. I had certainly not locked _this_ overnight. Could it have creaked
itself farther open? It did not for the moment strike me that the noise
came from another quarter, and that the footsteps were still to be
explained. I was only too thankful to find the barest apology of an
explanation. So I locked the wardrobe as carefully as possible, noticing
that the lock was not one of the first quality, and once more retired to
bed, and put out my candle, greatly relieved.

Scarcely ten minutes had passed (as I afterwards ascertained) when the
whole scene was enacted once more! The same cautious tread, the same
sound of the _outer door_ creaking slowly on its hinges--there was
nothing in the least uncanny about it _per se_. It was just the normal
noise that any late comer would make who was thoughtful enough not to
disturb a sleeping house.

But my impatience got the better of my fears this time. I was not going
to be decoyed out of bed a second time on a wild-goose chase. "It must
have been that wardrobe door after all! As to the footsteps, I don't
know and I don't care! The cheap lock must have given way, and I shall
find the wardrobe door has swung open, I am sure."

With this comforting assurance I turned round, and in a few minutes fell
into a deep sleep, after the varied excitements of the night.

Next morning I stepped gaily into the smaller division of the room to
begin my toilet, and triumphantly turned round to convince myself of the
truth of my theory about the wardrobe door. To my infinite astonishment
and perplexity _the wardrobe was securely locked_, just as I had left it
in the middle of the night.

I have never had any explanation of this mystery; but I changed my fine
big room for a much less desirable one that morning, and made some
excuse about wishing for a quieter room at the back of the house.

The next evening, sitting in my new abode with my travelling companion,
she showed far more interest in my adventure than in the Petersburg
tragedy and subsequent vision of mine.

So much so that I invited her to take a pencil and see if she could get
any sort of explanation of the mystery; for although not at all
_intuitive_, she knew something of what is called automatic writing.

I give her narrative, not as being in the slightest degree evidential,
but for its intrinsic interest, and because I am personally convinced
that she had not sufficient imagination to have made it up on the spur
of the moment.

Miss Greenlow's "message" was to the following effect:--

About fifty years previously, a Russian gentleman (an officer, I
_think_, but am not certain of this) and his mistress had occupied this
large front room. The man had spent all day at a rifle competition,
combined with some sort of merry-making, and had returned home very
late--at one-thirty A.M., in fact--very much the worse for drink. He had
opened the door very carefully, trusting he should find the lady asleep;
but, unfortunately, she was not only wide awake, but extremely annoyed
by his late return and the state in which he had come back to her. A
desperate quarrel had ensued, and getting frightened by his violence,
she seized his rifle, giving him a blow on the head with the butt end of
it, hoping to stun him, but with no idea of murder in her mind. Whether
she gave a more severe blow, in her nervousness, than she had intended,
or whether the rifle fell on some specially vital spot, was not
explained in the writing. Anyway, the blow proved fatal--to her extreme
regret and remorse.

Under these circumstances one would have supposed that it would be more
reasonable for the lady to haunt the room, and not the gentleman; but I
"tell the tale as 'twas told to us."

It is, however, remarkable that in most of these stories it is the
victim who appears--determined to enact the scene of his or her
death--and not the murderer.

I think we were also told, by-the-by, that I had slept in the room on
the anniversary of the occurrence.

It was obviously impossible to get any corroboration of such a story.
Two small points in it, however, were proved to be true.

The Moscow hotels, as a rule, were comparatively modern at the time of
our visit, and therefore the "fifty years ago" seemed highly improbable.
We learned, however, through a few discreet questions later, that this
particular hotel _had_ been in existence so far back as fifty years, and
also that rifle competitions had taken place on certain occasions in
those far-off days.

For the rest I claim nothing. I have truthfully recounted my experience
without a word of exaggeration, and have never been able to account for
it normally.

The explanation given to us is, of course, just worth the paper it was
written upon from any _evidential_ point of view.



CHAPTER VI--_continued_

SWEDEN AND RUSSIA, 1892


Taking my experiences chronologically, I must now carry my readers back
to England, where the autumn of this year found me in London.

I had been asked to recommend a house for paying guests, well situated,
in the West End of London, and newly started by a lady who had been left
a widow with very slender provision. Several kind women had interested
themselves in the case, and had wisely suggested thinking out a means of
livelihood in the future rather than merely supplying present wants.

It would be difficult to imagine a person _less_ suited for the sort of
employment chosen; but that is "another story."

I never care to recommend anything or anybody of which or of whom I have
no personal knowledge; at the same time, I was anxious to help my kindly
acquaintance in her philanthropy, and as I had arranged to spend some
weeks in London that autumn--to be near an invalid brother--it struck me
that I might stay at the house so strongly recommended, instead of
taking private rooms as usual.

So I journeyed to Sussex Gardens, found a charming house, newly
furnished and decorated, and as clean as the proverbial "new pin," and,
moreover, a very good-looking mistress of the house, still a youngish
woman of five or six and thirty.

She spoke most warmly of the kindness she had received from the lady who
had given me her address, showed me some pleasant rooms, and the
arrangement was quickly completed.

I chose a small sitting-room in addition to my bedroom, although, as a
matter of fact, this was scarcely necessary, as I was the first guest
received. Only one deaf old lady appeared upon the scene during the six
weeks I spent there.

I had not been forty-eight hours in the house before I discovered that
my hostess was a convinced and very remarkable psychic. Naturally she
was delighted to find someone to whom she could speak of her various
experiences without being laughed at or put down as a lunatic. At the
same time I am bound to confess that Mrs Peters, although extremely
interesting, was also rather agitating, and certainly much too erratic
to make an entirely satisfactory _Chatelaine_. She was given to reading
"Aurora Leigh," instead of ordering dinner, and had to be sent for
occasionally to sit at the head of the table, with a volume of
_Browning_ or _Tennyson_ firmly clutched in her reluctant hand. Even
when duly "found and delivered," curious things happened during the
meals--especially at dinner in the evening, when she often put down
knife and fork and directed my attention to the far end of the handsome
dining-room, where she was wont to see the ghost of her late husband.

"Look, dear Miss Bates! Surely you _must_ see him--dear Henry, I mean.
There he stands, beard and all, just between the sofa and the wall. I
can see him as clearly as I see you!"

I am bound to say I never _did_ see "dear Henry"; but the fine tabby cat
certainly saw something in that corner, for it would rush most
frantically to the sofa, jump on to one end, and sit staring at Henry
(presumably), with its tail stuck out and its fur rising up, glaring
into the corner with a look of combined fear and fascination.

My little sitting-room was invaded at all hours by my too interesting
landlady, who would suddenly remember some thrilling experience, which
she wished to share with me. At length I took to my bed for three days,
not in the least ill, but simply for a much-needed rest in the midst of
all these excitements.

A day or two after emerging from this haven of peace, I received a visit
from a young lady, whose parents were well known to me in Yorkshire, and
who had recently become engaged to a very rich man, many years her
senior; in fact, considerably older than her own father, who had lately
passed away. The daughters of this family were all devoted to their
father, and most of the visit was occupied in giving me details of his
last illness, and in my sympathising with her upon his loss. It was, in
fact, far more a visit of condolence than of congratulation upon her
future prospects of happiness. As to the latter, I found it difficult to
be quite truthful and yet conventionally ecstatic.

To marry a man nearly old enough to be your grandfather struck me as
risky, to say the least of it, even with all the emollients which
riches and position undoubtedly add to domestic life.

The young woman in question did not at all resent my frankness on the
subject, but assured me that her greatest consolation in thinking of her
late father was the fact that she was about to make a marriage which he
had always wished, and of which he had emphatically given his approval
on his death-bed. "I told him I had decided upon it, just before he
died, and he was so relieved and happy about it," she said simply as she
turned to leave the room. Having mentioned that a younger sister was
also in town, I sent a message to the latter, asking her to take early
dinner with me on the following Sunday, which happened to be my only
spare day just then.

On the evening of this visit from the coming bride, I had accepted an
invitation to a large musical party in the house of the lady who had
begged me to interest myself in Mrs Peters. It was within a
stone's-throw of Sussex Gardens, and I came down to dinner at
seven-thirty P.M., intending to dress later, and go round there about
nine P.M.

For an hour or so before dinner I had been conscious of a growing
despondency, to which I could attribute no cause, and this increased so
much during the meal that Mrs Peters noticed it at last, and asked me if
I were feeling unwell.

"No--not unwell--but I am absolutely miserable, and cannot imagine why."

"Then you have not had bad news?" was the next remark. "I feared you
must have had, seeing you so silent and not able to eat anything."

In answer to this I said that I had not even the excuse of hearing of
other people's misfortunes, for a young lady had been calling upon me
that afternoon, who was about to make what the world calls a very
successful marriage. I did not, however, mention her name, as Mrs Peters
knew none of my friends.

Dinner over, I felt still so unaccountably wretched that I determined to
give up the evening party, and write my excuses. Mrs Peters did her best
to combat this decision, fearing that her kind benefactress might be
disappointed, and also urging that the evening's enjoyment would cheer
me up. But finding me inexorable, she then said: "Well, if you have
quite determined not to go, shall I come into your sitting-room and see
if we can get any explanation of your curious feeling of depression?"

I closed with this suggestion, knowing Mrs Peters to be a really
remarkable sensitive.

So we sat in the dark for a few minutes; and then I heard a soft
_frou-frou_ on Mrs Peters' silk gown, and knew she was tracing out words
with her hand in a fashion of her own.

"It is a spirit that young lady brought with her," she announced at
length. "The spirit has remained here with _you_, and is worried about
this marriage you spoke of. She wants you to try and break it off. She
seems to have been nearly related to the lady, or perhaps a godmother;
anyway, she takes great interest in her."

"Will she give a name?" I asked.

"ELIZA is all I get," Mrs Peters replied.

It then occurred to me that my young friend's name _was_ Eliza, and
that she had been so named after a great-aunt, to the best of my
recollection; but as she was invariably called Elsa, by friends and
relations alike, it was only by chance that I remembered hearing her
teased about her far less romantic baptismal name.

I asked if no surname could be given, thinking at the moment that it
would be Waverly--the family name; but my thought was evidently not
transferred to Mrs Peters, who said she could not get the name
accurately, but that it was certainly _not_ Waverly. I found later that
the Great-Aunt Eliza had a name entirely different from that of her
descendants.

Nothing further happened on this occasion, except that I sent a message
to "Great-Aunt Eliza" to say that nothing would induce me to take the
responsibility of trying to break off any marriage, either by the advice
of people in this sphere or in any other sphere. In this case I should
have had neither the authority nor the influence to make any such unwise
attempt.

Sunday came round in due course, and brought the bride's younger sister,
then a girl of twenty-four or twenty-five. We discussed the usual midday
Sunday dinner of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, Mrs Peters sitting at
the head of the table, I on her right hand, and Carrie Waverly next to
me.

Suddenly realising that my remarks to the latter were receiving very
scant attention, I looked up, and found the girl's black eyes fixed in a
basilisk stare upon our unfortunate hostess, whose own eyes were cast
down, but who appeared uneasy and troubled by the determined gaze of my
guest. At length the poor woman threw down her knife and fork, rose
hastily from the dining-table, and made her way eagerly to the sofa at
the other end of the room, where she lay down at full length, murmuring:
"_I can't stand it any longer!_"

Carrie Waverly was at length induced to come away to my sitting-room and
leave the poor woman in peace, which she did, asserting her complete
innocence, and assuring me she "_only wanted to see if she could make
Mrs Peters look up at her!_"

I explained to her that "sensitives" may be as much upset by this sort
of thing as another person would be by a blow on the back. She looked
incredulous, and then said cheerfully: "Well, if it is as bad as that,
don't you think you ought to go and see how she is?"

"Two for yourself and your own curiosity and one for her!" I thought;
but I took the hint, and found Mrs Peters still prostrate on the sofa,
but full of apologies for her sudden collapse:

"You must have thought me so very rude," etc., etc.

I reassured her on this point, and expressed regret that my visitor
should have upset her so much by looking so fixedly at her.

"It was not her fault," said Mrs Peters eagerly. "_It was the man
standing over her._ He had his hands upon her shoulders, and was trying
so hard to influence her, and she was resisting it all the time, and the
whole conflict of their wills was thrown upon _me_, and I could not
stand it at last--that was why I left the table," she gasped out.

"Could you describe the man at all?"

"Quite clearly," she said. "I shall never forget his face--I saw him so
distinctly." She then proceeded to describe in detail the very clear-cut
features and bushy eyebrows of Carrie Waverly's father, giving also his
colouring, which was very distinctive. I suggested trying to find out
what he wanted to say to his daughter, but this distressed Mrs Peters so
much that I was sorry to have made the suggestion.

"No! no! dear Miss Bates!--don't ask me to do that--dear Henry never
likes my taking messages from strangers--I have promised him that I
would never do it without his permission. It upsets me so much, and I
feel so weak already."

So I came away, promising to look in later and see if I could do
anything for her.

Carrie was naturally greatly interested by the accurate description
given of her father, and was very impatient for me to pay Mrs Peters a
second visit.

I went in presently, and found the latter standing up, and in a state of
great excitement. She had, in fact, been on the point of coming to us
when I entered.

"Dear Henry told me to take that message after all," were the words with
which she greeted me. "There was some misunderstanding between the
father and this daughter, and he wants her to know that it is all right
now." (This seemed to me most improbable, as the devoted daughters and
father were always on terms of the greatest harmony and mutual
understanding. _Yet it proved to be quite true._)

Mrs Peters continued: "He is very much upset about this marriage. He
tells me he was so anxious for it when on this side, but now he sees all
the difficulties and possible dangers. But he says it is too late to
reconsider the step now; only he is so very anxious to secure the
interests of his daughter before she marries. He wishes to know whether
her settlement is signed. _It is not one of which he would have
approved._ And he says there are two houses, and one ought to be settled
upon her--you _must_ ask about it, dear Miss Bates. He is most decided
and so dreadfully upset about it all, because he says it was he who
urged the marriage upon her."

I spent the following fifteen or twenty minutes as a sort of
messenger-boy between Mrs Peters in the dining-room and Carrie Waverly
in my sitting-room. Needless to say, _I_ knew nothing at all about the
settlements or how many houses the prospective bridegroom might possess,
and having no sort of curiosity about the financial affairs of my
neighbours, it was not at all pleasant to be employed in this way.

Mrs Peters, on the contrary, seemed to know everything connected with
the estate and the marriage settlement, _except the fact that the latter
had not yet been signed_, although reluctantly "passed" by both the
lady's trustees. Wherefore this special limitation in the father's
knowledge it is impossible to say. He certainly showed no limitation in
his knowledge of the bridegroom's character and disposition, and gave
the most elaborate and detailed instructions as to how his daughter
should behave towards her husband, and where she might, with advantage,
cultivate tact and patience.

My advice to Miss Waverly was to say nothing on the subject to her
sister, but she wisely, as it turned out, determined to take the
responsibility of telling her _everything_. She telegraphed to me next
day, asking if she might come and see Mrs Peters and bring the bride
with her.

This was done, and they arrived, with several photographs, large and
small, of the father, and also of the bridegroom, for identification.
Carrie, in fact, tried--a little unfairly perhaps--to make Mrs Peters
identify the wrong person by forcing into notice a large photograph of
the _bridegroom_ (some years senior to the father), and saying
carelessly: "_There, Mrs Peters--that is the face you saw yesterday of
my father, is it not?_" But Mrs Peters would have none of it. She looked
staggered for a moment, then caught sight of the second picture, and
turned to it with relief: "_This_ is the face I saw, whether it is your
father or not," she answered, with decision.

The bride begged for a private interview with Mrs Peters, which lasted
for a considerable time. Of course, I knew nothing of this interview,
nor should I feel at liberty to speak of it if I did know. I may,
however, be permitted to say that I have the bride's own assurance that
the accurate knowledge then given her of her future husband's
characteristics physical and mental, and the best way of dealing with
them, "made all the difference in her married life."

During that interview Mrs Peters also told her the number of years she
would be married; and the prophecy was accurately fulfilled, which is
the more remarkable, because, as a rule, it seems impossible to
predicate time, even when events can be foreseen.

I am happy to add that the marriage turned out a complete success, and
that a marriage settlement was made more in accordance with the father's
wishes, although neither trustees nor principal in the transaction, had
any idea that the actual arrangements were in any way due to the
strongly expressed wishes of a discarnate spirit.

If this book should ever fall into their hands, and they should trace
the story in spite of the thick veil I have thrown over all the
circumstances, I can only trust that, in gratitude for the results, they
may become reconciled with the channel through which these were made
possible.

People may say: "What a terrible idea that a father or a husband should
trouble himself about such sordid details as money, houses, etc."

But this is an extremely foolish remark, although it may appear very
spiritual on the surface. It is surely the most natural thing in the
world that a near relation--if permitted--should endeavour to secure
comfort and happiness for a dearly loved wife or daughter; especially
when, as in the above case, he felt mainly responsible for a state of
affairs which might have turned out so disastrously, save for his loving
care and foresight, exercised as these were from the other side of the
veil.

At anyrate it disposes once for all of the weary old "_Cui Bono_"
argument, which is so futile, and yet so constantly and triumphantly
quoted by stupid people, who seem to took upon it as a patent
extinguisher for any psychic gifts or experiences.

It is mainly in order to meet this senseless observation that I have
included this story in my reminiscences.

Most of us are debarred from answering the "_Cui Bono_" bray, by the
fact that our most helpful experiences are generally of a too intimate
and often sacred nature to be given to a scoffing world.

But this instance has the advantage of dealing entirely with material
matters, and thus being on a level with the ordinary intelligence.

Nobody can say in this case _no good was done_. It only remains to be
deeply shocked by the undignified, "nay, almost blasphemous,"
intervention in mundane affairs of a spirit "who should certainly have
had some more worthy occupation."

It is another case of the old man and the donkey. If discarnate spirits
_don't_ trouble about the personal affairs of those on earth, the "_Cui
Bono_" argument is hurled at them. If they _do_, they are called
blasphemous and irreverent!

The mention of the Waverly family reminds me of an incident which took
place when I was staying in their house in the country, a year or two
earlier than the time of which I am writing. I have reserved it
purposely as a sequel to this last story, which is in its proper
chronological setting.

In the year 1889 I was spending a pleasant fortnight with the Waverlys
in Yorkshire, at the very time when a dear old friend of mine (Mrs
Tennant) was dying in London. I had seen her only a week or two before,
but had no knowledge of her illness, as we were not in constant
correspondence, although there was a deep and strong affection between
us.

I did not even hear of her death, in fact, till a few weeks after it
took place, having missed the announcement in the papers. When Mrs
Tennant's sister, Mrs Lane, wrote me the details, I had left Yorkshire,
and was staying with cousins in Worcestershire. Thinking over the dates
mentioned in describing the illness, I realised with a shock of pained
surprise that the final state of unconsciousness must have set in the
very evening when I was enjoying myself in Yorkshire, at a large
dinner-party given by my host and hostess.

It seemed terrible to think that my dear and much loved friend should
have been lying unconscious upon her death-bed, and that no word or sign
should have come to me.

Then suddenly I remembered a curious little incident connected with that
dinner-party.

I had been admiring a pretty little slate-coloured kitten belonging to
the house, which was calmly sitting upon the grand piano after dinner,
when the ladies were alone in the drawing-room. After the gentlemen
joined us, I was deep in conversation with my host (a remarkably
interesting and intelligent man), when I noticed a small _black_ kitten
run past my dress. Probably I should have remarked upon it had we been
less occupied in talking, for I am extremely fond of cats and animals in
general. I did glance up, as a matter of fact, and satisfied myself that
it was not the little slate-coloured kitty, which sat in still triumph
on the piano. Besides, this kitten was _black_, not slate. I thought no
more of it until the guests had left and Mrs Waverly and I were going
upstairs to bed. She and I were very affinitive, but neither she nor her
family had any special interest in psychology.

On this occasion, however, she said rather mysteriously: "_I think
something will happen to-night to you._" A good many jokes had been made
about the probably uncanny atmosphere of my room, and the various spooks
who were doubtless sharing it with me, so I laughed, thinking this was
only the usual family joke. But Mrs Waverly was quite in earnest. At
first she would give no reason for her remark, "fearing I should tell
her daughters," and that she would be laughed at in consequence.

Reassured on this point, she said to me quite seriously:

"Whilst you were talking to my husband this evening I saw a black kitten
run straight across your dress--just opposite to me."

"_Well, of course, I saw the kitten!_" I answered, to her surprise; "but
there is nothing very remarkable about a black kitten in the house."

"_But we have no black kitten_ in the house, or anywhere on the
premises. Where did it go to? You never saw it again? No; it was not an
ordinary kitten, and I did not suppose till this moment that anyone had
seen it but myself."

It was a fact that no one but Mrs Waverly and I had seen any kitten but
the slate-coloured one already mentioned.

Thinking over this in the light of the sad news of my dear old friend's
death, and noting the correspondence in time between her loss of
consciousness and the appearance of the mysterious black kitten--seen
only by Mrs Waverly and myself--it was impossible not to ask in the
depths of my heart whether, perchance, the spirit of my faithful friend
had been trying to send me some symbol of her approaching death.

It may be objected that black cats are generally connected with good
luck. Well, I think my dear "London mother," as she called herself
sometimes, would have explained this apparent contradiction very simply.
She had lived through much sorrow, and was often oppressed by sore
doubts of the Cosmic Love. I never knew any woman with such strong and
passionate human sympathy, and to such fine spirits, the world, under
present conditions, must always offer terrible problems. Her sympathies
were sometimes too keen for that robust faith which can _always_ say:
"God's in His heaven! All's right with the world!" Yet her last words
were: "_I am so tired, and God will understand; and I am so glad to
go._"

To finish my chapter on a merrier note, I will mention an amusing
episode connected with the evening of the black kitten's appearance.

Amongst the guests invited to that dinner-party was a clergyman-squire,
a man of some means who had taken orders. A "squarson" is the
"portmanteau name" for such a gentleman in Yorkshire, I believe; one who
combines squire and parson.

This particular specimen of the genus was both a vegetarian and a
celibate. The latter fact had been made clear to me by the many regrets
expressed in the neighbourhood that he had remained a bachelor owing to
religious scruples. The vegetarianism was equally certain, for I had
heard orders given for special dishes to be prepared for this guest; and
sitting next to him at the dinner-table, I knew that he had not touched
either meat or game, although it was not a fast day.

After dinner, when the gentlemen had joined us in the drawing-room, the
conversation turned upon psychic matters and my experiences in America
of a few years before. This extreme High Churchman denounced all these,
"lock, stock, and barrel."

He believed that everything might have happened as described, but was
equally certain that the devil alone could have had a hand in "such
goings on"! Perhaps it will be wise to explain that he did not make use
of this latter expression!

My host, instead of coming to the rescue, which he might have done, as
one of "the Cloth"; looked much amused when I fielded most of my
adversary's theological balls.

At length, being unaccustomed to such irreverent handling, my enemy lost
his temper, and, as usual on such occasions, he tried to "take my
wicket" by quoting texts against me!

"Well, all I can say is that everything you have told us is in direct
opposition to Holy Writ. In fact, _we are specially warned in the
Scriptures that in the latter days seducing spirits shall arise_."

At this fatal moment, when the Theological Closure was descending upon
my unhappy head, a really brilliant thought occurred to me.

Was it a seducing spirit or a friendly intelligence who reminded me
that my opponent had only quoted half the text--_the half that suited
him_?

I pointed this fact out meekly.

He looked puzzled, and probably had honestly forgotten what he did not
wish to remember.

"Finish the text? What do you mean?" he said irritably.

So I finished it for him:

"In the latter days seducing spirits shall arise, _forbidding to marry
and commanding to abstain from meats_."

He had pressed me very hard and rather unfairly. Still, the counsel of
perfection would have been to refrain from the comment that, if _I_ were
a celibate and vegetarian, it was not the text I should have chosen with
which to clinch an argument!



AN INTERLUDE


I have headed this chapter an _Interlude_, for the following reason:--

It is the only one in this book which does not record a personal
experience.

The opportunity came to me at Florence, two years ago, of hearing one of
the best old-fashioned Christmas ghost stories I ever came across; also
a ghost story which has two rather unique advantages. First, it has
never been published before; secondly, the percipient was the matron of
a boys' school (a well-known one), and wrote out her experiences _within
twelve hours of their occurrence_.

Now, the matron of a large boys' school must, of necessity, be an
exceptionally practical woman, and her daily experiences can scarcely
tend to encourage undue Romance or Imagination.

When I add that this story was given to me, and a copy of the original
letter placed in my hands, by a sister of two of the schoolboys who were
under the matron's supervision, I shall have cleared the way for my
ghost to appear upon the scene.

I must add, however, that I met this sister, a young widow, in
Florence, two years ago. She then told me this story, finding that I
was intimately acquainted both with the county and the small county
town where it happened.

The matron had gone there for the prosaic purpose of taking the baths
for her rheumatism.

The adventure took place in the early morning of 14th April 1875, and
was recorded, within a few hours, in a long letter written by the
percipient to a favourite cousin.

My friend, Mrs Barker's brothers being at school at the time, begged to
be allowed to read this letter and take a copy of it. The copy was made
by their sister--then a young girl--and I have it in my hands at the
present moment of writing.

It is, of course, necessary to change the name of the county and town,
as the old family mansion, let in lodgings in 1875, has since then been
sold and turned into a boarding-house.

Mrs Barker's mother made an expedition to this town, a few years ago, to
verify the facts, and went over the house, which has been considerably
altered and reconstructed inside since 1875.

The small park mentioned in the story is now built over entirely, as the
town has increased in popularity, owing to its baths, and the family
portraits here mentioned have been removed since the house was sold.

I will now quote _verbatim_ from the matron's letter, _written on the
morning of her experiences_.


                                          "The Priory, Grantwich.
                                            "14th April 1875.
"MY DEAR EDIE,--When you asked me once for a ghost story, I daresay you
as little expected, as I did, how soon I should have to reveal to you an
experience which will doubtless give you, as it has me, much ground for
thought and speculation about those mysterious laws which rule the
spirit world.

"How true it is that Thought and Feeling annihilate Time and Space!
Since last night, I seem to have lived through half a lifetime, such an
effect have its events had upon my inner life. But before I begin to
relate the strange circumstances I have to tell you, I must describe to
you more particularly this house in which they happened.

"I think I told you that 'The Priory'--where I am now lodging--is an
old mansion, belonging to the Carbury family. For some years past, it
has been let to the present occupiers who make the rent by letting
lodgings. Some ancient pieces of furniture remain, and a great many
portraits, none of the earliest date, but a handsome and respectable
collection--soldiers, bishops, and judges, in their uniforms, robes,
and wigs, and ladies with powdered hair, hoops, and trains.

"Of these portraits, _two have engaged my attention, especially, from
the first moment of seeing them_, but I am not going to speak of them
yet; my first object is to give you an idea of the house, or rather that
part of it with which my story is connected.

"I think I have told you that the grand staircase goes up from the inner
hall, and that round the staircase runs a gallery; in this gallery and
in the hall below, are hung most of the portraits.

"On the first turn and landing of the staircase, there is a door opening
into a trellised walk which leads into the garden. On a level with this
door is a large window which looks on to sweeps of soft turf, shaded by
fine trees.

"Standing often to look from this window, as I passed up and down the
staircase, one tree has always riveted my attention. It is a large old
plane-tree, standing by itself, and having a strange, melancholy,
decayed look about it. I noticed--why, I cannot imagine--that on one
side of it the ground was bare and black, though everywhere else the
grass was green and fresh. I mention this, because it had struck me
_before_ the strange events occurred which I am going to tell you.

"You must now go with me to the top of the staircase. Just at the top,
on your right hand, hangs one of the portraits I mentioned. It is a
life-sized painting of Captain Richard Carbury, who landed, on the 19th
September 1738, in the Colony of Georgia, with General Oglethorpe's
regiment.

"Opposite to this, on the other side of the gallery, is the portrait of
a lady, with black, resolute brows and full, voluptuous mouth and chin.
She has a high colour, an exquisite hand and arm, and an Amazonian
bearing.

"Passing from the gallery, you enter a long passage, leading to other
passages and staircases, with which we have nothing to do.

"I only want you now to become acquainted with my own rooms. As you
enter the passage from the gallery, two doors open, one on either hand.
To the right is my sitting-room, a square, cheerful room, looking on the
street; to the left is my bedroom, which will require a more particular
description.

"It is a large, low room. As you enter from the passage, the window,
which looks into the garden, is opposite to you. In the middle of the
wall to your right hand stands the bed, and opposite to that, the
fireplace, and, as you will see, if you have taken in my description,
just at the back of the portrait of the lady with the black eyebrows, is
another door. Opposite to this last is yet another, which caught my
attention when I first entered the room from a peculiarity about it. The
upper part of this door is of glass, rendered opaque by being washed or
lined with some red substance.

"As soon as I was alone in the room I tried to open this door, but it
was firmly fastened. I don't know why I should have felt disquieted by
this circumstance, but certainly I did feel annoyed. I thought at first
that it probably opened into a dressing-room. There must have been a
strong light behind it, for a red light always fell on that side of the
room through the coloured glass, and I could see that red light in the
morning, before any light penetrated the window-blind.

"I think I have now told you all that is necessary for understanding my
experience.

"I must ask you to remember that yesterday was the thirteenth of April.
I went to bed about eleven o'clock, and soon fell asleep. I could not,
however, have slept long before I woke with an unusual feeling that
something strange was going to happen.

"I awoke, not as one does in the morning, with a drowsy resolve not to
go to sleep again because it is time to get up, but as one awakes when a
journey or some similar event is imminent, for which one's faculties
have to be clear, and one's body active and alert. I was rather
wondering at and enjoying the unusual clearness and energy of thought of
which I felt capable, when the clock in the hall began striking, and,
almost at the same moment, the clock of the old Church of St Andrew
began striking also.

"I knew that both were striking twelve, though I did not count the
blows, but just as the last stroke of the church clock died away,
another sound caught my ear.

"The door by the fireplace gave a loud crack and then opened, as if with
some difficulty.

"The _red door_ at the same time rattled, as if someone were trying
vainly to open it. The room had previously been dark, but I now plainly
saw a tall figure come through the doorway and stand near the foot of
the bed. There was a dull, yellowish light round the figure, which
illumined it, leaving the rest of the room in darkness; but this yellow
light, I perceived, became red at one point of the figure's left side,
and shone down on the floor with a red glow, like that which came
through the opposite door.

"The apparition stood quite silent whilst I looked at it. _The features
and figure were familiar to me_ for they were those of Captain Richard
Carbury, in the portrait, who had gone out to Georgia with the regiment
of His Excellency, General Oglethorpe!

"As soon as I was sure of this, I said: 'You are Captain Richard
Carbury?'

"The apparition nodded.

"'Why do you come to me?' I said. 'Cannot you speak?'

"He seemed to have some difficulty in doing so, but after two or three
efforts, such as one makes to move a rusty hinge, he parted his lips,
and said: 'Yes! I am Richard Carbury, and I am come to make you a
witness.'

"'A witness of what?' I said. 'Can I be of use to you? You come from the
spirit world. Is it then permitted to mortals to have personal
intercourse with spirits?'

"He held up his hand as if to silence me.

"'Listen to me,' he said. 'You are not frightened of me?'

"'No,' I replied; nor did I feel the slightest awe or fear. I felt
stimulated, a kind of electricity ran through my veins--I longed
earnestly to learn something of the mysterious realm from which he
came, but I had no vulgar or superstitious fear.

"'Nor need you have any dread,' he returned. 'I have no wish nor power
to hurt you, but you must listen to my story. Once in fifty years I am
allowed to leave my grave and revisit the scene of my tragical death,
and this must always be on the 14th of April, which is the anniversary
of the event.[4] I am also permitted to recount my story if I find
anyone sleeping in this room who is willing to listen to me. Are you
willing?'

 [4] There is evidently some mistake here in the figures given by the
 ghost or received by the matron. If his death took place in 1741 (three
 years after landing in Georgia), his first spirit return was due in
 1791, the second, 1841, and the third, not till 1891. It appears to
 have been anticipated by sixteen years, if the dates given are correct.
 A friend suggests that "once _in_ fifty years" does not necessitate
 exact _intervals_ of fifty years.

"I replied that I should gladly hear what he had to tell, but would he
allow me to ask him one question?

"He inclined his head in assent, and I said I had always thought that
the spirits of the dead, if they were allowed to appear on earth, came
with shadowy and skeleton forms. Why did he appear with flesh like a
living man?

"'Ah!' he said, 'that is owing to the peculiarity of my grave. I am
buried in salt.'

"' Have you anything more to ask?' said my visitor.

"'Nothing more at present,' I replied. 'I am ready now to hear your
story.'

"'I will make it as short as possible and not detain you long. You have
noticed my portrait in the gallery?'

"'Yes.'

"'And that of the lady opposite, my cousin, Lucretia Carbury?'

"'Certainly.' (Here the red door was violently shaken).

"'She cannot open it,' said Captain Carbury, 'it is sealed.'

"'When I went out to Georgia,' he resumed, 'in 1738, I was engaged to
be married to her; we had been betrothed by our parents in our
childhood, and family reasons made it almost a necessity that we
should be united, but as we grew up neither of us was very anxious to
fulfil the engagement, and, to tell the truth, I was glad of the
summons to join my regiment. However, after three years in that
distant colony, I came home, having made up my mind I would marry
Lucretia and settle down on the family property--which could only be
enjoyed by that means--for we were the only representatives of the
family, and the property was so left by our fathers that only by
marrying could we enter into possession. _Either by marrying or by the
death of one of us; when the whole of the property would go to the
other._ I knew that Lucretia was at the old house at Grantwich, and I
came straight to her.

"'I had written to say when she might expect me, and she received me
with apparent kindness and agreed to all my propositions about our
marriage. I arrived late at night, and she let me into the house herself
and got food for me. We supped together, and she pledged me in a cup,
which I now know was drugged to make me sleep heavily.

"'I then retired to my room--this room, this bed, on which you now lie!

"'What I am now going to tell you has been made clear to me since; at
the time I was conscious of nothing. As soon as I got into bed, I fell
asleep, and whilst I thus slept Lucretia came through that door
(pointing to the red door opposite), and stabbed me to the heart. I
will show you the instrument with which she did it, if you like.'

"'Pray do,' I said, and he unbuttoned his scarlet uniform coat and drew
from his left side a slender dagger or stiletto.

"I looked at it with great interest and asked if I might take it in my
hand.

"'Certainly, if you wish it,' he said, 'but I do not advise you to touch
it. It is rusty now from the salt, but I assure you it was bright and
keen when she drove it into my heart. The stroke was so cleverly aimed
that I died instantly. Lucretia then made a signal, which was answered
by the entrance of a man, and between them they carried my body through
the door by which I entered to-night.'

"He paused, and I thought he looked more ghastly. 'Is anything the
matter?' I asked.

"'I am thinking,' he answered, 'that I can show you the rest, if you
will follow me, but I must tell you that when we leave this room and
enter the gallery, it is possible the murderess will follow us. Shall
you be afraid?'

"'Not in the least,' I said, 'I will follow you with pleasure, but you
must allow me to put something on, as I am suffering from rheumatism,
and am afraid of the cold and damp.'

"'By all means,' said Captain Carbury. 'I will wait for you in the
gallery.'

"I then got up and put on my dressing-gown and slippers. Whilst I was
doing so, I heard a rustling in the passage as of a woman passing
slowly along. I found Captain Carbury, and followed him along the
gallery without looking round, but when we reached the end of the
gallery and turned to go down the first flight of stairs, I saw the
lady with the black brows--whom I now knew to be Lucretia Carbury, the
murderess--standing in the doorway, between the gallery and the
passage.

"'I do not think she can come any farther,' said my guide, and he
opened the door leading from the staircase into the garden.

"'I am showing you just where they brought me,' said he.

"'Who was the man?' I asked.

"'I never knew his name, but she married him afterwards.'

"He then moved across the lawn _to the bare spot under the plane-tree_.
Here he stopped, and, pointing downwards, showed me on the bare ground
an exact outline of the dagger which he had drawn from his side.

"'Here they dug my grave and here they buried me; a salt spring washes
over me.'

"At this moment the great clock of St Andrew struck ONE.

"'All that you have told me is very sad and strange,' I said, 'but now,
will you allow me to ask you why you have appeared to me? Is there
anything you want done on earth that I can do? Is there any restitution
to be made, or justice to be administered? Anything that you require, I
am ready to do, if you will grant me one favour when you return to the
spirit realm.'

"I had been speaking with my eyes fixed on the ground, but now,
happening to raise them, I was surprised to see that my companion
appeared to be sinking into the ground.

"'My time is up,' he said. '_Remember!_'--and, as his head disappeared,
his words came in a hollow, sepulchral voice from beneath _that spot of
black earth_--'remember you are my witness!'

"I was left standing alone under the plane-tree, with the thought, that
in returning to my room, I might probably meet the restless spirit of
Lucretia Carbury.

"Nothing of the kind, however, occurred. I passed through the doors that
had opened at the touch of Captain Carbury, and I noticed that they
closed behind me without any effort on my part. I regained my bed, and
almost immediately fell asleep. All had passed so naturally, and as a
matter of course, that only when I woke this morning, and thought over
the events of the night, did I realise that I had passed through such an
experience as is given to few human beings.

"You see, dear Edie, that my narrative has taken so long to write that I
have no time to speak of other things, even if I could bring my mind to
think of anything else, which, I confess, I should have great difficulty
in doing.--Ever your very affectionate,                  "M. PORTER."


Copied _verbatim_ from Miss Porter's letter, written on the morning of
14th April 1875.

       *       *       *       *       *

So ends the story, with apologies to the S.P.R.!

I claim nothing for it beyond the following _facts_:

The Priory still exists at Grantwich, and is known to have been the
family mansion of the Carbury family.

Miss Porter was undoubtedly matron of the school where my friend's
brothers were educated. She was a woman of unblemished character and
truthfulness, and would certainly not have _invented_ this long and
detailed account of her personal experiences within a few hours of their
occurrence.

My friend most certainly copied this letter, which her brothers had
obtained leave to read, from their school matron--Miss Porter herself.

Lastly, my friend, Mrs Barker's mother (who is still alive), verified
the existence of the Priory (as I have called it) in the town of
Grantwich, and it _had_ been turned into a boarding-house at the time of
her visit, having been previously let in lodgings. Also she found that
Captain Richard Carbury was _supposed to have died in Georgia in the
year 1741_, as is inferred in the story.

As the murderess and her accomplice alone seem to have been aware of his
return on that fateful night, this would be the natural opinion of the
world.

As an old associate of the S.P.R., and quite conversant with their
methods, two criticisms of the story at once suggest themselves, in
addition to the confusion of dates, which might perhaps be excused,
owing to the abnormal nature of the interview described. But the obvious
Podmorian remark would be that the whole adventure was a dream on the
part of Miss Porter, induced by her interest in the two family portraits
she had seen, and the curious sensations she had experienced in looking
at a specially gloomy tree in the park.

This would certainly cover the ground, but it proves, perhaps, rather
too much.

It requires very robust "Faith in Unfaith" to suppose that a sensible,
practical woman, suffering from rheumatism, should carry her dream to
the verge of following her dream man into the garden and grounds of the
house. It may be urged that _she dreamt all this also_, but "that way
madness lies." We must be able to formulate that certain acts of ours
took place during full consciousness, or daily life would become
impossible and moral responsibility would cease.

Miss Porter might have been in a dream all through the night--granted.

But in these cases it is the "morning that brings counsel." We are all
aware of the extraordinary lifelike dreams which, with the return of
normal memory, we recognise as dream visions, no matter how vivid and
credible they may have appeared to us in the night.

But with Miss Porter this normal process was reversed. She went to sleep
quite calmly, and first realised, upon waking in the morning, how
thoroughly _abnormal_ her experiences had been.

I pass on to the next criticism, which a little "editing" on my part
could have averted:

"Is it credible that a woman, only just recovering from the surprise and
marvel of such an experience, should write about it, within a few hours,
to a favourite cousin, as if she were preparing a story for _The Family
Herald_?"

I confess that this was my own feeling when the record was placed in my
hands.

We must, however, remember--first, that the percipient was obviously a
lady of great courage, or she would not have followed her ghost into the
garden; secondly, that she was a keen observer and very accurate in
details. Probably, many generations of schoolboys, passing through her
hands, may have quickened her perceptions in both these ways.

As for the stilted style, that presents little difficulty, when one
remembers that people of a certain rank in life never use a short word
when a long one will answer the purpose!

I claim nothing for the story, beyond the points already mentioned.
These are matters of _fact_.

Each one must interpret it according to his own views and prejudices.

It is quite enough for me to be responsible for the truth and accuracy
of _my own_ experiences, to which we will now return.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Note._--Since writing the above I have consulted the "Century
Encyclopædia," and find there:

"Oglethorpe--James Edward, born in London, December 21st, 1696, died
at Cranham Hall, Essex, England, 1785. An English General and
Philanthropist. He projected the Colony of Georgia for insolvent
debtors, and persecuted Protestants; conducted the expedition for its
settlement, 1733, and returned to England, 1743."

The apparent discrepancy between the date 1733 given in the
Encyclopædia, and the 1738 of Captain Carbury's ghostly narrative, may
be due to one of two causes:

The young girl copying Miss Porter's letter may have mistaken a three
for an eight rather easily.

Again, Captain Carbury did not state that he landed _with_ General
Oglethorpe, 19th September 1738, but with General Oglethorpe's regiment.
This latter may have been a reinforcement sent out to the General after
his first landing in the Colony.



CHAPTER VII

LADY CAITHNESS AND AVENUE WAGRAM


Having spent the winter months of 1894 (from January to April) in Egypt,
I was returning thence in the latter month with my friend Mrs Judge of
Windsor. Our route was _via_ Paris, and I had arranged to spend a week
there in the same hotel as the young Swedish lady whom I first met in
India, and who has been referred to more than once in this record.

She told me she had made the acquaintance that winter of the famous
"Countess of Caithness and Duchesse de Pomar," and thinking it would
interest me to meet this lady, she had asked for permission to introduce
me to her.

As it turned out, Madame Brügel was unable to accompany me to the house,
having several engagements for the afternoon, but she promised to "put
in an appearance" later. So Mrs Judge and I drove off to the well-known
mansion in the Avenue de Wagram, and were received very cordially by
Lady Caithness.

I had once tried to read a very abstruse and mystic book by this lady,
and had heard her spoken of as a more or less hopeless lunatic, "who
imagined herself Mary Queen of Scots," and so forth.

Otherwise I went without prejudice, and being accustomed to judge for
myself in such matters, came to the conclusion that Lady Caithness was
an extremely shrewd woman, with her head remarkably "well screwed on,"
as the saying is. As regards her claims to be Mary Queen of Scots, I
never heard these from her own lips, although I saw her daily for a
week, and we had many interesting talks.

She certainly _did_ claim to be in very close relations with the
ill-fated Queen of Scotland, but I do not know what views she may have
held privately as to varied manifestations of the one spirit. I have
heard Lord Monkswell propound an interesting theory, with Archdeacon
Wilberforce in the chair, to the effect that as one short earth life
gave small scope for spiritual experience and development, he thought it
quite possible that the same spirit might have several bodily
manifestations simultaneously, and that the judge and the criminal might
conceivably be one and the same individual in two personalities!

It is possible that Lady Caithness may have had some such view, not
theoretically (as was the case with Lord Monkswell), but as a matter of
conviction, and apart from the limits of Time and Space involved in the
conception of the latter.

I can only say that I never heard her speak of Mary Queen of Scots
except as an entity, quite distinct from herself. But that she carried
the "Marie" _culte_ to great extremes is an undoubted fact. The hall and
rooms on the ground floor of the Avenue Wagram House were arranged and
furnished in close imitation of Holyrood Palace. I counted over fifty
miniatures and other pictures of the Scottish Queen in the Countess's
beautiful bedroom alone, and later on shall have to speak more
definitely of one life size and exquisitely painted portrait of the
Queen.

But to return to this first reception.

I must confess that a somewhat inconveniently keen sense of humour found
only too much nourishment on this occasion.

The Countess was magnificently dressed, as was usual with her, in
priceless lace, falling over head and shoulders, and a beautiful tiara
of various coloured jewels arranged over the lace. This was eccentric
perhaps, considering the occasion, but not laughable. Lady Caithness, in
addition to geniality, had enough quiet dignity to carry off the lace
and jewels with success. I was chiefly amused by the attitude of adoring
humility and flattering appreciation shown by the numerous ladies
already assembled when we arrived. Only one man was present, and he was
a priest. Later I learned to appreciate the friendliness of the Abbé
Petit and to admire his intellectual courage and manliness.

For the moment, seeing him surrounded by these female worshippers,
hanging upon his lips as he discoursed to us about new readings of old
truths, one was irresistibly reminded of certain scenes in Molière's
"_Femmes Savantes_."

A lively little American lady (married to an Italian count) plied him
with numerous questions in fluent French, spoken with an atrocious
accent. Finally, she wished to hear the Abbé's views upon
_Melchisedech!_ In the midst of other questions and answers, the kindly
little man managed to turn round to her with a cheery "_Ah, Madame la
Comtesse! pour le Melchisedech--nous reviendrons tout de suite à
Melchisedech!_" All the affairs of the religious universe were being
wound up at a similar pace and in like fashion, and this final word of
cheerful assurance would have proved absolutely disastrous to me had I
not been sitting close to my friend and able to whisper to her: "_Please
dig your nails into my wrist--hard._" Any bodily pain was preferable to
the hysterical laughter which had been so long suppressed and seemed now
imminent.

But there was worse to come!

An Englishwoman, the very type of the characteristic British spinster,
turned round, and addressed M. l'Abbé in laboured and extremely British
French (I must leave the accent to be imagined and supplied by my
reader):

"Mais, Monsieur l'Abbé! c'est le Protestantisme que vous nous enseignez
la."

He turned round upon her in his wrath:

"Mais, Madame--ou MADEMOISELLE." (No print can convey the utter scorn
and contempt of this last word.)

The rest of the sentence was lost to us in the loud laugh of the genial,
good-tempered woman: "_Moi_, Mademoiselle! J'ai été mariée vingt ans et
j'ai six enfants!"

The whole scene was too funny for words, and, with the exception of this
good lady, all present took themselves as seriously as a University don!

It was a real relief when the solemnity of the reception broke up and we
were ushered into the adjoining dining-room for an excellent tea. Here
I came upon my Swedish friend, who had only just arrived, and "missed
all the fun." She told me there was to be a _séance_ held in the house
next day, and that she had been asking the Countess if I might not be
present. "_It might amuse you, Kat!_" was her irreverent way of putting
it. "_Unfortunately, there seems to be some difficulty about it._"

At this moment Lady Caithness came up, and cordially expressed her
regrets that she could not accede to Madame Brügel's suggestion.

"Had you been staying until next week, Miss Bates, I would gladly have
arranged for it, but to-morrow is a very special occasion. As a matter
of fact, I have promised M. Petit that no one shall be present except
himself and me, and the two female mediums, of course. On Wednesday we
are to have a crowded meeting here--all the well-known people in Paris
will come--and M. l'Abbé will read his paper explaining that he can no
longer blind his eyes to the new light breaking upon the world through
scientific discovery, etc., but that he remains a loyal son of the
Church, if the Church will allow him to do so. It is, of course, a very
trying and anxious ordeal; for many priests will be present, also a
cardinal and one or more of our bishops. So the _séance_ to-morrow will
be specially devoted to receiving last instructions for the paper he is
about to read, and some words, we trust, of encouragement and hope."

Of course, I hastened to assure Lady Caithness of my full comprehension
of her point, and added that I was only sorry she should have been asked
to alter her arrangements on my account.

"But you will join us on Wednesday at the meeting, I trust? It will be
held at three P.M., in a large room on the ground floor, which is
arranged for such gatherings. I shall expect you then, so we will not
say good-bye."

This was heaping coals of fire on my head; for so observant a woman as
Lady Caithness must have noticed my difficulty in keeping a grave face
earlier in the afternoon!

Now comes a curious point. As we left the house Madame Brügel in
expressing disappointment about the next evening, added: "And yet
somehow I think you will go after all."

"Yes," I said involuntarily. "I believe I _shall_ go, but I cannot think
how it will come about; nothing could be more decided than what we have
just heard, and I cannot possibly put off my journey to England the end
of this week."

I think we were both a little disappointed when no letter arrived by the
morning's post. "Local letters often come by second post," urged my
friend, who was very keen upon her presentiment.

A long morning at the Louvre prevented my reaching home till one P.M.,
when the _déjeuner à la fourchette_ was half way through its course. No
letter on my plate! So Madame Brügel and I agreed that the wish must
have been father to the thought with both of us, and put the matter out
of our heads once for all.

At two-thirty P.M., however, a _dépêche_ letter arrived for me.

Lady Caithness wrote to _beg that I would make a point of being with her
that evening by nine p.m._ "You will think this very inconsistent with
what I told you yesterday," she wrote, "but I said only what was the
exact truth, as matters then stood. It is the Queen herself who has
communicated with me this morning, and _insists_ upon your being present
this evening. The Abbé and I can only bow to this decision. I need not
tell you how pleased I shall be personally to greet you this evening."

I was again shown into the spacious bedroom of the Countess, where she
"received" in general, quite after the manner of the French kings in the
days of the old monarchy.

Her bed was quite a State bed too, with its beautiful silk furnishings
and heavy velvet hangings. On the wall behind this, was a very valuable
fresco painting, representing Jacob's ladder, with the angels ascending
and descending, executed by a famous modern artist.

We soon descended to the ground floor, and passing through the large
lecture-room, of which Lady Caithness had spoken, and which had
sufficient gilt and cane chairs to seat a large audience; we stepped
down some marble stairs into a small but exquisitely appointed room. It
was a sort of chapel, in fact, built "by the Queen's instructions," and
used for all purposes and occasions of direct communication with her. A
general impression remains with me of rare woods and exquisite marbles,
and the walls were hung with framed tapestries representing various
scenes in the Queen's life.

To me the most striking and beautiful thing in the room was a
full-length, life-sized portrait of Mary herself, so arranged that a
hidden lamp threw its soft light on the features; whilst the hanging
velvet curtains of deep crimson on either side concealed the frame of
the picture, and conveyed the illusion that a living woman was standing
there ready to receive her guests.

I have never seen anything more perfect than the way in which this
impression was conveyed, without a jarring note of sensational effect.

The two French women mediums were already in the room, and I am bound to
say they did not attract me pleasantly nor impress me very favourably.
They were mother and daughter, and "Harpy" was written large over either
countenance. Doubtless they were very good mediums, in spite of this
fact. They _must_ have been so, unless one supposes that Lady Caithness
and the Abbé Petit were themselves abnormally strong sensitives; in
which case one would have thought this extraneous help would have been
unnecessary.

We sat down at a fairly large wooden table, polished, but without
covering of any kind, and having only one solid support to it, coming
from the centre, passing down as a single wooden pillar, and spreading
out in the usual fashion at the bottom. I had noted this on first
entering the room.

The two women sat together on my right-hand side. On my left was the
Abbé, and the Countess sat exactly opposite to me, with a printed
alphabet pasted on to a card, and a long pencil as pointer.

This made up the party. At a side table, placed some distance away, sat
a pleasant young French lady, who was writing automatically all the
time; a secretary to the Countess, I believe. This young lady had no
possible connection with the table.

The _séance_ began with a few words of prayer from the Abbé for light
and guidance.

The process was as follows:--First, the Countess and then I took the
printed alphabet, and pointed silently and at a fair pace to the
letters, going on from one to the other without pause. At the letter
needed the table did not rise, but gave a sound more like a bang than a
rap. I have never heard anything _quite_ so loud and definite in my long
investigation. The sound seemed to come from _within the wood_, as in
ordinary "raps," when these are genuine, but it was far louder and more
rapid and decided than the usual _séance_ rap. There was no hesitation,
no gathering up of force. Any amount of vitality was evidently present,
and the intelligence, from whatever source, was unerring. The Countess
and I were the only two persons who held the alphabet and pointed, and
when _she_ held it the mediums could not have seen the letters from
their position at the table with regard to hers. Yet the letters were
banged out (I can use no other expression) with absolute accuracy, and
at a pace which, quick to start with, became more and more rapid as we
wearied of the monotonous task and handed the alphabet to each other in
turn.

When the name of GOD or of OUR LORD came, only the first letter was
indicated, and then the table swayed slowly to and fro in a very
reverent and characteristic way for a few seconds; after which we began
the alphabet again for the next word.

When these loud bangs came I could trace the reverberation in the wood,
and it seemed to me practically impossible that the Harpies could be
producing them by any unlawful methods, whilst sitting in full light and
with immovable faces, the daughter writing down the letters as quickly
as these were indicated.

One did not feel quite comfortable about making investigations in a
private house without being invited to do so.

Again, if the women were tricking, and I caught them at it, there was
always the chance of a disagreeable scene with people of their class.

On the other hand, it was losing a great opportunity, to refrain, as a
mere matter of courtesy. Also I comforted myself by thinking that if
anyone needed to feel ashamed it would be the ones who cheated, and not
the detective.

So I pushed my chair a little nearer to the table, and the next time the
Countess took the alphabet from me and the bangs were in full swing, I
put my foot cautiously but very effectually _entirely round the one leg
of the table, moving it also up and down freely_. Not a vestige of
another foot, nor even of the flimsiest particle of dress or other
obstruction! I could positively and distinctly hear the reverberation of
the loud bangs on the wood, _between me and the centre of the table_,
whilst my own leg and foot were firmly embracing the single wooden
pillar upon which the latter stood. So the Harpies were justified, so
far as this one phenomenon was concerned. The letters written down so
rapidly by the daughter on large sheets of paper presented an apparently
hopeless jumble, but when the sitting was over at the last, the Abbé
and I were able to make out the words and sentences without great
difficulty (he being accustomed to the task), and we then found a long,
coherent, and at anyrate perfectly sensible, message addressed to him,
and referring to the points of his coming discourse. This had to be
proved upon its own merits, and without prejudice, arising from the fact
that St Paul's name was given as the author. It was quite as helpful as
some of the Apostle's letters, with the advantage of being up to date as
regarded the question in hand. After all, the Abbé was about to embark
upon an enterprise requiring much courage and great tact, in the forlorn
hope that the walls of narrow Orthodoxy and Priestcraft might fall down
before the trumpets of advancing Knowledge and Light.

It may or may not have been St Paul who stood by the Abbé with words of
encouragement that night; but I, for one, find no difficulty in thinking
it conceivable that the great Apostle should take a keen interest in the
evolution of the planet upon which he once lived.

The charming young lady delivered up her script also. It was interesting
and well written, but the only paragraph which remains in my memory was
an excellent analysis of the initial difference between Christianity and
Theosophy.

The Abbé kindly copied it out for me next day, but I must quote from
memory.

"Christianity is a stretching down of the Divinity to Man.

"Theosophy is the attempt of Man, by his own efforts, to reach the
Divine."

This seems to me both terse and true.

We had sat from nine P.M. till one A.M., and I think we were all
relieved when an adjournment for supper was suggested by Lady Caithness.

Her son, the Duc de Pomar, joined us for _this_ part of the evening, and
was introduced to me. My enjoyment of the excellent fare, after so many
hours of exhaustion, was only tempered by an unfortunate and violent
quarrel between the mother and daughter mediums, on the score of the age
of the latter! The mother declared her daughter was forty-five; the
daughter said: "Not a day over thirty-five," and intimated that she
surely might be supposed to know her own age! The mother, however,
murmured provokingly: "_Moi, je sais mieux que ça_"; and so the wrangle
went on, until I made a diversion by taking leave of my hostess and
promising to be present at the lecture the "following afternoon," which,
by the way, had become "this afternoon" by the time I left the Hotel
Wagram.

When I entered the house once more, it was to be shown into the large
lecture-room previously described, which was already three parts full,
and very shortly entirely so.

Lady Caithness had kindly reserved a front seat for me, so I could see
and hear without difficulty. On the raised platform stood my friend the
Abbé looking very grave and rather nervous. A cardinal, two bishops, and
some half-dozen priests were seated close to him, and very shortly the
lecture, which was, I think, extempore, began.

The Abbé was so manifestly in dead earnest and without any suspicion of
_pose_, that one could not fail to be deeply impressed by the scene. It
needed all the help of a sincere purpose and a brave heart, to stand up
amongst those of his own cloth, and, in face of a partially indifferent
and partially unfriendly audience, to declare boldly "the faith that was
in him"--a faith that burned all the more brightly and warmly from the
fact that it was being purged of the superstitions which must always
become the accretions of every form of religion; the clinging refuse of
weed and shell, which from time to time must be scraped off the bottom
of the grand old ship if it is to convey us safely from port to harbour.

The Cardinal sat twirling his big seal ring, with a look of cynical
amusement on his face, or so it seemed to me.

As the Abbé proceeded to mention the advances made in science and the
necessity for a restatement of old truths, which should bring them into
line with other truths of the nineteenth century, proving the essential
unity of _all truth_, and breaking down the fallacy that the vital part
of religion and the vital part of science have anything to fear from one
another, the Cardinal's face was a study to me.

"Yes, of course, we know all that, you and I, but what is the use of
making this fuss about it? We belong to a system, and this system has
worked very well for centuries past, and will work very well for
centuries to come if fools don't attempt to upset the coach by
restatements and readjustments, as they are called. The people _don't
want restatements_; they want a dead certainty, and that is just what we
give them."

All this I seemed to read in his clever, cynical countenance, in direct
opposition to the thrilling sentences of the Abbé Petit as he leant
forward and said, with uplifted finger and prophetic intensity:

"_La lumière est venue, mes frères--et si vous ne la suivez pas--vous
serez laissés seuls dans vos églises._"

It is impossible to exaggerate the affectionate solemnity of this appeal
to his brother priests. The tragic note was relieved later by an amused
smile which rippled round the audience. This puzzled me until a kind
French lady sitting next to me explained that the audience were amused
by the "_très chers frères_" (dearly beloved brethren), with which the
Abbé addressed them in this rather unorthodox lecture. It was evidently
looked upon as a curious bit of "professional survival."

On the following day (Thursday) I was invited to lunch with Lady
Caithness at two P.M., and being a punctual person, I arrived at that
hour. The powdered footman announced that his mistress had not yet
emerged from her bedroom, and showed me up into the dining-room
adjoining, where I awaited her. In a few minutes I was joined here by
the Abbé, who politely expressed his sorrow that he had not known of my
arrival earlier.

As we sat chatting together, he told me a curious experience of his of
the previous night, which will certainly "cause the enemy" to smile, if
not "to blaspheme."

He said (of course, in French): "I was sitting last night in my room,
which looks over the back of the house, and where I can hear no sounds
from the Avenue, and I was talking to 'La Reine.' Suddenly '_Elle m'a
frappé sur l'épaule_,' and then said she must leave me at once, in order
to meet the Duchesse, who had just returned home. At that moment twelve
o'clock struck from a neighbouring church, and I looked at my watch, and
found it was indeed midnight. When Madame la Duchesse comes in, I am
most anxious to find out whether she and the Duc were returning home at
that hour. You will be my witness, madame, that I have told you of this
occurrence before seeing the Duchesse."

I assured him that I would gladly testify to this; and in a few moments
the Duc de Pomar arrived, and almost immediately after him, Lady
Caithness emerged from her bedroom on the other side of the dining-room.

We sat down to luncheon, and I was much amused by the form of the Abbé's
question later in the meal.

"_Madame la Duchesse! puis je vous demander sans indiscrétion, a quelle
heure vous êtes revenue hier au soir?_"

Lady Caithness looked a little surprised, but answered readily enough:
"Well, it must have been past midnight; I did not notice very
specially."

"Not past midnight, mother," corrected the Duc de Pomar; "I heard a
clock strike twelve just as we were driving through the Porte Cochère."

"_Bien, Madame, qu'est-ce-que je vous ai dit?_" demanded the Abbé,
turning to me in triumph. He then repeated his story, and I was able to
certify that he had already mentioned it to me on my arrival.

The following day I took my leave of Lady Caithness, with a happy
remembrance of her and her great kindness and hospitality to me during
this pleasant week. She made me promise to let her know whenever I might
happen to be passing through Paris. I wrote to her the next year, when
about to make a short stay in Paris, on returning from Algeria, and
received an answer from the Riviera. She had been wintering there, and
had been packed and ready for the return to Paris, when an obstinate
chill had upset all plans. She begged me to go to the Avenue Wagram when
I arrived and find out the latest news of her, as the doctors might give
leave for the journey at any moment.

Ten days later I _did_ go to her house and interview the lady secretary
(not the one I had seen), who was very grudging in her answers, and gave
me the impression that she was accustomed to deal with persons who had
some "axe to grind" by claiming acquaintance with the Countess.

I did not happen to have the letter in my pocket which authorised my
visit, and should probably not have produced it in any case. So I turned
away rather shortly, leaving my card, saying: "I must trouble you to
forward this at once to Lady Caithness."

The moment the secretary saw my name, her manner entirely changed, and
became as servile as it had been "cavalier."

"Miss Bates, I see? Oh, certainly, I shall communicate at once with her
ladyship. I had no idea it was Miss Bates. Pray excuse me, so many come
and ask for the Duchesse, and we have to be so very particular. But, of
course, _you_ must be the lady the Duchesse is so very fond of. She has
mentioned you often, and warned us to receive you with every courtesy."

And that is my last recollection of the kindly woman, who died a few
months later. No, not absolutely my last recollection: visiting Scotland
in 1896, I made a point of going to Holyrood Chapel for the express
purpose of finding her grave.

The plain stone slab and simple inscription seemed at first a curious
contrast to the gorgeous magnificence of her home and dress and
surroundings. Yet I am inclined to think that they represented a side of
her character which was quite as real as the other.

In like manner, no one who knew of her only as a "wild visionary" could
have realised the shrewd, practical woman of business and of
common-sense who shared the personality of Countess of Caithness and
Duchesse de Pomar.

I remember that Mr Frederic Myers made the same remark to me after a
visit he paid to her, just after my return to England, for the purpose
of arranging matters with regard to her generous bequest to the Society
for Psychical Research.



CHAPTER VIII

FROM OXFORD TO WIMBLEDON


From Paris to England is not a long cry, and my next reminiscence is
connected with the University of Oxford.

I was spending a few days there with a friend in the spring of 1896,
and went with her one afternoon to an Oxford tea-party, with its usual
sprinkling of women, married and unmarried; a few dons captured as a
question of friendship, and more than a few undergraduates.

Amongst the latter I chanced to hear the name of a very well-known
bishop, whom I had first met and known rather intimately when I was a
young girl, and he a young married curate. I had also known his wife
(a few years my senior) very intimately in those far-off days, so my
curiosity was aroused to know if the young man in this Oxford
drawing-room should chance to be a son of this bishop, whom we will
call the Bishop of Granchester. I found that my surmise was correct;
the young man was introduced to me, and we were soon deep in an
interesting conversation about his parents, especially his mother, who
had died when he was barely three years old. He knew little or nothing
about her. His father had married again, and his paternal grandmother
(still alive in 1896) had never cared for his mother--from feelings
of jealousy probably--so there was no one to speak to the boy about
her, and he was naturally delighted to hear all my girlish
recollections of her.

"Do come and have tea with me to-morrow afternoon, or any day that suits
you," he said eagerly. "I have one or two old photographs taken of my
mother when she was young, and I should like so much to know which of
them you consider the best."

Of course, I agreed to go, Mr Blake-Mason promising to ask a "chum" to
entertain my hostess whilst he and I discussed the photographs and the
old days before he was born.

Returning home from his rooms that February evening, I was conscious
once more of an unaccountable depression, and also a certain amount of
nervous irritability, which other sensitives will understand, and which
often precedes some psychic happening. Just after we had finished
dinner, it struck me suddenly, and _for the first time_, that my
discomfort might be connected with my afternoon visit. This young man's
mother might be wishing to impress me in some way! I found that this was
the fact, but felt unequal to going further into the matter that night.

I promised to listen to anything she might wish to say next morning, and
having given this promise, all unpleasant and disturbing influences
disappeared, and I had a good night's rest. Next morning, after
breakfast, my hostess said very practically:

"Now do get this matter off your mind at once, or you will be worried
about it all day. I am going to order dinner, and shall then be in the
drawing-room, so you can have this room entirely to yourself."

I sat down, and a very beautiful message was given to me by the friend
of my girlhood.

She was evidently very much perturbed and very anxious about something
connected with her youngest son, whom I had met for the first time two
days previously, and about whose affairs, I need scarcely say, I was in
a state of profound ignorance. The little mother was anxious not to
"give him away," nor betray confidences, and so her words were very
guarded. There was evidently nothing in the least dishonourable or in
any way _unworthy_ of her son in question. I gathered, rather, that he
might be contemplating some step which she, from her wider outlook,
considered undesirable and inexpedient; possibly even disastrous in the
future.

It was no business of mine, and I make it a point of honour not to "try
to guess" more than I am told, and to forget what I _am_ told as soon as
possible, where the affairs of other people are involved.

This is, fortunately, easy for me as a rule, but in this case one
sentence remains even now ringing in my ears, and if the son ever comes
across this record I hope he will forgive my reproducing his mother's
last beautiful words to me:

"_Tell my darling boy that life is so solemn and true love so sacred a
thing. Tell him to be very, very sure, lest he lose the substance in
pursuing the shadow._"

The first sentence is given verbatim. In the second my memory may be
producing the sense without the exact wording, but I have no doubt at
all that my words practically convey what the mother wished me to "tell
her boy."

This message gave me a hard problem to solve: "What should I do with
it?"

On the one hand, my having agreed to take the message, tacitly bound me
to let him have it.

On the other hand, there were various questions to consider. In the
first place, Mr Blake-Mason might probably, and very naturally, resent
my writing to him on the subject, especially as I had no reason to
suppose he had any knowledge of psychic matters.

Secondly, he might suppose (quite untruly) that I had heard some private
affairs of his discussed, and had taken upon myself to convey a personal
warning, under cover of his dead mother's wishes.

This was perhaps exaggerating a possibility, which, nevertheless, could
not be ignored.

Thirdly, he might consider me a harmless lunatic, conveying a message
which had no slightest foundation in truth.

Fourthly, it might, on the other hand, give him the impression that
his mother must have some access to his most private affairs; in which
case he might become intensely interested in psychic matters, to the
exclusion of more mundane affairs--always a danger with young
people--not to mention other possibilities of psychic disaster for
_inexperienced investigators_.

I went over all these chances _con_, to put against the one _pro_ of his
mother's loving anxiety, and my sense of responsibility to her.

Finally, I decided that there was no choice left for me but to send the
message, and trust the consequences to a Higher Wisdom.

I did this, adding a few words of explanation, and also of warning, in
case he should recognise my absolute _bonâ fides_ and his mother's
personality, and become too much absorbed by these psychic
possibilities. Unfortunately, I added, in his own interests, _that it
was not necessary to acknowledge the letter._

"It would doubtless reach him, and I had nothing more to do with the
matter."

I left Oxford next day, and have never seen the young man since; nor
have I ever heard from him. I concluded that he was annoyed, or that the
message was quite wide of the mark. I never doubted his mother's
presence with me, but I might have failed to reproduce her words to her
son with sufficient accuracy for recognition.

Anyway, I put the matter out of my head as one of those trying episodes
to which all sensitives are exposed at times, when they think more of
conscience than personal convenience.

Three or four years passed before the corroboration of that message came
to me, in a rather curious manner.

A cousin of mine, having been badly wounded in the West African War, was
sent to a London hospital to have the bullet, which had puzzled all the
local surgeons, located and extracted.

He was at the hospital for several weeks during the London season of
1899, I think. During these weeks I, in common with many other friends
and relations, was in the habit of paying him occasional visits. I had
gone to say good-bye to him on leaving town, when "by chance" (as we
call it) he mentioned, for the _first_ time, the name of his ward
sister, adding how charming and kind and capable she had proved. "By the
way, she is a daughter of the Bishop of Granchester," he added. "You
know everybody, Cousin Emmie! perhaps you know _her_," he said, smiling.

"No; I don't know her, Bertie! but I knew her mother and father very
well many years ago."

Nothing would satisfy him but that I should ask to see her when I left
the hospital, and as he seemed really anxious on the point I promised to
do so, though inwardly averse from disturbing a busy woman.

I asked the hall porter for her, but said I had no special business, and
would not ask to see her unless she happened to be quite free. In a few
moments he returned, and showed me into a pretty sitting-room on the
ground floor, saying that the sister would be with me shortly. The door
opened again to admit a bright, pleasant-looking young woman of seven or
eight and twenty, who gave me a most cordial greeting when she heard my
name, saying: "Oh yes, Frank told me all about meeting you at Oxford."

I did not feel very keen about talking of "Frank" just then; but we sat
down, and had a long half hour's chat on much the same lines as my
conversation with her brother three years before.

I had said good-bye, and she had accompanied me across the hall to the
fine stone steps leading from the hospital--she had, in fact, turned
towards her own apartments--when I felt I _must_ ask her one more
question, so I also turned, and hurried back to her.

"Did your brother Frank ever tell you of a letter he received from me in
Oxford?" I asked.

"Oh yes," she answered, without a touch of embarrassment.

Then I continued: "I never heard from him about it. I told him he need
not write at the time, but I have been afraid he was hurt or annoyed,
and thought it an impertinence on my part perhaps."

"Did Frank never write?" she asked, with genuine astonishment. "I know
he intended to do so. Certainly he was not annoyed in any way. Far from
it. He was intensely interested, and _I have the best of reasons for
knowing that that message from our mother made a very great difference
in his life_."

I thanked her for these words, without asking anything further. As I
have said, it was no affair of mine, from first to last; but the
verification, after such a lapse of time, was doubly satisfactory to me.

Again I ask: How about the "_Cui Bono_" argument?

       *       *       *       *       *

Another shake of the kaleidoscope, and I find myself at Wimbledon,
staying with a friend--now, alas! passed away--who had then a pretty
house not far from the Common, and with whom I often spent a few days
when in London.

On this occasion she had asked some friends to meet me at tea, amongst
them Mrs Alfred Wedgwood, to whom I had introduced her some years
previously, and my friends "V. C. Desertis" and his wife.

A Miss Farquhar, whom I knew very slightly, was sharing a sofa with me,
she sitting at one end and I at the other, leaving a vacant space
between us. Mrs Wedgwood was talking to Mr Desertis at the moment, but
suddenly looked across the room at our sofa, and began describing very
graphically an old man of benevolent aspect sitting between Miss
Farquhar and myself, leaning on a stick, and wearing a soft felt hat.

"He has long hair, almost down to his coat collar, and he looks such a
dear, kind old man!" Mrs Wedgwood said; then turning round, she added:
"Surely some of you must recognise him! he is so very clear and distinct
in his whole personality."

Mrs Desertis whispered something to her husband, who asked at once if
the old gentleman's hair was very white.

"Yes; quite white," said Mrs Wedgwood hopefully.

"And curly and long?"

"Yes; curly and quite long, reaching to his collar," continued Mrs
Wedgwood, still more confidently.

But our hopes were dashed when Mr Desertis turned round drily to his
wife: "Then it cannot possibly be my father, as you suggested. His hair
was white, but _quite short_."

It was a cruel blow! But Mrs Wedgwood still affirmed that she had never
seen anyone more distinctly, whether we recognised him or not.

I may here mention that I had been sleeping very badly in this house for
some nights past, and regretted this the more, because I was shortly
going to stay with a friend at Windsor for my first "Fourth of June,"
and wished to be specially bright and well for the coming festivities.

These bad nights were later proved to have some connection with the
benevolent old gentleman just described!

Now I will continue the sequence of events.

Mrs Wedgwood's clairvoyant description had been forgotten by us all, as
I supposed, long before the afternoon came to an end. It had passed
unrecognised, and other interesting matters arose in conversation.

The following day Miss Farquhar wrote a line to my hostess, asking if
she might come to tea towards the end of the week, as she had something
very interesting to tell us. She came, of course, and thus unfolded her
budget:

"None of you seemed very much impressed about that old gentleman Mrs
Wedgwood described here the other day, but her words were so graphic
that I felt sure she was really seeing him at the moment, so I
determined to try and find out something about him.

"I went to an old lady I know, one of the oldest inhabitants, and asked
her if she knew anything of your predecessors in this house. She told me
an elderly couple had lived here, a husband and wife, that the husband
had died, and that although the wife lived away from Wimbledon now, she
could not bear to part with the house which her husband had been so fond
of; so let it. In fact, my old friend seemed to think she must be your
present landlady."

This was said to my hostess, and proved to be quite true. The house had
been let through an agent, and as the present owner lived in a distant
county, nothing was known of her personally by my friend.

Then Miss Farquhar continued: "Hearing that the old man was so devoted
to the house rather suggested a reason for Mrs Wedgwood seeing him here,
so I asked my old lady if she had known this gentleman, and if so, would
she describe him. She did this, _almost word for word as Mrs Wedgwood
had seen him_. Also, she added, that he was a good deal of an invalid,
often sat indoors, with a hat on for fear of draughts, and carried a
stick, upon which he constantly leant for support."

This was very satisfactory, and we applauded Miss Farquhar's detective
instincts, and promised to let Mrs Wedgwood know about the matter.

The latter took it all very quietly, only remarking that she felt sure
someone ought to be able to find out about the old man.

A sudden thought struck me that my disturbed nights and uncomfortable
feelings, in a very cheerful and pretty bedroom, might possibly be
connected with the same old man. Without saying a word about this, I
asked Mrs Wedgwood to come up into my room before she returned to
London, and then I told her that I could not sleep, and had not had a
peaceful night since I arrived. Could she find out what was the cause?

Mrs Wedgwood looked round for a moment, and then said in the most casual
way: "Not the smallest doubt of the cause. It is that old man, of
course. He is earth-bound, I expect, and haunting the house. You had
better take a message from him if you want to get rid of him. I would
help you if I could, but I shall be late for my train if I don't start
at once."

Next morning I took the poor old gentleman's message, which began with
an apology and regrets for disturbing me, but went on pathetically:

"You must forgive me, I was so very anxious to send a message to my
wife, and I saw that you were a sensitive and could take it from me--I
did not realise that it might cause you so much discomfort. That lady
called me earth-bound, but if I am, it is only through my deep love for
my dear wife, and I am permitted to watch over her. I was drawn here by
my old affection for this house, and also by your presence here, knowing
you could help me."

He then gave the message, of which I can only remember that it was most
touching in its expressions of deep affection and watchful care for his
widow.

As we did not know this lady's present address, and could not procure it
without raising inconvenient questions, my hostess and I settled that
she should lock up the message, in the hope that some day we might be
able to forward it.

A year later I had a most unpleasant experience of being made to feel
seriously ill when I came down for a night from town, and as another
clairvoyant assured me that this resulted from the message remaining
undelivered and the poor old man's frantic endeavours to reach his
wife's consciousness, I told my Wimbledon friend that something _must_
be done. Either she must procure the lady's address "_coûte que coûte_,"
or I could not come down again to Wimbledon until this step had been
taken.

Under pressure of this determination of mine the address was procured,
and this led to a rather unpleasant experience.

I wrote a very courteous letter to the lady, enclosing the message, and
explaining that I was quite debarred from visiting my Wimbledon friend
until it was delivered, that I hoped, therefore, she would excuse my
sending it, after more than a year's consideration of the question. I
further intimated that although she might consider me a lunatic for my
pains, I trusted there could be nothing to vex or hurt her in so
touching an evidence of her husband's constant care and love, however
little faith she might be disposed to place in the source from which the
message was supposed to emanate.

The answer came as a shower bath on my unfortunate head.

The old lady (?) was furious. She had never heard of such wicked
nonsense! "_Her dear husband was quite the gentleman, both in clothes
and appearance, and he was not old--not a day over sixty-eight--when he
died_," etc. etc.

It would have been amusing if it had not been rather pitiful to think of
the poor "young" man of sixty-eight trying so hard to reach such a
termagant!

Later, I heard that the military man, through whom the old lady's
address had been given to my Wimbledon hostess, had asked the husband of
the latter if I were a lunatic, by any chance!

And this is how some of us welcome our friends from the other side of
the veil! The marvel to me is that Love can still be stronger than
Death, in face of such ingratitude and stupidity!

I have already mentioned my extreme sensitiveness to the atmosphere
(psychic) of rooms, especially rooms where one sleeps. I find another
instance of this in my notes.

I was paying a first visit to a friend in the south of England, and a
very bright, cheerful room had been allotted to me there.

From the first night I felt a strong influence of a man in the room.
Kindly note that I do not say the influence of a _strong_ man; on the
contrary, the character appeared to me that of an essentially weak
man--weak rather than wicked--sensual as well as sensuous--self-indulgent,
and greatly wanting in grit and will power.

My hostess had two sons, one whom I knew, and the other, living abroad,
whom I had never met. The influence I felt was certainly not that of the
son I knew, who was both manly and strong-willed, a fine soldier, and
"hard as nails," as men would say.

I feared it might be the other son, however, and took an early
opportunity of asking to see a photograph of the latter. My mind was
quite set at rest. It was certainly not this man's influence that I had
felt so strongly in my room.

Asking my hostess, _who_ had chiefly occupied the room, she said at
once: "Both my sons have slept there at different times," adding, "I am
sure you have some of your queer ideas about the room--what is the
matter with it?"

I told her; "Now that I am quite convinced that neither of your sons is
implicated, I will describe to you the character of a man whom I feel
sure must have slept in that room and has left a strong psychic
influence behind him."

I then mentioned the characteristics already given, and one or two more
which have escaped my memory.

My sceptical friend looked a little surprised. She said nothing at the
moment, but crossed the room to a cabinet, whence she took a photograph
of a man which I had never seen, and placed it in my hands.

"I am bound to confess," she added, "that you have exactly described the
character of my brother-in-law, who certainly has occupied the room more
than once."

The sequel to this little incident is rather significant.

A year or two later, this lady and I, having both succumbed to influenza
and bronchitis, were sent off to the same place abroad to recuperate.

Her attack had ended sooner than mine, so that I joined her there, and
one of the first pieces of news she gave me was of the death of this
brother-in-law, adding: "Poor fellow! He died from a very painful
disease, and suffered terribly. He had grave faults, but, as you said,
they came from weakness rather than wickedness. At anyrate, he was
humble-minded, for he wrote a touching letter to me when I lost a very
dear relation lately, wondering why such a valuable life should have
been taken and such a 'useless log' as himself be left alive."

This poor man had only just passed over when I joined my friend, and I
felt that he was in a very bewildered and sad state of mind. I could
realise his presence so clearly, partly, no doubt, from having sensed
his character so strongly, that the obvious thing seemed to be to try
and help him on his new plane of life.

To the superficial mind it appears very absurd, and equally irreverent,
to suppose that a faulty creature on this side the veil can help a
faulty creature on the _other_ side. Personally, I have never had any
difficulty in realising the power of prayer for those who have passed
beyond our mortal sight.

Surely we are one large family, whether here or there? The best way to
make children love each other is to persuade them to _help_ each other.
Is it strange that the same rule should apply to the universe that
applies to the tiny portion of it that we know?

Anyway, I am quite sure in this case that my prayers did help and
comfort this poor man in his dark experience.

In a few weeks the position seemed to be altogether lightened. He
thanked me for my sympathy and companionship, and I have never heard of
him since.

The caviller will say at once: "Could not someone else have done the
work equally well--either a near relation in the other sphere or a
ministering angel?"

The answer is: "Certainly they could have done it equally well, probably
far better."

But the point is that it happened to be the bit of work put into _my_
hands, and at least I did my best. What more can any of us say?

Again I ask: How about the "_Cui Bono_" argument?



CHAPTER IX

HAUNTINGS BY THE LIVING AND THE DEAD

1896


In this same year (1896) I remember another curious incident.

I was staying in London during the season, and some girl friends were
very anxious that I should meet a lady whom they knew intimately and
wished me to know also. As so often happens under these circumstances,
we were not in the least degree interested in each other; but that has
nothing to do with my story.

The girls had asked various other friends, but this special lady was the
_raison d'être_ of the tea-party, and they begged me to come in good
time, because Mrs Halifax had several other engagements, and could not
pay them a long visit.

So I dressed hurriedly in order to keep the appointment, and went to the
house feeling rather bored by the whole arrangement, little dreaming
that it would be the occasion of such an interesting personal
experience. The lady turned out to be exceedingly prosperous and
extremely uninteresting, from my point of view. Probably she would have
given her ideas of me in much the same way! I realised that she had
brought a son and a daughter with her, but did _not_ know that another
young man (whose _face_ I have never seen) was also a son of hers. I
talked to the mother for the conventional quarter of an hour, and then
turned with relief to the other son whom she had mentioned, and with
whom I found several old friends in common.

Meanwhile the room was filling up with guests; amongst these late comers
I noticed the entrance of a man whose face did not impress me at all
favourably. He looked dissipated and conceited. I did not speak to this
man, but my strong impression about him is a factor in the story.

When the lady, _par excellence_, of the entertainment rose to leave the
room, followed by her son and daughter, I noticed that a second young
man was also in her train; but I had not seen him previously, for the
very good reason that he had been sitting behind my back all the
afternoon.

I did not see his face even now. My attention had been diverted from the
Halifax party as they rose to take leave, and I only noticed the _back_
of the second young man as they left the room, and was told later that
this was another son of Mrs Halifax, no other comment upon him being
made.

In those days I was able to do more work on the psychic plane than at
present, and often tried to help sad or wandering spirits by praying for
them when made conscious of their presence near me.

When I woke in the night--after this tea-party--therefore, and felt a
presence near me, it did not at first alarm me in any way.

When fully awake, however, I quickly realised that this was no poor,
sad, bewildered spirit, but a very malignant and revengeful one. I _did
not recognise the sex at the moment_. In fact, my consciousness was
entirely engrossed by realising that this was a question of my prayers
being needed by no spirit more urgently than by my own.

Something very malignant was in the room--something or someone far too
actively and insistently wrathful and malignant to listen to any prayers
or entreaties.

This conviction grew so strong upon me that I lighted my candle, and
getting out of bed, prayed for protection against the evil thing that
was present in my room.

I think I must have remained at least ten minutes on my knees, and I can
remember distinctly the feeling of alarm and hopelessness that came over
me when I realised how strong were the Powers of Darkness and how little
my prayers _seemed_ to avail me.

Shortly, however, faith returned, and with it the confidence of victory.
I returned to my bed quite calm and strong, and fell asleep knowing that
the malignant presence was no longer there to worry and torment me.

I have always found it as easy to communicate with incarnate spirits at
a distance as with discarnate ones, so on awaking in the morning, and
remembering my disagreeable experience, I asked a friend, "still in the
body," what was the meaning of it.

I had made up my mind that if it were in any way connected with the
visitors of the previous afternoon, it must be with the
dissipated-looking young man, for whom I had conceived an instinctive
aversion.

To my infinite surprise _his_ name was not given, but that of the
younger Halifax son. "It was Henry Halifax. It is a spirit which was
haunting him and came to you afterwards."

Now, as I had not even seen this young man, as already explained, I
could not bear to think of any false and fanciful accusation being made
against him; so remonstrated with my friend.

"Do be careful in giving me the name. Are you quite sure you mean Henry
Halifax? Are you not thinking of Mr Loseby?" (Mentioning the name that
had been given me of the other gentleman.)

"No; I mean Henry Halifax."

"But I did not even _see_ him," I urged.

"_No; but you were sitting with your back to him all afternoon. Don't
you know the back is more psychically sensitive than any other part of
the body?_"

Nothing was said about the malignant spirit beyond the fact that it was
someone "haunting" Henry Halifax.

The matter, once explained, I put it out of my head, having no special
curiosity as to the reason of the haunting, and supposing it might have
been some male acquaintance of his.

That morning I went down to my Wimbledon friend for a night. I arrived
in time for luncheon on Saturday morning, and after a pleasant walk on
the Common in the afternoon my friend suggested our coming home by a
certain florist's shop, as she wished to buy some plants for her
drawing-room.

I had already met this florist's wife, a very "spooky" person, who had
been introduced by us to Mr Myers and the Society for Psychical
Research. She was a handsome, fresh-coloured, practical woman, with
nothing of the weird and pallid "ghost seer" about her comely face. But
she had had some wonderful experiences, and her children also; and these
had been already imparted to Mr Frederic Myers.

When the business part of our interview was concluded Mrs Levret turned
to me, and said: "Well, ma'am, I _am_ glad to see you again in these
parts. Have you had any curious experiences since I saw you last?"

Now Mrs Levret had so many curious experiences of her own, as to which
she was wont to be very voluble, that I had never before known her
express curiosity about those of anybody else.

This just flashed through my mind as I answered her:

"No; nothing particular, Mrs Levret. By-the-by, I had a rather
disagreeable experience last night, but it has been explained." And in a
few words I mentioned what has been already described at length.

From my words she must have gathered that I supposed the haunting spirit
to be that of a _man_, and that I did not attach much importance to it
any way.

As we left the shop my charming hostess, who was equally beloved by
those in her own class and those out of it, turned round, and said
pleasantly: "We must hurry home now, Mrs Levret, but do come up
to-morrow and see Miss Bates. She does not leave me till the evening,
and I know you will enjoy having a talk with her."

Mrs Levret promised to come, and appeared next morning, having first
ascertained that the sceptical husband of my hostess would not be upon
the premises. "He does laugh at me so, ma'am," she said apologetically.
So she was brought straight up to my bedroom next day, and we had an
interesting talk over her own strange adventures.

Suddenly she looked up, and said: "_À propos des bottes._"

"How about that young man, ma'am? What are you going to do about him?"

"What young man?" I said, honestly puzzled. "And what can I do about any
young man?"

The Halifax incident had so completely faded from my mind that I could
not for the moment imagine what she meant.

"The young man you told me about yesterday afternoon, ma'am," Mrs Levret
answered stoutly.

"But I can't do anything about him. What _should_ I do?"

Then she took up her parable in these words:

"Well, ma'am, I have been thinking a deal about that young man since
yesterday. It seemed to take a sort of hold upon me. It seems given to
me, ma'am, _that it is a young woman who is haunting him--a young woman
who is not in his own rank in life--someone whom he wronged_."

I was amazed by these words, and still more by the keen interest Mrs
Levret showed in the subject.

"But what can _I_ do in the matter, even if it be as you say?" was my
next question.

"Well, ma'am, they give me to understand that the young man must be made
to confess. He will never have any peace until he does. It seems to me
_you_ might get him to confess."

Now there could be no question of confession on the outer plane, as the
young man was a perfect stranger to me, and there was small chance of
our ever meeting again.

But I was aware that Mrs Levret was not speaking of the outer plane, so
I agreed to take pencil and paper, and see if I could bring the spirit
of Henry Halifax to me, and having done so, whether I could induce him
to tell me the truth.

He came, but for a long time would say neither YES nor NO. "_What
business is it of yours?_" was the constant reply to my questions. And I
am bound to say it appeared a very pertinent one, from the ordinary
point of view.

Clearly it _was_ no business of mine; but Mrs Levret was so much in
earnest, and had impressed me so strongly with what "_had been given to
her_," that I felt I must persevere, in the young fellow's own
interests.

So I explained that I had no wish to pry into his private affairs from
any mere unworthy curiosity, but that having myself felt the malignant
presence that was said to be haunting him, and being told that only
confession would remove it, I hoped he would consider the matter
seriously before obstinately closing the door of opportunity now open to
him. "Who could foretell when he might have another chance?"

A long pause succeeded these words. I felt that the angry, irritable
mood was passing over, and when my hand was next influenced to write,
the words that came were not the usual curt "_None of your business_,"
but an apology for his rude reception of my efforts to help him, and a
full confession, which entirely bore out Mrs Levret's impressions.

He told me that it was only too true that he had betrayed a young woman
in a different rank of life from his own. She had died in child-birth
_the preceding midsummer_, and had died cursing him for his perfidy.
Ever since (it was now late in June) he had been haunted by her
presence, seeing nothing, but always conscious of a malignant spirit
tempting him to his own destruction. The mental agony was so great that
he told me he did not think he could endure it much longer, and had
almost decided to put an end to his life (little realising, poor fellow,
that bad as this life might be, the next phase would be far worse for
him).

After trying to soothe and comfort him, without in any way minimising
the weight of his sin or attempting to lessen his remorse for it, it
struck me that it would be well to try and have a little talk with his
poor young victim. So saying good-bye, and promising to remember him in
future, I asked mentally for _her_ spirit to come, and then tried to
influence her in the direction of forgiveness. It was a hard struggle,
and no wonder.

The poor young woman had trusted him, had been deceived, and finally
launched into another sphere without any preparation for it. What wonder
that she haunted the man who had wronged her so terribly, through pure
selfishness, and that any love she had ever borne him had long since
turned to deadly hate!

It needed both time and patience to rouse even mere passive feelings
towards him. I spoke of his deep remorse and misery. At first she only
answered that she was very glad to hear it, because it showed she had
succeeded in making her presence felt.

By degrees, however, a more womanly view of the subject seemed to come
to her. After all, he was the father of her child; the poor little
baby that had mercifully followed its mother into the Great Unseen.
She had loved him once, by her own showing. I made the most of this
point, and very slowly, very grudgingly, she gave me the promise I
asked for--_i.e._ that she would at least cease this revengeful
haunting, even if she could not yet feel more kindly towards the one
who had injured her so deeply.

Having extracted this promise I felt that no more could be done for the
time being, and Mrs Levret, who had been sitting in unwonted silence
during both interviews, then took her leave.

I have given this case and its treatment very much _in extenso_, not
only because it may be helpful to others dealing with erring and
revengeful spirits, but because on my return to London _every
important point in this true narrative was amply corroborated_.

It took some time and a good deal of tact before the case was complete.

First, I learned that Henry Halifax was by no means a _persona grata_ in
the house where I first met him, and that my young friends there had
only been allowed to ask him under some protest, and because the rest
of his family were to be present.

Asked _why_ this should be the case, their answers were naturally vague:
they only knew he was not very welcome.

Of course, I did not pursue the matter with these young people. They
told me, however, that he was very much changed of late, and seemed so
often moody, unhappy, and discontented.

"I am sure _we_ should be happy enough if we had such a luxurious home
and all that money," said one of them naïvely.

Now I happened to know rather intimately at that time another friend of
the Halifax family; a woman considerably older than the young girls
mentioned, and as she had some little knowledge of psychic possibilities
I determined to lay the whole story before her, trusting to her honour
to keep it to herself, and not to allow any prejudice against Henry
Halifax to arise in her mind should she know nothing of the
circumstances.

She had known the family from her childhood, and I knew, therefore,
would not be influenced by the word of an outsider under these
circumstances. But I discovered that the confession of Henry Halifax,
the spirit, was no illusion on my part, but _the absolute truth_.

Young, handsome, rich, with all the world before him (he was only
twenty-four at the time), this lady had been greatly puzzled by his
intense depression of the last few months, and told me that he was
constantly speaking of suicide. It was supposed to be a purely physical
condition by his parents and others. She, however, knew an intimate man
friend of his. By one of those not uncommon mistakes, whereby each one
supposes the other to be in the confidence of a mutual acquaintance, she
had discovered that the real trouble was mental rather than physical,
and that the death of the young woman of lower social position, in
child-birth, "_last midsummer_" was an actual fact!

Needless to say how great was her astonishment to find that the whole
story had been made known to me through such a curious train of
circumstances--first, my experience of the malignant spirit; secondly,
my happening to go to Wimbledon next day and mention the circumstances
to the wife of the florist there; thirdly, _her_ strong and, as it
proved, quite accurate impressions upon the subject; and fourthly, my
two interviews:--first, with the betrayer, and then with the betrayed on
the psychic plane.

Some few months later I was asked by the lady just mentioned if I should
object to meeting Henry Halifax at dinner next evening.

"Not at all," was my answer. In fact, I felt it might be part of some
psychic plan that I should do so. Evidently this was not the case, for
at the last moment a telegram came to his hostess to say he was
unexpectedly prevented from returning to town.

So we have never met at all! But I trust the confession may have been as
efficacious as Mrs Levret was told that it would be. Anyway, I can
testify that the gentleman in question is now happily married, and,
therefore, presumably no longer haunted by the revengeful spirit, who
has long since, let us trust, found happiness and peace in a higher
world than this.

       *       *       *       *       *

Speaking of haunting by the so-called dead reminds me of haunting by the
so-called living.

In this same year (1896) I was staying in Cambridge for the first time
in my life.

Oxford I have known since girlhood, but this was my first visit to the
Sister University; needless to say, however, that I have met many men
who have graduated there. Not knowing the town of Cambridge myself, I
had never made it a subject of discussion, and ten years ago I was not
even aware that such a street as Trumpington Street existed, difficult
as it may be for Cambridge people to credit this statement.

In any case, most emphatically, I did _not_ know that a very old friend
of mine, who became later in life a judge, had ever lived in this
street.

Having been a sailor in youth, he had gone up to Cambridge comparatively
late; this was shortly before my acquaintance with him began.

Not knowing Cambridge at all, the question of where he lived there had
never entered into our conversations together. Probably I took it for
granted that he was living in his college (Peterhouse). The strong
feeling of friendship between us had become a warmer sentiment on his
side, and this led later, and inevitably, to a thorough break in our
pleasant relations with each other.

Long years passed, during which I neither saw nor heard of my friend.

I knew that he had married, and had had a somewhat successful career as
a barrister in London, and that was all I knew about him.

After staying for a week or two with friends in the neighbourhood of
Cambridge in 1896, I had taken rooms for a month _in_ Cambridge,
inviting one of these friends to stay with me as my guest.

We came upon these special rooms in a curious way. Having worked through
a list of those suggested to us by a friend, none of which quite suited,
I heard, by the merest chance, that possibly I might find what I wanted
in Trumpington Street, at the house of a very respectable Cambridge
tradesman. We went there, but only to find that the rooms vacant could
not be ready for me at the time specified, as some old customers were
coming to them for three or four days.

"But I want them for a _month_," I expostulated.

The landlady was firm; she could not disappoint these people after
promising to take them in.

In spite of my disappointment, I admired her so much for this strict
sense of honour that I determined to look at the rooms in case of
requiring any at a future date.

We went upstairs. The rooms were exactly what I required, and very clean
and well furnished, so it ended by my agreeing to take them for a week
later, although at a considerable inconvenience.

It was in this casual way that I entered the house about the middle of
May 1896. My friend was not able to join me until the morning after my
arrival, so I spent the first evening alone, and retired to bed rather
early. I slept well enough during the earlier part of the night, but
awoke about two A.M., having had a tiresome, worrying dream about the
very man I have mentioned, who had certainly not been in my thoughts for
many months, or possibly years.

Even when fully awake, his influence was still in the room with me, and
falling asleep again, there he was once more in my dream, twitting me
with my want of appreciation of him in the past, and suggesting what a
much more successful career I might have had through marrying him. This
sort of thing went on for the rest of the night. Either I woke up with a
disagreeable start, still feeling the man's influence in the room, or
sank into a troubled sleep, to be once more at the mercy of his
reproaches!

When morning came I was only too thankful to get up, and when my friend
arrived on her bicycle about noon, and asked me how I had slept in the
strange house, I was forced to confess that my night had been much
troubled by dreams about an old friend, of whom she had never heard,
by-the-by.

"Oh, well, we all dream about old friends sometimes," she said, "but I'm
afraid in this case your dreams were not pleasant; you look tired out!
Anyway, it is a mercy that it was not F----'s!"

And so with a joke the matter dropped.

But the following night the trouble was renewed. Even then I did not in
any way connect it with the room in which I was sleeping, and I said
nothing next day to my friend on the subject.

But the _third_ night matters had gone beyond a joke. The influence was
stronger than ever, the gibes and reproaches more accentuated, and, in
addition to these, there was on my side the exasperation engendered by
three sleepless nights.

Instead of feeling depressed--as on the two previous occasions--the
"worm turned" at last!

I spoke out loud in my vexation, as though the man himself were there
listening to me.

"Well," I said, "I have no unkindly feeling towards _you_ of any kind.
If you have nothing better to do than to come worrying me and keeping me
awake in this way, it just shows how wise I was _not_ to marry you! You
have nothing to do with my life now. And YOU CAN GO."

"Standing up" in this way to the ghost of the living had a most
excellent effect, upon my mind at anyrate. I felt intensely relieved,
and soon fell into a long and dreamless sleep.

This last experience first suggested the idea that this old friend _must
have some special connection with that house_. In the morning I
confessed to my friend that my second night had been as disturbed as the
first, and the last the worst of all, adding: "That man is simply
haunting the place. I am determined to try and find out if he ever
lodged here."

This was by no means easy, as it turned out. His College career was
already buried in the snows of some twenty-five years. Moreover, when I
questioned the young daughter of our landlady as to how long her parents
had lived in the house, she said at once: "Just seventeen years, ma'am.
Father and mother came here the year I was born."

This did not help me much. I asked who had rented the house previously.
Referring this question to her mother, she told me it had been taken
from some people who had left Cambridge, and "_Mother thought they were
both dead now_."

This was a second _cul-de-sac_ for me!

But I was determined to go on with my investigations, simply grounded
upon the strong conviction that such repeated experiences _must_ have
some foundation in fact.

The girl saw I looked disappointed. "Did you want to know about anyone
who lived here long ago?" she ventured timidly.

"Yes; I wanted to find out whether an old friend of mine ever lodged
here; he belonged to Peterhouse," was my answer.

"Ah, then, I am sure he would not have lodged here," said the girl
confidently. "None of the Peterhouse gentlemen come here. It is always
the Pembroke men who come to this house."

It seemed fated that I should hear no more about my living ghost.

A few days later, however, the luck turned.

I was told quite casually that Mr Pound, the well-known Cambridge
chemist, had occupied our house years before, and I determined to verify
this some day. As Mr Pound combined the post office with his drugs, one
often went into the shop, but hitherto I had only seen his assistants.

Going in one day with my friend for some stamps, Mr Pound himself handed
them to me.

Here was my chance! I must confess that I hesitated to ask such an
apparently absurd question on such slender grounds. In any case, was it
likely that he would remember the names of all the undergraduates in
the University who might have lodged with him twenty or thirty years
before? I whispered to my friend: "Shall I ask him?" but she did not
hear, so even this small encouragement was denied me. I was actually
turning to leave the shop, when resolution at length took the reins, and
I found myself asking:

"Is it true, Mr Pound, that you lived many years ago at No. --
Trumpington Street?"

"Quite true," was the ready answer. "I went there in the year
fifty-five." (I quote this from memory, but it was in the fifties
certainly.)

"I wanted to ask a question about a gentleman who may have lodged with
you a good deal later than that--about seventy, I should think." And I
mentioned the name of my friend.

Mr Pound's brow cleared at once, and he looked up with a beaming smile.
"Mr Forbes," he said--"why, of course, I remember him well. He lodged
with me over eighteen months." Then turning to his assistant, he told
him to go into the parlour and bring out the large photograph album.
There was my friend, sure enough, with his big dog--the very photograph
I had of him, given me in the early days of our acquaintance.

Mr Pound was full of reminiscences. My friend had evidently been a prime
favourite with him, and it was some minutes before I could squeeze in my
crucial question. It seemed almost impossible to expect him to remember
the exact rooms occupied by Mr Forbes, considering there were two or
three "sets" of rooms in the house, in addition to several bedrooms
which were let separately.

But even here Mr Pound's memory proved invaluable. "Which room he slept
in? Why, of course, I remember distinctly. He had the large front
sitting-room and the bedroom at the back of it; over our living-room in
those days."

So I was living in Mr Forbes' sitting-room, and sleeping in the bedroom,
he had occupied for more than eighteen months.

My Cambridgeshire friend was, fortunately, present as a witness that no
word of mine had indicated this fact before Mr Pound corroborated my
intuitive impression. She said afterwards, laughingly, that Mr Myers
would certainly think I had got up a special ghost story for him the
moment I set foot in Cambridge.

However this may be, both he and Professor Sidgwick were greatly
interested in it, for, as they explained, there were fifty accounts of
haunting by the dead to one such example of haunting by the living.

Of course, such a case presents innumerable difficulties; still the
salient fact remains, that after a lapse of nearly thirty years I traced
the rooms occupied by an old friend, in a city I had never before
entered, and that this knowledge did not come to me by chance, but _as
the result of a series of investigations, started by me solely on
account of the experiences that came to me in a house and in a room of
which I had absolutely no previous knowledge_. Those interested in these
subjects will naturally ask: "_Do you suppose that the spirit of Mr
Forbes came to you at the moment of your remarks to him and his to you?
If so, was he conscious of any such experience?_"

I can answer this last question decidedly, and in the negative; for four
years later, circumstances brought me once more within the orbit of Mr
Forbes' life. He was then living in the north of England, and he and his
wife and I have discussed the question more than once.

We can only suppose that the impression of his presence did in some way
cling to the surroundings; that my sleeping there, even in complete
ignorance of his tenancy, enabled me, as a "sensitive," to pick up this
special influence from many others presumably present; and that the
memories of the past galvanised the impression into some sort of
temporary astral existence. The entity to whom I seemed to be speaking
was doubtless _not_ the Judge Forbes of later life, but some distorted
image of his earlier days of disappointed and often reproachful
affection.

When Mr Myers suggested that I should get Mr Pound to sign a paper
mentioning that he had told me that Mr Forbes had occupied these special
rooms twenty-seven years previously, the latter did so readily, only
remarking that he had naturally concluded that I _knew_ my friend had
lodged with him.

"Pound will 'smell a rat' if I go," said Mr Myers.

So I went myself, and thus the story was made evidentially complete.



CHAPTER X

FURTHER EXPERIENCES IN AMERICA


My second visit to America was paid in the year of the Diamond Jubilee,
1897.

After wintering in the West Indies, I went on to America in the spring,
chiefly with the view of meeting Mrs Piper for the first time, and
securing a few sittings with her if possible.[5]

 [5] The portion of this chapter referring to "Mrs Piper and her
 Controls" is published by kind permission of Mr Ralph Shirley, editor
 of _The Occult Review_, in which my article under this heading appeared
 in March 1906.

I was writing some articles for _Borderland_ at the time, and Mr Stead
was specially anxious for me to take this opportunity of "sampling" the
famous American sensitive.

This proved no easy task. My visit to Boston, unfortunately, occurred at
the very time when an organised attempt was being made by the American
branch of the Society for Psychical Research to get into some sort of
evidential communication with the late Mr Stainton Moses through his
"controls" _Imperator_, _Rector_, etc.

In vain I wrote to Dr Hodgson (to whom I carried letters of
introduction) telling him of my chief reason for visiting America a
second time. Even the plea that I had known Mr Stainton Moses in earth
life, and that we had several intimate friends in common, was of no
avail.

Dr Hodgson expressed regrets, but assured me that _no_ sittings could be
allowed under existing circumstances, and that it was impossible to make
any exception to this rule.

We seemed to have arrived at a _cul-de-sac_, when a bright idea struck
me.

Why not ask the UNSEEN themselves for a decision in the matter?

I wrote again, therefore, to Dr Hodgson, suggesting this idea, and
mentioning that I should arrive in Boston on a certain date, and could
be found at the Hotel Bellevue in that city.

The next day but one after my arrival, and quite early in the morning,
Dr Hodgson came to call upon me.

It was my first sight of that genial and delightful personality. At the
very moment of shaking hands, he said cheerily, and with a look of
half-rueful amusement at his own discomfiture:

"Well, you've got to come! They insist upon it, so there is nothing more
to be said."

My preconceived ideas of a critical, elderly, and white-haired
professor, taking himself very seriously, were dissipated on the spot;
and this was the beginning of a sincere and loyal friendship between us
which lasted for nine years on this sphere, and will last, I trust and
believe, through whatever forms of existence may succeed to this one.

We made arrangements at once for my joining Dr Hodgson next morning at
Arlington Heights, where my first sitting with Mrs Piper took place,
and where I met for the first time this refined and interesting-looking
woman.

I was told that with the advent of the Imperator and Stainton Moses'
controls, the character of Mrs Piper's mediumship had undergone a
complete change. The former communications through the voice ceased, and
gave place to automatic writing, except at the moment of return to the
physical body, when a chance sentence or two might be uttered during the
transition period, but that these were not always intelligible to the
listener.

Mrs Piper's arm and hand became curiously "dead" and limp when
unconsciousness set in; the blood departed, leaving it as white and
helpless as that of a corpse. By degrees this dead look disappeared. The
blood flowed once more through the veins, and as I noticed this change,
the hand moved gropingly towards the pencil held out by Dr Hodgson, and
finally grasped it. The latter's long practice and infinite patience
were invaluable in making out the often rather illegible script. The
hospitality he gave to all attempts at definite communications, however
vague and shadowy at first; the infinite patience with which he repeated
again and again a question not fully comprehended--all this, combined
with intelligent criticism, alert, dispassionate judgment and balance of
mind, made an investigator of psychic phenomena very rarely to be met in
a world where most of us evince in a marked degree "_les défauts de nos
qualités_."

To combine sympathy, patience, and receptivity with cool and critical
judgment is well-nigh impossible for ordinary men and women.

Dr Richard Hodgson certainly solved the problem to a very remarkable
extent.

The first thing that struck me in the two sittings I had with Mrs Piper,
was the hopeless breakdown of the Thought Transference Theory, as
accounting for the automatic writing.

The ostensible reason for my presence at Arlington Heights was the idea
entertained by the "controls" that, having known Mr Stainton Moses in
earth life, I might be able to facilitate his communications. I hope
this may have been the case, but if so, it was certainly not due to any
power of Thought Transference I may have possessed.

Again and again I asked for names of friends we had known in common, but
nearly always in vain. Even when, in despair of getting these normally,
I concentrated my mind consciously on some short and easy name, the
latter was not given.

Yet next day some of these names would appear spontaneously on the
script, when my mind was entirely occupied by other subjects.

References were made to Mr Moses' lack of appreciation for music, and he
asked whether our mutual friend Mrs Stratton still played LISZT. He also
referred to his visiting the Strattons, and finding them playing duets
together, in London.

On my return to town Mrs Stratton fully endorsed the fact that Mr Moses
disliked music (this was unknown to me), but she denied emphatically
that she and her husband ever played duets in his presence. Mr Stratton,
however, corrected this impression, and reminded her of several
occasions when Mr Moses had come to them from University College, found
them at the piano, and being on very intimate terms, had begged they
would finish the passage or movement; and on one or two occasions this
had been done.

These slight but evidential incidents, forgotten by Mrs Stratton
herself, and unknown to me, were conveyed quite correctly in the
automatic script through Mrs Piper--three thousand miles across the
Atlantic--and nearly six years after the death of Mr Stainton Moses.

The most convincing test upon these occasions, however, was the
reference to a Mrs Lane--the lady to whom Mr Moses had been engaged when
he passed away.

Very few of his friends knew of this engagement, even in England. Dr
Hodgson, who had never met Stainton Moses in earth life, had naturally
not heard of it. It was only by chance that I knew anything of the
matter, and this merely through once meeting the lady at Mrs Stratton's
house some time after Mr Moses had died. On that occasion Mrs Lane had a
young daughter with her; I knew nothing of any other members of the
family.

During my second visit to Mrs Piper I mentioned meeting this
lady--already a dim memory with me--and the "control" at once asked if I
had met a _sister_ also.

I answered "No," remarking that a young daughter had been with her.

The writing at once continued in these words:

"Well, now I am giving you this as a test: she _has_ a sister, and one
who has been the cause of the deepest sorrow of her life. You will find
this is true when you go back to England."

These words were amply justified.

On applying to Mrs Stratton for information, she denied the possibility
of there being any truth in the test. She said: "I have come to know Mrs
Lane very intimately since you met her here. I don't believe she has any
sister; anyway, I am _quite_ sure she would have told me if a sister had
caused her such sorrow as you mention."

I persevered, however, in getting at the truth of the matter by writing
to Mrs Lane herself (an almost entire stranger), and asking if she cared
to hear the references to herself in the Piper records; if so, would she
come and lunch with me?

She came, and when I reached the passage about the sister, expecting
that she would endorse Mrs Stratton's denial, I noticed, to my great
surprise, that her eyes filled suddenly with tears, and that she was
literally unable to speak through emotion.

The tears ran down her cheeks, when at length she said in a broken
voice: "_That_ is the most convincing test he could have given me! No! I
have never mentioned that sister, even to Mrs Stratton, kind and good as
she has been" (by this time I had spoken of Mrs Stratton's denial of the
sister's existence). "I could not speak of her to _anyone_. She was the
cause of the greatest sorrow in my life; _but no one upon earth knew
this except Mr Stainton Moses_. I was engaged to him at the time, and he
was the natural person to turn to in my deep tribulation. No one else
ever heard of the circumstances."

At this second sitting of mine Mr Stainton Moses spoke also of a
valuable watch he had possessed, and expressed some regret that it had
not been given to Mrs Lane at the time of his death.

I knew nothing at all about any watch of his, but on appealing to one of
his executors, an old friend of mine, found there was such a watch,
which had been a presentation one, and was of considerable value. Upon
the death of Mr Moses it had been given (quite with the approval of Mrs
Lane) to the son of a very old and esteemed friend.

This executor also told me, as a curious coincidence, that when I was
staying with the excitable sensitive in Sussex Gardens, mentioned in a
previous chapter, and he and his wife had come to tea with me one
afternoon (to be introduced to this remarkable lady), she had given him
a similar message about the same watch, purporting to come from Stainton
Moses.

I remember perfectly well having asked Mr and Mrs Harrington to come to
tea with me one afternoon to meet my eccentric landlady, and I also
remember his having a long talk with her whilst his wife and I were
immersed in our own conversation. But I heard no details of this talk.
He had merely said how much interested he had been in meeting Mrs
Peters, and that she evidently had some mediumistic power.

It was certainly curious that the watch should have been mentioned,
first in Sussex Gardens, London, and six years later in Arlington
Heights, Boston, and that on each occasion the same wish with regard to
it should have been expressed!

During this Arlington Heights sitting (the second one), Mr Moses also
referred to an MS., of which I knew nothing at the time. This allusion
also was verified by his other executor, the late Mr Alaric Watts, upon
my return to England.

       *       *       *       *       *

During this visit to America I also came across a Mr Knapton Thompson, a
hard-headed Yorkshire man, who had invented a new kind of smokeless
combustion stove, which must have been a good one, for our shrewd
American cousins were employing him to put up these stoves in several
public buildings, including the Smithsonian Institute in Washington.

Mr Thompson combined psychic proclivities with his smokeless invention,
and had become greatly interested in the New York medium, Mrs Stoddart
Gray, who has been already mentioned in connection with my own
investigations, twelve years previous to my present visit. He had
written to tell Mr Stead of his experiences, which included several in
which the Julia of "Julia's Letters" had purported to be present.

Mr Stead had turned this gentleman over to me by giving me an
introduction, accompanied by the request that "I should see the man and
report what I thought about him and his wonderful experiences."

So I asked Mr Thompson to call upon me, and arranged to be present with
him next day (Saturday) at Mrs Stoddart Gray's circle.

I found that he had taken up his abode with the medium and her son
during his short stays in New York, with the openly expressed intention
of finding out if there were any trickery behind the scenes. He had,
however, convinced himself of her _bonâ fides_, and was deeply
interested in the interviews he was able to obtain by means of these
mediums, with a daughter he had lost some years previously. He was much
pleased to find that I knew Mrs Gray already and could also testify to
some very remarkable phenomena occurring to me at her house.

So I met him there next afternoon, with every expectation of a good
sitting. These hopes, however, were entirely destroyed owing to the
presence of a noisy, vulgar man, whom they called the "Whisky King." He
made the most inane remarks, cracked stupid jokes, antagonised every
respectable person in the room, I should suppose; and as all this took
place without a word of protest from the lady of the house, one can only
conclude that she considered it worth her while to endure his
vulgarities.

Certainly the afternoon was spoilt for the rest of us, and I remarked
upon this to a very pleasant, smart-looking young American lady when the
sitting was over and we had retired to the reception-room to find wraps
and galoshes, etc.

"Oh yes; wasn't he just exasperating?" she said, with ready sympathy.

She looked much too young and smart and good-looking for the ordinary
type of "investigator," and I could not refrain from asking how she had
come into this _galère_.

She explained her position readily, and it was very interesting to me.

She was a young married lady, and had first been brought to the house,
six months before, by a cousin of hers who was staying with them in New
York, and thought the experience might be amusing.

"We just came in for a joke," she said; "but something happened which
interested me so much that I have come again several times, and until
to-day have always had an interesting time."

Then she told me about her first sitting.

I had noticed upon her ungloved hand a very beautiful _scarabæus_, set
in fine gold, and evidently by an artist in the craft. "Yes, it is a
Tiffany setting," she observed, seeing my eyes drawn to it. She took off
the ring, and gave it into my hands.

"That ring is really the cause of my being here to-day," she continued.
"The scarabæus was given to me some years ago by Professor----" (she
gave the name of a well-known American Egyptologist). "He made a great
pet of me when I was a child, and I begged it from him. When I was going
to be married last year he insisted upon having it set for me by Tiffany
as a wedding present, and he then told me there was no doubt at all
about its being a genuine _antique_. He had come across it many years
before by a curious chance when travelling in Egypt, and had been
assured that it was a genuine _Cleopatra_ relic. 'I can't answer for
that,' he said, laughing, 'but it is certainly many centuries old. I
have no doubt it is genuine so far as age goes.' Well, the night my
cousin and I came here together I did not take off my gloves until
_after_ we had gone in to the _séance_ room, so no one could have seen
my ring--and you know Mrs Gray's sittings always begin in the dark? I
took my gloves off when I found we had to sit in a circle holding hands,
and one of the first materialisations was announced to be that of
Cleopatra." (_I_ had seen "Cleopatra" more than once in 1886, in the
same house--E. K. B.) "She rushed across the room in the complete
darkness, seized my right hand, amongst all the hands in a circle of
twenty people or more, almost tore this special ring from my finger, and
said in a tone of indescribable grief and longing: '_Mine! Mine!_ Ah,
_Chem!_ CHEM!'"

This was sufficiently startling, even apart from the mention of _Chem_,
as the ancient name for Egypt, in a _milieu_ of this kind!

The ring was faithfully restored later in the evening; and the young
lady who owned it had been sufficiently impressed by the circumstances
to confide them to her kind professor, and also to pay more than one
visit to Mrs Stoddart Gray since the episode had occurred, which was
just six months before our meeting there.

During this second visit to America I made the acquaintance, and, I
trust I may say, gained the friendship, of Miss Lilian Whiting, so well
known by many thousands of grateful readers. We saw a great deal of each
other in Boston, and during one of my long chats with her in her pretty
sitting-room at the Brunswick Hotel, she told me of the visit of Lady
Henry Somerset and Miss Frances Willard to that city, some years before
our conversation. Miss Whiting also mentioned a friend who had
accompanied these two ladies, and who had been taken ill, and had died
very suddenly in the hospital at Boston.

"I never met the lady," said Miss Whiting, "but Miss Willard and Lady
Henry told me they had been obliged to leave their friend behind owing
to an attack of influenza, and asked me to call upon her someday. I went
a day or two later, carrying some fruit and newspapers with me. The
matron, whom I knew well, said her patient was doing splendidly, and was
likely to be leaving in a few days, but that as I was a stranger, it
would perhaps be better for me not to come in and see her that
afternoon. So I left my little gifts, and was shocked next day to hear
of her sudden and quite unexpected death. By-the-by, I believe she was
Stead's 'Julia'--I am not sure about this, but somebody told me so
lately."

Miss Whiting then mentioned the lady's name, which I withhold, as Mr
Stead still makes use of it as a test when strangers profess to be in
communication with "Julia."

The day following the _séance_ just described as taking place in New
York, Mr Knapton Thompson called at my hotel to ask me to accompany him
to Mrs Stoddart Gray, as he had arranged to have a short "_writing
séance_" that afternoon.

The son was the agent as usual. On this occasion he had an alphabet
mounted on card, and pointed to the letters in turn, whilst his mother
wrote them down as indicated. Thinking I would verify Miss Whiting's
story if possible, my first question was:

"Can Stead's Julia give me her surname?"

"Julia O." was spelt out, and then the O was given again.

"They often do that," said Mrs Gray casually--"begin the name over
again, I mean."

So it passed at that. The rest of the letters corroborated the surname
mentioned by Miss Whiting.

Then I asked: "In what country did you pass away--Europe or America, or
elsewhere?"

"_America_" was spelt out at once.

"In what city?"

"_Boston._"

"Was it in a private house, a hospital, a hotel, or _where_ did you
die?"

"In a hospital" was again spelt out.

"How long ago?"

"_Five years_" was the answer.

I may note here that Miss Whiting had _not_ mentioned the number of
years, only having said "A few years ago" when speaking of the event.
_Five years_ proved to be true. My last question was:

"What was your age when you passed over?"

"_Twenty-three_" was the answer.

This last, I felt sure, must be wrong. Miss Whiting had not mentioned
any age, but it seemed to me unlikely that so young a woman should have
been travelling round the country with two temperance lecturers.

When these answers were being given, Mrs Gray's son, the medium, asked
if he might put one hand on my wrist to come into magnetic conditions
with me.

I agreed to this, but said I should turn my eyes away from the alphabet,
lest my muscles should give him any unconscious indications.

When I sent these answers to Mr Stead on returning to England, I wrote
down Julia O. (ignoring the repetition of the O); and in connection with
the other answers, told him, of course, of my previous conversation
with Miss Whiting, which reduced the whole episode to one of possible
Thought Transference.

In answering me he said: "I am glad Julia was able to give her name,
even if it were Thought Transference; but, as a matter of fact, it is
not her whole name which you received--she always signed her letters to
me '_Julia O. O...._'" This makes rather a good bit of evidence, seeing
that the second O _had_ been given, but discarded by Mrs Gray and myself
as a repetition of the first letter of the _surname!_

To resume my experiences with Mr Knapton Thompson.

In the evening of this writing incident Mrs Gray had another public
_séance_, at which I was again present, Mr Thompson sitting on one side
of me.

After some "materialisations," for other members of the circle had
appeared, Mrs Gray announced that Stead's "Julia" was present in the
cabinet, and wished to speak to me.

I went up at once, and the form came out and stood in very fair light
from the gas-burners. She seized my hands with every appearance of
delight and eagerness, and her grasp was strong and tense. It is my
peculiarity always to notice hands very accurately. They always seem to
me to indicate character very closely; and apart from this, I am
attracted by people who have well-shaped hands (not necessarily _small_
ones), and find it very difficult to ignore clumsy or ugly fingers,
which, unfortunately, never escape my notice.

Now the medium's hands were broad, short, and flabby, as I had had
plenty of opportunities of noting in the afternoon when he held my
wrist. The hands which grasped mine now were, on the contrary, well
made, small, and rather narrow, the true type of the American female
hand.

Mr Thompson had come up also to greet "Julia," and I whispered to him:

"Do ask Julia if there was not a mistake about her age this afternoon."

"No; you ask the question yourself, Miss Bates," he answered.

So I said rather eagerly: "Julia, do tell us, please, if there was not a
mistake this afternoon in your age--the answer was twenty-three. Is that
correct?"

A very emphatic shake of the head signifying "No" was the reply to this
last question, but no sounds proceeded from the lips.

Disappointed by this, I asked; "Can you not speak to us?"

She made a little gesture of rather helpless dissent; and Mrs Gray, who
stood by, explained that probably all her strength had gone to building
up the materialised body sufficiently to make it visible to us. Julia
bowed her head in assent to this, and then, still speechless, retired
once more behind the curtains.

I did not mention this appearance of Julia when writing to Mr Stead on
my return--I was so anxiously hoping that she might have tried to
impress the fact of having appeared to me, upon his consciousness, as a
test; but he said nothing about it in his first letters. So I let the
matter alone for a time, determining to tell him some day, but much
disappointed by the usual failure in getting corroborative evidence.

A week later, however, at the end of a long letter on other subjects, I
put this short P. S. in a casual way to him:

"Did Julia ever tell you that she had appeared to me in New York?"

In answering my letter he replied--also in a P. S.:

"By-the-by, to answer your last query--yes. Julia told me weeks ago that
she had appeared to you in New York, _but that she could not give you
her age on that occasion, because she was not accustomed to speaking
through the embodiment_."

Now in sending the list of questions and answers to Mr Stead I had
merely marked against the answer as to her age, "_twenty-three_," that
doubtless it was an error, _but I had never hinted to him that I had
asked her to correct the error in New York, or that she had been unable
to speak on that occasion_.

This again was a good bit of independent evidence.

I will now give a description of Mr Knapton Thompson's interview with
his daughter, on the same evening that Julia appeared to me. I have
already said that the magnet which drew Mr Thompson to these _séances_
was the opportunity given to him of meeting and talking to a daughter
who had passed away some years previously.

On this special evening the daughter materialised as usual, and came out
from the cabinet. As Mr Thompson was sitting next to me at the time, I
could distinctly hear Mrs Gray whisper to him:

"Would you not like to take your daughter into the other room, Mr
Thompson? It is rather crowded here to-night. You would be quieter in
there."

Mr Thompson got up at once, and greeted the materialised form, and they
disappeared through the folding doors to the reception-room. Other
matters of interest were occurring, and I had quite forgotten the
absence of Mr Thompson in the dimly lighted room (in those days the
light was always dim _at first_), until I found he was again occupying
the seat next to my own. I had not noticed his return, and asked him at
once 'what he had done with his daughter.' A good half hour must have
elapsed between his disappearance and return. He said, quite simply and
as a matter of course: "Oh, she did not care to come back into this
crowded room. We had half-an-hour's chat, and then she de-materialised
in the other room, and I returned alone."

I can only repeat that Mr Knapton Thompson was a shrewd, practical
Yorkshireman, and a very successful man of business, as was proved by
the orders he received in America for the stoves he had invented.

He was certainly under the impression that he could be trusted to
recognise his own daughter when allowed the privilege of half-an-hour's
conversation with her, _tête-à-tête_ in a private room.

I cannot end this chapter without saying something about Keely of
Philadelphia and his intuitional genius.

I had hoped to have the opportunity of meeting this wonderful man during
my last stay in Philadelphia, U.S.A. (March 1897), but was disappointed
in this expectation. Therefore, on the outer plane, my connection with
Keely never went beyond a single interview with his wife; but this is a
record of personal intuitions as well as of personal events, and I know
no one with regard to whom my intuitions--absolutely lacking in any
physical ground of proof, or even mental ground of comprehension--have
been stronger or more obstinate.

At the time of my first visit to America, so far back as 1885, I had not
the faintest conception of Keely's work, or what he claimed to have
discovered or to be on the track of discovering. I never heard his name
mentioned without being told at the same time that he was either a silly
madman or a conscious impostor, and as I came with an entirely
unprejudiced mind (for I had never heard of Keely before landing in
America), it would have been natural to accept this universal opinion.

Yet something stronger than reason was always silently contradicting
these assertions, when made in my presence. Friends and acquaintances
alike in those days laughed at Keely's claims, and denounced his boasted
discovery as pure imposture.

"'Tisn't! 'Tisn't! 'Tisn't!" that persistent little voice kept
whispering in my ear all the time, like a naughty, obstinate child who
contradicts from sheer ignorance--or was it a spiritual intuition? Time
alone can answer that question; anyway, I kept my ideas to myself, for
they had no foundation in fact at the time of which I speak.

In 1897 the position for me was altered. A sensible and dependable
friend of mine--a well-known banker in Philadelphia--described to me his
experiences and those of other prominent citizens during a demonstration
of Mr Keely's powers; and the old insistent voice that spoke to my
ignorance before, spoke now to some glimmering understanding of the
claim put forth. This claim--even then jeered at by the world at
large--had to wait shivering in the cold another nine years, before Mr
Frederic Soddy clothed it in respectable scientific garb by speaking
publicly of the possibilities in the future connected with atomic
disintegration and consequent liberation of energy.

But the yelping curs of Calumny that pursued Keely during his lifetime
are still upon the dead man's tracks.

"_His_ methods were fraud and imposture, anyway"; "His wires were tubes
containing compressed air," and so forth. The M.F.H. of this pack of
hounds was the son of a lady whose name will always be honourably
mentioned with that of Keely as one of his most generous supporters.

The initial misfortune in the whole matter was the forming and starting
of the Keely Motor Company to utilise the discovery, which should first
have been placed under the protection of Science.

Ignorant and impatient shareholders thought only of their own material
advantages and dividends. They were Keely's first enemies, with their
sensational and premature advertisements of results and "_200
horse-power engines ready to patent, etc._," whilst the poor man was
still struggling with his tremendous problem--_i.e. to control_ the
force that he had discovered.

He attempted this first by confining it, but it blew everything to
atoms, and his own fingers off into the bargain!

Occultists--including Madame Blavatsky--always declared this latent
atomic energy was a _fact_, but that Keely would never be allowed to
demonstrate it, for the world was not yet prepared for such a tremendous
dynamic force to be let loose upon it, and that the most serious abuses
and disasters would follow, if once he succeeded in bringing his
discovery into practical working order.

They said it would be one of two things: either Keely's experiments in
this direction would continue to fail in the crucial point necessary,
_or_ that if he succeeded it would be his own death warrant, lest any
mischief should accrue from his making his methods public.

In view of these pronouncements, the succeeding events in Keely's career
are interesting.

_The Times_ (U.S.A.) of 6th March 1898 contained the following
announcement, under Keely's own signature:--


After twenty-five years' labour I have solved the problem of harnessing
the ether (which elsewhere he says is only the _medium_ of the force he
discovered) and adapting it to commercial uses. I have finished
experimenting.--My work is now completed.
                                      (Signed)    JOHN W. KEELY.

_On 18th November of this same year he died._

Within two months, his generous friend and patron, Mrs Blomfield Moore,
followed him to another sphere. Keely's final discovery of the means of
"harnessing the ether," as he calls it, was through holding it _in
rotation_ instead of in confinement.

I am allowed to quote an extract from a private letter with regard to
this statement.

"This instrument ruptures the luminous envelopes of the hydrogen
corpuscles, liberating the mysterious substance, which is put into such
high rotation that it forms its own wall of confinement at 420,000
revolutions per second, as calculated. Independent of this rotation in
the tube, where it is projected, it could be no more held in suspension
than a ray of sunshine could be held in a darkened room."

I have been given to understand that a faithful account of everything
that has occurred in connection with Keely's discovery has been
compiled, and will be published "_when the time comes for the truth to
be made known_."

It is, of course, possible that this disclosure may be anticipated by
the arrival of another "crank and impostor" of the Keely type. Let us
trust he may arise from _within_ and not from without, scientific
circles, and thus avoid his martyrdom!

Meanwhile it may be interesting to quote from a published letter of
Lascelles-Scott, the Government physicist from Forest Gate, who visited
Keely's workshop in the interests of Science, and who was allowed to cut
and bring away with him pieces of the wire Keely was using. (Said to be
_tubes_ by the wiseacres!)

The following is the essential portion of Mr Lascelles-Scott's letter. I
only omit courteous expressions of gratitude to the editor and "to the
institutions and individuals alike" of the "beautiful city of
Philadelphia" where he was able to carry out his investigations.

            Letter from Mr Lascelles-Scott to the Editor
               of _The Public Ledger_, Philadelphia.

The only corrections of sufficient importance, to the general sense of
my observations at the Franklin Institute last Wednesday night, to call
for notice in your otherwise admirable report, are the following:--

Although my observations were only put forward as "preliminary,"
inasmuch as I have not yet _completed_ the outlined programme I had in
view, no words actually used by me justified the expression that "_I had
formed no very definite opinions_."

On the contrary, I stated more than once the very _definite opinion that
Mr Keely has demonstrated to me, in a way which is absolutely
unquestionable, the existence of a force hitherto unknown_. (The italics
are mine.--E. K. B.)

The conditions under which the experiments were carried out (as I
distinctly stated) _were such as to preclude the possibility of the
results obtained being due to any ordinary source of power, evident or
concealed_.

Moreover, I satisfied myself that the rotation of the "vibrodyne" was
neither due to, nor accompanied by, any traces of electricity or
magnetism. So far my opinion is and was expressed as being of the most
definite kind possible.

... I stated, and the statement was greeted by the audience with great
and prolonged applause, that, after a little adjustment of the
"Sympathetic Transmitter," it was found that by the sounding of one of
the small English tuning forks I had brought with me from the other side
of the Atlantic, upon the said "Transmitter," I could myself start the
vibrodyne, and cause it to revolve rapidly, without Mr Keely's
intervention, and I exhibited to the meeting, the fork actually used by
me.--Thanking you in anticipation, etc., I am, sir, yours obediently,
                                                     W. LASCELLES-SCOTT.


One would have supposed that this testimony, in addition to that of
other scientists and practical electricians, would have sufficed to
disintegrate Atomic Stupidity and Calumny, and liberate the forces of
Humility and Sane Investigation.

But prejudiced Ignorance dies hard!

       *       *       *       *       *

To end my chapter on a pleasanter note than this, I will quote from a
private letter which I have been privileged to read, the beautiful words
in which Keely describes his own achievements.


_I have no power that is not communicated to me in the same way that
this machine receives its power: through celestial radiation from the
Soul of Matter, the Mind force of the Creator, whose instrument I am. I
know who is leading me and making all things work together for good._



CHAPTER XI

A HAUNTED CASTLE IN IRELAND


In the year 1898 I was spending a few days in Castle Rush, which has
been described by Mr W. T. Stead as the most haunted castle in Ireland.
It is one of the few old Irish castles still inhabited, and is naturally
haunted by the ghosts of the past in every meaning of the word.

At the time of my stay I was recovering from a severe illness, and, in
fact, was sent off to bed immediately upon arrival by my kind hostess,
who, with true hospitality, thought more of her guest's comfort than the
conventionalities of life, and would not hear of my lingering, even to
make acquaintance with my host, on the dark autumnal evening of my
arrival.

This had taken place after driving many miles and waiting for a dreary
long time in the little inn of a small Irish township. My doctor would
not hear of any railway travelling just then, so the whole forty miles
from my last stopping-place had to be negotiated between the carriages
of my past and present hospitable hosts.

As a matter of fact, I believe I slept in one of the haunted rooms, but
it looked cheerful enough when I entered from the gloom and darkness
outside; and a dainty little dinner sent up by my kind friends below,
and eaten when snugly tucked in between the sheets and resting on soft
downy pillows, was enough to drive all thoughts of ghostly visitors from
my head.

I am thankful to say that I neither heard nor saw anything during my
short visit, and should not even have known that my room had had any
evil reputation but for the visit of an eccentric and clever old lady,
who had been specially asked to the castle to meet me.

After luncheon we adjourned to my bedroom, at her suggestion, and she
said casually:

"Ah, you have this room, I see. It was terribly haunted once, but I held
a sort of little service here some time ago, and cleared them all out."

I must explain that this good lady took a very optimistic view of her
own capacities and powers in general, and spoke--from the psychic point
of view--with the honest pride that a flesh and blood charwoman might
display on going over premises that she had thoroughly scrubbed and
"cleaned out"!

One morning after breakfast, my hostess, Mrs Kent, called to me to come
quickly and see a curious sight. It was a pouring wet day--one of those
days when the heavens open and the rain descends in buckets! I could see
nothing more remarkable than the damp, autumnal leaves, the bare trees
swaying in the wind-washed spaces, and the pouring, ceaseless rain.

"Don't you see that girl over there?"

I looked again, and did see a girl just emerging from a clump of
beeches, and carrying a small trunk upon her head.

"What an extraordinary day to choose for travelling," I said drily.

"Ah, that is Irish superstition!" rejoined my hostess. "That is my last
kitchen-maid you see--she is walking seven miles, with that trunk on
her head, sooner than wait a few hours, when I could have sent her to
the station."

"Is she mad?" was my natural comment.

"Oh no! only desperately frightened. She has not been here a week yet,
and she is much too terrified to be coherent. All I can make out is that
nothing on earth would induce her to spend another night at Rush. I
could have sent her over to Marley easily to-morrow morning at eight
o'clock, but she would not hear of it. And whether she has really seen
anything, or only been frightened by the stories of the other servants,
I don't know. Anyway, she has certainly the courage of her opinions, and
is prepared to suffer for them! I would rather meet half-a-dozen ghosts
than carry that trunk on my head seven miles in this pouring rain." Then
turning round carelessly, she remarked: "I suppose _you_ have not seen
or heard anything, Miss Bates, since you came? I hope not, for I am sure
you are not strong enough for mundane visitors yet, let alone the other
kind."

We were passing through the handsome circular hall at the time, and I
said eagerly: "Oh no! Thank goodness, I've seen and heard nothing. I
don't think I should be allowed to see anything whilst I am so weak and
poorly."

Almost at the moment of saying these words something impelled me to
place my hand upon a particular spot in the great stone wall by my side.
"But there is something _here_ I don't like," I said, tapping
it--"something uncanny--but I don't know what it is."

Mrs Kent made no remark; and I thought no more of the circumstance until
the following year, when I was told by Mr Stead that Mrs Kent was over
in England, and had been lunching with him and asking for me.

"She was giving me a most graphic account of the way you 'spotted' those
skeletons at Rush Castle," he said.

I was completely puzzled by this remark. I had never spotted a single
skeleton to my knowledge, either at Rush or elsewhere, and I told him
so; but he persisted in saying that Mrs Kent had told him a very
different story, and that most certainly she had mentioned me as the
percipient.

"She must have mixed me up with somebody else," was my final comment.
"No doubt many people have queer experiences there, and she might
naturally make such a mistake."

"Well, I gave her your address, and she is writing to ask you to have
tea with her at the club, so you and she can fight it out there," he
said; and the conversation drifted into other channels.

Next afternoon I met Mrs Kent at her club, and before leaving,
fortunately remembered the curious mistake about the skeletons I had
"spotted."

"But you _did_ 'spot' them," she said, laughing. "Don't you remember my
asking you if you had noticed anything curious, or heard or seen
anything, during your visit? At first you said 'Thank goodness, no!' But
immediately afterwards you put your hand on a particular part of the
circular hall, and said: 'There is something uncanny just
here--something I don't like.'"

"Yes; I remember all that. But what of it? You never told me anything
about skeletons."

"Of course not--you were not in a condition of health to discuss such
eerie questions just then. All the same, you had located the exact spot
where only a week before your visit, my husband's agent told him that
two skeletons had been found bricked up!"

She then explained that the agent had been on the estate for many years,
even before the death of the late owner of Rush--her father-in-law.
Having some business with her husband the week before my arrival, this
agent had casually mentioned that he and the former owner had found
these skeletons in the very spot indicated by me, about forty years
previously, and, strange to relate, had bricked them up again instead of
burying them. This last fact may account in part at least for the spooky
reputation of Castle Rush.

All good psychics know that nothing disturbs a spirit so much as any
informality about his funeral arrangements!

To return to my visit to Castle Rush.

Some years previously I had met, on an Orient steamer sailing from
Ceylon to Naples, a brother of the owner of Rush. He was a sailor, and
as hard-headed and practical a man as it has ever been my lot to meet.
It was in no way through meeting him that my visit to Rush came about,
but owing to my acquaintance with Mrs Kent and _her_ family.

I had been greatly taken by the genial common-sense of this Captain
Kent, and was much grieved to hear of his death when I stayed with his
sister-in-law. It had occurred shortly before my visit, and under sad
circumstances.

On the surface he was certainly more lacking in sentiment than anyone I
ever met, but must have been capable of very deep affection. When I met
him he had only been married for a few months. His wife died within two
years of their marriage, and going for a short holiday to Castle Rush
soon afterwards, he said to his sister-in-law:

"_I shall not live a year after her, I know!_" He was the last kind of
man to make such a speech, as both Mrs Kent and I observed when she
mentioned it to me.

"But he was quite right, all the same," she added. "_He died just three
days within the year from the time of his wife's death._" Yet he was an
exceptionally strong, sturdy, and wiry man at the time of his great
sorrow.

From Castle Rush I was going to the south of Ireland to visit relations
at Cork.

On the morning of my departure I was down in the drawing-room, rather
wondering _why_ I had been brought to this old Irish castle. No special
object seemed to have been achieved by my visit. I did not even know
then that I had discovered two skeletons! In those days I found so often
some train of circumstances--a borrowed book, a stranger coming across
my path, some unexpected visit paid, which were later found to have been
factors in a special experience--that I was rather surprised to realise
that I was leaving the "most haunted castle in Ireland" and that nothing
had happened.

But in the very moment of saying this to myself a curiously insistent
impression came to me quite suddenly, and "out of the blue."

The impression was that the brother of my host, Captain Kent, was
wishing very urgently to communicate something through me. I did not
feel equal to taking any message at the time--I have already explained
that I was only just recovering from a severe illness. Lunch and a long
drive to the station and a weary railway journey lay before me, so I
determined to do nothing until I was safely established with my cousins
near Cork.

After a long, cold, and wet journey I arrived in pouring rain, my train
being more than a hour late. The kind General who came to meet me was
still patiently standing on the platform, but one of the two "cars" he
had engaged for me and my baggage had taken itself off! As the rain was
descending in water-spouts, I need scarcely say it was the "covered car"
which had driven away!

This meant a thorough wetting for my cousin and me. How all the luggage
(including a large bicycle, and two people, in addition to the driver)
was ever piled up on that small "outside Irish car" I have never been
able to understand. Suffice it to say the miracle was performed, and we
drove up a hill at an angle of about forty-five degrees into the
bargain!

Clearly these were not ideal conditions for receiving automatic
messages!

I was put to bed at once with hot bottles and hot soup, and soon forgot
my past troubles in a long refreshing sleep.

I was still in the invalid stage of "breakfast in bed," and when this
had been cleared away, the remembrance of Captain Kent flashed into my
mind, and I found pencil and papers at once, in order to redeem my
promise.

The message was rather a curious one, and its opening sentence evidently
referred to the eccentric old lady whom I have mentioned as being asked
to meet me at luncheon at Castle Rush.

So far as I can remember them, the words (very characteristic of Captain
Kent's genial but rather brusque style) ran as follows:--

After speaking of the alleged hauntings at Castle Rush as having only
too much foundation in fact, he went on: "It's all rubbish, that old
woman saying she had cleared them all away! Nothing of the kind. There
are plenty of malicious spirits about still, _and now that an heir is
coming to Rush they are keener than ever to try and work some mischief_.
No use saying anything to Tom (his brother). He will only laugh, and say
it is all skittles. But tell my little sister-in-law to
PRAY--PRAY--PRAY. That is all they need and all she needs either."

Now this was not exactly the message one cared to send to a rather
recent acquaintance. To begin with, the reference to Mrs Kent's valued
friend in the opening sentence was scarcely polite! Then again, the
prophecy of an heir to Rush was one that I regretted should have been
made, as it would probably only lead to disappointment. Mrs Kent's first
child had been a little son, from whose loss she had never recovered.
When I was staying at the castle, two nice little girls, old enough to
come down to early dinner, at our luncheon hour, comprised the family.
Another child was certainly expected to arrive about Christmas-time (my
visit was paid in September), but Mrs Kent herself was fully convinced
that this would be _another girl_, as she said rather sadly. It seemed a
pity to disturb her mind by raising false hopes.

But, as usual, I felt bound to send the message, with the customary
explanations and apologies.

Mrs Kent was greatly interested by it and by the "PRAY--PRAY--PRAY,"
which, as she explained to me, had a very special meaning for her. It
had only struck me as an exceedingly _unlikely_ message for the Captain
Kent I had known, to send to anyone.

I am glad to be able to record that the Christmas gift did arrive in the
shape of a baby boy, "_heir to Rush_," who is still alive and
flourishing, thank God! I hear that he calls himself "the master," with
a true Irish brogue, and lords it over his elder sisters in the regular
chieftain style!

To this year belongs another strong impression of psychic atmosphere,
left in a room which I occupied in the south of England.

It was a most comfortable room, with nothing in the least ghostly about
it. Merely I had an unpleasant feeling that controversies and
discussions had taken place in the room, and that a want of harmony hung
about it in consequence.

On mentioning this rather tentatively to the master of the house--a very
orthodox clergyman--I was told: "Oh dear, no! Nothing of the kind--you
are certainly mistaken!"

But when an opportunity arose I changed my room, and felt very much more
comfortable in consequence of doing so.

Several times I had noticed on the hall table, letters which had come by
post addressed to another clergyman, whose name I had not heard, and
who was certainly not staying in the house. Remarking upon this casually
to a nice young governess one day, she said at once that the gentleman
in question had spent several months with Mr and Mrs Dale in the
Vicarage, but that he had died a few weeks before my arrival. "He slept
in the room you had when you first came, by-the-by. I was so glad when
you changed your room."

"He was a clergyman, I see," was my next remark; and I looked at the
envelope which had led to this explanation.

"Yes; he was in orders, but he had become a complete agnostic for some
years. During the last few weeks of his life--when he had to keep his
bed--Mr Dale was always going up there, and having long arguments and
discussions with him; but I don't suppose it did much good: it only
worried him very much. He was too ill to listen to long arguments then,
and wanted just kind, soothing words, I should have thought."

As the girl retreated to the school-room I naturally pondered over this
fresh testimony to the truth of psychic atmosphere. No sensitive can
question the _fact_, but at present we know little or nothing of the
laws which condition the fact.

My friend Mr W. T. Stead kindly allows me to mention another incident
connected with personal experiences of mine in the year 1898.

In the opening month of that year he lost a much-valued friend, who had
worked for him loyally, both in his office and also with regard to some
of his philanthropic schemes.

This lady in a fit of delirium, incident upon a severe attack of
illness, threw herself out of a window in her flat. A fortnight before
this sad occurrence, she had seen another resident in the same set of
flats throw herself out of the window, and Mr Stead has always feared
that this acted as a suggestion upon her mind in delirium, and led her
to do the same thing. Her own account of the cause of her action differs
somewhat from this impression, as will be seen later.

Mr Stead was naturally greatly affected by Mrs Morris' sudden death and
the circumstances attending it, and having some of her hair cut off
after her death, he sent portions of it to at least twelve well-known
clairvoyants, hoping to receive some satisfactory solution of the
mystery, and also, possibly, a sign decided upon between him and this
lady. They were both interested in psychic matters, and had agreed to
believe in no communications from the other side purporting to come from
one or other of them, unless this preliminary sign were given.

Mrs Besant--an intimate friend of Mr Stead--was one of the oracles
consulted, and was very confident of being able to find out all details,
including the mystic sign.

But both she and Mr Leadbeater were as absolutely unsuccessful as less
gifted mortals proved to be.

In spite of exceptional opportunities for coming in touch with the most
noted psychics, in spite of the valuable clue given by hair cut after
death, the test seemed quite hopeless, since twelve of the best
clairvoyants had been consulted, and all had failed in turn.

A few weeks after hearing about this from Mr Stead, I was invited by an
old friend in London to meet at her house, at luncheon, Miss Rowan
Vincent, a non-professional sensitive, well known to many of my readers.

I had never seen this lady before, and had little speech with her during
the meal.

She was talking very earnestly to a military man--the son-in-law of our
hostess--whilst the latter and I were having an interesting conversation
to ourselves.

General Maxwell, having a train to catch, did not accompany us to the
drawing-room.

On arrival there Miss Rowan Vincent said to me very kindly: "Can I do
anything for _you_ now, Miss Bates? Shall I try if I can see anything
for you?"

Something induced me, quite against my will, to say: "Do you ever get
messages by writing, Miss Vincent?"

"No; I have never done so, but I can try," she answered rather eagerly.

How I bewailed my stupidity in making such a suggestion! I had diverted
her mind from her own special gift, which was that of seeing a person's
psychic surroundings, and had switched her on to an entirely novel and
untried experiment. I had not even the excuse of being specially
interested in automatic writing, which was so easily obtained at home;
whereas I was greatly interested in seeing whether any of my "other
side" friends could make themselves perceptible through this sensitive.

However, the mischief was done past remedy. The suggestion had taken
firm root in Miss Rowan Vincent's mind, and she was not to be diverted
from it. So I resigned myself patiently to the results of my own
foolish remark, whilst she took pencil and paper and sat down
expectantly.

Soon she looked up, the writing having already begun.

"Do you know any William? There seems to be some message from a William,
as far as I can make out."

Having had a favourite cousin of that name, I told her it might be quite
correct, and I should be glad to receive any message that came.

A few moments passed, and then Miss Vincent said, in a puzzled tone:

"It is not _from_ William--the message is _to_ some William--I cannot
understand it at all." She pushed the paper rather impatiently towards
me. Written upon it clearly but faintly were these words:

DEAR WILLIAM,--I want to explain to you how I came to fall out of that
window--it was not my fault really--someone came up behind and pushed me
out.                                                      ETHEL.

The signature was rather indistinct, but quite unmistakable to _me_; but
then I knew the Christian name of Mr Stead's friend, and realised at
once that she was taking this opportunity of sending a message to him.

I asked Miss Vincent what name was written at the bottom of the paper.
"It looks like Ethel," she said, "but it is not very clear. I will ask
the spirit to write it again." A very bold and unmistakable signature
was at once given.

I concealed my excitement, and said quietly to Miss Vincent:

"I think I know from whom the message comes and for whom it is intended,
but to make quite sure it would be very satisfactory if the spirit could
give through you a sign agreed upon by the sender and the recipient and
unknown to everyone else."

"Well, I will try," said Miss Vincent at once. She had scarcely touched
the pencil when it began describing a circle. "There is no doubt about
my having to make a circle," she said, laughing. "Oh, now I am to put a
cross into it," she added.

Within a few seconds both these were given, and to _our_ great
delight--as well as to his--the sign was recognised by Mr Stead as being
the one agreed upon, and which had hopelessly puzzled all the other
mediums.



CHAPTER XII

1900-1901


I must now note a curious episode connected with my friend Judge Forbes,
whose astral influence I had traced clinging to the rooms he once
occupied in Cambridge.

As before mentioned, he had married, and I had lost sight of him and his
whole family for many years. But we had several mutual friends, through
whom I had heard of the birth of his only son and only child, and later
of the boy being sent to Eton, and eventually entering the army.

This was very shortly before the breaking out of the South African War,
and the young fellow was one of many who were drafted from India, after
a few months' service there, to help to defend their Queen's possessions
and their countrymen's lives and property in South Africa.

Later, young Forbes was shut up in Ladysmith, and one cold, dismal day
in January (6th January 1900) I was lying very ill in bed with a severe
bronchial attack in the house of my eldest brother in Hampshire, when
the latter came home one evening from the Winchester Club and told us of
the celebrated _sortie_ and the death of three young English officers.
The name of Forbes of the Royal Rifles figured amongst these, and I
felt convinced that it must be the only child of my old friend.

Without hesitation I prepared to write a few short lines of sympathy
with the heart-broken father. In vain my sister-in-law protested against
my concluding at once that it must be the judge's son, since other
members of the family of the same name were known to be in the army. I
had not a moment's doubt that this was the boy already mentioned, and
even a silence of over twenty years seemed to present no difficulty in
expressing one's deep sympathy, in the face of such a sorrow.

The real drawback lay in my weak state of health and physical inability
to write more than a few lines. But in these I expressed a hope that _in
time_ my poor friend might come to realise that his boy was "as much
alive and as near to him as ever--perhaps nearer."

It will indicate how entirely all relations between us had been broken
off for many years, when I say that I did not even know the judge's
private address, and was forced to send my letter to his court. In a day
or two I received a very touching and grateful answer, pathetic not only
in its grief, but even more in his frankly avowed inability to derive
any consolation from the thoughts that my short note had suggested.
Resignation to the inscrutable will of God was the keynote of the
letter. In some far-distant future he might be permitted once more to
see his beloved son, but meanwhile all was gloom and misery.

The episode was over. I had expressed my sincere sympathy with an
overwhelming sorrow, I had received a most kind and appreciative
answer--no more could be done in the matter.

This was _my_ conclusion, but evidently not the conclusion of young
Talbot Forbes. I had never seen this boy in my life, nor his mother; but
I suppose my old friendship with his father, and my deep sympathy with
the latter, enabled the son to approach me soon after he had passed into
the next sphere.

Anyway, he made me conscious of his presence by my bedside during the
greater part of the night following my receipt of his father's letter.

Owing to my severe illness I was sleeping very little, and once or twice
in the night an attendant came in to make up my fire and keep the
temperature of the room even, so that I had ample opportunity for
realising the presence of my hitherto unknown visitor.

Those who know what "hearing with the inner ear" means will realise the
method through which the following conversation took place, so far as I
can now recall it:--

_TALBOT._--"_Yes, it is Talbot Forbes. I want to speak to you. Please
listen to me! I want to tell you, you must do more for them than
this--you have to help them about me._"

E. K. B.--"Who do you mean by '_them_'?"

_TALBOT._--"_My parents, of course. Don't you understand what I am
saying? You have to do more for them--you must make them know I am close
to them._"

Now I could only suppose that he wished me to write again to his father,
and explain more fully my own ideas on the subject of our departed
friends. As this would have involved a wearisome and almost certainly
_useless_ discussion on a topic which I had reason to know was very
distasteful to the boy's father, I said rather shortly, and I am afraid
with some of the petulance of an invalid:

"Oh, do be quiet, and leave me alone! I have done all I can, and there
is no more to be said about it. I am very sorry for you, but I really
can't help you in this. I don't know your mother or what her views about
it may be; and as for your father--well, I am not going to worry and
torment him about ideas that he dislikes and disapproves of, and just
now, too, when he is so miserable! No, I won't do it, not even if you
come and worry me about it every night."

I was feeling ill and weary, and longing for sleep, and hoped this would
be a quietus to my young friend. Not a bit of it! His next remark was:

"_What does it matter what_ YOU _think or what you mean to do or not to
do? You have to help them, not to think about your own feelings._"

This was frank at anyrate, but not altogether convincing. Soon
afterwards, tired out with the discussion, I really did fall asleep, and
only woke a short time before my breakfast and daily budget of letters
arrived. Amongst these letters was one in an unknown handwriting, which
proved to be from _Mrs_ Forbes, saying she had seen my letter to her
husband, and begging that I would tell her the grounds I had for my
assurance that those we love are close to us after the great change we
call death.

Evidently the boy knew that this letter was coming to me, and was trying
to prepare me to answer it in such a way as should help him to convince
his mother of his continued existence in her immediate presence.

As this case is one well known to the Society for Psychical Research
(the lady I have called Mrs Forbes appearing on their records both as
Mrs Scott and under the pseudonym I have borrowed from them), it is
unnecessary to go into further details. Suffice it to say that my
nocturnal visitor was successful in his aim.

I answered his mother's letter as he wished. This led to a long
correspondence between us, and to my making her acquaintance shortly
afterwards and renewing my old friendship with her husband.

Mrs Forbes had several sittings with Mrs Thompson and other mediums,
became convinced of her son's presence with her, and very soon was
independent of outside assistance in communicating with him. The judge
also declared himself "unable to resist the evidence," but I don't think
he ever quite honestly _rejoiced_ in his convictions. It is hard to
eradicate prejudices and traditions after fifty years of age, and the
_human_ element in his son's bright and happy messages always seemed to
worry and perplex him a little.

He knows all about it now! Much as I deplore the earthly disappearance
of such an old and faithful friend of my youth, I can sincerely rejoice
in thinking of him as once more united with his son, in ways that will
no longer appear to him unnatural or undesirable.

During the judge's lifetime, and after the son's death, I often stayed
with him and his wife in their northern home. Mrs Forbes used frequently
to say: "It was _Talbot_ who brought us all three together, we must
remember!"


PEKIN STORY

It was during my first visit to Judge and Mrs Forbes, in the north of
England, that another curious experience came to me.

This happened on the 4th of July 1900, for I remember saying to Mrs
Forbes next morning: "I shall remember the date from its being American
Independence Day."

It was the year of the Boxer rebellion in China, when the Pekin Embassy
was in a state of siege, and by July almost all hope that any Europeans
would be saved from their dire peril had faded away.

The Memorial Service, arranged by a too eager dignitary of the Church to
take place in St Paul's, had certainly been adjourned at the last
moment; but as days and weeks passed, and the little garrison was still
unrelieved, very little hope was entertained. In fact, by July most
people hoped and believed that their troubles must be already over,
through the merciful interposition of death.

A connection of mine, whom I had known well when she was a child, but
had not seen for many years, was shut up with her husband, children, and
sister in the Pekin Embassy at the time. Thousands were lamenting her
sad fate, and I naturally amongst them; but I wish to make clear that,
owing to the years that had elapsed since I had seen this special member
of the family, it was not in any sense a very personal sorrow, nor was I
then--nor am I now--aware of any special tie of affinity between this
lady and myself.

I had gone to bed about eleven o'clock on the night of 4th July 1900,
and had been in bed about half-an-hour, without any attempt at going to
sleep, when suddenly I felt extremely alert in mind, very much as Miss
Porter described herself in the Captain Carbury episode. Almost
immediately upon this feeling of mental alertness came the conviction
that Mabel M'Leod (as I will call her) was in the room, close to me, and
that she was in some dire and urgent need of help--instantaneous help, I
mean. I could neither see nor hear on this occasion--I only _knew_ these
facts through some power of intuition, all the more remarkable because,
having made up my mind that all was over at the Embassy, I had not been
thinking of her or of her fellow-sufferers for some days past.

My thoughts were fully engaged at the time with the grief of my host and
hostess.

With the knowledge of Mabel's presence came also the conviction that she
was _still alive_--in the physical body--and that it was no excarnate
spirit that was appealing to me for help.

The impression was so vivid that I called out instinctively: "What is
it, Mabel? What can I do for you?" There was no response, either by
outward or inner voice, only the insistent appeal for help, and
knowledge of some imminent danger at hand for her. I am trying to
explain that something more than the usual hourly peril in which they
must be living, _if on this side the veil_, was implied by the
impression I received. _It was some acute and additional danger which
threatened her at the moment._ Feeling it was useless to waste time
trying to find out by writing or other means what the exact nature of
this danger might be, I jumped out of bed as quickly as possible,
saying: "Never mind trying to make me understand--I will pray for you,
whatever it is!" So I knelt down, and prayed most earnestly that this
poor woman, whose spirit had appealed for help at some dread crisis,
might be comforted, and delivered from any dangers threatening her at
the time.

I had been very comfortably tucked up in bed, looking forward to the
pleasant drowsiness which promises sleep, and I am quite sure I should
not have put myself to all this inconvenience without a very strong
motive.

When I felt the poor, tormented spirit was calmed and soothed by the
atmosphere of prayer, I returned to my bed, and eventually fell asleep.

Next morning I told Mrs Forbes of my experience, making the remark
quoted about the date.

The following week she and I were together at one of the meetings of the
Society for Psychical Research, at the close of which, in shaking hands
with Mr Frederic Myers, I begged him to make a note of my experience and
the date.

"Ah, Miss Bates!" he said, taking out a small note-book, "I will make a
note of it, but I fear there is not the remotest chance of any of them
having been alive ten days ago."

"Then my experience goes for nothing," I answered. "It was a living
woman, not an excarnate one, who came to my bedside on the 4th July."

Later, when the Embassy was relieved, and this lady (who had presented
such a "stiff upper lip" to Fortune) was once more safe at home for a
much-needed rest, I found that she had gone through a special time of
accentuated suffering just when I felt her presence in my room. Her
husband was down with dysentery, and she had not enough food either for
him or for her poor little children, and the strain was almost too
great, even for that brave soul.

Of course, she had been quite unconscious of any appeal to me.

But she has Scottish as well as Irish blood in her veins, and this
heredity may have enabled her subconscious self to sense my locality and
to realise my power and will to help her in her desperate need.

Truly it was a case of "vain is the help of man," or woman either! But
we know too little of spiritual laws to be able to deny off-hand the
efficacy of _any_ earnest prayer.

I saw Mr Myers make a note of the circumstance, but, unfortunately, this
cannot be found amongst his papers. I asked Mrs Myers about it, and she
remembered distinctly her husband having mentioned the case to her when
he returned home after that meeting, but when I last saw her, she had
hunted amongst his papers in vain for the note which he made at the
time.

       *       *       *       *       *

Early in January 1901, the day after Lord Robert's triumphant procession
through London, I went to spend some weeks at an "open-air cure" in
Devonshire, high up in the hills, and in a bleak part of the county.
Several severe illnesses had left me so supersensitive to colds and
draughts that it seemed a vital necessity to take some such drastic
step, even at this inclement time of the year, unless I were prepared to
sink into a state of chronic invalidism, and become a burden to myself
and my neighbours for the rest of my natural life.

An old friend was "second in command" in this special establishment,
which she had asked me to recommend, and a bright thought struck me that
I might do my friend a good turn, and myself also, by spending a few
weeks in the house.

I did not bargain, however, for the deep snow which fell on the very day
after my arrival, nor for the howling west winds, which continued to
blow during the whole of my stay.

In these parts, the west wind corresponds with our eastern variety, and
is quite as cold and disagreeable.

Nor were the surroundings inside of a very cheerful nature. All the
other patients (six or seven) were quite young girls, and all more or
less consumptive. Several of them were very attractive, which made it
seem all the more sad. Without exception, all were, or had been, engaged
to be married, as the coping-stone to this tragedy of their lives! In
several cases the engagements had been broken off, sometimes by mutual
consent, on the score of health. In a few exceptions, where love had
proved stronger than prudence and common-sense, it was equally
melancholy to realise that the future could hold nothing but
disappointment on the one side, and a hopeless regret on the other.

Under these circumstances it was perhaps only to be expected that my
first impressions of the establishment should not be entirely _couleur
de rose_. Yet the house itself was pleasant enough, and the view from
the drawing-room windows was simply magnificent, including sea as well
as moor.

Curtainless windows, with sashes thrown wide open, and chilly linoleum
to replace warm carpets, were rather a trial to the uninitiated, early
in January, with deep snow on the ground and fires none too plentiful.
In addition to these drawbacks I had another personal one. Coming in the
middle of the winter, it was naturally Hobson's choice as regarded the
bedrooms. All the best and warmest aspects had been appropriated in the
autumn, and an ugly little room, with cold, west outlook and depressing,
mustard-coloured distempered walls, fell to my lot.

Yet even these facts did not sufficiently account for the extremely
depressing effect of that room upon me.

"Has anyone died here lately?" was my first and natural query in a house
of this kind.

I had heard the girls casually mention two gentlemen patients who had
been in the house the previous year--one of these had gone into rooms in
a neighbouring town with his nurse. I did not hear what had become of
the other one, and had not sufficient curiosity to ask the question.

My friend reassured me by saying she was sure no one had died recently
in _my_ room. She had only lately come to the house herself, as I knew;
having been matron for some years of a small hospital in the country.

"The second poor gentleman, who was a patient here, did die in the
house, I believe, but that was months ago," she said, "and I understand
that he had Laura Pearce's room," mentioning one of the girls, who had a
specially cheerful apartment. It seemed quite natural that a sick man,
confined to his bed, should occupy a large and sunny room, so I thought
no more of the matter. Still, I was always conscious of an unpleasant
and sad atmosphere in my own room, and took occasion one day to ask the
lady at the head of the establishment whether she knew anything of the
predecessors in the house.

It struck me that the psychic atmosphere in my room might be connected
with some of _them_.

Miss Hunter replied laughingly: "I can't tell you anything about them,
for the very good reason that they don't exist. _I_ am the first tenant
of this house. It was only built two years ago, and remained vacant for
the first twelve months."

Then I told her very cautiously of my feeling about my room, and that I
had supposed it might have to do with someone who had slept there before
she took the house.

Two or three of the young girls were in the room at the time, and it
struck me that one of them--the one who was there for her second
winter--looked a little surprised and interested; but the matron passed
off the subject with a few bantering words, and again I had no suspicion
of the truth.

Six weeks passed, and my last night in the house had arrived. My nurse
friend was in the habit of giving me massage twice a day, before getting
up in the morning and the last thing at night. She left me on this
occasion about ten-thirty P.M., expressing a hope that I should soon
sleep, and have a good night before my long journey next day.

"Not much doubt of that," I murmured. "Why, I'm half asleep already!"
And I turned round, tired and yet soothed by the massage, and soon fell
into a deep and dreamless sleep.

Several hours must have passed, when I woke up, trembling and
terror-struck, after passing through an experience which seems as vivid
to me to-day as on that February night or early morning. My heart was
beating, my limbs trembling, beads of perspiration covered my face, as I
discovered later.

No wonder! I had been through an experience from which few, I imagine,
return to tell the tale. For I had passed through every detail of dying,
and dying a very hard and difficult death.

Body and soul were being literally _torn apart_, in spite of the
desperate effort to cling together, and my spirit seemed to be launched
into unknown depths of darkness and possible horror. It was the feeling
that _I did not know where I was going nor what awaited me_ that seemed
so terrible--this and the horrible fight for mastery between my poor
body and soul and some unknown force that was inexorably set upon
dividing them.

This, so far as I can express it, exactly describes the experience I had
just gone through, and from which I had awakened in such abject terror.

As the beating of my heart subsided, and I could think more calmly, I
remembered with startling distinctness that in the very worst of the
struggle I had been vainly endeavouring to say that text in the
twenty-third Psalm which begins:

"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no
evil; for Thou art with me: _Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me._" I
could say the first part of it quite easily, but some fiendish enemy
seemed bent upon preventing my saying the last sentence, and in my
terrible dream, rescue and safety depended upon my getting to the end of
the text. I tried again and again, always to be driven back in despair
before the crucial words were uttered. At last, with a desperate effort,
I seemed to shake off the incubus which was weighing me down, and I
finished the words triumphantly, and so loud that I had positively
wakened myself up _by shouting them out_. With returning memory I knew
this had happened, and hearing a door open and shut on the half landing
below my room, I thought for the moment that someone must have heard me,
and must be coming to see what was the matter. I looked at my
watch--just two-thirty A.M. No one appeared; and to my relief I
remembered that this was just the hour when either Miss Hunter or my
friend went round to the invalids, giving them milk or bovril, in the
night.

I had no inclination to seek out either of these ladies. The horror was
past, and no one could undo what I had endured; so I lay quiet, and in
course of time managed to go to sleep again, not waking until the
servant came into my room to light the fire at seven-thirty A.M.

It happened to be a certain _Minnie_ on this occasion, a very
respectable young woman, who had accompanied Miss Hunter when she gave
up the matronship of a well-known hospital, and who had therefore been
with her since this establishment had been started.

My night's experience convinced me so absolutely that, in spite of all
that had been said, the gentleman patient _had_ died in this room, and
that I had just gone through his death agonies, that instead of asking
any question about it, I said very quietly to Minnie, as she was on her
knees lighting my fire: "The poor gentleman who died here last summer
_died in this room, I find_."

"Yes, ma'am," she said quietly, not knowing, as it turned out, that any
mystery had been made about the fact.

My personal friend was guiltless of any deceit, for she had been told
the story about Laura Pearce's room, but the young girls confessed when
I went down to breakfast that they had been specially warned not to let
me know the true facts.

Miss Hunter did not appear at breakfast, as she was suffering from a
chill, so I went to her bedroom to say good-bye before going up to
London.

Feeling naturally annoyed and rather shaken by my night's experience, I
said to her rather drily:

"You need not have taken the trouble to deceive me about my room, Miss
Hunter, nor to warn the girls to do the same. I know that gentleman died
there, for I have just gone through his experiences." And then I told
her about my terrible night.

Although forced to admit the facts, Miss Hunter fought every inch of the
ground, so far as the _painful_ experiences were concerned.

"Such an excellent man! so interested in everything--a _clergyman_, my
dear Miss Bates, and so _good!_ How could there be anything painful
connected with his death?" etc. etc.

I suggested that, as Christians, we had the most overwhelming proof that
holiness of life does not always preclude even mental suffering at
death; but she would not hear of this argument, and doubtless considered
it blasphemous.

By dint of questioning, however, I made two discoveries--first, that
the death was quite unexpected. The man had only been a fortnight in the
house, and when I expressed surprise that he should have been moved
there so late in a fatal illness, she said unguardedly:

"_Oh, but he was very slightly ill when he came--it was more a
preventive measure. None of us had any idea that he was a dying man, the
symptoms developed so suddenly._"

I also elicited another fact--_i.e._ that this delightfully interesting
personality "so intellectual--so full of interest in everything" (to
quote Miss Hunter's words), had died at the age of forty, in the very
prime of life. No wonder, under the circumstances of so short an
illness, in the very zenith of life and enjoyment, that body and soul
should have been loath to separate, and thus free the imprisoned spirit!
But Miss Hunter was adamant, and would admit nothing.

Just before leaving her, it struck me that I had not yet told her about
the text, so I repeated that episode, and then, for the first time, a
startled look came into her eyes. She was taken by surprise, and said
hastily: "That _is_ extraordinary! I was with him when he died in the
night, and he kept on asking for that text. That is not so remarkable,
many might have asked for that text, but I stopped once or twice after
the first sentence, and he kept on urging me: "_Say it to the end, Miss
Hunter! Say it to the end!_"

Later the good lady even consented to write out the evidential points in
this story, which I sent at once to my friend Dr Richard Hodgson.

Immediately upon my return to London on this occasion, I was attacked
quite suddenly by a very acute form of rheumatism, which laid me on my
back--perfectly helpless--for several days.

When the doctor arrived, his first question was: "Have you had any
special shock lately? This particular form of rheumatism does not
generally come on with so little warning _unless there has been a
previous shock_."

I was about to deny this, thinking he referred to unexpected news, but
with the memory of my Devonshire experience so keen and clear, I felt
bound to tell him that I had certainly had a shock to my nerves
twenty-four hours previously.

Soon after this sudden and sharp attack of illness I found myself in
Portugal for the first time in my life.

I had gone there with an English friend--Mrs Frampton--in order to be
near connections who had lived in the country for many years.

A cousin and I spent a delightful afternoon in that Cintra paradise of
_Monserrat_, with General and Mrs Sartorius, who were living there at
the time of my visit to Portugal. I have heard that even this charming
house could tell strange tales if only walls could speak. It is easy to
imagine that any spirits--carnate or discarnate--might deem it a
privilege to haunt so exquisite a spot. Personally, I can only testify
to the hospitality of our kind host and hostess and the excellence of
the spirit of "Robur," which refreshed our weary bodies, and made the
walk back to the Cintra Hotel, through the lovely woodland paths, a
"thing of beauty and a joy for ever."

To return to Lisbon. My friend Mrs Frampton had never been present at
any sort of psychic phenomena, so we planned a little sitting for her
during one of these Lisbon evenings.

She and I descended in solemn state to the fine library of our host, on
the ground floor, whilst his wife and sister elected to remain in the
drawing-room upstairs. A sister-in-law also begged to be excused from
accompanying us, and spent the whole time occupied by our _séance_, in
playing Moody and Sankey hymns, doubtless hoping thereby to exorcise the
evil spirits whom we should presumably evoke.

Unfortunately, she did not play loud enough to divert the attention of
the Portuguese cook, who promptly gave warning next day, saying she
could not stand these "devilish practices"! We had failed to realise
that the very wall, close to which our small table was placed, divided
the kitchen from the large ground-floor library, so the poor woman
doubtless sat with her ear well jammed up against this partition, and
considered every rap of the table leg on the floor, a distinct footstep
of the devil!

Nothing more terrible happened to _us_ that evening than being forced to
look up our English history once more, in "Hume" and "Green's Short
History of the English People," both of which volumes were close at
hand. For the whole _séance_ might have been an "easy lesson in English
history," with John, Duke of Northumberland, Lady Jane Grey, the Earl of
Leicester, and the famous Elizabeth as its exponents. All these
purported to be with us that evening, and I am bound to say that all
dates and details mentioned, which our middle-aged memories could not
verify at the moment, were in every case corroborated by reference to
the library books later.

It was just before leaving England for Portugal that I first met a lady
(with whom I have since become more intimate), under rather exceptional
circumstances--these latter were unknown to me at the time.

My brother, Colonel C. E. Bates, was living at this time (1901) in rooms
in Cambridge Terrace, and the drawing-room floor was occupied by a Miss
Isabel Smith, who was then only a name to us both. His landlady had
given him to understand that this lady had connections in India, and was
the niece of a General Propert, still on the active list, and an old
friend of my brother's in Indian days.

The last Sunday before starting for Lisbon I called in as usual to spend
the afternoon in Cambridge Terrace, and found that the "drawing-room
lady" had just been paying him a visit, and had left him most
enthusiastic.

This visit surprised me, because my brother, being a very great invalid,
had an inveterate dislike to meeting strangers, with whom he generally
found it difficult to carry on any lengthy conversation. But this
visitor had evidently been an exception. My brother expressed some
regret that I should have missed seeing her, so to please him I
suggested sending his valet upstairs with his compliments, and asking if
I might pay the lady a short visit, should she be disengaged.

She came downstairs kindly, a second time, and we had a pleasant chat,
whilst my brother and an old Indian brother officer carried on their
conversation.

I left England a few days later, and scarcely expected to see or hear
any more of Miss Isabel Smith. Fate, however, ordained otherwise. Some
weeks elapsed, and then I received a letter from my brother, mentioning
the curious circumstances that, he had just heard, had led to his making
the acquaintance of this pleasant neighbour. "It is too long a story to
write," he concluded, "but I will tell you all about it next time we
meet."

He did so, and as his account exactly tallies with the one Miss Isabel
Smith (now Mrs Finch) has kindly written out for me for insertion in
this volume, I will quote the latter from her own words. I must premise
that Miss Smith turned out to be naturally clairvoyant and
clair-audient, rather to the disgust of my brother, who considered
himself superior to these "superstitions." Her narrative is interesting
not only in itself, but because it is an object lesson in the curious
"hits and misses" in psychic investigation. In this case a spirit
confessed to an impersonation; but it was an impersonation of the
brother of a man whom my brother had really known in India--a fact
entirely apart from any possible knowledge on the part of Miss Smith,
who had never met my brother at the time of her adventure. I will now
give Miss Smith's narrative.


"When at Grindelwald in the winter 1900-1901 an excarnate entity came
and spoke to me. He seemed much interested in the South African
campaign; told me he had been a soldier, first in the Rifle Brigade,
then in the Indian army. When I asked his name he said he was Henry
Arthur Chomley (the name of a celebrated ambassador was the one given),
that he was a brother of Sir Frederic Chomley, and had been in the
Rifle Brigade and in India, _and had passed over two or three years
before_.

When, shortly afterwards, I returned to Cambridge Terrace, he realised
the changed surroundings, and asked where I was. On learning I was in
rooms he asked whether there was anyone else in the house, and on my
telling him there was a paralysed military man downstairs named Bates,
he exclaimed 'What! Charlie Bates? I knew him very well in India--do ask
him if he remembers me!'

I said I did not know the gentleman, but would certainly ask him if an
opportunity should occur.

A few days after this, a message was brought up to me from Colonel
Bates, asking for my uncle, General Propert's, address in Burmah. This
gave me the opening. I wrote giving the required information, and
suggested that I might come and have a talk with him.

In my next conversation with 'Colonel Chomley' I told him all this, and
he again said: '_Mind you ask him about me!_' I answered: '_How can I,
when I don't know what Colonel Bates' ideas are on these subjects? He
might look on me as a dangerous lunatic!_'

Colonel Chomley remarked: '_I think you will find that he is interested
in psychic matters._'

I discovered that this was true, for on my first visit I saw a copy of
the S.P.R. Proceedings lying on the table.

I found him interested, but unable to get beyond the 'subliminal
consciousness' theory.

A few days later I asked Colonel Bates if he had ever met a Colonel
Henry Arthur Chomley in India. He thought for a moment, then said:

'Chomley? Why, of course I knew a Chomley, but I don't know his
Christian name. He was Brigade Major at Meean Meer, and I took over the
brigade from him, and bought his horses, etc. Where did _you_ know him?'

I then told him of the spirit who had given me the name of Henry Arthur
Chomley, who said he had known him in India, and had over and over again
begged to be remembered to him.

The day following this conversation Colonel Bates sent me up his Army
List, open, and marked at the name of Colonel _Walter_ Chomley, and a
note explaining that it was not Henry Arthur, but _Walter Chomley_ whom
he had known at Meean Meer.

I then asked 'Henry Arthur' if his name was Walter or Henry Arthur.

He said: '_Henry Arthur. Surely I ought to know my own name!_'

Colonel Bates told the story to you the next time you (_i.e._ E. K.
Bates) came to see him, and I remember we discussed it together when we
met again.

Shortly afterwards you wrote to tell me that you had looked up a
_Debrett_ for 1895, and had there found _Colonel Henry Arthur Chomley, a
brother of Sir Frederic Chomley, of the Rifle Brigade, etc._, so that
Henry Arthur Chomley was evidently alive in that year, and _had_ been in
the Rifle Brigade.

I was much pleased to get this corroborative evidence, though the
mistake in initials must have been Colonel Bates' error, and apologised
to Colonel Henry Arthur Chomley in the Unseen.

A few weeks later, however, you wrote again, and told me that you had
been staying with a friend, who drove you over to call upon Colonel and
Mrs Henry Arthur Chomley, that he was a brother of Sir Frederic Chomley,
and was certainly _alive_, although not _at home_, at the time of your
visit!

This information startled me, and my guide, at my request, went to look
up the _soi-disant_ Colonel to find out what it all meant.

The latter then confessed to having taken a friend's name, said a sudden
impulse came over him when I first asked his name, and having told one
lie, he felt bound to go on deceiving me, but that he had known both
Colonel Bates and Colonel Henry Arthur Chomley in India, and that his
own real name was Anstruther!"


This was Miss Smith's narrative.

Now out of this curious jumble of true and false, two points remain
clear:

My brother _had_ known a Chomley in India, and had succeeded him as
Brigade Major at Meean Meer. This Chomley _was_ a brother of Sir
Frederic Chomley, the well-known diplomatist, but his name was Walter,
not Henry Arthur. Yet Sir Frederic _had_ a brother named Henry Arthur,
and the impersonating Anstruther had borrowed the wrong brother's name
when trying to pose as the friend of Colonel Charles Bates. To make
confusion worse confounded, _Walter Chomley_ was alive, as well as
_Henry Arthur_, at the time of Miss Mabel Smith's experiences, for I
have seen his death within the last eight months!

The second point is that, personally, my brother and I had reason to be
grateful to the deceiving Anstruther. He was certainly the means of
introducing a pleasant acquaintance to my brother and to me.

Miss Mabel Smith's experience at Grindelwald reminds me of one of my own
in the same place during the following year.

I had gone there with a cousin, who was eager for skating and
tobogganing, in January 1902, on my way to Rome. After a pleasant week
at a charmingly quiet and comfortable hotel--the _Alpenrühe_ I think was
the name--my cousin wished, for purposes of policy, to change over to a
more famous, but noisy and overcrowded one.

So on the evening of 3rd February we found ourselves in this immense
caravanserai, having exchanged our large, comfortable, steam-heated
rooms for small, oblong apartments, each provided with three doors as
well as the window, and a wood fire to be fed from small "five-franc
baskets," and always going out at that!

There was deep snow on the ground and a heavy fog of snow falling when
we made our change, so that one was not in the most brilliant spirits;
and being suddenly thrust into the midst of a big, heterogeneous company
of strangers is never exhilarating.

Our bedrooms, though small and not specially comfortable, were perfectly
commonplace, the very last _milieu_ with which one would have associated
any interesting experience. The window of my room faced the door into
the passage, my bed lay between the two; right and left of it were two
other doors, each communicating with other occupied rooms.

Therefore I thought little the first night of noises and moving of
furniture, taking for granted that these must be occurring either right
or left of me, and that the clearness of the atmosphere accounted for my
odd impression that a table and chair--between my bed and the
window--were being moved.

The following night (4th February), however, this fact was indisputable.
I had heard both my neighbours retire to bed by ten P.M., as so many do
who have been skating and tobogganing all day long. I had sat up reading
for half-an-hour beyond this, and went to bed at eleven P.M., by which
time there was perfect silence in the hotel, as no special entertainment
was going on.

Very shortly, this movement of the furniture began again, unmistakably
in my room this time. Curiously enough, it did not frighten me at all
nor suggest burglars (a far greater terror to me than ghosts!). I cannot
at this distance of time remember _why_ the idea of Mr Myers should have
come to me in connection with these noises; but I am quite certain that
I _did_ think of him at the time, and fully expected his name to be
given, when I asked if anyone wished to speak to me and were trying to
attract my attention by moving the furniture about.

It was greatly to my surprise, therefore, that the name of _Gifford_ was
given. I may here note that this was the real name given to me. He said
he was a judge, one who had lived fifty or sixty years previously, that
he had once unintentionally condemned an innocent man to be hanged, and
he was evidently still greatly perturbed about this, and begged for my
prayers.

All this put Mr Myers entirely out of my head--_unfortunately_, as
events proved.

I had some further talk with Judge Gifford, but do not remember it in
detail.

Next morning I told my cousin of my experience, and on the evening of
the following day mentioned it in the presence of some neighbours at
_table d'hôte_ who had introduced psychic subjects to us.

This gentleman and his wife were both impressed, and yet incredulous,
and when my cousin laughingly declared that "Gifford had come to _her_
the second night, but that she told him she was too tired out to listen
to him," we all three supposed that she was turning the whole subject
into ridicule. This would have been quite characteristic of her,
although I have always thought she had some mediumistic faculty, and was
one of the many people whom I should advise to leave these matters
alone. I was the more convinced that she was merely "chaffing" on this
occasion, because when I warned our acquaintances of her powers of
exaggeration in "making fun" of things, she said nothing.

But when we had returned to our rooms that night she remarked quite
quietly: "But he _did_ come, Emmie! When you said that at _table d'hôte_
about my exaggerating things, I let it pass, because very often it is
true. But what I said this evening was _absolutely correct_, though
perhaps it is as well those people should not believe it. Someone _did_
come to my bedside last night, and said: 'I am Gifford--will you listen
to me?' And I said: 'No; not to-night. I am too tired,' just as I told
you."

I think poor Gifford came again more than once to me; but I had done all
I could for him, and explained this, adding that he must now leave me
alone, which he did.

Later my cousin returned to Paris, and I went on to Rome, where I
received a letter from Dr Richard Hodgson enclosing some Piper script.

_F. W. H. Myers communicating_, said that he had come to me on the
evening of 4th February, that I seemed to recognise him, and that he
thought he had "got his message through to me," and hoped that I should
write to Dr Hodgson to that effect.

In answering Dr Hodgson's letter I denied the Myers' episode _in toto_,
so far as _my_ consciousness was concerned. In fact, the Gifford
incident put all else so entirely out of my mind that I fear I did not
even mention to Dr Hodgson that my _first_ thought that night had been
connected with Mr Myers.

Anyway, the next letter from Boston enclosed an account of a sitting,
where Mr Myers came and apologised for having misled Dr Hodgson about my
recognition of him.

His words were almost literally as follows:--

"I am extremely sorry, my dear Hodgson, about that affair with Miss
Bates. I should not have thought of mentioning it to you had I not felt
convinced that she recognised me. _Her astral body was quite aware of my
presence_, and I quite thought she had realised it on the physical
plane" (the italics are mine).

It would seem that the Myers' message was in the very act of
transmission from my astral to my normal consciousness when this man
Gifford must have come, switching off the telephone for Mr Myers, and
getting on to it himself. Probably his great distress of mind would
have made him the stronger force of the two for the time being.

There must always be many disappointments of this kind in our research.
There is always something which so nearly succeeds and then just fails
at last. This _must_ be the case where conditions are so fine and subtle
and so easily disturbed, and where our own ignorance of many necessary
factors is so profound. This makes it none the less disheartening at
times!

Later I made an attempt with my friend Baroness Rosenkrantz of Rome to
get a message through the other way--_i.e._ from Mr Myers and myself to
Dr Hodgson, _via_ Mrs Piper.

The Baroness and I had a little "sitting" alone, wrote one or two short
messages with a couple of extracts from Mr Myers' own writings, sealed
up the envelope carefully, and I forwarded it to Dr Hodgson.

But the test failed. Two years later Dr Hodgson spoke of the letter as
being still intact.



CHAPTER XIII

A SECOND VISIT TO INDIA, 1903


My second visit to India took place in the early months of 1903, and I
approached it this time from Burmah. Fielding Hall's "Soul of a People"
had thrown its magic spell over me, and Miss Greenlow and I were both
anxious also to see the far-famed Shwé Dagon Temple.

I came to the conclusion from what I saw, and still more from what I
heard, that Mr Fielding Hall must have appealed sometimes to his
imagination for his facts, and allowed an exquisite poetical fancy to
cast its glamour even over these. But the beautiful Golden Temple of
Rangoon defies all powers of exaggeration. We went there again and
again, and wandered amongst its endless small temples, representing
various forms of worship, including even a Chinese joss-house, which is
stamped upon my memory through a disaster, which I have always connected
with this special temple; rank superstition though it be.

We had spent several weeks upon the Irrawaddy River; had wandered
through beautiful, dusty Mandalay; had explored Bhamo and marvelled over
the exquisite visions of fairy-like beauty, painted anew for us morning
and evening, on this most glorious river; and had finally returned to
Rangoon for a few days' rest before starting for Calcutta.

It was an exquisite evening, just before our departure, when we went,
towards sunset, to say farewell to the Shwé Dagon. At that hour it is to
be seen at its best, for the level rays of the Eastern sun, light up the
golden cupola into startling and fairy-like magnificence.

Having watched this glorious spectacle for some minutes, the air grew
chilly, compared with the intense heat of the day, and darkness was
coming on apace as we turned to retrace our steps.

A few days before, we had noticed a Chinese joss-house, standing in one
corner of the huge elevated platform upon which the Shwé Dagon rests. In
the maze of buildings, and owing to the swiftly falling darkness, we
could not at once locate this temple; and most unfortunately for _me_,
with the stupid persistence which such a failure sometimes brings, both
Miss Greenlow and I were determined to find it out before leaving the
Golden Temple. At last a joyous exclamation warned me that my friend had
been successful in her quest.

The first time I had seen this joss-house I had run up the steps
heedlessly, but felt such an unpleasant influence on entering it that I
came away at once, and only regret not having been equally prudent a
second time.

Miss Greenlow was gazing at some grotesque carvings in one corner of the
temple, still dimly visible, and called out to me to come and look at
them also. Very reluctantly I joined her, and stood for a few minutes
waiting, till she was ready to leave.

There was something so gloomy, so uncanny, and depressing--I must even
say _malignant_--in the building at this twilight hour, that I could
stand the influence no longer, and as Miss Greenlow seemed inclined to
linger, I hurried down the stone steps, saying: "_I can't stay in that
place! I will wait for you at the top of the marble stairs._"

Now these steps, broken and dirty, and lined by small booths selling
every imaginable toy and bit of tinsel, including small models of the
various temples, led by steep flights up and down from the huge platform
of ground I have mentioned. Some small link-boys were crowding round as
Miss Greenlow rejoined me, clamouring to be allowed to light us down the
steps--a very necessary precaution, for the darkness was quickly
replacing the exquisite sunset colouring.

I am, as a rule, rather a remarkably sure-footed person, and the
lanterns of the boys threw ample light upon the steps, yet the first
moment of my descent I was considerably surprised to find myself at the
bottom of the first whole flight of hard marble steps! I had no
recollection of a slip even--one moment I was standing, carefully
prepared to descend; the next I was lying on my back at the bottom of a
long flight of steps, with the link-boys gaping in astonishment. They
could not have been more astonished than I was! The very swiftness of
the fall was probably my salvation; otherwise I think my spine _must_
have been injured. As it was, I was very much hurt, however; the pain
was intense for a time, and the muscles of my back were so swollen that
they stood up in ridges as big as a good-sized finger, for some time
after the escapade. In fact, it was quite six weeks before all local
trouble was over, and many more weeks before I had recovered from the
unexpected shock.

I have had several falls in my life, but never one other where there was
absolutely _no_ preliminary warning or sense of slipping, however swift.

The experience was exactly that of being suddenly _hurled down_ the
steps by some outside force. I can only add that I deeply deplored my
unguarded words to Miss Greenlow, when I told her I was sure there was
some malignant spirit in the joss-house.

Perhaps he wished politely to demonstrate the correctness of my remark.

The short voyage from Rangoon to Calcutta was made pleasant by the
kindness of a European friend in Rangoon, who came "to see us off," and
asked if he should introduce to me a little Burmese lady, very rich and
very _dévote_, who was on board with us, going to Calcutta to pay a
visit to her husband, who lived in that city.

"She is one of our principal native residents," my Rangoon friend
explained to me before introducing her. "She is also intensely
interested in her Buddhist religion, and I think this may interest you,
from what you have told me of your investigations."

So the little lady was duly presented, and thinking to open our
conversation pleasantly, I remarked that Mr Rowell had told me that she
was much interested in religious questions, and that although not a
theosophist myself, I numbered several of them amongst my friends.

But I found myself quite on the wrong tack. She screwed up her little
mouth, as if tasting some nasty medicine, and then said in excellent
colloquial English:

"Oh, they are no good at all. They have muddled everything up, and got
it all wrong. That is why we are beginning to write tracts and send out
missionaries. The great Buddha made no propaganda; neither did we for
many, many centuries. We believe that people must grow into this
knowledge; but now when you Western people come and take little bits of
our system, and piece them together all wrong--well, then, we are forced
to show you what is the truth! It is like a puzzle map, and all you
theosophists are trying to fit the pieces in, wrong side upward." And
she finished with a merry and apologetic laugh, remembering, no doubt,
that I had spoken of having friends amongst these "stupid muddlers"!

She gave me quite a number of the "tracts" of which she had spoken,
setting forth the true Buddhism, and mostly printed in Mandalay, and I
made a point of passing these on to some of the friends I had mentioned
to her.

I can only trust they were appreciated, and efficacious in reducing the
confusion resulting from trying to adapt Eastern mysticism to Western
consumption!

Our conversation became still more interesting when I discovered that a
mysterious fellow-passenger of ours on board the _Devonshire_, sailing
from Marseilles to Rangoon, had taken this voyage at the expense of the
Burmese lady, and, I am sorry to say, had occasioned her a great and
quite inexcusable disappointment.

This man, whom I will call Dr Gröne, was a professor at a celebrated
university in the south of Europe, and was certainly a scholar--if not a
gentleman!

He had studied the Buddhist writings very deeply, and his name had been
conveyed to this Burmese lady as that of one eager to throw off all ties
of kinship, and retire--like the great Buddha himself--from the world,
and find repose and enlightenment in a Burmese monastery. The only thing
lacking in carrying out this excellent resolve was--as usual--_money_.

The native lady, delighted to hear of so learned a gentleman, and one
holding such an honourable position in Europe, being converted to the
tenets of her religion, and thus wishing to give the best example of
their influence upon him, agreed joyfully to forward the funds for his
journey and to make arrangements for his stay in Rangoon before
proceeding to Mandalay, where he was to be received as a Buddhist priest
after a certain course of initiation.

We had all remarked Dr Gröne on board--partly because he was so thin and
tall, and walked the deck so persistently in fine weather or foul;
partly because he owned an exceptionally fine and long beard, which
parted and waved in the breeze as he passed to and fro in his lonely
perambulations. I never saw him speak to anyone on board except my own
table companion, Dr Gall, the Secretary of the Church Missionary
Society, and a very interesting and intelligent man. This latter was
also a distinguished Arabic scholar, and had lent me some striking
monographs he had written on the Mohammedan faith, striking both by the
scholarship and breadth of view and tolerance, which one does not
generally associate with the Society that he represented.

I had seen him more than once in the company of Dr Gröne, and when we
reached Colombo, and read in the papers handed to us on broad that our
ship contained the famous European professor who was journeying to
Mandalay to become a Buddhist priest, after a touching farewell with
wife and children, Dr Gall expressed both astonishment and incredulity.

"He never said a word about it to me," was his remark. "I know he has
studied the Buddhist religion very deeply, and he is anxious to get
access to some MSS., which he hopes to find in Burmah; but that is not
the same thing as becoming a priest. I expect the papers have
exaggerated the facts."

As a matter of fact, Dr Gröne certainly gave a lecture on Buddhism in
Colombo on the day of our arrival, for one of our fellow-passengers had
the curiosity to be present, but he, also, told me nothing had been said
about the lecturer becoming a priest.

The matter did not specially interest me; but on arrival at Rangoon, the
only decent (?) hotel was crowded, and most of us had to put up with a
very inferior class of accommodation.

A few hours of this establishment sufficed for most of the passengers,
who promptly went up country or on the river; but Miss Greenlow and I
were obliged to spend three or four days in Rangoon, and Dr Gröne was at
first our only companion.

So, of course, we spoke to each other in self-defence. He talked of his
home life and university work, and casually mentioned the death of his
wife, _five years previously_, and the children who were awaiting him
at home.

This certainly tallied more with Dr Gall's ideas than the sensational
Colombo newspaper account of his wife and children, to whom, like the
great Buddha, he had bidden an eternal farewell! Naturally one did not
touch upon this delicate subject, but I asked him how long he expected
to remain in Rangoon. To my surprise, he said at once that his stay was
quite uncertain--he might even be returning by the _Devonshire_, which
was to sail within a week of her arrival.

It seemed a long and expensive journey to take for so short a stay; but
doubtless he had business reasons, and the matter dropped from my mind.

When we returned, three or four weeks later, he was no longer in Rangoon
apparently, and I did not expect to come upon his tracks again.

The Burmese lady explained the Gröne mystery with some bitterness, and
no wonder!

Having come out free, upon the understanding with her, already
mentioned, she had taken a room for him at the hotel, and had busied
herself in buying blankets and a carpet and other small luxuries, to
break the Mandalay monastery to him as gently as possible.

When three days passed and he made no sign of moving on, she quietly
intimated that it might be as well to begin the new life without delay,
and said she had written to her brother, himself a priest in the
monastery, to meet Dr Gröne at Mandalay and present him to the
authorities at the monastery.

This must probably have been about the time that I asked him innocently
how long he would be staying in Rangoon.

His plan had doubtless been to go to Mandalay in a dilettante sort of
fashion, and to live in the monastery for a time, with the hope of
getting access to some valuable and little known MSS.; but it did not
suit his plans at all to be met at once by the brother of his
benefactress, and kept under the eye of this priest, who knew exactly
the circumstances under which he had been enabled to take the long
journey from Marseilles.

Being evidently a prudent man, he determined to seize the first
opportunity for retreat from an impossible situation. How he raised
enough money for the return voyage is not known. My Burmese acquaintance
thought he must have applied to one of the Consulates, and that his
university position would doubtless ensure his raising a loan.

Anyway, he shipped himself surreptitiously once more on board the
_Devonshire_, and arranged that the letter, containing the usual excuse
of a "sudden telegram from Marseilles announcing the unexpected death of
a near relation," should not be handed to his benefactress until the
anchor was safely weighed.

It was not a pleasant story, and treachery is no less perfidious for
having an intellectual motive. I felt glad that Dr Gröne was not a
fellow-countryman.

Having disburdened herself on this one point of righteous indignation,
our little Burmese lady became as bright and cheery as a child, wearing
her collection of pretty native dresses, which could all have been
packed easily into a fair-sized doll's trunk, with singular grace and
charm. When the tender arrived to disembark us in Calcutta, her husband
came with it, and was speedily introduced.

We had tea with them a few days later in their handsome Calcutta flat,
and this gave me the opportunity for a long and interesting talk with
the husband, who proved to be a most intelligent and open-minded man.

He spoke of Fielding Hall's delightful book with appreciation tinged by
kindly amusement.

"He has been many years in the country, but he still judges us as a
foreigner."

When I suggested that the judgment was at least very flattering to the
Burmese, this Burmese gentleman laughed, and said:

"Flattering? Yes--but not always quite true. One must see from _inside_,
not from outside, to be quite true in one's judgments; and no foreigner
can see from outside. It is a question of race and heredity, not of
having spent twenty or thirty years, or even a lifetime, in a foreign
land."

I suggested that those who saw from _inside_ only, might also lack some
essential factor in forming an accurate judgment.

He agreed heartily to this, adding: "Yes, indeed. The ideal critic must
have lived neither too near nor too far--mentally as well as physically;
also he must have intuition. Now Mr Fielding Hall is an artist as well
as a poet, but in judging my country he lets his intuition run riot
sometimes, as well as his imagination."

After reporting this conversation, it is unnecessary to add that my
Burmese friend spoke English rather better than I did myself.

We then talked about the position of woman in Burmah, and how much this
had been extolled and held up as a object lesson to the rest of the
world.

If the position of woman is the true test of a nation's civilisation, as
has been so often affirmed, then certainly Burmah must be in the van of
the nations! Yet this is scarcely borne out by facts.

I put this point as politely as I could, and my mind was at once set at
ease by the purely impersonal way in which he met my remark.

"Of course, we are not in the van of the nations, and yet it is quite
true that our women have an exceptional position--quite a good enough
one for an election cry for the Woman's Suffrage! Ah, yes! I have been
in England," he added, with a merry twinkle in his little black eyes.
"But you must realise that the unique position of woman with us is
somewhat accidental. It is not the result of philosophical or moral
conviction on the part of our men; it has been the natural outcome of
circumstances, and a question of expediency rather than of ethics. So it
was not really a 'test paper' for us at all! Our frequent wars in the
past have taken the men out of their homes, and the women, at such
times, were left alone to cope with not only the domestic, but the
agricultural problems. All business of this kind passed through their
hands, and in time they developed the qualities of industry, good
judgment and power of taking responsibility, necessary for success in
such a life. Then when the husbands came back and found everything going
on so well and without trouble to themselves, they were only too glad to
fall in with the existing state of things. We Burmese are lazy fellows
after all. We can rise to a big call, but if our women will look after
our business for us, we are quite content to smoke our pipes in peace
and look on--and, of course, the one who makes the wheels go round is
the one who really drives the coach. Believe me, there is more of
expediency than nobility in the attitude of our men towards our women,
and more of laziness than either, perhaps! But Fielding Hall would call
this blasphemy, I am afraid!"

And so, with a joking word, our interesting talk came to an end, leaving
me with a sincere hope that I might some day meet again both the
intelligent husband and the charming wife.

I found the air at Simla quite marvellous for psychic possibilities,
and this was certainly a great surprise to me; nor was it only a
question of altitude and a dry atmosphere. Missouri and the Dhera Doon
are celebrated for the purity of air and climate generally, but the
influences there were quite different.

Even Peshawar, with its glorious crown of snow-capped mountains, brought
no special psychic atmosphere to me; nor the Khyber Pass, where I had
thoroughly expected to be haunted by the horrors of the past; nothing of
the kind occurred. The beauty of the day when we visited this historic
pass was only to be matched by its own extreme natural beauty; but no
haunting memories hung round it for me.

Perhaps a night passed in those rocky defiles might have brought some
weird experience, but no European would be allowed to woo adventure in
this way, even with the laudable desire for advance in psychological
phenomena! But I stayed there quite long enough to prove--for the
hundredth time--that _an attitude of expectation_ acts with me as a
deterrent rather than encouragement, where the Unseen is in question.

I had heard so much of Simla Society and Simla Scandals, and so little
of Simla Beauty and Loveliness!--in Nature, I mean--not Human Nature.

It is true we were there at the most exquisite time in the year, when
the air was still fresh and keen, when the last snows and the first
blooms of rhododendrons were greeting each other, when the long
stretches of valley, brown and purple and emerald green, lay like soft
velvet in the immense distances towards the horizon line.

As I looked at all this, day after day, it seemed to me that Simla,
without its crowds of social butterflies, male and female, and the dust
and the flies, and even the heat that they bring with them, was one of
the most exquisitely beautiful spots that the Great Creator ever
"thought out" in His mind. Nowhere have I seen such a _velvety_ effect
of rolling hill and soft mountain-side; such gorgeous atmospheric
visions; such a carnival of beauty and colour.

We must have seen Simla at the most ideal time in the year, or people
must become _blasé_ and blinded to its intoxicating beauty, thanks to
tennis tournaments and Government House receptions and the whole stupid
Social mill.

Not even the beauties of Kashmir have dimmed the memory of Simla for me;
but I would not go there again, and in the season, for anything that
could be offered to me.

All beauty is sacred, and I guard jealously my sacred memory of the
place, known to so many merely as a byword for folly and flirtation.

Some strange and curious experiences came to me there, both in automatic
writing and other ways; but these are of too private a nature for
publication.

And so, with the beauty of Simla and the romance of Kashmir as jewels in
my memory, I must end my second visit to India.

It is said that pleasant as well as painful experiences are apt to run
in _threes_. I trust this may be the case. If so, it will mean that once
again I shall tread upon Indian soil.



CHAPTER XIV

A FAMILY PORTRAIT AND PSYCHIC PHOTOGRAPHY


In the very heart of Warwickshire there is a beautiful old "half timber"
hall, approached by a noble avenue of elms. The hall has come down from
father to son, in the direct line, for nearly six hundred years, as the
dates upon the front of the house testify.

The present Squire is not only an old friend of my early youth, but is
connected through marriage, and he and his wife and I have always been
on very friendly terms. He is the usual type of fox-hunting squire and
county magistrate, did good service during the South African War by
raising a corps of Yeomanry from the estate, and going out with them to
fight his country's battles, and, needless to say, he received a hearty
ovation from his wife and his county when he returned to them in safety.
He is devoted to his beautiful house and estate, and is the last man to
entertain fancies or superstitions in connection with either.

It is necessary to give these few words of explanation before relating
an "incident in my life" for which I have always found it difficult to
account, except on the supposition that some germ of psychic
sensitiveness may exist, even under a hunting squire's "pink coat and
top-boots."

I have known Greba Hall since I was a child, and all its quaint old
family portraits, especially those in the fine oak-panelled hall, with
the old-fashioned open fireplace and "dogs" of the fifteenth century.
But there were so many of these pictures massed together that I have
never distinguished one from the other, with the exception of the few
immediate ancestors of my friend.

Some years ago I was staying with a lady who lived about three miles
from Greba, and we had driven over there to have tea with the Squire's
wife, whom I will call Mrs Lyon. The friend I have mentioned had become
interested in psychic matters since my acquaintance with her, and I had
discovered that she possessed some psychometric capacity.

In the interests of non-psychic readers, I may explain that psychometry
is the science of learning to receive impressions and intuitions from
the atmosphere surrounding any material object--a letter, a ring, a
piece of pebble or shell, and so forth. We seem capable of impressing
all material objects with our personality, and naturally this is
especially the case in letters written and signed by us.

The lady with whom I was then staying--Mrs Fitz Herbert--had tried
receiving impressions from letters several times, at my suggestion, and
always with more or less success. We had been speaking of this with Mrs
Lyon, who was always very sympathetic, and she suggested giving one of
her own letters to Mrs Fitz Herbert to be "psychometrised."

The latter was sitting facing a door which led from the hall to an inner
room, and over this door hung the half-length portrait of an old
gentleman, whom I had never specially remarked before, as the picture
was hung rather high, and there was nothing very characteristic about
the face.

Mrs Fitz Herbert glanced at the portrait once or twice as she held the
letter, and began her remarks upon the writer; but I had no reason to
suppose that the glance was other than casual and accidental.

She gave, however, a very remarkably accurate description (as it turned
out) of Mrs Lyon's unknown friend, both as to his character and the
special and rather unique conditions of his life.

I was feeling naturally gratified that my "pupil" should have acquitted
herself so well, when she suddenly uttered a little expression of pain
and complained of severe headache.

I knew that she suffered from these headaches at times, and was
therefore not surprised by her asking leave to ring for the pony
carriage at once, and we were soon on our way home.

Mrs Fitz Herbert was driving the pony, and as we turned out of the long
elm avenue she murmured in a tone of relief:

"How thankful I am to have got away from that old man! I knew he was
telling me what to say about that letter, but afterwards he wanted to
give me some message himself, and I could not understand it, and that is
what made my head so bad." Then she explained, seeing my bewilderment,
that she was referring to the old gentleman whose portrait hung over the
door I have mentioned.

I suggested that we had better try to find out what the old man wanted
to say, and we arranged to do so that evening after dinner; but as Mr
Fitz Herbert (who had a very charming tenor voice) elected to come in
and sing to us, the old gentleman's communication had to be postponed
until the morning.

Mrs Fitz Herbert and I sat down in the drawing-room the next day, armed
with pencils and paper, so soon as her domestic duties were over. She
was most anxious that _I_ should take the message, but this seemed to me
absurd, considering that I had received no sort of impression about the
picture and could not even recall the face. So she took up the pencil
very unwillingly, and after some difficulty the name of _Richard Lyon_
was given, with the information that he had owned Greba, and had passed
over to the next sphere about one hundred and thirty years previously.
But when it came to trying to find out what he wanted to say, she
professed herself quite unable to grasp it, and passed the pencil
determinedly over to me.

Much to my surprise (for I had seemed to have no link with the old man
at all), he was able to write through my hand with great ease.

He explained to me that he had been much devoted to the property, had
lived only to improve it in every possible way, and that through his
concentration of interest on this one subject his life had been a very
limited one, and that now he could not get away from the remembrance of
his earth life and his beloved Greba.

"I suppose he is trying to explain that he is earth-bound," suggested
Mrs Fitz Herbert.

"Yes; that is just the truth," was the eager response through my hand,
"and it is so sad to think that my own descendants are the ones to keep
me imprisoned in this way. I am told that I could progress, as they call
it here, and be much happier if I could only forget Greba, even for a
time. And it worries me to see things done so differently and not to be
able to do anything myself for the old place. There is no happiness for
me here. Do ask them to set me free," he continued rather pathetically.

"But they don't _want_ to hold you down," I answered. "Tell me how they
do it and what you wish them to do."

The old man then explained the position very carefully and sensibly. He
admitted that his own deep love for his old property and surroundings
and his failure in life to develop any other very deep affection, was
chiefly in fault, but he added, that his portrait being hung there, in
the hall of his descendants, was also very unfortunate for him.

"It drags me down--I don't know why--but I am sure I could get away more
easily if they would not keep that picture in the old hall."

A few more practical questions elicited the following instructions:--He
said the picture might remain in the _county_, so long as it was not in
any house owned by a _Lyon_ (there were several members of the family in
Warwickshire); or it might be sent to London or elsewhere, and kept by
members of the Lyon family, so long as they were not in the direct
descent, and _did not live in his old county_.

We drove over to Greba that afternoon, and took the "message" with us,
knowing there was no fear of encountering the gibes of my fox-hunting
friend at three P.M. on any week day in the hunting season.

Mrs Lyon was extremely interested; she not only endorsed the _Richard
Lyon_ and his dates, but told us that he had done an immense deal for
the property, as her husband had often impressed upon her, and that at
his death, about one hundred and thirty years before, he had lain in
state for three days in the very hall where we had taken our tea, and
where his picture now hung. This was great encouragement, so we put our
heads together, wondering _how_ the poor old man's entreaty might be
complied with.

Mrs Lyon remembered that several of the old portraits were shortly to be
sent to a picture dealer in the neighbouring town (some ten miles away)
to be cleaned, but this special picture was not in need of restoration,
unfortunately.

"Still, I could put it with the others, and let it go to Warwick, and
then tell the man not to do anything with it--but what would Edward say?
Can you _imagine_ his allowing the picture to be taken down upon this
evidence?"

From an acquaintance with "Edward" extending over large tracts of years,
I was forced to admit that even my robust imagination could not reach so
far. "_Skittles!_" or "_Confounded cheek!_" would be his mildest reply
to such a request, even from the friend of his youth! I did not care to
think how much further his indignation might carry him!

But I felt so strongly that something outside myself had inspired the
message, with its accurate instructions, that at last I prevailed upon
Mrs Lyon to promise she would mention the matter to her husband, and
thus leave the responsibility of refusal with _him_.

She did so, and the refusal was all my fancy had painted--and more!

Several months passed, and the following spring I was once more in the
neighbourhood, staying with my own relations this time, who were related
also to the Squire and his wife.

The first piece of news I received at dinner the night of my arrival was
that the Greba Hall picture _had been sent in to Warwick!_

I could hardly believe my ears. My relatives could tell me nothing
beyond the fact, and advised my paying an early visit to Greba Hall
during the absence of the master.

I did this, and Mrs Lyon told me all she knew about the matter, which
was not very much.

"After you were here last," she said, "I spoke to Edward as I promised,
and, of course, he laughed the whole thing to scorn, and was very rude
about our tomfoolery."

"Yes, I know all about that," I answered hastily. "But what happened
_afterwards_--after I left Warwickshire, I mean?"

"That was the queerest part of it all," she resumed. "A few days after
you had gone away he stood under the picture one evening, coming in from
hunting and waiting for tea in the hall, and said as he looked up at old
Richard Lyon:

"'Do you suppose I should allow _your_ picture to be taken down--_you_
who did so much for my property? Of course not!'"

"This happened once or twice, at intervals. Then he _said_ nothing, but
I used to notice that he always looked up at the picture whenever he
came into the hall or stood by the fireplace. At last, about three
months ago, he turned round suddenly, and said:

"'When are you going to send those pictures to be cleaned?' Now you know
I had been keeping the other pictures back, with a dim hope that Edward
might relent. But I saw it was quite useless, so I told him they were
going next day. To my intense surprise he said rather abruptly: 'Then
send this picture with them, and don't ask me any questions.'"

His wife took the hint, and waited for no second bidding. Off went the
picture to the Warwick shop, and there it remained for nearly six
months.

When it came back eventually, the Squire was very triumphant on the
subject, but I was equally triumphant in pointing out that nothing could
alter the fact that the picture _had_ been sent away, in spite of his
earlier denunciations of our folly.

Also I suggested that a good deal can happen in six months on either
side of the veil, and that no doubt poor old Richard Lyon had had ample
opportunity to "get free," as he called it, thanks to the unaccountable
action of his descendant!

I have reserved this story for my last chapter for two reasons. It
happened within the last few years, but I cannot remember the exact
date, and dare not inquire from my irascible hunting friend; and also it
did not specially link on to any of the previous incidents described.

       *       *       *       *       *

I must now pass on to the autumn months of 1905, which found me in
Eastbourne, where I have various kind friends.

I had been going through a time of great anxiety, owing to family
reasons, and went down to Eastbourne with every prospect of finding rest
and peace there. I arrived on the 11th of November, and the first few
days amply justified my hopes.

Then a feeling of the most intense depression came over me, quite
unexpected and unaccountable. My family anxieties and responsibilities
were happily over. I had been able to make a wise, and, as it turned
out, most admirable choice, in finding a fresh attendant for an invalid
brother, and there was nothing now to be done but to rest on my oars and
be thankful that a most trying time--requiring infinite patience and
tact--was over.

When this unaccountable depression came on so suddenly, I put it down to
reaction, and expected it to pass away with returning strength, after
the heavy strain. But it _increased_ as the weeks passed on into
December, and did not lift until about eight A.M. on the morning of 22nd
December.

Then I had one of the most vivid experiences of my life. As suddenly as
they had enveloped me some weeks before, so did the heavy clouds now
roll off, leaving me with a sense of freedom and exaltation such as I
have seldom experienced. This sense of freedom and joy and happiness was
so marked that I mentioned it at once to an intimate friend, who came to
see me that day after breakfast. I said to her: "I can only describe it
as if one had suddenly been let out of prison or taken from a dark,
dismal room into one with glorious sunshine streaming through the
windows, where the very sense of being alive is sufficient joy; in fact,
I never felt so thoroughly alive before. And the curious thing is that
there is no apparent reason for this--nothing is changed--I have not
even had any specially pleasant letters. Life is just the same on the
outer; but on the _inner?_ Well, I cannot describe it!"

"But can't you account for it at all?" asked my friend, who had been
with me through all the depressing influences of the former weeks and
was astounded, as well as delighted, by the inexplicable change in my
spirits.

"Well, it is the day after the shortest day," I said, laughing. "But it
has never had such an extraordinary effect upon me before."

All day long this exuberant feeling of delight and happiness remained. I
had no specially spiritual or religious experience in connection with
it, but rather the happy feeling of confidence that a child might have,
who, after wandering about in unknown lanes and thorny paths, suddenly
found himself transported, with no effort of his own, to the dear,
familiar house and loving home faces.

Five days later, in a private letter, I read the first allusion to the
death of Dr Richard Hodgson. It came to me in a letter from Mrs Forbes,
not as a fact, but as an uncorroborated report, which would probably be
found incorrect.

"_There is nothing about it in The Times this morning, so I don't
suppose it is true._" These were her exact words. I don't think I ever
really doubted the truth of it, although it came as a bolt out of the
blue.

Only a few days previously, a letter from an intimate friend of Dr
Hodgson in America (he had brought us together) mentioned her having
seen him lately and thinking he was really much depressed over his work
and other matters, "_though, doubtless, if I taxed him with this he
would say it was quite untrue; but I feel quite convinced that it is
true_."

These words had not at the time given me any clue to my own curious
depression, but when the first _rumour_ of his death reached me, I felt
convinced that it was true, and that I must have taken on his joyful
conditions when he first found himself on the other side of the veil. I
can only surmise, therefore, that the weeks of my depression _may_ have
corresponded with feelings alluded to by his intimate friend; although
less intuitive, if not less valued associates, may have noticed nothing
but his usual cheery and genial spirits.

A telegram sent to Mr Stead showed me clearly that my inquiry had been
_his_ first intimation of anything wrong. Then, in despair of getting
accurate information, I wrote to Sir Oliver Lodge, who kindly responded
at once, confirming my worst fears. He was good enough to send me later
the particulars of the event, supplied by Professor William James.

It was a bitter blow for _us_, but for _him_ how joyous an awakening!

I am grateful for having had, through personal experience, even a dim
reflection of that wonderful New Life, so overwhelming and so exuberant,
that its rays could reach to the hearts of some of those who had been
honoured by his friendship.

On comparing notes I found that, allowing for difference of time,
forty-eight hours must have elapsed between his physical departure and
my experience of his awakening to new conditions.

There may be various ways of accounting for this. The spirit may not
have been wholly freed at once from its physical envelope, but may have
remained possibly, in some condition of unconsciousness, after the
strangely sudden severance of the tie that binds body and soul together.


_Note._--Since the above was written, I have received an explanation of
the lapse of time between the passing of Doctor Hodgson, 20th December,
and my experience of 22nd December 1905.

On 6th February 1907 I had the privilege of a sitting with Miss
MacCreadie, who not only gave an accurate description of Doctor
Hodgson's personal appearance, and of his sudden call hence, but added
that this spirit wished to explain to me that he had not been able to
get entirely away from the body for quite two days after physical death,
and that meanwhile he must have been in a state of trance. Miss
MacCreadie did not know the name of the spirit whom she described so
accurately, and whose message was thus conveyed to me.--E. K. B.


Some time after Dr Hodgson left us, a friend in London wrote to me that
she had either just read or heard that he had made some communication,
to the effect that "_he was not very happy, as he had regarded his work
only from the intellectual point of view_."

This seemed to me a most unlikely sort of message to come from such a
man.

In such cases there is nothing like going to the fountain-head for
information, and this came to me in the following words, which are, I
think, characteristic and certainly sensible:--

"My work _was_ intellectual--how could I regard it from any other point
of view? That has nothing to do with the spiritual side of things. My
spiritual life was very latent, it is true; but it was sincere, so far
as it went, and in this more favourable atmosphere, the buds are
unfolding, and I am learning more and more of the love and wisdom which
I always dimly saw and appreciated. It is the attitude of mind which is
all-important, and my attitude, though critical, was never obstructive,
as you know."

       *       *       *       *       *

I should like to say a few words now on the subject of superstitions. We
are _all_ superstitious in various ways and upon different points--I may
laugh at _your_ superstition because it does not happen to appeal to me,
but you may be quite sure you could find out my "Achilles Heel" if we
lived together long enough.

The only difference between people is, that some are honest about their
superstitions and others--are not!

I met a lady not long ago at a foreign _table d'hôte_ who started our
acquaintance by remarking that she was thankful to say she had not a
single superstition. Before we had spent ten days under the same roof I
discovered that she believed in portents and lucky stones and the "whole
bag of tricks," and possessed the power of seeing people in their astral
bodies.

This is to introduce my own strongest superstition, which is a horror of
seeing the new moon for the first time through glass. _Breaking_ glass
is almost as disastrous in my experience, even if the article itself
only costs a few pence.

Now I do not for one moment suggest that either one or other is the
_cause_ of my subsequent misfortunes. No one surely can be childish
enough to suppose such a thing; yet I have known sensible people labour
this point in order to show me the folly of my ways--and thoughts.

Again, I am quite aware that some people may break as much glass or
china as the proverbial bull, and see the moon through the former medium
every month of their lives, and not be a penny the worse for it--beyond
the amount of their breakages. I only maintain that for _me_ these two
things are invariably the precursors of misfortune.

When people say to me: "How can a sensible woman like yourself be so
foolish as to think such things?" I can only truthfully answer that I
should be very much _more_ foolish if so many years of my life had
passed without my noticing the sequence of events.

But to _explain_ the phenomena is quite another matter.

It seems to me quite reasonable that, allowing the possibility of
influences coming to us from the other side, some sign--no matter how
trivial--might be impressed upon us as a gentle warning to be prepared
for disasters, more or less severe.

Another curious thing is this: I have never found that avoiding seeing
the moon through glass _in any artificial way_ prevents disaster. I used
to let kind friends, indulgent to my "folly," lead me blindfold up to
the window, carefully thrown open for my benefit. I can remember a most
elaborate scene of precaution once, in an American railway carriage
between Philadelphia and Boston, when a charming American lady, about to
lecture on Woman's Suffrage, and grateful to me for some points I had
given her with regard to the woman's question in New Zealand, insisted
upon having a heavy window pulled up by a negro attendant, when she
found out my little weakness.

It was all of no avail. Left alone, I should most certainly have seen
the moon through glass on that occasion, and I felt, even at the moment,
that I had not really altered anything by falling in with the kind
American lady's suggestion.

In September 1906 I was going through a course of baths at Buxton, and
on a certain Sunday (2nd September) I saw the moon through glass in my
bedroom window in the most unmistakable way. There was no friendly
cloud, no other twinkling light to throw the smallest shadow of doubt
upon the fact. There was much good-humoured laughter over my
"superstition" in the house; but I knew _some_ trouble was on its way,
little dreaming that it was one which would alter my whole life.

On the Wednesday morning (5th September) I received the first intimation
of what proved to be the last illness of a brother who has been
mentioned in these pages already, and who had been an invalid for nearly
thirty years. A point to be noticed is that on the Sunday, when the sign
came to me, he was in his usual health, and even on Monday went out for
a long drive. The first attack of angina pectoris only came on in the
middle of the night of Monday-Tuesday, 3rd to 4th September.

Later, when the disease had become acute, and I was in the south of
England, living in hourly suspense, and receiving telegrams and letters
several times a day, another curious incident occurred which has a
bearing upon our subject.

As my readers are probably aware, in this sad and painful illness the
only proof of unselfish affection which one can give, may be to keep
away from the patient, when you know that all is being done for him that
skill and devotion can suggest. The smallest agitation is almost certain
to bring on a fresh attack of the terrible pain, and so long as there is
_any_ hope of a rally, or, in fact, any consciousness that can possibly
result in increased suffering, _everyone_ should be kept away from the
patient except those who are in actual and necessary attendance.

This naturally entails great mental distress and suffering upon those
who are living from hour to hour, in a state of tension and suspense.

After more than a fortnight of alternate hopes and fears, the position
became almost unendurable, and I was making all preparations for a visit
to the patient, or at least to the house where he lay (against my better
judgment), when letters and a telegram arrived imploring me not to come,
as a short visit from another relative had proved most disastrous in
bringing on another attack of the terrible pain; from which he never
really rallied.

Under these distressing circumstances, there could be but one course
open to me.

I was staying with my kind friends Admiral and Mrs Usborne Moore at this
sad time, and can never feel sufficiently grateful for their goodness
to me and sympathy with my distress.

The Admiral, as many of us know, is a most persevering student of
psychic science, and I think it was by his suggestion, or at anyrate
with his approval, that I determined to pay a visit to a lady of whom he
had spoken to me--Mrs Arnold, a daughter-in-law of Sir Edwin Arnold--who
is a gifted clairvoyant.

I went alone to the house, that she might not be able to connect me with
my host and hostess; and the interview was a remarkable one.

There were many evidential points given, which, for family reasons, it
is impossible to publish. She gave me the crystal ball to hold for a
good five minutes, in order that it might become impregnated by my
influence; and then she took it from me, and began making a series of
statements, without pausing for a moment or attempting to "fish," to use
a technical term.

These statements included my own life and studies and chief interests,
and the number and sex of my immediate family; also the attitude of the
various members towards myself, and in each case the special statement
was absolutely correct.

Her first words were: "You are in great anxiety, I see. It is about the
illness of an elderly man. _Two_ people with whom you are in very
intimate relations are ill, I see, but I will tell you now of the one
you wish to hear about especially."

She went on to describe not only my brother's surroundings and illness
at the time, but also his permanent state of paralysis, adding that he
was now in the country, for she saw green trees all round him and
waving grass. As my brother's life for many years had been spent
entirely between London and the seaside, this was a good bit of
evidence. As a matter of fact, he was spending a few weeks in a
country cottage for the first time in his life.

The single point where she failed was as to the _time_ of his passing
away. She saw at once that the illness was one from which he could not
permanently recover, and gave the approximate time very tentatively. "We
cannot see times exactly--they come only in symbols. For instance, I see
now falling leaves; it looks like an autumn scene, and so I infer that
means later on--perhaps October or November."

This, as I have said, was the only mistake in the whole interview. My
brother passed to the Higher Life on 24th September.

When I saw his valet in town later, I asked him about the trees, and he
explained that owing to the great heat, the leaves were all over the
ground, and gave an autumnal look to everything.

Most of us noticed the same appearance in London and elsewhere, even
quite early in September 1906.

The _second_ friend lying dangerously ill was a puzzle to me at the
time; but within five days of my brother's transition, I heard of the
death of Judge Forbes, who was one of my most intimate friends, as Mrs
Arnold had truly observed. His illness was a very short one; but on
comparing notes with members of his family I found that he had taken to
his bed three days _before_ my visit to Mrs Arnold, and was already very
seriously ill, although I had no knowledge of the fact for more than a
week after my interview with her.

Before closing these personal records I must say a few words on the much
vexed question of psychic photographs.

As my friend Admiral Usborne Moore observes in a letter received from
him as I write these words: "We are dealing with a great mystery here."
He is himself one of those who by persevering effort is helping us to
solve the mystery.

It is certainly the branch of psychic science which promises the best
results from an evidential point of view, but it must be a case of "each
man his own photographer."

There is always a tendency in human nature to be over-credulous as to
our own achievements, and over-sceptical as to those of our neighbours.

So for many years probably, we shall only accept our "very own" psychic
photographs as quite genuine; but when a sufficient number of people are
convinced by their personal experiences in this line of research, there
will be some hope that the subject will go through the usual stages--(1)
Impossible and absurd; (2) Possible, but very improbable; (3) Possible,
and not even abnormal; (4) Finally, normal, and "_Just what we knew all
about from the first!_"

Meanwhile some of us have been experimenting, with professional
assistance, and in these cases the question is not "Can such photographs
be faked?" We all know nowadays that faking photographs is the easiest
of all possible frauds. I have spent many a half hour doing the faking
myself, with an amateur photographer, by sitting for so many seconds in
a chair and then vacating it in favour of some other "spook"!

No, the whole question at present must be determined by our recognition
or non-recognition of the photographs produced.

If Mr Boursnell or any other photographer can produce (_as he has done_)
my old nurse, who died twenty-three years ago, and was never
photographed in her life, then we must find some other suggestion than
that of "common or garden faking" as a solution of the mystery. There
she sits, as in life, with a little knitted shawl round her shoulders
and the head of a tiny child upon her lap. The eyes are closed, and give
a dead look to the face, yet the features are to me quite unmistakable,
and no one knew the dear old woman so well as I did.

Again, I have in my little picture gallery, an old and very well-known
Oxford professor, in whose house I stayed many times.

Quite unexpectedly he appeared on one of Mr Boursnell's plates last
summer, and although this special photograph is fainter than the one
just described, the likeness can only be denied by someone more anxious
to be sceptical than truthful. I compared the photograph with an
engraving of the professor in much earlier life--which is to be found in
the Life published since he passed away--with an artist friend (who had
not known him). We went over the features one by one, and my friend said
she noticed only one small difference, the exact length of the upper
lip, and this, she considered, would be amply accounted for by the lapse
of time between the two pictures and the slight lengthening of the upper
lip owing to loss of teeth. The professor passed away as an old man; the
picture engraved in the Life represents him as he was at least twenty
years before his death.

But the most interesting point to me in this photograph, is the
appearance on his lap of a much loved dog, a rather large fox terrier
named "Bob." I had not noticed Bob until a daughter of the professor
pointed him out to me, and now I cannot understand having missed him at
first.

Bob was not only the most important person in the Oxford household, but
he was good enough to be very fond of me, so it seems to me quite
natural that he should have come with his master to pay me a visit.

I remember arriving at the house one dark winter's evening after an
absence of over two years, and Bob's welcome to me was so ecstatic that
he nearly knocked me down in a vain attempt to get his paws round my
neck.

I heard the professor, who was always rather jealous of Bob's
affections, say in a whisper to his wife: "Most touching thing I ever
saw, that dog's welcome when Miss Bates arrived!"

Dear Bob! I am so glad he can still come and see me, with his dearly
loved master.

Another shuffle of the photographs brings to the top a sweet girlish
face and figure, "sixteen summers or something less."

She appeared first upon a plate in the summer of 1905, but so
indistinctly as to the _face_ that I could not recognise it.

A few months ago the same figure appeared again, but quite clearly this
time, and involuntarily, as I looked at it, I exclaimed: "_Why, of
course, it is Lily Blake!_"

Now it is nearly thirty years since I met this charming child; during my
first visit to Egypt. She and her father (a well-known physician) and
her aunt, were spending a six weeks' holiday in Cairo, and I saw more of
her than would otherwise have been the case, because she was the
playmate of another young girl--the child of friends of mine at
Shepheard's Hotel.

Lily was a sweet-looking, delicate girl, with soft, sleepy blue eyes,
and was always dressed in a simple, artistic fashion. A few months after
our return to England I saw in the papers the death of this pretty
child; for she was little more at the time. I wrote a letter of
condolence and sympathy, which was at once answered by the aunt in very
kind fashion; and since then I have seen nothing to remind me of Lily
until this last year has brought her once more within my ken. I am only
too thankful to realise that any influence so pure and beautiful as
hers, may be around me sometimes in my daily life.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now let me say, in the words of our great novelist:

"Come, children, let us shut up the box and the puppets, for our play is
played out!"

Only I trust in this case we have managed to rise a little above the
usual atmosphere of Vanity Fair.

Surely the aim of all psychic research should be to give us a
_scientific_, as we have already, thank God, a spiritual, foundation for
the "Hope that is in us."

Spirit photographs and spirit materialisations and abnormal visions or
abnormal sounds amount to very little, if we look upon them as an end
in themselves, and not as the symbols and the earnest of those greater
things which "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it entered
into the heart of _man_ to conceive."

I remember, years ago, in the course of a deeply interesting
conversation with Phillipps Brooks, the late Bishop of Massachusetts,
that I asked him what he thought about modern theosophy, which was just
then becoming a _culte_ in his native town of Boston. There was a great
deal of talk at the time about the new philosophy and the wonderful
phenomena said to accompany its propaganda. Sir Edwin Arnold had written
his "Light of Asia," and Oliver Wendell Holmes had welcomed it with
wondering awe, as something approaching a new revelation. And smaller
people were talking about the historical Blavatsky tea-cups, and hidden
heirlooms found in Indian gardens, and some of us were wondering how
soon we should learn to fly, and what would come next.

The bishop's answer to my question was so genial, so characteristic, and
showed such divine common-sense!

"It is not a question of _flying_," he said. "I should like to fly as
much as anybody; and a queer sort of bird I should appear!" (He was well
over six feet, and broad in proportion.)

"If you suddenly found you could fly," he continued, "it would be
_absorbing_ on Monday morning, _intensely interesting_ on Tuesday,
_interesting_ on Wednesday, and _quite pleasant_ on Thursday, but by the
end of the week it would be getting normal, and you would want to
discover some other new power. No, believe me, the real question is not
_flying_, but WHERE you would fly, and WHAT YOU WOULD DO WHEN YOU GOT
THERE."

This sums up the case in a nut shell, and seems to me only another way
of saying: "Don't forget the spiritual significance beneath the
scientific symbol."

And I would add: "Let us all join hands in the interesting and absorbing
work of trying to make our symbols as scientific as we can, by finding
out the laws which govern them, as well as all other things, in this
universe of Love and Law. Probably we are here to learn, above all
things else, that Love and Law are ONE."

       *       *       *       *       *

Many people have had far more remarkable experiences than mine. For
various good reasons I have carefully abstained from any attempt to
cultivate, or in any way increase, the sensitiveness which is natural to
me.

I can only assure my readers that my record has been absolutely
accurate. In many cases it would have been very easy to write up the
stories into some far more dramatic form; but by doing so the whole aim
and object of my book would have been destroyed.

I wanted to trace the thread of what we at present consider abnormal,
through the whole skein of a single life, hoping thereby to encourage
others to do the same.

It is only by putting these things down, if not for publication, then in
some diary or commonplace book, that we can realise how far our normal
life is, even now and here, interpenetrated by another plane of
existence.

And so farewell to all kind readers who have followed me to the end of
my personal record of curious events--curious chiefly by reason of our
present imperfect knowledge.



APPENDIX

I


Much has been said of the folly and triviality of all messages coming,
or purporting to come, from the Unseen. I think here, as elsewhere, like
clings to like, and we get very much what we deserve; or rather, to put
it in a more philosophical and Emersonian way, we receive _what belongs
to us_.

Emerson tells us in one of his most illuminating passages, that
everything which belongs to our spiritual estate is coming to us as
quickly as it can travel. All the winds of heaven, all the waves of
earth, are bringing it to us, and neither angel nor devil can prevent
our taking what is ours or rejecting what is _not_ ours.

This is a universal law, and applies to automatic writing as to
everything else. Emphatically we get what belongs to our spiritual
estate.

Therefore any casual and general remarks as to the foolishness of all
automatic writing, must of necessity be made by those who are ignorant
of this spiritual law, or whose experience of such messages is very
limited.

I intend to give a few which I have myself received, in the form of an
Appendix to my book. With one exception, they all come from a very dear
friend, who passed into the other sphere little more than a year ago
under peculiarly happy circumstances. I do not wish to give his name,
although it would add considerably to the interest of the narrative. I
shall therefore call him Mr Harry Denton. The messages will be given
exactly in the form in which they were received, and without any
editing. We never discussed theological ideas from any standpoint of
_creed_; but I imagine that my friend, when here, would have looked upon
Jesus Christ as one of the many inspired teachers of the world, and that
his views were cosmic rather than religious--_in any narrow sense_--and
certainly _religious_, in the broad sense of the term, rather than
_theological_.

The first conversation (for this is a better description of my friend's
communications than the word _message_) refers to my own attitude, as
compared with that of a lady friend of mine, regarding Jesus of
Nazareth.


H. D.--I see a great stream of light round you, Kate, and it seems to
have come with your truer conception of Jesus Christ. It is all right
for your friend to say she prefers to put the matter aside and leave it
alone. That is just the best thing she can do; in fact, the _only_ thing
she can do at present.

The seed is still underground, and the moment of emergence has not come.
To try and force it above ground just now, would be fatal. It would also
be immature and uncalled for. The old husks of man-made creeds must drop
off gradually, leaving the bud they protected intact, not be torn off by
an impatient hand.

So far her instinct seems to me a true one. But the case is widely
different for _you_. The husks _have_ fallen off, as a matter of fact,
and the discomfort and sense of something wrong arose from your knowing
that you were only striving desperately to clutch on to them, when the
fine, strong bud was there, able and ready to take its proper share of
sunshine and rain, and even to bear the cold winds of misrepresentation
and misunderstanding if need be.

"QUIT YOU LIKE MEN, BE STRONG." That is _your_ lesson-book, and you will
never feel happy or content until you are learning it.

Surely you must feel how much you have gained since you faced your own
facts?

E. K. B.--Yes, Harry, I do; but I don't quite understand _your_
position. Are you at the same point of view?

H. D.--No; not yet. It is all rather foreign to my previous notions. I
thought of Jesus of Nazareth as a great teacher--one of _the_ great
teachers of the world--but I had still to learn His unique position as
regards our chain of worlds.

They tell me here that He was the _first_ to attain to the full stature
of the _Divine Man_ as he existed in the thought of the Absolute.

Spiritual evolution is the process, apparently the only process, whereby
a Son of God in this sense can appear. And æons of time have been
necessary to produce this fine Flower of Humanity. Your own band are
helping me to understand this. _Having attained, being the anointed
One_, it is given to Him to bring the whole race after Him.

This is quite a different conception from my former one, and the one
held by most of those whom in old days we called Unitarians.

_You_ have had to _unlearn_, or rather to drop, some of the husks of old
tradition which have been guarding the truth for you, whereas I have
still _to come up to the truth_; but the point reached will be the same,
whether the approach to it is from north or south--do you see?

In Christ Jesus, they tell me, we are _all_ new creatures, as a matter
of fact; because, consciously or unconsciously, we are working together
with Him to realise and manifest ourselves, as made after the Image of
God.

He is the example and the pledge for us. St Paul saw this, of course,
and your present position illuminates his teaching for me enormously. So
I have much to thank you for, Kate. It is easier to learn from those we
know and trust, than from strangers.

And, moreover, when we can learn from the loved ones on earth _as well
as through the loved ones here_, it makes the links in the golden chain
complete, and helps us to realise the unity and solidarity of our common
existence, _in the Father--with the Son_.             H. D.



II


Another morning I had told H. D. that I had been reading an article in
_The Nineteenth Century--and After_, I think, entitled "An Agnostic's
Progress," and asked if he had sensed it through me at all.

H. D.--Yes. We will begin with that this morning. I am very glad you
read it, for it is curiously like my own experiences in the same line.

Since coming over here, and thereby coming into such direct touch with
you, I have been able to grasp the key to much that puzzled me on the
other side.

As my views became more spiritualised I saw there _must_ be more truth
in the Christian religion than outsiders supposed, and yet I knew it
could not be absolutely true _in the form in which it has been handed
down_.

_That_ was for me unthinkable, because I saw it would be a sudden and
catastrophic incursion upon a cosmos of Law and Order.

It would mean God working in the highest departments of His Creation, as
He is never seen to work in the lower ones. And my faith in Him
prevented my entertaining such an idea! Schemes and plans of salvation
belong to the comparative childhood of the race, not to the full-grown
spiritual man. They are still in the fairy-tale stage, holding a truth,
but acting only as the husk of the truth.

The unity of the race; the necessity for self-sacrifice in realising
that unity: that by giving our life for our brothers we save our _Life_,
which is that unity in which the brethren are included--all this I could
accept in Christ's teaching or the teaching of the Apostles; but the
rest: the detail, the carefully arranged _scheme_ of the Atonement,
etc., as dogmatic doctrines--all these seemed to me so obviously the
desperate attempts of man at a certain stage of development to fit in
spiritual facts with the most probable theories; and to say that men who
wrote of these things were inspired, and _therefore infallible_, was
absurd.

Even in my short life, I had seen the world pass through several stages
of belief and assimilate them in turn.

As a child, I was told that God was angry with people for sinning and
breaking His commandments, and so Jesus Christ offered to come and die
on the cross to appease His just wrath.

That seemed a great puzzle to me, because, although it might account for
what happened _before_ Christ came and _until_ He came, I could not
understand why God _should go on letting people come into the world_ who
would break His laws, and make Him still more angry for centuries and
centuries. That seemed to me, as a child, so unnecessary.

Later I was told it was not God's anger but His sense of justice that
had to be appeased and satisfied, which was a distinct step in advance.

A little later, however, I read that this was not the hidden truth of
the doctrine. The religious world (the thoughtful section of it) now
arrived at the idea that it was not God who needed to be satisfied or
appeased in any of His attributes, but MAN, and that GOD--in the person
of his Son--came into the world to reconcile the world to Him, and not
Himself to the world.

This was a complete _bouleversement_ of the whole situation, though it
came so gradually that few appreciated that fact.

The last suggestion appeared to me by far the most luminous. In human
life it is invariably the _lower_ nature that needs to be reconciled and
conciliated; whilst the higher nature, in proportion to its
development, is forgiving and tolerant and wide-minded, and does not
prate about its own high sense of justice requiring to be appeased. The
best type of _man_ punishes a wrong-doer in order that he may learn to
do better and leave off tormenting and wronging his fellow-creatures;
not to appease any instinct in his own breast, for that would be
egotism, no matter how we might try to disguise the fact.

Now if it would be a blot upon the best conceivable _man_ to be
egotistical, _a fortiori_ must it be upon God.

To conceive otherwise is to make God in the likeness of the lower and
not the higher humanity. I thought all that out very clearly.

Still this crux remained for me, that to be suddenly, at any arbitrary
moment in the world's history, obliged, as it were, to send an
absolutely divine part of Himself into the world, was the way a _man_
would act faced by an unforeseen catastrophe, but not the way in which
God has acted throughout the rest of our history.

A succession of teachers, enlightening the world by degrees, and
culminating in the ANOINTED Son of God--the Flower of Humanity--_this_
is entirely in line with the processes of Nature and the laws of God, so
far as we know them.

All progress has its culminating point.

Æons have passed to produce the most exquisite crystals, the highest
forms of vegetation, of animals, of men. Then came the slow processes of
civilising and educating men; the dim instincts of fear and
propitiation, merging, by slow degrees, in the first conceptions of
Love, as something apart from desire, and so forth.

Was I to be expected to shut my eyes to all these known facts, and bolt
down the theories contained in one Book, written by human authors, no
matter how admirable?

I felt it was impossible.

Then I remembered with relief that these very dogmas, as a matter of
fact, were in so fluent a state, that my own bare fifty years of living
had seen at least four different high-water marks!

Here again therefore, under my very eyes, was the universal law of
progress working, the moment it _could_ work, by being released from the
swaddling-clothes of the Roman Catholic Church, which, so far as it is
orthodox, is fossilised.

I saw also that the whole body of dissent had moved on, taking up its
pegs and planting them a little further on each time; till a City
temple, with its widening theology, was an established fact.

Progress everywhere--slow, but sure--and the pace getting quicker, even
in my short span! Still, the _uniqueness_ of Jesus of Nazareth and His
influence over the nineteen centuries was a puzzle.

Buddha's influence has lasted longer, Mahomet's almost as long (the two
cancel any way), but I have always recognised an _advance_ in the
teaching of Jesus Christ. He brought a fresh element, in the personal
note of the Sonship with GOD.

I was at this point when I came over here. Now through your mind I have
been able to see, and, oddly enough, to quicken in your soul, the seed
already planted there.

They tell me the illumination came to you years ago, at
Oberammergau--no, not when you were there for the Passion Play--four
years earlier.

You took it in with your head then, not with your heart. Old traditions
were too strong, I suppose, and you had not made up the last little bit
of your mind, to be true to the convictions that had come to you through
your prayers for light.

And so you have gone on, see-sawing to and fro, not really believing the
old orthodox ideas, but not courageously sweeping them away for
yourself. So although the key was in your hands, you have not used it
until now. You have given me the key, and I have been allowed, as _my_
New Year's gift, to fit it in the door.

This is how Jesus Christ has stood so long at the door of _your_ heart
and knocked. He could only enter through the one door--namely, _that one
opened in the highest point of your spiritual realisation_. I see now
that He comes in at that door in each soul, and, as spiritual evolution
unfolds in each heart, so is the special position of that door shifted;
but the fact of His presence is the vital one! It was not possible for
Him to do otherwise than hide His face, as it were, whilst you were
barring His only door of access--_i.e. your true point of realisation_.

It all seems so clear to me now. And this is how He comes to so many in
different guises.

He is the Perfected Manifestation of GOD, as the Divine Man--the Flower
of Humanity.

But He can come into the heart in the narrowest creed, so long as the
holder of that creed is at _his true point of growth_ and not trying to
stifle God's gift of ever-advancing truth by cowardly want of trust, or
fear of being worse off in the end, by being absolutely honest to
himself and his own convictions in the present.

It has been a long message, and you have taken much of it awkwardly, but
on the whole it represents what I wanted to say.             H. D.



III


H. D.--I feel now that you want to know what I meant by telling Miss R.
it was the _likeness_ to the old world which puzzled me here.

You see, we have all imbibed traditional ideas with our mother's milk,
however much our intellects may have modified them. Instinct is stronger
than intellect, because it is more elemental.

The first thing that struck me was that truths which are latent on
earth are made manifest here.

(Here comes an interpolation.)

You can take my words so easily that we must guard against wasting time
in mere verbosity. I must teach you to condense more. We must strike
some sort of balance between my brevity and your amplification. At
present it is as well to get the instrument into proper working order
before worrying too much over these details.

(He then resumed.)

It is as if you turned the old earth garment inside out, and saw the
very fabric of it, which the earth looms have hitherto concealed by the
warp and woof of the manufactured article.

For instance, you are told on earth that you are making your own future
conditions by right or wrong thinking. _Here_ you see the absolute,
_material_ results of right and wrong thinking, just as if you were
looking at two different patterns, woven by two different workers. I
said material results, because matter here is just as real as it was on
earth, and just as illusory, in one sense, in both spheres. Your matter
is unreal to us. Our matter is unreal to you. The truth is, both are
shadows cast by an antecedent reality on the Screens of the Universe.

The screens are the school-houses through which humanity learns its
lessons.

Don't be worried! There is no real difficulty in using your hand; it is
only trying to compromise between your redundancy and my brevity.

Earth is like a gallery of sculpture. (Note by E. K. B.--This simile had
flashed through my brain, and H. D. at once said: "Yes, that is very
good; you started it, and I pick it up and apply it.") All the figures
and groups are perfected and complete in their marble or bronze or
terra-cotta, as the case may be.

Some groups or figures are noble, others mediocre, others again may be
sensual and degrading, but they have one quality in common--for good or
bad, they are _ready made_.

Now go into the sculptor's studio, having studied well in the great
sculpture galleries of the world. You go to the studio, we will suppose,
as a pupil. He puts a lump of clay into your hands, and for the first
time you are invited to model your own statues and figures, to embody
your own ideas in this clay, which corresponds to thought stuff _here_.
You are even made to understand that your houses will only be worthily
furnished by the work of your own hands. _Here_ it is the work of your
own hearts, of your loving or unloving thoughts.

So the first lesson we learn over here is that THOUGHT is not only
Creative Power, as you are often told on earth, but it is also the very
stuff out of which the creation must be moulded. It is, in very truth,
the clay of the modeller.

Shakespeare said truly enough "We are such stuff as dreams are made of,"
but he was referring to our embodied selves.

The difference between the two worlds seems to me, so far as I have
arrived, as the difference between the pupil in the sculpture gallery
and in the experimental studio. The chief part of the earth modelling is
ready made--made by the racial thought stuff and the racial manipulation
of it.

_Here_, for the first time, we must turn to and take a hand in the work
ourselves. It would not be possible to give such individual power in any
lower sphere than this, for it would be misused, and would lead to
terrible tragedies.

You see some slight hints of this in what is called Black Magic--the
wilful and intentional throwing of evil conditions on other people,
making hard and cruel images of them in the mind, and so forth. But all
that is as child's play to what would happen if the absolute clay were
put into their hands, as it is here.

It is the difference between thinking out an ugly picture; and painting
it and hanging it up in a gallery; for we have objectivity here as with
you. Naturally what comes into objective existence has more power than
what remains latent. The latter can only influence exceptionally
sensitive souls, and that to a comparatively small extent, whereas the
former, here as with you, has a much farther range of influence.

So this sort of gunpowder is not given to us until we are old enough to
know better than to burn our fingers with it, in trying to make
fireworks!

At the same time, as all stages of evolution overlap, it is inevitable
that some hint of these possibilities should be already in your world.
Woe be to those who misuse them!

You have taken enough for this morning.          H. D.



IV


The friend I have called Mr Harry Denton, during his psychic researches,
came, as many others have done, very strongly under the influence of
"Imperator," the chief of the Stainton Moses controls.

I knew that this was the case, especially during the last three or four
years of my friend's life, and I always rather resented the fact, for
the limitations of Imperator have always appealed to me so strongly, as
to dim, perhaps unduly, his undoubted claims to appreciation.

I have read many of the private Stainton Moses' records (thanks to my
friendship with the executor, with whom these journals were left), and
in all those referring to Imperator's communications, there was to my
mind the same note of cock-sureness and mental tyranny.

There was too much of finality and self-assertion, too much of "_Thus
saith the Lord_," about Imperator's remarks for my rebellious soul. I
could never be strongly impressed by any personality, however admirable,
that so palpably exacted allegiance and unquestioning obedience. These
must be the unconscious tribute to the Genius of Holiness, as to any
other sort of genius; never an enforced levy upon us.

So at least it seems to me. Certainly I would not escape one sort of
priestcraft to set up another in its place, whether the niche be filled
by Mrs Besant or Mrs Eddy or Mr Sinnett, or any other fallible
fellow-creature. Not even Imperator can strike me as infallible; and his
own evident belief in that direction does not affect the question.

It seemed to me rather to be deplored that Mr Denton, with his wide
outlook and cosmic conceptions, should fall so strongly under any
special influence, even that of the admirable Imperator!

So I was curious to know what his views were upon this subject from the
other side of the veil. I will now leave him to speak for himself.


H. D.--You want me to tell you just my position about the Imperator
group before and since I passed to this side? That is easily done.
Remember, the teaching I got through Imperator was practically the first
_spiritual_ teaching I ever had--the first I mean, of course, that I
could assimilate, because it appealed to my reason, as well as to my
sense of the fitness of things--and therefore I can never feel
sufficiently grateful to him and his group; and I see that they can
teach many who would not be amenable to a more distinctly spiritual
appeal.

Imperator is a great force in his way; a sort of plough that goes over
the hard, caked-up earth and throws it open to the sunshine and rain and
all Nature's beautiful influences, to all the possibility of Divine
influences on the corresponding sphere.

But the limitation of Imperator I see clearly now, as you always appear
to have done.

He is, as you say, too final and too dogmatic. This is at once his
weakness and his strength: his weakness, because it limits his own
spiritual receptivity; his strength, because it focusses his power in
dealing with materialistic minds.

A more spiritually true perspective in his communications would rule out
half the souls to whom his appeal is made.

_Stainton Moses has also progressed beyond the Imperator influence, and
this is why the communications between them had become so clogged and so
liable to error._

S. M. could not switch on to the old wires, as in the days when his
horizon was bounded by them. This accounts, I see, for much of the
misconception and apparent inconsistency of the remarks made through Mrs
Piper, but it was very disheartening for the investigator as time went
on and the "Light" became more and more clouded. Then there was the
additional fact to be faced, that Mrs Piper herself became, psychically
rather than physically, exhausted, and less able to be used from this
side.

Now I see you want to know about Frank Strong, and what he said about
sin existing only on your plane, and how inconsistent this was with the
previous teachings of Stainton Moses, who was supposed to be speaking
through Frank's assistance.

It is so difficult to explain everything in black and white when there
are so many shades of grey, so many degrees and amounts to be
considered. It is like a question in mechanics.

With increased momentum you get an increased rate as multiplied by
space. I am not an expert, but this is practically true. In the same
way, spiritual perception acts with increased momentum.

All sin is failure in spiritual perception. Spiritual perception
corresponds with the momentum of a falling body in mechanics. Only in
Divine mechanics it is a _rising_ body; but the same law holds good.

You say truly that an action can only be called sinful when the sinner
knows the higher and deliberately turns to the lower.

That is true; but it is only half a truth. It is still the _lack of
knowledge_ that causes sin. With the fulness of knowledge of the higher
(only another way of putting fulness of spiritual perception) _must_
come the righteousness of life.

It is the broken gleams, the little knowledge, which is truly a
dangerous thing, for it brings responsibility, and therefore the
capacity for sinning. Yet the _choice_ between good and evil fully made,
is the schoolmaster to bring us to the full realisation of our nature as
Sons of God.

Now when Frank came over here, he was so greatly impressed by the
dynamic force of spiritual perception that for the time he lost all
sense of proportion and accuracy of judgment. Compared with the old
earth temptations, those in his sphere seemed non-existent, whilst the
temptations to goodness were enormously increased.

What wonder that in the delightful sensation caused by his sense of
moral and spiritual freedom from old shackles, he should exclaim with
youthful fervour: "Sin is only possible in your sphere--it is unknown
here!" Any communications of which he formed the channel, would of
necessity be coloured by this dominant idea of his. Everything is a
question of degree, and he is learning that lesson now, I find. He says:
"Why do people in the earth life quote our words as if we were Delphic
Oracles?"

Why, indeed? But I am afraid I did much the same whilst so strongly
under the Imperator influence.

E. K. B.--Why is Imperator so slow in throwing off his own spiritual
limitations?

H. D.--I can read your mind so easily. It is quick and alert, and has
already answered its own question. It is because he has a work to do on
your plane amongst those who could not come in touch with a higher
spiritual development. There are spiritual as well as scientific
martyrs, you must remember; and he is one of them. But the Divine
Economy works very beautifully here. He is not conscious of any
spiritual limitation, and therefore he is happy in his work, and the
martyrdom I spoke of is _unconscious_. When it becomes conscious, with
him it will mean that his present plane of work is finished, and that he
will be removed to another "_Form_" so soon as he is prepared to teach
there.

He is essentially a teacher, and a valuable one, for those who have not
soared beyond his present perceptions. It is all so much more simple and
reasonable than you suppose. It is these crusted old creeds that have
misrepresented actual conditions, and yet they also have been, as
Imperator; doing their own work amongst the people to whom they have
acted as necessary stepping-stones.

That is enough for to-day; take a rest now.            H. D.



V


The following conversation between Mr Denton and myself (the last of the
series which I propose to give) took place, I see, at Buxton, 4th
September 1906.

There had been some correspondence in _The Daily Telegraph_ about Time
as a fourth Dimension, and I asked my friend if he could say anything to
me on the subject. His reply was as follows:--


Time is really a form of perception, _not a thing in itself_--do you
understand?

Your limitation of perception you call _Time_.

Another limitation is called _Distance_.

This also is an illusion, or a limitation, whichever you choose to call
it.

_The White Ray is the Absolute._ The spectroscope gives you the
limitation which makes the colours perceptible to your human eyes. For
the one who is free from these limitations, all colours exist and are
present in consciousness at the same moment. But they must be split up
and observed severally to enter into the earth consciousness. It is
exactly the parallel of Time.

_Events in Time coincide with the colours in the Ray._ All exist
simultaneously for the one who is free from limitations. All must be
brought into sequence for the one who is bound by limitations.

This is really the key to so many puzzles, and accounts for so many
occult phenomena.

As we transcend the normal earth limits ever so little, so do we develop
these abnormal powers, as they are called. But here, as everywhere, the
reality is just the converse of the apparent.

The true norm is the Perfect Ray--the Ceaseless Sound--the Perfect
Vision; and the abnormal is the limitation upon the earth, or upon any
succeeding plane, short of the Absolute. But naturally we consider that
normal which happens to be our standpoint for the moment.

Already to me the earth limitations appear _abnormal_, and my more
extended capacities mark the norm of existence for me. This must be the
case naturally.

_Prevision_ would be more accurately termed _Whole vision_--seeing the
whole and not the tiny section.

In moments of intense joy or realisation of any kind, Time seems to
cease, and a moment may hold an Eternity. Any absorbing emotion, joyful
or sorrowful, may bring this experience. For the moment _you are out of
yourselves_. This is literally true. You are living in the next
Dimension. Time and Space no longer exist for you. Most of you have had
some such experience, but of necessity it can be a flash only in the
midst of your normal life. Ask me something now.

E. K. B.--A man writing lately in _The Daily Telegraph_ of Time as a
fourth Dimension said something about the cube as being an infinite
number of flat planes of infinite tenuity, heaped up one over the other.
To the person who knew only length and breadth, the cube would have no
existence. Such a person would realise only an infinite number of planes
in sequence. Yet they would all _co-exist_ for the three-dimensional man
of the present day. The suggestion appeared to be that, in exactly a
similar way, events which to the three-dimensional man can only be
perceived normally _in sequence_, would _co-exist_ for a
four-dimensional being. This would mean practically the annihilation of
Time, as giving sequence. Do you see Truth in this idea, and can you
tell me if it extends also to Space?

H. D.--Certainly. That is just what I meant as regards Distance. _All_
limitations are mental, as a matter of fact. We have them here, but
infinitely fewer than in the old earth life.

Mind has always been able to flash from pole to pole and to affect those
at a distance, because mind and distance occupy two different planes.
The latter is an earth limitation. As the veil lifts a little, even on
your side, so you become conscious that mind has these powers; but the
powers were always there. It merely means that you have come up with
your own mental capacities to some small degree.

E. K. B.--Is there any help here for my constant problem: Why should
one's individual life be only _now_ evolving in Eternity? Do you see
what I mean?

H. D.--Yes; but I hardly know the answer to that tremendous problem.
Still, I will try to suggest a few thoughts to you.

To be conscious of holiness and virtue we must have known its
antithesis--evil and separation, which are really synonymous. Separation
from Holiness _is_ evil. It is a condition, a limitation.

It is to the Divine Essence just such a limitation as Time is to the
mortal. Separation is therefore the antecedent cause of all
limitations. These _must_ exist where the Wholeness or Holiness is
absent.

I must use the language of earth or you would not understand. Logically,
of course, Holiness can never be absent, since it is the cause of all
Existence; but it is _apparently absent_, and this apparent absence,
this separation, this evil in fact, acts as a spectroscope. _It
analyses, and thus brings into our consciousness the White Ray of the
Divine Nature._

We can go no further than that. The Divine Chemistry, beyond this fact,
must remain a mystery, probably for ages to come.

We cannot tell _why_ things are thus arranged; we only know that it is
so.

As well ask _why_ the White Ray of Light gives out its colours only
through separating them.

But it is easier to speak of the co-ordination of _events_. Take your
own suggestion of the cube--that will help us best.

Take it that each life is a cube of planes, of experiences. These
experiences are co-existent and knit together, as firmly in the life of
a human being as the many planes are co-existing, and knit together in a
mathematical cube. You can dissect the cube and slice off infinitesimal
small planes in sections.

So is the individual life sliced off into an infinite number of planes
by the sequences of Time (our three-dimensional condition).

But these experiences--great or small, important or trivial (from your
point of view)--_exist in the cube of that person's earth pilgrimage_,
as the colours exist in the White Ray.

The Ray may be split up into sequence, but the colours belong to it all
the same, and by a _perfectly seeing eye_ would be known and recognised
without the help of the spectroscope.

The true seer is the one who sees the cube of your life; before whom it
is spread out, without Time Separations, into planes of experience. This
is the real secret of all _foretelling_. Such people, when honest, have
some amount of access to the cube of earth life, some more, some less.

Many mix up and confuse what they see; but they do see beyond the plane
section which Time gives to the normal human being.

I think you have taken enough now.

I will only add that, of course--as you know--there is nothing arbitrary
in the cube of life, as I have called it. It is built up of necessary
experiences and necessary consequences. But it is built up by Love and
Wisdom, the two Elements of the Divine Nature, in which we live and move
and have our being.                H. D.



VI


The next selection that I shall give from my automatic script comes from
an entirely different personality, which can be sufficiently indicated
by the initials E. G.


E. G.--Worship is a necessary part of each soul's training, and we can
only worship that which we feel to be above and beyond ourselves. As we
grow older and become more developed in spiritual consciousness, so do
we tend more and more to worship the inner and intangible, rather than
the outer and manifest. So whilst the instinct of worship is always the
same, the objects and methods must continually change with our own
advancing realisation and unfolding consciousness.

Those limitations which once made for reverence are in time found to be
cramping and to lead to superstition.

It is the same with the education of either children or of childish
nations.

In both cases a _display_ of power is necessary to command obedience,
because the childish mind can only apprehend from the outer, and realise
the existence of that which it sees physically demonstrated. Tell a
child of tender years that to be naughty is to be unhappy, and in
ninety-nine cases out of one hundred he will neither understand nor
believe you. But take away his toys or his sweets or put him in a
corner; make him, in fact, _physically_ aware of the truth that to be
naughty is to bring unpleasant consequences upon himself, and you have
taken the only argument which he is capable of realising at a certain
point of consciousness.

This is why certain nations, at the child point of development, _must_
be treated as children. They don't realise the appeal to the spiritual,
and will only misconceive you and your motives, and read cowardice in
your attempt to treat from a standpoint they have not reached.

It is the same with certain religions, and this is the cause of much
failure in mission work.

Theosophy and Roman Catholicism appeal strongly to comparatively
immature minds.

Those who care more for form than for essence are always in the immature
stage.

They love big words and mysterious sayings and doings. To have something
apart from others--whether it be happiness or knowledge--is their idea
of bliss. Hence in most theosophists, as in all Roman Catholic converts,
you find this note of immaturity and monopoly. I say _converts_, because
those born in the Roman Catholic faith are on different ground. Their
spiritual life may grow and develop in spite of the creed limitations
into which Fate has cast them, but those who deliberately _choose_ such
limitations give the best possible proof of their own standpoint. And
the same may be said also of all strict creed religions.

They have their great and valuable uses, as prison bars have their uses
in a community which has not learnt to respect the rights and property
of its neighbours.

Withdraw these bars and you let loose upon society a pestilential crew
of murderers and marauders. Relax the bars of creed and you will find
the same result. But as bars are not necessary for the advanced souls
who recognise that to murder or defraud their fellow-creatures leads to
their own misery, apart from any detection or punishment, so creeds are
not necessary, under a corresponding evolution of the spiritual
instinct, which tallies with the social and moral instincts noted above.

And as treadmills and oakum picking can be dismissed in the one case, so
can much of the theological machinery for the discipline and punishment
of sinners against spiritual laws be dispensed with, in the case of
those who are, spiritually speaking, _coming of age_.

They come then into the full liberty of Sons of God, and shall be no
more treated as servants, _but as sons_, as the Apostle puts it.

This brings me to my special subject.

There are many things of great and transcending interest which we are
obliged to keep secret from our younger children, partly because they
would fail to understand, but still more because they would
_misunderstand_, and this to their own hurt and disadvantage; not to
speak of possible injury to others through them.

Spiritual Evolution is the true Doctrine, but it is not food for babes
in spiritual life.

To have an unlimited series of advancing lives and advancing experiences
unfolded before their eyes would not only dismay and bewilder, but would
also paralyse their energy for good, and terribly augment their capacity
for evil--for the _not good_.

Until they are sufficiently versed in spiritual experience to realise
the difference between purity and impurity, good and evil, God and the
world, fame and peace, pleasure and happiness, the peace which passes
understanding and the false glamour of sensual passion and sensuous
self-indulgence, so long it is dangerous for them to know, with absolute
certainty, the real facts of the case.

Even the terrible and abhorrent pictures of an Eternal Hell, of endless
flames and of undying worms, have had their uses.

In this form alone could the thoroughly immature mind be made to realise
the discomfort and misery that would inevitably attend wrong-doing. It
_was_ a truth, although not a literal truth. Many literal truths convey
a false impression to the immature mind, whilst a symbolic truth may
convey as true an impression as such a mind is capable of receiving.

The old ideas of Heaven and Hell are already doomed; but other ideas,
equally untrue from the literal point of view, still hold their own, and
will be more slowly eradicated. It is well this should be so. The world
at large is not prepared yet to take this further step.

Frequent examinations have been found useful and inevitable in school
training, both as a test of progress and still more as an encouragement.

If you tell a school of boys and girls in January that a grand
examination will be held the following December, do you suppose they
will work as well and as diligently as if they knew there will be short
examinations at Easter and more important ones at midsummer?

Again, if you tell boys of ten years old, who are learning a little
history, geography, and arithmetic, just in the Rule of Three and simple
fractions, with perhaps a little Latin; of the Algebra and Euclid and
Conic sections and higher Mathematics, and Latin and Greek verse and
Hebrew and Philosophy, which they must some day confront, you will
puzzle and paralyse their brains, and leave only a sense of misery and
revolt and helplessness, which will quickly show forth in reckless
despair, even concerning the tasks which are well within their present
capacity.

God, in His Infinite Wisdom (of which ours is the feeblest reflection),
acts in precisely the same way as wise fathers and wise teachers.

Your earth is more or less of an infant school, but before leaving it,
some of you must prepare for the higher classes and learn to take your
own spiritual responsibilities.

It is seen that in these days of reaction and readjustment, many minds
are puzzled and perplexed by the old doctrines, which they have
outgrown, and which were never more than the outer husk and protection
for the inner kernel--the casket for the jewel of spiritual truth.

The one term of probation--the one chance for progress--the immediate
Heaven or Hell--the Great White Throne of Judgment, instant and
inevitable--all these correspond with the frequent examinations, with
the good and bad marks--the judging of the school work at the end of
each term. The only difference lies in the fact that the schoolboy
_knows_ he has other terms in front of him, and we are all aware that
this is a very unfortunate fact where an idle boy is concerned.

How often you may hear them say: "Never mind! I'm a bit behind now--but
I have three years more--I shall catch up later." And this is probably
just what they fail to do; for with such characters it is always
_to-morrow_ that is to see the reformation which so often comes only
when life has taught its hard lessons to the defaulter.

Is it not apparent, therefore, that there has been wisdom and goodness
in our very theological mistakes and illusions?

The opposition to spiritualistic teachings has its good and healthy
side. It is really the fierce antagonism of the undeveloped nature
towards a truth it dimly apprehends to be ahead of its own development;
and, tiresome as it seems, and _is_ from one point of view, it is the
best safeguard for the world at large.

Unimaginable horrors would come to pass upon the earth were Power as
well as Knowledge put into the hands of the crude and undeveloped.

It would be arming savages with Winchester rifles and quick-firing guns.

_Never regret_, therefore, this opposition, even whilst fighting against
it in individual cases.

Both _must_ grow together till the Harvest--the Tares and Wheat, the
Crude and the Developed--and the former are the enormous majority.

This is the reason why all Truth must be born into each world through a
fight and an agony; for it always comes as an advance upon normal
conditions, no matter in which sphere it may be. And it is through the
struggle that the Victory comes and the Light is born.

Let people jeer and deride when they hear of a future life, not so very
different from your own; of houses and lectures and boats and horses, of
pet animals, and so forth.

Those who jeer and deride or talk of blasphemy are still at the orthodox
stage, when it is well for them to know only of _one_ school, of _one_
term, of _one_ chance, and of an immediate and final judgment for the
deeds done on earth.

Others are old enough (spiritually speaking) to know the truth
_i.e._--that GOD is in _all_, of an infinite series of spheres, through
which each travelling soul must pass, gaining ever fresh light, growing
ever into fresh knowledge and realisation of Divine Beauty and Divine
Love; spheres differing little externally from the one left behind, but
enormously in the capacities and qualities which by degrees the soul
will unfold in the Cosmic Journey.

The outer will become more and more the result of the inner condition;
for the creative faculty, scarcely born with you, flourishes in the
ascending spiral. Down here you are babes, with your clothes made for
you, your bottles filled for you, and dependent on others for the
conditions of life, but by degrees you will enter on the full
responsibility and the full joy and glory of independent existence,
which yet will be unified--first into the life of the Affinities--the
True and completed Being--and then into the life of that Body of
_Christ_, of which St Paul speaks in his prophetic moments, where "there
shall be neither Greek nor Jew, Barbarian, Scythian, Bond nor Free," but
_Christos_, the glorified and crowned Humanity, shall be all in all--GOD
IN MAN; the coping-stone of the Building, whose foundations were laid as
MAN (the Image and Likeness of God) IN GOD.





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