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Title: The Best Psychic Stories
Author: Various
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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                             The Best Psychic Stories

                            _Edited with a Preface by_

                               Joseph Lewis French

         _Editor "Great Ghost Stories," "Masterpieces of Mystery," etc._


    _Introduction by_
    Dorothy Scarborough, Ph.D.

    _Lecturer in English, Columbia University
    Author of "The Supernatural in English Literature,"
    "From a Southern Porch," etc._


    BONI & LIVERIGHT
    NEW YORK

    Copyright, 1920, by
    Boni & Liveright, Inc.

    Printed in the Unites States of America



PREFACE


The case for the "psychic" element in literature rests on a very old
foundation; it reaches back to the ancient masters,--the men who wrote
the Greek tragedies. Remorse will ever seem commonplace alongside the
furies. Ever and always the shadow of the supernatural invites, pursues
us. As the art of literature has progressed it has grown along with it.
To-day there is a whole new school of writers of Ghost-Stories, and the
domain of the invisible is being invaded by explorers in many paths. We
do not believe so much more, perhaps, that is, we do not so openly
express a belief, but art has finally and frankly claimed the
supernatural for its own. One discerning authority even goes so far as
to assert that the borders of its domain will be greatly enlarged in the
wonderful new field of the screen.

There is no motive in a story, no image in poetry, that can give us
quite the thrill of a supernatural idea. If we were formally charged
with this we might resent the imputation, but the evidence has persisted
from the beginning, lives on every hand, and multiplies daily. What we
have been in the habit of calling the "machinery" of the old Greek
drama--its supernatural effects--has come finally to be an art
cultivated with care at the present hour, and has given us some
wonderful new writers. In fact, few of the best masters for a generation
now have been able to resist its persistent and abiding charm. Every
writer of true imagination, almost without exception, including even
certain realists, has given us at least one story, long or short, in
which the central motive is purely psychical in the Greek sense of the
word.

The whole subject opens up a virgin field which has after all only begun
to be tilled. Within the coming generation we may look for great artists
to devote their whole powers to it, as Algernon Blackwood is doing
to-day. A simple underlying reason is enough to account for it all--_the
new field imposes simply no limit on the imagination_. In addition to
all that science has taught us, there is illimitable store of myth and
legend to aid, to draw from, to work in, to work over, as Lord Dunsany
has shown us. It is the most significant movement in literature at the
present hour, and whether it is supported by a special background of
interest--as at present in spiritism--or not, the assertion is logical
that it is creating a new body of fictional literature of permanent
importance for the first time in the history of literature. The human
comedy seems to have been exploited to its final limits; as the art of
the novel, the art of the stage, but too sadly prove to-day. We have
turned outward for new thrills to the supernatural and we are getting
them.

It only remains to be added that the present great interest in
spiritualism and allied phenomena has made necessary the addition of
certain material of a "literal" character which we believe will be found
quite as interesting by the general reader as the purely literary
portion of the book.

JOSEPH LEWIS FRENCH



CONTENTS


PREFACE _Joseph Lewis French_

INTRODUCTION _Dorothy Scarborough_

WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG _Jack London_

THE RETURN _Algernon Blackwood_

THE SECOND GENERATION _Algernon Blackwood_

JOSEPH--A STORY _Katherine Rickford_

THE CLAVECIN--BRUGES _George Wharton Edwards_

LIGEIA _Edgar Allan Poe_

THE SYLPH AND THE FATHER _Elsa Barker_

A GHOST _Lafcadio Hearn_

THE EYES OF THE PANTHER _Ambrose Bierce_

PHOTOGRAPHING INVISIBLE BEINGS _William T. Stead_

THE SIN-EATER _Fiona Macleod_

GHOSTS IN SOLID FORM _Gambier Bolton_

THE PHANTOM ARMIES SEEN IN FRANCE _Hereward Carrington_

THE PORTAL OF THE UNKNOWN _Andrew Jackson Davis_

THE SUPERNORMAL: EXPERIENCES _St. John D. Seymour_

NATURE-SPIRITS, OR ELEMENTALS _Nizida_

A WITCH'S DEN _Helena Blavatsky_

SOME REMARKABLE EXPERIENCES OF FAMOUS PERSONS _Dr. Walter F. Prince_



INTRODUCTION

THE PSYCHIC IN LITERATURE


War, that relentless disturber of boundaries and of traditions in a
spiritual as well as a material sense, has brought a tremendous revival
of interest in the life after death and the possibility of communication
between the living and the dead. As France became nearer to millions
over here because our soldiers lived there for a few months, as French
soil will forever be holy ground because our dead rest there, so the far
country of the soul likewise seems nearer because of those young
adventurers. The conflict which changed the map of Europe has in the
minds of many effaced the boundaries between this world and the world
beyond. Winifred Kirkland, in her book, _The New Death_, discusses the
new concept of death, and the change in our standards that it is making.
"We are used to speaking of this or that friend's philosophy of life;
the time has now come when every one of us who is to live at peace with
his own brain must possess also a philosophy of death." This New Death,
she says, is so far mainly an immense yearning receptivity, an
unprecedented humility of brain and of heart toward all implications of
survival. She believes that it is an influence which is entering the
lives of the people as a whole, not a movement of the intellectuals, nor
the result of psychical research propaganda, but arising from the
simple, elemental emotions of the soul, from human love and longing for
reassurance of continued life.

"If a man die, shall he live again?" has been propounded ever since
Job's agonized inquiry. Now numbers are asking in addition, "Can we have
communication with the dead?" Science, long derisive, is sympathetic to
the questioning, and while many believe and many doubt, the subject is
one that interests more people than ever before. Professor James Hyslop,
Secretary of the American Society for Psychical Research, believes that
the war has had great influence in arousing new interest in psychical
subjects and that tremendous spiritual discoveries may come from it.

Literature, always a little ahead of life, or at least in advance of
general thinking, has in the more recent years been acutely conscious of
this new influence. Poetry, the drama, the novel, the short story, have
given affirmative answer to the question of the soul's survival after
death. No other element has so largely entered into the tissue of recent
literature as has the supernatural, which now we meet in all forms in
the writings of all lands. And no aspect of the ghostly art is more
impressive or more widely used than the introduction of the spirit of
the dead seeking to manifest itself to the living. No thoughtful person
can fail to be interested in a theme which has so affected literature as
has the ghostly, even though he may disbelieve what the Psychical
Researchers hold to be established.

Man's love for the supernatural, which is one of the most natural things
about him, was never more marked than now. Man's imagination, ever
vaster than his environment, overleaps the barriers of time and space
and claims all worlds as eminent domain, so that literature, which he
has the power to create, as he cannot create his material surroundings,
possesses a dramatic intensity and an epic sweep unknown in actuality.
Literature shows what humanity really is and longs to be. Man, feeling
belittled by his petty round of uninspiring days, longs for a larger
life. He yearns for traffic with immortal beings that can augment his
wisdom, that can bring comfort to his soul dismayed and bewildered by
life. He reaches out for a power beyond his puny strength. Aware how
relentlessly time ticks away his little hour, he craves companionship
with the eternal spirits. Ignorant of what lies before him in the life
to which he speeds so fast, he would take counsel of those who know,
would ask about the customs of the country where presently he will be a
citizen. He feels so terribly alone that he cries out like a child in
the dark for supermortal companionship.

Literature, which is both a cause and an effect of man's interest in the
supernatural as in anything else, reflects his longings and records his
cries. And when we read the imaginings of the different generations, we
find that the spirit of the dead is represented almost everywhere.
Before poetry and fiction were recorded, there were singers and
story-tellers by the fire to give to their listeners the thrill that
comes from art. And what thrill is comparable to that which comes from
contact with the supermortal? The earliest literature relates the
appearance of the spirits of those who have died as coming back to
comfort or to take vengeance on the living, but always as sentient,
intelligent, and with an interest in the earth they have left. All
through the centuries the wraith has survived in literature, has flitted
pallidly across the pages of poetry, story and play, with a sad
wistfulness, a forlorn dignity.

A double relation exists between the literature and the records of the
Psychical Research Society. Lacy Collison-Morley, in his _Greek and
Roman Ghost Stories_, speaks of the similarity between ancient tales of
spirits and records of recent instances. "There are in the Fourth Book
of _Gregory the Great's Dialogues_ a number of stories of the passing of
souls which are curiously like some of those collected by the Psychical
Research Society," he says. Possibly human personality is much the same
in all lands and all times.

Conversely, some of the best examples of ghostly literature have had
their inspiration in the records of the society, Henry James's _The Turn
of the Screw_ being a notable example. Algernon Blackwood, that
extraordinary adapter of psychic material to fiction, makes frequent
mention of the Psychical Research Society, and uses many aspects of the
psychical in his fiction. Innumerable stories, novels, plays and poems
have been written to show the nearness of the dead to the living, and
the thinness of the veil that separates the two worlds. There is deep
pathos in the concept of the longing felt by the dead and living alike
to speak with each other, to rend the dividing veil, which adds a
poignancy to literature, even for readers incredulous of the possibility
of such communication. There are many who are unconvinced of the reality
of the messages in _Raymond_, for instance,--yet who could fail to be
touched by the delicate art with which Barrie suggests the dead son's
return in his play, _The Well-Remembered Voice_? While one may be
repelled by what he feels is fraud and trickery in some of the psychic
records, it is impossible not to be moved by such an impressive piece of
symbolism as Granville Barker's _Souls on Fifth_, where the lonely,
futile spirits of the dead are represented as hovering near the place
they knew the best, seeking piteously to win some recognition from the
living. The repulsive aspects of spirit manifestations have been treated
many times and with power, as in Joseph Hergesheimer's _The Meeker
Ritual_, to give one very recent example. The subject has interested the
minds of many writers who have dealt with it satirically or
sympathetically, or with a curious mixture of scoffing and respect, as
did Browning in _Sludge, the Medium_. Even such pronounced realists as
William Dean Howells and Hamlin Garland have written novels dealing with
attempts at spirit communication.

Any subject that has won so incontestable a place in our literature as
this has, possesses a right to our thought, whatever be our attitude of
acceptance or rejection of its claims to actuality. No person wishes to
be ignorant of what the world is thinking with reference to a matter so
important as the spirit. Hence this volume, _The Best Psychic Stories_,
in presenting these studies in the occult, will have interest for a wide
range of readers, and Mr. French, the editor, has shown critical
discrimination and extensive knowledge of the subject. Many who are
already interested in psychic phenomena will be glad to be informed
concerning recent and startling manifestations recounted by special
investigators. The sincerity of a man like W. T. Stead, well known and
respected on both sides of the Atlantic, cannot be doubted, so that his
article on _Photographing Invisible Beings_ will have unusual weight.
Hereward Carrington, author of various books on psychic subjects, and
considered an authority in his field, gives in _The Phantom Armies Seen
in France_ a report of occult phenomena widely believed in during the
war.

Helena Blavatsky, author of _A Witch's Den_, will be remembered as the
sensational medium who mystified experimenters in various lands a few
years ago. While most of us can be content not to touch a ghost, we may
find subject for surprise and wonder in Gambier Bolton's _Ghosts in
Solid Form_, describing spirits that can be weighed and put to material
tests, while Dr. Walter H. Prince, well known as a psychic investigator,
relates remarkable experiments of famous persons, that challenge
explanation on purely physical bases. These accounts show that modern
scientific investigation of spiritual manifestations can be made as
enthralling as fiction or drama. Hamlin Garland remarks in a recent
article, _The Spirit-World on Trial_, "When the medium consented to
enter the laboratory of the physicist, a new era in the study of psychic
phenomena began."

Even those who refuse credence to spirit manifestations in fact, but who
appreciate the art with which they are shown in literature, should read
with interest the stories given here. The genius of Edgar Allan Poe was
never more impressive than in his studies of the supernatural, and
_Ligeia_ has a dramatic art unsurpassed even by Poe. The tense economy
with which Ambrose Bierce could evoke a dreadful spirit is evident in
_The Eyes of the Panther_, and the haunting symbolism of Fiona Macleod's
_The Sin-Eater_ is unforgetable. Lafcadio Hearn, author of _A Ghost_,
held the belief that there was no great artist in any land, and
certainly no Anglo-Saxon writer, who had not distinguished himself in
his use of the supernatural. The subject of the soul's survival after
death and its attempts to reveal itself to those still in the folding
flesh is of interest to every rational person, whether as a matter of
scientific concern or merely as an aspect of literary art. And the
possibilities for further use of the psychic in literature are as
alluring as they are illimitable.

    DOROTHY SCARBOROUGH

    _New York City
    March 29, 1920_



THE BEST PSYCHIC STORIES



WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG[1]

BY JACK LONDON

[Footnote 1: By permission of The Century Co.]


I

He was a very quiet, self-possessed sort of man, sitting a moment on top
of the wall to sound the damp darkness for warnings of the dangers it
might conceal. But the plummet of his hearing brought nothing to him
save the moaning of wind through invisible trees and the rustling of
leaves on swaying branches. A heavy fog drifted and drove before the
wind, and though he could not see this fog, the wet of it blew upon his
face, and the wall on which he sat was wet.

Without noise he had climbed to the top of the wall from the outside,
and without noise he dropped to the ground on the inside. From his
pocket he drew an electric night-stick, but he did not use it. Dark as
the way was, he was not anxious for light. Carrying the night-stick in
his hand, his finger on the button, he advanced through the darkness.
The ground was velvety and springy to his feet, being carpeted with dead
pine-needles and leaves and mold which evidently had been undisturbed
for years. Leaves and branches brushed against his body, but so dark was
it that he could not avoid them. Soon he walked with his hand stretched
out gropingly before him, and more than once the hand fetched up against
the solid trunks of massive trees. All about him he knew were these
trees; he sensed the loom of them everywhere; and he experienced a
strange feeling of microscopic smallness in the midst of great bulks
leaning toward him to crush him. Beyond, he knew, was the house, and he
expected to find some trail or winding path that would lead easily to
it.

Once, he found himself trapped. On every side he groped against trees
and branches, or blundered into thickets of underbrush, until there
seemed no way out. Then he turned on his light, circumspectly, directing
its rays to the ground at his feet. Slowly and carefully he moved it
about him, the white brightness showing in sharp detail all the
obstacles to his progress. He saw an opening between huge-trunked trees,
and advanced through it, putting out the light and treading on dry
footing as yet protected from the drip of the fog by the dense foliage
overhead. His sense of direction was good, and he knew he was going
toward the house.

And then the thing happened--the thing unthinkable and unexpected. His
descending foot came down upon something that was soft and alive, and
that arose with a snort under the weight of his body. He sprang clear,
and crouched for another spring, anywhere, tense and expectant, keyed
for the onslaught of the unknown. He waited a moment, wondering what
manner of animal it was that had arisen from under his foot and that now
made no sound nor movement and that must be crouching and waiting just
as tensely and expectantly as he. The strain became unbearable. Holding
the night-stick before him, he pressed the button, saw, and screamed
aloud in terror. He was prepared for anything, from a frightened calf or
fawn to a belligerent lion, but he was not prepared for what he saw. In
that instant his tiny searchlight, sharp and white, had shown him what a
thousand years would not enable him to forget--a man, huge and blond,
yellow-haired and yellow-bearded, naked except for soft-tanned moccasins
and what seemed a goat-skin about his middle. Arms and legs were bare,
as were his shoulders and most of his chest. The skin was smooth and
hairless, but browned by sun and wind, while under it heavy muscles were
knotted like fat snakes.

Still, this alone, unexpected as it well was, was not what had made the
man scream out. What had caused his terror was the unspeakable ferocity
of the face, the wild-animal glare of the blue eyes scarcely dazzled by
the light, the pine-needles matted and clinging in the beard and hair,
and the whole formidable body crouched and in the act of springing at
him. Practically in the instant he saw all this, and while his scream
still rang, the thing leaped, he flung his night-stick full at it, and
threw himself to the ground. He felt its feet and shins strike against
his ribs, and he bounded up and away while the thing itself hurled
onward in a heavy crashing fall into the underbrush.

As the noise of the fall ceased, the man stopped and on hands and knees
waited. He could hear the thing moving about, searching for him, and he
was afraid to advertise his location by attempting further flight. He
knew that inevitably he would crackle the underbrush and be pursued.
Once he drew out his revolver, then changed his mind. He had recovered
his composure and hoped to get away without noise. Several times he
heard the thing beating up the thickets for him, and there were moments
when it, too, remained still and listened. This gave an idea to the man.
One of his hands was resting on a chunk of dead wood. Carefully, first
feeling about him in the darkness to know that the full swing of his arm
was clear, he raised the chunk of wood and threw it. It was not a large
piece, and it went far, landing noisily in a bush. He heard the thing
bound into the bush, and at the same time himself crawled steadily away.
And on hands and knees, slowly and cautiously, he crawled on, till his
knees were wet on the soggy mold. When he listened he heard naught but
the moaning wind and the drip-drip of the fog from the branches. Never
abating his caution, he stood erect and went on to the stone wall, over
which he climbed and dropped down to the road outside.

Feeling his way in a clump of bushes, he drew out a bicycle and prepared
to mount. He was in the act of driving the gear around with his foot for
the purpose of getting the opposite pedal in position, when he heard the
thud of a heavy body that landed lightly and evidently on its feet. He
did not wait for more, but ran, with hands on the handles of his
bicycle, until he was able to vault astride the saddle, catch the
pedals, and start a spurt. Behind he could hear the quick thud-thud of
feet on the dust of the road, but he drew away from it and lost it.

Unfortunately, he had started away from the direction of town and was
heading higher up into the hills. He knew that on this particular road
there were no cross roads. The only way back was past that terror, and
he could not steel himself to face it. At the end of half an hour,
finding himself on an ever increasing grade, he dismounted. For still
greater safety, leaving the wheel by the roadside, he climbed through a
fence into what he decided was a hillside pasture, spread a newspaper on
the ground, and sat down.

"Gosh!" he said aloud, mopping the sweat and fog from his face.

And "Gosh!" he said once again, while rolling a cigarette and as he
pondered the problem of getting back.

But he made no attempt to go back. He was resolved not to face that road
in the dark, and with head bowed on knees, he dozed, waiting for
daylight.

How long afterward he did not know, he was awakened by the yapping bark
of a young coyote. As he looked about and located it on the brow of the
hill behind him, he noted the change that had come over the face of the
night. The fog was gone; the stars and moon were out; even the wind had
died down. It had transformed into a balmy California summer night. He
tried to doze again, but the yap of the coyote disturbed him. Half
asleep, he heard a wild and eery chant. Looking about him, he noticed
that the coyote had ceased its noise and was running away along the
crest of the hill, and behind it, in full pursuit, no longer chanting,
ran the naked creature he had encountered in the garden. It was a young
coyote, and it was being overtaken when the chase passed from view. The
man trembled as with a chill as he started to his feet, clambered over
the fence, and mounted his wheel. But it was his chance and he knew it.
The terror was no longer between him and Mill Valley.

He sped at a breakneck rate down the hill, but in the turn at the
bottom, in the deep shadows, he encountered a chuck-hole and pitched
headlong over the handle bar.

"It's sure not my night," he muttered, as he examined the broken fork of
the machine.

Shouldering the useless wheel, he trudged on. In time he came to the
stone wall, and, half disbelieving his experience, he sought in the road
for tracks, and found them--moccasin tracks, large ones, deep-bitten
into the dust at the toes. It was while bending over them, examining,
that again he heard the eery chant. He had seen the thing pursue the
coyote, and he knew he had no chance on a straight run. He did not
attempt it, contenting himself with hiding in the shadows on the off
side of the road.

And again he saw the thing that was like a naked man, running swiftly
and lightly and singing as it ran. Opposite him it paused, and his heart
stood still. But instead of coming toward his hiding-place, it leaped
into the air, caught the branch of a roadside tree, and swung swiftly
upward, from limb to limb, like an ape. It swung across the wall, and a
dozen feet above the top, into the branches of another tree, and dropped
out of sight to the ground. The man waited a few wondering minutes, then
started on.


II

Dave Slotter leaned belligerently against the desk that barred the way
to the private office of James Ward, senior partner of the firm of Ward,
Knowles & Co. Dave was angry. Every one in the outer office had looked
him over suspiciously, and the man who faced him was excessively
suspicious.

"You just tell Mr. Ward it's important," he urged.

"I tell you he is dictating and cannot be disturbed," was the answer.
"Come to-morrow."

"To-morrow will be too late. You just trot along and tell Mr. Ward it's
a matter of life and death."

The secretary hesitated and Dave seized the advantage.

"You just tell him I was across the bay in Mill Valley last night, and
that I want to put him wise to something."

"What name?" was the query.

"Never mind the name. He don't know me."

When Dave was shown into the private office, he was still in the
belligerent frame of mind, but when he saw a large fair man whirl in a
revolving chair from dictating to a stenographer to face him, Dave's
demeanor abruptly changed. He did not know why it changed, and he was
secretly angry with himself.

"You are Mr. Ward?" Dave asked with a fatuousness that still further
irritated him. He had never intended it at all.

"Yes," came the answer. "And who are you?"

"Harry Bancroft," Dave lied. "You don't know me, and my name don't
matter."

"You sent in word that you were in Mill Valley last night?"

"You live there, don't you?" Dave countered, looking suspiciously at the
stenographer.

"Yes. What do you mean to see me about? I am very busy."

"I'd like to see you alone, sir."

Mr. Ward gave him a quick, penetrating look, hesitated, then made up his
mind.

"That will do for a few minutes, Miss Potter."

The girl arose, gathered her notes together, and passed out. Dave looked
at Mr. James Ward wonderingly, until that gentleman broke his train of
inchoate thought.

"Well?"

"I was over in Mill Valley last night," Dave began confusedly.

"I've heard that before. What do you want?"

And Dave proceeded in the face of a growing conviction that was
unbelievable.

"I was at your house, or in the grounds, I mean."

"What were you doing there?"

"I came to break in," Dave answered in all frankness. "I heard you lived
all alone with a Chinaman for cook, and it looked good to me. Only I
didn't break in. Something happened that prevented. That's why I'm here.
I come to warn you. I found a wild man loose in your grounds--a regular
devil. He could pull a guy like me to pieces. He gave me the run of my
life. He don't wear any clothes to speak of, he climbs trees like a
monkey, and he runs like a deer. I saw him chasing a coyote, and the
last I saw of it, by God, he was gaining on it."

Dave paused and looked for the effect that would follow his words. But
no effect came. James Ward was quietly curious, and that was all.

"Very remarkable, very remarkable," he murmured. "A wild man, you say.
Why have you come to tell me?"

"To warn you of your danger. I'm something of a hard proposition myself,
but I don't believe in killing people ... that is, unnecessarily. I
realized that you was in danger. I thought I'd warn you. Honest, that's
the game. Of course, if you wanted to give me anything for my trouble,
I'd take it. That was in my mind, too. But I don't care whether you give
me anything or not. I've warned you anyway, and done my duty."

Mr. Ward meditated and drummed on the surface of his desk. Dave noticed
that his hands were large, powerful, withal well-cared for despite their
dark sunburn. Also, he noted what had already caught his eye before--a
tiny strip of flesh-colored courtplaster on the forehead over one eye.
And still the thought that forced itself into his mind was unbelievable.

Mr. Ward took a wallet from his inside coat pocket, drew out a
greenback, and passed it to Dave, who noted as he pocketed it that it
was for twenty dollars.

"Thank you," said Mr. Ward, indicating that the interview was at an end.
"I shall have the matter investigated. A wild man running loose _is_
dangerous."

But so quiet a man was Mr. Ward, that Dave's courage returned. Besides,
a new theory had suggested itself. The wild man was evidently Mr. Ward's
brother, a lunatic privately confined. Dave had heard of such things.
Perhaps Mr. Ward wanted it kept quiet. That was why he had given him the
twenty dollars.

"Say," Dave began, "now I come to think of it that wild man looked a lot
like you--"

That was as far as Dave got, for at that moment he witnessed a
transformation and found himself gazing into the same unspeakably
ferocious blue eyes of the night before, at the same clutching
talon-like hands, and at the same formidable bulk in the act of
springing upon him. But this time Dave had no night-stick to throw, and
he was caught by the biceps of both arms in a grip so terrific that it
made him groan with pain. He saw the large white teeth exposed, for all
the world as a dog's about to bite. Mr. Ward's beard brushed his face as
the teeth went in for the grip of his throat. But the bite was not
given. Instead, Dave felt the other's body stiffen as with an iron
restraint, and then he was flung aside, without effort but with such
force that only the wall stopped his momentum and dropped him gasping to
the floor.

"What do you mean by coming here and trying to blackmail me?" Mr. Ward
was snarling at him. "Here, give me back that money."

Dave passed the bill back without a word.

"I thought you came here with good intentions. I know you now. Let me
see and hear no more of you, or I'll put you in prison where you belong.
Do you understand?"

"Yes, sir," Dave gasped.

"Then go."

And Dave went, without further word, both his biceps aching intolerably
from the bruise of that tremendous grip. As his hand rested on the door
knob, he was stopped.

"You were lucky," Mr. Ward was saying, and Dave noted that his face and
eyes were cruel and gloating and proud. "You were lucky. Had I wanted, I
could have torn your muscles out of your arms and thrown them in the
waste basket there."

"Yes, sir," said Dave; and absolute conviction vibrated in his voice.

He opened the door and passed out. The secretary looked at him
interrogatively.

"Gosh!" was all Dave vouchsafed, and with this utterance passed out of
the offices and the story.


III

James G. Ward was forty years of age, a successful business man, and
very unhappy. For forty years he had vainly tried to solve a problem
that was really himself and that with increasing years became more and
more a woeful affliction. In himself he was two men, and,
chronologically speaking, these men were several thousand years or so
apart. He had studied the question of dual personality probably more
profoundly than any half dozen of the leading specialists in that
intricate and mysterious psychological field. In himself he was a
different case from any that had been recorded. Even the most fanciful
flights of the fiction-writers had not quite hit upon him. He was not a
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, nor was he like the unfortunate young man in
Kipling's _Greatest Story in the World_. His two personalities were so
mixed that they were practically aware of themselves and of each other
all the time.

His one self was that of a man whose rearing and education were modern
and who had lived through the latter part of the nineteenth century and
well into the first decade of the twentieth. His other self he had
located as a savage and a barbarian living under the primitive
conditions of several thousand years before. But which self was he, and
which was the other, he could never tell. For he was both selves, and
both selves all the time. Very rarely indeed did it happen that one self
did not know what the other was doing. Another thing was that he had no
visions nor memories of the past in which that early self had lived.
That early self lived in the present; but while it lived in the present,
it was under the compulsion to live the way of life that must have been
in that distant past.

In his childhood he had been a problem to his father and mother, and to
the family doctors, though never had they come within a thousand miles
of hitting upon the clue to his erratic conduct. Thus, they could not
understand his excessive somnolence in the forenoon, nor his excessive
activity at night. When they found him wandering along the hallways at
night, or climbing over giddy roofs, or running in the hills, they
decided he was a somnambulist. In reality he was wide-eyed awake and
merely under the night-roaming compulsion of his early life. Questioned
by an obtuse medico, he once told the truth and suffered the ignominy of
having the revelation contemptuously labeled and dismissed as "dreams."

The point was, that as twilight and evening came on he became wakeful.
The four walls of a room were an irk and a restraint. He heard a
thousand voices whispering to him through the darkness. The night
called to him, for he was, for that period of the twenty-four hours,
essentially a night-prowler. But nobody understood, and never again did
he attempt to explain. They classified him as a sleep-walker and took
precautions accordingly--precautions that very often were futile. As his
childhood advanced, he grew more cunning, so that the major portion of
all his nights were spent in the open at realizing his other self. As a
result, he slept in the forenoons. Morning studies and schools were
impossible, and it was discovered that only in the afternoons, under
private teachers, could he be taught anything. Thus was his modern self
educated and developed.

But a problem, as a child, he ever remained. He was known as a little
demon of insensate cruelty and viciousness. The family medicos privately
adjudged him a mental monstrosity and a degenerate. Such few boy
companions as he had, hailed him as a wonder, though they were all
afraid of him. He could outclimb, outswim, outrun, outdevil any of them;
while none dared fight with him. He was too terribly strong, too madly
furious.

When nine years of age he ran away to the hills, where he flourished,
night-prowling, for seven weeks before he was discovered and brought
home. The marvel was how he had managed to subsist and keep in condition
during that time. They did not know, and he never told them, of the
rabbits he had killed, of the quail, young and old, he had captured and
devoured, of the farmers' chicken-roosts he had raided, nor of the
cave-lair he had made and carpeted with dry leaves and grasses and in
which he had slept in warmth and comfort, through the forenoons of many
days.

At college he was notorious for his sleepiness and stupidity during the
morning lectures and for his brilliance in the afternoon. By collateral
reading and by borrowing the notebook of his fellow students he managed
to scrape through the detestable morning courses, while his afternoon
courses were triumphs. In football he proved a giant and a terror, and,
in almost every form of track athletics, save for strange Berserker
rages that were sometimes displayed, he could be depended upon to win.
But his fellows were afraid to box with him, and he signalized his last
wrestling bout by sinking his teeth into the shoulder of his opponent.

After college, his father, in despair, sent him among the cow-punchers
of a Wyoming ranch. Three months later the doughty cowmen confessed he
was too much for them and telegraphed his father to come and take the
wild man away. Also, when the father arrived to take him away, the
cowmen allowed that they would vastly prefer chumming with howling
cannibals, gibbering lunatics, cavorting gorillas, grizzly bears, and
man-eating tigers than with this particular young college product with
hair parted in the middle.

There was one exception to the lack of memory of the life of his early
self, and that was language. By some quirk of atavism, a certain portion
of that early self's language had come down to him as a racial memory.
In moments of happiness, exaltation, or battle, he was prone to burst
out in wild barbaric songs or chants. It was by this means that he
located in time and space that strayed half of him who should have been
dead and dust for thousands of years. He sang, once, and deliberately,
several of the ancient chants in the presence of Professor Wertz, who
gave courses in old Saxon and who was a philologist of repute and
passion. At the first one, the professor pricked up his ears and
demanded to know what mongrel tongue or hog-German it was. When the
second chant was rendered, the professor was highly excited. James Ward
then concluded the performance by giving a song that always irresistibly
rushed to his lips when he was engaged in fierce struggling or fighting.
Then it was that Professor Wertz proclaimed it no hog-German, but early
German, or early Teuton, of a date that must far precede anything that
had ever been discovered and handed down by the scholars. So early was
it that it was beyond him; yet it was filled with haunting reminiscences
of word-forms he knew and which his trained intuition told him were true
and real. He demanded the source of the songs, and asked to borrow the
previous book that contained them. Also, he demanded to know why young
Ward had always posed as being profoundly ignorant of the German
language. And Ward could neither explain his ignorance nor lend the
book. Whereupon, after pleadings and entreaties that extended through
weeks, Professor Wertz took a dislike to the young man, believed him a
liar, and classified him as a man of monstrous selfishness for not
giving him a glimpse of this wonderful screed that was older than the
oldest any philologist had ever known or dreamed.

But little good did it do this much-mixed young man to know that half of
him was late American and the other half early Teuton. Nevertheless, the
late American in him was no weakling, and he (if he were a he and had a
shred of existence outside of these two) compelled an adjustment or
compromise between his one self that was a night-prowling savage that
kept his other self sleepy of mornings, and that other self that was
cultured and refined and that wanted to be normal and love and prosecute
business like other people. The afternoons and early evenings he gave to
the one, the nights to the other; the forenoons and parts of the nights
were devoted to sleep for the twain. But in the mornings he slept in bed
like a civilized man. In the night time he slept like a wild animal, as
he had slept the night Dave Slotter stepped on him in the woods.

Persuading his father to advance the capital, he went into business, and
keen and successful business he made of it, devoting his afternoons
whole-souled to it, while his partner devoted the mornings. The early
evenings he spent socially, but, as the hour grew to nine or ten, an
irresistible restlessness overcame him and he disappeared from the
haunts of men until the next afternoon. Friends and acquaintances
thought that he spent much of his time in sport. And they were right,
though they never would have dreamed of the nature of the sport, even if
they had seen him running coyotes in night-chases over the hills of Mill
Valley. Neither were the schooner captains believed when they reported
seeing, on cold winter mornings, a man swimming in the tide-rips of
Raccoon Straits or in the swift currents between Goat Island and Angel
Island miles from shore.

In the bungalow at Mill Valley he lived alone, save for Lee Sing, the
Chinese cook and factotum, who knew much about the strangeness of his
master, who was paid well for saying nothing, and who never did say
anything. After the satisfaction of his nights, a morning's sleep, and a
breakfast of Lee Sing's, James Ward crossed the bay to San Francisco on
a midday ferryboat and went to the club and on to his office, as normal
and conventional a man of business as could be found in the city. But as
the evening lengthened, the night called to him. There came a quickening
of all his perceptions and a restlessness. His hearing was suddenly
acute; the myriad night-noises told him a luring and familiar story;
and, if alone, he would begin to pace up and down the narrow room like
any caged animal from the wild.

Once, he ventured to fall in love. He never permitted himself that
diversion again. He was afraid. And for many a day the young lady,
scared at least out of a portion of her young ladyhood, bore on her arms
and shoulders and wrists divers black-and-blue bruises--tokens of
caresses which he had bestowed in all fond gentleness but too late at
night. There was the mistake. Had he ventured love-making in the
afternoon, all would have been well, for it would have been as the quiet
gentleman that he would have made love--but at night it was the uncouth,
wife-stealing savage of the dark German forests. Out of his wisdom, he
decided that afternoon love-making could be prosecuted successfully; but
out of the same wisdom he was convinced that marriage would prove a
ghastly failure. He found it appalling to imagine being married and
encountering his wife after dark.

So he had eschewed all love-making, regulated his dual life, cleaned up
a million in business, fought shy of match-making mamas and bright- and
eager-eyed young ladies of various ages, met Lilian Gersdale and made it
a rigid observance never to see her later than eight o'clock in the
evening, ran of nights after his coyotes, and slept in forest lairs--and
through it all had kept his secret save for Lee Sing ... and now, Dave
Slotter. It was the latter's discovery of both his selves that
frightened him. In spite of the counter fright he had given the burglar,
the latter might talk. And even if he did not, sooner or later he would
be found out by some one else.

Thus it was that James Ward made a fresh and heroic effort to control
the Teutonic barbarian that was half of him. So well did he make it a
point to see Lilian in the afternoons and early evenings, that the time
came when she accepted him for better or worse, and when he prayed
privily and fervently that it was not for worse. During this period no
prize-fighter ever trained more harshly and faithfully for a contest
than he trained to subdue the wild savage in him. Among other things, he
strove to exhaust himself during the day, so that sleep would render him
deaf to the call of the night. He took a vacation from the office and
went on long hunting trips, following the deer through the most
inaccessible and rugged country he could find--and always in the
daytime. Night found him indoors and tired. At home he installed a score
of exercise machines, and where other men might go through a particular
movement ten times, he went hundreds. Also, as a compromise, he built a
sleeping porch on the second story. Here he at least breathed the
blessed night air. Double screens prevented him from escaping into the
woods, and each night Lee Sing locked him in and each morning let him
out.

The time came, in the month of August, when he engaged additional
servants to assist Lee Sing and dared a house party in his Mill Valley
bungalow. Lilian, her mother and brother, and half a dozen mutual
friends, were the guests. For two days and nights all went well. And on
the third night, playing bridge till eleven o'clock, he had reason to be
proud of himself. His restlessness he successfully hid, but as luck
would have it, Lilian Gersdale was his opponent on his right. She was a
frail delicate flower of a woman, and in his night-mood her very frailty
incensed him. Not that he loved her less, but that he felt almost
irresistibly impelled to reach out and paw and maul her. Especially was
this true when she was engaged in playing a winning hand against him.

He had one of the deer-hounds brought in, and, when it seemed he must
fly to pieces with the tension, a caressing hand laid on the animal
brought him relief. These contacts with the hairy coat gave him instant
easement and enabled him to play out the evening. Nor did any one guess
the terrible struggle their host was making, the while he laughed so
carelessly and played so keenly and deliberately.

When they separated for the night, he saw to it that he parted from
Lilian in the presence of the others. Once on his sleeping porch, and
safely locked in, he doubled and tripled and even quadrupled his
exercises until, exhausted, he lay down on the couch to woo sleep and to
ponder two problems that especially troubled him. One was this matter
of exercise. It was a paradox. The more he exercised in this excessive
fashion, the stronger he became. While it was true that he thus quite
tired out his night-running Teutonic self, it seemed that he was merely
setting back the fatal day when his strength would be too much for him
and overpower him, and then it would be a strength more terrible than he
had yet known. The other problem was that of his marriage and of the
stratagems he must employ in order to avoid his wife after dark. And
thus fruitlessly pondering he fell asleep.

Now, where the huge grizzly bear came from that night was long a
mystery, while the people of the Springs Brothers' Circus, showing at
Sausalito, searched long and vainly for "Big Ben, the Biggest Grizzly in
Captivity." But Big Ben escaped, and, out of the mazes of half a
thousand bungalows and country estates, selected the grounds of James J.
Ward for visitation. The first Mr. Ward knew was when he found himself
on his feet, quivering and tense, a surge of battle in his breast and on
his lips the old war-chant. From without came a wild baying and
bellowing of the hounds. And sharp as a knife-thrust through the
pandemonium came the agony of a stricken dog--his dog, he knew.

Not stopping for slippers, pajama-clad, he burst through the door Lee
Sing had so carefully locked, and sped down the stairs and out into the
night. As his naked feet struck the graveled driveway, he stopped
abruptly, reached under the steps to a hiding-place he knew well, and
pulled forth a huge knotty club--his old companion on many a mad night
adventure on the hills. The frantic hullabaloo of the dogs was coming
nearer, and, swinging the club, he sprang straight into the thickets to
meet it.

The aroused household assembled on the wide veranda. Somebody turned on
the electric lights, but they could see nothing but one another's
frightened faces. Beyond the brightly illuminated driveway the trees
formed a wall of impenetrable blackness. Yet somewhere in that blackness
a terrible struggle was going on. There was an infernal outcry of
animals, a great snarling and growling, the sound of blows being struck,
and a smashing and crashing of underbrush by heavy bodies.

The tide of battle swept out from among the trees and upon the driveway
just beneath the onlookers. Then they saw. Mrs. Gersdale cried out and
clung fainting to her son. Lilian, clutching the railing so
spasmodically that a bruising hurt was left in her finger-ends for days,
gazed horror-stricken at a yellow-haired, wild-eyed giant whom she
recognized as the man who was to be her husband. He was swinging a great
club, and fighting furiously and calmly with a shaggy monster that was
bigger than any bear she had ever seen. One rip of the beast's claws had
dragged away Ward's pajama-coat and streaked his flesh with blood.

While most of Lilian Gersdale's fright was for the man beloved, there
was a large portion of it due to the man himself. Never had she dreamed
so formidable and magnificent a savage lurked under the starched shirt
and conventional garb of her betrothed. And never had she had any
conception of how a man battled. Such a battle was certainly not modern;
nor was she there beholding a modern man, though she did not know it.
For this was not Mr. James J. Ward, the San Francisco business man, but
one unnamed and unknown, a crude, rude savage creature who, by some
freak of chance, lived again after thrice a thousand years.

The hounds, ever maintaining their mad uproar, circled about the fight,
or dashed in and out, distracting the bear. When the animal turned to
meet such flanking assaults, the man leaped in and the club came down.
Angered afresh by every such blow, the bear would rush, and the man,
leaping and skipping, avoiding the dogs, went backwards or circled to
one side or the other. Whereupon the dogs, taking advantage of the
opening, would again spring in and draw the animal's wrath to them.

The end came suddenly. Whirling, the grizzly caught a hound with a wide
sweeping cuff that sent the brute, its ribs caved in and its back
broken, hurtling twenty feet. Then the human brute went mad. A foaming
rage flecked the lips that parted with a wild inarticulate cry, as it
sprang in, swung the club mightily in both hands, and brought it down
full on the head of the uprearing grizzly. Not even the skull of a
grizzly could withstand the crushing force of such a blow, and the
animal went down to meet the worrying of the hounds. And through their
scurrying leaped the man, squarely upon the body, where, in the white
electric light, resting on his club, he chanted a triumph in an unknown
tongue--a song so ancient that Professor Wertz would have given ten
years of his life for it.

His guests rushed to possess him and acclaim him, but James Ward,
suddenly looking out of the eyes of the early Teuton, saw the fair frail
Twentieth Century girl he loved, and felt something snap in his brain.
He staggered weakly toward her, dropped the club, and nearly fell.
Something had gone wrong with him. Inside his brain was an intolerable
agony. It seemed as if the soul of him were flying asunder. Following
the excited gaze of the others, he glanced back and saw the carcass of
the bear. The sight filled him with fear. He uttered a cry and would
have fled, had they not restrained him and led him into the bungalow.

       *       *       *       *       *

James J. Ward is still at the head of the firm of Ward, Knowles & Co.
But he no longer lives in the country; nor does he run of nights after
the coyotes under the moon. The early Teuton in him died the night of
the Mill Valley fight with the bear. James J. Ward is now wholly James
J. Ward, and he shares no part of his being with any vagabond
anachronism from the younger world. And so wholly is James J. Ward
modern, that he knows in all its bitter fullness the curse of civilized
fear. He is now afraid of the dark, and night in the forest is to him a
thing of abysmal terror. His city house is of the spick and span order,
and he evinces a great interest in burglar-proof devices. His home is a
tangle of electric wires, and after bed-time a guest can scarcely
breathe without setting off an alarm. Also, he has invented a
combination keyless door-lock that travelers may carry in their vest
pockets and apply immediately and successfully under all circumstances.
But his wife does not deem him a coward. She knows better. And, like any
hero, he is content to rest on his laurels. His bravery is never
questioned by those of his friends who are aware of the Mill Valley
episode.



THE RETURN[2]

BY ALGERNON BLACKWOOD

[Footnote 2: From _Pan's Garden_, by Algernon Blackwood--Permission of
the Macmillan Company.]


It was curious--that sense of dull uneasiness that came over him so
suddenly, so stealthily at first he scarcely noticed it, but with such
marked increase after a time that he presently got up and left the
theater. His seat was on the gangway of the dress circle, and he slipped
out awkwardly in the middle of what seemed to be the best and jolliest
song of the piece. The full house was shaking with laughter; so
infectious was the gaiety that even strangers turned to one another as
much as to say, "Now, isn't that funny?"

It was curious, too, the way the feeling first got into him at all, and
in the full swing of laughter, music, light-heartedness; for it came as
a vague suggestion, "I've forgotten something--something I meant to
do--something of importance. What in the world was it, now?" And he
thought hard, searching vainly through his mind; then dismissed it as
the dancing caught his attention. It came back a little later again,
during a passage of long-winded talk that bored him and set his
attention free once more, but came more strongly this time, insisting on
an answer. What could it have been that he had overlooked, left undone,
omitted to see to? It went on nibbling at the subconscious part of him.
Several times this happened, this dismissal and return, till at last the
thing declared itself more plainly--and he felt bothered, troubled,
distinctly uneasy.

He was wanted somewhere. There was somewhere else he ought to be. That
describes it best, perhaps. Some engagement of moment had entirely
slipped his memory--an engagement that involved another person, too. But
where, what, with whom? And, at length, this vague uneasiness amounted
to positive discomfort, so that he felt unable to enjoy the piece, and
left abruptly. Like a man to whom comes suddenly the horrible idea that
the match he lit his cigarette with and flung into the waste-paper
basket on leaving was not really out--a sort of panic distress--he
jumped into a taxicab and hurried to his flat to find everything in
order, of course; no smoke, no fire, no smell of burning.

But his evening was spoiled. He sat smoking in his armchair at home,
this business man of forty, practical in mind, of character some called
stolid, cursing himself for an imaginative fool. It was now too late to
go back to the theater; the club bored him; he spent an hour with the
evening papers, dipping into books, sipping a long cool drink, doing
odds and ends about the flat. "I'll go to bed early for a change," he
laughed, but really all the time fighting--yes, deliberately
fighting--this strange attack of uneasiness that so insidiously grew
upwards, outwards from the buried depths of him that sought so
strenuously to deny it. It never occurred to him that he was ill. He was
not ill. His health was thunderingly good. He was as robust as a
coal-heaver.

The flat was roomy, high up on the top floor, yet in a busy part of
town, so that the roar of traffic mounted round it like a sea. Through
the open windows came the fresh night air of June. He had never noticed
before how sweet the London night air could be, and that not all the
smoke and dust could smother a certain touch of wild fragrance that
tinctured it with perfume--yes, almost perfume--as of the country. He
swallowed a draught of it as he stood there, staring out across the
tangled world of roofs and chimney-pots. He saw the procession of the
clouds; he saw the stars; he saw the moonlight falling in a shower of
silver spears upon the slates and wires and steeples. And something in
him quickened--something that had never stirred before.

He turned with a horrid start, for the uneasiness had of a sudden leaped
within him like an animal. There was some one in the flat.

Instantly, with action--even this slight action--the fancy vanished;
but, all the same, he switched on the electric lights and made a search.
For it seemed to him that some one had crept up close behind him while
he stood there watching the night--some one, whose silent presence
fingered with unerring touch both this new thing that had quickened in
his heart and that sense of original deep uneasiness. He was amazed at
himself--angry--indignant that he could be thus foolishly upset over
nothing, yet at the same time profoundly distressed at this vehement
growth of a new thing in his well-ordered personality. Growth? He
dismissed the word the moment it occurred to him--but it had occurred to
him. It stayed. While he searched the empty flat, the long passages, the
gloomy bedroom at the end, the little hall where he kept his overcoats
and golf sticks, it stayed. Growth! It was oddly disquieting. Growth
to him involved, though he neither acknowledged nor recognized the truth
perhaps, some kind of undesirable changeableness, instability,
unbalance.

Yet singular as it all was, he realized that the uneasiness and the
sudden appreciation of beauty that was so new to him had both entered by
the same door into his being. When he came back to the front room he
noticed that he was perspiring. There were little drops of moisture on
his forehead. And down his spine ran chills, little, faint quivers of
cold. He was shivering.

He lit his big meerschaum pipe, and left the lights all burning. The
feeling that there was something he had overlooked, forgotten, left
undone, had vanished. Whatever the original cause of this absurd
uneasiness might be--he called it absurd on purpose because he now
realized in the depths of him that it was really more vital than he
cared about--it was much nearer to discovery than before. It dodged
about just below the threshold of discovery. It was as close as that.
Any moment he would know what it was; he would remember. Yes, he would
_remember_. Meanwhile, he was in the right place. No desire to go
elsewhere afflicted him, as in the theater. Here was the place, here in
the flat.

And then it was with a kind of sudden burst and rush--it seemed to him
the only way to phrase it--memory gave up her dead.

At first he only caught her peeping round the corner at him, drawing
aside a corner of an enormous curtain, as it were; striving for more
complete entrance as though the mass of it were difficult to move. But
he understood, he knew, he recognized. It was enough for that. As an
entrance into his being--heart, mind, soul--was being attempted and the
entrance because of his stolid temperament was difficult of
accomplishment, there was effort, strain. Something in him had first to
be opened up, widened, made soft and ready as by an operation, before
full entrance could be effected. This much he grasped though for the
life of him he could not have put it into words. Also he knew who it was
that sought an entrance. Deliberately from himself he withheld the name.
But he knew as surely as though Straughan stood in the room and faced
him with a knife saying, "Let me in, let me in. I wish you to know I'm
here. I'm clearing a way! You recall our promise?"

He rose from his chair and went to the open window again, the strange
fear slowly passing. The cool air fanned his cheeks. Beauty till now had
scarcely ever brushed the surface of his soul. He had never troubled his
head about it. It passed him by indifferent; and he had ever loathed the
mouthy prating of it on others' lips. He was practical; beauty was for
dreamers, for women, for men who had means and leisure. He had not
exactly scorned it; rather it had never touched his life, to sweeten, to
cheer, to uplift. Artists for him were like monks--another sex
almost--useless beings who never helped the world go round. He was for
action always, work, activity, achievement as he saw them. He remembered
Straughan vaguely--Straughan, the ever impecunious friend of his youth,
always talking of color and sound--mysterious, ineffectual things. He
even forgot what they had quarreled about, if they had quarreled at all
even; or why they had gone apart all these years ago. And certainly he
had forgotten any promise. Memory as yet only peeped at him round the
corner of that huge curtain tentatively, suggestively, yet--he was
obliged to admit it--somewhat winningly. He was conscious of this
gentle, sweet seductiveness that now replaced his fear.

And as he stood now at the open window peering over huge London, beauty
came close and smote him between the eyes. She came blindingly, with her
train of stars and clouds and perfumes. Night, mysterious, myriad-eyed,
and flaming across her sea of haunted shadows invaded his heart and
shook him with her immemorial wonder and delight. He found no words of
course to clothe the new unwonted sensations. He only knew that all his
former dread, uneasiness, distress, and with them this idea of growth
that had seemed so repugnant to him were merged, swept up, and gathered
magnificently home into a wave of beauty that enveloped him. "See it,
and understand," ran a secret inner whisper across his mind. He saw. He
understood....

He went back and turned the lights out. Then he took his place again at
that open window, drinking in the night. He saw a new world; a species
of intoxication held him. He sighed, as his thoughts blundered for
expression among words and sentences that knew him not. But the delight
was there, the wonder, the mystery. He watched with heart alternately
tightening and expanding the transfiguring play of moon and shadow over
the sea of buildings. He saw the dance of the hurrying clouds, the open
patches into outer space, the veiling and unveiling of that ancient
silvery face; and he caught strange whispers of the hierophantic,
sacerdotal power that has echoed down the world since Time began and
dropped strange magic phrases into every poet's heart, since first "God
dawned on Chaos"--the Beauty of the Night.

A long time passed--it may have been one hour, it may have been
three--when at length he turned away and went slowly to his bedroom. A
deep peace lay over him. Something quite new and blessed had crept into
his life and thought. He could not quite understand it all. He only knew
that it uplifted. There was no longer the least sign of affliction or
distress. Even the inevitable reaction that set in could not destroy
that.

And then as he lay in bed nearing the borderland of sleep, suddenly and
without any obvious suggestion to bring it, he remembered another thing.
He remembered the promise. Memory got past the big curtain for an
instant and showed her face. She looked into his eyes. It must have been
a dozen years ago when Straughan and he had made that foolish solemn
promise, that whoever died first should show himself if possible to the
other.

He had utterly forgotten it--till now. But Straughan had not forgotten
it. The letter came three weeks later from India. That very evening
Straughan had died--at nine o'clock. And he had come back--in the Beauty
that he loved.



THE SECOND GENERATION[3]

BY ALGERNON BLACKWOOD

[Footnote 3: _From Ten-Minute Stories_, published by E. P. Dutton & Co.]


Sometimes, in a moment of sharp experience, comes that vivid flash of
insight that makes a platitude suddenly seem a revelation--its full
content is abruptly realized. "Ten years _is_ a long time, yes," he
thought, as he walked up the drive to the great Kensington house where
she still lived.

Ten years--long enough, at any rate, for her to have married and for her
husband to have died. More than that he had not heard, in the outlandish
places where life had cast him in the interval. He wondered whether
there had been any children. All manner of thoughts and questions,
confused a little, passed across his mind. He was well-to-do now, though
probably his entire capital did not amount to her income for a single
year. He glanced at the huge, forbidding mansion. Yet that pride was
false which had made of poverty an insuperable obstacle. He saw it now.
He had learned values in his long exile.

But he was still ridiculously timid. This confusion of thought, of
mental images rather, was due to a kind of fear, since worship ever is
akin to awe. He was as nervous as a boy going up for a _viva voce_; and
with the excitement was also that unconquerable sinking--that horrid
shrinking sensation that excessive shyness brings. Why in the world had
he come? Why had he telegraphed the very day after his arrival in
England? Why had he not sent a tentative, tactful letter, feeling his
way a little?

Very slowly he walked up the drive, feeling that if a reasonable chance
of escape presented itself he would almost take it. But all the windows
stared so hard at him that retreat was really impossible now and though
no faces were visible behind the curtains, all had seen him, possibly
she herself--his heart beat absurdly at the extravagant suggestion. Yet
it was odd--he felt so certain of being seen, and that someone watched
him. He reached the wide stone steps that were clean as marble, and
shrank from the mark his boots must make upon their spotlessness. In
desperation, then, before he could change his mind, he touched the bell.
But he did not hear it ring--mercifully; that irrevocable sound must
have paralyzed him altogether. If no one came to answer, he might still
leave a card in the letter-box and slip away. Oh, how utterly he
despised himself for such a thought! A man of thirty with such a chicken
heart was not fit to protect a child, much less a woman. And he recalled
with a little stab of pain that the man she married had been noted for
his courage, his determined action, his inflexible firmness in various
public situations, head and shoulders above lesser men. What presumption
on his own part ever to dream!... He remembered, too, with no apparent
reason in particular, that this man had a grown-up son already, by a
former marriage.

And still no one came to open that huge, contemptuous door with its so
menacing, so hostile air. His back was to it, as he carelessly twirled
his umbrella, but he felt its sneering expression behind him while it
looked him up and down. It seemed to push him away. The entire mansion
focused its message through that stern portal: Little timid men are not
welcomed here.

How well he remembered the house! How often in years gone by had he not
stood and waited just like this, trembling with delight and
anticipation, yet terrified lest the bell should be answered and the
great door actually swung wide! Then, as now, he would have run, had he
dared. He was still afraid--his worship was so deep. But in all these
years of exile in wild places, farming, mining, working for the position
he had at last attained, her face and the memory of her gracious
presence had been his comfort and support, his only consolation, though
never his actual joy. There was so little foundation for it all, yet her
smile and the words she had spoken to him from time to time in friendly
conversation had clung, inspired, kept him going--for he knew them all
by heart. And more than once in foolish optimistic moods, he had
imagined, greatly daring, that she possibly had meant more....

He touched the bell a second time--with the point of his umbrella. He
meant to go in, carelessly as it were, saying as lightly as might be,
"Oh, I'm back in England again--if you haven't _quite_ forgotten my
existence--I could not forego the pleasure of saying 'How-do-you-do?'
and hearing that you are well ...," and the rest; then presently bow
himself easily out--into the old loneliness again. But he would at least
have seen her; he would have heard her voice, and looked into her
gentle, amber eyes; he would have touched her hand. She might even ask
him to come in another day and see her! He had rehearsed it all a
hundred times, as certain feeble temperaments do rehearse such scenes.
And he came rather well out of that rehearsal, though always with an
aching heart, the old great yearnings unfulfilled. All the way across
the Atlantic he had thought about it, though with lessening confidence
as the time drew near. The very night of his arrival in London he wrote,
then, tearing up the letter (after sleeping over it), he had telegraphed
next morning, asking if she would be in. He signed his surname--such a
very common name, alas! but surely she would know--and her reply,
"Please call 4:30," struck him as rather oddly worded. Yet here he was.

There was a rattle of the big door knob, that aggressive, hostile knob
that thrust out at him insolently like a fist of bronze. He started,
angry with himself for doing so. But the door did not open. He became
suddenly conscious of the wilds he had lived in for so long; his clothes
were hardly fashionable; his voice probably had a twang in it, and he
used tricks of speech that must betray the rough life so recently left.
What would she think of him, now? He looked much older, too. And how
brusque it was to have telegraphed like that! He felt awkward, gauche,
tongue-tied, hot and cold by turns. The sentences, so carefully
rehearsed, fled beyond recovery.

Good heavens--the door was open! It had been open for some minutes. It
moved noiselessly on big hinges. He acted automatically; he heard
himself asking if her ladyship was at home, though his voice was nearly
inaudible. The next moment he was standing in the great, dim hall, so
poignantly familiar, and the remembered perfume almost made him sway. He
did not hear the door close, but he knew. He was caught. The butler
betrayed an instant's surprise--or was it over-wrought imagination
again?--when he gave his name. It seemed to him--though only later did
he grasp the significance of that curious intuition--that the man had
expected another caller instead. The man took his card respectfully and
disappeared. These flunkeys were so marvellously trained. He was too
long accustomed to straight question and straight answer, but here, in
the Old Country, privacy was jealously guarded with such careful ritual.

And almost immediately the butler returned, still expressionless, and
showed him into the large drawing-room on the ground floor that he knew
so well. Tea was on the table--tea for one. He felt puzzled. "If you
will have tea first, sir, her ladyship will see you afterwards," was
what he heard. And though his breath came thickly, he asked the question
that forced itself out. Before he knew what he was saying he asked it,
"Is she ill?" "Oh, no, her ladyship is quite well, thank you, sir. If
you will have tea first, sir, her ladyship will see you afterwards." The
horrid formula was repeated, word for word. He sank into an armchair and
mechanically poured out his own tea. What he felt he did not exactly
know. It seemed so unusual, so utterly unexpected, so unnecessary, too.
Was it a special attention, or was it merely casual? That it could mean
anything else did not occur to him. How was she busy, occupied--not
here to give him tea? He could not understand it. It seemed such a farce
having tea alone like this--it was like waiting for an audience, it was
like a doctor's or a dentist's room. He felt bewildered, ill at ease,
cheap.... But after ten years in primitive lands perhaps London usages
had changed in some extraordinary manner. He recalled his first
amazement at the motor-omnibuses, taxicabs, and electric tubes. All were
new. London was otherwise than when he left it. Piccadilly and the
Marble Arch themselves had altered. And, with his reflection, a shade
more confidence stole in. She knew that he was there and presently she
would come in and speak with him, explaining everything by the mere fact
of her delicious presence. He was ready for the ordeal, he would see
her--and drop out again. It was worth all manner of pain, even of
mortification. He was in her house, drinking her tea, sitting in a chair
she used herself perhaps. Only he would never dare to say a word or make
a sign that might betray his changeless secret. He still felt the boyish
worshipper, worshipping in dumbness from a distance, one of a group of
many others like himself. Their dreams had faded, his had continued,
that was the difference. Memories tore and raced and poured upon him.
How sweet and gentle she had always been to him! He used to wonder
sometimes.... Once, he remembered, he had rehearsed a declaration, but
while rehearsing the big man had come in and captured her, though he had
only read the definite news long after by chance in an Arizona paper.

He gulped his tea down. His heart alternately leaped and stood still. A
sort of numbness held him most of that dreadful interval, and no clear
thought came at all. Every ten seconds his head turned towards the door
that rattled, seemed to move, yet never opened. But any moment now it
_must_ open, and he would be in her very presence, breathing the same
air with her. He would see her, charge himself with her beauty once more
to the brim, and then go out again into the wilderness--the wilderness
of life--without her, and not for a mere ten years but for always. She
was so utterly beyond his reach. He felt like a backwoodsman, he was a
backwoodsman.

For one thing only was he duly prepared, though he thought about it
little enough--she would, of course, have changed. The photograph he
owned, cut from an illustrated paper, was not true now. It might even be
a little shock perhaps. He must remember that. Ten years cannot pass
over a woman without--

Before he knew it the door was open, and she was advancing quietly
towards him across the thick carpet that deadened sound. With both hands
outstretched she came, and with the sweetest welcoming smile upon her
parted lips he had seen in any human face. Her eyes were soft with joy.
His whole heart leaped within him; for the instant he saw her it all
flashed clear as sunlight--that she knew and understood. She had always
known, had always understood. Speech came easily to him in a flood, had
he needed it, but he did not need it. It was all so adorably easy,
simple, natural, and true. He just took her hands--those welcoming,
outstretched hands--in both of his own, and led her to the nearest sofa.
He was not even surprised at himself. Inevitably, out of depths of
truth, this meeting came about. And he uttered a little foolish
commonplace, because he feared the huge revulsion that his sudden glory
brought, and loved to taste it slowly:

"So you live here still?"

"Here, and here," she answered softly, touching his heart, and then her
own. "I am attached to this house, too, because _you_ used to come and
see me here, and because it was here I waited so long for you, and still
wait. I shall never leave it--unless you change. You see, we live
together here."

He said nothing. He leaned forward to take and hold her. The abrupt
knowledge of it all somehow did not seem abrupt--it was as though he had
known it always; and the complete disclosure did not seem disclosure
either--rather as though she told him something he had inexplicably left
unrealized, yet not forgotten. He felt absolutely master of himself,
yet, in a curious sense, outside of himself at the same time. His arms
were already open--when she gently held her hands up to prevent. He
heard a faint sound outside the door.

"But you are free," he cried, his great passion breaking out and
flooding him, yet most oddly well controlled, "and I--"

She interrupted him in the softest, quietest whisper he had ever heard:

"You are not free, as I am free--not yet."

The sound outside came suddenly closer. It was a step. There was a faint
click on the handle of the door. In a flash, then, came the dreadful
shock that overwhelmed him--the abrupt realization of the truth that was
somehow horrible--that Time, all these years, had left no mark upon her
and that _she had not changed_. Her face was as young as when he saw her
last.

With it there came cold and darkness into the great room. He shivered
with cold, but an alien, unaccountable cold. Some great shadow dropped
upon the entire earth, and though but a second could have passed before
the handle actually turned, and the other person entered, it seemed to
him like several minutes. He heard her saying this amazing thing that
was question, answer, and forgiveness all in one--this, at least, he
divined before the ghastly interruption came--"But, George--if you had
only spoken--!"

With ice in his blood he heard the butler saying that her ladyship would
be "pleased" to see him if he had finished his tea and would be "so good
as to bring the papers and documents upstairs with him." He had just
sufficient control of certain muscles to stand upright and murmur that
he would come. He rose from a sofa that held no one but himself. All at
once he staggered. He really did not know exactly what happened, or how
he managed to stammer out the medley of excuses and semi-explanations
that battered their way through his brain and issued somehow in definite
words from his lips. Somehow or other he accomplished it. The sudden
attack, the faintness, the collapse!... He vaguely remembered
afterwards--with amazement too--the suavity of the butler as he
suggested telephoning for a doctor, and that he just managed to forbid
it, refusing the offered glass of brandy as well, remembered contriving
to stumble into the taxicab and give his hotel address with a final
explanation that he would call another day and "bring the papers." It
was quite clear that his telegram had been attributed to someone else,
someone "with papers"--perhaps a solicitor or architect. His name was
such an ordinary one, there were so many Smiths. It was also clear that
she whom he had come to see and _had_ seen, no longer lived here in the
flesh....

And just as he left the hall he had the vision--mere fleeting glimpse it
was--of a tall, slim, girlish figure on the stairs asking if anything
was wrong, and realized vaguely through his atrocious pain that she was,
of course, the wife of the son who had inherited....



JOSEPH: A STORY

BY KATHERINE RICKFORD


They were sitting round the fire after dinner--not an ordinary fire--one
of those fires that has a little room all to itself with seats at each
side of it to hold a couple of people or three.

The big dining room was paneled with oak. At the far end was a handsome
dresser that dated back for generations. One's imagination ran riot when
one pictured the people who must have laid those pewter plates on the
long, narrow, solid table. Massive medieval chests stood against the
walls. Arms and parts of armor hung against the panelling; but one
noticed few of these things, for there was no light in the room save
what the fire gave.

It was Christmas Eve. Games had been played. The old had vied with the
young at snatching raisins from the burning snapdragon. The children had
long since gone to bed; it was time their elders followed them, but they
lingered round the fire, taking turns at telling stories. Nothing very
weird had been told; no one had felt any wish to peep over his shoulder
or try to penetrate the darkness of the far end of the room; the
omission caused a sensation of something wanting. From each one there
this thought went out, and so a sudden silence fell upon the party. It
was a girl who broke it--a mere child; she wore her hair up that night
for the first time, and that seemed to give her the right to sit up so
late.

"Mr. Grady is going to tell one," she said.

All eyes were turned to a middle-aged man in a deep armchair placed
straight in front of the fire. He was short, inclined to be fat, with a
bald head and a pointed beard like the beards that sailors wear. It was
plain that he was deeply conscious of the sudden turning of so much
strained yet forceful thought upon himself. He was restless in his chair
as people are in a room that is overheated. He blinked his eyes as he
looked round the company. His lips twitched in a nervous manner. One
side of him seemed to be endeavoring to restrain another side of him
from a feverish desire to speak.

"It was this room that made me think of him," he said thoughtfully.

There was a long silence, but it occurred to no one to prompt him. Every
one seemed to understand that he was going to speak, or rather that
something inside him was going to speak, some force that craved
expression and was using him as a medium.

The little old man's pink face grew strangely calm, the animation that
usually lit it was gone. One would have said that the girl who had
started him already regretted the impulse, and now wanted to stop him.
She was breathing heavily, and once or twice made as though she would
speak to him, but no words came. She must have abandoned the idea, for
she fell to studying the company. She examined them carefully, one by
one. "This one," she told herself, "is so-and-so, and that one there
just another so-and-so." She stared at them, knowing that she could not
turn them to herself with her stare. They were just bodies kept working,
so to speak, by some subtle sort of sentry left behind by the real
selves that streamed out in pent-up thought to the little old man in the
chair in front of the fire.

"His name was Joseph; at least they called him Joseph. He dreamed, you
understand--dreams. He was an extraordinary lad in many ways. His
mother--I knew her very well--had three children in quick succession,
soon after marriage; then ten years went by and Joseph was born. Quiet
and reserved he always was, a self-contained child whose only friend was
his mother. People said things about him, you know how people talk. Some
said he was not Clara's child at all, but that she had adopted him;
others, that her husband was not his father, and these put her change of
manner down to a perpetual struggle to keep her husband comfortably in
the dark. I always imagined that the boy was in some way aware of all
this gossip, for I noticed that he took a dislike to the people who
spread it most."

The little man rested his elbows on the arms of his chair and let the
tips of his fingers meet in front of him. A smile played about his
mouth. He seemed to be searching among his reminiscences for the one
that would give the clearest portrait of Joseph.

"Well, anyway," he said at last, "the boy was odd, there is no
gainsaying the fact. I suppose he was eleven when Clara came down here
with her family for Christmas. The Coningtons owned the place then--Mrs.
Conington was Clara's sister. It was Christmas Eve, as it is now, many
years ago. We had spent a normal Christmas Eve; a little happier,
perhaps, than usual by reason of the family re-union and because of the
presence of so many children. We had eaten and drank, laughed and played
and gone to bed.

"I woke in the middle of the night from sheer restlessness. Clara,
knowing my weakness, had given me a fire in my room. I lit a cigarette,
played with a book, and then, purely from curiosity, opened the door and
looked down the passage. From my door I could see the head of the
staircase in the distance; the opposite wing of the house, or the
passage rather beyond the stairs, was in darkness. The reason I saw the
staircase at all was that the window you pass coming downstairs allowed
the moon to throw an uncertain light upon it, a weird light because of
the stained glass. I was arrested by the curious effect of this patch of
light in so much darkness when suddenly someone came into it, turned,
and went downstairs. It was just like a scene in a theater; something
was about to happen that I was going to miss. I ran as I was,
barefooted, to the head of the stairs and looked over the banister. I
was excited, strung up, too strung up to feel the fright that I knew
must be with me. I remember the sensation perfectly. I knew that I was
afraid, yet I did not feel fright.

"On the stairs nothing moved. The little hall down here was lost in
darkness. Looking over the banister I was facing the stained glass
window. You know how the stairs run around three sides of the hall;
well, it occurred to me that if I went halfway down and stood under the
window I should be able to keep the top of the stairs in sight and see
anything that might happen in the hall. I crept down very cautiously and
waited under the window. First of all, I saw the suit of empty armor
just outside the door here. You know how a thing like that, if you stare
at it in a poor light, appears to move; well, it moved sure enough, and
the illusion was enhanced by clouds being blown across the moon. By the
fire like this one can talk of these things rationally, but in the dead
of night it is a different matter, so I went down a few steps to make
sure of that armor, when suddenly something passed me on the stairs. I
did not hear it, I did not see it, I sensed it in no way, I just knew
that something had passed me on its way upstairs. I realized that my
retreat was cut off, and with the knowledge fear came upon me.

"I had seen someone come down the stairs; that, at any rate, was
definite; now I wanted to see him again. Any ghost is bad enough, but a
ghost that one can see is better than one that one can't. I managed to
get past the suit of armor, but then I had to feel my way to these
double doors here."

He indicated the direction of the doors by a curious wave of his hand.
He did not look toward them nor did any of the party. Both men and women
were completely absorbed in his story; they seemed to be mesmerized by
the earnestness of his manner. Only the girl was restless; she gave an
impression of impatience with the slowness with which he came to his
point. One would have said that she was apart from her fellows, an alien
among strangers.

"So dense was the darkness that I made sure of finding the first door
closed, but it was not, it was wide open, and, standing between them, I
could feel that the other was open, too. I was standing literally in the
wall of the house, and as I peered into the room, trying to make out
some familiar object, thoughts ran through my mind of people who had
been bricked up in walls and left there to die. For a moment I caught
the spirit of the inside of a thick wall. Then suddenly I felt the
sensation I have often read about but never experienced before: I knew
there was some one in the room. You are surprised, yes, but wait! I knew
more: I knew that some one was conscious of my presence. It occurred to
me that whoever it was might want to get out of the door. I made room
for him to pass. I waited for him, made sure of him, began to feel
giddy, and then a man's voice, deep and clear:

"'There is some one there; who is it?'

"I answered mechanically, 'George Grady.'

"'I'm Joseph.'

"A match was drawn across a matchbox, and I saw the boy bending over a
candle waiting for the wick to catch. For a moment I thought he must be
walking in his sleep, but he turned to me quite naturally and said in
his own boyish voice:

"'Lost anything?'

"I was amazed at the lad's complete calm. I wanted to share my fright
with some one, instead I had to hide it from this boy. I was conscious
of a curious sense of shame. I had watched him grow, taught him, praised
him, scolded him, and yet here he was waiting for an explanation of my
presence in the dining room at that odd hour of the night.

"Soon he repeated the question, 'Lost anything?'

"'No,' I said, and then I stammered, 'Have you?'

"'No,' he said with a little laugh. 'It's that room, I can't sleep in
it.'

"'Oh,' I said. 'What's the matter with the room?'

"'It's the room I was killed in,' he said quite simply.

"Of course I had heard about his dreams, but I had had no direct
experience of them; when, therefore, he said that he had been killed in
his room I took it for granted that he had been dreaming again. I was at
a loss to know quite how to tackle him; whether to treat the whole thing
as absurd and laugh it off as such, or whether to humor him and hear his
story. I got him upstairs to my room, sat him in a big armchair, and
poked the fire into a blaze.

"'You've been dreaming again,' I said bluntly.

"'Oh, no I haven't. Don't you run away with that idea.'

"His whole manner was so grown up that it was quite unthinkable to treat
him as the child he really was. In fact, it was a little uncanny, this
man in a child's frame.

"'I was killed there,' he said again.

"'How do you mean, killed?' I asked him.

"'Why, killed--murdered. Of course it was years and years ago, I can't
say when; still I remember the room. I suppose it was the room that
reminded me of the incident.'

"'Incident?' I exclaimed.

"'What else? Being killed is only an incident in the existence of any
one. One makes a fuss about it at the time, of course, but really when
you come to think of it....'

"'Tell me about it,' I said, lighting a cigarette. He lit one too, that
child, and began.

"'You know my room is the only modern one in this old house. Nobody
knows why it is modern. The reason is obvious. Of course it was made
modern after I was killed there. The funny thing is that I should have
been put there. I suppose it was done for a purpose, because I--I----'

"He looked at me so fixedly I knew he would catch me if I lied.

"'What?' I asked.

"'Dream.'

"'Yes,' I said, 'that is why you were put there.'

"'I thought so, and yet of all the rooms--but then, of course, no one
knew. Anyhow I did not recognize the room until after I was in bed. I
had been asleep some time and then I woke suddenly. There is an old
wheel-back chair there--the only old thing in the room. It is standing
facing the fire as it must have stood the night I was killed. The fire
was burning brightly, the pattern of the back of the chair was thrown in
shadow across the ceiling. Now the night I was murdered the conditions
were exactly the same, so directly I saw that pattern on the ceiling I
remembered the whole thing. I was not dreaming, don't think it, I was
not. What happened that night was this: I was lying in bed counting the
parts of the back of that chair in shadow on the ceiling. I probably
could not get to sleep, you know the sort of thing, count up to a
thousand and remember in the morning where you got to. Well, I was
counting those pieces when suddenly they were all obliterated, the whole
back became a shadow, some one was sitting in the chair. Now, surely,
you understand that directly I saw the shadow of that chair on the
ceiling to-night I realized that I had not a moment to lose. At any
moment that same person might come back to that same chair and escape
would be impossible. I slipped from my bed as quickly as I could and ran
downstairs.'

"'But were you not afraid,' I asked, 'downstairs?'

"'That she might follow me? It was a woman, you know. No, I don't think
I was. She does not belong downstairs. Anyhow she didn't.'

"'No,' I said. 'No.'

"My voice must have been out of control, for he caught me up at once.

"'You don't mean to say you saw her?' he said vehemently.

"'Oh, no.'

"'You felt her?'

"'She passed me as I came downstairs,' I said.

"'What can I have done to her that she follows me so?' He buried his
face in his hands as though searching for an answer to his thought.
Suddenly he looked up and stared at me.

"'Where had I got to? Oh yes, the murder. I can remember how startled I
was to see that shadow in the chair--startled, you know, but not really
frightened. I leaned up in bed and looked at the chair, and sure enough
a woman was sitting in it--a young woman. I watched her with a profound
interest until she began to turn in her chair, as I felt, to look at me;
when she did that I shrank back in bed. I dared not meet her eyes. She
might not have had eyes, she might not have had a face. You know the
sort of pictures that one sees when one glances back at all one's soul
has ever thought.

"'I got back in the bed as far as I could and peeped over the sheets at
the shadow on the ceiling. I was tired; frightened to death; I grew
weary of watching. I must have fallen asleep, for suddenly the fire was
almost out, the pattern of the chair barely discernible, the shadow had
gone. I raised myself with a sense of huge relief. Yes, the chair was
empty, but, just think of it, the woman was on the floor, on her hands
and knees, crawling toward the bed.

"'I fell back stricken with terror.

"'Very soon I felt a gentle pull at the counterpane. I thought I was in
a nightmare but too lazy or too comfortable to try to wake myself from
it. I waited in an agony of suspense, but nothing seemed to be
happening, in fact I had just persuaded myself that the movement of the
counterpane was fancy when a hand brushed softly over my knee. There was
no mistaking it, I could feel the long, thin fingers. Now was the time
to do something. I tried to rouse myself, but all my efforts were
futile, I was stiff from head to foot.

"'Although the hand was lost to me, outwardly, it now came within my
range of knowledge, if you know what I mean. I knew that it was groping
its way along the bed feeling for some other part of me. At any moment I
could have said exactly where it had got to. When it was hovering just
over my chest another hand knocked lightly against my shoulder. I
fancied it lost, and wandering in search of its fellow.

"'I was lying on my back staring at the ceiling when the hands met; the
weight of their presence brought a feeling of oppression to my chest. I
seemed to be completely cut off from my body; I had no sort of
connection with any part of it, nothing about me would respond to my
will to make it move.

"'There was no sound at all anywhere.

"'I fell into a state of indifference, a sort of patient indifference
that can wait for an appointed time to come. How long I waited I cannot
say, but when the time came it found me ready. I was not taken by
surprise.

"'There was a great upward rush of pent-up force released; it was like a
mighty mass of men who have been lost in prayer rising to their feet. I
can't remember clearly, but I think the woman must have got on to my
bed. I could not follow her distinctly, my whole attention was
concentrated on her hands. At the time I felt those fingers itching for
my throat.

"'At last they moved; slowly at first, then quicker; and then a
long-drawn swish like the sound of an over-bold wave that has broken too
far up the beach and is sweeping back to join the sea.'

"The boy was silent for a moment, then he stretched out his hand for the
cigarettes.

"'You remember nothing else?' I asked him.

"'No,' he said. 'The next thing I remember clearly is deliberately
breaking the nursery window because it was raining and mother would not
let me go out.'"

There was a moment's tension, then the strain of listening passed and
every one seemed to be speaking at once. The Rector was taking the story
seriously.

"Tell me, Grady," he said. "How long do you suppose elapsed between the
boy's murder and his breaking the nursery window?"

But a young married woman in the first flush of her happiness broke in
between them. She ridiculed the whole idea. Of course the boy was
dreaming. She was drawing the majority to her way of thinking when, from
the corner where the girl sat, a hollow-sounding voice:

"And the boy? Where is he?"

The tone of the girl's voice inspired horror, that fear that does not
know what it is it fears; one could see it on every face; on every face,
that is, but the face of the bald-headed little man; there was no horror
on his face; he was smiling serenely as he looked the girl straight in
the eyes.

"He's a man now," he said.

"Alive?" she cried.

"Why not?" said the little old man, rubbing his hands together.

She tried to rise, but her frock had got caught between the chairs and
pulled her to her seat again. The man next her put out his hand to
steady her, but she dashed it away roughly. She looked round the party
for an instant for all the world like an animal at bay, then she sprang
to her feet and charged blindly. They crowded round her to prevent her
falling; at the touch of their hands she stopped. She was out of breath
as though she had been running.

"All right," she said, pushing their hands from her. "All right. I'll
come quietly. I did it."

They caught her as she fell and laid her on the sofa watching the color
fade from her face.

The hostess, an old woman with white hair and a kind face, approached
the little old man; for once in her life she was roused to anger.

"I can't think how you could be so stupid," she said. "See what you have
done."

"I did it for a purpose," he said.

"For a purpose?"

"I have always thought that girl was the culprit. I have to thank you
for the opportunity you have given me of making sure."



THE CLAVECIN, BRUGES[4]

BY GEORGE WHARTON EDWARDS

[Footnote 4: By permission of The Century Co.]


A silent, grass-grown market-place, upon the uneven stones of which the
sabots of a passing peasant clatter loudly. A group of sleepy-looking
soldiers in red trousers lolling about the wide portal of the Belfry,
which rears aloft against the pearly sky

    All the height it has
    Of ancient stone.

As the chime ceases there lingers for a space a faint musical hum in the
air; the stones seem to carry and retain the melody; one is loath to
move for fear of losing some part of the harmony.

I feel an indescribable impulse to climb the four hundred odd steps;
incomprehensible, for I detest steeple-climbing, and have no patience
with steeple-climbers.

Before I realize it, I am at the stairs. "Hold, sir!" from behind me.
"It is forbidden." In wretched French a weazen-faced little soldier
explains that repairs are about to be made in the tower, in consequence
of which visitors are forbidden. A franc removes this military obstacle,
and I press on.

At the top of the stairs is an old Flemish woman shelling peas, while
over her shoulder peeps a tame magpie. A savory odor of stewing
vegetables fills the air.

"What do you wish, sir?" Many shrugs, gesticulations, and sighs of
objurgation, which are covered by a shining new five-franc piece, and
she produces a bunch of keys. As the door closes upon me the magpie
gives a hoarse, gleeful squawk.

... A huge, dim room with a vaulted ceiling. Against the wall lean
ancient stone statues, noseless and disfigured, crowned and sceptered
effigies of forgotten lords and ladies of Flanders. High up on the wall
two slitted Gothic windows, through which the violet light of day is
streaming. I hear the gentle coo of pigeons. To the right a low door,
some vanishing steps of stone, and a hanging hand-rope. Before I have
taken a dozen steps upward I am lost in the darkness; the steps are worn
hollow and sloping, the rope is slippery--seems to have been waxed, so
smooth has it become by handling. Four hundred steps and over; I have
lost track of the number, and stumble giddily upward round and round the
slender stone shaft. I am conscious of low openings from time to
time--openings to what? I do not know. A damp smell exhales from them,
and the air is cold upon my face as I pass them. At last a dim light
above. With the next turn a blinding glare of light, a moment's
blankness, then a vast panorama gradually dawns upon me. Through the
frame of stonework is a vast reach of grayish green bounded by the
horizon, an immense shield embossed with silvery lines of waterways, and
studded with clustering red-tiled roofs. A rim of pale yellow
appears--the sand-dunes that line the coast--and dimly beyond a grayish
film, evanescent, flashing--the North Sea.

Something flies through the slit from which I am gazing, and following
its flight upward, I see a long beam crossing the gallery, whereon are
perched an array of jackdaws gazing down upon me in wonder.

I am conscious of a rhythmic movement about me that stirs the air, a
mysterious, beating, throbbing sound, the machinery of the clock, which
some one has described as a "heart of iron beating in a breast of
stone."

I lean idly in the narrow slit, gazing at the softened landscape, the
exquisite harmony of the greens, grays, and browns, the lazily turning
arms of far-off mills, reminders of Cuyp, Van der Velde, Teniers,
shadowy, mysterious recollections. I am conscious of uttering aloud some
commonplaces of delight. A slight and sudden movement behind me, a
smothered cough. A little old man in a black velvet coat stands looking
up at me, twisting and untwisting his hands. There are ruffles at his
throat and wrists, and an amused smile spreads over his face, which is
cleanly shaven, of the color of wax, with a tiny network of red lines
over the cheek-bones, as if the blood had been forced there by some
excess of passion and had remained. He has heard my sentimental
ejaculation. I am conscious of the absurdity of the situation, and move
aside for him to pass. He makes a courteous gesture with one ruffled
hand.

There comes a prodigious rattling and grinding noise from above--then a
jangle of bells, some half-dozen notes in all. At the first stroke the
old man closes his eyes, throws back his head, and follows the rhythm
with his long white hands, as though playing a piano. The sound dies
away; the place becomes painfully silent; still the regular motion of
the old man's hands continues. A creepy, shivery feeling runs up and
down my spine; a fear of which I am ashamed seizes upon me.

"Fine pells, sare," says the little old man, suddenly dropping his
hands, and fixing his eyes upon me. "You sall not hear such pells in
your countree. But stay not here; come wis me, and I will show you the
clavecin. You sall not see the clavecin yet? No?"

I had not, of course, and thanked him.

"You sall see Melchior, Melchior t'e Groote, t'e magnif'."

As he spoke we entered a room quite filled with curious machinery, a
medley of levers, wires, and rope above; below, two large cylinders
studded with shining brass points.

He sprang among the wires with a spidery sort of agility, caught one,
pulled and hung upon it with, all his weight. There came a r-r-r-r-r-r
of fans and wheels, followed by a shower of dust; slowly one great
cylinder began to revolve; wires and ropes reaching into the gloom above
began to twitch convulsively; faintly came the jangle of far-off bells.
Then came a pause, then a deafening _boom_, that well nigh stunned me.
As the waves of sound came and went, the little old man twisted and
untwisted his hands in delight, and ejaculated, "Melchior you haf
heeard, Melchior t'e Groote--t'e bourdon."

I wanted to examine the machinery, but he impatiently seized my arm and
almost dragged me away saying, "I will skow you--I will skow you. Come
wis me."

From a pocket he produced a long brass key and unlocked a door covered
with red leather, disclosing an up-leading flight of steps to which he
pushed me. It gave upon an octagon-shaped room with a curious floor of
sheet-lead. Around the wall ran a seat under the diamond-paned Gothic
windows. From their shape I knew them to be the highest in the tower. I
had seen them from the square below many times, with the framework above
upon which hung row upon row of bells.

In the middle of the room was a rude sort of keyboard, with pedals
below, like those of a large organ. Fronting this construction sat a
long, high-backed bench. On the rack over the keyboard rested some
sheets of music, which, upon examination, I found to be of parchment and
written by hand. The notes were curious in shape, consisting of squares
of black and diamonds of red upon the lines. Across the top of the page
was written, in a straggling hand, "Van den Gheyn Nikolaas." I turned to
the little old man with the ruffles. "Van den Gheyn!" I said in
surprise, pointing to the parchment. "Why, that is the name of the most
celebrated of _carillonneurs_, Van den Gheyn of Louvain." He untwisted
his hands and bowed. "Eet ees ma name, mynheer--I am the
_carillonneur_."

I fancied that my face showed all too plainly the incredulity I felt,
for his darkened, and he muttered, "You not belief, Engelsch? Ah, I show
you; then you belief, parehap," and with astounding agility seated
himself upon the bench before the clavecin, turned up the ruffles at his
wrists, and literally threw himself upon the keys. A sound of thunder
accompanied by a vivid flash of lightning filled the air, even as the
first notes of the bells reached my ears. Involuntarily I glanced out of
the diamond-leaded window--dark clouds were all about us, the housetops
and surrounding country were no longer to be seen. A blinding flash of
lightning seemed to fill the room; the arms and legs of the little old
man sought the keys and pedals with inconceivable rapidity; the music
crashed about us with a deafening din, to the accompaniment of the
thunder, which seemed to sound in unison with the boom of the bourdon.
It was grandly terrible. The face of the little old man was turned upon
me, but his eyes were closed. He seemed to find the pedals intuitively,
and at every peal of thunder, which shook the tower to its foundations,
he would open his mouth, a toothless cavern, and shout aloud. I could
not hear the sounds for the crashing of the bells. Finally, with a last
deafening crash of iron rods and thunderbolts, the noise of the bells
gradually died away. Instinctively I had glanced above when the crash
came, half expecting to see the roof torn off.

"I think we had better go down," I said. "This tower has been struck by
lightning several times, and I imagine that discretion--"

I don't know what more I said, for my eyes rested upon the empty bench,
and the bare rack where the music had been. The clavecin was one mass of
twisted iron rods, tangled wires, and decayed, worm-eaten woodwork; the
little old man had disappeared. I rushed to the red leather-covered
door; it was fast. I shook it in a veritable terror; it would not yield.
With a bound I reached the ruined clavecin, seized one of the pedals,
and tore it away from the machine. The end was armed with an iron point.
This I inserted between the lock and the door. I twisted the lock from
the worm-eaten wood with one turn of the wrist, the door opened, and I
almost fell down the steep steps. The second door at the bottom was
also closed. I threw my weight against it once, twice; it gave, and I
half slipped, half ran down the winding steps in the darkness.

Out at last into the fresh air of the lower passage! At the noise I made
in closing the ponderous door came forth the old _custode_.

In my excitement I seized her by the arm, saying, "Who was the little
old man in the black velvet coat with the ruffles? Where is he?"

She looked at me in a stupid manner. "Who is he," I repeated--"the
little old man who played the clavecin?"

"Little old man, sir? I don't know," said the crone. "There has been no
one in the tower to-day but yourself."



LIGEIA

BY EDGAR ALLAN POE

     "And the will therein lieth, which dieth not. Who knoweth the
     mysteries of the will, with its vigor? For God is but a great
     will prevading all things by nature of its intentness. Man doth
     not yield himself to the angels, nor unto death utterly, save
     only through the weakness of his feeble will."--JOSEPH
     GLANVILL.


I cannot, for my soul, remember how, when, or even precisely where, I
first became acquainted with the lady Ligeia. Long years have since
elapsed, and my memory is feeble through much suffering. Or, perhaps, I
cannot _now_ bring these points to mind, because, in truth, the
character of my beloved, her rare learning, her singular yet placid
caste of beauty, and the thrilling and enthralling eloquence of her low
musical language, made their way into my heart by paces so steadily and
stealthily progressive, that they have been unnoticed and unknown. Yet I
believe that I met her first and most frequently in some large, old,
decaying city near the Rhine. Of her family I have surely heard her
speak. That it is of a remotely ancient date cannot be doubted. Ligeia!
Ligeia! Buried in studies of a nature more than all else adapted to
deaden impressions of the outward world, it is by that sweet word
alone--by Ligeia--that I bring before mine eyes in fancy the image of
her who is no more. And now, while I write, a recollection flashes upon
me that I have _never known_ the paternal name of her who was my friend
and my betrothed, and who became the partner of my studies, and finally
the wife of my bosom. Was it a playful charge on the part of my Ligeia?
Or was it a test of my strength of affection, that I should institute no
inquiries upon this point? Or was it rather a caprice of my own--a
wildly romantic offering on the shrine of the most passionate devotion?
I but indistinctly recall the fact itself--what wonder that I have
utterly forgotten the circumstances which originated or attended it?
And, indeed, if ever that spirit which is entitled Romance--if ever she,
the wan and the misty-winged Ashtophet of idolatrous Egypt--presided, as
they tell, over marriages ill-omened, then most surely she presided over
mine.

There is one dear topic, however, on which my memory fails me not. It is
the _person_ of Ligeia. In stature she was tall, somewhat slender, and,
in her latter days, even emaciated. I would in vain attempt to portray
the majesty, the quiet ease of her demeanor, or the incomprehensible
lightness and elasticity of her footfall. She came and departed as a
shadow. I was never made aware of her entrance into my closed study,
save by the dear music of her low sweet voice, as she placed her marble
hand upon my shoulder. In beauty of face no maiden ever equalled her. It
was the radiance of an opium-dream--an airy and spirit-lifting vision
more wildly divine than the fantasies which hovered about the slumbering
souls of the daughters of Delos. Yet her features were not of that
regular mould which we have been falsely taught to worship in the
classical labors of the heathen. "There is no exquisite beauty," says
Bacon, Lord Verulam, speaking truly of all the forms and _genera_
of beauty, "without some strangeness in the proportion." Yet,
although I saw that the features of Ligeia were not of a classic
regularity--although I perceived that her loveliness was indeed
exquisite and felt that there was much of strangeness pervading it--yet
I have tried in vain to detect the irregularity and to trace home my own
perception of "the strange." I examined the contour of the lofty and
pale forehead; it was faultless--how cold indeed that word when applied
to a majesty so divine--the skin rivalling the purest ivory; the
commanding extent and repose, the gentle prominence of the regions above
the temples; and then the raven-black, the glossy, the luxuriant and
naturally-curling tresses, setting forth the full force of the Homeric
epithet, "hyacinthine"! I looked at the delicate outlines of the nose,
and nowhere but in the graceful medallions of the Hebrews had I beheld a
similar perfection. There were the same luxurious smoothness of surface,
the same scarcely perceptible tendency to the aquiline, the same
harmoniously curved nostrils speaking the free spirit. I regarded the
sweet mouth. Here was indeed the triumph of all things heavenly--the
magnificent turn of the short upper lip, the soft, voluptuous slumber of
the under, the dimples which sported, and the color which spoke, the
teeth glancing back, with a brilliancy almost startling, every ray of
the holy light which fell upon them in her serene and placid, yet most
exultingly radiant of all smiles. I scrutinized the formation of the
chin, and here, too, I found the gentleness of breadth, the softness
and the majesty, the fulness and the spirituality of the Greek--the
contour which the god Apollo revealed but in a dream, to Cleomenes, the
son of the Athenian. And then I peered into the large eyes of Ligeia.

For eyes we have no models in the remotely antique. It might have been,
too, that in these eyes of my beloved lay the secret to which Lord
Verulam alludes. They were, I must believe, far larger than the ordinary
eyes of our own race. They were even fuller than the fullest of the
gazelle eyes of the tribe of the valley of Nourjahad. Yet it was only at
intervals--in moments of intense excitement--that this peculiarity
became more than slightly noticeable in Ligeia. And at such moments was
her beauty--in my heated fancy thus it appeared perhaps--the beauty of
beings either above or apart from the earth--the beauty of the fabulous
Houri of the Turk. The hue of the orbs was the most brilliant of black,
and far over them hung jetty lashes of great length. The brows, slightly
irregular in outline, had the same tint. The "strangeness," however,
which I found in the eyes, was of a nature distinct from the formation,
or the color, or the brilliancy of the features, and must, after all, be
referred to the expression. Ah, word of no meaning, behind whose vast
latitude of mere sound we intrench our ignorance of so much of the
spiritual! The expression of the eyes of Ligeia! How for long hours have
I pondered upon it! How have I, through the whole of a midsummer night,
struggled to fathom it! What was it--that something more profound than
the well of Democritus--which lay far within the pupils of my beloved?
What _was_ it? I was possessed with a passion to discover. Those eyes,
those large, those shining, those divine orbs--they became to me twin
stars of Leda, and I to them devoutest of astrologers.

There is no point, among the many incomprehensible anomalies of the
science of mind, more thrillingly exciting than the fact--never, I
believe, noticed in the schools--that in our endeavors to recall to
memory something long forgotten, we often find ourselves upon the very
verge of remembrance, without being able, in the end, to remember. And
thus how frequently, in my intense scrutiny of Ligeia's eyes, have I
felt approaching the full knowledge of their expression--felt it
approaching, yet not quite be mine--and so at length entirely depart!
And (strange, oh strangest mystery of all!) I found in the commonest
objects of the universe, a circle of analogies to that expression. I
mean to say that, subsequently to the period when Ligeia's beauty passed
into my spirit, there dwelling as in a shrine, I derived from many
existences in the material world a sentiment such as I felt always
around, within me, by her large and luminous orbs. Yet not the more
could I define that sentiment, or analyze, or even steadily view it. I
recognized it, let me repeat, sometimes in the survey of a
rapidly-growing vine, in the contemplation of a moth, a butterfly, a
chrysalis, a stream of running water. I have felt it in the ocean, in
the falling of a meteor. I have felt it in the glances of unusually aged
people. And there are one or two stars in heaven, (one especially, a
star of the sixth magnitude, double and changeable, to be found near the
large star in Lyra) in a telescopic scrutiny of which I have been made
aware of the feeling. I have been filled with it by certain sounds from
stringed instruments, and not unfrequently by passages from books. Among
innumerable other instances, I well remember something in a volume of
Joseph Glanvill, which (perhaps merely from its quaintness--who shall
say?) never failed to inspire me with the sentiment: "And the will
therein lieth, which dieth not. Who knoweth the mysteries of the will,
with its vigor? For God is but a great will pervading all things by
nature of its intentness. Man doth not yield him to the angels, nor unto
death utterly, save only through the weakness of his feeble will."

Length of years and subsequent reflection have enabled me to trace,
indeed, some remote connection between this passage in the English
moralist and a portion of the character of Ligeia. An intensity in
thought, action, or speech was possibly, in her, a result or at least an
index of that gigantic volition which, during our long intercourse,
failed to give other and more immediate evidence of its existence. Of
all the women whom I have ever known, she--the outwardly calm, the
ever-placid Ligeia--was the most violently a prey to the tumultuous
vultures of stern passion. And of such passion I could form no estimate,
save by the miraculous expansion of those eyes which at once so
delighted and appalled me, by the almost magical melody, modulation,
distinctness, and placidity of her very low voice, and by the fierce
energy (rendered doubly effective by contrast with her manner of
utterance) of the wild words which she habitually uttered.

I have spoken of the learning of Ligeia; it was immense, such as I have
never known in woman. In the classical tongues was she deeply
proficient, and as far as my own acquaintance extended in regard to the
modern dialects of Europe, I have never known her at fault. Indeed upon
any theme of the most admired, because simply the most abstruse of the
boasted erudition of the academy, have I ever found Ligeia at fault? How
singularly, how thrillingly, this one point in the nature of my wife has
forced itself, at this late period only, upon my attention! I said her
knowledge was such as I have never known in woman--but where breathes
the man who has traversed, and successfully, all the wide areas of
moral, physical, and mathematical science? I saw not then what I now
clearly perceive, that the acquisitions of Ligeia were gigantic, were
astounding; yet I was sufficiently aware of her infinite supremacy to
resign myself, with a child-like confidence, to her guidance through the
chaotic world of metaphysical investigation at which I was most busily
occupied during the earlier years of our marriage. With how vast a
triumph, with how vivid a delight, with how much of all that is ethereal
in hope, did I feel, as she bent over me in studies but little
sought--but less known--that delicious vista by slow degrees expanding
before me, down whose long, gorgeous, and all untrodden path I might at
length pass onward to the goal of a wisdom too divinely precious not to
be forbidden!

How poignant, then, must have been the grief with which, after some
years, I beheld my well-grounded expectations take wings to themselves
and fly away! Without Ligeia I was but as a child groping benighted. Her
presence, her readings alone, rendered vividly luminous the many
mysteries of the transcendentalism in which we were immersed. Wanting
the radiant luster of her eyes, letters, lambent and golden, grew
duller than Saturnian lead. And now those eyes shone less and less
frequently upon the pages over which I pored. Ligeia grew ill. The wild
eyes blazed with a too, too glorious effulgence; the pale fingers became
of the transparent waxen hue of the grave; and the blue veins upon the
lofty forehead swelled and sank impetuously with the tides of the most
gentle emotion. I saw that she must die--and I struggled desperately in
spirit with the grim Azrael. And the struggles of the passionate wife
were, to my astonishment, even more energetic than my own. There had
been much in her stern nature to impress me with the belief that, to
her, death would have come without its terrors; but not so. Words are
impotent to convey any just idea of the fierceness of resistance with
which she wrestled with the Shadow. I groaned in anguish at the pitiable
spectacle. I would have soothed, I would have reasoned, but, in the
intensity of her wild desire for life--for life--_but_ for life--solace
and reason were alike the uttermost of folly. Yet not until the last
instance, amid the most convulsive writhings of her fierce spirit, was
shaken the external placidity of her demeanor. Her voice grew more
gentle--grew more low--yet I would not wish to dwell upon the wild
meaning of the quietly uttered words. My brain reeled as I hearkened,
entranced, to a melody more than mortal, to assumptions and aspirations
which mortality had never before known.

That she loved me I should not have doubted, and I might have been
easily aware that, in a bosom such as hers, love would have reigned no
ordinary passion. But in death only was I fully impressed with the
strength of her affection. For long hours, detaining my hand, would she
pour out before me the overflowing of a heart whose more than passionate
devotion amounted to idolatry. How had I deserved to be so blessed by
such confessions? How had I deserved to be so cursed with the removal of
my beloved in the hour of her making them? But upon this subject I
cannot bear to dilate. Let me say only, that in Ligeia's more than
womanly abandonment to a love, alas! all unmerited, all unworthily
bestowed, I at length recognized the principle of her longing, with so
wildly earnest a desire, for the life which was now fleeing so rapidly
away. It is this wild longing--it is this eager vehemence of desire for
life--but for life--that I have no power to portray, no utterance
capable of expressing.

At high noon of the night in which she departed, beckoning me
peremptorily to her side, she bade me repeat certain verses composed by
herself not many days before. I obeyed her. They were these:

    Lo! 'tis a gala night
      Within the lonesome latter years!
    An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
      In veils, and drowned in tears,
    Sit in a theater, to see
      A play of hopes and fears,
    While the orchestra breathes fitfully
      The music of the spheres.

    Mimes, in the form of God on high,
      Mutter and mumble low,
    And hither and thither fly;
      Mere puppets they, who come and go
    At bidding of vast formless things
      That shift the scenery to and fro,
    Flapping from out their condor wings
      Invisible Woe!

    That motley drama!--oh, be sure
      It shall not be forgot!
    With its Phantom chased for evermore,
      By a crowd that seize it not,
    Through a circle that ever returneth in
      To the self-same spot;
    And much of Madness, and more of Sin
      And Horror, the soul of the plot!

    But see, amid the mimic rout
      A crawling shape intrude!
    A blood-red thing that writhes from out
      The scenic solitude!
    It writhes!--it writhes!--with mortal
      The mimes become its food,
    And the seraphs sob at vermin fangs
      In human gore imbued.

    Out--out are the lights--out all!
      And over each quivering form,
    The curtain, a funeral pall,
      Comes down with the rush of a storm--
    And the angels, all pallid and wan,
      Uprising, unveiling, affirm
    That the play is the tragedy, "Man,"
      And its hero, the Conqueror Worm.

"O God!" half-shrieked Ligeia, leaping to her feet and extending her
arms aloft with a spasmodic movement, as I made an end of these lines,
"O God! O Divine Father! Shall these things be undeviatingly so? Shall
this conqueror be not once conquered? Are we not part and parcel in
Thee? Who--who knoweth the mysteries of the will with its vigor? Man
doth not yield him to the angels, _nor unto death utterly_, save only
through the weakness of his feeble will."

And now, as if exhausted with emotion, she suffered her white arms to
fall, and returned solemnly to her bed of death. And as she breathed her
last sighs, there came mingled with them a low murmur from her lips. I
bent to them my ear, and distinguished again, the concluding words of
the passage in Glanvill: "_Man doth not yield him to the angels, nor
unto death utterly, save only through the weakness of his feeble will._"

She died, and I, crushed into the very dust with sorrow, could no longer
endure the lonely desolation of my dwelling in the dim and decaying city
by the Rhine. I had no lack of what the world calls wealth. Ligeia had
brought me far more, very far more than ordinarily falls to the lot of
mortals. After a few months, therefore, of weary and aimless wandering,
I purchased and put in some repair an abbey which I shall not name in
one of the wildest and least frequented portions of fair England. The
gloomy and dreary grandeur of the building, the almost savage aspect of
the domain, the many melancholy and time-honored memories connected with
both, had much in unison with the feelings of utter abandonment which
had driven me into that remote and unsocial region of the country. Yet,
although the external abbey with its verdant decay hanging about it
suffered but little alteration, I gave way with a child-like perversity,
and perchance with a faint hope of alleviating my sorrows, to a display
of more than regal magnificence within. For such follies, even in
childhood, I had imbibed a taste, and now they came back to me as if in
the dotage of grief. Alas, I feel how much even of incipient madness
might have been discovered in the gorgeous and fantastic draperies, in
the solemn carvings of Egypt, in the wild cornices and furniture, in the
Bedlam patterns of the carpets of tufted gold! I had become a bounden
slave in the trammels of opium, and my labors and my orders had taken a
coloring from my dreams. But these absurdities I must not pause to
detail. Let me speak only of that one chamber, ever accursed, whither in
a moment of mental alienation, I led from the altar as my bride--as the
successor of the unforgotten Ligeia--the fair-haired and blue-eyed Lady
Rowena Trevanion, of Tremaine.

There is no individual portion of the architecture and decoration of
that bridal chamber which is not now visibly before me. Where were the
souls of the haughty family of the bride, when, through thirst of gold,
they permitted to pass the threshold of an apartment _so_ bedecked, a
maiden and a daughter so beloved? I have said that I minutely remember
the details of the chamber, yet I am sadly forgetful on topics of deep
moment; and here there was no system, no keeping, in the fantastic
display, to take hold upon the memory. The room lay in a high turret of
the castellated abbey, was pentagonal in shape, and of capacious size.
Occupying the whole southern face of the pentagon was the sole
window--an immense sheet of unbroken glass from Venice--a single pane,
and tinted of a leaden hue, so that the rays of either the sun or moon
passing through it fell with a ghastly luster on the objects within.
Over the upper portion of this huge window extended the trellis-work of
an aged vine which clambered up the massy walls of the turret. The
ceiling, of gloomy-looking oak, was excessively lofty, vaulted, and
elaborately fretted with the wildest and most grotesque specimens of a
semi-Gothic, semi-Druidical device. From out the most central recess of
this melancholy vaulting depended, by a single chain of gold with long
links, a huge censer of the same metal, Saracenic in pattern, and with
many perforations so contrived that there writhed in and out of them, as
if endued with a serpent vitality, a continual succession of
parti-colored fires.

Some few ottomans and golden candelabra of Eastern figure were in
various stations about; and there was the couch, too--the bridal
couch--of an Indian model, and low, and sculptured of solid ebony, with
a pall-like canopy above. In each of the angles of the chamber stood on
end a gigantic sarcophagus of black granite, from the tombs of the kings
over against Luxor, with their aged lids full of immemorial sculpture.
But in the draping of the apartment lay, alas! the chief fantasy of all.
The lofty walls, gigantic in height--even unproportionably so--were hung
from summit to foot in vast folds with a heavy and massive-looking
tapestry--tapestry of a material which was found alike as a carpet on
the floor, as a covering for the ottomans and the ebony bed, as a canopy
for the bed, and as the gorgeous volutes of the curtains which partially
shaded the window. The material was the richest cloth of gold. It was
spotted all over, at irregular intervals, with arabesque figures, about
a foot in diameter, and wrought upon the cloth in patterns of the most
jetty black. But these figures partook of the true character of the
arabesque only when regarded from a single point of view. By a
contrivance now common, and indeed traceable to a very remote period of
antiquity, they were made changeable in aspect. To one entering the room
they bore the appearance of simple monstrosities, but upon a farther
advance this appearance gradually departed; and, step by step as the
visitor moved his station in the chamber he saw himself surrounded by an
endless succession of the ghastly forms which belong to the superstition
of the Norman, or arise in the guilty slumbers of the monk. The
phantasmagoric effect was vastly heightened by the artificial
introduction of a strong continual current of wind behind the
draperies--giving a hideous and uneasy animation to the whole.

In halls such as these--in a bridal chamber such as this--I passed, with
the Lady of Tremaine, the unhallowed hours of the first month of our
marriage--passed them with but little disquietude. That my wife dreaded
the fierce moodiness of my temper, that she shunned me, and loved me but
little, I could not help perceiving; but it gave me rather pleasure than
otherwise. I loathed her with a hatred belonging more to demon than to
man. My memory flew back--oh, with what intensity of regret!--to Ligeia,
the beloved, the august, the beautiful, the entombed. I revelled in
recollections of her purity, of her wisdom, of her lofty, her ethereal
nature, of her passionate, her idolatrous love. Now, then, did my
spirit fully and freely burn with more than all the fires of her own. In
the excitement of my opium dreams (for I was habitually fettered in the
shackles of the drug) I would call aloud upon her name, during the
silence of the night, or among the sheltered recesses of the glens by
day, as if, through the wild eagerness, the solemn passion, the
consuming ardor of my longing for the departed, I could restore her to
the pathway she had abandoned--ah, could it be for ever?--upon the
earth.

About the commencement of the second month of the marriage the Lady
Rowena was attacked with sudden illness, from which her recovery was
slow. The fever which consumed her rendered her nights uneasy; and in
her perturbed state of half-slumber she spoke of sounds and of motions
in and about the chamber of the turret which I concluded had no
origin save in the distemper of her fancy, or perhaps in the
phantasmagoric influences of the chamber itself. She became at length
convalescent--finally, well. Yet but a brief period elapsed ere a second
more violent disorder again threw her upon a bed of suffering, and from
this attack her frame, at all times feeble, never altogether recovered.
Her illnesses were, after this epoch, of alarming character and of more
alarming recurrence, defying alike the knowledge and the great exertions
of her physicians. With the increase of the chronic disease, which had
thus, apparently, taken too sure hold upon her constitution to be
eradicated by human means, I could not fail to observe a similar
increase in the nervous irritation of her temperament, and in her
excitability by trivial causes of fear. She spoke again, and now more
frequently and pertinaciously, of the sounds--of the slight sounds--and
of the unusual motions among the tapestries, to which she had formerly
alluded.

One night near the closing in of September she pressed this distressing
subject with more than usual emphasis upon my attention. She had just
awakened from an unquiet slumber, and I had been watching, with feelings
half of anxiety, half of vague terror, the workings of her emaciated
countenance. I sat by the side of her ebony bed, upon one of the
ottomans of India. She partly arose, and spoke, in an earnest low
whisper, of sounds which she then heard, but which I could not hear, of
motions which she then saw, but which I could not perceive. The wind was
rushing hurriedly behind the tapestries, and I wished to show her (what,
let me confess it, I could not all believe) that those almost
inarticulate breathings, and those very gentle variations of the figures
upon the wall, were but the natural effects of that customary rushing of
the wind. But a deadly pallor overspreading her face had proved to me
that my exertions to reassure her would be fruitless. She appeared to be
fainting, and no attendants were within call. I remembered where was
deposited a decanter of light wine which had been ordered by her
physicians, and hastened across the chamber to procure it. But as I
stepped beneath the light of the censer, two circumstances of a
startling nature attracted my attention. I had felt that some palpable
although invisible object had passed lightly by my person; and I saw
that there lay upon the golden carpet, in the very middle of the rich
luster thrown from the censer, a shadow--a faint, indefinite shadow of
angelic aspect, such as might be fancied for the shadow of a shade. But
I was wild with the excitement of an immoderate dose of opium, and
heeded these things but little, nor spoke of them to Rowena. Having
found the wine, I recrossed the chamber and poured out a gobletful which
I held to the lips of the fainting lady. She had now partially
recovered, however, and took the vessel herself, while I sank upon an
ottoman near me, with my eyes fastened upon her person. It was then that
I became distinctly aware of a gentle footfall upon the carpet and near
the couch; and in a second after as Rowena was in the act of raising the
wine to her lips I saw, or may have dreamed that I saw, fall within the
goblet, as if from some invisible spring in the atmosphere of the room,
three or four large drops of a brilliant and ruby-colored fluid. If this
I saw--not so Rowena. She swallowed the wine unhesitatingly, and I
forbore to speak to her of a circumstance which must, after all, I
considered, have been but the suggestion of a vivid imagination,
rendered morbidly active by the terror of the lady, by the opium, and by
the hour.

Yet I cannot conceal it from my own perception that, immediately
subsequent to the fall of the ruby-drops, a rapid change for the worse
took place in the disorder of my wife, so that, on the third subsequent
night the hands of her menials prepared her for the tomb, and on the
fourth I sat alone with her shrouded body in that fantastic chamber
which had received her as my bride. Wild visions, opium-engendered,
fluttered, shadow-like, before me. I gazed with unquiet eye upon the
sarcophagi in the angles of the room, upon the varying figures of the
drapery, and upon the writhing of the parti-colored fires in the censer
overhead. My eyes then fell, as I called to mind the circumstances of a
former night, to the spot beneath the glare of the censer where I had
seen the faint traces of the shadow. It was there, however, no longer;
and breathing with greater freedom, I turned my glances to the pallid
and rigid figure upon the bed. Then rushed upon me a thousand memories
of Ligeia--and then came back upon my heart with the turbulent violence
of a flood the whole of that unutterable woe with which I had regarded
_her_ thus enshrouded. The night waned; and still, with a bosom full of
bitter thoughts of the one only and supremely beloved, I remained gazing
upon the body of Rowena.

It might have been midnight, or perhaps earlier, or later--for I had
taken no note of time--when a sob, low, gentle, but very distinct,
startled me from my revery. I _felt_ that it came from the bed of
ebony--the bed of death. I listened in an agony of superstitious
terror--but there was no repetition of the sound. I strained my vision
to detect any motion in the corpse--but there was not the slightest
perceptible. Yet I could not have been deceived. I _had_ heard the
noise, however faint, and my soul was awakened within me. I resolutely
and perseveringly kept my attention riveted upon the body. Many minutes
elapsed before any circumstance occurred tending to throw light upon the
mystery. At length it became evident that a slight, a very feeble and
barely noticeable tinge of color had flushed up within the cheeks, and
along the sunken small veins of the eyelids. Through a species of
unutterable horror and awe, for which the language of mortality has no
sufficiently energetic expression, I felt my heart cease to beat, my
limbs grow rigid where I sat. Yet a sense of duty finally operated to
restore my self-possession. I could no longer doubt that we had been
precipitate in our preparations--that Rowena still lived. It was
necessary that some immediate exertion be made, yet the turret was
altogether apart from the portion of the abbey tenanted by the
servants--there were none within call, and I had no means of summoning
them to my aid without leaving the room for many minutes--and this I
could not venture to do. I therefore struggled alone in my endeavors to
call back the spirit still hovering. In a short period it was certain,
however, that a relapse had taken place, the color disappeared from both
eyelid and cheek, leaving a wanness even more than that of marble; the
lips became doubly shrivelled and pinched up in the ghastly expression
of death; a repulsive clamminess and coldness overspread rapidly the
surface of the body; and all the usual rigorous stiffness immediately
supervened. I fell back with a shudder upon the couch from which I had
been so startlingly aroused, and again gave myself up to passionate
waking visions of Ligeia.

An hour thus elapsed, when--could it be possible?--I was a second time
aware of some vague sound issuing from the region of the bed. I
listened--in extremity of horror. The sound came again--it was a sigh.
Rushing to the corpse, I saw--distinctly saw--a tremor upon the lips. In
a minute afterward they relaxed, disclosing a bright line of the pearly
teeth. Amazement now struggled in my bosom with the profound awe which
had hitherto reigned there alone. I felt that my vision grew dim, that
my reason wandered, and it was only by a violent effort that I at length
succeeded in nerving myself to the task which duty thus once more had
pointed out. There was now a partial glow upon the forehead and upon
the cheek and throat, a perceptible warmth pervaded the whole frame,
there was even a slight pulsation at the heart. The lady _lived_; and
with redoubled ardor I betook myself to the task of restoration. I
chafed and bathed the temples and the hands and used every exertion
which experience and no little medical reading could suggest. But in
vain. Suddenly, the color fled, the pulsation ceased, the lips resumed
the expression of the dead, and, in an instant afterward, the whole body
took upon itself the icy chilliness, the livid hue, the intense
rigidity, the sunken outline, and all the loathsome peculiarities of
that which has been, for many days, a tenant of the tomb.

And again I sunk into visions of Ligeia--and again, (what marvel that I
shudder while I write?) _again_ there reached my ears a low sob from the
region of the ebony bed. But why should I minutely detail the
unspeakable horrors of that night? Why should I pause to relate how,
time after time, until near the period of the gray dawn, this hideous
drama of revivification was repeated; how each terrific relapse was only
into a sterner and apparently more irredeemable death; how each agony
wore the aspect of a struggle with some invisible foe; and how each
struggle was succeeded by I know not what of wild change in the personal
appearance of the corpse? Let me hurry to a conclusion.

The greater part of the fearful night had worn away, and she who had
been dead, once again stirred--and now more vigorously than hitherto,
although arousing from a dissolution more appalling in its utter
hopelessness than any. I had long ceased to struggle or to move, and
remained sitting rigidly upon the ottoman, a helpless prey to a whirl of
violent emotions, of which extreme awe was perhaps the least terrible,
the least consuming. The corpse, I repeat, stirred, and now more
vigorously than before. The hues of life flushed up with unwonted energy
into the countenance, the limbs relaxed, and, save that the eyelids were
yet pressed heavily together and that the bandages and draperies of the
grave still imparted their charnel character to the figure, I might have
dreamed that Rowena had indeed shaken off utterly the fetters of Death.
But if this idea was not even then altogether adopted, I could at least
doubt no longer, when arising from the bed, tottering, with feeble
steps, with closed eyes, and with the manner of one bewildered in a
dream, the thing that was enshrouded advanced boldly and palpably into
the middle of the apartment.

I trembled not--I stirred not--for a crowd of unutterable fancies
connected with the air, the stature, the demeanor of the figure, rushing
hurriedly through my brain, had paralyzed--had chilled me into stone. I
stirred not--but gazed upon the apparition. There was a mad disorder in
my thoughts--a tumult unappeasable. Could it, indeed, be the living
Rowena who confronted me? Could it indeed be Rowena at all--the
fair-haired, the blue-eyed Lady Rowena Trevanion of Tremaine? Why, _why_
should I doubt it? The bandage lay heavily about the mouth--but then
might it not be the mouth of the breathing Lady of Tremaine? And the
cheeks--there were the roses as in her noon of life--yes, these might
indeed be the fair cheeks of the living Lady of Tremaine. And the chin,
with its dimples, as in health, might it not be hers?--but _had she
then grown taller since her malady_? What inexpressible madness seized
me with that thought! One bound, and I had reached her feet. Shrinking
from my touch she let fall from her head, unloosened, the ghastly
cerements which had confined it, and there streamed forth into the
rushing atmosphere of the chamber huge masses of long and dishevelled
hair; _it was blacker than the raven wings of midnight_! And now slowly
opened the eyes of the figure which stood before me. "Here then, at
least," I shrieked aloud, "can I never--can I never be mistaken--these
are the full and the black, and the wild eyes of my lost love--of the
Lady--of the LADY LIGEIA."



THE SYLPH AND THE FATHER[5]

By ELSA BARKER

[Footnote 5: By permission of the author of _War Letters of the Living
Dead Man_ and Mitchell Kennerley.]


Passing yesterday along the line where the great French army stands
before its powerful opponent, and marking the spirit of courage and
aspiration which makes it seem like a long line of living light, I saw a
familiar face in the regions outside the physical.

I paused, highly pleased at the encounter, and the sylph--for it was a
sylph whom I met--paused also with a little smile of recognition.

Do you recall in my former book the story of a sylph, Meriline, who was
the companion and familiar of a student of magic who lived in the rue de
Vaugirard in Paris?

It was Meriline that I met above the line of light which shows to
wanderers in the astral regions where the soldiers of _la belle France_
fight and die for the same ideal which inspired Jeanne d'Arc--to drive
the foreigner out of France.

"Where is your friend and master?" I asked the sylph, and she pointed
below to a trench which spoke loud its determination to conquer.

"I am here, to be still with him," she said.

"And can you speak to him here?" I asked.

"I can always speak with him," she answered. "I have been very useful to
him--and to France."

"To France?" I enquired, with growing interest.

"Oh, yes! When his commanding officer wants to know what is being
plotted over there, he often asks my friend, and my friend asks me."

"Truly," I thought, "the French are an inspired people, when the
officers of armies ask guidance from the realm of the invisible! But had
not Jeanne her visions?"

"And how do you gain the information desired?" I asked, drawing nearer
to Meriline, who seemed more serious than when we met some years before
in Paris.

"Why," she answered, "I go over there and look around me. I have learned
what to look for, he has taught me, and when I bring him news he rewards
me with more love."

"And do you love him still, as of old?"

"As of old?"

"Yes, as you did back there in Paris."

"Time must have passed slowly with you," said the sylph, "if you call a
few years ago 'as of old'."

"Are a few years, then, as nothing?"

"A few years are as nothing to me," she replied. "I have lived a long
time."

"And do you know the future of your friend?" I asked.

A puzzled look came over the face of Meriline, and she said, slowly:

"I used to know everything that would happen to him, because I could
read his will, and whatever he willed came to pass; but since we have
been out here he seems to have lost his will."

"Lost his will!" I exclaimed, in surprise.

"Yes, lost his will; for he prays continually to a great Being whom he
loves far more than me, and he always prays one prayer, 'Thy will be
done!' It used to be his will which was always done; but now, as I say,
he seems to have lost his will."

"Perhaps," I said, "it is true of the will as was once said of the life,
and he that loses his will shall find it."

"I hope he will find it soon," she answered, "for in the old days he was
always giving me interesting things to do, to help him achieve the
purposes of his will, and now he only sends me over there. I don't like
_over there_!"

"Why not?"

"Because my friend is menaced by something over there."

"And what has his will to do with that?"

"Why, even about that, he says all day to the great Being that he loves
so much more than me, 'Thy will be done.'"

"Do you think you could learn to say it, too?" I asked.

"I say it after him sometimes; but I don't know what it means."

"Have you never heard of God?"

"I have heard of many gods, of Isis and Osiris and Set, and of Horus,
the son of Osiris."

"And is it to one of these that he says, 'Thy will be done'?"

"Oh, no! It is not to any of the gods that he used to call upon in his
magical working. This is some new god that he has found."

"Or the oldest of all gods that he has returned to," I suggested. "What
does he call Him?"

"Our Father who art in heaven."

"If you also should learn to say 'Thy will be done' to our Father who is
in heaven," I said, "it might help you toward the attainment of that
soul you were wanting and waiting for, when last we met in Paris."

"How could our Father help me?"

"It was He who gave souls to men," I said.

The eyes of the sylph were brilliant with something almost human.

"And could He give a soul to me?"

"It is said that He _can_ do anything."

"Then I will ask Him for a soul."

"But to ask Him for a soul," I said, "is not to pray the prayer your
friend prays."

"He only says----"

"Yes, I know. Suppose you say it after him."

"I will, if you will tell me what it means. I like to do what my friend
does."

"'Thy will be done,'" I said, "when addressed to the Father in heaven,
means that we give up all our desires, whether for pleasure or love or
happiness, or anything else, and lay all those desires at His feet,
sacrificing all we have or hope for to Him, because we love Him more
than ourselves."

"That is a strange way to get what one desires," she said.

"It is not done to get what one desires," I answered.

"But what is it done for?"

"For love of the Father in heaven."

"But I do not know the Father in heaven. What is He?"

"He is the Source and the Goal of the being of your friend. He is the
One that your friend will re-become some day, if he can forever say to
Him, Thy will be done."

"The One he will re-become?"

"Yes, for when he blends his will with that of the Father in heaven, the
Father in heaven dwells in his heart and the two become one."

"Then is the Father in heaven really the Self of my friend?"

"The greatest philosopher could not have expressed it more truly," I
said.

"Then indeed do I love the Father in heaven," breathed the sylph, "and I
will say now every day and all day, 'Thy will be done' to Him."

"Even if it separates you from your friend?"

"How can it separate me from my friend, if the Father is the Self of
him?"

"I would that all angels were your equal in learning," I said.

But Meriline had turned from me in utter forgetfulness, and was saying
over and over, with joy in her uplifted face, "Thy will be done! Thy
will be done!"

"Truly," I said to myself, as I passed along the line, "he who worships
the Father as the Self of the beloved has already acquired a soul."



A GHOST[6]

BY LAFCADIO HEARN

[Footnote 6: From _Karma_ (Boni & Liveright).]


I

Perhaps the man who never wanders away from the place of his birth may
pass all his life without knowing ghosts; but the nomad is more than
likely to make their acquaintance. I refer to the civilized nomad, whose
wanderings are not prompted by hope of gain, nor determined by pleasure,
but simply compelled by certain necessities of his being--the man whose
inner secret nature is totally at variance with the stable conditions of
a society to which he belongs only by accident. However intellectually
trained, he must always remain the slave of singular impulses which have
no rational source, and which will often amaze him no less by their
mastering power than by their continuous savage opposition to his every
material interest. These may, perhaps, be traced back to some ancestral
habit--be explained by self-evident hereditary tendencies. Or perhaps
they may not,--in which event the victim can only surmise himself the
_Imago_ of some pre-existent larval aspiration--the full development of
desires long dormant in a chain of more limited lives.

Assuredly the nomadic impulses differ in every member of the class, take
infinite variety from individual sensitiveness to environment--the line
of least resistance for one being that of greatest resistance for
another; no two courses of true nomadism can ever be wholly the same.
Diversified of necessity both impulse and direction, even as human
nature is diversified! Never since consciousness of time began were two
beings born who possessed exactly the same quality of voice, the same
precise degree of nervous impressibility, or, in brief, the same
combination of those viewless force-storing molecules which shape and
poise themselves in sentient substance. Vain, therefore, all striving to
particularize the curious psychology of such existences; at the very
utmost it is possible only to describe such impulses and preceptions of
nomadism as lie within the very small range of one's own observation.
And whatever in these is strictly personal can have little interest or
value except in so far as it holds something in common with the great
general experience of restless lives. To such experience may belong, I
think, one ultimate result of all those irrational partings,
self-wrecking, sudden isolations, abrupt severances from all attachment,
which form the history of the nomad--the knowledge that a strong silence
is ever deepening and expanding about one's life, and that in that
silence there are ghosts.


II

Oh! the first vague charm, the first sunny illusion of some fair
city, when vistas of unknown streets all seem leading to the
realization of a hope you dare not even whisper; when even the shadows
look beautiful, and strange façades appear to smile good omen through
light of gold! And those first winning relations with men, while you are
still a stranger, and only the better and the brighter side of their
nature is turned to you! All is yet a delightful, luminous
indefiniteness--sensation of streets and of men--like some beautifully
tinted photograph slightly out of focus.

Then the slow solid sharpening of details all about you, thrusting
through illusion and dispelling it, growing keener and harder day by day
through long dull seasons; while your feet learn to remember all
asperities of pavements, and your eyes all physiognomy of buildings and
of persons--failures of masonry, furrowed lines of pain. Thereafter only
the aching of monotony intolerable, and the hatred of sameness grown
dismal, and dread of the merciless, inevitable, daily and hourly
repetition of things; while those impulses of unrest, which are Nature's
urgings through that ancestral experience which lives in each one of
us--outcries of sea and peak and sky to man--ever make wilder appeal.
Strong friendships may have been formed; but there finally comes a day
when even these can give no consolation for the pain of monotony, and
you feel that in order to live you must decide, regardless of result, to
shake forever from your feet the familiar dust of that place.

And, nevertheless, in the hour of departure you feel a pang. As train or
steamer bears you away from the city and its myriad associations, the
old illusive impression will quiver back about you for a moment--not as
if to mock the expectation of the past, but softly, touchingly, as if
pleading to you to stay; and such a sadness, such a tenderness may come
to you, as one knows after reconciliation with a friend misapprehended
and unjustly judged. But you will never more see those streets--except
in dreams.

Through sleep only they will open again before you, steeped in the
illusive vagueness of the first long-past day, peopled only by friends
outstretching to you. Soundlessly you will tread those shadowy pavements
many times, to knock in thought, perhaps, at doors which the dead will
open to you. But with the passing of years all becomes dim--so dim that
even asleep you know 'tis only a ghost-city, with streets going to
nowhere. And finally whatever is left of it becomes confused and blended
with cloudy memories of other cities--one endless bewilderment of filmy
architecture in which nothing is distinctly recognizable, though the
whole gives the sensation of having been seen before, ever so long ago.

       *       *       *       *       *

Meantime, in the course of wanderings more or less aimless, there has
slowly grown upon you a suspicion of being haunted--so frequently does a
certain hazy presence intrude itself upon the visual memory. This,
however, appears to gain rather than to lose in definiteness; with each
return its visibility seems to increase. And the suspicion that you may
be haunted gradually develops into a certainty.


III

You are haunted--whether your way lie through the brown gloom of London
winter, or the azure splendor of an equatorial day--whether your steps
be tracked in snows, or in the burning black sand of a tropic
beach--whether you rest beneath the swart shade of Northern pines, or
under spidery umbrages of palm--you are haunted ever and everywhere by a
certain gentle presence. There is nothing fearsome in this haunting--the
gentlest face, the kindliest voice--oddly familiar and distinct, though
feeble as the hum of a bee.

But it tantalizes--this haunting--like those sudden surprises of
sensation _within_ us, though seemingly not _of_ us, which some dreamers
have sought to interpret as inherited remembrances, recollections of
preëxistence. Vainly you ask yourself, "Whose voice? Whose face?" It is
neither young nor old, the Face; it has a vapory indefinableness that
leaves it a riddle; its diaphaneity reveals no particular tint; perhaps
you may not even be quite sure whether it has a beard. But its
expression is always gracious, passionless, smiling--like the smiling of
unknown friends in dreams, with infinite indulgence for any folly, even
a dream-folly. Except in that you cannot permanently banish it, the
presence offers no positive resistance to your will; it accepts each
caprice with obedience; it meets your every whim with angelic patience.
It is never critical, never makes plaint even by a look, never proves
irksome; yet you cannot ignore it, because of a certain queer power it
possesses to make something stir and quiver in your heart--like an old
vague sweet regret--something buried alive which will not die. And so
often does this happen that desire to solve the riddle becomes a pain;
that you finally find yourself making supplication to the Presence;
addressing to it questions which it will never answer directly, but
only by a smile or by words having no relation to the asking--words
enigmatic, which make mysterious agitation in old forsaken fields of
memory, even as a wind betimes, over wide wastes of marsh, sets all the
grasses whispering about nothing. But you will question on, untiringly,
through the nights and days of years:

"Who are you? What are you? What is this weird relation that you bear to
me? All you say to me I feel that I have heard before, but where? But
when? By what name am I to call you, since you will answer to none that
I remember? Surely you do not live; yet I know the sleeping-places of
all my dead, and yours I do not know! Neither are you any dream--for
dreams distort and change; and you, you are ever the same. Nor are you
any hallucination; for all my senses are still vivid and strong. This
only I know beyond doubt--that you are of the Past; you belong to
memory--but to the memory of what dead suns?"

       *       *       *       *       *

Then, some day or night, unexpectedly, there comes to you at least, with
a soft swift tingling shock as of fingers invisible, the knowledge that
the Face is not the memory of any one face; but a multiple image formed
of the traits of many dear faces, superimposed by remembrance, and
interblended by affection into one ghostly personality--infinitely
sympathetic, phantasmally beautiful--a Composite of recollections! And
the Voice is the echo of no one voice, but the echoing of many voices,
molten into a single utterance, a single impossible tone, thin through
remoteness of time, but inexpressibly caressing.


IV

Thou most gentle Composite!--thou nameless and exquisite Unreality,
thrilled into semblance of being from out the sum of all lost
sympathies!--thou Ghost of all dear vanished things, with thy vain
appeal of eyes that looked for my coming, and vague faint pleading of
voices against oblivion, and thin electric touch of buried hands--must
thou pass away forever with my passing, even as the Shadow that I cast,
O thou Shadowing of Souls?

I am not sure. For there comes to me this dream--that if aught in human
life hold power to pass, like a swerved sunray through interstellar
spaces, into the infinite mystery, to send one sweet strong vibration
through immemorial Time, might not some luminous future be peopled with
such as thou? And in so far as that which makes for us the subtlest
charm of being can lend one choral note to the Symphony of the
Unknowable Purpose--in so much might there not endure also to greet
thee, another Composite One--embodying, indeed, the comeliness of many
lives, yet keeping likewise some visible memory of all that may have
been gracious in this thy friend?



THE EYES OF THE PANTHER[7]

BY AMBROSE BIERCE

[Footnote 7: From "_In the Midst of Life_" (Boni & Liveright).]


I

ONE DOES NOT ALWAYS MARRY WHEN INSANE

A man and a woman--nature had done the grouping--sat on a rustic seat,
in the late afternoon. The man was middle-aged, slender, swarthy, with
the expression of a poet and the complexion of a pirate--a man at whom
one would look again. The woman was young, blonde, graceful, with
something in her figure and movements suggesting the word "lithe." She
was habited in a gray gown with odd brown markings in the texture. She
may have been beautiful; one could not readily say, for her eyes denied
attention to all else. They were gray-green, long and narrow, with an
expression defying analysis. One could only know that they were
disquieting. Cleopatra may have had such eyes.

The man and the woman talked.

"Yes," said the woman, "I love you, God knows! But marry you, no. I
cannot, will not."

"Irene, you have said that many times, yet always have denied me a
reason. I've a right to know, to understand, to feel and prove my
fortitude if I have it. Give me a reason."

"For loving you?"

The woman was smiling through her tears and her pallor. That did not
stir any sense of humor in the man.

"No; there is no reason for that. A reason for not marrying me. I've a
right to know. I must know. I will know!"

He had risen and was standing before her with clenched hands, on his
face a frown--it might have been called a scowl. He looked as if he
might attempt to learn by strangling her. She smiled no more--merely sat
looking up into his face with a fixed, set regard that was utterly
without emotion or sentiment. Yet it had something in it that tamed his
resentment and made him shiver.

"You are determined to have my reason?" she asked in a tone that was
entirely mechanical--a tone that might have been her look made audible.

"If you please--if I'm not asking too much."

Apparently this lord of creation was yielding some part of his dominion
over his co-creature.

"Very well, you shall know: I am insane."

The man started, then looked incredulous and was conscious that he ought
to be amused. But, again, the sense of humor failed him in his need and
despite his disbelief he was profoundly disturbed by that which he did
not believe. Between our convictions and our feelings there is no good
understanding.

"That is what the physicians would say," the woman continued, "if they
knew. I might myself prefer to call it a case of 'possession.' Sit down
and hear what I have to say."

The man silently resumed his seat beside her on the rustic bench by the
wayside. Over against them on the eastern side of the valley the hills
were already sunset-flushed and the stillness all about was of that
peculiar quality that foretells the twilight. Something of its
mysterious and significant solemnity had imparted itself to the man's
mood. In the spiritual, as in the material world, are signs and presages
of night. Rarely meeting her look, and whenever he did so conscious of
the indefinable dread with which, despite their feline beauty, her eyes
always affected him, Jenner Brading listened in silence to the story
told by Irene Marlowe. In deference to the reader's possible prejudice
against the artless method of an unpracticed historian the author
ventures to substitute his own version for hers.


II

A ROOM MAY BE TOO NARROW FOR THREE, THOUGH ONE IS OUTSIDE

In a little log house containing a single room sparely and rudely
furnished, crouching on the floor against one of the walls, was a woman,
clasping to her breast a child. Outside, a dense unbroken forest
extended for many miles in every direction. This was at night and the
room was black dark; no human eye could have discerned the woman and the
child. Yet they were observed, narrowly, vigilantly, with never even a
momentary slackening of attention; and that is the pivotal fact upon
which this narrative turns.

Charles Marlowe was of the class, now extinct in this country, of
woodmen pioneers--men who found their most acceptable surroundings in
sylvan solitudes that stretched along the eastern slope of the
Mississippi Valley, from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. For more
than a hundred years these men pushed ever westward, generation after
generation, with rifle and ax, reclaiming from Nature and her savage
children here and there an isolated acreage for the plow, no sooner
reclaimed than surrendered to their less venturesome but more thrifty
successors. At last they burst through the edge of the forest into the
open country and vanished as if they had fallen over a cliff. The
woodman pioneer is no more; the pioneer of the plains--he whose easy
task it was to subdue for occupancy two-thirds of the country in a
single generation--is another and inferior creation. With Charles
Marlowe in the wilderness, sharing the dangers, hardships and privations
of that strange unprofitable life, were his wife and child, to whom, in
the manner of his class in which the domestic virtues were a religion,
he was passionately attached. The woman was still young enough to be
comely, new enough to the awful isolation of her lot to be cheerful. By
withholding the large capacity for happiness which the simple
satisfactions of the forest life could not have filled, Heaven had dealt
honorably with her. In her light household tasks, her child, her husband
and her few foolish books, she found abundant provision for her needs.

One morning in midsummer Marlowe took down his rifle from the wooden
hooks on the wall and signified his intention of getting game.

"We've meat enough," said the wife; "please don't go out to-day. I
dreamed last night, O, such a dreadful thing! I cannot recollect it, but
I'm almost sure that it will come to pass if you go out."

It is painful to confess that Marlowe received this solemn statement
with less of gravity than was due to the mysterious nature of the
calamity foreshadowed. In truth, he laughed.

"Try to remember," he said. "Maybe you dreamed that Baby had lost the
power of speech."

The conjecture was obviously suggested by the fact that Baby, clinging
to the fringe of his hunting-coat with all her ten pudgy thumbs, was at
that moment uttering her sense of the situation in a series of exultant
goo-goos inspired by sight of her father's raccoon-skin cap.

The woman yielded: lacking the gift of humor she could not hold out
against his kindly badinage. So, with a kiss for the mother and a kiss
for the child, he left the house and closed the door upon his happiness
forever.

At nightfall he had not returned. The woman prepared supper and waited.
Then she put Baby to bed and sang softly to her until she slept. By this
time the fire on the hearth, at which she had cooked supper, had burned
out and the room was lighted by a single candle. This she afterward
placed in the open window as a sign and welcome to the hunter if he
should approach from that side. She had thoughtfully closed and barred
the door against such wild animals as might prefer it to an open
window--of the habits of beasts of prey in entering a house uninvited
she was not advised, though with true female prevision she may have
considered the possibility of their entrance by way of the chimney. As
the night wore on she became not less anxious, but more drowsy, and at
last rested her arms upon the bed by the child and her head upon the
arms. The candle in the window burned down to the socket, sputtered and
flared a moment and went out unobserved; for the woman slept and
dreamed.

In her dreams she sat beside the cradle of a second child. The first one
was dead. The father was dead. The home in the forest was lost and the
dwelling in which she lived was unfamiliar. There were heavy oaken
doors, always closed, and outside the windows, fastened into the thick
stone walls, were iron bars, obviously (so she thought) a provision
against Indians. All this she noted with an infinite self-pity, but
without surprise--an emotion unknown in dreams. The child in the cradle
was invisible under its coverlet which something impelled her to remove.
She did so, disclosing the face of a wild animal! In the shock of this
dreadful revelation the dreamer awoke, trembling in the darkness of her
cabin in the wood.

As a sense of her actual surroundings came slowly back to her she felt
for the child that was not a dream, and assured herself by its breathing
that all was well with it; nor could she forbear to pass a hand lightly
across its face. Then, moved by some impulse for which she probably
could not have accounted, she rose and took the sleeping babe in her
arms, holding it close against her breast. The head of the child's cot
was against the wall to which the woman now turned her back as she
stood. Lifting her eyes she saw two bright objects starring the darkness
with a reddish-green glow. She took them to be two coals on the hearth,
but with her returning sense of direction came the disquieting
consciousness that they were not in that quarter of the room, moreover
were too high, being nearly at the level of the eyes--of her own eyes.
For these were the eyes of a panther.

The beast was at the open window directly opposite and not five paces
away. Nothing but those terrible eyes was visible, but in the dreadful
tumult of her feelings as the situation disclosed itself to her
understanding she somehow knew that the animal was standing on its
hinder feet, supporting itself with its paws on the window-ledge. That
signified a malign interest--not the mere gratification of an indolent
curiosity. The consciousness of the attitude was an added horror,
accentuating the menace of those awful eyes, in whose steadfast fire her
strength and courage were alike consumed. Under their silent questioning
she shuddered and turned sick. Her knees failed her, and by degrees,
instinctively striving to avoid a sudden movement that might bring the
beast upon her, she sank to the floor, crouched against the wall and
tried to shield the babe with her trembling body without withdrawing her
gaze from the luminous orbs that were killing her. No thought of her
husband came to her in her agony--no hope nor suggestion of rescue or
escape. Her capacity for thought and feeling had narrowed to the
dimensions of a single emotion--fear of the animal's spring, of the
impact of its body, the buffeting of its great arms, the feel of its
teeth in her throat, the mangling of her babe. Motionless now and in
absolute silence, she awaited her doom, the moments growing to hours, to
years, to ages; and still those devilish eyes maintained their watch.

       *       *       *       *       *

Returning to his cabin late at night with a deer on his shoulders
Charles Marlowe tried the door. It did not yield. He knocked; there was
no answer. He laid down his deer and went around to the window. As he
turned the angle of the building he fancied he heard a sound as of
stealthy footfalls and a rustling in the undergrowth of the forest, but
they were too slight for certainty, even to his practiced ear.
Approaching the window, and to his surprise finding it open, he threw
his leg over the sill and entered. All was darkness and silence. He
groped his way to the fire-place, struck a match and lit a candle. Then
he looked about. Cowering on the floor against a wall was his wife,
clasping his child. As he sprang toward her she rose and broke into
laughter, long, loud, and mechanical, devoid of gladness and devoid of
sense--the laughter that is not out of keeping with the clanking of a
chain. Hardly knowing what he did he extended his arms. She laid the
babe in them. It was dead--pressed to death in its mother's embrace.


III

THE THEORY OF THE DEFENSE

That is what occurred during a night in a forest, but not all of it did
Irene Marlowe relate to Jenner Brading; not all of it was known to her.
When she had concluded the sun was below the horizon and the long
summer twilight had begun to deepen in the hollows of the land. For some
moments Brading was silent, expecting the narrative to be carried
forward to some definite connection with the conversation introducing
it; but the narrator was as silent as he, her face averted, her hands
clasping and unclasping themselves as they lay in her lap, with a
singular suggestion of an activity independent of her will.

"It is a sad, a terrible story," said Brading at last, "but I do not
understand. You call Charles Marlowe father; that I know. That he is old
before his time, broken by some great sorrow, I have seen, or thought I
saw. But, pardon me, you said that you--that you--"

"That I am insane," said the girl, without a movement of head or body.

"But, Irene, you say--please, dear, do not look away from me--you say
that the child was dead, not demented."

"Yes, that one--I am the second. I was born three months after that
night, my mother being mercifully permitted to lay down her life in
giving me mine."

Brading was again silent; he was a trifle dazed and could not at once
think of the right thing to say. Her face was still turned away. In his
embarrassment he reached impulsively toward the hands that lay closing
and unclosing in her lap, but something--he could not have said
what--restrained him. He then remembered, vaguely, that he had never
altogether cared to take her hand.

"Is it likely," she resumed, "that a person born under such
circumstances is like others--is what you call sane?"

Brading did not reply; he was preoccupied with a new thought that was
taking shape in his mind--what a scientist would have called an
hypothesis; a detective, a theory. It might throw an added light, albeit
a lurid one, upon such doubt of her sanity as her own assertion had not
dispelled.

The country was still new and, outside the villages, sparsely populated.
The professional hunter was still a familiar figure, and among his
trophies were heads and pelts of the larger kinds of game. Tales
variously credible of nocturnal meetings with savage animals in lonely
roads were sometimes current, passed through the customary stages of
growth and decay, and were forgotten. A recent addition to these popular
apocrypha, originating, apparently, by spontaneous generation in several
households, was of a panther which had frightened some of their members
by looking in at windows by night. The yarn had caused its little ripple
of excitement--had even attained to the distinction of a place in the
local newspaper; but Brading had given it no attention. Its likeness to
the story to which he had just listened now impressed him as perhaps
more than accidental. Was it not possible that the one story had
suggested the other--that finding congenial conditions in a morbid mind
and a fertile fancy, it had grown to the tragic tale that he had heard?

Brading recalled certain circumstances of the girl's history and
disposition of which, with love's incuriosity, he had hitherto been
heedless--such as her solitary life with her father, at whose house no
one apparently was an acceptable visitor, and her strange fear of the
night by which those who knew her best accounted for her never being
seen after dark. Surely in such a mind imagination once kindled might
burn with a lawless flame, penetrating and enveloping the entire
structure. That she was mad, though the conviction gave him the acutest
pain, he could no longer doubt; she had only mistaken an effect of her
mental disorder for its cause, bringing into imaginary relation with her
own personality the vagaries of the local myth-makers. With some vague
intention of testing his new "theory," and no very definite notion of
how to set about it he said gravely, but with hesitation:

"Irene, dear, tell me--I beg you will not take offense, but tell me--"

"I have told you," she interrupted, speaking with a passionate
earnestness that he had not known her to show, "I have already told you
that we cannot marry; is anything else worth saying?"

Before he could stop her she had sprung from her seat and without
another word or look was gliding away among the trees toward her
father's house. Brading had risen to detain her; he stood watching her
in silence until she had vanished in the gloom. Suddenly he started as
if he had been shot, his face took on an expression of amazement and
alarm: in one of the black shadows into which she had disappeared he had
caught a quick, brief glimpse of shining eyes! For an instant he was
dazed and irresolute; then he dashed into the wood after her, shouting,
"Irene, Irene, look out! The panther! The panther!"

In a moment he had passed through the fringe of forest into open ground
and saw the girl's gray skirt vanishing into her father's door. No
panther was visible.


IV

AN APPEAL TO THE CONSCIENCE OF GOD

Jenner Brading, attorney-at-law, lived in a cottage at the edge of the
town. Directly behind the dwelling was the forest. Being a bachelor, and
therefore by the Draconian moral code of the time and place denied the
services of the only species of domestic servant known thereabout, the
"hired girl," he boarded at the village hotel where also was his office.
The woodside cottage was merely a lodging maintained--at no great cost,
to be sure--as an evidence of prosperity and respectability. It would
hardly do for one to whom the local newspaper had pointed with pride as
"the foremost jurist of his time" to be "homeless," albeit he may
sometimes have suspected that the words "home" and "house" were not
strictly synonymous. Indeed, his consciousness of the disparity and his
will to harmonize it were matters of logical inference, for it was
generally reported that soon after the cottage was built its owner had
made a futile venture in the direction of marriage--had, in truth, gone
so far as to be rejected by the beautiful but eccentric daughter of Old
Man Marlowe, the recluse. This was publicly believed because he had told
it himself and she had not--a reversal of the usual order of things
which could hardly fail to carry conviction.

Brading's bedroom was at the rear of the house, with a single window
facing the forest. One night he was awakened by a noise at that
window--he could hardly have said what it was like. With a little thrill
of the nerves he sat up in bed and laid hold of the revolver which, with
a forethought most commendable in one addicted to the habit of sleeping
on the ground floor with an open window, he had put under his pillow.
The room was in absolute darkness, but being unterrified he knew where
to direct his eyes, and there he held them, awaiting in silence what
further might occur. He could now dimly discern the aperture--a square
of lighter black. Presently there appeared at its lower edge two
gleaming eyes that burned with a malignant luster inexpressibly
terrible! Brading's heart gave a great jump, then seemed to stand still.
A chill passed along his spine and through his hair; he felt the blood
forsake his cheeks. He could not have cried out--not to save his life;
but being a man of courage he would not, to save his life, have done so
if he had been able. Some trepidation his coward body might feel, but
his spirit was of sterner stuff. Slowly the shining eyes rose with a
steady motion that seemed an approach, and slowly rose Brading's right
hand, holding the pistol. He fired!

Blinded by the flash and stunned by the report, Brading nevertheless
heard, or fancied that he heard, the wild high scream of the panther, so
human in sound, so devilish in suggestion. Leaping from the bed he
hastily clothed himself and pistol in hand, sprang from the door,
meeting two or three men who came running up from the road. A brief
explanation was followed by a cautious search of the house. The grass
was wet with dew; beneath the window it had been trodden and partly
leveled for a wide space, from which a devious trail, visible in the
light of a lantern, led away into the bushes. One of the men stumbled
and fell upon his hands, which as he rose and rubbed them together were
slippery. On examination they were seen to be red with blood.

An encounter, unarmed, with a wounded panther was not agreeable to their
taste; all but Brading turned back. He, with lantern and pistol, pushed
courageously forward into the wood. Passing through a difficult
undergrowth he came into a small opening, and there his courage had its
reward, for there he found the body of his victim. But it was no
panther. What it was is told, even to this day, upon a weather-worn
headstone in the village churchyard, and for many years was attested
daily at the graveside by the bent figure and sorrow-seamed face of Old
Man Marlowe, to whose soul, and to the soul of his strange, unhappy
child, peace--peace and reparation.



PHOTOGRAPHING INVISIBLE BEINGS

BY WM. T. STEAD

    "Millions of Spiritual creatures walk the earth
    Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep."

    --MILTON


It was during the South African War that my father obtained one of his
best authenticated spirit photographs, so I think that it is well to
give here his own account of his experiments in that direction. He
writes:

"While recording the results at which I have arrived, I wish to
repudiate any desire to dogmatize as to their significance or their
origin. I merely record the facts, and although I may indicate
conclusions and inferences which I have drawn from them, I attach no
importance to anything but the facts themselves.

"There is living in London at the present moment an old man of
seventy-one years of age, a man of no education; he can write, but he
cannot spell, and he has for many years earned his living as a
photographer. He was always in a small way of business, a quiet,
inoffensive man who brought up his family respectably, and lived in
peace with his neighbors, attracting no particular remark....

"When he started in business as a photographer it was in the days when
the wet process was almost universal, and he was much annoyed by finding
that when he exposed plates other forms than that of the sitter would
appear in the background. So many plates were spoiled by these unwelcome
intruders that his partner became very angry, and insisted that the
plates had not been washed before they were used. He protested this was
not so, and asked his partner to bring a packet of completely new plates
with which he would take a photograph and see what was the result. His
partner accepted the challenge, and produced a plate which had never
previously been used; but when the portrait of the next sitter was
taken, there appeared a shadow form in the background. Angry and
frightened at this unwelcome appearance he flung the plate to the ground
with an oath, and from that time for very many years he was never again
troubled by an occurrence of similar phenomena.

"About ten years ago he became interested in spiritualism, and to his
surprise, and also to his regret, the shadow figures began to re-appear
on the background of the photographs. He repeatedly had to destroy
negatives and ask his customer to give him another sitting. It did his
business harm, and in order to avoid this annoyance he left most of the
photographing to his son.

"I happened to hear of these curious experiences of his and sought him
out. I found him very reluctant to speak about the matter. He said
frankly he did not know how the figures came; it had been a great
annoyance to him, and it gave his shop a bad name. He did not wish
anything to be said about the matter. In deference, however, to repeated
pressing on my part, he consented to make experiments with me, and I
had at various times a considerable number of sittings.

"At first I brought my own plates (half plate size). He allowed me to
place them in his slide in the dark room, to put them in the camera,
which I was allowed to turn inside-out, and after they were exposed I
was permitted to go into the dark room and develop them in his presence.
Under these conditions I repeatedly obtained pictures of persons who
were certainly not visible to me in the studio. I was allowed to do
almost anything that I pleased, to alter the background, to change the
position of the camera, to sit at any angle that I chose--in short to
act as if the studio and all belonging to it was my own. And I
repeatedly obtained what the old photographer called 'shadow pictures,'
but none of them bore any resemblance to any person whom I had known.

"In all these earlier experiments the photographer, whom I will call Mr.
B----, made no charge, and the only request that he made was that I
should not publish his name, or do anything to let his neighbors know of
the curious shadow pictures which were obtainable in his studio.

"After a time I was so thoroughly satisfied that the shadow photographs,
or spirit forms, were not produced by any fraud on the part of the
photographer, that I did not trouble to bring my own marked plates--I
allowed him to use his own, and to do all the work of loading the slide
and of developing the plate without my assistance or supervision. What I
wanted was to see whether it would be possible for me to obtain a
photograph of any person known to me in life who has passed over to the
other side. The production of one such picture, if the person was
unknown to the photographer, and he had no means of obtaining the
photograph of the original while on earth, seemed to me so much better a
test of the genuineness of the phenomena than could be secured by any
amount of personal supervision of the process of photography, that I
left him to operate without interference. The results he obtained when
left to himself were precisely the same as those when the slides passed
only through my own hands. But, although I obtained a great variety of
portraits of unknown persons, I got none whom I could recognize.

"In a conversation with Mr. B-- as to how these shadow pictures, as he
called them, came on the plate, I found him almost as much at sea as
myself. He said that he did not know how they came, but that he had
noticed that they came more frequently and with greater distinctness at
some times than at others. He could never say beforehand whether they
would come or not. He frequently informed me when my sitting began that
he could guarantee nothing. And often the set of plates would bear no
trace of any portrait save mine.

"He was very reluctant to continue the experiments, and used to complain
that after exposing four plates with a view to obtaining such pictures
he felt quite exhausted. And sometimes he complained that his 'innards
seemed to be turned upside-down,' to use his own phrase. I usually sat
with him between two and three in the afternoon, and on the days which I
came he always abstained from the usual glass of beer which he took with
his midday meal. If I came unexpectedly, and he had had a single glass
of beer, which formed his usual beverage, he would always assure me
that I need not expect any good results. I, however, never found any
particular difference in the results.

"We often discussed the matter together. And he was evidently working
out a theory of his own, as any one might under such circumstances. He
knew that when he was excited or irritated he got bad results. Hence he
often used to keep a music-box going, for the music, in his opinion,
tended to set up good and tranquil conditions. He said he thought
something must come out of him--what, he did not know, but something was
taken out of him, and with this something he thought the entities,
whoever they were, built themselves up and acquired sufficient substance
to reflect the rays of light so as to impress the sensitive plate in his
camera. He also thought that his old camera had become what he called
magnetized, and although it was an old-fashioned piece of furniture,
which I not only examined myself, but have had examined by expert
photographers, nothing could be discovered within or without it which
would account for the results obtained. He also was of the opinion that
even although he did not touch the photographic plate, it was necessary
for him to touch or to hold his hand over the photographic slide, and
also to hold his hand over the plate when it was in the developing bath.
His theory was that in some way or other this process magnetized the
plate and brought out a shadow portrait.

"One peculiarity of almost all the shadow pictures obtained in all these
series of experiments is that they have around them the same kind of
white drapery which is so familiar to those who have taken part in a
materializing séance. Sometimes this drapery is more voluminous than at
others; often, when the conditions are good, the form which at first
appears with its head encompassed with drapery will appear on the second
plate without any drapery. On asking Mr. B-- what explanation he could
give for this, he said he did not know, but he believed that the bodily
appearance assumed by the spirit was very sensitive and needed to be
shielded from currents, which might harm it. But when harmony prevailed
they could venture to remove the drapery, and be photographed without
it. Whatever may be the value of Mr. B--'s theory, there is little doubt
that something is given off from his body which can be photographed. The
white mist that appears to emanate from him forms into cloudy folds out
of which there protrudes a more or less clearly defined face with human
features. Sometimes this white and misty cloud obscures the sitter, at
other times it seems to be condensed as if it were in the process of
being worked up into a definite form for the completion of which either
time or some other conditions were lacking. It was also noticeable that
the entity--whoever it may be--which builds up the form, who is giving
off sufficient solidity to impress its image upon the plate in the
camera, having once created a form, will use it repeatedly without any
change of position or expression. This will no doubt seem a great
stumbling-block to many. But the fact is as I have stated it, and our
first business is to ascertain facts, whether they tell for or against
any particular hypothesis. It may be that the disembodied spirit, in
order to establish its identity, constructs, out of the 'aura' given off
by the photographer or other medium, a mask or cast bearing the
unmistakable resemblance to the body which it wore in its sojourn on
earth. Having once built it up for use in the studio, it may be easier
to employ the same cast again and again instead of building up a new one
at each fresh sitting. Upon this point, however, I shall have something
to say further on.

"I was very much interested in the results I obtained, although as none
of the photographs were identified I did not deem the experiment
completely successful. I was very anxious to induce Mr. B-- to devote
some months to an uninterrupted series of experiments, and asked him on
what terms I could secure his services. But he absolutely refused; he
said he did not like it, it made him unwell, made people speak ill of
him, and it did not matter what terms were offered, he would not
consent. He was an old man, he said, and he could not find out how these
things came; and, in short, neither scientific curiosity nor financial
consideration would induce him to consent to more than an occasional
sitting. I therefore dropped the matter, and for some years I
discontinued my experiments.

"I had a friend who often accompanied me to Mr. B--'s studio, where she
had been photographed both with and without shadow pictures appearing on
the background. We often promised each other that if either of us passed
over we would come back and be photographed by Mr. B-- if possible, in
order to prove the reality of spirit return. Shortly after this my
friend died. But it was not until nearly four years after her death, at
the request of a friend who was very anxious to know whether she could
communicate with those on the other side, that I went back to Mr. B--'s
studio.

"He had always been slightly clairvoyant and clairaudient. He told me
that a few days before I had written asking for the appointment, my
deceased friend had appeared in the studio and told him that I was
coming. This reminded me of her promise, and I said at once that I hoped
he would be able to photograph her. He said he didn't know; he was
rather frightened of her, for reasons into which I need not enter, but
if she came he would see what he could do. My friend and I sat together.
The first plate was exposed, nothing appeared in the background. When
the second plate was placed in the camera Mr. B-- nodded with a quick
look of recognition. We saw nothing. After he had exposed the second
plate and before he developed it he asked us to change seats. We did
this, and as he was exposing the third plate he said, 'I am told to ask
you to do this,' and then when he closed the shutter he said, 'it is
Mrs. M--.' On the fourth plate there appeared a picture of a woman whom
I had never seen before, and whom my friend had never seen, neither had
Mr. B--. When the plates came to be developed I found the second and
third plates contained unmistakable likenesses of my friend Mrs. M--.
These portraits were immediately recognized by my friend as unmistakable
likenesses of the deceased Mrs. M--. It will be objected that she had
frequently been photographed by the same photographer, and that he had
simply faked a photograph from one of his old negatives. I don't believe
that this is possible, for these portraits, although recognized
immediately by every one who knew her, including her nearest relative,
are quite different from any photograph she ever had taken in life. She
certainly never was photographed enveloped in white drapery, nor do I
believe that Mr. B-- had any negative of any of her portraits in his
possession. But I fully admit that from the point of view of one who
wishes to exclude every possibility of error, the fact that Mrs. M-- had
been frequently photographed in her lifetime by the same photographer
renders it impossible to regard these photographs as conclusive
testimony as to their authenticity as a photograph of a form assumed by
a disembodied spirit. I have mentioned that on the fourth plate there
appeared a portrait of an unknown female. On my return I was showing the
print of this shadow picture to a friend when she startled me by
declaring that the shrouded form which appeared behind me in the
photograph was a portrait of her mother who had died some months before
in Dublin. I had never seen her mother, my friend did not know of her
existence, neither did the photographer, nor does he to this day. It was
only many months afterwards that I was able to obtain a photograph of my
friend's mother, but it was taken when she was a comparatively young
woman and bore no manner of resemblance to the portrait of the lady who
appeared behind me. Her daughter, however, had not the slightest
hesitation in asserting that it was her mother, that she had recognized
her instantly, and that it was a very good portrait of her as she
appeared in the later years of her life. This startled me not a little,
and convinced me that I had a good prospect of attaining some definite
results as an outcome of my experiments.

"Mr. B--, encouraged by this success, was willing to continue his
experiments, and this time I insisted upon paying him for his work.

"From this time onward the occurrence of photographs that were
recognizable on the background of the photographs taken by Mr. B--
became frequent. Sometimes the plates were marked; but not invariably.
For my part I attach comparatively no importance to the marking of
plates and the close supervision of the operator. The test of the
genuineness of a photograph that is obtained when the unknown relative
of an unknown sitter appears in the background of the photograph, is
immeasurably superior to precautions any expert conjurer or trick
photographer might evade. Again and again I sent friends to Mr. B--,
giving him no information as to who they were, nor telling him anything
as to the identity of the persons' deceased friend or relative whose
portrait they wished to secure; and time and again when the negative was
developed the portrait would appear in the background, or sometimes in
front of the sitter. This occurred so frequently that I am quite
convinced of the impossibility of any fraud. One time it was a French
editor, who finding the portrait of his deceased wife appear on the
negative when developed, was so transported with delight that he
insisted on kissing the photographer, Mr. B--, much to the old man's
embarrassment. On another occasion it was a Lancashire engineer, himself
a photographer, who took marked plates and all possible precautions. He
obtained portraits of two of his relatives and another of an eminent
personage with whom he had been in close relations. Or again, it was a
near neighbor, who, going as a total stranger to the studio, obtained
the portrait of her deceased daughter.

"I attach no importance whatever to the appearance of portraits of
well-known personages, which might easily be copied from existing
pictures, but I attach immense importance to the production of the
spirit photographs of unknown relatives of sitters who are unknown to
the photographer, who receives them solely as a lady or gentleman who is
one of my friends.

"Although, as I have said, I do not attach much importance to
photographs appearing of well-known men, I confess that I was rather
impressed by one of my most recent experiments. I received a message
from a medium in Sheffield, who is unknown to me, saying that Cecil
Rhodes, who had then been dead about nine months, had spoken to her
clairaudiently, and had told her to ask me to go to the photographer's,
and that he would come and be photographed. The medium was a stranger to
me, and I confess that I received the message with considerable
skepticism. However, when she came up to town I accompanied her to the
studio. She declared that she saw Cecil Rhodes, and that he spoke to
her, and that he was standing behind me when the plate was exposed. When
the plate came to be developed, although there was one well-defined
figure standing behind me and several other faces half visible in the
background, there was no portrait of Cecil Rhodes. I was not surprised,
and went away. A month afterwards I went to have another sitting with
the photographer. I chatted with him for a short time, and then he left
the room for a moment. When he came back he said to me: 'There is a
round-faced well set-up man here with a short moustache and a dimple in
his chin. Do you know him?' 'No,' I said, 'I don't know any such man.'
'Well, he seems to be very busy about you.' 'Well,' I said, 'if he comes
upstairs, we shall see what we can get.' 'I don't know,' said he. When I
was sitting, he said, 'There he is, and I see the letter R. Is it Robert
or Richard, do you think?' 'I don't know any Robert or Richard,' I said.
He took the picture. He then proceeded with the second plate, and said,
'That man is still here, and I see behind him a country road. I wonder
what that means.' He went into the dark room, and presently came out and
said, 'I see "road or roads." Do you know any one of that name?' 'Of
course,' I said, 'Cecil Rhodes.' 'Do you mean him as died in the
Transvaal lately?' said he. I said 'Yes.' 'Well,' he said, 'was he a man
like that?' 'Well, he had a moustache,' I said. And sure enough, when
the plate was developed, there was Cecil Rhodes looking fifteen years
younger than when he died.

"Some other plates were exposed. One was entirely blank, on two others
the mist was formed into a kind of clot of light, but no figure was
visible, the fifth had a portrait of an unknown man, and on the sixth,
when it came to be developed, there was the same portrait of Cecil
Rhodes that had appeared on the first, but without the white drapery
round the head.

"Of course it may be said that it was well known that I was connected
with Cecil Rhodes and that the photographer therefore would have no
difficulty in faking a portrait. I admit all that, and therefore I would
not have introduced this if it had stood alone, as any evidence showing
that it was a _bona fide_ photograph of an invisible being. But it does
not stand alone, and I have almost every reason to believe in the almost
stupid honesty, if I may use such a phrase, of the photographer. I am
naturally much interested in these latest portraits of the African
Colossus. They are, at any rate, entirely new, no such portraits, to the
best of my knowledge--and I have made a collection of all I can lay my
hands on--exactly resembling those portraits which I obtained at Mr.
B--'s studio.

"I will conclude the account of my experiments by telling how I secured
a portrait under circumstances which preclude any possibility of fake or
fraud. One day when I entered the studio, Mr. B-- said to me, 'There is
a man come with you who has been here before; he came here some days ago
when I was by myself; he looked very wild, and he had a gun in his hand,
and I did not like the look of him. I don't like guns, so I asked him to
go away, for I was frightened of the gun, and he went. But now he has
come with you, and he has not got his gun any more, so we will let him
stop.' I was rather amused at the old man's story and said, 'Well, see
if you can photograph him.' 'I don't know as I can,' he said, 'I never
know what I can get,'--which is quite true, for often the photographs
which he says he sees clairvoyantly do not come out on the plate. While
he was photographing me, I said to him, 'If you can tell this man to go
away, you can ask him his name.' 'Yes,' said he. 'Will you do so?' I
said. 'Yes,' he said. After seeming to ask the question mentally, he
said, 'He says his name is Piet Botha.' 'Piet Botha,' I said, 'I know no
such name. There are Louis and Philip, and Chris Botha. I have never
heard of Piet; still they are a numerous family and there are plenty of
Bothas in South Africa, and it will be interesting to ask General Botha,
when he arrives, whether he knows of any Piet Botha.' When the negative
was developed, sure enough there appeared behind me a photograph of a
stalwart bearded person, who might have been a Boer or a Russian moujik,
but who was certainly unknown to me. I had never seen a portrait of any
one which bore any resemblance to the photograph.

"When General Botha arrived I did not get an opportunity of asking him
about the photograph, but some time afterwards I asked Mr. Fischer, one
of the delegation from the South African Republics, to look at the
photograph, and if he got an opportunity to ask General Botha if he knew
of such a man as Piet Botha. Mr. Fischer said he thought he had seen the
face before, but he could not be certain. He departed with the
photograph. Some days afterwards Mr. Wessels, a member of the delegation
with Mr. Fischer, came down to my office. He said, 'I want to know about
that photograph that you gave Mr. Fischer.' 'Yes,' I said, 'what about
it?' 'I want to know where you got it.' I told him. He replied
disdainfully, 'I don't believe in such things; it is superstition;
besides, that man didn't know Mr. B--; he has never been in London; how
could he come there?' 'What,' I said, 'do you know him?' 'Know him!'
said Mr. Wessels. 'He is my brother-in-law.' 'Really!' I said. 'What did
they call him?' 'Pietrus Johannes Botha, but we always called him Piet
for short.' 'Is he dead, then?' I said. 'Yes,' said Mr. Wessels, 'he was
the first Boer officer who was killed in the siege of Kimberley; but
there is a mystery about this; you didn't know him?' 'No,' I said. 'And
never heard of him?' 'No,' I said. 'But,' he said, 'I have the man's
portrait in my house in South Africa, how could you get it?' 'But,' I
said, 'I never have had it.' 'I don't understand,' he said, moodily, and
so departed. I afterwards showed the photograph to another Free-State
Boer who knew Piet Botha very well, and he had not the slightest
hesitation in declaring that it was an unmistakable likeness of his dead
friend.[8]

[Footnote 8: Referring to this photo elsewhere, he wrote:--"This at
least is not a case which telepathy can explain. Nor can the hypothesis
of fraud hold water. It was by the merest accident that I asked the
photographer to see if the spirit would give his name. No one in
England, so far as I have been able to ascertain, knew that any Piet
Botha ever existed.

"As if to render all explanation of fraud or contrivance still more
incredible, it may be mentioned that the _Daily Graphic_ of October,
1889, which announced that a Commandant Botha had been killed in the
siege of Kimberley, published a portrait alleged to be that of the dead
commandant, which not only does not bear the remotest resemblance to the
Piet Botha of my photograph, but which was described as Commandant Hans
Botha!"]

"This is a plain, straightforward narrative of my experiences; they are
still going on. But if I continue them forever I don't see how I am
going to obtain better results than those which I have already secured.
At the same time I must admit that when I have taken my own kodak to the
studio and taken a photograph immediately before Mr. B-- had exposed his
plate, I got no results. The same failure occurred with another
photographer whom I took, who took his own camera and his own plates,
and took a photograph immediately before and immediately after Mr. B--
had exposed his plate, and secured no result. Mr. B--'s explanation of
this is that he thinks he does in some way or other magnetize, as he
terms it, the plate, and that there is some effluence from his hand
which is as necessary for the development of the psychic figure as the
developing liquid is for the development of an ordinary photograph. This
explanation would no doubt be derided as, I presume, wiseacres would
have derided the first photographers when they insisted upon the
necessity of darkness whilst developing their plates. What I hold to be
established is that in the presence of this particular individual, Mr.
B--, who at present is the only person known to me who is able to
produce these photographs, it is possible to obtain under test
conditions photographs that are unmistakably portraits of deceased
persons; the said deceased persons being entirely unknown to him, and in
some cases equally unknown to the sitter. Neither was any portrait of
such person accessible either to the sitter or the photographer; neither
was either the sitter or the photographer conscious of the very
existence of these persons, whose identity was subsequently recognized
by their friends.[9]

[Footnote 9: Miss Katharine Bates was present when the Piet Botha
photograph was taken under the exact conditions specified by my father.]

"I am willing to admit that no conceivable conditions in the way of
marking plates and supervising the actions or the operations of the
photographer are of the least use, in so much as an expert conjurer can
easily deceive the eye of the unskilled observer. But what I do maintain
is that it is impossible for the cleverest trick photographer and the
ablest conjurer in the world to produce a photograph, at a moment's
notice, of an unknown relative of an unknown sitter, this portrait to
be unmistakably recognizable by all survivors who knew the original in
life. This Mr. B-- has done again and again. And it seems to me that a
great step has been made towards establishing the possibility of
verifying by photography the reality of the existence of other
intelligences than our own."

The photographer alluded to in this article is Mr. Boursnell. He died
shortly after it was written, and although father experimented with
others, he never obtained such convincing and satisfactory results.



THE SIN-EATER

By Fiona Macleod

    SIN.

    _Taste this bread, this substance: tell me
    Is it bread or flesh?_

    [_The Senses approach._]

    THE SMELL.

    _Its smell
    Is the smell of bread._

    SIN.

    _Touch, come. Why tremble?
    Say what's this thou touchest?_

    THE TOUCH.

    _Bread._

    SIN.

    _Sight, declare what thou discernest
    In this object._

    THE SIGHT.

    _Bread alone._

    --CALDERON,
    _Los Encantos de la Culpa_


A wet wind out of the south mazed and mooned through the sea-mist that
hung over the Ross. In all the bays and creeks was a continuous weary
lapping of water. There was no other sound anywhere.

Thus was it at daybreak; it was thus at noon; thus was it now in the
darkening of the day. A confused thrusting and falling of sounds through
the silence betokened the hour of the setting. Curlews wailed in the
mist; on the seething limpet-covered rocks the skuas and terns
screamed, or uttered hoarse, rasping cries. Ever and again the prolonged
note of the oyster-catcher shrilled against the air, as an echo flying
blindly along a blank wall of cliff. Out of weedy places, wherein the
tide sobbed with long, gurgling moans, came at intervals the barking of
a seal.

Inland, by the hamlet of Contullich, there is a reedy tarn called the
Loch-a-chaoruinn.[10] By the shores of this mournful water a man moved.
It was a slow, weary walk that of the man Neil Ross. He had come from
Duninch, thirty miles to the eastward, and had not rested foot, nor
eaten, nor had word of man or woman, since his going west an hour after
dawn.

[Footnote 10: Contullich: i.e. Ceann-nan-tulaich, "the end of the
hillocks." Loch a chaoruinn means the loch of the rowan-trees.]

At the bend of the loch nearest the clachan he came upon an old woman
carrying peat. To his reiterated question as to where he was, and if the
tarn were Feur-Lochan above Fionnaphort that is on the strait of Iona on
the west side of the Ross of Mull, she did not at first make any answer.
The rain trickled down her withered brown face, over which the thin gray
locks hung limply. It was only in the deep-set eyes that the flame of
life still glimmered, though that dimly.

The man had used the English when first he spoke, but as though
mechanically. Supposing that he had not been understood, he repeated his
question in the Gaelic.

After a minute's silence the old woman answered him in the native
tongue, but only to put a question in return.

"I am thinking it is a long time since you have been in Iona?"

The man stirred uneasily.

"And why is that, mother?" he asked, in a weak voice hoarse with damp
and fatigue; "how is it you will be knowing that I have been in Iona at
all?"

"Because I knew your kith and kin there, Neil Ross."

"I have not been hearing that name, mother, for many a long year. And as
for the old face o' you, it is unbeknown to me."

"I was at the naming of you, for all that. Well do I remember the day
that Silis Macallum gave you birth; and I was at the house on the croft
of Ballyrona when Murtagh Ross--that was your father--laughed. It was an
ill laughing that."

"I am knowing it. The curse of God on him!"

"'Tis not the first, nor the last, though the grass is on his head three
years agone now."

"You that know who I am will be knowing that I have no kith or kin now
on Iona?"

"Ay; they are all under gray stone or running wave. Donald your brother,
and Murtagh your next brother, and little Silis, and your mother Silis
herself, and your two brothers of your father, Angus and Ian Macallum,
and your father Murtagh Ross, and his lawful childless wife, Dionaid,
and his sister Anna--one and all, they lie beneath the green wave or in
the brown mould. It is said there is a curse upon all who live at
Ballyrona. The owl builds now in the rafters, and it is the big sea-rat
that runs across the fireless hearth."

"It is there I am going."

"The foolishness is on you, Neil Ross."

"Now it is that I am knowing who you are. It is old Sheen Macarthur I am
speaking to."

"Tha mise ... it is I."

"And you will be alone now, too, I am thinking, Sheen?"

"I am alone. God took my three boys at the one fishing ten years ago;
and before there was moonrise in the blackness of my heart my man went.
It was after the drowning of Anndra that my croft was taken from me.
Then I crossed the Sound, and shared with my widow sister Elsie McVurie
till _she_ went; and then the two cows had to go; and I had no rent, and
was old."

In the silence that followed, the rain dribbled from the sodden bracken
and dripping loneroid. Big tears rolled slowly down the deep lines on
the face of Sheen. Once there was a sob in her throat, but she put her
shaking hand to it, and it was still.

Neil Ross shifted from foot to foot. The ooze in that marshy place
squelched with each restless movement he made. Beyond them a plover
wheeled, a blurred splatch in the mist, crying its mournful cry over and
over and over.

It was a pitiful thing to hear--ah, bitter loneliness, bitter patience
of poor old women. That he knew well. But he was too weary, and his
heart was nigh full of its own burthen. The words could not come to his
lips. But at last he spoke.

"Tha mo chridhe goirt," he said, with tears in his voice, as he put his
hand on her bent shoulder; "my heart is sore."

She put up her old face against his.

"'S tha e ruidhinn mo chridhe," she whispered; "it is touching my heart
you are."

After that they walked on slowly through the dripping mist, each dumb
and brooding deep.

"Where will you be staying this night?" asked Sheen suddenly, when they
had traversed a wide boggy stretch of land; adding, as by an
afterthought--"Ah, it is asking you were if the tarn there were
Feur-Lochan. No; it is Loch-a-chaoruinn, and the clachan that is near is
Contullich."

"Which way?"

"Yonder, to the right."

"And you are not going there?"

"No. I am going to the steading of Andrew Blair. Maybe you are for
knowing it? It is called the Baile-na-Chlais-nambuidheag."[11]

[Footnote 11: "The farm in the hollow of the yellow flowers."]

"I do not remember. But it is remembering a Blair I am. He was Adam, the
son of Adam, the son of Robert. He and my father did many an ill deed
together."

"Ay, to the stones be it said. Sure, now, there was, even till this
weary day, no man or woman who had a good word for Adam Blair."

"And why that ... why till this day?"

"It is not yet the third hour since he went into the silence."

Neil Ross uttered a sound like a stifled curse. For a time he trudged
wearily on.

"Then I am too late," he said at last, but as though speaking to
himself. "I had hoped to see him face to face again, and curse him
between the eyes. It was he who made Murtagh Ross break his troth to my
mother, and marry that other woman, barren at that, God be praised! And
they say ill of him, do they?"

"Ay, it is evil that is upon him. This crime and that, God knows; and
the shadow of murder on his brow and in his eyes. Well, well, 'tis ill
to be speaking of a man in corpse, and that near by. 'Tis Himself only
that knows, Neil Ross."

"Maybe ay and maybe no. But where is it that I can be sleeping this
night, Sheen Macarthur?"

"They will not be taking a stranger at the farm this night of the
nights, I am thinking. There is no place else for seven miles yet, when
there is the clachan, before you will be coming to Fionnaphort. There is
the warm byre, Neil, my man; or, if you can bide by my peats, you may
rest, and welcome, though there is no bed for you, and no food either
save some of the porridge that is over."

"And that will do well enough for me, Sheen; and Himself bless you for
it."

And so it was.

       *       *       *       *       *

After old Sheen Macarthur had given the wayfarer food--poor food at
that, but welcome to one nigh starved, and for the heartsome way it was
given, and because of the thanks to God that was upon it before even
spoon was lifted--she told him a lie. It was the good lie of tender
love.

"Sure now, after all, Neil, my man," she said, "it is sleeping at the
farm I ought to be, for Maisie Macdonald, the wise woman, will be
sitting by the corpse, and there will be none to keep her company. It is
there I must be going; and if I am weary, there is a good bed for me
just beyond the dead-board, which I am not minding at all. So, if it is
tired you are sitting by the peats, lie down on my bed there, and have
the sleep; and God be with you."

With that she went, and soundlessly, for Neil Ross was already asleep,
where he sat on an upturned claar, with his elbows on his knees, and his
flame-lit face in his hands.

The rain had ceased; but the mist still hung over the land, though in
thin veils now, and these slowly drifting seaward. Sheen stepped wearily
along the stony path that led from her bothy to the farm-house. She
stood still once, the fear upon her, for she saw three or four blurred
yellow gleams moving beyond her, eastward, along the dyke. She knew what
they were--the corpse-lights that on the night of death go between the
bier and the place of burial. More than once she had seen them before
the last hour, and by that token had known the end to be near.

Good Catholic that she was, she crossed herself, and took heart. Then
muttering

    "Crois nan naoi aingeal leam
    'O mhullach mo chinn
    Gu craican mo bhonn."

    (The cross of the nine angels be about me,
    From the top of my head
    To the soles of my feet),

she went on her way fearlessly.

When she came to the White House, she entered by the milk-shed that was
between the byre and the kitchen. At the end of it was a paved place,
with washing-tubs. At one of these stood a girl that served in the
house--an ignorant lass called Jessie McFall, out of Oban. She was
ignorant, indeed, not to know that to wash clothes with a newly dead
body near by was an ill thing to do. Was it not a matter for the knowing
that the corpse could hear, and might rise up in the night and clothe
itself in a clean white shroud?

She was still speaking to the lassie when Maisie Macdonald, the
deid-watcher, opened the door of the room behind the kitchen to see who
it was that was come. The two old women nodded silently. It was not till
Sheen was in the closed room, midway in which something covered with a
sheet lay on a board, that any word was spoken.

"Duit sìth mòr, Beann Macdonald."

"And deep peace to you, too, Sheen; and to him that is there."

"Och, ochone, mise 'n diugh; 'tis a dark hour this."

"Ay; it is bad. Will you have been hearing or seeing anything?"

"Well, as for that, I am thinking I saw lights moving betwixt here and
the green place over there."

"The corpse-lights?"

"Well, it is calling them that they are."

"I _thought_ they would be out. And I have been hearing the noise of the
planks--the cracking of the boards, you know, that will be used for the
coffin to-morrow."

A long silence followed. The old women had seated themselves by the
corpse, their cloaks over their heads. The room was fireless, and was
lit only by a tall wax death-candle, kept against the hour of the going.

At last Sheen began swaying slowly to and fro, crooning low the while.
"I would not be for doing that, Sheen Macarthur," said the deid-watcher
in a low voice, but meaningly; adding, after a moment's pause, "_The
mice have all left the house_."

Sheen sat upright, a look half of terror, half of awe in her eyes.

"God save the sinful soul that is hiding," she whispered.

Well she knew what Maisie meant. If the soul of the dead be a lost soul
it knows its doom. The house of death is the house of sanctuary; but
before the dawn that follows the death-night the soul must go forth,
whosoever or whatsoever wait for it in the homeless, shelterless plains
of air around and beyond. If it be well with the soul, it need have no
fear; if it be not ill with the soul, it may fare forth with surety; but
if it be ill with the soul, ill will the going be. Thus is it that the
spirit of an evil man cannot stay, and yet dare not go; and so it
strives to hide itself in secret places anywhere, in dark channels and
blind walls; and the wise creatures that live near man smell the terror,
and flee. Maisie repeated the saying of Sheen, then, after a silence,
added:

"Adam Blair will not lie in his grave for a year and a day because of
the sins that are upon him; and it is knowing that, they are here. He
will be the Watcher of the Dead for a year and a day."

"Ay, sure, there will be dark prints in the dawn-dew over yonder."

Once more the old women relapsed into silence. Through the night there
was a sighing sound. It was not the sea, which was too far off to be
heard save in a day of storm. The wind it was, that was dragging itself
across the sodden moors like a wounded thing, moaning and sighing.

Out of sheer weariness, Sheen twice rocked forward from her stool, heavy
with sleep. At last Maisie led her over to the niche-bed opposite, and
laid her down there, and waited till the deep furrows in the face
relaxed somewhat, and the thin breath labored slow across the fallen
jaw.

"Poor old woman," she muttered, heedless of her own gray hairs and
grayer years; "a bitter, bad thing it is to be old, old and weary. 'Tis
the sorrow, that. God keep the pain of it!"

As for herself, she did not sleep at all that night, but sat between the
living and the dead, with her plaid shrouding her. Once, when Sheen gave
a low, terrified scream in her sleep, she rose, and in a loud voice
cried, "_Sheeach-ad! Away with you!_" And with that she lifted the
shroud from the dead man, and took the pennies off the eyelids, and
lifted each lid; then, staring into these filmed wells, muttered an
ancient incantation that would compel the soul of Adam Blair to leave
the spirit of Sheen alone, and return to the cold corpse that was its
coffin till the wood was ready.

The dawn came at last. Sheen slept, and Adam Blair slept a deeper sleep,
and Maisie stared out of her wan, weary eyes against the red and stormy
flares of light that came into the sky.

When, an hour after sunrise, Sheen Macarthur reached her bothy, she
found Neil Ross, heavy with slumber, upon her bed. The fire was not out,
though no flame or spark was visible; but she stooped and blew at the
heart of the peats till the redness came, and once it came it grew.
Having done this, she kneeled and said a rune of the morning, and after
that a prayer, and then a prayer for the poor man Neil. She could pray
no more because of the tears. She rose and put the meal and water into
the pot for the porridge to be ready against his awaking. One of the
hens that was there came and pecked at her ragged skirt. "Poor beastie,"
she said. "Sure, that will just be the way I am pulling at the white
robe of the Mother o' God. 'Tis a bit meal for you, cluckie, and for me
a healing hand upon my tears. O, och, ochone, the tears, the tears!"

It was not till the third hour after sunrise of that bleak day in that
winter of the winters, that Neil Ross stirred and arose. He ate in
silence. Once he said that he smelt the snow coming out of the north.
Sheen said no word at all.

After the porridge, he took his pipe, but there was no tobacco. All that
Sheen had was the pipeful she kept against the gloom of the Sabbath. It
was her one solace in the long weary week. She gave him this, and held a
burning peat to his mouth, and hungered over the thin, rank smoke that
curled upward.

It was within half-an-hour of noon that, after an absence, she returned.

"Not between you and me, Neil Ross," she began abruptly, "but just for
the asking, and what is beyond. Is it any money you are having upon
you?"

"No."

"Nothing?"

"Nothing."

"Then how will you be getting across to Iona? It is seven long miles to
Fionnaphort, and bitter cold at that, and you will be needing food, and
then the ferry, the ferry across the Sound, you know."

"Ay, I know."

"What would you do for a silver piece, Neil, my man?"

"You have none to give me, Sheen Macarthur; and, if you had, it would
not be taking it I would."

"Would you kiss a dead man for a crown-piece--a crown-piece of five good
shillings?"

Neil Ross stared. Then he sprang to his feet.

"It is Adam Blair you are meaning, woman! God curse him in death now
that he is no longer in life!"

Then, shaking and trembling, he sat down again, and brooded against the
dull red glow of the peats.

But, when he rose, in the last quarter before noon, his face was white.

"The dead are dead, Sheen Macarthur. They can know or do nothing. I will
do it. It is willed. Yes, I am going up to the house there. And now I am
going from here. God Himself has my thanks to you, and my blessing too.
They will come back to you. It is not forgetting you I will be.
Good-bye."

"Good-bye, Neil, son of the woman that was my friend. A south wind to
you! Go up by the farm. In the front of the house you will see what you
will be seeing. Maisie Macdonald will be there. She will tell you what's
for the telling. There is no harm in it, sure; sure, the dead are dead.
It is praying for you I will be, Neil Ross. Peace to you!"

"And to you, Sheen."

And with that the man went.

       *       *       *       *       *

When Neil Ross reached the byres of the farm in the wide hollow, he saw
two figures standing as though awaiting him, but separate, and unseen of
the other. In front of the house was a man he knew to be Andrew Blair;
behind the milk-shed was a woman he guessed to be Maisie Macdonald.

It was the woman he came upon first.

"Are you the friend of Sheen Macarthur?" she asked in a whisper, as she
beckoned him to the doorway.

"I am."

"I am knowing no names or anything. And no one here will know you, I am
thinking. So do the thing and begone."

"There is no harm to it?"

"None."

"It will be a thing often done, is it not?"

"Ay, sure."

"And the evil does not abide?"

"No. The ... the ... person ... the person takes them away, and...."

"_Them?_"

"For sure, man! Them ... the sins of the corpse. He takes them away; and
are you for thinking God would let the innocent suffer for the guilty?
No ... the person ... the Sin-Eater, you know ... takes them away on
himself, and one by one the air of heaven washes them away till he, the
Sin-Eater, is clean and whole as before."

"But if it is a man you hate ... if it is a corpse that is the corpse of
one who has been a curse and a foe ... if...."

"_Sst!_ Be still now with your foolishness. It is only an idle saying, I
am thinking. Do it, and take the money and go. It will be hell enough
for Adam Blair, miser as he was, if he is for knowing that five good
shillings of his money are to go to a passing tramp because of an old,
ancient silly tale."

Neil Ross laughed low at that. It was for pleasure to him.

"Hush wi' ye! Andrew Blair is waiting round there. Say that I have sent
you round, as I have neither bite nor bit to give."

Turning on his heel, Neil walked slowly round to the front of the house.
A tall man was there, gaunt and brown, with hairless face and lank brown
hair, but with eyes cold and gray as the sea.

"Good day to you, an' good faring. Will you be passing this way to
anywhere?"

"Health to you. I am a stranger here. It is on my way to Iona I am. But
I have the hunger upon me. There is not a brown bit in my pocket. I
asked at the door there, near the byres. The woman told me she could
give me nothing--not a penny even, worse luck--nor, for that, a drink of
warm milk. 'Tis a sore land this."

"You have the Gaelic of the Isles. Is it from Iona you are?"

"It is from the Isles of the West I come."

"From Tiree ... from Coll?"

"No."

"From the Long Island ... or from Uist ... or maybe from Benbecula?"

"No."

"Oh well, sure it is no matter to me. But may I be asking your name?"

"Macallum."

"Do you know there is a death here, Macallum?"

"If I didn't I would know it now, because of what lies yonder."

Mechanically Andrew Blair looked round. As he knew, a rough bier was
there, that was made of a dead-board laid upon three milking-stools.
Beside it was a claar, a small tub to hold potatoes. On the bier was a
corpse, covered with a canvas sheeting that looked like a sail.

"He was a worthy man, my father," began the son of the dead man, slowly;
"but he had his faults, like all of us. I might even be saying that he
had his sins, to the Stones be it said. You will be knowing, Macallum,
what is thought among the folk ... that a stranger, passing by, may take
away the sins of the dead, and that, too, without any hurt whatever ...
any hurt whatever."

"Ay, sure."

"And you will be knowing what is done?"

"Ay."

"With the bread ... and the water...?"

"Ay."

"It is a small thing to do. It is a Christian thing. I would be doing
it myself, and that gladly, but the ... the ... passer-by who...."

"It is talking of the Sin-Eater you are?"

"Yes, yes, for sure. The Sin-Eater as he is called--and a good Christian
act it is, for all that the ministers and the priests make a frowning at
it--the Sin-Eater must be a stranger. He must be a stranger, and should
know nothing of the dead man--above all, bear him no grudge."

At that Neil Ross's eyes lightened for a moment.

"And why that?"

"Who knows? I have heard this, and I have heard that. If the Sin-Eater
was hating the dead man he could take the sins and fling them into the
sea, and they would be changed into demons of the air that would harry
the flying soul till Judgment-Day."

"And how would that thing be done?"

The man spoke with flashing eyes and parted lips, the breath coming
swift. Andrew Blair looked at him suspiciously; and hesitated, before,
in a cold voice, he spoke again.

"That is all folly, I am thinking, Macallum. Maybe it is all folly, the
whole of it. But, see here, I have no time to be talking with you. If
you will take the bread and the water you shall have a good meal if you
want it, and ... and ... yes, look you, my man, I will be giving you a
shilling too, for luck."

"I will have no meal in this house, Anndramhic-Adam; nor will I do this
thing unless you will be giving me two silver half-crowns. That is the
sum I must have, or no other."

"Two half-crowns! Why, man, for one half-crown...."

"Then be eating the sins o' your father yourself, Andrew Blair! It is
going I am."

"Stop, man! Stop, Macallum. See here--I will be giving you what you
ask."

"So be it. Is the.... Are you ready?"

"Ay, come this way."

With that the two men turned and moved slowly towards the bier.

In the doorway of the house stood a man and two women; farther in, a
woman; and at the window to the left, the serving-wench, Jessie McFall,
and two men of the farm. Of those in the doorway, the man was Peter, the
half-witted youngest brother of Andrew Blair; the taller and older woman
was Catreen, the widow of Adam, the second brother; and the thin, slight
woman, with staring eyes and drooping mouth, was Muireall, the wife of
Andrew. The old woman behind these was Maisie Macdonald.

Andrew Blair stooped and took a saucer out of the claar. This he put
upon the covered breast of the corpse. He stooped again, and brought
forth a thick square piece of new-made bread. That also he placed upon
the breast of the corpse. Then he stooped again, and with that he
emptied a spoonful of salt alongside the bread.

"I must see the corpse," said Neil Ross simply.

"It is not needful, Macallum."

"I must be seeing the corpse, I tell you--and for that, too, the bread
and the water should be on the naked breast."

"No, no, man; it...."

But here a voice, that of Maisie the wise woman, came upon them, saying
that the man was right, and that the eating of the sins should be done
in that way and no other.

With an ill grace the son of the dead man drew back the sheeting.
Beneath it, the corpse was in a clean white shirt, a death-gown long ago
prepared, that covered him from his neck to his feet, and left only the
dusky yellowish face exposed.

While Andrew Blair unfastened the shirt and placed the saucer and the
bread and the salt on the breast, the man beside him stood staring
fixedly on the frozen features of the corpse. The new laird had to speak
to him twice before he heard.

"I am ready. And you, now? What is it you are muttering over against the
lips of the dead?"

"It is giving him a message I am. There is no harm in that, sure?"

"Keep to your own folk, Macallum. You are from the West you say, and we
are from the North. There can be no messages between you and a Blair of
Strathmore, no messages for _you_ to be giving."

"He that lies here knows well the man to whom I am sending a
message"--and at this response Andrew Blair scowled darkly. He would
fain have sent the man about his business, but he feared he might get no
other.

"It is thinking I am that you are not a Macallum at all. I know all of
that name in Mull, Iona, Skye, and the near isles. What will the name of
your naming be, and of your father, and of his place?"

Whether he really wanted an answer, or whether he sought only to divert
the man from his procrastination, his question had a satisfactory
result.

"Well, now, it's ready I am, Anndra-mhic-Adam."

With that, Andrew Blair stooped once more and from the claar brought a
small jug of water. From this he filled the saucer.

"You know what to say and what to do, Macallum."

There was not one there who did not have a shortened breath because of
the mystery that was now before them, and the fearfulness of it. Neil
Ross drew himself up, erect, stiff, with white, drawn face. All who
waited, save Andrew Blair, thought that the moving of his lips was
because of the prayer that was slipping upon them, like the last lapsing
of the ebb-tide. But Blair was watching him closely, and knew that it
was no prayer which stole out against the blank air that was around the
dead.

Slowly Neil Ross extended his right arm. He took a pinch of the salt and
put it in the saucer, then took another pinch and sprinkled it upon the
bread. His hand shook for a moment as he touched the saucer. But there
was no shaking as he raised it towards his lips, or when he held it
before him when he spoke.

"With this water that has salt in it, and has lain on thy corpse, O Adam
mhic Anndra mhic Adam Mòr, I drink away all the evil that is upon
thee...."

There was throbbing silence while he paused.

"... And may it be upon me and not upon thee, if with this water it
cannot flow away."

Thereupon, he raised the saucer and passed it thrice round the head of
the corpse sunways; and, having done this, lifted it to his lips and
drank as much as his mouth would hold. Thereafter he poured the remnant
over his left hand, and let it trickle to the ground. Then he took the
piece of bread. Thrice, too, he passed it round the head of the corpse
sunways.

He turned and looked at the man by his side, then at the others, who
watched him with beating hearts.

With a loud clear voice he took the sins.

"_Thoir dhomh do ciontachd, O Adam mhic Anndra mhic Adam Mòr!_ Give me
thy sins to take away from thee! Lo, now, as I stand here, I break this
bread that has lain on thee in corpse, and I am eating it, I am, and in
that eating I take upon me the sins of thee, O man that was alive and is
now white with the stillness!"

Thereupon Neil Ross broke the bread and ate of it, and took upon himself
the sins of Adam Blair that was dead. It was a bitter swallowing, that.
The remainder of the bread he crumbled in his hand, and threw it on the
ground, and trod upon it. Andrew Blair gave a sigh of relief. His cold
eyes lightened with malice.

"Be off with you, now, Macallum. We are wanting no tramps at the farm
here, and perhaps you had better not be trying to get work this side
Iona; for it is known as the Sin-Eater you will be, and that won't be
for the helping, I am thinking! There--there are the two half-crowns for
you ... and may they bring you no harm, you that are _Scapegoat_ now!"

The Sin-Eater turned at that, and stared like a hill-bull. _Scapegoat!_
Ay, that's what he was. Sin-Eater, Scapegoat! Was he not, too, another
Judas, to have sold for silver that which was not for the selling? No,
no, for sure Maisie Macdonald could tell him the rune that would serve
for the easing of this burden. He would soon be quit of it.

Slowly he took the money, turned it over, and put it in his pocket.

"I am going, Andrew Blair," he said quietly, "I am going now. I will not
say to him that is there in the silence, A chuid do Pharas da!--nor will
I say to you, Gu'n gleidheadh Dia thu,--nor will I say to this dwelling
that is the home of thee and thine, Gu'n beannaic-headh Dia an
tigh!"[12]

[Footnote 12: A chuid do Pharas da! "His share of heaven be his." Gu'n
gleidheadh Dia thu, "May God preserve you." Gu'n beannaic-headh Dia an
tigh! "God's blessing on this house."]

Here there was a pause. All listened. Andrew Blair shifted uneasily, the
furtive eyes of him going this way and that, like a ferret in the grass.

"But, Andrew Blair, I will say this: when you fare abroad, _Droch caoidh
ort!_ and when you go upon the water, _Gaoth gun direadh ort_! Ay, ay,
Anndra-mhic-Adam, _Dia ad aghaidh 's ad aodann ... agus bas dunach ort!
Dhonas 's dholas ort, agus leat-sa!_"[13]

[Footnote 13: Droch caoidh ort! "May a fatal accident happen to you"
(_lit._ "bad moan on you"). Gaoth gun direadh ort! "May you drift to
your drowning" (_lit._ "wind without direction on you"). Dia ad aghaidh,
etc., "God against thee and in thy face ... and may a death of woe be
yours.... Evil and sorrow to thee and thine!"]

The bitterness of these words was like snow in June upon all there. They
stood amazed. None spoke. No one moved.

Neil Ross turned upon his heel, and, with a bright light in his eyes,
walked away from the dead and the living. He went by the byres, whence
he had come. Andrew Blair remained where he was, now glooming at the
corpse, now biting his nails and staring at the damp sods at his feet.

When Neil reached the end of the milk-shed he saw Maisie Macdonald
there, waiting.

"These were ill sayings of yours, Neil Ross," she said in a low voice,
so that she might not be overheard from the house.

"So, it is knowing me you are."

"Sheen Macarthur told me."

"I have good cause."

"That is a true word. I know it."

"Tell me this thing. What is the rune that is said for the throwing into
the sea of the sins of the dead? See here, Maisie Macdonald. There is no
money of that man that I would carry a mile with me. Here it is. It is
yours, if you will tell me that rune."

Maisie took the money hesitatingly. Then, stooping, she said slowly the
few lines of the old, old rune.

"Will you be remembering that?"

"It is not forgetting it I will be, Maisie."

"Wait a moment. There is some warm milk here."

With that she went, and then, from within, beckoned to him to enter.

"There is no one here, Neil Ross. Drink the milk."

He drank; and while he did so she drew a leather pouch from some hidden
place in her dress.

"And now I have this to give you."

She counted out ten pennies and two farthings.

"It is all the coppers I have. You are welcome to them. Take them,
friend of my friend. They will give you the food you need, and the ferry
across the Sound."

"I will do that, Maisie Macdonald, and thanks to you. It is not
forgetting it I will be, nor you, good woman. And now, tell me, is it
safe that I am? He called me a 'scapegoat', he, Andrew Blair! Can evil
touch me between this and the sea?"

"You must go to the place where the evil was done to you and yours--and
that, I know, is on the west side of Iona. Go, and God preserve you. But
here, too, is a sian that will be for the safety."

Thereupon, with swift mutterings she said this charm: an old, familiar
Sian against Sudden Harm:

    "Sian a chuir Moire air Mac ort,
    Sian ro' marbhadh, sian ro' lot ort,
    Sian eadar a' chlioch 's a' ghlun,
    Sian nan Tri ann an aon ort,
    O mhullach do chinn gu bonn do chois ort:
    Sian seachd eadar a h-aon ort,
    Sian seachd eadar a dha ort,
    Sian seachd eadar a tri ort,
    Sian seachd eadar a ceithir ort,
    Sian seachd eadar a coig ort,
    Sian seachd eadar a sia ort,
    Sian seachd paidir nan seach paidir dol deiseil ri diugh narach ort,
      ga do ghleidheadh bho bheud 's bho mhi-thapadh!"

Scarcely had she finished before she heard heavy steps approaching.

"Away with you," she whispered, repeating in a loud, angry tone, "Away
with you! _Seachad! Seachad!_"

And with that Neil Ross slipped from the milk-shed and crossed the yard,
and was behind the byres before Andrew Blair, with sullen mien and
swift, wild eyes, strode from the house.

It was with a grim smile on his face that Neil tramped down the wet
heather till he reached the high road, and fared thence as through a
marsh because of the rains there had been.

For the first mile he thought of the angry mind of the dead man, bitter
at paying of the silver. For the second mile he thought of the evil that
had been wrought for him and his. For the third mile he pondered over
all that he had heard and done and taken upon him that day.

Then he sat down upon a broken granite heap by the way, and brooded deep
till one hour went, and then another, and the third was upon him.

A man driving two calves came towards him out of the west. He did not
hear or see. The man stopped; spoke again. Neil gave no answer. The
drover shrugged his shoulders, hesitated, and walked slowly on, often
looking back.

An hour later a shepherd came by the way he himself had tramped. He was
a tall, gaunt man with a squint. The small, pale-blue eyes glittered out
of a mass of red hair that almost covered his face. He stood still,
opposite Neil, and leaned on his _cromak_.

"Latha math leat," he said at last; "I wish you good day."

Neil glanced at him, but did not speak.

"What is your name, for I seem to know you?"

But Neil had already forgotten him. The shepherd took out his
snuff-mull, helped himself, and handed the mull to the lonely wayfarer.
Neil mechanically helped himself.

"Am bheil thu 'dol do Fhionphort?" tried the shepherd again: "Are you
going to Fionnaphort?"

"Tha mise 'dol a dh' I-challum-chille," Neil answered, in a low, weary
voice, and as a man adream: "I am on my way to Iona."

"I am thinking I know now who you are. You are the man Macallum."

Neil looked, but did not speak. His eyes dreamed against what the other
could not see or know. The shepherd called angrily to his dogs to keep
the sheep from straying; then, with a resentful air, turned to his
victim.

"You are a silent man for sure, you are. I'm hoping it is not the curse
upon you already."

"What curse?"

"Ah, _that_ has brought the wind against the mist! I was thinking so!"

"What curse?"

"You are the man that was the Sin-Eater over there?"

"Ay."

"The man Macallum?"

"Ay."

"Strange it is, but three days ago I saw you in Tobermory, and heard you
give your name as Neil Ross to an Iona man that was there."

"Well?"

"Oh, sure, it is nothing to me. But they say the Sin-Eater should not be
a man with a hidden lump in his pack."[14]

[Footnote 14: i.e. With a criminal secret, or an undiscovered crime.]

"Why?"

"For the dead know, and are content. There is no shaking off any sins,
then--for that man."

"It is a lie."

"Maybe ay and maybe no."

"Well, have you more to be saying to me? I am obliged to you for your
company, but it is not needing it I am, though no offense."

"Och, man, there's no offense between you and me. Sure, there's Iona in
me, too; for the father of my father married a woman that was the
granddaughter of Tomais Macdonald, who was a fisherman there. No, no; it
is rather warning you I would be."

"And for what?"

"Well, well, just because of that laugh I heard about."

"What laugh?"

"The laugh of Adam Blair that is dead."

Neil Ross stared, his eyes large and wild. He leaned a little forward.
No word came from him. The look that was on his face was the question.

"Yes, it was this way. Sure, the telling of it is just as I heard it.
After you ate the sins of Adam Blair, the people there brought out the
coffin. When they were putting him into it, he was as stiff as a sheep
dead in the snow--and just like that, too, with his eyes wide open.
Well, someone saw you trampling the heather down the slope that is in
front of the house, and said, 'It is the Sin-Eater!' With that, Andrew
Blair sneered, and said--'Ay, 'tis the scapegoat he is!' Then, after a
while, he went on, 'The Sin-Eater they call him; ay, just so; and a
bitter good bargain it is, too, if all's true that's thought true!' And
with that he laughed, and then his wife that was behind him laughed,
and then...."

"Well, what then?"

"Well, 'tis Himself that hears and knows if it is true! But this is the
thing I was told: After that laughing there was a stillness and a dread.
For all there saw that the corpse had turned its head and was looking
after you as you went down the heather. Then, Neil Ross, if that be your
true name, Adam Blair that was dead put up his white face against the
sky, and laughed."

At this, Ross sprang to his feet with a gasping sob.

"It is a lie, that thing!" he cried, shaking his fist at the shepherd.
"It is a lie."

"It is no lie. And by the same token, Andrew Blair shrank back white and
shaking, and his woman had the swoon upon her, and who knows but the
corpse might have come to life again had it not been for Maisie
Macdonald, the deid-watcher, who clapped a handful of salt on his eyes,
and tilted the coffin so that the bottom of it slid forward, and so let
the whole fall flat on the ground, with Adam Blair in it sideways, and
as likely as not cursing and groaning, as his wont was, for the hurt
both to his old bones and his old ancient dignity."

Ross glared at the man as though the madness was upon him. Fear and
horror and fierce rage swung him now this way and now that.

"What will the name of you be, shepherd?" he stuttered huskily.

"It is Eachainn Gilleasbuig I am to ourselves; and the English of that
for those who have no Gaelic is Hector Gillespie; and I am Eachainn mac
Ian mac Alasdair of Strathsheean that is where Sutherland lies against
Ross."

"Then take this thing--and that is, the curse of the Sin-Eater! And a
bitter bad thing may it be upon you and yours."

And with that Neil the Sin-Eater flung his hand up into the air, and
then leaped past the shepherd, and a minute later was running through
the frightened sheep, with his head low, and a white foam on his lips,
and his eyes red with blood as a seal's that has the death-wound on it.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the third day of the seventh month from that day, Aulay Macneill,
coming into Balliemore of Iona from the west side of the island, said to
old Ronald MacCormick, that was the father of his wife, that he had seen
Neil Ross again, and that he was "absent"--for though he had spoken to
him, Neil would not answer, but only gloomed at him from the wet weedy
rock where he sat.

The going back of the man had loosed every tongue that was in Iona.
When, too, it was known that he was wrought in some terrible way, if not
actually mad, the islanders whispered that it was because of the sins of
Adam Blair. Seldom or never now did they speak of him by his name, but
simply as "The Sin-Eater." The thing was not so rare as to cause this
strangeness, nor did many (and perhaps none did) think that the sins of
the dead ever might or could abide with the living who had merely done a
good Christian charitable thing. But there was a reason.

Not long after Neil Ross had come again to Iona, and had settled down
in the ruined roofless house on the croft of Ballyrona, just like a fox
or a wild-cat, as the saying was, he was given fishing-work to do by
Aulay Macneill, who lived at Ard-an-teine, at the rocky north end of the
machar or plain that is on the west Atlantic coast of the island.

One moonlit night, either the seventh or the ninth after the earthing of
Adam Blair at his own place in the Ross, Aulay Macneill saw Neil Ross
steal out of the shadow of Ballyrona and make for the sea. Macneill was
there by the rocks, mending a lobster-creel. He had gone there because
of the sadness. Well, when he saw the Sin-Eater, he watched.

Neil crept from rock to rock till he reached the last fang that churns
the sea into yeast when the tide sucks the land just opposite.

Then he called out something that Aulay Macneill could not catch. With
that he springs up, and throws his arms above him.

"Then," says Aulay when he tells the tale, "it was like a ghost he was.
The moonshine was on his face like the curl o' a wave. White! there is
no whiteness like that of the human face. It was whiter than the foam
about the skerry it was; whiter than the moon shining; whiter than ...
well, as white as the painted letters on the black boards of the
fishing-cobles. There he stood, for all that the sea was about him, the
slip-slop waves leapin' wild, and the tide making, too, at that. He was
shaking like a sail two points off the wind. It was then that, all of a
sudden, he called in a womany, screamin' voice--

"'I am throwing the sins of Adam Blair into the midst of ye, white dogs
o' the sea! Drown them, tear them, drag them away out into the black
deeps! Ay, ay, ay, ye dancin' wild waves, this is the third time I am
doing it, and now there is none left; no, not a sin, not a sin!

    "'O-hi O-ri, dark tide o' the sea,
    I am giving the sins of a dead man to thee!
    By the Stones, by the Wind, by the Fire, by the Tree,
    From the dead man's sins set me free, set me free!
    Adam mhic Anndra mhic Adam and me,
    Set us free! Set us free!'

"Ay, sure, the Sin-Eater sang that over and over; and after the third
singing he swung his arms and screamed:

    "'And listen to me, black waters an' running tide,
    That rune is the good rune told me by Maisie the wise,
    And I am Neil the son of Silis Macallum
    By the black-hearted evil man Murtagh Ross,
    That was the friend of Adam mac Anndra, God against him!'

"And with that he scrambled and fell into the sea. But, as I am Aulay
mac Luais and no other, he was up in a moment, an' swimmin' like a seal,
and then over the rocks again, an' away back to that lonely roofless
place once more, laughing wild at times, an' muttering an' whispering."

It was this tale of Aulay Macneill's that stood between Neil Ross and
the isle-folk. There was something behind all that, they whispered one
to another.

So it was always the Sin-Eater he was called at last. None sought him.
The few children who came upon him now and again fled at his approach,
or at the very sight of him. Only Aulay Macneill saw him at times, and
had word of him.

After a month had gone by, all knew that the Sin-Eater was wrought to
madness because of this awful thing: the burden of Adam Blair's sins
would not go from him! Night and day he could hear them laughing low, it
was said.

But it was the quiet madness. He went to and fro like a shadow in the
grass, and almost as soundless as that, and as voiceless. More and more
the name of him grew as a terror. There were few folk on that wild west
coast of Iona, and these few avoided him when the word ran that he had
knowledge of strange things, and converse, too, with the secrets of the
sea.

One day Aulay Macneill, in his boat, but dumb with amaze and terror for
him, saw him at high tide swimming on a long rolling wave right into the
hollow of the Spouting Cave. In the memory of man, no one had done this
and escaped one of three things: a snatching away into oblivion, a
strangled death, or madness. The islanders know that there swims into
the cave, at full tide, a Mar-Tarbh, a dreadful creature of the sea that
some call a kelpie; only it is not a kelpie, which is like a woman, but
rather is a sea-bull, offspring of the cattle that are never seen. Ill
indeed for any sheep or goat, ay, or even dog or child, if any happens
to be leaning over the edge of the Spouting Cave when the Mar-tarv
roars; for, of a surety, it will fall in and straightway be devoured.

With awe and trembling Aulay listened for the screaming of the doomed
man. It was full tide, and the sea-beast would be there.

The minutes passed, and no sign. Only the hollow booming of the sea, as
it moved like a baffled blind giant round the cavern-bases; only the
rush and spray of the water flung up the narrow shaft high into the
windy air above the cliff it penetrates.

At last he saw what looked like a mass of seaweed swirled out on the
surge. It was the Sin-Eater. With a leap, Aulay was at his oars. The
boat swung through the sea. Just before Neil Ross was about to sink for
the second time, he caught him and dragged him into the boat.

But then, as ever after, nothing was to be got out of the Sin-Eater save
a single saying: Tha e lamhan fuar! Tha e lamhan fuar!--"It has a cold,
cold hand!"

The telling of this and other tales left none free upon the island to
look upon the "scapegoat" save as one accursed.

It was in the third month that a new phase of his madness came upon Neil
Ross.

The horror of the sea and the passion for the sea came over him at the
same happening. Oftentimes he would race along the shore, screaming wild
names to it, now hot with hate and loathing, now as the pleading of a
man with the woman of his love. And strange chants to it, too, were upon
his lips. Old, old lines of forgotten runes were overheard by Aulay
Macneill, and not Aulay only; lines wherein the ancient sea-name of the
island, _Ioua_, that was given to it long before it was called Iona, or
any other of the nine names that are said to belong to it, occurred
again and again.

The flowing tide it was that wrought him thus. At the ebb he would
wander across the weedy slabs or among the rocks, silent, and more like
a lost duinshee than a man.

Then again after three months a change in his madness came. None knew
what it was, though Aulay said that the man moaned and moaned because of
the awful burden he bore. No drowning seas for the sins that could not
be washed away, no grave for the live sins that would be quick till the
day of the Judgment!

For weeks thereafter he disappeared. As to where he was, it is not for
the knowing.

Then at last came that third day of the seventh month when, as I have
said, Aulay Macneill told old Ronald MacCormick that he had seen the
Sin-Eater again.

It was only a half-truth that he told, though. For, after he had seen
Neil Ross upon the rock, he had followed him when he rose, and wandered
back to the roofless place which he haunted now as of yore. Less
wretched a shelter now it was, because of the summer that was come,
though a cold, wet summer at that.

"Is that you, Neil Ross?" he had asked, as he peered into the shadows
among the ruins of the house.

"That's not my name," said the Sin-Eater; and he seemed as strange then
and there, as though he were a castaway from a foreign ship.

"And what will it be, then, you that are my friend, and sure knowing me
as Aulay mac Luais--Aulay Macneill that never grudges you bit or sup?"

"_I am Judas._"

       *       *       *       *       *

"And at that word," says Aulay Macneill, when he tells the tale, "at
that word the pulse in my heart was like a bat in a shut room. But after
a bit I took up the talk.

"'Indeed,' I said; 'and I was not for knowing that. May I be so bold as
to ask whose son, and of what place?'

"But all he said to me was, '_I am Judas_.'

"Well, I said, to comfort him, 'Sure, it's not such a bad name in
itself, though I am knowing some which have a more home-like sound.' But
no, it was no good.

"'I am Judas. And because I sold the Son of God for five pieces of
silver....'

"But here I interrupted him and said, 'Sure, now, Neil--I mean,
Judas--it was eight times five.' Yet the simpleness of his sorrow
prevailed, and I listened with the wet in my eyes.

"'I am Judas. And because I sold the Son of God for five silver
shillings, He laid upon me all the nameless black sins of the world. And
that is why I am bearing them till the Day of Days.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

And this was the end of the Sin-Eater; for I will not tell the long
story of Aulay Macneill, that gets longer and longer every winter; but
only the unchanging close of it.

I will tell it in the words of Aulay.

       *       *       *       *       *

"A bitter, wild day it was, that day I saw him to see him no more. It
was late. The sea was red with the flamin' light that burned up the air
betwixt Iona and all that is west of West. I was on the shore, looking
at the sea. The big green waves came in like the chariots in the Holy
Book. Well, it was on the black shoulder of one of them, just short of
the ton o' foam that swept above it, that I saw a spar surgin' by.

"'What is that?' I said to myself. And the reason of my wondering was
this: I saw that a smaller spar was swung across it. And while I was
watching that thing another great billow came in with a roar, and hurled
the double spar back, and not so far from me but I might have gripped
it. But who would have gripped that thing if he were for seeing what I
saw?

"It is Himself knows that what I say is a true thing.

"On that spar was Neil Ross, the Sin-Eater. Naked he was as the day he
was born. And he was lashed, too--ay, sure, he was lashed to it by ropes
round and round his legs and his waist and his left arm. It was the
Cross he was on. I saw that thing with the fear upon me. Ah, poor
drifting wreck that he was! _Judas on the Cross!_ It was his _eric_!

"But even as I watched, shaking in my limbs, I saw that there was life
in him still. The lips were moving, and his right arm was ever for
swinging this way and that. 'Twas like an oar, working him off a lee
shore; ay, that was what I thought.

"Then, all at once, he caught sight of me. Well he knew me, poor man,
that has his share of heaven now, I am thinking!

"He waved, and called, but the hearing could not be, because of a big
surge o' water that came tumbling down upon him. In the stroke of an oar
he was swept close by the rocks where I was standing. In that
flounderin', seethin' whirlpool I saw the white face of him for a
moment, an' as he went out on the re-surge like a hauled net, I heard
these words fallin' against my ears:

"'An eirig m'anama.... In ransom for my soul!'

"And with that I saw the double-spar turn over and slide down the
back-sweep of a drowning big wave. Ay, sure, it went out to the deep sea
swift enough then. It was in the big eddy that rushes between Skerry-Mòr
and Skerry-Beag. I did not see it again--no, not for the quarter of an
hour, I am thinking. Then I saw just the whirling top of it rising out
of the flying yeast of a great, black-blustering wave, that was rushing
northward before the current that is called the Black-Eddy.

"With that you have the end of Neil Ross; ay, sure, him that was called
the Sin-Eater. And that is a true thing; and may God save us the sorrow
of sorrows.

"And that is all."



GHOSTS IN SOLID FORM

BY GAMBIER BOLTON

Ex-Pres. The Psychological Society, London, F.R.G.S., F.Z.S., etc.



CHAPTER I

"_A single grain of solid fact is worth ten tons of theory._"

"_The more I think of it, the more I find this conclusion impressed upon
me, that the greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to
SEE something and tell what it saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people
can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can
see. To SEE clearly is poetry, prophecy, and religion all in
one._"--JOHN RUSKIN.


WORKING HYPOTHESIS

That under certain known and reasonable conditions of temperature,
light, etc., entities, existing in a sphere outside our own, have been
demonstrated again and again to manifest themselves on earth in
temporary bodies materialized from an, at present, undiscovered source,
through the agency of certain persons of both sexes, termed
"sensitives," and can be so demonstrated to any person who will provide
the conditions proved to be necessary for such a demonstration.


CONDITIONS

Looking back to the seven years of my life which I devoted to a careful
and critical investigation of the claim made, not only by both
Occidental and Oriental mystics but by well-known men of science like
Sir William Crookes, Professor Alfred Russel Wallace, and others--that
it was possible under certain clearly defined conditions to produce,
apparently out of nothing, fully formed bodies, inhabited by
(presumably) human entities from another sphere--the wonder of it still
enthralls me; the apparent impossibility of so great an upheaval of such
laws of Nature as we are at present acquainted with being proved clearly
to be possible, will remain to the end as "the wonder of wonders" in a
by no means uneventful life.

For, as compared with this, that greatest of Nature's mysteries--the
procreation of a human infant by either the normal or mechanical
impregnation of an ovum, its months of foetal growth and development in
the uterus, and its birth into the world in a helpless and enfeebled
condition, amazing as they are to all physiological students--sinks into
comparative insignificance when compared with the nearly instantaneous
production of a fully developed human body, with all its organs
functioning properly; a body inhabited temporarily by a thinking,
reasoning entity, who can see, hear, taste, smell and touch: a body
which can be handled, weighed, measured, and photographed.

When these claims were first brought to my notice I realized at once
that I was face to face with a problem which would require the very
closest investigation; and I then and there decided to give up work of
all kinds and to devote years, if necessary, to a critical examination
of these claims, to investigate the matter calmly and dispassionately,
and, in Sir John Herschel's memorable words, "to stand or fall by the
result of a direct appeal to facts in the first instance, _and of strict
logical deduction from them afterwards_."

And, as I have said, the result has been that the apparently impossible
has been proved to be possible--_the facts have beaten me_, and I accept
them whole-heartedly, admitting that our working hypothesis has been
proved beyond any possibility of doubt, and that these materialized
entities can manifest themselves to-day to any person who will provide
the conditions necessary for such a demonstration.

Who they are, what they are, whence they come, and whither they go, each
investigator must determine for himself, but of their actual existence
in a sphere just outside our own there can no longer be any room for
doubt. As a busy man, theories have little or no attraction for me. What
I demand, and what other busy men and women demand in an investigation
of this kind is that there should be a reasonable possibility of getting
hold of _facts_, good solid facts which can be demonstrated as such to
any open-minded inquirer, otherwise it would be useless to commence such
an investigation. And we have now got these facts, and can prove them on
purely scientific lines.

The meaning of the word materialization, so far at least as it concerns
our investigation, I understand to be this: the taking on by an entity
from a sphere outside our own, an entity representing a man, woman, or
child (or even a beast or bird), of a temporary body built up from
material drawn partially from the inhabitants of earth, consolidated
through the agency of certain persons of both sexes, termed sensitives,
and moulded by the entity into a semblance of the body which (it
alleges) it inhabited during its existence on earth. In other words, a
materialization is the appearance of an entity in bodily, tangible form,
i.e., one which we can touch, thus differing from an astralization,
etherealization, or apparition, which is, of course, one which cannot be
touched, although it may be clearly visible to any one possessing only
normal sight.

Let me, then, endeavor to describe to the best of my ability, and in
very simple language, how I believe these materializations to be
produced, and the conditions which I have proved to be necessary in
order that the finest results may be obtained.

I will deal first with the question of _the conditions_, as without
conditions of some kind no materialization can be produced, any more
than a scientific experiment--such as mixing various chemicals together,
in order to produce a certain result--can be carried out successfully
without proper conditions being provided by the experimenter. What,
then, do we mean by this word "conditions"?

Take a homely example. The baker mixes exactly the right quantities of
flour, salt, and yeast with water, and then places the dough which he
has made in an oven heated to just the right temperature, and produces a
loaf of bread. Why? Because the conditions were good ones. Had he
omitted the flour, the yeast, or the water, or had he used an oven over
or under-heated, he could not have produced an eatable loaf of bread,
because the conditions made it impossible.

This is what is meant by the terms "good conditions," "bad conditions,"
"breaking conditions."

The conditions, then, under which I have been able to prove to many
hundreds of inquirers that it is possible for materialized entities to
appear on earth, in solid tangible form, are these:

First, light, of suitable wave-length, i.e. suitable color, and let me
say here, once and for all, that I have proved conclusively for myself
that _darkness is not necessary_, provided that one is experimenting
with a sensitive who has been trained to sit always in the light.

On two occasions I have witnessed materializations in daylight; and
neither of Sir William Crookes's sensitives--D. D. Home or Florrie Cook
(Mrs. Corner)--would ever sit in darkness, the latter--with whom I
carried out a long series of experiments--invariably stipulating that a
good light should be used during the whole time that the experiment
lasted, as she was terrified at the mere thought of darkness.

I find that sunlight, electric light, gas, colza oil, and paraffine are
all apt to check the production of the phenomena unless filtered through
canary-yellow, orange, red linen or paper--just as they are filtered for
photographic purposes--owing to the violent action of the actinic (blue)
rays which they contain (the rays from the violet end of the spectrum),
which are said to work at about six hundred billions of vibrations per
second. But if the light is filtered in the way that I have described,
the production of the phenomena will commence at once, the vibrations of
the interfering rays being reduced, it is said, to about four hundred
billions per second or less.

In dealing with materializations we are apt to overlook the fact that we
are investigating forces or modes of energy far more delicate than
electricity, for instance. Heat, electricity, and light, as Sir William
Crookes tells us, are all closely related; we know the awful power of
heat and electricity, but are only too apt to forget--especially if it
suits our purpose to do so--that light too has enormous dynamic potency;
its vibrations being said to travel in space at the incredible speed of
twelve million miles a minute;[15] and it is therefore only reasonable
to assume that the power of these vibrations may be sufficient to
interfere seriously with the more subtle forces, such as those which we
are now investigating.

[Footnote 15: 186,900 miles a second (J. Wallace Stewart, B.Sc.).]

Secondly, we require suitable heat vibrations, and I find that those
given off in a room either warmed or chilled to sixty-three degrees are
the very best possible; anything either much above this, or more
especially, much below this, tending to weaken the results and to cheek
the phenomena.

Thirdly, we require suitable _musical_ vibrations, and, after carrying
out a long series of experiments with musical instruments of all kinds,
I find that the vibrations given off by the reed organ--termed
"harmonium" or "American organ"--or by the concertina, are the most
suitable, the peculiar quality of the vibrations given off by the reeds
in these instruments proving to be the most suitable ones for use during
the production of the phenomena; although on one or two occasions I have
obtained good results without musical vibrations of any kind, but this
is rare.

Fourthly, we require the presence of a specially organized man or woman,
termed _the sensitive_, one from whom it is alleged a portion of the
matter used by the entity in the building up of its temporary body can
be drawn, with but little chance of injury to their health. This point
is one of vital importance, we are told, for it has been proved by means
of a self-registering weighing-machine on which he was seated, and to
which he was securely fastened with an electrical apparatus secretly
hidden beneath the seat, which would at once ring a bell in an anteroom
if he endeavored to rise from his seat during the experiment, that the
actual loss in weight to the sensitive, when a fully materialized entity
was standing in our midst, was no less than sixty-five pounds!

Before employing any person, then, as a sensitive for these delicate,
not to say dangerous, experiments, he or she should be medically
examined, in the interests of both the investigator and the sensitive,
and should their health prove to be in any way below par, they should
not be permitted to take part in the experiment until their health is
fully restored.

I have been permitted to examine the sensitive at the moment when an
entity, clad in a fully-formed temporary body, was walking amongst the
experimenters; and the distorted features, the shrivelled-up limbs and
contorted trunk of the sensitive at that moment proclaimed the danger
connected with the production of this special form of phenomena far
louder than any words of mine could do.

Needless to say, sensitives for materializations are extremely rare, not
more than two or three being found to-day amidst the teeming millions
who inhabit the British Islands; although a few are to be found on the
European continent, and several in North America, where the climatic
conditions are said to be more favorable for the development of such
persons.

Now, what constitutes a sensitive, and why are they necessary?

Sensitives through whom physical phenomena (including materializations)
can be produced have been described, firstly, as persons in whom certain
forces are stored up, either far in excess of the amount possessed by
the normal man or woman, or else differing in quality from the forces
stored up by the normal man or woman; and secondly, as persons who are
able to attract from those in close proximity to them--provided that the
conditions are favorable--still more of the force, which thus becomes
centered in them for the time being. In other words, a sensitive for
physical phenomena is said to be a storage battery for the force which
is used in the production of physical phenomena--including
materializations--although it is by no means improbable that such highly
developed sensitives as those required for this special purpose may be
found to possess extra nerve-centers as compared with those possessed by
normal human beings. But whether this hypothesis be eventually proved or
not, there seems to be but very little doubt that "whatever the force
may be which constitutes the difference between a sensitive and a
non-sensitive, it is certainly of a mental or magnetic character, i.e.,
a combination of the subtle elements of mind and magnetism, and
therefore of a _psychological_, and not of a purely _physical_
character."

But why is a sensitive necessary? you ask. Think of a telephone for a
moment. You wish to communicate with a person who is holding only the
end of the wire in his hand, the result being that he cannot hear a
single word. Why is this? Because he has forgotten to fit a receiver at
his end of the wire, a receiver in which the vibrations set up by your
voice may be centralized, focussed, a receiver which he can place to his
ear, and in doing so will at once hear your voice distinctly--but
without this your message to him is lost.

And it is said that this is exactly the use of the sensitives during our
experiments, for they act as "receivers" in which the forces employed in
the production of the phenomena may be centralized, focussed, their
varying degrees of sensitiveness enabling them to be used by the
entities in other spheres for the successful production of such
phenomena, we are told.

And lastly, we require about twelve to sixteen earnest and really
sympathetic men and women--persons trained on scientific lines for
choice--all in the best of health; men and women who, whilst strictly on
their guard against anything in the shape of fraud, are still so much in
sympathy with the person who is acting as the sensitive that they are
all the time sending out kindly thoughts towards him; for if, as has
been said, "thoughts are things," it is possible that hostile thoughts
would be sufficient not only to enfeeble, but actually to check
demonstrations of physical phenomena of all kinds in the presence of
such specially organized, highly developed individuals as the sensitives
through whom materializations can be produced.

I shall refer to these men and women as the sitters. We generally select
an equal number so far as sex is concerned; and, in addition, we
endeavor to obtain an equal number of persons possessing either
positive or negative temperaments. In this way we form the sitters into
a powerful human battery, the combined force given off by them (if the
battery is properly arranged, and the individual members of that battery
are in good health) proving of enormous assistance during our
experiments. If in ill-health, we find that a man or woman is useless to
us, for we can no more expect to obtain the necessary power from such an
individual than we can expect to produce an electric spark from a
discharged accumulator, or pick up needles with a demagnetized piece of
steel.

We are told to remember always that "all manifestations of natural laws
are the results of natural conditions."

       *       *       *       *       *

Minor details too, we find, must be thought out most carefully if we are
to provide what we may term ideal conditions.

The chairs should be made of wood throughout, those known as Austrian
bentwood chairs, having perforated seats, being proved to be the best
for the purpose.

The sitters should bathe and then change their clothing--the ladies into
white dresses, and the men into dark suits--two hours before the time
fixed for the experiment, and should then at once partake of a light
meal--meat and alcohol being strictly forbidden--so that the strain upon
their constitutions during the experiment may not interfere with their
health.

Trivial as such matters must appear to the man in the street, we are
told they must all be carried out most carefully, in order that the
finest conditions possible may be obtained, the one great object of the
sitters being to give off all the power--and the best kind of
power--that they are capable of producing, in order that sufficient
suitable material may be gathered together from the sensitive and
themselves, with which a temporary body may be formed for the use of any
entity wishing to materialize in their presence.


PRECAUTIONS AGAINST FRAUD

We are now ready to see what happens at a typical experimental meeting
for these materializations, at hundreds of which I have assisted, having
the services of no less than six sensitives placed at my disposal for
this purpose. I will endeavor to describe what I should consider to be
an ideal one, held under ideal (test) conditions.

Our imaginary test meeting is to be carried out--as it was on one
occasion in London--in an entirely empty house, which none of us has
ever entered before, a house which we will hire for this special event.
By doing this we may feel sure that all possibility of fraud, so far as
the use of secret trap-doors, large mirrors, and other undesirable
things of that description are concerned, can be successfully thwarted.

We are now ready to start our experiment; the general feeling of all
those in the room being that every possible precaution against trickery
has been taken, and that if any results of any kind whatever should
follow they will undoubtedly be genuine.

The sitters having been allotted their seats, so that a person of a
positive and a person of a negative temperament are seated together, we
now join hands, and form ourselves into what we are told is a powerful
human battery; the two persons sitting at the two ends of the
half-circle having of course each one hand free, and from the free hands
of these two persons, it is said, the power developed and given off by
this human battery passes into the sensitive at each of his sides.

Sitting quietly in our chairs and talking gently amongst ourselves, we
soon feel a cool breeze blowing across our hands. In another two minutes
this will have so increased in volume that it may with truth be
described as a strong wind.

On looking at the sensitive now, we see that he is rapidly passing into
a state of trance--his head is drooping on one side, his arms and hands
hang downwards loosely, his body being in a limp _real trance_
condition, and just in the right state for use by any entity desiring to
work through him, we are told.

I have only experimented with one sensitive who did not pass into
trance, who, seated amongst the sitters, remained in a perfectly normal
condition during the whole of the experiment; watching the materialized
forms building up beside him, and talking to and with them during the
process. I shall refer to him shortly.

       *       *       *       *       *

We now set our clairvoyants to work, and the statements made by one must
be confirmed in every detail by the statements of the other as to what
is occurring at the moment, or no notice is taken of their remarks.

Both now report that they see a thin white mist or vapor[16] coming
from the left side of the sensitive, if a man (or from the pelvis, if a
woman), which passes into the sitter at the end of the half-circle
nearest to the sensitive's left side. It then passes, they state, from
Sitter No. 1 to Sitter No. 2, and so on, until it has gone through the
whole of the sixteen sitters, passing finally from the last one--No.
16--at the end of the half-circle nearest to the sensitive's right side,
and disappears into his right side.

[Footnote 16: Termed teleplasma.]

We assume from this that the nerve force, magnetic power--call it what
you will--necessary for the formation of one of these temporary bodies
starts from the sensitive, passes through each sitter, drawing from each
as much more force or power as he or she is capable of giving off at the
moment, returning to the sensitive greatly increased in its amount and
ready for use in the next process. This, then, we will term the first of
the three stages in the evolution of an entity clad in a temporary body.


THE VAPOR STAGE

In a few moments our clairvoyants both report that the force or power is
issuing from the side of the sensitive, if a man (or from the pelvis, if
a woman), in the form of a white, soft, dough-like substance, which on
one occasion I was permitted to touch. I could perceive no smell given
off by it; it felt cold and clammy, and appeared to have the consistency
of heavy dough at the moment that I touched it.

This mass of dough-like substance is said to be the material used by the
entities--one by one as a rule--who wish to build up a temporary body.
It seems to rest on the floor, somewhere near the right side of the
sensitive, until required for use: its bulk depending apparently upon
the amount of power given off by the sitters from time to time during
the experiment.

This we will term the second of the three stages of the evolution of an
entity clad in a temporary body.


THE SOLID, BUT SHAPELESS STAGE

We are told that the entity wishing to show himself to us passes into
this shapeless mass of dough-like substance, which at once increases in
bulk, and commences to pulsate and move up and down, swaying from side
to side as it grows in height, the motive power being evidently
underneath.

The entity then quickly sets to work to mould the mass into something
resembling a human body, commencing with the head. The rest of the upper
portion of the body soon follows, and the heart and pulse can now be
felt to be beating quite regularly and normally, differing in this
respect from those of the sensitive, who, if tested at this time, will
be found with both heart and pulse-beats considerably above the normal.
The legs and feet come last, and then the entity is able to leave the
near neighborhood of the sensitive and to walk amongst the sitters, the
third and last stage of its evolution being now complete.

Although occasionally the entity will appear clad in an exact copy of
the clothing which he states that he wore when on earth--especially if
it should happen to be something a little out of the common, such as a
military or naval uniform--they are draped as a rule in flowing white
garments of a wonderfully soft texture, and this, too, I have been
permitted to handle.

Our clairvoyants both affirm that at all times during the
materialization a thin band of, presumably, the dough-like substance can
be plainly seen issuing from the side of the sensitive, if a man, (or
from the pelvis, if a woman), and joined onto the center of the body
inhabited by the entity--just like the umbilical cord attached to a
human infant at birth--and we are instructed that this band cannot be
stretched beyond a certain radius, say ten to fifteen feet, without
doing harm to the sensitive and to the entity; although cases are on
record where materializations have been seen at a distance of nearly
sixty feet from the sensitive, on occasions when the conditions were
unusually favorable.

On handling different portions of the materialized body now, the flesh
is found to be both warm and firm. The bodies are well proportioned,
those of the females--for they take on sex conditions during the
process--having beautiful figures; the hands, arms, legs, and feet are
quite perfect in their modelling, but in my opinion the body, head, and
limbs of every materialization of either sex or any age which I have
scrutinized at close quarters carefully, or have been permitted to
handle, have appeared to be at least one-third smaller in size (except
as regards actual height) than those possessed by beings on earth of the
same sex and age.

Not only have we witnessed materializations of aged entities of both
sexes, showing all the characteristics of old age--for the purpose of
identification by the sitters, as they tell us--but we have seen
materialized infants also; and on one occasion two still-born children
appeared in our midst simultaneously, one of them showing distinct
traces on its little face of a hideous deformity which it possessed at
the time of its premature birth--a deformity known only to the mother,
who happened to be present that evening as one of the sitters.

We are told that, for the purpose of identification, the entity will
return to earth in an exact counterpart of the body which he alleges
that he occupied at the time of his death, in order that he may be
recognized by his relatives and friends who happen to be present. Thus,
the one who left the earth as an infant will appear in his materialized
body as an infant, although he may have been dead for twenty or thirty
years. The aged man or woman will appear with bent body, wrinkled face,
and snow-white hair, walking amongst us with difficulty, and just as
they allege they did before their death, although that may have occurred
twenty years before. The one who had lost a limb during his earth-life
will return minus that limb; the one who was disfigured by accident or
disease will return bearing distinct traces of that disfigurement, for
the purpose of identification only.

But as soon as the identification has been established successfully, all
this changes instantly; the disfigurement disappears; the four limbs
will be seen, and both the infant and the aged will from henceforth show
themselves to us in the very prime of life--the young growing upwards
and the aged downwards, as we say, and, as they one and all state
emphatically, just as they really look and feel in the sphere in which
they now exist.

While inhabiting these temporary bodies, they state that they take on,
not only sex conditions, but earth conditions temporarily too; for they
appear to feel pain if their bodies are injured in any way; complain of
the cold if the temperature of the room is allowed to fall much below
sixty degrees, or of the heat if the temperature is allowed to rise
above seventy degrees; seem to be depressed during a thunderstorm, when
our atmosphere is overcharged with electricity; and appear bright and
happy in a warm room when the world outside is in the grip of a hard
frost, and also on bright, starry nights.

And not only this, but they take on strongly marked characteristics of
the numerous races on earth temporarily too; the materialized entities
of the white races differing quite as markedly from those of the yellow
or brown races, as do these from the black races; and in speaking to us
each one will communicate in the particular language only which is
characteristic of his race on earth.

Five, six and even _seven_ totally different languages have been
employed during a single experimental meeting through a sensitive who
had never in his life been out of England, and who was proved
conclusively to know no other language than English; the latter number,
we were told, being in honor of a ship's doctor who was present on one
occasion, and who--although the fact was quite unknown to any of us at
the time--proved to be an expert linguist, for he conversed that evening
with different entities in English, French, German, Russian, Chinese,
Japanese, and in the language of one of the hill-tribes of India.

On another occasion, when I was the only European present at an
afternoon experimental meeting held in London by eight Parsees of both
sexes from Bombay, during the whole of the time which the meeting
lasted--two and a quarter hours--the entities and the Parsee sitters
carried on their conversation in Hindustani; two entities and one of the
Parsee men simultaneously engaging in a heated controversy, which lasted
for nearly three minutes, over the disposal of the bodies of their dead,
the entities insisting on cremation only, as opposed to allowing the
bodies to be eaten by vultures--the noise which they made during this
discussion being almost deafening. The sensitive, it was proved
conclusively, knew no other language than English, and had only once
been out of the British Islands, when he paid a short visit to France.



CHAPTER II

     "_Sit down before a fact as a little child: be prepared to give
     up every preconceived notion: follow humbly wherever and to
     whatever abysses Nature leads, or you shall learn
     nothing._"--THOMAS HUXLEY.


TESTS

The tests given to me and to my fellow-investigators through the six
sensitives who so ably assisted us during our seven years of
experimental work in this little-known field of research--the tests have
been so numerous, and were of such a varied character, that I find it
somewhat difficult to know which to select out of the hundreds which
were recorded in our books officially and elsewhere, the ones which will
prove of the greatest interest to inquirers; but I have made extracts
from ten of these records, and these, with a few taken from Sir William
Crookes's reports on the experiments conducted in his presence, will, in
my opinion, be sufficient to prove that we who have witnessed these
marvels are neither hallucinated, insane, nor liars when we solemnly
affirm that we have both seen and handled the materialized bodies built
up for temporary use by entities from another sphere; all the statements
made here being true in every detail, to the best of my knowledge and
belief.


EXPERIMENT NO. 1

Place--_Lyndhurst, New Forest, Hampshire. Sensitive A, male, aged about
46._

As an example of a simple but exceedingly severe test, I would first
record one given to me and a fellow-investigator on the outskirts of the
New Forest, one for which no special preparation of any kind whatever
had been made.

The sensitive, a nearly blind man, was taken by us on a dark night to a
spot totally unknown to him, as he had only just arrived from London by
train, and was led into a large travelling caravan, one which he had
never been near before, as it had only recently left the builder's
hands.

During the day I had made a critical examination of the interior of the
caravan, and had satisfied myself that no one was or could possibly be
concealed in it. I then locked the door, and kept the key in my pocket
until the moment when, on the arrival of the sensitive, I unlocked the
door and we all passed into the caravan together. I then locked and
bolted the door behind us.

As I have already said, no preparation of any kind had been made for the
experiment. It was merely the result of a desire to see if anything
could be produced through this sensitive, under extremely difficult
conditions--conditions which we considered as so utterly bad as to make
failure a certainty.

We did not even possess a chair of any kind for the sensitive or
ourselves to sit upon, so we placed for his use a board on top of the
iron cooking-range which was fixed in the kitchen-portion of the
caravan, whilst we sat upon the two couches which were used as beds in
the living-portion of the caravan. There was no music, no powerful
"human battery" in the shape of a number of picked sitters; in fact, the
conditions were just about as bad as they could possibly be, and yet,
within ten minutes of my locking the door behind us, the figure of a
tall man stood before us, a man so tall that he was compelled to bow his
head as he passed under the six-foot high partition which separated the
two sections of the caravan.

He said, "I am Colonel -- who was 'killed,' as you say, at the battle of
-- in Egypt. For many years during my earth-life I was deeply interested
in materializations, and spent the last night of my life in England
experimenting with this very sensitive; and it is a great pleasure to me
to be able to return to you--strangers though you both are to
me--through him. To prove to you that I am not the sensitive
masquerading before you, will you please come here and stand close to
me, and so settle the matter for yourself?"

I at once rose and stood beside him, almost touching him. I then
discovered that not only were his features and his coloring totally
different from those of the sensitive, but that he towered above me,
standing, as nearly as I could judge, six foot two or three inches, and
was certainly four inches taller than either the sensitive or myself.

Whilst thus standing beside him, and at a distance of about eight feet
from the sensitive, we could both hear the unfortunate man moving
uneasily on his hard seat on the kitchen-range, sighing and moaning as
if in pain.

The entity remained with us for about three minutes, and his place was
then taken by a slightly built young man, standing about five feet nine
inches, one claiming to be a recently deceased member of the royal
family. He talked with us in a soft and pleasing voice, finally
whispering a private message to my companion, asking him to deliver it
to his mother, Queen --.


EXPERIMENT NO. 2

Place--_Peckham Rye, London, S. E. Sensitive A, male, aged about 46._

An almost equally hopeless task was set this sensitive by the owner of
the caravan and myself when we experimented with him at midday on a
brilliant morning in July, with sunlight streaming into the room round
the edges of the drawn down window-blinds, and round the top, sides, and
bottom of the heavy window-curtains, which we had pinned together in a
vain attempt to keep out the sunlight during the experiment.

And yet once again, and in spite of the conditions which we regarded as
utterly hopeless, the figure of a man appeared in less than ten minutes,
materialized from head to foot, as he proved to us by showing us his
lower limbs. He left the side of the sensitive, walked out into the room
and stood between us, talking to us in a deep rich voice for nearly
three minutes. As he stood beside us we could hear the sensitive, twelve
feet away, moving uneasily on his chair and groaning slightly.

Five minutes after he disappeared the same (alleged) recently deceased
member of the royal family walked out to us and held a short private
conversation with my companion, and sent another message to his mother,
Queen --.


EXPERIMENT NO. 3

Place--_West Hampstead, London, N. W. Sensitive B, female, aged about
49._

Persons of middle age or older who happened to be in England a few years
ago at the time that two lawsuits were brought against a celebrated
conjurer by the clever young man who had succeeded in exposing one of
his most mystifying tricks, will well remember the sensation caused by
the giving of both verdicts against the conjurer; and the young man--to
whom I shall refer as Mr. X--at once became famous as the man who had
beaten one of the cleverest conjurers of the day.

A friend of mine, who had been present on several occasions when Sir
William Crookes's sensitive--Florrie Cook (Mrs. Corner), referred to
above as Sensitive B--had produced materializations in gaslight at my
house in London, asked her to visit his house at West Hampstead one
evening to meet several friends of his, and to see if it were possible
for any entity to materialize in my friend's own drawing-room.

She at once accepted his invitation to sit there under strict test
conditions; and, talking the matter over with some of his friends a day
or two before the one chosen for the experiment, he told me that they
had arranged to have the sensitive securely tied to her chair, to have
strong iron rings fastened to the floor-boards, through which ropes
would be passed, these ropes to be securely fastened to the sensitive's
legs; all knots of every size and kind to be sealed, so as to prevent
any attempt on her part to leave her chair and to masquerade as a
materialized entity.

One of his friends happened to know the celebrated Mr. X--, and, as he
had so recently succeeded in beating so notable a conjurer, he was
invited to be present and to take entire charge of the tying up, the
binding and sealing arrangements, in order to render the escape of the
sensitive from her chair an impossibility.

When I joined the party in the drawing-room, Mr. X--, to whom I was
introduced, was busily engaged in tying the sensitive up with his own
ropes and tapes, sealing every knot with special sealing-wax and with a
seal provided by our host. The room was a large one, and a portion at
one end had been cleared of all furniture, and in the center of this
space only the sensitive seated upon her chair, and Mr. X-- busily at
work, were to be seen; and the latter, after another fifteen minutes of
real hard labor, was asked by our host if he was thoroughly satisfied
that the sensitive was fastened to her chair securely. He replied that
so securely was she fastened, that if she could produce phenomena of any
kind whatever under such conditions, he would at once admit their
genuineness.

The sensitive was all this time in a perfectly normal state, and not
flurried in any way, her one anxiety being lest we should lower the
lights, as she was so terrified at the thought of darkness.

Mr. X--, after stepping backwards to have a final look at the result of
his labors, then walked close to the spot where the sensitive was
sitting in gaslight, and put one hand up towards the top of the curtain,
and was in the act of drawing this round her to keep the direct rays of
the gaslight from falling upon her, when a large brown arm and hand
suddenly appeared, the hand being clapped heavily upon Mr. X--'s
shoulder, whilst a gruff masculine voice asked him in loud tones, "Are
you really satisfied?"

I have witnessed some strange happenings in connection with my
investigation of occult matters, but to my dying day I shall never
forget the look of blank astonishment on Mr. X--'s face at that moment.

Quickly recovering himself, however, he at once examined the
sensitive--a little woman, far below the average height, having small
hands and feet, as we could all see quite clearly--and declared that
every seal and every knot was unbroken, and just as he had left them not
sixty seconds before.

Amongst other entities who materialized that evening was a young girl of
about eighteen years of age who stated that when she left her
earth-body she had been a dancer at a café in Algiers.

She came from the spot where the sensitive was seated, laughing
heartily, stating that the hand and arm belonged to an old English
sailor, whom she spoke of as "the Captain." She said, further, that he
had been standing with her watching the tying-up process from their
sphere, and laughing at Mr. X--'s vain attempt to prevent the production
of the phenomena. The Captain had very much wished to materialize fully,
so as to surprise Mr. X-- as he stepped back from the sensitive; but,
finding that he could only get sufficient "power" to produce a hand and
arm, he was in a bad temper. And this was evidently the case, for during
the ten minutes that the girl remained talking to us we could now and
then hear the gruff voice of the Captain rolling out language which can
only be described as "forcible and free."

The experiment lasted for nearly an hour, and at its conclusion Mr. X--
examined the sensitive, and once again reported that every seal and knot
were just as he had left them at the commencement of the experiment.


EXPERIMENT NO. 4

Place--_My House in London. Sensitive D, male, aged about 34._

On numerous occasions this sensitive has been seen by all present, in
gaslight shaded by red paper, seated on his chair in a state of deep
trance, and was heard to be breathing heavily, whilst two materialized
entities stood beside him; or with one beside him, and the other
standing five to eight feet away from him and close to the sitters.

Again, two female entities were seen simultaneously when this male
sensitive was experimenting with us, one of them inside the half-circle
formed by the sixteen sitters, and talking to them in a low sweet voice,
at a distance of about eight feet from the sensitive; whilst the other
female entity passed through or over the sitters, and, walking about the
room outside the half-circle formed by the sitters, came up behind two
of them, and not only spoke audibly to them, but also held a short
conversation with the entity inside the ring, both speaking almost
instantaneously.



THE PHANTOM ARMIES SEEN IN FRANCE[17]

BY HEREWARD CARRINGTON

[Footnote 17: By permission of the author.]


History abounds in cases showing the apparent intrusion of spiritual
help in time of trouble, and in the annals of military history these
accounts are not lacking. On several occasions the Crusaders thought
that they saw angelic hosts fighting for them--phantom horsemen charging
the enemy, when their own utter destruction seemed imminent. In the wars
between the English and the Scotch, several such cases were cited, and
the Napoleonic wars also furnished examples. But the most striking
evidence of this character--because the newest--and supported,
apparently, by a good deal of first-hand and sincere testimony, is that
afforded by the Phantom Armies seen in France during the retreat of the
British army from Mons--the field of Agincourt. Cut off by overwhelming
numbers, and all but annihilated, the British army fought desperately,
but the 80,000 were opposed by 300,000 Germans, backed by a terrific
fire of artillery, and were indeed in a critical position. They were
only saved, as we know, by the heroism of a small force of men--a
rear-guard--who were practically wiped out in consequence. At the most
critical moment came what appeared to be angelic assistance. The tide of
battle seemed to be stemmed by supernatural means. In a letter written
by a soldier who actually witnessed these startling events, quoted by
the Hon. Mrs. St. John Mildmay (_North American Review_, August, 1915),
the following graphic account is given. Our soldier writes:

"The men joked at the shells and found many funny names for them, and
had bets about them, and greeted them with music-hall songs, as they
screamed in this terrific cannonade. The climax seemed to have been
reached, but 'a seven-times heated hell' of the enemy's onslaught fell
upon them, rending brother from brother. At that very moment, they saw
from their trenches a tremendous host moving against their lines. Five
hundred of the thousand (who had been detailed to fight the rear-guard
action) remained, and as far as they could see the German infantry was
pressing on against them, column by column, a gray world of men--10,000
of them, as it appeared afterwards. There was no hope at all. Some of
them shook hands. One man improvised a new version of the battle song
Tipperary, ending 'and we shan't get there!' And all went on firing
steadily. The enemy dropped line after line, while the few machine guns
did their best. Every one knew it was of no use. The dead gray bodies
lay in companies and battalions, but others came on and on, swarming and
advancing from beyond and beyond.

"'World without end. Amen!' said one of the British soldiers, with some
irreverence, as he took aim and fired. Then he remembered a vegetarian
restaurant in London, where he had once or twice eaten queer dishes of
cutlets made of lentils and nuts that pretended to be steaks. On all the
plates in this restaurant a figure of St. George was painted in blue
with the motto, _Adsit Anglis Sanctus Georgius_ (May St. George be a
present help to England). The soldier happened to know 'Latin and other
useless things,' so now, as he fired at the gray advancing mass, 300
yards away, he uttered the pious vegetarian motto. He went on firing to
the end, till at last Bill on his right had to clout him cheerfully on
the head to make him stop, pointing out as he did so that the King's
ammunition cost money and was not lightly to be wasted. For, as the
Latin scholar uttered his invocation, he felt something between a
shudder and an electric shock pass through his body. The roar of the
battle died down in his ears to a gentle murmur, and instead of it, he
says, he heard a great voice louder than a thunder peal, crying 'Array!
Array!' His heart grew hot as a burning coal, then it grew cold as ice
within him, for it seemed to him a tumult of voices answered to the
summons. He heard or seemed to hear thousands shouting:

     "'St. George! St. George!

     "'Ha! Messire, Ha! Sweet Saint, grant us good deliverance!

     "'St. George for Merrie England!

     "'Harow! Harow! Monseigneur St. George, succour us, Ha! St.
     George! A low bow, and a strong bow, Knight of Heaven, aid us!'

"As the soldier heard these voices, he saw before him, beyond the
trench, a long line of shapes with a shining about them. They were like
men who drew the bow, and with another shout their cloud of arrows flew
singing through the air toward the German host. The other men in the
trenches were firing all the while. They had no hope, but they aimed
just as if they had been shooting at Bisley.

"Suddenly one of these lifted up his voice in plain English. 'Gawd help
us!' he bellowed to the man next him, 'but we're bloomin' marvels! Look
at those gray gentlemen! Look at them! They 're not going down in dozens
or hundreds--it's _thousands_ it is! Look, look! There's a regiment gone
while I'm talking to ye!'

"'Shut it,' the other soldier bellowed, taking aim. 'What are ye talkin'
about?' But he gulped with astonishment even as he spoke, for indeed the
gray men were falling by the thousands. The English could hear the
guttural scream of their revolvers as they shot, and line after line
crashed to the earth. All the while the Latin-bred soldier heard the cry
'Harow, Harow! Monseigneur! Dear Saint! Quick to our aid! St. George
help us!'

"The singing arrows darkened the air, the hordes melted before them.
'More machine guns,' Bill yelled to Tom. 'Don't hear them,' Tom yelled
back, 'but thank God, anyway, that they have got it in the neck!'

"In fact, there were ten thousand dead German soldiers left before that
salient of the English army, and consequently--_no Sedan_. In Germany
the General Staff decided that the English must have employed turpenite
shells, as no wounds were discernible on the bodies of the dead
soldiers. But the man who knew what nuts tasted like when they called
themselves steak, knew also that St. George had brought his Agincourt
Bowmen to help the English."

Such accounts have been confirmed by others. Thus, Miss Phyllis
Campbell, writing in _The Occult Review_ (October, 1915), says:

"I tremble, now that it is safely past, to look back on the terrible
week that brought the Allies to Vitry-le-François. We had not had our
clothes off for the whole of that week, because no sooner had we reached
home, too weary to undress, or to eat, and fallen on our beds, than the
'chug-chug' of the commandant's car would sound into the silence of the
deserted street, and the horn would imperatively summon us back to
duty--because, in addition to our duties as _ambulancier auxiliare_, we
were interpreters to the post, now at this moment diminished to half a
dozen.

"Returning at 4:30 in the morning, we stood on the end of the platform,
watching the train crawl through the blue-green mist of the forest into
the clearing, and draw up with the first wounded from Vitry-le-François.
It was packed with dead and dying and badly wounded. For a time we
forgot our weariness in a race against time--removing the dead and
dying, and attending to those in need. I was bandaging a man's shattered
arm with the _majeur_ instructing me, while he stitched a horrible gap
in his head, when Madame de A--, the heroic president of the post, came
and replaced me. 'There is an English in the fifth wagon,' she said. 'He
wants something--I think a holy picture!'

"The idea of an English soldier wanting a holy picture struck me, even
in that atmosphere of blood and misery, as something to smile at--but I
hurried away. 'The English' was a Lancashire Fusilier. He was propped in
a corner, his left arm tied-up in a peasant woman's handkerchief, and
his head newly bandaged. He should have been in a state of collapse from
loss of blood, for his tattered uniform was soaked and caked in blood,
and his face paper-white under the dirt of conflict. He looked at me
with bright, courageous eyes and asked for a picture or a medal (he
didn't care which) of St. George. I asked him if he was a Catholic.
'No,' he was Wesleyan Methodist, and he wanted a picture or a medal of
St. George, _because he had seen him on a white horse_, leading the
British at Vitry-le-François, when the Allies turned.

"There was an F. R. A. man, wounded in the leg, sitting beside him on
the floor; he saw my look of amazement, and hastened in: 'It's true,
sister,' he said. 'We all saw it. First there was a sort of yellow
mist-like, sort of risin' before the Germans as they came on the top of
the hill--come on like a solid wall, they did--springing out of the
earth just solid--no end to 'em! I just give up. No use fighting the
whole German race, thinks I; it's all up with _us_. The next minute
comes this funny cloud of light, and when it clears off, there's a tall
man with yellow hair in golden armor, on a white horse, holding his
sword up, and his mouth open as if he was saying: "Come on, boys! I'll
put the kybosh on the devils!" Sort of "This is my picnic" expression.
Then, before you could say "knife," the Germans had turned, and we were
after them, fighting like ninety ..."

"Where was this?" I asked. But neither of them could tell. They had
marched, fighting a rear-guard action, from Mons, till St. George had
appeared through the haze of light, and turned the enemy. They both
_knew_ it was St. George. Hadn't they seen him with a sword on every
'quid' they'd ever seen? The Frenchies had seen him too--ask them; but
they said it was St. Michael...."

Much additional testimony of a like nature might be given--and has been
collected by students of psychical research. If the spiritual world ever
intervenes in matters mundane, it assuredly did so on this occasion. And
it could hardly have chosen a more opportune time. Could the aspiring
thoughts of the dead and dying, and those still living and fighting for
their country, have drawn "St. George" to earth, to aid in again
redeeming his country from a foreign foe? Could a simple "hallucination"
have been so widespread and so prevalent? Or might there not have been
some spiritual energy behind the visions thus seen--stimulating them,
and inspiring and encouraging the stricken soldiers? We cannot say. We
only know what the soldiers themselves say; and we also know the
undoubted effects upon the enemy. For on both occasions were the Germans
repulsed with terrible slaughter. Perhaps the vision of St. George led
our soldiers into closer touch and _rapport_ with the consciousness of
some high intelligence--or the veil separating the two worlds was
rent--as so often appears to be the case in apparitions and visions of
this character.



THE PORTAL OF THE UNKNOWN

BY ANDREW JACKSON DAVIS, "THE SEER"


When the hour of her death arrived, I was fortunately in a proper state
of mind and body to produce the superior (clairvoyant) condition; but,
previous to throwing my spirit into that condition, I sought the most
convenient and favorable position, that I might be allowed to make the
observations entirely unnoticed and undisturbed. Thus situated and
conditioned, I proceeded to observe and investigate the mysterious
processes of dying, and to learn what it is for an individual human
spirit to undergo the changes consequent upon physical death or external
dissolution. They were these:

I saw that the physical organization could no longer subserve the
diversified purposes or requirements of the spiritual principle. But the
various internal organs of the body appeared to resist the withdrawal of
the animating soul. The body and the soul, like two friends, strongly
resisted the various circumstances which rendered their eternal
separation imperative and absolute. These internal conflicts gave rise
to manifestations of what seemed to be, to the material senses, the most
thrilling and painful sensations; but I was unspeakably thankful and
delighted when I perceived and realized the fact that those physical
manifestations were indications, not of pain or unhappiness, but simply
that the spirit was eternally dissolving its co-partnership with the
material organism.

Now the head of the body became suddenly enveloped in a fine, soft,
mellow, luminous atmosphere; and, as instantly, I saw the cerebrum and
the cerebellum expand their most interior portions; I saw them
discontinue their appropriate galvanic functions; and then I saw that
they became highly charged with the vital electricity and vital
magnetism which permeate subordinate systems and structures. That is to
say, the brain, as a whole, suddenly declared itself to be tenfold more
positive, over the lesser proportions of the body, than it ever was
during the period of health. This phenomenon invariably precedes
physical dissolution.

Now the process of dying, or the spirit's departure from the body, was
fully commenced. The brain began to attract the elements of electricity,
of magnetism, of motion, of life, and of sensation, into its various and
numerous departments. The head became intensely brilliant; and I
particularly remarked that just in the same proportion as the
extremities of the organism grow dark and cold, the brain appears light
and glowing.

Now I saw, in the mellow, spiritual atmosphere which emanated from and
encircled her head, the indistinct outlines of the formation of
_another_ head. This new head unfolded more and more distinctly, and so
indescribably compact and intensely brilliant did it become, that I
could neither see through it, nor gaze upon it as steadily as I desired.
While this spiritual head was being eliminated and organized from out
of and above the material head, I saw that the surrounding aromal
atmosphere which had emanated from the material head was in great
commotion; but, as the new head became more distinct and perfect, this
brilliant atmosphere gradually disappeared. This taught me that those
aromal elements, which were, in the beginning of the metamorphosis,
attracted from the system into the brain, and thence eliminated in the
form of an atmosphere, were indissolubly united in accordance with the
divine principle of affinity in the universe, which pervades and
destinates every particle of matter, and developed the spiritual head
which I beheld.

In the identical manner in which the spiritual head was eliminated and
unchangeably organized, I saw, unfolding in their natural progressive
order, the harmonious development of the neck, the shoulders, the breast
and the entire spiritual organization. It appeared from this, even to an
unequivocal demonstration, that the innumerable particles of what might
be termed unparticled matter which constitute the man's spiritual
principle, are constitutionally endowed with certain elective
affinities, analogous to an immortal friendship. The innate tendencies
which the elements and essences of her soul manifested by uniting and
organizing themselves, were the efficient and imminent causes which
unfolded and perfected her spiritual organization. The defects and
deformities of her physical body were, in the spiritual body which I saw
thus developed, almost completely removed. In other words, it seemed
that those hereditary obstructions and influences were now removed,
which originally arrested the full and proper development of her
physical constitution; and, therefore, that her spiritual constitution,
being elevated above those obstructions, was enabled to unfold and
perfect itself, in accordance with the universal tendencies of all
created things.

While this spiritual formation was going on, which was perfectly visible
to my spiritual perceptions, the material body manifested, to the outer
vision of observing individuals in the room, many symptoms of uneasiness
and pain; but the indications were totally deceptive; they were wholly
caused by the departure of the vital or spiritual forces from the
extremities and viscera into the brain, and thence into the ascending
organism.

The spirit arose at right angles over the head or brain of the deserted
body. But immediately previous to the final dissolution of the
relationship which had for so many years subsisted between the two, the
spiritual and material bodies, I saw--playing energetically between the
feet of the elevated spiritual body and the head of the prostrate
physical body--a bright stream or current of vital electricity. And here
I perceived what I had never before obtained a knowledge of, that a
small portion of this vital electrical element returned to the deserted
body immediately subsequent to the separation of the umbilical thread;
and that that portion of this element which passed back into the earthly
organism instantly diffused itself through the entire structure, and
thus prevented immediate decomposition.

As soon as the spirit, whose departing hour I thus watched, was wholly
disengaged from the tenacious physical body, I directed my attention to
the movements and emotions of the former; and I saw her begin to
breathe the most interior or spiritual portions of the surrounding
terrestrial atmosphere. At first it seemed with difficulty that she
could breathe the new medium; but in a few seconds she inhaled and
exhaled the spiritual elements of nature with the greatest possible ease
and delight. And now I saw that she was in possession of exterior and
physical proportions, which were identical, in every possible
particular--improved and beautified--with those proportions which
characterized her earthly organization. Indeed, so much like her former
self was she that, had her friends beheld her as I did, they certainly
would have exclaimed--as we often do upon the sudden return of a
long-absent friend, who leaves us and returns in health--'Why, how well
you look! How improved you are!' Such was the nature--most beautifying
in their extent--of the improvements that were wrought upon her.

I saw her continue to conform and accustom herself to the new elements
and elevating sensations which belong to the inner life. I did not
particularly notice the workings and emotions of her newly-awakening and
fast-unfolding spirit, except that I was careful to remark her
philosophical tranquillity throughout the entire process, and her
non-participation with the different members of her family in their
unrestrained bewailing of her departure from the earth, to unfold in
Love and Wisdom throughout eternal spheres. She understood at a glance
that they could only gaze upon the cold and lifeless form, which she had
but just deserted; and she readily comprehended the fact that it was
owing to a want of true knowledge upon their parts that they thus
vehemently regretted her merely physical death.

The period required to accomplish the entire change which I saw was not
far from two hours and a half; but this furnished no rule as to the time
required for every spirit to elevate and reorganize itself above the
head of the outer form. Without changing my position or spiritual
perceptions I continued to observe the movements of her new-born spirit.
As soon as she became accustomed to her new elements which surrounded
her, she descended from her elevated position, which was immediately
over the body, by an effort of the will-power, and directly passed out
of the door of the bedroom in which she had lain, in the material form,
prostrated with disease for several weeks. It being in a summer month,
the doors were all open, and her egress from the house was attended with
no obstruction. I saw her pass through the adjoining room, out of the
door, and step from the house into the atmosphere! I was overwhelmed
with delight and astonishment when, for the first time, I realized the
universal truth that the spiritual organization can tread the
atmosphere, which is impossible while in the coarser earthly form--so
much more refined is man's spiritual constitution. She walked in the
atmosphere as easily, and in the same manner, as we tread the earth and
ascend an eminence. Immediately upon her emergement from the house, she
was joined by two friendly spirits from the spiritual country, and after
tenderly recognizing and communing with each other, the three, in the
most graceful manner, began ascending obliquely through the ethereal
envelopment of her globe. They walked so naturally and fraternally
together that I could scarcely realize the fact that they trod the
air--they seemed to be walking upon the side of a glorious but familiar
mountain. I continued to gaze upon them until the distance shut them
from my view,--whereupon I returned to my external and ordinary
condition.

       *       *       *       *       *

This account of the facts--of what actually happened at death--is
confirmed by numerous other witnesses, who agree as to the main
details.



THE SUPERNORMAL: EXPERIENCES

BY ST. JOHN B. SEYMOUR


When Mrs. Seymour was a little girl she resided in Dublin; amongst the
members of the family was her paternal grandmother. This old lady was
not as kind as she might have been to her granddaughter, and
consequently the latter was somewhat afraid of her. In process of time
the grandmother died. Mrs. Seymour, who was then about eight years of
age, had to pass the door of the room where the death occurred in order
to reach her own bedroom, which was a flight higher up. Past this door
the child used to fly in terror with all possible speed. On one
occasion, however, as she was preparing to make the usual rush past, she
distinctly felt a hand placed on her shoulder, and became conscious of a
voice saying, "Don't be afraid, Mary!" From that day on the child never
had the least feeling of fear, and always walked quietly past the door.

The Rev. D. B. Knox sends a curious personal experience, which was
shared by him with three other people. He writes as follows: "Not very
long ago my wife and I were preparing to retire for the night. A niece,
who was in the house, was in her bedroom and the door was open. The maid
had just gone to her room. All four of us distinctly heard the heavy
step of a man walking along the corridor, apparently in the direction of
the bathroom. We searched the whole house immediately, but no one was
discovered. Nothing untoward happened except the death of the maid's
mother about a fortnight later. It was a detached house, so that the
noise could not have been made by the neighbors."

In the following tale the "double" or "wraith" of a living man was seen
by three different people, one of whom, our correspondent, saw it
through a telescope. She writes: "In May, 1883, the parish of A-- was
vacant, so Mr. D--, the Diocesan Curate, used to come out to take
service on Sundays. One day there were two funerals to be taken, the one
at a graveyard some distance off, the other at A-- churchyard. My
brother was at both, the far-off one being taken the first. The house we
then lived in looked down towards A--churchyard, which was about a
quarter of a mile away. From an upper window my sister and I saw _two_
surpliced figures going out to meet the coffin, and said, 'Why, there
are two clergy!' having supposed that there would be only Mr. D--. I,
being short-sighted, used a telescope, and saw the two surplices showing
between the people. But when my brother returned he said: 'A strange
thing has happened. Mr. D-- and Mr. W-- (curate of a neighboring parish)
took the far-off funeral. I saw them both again at A--, but when I went
into the vestry I only saw Mr. W--. I asked where Mr. D-- was, and he
replied that he had left immediately after the first funeral, as he had
to go to Kilkenny, and that he (Mr. W--) had come on _alone_ to take the
funeral at A--.'"

Here is a curious tale from the city of Limerick of a lady's "double"
being seen, with no consequent results. It is sent by Mr. Richard Hogan
as the personal experience of his sister, Mrs. Mary Murnane. On
Saturday, October 25, 1913, at half-past four o'clock in the afternoon,
Mr. Hogan left the house in order to purchase some cigarettes. A quarter
of an hour afterwards Mrs. Murnane went down the town to do some
business. As she was walking down George Street she saw a group of four
persons standing on the pavement engaged in conversation. They were her
brother, a Mr. O'S--, and two ladies, a Miss P. O'D--, and her sister,
Miss M. O'D--. She recognized the latter, as her face was partly turned
towards her, and noted that she was dressed in a knitted coat, and light
blue hat, while in her left hand she held a bag or purse; the other
lady's back was turned towards her. As Mrs. Murnane was in a hurry to
get her business done she determined to pass them by without being
noticed, but a number of people coming in the opposite direction blocked
the way, and compelled her to walk quite close to the group of four, but
they were so intent on listening to what one lady was saying that they
took no notice of her. The speaker appeared to be Miss M. O'D--, and
though Mrs. Murnane did not actually hear her _speak_ as she passed her,
yet from their attitudes the other three seemed to be listening to what
she was saying, and she heard her _laugh_ when right behind her--not the
laugh of her sister P--and the laugh was repeated after she had left the
group a little behind.

So far there is nothing out of the common. When Mrs. Murnane returned to
her house about an hour later she found her brother Richard there
before her. She casually mentioned to him how she had passed him and his
three companions on the pavement. To which he replied that she was quite
correct except in one point, namely that there were only _three_ in the
group, as M. O'D-- _was not present_, as she had not come to Limerick at
all that day. She then described to him the exact position each one of
the four occupied, and the clothes worn by them, to all of which facts
he assented, except as to the presence of Miss M. O'D--. Mrs. Murnane
adds, "That is all I can say in the matter, but most certainly the
fourth person was in the group, as I both saw and heard her. She wore
the same clothes I had seen on her previously, with the exception of the
hat; but the following Saturday she had on the same colored hat I had
seen on her the previous Saturday. When I told her about it she was as
much mystified as I was and am. My brother stated that there was no
laugh from any of the three present."

Mrs. G. Kelly sends an experience of a "wraith" which seems in some
mysterious way to have been conjured up in her mind by the description
she had heard, and then externalized. She writes: "About four years ago
a musical friend of ours was staying in the house. He and my husband
were playing and singing Dvorak's 'Spectre's Bride,' a work which he had
studied with the composer himself. This music appealed very much to
both, and they were excited and enthusiastic over it. Our friend was
giving many personal reminiscences of Dvorak, and his method of
explaining the way he wanted his work done. I was sitting by, an
interested listener, for some time. On getting up at last, and going
into the drawing-room, I was startled and somewhat frightened to find a
man standing there in a shadowy part of the room. I saw him distinctly,
and could describe his appearance accurately. I called out, and the two
men ran in, but as the apparition only lasted for a second, they were
too late. I described the man whom I had seen, whereupon our friend
exclaimed, 'Why, that was Dvorak himself!' At that time I had never seen
a picture of Dvorak, but when our friend returned to London he sent me
one which I recognized as the likeness of the man whom I had seen in our
drawing-room."

A curious vision, a case of second sight, in which a quite unimportant
event, previously unknown, was revealed, is sent by the percipient, who
is a lady well known to both the compilers, and a life-long friend of
one of them. She says: "Last summer I sent a cow to the fair of
Limerick, a distance of about thirteen miles, and the men who took her
there the day before the fair left her in a paddock for the night close
to Limerick city. I awoke up very early next morning, and was fully
awake when I saw (not with my ordinary eyesight, but apparently _inside_
my head) a light, an intensely brilliant light, and in it I saw the back
gate being opened by a red-haired woman and the cow I had supposed in
the fair walking through the gate. I then knew that the cow must be
home, and going to the yard later on I was met by the wife of the man
who was in charge in a great state of excitement. 'Oh law! Miss,' she
exclaimed, 'you'll be mad! Didn't Julia [a red-haired woman] find the
cow outside the lodge gate as she was going out at 4 o'clock to the
milking!' That's my tale--perfectly true, and I would give a good deal
to be able to control that light, and see more if I could."

Another curious vision was seen by a lady who is also a friend of both
the compilers. One night she was kneeling at her bedside saying her
prayers (hers was the only bed in the room), when suddenly she felt a
distinct touch on her shoulder. She turned round in the direction of the
touch and saw at the end of the room a bed, with a pale,
indistinguishable figure laid therein, and what appeared to be a
clergyman standing over it. About a week later she fell into a long and
dangerous illness.

An account of a dream which implied an extraordinary coincidence, if
coincidence it be and nothing more, was sent as follows by a
correspondent, who requested that no names be published. "That which I
am about to relate has a peculiar interest for me, inasmuch as the
central figure in it was my own grand-aunt, and moreover the principal
witness (if I may use such a term) was my father. At the period during
which this strange incident occurred my father was living with his aunt
and some other relatives.

"One morning at the breakfast-table, my grand-aunt announced that she
had had a most peculiar dream during the previous night. My father, who
was always very interested in that kind of thing, took down in his
notebook all the particulars concerning it. They were as follows:

"My grand-aunt dreamt that she was in a cemetery, which she recognized
as Glasnevin, and as she gazed at the memorials of the dead which lay so
thick around, one stood out most conspicuously, and caught her eye,
for she saw clearly cut on the cold white stone _an inscription bearing
her own name_:

            CLARE·S·D--
      Died 14th of March, 1873
    Dearly loved and ever mourned
              R.I.P.

while, to add to the peculiarity of it, the date on the stone as given
above was, from the day of her dream, exactly a year in advance.

"My grand-aunt was not very nervous, and soon the dream faded from her
mind. Months rolled by, and one morning at breakfast it was noticed that
my grand-aunt had not appeared, but as she was a very religious woman it
was thought that she had gone out to church. However, as she did not
appear my father sent someone to her room to see if she were there, and
as no answer was given to repeated knocking the door was opened, and my
grand-aunt was found kneeling at her bedside, dead. The day of her death
was March 14, 1873, corresponding exactly with the date seen in her
dream a twelvemonth before. My grand-aunt was buried in Glasnevin, and
on her tombstone (a white marble slab) was placed the inscription which
she had read in her dream." Our correspondent sent us a photograph of
the stone and its inscription.

The present Archdeacon of Limerick, Ven. J. A. Haydn, LL.D., sends the
following experience: "In the year 1870 I was rector of the little rural
parish of Chapel Russell. One autumn day the rain fell with a quiet,
steady, and hopeless persistence from morning to night. Wearied at
length from the gloom, and tired of reading and writing, I determined
to walk to the church about half a mile away, and pass a half-hour
playing the harmonium, returning for the lamp-light and tea.

"I wrapped up, put the key of the church in my pocket, and started.
Arriving at the church, I walked up the straight avenue, bordered with
graves and tombs on either side, while the soft, steady rain quietly
pattered on the trees. When I reached the church door, before putting
the key in the lock, moved by some indefinable impulse I stood on the
doorstep, turned round, and looked back upon the path I had just
trodden. My amazement may be imagined when I saw, seated on a low,
tabular tombstone close to the avenue, a lady with her back towards me.
She was wearing a black velvet jacket or short cape, with a narrow
border of vivid white; her head and luxuriant jet-black hair were
surmounted by a hat of the shape and make that I think used to be called
at that time a 'turban'; it was also of black velvet, with a snow-white
wing or feather at the right-hand side of it. It may be seen how
deliberately and minutely I observed the appearance, when I can thus
recall it after more than forty years.

"Actuated by a desire to attract the attention of the lady, and induce
her to look towards me, I noisily inserted the key in the door, and
suddenly opened it with a rusty crack. Turning around to see the effect
of my policy--the lady was gone!--vanished. Not yet daunted, I hurried
to the place, which was not ten paces away, and closely searched the
stone and the space all around it, but utterly in vain; there were
absolutely no traces of the late presence of a human being! I may add
that nothing particular or remarkable followed the singular apparition,
and that I never heard anything calculated to throw any light on the
mystery."

Here is a story of a ghost who knew what it wanted--and got it! "In the
part of County Wicklow from which my people come," writes a Miss D--,
"there was a family who were not exactly related, but of course of the
clan. Many years ago a young daughter, aged about twenty, died. Before
her death she had directed her parents to bury her in a certain
graveyard. But for some reason they did not do so, and from that hour
she gave them no peace. She appeared to them at all hours, especially
when they went to the well for water. So distracted were they, that at
length they got permission to exhume the remains and have them
reinterred in the desired graveyard. This they did by torchlight--a
weird scene truly! I can vouch for the truth of this latter portion, at
all events, as some of my own relatives were present."

Mr. T. J. Westropp contributes a tale of a ghost of an unusual type,
i.e. one which actually did communicate matters of importance to his
family. "A lady who related many ghost stories to me, also told me how,
after her father's death, the family could not find some papers or
receipts of value. One night she awoke, and heard a sound which she at
once recognized as the footsteps of her father, who was lame. The door
creaked, and she prayed that she might be able to see him. Her prayer
was granted: she saw him distinctly holding a yellow parchment book tied
with tape. 'F--, child,' said he, 'this is the book your mother is
looking for. It is in the third drawer of the cabinet near the
cross-door; tell your mother to be more careful in future about
business papers.' Incontinently he vanished, and she at once awoke her
mother, in whose room she was sleeping, who was very angry and ridiculed
the story, but the girl's earnestness at length impressed her. She got
up, went to the old cabinet, and at once found the missing book in the
third drawer."

Here is another tale of an equally useful and obliging ghost. "A
gentleman, a relative of my own," writes a lady, "often received
warnings from his dead father of things that were about to happen.
Besides the farm on which he lived, he had another some miles away which
adjoined a large demesne. Once in a great storm a fir-tree was blown
down in the demesne, and fell into his field. The woodranger came to him
and told him he might as well cut up the tree, and take it away.
Accordingly one day he set out for this purpose, taking with him two men
and a cart. He got into the fields by a stile, while his men went on to
a gate. As he approached a gap between two fields he saw his father
standing in it, as plainly as he ever saw him in life, and beckoning him
back warningly. Unable to understand this, he still advanced, whereupon
his father looked very angry, and his gestures became imperious. This
induced him to turn away, so he sent his men home, and left the tree
uncut. He subsequently discovered that a plot had been laid by the
woodranger, who coveted his farm, and who hoped to have him dispossessed
by accusing him of stealing the tree."

A clergyman in the diocese of Clogher gave a personal experience of
table-turning to the present Dean of St. Patrick's, who kindly sent the
same to the writer. He said: "When I was a young man, I met some
friends one evening, and we decided to amuse ourselves with
table-turning. The local dispensary was vacant at the time, so we said
that if the table would work we should ask who would be appointed as
medical officer. As we sat round it touching it with our hands it began
to knock. We said:

"'Who are you?'

"The table spelt out the name of a bishop of the Church of Ireland. We
asked, thinking that the answer was absurd, as we knew him to be alive
and well:

"'Are you dead?'

"The table answered 'Yes.'

"We laughed at this and asked:

"'Who will be appointed to the dispensary!'

"The table spelt out the name of a stranger, who was not one of the
candidates, whereupon we left off, thinking that the whole thing was
nonsense.

"The next morning I saw in the papers that the bishop in question had
died that afternoon about two hours before our meeting, and a few days
afterwards I saw the name of the stranger as the new dispensary doctor.
I got such a shock that I determined never to have anything to do with
table-turning again."

The following extraordinary personal experience is sent by a lady,
well-known to the present writer, but who requests that all names be
omitted. Whatever explanation we may give of it, the good faith of the
tale is beyond doubt.

"Two or three months after my father-in-law's death, my husband, myself,
and three small sons lived in the west of Ireland. As my husband was a
young barrister, he had to be absent from home a good deal. My three
boys slept in my bedroom, the eldest being about four, the youngest some
months. A fire was kept up every night, and with a young child to look
after, I was naturally awake more than once during the night. For many
nights I believed I distinctly saw my father-in-law sitting by the
fireside. This happened, not once or twice, but many times. He was
passionately fond of his eldest grandson, who lay sleeping calmly in his
cot. Being so much alone probably made me restless and uneasy, though I
never felt afraid. I mentioned this strange thing to a friend who had
known and liked my father-in-law, and she advised me to 'have his soul
laid,' as she termed it. Though I was a Protestant and she was a Roman
Catholic (as had also been my father-in-law), yet I fell in with her
suggestion. She told me to give a coin to the next beggar that came to
the house, telling him (or her) to pray for the rest of Mr. So-and-so's
soul. A few days later a beggar-woman and her children came to the door,
to whom I gave a coin and stated my desire. To my great surprise I
learned from her manner that such requests were not unusual. Well, she
went down on her knees on the steps, and prayed with apparent
earnestness and devotion that his soul might find repose. Once again he
appeared, and seemed to say to me, 'Why did you do that, E----? To come
and sit here was the only comfort I had.' Never again did he appear, and
strange to say, after a lapse of more than thirty years I have felt
regret at my selfishness in interfering.

"After his death, as he lay in the house awaiting burial, and I was in a
house some ten miles away, I thought that he came and told me that I
would have a hard life, which turned out only too truly. I was then
young, and full of life, with every hope of a prosperous future."

Of all the strange beliefs to be found in Ireland that in the Black Dog
is the most widespread. There is hardly a parish in the country but
could contribute some tale relative to this specter, though the majority
of these are short, and devoid of interest. There is said to be such a
dog just outside the avenue gate of Donohill Rectory, but neither of the
compilers have had the good luck to see it. It may be, as some hold,
that this animal was originally a cloud or nature-myth; at all events,
it has now descended to the level of an ordinary haunting. The most
circumstantial story that we have met with relative to the Black Dog is
that related as follows by a clergyman of the Church of Ireland, who
requests us to refrain from publishing his name.

"In my childhood I lived in the country. My father, in addition to his
professional duties, sometimes did a little farming in an amateurish
sort of way. He did not keep a regular staff of laborers, and
consequently when anything extra had to be done, such as hay-cutting or
harvesting, he used to employ day-laborers to help with the work. At
such times I used to enjoy being in the fields with the men, listening
to their conversation. On one occasion I heard a laborer remark that he
had once seen the devil! Of course I was interested and asked him to
give me his experience. He said he was walking along a certain road, and
when he came to a point where there was an entrance to a private place
(the spot was well known to me), he saw a black dog sitting on the
roadside. At the time he paid no attention to it, thinking it was an
ordinary retriever, but after he had passed on about two or three
hundred yards he found the dog was beside him, and then he noticed that
its eyes were blood-red. He stooped down, and picked up some stones in
order to frighten it away, but though he threw the stones at it they did
not injure it, nor indeed did they seem to have any effect. Suddenly,
after a few moments, the dog vanished from his sight.

"Such was the laborer's tale. After some years, during which time I had
forgotten altogether about the man's story, some friends of my own
bought the place at the entrance to which the apparition had been seen.
When my friends went to reside there I was a constant visitor at their
house. Soon after their arrival they began to be troubled by the
appearance of a black dog. Though I never saw it myself, it appeared to
many members of the family. The avenue leading to the house was a long
one, and it was customary for the dog to appear and accompany people for
the greater portion of the way. Such an effect had this on my friends
that they soon gave up the house, and went to live elsewhere. This was a
curious corroboration of the laborer's tale."

A distinction must be drawn between the so-called _Headless_ Coach,
which portends death, and the _Phantom_ Coach, which appears to be a
harmless sort of vehicle. With regard to the latter we give two tales
below, the first of which was sent by a lady whose father was a
clergyman, and a gold medalist of Trinity College, Dublin.

"Some years ago my family lived in County Down. Our house was some way
out of a fair-sized manufacturing town, and had a short avenue which
ended in a gravel sweep in front of the hall door. One winter's evening,
when my father was returning from a sick call, a carriage going at a
sharp pace passed him on the avenue. He hurried on, thinking it was some
particular friends, but when he reached the door no carriage was to be
seen, so he concluded it must have gone round to the stables. The
servant who answered his ring said that no visitors had been there, and
he, feeling certain that the girl had made some mistake, or that some
one else had answered the door, came into the drawing-room to make
further inquiries. No visitors had come, however, though those sitting
in the drawing-room had also heard the carriage drive up.

"My father was most positive as to what he had seen, viz. a closed
carriage with lamps lit; and let me say at once that he was a clergyman
who was known throughout the whole of the north of Ireland as a most
level-headed man, and yet to the day of his death he would insist that
he met that carriage on our avenue.

"One day in July one of our servants was given leave to go home for the
day, but was told she must return by a certain train. For some reason
she did not come by it, but by a much later one, and rushed into the
kitchen in a most penitent frame of mind. 'I am so sorry to be late,'
she told the cook, 'especially as there were visitors. I suppose they
stayed to supper, as they were so late going away, for I met the
carriage on the avenue.' The cook thereupon told her that no one had
been at the house, and hinted that she must have seen the
ghost-carriage, a statement that alarmed her very much, as the story was
well known in the town, and car-drivers used to whip up their horses as
they passed our gate, while pedestrians refused to go at all except in
numbers. We have often heard the carriage, but these are the only two
occasions on which I can positively assert that it was seen."

The following personal experience of the phantom coach was given to the
present writer by Mr. Matthias Fitzgerald, coachman to Miss Cooke, of
Cappagh House, County Limerick. He stated that one moonlight night he
was driving along the road from Askeaton to Limerick when he heard
coming up behind him the roll of wheels, the clatter of horses' hoofs,
and the jingling of the bits. He drew over to his own side to let this
carriage pass, but nothing passed. He then looked back, but could see
nothing, the road was perfectly bare and empty, though the sounds were
perfectly audible. This continued for about a quarter of an hour or so,
until he came to a cross-road, down one arm of which he had to turn. As
he turned off he heard the phantom carriage dash by rapidly along the
straight road. He stated that other persons had had similar experiences
on the same road.



NATURE-SPIRITS OR ELEMENTALS[18]

BY NIZIDA

[Footnote 18: From Journal of Proceedings of Theosophical Society.]

     "Life is one all-pervading principle, and even the thing that
     seems to die and putrefy but engenders new life and changes to
     new forms of matter. Reasoning, then, by analogy--if not a
     leaf, if not a drop of water, but is, no less than yonder star,
     a habitable and breathing world, common sense would suffice to
     teach that the circumfluent Infinite, which you call space--the
     boundless Impalpable which divides the earth from the moon and
     stars--is filled also with its correspondent and appropriate
     life."--ZANONI.


Within the last fifty years the human mind has been awakening slowly to
the fact that there is a world, invisible to ordinary powers of vision,
existing in close juxtaposition to the world cognized by our material
senses. This world, or condition of existence for more ethereal beings,
has been variously called Spirit-world, Summer-land, Astral-world,
Hades, Kama-loca, or Desire-world, etc. Slowly and with difficulty do
ideas upon the nature and characteristics of this world dawn upon the
modern mind. The imagination, swayed by pictures of sensuous life,
revels in the fantastic imagery it attributes to this unknown and dimly
conceived state of existence, more often picturing what is false than
what is true. Generally speaking, the most crude conceptions are
entertained; these embrace but two conditions of life, the embodied and
disembodied, for which there are only the earth and heaven, or hell,
with that intermediate state accepted by Roman Catholics, called
purgatory. There is, therefore, for such minds, only two orders of
beings, _i.e._, mankind, and angels or devils, categorically termed
_spirits_; but what would be the mode of life of those spirits, is a
subject upon which ordinary intellects can throw no light at all. Their
ideas are walled in by an impenetrable darkness, and not a ray of light
glimmers across the unfathomable gulf lying beyond the grave; that
portal of death which, for them, opens upon unknown darkness, and closes
upon the light, vivacity, and gaiety of the earth.

The idea that the beings we would term _disembodied_ do actually inhabit
bodies of an aerial substance, invisible to our grosser senses, in a
world exactly suited to their needs, surpasses the comprehension of an
ordinary understanding, which can conceive only of gross matter, visible
and tangible. Yet science begins to talk of _mind-stuff_, or
_soul-substance_, in reality that ethereal substance which ranks next to
dense matter, and which it wears as an external, more hardened shell.
For there is space within space. Once realizing the existence of an
_inner world_, we shall find that all our ideas concerning space, time,
and every particular of our existence, and the world we live in must
become entirely revolutionized.

The principal source of knowledge which has been opened in modern times
concerning the next state of existence has revealed itself in a manner
homogeneous to itself. It has come by an interior method--a revelation
from within acting upon the without. The inner world, although always
acting upon and through its external covering, in a hidden or veiled
way, as from an inscrutable cause, has manifested itself in a manner
more overt and cognizable by the bodily senses of man. At least that
which has usually been termed, with more or less awe, the
_supernatural_, the _ghostly_, has impinged upon the mental incrassation
of sensual man as a thing to be reckoned with in daily life; no longer
to be relegated to the region of vague darkness _d'outre tombe_. Hence
the human mind is being awakened to study and dive into the depths of
that life within life, wherein dwell the disembodied, the so-called
_dead_, the angels, and, _per contra_, the devils. Those hidden aerial
and ethereal regions, wherein the _souls_ of things, and beings, draw
life from the bosom of nature; wherein they find their _active_ habitat;
wherein nature keeps a store of objects more wonderful, and infinitely
more varied, than serve for her regions of dense matter; wherein man can
discern the occult causes and beginnings of all things, even of his own
thoughts; and whereupon he learns, at length, that he possesses the
power of projecting by thought-creation forms more or less endued with
life and intelligence, which compose his mental world, and with which
he, as it were, "peoples space." He finds the sphere of his
responsibilities immensely enlarged by this new knowledge, of which he
is taking the first honeyed sips, delighted with the self-importance
which the heretofore unsuspected power of diving into the unseen seems
to bestow. If hitherto he has had to hold himself responsible for the
consequences of his external actions, that they should not militate
against the order of society as regards the laws of morality and virtue,
he has at least acted upon the impression that his _secret thoughts_
were his own, and remained with him, affecting no one but himself; were
incognizable in their veiled chambers, and of which it was not necessary
to take any notice; the transitory, evanescent, spontaneous workings of
mind, unknown and inscrutable, which begin and end like the flight of a
bird, whence coming and where going it is impossible to know.

By the first faint gleams of the light of hidden wisdom, which are
beginning to dawn upon his mind, he now perceives that responsibility
does not end upon the plane of earth, but extends into the aerial
regions of that inner world where his thoughts are no longer secret, and
where they affect the astral currents, acting for the good or detriment
of others to almost infinite extent; that he may act upon the ambient
atmospheres, not only of the outer but inner planes of life, like a
plant of poisonous exhalations, if his thoughts be not pure and good;
peopling _unseen_ space with the outcome of a debased mind, in the shape
of hideous and maleficent creatures. He becomes responsible, therefore,
for the consequences of his mental actions and thought-life, as well as
those actions carefully prepared to pass unchallenged before this
world's gaze.

Diving into the unseen by the light of the new spiritual knowledge now
radiating into all minds, we learn that there are three degrees of life
in man, the material, the aerial, and the ethereal, corresponding to
body, soul, and spirit; and that there are three corresponding planes of
existence inhabited by beings suited to them.

The subject of our paper will limit us at present to the aerial, or
soul-plane--the next contiguous, or astral world. The beings that more
especially live in this realm of the soul, have by common consent been
termed _elementals_. Nature in illimitable space teems with life in
forms ethereal, evanescent as thought itself, or more objectively
condensed and solidified, according to the inherent attraction which
holds them together; enduring according to the force, energy, or power
which gave them birth; intelligent, or non-intelligent, from the same
source, which is mental. These spirits of the soul-world are possessed
of aerial bodies, and their world has its own firmament, its own
atmosphere and conditions of existence, its own objects, scenes,
habitations. Yet their world and the world of man intermingle,
interpenetrate, and "throw their shadows upon each other," says
Paracelsus. Again, he says: "As there are in our world water and fire,
harmonies and contrasts, visible bodies and invisible essences, likewise
these beings are varied in their constitution, and have their own
peculiarities, for which human beings have no comprehension."

Matter, as known to men in bodies, is seen and felt by means of the
physical senses; but to beings not provided with such senses, the things
of our world are as invisible and intangible as things of more ethereal
substance are to our grosser senses. Elementals which find their habitat
in the interior of the earth's shell, usually called _gnomes_, are not
conscious of the density of the element of earth as we perceive it; but
breathe in a free atmosphere, and behold objects of which we cannot form
the remotest conception. In like manner exist the _undines_ in water,
_sylphs_ in air, and _salamanders_ in fire. The elementals of the air,
sylphs, are said to be friendly towards man; those of the water,
undines, are malicious. The salamanders can, but rarely do, associate
with man, "on account of the fiery nature of the element they inhabit."
The pigmies (gnomes) are friendly; but as they are the guardians of
treasure they usually oppose the approach of man, baffling by many
mysterious arts the selfish greed of seekers for buried wealth. We,
however, read of their alluring miners either by stroke of pick, or
hammer, or by floating lights to the best mineral "leads." Paracelsus
says of these subterranean elementals that they build houses, vaults,
and strange-looking edifices of certain immaterial substances unknown to
us. "They have some kind of alabaster, marble, cement, etc., but these
substances are as different from ours as the web of a spider is
different from our linen."

These inhabitants of the elements, or "nature-spirits," may, or may not
be, conscious of the existence of man; oftentimes feeling him merely as
a force which propels, or arrests them; for by his will and by his
thought, he acts upon the astral currents of the aerial world in which
they live; and by the use of his hands he sways the material elements of
earth, fire, and water wherein they are established. They perceive the
soul-essence of man with its "currents and forms," and they also are
capable of reading such thoughts as do not spiritually transcend their
powers of discernment. They perceive the states of feeling and emotions
of men by the "_colors_ and impressions produced in their auras," and
may thus irresistibly be drawn into overt action upon man's plane of
life. They are the invisible _stone-throwers_ we hear of so frequently,
supposed to be _human_ spirits; the perpetrators of mischief, such as
destruction of property in the habitations of men, noises, and
mysterious nocturnal annoyances.

Of all writers upon occult subjects to whose works we have as yet gained
access, Paracelsus throws the greatest light upon these tricky sprites
celebrated in the realm of poesy, and inhabiting that disputed land
popularly termed fairydom. From open vision, and that wonderful insight
of the master or adept into the secrets of nature, Paracelsus is able to
give us the most positive information concerning their bodily formation,
the nature of their existence, and other extraordinary particulars,
which proves that he has actually seen and observed them, and doubtless
also employed them as the obedient servants of his purified will; a
power into which the spiritual man ascends by a species of right, when
he has thrown off, or conquered, the thraldom of matter in his own body,
and stands open-eyed at "the portals of his deep within."

We will quote certain extracts from the pages of this wonderful
interpreter of nature. "There are two kinds of flesh. One that comes
from Adam, and another that does not come from Adam. The former is gross
material, visible and tangible for us; the other one is not tangible and
not made from earth. If a man who is a descendant from Adam wants to
pass through a wall, he will have first to make a hole through it; but a
being who is not descended from Adam needs no hole nor door, but may
pass through matter that appears solid to us without causing any damage
to it. The beings not descended from Adam, as well as those descended
from him, are organized and have substantial bodies; but there is as
much difference between the substance composing their bodies as there is
between matter and spirit. Yet the elementals are not spirits, because
they have flesh, blood, and bones; they live and propagate offspring;
they eat and talk, act and sleep, etc., and consequently they cannot be
properly called spirits. They are beings occupying a place between man
and spirits, resembling men and women in their organization and form,
and resembling spirits in the rapidity of their locomotion. They are
intermediary beings or composita, formed out of two parts joined into
one; just as two colors mixed together will appear as one color,
resembling neither one nor the other of the two original ones. The
elementals have no higher principles; they are therefore not immortal,
and when they die they perish like animals. Neither water nor fire can
injure them, and they cannot be locked up in our material prisons. They
are, however, subject to diseases. Their costumes, actions, forms, ways
of speaking, etc., are not very unlike those of human beings; but there
are a great many varieties. They have only animal intellects, and are
incapable of spiritual development."

In saying the elementals have "no higher principles," and "When they die
they perish like animals," Paracelsus does not stop to explain that the
higher principles in them are absolutely latent, as in plants; and that
animals in "perishing" are not destroyed, but the psychical or soul-part
of the animal passes, by the processes of evolution, into higher forms.

"Each species moves only in the element to which it belongs, and neither
of them can go out of its appropriate element, which is to them as the
air is to us, or the water to fishes; and none of them can live in the
element belonging to another class. To each elemental being the element
in which it lives is transparent, invisible, and respirable, as the
atmosphere is to ourselves."

"As far as the personalities of the elementals are concerned, it may be
said that those belonging to the element of water resemble human beings
of either sex; those of the air are greater and stronger; the
salamanders are long, lean, and dry; the pigmies (gnomes) are the length
of about two spans, but they may extend or elongate their forms until
they appear like giants.

"Nymphs (undines, or naiads) have their residences and palaces in the
element of water; sylphs and salamanders have no fixed dwellings.
Salamanders have been seen in the shape of fiery balls, or tongues of
fire running over the fields or appearing in houses;" or at psychical
séances as starry lights, darting and dancing about.

"There are certain localities where large numbers of elementals live
together, and it has occurred that a man has been admitted into their
communities and lived with them for a while, and that they have become
visible and tangible to him."

Poets, in their moments of exaltation, have an unconscious soul-vision
before which nature's invisible worlds lie like an open volume, and they
translate her secrets into language of mystic meanings whose harmonies
are re-interpreted by sympathetic minds. The poet Hogg, in his _Rapture
of Kilmeny_, would seem to have had a vision of some such visit as that
described above, into the fairyland of pure, peaceful _elementals_.

"Bonny Kilmeny gaed up the glen"--and is represented as having fallen
asleep. During this sleep she is transported to "a far countrye," whose
gentle, lovely inhabitants receive her with delight. The following
lines reveal the poet's power of inner vision, as will be seen by the
words italicized. They are in wonderful accord with the descriptions
given by Paracelsus from the actual observation of a _conscious seer_:

    "They lifted Kilmeny, they led her away,
    And she walk'd _in the light of a sunless day_;
    The sky was _a dome of crystal bright_,
    The _fountain of vision and fountain of light_;
    The emerald fields _were of dazzling glow_,
    And the _flowers of everlasting blow_."

It needs but a brushing away of the films of flesh, which occurs in
moments of rapt inspiration, for the soul, escaping from its
prison-house, to revel in the innocent, peaceful scenes of its own inner
world, and give a true description of what it beholds. The inner
meanings of things, the symbolical correspondences are revealed in a
flash of light, and the poet-soul becomes revelator and prophet all in
one. He sets it down to imagination and fancy, when he returns into his
normal state, and it is what we call "a flight of genius"--the power of
the soul to enter its own appropriate world. Certainly _les ames de
boue_ have no such power. It is, however, a _proof that world exists_,
if we will but understand it aright.

There has never existed a poet with a truer conception of "elemental"
life than Shakespeare. What more exquisite creation of the poet's fancy,
which _might be every word of it true_, for in no particular does it
surpass the truth, than that of _Ariel_, whom the "foul witch Sycorax,"
"by help of her more potent ministers, and in her most unmitigable
rage," did confine "into a cloven pine;" for Ariel, the good elemental,
was "a spirit too delicate to act her earthly and abhorred commands."
When Prospero, the Adept and White Magician, arrived upon the scene, by
his superior art he liberated the delicate Ariel, who afterwards becomes
his ministering servant for _good_, not for evil.

In the _Midsummer Night's Dream_, Titania transports a human child into
her elemental world, where she keeps him with so jealous a love as to
refuse to yield him even to her "fairy lord," as Puck calls him. Puck
himself is almost as exquisite a realization of elemental life as Ariel.
As Shakespeare unfolds the lovely, innocent tale of the occupations,
sports and pranks of this aerial people, he introduces us to the
elementals of his own beautiful thought world; and, although indulging
in the "sports of fancy," there is so broad a foundation of truth, that,
being enlightened by the revelations of Paracelsus, we no longer think
we are merely entertained by the poetical inventions of a master of his
art, but may well believe we have been witnesses of a charming reality
beheld through the "rift in the veil" of the poet's unconscious inner
sight. Indeed, one of the tenets of occult science is that there is
nothing on earth, nor that the mind of man can conceive, which is not
already existent in the unseen world.

We reflect in the translucence, or _diaphane_ of our mental world those
concrete images of things which we attract by the irresistible magnetism
of _desire_ working through the thought. It is a spontaneous,
unconscious mental process with us; but there is no reason why it should
not become a perfectly conscious process regulated by a divine wisdom
to functions of harmony with nature's laws, and to productions of beauty
and beneficence for the good of the whole world. As the world is the
concreted emanation of divine thought, so it is by thought that man, the
microcosm, _creates_ upon his petty, finite plane. Given the
desire--even if it be only as the lightest breath of a summer zephyr
upon the sleeping bosom of the ocean, scarcely ruffling its surface--it
becomes a center of attraction for suitable molecules of
thought-substance floating in space, which immediately "agglomerate
round the idea proceeding to reveal itself," _by means_ of clothing
itself in substance. By these silent processes in the invisible world
wherein our souls draw the breath of life, we form our mental world, our
personal character, even our very physical bodies. The _perisprit_, or
astral body, the vehicle for _formless spirit_, is essentially builded
up from the mental life, and grows by the accretion of those atoms or
molecules of thought-substance which are assimilable by the mind. Hence
a good man, a man of lofty aspirations, forms, as the _nearest_ external
clothing of his inner spirit, a beautiful soul-body, which irradiates
through and beautifies the physical body. The man of low and groveling
mind will, on the contrary, attract the depraved and poisoned substances
of the lower astral world; the malarial emanations thrown off by other
equally depraved beings, by which his mind becomes embruted, his soul
diseased, whilst his physical form presents in a concrete image the
ugliness of his inner nature. Such a man never ascends above the dense,
mephitic vapors of the sin-laden world, nor takes into his soul the
slightest breath of pure, vitalizing air. He is diseased by invisible
astral _microbes_, being most effectually self-inoculated with them by
the operation of desires which never transcend the earth. Did we lift
the veil which shrouds from mortal sight the elemental world of such a
moral pervert, we should behold a world teeming with hideous forms, and
as actively working as the _bacteria_ of fermentation revealed by a
powerful microscope, elementals of destruction, death, and decay, which
must pass out into other forms for the purification of the spiritual
atmosphere; creatures produced by the man's own thoughts, living upon
and in him, and reflecting, like mirrors, his hideousness back again to
himself. It is from the presence of innumerable foci of evil of this
kind that the world is befouled, and the moral atmosphere of our planet
tainted. They emit poisoned astral currents, from which none are safe
but those who are in the _positive_ condition of perfect moral health.

From the fountain of life we draw in the materials of life, and become,
upon our lower plane, other living fountains, which from liberty of
choice, and freedom of will, have the power of so muddying the pure
stream, that in its turbidness and foulness it becomes death
instead of life, and produces hell instead of heaven. When we, by
self-purification, and that constant mental discipline which trains us
upwards, clinging to our highest ideal by the tendrils of faith, and
love, and continual aspiration, as the vine would cling to a rock--have
eliminated all that is impure in our thought world, we become fountains
of life, and make our own heavens, wherein are reflected only images of
divine beauty. The whole elemental world on our immediate astral plane
becomes gradually transformed during the progress of our evolution into
the higher spiritual grades of being. And as humanity _en masse_
advances, throwing off the moral and spiritual deformity of the selfish,
ignorant ego, the astral atmospheres belonging to our planet world
become filled with elementals of a peaceful, loving character, of
beautiful forms, and of beneficent influences. The currents of evil
force which now act with a continually jarring effect upon those
striving to maintain the equilibrium of harmony with nature upon the
side of _good_, would cease. That depression, agitation, and distress
which now, from inscrutable causes, assail minds otherwise rejoicing in
an innocent happiness, forewarning them of some impending calamity, or
of some evil presence it seems impossible to shake off, would become
unknown. The horrible demons of war, with which humanity, in its sinful
state of _separateness_, is continually threatening itself--as if the
members of one body were self-opposed, and revolting from that state of
agreement that can alone ensure the well-being of the whole--would no
longer be held, like ravenous bloodhounds chafing against their leashes,
ready to spring, at a word, upon their hellish work; but they will have
passed away, like other hideous deformities of evil; and the serene
astral atmospheres would no longer reflect ideas of cruel wrongs to
fellow-beings, revenge, lust of power, injustice, and ruthless hatred.
We are taught that around an "idea" agglomerate the suitable molecules
of soul-substance--"Monads," as Leibnitz terms them, until a concrete
form stands created, the production of a mind, or minds. All the hideous
man-created beings, powers or forces, which now act like ravaging
pestilences and storms in the astral atmospheres of our planet will
have disappeared like the monstrous phantoms of a frightful dream, when
the whole of humanity has progressed into a state of higher spiritual
evolution. It is well to reflect that _each individual_, however humble
and apparently insignificant his position in the great human family, can
aid by his life, by the silent emanation of his pure and wise thoughts,
as well as by his active labors for humanity, in bringing nearer this
halcyon period of peace, harmony, and purity--that millennium, in short,
we are all looking forward to, as a dream we can never hope to see
realized.

In _Man: Fragments of Forgotten History_, we read: "Violence was the
most baneful manifestation of man's spiritual decadence, and it
rebounded upon him from the elemental beings, whom it was his duty to
develop"--those _sub-mundanes_, towards whom man is now learning that he
incurs _responsibilities_ of which he is at present utterly unconscious,
but of which he will indubitably become more and more aware as he
ascends the ladder of spiritual evolution.

To continue our extract from _Fragments_. "When this duty was ignored,
and the separation of interests was accentuated, the natural man
forcibly realized an antagonism with the elemental spirits. As violence
increased in man, these spirits waxed strong in their way, and, true to
their natures, which had been outraged by the neglect of those who were
in a sense their guardians, they automatically responded with
resentment. No longer could man rely upon the power of love or harmony
to guide others, because he himself had ceased to be impelled solely by
its influence; distrust had marred the symmetry of his inner self, and
beings who could not perceive but only _receive impressions projected
towards them_, quickly adapted themselves to the altered conditions."
(Elementals as _forces_, respond to forces, or are swayed by them; man,
as a superior force, acts upon them, therefore, injuriously, or
beneficially, and they in their turn, poisoned by his baleful influence,
when he is depraved, become injurious forces to him by the laws of
reaction.) "At once nature itself took on the changed expression; and
where all before was gladness and freshness there were now indications
of sorrow and decay. Atmospheric influences hitherto unrecognized began
to be noted; there was felt a chill in the morning, a dearth of magnetic
heat at noon-tide, and a universal deadness at the approach of night,
which began to be looked upon with alarm. For a change in the object
must accompany every change in the subject. Until this point was reached
there was nothing to make man afraid of himself and his surroundings.

"And as he plunged deeper and deeper into matter, he lost his
consciousness of the subtler forms of existence, and attributed all the
antagonism he experienced to unknown causes. The conflict continued to
wax stronger, and, in consequence of his ignorance, man fell a readier
victim. There were exceptions among the race then, as there are now,
whose finer perceptive faculties outgrew, or kept ahead, of the
advancing materialization; and they alone, in course of events, could
feel and recognize the influences of these earliest progeny of the
earth.

"Time came when an occasional appearance was viewed with alarm, and was
thought to be an omen of evil. Recognizing this fear on the part of man,
the elementals ultimately came to realize for him the dangers he
apprehended, and they banded together to terrify him." (They reflected
back to him his own fears in a concrete form, sufficiently intelligent,
perhaps, to take some malicious pleasure in it, for man in propelling
into space a force of any kind is met by a reactionary force, which
seems to give exactly what his mind foreshadowed. In the negative
coldness of fear, he lays himself open to infesting molecules or atoms
which paralyze life, and he falls a victim to his own lack of faith,
cheerful courage and hope.) "They found strong allies in an order of
existence which was generated when physical death made its appearance"
(_i.e._, elementaries, or shells); "and their combined forces began to
manifest themselves at night, for which man had a dread as being the
enemy of his protector, the sun.[19]

[Footnote 19: _Fragments of Forgotten History._]

"The elementaries galvanized into activity by the elemental beings began
to appear to man under as many varieties of shape as his hopes and fears
allowed. And as his ignorance of things spiritual became denser, these
agencies brought in an influx of error, which accelerated his spiritual
degeneration. Thus, it will be seen that man's neglect of his duty to
the nature-spirits is the cause which has launched him into a sea of
troubles, that has shipwrecked so many generations of his descendants.
Famines, plagues, wars, and other catastrophes are not so disconnected
with the agency of nature-spirits as it might appear to the sceptical
mind."[20]

[Footnote 20: _Fragments of Forgotten History._]

It is therefore evident that the world of man exercises a controlling
power over this invisible world of elementals. Even in the most remote
and inaccessible haunts of nature, where we may imagine halcyon days of
an innocent bliss elapsing in poetic peace and beauty for the more
harmless of these irresponsible, evanescent offspring of nature's
teeming bosom, they must inevitably, sooner or later, yield up their
peaceful sovereignty to the greater monarch, man, who usually comes with
a harsh and discordant influence, like the burning sirocco of the
desert, like the overwhelming avalanche from the silent peaks of snow,
or the earthquake, convulsing and tearing to atoms the beauty of
gardens, palaces, cities. It is said that elementals _die_; it is
presumable that at such times they die by myriads, when the whole
surface of the earth becomes changed from the unavoidable passing away
of nature's wildernesses, the peaceful homes of bird and beast, as the
improving, commercial, money-grasping man--that contradiction of God,
that industrious destroyer, who lives at war with beauty, peace, and
goodness--appears upon the scene. These may be called poetical
rhapsodies; yet poetry is, in a mysterious way, closely allied to that
hidden truth which has its birth on the soul-plane, and the imagination
of man is, according to Eliphas Lévi, a clairvoyant and magical
faculty--"the wand of the magician."

To speak of elementals _dying_, is to use a word which expresses for us
_change of condition_; the passing from one sphere of life to another,
or from one plane of consciousness to another. This to the sensual man
is "death." But there is _no_ death--it is merely a passing from one
phase of existence to another. Hence the elementals lose the forms they
once held, changing their plane of consciousness, and appearing in other
forms.

We have shown somewhat of the mysterious way in which man acts upon
these invisible denizens of his soul-world, and by which he incurs a
certain responsibility. By the dynamic power of thought and will it is
done--as everything is done. The elementals pushed by man, as by a
superior force, off that equilibrium of harmony with pure, innocent
nature, which they originally maintained when our planet was young, have
been transformed into powers of evil, which man brings upon himself as
retribution--the reaction of that force he ignorantly sets in motion
when he breaks the beneficent laws of nature. Originally dependent upon
him, and capable of aiding him in a thousand ways when he is wise and
good, they have become his enemies, who thwart him at every turn, and
guard the secrets of their abodes with none the less implacable
sternness because they are probably only semi-conscious of the functions
they perform. It is nature acting through them--the great cosmic
consciousness, which forbids that desecrating footsteps shall invade the
holy precincts of her stupendous life-secrets. But to the spiritual
man--the god--these secrets open of themselves, like a hand laden with
gifts, readily unclosing to a favorite and deserving child.

Giving forth a current of evil, and sinking therefrom into a state of
bestial ignorance, man has enveloped himself in clouds of darkness which
assume monstrous shapes threatening to overwhelm him. A wicked man is
generally a coward because he lives in a state of perpetual dread of the
reactionary effect of the evil forces he has set in motion. These are
volumes of elemental forms banded together, and swaying like the
thunder-clouds of a gathering storm.

To disperse these, his own spiritual mind must ray forth the light
reflected from the source of light--omniscience. In the astral
atmospheres of the spiritual man, there are no clouds, and fear is
unknown. In the mental world of the innocent and pure, those are only
forms of gracious beauty, as lovely as the shapes of nature's innocent
embryons, which reveal themselves in the forests, the running streams,
the floating breeze, and in company with the birds and flowers, to the
clairvoyant sight of those nature-lovers before whom she withdraws her
veils, communing with their souls by an intuitional speech which fills
them with rapturous admiration. It is not only the learned scientist who
may read nature's marvelous revelations; for she whispers them with
maternal tenderness into the open ears of babes, where they remain ever
safe from desecration, and are cherished as the soul's innocent delights
in hours of isolation from the busy, jarring world.

The spiritual soul is ever looking beneath nature's material veils for
_correspondences_. Every natural object _means_ something else to such
penetrating vision--a vision which begins to be spontaneously exercised
by the soul when it has fairly reached that stage of spiritual
evolution; and to this silent exploration many a secret meaning reveals
itself by object-pictures, which awaken reflection and inquiry as to the
why and wherefore. Thus the spiritual man drinks, as it were, from
nature's own hand the pure waters of an inexhaustible spring--that
occult knowledge which feeds his soul, and aids in forming for him a
beautiful and powerful astral body. And nature becomes invested to his
penetrating sight with a beauty she never wore before, and which the
clay-blinded eyes of animal man can never behold. Such a man would enter
the isolated haunts of the purer nature-spirits with gentle footsteps,
and loving thoughts. To him the breeze is wafted wooingly, the streams
whisper music, and everything wears an aspect of loving joyousness, and
inviting confidence. Beside the rigid material forms, he sees their
_aromal counter-parts_; everything is life; the very stones live, and
have a consciousness suited to their state; and he feels as if every
atom of his own body vibrated in unison with the living things about
him--as if _all were one flesh_. To injure a single thing would be
impossible to him. Such is the soul-condition of the perfect man, to
whom evil has become impossible.

An adept has written--"Every thought of man upon being evolved passes
into another world and becomes an active entity by associating
itself--coalescing, we might term it--with an elemental; that is to say,
with one of the semi-intelligent forces of the kingdoms. It survives as
an active intelligence--a creature of the mind's begetting--for a longer
or shorter period, proportionate with the original intensity of the
cerebral action which generated it. Thus, a good thought is perpetuated
as an active, beneficent power, an evil one as a maleficent demon. And
so man is continually peopling his current in space with the offspring
of his fancies, desires, impulses, and passions; a current which
re-acts upon any sensitive or nervous organization which comes in
contact with it, in proportion to its dynamic intensity. The adept
evolves these shapes consciously, other men throw them off
unconsciously."

Therefore, man must be held responsible not only for his outward
actions, but his secret thoughts, by which he puts into existence
irresponsible entities of more or less maleficent power, if his thoughts
be of an evil nature. These are revelations of a deep and abstruse
character; but would they have come at all if man had not reached that
stage of evolution when it is necessary he should step up into his
spiritual kingdom, and rule as a master over his lower self, and as a
beneficent god over every department of unintelligent nature?

We note the closing words of the adept's letter: "The adept evolves
these shapes consciously, other men throw them off unconsciously." In
the adept's soul-world then--the man who has ascended, by self-conquest
primarily, into his spiritual kingdom, and who has graduated through
years of probation and study in spiritual or occult science--_i.e._, the
White Magician, the Son of God, the inheritor by spiritual evolution, of
divinity--there would reign peace, happiness, beauty, order, absolute
harmony with nature on the side of good. No discordant note, no deformed
astral production to embarrass or obstruct the current of divine
magnetism he emanates into space--the delicious, soul-purifying,
healing, and uplifting aura which radiates from him as from a center of
beneficence to the lower world of struggling humanity. The
semi-intelligent forces of nature, the innocent nature spirits would in
such a soul-world, find an appropriate and harmonious habitat,
clustering in waiting obedience upon the behests of a master whose every
thought-breath would be as an uplifting life.

To such a state and condition of complete harmony with God and nature
must the truly perfect spiritual man ascend by evolution.


THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ELEMENTALS AND ELEMENTARIES

From the similarity of the terms used to designate two classes of astral
beings who are able to communicate with man, a certain confusion has
arisen in the public mind, which it would be as well, perhaps, to aid in
removing.

_Elementals_ is a term applied to the nature spirits, the living
existences which belong peculiarly to the elements they inhabit; "beings
of the _mysteria specialia_," according to Paracelsus, "soul-forms,
which will return into their chaos, and who are not capable of
manifesting any higher spiritual activity because they do not possess
the necessary kind of constitution in which an activity of a spiritual
character can manifest itself.... Matter is connected with spirit by an
intermediate principle which it receives from this spirit. This
intermediate link between matter and spirit belongs to all the three
kingdoms of nature. In the mineral kingdom it is called Stannar, or
Trughat; in the vegetable kingdom, Jaffas; and it forms in connection
with the vital force of the vegetable kingdom, the Primum Ens, which
possesses the highest medicinal properties.... In the animal kingdom,
this semi-material body is called Evestrum, and in human beings it is
called the Sidereal Man. Each living being is connected with the
Macrocosmos and Microcosmos by means of this intermediate element of
soul, belonging to the Mysterium Magnum from whence it has been
received, and whose form and qualities are determined by the quality and
quantity of the spiritual and material elements." From this we may infer
that the _Elementals_, properly speaking, are the _Soul-forms_ of the
elements they inhabit--the activities and energies of the _world-soul_
differentiated into forms, endowed with more or less consciousness and
capacities for feeling, and hours of enjoyment, or pain. But these,
never or rarely, entering any more deeply into dense matter than enabled
so to do by their aerial invisible bodies, do not appear upon our gross
physical plane otherwise than as forces, energies, or influences. Their
soul-forms are the intermediate link between matter and spirit,
resembling the soul-forms of animals and men, which also form this
intermediate link, the difference being that the souls of animals and
men have enveloped themselves in a casing of dense matter for the
purposes of existence upon the more external planes of life.
Consequently, after the death of the external bodies of men and animals,
there remain astral remnants which undergo gradual disintegration in the
astral atmospheres. These have been termed _elementaries_; _i.e._, "the
astral corpses of the dead; the ethereal counterpart of the once living
person, which will sooner or later be decomposed into its astral
elements, as the physical body is dissolved into the elements to which
it belongs. The elementaries of good people have little cohesion and
evaporate soon; those of wicked people may exist a long time; those of
suicides, etc., have a life and consciousness of their own as long as a
division of principles has not taken place. These are the most
dangerous."

In the introduction to _Isis Unveiled_, we find the following definition
of elemental spirits:

"The creatures evolved in the four kingdoms of earth, air, fire, and
water, and called by the Kabalists gnomes, sylphs, salamanders, and
undines. They may be termed the forces of nature, and will either
operate effects as the servile agents of general law, or may be employed
by the disembodied spirits--whether pure or impure--and by living adepts
of magic and sorcery, to produce desired phenomenal results. _Such_
beings never become men." (But there are classes of elemental spirits
who do become men, as we shall see further on.)

"Under the general designation of fairies and fays, these spirits of the
elements appear in the myth, fable, tradition, and poetry of all
nations, ancient and modern. Their names are legion--peris, devs, djins,
sylvans, satyrs, fawns, elves, dwarfs, trolls, kobolds, brownies,
stromkarls, undines, nixies, salamanders, goblins, banshees, kelpies,
prixies, moss people, good people, good neighbors, wild women, men of
peace, white ladies, and many more. They have been seen, feared,
blessed, banned, and invoked in every quarter of the globe and in every
age. These elementals are the principal agents of disembodied but never
visible spirits at séances, and the producers of all the phenomena
except the 'subjective.'"--(Preface xxix, vol. I.)

"In the Jewish Kabala the nature spirits were known under the general
name of _Shedim_, and divided into four classes. The Persians called
them _devs_; the Greeks indistinctly designated them as _demons_; the
Egyptians knew them as _afrites_. The ancient Mexicans, says Kaiser,
believed in numerous spirit-abodes, into one of which the shades of
innocent children were placed until final disposal; into another,
situated in the sun, ascended the valiant souls of heroes; while the
hideous specters of incorrigible sinners were sentenced to wander and
despair in subterranean caves, held in the bonds of the
earth-atmosphere, unwilling and unable to liberate themselves. They
passed their time in communicating with mortals, and frightening those
who could see them. Some of the African tribes know them as
Yowahoos."--(P. 313, vol. I.)

Of the ideas of Proclus on this subject it is said in _Isis Unveiled_:

"He held that the four elements are all filled with demons, maintaining
with Aristotle that the universe is full, and that there is no void in
nature. The demons of earth, air, fire, and water, are of an elastic,
ethereal, semi-corporeal essence. It is these classes which officiate as
intermediate agents between the gods and men. Although lower in
intelligence than the sixth order of the higher demons, these beings
preside directly over the elements and organic life. They direct the
growth, the inflorescence, the properties, and various changes of
plants. They are the personified ideas or virtues shed from the heavenly
_ule_ into the inorganic matter; and, as the vegetable kingdom is one
remove higher than the mineral, these emanations from the celestial gods
take form in the plant, and become _its soul_. It is that which
Aristotle's doctrine terms the _form_ in the three principles of natural
bodies, classified by him as _privation_, matter, and form. His
philosophy teaches that besides the original matter, another principle
is necessary to complete the triune nature of every particle, and this
is _form_; an invisible, but still, in an ontological sense of the word,
a substantial being, really distinct from matter proper. Thus, in an
animal or a plant, besides the bones, the flesh, the nerves, the brains,
and the blood in the former; and besides the pulpy matter, tissues,
fibers, and juice in the latter, which blood and juice by circulating
through the veins and fibers nourish all parts of both animal and plant;
and besides the animal spirits which are the principles of motion, and
the chemical energy which is transformed into vital force in the green
leaf, there must be a substantial form, which Aristotle called in the
horse, the _horse's soul_; and Proclus, the _demon_ of every mineral,
plant, or animal, and the medieval philosophers, the _elementary
spirits_ of the four kingdoms."--(P. 312, vol. I.)

"According to the ancient doctrines, the soulless elemental spirits were
evolved by the ceaseless motion inherent in the astral light. Light is
force, and the latter is produced by _will_. As this will proceeds from
an intelligence which cannot err, for it has nothing of the material
organs of human thought in it, being the super-fine pure emanation of
the highest divinity itself--(Plato's _Father_)--it proceeds from the
beginning of time, according to immutable laws, to evolve the
elementary fabric requisite for subsequent generations of what we term
human races. All of the latter, whether belonging to this planet or to
some other of the myriads in space, have their earthly bodies evolved in
the matrix out of the bodies of a certain class of these elemental
beings which have passed away in the invisible worlds." (P. 285, vol.
I.)

Speaking of Pythagoras, Iamblichus, and other Greek philosophers, _Isis_
says:

"The universal ether was not, in their eyes, simply a something
stretching, tenantless, throughout the expanse of heaven; it was a
boundless ocean peopled, like our familiar seas, with monstrous and
minor creatures, and having in its every molecule the germs of life.
Like the finny tribes which swarm in our oceans and smaller bodies of
water, each kind having its 'habitat' in some spot to which it is
curiously adapted; some friendly and some inimical to man; some pleasant
and some frightful to behold; some seeking the refuge of quiet nooks and
land-locked harbors, and some traversing great areas of water, the
various races of the elemental spirits were believed by them to inhabit
the different portions of the great ethereal ocean, and to be exactly
adapted to their respective conditions." (P. 284, vol. I.)

"Lowest in the scale of being are those invisible creatures called by
the Kabalists the _elementary_. There are three distinct classes of
these. The highest, in intelligence and cunning, are the so-called
terrestrial spirits, the _larvæ_, or shadows of those who have lived on
earth, have refused all spiritual light, remained and died deeply
immersed in the mire of matter, and from whose sinful souls the
immortal spirit has gradually separated. The second class is composed of
invisible antitypes of men _to be_ born. No form can come into objective
existence, from the highest to the lowest, before the abstract idea of
this form, or as Aristotle would call it, the privation of this form is
called forth.... These models, as yet devoid of immortal spirits, are
elementals properly speaking, _psychic embryos_--which when their time
arrives, die out of the invisible world, and are borne into this visible
one as human infants, receiving _in transitu_ that divine breath called
spirit which completes the perfect man. This class cannot communicate
objectively with man.

"The third class of elementals proper never evolve into human beings,
but occupy, as it were, a specific step of the ladder of being, and, by
comparison with the others, may properly be called nature-spirits, or
cosmic agents of nature, each being confined to its own element, and
never transgressing the bounds of others. These are what Tertullian
called 'the princes of the powers of the air.'

"This class is believed to possess but one of the three attributes of
man. They have neither immortal souls nor tangible bodies; only astral
forms, which partake, in a distinguishing degree, of the element to
which they belong, and also of the ether. They are a combination of
sublimated matter and a rudimental mind. Some are changeless, but still
have no separate individuality, acting collectively so to say. Others,
of certain elements and species, change form under a fixed law which
Kabalists explain. The most solid of their bodies is ordinarily just
immaterial enough to escape perception by our physical eyesight, but
not so unsubstantial but that they can be perfectly recognized by the
inner or clairvoyant vision. They not only exist, and can all live in
ether, but can handle and direct it for the production of physical
effects, as readily as we can compress air or water for the same purpose
by pneumatic or hydraulic apparatus; in which occupation they are
readily helped by the 'human elementary.' More than this; they can so
condense it as to make to themselves tangible bodies, which by their
protean powers they can cause to assume such likenesses as they choose,
by taking as their models the portraits they find stamped in the memory
of the persons present. It is not necessary that the sitter should be
thinking at the moment of the one represented. His image may have faded
away years before. The mind receives indelible impression even from
chance acquaintance, or persons encountered but once." (Pp. 310, 311,
vol. I.)

"If spiritualists are anxious to keep strictly dogmatic in their notions
of the spirit-world, they must not set _scientists_ to investigate their
phenomena in the true experimental spirit. The attempt would most surely
result in a partial re-discovery of the magic of old--that of Moses and
Paracelsus. Under the deceptive beauty of some of their apparitions,
they might find some day the sylphs and fair undines of the Rosicrucians
playing in the currents of _psychic_ and _odic_ force.

"Already Mr. Crookes, who fully credits the _being_, feels that under
the fair skin of Katie, covering a simulacrum of heart borrowed
partially from the medium and the circle, there is no soul! And the
learned authors of the _Unseen Universe_, abandoning their
"electro-biological" theory, begin to perceive in the universal ether
the _possibility_ that it is a photographic album of _En-Soph_ the
Boundless.--(P. 67, vol. I.)

"We are far from believing that all the spirits that communicate at
circles are of the classes called 'elemental' and 'elementary.'" Many,
especially among those who control the medium subjectively to speak,
write, and otherwise act in various ways, are human, disembodied
spirits. Whether the majority of such spirits are good or _bad_, largely
depends on the private morality of the medium, much on the circle
present, and a great deal on the intensity and object of their
purpose.... But in any case, human spirits can _never_ materialize
themselves in _propriâ personâ_.[21]--(P. 67, vol. I.)

[Footnote 21: By which it is doubtless meant that the _full_
individuality is not present; the higher principles, the _true_ spirit,
having ascended to its appropriate house, from which there is no
attraction to earth. That which materializes would be an elemental, or
elementals molding their fluidic forms in the likeness of the departed
human being; or, on the other hand, considering and revivifying the
atomic remnants of the sidereal encasement, or astral body, still left
undissipated in the soul-world.]

In _Art Magic_ we find the following pertinent remarks, p. 322. "There
are some features of mediumship, especially amongst those persons known
as _physical force mediums_, which long since should have awakened the
attention of philosophical spiritualists to the fact that there were
influences kindred only with animal natures at work somewhere, and
unless the agency of certain classes of elemental spirits was admitted
into the category of occasional control, humanity has at times assumed
darker shades than we should be willing to assign to it. Unfortunately
in discussing these subjects, there are many barriers to the attainment
of truth on this subject. Courtesy and compassion alike protest against
pointing to illustrations in our own time, whilst prejudice and
ignorance intervene to stifle inquiry respecting phenomena, which a long
lapse of time has left us free to investigate.

"The judges whose ignorance and superstition disgraced the witchcraft
trials of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, found a solvent for
all occult, or even suspicious circumstances, in the control of 'Satan
and his imps.' The modern spiritualists, with few exceptions, are
equally stubborn in attributing everything that transpires in
spiritualistic circles, even to the wilful _cunningly contrived
preparations for deception_ on the part of pretended media, to the
influence of disembodied human spirits--good, bad, or indifferent; but
the author's own experience, confirmed by the assurances of
wise-teaching spirits, impels him to assert that the tendencies to
exhibit animal proclivities, whether mental, passional, or phenomenal,
are most generally produced by elementals.

"The rapport with this realm of beings is generally due to certain
proclivities in the individual; or, when whole communities are affected,
the cause proceeds from revolutionary movements in the realms of astral
fluid; these continually affect the elementals, who, in combination with
low undeveloped spirits of humanity (elementaries), avail themselves of
magnetic epidemics to obsess susceptible individuals, and
sympathetically affect communities."

In the introduction to _Isis Unveiled_, we find the following definition
of elementary spirits:

"Properly, the disembodied _souls_ of the depraved; these souls, having
at some time prior to death, separated from themselves their divine
spirits, and so lost their chance of immortality. Eliphas Lévi and some
other Kabalists make little distinction between elementary spirits, who
have been men, and those beings which people the elements and are the
blind forces of nature. Once divorced from their bodies, these souls
(also called astral bodies) of purely materialistic persons, are
irresistibly attracted to the earth, where they live a temporary and
finite life amid elements congenial to their gross natures. From having
never, during their natural lives, cultivated this spirituality, but
subordinated it to the material and gross, they are now unfitted for the
lofty career of the pure, disembodied being, for whom the atmosphere of
earth is stifling and mephitic, and whose attractions are all away from
it. After a more or less prolonged period of time these material souls
will begin to disintegrate, and finally, like a column of mist, be
dissolved, atom by atom, in the surrounding elements.--(Preface xxx.,
vol. I.)

"After the death of the depraved and the wicked, arrives the critical
moment. If during life the ultimate and desperate effort of the
inner-self to reunite itself with the faintly-glimmering ray of its
divine parent is neglected; if this ray is allowed to be more and more
shut out by the thickening crust of matter, the soul, once freed from
the body, follows its earthly attractions, and is magnetically drawn
into and held within the dense fogs of the material atmosphere. Then it
begins to sink lower and lower, until it finds itself, when returned to
consciousness, in what the ancients termed Hades. The annihilation of
such a soul is never instantaneous; it may last centuries perhaps; for
nature never proceeds by jumps and starts, and the astral soul, being
formed of elements, the law of evolution must bide its time. Then begins
the fearful law of compensation, the _Yin-Youan_ of the Buddhists. This
class of spirits is called the terrestrial, or _earthly_ elementary, in
contradistinction to the other classes." (They frequent séance rooms,
&c.)--(P. 319, vol. I.)

Of the danger of meddling in occult matters before understanding the
elementals and elementaries, _Isis_ says, in the case of a rash
intruder:

"The spirit of harmony and union will depart from the elements,
disturbed by the imprudent hand; and the currents of blind forces will
become immediately infested by numberless creatures of matter and
instinct--the bad demons of the theurgists, the devils of theology; the
gnomes, salamanders, sylphs, and undines will assail the rash performer
under multifarious aerial forms. Unable to invent anything, they will
search your memory to its very depths; hence the nervous exhaustion and
mental oppression of certain sensitive natures at spiritual circles. The
elementals will bring to light long-forgotten remembrances of the past;
forms, images, sweet mementos, and familiar sentences, long since faded
from our own remembrance, but vividly preserved in the inscrutable
depths of our memory and on the astral tablets of the imperishable 'Book
of Life.'"--(P. 343, vol. I.)

Paracelsus speaks of _Xeni Nephidei_: "Elemental spirits that give men
occult powers over visible matter, and then feed on their brains, often
causing thereby insanity.

"Man rules potentially over all lower existences than himself," says the
author of _Art Magic_ (p. 333), "but woe to him, who by seeking aid,
counsel, or assistance, from lower grades of being, binds himself to
them; henceforth he may rest assured they will become his parasites and
associates, and as their instincts--like those of the animal
kingdom--are strong in the particular direction of their nature, they
are powerful to disturb, annoy, prompt to evil, and avail themselves of
the contact induced by man's invitation to drag him down to their own
level. The legendary idea of evil compacts between man and the
'Adversary' is not wholly mythical. Every wrong-doer signs that compact
with spirits who have sympathy with his evil actions.

"Except for the purposes of scientific investigation, or with a view to
strengthening ourselves against the silent and mysterious promptings to
evil that beset us on every side, we warn mere curiosity-seekers, or
persons ambitious to attach the legions of an unknown world to their
service, against any attempts to seek communion with elemental spirits,
or beings of any grade lower than man. _Beings below mortality can grant
nothing that mortality ought to ask._ They can only serve man in some
embryonic department of nature, and man must stoop to their state before
they can thus reach him.... Knowledge is only good for us when we can
apply it judiciously. Those who investigate for the sake of science, or
with a view to enlarging the narrow boundaries of man's egotistical
opinions, may venture much further into the realms of the unknown than
curiosity-seekers, or persons who desire to apply the secrets of being
to selfish purposes. It may be as well also for man to remember that he
and his planet are not _the all_ of being, and that, besides the
revelations included in the stupendous outpouring called 'Modern
Spiritualism,' there are many problems yet to be solved in human life
and planetary existences, which spiritualism does not cover, nor
ignorance and prejudice dream of.... Besides these considerations, we
would warn man of the many subtle, though invisible, enemies which
surround him, and, rather by the instinct of their embryonic natures
than through _malice prepense_, seek to lay siege to the garrison of the
human heart. We would advise him, moreover, that into that sacred
entrenchment no power can enter, save by invitation of the soul itself.
Angels may solicit, or demons may tempt, but none can compel the spirit
within to action, unless it first surrenders the _will_ to the investing
power."--(_Art Magic_, p. 335.)

From the _Theosophist_ of July 1886, we make the following extract,
bearing upon the subject of the loss of immortality by soul-death, and
the dangers of Black Magic:

"It is necessary to say a few words as regards the real nature of
soul-death, and the ultimate fate of a black magician. The soul, as we
have explained above, is an isolated drop in the ocean of cosmic life.
This current of cosmic life is but the light and the aura of the Logos.
Besides the Logos, there are innumerable other existences, both
spiritual and astral, partaking of this life and living in it. These
beings have special affinities with particular emotions of the human
soul, and particular characteristics of the human mind. They have, of
course, a definite individual existence of their own, which lasts up to
the end of the Manwantara. There are three ways in which a soul may
cease to retain its special individuality. Separated from its Logos,
which is, as it were, its source, it may not acquire a strong and
abiding individuality of its own, and may in course of time be
reabsorbed into the current of universal life. This is real soul-death.
It may also place itself _en rapport_ with a spiritual or elemental
existence by evoking it, and concentrating its attention and regard upon
it for purposes of black magic and Tantric worship. In such a case it
transfers its individuality to such existence and is sucked up into it,
as it were. In such a case the black magician lives in such a being, and
as such a being he continues until the end of Manwantara."

A good deal of highly interesting information on the subject of
elementals and elementaries is to be found in numbers of _The Path_. A
few of the points contained in these articles may be mentioned here, but
the reader is strongly recommended to study these articles, entitled
_Conversations on Occultism_, for himself. According to the writer:

An elemental is a center of force, without intelligence, as we
understand the word, without moral character or tendencies similar to
ours, but capable of being directed in its movements by human thoughts,
which may, consciously or not, give it any form, and endow it to a
certain extent with what we call intelligence. We give them form by a
species of thought which the mind does not register--involuntary and
unconscious thought--"as, one person might shape an elemental so as to
seem like an insect, and not be able to tell whether he had thought of
such a thing or not." The elemental world interpenetrates this one, and
elementals are constantly being attracted to, or repelled from, human
beings, taking the prevailing color of their thoughts. Time and space,
as we understand them, do not exist for elementals. They can be seen
clairvoyantly in the shapes they assume under different influences, and
they do many of the phenomena of the séance room. Light and the
concentrated attention of any one make a disturbance in the magnetism of
a room, interfering with their work in that respect. At séances
elementaries also are present; these are shells, or half-dead human
beings. The elementaries are not all bad, however, but the worst are the
strongest, because the most attracted to material life. They are all
helped and galvanized into action by elementals.

Contact with these beings has a deteriorating effect in all cases.
Clairvoyants see in the astral light surrounding a person the images of
people or events that have made an impression on that person's mind, and
they frequently mistake these echoes and reflections for astral
realities; only the trained seer can distinguish. The whole astral world
is full of illusions.

Elementals have not got _being_ such as mortals have. There are
different classes for the different planes of nature. Each class is
confined to its own plane, and many can never be recognized by men. The
elemental world is a strong factor in Karma. Formerly, when men were
less selfish and more spiritual, the elementals were friendly. They have
become unfriendly by reason of man's indifference to, and want of
sympathy with the rest of creation. Man has also colored the astral
world with his own selfish and brutal thoughts, and produced an
atmosphere of evil which he himself breathes. When men shall cultivate
feelings of brotherly affection for each other, and of sympathy with
nature, the elementals will change their present hostile attitude for
one of helpfulness.

Elementals aid in the performance of phenomena produced by adepts. They
also enter the sphere of unprotected persons, and especially of those
who study occultism, thus precipitating the results of past Karma.

The adepts are reluctant to speak of elementals for two reasons. Because
it is useless, as people could not understand the subject in their
present state of intellectual and spiritual development; and because, if
any knowledge of them were given, some persons might be able to come
into contact with them to their own detriment and that of the world. In
the present state of universal selfishness and self-seeking, the
elementals would be employed to work evil, as they are in themselves
colorless, taking their character from those who employ them. The
adepts, therefore, keep back or hide the knowledge of these beings from
men of science, and from the world in general. By-and-by, however,
material science will rediscover black magic, and then will come a war
between the good and evil powers, and the evil powers will be overcome,
as always happens in such cases. Eventually all about the elementals
will be known to men--when they have developed intellectually, morally,
and spiritually sufficiently to have that knowledge without danger.

Elementals guard hidden treasures; they obey the adepts, however, who
could command the use of untold wealth if they cared to draw upon these
hidden deposits.

     N. B.--Nizida has quoted from _Man: Fragments of Forgotten
     History_. The S. P. S. desires to say that while some of the
     statements contained in that work are correct, there is also in
     it a large admixture of error. Therefore, the S. P. S. does not
     recommend this work to the attention of students who have not
     yet learned enough to be able to separate the grain from the
     husk. The same may be said of _Art-Magic_.



A WITCH'S DEN

BY MME. HELENA BLAVATSKY


Our kind host Sham Rao was very gay during the remaining hours of our
visit. He did his best to entertain us, and would not hear of our
leaving the neighborhood without having seen its greatest celebrity, its
most interesting sight. A _jadu wâlâ_--sorceress--well known in the
district, was just at this time under the influence of seven
sister-goddesses, who took possession of her by turns, and spoke their
oracles through her lips. Sham Rao said we must not fail to see her, be
it only in the interests of science.

The evening closes in, and we once more get ready for an excursion. It
is only five miles to the cavern of the Pythia of Hindostan; the road
runs through a jungle, but it is level and smooth. Besides, the jungle
and its ferocious inhabitants have ceased to frighten us. The timid
elephants we had in the "dead city" are sent home, and we are to mount
new behemoths belonging to a neighboring Râjâ. The pair that stand
before the verandah like two dark hillocks are steady and trustworthy.
Many a time these two have hunted the royal tiger, and no wild shrieking
or thunderous roaring can frighten them. And so, let us start! The ruddy
flames of the torches dazzle our eyes and increase the forest gloom.
Our surroundings seem so dark, so mysterious. There is something
indescribably fascinating, almost solemn, in these night-journeys in the
out-of-the-way corners of India. Everything is silent and deserted
around you, everything is dozing on the earth and overhead. Only the
heavy, regular tread of the elephants breaks the stillness of the night,
like the sound of falling hammers in the underground smithy of Vulcan.
From time to time uncanny voices and murmurs are heard in the black
forest.

"The wind sings its strange song amongst the ruins," says one of us,
"what a wonderful acoustic phenomenon!"

"Bhûta, bhûta!" whisper the awestruck torch-bearers. They brandish their
torches and swiftly spin on one leg, and snap their fingers to chase
away the aggressive spirits.

The plaintive murmur is lost in the distance. The forest is once more
filled with the cadences of its invisible nocturnal life--the metallic
whirr of the crickets, the feeble, monotonous croak of the tree-frog,
the rustle of the leaves. From time to time all this suddenly stops
short and then begins again, gradually increasing and increasing.

Heavens! What teeming life, what stores of vital energy are hidden under
the smallest leaf, the most imperceptible blades of grass, in this
tropical forest! Myriads of stars shine in the dark blue of the sky, and
myriads of fireflies twinkle at us from every bush, moving sparks, like
a pale reflection of the far-away stars.

       *       *       *       *       *

We left the thick forest behind us, and reached a deep glen, on three
sides bordered with the thick forest, where even by day the shadows are
as dark as by night. We were about two thousand feet above the foot of
the Vindhya ridge, judging by the ruined wall of Mandu, straight above
our heads.

Suddenly a very chilly wind rose that nearly blew our torches out.
Caught in the labyrinth of bushes and rocks, the wind angrily shook the
branches of the blossoming syringas, then, shaking itself free, it
turned back along the glen and flew down the valley, howling, whistling
and shrieking, as if all the fiends of the forest together were joining
in a funeral song.

"Here we are," said Sham Rao, dismounting. "Here is the village; the
elephants cannot go any further."

"The village? Surely you are mistaken. I don't see anything but trees."

"It is too dark to see the village. Besides, the huts are so small, and
so hidden by the bushes, that even by daytime you could hardly find
them. And there is no light in the houses, for fear of the spirits."

"And where is your witch? Do you mean we are to watch her performance in
complete darkness?"

Sham Rao cast a furtive, timid look round him; and his voice, when he
answered our questions, was somewhat tremulous.

"I implore you not to call her a witch! She may hear you.... It is not
far off, it is not more than half a mile. Do not allow this short
distance to shake your decision. No elephant, and not even a horse,
could make its way there. We must walk.... But we shall find plenty of
light there...."

This was unexpected, and far from agreeable. To walk in this gloomy
Indian night; to scramble through thickets of cactuses; to venture in a
dark forest, full of wild animals--this was too much for Miss X--. She
declared that she would go no further. She would wait for us in the
howdah on the elephant's back, and perhaps would go to sleep.

Narayan was against this _parti de plaisir_ from the very beginning, and
now, without explaining his reasons, he said she was the only sensible
one among us.

"You won't lose anything," he remarked, "by staying where you are. And I
only wish every one would follow your example."

"What ground have you for saying so, I wonder?" remonstrated Sham Rao,
and a slight note of disappointment rang in his voice, when he saw that
the excursion, proposed and organized by himself, threatened to come to
nothing. "What harm could be done by it? I won't insist any more that
the 'incarnation of gods' is a rare sight, and that the Europeans hardly
ever have an opportunity of witnessing it; but, besides, the Kangalim in
question is no ordinary woman. She leads a holy life; she is a
prophetess, and her blessing could not prove harmful to any one. I
insisted on this excursion out of pure patriotism."

"Sahib, if your patriotism consists in displaying before foreigners the
worst of our plagues, then why did you not order all the lepers of your
district to assemble and parade before the eyes of our guests? You are a
_patèl_, you have the power to do it."

How bitterly Narayan's voice sounded to our unaccustomed ears. Usually
he was so even-tempered, so indifferent to everything belonging to the
exterior world.

Fearing a quarrel between the Hindus, the colonel remarked, in a
conciliatory tone, that it was too late for us to reconsider our
expedition. Besides, without being a believer in the "incarnation of
gods," he was personally firmly convinced that demoniacs existed even in
the West. He was eager to study every psychological phenomenon, wherever
he met with it, and whatever shape it might assume.

It would have been a striking sight for our European and American
friends if they had beheld our procession on that dark night. Our way
lay along a narrow winding path up the mountain. Not more than two
people could walk together--and we were thirty, including the
torch-bearers. Surely some reminiscence of night sallies against the
Confederate Southerners had revived in the colonel's breast, judging by
the readiness with which he took upon himself the leadership of our
small expedition. He ordered all the rifles and revolvers to be loaded,
despatched three torch-bearers to march ahead of us, and arranged us in
pairs. Under such a skilled chieftain we had nothing to fear from
tigers; and so our procession started, and slowly crawled up the winding
path.

It cannot be said that the inquisitive travelers, who appeared later on,
in the den of the prophetess of Mandu, shone through the freshness and
elegance of their costumes. My gown, as well as the traveling suits of
the colonel and of Mr. Y-- were nearly torn to pieces. The cactuses
gathered from us whatever tribute they could, and the Babu's disheveled
hair swarmed with a whole colony of grasshoppers and fireflies, which
probably, were attracted thither by the smell of cocoanut oil. The stout
Sham Rao panted like a steam engine. Narayan alone was like his usual
self--that is to say, like a bronze Hercules, armed with a club. At the
last abrupt turn of the path, after having surmounted the difficulty of
climbing over huge, scattered stones, we suddenly found ourselves on a
perfectly smooth place; our eyes, in spite of our many torches, were
dazzled with light, and our ears were struck by a medley of unusual
sounds.

A new glen opened before us, the entrance of which, from the valley, was
well masked by thick trees. We understood how easily we might have
wandered round it, without ever suspecting its existence. At the bottom
of the glen we discovered the abode of the celebrated Kangalim.

The den, as it turned out, was situated in the ruin of an old Hindu
temple in tolerably good preservation. In all probability it was built
long before the "Dead City," because during the epoch of the latter, the
heathen were not allowed to have their own places of worship; and the
temple stood quite close to the wall of the town, in fact, right under
it. The cupolas of the two smaller lateral pagodas had fallen long ago,
and huge bushes grew out of their altars. This evening their branches
were hidden under a mass of bright-colored rags, bits of ribbon, little
pots, and various other talismans, because, even in them, popular
superstition sees something sacred.

"And are not these poor people right? Did not these bushes grow on
sacred ground? Is not their sap impregnated with the incense of
offerings, and the exhalations of holy anchorites, who once lived and
breathed here?"

The learned but superstitious Sham Rao would only answer our questions
by new questions.

But the central temple, built of red granite, stood unharmed by time,
and, as we learned afterwards, a deep tunnel opened just behind its
closely-shut door. What was beyond it no one knew. Sham Rao assured us
that no man of the last three generations had ever stepped over the
threshold of this thick iron door; no one had seen the subterranean
passage for many years. Kangalim lived there in perfect isolation, and,
according to the oldest people in the neighborhood, she had always lived
there. Some people said she was three hundred years old; others alleged
that a certain old man on his death-bed had revealed to his son that
this old woman was no one else than _his own uncle_. This fabulous uncle
had settled in the cave in the times when the "Dead City" still counted
several hundreds of inhabitants. The hermit, busy paving his road to
Moksha, had no intercourse with the rest of the world, and nobody knew
how he lived and what he ate. But a good while ago, in the days when the
Bellati (foreigners) had not yet taken possession of this mountain, the
old hermit suddenly was transformed into a hermitess. She continues his
pursuits and speaks with his voice, and often in his name; but she
receives worshippers, which was not the practice of her predecessor.

We had come too early, and the Pythia did not at first appear. But the
square before the temple was full of people, and a wild though
picturesque scene it was. An enormous bonfire blazed in the center, and
round it crowded the naked savages like so many black gnomes, adding
whole branches of trees sacred to the seven sister-goddesses. Slowly and
evenly they all jumped from one leg to another to a tune of a single
monotonous musical phrase, which they repeated in chorus, accompanied by
several local drums and tambourines. The hushed trill of the latter
mingled with the forest echoes and the hysterical moans of two little
girls, who lay under a heap of leaves by the fire. The poor children
were brought here by their mothers, in the hope that the goddesses would
take pity upon them and banish the two evil spirits under whose
obsession they were. Both mothers were quite young, and sat on their
heels blankly and sadly staring at the flames. No one paid us the
slightest attention when we appeared, and afterwards during all our stay
these people acted as if we were invisible. Had we worn a cap of
darkness they could not have behaved more strangely.

"They feel the approach of the gods! The atmosphere is full of their
sacred emanations!" mysteriously explained Sham Rao, contemplating with
reverence the natives, whom his beloved Haeckel might have easily
mistaken for his "missing link," the brood of his _Bathybius Haeckelii_.

"They are simply under the influence of toddy and opium!" retorted the
irreverent Babu.

The lookers-on moved as in a dream, as if they all were only
half-awakened somnambulists, but the actors were simply victims of St.
Vitus's dance. One of them, a tall old man, a mere skeleton with a long
white beard, left the ring and begun whirling vertiginously, with his
arms spread like wings, and loudly grinding his long, wolf-like teeth.
He was painful and disgusting to look at. He soon fell down, and was
carelessly, almost mechanically pushed aside by the feet of the others
still engaged in their demoniac performance.

All this was frightful enough, but many more horrors were in store for
us.

Waiting for the appearance of the _prima donna_ of this forest opera
company, we sat down on the trunk of a fallen tree, ready to ask
innumerable questions of our condescending host. But I was hardly seated
when a feeling of indescribable astonishment and horror made me shrink
back.

I beheld the skull of a monstrous animal, the like of which I could not
find in my zoölogical reminiscences.

This head was much larger than the head of an elephant skeleton. And
still it could not be anything but an elephant, judging by the skilfully
restored trunk, which wound down to my feet like a gigantic black leech.
But an elephant has no horns, whereas this one had four of them! The
front pair stuck from the flat forehead slightly bending forward and
then spreading out; and the others had a wide base, like the root of a
deer's horn, that gradually decreased almost up to the middle, and bore
long branches enough to decorate a dozen ordinary elks. Pieces of the
transparent amber-yellow rhinoceros skin were strained over the empty
eye-holes of the skull, and small lamps burning behind them only added
to the horror, the devilish appearance of this head.

"What can this be?" was our unanimous question. None of us had ever met
anything like it, and even the colonel looked aghast.

"It is a Sivatherium," said Narayan. "Is it possible you never came
across these fossils in European museums? Their remains are common
enough in the Himalayas, though, of course, in fragments. They were
called after Shiva."

"If the collector of this district ever hears that this antediluvian
relic adorns the den of your--ahem!--witch," remarked the Babu, "it
won't adorn it many days longer."

All around the skull and on the floor of the portico there were heaps of
white flowers, which, though not quite antediluvian, were totally
unknown to us. They were as large as a big rose, and their white petals
were covered with a red powder, the inevitable concomitant of every
Indian religious ceremony. Further on there were groups of cocoanuts,
and large brass dishes filled with rice, each adorned with a red or
green taper. In the center of the portico there stood a queer-shaped
censer, surrounded with chandeliers. A little boy, dressed from head to
foot in white, threw into it handfuls of aromatic powders.

"These people, who assemble here to worship Kangalim," said Sham Rao,
"do not actually belong either to her sect or to any other. They are
devil-worshippers. They do not believe in Hindu gods; they live in small
communities; they belong to one of the many Indian races which usually
are called the hill-tribes. Unlike the Shanars of Southern Travancore,
they do not use the blood of sacrificial animals; they do not build
separate temples to their bhutas. But they are possessed by the strange
fancy that the goddess Kâli, the wife of Shiva, from time immemorial has
had a grudge against them, and sends her favorite evil spirits to
torture them. Save this little difference, they have the same beliefs
as the Shanars. God does not exist for them; and even Shiva is
considered by them as an ordinary spirit. Their chief worship is offered
to the souls of the dead. These souls, however righteous and kind they
may be in their lifetime, become after death as wicked as can be; they
are happy only when they are torturing living men and cattle. As the
opportunities of doing so are the only reward for the virtues they
possessed when incarnated, a very wicked man is punished by becoming
after his death a very soft-hearted ghost; he loathes his loss of
daring, and is altogether miserable. The results of this strange logic
are not bad, nevertheless. These savages and devil-worshippers are the
kindest and the most truth-loving of all the hill-tribes. They do
whatever they can to be worthy of their ultimate reward; because, don't
you see, they all long to become the wickedest of devils!"

And put in good humor by his own wittiness, Sham Rao laughed till his
hilarity became offensive, considering the sacredness of the place.

"A year ago some business matters sent me to Tinevelli," continued he.
"Staying with a friend of mine, who is a Shanar, I was allowed to be
present at one of the ceremonies in the honor of devils. No European has
as yet witnessed this worship, whatever the missionaries may say; but
there are many converts amongst the Shanars, who willingly describe them
to the _padres_. My friend is a wealthy man, which is probably the
reason why the devils are especially vicious to him. They poison his
cattle, spoil his crops and his coffee plants, and persecute his
numerous relations, sending them sunstrokes, madness and epilepsy, over
which illnesses they especially preside. These wicked demons have
settled in every corner of his spacious landed property--in the woods,
the ruins, and even in his stables. To avert all this, my friend covered
his land with stucco pyramids, and prayed humbly, asking the demons to
draw their portraits on each of them, so that he may recognize them and
worship each of them separately, as the rightful owner of this, or that,
particular pyramid. And what do you think?... Next morning all the
pyramids were found covered with drawings. Each of them bore an
incredibly good likeness of the dead of the neighborhood. My friend had
known personally almost all of them. He found also a portrait of his own
late father amongst the lot."

"Well? And was he satisfied?"

"Oh, he was very glad, very satisfied. It enabled him to choose the
right thing to gratify the personal tastes of each demon, don't you see?
He was not vexed at finding his father's portrait. His father was
somewhat irascible; once he nearly broke both his son's legs,
administering to him fatherly punishment with an iron bar, so that he
could not possibly be very dangerous after his death. But another
portrait, found on the best and the prettiest of the pyramids, amazed my
friend a good deal, and put him in a blue funk. The whole district
recognized an English officer, a certain Captain Pole, who in his
lifetime was as kind a gentleman as ever lived."

"Indeed? But do you mean to say that this strange people worshipped
Captain Pole also?"

"Of course they did! Captain Pole was such a worthy man, such an honest
officer, that, after his death, he could not help being promoted to the
highest rank of Shanar devils. The Pe-Kovil, demon's-house, sacred to
his memory, stands side by side with the Pe-Kovil Bhadrakâlî, which was
recently conferred on the wife of a certain German missionary, who also
was a most charitable lady and so is very dangerous now."

"But what are their ceremonies? Tell us something about their rites."

"Their rites consist chiefly of dancing, singing, and killing
sacrificial animals. The Shanars have no castes, and eat all kinds of
meat. The crowd assembles about the Pe-Kovil, previously designated by
the priest; there is a general beating of drums, and slaughtering of
fowls, sheep and goats. When Captain Pole's turn came an ox was killed,
as a thoughtful attention to the peculiar tastes of his nation. The
priest appeared, covered with bangles, and holding a wand on which
tinkled numberless little bells, and wearing garlands of red and white
flowers round his neck, and a black mantle, on which were embroidered
the ugliest fiends you can imagine. Horns were blown and drums rolled
incessantly. And oh, I forgot to tell you there was also a kind of
fiddle, the secret of which is known only to the Shanar priesthood. Its
bow is ordinary enough, made of bamboo; but it is whispered that the
strings are human veins.... When Captain Pole took possession of the
priest's body, the priest leaped high in the air, and then rushed on the
ox and killed him. He drank off the hot blood, and then began his dance.
But what a fright he was when dancing! You know, I am not
superstitious.... Am I?..."

Sham Rao looked at us inquiringly, and I, for one, was glad at this
moment that Miss X-- was half a mile off, asleep in the howdah.

"He turned, and turned, as if possessed by all the demons of Nâraka. The
enraged crowd hooted and howled when the priest begun to inflict deep
wounds all over his body with the bloody sacrificial knife. To see him,
with his hair waving in the wind and his mouth covered with foam; to see
him bathing in the blood of the sacrificed animal, mixing it with his
own, was more than I could bear. I felt as if hallucinated, I fancied I
also was spinning round...."

Sham Rao stopped abruptly, struck dumb. Kangalim stood before us!

Her appearance was so unexpected that we all felt embarrassed. Carried
away by Sham Rao's description, we had noticed neither how nor whence
she came. Had she appeared from beneath the earth we could not have been
more astonished. Narayan stared at her, opening wide his big jet-black
eyes; the Babu clicked his tongue in utter confusion.

Imagine a skeleton seven feet high, covered with brown leather, with a
dead child's tiny head stuck on its bony shoulders; the eyes set so deep
and at the same time flashing such fiendish flames all through your body
that you begin to feel your brain stop working, your thoughts become
entangled and your blood freeze in your veins.

I describe my personal impressions, and no words of mine can do them
justice. My description is too weak. Mr. Y-- and the colonel both grew
pale under her stare and Mr. Y-- made a movement as if about to rise.

Needless to say that such an impression could not last. As soon as the
witch had turned her gleaming eyes to the kneeling crowd, it vanished as
swiftly as it had come. But still all our attention was fixed on this
remarkable creature.

Three hundred years old! Who can tell? Judging by her appearance, we
might as well conjecture her to be a thousand. We beheld a genuine
living mummy, or rather a mummy endowed with motion. She seemed to have
been withering since the creation. Neither time, nor the ills of life,
nor the elements could ever affect this living statue of death. The
all-destroying hand of time had touched her and stopped short. Time
could do no more, and so had left her. And with all this, not a single
gray hair. Her long black locks shone with a greenish sheen, and fell in
heavy masses down to her knees.

To my great shame, I must confess that a disgusting reminiscence flashed
into my memory. I thought about the hair and the nails of corpses
growing in the graves, and tried to examine the nails of the old woman.

Meanwhile, she stood motionless as if suddenly transformed into an ugly
idol. In one hand she held a dish with a piece of burning camphor, in
the other a handful of rice, and she never removed her burning eyes from
the crowd. The pale yellow flame of the camphor flickered in the wind,
and lit up her death-like head, almost touching her chin; but she paid
no heed to it. Her neck, as wrinkled as a mushroom, as thin as a stick,
was surrounded by three rows of golden medallions. Her head was adorned
with a golden snake. Her grotesque, hardly human body was covered by a
piece of saffron-yellow muslin.

The demoniac little girls raised their heads from beneath the leaves,
and set up a prolonged animal-like howl. Their example was followed by
the old man, who lay exhausted by his frantic dance.

The witch tossed her head convulsively, and began her invocations,
rising on tiptoe, as if moved by some external force.

"The goddess, one of the seven sisters, begins to take possession of
her," whispered Sham Rao, not even thinking of wiping away the big drops
of sweat that streamed from his brow. "Look, look at her!"

This advice was quite superfluous. We _were_ looking at her, and at
nothing else.

At first, the movements of the witch were slow, unequal, somewhat
convulsive; then, gradually, they became less angular; at last, as if
catching the cadence of the drums, leaning all her long body forward,
and writhing like an eel, she rushed round and round the blazing
bonfire. A dry leaf caught in a hurricane could not fly swifter. Her
bare bony feet trod noiselessly on the rocky ground. The long locks of
her hair flew round her like snakes, lashing the spectators, who knelt,
stretching their trembling arms towards her, and writhing as if they
were alive. Whoever was touched by one of this Fury's black curls, fell
down on the ground, overcome with happiness, shouting thanks to the
goddess, and considering himself blessed forever. It was not human hair
that touched the happy elect, it was the goddess herself, one of the
seven.

Swifter and swifter fly her decrepit legs; the young, vigorous hands of
the drummer can hardly follow her. But she does not think of catching
the measure of his music; she rushes, she flies forward. Staring with
her expressionless, motionless orbs at something before her, at
something that is not visible to our mortal eyes, she hardly glances at
her worshippers; then her look becomes full of fire, and whoever she
looks at feels burned through to the marrow of his bones. At every
glance she throws a few grains of rice. The small handful seems
inexhaustible, as if the wrinkled palm contained the bottomless bag of
Prince Fortunatus.

Suddenly she stops as if thunderstruck.

The mad race round the bonfire had lasted twelve minutes, but we looked
in vain for a trace of fatigue on the death-like face of the witch. She
stopped only for a moment, just the necessary time for the goddess to
release her. As soon as she felt free, by a single effort she jumped
over the fire and plunged into the deep tank by the portico. This time
she plunged only once, and whilst she stayed under the water the second
sister-goddess entered her body. The little boy in white produced
another dish, with a new piece of burning camphor, just in time for the
witch to take it up, and to rush again on her headlong way.

The colonel sat with his watch in his hand. During the second obsession
the witch ran, leaped, and raced for exactly fourteen minutes. After
this, she plunged twice in the tank, in honor of the second sister; and
with every new obsession the number of her plunges increased, till it
became six.

It was already an hour and a half since the race began. All this time
the witch never rested, stopping only for a few seconds, to disappear
under the water.

"She is a fiend, she cannot be a woman!" exclaimed the colonel, seeing
the head of the witch immersed for the sixth time in the water.

"Hang me if I know!" grumbled Mr. Y--, nervously pulling his beard. "The
only thing I know is that a grain of her cursed rice entered my throat,
and I can't get it out!"

"Hush, hush! Please, do be quiet!" implored Sham Rao. "By talking you
will spoil the whole business!"

I glanced at Narayan and lost myself in conjectures.

His features, which usually were so calm and serene, were quite altered
at this moment by a deep shadow of suffering. His lips trembled, and the
pupils of his eyes were dilated, as if by a dose of belladonna. His eyes
were lifted over the heads of the crowd, as if in his disgust he tried
not to see what was before him, and at the same time could not see it,
engaged in a deep reverie which carried him away from us and from the
whole performance.

"What is the matter with him?" was my thought, but I had no time to ask
him, because the witch was again in full swing, chasing her own shadow.

But with the seventh goddess the program was slightly changed. The
running of the old woman changed to leaping. Sometimes bending down to
the ground, like a black panther, she leaped up to some worshipper, and
halting before him touched his forehead with her finger, while her long,
thin body shook with inaudible laughter. Then, again, as if shrinking
back playfully from her shadow, and chased by it, in some uncanny game,
the witch appeared to us like a horrid caricature of Dinorah, dancing
her mad dance. Suddenly she straightened herself to her full height,
darted to the portico and crouched before the smoking censer, beating
her forehead against the granite steps. Another jump, and she was quite
close to us, before the head of the monstrous Sivatherium. She knelt
down again and bowed her head to the ground several times, with the
sound of an empty barrel knocked against something hard.

We had hardly the time to spring to our feet and shrink back when she
appeared on the top of the Sivatherium's head, standing there amongst
the horns.

Narayan alone did not stir, and fearlessly looked straight in the eyes
of the frightful sorceress.

But what was this? Who spoke in those deep manly tones? Her lips were
moving, from her breast were issuing those quick, abrupt phrases, but
the voice sounded hollow as if coming from beneath the ground.

"Hush, hush!" whispered Sham Rao, his whole body trembling. "She is
going to prophesy!..."

"She?" incredulously inquired Mr. Y--. "This a woman's voice? I don't
believe it for a moment. Someone's uncle must be stowed away somewhere
about the place. Not the fabulous uncle she inherited from, but a real
live one!..."

Sham Rao winced under the irony of this supposition, and cast an
imploring look at the speaker.

"Woe to you! woe to you!" echoed the voice. "Woe to you, children of the
impure Jaya and Vijaya! of the mocking, unbelieving lingerers round
great Shiva's door! Ye, who are cursed by eighty thousand sages! Woe to
you who believe not in the goddess Kâli, and you who deny us, her seven
divine sisters! Flesh-eating, yellow-legged vultures! friends of the
oppressors of our land! dogs who are not ashamed to eat from the same
trough with the Bellati!" (foreigners).

"It seems to me that your prophetess only foretells the past," said Mr.
Y--, philosophically putting his hands in his pockets. "I should say
that she is hinting at you, my dear Sham Rao."

"Yes! and at us also," murmured the colonel, who was evidently beginning
to feel uneasy.

As to the unlucky Sham Rao, he broke out in a cold sweat, and tried to
assure us that we were mistaken, that we did not fully understand her
language.

"It is not about you, it is not about you! It is of me she speaks,
because I am in Government service. Oh, she is inexorable!"

"Râkshasas! Asuras!" thundered the voice. "How dare you appear before
us? how dare you to stand on this holy ground in boots made of a cow's
sacred skin? Be cursed for etern----"

But her curse was not destined to be finished. In an instant the
Hercules-like Narayan had fallen on the Sivatherium, and upset the whole
pile, the skull, the horns and the demoniac Pythia included. A second
more, and we thought we saw the witch flying in the air towards the
portico. A confused vision of a stout, shaven Brahman, suddenly emerging
from under the Sivatherium and instantly disappearing in the hollow
beneath it, flashed before my dilated eyes.

But, alas! after the third second had passed, we all came to the
embarrassing conclusion that, judging from the loud clang of the door
of the cave, the representative of the Seven Sisters had ignominiously
fled. The moment she had disappeared from our inquisitive eyes to her
subterranean domain, we all realized that the unearthly hollow voice we
had heard had nothing supernatural about it and belonged to the Brahman
hidden under the Sivatherium--to some one's live uncle, as Mr. Y-- had
rightly supposed.

       *       *       *       *       *

Oh, Narayan! how carelessly, how disorderly the worlds rotate around us.
I begin to seriously doubt their reality. From this moment I shall
earnestly believe that all things in the universe are nothing but
illusion, a mere Mâyâ. I am becoming a Vedantin.... I doubt that in the
whole universe there may be found anything more objective than a Hindu
witch flying up the spout.

       *       *       *       *       *

Miss X-- woke up, and asked what was the meaning of all this noise. The
noise of many voices and the sounds of the many retreating footsteps,
the general rush of the crowd, had frightened her. She listened to us
with a condescending smile, and a few yawns, and went to sleep again.

Next morning, at daybreak, we very reluctantly, it must be owned, bade
good-by to the kind-hearted, good-natured Sham Rao. The confoundingly
easy victory of Narayan hung heavily on his mind. His faith in the holy
hermitess and the seven goddesses was a good deal shaken by the shameful
capitulation of the sisters, who had surrendered at the first blow from
a mere mortal. But during the dark hours of the night he had had time
to think it over, and to shake off the uneasy feeling of having
unwillingly misled and disappointed his European friends.

Sham Rao still looked confused when he shook hands with us at parting,
and expressed to us the best wishes of his family and himself.

As to the heroes of this truthful narrative, they mounted their
elephants once more, and directed their heavy steps towards the high
road and Jubbulpore.



REMARKABLE PSYCHIC EXPERIENCES OF FAMOUS PERSONS

BY WALTER F. PRINCE, PH.D.,

Official Investigator American Society for Psychical Research


It does not necessarily give an occult incident more weight that it was
experienced or related and credited by a person whose name is prominent
for one reason or another. The great are nearly as likely to suffer
illusions, pathological hallucinations, and aberrations as the humble
remainder of mankind, or, according to Lombroso a good deal more so. Nor
have famous persons a monopoly of veracity. Besides, a rare
psychological incident is not more or less a problem, nor has it more or
less significance in the experience of honest John Jones than in that of
William Shakespeare.

And yet it is natural and quite proper to look with somewhat enhanced
interest upon the experiences or the testimonies of those whose names
are in the cyclopedias and biographical dictionaries. It is legitimate
to set these forth and to call attention to them. These persons at least
we know something about. William Moggs of Waushegan, Wisconsin, may be a
very excellent and trustworthy man but we don't know him, and it is
tedious to be told that somebody else whom we may know as little knows
and esteems him. How do we know that the avouching unknown could not
have been sold a gold brick? But Henry M. Stanley, and General Frémont,
and W. P. Frith, and Henry Clews are characters whom we do know
something about, or at least whom we can easily look up for ourselves in
biographical dictionaries and _Who's Whos_. They are names which have at
the very outset a reputation which has impressed the world, which stand
for assured ability, genius, achievement, forcefulness of one kind or
another. Even though we have no particular data at hand regarding the
veracity of a particular member of the shining circle, it is not easy to
see why he, having an assured reputation, should dim it by telling
spooky lies. It is easier to conceive of William Moggs, a quite obscure
man, calling attention to himself by the device, though as a rule the
William Moggs's do nothing of the kind. We spontaneously argue within
ourselves, in some inchoate fashion, "That fellow made his mark in the
world; he gained a big reputation by his superiority to the rank and
file in some particular at least; it will be worth while to hear what he
has to say."

We present herewith a group of such testimonies either given out to the
world by prominent persons as their own experiences or as the
experiences of persons whom they knew and believed, or else as told by
friends of the prominent persons whose experiences they were.

It is not owing to any selective process that the material is mostly of
the sort which favors supernormal hypotheses. We take what we can get.
Whenever an experience is accompanied by a normal explanation, such will
be included only a little more willingly than an experience which does
not readily suggest a normal explanation. But, let it be noted, the
groups which we propose will be composed of human _experiences_, and not
opinions, except as the opinions accompany the experiences. And it
cannot be expected that, after certain types of experiences as related
by certain men have been given, we shall then proceed to name other men
who haven't had any such experiences. True, against Paul du Chaillu's
assertion that he had seen gorillas was once urged the fact that nobody
else had ever seen gorillas. Nevertheless the sole assertion of the one
man who had seen them proved to outweigh in value the lack of experience
on the part of all other travelers up to that time.


A PREMONITION OF SIR H. M. STANLEY

This incident is related by the famous explorer, Sir Henry M. Stanley,
in his autobiography edited by Dorothy Stanley (Houghton Mifflin Co.,
1909), on pages 207-208.

Stanley, then a private in the Confederate Army, was captured in the
battle of Shiloh and sent to Camp Douglas near Chicago. It was while
here that the incident in question occurred.

"On the next day (April 16), after the morning duties had been
performed, the rations divided, the cooks had departed contented, and
the quarters swept, I proceeded to my nest and reclined alongside of my
friend Wilkes in a posture that gave me a command of one half of the
building. I made some remarks to him upon the card-playing groups
opposite, when suddenly, I felt a gentle stroke on the back of my neck,
and in an instant I was unconscious. The next moment I had a vivid view
of the village of Tremeirchion and the grassy slopes of the hills of
Hirradog, and I seemed to be hovering over the rook woods of Brynbella.
I glided to the bed-chamber of my Aunt Mary. My aunt was in bed, and
seemed sick unto death. I took a position by the side of the bed, and
saw myself, with head bent down, listening to her parting words which
sounded regretful, as though conscience smote her for not having been as
kind as she might have been, or had wished to be. I heard the boy say,
'I believe you, Aunt. It is neither your fault, nor mine. You were good
and kind to me, and I knew you wished to be kinder; but things were so
ordered that you had to be what you were. I also dearly wished to love
you, but I was afraid to speak of it lest you would check me, or say
something that would offend me. I feel our parting was in this spirit.
There is no need of regrets. You have done your duty to me, and you had
children of your own who required all your care. What has happened to me
since, it was decreed should happen. Farewell.'

"I put forth my hand and felt the clasp of the long thin hands of the
sore-sick woman. I heard a murmur of farewell, and immediately I awoke.

"It appeared to me that I had but closed my eyes. I was still in the
same reclining attitude, the groups opposite me were still engaged in
their card games, Wilkes was in the same position. Nothing had changed.

"I asked, 'What has happened?'

"'What could happen?' said he. 'What makes you ask? It is but a moment
ago you were speaking to me.'

"'Oh, I thought I had been asleep a long time.'

"On the next day the 17th of April, 1862, my Aunt Mary died at Fynnon
Beuno, in Wales!

"I believe that the soul of every human being has its attendant
spirit--a nimble, delicate essence, whose method of action is by a
subtle suggestion which it contrives to insinuate into the mind, whether
asleep or awake. We are too gross to be capable of understanding the
signification of the dream, the vision, or the sudden presage, or of
divining the source of the premonition or its import. We admit that we
are liable to receive a fleeting picture of an act, or a figure at any
moment, but, except being struck by certain strange coincidences which
happen to most of us, we seldom make an effort to unravel the mystery.
The swift, darting messenger stamps an image on the mind, and displays a
vision to the sleeper; and if, as sometimes follows, among tricks and
twists of the errant mind, by reflex acts of memory, it happens to be a
true representation of what is to happen, we are left to grope
hopelessly as to the manner and meaning of it, for there is nothing
tangible to lay hold of.

"There are many things relating to my existence which are inexplicable
to me, and probably it is best so; this death-bed scene, projected on my
mind's screen, across four thousand five hundred miles of space, is one
of these mysteries."

The precise meaning of the passage wherein Sir Henry speculates on the
nature and meaning of such facts, is not entirely clear. Does he by the
word _spirit_ mean what is usually meant by that term, or does he mean
some part of the mind functioning upon the rest as its object, like
Freud's _psychic censor_ though with a different purpose? And the
affirmative employment of the terms "presage" and "premonition" do not
seem to be consistent with the expression "it happens to be a true
representation of what is to happen." It seems plain that the
distinguished explorer did believe that the death-bed scene was
"projected on" his "mind's screen, across four thousand five hundred
miles of space." However, what Stanley thought about the facts is of
much less importance than the facts themselves, as reported by one whose
life was one long drill in observing, appraising and recording facts.


COINCIDENT EXPERIENCES OF GENERAL FRÉMONT AND RELATIVES

These are related on pages 69-72 of _Recollections of Elizabeth Benton
Frémont, Daughter of the Pathfinder General John C. Frémont and Jessie
Benton Frémont His Wife_.

After describing a terrible experience of her father and his men in
1853, while crossing the Wahsatch Mountains, and their rescue from
starvation by reaching Parowan, Utah, Miss Benton goes on:

"That night my father sat by his campfire until late in the night,
dreaming of home and thinking of the great happiness of my mother. Could
she but know that he was safe! Finally he returned to his quarters in
the town only a few hundred yards away from the camp. The warm bright
room, the white bed with all suggestion of shelter and relief from
danger made the picture of home rise up like a real thing before him,
and at half-past eleven at night he made an entry in his journal,
putting there the thought that had possession of him and that my mother
in far away Washington might know that all danger was past and that he
was safe and comfortable.

"All this is a prelude to a most uncommon experience which befell my
mother in our Washington home on the night in question. We could not
possibly hear from father at the earliest until midsummer. Though my
mother went into society but little that year, there was no reason for
gloomy forebodings. The younger members of the family kept her in close
touch with the social side of life, while her father, whose confidant
she always was, kept her informed as to the political events of the
moment. Her life was busy and filled with her full share of its
responsibilities. In midwinter, however, my mother became possessed with
the conviction that my father was starving, and no amount of reasoning
could calm her fears. The idea haunted her for two weeks or more, and
finally began to leave its physical effects upon her. She could neither
eat nor sleep; open-air exercise, plenty of company, the management of a
household, all combined, could not wean her from the belief that father
and his men were starving in the desert.

"The weight of fear was lifted from her as suddenly as it came. Her
young sister Susie and a party of relatives returned from a wedding at
General Jessup's on the night of February 6, 1854, and came to mother to
spend the night, in order not to awaken the older members of my
grandmother's family. The girls doffed their party dresses, replaced
them with comfortable woolen gowns, and, gathered before the open fire
in mother's room, were gaily relating the experiences of the evening.
The fire needed replenishing and mother went to an adjoining
dressing-room to get more wood. The old-fashioned fire-place required
long logs which were too large for her to handle, and as she half knelt,
balancing the long sticks of wood on her left arm, she felt a hand rest
lightly on her left shoulder, and she heard my father's laughing voice
whisper her name, 'Jessie.'

"There was no sound beyond the quick-whispered name, no presence, only
the touch, but my mother knew as people know in dreams that my father
was there, gay and happy, and intending to startle Susie, who when my
mother was married was only a child of eight, and was always a pet
playmate of my father's. Her shrill, prolonged scream was his delight,
and he never lost an opportunity to startle her.

"Mother came back to the girl's room, but before she could speak, Susie
gave a great cry, fell in a heap upon the rug, and screamed again and
again, until mother crushed her balldress over her head to keep the
sound from the neighbors. Her cousin asked mother what she had seen, and
she explained that she had seen nothing, but had heard my father tell
her to keep still until he could scare Susie.

"Peace came to my mother instantly, and on retiring she fell into a
refreshing sleep from which she did not waken until ten the next
morning; all fear for the safety of father had vanished from her mind;
with sleep came strength, and she soon was her happy self again.

"When my father returned home, we learned that it was at the time the
party was starving that my mother had the premonition of evil having
befallen them, and the entry in his journal showed that exactly the
moment he had written it in Parowan, my mother had felt his presence,
and in the wireless message from heart to heart knew that my father was
safe and free from harm. The hour exactly tallied with the entry in his
book, allowing for the difference in longitude."

Further details would have been desirable, particularly just what was
the immediate occasion of Susie's fright, for she screamed before Mrs.
Frémont related what had befallen herself. The only escape from the
conclusion that Susie had some separate peculiar experience is to
suppose--which we may not unreasonably do--that the elder lady betrayed
her own agitation before she spoke, perhaps by dropping the sticks,
hurrying back, and looking strangely at Susie. We would have liked a
sight of the General's journal, also, and to have been permitted to copy
the entry exactly as it stands.

Nevertheless, though we leave Susie and her screams quite out of
account, we have a very pretty case remaining, however we explain it.
Mrs. Frémont's depression might be explained by the very natural fears
of a woman whose husband was engaged in a possibly dangerous expedition,
though she picked out for her fears exactly the period of the expedition
when there was an actual state of privation and danger. But why did the
fear so afflicting to her health and spirits so suddenly leave her,
while it was still winter in the mountains? And why did the hour and
moment of the cessation of these fears coincide with the hour and moment
when the explorer was occupied with thoughts of home and writing his
wish that his wife might know that he was safe?

Many a reader will be disposed to answer the question "why?" with the
facile answer "telepathy," but that word is a key which does not turn in
this lock with perfect ease. There are cases where one person thinks a
particular thing under extraordinary circumstances, and precisely that
thought, or a hallucination of precisely that nature, occurs to another
person at a distance. But in this case General Frémont thinks a wish
that his wife knew he was safe, and his wife seems to feel a hand upon
her shoulder, seems to hear his voice pronounce her name, and somehow
gets the impression that he proposes to play a trick on her sister
Susie. If exact coincidence between the thought of the supposed "sender"
and that of the supposed "recipient" is a support to the theory of
telepathy as applied to one case, then wide discrepancy between the
coincident thoughts of two persons in another case should be an argument
against the theory of telepathy as applied to that. There should be some
limit to the handicap which, by way of courtesy, the spiritistic
hypothesis allows to the telepathic.

If there are spirits, and if they have a certain access to human
thoughts, and if the limitations of space are little felt by them, then
the spiritistic theory would have an easier time than telepathy with the
facts in this case. A friendly intermediary might convey the assurance
that the Pathfinder wanted conveyed to his wife, and in doing so employ
such devices as an intelligent personal agent could think up, and were
within its grasp. The touch, the hallucination of a voice resembling
that of the absent husband, the sense of gayety, and even the very
characteristic trait of liking to startle Susie, might all be the result
of the friendly messenger's attempts to implant in Mrs. Frémont's mind a
fixed assurance that somebody was safe and happy, and that this somebody
was in very truth her husband.


INCIDENTS RELATED BY DEAN HOLE

The Very Rev. Samuel Reynolds Hole, Dean of Rochester, England, was not
only an effective preacher and popular lecturer, but likewise the author
of fascinating books, composed of reminiscences and shrewd and witty
comments upon men and affairs. He made two lecturing tours in America.

His _The Memories of Dean Hole_ contains a remarkable dream of his own,
and one of similar character told him by a trusted friend. They may be
found on pages 200-201. After rehearsing the account of a dream and its
tragic sequel told him many years before, he goes on:

"Are these dreams coincidences only, imaginations, sudden recollections
of events which had been long forgotten? They are marvelous, be this as
it may. In a crisis of very severe anxiety, I required information which
only one man could give me, and he was in his grave. I saw him
distinctly in a vision of the night, and his answer to my question told
me all I wanted to know; and when, having obtained the clearest proof
that what I had heard was true, I communicated the incident and its
results to my solicitor, he told me that he himself had experienced a
similar manifestation. A claim was repeated after his father's death
which had been resisted in his lifetime and retracted by the claimant,
but the son was unable to find the letter in which the retraction was
made. He dreamed that his father appeared and told him it was in the
left hand drawer of a certain desk. Having business in London, he went
up to the offices of his father, an eminent lawyer, but could not
discover the desk, until one of the clerks suggested that it might be
among some old lumber placed in a room upstairs. There he found the desk
and the letter.

"Then, as regards coincidence, are there not events in our lives which
come to us with a strange mysterious significance, a prophetic
intimation, sometimes of sorrow and sometimes of success? For example, I
lived a hundred and fifty miles from Rochester. I went there for the
first time to preach at the invitation of one who was then unknown to
me, but is now a dear friend. After the sermon I was his guest in the
Precincts. Dean Scott died in the night, almost at the time when he who
was to succeed him arrived at the house which adjoins the Deanery. There
was no expectation of his immediate decease, and no conjecture as to a
future appointment, and yet when I heard the tolling of the cathedral
bell, I had a presentiment that Dr. Scott was dead, and that I should be
Dean of Rochester."

Again, Dean Hole in his _Then and Now_, pp. 9-11, together with some
opinions of his, sets down a seeming premonition and what he considers
answers to prayer.

"There is an immeasurable difference between ghosts and other
apparitions--between that which witnesses declare they saw with their
own eyes when they were wide awake--as Hamlet saw the ghost of his
father, and Macbeth saw Banquo--and that which presents itself to us
when we are asleep, or in that condition between waking and sleeping
which makes the vision so like reality. I do not believe in the former,
and I am fully persuaded in my own mind that the wonderful stories which
we hear are to be accounted for either as exaggerations or as the result
of natural causes which have been misstated or suppressed; but many of
us have had experience of the latter--of those visions of the night
which have seemed so real, and which in some instances have brought us
information as to occurrences before unknown to us, but subsequently
proved to be true.

"George Benfield, a driver on the Midland Railway living at Derby, was
standing on the footplate oiling his engine, the train being stationary,
when he slipped and fell on the space between the lines. He heard the
express coming on, and had only just time to lie full length on the
'six-foot' when it rushed by, and he escaped unhurt. He returned to his
home in the middle of the night, and as he was going up the stairs he
heard one of his children, a girl about eight years old, crying and
sobbing. 'Oh, Father!' she said, 'I thought somebody came and told me
that you were going to be killed, and I got out of bed and prayed that
God would not let you die.' Was it only a dream, a coincidence?"

Dean Hole is the first person whom we remember to have held that a man's
testimony respecting a given species of experience is more credible if
he was asleep at the time that he claims to have had it, than if he was
awake. He states that dreams "in some instances have brought us
information as to occurrences before unknown to us, but subsequently
proved to be true," but the same is asserted in respect to waking
apparitional experiences on exactly as satisfactory evidence, in many
cases. He accounts for the wonderful stories we hear in respect to
waking apparitions, and discredits them on exactly the same grounds that
others account for and discredit his dreams. The fact is that, with Dean
Hole as with many others, the personal equation is operative. He
believes in coincidental dreams because he himself has experienced them
and knows that he is not guilty of exaggerations in recounting them, nor
can he see how natural causes can explain them; he never has had a
waking apparition, and therefore is inclined to conjure up guesses as to
the inaccuracy and inveracity of those who have--guesses which he would
resent if they were applied to himself.

But the Dean's testimony is one matter, his opinions or prejudices
another.


INCIDENTS REPORTED BY SERJEANT BALLANTINE

Serjeant William Ballantine (1812-1887) was one of the foremost lawyers
in England, noted for his skill in cross-examination. He was counsel in
the Tichborne claimant case, one of the most celebrated in the history
of the English courts, and in the equally famed trial of the Gaekwar of
Baroda. The incidents which impressed him are to be found in
Ballantine's _Some Experiences of a Barrister's Life_, pp. 256-267.

"I do not think it will be out of place whilst upon this subject to
relate a story told of Sir Astley Cooper.[22] I am not certain that it
has not been already in print, but I know that I have had frequent
conversations about it with his nephew.

[Footnote 22: Sir Astley Paston Cooper was perhaps the most famous and
influential surgeon of his time in England.]

"There had been a murder, and Sir Astley was upon the scene when a man
suspected of it was apprehended. Sir Astley, being greatly interested,
accompanied the officers with their prisoner to the gaol, and he and
they and the accused were all in a cell, locked in together, when they
noticed a little dog which kept biting at the skirt of the prisoner's
coat. This led them to examine the garment, and they found upon it
traces of blood which ultimately led to conviction of the man. When they
looked around the dog had disappeared, although the door had never been
opened. How it had got there or how it got away, of course nobody could
tell. When Bransby Cooper spoke of this he always said that of course
his uncle had made a mistake, and was convinced of this himself; Bransby
used to add that no doubt if the matter had been investigated it would
have been shown that there was a mode of accounting for it from natural
causes. But I believe that neither Sir Astley nor his nephew in their
hearts discarded entirely the supernatural."

Mr. Ballantine added an incident which some may think is accounted for
by a telepathic impression followed by auto-suggestion which lowered the
mental alertness of the player.

"There was a member of the club, a very harmless, inoffensive man of the
name of Townend, for whom Lord Lytton [the novelist] entertained a
mortal antipathy, and would never play whilst that gentleman was in the
room. He firmly believed that he brought him bad luck. I was witness to
what must be termed an odd coincidence. One afternoon, when Lord Lytton
was playing and had enjoyed an uninterrupted run of luck, it suddenly
turned, upon which he exclaimed, 'I am sure that Mr. Townend has come
into the club.' Some three minutes after, just time enough to ascend the
stairs, in walked that unlucky personage. Lord Lytton as soon as the
rubber was over, left the table and did not renew the play."


BEN JONSON'S PREMONITION BY APPARITION

This eminent dramatist, contemporary of Shakespeare (1573?-1637),
visited the Scottish poet, William Drummond, who took notes of his
conversations which he afterwards published in the form of a book. One
incident which Jonson related and Drummond recorded may be found in _The
Library of the World's Best Literature_ under the title, _Ben Jonson_.

"At that tyme the pest was in London; he being in the country--with old
Cambden, he saw in a vision his eldest sone, then a child and at London,
appear unto him with the mark of a bloodie crosse in his forehead, as if
it had been cutted with a shord, at which amazed he prayed unto God,
and in the morning he came to Mr. Cambden's chamber to tell him; who
persuaded him it was but ane apprehension of his fantasie, at which he
sould not be disjected; in the mean tyme comes then letters from his
wife of the death of that boy in plague. He appeared to him (he said) of
a manly shape, and of that grouth that he thinks he shall be at the
resurrection."


RUBINSTEIN'S DEATH COMPACT

A pupil of Anton Rubinstein, the great pianist and composer (1829-1894),
tells this story. It may be found in _Harper's Magazine_ for December,
1912, under the title _A Girl's Recollections of Rubinstein_, by Lillian
Nichia.

"One wild, blustery night I found myself at dinner with Rubinstein, the
weather being terrific even for St. Petersburg. The winds were howling
round the house and Rubinstein, who liked to ask questions, inquired of
me what they represented to my mind. I replied, 'The moaning of lost
souls.' From this a theological discussion followed.

"'There may be a future,' he said.

"'There is a future,' I cried, 'a great and beautiful future. If I die
first I shall come to you and prove this.'

"He turned to me with great solemnity.

"'Good, Liloscha, that is a bargain; and I will come to you.'

"Six years later in Paris I woke one night with a cry of agony and
despair ringing in my ears, such as I hope may never be duplicated in
my lifetime. Rubinstein's face was close to mine, a countenance
distorted by every phase of fear, despair, agony, remorse and anger. I
started up, turned on all the lights, and stood for a moment shaking in
every limb, till I put fear from me and decided it was merely a dream. I
had for the moment completely forgotten our compact. News is always late
in Paris, and it was in _Le Petit Journal_, published in the afternoon,
that had the first account of his sudden death.

"Four years later, Teresa Carreno, who had just come from Russia and was
touring America--I had met her in St. Petersburg frequently at
Rubinstein's dinner-table--told me that Rubinstein died with a cry of
agony impossible of description. I knew then that even in death
Rubinstein had kept, as he always did, his word."

Here again, we are at liberty to accept the testimony regarding the
remarkable and complex coincidence, and to disregard what is really an
expression of opinion in the last sentence. Whether Rubinstein
remembered his compact in his dying hour, or the impression produced
upon his far-away pupil was automatically produced by some obscure
telepathic process, the dying man having in his mind no conscious
thought of his promise, or some intervening _tertium quid_ produced the
impression, could never be determined by this incident alone.


PREVISIONARY DREAM BY CHARLES DICKENS

This incident in the experience of Charles Dickens (1812-1870) is to be
found in the standard biography by Forster, III, pp. 484-5 (London,
1874). On May 30, 1863, Dickens wrote:

"Here is a curious case at first-hand. On Thursday night in last week,
being at my office here, I dreamed that I saw a lady in a red shawl with
her back toward me (whom I supposed to be E--). On her turning round I
found that I didn't know her, and she said, 'I am Miss Napier.' All the
time I was dressing next morning I thought 'What a preposterous thing to
have so very distinct a dream about nothing!' and why Miss Napier?--for
I never heard of any Miss Napier. That same Friday night I read. After
the reading, came into my retiring-room, Mary Boyle and her brother, and
the lady in the red shawl, whom they present as 'Miss Napier.' These are
all the circumstances exactly told."

I can imagine the late Professor Royce saying thirty years ago--for I
much doubt if he would have said it twenty years later--"In certain
people, under certain exciting circumstances, there occur what I shall
henceforth call _Pseudo-presentiments_, _i.e._, more or less
instantaneous hallucinations of memory, which make it seem to one that
something which now excites or astonishes him has been prefigured in a
recent dream, or in the form of some other warning, although this
seeming is wholly unfounded, and although the supposed prophecy really
succeeds its own fulfillment."

Apply this curious theory (which has probably not been urged for many
years) to the incident just cited, and see how loosely it fits. What was
there about three persons, one a stranger coming to Dickens after he had
finished a reading from his own works, to "excite" or "astonish" him,
make his brain whirl and bring about a hallucination of memory, an
illusion of having dreamed it all before? It was the most commonplace
event to him. Besides, as in most such cases, he had the distinct
recollection of his thoughts about the dream after waking, thoughts
inextricably interwoven with the acts performed while dressing! Besides,
a pseudo-presentiment should tally with the event as a reflection does
with the object, but in the dream Miss Napier introduced herself, while
in reality she was introduced by another.





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