THE BAFFLED SORCERER
ALMOST immediately on my return to London accounts reached me, which seemed trustworthy, of the powers exhibited by a sensitive or “medium” lately come from America, so remarkable as to make me curious to test them. I hesitated, however, to do so, partly through my distrust of professional mediumship, and partly because of the magnitude of the fee. Could I anticipate any beneficial results to my work, this would not have deterred me; but, curious as the results might be psychologically, they were hardly likely, I thought, to be valuable spiritually or exegetically.
As the time went on, however, I found the impulse to make the visit in question recur with a frequency and an intensity so great as seriously to interfere with my work, and to make me consider that the outlay would be well incurred if only by freeing my mind. In this view I called and made a verbal engagement with the servant for the following afternoon, but without giving any name. It was August 21, (1) the date of the letter last given, and two days, therefore, before it reached me.
On keeping my appointment I maintained the same strict reserve, allowing myself
to be announced as the gentleman who was to call at 4.30. No one was aware of my
design. The sensitive and I were absolute strangers to each other. I was very
slightly known in
in front of me, took hold of one of my hands, but presently let it go that I might make notes, and after a few slight convulsive movements, passed under the control of what purported to be the spirit of a red-Indian girl named Winona, who was his familiar. Having obtained control of him, she greeted me with a nod of her medium’s head, and then began to speak. Her speech was illiterate and replete with homely Americanisms, but highly vivacious and intelligent, and her deportment pleasing and without vulgarity or pretentiousness. Then, speaking very rapidly and in a tone of amazement, she exclaimed –
“What is the meaning of all that I see? There is something here very unlike what most people – what all other people – have. I do not want a lantern to see into you. There is no lack of light, as with most. But you have about you, not only spirits, a number of them, and greater and higher than any I ever saw before, but a number of things – I don’t know what to call them – things which look odd and unmeaning to other people; but they have a meaning in them, a very deep meaning, and you understand it; and when you do not, your high spirits tell it to you. Sym – sym – thank you” [this as to an invisible prompter] – “symbols, they are called, though I do not know what that is, for the spirits who have come to tell me what to say to you are forced to use higher and harder words than I and my spirits require. You did not come here of yourself. You tried not to come; but you had to come. Your spirits sent you that they might speak to you through me. You must not think that what I say to you comes from myself or my medium. I shall say only what they tell me, so far as I can say it after them. And, oh, what spirits yours are! There are three by you now; they are so high they overshadow the earth, and they give you truths which are not personal, not national merely, but are for all men, for all the race. I see them reaching far, far away beyond the planet, beyond the system, to bring you from the stars the fruits of the universe! Yes, that is the phrase they tell me to speak, the fruits of the universe. All these they bring to you and pour into your mind. But not for yourself only. You would not care for them if they benefited yourself only. They are for the world, which you are working, with the great world-spirits’ help, to improve. Let me see, let me see.” [Here she spoke musingly, as to herself.] “How is this? Oh, I see. It is the love in the man. The love is so strong it has drawn these great spirits to him.” [Then in her previous tone she continued.] “Between them and you there is a medium, one who was long ago in the earth-life, and who had such a career as you appear to me to have before you, – a career that only one man in numberless ages has. And he acts as medium between the spirits and you, as I do between my medium and the spirits who tell me what to say. But there is a difference, a great difference. I will tell you what it is. I have to put my medium’s consciousness aside when I speak through him, because I cannot impress on his mind what I wish. But your spirits have no need to do this with you.
They are able to put their thoughts into your mind. That is because you are in perfect harmony with them. They do not set aside your consciousness. They make it more, larger, without altering it; they – yes, that is the word no doubt – thank you” [aside] – “they tell me to say they enhance your consciousness without depriving you of your own individuality. And they are able to do that by reason of your being in perfect harmony with them. Your, your – intuition? – yes, your intuition is pure. It is through this that they can bring you the fruits of the universe. I know only one man now on the earth who sees thoughts at all like those you see. It is the American seer, Andrew Jackson Davis. Your spirits will do much, oh! So much more for you yet than they nave done. All you have done is as nothing to what you will do. But it will only be after a time. It is for you to rest now. Your rest will not be idleness or waste of time. It is necessary for your future work, when you will require all your power.”
After a short pause, passed in silence, she continued: – “Dear me, how oddly you live! No stimulants! No – what people call – generous food! Oh, I see why it is. Your spirits have put away from you all those things, not for your own sake – you are sound, you have no disease whatever – but for the sake of the work they have for you to do. Yet you want more strength, more nourishment. Yes, you live too much alone, or with people who are too much like yourself, and who take from you instead of letting you take from them. You must give this up and go among people who are exactly the opposite to yourself – people who will amuse you. Why, you never are amused! You are always thinking and feeling! You live as if you had had your physical life and your intellectual life, and had passed out of them into your spiritual life. That would be all very well if you had not still a physical and mental organism, which are to be used and cared for while you have them. And you have them and will want them. Why do you not let yourself have amusement?
“Ah! I see the how of it; you have lost your friends. They have dropped off as you have risen to the spiritual life. Yes – and they are not far from thinking you mad. Let them think so now. Some day, not very long hence, they will all fall at your feet and acknowledge you. Even if they do not fully understand you, they will not think you mad then. I said you had no friends. You have no relations either! Those who are your relations in the flesh are not your relations in the spirit. There is no kin between you; and they have left you now. That comes of your spiritual growth. You have been incarnate so many times that you are a long way advanced. I think you will be incarnate again. People are incarnated so long as there is an experience to be gained in the flesh-life by which they can benefit spiritually.”
Here, speaking for the first time, I asked, with a theological motive, “May one not be incarnated for the sole benefit of others?”
“No; if you can do no good to yourself, you can do none to others. What a reserved life you have led! No one has ever known you. You have lived among people as a stranger, seeing right through them, but letting no one see through you. Always silent! Oh, how silent you have been! And you have resisted so
many impulses, refused so many things, which, if accepted, would have given you valuable experiences. You have looked at them and wished for them, and not being able to see clearly what they would lead to, have let them slide by. You could not be satisfied with phenomena. Your own spirit always seeks towards spirit in everything. And now, by waiting and thinking and wishing, you have got something far above and beyond all you ever imagined, something all spiritual too.
“Can I see anything about your work and associates? I am looking only at you and what is about you now; but I am impressed to follow you and learn more about you. You are, and have, and will be what I have never known before. I may help you, though I am but an Indian girl. They call me Winona. I can do good by helping you. I shall follow you and find out all I want to know. I never was in such company as that of your spirits. They sent you to me, and not for nothing. One thing was for your health. They want you to live a grosser life. That is not a nice word. I don’t know how to put it, – yes, generous; that is the word again. You must get up your physical strength by living more in the lower world, and resting your mind and spirit. That is all I am to say to-day.”
All deductions being made for vivacity of expression, this was a truly wonderful piece of portraiture, and such as to give for me a significance altogether new to the expressions, “Knowing as ye are known,” and “Come, see a man who told me all things that ever I did.” I had been turned inside out and held up to view to myself, with a fullness and accuracy altogether surpassing my own ability. For, while I could recognise the traits described as my own, I could not myself have specified them, or have explained myself to myself as I was now explained.
And there were other proofs that it was not mere thought-reading; for that which
was uppermost in my mind was the situation at
On resuming the sitting on the 25th,
was the spirit of my wife, who had long since passed away from the earth and out of my present life, but was often with me. Many spirits, Winona added, were in the habit of visiting me for the sake of learning what I was being taught by the spirits who had me in charge, and whom, through the wide difference of their respective spheres, they could not approach in their own world; while they could all come to me and use me as a common meeting-ground for communication. And she continued –
“Among those who are in the habit of coming to you is your father. He is an orthodox man – oh, so strictly orthodox! You and he could not agree about religion in the earth-life, but now he is forced to come to you to learn. He learns very slowly, for his mind was always covered with locks and keys to keep out anything that was not orthodox. You consider him a conscientious man.”
The word was in my mind as applicable.
“So he was in his human relations; but I do not consider him one in his religious opinions, else we must mean different things by that word. I do not call it conscientious when one refuses to look at an opinion because it is new to one, and does not appear to harmonise with what one already holds. That was what your father did. He had made up his mind, without any reason, that he had all the truth, and so would not look at anything that was new to him. In that he was not conscientious, as I, call it. He has now opened only a few of the locks on his mind, but he is learning from you as fast as he can.”
This description of his character and opinions, and of our relations, was absolutely exact.
“You must not let so many spirits come to you. They take all and leave you nothing. You are exhausted by them. Sometimes your spirits come to your rescue. They open the door, as it were, and drive away those who are living on you. All your strength is wanted for your work, and you must preserve it.
“I know the matter you wish to consult me about, and will speak of it later. At present your spirits desire me to speak for them. You have a ring, a very curious one, with those odd things – symbols – on it. You do not wear it on your hand, but – yes, there – on your neck-tie. It has a curious meaning, and is connected with your history. It has no meaning as regards the giver – that is, it is not a pledge of affection.”
It was a small gold circlet, marked with the signs of the Zodiac, which had been given me by a sailor nephew, who brought it from Ashantee, in the expedition to which place he had borne a share.
“The spirit who desires to speak through me is spokesman for a group of other high spirits, who with him form a constellation. The stars of this constellation are your stars. They pour down their influences and concentrate them upon you, in order to inspire you with all their rays at once. He tells me to show you his name, as, he says, you will then know who the others are”; and she formed in the air the letters which make OSIRIS.
“Do you mean that the Egyptian sungod was a real person?” I asked.
“I do not know what you call sungod,” she replied, “but he is real in heaven and was real on earth; and he died on the cross, as also did all the other spirits in his constellation.”
“What are their names?”
“The spirit says you know. Tell me.”
“Did one begin with M?” I asked.
“Yes, yes! That is right”; and we both exclaimed at the same time “Mithras!” I then named
This is but a fragment of a discourse which, for elevation,
dignity, fervour, tenderness, and purity both of diction and accent, was by far the most impressive piece of eloquence I had ever heard; while the interest of the subject, the blaze of light it threw upon what had been for me an absorbing problem – that of the genesis of the Christs – and the intense sincerity with which it was uttered, completely enthralled me, making me drop my notes to listen. And when, on returning home, I endeavored to reproduce it in full, it was as if the words had, for some purpose, been withdrawn from my mind, so utterly unable was I to recall them. Not so, however, with the lesson they were intended to convey. If such indeed, I thought, had been the teaching under the impulsion of which the divinised men of old had attained to their pinnacles, the courage with which they had accepted the renunciations and endured the persecutions imposed on them was fully accounted for. And this, too, I noted, and with no small amount of thankfulness that it was so – that instead of being in the smallest degree affected in the direction of personal vanity at the prospect of so sublime a career, – as I was keenly aware might happen with most, – I found myself regarding the utterance as indicating only the nature of the goal to which the course before me led, and by no means as implying my power to succeed in the enterprise. In fact, while in the act of listening to it, the saying was forcibly borne in on my mind, “Many are called, but few are chosen”; so that rather did it serve as an instruction and an encouragement than minister to self-exaltation. And if there had been on my part any tendency in this direction, it would have found adequate rebuke in the reply given to the first remark I made after the speaker had concluded. For, on my saying, musingly and to myself, rather than interrogatively and to the spirit, “Why to me rather than to some other has such a task been appointed?” – My dominant thought being that it would help me to know what special quality or faculty, if any, had determined the selection – it was replied with some asperity, the control relapsing into her usual accents –
“When a man finds he has got a particular thing to do, he just sets about and does it, without troubling himself about why it is he, and not someone else, who has to do it.”
It may be worth recording that, deep as my enthrallment had been, I had never failed to maintain a critical attitude, or to
keep in mind the possibility that what purported to be a divine call might in my case be, as it had doubtless been in many cases, but an infernal temptation. That it was not so I took to be proved by the fullness of the response evoked in my own inmost nature. The recognition by my own central spirit was without reserve or limitation. My keenest scrutiny failed to detect the smallest jar or false note.
Not the least striking part was the reference to Osiris
and his fellow-Christs, the “Solar Myth” having been
for me a subject of special study. But the utterance did not coincide with the
conclusion to which I inclined. This was the conclusion that, while all such
personages represented the higher potentialities of man, some only of them had
an historical existence, the rest being imaginary personifications of one and
the same doctrine. Respecting the actual presence, as alleged, of any personage
of the kind, I was exceedingly sceptical, notwithstanding our experiences with
I was presently recalled from my ponderings by Winona, who recommenced her discourse, saying –
“I now see her for whom you wished to consult me.” [It must be remembered that not a single word had escaped me on the subject.] “She somewhat resembles the spirit who was here at first, the one who was associated with your past life and has long passed away. She is thinner, taller, and fairer, with a large forehead and more deeply set eyes.” [This description was absolutely correct.] “Oh, she is in a bad position. Her surroundings are terribly against her. She ought to be taken out of them at once, and go where they cannot follow her. She has a good body, but it is ailing in one point. It is the lung. That is very bad. We must do something for it. I will consult my doctor. We have a doctor in my circle who is very skilful in diseases of the flesh. But now the thing is to see what is best to be done about the matter which presses. If she cannot quit her present surroundings, you and she will have to be exceedingly cautious and wise, or you will all come to destruction. The risk is very great. As I see her now, she is a young spirit, who has not been incarnate in the human many times; and though she has an advanced intellectual organism, it is not able to control her spirit, which is still too much that of an animal. If she loses you, she loses herself for – I cannot say how long. He, about whom you are uneasy, will drag her down. He, too, is a young spirit – all will and self, and no love. They are too much like each other in that; only that she is above him in that she does care for something not herself.
This will save her if it be suffered to grow under your influence. He has been mad, through jealousy of you. And she was too much of a child in spirit to see the necessity and understand the way of managing him. An evil spirit has taken possession of him through this feeling. And when under its influence he is not responsible for his deeds. He is then as one mad; but he is responsible for having produced the conditions which made him accessible to the evil spirit. [In answer to question.] Yes, I know who his demon is, and you know it also.
“Now, I know human nature perfectly, and I am going to tell you how to act. You cannot ignore him, as you have tried to do; he is too strong. And you must not oppose him; he is too wilful. She has tried that, – has tried to argue with him. It does only mischief. You must make friends with him by flattering him. He is vain, and will be won in that way. Make him think he can teach you. Ask his advice, and do not avoid him. Do not, either, refuse to talk with him about her if he mentions her. Only tell him nothing about her, and do not seem to be his superior. That is what he cannot endure; he is so vain. And she, when with him, must not be frank and free as she has been. He will not be as brother and sister with her. And all you would say to him must be said by her as from herself. He must not see your hand in it. So, she may teach him. They must not meet often or be much alone together. She is too weak, too impressible. That is why she is so good a medium. Her spirit has not yet acquired those high and firm principles which would make her safe from assault. She reflects evil as well as good influences. When with you, your influences pervade her and keep off the evil, except at times when she sides with them against you, and you are powerless to help her. She trusts to her own strength, and she has none. AH women are so – it is their nature – until the masculine element is developed in them. She has the masculine will, but not the other qualities to control it. These will come with experience, if she does not let her will destroy her first.
“Not only are you necessary to her, but she is necessary to you. If you lose her your work stops, and you will be crucified through her. Ah! ––”
Here an expression of agony came over the medium’s face, making him wince and bite his lips, as one surprised and disappointed. The spirit continued –
“Shall I tell you what is in my mind? I will. No. I am forbidden. It will do harm.” Then the expression changed to a smile, and she said, as if soliloquising, “Jesus loved His Magdalen. It was necessary for Him to love her in her way, before He could teach her to love Him in His way. His life was the richer for it. We cannot save anyone except by going down to them. It is necessary to get below to raise them up. People cannot be raised up only from above. You must stay by her for both your sakes, and for his. So may he too be saved; but for you, I wish you could be rid of him. I will look further and tell you more, but not now.”
Throughout this part of her discourse I recognised her as speaking of herself,
from the plane of her medium, and not under instruction from higher sources. And
being aware of the ideas held by certain spiritualists, especially in
On the next occasion
“Wait a little till I get up the hill to you. For most people I have to go down, far down below my own level, but for you I have to climb as far above it. And when I have been down for someone first, I have two hills to climb to get from them up to you. I expected you, and sent out my medium to get refreshed, and would not let him take anyone else. I can’t always make him understand. But someone came to-day whom I would not let him see at any price, – someone who wanted me to find a lost trunk.
“I have been where you wanted me to go, and this ring helps me to remember the
name, that is part of it, K. i. n. g., that is like
ring. And the other half begins with F., and is the same length. Will that tell
you I have found the right person? You did not tell me she is not in
“Then I looked round to see who was about her, and I followed her when she went out. And she went to such a big building where there was a man who seemed to be watching and studying things, but he was watching her. There were a number of people sick and hurt. It was, I suppose, what is called an hospital. She goes there, not to help the sick, but to learn. She is a student. I heard him talk to her there and in her own house. She was angry with him. He tried to undermine your influence, and to persuade her that he is well-meaning. But his only desire is to conquer, for the sake of the triumph. He has no heart, no principles. The victory is all he wants. You had charity for him, and tried to think the best of him. But he does not deserve such consideration. She has no affection for him, but he completely psy – psychologises her, by his strong
– not spiritual, but – animal magnetism. And every time they meet he strengthens his hold, and impresses himself more deeply on her system. And as she does not know how impressible and weak she is, but thinks herself strong because she has will, she is on the high-road to yielding to his control completely. The only safety lies in his being dropped out of your lives altogether, and at once. She will never convert him, and he would min her mediumship the very first sitting. She is so impressible and powerless to resist a strong influence that she would reflect his evil influence and return it. That intense eye of his binds her; and when he leaves her she is so imbued by his magnetism that she longs to call him back. It is hopeless to think of doing any good with him. He must grow for many more lives yet for that. If she would only have the sense to dismiss him now, while you are absent, and to take all upon herself! Not when you return; that would be fatal. She must do it now, or all will fall upon you. She has any amount of tact – of ability; she can do it, by degrees, if she will. The blame is not all on his side. She likes his attentions, and excites him by her womanhood, and puts him in a frenzy. There is no half-way possible. She must act at once, and alone, without you. It must and shall stop! And such a slight acquaintance to risk so much for. If she could but see him as I see him! He has been incarnate in the human only three or four times. He was a tyrant, a petty despot last time. His early stages were carnivorous, and hers herbivorous. When among fishes he was a shark, and he retains all his shark nature. She was a gold-fish, all beautiful colours. No tests such as you or she might like to give him would convince him. He would take the facts in only to cast them out again. He is not sufficiently advanced to – to – assimilate them. I tell you he is no real student, no lover of truth, but only of power; all is for self.
“I saw someone else with her, a kindly man, who, though not her father, is parental to her. She is fond of him, but his influence over her is weak. Intellectually she is his superior; for, though young spiritually, organically she is advanced. That is one of Nature’s an–an–omalies–thank you [aside] – to educate spirits and make human existence richer in illustrations. He might take on himself the responsibility of a rupture. For – I see the link now – he is her husband, and that chef knows it. If the separation is not effected now, so that you may not be suspected of causing it, it is impossible to say what his frenzy may incite him to against you. I see your work, your life, tremble in the balance. Your spirits are most anxious that it should be settled at this present time, while you are away. His spirits are powerful and evil. She has angelic influences of her own, but she is not an angel herself, and she renders them powerless. For she insists on going down to a depth of her nature where it is too dark for them to follow and rescue her. Oh that she would let herself see that he is not repentant, but scheming – acting with all his might and talent, which is very great, to entrap her, and triumph over you! He was serpent as well as shark. He is very shrewd and cunning. And he knows his power, for he is well up in psychology. When away from her, he puts forth all his power to influence her by his will. There is only one way to withstand this; it is to meet force by force. She must banish the thought of him
with all her might. Her husband, who
is so anxious about her and careful of her, might help her by bringing her away.
Oh that he would do this! Her great, beautiful spirits are longing to separate
her from the bad influence. If only she will come! I do not think you ought to
go unless she comes away first. Let her say to him that her husband insists on a
complete separation, as it is doing her mischief. It is so. His influence is
poisoning her; and when she returns with you to
“I am glad you have brought that ring. You remembered my telling you of it. I should like to keep it a little while. It has something particular about it. It was not bought, and not given to you for love. It came from a strange place, in a strange way. It refers to something very, very old, high up in the spirit-world.”
This was my ring representing the signs of the Zodiac. (1)
“She of whom we have spoken has a spirit called Joan, a name-sake of hers, and
linked to her. She was a great world-heroine – yes, thank you [aside] – of Are.
Joan of Are has come, and is here now, brought by your and her spirits. She has
come to you first, and is going to
“She who was your wife is coming to speak to you through me about your boy. (...)”
Failing to hear from
medium or seeress, who was in trouble, and required to be delivered from an evil influence which was besetting her.
“They tell me,” she continued, “that she is in France, and they show me a name beginning with a K. Winona told my husband about three o’clock that you were coming to-day, so he is expecting you.” [It was exactly at that hour that, after thinking about it all the morning, I had made up my mind to go, and left home at once for the purpose.] “You have, I perceive, a world-wide work. Bands of light proceed from you which encircle the whole earth. You have an innumerable family of spiritual children. Your great spirits come and strengthen this band by their influences, and give you force to enlarge and confirm it. In the accomplishment of this work there is joined to you one to whom, necessary as she is to you, you are still more necessary. But she is surrounded by evil influences. A heavy chain is bound to her – oh, so heavy! The angel of the planet lifts one of its great links and lets it fall again to show me how heavy it is. You have got to free her from that. It is more than even you, with all your love, can do, unless your angels help you. ‘Ah!’ The angel says in joy as he looks into the future, ‘thank Heaven, he has freed her! He has freed her!’ – meaning you.
“Another spirit is with you now. He has one hand on your head, and with the
other he points to Mr. Gladstone, and says, ‘Yes, yes, you are right; yours is
the truth, and it will prevail. And Mr. Gladstone will come round to you and
join with you and become the saviour of this country. You have been right in all
you have said about him. He is the true man you have declared, but his mind is
in confusion. There is a thick crust to be pierced and a strong will to be
conquered; but it will all be done and come right in time.’
The mention of this name here, and presently afterwards, in connection with my work struck me very much, at least as a proof of the reality of my previous experiences and the genuineness of the faculty of these people. For while writing England and Islam I had been powerfully impressed by a conviction that various persons not long deceased had come to me in order to deliver themselves of thoughts for which they desired expression; and that among them was Prince Albert, who had dictated the passage on pp. 309-311, rebuking the Queen for her immoderate grief at his death and her seclusion of herself. But no word or hint of this had ever escaped me. I had used the substance of the message, but without indicating its source. The medium continued –
“I see your seeress has her husband with her. I thought he was the chain. I took it for granted and did not look further. The angel now tells me that he is an aid; that his sympathies are with you. It is from another that she requires to be detached. She has
not broken away from that other yet. But do not be afraid; your cause is in good hands. You are necessary to each other. Her success is altogether dependent on her maintaining her relation to you.
“I see you have been longing to go to
Here followed an account showing a perfect knowledge both of the child and of
the spiritual relations subsisting between it and its mother, and in all
respects so identical with that given by Winona that I asked the sensitive
whether she too was controlled by that spirit. She said no, but that she also
had an Indian spirit who was friendly with
I then joined Mr. Fletcher. He immediately passed under control, and
“When a great man, a man like a king, almost a king, yet not a king, is present
what does one do? Make a bow, isn’t it? Yes. Well, there is the spirit of such a
one here now. He stands up by you. He has not been dead many years, only
several. (1) He is one who always cared for others, and thought more for
them than for himself. What could he have been – to be so nearly a king, and
have a queen for his wife, and yet not be a king? They show me the word
What means that?” “Prince Consort,” I remarked. “Thank you. It is
“This prince, who is not a king, says that yours is a great prophetic work, and that you are going to take your last book and put it through a sieve, and bring it out again all strained and in order. You were not responsible for its in–in–co–herency. It was due to the conditions you had been thrown into. The spirits
tell me you are going to revolutionise the minds of people more than anyone who has lived for a very, very long time. You have no notion how much you will do, – what a change you will make.”
The above description of my book, England and Islam, and what it required, was absolutely correct. As I have already stated, it had been rushed through my mind and into print at such speed that I had no time to select, condense, or revise, and hence it represented rather the loose materials out of which a book should have been made, than a finished book. But I have never seen my way to a revision of it.
“You have been working,” she continued, “all this time, and your spirits with you, to prepare you for the great work before you. It was their business to try you, to prove your trustworthiness spiritually, and the soundness and strength of your organisation. Your spirits have put you through many and hard trials such as would have broken you down if there had been a weak place in you. It was necessary for them to do this before they could go to the great spirits and say they had found a man for the work they want to have done in the world. They have now demonstrated to these great ones your fitness for their work in all parts of your nature. And the great ones have accepted you, and are using you as a proved fact. And they have now joined with your own spirits, and are attracting others to you from distant systems and spheres; and they all together will range themselves behind you, so that when you stand forth to face the world you will be a great commander, stretching forth a sword flaming with truth, and having the arms of legions of great spirits to sustain you. You have worked much, and are now turning the last furrows. A new dispensation is dawning on you. Your past, in regard to what you have done and been, is but a rushlight to the brightness of your future. It will come with a force and a rush you cannot control. And no time will be lost in bringing it about.
“You are to found a
to them; but you will not receive from others, or be associated with them.
“All this you have seen and thought for yourself in a mass. I pull the thoughts out of the skein and arrange them.
“Your last book must be revised – not at once – not hastily, but soon, and completely, as you can do it – in your best way. People do not like its method. It only wants rearranging and condensing. And it will then make your best work – your best yet, I mean. Not your best of all. For your work in the future is to be so great – ah, so great! I must not tell you. It would spoil it for you by the anticipation.
“I saw you write a letter. The answer is very near. I see it on its way. Joan of Arc is still there, trying her best to help her. It is difficult, the evil influence is so strong. But Joan is working; she has collected a number of spirits, and they are concentrating their forces to bring them to bear on her. It is not done yet. Here is another spirit. It is Josephine. She says what is unpleasant, but I must tell you. It is that you have to hold your friend, as it were, in your arms all the time; so much does she need protection, so helpless is she of herself. I know her well, for I am much with her; and I say that you must all the time guard her as a mother guards her babe. Sometimes, it is true, you must be apart, or your force would be exhausted; but not for long, and she must never be alone among evil influences, for she is utterly powerless to resist them. In some respects you have not been wise with her. You have let her think that she holds the reins, because you saw that she liked to believe she held them. You are too tender, too considerate; whereas she needs to feel the master-mind exerted over her. You need not be afraid of her feeling that with that other chef. She sees no master-mind in him, and never will. He comes only from the magnetic plane, and she is on her mettle to conquer him because he is strong. Each tries to beat the other – like two racers – but the victory would not be worth the having.
“Guard against two things: Make her feel that it is for her good that you want him dismissed, and that it is for no jealousy of yours. I know it is so, and that jealousy is not in your nature; but she is too young yet to see that. I should like her to come to me, that I might talk to her alone. I want to speak freely to her.
“The spirits are still waiting for Mr. Gladstone, and working on him as they did on you. But he has so much to overcome, so much to get rid of; he has such a multitude of dark influences about him to bind him down to the wrong. You are both Bible-persons, in the spring of the New Dispensation. You thought you were not being helped when you began your new book. You were not then impressible, because you were too much exhausted by your previous work. But I reckon you were helped towards the end? The spirit says so.”
This was indeed the case, and could not have been known to anyone except by abnormal means.
“I see some trouble for you, but your future is a very bright pathway in which you rise out of yourself and reflect the great spirits, as if losing your own individuality. You have wide sympathy, large
love, a nature that is not like a small box shut up. It is through that that you will do all things.”
In answer to a question respecting the secret of mediumship, she said:
“Spirits go through many changes of form. My medium has been both male and female; it is that which makes mediumship possible. Only they can be mediums who have been incarnate in both sexes.”
The predicted letter duly arrived, and excited feelings of both the kinds
announced. It pleased me by the warmth of its expressions at the prospect of my
return to Paris, and it distressed and alarmed me by the tone of its references
to our joint work, my forthcoming book, and to what I had communicated of my
recent experiences; for, although the hand was that of my colleague, the tone
was that of my foe, her professor, being one of scepticism as to their reality
and value, and showed her to be unconsciously dominated by him. But far more
serious was the announcement that she adhered to her resolution to remain in
To my letter urging a reconsideration of this intention, and promising to
accompany her back to
“She has taken back O. to be her professor!”
At this I started up and exclaimed vehemently –
“It is a falsehood! I cannot believe it. She could not possibly do such a thing!”
There was no reply, or any visible presence to make reply. So I impatiently
waited the post in hope of a letter which would reassure me. As no letter came,
I commenced to write one, relating the incident. It was still unfinished when A.
entered the room, having just arrived from
“Nina was afraid to write and tell you what she had done. She has taken back O. to be her professor. O.,” he went on apologetically, “was by far the best teacher to be found, and she was resolved to let nothing stand in the way of her success.” For his own part he liked O., and had found him a very agreeable companion.
As it was clear that my objection was ascribed to personal dislike, I refrained from reiterating it, or betraying my discomposure, though my uneasiness was at its height. And her letter only proved of a nature to confirm the feeling; for it indicated her as concerned only to reconcile me to the step she had taken. The only redeeming point in the situation was, that A.’s return enabled me to write to her unreservedly.
We exchanged two or three letters. They were not without effect; but the effect
was the opposite of that which I intended. Her alarm was aroused, not on her own
account, but on mine. For she had become subject to her professor’s influence to
such a degree as completely to have forgotten his past misconduct in regard to
her, and to ascribe my references to it to some hallucination of mine. It was as
if he had been able to suppress her memory. This impression of hers was
strengthened by the fuller account I now gave of my interviews with Winona,
through her inability to credit them; by which I gathered – what subsequently
proved to be the case – that he had succeeded also in shutting off the
recollection of her own experiences. In her alarm about my supposed illness she
resolved to come to
At this juncture, in order to lose no possible chance, I went again to the clairvoyante. This was on Friday, September 7. Observing my usual caution, I said only –
“Look at the situation, and give me your advice.”
“She must come away at once,” said
“Shall I go or write?” I asked.
“Neither; only project your will around her with all your force, and it will serve as a barrier to shield her from him, and
will help the spirits too. Do you do this, and they will do the rest.”
I complied, but not with any great feeling of confidence, notwithstanding the good reasons I had for trusting my adviser. For the rest of that day, and during the two days following, I fairly poured myself out in the requisite direction, till I fully expected to find myself completely exhausted by the expenditure. I did not, however, trust to my own unaided powers, but directed my will upwards in order to unite and blend it with a higher Will, not limiting its range to any merely individual influences, but aiming beyond and above these to the highest accessible to thought. During this I found, to my surprise, that not only did the effort cause me no exhaustion, but that rather was the reverse the case. I had, of course, no means of judging of the effect at the time; nor had I any definite conception of its nature, if effect there were. I simply projected my will to the utmost with the idea of its serving to strengthen her and act as a shield against him, subordinating the result to the Supreme, to that end directing my mind to the apex of the triangle which had for its base the line between her and myself. When in after years I made a study of occultism, I found that I had been instinctively practicing the “white magic,” as the divine is called, in distinction from and opposition to the “black magic,” as the infernal is called.
I was not kept long in suspense about the issue of the conflict. Sunday brought
me a telegram from her saying that she was coming to
conceived a horror for O., always calling him ‘Mephistopheles.’ Well, she at once understood my difficulty, and with the greatest kindness – for it was at much inconvenience to herself, though she did not say so at the time – offered to come with me and to start at once. O. had been with me on Saturday morning, and was to come for my next lesson to-day, so there was no time to be lost if I was to avoid seeing him again. Indeed, I tried to leave on Sunday, but we could not make our arrangements in time. And such a strange thing happened on the way. The night was lovely and the sea bright with phosphorescence; and we sat together on the deck during the passage. Mrs. A. fell asleep, and I think I must have nearly done the same, for just at the point between sleeping and waking I saw something that made me just about to cry out, ‘Why, Mrs. A., you have got armour on!’ when, on looking closer, I saw the figure of Joan of Arc standing over her; and before I had sufficiently recovered from my surprise to speak, it vanished, leaving me with the impression that Mrs. A.’s visit and offer, which had made it possible for me to get away, had been prompted by her.”
Upon this I told her of Joan’s coming to me at Winona’s and saying that she was going to help to free her from O.; and I added that there was no absurdity in supposing that – granted the survival of spirits at all – one who had worked so great a national deliverance for France in the past might be interested in the spiritual deliverance to which our work pointed, especially as so great a share in it belonged to a woman.
At which she exclaimed, “Oh, but Joan has always been like a patron-saint to me! Ever since I read her history, as a child, I have had a passionate admiration for her, and have longed for the Church to canonise her. (1) It was partly after her that I took Johanna for one of my names. And she was like me in so many ways; for she, too, had visions and conversed with spirits, and hated women’s clothes, and loved fighting against oppression just as I do. I can quite fancy myself her but for my wretched health!” As this was the first time of my hearing of her affinity for Joan of Arc, I was the more impressed with the coincidence.
The strength of will that enabled her to break away from the
spell which sought to detain her found recognition in the following note in Mrs. A.’s diary, written at the time, and shown to me for the purpose of this biography: – “With her weak body, Mrs. Kingsford is a most marvellous woman. All she said made me respect and admire her. I was especially struck by her courage in confiding in a woman. She is made of an iron will in spite of her ill health.”
Having breakfasted, Mary dropped asleep on the sofa, but not for long; for presently she rose, and, speaking in a tone unlike her own, said that she must go now,
“Go where?” I asked.
“To O. He is drawing me. I must go; I cannot stay away longer.” And she began to put on her hat and cloak.
Looking at her closely, I saw that she was in the somnambulic state. The eyes were open, but their vision was closed. It was with some difficulty that I dispelled the condition, so strong was the influence. She declared that she saw O.’s figure distinctly. I recognised that as possible without any conscious or actual projection of his image. But if I was right in thinking that I also saw it, it must have been really there.
We discussed O.’s character, and differed in our estimate. She would not allow him to be so unprincipled as his conduct led me to believe him. It was not so much wickedness as weakness, she maintained, which had brought him under the power of influences which used him for their own ends.
“And those ends are ––?” I inquired.
“I do not know.”
“But I do,” I replied. “It is to make our work impossible by separating us and degrading your faculty. I take the whole affair to be a fulfilment of that prediction about ‘Apollyon.’”
“Give me your clairvoyant’s address,” she said at length. “I cannot believe in her. You must have put leading questions. I will go and see her myself.”
town, and must sit then or not at all. To him, of course, she was utterly unknown.
Not so with the spirit.
“I guess I know you – some. I went over the water lately to see you, for a friend of yours – a chief, with a red cross over his head – and found you in a big building, studying the sick and hurt. You have three friends, all chiefs. One is more of a protector to you than anything else. [This, of course, was A.] Then there is the one with the red cross, who sent me over the water to look after you. Your name is Mary; but they call you something beginning with N. Nin – Nin –” I suggested Nina, my husband’s name for me. She said, “No, not Nina. It is Ninon.” [This was the name her brother had given her, and by which she generally called herself.] She continued: “There are only two or three people in the earth-life who are on the same plane as you and your chief with the red cross. You have constellations round your head; guess I don’t often see such constellations. It’s rather muddy with other people.”
“Tell me about the other chief.”
“I am looking. He is a student, and so are you; not quite a doctor yet, but on the track. Ah! I see now. It is not a very nice word to say, but he’s wild after you. He is always with you – if not in one way, he is in another. He is more good than bad. He doesn’t mean to do ill by you, but he is all impulse. He is very magnetic. You are like a magnet to him – draw – draw; he’s obliged to come. And you are like that with him; he magnetises you too. There can be no neutral ground between you. He can’t be an acquaintance only. He wants you altogether for himself, and would give up all his life to get you. Yet you must not make him your enemy. You will need great care. He must never be your enemy. He will ruin you if he should hate you. You must keep him as a friend somehow. It will be very difficult; yes, very difficult, but you must do it.”
“Can I do him any good?”
“Yes; but you must be very careful. With him it will be always coming to a point – I mean he’ll go on just so for a little while, and then it will be a crash again and an unpleasantness. He can’t help it. I should say he is a serpent to you, and yet he isn’t bad. You have done him some good already; but he has not what I call a religious mind. He can’t be a spiritualist; he is scientific. He is one to be very successful as a surgeon. You, too, will be successful, but not in the same way. I see a great many people – oh, crowds of people – listening to you. You are lecturing. You are writing, too. You are always writing or thinking, and in other countries besides this one. You vibrate between the lands on each side of the sea.”
“Alone, or together with someone?”
“Not altogether one or the other. Your work will be mostly in connection with your profession.”
“Shall I be associated with the chief with the red cross over his head?”
“Yes; but only for a time. He is engaged in a work which will
have great success, and it must be done through you. It can’t be done without you. But after some time – many months, perhaps some years – you will be separated; at least you will not be together so much.”
“Can you tell me about my trances? Am I a trance-medium?”
“No, you are not a trance-medium at all! My medium is a trance-medium. You are far beyond that. Shall I tell you what you are? I can’t tell you. Oh, what a lot of long words they show me! There are only one or two spirits who can tell me. They tell me to say you are a spiritual Lens. You are a mirror in which the highest spirits – the Gods – can reflect their faces. I don’t understand what I am saying in the least, but they tell me you will understand it. They say that the earth and the universe are full of light, – of truth, that is, – in which people move, but they do not see it. You are a spectrum, – thank you [aside]. You have the power to break up this great light of truth and to an – thank you – analyse it, so that the common eyes of people may see what it is made of, the various colours and – re – thank you – refractions of its rays. You take the light of the whole universe and divide it so that it can be understood as it has never been understood yet. Your gift is very extraordinary. You are a glass to reflect the highest and the greatest to the world. Oh, I can’t read these long words I am shown.”
“Can you see if I am on the same plane with the red-cross chief?”
“Well, not quite. That is to say, you are beyond him in some things, and he is beyond you in others. He is an older spirit than you, at least in the earth-life. Your incarnations have not been in the same sphere. I cannot explain. Yours is a new organism – an organism of new particles.” Here she seemed puzzled, and stopped. Questioned again about the young doctor, she said that he is full of unrest and resembled lightning, while the influence of the red-cross chief is like sunlight, smooth and abiding, and that it is impossible for me to retain both together. Then, after a description of some of my relations extraordinary in its nature and startling for its accuracy, she added –
“There is something I could tell you if it was for yourself alone, but not for him, the red-cross chief. It is, that he has no thought in life but for you. He is all love, and you are his will; everything he thinks or wishes ranges itself round you as his centre.”
One result of her visit to Winona was to remove for her all doubt as to the necessity for leading questions to give her a clue to the facts, by proving her to be altogether independent of such suggestion. But the difference between the description
of O. given to her and to me suggested the liability of her statements to be tempered by the mind of the sitter, inasmuch as they seemed to be modified according to our respective estimates of him. This, however, is readily conceivable without imputing bad faith to the control. And the remarkable account given by her of Mary’s faculty, and her insistency on our continued association as the condition of its highest use, did good service in restoring the confidence which had been impaired by the hostile spell. But it was not all at once that this spell was dissipated. It continued to assert itself in varying degrees and modes, all of which were of a highly distressing character; and in my anxiety to save A. from witnessing a condition so abnormal and, to him, so inexplicable, I sought to detain her in London at least until the distractions to be found there should have had time to operate in recalling her to her normal state. Fortunately my housekeeper was able to provide accommodation for her, so that I could keep her under my eye.
She was, however, bent on going home forthwith, and on the third day after her
arrival we took train for
I had, of course, no difficulty in recognising the obsession which thus manifested itself as the work of her professor, O.; but I had great difficulty in recognising her as so entirely subjugated as not to be a consenting party to the compact implied,
or in placing an interpretation compatible with our continued association upon utterances which, if accepted in their apparent sense, pointed to the ruin both of our work and of herself. The strain of the crisis was so tremendous as entirely to transcend and eclipse that of all the many tremendous crises I had known, in such wise as to make it appear as if they had been contrived expressly in order to fortify me for the endurance of this supreme crisis. It was myself alone who had been at stake then, but now it was she and our divine mission. Regarding it as my supreme ordeal, I resolved to shrink from no sacrifice of myself and my feelings which might be necessary for their salvation
During the five hours of our journey the tension, already extreme, steadily increased, the anguish of it being intolerable. We sat apart, and maintained an almost unbroken silence. If our outward demeanour corresponded in any degree to our inward states, we must have seemed to our fellow-travellers as persons going to execution without hope of reprieve. For me the single mitigating element was the reflection that I had not for a moment faltered in my resolve to sacrifice myself to the utmost. Be my cup bitter as it might, there should be no shrinking from it.
We had reached our station, and taken carriage for the seven miles’ drive to the parsonage, without any abatement in the situation. Were, then, the powers of hell really to triumph, and the divinest work to which man and woman were ever called to be brought to naught at their bidding? This was one thought that occupied me. Another was, how to render to A. an intelligible account of what was so mysterious to ourselves; and in another hour an account of some kind would have to be rendered. Meanwhile I strove with all my force to project my will upwards in imperative demand for light and aid.
We had proceeded but about a third of the distance when suddenly, and as if in response to a mental appeal paroxysmal in its intensity, the spell that bound my companion was broken and the obsessing influence removed; for, addressing me, she said, speaking for the first time with her own natural tone and look –
“What are you so upset about? You look as ill and gloomy, and are as distant and silent, as if you were overwhelmed with misery, and I, somehow, were the cause of it.”
Not at once recognising what had happened, I replied by saying –
“And how else should a man look and act when he finds an association and a work such as ours brought to an end, and all the highest and dearest hopes of his life utterly wrecked, without any fault on his part, and for what seems to him a mad caprice? The things you have said and the way you have acted all this week bear no other meaning.”
An explanation followed, the result of which was to show beyond any possibility
of doubt that the utterances which had driven me well-nigh
to despair related, not to actual things and persons and events belonging to the
physical plane, but to the sphere which later we learnt to know as the magnetic,
phantasmal, and astral, and involved no real compliance or responsible
participation on her part, physical or spiritual, inasmuch as this “fluidic”
element in her system had been the passive subject of a force she was unable to
withstand. This was an obsessing spirit of enormous power, who sought to control
her through her astral system, in order to break down our work, her fault having
consisted – as had been truly intimated through “
So soon as I was reassured on the matter, and become able to realise the f act of the great salvation which had been wrought, the revulsion of feeling from a strain so intense and prolonged was such as to deprive me of all self-control and render me powerless to resist the impulse to find relief in a violent out-burst of weeping, which presently proved contagious, though she evidently had no conception of the severity of the ordeal I had endured. By the time we reached our destination all was composure and joy, and the need for the dreaded explanation to A. had vanished. It was some little time, however, before she quite got over the soreness she considered herself entitled to feel at my having for a moment attached any importance to her unconscious utterances, though she could not but allow that the circumstantiality of some of them which I recited to her was such as to make it very difficult to avoid referring them to the physical plane.
No rebuke was administered to her by our illuminators on
account of her share in an experience which so seriously menaced their work and ours. It had grown, we were shown, out of the nature and conditions of that work, and the liabilities inherited by her from her past existences, and it had, therefore, to be gone through.
“One neophyte,” we were told, “cannot protect himself.” The responsibility in respect to her which devolved upon me had been intimated in the utterance already recorded – “Yes! Yes! I have trusted all to you!” That alone which would have seriously endangered the work was a lack of faithfulness on my part.
On the 22nd I returned to
That “the night of the powers of evil” had indeed been succeeded by “the day of the Gods,” the following letter, written on the day after my return, bore ample witness: –
“HINTON HALL, September 23, 1877.
“I am somewhat inclined to feel a little resentful against the Gods for preserving silence while you were with me, only to grant me as soon as you are gone a new revelation of great import and of an astonishing nature.
“You must know that I passed yesterday afternoon in reading through the book Fruit and Bread, which had been sent me anonymously. The book struck me much, but I am bound to say that I did not attach any great importance to it, and never dreamt that it had come into my hands in any other than an ordinary chance
fashion. It was not, therefore, exclusively in my thoughts when night came; and I was by no means prepared for the vision which the (full) moonlight brought me after I had gone to rest. I might keep it till we meet; but as, possibly, it might by that time lose something of its vividness, or some of the words spoken might slip my memory, I think it best to commit it at once to paper while it is fresh in my mind.
“I saw in my sleep a great table spread upon a beautiful mountain, the distant peaks of which were covered with snow, and brilliant with a bright light. Around the table reclined twelve persons, six male, six female, some of whom I recognised at once, the others afterwards. Those whom I recognised at once were Zeus, Hera, Pallas Athena, Phoebus Apollo, and Artemis. I knew them by the symbols they wore. The table was covered with all kinds of fruit, of great size, including nuts, almonds, and olives, with flat cakes of bread, and cups of gold, into which, before drinking, each divinity poured two sorts of liquid, one of which was wine, the other water. As I was looking on, standing on a step a little below the top of the flight which led to the table, I was startled by seeing Hera suddenly fix her eyes on me and say, ‘What seest thou at the lower end of the table?’ And I looked, and answered, ‘I see two vacant seats.’ Then she spoke again and said, ‘When you are able to eat of our food and to drink of our cup, you also shall sit and feast with us.’ Scarcely had she uttered these words, when Athena, who sat facing me, added, ‘When you are able to eat of our food and to drink of our cup, then you shall know as you are known.’ And immediately Artemis, whom I knew by the moon upon her head, continued, ‘When you are able to eat of our food and to drink of our cup, all things shall become pure to you, and y e shall be made virgins.’ (1)
“Then I said, ‘O Immortals, what is your food and your drink; and how does your banquet differ from ours, seeing that we also eat no fresh, and blood has no place in our repasts?’
“Then one of the Gods, whom at the time I did not know, but have since recognised as Hermes, rose from the table, and coming to me, put into my hands a branch of a fig-tree bearing upon it ripe fruit, and said, ‘If you would be perfect, and able to know and to do all things, quit the heresy of Prometheus. Let fire warm and comfort you externally; it is Heaven’s gift. But do not wrest it from its rightful purpose, as did that betrayer of your race, to fill the veins of humanity with its contagion, and to consume your interior being with its breath. All of you are men of clay, as was the image which Prometheus made. Ye are nourished with stolen fire, and it consumes you. Of all the evil uses of Heaven’s good gifts, none is so evil as the internal use of fire. For your hot foods and drinks have consumed and dried up the magnetic power of your nerves, sealed your senses, and cut short your lives. Now, you neither see nor hear; for the fire in your organs consumes your senses. Ye are all
blind and deaf, creatures of clay. We have sent you a book to read. Practice its precepts, and your senses shall be opened.’
“Then, not yet recognising him, I said, ‘Tell me your name, Lord.’ At this he laughed, and answered, ‘I have been about you from the beginning. I am a white cloud on the noonday sky.’ ‘Do you, then,’ I asked, ‘desire the whole world to abandon the use of fire in preparing food and drink?’
“Instead of answering my question, he said, ‘We show you the excellent way. Two places only are vacant at our table. We have told you all that can be shown you on the level on which you stand. But our perfect gifts, the fruits of the Tree of Life, are beyond your reach now. We cannot give them to you until you are purified and have come up higher. The conditions are god’s; the will is with you.’
“These last words seemed to be repeated from the sky overhead, and again from beneath my feet. And at the instant I fell, as if shot down like a meteor from a vast height; and with the swiftness and shock of the fall I awoke.
“You may guess how full my heart was! Pondering over this extraordinary revelation, I incline to regard it as the result of a deliberation among the Spirits who guide us, and that they have found themselves unable to do more with us until we have advanced further. I suspect that the illumination promised us upon the dogmas and historical problems which are to furnish the themes of fresh volumes will not be given under present conditions, but that we shall really have to abandon the use of cooked foods, and to live like John the Baptist and the old desert saints, before we can get what the Gods promise. Have you courage sufficient for this? When one thinks what it is one is buying at the price, the sacrifice seems a slight thing indeed. And in view of your consenting, I will ask you to get some packets of ‘crushed wheat,’ instead of the tea we were going to take out – the plain crushed wheat, I mean. I felt curiously guilty this morning as I ate my egg and drank my hot coffee! And I had always considered my food so simple and pure! Now I regard myself as a mere groveller – a worm and an ‘image of clay.’ My mind is full of the Gods and of Prometheus, and I can’t think of anything else for five minutes together. But what is the meaning of a fig-branch? There must be some significance in it, for this is the second time I have had it given to me.”
As will readily be supposed, my delight at this communication was no less than hers. Perhaps it even exceeded hers in the practical assurance it constituted for me that our illuminators were unalienated and her faculty unimpaired by the recent experience. It contained several things which at the time were beyond not only our own but the world’s knowledge, for their meaning had long been lost. Thus, while I recognised the fig-branch as the special symbol of Hermes, I had yet to wait for the explanation of its significance, and to learn that it denoted the faculty of inward understanding, the loss of which by the
Church in the time of Jesus, and His condemnation of the Church therefore, was implied in the story of the cursing of the barren fig-tree, and the restoration of which at the end of the age was implied in the prophecy of the budding of the fig-tree. And so with all the rest, as students of the New Gospel of Interpretation will be aware.
All this time no word from O. had reached us, and as the time approached for our return to Paris, her apprehensions of a renewal, and possibly an aggravation, of our troubles with him were beyond my power to allay, even though I pointed out the extreme improbability of his being permitted seriously to molest us, seeing that the Gods evidently had us in their keeping. There proved, however, to be a cause for her alarm of which I was unaware. This was the recollection which had lately come to her of having left with her concierge a letter of explanation to be given to O. on his calling for his next lesson, which was to have been on the day following her departure; and this, she now believed, had been written in terms so unguarded as to be capable of a construction highly injurious to her, and one that a Frenchman would almost infallibly ascribe to it. So that, had the letter reached him, and his attitude been one of hostility, he had it in his power seriously to compromise her; for, of course, no explanation of the conditions under which it was written would be of any avail.
Under these circumstances her trepidation increased as the distance decreased, and when we reached our destination was excessive. Addressing the concierge, her first question was “Has my letter been called for?” To our indescribable relief the answer was in the negative, and her delight on regaining possession of the document was extreme. Reaching her apartment, there was a hasty glance at its contents; a murmured exclamation, “How could I have been so foolish! I must have been beside myself!” and then its instant and complete destruction. She had told him that, in the event of her returning unaccompanied, there would be no obstacle to their intimacy.
There was still the mystery of O.’s failure to call at the time appointed for the lesson, when he would have received the letter, or subsequently to make inquiries. The explanation which suggested itself to us was that, having occult sources of information,
he had no need to call to be made aware of her departure. We thought it also not impossible that the demonstration to him that his boasted will-power had found its superior, coming as it had done in the very height of his triumph, might have had some disastrous effect upon his system.
No doubt she would hear about him at the hospital. Her fear was of meeting him there. Nevertheless, it was necessary to run the risk. He was not there, and she summoned courage to ask about him. The answer was at once a shock and a relief to both of us. In the armoury of the Gods are many weapons, and woe to those who touch their anointed or do their prophets harm. Mary’s demon had been laid for ever, for “Apollyon” had been deprived of his instrument by an attack of brain-fever. We took it as a warning for those who, studying “Occultism,” enter into relations with the powers of the astral and elemental, without having first made sure their hold on the celestial, for they thereby render themselves accessible to the infernal.
A review of this portion of our history in the light of our subsequent psychical researches led me vividly to recognise the difficulty in the way of establishing a case of guilt against persons liable to telepathic or hypnotic obsession, founded merely on their own statements, written or spoken; for, notwithstanding the apparent reality of the conduct thus confessed to, and even the conviction of the parties themselves of its reality at the time, the reference would in such case be to the world astral and magnetic, and therefore delusive, and in no wise to the world terrestrial and human. I can readily conceive of a book, a diary, or a correspondence being written by one under such influence, perfectly life-like and coherent, every thought and act in which was imaginary so far as concerns the material plane, the writer of which would have no knowledge whatever of it, or of the circumstances detailed in it, after the removal of the influence under which it had been written, nor any responsibility for its contents.
(210:1) I.e. the date for which the engagement was made. – S.H.H.
(221:1) See p. 214 ante.
(223:1) The Prince Consort died on December 14, 1861.
(229:1) Joan of Arc has since been canonised. The decree was published by Pius X on April 11, 1909 (The Catholic Encyclopaedia). – S.H.H.
(237:1) The term virgin in its mystical sense signifies a soul pure from admixture of matter. The plural used by the seeress included Edward Maitland as the partner of her literary and other studies (see note by E.M. to this dream in Dreams and Dream-Stories, Third Edition, p. 51). – S.H.H.