Henry J. Horn
Part 1 out of 4
Produced by Curtis Weyant, Mary Meehan and the Online Distributed
A SERIES OF ORIGINAL PAPERS, EMBRACING PHILOSOPHY, SCIENCE, GOVERNMENT,
RELIGION, POETRY, ART, FICTION, SATIRE, HUMOR, NARRATIVE, AND PROPHECY.
BY THE _SPIRITS OF IRVING, WILLIS, THACKERAY, BRONTE, RICHTER, BYRON,
HUMBOLDT, HAWTHORNE, WESLEY, BROWNING_, AND OTHERS NOW DWELLING IN THE
DICTATED THROUGH A CLAIRVOYANT, WHILE IN AN ABNORMAL OR TRANCE STATE.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
HENRY J. RAYMOND _To the New York Public_
MARGARET FULLER _Literature in Spirit Life_
LORD BYRON _To His Accusers_
NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE _Apparitions_
WASHINGTON IRVING _Visit to Henry Clay_
NAPOLEON BONAPARTE _To The French Nation_
W. M. THACKERAY _His Post Mortem Experience_
ARCHBISHOP HUGHES _Two Natural Religions_
EDGAR A. POE _The Lost Soul_
JEAN PAUL RICHTER _Invisible Influences_
CHARLOTTE BRONTE _Agnes Reef. A Tale_
ELIZABETH B. BROWNING _To Her Husband_
ARTEMUS WARD _In and Out of Purgatory_
LADY BLESSINGTON _Distinguished Women_
PROFESSOR OLMSTEAD _Locality of the Spirit World_
ADAH ISAACS MENKEN _Hold Me Not_
N.P. WILLIS _Off-Hand Sketches_
MARGARET FULLER _City of Spring Garden_
GILBERT STUART _Art Conversation_
EDWARD EVERETT _Government_
FREDERIKA BREMER _Flight to my Starry Home_
REV. LYMAN BEECHER _The Sabbath--Its Uses_
PROF. GEORGE BUSH _Life and Marriage in Spirit Life_
JUNIUS BRUTUS BOOTH _Acting by Spirit Influence_
REV. JOHN WESLEY _Church of Christ_
N. P. WILLIS _A Spirit Revisiting Earth_
ALLAN CUNNINGHAM _Alone_
BARON VON HUMBOLDT _The Earthquake_
SIR DAVID BREWSTER _Naturalness of Spirit Life_
H.T. BUCKLE _Mormons_
W.E. BURTON _Drama in Spirit Life_
CHAS. L. ELLIOTT _Painting in Spirit Life_
COMEDIAN'S POETRY _Rollicking Song_
LADY HESTER STANHOPE _Prophecy_
PROFESSOR MITCHELL _The Planets_
DR. JOHN W. FRANCIS _Causes of Disease and Insanity_
ADELAIDE PROCTER _The Spirit Bride_
_BY THE EDITOR_.
In placing before the public a work with such novel and extraordinary
demands upon its consideration, a few explanatory words seem appropriate.
Its title and contents will doubtless at first sight cause a smile of
incredulity, and will be regarded by many as one of the devices which are
sometimes put forward to entrap an unsuspecting public into the perusal
of a sensational hoax.
For a number of years past the community has been surprised with accounts
of most incredible marvels; and from time to time the press has reported
various phenomena in connection with an _unrecognized force and
intelligence,_ as occurring in almost every locality throughout the
These phenomena are thought by many to be mere illusions, and by some
attributed to peculiar electrical conditions; while others seek their
solution in an abnormal state of the brain; and others still believe them
dependent on an actual intercourse between mortals and those who have
passed beyond the grave.
Having become interested in this mysterious and exciting subject, and
finding the means at hand for testing the various phenomena, I resolved
to undertake a series of experiments, with the hope of exposing a
delusion, if such it were, or perchance, of clearing up a mystery which,
by the magnitude and importance it has already assumed, is disturbing the
foundations of old beliefs and steadily diffusing it's theories and
doctrines into the very heart of society.
Among other expedients to attain this end (assuming the hypothesis that
spirits of the departed were in a condition to communicate with mortals),
I interrogated, through the instrumentality of a clairvoyant gifted with
the remarkable power of passing at will into an unconscious or trance
state, the spirits of a number of well-known individuals concerning their
views and sentiments in their present state of existence.
In response to my questions, an intelligent answer was received from the
Countess Ossoli (Margaret Fuller), with the assurance that my desire was
apprehended and would receive the hearty co-operation of those to whom it
The process by which the papers were given was that of dictation through
the clairvoyant while in an abnormal or trance condition and with her
eyes closed. The matter was written in pencil as it fell from her lips,
and subsequently transcribed for the press.
The difficulties attending the transmission of ideas through the medium
of another mind, even under ordinary circumstances, must be apparent to
all, and the unprejudiced reader may readily perceive obstacles to the
literal reproduction of their respective styles and language by the
Yet, notwithstanding the impediments to felicity of expression, I feel
assured that persons at all familiar with the characteristics of the
originals will readily perceive a marked resemblance in style to that of
the authors named.
In the delivery of the articles, their composers would usually assume or
personate their own individual characteristics; thus, Artemus Ward's
conversation and gestures were exceedingly ludicrous. He was the very
personification of mirth, occasionally going to the wall and humorously
"chalking out" his designs. Archbishop Hughes expressed himself in a
quiet, earnest, and eloquent manner. Lady Blessington was full of
vivacity, and Margaret Fuller was our Presiding Angel; while Booth would
become vehement to an intense degree, and at times would mount some
article of furniture in the room, becoming passionately eloquent, as if
again upon the "mimic stage of life."
An intelligent public will perceive the mental effort incident upon the
production of a series of articles so unusually varied; embracing the
distinctive qualities of Philosophy, Science, Religion, Political
Economy, Government, Satire, Humor, Poetry, Fiction, Narrative, Art,
Astronomy, etc., etc.; and the query has fitly been advanced,--what mind,
in the exercise of its normal functions,--has furnished a consecutive
number of essays so surprising in novelty, so diverse in sentiment, so
consistent in treatment, and so forcibly original, as those embraced in
this volume? What intellect so versatile as to reproduce in song and
narrative the characteristic styles of so many, and yet so dissimilar
In designating the locality of the Second Life, frequent repetition of
certain terms, such as spirit world, etc., were unavoidable. For weeks
and months the unseen visitors were punctual to their appointments, and
this novel mode of book-making proceeded steadily in interest and variety
until the volume was completed.
The work is now inscribed to a discriminating public, with a lively
confidence that the advanced intelligence and freedom of the age will
yield it an ingenuous reception.
HENRY J. HORN.
NEW YORK, _October 1st_, 1869.
HENRY J. RAYMOND.
_TO THE NEW YORK PUBLIC_.
I have often thought that if it should ever be my privilege to become a
ghost I would enlighten the poor, benighted denizens of the earth as to
how _I did it_, and give a more definite account of what I should see,
and the transformation that would befall me, than either Benjamin
Franklin or George Washington had been able to do in the jargon that had
been set before me by Spiritualists as coming from those worthies.
"Stuff!" I have exclaimed again and again, after looking over spirit
communications and wondering why a man should become so stilted because
he had lost his avoirdupoise.
The opportunity which I boasted I would not let slip has arrived. The
public must judge of how I avail myself of this ghostly power.
Now and then I was troubled with strange misgivings about the future
life. I had a hope that man might live hereafter, but death was a solemn
fact to me, into whose mystery I did not wish too closely to pry.
"Presentiments," as the great English novelist remarks, "are strange
things." That connection with some coming event which one feels like a
shadowy hand softly touching him, is inexplicable to most men.
I remember to have felt several times in my life undefined foreshadowings
of some future which was to befall me; and just previous to my departure
from earth, as has been generally stated in the journals of the day, I
experienced a similar sensation. An awful blank seemed before me--a great
chasm into which I would soon be hurled. This undefined terror took no
After the death of my son I felt like one who stood upon a round ball
which rolled from under him and left him nowhere.
The sudden death of James Harper added another shock to that which I had
already felt. I did not understand then, though I have since comprehended
it, that I was like some great tree, rooted in the ground, which could
not be dragged from the earth in which it was buried until it had
received some sudden blow to loosen its hold and make its grip less
But in the very midst of these feelings I sought the society of friends,
and endeavored around the social board to exhilarate my senses and drown
these undesirable fancies.
Life seemed more secure among friends, but death was not to be dodged. It
caught me unarmed and alone at midnight in the very doorway of my house.
I had crossed the threshold, and remember trying to find the stairs and
being seized with a dizziness. The place seemed to spin around and I felt
that I was falling. Next, a great weight seemed to press me down like
some horrid nightmare. I endeavored to groan, to cry out and struggle
from under it, but it held me fast. After this I seemed to be falling
backward through a blackness--an inky blackness. It came close to me, and
pressed close upon my lips and my eyes. It smothered me; I could not
Then ensued a struggle within me such as Lazarus might have felt when he
endeavored to break through his grave cerements. It was frightful, that
effort for mastery!
I understand it now. It was the soul fighting its way into birth as a
spiritual being, like a child fighting its way out of its mother's womb.
I remember feeling faint and confused after that, like one who has long
been deprived of food. An unconsciousness stole over me for a moment,
from which I was awakened by a sudden burst of light. I seemed to open my
eyes upon some glorious morning. I felt an arm around me; I turned and
met the smiling face of my son. I thought myself in a dream, and yet I
was filled with awe.
I had a consciousness that some strange transformation had taken place.
My son's voice murmured in my ear, "Father, go with me now." As he spoke,
his voice sounded like the vibration of distant bells. When he touched me
a fire seemed to thrill through my veins. I felt like a boy; a wild,
prankish sensation of freedom possessed me. My body lay upon the ground.
I laughed at it; I could have taken it and tossed it in the air.
"Come, let's go," said I; "don't stay here."
My chief desire was to get out of the house. Like a boy who must fly his
kite, out I would go. I feared I might be caught and taken back if I did
not hasten, and moved toward the door. The seams of that door, which I
had always thought well joined, seemed now to stand twelve inches or more
apart. Every atom of that wood which had appeared so solid to me was now
more porous than any sponge or honey-comb. Out we went through the
crevice. A party of men were standing upon the doorsteps. One put forth
his hand to grasp mine. I laughed aloud when I recognized the person as
James Harper! Another was Richmond; another, one of my associates in the
editorial corps. I was perfectly amazed, and set up a hilarious shout,
which they echoed in great glee. We started forth, a convivial party. The
atmosphere hung in heavy masses around the houses, like the morning mists
about the base of a mountain.
We did not walk on the ground; the air was solid enough to bear us. I
felt that we were rising above the city. My senses seemed magnified. The
comprehension of all I did was very acute. We kept along the earth's
atmosphere for quite a distance.
"Let us sail out," said I, at last.
"We cannot yet; we must wait till we reach the current. If we go outside
of that, we may be lost in the intense cold and the poisonous gases, or
we may be swallowed up in the vortex of some flaming comet," answered my
The statement looked very reasonable, so I allowed myself to be
guided and we soon found ourselves in a great belt of light of a pale
rose-color, in which we sailed seemingly without any effort, moving the
hands and arms at times and at other times folding them across our
As we advanced the channel in which we moved increased in depth and
brilliancy of color, and I grew more and more exhilarated. Finally we
paused and commenced to descend. The air was very luminous, radiating and
scintillating like the flashing of diamonds, and so electric that the
concussion of sound vibrated like the peal from some distant organ.
Looking down through the glittering atmosphere that surrounded me, I
perceived what appeared to be the uplifting peak of a mountain. A halo of
light rested upon its summit, and we seemed drawn toward it with a gentle
This mountain, I was informed, was one of a magnetic chain which belts
the spirit world. In color and material it was like an opal.
I was told that a peculiar sympathy existed between it and the human
spirit. When individuals on earth are in juxtaposition with this mountain
they feel a strange yearning for the spirit home.
Now then the mysterious riddle is solved, thought I; and this must be the
spiritual north pole!
We soon stood upon _terra-firma_, if these translucent rocks could be
called _terra-firma_ which rose in glittering and polished peaks all
around us. They were wonderfully iridescent, so that no bed of
gorgeously-colored flowers could have filled the eye with a greater
variety of tints.
A few steps around a projecting bluff brought us within sight of what
appeared to me a magnificent palace of alabaster. This palace I soon
learned was a hotel, or place of resort for travellers.
In ascending its polished steps I was met by some half dozen persons whom
I had known. You may be sure a wonderful handshaking ensued. We remained
here but a few moments, partook of refreshments, and then proceeded to
the court-yard, where I was told a car awaited to carry us to our
The car seemed to be a frame-work, apparently of silver wire. We now
comfortably seated ourselves, when two large wings struck out from it
like those of some great condor. We moved rapidly over the acclivity.
This is a new way of crossing the mountains, thought I; I will have to
introduce it in the Sierra Nevada and Colorados.
I inquired how the machine was propelled, and was informed, "Simply by a
chemical arrangement similar to your galvanic battery."
You may conceive my astonishment when we descended into a park of a vast
"My God!" exclaimed I, "it cannot be that I am in the spirit world! Why,
look at the houses and churches, and temples! What magnificent
buildings!" But I must say the material alone struck me as something
sublime and unearthly. So transparent and rich in color, reflecting light
as if through a veil or mist! "This caps all," said I, as doctors and
lawyers, artists and authors, whom I had known, stepped up to greet me,
smiling and full of life. "Why, how is this?" "Is this you?" "Where did
you come from?" Questions like these came from all sides. Francis and
Brady, Willis, Morris, and a host of New Yorkers who had slipped out of
sight and almost out of mind, now gathered around me as if by miracle. I
rubbed my eyes in wonder. Spying Brown, I cried out, "Why, how is this,
Brown? It can't be that I am in heaven! Do you have such things here?
Houses, stores, and works of art on every side?"
"Yes; people must live," said he, "wherever they be."
"And are men here the same, with all their faculties?" I asked.
"Yes; why not? Have you any you'd like to lose?"
I shook my head and walked on absorbed in thought. And are all our
paraphernalia for funerals, our solemn black, and our long prayers but
useless ceremonies? Why, according to this, the beliefs of the Chinese,
Hottentot, African, and Indian are nearer the truth than our civilized
I find that there are few things in which society in this world so much
differs from that of earth as in its social and political arrangements.
All the great system of living for appearances, and the habit of
self-deception whereby men live outwardly what their secret lives
disavow, are here entirely done away with.
In the first place the marriage relations differ materially from those of
earth, and no false sentiment nor custom, nor religious belief, holds
together as companions those who are dissimilar in their nature. Neither
do men crucify their tastes and feelings from a mistaken idea of duty.
The miseries and disasters which are attendant on a life on earth they
view as a parent would view the whooping-cough or scarlatina which
afflict the body of his child--as necessary steps toward his growth and
progress from youth to manhood.
A remarkable instance of this came under my own observation. You remember
that the singular and sudden death of Abraham Lincoln was a matter of
surprise to us. We could not see the purpose of an all-wise Providence in
this sudden closing of an eventful career. It was discussed in every
newspaper in the land, and the conclusion was that the Creator had some
special purpose in his removal, and this we all believed.
But here the enigma is solved.
Standing face to face and walking side by side, as I have done for the
last few days with this man, raised as some suppose for the special
purpose of freeing the slave--a martyr for principle--I find that he
enjoys as a good joke, this martyrdom, and I have also ascertained the
solemn fact that he was removed, not by God, but by spirit politicians,
And the state of the case is this: the Southern rebels, hot-blooded and
revengeful, who were arriving daily by scores and hundreds, in the spirit
world, finding their cause discomfited and worsted, became mutinous. They
were too raw and new to fall into the harmony of the spirit life, and
they threatened a second war in Heaven; a war which those young Lucifers
would have waged with terrific power.
To quell this disturbance and produce a counteraction, it was necessary
that one whom they looked upon as the great leader of the Northern
cohorts should be withdrawn from the post which he occupied.
A man of calm, dispassionate judgment, not vindictive, who could hold the
reins with a firm hand, yet look with a lenient eye on the follies which
he did not share, was needed in the spirit world, and that man was
When those young Southern bloods had conspired with their co-patriot to
his downfall, had instigated and accomplished his assassination, and when
he appeared in their midst, the simple, unaffected, _uncrafty_ man that
he was, a revulsion of feeling immediately took place.
The liberal party in the spirit world, friends to humanity and progress,
could have prevented his removal had they wished; but not desiring to do
so, they prepared his mind by dreams and visions for what was about to
For a short time in the spirit world he held the position of Pacificator
and chief ruler over that portion of the American, spirit world
represented by the North and South.
But after averting this peril, which would have involved the States in
anarchy and war such as they had not yet experienced, he retired to
Another instance, proving that the inhabitants of the spirit world, like
their great prototype, the Creator, do not look at immediate distress,
but at the advantages that may accrue therefrom, presents itself in my
removal from the sphere in which I had probably worked out all that would
be useful to humanity.
Like a _charge d'affaires_ called back to Washington because he can
fill a better post, so I, through the solicitations of relatives and
fellow-citizens who have preceded me to this new world, was called here
for the purpose of editing a journal and assisting in ameliorating the
condition of the inhabitants of the Southern States, and also to use my
influence in the Congress and Senate at Washington toward producing a
better comprehension of their needs.
I have one thing to say to my brother journalist, Horace Greeley, and
that is that the Utopian ideas which have for so many years formed the
principal topic of his radical sheet are here put in operation.
Each one seems desirous of cooperating with his neighbor, and people of
like tastes and feelings associate together and live in vast communities
or cities. They do not settle down to one routine, as they do with you.
The cost of travelling depending chiefly on the will and energy of the
individual, the inhabitants are ever in motion, ever ready for a change,
if wisdom or pleasure should dictate it. The condition of the common
people is vastly improved, and America has been the chief agent in
placing the lower classes in a condition which adapts them to a higher
spiritualized life. I say lower classes, because under the system of
monarchical governments, the peasants and laborers of Europe have been
kept in a state of besotted ignorance, developing chiefly in the animal
propensities, and not fitting themselves for the higher enjoyments of the
Finding that the spirit world was likely to be overrun by this class of
ignorant and superstitions people, its wise rulers have instigated the
legislators of the United States to provide means for the education and
development of these lower classes of society.
It is only by assimilating with those of a higher intellectual
development that the ignorant become enlightened, and America, in
throwing down all barriers to political and social advancement, has been
the chief instrument of lifting the great mass of humanity to a position
of power in the spirit world; still there are crowds of beings, ignorant
and superstitious, who enter the spirit world, and their intellects can
only be unfolded by the labor and guidance of some master mind.
I was surprised to find that physical labor here, as on earth, was one of
the chief means employed to assist in mental growth; and I found swarms
of English, Irish, and German people happily at work, cultivating the
land and erecting houses for themselves and others, and assisting in the
great machinery of life, which here, as in the other world, revolves its
I had nearly forgotten to mention that since leaving your world I
returned on one occasion to attend a _seance_, as it is termed, for
physical manifestations, and had the pleasure of seeing how our chemists
combine from the elements the semblance of the human form. I had been
interested when on earth in an experiment recently made by scientific
men, whereby, through a peculiar combination of metals, a flame is caused
to assume the shapes of flowers, leaves, fishes, and reptiles, apparently
developed from the air, and I discovered an intelligent solution of the
remarkable experiment in the manifestations I witnessed at this _seance_.
It appears that every particle in nature throws off a gaseous emanation,
partaking of its particular shape. These gaseous particles are not
discernible with the material eye, excepting when by chance they
coalesce, and then a phosphorescent light ensues, which renders them
A similar effect to this is seen in electricity, which lies latent and
viewless till by a sudden coalescing of its parts it manifests itself in
zigzag lines and flashes of light which illuminate the heavens.
Now certain material bodies have the power of drawing those atoms in
close affinity, and when they are thus drawn, the shapes alluded to are
clearly discernible by the human eye.
I discovered another fact, and that is that every human being emits a
light, and in the case of those called "mediums," it is intense like the
Drummond light, and a spirit standing in its rays will become visible to
These experiments interested me highly, as they had been heretofore
inexplicable to my mind.
_Apropos_ of the topics of to-day, I must here relate what I have heard
of the "Lord Byron scandal," which is creating so marked a sensation at
present. I am told by Byron and others that Lady Byron, recently arriving
in the spirit world and finding matters very different from what she had
expected, and that she was received nowhere as the wife of Lord Byron
(who having resided there some thirty years had formed a new and happy
alliance), was stung with jealousy and vexation and hastened to inspire
Mrs. Stowe to repeat the story which had become a matter of faith with
her, hoping thereby to inflict a punishment on Byron, who ignored his
relation to her.
If she had waited until she had resided a little longer in spirit life
she would not have pursued so foolish a course. But I must bring this
long letter to a close, assuring my friends that I have the prospect of
as active a life before me as the one I have just closed on earth.
_LITERATURE IN SPIRIT LIFE_.
To a mind familiar with the literature of the ancient Greeks and Romans,
which has studied the Scandinavian Edda, and is intimate with the more
modern German, French, and English authors, the literature of the spirit
world opens up a mine of interminable wealth.
The libraries in this world are vast catacombs or repositories of buried
knowledge. Here are found histories of decayed races, dynasties, and
nations which have vanished from earth, leaving scarce a monument of
their progress in art, science, and mental culture. In these libraries
the student of history will find the exploits of ancient peoples
recorded, and a description of their cities, with the temples and towers
which they built and the colossal images which they created.
I own to the surprise which I experienced when I discovered that printed
books were a part of the treasures of the spirit world. But the scholar
will rejoice as I did to find the literary productions of remotest ages
garnered in the spacious halls of science that adorn our cities.
It is a principle of being--a condition of immortality--as inseparable
from spirit existence as from earth life, that thought should express
itself in external forms. Even the Great Spirit, the Creator of all,
gives shape to his thoughts in the formation of trees, flowers, men,
beasts, and myriad worlds with their constant motion, their sound and
It has been aptly said that the "stars are the poetry of God." He, the
Great Spirit of all, writes his thoughts legibly; and so man, like his
originator, whether living in the natural body or existing as a spirit,
gives outward shape to his ideas; hence books become a necessity of
spirit existence, and the writers from earth have still a desire to
perpetuate their thoughts.
Oral communication is too evanescent, and therefore the dear old books
still find a place in the spheres.
There are various modes of making these volumes, and the writer may
become his own printer.
Some authors prefer to dictate, and a little instrument marks off the
variations of sound which make the word, and thus, as he speaks, the word
is impressed on the sheet.
Others, if the thought be clear and distinct enough, and the will
sufficiently under abeyance, act through the mind upon a conductor, which
dots down the thought in a manner somewhat similar to telegraphic
The material used to receive the impression is of a soft, vellum-like
nature, which can be folded up in any manner without destroying its form;
it is very light and thin, but opaque, like the creamy petals of a lily.
The phonetic alphabet is used extensively, though we have many books
printed in the mode usually adopted on earth.
All nature is constantly changing and progressing. The bards who sang
upon the earth centuries ago--Homer, Virgil, the Greek and Roman, the
Celtic and Saxon writers of old--have passed beyond the spirit sphere
which I inhabit to a spirit planet still more refined, and have left
behind only the records of their strange experience.
The eighteenth century cannot walk side by side with the third or fourth
century more readily in the spirit world than on earth.
The character of the spirit literature of the present day is essentially
scientific and explorative. We have in our world, as you have in yours,
intrepid travellers--learned men, who make voyages to almost inaccessible
planets--and they return even as those of earth, with sketches and
graphic outlines of the strange sights they have witnessed; and those
less venturesome who remain at home are as anxious as your citizens might
be to hear accounts of wonderful regions that have been visited. And such
books of travel are sought eagerly.
We have but few works on theology; the nature and essence of God is
discussed with us, but not so elaborately as with you.
Spirits who have passed into a second life have so nearly approached the
mystery of a Divine Being that they do not desire to debate the subject.
A large proportion of our writers are devoted to what you would here term
transcendental thought, a kind of literature which lies between poetry
and music, which awakens a feeling of ecstasy, and gives, as it were,
wings to the soul.
The poets who sang upon earth during the last century, of whom Shelly,
Keats, and Byron are an English type, and Halleck, Pierrepont, Dana, and
Willis the American representatives, are among the most inspired and
far-reaching of our present writers of poetry and song.
Our literature has one great advantage over that of earth, in that our
separate nationalities become merged in one grand unit. We do not need
translators, as we have adopted a universal written language. There are
some writers who still retain, as I have said, the modes adopted on
earth, but those who have been resident any length of time in the spirit
sphere employ the plan of writing by signs, which are understood and
acknowledged by every nationality.
I should like, in closing, to introduce an extract from an old volume
which I found in a library in the city of Spring Garden.
It was written by Addison during his sojourn in that city, in the year
1720, and is in the form of a letter, supposed to be written to a friend
on earth. In it he essays to portray the expansion of mind he has
experienced in his new home through the magnetic influence of thought
"Behold the far off luminary suspended millions and billions and
trillions of miles in space; then turn the eye yonder and see that
infinitesimal point of vegetation, earth--a speck, countless multitudes
of which heaped and piled together would form but a point compared with
that majestic sun!
"Yet behold it move and expand beneath the long fibrous rays which that
effulgent orb sends down through so many billions of miles to the place
of its minute existence. Even as that poor little existence shoots out
its fibres to meet those rays which have travelled such great lengths, so
a spirit in the spheres feels the quickening, effulgent rays thrown out
by the brain of some prophet or poet existing millions and billions and
trillions of miles away on some distant spirit planet, and his thought
expands and enlarges beneath the warming action of that far-off brain,
until it assumes a shape and form which its own emulation never
_TO HIS ACCUSERS_.
My soul is sick of calumny and lies:
Men gloat on evil--even woman's hand
Will dabble in the mire, nor heed the cries
Of the poor victim whom she seeks to brand
In thy sweet name, Religion, through the land!
Like the keen tempest she doth strip her prey,
Tossing him bare and wrecked upon the strand,
While vaunting her misdeeds before the day,
Bearing a monument which crumbles like the clay.
My sister, have I lived to see thy name
Dishonored? Thou, who wast my pride, my stay;
Shall Jealousy and Fraud thy love defame
And I be dumb? Just Heaven, let a ray
From thy majestic light illume earth's clay,[A]
That through her I may scorch the slander vile,
And light throughout the land a torch to-day,
Which shall reveal how false and full of guile
Are they who seek thy name, Augusta, to defile.
[Footnote A: The Clairvoyant.]
She who has borne my title and my name,
In deeds fraternal saw some monster crime;
To her base level sought my heart to tame,
Made mock of each aspiring thought sublime,
And sought to bury me beneath the slime
Of her imaginings. All--all are gone
Who could defend me. From the grave of time
I am unearth'd--by sland'rous miscreants torn,
And rise to feel again the ills I once have borne.
Is this a Christian deed, to flaunt a vice,
And with another's failings gild your own?
To hearken to the whisperings and device
Of old age, selfish, to suspicion grown?
To misconstrue each friendly look--each tone--
And out of natural love create vile lust?
Must brother's heart his very kin disown,
While rudest hand disturbs her mouldering dust?
Is this a Christian deed? Shall mankind call it just?
But let that pass. I hear a nation's voice
Raised to defend the absent, wronged child;
My hopes and aims were high, albeit my choice
Was fixed on one who felt not for my wild
And wayward nature; one who never smiled
On imperfection. From my home of light
Unscathed, I see life's blackening billows piled,
Ready to sweep the daring soul from sight,
Sinking his name and memory in darkest night.
I rise again above the woes of earth,
Like unchained bird, seeking my native air.
Men seldom see their fellow-creatures' worth,
But blot sweet nature's page, however fair.
Away, my soul, and seek thy nobler state,
Where loving angels breathe their softest prayer,
Where sweetest seraphs for thy coming wait,
And ne'er suspicion's breath can pass the Golden Gate.
Returning one evening from a visit to a friend on earth, I was impelled
to take a route with which I was unfamiliar. It led me far beyond the
habitations of the city, into an open country whose surface was
diversified by sloping hills and broad valleys.
The sun was quite low in the horizon, and dark purple clouds, gathering
in the west, indicated an approaching storm. Anxious to reach my
spirit-home before such an event, I was nevertheless compelled to keep
within the earth's atmosphere.
The aspect of the country became more uneven as I advanced, and the
disappearing sun threw out the hills in cold blue relief against the
evening sky. One peak to the northward stood high and isolated from the
surrounding hills, and was crowned by a spacious dwelling house; the high
peaked roof and dark gloomy color of its exterior comported strangely
with the landscape.
To this building an unseen influence drew me. As I approached nearer I
discovered the figure of a man walking with restless step upon the piazza
which surrounded the dwelling. At times he would suspend his walk, and
crouch, shuddering as with fear, against the shadowed balustrade. His
face was of ashy paleness, and his hair, black as night, fell in
neglected masses around his head. His eyes were bright and glassy, and
their expression frightful to look upon.
Unconscious of my proximity, he arose from his crouching position, stood
for a moment irresolute, and then walked up to the heavy oaken, door and
Presently the door was opened by a lady; she looked out, but could see no
one. "It must have been the wind," said she, shuddering slightly, and
drawing her shawl closely around her, was about to close the door. But
before she could accomplish her purpose the unseen guest had entered,
with myself following closely behind, hoping to give comfort where it
appeared most sorely needed.
Up a broad staircase he ascended and at a chamber door he paused--then
entered. I followed. His presence seemed to cause the very furniture to
shake and rattle.
"Here," thought I, "I will solve the enigma. Here, without doubt, has
occurred some grand disturbance of nature. The walls of this apartment,
its casements, its decorations, have been witness to some fell crime. The
spectre of evil impresses itself upon matter."
While reflecting upon this wonderful law, which all my life I had
perceived dimly, I observed with care the evidently unhappy man. A
bedstead of rich workmanship occupied one side of the apartment. Rushing
toward it he burst forth in a cry of frenzy, swaying his hands fearfully
and ejaculating and groaning in most piteous accents.
At this juncture steps were heard outside ascending the stairs, and
several members of the household entered, bearing lights. They looked
about the room, at first timidly; then, gathering courage, peered under
the bed, opened closets, and scrutinized every nook and corner of the
apartment. Foiled in their efforts to discover the inmate they turned to
each other with amazement.
"I am positive the sounds came from this room," said one. "There is no
one to be seen here," replied another; "what can it mean?"
The culprit stood in the corner, gesticulating violently, but they with
their mortal eyes could not see him. They passed close to him, but their
lighted candles could not reveal the shadowless!
Having satisfied themselves that the room was tenantless, they departed.
Then I approached the unhappy wretch:
"Friend," said I, "let me aid you. Unburden your woo to me; I too have
suffered and am not without sin."
Casting his eyes upon me now for the first time, the man scowled with
dogged sullenness, and said:
"I want no help."
"Nay," said I, "your looks belie your words; come, go with me to my quiet
cottage; there you shall refresh yourself; you shall sleep to-night in
"Peace!" he repeated scornfully. "I know no peace; nor can I leave this
spot till every eye beholds the horrid deed that I committed here."
"Friend," said I, "tell me the nature of your crime; reveal to me your
secret and your heart will be lighter for it."
"Ha! ha!" he answered, his voice dying away in a low wail. "Look upon
that wall opposite the bed; it will speak better than I can." I looked,
and beheld a faint photograph or impression of the couch, with its
handsome drapery. Upon it reclined the figure of a female, and bending
over her appeared the form of a man, whose livid face and black,
disordered hair I recognized as an unmistakable reflection of the
unfortunate man before me.
"You see that 'the very stones cry out against me,'" said he. "Every
night for two years have I enacted that same scene, and I am held by some
unseen, influence to this baneful spot."
"Tell me your story," said I; "hide nothing--I am your friend."
He ran his thin fingers through his tangled hair, and with a voice husky
with emotion answered:
"I will tell you. Some years ago, when a young man, haughty and
passionate, I had the misfortune to love a girl whose youth and beauty
proved my bane, and in a moment of recklessness I married her. In her
nature were mingled the qualities of the serpent and the dove. She was my
inferior, and I could not own her outwardly nor inwardly as my wife; but,
unhappily for the peace of both, I could not rid myself of her. I gave
her money, but it availed not; she was ignorant, and persisted in
following me." Here the man looked around with a nervous air, as if he
expected to see the unwelcome face peering at him through the shadows.
"To avoid her," he continued, "I secretly purchased this dwelling, remote
from the place of her abode. There I lived for a brief time, happy; a new
life with loftier purposes dawned upon me; I formed another attachment--a
higher and more noble one.
"One evening as I was walking upon the balcony thinking of my new-found
joys, a figure came creeping up through the shrubbery towards me. To my
amazement it proved to be the girl who claimed me.
"When I saw her, rage entered my heart, and I felt as if I could
annihilate her. But, suppressing all show of feeling, I went with her
into the house, and appointed her this room for the night. A demoniac
idea had presented itself to my mind; it came unsought, but under the
excitement of the moment it seemed like a good angel of deliverance.
"To further this idea, I lay down beside her. Presently she fell into a
light slumber. At first a slight expression of pleasure played upon her
lips, but ere long the fatigue of her journey overcame her, and she slept
"Then," said he, his countenance assuming a convulsive and ghastly
aspect, "I arose on tiptoe, and collecting the heavy comforters and large
downy pillows of the bed, I deliberately piled them on her one upon the
other, and pressing them down with all my gathered force, I stifled her
in her sleep!
"No cry, no groan from my victim betrayed the unhallowed deed, and before
the first dawn of day I was driving furiously over the road to the
river's bank, from which into the watery depth below I threw this
millstone of my life.
"When I drove back the morning had dawned. The daylight seemed to pry
into the secrets of the past night. I would fain shun it--the garish
light disturbed me. The morning sun, which had ever been my delight,
seemed now a mocking imp of curiosity; the house and grounds looked bare
and desolate; a blight had fallen upon their former comeliness.
"A strange fascination again drew me into the chamber which had been the
scene of my crime. When there I re-enacted the last night's work. The bed
and furniture seemed to come toward me and taunt me with the fell crime I
had committed. 'I was justified in the act,' said I to these dumb
accusers, as though they had been, living witnesses. 'She was the bane of
my existence.' And with cunning precision I arranged the disordered room,
smoothed the pillows, and levelled the coverlet. 'The dead cannot speak,'
said I. 'This thing is hidden.'
"After this performance I went forth, hoping by a sharp walk to drown the
memory of the momentary deed. I passed through the garden and reached the
sloping hill. There, where the low fence joined the open road, I was met
by the lady whom I loved. She was taking the morning air, and with her
smiling face seemed drinking in its balmy freshness.
"'You look ill,' said she, with a pitying glance. 'See what I have
brought for you,' and she held forth a newly-plucked bouquet of flowers.
"I took the proffered blossoms hurriedly, dreading to meet her clear eye,
which I felt must surely read my guilt. Burying the flowers in my breast,
and with an effort to smile that sickened me, I bowed low to the ground
and hurried on.
"When beyond her sight I drew the nosegay from its hiding place--it was
withered as if scorched by a burning heat! Upon looking closer at this
strange phenomena, I beheld, to my horror, in dim outline, the face of
the murdered! Whence came the impression? Had my riotous heart burnt the
secret upon those blushing petals?
"Frantically I tore open my shirt, when lo! upon my breast I beheld
imprinted a picture of the direful deed--seared in by rays more potent
than the sun's--photographed there, as if by the lightning's fierce
"Presently a band of children on their way to school overtook me, and
began to whisper to each other as they passed. I saw that they looked at
me with suspicion in their eyes. 'They too can see the brand,' thought I;
'they are mouthing about it now.'
"Urged to desperation, I plunged into a thicket near by. Amid a group of
trees in its centre, one lifted itself higher and straighter than its
companions. Upon its topmost branch, as I chanced to lift my eyes, I
beheld to my terror the woman whom I had sent into eternity, looking down
upon me with scoffs and grimaces!
"The ghostly apparition wrought me to frenzy. In hot haste I climbed the
tree. Its straight, smooth sides, under ordinary circumstances would have
proved a barrier to my efforts, but in my excitement they formed no
obstacle. Reaching the top, I endeavored to grasp her. Stretching out my
arms and clasping frantically the air, I fell dead to the ground.
"Thus was I born into the spirit world. The idea that last possessed me
on earth, first possessed me in the spirit life.
"No mortal man can describe the horror I experienced on finding myself in
the midst of a boundless space, face to face with mine enemy. Her narrow
intellect and strong animal nature seemed to have expanded, even as I
have seen the face of a child expand from pleasing infancy into idiotic
youth. This animal part of her immortality roused my ire--struck some
savage chord in my nature--and I rose up like a wild beast to attack her;
but the creature laughed and jeered at my vain efforts. She led me thus,
in fruitless pursuit, further and further into space; inciting me on by
her taunts and ringing laugh, until I found myself in a dark and noisome
pit, when she suddenly vanished.
"Ignorant of the peculiarities of spirit condition, I could not grope my
way out of this place, which appeared to me a very hell. I wandered in
this gloomy labyrinth, breathing the foul air, and uttering fearful cries
which struck my ears with anguish. Black, threatening shapes appeared to
stand in the intricate windings of that gloomy cavern, ready to seize me
if I dared to essay my escape. When my agony had reached its utmost
bounds of endurance, I felt myself growing strangely light, and like some
thin vapor I ascended to the mouth of the pit and made my exit into the
"The place I then discovered to be merely a cavern or deserted mine, but
to my unhappy condition of mind it had appeared as the home of the
"Out into space again, I saw afar off, as across the continent, the
dwelling where I had passed the last days of my eventful life. A current
of air like the shock from an electric wire carried me back to the spot.
"Returned to the scene of my crime, I became possessed with the desire to
expose to view the deed I had committed, and to reveal my villany to the
community. For two weary years I have hovered around this place for that
purpose; but I have failed hitherto, as you have seen me fail to-night."
As he finished his narrative I observed he seemed about to relax into a
morbid condition again. To prevent this, I seized him kindly by the
shoulder and exclaimed, "Friend, you must come with me. Your life, your
future welfare is imperiled. You are like one shut up in a vault,
breathing his own exhalations. You do not understand the science of
"The science of mind?" said he. "What have I to do with that? 'Tis the
curse of Cain resting upon me. I cannot undo the evil that I have done. I
am an outcast!"
"The wrong you have done," said I, "becomes doubly, trebly magnified by
thus living it over day by day. You have committed a crime. Do you wish
to perpetuate that crime? You pursue the very course to make it permanent
and enduring. Mind acts upon matter and matter reacts upon mind. You have
made the house a partner to the deed you have committed by constantly
associating it with the act. You have tainted its walls and poisoned it
within and without.
"It becomes sentient and reacts upon you. It becomes a magnet, a
loadstone to draw you. Your constant habit of associating it in your mind
with the past, creates around it an atmosphere which is a part of your
being and welds you to it, so that you, the house, and the deed, become
one mighty monster, inseparable. The idea that you can expiate the deed
by this self-torture is vain. You can neither confer good upon yourself
nor your victim. Leave off and follow me."
These last words seemed to have the desired effect, for he raised his
eyes with a sad smile, placed his hand in mine, and said:
"I will go with you."
Happy that my efforts proved availing, I hurried on in a joyous mood,
soon rising above the earth and bearing my companion to my spirit home.
The pure air of the fragrant fields revived him, and by the time we
arrived at my own garden-home he seemed born into a new life.
I set him down under my arbor, now dripping with golden fruits, and
having refreshed him with cordial (angels' food), I called his attention
to the beauties around us; the birds, the flowers, and the luxurious
growth of nature, which shed such abundance around my home.
"See," said I, "how nature works. If the roots of the tree meet with
obstacles they start off in another direction. They do not wind and wind
themselves around one spot. If they did death would ensue.
"In every man's life there are deeds to be regretted--wrongs which he
would gladly undo--but painful imaginings and fruitless remorse will not
set them right. Only by being actively engaged in some nobler direction
can atonement be made.
"This woman, whom you have injured, is in magnetic rapport with you; and
while you are in this moody, self-denunciatory frame of mind, your
restless, unhappy condition acts upon her, preventing her from becoming
contented and happy; then her state reacts back upon you, and thus an
evil equilibrium is maintained."
"I see my error," he exclaimed. "Tell me what to do and I will do it."
It was arranged that he should remain with me. We worked together; he
became happy and his mind no longer reverted to the past, but active and
healthful employment engaged his hours.
When he had recovered sufficiently I took him to see his former
companion. He found her in a pleasant home, looking buoyant and happy.
All that was demoniac had vanished from her face. Surprised, he burst
into tears as he beheld her. "Weep not," said she, "for I am happy now.
The past is forgotten."
They compared notes, and found that peace had entered into her soul when
he had obliterated the past from his memory and commenced his labors in a
Thus we see that the evil passions and attributes of one nature may
awaken and kindle like passions in another, which can only be subdued by
letting them pass unnoticed, and also by arousing the higher faculties
_VISIT TO HENRY CLAY_.
Having recovered my health after a sojourn of two weeks amid the charming
scenery of Mount Rosalia, or the "Rose-colored Mount," I set forth one
morning, accompanied by a competent guide, to visit the home of my
friend, Henry Clay. The morning was uncommonly fine, even for the sweet
Land of the Blest, and the fragrance from the roses blooming upon the
hill-side was fairly intoxicating.
Our phaeton was a small, white, swan-shaped carriage, ornamented with
golden designs, and propelled by a galvanic battery in the graceful
swan-head, which at my request took the place of the ordinary steed.
This was, to me, an exceedingly novel mode of travel, which my short
sojourn in the spirit world had prevented me from before enjoying.
We glided over the electric ground with the speed of lightning and smooth
harmony of music. The road over which we rolled was white and lustrous as
parian marble, and adorned on either side with most rare and beautiful
forms of foliage; ever and anon we passed gay cavalcades and bands of
spirits, who were evidently, from their festal garments, and the bright
emanations which they diffused through the air, bound for some harmonial
gathering on one of the numerous islands which dot the sparkling river
Washingtonia, so named after George Washington.
The distance from the point whence I started, according to earth's
computation, was over one hundred miles; but though I desired my guide to
move onward as slowly as possible, that I might enjoy the prospect before
me, we reached our destination in less than a quarter of an hour!
I had received a special invitation from Henry Clay to visit him on this
occasion, as he had called together some choice friends to give me
welcome; yet, although I knew I was expected, my surprise cannot be
described upon beholding the air filled with bevies of beautiful ladies,
like radiant birds, approaching, with the sound of music and flutter of
flowers, to receive me. Thus surrounded and escorted, I was borne to the
noble palace (for such it may be justly termed) of Henry Clay.
The structure is of white alabaster, faced with a pale yellow
semi-transparent stone, which glistened most gorgeously. The form of the
building is unlike any order of architecture with which I had been
acquainted. The avenue by which it was approached was decorated
alternately with statues of representative Americans, and a peculiar
flowering tree, whose green leaves and yellow blossoms, of gossamer
texture, resembled the fine mist of a summer morning. Terminating, this
avenue was the main entrance, surmounted by the grand dome of the
edifice. In the rear of this rotunda, extending on either side, appeared
the main building, rising, turret on turret, like a stupendous mountain
of alabaster beaming as with soft moonlight in the clear summer air.
We entered by ascending a staircase composed of twelve broad steps. And
here let me pause, before recounting my interview with the celebrated
statesman, to describe the main hall, whose magnificence I, upon
entering, hastily surveyed, but which I afterward studied more
completely. The floor of this hall was formed of delicate cerulean blue
gems. From its centre sprang, like a fountain, a most wonderful
representation of a flowering plant resembling the lotus, composed of
precious and brilliant stones. The green leaves forming the base were of
transparent emerald, and the white lily which surmounted the stem
blossomed out clearer than any crystal. The yellow centre, corresponding
to the pistils, formed a divan. This beautiful ornament was intended for
the desk of the orator. The dome, which was several hundred feet high,
was open to the summer sky, and arranged in tiers graduated one above the
other. The lower tier was filled with paintings indicating the progress
of the United States of America. Surmounting this was a gallery of small
compartments, each hung with silver and gold gauze drapery, and similar
in construction to the boxes of a theatre; these opened into halls or
alleys leading to private apartments connecting with the main building.
Above these boxes were placed artistically-carved animals, representing
the native beasts of America. Above these again, appeared groups in
marble of the fruits of the country.
No sooner had I entered the building which I have been describing, than a
peculiar rushing sound like distant music reached my ear; on lifting my
eyes in the direction of the sound, I beheld descending through the air
the majestic form of Henry Clay. He approached with extended hand and
fascinating smile to receive me. How like and yet how unlike the famous
man I had known on earth! The gray hair of age had given place to the
abundant glossy locks of youth. The intellectual eye beamed with a new
life and his whole person sent forth an effulgence most attractive. Those
of my readers who knew him on earth will well remember the peculiar
fascination of his sphere, but they can form from the remembrance but a
slight idea of the attractive aura he sheds forth in this existence. I
immediately felt myself drawn by an invisible power toward him. He
grasped my hand with the frank cordiality and grace of former days, and
leading me thus, we arose together and, passing through one of the arched
compartments of the upper tier, entered another portion of the building.
As we moved on I seemed to live portions of my earthly life, long past.
The gorgeous and fantastic architecture which everywhere met my eye
reminded me of the halls of the Alhambra. Swiftly passing, we emerged
through a spacious arch upon an open arbor, where were congregated the
priests whom I had been invited to meet. I started back with a shock of
delight when I beheld, in the centre of the group, the immortal figure of
George Washington. I knew him instantly, partly from the likenesses which
had been extant on earth, and partly from the noble spirit which emanated
like a sun from his person. The group parted as we entered and I
immediately felt, resting upon my shoulder like a benediction, the soft,
firm hand of the Father of his Country. "Washington!" I exclaimed,
fervidly grasping his hand. "At length we have met!" he responded, and a
smile of ineffable joy lighted his countenance. He then spoke of the many
changes through which the United States had passed since his removal to
the spirit land. I was surprised at the extent of knowledge he displayed.
Not the slightest variation in the scale of political economy had escaped
his notice. He expressed himself pleased especially at the great progress
and development of the people within the last twenty years. He alluded to
their rapid march through the western territories; the founding of new
and important States; the development of the agricultural and mineral
resources of countries supposed to be almost valueless; of the invention
and construction of machinery adapted to the wants and necessities of
those new and rapidly-increasing States. "This marvellous growth is owing
to their being essentially a mediumistic people--is it not so?" said he,
smiling and turning to the assembled guests. "Yes, yes!" I heard repeated
on all sides. On this commenced a general conversation. I listened as one
in a dream. Around me I beheld the faces and forms of the heroes of past
history, each bearing the shape and semblance of humanity, though removed
from earth millions of miles into space. One and all emitted, like stars,
their own peculiar luminous aura. Collected in motley groups were
Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, William Penn, Old General Jackson, John
Jacob Astor, De Witt Clinton, and many of the old Knickerbocker residents
of New York; with Sir Robert Peel, Lord Brougham, the Duke of Wellington,
Hunt, Keats, Byron, Scott, Cowper, Hume, Goethe, De Stael, Mrs. Hemans,
and many others.
"The people of America have progressed to an astonishing degree," said a
musical voice at my left. "We must initiate Irving into the means by
which we impart knowledge to the mediumistic nation through the Cabinet
"Certainly," responded Henry Clay. "Let all formalities cease. We will
partake of refreshments, and then Franklin will make him acquainted with
the wonderful aids to science and humanity with which he has supplied my
As he ceased speaking, a shower of sound, like the music from the ringing
of innumerable crystal bells, filled the air. Accompanying this, and
apparently descending from the ceiling, a soft light of aromatic odor
diffused itself through the apartment. This was followed by the
appearance of a shining disk of amber and pearl, revolving rapidly in its
descent till it reached the congregated party. This magic circle (which
Thomas Hood, who was present, facetiously termed the "wheel of fortune")
was supplied with refreshments truly supernal. Here were fruits of most
brilliant dyes; some of soft, pulpy flesh, and others of the consistency
of honey; some more transparent than the diamonds of earth; others
substantial, seemingly intended to supply the demands of hunger. Here
were confections resembling foam and cloud, whose very taste was elysium.
The guests ate and chatted vivaciously. I received much information
concerning the various products of this great land which were displayed
upon the table. The most luscious fruits, I considered, both in flavor
and quality, were those produced on an island in the spirit land
corresponding to your island of Cuba, which was under the protection of a
band of spirits called the "Good Sisters."
The company having regaled themselves at the table, arose and divided
into groups, laughing and chatting like ordinary mortals. I felt
immediately attracted to a cluster of which Benjamin Franklin was the
magnetic centre. I reminded him of the duties imposed on him by our host,
and told him playfully that I desired to investigate the mysteries of
this wonderful palace. He cordially acquiesced, and, in company with a
few friends, we commenced our explorations. I inquired as to the
construction of the table from which we had just arisen, so superior to
the cumbersome ones of earth. "It is a very simple contrivance," he
smilingly remarked. "You observe inserted in these twisted columns,
ornamented with leaves, which support the ceiling, an electric wire,
similar to that of a telegraph. From each of these central columns, this
wire connects with the upper gallery. Here," said he, pointing to one of
the leafy ornaments, "you perceive the means of communicating. Unobserved
by you, our gracious host touched one of these springs which are
connected with the crystal bells, and announced to his servants his
desire for refreshments." "Servants!" exclaimed I. "How singular! I
little supposed, from the religious teachings I had received, that there
would be menials in heaven!"
"Thee has a poor memory," remarked William Penn, with a bright smile,
"Did not the Bible teach thee that there was an upper and a lower seat?
These servants are composed mostly of those who were held in slavery on
earth and who desire to receive instruction that they may progress in the
spheres. They are willing assistants; giving, that they may receive in
return. If thee dislike the term 'servant,' thee may use the term
'friend,' for they are friends and co-workers. Through those doors in the
gallery they bring the refreshments which they gather from the hanging
gardens without, where they live like the Peries of the East. The luxury
of the princes of earth cannot compare with the life of enjoyment and
freedom led by those whom I have termed 'servants.'"
I here took the opportunity to ask Franklin if it was necessary, in
communicating with absent individuals, to use those external appliances?
"Not always; thought can commune with thought if upon the same plane; but
a mind like that of our great statesman cannot readily communicate with
one whose mind on earth never rose above the domestic affairs of life. In
such cases, external means are necessary."
"Come," said he, turning; "I will show you something more remarkable than
this." So saying, he led me through an open door into one of the spacious
gardens which grace the palace on either side. We walked but a few
moments, arm in arm, over a soft velvet like lawn, of the color of a
delicate violet. Exquisite tints everywhere met my eye. The air was like
wine, and so luscious and entrancing were the surroundings that I felt
inclined to tarry, but my sage guide, calling my attention to the
majestic dome towering in the air, desired me to exert my will to ascend.
I did so, and immediately felt myself rising as if pressed up by some
elastic substance, until I reached the top. The dome, which appeared to
be composed of glass, I perceived, as I approached, was covered with a
thin web resembling that of a spider. The apex of this dome was
surmounted by a globe representing the planet earth, with its continents
and seas. Openings corresponding to the different continents admitted
persons into the globe. We entered that corresponding to the continent of
North America. Each of these entrances, I was told, was particularly
adapted to the admission of the inhabitants of the different localities
they represented. On looking down I beheld the apartment I had first
entered. It was no longer vacant--each gallery was filled with
spectators. On the lily-shaped rostrum stood Henry Clay and George
Washington--Washington speaking to the people. "You observe," said my
guide, "a secondary stem from that lily branches off and extends to this
point. It appears to you a mere ornament, but it transmits the thoughts
and words of the speaker to the city of Washington. Other branches, as
you notice, lead in other directions. If the speaker desires his thoughts
to be transmitted to any given point, he leans toward the stem leading to
that point. This silken web which you have admired, is a sensitive
electric telegraph. It is composed of the elements of mind; in the world
you have lately inhabited it would be intangible, but it has a subtle
connection with the human brain, and spirit thoughts directed through it
go with the promptness of electricity to their destination. Thought is
electric, but its power of transmitting itself is, like that of the human
voice, limited; the voice requires the artificial assistance of a
speaking-trumpet to throw its sound beyond the ordinary distance; thought
requires a similar artificial conductor. You remember," said Franklin,
"in my early experiments with the kite and key, I could not obtain the
spark until I had established the necessary attraction, although the air
was filled with the electric current. So of the thought-electricity,
which is constantly flowing; we have to apply means to concentrate it and
give it form and expression. On earth, word and gesture are media for
thought, but the savans have not yet discovered the means by which
unspoken thought can take form and expression. No galvanic wire nor
chemical battery has yet been invented by them, through which these
electric sparks may be drawn down from their unseen habitations among the
clouds; but in the world of spirits this great discovery, as I have shown
you, has been made. In this appliance you find the thoughts of the
speaker running through these sensitive wires until, like telegraphic
messages, they reach their destination on earth."
I listened to Franklin's explanation of this gigantic sensorium with my
soul filled with love and admiration for the great Creator who had formed
the human mind with its vast capacity for penetrating the sublime
mysteries of nature.
After leaving the dome I continued my inspection of the edifice. But of
its halls and galleries, its boudoirs, libraries, and peerless gardens, I
will speak at some future time.
_TO THE FRENCH NATION_.
Triumph sits regent upon the Napoleonic banner. Napoleon the First is
dictator to Napoleon the Third. By my side stands Josephine. We were not
destined to part eternally. In Louis Napoleon Bonaparte her blood and
mine commingle. _Restez-vous, mon patrie; Napoleon shall decide aright.
_No, petit garcon, _Napoleon le Grand will place you upon the highest
pinnacle of peace.
Fate is inexorable. The decrees of destiny are more potent than the
wisdom of man. France and Napoleon are indissoluble. The star of
Bonaparte is destined to shine yet for the next half-century. None but a
patriot shall rule France. No proud Austrian, nor weak and haughty
Bourbon shall flame their colors from the palaces of France. No, my
countryman! he who serves you, who leads your armies to victory, who
raises your citizens to distinction, he whose courage is undaunted, he
who has the power of prescience--is Napoleon.
When Louis shall join me his spirit and mine will still animate the
Bonapartes who shall come after us.
Repose entire confidence in his discretion. Napoleon the Third lives only
You cry for liberty of speech and liberty of the press. But liberty is
anarchy. Would you demand liberty for the army? Without a head to guide
and control it, the army of France would be a scourge.
Through calamity the most depressing, the hand of destiny has led Louis
Napoleon to the throne of France, and against sickness and disease,
against the hand of the assassin, and against vilifications of his
enemies, it will hold him there, firm. His time has not yet come. Before
he bids adieu to life he will secure an able leader for France.
I give him my hand. I embrace him in spirit. The shadow of Napoleon
attends him by day and by night.
W. M. THACKERAY.
_HIS POST MORTEM EXPERIENCE_.
Poor Will Thackeray, when a stripling, was fit to kneel in the street
before his mistress, that bright luminary who shone to his boyish eyes
like a star of the first magnitude! Alas, he discovered her to be one of
the sixteenth, and by the time he had ceased to care for polished boots
and stiff, broad collars, she had dwindled down to an ordinary piece of
He found his boon companions, like himself, liable to mistake an ant for
a whale and think the King of England next in royalty to a god!
What a fool he made of himself in the eyes of those who were wiser than
he, when he swore the crown of England was made of unalloyed gold! The
water he drank was filled with animalculae, yet he swore it was pure as
the gods' nectar. The best and freshest air he breathed contained poison,
yet his boyish wisdom knew better than that.
Poor Thackeray! wiser men than he knew that youthful imagination was a
cheat; that the mistress of his heart was not a goddess; and wiser beings
than they all knew--angelic beings, living in the golden streets of
Paradise, knew--that the conception of what the spirit after death would
be able to do was as far from the truth as were his boyish dreams of the
mistress of his heart!
Poor Thackeray! he has attained that superior wisdom now! He walks,
himself a ghost, among the ghosts of the past; and these "airy nothings"
nod and smile, and shake hands, and say:
"Yes, we are ourselves."
He thrusts his hands into his trowsers pockets, and remembers the time
when he thought it would be indecent to go naked in the New Jerusalem!
Trowsers, forsooth! Yes, here they are, pockets and all; and he dives his
hands in deeper, jingling something which strongly resembles cash; and
struts about and hobnobs with Addison, Spencer, Sterne, old Dean Swift,
and he asks himself, "are these the great men of my fancy?" On reflection
he finds he had expected to meet these luminaries shining like actual
stars in the firmament, attended by some undefined splendor.
Poor Will Thackeray! he finds the same dross in the gold, the same
animalculae in the water, the same poison in the air, the same fact that
men are not gods in that much-vaunted place called heaven, as on the
much-abused earth. But he wipes his spectacles, and clears away the mist
of speculation and fancy, which has bedimmed his eyes, and looks about
him more hopefully and trustfully than in the days when he walked through
Vanity Fair and saw how Mr. Timms, with not a penny in the bank, pinched
himself to give a little dinner in imitation of a great lord who gave a
great dinner, and had gold beyond his count; snobs, who wore paste jewels
and cotton-backed velvet, who cursed a fellow and strutted about in
imitation of noble lords, who wore real diamonds and silken velvets!
mimicking the follies of the great, but never their noble deeds and
He is beyond snobs now. He is in the land of heroisms and heroes. Yet he
feels he has been cheated by the fat parson who stole sovereigns from his
pocket to keep him out of h----! His spiritual bones fairly ache with the
leagues he has travelled, hunting up the throne of God! "Where the
deuce," he mutters, "is the showman?" He can't find the lake of fire and
brimstone without a guide.
Poor Thackeray! he again wipes his spectacles and feels he has been sold!
This life on the other side of Jordan he finds to be what his American
cousins would call a "humbug," a downright swindle upon the sympathies
and good taste of those who wear long streamers of crape, and groan and
sob over his funeral rites! He feels in duty bound (out of consideration
for those mourners who expect nothing else) to go scudding through the
air in a loose white shroud, or to rest cosily housed away in the "bosom
of his Maker," like a big, grown-up infant that he is, or else to be
howling at the top of his lungs hallelujahs!--he that could never raise a
note. And, if not so, certainly, out of compliment to the judgment of his
boon companions, he should be engaged in the dread alternative of sitting
astride a pair of balances and being "weighed and found wanting;" or
having been sent by the relentless Judge into everlasting torment "where
there is cursing and gnashing of teeth," he should be found there
tormenting his fellow-imps!
But alas! to his mortification, nothing of the kind is occurring or seems
likely to occur.
He has been as active as the next man since his arrival in ghostdom. He
has peeped under the _chapeaux_ of every solemn pilgrim whom he has
passed, but failed to find the four-and-twenty elders who have washed
their robes in the blood of the Lamb. What has he found? He really is
ashamed to own up to the number of mountain sides and sloping hills he
has inspected in the vain search for a place he used to call h---- (he
thought it blasphemy to add the other three letters); but neither cloven
foot, nor forked tail, nor horns, nor any kind of fearful person in
black, has pounced upon him; nor has he been seized by any claimant for
leaving the world unshriven, as he did.
Poor Will Thackeray! it has been a great disappointment to him! He
expected some kind of sensational reception--thunder or lightning, or
some big God whose towering front might vie with Chimborazo--to awe him
into the consideration that he had become a spirit and was launched into
the awful precincts of eternity! No wonder he feels dogged and put upon
to find himself thus bamboozled! He undertook a long and venturesome
journey to "see the elephant," but it wasn't there!
He can't complain against the citizens of this famous "undiscovered
bourne"; they have done all that's fair and square by him; they have
shown all that they have got; and he is too much of a gentleman to taunt
them. He knows they feel ashamed that they haven't those curiosities that
their Vicegerents on earth had vouched for their having; he can see it in
their faces; but he considers himself in duty bound to prepare his
fellow-citizens for what they are to expect.
_TWO NATURAL RELIGIONS_.
There are two great natural religions before the world, the Roman
Catholic and the Spiritualistic; and both are adapted to the wants of the
Man naturally gives expression to his thoughts by external forms
corresponding to his ideas.
The Roman Catholic religion is accused of being a system of forms and
ceremonies, but therein lies its wonderful adaptation to humanity.
Thought ever seeks expression in form, even as a mother's love for her
infant finds expression in her ardent embrace.
Love is the prevailing element of the Catholic religion, as shown by the
love of the Son of God for poor, ignorant, sinful creatures.
We do not present this to the mind ideally. We call in the outcast and
the beggar, and we expose to their view, in the great cathedrals, the Son
of God, as he appeared in all his various experiences of human life.
The parent who can earn but a scanty pittance for his offspring, sees
before him Jesus lying in the manger, equal in squalid poverty with the
lowest of mankind.
The majesty and glory of the courts of Heaven are symbolized in the Roman
Church. _There_ is gathered the wealth of the world! All that is yet
attained in the representation of the grand, the beautiful, the majestic,
the sublime, and the devotional, is collected in the Mother of Churches.
What earthly king, in his noble palace, with its costly architecture, its
ornaments of silver and gold, its rare paintings and statuary, the wealth
and accumulation of many sovereigns, would admit into its sacred
precincts the poor and the lowly, the beggar and the thief, the Magdalen
and the Lazarus to sully with their presence his royal abode?
But we erect palaces to the King of Heaven! regal in architecture, and
adorned with beauty surpassing in magnificence earthly royalty, in which
the lowliest may enter on an equality with the prince; his untutored
mind, his uncultivated senses may listen to music of the highest order.
The pealing tones of the organ resound under the touch of the highest
masters of art for his simple ear. Listening to those strains, his mind
forms a conception of the harmony and beatitude of Heaven!
Even death is not looked upon with horror by the Catholic. If he lose a
friend in this life, unlike the Protestant, he does not abandon him in
oblivion, but his sympathies still extend to him by offering masses for
his soul. And it is because it is so adapted to man's spiritual nature
that the Catholic religion has withstood the shock and surge of ages!
The restless, heaving billows of time have washed against the
seven-hilled Church in vain.
My soul rests in peace. It has taken its abode in Elysium. And in this
world among the stars, seeing clearer and further than when I inhabited
the lowly planet earth, I look down upon the struggling, dying race I
have left behind, and feel still, that the _Roman Catholic religion is
the religion for the masses_.
A great majority of men are born into the world but little higher than
the beasts that perish. Their spiritual natures, though feeble, need food
that is adapted to their wants. That food we furnish.
Our priests, our sisters of charity, our holy fathers, our Benedictine
monks, our nuns, are to be found in every quarter of the globe. On the
mountains of everlasting snow, among the icebergs of the Polar Sea, and
in the sandy deserts; on inhospitable shores, in the torrid zone, under
the burning rays of the equatorial sun; with the savage and with the sage
they are found ever ready to stimulate the spiritual nature, to give
earthly advice, and supply material wants.
As a spirit I speak of what I think best adapted to the needs of man. I
endeavor to throw aside the prejudices of education. I look upon the
Protestant religion as unnatural; a monstrous belief which deforms man.
So far as I can see, its influence has been blighting. It takes youth,
joy, and animation from the world. It grants no indulgence for sin, nor
for the mistakes of ignorance. It is cruel and harsh, and men become
narrow and self-elated under its teachings.
The Spiritualistic religion resembles the Catholic in its breadth and
amplitude, and in its humanizing and equalizing influence. I expect the
day will come when all minor beliefs will be swallowed up in these two
The Catholic Church in the spirit world is not so extensive as it is upon
earth. Its usefulness is more especially adapted to earthly conditions.
There are some noble cathedrals in the spirit world. Mass is offered up
every morning at the cathedral of the Five Virgins in my bishopric.
The sisterhood of the Five Wise Virgins, newly organized, inhabit
beautiful and commodious edifices adjacent.
It is their business to escort from earth youthful souls who have been
baptized in the Church, and who are friendless and vagrant, having
inhabited while on earth such parts of New York City as the Five Points
and Water street, and having neither kindred nor connection to claim
These are received into the beautiful home of the sisterhood. They bathe
in the golden fountains of youth, and are instructed in various ways.
They are taught the uses of magnetism, mesmerism, and psychology, and
return to earth to rap, write, and speak, through media, and to bring
back the stray lambs to the fold.
EDGAR A. POE.
_THE LOST SOUL_.
Hark the bell! the funeral bell,
Calling the soul
To its goal.
Oh! the haunted human heart,
From its idol doomed to part!
Yet a twofold being bearing,
She and I apart are tearing;
She to heaven I to hell!
Going, going! Hark the bell!
Far in hell,
Fiends are rolling,
Whitened bones, and coffins reeking,
Fearful darkness grimly creeping
On my soul,
My vision searing,
Drawn from me
By a soul I cannot see,
Whom I know can never love her.
Oh! that soul could I discover,
I would go,
Steeped in woe,
Down to darkness, down to hell!
Hark the bell! Farewell! farewell!
JEAN PAUL RICHTER.
A ship is on the ocean. The wind is fair. All hands are in motion. But a
few hours since, it left port. Among its passengers is a gay traveller;
he wears a silken cloak fringed with gold. The sailors admire his
splendor; they gather around him as he walks the deck with his flying
robe. They put forth their rough hands to feel its soft texture; its
warm, bright color gives pleasure to their eyes. As they gaze their
pulses heighten, their steps become unsteady, their eyes wander from
duty, their great sturdy frames quiver with emotion. The captain rallies
them, but in vain.
What secret foe is in their midst? Their parched tongues, cleaving to the
roofs of their mouths, call for the surgeon. He comes--he questions,
"From whence comest thou?" "From the Orient," the traveller replies. The
surgeon gasps and shakes his head. He, too, is stricken with fear. "'Tis
the _plague_!" he whispers. An unseen, deadly foe is stalking beneath
that gay cloak! The traveller hears and shudders; he flings off his gay
vestment. The waves gather up the silken folds. But the sacrifice is
useless. A fell hand strikes down both traveller and sailor. As they gasp
and die they are hurried to the ship's side; they are plunged overboard;
a seething, foaming grave yawns to receive them.
The ship glides on. Those who remain wash the deck with water. They
cannot wash away the demon, which is everywhere and yet nowhere....
Poisons as subtle attend the human spirit, baneful and contagious as the
See yonder peaceful cottage, nestling by the hillside; hope and
contentment dwell therein; within its walls beauty and grace awaken
harmony. Lured by the bright sunshine, a stranger enters the door. He
sits and chats awhile with the inmates. His talk is pleasant, and as he
converses a cloud falls upon the house, the sunshine becomes darkened,
and the dwellers within the pretty cottage shiver as with cold. They heed
not the change, for the chat of their guest delights them. But when he
departs he leaves behind him a poison more baneful than the plague.
The inmates of the peaceful cottage look with gloomy eyes one upon the
other; they become dissatisfied and distracted among themselves, and
discord takes the place of harmony.
Secret influences are at work, poisons thrown out by the sphere of the
guest. A worse fate befalls them than befell the sailors who were invaded
by the insidious Plague.
I have seen in nature a fair face clouded suddenly--made gloomy and
unlovely--by the unspoken thought of another. Thought is contagious--some
varieties of it poisonous! I have seen the countenance of an innocent
child transformed into ugliness by a poisonous thought. I have seen those
who have looked upon her receive that thought and become likewise
I have seen also to this picture another and a brighter side. I have seen
secret influences drawing individuals together, sustaining and upholding
them; as the long line filaments of wool clasp each other and draw
together the separate particles, so have I seen individuals united. Thus
was the first Napoleon united to Josephine. A secret influence as potent
as the plague passed from one to the other; but it breathed health and
Napoleon, with his powerful will, disrupted these magnetic relations; he
tore apart the unseen filaments that bound them; and, the sustaining
influence gone, he fell--a mighty wreck--on the bleak shore of St.
What man or woman can comprehend the secret influences that surround the
soul. Keep guard; and when the blood stagnates within, when secret
shudders, and gloomy thoughts, and inharmonious feelings arise, be sure
that some poison-breathing foe is at hand.
Set the door ajar, and resolutely turn your face from the secret
influence that would destroy you.
_AGNES REEF.--A TALE_.
I was brought up and educated by my bachelor uncle. He was a reticent,
moody man, and with his aged housekeeper and myself, led a solitary and
unsocial life in the old rambling house which had been his father's
I was but a child of six years when destiny placed me under his charge,
and with him I remained eleven years; a scared, repressed little thing,
revelling in strange fancies in the spidery attic rooms, and looking down
through the dusty cobwebbed windows upon the life and movement below,
unconscious that I formed a part of that active humanity.
Thus I lived until I entered my seventeenth year. For the last two years
my mind had been expanding and growing discontented with my lot. The
moroseness of my uncle, the sullenness of his housekeeper, the gloom and
dinginess of the bare rooms had grown insupportable to me. These alone I
might have endured, but added to them were other sources of disquiet, not
the least of which being hints from the housekeeper that it was time I
began to do something for myself. Youth, pride, and ambition stirred
within me, and I actively set about looking, for a situation.
I had not long to wait; in one of the weekly papers, of which my uncle
took many, I one day discovered an advertisement, which to my morbid
fancy seemed sent by fate especially to me.
A young lady was wanted to take charge of the education of a boy of
eleven years. Upon reading this advertisement, I immediately sat down and
wrote a letter, offering my services.
By return mail I received a note acknowledging the receipt of mine, and
stating that as I was the only applicant and my testimonials
satisfactory, I was accepted.
I informed my uncle of my good fortune. He received the news with a gruff
approval, adding that he hoped I would do well, as I could expect no
further pecuniary aid from him than would be sufficient to carry me
My emotions, as I packed my little trunk on that memorable Saturday, were
of a mixed character; but pleasure predominated. Hope beckoned me on; and
the sadness attendant on breaking loose from the unfriendly home in which
I had lived so long was but transitory.
Monday morning saw me seated composedly in the rail-coach on the way to
"Bristed Hall," my destination. Towards nightfall we stopped at a station
in a desolate, sparsely-inhabited district. My road diverging here, I
hurried out, and the long train which connected me with my past life sped
out of sight.
Drawing my veil closely to my face to hide a few falling tears, I looked
around the desolate waiting-room, to see if any fellow-creature was
expecting me. As I did so a heavy, thumping footstep sounded upon the
platform, and a surly voice inquired:
"Are you Miss Reef?" accompanying the question by a slight pull at my
Turning, I beheld a deformed little man with long arms and a high back,
awaiting my answer to his question. I summoned courage to ask:
"Were you sent for Miss Reef?"
"Yes," he replied, "I am Mr. Bristed's man. He told me to drive here and
fetch home a Miss Reef--if you are that person, miss!" touching his hat
with an effort at politeness.
"I am," I answered, and without further ado we proceeded to the carriage,
which he had left waiting at the rear platform.
The evening air was chilly, for it was quite sunset. Drawing my shawl
around me, I ensconced myself in a corner of the vehicle, and watched the
fading landscape with stolid indifference to whatever might befall me.
We drove on thus for a good hour and a half, halting at length before a
dark, massy object, the form of which my dozy eyes could not discern.
However, it proved to be Bristed Hall.
I emerged from the carriage and passed up the steps to an open door
which, at the pausing of our carriage wheels, had been set ajar. An
old woman, the feminine counterpart of my sulky driver, stood in the
dimly-lighted passage-way to receive me. She vouchsafed me but a grum
welcome, but I felt already too desolate and weary to experience any
further depression from her humor.
Bidding me follow her, and ordering the man to carry my luggage, she led
me directly through the hall up the stairway to a chamber evidently
prepared for my use. The apartment was prettily furnished, and its tidy
appearance and the cheerful fire burning on the hearth quite roused my
After assisting me to remove my bonnet and shawl, my conductress left me,
returning ere long with a tray containing refreshments. These she set
before me with silent hospitality; then bade me goodnight, saying she
would call me in the morning at eight o'clock for breakfast.
My sleep that night was disturbed by dreams, which though vague filled me
I imagined that I was walking through a long corridor, opening into a
sumptuous apartment, its interior partly concealed by rich folds of
damask curtains. I lifted the heavy drapery and essayed to enter, but a
cold hand grasped mine and prevented me. A woman's figure, slight and
youthful, with white face, great sad eyes, and long yellow hair, stood in
the arched doorway and pressed me back with her clammy hand. I started up
from my pillow in alarm to find myself alone; the pale moonbeams
streaming through the looped curtains of the window and glancing upon my
forehead, I thought, probably accounted for the cold hand of my dream. I
slept, and dreamed again. The scene was changed: a field of stubble lay
before me; through it I must make my way; the rough ground hurt my feet;
I stumbled and fell; attempting to rise, I saw painted in clear relief
against the horizon the same female figure.
Her pale, golden hair hung long and loose over her shoulders. As she
caught my eye she lifted her finger as if in warning, and disappeared
From these dreams I awakened in the morning perplexed, disturbed, and
unrefreshed. After dressing, I was summoned to breakfast by the person
who had received me the previous night. She led me down the stairway and
through the hall into the breakfast room.
It was a long, narrow apartment, with wainscots and floor of polished
oak. A bright fire blazed upon the hearth. A small round stand was set
forth, upon which was placed my solitary repast. I seated myself and
partook, with a relish, of the nice cakes, fragrant coffee, and sweet
Having finished my meal, I arose and walked to one of the deep-set
windows which lighted the apartment. Lifting the curtain, I looked out.
A grassy lawn overhung with trees; clear gravel paths and well-trimmed
shrubbery; beyond, rocks relieved by a patch of blue sky; a thin line of
light, neutral tinted, winding through the distant meadows, indicating a
streamlet; these constituted the landscape.
Having spent a full quarter of an hour in abstractedly gazing at this
scene, I was called to reality by the opening of the room door, and a
strange voice repeating my name. The person presenting herself appeared
to be an upper servant--a tall, thin woman, with dark hair sprinkled with
gray, and an amiable, weak face.
"If you have finished your breakfast, Miss, I will show you to Mr.
I assured her it was completed, and, following her. I crossed the hall
and entered a door at the left. A pleasant odor of flowers met my
grateful senses. The room was spacious, wide and deep, and handsomely
carpeted. The walls were ornamented with paintings and engravings.
An ample arm-chair, which the owner had evidently just vacated, and a
table containing books and papers, gave a tone of both comfort and
elegance to the room, which was decidedly congenial to my taste.
Two great glass doors, reflecting clearly the morning sunbeams, led into
a conservatory from whence issued the fragrance I perceived on entering.
Among the flowers moved a tall, manly figure. As I entered, the gentleman
"Miss Reef, Mr. Bristed," said my companion, by way of introduction.
So this was my employer. As he stood before me, I surveyed him; a
well-formed gentleman, above the ordinary height, with pale complexion,
set off by dark, penetrative eyes; a shapely head covered with long,
heavy masses of straight dark hair. The impression his appearance
conveyed to me was that of a person benevolent but apathetic; unhappy
without the will or power to shake off his burden.
He bade me be seated. "You are young," said he, reflectively. "May I ask
"Seventeen," I replied.
"Very young," he reiterated, thoughtfully shaking his head; "however, as
you are here, if you wish to remain, Mary will introduce you to your
"I certainly wish to remain," said I, impatiently; "I have journeyed
quite a distance for that purpose, and shall be happy to commence the
instruction of my pupil immediately."
"Very well," said he. "Mary, take her to the nursery, and attend to any
of her wants."
The girl opened a door adjoining that which we had entered by; a narrow
hall and a flight of stairs led us to the room indicated.
A little solitary figure, breathing upon the window-glass, and tracing
thereon letters with long, thin fingers, was the first object that
presented itself to my eye,
"Here is your governess, Herbert," said Mary.
The little boy turned and surveyed me with his large, blue, mournful
eyes. They sent a quiver through my frame from their strange resemblance
to eyes I had seen but the night before in my dream.
He was apparently satisfied with his inspection, and his thin scarlet
lips parted into a smile.
I called him to me. He came forward timidly.
Taking his small hand, I asked him a few questions about his studies. I
found him intelligent, but grave beyond his years; very docile and
obedient, and ere the end of the day we became excellent friends.
I had lived six weeks at Bristed Hall, and, excepting on my first
arrival, had not interchanged a word with its master. 'Tis true I would
see him at times from the school-room window, walking through his park,
or smoking upon the long piazza, but he might have been across the ocean
for all the intercourse we had together.
It was early June; roses bloomed on every hedge. A season of dry weather
had succeeded the showers of spring, the mornings were sparkling, the air
delicious. I arose early one particularly sunny morn, that I might take a
walk, before the studies of the day commenced, to a natural lake which I
had discovered about a mile from the Hall.
Herbert begged to accompany me, and I, who loved at times the quiet of my
own thoughts, reluctantly granted his request.
We strolled out of the inclosure, and were leisurely wending our way over
the road, when our attention was attracted by the sound of wheels
emerging from a cross path. A carriage rolled briskly in view. The little
hand of my companion, which I held locked in mine, trembled violently.
"Oh, Miss Agnes, Miss Agnes!" he cried, pointing to the occupant of the
carriage, "there is Uncle Richard."
As it neared us, the driver reined in his horses, which snorted
impatiently as he paused, and a musical voice called out:
"Hallo! you young varlet; where are you going so early in the morning?"
Herbert answered faintly, "I am going with Miss Reef to the lake."
The gentleman at this reply waved his jewelled hand gracefully toward me.
"Miss Reef, I am happy to make your acquaintance. So you are the young
lady who has undertaken to be bored with my little nephew?"
"He is not a bore," said I, smilingly, captivated by the grace and
abandon of the traveller. And truly his handsome countenance might have
captivated a girl more experienced in the world's ways than myself. His
was a gay, spirited face, complexion fair and rosy; full red lips, graced
with a curling moustache; golden locks fit for an Adonis; sunny, dancing
eyes, and a figure rather massive, but well formed. Such was the
impression I received of this "Uncle Richard."
"Allow me to give you a seat in my brougham," said he.
I thanked him, but refused.
"Bound on some romantic expedition," he said, laughing; "I can see it in
your beaming eyes. Well, I suppose I must continue my solitary drive; but
don't tarry long at the dismal lake; hasten back, as I shall want a
companion to chat with in the empty Hall."
I found Herbert unwilling to talk about his uncle, so I tried to dismiss
the new comer from my thoughts, and engaged with my pupil in gathering
wild flowers and grasses wherewith to form wreaths and bouquets to adorn
our school-room. After rambling about for an hour, we turned homeward.
I felt quite excited upon reaching the Hall, and hurried to my room to
smooth my hair preparatory to commencing the labors of the day. If I
stood over my mirror longer than usual, remember I was young, and had a
laudable desire to please. As I surveyed myself in the glass, I was
guilty of a pleasurable cognizance of the figure and face reflected
there. The walk and unexpected encounter had given an unwonted brilliancy
and vivacity to my countenance. My cheeks glowed; my eyes sparkled; and
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