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straction, during which he appeared to be listen- The doctor's face wore a serious and puzzled ing to something, and his handsome black eyes look as he said, “I hear writing and I feel the appeared to be gazing into vacancy, took a pencil vibration within the slate ;' and in fact the sound and upon a piece of paper he wrote a name, that of a slate-pencil at work, which no one who has of a lady, “Mrs. H. L. Manners.”
ever been a school-boy will ever mistake or forget, “Is that the name ?'' said he, handing it to the was distinctly heard by every one in the party, doctor.
apparently proceeding from within the closed The doctor's face fushed as he read it, for it slate. In a short time the scratching sound was was the name of a deceased patient. Exactly the heard no longer; the doctor opened the slate, and saine experiment was tried with the writer later in within he found one side covered with writing the evening, and the name of one of the living made by a slate-pencil, which itself was not to persons mentioned was given in the same way be found inside. by the medium, instead of the deceased. The The communication was written in a clear, bold, doctor now requested to know where his patient running hand. It was to the effect that the writer died.
was troubled by the nuinber of spirits who were “The spirit will tell," said the medium. present, and who were all “clamoring'' for an “Write the names of as many places as you opportunity to manifest themselves. The statechoose, and let one be the name of the place, ment was also made that the cause of death was and crumple them all up as before."
an affection of the head, and the technical term This was done, and the raps indicated the was given, "concussion of the brain." The correct name, “M— City." The pellets were doctor, however, with that professional perversity so commingled that no one could tell which con- which will never allow a patient the right of tained the correct signature, until the apparent private judgment on any question of therapeutics intelligence beneath the table gave the indication or pathology, boldly declared that the “diagnosis” which the bit of paper, when unfolded, verified. was incorrect, the symptoms not being character
In discussing the merits of the case among our- istic of the disease mentioned. Whether the selves, the doctor was questioned as to the cause patient, like some in the flesh, became irritated at of death of his patient. This was rather a a doubt thus thrown upon her diagnostic skill, puzzling question to the doctor himself, for the may not be certain, but about this time a rattling death was somewhat sudden and the symptoms noise was heard upon the wall, and a commotion obscure.
of some kind at the same moment under the table. “Perhaps the spirit will inform us," said the “Look! look !" said the medium, pointing in medium.
the direction of a picture hanging upon the wall, “Will you do so ?" said he, addressing the from whence the sounds appeared to come. We carpet.
looked as hastily as possible, and the picture, an Three raps promptly responded, “ Yes.” engraving of the “Signers of the Declaration of “Will you write upon the slate?"
Independence,” was viciously throwing itself backThree raps.
ward and forward against the wall with such The medium then took the folding-slate, such violence that there seemed some danger that the as can be found on the desks of almost every glass enclosed in the frame might be broken. school-house in the land, cleaned it carefully The medium asked us if we did not see the form inside and out with a moistened cloth, and allow- of a hand moving the picture, and stated that it ing us all to see that there could be no writing was perfectly distinct to his own vision. After within, and moreover nothing with which writing our “materializing'' experience of the preceding could be made, not even the point of a pencil, he evening, we were not inclined to charge him with closed it, and gave it into the hands of the doctor. a falsehood, although we did not ourselves witness The doctor held one end of the closed slate, the this feature of the phenomenon. The medium medium the other, with a firm grip, the slate also said that he saw a hand upon the left shoulder touching the edge of the table, but not lying of S— , and asked him if he had felt a touch. upon it. S- - and the writer were interested S- had not, but he noticed that a drawer of spectators.
the table which was directly in front of him had
been driven out during the excitement, as far as to questions, and it seemed to the writer that the was possible without coming in contact with his séance would close with nothing new added to his rather portly abdomen.
own personal experience of the mystery under Symptoms of uneasiness now began to manifest investigation. themselves in a hat of one of the party, which was Those whose spirits he had invoked were not now lying upon a table in the rear of the room, those with whom he would have sought an interand we were advised to keep a bright lookout for view if he had felt a confidence in the genuineness developments in that quarter, as we were told that and authenticity of the professed revelations. He such articles were sometimes transferred bodily, now wrote upon a slip of paper the name of one without visible agency, from other parts of the with whom he would gladly communicate if he room to the centre-table. No such performance were certain such a communication were legitimate was witnessed by ourselves.
and possible. He folded, the paper so that no Different messages came, but one predominant one but himself could know the contents, and intelligence, the alleged spirit of the doctor's asked if the spirit were present. Three raps came patient, seemed to drive the less demonstrative in immediate response. or weaker ones away. The medium stated that “Will the spirit please indicate its presence by such was often the case. It seemed that selfish three raps here?" said the medium, indicating a vess might be a characteristic of spirits as well as point on the surface of the table. of mortals, and that the rules of politeness were The raps came upon the precise spot indicated. sometimes forgotten in the struggle for precedence, “Will the spirit write upon the slate?" in the invisible as well as the material world.
Three raps. Two initial letters, “J. N.,' were written by The two smaller slates were placed side by side, the medium at the professed dictation of a spirit. to “magnetize'' them, the medium said, while a No one of the party recognized them as belonging circle of touching hands was made by those to an acquaintance. Again they came, this time present. Then, in accordance with directions, “ J. V. N.," and the same a third time without the writer placed together the two slates, which recognition, although the medium stated that the were thoroughly cleansed of any suspicion of a spirit was desiring to communicate with some one mark. No pencil was placed between them for present.
the convenience of any being, visible or invisible. On our way home, in reviewing the events of The writer now held with a firm grasp the two the evening, it suddenly occurred to the doctor slates, and became aware that writing was going that the initials were those of an uncle long since on within. The sound ceased. He opened the deceased, with whom in life he was intimate, and slates, and there, in a delicate hand, he read on at whose house he had spent many months. A one these words: “We cannot communicate more peculiar form given in life by his uncle to the to night. Good-night all." It seemed evident letter “N” he thought he recognized in the that some unknown intelligence had left its iminitials furnished by the medium.
print within the covers of the slate, but the writer The writer, in accordance with the direction of could not believe that the communication came the medium, had written the names of soine de from the spirit of the person named upon the slip ceased acquaintances, none of them, however, of paper. If so, the character of that person those in whom he felt the interest of relationship. seemed to him to have strangely altered, and the As the pellets containing the names were dropped first address after years of separation seemed lackin due form upon the table, the single rap indicated ing in the quality of affectionate remembrance either that the spirits named were not present, or which would naturally have characterized it, but had no inclination to communicate. A blank on the contrary seemed to be heartless and unpaper, by the advice of the medium, was also satisfactory. placed between two slates, which were carefully | The writer had once received a professed comheld together. No communication from spirit, munication from the spirit he now sought to good or evil, could be found upon it after the interview, brought to him by a messenger from a most patient waiting. The evening was far spent, “circle" at which he was not present. He had the raps were becoming less energetic in response made no response. He now asked:
“ Did you ever conmunicate with me before?" | "I do.". Three raps.
“Have these spirits ever given any definite idea “ Through whom?"
of the land they inhabit—any real information The writer had in his mind the messenger who concerning the other world ?? brought him the communication.
“Accounts have been given of different spheres. “ Through ‘Mansfield.'”
Andrew Jackson Davis has quite a description. The medium wrote at the supposed dictation But different accounts come through different of the spirit, saying that it was the name of the spirits, and the communications are not reliable. medium through whom it came. No such medium Some of them say that the world they inhabit is was known to the writer, and so he stated. A our own world, and in fact that they hardly know second reply was made that the message was sent the difference between their present condition and through a young lady.
that when in the flesh—they hardly know they A lady was probably the presiding priestess at are dead.”. the “circle” mentioned, and it is possible that “Has any good ever resulted from the supposed her name, which the writer does not know, may communications?". have been Mansfield.
The medium looked at the question from a The medium now said that the spirits had left pecuniary standpoint. for the evening, and that the séance was at a “If much could be gained by it, we mediums close. The writer was not satisfied as to the would not all be quite so poor as we are at presauthenticity of his communications. He felt as ent. I myself lost two thousand dollars in an Æneas felt when the “ Infelix Dido'' spurned his investment from following the advice given by a kind advances on the plains of Hades. Notwith spirit. Such advice is entirely unreliable, so far standing the lateness of the hour, and the possible as money is concerned. A gentleman once placed impoliteness of detaining spirits who had expressed a bank-note of large amount between the slates on a desire to retire for the night, he ventured to this table, and offered to give it to me if a single request the spirit who had communicated with word was found written on the slate when opened, him to give him one further proof of its identity. and not a word would come then, though they
“Will not the spirit, before it goes, write its would come fast enough at any other time. The name upon the slate ?” he asked.
spirits can't be bought. But I think my life was • The spirit hears the request that has been once saved by a communication from a spirit asked," said the medium. “Will it grant the which prevented my sailing in a steamship which request ?"
was lost, the Pacific." Three raps.
“Why would the spirit not stay longer toAgain, as before, the slates were held. The sound night?" of writing was heard within, the slates were opened, | "I can't tell. They come and go as they and, instead of the name which the writer was ex please. I have no control over them. In fact, pecting to see, were found these words, “I am when I am perfectly indifferent and care little your wife," and the name written upon the slip about the manifestations, they are often the most of paper was that of a wife eight years deceased. satisfactory.".
The raps ceased, and a half hour was spent in “How, then, can you always produce the spirits an interesting conversation with the frank, intelu on the arrival of any new visitor ?". ligent medium.
“The spirits come with them, those they are “Can you tell what is the intelligence that expecting to meet. Our séance to-night was not communicated with us?”
so satisfactory, because so many visitors were pres“I do not know. Some think it is some un ent. It is better when only one is present. The known force in nature."
new visitors bring new energy, and the spirits stay This explanation may be a lucid one to those until the force is expended.” who are more capable than ourselves of compre We could hardly see the force of this explanahending its meaning.
tion, supposing the spirits to be independent “Do you yourself think they are spirits who beings with energy of their own. send the communications?".
“How do these manifestations affect yourself?"
" I feel weaker after the séance is over." judge, theorize, or guess for himself. The con
“ Do the spirits ever trouble you when you do clusions which will be drawn will vary according not wish to be disturbed ?"
to the prejudices of the judges. “Years ago, when I commenced giving séances, Notwithstanding the remarkable phenomena they did so; now I have become quite indifferent witnessed, and the apparent presence of some unto them.”
seen intelligence other than ourselves, especially “ How did you first learn that you possessed in the mysterious writing within the closed slates, the unusual powers of a medium ?”
the writer still doubts that the alleged communica“I used to hear the rappings even when I was tions were authentic. The fact still remains that a child.”
| although for now nearly half a century a correWe were not so heartless as to believe that the 'spondence has been daily kept up with an innumedium was an impostor deliberately attempting merable throng of professed spirits in some other to deceive us. We felt rather that he was as much world, yet we are just as ignorant of that world as mystified as ourselves, and rather deceived than a ever, not a single new or reliable fact concerning deceiver. We did not discover any indications ' it having been obtained. On the contrary, the even of an attempt specially to “impress' us with most inane of empty drivelings have been proa sense of his remarkable powers. He seemed to mulgated to eager, expectant, and intelligent take our acceptance of the fact of his possessing audiences, which might well excite the suspicion peculiar faculties as something established beyond that the spirit-land is really some grand and question.
charitable lunatic asylum for the universe of which We have thus attempted to give a statement of we are a part. actual occurrences, as plain and undistorted as if If the school-boy of ten years' growth, returning we were testifying in a court-room, with the pros- from his daily task, when interviewed by his pect in view of an immediate and rigid cross-ex | mother, could give no more satisfactory descrip. amination. To those who deny the strict veracity tion of his school-room, teachers, and playmates, of the tale just told, we have no reply to make. than the alleged spirits have given of their home, To those who say that the whole party were the surroundings, and occupations, the boy would victims during both evenings, or hallucinations and doubtless be re-interviewed by his irate mamma delusions, or of that mysterious mesmeric or psy- in a style approved by Solomon, in which the chological influence which made them all believe manifestations would probably be decidedly vivid, that they saw that which did not occur, we can material, and striking. The thought is a most only reply, that, if so, we were utterly unconscious revolting one, that those who have once been of such an influence, and, if so, then we can never in this world happy, contented beings, in pleasant feel sure hereafter, on any occasion of interest or homes, should now be skulking in and out from importance, that we are not similarly controlled, dusky cabinets at the bidding of Chippewa Inand we might well fear, even in the affairs of daily dians and vulgar females, to gratify for a few life, that some unseen magician may be leading us moments the curiosity of a gaping crowd. Spirits, at his will by his noxious power. If the testimony if so they are to be called, who can take pleasure of thousands is to be rejected on this ground, then in such interviews, would seem rather to belong human testimony in general is more unreliable to that unhappy throng who would gladly return than has been supposed, the belief in miraculous to the world from whence they came, but who, interventions at any former time must be dis- perhaps, by way of retribution, are allowed to carded, and the whole system of accepting evi- , catch only occasional glimpses of that which they dence in courts of law should be revised. . once misimproved and lost, and who now, like
If an explanation is asked for the occurrences the waves of the sea, are stayed by the supreme we have described, the answer may be given that, i command, “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no having the facts, every reader is at liberty to further.”'
A STRANGE RETRIBUTION.
By C. H. AMBERS.
CHAPTER 1.-"PEACEFUL DAYS.”
And yet, though there was rather a deserted My name is Thomas Rivers. Captain Rivers I air about the town, and blades of grass might be am called now. It used to be Tom Rivers, in seen springing up here and there on the steps of the old times when I was a Jad going every day some large house, and though there was a tinge with a green baize bag full of books to Rathmin of green over the square, and it was but too plain ster School. Rathminster, a small town in the that Rathminster had seen its best days, still, with south of Ireland, containing about two thousand the wooded hills and rich meadows by which it inhabitants, was, as I first knew it—and it has not was surrounded, the old trees of the domain, the changed much for the better since—a quiet and ruined palace, the ancient church, and the pretty rather sleepy place, with little stir or life about it, | little river that wound through the valley on the save twice in the year, when the judges entered it sloping side of which the town stood, Rathminto hold the spring and summer assizes; for though ster presented a very pleasing and picturesque so insignificant in itself, it had contrived some appearance. Of one good thing time had not dehow to retain its position as the county-town; prived Rathminster; namely, its excellent school, and contained on one side of its rather large and a school sufficiently well endowed always to secure empty-looking square the county jail, and on the the services of a competent head-master; and at other the court-house. There were no signs of which the sons of the gentry, the trades-people, progress or improvement of any kind about Rath- and the farmers in the neighborhood, together minster, but the reverse. In wealth and industry with some twenty or thirty boarders, received a it seemed to have retrograded, to judge from a thoroughly good education. It was partly on closed factory or mill standing in one of the little account of the school that I had come to Rathstreets that led into the square, and an unkept-up minster. My father, who had been in the mersort of appearance about the principal houses. The chant service, had been drowned at sea. My town had, moreover,-speaking from an ecclesiasti- mother had survived him but a few years, leaving cal point of view,-seen better days, for Rathmin- me at ten years old an orphan, alone in the world, ster had enjoyed the honor and benefit of having without brother or sister, or any near relation a bishop resident in its neighborhood, before the except an aunt, my mother's sister. This aunt, suppression of some dozen Irish bishoprics in the Mrs. Pearson, was a widow, living in Rathminster, early part of this century; and the ivy-covered where she owned one or two of the houses; and wall of the ruined palace and the stately trees of where, by keeping a book and stationer's shop, the domain, now let for grazing, while they added she was able to add something to the small income to the picturesque appearance of the towni, seemed she derived from her rents. To her, therefore, I somehow in keeping with its drowsy and unpros. went upon my mother's death, having no other perous character. Another indication of what home; and Rathminster School offering to me, as had in bygone days been a paramount influence ' a day-boy, an education such as elsewhere, and in Rathminster still survived, in the sign which 'with the means my parents had left me, would hung over the door of an hotel, certainly too have been quite out of my reach. Mrs. Pearson large for the present requirements of the place, having no son of her own, and only one daughter, where a faded golden mitre was portrayed on a | Annie, about a year younger than myself, made a rusty chocolate-colored ground. At some little son of me, and was as kind and loving as any distance from the town stood the church, or mother could have been. cathedral I suppose it should be called, once a' About a mile out along one of the roads leading fine building, but of which now only the chancel from Rathminster, or about half that distance if was standing; large enough, however, for the you took the path leading through the churchcongregation it had to accommodate, and sur- yard, there was a pretty little farm-house, with rounded by some fine old oak and elm trees. some trees about it. In front there was a garden,