THE SYLPH AND THE MAGICIAN
IF your eyes could pierce the veil of
matter, and you could see what goes on in the tenuous world around and
above that city of Paris, you would gasp with wonder. I have spent much
time in Paris lately. Shall I
tell you some of the strange things I have seen?
In a street on the left bank of the
river, called the
rue de Vaugirard,
there lives a man of
middle age and sedentary habits who is a sort of magician. He is
constantly attended and served by
one of the elemental spirits known as
sylphs. This sylph he calls Meriline. I do not know from what language
he got the name, for he seems to speak several, and to know Hebrew. I
have seen this Meriline coming and going to and from his apartment. No,
it would not be right for me to tell you where it is. The man could be
identified, though the sylph
would elude the census taker.
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Meriline does not make his bed or
cook his broth, for which humble service he has a charwoman; but the
sylph runs errands and discovers things for him. He is a collector of
old books and manuscripts, and many of his treasures have been located
by Meriline in the stalls which lie along the banks of the Seine, and also in more pretentious bookshops.
This man is not a devil-worshipper.
He is only a harmless enthusiast, fond of occult things, and striving to
pierce the veil which shuts
the elemental world from his eyes. A little less brandy
and wine, and he might be able to see clearly, for he is a true
student. But he is fond of the
flesh, and it preys upon the spirit.
One day I encountered Meriline going
upon one of his errands, and I introduced myself by signalling with my
hands and calling my name. This attracted the attention of the sprite,
who came and stood beside me.
"Where are you going?" I asked; and
she nodded towards the other side of the river.
The thought came to me that perhaps I
ought not to question this servant of the good magician as to her
master's business, so I hesitated. She also hesitated; then she said:
"But he is interested in the spirits of men."
THE SYLPH AND THE
made the matter simpler, and I asked:
"You do his errands?"
"Why do you do his errands?" "Because
I love to serve him."
"And why do you love to serve him?"
"Because I belong to him."
"I thought every soul belonged to
itself." "But I am not a soul!" "Then what are you?" "A sylph."
"Do you ever expect to be a soul?"
"Oh, yes! He has promised that I
shall be, if I serve him
"But how can he make you to be a
soul?" "I don't know; but he will." "How do you know that he will?"
"Because I trust him." "What makes you trust him?" "Because he trusts
me." "And you always tell him the truth?" "Always."
"Who taught you what truth is?" "He
This seemed to puzzle the being before me,
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and I feared she would go away; so I
detained her by saying, quickly:
"I do not want to worry you with
questions which you cannot
answer. Tell me how you first came into his service." "Ought I?"
"So you have a conscience?"
"Yes, he taught me to have."
"But you say that he is interested
in the spirits of men." "Yes, and I also know good spirits from bad ones."
"Did he teach you that?"
"How did you learn?"
"I always knew."
"Then you have lived a long time?"
"And when do you expect to have, or
to become a soul?" "When he
comes out here, into this world where we are."
This staggered me by its daring. Had
the good magician been
deceiving his sylph, or did he really believe what he promised?
"What did he say about it?" I asked.
THE SYLPH AND THE
"That if I would serve him now, he
would serve me later." "And
how is he going to do it?"
"I don't know."
"Suppose you ask him?"
"I never ask questions. I answer
"For instance, what sort of
"I tell him where such and such a
person is, and what he or she is doing."
"Can you tell him what these people
are thinking?" "Not often—or
not always. Sometimes I can." "How can you tell?"
"By the feel of them. If I am warm in
their presence, I know they
are friendly to him; if I am cold, I know they are his enemies.
If I feel nothing at all, then I know that they are not thinking of him,
or are indifferent."
"And your errand this evening?"
"To see a lady."
"And you are not jealous?"
"What is 'jealous'?"
"You are not displeased that he
should interest himself in ladies?"
"Why should I be?"
This was a question I could not answer, not
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knowing the nature of sylphs. She surprised me a little, for I had
supposed that all female things were jealous. But, fearing again
that she might leave me, I hurried
to question her further.
"How did you make his acquaintance?"
I asked. "He called me."
"By the incantation."
"The call of the sylphs."
"Oh," I said, "he called the sylphs
and you came!"
"Yes, of course. I liked him for his
kindness, and I made him see me."
"How did you manage it?"
"I dazzled his eyes until he closed
them, and then he could see me."
"Can he always see you now?"
"No, but he knows I am there."
"He can see you sometimes still?"
"And when he saw you first?"
"He was delighted, and called me
loving names, and made me promises."
"The promise of a soul—that first
THE SYLPH AND THE
"Then you had wanted to have a soul?"
"Many of us want to be men. We love
men—that is, most of us do."
"Why do you love men?"
"It is our nature."
"But not the nature of all of you?"
"There are malignant spirits of the
"And what will you do when you have a
soul?" "I will take a body, and live on earth." "And leave your friend
whom you now serve?"
"Oh, no! It is to be with him that I
specially want a body." "Then
will he come back to the earth with you?" "He says so."
This again staggered me. I was
becoming interested in this magician; he had a daring imagination.
Could a spirit of the air develop
into a human soul? I asked myself. Was the man self-deceived? Or, again,
was he deceiving his lovely messenger?
I thought a little too long this
time, for when I turned again to speak to my strange companion, she had
left me. I tried to follow, but could
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not find her; and if she returned
soon, it must have been by some other road. Though I looked in all
directions, she was invisible to me.
Now, the question will arise in your
mind: In what language did I talk with this aerial servant of a French
magician? I seemed to speak in my own tongue, and she seemed to respond
in the same. How is that? I cannot say, unless we really used the subtle
language of thought itself.
You may often, on meeting with a
person whose language you do not speak, feel an interchange of ideas, by
the look of the eyes, by the expression of the face, by gestures. Now
imagine that, intensified a hundredfold. Might it not extend to the
simple questions and answers which I exchanged with the sylph? I do not
say that it would, but I think it might; for, as I said before, I
seemed to speak and she seemed to reply in my own language.
What strange experiences one has out
here! I rather dread to go
back into the world, where it will be so dull for me for a long time.
Can I exchange this freedom
and vivid life for a long period of somnolence, afterwards to suck a
bottle and learn the multiplication table and Greek and Latin verbs? I
suppose I must—but not yet.
A PROBLEM IN CELESTIAL MATHEMATICS
BY the vividness with which you feel
my presence at times, you can
judge of the intensity of the life that I am living. I am no pallid
spook, dripping with
grave-dew. I am real, and quite as wholesome—or so it seems to me—as
when I walked the earth in a more or less unhealthy body. The ghastly
spectres, when they return, do not talk as I talk. Ask those who have
seen and heard them.
It is well that you have kept
yourself comparatively free of communications "from the other world."
It would have been amazing had you
been afraid of me. But there
are those who would be, if they should sense my presence as
you sense it.
One night I knocked at the door of a
friend's chamber, half expecting a welcome. He jumped
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out of bed in alarm, then jumped back
again, and pulled the blanket over his head. He was really afraid that
it might be I! So, as I did not wish to be responsible for a case of heart failure, or for
a shock of hair which, like
that in the old song, "turned white in a
single night," I went quietly away.
Doubtless he persuaded himself
next day that there were mice in the
Had you been afraid of me, though, I
should have been ashamed of
you; for you know better. Most persons do not.
It is a real pleasure for me to come
back and talk with you sometimes. "There are no friends like the old
friends," and the society of sylphs and spirits would never quite
satisfy me if all those whom
I had known and loved should turn their backs on me.
Speaking of sylphs, I met the Teacher
last night, and asked him if that French magician I told you about could
really make good his promise to his aerial companion, and help her to
acquire the kind of soul essential to incarnation on earth as a woman.
His answer was, "No."
Of course I asked him why, and he
answered that the elemental creatures, or units of force inhabiting the
elements, as we use that term, could
A PROBLEM IN CELESTIAL MATHEMATICS
not, during this life cycle, step
out of their element into the human. "Can they ever do so?" I asked.
"I do not know," he replied; "but I
believe that all the less evolved units around the earth are working in
the direction of man; that the human is a stage of development which they will all reach some
day, but not in this life cycle."
I asked the Teacher if he knew the
magician in question, and he answered that he had known him for a
thousand years, that long ago, in a former life, the Paris magician had
placed his feet upon the path which leads to power; but that he had been
side-tracked by the desire for
selfish pleasures, and that he might wander a long
time before he found his way back to
real and philosophical truth.
"Is he to be blamed or pitied?" I
"Pity cuts no figure in the problem,"
the Teacher replied. "A man seeks what he desires."
After the Teacher went away I began
asking myself questions. What was I seeking, and what did I desire? The
answer came quickly: "Knowledge." A year ago I might have answered
"Power," but knowledge is the forerunner of
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power. If I get true knowledge, I
shall have power enough.
It is because I want to give to you,
and possibly to others, a few scraps of knowledge which might be
inaccessible to you by any other means, that I am coming back, and
coming back, time after time, to talk with you.
The greatest bit of knowledge that I
have to offer you is this: that by the exercise of will a man can retain
his objective consciousness after death. Many persons out here sink into
a sort of subjective bliss which makes them indifferent as to what is
going on upon the earth or in the heavens. I could do so myself, easily.
As I believe I have said before,
while man on earth has both subjective and objective consciousness, but
functions mostly in the
objective, out here he has still subjective and objective
consciousness, but the tendency is towards the subjective.
At almost any time, on composing
yourself and looking in, you can fall into a state of subjective bliss
which is similar to that enjoyed by souls on this side of the dividing
line called death. In fact, it is by such subconscious experience that
man has learned nearly all he knows regarding the etheric world. When
the storms and passions of
the body are stilled, man, can catch a glimpse
A PROBLEM IN CELESTIAL MATHEMATICS
of his own interior life, and that
interior life is the life of this fourth-dimensional plane. Please do
not accuse me of contradicting myself or of being obscure; I have said
that the objective consciousness is as possible with us as the
subjective is with you, but
that the tendency is merely the other way.
You may remember a pair of lovers
about whom I wrote you a few weeks ago. He had been out here some time,
and had waited for her, and helped her over the uncertain marsh-lands
which lie between the two states of existence.
I saw these lovers again the other
day, but they were not at all excited by my appearance. On the contrary,
I fancy that I put them out somewhat by awakening them, by calling them
back from the state of subjective bliss into which they have sunk since
being together at last.
While he waited for her all those
years, he kept himself awake
by expectation; while still on earth she was always thinking of him
out here, and so the polarity
was sustained. Now they have each other; they are in "the little home"
which he built for her with so much pleasure out of the tenuous
materials of this tenuous world;
they see each other's faces whether they look out
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or in; they are content; they have
nothing more to attain (or so they
tell each other), and they
consequently sink back into the arms of subjective bliss.
Now this state of bliss, of
rumination, they have a right to enjoy.
No one can take it from them. They have earned it by activity in
the world and elsewhere, it is
theirs by rhythmic justice. They will
enjoy it, I fancy, for a long time,
living over the past experiences which they have had together and apart.
Then some day one or the other of them will become surfeited with too
much sweetness; the muscles of
his (or her) soul will stretch for want of exercise; he (or
she) will give a spiritual yawn, and
by the law of reaction, pass out—not to return.
Where will he (or she) go, you ask?
Why, back to the earth, of course!
Let us imagine him (or her) awaking
from that subjective state of bliss which is known to them as
attainment, and going for a short promenade in blessed and wholesome
solitude. Then, with a sort of morning alertness in the heart and the
eye, he (or she) draws near to a pair of earthly lovers. Suddenly the
call of matter, the eager, terrible call of blood and warmth, of
activity raised to the nth power, catches the half
A PROBLEM IN CELESTIAL MATHEMATICS
awakened soul on the ethereal side of
He has again entered the world of
material formation. He is sunk and hidden in the flesh of earth. He
awaits birth. He will come out with great force, by reason of his former
rest. He might even become a "captain of industry," if he is a strong
unit. But I began by saying "he or she." Let me change the figure. The
man would be almost certain to awake first, by reason of his positive
Now, in drawing this imaginary
picture of my lovers, I am not making a dogma of the way in which all
souls return to earth. I am
merely guessing how these two will return (for she would probably
follow him speedily when she awoke
and found herself alone). And the reason why I fancy they will return in
that way is because they are
indulging themselves in too much subjective bliss.
When will they go back? I cannot say.
Perhaps next year, perhaps in a hundred years. Not knowing the numerical
value of their unit of force, I cannot guess how much subjective bliss
they can endure without a violent reaction.
I am sure that you are wondering if
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I shall myself sink into that state
of bliss which I have described.
Perhaps. I should enjoy it but not
for long, and not yet. However, I
have no sweetheart out here to enjoy
it with me.
A CHANGE OF FOCUS
WITH the guidance of the Teacher,
during the last few weeks I have been going to and fro in the earth and
walking up and down in it. You smile at the veiled reference. But have not certain friends
of yours actually feared me,
as if I were the devil of the Book of Job?
Now, to be serious, I have been
visiting those lands and cities where in former lives I lived and worked
among men. One of the many advantages of travel is that it helps a man
to remember his former
existences. There is certainly a magic in places.
I have been in Egypt, in India, in
Persia, in Spain, in Italy; I have been in Germany, Switzerland,
Austria, Greece, Turkey, and
many other lands. The Dardanelles were not closed to me recently,
when by reason of the war you could
not have passed through. There are advantages to almost every condition,
even my present one; for the law of compensation holds good.
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In certain lives of the past I was a
Now you may wonder how it is that I
pass easily from this world
to yours, seeing into both. But you must remember that your world and
mine occupy about the same space; that the plane of the
earth's surface is one of the lower
and more material planes of our
world, using the word "plane" as you
would use the word "layer."
As I have said before, there are also
places accessible to us which
lie at some distance above the earth's surface. "Mansions in
the skies" are more than figurative.
I have only slightly to change my
focus at any time, to find myself in your world. That I cannot be seen
there with the naked eye is no proof that I am not there. Without that
change of focus, which is done through an action of will and by knowing
the method, I might even be occupying the same space as something in
your world and not know it. Note well this point, for it is only half of
something which I have to say. The other half is, that you also may at
any time be—so far as space is concerned—in the immediate neighbourhood
of interesting things in our world, and not know that you are there.
But if you focus to this world you
A CHANGE OF
or less conscious of it. So when I,
knowing how, focus to your world, I am there in consciousness and can
enjoy the varied sights of many cities, the changing aspects of many lands.
When I first came out I could not see
my way about the earth very well, but now I can see better.
No, I am not going to give you a
formula to give to other people
by which you or they could change
focus at will and enter into relation with this world, because such
knowledge at the present stage of human progress would do more harm than
good. I merely state the fact, and leave the application for those who
have the curiosity and the ability to demonstrate it.
My object in writing these letters is
primarily to convince a few persons—to strengthen their certainty in the
fact of immortality, or the survival of the soul after the bodily change
which is called death. Many think they believe who are not certain
whether they believe or not. If I can make my presence as a living and
vital entity felt in these letters, it will have the effect of
strengthening the belief of
certain persons in the doctrine of immortality.
This is a materialistic age. A large
percentage of men and women have no real interest in the
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life beyond the grave. But they will
all have to come out here sooner or later, and perhaps a few will find
the change easier, the journey less formidable, by reason of what I
shall have taught them. Is it not worth while? Is it not worth a little
effort on your part as well as on mine?
Any person approaching the great
change who shall seriously study these letters and lay their principles
to heart, and who shall will
to remember them after passing out, need not fear anything.
We all fail in much that we
undertake, but I hope I shall not fail in this. Do not you fail on your
side. I could not do this work without you, nor could you do it without
me. That is in answer to the
supposition that I am your subconscious mind.
I have been in Constantinople and
have stood in the very room where I once had a remarkable experience,
hundreds of years ago. I have seen the walls, I have touched them, I
have read the etheric records of their history, and my own history in
I have walked the rose-gardens of
Persia and have smelled the flowers—the grandchildren, hundreds of times
removed, of those roses whose
A CHANGE OF
fragrance was an ecstasy to me when,
watching with the bulbul, I paced there in another form and with
intentions different to mine
now. It was the perfume of the roses which made me remember.
In Greece also I have lived over the
old days. Before their degeneration began, what a race they were! I
think that concentration was the secret of their power. The ether around
that peninsula is written over with their exploits, in daring thought as
well as daring action. The
old etheric records are so vivid that they
shine through the later writings; for
you must know that what are called astral records lie layer against
layer everywhere. We read one layer instead of another, either by
affinity or by will. It is no more strange than that a man may go among
the millions of volumes in the British
Museum and select the one he wants. The
most marvellous things are always simple of explanation if one has
the key to unlock their secret.
There has been much nonsense written
about vibration, but nevertheless truth lies thereabouts. Where there is
so much smoke there must be fire.
In India I have met with yogis in
meditation. Do you know why their peculiar way of breathing
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produces psychic results? No, you do
not. Now let me tell you: By
holding the breath long a certain—shall I say poison?—is produced in the
body, which poison, acting on the psychic nature, changes the vibration.
That is all. Volumes have been written about yoga, but have any of them
said that? The untrained healthy
lungs, in the ordinary operation, get
rid of this poison by processes
well known to physiologists,—that is,
in the natural man, adjusted to and working contentedly on the material
plane. But in order for a man still living on the material plane to
become adjusted to the psychic world, a change of vibration is
necessary. This change of vibration may be produced by a slight overdose
of the abovementioned poison. Is it dangerous? Yes, to the ignorant. To
those who are learned in its
use it is no more dangerous than most of the
drugs in the pharmacopoeia.
Another time I will tell you about
other secrets which I have discovered going to and fro in the earth and
walking up and down in it.
I HAVE stood at night on the roof of
an Oriental palace and watched the stars. You who can see into the
invisible world by changing your focus, can easily understand how I, by
a reverse process, can see
into the world of dense matter. Yes, it is the same
thing, only turned the other way.
I stood on the roof of an Oriental
palace and watched the stars. No mortal was near me. Looking down upon
the sleeping city, I have seen the cloud of souls which kept watch above
it, have seen the messengers coming and going. Once or twice a wan,
halffrightened face appeared among the cloud of spirits, and I knew
that down below in the city someone had died.
But I had seen so many spirits since
coming out here that I was more interested in watching the stars. I used
to love them, and I love them
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still. Some day, if it is permitted,
I hope to know more about them.
But I shall not leave the
neighbourhood of the earth until these letters are finished. From the
distance of the planet Jupiter I might not be able to write at all. It
is true that one can come and go, almost with the quickness of thought;
but something tells me that it is better to postpone for a time my more
extensive travelling. Perhaps when I get out there I shall not want to
come back for a long time.
It means much to me this
correspondence with earth. During my
illness I used to wonder if I could
come back sometimes, but I never imagined anything like this. I would
not have supposed it possible to find any well-balanced and responsible
person with daring enough to join me in the experiment.
I could not have written through the
hand of a person of untrained mind unless he or she had been fully
hypnotised. I could not have written through the hand of the average
intellectual person, because such persons cannot make themselves
Be at peace. You are not a spirit
medium, using the word as it is
commonly used, signifying a passive
instrument, an aeolian harp, set in an
aperture between the two worlds and
played upon by any wind that
Except as illustrating the fact that
it can be done, there is no great object in my telling you of the things
I have seen in your world since coming to this other one. The next time
you look out into this plane of life and see the wonderful landscapes
and the people, remember that it is in a similar way that I look back
into your plane of existence. It is interesting to live in two worlds,
going back and forth at will. But when I go into yours it is only as a
visitor, and I shall never attempt to take a hand in its
government. There is such a rigorous
custom-house on the frontier
between the two worlds that the traveller back and forth cannot
afford to carry anything with
him—not even a prejudice.
If you should come out here with a
determination to see only certain things, you might give a wrong value
to what you would see. Many have come out here at death with that mental
attitude, and so have learned little or nothing. It is the traveller
with the open mind who makes discoveries.
I brought over with me only a few
resolutions: To preserve my identity;
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To hold my memory of earth life, and
to carry back the memory of
this life when I should return to the world;
To see the great Teachers;
To recover the memories of my past
To lay the necessary foundations for
a great earth life when I should go back next time.
That sounds simple, does it not?
Already I have done much besides; but if I had not borne these points in
mind I might have accomplished little.
The only really sad thing about death
is that the average man learns so little from it. Only my realisation of
the fact that the chain of
earth lives is relatively endless could keep me from regret
that most persons make so little
progress in each life. But I comfort myself with the assurance that
there is no hurry; that the pearls in the chain of existence, though
small, are all in their inevitable places, and that the chain is a
circle, the symbol of eternity.
And it seems to me, with my still
finite view, that most men on
this side waste their lives even as they do on your side. That shows
how far I am yet from the
Viewed from the stars, whence I hope some
day to view them, all these flat
stretches in the landscape of life may be softened by distance, and the
whole picture may take on a perspective of beauty which I had not
dreamed of while I myself was but a speck upon the canvas.
THE PASSING OF LIONEL
I HAVE lost my boy Lionel. He has
gone—I started to say the way of all flesh; but I must revise the figure
and say the way of all spirits, sooner or later, and that way is back to
One day not long ago I found him
absorbed in thought in our
favourite resting-place, the little hut beside a stream at the foot of a
wooded hill, which I told you about in one of my former letters.
I waited for a time until the boy
opened his eyes and looked at me.
"Father," he said, "my favourite
teacher is going to be married to-morrow."
"How do you know?" I asked.
"Why, I have been listening!" he
answered. "Every little while I
go back and pay her a visit, though
she does not know I am there. I
have been aware that there was
something in the wind."
"Because she has been so shining;
there is a light around her which was not there before."
THE PASSING OF
"What caused the light, Lionel?"
"Well, I suppose she is what they
love." "You are a
phenomenally wise child," I said. He looked at me with his large, honest
"I am not really a child at all, he
answered. "I am as old as the hills, as you, or as anybody. Have you not
told me that we are all immortal, without end or beginning?"
"Yes, but go on, tell me about your
"She is in love with the big brother
of one of MY playfellows. I
used to know him when I was a little boy. He let me use his
magnet, and taught me kite-flying, and showed me how machinery
went. He is an engineer."
"Oh!" I said. "In this case, of
course, you are glad that your favourite teacher is going to marry him."
Lionel's eyes were larger than ever
as he said:
"I shall be sorry to leave you,
Father; but it is a chance I cannot afford to miss."
"It is my opportunity to go back.
I've been watching for it a long
"But are you ready?"
"What is it to be ready? I want to
"And leave me?"
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"I shall find you again. And—Oh,
Father!—when you come back I
shall be older than you." This idea seemed to delight him.
I was still human enough to be sorry
that the boy was going of his
own free will; but as will is free, I would not make any effort to
detain him. Though young in that form, which had not yet had time to grow
up in the tenuous world since he came out as a child, yet he was old in
"Yes," I said, "perhaps you can help
me along when I also shall be. a child again."
"You see," he went on, "with a father
like Victor I shall learn all
I want to know about machinery—that is, all that he can teach me;
but when I am grown I shall find out
for myself many things which
he does not know. You remember the little machine I have been working
with, up in the pattern world?"
"When I am back on the earth I shall
make it a reality. Why, it
actually runs now with the electricity from my fingers!"
"But will it, when you have fixed it
in material form, in steel, or whatever it is to be made of?"
"Yes, of course it will. It is my
invention. I shall be a famous man."
"But supposing that somebody else
finds it first?" "I don't
think anybody will."
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"Shall I help you to lay a spell
around the pattern, so that no one
can touch it?"
"Could you do that, Father?" "I think
"Then let us go up there at once," he
said, "and do it immediately.
I may have to leave this world in a day or two."
I could not help smiling at the boy's
desire to hurry. Doubtless he would be present at that wedding, and I
should see little or nothing of him afterwards.
We went up to the pattern world, and
with his assistance I drew a circle around the little machine—a spell
which, I think, will protect it until he is ready to make his claim.
Oh inspiration! Oh invention! Genius!
Little do the men of earth
know the meaning of those words. Perhaps the poet's famous poem
was sung before his birth; perhaps
the engineer's invention lay in the pattern world, protected by his
spell, while he grew to manhood and advanced in science and made ready
to claim it for his own, his prior and spiritual creation. Perhaps, when
two men discover or invent the same thing at
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about the same time, one has
succeeded in appropriating the design which the other left behind him
when he came back to earth. Sometimes, perhaps, both have taken from the
invisible the creation of a
third man, who still awaits rebirth.
Lionel babbled on to me about the
life to come, and of what a charming mother Miss —— would be. She had
always been good to him.
"Perhaps," I said, "many of us who
return almost immediately, as you hope to do, seek out those who have
been good to us in a former life."
"There is another point," Lionel
said. "Miss —— is a friend of my own mother, the one I left a few years
ago. It will be so good to have her hold my hand again."
"Do you think she will recognise
you?" I asked.
"Who knows? She believes in rebirth."
"How can you say that? You were so
little when you came out!"
"I was seven years old, and already
she had told me that we live
many lives on earth."
"Bless the souls who first brought
that belief to the Western world!" I exclaimed. "And now, my boy, is
there anything that I can do for you after you leave me?"
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"Yes, of course; you can watch over
my new mother, and warn her if any danger threatens her or me."
"Then make me acquainted with her
We went out into the material world,
the boy and I. Already I have told you how we go.
He took me to a little house in one
of the suburbs of Boston. We
entered a room—it was then about eleven o'clock at night upon that part
of the earth,—and I saw a fair young woman kneeling beside her bed,
praying to God that He would bless the union of
the morrow which was to give her to
the man she loved.
Lionel went close to her and threw
his arms about her neck.
She started, as if she actually felt
the contact, and sprang to her feet.
"Miss ——, Miss ——, don't you know
me?" he cried; but while I
could hear him, she evidently could not, though she looked
about her in a half-frightened way.
Then, supposing that the touch and
the presence she had felt were
imaginary, she again fell upon her knees and went on with
her interrupted prayer.
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"Come away," I said to the boy; and
we left her there with her dreams and her devotions.
That was the last I saw of Lionel.
He bade me good-bye, saying:
"I shall stay near her for a few
days. Perhaps I shall go back and
forth, from her to you; but if I do not return, I will meet you again in
a few years."
"Yes," I said, "it is affinity and
desire which draw souls together, either on earth or in the other world."
When next I met the Teacher I told
him about Lionel, and asked him if he thought the boy could come out to
me now and then, after his life on earth had begun, as an unborn entity
in the shelter of his mother's form.
"Probably not," he replied. "If he
were an adept soul, he might do that; but with a soul of even high
development, lacking real adeptship, it would be impossible."
"Yet," I said, "men living on earth
do come out here in dreams."
"Yes, but when the soul enters
matter, preparing for rebirth, it enters potentiality, if we may use the
term, and all its strength is
needed in the herculean effort to form the new body and
THE PASSING OF
adjust to it. After birth, when the
eyes are opened, and the lungs are expanded to the air, the task is
easier, and there may be left enough unused energy to bridge the gulf.
"But," he went on, "those who are
soon to be mothers are often vaguely conscious of the souls they
harbour. Even when they do not grasp the full significance of the
miracle that is being performed through them, they have strange dreams
and visions, which are mostly
glimpses into the past incarnations of the unborn child. They see dream
countries where the entity within has dwelt in the past; they feel
desires which they cannot explain—reflected desires which are merely the
latent yearnings of the unborn one; they experience groundless fears
which are its former dreads and terrors. The mother who nourishes a
truly great soul, during this period of formation may herself grow
spiritually beyond her own unaided possibility; while the mother of an
unborn criminal often develops strange perversities, quite unlike her
normal state of mind.
"If a woman were sufficiently
intelligent and informed, she could judge from her own feelings and
ideas what sort of soul was to be her child some day, and prepare to guide it accordingly.
More knowledge is needed, here as
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So, as in all my experiences, I
learned something through the passing out of Lionel.