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The Seven Purposes by Margaret Cameron 1867 - 1947

 

III

 

SHORTLY before dinner that night I picked up a pencil again, and "Mary Kendal" was immediately written. It had become customary for her to write her name both at the beginning and at the end of her communication, probably to avoid confusion with Frederick.

 

"Manse is in New York," she told us, repeating it several times. For some reason I questioned this, and she said: "You must not doubt. He is coming to-night."

 

"Are you happy, Mary?" Cass asked.

 

"Very, especially now, since I am with you. You can reach Manzie."

 

Keenly sympathizing with her eagerness to reach her husband, from whom no word had come, he suggested telephoning to Mansfield at his club, but I demurred, feeling that, if he were there, he would receive my letters and communicate with us, unless, as I began to fear, he preferred not to approach the subject in any way. Repeatedly, however, Mary insisted,


 

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"Call him up," and Cass put in the long-distance call accordingly.

 

"He is there…. He will answer," she reiterated again and again, while we waited.

 

It is impossible to make a fully accurate report of this interview. The messages were confused and broken, and there were many monosyllabic replies to questions not recorded.

 

At one time we asked about Anne Lowe, and Mary said: "Anne is not here. She is a lovely character. She works for children…. Manse is not there…. Manse is out. He will answer…. He is not there."

 

Eventually the long-distance operator reported that Mr. Kendal was not at his club and was not expected.

 

I asked Mary why she had said that he was there, telling her that this was making me doubt my powers of correct transmission, to which she replied that this was better than too much credulity, adding: "Manse is there…. He is out of the club…. He must be there."

 

We called up the —— Club a second time and I talked to the clerk, who said Mansfield Kendal was not registered there, nor had they been notified that he was coming. Long afterward we learned that he had expected to be


 

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there at that time, but had been detained in the Northwest by business.

 

Meanwhile, there was much confused writing from Mary. "Manse is in the club…. He is not there…. He must be there…. He is out." Effort to write the name of a city was followed by, "Minneapolis recently…. Manse will be there soon."

 

It was Mansfield Kendal himself who ultimately arrived at a possible explanation of some of these apparent inaccuracies, Mary having explained others meanwhile. But at the time it was all very contradictory and confusing, and after dinner Cass demanded an explanation.

 

Mary Kendal came at once, admitting that she had been wrong in saying that Mansfield was at the club, and asserting that she "thought he would be."

 

"Didn't you know?" "No."

 

Again the messages are confused and fragmentary. "You must not doubt…. He will be there soon…" are among those now decipherable, each many times repeated. She seemed profoundly distressed.

 

To ease the tension, Cass made a little joke, eliciting no response from her, whereupon he asked whether they retained a sense of humor over there.


 

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Yes, but this is no time for humor…. I am so afraid of missing Manse."

 

Again she urged me to write to him, but I refused, reminding her that I had made every possible advance until some reply to my letters should be received.

 

"Yes, I know, but it means so much! You will help, won't you?"

 

Knowing nothing then of the tremendous forces of attraction and repulsion unconsciously put into operation by persons ignorant of their existence, and assuming—not unnaturally—that she must be able to learn at least as much about Mansfield's whereabouts and condition as both she and Frederick evidently knew about ours, I was unable to understand, even dimly, the contradictions of the present situation, and the cloud of it hung over me all that evening and the next day. I was oppressed by a sense of my responsibility in conveying messages from sources seeming suddenly so uncertain.

 

Following Mary, Frederick came again, his buoyancy undiminished.

 

"Mother dearest," he began, without question, "Mrs. Kendal is true. She is a fine force." I rather held back on this, and the writing was angular and unyielding. "There are things we cannot explain."


 

THE SEVEN PURPOSES

 

"You have too little faith. Mary Kendal." This statement was made without preliminary comment, and until she signed her name I thought Frederick was writing. I reminded her that she had made it impossible for me to trust her wholly.

 

"I am sorry I shook your faith," she said. "I welcome you to this relation, and want you to believe."

 

"Mother dearest, you know I am here, don't you?" Again Frederick made his own interrogation point. "Because I am, and you will feel my presence more and more clearly as time goes on."

 

"Do you know all that we want to know?" Cass inquired.

 

"Not all you want to know. We know more than you do, and will tell you all we can, as soon as you axe ready for it." We were uncertain whether this meant mentally and spiritually ready, or that we must learn the conditions through which they can best reach us, and he explained. "We can tell you anything you are prepared to understand, and the more you learn there the better you will do your work here."

 

"Are you still interested in politics here?" he was asked, a little later.

 

"Oh yes. But they are in a state of transition 36


 

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that is fearfully difficult to understand or to influence now. The seed has been sown, but the harvest is not yet garnered. Nobody knows what will come of it in this country."

 

"Are you conscious there of what people here call God?" his mother asked.

 

"We are conscious of a great purpose. Some of us call it God. I see it as light in dark places. Others see it as power. Others as love. But we all recognize it as a purpose."

 

At luncheon that day We had spoken of Prof. William James and Sir Frederick Myers, and later in the evening Mrs. Gaylord asked Frederick whether he knew Professor James.

 

"I know him, but I am not sure he knows me. He is a great force, and many of us go to him for help and instruction. Only one other man has the same sort of power. That is Sir Frederick."

 

"Are you with people from this world only?" some one asked. "And does everybody go there, or only a certain element?"

 

"There are people from this world only, but it is as with you, not all people are equally prepared. Growth is easier here if one has earned it there. But not all have earned it, and the penalty for laziness is long struggle…. Purgatory is not a bad definition of it. The right to do big work must be earned.


 

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Some people have a terrible struggle of it. [Their?] Moral muscles are flabby."

 

"Do you agree with Mary Kendal that there is humor there, but that this is no time for it?"

 

"Oh, she didn't mean that! She meant that this particular crisis is not humorous to her. She is deeply concerned to get into touch with him…. Good night, Mother dearest. I'll be with you all night."

 

"Good night," said Mary Kendal. "I'm sorry I upset you."

 

PART - 04