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The Seven Purposes by Margaret Cameron 1867 - 1947

 

IV

 

THE more I thought about the Kendal affair the more perplexing it seemed, and since I could neither question that Mary Kendal and Frederick had actually communicated through me nor believe that she would wilfully deceive me, there seemed no possible explanation of the episode Saturday night, except some unconscious influence of my own mind. By the next afternoon I had almost persuaded myself that the repeated erroneous statements about Mr. Kendal had been induced, in some way not traceable, by my increasing anxiety concerning his reception of the letters I had sent to his club.

 

After luncheon, we took up the communication again, and immediately, without interrogation, the pencil wrote, "You are a good messenger."

 

"Who is writing?" I asked.

 

"Frederick."

 

"How much of this do I do, and how much is yours?"


 

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You do very little. Mostly, you lend a hand." This is so literally what I do that we laughed. "You are by nature skeptical," he continued. "Mother dearest, you must not let her make you doubt that I have said all these things."

 

"It unsettles me when I know what the message is to be before it is written," I persisted. "Do you suggest it to me, or I to you?"

 

"Sometimes you suggest things to me and I say them," he returned. "Sometimes I don't." This reassured me somewhat, for I had frequently noticed that a thought strongly in my mind seemed to delay the pencil, yet was not written.

 

Returning for a moment to the discussion of politics, Cass asked: "By reason of our different environment, am I not more interested in large details, and you in large movements?"

 

"There can be no real movement without a mass of detail. Here we are interested equally in both. They are inseparable."

 

"You said yesterday that the seed had been sown and the harvest not yet garnered. Has the seed generally been good seed?"

 

"There is no telling how much of it will come up. There has been seed, good, bad, and indifferent, sown in all sorts of soil.


 

"

… poise. Yes."

41

THE SEVEN PURPOSES The crop is not foreordained. We work and hope."

 

"Is there anything in this life to any degree a counterpart of what you have there?" his mother inquired. "Or is it something so wholly new that we can't even imagine it?"

 

"It is so much more expansive, so much more beautiful and free, that we can give you no conception of it."

 

"Perhaps it's better that we shouldn't know," it was suggested; and Frederick's reply seems to hold a hint of humor.

 

"It might make you envious."

 

When I wondered what became of suicides, Cass said, "They probably get the purgatory he mentioned yesterday."

 

"That's what they get; and it's a long, hard road back to mental…" The pencil hesitated. After some efforts to write a word beginning with p or f—we were uncertain which—Mrs. Gaylord suggested, "Poise?"

"Is there unconsciousness at first, when you go over?" she asked.

 

"It depends on circumstances and persons. Sometimes there is a period of unconsciousness. I was conscious from the first moment, and so happy to be here." When Cass interpreted this to mean that he greatly preferred


 

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being there, he corrected: "No, to be free. But for the first weeks I was dazed by the bigness of it."

 

Later in the afternoon Frederick discussed with his mother various personal matters, with a good deal of humor. Afterward, more seriously, he continued: "You'll do better work, and be more open to suggestion from me, if you don't dull yourself by too constant harping on one chord. Play a little, you and Dad."

 

She told him they had not been happy enough to play.

 

"You will be happier now. Tell Dad few men are as near their sons as he is to me. He and all of you have only to learn to recognize me, when I am trying to tell you I am there."

 

We spoke of her desire to receive his communications through her own pencil and he said that if she would "keep on trying and believing," he could talk directly to her before long, as he has since demonstrated.

 

"It is difficult for us to overcome doubt in a messenger," he said. "Faith is a positive force. It helps us reach you. Doubt, being negative, hampers us."

 

This reminded me of Mary Kendal's first personal message to me, "Believe."


 

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"Are you hampered by my doubt to-day?" I asked.

 

"No. That is not doubt of us, but of yourself. It is a safeguard."

 

At this point we went to dinner. Later in the evening, when we had returned to the pencil, Cass said:

 

"You were facetious last night, Frederick, so perhaps I may ask if you have dined?"

 

"I've had a feast of reason, thank you," was the instant retort.

 

Asked whether the different races were represented where he was, he replied: "We have groups. People naturally divide themselves. But not actual race distinction." When Cass explained that he had wondered whether peoples of widely differing religious beliefs, Christians, Confucians, Mohammedans, and so on, would be together there, Frederick continued: "Certainly. Each group does its work more or less in its own way, but all to the same purpose." Here again is a clear reference to conditions and forces of which we had then no knowledge and concerning which, apparently, he had at that time no authority to speak in detail.

 

Mrs. Gaylord was sitting in silence, at a little distance from the table. After a pause, Frederick began again, as if in answer to some unspoken thought:


 

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"Mother dearest, you will get what you are asking from me when we are all more accustomed. Margaret is afraid to let me handle her." I said that the Kendal episode the night before had disturbed me, and that I had been careful all day not to yield to any impulse in the pencil unless it were very definite, to which he returned: "That's all right. You be as careful as you like, as long as you don't deny us."

 

Cass asked whether he could put us in touch with a friend on his plane, one David Bruce.

 

"Mary Kendal can. That is part of her work. Mother dearest, you won't backslide?"

 

Mrs. Gaylord turned astonished eyes Oil me, asking: "Is 'backslide' a part of your ordinary vocabulary?" When I assured her that it was not, she laughed, saying that it was "a Gaylord word." "I'm not sure that I won't backslide when I get home again, away from these daily messages," she said.

 

"Then you come to us—Margaret and me. We'll fix you!" He drew a circle around this, as if to emphasize it. When she wondered whether she might not find a messenger nearer home to give her occasional help, he added: "You can get help, but you can't trust everybody."

 

The pencil was moving slowly, with many


 

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false starts and delays. I asked whether he would prefer planchette, and he said he would, so his mother went to her room to get it, while Mary Kendal talked to us about Manse. As soon as planchette was placed on the table, however, Frederick took possession again, moving it briskly back and forth, in a space of about six inches, as if warming it up. Mrs. Gaylord was then sitting opposite me, and Cass to the right, some distance away.

 

Suddenly planchette swung sharply down to the lower right­hand corner of the table, from my position, and addressing Mrs. Gaylord directly that is, writing from right to left and upside down from my viewpoint, so that his mother sitting opposite me read it as it came—Frederick wrote rapidly and strongly:

 

"Mother dearest, this is your boy, come back to stay."

 

We were astounded. Given a fresh surface, planchette raced all over the sheet, in energetic circles and flourishes. It ran toward me, point first, as if it would leap off the table, paused, wheeled, crossed toward Mrs. Gaylord, retreated, darted to where her hand lay on the papers, followed as she moved it, and then resumed its apparently meaningless tracing of angles and circles. When I said that I did not understand this performance, the reply


 

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came with a whirl, followed by one of his big flourishes.

 

"I am trying to show you that I am running this myself!" Then, very rapidly, upside down again to me: "You can't doubt this. Even Margaret can't doubt this."

 

"I haven't doubted that you were here, Frederick, I said. "No, but you've got to believe in me."

 

Again I placed the instrument at my left, in readiness to write, as usual, across the sheet, but he had not finished. Swinging down to the right, and moving toward the left, once more reversed from my point of view, he wrote: "Mother dearest." Then he ran to the upper right-hand corner and wrote along that edge of the table: "Now I'll do it this way, Mr. L——." In circles and flourishes be crossed, to write along the left edge: "Now I'll do it this way." Up then, to the edge opposite me. "Now I'll do it this way."

 

By this time the paper was completely covered with interlacing lines and words, except a narrow margin along the right edge. Sliding over to this, he wrote, slowly, "Now are you convinced?"

 

We were amazed, breathless, and all somewhat moved by his determination to demonstrate his presence.


 

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Circling again to the center, already so covered with lines that we had to watch the pencil-point to make out the message, he said: "Now get the pencil."

 

"Did I show you then who is running this?" he demanded, when I had complied with his request. "Mother dearest, when you are inclined to backslide, remember that little exhibition, and ask yourself how you can doubt any manifestation of me that you perceive."

 

Mrs. Gaylord said that it was peculiarly characteristic of Frederick to insist upon making his point, and in one way or another to succeed.

 

"Dad won't need to see that," Frederick stated, when Cass wished that his father might have witnessed this extraordinary performance, "but if he does, I'll do it for him with trimmings…. He has not lost a son in any but the most superficial sense. Tell Sis I'll do stunts for her, too, if she'll come where Margaret is, and Babe can have her own show, too."

 

Again Mrs. Gaylord gasped, for he had used his own intimate names for his sisters, neither of which I had ever heard before.

 

"Now we re really getting down to business," he remarked, presently. "I had to convince Margaret before she would loosen


 

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up." Cass began to explain that it had not been necessary to convince me, but before he was fairly started the pencil ran on: "Yes, it was. She didn't quite believe I was running this show. Now she's nice and amenable." Verily, all resistance had been taken out of me! Thereafter he had his own way with the pencil.

 

Cass began another question, but broke off, saying that it was not fair to keep Frederick answering impersonal inquiries when he wanted to talk to his mother.

 

"That's what it's all for," was the candid admission. "The L—— s are all right, but it's for Mother dearest and the Family that I'm here…. This isn't exactly what religious people call heaven, but it is life eternal in the biggest sense. But I can't be quite happy in it unless you whom I love so much are happy, too. Don't you backslide! Only let me have a chance, and I'll keep you convinced; but doubt is the hardest thing to combat because it destroys the very proof we are trying to bring against it. Believe every suggestion of me until it is proved false."

 

One of us asked whether their greatest difficulties in communicating with us were caused by doubt or by dishonest messengers.

 

"Both. It is hard to find a good messenger,


 

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but, having found one, doubt is apt to destroy all his work."

 

"All four points of the compass, Mother dearest." This we took to be an allusion to his writing along the four edges of the table, earlier in the evening. "You see, we have not much time left, and you must go home fortified and happy, and glad for yourself and me…. It will mean a lot to Dad. He has thought I was in some remote and far-off heaven, and he will like to know that we are working more nearly shoulder to shoulder than ever before, as we are in some ways…. I want to talk to him straight." Long afterward one of his sisters told me that "shoulder to shoulder" was a characteristic phrase of Frederick's.

 

Again sliding over to the lower right-hand corner, he wrote quickly, in big swinging script, upside down to me: "Mother dearest, don't forget the four points of the compass. I want you to remember that I am your boy come back. Not lost at ail. Please remember that."

 

When a fresh surface offered and the pencil was placed at my left, as usual, he said, "No," and swung once more down to the right, writing quickly and firmly toward the left and upside down to me.


 

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"I am going to write a little letter to Dad and the girls. I love them just as well as ever, and it hurts me to have them think I am not alive and loving them, because I know they still love me.

 

"FREDERICK."

 

Although the movement in this reversed writing is rapid and definite, as if great energy were exerted to accomplish it, it is extremely difficult to follow, perhaps because the muscles of the hand are accustomed to move from left to right in writing, or because the mind instinctively resists a movement it cannot readily understand.

 

PART - 05