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The Seven Purposes by Margaret Cameron 1867 - 1947

 

V

 

THE next day (Monday, March 11th) we all returned to New York together, Mrs. Gaylord rejoining us in the evening, after dining with other friends.

 

Before her arrival, we talked a little to Mary Kendal, who was still uneasy about the failure to reach her husband, from whom no word had come. We asked if she knew David Bruce, and she replied: "No, but he is here, and most of us know what he does. He is a sweet force."

 

When Mrs. Gaylord came, we told her of this characterization, after some personal talk with Frederick, and at once he took up the suggestion.

 

"Mother dearest, you are a sweet force, too. Help me build a structure of strength, which is Dad, sweetness, which is you, and illumination, which is my part."

 

We remembered then his asking her to clear away the debris of things outlived and begin the new structure with me," but


 

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not until greater revelations followed did we understand fully what he meant.

 

A little later he said of his father: "He will discover that I am more a force than ever, and then he will be as proud as men who have sons 'over there.'… Should you prefer a son in the trenches or in the place of accomplished peace?… I am nearer you now than I have ever been before, but the price of that is apparent separation. Your life knows no such companionship as ours can be now, but that, is possible only at the cost of apparent and visible contact. This is gain, not loss. You are questioning that, but trust me. I know. You can't even guess what this means to all of us, Sis and Babe and Dad and you and FREDERICK."

 

His name was dropped a line, like a signature.

 

it was coming slowly, with hesitations and false starts, and I asked: "Are you tired, Frederick? Or am I?"

 

"Both," he said. "This is not the simplest thing I ever did…. I am not tired, as you understand weariness, but it is easier sometimes to get things through than others."

 

The next evening—the last we had with Frederick at that time— his first messages were personal, expressing his desire to "talk straight" to other members of the family.


 

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"But there's no hurry," he went on. "We've all eternity together now…. Only one thing can separate us. If you doubt my existence, I shall still exist, but your doubt will destroy the thread that links us like a telegraph—wire, only more closely and warmly. So you must not backslide, for my sake as well as your own."

 

"Why don't you stay on?" he asked presently. "I can reach you, but not so definitely for a while to your sense, and actual speech with you is keen joy. Tell Dad…."—the erasure is his own—"… the family I want to talk to them, too. Let's have a reunion. One that won't leave me out. I want to be in." Rapidly and strongly, he underlined the last words three times.

 

His mother promised that the family festivals should be held again, in the full consciousness that he was there with them.

 

"Thank you, Mother dearest. You don't know how we hate being left out." When she explained that they were "left out" ignorantly, rather than intentionally, he continued: "No, we know you don't mean to leave us out. But you—and we, too—would be so much happier if you knew we were there and we could know you were not grieving. You see, we are really nearer to you than you are


 

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to each other, and only memory tells us why you grieve. There is no reason for grief in what you call death and we call knowledge."

 

"Why hasn't all this been told to us before?" she demanded. "It was cruel not to let us know it!"

 

"As I wrote you the other day, not everybody has been prepared for the knowledge. It is known only to the few—those first over the top I spoke of. But it will be the next great revelation. As well say it was cruel not to have known chloroform in the Middle Ages, when it was sorely needed, or wireless telegraphy in the Napoleonic wars. There is an evolution of soul, as well as of biology and chemistry. Many fine souls have still lacked this peculiar preparation."

 

This started a little discussion between us. One said that many persons had lost faith in the orthodox religions, thus making the need of a new revelation great. Another spoke disparagingly of the modern theory of a pervasive and impersonal energy, from which we come and to which we return, losing individuality. At this point Frederick took the lead again.

 

"Don't you let them fool you! There is no such thing as Bergson's stream of energy, unless every individual of us is a well­defined drop in the stream. That is all a philosopher's


 

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dream, coated with poetry and tinctured with science."

 

Mrs. Gaylord said she had never heard of Frederick's reading Bergson, and I mentioned that I had read nothing of his, except one article in a review.

 

"I never read Bergson, either, but you could not live in the world, or pick up a Sunday supplement, some years ago, without encountering that stream of energy."

 

"There speaks the newspaper man!" his mother said, laughing.

 

During all these talks with Frederick he had frequently made the little retraced circle, which we had been told meant joy. He made it again now, with vigor, and some one suggested that he seemed excited.

 

"Wouldn't it excite you to get into actual touch with your family, after long doubt and pain? I am no angel, you know, and thank God I am not above being excited. When I am I will be dead!" Again he underscored a word.

 

Mrs. Gaylord spoke of her feeling of his presence, of his characteristic personality, saying that he seemed "just the same."

 

"Plus, Mother dear. You'd like me better now. I don't mean that I am perfect, you know. I've got more to learn than I ever knew existed, but I can see ahead now. And


 

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you would like me better…. I didn't say love me better," he added.

 

We talked about the force moving the pencil, which on this occasion was very strongly applied, though I was greatly fatigued by the efforts of the past few days, and I asked Frederick whether he could move it without my co-operation. But he said, "Only as you hold it." To a suggestion that he expressed himself not through the pencil, but through me, he replied, "She is like the battery."

 

From the first Mrs. Gaylord had been experimenting with planchette and pencil, hoping to establish direct communication with Frederick. While placing more emphasis on a possible communion of thought, without material aid, he had encouraged these efforts. "Mother, you can do it, I am sure," he said once, "but don't expect much fluency for some time. I have not written except through Margaret yet, but they tell me she is exceptionally sensitive as a messenger."

 

Referring to this, he was asked whether others, not known to me personally, had desired to communicate through me, and replied: "No, but they have watched her, this last week." Ten days later, when the most amazing of all the communications began to come, we remembered this. After enumerating


 

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some of the qualifications of a good messenger, he said: "When that combination is found we are all interested, if we want to reach our own people."

 

"Are you over there especially interested in reaching your own families and friends, or in reaching persons who might be interested in the possibility of these communications?"

 

"Both. But if you have ever been unable to communicate with those you love, for months and years, and have known they were suffering, then you know which interest is keenest. The one is immediate and urgent, the other more or less a matter of evolution."

 

"Shall I try to talk to some of you occasionally?" I asked. "Or shall I wait for a call?"

 

"You are over the top. We shall be glad to come."

 

"Can you let me know, if you have something to say through me?"

 

"Not always. Sometimes we can suggest the thought to you."

 

Since that time, however, a more perfect connection has been established and I am often conscious of a definite summons. On these occasions the pencil starts at once, generally with great vigor, and almost always writes some message not conveyed to my consciousness except as I spell it out after the pencil.


 

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Toward the end of the evening, when Mrs. Gaylord had suggested going back to her hotel, the pencil made a little circle and some apparently aimless marks inside it.

 

"Is this Frederick?" I asked, wondering at indecision from him.

 

"Yes. I want to do something Mother can't forget…. You don't need any more fancy stunts, do you?"

 

She said she did not, but that she was very tired and could stay no longer.

 

"Oh, don't go!" he begged. "I'll go with you, but I like gassing this way." Another characteristic phrase, she said.

 

After some further assurances of his frequent presence and constant watchfulness, she said she really must go. Frederick then moved the pencil down to the right corner again, and wrote, very clearly and carefully, one more "upside-down" message—a touching little message of love to "dear Dad and the girls," which he signed, "Your boy, Frederick."

 

The next day Mrs. Gaylord went home, where she immediately destroyed all her black-bordered cards and stationery and similar symbols of mourning. She wrote me that she felt it was false and wicked to mourn for a son as vitally alive and happy as she now knew Frederick to be.

 

PART - 06