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The Seven Purposes by Margaret Cameron 1867 - 1947

 

VII

 

IT seemed to me that if Mr. Kendal had not received my letters, and was in possession only of the meager information contained in my telegram, it was best that he should read the record of the earlier interviews with his wife before coming to communicate with her, and to that end the book containing the whole story was to be sent to his club before his arrival. Having decided this, it occurred to me to consult Mary K., who emphatically negatived the plan.

 

"No. Mary Kendal is most anxious to tell him herself now." She told us to make brief explanations, adding: "All he needs now is Mary Kendal."

 

Shortly afterward Mary K.'s now familiar summons—an indescribable sensation in the arm or hand—recalled me to the pencil, and she wrote, quickly and firmly: "Mary Kendal wants you to change your record."

 

Surprised, I asked what change she wished, and was told to take out everything relating to her banishment from Mansfield's life, because


 

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THE SEVEN PURPOSES she preferred to tell him that in her own way. "Shall I show him the record at all?" I asked.

 

"Yes, but take that out first." Fortunately, the record is kept in a loose-leaf, typewritten book, so this was not difficult.

 

As the day wore on I grew more and more nervous. Suppose he should be more hurt than helped? Suppose we should fail? Rarely in my life have I dreaded anything so much, or felt so little confidence in anything I had deliberately undertaken to do. By nine o'clock I was in a nervous chill. Meanwhile Mr. Kendal telephoned that he had found my letters, which had been returned to his club, and that he would join us presently.

 

Upon his arrival he told us that he had been one of the early members of the Society for Psychical Research in this country, and had spent several years investigating phenomena of this nature, together with various other young men, under the general supervision of Prof. William James, Dr. Minot Savage, and others of that group. He mentioned some of the frauds and self­deceptions uncovered at that time, but said he believed the ultimate conclusion to have been that there were certain well­authenticated phenomena for which no


 

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Nothing that he said, however, indicated to the slightest degree his attitude toward the question in hand, and I received an impression that his mood was critical, which steadied me. The disappointment, should we fail, would be less hideous. In the end, he suggested a trial, and after preparing the table, Cass left us alone.

 

The pencil started almost immediately, with a strange, jerkily rhythmical movement—due possibly to Mary's agitation, possibly to mine, but wrote very distinctly, without pause or faltering. It was evident at once that the message conveyed more to him than its words suggested.

 

Much later in the evening he told me that for some time after Mary left him he had believed that if she still existed anywhere in the universe she would contrive somehow to let him know; but as months had passed into with no sign from her, while never entirely losing faith in the continued integrity of the individual after death, his despair had deepened with his growing conviction that "the drop that was Mary" had been swept on in the stream and forever lost to him. Widely read in philosophies and unable to forget them, steeped—despite his practical occupation—


 

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in scientific and intellectual theory, he had feared to rely upon a reunion in a future of which no proof had been given him, lest he be grounding his faith in the sands of his own hope.

 

It was to this unhappy conviction—a conviction so strong in its negation that for a time she had been unable to penetrate in any way the psychic atmosphere it created—that she addressed herself in those first written lines. She used, also, her intimate name for him, which I had never heard, and his for her, which I knew, although I supposed the peculiar spelling used on this occasion to be an error, until he told me otherwise.

 

He asked one or two questions about personal matters,—which I assumed to be in the nature of tests, which she answered briefly, though not very specifically, concluding: "I cannot tell you anything to-night, except that I am so happy. I had lost you, and you are found again. Let me talk to you to-morrow."

 

Some time later he wanted to know why he could not read her mind direct, and she replied: "You can, in time, if you will let me in, and learn. We can have such communion as we never had before, because one veil is now removed. But that will take time to learn. It is true. It can be…. Take me into your


 

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heart and soul joyfully, without resentment or grief, and you will soon learn to read my thoughts as I have read yours since I seemed to leave you.

 

"Then I can tell you things that I cannot say through any messenger…. You can learn…. All I want now is to convince you that I am alive and longing to be with you and to have communication directly with you. It is impossible for me to do that alone. But I had to reach you somehow, and Margaret was the first way I found."

 

We talked a little of the possibility of his establishing direct communication with her. I asked whether he could use a pencil in this way, and she returned: "Yes, if he will try every day, he could in time, I think. There is always a way for us to reach our dearest ones, if they only persevere."

 

During a pause, with the pencil-point still resting on the paper, I told him of Mary K.'s assertion that eons ago some of us had been one and that we still continue one in purpose. Mary Kendal took it up immediately.

 

"Manzie, you and I are the same purpose. That is the reason that, once reunited, we cannot be separated, except by our deliberate yielding to a different and disintegrating purpose. That is the eternal battle—between the


 

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purposes of progress and building and the purposes of disintegration. It goes on in your life, and it goes on less bitterly in ours. Help me build, as we began, toward the great unity…. All of us here are working against those forces of disintegration so rife in your life now, and every bit of retention of unity that is for upbuilding helps us and helps the great purpose for which we work…. You and I began working for that long ago, and each of us will always continue to work for it. But we shall be happier if we do it consciously together…. Don't think of me as far away…. We will welcome to our unity anything or anybody who strengthens the purpose, but let us always hold fast to each other."

 

Here was the first actual statement, however brief and incomplete, of that theory of life which seems—to us who received it first, at least—so rational, and so full of inspiration and hope.

 

Referring to her phrase, "all of us here," he asked: "Is 'here' a place, or a state, or both?"

 

"Both," she answered, quickly. "It is the beginning of eternal life." After a moment, she added: "The state is fluid; the place is ephemeral."

 

"I believe it!" he exclaimed. "That's more nearly an explanation than anything I ever heard before."


 

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"This is more nearly the truth than anything you ever heard before. That's why…. Truth in your life is comparative. Here it is absolute, but not dogmatic."

 

He said that she had not been given to the use of a philosophic vocabulary in this life, and must have acquired it there, to which, at the moment, she made no response.

 

Some time after Cass rejoined us Mr. Kendal asked how much farther, or how much more clearly, they could see about purely business or political matters than we.

 

"We can see much farther, but we are not permitted to tell you, except by ethical suggestion. Part of your development comes through your struggle to decide, and while we see your struggle, we can help only by giving you as much of our strength and light as you can take. It is a moral universe, Manzie." The underscoring is hers.

 

Out of his wide experience with psychic phenomena, he gave me much comfort regarding the inaccuracies and misleading statements that had so greatly disquieted me. He argued that these discrepancies might easily be caused by some factor or factors unknown to us, operating on another plane, and was entirely untroubled by them. In this connection, Mary K. said to me the next day: "We


 

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THE SEVEN PURPOSES regard things successfully started as accomplished."

 

[Some weeks later Mr. Kendal suggested another possible reason for these apparent inaccuracies, using as a comparison a familiar experiment in physics. He reminded us that if a rod be projected in a straight line between the eye and a coin at the bottom of a bowl of water, its tip will miss the coin by a distance varying with the angle of vision and the depth of the water. Assuming that the difference between this plane and the next must be vastly greater than that between air and water, he argued that there might be a factor comparable to this deflection of ray influencing their perception of material, specific details of this plane a simile which Mary K. subsequently characterized as "almost perfect."]

 

It was three o'clock in the morning when Mr. Kendal left us to return to his club—but he went convinced. Like Mrs. Gaylord, his confidence was inspired not only by the temper and tenor of the messages he had received, but by the accompanying consciousness of a familiar personality, akin to the certainty of identity one feels in talking to a friend by telephone or in reading a characteristic letter. Like her, too, he said that in several instances his unspoken thought had been directly answered.


 

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The next day we resumed our conversation—for it amounted to that—with Mary.

 

"There will be hours, and sometimes days, when you cannot feel me, just at first," she warned him. "But I beg of you, do not let the doubts prevail. I shall be there, unless that disintegrating force drives me away. That's a power we here cannot fight alone. Faith is not the desire to believe, as some men have said. It is the thread that connects your life and ours, and when it is broken we are powerless to reach you."

 

We spoke again of inaccuracies concerning mundane activities, and he elaborated somewhat his theory that it is unwise to ask and unsafe to rely upon answers about concrete, specific things, because in translating them into terms of our plane we are apt to overlook some transforming, unknown factor, and so go wrong.

 

"Besides that," Mary took up the discussion, "you must work out your problem yourself. We can only help you definitely and directly in the larger things that pertain to the life of our purpose. Your present problem may be solved in any of several ways, and will perhaps affect the ephemeral part of your life. Your greater concern, and my only concern, is with the fluid part, which we shall share together always, now."


 

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He asked, after some further talk, whether there was danger of my being exploited or employed by malign influences—a suggestion entirely new to me—to which she replied in the negative, adding: "Trust us for that. Her own Purpose is definite, and with that foundation, we can protect her fully." Apparently she underestimated the strength of the enemy, or perhaps she merely disregarded the temporary confusion created by occasional sorties.

 

Thinking that he might know something about New Albany, Indiana, I told him of the Annie Manning episode and my failure to ascertain her brother's address. Our conversation was interrupted by an unsigned statement that the brother was not in New Albany, Indiana, but in Albany, New Hampshire, flatly contradicting a previous statement. My impatient comment was answered by an assurance that Annie Manning had recently passed to the next plane and was confused. A suggestion that possibly Annie Manning was one of the malign forces mentioned brought no response, unless Mary Kendal's next words constituted an indirect reply.

 

"Manzie dear,… you will have entirely different forces working against you, from those trying to control Margaret, but we will truly and surely protect you both."


 

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Again, following a period of silence, she wrote a brisk reply to his unspoken thought, adding, when he commented upon it: "You see, I do know what is in your mind, and the time may not be far away when you can read mine as clearly. I don't always answer your thought, because Margaret has still some fear of being deceived in her reception of my message, and it is hard, but as she works with us she will learn unconsciously to yield, just as you will learn to detect my presence."

 

"Is there anything I can do to help you or your work?" he asked. "Or must it be all take and no give with us?"

 

I have no record of her reply. She began by saying that any actively constructive effort here helped them there, because it helped the great purpose. This was followed by a message so intimately and exquisitely his that I felt it almost a desecration to be the messenger through whom it necessarily came. He took that part of the roll away with him, and I am glad to say that twenty­four hours later no word of it remained in my memory. It was truly his.

 

The next night he came again, very happily. She, too, was in a lightsome mood, and while there was some serious talk, most of it was pure effervescence, frequently witty, sometimes


 

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brilliant. Unfortunately, little of this may be quoted, either because of its too personal character or because, like much amusing conversation, it was too essentially of the mood and the moment to bear translation into type.

 

Constantly he exclaimed at the characteristic quality of her repartee, to my great surprise. I said that I had never seen this merry side of her, and had not dreamed that it existed, to which she replied: "You never saw us when we were not in trouble— before."

 

"Let me in and don't chafe," she told him, in one of her more serious moments, "and I can tell you much of what I see ahead. Grief, resentment, bitterness and doubt are our highest barriers. There is no cause for grief in a relation closer than your life there knows. There is no ground for resentment in the price we pay. There can be no bitterness in growth and development together— quicker growth, fuller development, than could be possible if one of us were not here. It is largely in the point of view, this thing that is called grief."

 

In the course of their drifting talk he asked her how to 90 about starting persons who have no starting-point—"no peg to hang things on."

 

"Sometimes a bomb is effective. But the fragments are not always efficient." We


 

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laughed, and she added: "They just have to wait and grow up, Manzie dear. We learn here that our frantic haste there has been foolish. Growth must take its own time…. No, I didn't!" I had called attention to her failure to cross a t, and she returned to it with a flourish. Several times thereafter she made a little joke by conspicuously dotting her i's.

 

In the midst of one ecstatic whirl she paused to inquire: "Who ever started the foolish notion that there was no life beyond that one? Was he a philosopher, or a dyspeptic, or both?" And again, following some amusing nonsense, "You don't think this would sound trivial to a scientific investigator, do you?"

 

"What's the matter with the scientific type of mind?" he asked. "Mostly it's pure intellect—and life isn't."

 

During another moment of jesting he said: "I don't think I'll bother to walk home. I'll just float."

 

"Come on! We'll float together," she retorted. "Do you raise that, or call?"

 

Laughing, be returned: "I'll pass the buck to Saint Peter," whereupon she intimated that Saint Peter was not immediately available.

 

"Who hold the keys?"

 

"You hold your own—not transferable." 85


 

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"You are mostly pure idealist," was another comment, a little later, replying to something he said about his own attitude toward life, "and got lost for a while in the dark." He began to say that he should hardly have called himself an idealist, but already she was answering. "A true idealist is not a man who limits life to ideas, but a man who puts his ideals into life."

 

One otherwise serious statement, concerning the influence of "hard-headed, intelligent men who are not afraid to testify to their faith" in these revelations, was given a humorous touch by the signature, "Missionary Mary."

 

"Do you want me to go forth and testify, also?" I asked.

 

"No, you do it, and that involves too much, she replied. "Let your converts testify. You go on playing hermit."

 

"Have you seen William James?" he asked.

 

"He is instructing many of us. Some of my newly acquired vocabulary he taught me. He is more certain and less philosophical than he was. The will to believe has given way to the duty of faith. He has learned more quickly than most do, because he is truly sincere and had cultivated his ground well. Now he is still a leader of thought and accomplishment, but


 

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his instruction is dynamic…. He is a very fine force, Manzie, and is doing magnificent work here, but he no longer smothers it in language."

 

Much of this parting interview must be omitted.

 

At nine o'clock Sunday night Mr. Kendal had approached this experience in a state of high nervous tension. At midnight on Tuesday, fifty-one hours later, he left us to return home, imbued, like Mrs. Gaylord, with the vitalizing quality of this touch with the unseen and carrying with him the happy conviction that he did not go alone.

 

PART - 08