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The Seven Purposes by Margaret Cameron 1867 - 1947

 

II

 

MEANWHILE, happy letters were coming almost daily from the Gaylord family, and less frequently, but with expressions of equal conviction, from Mr. Kendal.

 

Mrs. Gaylord had promised to spend Easter week with relatives, in a Middle Western town, which she had not visited—indeed, had scarcely dared to think of—since taking Frederick's body there for burial; and the day after the second Lesson was given she arrived in New York, where she paused briefly en route, her elder daughter and son-in-law joining her the next morning.

 

Although her train arrived late in the evening, we talked a little to Frederick before separating for the night. We had been commenting on her changed appearance.

 

"Mother dearest, you are not much differenter than I am," he began, after the usual signature.

 

"Why, Frederick!" she exclaimed. "Are you better, too?"


 

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He made the enthusiastic little circle so often used. "(O) So much better! You can't guess how much better I am. It helps me as much as it does you."

 

"Were you at Mrs. Z——'s the other day?" she asked, referring to a visit to a "medium," of which I had not been informed.

 

"I was that, but she fell down on what I was trying to get over," was the reply. When his mother said she had not received what she expected on that occasion, he returned: "Nor what we expected…. She's all right, as far as she goes." He told her, also, that the woman accompanying him, described by Mrs. Z——, had been his father's mother.

 

"This is a nice, peaceful powwow we're having to-night," he commented, when they had exchanged views concerning various personal matters. "I had to work last time, but this time I'm here for…"

 

The pencil paused, and I asked: "For what?"

 

"Just for a good time, Mrs. L——. Sis is coming to the party to­morrow. Hooray!"

 

A little later, when she expressed some uncertainty about her ability to go through an Easter in K——, with all its sad associations, unshaken, he warned her: "Don't you go backsliding!" Continuing, she told us that his last illness had developed just before Easter,


 

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and that in his desire to give the family an unclouded day he had persuaded a friend to send them a typewritten letter, which he signed, containing no intimation of his illness.

 

"I'll write you a letter this Easter with a lot more pep in it," he promised. "You go on and have your Easter presents, and flowers, and eggs, and all, and when you begin back sliding, stop… look… listen1… and I'll be on the crossing, ringing the bell."

 

With an ejaculation of surprise, his mother told us that she had been recently in the home of a traffic expert, whose large hall was strikingly decorated with signs for the regulation of traffic.

 

"I believe that's what he's thinking of!" she exclaimed.

 

"Sure, you've got it! I'll ask Sis to buy you a bell for me, to remind you."

 

This diversion had completely banished the gathering sadness of her reminiscences, and she began talking of Washington, whence she had come, saying that there seemed to be a good deal of pessimism in official circles concerning war conditions. It will be remembered that the bombardment of Paris, by a long-distance gun, began March 23d.

 

 

1Each of these words was written in larger script than the preceding one.


 

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"There are lots of things Washington doesn't know," Frederick assured her. "The end of the war must come soon."

 

We wondered, as I had before, how much difference there was between his conception of time, as indicated by the word "soon," and ours.

 

"None of us can name the day and hour, but we see the inevitable end coming soon. Germany knows she is weakened, but doesn't know why. We do, and we have told you. No nation on earth can fight this fight alone, deserted by all purposes, both for good and evil, and with only one force left—Fear."

 

[Long afterward, Mary K. said to me, in this connection: "We see the awakening purpose of forces for progress in your life, and are able to help them in proportion to the vigor with which that purpose is put into action. Germany, on the other hand, fights now with only physical power. Eternal forces are implacably against her, and the forces of destruction have abandoned her. She has no ally here now. Her unity is destroyed, while ours is strengthening. The only danger, as far as the war is concerned, lies in a weakening of actual purpose, forcefully expressed in action. We are your allies, answering your call and inciting you to endeavor. When Germany


 

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began this war she had superhuman strength, which the world was unprepared to meet, but for every vibration of pure constructive purpose among the Allied forces we have added two, and only a weakening of your purpose can defeat us now. Every individual among you who fails to strive for victory with all his strength invites disaster."]

 

Frederick's talk with his mother was brief that night, and when she arose, to return to her hotel, he said: "Good night. I am going home with you, if I may."

 

This seemed to Cass and me a curious phrase, under the circumstances, and we also commented upon his generous use of slang, especially in the latest interview, wondering whether it were characteristic of him.

 

The next morning his sister, Mrs. Wylie, arrived with her husband, to spend a day with Mrs. Gaylord in New York. It chanced that they had been away from home for several weeks and had seen none of Frederick's manuscript, nor any copy of it. As she read—from the original roll—his messages of the preceding evening, she constantly exclaimed: "How characteristic!" and his closing phrase brought tears to her eyes. She told me, then, that along with a copious use of slang, Frederick had preserved an odd little formality of phrase,


 

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even in his closest personal relations—a trait not common to other members of the family.

 

Later, in glancing for the first time through the typewritten record of earlier interviews, again and again she expressed astonishment at the characteristic quality of his phraseology, which had not been mentioned to me before. Mrs. Gaylord had spoken of her vivid consciousness of his personality, imbuing all he said to her, and had told me, during the earlier days of this intercourse, more or less about his habit of thought, but it is characteristic of her to ignore minor details, and only when Mrs. Wylie arrived did I learn anything about his habit of speech.

 

"Frederick," he announced, when we invited communication, his bold signature stretching across the whole width of the paper. "Hello, Sis! This is too good not to be true! Hello, Dick!" This to Mr. Wylie, whose marriage to his sister had taken place during the last weeks of his illness. "Welcome home to the family! We're all in it now, for good and all. This is the thing we've all needed, I almost as much as the rest of you, but I did know that sooner or later it must come, so I could bear it better than you could."

 

It must not be understood that all these communications came as consecutively as they


 

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are presented here. There were frequent pauses; sometimes because of our preoccupation in conversation; sometimes, apparently, because of difficulties of transmission not explained. Occasionally I stopped to verify a word or a phrase, asking if it had been correctly taken, and with increasing frequency the pencil returned without suggestion from me, to cross out false starts. Some of the latter, which seemed significant, will be indicated from time to time. The following message, however, came rapidly, without pause.

 

"We are all of kindred purposes. That's the reason we cling to each other so. Family, hasn't a thing to do with it. It was our good fortune to have no forces of disintegration in our immediate group. We are all builders, in one way or another Not all in the same way, but all for the great purpose. This is one of the things I have wanted to say to you. Don't be misled by transient relationships of that life. Respect them, but don't be eternally influenced by them, because when you get over here you'll find that some of the people you've thought you were most fond of have simply dropped out. You don't need them, nor they you. Find your purposes clearly, and stick to them. We all have purpose, but not all of you there have found out just what yours is.


 

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Find it, and follow it fearlessly. There, that's off my chest!"

 

Mr. Wylie spoke of the "upside-down stunt," of which some one had written him, and I said it had been done chiefly to convince me—to show me, in Frederick's phrase," who was running it."

 

"You know now who is running it," he contributed, "but you're certainly formal with strangers!"

 

In the midst of some talk of ours, the pencil swung off with vigor, writing, "Sis!" in huge script, like a joyous exclamation, ending in strong circles. "Just wait till I catch Dad!" he went on. "And Babe, too! All of us together! Margaret will have to forget her formality then, I tell you!"

 

Mrs. Wylie mentioned the common impression that personality must be transmuted by death into something remote and strange— that only the soul survived. "Of course, we love the soul of any one dear to us," she said. "But, after all, the thing we know best, and therefore love best, is the habit of thought—the characteristic mental attitude, and it is so wonderful to find Frederick unchanged—just like himself."

 

"Sure! Why not?" he returned. "You people must learn that this isn't 'like himself.' It is himself. Right here on the job,"


 

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“Those words!" His mother and sister exchanged startled glances. Then they told me that just before his long struggle for life on this plane ended, when during six months his powers of recuperation had repeatedly astonished surgeons and nurses, he opened his eyes, to find his father bending over him, and whispered for the last time: "On the job."

 

"I've always been on it since, too," he rapidly assured them, "and longing to tell you so. You never can know, until you try it, how we hate to be left out. We're on the job as you can't even imagine, and it makes us sort o' sick that we can't get it over to you of our own love and purpose."

 

He interrupted the talk following this with: Trot along to lunch! I want to start going and not stop. Get it over, do!"

 

So we trotted, and got it over as soon as possible, though throughout the meal he insisted upon having a voice in the conversation, writing messages on all the blank paper we had about us, and over the backs of the available menu cards.

 

"You can't lose me, and needn't try," he told me, and when I protested that he was making it impossible for me to finish my luncheon, he retorted: "You have a perfectly good left hand. Eat with that,"


 

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Several times Mr. Wylie expressed his interest in what he called "the upside-down stunt," and when we were again seated about a writing-table, Frederick "demonstrated."

 

"Incidentally, Dick," he mentioned, starting at my right and writing toward my left, "you wanted to see this work. Well, here you are. This is the way it is done."

 

As this began, Mrs. Gaylord smiled, pulling her chair nearer to the table, where she could watch every movement of the pencil.

 

"Sit up closer, Mother dearest," Frederick continued, "and everybody hold hands." Looking slightly bewildered, she held out her hands to the others. I said that he had used a figure of speech, but she thought he had meant it literally, and we referred the question to him. "Yes, all but your writing-hand," he said; so we all joined hands, and I asked why.

 

"Just to make us know more surely that we are all one and indivisible, from now on through eternity. Easter resurrection for every one of us. We are all born again, to some extent, by our communion in this way; I more than you, because I have left the flesh behind. But to you has come new life, new force, new purpose, new faith, through your touch with this life of pure spirit. It is truly your resurrection.


 

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This is your Easter message. Hail! And be happy ever after!"

 

I anticipated none of this message, and its tenor surprised me greatly. Before I had recovered from my astonishment Mrs. Gaylord exclaimed: "That must be the Easter letter he promised me!" Immediately he signed it. "Frederick, to Mother and all of you."

 

We spoke of the relation of this whole revelation to orthodox religion, and some one said that it was not in accordance with the Bible.

 

"Yes., it is," he contradicted. "You have never learned to read the Bible in this light. The great prophecies have always been phrased in the language, and more or less in the spirit, of the time in which they were uttered. This is the first time in the history of the world when physical science has been sufficiently advanced to enable us to tell the people the truth in terms they would truly understand. Prophecies have been veiled, apparently, not because the truth was vague, but because men were not prepared to understand it in all its details. Nor are they now. But this is to be the whole truth, as far as it can be understood now by your prophets and people. And for the first time it is possible to give it to you directly in this way, without pretense or mystery,


 

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book or bell, a natural law operating naturally and freely, through an accredited messenger who makes no claim to inspiration."

 

In the course of our drifting talk his mother remembered that Mrs. Z—— had tried to convey a warning through her from Frederick to Mr. Wylie, but had been unable to tell her what it concerned. After some effort to discover its connection, suggesting possible journeys or business ventures, Mrs. Z—— had finally said that Dick was about to do something, she did not know what; but whatever it was, Frederick said he must not do it. Mrs. Gaylord now asked Frederick what he had intended to say.

 

"She didn't get my message. I was trying to tell him not to be fearful about anything." Mr. Wylie is sometimes prey to nervous apprehension and worry. "It keeps us back and we can't help him as we're trying to do. Open up, Dick! Let us in and we'll all pull together." This apparently touched some situation unknown to me, for Mr. and Mrs. Wylie exchanged glances, and instantly Frederick made his quick circles. "(O) That's it! Now we're off! No, it isn't incredible," he added, replying to some comment of theirs. "It's the truest thing you ever heard. But Mrs. Z—— can't get beyond externals."


 

it.

"

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This seems to be a very good example of the way certain messages are confused by the persons through whom they come. In this case, while the intended warning was conveyed, a purely subjective and spiritual message was so distorted, however unconsciously and unintentionally, that it was given an objective and material significance.

 

Asked whether an acquaintance of theirs would be helped by a knowledge of their intercourse with him, he said: "She is not ready for this yet. Few people, comparatively, are free enough to accept it. It has been forbidden by the church, ridiculed by the laity, and labelled 'poison, don't touch' by neurologists and the scientific, half-baked intellectuals."

 

"Fake mediums have done a lot to bring it into disrepute," Mr. Wylie suggested.

 

"That's the reason for some of it. Another reason, less obvious to you, but equally potent, is that people who had the sensitiveness to be messengers frequently lacked the purpose of truth fundamentally, and though thinking they were honest, entertained devils unaware…. That is the reason so many people have gone to pieces, mentally and physically. The purposes of disintegration caught them and destroyed them. But this time, we beat them to


 

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"All philosophies have had some foundation of truth," he told us, a little later, "or they would not have been permitted to live. This new faith will be attacked by the disintegrating forces, in an attempt to discredit it as a patchwork of philosophies. The new truths they will ignore, or flatly deny. But this is the whole truth, as far as it can be told now. Believe it, follow it, preach it, live it, and we shall truly build that structure I told you of, Mother dearest, of force, light, and sweetness—which is you. I seem to be doing a darned lot of preaching!"

 

"It isn't like you, either," his mother remarked.

 

"You see, we've got to get this over. It's imperative."

 

At that, she said it was like him, after all, because he had always talked eagerly to the family about his "job," whatever it might be, adding: "Is it 'imperative' because of the war and the sorrow? Or because the time is ripe?"

 

"It's because there's the very devil of a fight coming, and we've got to gather every force we have, and unite it."

 

"Is beating the Germans helping the constructive force? Or is the war merely the awakening through suffering?"

 

"Germany has been united in purpose as a


 

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destructive force for many years. They gave themselves deliberately, not as individuals, but as a people, to what parsons call the powers of darkness. We know them to be forces of disintegration, which found in Germany their strongest ally in the civilized world. We've been fighting Germany and her purposes here for years, I find. Suffering makes people readier to listen to truth, but beating Germany was as necessary to the world's health as sanitation to a hospital."

 

"That's a clear and explicit statement," some one said.

 

"We are perfectly definite and explicit about questions of eternal purpose. The difficulty with most people is that they want to know how much U. S. Steel will go up next Tuesday, or whether to give the baby soothing-syrup."

 

After some interchange concerning his father and younger sister, he said, "I want to write them an Easter greeting." So we got a fresh roll of paper, and he wrote a brief but tender letter, which was sent to them that night.

 

"Which one of us will be best able to do this?" Mrs. Wylie asked.

 

"… The time will come when this sort of thing is unnecessary. We can talk without material aid…. We never know when the power is going to develop. It's much like an


 

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electric current. You never know it's there until you feel it—until your signal comes over the wire…. Try it out, all of you. We know no more about who can do it than you do, except in cases of extraordinary power." Some time afterward, however, he warned them of the dangers of attempting to handle this force, intimating that great conservation of energy in other directions should accompany the endeavor.

 

His mother spoke of his being happy, and he returned: "Perfectly happy now, thank you. It's the eternal thing, really started. I hate to have this party break up, but anyhow it isn't for long. I've been away longer, when I lived there, than I shall be now, and we are all of us as sure of the next meeting, and the next good time, as we were then."

 

"He knows it is ending, and we must go to our trains," Mrs. Gaylord said.

 

"Not ending at all. Beginning! Hooray!"

 

On that triumphant note they took their departure, Mrs. Gaylord westward bound, the Wylies to New England; but, owing to a defective timepiece, both missed their trains. Within an hour, Mrs. Wylie telephoned me that her mother had caught—by the narrowest margin—a later train, hoping to secure sleeping­accommodation after leaving, a dubious


 

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venture in these days of diminished service and crowded trains. We arranged to dine and spend the evening together.

 

Afterward, it occurred to me that Frederick might prefer to be with his mother that night, and I asked Mary K. about it.

 

"Frederick has engaged his mother in (O)…"

 

"What does that mean now?" I interrupted. Bliss?" "Yes… and will come here to-night to see the others."

 

PART - 3