I met a charming woman the
other night, quite different from anyone else I have met heretofore. She was no
less a woman because she weighed perhaps a milligramme instead of one hundred
and thirty pounds.
I was passing along a quiet road, and saw her
standing by a fountain. Who had created the fountain? I cannot say. There are
sculptors in this world who mould for the love of the work more beautiful
fountains than your sculptors mould for money. The joy of the workman in his
work! Why, that is heaven, is it not?
I saw a beautiful woman standing by a fountain; and as I love beauty, whether in
fountains or in women, I paused to regard both.
The lovelier of the two looked up and laughed.
“I was wishing for someone to talk to,” she said. “What a
wonderful world this is!”
“I am glad you find it so,” I answered.
“I also do not agree with the old woman who declared that heaven was a much
“You don’t remember me, do you?” she asked.
“No. Have we met before?”
"We have. And, of course, you could remember me, if you should try.”
Then I recalled who she was. We had met some years before on
one of my journeys to New York, and I had talked with her about the mysteries of
life and death, of will and destiny.
“I have tested many of the things you told me,” she went on, “and I have
found them true.”
“What things, for instance?”
“First and most important, that man may create his own environment.”
“You can easily demonstrate that here,” I said. “But how long have you been
in this world?”
“Only a few months.”
“And how did you come out?”
“I died of too much joy.”
“That was a pleasant death and an unusual one,” I said, smiling. “How did it
“The doctor said that I died of heart-failure. For years I had wanted a
certain thing, and when it came to me suddenly, the realisation was too much for
“Why, I suddenly realised that I had let slip the body
through which I might have enjoyed this thing I had attained.”
“I remembered that I was not my body, that I was my consciousness; and as
long as that was intact, I was intact. So I went right on enjoying the
“Without a regret?”
“You are indeed a philosopher,” I said. “And though I don’t want to force
your confidence, yet I would be much interested to know your story.”
“It would seem absurd to some people,” she answered, “and even to me it
seems strange sometimes. But I had always wanted money, a great deal of money.
One day a certain person died, leaving me a fortune. It was that joy which was
too strong for me.”
“And how do you enjoy the fortune here?”
“In several ways. My husband and I had planned a beautiful house—if we
should ever have the money. We had planned to travel, too, and to see the
interesting places in the world. We also had two or three friends who loved to
create beauty in the arts, and who were hampered in their work by lack of means.
Now, my husband, being my sole heir, came into the fortune immediately I passed
out. So I enjoy everything with him and through him just the same as if I were
actually in the flesh.”
“And he knows that you are present?”
“Yes. We had each promised not to desert the other in life or death. I have
kept my word, and he knows that I have kept it.”
“And where is he now?”
“Except for me.”
“In what place is he?”
“In Egypt at this time.”
I drew nearer.
“Can you show him to me?” I asked.
“Yes, I think so. Come along.”
It is needless to say that I did not require a second invitation.
We found the man—sitting alone in a luxurious bedroom in Cairo. It seems
to be my destiny to have strange experiences in Cairo!
The young man was reading as we entered the room; but he looked up at once,
for he felt that she was there. I do not think he perceived me.
“My darling,” he said, aloud, “I have seen the
She placed her hand upon his forehead, and he closed his eyes, the better to
Then his hand moved to the table, he opened his eyes again,
and took up paper and pencil. I saw her guide his hand, which wrote:
“I have brought a friend with me. Can you see him?”
The man spoke aloud, she communicating through the pencil in his hand and by
his interior perception of her.
“Then never mind,” she wrote; “he is not an egotist. I only wanted him to
see you. I have told him how happy I am—and now he sees why.”
“This journey of mine is an unalloyed delight,” the man said.
“That is because I am with you,” she replied.
“Were you with me at the Pyramids to-day?”
“Yes, though I can not see very well in the sunshine. I have been there,
however, and have seen them by moonlight. But where are you going from here?”
“Where do you want me to go?”
“Up the Nile, to Assouan.”
“I will go. When shall I start?”
“The day after to-morrow. And now au revoir, my
love. I will return by and by.”
A moment later we were outside—she and I—in the soft starlight of an
“Did I not tell you the truth?” she demanded, with a little laugh of
“But have you no desire to go in the spiritual world?” I asked.
“Is there anything more spiritual than love?” she asked in return. “Is not
love the fulfilling of the Law?”
“But,” I said, “I recently wrote a letter to the men and women of the earth,
advising those who should come out here to get away from the earth as soon as
“Lovers like me will not take your advice,” she answered, with a smile. “And
tell me now: Is it not better for Henry to enjoy my society in the long
evenings—is it not better for him to be happy than to grieve for me?”
“But at first? Was he not inconsolable at your going out?”
“Yes, until I came to him. He was sitting one night in deep dejection, and I
reached for his hand, and wrote with it: ‘I am here, Speak to me.’ ‘My Love!’ he
cried, his face alight, ‘are you really there?’ ‘Yes, I am here, and I shall
come to you every day until you come out to me,’ I answered, through the pencil.
“He had never known that he was what you call a
‘writing medium.’ He would never had been but for my presence in a form of
matter different from his own.
“Come now, my friend,” she added, “would you really advise me not to visit
Harry any more?”
“There are said to be exceptions to all rules,” I answered. “At this moment
you seem to me to be one of those exceptions.”
“And will you add a postscript to your recent letter to the world?”
“If I can,” I said, “I will tell your story. My readers can draw their own
“Thank you,” was her answer.
“But,” I added, “when Henry comes out here in his turn, you two together
should go away from the world.”
“Have you been away from the world then?”
“To some extent. I am only stopping here now until a certain work is
“And then where are you going?”
“To visit other planets.”
“Henry and I will do that, too, when he comes out.”
Now, my friend, I tell you this story for whatever it is worth. There are
cases like hers, where an earthly tie is all-compelling. But in the case of most
persons I stand by my original assertion and my original advice.