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Letters from a Living Dead Man


LETTER

 

Introduction

I.

The Return

II.

Tell No Man

III.

Guarding the Door

IV.

A Cloud on the Mirror

V.

The Promise of Things Untold

VI.

The Wand of Will

VII.

A Light behind the Veil

VIII.

The Iron Grip of Matter

IX.

Where Souls go up and down.

X.

A Rendezvous in the Fourth Dimension

XI.

The Boy–Lionel

XII.

The Pattern World

XIII.

Forms Real and Unreal

XIV.

A Folio of Paracelsus

XV.

A Roman Toga

XVI.

A Thing to be forgotten

XVII.

The Second Wife over there

XVIII.

Individual Hells

XIX.

A little Home in Heaven

XX.

The Man who found God

XXI.

The Leisure of the Soul

XXII.

The Serpent of Eternity

XXIII.

A Brief for the Defendant

XXIV.

Forbidden Knowledge

XXV.

A Shadowless World

XXVI.

Circles in the Sand

XXVII.

The Magic Ring

XXVIII.

Except ye be as Little Children

XXIX.

An Unexpected Warning

XXX.

The Sylph and the Magician

XXXI.

A problem in Celestial Mathematics

.XXXII.

A Change of Focus

XXXIII.

Five Resolutions

XXXIV.

The Passing of Lionel

XXXV.

The Beautiful Being

XXXVI.

The Hollow Sphere

XXXVII.

An Empty China Cup

XXXVIII.

Where Time is not

XXXIX.

The Doctrine of Death

XL.

The Celestial Hierarchy

XLI.

The Darling of the Unseen

XLII.

A Victim of the Non-existent

XLIII.

A Cloud of Witnesses

XLIV.

The Kingdom Within

XLV.

The Game of Make-believe

XLVI.

Heirs of Hermes

XLVII.

Only a Song

XLVIII.

Invisible Gifts at Yuletide

XLIX.

The Greater Dreamland

L.

A Sermon and a Promise

LI.

The April of the World

LII.

A Happy Widower

LIII.

The Archives of the Soul

LIV.

A Formula for Mastership


 

 

LETTER LII

 

A HAPPY WIDOWER

     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 overrated place.”
    “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 happen?”
    “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 me.”
    “And then?”

    “Why, I suddenly realised that I had let slip the body through which I might have enjoyed this thing I had attained.”
    “And then?”
    “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 attainment.”
    “Without a regret?”
    “Yes.”
    “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?”
    “Travelling.”
    “Alone?”
    “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 Pyramids!”
    She placed her hand upon his forehead, and he closed his eyes, the better to see her.
    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?”
    “No.”
    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 Egyptian evening.
    “Did I not tell you the truth?” she demanded, with a little laugh of triumph.
    “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 possible.”
    “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 conclusions.”
    “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 finished.”
    “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.

LETTER LIII

LETTER LI