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From bitter, bitter experience, obtained through years of suffering, I know whereof I speak, and hasten to give you the benefit of my knowledge. The earthly object of life in the human form is to obtain experience which can in no other incarnation be given us. I have passed through that experience upon which you are about to enter, and I am drawn to you by a power which I cannot resist, and must warn you against this approaching marriage. You are capable of giving to the world at large inestimable benefits, provided your mind can be concentrated on duty, to the sacrifice of love for one person, but if you allow this passion to master, then you will live this life in vain, and will be obliged again to inhabit the human form, and out-work the ultimate for which you are the special instrument. The next incarnation may be in such a hideous form that your affectional nature cannot be further gratified, however intensely you may long for it. Can you accept my warning and advice in the spirit given, and will you promise to abandon your mad project?”
Beneath her gaze I seemed powerless, and found little difficulty in making the promise of which she seemed so earnestly desirous.
66 Will you swear it?” she smilingly asked. “Yes,” I replied," in any manner you may propose the oath.” " Then sign this agreement as I direct.” She presented a small sheet of note-paper, and, baring her left arm to the elbow, unflinchingly cut the skin until a miniature “F” was formed, and the blood stood out in startling clearness. She read the paper as she passed it to me: “I, Edward Faunce, hereby promise that I will not marry Finette Perault.” To this agreement I signed my name in the blood from her arm. Then I seemed suddenly to bave been transported back to the garden, and again to enjoy the full possession of all my senses. I shuddered as I thought of my dream, and feelings of thankfulness welled up from within me when I realized that the weird agreement was only the grotesque fantasy of a dis. turbed sleep
A week passed away. The story of my dream had been told Finette, my betrothed, with many a joke as to its peculiarities. We were talking of it one evening in the quiet of the veranda when she suddenly asked ; “ What would you say, dear Ned, if such a proposition should really be made you? Do you think you could overcome the powerful influence which you felt this woman held over you ?”
“Dear Little Blossom you speak absurdities. Heaven and hell, and all the tortures of the Inquisition could not allure me from you. If I should leave you now, upon the very eve of our wedding my disloyalty would certainly deserve perpetual misery and torment. But pray don't speak of it, Finette ; it was only a dream; 1 ought not to have told you of it.” “ I almost wish you had not, for it has made a deep impression upon me. I think of it in the dead hours of night, and often see that "F" in all its hideous, bloody vividness.” She put her face upon my shoulder, as if to exclude the disagreeable scene which her words revived, and I condemned myself for my weakness in repeating such an absurd dream.
The days flew past, and the eve of our wedding-day was at hand. Finette seemed immersed in perpetual gloom, and her health was in a condition causing me much anxiety, although I was somewhat reassured by our good old physician, who, in his brusque, familiar way, declared that “Spring would give her health along with its many other blessings.”
Upon this never-to-be-forgotten evening we sat together in oar accustomed place on the veranda, talking of the morrow's festivities, and of our
proposed trip to Italy, when a carriage stopped at the gate, and I saw in the fading light a woman descend and approach us.
She came to where we sat, and, as she stopped directly in front of me, I recognized the lady of my dream. The same powerful influence again took possession
I had no thought, no feeling, no desire for anything save to sérve her. I looked at Finette; she was dreamily gazing toward the still rosy western sky. Was she too, under the strange influence? As on a previous occasion, I seemed to arise and follow, through the action of the stranger's will: I sat beside her in the elegant carriage, and was whirled away without bestowing a second thought upon my poor Finette. —
Let me hasten to the end of my story. The woman was an adventuress, highly educated, and with the most extended knowledge of that branch of occultism known as black magic. Her object seemed to be to get me completely under her influence for the purpose of financial gain. In this she was eminently successful, for, on the plea of misfortune which I promised to explain upon my return, I prevailed upon my guardian to send large sums of money, all of which went into Madam Kingsford's hands.
In Paris she suddenly disappeared, and with her departure, I again returned to my normal condition, as if awakening from a nightmare. I did not lose a moment, but sought the home of Finette at once. She had gone to America! O heaven, can I ever forget that day! The reproaches, the curses of a broken-hearted mother are to this day ringing in my ears. “ Did she leave me no word? Why should she go to America ? What reasons had she to suppose I had gone there?” I demanded. Without speaking, or raising her eyes again, Mrs. Perault gave me a letter postmarked London which read as follows: " Dear Mother : I was met by an old man upon
my departure who told me that Ned had gone to America by the steamer “ Clio," which will arrive in New York upon the 20th. I cannot but believe him, and hasten to follow by the next boat to the same port. I
pray you to do nothing to prevent my leaving, for, if I am made to return, I will kill myself rather than endure the disgrace of such a desertion, and the pain of living without my husband.
Your loving daughter,
Finette. P. S. Since writing the above I have received the enclosed telegram, which makes assurance doubly sure.
Forgive me, dear mother, for leaving thus suddenly. I do not dare to see you for fear my resolution may be shaken.
F." The telegram, which was from Paris, read as follows; " To Finette Perault:
Am forced to leave for New York. Follow by next steamer. Trust me, Finette.
E. F." What devil's hand, determined to work out my destruction, was shown here? O, the misery of those hours! I consulted the papers, and learned that Finette's steamer was already under way. Then, as a last ray of hope, I telegraphed her at New York with instructions to have the message held till her arrival. I repaired to Liverpool, from which place the next American steamer was to leave. The “Bombay," on which Finette had sailed, was only three days out, and I hoped our steamer, reputed a fast sailer, would reach New York not more than two days behind her.”
Ah, friend, I suffered enough during that ocean voyage to turn a neart stronger than mine old with mourning. The days were passed in impatient pacing of the deck, the nights in tossing upon an uneasy couch, vowing to lay my life at my wronged darling's feet, and to humbly beg forevermore to be permitted to serve her in the most menial capacity. Oh! how truly I loved her, and how sick and heavy was my heart during that seemingly endless voyage.
At last the end was reached, and we approached the harbor to be met by the pilot who was to guide our steamer into port. I stood by the rail as he came aboard. I can never forget the exact inflection of his voice as he said, having saluted the Captain, “ Heard of the wreck of the • Bombay?' Only twenty-five saved ; most of those are of the ship's crew.” It was the last straw added to the crushing weight of misfortune which had recently come to me, and I sank unconsciously upon the deck, and for three weeks hovered between life and death. Oh! that death had come; but I deserved still more suffering, and with return of strength I tried again to face the world.
That was eighteen years ago, and, although I have indisputable proof that Finette is now dead, yet I know she was rescued from the steamer. I have also learned that she lived two years after that disaster, spending the time under an assumed name, which Î know not, searching for me. This information has been given me by the same person who lured me to the path of misery of which I have told you.
And now, dear friend, comes the most inexplicable part of my story. Doubtless Hodge has told you of my love for Miss Darcet. It came to me much in the manner in which the influence of Madam K. was thrust
upon me. For a week past, immediately upon my losing consciousness, my soul has sought Miss Darcet, and, unknown to her, I have loved her with all the intensity of my nature.
nature. I foresaw that you too, as well as Hodge, would soon love her, and although in both cases I warned you unconsciously, yet you should heed my warning if you care for soul-development, and to attain that which endures. Even now I feel the power losing its hold, and, with each revolution of the steamer's wheels my heart grows lighter. I do not seek to force you in the matter. I do not care to dabble in the black-art,” but only wish to advise and counsel. You cannot serve woman, and, at the same time, excel in spiritual attainments. Whatever happens in the future, remember this; and think of my life, and that, in spite of my youthful love and consequent suffering, I now see that all was right, and that it was best that I never married Finette. If we are for each other, we will some time be united, but now there is a greater work to be outwrought, and it must be done alone. Passion must be rooted out, or true progress will cease. Your faithful brother,
FAUNCE. (TO BE CONTINUED.)
“ A DISLIKE in the mass,” says Victor Hugo, “is always a prejudice.” This is even worthy of a much wider application, for surely the great majority of all our dislikes spring out of our ignorance of the objects considered, and are hence the children german of prejudice. We criticize our friends harshly, and forget to be charitable, because we are ignorant of that great truth which is the genial soil from which charity springs, namely; that we ourselves, in their circumstances, with their natures, their tendencies, temptations, dislikes and affinities, should err as they err, fall as they fall. It is ignorance that petrifies the human heart, and points the bony fin
of Scorn. We despise things through our ignorance. A course in botany makes the meanest weed not only respectable, but interesting.
ART CULTURE AND ITS EFFECT UPON THE CON
DUCT OF LIFE.
BY MELVIN L. SEVERY.
BEING EXCERPTS FROM LECTURES GIVEN BY HIM BEFORE THE BOSTON
(Number Five.) As each one of the art articles published in The ESOTERIC must repeat, in a very limited space, the substance of four extemporaneous lectures, it is expected that the Reader will pardon the absence of that elegance of diction, as well as the lack of that continual expression of strong, logical coherence which could only be obtained through the employment of more space than we can command, and accept in their stead, the somewhat cursory and detached statement here presented.
Thus far we have dealt with ideas of Power and of Iunitation. Next in that series of ideas capable of giving pleasurable excitation to the mind come that class of ideas known as Ideas of Truth. To a perfect understanding of these ideas the art student should fully devote his energies, for upon ideas of Truth rests, as a house upon its foundations, all legitimate artistic effect. “The word truth,” says an art authority, “ as applied to art, signifies the faithful statement, either to the mind or senses, of any fact of nature. We receive an idea of Truth, then, when we perceive the faithfulness of such a statement."
As stated in the last article of this series, there is in the public mind to-day a tendency to confuse ideas of 'Imitation with those of Truth, and this, per se, is responsible for the affirmation of those pseudo-artists, whose name is legion, that there can be no higher end in art than the perfect and deceptive imitation of nature. Since this misconception is so prevalent, I had almost said epidemic, - it will be well to make the clearest and sharpest possible discrimination between these two sets of æsthetic ideas.
In the first place, then, Imitation can only be associated with material things. You can imitate a mannerism in the gait of a tragedian, but you cannot imitate his thought; you can imitate his voice, provided there is anything in its technique for imitation to fasten upon, but you cannot imitate his feelings ; you may imitate his bearing, provided there is in it anything which permits of imitation, but you cannot imitate his purpose. In other words Imitation must stop within the realm of matter, and can never cross the boundaries into the domain of spirit. I have said that one might imitate the voice of a tragedian, but not his feelings. Let me not be misunderstood here. Any attempt to imitate the thought or feeling of an actor will invariably, if it succeed as imitation at all, be found to be imitative, not of the thought or feeling, but simply of some peculiarity in the vehicle through which the actor expresses that thought or feeling. Imitation, then, is confined to that lower plane of materialism which is the particular province of the artisan, rather than of the artist. Truth, on the other hand, has a much wider field. It will readily be seen that we may perceive the faithfulness of a statement of feeling, the faithfulness of a statement of thought, the faithfulness of a statement of purpose or motive, or yet of actual fact, and that this apparent accuracy of presentation will in each case cause the observer's mind to be occupied with those ideas denominated in art Ideas of Truth. There is a truth of the moral and mental sides of human nature, as well as of the material, and this truth is a thousand-fold more important and ennobling than those truths of the physical or tangible phase of life. Ideas of Truth, however,
are infinite in their application, following the human mind not only through its dull round of materialism, but also in all its empyreal flights in the subtler domain of mind and spirit. Observe then, the difference; Imitation is an attempt, inefficient and untruthful, to deceive the mind with regard to some material subject, — Truth the faithful statement, either to the mind or senses, of any fact of nature.
Again, a still further limitation to ideas of imitation will be found in the following ; an idea of imitation regarding a certain (and always material) object can only be induced in the mind of the observer by the employment of media bearing resemblance to the object in question, and this likeless, in the case of successful imitation, must be sufficient to amount to a deception, and must carry with it evidence that it is a deception. Ideas of Truth, however, are not thus limited, since the mind of the observer may be impressed with the faithfulness of a statement regarding a fact of nature, without the media used in that statement bearing any likeness whatever to the thing stated, as in the case of poetry, for example, where the words used to state the passions of a Prometheus, or a Lear, bear no imitative relation whatever to the passions themselves, but are simply symbols which are taken as a substitute for them, and accordingly induce their effect, thus constituting themselves uncorrupted channels of truth. Then, since ideas of Imitation require that the vehicle used in their
production shall be similar, even to the point of deception, to the object imitated, and since ideas of Truth may be given by the use of a vehicle bearing no resemblance whatever to the object of which it induces a conception, it will be seen at once that ideas of Imitation appeal only to the perceptive faculties, while ideas of Truth address themselves to the conceptive faculties. This discrimination against ideas of Imitation, were there no other to be made, would be sufficient to condemn the imitator as a mere artisan, and to adjudge as arrogance any claims he might make to æsthetic acumen.
It will be seen from what has thus far been stated that an idea of Truth has its rise in the statement of a single fact of nature, while an idea of Imitation with reference to any given object, is induced by a resemblance to the object itself. For example; the outline of a tree upon white paper is a faithful statement of a certain number of truths of form, yet it does not amount to an imitation. It correctly states certain facts of form, for form is absolute, and there are, with regard to it, no degrees of truth, only degrees of approach to faithfulness. The fact that in one case a limb is twenty feet long, and in another only twenty lines, does not alter the fact that, in both cases the form is identical. Supposing now, the form of the tree on white paper be so shaded as to give to its branches the appearance of roundness; this would induce still other ideas of Truth, — statements of form, and of light and shade, projection, etc., and yet there would be far from being sufficient data for an idea of Imitation. The surrounding paper would not look at all like atmosphere, nor the monochrome in
any wise nearly resemble the varied colors and tones of a tree. It will be seen from this, that an idea of imitation requires the resemblance of as many attributes as our perceptive faculties are usually cognizant of, when in the presence of the object of which an imitation is sought. And here I would urge the art student not to be misled by the hasty conclusion which is quite commonly drawn from a perception of the above stated facts. The error to which reference is made, is that of attributing to ideas