Part 6 out of 7
"I should advise one to go often, if it had that effect," said Dawn
scarce daring to lift her eyes.
"I cannot afford to be exercised that way often," he answered,
looking, it seemed to her, almost stern.
"Why?" inquired his sister, laughing.
"Because it so completely exhausts me to be called out into a high,
spiritual state too often."
"You speak of conditions as compartments, brother. May we not blend
the whole, into one perfect state?"
"We may harmonize and unite, but each distinct faculty must forever
have a separate action, like the functions of the human body,
perfect in parts, to make a perfect whole."
"I perceive your meaning, yet it does not attenuate me, at least I
do not feel that it does, when the spiritual and affectional parts
of my nature are exercised."
"One reason is because your balancing power is greater than mine;
another, there is more spiritual elasticity in women than in men.
Women rebound in a breath; men take a more circuitous route."
"You have explained yourself very well, yet we hope to see you
to-day in your best mood."
"My companions would draw me into that state. When will you both be
ready?" he asked, rising.
"At nine o'clock."
"Then be at the lower garden gate at that hour." Having give this
direction, Basil went to give some orders for the day, while Dawn
and Beatrice dressed themselves for the sail.
"Wear something which you do not fear to soil, Miss Wyman; and have
you a broad-brimmed hat to protect you from the sun?"
"I have. It is one of the staple articles of my wardrobe. I never go
from home without it."
They were soon ready, and found Basil at the gate at the appointed
hour. The lake lay calm and clear in its woodland setting. They
glided for miles over its smooth surface, and each felt the other's
need of silence. A gentle breeze just stirred the waters into
ripples, breaking the stillness of the hour.
"The correspondence of speech," said Basil, giving the boat a sudden
turn, and displaying some drooping willows on the shore which were
duplicating their graceful branches in the clear waters.
"When we are passive, do not they of the upper world thus throw
their image upon our minds?" he said, looking earnestly on the
reflection of the branches.
Dawn thrilled at the beautiful analogy, and thought of one unseen
who might be, perhaps, at that time, enjoying the outer world
through her tranquil state, if not through her senses.
"I sailed once on this lake with Ralph. It was such a day as this,"
said Basil. "O, how he enjoyed it. He loved the water, everything
from brook to ocean."
"I wonder if he is near us to day?" said Miss Bernard.
Dawn wept. Her spirit was full of love and harmony, and the tears
gushed forth like waters leaping from joyous cascades. They were not
tears of sorrow or of loneliness, but crystal drops of emotion.
"There are harmonists whose fingers,
From the pulses of the air,
Call out melody that lingers
All along the golden stair
Of the spiral that ascendeth
To the paradise on high,
And arising there emblendeth
With the music of the sky."
And there they were lifted, and dwelt.
"We are approaching the lilies now," said Basil, feeling that he
must break the deep spiritual atmosphere into which they were all
passing. "We must keep on the earth-side a little longer," he said,
"Long enough to gather some of these beautiful lilies at least,"
said his sister, as she gazed lovingly into his deep, tender eyes.
He swung the boat round, and gathering a handful, threw them at the
feet of Dawn.
"I will twine you a garland," said Beatrice, taking some of the
lilies and weaving their long stems together.
"No, no. There are but few who can wear lilies alone, Miss Bernard.
Some may wear them, but not I."
"You are not the best judge, perhaps, as to what becomes your
spiritual and physical nature," said Basil.
"I know my states, and that lilies are not suited to my present
condition," answered Dawn.
"Since you will not be crowned, Miss Wyman, will you please pass
that basket? I think we all need to descend into more normal
conditions; we are too sublimated." Following this suggestion he
allowed the boat to float without guidance, while they partook of
the delicate yet substantial repast.
The evening carnation tinged the clouds about the setting sun as
they sailed homeward, gathering lilies on their way. The bells from
a village near by were ringing, and the sound came distinctly over
the water, musical and sweet to the ear.
"Do you remember the passage in Pilgrim's Progress, where the bells
in heaven were ringing, over the river?" said Beatrice to them both.
"I do," said Dawn, earnestly. "O, that we all were across that
river. When shall we be there?"
"I suppose when our usefulness is most needed here," said Basil, in
a tone which caused them both to start.
"Because that seems to be the law of life. All men and women go when
most needed here; as the rose dies when its tinge is brightest, its
"And that is our time," said Dawn.
"And God's," he answered.
Dawn found on her dressing table that night a garland of lilies and
"Passion and purity," she said. "O, this will do for human heads."
She laid long that night wondering whether Basil or his sister
twined it. It did not seem like Beatrice, and yet she scarce thought
he would do it. It lay between them, however, and pondering on that,
and the day's keen enjoyment, she fell asleep, nor woke till morn.
Miss Bernard was very busy that day from necessity, she said, and
partly to balance the state of the day previous.
"I shall want your company this afternoon for a drive," she said to
Dawn; "this morning the library, piano and garden are at your
disposal, to use at your pleasure. I have domestic duties to
perform, and hope you will make yourself as comfortable as
So little time, and so much to enjoy. First, Dawn went into the
garden and gathered some flowers for the library; then she played an
hour, she thought, but it proved to be two, on looking at the clock,
and the remainder of the morning was passed with books. The bell
rang for dinner long before she thought it could be time, so quickly
and pleasantly had the hours passed away.
After dinner and a little rest, they started on their drive.
"I am going to take you to a little village, or cluster of houses,
to see how its peculiar atmosphere affects you," remarked Miss
After a pleasant drive through shaded streets and roads, they came
in sight of a church spire, then a few cottages here and there, and
were soon in the centre of the village, when Miss Bernard looked
inquiringly to her guest.
"How frigid and cold it seems here. Why, there is such a desolate,
unsocial feeling I should not live out half my days if I had to
remain in such a place. Have I indicated its peculiarity?"
"But what is the cause of it? Surely the scenery, so lovely and
calm, ought to inspire the deepest sentiments of social life in the
hearts of the inhabitants."
"One cause is too much wealth; another, too few people. The place
needs the addition of two or three hundred families to give it life
and impetus. Each family now here has settled into itself, and grown
conventional and rusty. Most of the people have considerable mental
ability, but lock and bar their souls and hearts so closely that
their better feelings cannot flow at all, nor find their legitimate
sphere of action. They are all nice, quiet people, read a good deal,
adopt theories and fine drawn sentiments in profession, but never
make them of any use to themselves or others. They have considerable
mental sympathy, but none of heart and soul. They seem to live by
rule. No spontaneous outgushes of their nature are ever seen, for
they have dropped into a kind of polite externalism, and lost all
the warm magnetic currents of life."
"But are there not a few exceptions?"
"A very few, but the cold is so severe that it soon freezes out
their warm life, and the good that they would do is put far from
their reach. They are a very pious, church-going people, and
invariably as a class, look upon all forms of entertainment, such as
assemblies and theatricals, as out of order, and sinful. Of course
the young people grow old long before their time, and leave the
place, and you know that one of the saddest sights on earth is a
little village deserted of youth. All this might be remedied by an
infusion of a strong social force; but, one or two families who have
lived very different lives, and have taken up their abode in it, can
do but little towards so desirable a change. The little hall which
we are now passing should have a series of assemblies each winter,
concerts, private theatricals, meetings for conversation, and the
like, in which all, free of caste limitation, might take part. Now
it is seldom lighted with gay and joyous faces. The young have no
spirited life, consequently the old have none; for it's the merry
beating of their hearts, and happy faces which enkindles and
rejuvenates the joys of their elders. Everything joyous is looked
upon as innovation, and frowned down. Those who reach out for a
little more life, become frost-bitten, and gladly retire within
themselves. I have given you a sad picture, I know, but it's true,
not only of this but of many places."
"It is sad, indeed, because 't is true."
"Notice this little vine-clad cottage, which we are approaching,"
said Miss Bernard.
"It's a lovely spot; I hope the people are adapted to it."
"They are not, or, rather, are not suited to their conditions. It is
occupied by two maiden ladies, who do not know how to live and get
the most out of life, and each other. They live too close, too
enwrapped within themselves. They should have separate interests, or
occupations; but instead of that, they live in each other's
atmosphere every day, go together and return together, see the same
people at the same time, when their interviews should be varied, and
each at times alone. Thus their magnetisms have become so
interblended, that one has nothing to give the other. Now, Miss
Wyman, after such mutual exhaustion, what can they have for each
"Nothing but exhaustion; and how many live in the same way, plodding
through life, growing old before their time, losing power, or
magnetism, which is power, every day. Such persons close their eyes
to any light one might throw upon their path, and I see no way, but
for all such to remain where they are. It is lamentably true that
comparatively few of the inhabitants of earth are growing people;
most of them are content with a slow, dull routine of daily life.
I'd rather see persons full of zeal and purpose, even though their
impulsive nature might lead them to commit many mistakes, rather
than one whose life seems purposeless."
"So had I. Motion is life; and in that motion we do many things
which we afterwards regret, yet find them to have been the
legitimate results of life; so I suppose we should not regret
"Nothing which has occurred outside or independent of our will or
"It is hard to tell where our own will commences to act; is it not,
"I sometimes question whether we can; yet in order for our lives to
be individualized there must be some point where we lay aside our
personal will, disengage it, as it were, from the causes or outside
forces, which seem to be ever propelling us."
"What do you consider the most quiescent state of the soul?"
"That state in which the mind clearly perceives it could not have
afforded to have dispensed with one personal experience, least of
all, with one sorrow which formed a part of that experience."
"How few can subscribe to that, save in theory, yet I know by the
few years of my own life, that I could not lose one of my
experiences, least of all, those that deepened the mind; or gave me
higher, broader views of life. I hope I shall live many years, Miss
Bernard, for the more we know of this life, the better prepared
shall we be to live and enjoy the other."
"They are so interwoven that one must really know both well in order
to act and live well in either."
"Have you ever seen with your interior perceptions the conditions of
mortals who have passed beyond the vale? I have felt their states,
but have never seen them. I think you also have, for I have heard
from your friend, Miss Wyman, of your wondrous power to see at
times, those who have thrown aside the mortal. I should be deeply
interested in a relation of any of your experiences at some future
time when you feel inclined to give them; for my faith in the
ability of spirits to return to earth, and influence us, is as deep
and strong as my trust in God."
"In some quiet hour, I will tell you many of my personal
experiences. It is a strange, dual life I live, and sometimes I feel
myself in such mixed states, that I scarcely know my mooring, if,
indeed, I have any."
"Some do not, I think."
"I am one, then, of that class; I seem to belong everywhere, and to
"I am quite certain of two, to whom you belong-myself and
brother-but here we are in sight of home, and Basil is waiting for
us on the piazza."
"It is pleasant to have a brother like yours, and to me to look upon
the relation you bear to each other, for usually the relation of
brother and sister is so ordinary and means so little."
"He is a noble man and brother, and has done much toward developing
my spirit. I want you to know him well, and learn what a friend and
companion he can be to woman."
At that moment they wound around the drive, and he came to meet
them, his face full of kindness and affection, greeting his sister
as though she had been gone weeks, instead of hours only; and
bestowing a look of generous hospitality upon Dawn, whose thoughts
seemed to grow richer every moment in his presence.
Gladly would Dawn have spent many days with Basil and his sister,
but her life was too active to allow her to tarry long in one place.
On the evening of the day, the events of which were narrated in our
last chapter, a note was placed in her hand from Mrs. Austin,
stating that she was ill and needed her presence.
"You cannot go before to-morrow," broke in both sister and brother,
"We must make much of this evening," said Beatrice.
"And spend it as though it was our last together; for life's
conditions are so uncertain," remarked Basil, in that far-off tone,
in which he often spoke.
"We may have many experiences before another meeting, yet I hope we
shall come together again soon."
"How shall we spend our evening?" said Miss Bernard to her brother,
yet looking at Dawn.
"Naturally. Let it take its own course." Their eyes at that instant
rested on Dawn, whose features glowed with a heavenly light and
"It is a trance symptom," said Basil. "Let us keep ourselves
The light of the room seemed to vibrate with life, and their bodies
to be so charged with an electric current so etherial that it seemed
that their spirits must be freed from all earthly hold. And then
there came a calm over all. The features of Dawn seemed to change to
those of one so familiar to them in their early days, that they
started with surprise.
"I was on earth known as Sybil Warner," said a voice which seemed
not that of Dawn, and yet her vocal organs were employed to speak
"Sybil Warner!" exclaimed Basil, white with emotion, and turning to
his sister, whose palor equaled his own, "Have you ever spoken that
name to her?" he asked, pointing to the upturned face of Dawn.
"Never! I am equally astonished and interested with yourself."
"Shall we question her,--the spirit?" But before Basil could reply
the spirit spoke:
"You were not aware, I know, that I passed to the spirit-land a few
years ago; and for that reason, and many others, I come to give you
a test. The mention of my name must have been a surprise to you, for
never in the earth-life, did I meet this lady whose organism I now
employ to speak to you. You would know of my life, after I withdrew
from the world of fashion. At some other time it shall be given you;
enough for the present, that I became world-weary, and, possessing
what is called second-sight, drifted through life, caring naught for
the heartlessness around me. The life which makes up three-fourths
of the so called happiness of humanity I could not adopt as my own;
therefore I was alone, and a wanderer. I was, of course, called
strange and weird. What cared I, when every-day glimpses of the
larger life were given me,--that life which I was so soon to enter
upon. One humble spirit stands by me here, whose name is Margaret,
and sends love and gratitude to the beautiful being through whom I
now address you.
"Friends of my youth, always so good and true to me, I come to
mingle my life with yours, and to grow strong with you in good and
holy purposes. We of the upper air, do not live alone; we need your
life, as well as you do ours. This communion is as ancient as time,
and will endure throughout eternity. Volumes could not tell of the
broken households united through this light. Search for its hidden
treasures; they are worthy of untiring study. Its glory will not
fall into your life; it must be worked out by your own efforts and
found within your own experience. Thus it will become a part of your
immortal self, and help you on your heavenly way. The skeptic cannot
sit and call us who have thrown off the mortal, by words alone, for
only in answer to deep and heartfelt desire do we come and hold
communion with our earthly friends. They who seek shall find.
"Of the spiritual condition of those who enter this state of
existence, I can only say to you now that it is identically the same
after what you call 'death,' as before; neither higher nor lower.
Progress and happiness here, is as it is with you, dependent upon
personal effort. We of the spirit-world have rest and unrest, hope
and doubt, according as our states, conditions and surroundings
vary. One of my strongest purposes has been to identify myself to
you, my friends, to-night. I have succeeded beyond a doubt; none can
exist in your minds of my identity-my self, for you have never
breathed my name to this mortal. Again will I come to you and tell
you of our lovely world which we enjoy, each according to individual
development. I dwell in peace. Peace I leave with you. Farewell."
Dawn passed her hand over her brow, as though trying to recall a
vanished thought, and slowly came to her normal condition, while her
face shone with a light most beautiful to behold.
"Were you conscious of what has transpired?" asked Miss Bernard.
"Yes; and yet so absorbed in another life, that my own spirit seemed
floating, yielding to another's will and heart pulsations. This is
imperfect, I know, as an explanation, but it is the best I can
"It is something which cannot be explained," said Basil, and she
knew by these words that he fully comprehended her.
O, soul, how thou dost relieve the labor of the mind, seeing with
finer vision into the centre of life, and there beholding the
countless workings of the inner being. What an atom of our self do
we exhibit in our little sojourn here. Those of limited sight say we
are thus and so, and pass on. Others measure us by themselves, and
call us dull, or lacking vital life, ignorant of the fact that
they each take all they know how to appropriate, of our quality. A
lifetime would give them no more, if their receptive states did not
"This experience has given our life a new sweetness," said Basil,
seating himself by Dawn. "We have long believed in these things, but
have never had such proof of their truthfulness as to-night. We
need not tell you how happy you have made us, or how much we shall
always enjoy your coming; for we enjoy you personally, aside from
this thrilling power which your organization embodies. I, too, have
experienced this light, and know well the strange thrill which comes
over us, when we meet those who are akin in soul, and assimilate
with our mental and spiritual natures."
"And how the depth is sounded, when we are brought in contact with
those who are antagonistic," said Dawn.
"I presume that those who disharmonize us, aid us to higher states,
for they force us out in search of something better. The divine
economy is at work in every phase of life, and our growth of soul is
often greater in our night of sorrow than in our day of joy; or
rather, we reach forth deeper and stronger after the true life, when
the cloud is upon us, than when the sun shines brightly on our path,
just as the tree extends its roots farther into the ground, when
rocked and swayed by the tempest."
"Yet the sunshine of happiness matures the leaves and branches. I
have had much sunshine," said Dawn, speaking the words slowly and
"I would that the storms might pass over you, but in the human lot I
know they must come."
She looked into his eyes, and they appeared so like Ralph's just
then that tears came to her own, and she could not force them back.
"This emotion is not all your own," said Mr. Bernard.
Dawn looked up inquiringly.
"He is here-Ralph, and too often for your good and his own."
A flush came over her face.
"I mean no harm," he continued. "It is true that he will weaken you
by too much emotion, which was ever a large component of his
beautiful and trusting nature. Ralph must put aside his deep
tenderness, and come less often, and then he will bring you more
strength when he does come to you."
"But what if he never left me, and never can, Mr. Bernard?"
"Then you must mingle with those who are his opposite, those who can
strengthen him through you."
"I never thought of that before."
"Nor I, Miss Wyman. It is the impression of the moment, but none the
less true for that."
"I feel its truth, and will act upon it; thus a portion of his
development will come through my associations, be drawn up through
the earthly conditions that surround me. How little we know of the
other life, or of this."
"The two are so conjoined that a knowedge of one cannot but bring
with it some truth concerning the other."
The conversation had been of so much interest that they had not
noticed how far into the night it had been protracted, until a
sudden glance at the clock led Beatrice to suggest that Dawn might
wish for rest preparatory for her journey on the morrow.
"How kind of you to come so soon, Dawn," said Mrs. Austin, excitedly
clasping her to her heart. "I am so sad, and only you can relieve
"What is it? Are you or any of your family ill?"
"No, no. Something worse, much worse to me. Sit by me while I tell
Dawn took the seat, while in hurried, trembling tones, her friend
related her story.
"You know my sister Emily, Mrs. Dalton. Well, two days ago I
received a letter from her, stating that she had left her husband,
and was coming to see me a few days to tell me all, and then go
through the world alone."
"Is that all? I thought something fearful had happened," said Dawn,
looking calmly on her friend.
"All? Can anything be worse than that? Think of the disgrace to us;"
and Mrs. Austin burst into a flood of tears.
"It's no disgrace if they could not harmonize, but the very highest
and best thing they could do."
"O, Dawn; but what will the world come to, if all the married people
flare up at every little inharmony, and separate?"
"You are not the judge of your sister's course. You do not know what
she may have passed through. She knows best, and this is her work
alone, her cross. I do not advocate that parties should separate,
until all means for a harmonious life have been tried. Then, if they
find there can be no assimilation, it is far better that they should
part, rather than they should live a false life. The world in its
different stages of progress, has been sustained thus far and will
continue to be. We are in the midst of a social revolution, and
there must be many separations, and changes innumerable in every
form and condition of life. Truth and error must be divorced, and
whatever does not affinitize in mind and matter, in the moral or
spiritual world, must be separated. This is the inevitable result of
God's law, and can no more be set aside than any other which he has
ordained. You speak of 'disgrace,' but to me that would come only,
when, after employing every possible means to live a full,
harmonious life, united, and it is found an impossibility, the two
continue to live together despite the decree of God, made manifest
in their nature, that it is sinful for them to do so. This all is
within the province of that 'higher law' which many profess to
contemn, but to which all must sooner or later submit."
"I wish you could talk with Edward; he holds nearly the same views.
Will you stay with me a few days, until my sister comes, for I have
not strength to bear this?"
"I will; but would it be agreeable for her to see any one here? She
naturally desires to see you alone."
"She loves you, and said in her letter, 'if I could see Dawn, or Mr.
Wyman, I think I could gain strength.'"
Dawn had no opportunity to escape, for Mrs. Dalton arrived that
afternoon, unexpectedly, and before night had opened her soul to
her. It was while Mrs. Austin supposed she had retired for the
night, that Mrs. Dalton sought the room of Dawn; for the heart,
while passing ordeals, seeks another to share or to lessen its woe.
"I will in a few words tell you all," she said to Dawn. "Twelve
years ago I was married, to please my parents and friends, to one
toward whom I never felt the thrill which should glow through all
our being in the presence of one whom we take into so close a
relation. Between us there never can exist the conjugal relation,
for we are to each other but as brother and sister. Long have I
struggled with my sense of duty and moral obligation, and the
struggle has done me good. I have found that my life could not come
into fulness, or my being unfold its powers while a relation not of
my own choosing was maintained.
"Henry has a good and fine nature, one worthy of the warmest love of
some woman. We are both on the same mental plane, yet he has not the
strength to brave the world's opinion. In my atmosphere he seems to
see as I do, and to realize that we should be far better
apart,--better physically and spiritually,--but when he leaves me he
becomes weak and distrustful of himself. I cannot say that I regret
my experience; but something within tells me that it has come to an
end. We shall both suffer; I feel it; no ordeal of the soul is
passed without it, but my life will be far better alone, far better.
Now can you give me any strength or sympathy? for I know well that I
must walk through life with but little of human friendship. My act
is frowned upon by all my relatives, which, of course, only serves
to raise my individuality to a higher point, and throws me still
deeper into self. I have no children, and can easily take care of
myself. Does my decision seem rash or impulsive to you?"
"Far from it. My warmest sympathies are with you, and with all who,
seeing the right, pursue it regardless of what the world may say or
do. A deep, conscientious regard for the best interests of the two
most intimately concerned in such a step, is all that is required.
You are under inspiration now, and what you have done will be seen
to be best for your individual lives. You have left him because
there was wanting that heart reciprocity, which is the vital current
of conjugal life. The experience was necessary for you, else it
would not have been given you. Look on it as such, as no loss to you
or to him, and life with its thousand harmonies will flow to you. If
the married could but see that the moment they are not in spiritual
harmony they are losing life and strength, and in order to avoid the
loss would seek a change of some kind,--such change as their interior
wisdom may determine,--earth would be a paradise to-day, and family
relations what God designed they should be. But it is usually the
case, that, instead of a mutual discernment of this truth, one only
perceives it, and it follows that it is best the evil should for a
time be borne, for the one of smaller vision would only be filled
with jealousy and unrest at the suggestion even, of a change. There
are innumerable families that this very moment should change their
relations. Old elements should be superseded by new; conditions
which have surrounded them so long that they have become powerless
for good and powerful for evil, so far as physical and spiritual
strength is concerned, should be radically changed. We need a
revolution in social life, an amendment to the constitution which
governs society. Have this right, and all will be right,--politics,
religion, and all else. Slowly these truths are being unfolded to
the comprehension of the human mind. Some have seen them for years;
and they whose views of life have been broadened and deepened by the
adoption of a spiritualistic faith, long since became familiar with
them. Such are now catching glimpses of the coming light, and have
the assurance that ere long will arise the perfect day."
"You have done me good, Miss Wyman; and now there is but one person
to whom I wish to speak my thoughts, and that is-"
"You are right; for he can give me what I so much need-moral
"I think your next step will be to return with me," said Dawn, in
that cordial and positive manner which made it seem as though there
was really no other step, or at least that it was the first to be
taken. The next day Mrs. Dalton and Dawn left together, and a
feeling of relief came to Mrs. Austin, for outside of her own
judgment and prejudice, she seemed to feel that it would do her
sister good. Thus are we often obliged to leap mental barriers, lay
aside preconceptions, and accept what does not strictly accord with
our reason, for the soul has larger orbits than those of mere mental
It was almost as though they had never met before, so delightful was
the re-union between Dawn and her father. Would that all might learn
how closely we may come together by bodily separation, paradoxical
as this may seem at first thought.
"I have been very happy, father, while away, and have brought a
needy soul to you for life," said Dawn, nestling close to that
strong, protecting form, and gazing into his eyes, as though she
would infuse his being with her own life.
"I am glad you have been happy, and that your happiness does not
abate, but increase by change of states. Dawn, my own darling, I saw
your mother last night in my dreams. She brought to you a blue
mantle, which signifies rest and protection, a rest not of this
world. She enfolded you in it, and as you passed through the dark,
sunless places of earth, the mantle grew brighter and brighter,
until its color almost dazzled the human eye. There were many who
could not gaze upon it, and turned away. Others stood until the
blinding effect passed, and then followed you with their gaze. This
mantle of blue signifies inspiration, as well as rest. They whose
inner light is strong, will look upon the truths you utter, and
appreciate them, while others, less strong, will turn away, blinded
by their brilliancy, and repair again to their old and worn ideas.
Blue is of heaven; its quality is not of earth. May it never fade
while this mantle enwraps my child." Mr. Wyman remained silent for
some moments, and then remarked: "Now, if you will bring Mrs.
Dalton, whom I have not seen for many years, I shall be happy to
Dawn found her weeping bitterly, and folded her arms about her until
the sobs ceased.
"I am not presentable, had I not better wait and see him to-morrow?"
she said, leaning her head upon Dawn's bosom.
"No; go now. This is just the time for you. You need his counsel and
sympathy most, now. Come," and she led her like a child into his
He did not meet her with formality, but took her hand, and led her
to a seat, then sat beside her. Dawn left, and soon found her mental
Words grew into sentences, thought leaped after thought, and newly
perceived truths came to the mind of Hugh with strange and wonderful
rapidity, as he sought to calm and console the tempest-tossed mind.
A blessing descended on the communion, and when they parted, one
could not tell which face shone the brightest.
Mrs. Dalton laid down that night with stronger purposes of life, and
a deeper conviction that the step which she had taken was the right
one, though all before her was dark and unknown.
"Give all to her that she calls forth, and inspires in you, for that
is her right," said Mrs. Wyman, when her husband told her of his
interview with Mrs. Dalton.
How many wives of the present day are deep and strong enough to
utter such sentiments? It was no lip phrase, for it came from her
heart-a true heart, which pulsated to human needs.
"Noblest of women!" her husband was about to exclaim, but instead of
speech, he pressed her to his heart, and then turned and wept.
Why had woman so blest his life, and showered so many gifts upon it,
when thousands were dying for one blessing? It was an orison which
rose to heaven from his heart that night, and when he laid his head
upon his pillow, a rich resolve stirred his being to its depths,
that then and ever, his best self should be dedicated to the service
of humanity. Pastors sounded the name of God, and proclaimed what
they called, "his word," far and near over the land, and were paid
in gold for their speech, but few men lived, acted and spoke like
Hugh Wyman. Few reached the human heart so closely, or breathed more
consolation into it than he. Old and young, rich and poor, received
blessings from his hand and from his cultured mind, each according
to his needs. He placed in the hands of those who groped in darkened
ways, a light which guided them to the temple of truth, and going
out into the highways and hedges of life, invited all to the feast
which his heavenly father had spread out for every child of
"I met Howard Deane a few nights since. He appears to be sadly out
of health and somewhat consumptive," remarked Mr. Wyman to his wife,
a few evenings subsequent to Mrs. Dalton's departure.
"And the reason is quite apparent. He lives too closely in one
atmosphere. He needs a change of surroundings, mental and physical."
"No one of our course of thinking can fail to perceive that the
long, uninterrupted companionship of his wife, she being naturally
weaker than himself, has so drawn upon his magnetism, that his
vitality has become thoroughly exhausted," remarked Hugh.
"I do not doubt that it is so. His nature is large and social, and
he requires a circle of varied minds to keep him in a good, healthy
condition of body and spirit, as we all do; for though they may be
those who can unite with one alone, and lose nothing by such
exclusiveness, yet generally, the larger the orbit of life, the
better the results that accrue to both, and the greater the
development of each.
"You are right; yet how closely we have lived together, Arline,
since we were married."
"Because we both had large experiences and had mingled in many
spheres, previous to our union."
"Right again; ever right," and he gazed on her with tenderest
emotion, while she wondered if the time would ever come when she
should not hold him as she then did. The thought made her tremble,
so deeply did she love this man who supplied her nature so richly
every day with that element of manliness which all women need, but
so few receive.
"I will invite Howard here to spend an evening," said her husband,
little knowing how tenderly the heart of his wife was going out to
him, at that moment.
The next evening Mr. Deane came with Hugh to tea. Mrs. Wyman was
surprised to see how pale and care-worn he appeared, and longed to
reach his mind, that she might give him that life which he so much
Mrs. Deane, after the recovery of their child, finding her husband's
tenderness revived towards her, settled into her own ways of
thinking and living more completely than ever. For a time she with
her husband lived in a state of undivided love. When that passed
away, she was the same exacting woman as before, allowing him no
life but what he gathered from her; no thoughts but her own to live
upon. In such an atmosphere he drooped, and would have died, but for
the timely aid of Mr. Wyman and his wife; those truth-loving souls
who cared not for the popular sentiment when principles were to be
maintained, and who stood up courageously for the truth, regardless
of those who turned sneeringly aside from them, or ridiculed and
misrepresented their views.
Mrs. Deane's course amply illustrated one of the evils of our
present marriage system, the removal of which will cause confusion
and perhaps some wrong doing. But we have confusion and wrongs at
present, and all history testifies to the truth that revolutions in
political, religious and social institutions, though seemingly
disastrous for the time, have been followed by better conditions for
humanity, and advanced mankind to higher states. In a relation so
intimate, so holy, as the union of two souls, human law has but
little to do. When it enters as an external agent, with its rites in
conformity with custom, this human law is liable to err, but the
divine law which governs internal relations can never err. Hence,
marriage should be subject only to this divine or higher law. The
questions which grow out of this statement are many, none of which
are probably greater, or about which the public pulse is more
sensitive than those relating to property. But they, too, may have
had their day, and higher conditions as regards material wealth, be
ready to descend upon us. Of woman's right to be paid according to
her labor-of her right to the college and the various professions,
her eternal right to follow her inspiration, and become just what
she feels she is fitted for, and thus fulfil her destiny, we have
been in the dark, and have groped and stumbled; and our theory and
practice of marriage have been as imperfect as all others. Whatever
has been, has been right and proper for its time, but now a change
is called for. The advancement of the race demands it. No more shall
one man amass great wealth, and in so doing leave thousands
penniless; no more shall politicians, who twaddle and toady for
offices, deprive themselves and others of manhood and all that is
noble; no more shall the pastor love his money, his position, and
the praise of men, better than an opportunity to speak the truth
We are living in a great age, and the age demands great men and
women, who dare brave the public voice and popular side, if that
voice and side are wrong. We would not confound daring with heroism,
or mistake boldness for bravery. Nor should we throw our truths away
upon the dull and listless. There are seekers enough, who, when they
receive these gems of truth, will value them. Let those who possess,
learn to know when and where to utter them. Then will the darkness
flee away, for every ray of light aids the advance of the golden
Mrs. Wyman did not speak to Howard Deane of himself, but upon
subjects of equal interest to both, until of his own accord, he
alluded to his own state. Hugh left the room to write letters,
leaving them to that close communion which is never perfect with a
third person present.
"I think disease often commences in the mind, and acts upon the body
until that may succumb to its power," said Mrs. Wyman, in answer to
a remark of Mr. Deane upon his bodily state.
"Do you think mine is of the mental?" he inquired, looking at her so
earnestly that he seemed to penetrate her very being.
"What has caused it, can you tell me?"
"I think the need of cheerful and varied society. Your nature is
large, social in its proclivities, and has great needs. It is
therefore wrong for one person to claim all of your society, and
injurious to you to grant it."
"I know it, and, feel the truth, but society allows me no communion
or association with women. I need their society more than all else
just now-their thought, their inspiration."
"Take whatever comes in your way, when it is in order, and let
society quibble. How is the world to be made any better, if each one
goes on in the old way for fear of speech."
"Yet we cannot explain our course to those who do not perceive these
truths, and our innocent enjoyment may be misconstrued."
"Can the higher ever be revealed to the lower? Can the less
understand the greater? Never. Through the moral and natural worlds
no recognition takes place, save when the lower comes up to a higher
plane. The rose which needs more sunshine, more air, can never
expect to reveal its need to, or be understood by one of the fungus
order. We must work and wait, and expect to be misunderstood every
day of our lives. We may be in order and in perfect harmony to some
higher law, the relation of which to ourselves it is impossible to
explain to our brother, our sister, or our friend. There would be no
individual life, if there were no separate harmonies and methods of
action. You need, my friend, more of woman's sphere to help you to
live in strength and harmony with the one you are united to. She is
mentally strong, and gives you of your own quality too much. Find
your balance, your mental and spiritual poise, by mingling with
those who supply your deficiency."
"You have given me life, Mrs. Wyman, and hope. If I had your
independent mind, I might be my own helper."
"I may be the one to give you independence of thought and action,
or, rather, to stimulate yours, for all have some independence."
"I feel stronger, now, bodily, than I have for a long time," he
said, looking at his watch, "and hope I shall have the pleasure of
seeing you again soon."
"Come whenever you feel to; you will always be welcome."
They bade each other good night; he, refreshed and encouraged by her
thoughts and words; she, happier, as all are, by extending their
But we must turn another leaf, and look at life as it appears to the
narrow-minded and opinionated.
"You have been gone a long time, Howard; I'm very tired," were the
words that came from the lips of Mrs. Deane, as she looked at the
clock, which was just striking ten as her husband entered.
"Not so very late, my dear. I am sorry your head aches; would you
not feel better to go out a little oftener?"
"Howard, you know I am not able. Besides, I'm weary of society. I do
not find any congenial souls here; the most of them are growing so
radical I feel heart-sick and weary whenever I think of mingling
with them. No, Howard, I must be left to myself; my home and my
husband are all on earth I care for. By the way," she said, a trifle
brighter, "have you heard that Hugh Wyman and his wife have been the
means of separating a Mrs. Dalton and husband? I do wish that man
was at the bottom of the Red-"
"Why do you always flare up so when I mention his name? I do believe
that in your soul you care more for him than all the good men in
"You do? Then you are no better than he, in my opinion, and others,
Howard; you will ruin your reputation if you associate with him."
"I wish I was half as good as he is; that I had one fraction of his
independence and manhood to help me through life. O, Mabel, lay
aside your prejudices, and learn to see life for yourself, with
"You would have me mingle, then, with people who have no respect for
the holy law of marriage; and people who talk as coolly of
separation of men and women as they would of parting animals?"
"Who told you they were the cause of their separation?"
"Mrs. Ford. She spent an hour with me this evening."
"And you believe her, and think that she has all the facts of the
"I do. She is a christian woman, and leads a blameless life."
Mr. Deane felt the peaceful state he had that evening gained, fast
leaving him, and he sought his bed, hoping to lose in sleep the
inharmony that swept over him. He did not, however, and morning
found him unrefreshed and weak, the mind restless, seeking for
something which it could not grasp, though within its reach.
"I think I will not go to the office to-day," said he, after trying
to swallow a little breakfast.
"If you are too ill to work, you surely need a doctor. I shall send
for Dr. Barrows when Charley goes to school," said his wife.
"Do no such thing. I am not sick. I only need rest."
"You would have your own way, Howard, if you were dying; but I
really think you do look ill, and ought to have something done."
That "something" she could not do. She could not reach the mind
which needed ministering to, because she had kept her own so
Reader, did you ever have one attempt to do anything for you, and
while the labor was being performed, have your nerves strained to
their highest tension, and the assistance thus kindly and obligingly
rendered, wearying you far more than to have done all yourself? Such
was somewhat the way in which Mrs. Deane administered to her
husband's needs that day. She made him realize every step she took.
She called him a hundred times from his meditations into her sphere
of thought, concerning some petty detail or minor question. She
professed to take care of him, but kept him ever caring for her.
"Howard, these blinds need new fastenings. Howard, the children's
shoes are wearing out. Howard, I wonder if my new dress will fit; I
fear it's spoiled. Howard, I must have fifty dollars to get the
children's hats and dresses for next month, I'm behind-hand now. Now
you are at home, do you suppose you could help me arrange some
magazines I want bound?"
"I'm tired to death. I've been up and down stairs twenty times, at
least, this morning," she said, as she handed him some drink which
he asked to have brought up when convenient. All these questions,
suggestions and requests added to his weakness, so that by night, he
concluded he would have been far better off at his office.
When night came Mrs. Deane was too weary to bathe his aching head.
They occupied, as they should not, the same room, and exhausted each
other, and arose in the same debilitated state in the morning.
"Yesterday was a most fatiguing day to me," said his wife. "Are you
well enough to go to the office, to-day, Howard?" He thought he was,
and thanked heaven that he had strength enough to get there.
It was no wonder he sought what gave him life and strength. It was
his right, and he followed the strong impulse of his being, and went
often to the home of Hugh Wyman. He felt greatly relieved on
learning that Hugh and his wife had no knowledge of the separation
of Mr. and Mrs. Dalton, until it was over; and could not realize
that it made no difference to them what judgment public opinion
passed upon them. They looked only to the right and justice of the
movement; he had not sufficient strength thus to brave the
opposition of popular error. His vital life, the real breath of his
manhood came to him only in the inspiring presence of Hugh and
Arline. In their atmosphere he grew, therefore he felt drawn to them
by a power that he could not withstand, and would not if he could.
The years swept on with majestic step. Many went over the silent
stream; among them Mrs. Temple and her two children, leaving the
home of Herbert desolate and cheerless. Dawn stood beside her to the
last, and saw her go down to the valley, and then she could almost
feel the pulsing of her new birth.
"How fast they travel home," said Hugh, when the rosy lips were
sealed forever, and the poor stricken husband looked on the form
that would never more spring to greet his coming.
"Where is she now?" Again and again the question would force itself
upon Herbert's mind, until his heart so wearied with its long
watching, and waiting, and hoping, sank overpowered with grief
within him. Three days had worked a sad change in his family, by
that disease which was laying parents and children in one grave, and
left few households unvisited.
We have been so poorly schooled in the past, that it is not strange
when one passes from this world, or state of existence, to another,
that we should speak of them as having gone away, little realizing
that loving hearts can never be separated: that what we call spirit
life is but a natural continuation of this, with no "river" running
Words could not add to the impressiveness of the scene, when, as the
friends met to look their last upon those they should know no more
as of earth, the grief-stricken husband and father bowed himself and
kissed the cold lips of the forms that once enshrined the spirits of
his wife and children. Many mourners were there beneath the shadow
of the cloud that had not as yet disclosed its silver lining; but
when was read that beautiful psalm: "The Lord is my shepherd, I
shall not want," every soul was lifted into the region of faith;
that faith so calm and comforting to
"Hearts that are broken with losses,
And weary with dragging the crosses,
Too heavy for mortals to bear."
It seemed to Herbert to be Florence that they placed in the earth;
he could not separate her from that lovely form of clay. How could
he see her lowered into the grave, and his two darlings beside her?
How bear this great grief? Not alone. Only by the help of Him whose
ways are not as ours, and who doeth all things well. Long was the
night of sorrow; it seemed as though day would never dawn, so deep
and chastening was his grief.
"I would I had your faith to sustain me," he said to Hugh, a few
weeks after the burial.
"It's the only thing which takes the sting of death away, and makes
the tomb but a passage to the skies," was the response. "I would not
be without its blessed, consoling influence for all this world can
give, aside from the light which we daily receive into our lives
from those who have passed the vale."
"Are they not about us the same, whether we believe in their
presence or not?"
"No, not the same. You are not the same to your friend who has
little or no faith in your life, and your motives of action, as you
are to one who has full trust and belief."
"No, I am not. In order, therefore, that our unseen friends may
fully aid us, we must believe in their presence and ability to do
so. Christ could not help some because of their unbelief."
"Even so. He who gives us no heed, has no communion with us. But the
faith of which I speak, is not gained at once; it is of a slow and
natural growth. Again and again must we thrust our hand through the
darkness, ere we grasp the anchor. Often will the cloud envelope us,
and all seem dark as night. There will be hours and days when
Florence will come into your atmosphere, bringing her own state of
loneliness and longing to be felt by you; days when you must both
mourn that the veil is dropped between you; but above all, the sun
of spiritual light will shine gloriously."
"Then you think that they suffer after they have gone?"
"I certainly do. It is perfectly reasonable to suppose that they
mourn for us as we for them. Reverse the case. Suppose that you were
where she now is, and that she were here, and that you made strong
efforts to approach her, and having thus far succeeded, endeavored
to impress her with the fact of your presence. If she recognized
you, would you not feel rejoiced? and if she did not, would you not
feel grieved, and all the more so, if instead of honestly admitting
self-evident facts, she sought to evade them?"
"True; all that would be most natural. I have never thought of it in
that light before. Do you think I may sometime feel and know that
Florence is with me?"
"I trust, indeed, I know you will. In some unexpected manner some
human instrument may be used to give your mind the test it needs."
"Will it be real to me? O, tell me if I shall feel and know that it
is really her?"
"If genuine there will be no doubt in your mind. All this is
something which must be experienced, and not told. A thrill will
come to your heart and brain which you have never felt before, when
you first realize the possibility of our departed friends communing
with us, and this because the truth will be more intimately related
to your inner self than anything you have before felt. Dawn is too
much affected by the death of Florence, yet, to see her; too much in
her own state. When she returns to herself-becomes disengaged from
the anxious condition of Florence, she will see and bring her in
communion with you; yet a stranger can do better, and give your mind
more satisfactory evidence of her ability to speak to you."
"One of the conditions of this communion has been, that we must
receive it through strangers. This robs it of its sacredness to me."
"You will never have that feeling after having once felt her
presence through another. You will feel the blending of humanity
more sensibly, and see how we are all conjoined, that there is very
little that is yours or mine exclusively; yet we hold all things,
and all hearts that inspire us. Human souls belong to God and
humanity. It follows not, because one is near us, blessing us with
her daily presence, that she is ours, wholly. She belongs to
humanity, and becomes ours through dissemination. It is like a truth
which we give unto others; it is more within us, the more we give it
forth. Whatever thrills me with joy, is far more to me when I have
told it to a multitude. It is the same with those we love; the more
humanity claims them, the greater they are to mankind, the more they
become to us. Florence was more to you, because she was beloved by
Dawn and myself. If she was much to you here, how full and replete
with love will be her ministration to you now. Her immortal spirit
is with you each hour, and will act on you through all time. When
you know that she is with you, you will feel the thrill of her joy,
and your hours will be greatly relieved of their present loneliness.
It is strange that for so many years we have laid our friends in the
tomb and sat sorrowing at its door. But Spiritualism has rolled away
the stone, as the angel did of old. It comes with its teachings and
humble appeals to earnest, truthful souls. It reaches our daily
wants, and is to us a life-book, not a musty, worthless creed. It is
a stream of life, flowing from heart to heart; not for one only, not
for a few, but for all. It winds by eternal habitations, and flows
to the city of our God. Happy is he who drinks from this lowly
stream, so untainted by the opinions of men, and clear and crystal.
Herbert! happy will thy day be when thou hast tasted of its living
"Then you do not wholly ignore the church," said the village pastor
to Hugh, after a long and earnest conversation upon religious and
"I do not. But I deny that its limitations and its dogmas can
control the growing mind, and believe it to be wrong for the church
to assume or desire to do so. As a great, leading guidance to
popular thought, I would combine the church with the theatre-."
"The theatre!" exclaimed the minister, holding up both hands in holy
surprise. "You don't mean that we should turn the sanctuary into a
play-house? I tremble for the age, sir, indeed I do, if such views
are to be tolerated."
"Not turn the church into a theatre, but combine the two, and with
the good that is to be derived from each, form a perfect temple."
"But the theatre is a temple of evil," remarked the pastor.
"Not so. Because it has at times been perverted and made to
contribute to what we denominate 'evil,' is no reason why the
theatre should be condemned. For the same reason we might condemn
the church, for it, also, has in some periods of its history been
made the means of base oppression and wrong-doing; it has drenched
fields with blood, and slaughtered innocent beings by thousands."
"But that was not the true church."
"Neither in the former case, was it the true theatre; for the
theatre, when confined to its legitimate purpose, is the greatest
moral instructor the world has ever known. Were you accustomed to
visit the theatre, as I know you are not, you would find that the
triumph of the right is always applauded by the audience, while the
tricks and momentary successes of evil-doers are invariably
condemned. This proves more correctly the tendency of the theatre
than all the homilies of those who spin fine-threaded arguments from
the pulpit and the press. Why, my dear sir, the church itself is
unconsciously passing to the theatre, and the theatre equally
unconsciously passing to the church. Witness the fairs, the school
exhibitions, the tableaux, and the private dramatic entertainments
of the former, and the Sabbath evening services within the walls of
the latter. Does not this condition point to the ultimate
combination I have spoken of?"
The pastor sat for a long time in deep thought. At length he looked
up to Hugh, as though relenting from his inward desire to be true to
what was obviously the right, though contrary to public opinion, and
"I hope the day of its coming is far distant, Mr. Wyman; I fear your
views would destroy all religious sentiment, and make us a godless
"What do you consider 'religion' sir?" responded Hugh; "merely
attending to the outer forms, or living an earnest life?"
"Living a blameless life, to be sure, while attending to the outer
forms; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together."
"Which is right, but which is the very smallest part of the
christian's battle. What I call a religious life, is paying tribute
to all the arts of living. Everything which contributes to the
health and happiness of mankind, is to me of vital importance, and a
chief part of my religion. My christianity leads me to build the
best house I can with my means, and to furnish it in good taste,
that the sentiment of its inmates may be uplifted. It extends to
every department-to the food, the garden, the dress, the amusements,
to every social want; in fact to everything which elevates the
standard of life. Religion to me, is living in all that elevates,
therefore I love the temple in which we all congregate, and believe
it ought to be decked with every form of art."
"I think you are right, thus far; I do not, myself, like the barren
walls of the present style of churches."
"That is one step; you have taken that; I have taken another, and
see that the drama is as much a part of God's method of elevating
mankind as flowers and music. Ere long you will see it as I do. The
church of the present day is too cold for me; it does not call forth
the deep sentiment of my being, therefore I come near to God through
Nature. When the church is divested of theology, and has enshrined
the beautiful within its walls, I shall be happy to be among those
who 'assemble,' for all need the magnetic life of assemblies to
complete the cycle of their existence. I do not like a fractional
life, one which seizes some parts and discards others. In the
present age of transition, the best minds are thrown out of the
sanctuary, waiting for the perfect temple, where they can worship in
fulness of soul and purpose."
"Yet all are better for the assembling, are they not, even in its
imperfect state, as you term it?"
"It is well and good for all, but not so essential to some as to
others. Some natures are so alive to sentiment and life, so infused
with religious thought, that they live deeper and more prayerful,
more Godly in one hour, than others do in a hundred years. Every
emotion reveals to such the presence of the Deity. To them each hour
is one of worship, and every object a shrine. No words of man can
quicken their feeling to a brighter flame, for such commune with
God. The dew and the flower, speak unto them of their father's
protecting care. The manifestations of their daily lives, replete
with heavenly indications, tell that God is nigh. 'Day unto day
uttereth speech,' and to such all hours are holy. The heart which is
attuned to life, is full of worship. Every manifestation, whether of
joy or woe, brings God near; and the world becomes the temple.
Religion should come through life and be lived. It is in the dress,
in the kitchen, in the parlor, in books, in theatres, in fact in all
forms of life. Theology is dead to the people. They want the living,
vital present, with no dogmas nor sectarian limitations to keep
their souls from growing."
The pastor felt the force of Hugh's remarks, and the weakness of any
argument he might bring to bear against them. The truth kept
pressing upon his mind, and he felt that he might be obliged to
relinquish his long-cherished opinions.
Thus we lose, day by day, one opinion after another. They wear away,
and we lay them aside like worn garments that have served their
purpose. The greatest error of the past has been the belief that
opinions and surroundings must be continuous and unchanging. When we
look to Nature we learn a different lesson. She is ever changing and
reproducing. The world's opinion holds too many back. One dare not
go forward and live out his or her life, for fear of a neighbor or
friend, and in this way is retarded the full flow of inspiration to
all. Strength in one, is strength in many; and he who dares to
strike out in an individual path, has the strength of all who admire
the bravery of the act. Time is too precious to pattern; let each
one seek to do his own peculiar work, for each soul has a separate
mission upon earth, though we may all labor apparently in the same
direction. Of a thousand persons taking the same journey, each would
see something which none other would. Each soul we meet in life has
a new voice, a new truth to utter, or a new method of presenting an
already known truth to our minds. Each arouses a new sentiment
within us, touches some tender emotion delicately, while another
grates on our senses like harsh music, until we go searching for
harmony and rest and we find treasures of thought within us which we
should never have known had we not thus been driven to the depths of
our being. All help us, then, to higher states; those who
tranquilize us, and those who disharmonize us till we fain would
withdraw to our soul's innermost for peace. We must look at life on
the grandest scale, if we would find rest. A limited vision gives us
nought but atoms, fragments floating in seeming disorder; but the
mountain view gives the spirit all the vales and hills, and shows
them as parts of an extensive landscape, a complete and perfect
"I think it will be a long time before I can see these things as you
do," remarked the pastor, after a long period of thought. "I fear
your radicalism on on this and some other questions, Mr. Wyman, will
injure society, if broadly disseminated."
"I do not think that you understand my views upon marriage, any more
than you comprehend them on religious subjects."
"I hear that you give the fullest license to men and women, to sever
their bonds and unite themselves to others."
"In one sense I do, sir; in another, nothing can be farther from me.
I boldly assert everywhere, that men and women should not live
together in daily inharmony, and give birth to children to inherit
and perpetuate their angularities and discordances. You, yourself,
if you spoke without prejudice and fear of the world, would say the
"But ought they not to try to live in harmony?"
"Most surely; but what if they cannot; if the magnetic life is
consumed? If those whose union is so, merely in a legal sense, feel
that in continuing that union they are daily losing life, power, and
mental force, they should surely separate. I had much rather see
such bonds severed than to witness the soul-harrowing sight I do
every day of my life-parties fearing public opinion, and dragging
each other down, living false and licentious lives-"
"What, sir! Licentious lives?"
"Certainly. Licentiousness is not all outside of wedlock. Every day
and hour, children are being ushered into the world without love or
true parentage-left in the hands of hired, and often vicious and
ignorant servants, while those who should care for them, spend their
time in folly and pleasure,--children undesired, enfeebled mentally
and physically, with no love-sphere to enfold them-offspring of
legalized prostitution, nothing more nor less."
"I think myself, sir," said the pastor, deliberately, "that many
children are born thus, but how does this evil affect the other form
of licentiousness, which is so on the increase?"
"It is very closely allied to it. Let married parties see that they
give birth to pure, harmonious children, and the 'social evil' is
blotted out forever. The evil of our life to-day is traceable to
offspring, born of false and foolish mothers-of wild and reckless
"It's a great evil, I own, but how can we avert it?"
"By making our marriages pure and holy, and by changing our
relations after the life of each is exhausted."
"But what would become of the children?"
"That is another question, and one which would settle itself. The
order of all life is by steps; these we cannot overleap. One truth
enfolds another. If the marriage system was perfect, or the relation
between the sexes understood, we should not see, as we now do,
manifestations which force us continually to question the existence
of a God, and to be ever in search of the disturbing cause.
Something is needed, sir, in our present social system to make us
pure, and that something, is less restraint, and more personal
freedom. We never become pure under restraint. All who know me, know
that I seek to bring the sexes into pure and holy communion of
spirit. Walls and partitions have ever produced clandestine
movements. Boys and girls in schools should not be separated, but
should meet each other daily; their studies, their sports be one as
far as possible, thus blending their natures, not hividing them. If
men lived more in the society of women they would be astonished to
find how much purer and higher-toned their nature would become; how
the mental assimilation was refining their wilder dispositions,
their grosser passions. If such was your experience, you would tell
me in one year that men and women do not mingle enough."
"I think you mean well," said the pastor, "and if I had your faith
in personal freedom, I should almost dare to hope the earth might
see better days."
"I wish you had my trust in man, and the God-life which is within
him, waiting to be out-wrought through his deeds. But my faith
cannot be transmitted to another; it is a matter of inward growth
with each. It comes to us when our souls soar above the labarynthian
forest of opinions and theories, high into the clearer atmosphere,
untainted by the dust and smoke of our daily lives. Yes; on the
mount must the vision ever come. We must ascend, if we would look
beyond; but no words of ours can portray to another the glory of the
scenes we there behold."
Hugh paused, and his face seemed glowing with light. The pastor went
home to think over the words and thoughts of an earnest soul-words
which sank deep within him, and displaced many of his own opinions.
"I do believe Hugh Wyman is a good man, after all that is said of
him," he remarked to his wife as he opened his Bible that night for
the closing service of the day.
The years passed by and left Dawn steadily and peacefully doing her
work, giving men and women each day extended views of life and
deeper consciousness of their own powers. By the aid of friends and
her father, she had succeeded in establishing a home for orphans, of
both sexes, in a wild and beautiful locality, where all the varied
faculties of their minds could expand. All were required to work a
certain number of hours each day; then study and recreation
followed. She became daily firmer in her belief that bringing the
sexes together was the only way to make them pure and refined. Their
labors in the garden and field were together; as also were their
studies and lessons. There was a large hall, decorated with wreaths
and flowers, where they met every evening and sang, danced, and
conversed, as they were disposed; while each day added to their
number. The boys were trained in mechanical as well as in
agricultural pursuits, and it was pleasing to witness their daily
growing delicacy of deportment towards the other sex, as well as the
tone of love and sympathy which was growing stronger between them.
Dawn did not succeed in her effort at once; the majority laughed at
and ridiculed her plan, but faithful to her inspiration, she
continued on, and a few years witnessed the erection of a large,
substantial building among the tall pines and spreading oaks.
Parents who had passed "over the river," came and blest her labors
for their children; and they who, though living on earth, had left
their offspring uncared for, wept when they heard of the happy home
among the verdant hills, where their children were being taught the
only religion of life-the true art of living.
The leading idea and aim was to educate these children into a
harmonious life, and to preserve a proper balance of the physical
and mental by an equal exercise of both. The result of her efforts
was most gratifying and encouraging to Dawn. Her success was
apparent to all, even to those who at first sneered at her course.
The mutual respect which was manifest among them; the quick,
discerning minds, and the physical activity; the well-cultured
fields, the beautiful lawns, the gardens brilliant and fragrant with
flowers, the neatly arranged rooms, the books, the pictures and the
various means of study, amusement and exercise: and around all, the
gentle and loving spirit of Dawn, hovering like a halo of heavenly
protection, combined to form a scene which no one could fail to
admire. It taught one lesson to all, and that was: make children
useful and you will make them happy.
Basil and his sister came often to the home, where Dawn seemed to
preside like a guardian angel. It had been the wish of their lives
to see such a home for orphans, a wish they never expected to see
fulfilled. They gave largely to its support, and were never
happier than when within its walls. Mrs. Dalton, whom the world
pitied so generously, here found her sphere, as did many others who
had felt long unbalanced. She taught the children music, drawing,
and the languages, and extended her life and interest throughout the
dwelling, to every heart therein. Thus the maternal was satisfied
each day, and each hour she felt less need of a union which the wise
world predicted she would enter into by the time her divorce was
granted. Beatrice came and took Dawn's place whenever she wished to
go to her home to refresh herself in the abiding love of her father
"I never thought sich a beautiful thing could be on airth," said
Aunt Polly Day, one of the eldest of the town's people, to Dawn, the
first time that she met her after the "home" was established. "Seems
as though the angels had a hand in't, child, and only ter think,
you're at the head o'nt. Why, I remember the night, or it was
e'en-a-most day though, that you was born. Beats all natur how time
does fly. It may be I shan't get out ter see yer home fer them e'er
little orphans, in this world, but may be I shall when I goes up
above. Do you s'pose the Lord gives us sight of folks on airth, when
we're there, Miss Wyman?"
"I know he does. I feel that I have been helped by the angels to do
this great work."
"Well, it's a comfortin' faith, to say the least on 't; and I don't
care how much you and your pa has been slandered. I believe yer good
folks, and desarving of the kingdom."
"I suppose no one ever feels worthy of the kingdom, Aunty; but we
all know that if we seek the good and the true, that we shall find
rest here and hereafter."
"Them's my sentiment, and I don't see how folks make you out so
ungodly, if livin' true, and bein' kind to the poor is
unrighteousness, then give me the sinners to dwell among. Think of
all the things yer pa has given me, all my life, and there's old
Deacon Sims won't take one cent off of his wood he sells me, when
the Lord has told him in the good book to be kind to the widow and
fatherless. He makes long prayers 'nough, though. Well, I s'pose he
has ter kinder reach out to heaven that way, and make up in words
what he lacks in deeds."
"He will make it all up, Aunty, when he has passed into the other
life, and becomes conscious how little he has done here."
"May be; but it's like puttin' all the week's work inter Sat'day
night. I reckon he'll have to work smart to make up."
Dawn could but smile at the quaint, but shrewd remark, and slipping
a generous gift of money into the hand of the old lady, departed to
spend her last evening with her father, and Herbert, who was now
with them every evening, before going to her home among the hills.
How still and white his face looks, thought Dawn, as Herbert, at
their request, seated himself at the instrument to play. One long,
rapt, upturned gaze, and then the fingers stole over the keys.
Was it the music of the air, or some being of the upper realms
breathing on him, infusing his soul with sound, that caused him to
produce such searching tones, and send them quivering through the
souls of the listeners? Now, moaning like the winds and waves; now,
glad as though two beings long separated, had met. Then the song
grew sweeter, softer, mellower, till every eye was flowing; on and
on, more lovely and imploring till one could only think that
"The angels of Wind and of Fire
Chant only one hymn, and expire
With the song's irresistible stress;
Expire in their rapture and wonder,
As harp-strings are broken asunder
By music they throb to express."
The strains died away. Herbert sank back and spoke not; but on the
white, uplifted face they read that an angel had been with him, one
of the upper air. No words broke the stillness of that atmosphere;
not a breath stirred its heavenly spell.
Without speech they separated, and the hallowed sweetness of that
hour remained with them in their dreams, which came not to either
until long after midnight.
From her own experience, Dawn saw that Herbert must mingle more with
people, and become interested in life. She knew that it would not be
well for him to think too much of the one whom the world pronounced
gone, but who had come nearer than any earthly relation known.
"Come to my mountain home, and see my family," she said to him the
next morning, at parting.
He partly promised by words, but his air of abstraction indicated
that he had no intention of so doing.
What was that look which flashed over her features just then?
Surely, the expression of his own dear Florence, pleading for
"I will come, Dawn, and very soon," he said, this time decisively.
Dawn's face lit up with another joy beside her own, as she pressed
his hand and bade him good bye.
Not many weeks elapsed before Herbert fulfilled his promise to visit
the Home. A murmuring sound of voices fell upon his ears as he
approached the dwelling, and as he came nearer, the beautiful air of
"Home" touched his heart with a new sweetness. The children were
singing their evening hymn. Just as he stepped upon the portico the
song ceased, and Dawn came gliding from the hall.
"Herbert! Welcome!" she exclaimed, with such an expression upon her
face that no words were needed to tell him how glad she felt at his
In her own little sitting room she had his supper brought, which he
seemed to enjoy greatly, and then they walked in the garden till the
dew hung heavy on the grass.
The days went by, and still he lingered. It was life to him to see
so many children happy through labor and usefulness. Soon a desire
to benefit them in some way took possession of his mind, and it was
not long before he had so won their love by songs and stories of
travel and history, that the evening group was not considered
perfect without Mr. Temple, or "Uncle Herbert," as a few of the
youngest ventured to call him.
How childhood, youth, and age need each other's companionship. How
perfect is the household group which includes them all, from the
infant to the white-haired sire. Homes without children! Heaven help
those who have not the sunshine of innocent childhood to keep them
Through this sphere of life and love, he found his life revived.
Gradually the sorrow-clouds passed away, fringed by the sunshine of
hope which was rising in his breast.
Dawn was his strength and counsellor every day. Through her he
learned how closely we are related to the other life, and yet how
firmly we must hold our relation to this, that we may become
instruments for good, and not mere sensitives, feeling keenly human
wants, but doing nothing to supply them.
"I intend to devote myself to life, and help the human family in
some way," he said to Dawn one evening, as the twilight was robing
itself in purple clouds. "I have caught my inspiration from you, and
will no longer moan my days away. My treasures lie beyond, and I
will strive to make myself worthy of the union when I am permitted
to go over the silent stream.
"Do," answered Dawn, "and thus make her life richer and happier."
"I make her happier? Has she not gone to rest?"
"A kind of rest, I know; but does she not still live and mingle her
life with yours each day? Therefore, whatever the quality of your
thought and action is, she must partake of it, and for the time
absorb it into her spirit. If your life is vague and full of unrest,
her life will become so. On the contrary, if yours is strong and
full of purpose, you give her strength and rest of soul."
"Is it so? Are we so united after death?"
"What part of Florence died, Herbert? The spirit passed out,
carrying every faculty, every sense and emotion, to that land where
many dream that we lose all consciousness of life, below, and remain
in some blest state of dreamy ease. Not so. Our lives at death, so
called, are made more sensitive to all we owe our friends on earth,
and death is but the clasp that binds us closer."
"Your words stimulate me to labor and make my dear ones happy
through my life. O, that like you, I could know that they at times
are with me; or, rather, that they could come and give me that
evidence I so much need, of their presence and their power to
commune with us."
"I could not bring to you that evidence, because I know them and
you, but I have a lovely girl who has just come to our Home, a
stranger to you and to myself, who has this gift of second-sight,
and if you wish, I will present her to you."
"Do so, for nothing would give me more happiness."
A young girl, with light hair, and blue eyes which ever seemed
looking far away, was led into the sitting room by Dawn, and stood
silent and speechless as soon as she had entered. Her outer senses
seemed closed, as she spoke in a voice full of feeling these words:
"Be comforted, I am here; thy wife, Florence, and thy little ones.
The grave has nought of us you hold so dear. Believe, and we will
come. I whispered a song to your soul one night, and your fingers
gave it words. Farewell, I will come again; nay, I go not away from
one I love so well. 'T is Florence speaks to Herbert, her husband,
from over the river called Death."
The child looked wonderingly around, then wistfully to Dawn, who
motioned her to the door, that she might join her companions.
"Is she always thus successful?" asked Herbert, after a long
"No. I have often known her to fail; but when the impression comes,
it's invariably correct."
"Wonderful child. How can you educate her, and yet have her retain
this strange gift?"
"I obey my impressions, and allow her to play a great deal. She
cannot follow her class, therefore I teach her alone, short, easy
lessons, and never tax her in any way, physically or mentally."
"You must love her very much; I long to see more of her wonderful
"You shall; but the hour is late, I must now send my children to bed
and happy dreams."
There was soon a cessasion of the voices, and cheerful "good-nights"
echoed through the dwelling. When all was still, Dawn came and sat
by him, and long they talked of the land of the hereafter, and its
intimate connection with this life, so fraught with pain and
Tenderly Dawn looked upon her little group each day, and all the
maternal instincts of her nature sprang to the surface, as she
thought of their lives coming without their asking, forced upon them
to be battled out through storm and fire. Would that all parents
might feel the responsibility of maternity, as that pure being did,
who gave the richest, warmest current of her life to bear those
children on. "He who has most of heart, knows most of sorrow," and
many were the moments of sadness that came to Dawn, as she saw
beings who were recklessly brought into life to suffer for the want
of love and care. But, though sorrowed, she never became morbid. She
lived and worked by the light that was given her, earnestly, which
is all a mortal can do.
No season was complete to her which did not bring to her side Miss
Bernard, who seemed the complement of her very self. One warm summer
evening when the air was sweet with the breath of roses, they sat
together; earnest words flowing from soul to soul, and their natures
blending like the parts of a sweet melody; Dawn's high hope floating
above the rich undertone of the deep life-tide on which the soul of
her friend was borne.
"I have often wondered," said Dawn, as she clasped the friendly palm
more tenderly, "if my life will be as firmly rooted as your own; if
the same rich calm will pervade my being."
"If it be once full of agitation, it will surely be calm at last,"
said Miss Bernard, in that firm tone which indicates that the storms
of life are over, "for we are like the molten silver, which
continues in a state of agitation until all impurities are thrown
off, and then becomes still. We know no rest until the dross is
burned away, and our Saviour's face is seen reflected in our own."
The moonlight fell on her features just then, almost transfiguring
the still, pale countenance. That holy moment brought them nearer
than years of common-place emotions, or any of the external
excitements of life. A tenderer revealing of their relation to each
other flashed through their hearts-a relation which the silvery
moon, and still summer night typified, as all our states find their
analogies in the external world.
"I often query," said Dawn, breaking the silence, "what portion of
your being I respond to?"
"I have often asked myself the same question. Dawn, of those whom I
loved, and in my earlier years felt ambitious to become the
counterpart of friends dear to my life. I have grown more humble
now, and feel content to fill, as I know I only can, a portion of
any soul. I can truly say, you touch and thrill every part of my
being, if you do not fill it, and that just now you answer to every
part. With some, my being stands still, I forget the past, and know
no future. There is one who thus acts upon me now, though many
others have stirred me to greater depths, and excited profounder
sentiments,--this one calls forth the tenderest emotions of my heart
and stimulates me to kindlier deeds. Thus do all in turn act and
re-act upon each other, and what we need is to know just how to
define this relation, for the emotions it calls forth are so often
mistaken for those of love between the sexes, which marriage seals,
and in few years reveals the painful fact, that what was supposed to
be soul blending with soul, was only the union of a single thought
and feeling, while the remainder of their nature was wholly
unresponded to, its deepest and holiest aspirations unmated."
"Do we not answer to each other now, because we are aglow with life,
and each susceptible to the others emotion?" asked Dawn.
"Something deeper," said her friend. "It is because we are both
illumined by the divine essence which pervades all space and matter,
as the air surrounds this globe. We are both full, and reflect each
other's repletion. The theme is grand, and one which I would like to
enlarge upon to-night, before our states are changed to those
harsher ones, in which diviner truths are ever refracted."
"I feel the force of your last assertion most thrillingly," said
Dawn, "for I know that a purely mental condition is antagonistic to
spiritual light. How beautiful life becomes as we grow into the
recognition of its laws, and learn of Him, who is law itself, and
whose daily revealings, are the protecting arms around us."
"Fully realizing this fractional mating of which we have spoken, I
am led to question if we ever find one soul who meets every want, or
whether we wander, gathering from this one, and that one, until the
soul has all its emotions sounded, all its sentiments aroused and
responded to. In my deepest, most earnest questioning for truth,
this answer seems to be the only one, which gives me rest. How is it
with you, whose vision is clearer than my own?"
"I feel that no one soul can meet all the wants of another. Yet
seeing this principle, sufficient light does not dawn on the method
of its application."
"The light will come with the labor, as the fire flashes from the
flint by strokes of the steel."
"True," said Dawn, gathering inspiration from the words, "And I have
often felt that the world would be better to-day, if people agreed
to live together while life and harmony inflowed to each, and no
longer. I think the whole moral atmosphere would be toned and
uplifted, the physical and spiritual beauty of children increased,
and purer, nobler beings take the place of the angular productions
of the day, if our unions were founded on this principle. And yet no
one mind can point out the defects of our present system, and apply
the remedy. The united voices of all, and the efforts of every
individual must be combined, to accomplish a change so urgently
demanded. All men and women should fortify themselves, and see that
no being comes through their life, unless they have health and
harmony to transmit. Maternity should never be forced; woman's
highest and most sacred mission should never be prostituted, and yet
this sin is every where. When every woman feels this truth, she will
purify man, for he rises through her ascension. He needs her
thought, her inspiration, her influence, to keep him every hour; and
when the world has risen to that point, where minds can mingle; when
society grants to man the right, to pass an hour in communion with
any one who inspires him, we shall have made an advance towards a
purer state. To-day mankind are suffering for mental and spiritual
association. Give to men and women their right to meet on high,
intellectual, and sympathetic grounds, and each will become better.
We should then have no clandestine interviews, and few, if any of
the passional evils which now burden every community, for the
restraints which the jealousies and selfishness of the married have
established, in a great measure create these."
She paused: and the tall trees waved their branches as though in
benediction on her head. Beauty was every where. There, in that
summer night, who could utter aught but truth. The soft and gentle
light of the hour, silvering with heavenly charms every rock, and
tree and singing brook, excited no sophistries, but rather inspired
the soul with divinest truths. Their words died away, but the
spirit, the influence of their thoughts, will live through ages, and
bring, perhaps, to those who read them, states peaceful and calm.
That the relation between men and women needs some new revelation,
we all know, but the light comes very slowly to us. We must work
with such as is vouchsafed to us. Revelation comes to but few, and
such can only work and wait, for the multitude. He who has toiled up
the mount of vision, cannot reveal to the pilgrim in the vale, the
things his eyes behold. The landscape view cannot be handed down,
nor the emotions of the beholder, imparted to another.
The day is coming for true and earnest communion between the sexes,
and the day is rapidly passing by when the glorious life which has
been given us is misdirected and misapplied.
Threads of silver shot through Dawn's silken hair, yet she grew more
beautiful as the years matured her. The children under her care grew
to be young men and women, and went out into the world qualified to
live harmonious lives. She had taught them the true religion of
life; had impressed upon their minds the importance of enjoying this
life, that they might be prepared to enjoy the life that follows it;
that to be happy now is to be happy forever, for the present is
always ours, the future never.
"I have one wish more," she said to her friend, Miss Bernard.
"And pray tell me what modest ambition you have just now?"
"It is one I have long cherished. I wish to see a hospital for
invalids erected within sight of this Home."
"You are so successful in seeing your wishes ultimated, I shall
expect to see one in a few months."
"I should be glad to see a good list of names with generous
subscriptions by that time. I think if all the extra plate and
jewelry of wealthy families, articles which do them no good, or
rather the surplus (for the beautiful in moderation ever does us
good) were sold, and the money given to such an object, very much
might be done. I see, when I come in contact with people, the great
need that exists for an institution where patients can be surrounded
with all that is lovely and artistic, and their spiritual and
physical needs attended to. Many need only change of magnetism and
conditions, with the feeling that they have a protecting care around
them, to change the whole tone of the system. Others are weak, have
lost mental stamina, and need the tonic of stronger minds; while
some need tenderness and love, and to be treated like weary
children. Many would need no physical ministration direct, but
spiritual uplifting, which would in time project its force through
the mental, and harmonize the body. There are many such cases."
"True, I know we need such an institution to meet those wants which
you have so faithfully sketched; and if a few earnest men and women
work for that end, may we not hope to see it accomplished, and the
blue dome rising somewhere among these hills? I will contribute my
part, and give a good portion of my time for its accomplishment."
"If all felt as you do we might surely see it in our day; but we
will hope that the need will develop such a place, for the need is
but an index pointing to the establishment of such an institution."
"I have often wondered if cases of insanity might not be treated
more successfully than they are by scientific men."
"I feel that they could be under pure inspiration, and in nine cases
out of ten, the disharmonized mind be restored to harmony."
"O, Dawn, let us work for this, and though we may never see it in
our life, we shall have the consolation and happiness of knowing
that we had a part in the beginning."
"And the beginning is the noblest part, because the least
appreciated. The ball in motion will have many following it, but the
starting must be done by one or two."
Their conversation was here interrupted by the announcement of a
visitor, who proved to be Miss Weston, whom Dawn was delighted to
"I had a singular feeling," she said, to Dawn "as I came up the
steps of the portico, what do you suppose it was?"
"I am not clairvoyant to-day. Be kind enough to tell me."
"I felt as though I was coming to a home, one which I should never
wish to leave."
"And you need not, so long as you can be happy with me. I have long
needed some one like yourself to help me. Will you stay?"
"Dawn, may I?"
"Nothing would give me more happiness, because you have come in this
way; of your own spontaniety-simply gravitated to my life-and when
the exhaustion of our mental and vital forces demands our separation
we will part, and consider that as natural and agreeable to each as
our present coming together."
"O, if these principles could be understood and lived out, how
happy, how natural we all should be; and happy because natural."
"The world is slowly coming to an understanding of them, and you and
I may help its advance by living what we feel to be true lives."
"Dawn, you are life and light to every one, I shall stay here the
rest of my life."
With the clasp of true friendship about them, they lived and worked
together. Winter came, and they sat at evening by the fire-side and
talked of the past, and the golden future for mankind. The textures
of their lives were fast weaving into one web of interest. Dawn's
excess of spiritual life flowed into Edith's, who never forgot the
hour upon the seashore, and the awakening there of her spiritual
Miss Weston proved to be one of those household angels who see
things to do, and seeing, perform. Silently she slipped into her
sphere of usefulness, and became Dawn's helper in the thousand ways
which a woman of tact and delicacy can ever be.
Silently the pines waved over the graves of Florence and her
children. The snow of many winters fell on their tasselled boughs,
while her husband learned through the beautiful philosophy, that our
loved ones find death no barrier to the affections. Gradually he
learned the great lesson of patience, which must be inwrought in
every soul-that all our experiences of life are necessary, and in
divinest order; that everything which happens is a part of the great
whole, and that none of the bitter could have been left out of his
cup. The unrest, produced by what he once considered his loss passed
away, as the recognition of life's perfect discipline flowed unto
The nearest person on earth, now, was his friend and sister Dawn,
kin of spirit, heart and mind. Regardless of people's speech, he
went often to her home, and received the sympathy he needed. To him,
she was life and inspiration. Why should he not seek where he could
find? It was her soul-life he needed, and long and earnestly they
conversed of those interior principles which so few perceive.
"I have learned by experience what true relationship may exist
between men and women," said Dawn to Edith, one day when every
moment had been given to Herbert, "and how God intended us for each
"And I see how your own life is increased by giving it to others, as
you are every day doing. If I had a husband, Dawn, I should enjoy
him most after he had been in your society. Uplifted and toned by
the life of another, he could be far more to me,--far dearer and
vital. I wonder women do not see this great truth."