Source: "In the Land of the Living Dead" by Prentiss Tucker
CHAPTER VII: HELPING A SLAIN SOLDIER TO COMFORT HIS MOTHER:
Mr. Campion turned to him smiling:
"You have not forgotten the 'glide' I see, so we'll start on our trip."
They began at once to move with tremendous rapidity, Jimmie holding Mr.
Campion's hand and noticing as they sped along that he seemed to see many
more people traveling like themselves through the air than he had observed
on his former visit to the Land of the Living Dead. They were moving in all
directions, some quickly, some slowly, some merely drifting and apparently
asleep. His own gait was so rapid that he merely made a mental note of the
fact and hoped to ask Mr. Campion about it later.
In less time than it takes to tell about it they found themselves on the
fighting line in France, and they stopped in front of a little dugout within
which several men were talking. Jimmie recognized one as the tall soldier
whom he had met in the "Y" hut. It developed from their talk that they ex-
pected to take part in a drive which they were sure would be made within a
day or two, and were discussing the conditions of the after-death state, if
there were such a thing. But they were going about it in a most peculiar
way--it seemed as though they were trying to hide under a camouflage of
flippancy their genuine hunger for information.
"I don't believe death ends it all, but it don't seem to me like we've
been given the right dope about it. I remember an old hymn I heard at a re-
vival once. I forget just how it went, but it was something like this:
'One moment here my soul shall be,
The next, beyond the stars.'
That's sure going some, ain't it?"
"St. Peter wouldn't have no chance to fire any questions at a guy going
such a pace as that!"
"Also the guy would be goin' so fast he'd just naturally pass right
through heaven an' out the other side before he could stop."
"He'd be out of luck wouldn't he? But I don't believe the man who wrote
that song knew anything about it. I don't believe people change like that
when they die. Look at Slim Johnson. That guy is so slow he just naturally
can't keep out of his own way an' do you think he'd change to a skyrocket
like that if he was killed? No sir! He'd never show no speed like that.
It'd take him a week to find out he's dead. I bet when a man's killed he
just hangs round a spell an' then moseys along."
"I dunno. Wherever he had any business, likely. Some might like to go
to heaven an' play on a harp an' then some might not. For me, I never
played on a harp an' I can't sing so I'd just like to sorter hang around an'
see how things was goin'!"
"Maybe you couldn't. Supposin' you found you had an engagement some
place an' a big fellow behind you with a pitchfork urgin' you to keep it?"
"Nothin' doin.' I don't believe in such things as that. I don't believe
in any devil at all. I've heard some of these Englishmen tell of things
they seen out at night when the war first started an' they were different
The inquisitive soldier with whom Jimmie had talked broke in here:
"I believe a lieutenant I got talking to a few weeks ago had the right
dope. He said we had lived before and we would live again and that we kept
on being the same kind of men after we were killed as we were before. It
sounded foolish to me then, but the more I think of it the more I believe he
Here Mr. Campion drew Jimmie away.
"We have so little time," he said, "that we must make the most of it.
You see that the seed you planted and which you thought was wasted has
really sprouted and has started the man to thinking. Later, if he should
come in touch with the occult teaching, it will not be a novelty to him and
he will be ready to consider it."
They had been moving rapidly while he spoke, and he had hardly finished
before they stood in a room where an elderly couple, evidently man and wife,
were sitting. The hour was past midnight, but for these two there was no
sleep. An official envelope on the table would have told the story had it
been needed, but it was not. The woman was crying audibly, the man si-
lently, though the tears were rolling down his cheeks. Standing at one side
was a soldier in a torn and muddy uniform, with a row of bullet holes across
his chest where a machine gun had evidently done its work. He winced and
cringed when the woman cried, stretched out his arms to her and called her
"mother," but she did not hear.
Mr. Campion approached the soldier:
"Friend," he said, and Jimmie thought that never had he heard so kindly a
The soldier turned to him.
"I can't make her hear. I can't make her hear. If she only knew that I
am alive and not-not-suffering! She thinks I'm dead! but I'm not. I'm just
as alive as I ever was, but I can't make her hear!"
Again that gentle voice seemed to change the tense vibrations in the
"You are not dead, indeed but you have laid aside your body of flesh and
I can help you. Listen to me and do exactly as I say:
"Think of yourself in a clean, new uniform, without a wound and happy,
and try to impress that thought upon your mother's mind."
Slowly, as Jimmie looked, the torn, dirty uniform, became clean and
fresh, the bullet wounds disappeared, the man's face lost the lines of pain
which had been seared upon it. He looked down at himself and gave a gasp of
"Now," said Mr. Campion, "always think of yourself as clean and fresh and
happy and keep on saying to her 'I love you, I love you!' and after a while
when she goes to sleep you will be able to talk to her for at that time she
will leave her body for a while. Then try to make her realize that you are
alive and well and that you love her. Love is the greatest force in all the
world and in time you will soothe her pain; at night when she sleeps you can
be with her and talk to her."
The soldier gave him a look only, but in that look were manifest a
gratitude and respect which no words could have expressed. He began to
follow the directions.
Jimmie and Mr. Campion withdrew to a corner while the soldier, forcing a
smile to his lips, kept repeating the formula, bending over the woman as she
Gradually the sobs died away and a look of peace crept over her face.
"Henry," she said to her husband, "it is all right with him, I feel it. He
is alive and well."
Again Mr. Campion took Jimmie by the hand and they began to travel. This
time it was back to the ship, and Jimmie soon found himself poised directly
above the vessel on board of which in a little cabin his own body lay sleep-
The moon had gone down and to the physical eye the face of the ocean
would have been dark, but those who travel in the Land of the Living Dead
need no sun by day nor are they oppressed by darkness at night.
Natural laws run through all the cosmos, which is but another way of say-
ing that God rules everywhere. But the operator of certain natural laws
differs in the different worlds, and those who find themselves suddenly pro-
jected into the higher realms of being are often apt to be much surprised at
the things they see and hear.
Jimmie gazed at the beautiful sight which lay spread out below him where
the great steamer was plunging onwards through the gently rolling ocean, all
around her the interminable stretch of waters, ever restless, which ran
brimming from horizon to horizon with no human eye to watch the slow dignity
of their great rollers as they heaved themselves like mighty giants over the
beautiful, foamy lacework where the combers broke.
"Jimmie" said his companion as they hovered in the air, "some day perhaps
I shall take you on a real journey through space and time, and I will show
you old Atlantis and the things which happened there long before history had
its beginning. We read tales of romance and of fiction, but I tell you that
neither romance nor fiction ever could rival some of the wonderful things
which happened in that strange old land which these very waves have traveled
over. Now, let us go to your cabin."
They swept gently downward and entered the cabin where Jimmie stood look-
ing down at his body which was quietly breathing in sleep.
"Queer thing, isn't it?"
"What?" asked Mr. Campion.
"Why, its queer what makes it go! There is is, breathing just as
regularly as clockwork, and here I am, outside of it and disconnected, as
you might say, and yet it's working just as nicely as ever."
"The sight of it this way may help you to realize that the body is only a
tool to be used by the 'you' which is now standing before it. Later on you
may grow to realize that the 'you' now standing here is only the tool of a
still higher 'you.'"
"I wonder," said Jimmie musingly, "would I have known of it if the ship
had been torpedoed and my body drowned while I was away from it?"
"You certainly would have known, had it happened, but it was because I
knew that it would not happen that I came for you. Later I shall teach you
to leave your body when you will."
"Didn't I leave my body tonight?"
"No. Not as I mean when I speak of leaving the body. Everyone leaves
the body in sleep. You left yours after falling asleep and then I woke you,
but you did not leave your body consciously. Had you done so you would have
met the Dweller on the Threshold."
"What is that?"
"The sum of the evil of your past lives. But there is something else I
want to speak of now instead of the Dweller, and that is this: What did you
notice particularly about the soldier who was trying to make his mother hear
"Why,--er--I don't know. Let me see, he had been killed by a machine
gun, was that it?"
"No. I mean what lesson could you draw from him? Every time you are
taken out on a trip into the Land of the Living Dead it is not to gratify
your love for adventure but to teach you a lesson. Every time in the future
when you are able to 'travel' alone you must be on the lookout for some les-
son to learn. I showed you the inquisitive soldier for a purpose, and I
took you to the other place also for a purpose.
"After this you will have to search out the lessons for yourself, for a
great part of the good they do is brought about by the trouble which is
taken and the thought and concentration spent in looking for them. But this
time, to show you what I mean and to start you right, I will help you.
"You must learn to look for the big little things, not for the little big
things. You took a wonderful journey such as kings might envy you, such as
you used to read of in fairy stories or in the Arabian Nights, a most spec-
tacular thing had there been any one to watch it, but that journey was of no
importance compared with a number of little things which apparently you did
"The things which you must look for are those which emphasize great
truths; things which are true for everybody, for all people. The journey
was great, in its way, but it was great for you alone. If you went out into
the world and spent your time telling people about that wonderful journey
they would not believe you, but even should they believe you, what would you
accomplish? From the standpoint of the evolving spirit you would accomplish
"But take one of the little things which you noticed but which did not
impress you because you were not on the watch for such things, the little
fact that the soldier shrank when his mother cried--take that fact and ask
yourself: Why? Why did he act as though some one had struck him with a
whip? Was it not perfectly natural that she should cry? Had she laughed
and smiled would he not have had a perfect right to have felt badly, to have
felt as though she was glad to get rid of him? Well, the key lies in this:
He knew, on account of being more sensitive to her thought than when he was
in the physical body, that she had a subconscious fear that death is the end
of all and that once dead he was lost to her forever. That was what caused
him such pain. That was why he shrank and quivered so. He was alive and he
knew he was alive. He was on another plane of being, true, but he was alive
and not dead. Had he been able to tell her so, to show himself to her for
just one moment as living, she would have lost the keenness of her grief,
death would have been robbed of half its sting, no, more than half, nine
tenths. There is your lesson, what do you learn from it?"
Jimmie hesitated, watching his body sleeping in the bunks. He was not
just sure WHAT the lesson was. The Elder Brother did not give him long
to think, however, for he began again.
"To find out what the lesson was is easy if you will go about it me-
thodically. Take from the situation the permanent, universal truths. You
have a son who has been killed, a mother who knows that he has been killed;
you have the mother showing a perfectly natural grief; you have, (since you
were able to see on both sides of the veil) the natural grief of the mother
causing the son (unseen by her) the most acute sorrow. These things are
universal as death is universal, for in the problem which we are consider-
ing, the manner of the son's death is of no moment. We have, then, the fact
that deep and hopeless grief causes the dead to suffer. We have also the
fact that lamentations for the dead cause them pain and take their attention
away from the new conditions surrounding them, and hence hold them back in
their evolution. Also, since the peculiar intensity of these lamentations
is caused by the belief or fear of the living that death is the end of ev-
erything, you have an utterly needless suffering, arising from ignorance,
which is harming both the dead and the living. Is the case growing more
"Yes, in a way. I can see where grief disturbs the dead and how the liv-
ing suffer much more than they need to suffer and all through ignorance.
Is that the lesson?"
"Partly, but only partly. On the other side the suffering is much keener
than on this side because it is not deadened by the flesh, so the dead man
suffers far more than is necessary. Also the ones left behind suffer a
great and needless amount of pain because they do not know that death is not
the end. But there is a positive side. Not only do they suffer needlessly
but they miss a great deal of joy which they might have, did they know the
real facts of the matter. The mother who mourns her little child, could she
see the child in the surpassing bliss of the heaven world, might still
grieve, but her grief would be for herself not for the child. Death is, in
many cases, a promotion, not a loss; a benefit, a reward, a thing for which
to be thankful. We need to get rid of that old idea which still clings so
closely that death means permanent cessation of physical activity.
"But there is a further consideration. In the average death, not the re-
sult of sudden accident or of battle, the soul reviews the events of the
past life, and it is this review which forms the real basis of our progress
in evolution. I explained it to you when I gave you that long talk in the
Rue de l'Ex. You remember that the subconscious memory, which is a property
of the vital or etheric body, is impressed on the desire body at death while
the soul is reviewing the past life. That impression forms the basis for
the life in purgatory and also in heaven. When the attention of the passing
soul is distracted as by the lamentations of those who are left behind, the
record is not impressed on the desire body, hence the purgatory life and the
heaven life both fail in their real purpose to a large extent, and just to
that extent the past life of the man is wasted. You have seen how the dead
are hurt by the grief of the living; not the calm sorrow of absence but the
emotional outburst of despair. This is one lesson blocked out for you. In
the future, wherever your life of service takes you, do all in your power to
explain these facts to people so that in time this terrible injustice to the
dead will cease. In just so far as you can do this, will you help evolution
and bring nearer the great Day of Liberation."
"What was the other lesson of which you spoke?"
"I have shown you one; the other I think you would remember better if you
find it out for yourself."
"But I don't understand how the subconscious memory is impressed. You
say that it forms the basis for the life in purgatory, and that according to
the keenness of the life in purgatory so is the completeness of our conquest
over our sins?"
"That is it, exactly."
"And yet, in the deaths that I have watched from this side of the line
there has been no review of the past life. Take Sergeant Strew, for in-
stance. When he was killed he simply stepped out of his body and there he
was. There was no lamentation, but he never stopped to think of his past
life. Now why was that?"
"Because it was a departure from the normal way of dying. Nature intends
to use a method consisting of death, then a review of past activities and
mistakes and a purgatory and heaven life based on that review. That is the
scheme of evolution, normally, but man with his divine prerogative of free
will and choice often upsets Nature's plans--temporarily, of course. Nor-
mally man is not intended to die by violence or accident. Death on the
battlefield or death in some accident which suddenly removes the Ego from a
young and vigorous body is not the normal method planned for the race. It
interferes with the review. Death by burning, such as sometimes happens to
people in a house or a railroad wreck, may so terrify and excite the soul
that for a long time after the actual severance of the silver cord and long
after the review has become impossible, the soul is still frantically
re-enacting the scene of its violent separation from the physical body.
"In the event of those who die from shell shock the review is usually im-
possible. In the case of sergeant Strew, he was removed from his body in-
stantly and was not aware of the fact, but even had he been aware of it, the
violence of the vibrations at the time would have prevented his review even
though no relatives interfered. But you will remember that he saw you at
once and had hardly ceased greeting you when he was excited by the soldiers
interfering with his body. However, even if you had not been there he would
not have had any review on account of the suddenness of what was practically
accidental death, also the very unfortunate vibrations which obtain gener-
ally all over the battle line, and several other contributory reasons which
I won't go into now; but you see that death by accident or violence or
battle is unfortunate, as it interferes with the normal process of Nature.
Nature, however, is too powerful to be thwarted. Natural processes may be
interfered with and thrown out of normal but they cannot be thwarted in the
long run. Nature always employs the very abnormalities to further her ends,
so that when an account is finally totaled, it may be seen that what at the
time seemed to have been a wasted life was really not wasted at all, but
that every part of it was used. So, in our Father's great universe we find
the most wonderful evidence of wisdom everywhere, wisdom without limit,
wisdom whose heights we cannot scale and whose depths we cannot plumb."
"Jimmie was looking at his friend while the latter was speaking and saw a
sight new to him in his experiences in this wonderful country. He saw the
soul body of a Master who was wrapped in adoration of the Divine Wisdom and
in love for the Divine Creator.
Brilliant beyond description was this beautiful vision. The little cabin
was aflame with the glory which filled it with coruscations of intense light
in many shades from pure white to violet. In the center of this terrific
radiance was the etheric body of the man, standing with bowed head as though
Unprepared for such a vision, Jimmie staggered back against the wall, and
it would have needed but little to have brought him to his knees had he not
remembered the words spoken by the angel under somewhat similar circum-
stances, "See thou do it not." So he did not worship, but he stood in awe
and wonder as the glory began to fade and his own friend, familiar once
more, looked at him and with outstretched hand said:
"Forgive me, friend. For a moment I was thinking only of the Father and
His Divine love, His wonderful forbearance towards us, and the wisdom with
which He makes even our weakness and our failures serve him.
"And now I shall leave you for the present. Keep up the exercises which
I gave you. Seek out the other lesson, and as you tread the path may the
Father's blessing rest upon you."
Slowly the cabin grew dim and dark, the movement of the vessel became no-
ticeable; Jimmie felt the edges of the bunk and the softness of the blankets
and with his outstretched hand touched the hardness of the wall. He was
CHAPTER VIII: A STUDY OF AURAS:
Jimmie slept no more that night. He lay awake, pondering over the things
which had happened, and gradually there came over him the conviction that
the greatest lesson all had not been told him him but had been left for him
to find out for himself.
He began to reason the thing out. Why had he been selected and shown so
many wonderful things? It was not to gratify his curiosity, that was cer-
tain. It was not that he might here and there pick out some one to whom he
could bring a moderate degree of consolation for the loss of loved ones, al-
though that was doubtless one of the minor purposes. What could it be, the
great idea which lay behind?
It was not that he should heal the sick, although Mr. Campion had told
him a great deal about the curing of physical illness by work upon the vital
body. It was not that he should tell the story of his adventures in the
Land of the Living Dead, for he had been especially warned that he must not
do this since spiritual experiences will not stand repeating; and besides,
he had been told that people would not believe him.
He remembered that the greatest Healer who had ever lived, had never, so
far as he could recall, gone out of His way to heal. He had healed many, it
is true, but only, so to speak, as a side issue, only healing those who had
obtruded themselves upon Him and whose demands had been more or less insis-
tent. Then what was he to do? For what great purpose had he been in-
Healing was not the great reason, nor comforting the sorrowful. Training
his own personality as an end in itself was out of the question--for that
would have involved the element of selfishness. It must be something which
he was to pass on to others--that much was clear, and he began to reason
Suppose, he thought, he were a wealthy man, what could he do with his
money in order to accomplish the most good? For one thing, he could give
money to those in need. But, on the other hand, giving money to the needy
is not always wise. It is apt to breed more troubles than it cures.
He could build factories and divide the profits with his employees. That
would be better. That would be helping others to help themselves. When
Christ was on earth He performed many miracles, and the Power which could
multiply a few loaves and fishes until they were enough to feed thousands
could doubtless have turned stones into gold. Why then, did not Christ
abolish poverty by giving gold to all the poor people whom He met?
The Christ, he reasoned, looked at the matter from the standpoint of the
great Sun Spirit that He was. He knew these people to be evolving spirits
whose progress from the pain and unhappiness of the lower stages of evolu-
tion to the great joy and happiness and splendor of the higher grades was
dependent solely upon spiritual advancement and not in any wise upon their
accumulation of money or property. He knew that spiritual advancement is
more often retarded by the possessions which, being close at hand and
prominent, seem to their owner to be the most desirable things which life
has to offer. Therefore He gave them those things which were the most
valuable--help, encouragement, and teaching along the lines which, if fol-
lowed, would bring the only real and permanent reward. In other words,
Christ helped His followers to help themselves along the lines of spiritual
This life, Jimmie realized, taken as a whole from the first differen-
tiation of the individual spirit within the great being of God before it
starts on its long pilgrimage, until the final day of liberation when the
aspirant can speak the glorious words, "It is finished." is like a school,
and in it we learn our lessons. The same law holds good as in our childhood
school days, and that is that no one else can learn our lessons for us. A
teacher can only help and encourage, lead and point out the way. The actual
acquirement of learning must be through work done by ourselves.
True, the child at school can be forced by fear of punishment to study;
questions and examinations can disclose fairly well the extent to which he
has applied himself. But the punishment or the fear of it does not accom-
plish anything except to spur on a careless or lazy mentality. The learning
acquired is the result of the child's own effort regardless of what may have
been the incentive.
So, carrying the analogy farther, spiritual advancement for the majority
of mankind is the result of the spirit's own work, since they are entirely
ignorant of the fact that they are in school, ignorant of the law of
spiritual growth, hence devoid of the true spiritual incentive to progress.
The education of a child who will study only under the threat of punish-
ment is of very poor quality compared with that obtained by one who knows
that it is receiving a training which will help it to get on in the world
and who consequently tries to study and assist the teacher. But this educa-
tion, although far surpassing the first, makes a poor showing compared with
that obtained by the child who has a real thirst for knowledge and who needs
neither the lash of fear nor the spur of self-interest to urge it on.
So with spiritual growth. At first it is fostered by fear--fear of
death, of eternity, and all the other fears which operate on mankind.
This stage of spiritual growth is excessively slow, life after life show-
ing but little gain. When self-interest becomes the motive, progress is a
little more rapid. It is, however, only when self is forgotten and the man
works for love alone that progress is swift. Then he has reached the stage
described in the parable of the Prodigal Son who, being yet a great way off,
was seen by the Father who went to meet him.
Jimmie pondered these things carefully. The great purpose was not heal-
ing nor consolation. These were by-products, so to speak. The great pur-
pose must be connected with helping people to help themselves. The key to
the problem evidently lay hidden there.
Now, how was he to help others to help themselves? Spiritual advancement
can come like education, only through the spirit's own efforts. But
achievement, when made only under the spur of the law of compensation and
when the result is not incorporated into the spirit until after death, is
The child at school, even if unwilling to learn, can see and understand
the geography or the spelling book whose lists of names and words it is re-
quired to memorize. The spirit learning under the last of the great Twin
Laws of Rebirth and Consequence does not understand but is learning blindly.
A knowledge of the laws of Rebirth and Consequence would be a great aid
to many. it would show them what they were doing and why they were doing
it, and in a great number of cases it would accelerate spiritual progress
Jimmie felt that this was not the real answer to his problem, but he also
felt that it was a start toward that answer, and he was sure that if he
should do his best to spread the knowledge which he had gained--not the de-
tails of his adventures, but the great fact that a tremendous and wonderful
spiritual life is going on around us all the time, and that at death we
merely step out of our physical cocoon into a glorious freedom--if he should
do his best to spread this knowledge and that of the great Twin Laws, he
would later be given his real an answer.
* * *
At the training to which he had been assigned Jimmie soon plunged into his
work, with earnestness. It was not hard work as yet, for his superiors had
consideration for his physical condition, and made things as easy for him as
they could. In fact he had had one entire week after landing with nothing
at all to do, and he spent that week getting acquainted with the city near
which his camp was located. He had thought of visiting his home, but the
leave given him was not quite long enough and he was unable to get it ex-
Walking around this unfamiliar city, he amused himself and practiced his
newly budding powers by watching the auras of the people whom he met, not
the people with whom he became acquainted, for Mr. Campion had been very
particular to point out that it was forbidden to any occult student to in-
vestigate the auric colors of any person whom he might personally know
merely to practice his powers. Such investigation must be concerned only
with strangers and those wit whom it was not at all likely that an acquain-
tance would be ever be made.
It had not been long that he had been able to see the aura, and at first
he had not realized what it was but supposed that he was affected in some
way by shell shock. When first he had glimpsed the lightly changing colors
which come and go around the head and shoulders, he had thought his eyes af-
fected. Marjorie had told him of auras, and he had seen the color around
the head of his nurse when first recovering consciousness, but somehow or
other these impressions had been vague. When he actually saw the real thing
after the first glamour of the life behind the veil had worn away, he did
not recognize it.
He had first seen it in the trenches. A number of new men had been as-
signed to his company when returned to the front, and he had been watching
one of these men, when a well aimed shell of small caliber had whizzed very
close above the top of the parapet and near where this man was standing.
The man did not move nor did he exclaim but stood as calmly as though he had
been a veteran of twenty years of trench warfare. But to Jimmie, watching
him, he appeared suddenly to be enveloped in a cloud of gray as in a fog.
This was modified by considerable scarlet around the head, which showed that
the man was afraid but that it was the fear of a brave man, for he was angry
too, partly at himself for being afraid. It showed, too, that while the man
felt fear, yet he was in perfect control of himself and would not allow him-
self to show it; thus he proved himself, to Jimmie, to be one of the bravest
of the brave.
This first glimpse which Jimmie had of the aura was not a very clear one.
He had the impression that his eyes had suddenly clouded a little with mois-
ture which, he thought, might explain the gray mist, but the appearance of
scarlet had puzzled him. For several days he had no recurrence of the
sight, but after that it had come more and more frequently, especially after
he had recognized it for what it was and had begun to practice the use of
it. Later still he found that he could look at men and determine whether
they were afraid or not, whether they were angry or not and to just what de-
And still later he had begun to tell the difference between the aura and
the vital body, which he had not been able to distinguish at first except
that he knew the aura to be considerably outside the vital body in its ex-
During his voyage he had exercised his budding power on the members of
the crew and those with whom he was sure he would not be thrown into compan-
ionship later. This had been unsatisfactory, however, for the members of
the crew did not display much variation in their auric coloring, and the
colors they did have were generally of a muddy and confused variety. Even
when they had little bickerings among themselves, they never showed the pure
scarlet but only a muddy, dirty red, considerably mixed with other colors.
Here in the city, however it was different. There were plenty of people
who showed only the undeveloped colors it was true, but there were some whom
he saw on the street whose auras were beautiful. He visited a church the
first Sunday morning, thinking that there at least he would find the higher
shades of the rarer colors, but was disappointed. The most beautiful shade
of blue he witnessed was that unconsciously owned by a little old lady who
would, no doubt, have been very much surprised had some one told her that
she was more spiritual than the minister himself.
Often on the street Jimmie would see a well dressed business man with a
most kindly and benevolent expression yet with an aura which denoted greed,
envy, lust, cruelty, and he would wonder what such a man would do in a world
where such things were visible to all. If we can keep our self-respect here
only by making others believe we are what we are not, although possibly try-
ing to be the latter, then in a world where the character is an open book to
all who care to read, what shall we do? Obviously it is "up to us" to lay
the foundations of character of which we shall not be ashamed when it is
visible to all.
Jimmie made a mental note that the driving home of this truth was one of
those things which it was intended he should accomplish. Perhaps it was
part of his answer.
CHAPTER IX: AN EXPERIENCE WITH NATURE SPIRITS:
In a kind of waking dream passed the next few months of Jimmie's life, a
life made very busy by the demands of his work and tinctured by a curious
feeling that something was soon to happen, a feeling of uneasiness, of wait-
ing, of suspense. He wrote to Louise regularly and received answers which
were apparently satisfactory, to judge by the number of times that he read
and re-read each letter. In his "sleep life," which was becoming more and
more distinct and real, he was developing rapidly.
Every night he slipped the cable and soared out into the great world
which lies unseen about us, and every time he did so he was more deeply im-
pressed with the wondrous exaltation which the "atmosphere" of that world
Much of this, of course it is impossible to describe for the reason that
it is not to be communicated by language, much less by the printed word. I
can think of only one way in which my meaning can be made clear to those who
read this little story. Did you ever have a very vivid dream in which you
went through some most delightful experience or adventure? Can you not
remember, in a faint and very imperfect way, the wonderful "atmosphere" of
that fairy country which you dreamed you visited? Can you not recall how,
when you tried to describe your dream, your words were so very cold and col-
orless? Can you not remember that the great thing which made you so enthu-
siastic about that dream was not so much the adventure itself as it was the
strange, wonderful, tingling glamour of the thing? Glamour is not the right
word but, as I said, there is no word in our language to hint at, far less
to describe, the strange, exhilarated feeling which one has in that beauti-
ful country. It is a feeling which must be experienced to be realized. It
can never be portrayed to one who has never felt it. A man born blind can
listen to your words of description of the beauty of color and the splendor
of the sunset, but to him your words mean nothing. You speak of a "riot of
color" when you have in mind some wonderful exhibition of atmospheric color-
ing in the western sky as the sun sinks to rest.
The blind man knows what a riot is and he has an academic idea of what
color is, but of the combination, which is so clear in your mind, he has and
can have no conception whatever.
So, to those of us who are not able to visit those glorious regions, the
description of them seems cold. And, what is more unfortunate, the actions
which are based upon familiarity with those regions and their laws seem
It is but another verification of the Biblical statement that "the wisdom
of God is foolishness to men." We are yet so steeped in selfishness, even
those of us who most pride ourselves upon our unselfishness, that when we
come face to face with real wisdom we are like the man in the parable,
The morning and evening exercises given to him by the Elder Brother
Jimmie kept up faithfully, for he had now come to see the philosophy of
them, and he felt ever more and more their tremendous effect. He had long
ago quit smoking and meat eating. These departures of his were a never end-
ing source of wonder to his comrades, who could not understand why any sane
person should quit eating meat except, possibly, to cure rheumatism, while
the giving up of tobacco could be accounted for by only one word, "fa-
He liked to attend church, not only for the strong spiritual vibrations
which were present in the church, but also to practice reading the colors in
the various auras. The minister of the church to which he usually went
thought that his sermons were the main attraction and took Jimmie's regular
attendance as, in part, a compliment to himself. But Jimmie knew, as every
occultist knows, that on Sunday the vibrations all over the land are
different and vastly better than on week days. Jimmie had in some of his
excursions visited savage lands and had watched the various savage religious
rites, and he was in a position to compare the vibration there to the vibra-
tions which were prevalent over his own country on a Sunday. The tremendous
contrast impressed upon him the fact that the western race is on the eve of
As the time passed on in work and drill, in various social activities,
and in his more and more absorbingly interesting occult development, the
terrible Russian debacle began to feature more and more in the news of the
day and in the thoughts and words of men. Something of it Jimmie was able
to watch at times when he made excursions during his sleeping hours. But he
was hampered greatly by the fact that he had not as yet learned how to leave
his body consciously, and so he was not in the full possession of choice as
to where his wanderings would lead him. Generally if he made up his mind
strongly before he went to sleep, he could determine the locality of his
visit, but to do this required interest in it and as on the occasions when
he had visited the country of the former Czar he had not been able to under-
stand a single thing which he had heard, this interest was more or less mild
when compared with the intense longing to spend his time on the battle line
with his old comrades, now and then helping one of them across to the other
side of death.
The question which will occur to many at this time, a perfectly normal
question, is this: Why did not Jimmie use his newly found power to visit
Louise, since he was really in love with her and corresponded with her?
The reason was a twofold one. In the first place, Jimmie came of gentle
people and his boyhood training had been such that it would have been impos-
sible for him to have used any occult power to spy upon his sweetheart. The
other reason, which would have operated had the first not been his guiding
impulse, was the warning which Mr. Campion had strongly impressed upon him
that the occult law will not permit the use of occult power for any motive
of curiosity or selfishness.
When any one is developing the ability to see on the other planes and to
travel in "foreign countries," he must have practice, and to that end he is
allowed to watch the auras and the play of auric colors about strangers; he
is allowed to travel and examine distant lands and to watch people and their
lives but only to do so for the purpose of study and practice. Abuse of
spiritual power brings its own peculiar and terrible punishment. But aside
from any dread of punishment it would have been utterly foreign and abhor-
rent to Jimmie's nature to have attempted to spy upon his sweetheart. The
idea never occurred to him, for he was, above and beyond all else, a gentle-
The one remaining way of honorably communication wit her by means of
sending out a call on the higher planes he had promised not to do, since she
was busy all the time and her sleep was taken when she could get it instead
of at regular intervals. Had he called her she would have come, but the
call might have been sounded just at a time when her attention was needed
for some critical operation--it might, possibly, have cost a life. So
Jimmie had promised, and being a gentleman, he loyally kept that promise.
Therefore his only means of communication was by the same post upon which
all the rest of American sweethearts had to depend.
But no such rule applied in the case of Marjorie. In that case he was at
liberty to call when he got upon the other side, and in a very little while
Marjorie would come dancing up, full of gayety and happiness, and the two
would embark upon a long "glide," sometimes half around the world.
It was Marjorie who introduced him to the nature spirits with whom she
was a prime favorite, and Jimmie made the acquaintance of the elves and the
brownies and even the fairies themselves. He learned that there are many
more tribes of these strange creatures, some of whom avoid man as much as
possible while some are actively hostile to him.
As a rule, those whom he met in his wanderings were gentle, timid folk,
or gentle even if not timid. He grew to be very fond of the brownies in
particular, whom he could always meet in out of the way forest countries.
He loved to talk and play with them, and they grew to love him too, for they
are of a rather affectionate nature but distrustful of men, since the vibra-
tions of the average man are very coarse and unpleasant to a being of sensi-
The fairies were harder to know, but with the help of Marjorie he made
many friends among them, who used to visit him sometimes when he was out
alone in the woods.
This phase of his extraphysical life was full of adventure and was like
one long fairy story, but I am mentioning it now for a single purpose and
that is to show what a tremendous dynamo of energy is the human will.
Jimmie had few holidays, but once in a while he was able to get away from
the camp and plunge into the woods, which he could reach after a very short
railway journey. He liked to go out into the forest for the reason that it
was here the little people were to be found, and after they discovered the
fact that he was harmless to them they used to flock around him whenever
they caught him wandering alone, and together they had a merry time.
It was on one of these trips that he had not gone far into the woods when
he was aware of something wrong with the vibrations in the ether. He heard
no one calling, but somehow he knew that there was trouble at hand, and he
about to find it. It was only a few minutes after first sensing the etheric
disturbance that he saw in a little glade one of his brownie friends trying
to defend himself against the attacks of five most loathsome beings. I
shall not attempt to describe them beyond saying that they were apparently
semihuman, semi-animal. Evidently they were not of the harmless type of na-
ture spirits, for the little brownie was having a hard time of it. He was
not fighting with any weapon but would make motions at the creatures, and as
he did so they would shrink back, much as though he had struck them. At
once, however, they would recover and press in on him again, and Jimmie
knew, though this was his first experience of the sort, that he was witness-
ing a combat on the etheric plane.
As he came up the brownie tried to break through the circle, but he was
evidently weakened in some way, and three of the creatures blocked him and
drove him back.
They did not touch the brownie nor did the brownie touch them, yet in
some way or other the contact was a most practical one since Jimmie could
tell by his little friend's movements that he was much distressed and that
the odds were too great for him.
There was not the slightest hesitation in Jimmie's action. Never before
had he seen such a thing as a fight upon this plane of being, but he did
know that there was such a thing as a contest between different sets of
forces. Evidently it was some such thing which he was witnessing now and he
knew why the little brownie was getting the worst of it.
On the other plane a contest is a contest, not of blows or of what would
correspond to physical force, but of the will. It is not entirely of the
will either. For instance, a number of evilly inclined spirits may be tor-
menting another, yet when one of the "Masters" happens by and puts a stop to
the affair, he does not do so by physical force nor yet by a supreme exer-
cise of a stronger will, though of course he has stronger will. His power
to stop the cruelty is the result of a stronger will combined with the fact
that his higher position in the scale of being has given him an aura whose
vibrations are so strong that a being whose vibrations are less good or
positively evil, simply cannot endure the higher vibratory rate of the
Master's presence. This is an extreme instance, of course, but it holds
good on all planes of nature where the higher vibrations can be felt, and it
would act with full power on the physical plane except for the fact that the
higher vibrations here are so dulled by the flesh that they lose their force
and can only act slowly. It reminds one strongly of a line in a hymn which
says, "Where Thou are present, evil cannot be," and the statement holds true
in all cases where good is brought into contact with evil, the effect
varying with the degree of difference between the intensity of the good and
the intensity of the evil.
Now the brownies are a gentle, likable, little race, but they are nature
spirits, and while innocent and sensitive to a great degree, their innocence
is not the result of a positive and long drawn out fight against temptation,
but is more like the innocence of childhood, and therefore is not a source
of power. They are remarkably like little children in many ways, with a
child's affection and a child's intuitive likes and dislikes but with a good
deal of a child's helplessness against aggression.
So this little brownie, who was so bravely fighting against terrible
odds, did not have the strength which would have been his had he been the
product of a long evolution of physical plane suffering and training. He
was like a little, helpless child, striking bravely but futilely against a
pack of wolves who are restrained only because they think him to be stronger
than he is.
Such was the state of affairs when Jimmie came upon the scene. A sharp
exclamation burst from him and in a few strides he stood by the brownie and
faced the loathsome elementals who were attacking him. Jimmie merely looked
at them, pointed, said "Go", and used his imagination and will to sweep them
together and disintegrate them. They leered horribly at him and mouthed and
gibbered, but the human will, the result of long evolution, was too strong
for them and they simply faded from sight like a vanishing picture on the
The brownie had fallen in a heap when Jimmie took the fight off his hands
but recuperative power on the etheric plane is rapid, and the elementals had
hardly disappeared when he sprang up and with one bound threw himself in
Jimmie's arms and clung to him, sobbing incoherently for all the world like
a child; and since his height was only about eighteen inches, it is not to
be wondered at that Jimmie had the same feeling which one would have after
rescuing a child from a vicious dog.
This was the first time that a brownie had ever touched him, for they are
a shy little people. But now that his friendship was proved, this one
brownie, at any rate, clung to him and caressed his cheek and stroked his
hair and kept repeating:
"Jimmie, my friend; Jimmie, my friend."
They walked on for a few minutes, and since the brownie weighed nothing,
being an etheric entity, Jimmie simply held him as he would have held a
child and tried to soothe him gently and help him recover from his fright.
Thus they were situated when a whole troop of the little people came dancing
out of the denser forest and spied them.
CHAPTER X: A CRISIS IN LOVE:
When the band of brownies spied the most unheard of sight which greeted
them as they swept out of the cover of the woods and came face to face with
Jimmie holding his little brownie friend in his arms, they showed signs of
Very naturally and just as human beings might do, they jumped to the con-
clusion that at least one brownie had turned traitor to his race and kin-
dred. They surrounded Jimmie at a respectful distance and began to shout to
his little companion in their own language, which Jimmie recognized since it
was a sort of universal language, but still he could not tell what they were
His little friend understood, however, and showed the most unmistakable
tokens of distress. Finally, the accusations becoming too harsh for his en-
durance, he leaped out of Jimmie's arms and ran straight for the brownie who
seemed to be the leader of the band. He then began an explanation of the
occurrence. Jimmie could follow him quite well although he talked faster
than any Frenchman he had ever heard. The little fellow's powers of ges-
ticulation were wonderful.
Acted out before him and accompanied by the most rapid verbal performance
to which he had ever listened, Jimmie saw the whole adventure. The little
brownie would have made an incomparable actor could he have been enticed
upon a stage and given a more material body. The surprise by the horrible
elementals; the desperate seeking for some way to escape; the tremendous
fight and the awful weariness which was fast giving way to the certainty of
death; the mouthings and grimaces of the hostile circle around him, and the
despair which overcame him when each attempt at escape was blocked; then the
tremendous relief when suddenly this great giant of a human being with that
terrible human will power stood at his side and took his part in the unequal
"You see," the Brownie shrieked at last, "It is all right. He is my
friend. You see!"
Here his enthusiasm overcame him, and with one tremendous leap he landed
squarely on Jimmie's shoulder and began to jump from one shoulder to the
other, every now and then giving Jimmie's head a friendly kick as he passed
over it. This, since he was an etheric entity, did not give Jimmie any in-
convenience and seemed to amuse the crowd of brownies immensely.
They crowded in a little closer, and Jimmie was aware of the change in
their attitude by the friendliness of their glances, the frequent smiles
with which they greeted him, and the bantering manner in which they spoke to
his active little friend.
As a general thing the vibrations of the human race are offensive to the
little people for the reason that most human beings, on account of their ha-
bitual line of thinking and acting, have built into their etheric bodies
most undesirable etheric matter.
To a great extent this also holds true of their desire bodies, and as the
brownies are on the borderland between the two kingdoms, they are affected
very adversely thereby.
Jimmie did not know exactly what to do so he did the most natural thing
possible, he sat down on a log and stretched his feet out in front of him.
One of the bolder of the brownies after several feints, took a running start
and jumped over his feet, giving one of them a little touch with his foot as
he passed over. Finding that he was still unhurt he jumped again, this time
landing on Jimmie's foot and immediately jumping away again.
Meantime a number of them had come up beyond reach of his arms and were
discussing him in their queer little high-pitched voices, while he felt many
touches on his back and little tweaks at his belt and blouse. This was en-
tirely possible even though the little folk were not on the physical plane.
The seeming incongruity did not occur to Jimmie until some time afterward,
for when we see that a thing is really true we are very prone to accept the
fact without question, never stopping to consider that according to all
theory and reason the fact ought to be a fancy only.
"Say, Buster," Jimmie spoke to the little brownie whom he had saved from
the elementals, "What's the matter with your friends? They seem to be
afraid of me. Tell them I won't hurt them."
"Oh, they're foolish! They're afraid. You won't hurt. You're a
He began an impassioned harangue in his own language with the result that
three brownies came and sat on Jimmie's leather leggings, while some others
came within reach of his arm but stood as though ready to jump at a moment's
Jimmie sat perfectly still, not moving a muscle except that he kept talk-
ing to "Buster", whose name he asked in vain as the little fellow seemed to
be proud of the name Jimmie himself had carelessly bestowed, and to every
inquiry returned the statement that "Buster" was his name and he knew no
Gradually the talk and Buster's assurances had their effect, and the rest
of the brownies began to lose their fear of the big human being who had
saved their comrade from so awful a fate. They drew nearer and showed more
interest in the conversation, and Jimmie took advantage of the fact to ask
Buster what would have happened to him had the elementals won the fight. He
was uncertain whether death was a possibility to any being who had no
physical body, but the great relief and gratitude which Buster had evinced
made it clear than an adverse outcome of the combat would at least have been
highly disagreeable to the brownie.
But Buster hated to think of what would have happened. He did not, ap-
parently, like to use his imagination. Like a child intent on play he was
impatient of any attempt to make him think seriously, and only cared for his
play and the particular sport upon which he happened to be engaged. Irre-
sponsibility seemed to be the keynote of his make-up, and concentration upon
any particular thing, unless he happened to be interested in it, was irksome
to him. Jimmie finally gave up the attempt and turned his attention to mak-
ing friends with the rest of the band.
In this he was successful for the brownies soon lost all their fear of
him and came within reach of his arms without watching him to forestall any
possible hostile movement.
"Buster," said Jimmie at length, "tell me why your people were afraid of
me. What harm can I do them?"
"You see," squeaked Buster, "your will power. It is so strong. That is
why. They did not know as I know."
It took a great many questions to elicit the reason for the brownie's
shyness, but Buster, with the help of others who took a hand in the conver-
sation, finally enlightened Jimmie as to the cause of the disinclination
which his people have towards association with mortals.
It seems that not only are the human vibrations usually very disagreeable
to the brownies, but the human will power is so strong that when it is in-
telligently directed, they are often unable to resist it. This makes them
afraid of the neighborhood of men, for some human beings are gifted with a
slight clairvoyance and it frequently happens that the clairvoyant ones are
not the most advanced members of the race. Thus a low grade mortal with a
little clairvoyant power can make himself very disagreeable to the brownies.
Also it developed that to touch a human being gives that being in some
mysterious way an added power of being disagreeable, should he so choose.
From this Jimmie could see why the brownies were so horrified when they
first saw Buster riding in his arms and on such friendly terms with him.
By this time all reserve was thrown to the winds and the whole brownie
band were reveling in their acquaintance with a man. They climbed all over
him, they stood on his head and jumped over his feet, and it was with con-
siderable difficulty that Jimmie could get one to stop in his play and
answer any questions. It was as though their intelligence made them some-
what like a very young child--able to talk and to understand simple language
but wholly incapable of any mental effort beyond that of a six or seven year
old. But like children, their love and trust, once given, were without re-
So Jimmie spent a pleasant afternoon with his little friends until a near
approach of some berry pickers alarmed them, and they scampered off into the
forest after making him promise another visit. He had come to the conclu-
sion that any real information to be obtained about them must be derived
from some other source than themselves. It was the first time that he had
been brought into contact with nature spirits or elementals, and he resolved
to find out more about them since it was evident that in meeting them he had
glanced into another one of the mansions of our Father's House, which is so
full of wonders.
The brownies having gone, he started for home, walking slowly and review-
ing in his mind the things he would put in his next letter to Louise and
thinking a little, too, of how happy he would be when she should come home
again and when the war should be over and peace declared. He would have to
work hard to make up for lost time and earn the money for the little home
which he wanted so much. And the great work must not be forgotten either,
for he would have to plan some way to reach the great mass of people who are
so hungry for every little crumb of spiritual knowledge, and who are often
fed with pebbles instead of crumbs. After all, the world was a fine place
to live in for one who was willing to work, and he began to feel the thrill
of joy which is the reward of every earnest worker, and from which one may
imagine the bliss which is the part of the great Brothers of the Light, who
spend their energy to serve mankind and who renounce the rest and peace of
heaven itself in order to serve.
He walked back to the train in a sort of dream, so fascinated was he in
the hopes and plans which he had made and the castles in the air which he
had built. And through it all there ran that dangerous thread of vanity,
which so often insinuates itself in the place of other and grosser forms of
evil which we may have managed to throw out. He was not conscious that it
was vanity, but had he stopped to analyze, he would have known that his
dreams were all based on what HE would do and on the service which HE would
perform, and there was lacking that one great mark of the devoted worker,
namely, a thankfulness to the Master for giving him OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE.
It is the subtle difference between the laudable joy of service and the
unjustifiable pride of service which often makes our deposits in the heav-
enly treasure house of humble silver instead of kingly gold.
But Jimmie was unconscious of this sinister thread which ran through the
warp and woof of his dreams. He dwelt on the happiness which he hoped would
be his and, too, on the possibility that he might be able to get back to
France before the "show" was over, for he coveted one of the valor medals
and meant to get one if he had to capture a whole German army single-handed.
Here he could not help smiling at himself for his imagination was presenting
him with pictures of himself driving ahead of him a whole company of
"Fritzies," and with the smile he came back to earth again.
It was a happy and enthusiastic Jimmie who entered his quarters that
evening, singing a song which had been one of the trench favorites and lit-
erally bubbling over with hope and irresponsibility. And there upon his
table lay a letter from France, from Louise.
He snatched it quickly and felt a slight wonder that it was so thin, but
the wonder was only a semi-conscious one as he tore the envelope open in his
eagerness to know what she had to say.
His face changed as he read the first few lines, and the letter fluttered
in his hand. He said nothing but presently went and leaned against the
wall. In a little while he came back and picked up the letter from the
floor and read it again. It was cruelly short.
"Dear Mr. Westman," it ran, "I am about to sail for home on the next con-
venient steamer and write to tell you not to send any more letters to France
for me. On thinking it over I am convinced that our engagement was not the
result of a sufficiently long acquaintance, so I release you and think that
it would be better to let the matter end there. I shall not expect any more
letters from you, and I trust that you will regard my wishes in the matter
and forget that I ever entered your life. With best wishes for your future
Jimmie felt stunned. The other letters he had had from Louise were gen-
erally short, for she was worked almost to death and he knew it and made al-
lowance for it, but in those short letters, almost notes, she had never be-
fore given expression to a word of regret for the engagement into which they
had entered. All sorts of reasons flashed through his mind only to be re-
jected as unworthy of himself or Louise.
Perhaps she had met some one whom she loved better. That was a possibil-
ity, he admitted to himself, but it would not explain the curtness and
abruptness of the letter. Perhaps she had--Oh! He could not believe that
she really wrote what was in her mind. Yet, if she did not write what was
in her mind, why should she write at all? She was not compelled to write.
There was no law which forced her to write. She surely could not be angry
for she knew very well that he had been compelled to obey his orders and
that he had not left France willingly. This was war time, orders were or-
ders, and Louise knew that as well as he, for she had been up near the front
where men were dying every day on account of these same "orders."
The more he thought the matter over the more he found that his love for
Louise was a very deep and strong feeling. Well could he remember the
kindly, gentle nursing, the little things she had done for him when he was
helpless, how she had gone without some of the sleep she needed so badly in
order to read to him when the shell shock nervousness came over him. Once
when he had lain there, in no great pain it is true, yet almost screaming
from the horror of those jagged nerves, she had sat by him with her hand on
his forehead, soothing him with little verses of poetry, snatches of hymns,
anything that she could remember, to steady his mind and take his thoughts
away from that strange, peculiar condition which is the result of shell
shock and which is always different in each case.
And then, after he was well--oh shucks! letter of no letter, he would
not believe what she had written until she had confirmed it with her own
spoken words. He would find her and learn from her own lips.
It was characteristic of Jimmie that in all the excuses and reasons and
explanations which he had threshed over in his mind, never once had he
thought of Louise discarding him for any financial reasons. It was as fine
and noble a tribute as he could have laid at the feet of this golden girl of
his, that all the reasons which he could imagine for her action took the
form of a fear that in some way he had not measured up to the high standard
which she had set for him, or that he had unwittingly offended her in some
way, but never once did he dream of a low or base, mercenary motive on her
part. Could she have known this, it would surely have melted her heart to-
wards him, but Jimmie himself, was as unconscious of the matter as she was;
to ascribe an unworthy motive to her letter simply had never occured to him.
He knew the little town where her home was. He figured that on account
of the slowness of the postal service from France, she had probably reached
this country some time ahead of her letter, and the chances were that she
was even now at home. The thought set him tingling, and he made up his mind
that he simply must get a week's furlough and follow the matter to the end.
But furloughs are not easy to get in time of war. He knew it would take
at least a day to reach her home and a day to get back, and he wanted a day
there. If connections were bad, it might well take longer, so he decided to
ask for a week.
That night as he fell asleep he determined to sound a call for Marjorie,
and sure enough, when he awoke in the now familiar conditions of the Desire
World, he became conscious that Marjorie was coming. So he was not sur-
prised at all when the young lady herself, laughing and evidently in the
best of spirits, stood before him.
Jimmie at once began to tell the story of his woes in the hope that
Marjorie would sympathize with him and offer to help him, but he had reck-
oned without his hostess for all she did was to laugh at him. If those of
us who regard the other world as a place of funereal gloom and despair and
hopelessness could have looked on at that little scene, how much of the
dread of death would we have lost.
Marjorie was dead. This girl had been torn from her family by that ruth-
less King of Terrors, and according to all the generally accepted beliefs
she should have been anything but what she really was--happy, joyous with
the pure joy of living--happy because of the conditions in which she lived,
freed from all the cramping necessities of physical life, pain, weariness,
the ten thousand little things which never rise above the threshold of con-
sciousness but which in their aggregate amount to a continuous discomfort;
and above all, happy because not separated from her family, although they
were separated from her.
This apparently anomalous condition arose from the fact that every night
she could meet them on the desire plane, talk to them, and "visit" with
them; although they were unable to carry back the memory of these meetings,
she was under so such limitation. So it was really true that all the
separation was on their side, not on hers. Hence there is nothing to be
wondered at in her happiness, for why should she not be happy?
But Jimmie thought she was entirely too happy. He, himself, was miser-
able or thought he was, and he needed sympathy. Also, though he had not ad-
mitted it to himself, he hoped that Marjorie would tell him something about
Louise and why she had acted so. He felt that Marjorie must know. It would
not be right to ask, but perhaps she would volunteer a few words of comfort.
This thought of Jimmie's did not escape Marjorie for a moment, and it was
what she was laughing at. Jimmie had come to have an idea that he was of
considerable importance, and there was a lesson the subject due him.
CHAPTER XI: LIGHT AGAIN:
Jimmie was looking for sympathy. He was really feeling that he had been
rather badly used, and he had sounded a call for Marjorie with a hazy idea
that perhaps she could tell him why Louise had acted in such an extraordi-
nary manner. In the finer realms, knowledge does not always have to be ac-
quired in the same way that we obtain it in the physical world, but the ad-
vanced soul can very often know things by merely turning his attention to
Jimmie was well aware of this fact, but was doubly barred from making use
of it, for in the first place he was not far enough advanced to gain much
information in this way, and also in this particular instance it would have
been unfair to attempt to learn why Louise had done as she had except by the
method of calling on her in person.
But there remained a slight possibility that Marjorie knew something
about the matter and might be willing to give him a few hints, and also he
thought that she would sympathize with him and thus encourage him even if
she did not give him any real information.
But Marjorie, though she had come at his call for help, had not come in
the way he had expected. He knew that Marjorie could sense from the vibra-
tions that surrounded him that he was in deep trouble and he had expected
that she would come up all sympathy and interest and ready to proffer her
help, so it was no wonder that he should have been somewhat shocked to find
her so full of life and happiness and the sheer, pure joy of living. Sympa-
thy was apparently far from her mind just at the time.
"Oh, Jimmie, I'm so glad you called me. I was wondering whether you
would come over soon. I have so much to tell you; just the most
'be-you-tiful' things that you ever dreamed of!"
Jimmie looked at her, contemplatively, but was silent.
"They've given me a promotion, Jimmie, isn't that fine? Now I can do
more work and be of some real use. They've given me a little class to
teach, some of the little children who have just passed over, and they're
such dear little things! They were so frightened and bewildered, but I've
been showing them that there's nothing to fear and nothing around them but
love, and it's so beautiful to see them come out of their shells of terror
and just blossom out as the little flowers do when the sun shines on them.
I'm so happy I can't stay still."
What an object lesson it would have been to some of the sorrowing of
earth life could they have seen that radiant girl with the love and happi-
ness of that plane on which she was living, and transfigured with the joy of
the realm into which she was leading those poor little mites who had been
driven out of their bodies by the harshness of conditions on the physical
plane. Could the relatives of those children have seen her, they would have
given their sorrow and sympathy, not to the ones who had "died," but to
those who had been left to face the long struggle and hard experiences of
Jimmie tried to meet her mood and succeeded in congratulating her on the
congenial work which had been assigned to her, but the dominant thought in
his mind would not be banished so easily and he blurted out:
"I'm in trouble, Marjorie."
Instantly Marjorie's face grew grave and Jimmie continued:
"Have you seen Louise lately?"
"No, Jimmie, I have not. I've been so very busy, and then you know I
don't go down to the earth plane. The only time I see any of my earth
friends is when they come over here in sleep, and they often fail to come.
I'm sure there's nothing serious troubling you. You know that you and
Louise are both on the earth plane, and you can go and see her if you want
to. It's fortunate you asked me the question because I will just forget it;
but suppose you had asked the Elder Brother a question of mere curiosity,
what would he have thought!"
Her face had cleared and she was now laughing at him again, but she had
given him quite a shock.
"Marjorie, I envy those little children. Sometime I want to come over
and see your little class if I may. Now I am going back and I will take
your advice, for you have helped me more than you know, perhaps, and more
than I expected. You are a dear, true friend, Marjorie."
Back in his physical body Jimmie thought over her words and realized more
and more how he had let his selfishness mislead him. "Curiosity!" A "ques-
tion of mere curiosity," it certainly was. The very thing he had known well
he must not do, he had done. And she had not rebuked him nor found fault
with him, but had just led him so gently and so kindly to see his error. He
made up his mind that never again would he make such a mistake and never
again would he forget the great watchword of "Service."
* * * * * *
"Mother! I can see it! O Mother, Mother! I can see it!"
"Can you! Oh, darling, are you sure? Don't strain your eyes. Remember
what the doctor said. Better let me put the bandage back."
"No, no. I can't bear that awful bandage any more. I can see, I tell
you. I saw that lone pine over on the ridge almost as well as I ever saw
it. Don't put the bandage back. I'll keep my eyes shut and that will do as
well. I promise I will. Really and truly I will. And I'm going out for a
little walk all by myself. I promise you I won't look much and I'll keep my
eyes almost closed."
"You willful girl! Don't go and spoil everything now. Better let me put
the bandage back and lie down for a while.
"Remember I'm a nurse, Mother, and I know a lot. I won't strain my eyes
even the least little bit, but I must get out for a little walk or I think
I'll die. Please, Mother! I know the way blindfolded even, so I won't need
to look but just a little."
"Where do you want to go?"
"Just over to the old pine on the ridge and then I'll come right back. I
know the way in the dark, and I think if I just walk over there all by
myself and touch the old tree, it will almost make me well again."
"Well, all right, but don't be gone long or I'll come after you, and
don't try to open your eyes. They're too weak yet."
The sun was shining almost directly down upon a little cottage where this
conversation took place, filling the gently rolling country side with its
summer glory, flecking the ground between the trees with quivering splotches
of gold, and bringing into sharp relief the houses of the village beyond and
the ridges of the woods nearby, and showing in its lonely grandeur the great
tree which reared its head far above its fellows on a low elevation some few
hundred yards behind the house.
It was towards this tree that a girl soon took her way, emerging from the
back door of the house, and wearing on her head an old-fashioned sun bonnet
which effectually shaded her face from the brilliant light around her. She
walked slowly as though a little uncertain of the path and with one hand
partly outstretched in the manner of one who walks by night.
There was a distinct path towards the big tree for it was the short cut
to the village and always used by those who preferred to walk through the
cool of the woods instead of by the slightly longer wagon road.
The girl walked along it as though it were familiar to her, as indeed it
should be, for she had been born and brought up in that little cottage where
her mother had just gone back to the homely task of washing dishes after
sundry long and anxious looks at the retreating figure.
There was no danger to the venturesome traveler, she knew, for there in
the great State of New York there were no invading armies and no murderous
artillery or bombs. No danger threatened that slender figure on the path,
either from man or beast, and yet the mother sought the doorway every now
and then to cast another loving look at the sunbonnet bobbing its leisurely
way towards the goal of the great tree on the ridge. No, there was no dan-
ger, for war was far from this peaceful land.
Now the sunbonnet was near the tree and soon it would be starting on its
return journey. But stop! The mother took off her glasses and polished
them on her apron. Some one else was on the path. Some one else wearing a
uniform and looking like a soldier. Surely it could not be. Soldiers some-
times passed through the village but not often, and the village boys who
could go had all gone to the war. Strangers never came along this path.
Well! The soldier man had stopped the sunbonnet and was talking to it, ask-
ing the way, doubtless. How long it took to ask the way! Sunbonnet,
Sunbonnet! what is the matter? Don't you know better than to stop and talk
to strange soldier men? The soldier man has caught Sunbonnet in his arms
and is embracing her! Oh, this is awful! The mother hastened out of the
back door and along the path. Her suspense did not last long for she soon
met Sunbonnet walking back, and with her, his arm about her, walked a tall
officer who was calling her "Louise" and other things, just as though
Sunbonnet had known him well.
That afternoon as they all sat on the porch, everything was made clear.
Jimmie had started to ride to the house after being directed as to the way,
but something had changed his mind and he had walked.
"And do you know, I was about to take the long way by the road when a
little friend of mine whom I know as 'Buster' called to me from the woods
and showed me the path."
"Buster, Buster," said Louise thoughtfully, "I don't remember any boy
around here who is called that."
"No. That's another story which I'll tell you some day, but Buster
thought he owed me a good turn and right well he paid his debt."
Louise too had her story to tell. There had been a great need, and she
had been sent to a station up near the front where a temporary hospital was
located and where the nurses and surgeons were working to the limit of en-
durance. One night an enemy plane had dropped a number of bombs on the
spot, and one of them had fallen near Louise as she was trying to help her
wounded charge. A great flash and roar, a violent blow on the head, and she
had known nothing more until she awakened in a hospital in Paris to find her
eyes tightly bandaged and their sight very nearly gone.
Her first thought was for Jimmie, and she determined that never would she
burden him with a sightless and disfigured wife--hence the letter which in
the despair of her heart she had had written in defiance of the rules, and
which another nurse had posted for her.
The disfigurement had yielded to skillful treatment, but the eyesight
grew worse, and she was sent home, a woebegone little piece of flotsam cast
by the great storm of war upon a peaceful shore.
But in the last day or two she had been able to discern a little light,
and that morning, having quietly removed the bandage, she had found that,
though blurred and distorted, her sight was coming back.
"And, Oh! God is good to me, Jimmie. He has given me back my sight, and
He has given me something worth so much more even than that."
"How much would you like to know?"
* * * * *
Well, well! This is not a story of love but a story of the Land of the
Living Dead. And yet how can they be separated? For all love is of God
whose name is Love, and to those who do His will there is naught in all the
universe, either in this world or the next, but Love. There are sacrifice
and service, but they are just the evidences of Love, showing itself in ac-
tion. In the Land of the Living Dead there is Love too, and no account of
that Land can be true which does not tell of the Love which throbs and pul-
sates through all its beautiful worlds. Even down in those dark realms of
which I have not spoken there is a dim light which filters through, and the
very pain which is felt there is but the preparation for the Love which one
day will fill all the universe, when the knowledge of God shall cover the
earth as the waters cover the sea.
End of "In the Land of the Living Dead"
End of File