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    The Martyr Medium

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    Chapter 8
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    "After the valets, the master!" is Mr. Fechter's rallying cry in the
    picturesque romantic drama which attracts all London to the Lyceum
    Theatre. After the worshippers and puffers of Mr. Daniel Dunglas
    Home, the spirit medium, comes Mr. Daniel Dunglas Home himself, in
    one volume. And we must, for the honour of Literature, plainly
    express our great surprise and regret that he comes arm-in-arm with
    such good company as Messrs. Longman and Company.

    We have already summed up Mr. Home's demands on the public capacity
    of swallowing, as sounded through the war-denouncing trumpet of Mr.
    Howitt, and it is not our intention to revive the strain as
    performed by Mr. Home on his own melodious instrument. We notice,
    by the way, that in that part of the Fantasia where the hand of the
    first Napoleon is supposed to be reproduced, recognised, and kissed,
    at the Tuileries, Mr. Home subdues the florid effects one might have
    expected after Mr. Howitt's execution, and brays in an extremely
    general manner. And yet we observe Mr. Home to be in other things
    very reliant on Mr. Howitt, of whom he entertains as gratifying an
    opinion as Mr. Howitt entertains of him: dwelling on his "deep
    researches into this subject", and of his "great work now ready for
    the press", and of his "eloquent and forcible" advocacy, and eke of
    his "elaborate and almost exhaustive work", which Mr. Home trusts
    will be "extensively read". But, indeed, it would seem to be the
    most reliable characteristic of the Dear Spirits, though very
    capricious in other particulars, that they always form their circles
    into what may be described, in worldly terms, as A Mutual Admiration
    and Complimentation Company (Limited).

    Mr. Home's book is entitled Incidents in My Life. We will extract a
    dozen sample passages from it, as variations on and phrases of
    harmony in, the general strain for the Trumpet, which we have
    promised not to repeat.


    "I cannot remember when first I became subject to the curious
    phenomena which have now for so long attended me, but my aunt and
    others have told me that when I was a baby my cradle was frequently
    rocked, as if some kind guardian spirit was attending me in my


    "In her uncontrollable anger she seized a chair and threw it at me."


    "Upon one occasion as the table was being thus moved about of
    itself, my aunt brought the family Bible, and placing it on the
    table, said, 'There, that will soon drive the devils away'; but to
    her astonishment the table only moved in a more lively manner, as if
    pleased to bear such a burden." (We believe this is constantly
    observed in pulpits and church reading desks, which are invariably
    lively.) "Seeing this she was greatly incensed, and determined to
    stop it, she angrily placed her whole weight on the table, and was
    actually lifted up with it bodily from the floor."


    "And she felt it a duty that I should leave her house, and which I


    It was communicated to him by the spirit of his mother, in the
    following terms: "Daniel, fear not, my child, God is with you, and
    who shall be against you? Seek to do good: be truthful and truth-
    loving, and you will prosper, my child. Yours is a glorious
    mission--you will convince the infidel, cure the sick, and console
    the weeping." It is a coincidence that another eminent man, with
    several missions, heard a voice from the Heavens blessing him, when
    he also was a youth, and saying, "You will be rewarded, my son, in
    time". This Medium was the celebrated Baron Munchausen, who relates
    the experience in the opening of the second chapter of the incidents
    in HIS life.


    "Certainly these phenomena, whether from God or from the devil, have
    in ten years caused more converts to the great truths of immortality
    and angel communion, with all that flows from these great facts,
    than all the sects in Christendom have made during the same period."


    "As to the music, it has been my good fortune to be on intimate
    terms with some of the first composers of the day, and more than one
    of them have said of such as they have heard, that it is such music
    as only angels could make, and no man could write it."

    These "first composers" are not more particularly named. We shall
    therefore be happy to receive and file at the office of this
    Journal, the testimonials in the foregoing terms of Dr. Sterndale
    Bennett, Mr. Balfe, Mr. Macfarren, Mr. Benedict, Mr. Vincent
    Wallace, Signor Costa, M. Auber, M. Gounod, Signor Rossini, and
    Signor Verdi. We shall also feel obliged to Mr. Alfred Mellon, who
    is no doubt constantly studying this wonderful music, under the
    Medium's auspices, if he will note on paper, from memory, say a
    single sheet of the same. Signor Giulio Regondi will then perform
    it, as correctly as a mere mortal can, on the Accordion, at the next
    ensuing concert of the Philharmonic Society; on which occasion the
    before-mentioned testimonials will be conspicuously displayed in the
    front of the orchestra.


    "On the 26th April, old style, or 8th May, according to our style,
    at seven in the evening, and as the snow was fast falling, our
    little boy was born at the town house, situate on the Gagarines
    Quay, in St. Petersburg, where we were still staying. A few hours
    after his birth, his mother, the nurse, and I heard for several
    hours the warbling of a bird as if singing over him. Also that
    night, and for two or three nights afterwards, a bright starlike
    light, which was clearly visible from the partial darkness of the
    room, in which there was only a night-lamp burning, appeared several
    times directly I over its head, where it remained for some moments,
    and then slowly moved in the direction of the door, where it
    disappeared. This was also seen by each of us at the same time.
    The light was more condensed than those which have been so often
    seen in my presence upon previous and subsequent occasions. It was
    brighter and more distinctly globular. I do not believe that it
    came through my mediumship, but rather through that of the child,
    who has manifested on several occasions the presence of the gift. I
    do not like to allude to such a matter, but as there are more
    strange things in Heaven and earth than are dreamt of, even in my
    philosophy, I do not feel myself at liberty to omit stating, that
    during the latter part of my wife's pregnancy, we thought it better
    that she should not join in Seances, because it was found that
    whenever the rappings occurred in the room, a simultaneous movement
    of the child was distinctly felt, perfectly in unison with the
    sounds. When there were three sounds, three movements were felt,
    and so on, and when five sounds were heard, which is generally the
    call for the alphabet, she felt the five internal movements, and she
    would frequently, when we were mistaken in the latter, correct us
    from what the child indicated."

    We should ask pardon of our readers for sullying our paper with this
    nauseous matter, if without it they could adequately understand what
    Mr. Home's book is.


    Prudently avoiding the disagreeable question of his giving himself,
    both in this state of existence and in his spiritual circle, a name
    to which he never had any pretensions whatever, and likewise
    prudently suppressing any reference to his amiable weakness as a
    swindler and an infamous trafficker in his own wife, the guileless
    Mr. Balsamo delivered, in a "distinct voice", this distinct
    celestial utterance--unquestionably punctuated in a supernatural
    manner: "My power was that of a mesmerist, but all-misunderstood by
    those about me, my biographers have even done me injustice, but I
    care not for the untruths of earth".


    "After various manifestations, Mr. Home went into the trance, and
    addressing a person present, said, 'You ask what good are such
    trivial manifestations, such as rapping, table-moving, etc.? God is
    a better judge than we are what is fitted for humanity, immense
    results may spring from trivial things. The steam from a kettle is
    a small thing, but look at the locomotive! The electric spark from
    the back of a cat is a small thing, but see the wonders of
    electricity! The raps are small things, but their results will lead
    you to the Spirit-World, and to eternity! Why should great results
    spring from such small causes? Christ was born in a manger, he was
    not born a King. When you tell me why he was born in a manger, I
    will tell you why these manifestations, so trivial, so undignified
    as they appear to you, have been appointed to convince the world of
    the truth of spiritualism.'"

    Wonderful! Clearly direct Inspiration!--And yet, perhaps, hardly
    worth the trouble of going "into the trance" for, either. Amazing
    as the revelation is, we seem to have heard something like it from
    more than one personage who was wide awake. A quack doctor, in an
    open barouche (attended by a barrel-organ and two footmen in brass
    helmets), delivered just such another address within our hearing,
    outside a gate of Paris, not two months ago.


    "The lady of the house turned to me and said abruptly, 'Why, you are
    sitting in the air'; and on looking, we found that the chair
    remained in its place, but that I was elevated two or three inches
    above it, and my feet not touching the floor. This may show how
    utterly unconscious I am at times to the sensation of levitation.
    As is usual, when I had not got above the level of the heads of
    those about me, and when they change their position much--as they
    frequently do in looking wistfully at such a phenomenon--I came down
    again, but not till I had remained so raised about half a minute
    from the time of its being first seen. I was now impressed to leave
    the table, and was soon carried to the lofty ceiling. The Count de
    B- left his place at the table, and coming under where I was, said,
    'Now, young Home, come and let me touch your feet.' I told him I
    had no volition in the matter, but perhaps the spirits would kindly
    allow me to come down to him. They did so, by floating me down to
    him, and my feet were soon in his outstretched hands. He seized my
    boots, and now I was again elevated, he holding tightly, and pulling
    at my feet, till the boots I wore, which had elastic sides, came off
    and remained in his hands."


    As there is a maudlin complaint in this book, about men of Science
    being hard upon "the 'Orphan' Home", and as the "gentle and
    uncombative nature" of this Medium in a martyred point of view is
    pathetically commented on by the anonymous literary friend who
    supplies him with an introduction and appendix--rather at odds with
    Mr. Howitt, who is so mightily triumphant about the same Martyr's
    reception by crowned heads, and about the competence he has become
    endowed with--we cull from Mr. Home's book one or two little
    illustrative flowers. Sir David Brewster (a pestilent unbeliever)
    "has come before the public in few matters which have brought more
    shame upon him than his conduct and assertions on this occasion, in
    which he manifested not only a disregard for truth, but also a
    disloyalty to scientific observation, and to the use of his own
    eyesight and natural faculties". The same unhappy Sir David
    Brewster's "character may be the better known, not only for his
    untruthful dealing with this subject, but also in his own domain of
    science in which the same unfaithfulness to truth will be seen to be
    the characteristic of his mind". Again, he "is really not a man
    over whom victory is any honour". Again, "not only he, but
    Professor Faraday have had time and ample leisure to regret that
    they should have so foolishly pledged themselves", etc. A Faraday a
    fool in the sight of a Home! That unjust judge and whited wall,
    Lord Brougham, has his share of this Martyr Medium's
    uncombativeness. "In order that he might not be compelled to deny
    Sir David's statements, he found it necessary that he should be
    silent, and I have some reason to complain that his Lordship
    preferred sacrificing me to his desire not to immolate his friend."
    M. Arago also came off with very doubtful honours from a wrestle
    with the uncombative Martyr; who is perfectly clear (and so are we,
    let us add) that scientific men are not the men for his purpose. Of
    course, he is the butt of "utter and acknowledged ignorance", and of
    "the most gross and foolish statements", and of "the unjust and
    dishonest", and of "the press-gang", and of crowds of other alien
    and combative adjectives, participles, and substantives.

    Nothing is without its use, and even this odious book may do some
    service. Not because it coolly claims for the writer and his
    disciples such powers as were wielded by the Saviour and the
    Apostles; not because it sees no difference between twelve table
    rappers in these days, and "twelve fishermen" in those; not because
    it appeals for precedents to statements extracted from the most
    ignorant and wretched of mankind, by cruel torture, and constantly
    withdrawn when the torture was withdrawn; not because it sets forth
    such a strange confusion of ideas as is presented by one of the
    faithful when, writing of a certain sprig of geranium handed by an
    invisible hand, he adds in ecstasies, "WHICH WE HAVE PLANTED AND IT
    DROSS OR LEAVES"--as if it followed that the conjuror's half-crowns
    really did become invisible and in that state fly, because he
    afterwards cuts them out of a real orange; or as if the conjuror's
    pigeon, being after the discharge of his gun, a real live pigeon
    fluttering on the target, must therefore conclusively be a pigeon,
    fired, whole, living and unshattered, out of the gun!--not because
    of the exposure of any of these weaknesses, or a thousand such, are
    these moving incidents in the life of the Martyr Medium, and similar
    productions, likely to prove useful, but because of their uniform
    abuse of those who go to test the reality of these alleged
    phenomena, and who come away incredulous. There is an old homely
    proverb concerning pitch and its adhesive character, which we hope
    this significant circumstance may impress on many minds. The writer
    of these lines has lately heard overmuch touching young men of
    promise in the imaginative arts, "towards whom" Martyr Mediums
    assisting at evening parties feel themselves "drawn". It may be a
    hint to such young men to stick to their own drawing, as being of a
    much better kind, and to leave Martyr Mediums alone in their glory.

    As there is a good deal in these books about "lying spirits", we
    will conclude by putting a hypothetical case. Supposing that a
    Medium (Martyr or otherwise) were established for a time in the
    house of an English gentleman abroad; say, somewhere in Italy.
    Supposing that the more marvellous the Medium became, the more
    suspicious of him the lady of the house became. Supposing that the
    lady, her distrust once aroused, were particularly struck by the
    Medium's exhibiting a persistent desire to commit her, somehow or
    other, to the disclosure of the manner of the death, to him unknown,
    of a certain person. Supposing that she at length resolved to test
    the Medium on this head, and, therefore, on a certain evening
    mentioned a wholly supposititious manner of death (which was not the
    real manner of death, nor anything at all like it) within the range
    of his listening ears. And supposing that a spirit presently
    afterwards rapped out its presence, claiming to be the spirit of
    that deceased person, and claiming to have departed this life in
    that supposititious way. Would that be a lying spirit? Or would it
    he a something else, tainting all that Medium's statements and
    suppressions, even if they were not in themselves of a manifestly
    outrageous character?
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