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tions, — has furnished a consecutive number of essays so surprising in novelty, so diverse in sentiment, so consistent in treatment, and so forcibly original, as those embraced in this volume? What intellect so versatile as to reproduce in song and narrative the characteristic styles of so many, and yet so dissimilar authors ?
In designating the locality of the Second Life, frequent repetition of certain terms, such as spirit world, etc., were unavoidable. For weeks and months the unseen visitors were punctual to their appointments, and this novel mode of book-making proceeded steadily in interest and variety until the volume was completed.
The work is now inscribed to a discriminating public, with a lively confidence that the advanced intelligence and freedom of the age will yield it an ingenuous reception.
HENRY J. HORN.
NEW YORK, October 1st, 1869.
I HAVE often thought that if it should ever be my privilege to become a ghost I would enlighten the poor, benighted denizens of the earth as to how I did it, and give a more definite account of what I should see, and the transformation that would befall me, than either Benjamin Franklin or George Washington had been able to do in the jargon that had been set before me by Spiritualists as coming from those worthies.
“Stuff !” I have exclaimed again and again, after looking orer spirit communications and wondering why a man should become so stilted because he had lost his avoirdupoise.
The opportunity which I boasted I would not let slip has arrived. The public must judge of how I avail myself of this ghostly power.
Now and then I was troubled with strange misgivings about the future life. I had a hope that man might live hereafter, but death was a solemn fact to me, into whose mystery I did not wish too closely to pry.
· Presentiments," as the great English novelist remarks, “are strange things." That connection with some coming event which one feels like a shadowy hand softly touching him, is inexplicable to most men.
I remember to have felt several times in my life undefined foreshadowings of some future which was to befall me; and just previous to my departure from earth, as has been generally stated in the journals of the day, I experienced a similar sensation. An awful blank seemed before me
a great chasm into which I would soon be hurled. This undefined terror took no positive shape.
After the death of my son I felt like one who stood upon a round ball which rolled from under him and left him nowhere.
The sudden death of James Harper added another shock to that which I had already felt. I did not understand then, though I have since comprehended it, that I was like some great tree, rooted in the ground, which could not be dragged from the earth in which it was buried until it had received some sudden blow to loosen its hold and make its grip less tenacious.
But in the very midst of these feelings I sought the society of friends, and endeavored around the social board to exhilarate my senses and drown these undesirable fancies.
Life seemed more secure among friends, but death was not to be dodged. It caught me unarmed and alone at midnight in the very doorway of my house.
I had crossed the threshold, and remember trying to find the stairs and being seized with a dizziness. The place seemed to spin around and I felt that I was falling. Next, a great weight seemed to press me down like some horrid nightmare. I endeavored to groan, to cry out and struggle from under it, but it held me fast. After this I seemed to be falling backward through a blackness -- an inky blackness. It came close to me, and pressed close upon my lips and my eyes. It smothered me; I could not breathe.
Then ensued a struggle within me such as Lazarus might have felt when he endeavored to break through his
grave cerements. It was frightful, that effort for mastery!
I understand it now. It was the soul fighting its way into birth as a spiritual being, like a child fighting its way out of its mother's womb.
I remember feeling faint and confused after that, like one who has long been deprived of food. An unconsciousness stole over me for a moment, from which I was awakened by a sudden burst of light. I seemed to open my eyes upon some glorious morning. I felt an arm around me; I turned and met the smiling face of my son. I thought myself in a dream, and yet I was filled with awe.
I had a consciousness that some strange trasformation had taken place. My son's voice murmured in my ear, "Father, go with me now.”
As he spoke, his voice sounded like the vibration of distant bells.
When he touched me a fire seemed to thrill through my veins. I felt like a boy; a wild, prankish sensation of freedom possessed me. My body lay upon the ground. I laughed at it; I could have taken it and tossed it in the air.
“Come, let's go,” said I;“don't stay here."
My chief desire was to get out of the house. Like a boy who must fly his kite, out I would go. I feared I might be caught and taken back if I did not hasten, and moved toward the door. The seams of that door, which I had always thought well joined, seemed now to stand twelve inches or more apart. Every atom of that wood which had appeared so solid to me was now more porous than any sponge or honey-comb. Out we went through the crevice. A party of men were standing upon the doorsteps. One put forth his hand to grasp mine. I laughed aloud when I recognized the person as James IIarper! Another was Richmond; another, one of my associates in the editorial corps. I was perfectly amazed, and set up a hilarious shout, which they echoed in great glee. We started forth, a convivial party. The atmosphere hung in heavy masses around the houses, like the morning mists about the base of a mountain.
We did not walk on the ground; the air was solid enough to bear us. I felt that we were rising above the city. My senses seemed magnified. The comprehension of all I did was very acute. We kept along the earth's atmosphere for quite a distance.
“Let us sail out," said I, at last. “We cannot yet; we must wait till we reach the