Medium Mrs W 

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 Mrs W Medium

Florence Marryat

From chapter 3

I went one afternoon to pay an ordinary social call on a lady named Mrs. W---, and found her engaged in an

31 earnest conversation on Spiritualism with a stout woman and a commonplace man---two material looking individuals as ever I saw, and who appeared all the more so under a sultry August sun. As soon as Mrs. W--- saw me, she exclaimed, Oh! here is Mrs. Ross-Church. She will tell you all about the spirits. Do, Mrs Ross-Church, sit down at the table and let us have a seance.

A seance on a burning, blazing afternoon in August, with two stolid and uninteresting, and worse still, uninterested looking strangers, who appeared to think Mrs. W- had a bee in her bonnet. I protested---I reasoned---I pleadedall in vain. My hostess continued to urge, and society places the guest at the mercy of her hostess. So, in an evil temper, I pulled off my gloves, and placed my hands indifferently on the table. The following words were at once rapped out

I am Edward G---. Did you ever pay Johnson the seventeen pounds twelve you received for my saddlery?

The gentleman opposite to me turned all sorts of colourst and began to stammer out a reply, whilst his wife looked very confused. I asked the influence, Who are you? It replied, He knows! His late colonel! Why hasn't Johnson received that money? This is what I call an awkward coincidence, and I have had many such occur through me ---some that have driven acquaintances away from the table, vowing vengeance against me, and racking their brains to discover who had told me of their secret peccadilloes. The gentleman in question (whose name even I do not remember) confessed that the identity and main points of the message were true but he did not confide to us whether Johnson had ever received that seventeen pounds twelve.

I had a beautiful English greyhound, called Clyde, a gift from Annie Thomas to me, and this dog was given to straying from my house in Colville Road, Bayswater, which runs parallel to Portobello Road, a rather objectionable quarter, composed of inferior shops, one of which, a fried 

32 fish shop, was an intolerable nuisance, and used to fill the air around with its rich perfume. On one occasion Clytie stayed away from home so much longer than usual, that I was afraid she was lost in good earnest, and posted bills offering a reward for her. Charlie came to the table that evening and said, Don't offer a reward for the dog. Send for her.

Where am I to send? I asked.

She is tied up at the fried fish shop in Portobello Road. send the cook to see.

I told the servant in question that I had heard the greyhound was detained at the fish shop, and sent her to inquire. She returned with Clyde. Her account was, that on making inquiries, the man in the shop had been very insolent to her, and she had raised her voice in reply; that she had then heard and recognized the sharp, peculiar bark of the greyhound from an upper storey, and, running up before the man could prevent her, she had found Clytie tied to a bedstead with a piece of rope, and had called in a policeman to enable her to take the dog away. I have often heard the assertion that Spiritualism is of no practical good, and, doubtless, it was never intended to be so, but this incident was, at least, an exception to the rule.

When abroad, on one occasion, I was asked by a Catholic Abbe' to sit with him. He had never seen any manifestations before, and he did not believe in them, but he was curious on the subject. I knew nothing of him further than that he was a priest, and a Jesuit, and a great friend of my sister's, at whose house I was staying. He spoke English, and the conversation was carried on in that language. He had told me beforehand that if he could receive a perfectly private test, that he should never doubt the truth of the manifestations again. I left him, therefore to conduct the investigation entirely by himself, I acting only as the Medium between him and the influence. As soon as the table moved he put his question direct, without asking who was there to answer it.

33 Where is my chasuble?

Now a priest's chasuble, I should have said, must be either hanging in the sacristy or packed away at home, or been sent away to be altered or mended. But the answer was wide of all my speculations.

'At the bottom of the Red Sea.

The priest started, but continued

Who put it there''

Elias Dodo.

"What was his object in doing so?

He found the parcel a burthen, and did not expect any reward for delivering it.

The Abbe  really looked as if he had encountered the devil. He wiped the perspiration from his forehead, and put one more question.

"Of what was my chasuble made?

Your sister's wedding dress."

The priest then explained to me that his sister had made him a chasuble out of her wedding dress---one of the forms of returning thanks in the Church, but that after a while it became old fashioned, and the Bishop, going his rounds, ordered him to get another. He did not like to throw away his sister's gift, so he decided to send the old chasuble to a priest in India, where they are very poor, and not so particular as to fashion. He confided the packet to a man called Elias Dodo, a sufficiently singular name, but neither he nor the priest he sent it to had ever heard anything more of the chasuble, or the man who promised to deliver it.

A young artist of the name of Courtney was a visitor at my house. He asked me to sit with him alone, when the table began rapping out a number of consonants---a farrago of nonsense, it appeared to me, and I stopped and said so.

But Mr. Courtney, who appeared much interested, begged me to proceed. When the communication was finished, he said to me, This is the most wonderful thing I have ever heard. My

34 father has been at the table talking to me in Welsh. He has told me our family motto, and all about my birth-place and relations in Wales. I said, I never heard you were a Welsh man. Yes! I am, he replied, my real name is Powell. I have only adopted the name of Courtney for professional purposes.

This was all news to me, but had it not been, I cannot speak welsh.

I could multiply such cases by the dozen, but that I fear to tire my readers, added to which the majority of them were of so strictly private a nature that it would be impossible to put them into print. This is perhaps the greatest drawback that one encounters in trying to prove the truth of Spiritualism. The best tests we receive are when the very secrets of our hearts, which we have not confided to our nearest friends, are revealed to us. I could relate (had I the permission of the persons most interested) the particulars of a well-known law suit, in which the requisite evidence, and names and addresses of witnesses, were all given through my mediumship, and were the cause of the case being gained by the side that came to me for information. Some of the coincidences I have related in this chapter might, however, be ascribed by the sceptical to the mysterious and unknown power of brain reading, whatever that may be, and however it may come, apart from mediumship, but how is one to account for the facts I shall tell you in my next chapter?


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