Such methods are often used by our people. They are called 'rescue circles'."
"I have heard of rescue circles. Where could I attend one? This thing attracts me more and more. Fresh gulfs seem always opening. I would take it as a great favour if you would help me to see this fresh side of it." Mailey became thoughtful.
"We don't want to make a spectacle of these poor creatures. On the other hand, though we can hardly claim you yet as a Spiritualist, you have treated the subject with some understanding and sympathy." He looked enquiringly at his wife, who smiled and nodded.
"Ah, you have permission. Well then, you must know that we run our own little rescue circle, and that at five o'clock to-day we have our weekly sitting. Mr. Terbane is our medium. We don't usually have anyone else except Mr. Charles Mason, the clergyman. But if you both care to have the experience, we shall be very happy if you will stay. Terbane should be here immediately after tea. He is a railway-porter, you know, so his time is not his own. Yes, psychic power in its varied manifestations is found in humble quarters, but surely that has been its main characteristic from the beginning -- fishermen, carpenters, tent-makers, camel drivers, these were the prophets of old. At this moment some of the highest psychic gifts in England lie in a miner, a cotton operative, a railway-porter, a barge-man and a charwoman. Thus does history repeat itself, and that foolish beak, with Tom Linden before him, was but Felix judging Paul. The old wheel goes round."
10. De Profundis
THEY were still having tea when Mr. Charles Mason was ushered in. Nothing draws people together into such intimate soul-to-soul relationship as psychic quest, and thus it was that Roxton and Malone, who had only known him in the one episode, felt more near to this man than to others with whom they had associated for years. This close vital comradeship is one of the out-standing features of such communion. When his loosely-built, straggling, lean clerical figure appeared, with that gaunt, worn face illuminated by its human grin and dignified by its earnest eyes, through the doorway, they both felt as if an old friend had entered. His own greeting was equally cordial.
"Still exploring!" he cried, as he shook them by the hand. "We will hope your new experiences will not be so nerve-racking as our last."
"By Jove, padre!" said Roxton. "I've worn out the brim of my hat taking it off to you since then."
"Why, what did he do?" asked Mrs. Mailey.
"No, no!" cried Mason. "I tried in my poor way to guide a darkened soul. Let us leave it at that. But that is exactly what we are here for now, and what these dear people do every week of their lives. It was from Mr. Mailey here that I learned how to attempt it."
"Well, certainly we have plenty of practice," said Mailey. "You have seen enough of it, Mason, to know that."
"But I can't get the focus of this at all!" cried Malone. "Could you clear my mind a little on the point? I accept, for the moment, your hypothesis that we are surrounded by material earth-bound spirits who find themselves under strange conditions which they don't understand, and who want counsel and guidance. That more or less expresses it, does it not?"
The Maileys both nodded their agreement.
"Well, their dead friends and relatives are presumably on the other side and cognizant of their benighted condition They know the truth. Could they not minister to the wants of these afflicted ones far better than we can?"
"It is a most natural question," Mailey answered. "Of course we put that objection to them and we can only accept their answer. They appear to be actually anchored to the surface of this earth, too heavy and gross to rise. The others are, presumably, on a spiritual level and far separated from them. They explain that they are much nearer to us and that they are cognizant of us, but not of anything higher. Therefore it is we who can reach them best."
"There was one poor dear dark soul -- "
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