Chapter 169753639

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Chapter NumberXVII
Chapter Url
Full Date1897-02-14
Page Number8
Word Count1281
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleTruth (Sydney)
Trove TitleAn Australian Anarchist
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[AH Eight. Eetnred.]

(By V. L. THOMAS.)


Vf^s tt Mi* Purcell's naturally super stitious Irish nature, people asked ? Any way, much at tlie beautiful young widow ?hudderod at mention of the name of that 'brute,' as «he always termed her late hustiiud, ebe suddenly took an extra ordinary interest in bii condition in the otbar world. Id a word. *be was bitten by the spiritualistic craze which had just then extended to Sydney. The complaint was, ?£ courae, contined to the better

styitd, ' our wealthy lower order*.' Your poor Ban cannot pay the heavy gate nioney necessary to keep the spiritualistic game, like many others, before the public The mew fad was recognised by many people who should hare known better. An eminent judge was the chief pntron. lie had helped to send so many people into eternity — with the aid of the hangman — that hi, of all in this world, should be the last to welcome even a short viBit from sbadte who have crossed that boundary, of which Virgil and others have told us. Th« other learned professions were also represented— good, evangelical clergymen, who shuddered at mention of purgatory, paid a week's stipend to see and hear tbo souls of the departed in the shabby genteel drawing-room ?£ a suburban villa. Medicine, as a rule, is rather matteref fect to mingle with 'the occult. Yet of all Sydney supporters of spiritualism not one 'was more arduous and sincere 'than an otherwise eminent doctor. His idosyn cracy can only/ be accounted for on the same ground' as the handsome Mrs; Fur . cell's. He came of an Irish family— or. ?*? rather, clan— which claimed more ban A'Tihees than any other in Connaugbt. / Journalism, too, furnished its votaries. A paper conducted by. rather amateurish prewmen bad worked up a big circula - ' tion through pandering to sensationalism. Commercial success tempted its conduc tors to become still more sensational. The inevitable result followed. The paver was cast in heavy damages for several clumsy libels. The conductors found sensationalism too expensive; yet, without sensations, the circulation began to decrease. Happily, the new spiritual istic craze provided a happy means of eicap* from an awkward dilemma. Invok ing the dead produced juet as much sen sation as libelling the living, and was far less expensive. The journal thus became the ?racial organ of the spiritualistic movement Whether in London or Paris, Sydney or York, the werld of fashion is imitative. Let a few of ' the beBt people,' often the worst, reckoned acoording to the Sunday , school standard, countenance the most *; absurd fad, and its success is assured. MlThe others follow, as a matter of course. FHn. Purcell's adhesion and conversion P could be well explained without the euper stiti i supposed to result from her Irish «rigin. it was the different tone in which she alluded to that brute, 'the dear 'departed,1 that astonished her acquaint _ Meet, It was rumored that she had paid I a goof round sum to catch a glimpse of I his shade before it deraaterUIiBed. I At her change no enST was more I astonished than Walter W^Tsoh, M.|CA. '?' for WjUttftt 'tie And the late Mr. PurceU ' had bMir&oon conpanions.: He knew the wife's antipathy W tbe husband, both before and after death. When she .began to aoften in her allusions to the ' brute,' Wataon averred that there must have been something in spiritualism. They met on the lawn at Bandwick l racecourse on the third day of the autumn fh meeting of the Australian Jockey Club. laShe was magnificently dressed, and ac ycojnpaaiod by her friend, Miss .Samuels. In bis usual bantering style the M.L.A. was throwing ridionle on the new move ment, some called it a fad, which was . agitating Sydney. 'It'eperfelMy ridiouious, my dear Mrs. . Furcell. When I was in London I saw M&skelyne and Cook de far more wonder ful things by mere sleight-of-hand. Why, tere'e my friend Frank Morton, who ac .'. oompuied me then. Halle, Morton, yea dutM; so I don't eoe why you should bither about the hones, which can have :~' no interest for you. Come here, and tell ' us about what we saw at the Egyptian BaUia London.' -;' After greeting the ladies, Morton replied ?j to one of Watson's queries : '.What do I i think! of Spiritualism? Much what I think :-«f. the so-called supernatural that we hear so »uch of nowadays. It's all a fraud, and/ a very clumsy fraud at that I hail ?.'?'' from a land where banshees, and fairies, And '.- lepraohauns were once plentiful. J/But* they are disapDearing, gradually banished, net by St Patrick, but because the schoolmaster is abroad. I'm accord ingly puzzled to find that Spiritualism thrives in a country which for several years has had the benefit of a glorious educational system.' ' Oh,' replied the fair widow ; ' man, the superior animal, is always inclined to doubt, especially in what bis sublime highness chooses to call the foibles of the the inferior sex. Why one of the apos tles— r-' TJ* irresponsible Watson was rude enough to inttrjebt— * By jove, Mrs Eur ceU, was U'nStMn' injustice to the down trodden eex that no cuter was permitted among the apostles?1 . : j/--.--_-— r ' farhaps if they were all women,' «he retawttf with ° nrock solemnity, 'they 1 would not have been equal to furnishing a Judas Iscariot.' Her tormentor replied ' Surely twelve - oiiten would not forego the privileges of : their sex, so far as to keep an important aeoret.' She pretended nit to hear him, and CMJtMned : 'Well, at I was saying .when you rudely interrupted me, one of the .spodtles was dubious, but the practical W6t«f'iMB own senses convinced him. *£ff$$&iniif you flippant young gentlemen v' went through a aimilar ordeal yea might '??'?'ttve/inore tegard for the feelings of ^f ?thers. The young colonial gentlemen, - whf-«e the sights of London, make inuoh *f.;them. Of course, you traduce . opiritailism jurt to let us know that yea v|wBp!ien Maskelyne and Cook.' ;; ?- «:iSVell/ answered TVataon, 'I am a - y.eul«i^eloJnia]F but my friend, Morton, ia ???TeaT cosmopolitan, u- whom the eights of . 'London, and Parin too, er» more familiar : - thias those) of Sydney are.' 1 Yes, bnt his condemnation of spiritual - ism -cornea freaa Ireland, where everything ?tema to be turned top«y turvy. I'vo heard a little about that eviction scene, in which you were all engaged, though I ;, believe our Irish friend here was the only if ««e#f you who kept a cool head. Np^

doubt familiarity made him callous. Any way, there must be a good deal of electricity in the Irish air.' Here she glanced mischieviously at Miss Samuels, who blushed. Then she looked at her watch and rattled en, 'New, I believe that both you young men, with all your flippancy and your scepticisms, are, like Thomas Didymus, open to conviction. Will you come to Madame's seance to-merrow night? Being both gentlemen of the press, 111 guarantees that you get on the free list Perhaps Miss SainuelB may be able to come if I can convince her father. He is another doubter, but I am ia hopes of con verting him too. Ill arrange with Madame this evening, and you'll heat from me to-morrow. Au revoir.' After the ladies had gone towards the stand, Morton asked Watson ' How is it that such » clever, sensible woman can be deceived by spiritualistic foolery ? ' (TO BE CONTINUED.)