All present were profoundly moved; a feeling of dismay crept over them, defacing their festivity. Tears were shed. Only from one pair of damp eyes did any gleam of hope or comfort radiate.
A distinguished foreigner, well known in the uttermost spirit-circles, wiped from his brow drops of perspiration which some dream had loosened from his brain. He felt the tide of psychic force beating upon the high shores of his heart. He was conscious of a constitutional change sweeping like a tempest over his protoplastic tissue. He felt that the secret fountains of his being were troubled by the angel of spirit-rapping, and that his gross, unbelieving nature stepped down, bathed, and was healed. The Moses of the spirit-wilderness struck the rock of his material life, and occult dynamics came welling forth from the undiscovered springs of consciousness. His mortal statics lost their equilibrium in a general flux of soul. A cyclone raged round his mesmeric aura. He began to apprehend an epiphany of electro-biological potentiality. The fierce light that never was in kerosine or tallow dawned round him; matter melted like mist; souls were carousing about him; the great soul of nature brooded like an aurora of clairvoyance above all; his awful mediumhood held him fiercely in her mystic domination; and things grew to a point. From the focus of the clairvoyant aurora clouds of creative impulse gathered, and sweeping soulward were condensed in immaterial atoms upon the cold peaks of Purpose. Thus a spiritual gingham impressed upon his soul of souls a matrix, out of which, by a fine progenitive effort, he now begets and ejects a materialized gingham into a potato-plot of the garden without.
The thing is patent to all who live above the dead-level of vulgar imbecility. No head of a department could fail to understand it. Indeed, to such as live on the uplands of speculation, not only is the process lucid in itself, but it is luciferous, illuminating all the obscure hiding-places of Nature. It is the magic-lantern of creation; it is the key to all mysticism, to the three-card trick, and to the basket-trick; it sheds a glory upon thimble-rigging, a halo upon legerdemain; it even radiates vagabond beams of splendour upon pocket-picking and the cognate arts. It explains how the apples get into the dumpling; how the milk comes out of the cocoanut; how the deficit issues from the surplus; how matter evolves itself from nothing. It renders the hypothesis of a First Cause not only unnecessary, but exquisitely ludicrous. Under such dry light as it offers to our intelligence the whole epos of Christianity seems a vapid dream.