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A Wanderer in the Sprit Lands, by Franchezzo (A. Farnese), [1896], at

CHAPTER VIII.--Temptation.

I was again called upon to go to earth upon a mission of help, and to leave for a time my wanderings in the spirit spheres; and now it was that the greatest and most terrible temptation of my life came to me. In the course of my work I was brought across one still in the earth body, whose influence over my earthly life had done more than aught else to wreck and spoil it, and though I also had not been blameless--far indeed from it--yet I could not but feel an intense bitterness and thirst for revenge whenever I thought of this person and all the wrongs that I had suffered--wrongs brooded over till at times I felt as if my feelings must have vent in some wild burst of passionate resentment.

In my wanderings upon the earth plane I had learned many ways in which a spirit can still work mischief to those he hates who are yet in the flesh. Far more power is ours than you would dream of, but I feel it is wiser to let the veil rest still upon the possibilities the world holds even after death for the revengeful spirit. I could detail many terrible cases I know of as having actually taken place--mysterious murders and strange crimes committed, none knew why or how, by those on earth whose brains were so disordered that they were not themselves responsible for their actions, and were but the tools of a possessing spirit. These and many kindred things are known to us in the spirit spheres where circumstances often wear a very different aspect from the one shown to you. The old beliefs in demoniacal possession were not so visionary after all, only these demons or devils had themselves been once the denizens of earth.

It so happened to me then, that when I came once more, after long years of absence, across this person whom I so hated, all my old feelings of suffering and anger revived, but with tenfold more force than is possible in earth life, for a spirit has far, far greater capabilities of suffering or enjoyments, of pleasure or pain, love or hate, than one whose senses are still veiled and deadened by the earthly envelope, and thus all the senses of a dismbodied spirit are tenfold more acute.

Thus when I once more found myself beside this person, the desire for my long-suspended revenge woke again, and with the desire a most devilish plan for its accomplishment suggested itself to me. For my desire of vengeance drew up to me from their haunts in the lowest hell, spirits of so black a hue, so awful a type, that never before had I seen such beings or dreamed that out of some nightmare fable they could exist. These beings cannot live upon the earth plane nor even in the lower spheres surrounding it, unless there be congenial mortals or some strong magnetic attraction to hold them there for a time, and though they often rise in response to an intensely evil desire upon the part of either a mortal or spirit on the earth plane, yet they cannot remain long, and the moment the attracting force becomes weakened, like a rope that breaks, they lose their hold and sink down again to their own dark abodes. At times of great popular indignation and anger, as in some great revolt of an oppressed people in whom all sense but that of suffering and anger has been crushed out, the bitter wrath and thirst for revenge felt by the oppressed will draw around them such a cloud of these dark beings, that horrors similar to those witnessed in the great French Revolution and kindred revolts of down-trodden people, will take place, and the maddened populace are for a time completely under the control of those spirits who are truly as devils.

In my case these horrible beings crowded round me with delight, whispered in my ears and pointed out a way of revenge so simple, so easy, and yet so horrible, so apalling in its wickedness, that I shall not venture to write it down lest the idea of it might be given to some other desperate one, and like seed falling into a fruitful soil bring forth its baleful blossoms.

At any other time I should have shrunk back in horror from these beings and their foul suggestions. Now in my mad passion I welcomed them and was about to invoke their aid to help me to accomplish my vengeance, when like the tones of a silver bell there fell upon my ears the voice of my beloved, to whose pleadings I was never deaf and whose tones could move me as none else could The voice summoned me to come to her by all that we both held sacred, by all the vows we had made and all the hopes we had cherished, and though I could not so instantly abandon my revenge, yet I was drawn as by a rope to the one I loved from the one I hated.

And the whole wild crew of black devils came with me, clinging to me and trying to hold me back, yet with an ever feebler hold as the voice of love and purity and truth penetrated more and more deeply to my heart.

And then I saw my beloved standing in her room, her arms stretched out to draw me to her, and two strong bright spirit guardians by her side, while around her was drawn a circle of flaming silver light as though a wall of lightning encircled her; yet at her call I passed through it and stood at her side.

The dark crowd sought to follow, but were kept back by the flaming ring. One of the boldest made a rush at me as I passed through, and tried to catch hold, but his hand and arm were caught by the flame of light and shriveled up as though thrust into a furnace. With a yell of pain and rage he drew back amidst a wild howl of derisive laughter from the rest.

With all the power of her love my darling pleaded with me that I should give up this terrible idea, and promise her nevermore to yield to so base a thought. She asked me if I loved my revenge so much better than I loved her, that to gratify it I would raise up between us the insurmountable barrier of my meditated crime? Was her love indeed so little to me after all?

At first I would not, could not yield, but at last she began to weep, and then my heart melted as though her tears had been warm drops of her heart's blood falling on it to thaw its ice, and in bitter anguish of soul that I should have caused her to shed tears I knelt at her feet and prayed to be forgiven my wicked thought--prayed that I might still be left with her love to cheer me, still with her for my one thought, one hope, my all. And as I prayed the circle of dark spirits, who had been fighting to get in and beckoning to me and trying to draw me out, broke like a cloud of black mist when the wind scatters it, and they sank away down to their own abode again, while I sank exhausted at my darling's feet.

At times after this I saw the dark spirits draw near to me, though never again could they come close, for I had an armor in my darling's love and my promise to her which was proof against all their attacks.

Next: Chapter IX.--The Frozen Land--The Caverns of Slumber