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felt, and acted precisely as they did, with this important difference, that I maintained intact my own consciousness, and my mind went on precisely as if it had not been in mesmeric rapport with another. I became on these occasions two beings in one.

I know not whether the faculty of inducing this species of clairvoyance has been reached by other students of mesmerism. If so, they will understand my imperfect description of it. To others, I can best illustrate the case by reference to a very ordinary phenomenon in dreaming. You have often dreamed that you were dreaming. You have said to yourself in your sleep, as the phantasmagoria of dreamland passed before you, "Well, this is all a dream; I know it has no reality;" and you have either voluntarily allowed the visions to go on as a pleasant or curious pastime, or you have been compelled to see the panorama to a close; but in either case you have felt yourself a spectator, and in the hazy philosophy of sleep you have perhaps taken note of the different phases of your dream, and, on waking, have recollected the whole vision, and also your dream observation of it. This may give some idea of the mesmeric state of mind I speak of in the operator, only that your capacity to take note of the phenomenon of the mind you have absorbed is as complete, as it is to take note of the process of any chemical experiment-much more complete than your power of observing your own mental states.

On my arrival in California much of my time was spent among the gold-diggers, who, I need not inform you, were then the most lawless of men. Robbery and murder were of daily occurrence, and every one felt the necessity of guarding his life and property.

This state of nature was intolerable. As the miners became rich, the desire of security arose, and that antipathy to anarchy native to man, which is the origin of civil government, awoke in the breasts even of the outcasts of Europe. A remedy was found. Civil and criminal law were powerless, so Lynch law was substituted in their place; and I feel no self-reproach in having assisted in organising this wild justice, or in having sanctioned several executions which resulted from it.

There was at least one man who incurred our sentence of death, regarding whose fate none of us felt any pity, for of his guilt there was no doubt. He had murdered an old man and his daughter for the sake of some gold-dust they had gathered. With respect to this villain, we of the Vigilance Committee showed even more than ordinary promptitude. He was condemned the very day he committed the crime, and his execution was fixed for the day after.

Our sentence, however, did not meet with unanimous approval. Strange to say, the man had friends. There was something in him which dominated over the other villains; he was looked up to by them as a sort of leader. He was, in fact, a man not only of strong and ruthless will, but of no inconsiderable abilities, which I afterwards discovered had been cultivated by a good education. Indeed, there was no mistaking one thing about the man-he had been a gentleman, but his handsome and intellectual features were worn by dissipation, and their expression was sinister and even terrible. His conversation was remarkable. A profound atheist, he looked on this world as an unintelligible puzzle, and as to the next, it had long been his interest not to believe in it. Of his actual history, prior to the perpetration of the crime of which he was to die, I knew nothing.

I never shall forget the day of execution. It was a bright sunny day in the early spring of these delightful regions; a gentle breeze barely served to ripple the broad expanse of the Pacific, and to send up to the table-land where we stood the mellow monotone of the wavelets which broke on the shore. A few peach-trees in full blossom shed their fragrance round the site selected for the execution, and one or two green oaks of great age spread aloft their huge branches on which the foliage had just begun to appear. In the background picturesque mountains, abrupt and jagged, shut up the landscape with their glittering summits.

An immense crowd had gathered to see the execution, some of them not indisposed to attempt a rescue. But the Vigilance Committee and their adherents, determined and armed, kept a clear space round the scaffold. At its foot stood the criminal, a clergyman of uncertain persuasion and dubious character, who had turned up in the diggings, a man who had volunteered to perform the last ceremony, and who alleged some degree of professional experience acquired in England, and lastly, three of the Vigilance Committee, of whom I was one.

I had previously attempted to make some impresssion on the murderer's conscience, but it was fenced in by such a network of sophistry, and overlaid by such a coating of sensuality and crime, that I had altogether failed. As a last attempt, I took his hand and spoke to him with that earnestness becoming the last appeal he was to hear on earth. Involuntarily my power of mesmerism came into play. I felt I had obtained an influence over him. I intensified the influence. The man was morbidly susceptible, and to my horror I found, before I could realise what I had done, that I was in full mesmeric rapport with him. His mind, which at first I felt I absolutely controlled, had passed into mine, and that evermysterious dual existence of which I spoke at the beginning of this letter was fully induced. Now, it is one of the characteristics of this rare species of clairvoyance that neither the operator nor the subject can for some time emancipate himself from its influence. Any other phase is quite within the power of the mesmeriser, though not of the mesmerised. But in this, the most perfect rapport, the power of the operator to emancipate himself is not so complete. The influence or possession wears off in time, but notwithstanding the most strenuous and even painful exertions of the will, I have never been able thoroughly to disconnect my consciousness from that of the other party in a shorter space of time than an hour.

Here, then, I was unexpectedly, and as it were fatally, en rapport with a man who was in a few instants to be hanged. I shuddered at the thought, and would willingly have escaped, but I was in the meshes of my own net, and I knew well that any premature efforts would only tighten its folds; I therefore submitted to my fate, which was simply this, that so far as thought, emotion, and suffering went, I was going to be executed as a felon. I could not help it. I nerved myself to endure the physical pain, persuading myself that, after all, it would not be so very terrible; and I tried to get up a feeling of scientific curiosity in what was going to happen. "Here," said I, "is an opportunity no man ever had before, and which no man probably will ever have again. It is given to me to unravel the mystery of death, to ascertain precisely and accurately the pain of dissolution, and to realise the mental state which immediately precedes the final loss of consciousness, if, indeed (and I trembled at the thought), there be any loss of consciousness." At all events, I

determined to keep my spectator self in the most rigorous state of attention, and I sat down on a bench close at hand, and took out my watch and my pocket-book and pencil, ready to note down accurately the murderer's sensations experienced by myself.

I felt immediately pervade my foreign self a feeling of stoical apathy. "It is my fate," thought the murderer; "I cannot escape. Let me not gratify these fools by any sign of fear. I hate them all. But my account with the world will soon be closed. A struggle, and I will be annihilated." Thus muttering to himself, I felt the murderer's hands tied tightly behind his back by the hangman. An intense feeling of hatred of the human race and disgust at himself shot through his mind.

He has reached the scaffold. I felt the rope adjusted round his neck. A moment of hesitation intervened. "I am to do the last and fatal thing on earth," said he, as he still clutched the handkerchief. "Well, why prolong the suspense? There it goes!"

The hangman pushed the murderer off the plank which served as a scaffold; no covering was over his face.

A sensation of overwhelming waters, billow after billow rolling over my head and striking me on the chest, forcing me backwards from my vain attempts to surge up against it; the noise as of unceasing thunder; shrieks of tortured demons, and the blackness of darkness.

FIRST MINUTE.-Suddenly I am conscious; I feel the rope round my neck; I vehemently try to release my hands to loosen it. Oh, if I could but get free my hands, I might yet be saved! I strike with my feet; I swing myself back. Oh, heaven and earth, could my feet but reach the scaffold I might yet be saved-there might be pity in that gaping crowd! I recollect or imagine some old story, which said that a man, if he once gets back to the scaffold, can't be pushed from it again. In my frenzy I think I see the act of parliament, with the Queen's signature. Yes, yes, the murderer faintly gurgles, I am yet saved!

In vain! in vain! my efforts are hopeless; I subside in despair. But woe is me! this seems to have taken hours. I am choking; my lungs labour like a mighty engine, and my heart beats as if it would burst through my breast; but I am not yet dying. And yet I have read that the struggles of the hanging man do not last three minutes, and I have seen many an execution where the man died instantaneously; but I, I have been hours in agony.

The felon looked with his eyes nearly protruding from their sockets on the crowd. There was no weariness with them, no movement of pity, which surely there would have been even for him, suffering such protracted agony. Has his agony, then, really lasted so long as he thinks? Alas, he is the only one to think about it, and, O misery! time is annihilated. Time is relative, and the acute mind of the murderer at once recognised that what we feel as time is merely the succession of our ideas, and that, if these are quickened, time loses its meaning. If, for instance, a certain number of ideas, which when in life, said he to himself (and the murderer reasoned as if he were dead), seem to occupy a minute of time, were accelerated so as to occupy only a second or a fraction of a second, then a minute of human time may represent an hour, a week, a year.

But having arrived at this conclusion, his mind for a time lost coherence; suddenly, he and I saw a cottage by the side of a brook, and

the murderer felt himself a young boy, sitting on the banks of the brook, sorrowful and crying, he knew not why, but from some unutterable misery. And now there came out of the honeysuckled door a beautiful girl. He saw her as he recollected her, his first beloved, in the days of his innocence, the same bright blue eye, and golden hair, and bounding figure. She came up to him. I felt her soft arm put tenderly round his neck, and she kissed the tears from his wretched face. "Dearest George," she whispered, "why are you crying? Look at your own Mary." And in my murderer's heart, regenerated back to its youth, I felt a fleeting sensation of happiness and joy. When out from an angle of the house sprang a furious mastiff; with the bound he wrenched the child from his neck, and she rolled, shrieking in terror, into the brook. I-that is, the murderer-tried in vain to save her; but, alas! alas! he was rooted to the spot, and the dog seized him by the throat, and I felt, as its jaws tightened upon him, that I was choking.

SECOND MINUTE. The murderer for a second or two was insensible; on recovering, he felt fiery pains shoot through his body. His eyes seemed on flame, and his tongue, which he had severely bitten, protruded from his mouth. Again he realised his position, and again the dismal phantasmagoria of frenzy supervened; again the honeysuckled cottage, but now the flowers are away, and an icy winter has taken all colour from nature; the brook is arrested, and corrugated icy ridges rear themselves above its banks. But there comes thither, tripping with such light steps that the hoar-frost on the grass is not disturbed, a figure in the full bloom of womanhood, the same golden hair and blue eyes; but the girl is ten years older now, and she carols with merry voice a melancholy ditty of love and suicide. And she puts her arms round his neck and kisses him; but somehow her kisses burn, and the embrace of her arm gets tighter round his neck. "Not so tight, my beloved," he seems to say; "let me breathe." And as the pressure continues, he tries to loosen her arms; but soft to the touch at first, they gradually become rigid as iron. His breathing becomes difficult; he looks up for pity in her face. It has changed; it is Mary still, but not the bright and glorious Mary whose innocence he betrayed, but the Mary whom, ten years after his desertion, he had met in a haunt of thieves in London, haggard, hopeless, revengeful; and the iron grasp of her arm tightened, and she looked with the hatred of a demon into his darkening eyes, and suddenly the phantasm vanished, and he saw looking up the unpitying faces of the crowd, and the hag's arms were changed into the fatal rope.

FIRST HALF OF THE THIRD MINUTE.-Gradually again mania supervened. He was at his mother's death-bed. He heard anew her last and solemn exhortations, and he looked again at the stern face of his father. Ah! now he felt what had been that mother's love; now he could see, with spiritual intuition, the despair which tore his father's heart; and he threw himself before them, and promised that if they would but forgive him, he would give up his evil ways. And he thought that his mother tried to speak his pardon, but she was choking in the agony of death, and the blessed words could not find an utterance. he threw himself on his knees at her bed, and tried in vain to weep. was too late: one violent spasmodic effort, and then all was still, and the father and son were alone. And then memory conjured up the final quarrel with his father, which had driven him to despair. He lived over

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again that miserable night when first he was houseless. Slowly and painfully there passed before his mind's eye the criminal and disastrous actions of his life, reproduced in all their detail-and then utter uncon

sciousness.

SECOND HALF OF THE THIRD MINUTE.-The murderer thought he heard a voice saying to him, "Solve me immediately the origin of evil. Tell me the destiny of man, its reasons, and its uses. Separate to me the free from the fatal. Tell me what is human, what divine justice." And he thought over these problems, which he had formerly meditated on in vain; but his reasons always ran into a circle; he was ever coming back to the point from which he started, and the different problems mixed themselves up together. Against his will, the train of thought he had been pursuing on one subject glanced into another to which it had no relation. But somehow it appeared to him that they all merged in the idea of Eternity, and that idea conjured up the Egyptian symbol of the serpent biting its tail, and this set agoing a new train of phantasms. The arguments he had been using suddenly became folds of serpents, joined themselves together, and grew, each problem, into a separate serpent, all of which turned hissing upon him, and wound themselves round his body. Tighter and tighter grew their folds, which multiplied to infinity, until at last the pressure seemed to force out his life, and he again became unconscious.

FIRST QUARTER OF THE FOURTH MINUTE.-The murderer awoke with a start. For a moment-to him and to me an hour-he realised his real position and struggled; and then strong madness, and there appeared before him in solemn array all his victims: his mother, with no pity in her face; his father, as he was when last they parted; Mary, not the child or the beautiful woman, but Mary the lost and the hopeless; the boy he had killed in London in an access of passion; the ruined merchant, accompanied by his beggared family; and many others; but conspicuously the old man and his daughter; and seated on an elevated platform was a judge-the classical Rhadamanthus. And, behold, one after the other gave testimony against him, and he had no defence; and as they one by one delivered their testimony, their sins were put to his account, and he was frequently tortured to supply broken links of evidence. At last, after the trial had endured for months-it might be for years there remained only the old man and his daughter, and Mary the hag, and Rhadamanthus; and Mary put her iron arms again round his neck, while severe and unpitying Rhadamanthus looked down upon them. The murderer was dead.

One morning I awoke. My existence was changed. I came back to time. I found myself lying on a bed, and some friends were bathing my temples. I had fainted, they said, at the sight of the execution, and it had been some time before they had succeeded in bringing me back to consciousness. Oh! had they known what was involved in that! But I could not speak of my experiences. For a long time I could speak coherently of nothing. I believe my companions were right in sending me down to San Francisco, and that the control, to which for some time I was subjected, was necessary. For long my mind was unequal to any task. Ever, when I attempted to think of anything, the century of agony I had undergone came back to my memory.

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