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patronage system, the Minister said, is a danger, and may be much abused, but on the whole it is probably less objectionable than a rigid system of selection by competitive examination. For a matriculation, as it were, for an entrance into the service of the State, an examination by all means, but after that patronage is far better. A successful minister in these days is not the minister who does the most work, still less the minister who attempts to do all the work of the State himself, but he is that minister who is the most successful in his selection, less of his cabinet than of permanent official subordinates. In making this selection, reliance on mere examinations can only weaken his judgment.

I attended a debate in the House of Parliament--a single chamber. An opposition speaker occupied the tribune during the entire hour I spent there. He did not appear to me very fluent, nor was I much impressed by the cadences of the modern Greek language. The House, I believe, consists of some 150 members; the number was reduced quite recently by a large measure of Parliamentary reform, M. Tricoupis having found it necessary to get rid of a large number of delegates from the islands. To effect this he has sent them away to occupy their surplus energies in their local councils.

On the whole, I was disappointed with Athens, notwithstanding that the Acropolis, which I visited by moonlight, is really magnificent, and some of the old beautifully ornate Ionic architecture is of course incomparable. Greek statuary too, as seen in the museums, looked very graceful and full of soul after the massive antiquities of the Boulak Museum in Cairo. But when I have written thus much I must leave it to the antiquary and the enthusiast to discover the Attic wonders which I failed to find. Science and sentiment apart, Greece appears to be but little favoured by Nature. The soil is light and sandy, rocks and stones cropping out everywhere. How it is possible to collect four millions of revenue within such a country is indeed surprising. It can only be accomplished by the very high tariff charges in the ports, by which means the wealthy classes have to pay a disproportionate amount in the shape of duties on champagne, on fine foreign clothes, indeed on every article which can be called a luxury. In Hyderabad, a country which, by comparison, possesses great agricultural and mineral resources, we collect, though certainly with little effort, some 4,000,000l. sterling from 9,000,000 of people. In Greece 4,000,000l. are collected from only 2,000,000 of people. Here in Greece, just as in Egypt, is a national debt out of all proportion to the resources of the country, and a debt also which is held largely by foreign nations. Greece has borrowed 20,000,000l. sterling to buy war-ships and to maintain a large standing army. The only thing that would suffer if the war-ships were sold and the army disbanded would be the national dignity. It does not suit a people who are still in the Homeric vein to recognise that it is not

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WHERE ARE THE LETTERS?

A CROSS-EXAMINATION OF CERTAIN PHANTASMS.

'I WAS a student in King's College, Aberdeen. It was either my first or my second year there, and my younger brother John was left in the manse, attending school. One night I had been working late at my books before going to bed. I dreamed that my brother, left in the little northern town a hundred miles away, had been clambering over the academy railings, and that, his foot slipping, he fell and impaled himself, suffering an injury which seemed to me in my In the morning I was so haunted dream to be fatal or nearly so. by the recollection that, half in earnest, half in jest, I wrote the whole home. My letter was crossed by one from my mother, telling me that my brother John was dangerously ill, in consequence of a wound which he had received from falling on the spikes while trying to climb the academy railings. He lingered for some time after this news came from Ross-shire to Aberdeen, and then died of the accident. I have heard of many such stories, but this is the only one for which I can personally vouch, and I give it to you at first hand.'

It was exactly the kind of first-hand story which I had long desired to receive. There could be no better witness than my informant, a man of trained veracity and masculine intellect, conscientious without a streak of fancy, and religious without any tinge of superstition. It seemed to me that what I had sought for years was found; and not till an hour had passed did a doubt arise which prompted the question :

'Dr. M

where are the two letters which crossed?' There was no answer, but a long pause, for all the mind was for the first time troubled with a doubt. I ventured to press my question.

'I remember your mother. There was no more intelligent lady in the north of Scotland. Had she received such a letter as you now believe you wrote, she would sooner have thrown a hundred-pound note into the fire than have destroyed it.'

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'You mean,' he said slowly, that I also, at the other end of the circuit, in Aberdeen, would have done anything rather than part with

the letter from my mother which I have described, had I really received it.'

I replied cautiously that what I meant rather was, that if the two letters with their postmarks could now be got, they would absolutely prove the case. My relation as a young man to Dr. M. involved a certain duty. of veneration, and I had no right to play the part of Ithuriel to a story which had for forty years sat close by the gate of his mind. Still, from that date I have never doubted that there are cases in which the absence of documentary evidence is nearly as conclusive against a story as the presence of such evidence would be in its favour.

Last year a book was published which deals, under the name of Phantasms of the Living,' with narratives of precisely this class. But it confines itself to narratives which have survived a testing process, carried on in some directions with a sifting severity and skill which are unprecedented as exercised by men who still believe in a mass of results. Such a careful process might have been expected, alike from the authority under which this book is issued and from the men responsible for producing it. The council of the Society for Psychical Research is a committee which contains men of high scientific eminence, while its honorary and corresponding members are in some cases of European reputation. And as to its investigators and editors. it would be impossible to have more competent men. Mr. Myers's name is well known. His exquisite essays, by their delicacy of historical discrimination, and the moral glow with which that discrimination is everywhere suffused and softened, have long since shown much higher qualities than are needed for the more external work of recording the evidence for telepathy. But Mr. Gurney also, in the part of his work devoted to principles, merits the highest praise; and their preliminary discussions have advanced the whole question to a higher level. But it is as a record of sifted 'testimony' that I am at present interested in the book, and this forms much the larger part of the two bulky volumes. There is indeed another and preliminary part, distinguished by the writers as 'experiment' rather than testimony, which deals with what are usually known as mesmeric and hypnotic experiments (in this case as to telepathy or transferred sensation), carried on through planchettes and otherwise. And great part of their strength is given to pointing out analogies and confirmations extending between this region of experiment and the other of spontaneous impressions or apparitions. To proceed by way of experiment in this matter I believe to be most legitimate and important. It is a way of making facts. But the other region-of facts spontaneously occurring and challenging belief upon evidenceis properly dealt with by our authors as one of independent and 1 Phantasms of the Living. By Edward Gurney, M.A., Frederic W. H. Myers, M.A., and Frank Podmore, M.A. 2 vols. Trübner & Co., London, 1886.

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