A newspaper of June 13th, 1862, contained the following narrative:
“Mademoiselle Palmyra, residing with her parents, was equally charming and amiable. She was, therefore, much sought after in marriage. Among those who aspired to her hand, she preferred Mr. B——, who was deeply attached to her. Although equally attached to him, she thought herself obliged, out of regard for her parents, to yield to their wish by marrying Mr. D—, whose social position was superior to that of Mr. B——.
“Mr. B—— and Mr. D—— were intimate friends. Although in no way connected, they were always together. The mutual affection of Mr. B—— and Palmyra (now become Madame D——) so far from being weakened by her ill-omened marriage, seemed to grow stronger in proportion to the efforts made by both of them to repress it. Hoping to root out his unfortunate passion by so doing, Mr. B—— married a charming and excellent girl, whom he tried to force himself into loving; but he soon found that this heroic remedy was powerless to change the current of his thoughts. Unhappily for all parties, Mr. D——, who was sincerely attached to his friend and utterly unsuspicious of the state of the case, added to the suffering both of Mr. B—— and of his wife, by constantly bringing the former into his house, thus keeping them within the circle of danger from which they were vainly endeavoring to escape. Nevertheless, during the four years of this mortal torture, they remained strictly faithful, in act, to their marriage vows.
“One day, however, the two lovers having accidentally met and having revealed to each other the persistence of their mutual affection, they made up their minds that death was their only safeguard against the dangers of their position. They accordingly resolved to die together; and, as Mr. D—— was to be absent during the greater part of the next day, they determined to take advantage of that circumstance to put their project into execution. Having made their preparations for the act on which they had resolved, they wrote a long and touching letter, explaining the motive of the suicide to which they had determined to have recourse as the sole means of enabling them to remain faithful to duty; they wound up their letter by asking to be forgiven and to be buried in the same grave.
“When Mr. D—— returned home, he found them dead, from asphyxia, in the room in which they had shut themselves up with a pan of burning charcoal. Respecting their last wish, he buried them together as they desired.”
This occurrence having been brought to the knowledge of the Spiritist Society of Paris, the following statement was made by a spirit in regard to it made the following statement:
“The two lovers who committed suicide are not yet able to reply to you. I see them; they are plunged in confusion and terrified by the perception of eternity. They will be punished, by the moral results of their fault, during successive migrations in which their souls, kept apart from each other, will seek incessantly after one another and will undergo the double torture of presentiment and disappointment. When their expiation is accomplished, but only then, they will be united in a higher mode of affection. A week hence, at your next meeting, you can evoke them. They will come, but they will not see one another. The darkness of night will hide them from each other for a long time to come.”
(Evocation of Madame D——)
1. Do you see your lover, with whom you committed suicide?
A. I see nothing. I do not even see the spirits who are wandering, like me, in the place where I am. Oh, what night! What darkness! And what a thick veil is drawn over my eyes!
2. What sensation did you feel when you wakened, after your death?
A. It was very strange! I was cold and yet I was burning; my veins were full of ice, and my forehead seemed to be on fire! Strange, unheard-of mixture! Ice and fire seeming to strive in me for mastery! I thought I was going to die a second time.
3. Do you feel any physical pain?
A. All my suffering is there, and there.
Q. What do you mean by saying “there, and there?”
A. There, in my brain, there, in my heart. If we could have seen the spirit, we should probably have seen her place her hand, first on her forehead, and, next, on her heart.
4. Do you suppose that you will always remain in the same situation?
A. Yes, always! Always! I sometimes hear infernal laughter, horrible voices that howl at me, saying, “Thus will it be with you forever!”
5. No; we can assure you that it will not be forever; by repenting, you will obtain forgiveness.
A. What did you say? I did not hear you.
6. I repeat what I said, — your sufferings will have an end that you can hasten by your repentance, and we will aid you to do this with our prayers.
A. I have heard vague sounds, but only one word, mercy. Was it of mercy that you spoke? For I heard the word “mercy;” but you were no doubt speaking to the soul that has just passed beside me; a poor child who weeps and who hopes.
A lady present remarked that she had just offered a prayer for this unhappy spirit, and that it was, no doubt, this prayer that had struck her consciousness, since she had mentally implored for her the mercy of God.
7. You say you are in the dark; do you not see us?
A. I am permitted to hear a few of the words you say; but I see nothing, except a black crape upon which, at certain times, there appears a face, weeping.
8. If you do not see your lover, do you not feel his presence near you? For he is here.
A. Ah, do not speak of him to me! I must forget him, at present, in order that the image I see on the crape might be effaced!
9. What is this image?
A. It is that of a man in pain, and whose moral progress upon the Earth I have retarded for a long time to come.
On reading the foregoing recital one is disposed, at first sight, to extenuate the fault committed by the two unfortunate lovers, and to regard it almost as a heroic action, since it was prompted by the double sentiment of love and duty. But we see that it has been judged otherwise on the other world; and that the punishment of these spirits will be long and terrible for having voluntarily sought a refuge, in death, from the struggle imposed upon them. Their determination not to fail in their duty was undoubtedly honorable and will be counted to them as such, by and by; but their true course would have been to vanquish the temptation to wrongdoing, whereas, in fact, they enacted the part of the deserter who runs away from the enemy instead of meeting him.
The punishment of these two wrongdoers will consist, as we see, in seeking each other for a long time without being allowed to meet, both in the spirit-world and in their future incarnations upon the Earth. Their punishment is rendered still more severe, for the time being, by their belief that their present state will be prolonged forever; this belief forming part of their punishment, they have not been allowed to hear the words of hope that have been addressed to them. To those who may consider this punishment as very severe and very long – especially as it is only to cease after several reincarnations – we may say that its duration is not absolute, but will depend on the way in which they bear their future trials, and that they may be aided in bearing them by the prayers of those who take an interest in their fate; like all other guilty spirits, they will be the arbiters of their own destiny. And, however painful their punishment may be, is it not better than to be damned eternally, according to the judgment of the Church, which considers them as being so irrevocably condemned to hell-fire forever, that it refused them Christian burial, no doubt, because it regarded prayer as being useless in their case?