"MRS. DR. DE JONES will hold a circle this evening, at 7.30. Relatives and friends are invited to attend without further notice. No. 476 Bushmont St."
Bob and I saw this notice in the Sunday Shouter, and decided to take it in. Accordingly, at the appointed time we presented ourselves at No. 476, and were promptly admitted. We were asked to leave our coats and hats in the hall, and to "step this way, please." We omitted to heed the first part of this request, for as we did not know the character of the spirits who might be present during the evening, we thought it safer to take our property with us. We afterwards found it an entirely needless precaution, however, for the spirits who favored us with their presence seemed to have come from a place where an overcoat might be classed as a luxury rather than as a necessity.
We took seats in the circle, and after a few minutes the ancient female who was to conduct the entertainment entered. She smiled sweetly on Bob, and asked him for the loan of his hat for a few minutes. Bob remembered seeing a professor of mystery, mirth, and magic a short time before produce silver dollars from the lining of a gentleman's hat, and hastened to comply with her request. But to his disgust he found that in this instance it was the circle which was expected to produce the silver.
Having collected her "ante," Dr. De Jones sat down and told us that she would go into a trance. From the expression of her countenance and the contortions of her body, I thought that it was more likely that she was going into a fit, brought on by a too liberal diet of green fruit. But the aged citizen who met us at the door, and who seemed to be a kind of manager, assured us that it was positively a trance, and a superior article too.
After a few convulsions our medium suddenly jumped from her chair, and, clutching Bob by the throat, shrieked, "My own, my own! I have you once more!"
Disengaging her hand from his throat, Bob assured her in as calm a tone as he could command under the trying circumstances, that he was not "her own," and he also would be greatly obliged to her if she would not "have him once more" again. After hesitating a moment, she evidently concluded not to, and resumed her seat.
Bob afterwards told me that his nerves had not been so badly shattered since the time in his Freshman year when he received his first invitation from "For the Registrar."
In a moment we were informed by the medium that the spirit of the only Conners was present with a bull pup, and wished to borrow money enough to buy a little coal. Being always willing to assist the worthy poor, I passed up a counterfeit quarter which I had received at Sever's, and which I had been unable to get anybody, even an editor of one of the College papers, to take.
I asked Conners how he liked his present quarters, and learned that they were "too dommed hot" to suit him. When his spirit departed the medium seemed very much exhausted, but this did n't surprise me much, for I remembered that Conners had often "made me tired" before.
The manager here suggested that if one of us would sing a little something, he thought that it would be appreciated by the spirits. So Bob struck up a beautiful little song which has lately appeared (said to have been dedicated to young '85 on his departure from home), entitled "Empty is the Cradle, Baby's gone!" But he (Bob, not the baby) had not proceeded very far, when an invisible hand struck him to the floor, and an awful voice exclaimed, "Give us a rest."
Thinking it said, "Give us the rest," and supposing that some spirit was touched by that beautiful melody, and wished to hear the remainder, I rose and took up the song where Bob had stopped. I was much surprised, not to say disgusted, when the whole circle rose to their feet, - not to applaud; oh, no! but gently, yet firmly, to request me to stop. Rather than be obliged to pulverize the crowd, I complied with the request.
Just then we were informed that the spirit, who at t is point was in the habit of collecting subscriptions for the support of one of the organizations of the other world, was present and ready to commence business. Thinking this a trifle tranceparent, so to speak, and remembering our recent pleasant (?) calls from the Crew and cricket-men, to say nothing of the editors without number who had "dropped in," we remarked to the spirit that we would see it later, and silently stole away.