THE PHENOMENA OF SPIRITISM. 231
cline to give his name, should we insist, at all hazards, that he should prove his identity by exhibiting his titles, under the pretext that there are impostors ? Would he not, assuredly, have the right to remind his interrogator of the rules of good breed, ing ? This is what the spirits do, either by not replying or by withdrawing. Let us make a comparison. Suppose the as tronomer Arago during his life had presented himself in a house where no one knew him, and he had been thus addressed; 'You say you are Arago; but as we do not know you, please prove it by answering our questions: solve this astronomical problem; tell us your name, your Christian name, those of your children, what you did such and such a day, at such an hour, etc' What would he have answered? Well, as a spirit he will do just what he would have done during his lifetime ; and other spirits do the same."
The above is considered the best reason that can be given for the fact that spirits whose character and habits in life are not generally known, or not known to the medium or to those surrounding him, invariably refuse to give proofs of their identity. But is his comparison pertinent? I think not. It might be considered impertinent, nay, the very height of ill-breeding, if one should insist on proofs of identity when a stranger is casually introduced, or introduces himself, in a drawing-room. But let us make another comparison. Suppose a stranger we, too, will say Arago the astronomer calls us up by telephone, and makes a statement of the most transcendent interest and importance to us, a statement which, if true, will change the whole course of our lives and our habits of thought. He states that his special mission is to make this portentous announcement to us, and that his name is Arago, the astronomer. We know Arago the astronomer by reputation, but have never had the honor of his personal acquaintance. We know enough of him, however, to be certain that he would tell us the exact truth as he understood it; and we would stake our dearest interests upon a statement of his regarding that about which he professed to have positive personal knowledge. Under such circumstances would it be likely to wound his feelings or shock his sense of pro-