Letter: from Eleanor Mildred Balfour to Emily Faithfull

Scope and Content

Dearest Miss F, Your last letter grieved me - You have so many sad things to think of - and I fear you are tired and worn -I try to think what I could do to help you, but I fear there is nothing - I know you will tell me if I can do anything -There is nothing particular to keep me at home. I came here on Monday John & Evelyn & Alice on Saturday & we all return to London next Monday in time for the Philharmonic - Arthur has gone to Hatfield & proceeds to H____ on Friday & also returns to London on Monday -Aunt Rose is here - I dare say you have heard from her by this time how pleased she is with your drawing. The [L?]anelfords, Taylors & Lady Bayleigh all came yesterday for the purpose of going to the conservative festival at Chilmford today. Alice & Aunt Rose & I not being Essex people think we are exempt from all _____ & patronising it. Who is the [Reverend Miss?] Franks is going to marry? Do you know him? We heard from Frank a few days ago - He has been making a tour in Sicily and has returned to [Heple?] - I hope refreshed. I am beginning to think I may go on to the Children's hospital now. My last visit was certainly more successful I bethought me of taking a picture book - with which I greatly delighted a poor little dying consumptive boy -I think Evelyn is going with____ Alderson to Bethnal Green when she returns to London. Have you heard of our spiritualistic researches? You know we have had 3 seances with Mrs Jencken at CG & John & Evelyn - & the others have been to two on this at the Jenckens - Mrs Jencken was Miss Kate [Ton/Fox?] -the American medium and married Mr Jencken an English barrister. Nothing thoroughly convincing has happened. There have always been raps, which one does not see how the medium can have done herself - but I suppose one ought to think it possible she may have done them until one has proof to the contrary. - The most stinking thing which has happened to us - that I mean which seems most to require the agency of some intelligence, not that if any person present at CG - occurred when Alice & I were in Scotland - The people present were John, Evelyn, Arthur and Mr & Mrs Jencken. They sat in my little back sitting room. There was a fire, but no light except what came from that in the room -A spirit announced itself by raps and Arthur was told he might mentally ask a question - I think he had asked if he might. He did so - nobody in the room knew what the question was - The answer was rapped - S, a doubtful [A/H?], M & then they stopped & indicated that they wished to begin again - Arthur meanwhile making no sign as to whether the answer was right or wrong. The raps began again S, M, I, T, H, - Arthur gave no indication that that was all - but the raps stopped. His question was 'Who was my father's doctor?' Now making all allowances for Smith being a common name, and for Arthur having asked whether his question might be such as to involve a name for answer, it is very difficult to think this was a guess, and it is also very difficult to suppose that Mrs Jencken could by fire light see a change in his expression at the right letters - Arthur __ John, Evelyn & Alice went to Mrs Jencken's to meet Mrs Guppy. Of course a séance at a medium's own house is not nearly so satisfactory as at one's own house. The party consisted of those 3, of Mr & Mrs Jencken, Mr & Mrs Guppy - an American general and a Russian - both unknown to our party. The room was a very small one. By the light of 3 gas lamps John thoroughly examined the whole room, cupboard etc. The doors were locked and the party sat down at the table after which the lights were put out - There was a great deal of tilting and rocking of the table and presently a number of peonies soaking wet and very fresh & uncrushed, but apparently not quite freshly broken off were thrown among them - in their faces etc -Later, John, Mrs Jencken & Mrs Guppy were told to leave the circle and stand by the door - John stood with his back to the door rather close to it and held both Mrs Guppy's hands in one of his and both Mrs Jencken's in the other (the rest of the party remained seated in the back) & while they were in this position a peony was gently brushed across his face and his coat tails pulled - All this happened in the dark, but if it was a trick it was a very cleverly done one - More than 24 peonies came all very wet. They brought a lot home and we had them for a long time in water - It is through Mrs Guppy's mediumship that the flowers are supposed to come. She is a very tall [long?]woman - & the best natural explanation that suggests itself is that they may have hidden about her somehow. Have you read William Artich -its ________'Fritinghth' How bored you will be if either Evelyn or Alice have told you those stories before - I thought Alice probably had until she told me just now she was almost sure she had not. So I thought I had better tell you as you would probably be interested - Mrs Jenckens is a small delicate looking little woman. She does not give out at all the impression of being a____ - much less a clever one - She dotes on her baby of eight months old who is a powerful medium, and has twice written sentences under spirit guidance!! His mother says she does not wish to encourage the power at present Yr W Elanor M. Balfour. We are only going for the day to Cambridge and I think Evelyn will go with us.

Paper has, 'Terling Place, Witham, Essex' printed on it in blue ink and positioned in a round.