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Arthur Conan Doyle, SPIRITUALISM and Harry Houdini

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Author Topic: Arthur Conan Doyle, SPIRITUALISM and Harry Houdini  (Read 1682 times)
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Posts: 41646

« on: May 17, 2007, 05:29:12 pm »

THE RIDDLE OF HOUDINI                                                                                 continued

Another favourable side of his character was his charity.  I have heard, and
am quite prepared to believe, that he was the last refuge of the down-and-
outer, especially if he belonged to his own profession of showman.

This charity extended even beyond the grave, and if he heard of any old
magician whose tombstone needed repair, he took it upon himself at once to
set the matter right. 

Willie Davenport in Australia, Bosco in Germany, and many others of his pro-
fession were objects of these pious offices.  Whatever he did was done upon
a large scale. 

He had many pensioners whom he did not know by sight.  One man embraced
him in the street and, upon Houdini angrily demanding who the devil he was, he
answered, "Why, I am the man whose rent you have paid for the last ten years."

He was devout to children, though he had none of his own.  He was never too
busy to give a special free performance for the youngsters.  At Edinburgh he
was so shocked at the bare feet of the kiddies, that he had them all into the
theatre, and fitted them, then and there, with five hundred pairs of boots.

He was the greatest publicity agent that ever lived, so that it is not ill-natured
to surmise that the local papers had been advised before-hand and that the ad-
vertisement was well worth it.

There were other occasions, however, when his charity was less ostantatious.

Animals too were loved by him, and he had a peculiar talent for taming them and
teaching them tricks.

All these ingredients in one impulsive personality surely make up a very lovable
man.  It is true that his generosity was curiously mixed with frugality, so that
even while he was giving away his earnings at a rate which alarmed his wife, he
would put an indignant comment in his diary, because he had been charged two
shillings for the pressing of his clothes.

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Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.

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