does second "lights" refers to "candles" or to the first mentioned "light"? does "lit" means "ignited" or "being ignited"?

Many interesting and touching messages were conveyed to me by the usual writing of Mrs. Jencken. We were directed to put out the light. Then commenced a series of manifestations such as I have not often seen equalled, and very seldom surpassed . I removed a small handbell from the table and held it in my own hand. I felt a hand take it from me, when it was rung in all parts of the room during at least five minutes. I then placed an accordion under the table, whence it was removed, and at a distance of three or four feet from the table round which we were seated, tunes were played. The accordion was played and the bell was rung in several parts of the room, while two candles were lit on the table. It was not, therefore, what is termed a dark sitting, although occasionally the lights were put out. During all the time Mr. Stack held one of the hands of Mrs. Jencken and I held the other—each frequently saying, "I have Mrs. Jencken's hand in mine." About fifty flowers of heartsease were placed on a sheet of paper before me. I had received some heartsease flowers from a friend in the morning, but the vase that contained them was not in the sitting-room. I sent for it and found it intact. The bouquet had not been in the least disturbed. In what is called "Direct Writing" I found these words written in pencil in a very small hand, on a sheet of paper that lay before me, "I have brought you my token of love." At a sitting some days previously (when alone with Mrs. Jencken) I had received this message, "On your birthday I will bring you a token of love."

from http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks03/0301051h.html

1 Answer 1


A bit of a struggle, this one, isn't it? The words are a bit ambiguous, and the precise meaning isn't entirely clear. I will say that they first put out the light, meaning the electric light. "Two candles were lit on the table" could have either meaning that you describe, but my feeling is that the writer intends to say (since it isn't a "dark sitting") that two candles had been lit prior to the sitting beginning, at the time that they were "directed to put out the light." When the lights were occasionally put out, my feeling is that the writer is saying that these candles went out and that this is one of the manifestations like the bell ringing and the accordion playing.

However, one could argue for other interpretations, as the writer doesn't state clearly which interpretations he intends.

  • @surely dear bob. but i concluded that the second "light" or "lights" refers to the candles and the writer wants to say that candles were put out occasionally during the séance.
    – solesoul
    Mar 27, 2020 at 9:18
  • Yes, this is precisely what I am saying too, although looking back on it I see I didn't make that as clear as I might have. I've edited my post and clarified this.
    – BobRodes
    Mar 28, 2020 at 2:02

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