Wake Up, Australia! Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on his Australian Tour
From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
Wake up, Australia!
To the Editor of the International Psychic Gazette
My Dear Lewis, — Just a line to show you that I am not done for, in spite of some ups and downs over here! The ups are permanent and the downs temporary, so all is well. Amid the former are my full audiences, their sympathy and acquiescence, and the large amount of interest and consolation which has come with my mission. Of that I have ample proofs. Amid the downs are a Press boycott here, caused partly by ignorant want of proportion, and partly by moral cowardice and fear of finding later that they have backed the wrong horse, or even given the wrong horse fair-play. They are very backward and far behind countries, like Iceland or Denmark, in the knowledge of what has been done. They are still in the stage when folk imagine it's all a sort of three-card trick, and that a clever conjurer could suddenly cry "Hey, Presto!" and in a moment put Crookes and Lombroso and Lodge and all the poor simpletons into their places! It would be comic if it were not so sad. They are dear folk, these Australians — kind, hospitable, straight — but Lord! they do want spirituality and dynamiting out of their grooves of thought. They are where England was before the war. But the tidal wave will strike them — perhaps is striking them. They are actually in the stage when meetings of business men are held at lunch hour to pray that I may be confounded! They prayed when I was on the seas — the Presbyterians did — that I might not reach the country! It was rather near murder, if they really thought their rotten prayers would avail. The result was that we had an excellent voyage!
Well, goodbye. I open in Sydney presently and will have a very lively time by all account. I hope so. It's the unliveliness, the spiritual deadness of this place, which gets on my nerves. It's a great country and worth helping.
Yours very sincerely,
A. CONAN DOYLE
The Grand Hotel, Melbourne. November 3, 1920.