THE lease of the house in Chapel Street had but six months to run, and we were still without any indication as to how or where we should fix the fulcrum of our future activities. Meanwhile it was clearly our duty, as it was our pleasure, to make the most of present opportunities.
The year opened troublously for us. The clairvoyant whom we had visited in the previous summer had indicated the close of 1881 as an approximate period for trouble, (1) but we had not attached importance to the prognostic, remarkable as was his accuracy in all else that he had stated. But, as the event proved, the time had actually come of which we had been forewarned by our own illuminators in 1877, in connection with The Soul and How it Found Me. Take what precautions and observe what reticence we might, it had been declared to us, the book would bring us much grief. “This is a prophecy, and must be fulfilled.” It came of the persecution instituted against Mary by her relentless enemy, the “stout lady” so accurately described by the clairvoyant.
For, as we now learnt, Miss Cobbe had obtained a copy of the book in question, and having identified Mary as the subject of the experiences recorded in it, notwithstanding my suppression of her name, forthwith proceeded to annotate her copy with sundry impure imaginings wholly foreign both to the letter and the spirit of the book, and such as only a person with a morbidly keen sense of impropriety could have devised, and to circulate it among her acquaintances, some of whom belonged to our circle and brought us word, asking for an explanation.
This, of course, was easily rendered, as also, in turn, was rendered to us the motive of the slander, which accorded exactly with what had already been intimated to us.
We did not fail to recognise in the circumstance an exemplification of the
destiny, or “karma”, which we had been informed was inherited by Mary from her
former lives. But the shock and distress were none the less serious to her; for
they brought on a succession of seizures, epileptiform in character, of a very
alarming kind. And our invisible foes, the “Haters of the Mysteries” availed
themselves of the condition thus induced to make a fresh attempt on our work, by
impressing her with the belief that I was the person really to blame, by reason
of my having published the book against her strongly expressed wishes! And so
well did they succeed that even the proofs which I submitted to her, in the
shape of her own letters and drawing, failed to remind her of the fullness of
her consent to the publication. But while her recollection of things recent and
appertaining to her present life was thus obscured to effacement, her
recollection of things remote and appertaining to a life long past was fresh and
vivid. And the life remembered was that of which so evil a report had been given
her by our Genii in
enabled it thus to endure and to manifest itself in force after the lapse of so many centuries!
On her return to her proper self I renewed my endeavour to take what I saw clearly was the only reasonable view of the position. Our work was of a kind to enlist against it all the powers of the infernal, which would not fail to strike at us either directly or through human agents, and our only chance of safety lay in our maintenance of a strong and unshaken resolution. To this end she must be armed, like her favourite divinity, Pallas Athena, with the shield and helmet of defence, as well as with the spear of offence. She had but to put on the whole armour of the Goddess and steel herself against all assaults to secure immunity from harm. Nothing could hurt us if we were true to ourselves and sought aid in the right quarter. We had proofs innumerable that they who were on our side were more than they who were against us. But the wound was too recent and too deep. My remonstrances were vain, and my final reply to her pleading for an admission of error on my part was the assurance, which I gave her with the utmost solemnity, feeling absolutely certain of its truth, that the time would certainly come – whether here or hereafter I could not say – when she would see the matter exactly as I saw it, and would tell me of her own accord that I had been right and she wrong.
It is for the sake of this prediction and its issue that I have so fully recounted the incident. The fulfilment did not come in her lifetime. Nevertheless it came, and this absolutely and without affording the smallest ground for distrust as to its genuineness. But the relation of it must be left to its proper place in our closing chapter. (1)
Meanwhile the trouble had struck is roots so deeply into her system that even my immediate withdrawal of the book from sale failed sensibly to reconcile her, so that it remained an unresolved, though a rarely expressed, discord between us – the only one there was.
Happily the trouble had caused no lesion in the part of her mental apparatus with which her intellectual work was accomplished; and the months of January and February 
witnessed the appearance of two of her most notable contributions to the anti-vivisection cause. One of these was her article, “The Uselessness of Vivisection”, which appeared in [the February number of] the Nineteenth Century, and the other an address entitled “Violationism, or Sorcery in Science,” which was [on the 23rd January] delivered before the British National Association of Spiritualists. They attracted much attention both at home and abroad, being reproduced in various languages, and the former called no less a personage than Dr. W.B. Carpenter into the field to answer her, in the attempt to do which he did not scruple to belittle Sir Charles Bell and his work for his denunciations of the experimental method.
The other paper – the first title of which was a term coined in the same connection by that profoundly philosophic thinker, Dr. Garth Wilkinson – was written in pursuance of the design indicated in her Diary already cited. (1) It drew a parallel between the principles and methods of the sorcerer and the vivisector, and a contrast between these and the true magician and healer as subsisting in the times when men really believed in the Gods and the priest and the physician were one, and recognised the interdependence between soul and body. This paper was especially designed to rouse the spiritualists from their indifference on the subject [of vivisection] by showing them that their very claim to positive knowledge of the soul’s reality and persistence constituted an obligation [on them] to oppose a practice which is utterly at variance with all that the soul is and implies. But, as the result proved, the spiritualists were too exclusively absorbed in their phenomenal experiences to care for the higher issues of their belief; and between spiritualism and spirituality there was a gulf which had yet to be bridged, and so far as they were concerned the appeal fell on deaf ears.
This paper represented, besides her own medical knowledge, much research at the
“The sorcerers inverted nature itself, abused the innocent animal world with horrible ingenuity, and trod every human feeling under foot. Endeavouring by force to obtain benefits from hell, they had recourse to the most terrible of infernal devices. For where men
know not God, or, having known, have turned away from Him to wickedness, they are wont to address themselves in worship to the kingdom of hell and to the powers of darkness.”
To this, after some examples in illustration, she added the following of her own: –
“An almost exact parallel to the modern vivisector in motive, in method, and in characters is presented by the portrait thus preserved to us of the mediaeval devil-conjurer. In it we recognise the delusion, whose enunciation in medical language is so unhappily familiar to us, that by means of vicarious sacrifices, divinations in living bodies, and rites consisting of torture scientifically inflicted and prolonged, the secrets of life and of power over nature are obtainable. But the spiritual malady which rages in the soul of the man who can be guilty of the deeds of the vivisector is in itself sufficient to render him incapable of acquiring the highest and best knowledge. Like the sorcerer, he finds it easier to propagate and multiply disease than to discover the secret of health. Seeking for the germs of life, he invents only new methods of death, and pays with his soul the price of these poor gains. Like the sorcerer, he misunderstands alike the terms and the method of knowledge, and voluntarily sacrifices his humanity in order to acquire the eminence of a fiend. But perhaps the most significant of all points of resemblance between the sorcerer and the vivisector, as contrasted with the Magian, is in the distinctive and exclusive solicitude for the mere body manifested by the two former. To secure advantages of a physical and material nature merely, to discover some effectual method of self-preservation in the flesh, to increase its pleasures, to assuage its self-induced diseases, to minister to its sensual comforts, no matter at what cost of vicarious pain and misery to innocent men and animals, these are the objects, exclusively, of the mere sorcerer, – of the mere vivisector. His aims are bounded by the earthly and the sensual; he neither cares nor seeks for any knowledge unconnected with these.
But the aspiration of the Magian, the adept in true magic, is entirely towards the region of the Divine. He seeks primarily health for the soul, knowing that health for the body will follow; therefore he works through and by means of the soul, and his art is truly sympathetic, magnetic, and radical. He holds that the soul is the true person, that her interests are paramount, and that no knowledge of value to man can be bought by the vicarious tears and pain of any creature soever. He remembers, above all things, that man is the son of God, and if for a moment the interests of Knowledge and of Love should seem to be at variance, he will say with equal courage and wisdom, ‘I would rather that I and my beloved should suffer and die in the body, than that to buy relief or life for it our souls should be smitten with disease and death.’ For the Magian is priest and king as well as physician; but the sorcerer, whose miserable craft, divorced from religion, deals only with the lower nature – that is, with the powers of darkness – clings with passionate despair to the flesh, and, by the very character of his pursuits, makes himself incapable of real science. For, to be and adept in this it is indispensable to be pure of heart, clear of conscience, and just in action. It is not enough that the
aim be noble; it is necessary that the means should be noble likewise. A Divine intention presupposes a Divine method. (…)
“And in the last invention of this horrible cultus of Death and Suffering, the modern sorcerer shows us his ‘devils casting out devils,’ and urges us to look to the parasites of contagion – foul germs of disease – as the regenerators of the future. Thus, if the sorcerer be permitted to have his way, the malignant spirits of fever, sickness, and corruption will be let loose and multiplied upon earth, and, as in Egypt of old, every living creature, from the cattle in the field to the first-born son of the king, will be smitten with plague and death. By his evil art he will keep alive from generation to generation the multitudinous broods of foul living, of vice, and uncleanness, none of them being suffered to fail for need of culture, ingrafting them afresh day by day and year by year in the bodies of new victims; paralysing the efforts of the hygienist, and rendering vain the work of the true Magian, the Healer, and the teacher of the pure life.”
The institution of the spiritualist periodical, Light, has already been mentioned as one of the products of 1881 which were regarded by us as typical. Our anticipations of the value it would be to our work were justified by the event. It proved a channel for the enunciation of our knowledges when the general Press was entirely closed against us, and therein a stimulus to ourselves to write what otherwise would have remained unsaid. And not only were our contributions to its pages numerous, but it served as a field for the discussion, and therein for the promulgation, of The Perfect Way.
Had we been sanguine about the reception of this book by the general Press, secular or religious, the event would have been a grievous disappointment. But we were spared this by our knowledge of the world’s spiritual state. With a Press one half of which was inveterately Sadducee, and the other half inveterately Sacerdotal and wedded to traditions which make the Word of God as revealed by the pure intuition of none effect, and with the spiritual consciousness flesh-eaten out of existence, the audience to which we appealed had yet to be created. In most of the few cases where our book was valued at all, we were taunted with superstition for believing in a spiritual world! As if the real superstition was not the worship of matter, and the crediting of it with being the substance of the universe.
Diary, March . – We have taken part this month in a discussion on reincarnation, which followed on an address delivered by the
trance-medium, Mr. Morse, purporting to be inspired by the spirit of an ancient Chinese philosopher. He denied reincarnation, and instanced himself as a proof to the contrary. Upon this, Mary surprised the audience by taking him rather sharply to task for not knowing the religion of the country he professed to belong to, and suggesting that he was at most the “Ruach” or astral phantom only of the person he represented, and not the true soul, which alone reincarnates, leaving the phantom in the astral sphere; and she added that mediums are far more likely to be controlled by phantoms than by true souls, and stated that she was quite certain of the fact of reincarnation, because she had been able distinctly to recall some of her own past lives, but they were not generally such as she would care to confess to, one of them in particular filling her with shame and horror whenever she thought of it; so that it was not true to say, as had been said, that whenever people claimed to have been historical characters they always chose the great and good. The address and discussion were reported in Light. (1)
We had resumed our weekly evening drawing-room meetings, and at one of them Mary read a paper on the fourfold constitution of man, showing that the division into Spirit, Soul, Mind, and Body is recognised both in the Bible and in various survivals from ancient times, such as the Tarot, or pack of cards, and the Pantomime, the latter of which was originally a mystery play, founded on the ancient knowledge of man’s compound system. It was reported in Light [of March 18, 1882], with the following note appended by her: –
“Since the above exposition was read by me in my private circle, a friend has sent me a copy of the Theosophist for October 1881, which I had not previously seen. It contains under the heading, ‘Fragments of Occult Truth,’ the substance of the teaching of which I myself am the recipient from a wholly independent and interior source.”
The following extracts from letters written to us by Lady Caithness, one in near anticipation and the others on the reception of our book, have an interest, as coming from one so closely connected with it, which entitles them to a place in this record: –
“NICE, February 4, 1882; Anno Lucis 1.
“Dear Mr. Maitland, – It is quite time that I should trouble you with a letter to tell you with how much pleasure I received your last, in which you gave me good news of the progress of your Book. I was only sorry to find you had determined to leave out the frontispiece of Michael slaying the Dragon, which had struck me as so very
appropriate to describe at a glance your great mission and the purport of your Book, particularly after reading up the book of the prophet Daniel, and so fully identifying every circumstance in my own mind. However, you know best. I had a letter from Mrs. Kenealy, by which I was very happy to learn that you were looking much better than you had done for some time, and that dear Mrs. Kingsford was more charming and brilliant than ever, and very much beloved and admired by all. This, I am quite sure, is very true, and also that she may be called the modern ‘Hypatia.’ I read of her lectures from time to time in the papers, and of the great success and applause she meets with. Hers is a noble and a holy mission, and she has been right nobly fitted and prepared by Divine Providence to fulfil it in a grand and noble manner. It is indeed wonderful that you and she should have met on earth, and that all circumstances should have combined so favourably for you, not only to work together, but spiritually, for you to help each other by that constant intercourse which is so necessary to fertilise, animate, and sustain the intellectual faculties. When I compare your fortunate fate with my own solitary one, I no longer wonder at my mental inferiority, and sometimes wonder that I do not drift away with the rushing tide on which I am floating, with the frivolous children of folly and fashion amongst whom my lot is cast, into the surging ocean of materiality in which they all seem to be submerged. I never hear a serious word unless I utter it myself, and then no one listens to it; they give a polite stare and turn away to something or someone more to their taste. Without the strong belief I have in reincarnation, I should despair of their ever reaching a higher condition.
“I hope you will send me all the reviews you possibly can. As the godmother of your child, you will not wonder that I shall feel very anxious interest in its welfare. I wish I were a fairy godmother, and could endow it with some good gift. Then would I wave my wand and bid it have a far-and-wide circulation. But I do not doubt that they who have inspired it, and who have shown themselves to be all-powerful over its destiny, will secure it that, and also a rich harvest of use to the children of the earth on whom they bestow it.
“Mrs. Kenealy tells me you have resumed your evening lectures, and Mr. Manners tells me he has attended one with great edification. If you have time, do tell me something about them. It seems so hard I should be wholly deprived of attending them, or hearing a word of the wisdom that periodically floods your little drawing-room.
“In one of your letters you tell me you ‘have not been permitted to publish those “Greater Mysteries,” which may be given only to those who in virtue of their interior unfoldment have the witness in themselves.’ Would that I might be considered one of these! Of course I consider myself one, and as quite ripe and ready to receive the highest revelations given to this planet; and for years I know I have been standing on one of the topmost towers waiting to see the first gleams of the ‘brighter day’. Ay! My friend, longer have I stood there, and with a firmer faith, than you, that the unseen would give me the knowledge I yearned for. But it is not what we think of ourselves! It is not what I think of
myself, but what you think of my unfoldment that will procure me the revelation of those ‘Higher Mysteries’ which you are now in a position to impart. May God send you both His highest blessing, prays your sincere friend,
In this last remark our friend was mistaken. It was not what we thought of her unfoldment – we judged no one – but what they thought from whom our Mysteries were derived, that determined the selection.
“NICE, February 13, 1882; Anno Lucis 1.
“DEAR MR. MAITLAND, – Yours of the 10th has just arrived. One (copy of the) Book came yesterday morning, and I gave up going out, although I had some engagements, in order to devote the whole day to reading It, here, there, and everywhere, which is my vagabond way, for I never could read anything straight through on end.
“I can now, therefore, write to you at once, and give you my first impressions. And I do not think it will surprise you to hear that my soul has everywhere so far responded, Amen, Amen, and Amen …
“You tell me not to be in haste to judge, much of it being very profound and needing long pondering before it can be comprehended. Such is not at all my appreciation of it. All that I have read so far I have not had even to read twice over; for it has been like a magnet to my soul, which has flown to it page after page, and jumping about all over the Book! I have freely used my red and blue pencil to mark those passages I know I shall often turn to with real pleasure and delight. So I may at once say for your satisfaction that I have got another Bible.
“Thank you for sending me the number of Light containing the splendid address by Mrs. Kingsford. You may well be proud of her wonderful powers. She is decidedly The Woman of the present age, and has no doubt been The Woman of many previous ages! She makes one feel very small and insignificant. Please give her my most hearty congratulations on all she has done and is doing. May God bless her, and He will.
“I earnestly congratulate you also on the very able manner in which you have performed your very arduous and difficult part of the grand work. May God also bless you with a full measure of His Love, prays your sincere friend,
“NICE, February 16; Anno Lucis 1.
“MY DEAR MR. MAITLAND, – I dare say you will not be surprised at hearing again from me. It is just the natural consequence of reading the Book.
“Yesterday I had to start early for Cannes to attend the marriage of the eldest son of the Duc and Duchesse de Vallombrosa, but I got up early, and ready steadily for two hours before an early breakfast;
and had I had a minute to spare, I should have written to you at once on the spur of the vehement excitement I was under from the most attentive perusal of the Second Lecture, – ‘The Substance of Existence.’
“This morning I have gone more calmly over it a second time, and I find my joy and happiness of yesterday was not exaggerated, but fully justified; and I know you and our dear Seeress will be glad to hear from me that I am truly proud and thankful to have been united with you in this great work, (…) and to have been found worthy by the High Powers who have inspired you to form with you the Triangle in this great work, – the most complete Revelation, certainly, that has yet been given to man on this planet.
“‘Comparisons,’ I know, ‘are odious’ between man and man; but in this case they may be permitted, because those I would draw are between man and Gods. I do not know whether you ever saw Mr. M’ Dowell’s article ‘On the Nature and Being of God,’ and on the Soul. It is indeed excellent, and until I had read your infinitely more satisfactory chapter, ‘The Substance of Existence,’ I had pronounced it the most satisfactory account I had ever read. But, oh! How difficult it is to follow compared to your flowing words and sentences, which bear one along so swiftly and so easily over your ocean of thought! Again I tell you that I do not have to pause and consider, or even to re-read, your sentences. They come to me like natural food; and yet those of Mr. M’ Dowel, which do not in reality convey half so much thought on the same track, are so sublimely difficult that I have to exert my utmost powers of mental tension to follow him.
“But I have certainly paused once or twice over yours, to wonder whether the people of this close of the nineteenth century will really be so obtuse as not to understand and follow you. Again I beg of you to send me copies of all the reviews you hear of or see, as I particularly wish to preserve them as a criterion of the mental development of the times.
“I am very grieved to hear that the health of our dear Seeress is so delicate, and also that she is so much worried. For, above all, she should enjoy perfect peace and equanimity. If you judge that a complete change of scene and air will benefit her, remember that the home of your friend and sister-spirit is always ready to receive you both, with a warm welcome. I know of no place more likely to be conducive to inspiration than these bright shores, so placidly smiling under the brilliant blue sky, in which the myriad constellations glitter so gloriously every night, and the Day-Star sheds its heavenly warmth and splendour so generously almost every day. For the last six weeks I have not seen a cloud over the broad blue expanse. Now God bless you both, prays your true friend and sister,
The following letter is so characteristic of the prescience and enthusiasm of the writer that I have not the heart to withhold it, notwithstanding the character of its personal allusions to myself: –
“NICE, March 2, 1882.
“DEAR MR. MAITLAND, – Many thanks for yours of the 22nd ult., to
which I now reply. And first let me thank you for sending me that splendid
letter written by our dear and much-venerated Seeress, A.K., to the
Kensington News. Like all she writes, it is very able and very
remarkable. She has a wonderful talent for expressing a very great deal in few
words. She certainly is a very remarkable woman – as you are to my mind a very
remarkable man. But we cannot wonder at this, when we so evidently see that you
have both been sent to this earth to accomplish a very great mission, perhaps
the greatest! There is one little circumstance, however, which has quite escaped
your notice, I am very sure, but which I delight to dwell upon in my own
interior memory, and that is, that I always feel more or less like your
spiritual mother, or godmother. But you will never even understand this because
you do not know how much I prayed for your spiritual development long years ago
“In this, of course, I see the hand of
The letter referred to was one of very many written by Mary to the various newspapers against vivisection, and was called forth by an attack made by “Miss P.” on an address she had recently delivered before the Zetetic Society. The nature of the attack will be sufficiently indicated by that of the reply, of which the following are some of its sentences: –
“It is morally permissible to use the lower animals for the benefit of man, but not to abuse them. Miss P. confounds use and abuse. In using an animal humanely and intelligently, both the user and the used benefit, the one by the service rendered, the other by the education and discipline obtained. (1) (…) Miss P. assumes that I would ride a horse to death to save a friend. No, I would not, because my horse is my friend also. I would urge him so far as
reason and humanity permit, and for the rest I would have faith in God. The hypothesis of the vivisector is that of the atheist. By it all possibility of God’s help is omitted from the system of things. The scalpel, the saw, and the pincers are to do everything for man. Prayer and love and will, and all that is divine in him, are to do nothing. Under the doctrine of modern vivisectional science the nations are fast becoming atheistic. ‘If’, say the people, ‘it be necessary in order to know, and in order to obtain health and healing, that deeds abhorrent to moral feeling should be performed, then, obviously, Justice is not the essential principle of the universe, and religion has no substantial basis.’ I am doing my best to show both that knowledge is the supremely good thing, and that it is to be got only by divine methods. ‘The scientists,’ says Dr. Garth Wilkinson, ‘are in a hurry to be scientific, but God opens no gates to hurry.’”
Here, after a striking extract from Dr. Garth Wilkinson’s Human Science and Divine Revelation, she concluded: –
“These are the words of a poet, and the poet represents the highest, and therefore the most logical, type of mind. For he sees the divine and beautiful uses of life, and the interweaving and mutual sympathies of lesser and greater, the giving and receiving between creature and creature, which constitutes the purpose and the advantage of life. ‘Violationism’ (as Dr. Garth Wilkinson designates vivisection) ‘has no place in the divine system, and no logical mind can regard it as representative of human order.’”
“DEAR LADY CAITHNESS, – As you know, I have been intending for some time past to write to you, but ill-health, the cause of which you will learn from Mr. M––, has hitherto prevented me from doing so. It appears that the arrangement we thought so innocent and so convenient, and about which, you may remember, I sought your opinion when staying in your house at Paris, has grievously offended the world, which sees in it no association for the sake of a high and earnest work, but one for ends altogether gross and inexcusable.
“Under the circumstances I am in great perplexity how to act and whither to betake myself. And, although I have already given my landlord notice that I quit this house in June, I am sadly at a loss in regard to future arrangements. On one hand, the very cause and credit f the work itself – to say nothing of my own honour and that of my husband – seem likely to be imperilled by my continued association with Mr. M––; on the other, I shrink from the idea of tacitly confessing myself to have been in the wrong by yielding to the general clamour. I can only hope that in some way, before long light will be given on the subject and the way made plain. In this matter it is not myself and my credit only that have to be considered. My husband, my child, my profession, my sex, and the honour of the work – which, like Caesar’s wife, should be above suspicion – all these things claim a place in the conclusion arrived at.
“It has been suggested that Mr. M–– should seek a home of his own, and that I
should take into partnership Arabella Kenealy, who is at present studying
medicine, and who expects to take her degree in
“Of course I shall decide on nothing hastily. In truth, I hope, as I have already said, that some light may be vouchsafed on this difficult subject before long.
“I think you ought not to be either surprised or disappointed at such letters anent our Book as that of Mrs. H.B. It is doubtless very hard to take in a new idea; and I feel sure that not only are all the ideas put forth in The Perfect Way new to her, but that when she wrote her letter to you she had read very little of the work she criticised. Strange indeed it would be if our Book should find universal acceptation in a world which rejected Christ! But those who do recognise our teachings do so not warmly only, but enthusiastically. Of one thing I am sure; which is, that the Doctrine of which our Books is the first Apostle will sooner or later become the headstone of the corner; for it is the only doctrine capable of explaining the otherwise insoluble enigmas of the universe, and embodying a philosophy in which are united all the elements of every divine revelation vouchsafed to mankind.
“By it Christian and Buddhist, Parsee and Hebrew, Greek and Egyptian, are brought into harmony, and shown to be only so many different dialects of one Catholic language. The Perfect Way is thus an eirenicon, and the Peace-maker is the Child of God.
“Good-night; it is very late, and I am tired. – Your affectionate and sincere friend,
In reference to the latter part of this letter, it must be explained that The Perfect Way was the means of disclosing to
the spiritualists – of whom, as a leading “medium”, Mrs. H.B. was a foremost representative – the fact of the astral, and consequently delusive, character of the sphere to which alone, as mere spiritualists, they have access. Instead of welcoming teaching which accounted for, and showed the way of escape from, all the difficulties by which their practice was beset, the spiritualists, as represented by Mrs. H.B. took violent exception to that teaching, and vilified and misrepresented it with a rancour which served effectually to confirm it, by showing how low was the sphere from which they derived their inspiration.
As for the social troubles referred to in these letters, we had no difficulty in tracing the whole of them to the active hostility of Miss Cobbe.
Light, of April 8, contained a paper by Mary on Reincarnation, having the following reference to herself. After enlarging on the necessity for caution in reading the writings of Swedenborg and T.L. Harris, if only on account of the incompatibility of their modes of living with reliable seership, she says: –
“There is one at least, whom I do not name, for it would be unbecoming to do so, who is no stranger to heavenly visions and voices. (…) In these visions there has never been anything either incongruous or inconsistent; and the life of the recipient is such as to preclude danger of the kind to which Swedenborg was exposed. And in all these visions the doctrine (of Reincarnation) is ever strenuously and forcible insisted upon as the very basis of human philosophy, and of a right understanding of Divine justice, and of the progress and evolution of the soul. The person of whom I speak could not, without renouncing religion itself, and turning traitor alike to her whole past experience and to the Divine light whose guidance she follows, and from whose interior illumination all her knowledge is derived, reject as illusory teaching so attested and conveyed; teaching, moreover, which alone is capable of interpreting satisfactorily to human reason and intelligence a natural system of apparent incongruities and injustices, utterly inexplicable on any other hypothesis. (…) As a last word I would record my belief, expressed with all possible love and sympathy for those whose views differ from my own, that too much of the personal likes and aversions of the exterior Ego have been brought to bear on this question.
“On every side one hears the cry, ‘I can’t bear the idea of coming back to earth!’ ‘This world is a beggarly place!’ ‘The very notion of a rebirth is repulsive to me!’ ‘I have had enough of the world!’ Alas! All these cries are but signs of impatience and self will; the voice of the unregenerate soul. It would be better to hear it said humbly and in self-abnegation: ‘Thy will, my God, be done! Though the way be long, and the path such as I would not,
let it but bring me at last to Thee, and I am more than content. For I know that Thine order is beautiful, and that Thy method is love; therefore I pray that not my will but Thine may be all in all!’”
April 10 . – Mary dreamt last night that she was walking down Fleet Street, when suddenly all the houses disappeared, leaving only a grassy down with a small stream running by to the river, and beside the stream was a canoe with a youthful male ancient Briton in it, which, somehow, she said, seemed to be herself; and she asked me what it could mean, and was immensely surprised to learn that the street is named after a stream called the Fleet, which is now built over, and which runs into the Thames just where she had seen it.
Mary has frequently been vexed by missing various articles of use from their proper places when she required them, and then, after a long and fatiguing search, finding them where they ought to have been all the time, as if they had been removed and replaced by invisible agencies merely to tease her; and she was disposed to resent my hesitation about implicitly accepting the fact and suggesting a more probable explanation, such as an oversight on her part through her mind being otherwise occupied while searching.
Last evening, however, an example occurred which certainly seemed to justify her conclusion. She was sitting at the table, threading by lamplight some largish beads as a necklace for her daughter, when one of them fell upon her lap and thence to the floor. Unable to find it by feeling for it, we placed the lamp on the floor to look for it, but in vain; it was not to be found, though, from the nature of the bead and the roughness of the carpet, it could not possibly have rolled many inches away. So, after an exhaustive search, we replaced the lamp and resumed our seats by the table. Mary being much annoyed at being prevented from completing her task. She, however, continued so far as she was able, and then, when on the point of putting it away, finished in respect of all save the missing bead, there came a tap on the table just in front of her, as of a small hard body falling on it from a height, and there was then missing bead, dropped apparently from the ceiling. And no other explanation was forthcoming but that it had been spirited away by some tricksy sprite, who had removed it from the floor, or from Mary’s lap – for we had no proof of its having reached the floor – to return it in this manner.
Another curious experience of hers about this time was as follows: – Being in bed, but not asleep, but in the intermediate state, she saw herself as Anne Boleyn, in a chamber in the Tower of London, as a prisoner, and engaged in writing sheet upon sheet of angry and violent letters of reproach to Henry VIII, herself being filled the while with the most furious emotions, to which her letters gave unrestrained expression. She retained a vivid recollection of the form and architecture of the room, and declared that she should know it again if she saw it. In order to verify the vision we paid a visit to the Tower, where she had never been.
On entering the enclosure of the fortress, and before the warder who was to show us over could commence his description, Mary looked keenly round at the various structures and presently exclaimed, ‘Judging by the architecture of that building, it should contain
the room in which I saw myself a prisoner.’ And on inquiring of the warder what that building was, and what its history, he replied that, among other things, it had been the prison of Anne Boleyn. Hereupon she asked, with eager trepidation, if she could see the inside of it. The warder said she could do so at some other time, but not then, for its occupant had gone out and left it locked.
“Can you tell me if my description of it is right?” she inquired. The warder said he could, and she accordingly described the room as she had seen it in her vision. To which the man replied, looking much surprised, that every thing was exactly as she stated; adding, in answer to another question, that all the features mentioned were still as they had been in Anne Boleyn’s time. “And where is the spot where she was beheaded?” was her next question. “Very near where we are standing,” was his answer, and he indicated the spot. Mary at once went to it and stood upon the slab by which it is marked, but tried in vain to recover any recollection of it. She was not now in the lucid state in which she had seen the room, and, moreover, there was only the bare pavement, and no scaffolding as the execution.
We quitted the Tower with the intention of returning when the locked chamber should be accessible, but the opportunity was never afforded of revisiting it. The warder was very curious about her anxiety on the subject and familiarity with the interior of the room, and evinced great interest on being told that she had reason to believe herself to be in some way akin to the unhappy queen.
The circumstance already related, that her earliest spiritualistic experience consisted in the receipt of a communication purporting to come from Anne Boleyn gave this incident a significance it would not otherwise have had for us. Among other things, it led her to read up more particularly the history of Anne Boleyn, when she was fairly startled by the number of characteristics shared by them in common, and exclaimed continually as she read, “Oh, how like me! How like me! That is exactly what I should have said or done under the same circumstances.” And, as already mentioned, they were mostly characteristics of which she was the reverse of proud, such as wilfulness, ambition, and keenness of the sense-nature, which she maintained to be her besetting sins.
Desiring to know something of the school of the Positivists, as the followers of Auguste Comte style themselves, we attended a lecture given by one of their most notable members, Mr. Congreve, who had been a clergyman of the Anglican Church. The subject was the superfluity of God to account for the universe; and the argument went to show that man is all-sufficient to himself, inasmuch as he is himself the inventor and maker of all the things
which he requires and possesses, and has no need to imagine a God to account either for them or for himself. What it is in man which endows him with his powers the lecturer did not say; nor how things can exist without a pre-subsisting potentiality of things, which, being self-subsisting, infinite, and eternal, is divine, is God. The address was inconsequent, illogical, and shallow beyond expression; and in the course of it Mary, becoming lucid, turned to me and whispered, in reference to the lecturer, “I have just seen his double, and it has its eyes in its boots.” An admirable way, I thought, of expressing the spiritual state of a man so totally devoid of aspiration as to be able to look downwards only and never upwards, and consequently deifies the lowest instead of the highest.
In pursuance of her desire to raise the spiritualistic movement from the level of mere phenomenalism, Mary read, on May 22 , before the British National Association of Spiritualists, a paper on “The Systematisation and Application of Psychic Truth,” which was printed in Light of June. Its gist may be gathered from its concluding sentences, which were as follows: –
“To become a spiritualist simply in order to converse with ghosts implies a very poor kind of advantage. But to be a changed man; to take new and illuminated views of life; to look with the ‘larger other eyes’ of the Gods on Life’s problems, duties, and ordeals; to hear a voice behind us saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it; and go not aside to the right hand nor to the left,’ – to have exchanged doubt for knowledge, hesitation for decision, strife for peace, expediency for principle; – this is to have systematised and applied Psychic Knowledge, and to have become a true spiritualist.
“And because the percipience and experience necessary to make such theoretical and practical application of his system come to the spiritualist only by means of thought, study, and heart-searching, it is, I submit, of the strongest urgency that those burning questions with which the lay and scientific worlds are now ablaze should be examined and argued by spiritualists from the platform which is peculiarly and exclusively theirs. Of what use to be ‘the salt of the earth’ unless we give forth our savour? Of what good to be the candle of the world if we submit to be put under a bushel instead of giving light to all that are in the house? And of what avail will spiritualism prove to ourselves or to the age unless it make the world purer, sweeter, more just, and more godly?
“Wherefore I, at least, as one spiritualist among many, will be instant in
season and out of season, with voice, pen, and desire, to hasten the advent of
This address elicited the following hearty expression of appreciation form Lady Caithness in a letter to me:–
“Thanks for the magnificent address on ‘The Application of Psychic Truth’. What a noble view she takes of spiritualism! What grand terms she expresses herself in, and how entirely sublime she is throughout! I think all must feel her superiority, and be ashamed and angry at themselves for going on in the way they do. Here is a sublime sentence which I have deeply marked, and which should be printed in letters of gold [the sentence beginning “To become a spiritualist simply in order to converse with ghosts”]. Most heartily do I clasp her hand in accord, and most warmly do I use hands to applaud her. I have no fears about The Perfect Way. It is sure to make its way as people advance; and I think they are bound to do so in this new era which, beyond a doubt, has already begun. (…) You need but time, and to keep hammering away until the nail is driven home. There is no other teaching to be compared with it. I feel sure you will become a very great power, but not by sitting at home and discussing to a small private circle, or paying heed to what Mrs. Grundy may say. You will have to be up and doing. I have got acquainted with a charming woman lately, quite a power in her way, Madame Adam. She edits the Nouvelle Revue, and has 150 men under her orders. How I wish our dear Seeress could have an establishment like that! She might move the world! Madame Adam is a professed pagan, and is mad about Sibyls and Prophetesses of the past. We must dress our dear White Rose in white flowing robes, and crown her with a wreath of green laurel, and make her look what she is; and she may fascinate this power, for such she is now, in her way, and might then become one in ours.”
It is hardly needful to say that, while we heartily appreciated our friend’s generous enthusiasm, we did not take her view of the way in which that divine kingdom which “cometh not with observation” was to be established, and were content to await the times and seasons and methods of the high Gods, without seeking to exalt ourselves as their instruments.
The letter to which the following is the answer is missing, but its subject and purport are obvious: –
“MY DEAR LADY CAITHNESS, – Your letter proved a great support to me; and not to me only, but to others who – more feeble-hearted than I – were more than half disposed to press on me the necessity of obeying Mrs. Grundy’s behests. One of these friends of mine was here yesterday, and seeing that she wished to renew the subject of a former conversation on this point, I read her your letter by way of preface. The effect was singular. ‘Does Lady Caithness say that?’ she asked with emphasis. ‘Then I think that letter is a great support to you, and’ – after a little hesitation – ‘I quite agree
with her.’ She then rehearsed to me some recent conversations she had with several friends (heavens! how women gossip!) – and the burden of the strain seemed to have been: –
“‘Mrs. Kingsford is a brilliant and gifted person.
“‘She will never be like other women, nor do anything like any one else.
“‘If we force her to be conventional, she will only be a failure, and the work she might do to help us (most of these folks are antivivisectionists) will fall through.
“‘If we leave her alone, she will be a great success, and will do our work as no one else can do it.
“‘She may be “improper,” but she will never compromise the Cause in any really serious way.
“‘She is certainly eccentric, but then that is only all the more remarkable; and the more she is known, the less evil people will see in her.
“‘To change, or attempt to change, her way of life now would only be to admit the justice of the charges made against her, and to brand herself as a “penitent” who has seen the error of her ways.
“‘She will never change her way of thinking and speaking; therefore the reform would, after all, be but partial, and Mrs. Grundy would certainly remain unappeased.
“‘Therefore we will support Mrs. Kingsford, and let her do work for us in her own way.’
“But whether I should have heard all this if I had not opened the campaign by reading your letter I cannot guess. The fact appears to be that people cannot ‘make me out.’ The lady who recounted all the above to me yesterday confessed that I seemed to her a ‘resuscitation of a Bible-character’ belonging to an age either long past or far in the future, and quite unamenable to present conventionalities and bye-laws. ‘Nothing in our world seems to fit you,’ she said. ‘When I hear you talk I seem to be living in a Bible-age, and the application of “society” rules and proprieties to you seems as incongruous as it would be to Isaiah. It is the people who don’t know you that talk scandal. Let the world in general only know and hear you, and those who now treat you as they would other women will change their minds and think as I do.’
“So far my visitor. But before we can really determine on any settled course, we must see what becomes of the Book and what its course is. Under any circumstances, I do not think of remaining in this house. It is both too small and too expensive. I should like to live in some place, too, where I should be free from the trouble of servants and of housekeeping generally. It is impossible to leave one’s house for any time without anxiety; but if one lived in an hotel or club chambers, the servants and officials of the house would make it their business to see to the safety of everything.
“To-morrow evening a few of the friends whose advice we think most worth having are coming to talk over the project of enlarging the scope of our work, and of appealing, as you suggest, to a larger public. I will give you the result of the consultation in another letter.
“I do not think that any good would be done by addressing the
M––s, as you are kind enough to offer to do. They have The Perfect Way in their hands, and if that fail to convince them of our truth and uprightness, no special pleading from anyone else will succeed. ‘If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.’
“I think, however, that you would do a good and helpful thing by writing to Madame Blavatsky on the subject of the Book, which by this time must be in her hands. You would thus, no doubt, encourage and strengthen any commendation she may have it in her mind to give the New Gospel. For the rest, it seems to me best to trust the Gods and go on doing the right thing, confident that, though the heathen may rage, the issues will be triumphant.
“‘Nice customs curtsey to great kings,’ says Shakespeare’s Henry when he salutes his betrothed with a kiss, to her great scandal. If one only can be a king! And if we do not succeed in becoming thus royal, then the work will be a failure, and God’s Kingdom will not come. But if we do, then it is for us to make new manners, ‘sweeter customs, purer laws,’ and not to risk the whole future of a great work by a base subservience to conventionalities made for those who know no ‘higher law.’ – Yours very affectionately,
The character of advice given in the missing letter may be gathered from the following extract from a letter written to me: –
“I am so glad that what I said in my hurried letter, written under the
impression your joint letters made on my mind, should so far have coincided with
your own opinions on the subject. I thought a great deal about you both in the
train during my long journey, but never once did I see reason to change what I
have said. I do not wonder at your dear companion feeling as she does about it
because she is so surrounded in London or rather, I should say, in England, by a
set of prim, uninteresting, washed-out sort of women, that she lives in mortal
fear of overstepping – or seeming to overstep – the narrow boundaries they have
set themselves. But they are not the women of the New Age – not of Anno Dominae 1 – nor do I believe they will ever understand the
mystery of the Fourth Day of Creation, as set forth in Appendix III, Part 2, of The
Perfect Way (1) – ‘For the creation of woman is not yet complete; but it
shall be complete in the time which is at hand. And her
kingdom cometh, the day of the exaltation of woman.’ To her – our sweet Lady –
was this prophecy given; and no doubt on her has fallen the mission, not only,
of declaring it, but also of personally manifesting it to the world. And I do
not doubt she will be divinely sustained to fulfil her divine mission, just as
she has been providentially helped to proclaim it. Again I say that, had I been
still settled in
that was not the purpose of the Overrulers. And perhaps for that very reason have I been sent out of the way – that the Gospel of Glad Tidings may be more widely spread than it could be if limited to private circles. (…) I do not fear for the Cause for a moment. We have too many proofs of Divine guidance to fear it will be left unprotected.”
Calling on a friend who was a Catholic, Mary met there a priest, who seemed to take great interest in her, and engaged her in close conversation. Something that she said drew from him the remark, “Why, my daughter, you have been thinking. You should never do that. The Church saves us the trouble and danger of thinking by telling us what to believe. We are only called on to believe. I never think. I dare not. I should go mad if I were to let myself think.” To which she replied, “Well, but, Father, I want to understand, and I can’t do that without thinking. And as for believing without understanding, that for me is not faith, but credulity. How, but by thinking, does one learn whether the Church has the truth?” The only result was a further warning against the danger she was running, and she came home as much amused at the absurdity of the priest’s position as shocked at its perniciousness.
Another incident which struck us as amusingly illustrating the mental attitude of the conventional Christian of the period was in this wise. Finding on a friend’s table a copy of Moody and Sankey’s hymns, she read one of the most sanguinary of them to her friend, and asked how she could tolerate such hideous doctrine; when it was replied, “Yes, it is very shocking; but the worst of it is that it is true!”
The latter part of May brought us from
read attentively, a theological revolution would be accomplished.” Of the passage in the preface applying the legend of the transformation of Medusa to the corruption of the Church and its mysteries, and the consequences to the world, it was said: “This passage is the keynote of the present book, and one could hardly wish for a nobler exordium for a perfect and faultless exposition of occult philosophy”; and, after citing some passages from Part III of Lecture VI, the reviewer said: “This is a magnificent exposition of the actual condition of the Christian world; nor, in defining the nature of the true knowledge which mankind, even in this degenerate age, may be led up to study, are the authors of The Perfect Way less keen of insight or eloquent of exposition.”
The following passage condensed from Lecture VII, pars. 40-49, possessed a peculiar interest for the reviewer, as also it did for myself, its writer, for reasons presently to be stated: –
“‘Let us attempt a description of that inmost sphere, the abode of the man celestial, which is the source of doctrine. (…) That which we propose to describe, – so far as the attempt to reconstruct it has been successful, – is the innermost sphere, not, indeed, of the mystic community of Eden itself, but of one of those ancient successors of and approximations to it which, as Colleges of the Sacred Mysteries, were the true heirs of Eden. (…) Of this community the members are, of all mankind, the profoundest of intelligence, widest of culture, ripest of experience, tenderest of heart, purest of soul, maturest of spirit. They are persons who – using life without abusing it, and having no perverse will to the outer – have learned all that the body has to teach (…) and who have made of their bodies instruments, instead of masters, for their souls, and means of expression, instead of sources of limitation, for their spirits. (…) Long vanished from human view, the Order has been replaced by semblances. (…) Nevertheless the Order still survives, though dwindled in numbers (…) lost tribes of a spiritual Israel whose roll-call is no more on earth (…) its doctrine is that one true doctrine of existence, and therein of religion, which, always in the world, is now for the first time in its history published to the world.’”
“A footnote to this passage says that since it was written ‘a book has appeared
stating that an ancient community of this nature still exists in the highlands
Mr. Sinnett’s reference here is, of course, to the “Mahatmas,” or “Masters,” of the Theosophical Society, whom he was a prominent means in introducing to the world’s notice. But so far from our having any knowledge or conception of the existence of such persons, either in the past or the present, the whole account was elaborated by myself out of my own inmost consciousness while in Paris, my feeling all the while being that I was recalling a recollection of my own appertaining to some long-past existence, in which I had myself been a member, however humble, of such an Order and community.
But though thus highly appreciative of the book from some aspects, the reviewer took violent exception to it from others, for he not only dissented from some of its teachings on occult matters, but objected to the symbolism, in which, in order to interpret the Bible, we had followed the Bible – and notably the adoption of the term “Woman” to denote the Soul and the Intuition; and he even ventured to assert positively that, instead of the Gospel narrative having been written expressly to illustrate a certain doctrine, as stated by us, this doctrine was but an ingenious application of the facts of the spiritual consciousness to a story which was altogether unintended to bear such relation; so that we were putting into the Gospels meanings of which their writers never dreamed, as if mystical theology had been of subsequent invention to the Christian era! Instead of pervading – as we had shown that it does pervade – the Bible from the beginning, and is declared in the Bible itself to do so; as, for instance, when St. Paul declares of the books of Moses, “which things are an allegory,” and Jesus finds the Christ-doctrine of which He was the personal illustration in the books of Moses.
Ours reviewer was especially aggrieved by our recognition of the existence on all planes of being of the principles which, on the physical plane, are represented by the terms masculine and feminine, of man and woman. And by way of showing the woman to be an altogether inappropriate symbol of the spiritual nature in man, he portrayed her bad side as exhibited in a debased social state, in such a way as to make her appear to be actually that which a corrupt sacerdotalism has represented her, the cause of man’s fall and of the ills accruing therefrom. But, as was obvious to us, where we had spoken of the Woman
element in existence, according to the divine idea and intention he, through lack of the mystical faculty, had spoken of women, presumably, as he had known them.
Recalling his persistent denial of Reincarnation on his visit to us in the previous year, we were interested to find him now accepting the doctrine. But even here also he differed from us in certain respects. For, whereas we had taught the possibility of a soul’s return into a form below the human, by way of penance for grievous faults, he insisted to the contrary on the ground that “Nature does not go back on her own footsteps.” As if such return, for such purpose, implied a going back of Nature, and not simply a putting back by Nature of a grievous offender for his own correction and reformation, to the making of the form the expression of the character.
Thus, while profoundly gratified by the review in some respects, we were almost as profoundly antagonised by it in others. And the result was a controversy in the pages of the Theosophist, not altogether devoid of bitterness, Mary especially resenting what she regarded as an affront to her sex. It was, however, finally and happily composed. Our reviewer concluded his part of the correspondence by describing us as “having produced one of the most – perhaps the most – important and spirit-stirring of appeals to the higher instincts of mankind which modern European literature has yet evolved.” To which we returned a conciliatory reply, pointing out at the same time certain respects in which he had mistaken us. And the controversy wound up with the following characteristic enunciation by the editor, Madame Blavatsky, in which as will be seen, she entirely threw over Mr. Sinnett in his repudiation of an intended mystical sense as underlying Christianity: –
“Editor’s Note. – It is most agreeable to us to see our reviewer of The Perfect Way and the writers of that remarkable work thus clasping hands and waving palms of peace over each other’s heads. The friendly discussion of the metaphysics of the book in question has elicited, as all such debates must, the fact that deep thinkers upon the nature of absolute truth scarcely differ, save as to externals. As was remarked in Isis Unveiled, the religions of men are but prismatic rays of the one only Truth. If our good friends, the Perfect Way-farers, would but read the second volume of our work, they would find that we have been all along precisely of their own opinion that there is a ‘mystical truth and knowledge deeply underlying’ Roman Catholicism, which is identical with Asiatic esotericism;
and that its symbology marks the same ideas,
often under duplicate figures. We even went so far as to illustrate with
woodcuts the unmistakable derivation of the Hebrew Kabala from the Chaldaean –
the archaic parent of all the later symbology – and the kabalistic nature of
nearly all the dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church. It goes without saying that
we, in common with all Asiatic Theosophists, cordially reciprocate the amicable
feeling of the writers of The Perfect Way for the
Theosophical Society. In this moment of supreme effort to refresh the moral
nature and satisfy the spiritual yearnings of mankind, all workers, in whatever
corner of the field, ought to be knit together in friendship and fraternity of
feeling. It would be indeed strange if any misunderstanding could arise of so
grave a nature as to alienate from us the sympathies of that highly advanced
The two parts of the review appeared in the Theosophist of May and June 1882, and the articles in discussion in September and October of the same year; and our final reply and the above editorial in January 1883.
The review in question procured for us the following vivacious letter from Lady Caithness: –
“DEAR MR. MAITLAND, – A thousand thanks for sending me the Theosophist with the review of The Perfect Way, my copies not having reached me. Yours are double welcome, because they have your notes and observations. The writer is evidently not up to the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, but very far from it. And I must say I am very much disappointed – not in the review itself, because I expect reviews to be unjust and one-sided; they always are so – but that such a want of appreciation should be found in the Theosophist of what to me is the pervading and crowning glory of the Book – the doctrine of the Duality as it is in God, and should be in Man when made in the image of God – or ‘perfect.’ I did expect more knowledge of the great mystery of God, which, if it has been ‘kept secret from the beginning of the world,’ is now to be made known. For we have arrived at the turning-point of the world’s history, – the point when, the number 666 of the Beast being complete, we are to look for the manifestation of the ‘Sons of God,’ or the Divine Humanity. I cannot tell you, therefore, how much the Theosophist has fallen in my estimation. Perhaps I have been inclined to estimate it too highly since the publication of those Fragments of Occult Truth, and also as compared with the spiritualist papers, which are so meagre, though Light is sometimes brightened by a letter from ‘E.M.’ or a wonderful lecture by ‘A.K.’ Then, too, what a disappointment it is to see the very low estimate in which woman is held! – the ‘woman’ who was to be exalted, whose seed was to bruise the head of the serpent, who was the last and crowning creation of God, and not taken from the dust of the ground, but from the man created in the image of his Creator, – his own better and higher self, – and for whom no better description is
comprehended or advanced than the following: ‘The woman of the social system might at least as fairly be taken to typify the lower pleasures, fascinating enough at first, but ever less durable than desire, and culminating in satiety, ugliness, and decay.’ Poor, poor Theosophists, how have they fallen from their throne, – the throne to which, however, I suppose I only had exalted them! Now, I shall never more have any confidence in their advanced knowledge, in spite of their Himalayan Brothers and the authoritative tone in which they proclaim their theories – theories which I fancied were founded in the accumulated occult knowledge of the Ages, until now safely locked up in the Himalayan mountain fastnesses and Thibetan Lamasaries, whose threshold no profane foot had ever crossed.
“What a fall is here! – worse even than that of the first Adam; for he at least acknowledged his partner and companion to be ‘bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh,’ and looked upon her with loving delight as the most beautiful of all the most beautiful objects that surrounded him in that earthly paradise.
“And the editor of the Theosophist is a woman! And she also is as blind as her reviewer, or any old world Bat, to the signs of the times and their fulfilment of prophecy, recognised at least by all those who have made themselves ready for the ‘Marriage of the King’s Son.’ (…) What in the name of Mystery have they been occulting all this time? For is not this the great secret, the secret of all the ancient Mysteries? Why, they have not understood even the lovely social mission of woman!”
In another letter at this time Lady Caithness warned us against being sanguine of a rapid recognition and circulation of the book, saying, “There are very, very few as yet who are ready to receive such fourth dimensional teachings. That they are given in advance of the age is that the seed must first be sown before it can take root, and some time must elapse before it can spring up, and still longer before it can produce fruit. (…) Be in no hurry. ‘Those who believe shall not make haste.’”
The story in Dreams and Dream-Stories entitled “The Three Kings” is an instance of the manner in which slight and apparently chance incidents served to evoke the recollection of long-lost knowledges and experiences. It is a deeply mystical interpretation of the mystery of Freemasonry, and was dreamt on the night following a conversation on that subject with a member of the order, our friend, Varley, the painter. Nothing, of course, had been said by him to disclose the secrets of the craft. Nor is there any reason to believe that its inner mysteries and spiritual significances are now known to any of its members. The angel-king in it is, of course, Hermes, the Spirit of Understanding,
who with his rod of gold, the symbol of knowledge,
This summer bought us into correspondential relations with one who was
recognised far and wide as one of the world’s elect, alike for his mental power,
scientific and philosophic culture, and grasp of spiritual things. This was Dr.
Ernest Gryzanowsky of
“DEAR SIR, – Pray accept my cordial thanks for the five copies of your pamphlet, The Woman and the Age, which I have read with great interest, and the duplicates of which I will distribute among my acquaintances according to their presumptive susceptibilities.
“I now understand the real meaning of those allusions to this pamphlet which I remember having read in some numbers of the Zoophilist. The reserve or protest of the committee (printed on the fly-leaf) may be just enough, but seems to me ungenerous and irrelevant. It can refer only to your remarks on vegetarianism, and to those on metempsychosis, and it seems to me that those who disagree with you on either point have more reason to feel ashamed of the faith they hold than of the faith they disown. Independent thinkers find it difficult to march (or to fight) in rank and file, and if they join militant societies, it is naturally a mere coalition ad hoc.
“As to myself, I fully concur in your views on vegetarianism, being a practical vegetarian myself, and one of those whose original motives were æsthetical and ethical rather than physiological, and who would abstain from animal food even if vegetarianism had not the sound scientific basis it really has.
“Of your ideas concerning the migration of souls, I may say that they would fit into my philosophy without having hitherto formed part of it. This hypothesis would explain much that is inexplicable now. My belief in the permanence of the individual is, I dare say, as strong as yours, and I am also ready to consider this immortality, not as a right (to be claimed as a matter of course), but as a prize to be gained or to be forfeited. Only, such a forfeiture pure and simple would appear to me too slight a punishment for ‘persistent evil living.’ People talk of the ‘victory’ of truth and righteousness. But this life is nothing but a triumph of evil and of strength: the weak are crushed by the strong and the simple outwitted by the
cunning. And life being what it is, a brutal scuffle for existence, we crave and postulate, not a reward of merit, but something like a punishment of wilful iniquity and a restitutio generalis with regard to sufferings.
“A French lawyer, M. Pezzani, has written a book on La Pluralité des Existences de I’Ame (Paris: Didier & Co., 1869), which contains interesting views on these matters, and it would be easy enough to generalise his ideas so as to make them comprise a speculative retrospect on the lower and lowest forms of animal soul-life.
“I shall be glad to read your larger work, and will send for it as soon as I
have reached my summer quarters in Königsberg (
“I have nothing to offer you in return for your kind gifts, and I do not venture to trouble you with my German pamphlets without knowing whether you are familiar with my mother-tongue.
“I have just received Professor Hamernik’s Remarks on Medical Principles,
“With many thanks to you and to Mrs. Kingsford (the co-author of the previous pamphlet), I remain, yours faithfully,
Mary’s anti-vivisection work this spring comprised a series of articles in Mr. Bradlaugh’s paper, the National Reformer, in opposition to Mrs. Annie Besant. Their effect may best be described in Mrs. Besant’s own words, as given in her Autobiography, published in 1893: –
“One incident of that autumn (1881) I record with regret. I was misled by very partial knowledge of the nature of the experiments performed, and by my fear that, if scientific men were forbidden to experiment on animals with drugs, they would perforce experiment with them on the poor in hospitals, to write two articles, republished as a pamphlet, against Sir Eardley Wilmot’s ‘Bill for the Total Suppression of Vivisection.’ I limited my approval to highly skilled men engaged in original investigations, and took the representations made of the character of the experiments without sufficient care to verify them. Hence the publication of the one thing I ever wrote for which I feel deep regret and shame, as against the whole trend and efforts of my life. I am thankful to say that Dr. Anna Kingsford answered my articles, and I readily inserted her replies in the paper in which mine had appeared – our National Reformer – and she touched that question of the moral sense to which my nature at once responded. Ultimately I looked carefully into the subject; found that vivisection abroad was very different from vivisection in England; saw that it was in very truth the fiendishly cruel thing that its opponents alleged, and destroyed my partial defence of even its less brutal form” (pp. 271, 272).
(44:1) See p. 27 ante.
(45:1) See Vol. I, p. 341.
(46:1) See p. 420 post.
(47:1) See pp. 38 and 39 ante.
(50:1) Light, 1882, pp. 103-5 and 111-3.
(54:1) See further on this subject, England and Islam, p. 553.
(56:1) The reference here is to a side of Dr. Kenealy’s life and character of which the world in general was unaware. He was an enthusiastic student of occult and mystic lore, and the author of several anonymous books on that subject. – E.M.
(63:1) I.e., the First edition of The Perfect Way. For the Appendix referred to, see now Clothed with the Sun, Part I, Nº. II (2). See note 2, p. 33 ante.
(70:1) See p. 8 ante.