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DE MULTIS REBUS
“LIVORNO, January 8, 1886.
“MY DEAR SIR, – I hasten to thank you for your welcome note of the 4th, and for the good wishes which you and Mrs. Kingsford were kind enough to send me for this new year, and which I heartily reciprocate. Mrs. Kingsford has been so much before the public of late, and has displayed such apostolic energy and ubiquity, that I could barely resist the temptation of sending her my tribute of admiration. But I abstained, and I am glad of it, having now an opportunity of sending that tribute through you; that is, in a manner which entails nothing troublesome to her.
“You have had the good fortune of spending Yuletide in high latitudes, where its merry gloom is both more merry and more gloomy than in the South, although I am, in my turn, better off in that respect than the unfortunate Australians, who have to burn their logs in June.
“But l must answer your question, and only regret that I am not in a condition to give you the desired information. I do not receive the Revue Scientifique, but Pasteur’s rejoinder to Koch I remember having seen quoted and referred to in some other (probably German) periodical. Not knowing whether Koch has replied again, I am little inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, it being the trick of would-be great men nowadays not to claim the honours of the last word. The history of the apparently fierce and inky bacillus war waged on Austrian ground by Stricker and Spina against Koch in 1883 shows clearly enough how profitable it is not to reply when one has been beaten, the public thus remaining free to interpret the silence in accordance with its preconceived notions. In fact, why should a scientific magnate like Koch, at whose feet Gossler, the Minister, sits lost in admiration, and who, living as he is in the ‘metropolis of intelligence,’ is surrounded and supported by a legion of editors and readers of the press, – why should he stoop to fight like a common gladiator before the readers of the Revue Scientifique?
“Science is, more than ever, national, and the direction and rapidity of the propagation of scientific results, ideas, and fashions seems to depend on international sympathies and antipathies more than on anything else. Research, apparently so lofty and so pure an occupation, is often nothing but the outcome of numerous and more or less mean motives, personal, national, and even (incredible though it appears) municipal. Paris is fully as bad as Berlin in this respect, Pasteur fully as bad as Koch; and as to French literature, it is worse
than German literature, any reference to the latter being apparently tabooed in the former.
“Add to all this that Koch is a strikingly bad reasoner, and that he imputes to his bacilli (the phthisical as well as that of cholera) the most unreasonable performances, whereas Pasteur is logical enough to draw from his precarious pan-spermistic premises the most formidable structure of conclusions that ever threatened human health and ‘sanity,’ and I can easily imagine why Koch preferred to wrap himself in majestic silence.
“But, after all, who are those whom you wish to convince? Are they people that go by the rule of the ‘last word’? If so, the poor fishwife was wrong whom O’Connell had called ‘You parallelogram.’ And why refer to Pasteur through Koch, whose advocacy might be positively dangerous?
“The world (even England, at all events Scotland Yard) seems to be in a fit of temporary insanity. All that is low and mean in human nature shows itself, and whosoever ministers to fear ministers to cruelty. To argue with fear is difficult. Let us not waste our energies: this, too, will pass. – With kindest regards to Mrs. Kingsford, yours most faithfully,
“ST. LEONARD’S, February 24 .
“DEAR LADY CAITHNESS, – I have been intending to write to you for ages, but work has quite overwhelmed me of late; and, besides, I have been terribly bad with neuralgia, and almost laid up. Now that l am away from our damp vicarage I am better. Thanks, many, for your Nice newspapers. I have read the accounts of your festivals with interest, and fancied myself present. On Saturday next I go up to London with my little daughter, who leaves for Paris on Sunday night under the charge of Miss. D. The child is going to spend a year in Paris to learn French and music. The change will do her an immense deal of good in every way, and she is looking forward to it greatly. After the dull life she has led here it will develop her character for the better, I hope. As for me, I have taken a charming little flat for the six spring and summer months in London, and enter into possession on March 8. My address will then be 34 Wynnstay Gardens, Kensington, until next September.
“Our Hermetic Session will very soon begin again now. Is it not extraordinary that this year of all years the Sphinx is to be dug out of the Desert sands that have hidden it all these centuries? 1886 is, you know, the prophesied year of Nostradamus, who foretold that when St. George should roll away the stone from the door of the holy sepulchre, then the new era should dawn. This year St. George’s Day and Easter Day coincide – a thing that has not happened before, since many hundred years, I think – and all the other Festivals also coincide in very strange ways, but I have not the prophecy here to refer to. I will try to get it and send it. But no doubt you read all about it in Light. Moreover, this year is the Jubilee year of Queen Victoria. And the Hermetic Society was founded on St. George’s Day! He is our Patron Saint. The Sphinx is to be uncovered by Easter, so the whole thing is most strange. (…)
“I have a new book just coming out, published by Redway. It is the Astrology Theologised of Weigelius, with a long introductory
essay by me. I hope you will like it. But how about your book? Do let me know how it gets on. I am so glad you liked my story in the Month. It has lately been reprinted in America. I am very hard at work now with literary and other matters, and only wish my health was sufficiently good to allow of my taking up all the offers of literary work that I get.”
While the amount of her work was a source of anxiety to us owing to its proving so serious a tax on her strength, we were no less disquieted by the character of one branch of it, on account of its apparent incompatibility with the work which constituted her special mission. Desirous at once of utilising her medical knowledge, of benefiting her family, and of obtaining the means for extending the scope of her spiritual and interpretative work, she had, towards the close of 1884, undertaken to supply a weekly letter to the Lady’s Pictorial on subjects connected with Hygiene in its two aspects of prevention and cure. This was an undertaking which proved to involve a heavy correspondence with individuals as well as a considerable private practice, in the prosecution of which she was eminently successful, and had, moreover, the satisfaction of doing much to extend her own reformed mode of diet and inculcating refined and gentle modes of life. It soon appeared, however, that the chief demand upon her was for the treatment of complaints detrimental to beauty, whether of face or of form, her own success in maintaining which unimpaired, and her extraordinary youthfulness of appearance, produced a widespread impression that she was possessed of some magical secret which could be imparted to others. Her practice in this line brought her knowledges respecting both her own sex and the methods of her own profession which she declared to be a veritable revelation to her, whether as regarded the lengths to which women will go in the pursuit of beauty, or the depths of ignorance and unscrupulousness of those who trade upon their weaknesses, and this whether by quack vendors of cosmetics or by regularly qualified medical practitioners. For, while the former made the wholesomeness of their compounds the last consideration, the latter treated such requirements with scorn, and prescribed at haphazard, wholly regardless of common-sense, to the aggravation of the particular trouble concerned and the detriment of the patient’s general health. “I could not have believed it if I had not seen it,” she would declare after her patients
had left her. “Only think; as sure as I question the patients who come to me about their complexions concerning their diet and general habits of body, they reply that they did not come to me on those accounts, but about the skin of their faces, and that they have consulted heaps of doctors – high class and expensive ones – for the same thing, but have never been asked questions of that kind. And when I have made them show me their prescriptions, they have proved to be one and all for drugs, chiefly mineral ones, such as would soon destroy the strongest constitution, and were of themselves enough to account for the state of their complexions. And when I tell them so, and inform them that the look of their skin depends on the state of their blood, and this chiefly on the diet with which they nourish it, their astonishment is unbounded, and they declare that not only has such an idea never occurred to them before, but they are quite sure it never occurred to any of their doctors. For, besides drugs, they chiefly recommended a diet of flesh as nearly raw and as plentiful in quantity as they could manage to take. So that I could not help being convinced that the doctors, as a rule, as little understand the fundamental principles of health as the clergy do those of religion.”
And so it was that her practice consisted so largely in the treatment of complexions and the invention of innocuous cosmetics, as to justify the title of the book of her articles on the subject, Health, Beauty, and the Toilet; a book which proved a veritable boon to vast numbers of her sex on both sides of the Channel and of the Atlantic.
But while thus successful in her profession, she was much distressed by her sense of the incongruity between such a line of practice and her vocation as an apostle and prophet and religious reformer, and felt apprehensive of injury to her mission through the effect on the minds of others, who would, she feared, hardly be able to take her seriously in respect of the latter. I fully shared her feeling, knowing how liable people are, especially press critics, to detect and make the most of such an apparent incongruity. Of course in itself it was innocent, and had been forced on her by circumstances not of her seeking, and beyond her control. And it had, moreover, no deteriorating effect on her own mind or on the quality of her illuminations. But it might, and doubtless would, be turned to the prejudice of
our spiritual work by the “Haters of the Mysteries,” whether embodied or unembodied, and we wondered accordingly why such a risk had been permitted, and hoped almost against hope that an explanation would be vouchsafed which would at least satisfy ourselves.
It came at length, and did more than satisfy ourselves; for it was of such a nature as to minister to the recognition of some of the chiefest doctrines our work was designed to illustrate. And it came to us both simultaneously, and was comprised in the word “Karma.” In recounting to Mary her horoscope, we were reminded it had been said to her, “It was fore-ordained that you should be luxurious, and addicted to the use of all manner of sweet and cleanly perfumes, baths, and anointments, which render the body fragrant and pure. You will, therefore, in opposing your destiny, be extraordinarily apt to contract all manner of such filthy complaints as accompany poverty, dirt, and the reverse of the condition to which your Rulers destined you. Unclean insects and impure diseases may pursue you, and you may fall a prey to one or the other.” (1) It has already been related how she was a martyr to the attacks of insects, and now she was fulfilling her horoscope yet further by having to devote herself to the medical treatment of other people for precisely the ills to which her thwarted destiny rendered her liable. It was thus that, by illustrating the doctrine of Karma and working out her own, she was made a personal demonstration of the fundamental tenets of the doctrine she was appointed to restore.
In reviewing her recent book, Astrology Theologised, the St. James’s Gazette, in reference to her introductory essay, after congratulating her on not having been born into the world some four hundred years ago, as she would assuredly have been burnt at the stake for it, indulged in some characteristic criticisms, to which she made the following rejoinder, which duly appeared: –
“The notice of my introduction to the above-named book in your issue of the 21st inst. is calculated to produce an injurious impression, which I think it important to correct. Your reviewer says that I ‘make short work of Christianity,’ and cites in proof the following sentence: ‘Assuredly there will come a day when the figure of Jesus
of Nazareth (…) will become obscure and faded as that of Osiris,’ etc. I, however, go on to say – and this your reviewer, unfairly, as it seems to me, ignores – ‘not that the Gospel can ever die, or that spiritual processes can become effete, but that the historical framework in which, for the present age, the saving truth is set, will dissociate itself from its essentials, fall, and drift away on the waves of time’ (p. 36). And again (p. 41): ‘It is not part of the design of Hermetic teaching to destroy belief in the historical aspect of Christianity, (...) but to point out that it is not the history that saves, but the spiritual truth embodied therein.’ Unless, therefore, your reviewer holds that Christianity consists in historical accidentals, and not in spiritual essentials, he is certainly not justified in describing me as ‘making short work’ of it on account of the passage he cites.
“Your reviewer falls into the further blunder of regarding Theosophy as a thing of recent invention, or, at least, importation, and accordingly confounds my views with the Theosophy which, as he says, lately ‘came over to Europe.’ Whereas the fact is that Theosophy – both the term itself and the system properly so called – has subsisted in the Church from the beginning; and what I have done is to restore and develop it – not as lately ‘come over to Europe,’ but as held by St. Paul, by St. Dionysius ‘the Areopagite,’ by the scholastics, and by the host of Christian mystical philosophers, to whom alone it is due that Christianity is now in any degree a spiritual religion, instead of having degenerated into a mere fetish-worship. I propound no ‘Modern Theosophy’ which is not also ‘Olden Mysticism.’”
Resuming our Hermetic lectures [at the rooms of the Royal Asiatic Society, Nº. 22 Albemarle Street], we carried out [in 1886] the following programme: –
The President, on “Bible Hermeneutics.” (1) – April 13.
E. Maitland, on “The Higher Alchemy.” – April 22.
Hon. Roden Noel, on “Jacob Boehme.” – May 4.
Arthur Lillie, on “The Indian Rama, his Connection with the Osirian and Eleusinian Mysteries.” – May 18.
E. Maitland, on “A Forgotten View of Genesis.” – May 27.
Mr. S.L. Macgregor Mathers, on “The Kabala.” – June 3.
Mohini M. Chatterji, on “Krishna.” – June 10.
E. Maitland, second paper on “The Higher Alchemy.” – June 22.
E. Maitland, a joint paper by the President and himself on “The Nature and Constitution of the Ego.” (2) – June 29.
Mr. S.L.M. Mathers, on “The Physical or Lower Alchemy.” – July 8.
E. Maitland, on “The New Illumination.” – July 15.
The President, in answer to questions invited, re-read her third lecture on “The Creed,” (1) and gave a further exposition in satisfaction of questions. – July 22.
Dr. W. Wynn Westcott, on the Kabalistic book, Sepher Yetzirah. – July 29.
At all the meetings the papers were followed by discussions of the highest interest, the attendance varying from thirty to fifty persons, many of whom were notable for their talent, their erudition, and their piety. A special feature in Mary’s lectures consisted in the highly artistic diagrams, made by herself, of the symbols explained, such as the double Triangle and the Seal of Solomon, on which were shown the stations of the soul in the course of its elaboration; also her drawings of man in his two states, degenerate and regenerate, as indicated by the direction of the magnetic currents of his system, according to the view shown to her in vision. Another feature worthy of mention was the occasional presence of theatrical actors and professional reciters, who came, they said, not because they could understand what they heard –that, they frankly admitted, was beyond them – but in order to listen to the President, whose gift of elocution they declared to be so perfect that to hear her speak was a lesson in their own art. This proved to be the closing session of the Hermetic Society.
Among the letters written or received during this summer were the following: –
“34 WYNNSTAY GARDENS, W., May 11, 1886.
“DEAREST LADY CAITHNESS, – You know that it is not because I do not often think of you that I do not write often. Both Mr. Maitland and l have been, and still are, so incessantly occupied with literary work that we find it hard to get time for correspondence further than the sending off of short notes and post-cards. We are now very busy getting ready the revised edition of The Perfect Way, which will contain a new lecture and many alterations and improvements. Then there is my own book, which Redway is bringing out, and the proofs of which I have to correct, besides my weekly newspaper work, which is heavy, and my lectures. One is coming off on Thursday evening at Hampstead. It is a mere feat for me to get to
bed earlier than 1 or 2 A.M., and, as you know, my health is very far from strong. Lately I have suffered horribly from neuralgia.
“There is a general feeling among the members of the Hermetic Society that we ought to hold some meetings in the evening. Many of our men cannot come in the afternoons. At the last the Hon. Roden Noel gave us a paper on Boehme, which was extremely interesting, and led to my reading up what Mrs. Penny has to say on the subject. I think I begin to understand Boehme much better than I did, though I think, with Mr. Maitland, that he was very irregular in his aspirations, and the levels to which he attained; not rising always to the same height. He certainly recognised this himself, for he says that, in order to mark the distinction between that which he says of himself and that which ‘God says in him,’ he uses, to express the first condition, the pronoun ‘I,’ and, to express the second, ‘we.’ Of himself he affirms, he finds it difficult to rise above the ‘astral knowledge,’ but that which he writes of the Spirit ‘transcends the three kingdoms.’
“I am particularly angered by Gerald Massey, the so-called poet, who is now in London giving lectures on Sundays at St. George’s Hall. If you still see the Medium, you will find in it a very fair report of these lectures. Gerald Massey is a materialist of the rankest type, masquerading as a spiritualist. He is a man incapable of comprehending anything beyond the crudest objective manifestations of psychic energy, and even of these he deliberately prefers the lowest and vulgarest types. As for spiritualism as we understand the word, he will have done with it altogether; it is ‘effete,’ ‘old-world,’ ‘musty and fusty,’ and must be swept away into limbo. He says there is no meaning in any dogma or doctrine or event of sacred science other than that which lies immediately on the surface, and as this is superseded, he calls on his hearers to sweep away the whole Christian system, with the ideas of God, Devil, Christ, and all that belongs to the category of Mysticism. The only spirits in the universe, he says, are human spirits; the only intelligences we can possibly come into contact with are those of embodied or disembodied men and women; the talk and phenomena of the séance-room constitute the only revelation we can hope for. And as to illumination from a Divine source, or hidden interpretations, or esoteric teaching, or re-births, or seership, or mysticism of any kind – Neo-platonic, Theosophic, Hermetic, or Kabalistic – it is all pure unmitigated bosh. This is what he says publicly every Sunday, and last Sunday he quoted a passage from The Perfect Way in order to denounce it. The passage in question was that in which we say that ‘the signs of the Zodiac are written on the heavenly planisphere because they stand as eternal verities in the history of every human soul.’ He puts the physical first – and last; that is the Alpha and Omega of existence. The spiritual is but a mere dream of insane imaginations, read into physical phenomena by sickly visionaries! And this is the kind of teaching to the dissemination of which, under the mask of ‘high teaching,’ certain ‘spiritualists’ are lending themselves.
“Adieu. I have already written too much, I fear, and may have wearied you. – Ever yours lovingly,
“4 FINCHLEY ROAD, N.W., June 14, 1886.
“DR. ANNA KINGSFORD.
“MY DEAR FRIEND, – I am deeply thankful to you for your lecture on Pasteur. It cannot be said that it exhausts the subject or settles the controversy, only because human evil, with its folly and embruted stupidity, once it is fairly master of an inveterate will, dominates flocks of men and women, and has inevitably its devil’s time of success, and waits for God’s time of judgment. You know this too well; and your militancy for good will not be impaired by the apparent uselessness of present effort against the overwhelming flood of scientist wickedness and quackery.
“I am sorry for the lady you mention whose faith in the Good God is strained by Pasteur’s success. Evils, says our friend Swedenborg, must come out, in order that they may be seen, acknowledged, and exposed, and that they may be got rid of. The diabolus of atheist-scientism, with its hideous methods, is now allowed to show itself in all its deformity, yet in its full robes of infernal pretext, that its judgment may, when the season comes, be condign.
“I send you a little translation of mine of a book I admire. My handwriting is difficult to me now, and l am more in the upper planes of thought than any longer in controversy with the Materialists. But l thoroughly love and appreciate your work. – Yours fraternally,
“J.J. GARTH WILKISON”
The following is a characteristic example of her “short way” with editors: –
“To the Editor of ––.
“DEAR SIR, – The heading you have affixed to my article will not do. It contains no less than three errors in five words! 1) Pasteur is not a ‘Dr.’; he has no medical diploma at all; consequently, Dr. Graucher has to operate for him, to save him the reproach of practising without a qualification. He is M. Pasteur simply. 2) He does not profess to cure hydrophobia, but to prevent it only; for he has distinctly stated many times over that his process is not curative, but prophylactic. And this is the whole point of this ‘discovery.’ 3) Human beings do not have rabies, but hydrophobia. Rabies is a canine complaint, and what M. Pasteur attempts to prevent is hydrophobia. The title would only be correct thus –‘Can M. Pasteur prevent hydrophobia?’ I suggest that it would be much simpler to head the article ‘PASTEURISM.’
“Pray do not commit me to three such awful mistakes as the ‘Dr.,’ the ‘Cure,’ and the ‘Rabies’!!!
“34 WYNNSTAY GARDENS, W., August 19, 1886.
“DEAREST LADY CAITHNESS, – Thank you so much for your very kind invitation. Yes, if the Gods are favourable, we will try to visit you for a week or two somewhere about October 1. Next week we are going to stay with the Mount-Temples at Broadlands.
“Yes, we have read Masollam, and also Mr. Sinnett’s new novel, United. For my part, I prefer the latter to the former. Masollam
disappoints me, especially as coming from an adept such as Oliphant is supposed to be. He has not been near us, by the way; I suppose because Mr. Maitland criticised his Sympneumata rather severely in Light, and because we have not shown ourselves very deeply interested in his astral schemes for regenerating the world by means of ‘Counterparts.’
“Miss Dawson came unexpectedly to see us the other day, when my husband was here, and told us how kind you had been to Eadith, and said she thought the child much improved. (…) Now that you are at Vichy, I suppose you will get on with your book. We, too, are going to try to do some literary work while on our proposed holiday. If we go on to Germany after leaving you, we shall have to be away some time. Mr. M. even talks of wintering abroad, but I do not see my way to that, though I should like it very much from some points of view. It is our strange kismet that we never know what we are going to do until we are on the eve of doing it. ‘The Spirit moves us,’ and we act accordingly. – Ever yours lovingly,
“BROADLANDS, ROMSEY, August 27, 1886.
“MY DEAR MISS WALKER, – I have long been seeking a quiet half-hour to talk with you, and it has come at last.
“I am here for a brief while in ‘Retreat,’ in the midst of the most lovely country, the most perfect calm, the most glorious weather. To-morrow I return to London; meanwhile I am at rest. This is the country-seat of Lord and Lady Mount-Temple, and I never saw any lovelier place. We have had Canon Wilberforce and his wife, Mr. Percy Wyndham (whom you have often met at the Hermetic Society), and one or two other kindred spirits with us. Mr. Maitland is also here, and how I have wished you could have been of the number! All day long we have spoken together of spiritual things – nothing else – her wandering through the gardens, or sitting on the sunlit lawns, or pacing the terraces under the beautiful stars at night. In the morning we have services of song and prayer and reading of the Scriptures, with exposition; and after that we meditate alone for some time, then meet again at lunch, and spend the rest of the day in discoursing about sacred things.
“I am writing this to you in my own room, while the others, under the direction of a young clergyman, are singing hymns in the oratory. It is indeed a convent life, only with all the beautiful surroundings of wealthy circumstances and the refined and cultured accessories which wealth procures.
“After leaving this sweet retreat to-morrow I go to London, to attend a meeting at Hyde Park Hotel for the purpose of determining what ought to be done to deliver the dogs from the Chief Commissioner of Police! – Yours, with affection and sincerity,
“To Miss E. ABNEY WALKER.”
We returned to London from this visit bounteously supplied with choice flowers culled by our hostess herself from her garden,
in connection with which an incident occurred curiously illustrative at once of Mary’s liabilities and sensibilities. On reaching home the basket was entrusted to her maid – a young woman she had brought with her from the country – for the flowers to be arranged in vases. After an unduly prolonged interval the maid appeared bearing a single vase only containing roses.
“Well, where are the rest?” asked her mistress.
“Oh, that is all, ma’am,” was the reply.
“What do you mean? I gave you a large basketful of flowers of different kinds.”
“I mean that is all the roses. I took no account of the others. I only care for roses, and I supposed you did the same.”
“And what have you done with the rest?”
“Thrown them away, ma’am.”
“Thrown them away! Why, what do you suppose I brought them to London for? Where have you thrown them?”
“Down the ash and dust pit, ma’am.”
“Then go and fetch them out directly.”
“I don’t think I can reach them; and, besides, they are all spoilt now. I have thrown a heap of ashes and other rubbish on top of them.”
“And those lovely living things are smothering and suffocating in darkness and dirt while we are talking here!” exclaimed Mary, the tears springing to her eyes. “Come, Caro, and help me to rescue them.”
It proved a task of no little disagreeableness and difficulty, but we persisted in it until every flower had been recovered and washed, and laid out tenderly to dry, Mary contenting herself with remarking to me that it seemed sometimes as if there were malicious elementals about who were bent on contriving vexations and distresses for her. People could not possibly be so stupid and so cruel of themselves.
The allusion in her letter to Miss Walker about the dogs and the Commissioner of Police referred to what was known as the Baker Street dog case, which had aroused her strong indignation, and on behalf of which she wrote, by request, the following letter to the Queen, the acknowledgment of which was most gracious: –
“34 WYNNSTAY GARDENS, KENSINGTON, W.”
TO THE QUEEN’S MOST GRACIOUS MAJESTY.
“MADAM, – Understanding from my friend Lady Gertrude Stock that your Majesty is so good as to take a personal interest in the sad story of the poor little dog so brutally killed by the police in Baker Street on the morning of the 14th of June, I venture to write to your Majesty on the subject, and to tell you what I have learned of the case from those most nearly concerned in it.
“Strenuous efforts – not, I fear, the most honest – have been made to shield the police in the matter. The witnesses on the side of the owner of the dog are unanimous in the grave charges they make against the constables, and it is not likely that the matter will be suffered to drop. Lord and Lady Mount-Temple, whose names are doubtless well known to your Majesty, are interested in the case, and there is a probability that before long a meeting may be held to protest against the magistrate’s decision, and against the state of the law which permits such outrages to occur in the public streets.
“The dog in question was a favourite spaniel, gentle, quiet, and affectionate. He was in perfect health, ate, slept, and drank well. He was put into the street with his muzzle on ‘for an airing’ immediately after his usual morning meal, according to custom, about 9.30 A.M. After running about a little in the street, it appears to have mistaken its way home (its owner temporarily staying in ‘apartments’ in Baker Street, and the place consequently being unfamiliar to the dog), and to have gone up the stairs of Nº. 49, where a Miss Rebell lived. Here it was captured by the police with a lasso, they apparently supposing it to be a ‘stray dog’; and Miss Rebell, seeing this, and knowing the dog by sight, went down to the front door to inform the constables that she knew to whom it belonged. As she went, she heard the first blow of the policeman’s truncheon on the poor creature’s spine and a piteous cry. She ran to the door and addressed Inspector Prendegast, asking what he was about. He answered, ‘Killing a mad dog.’ Miss Rebell replied, ‘It is not mad. I know the dog well; let me take him into my house.’ The Inspector retorted, ‘It is dead.’ Miss Rebell said, ‘No – not dead, poor thing; he is looking piteously at me!’ The Inspector then became very insolent, and addressing a policeman standing by, said, ‘If she likes it, give it another before her, and let her see it!’ The dog was then beaten again most brutally on the spine and nose, Miss Rebell continuing to remonstrate. Finding that all she said was unavailing, she went back into the house, sat down on the stairs, and cried; but, unable to endure the horrible and continual sound of the blows and the moans of the poor dying beast, she again went out, and this time used very warm language to the police. Even yet the dog was not dead, but crawled feebly towards her; and running upstairs in a state of frenzied horror and indignation, she emptied from her balcony a large pitcher of water over the policemen. For this act she was subsequently summoned and fined!!
“Some of the witnesses assert that the dog was being slowly beaten to death for three-quarters of an hour, crying and howling
all the time; others say half an hour, but the lowest computation is twenty minutes. A great crowd collected, and one lady sent out her servant to offer a sovereign to the Inspector to buy the dog, and he told the girl in reply to ‘go and be damned.’ After the policemen had done their worst the poor little animal, still alive and covered with wounds, was strapped on a water-cart and removed, ‘to be finished at the station.’
“For the constables it was stated that two witnesses – as against ten on the other side – thought the dog dangerous, and saw it bleeding at the mouth and running wildly. In fact, it bled at the mouth because its muzzle had got twisted and cut it; and, as it was holiday-time (Whit-Monday), several boys ‘larking’ in the street had pursued it with sticks for fun. Being thus hunted, the poor creature sought refuge in the house of one of these witnesses, but was turned out, and then ran to Miss Rebell’s. There was not the slightest evidence to show that the dog was ailing in the smallest degree, or that it even resented the brutal attack to which it was subjected.
“Your Majesty will probably hear another account from Mr. Colam. Permit me to say that the secret of the reticence of the R.S.P.C.A. will, it is trusted, be fully explained before long, in as public a manner as possible.
“I have the honour to remain your Majesty’s most dutiful and obedient servant and subject,
“34 WYNNSTAY GARDENS, W., June 1886.
“MY DEAR MME. DE STEIGER, – Your charming gift is as much a surprise to me as it is a delight! But – ought I to accept it? – for I fear you offer it to me under the impression that this flat is mine. I have only taken it for six months, to see whether I succeed in London or not; so it is not mine, as you appear to think. But I do hope this will not cause you to recall your gift. I admire this picture of yours greatly. It is a little jewel, and words fail me to thank you enough for it. Pray come and see it next Monday, and tell me if you like the place I choose to hang it. I shall then be better able to thank you than on paper; – written thanks are always meagre. I know what it costs an artist to part with a ‘child’ that has grown under the hand in moments of love and insight. One’s picture is a part of oneself, more so by far than a book, for that may be multiplied by the thousand, while the painting is only one – a beloved offspring. – Yours with great and sincere gratitude,
The following letter from a Parsee scholar and native of India was interesting to us as a token of recognition of the substantial identity of Christianity and Zoroastrianism, by showing that between them, as between Christianity and so many other religions, the differences are of the exoteric only, and not of the esoteric. It also gave us hope of the rise of a native Anglo-Indian religious literature demonstrating this identity to the holders of both faiths: –
“AHMEDABAD, June, 25, 1886.
“TO EDWARD MAITLAND, ESQ.
“MY DEAR SIR, – I am much obliged to you for your kind letter of the 5th January last. I am also very thankful for your valuable book, The Keys of the Creeds, and for the trouble you have taken in giving your views upon the questions raised by me. The little book has, I may assure you, proved very valuable to me, and has solved many of my difficulties. The Perfect Way has made me a much nobler man – a man of tranquillity and calmness, due to the knowledge of the philosophy of Being imbibed by me from it, and for which my mind was fortunately prepared; and the book you have now sent me has done no less to strengthen my noble aspirations.
“Probably you are reading my articles on Zoroastrianism that are appearing in the Theosophist. They are to be embodied in a treatise, to be added to the book, which contains the Chaldaean doctrine, the Zoroastrian Oracles, and the doctrine of the Iranian Platonists, which are known as some sects of the Zoroastrians. When the book is ready I will send you a copy; and I shall be greatly obliged if you will kindly let me have in the meantime the respective opinions of yourself and Dr. Anna Kingsford of the articles on Zoroastrianism, that I may, if advisable, publish them in the book. – With my sincere regards for yourself and for the venerated lady, Dr. Anna Kingsford, believe me, yours sincerely and faithfully,
“DHUNJEEBHOY JAMSETJEE MEDHORA.
“P.S. – l am going to add to the said book your sketch of the Hermetic doctrine in The Virgin of the World, should you have no objection.”
On September 19  our highly esteemed correspondent, Mrs. Atwood, wrote to me from Bridlington: –
“I have followed – picturing to myself with amazement – the amount of your London labours this season. I was vexed to find that paper on the evolution of the true Ego so abridged in Light, but conclude that it will be forthcoming complete in the new edition of The Perfect Way. We are sorry, indeed, though not surprised, that Mrs. Kingsford can find no recruit of health without going further a field. Her constitution plainly calls for more supply of vitality than those midland counties yield. I trust that the project of wintering in Rome will be carried out after (may it be) a trial of sea air for a while after leaving Paris. Has she ever stayed at Arcachon?
“The beautiful old priory here is an object of interest. There is an aroma to me of sanctity about it still. I will send with this a copy of the little guide, which may amuse Mrs. Kingsford if she has leisure to read the rigmarole concerning the famous alchemist, Canon Ripley, etc. You are right about the ‘Inquiry.’ (1) I sent it for you to keep, please. It must be a satisfaction to Mrs. Kingsford to find
that the ‘Pasteur craze’ has fallen into abeyance, or some discredit at the least, owing to her efforts.”
In acknowledging the receipt of the MSS. of some of our Hermetic Lectures, sent to her to read them in full, Mrs. Atwood wrote to me: –
“I thank you very much, not only for having afforded me a sight of these lectures, but for having written and delivered the same. You have full well maintained throughout the dignity of the subject, of the which I am naturally jealous; and the general view taken of the doctrine appears to me correct and capable of all proof. The key is, as you recognise clearly and forcibly, hidden within the new life of humanity (also within the old, methinks). But you have wisely avoided touching on the experimental methods of dealing with the universal subject; the terms relating to which, and its degrees of progress, you may find, on further investigation, to represent more essentially what they express than at first sight appears. It was the vulgar chemists who borrowed these essential terms rather for the designation of their own dead elements and drugs.
“There is a suggestion contained in a letter from Mrs. Penny to me lately about the dog-soul which I should like to convey to Mrs. Kingsford, if you will kindly give her the accompanying to read at leisure.”
Mrs. Penny has already been mentioned as a profound and original thinker, and a notable expositor of Jacob Boehme. Her remarks were as follows: –
“You ask me about dog-madness, and what I think of it. Very decided but unintelligible thoughts. My theory is, that all dogs are solidaries, just as all human beings are. And I suppose that all the exquisite tortures inflicted on dogs by vivisectionists are now telling on the whole nervous system of that plane of being. This theory I never had a glint of from anyone else; it came as I pondered upon another probability, that as in the Middle Ages humanity as a race had its sensibilities quickened by the horrid tortures human beings – friend and foe alike – inflicted on their own kind (for the surgeons rubbed gunpowder and burning oil on raw wounds!), so now the dog race may be having some new faculty of spirit roused by sufferings of which I dare not think. Mrs. Kingsford has my blessings for trying to right that diabolical wrong, which a doctor’s wife tried to justify to me two days ago by saying, ‘Well, you see, animals have no souls ––’ I did not let her finish that sentence!
“It is as much as my faith can stand, the thought of the Divine Love remaining silent and non-interfering while a dog is slowly agonised or a child ill-used!”
The season had been one of severe and incessant toil, and this far in excess of what has been already indicated. For, besides Mary’s literary and medical work, the high appreciation
of her energy in action and skill in organisation had led to her being besieged from all sides by calls for her assistance in manifold works of justice and mercy, none of which she had it in her to decline. But even more than these, there were grounds for apprehension which made me especially anxious for the termination of our stay in London, and for her removal into conditions favourable to the reparation of her exhausted vitality. These grounds were of two kinds. One arose from the intimations we had from time to time received pointing to the age of forty as a highly critical period for her. The other was her entry upon a course of study in that most exhausting of all pursuits, practical occultism.
To speak first of the former ground. It was true that her Genius, conversing with her in the winter of 1880-81, had said to her that he saw no prospect of an early death for her, but, on the contrary, a very long-continued youth and an age beyond the ordinary span, the reason being the extraordinary power of repair in her system. (1) And it was true also that the former part of this prognostic – her retention of her youth –had been fulfilled, for she was still a girl in looks and vivacity. But as regarded her life, he had obviously spoken of what might be in the event of her observing ordinary care and not exhausting her vitality faster than it could be reproduced. On the other hand, there was the dialogue she had overheard in 1880 between two spirits who were discussing her condition and probabilities of life, wherein one of them had affirmed positively that she would hardly survive forty unless she again became a mother. (2) In the year just past, again, on the occasion of her being positively identified with Joan of Arc and Anne Boleyn, the age of forty was indicated as the limit of her activity in the words, “Anna’s crown was won at twenty, for it was by the body she earned it; thine shall take twice that tale of years to gain.” (3) She herself took this as referring to the limit of her work, either physically or mentally.
There were yet two other utterances which had struck me as possibly applicable to one who had about her so much that was typical and representative. One of these was contained in the three concluding verses of the illumination entitled,
“Concerning the Great Work, the Redemption, and the Share of Christ Jesus Therein” (Clothed with the Sun, II, V), which run thus: –
“For when the cycle of creation is completed, whether of the macrocosm or of the microcosm, the Great Work is accomplished.
“Six for the manifestation, and six for the interpretation; six for the outgoing, and six for the ingathering; six for the man, and six for the woman.”
“Then shall be the Sabbath of the Lord God.”
The other was suggested by the periods assigned to Esther, and to herself as her representative: –
“Six years shall she be anointed with oil of myrrh; that is, with study and training, severe and bitter:
“And six years with sweet perfumes; that is, with the gracious loveliness of the imagery and poetry of the faiths of the past, that religion may not be lacking in sweetness and beauty.” (1)
Such was precisely the number of years that she would have then been occupied in her spiritual work with me, and such also the periods of their division; so that, whether as applied to the term of her life or her work, the prognostics would fit the actual periods in the event of a near breakdown. I did not know whether she had applied them to herself, and I refrained from naming them to her, and strove rather to weaken her impression respecting the former ones.
With regard to my other cause for apprehension on her account – her study of practical occultism – the case was in this wise. She had always borne in mind the recommendation given her on behalf of the acquisition of such knowledge, and sought for an opportunity of complying with it. This was the recommendation contained in the instruction entitled “Concerning Regeneration,” received in 1881, and published in Clothed with the Sun as I, XXIII. (2)
In the course of the summer of this year, 1886, a proposal to study occultism was made to her by a notable expert, who, being well versed in Hermetic and Kabalistic science, had attained his proficiency in the best schools. Had the exercise been as originally contemplated, a purely intellectual one, there had been no ground for apprehension. But the prospect involved of obtaining power over the elemental forces suggested to her
the practical utilisation of these agencies on behalf of the animals by directing them against some of the leading vivisectors, and especially M. Pasteur, who was generally regarded as the chief champion of the method on the ground of his alleged success in treating hydrophobia. As the one remaining experimentalist who had not yet been discredited with the public, the palpable failure of his system would be a crushing blow to the experimental method. She had already, she firmly believed, been divinely used as an instrument for the destruction of Claude Bernard; and if the present impulse were of the same order, it was not for her to resist it, be the cost what it might to herself. She knew the risk to be great, but the duty was paramount, and it might well be that precisely such sacrifice of herself was required of her in expiation of the as yet remaining liabilities from her former lives. And the fact that I felt in no way called on to take part in the enterprise was no reason against her engaging in it. We each had our own Karma, and must work out our respective destinies, according to our individual needs. For her, it was part of her mission as a redeemer, like the knights of old, to rid the earth of noxious monsters at all risks to herself.
All this passed between us in this connection, and much more which need not be recounted, if only because her Diary of a later date will be found to set forth her views with sufficient fulness. Well aware that the action proposed involved an energetic and long-sustained effort to project the will to the exhaustion and possible collapse of the willer, be he robust as he might, and that her strength was already greatly overtaxed and reduced, I could not but entertain grave apprehensions of the result to herself. As it was, when the time came to quit London for home, she was prostrate and suffering beyond all previous experience. Nevertheless, to judge by the event, the terrible sacrifice was not altogether in vain. For the arch-tormentor at whom she aimed was presently stricken with a malady which threatened his life and compelled his retreat from his laboratory to the Riviera, for a sojourn which proved to be of many months; and the average of the failures of his system, as shown by the mortality among his patients, was largely increased.
Her Diary in London this summer contained but two entries. They are these: –
June 22 . – It is, I see, nine months since I wrote a line in my Diary. Time enough in which to have conceived and borne a child. And yet I am always standing on the same spot, moving my feet, indeed, but never advancing, – marking time – marking time!
I know what I want. I want to be away in strange places – over-sea there, in the prairies of the West; there – overland, in the gorgeous South, among the palm-fronds, and the broken shrines of the dead Gods. Or eastward again, in the old world, where faces are brown and garments white and the stars drop out of heaven on the clear luminous nights! Or northward, among the fjords and the firs, – in Norway, in Finland, or the ice-fields. Why must l stay here – here, where the Salvationists howl and blaspheme the Lord; where there are policemen and mad dogs and Societies and Journalism? Yes, and Gladstone! And the hideous nightmare of the Devil Pasteur, blackening all the horizon with his looming shadow!
What! Will not the Gods smite? Is not the time ripe? Are the Gods sitting serene, unmoved, patient, yet on their shining thrones, bearing, enduring, seeing, hearing? Oh that I were one of them!
Somewhere in the world is there no friend who will take me away, that I may forget this fallen Christendom? No friend with whom I may visit the solitudes that yet remain on the planet, – the long salt shores, the deep forests, the silences of earth, where still the Genii and the Spirits linger? In my dreams the spray blows on my face, the stars shine, the meadows are daisy-sweet. When I was a child they always looked like that. Is it Love that I want? No, not the common vulgar cry, the cry of all sickly women-folk, the sing-song of drawing-room misses. I want a friend.
There are too many men and women; there is too little Humanity. I had almost said there is no Humanity. There is a dearth of understanding, of nakedness of spirit. All of us are over-dressed; no man knows what heart beats in his neighbour’s bosom. Truth is dead – is dead – or has she never yet come to the birth?
In utterances such as this we could not but recognise unconscious reminiscences of lives long past, and confirmations of the statement that only by being placed in a body of weakness and suffering would she accomplish the work assigned her in this incarnation: –
“The Feast of the Assumption, 1886, and the anniversary of the death of my dear little Rufus, whom Our Lady bless and help on his upward way! My cry to-night is but a continuation and echo of that recorded in my last utterance. There is no truth among men – no – nor any justice. ‘Justice’ is bought and sold. Everything is valued at its price in cash. There is but one god in the world, and his name is Mammon; and men are his abject servants and adorers.”
I was at no loss to discern the source of this access of pessimism, as revealed in these entries, in some revelations recently made to her of the prevalence of fraudulent practices in trade. She
had been approached by the representative of a certain institution founded ostensibly for the provision of curative appliances, but really, as she discovered on examining them, for deliberately plundering the public by the sale of worthless counterfeits. The offers made for her public patronage were so liberal as to mean wealth; and it would be hard to say which was the greatest, her own surprise and indignation at the cheat and the attempt to enlist her on its behalf, or the astonishment of the agent at her refusal of terms so advantageous for the sake of principle.
(256:1) See Vol. I, p. 419.
(257:1) This lecture consisted of Anna Kingsford’s Introduction to Astrology Theologised. – S.H.H.
(257:2) This lecture was subsequently included (as Lecture V) in the Second Edition of The Perfect Way in substitution for Lecture V of the First Edition. Both lectures are given in the present (Fourth) Edition of The Perfect Way. – S.H.H.
(258:1) See p. 200 ante.
(265:1) Her book, before named, An Inquiry into the Hermetic Mystery. As the writer of that book, and one of the profoundest of living mystics, she was in the very foremost rank of those whose judgment we valued. – E.M.
(267:1) Vol. I, pp. 397-398.
(267:2) Vol. I, p. 357.
(267:3) P. 224 ante.
(268:1) Vol. I, p. 353.
(268:2) It is also given at p. 97 ante.
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