A FALECIDA DRA The Late Mrs. Anna Kingsford, M.D. – Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

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HART, Samuel Hopgood. Preface to the Third Edition (Dreams and Dream-Stories). John M. Watkins, London, 1908, pp. 07-15.


            Information: Thanks are due to Mr. Brian McAllister, who kindly photocopied and sent this text to the Anna Kingsford Site.













“For so He giveth unto His Beloved in Sleep.”

                                   Ps. cxxvii. (marginal reading, R. V.).














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            “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” Habakkuk ii. 2


            THE first Edition of Dreams and Dream-Stories was published in 1888, soon after the death of Anna Kingsford, who died, in her forty-second year, on the 22nd February, 1888; and a Second Edition followed in the same year. In 1893 Edward Maitland gave to the world, in The Story of the New Gospel of Interpretation, (1) an epitomised account, and in his magnum opus, The Life of Anna Kingsford, which was published in 1896, a full and final account of himself and Anna Kingsford and their work: and the information contained in the Preface and additional notes to this Edition has been obtained from these two sources. Except for these additions, the present Edition is a reprint of the last Edition.


            Anna Kingsford once told a lady that she had all her life had visions; and that, when she was a child, “the doctors had declared they were due to over-excitement of the brain”; and that “she had, like many others, suffered much from physicians, and received good from none”; but, she said, “I know it is no fancy. I am

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sure I see all these things; and it is not caused by illness.” (2) In fact, so much did she suffer from doctors and others who regarded her faculty and its products with disfavour, that she soon learnt to keep silent about it and her experiences ; and, Edward Maitland says, “ It was with no small apprehension that she imparted her secret to me.” (3)


            These “records of dreams,” as Anna Kingsford called them, are records of some only of the recorded dreams of that wonderful dreamer. A writer in Borderland said: “Since the time of Joseph it is doubtful whether anyone ever deserved so emphatically to be called ‘the dreamer’ as Mrs. Anna Kingsford.” (4) Her power of retention in respect of the products of her dreams was, from early life till death, most remarkable, although it was only in after-years that she learnt its true nature, significance, and value. On leaving school, she “devoted herself to writing,” and many of her compositions – which at first took the form of stories – “were the products of sleep, even to their minutest details, those especially which were thus originated being characterised by a mysticism at once subtle, exquisite, and tender, and clearly such as to indicate their derivation direct from the soul itself rather than from a faculty merely intellective.” (5) The chief products of this period were her Flower Stories, and some others of an historical character, some of which, after passing through various magazines, were, in 1875, published under the title of Rosamunda the Princess. Other of her dreams (not included in Dreams and Dream-Stories) are included or referred to in one of or both the above mentioned biographies; while of

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others there is no record – for, owing to her failure or partial failure to recall them, there were times when, notwithstanding her endeavour to fix them in her memory, the things seen and heard by her in her sleep “entirely escaped her,” so that she was not able on waking to write them down. (6)


            Anna Kingsford’s Illuminations, as distinct and apart from her dreams, were also, shortly after her death, collected by Edward Maitland and edited by him in Clothed With the Sun, which was published in 1889, and those who would know of these marvellous writings are referred to that book. (7)


            During her lifetime, Anna Kingsford promised Edward Maitland that if he survived her she would come to him after her death and continue their collaboration. He did survive her, but for a considerable time after, the only intimations he had of her presence consisted of such enhancement of his mental perception in regard to their work as might be due to the duplication of his faculty by hers. However, in May, 1888, he made the acquaintance of a lady, Mrs. H––, who, “without being a medium in the sense of going under control, was in a remarkable degree clairvoyant and clairaudient to spiritual presences”: and, on the occasion of a visit from her to him, in reply to a question put by him about the personality of an “influence” declared by her to be present, she replied that “she was shown the letters ‘A.K.’ as denoting the name she was generally known but that there was another, (8) which for the present

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the spirit reserved”: and to his question whether she (A. K.) had been with him of late trying to make him conscious of her presence, it was replied, “Yes, and you have received from me the impressions I wished to convey, though unaware of their source.” (9)


            In the following June, he met a lady, Miss W––, who had “the power of writing under a control which used her hand only, without affecting her consciousness. For, besides being unaware of what was being written by her hand, which altogether transcended her own knowledge and capacity, she was able to converse with those present with a freedom which showed that her mind was in no way engaged in the writing.” On his visiting this lady to witness the exercise by her of her gift, she was controlled, and “the controlling influence claimed to be the soul of a woman not long dead, who, as representing a group of souls, spoke in the plural, and wrote (inter alia): ‘We see the form of a spirit who is near you, and yet we can hardly call it a spirit, but rather a glorified soul, and she speaks to us, but cannot herself control the writing for want of use. (...) She knows that the power will be given to impress you herself so distinctly that she will be able to continue her work through you. (...) The inner communion with you has already commenced. Soul speaks to soul; but your soul is not yet able to impart the impression to the body. (…) May we be allowed to call her Mary? For that is the

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name under which her influence makes itself known to us. She wishes you to be assured that she who is now holding communication with you through us is indeed Mary – the Soul.” (10)


            During the summer, Edward Maitland occupied himself in preparing Dreams and Dream-Stories for publication, intending to preface it by a short account of Anna Kingsford’s life and faculty ; but, he says, “I no sooner set about composing this than I found myself strongly impelled to use only as preface to it a paper which she herself had written” – in 1886 – “in anticipation of its publication in her lifetime, and thus to let her be the sole speaker save for the occasional brief notes requisite.” (11) This impulsion Edward Maitland acted upon; and that he was right in his belief as to its source was, shortly after the publication of the book, proved in a remarkable manner. The following occurrences, which led up to the incident in question, are of considerable interest.


            Seven months had passed, and Edward Maitland was beginning to feel somewhat more conscious of Anna Kingsford’s presence, and of her attempts to hold direct communication with him; but, up to that time, he had obtained “only vague impressions.” On the 28th September, not having had any communication with her in the meantime, he again sat with Mrs. H––, who, “on becoming lucid,” and without any clue having been given to her – after saying that his “friend Mrs. Kingsford was present,” and that she then called herself “Mary,” and “not A.K., as before” – said (inter alia): “I am told to tell you that she has been much with you, and

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finds you more sensitive to her presence than at first; and that you have carried out all her wishes very well indeed, and she is quite certain that you are impressed by her.” (12) And, at another sitting, on October 13th, Mrs. H –– said (inter alia): “Your friend is here, and I am to tell you that she finds you greatly increasing in sensitiveness to her presence ; and she will soon be with you in a more palpable way, for she prefers greatly to converse with you direct, and with you only. (...) Your coming visit to Atcham (13) will bring her nearer by putting you into a more receptive attitude.” (14)


            On the last week in October, Edward Maitland went to Atcham full of hope that the associations of the place would promote the conditions for the experience he craved; and, in this view, he says “I went daily to the grave, and endeavoured, forcibly, but silently, to project my wish to the spheres, inner and upper, that I might at least hear her addressing me by the name which she had occasionally used for me, my initiation-name – Caro. But though I listened intently, I was unable to persuade myself that I heard any response; and after three or four attempts I desisted, intending to try again after a short interval. On the last occasion, however,” which was on the 30th October, “I was convinced that my wish had not been dissipated in space, but had penetrated to the sphere to which it had been directed, and had actually reached her for whom it was intended and formed a line of communication between

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us, by which she was endeavouring to transmit a response which only my defect of faculty prevented me from receiving. My sense of the existence of such a line thus made, and of some one at the other end of it thus engaged, and of there being a message on the way to me which expended itself without reaching me, was unmistakable, and I resolved to be content for the present with such result.” (15)


            Four days later – on the 3rd November – Edward Maitland received by post from London (forwarded to him under cover) a letter dated the 31st October, and bearing a Scotch postmark dated the 1st November, from a young lady, Miss M. H. E., who had occasionally corresponded with Anna Kingsford, but had never seen her. Edward Maitland says: “In it she stated that in the course of the previous night – the night of the day of my last attempt beside the grave – she had been roused from sleep by someone whom she recognised as Mrs. Kingsford, who had caused her to write to me the letter enclosed. The message thus dictated consisted of warm assurances of Mary’s continued regard for me and interest in our work, and concluded with the exclamation, emphatically underlined, and written with impetuous energy – ‘Caro! Caro! Caro! does not my voice reach you? Caro!!! CARO!!! CARO!!!’ Making it to appear as if she was then actually calling to me at each repetition louder than before, as well as writing, just as I had desired her to call, and as I felt that she was calling, though the sounds failed to reach my ears.” (16)


            On the following day – the 4th November – Edward Maitland received from Miss M. H. E. (also forwarded

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under cover from London) another letter purporting to have been dictated by Anna Kingsford, charging him to use for Dreams and Dream-Stories the Preface which she had written, instead of one of his own composition, a copy of which he would find in a certain receptacle in the room which had been her study at the Vicarage. Edward Maitland says: “The particulars, none of which were known to the writer, were correct in every respect, saving only that the word ‘schoolroom’ was used instead of ‘study.’ It was in the place named that I had found the Preface in question, which I had substituted for one of my own, under a strong impression that in so doing I was acting as she herself would prefer if consulted.” As Dreams and Dream-Stories had just then been published, the instruction carne too late to be acted on, from which, Edward Maitland says, “it was clear that her knowledge of my doings was not fully up to date.” And he says, “the letters thus dictated showed a gradual and increasing assimilation of the medium’s handwriting to that of Mary. But the envelope containing the last letter was addressed in a hand which was not merely like hers, but was hers, and was written with great freedom, clearness, and firmness, and as if dashed off at speed, the strokes being somewhat thicker than she was wont to make, as would naturally be the case when forcibly using the hand of another. It was accompanied by a letter from M.H.E. herself describing the sensation in her hand when writing it as that of being controlled by some pervading substance, which, while strong and firm, was soft and impalpable.” (17)


            It may be mentioned that the same post that brought the last mentioned letter to Edward Maitland, also

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brought, direct from Scotland, another letter, similarly addressed in Anna Kingsford’s handwriting, to her husband, which had been written on the same occasion as the one to Edward Maitland, but had been delayed in the posting, so that it arrived simultaneously with Edward Maitland’s letter from London. The purport of this letter was identical with that written to Edward Maitland. Anna Kingsford had failed to follow Edward Maitland to the Vicarage, and, supposing he was still in London (as her letter addressed to him in that place shows), had written to tell her husband to find the Preface in question and send it to Edward Maitland. (18)


            Edward Maitland died on the 2nd October, 1897, at the close of his seventy-third year, a little over nine years after the death of Anna Kingsford.


                                                                                              SAML. HOPGOOD HART.

                        CROYDON, October, 1908.





(1) A Third and Enlarged Edition of this book was published in 1905, under the title of The Story of Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland and of the New Gospel of Interpretation.

(2) Life of A. K., vol. i. p. 12.

(3) Ibid., vol. i. p. 56.

(4) Borderland, 1896, p. 56.

(5) Life of A.K., vol. i. p. 7.

(6) Life of A.K., vol. i. p. 277; and see Preface to First Edition.

(7) A Second Edition was published in 1906.

(8) The other name referred to was “Mary,” the initiation-name given to Anna Kingsford.

(9) Life of A.K., vol. ii. pp. 384, 385. Mrs. H––’s replies to other questions put by Edward Maitland, not being material to this account, are not here given. Edward Maitland says that while the answers given by Mrs. H–– in reply to his questions were all such as might have come from Anna Kingsford, and such as Mrs. H–– was incapable of devising, he did not deem them “conclusive as proofs.” – S. H. H.

(10) Life of A.K., vol. ii. pp. 387, 388, 389.

(11) Ibid., vol. ii. pp. 390, 391.

(12) Life of A.K., vol. ii. p. 391.

(13) Anna Kingsford’s home was at Atcham, near Shrewsbury, of which parish her husband was at one time vicar, and at which place she was buried.

(14) Life of A.K., vol. ii. pp. 392, 393.

(15) Life of A.K., vol. ii. pp. 393, 394.

(16) Ibid., vol. ii. pp. 394, 395.

(17) Life of A.K., vol, ii. p. 395.

(18) Life of A.K., vol. ii. pp. 395, 396. 



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