Sections: General Index   Present Section: Index   Work Index   Previous: XV Floods of Light   Next: XVII Among the Astrals



(p. 344)





FROM my Diary: –


            “March 13. – A few nights ago Mary found herself again in the library where she had received the chapter on the mystical interpretation of Scripture, and was told by the same courteous, old-fashioned old gentleman who had received her then, that he desired to communicate with me on a matter too delicate to be entrusted to a third person, but that he had a difficulty in doing so, as I had not been able to find my way to his house. We were still without any idea as to the identity of this personage; but a day or two later, while sitting at my work, I received a sudden, vivid impression to the effect that the book which I am writing, The Finding of Christ, had better be published anonymously, in order to prevent the consideration of it from being impaired by association with the name of any person. It so happened that there was at the time a question about the book which much exercised me, and does so still. It is not that of putting my name to it. I have had no idea of withholding that. It is as to how far I am at liberty to use our chapters on the interpretation of Scripture. I can neither assume the authorship of them, nor can I avow their derivation; and I have been greatly perplexed accordingly. The intimation above mentioned was accompanied by another which caused me to exclaim to myself that there was but one person from whom it could justly proceed, this being Emmanuel Swedenborg. For the intimation was to the effect that he, Swedenborg, hoped by our means to correct and complete his work.

            “I made no mention of the occurrence, nor had either of us thought of connecting Swedenborg’s name with the owner of the library she had now thrice visited in sleep. But yesterday evening, having been prompted to sit for some writing, the instrument wrote the words, ‘Mr. Maitland.’ As this was the first time that I had ever been thus designated by it, or by any of our invisible visitants, and as it was also the name by which the occupant of the library had spoken of me, I concluded that it was he who was writing, and accordingly inquired whether I was correct in my idea as to what it was that he wanted to say to me. In reply to this he wrote, ‘Not quite’; and presently added, ‘It is not considered desirable in our circle that you should produce the book in your name. I will suggest to Mrs. Kingsford what should be done. Good-night. – E. S.’

            “These being the initials of Swedenborg, I referred to Carpenter’s Life of him, of which I have lately obtained a copy, and found that

(p. 345)

the specimen there given of his handwriting closely resembled that of our message; while Mary declared that the portrait of him in the book, which she now saw for the first time, was exactly that of the tenant of the library, showing him as the same placid-looking, smooth-shaven, courtly man she had described to me. In short, every particular corresponded, even to his formal and measured mode of address, making it impossible to doubt that it was indeed the famous Swedish seer himself who had quitted the earth-life close on a century ago, and that he was now interesting himself in the work of the New Gospel of Interpretation, of which he had been the forerunner.

            “March 14. – This evening Swedenborg came to us again, and in reference to the change of plans recommended to me, wrote: – ‘You may probably have a good deal of recasting to do; but do not let that discourage you. You will be repaid. In fact, the book should not see the light until the campaign has been opened at Mrs. Kingsford’s house by a few parlour addresses from her lips. But do not be too kind to the Christians.’

            “On this we asked what precisely he meant by this caution, when he wrote: –

            “‘I use the word in its popular, not in its eclectic, sense. You are emphatically Perfectionists. Since I have had my library I have occupied myself much with pre-Nazarene eclecticism; and I find it much richer and more profound than that of the comparatively uncultivated Nazarite school.’”


            It will be interesting to state here that about ten years later, on reading a quite recent work on Swedenborg, I found cited from a passage in his writings not before translated the words, “I love the Gentiles more than I love the Christians,” which at once recalled to me, and coincided with, his expression to us, “Do not be too kind to the Christians,” an expression which took us entirely by surprise, having understood that he by no means rejected the orthodox presentment of Christianity so far as its leading dogmas are concerned. The book in question is entitled Swedenborg the Buddhist, by “Philangi Dasa,” and is published at Los Angeles, California. Its object is to show from the untranslated writings of Swedenborg, first, that he has not been fairly represented by his translators and followers; and, next, that his teaching really coincided so closely with that of the East as to suggest the occultists of that region as his inspirers; one alleged essential point of identity with them consisting in his recognition – distinctly but guardedly accorded – of the doctrine of Reincarnation. To this day, however, his disciples strenuously deny that doctrine on the ground that it is not taught by Swedenborg, but apparently denied.

            The contention of “Philangi Dasa” is that Swedenborg denied

(p. 346)

only the reincarnation of the astral phantom, not that of the true soul, in which case he would have the truth.

            As might be supposed, we were greatly interested in receiving Communications purporting to come from such a source, and bearing every imaginable impress of genuineness. On the following evening, March 15, he returned and wrote: –


            “If Mr. Maitland will permit me to speak frankly, I shall be very glad to mention what has happened to me in regard to his MS.

            “It is now some time since that I was sitting after supper in my library, when an Angel in a red vestment entered and saluted me. I am accustomed to visits from Angels; therefore this did not surprise me. ‘I come,’ said he, ‘to ask your aid in a somewhat difficult matter. My Client’ – it is thus that Angels often designate souls under their charge – ‘My Client,’ says he, ‘was here in your library some time ago, and under your magnetism recovered a memory of no small value. I ought,’ says he, ‘to mention that my Client is a soul of vast experience, and that I am of a proud and jealous disposition.’ ‘I see you are,’ said I, smiling, and looking at his vestment. ‘It is,’ says he, ‘my ardent wish to produce the Evangel my Client has acquired so painfully under my tuition, in my own way. Now, my Client has confided in another, with whom the work I have in charge is being done, the products of the Labour of the Past. I do not object to this; in fact I encourage it; for I find much of my happiness in association with the Angel who has my Clients friend in charge, and who is my Negative, while I am Positive. But it hurts me to think that my method is likely to be frustrated. And as the atmosphere is such that I cannot speak directly with my Client, I come to beg you to use your influence in my behalf. The writing in question is but fragmentary. I have been promised help to recover for my Client in this Incarnation the memory of all that is in the past. But I wish to wait until this is complete.’ Here the communication broke off, and Swedenborg added, speaking for himself, ‘I will come another time. There is a great deal more. Good-night.’”


            We had no difficulty in assigning as the reason for this abrupt stoppage Mary’s complete exhaustion by this long message, the force for writing which was palpably drawn from ourselves. On the next evening, as we were not quite clear whether the words “says he” referred in all cases to the Angel or sometimes to his Client, we asked for the information; whereupon he wrote, “Yes, always to the Angel,” and then ceased. Presently another and more delicate hand wrote: – “Eml. has an engagement tonight. – E.” Upon this Mary exclaimed, “That must be the old lady whom I found in the library with him. Was he a married man?” I said that I imagined he was not, and I got down his Life to ascertain. Here, after some search, I found it

(p 347)

stated that Swedenborg had never been married, but used to say in his old age that he believed that his great friend, Elizabeth von Gyllenborg, a maiden lady who had predeceased him, would be his spiritual wife hereafter.

            The Angel’s statement that Mary had recovered her memory under Swedenborg’s magnetism coincided exactly with the experiences of both of us, as related some time back, and was a welcome testimony to the accuracy of our observation; while it further showed that, though associated with Swedenborg and working on the same lines, we were neither indebted to him for our teaching nor restricted by his limitations: –


            “March 23. – Our sittings for writing since the last entry have been fruitless, and we have been at a loss to know what has become of Swedenborg and the promised continuation of his message. Last night, however, Mary dreamt that she was with me in a restaurant, and that Swedenborg was there, walking up and down. On her accosting him he joined us, and we sat down together to a meal of what seemed to be tea, toast, and eggs. The conversation was long and interesting. He spoke of many persons and things on the earth, and showed that he kept himself fully informed of what was going on here below. Among other things, he said, in answer to a question as to whether a certain mystical acquaintance of ours used stimulants to enhance his faculty, that he knew the person in question, and that he does use them, but only to heighten his spiritual faculty; which he (Swedenborg) did not consider wrong, as intoxication was not wrong in itself, or it would be wrong to use an anaesthetic to subdue pain. It was right or wrong according to the motive and effect. And it certainly is the fact that by means of them certain lower and lowering elements in the system may be suppressed, and the individual set free to follow his higher. He had seen a certain poet, whom he named, write some of his best verses while so drunk as to be scarcely able to hold his pen. Mary again noticed an extraordinary resemblance between Swedenborg and myself in form and manner as well as in feature. He wore an old-fashioned grey coat, and had perfectly white hair, and appeared to be about sixty years of age. Respecting the special subject of my book, and his failure to continue his promised writing, he said –

            “‘I am forbidden to use the planchette. Your Angels do not like it, since by its use you court deception and fraud through the facility with which lower spirits can use it. The general plan of your book is good. But you are recommended to avoid identifying the writer with the author of any former work. Use the first personal pronoun in writing if this facilitates the expression, and as in effect you have used it largely. Let that form stand, but avoid recognition as Edward Maitland. You are recommended to introduce a chapter on the prophetic faculty as the product of Memory, and to cite such passages as occur to you in support of this doctrine. Let this chapter or paragraph introduce the citations you give from the prophetic explanations of the esoteric books of the Bible, and

(p. 348)

quote them as fragmentary specimens of this recollection occurring to one now a woman, but formerly an Initiate, who is beginning to recover this power by slow degrees. Under what circumstances it can be recovered I will endeavour soon to show you. The matter is an important one, and your Angels think it necessary to be expounded to you, and by you to others.’

            “Swedenborg also spoke much of the Perfectionists, and said that, for his part, he thought that, strive as they might, they would never succeed in making the world at large adopt their views. A considerable number of persons from time to time would attain perfection for themselves, and, after beneficially influencing others, pass on to higher conditions. But he saw no probability of evil being abolished, or even sensibly diminished. The world, however, is still so much in its youth that man cannot be said to be created as yet, but is only in the process of making; while, as for woman, she is altogether in the future, the present age being her birth-time or primal manifestation.

            “On being questioned about my past lives, he said that he could not trace me back farther than the time of Cromwell, when I had been a Puritan, and had quarrelled and fought a duel with one who is now very nearly related to me.”


            Three years before this I had been told by “Winona” that I and my son had been enemies and crossed swords with each other in a previous life. Although I had not attached importance to the statement, partly because I was yet very far from realising the doctrine of reincarnation as representing a reality, I had been struck by the light which the suggestion threw on our relations. For, although we had always been excellent friends, there were many circumstances, both in our respective characters and in our relations with each other, which tallied exactly with the idea. For the difference, not to say antagonism, between our natures was so marked and ingrained as to cause me much wonder how we ever came to be connected as father and son, and to make us both careful to avoid anything that could possibly lead to a rupture, because, being what we were, if once set up it would probably prove irremediable for want of some link of affinity to draw us together again. And in respect of things material, our relations were such as were best explainable by the supposition that it was part of his destiny to make reparation to me for a wrong done me in a past existence.

            It was not, however, until twelve years later than the time of which I am writing – namely, in the beginning of 1892 – that I obtained any light on the subject by means of my own faculty. It came at a time when my mind had long ceased to be occupied

(p. 349)

with the matter and was wholly engrossed with other things. And it consisted in my suddenly and without the smallest anticipation, as I lay in bed in the early morning between sleeping and waking, finding myself actually fighting a duel with one whom I recognised as him who is my son. We were in the costume of the Cromwellian period; he was certainly a cavalier, as was shown by his coat and hat as they lay on the ground, for we had both divested ourselves of these articles, and were fighting in our shirt-sleeves. And I thought I also was a cavalier; not, however, on account of my garb, for though my hat and coat were also on the ground, they were too far to the rear of where I stood for me to see them sufficiently well to note which party they denoted me as belonging to. And the encounter was too warm to allow of my glancing back at them, had I thought of doing so. Our quarrel, it was evident to me, was not a political one, as the statement that we had been on opposite sides suggested. It was a personal one, and of an exceedingly bitter kind so far as my opponent was concerned, so obvious to me was his consciousness of being entirely in the wrong, and of my being the injured party. Besides our respective seconds no one was in sight, and they stood well aside. We fought with rapiers, and for a considerable time I held him in check, easily warding his every thrust. I had no feeling of anger nor any intention of harming him, my one idea being either to disarm him, or, in the event of his growing desperate, to inflict a wound sufficient to disable him from continuing the conflict. But suddenly, on perceiving my design and finding himself out-fenced, he lost his temper and rushed in on me in a furious mêlée, as if determined to do by force what he could not do by skill, and all at once I found my power of arm gone, so that I was unable to wield my sword, and I said to myself that it must be a failure of the hearts action. But presently I became aware that the duel was over, and that, though I had not felt the thrust, I had been run through the heart and was what is called dead; after which I remembered no more. After the experience I lay some time pondering it and recalling all the stages of the conflict, together with the varying emotions induced, and marvelling at the fidelity with which every incident had been, not recollected merely, but actually reproduced; the result being the conviction that the

(p. 350)

soul, in which alone the memory of the event could have survived, must be endowed with a faculty of recollection far transcending that of the mind as ordinarily conceived of. There was yet this other corroborating circumstance. Throughout my childhood and boyhood I was beset by certain haunting dreams, one of the most frequent and vivid of which was that I was either fighting or trying to get out of fighting a duel; so great was my innate horror of the practice.

            It is due to my foeman of that period, and son of the present one, to say that, whether or not he owed me an atonement of the kind in question, he has nobly fulfilled the requirements of such a position, although he will not have an inkling of the fact until he learn it from these pages. Among the sentiments evoked in myself by the experience, the foremost is a sense of grateful admiration for an order of things which provides such means of reparation, atonement, and reconciliation as that of the reincarnation, as parent and child, of two persons who have formerly been at deadly feud through wrongs done and sustained, with a view to the healing of the feud and the purging of the soul from recollections which might disquiet and detain.

            Although having no doubt of the genuineness of our experiences with Swedenborg, Mary, at my suggestion, questioned her Genius on the subject, and received an answer which, though in some respects enigmatical, was entirely satisfactory as to the main point. The answer was in this wise: – “A portion of Swedenborg is still in this sphere, by means of which he can communicate with those with whom he is in affinity.” The enigma found its solution when the time came for us to receive instruction concerning the constituent principles of man, and their separation after the death of the body.

            Yet one more incident in this connection whereat Mary declared herself to be greatly amused. I remarked to her that it was very evident that Swedenborg and Elizabeth had both lived single and died bachelor and spinster, my reason being that, though now dwelling together and being joint owners of their abode, each of them had used the expression “my library,” giving proof positive that they had not learnt by the experience of married life to say “we” and “our” – a trait which she affirmed only a woman would have noticed.

            On the evening of March 27, while engaged on our own respective

(p. 351)

tasks, and so entirely engrossed by them as to be disposed to resent interruption, Mary bent across the table, and, speaking in a low tone, said to me, “There is a spirit in the room who wants to speak to us. Shall I let him?” I assented on the condition that he had something to tell us really worth hearing. She then became entranced, being magnetised by his presence; and after telling me that he spoke with a strong American accent, and professed to be a “metaphysical doctor” – meaning, she supposed a doctor in metaphysics – repeated the following after him; for I could neither see nor hear him: –


            “You two have been put together for a work which you could not do separately. I have been shown a chart of your past histories, containing your characters and your past incarnations. She is of a highly active, wilful disposition, and represents the centrifugal force. You, Caro, are her opposite, and, being contemplative and concentrated, represent the centripetal force. Without her expansive energy you would become altogether indrawn and inactive in deed; and without your restraining influence she would go forth and become dissipated in expansiveness. So extraordinary is her outward tendency that nothing but such an organism as she now has could repress it and keep it within bounds. It is for the work she has to do that she has been placed in a body of weakness and suffering. She is the man – and you the woman-element in your joint system. I can see only her female incarnations, but she has been a man much oftener than a woman; while you have generally been a woman, and would be one now but for the work you have to do. Even as a woman she has always been much more man than woman, for her wilfulness and recklessness have led her into enterprises of incredible daring. Nothing restrained her when her will prompted her. She would wreck any work to follow that, and only by combination with your centripetal tendency can she do the present work. As a man she has been initiated, once, a long time ago, in Thebes; afterwards in India. The things she has done in her past lives! Well, I do not say they were wrong, for I do not hold the existence of moral evil. All things are allowed for good ends; but this is a difficult truth to express.”


            Here she spoke in her own person, having under his magnetism recovered her own vision and recollection, saying: –


            “O Caro! I can see your past. You have been – no, it is all wiped out. I cannot see it now. I am not allowed to see it. Why is this? I see my own past. I see India – a magnificent glittering white marble temple, and elephants. How tame they are! They are all out, and feeding in a field or enclosure. And there are such a number of splendid red flowers; they are cactuses, and all prickly. The trees have all their foliage on the top, and such long stems. They are palms. The soil is of a white dust. And the sky is so clear and blue! But the heat is terrible. I see you again. Your

(p. 352)

colour is blue, inclining to indigo, owing to your want of expansiveness. But I cannot see your past, except that you are mostly a woman. And now I am by the Nile, – such a fine broad river!”


            Here our visitor took his departure, when Mary, returning to her normal consciousness, informed me that he had almost sickened her by the way in which – more Americano – he kept spitting about him. It was a new idea to us that such bodily habitudes should persist after death; but the explanation subsequently given us respecting the astral man and his relations to the physical made it quite intelligible that it should be so.

            The following day, March 28, was Easter Sunday. Electing to remain within doors rather than encounter the crowds of holiday-makers, Mary was moved during the afternoon to sit for some communication by joint writing. But we were no sooner seated than it was written: –


            “Do you, Caro, take a pencil and write, and let her look inwards, and we will dictate slowly.”


            Mary then became entranced, and delivered orally, repeating it slowly, without break or pause, after a voice heard interiorly, the following exposition of the book of Esther, an exposition entirely novel to us, and, we believed, to the world. Some divines have called the book a romance, but none have discovered that it is a prophecy in the form of a parable. Luther, indeed, pronounced both it and the Apocalypse to be so worthless that their destruction would be no loss. As a Teuton, and of masculine proclivities, he would naturally be strongly predisposed against any Scriptures which recognised woman as the agent of redemption. It is otherwise with the Celtic and feminine races: –


            “The most important book in the Bible for you to study now, and that most nearly about to be fulfilled, is one of the most mystic books in the Old Testament, the book of Esther.

            “This book is a mystic prophecy, written in the form of an actual history. If I give you the key, the clue of the thread of it, it will be the easiest thing in the world to unravel the whole.

            “The great King Assuerus, who had all the world under his dominion, and possessed the wealth of all the nations, is the genius of the age.

            “Queen Vasthi, who for her disobedience to the king was deposed from her royal seat, is the orthodox Catholic Church.

            “The Jews, scattered among the nations under the dominion of the king, are the true Israel of God.

(p. 353)

            “Mardochi, the Jew, represents the spirit of intuitive reason and understanding.

            “His enemy, Aman, is the spirit of materialism, taken into the favour and protection of the genius of the age, and exalted to the highest place in the world’s councils after the deposition of the orthodox religion.

            “Now Aman has a wife and ten sons.

            “Esther – who under the care and tuition of Mardochi, is brought up pure and virgin – is that spirit of love and sympathetic interpretation which shall redeem the world.

            “I have told you that it shall be redeemed by a ‘woman.’

            “Now the several philosophical systems by which the councillors of the age propose to replace the dethroned Church are one by one submitted to the judgment of the age; and Esther, coming last, shall find favour.

            “Six years shall she be anointed with oil of myrrh, that is, with study and training severe and bitter, that she may be proficient in intellectual knowledge, as must all systems which seek the favour of the age.

            “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.

            “But she shall not seek to put on any of those adornments of dogma, or of mere sense, which, by trick of priestcraft, former systems have used to gain power or favour with the world and the age, and for which they have been found wanting.

            “Now there come out of the darkness and the storm which shall arise upon the earth two dragons.

            “And they fight and tear each other, until there arises a star, a fountain of light, a queen, who is Esther.

            “I have given you the key. Unlock the meaning of all that is written.

            “I do not tell you if in the history of the past these voices had part in the world of men.

            “If they had, guess now who were Mardochi and Esther.

            “But I tell you that which shall be in the days about to come.”


            The spelling of the names proved to be that of the Douay version, the Protestants having relegated the second part of the book of Esther, in which the latter part of this narrative occurs, to the Apocrypha. Besides throwing a flood of new light for us on the method of the Bible-writers, it charmed us by its recognition at once of our relations to each other and of our work. Nevertheless it contained for me an element suggestive of apprehension. This was the possibility that the periods indicated with respect to Mary might imply the term of her life. The same periods, I remembered, had been specified in the concluding verses from the chapter, “Concerning the ‘Great Work,’ the Redemption, and the Share of Christ Jesus therein”: –


(p. 354)

            “Six for the manifestations, 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 “woman’s number,” or “number of perfection,” being thirteen, including the addition of one for the whole, it seemed to me that, as a typical person, there might be between that number and the period of her mission a correspondence in virtue of which it might close after that number of years, either by death or by some other event. I kept the surmise to myself, but the event accorded with it. For it was at the close of the thirteenth year of our association that she was seized with the illness of which she died.

            We had yet another experience concerning Esther which the foregoing served to recall to us. A few months before, during a second visit made by Lady Caithness to Paris before finally coming to reside there, we were invited by her to meet a lady who was possessed of the faculty of clairvoyance, and on seeing Mary this lady said that she was shown to her as having been Queen Esther – a circumstance which we explained by the supposition that Mary’s own spirit had revealed to the lucide the correspondence between Mary and Esther, which correspondence suggested to the lucide the idea that Mary was a reincarnation of Esther, thus taking Esther for an historical character.

            I record the following incident chiefly as an illustration of the peculiar difficulty of the situation in which I was placed as the guardian of Mary. A lady of her acquaintance, being about to give a reception, insisted not only on her attending it herself in spite of her pleading want of health and leisure in excuse, but also on her inviting sundry of her male fellow-students with whom she did not consider herself on terms of intimacy such as to warrant her doing so. Finding her greatly disquieted, and fearful of giving offence by declining, I wrote privately to that lady explaining the position, and begging her as a great kindness to us to forgo her request until at least Mary should have passed the ordeal of her approaching examen, with which she was now entirely engrossed. To my surprise and dismay, instead of taking my intervention in good part and quietly acting on it, she at once communicated my letter to Mary in terms of bitter resentment, with results far more harmful to her than the services required of her would have been. And she was made so ill that, in order to

(p. 355)

prevent my again acting on my own judgment without consulting her, our illuminators gave me, through her, the following message, which was withdrawn from her memory so soon as she had delivered it to me: –


            “Your action of yesterday was certainly an unwise one. I strove to warn Mary of what you were about to do, but she would not heed. It is not given to you to go alone. You resemble a man trying to walk on one leg. We wish to make this slight affair a means of demonstrating an element of weakness in your character. You are too centripetal, too little expansive. Mary has keener and truer sight than yours, and not infrequently she knows where you only judge. Had it been otherwise she would not have been given to you for complement. It has happened more than once that, in preferring your opinion to her advice, you have repulsed the inspiration of Angels.”


            On my remarking that I had acted only as I should desire to be acted by in the matter, and judged her friend by my own best, she replied that it was a great mistake to judge others by oneself. She knew that the person in question would act as she had done, because she read her as she actually is, and did not read herself into her.


            “May 9. – While resting on the sofa to-day, but not sleeping, Mary found herself conversing with some spirit who told her she would do well to examine the experiences of persons born blind, with a view to obtaining proofs of the past lives and pre-existence of the soul. For she would find that they had in their dreams perceptions and recollections impossible to have been originated during their present lives. On her replying that these might be due to clairvoyant perceptions during their present lives, it was said that even so they would be proofs of the soul’s existence and power; but it would be found also that they possessed historical knowledge due only to their own reminiscences.”


            On May 11 Mary held in her sleep the interview with Apollonius of Tyana printed as No. XVI in Dreams and Dream-Stories, where it is called “The Metempsychosis.” It cleared up certain difficulties she had entertained on the subject. Remembering that “Eliphas Levi” had evoked the phantom of Apollonius, I referred to La Haute Magie for the particulars. The two apparitions resembled each other, saving that whereas that seen by “Eliphas Levi” wore a shroud, if linceul be rendered strictly, and was dumb, that seen by Mary was clad as a monk in a grey linen robe with a hood, and conversed freely with her, even to laughing out at one of her remarks. When, later, we were initiated into the mysteries

(p. 356)

of the after-life, we were able to recognise Mary’s visitant as the true self of the famous Initiate and Adept, and that of “Eliphas Levi” as at most his astral phantom, or more probably a mere magnetic reflect of Levi’s own idea of him, since his phantom would almost surely have long since been disintegrated and dissipated. Shortly after his withdrawal Mary received some further instructions on the same subject, which she took as coming from him, to the effect that reptiles, carnivorous animals, and other noxious creatures, are not original creations, but the result of their own self-debasement from their proper types. And on referring to the Bible we found, what had previously escaped us, that in Gen. I, 30 it is distinctly and positively declared that “to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life,” was “given every green herb for meat.” (1)


            “May 13. – Swedenborg came to Mary in her sleep last night, and insisted strongly on the necessity of our showing how little of what is called Christianity is derived from Jesus, and how much from those who, taking His name as their authority, used it to sustain a system of their own derived from the ancient sacerdotalisms. In the case of Pythagoras, he said, all that was done was actually done by him, and nothing was foisted on him, and his system was perfect and complete in respect of all man’s needs for soul and body. For by his pure regimen, mental and physical, he was the saviour of both body and soul; while by his wisdom and culture he provided for the due satisfaction of all social and other instincts, and no one has added, or been able to add anything to his work; nor has he been credited with anything that he did not say or do.

            “But with Jesus it is not so. Whatever the perfection He attained for Himself, either He omitted to show others how to attain it, or they have failed to make report thereof, and have accordingly left Christianity to take whatever form, whether of doctrine or of practice, men were pleased to give it. This was the case especially with the doctrine of Atonement, which was not taught or implied by Jesus, and in no way belonged to Him or His system, but was a revival and an aggravation of sacerdotalism. Jesus Himself was no originator, but was a reviver of other men’s doctrine, notably that of Confucius, and was a reformer rather than a founder, His aim being to renovate the Hebrew religion, not to destroy Judaism.”


            Swedenborg’s visits to us did not cease until he had made it clear that he had abandoned much of the teaching on which he

(p. 357)

had insisted in his writings, especially as regards the Incarnation, and that he was satisfied with the doctrine given to us.


            “May 15. – Mary, being very poorly last night, but not asleep, overheard two voices discussing her condition. ‘What is the cause of this constant illness?’ asked one of them. ‘Tubercle,’ said the other. ‘Will it be fatal?’ ‘Not until a certain change occurs in her life.’ ‘And when will that be?’ ‘Not until the age of forty, unless she has a child. That would postpone the change and lengthen her life.’”


            The change in question occurred in her forty-first year, and she died early in her forty-second. A few weeks before this intimation she had been seized with a longing to have a son whom she might train in her own ideas, to carry on the work she had so much at heart; and the longing was so strong and persistent while it lasted as greatly to distress her and impair her working power. I accordingly besought of our supervisors that something might be done to relieve her of this trouble. Whereupon she was made to dream in the most vivid and realistic manner that she actually had a son, whom she reared until he was seventeen, when he died of consumption; which so effectually cured the longing as to cause her to say that she saw it would be wrong for one of her constitution to become a mother.


            “May 17. – Last night Mary had a long and highly dramatic dream, evidently symbolical and prophetic in character, which she is too weak to write out, so that only this meagre sketch can be given of it. In it she found herself, with A., her eldest brother, and me, forced to take refuge by the seaside during a period of most terrible heat and drought. A comet had enveloped the earth, the inhabitants of which were dying off by wholesale, while all produce, vegetable and animal, had perished utterly. The heat, which had begun in October, was most excessive from January to March. The streets and highways were strewn with corpses which, instead of putrefying, were dried up, no one being left to bury them. All traffic had ceased, for there was no one to buy, or sell, or carry. We alone survived. All through the winter the heat exceeded anything known in Africa. Seeking for food, we went into the shops and stores and helped ourselves at will, for there were no other owners. Even the sea afforded no escape from the heat, for it was hot to simmering; and there rose from it dense clouds of steam, which loaded and darkened the atmosphere. In the spring an Angel came to us and said that only three thousand persons remained alive on the earth, and that the new population which was to spring from them would represent a higher condition of being than the world had ever yet known. For the baptism of fire through which the earth was then passing would issue in a pure and perfect doctrine and rule of life. It was not to be as it had been after the great purification as by water known as the

(p. 358)

Deluge. For then the people who had been saved in the ark no sooner came out than they fell back to their old low level in faith and conduct, becoming again materialists and idolaters, and instead of making spiritual sacrifice to God in themselves, shed the blood of others by murdering the poor animals who had been saved with them. And therefore it was that God had said He would no more again punish the earth in that manner, as mankind were so hopelessly perverse that it was of no use to do so. But now there was to be a revelation so full and plain that it could not possibly be misunderstood and perverted, however stupid people might be. And to this end we were to put the Bible into the fire at the first opportunity. Having left us this enigma to ponder, the Angel took his departure, and the dream came to an end.”


            A few days later the Angel returned to Mary and told her what we thought had been sufficiently obvious, that the fire into which we were to put the Bible meant, not destruction, but purification and interpretation. We had an idea, too, that retranslation also might be implied, though it was not specified. However, that work was in progress, and would soon, we understood, be completed; and we looked forward anxiously to the Revised Version, though not without serious misgivings. For, although we did not distrust the scholarship of the revisers, we did distrust their insight, without which they could not possibly understand the Bible as we were now learning it to be. And we well knew the impossibility of translating a book rightly of which one does not understand the meaning. (1)


            “May 25. – We spent yesterday evening with Lady Caithness, and brought home with us her son’s new book, Through the Ages. It

(p. 359)

is a tale of Reincarnation, and contains among its characters that of Mary Magdalen. In was made the occasion of giving Mary in the night the commencement of the promised account of her own former lives. This was in verse, the book in which she read it being a large volume. The following are the verses which she remembered on this occasion sufficiently to write them down. We were delighted alike by their originality and poetic beauty, their mystical depth, and their prophetic import. The allusion to her two chief illuminators, Pallas and Hermes, as the Spirits of Wisdom and Understanding, as functions of her own soul, was another and supremely gratifying element; while the accuracy of the characterisation, which was beyond question, showed her as maintaining the same tincture of soul through all changes of form and condition: –


‘Wake, thou that sleepest! Soul, awake!

            Thy light is come, arise and shine!

            For darkness melts, and dawn divine

Doth from the holy Orient break;


Swift-darting down the shadowy ways

            And misty deeps of unborn time,

            God’s Light, God’s Day, whose perfect prime

Is as the light of seven days.


Wake, prophet-soul! The time draws near,

            “The God who knows” within thee stirs

            And speaks, for His thou art, and Hers

Who bears the mystic shield and spear.


The hidden secrets of their shrine,

            Where thou, initiate, didst adore,

            Their quickening finger shall restore

And make its glories newly thine.


A touch divine shall thrill thy brain,

            Thy soul shall leap to life, and Io!

            What she has known, again shall know;

What she has seen, shall see again;


The ancient Past through which she came, –

            A cloud across a sunset sky, –

            A cactus flower of scarlet dye, –

A bird with throat and wings of flame; –


A red wild roe, whose mountain bed

            Nor ever hound or hunter knew,

            Whose flying footprints dashed the dew

In nameless forests long since dead.


And ever thus in ceaseless roll

            The wheels of Destiny and Time

            Through changing form and age and clime

Bear onward the undying soul.’”


(p. 360)

            It was not until after some years that the remaining stanzas were given her. The whole poem is in Dreams and Dream-Stories.


            “We took a stroll this evening in the Bois after dark, and as we approached the upper end of the lake Mary became lucid, and beheld a number of forms floating apparently in the spray of the waterfall, which she described as being of great variety and beauty, and took to be the naiads, dryads, and other elementary spirits familiar to the ancients. They were not altogether human in form, but the human form predominated in them. Their substance was exceedingly tenuous. The apparition gave her great delight, and she was sorry to quit the spot. This experience was a new exercise of her faculty.

            “June 20. – We have just been reading about the Great Pyramid in some books given us by Lady Caithness, one of which is that by Professor Piazzi Smyth; and we were seeking especially to divine the meaning of its symbology, our dominant idea being that it was designed to express the mysteries of existence, and so to preserve the secret of initiation. Last night Mary had a vision in which we visited the Pyramid, and found it, not in its present dilapidated condition, but quite perfect, and with the head cornerstone duly crowning its summit, and this stone was so dazzlingly bright with a white light that we could with difficulty gaze upon it. As we approached the entrance-passage, a female form, silvery white and of immense proportions, emerged from it and led us into the Pyramid, all the interior of which was filled with the sound of many waters; and we were given to understand that the form was that of Isis, who represents the intuition, and that only by means of the intuition can the mystery of the Pyramid be solved, because it is a spiritual mystery. And the sound of many waters denoted the voices of the soul, of which the intuition represents the perceptions and recollections. No more was shown her at this time, but we feel that we have a clue by following which we shall succeed in solving the mystery of the Great Pyramid, in such wise as to prove that it is really a Bible in stone.”


            In order to render intelligible the next experiences to be narrated, it is necessary to recur to the strained conditions under which of late our association was maintained and our work carried on. (1) Although several months had elapsed since they set in, and much progress had been made in every department of our manifold task, there was little or no abatement of the distressful conditions under which it was pursued, especially so far as I was concerned. And I felt that, for her sake no less than for my own, some means of amelioration must speedily be found. For, as was evident to me, besides the danger of paralysis to myself, she was

(p. 361)

suffering from the inability of my system, when thus depleted of its magnetic force, to yield the supply of vitality on which hitherto she had largely depended, and which – without any overt or conscious act of mine – spontaneously and habitually flowed in a constant current from me to her. She herself was aware of this, and had repeatedly declared that she did all her work in my strength. And now that strength was to such an extent exhausted that I felt it impossible to hold out longer save on the impracticable condition of a separation prolonged until I had renovated my forces.

            Some of the modes in which her lack of magnetic sustentation found manifestation were peculiarly distressing to me. For besides a certain degree of alienation, there was a disposition to refrain from giving me the results of her illuminations, and even from committing them to writing, so that some were lost. But, though grieved beyond measure, I refrained from imputing blame to her even in my own mind. For, as it had been made evident to me that the Gods did not hold her responsible for the liabilities of her constitution, I did not consider that I was entitled to hold her responsible, and refrained from giving utterance to a single word that was calculated to give offence, or that I myself might afterwards repent. And not only was I successful in doing this, but, as I can also confidently affirm, dark, difficult, and painful as was our path, there never was an instant when I was disposed to falter or turn back, so absolute was my confidence throughout in the divinity of our commission, so great the joy set before me in its accomplishment. And I accordingly occupied myself with an endeavour to discover some line of thought which, by interpreting the situation, would enable me to understand and master it. In doing this I did that which seemed the wisest and only course open to me at the time. But later I came to think that the best of all methods would have been to dismiss the matter entirely from my mind, and make as if there were no grievance to be disquieted about, and this for the reason that, owing to her faculty of taking on and reflecting the states, mental or spiritual, of those about her, the very fact that I entertained ideas in any respect condemnatory of the attitude she had been impelled to assume might serve to confirm and intensify that attitude, and thus aggravate the evil I so greatly deplored. But I had yet to arrive at this view of the case, and as it was not given to me to reach it

(p. 362)

in time to spare us both a vast amount of suffering, I can only suppose that the experience and the suffering were deemed indispensable to the unfoldment of our respective natures, for the yet more advanced stages to be accomplished in us.

            The line of thought which actually suggested itself to me turned upon the character of the qualities especially necessary for the peculiar work committed to us. These I had no difficulty in recognising as consisting first and foremost in the qualities which, as we had been told and could see for ourselves, constituted at once our chief point of difference and our chief bond of union – those qualities, namely, in virtue of which the real and spiritual sex of each of us was the opposite of the apparent and physical. Thus, recognising her as the representative of the will element in our joint system, and myself as the representative of the love element, and recognising also these two principles as equally indispensable factors in the work required of us, I came to regard it as probable that our troubles were really due, not to any lack of these qualities in us, but to the defect of our qualities, in virtue of which we were, each of us, unduly sensitive and exacting in a direction which the other of us failed to appreciate, and incapable, therefore, of duly appreciating either each other’s endowments or each other’s deficiencies.

            That the prime condition of a work which meant war to the knife against the mighty orthodoxies, one and all, which claim a vested interest in the maintenance of the world’s sacrificial system was courage I was well aware, and also that courage subsists and finds manifestation under two modes; that there is the courage which finds expression in action and aggression, and the courage which finds expression in endurance and resistance; the former being its masculine mode and connoting will, and the latter its feminine mode and connoting love.

            All this I could see; and also that, as these two principles united had made the world, and disunited had ruined the world, so, reunited, they would redeem the world; and I could recognise them as subsisting in ourselves in a measure adequate even for so stupendous an achievement, if only they were properly combined and rightly directed. But what I could not see was the cause of their apparent estrangement, and the means of their reconciliation; and unless these were disclosed to me, and that forthwith, the strain of the situation must inevitably prove too much for flesh

(p. 363)

and blood any longer to endure. So great, indeed, was the tension that no mutual discussion of the situation was possible. Speech and silence were alike dangerous; and rather than run the risk of it, I devoted many of my evenings to long solitary walks, pleading the need of such exercise to my deranged circulation, though aware that the real motive was no secret to her. Yet we both knew all the time that in heart and soul we were as much at one as ever, and that that “which let and would let until it be taken away” was not of the inner and higher in us, but of the outer and lower; was of the circumferential, superficial, and accidental, not of the central, profound, and essential. Such was the emergency when, on the night of June 23, I retired to rest but not to sleep, saying to myself of the foes by whom we were so sorely beset, “This is your hour, and the power of darkness,” and longing for light and aid, and strength to endure to the end, without some irreparable lesion to the organism. For this was my chief apprehension. I myself was steeled to bear any extreme, to drink of any cup however bitter. But my organism was not myself, it was only mine; and as I knew not its capacity of endurance, I could not answer for it. Presently, as I pondered, while yet awake, the following happened: –


            “It seemed to me that I was sole spectator in some circus or hippodrome. And in the arena were some horses, seven in number, harnessed to a common centre, but all facing in different directions like the spokes of a wheel, and pulling frantically, so that the vehicle to which they were attached remained stationary between them, through their counterbalancing each other; while at the same time it seemed as if it must presently be dragged asunder into pieces. On looking at it more closely, the vehicle seemed to become a person who was attempting to drive the horses, but was unable to get them into a line; and, strange to say, the driver was one and identical both with the horses and the vehicle, so that it was a living person who was in danger of being torn asunder by creatures who were in reality himself. While wondering what this meant, someone addressed me and said that if I would do any good I must help to control and direct the animals which were thus pulling their owner asunder; and that the only way to do this was by so disposing myself that l should be at one and the same time in the centre with the driver, to help him to curb and direct his steeds, and outside at their heads in order to compel their submission. And not only must I be indifferent to their ramping and chafing, I must even suffer myself to be struck and wounded and trampled upon to any extent without flinching; for only when I was so unconscious of self as to be indifferent as to what might happen to me would they cease to have power against me. And the reason why I must be also in the centre was that only there could I effectually co-operate with the driver to

(p. 364)

enable him to do his part in directing what in reality were the forces, as yet unbroken in, of his own system, into the road it was necessary for us both to follow. We were destined to be fellow-travellers, and our journey was to be made together and with that team. It could not be made by one of us without the other, and the failure to effect a complete conjunction and co-operation would bring certain ruin to the hopes of both of us and of all who looked to us. The owner of the horses, I was assured, could not of himself control them, and I could only enable him to do so by an absolute surrender of myself.”


            Applying this vision to the situation, the moral was obvious so far as I was concerned, and I wondered whether Mary would receive anything equally suggestive for herself. In the morning, after remaining unusually late in her room, she silently handed me the following account of an experience which had similarly and simultaneously been received by her: –


            “I was shown two stars near each other, both of them shining with a clear bright light, only that of one the light had a purple tinge, and of the other a blood colour; and a great Angel stood beside me and bade me look at them attentively. I did so, and saw that the stars were not round, but seemed to have a piece cut out of the globe of each of them. And I said to the Angel, ‘The stars are not perfect; but instead of being round, they are uneven.’ He told me to look again; and I did so, and saw that each globe was really perfect, but that in each a small portion remained dark so as to present the appearance of having a piece out; and I noticed that these dark portions of the two stars were turned towards each other. Upon this I looked to the Angel for the explanation.

            “And the Angel said to me, ‘These stars derive their light not only from the sun, but from each other. If there be darkness in one of them, the corresponding face of the other will likewise be darkened; and how shall either reflect perfectly the image of the sun if it be dark to its companion star? For how shall it respond to that which is above all, if it respond not to that which is nearest?’

            “And I said, ‘Lord, if the darkness in one of these stars be caused by the darkness in its fellow, which of them was first darkened?’

            “Then he answered me and said, ‘These stars are of different tinctures; one is of the sapphire, the other of the sardonyx. Of the first the atmosphere is cool and equable; of the other it is burning and irregular. The spirit of the first is as God towards man; the spirit of the second is as the soul towards God. The first loves; the second aspires. And the office of the spirit which loves is outwards, while the office of the spirit which aspires is upwards. The light of the first, which is blue, enfolds, and contains, and embraces, and sustains. The light of the second, which is red, is as a flame which scorches, and burns, and troubles, and seeks God only, and his duty is not to the outward, for it is not given to him to love. God, whom he seeks, is love; and therefore is he drawn upward to God only. But the spirit of his fellow descends. She indraws, and blesses, and confers; and hers is the office which redeems. Wherefore, if she fail in her love, her failure is greater than his who hath no

(p. 365)

love; and to be perfect she must forgive until the seventy times seven, and be great in humility. For the violet, which is the colour of humility, is of the blue. And if she seek her own, or yield not in outward things, her nature is not perfected, and her light is darkened. Let Love, therefore, think not of herself, for she hath no self, but all that she hath is towards others, and only in giving and forgiving is she rich. If, on the contrary, she make a self withinwards, her light is withdrawn and troubled, and she is not perfect; and if she demand of another that which he hath not, then she seeketh her own, and her light is darkened. And if she be darkened towards him, he also will darken towards her, in respect, that is, of enlightenment. And thus her failure of love will break the communion with the Divine, which is through him. He cannot darken outwardly first; for love is not of him. If he darken of himself, it must be within towards God. But that which he receives of God, he gives not forth himself. But he burns centrally and enlightens his fellow, and she gives it forth according to her office. And if she darken in any way outwardly, she cannot receive enlightenment, but darkens the burning star likewise, and so hinders their intercommunion.’

            “Having thus spoken, the Angel looked upon me and said, ‘Ye are the two stars, and to one is given the office of the Prophet, and to the other the office of the Redeemer. But to be Prophet and Redeemer in one, this is the glory of the Christ.’

            “Then I asked the Angel to tell me what was meant by my being the older spirit of the two; and he said, ‘The reason is a fivefold one. (1) Because the line is first, and the circle afterwards. (2) Because the going forth is first, and the coming back afterwards. (3) Because Adam is first, and Eve is afterwards. (4) Because the Prophet is first, and the Redeemer afterwards. The fifth I cannot recall.’”


            I suggested that it might be “because the soul must first find God for herself before she can go forth in love to reveal God to others.” Mary acquiesced in the thought, but could not say positively if it was the one given her by the Angel. None of the replies, however, really met her question as she meant it.

            A few days later, finding there was a spirit present who desired to speak with us, we sat for writing, when the following was given: –


            “I have no good news for you. A great fight has begun, and it is but the commencement of trouble. But one thing is needful, that you love one another. It is in love that you both are lacking. Yes, both of you. You err also – you, Caro, who blame Mary for lack of lovingness. All means which minister to your mutual affection are helpful, and you want all that you have.”


            This was another intimation, not that my estimate of her character was wrong, but that her character being what it was, I was wrong in requiring of her that which she had not in her, and in allowing myself to be distressed at the manifestations of its deficiency instead of taking these for granted and being

(p. 366)

indifferent to them. By degrees the philosophy of this line of conduct became obvious, as I have already remarked. Her liability to reflect that which was presented to her led her to reflect the states excited in me, to the making of them her own. Hence the only way to repress those states in her which were so distressing to me was not to allow myself to be distressed by them – even to recognise them – but to maintain perfect equanimity and control under all circumstances. The lesson was not an easy one to learn, or, when learnt, to practise.

            We had no difficulty in referring the first part of the above message to a new hitch which had arisen in her university course, and was exercising us much at this time.

            She had passed all her Doctorat examens, and there remained only the acceptance of the thesis by which the granting of a diploma is preceded for her to complete her student course and be qualified to enter on the practice of her profession as an M.D. of the Faculté de Paris. Of the cost in toil and suffering, physical and mental, at which that privilege had been obtained this history gives at best but a faint indication. For, being limited to things occurring in space and time, history cannot take account of the dimension which is conditioned by intensity.

            Having passed all her examens with the highest credit, and accomplished her course in the shortest possible period, saving only for the single failure the fault of which was not hers, she resolved to make her thesis an exposition of the principles on behalf of which she sought a diploma, entitling it “L,’Alimentation Végétale de l’Homme.” In it she demonstrated the non-carnivorous nature of man, as determined by his physical structure and moral constitution, and advocated a return to his natural diet as the remedy for the evils which afflict modern society. In a treatise thus conceived the wrongs and the sufferings of the animals inseparable from the use of them as food necessarily held a conspicuous place in the moral division of the argument; and though there was no opening for a direct denunciation of scientific experimentation upon them, the whole tone of the paper pointed unmistakably in that direction. It was the usage for the candidates for a diploma to recite their theses in the schools before an audience of professors and students, and to defend them in open disputation. And she was so full of her subject and confident of the impregnability of her position,

(p. 367)

as well as of her ability to do justice to it even in a foreign language, that she looked forward with ardour to an ordeal usually regarded with terror. Her disappointment, therefore, and consternation were great when, on presenting herself at the appointed time and place, the chef of her hospital – Professor Leon Le Fort – came forward and informed her that her thesis could not be received as it stood; not because it was unscientific – its accuracy was unimpeachable in that respect – but because it was moral! He himself, he declared, and some of his colleagues did not object to it on that score; and indeed, now that they had admitted women, they could not expect altogether to exclude sentiment, at least for the present; but there were some of their number, one in particular, whose position made it impossible to disregard them, and who were enraged at its tone, and the only course open was to postpone the reading until the obnoxious portions had been eliminated, when she would be called up again and passed, but without a public disputation. For, though admitting it to be scientifically sound, the Faculté could not allow teaching so opposed to all their traditions to be promulgated among the students. Meanwhile he himself would make the necessary excisions, and she might be perfectly easy about the result. It would only involve a delay of a few weeks.

            Nothing could be more kind than his manner, and we felt most grateful to him. But on returning home and considering the matter, she was disposed to regret having selected a theme her treatment of which was so likely to antagonise the Faculté. But here I was able to reassure her, by persuading her to look beyond the present vexation to the satisfaction it would be in the future to reflect that the incident had been – as it surely would be – the means of attracting to the subject a degree of attention it would not otherwise receive, making her temporary loss its permanent gain. We were not long in ascertaining the name of the chief objector. He was one of the party most violently opposed to the admission of women to degrees. And from the accounts which reached us of the discussions, and even dissensions, which arose among them over the thesis, it was evident that these inveterate patrons of the shambles and the torture-chamber fairly writhed under the thought that such a protest on behalf of mercy and purity of life could have

(p. 368)

emanated from one trained in their school. It was a veritable thrust from the spear of Ithuriel, and the hand that had dealt it was a woman’s!

            The delay, however, threatened a serious inconvenience. In the expectation of being free to quit Paris immediately after the thesis, we had allowed the lease of our apartments to expire, and were unable to renew it for so short a period as that for which now we should require them. In this emergency our friend Lady Caithness came to the rescue, by insisting on our making our home with her for the time, which we gladly did. The day finally appointed for the thesis was July 22, and Mary, who was keen to detect such coincidences, took it as a good omen that it was the day of her who had claimed to be her patron-saint – St. Mary Magdalen. On repairing to the schools, we found her friendly chef and two other professors waiting to examine her on the subject of her thesis, and such others as they might choose, in a small room and with closed doors, myself as next friend being the only other auditor. The examination took the form of a friendly conversation, in which it was evident the professors each and all took no small pleasure in drawing out a candidate whom they recognised as of exceptional endowments. Finding them thus sympathique, Mary was perfectly at her ease, and did full justice to her faculty of eloquent and lucid exposition. On the conclusion of the function her chef, who evidently took no small credit to himself for having composed the difference which menaced her diploma, warmly shook hands with me, and congratulated me on her success, saying, “Madame is now one of us”; to which I mentally replied, “Yes, but with a very considerable difference.” And another of her examiners, Professor Charles Richet, invited her to a vegetarian déjeûner which he meant to give expressly in her honour.

            The novelty and importance of the subject, her courage in selecting such a theme, the talent shown in the treatment, and the disputation to which it had given rise, secured for the thesis a demand altogether exceptional in the case of such productions, to the speedy exhaustion of the first edition and issue of a second. And the question received an impulsion which extended over the Continent generally, leading to the formation of vegetarian societies, several medical men warmly supporting the cause. And in the following year she published, with Messrs.

(p. 369)

Kegan Paul, an English edition under the title of The Perfect Way in Diet, restoring the eliminated parts, which forthwith took rank as a foremost text-book on the subject, and was translated into various languages.

            Our stay with Lady Caithness was productive of some experiences worth recording. In compliance with her wish, Mary asked for a special instruction respecting the allegory of the Fall, and received in reply Chapter No. VII of Part I of Clothed with the Sun. (1) It was given her in sleep by a group of spirits who held converse together as if expressly for her benefit. Their opening remarks contained the following rule for the interpretation of the mystic Scriptures: –


            “All the mistakes made about the Bible arise from the mystical books being referred to times, places, persons, and things material, instead of being regarded as containing only eternal verities about things spiritual. The opening chapters of the sacred books exhibit the meaning and object of religion and the method of salvation. They are an epitome of the whole Bible, a kind of ‘argument’ prefixed to the divine drama of man’s spiritual history. And the key to their interpretation is the word Now. For there is no past in the Divine Mind, no future in the Divine Economy. In answer to é. question put by Mary, she was told that by the ‘coats of skin’ was signified a deeper descent into materiality.”


            Our hostess being engaged in an arbitration suit with the trustees of her husband’s estate, she was desirous of information or advice other than that which could be obtained on this side, and we accordingly consented to sit with her for writing on the subject, though not without reluctance, as we had been warned against introducing matters merely mundane into such intercourse. To make intelligible what occurred, it must be stated that several times in the course of this particular day I had been surprised by the vivid recurrence to my mind of Esther, my wife, of whom for a long time I had heard nothing. Whenever I happened to be alone, and especially in my own room, I was reminded of her with such force as to cause me to wonder what the reason might be, as there was no external cause for it. I did not make mention of the circumstance, but in the evening, on our sitting for the writing desired by our hostess, it was written, “I am Esther. I have been much with

(p. 370)

you to-day. I am frightened here. There are so many strange spirits in this house.”

            In explanation of this remark, Lady Caithness told us that it was formerly an ambassadorial residence, in which receptions had been held, to which all kinds of people came. I should add that, as no writing came while she sat at the table, she had withdrawn, leaving Mary and me to sit alone. “Esther” then wrote: “There is an Englishman here who desires to speak with Lady C.”

            The instrument was then controlled by another and much stronger hand, which wrote: “Make your mind easy about your lawsuit. It will go in your favour. – FRANCIS ST. CLAIR.”

            On this Lady Caithness said she had never heard of such a person; and if there had been one of that name, he must have belonged to the Rosslyn branch of the family, and not to the Caithness branch, who spelt their name “Sinclair.” But in any case she would have expected his sympathies to be on her husband’s side in the matter rather than on hers. On this I suggested that, as a spiritualist, there would be between her and a spirit a tie which took precedence of any merely earthly relationship. Whereupon there came immediately three strong taps in assent on the table, none of us being within reach of it, as Mary and I had pushed our chairs back while we conversed. We then referred to the Peerage, and found that Francis was a very frequent name with the St. Clairs of Rosslyn. On replacing our hands on the instrument he wrote: “There is a judge here of my acquaintance; I will consult him on the matter and report his opinion.”

            We sat again on the next two evenings, but had no responses. On the third day Mary reported that he had come to her in her sleep, and said that he had consulted his friend the judge, but found that he took a different view of the case, saying “it was a much better case for a jury than on paper.” What this meant we had no idea, until Lady Caithness explained it by telling us that the case was being argued before a judge in chambers, where the appeal was to hard law, and not before a jury, where the appeal would be to the feelings.

            Having been a great and an eminently successful phenomena-hunter, Lady Caithness was able to relate to us many wonders which she had witnessed with Mr. D.D. Home and other strong

(p. 371)

physical mediums. She had seen, she told us, heavy articles of furniture cross a room at Mr. Home’s bidding, and on one occasion, when in a strange house, he had responded to a test which consisted in calling a book down from the top of a high bookcase at the farther end of the room by causing it to float through the air into his hands. She was also one of the party which had witnessed his celebrated feat of taking with his fingers a red-hot coal from the fire, which he first placed in the hands of some of the party without burning them, and then on the head of a white-haired old gentleman – the late well-known Samuel Carter Hall – and wrapped the hair about it, but without singeing it or burning him, the coal being still so hot that on being placed on a piece of paper it set fire to it.

            On our inquiring of what order she supposed the spirits to be by whose aid Home did these things, Lady Caithness said that they could not be of a high order, to judge by his treatment of them. For when they came clustering around him in advance of the performance, he would slap at them with his hands, and bid them keep off and wait until they were wanted. By which she supposed them to be mere elementals and not souls. It so happened that I had been told the story of the hot coals immediately after it had happened both by Lady Caithness herself, who was then the widowed Countess de Pomár, and by the mistress of the house in which it occurred, Lady Gomm, wife of the Field-Marshal of that name, and also by Lady Louisa Kerr, and their accounts tallied exactly. But that was long before I was in a position to attach any credit to such stories; and being myself a fair proficient in the art of conjuring, I naturally inclined to a different explanation of the modus operandi from that which now seemed possible, seeing that we ourselves had had some experience of the existence and prowess of the “Salamander” or “fire-spirits.”

            We had already had the benefit of our hostess’s excellent library, being enabled by it to make acquaintance with many of the seers, mystics, and occultists of past times, from the Neoplatonists, Hermetists, Rosicrucians, and other orders of initiates, including Boehme, Swedenborg, and “Eliphas Levi”; and now we enlarged our acquaintance, which was of the slenderest, with the literature of modern Spiritualism, in its didactic and doctrinal, as distinguished from its merely

(p. 372)

physical and phenomenal, aspect; and notably with the writings of Laurence Oliphant’s master, T.L. Harris, and the pretentious volumes entitled Angelic Revelations, which represented a certain English circle of spiritualists. And eminently satisfactory to us, if only in confirmation of the assurance we had received that we had “nothing to do with Spiritualism, our work lay far above that,” was the result of our examination. In regard to which it would be difficult to say whether we were most struck by the vapidness and unsubstantiality of some, and the sensuousness and unspirituality of other, of these books, or by the absoluteness of the distinction, both in kind and in degree, between their teaching and ours. And it was with no little satisfaction that we found our hostess sharing our conviction in this respect. Indeed, so unreserved was her recognition of our work that she insisted on being allowed, when the fitting time should come for the publication of our results, to defray the cost, affirming her conviction that it was part of her mission to do so.

            On quitting Paris we sojourned a while at Boulogne, hoping to recruit our exhausted energies by the seaside before returning to England. The bathing and walking did something to restore us, but the wear-and-tear of our life at Paris had made ravages which were too deep-seated to be repaired in the few weeks we allowed ourselves. And we were yet far from free from molestation by the adverse influences which had so greatly troubled us. Mary, too, had the added grief of losing her little friend “Rufus,” who died of sheer old age, after nine years of pettage such as never before fell to rodent. And nothing would do for her but that he be taken home to the parsonage for interment. He was accordingly packed in powdered charcoal and hermetically sealed in a tin box, and finally deposited in the garden under a rose-bush. The child-side of her nature came out strongly on the occasion; her grief was great, and it was long before she became accustomed to the loss. The little creature had developed considerable intelligence under her sympathetic tuition, and would manifest its affection by screaming with delight on again seeing her after a lengthened separation. It had pined almost to death for her on the occasion of her visit to Italy, though left in kind and careful hands. The death took place on August 15, which, she did not fail to remember and to note, was the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


            While at Boulogne I was once more reminded of the strange destiny which controlled my relations with my son. It was in 1877 that – as already recorded – it had been intimated to me that he would thenceforth be in some sense dead to me, and that my mother’s spirit had assured me aloud that he should be her special care. Since that time things had been so ordered as to keep us perpetually apart. And now that I was actually on my way home and expecting to be with him, he received his appointment for India, obliging him to start forthwith, and giving him time only to pay me a hurried visit of farewell at Boulogne, after which we did not meet again for nearly ten years.

            Our stay at Boulogne was not altogether barren as regarded our spiritual education. Among the things received were the following: –


            “The Buddhist doctrine, which forbids absolutely the destruction of animal life, is defective. Things hopelessly noxious, whether human or animal, may be slain, but the former only under sanction of the Elect; because these alone are possessed of the spiritual perception requisite to discern between those who are and those who are not irredeemably evil. The Elect kill only ‘in the name of the Lord,’ and on behalf of the earth’s redemption.

            “The Mormons were aware of this permission, and on the strength of it instituted their order of ‘Danites,’ or ‘Destroying Angels.’ But they wrongfully assumed themselves to be ‘elect,’ and their doctrine generally is false. They make the body everything, and ignore the soul.

            “According to mystical science, murder consists in killing one who, in virtue of his spiritual manhood, alone is truly man. This condition is attained by the reception of the divine spirit whereby the soul is vitalised and eternised.

            “Theocracy is the rule of the Elect; man, when regenerate, being a vehicle for Divinity.”




(356:1) That the carnivora represent “no essential part of the Divine order, but a result of man’s own degeneration,” see England and Islam, pp. 559, 560, and 591; and Addresses and Essays on Vegetarianism, pp. 155-6. – S.H.H.

(358:1) In England and Islam, Edward Maitland says: “For the whole of the Reformation cycle, the three hundred and sixty-five years which have passed since she received her Bible at the hands of William Tyndale, England has worshipped that Bible as a fetish, without comprehending one word of it. For England has all that time tolerated, nay fostered, the priest and his blasphemous doctrine of vicarious atonement, without even perceiving that in so doing she has ignored the one great lesson taught in the Bible from one end to the other, – the lesson that the knowledge of and path to God lies through the intuitions of which the prophet has been the minister, and not through the blood of which the priest has been the shedder. Through this blindness has come the failure to see that the lesson of the Bible is the lesson of all existence – the lesson that by the perpetual sacrifice of her own lower to her own higher, and not by the sacrifice of another, does all nature ‘arise and go to the Father,’ from whom it first proceeded; and that in the eternal conflict between the soul that seeks to rise and the flesh that seeks to hinder, the prophet has, as a rule, been he who is on the side of the soul and its intuitions of God, and the priest has, as a rule, been he who is on the side of sense and of the flesh, and of the negation of God and of the soul’s intuitions” (pp. 305-6). – S.H.H.

(360:1) See p. 305 ante.

(369:1) The illumination is dated July 29, 1880. – S.H.H.



Sections: General Index   Present Section: Index   Work Index   Previous: XV Floods of Light   Next: XVII Among the Astrals