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I ANXIOUSLY sought Information as to the best place to which to take her, consulting many persons and books. Egypt stood first with most authorities, Algiers next. But even about Algiers opinions varied greatly, one writer stating that he had lived there twenty-eight years, and had known twenty-eight exceptional winters, so unreliable was the climate. A visit paid us by Sir Richard and Lady Burton enabled me to consult him, when I found him a complete encyclopaedia, and able to speak of most places from personal experience. Cairo he pronounced to have been spoilt for really delicate persons by its detective system of drainage; and only in the desert was pure air to be found. Pau, Tunis, Tangiers, and the Riviera all came under his ban. He most favoured Teneriffe. We were finally determined by the editor of the Journal de Médecine, Dr. Lutaud, whose acquaintance Mary had made in her crusade against Pasteur, of whose system Dr. Lutaud had declared that, instead of preventing hydrophobia, it caused it.

The place recommended by him was a spot on the Riviera, with the advantages of which as a health resort he had been so strongly impressed that he helped in establishing a sanatorium there. This was Saint Raphael, and we accordingly repaired thither, leaving Paris, February 15 [1887], accompanied by A., after he had spent a few days with us in Paris. It was evident from the manner of the doctors, of whom she saw several, that they considered the left lung too far gone for recovery, and that only a few weeks or months of life remained to her. Remembering how often her doctors had said the same during the last ten years, we still kept up hope. All depended, it seemed to us, on the weather we should find on the Riviera.

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Meanwhile, thanks to her indomitable will, she had been able to write without intermission [to the Lady’s Pictorial] her weekly medical letter, with answers to correspondents, and her monthly article for an American magazine, and this without any falling off in quality or style, her vivacity never flagging however great her weakness and suffering. It seemed as if the abstraction of mind consequent on thinking lifted her above the organism to a level where her health was unimpaired, so that when thus engaged she was no longer the sufferer and invalid. I could not but feel, however, that the work ministered to exhaustion, according to the teaching received by us that “thought is substance, and every thought a substantial action.” And I could not but wish – and it was her wish also – that if she must work, it should be in her special line, which no one else could do, that the world might be the richer in the knowledge which it so sorely needed, and which she alone could supply.

But, knowing the hygienic value of cheerfulness, I would say nothing to depress her, but, on the contrary, chose for our reading together the most amusing and interesting literature. Thus I read aloud to her the whole of King Solomon’s Mines, which was then just come into vogue, and so great was her enjoyment of it that for once I accounted Mr. Rider Haggard a benefactor of his kind.

            On reaching Marseilles she announced her arrival there to Lady Caithness, at Nice, in a post-card, as follows: –



“By the time this reaches you we shall be at St. Raphael, Hôtel Beau Rivage. My husband is with me. We came on Tuesday 15th, in wagon-salon, and arrived here to-day at 1 A.M., more dead than alive – at least I was. Mr. M. has been passing most of his time with Baron Spedalieri, and will spend the evening with him. I want my husband to go over to Nice and see the next Battle of Flowers, but I fear he won’t like to leave me, which is a pity, for he won’t have another chance. We find the weather bitterly cold, and not at all what we expected. Lady Burton is at Cannes.



My intercourse with the veteran student of the divine science was in the highest degree cordial and gratifying. He came to the station to greet Mary on our departure for St. Raphael, which was the only opportunity then available, and he promised to visit us while we were on the Riviera. He gave me

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some unpublished MSS. of his master and friend, “Eliphas Levi,” and also the latter’s own copy – largely annotated and illustrated by himself – of the book of the eminent Hermetist, the Abbot Trithemius, printed in 1567, De Septem Secundeis, being an exposition of the course of the world’s spiritual evolution under the successive operation of the Seven Elohim, or Spirits of God, of the Creative Week of Genesis. The book had an especial interest for us as containing the principles of the calculations in virtue of which, as recorded by “Eliphas Levi,” Trithemius had prophesied the New Illumination and its date, of which Baron Spedalieri had recognised our work as the realisation. (1) He gave me also photographs of himself and of “Eliphas Levi.”

Arrived at St. Raphael, she wrote to Lady Caithness: –



“My husband thanks you for your kind invitation, which, however, he could not accept because of the sore throat given him by the bitter cold. To-day he is quite laid up, and has written to decline Mrs. Thursby Pelham’s invitation to lunch with her on Monday and see the Battle of Flowers. I never felt such cold; it is glacial. We shiver all day, and can only get warm in bed. We have very nice rooms, all en suite, full south, looking straight over the sea, but at present I have seen little of the beauties of the place, as I dare not leave the hotel. Lady Burton, at Cannes, writes that she also is laid up with cold, as are other friends of ours at Beaulieu; so that altogether the slings and arrows of this wintry-time seem to have done fell work! (...)

“Since I wrote the first page of this letter we have been out for our first walk together. As it is my first walk since the beginning of my illness on November 17 [1886], you may suppose it has been quite an event. We only went a very little way along the shore, but still it is a beginning. I am hoping now that before this week is over we may be able to take a trip to Nice. Though I fear we shall see nothing of the Carnival.

“After my husband has gone home to England, Mr. M. and I think of going on to Naples, and then spending Easter in Rome. I have always longed so much to see Rome, and especially at Easter.

“You must let me know how your ball went off. Send me a paper about it. St. Raphael knows nothing of the Carnival; it is as quiet as you please. My doctor (Lutaud) comes this week, and, I expect, will come to see me either to-morrow or next day. He is the editor of the Journal de Médecine, and is Pasteur’s bitterest enemy. Hence we are already quite comrades. I should like to get a sight of Nice in the season. When I saw it the Promenade des Anglais was quite desolate. Moreover, I want to see your beautiful


[Portrait of Baron Spedalieri]


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house, about which I have heard so much. I am trying to find out whether I can make the journey to Nice and back in the same day. – Always your loving



Charming as we found St. Raphael for its scenery, quietude, and sundry other advantages, its climate during most of our stay was disagreeable and treacherous in the extreme, keeping us in constant anxiety. An intense sun, combined with a keen wind, was the rule, and the hours were few and far between when it could with any certainty be said that a walk or a drive could be taken with safety. And this even for persons sound of lung. Desiring to escape from the place and try some other, we were very anxious for the promised visit of her doctor. He came at length, but under circumstances altogether unanticipated and lugubrious. Early one morning we were roused by feeling our beds heaving and sinking as if on a sea-wave, a sensation which was repeated several times at short intervals. Meanwhile Mary and A. were clamouring at my door, telling me there was an earthquake, and asking what was best to be done, and whether we ought not to rush out into the open lest the house fall upon us. As the fall of the house was doubtful, and exposure to the bitter air outside meant certain death for her, I counselled an instant return to bed and a calm awaiting of events, taking care to keep warmly covered up. We all followed this advice, and lay so long as the vibrations continued, listening for the subterranean rumble which preceded each shock, and calling out to each other, “Here comes another,” the effect always proving proportionate to the loudness of the rumble, which last exactly resembled the passage of a heavy train underground. The railroad was well within hearing, so that we were able to mark the similarity of the two sounds, and to observe that the only difference between them lay in the fact that when a train passed, our beds did not upheave, and when a shock came, they did. In the course of the morning they ceased; telegrams from Nice and other places announced a terrible earthquake, and during all that day and the next, trains in numbers arrived, or passed by, filled with fugitives hastening to some safer district. Among the later arrivals was Dr. Lutaud, having the look of a man scared and shaken, as by some narrow escape from imminent destruction. He was asleep, he told us, in his hotel at Mentone, when, on being

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roused by a shock and a crash, he looked up to see the open sky above him, the roof and ceiling having fallen in, but without injuring him.

The following struck us as a somewhat singular coincidence. It will be remembered that, when at Nice in the autumn of 1882, Mary had been charged by a voice speaking through her, while under the influence of an anaesthetic taken to allay asthma, to make a fresh will, on the ground that her existing one was an “evil will.” (1) She had declined to comply, partly because she both distrusted the source of the injunction and resented the dictation, and partly because she was satisfied with the will as it stood. Now, however, after an interval of nearly four and a half years, when driven back almost to the same spot, she found herself spontaneously approving the change then indicated, and accordingly remade her will, further consideration having entirely reversed her judgment in the matter. (2)

We remained at St. Raphael until A. quitted us for home, his parish duties compelling his return, and on the same day started for Nice – the earthquake having ceased for some days – and arrived there March 8, but unfortunately not until after dark, owing to our having first seen A. off on his homeward journey. For the evil Karma which we had been given to understand would “pursue Mary and her nearest associates so long as she persisted in leading a virtuous life” (3) baffled all the precautions we had taken to select eligible lodgings. Following the strong recommendation of some friendly English gentlewomen who were staying at our hotel at St. Raphael, we found ourselves doomed to a repetition of the experiences which had driven us from the Riviera on our former visit in 1882. For we had dismounted ourselves and luggage, dismissed our carriage, and engaged rooms, only to discover that we were in the very house at which the earthquake had culminated in Nice, and in the only part of the house the earthquake had left habitable, the rooms in which were long and low and narrow, and on the ground floor, and altogether such as gave us the


[Portrait ofEliphas Levi”]


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worst forebodings of what might follow. But there was no alternative but to make the best of them for that night; and the people, who were Swiss, were really so nice that we had not the heart to show distrust of their assurances of attention and sympathy, to say nothing of the effort it would be to Mary to set off at that hour in quest of another hotel. As it was, neither of us went to bed, the night being passed in pacing our rooms, endeavouring to allay her asthma by burning stramonium, a drug which was her constant vade mecum when travelling, sipping hot coffee, and in fighting the mosquitoes, which thickly swarmed.

On communicating our position next morning to Lady Caithness, she promptly sent her carriage for us, and a recommendation to go to the Hôtel Cosmopolitan, whither we at once repaired, and where we remained, much to our comfort, during our sojourn at Nice. In the afternoon we visited her at her beautiful house – the Palais Tiranty – a meeting the pleasure of which seemed so completely to efface for Mary the effects of the miseries of the night as greatly to encourage my hope of her ultimate recovery, by showing how extraordinary was her power of self-repair. But the hope proved delusive, for it soon became evident that Nice was no place for her, the keenness of its winds far exceeding those we had left behind at St. Raphael, while the dust was such as to be a constant torment and source of danger. I longed to get her to Naples; but she was unwilling so soon to leave her friend; and, moreover, we had invited Baron Spedalieri to stay with us at our hotel. The visit was duly paid, and lasted three days, to our mutual great satisfaction, we had so much in common on the higher planes of thought, knowledge, and experience. The impression produced on him by Mary was, he declared, of the profoundest kind, fully realising the high anticipations he had been led to form. Among the most pleasant elements in our sojourn at Nice were the drives which Lady Caithness took us in its beautiful neighbourhood, where we visited various of her friends. Of these the most notable was the eccentric and accomplished Comtesse de Chambrun, at one of whose receptions in Paris Mary had been surprised and amused at being accosted as Queen Anne Boleyn by a certain literary marquis, distinguished for his studies of that period of English history, and

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who declared that she exactly resembled his conception of that character. The Mi-carême occurring during our stay, we witnessed and took part in the Battle of Flowers, our friend’s son driving us up and down the Promenade des Anglais for the purpose. The scene was bright and animated in the extreme, and Mary enjoyed it vastly, showing a gaiety and vivacity which made for me the most vivid and saddening contrast with her actual state, only too plainly visible to me, as I sat opposite to her, in the lines of her wan and wasted face, which were so strongly brought out by the brilliant sunlight as to confirm the worst anticipations of the results of her malady. But, as was characteristic of her, excitement lifted her into another sphere, where all consciousness of the lower was lost, and even the apprehensions expressed by me of the danger of her exposure to the keen wind that was blowing seemed to her unfounded. Nevertheless, I have since always considered that day at the Battle of Flowers as more than any other event responsible for the final result, by serving to intensify and confirm a mischief which until then was not past cure.

On March 20 [1887] we left Nice for Genoa, on our way to Rome, Mary positively refusing to visit Naples on account of the harrowing descriptions she had heard of the barbarous treatment to which animals are subjected in the streets of that city. We spent two nights at Genoa, where she had arranged to meet her brother, General Bonus, and the proprietors of a flat in Kensington for the lease of which she was in treaty. The project was regarded by her relations as an unwise one, considering the state of her health, and her mother wrote in dissuasion. I recognised the force of their objections, but refrained from opposing an impulse which, in her case, might proceed from a source transcending ordinary perception. I therefore took care only that she should have all the reasons, for and against, fully before her. Her own view she stated as follows: –


“I cannot continue to travel and live in hotels, but must have a home of my own in which to live or to die. London is the only place which suits me, and is within reach of my husband. If I had had a home there I should not have come abroad, and might have escaped all that I have suffered since. Even

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if it was my destiny to be homeless until I was forty, I have reached that age, and outlived so much of my evil Karma.”


Her business satisfactorily settled at Genoa, where her brother duly met us, we proceeded to Pisa, intending to proceed the following day to Rome; for, besides having already seen Pisa, we both disliked it for the atmosphere of death-in-life which pervades it. But we were detained there for four days by an attack of illness which we ascribed to the propinquity of our hotel to the river, and the effect of which was to reduce Mary yet lower.

Determined to leave no opening for mishaps at Rome, and aware of the liability of that place to become crowded on the approach of Easter, I took occasion on our detention at Pisa to obtain in advance the promise of rooms at the Hotel Continental, choosing that locality for its altitude above the old and low-lying districts of the city. But the precaution proved unavailing. We reached our hotel only to find that the pressure of arrivals had rendered it impossible to retain rooms for us, and we were consequently compelled to put up at an address given us by the manager, the accommodation at which was such as to compel our removal on the day following, supposing the quest for a suitable lodging to be successful, a result declared by our host to be out of the question. He was not far from wrong, so arduous a quest did it prove to be. Only after several hours of driving from house to house, and street to street, and quarter to quarter, did we succeed in obtaining even tolerable accommodation, and this was in the district the farthest removed both in locality and in climate, as well as in costliness, from what we desired. For it was at the Hôtel de Russie, in the Piazza del Popolo. Happily we had some friends in Rome who knew of a suite of rooms then on the point of being vacated, which promised to suit us, and after three days at the Russie we moved into the Hôtel de la Ville, close by.

During our long quest on the day after our arrival we had an experience which showed us what we might have expected had we gone to Naples. I had entered an hotel, leaving Mary, exhausted and speechless with fatigue, in the carriage. But on my returning to her after the few minutes spent in inspecting the rooms offered and making inquiries, she was no longer there, and the driver could only point to the hotel in explanation.

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Presently she reappeared breathless and flushed, as from a fright or some unwonted exertion. She had seen from the carriage a boy ill-treating a dog on the other side of the Piazza. In an instant she had rushed to the rescue, seized the boy, given him a vigorous shaking and rating, and forced him to let the animal go. Then, on the boy calling to a man, who appeared to be his father, for help, she had beaten a hasty retreat into the hotel, whither he refrained from following her. And her only reply to my expressions of concern was to show me her broken parasol, and say that, if she was to stay in Rome, I must get her a stout stick to carry, as she could not keep her hands off ruffians who ill-treated animals.

            Never, we thought, had pilgrimage to the Eternal City been made with so much of difficulty, toil, and suffering. Mary took it all as part of her evil Karma, which she was in course of expiating and working out; and, to judge by the event, it seemed, indeed, to be a fulfilment of destiny that the place which she had been led to regard as having been the scene of the “most unworthy” of her former lives should prove to be the scene also of her greatest suffering in her present life.

The prospect of a sojourn in Rome had been to me the occasion of considerable anxiety. For, though she was little more than nominally a member of the Roman Church, and was profoundly conscious of its manifold and grievous shortcomings and positive defects, she was not without a certain respect for its antiquity and greatness; while the fact that, despite its gross materialisation of the mysteries of religion and conversion of them into sheer idolatry, it had retained in its integrity the system of symbolism in which they were veiled, while the Protestant communions had so grievously mutilated it, served to withhold her from being altogether alienated from it, even while maintaining absolute independence of judgment and a steadfast refusal to submit to any ecclesiastical direction whatever.

There was yet another sentiment which prompted her to keep in touch with the Church. This was the impression that she might obtain from it some official recognition of our work which would ensure to it a serious and far-spreading attention. And hence, when – as more than once happened – overtures had been made to her offering to make her the head of a new religious order if she would submit to direction, she had been disposed to regard

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the proposition as not unworthy of consideration, but had readily abandoned the idea when, on consulting with me, she came to see in the proposal but an insidious device for suppressing both her and our work altogether. For, as was obvious to me, it would be simply suicidal to the whole sacerdotal system to propound an interpretation which, by the very fact of its being an interpretation, posited the understanding, instead of authority, as the basis of belief, and by its nature was destructive of the whole fabric of the theology on which sacerdotalism rested, and would involve, therefore, the damning admission on the part of the Church that, so far from being, as it claimed to be, infallible, it was not merely fallible, but utterly fallen and corrupt, and was a Church, not of Christ, but of Antichrist. As well might Jesus and the prophets, and their followers, appeal to Caiaphas and his successors for recognition of their doctrine as we to official ecclesiasticism for recognition of ours.

Besides which, as I argued on such occasions, the very fact of our message being made to appear as emanating from, or as sanctioned by, some one particular section of the Church, would fatally prejudice against it all other sections. And, moreover, the fact of the selection of myself, who, while really a free-thinker and detached from all sections, was nominally a Protestant, was proof positive that our mission was really Catholic, embracing the whole of Christendom and the world in its scope, and not merely Roman Catholic, which section was sufficiently represented by herself.

I had further pointed out that the acceptance by her of such proposals would involve our dissociation from each other, and the dissolution of the collaboration in which we had been divinely conjoined, seeing that neither would the makers of the proposal accept me nor would I join them, or become in any way connected with a body having so awful a record behind it as the Roman Church. To do so would be to condone not only the most pernicious system of imposture by which he human mind had ever been repressed and enslaved; it would be to condone the Inquisition and its wholesale practice of human vivisection done in the interests of a caste. It was not from the Church visible, terrestrial, and corrupt that our commission was derived, but from the Church invisible, celestial, and incorruptible, and it would be the basest of betrayals to submit to the former. No; if the Gods had

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wanted both of their instruments to be even nominally members of the Church of Rome, they would have selected some other than myself for her colleague.

To all this she had unreservedly assented, and we had long ceased to refer to the subject, considering it finally settled. But knowing her sensitiveness on the astral plane in her system to influences appertaining, as do those of sacerdotalism, to that plane, I could not but be alive to the possibilities of a contact with them in their own chiefest headquarters and stronghold. And hence, while systematically refraining from any allusion to the subject, and leaving her absolutely free and unbiassed to form her own conclusions, I watched carefully for such indications as might manifest themselves, hopefully bearing in mind the old saying that the best antidote to Romanism is a visit to Rome. Even in the incident, distressing as it was, of the cruelty witnessed by her in the streets on our first day in Rome I could recognise an ally, by reason of the adverse feeling it would create in her to the whole system of the place.

            The few friends we had in Rome were in sympathy with us rather than with the Church. Among them were Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Williams, who were regular winter residents, and had been among the attendants on our lectures at the Hermetic Society. Mrs. Williams was the accomplished translator of some of the writings of Giordano Bruno, himself a Hermetist. They showed us much kindness and concern, and through them we made acquaintance with a certain Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, and a careful and an erudite student of the Hindu Scriptures, translating them for himself. Reading The Perfect Way while we were in Rome, he found in it, to his astonishment, passages identical with some which he had rendered from the Upanishads, but of which no translation had ever been published; and he accounted for the coincidence by supposing an identical illumination for both.

Mary was especially anxious to learn the extent to which the Church exerted itself to elevate and humanise the people at large. The information obtained left her in no doubt on the subject. It effectually convinced her that the one endeavour of the Church was to sustain its own authority and promote its own material interests, and the last thing it cared for was the intellectual, moral, and spiritual improvement of the people. Ignorance was, for it,

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the mother of devotion, and the more ignorant the people the stronger would be their faith and the firmer the foundation of the Church. Even the brutality of disposition manifested by their treatment of animals was no bar to their being accounted good Catholics. The animals were not Christians, and Christians owed no duty to them. From Rome she wrote as follows to Light: –



“To the Editor of ‘Light.’

“SIR, – I have been long ill, and am still too great an invalid to enter into any controversy; but I should like, à propos of the subject of Mrs. Penny’s interesting letter of March 19 on animals and their after-life, to relate a pathetic little story which I heard from a well-known spiritualist in Paris. At a certain séance held in that city, a clairvoyant saw and described spirits whom she beheld present. Among the sitters was a stranger, an English gentleman, unknown to anyone in the room. Looking towards him, the clairvoyant suddenly exclaimed, ‘How strange! Behind that gentleman I see the form of a large setter dog, resting one paw affectionately on his shoulder, and looking in his face with earnest devotion.’ The gentleman was moved, and pressed for a close description of the dog, which the clairvoyant gave. After a short silence he said, with tears, ‘It is the spirit of a dear dog which, when I was a boy, was my constant friend and attendant. I lost my parents early, and this dog was my only companion. While I played at cricket he always lay down watching me, and when I went to school he walked to the door with me. He constituted himself my protector as long as he lived, and when he died of old age I cried bitterly.’ The clairvoyant said, ‘This dog is now your spirit guardian. He will never leave you; he loves you with entire devotion.’

“Is not that a beautiful story?

“I don’t think, however, that I should have been moved to give it here but that, while I was at Nice a few days ago, someone sent Lady Caithness a new Journal just issued by an ‘occult’ society or lodge, in which there was a passage which deeply grieved both of us. It was a protest against belief in the survival of the souls of animals. Such a passage occurring in any paper put forth by persons claiming to have the least knowledge of things occult is shocking, and makes one cry, ‘How long, O Lord, how long?’ The great need of the popular form of the Christian religion is precisely a belief in the solidarity of all living things. It is in this that Buddhism surpasses Christianity – in this Divine recognition of the universal right to charity. Who can doubt it who visits Rome – the city of the Pontiff – where now I am, and witnesses the black-hearted cruelty of these ‘Christians’ to the animals which toil and slave for them? Ill as I am, I was forced, the day after my arrival, to get out of the carriage in which I was driving to chastise a wicked child who was torturing a poor little dog tied by a string to a pillar – kicking it and stamping

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on it. (1) No one save myself interfered. To-day I saw a great, thick-shod peasant kick his mule in the mouth out of pure wantonness. Argue with these ruffians, or with their priests, and they will tell you ‘Christians have no duties to the beasts that perish.’ Their Pope has told them so. (2) So that everywhere in Catholic Christendom the poor, patient, dumb creatures endure every species of torment without a single word being uttered on their behalf by the teachers of religion. It is horrible – damnable. And the true reason of it all is because the beasts are popularly believed to be soulless. I say, paraphrasing a mot of Voltaire’s, ‘If it were true that they had no souls, it would be necessary to invent souls for them.’ Earth has become a hell for want of this doctrine. Witness vivisection, and the Church’s toleration of it. Oh, if any living beings on earth have a claim to heaven, surely the animals have the greatest claim of all! Whose sufferings so bitter as theirs, whose wrongs so deep, whose need of compensation so appalling? As a mystic and an occultist, I know they are not destroyed by death; but if I could doubt it – solemnly I say it – I should doubt also the justice of God. How could I tell He would be just to man if so bitterly unjust to the dear animals?


            ROME, March 28, 1887.”


We witnessed much in and about Rome which confirmed this estimate. For, despite her weakness and suffering, she mustered force to visit everything of paramount interest, and to study the ways of the world around her, and where cruelty was concerned she was lynx-eyed. Her only difficulty was in believing that Naples was far worse than Rome, since what she witnessed here kept her in a constant tremor of anguish and indignation. She waited, however, until she had quitted Rome to give expression to her feelings about it in her Diary.

Meanwhile she found herself attracted, with a force and decision

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which surprised her, to the Greek, as against the Christian, associations and art of Rome. She greatly preferred the temples to the churches, and the statues of the gods to the pictures of the saints. Indeed, from some of the latter she turned away with positive loathing, confessing herself sickened by the false and morbid conceptions they represented of the nature and meaning not only of religion, but of existence itself. These were the paintings depicting men torturing and emaciating their bodies for the sake of their souls, a practice which she declared to be sheer materialism, as well as cruel and unjust, saying that the body is man’s animal, and he has no more right to torture it than any other animal.

The sight of the approaches to the Vatican galleries excited her greatly, on account of their exact resemblance to what she had seen in a dream. The guard at the entrance; the architecture; the long, narrow, steep stairs; the corridors which led to the Pope’s own apartments, – all these she declared to be exactly as beheld by her when she had threaded her way through them in sleep on the occasion in question, as I had assured her they were on her recounting the experience to me. And now she saw them with her bodily eyes, she was satisfied that she must have visited them in her astral body. The dream occurred in 1885, in London, while she was assisting Lady Burton with her hapless petition to the Pope. (1) Hapless because, although having some hundreds of thousands of signatures, it was refused presentation on the ground that the effect of a papal utterance on the subject would be to burden the consciences of the faithful with a new sin to confess, and one of which a precise definition was impracticable.

The dream began by her visiting some of the committee meetings of the Anti-Vivisection Societies she had been the means of founding on the Continent. She had been greatly disappointed at the meagreness of their results; and now, on presenting herself among them, she found that the only members present were a few women, and that these were engaged in discussing matters personal and domestic merely, and neglecting their real business on the plea that it was not urgent and might be performed at any time. Finding her proposition to set to work at once coldly

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received, she impatiently withdrew, and, following a sudden idea, made her way straight to the Pope, covering hundreds of miles in what seemed to her a few moments, and passing without pause or hesitation, as if she knew the way perfectly, in at the entrance by which we had entered, past the guard, and up the steps, and through the corridors, directly into his Holiness’s sanctum, where he was sitting at his writing-table alone and lost in thought. Here, kneeling beside him, she cried in accents imploring and almost commanding, “Holy Father, help me to save the animals from their cruel oppressors; above all from their scientific tormentors, those worst enemies of God and of man. Sanction the creation of an Order devoted especially to the abolition of vivisection; give us a title and a badge of your own devising and your blessing, and by God’s help I will undertake and do the rest!” He listened without speaking, looking keenly at her the while, as if – it seemed to her – that he was trying to identify her with some character already familiar to him, but with an expression in which compassion and contempt were so curiously blended as to baffle completely her attempt to divine his frame of mind. Then, still keeping silence, he took from the table a large sheet of blank paper, which he twisted about until it was folded in the form of a fool’s cap. This he placed on her head, and said, “My daughter, you shall have your Order. It shall be called ‘The Fools of Christ,’ and this cap will be your badge.” Such was the dream the recollection of which so much excited her on visiting the Vatican; and she so greatly wondered whether she had actually visited and addressed the Pope on the occasion in her astral body that she contemplated seeking an interview in order to ask him.

Of all her dreaming experiences which were not of distinctly celestial derivation, those of the night of April 12 bore the palm, whether for multiplicity of incident, vividness of portrayal, or startlingness of dénouement. They were veritable surprise dreams, of which the end was wholly unanticipatable, and yet, when it came, was evidently the end to which the whole dream led up. These are the two dreams related in Dreams and Dream-Stories under the headings, “A Haunted House Indeed” and “The Square in the Hand,” one a tale of sorcery, and the other of chiromancy. Their length precludes their repetition here, their contents being respectively about 1800 and 2000 words. They

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came at a time when her feebleness and suffering were extreme, and were separated from each other only by a fit of coughing which woke her for a short interval. Nevertheless, shattered as she was by them, she related them both to me next morning, and during the next two or three days wrote them out at length without a break of memory or change of a word, or any diminution in her usual luminous and faultless style. So that it would be impossible to divine from the hand the condition under which they were received and recorded. We knew of no event that could have suggested either of them. And the significance, if any, was by no means obvious. Of the first one her own idea was that it might be intended to denote the tendency of the Church to absorb and suppress the individuality of those who yield to it, and as a warning, therefore, to herself against its glamour. The second, we fancied, might represent an actual fact in one of her, or our, previous lives. I shall have occasion to refer to the former dream again, when the time comes to relate how it found its explanation.

The only entry in her Diary respecting Rome, which was made in Rome, is the following: –


ROME, April 14, 1887. – I see that, very strangely, the last entry in this Diary bears the date on which my long and terrible illness began, November 17, 1886. Since that day I have endured a long agony, and have completely parted with what youth and beauty yet remained to me. I do not know that much would be gained by recording here the suffering through which I have passed. It is not yet over, and will, I suppose, only cease with my life. Whether I brought it upon myself occultly by means of my projections against Pasteur, which, not being sufficiently strongly impelled or skilfully directed, recoiled upon myself – a supposition which I have some grounds for thinking probably correct – or whether the whole weight of my Karma has fallen on me en bloc as a result of my entry upon a certain occult period of my career, matters not very much. At all events, this is the sixth month of an illness that began on November 17 with an attack of inflammation of the lungs, complicated with generalised neuralgia, and which held me a prisoner in my bedroom for nearly four months. When at last I could leave Paris, I came south with A. and C. to the Riviera, where – at St. Raphael – we experienced an earthquake, which laid Mentone, and partly Nice and all the Italian Riviera, in ruins, and which is now historical. Then, after three weeks’ sojourn at St. Raphael, where my new will was signed, A. left for England, and C. and I went to Nice, and there saw Baron Spedalieri. Thence after a few days we went to Genoa, and there met Captain S. and his wife, in order to settle affairs about a home in London which they have to offer. There

(p. 316)

also my brother J. came to see me. I had already seen him both in Paris and at St. Raphael, where he spent two days with us. From Genoa, after only a couple of days’ sojourn, we passed on to Pisa, where cold and fatigue detained me four days, and so to Rome on March 26, Saturday. Since I have been here I have seen but little, being ill and unable to bear fatigue, but I managed on Easter Sunday to go to St. Peter’s in the morning.

Among the grounds for the suggestion above made of the possibility that her projections against Pasteur had recoiled upon herself was the following: – The idea of such a thing had not occurred to either of us. But one night, in the course of the experience, being between waking and sleeping, I suddenly became aware of the presence, high in air, and aiming directly at my head, of a body like a luminous projectile, which, it seemed, must strike me, and if it struck me, must kill me. I instantly started up to a sitting posture, keeping my eyes intently fixed on the missile, but only to recognise the impossibility of avoiding it by any physical effort, such as change of position. But as it approached it diverged from its course, taking – to my great alarm – the direction of her room, which, however, it failed to reach. For it fell in the corridor between the two rooms, where it disappeared, doing no harm, and leaving no trace, being, of course, of too tenuous and subtle a nature to affect anything merely material. I told her of the occurrence next day, and we consulted both her professor in occultism and some books. The result was to lead us to suppose that, owing to the cause named in her Diary, the force projected had recoiled, boomerang-like, on failing to reach its intended destination, but owing to the strength of the spiritual rapport between us, which virtually made us one system, had been attracted equally to both of us, and consequently missed us both, failing innocuously midway between us. I myself was convinced that her illness was in no wise due to the recoil of the force projected. It was amply accounted for by the loss of nervous energy involved in the projections themselves, and following as these had done upon exhaustion by overwork, and by the sub-sequent exposure to wet and cold.

Meanwhile I had despatched a printed circular to the members of the Hermetic Society, informing them of the President’s illness and the impossibility of holding a session that year.

The following record of our experiences exhausts the entries made in her Diary at Rome: –


(p. 317)

ROME, May 24 (1) [1887]. – A thunderstorm took place yesterday at midday. I had a headache when I rose, but as the storm drew on it became rapidly worse. Sharp stabs of pain occurred in the left half of my brain, like electric explosions, and at length, just after a very vivid flash, I seemed for a moment to lose consciousness. From that time the pain became worse. I had an afternoon engagement, which I had to give up. I darkened the room, put on a dressing-gown, took down my hair, and lay motionless on my sofa without eating until seven o’clock. Then I had a few vegetables and a little bread, but finding my head still grievously painful, I went to bed at eight. During the whole six hours that I had been lying on the sofa my thoughts had been very lucid. I had been, first, endeavouring by concentrative thinking, and a series of orderly injections of conception, to formulate the process of disintegration of the astral self. Second, I earnestly sought to place myself under “direction,” and united my intention with that of the Will which I felt to be upon me. (I cannot explain this process more clearly; words will not do.) Third, I then endeavoured to project and distribute myself by a series of progressive and culminative efforts. Finally, when I undressed and went to bed, nothing had occurred beyond this. But hardly had I disposed myself on the pillow, about a quarter to nine, I think, than I was aware that the withdrawal of my astral self had really begun. At first I heard a man’s voice speaking continuously close to me on the right, and not seeing anyone, and feeling – I know not why – annoyed, I think on account of the pain in my head, I turned on the opposite side. The coverings of the bed were then pulled, and my knee was tapped smartly two or three times, as if to draw my attention. I still continued, however, to disregard this, and tried hard to sleep, but in vain; the talking continued, incessantly and clearly, and other voices joined it. Once or twice I heard English, but more frequently the language was one I did not understand. I began to feel vehemently distressed, and to long for sleep with a kind of intense thirst, when I became aware of a curious sensation of drawing and of levitation. Something like a strong current of wind seemed to suck me up and draw me away. I was unable to resist it; it was like a stream. Then I perceived that I was floating about half-a-yard above the ground, and became aware that the whole of my person had lost its natural weight, so that if I threw out an arm or a leg, or turned my body quickly, I lost my balance, and was in danger of turning completely over. For the most part I floated sideways, or on my back, but I felt myself to be so light that a very small current of air would wait me upwards or displace me. I could not control my movements properly, and when the ground over which I passed became uneven, I could not rise sufficiently to avoid striking against the raised parts. This shows I was still material in some sense. I endeavoured by a great effort to lift myself higher into the air, so as to float over and clear these obstacles, but I could not do this by effort, until a current seemed to catch me, coming

(p. 318)

I don’t know whence, which took me like a feather and carried me right away into a strange room, where I only recovered myself to find I was in the presence of a single individual, a man, tall, and a stranger. The room was so dark I could see nothing clearly, nor could I discern his features. Something impelled me to exclaim, “Now I know I really am out of my body, but I should like to do much more than this. The thing I most desire of all is to be able to convey to paper, at once, and without mental effort or mechanical writing, all the splendid things that are told me in my interior state. They lose so much by my having to write them down in the ordinary way. I want to have them flashed through my hand by simply laying it on blank paper, just in the glorious rolling words in which they come from the Intelligences themselves.”

The strange man took a sheet of white paper from the desk at which he was sitting and laid it before him. “Like this, you mean,” he said; and as he spoke he put the palm of his hand on the white paper and moved it slowly over the surface of the page. As he did this words appeared on the paper, which seemed either to rise up from within it or to drop from his hand, I don’t know which. It was instantaneous; yet he never moved his fingers, but simply drew his hand slowly over the page from right to left. In this manner he projected a line of clear writing in blue, the letters of which seemed to start up from the paper. The characters were in an unknown language to me, so I could not read them. But I cried out at once, “Yes, just like that! Teach me how to do that.” He smiled, I think, though I could not clearly see his face, but I have that impression. At all events, what he said, very clearly and emphatically, was this:–

“My child, such a process as that would be more costly to you than writing letters on bank-notes.”

This, or perhaps the way it was said, and the meaning it seemed to convey, produced a powerful impression on me. He then put the paper aside, and began to talk to my spirit in an interior way; not in words, for I cannot recall a single thing he said this morning, but I am sensible that some knowledge was imparted, which is still in my spirit, and which will come out when wanted, just as the writing on the blank paper started up to sight when he moved his palm over it. While he was thus conversing with me, the current of air took me again and swept me away, as it had taken me. On my way back I saw my sister and a group of people in a drawing-room somewhere. I saw many confused figures, and heard voices talking; then an unpleasant sensation of returning pain in my head, giddiness, and general discomfort. Then I recovered myself fully; it was just twelve o’clock (midnight), and all was over. I had been away just three hours.


The season was approaching when Rome would no longer be possible. It was still too early to return to England, as her new home would not be available until July. We determined, therefore, to spend the interval in making trial of the treatment at Bourboule-les-Bains, in Central France, which was strongly

(p. 319)

recommended both for its own efficacy and for the climate of the place. The journey would be long and tedious, and I regarded it with much apprehension, so extreme had become her weakness and suffering towards the end of our sojourn in Rome. For one short interval of about two days she enjoyed a respite. It was while the sirocco was blowing. “Oh! If only this would but last I should get well,” she cried in joyous accents. “I am well now, for I have no cough, no neuralgia; I can breathe quite freely. A few weeks of this would cure me. Can we not find some place where it is always sirocco?”

When it had passed she sank lower than ever. Sight-seeing was out of the question. It took all her strength and courage to stroll, leaning heavily on me, to the Pincian Gardens, close by. Meanwhile, in view of the coming journey and the necessity for assistance in taking care of her, I summoned from England the brother who had been with us on the Riviera, and had offered to hold himself in readiness in the event of any emergency. Knowing him to be admirably qualified, no less by experience than by nature, for the office, his coming was a vast relief to me, as well as a great comfort to Mary, who held him in high esteem; and we set out in better spirits than at one time seemed possible on our journey, leaving Rome May 21 [1887], and travelling by short stages, with the double object of avoiding fatigue and whiling away the interval until the opening of the “cure” season at La Bourboule. Thus we halted in turn at Siena, Florence, Parma, Milan, Turin, Chambery, Clermont-Ferrand, and Royat, reaching La Bourboule June 17. At all these places she visited the chief objects of interest, allowing neither pain nor weakness to daunt her. Our longest sojourn was at Florence, where we stayed from May 24 to June 8, putting up at the Hôtel Minerva, in the Place Santa Maria Novello, which I selected on account of its remoteness from the river. The result fully justified the choice. She was more free from distress than for some time past, and took delight in visiting the principal galleries and churches. Her delight culminated in the Convent of San Marco; for in Fra Angelico she seemed to find a kindred spirit. Her sympathy with Savonarola also was very strong. While at Florence an invitation came to us from the wife of our venerated friend, Dr. Gryzanowsky, to visit them at their villa near Lucca, whither he had retired broken with illness and overwork. Her going

(p. 320)

was of course out of the question, but she insisted on my going; and I had no reason for refusing on her account, as her brother was so well qualified to tend her. So I went for a couple of days.

Our friend’s home was a charming villa in the lovely vale of Segromigno, a few miles from Lucca, where he lived tended by his wife, an Englishwoman, and her two maiden sisters. But his condition was the saddest imaginable, a cerebral stroke having paralysed the faculty of speech while leaving his mind intact. So that, while full of ideas he was eager to express, he never could get beyond the third word of what he wanted to say; when finding himself baffled he would clasp his head with his hands, uttering a cry of despair. His delight on seeing me was manifested vividly, as also was his grief at the sad news I had to give of my dear colleague. His appearance fully accorded with the high estimate I had formed of his character and intelligence, in a measure far surpassing that of any man I had ever known, so noble were his features, so keen his glance. He had evidently many years remaining of good and useful work in him; but in his eagerness to accomplish it, he had disregarded the laws of health, and so brought his affliction on himself. He championed many causes, and was the backbone in Germany of the opposition to vivisection. Stimulated and instructed by him, Prince Bismarck declared of himself that, if only he remained long enough in power, he would abolish vivisection in Germany. Such was Ernest Gryzanowsky, whose favourite nom de plume was Iatros, “physician”; a truly worthy son was he of Hermes, the “physician

of souls.”

The fête of Garibaldi occurred during our stay at Florence, when the city was illuminated, and, to my great delight, Mary had the opportunity of witnessing the lighting up of the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio as I had seen it on the occasion of King Victor Emmanuel’s entry on the foundation of the kingdom of Italy, with Florence as its capital, and considered the most exquisite effect of the kind I had ever beheld, the lights being so contrived as to give the whole structure the appearance of luminous alabaster. She was fascinated by it, and we watched it from our carriage for a long time, unable to quit the spectacle.

            The only entry made by her in her Diary while at Florence was the following: –


[Portrait of Dr. Ernest Gryzanowsky]


(p. 321)

FLORENCE, June 6 [1887]. – It is strange I should have made no entry at Rome of the impression produced on me by the Eternal City. I went thinking I should love Rome; I found that I hated it. Hated the peasants most of all, and the priests. The whole place and its influences left a bitter taste with me. I shall never wish to see Rome again, should l live a hundred years. A great horror and contempt of the degraded cult, called Christianity, which from Rome has gone forth to poison the whole earth seized me. Worse even that Protestantism in this, that it has taught the people to be cruel to their beasts. How can poets endure Rome? No art, no marble or painted or columned beauty, can compensate for the daily sight and hearing of the devilries of Italian peasants. And the priests! Pah! They resemble black flies buzzing about the putrid corpse of a dead religion. Florence is sweeter and wholesomer than Rome, because, I suppose, it has not been cursed with direct papal government. But they are barbarous here also. I have seen a man strike his horse furiously with his fist upon its nostrils because the poor creature snatched a wisp of grass from a torn sack.

In Florence I met Vernon Lee (Violet Paget), whom Mrs. Elma Stuart knows, and who came here to my hotel to see me. Happy Vernon Lee! She has greater possibilities than I, for she is not yet thirty. Miss D., a friend of hers, also came, but I was too ill to see much of anybody. A. writes that the agreements for the flat are signed, so I shall come into possession of it at midsummer.


Arrived at La Bourboule, after seeing us comfortably lodged, her brother took his leave, and she proceeded forthwith to practise the “cure,” under the direction of a local physician. His diagnosis of her condition was far from favourable, the mischief in the left lung being so serious. The place, though still somewhat rudimentary, had much to commend it as a health-resort. It stands high, being on the elevated volcanic plateau of Puy-de-Dôme – famous for its connection with Pascal – and a few miles from Mont-Dore. Its scenery, walks, and drives are charming; and its climate, at the season of our sojourn, struck me as the most delicious I have ever known in any part of the world. So much so that I felt that if only she could have the benefit of it long enough, she would have a good hope of recovery. And for a time the hope seemed in fair way of being fulfilled. But the term required for the “cure,” and allowed by the season, was altogether inadequate, and in the third week of our stay she made the following entry in her Diary:–


BOURBOUIE-LES-BAINS, July 5, 1887. – Not cured yet! No, nor even mended, were it but a little. Still the cough, still the afternoon fever, still the weakness, still the neuralgia. From November to July the same continual malady and enforced idleness. Where now

(p. 322)

are all the projects I had formed for this year, the book I had to write on the Creed, the novel, the stories, the essays? I have passed a year of bitterest suffering, of weariness of spirit and torment of body. My left lung is in caverns, they say; my right is inflamed chronically. My voice is broken and gone, with which I had hoped to speak from platforms; wreck and ruin is made of all my expectancies. Can a miracle yet be wrought? Can will accomplish what medicine fails to perform? The hard thing is that I cannot will heartily, for lack of knowing what I ought to desire. Is it better for me to live or to die? Unless I can be restored to the possibility of public life, it is useless for me to live. Dying, I may the sooner obtain a fresh incarnation and return to do my work more completely.


There was at least so much of improvement in some respects that I had no apprehension in having sole charge on the journey home, long as it was. Travelling by short stages, we reached London without mishap, saving only a detention for four days at Boulogne, through stress of weather, on July 13, and at once took up our abode at 15 Wynnstay Gardens, of which she had taken over the furniture with the lease, so that we were able at once to take possession. Her own maid was already there, and we were speedily joined by A., who from that time forth passed with her as much of his time as could be spared from his clerical duties, and placed her under the charge of Dr. W.H. White of Weymouth Street, an old friend of his own, in whose skill he had much reliance, and whose attention was unremitting, notwithstanding that he was precluded from accepting a fee from a fellow-doctor. It was clear from the first that he considered the case hopeless.




(302:1) Pp. 168-169 ante.

(304:1) P. 90 ante.

(304:2) This will, which was signed at St. Raphael (see p. 315 post), was not Anna Kingsford’s last will. Her last will was made a few months later (see p. 341 post). – S.H.H.

(304:3) Vol. I, p. 420.

(312:1) See pp. 307-308 ante.

(312:2) Writing in 1877 of the attitude of the Catholic Church towards, and of the new dogma of the redemption of the lower animals, Edward Maitland says: “Only three or four years ago this fallible Pope [Pius IX], when appealed to on behalf of a project for diminishing the terrible cruelties practised in Italy upon animals, declared that it was quite a mistake to suppose that Christians owe any duty to the lower animals. Herein the ‘Vicar of Christ’ was one with the tormentors. He was fallible morally and fallible spiritually. He proved that he had failed to discern the true or the full meaning of ‘Christ’ in respect either to past or future. He did not see that in ‘Christ’ all creation had been virtually taken up into God; nor did he see that Christendom was on the eve of the promulgation of a new dogma, – the dogma of the universal salvation of animals through their recognition by man as his brethren and essentially one with man, and in man ‘one with God’” (England and Islam, pp. 181-2; and see p. 8 ante). – S.H.H.

(313:1) See p. 226 ante.

(317:1) This cannot be the correct date. It is probably a printer’s error for “April 24”; or, if “May” be correct, the day must have been before the 22nd, because they left Rome on the 21st, and arrived at Florence on the 24th of May 1887 (see p. 319 post). – S.H.H.



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