Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.


Letters of H.P. Blavatsky.

VI.

By the end of 1883 H.P.B. had resolved to go to Europe. Just about this time the members of her family in Odessa were in great trouble. General R. A. Fadeef, the brother of H.P.B.’s mother, was dying. They were all of them so overcome by sorrow and by continual watching over him, whilst on the other hand they knew of H.P.B.’s intention to start for Europe, that for a long time not one of them wrote to her. Only a few days after the funeral they thought of informing her about their common misfortune. But their letters reached Madras when H.P.B. had already left that city, and were sent back to Europe after her departure. Meanwhile she spent some time in Bombay and let her family know that on the 7th of February, 1884, she had arranged to embark on board the "Chundernagore". She wrote:

"I am starting depressed by a terrible foreboding. Either uncle is dead or I am off my head. The night before our leaving Adyar I dreamed of a scene which happened exactly twenty years ago in Tiflis, in 1864, when I was so ill, as you remember. I was lying on a sofa in the hall dozing, and on opening my eyes I saw Uncle bending over me with so much sadness and pity in his face that I jumped to my feet and actually burst into tears, just as I have done when this scene repeated itself all over again in dream. And about five days ago, in a railway carriage, I was alone in the compartment at about two o’clock a.m. I was lying down but not sleeping, when suddenly between me and the window through which the moon shone very brightly, I saw someone standing. The lamp was covered, but all the same I recognized him at once. It was Uncle, pale, thin, dishevelled. Lord, how I started forward, and then heard in answer to my cry his voice as if vanishing in the air, ‘Farewell to you, Helena Petrova’ — and then everything disappeared. I refused to believe myself. My heart was breaking: I felt I was to believe, but tried not to do so. And then a third time, again when awake: I was not asleep, having great pain in my leg, but shut my eyes in the effort to doze. Half-lying in an arm-chair, I saw him once more before me. But this time as he formerly used to be, twenty years ago. He was looking at me with an amused twinkle in his eyes as he used to do. ‘Well’, he says, ‘and so we have met once more.’ ‘Uncle’, I cried, ‘Uncle, for goodness sake tell me you are alive!’ ‘I am alive’, he answered, ‘more than at any other time before, and I am shielded from suffering. Do not give way to sadness, but write to them not to make themselves wretched. I have seen father and all of them, all of them.’ The last words sounded as if going away, becoming less and less audible, and his very outline became more transparent and at last disappeared altogether. Then I knew for certain he was no more in this world. I knew he was ill all this time, but it is so long since I heard from you. But then he chose to come personally and say good-bye to me. Not a single tear in my eyes, but a heavy stone in my heart. The worst of it is that I do not know anything for certain."

H.P.B. got her mail at Suez, and only then learned from the newspapers and her relations’ letters that she had been perfectly right.

H.P.B. stayed in Nice with the Countess of Caithness before going on to London. Whilst there, she received numerous invitations to stop with people in England, and replied to these letters in a sort of circular. It reads as follows (translated from the Russian):

"Having received the cordial invitations of ... and others, I am deeply touched with this proof of the desire to see and to make the acquaintance of my unworthy self on the part of both new and old friends in England. But I do not foresee for myself any possibility of struggling with my fate. I am ill, and feel myself to be much worse than in Bombay and even more so than in the open sea. In Marseilles I spent a whole day in bed, and am still in bed, feeling as if I were on the point of breaking into pieces like an old sea-biscuit. All that I hope to be able to do is to mend my weighty person with medicines and will-power, and then drag this ruin overland to Paris. And what would be the use of my going to London? What good could I do to you in the midst of your fogs mixed up with the poisonous evaporations of the ‘higher civilization’? I have left Madras a mon corps defendant; I should not have gone at all if I had not been compelled to make up my mind on account of my illness and the orders of the Master... I feel sick and cross and wretched, and gladly would I return to Adyar if I could... Lady Caithness is an incarnation of all that is good: she does everything possible to rest me and to make me comfortable. I must wait here till the weather is more settled. When the March winds are over I shall go to Paris to meet the delegates of the European Branches of the T.S., but I very much fear it will be torture for me. Am I fit for such civilized people as you all are? But in seven minutes and a quarter I should become perfectly unbearable to you English people if I were to transport to London my huge, ugly person. I assure you that distance adds to my beauty, which I should soon lose if near at hand. Do you think I could listen with equanimity to discussions about Sankaracharya being a Theist, and that Subba Row does not know what he is talking about; or to still more striking statements about Raj Yogis, to the crippling of the Buddhist and Adwaita teachings even in their exoteric interpretations? No doubt as a result of all these trials I should burst a blood-vessel. Let me die in peace if it is not given to me to go back to my familiar Lares and Penates in my dear Adyar!"

H.P.B. dispatched letters daily to Odessa, where at that time both her aunts and her sisters lived, imploring them not to deprive her of a last meeting with them on this earth, with all the passion she always felt in regard to her family. It was like the affection of a child.

"My dear, my sweet one, don’t you bother about money. What is money? Let it be switched! Katkoff is bombarding me with telegrams. One of them was sent to me here by post from Madras. Twenty-nine words! I expect it cost him at least 500 francs, and when I wrote to him from here he sent another asking for my articles. He must be wanting them badly if he asks for them at such cost. So we shall have money. I expect you must have been greatly impressed with all the flatteringly magnificent articles about me in the newspapers, in the Pall Mall and others. They praise me entirely out of all proportion. In spite of all my uncouth and far from presentable figures with my swollen legs, I am getting to be a la mode! Reporters from all parts simply give me no rest.

Next from Paris in 1884:

"If for no other reason, come for the sake of the fun and see how I am worshipped as a kind of idol; how in spite of my tearful protests all sorts of Duchesses, Countesses, and ‘Miladies’ of Albion kiss my hands, calling me their ‘saviour’ — who has torn them from the abyss of Materialism, unbelief and despair — sic! You will see for yourself how they carry on about me... You will probably go to at least one of the meetings, to one of the Seances Philosophiques de la Societe Theosophique d’Orient et d’Occident in the princely halls of the Duchesse de Pomar. You shall see there the elite de la societe et de l’intelligence de Paris. Renan, Flammarion, Madame Adam, and lots of the aristocracy from the Faubourg St. Germain... And besides, we really do not want any of them at all, but for God’s sake do not always change your mind: do not kill me. Give me this greatest and only happiness in the end of my life. I am waiting and waiting and waiting for you, my own ones, with an impatience of which you can have no idea... I have run away from my cosmopolitan friends and interviewers, and other prying torturers, leaving Paris for a few days for Anghein, Villa Croisac, belonging to my dear friends Count and Countess d’Adhemar. They are real friends, caring for me not only for the sake of phenomena — which be bothered. Here I have a whole enfilade of rooms at my own and at your service. But if you wish we can easily live in Paris, coming here only for a few days. The Countess is a charming woman: she has already prepared rooms for you, and insists upon your staying with her. It’s only a quarter of an hour from Paris, past St. Denis, and the station is nearly at the entrance of the chateau. Don’t be afraid of being in their way. Their house is a huge one. She is a very rich American, so nice and unpretentious. Her husband also, though a great aristocrat and a crusted legitimist, is very simple in his ways."

In spite of this, Madame Fadeef and Madame Jelihovsky preferred to stay with H.P.B. in Paris, where they spent six weeks together. Many interesting things happened. Mr. W. Q. Judge was at that time staying in the same house with them. When the time came for the party to break up, H.P.B. started for London some two hours before her sister and aunt left for Russia. The latter accordingly saw her off at the Gare du Nord, with a large party of friends and acquaintances. To use Madame Jelihovsky’s own words: "H.P.B. was very unwell, being hardly able to move her swollen feet which gave her awful pain. Most probably I was not the only one to nourish angry thoughts against her all-powerful Mahatmas — if they actually were so kind as described — thinking that they might help her, relieving her suffering, were it only in part, now that she had a long trip and the sorrow of parting with us before her. As usual she stood up for them, assuring us that though they do not think it a good thing to relieve people’s suffering (the latter being the lawful reaction on each separate person), yet her own particular Master had often helped her, saving her from mortal illness. I walked, supporting her under the arm, to the platform, when suddenly she drew herself up, and glancing over her shoulder exclaimed: ‘What is that? Who touched me on the shoulder? Did you see a hand?’ No one had seen any hand, and we all stared at each other in astonishment. But how great was our surprise when Helena Petrovna smiled, and, pushing my arm aside, walked ahead firmly and briskly as I had never lately seen her do. ‘So now’, she said, ‘this is an answer to you, Vera; you have been abusing them for their lack of desire to help me, and this moment I saw the hand of the Master. Look how I walk now.’ And in fact she walked all the time on the platform, quickly and quite easily. Though she had to change the railway carriage twice, she got in and got out each time without visible effort, assuring us that her pain had entirely gone and that it was long since she had felt herself so well physically."

Continued in Part VII

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Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to Her Family in Russia