Published by The Blavatsky Archives Online. Online Edition copyright 1999.
Extracts from a Private Letter of Col. Olcott
to Damodar K. Mavalankar,
Assistant Corresponding Secretary,
dated, Simla, October 4, 1880.
[First published as four page circular.
Reprinted under the title "One Day with Madame Blavatsky"
in The Times of India (Bombay), October 19, 1880.]
Printed for private circulation for the information and encouragement of our Fellows, who will be glad to learn of the deep impression that has been created in official circles by the present visit of Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott to Simla. The undersigned also congratulates his brother members on the fact that the Foreign office of the Government of India has, under date of October 2, addressed a most friendly letter to President Olcott, assuring him that the work of the Society may proceed in India without the slightest interference by the authorities, since it does not meddle in politics either in India or elsewhere. On the whole the prospects of our Society were never brighter than at present. - D. K. M.
Great day yesterday for Madame's phenomena. In the morning she, with Mr. and Mrs. Sinnett, Major Henderson, Mr. Syed Mahmood (District Judge, Rai-Bareilly), Mrs. Reed of Ajmere, and myself went on a picnic. Although she had never been at Simla before, she directed us where to go, describing a certain small mill which the Sinnetts, Major Henderson, and even the jampanis (palki-wallahs) affirmed, did not exist. She also mentioned a small Tibetan temple as being near it. We reached the spot she had described and found the mill - at about 10 A.M.; and sat in the shade and had the servants spread a collation. Mr. Mahmood had joined our party after the baskets were packed and so when we wanted to have tea we found we were one cup and saucer short. Somebody asked Madame to produce one by magic. She consented; and, looking about the ground here and there, finally called Major Henderson to bring a knife and dig in a spot she pointed to. He found the ground hard and full of small roots of a young cedar tree near by. These he cut through and pulled up to a depth of say 6 inches, when something white was seen in the black soil; it was dug out, and lo! a cup decorated in green and gold, exactly matching the others Mrs. Sinnett's servants had brought. Madame told the Major to dig more; he did so, and at last found a saucer to match the cup! They were imbedded in the ground like stones naturally there, and the cedar roots grew all around them like a net work, and one root as large as your little finger had to be cut away to get at the saucer. Then Major Henderson asked her to explain the science of it, but she said she could not, as he was not yet a Theosophist. He said he meant to be one. "When?" said she. "To-morrow" he replied. Mrs. Sinnett said "Why not today?" "So I will" said the Major; "come Madame, produce me a diploma on the spot!" "If I do, will you really join us?" "I will." "Then you shall have it." She looked here and there and walked about near us for a few moments, then sat down on the edge of a little bank. "If you want the diploma, you must hunt for it yourself; the 'Brother' who is helping me says it is rolled up tied with about 50 feet of blue twine and covered with creeping vines," she said to the Major. The party all went to searching and presently Major Henderson, raising the low branches of a deodar shrub and parting the grass said "I have it!" He really had - one of our diplomas filled out to Major Philip D. Henderson as Corresponding Fellow, and an official letter on my Headquarters letter-paper, WRITTEN IN MY OWN HANDWRITING and signed "Faithfully yours (the name in Tibetan characters) for H. S. Olcott, President of the Theosophical Society." Fancy my astonishment! The letter was dated October 2/3 - that is at the point (or night between the two days and it referred to a conversation that had taken place between Major Henderson and Madame Blavatsky on the preceding evening.
As Mr. Mahmood and Mrs. Reed were with us at the Sinnetts' until midnight, and at 3 A.M. Madame sent Babula to enquire what Mr. Sinnett was calling a servant for and waking her up, you see that not even an enemy could suspect her of any fraud; the more so as it was the Major who asked for the diploma in the wild woods, 3 or 4 miles from home, and got it himself from beneath a small tree which Madame had not even approached. Later in the day, stopping on the way home at the Tibetan temple (which by the way, you will see the very image of in a colored painting on silk that lies on my bureau in my bed-room, and that was magically produced by her for me in New York one day), and wanting a cup of tea we found we were out of water. Servants were sent in various directions but could get none. While Babula was off on a second search Madame quietly went to the lunch baskets, took an empty water-bottle, put it in the loose sleeve of her gown, and came straight to where we were sitting on the grass. The bottle was full of clearest and softest water, of which we all partook.
At 8 P.M. yesterday we, with the Sinnetts and other ladies and gentlemen, dined at Mr. Hume's as usual. While at the table Madame asked if anybody wished for anything. Mrs. Hume said she did. Madame told her to fix in her mind a very clear and definite image of the thing. Mrs. Hume said it was a breastpin set in pearls and that she had a perfectly clear idea of it. "It has just come to me like a flash!" she said. Madame looked at her fixedly, took a blank card and pencil, and drew the representation of a round pin set with stones of some kind. She said after musing a while, "it will not be brought into this house, but into the garden - I am told by a Brother." After a pause she asked Mr. Hume if in his garden there was somewhere a flower bed shaped like a star. Mr. Hume said there were several. Madame pointed in a certain direction and said she meant over there. Mr. Hume said there were two such beds there. Madame then told him to come with her and get it himself, as she had seen it drop like a bright point of light into a certain bed. Thereupon Mr. Hume and all the rest of us accompanied her into the garden (a place she had never entered or seen before as she had always been to Mr. Hume's by night, to dinner at 8 o'clock, and always was carried in the jampan). Searching about here and there with lanterns we found the star-shaped bed she wanted, and, after we had pulled up a lot of nasturtium and dahlia vines and plants that made a perfect mat of verdure there, Mrs. Sinnett and Captain Maitland (Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General) at the same moment saw a small white package. Mrs. Sinnett took it, Mr. Hume opened it, and it was then identified by Mrs. Hume as the lost brooch, that she had not seen since long before she ever heard of Madame Blavatsky. Everyone present was so amazed and delighted that Mr. Sinnett and Mr. Hume, after consulting together decided that an account of the affair should at once be drawn up and signed by all present (except, of course, Madame and myself) and published in The Pioneer. So those two gentlemen retired to another room, drew up the paper, and you will see it in The Pioneer shortly. A scientific ornithologist present - Mr. Davison - and a young officer of the 11th Bengal Cavalry, Mr. Beatson, at once applied for admission, as they said that the Theosophists alone knew the science of nature and the powers of man.