Originally published by Rider & Co, London. Electronic Edition by Theosophical University Press, 1999. Electronic ISBN 1-55700-144-8. This edition may be downloaded for off-line viewing without charge. No part of this publication may be reproduced for commercial or other use in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior permission of Theosophical University Press. For ease in searching, no diacritical marks appear in this electronic version of the text
TO MRS. WILLIAM VAUGHN MOODY, THE DEVOTED FRIEND AND ADMIRER OF MY FATHER
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I wish to thank my cousin Anna McClure Sholl for valuable aid in the preparation of this book. — E. R. C.
The publication of private letters which were never meant for publication, and which it was never imagined would reach the public, demands an explanation if not an apology. In these days of many books, when the intimate lives of noted characters are scrutinized and dissected for every bit of information to satisfy a public more eager, apparently, to discover the sins and frailties of the great than to form a just appreciation of their genius and finer qualities, one may well pause before adding to this great mass of literature.
If, on the contrary, the publication of this private material may throw some light on certain mooted points of value, clear the air of scandal or unjust criticism, or even of violent abuse, no apology is called for. The world seems ever ready to magnify the evil and minimize the good in human nature, especially in those who have attained greatness, as we understand the word, or at least a certain prominence from public office and public trust. The finer Christian charity which is never blind to the sins and follies and weaknesses of human nature, yet treats them with gentleness, a gentleness ever ready to pardon, as though conscious that the human spirit has in it ever the promise and potency of ultimate redemption and glorification. This is, of course, the Christ-spirit, and when the world fails to recognize it or forgets it, distrust and dread and pessimism prevail, and the general outlook on life presents a very dreary picture.
Fortunately a trend towards a healthy optimism prevails, and there is no better index of an advancing and higher civilization than the larger scope of this optimism.
In John Forster's Decision of Character he stressed the importance for the young man to meet the world with trust rather than distrust, and I am quite sure that this rule of life is the proper one. Confidence belongs to the higher attributes of man, and suspicion to the lower nature; truth is born of faith, while error is the child of distrust and suspicion.
This seems to apply with special aptness to the writer of these letters: adored by her followers and by those who understood her, no term of abuse seemed too severe for those who called her a charlatan.
Had I not thought that these letters would help to clear up certain mooted questions, and vindicate her against certain charges of duplicity and lack of good faith, and even against more serious charges, I should not have published them.
E. R. C.
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