The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett

Letter No. 61

Mr dear Mr. Sinnett,

Last night received your letter to which I answered and sent, moreover, a telegram to you giving you carte blanche for anything you may do. But now to your questions I am compelled to say much. Even in this my vindication, and a full one it could be, Myers & Co. have built a wall between me and this last possibility at any rate as regards my aunt.

Last year from Elberfeld she sent the preface to these Memoirs signed with her name to Myers. In it, she put a distinct condition that her full name should never be published but only her initials. It was said in it as far as I remember, "this (the name) is for Mr. Myers only who is expected as a gentleman never to use it," or something like this. Now the "gentleman," the first thing he does is to permit Hodgson to connect my aunt's full name in print with my fraud and political motive. There is a full note in the Report I read it — where it is said that Madame Fadeef being an aunt of mine and a Russian, no reliance can be placed on what she says. K. H.'s letter to her was forged by me, the wise detective says, etc. How it is I do not know. But my aunt seems to have learnt it earlier than I did. Whether it is through Solovioff the infernal gossip, or someone else, but last night I had a letter from her reproaching me mildly but firmly and as I see in great agony, (I will tell you why). "I told you," she says, "at Elberfeld not to give my name and you answered that Myers was a theosophist and a gentleman, a man of honour, and now I hear that I am also mixed in the phenomena business — phenomena that were your curse during your childhood and youth and which have now led you to public dishonour." And she goes on saying that it was and is all from the devil, and asks me not to be angry with her but that my Masters do seem to be uncanny, so uncanny that she as a Christian dare not even think of them! This is what Myers has done, and this, after talking with Miss Arundale and Mohini who remember what she wrote (perhaps it is still there on the MSS but she wrote in French on a slip of paper to Mr. Myers independently); this dishonourable action you ought to bring to light. You ought to expose him before every honourable man, and this action he will not be able to deny, and will stand as a blackguard before many. If you do not do this, then you shall have lost the best opportunity of showing the Cambridge clique in its true light.

Well, I will send her your letter. I added to it four pages of supplications, and saying why it was so necessary now she should help me. I am sure that ready as she is to do anything for me, she will refuse permission to publish her name after it has been so disgraced by Hodgson, the more so as no one will believe her after this. Of this I feel sure. Remains my sister, she is in Petersburg. She has four big daughters to marry. She may send you what she has written. "The truth about Mme. Blavatsky," and add a few things. Though now, owing again to Solovioff's gossip her daughters, my nieces — are furious against me for some remarks I have made as to their desinvolture — and my sister is her daughter's humble tool and victim. My aunt adored and reverenced her only brother, my uncle who died lately, General Fadeyeff. Had she been married she would have given her name and not cared for it; but she told me that to see his name in print, his name in the mouth of sceptics laughing at and desecrating it as she thinks — is more [than] she could bear. That's one. Let us wait for her reply.

Now your questions:

1. My childhood? Spoilt and petted on one side, punished and hardened on the other. Sick and ever dying till seven or eight, sleep-walker; possessed by the devil. Governesses two — Mme. Peigneux, a French woman and Miss Augusta Sophia Jeffries a Yorkshire spinster. Nurses — any number. No Kurd nurse. One was half a Tartar. Father's soldiers taking care of me. Mother died when I was a baby. Born at Ekaterinoslow. Travelled with Father from place to place with his artillery regiment till eight or nine, taken occasionally to visit grandparents. When 11 my grandmother took me to live with her altogether. Lived in Saratow when Grandfather was civil Governor, before that in Astrachan, where he had many thousands (some 80, or 100,000) Kalmuck Buddhists under him.

2. Visit to London? I was in London and France with Father in '44 not 1851. This latter year I was alone and lived in Cecil St. in furnished rooms at one time, then at Mivart's Hotel, but as I was with old Countess Bagration, and when she went away remained with her Jezebel demoiselle de compagnie, no one knows my name there. Lived also in a big hotel somewhere between City and Strand or in the Strand, but as to names or numbers you might just as well ask me to tell you what was the number of the house you lived in during your last incarnation. In 1845 father brought me to London to take a few lessons of music. Took a few later also — from old Moscheles. Lived with him somewhere near Pimlico — but even to this I would not swear. Went to Bath with him, remained a whole week, heard nothing but bell-ringing in the churches all day. Wanted to go on horseback astride in my Cossack way; he would not let me and I made a row I remember and got sick with a fit of hysterics. He blessed his stars when we went home; travelled two or three months through France, Germany and Russia. In Russia our own carriage and horses making 25 miles a day. To tell you about America! Why goodness me I may as well try to tell you about a series of dreams I had in my childhood. Ask me to tell you now, under danger and peril of being immediately hung if I gave incorrect information — what I was doing and where I went from 1873 July when I arrived to America, to the moment we formed T.S., and I am sure to forget the half and tell you wrong the other half. What's the use asking or expecting anything like that from a brain like mine! Everything is hazy, everything confused and mixed. I can hardly remember where I have been or where I have not been in India since 1880. I saw Master in my visions ever since my childhood. In the year of the first Nepaul Embassy (when?) saw and recognised him. Saw him twice. Once he came out of the crowd, then He ordered me to meet Him in Hyde Park. I cannot, I must not speak of this. I would not publish it for the world. See the harm the Occult World has done to me with all your kind, good intention. Had you not named my relatives, my inner life, my visit to Tibet, no one would have believed me more of a fraud than they do now. So you see. Let us leave my poor aunts and my relatives names out of the book, I implore you. Enough dirt accumulated on one of the family, do let us not drag holy names and names I respect into the book and thus sentence them beforehand to mangling.

3. Went to India in 1856 — just because I was longing for Master. Travelled from place to place, never said I was Russian, people taking me for what I liked. Met Kulwein and his friend at Lahore somewhere. Were I to describe my visit to India only in that year that would make a whole book, but how can I NOW say the truth. Suppose I were to tell that I was in man's clothes (for I was very thin then) which is solemn truth, what would people say? So I was in Egypt with the old Countess who liked to see me dressed as a man student, "gentleman student" she said. Now you understand my difficulties? That which would pass with any other as eccentricity, oddity, would serve now only to incriminate me in the eyes of the world. Went with Dutch vessel because there was no other, I think. Master ordered [me] to go to Java for a certain business. There were two whom I suspected always of being chelas there. I saw one of them in 1869 at the Mahatma's house, and recognised him, but he denied.

4. "The incident of the adoption of the child!" I better be hung than mention it. Do you know if even withholding names what it would lead to? To a hurricane of dirt thrown at me. When I told you that even my own father suspected me, and had it not been for the doctor's certificate would have never forgiven me, perhaps. After, he pitied and loved that poor cripple child. On reading this book Home, the medium, would be the first one to gather the remnant of his strength and denounce me, giving out names and things and what not. Well my dear Mr. Sinnett if you would ruin me (though it is hardly possible now) we shall mention this "incident." Do not mention any, this is my advice and prayer. I have done too much toward proving and swearing it was mine — and have overdone the thing. The doctor's certificate will go for nothing. People will say we bought or bribed the doctor that's all.

5. Yes, returned to relations in Jan. 1860.

6. Yes, about '62 went with my sister to Tiflis, left it about '64 and went to Servia, travelled about in Karpat all as I explain in my story about the Double. The Hospodar was killed in the beginning of 1868 I think (see Encylopaedia), when I was in Florence after Mentana and on my way to India with Master from Constantinople. If you take as your ground to stand upon, my novel the "Double murder" then you are wrong. I knew the Gospoja and Frosya and the Princess Katinka and even the Gospoda Michel Obrenovitz far earlier. The paragraph in some Temeswar paper was given to me n 1872 (I believe) when I went from Odessa to Bukharest to visit my friend Mme. Popesco, and what had happened in Vienna was told to me after my incident with Gospoja using Frosya for it. Why every detail is true — so far as I am concerned and the actors in it. But I told you at Simla yet that though the details were true, I had made up these details and true personages into a story for the Sun (N. Y.) under the nom de plume of "Hadji Mora." Every day people write really fictitious stories, beginning with "In 1800 so and so I was there or at another place" and invent the whole. I simply wrote facts, about personages known to me personally, and only instead of Frosya Popesco (another Frosya) who told me what had happened after I had seen the evocation, I put the author in her place and now Sellin comes out and cross examines me; and I tell him that I know the story to be true, he asks me — were you there? I say no, for I was on my way to India, but it was told to me and I made a story out of it. And now Sellin comes out and says "if you invented the story about 'Double murder' then you may have invented the Mahatmas." I never gave my series of sensational stories in the N. Y. Sun — for infallible and Gospel truths. I wrote stories, on facts that happened hither and thither, with living persons, only changing names (not in the "Double Murder" though where I was fool enough to put real personages); and this was put up for me and arranged by Illarion and he says, and said again only that day I quarrelled with Sellin — "As every word of the evocation of Frosya by Gospoja is true, so the scenes in Vienna and double murder are true, as Madame Popesco told you." I thought you knew it? Why you knew from the first that Mentana was Oct. 1867. I was in Florence about Christmas, perhaps a month before, when the poor Michael Obrenovitch was killed. Then I went from Florence to Antemari and toward Belgrad where in the mountains I had to wait (as ordered by Master) — to Constantinople passing through Serbia and the Karpat mountains waiting for a certain he sent after me; and it is there that I met the Gospoja with Frosya about a month or two after the murder, I believe. All is true, except that I read the account of the "double murder" four years later from Madame Popesco, and in the story for sensation sake I put it a few days later at Temesvar — that's all. And now Olcott pitches into me because he says "Oxley exposed the whole story as untrue, he applied to some British ambassador at Vienna, etc." Well I wish both Olcott and Oxley joy. The story is true. Only I was not going to publish the name of Madame Popesco who gave to me the last act and who had read it in some Vienna number immediately suppressed — and the name of Karageorgevitch's relative whose attendants those two men were, to have a law suit on my back. That's why I said I read it in a Temeswar coffee house, and even that was dangerous as I had named Karageorgevitch, whose son is now married to Zorka the Montenegrian Princess. Was I writing my diary or confessions, to be honour-bound to give the facts as they happened, years and names? Funny pretensions. It is like my Russian Letters from India, where while describing a fictitious journey or tour through India with Thornton's Gazeteer as my guide, I yet give there true facts and true personages only bringing in together within three or four months time, facts and events scattered all throughout years as some of Master's phenomena. Is it a crime that? Because Scott thought so. Why, if having been in Calcutta and Allahabad I have to write upon their antiquities — which I have seen myself — why shouldn't I resort to Asiatic Researches and even Thornton's Gazeteer for historical facts and details I could never remember myself. Is it considered a literary theft to refer to Encyclopaedias and guide books? I do not copy or plagiarise, I simply take them as my guides, safer than my memory. Please tell me also in the case of that "Double Murder" story of mine, am I a criminal for writing under "Hadji-Mora's" name — a story, and then adding the only fictitious particular — namely that I read the paper myself, instead of what was true that Mad. Popesco gave it me to read in her diary into which she had copied that event, which putting dates together I considered as having happened on that same night? What do you think? It must be the Elementaries of Obrenovitch and Princess Katinka who bring me this trouble for using their names in such a story at all. Karma again. But I digress from your questions.

Please do not speak of Mentana and do not speak of MASTER I implore you. I did come back from India in one of early steamers. But I first went to Greece and saw Illarion, in what place I cannot and must not say. Then to Pirree and from that port to Speggia in view of which we were blown up. Then I went to Egypt, first to Alexandria, where I had no money and won a few thousand francs on the No. 27 — (don't put this) and — then went to Cairo where I stopped from Oct. or Nov. 1871 to April 1872, only four or five months, and returned to Odessa in July as I went to Syria and Constantinople first and some other places. I had sent Mad. Sebin with the monkeys before hand, for Odessa is only four or five days from Alexandria.

Went March 1873 from Odessa to Paris — stopped with my cousin Nicolas Hahn (son of my uncle Gustave Hahn, father's brother and the Countess Adlerberg his mother) at Rue de L'Universite 11, I believe; then in July the same year went as ordered to New York. From that time let the public know all. It's all opened.

Oh — the Countess Kisseleff? Thanks. She is dead as a door nail for over 20 years I believe. Died at Rome with the Pope's pardon and remittance of sins, for a pillow. Left millions and all her medium apparatuses, writing tables and tarots to the Church of Rome.

Well that's all. Resumons.

It is simply impossible that the plain undisguised truth should be said about my life. Impossible to even touch upon the child. There's the Baron Meyendorffs and all Russian aristocracy that would rise against me if in the course of contradictions (which are sure to follow) the Baron's name should be mentioned. I gave my word of honour and shall not break it — TO THE DEAD.

Then from 17 to 40 I took care during my travels to sweep away all traces of myself wherever I went. When I was at Barri in Italy studying with a local witch — I sent my letters to Paris to post them from there to my relatives. The only letter they received from me from India was when I was leaving it, the first time. Then from Madras in 1857; — when I was in South America I wrote to them through, and posted in London. I never allowed people to know where I was and what I was doing. Had I been a common p----- they would have preferred it to my studying occultism. It is only when I returned home that I told my aunt that the letter received from K. H. by her was no letter from a Spirit as she thought. When she got the proofs that they were living men she regarded them as devils or sold to Satan. Now you have seen her. She is the shyest, the kindest, the meekest individual. All her life her money and all is for others. Touch her religion and she becomes like a fury. I never speak with her about Masters.

Now they want to make out I never was in India even before 1879. In a work published some time ago — my sister's Memoirs, in which every word is a fact she says on pp. 41-42: (I translate verbatim from the book before me) — "The following autumn I returned with two baby sons (in 1859 to Russia) from Caucasus . . . I went to Pskoff. That winter I became witness to many most marvellous facts of a spiritualistic nature; but I shall not mention these since they are all given in the Rebus in my articles 'Truth about H. P. Blavatsky.' In those pages the author had forgotten to add, that though everyone considered the manifestations taking place in my sister's presence as caused by the Spirits and through her mediumistic power, she herself has constantly denied it. My sister, H. P. Blavatsky, had passed most of her ten years of travelling (from 1850 to 1860) and absence from Russia in India, where, as it seems, spiritual theories are in great contempt; and the mediumistic manifestations, so called by us, are explained in that country as proceeding from a source, to drink from (or feed at which) my sister regards as lowering her human dignity, hence does not wish to recognise her powers as coming from such a source. [My sister, H. P. Blavatsky, as I see from letters received from her is very dissatisfied with me for not having explained in the "Truth about Mme. Blavatsky" the whole truth. She asserts now as then that quite another power influenced her then as it does now, namely the power acquired by the Hindu sages — the Raj-Yogis. She assures me that even the shadows, she used to see and saw during her whole life, were no ghosts or spirits of deceased persons but simply the astral bodies of her all-powerful Hindu friends. — V. JELIHOVSKY.] However it may be, and whatever the nature of that force which helps her to produce her manifestations, only during her stay with me at the T---- (Tahontoff) these phenomena took place constantly under the eyes of all, of those who believed and who disbelieved in them, leaving all and every one in the greatest amazement."

Now this short para. and foot-note prove two things; that I was in India at some time between 1850 and 1860; and that even so far back as in 1860 and 1864 — I had always maintained that it was no spirit power that moved and helped me, but our Masters and their chelas. This is shown from the conversations quoted in her "Truth" about me which you have, and what I now give is called "The Inexplicable and the Unexplained" from the personal and family Reminiscences by V. Jelihovsky. Now suppose I send you this little pamphlet, and that you should take it to Mme. Novikoff and kindly ask her to translate for you the marked paras. on pp. 41 and 42 with the foot-note. And having done so, that you should write to my sister in English a long letter (she speaks English better than I do), explaining to her the awful disgusting Hodgson's pamphlet telling her how absolutely necessary it is that there should come out a defence. Mind you, you have (if you do write) [to] tell her how completely Hodgson denies all powers in me — and that he attributes as my motive for the vile ten-year long travesty and deception to political motives, my being a Russian spy. If you do write to her she can give you far more than my poor aunt who hates writing and feels sick at the whole thing already. But my sister is very combative, and fearless. If you tell her that Hodgson seeks to ruin my honour and reputation, etc. etc. she is capable of finding for you a whole array of eye witnesses of the highest names in Petersburg and Pskoff, who will testify to the phenomena they have seen between 1860 and '62. This would be something. Ask her what she knows or heard of my powers when I was in Imeretia and Mingrelia in the virgin forests of Abhasia and the Black Sea Coast — whether people, independent princes and archbishops and nobility, did not flock from every where to ask me to heal and protect them, do this and the other. Only you must show her plainly that you of the L. L. the English Theosophists are and mean to remain true to me and defend me, but that she must help you by furnishing you with materials against the enemy. I can assure you she can. She is very vain and conceited and the opposite of me as Mohini can tell you. But she is very proud and if you only show her in what horrible position I am and appeal to her family pride and honour she will do anything. Otherwise, they (in Russia) are as bitter against you English as you are against them — now.

That's all I can say. She was very angry with my aunt for giving out that letter of Mahatama K. H. and was furious with me for telling that story about the ancestor which she says is a family secret, "a skeleton in the family cupboard" or how is it, the expression? So you are warned. Simply tell her, that I have pointed out to you the passage from her latest pamphlet and that you would like her to tell you all she knows about me. She won't make many compliments to me, I can assure you — unless your letter finds her in one of her gushing fits. If you want the pamphlet I will send it to you and you send it back, unless Mme. Novikoff (you could do it through Schmiechen or Mohini) could translate for you some of the wonderful occurrences in our family that I will mark. The Countess just returned from Munich. Goodbye. Answer,

Yours ever,
H. P. Blavatsky.
My sincerest love to Mrs. Sinnett.

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