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THE SECOND EDITION.
IF I had time to write this book again, a year having now elapsed since its publication, I should have to enlarge it enormously. I have learned so much in the interim, that I am almost pleased to think I knew so (relatively) little when I wrote it. If I had approached the task then, from my present standpoint, I might have given up the idea of performing it at all in the few brief months of leisure which a holiday trip to England enabled me to bestow on it. But the book was easily undertaken while there was only a little to say, and the short story of external facts which claimed telling a year ago, was soon told.
A second edition is now required, and some further explanations must be prepared before I can let this go forth. But these must, I regret to say, for the present be kept within the narrowest limits. I have long since returned to the current duties of a very onerous appointment; and I cannot at present attempt to write, what I nevertheless hope to be able to write at some future time, a book which shall not merely call the attention of the world at large to the existence of the wonderful fraternity of occulists here spoken of as "THE BROTHERS," but shall present in a shape acceptable to western readers, the outlines of the knowledge they possess, concerning the origin, constitution, and destinies of Man.
The correspondence which forms the kernel of the present volume has largely expanded during the last twelve months; but to attempt the incorporation of fresh letters with the present collection would be to set an altogether new undertaking on foot. I must be content to add one final chapter, the motive of which will lie plainly on the surface, and to give my readers the assurance that, even though I might, if other engagements permitted, add largely to the present record, at almost every step, still, as it stands, it contains nothing which requires alteration, nothing which is misleading or inaccurately described in any particular.
But some remarks made by my reviewers claim attention. I have been much more amused than annoyed at the sarcasms directed against my "credulity" in connection with my plain narrative of fact, and at the bitter disgust exhibited by various organs of orthodoxy at the idea that there may really be something in Heaven and earth not dreamed of in their philosophy-something sufficiently real to be not merely talked about in poetry, but observed at given times and places, and described in straightforward prose. "Evidently sincere," says one reviewer, "and so candid that hostility to the writer is disarmed by pity."
But besides deploring my own intellectual inferiority, which it is quite within the discretion of my critics to estimato as they please, they have in many cases endeavoured to weaken the value of my evidence by suggesting that I have been imposed upon by Madame Blavatsky. Now, first of all, some of the experiences I have had since this book was first published have been lifted clean out of reach of Madame Blavatsky; but to these I will refer more fully in my concluding chapter. Secondly, as Madame Blavasky's friends in this country grew annoyed last autumn at the reiteration of insulting suspicions about her trustworthiness and motives of action, they took steps to establish her real identity and station in life, in a manner which should once for all convict of imbecility any person who should again
suggest that she might be an adventuress pursuing purposes of gain. That these measures were not taken unnecessarily may be made sufficiently clear without quoting any Indian newspapers, by reference to some of the reviews of this book, which appeared in London. The St. James's Gazette (June 22, 1881) refers to Madame Blavatsky as "a mysterious character, a Russian lady naturalized in the United States," and her "nationality and character sufficiently account in the opinion of many for the general interest she has taken in Mr. Sinnett's psychological development." The Athenæum says of her (August 27, 1881), "He," the present writer, "appears to have no more knowledge than we have of the degree of the rank, or the extent of the fortune, which she enjoyed in her native land; and until that is ascertained, the incredulous will persist in suggesting that for 'a Russian by birth, though naturalized in the United States,' without visible means of subsistence, the chance of living at free quarters in the houses of wellto-do Indian officials might have its attractions." Far worse than this even was the language employed by the Saturday Review. In an article attacking the Theosophical movement generally (September 3, 1881), that paper actually denounced Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott, the President of the Theosophical Society, as "a couple of unscrupulous adventurers," and expressed a doubt "whether Colonel Olcott's title was earned in the war of Succession or at the bar of a drinking saloon."
In order to vindicate Madame Blavatsky's character (first of all) from these gross expressions, I wrote to her uncle, General Fadeeff, Joint Secretary of State in the Home Department at St. Petersburg, enclosing an open letter from Madame Blavatsky to him, in which she asked him to reply to the fact that she really was-herself. After showing both these letters to a gentleman on the Viceroy's staff— a neutral person as regards the whole subject, and quite unconcerned with occultism-I posted them with my own
hands, and in due time the answer came back, directed as I had requested, in the note which our neutral friend saw, his care. General Fadeeff sent the following certificate :
"I certify by the present that Madame H. P. Blavatsky, now residing at Simla (British India), is from her father's side the daughter of Colonel Peter Hahn, and grand-daughter of Lieutenant-General Alexis Hahn von Rottenstern-Hahn (a noble family of Mecklenburg, Germany, settled in Russia). And that she is from her mother's side the daughter of Helene Fadeeff, and grand-daughter of Privy Councillor Andrew Fadeeff and of the Princess Helene Dolgorouki; that she is the widow of the Councillor of State, Nicephore Blavatsky, late Vice-Governor of the Province of Erivan, Caucasus.
"(Signed) MAJOR-GENERAL ROSTISLAV FADEEFF, "of H. I. Majesty's Staff,
"Joint Secretary of State at the Ministry of the "Interior.
"St. Petersburg, 29, Little Morskaya, "18th September, 1881."
I also received a little later a letter from Madame Fadeeff, sister of the General Fadeeff just mentioned, eagerly and amply confirming these statements, and enclosing certain portraits of Madame Blavatsky taken at various periods of her life, but obviously portraits of the lady we all know in India. Concerning these Madame Fadeeff wrote :—
"To establish her identity I enclose in this letter two of her portraits' one taken twenty years ago in my presence, the other sent from America four or five years ago. Furthermore, in order that sceptics may not conceive suspicions as to my personal identity, I take the liberty of returning your letter, received through M. le Prince Dondoukoff-Korsakoff, Governor-General of Odessa. I hope that this proof of authenticity is perfectly satisfactory. I believe, moreover, that you will have already received the certificate of the individuality of Madame Blavatsky that the Governor-General desired himself to send to Bombay."
The allusion here to Prince Dondoukoff-Korsakoff (now Viceroy of the Caucasus) is explained by the fact that I forwarded my letter for General Fadeeff to his care, knowing him to be an old friend of Madame Blavatsky's. He himself has since sent her letters which I have seen, expressing,