Re: On HPB Letters
Jul 03, 2006 12:21 PM
Thank you very much for your important contribution below.
I will read it carefully and then comment it.
Regards, Carlos Cardoso Aveline
Data:Mon, 3 Jul 2006 08:56:43 -0700 (PDT)
Assunto:[Spam] Theos-World Critical Notes on HPB Letters
> I compiled some notes and remarks of others on the Letters of HPB, vol. 1, which might be of interest to readers still trying to sort the jumble out:
> - jake jaqua
> SOME CRITICAL NOTES ON LETTERS OF H.P. BLAVATSKY, VOL. I
> p. xv. - "... John [Cooper] died before completing the project of even his doctorate, which was awarded posthumously." This could be interpreted as an unnecessary slight at Cooper (not even a Doctor!), and his implied inferior status as an editor. But the post-humous degree is worth mentioning for the record. Cooper's doctoral project was the Blavatsky Letters project, at the University of Sydney, with which he was almost finished with Volume I at his death from a heart-attack at 67 yrs. His Master's thesis was also a Theosophical topic. Just before his death "John stated that the first volume (of an anticipated three volume collection) was nearly ready for Quest/TPH-Wheaton to publish." (Theosophical History, Vol. VII, No. 4, Oct. 1998, pp. 135-6, quoting Fohat, Vol II, No. 2, Summer, 1998, pp. 44-45. ) In reference to the Letters, he posted on Nov. 3, 1997 on the Theos-World web site: "My major news is that the first volume of The Collected Letters of H.P.
> Blavatsky is almost completed. Wheaton will be sending me back shortly the second proof of the text of the letters and their annotations... The c. 350 letters range from 1862 to 1882, with about 100 letters that are new to the theosophical world...." (Ibid., Eklund, p. 142) There are 136 letters in the present Volume, including to January, 1879.
> Algeo remarks that he could not use Cooper's work "directly." John P. Deveney did a review of the Letters in Theosophical History (Vol. XI, No. 3) and writes: "The editor [John Algeo] in his preface acknowledges the Herculean labors of the late John Cooper in adding to the corpus of letters and in preparing them for publication, but states that, for unspecified reasons, none of Cooper's work could be used 'directly,' and that even his transcriptions of texts were not used because they were 'not accurate.' This is a surprising charge, directed as it is toward a person known for his meticulous work and now unavailable to defend himself...." Fohat editor R. Bruce MacDonald explains: "To put it less diplomatically, this excuse by John Algeo is pure politics and to the average member of the Theosophical Society, incomprehensible." (Vol. VIII, No. 3)
> Daniel Caldwell has argued that Cooper also intended to include the Solovyoff/Aksakoff letters in his versions, and thus Cooper's version of the Letters may have been equally controversial. (email of Oct. 24, 04 to Wheeler on "Theosophy Canada" website. )
> Dara Eklund says that Boris de Zirkoff intended to include them in his planned publication also ("The Logic of Debate," "Theosophy Canada" website), but how and with what commentary is only hearsay. MacDonald remarks that if Cooper and de Zirkoff intended to print the phoney letters in the same manner, then they were wrong also. He also writes: "The way these letters were presented makes them at the very least a type of innuendo. In as much as they are putting word's into Blavatsky's mouth, they are much worse than innuendo." Forging is a worse crime than false gossip, bad enough itself.
> Does a doctorate mean anything whatsoever to understanding Blavatsky? It only greases the wheels of conventionality of being "in the academy," gives some editorial skill, and opens purse-strings. Otherwise it is a hindrance. Purucker made the statement somewhere to Helen Todd that one of a Theosophist's greatest difficulties was unlearning what they had learned in conventional sciences. Blavatsky - who all this 125 years of controversy is about - had no degrees whatsoever.
> On the title page the book is edited by John Algeo and assisted by his wife Adele S. Algeo. The "editorial committee" is given as Daniel H. Caldwell, Dara Eklund, Robert Ellwood, Joy Mills, and Nicholas Weeks. John Cooper is not given a credit on the title page. Of the limited comments I've seen from members of the "Editorial Committe," the impression I have is that basically 99% of the work was done by Algeo and his wife, and the committe was used mostly for passive "rubber stamping" whatever he wanted to do. Perhaps some of them were just over-awed by being a member of the committee and lost their discrimination. Three of the members I have some familiarity with, and thought before of them as staunch Blavatsky defenders, who would not have approved the publishing of the many false and altered letters that were published in this Volume on equal footing with the genuine correspondence. Criticism aside, one must say also that there is a good deal of admirable
> scholarship in the book, supporting information and notes, and the book is well-organized.
> Letter 7, pp. 23-31 - This is a stupid, slavish, and money-seeking letter quite unlike Blavatsky. On p. 31 Algeo gives the source in the Russian archives of the supposed original but was unsuccessful in getting a copy. If the original really exists, it still seems a phoney letter. Comparison of hand-writing would be useful, but even that can be forged in the extreme case. Since this and some of the following letters have a similar tone and style to them, maybe someone in this time period was writing letters in Blavatsky's name for unknown reason, perhaps a knowledgable enemy of her or her family, as written when she was in Russia.
> Letter 8, pp. 33-35. - The tone of this letter is stupid and slavish, much like Letter 7, two things Blavatsky was not. Unless it be attributed to youth, she was 42 at the time. It might be compared with the quality and style of her article published at the same time, "Marvellous Spirit Manifestations." (CW: 1:30-4) No original available, but based on her enemy Soloyoff's publication. In it she claims to have finished Dicken's unfinished novel "Edwin Drood," which would have been significant. If true, she surely would have at least made a comment on it later in life, which wasn't remarked upon later in any of the mass of biographical material or letters (other than the doubtful Letter 8.) Algeo doesn't remark here or in other letters that it is another thought to be phoney, but just that "she wrote the following letter.... to Aksakoff."
> Letter 11, pp. 44-46 - This is another Solovyoff phoney alteration or composition by someone, with the same un-Blavatsky-like style and stupidity, as appears in all the other Solovyoff letters. When Solovyoff published them, why didn't Prof. Aksakoff protest about them if they were phoney? Most often people do nothing, unfortunately, is one explanation. Perhaps he had turned into an enemy, too, or any of other possible reasons. Maybe he was broke, and got a pay-off. These Solovyoff letters are the only ones in which she repeatedly laments about her supposed horrible immoral past. Why doesn't she ever refer to this in similar terms in any of her letters that are known to be genuine? She always demonstrated the opposite attitude - being proud of succeeding to run away from her older husband, Blavatsky, instead of considering it "immoral" as implied here. Compare what she is made to say in this letter about spiritualist Andrew Jackson Davis: "..... who feels and
> reads men more clearly than any book (and this no one doubts who knows him)....", with what she says about him in a genuine letter with the original: "... Jack Davis and Judge Edmonds are but school boys just trying to spell their A.B.C...." (Letter 21, p. 87)
> In this Letter 11, Solovyoff has HPB writing: "......"I have heard of Madame Blavatsky from one of her parents, who spoke of her as a rather strong medium. Unfortunately, her communications reflect her morals, which have not been very strict." Whoever it was who told you about me, they told you, the truth, in essence, if not in detail. (p. 44) R. Bruce MacDonald writes on this: "..... the only parent that Aksakoff could be referring to is Blavatsky's father who had already been dead over a year at this time. Blavatsky's mother died while she was a child and referring to a child as a medium with lax morals makes no sense. If it was clearly her father, why didn't she say, "What my father told you was true", rather than the awkward phrase she used? Why also would a European family of nobility be going about telling complete strangers about a family member's lax morality and her practice of mediumship? This does not seem credible, especially coming from the father. Also,
> who would write to another person 'her communications reflect her morals'? What does that even mean?" (Fohat Supplement, Fall, 2004) Does it seem genuine for Aksakoff to start right out in his first letter to HPB by insulting her?
> Letter 12, pp. 46-52 - Written in the same phoney Soloyoff style, with none of the "sparkle" and true wit of HPB's genuine letters. 'Again slavish and self-effacing about her supposed immoral past, not found in any of her genuine letters. Most of the Solovyoff published letters do not show the typical Blvatsky style. She refers to Olcott several places with deferment and admiration of his book, respectability and work with spiritualism - something else almost entirely uncharacteristic of Blavatsky, as she almost always sprinkled references to Olcott with chatisement of his various "flapdoodles", and never of him as her superior.
> The criticism of the Solovyoff-Aksadoff transcriptions as forgery and mis-transcription has all been placed on Solovyoff's head, and justly so as his other transcriptions are just as bad. Since there's no evidence of Aksakoff coming to HPB's defense, it is also possible that Solovyoff got only copies from Aksakoff and Aksakoff corrupted his own copies as well.
> Letter 13, pp. 52-57: - This letter to her family does sound like Blavatsky, although it was written in the same time period as the false-sounding ones published by Solovyoff. HPB re-wrote and edited this letter herself for Sinnett for his Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky. (p. 55) Most likely they sound like two different people writing the letters, because they were two different people, because the writer (or editor and re-writer) of the Solovyoff published letters was Solovyoff himself! (Perhaps with even some help from Aksakoff, after HPB turned against spiritualism.) Algeo remarks in his introduction that Blavatsky wrote Aksakoff as a "true believer" in Spiritualism, which was just a pose for Aksakoff's benefit. This letter 13 to her family is certainly full of her real knowledge of the dangers of spiritualism. Perhaps the Aksakoff-Solovyoff letters make HPB sound like a "true believer" because who ever wrote them thought that was HPB's real
> perspective. The Solovyoff letters also demonstrate none of the flashes of deep insight behind the nature of things that HPB's genuine letters do.
> In the Solovyoff published letters HPB is made to remark on her impoverished state or pleas for money or work in a slavish way. In the Feb., '75 Letter 18 to Aksakoff she implied she is worried about enough to eat. (p. 73), while in some genuine letters of the same time within about a month she writes: "...I wonder if I could not have it published in the "Springfield Republican" by paying for it? I am ready to pay any sum of money for it," (March 6, 1975, Letter 24, p. 93); and ".... I will have it printed... and pay for it anything they like..." (March 7, 1975, Letter 25, p. 95). So at the same time period the Solovyoff letter shows HPB penniless, while two genuine letters show her well-off.
> Algeo writes: "HPB's father died on July 27, 1873, but because the family did not know where she was at the time, she did not hear the news until several months later, after which she also received some money as her share of the estate." (pp. 32) Algeo says that in the fall of '74 she received a part of her inheritance, but it was likely earlier, as on June 22, 1874 HPB invested in some farmland on Long Island. (pp. 32) In other words, she had money. Yet in the Solovyoff-Aksakoff letters of Oct. and Nov., 1874, (nos. 8, 11) he has her pleading for translation work and impoverished after her inheritance came through: "Would it not be possible for me to send you.... translations of articles..." (p. 34); and ".... my means are very small, and I am obliged to live by my work, translating and writing in the papers." (pp. 45). In March, '75 she is paying "any sum" to publish an article of someone's. So, it is known she had money before and after this Nov., '74
> letter, but Solovyoff has her falsely impoverished at the time. (However, by the end of March, '75 she appears to be broke again, as "... $50, scraped off the bottom of an empty purse..." in a genuine letter to Corson [No. 30].) In Letter 45, May 25, '75, Solovyoff has her boasting of making $6000 in the year so far, and also totally broke, "... my last $200." (p. 172) The $6000 seems impossibly high. In Letter 54 to Aksakoff (July 18, '75) Solovyoff has her saying "... I am living from hand to mouth and earning from $10 to $15 when necessity arises." In a genuine Letter 64 to Corson (Jan. 8, '76) she says that the New York Sun would pay her for $30 per article for an article a week. (p. 236)
> Letter 17, pp. 70-73: - This Solovyoff-Aksakoff letter seems genuine enough with much of the typical HPB spirit in it. There is a lack of the servility as in the other letters and the attitude toward Olcott is more typical HPB. Solovyoff didn't necessarily have to alter all of his HPB letters. Without some of the genuine Blavatsky writing-style, it would have been a poor book to sell.
> While the well-known "boar in the forest" letter is not in this collection, some of Soloyoff's and translator's apparent tampering and obfuscating methods, and the confusion surrounding it all, might be seen in the following quote of HPB's sister from Vania* in Endersby's Hall of Magic Mirrors** (pp. 59-60):
> "Some of the history of Solovioff is in order here. Even [translator] Walter Leaf himself threw doubt on some of his statements at times and one of the letters he questions is (B) on p. 288 of Solovioff's book.***
> "Vera Jelihovsky, H.P.B.'s sister, published the following, reproduced by Vania: 'The chief point of this translation (into French; see Solovioff 316-20) I was told (I may observe that I cannot guarantee the exact truth of this statement, for I repeat that no one would ever show me the letter in French) lay in the fact that in it Madame Blavatsky denied the Mahatmas, and admitted that she had invented their existence.... But as the readers know, in the Russian letter there is nothing of the sort. How did it get into the translation?" In pursuing this, she saw Solovioff and asked for the translation. He said that he had neither the original nor a copy; it was in the hands of a Madame M. in Paris. He also refused to give her a copy of the Russian, but would not explain. She then went to Baissac, the translator, who also did not have a copy of the translation, but said positively that there was no such confession in it. (This is the famous "Boar in the Forest" letter which
> is in the Corson collection; Symonds asked Baissac to get her a copy of the French translation from Mme. M. Three weeks later he wrote her that Mme. M. didn't have a copy either. The mystery of this translation is bogged down in Paris to this day. But it is only a sample of Solovioff - though oddly, Kingsland quotes a passage from him which seems extremely critical of Hodgson himself. (Mme. M. was Madame Morsier. After her Lodge was destroyed by this translation, Solovioff got it back and hung on to it.)
> * VANIA, K.F. - Madame H.P. Blavatsky, Sat. Pub. Co., Bombay, 1951
> ** Endersby, V.A., The Hall of Magic Mirrors, Carlton Press, N.Y., N.Y., 1969
> *** SOLOVYOFF, V.S. - A Modern Priestess of Isis (1895).
> Letter 19, p. 74: - This might indicate some of the intrigue and general aura behind some of these letters, as Algeo remarks that this partial letter, found in the Philosophic Research Society archives, was from and apparently ripped out of an Adyar scrapbook.
> Letters nos. 108, 115, 116, 117a, 118, and 125, pp 399-464s: - How completely unreliable some "translations" or transcriptions may be is brought out by Algeo on pp. 401, (and worth reading the section in whole) on Eleanor Sidgwick's copies of HPB letters to H. Chintamon, Letters nos. 108, 115, 116, 117a, 118, and 125: "... The copies were probably made by Eleanor Sidgwick, who freely abbreviated and paraphased the material and interjected personal opinions about it. She rephrased passages and described what she saw in the letters, often writing about HPB, rather than recording HPB's actual words...." It was like she was made to do something in spite of hatred for HPB, and thus actually refusing to do it by doing it in the worse and most insinuating way, it not being valuable enough in her conventional christian mind to actually transcribe. She even skipped whole pages of philosophy ("... a page and a half about pantheism etc..." - p. 428, No. 115) which she probably
> found booring. 'And this under the aegis of an organization posing on its supposed scientific exact methods, the SPR or British Society for Psychical Research! (Solovyoff likely suffered a similar transcription disease, on personal animosity basis.)
> One "quote" seems particularly Sidgwick commentary falsely posing as HPB's thought: ".... Edison a Theosophist - description of phonograph - (graphic and clear) - .... phonographs might as easily as not be placed in the statues of the caves of Ellora and Elephanta and the gods made to speak to the multitudes for hours - truth and to convert them to pure atheism by the thousands." Rather stupid, and HPB didn't believe in conventional atheism, as it is equivalent to materialism.
> Two versions of supposedly the same short (in transcription) Letter 117 are given, one from Sidgwick, one from "Sarda" published in a book. They have almost no similarity other than mentioning the shipping of 250 books, so one really wonders what is really going on here. Are they different letters, or are each trimmed down so extensively that they nearly don't overlap in subject. Algeo remarks that it "... raises the question of how much has been ommitted from other letters..." (p. 433)
> The "proposed letters" to Massey and Kislingbury within Letter 118, pp. 436-7, seems incredibly pompous to be HPB's and may be more Sidgwick's imaginative rendition and additions than anything. (The Sidgwick copy was made after SPR's "Hodgson Case" and she probably viewed HPB as some sort of scammer.)
> There are 8 Letters included written to Chintaman. No. 120 there is an original for, and No. 112 was included in the "Hodgson Report." Both of these seem genuine and in the Blavatsky style, while all of the other 6 letters from Sidgwick are corrupted and unreliable, varying from probably genuine Blavatsky to the Sidgwick-biped writing and imagination.
> That HPB had enemies and thus those motivated to alter or write phoney letters is probably contested by few. Persons writing anonymous threatening letters certainly have the motivation if not necessarily the skill. HPB writes, "I have received anonymous letters, threatening messages and insulting warnings but only feel as laughing at them." (p. 102) Elswhere, in Letter 67 to Mrs. Corson, she writes: "Here now is the great moment! Mme Blavatsky although the daughter of her forefathers is an immoral woman, a woman who has had loads of lovers. While Dr Bloede secretly spreads the tale in Brooklyn that I have had a criminal liaison with the Pope and Bismarck, Mr Home, that untrained medium, pours his venom over me in Europe. More than that, I, who have worked 18 hours a day since last summer, I am accused in anonymous letters sent to my women friends, who bring them to me indignantly (like Emma Har: Brittain for example) of frequenting houses of assignation. They
> offer to lead Emma H.B. to these spots and to give her proofs that I was there the very same day and hour that she spent an entire day with me!" (pp. 252-3)
> The Solovyoff-Aksakoff letters are also not entire letters, but partial letters and excerpts made by Solovyoff. Of course meaning and context can be altered this way to the editors pleasure by eliminating important or explanatory remarks. (But who would need to do this who also would alter the letters themselves!)
> In a genuine letter to Aksakoff, or which there is an original (Letter 127, pp. 468-9), there's none of the slavish spirit, and although she makes fun of her self ("... my manners of a Prussian grenadier on furlough leave...."), there isn't any false lamenting of a supposedly "immoral" past.
> For effect, below is a compilation of self-incriminating and slavish type excerpts from the Blavatsky-to-Aksakoff letters transcribed by Solovyoff in Volume I of TPH's Blavatsky Letters. Ask oneself if this sounds like the real Blavatsky found in letters known to be genuine, or if this is Solovyoff forging and mis-transcribing Blavatsky letters, and if they should be included alongside in a Volume of genuine Letters: -
> No. 11, pp. 44-46: - "'... her (HPB's) morals, which have not been very strict.' Whoever it was who told you about me, they told you, the truth.... the deep sorrow which I long have known for the irrevocable past.... Morality and virtue I regarded as a social garment, for the sake of propriety.... I see that there is no salvation for me but death.... Do not reveal to him that which, if he knew it and were convinced, would force me to escape to the ends of the Earth...."
> No. 12, pp. 47-50: - ".... to depise me for my sad reputation in the past... If I have any hope for the future, it is only beyond the grave, when bright spirits shall help me to free myself from my sinful and impure envelope.... my accursed name of Blavatsky. I do not dare to risk signing my name to any book. It might raise reminiscences too dangerous for me..... These are the bitter fruits of my youth devoted to Satan, his pomps and works!....
> No. 17, pp. 71-72: - "... the Blavatsky of many sins... In the Lord do we put our trust, nor shall we be shamed forever.... my aunts and sister.... I am no credit to them... Here I am at least a human being; while there, I am - Blavatsky...."
> No. 33, p. 126: - "... there is only one thing I am seeking and struggling for - that people should forget the former Blavatsky...."
> No. 55, p. 195: - "Oh, if only no one knew me in St. Petersburg!"
> No. 69, p. 260: - ".... I really cannot, just because the devil got me into trouble in my youth, go and rip up my stomach now like a Japanese suicide... My position is cheerless - simply helpless. There is nothing left but to start for Australia and change my name forever."
> No. 94, p. 361: - "... because of my shame and sorrow, I am going where no one knows me... Home's malignity has ruined me forever in Europe."
> Fohat editor MacDonald writes on dubious letters and forged excerpts ascribed to Blavatsky: "Students who have read volumes of Blavatsky's works with an earnest desire to understand, begin to be able to identify the rhythm of her work and whereas they may not take much notice of the rhythm when it is there, they certainly notice when it is not. [I would go further to say that words have their own energy and are reflective of the person doing the writing, the problem with the letters in question is that they do in fact give off a bad 'vibe.'" (10-24-04 email, "Theosophy Canada" website.)
> He also suggests that a possible improper motive for publishing phoney Blavatsky letters, may be that it will chase the superficial people away - or the "swine", and the deeper student will see through the phoniness to the "pearls" of the genuine material! - which I don't believe holds water either. Lucifer7 editor Katinka Hesselink wrote: "In reading the book it wasn't clear to me that these letters were probably fabrications. If it isn't automatically clear to me, the same goes for other readers, I'm sure." (Oct. 30, '04, ibid.) One has to read a large volume of Blavatsky material to get the persona and style and know what doesn't fit in or "ring true."
> Universal opinion among the critics is that the Letters are not delineated clearly enough as to which letters are suspect and which are not, but just published alongside each other willy-nilly, with occasional comment as tho their suspect authenticity. A separate appendix for suspect letters is often mentioned, if they were to be published at all. The "dead fish" attitude of academics with no discrimination or intuition is castigated often in one form or another, the "letter" of the work instead of a genuine or ingenuine underlying "spirit" of it.
> Letter 88, pp. 314-328: - HPB writes to her aunt about her "foolish" younger life and mentions the "devil" philosophically as an opposing principle, and this may be of similar nature to her comments to Aksakoff about her younger life, which Solovyoff mis-transcribed and altered for his own purposes. I think she is referring almost exclusively about the eternal pain in the posterior she caused for her family in her constant rebellion and independent nature while a child and adolescent. She writes: ".... The Devil, or rather the idea of an opposing power, is the lever of Archimedes on which the world turns. It is a field where grows the good, for wherever the manure is the richest, the grain grows best. Had I not been the devil knows what, to my shame and sorrow (one cannot relive one's past, one can only try to erase it according to one's strength), if I had not been foolish in my younger days, I would not have been able, as I have done, to place seven people on the
> true path." (p. 326) She again refers to herself as a young social embarassment in Letter 92 to her aunt: "....If I had been born a Buddhist and not a Christian, I would not have shamed the heads of those whom I loved more than all else in the world, grandmother and aunt and yourself and the whole family." (p. 346) Marrying Nikifor Blavatsky in 1849 at 17 or 18 and then running away from him, is probably the chief thought, which most Theosophists probably find admirable instead.
> Letter 92, pp. 342-59: - For a good example of how much differing versions and excerpts of a letter can differ for which an original is available, see the Original and the two other published versions of this letter.
> NO ULTIMATE PROOFS
> How can there be a final proof to the genuiness of a letter is some one is able to perfectly mimic someone else's handwriting? There cannot be. Yet this is the case as proved in later years to Mme. Blavatsky when Indian Judge Khandalavala showed her a perfect copy of her own handwriting which he had made. (The Judge Case, Ernest E. Pelletier, Edmonton T.S., 2004, Part I, pp. 379-381) This has to be likened to an occult ability, more than just a physical skill. HPB wrote in a letter to Sinnett about a letter she had received from Khandalavala (Dec. 29, '85):
> "I send you a funny thing. Read the 3rd, 4th, & 5th & 6th lines. This is undeniably my handwriting. Kandhalavala copied it from my letter to him. When I received and saw it I was positively startled. Let me write it 'staunch fearless friends whose devotion to the Master and yourself has not wavered one hair's breath' - I wrote it without looking at it, so as not to be impeded by the desire of copying it. Now I ask you, were such a letter a whole letter written in the same handwriting as these two 1/2 lines wouldn't [you] swear it was my handwriting? Please put it carefully away and keep it. Why Khandalaval should have coped that sentence in my handwiting I do not know. Once he had written three letters copied from my own and brought them to me and I swore to them myself, not knowing what he meant... I tell you these lines are in my handwriting and I, the first, would swear to them in any Court." (Letters of Blavatsky to Sinnett, TUP, No. LXIII, p. 158)
> K.H. remarks on his and Blavatsky's handwriting being forged in the Mahatma Letters. (TUP, p. 431) M.'s handwriting was forged in ".... five or six other letters in his handwriting emanating from the Dugpa who has charge of Fern." (ibid., p. 294) K.H. remarks on the difference between a "clumsy" forger and an occult or clever one: ".... Mr. Massey, I see, makes no difference between an 'occult' and a common forger such as his legal experience may have made him acquainted with. An 'occult' forger a dugpa would have forged the letter precisely in this tone. He would have never become guilty of being carried away by his personal grudge, so as to deprive his letter of its cleverest feature. The T.S. would not be shown by him 'a superstructure upon fraud,' and it is 'the very opposite impression' that is its crown. I say is for half of the letter is a forgery and a very occult one." (ibid., 419)
> So it is nearly impossible to get any final proof on the genuiness of a difficult letter, even the proper attitude can be faked, let alone the handwriting itself, although most cases aren't this worse scenario. Ultimately one may have only personal discrimination, and that is subjective.
> Letter 33, pp. 126-27: - Solovyoff again has HPB apparently lamenting her horrible moral past. The only "vices" that she ever directly refers to elsewhere are the victorian ones of smoking and swearing (in Russian!). (Letter 30 to Corson)
> Letter 61, pp. 214-15: - This Solovyoff-Aksakoff letter has HPB say that ".... the rules of the Society [T.S.] are so strict that it is impossible for a man who has been associated in any disreputable matter to become a member." Yet, Solovyoff has her claiming disreputability herself in previous letters.
> Letter 76, p. 288: - Solovyoff has Blavatsky being present on the killing of a cat in an occult experiement. This seems unlikely, as Blavatsky's teachers didn't believe even in unnecessarily killing a mosquito. (reference in a Mahatma Letter)
> TRAIN TRIP TO NEVADA
> Letter 121, pp. 443-51: - (A "probably date" of July 3, 1878) HPB tells N. de Fadyev of a trip to Nevada and also mentions "Milwaukee."
> In his commentary Dr. Algeo remarks that: "The episode has a fictional air about it. It is not improbably that HPB, who was known for the stories she told her relatives and companions in their childhood, is still making up a good yarn for them." On p. 416 Algeo also refers to this trip and says ".... which the evidence also suggests did not occur", in spite of HPB describing it.
> The complaint may be that there is not enough time for this trip as de Zirkoff's schedule for HPB that month doesn't allow enough time, or that the dates aren't consistent with it. Considering (from the "Wikipedia" online encyclopedia entry pasted below) one could get to Nevada, at least, and back in less than a week via the "Transcontinental Express," - a quick trip to Nevada would have been easily accomplished, with few taking note of it. Milwaukee would have to have been a short side-jaunt north from Chicago from the Trans-continental route. Also, this letter (#121) also has a "page in the orignal letter missing", so could be parts of two different letters, leaving much more uncertainty as to just what times are what.
> Zirkoff's chronology (p. 451) would allow up to 12 days for this trip - plenty of time, although the various dates and HPB's "3 days ago" do not synch - unless the letter is mis-dated, or considering the "missing page/s" this letter was written in two or more installments, as people sometimes do in relating events to family. The missing page/s may have had more information. On June 4th, HPB (and Olcott?) were with Belle Mitchell in New Jersey, and again on June 16th HPB was with Mitchell. Olcott, in Albany on this date, could have taken a connection on the railway journey back. Also, when one is going on a trip, it is common practice to stay with someone near the station to get a ride to the station, with the same person picking them up on the return journey, Belle Mitchell in this case. (Hoboken, New Jersey is just outside New York City.)
> "Between 1865 and 1869 the Union Pacific laid 1,086 miles and the Central Pacific 689 miles of track. The years immediately following the construction of the railway were years of astounding growth for the United States, largely due to the speed and ease of travel this railroad provided. For example, on June 4,1876 an express train called the Transcontinental Express arrived in San Francisco, California via the First Transcontinental Railroad only 83 hours and 39 minutes after it left from New York City Only 10 years before the same journey would have taken months overland and weeks on ship." ( )
> Letter 121 also carries the fantastical account of Krishnavarma, who is not mentioned elsewhere in the literature (There are 2 different Krishnavarmas), $20,000 in gold from him for the Society, a business venture in the West, and some events along the way. Algeo writes: "The episode has a fictional air about it. It is not improbably that HPB, who was known for the stories she told her relatives and companions in their childhood, is still making up a good yarn for them." After all, though, we are dealing with Mme. Blavatsky, who's whole life was fantastical, and it is hardly fair to equate this with for making up stories in childhood for her friends entertainment, who knew they were made up.
> If Olcott did not report this trip and Krishnavarma in his "Old Diary Leaves - 6 Vols., (there were TWO Krishnavarma's - the other one connected with the Arya Samaj) it may have been because the money involved and the trip to get it was an uncomfortable area, and also Krishnavarma's servant threw one guy in a ditch and hit another guy while being harrassed - which would also be an uncomfortable subject for Olcott, and maybe have legal implications.
> Algeo is referring in the quote to accounts of HPB's childhood by her aunt Mme Nadejda Fadeef, and sister Vera Jelihovsky. Fadeef refers to her "exuberance of imagination and wonderful sensitiveness.... she would spend hours and days quietly whispering, as people thought, to herself, and narrating, with no one hear her, in some dark corner, marvellous tales of travels in bright stars and other worlds...." Helena used to wander the cellar catacombs of her grandfather's estate and have hiding places to escape lessons. "Once or twice she could hardly be found in those damp subterranean corridors, having in her endeavours to escape detection lost her way in the labyrinth. For all this, she was not in the least daunted or repentant, for, as she assured us, she was never there alone, but in the company of her little 'hunch-backs' and playmates." In the children's hide-away beyond a ruined garden and in the virgin forest, "For hours at a time she used to narrate to us
> younger children, and even to her seniors in years, the most incredible stories with the cool assurance and conviction of an eye witness, and one who knew what she was talking about." ( Personal Memoirs of H.P. Blavatsky, compiled by Mary K. Neff, E.P. Dutton, N.Y., 1937, pp. 23-31. Neff says the stories were maybe clairvoyance and not fancy.)
> The "20,000 in gold" wasn't the only case of HPB handling large amounts of money for her work. Olcott, in "Old Diary Leaves" * (Vol. I, pp. 440-41), relates Mme. Blavatsky having a suitcase of money (23,000 francs) of the Adepts', and told to deliver it to an unknown man at a certain address, who happened to be sitting at a table writing his own suicide note, with a revolver at his side. (He had been swindled previously of the sum of money, and needed for some Adept purposes.)
> The account reads: "... When H.P.B. was ordered from Paris to New York in 1873, she soon found herself in the most dismal want, having, as stated in a previous chapter, to boil her coffee-dregs over and over again for lack of pence for buying a fresh supply; and to keep off starvation, at last had to work with her needle for a maker of cravats. She got no presents from unexpected sources, found no fairy-gold on her mattress on waking in the morning. The time ws not yet. But, although she was in such stark poverty herself, she had lying in her trunk for some time after her arrival a large sum of money (I think something like 23,000 francs) which had been confided to her by the Master, to await orders. The order finally came to her to go to Buffalo. Where that was or how to reach it, she had not the remotest idea until she enquired: What to do at Buffalo? 'No matter what: take the money with you.' On reaching her destination whe was told to take a hack and drive
> to such an address, and give the money to such and such a person; to make no explanations, but to take his receipt and come away. She did so: the man was found at the address given, and found in peculiar conditions. He was writing a farewell letter to his family, with a loaded pistol on the table with which he would have shot himself in another half hour if H.P.B. had not come. It seems - as she told me subsequently - that this was a most worthy man who had been robbed of the 23,000 francs in some peculiar way that made it necessary, for the sake of events that would subsequently happen as a consequence - events of importance to the world - that he should have the money restored to him at a particular crisis, and H.P.B. was the agent deputed to this act of beneficence. When we met she had entirely forgotten the man's name, his street and number. Here we have a casse where the very agent chosen to carry the money to the beneficiary was herself in most necessitous
> circumstances, yet not permitted to use one franc of the trust fund to buy herself a pound of fresh coffee." (Old Diary Leaves, Vol. I, pp. 440-41)
> A question might be also is if HPB wrote all her own letters. Officers for organizations if overwhelmed with correspondence sometimes as accepted practice have assistants answer letters under the officer's name. I think somewhere Mead remarks that HPB had people answer her letters sometimes.
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