Volume 1 Page 2
[There is in the Archives of The Theosophical Society at Adyar a small booklet, seven by eleven inches, of not more than twenty-six pages, three leaves at least having been torn out. For purposes of identification, we may call it H.P.B.’s Sketchbook, as it contains mostly drawings and sketches in both ink and pencil, also
mere scrawls and scribbles, with here and there some writing between them.
The first page of the booklet, partly reproduced in facsimile, shows in the middle a pen drawing of a seaside view, most likely Ramsgate, England, and a pen-and-ink sketch of a coat of arms, not definitely identified but evidently belonging to one or another branch of the von Hahn Family, as it shows a cock as one of its symbols.
The rest of the page is covered by two columns of two poems in Russian script whose authorship is unknown. At the top of the page H.P.B. has written in Russian: “Indistinct Reminiscences.”
The most interesting item on this page is H.P.B.’s French comment written under the seaside sketch and as a footnote. It is as follows:
“Nuit mémorable! Certaine nuit, par un clair de lune qui se couchait à Ramsgate 12 Août, 1851,* lorsque je rencontrais [symbol] le Maître de mes rêves!!”
* “Le 12 août—c’est juillet 31 style russe jour de ma naissance —Vingt ans!”
[The English equivalent of this is:]
“Memorable night! On a certain night by the light of the moon that was setting at Ramsgate on August 12, 1851,* when I met [symbol] the Master of my dreams!!
* “August 12 is July 31 in Russian style, the day of my birth—Twenty years!”
[This inscription fixes with a considerable degree of probability the time when this particular booklet was started.
In her Reminiscences of H. P. Blavatsky and “The Secret Doctrine” (pp. 57-58) Countess Constance Wachtmeister relates an incident that occurred while H.P.B. was at Würzburg, Germany. It appears that Madame N. A. de Fadeyev, H.P.B.’s aunt, sent her from Russia a box containing various mementoes. Among these was the above-mentioned booklet which the Countess calls a “scrapbook.” H.P.B., on seeing the seaside sketch, gave an exclamation of delight and said: “Come and look at this which I wrote in the year 1851, the day I saw my blessed Master.” The Countess then quotes the exact French text written by H.P.B. under the sketch. She also adds in a footnote: “On seeing the manuscript I asked why she had written ‘Ramsgate’ instead of ‘London,’ and H.P.B. told me that it was a blind, so that anyone casually taking up her book would not know where she had met her Master, and that her first interview with him had been in London as she had previously told me.”
The second page of the booklet contains the following brief piece of writing in French:]
. . . Toutes les magnificences de la Nature,—le silence imposant de la nuit, les odeurs des fleurs,—les rayons pâles de la lune à travers les panaches verts des arbres,—les étoiles, fleurs de feu semées dans le ciel, les lucioles, fleurs de feu semées dans l’herbe,—tout cela a été créé pour rendre l’Adepte digne de la NATURE, au moment où, pour la première fois, elle dit à l’Homme, je t’appartiens,—mot formé d’un céleste parfum de l’âme, qui s’exale et monte au ciel avec les parfums des fleurs,—moment, le seul de sa vie,—où il est roi, où il est Dieu, moment qu’il paye et qu’il expie par toute une existence de regrets amers.
« Ce moment; c’est le prix de toutes nos misères».
[This text has been altered by H.P.B. at one time or another. The words “l’Adepte digne de la NATURE” are in red ink and are
superimposed over the original words “le monde digne de l’homme” written in black ink. The words “elle dit à l’Homme, je t’appartiens” are also in red ink and superimposed over the original words “il dit à une femme—je t’aime” written in black ink.]
[English translation of the above:]
. . . . All the glories of Nature—the imposing silence of the night; the aroma of the flowers; the pale rays of the moon rough the green tufts of the trees; the stars, flowers of fire strewn over the sky; the glow-worms, flowers of fire strewn over the grass—all these have been created to render the Adept worthy of NATURE, at that moment when for the first time she exclaims to Man, “I am yours,”—words formed of a divine perfume from the soul, which, breathed forth ascends to heaven together with the perfume of the flowers—the one moment of his life when he is king, when he is God; the moment which he expiates and pays for with a whole life of bitter regrets.
“That moment—it is the price of all our miseries.”
[Page 3 of the booklet, aside from meaningless scrawls, contains the following few words also in French:]
La femme trouve son bonheur dans l’acquisition des pouvoirs surnaturels—l’amour—c’est un vilain rêve, un cauchemar.
[English translation of the above:]
Woman finds her happiness in the acquisition of supernatural powers—love is a vile dream, a nightmare.
[Page 4 has more scrawls and the address of a Captain Miller, 1, Dragoon-guards, Aldershot. Page 5 has a pencil drawing of a man’s head with his grotesque shadow on the wall, and a poodle sitting upright on his haunches on a table. Page 6 is blank, and pages 7 and 8 contain the beautiful “Légende sur la Belle de Nuit” which is the most important item in this booklet. The text of this Legend written in French is as follows:]