OUR SOCIETY’S “AGAPAE”
[Lucifer, Vol. IV, No. 21, May, 1889, pp. 248-250]
Our Brothers in France had a happy idea in establishing what we might call theosophical agapae, minus the mystic and religious gloom of the latter. These monthly dinners, “purely vegetarian”—we are not told whether they are also teetotal—may do good work in the long run, as promoters of peace, soul-harmony and brotherly love. “A good dinner sharpens wit, while it softens the heart,” we are told by those in whom, of the three souls enumerated by Plato, the “stomach-soul” is the most energetic; the statement being corroborated by Lord Byron. According to the great English poet, of all “appeals,” none is more calculated to take hold of the best feelings of mankind
“Than that all-softening, overpow’ring knell,
The tocsin of the soul—the dinner-bell.” *
However it may be, and from whatsoever point we view them, the “theosophical dinners” in France have an undeniable advantage over the “no such dinners” in England. They represent, for theosophists, a few hours, at least, passed under the white flag of truce; and even that little is a decided relief, and a march stolen on the English members.
Blessed be ye, O dinners, if presided over by the angel of peace, who stands between the fighting and the dead!
The “Hermes Dinner,” was not presided over this time, however, by a six-winged angel, “shadow’d from either heel with feather’d mail,” but, by our respected friend and brother, the Count Gaston d’Adhémar, who kindly accepted the presidential place of honour at this “exclusively
* [Don Juan, Canto V, xlix.]
vegetarian repast.” The dinner took place on March 23 at Lavenue’s, Boulevard Montparnasse, and was graced, besides the members and associates of the local T.S. “Hermes,” who happened to be then in Paris, by the presence of several distinguished guests interested in theosophy.
In the words of our Revue Théosophique* for April, “this banquet passed off most charmingly, thanks to the witty and instructive conversation of its president, who related some of his travelling impressions through America, and notably among the Mormons; after which the conversation became general and was devoted to occult topics of the highest scientific, phenomenal and metaphysical interest.”
At 11 p.m. the members separated, pledging themselves to meet on the same date next month.
For the benefit of the lovers of vegetarianism, we append hereto the Menu of this repast, which, “to the surprise of all, was found not only very nourishing, but most excellent.”
Potage à la Normande
Pommes de terre à la Duchesse
Tymbale de guiochys au parmesan
Salade de laitue aux œufs
In our great gastronomical ignorance, while rejoicing over the Normandy soup, Duchess potatoes, fried salsify (oyster plant), haricot beans and innocent salad with eggs, we feel rather doubtful about the esoteric meaning of that “Parfait,” which winds up the Menu. Is it a liqueur? One of those oily, sweet, dangerously insidious liqueurs, so beloved in France, or some respectable and harmless dish, drink or what not, for digestive purposes? If the former, alas for the purity of the Theosophical Agapae!
* Directrice, Comtesse Gaston d’Adhémar; Rédacteur en chef (chief editor), H. P. Blavatsky. Chief office, 10, Rue Leseur, Paris, Comtesse d’Adhémar; and all the chief booksellers of Paris. London, at 7, Duke Street, Adelphi and David Nutt’s.