A LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF LIGHT
[Light, London, Vol. IX, No. 440, June 8, 1889, pp. 277-278]
To the Editor of Light.
Sir,—The letter of Dr. E. Coues, republished from the Religio-Philosophical Journal, in your issue of June 1st, puts an end to my hesitations. Out of respect for old associations and memories, and pity for those who (I must charitably suppose), acting under psychic aberrations, have chosen to declare themselves over their own signatures—deceivers, I had intended to leave Dr. Coues’ new and imprudent attack on me unnoticed. But I can do so no more since this double production has appeared in your columns, and will be read and rejoiced over by hundreds of our enemies. “Truth can do no harm,” as you say, especially when, as in this reply, the truth is supported by irrefutable dates—ugly customers to deal with! And now you shall hear “the other side.” I begin by quoting from Dr. Coues’ letter.
Speaking of Light on the Path, supposed to have been dictated to “Mrs. Collins” by Koot Hoomi, he explains:—
“I liked the little book so much that I wrote Mrs. Collins a letter, praising it and asking her about its real source. She promptly replied, in her own handwriting, to the effect that Light on the Path was inspired or dictated from the source above indicated. This was about four years ago, since which time nothing passed between Mrs. Collins and myself until yesterday.”
This is explicit enough. Now to facts.
I came to London, via Paris, about August, 1884; went to Elberfeld, returning in October; and finally left for India on November 11th of the same year. It was only shortly before my departure that I met Mrs. Cook (Miss Mabel
Collins). I saw her barely half a dozen times, and never alone. She may have been “studying” me at that time, but she never “studied under” me, as she claims to have done. When I met her she had just completed the Idyll of the White Lotus, which, as she stated to Colonel Olcott, had been dictated to her by some “mysterious person.” Guided by her description, we both recognized an old friend of ours, a Greek, and no Mahatma, though an Adept; further developments proving we were right. This fact, acknowledged by Mrs. Cook in her dedication of the Idyll, sets aside the idea that the work was either inspired or dictated by Koot Hoomi or any other Mahatma.
Now about Light on the Path. When I left for India in November, 1884, this work was not in existence. The little book was published in the beginning of 1885, at a time when I was at Adyar and dangerously ill. In March I was hurried away from Madras by the doctors, brought to Naples, thence to Germany, and finally to Ostend. I came to London only on May 1st, 1887. Thus I had not set eyes on “Miss Mabel Collins” (or Mrs. Cook) from November, 1884, to May, 1887, nor did I have any correspondence with her. I heard of the existence and saw Light on the Path for the first time in the summer of 1886 when Mr. Arthur Gebhard gave a copy to me after his return from America.
Now, collating the facts before us, we find the following result. On the one hand Dr. E. Coues states that he wrote to Miss Mabel Collins about the authorship of Light on the Path, “about four years ago,” and received “promptly” a reply to the effect that she had received it “from one of the Masters who guide Madame Blavatsky.” On the other hand, since Dr. Coues could not have inquired about a work before it was published, his letter to “Miss Mabel Collins,” and her “prompt reply,” must have been written after March, 1885, at a time when I was away from England. And yet, mirabile dictu, Miss Mabel Collins “took the letter” to me, and “wrote the answer” at my “dictation”! It would be interesting to know whether she took the letter to me at Madras, Naples, Würzburg, or Ostend; for in the fact of Dr. Coues’ statement that he received her answer “about four years ago,” it could not have been after my arrival
in England in May, 1887. But our perplexities are not yet at an end.
Through the Gates of Gold—the third, and, when contrasted with Light on the Path, rather weak Theosophical production—was written also during my absence from England. I saw it, and heard of it first of all, about a month before coming to London, i.e., in March or April, 1887. Mr. Finch and Mr. B. Keightley came to visit me at Ostend, and the former gentleman brought with him a copy of this new work, from which the latter read some chapters to us. On the page facing the Prologue, Miss Mabel Collins speaks of a “mysterious stranger” who entered her study and told her of the “Gates of Gold.” This person, she has repeatedly confessed, was the same that gave to her the Idyll and Light on the Path as many witnesses can affirm, and yet now the “mysterious stranger” has become metamorphosed by her into “the walls of a place [she] used to visit spiritually”! And Mrs. Cook-Collins has “never received proof of the existence of any Master”! Is then this “mysterious stranger” also a product of my “fertile imagination”; and the lines which speak of him, written by Mrs. Cook herself, are these of my “dictation” I wonder? Really I am curious to know how far I am concerned in the production of these three works, produced at times and under conditions which set aside the possibility of my “dictation” of them!
And now I appeal to every Theosophist acquainted with the truth to corroborate my assertions. Colonel Olcott will be here in July, and we shall see what he says. Meanwhile, Mrs. Collins-Cook is at liberty to invent something else, rather more probable; only I am afraid that after her confession in her letter to Dr. Coues (who, for his own purposes, tries to believe her) she will have some difficulty in gaining credence. I need notice nothing further. False in one, false in all.
The lustre of that priceless little jewel, Light on the Path, is henceforth dimmed by a great black stain that nothing can wash out.
London, June 1st, 1889.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.