LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF LIGHT
[Light, London, Vol. IX, No. 449, Aug. 10,1889, pp. 383-84]
If my humble signature appears in your journal more often of late than may seem advisable to you, the fault is really not mine, but your own. You cannot expect to fill Light week after week with malicious and false statements about myself and find me leaving them uncontradicted.
I do not object to any amount of even unfair criticism within the limits of fact and truth, but I do not choose to submit to be lied about in every issue. To mention only “Colenso’s” spiteful attacks. Really, if his false statements escape the law of libel (and I am not so sure of it either), it is because in your country of paradoxes, a libel, to become one, has to contain truth and fact, and because the more true it is, the more it is held libellous.
Therefore it is hardly worthwhile to notice “Colenso’s” absurd interpretation of R. Harte’s letter to Light, namely, that the Theosophical Society has thrown Koot-Hoomi overboard and dethroned me (I was not aware of ever having been dethroned);* nor shall I dwell upon his other spiteful attacks, the old exploded slanders and falsehoods of Madame Coulomb, her supporters and protectors—lay or clerical. The latter were disposed of long ago; the former—”Colenso’s” interpretation of Mr. Harte’s letter—I leave [to] himself to answer. The idea of an acting editor of my own journal, founded by me, and of which Colonel Olcott
* [Vide H.P.B.’s own “Correction,” immediately following the present Letter to the Editor.—Compiler.]
and myself are the sole proprietors, declaring that our Society has thrown the Masters and myself overboard, and that, too, in Light, is too gloriously absurd for anything! Mr. Harte is himself the pledged servant of the Master. However much his letter may seem involved, there is not a word in it which could possibly bear such an interpretation; and he, at any rate, is too honourable a man to be capable of turning liar or traitor. I leave his own defence to himself.
But where, in the name of wonder, has the veracious “Colenso” picked up this extraordinary information about me? “And when Madame Coulomb tried to get Madame Blavatsky into the witness-box by prosecuting General Morgan for libel, the flight of the Russian lady almost universally condemned her.”
It is true that under the advice of the good Christian missionaries of Madras the worthy Coulombs did attempt to prosecute General Morgan. But, whether because I was then lying on what was supposed by all to be my death-bed, or for some other reason, I, at any rate, have never received any summons to appear. Many were the gossips circulated in those days, and this intention of the Coulombs was one of the number. But to speak of my flight on account of this is an unmitigated lie, by whomsoever first uttered. It is a widely known fact that I was sent to Europe by the order of Mrs. (Dr.) Scharlieb, of Madras, who did not give me ten days more to live had I remained in India, where the climate was killing me
Unable to stand, let alone to walk, I was carried from my sickbed in an invalid chair, lowered into the boat, and then transferred in it to the steamer, like a bale of goods, hardly conscious of what was going on. There are two living witnesses to this in London, Mrs. (Dr.) Scharlieb, who saved my life at that time, and Mrs. Cooper-Oakley.
Had I been even as well in health as I am now (which is not saying much) I would not have left India on any consideration; and if I did, it was because I was forced to go away by Colonel Olcott and those who cared for my life.
What the Theosophical Society said or did at any time, I am not accountable for. Yet every member of our Society
who knows me intimately (Mr. Sinnett for one), will testify that, though penniless at that time (in 1885), as I am now, it is they, the members, who have had to use every means and persuasion in their power during the last four years to prevent me, in my great indignation, from seeking redress in court for the foul conspiracy, and subsequently for the lies printed against me by my enemies. There was a time when I believed in the perfect fairness and justice of the law. But since then I have realized that the women who resort to such means can only be those who have no reputation or sense of dignity to lose, or such again as have an eye to “damages” and “revenge.” If, therefore, I gave up the idea, it is not because I have anything to fear from truth, but because I have everything to dread from lies; prosecuting an enemy, moreover, being very untheosophical.
The proof of the above lies in the fact that, having been libelled hundreds of times in various papers, I have hitherto preferred to ignore all such attacks, answering only self-evident falsehoods. Those who know me will not believe fifty “Colensos”; and those who don’t have not waited for his malicious inventions to fib about me on their own account, on the principle, I suppose, that no good can come out of Nazareth.
I close, consoling myself, like Sancho Panza, with some of the wise proverbs of the East. There is a Russian saying that “Life is too short to notice every sneeze with a ‘God bless you’,” and a still wiser one in Persia informs us that “Jackasses bray, and the wind carries the sound away.”
H. P. BLAVATSKY.