MADAME BLAVATSKY SPEAKS OUT
[The Theosophist, Supplement to March, 1889, p. lviii-lix.]
A young woman having lately libelled Madame Blavatsky in a novel, that redoubtable lady recently brought down her sledge-hammer on the poor little literary mosquito in an interview in the Pall Mall Gazette. The young woman had repeated the fusty slander which is so sweet to the nostrils of certain persons, that the Corresponding Secretary of the Theosophical Society is a Russian spy. This is part of the reply:—
“There are only three or four lines which refer to me. The dozen other persons who are lied about in this work of unique fiction are invited to take care of themselves. As for me it is enough for me to answer the four distinct falsehoods and the libel for which the author is responsible on my account alone. These falsehoods are based on no foundation whatever, save perhaps on public gossip and the efforts of those good souls who think that the best way of ‘entertaining people’ is to serve them with slices of freshly murdered reputations. This particular calumny is an ancient three-years-old slander, picked up from the gutters of Anglo-Indian hill stations, and revived to serve a special purpose by one who, unknown to the world the day before, has since made himself famous in the annals of the world’s iniquitous verdicts by playing at the detective on false scents. But if the originator of this vile invention is not the authoress of “Miss Hildreth,” she is still the first one who has had the impudence of recording it in a novel, adding to it, moreover, a flavour of her own venom. It is, therefore, to her that I address the following refutations.
1. I have never corresponded, whether secretly or openly, with a ‘Monsieur Kinovief;’ nor with the General of this name; nor have I ever been accused before to my knowledge of having done so.
2. I have never written, in all my life on politics, of which I know nothing. I take no interest in political intrigues, regarding them as the greatest nuisance and a bore, the falsest of all systems in the code of ethics. I feel the sincerest pity for those diplomats who, being honourable men, are nevertheless obliged to deceive all their lives, and to embody a living, walking LIE.
3. Ten years ago, the Anglo-Indian Government, acting upon a false and malicious insinuation, mistook me for a spy; but after the Police had shadowed me for over eight months—without unearthing a trace of the charge brought against me—it found to its great sorrow that it had made an April-fool of itself. Yet the Anglo-Indian Government acted, after that, in the most honourable way. In November, 1876, Lord Lytton issued an order to the Political Department that Colonel Olcott and myself should be no longer subjected to the insulting surveillance of the Anglo-Indian Police. [Vide the Allahabad Pioneer, November 11, 1879.] From that day we were no longer annoyed.
4. Prince Doudaroff Korsakoff stands probably as the cunning anagram of Prince Dondoukof Korsakof? This gentleman has been a friend of my family and myself since 1846; yet beyond two or three letters exchanged, I have never corresponded with him. It was Mr. Primrose, Lord Lytton’s Secretary, who was the first to write to him, in order to sift to the bottom another mystery. The Anglo-Indian Mrs. Grundy had mistaken me for my “twin-brother” apparently, and people wanted too know which of us was drowned in the washtub during our infancy—myself or that “twin-brother,” as in the fancy of the immortal Mark Twain. Hence the correspondence for purposes of identification.
5. Lord Dufferin’s “clear-sightedness” is no doubt a fact of history. But why endow his Lordship with soothsaying? Doomed by my physicians to certain death unless I left
India (I have their medical certificate), I was leaving Madras for Europe almost on the day of Lord Dufferin’s arrival at Calcutta. But then perhaps Lord Dufferin stands in the novel only cabalistically for Lord Ripon? In such case, as all three Viceroys—from 1879 to 1888—are now in Europe, it is easy to learn the truth, especially from the Marquis of Ripon who remained Viceroy during almost the whole period of my stay in India. Let the Press inquire, from themselves or their Secretaries, whether it has been ever proven by any of their respective Governments that I was a political agent, whatever may be the malicious society gossip of my enemies. Nor do I feel so certain yet, unless this disgraceful rumour is sufficiently refuted, that I will not appeal directly to the justice and honour of these three noblemen. Noblesse oblige. The least of beggars has a right to seek redress from law, and to appeal to the evidence of the highest in the land, if that evidence can save his honour and reputation, especially in a case like this, when truth can be made known with one simple word from these high witnesses—a yea or a nay.”