[On the Coulomb Forged Letters]
From “The Latest Attack on the Theosophical Society,” October, 1884
Pamphlet Selections incl. Comments by H.P.B.
[Note: for bakckground, see “The Theosophical Society in India,” and the history of the conspiracy of the Coulombs against H. P. Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society.]
Certain letters have lately been published by a magazine in India, imputing to Madame Blavatsky gross impostures, alleged to have been practised by her in furtherance of the Theosophic movement. The following papers are now circulated by the Council of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society for the information of Fellows and any of their friends who may be interested in the matter. . . .
Madame Blavatsky has sent to the Secretary of the London Lodge a paper embodying some detailed criticism on the letters published by the Christian College Magazine. Her comments are as follows:—
The first letter is supposed to be written in 1880 or 1881. It seems to contain in its first portion the original of a note I wrote to the woman Coulomb, from Simla, and which was shown to Colonel Olcott and others. She was asked to go and see whether the cigarette had not fallen in some crevice. She answered there had been a storm, rain and wind that night, and that probably the cigarette was destroyed. As it is so long ago, I could not swear to the words; it is possible that down to the signature the letter is mine. But the flyleaf spoken of in the editor’s note, and the words quoted in the footnote, I pronounce to be a forgery.
The second letter may the mine, or a reproduction of a portion of one of mine, as far as the first paragraph is concerned. The rest is either greatly altered or an entire fabrication. I vaguely remember the letter; what I said was, that if any fresh slanders should be trumped up at Bombay it would be dreadful. That Damodar should, if possible, see one of the Brothers, and that I was going to write to him. Who “King” is I do not know. I never called Padshah by that name. As Damodar had at the time quarrels with his relatives, I said that I would beg of Master K. H. to write to him.—“Lui tomber sur la tête” means simply that the letter ought to stun him; “tomber sur la tête comme une tuile,” a common French expression, which does not mean most certainly that the letter should fall physically on his head! Again, the original letter says, “il doit battre le fer,” etc., and the translation alters this to “We must strike while the iron is hot,” etc. “Il,” if I really wrote this sentence, would have meant Damodar, but “we” means quite another thing. A request to Mr. Coulomb to “save the situation” and do what he was asked, might have referred, if written, to a lawsuit then going on in which Damodar was interested, certainly not to any phenomena. This letter, in fact, is either a forgery altogether or is full of interpolation.
The third letter, supposed to be written from Poona, is an entire fabrication.1 I remember the letter I wrote to her from Poona. It asked her to send me immediately the telegram contained in a note from Ramalinga if he brought or sent her one. I wrote to Colonel Olcott about the experiment. He thinks he can find my letter at Madras. I hope to either get back Ramalinga’s note to me or obtain a statement of the whole matter from him. How could I make a mistake in writing, however hurriedly, about the name of one of my best friends. The forgers make me address him—“care of H. Khandalawalla”—when there is no such man. The real name is N. D. Khandalawalla.
The brief note which is fourth in the series has no significance, except for the words “in a miraculous way,” which assuredly are not mine. I have no recollection of the note at all, which is given without any date.
The fifth letter I never wrote at all. All about a handkerchief is pure nonsense. There is no “Maharajah of Lahore,” hence I could not have spoken of such a person, nor have been attempting mock phenomena for his deception. If such a sentence as “do something for the old man, Damodar’s father,” was ever written by me, it would have referred to a wound in his leg, of which he afterwards died. Madame C. boasted that she could cure him; at any rate, she nursed him, for I asked her to.
The sixth letter is a pure forgery. The phrase “the Adyar saucer will become historical like the Simla cup,” is a phrase first pronounced by Madame Coulomb, as Colonel Olcott may remember, and I have used it since. I do not know any “Soobroya”—perhaps “Soubaya” is meant.
The seventh and eighth letters are forgeries again. I could never, in writing to her who saw the man every day, use all his names and titles. I should simply have said “Dewan Bahadur,” without adding “Rajanath Rao, the President of the Society,” as if introducing to her one she did not know. The whole name is evidently put in now, to make it clear who is meant.
The ninth letter, if possible, is worse nonsense yet. I never called anyone “Christophe.” That was a name given by Madame Coulomb to her husband behind his back, and “Christopholo” was a name by which she called an absurd little figure, or image, of hers. She gave nicknames to everything.
Letter 10: fabrication again.
Letter 11. A letter was written by me from the Nilghiris to introduce the General, but it was not this letter, which appears to be altogether a fabrication.
Letter 12 is the only clearly genuine letter of the series.
Letter 13 may have been written by me. All depends upon knowing who is “Christopholo”—a little ridiculous figure in rags, about three inches high; she wrote to say it had accidentally been destroyed. She joked over it, and I too.
1. It will be seen later on that Mr. Ezekiel, one of the persons to whom it is supposed to relate, concurs with this opinion.