[Reply to:] “Madame Blavatsky”
The (London) Spiritualist, March 21, 1879
Sir,—If my memory has not altogether evaporated under the combined influences of this blazing Indian sun, and the frequent misconstructions of your correspondents, there occurred, in March, 1878, an epistolary skirmish between one who prudently conceals his face behind the two masks of “Scrutator” and “M.A. (Cantab),” and your humble servant. He again attacks me in the character of my London Nemesis.1 Again he lets fly a Parthian shaft from behind the fence of one of his pseudonyms. Again he has found a mare’s nest in my garden—a chronological, instead of a metaphysical, one this time. He is exercised about my age, as though the value of my statements would be in the least affected by either rejuvenating me to infancy, or aging me into a double centenarian.
He has read in the Revue Spirite for October last [see “The Real Madame, H. P. Blavatsky”] a sentence in which, discussing this very point, I say that I have not passed thirty years in India, and that: “C’est justement mon âge—quoique fort respectable tel qu’il est—qui s’oppose violemment à cette chronologie, etc.” [“It is precisely my age—however respectable it may be—that is radically opposed to that fantastic chronology.”] I reproduce the sentence exactly as it appears, with the sole exception of restoring the period after “l’Inde” in place of the comma, which is simply a typographical mistake. The capital C which immediately follows would have conveyed to anyone except a “Scrutator” my exact meaning, viz., that my age itself, however respectable, is opposed to the idea that I had passed thirty years in India.
I do hope that my ever-masked assailant will devote some leisure to the study of French as well as of punctuation before he attacks again.
H. P. Blavatsky.
Bombay, February, 1879.
1. [Note: see The Spiritualist, Jan. 31st, 1879, p. 57, where “Scrutator” first makes reference to a bizarre statement by George Wyld (The Spiritualist, Jan. 24th, 1879, p. 42) that H.P.B. “resembles a very powerful woman, about fifty-five years of age, but she asserts that she is eighty-two years of age,” and secondly translates and misquotes from H.P.B.’s article “The Real Madame, H. P. Blavatsky,” La Revue Spirite, October, 1878, after which he somehow concludes that he “had been led, from this, to suppose that Madame Blavatsky was thirty years of age.”]