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Monday, 30 November 2020

Blavatsky Letter to J. Ralston Skinner 3 - April 5, 1889

Constance Wachtmeister

The entire Blavatsky correspondence with J. Ralston Skinner is now available online at the Harvard archives:

The Blavatsky-W.Q. Judge correspondence is also on-line:

The letter transcribed below is date April 5, 1889 from Ostende (Belgium). The events described have been documented, see Reminiscences of H. P. Blavatsky and "The Secret Doctrine"by the Countess Constance Wachtmeister and others (London : Theosophical Publishing Society ; New York : The Path, 1893),  Chapter 10, pp. 72-78

The doctor referred to is William Ashton Ellis (b London, Aug 20, 1852; d London, Jan 2, 1919). English writer and translator. His father was a surgeon and following medical studies at St George's Hospital, London, Ellis held the post of Resident Medical Officer at the Western Dispensary from 1878. In the mid-1870s, however, he became (in his own words) ‘a devotee of Wagner's works’ and resigned his post in 1887, devoting himself over the following 28 years to the single-minded pursuit of Wagner studies.

My dear Mr. Skinner – I had never to (pay) prepay one cent – why should you send me this dollar then? – In a week or so, fate will have decided whether I will answer your very, very valuable letter + our correspondence increase + multiply or – whether the present are the last lines you will have from me, in this life. (Five days ago/ today is the 17th – I am in bed) two physicians proclaimed it impossible I should live over 48 hours-I was found to make my will, i.e. leave my old body to my friend Countess Wachtmeister in case of my death otherwise the city authorities would not have permitted them to take it way to London for cremation – Once more I cheated death it seems, but it can come back every hour. It was entire cessation of the function in the kidneys for several days – coma approaching – sleep of dying but Css Wachtmeister in her despair telegraphed to London Lodge to ask for help + a good English physician (one of our Theosophists who had never seen or met me) came here that same night + saved my life in a week’s time- There’s devotion!! He was director of Westminster dispensary & now lost the situation – why they should so cling to poor, old, useless me – is very strange to me but they all do! Show this to dear Dr. Buck – say immediate danger is over but kidneys function still very bad. I am so weak – whatever happens you will receive my photograph – the shrine + ring. May the powers that protected you hitherto, bless & protect you still – if I die, do not think or believe evil of me when people abuse me. For me – death is deliverance, but I wish I could finish Secret Doctrine. My love to brother Buck + thanks to both of you. Yours ever H. P. Blavatsky


  1. Here's Ralston Skinner's The Cabbalah
    Olga Fedorova

  2. thank you Olga - Mr. Skinner has left us a rich legacy, a re-discovery of which should be very interesting to see...

  3. Mark, glad to share the text from my website
    Both Ralston Skinner's great works have been translated into Russian.

  4. thank you Olga - that's impressive - not an easy text to translate.