The Blossom and the Fruit
A True Story of a Black Magician
by Mabel Collins
”The Prettiest Woman in Warsaw.” ”The Idyll of The White Lotus,”
”Through The Gates of Gold,” Etc., Etc.
[Lucifer, Vol I. London, Jan 15th, 1888, No 5.]
© 2004 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet
IT was late in the day before Fleta again came out of her room. She seemed to have recovered her natural manner and appearance; and yet there was a change in her which anyone who knew her well must see. She had not been into the general rooms, or greeted the other guests; nor did she do so now. Her face was full of resolution, but she was calm, at all events externally. Without going near the guest rooms or the great entrance hall, she made her way round the house to where a very small door stood almost hidden in an angle of the wall. It was such a door as might lead to the cellars of a hourse, and when Hilary had explored the night before he had scarcely noticed it. But it was exceedingly solid and well fastened. Fleta gave a peculiar knock upon it with a fan which she carried in her hand. It was immediately opened, and Father Amyot appeared.
”Do you want me?”, he asked.
”Yes; I want you to go on an errand for me.”
”Where am I to go?”
”I do not know; probably you will know. I must speak to one of the White Brotherhood.”
Amyot's face clouded and he looked doubtfully at her.
”What is there you can ask that Ivan cannot answer?”
”Does it matter to you?”, said Fleta imperiously. ”You are my messenger, that is all.”
”You cannot command me as before”, said Father Amyot.
”What! do you know that I have failed? Does all the world know it?”
”The world?” echoed Amyot, contemptuously. ”No; but all the Brotherhood does, and all its servants do. No one has told me, but I know it.”
”Of course”, said Fleta to herself. ”I am foolish.” She turned away and walked up and down on the grass, apparently buried in deep thought. Presently she raised her head suddenly, and quickly moved towards Amyot, who still stood motionless in the dim shadow of the little doorway. She fixed her eyes on him; they were blazing with an intense fire. Her whole attitude was one of command.
”Go”, she said.
Father Amyot stood but for a moment; and then he came out slowly from the doorway, shutting it behind him.
”You have picked up a lost treasure”, he said. ”You have found your will again. I obey. Have you told me all your command?”
”Yes. I must speak to one of the White Brothers. What more can I say? I do not know one from another. Only be quick!”
Instantly Amyot strode away over the grass and disappeared. Fleta moved slowly away, thinking so deeply that she did not know any one was near her till a hand was put gently on her arm. She looked up, and saw before her the young king, Otto.
”Have you been ill”, he asked, looking closely into her face.
”No”, she answered. ”I have only been living fast - a century of experience in a single night! Shall I talk to you about it, my friend?”
”I think not”, answered Otto, who now was walking quietly by her side. I may not readily understand you. I am anxious above all to advance slowly and grasp each truth as it comes to me. I have been talking a long time today to Father Ivan; and I feel that I cannot yet understand the doctrines of the order except as interpreted through religion.”
”Through religion?”, said Fleta. ”But that is a mere externality.”
”True, and intellectually I see that. But I am not strong enough to stand without any external form to cling to. The precepts of religion, the duty of each towards humanity, the principle of sacrifice one for another, these things I can understand. Beyond that I cannot yet go. Are you disappointed with me?”
”No, indeed”, answered Fleta. ”Why should I be.”
Otto gave a slight sigh as of relief. ”I feared you might be”, he answered; ”but I preferred to be honest. I am ready, Fleta, to be a member of the order, a devout member of the external Brotherhood. How far does that place me from you who claim a place among the wise ones of the inner Brotherhood.”
Fleta looked at him very seriously and gravely.
”I claim it”, she said; ”but is it mine? Yet I will win it, Otto; even at the uttermost price, I will make it mine.”
”And at what cost?”, said Otto. ”What is that uttermost price?”
”I think”, she said slowly, ”I already feel what it is. I must learn to live in the plain as contentedly as on the mountain tops. I have hungered to leave my place in the world, to go to those haunts where only a few great ones of the earth dwell, and from them learn the secret of how to finally escape from the life of earth altogether. That has been my dream, Otto, put into simple words; the old dream of the Rosicrucian and those hungerers after the occult who have always haunted the world like ghosts, unsatisfied, homeless. Because I am a strong-willed creature, because I have learned how to use my will, because I have been taught a few tricks of magic I fancied myself fitted to be one of the White Brotherhood. Well, it is not so. I have failed. I shall be your queen, Otto.”
The young king turned on her a sudden look full of mingled emotions. ”Is that to be, Fleta? Then may I be worthy of your companionship.”
Fleta had spoken bitterly, though not ungently. Otto's reply had been in a strange tone, that had exultation, reverence, gladness, in it; but not any of the passion which is called love. A coquette would have been provoked by a manner so entirely that of friendship.
”Otto”, said Fleta, after a moment's pause, during which they had walked on side by side. ”I am going to test your generosity. Will you leave me now?”
”My generosity?”, exclaimed Otto. ”How is it possible for you to address me in that way?” Without any further word of explanation he turned on his heel and walked quickly away. Fleta understood his meaning very well; she smiled softly as she looked for a moment after him. Then, as he vanished, her whole face changed, her whole expression of attitude, too. For a little while she stood quite still, seemingly wrapt in thought. Then steadily and swiftly she began to move across the grass and afterwards to thread her way through the trees. Having once commenced to move, she seemed to have no hesitation as to the direction in which she was going. And, indeed, if you had been able to ask her how she knew what path to take, she would have answered that it was very easy to know. For she was guided by a direct call from Amyot, as plainly heard as any human voice, though audible only to her inner hearing. To Fleta, the consciousnes of the double life - the spiritual and the natural - was a matter of constant experience, and, therefore, there was no need for the darkness of midnight to enable her to hear a voice from what ordinary men and women call the unseen world. To Fleta it was no more unseeen than unheard. She saw at once, conquering time and space, the spot where she would find Father Amyot at the end of her rapid walk; and more, the sate she would find him in. The sun streamed in its full power and splendour straight on the strange figure of the monk, lying rigidly upon the grass. Fleta stood beside him and looked down on his face, upturned to the sky. For a little while she did nothing but stood there with a frown upon her forehead and her dark eyes full of fierce and changing feeling. Amyot was in one of his profound trances, when, though not dead, yet he was as one dead.
”Already my difficulties crowd around me”, exclaimed Fleta aloud.”What folly shall I unknowingly commit next? My poor servant - dare I even try to restore you - or will Nature be a safer friend?”
Full of doubt and hesitation, she turned slowly away and began to pace up and down the grass beside the figure of the priest. Presently she became aware that she was not alone - some one was near her. She started and turned quickly. Ivan stood but a pace from her, and his eyes were fixed very earnestly upon her.
He was not dressed as a priest, but wore a simple hunting dress, such as an ordinary sportsman or the king incognito might wear. Simple it was, and made of coarse materials; but its easy make showed a magnificent figure which the monkish robes had disguised. His face had on it a deep and almost pathetic seriousness; and yet it was so handsome, so nobly cut, and made so brilliant by the deep blue eyes, which were bluer than their wont now, even in the full blaze of the sun - that in fact as a man merely, here stood one who might make any woman's heart, queen or no queen, beat fiercely with admiration. Fleta had never seen him like this before; to her he had always been the master, the adept in mysterious knowledge, the recluse who hi his love of solitude under a monkish veil. This was Ivan! Young, superb, a man who must be loved. Fleta stood still and silent, answering the gaze of those questioning, serious blue eyes, with the purposeful, rebellious look which was just now burning in her own. The two stood facing earch other for some moments, without speaking - without, as it seemed, desiring to speak. But in these moments of silence a measuring of strength was made. Fleta spoke first.
”Why have you come?” she demanded. ”I did not desire your presence.”
”You have questions to ask which I alone can answer.”
”You are the one person who cannot answer them, for I cannot ask them of you.”
”It is of me that you must ask them”, was all Ivan's reply. Then he added: ”It is of me you have to learn these answers. Learn them by experience if you like, and blindly. If you care to speak, you shall be answered in words. This will spare you some pain, and save you years of wasted time. Are you too proud?”
There was a pause. Then Fleta replied deliberately:
”Yes, I am too proud.”
Ivan bowed his head and turned away. He stooped over Father Amyot, and taking a flask from his pocket, rubbed some liquid on the monk's white and rigid lips.
”I forbid you”, said Ivan, ”to use your power over Amyot again.”
”You forbid me?” repeatd Fleta in a tone of profound amazement. Evidently this tone was entirely new to her.
”Yes, and you dare not disobey me. If you do, you will suffer instantly.”
Fleta looked the amazement which was evidently beyond her power to express in words. Ivan's manner was cold, almost harsh. Never had he addressed her without gentleness before. Hastily she recovered herself, and without pausing to address to him any other word she turned away and went quickly through the trees and back to the house. Otto was standing at one of the windows; she went straight to him.
”I wish to go back to the city at once”, she said, ”will you order my horses?”
”May I come with you?”
”No, but you may follow me tomorrow if you like.”
(To be continued.)
Blossom and the Fruit:
| Introduction | Chap 1 | Chap 2 | Chap 3 | Chap 4 | Chap 5 | Chap 6a | Chap 6b | Chap 7 | Chap 8 | Chap 9 | Chap 10 | Chap 11-12 | Chap 13 | Chap 14 | Chap 15 |
| till Helena Blavatsky Online | till ULTs hemsida | till toppen av sidan | till Meditation Huvudindex |
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