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, Feb 15th, 1888, No 6.]
© 2004 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet
IT was a fragrant night – a night rich with sweet flower-scents, not only from the flower beds near, but coming from afar on the breeze. Hilary stood at the gate, leaning on it and looking away at the sky, where a faint streak of different light told of the sun's coming. It was quite clear, though there had been no moonlight; one of those warm, still nights when it is easy to find one's way, though hard to see into the face of one near by, a night when one walks in a dream amid changing shadows, and when the outer mysteriousness and the dimness of one's soul are as one. So with Hilary; so had he walked to the gate. He waited for the woman he loved, the only woman any man could ever love, having once known her. And yet no fever burned now in his veins, no intoxication mounted from his heart to his brain. Standing there, and regarding himself and his own feelings very quietly in the stillness, it seemed to him as if he had died yesterday when that wild cry had been unknowingly uttered; as if his soul or his heart, or, indeed, his very self had gone forth in it.
A light touch was laid on his shoulder, and then the gate was opened. He passed through and walked by Fleta up the flower-bordered pathway. She moved on without speaking, her white cloak hanging loose from her neck, and her bare arms gleaming as it fell back from them.
”You who know so much tell me something”, said Hilary. ”Why are you se wise?”
”Because I burned my soul out centuries ago”, said Fleta. ”When you have burned out your heart you will be strong as I am.”
”Another question”, said Hilary. ”Why did you fail in that initiation?”
Fleta stopped suddenly, and fixed fierce questioning eyes upon him. She was terrible in this quick rush of anger. But Hilary looked on her unmoved. It seemed to him that nothing would ever be able to move him again. Was he dead indeed that he could thus endure the scorching light of those brilliant eyes?
”What makes you ask me that?” cried Fleta in a voice of pain. ”Do you demand to know?”
”Yes; I do wish to know.”
For a moment Fleta covered her face with her hands, and her whole form shrank and quivered. But only for a moment; then she dropped her hands at each side and stood erect, her queenly head poised royally.
”It is my punishment”, she said in a murmuring voice, ”to discover so soon how absolute are the bonds of the Great Order; how the pupil can command the master as well as the master the pupil.”
Then she turned abruptly upon Hilary, approaching him more nearly, while she spoke in a quick, fierce voice.
”Because, though I have burned out my soul, I have not burned out my heart! Because, though I cannot love as men do, and have almost forgotten what passion means, yet I can still worship a greater nature than my own so deeeply that it may be called love. I have not learned to stand utterly alone and to know myself as great as any other with the same possibilities, the same divinity in myself. I still lean on another, look to another, hunger for the smile of another. O, folly, when I know so well that I cannot find any rest while that is in me. O, Ivan, my teacher, my friend, what torture it is to wrest the image of you from its shrine within me. Powers and forces of indifferent Nature, I demand your help!”
She raised her arms a she uttered this invocation, and it struck Hilary at the moment how little like a human being she looked. She might have been the spirit of the dawn. Her voice had become unutterably weird and mournful, like the deep cry of a broken soul.
Without pausing for any answer she dropped her arms, drew her cloak around her, and walked away over the dewy grass. Hilary, as silent, as mournful, but seemingly without emotion, dropped his head and quietly followed her track. Of old - only yesterday - what an age ago! - he would have kept his eyes fixed on her shining dark hair or the movements of her delicate figure. Suddenly Fleta stopped, turned and confronted him. He raised his eyes in surprise and looked at her.
”You are no longer devoured by jealousy”, she said. ”You can hear me speak as I did just now without its turning you into a savage. What has happened?”
Her eyes seemed to penetrate his impassive and languid expression, looking for the soul beneath. She was longing that his answer should be the one she needed.
”I am hopeless”, answered Hilary.
”Of your love. I understand at last that you have a great purpose in your life, and that I am a mere straw on a stream. I thought I had some claim on you; I see I cannot have. I surrender myself to your will. That is all I have left to do.”
Fleta stood meditatively for a moment. Then she looked up very sadly in his face.
”It is not enough”, she said. ”Your gift must be a positive one.”
Then she again turned and went on her way to the house. Here everything was silent and even dark, for the shutters were all closed, and evidently the place was deserted. Fleta opened a side door with a key which was attached to her girdle; they entered and she locked it behind them. She led the way through the quiet dim house to the door of the laboratory; they entered the room in silence. It wore a quite new aspect to Hilary's eyes, and he looked round in wonder. All was pale; there was no incense burning, no lamps were lit; the colour had gone from the walls; a faint grey light through a skylight, which had always hitherto been curtained, dimly broke on the darkness of the room which still lurked deeply in the lower part. But Hilary found enough light to see that the thing he so hated was not present; that lay figure which was to him always such a horror was gone.
”Where is it?” he said after a moment, wondering at the sense of relief with which its absence filled him.
”What? - oh! the figure. Again you ask a question which I am compelled to answer. Well, I cannot use that power at present; I have again to win the right.”
”How did you win the right before?” asked Hilary, fixing his eyes on her; a fierce desire to know this possessed him.
Fleta started, turned towards him, and for a moment the proud imperiousness which ordinarily characterised her came over her form and her features. But in another moment it was gone. She stood before him, pale, gentle and sublime.
”I will tell you”, she said in a clear yet very low voice. ”By taking your life.”
Hilary looked at her in complete perplexity and bewilderment.
”Do you not remember”, she said, ”that forest, that new earth and sky, all so sweet and strong, that wealth of apricot blossom that came between us and the sky? Ah, Hilary, how fresh and vivid life was then, while we lived and loved and understood not that we did either! Was it not sweet? I loved you. Yes, I loved you - loved you.”
Her voice broke and trembled. Hilary's numbed heart suddenly sprang again to life. Never had her voice contained such tones of tenderness and passion before.
”Oh, my dear, my Fleta, you love me still - now!”
He sprang towards her, but she seemed to sweep him aside with one majestic action of her bare arm.
”With that passion”, she said, with a pale solemnity, ”I can never love now. I have not forgotten entirely what such love is - no, Hilary, I have not forgotten - else how should I have found you again among the multitudes of the earth?” She held out her hand to him, and, as he clasped it, he felt it was soft and tender, that the warm life blood of a young creature responded to his touch. ”I knew you by your dear eyes which once were so full of pure love for me that they were like stars in m life.”
”What came between us?” asked Hilary.
She looked strangely at him, drew her hand away, folded her cloak round her and then answered in one word:
”I remember it now!” cried Hilary in sudden excitement. ”My God! I see your beautiful wild face before me, I see your lips as lovely as the soft blossom above us. Fleta, I loved you as men love - I hungered for you - what harm lay in that?”
”None”, she answered, standing now motionless and statue-like, wrapped in her long, white cloak, seeming like a lovely ghost rather then a living woman. ”None - for men who care only to be men, to reproduce men, to be and to do nothing more than that! But I had another power within me, that seemed stronger than myself - a stirring of the dumb soul within. When that moment came, Hilary, then came the great decision, the fierce struggle between two souls hurled together out of the dimness of life, and finding light in the fever of love - yes, light! - the fire that is love makes it possible for men to live. It gives them hope, it animates them, it makes them believe in a future, it enables them to create men to fill that future.
”In those old days beneath those apricot blossoms, you and I, Hilary, were but children on this earth, new to its meaning, knowing nothing of its purpose. How could we guide ourselves? We were ignorant of the great power of sex, we were only at the beginning of its lesson. So it must be with all. They must go through with the lesson, they cannot guess it from the first! Nor could we. I did not know what I did, Hilary, my lover, when I took your life. Had I known I should only have been like a beast of prey. But I did not know. You asserted your power - you claimed me. I asserted mine - I conquered. I wanted power; and killing you as I did with that one emotion only stirring within me, I got what I longed for. Not at once - not till I had suffered patiently, not till I had struggled hard to understand myself and the force that was at work within me. And this for life after life, incarnation after incarnation. You not only loved me but you were mine - I conquered you and used your life and love for my own ends - to add to my power, to actually create the life and strength I needed. By your life, by your strength, I became a magician, read by my insight the mysteries of alchemy and the buried secrets of power. Yes, Hilary, it is so. To you I owe myself. I have become free from the common burdens of humanity, its passions, its personal desires, its weary repetitions of experiences till their edge grows blunted by long usage, I have seen the Egyptian and the roman, men of the old superb civilisations, trying to reproduce their past pleasures, their past magnificence today, in this modern life. It is useless, life after life full of selfishness and pleasure, ends in the weariness of living that kills men's souls and darkens their thought. But you and I, Hilary, have escaped from this dismal fate. I would not be content to live again as I had lived before, to use the life principle which lies in love, only for pleasure or the bringing of eidolons on to the earth. I determined to rise, to raise myself, to raise you, and out of our love perpetually to create something nobler than we ourselves. I have succeeded, Hilary, I have succeeded. We stand now before the gate of the first initiation. I tried to enter it and failed for want of strength - for want of strength, Hilary! I could not pluck my master's image utterly out of my soul - I looked for him to lean on - at least to find comfort in seeing that face I knew. Give me strength, Hilary! Be my comrade! Help me to enter and your strength shall come back to you a hundredfold. For your reward shall be that you too shall enter with me.”
She had changed from moment to moment as she spoke. She looked like an inspired priestess - like a Divine being. Now she stood like a flame with a strange appearance, as if her whole soul and self, spirit and body, rose upwards in adoration. The dawn had come; the first rays of the sun shot through the skylight and fell on her transfigured face and gleaming hair.
Hilary looked at her as a worshipper might look at his idol.
”I am yours”, he said, ”but I know not how to prove it.”
She held out her hand to him, and lowered her eyes from the light to which they had been raised until they met his.
”We must discover the great secret together, Hilary. No longer may you give yourself to me without knowledge. Hitherto our lives have been but the lives of the blossom; now we must be wise and enter the state when the fruit comes. We have to find out what that power is which the sun represents to us; to discover the pure creative power. But we have not strength yet, Hilary; alas! I dread and fear sometimes. More strength means more sacrifice.”
She drew her cloak closer round her, the light faded from her eyes and face, and turning away she went and sat down on a couch which was back in the shadow. Hilary felt a profound sense of sadness, of sympathy, of sorrow, sweep over his being. He followed her and sat down beside her. One pale hand lay on the couch, outside her cloak. He laid his upon it, and fell deep into thought. Thus they sat, silent, breathing softly, for long hours, til the sun was high. But still, even then, the room was very dim and cool, and full of shadows.
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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