Moonchild, by Aleister Crowley

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: Moonchild, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 1:23 am

Chapter 20: Walpurgis-Night

The spring in Naples had advanced with eager foot; in her gait she revealed the truth of her godhead; and by the end of April there was no wreath of snow on Apennine, or Alban, or Apulian Hill.

The last day of the month was hot and still as midsummer; the slopes of Posillippo begged a breath from Ocean, and were denied. So heavy a haze hung on the sea that not only Capri, not only the blue spur that stabs the sunset, but Vesuvius itself, were hidden from the Villa where Iliel and her friends were nested.

Sunset was sombre and splendid; the disc itself was but a vague intensity of angry Indian red. His agony spilt a murky saffron through the haze; and the edges of the storm-clouds on the horizon, fantastically shapen, cast up a veritable mirage, exaggerated and distorted images of their own scarred crests, that shifted and changed, so that one might have sworn that monsters -- dragons, hippogriffs, chimaerae -- were moving in the mist, a saturnalia of phantasms.

Iliel impatiently awaited the moment of darkness, when she could meet the Old Lady and start for the Sabbath. She had noticed a long conference that day between Sister Clara and the two men; and she was sure that they were themselves arranging for their departure. The suspicion was confirmed when, one after the other, they came to wish her a good night. She was more than ever determined to follow them to the Sabbath.

By nine o'clock everything was still in the garden, save for the tread of Brother Onofrio's patrol, who paced the upper terrace, chanting in the soft and low, yet stern, tones of his well-modulated voice, the exorcism that magical guardians have sung for so many ages, with its refrain: "On them will I impose my will, the Law of Light."

Iliel gave her little cough, and found herself immediately upon the path she knew so well. It only took her a few minutes to reach the rock, and there was the Old Lady waiting for her.

"I must tell you at once, my dear," she began without any preliminary, "that you must be very careful to do exactly as I say -- in that country."

It was the same sing-song, with the one change of word.

"First of all, you must never speak of anything by its name -- in that country. So, if you see a tree on a mountain, it will be better to say 'Look at the green on the high'; for that's how they talk -- in that country. And whatever you do, you must find a false reason for doing it -- in that country. If you rob a man, you must say it is to help and protect him: that's the ethics -- of that country. And everything of value has no value at all -- in that country. You must be perfectly commonplace if you want to be a genius -- in that country. And everything you like you must pretend not to like; and anything that is there you must pretend is not there -- in that country. And you must always say that you are sacrificing yourself in the cause of religion, and morality, and humanity, and liberty, and progress, when you want to cheat your neighbour -- in that country."

"Good heavens!" cried Iliel, "are we going to England?"

"They call the place Stonehenge -- in that country." And without another word the Old Lady dragged Iliel into the cleft of the rock. It was very, very dark inside, and she tripped over loose stones. Then the Old Lady opened a little door, and she found herself standing on a narrow window-ledge. The door shut fast behind her, almost pushing her out. Beyond the ledge was nothing but the Abyss of Stars. She was seized with an enormous vertigo. She would have fallen into that cruel emptiness, but the Old Lady's voice came: "What I said outside was nonsense, just to put the Gwalkins off the trail, my dear; there is only one rule, and that is to take things as they come -- in this country."

She pushed Iliel deliberately from the window-sill; with a scream she flew through the blackness. But the chubby little old clergyman explained to her that she must go into the castle on the islet. It was only a little way to walk over the ice of the lake, but there was no sign of an entrance. The castle was fitted cunningly to the irregularities of the rock, so that one could see nothing but the masonry; and there was no trace of any door, and the windows were all very high in the wall. But as Iliel came to it she found herself inside, and she never knew how she got there. It was easy to scramble along the ladder to the golf course, but the main deck of the galleon was slippery with the oil that spurted from its thousand fountains. However, she came at last to the wardrobe where her hairbrush was hanging, and she lost no time in digging for the necessary skylarks. At last the way was clear! The pine-woods on the left; the ant-hills on the right; straight through the surf to the heathery pagoda where the chubby clergyman and the Old Lady had already arrived, and were busy worshipping the Chinese God.

Of course! It was Cyril, with Brother Onofrio and Sister Clara all the time -- how stupid she had been!

But for all that the toads were a nuisance with their eternal chatter and laughter; and they wore their jewels much too conspicuously and profusely.

And then she perceived that Cyril and his two companions formed but one triangle, out of uncounted thousands; and each triangle was at a knot upon the web of an enormous spider. At each knot was such a group of three, and every one was different. There must have been millions of such gods, each with its pair of worshippers; every race and clime and period was represented. There were the gods of Mexico and of Peru, of Syria and Babylon, of Greece and Rome, of obscure swamps of Ethiopia, of deserts and mountains. And upon each thread of the web, from knot to knot, danced incredible insects, and strange animals, and hideous reptiles. They danced, sang, and whirled frantically, so that the entire web was a mere bewilderment of motion. Her head swam dizzily. But she was now full of a curious anger; her thought was that the Old Lady had betrayed her. She found it quite impossible to approach the triangle, for one thing: she was furious that it should be Sister Clara herself who had led her into this Sabbath, for another; and she was infinitely disgusted at the whole vile revel. Now she noticed that each pair of worshippers had newborn children in their arms; and they offered these to their god, who threw them instantly towards the centre of the web. Following up those cruel meshes, she beheld the spider itself, with its six legs. Its head and body formed one black sphere, covered with moving eyes that darted rays of darkness in every direction, and mouths that sucked up its prey without remorse or cessation, and cast it out once more in the form of fresh strands of that vibrating web.

Iliel shuddered with the horror of the vision; it was to her a dread unspeakable, yet she was hypnotized and helpless. She felt in herself that one day she too must become the prey of that most dire and demoniac power of darkness.

As she gazed, she saw that even the gods and their worshippers were morsels for its mouths. Ever and anon she beheld one of the legs crooked round a triangle and draw it, god, shrine, and worshippers, into the blackness of the spider's bloated belly. Then they were thrown out violently again, in some slightly altered form, to repeat the same uncanny ritual.

With a strong shudder she broke away from that infernal contemplation. Where was the kindly earth, with all its light and beauty? In God's name, why had she left Lavinia King to explore these dreadful realms -- of illusion? of imagination? of darker and deadlier reality than life? It mattered little which; the one thing needful was to turn again to humanity, to the simple sensible life that she had always lived. It was not noble, not wonderful; but it was better than this nightmare of phantoms, cruel and malignant and hideous, this phantasmagoria of damnation.

She wrenched herself away; for a moment she lost consciousness completely; then she found herself in her bed at the Villa. With feverish energy she sprang from the couch, and ran to the wardrobe to put on her travelling dress. It would be easy to drop from the wall of the terrace into the lane; in an hour she would be safe in Naples. And then she discovered that the dress would have to be altered before she could wear it. With vehemence she set instantly to work -- and just as she was finishing, the door opened, and Sister Clara stood beside her.

"Come, Iliel," she said, "it is the moment to salute May Morn!"

The indignant girl recoiled in anger and disgust; but Sister Clara stood smiling gently and tenderly. Iliel looked at her, almost despite herself; and she could not but see the radiance of her whole being, a physical aura of light playing about her, and the fire of her eyes transcendent with seraph happiness.

"They are waiting for us in the garden," she said, taking Iliel by the arm, like a nurse with an invalid. And she drew over her shoulders the great lunar mantle of blue velvet with its broidered silver crescents, its talismans of the moon, and its heavy hanging tassels of seed pearls; and upon her head she set the tiara of moon-stones.

"Come, they are waiting."

So Iliel suffered herself to be led once more into the garden. In the east the first rays of the sun gilded the crest of Posilippo, and tinged the pale blue of the firmament with rosy fingers. The whole company was gathered together, an ordered phalanx, to salute the Lord of Life and Light.

Iliel could not join in that choir of adoration. In her heart was blackness and hate, and nausea in her mouth. What vileness lay beneath this fair semblance! Well, let it be; she would be gone.

Cyril came to her with Brother Onofrio, as the last movement of their majestic chant died away upon the echoing air. He took her in his arms. "Come! I have much to tell you." He led her to a marble seat, and made her sit down. Brother Onofrio and Sister Clara followed them, and sat upon the base of a great statue, a copy of the Marsyas and Olympas in green bronze, hard by.

"Child!" said Cyril, very gravely and gently, "look at the eastern slope of Posilippo! And look at the stars, how brightly they shine! And look at that shoal of gleaming fish, that swim so deep beneath the waters of the bay! And look at your left ear! What shapeliness! What delicate pink!"

She was too angry even to tell him not to be an idiot. She only smiled disdainfully.

He continued. "But those things are there. You cannot see them because the conditions are not right. But there are other things that your eye sees indeed, but you, not; because you have not been trained to see them for what they are. See Capri in the morning sun! How do you know it is an island, not a dream, or a cloud, or a sea-monster? Only by comparison with previous knowledge and experience. You can only see things that are already in your own mind -- or things so like them that you can adjust yourself to the small percentage of difference. But you cannot observe or apprehend things that are utterly unfamiliar except by training and experience. How does the alphabet look to you when you first learn it? Don't you confuse the letters? Arabic looks 'fantastic' to you, as the Roman script does to the Arab; you can memorize one at a glance, white you plod painfully over the other, letter by letter, and probably copy it wrong after all. That's what happened to you last night. I know you were there; and, knowing you were not an initiate, I can guess pretty well what you must have seen. You saw things 'accurately,' so far as you could see them; that is, you saw a projection into your own mind of something really in being. How right such vision can be, and yet how wrong! Watch my hand!" He suddenly raised his right hand. With the other he held a book between it and her eyes.

"I can't see it!" she cried petulantly.

"Look at its shadow on the wall!"

"It's the head of the devil!"

"Yet I am only making the gesture of benediction." He lowered the book. She recognized at once the correctness of his statement.

She looked at him with open mouth and eyes. He was always stupefying her by the picturesqueness of his allegories, and his trick of presenting them dramatically.

"What then?"

"This is what really happened last night -- only there's no such thing as time. This is what you should have seen, and what you will see one day, if you cling to the highest in you."

He drew a note-book of white vellum from his pocket, and began to read.

"The whirlwind of the Eagle and the Lion!
The Tree upon the Mountain that is Zion!
The marriage of the Starbeam and the Clod!
The mystic Sabbath of the Saints of God!
Bestride the Broomstick that is God-in-man!
Spur the rough Goat whose secret name is Pan!
Before that Rod Heaven knows itself unjust;
Beneath those hoofs the stars are puffs of dust.
Rise up, my soul! One stride, and space is spanned;
Time, like a poppy, crushed in thy left hand,
While with thy right thou reachest out to grip
The Graal of God, and tilt it to thy lip?
Lo! all the whirring shafts of Light, a web
Wherein the Tides of Being flow and ebb,
One heart-beat, pulsing the Eternal stress,
Extremes that cancel out in Nothingness.
Light thrills through Light, the spindle of desire,
Cross upon Cross of elemental Fire;
Life circles Life, the Rose all flowers above,
And in their intermarriage they are Love.
Lo! on each spear of Splendour burns a world
Revolving, whirling, crying aloud; and curled
About each cosmos, bounding in its course,
The sacred Snake, the father of its force,
Energized, energizing, self-sustained,
Man-hearted, Eagle-pinioned, Lion-maned,
Exulting in its splendour as it lashes
Its Phoenix plumage to immortal ashes
Whereof one fleck, a seed of spirit spun,
Whirls itself onward, and creates a sun.
Light interfused with Light, a sparkling spasm
Of rainbow radiance, spans the cosmic chasm;
Light crystallized in Life, Life coruscating
In Light, their mood of magick consummating
The miracle of Love, and all the awe
Of Need made one with Liberty's one law;
A fourfold flower of Godhead, leaf and fruit
And seed and blossom of one radiant root,
Resolving all the being of its bloom
Into the rapture of its own perfume.
Star-clustered dew each fibre of that light
Wherein all being flashes to its flight!
All things that live, a cohort and a choir,
Laugh with the leapings of that fervid fire;
Motes in that sunlight, they are drunken of
The wine of their own energy of love.
Nothing so small, so base, so incomplete,
But here goes dancing on diviner feet;
And where Light crosses Light, all loves combine
Behold the God, the worshippers, the shrine,
Each comprehensive of its single soul
Yet each the centre and fountain of the whole;
Each one made perfect in its passionate part,
Each the circumference, and each the heart!
Always the Three in One are interwoven,
Always the One in Three sublimely cloven,
Their essence to the Central Spirit hurled
And so flung forth, an uncorrupted world,
By That which, comprehending in one whole
The universal rapture of Its soul,
Abides beyond Its own illumination,
Withdrawn from Its imperishable station,
Upholding all, an arm whose falchion flings
With every flash a new-fledged Soul of Things;
Beholding all, with eyes whose flashes flood
The veins of their own universe with blood;
Absorbing all, each myriad mouth aflame
To utter the unutterable Name
That calls all souls, the greatest and the least,
To the unimaginable marriage-feast;
And, in the self-same sacrament, is stirred
To recreate their essence with a Word;
This All, this Sire and Lord of All, abides
Behind the unbounded torrent of Its tides,
In silence of all deed, or word, or thought,
So that we name It not, or name It Naught.
This is the Truth behind the lie called God;
This blots the heavens, and indwells the clod.
This is the centre of all spheres, the flame
In men and stars, the Soul behind the name,
The spring of Life, the axle of the Wheel,
All-mover, yet the One Thing immobile.
Adore It not, for It adoreth thee,
The shadow-shape of Its eternity.
Lift up thyself! be strong to burst thy bars!
For lo! thy stature shall surpass the stars."

Cyril put away his book. "Language," said he, "has been developed from its most primitive sources by persons so passionately concentrated upon the Ideal of selling cheese without verbal infelicity that some other points have necessarily been neglected. One cannot put mystic experience into words. One can at best describe phenomena with a sort of cold and wooden accuracy, or suggest ecstasy by very vagueness. You know that line 'O windy star blown sideways up the sky!' It means nothing, if you analyse it; but it gives the idea of something, though one could never say what. What you saw, my beloved Iliel, bears about the same ratio to what I have said as what I have said does to what Sister Clara saw: or, rather, was. Moral: when Sister turns we all turn. I have now apologized, though inadequately, for inflicting my bad verses upon you; which will conclude the entertainment for this morning. Brother Onofrio will now take up the collection. He that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord; details of rate of interest and security on application to the bartender. The liberal soul shall be made fat; but I am Banting, as the hart banteth after the water brooks. He that watereth shall be watered also himself: I will take a cold shower before the plunge. The Mother's Meeting will be held as usual at 8.30 on Thursday evening. Those who are not yet Mothers, but who wish to become so, kindly apply to me in the Vestry at the conclusion of the service. Sister Clara, please play the people out quickly!"

Cyril babbled out this nonsense in the tones of the Sweet Young Thing type of Curate; it was his way of restoring the superficial atmosphere.

Iliel took his arm, and went smiling to breakfast; but her soul was yet ill at ease. She asked him about the identification of Sister Clara and her Old Lady.

"Yes," he said, "it was best to have her on the watch outside -- on the Astral Plane -- to keep you from getting into too great mischief. But you can never come to any real harm so long as you keep your vow and stay inside the circle. That's the one important point."

She was quite satisfied in her upper conscious self, which was usually her better self, because of its rationality, and its advantage of surface training, which saved her from obeying her impulses on every occasion. She was glad, she was proud, of her partnership with the adepts. Yet there was a subconscious weakness in her which hated them and envied them the more because of their superiority to her. She knew only too well that the price of their attainment had been the suppression of just such darknesses of animal instinct and savage superstition as were her chief delight. The poet speaks of "the infinite rage of fishes to have wings"; but when you explain to the fish that it will have to give up pumping water through its gills, it is apt to compromise for a few million generations; though the word may rankle if you call it a flying-fish, when swimming-bird is evidently a properer and politer name.

She was permanently annoyed with Sister Clara; her motive for making excursions on that path had been to get rid of the idea of Cyril and his magick; and he had not even come himself to welcome her, but set this woman to disguise herself and spy upon her thoughts! It was disgusting.

Cyril had certainly done his best to put the matter in the proper light. He had even told her a story. "A charming lady, wife of a friend of Bowling's, whom her physical and mental characteristics induce me to introduce as Mrs. Dough-Nut, was once left lorn in the desert island of Manhattan, while her husband was on a spook-shikar with Lord Antony in this very Naples, which you see before you. (Slightly to the left, child!) Mrs. Dough-nut was as virtuous as American women sometimes are, when denied opportunity to be otherwise; and the poor lady was far from attractive. But in the world of spirits, it appears, the same standards are not current as in Peacock Alley or Times Square; and she was soon supplied with a regular regiment of 'spirit lovers.' They told her what to do, and how to do it; eating, drinking, reading, music, whatever she did, all must be done under spirit control; and one day they told her that they had a great and wonderful work for her to do -- the regeneration of humanity and so forth, I think it was; anyhow, something perfectly dotty. She was now quite without power to criticize her actions by reason or good sense; the voice of the 'Spirits' was for her the voice of God. So they sent her to the Bank for money, and to the Steamship office for a passage to Europe; and when she got to Liverpool they sent her to London, from London to Paris, from Paris to Genoa. And when she came to Genoa they told her which hotel to choose; and then they sent her out to buy a revolver and some cartridges; and then they told her to cock it and put the muzzle to her forehead; and then to pull the trigger. The bullet made little impression on that armour-plate of solid bone; and she escaped to tell her story. She had not even sense enough to tell it different. But that, my child, is why it is better to have a kind friend to look after you when you start a flirtation with the gay if treacherous Lotharios of the Astral World."

"I hope you don't think I'm a woman like that!"

"All women are like that."

She bit her lips; but her good sense showed her that his main principle was right. If she had only been able to stifle the formless promptings which were so alluring and so dangerous! But as she could not live wholly on the heights of aspiration, so also she could not live on the safe plains of earth-life. The voices of the swamp and the cavern called to her continuously.

And so the external reconciliation had no deep root. For a few weeks she was better and healthier in body and mind. Then she slipped back into her sulks, and went "fairy-tale-ing" as she called it, with a very determined mind to be on guard against the interference of Sister Clara. She had begun to familiarize herself with the laws of this other world, and could distinguish symbols and their meanings to some extent; she could even summon certain forms, or banish them. And she set a mighty bar between herself and Sister Clara. She kept herself to the definite creations of her own impulses, would not let herself go except upon some such chosen lines.

In her earth-life, too, she became more obviously ill-tempered; and, as to a woman of her type revenge only means one thing, she amused the garrison exceedingly by attempting flirtations. The rule of the Profess-House happened to include the virtue of chastity, which is an active and positive thing, a passion, not that mere colourless abstinence and stagnation which passes in Puritan countries by that name, breeds more wickedness than all the vice on the planet, and, at the best, is shared by clinkers.

She was clever enough to see in a few hours that she was only making herself utterly ridiculous; but this again did not tend to improve her temper, as many devout ladies, from Dido to Potiphar's wife, have been at the pains to indicate to our psychologists.

The situation grew daily more strained, with now and then an explosion which cleared the air for a while. The discipline of the Profess-House prevented the trouble from spreading; but Cyril Grey confided to Brother Onofrio that he was angrier than ever at the efficient way in which Edwin Arthwait and his merry men had been put out of business.

"I'd give my ears," said Cyril, "to see Edwin, arm in arm with Lucifuge Rofocale, coming up from the bay to destroy us all by means of the Mysterious Amulet of Rabbi Solomon, conferring health, wealth and happiness, with bag complete; also lucky moles and love-charms, price two eleven three to regular subscribers to The Occult Review."

But with June a great and happy change came over Iliel. She became enthralled by the prospect of the miracle that was so soon to blossom on her breast. Her sulkiness vanished; she was blithe and joyous from the day's beginning to its end. She bore fatigue and discomfort without a murmur. She made friends with Sister Clara, and talked to her for hours while she plied her needle upon those necessary and now delightful tasks of making tiny and dainty settings for the expected jewel. She clean forgot the irksomeness of her few restrictions; she recovered all the gaiety and buoyancy of youth; indeed, she had to be cautioned in the mere physical matter of activity. No longer did she indulge morbid fancies, or take unwholesome pleasure in the contemplation of evil ideas. She was at home in her heaven of romance, the heroine of the most wonderful story in the world. Her love for Cyril showed a tender and more exalted phase; she became alive to her dignity and responsibility. She acquired also a sense of Nature which she had never had before in all her life; she felt a brotherhood with every leaf and flower of the garden, told herself stories of the loves of the fishermen whose sails dotted the blue of the bay, wondered what romances were dancing on the decks of the great white liners that steamed in from America to tour the Mediterranean, laughed with joy over the antics of the children who played on the slopes below the garden, and glowed with the vigour of the sturdy peasants who bore their baskets of fish, or flowers, or their bundles of firewood, up or down the lanes which her terraces overlooked. There was one wrinkled fish- wife who was perfectly delightful: old and worn with a lifetime of toil, she was as cheerful as the day was long; bowed down as she was by her glittering burden, she never failed to stop and wave a hand, and cry "God bless you, pretty lady, and send you safe and happy day!" with the frank warmth of the Italian peasant.

The world was a fine place, after all, and Cyril Grey was the dearest boy in it, and herself the happiest woman.
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Re: Moonchild, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 1:23 am

Chapter 21: Of The Renewal Of The Great Attack; And How It Fared

Douglas had been decidedly put out by the death of his wife. After all, she had been a sort of habit; a useful drudge, when all was said. Besides, he missed, acutely, the pleasures of torturing her. His suspicions of the bona fides of Balloch were conjoined with actual annoyance.

It was at this painful moment in his career that Cremers came to the rescue. A widowed friend of hers had left a daughter in her charge: for Cremers had the great gift of inspiring confidence. This daughter was being educated in a convent in Belgium. The old woman immediately telegraphed for her, and presented her to Douglas with the compliments of the season. Nothing could have been more timely or agreeable. She was a gentle innocent child, as pretty and charming as he had ever seen. It was a great point in the game of the astute Cremers to have pleased the sorcerer; and she began insensibly to gain ascendancy over his spirit. He had at first suspected her of being an emissary of his colleague, "A.B." who might naturally wish to destroy him. For the plan of the sorcerer who wishes to be sole and supreme is to destroy all rivals, enemies, and companions; while the magician attains supremacy in Unity by constantly uniting himself with others, and finding himself equally in every element of existence. It is the difference between hate and love. He had been careful to examine her magically, and found no trace of "A.B." in her "aura." On the contrary, he concluded that her ambition was to supplant "A.B."; and that went well with his own ideas. But first he must get her into his Fourteen, and have a permanent hold over her.

She, on the other hand, appeared singly desirous of making herself a treasure to him. She knew the one torment that gnawed continually at his liver, the hate of Cyril Grey. And she proposed to herself to win him wholly by offering that gentleman's scalp. She sharpened her linguistic tomahawk.

One fine day in April she tackled him openly on the subject.

"Say, great one, you `n' I gotta have another peek at that sperrit writing. Seems t' me that was a fool's game down there." She jerked her head towards the river. "And I don't say but what you done right about Balloch."

Douglas glanced at her sharply in his most dangerous mood. How much did she know of a certain recent manoeuvre? But she went on quite placidly.

"Now, look `e here. We gotta get these guys. An' we gotta get them where they live. You been hitting at their strong point. Now I tell you something. That girl she live five years with Lavinia King, durn her! I see that bright daughter of Terpsichore on'y five minutes, but she didn't leave one moral hangin' on me, no, sir. Now see here, big chief, you been beatin' the water for them fish, an', natural, off they goes. For the land's sake! Look `e here, I gotta look after this business. An' all I need is just one hook an' line, an' a pailful o' bait, an' ef I don' land her, never trus' me no more. Ain't I somebody, all ways? Didn' I down ole Blavatzsky? Sure I did. An' ain't this like eatin' pie after that?"

The sorcerer deliberated with himself a while. Then he consulted his familiar demons. The omens were confusing. He thought that perhaps he had put his question ambiguously, and tried again in other words. He had begun by asking vaguely "whether Cremers would succeed in her mission," which had earned him a very positive "yes," flanked by a quite unintelligible message about "deception," "the false Dmitri" and "the wrong horse," also some apparent nonsense about Scotland and an island. This time he asked whether Cremers would succeed in luring Lisa to her destruction. This time the answer was more favourable, though tremulous. But ever since his wife's death, his demons had behaved very strangely. They seemed the prey of hesitation and even of fear. Such as it was, however, their voice now jumped with his own convictions, and he agreed to her proposal.

They spent the evening merrily in torturing a cat by blinding it, and then squirting sulphuric acid on it from a syringe; and in the morning Cremers, with Abdul Bey for bait, set out upon her journey to Naples. Arrived in that favoured spot, she bade Abdul Bey enjoy the scenery, and hold his peace. She would warn him when the hour struck. For Cremers was a highly practical old person. She was not like St. James' devils, who believe and tremble; she disbelieved, but she trembled all the same. She hated Truth, because the Truth sets men free, and therefore makes them happy; but she had too much sense to shut her eyes to it; and though she doubted the causes of magick, and scoffed at all spiritual theory, she could not deny the effects. It was no idle boast of hers that she had destroyed Madame Blavatzsky. Together with another woman, she had wormed her way into the big-hearted Theosophist's confidence, and betrayed her foully at the proper moment. She had tried the same game on another adept; but, when he found her out, and she knew it, he had merely continued his kindnesses. The alternative before her was repentance or brain fever; and she had chosen the latter.

Her disbelief in magick had left her with its correlate, a belief in death. It was the one thing she feared, besides magick itself. But she did not make the mistake of being in a hurry, on that account. The strength of her character was very great, in its own way; and she possessed infinite reserves of patience. She played the game with no thought of the victory; and this is half the secret of playing most games of importance. To do right for its own sake is Righteousness, though if you apply this obvious truth to Art the Philistine calls you names, and your morals in question.

Cremers was a genuine artist in malice. She was not even glad when she had harmed a friend and benefactor, however irreparably; nothing could ever make her glad -- but she was contented with herself on such occasions. She felt a sort of sense of duty done. She denied herself every possible pleasure, she hated happiness in the abstract in a genuinely Puritan spirit, and she objected to eat a good dinner herself as much as to consent that anyone else should eat it. Her principal motive in assisting Abdul Bey to his heart's desire was the cynical confidence that Lisa was capable of pouring him out a hell-broth at least forty per cent above proof.

The summer was well begun. The sun had turned toward the southern hemisphere once more; he had entered the Sign of the Lion, and with fierce and noble heat scarred the dry slopes of Posilippo. Iliel spent most of her time on the Terrace of the Moon at her needlework, watching the ships as they sailed by, or the peasants at their labour or their pastimes.

It was a little before sunset on the first of August. She was leaning over the wall of the Terrace. Sister Clara had gone up to the house to make ready for the adoration of the setting of the sun. Up the uneven flagstones of the lane below toiled the old fishwife with her burden, and looked up with the usual cheery greeting. At that moment the crone slipped and fell. "I'm afraid I've hurt my back," she cried, with an adjuration to some saint. "I can't get up."

Iliel, whether she understood the Italian words fully or no, could not mistake the nature of the accident. She did not hesitate; in a moment she had lowered herself from the wall. She bent down and gave her hand to the old woman.

"Say," said the woman in English, "that boy's just crazy about you; and he's the loveliest man on God's earth. Won't you say one word to him?"

Lisa's jaw dropped in amazement. "What? Who?" she stammered.

"Why, that perfectly sweet Turk, Abdul. Sure, you know him, dearie!"

Cremers was watching Lisa's face; she read the answer. She gave a low whistle, and round the corner Abdul Bey came running. He took Lisa in his arms, and rained kisses passionately on her mouth.

She had no thought of resistance. The situation entranced her. The captive princess; the intrigue; the fairy prince; every syllable was a poem.

"I've longed for you every hour for months," she cried, between his kisses; "why, oh why didn't you come for me before?" She had no idea that she was not telling the truth. The past was wiped clean out of her mind by the swirl of the new impulse; and once outside the enchanted circle of the garden, her vow in tatters, there was nothing to remind her.

"I'm -- here -- now. "The words burst, like explosions, from his lips. "Come. I've got a yacht waiting."

"Take me -- oh, take me -- where you will."

Cremers was on her feet, spry and business-like. "We're best out of here," she said. "Let's beat it!" Taking Lisa's arms, she and Abdul hurried her down the steps which led to the Shore-road.

Brother Onofrio's. patrol witnessed the scene. He took no notice; it was not against that contingency that he was armed. But at the summons to the Adoration he reported the event to his superior.

Brother Onofrio received the news in silence, and proceeded to perform the ceremony of the Salutation.

An hour later, as supper ended, the sound of the bell rang through the House. The visitor was Simon Iff.

He found Cyril dressed in every-day clothes, no more in his green robe. The boy was smoking a cigar upon the Terrace where he had read his poem on the day after Walpurgis Night.

He did not rise to greet his master. "Tell the Praetor that you have seen Caius Marius a fugitive seated upon the ruins of Carthage!" he exclaimed.

"Don't take it so hardly, boy!" cried the old mystic. "The man who makes no mistakes makes nothing. But it is my duty to reprove you, and we had better get it over. Your whole operation was badly conceived; in one way or another it was bound to fail. You select a woman with no moral strength -- not even with that code of convention which helps so many weak creatures through their temptations. I foresaw from the first that soon or late she would throw up the Experiment."

"Your words touch me the more deeply because I also foresaw it from the first."

"Yet you went on with it."

"Oh no!" Cyril's eyes were half closed.

"What do you mean -- Oh, no!" cried the other sharply. He knew his Cyril like a book.

"I never even began," murmured the boy, dreamily.

"You will be polite to explain yourself."

Simon's lips took a certain grimness of grip upon themselves.

"This telegram has consoled me in my grief," said Cyril, taking with languid grace a slip of paper from his pocket. "It came last week."

Simon Iff turned it towards the light. "Horatii," he read. "A code word, I suppose. But this is dated from Iona, from the Holy House where Himself is!" "Himself" was the word used in the Order to designate its Head.

"Yes," said Cyril, softly, "I was fortunate enough to interest Himself in the Experiment; so Sister Cybele has been there, under the charge of the Mahathera Phang!"

"You young devil!" It was the first time that Simple Simon had been startled in forty years. "So you arranged this little game to draw the enemy's fire?"

"Naturally, the safety of Sister Cybele was the first consideration."

"And 'Horatii'?"

"It's not a code word. I think it must be Roman History."

"Three Boys!"

"Rather a lot, isn't it?"

"They'll be needed," said Simon grimly. "I have been doing magick too."

"Do tell me."

"The Quest of the Golden Fleece, Cyril. I've been sowing the Dragon's Teeth; you remember? Armed men sprang to life, and killed each other."

"But I don't see any armed men."

"You will. Haven't you seen the papers?"

"I never see papers. I'm a poet, and I like my lies the way mother used to make them."

"Well, Europe's at war I have got your old commission back for you, with an appointment as Inteelligence Officer on the staf of General Cripps."

"It sounds like Anarchism. From each according to his powers; to each according to his needs, you know. By the way, what's it about? Anything?"

"The people think it's about the violation of solemn treaties, and the rights of the little nations, and so on; the governments think it's about commercial expansion; but I who made it know that it is the baptism of blood of the New Aeon. How could we promulgate the Law of Liberty in a world where Freedom has been strangled by industrialism? Men have become such slaves that they submit to laws which would have made a revolution in any other country since the world began; they have registration cards harder to bear than iron fetters; they allow their tyrants to bar them from every pleasure that even their poverty allows them. There is only one way to turn the counter-jumper into a Curtius and the factory girl into a Cornelia; and I have taken it." "How did you work it? "

"It has been a long business, But as you know. Sir Edward is a mystic. You saw that article on fishing, I suppose?"

"Oh yes; I knew that. But I didn't know it was more definite."

It was he did it. But he'll lose his place; he's too fair-minded; and in a year they'll clamour for fanatics. It's all right; they'll butt each other's brains out; and then the philosophers will come back, and build up a nobler type of civilization."

"I think you accused me recently of using strong medicine."

"I was practising British hypocrisy on you. I had to see the Prime Minister that week. Excuse me if I answer a humourist according to his humour. I want to show you how necessary this step has been. Observe: the bourgeois is the real criminal, always."

"I'm with you there."

"Look at the testimony of literature. In the days of chivalry our sympathies go with the Knight-errant, who redresses wrongs; with the King, whose courage and wisdom deliver his people from their enemies. But when Kingship became tyranny, and feudalism oppression, we took our heroes from the rebels. Robin Hood, Hereward the Wake, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Rob Roy; it was always the Under Dog that appealed to the artist. Then industrialism became paramount, and we began -- in Byron's time -- to sympathize with brigands and corsairs. Presently these were wiped out, and to-day or rather, the day before yesterday, we were reduced to loving absolute scoundrels, Arsene Lupin, Raffles, Stingaree, Fantomas, and a hundred others, or the detectives who (although on the side of society) were equally occupied in making the police look like fools. That is the whole charm of Pere What's-his-name in Gaboriau, and Dupin, and Sherlock Holmes. There has never been a really sympathetic detectlve in fiction who was on good terms with the police! And you must remember that the artist always represents the subconscious will of the people. The literary hack who panders to the bourgeois, and makes his heroes of millionaires' sons, has never yet created a character, and never will. Well, when the People love a burglar, and hate a judge, there's something wrong with the judges."

"But what are you doing here, in a world-crisis?"

"I'm over here to buy Italy. Bowling bought Belgium, you know, some time back. He was thick with Leopold, but the old man had too much sense to deal. He knew he would be the first to go smash when the war came. But Albert pocketed the good red gold without a second thought; that's partly what the trouble is over. Germany found out about it."

"And why buy Italy? To keep Austria busy, I suppose? These Wops can hardly hope to force the line, especially with the Trentino Salient on the flank."

"That's the idea. It would have been better and cheaper to buy Bulgaria. But Grey wouldn't see it. There's the eternal fear of Russia to remember. We're fighting against both sides in the Balkans! And that makes Russia half-hearted, and endangers the whole Entente. But it doesn't matter so long as enough people are killed. The survivors must have elbow-room for their souls, and the memory of heroic deeds in the lives of them and theirs to weigh against the everlasting pull of material welfare. When those men come back from a few years in the trenches, they'll make short work of the pious person that informs them of the wickedness of smoking, and eating meat, and drinking beer, and being out after eleven o'clock at night, and kissing a girl, and reading novels, and playing cards, and going to the theatre, and whistling on the Sabbath!"

"I hope you're right. You're old, which tends, I suppose, to make you optimistic. In my young ears there always rings the scream of terror of the slave when you offer to strike off his fetters."

"All Europe will be scream and stench for years to come. But the new generation will fear neither poverty nor death. They will fear weakness; they will fear dishonour."

"It is a great programme. Qui vivra verra. Meanwhile, I suppose I report to General Cripps."

"You will meet him, running hard, I expect, somewhere in France. It will be a fluke if Paris is saved. As you know, it always takes England three years to put her boots on. If we had listened to the men who knew -- like 'Bobs' -- and fixed up an army of three millions, there could have been no war -- at least, not in this particular tangle of alliances. There would have been a Social Revolution, more likely, an ignoble business of greed against greed, which would have left men viler and more enslaved than ever. As it is, the masses on both sides think they are fighting for ideals; only the governments know what hypocrisy and sham it is; so the ideals will win, both in defeat and victory. Man! only three days ago France was the France of Panama, and Dreyfus, and Madame Humbert, and Madame Steinheil, and Madame Caillaux; and to-day she is already the France of Roland and Henri Quatre and Danton and Napoleon and Gambetta and Joan of Arc!"

"And England of the Boer wars, and the Irish massacres, and the Marconi scandals, and Tranby Croft?"

"Oh, give England time! She'll have to be worse before she's better!"

"Talking of time, I must pack up if I'm to catch the morning train for the Land of Hope and Glory."

"The train service is disorganized. I came from Toulon in a destroyer; she'll take you back there. Jack Manners is in command. Report at Toulon to the O.C.! You'd better start in half-an-hour, I'll see you safe on board. My car's at the door. Here s your commission!"

Cyril Grey thrust the document into his pocket, and the two men went up into the house.

An hour later they were aboard the destroyer; they shook hands in silence. Simon Iff went down the gangway, and Manners gave the word. As they raced northward, they passed under the lee of Abdul's yacht, where Lisa, up to the eyes in champagne, was fondling her new lover.

Her little pig-like eyes sparkled through their rolls of fat; her cheeks, the colour and consistency of ripe Camembert cheese, sagged pendulous upon a many-chinned neck which looked almost goitrous; and the whole surmounted one of those figures dear to engineers, because they afford endless food for speculation as to the means of support. The moon was now exercising her full influence, totally unchecked and unbalanced; and the woman's nature being wholly of the body, with as little brain in proportion as a rhinoceros, the effect was seen mostly on the physical plane. Her mind was a mere swamp of succulent luxury. So she sat there and swayed and wallowed over Abdul Bey. Cremers thought she looked like a snow man just beginning to melt.

With a sardonic grin, the old woman waved her hand, and went on deck. The yacht was now well out in the open sea on her way to Marseilles. Here Cremers was to be landed, so that she might return to Paris to report her success to Douglas, while the lovers went on their honeymoon. The wind blew fresh from the south-west, and Cremers, who was a good sailor, came as near as she ever could to joy as she felt the yacht begin to roll, and pictured the tepid ice-cream heroine of romance in the saloon.

Meanwhile, the destroyer, her nose burrowing into the sea hike a ferret slipped into a warren, drove passionately towards Toulon. The keenness and ecstasy of Cyril's face were so intense that Manners rallied him about it.

"I thought you were one of the all-men-are- brothers crowd," he said. " Yet you're as keen as mustard to slay your cousin-German."

"Puns," replied Cyril, "are the torpedo-boat destroyers of the navy wit. Consider yourself crushed. Your matchless intelligence has not misled you as to my views. All men are brothers. As a magician, I embrace, I caress, I slobber over the cheeks of Bloody Bill. But fighting in the army is not a magical ceremony. It is the senseless, idiotic, performance of a numskull, the act, in a word, of a gentleman; and as, to my lasting shame, I happened to be born in that class, I love to do it. Be reasonable! It's no pleasure to me, as an immortal God, to sneeze; I refuse to render myself a laughing-stock to the other Olympians by such indignity; but when my body has a cold in its head, it is proper for it to blow its nose. I do not approve, much less participate; and my body is therefore the more free to act according to its nature, and it blows its nose much harder than it would if I took a hand. That is the advantage of being a magician; all one's different parts are free to act with the utmost possible vigour according to their own natures, because the other parts do not interfere with them. You don't let your navigators into the stoke-hole, or your stokers into the chart-house. The first art in adeptship is to get your elements sorted out and specialized and organized and disciplined. Here endeth the first lesson. I think I'll turn in."

"It's a bit beyond me, Cyril. All I know is that I'm willing to risk my life in a good cause."

"But it's a rotten bad cause! We have isolated Germany and hemmed her in for years exactly as we did a century ago with Napoleon; Wilhelm, who wanted peace, because he was getting fat on it, knew us for his real enemy. In `ninety-nine he came within an ace of uniting Europe against us, at the time of the Fashoda incident. But we baffled him, and since then he has been getting deeper in every moment. He tried again over the Boer war. He tried threats, he tried diplomacy, he tried everything. The Balkan War and the Agadir incident showed him his utter helplessness. The kingdom of Albania! The war in Tripoli proved that he could no longer rely on Italy. And when Russia resorted to so shameless an assassination as that of Sarajevo -- my dear good man! England has been a pirate as she always was. From Hengist and Horsa, and the Vikings, she first learnt the trick. William the Conqueror was a pirate; so was Francis Drake. Look at Morgan, whom we knighted, and all the other buccaneers! Look at our system of privateering! Ever hear of the 'Alabama'? We learnt the secret of sea-power; we can cut the alimentary canal of any nation in Europe -- bar Switzerland and Russia. Hence our fear of Russia! It's the Jolly Roger you should fly, Jack Manners! We stood all Germany's expansion; we said we were her cousins -- but when she, started a Navy, that was another barrel of fish!

"I don't think I can bear this, you know!"

"Cheer up! I'm one of the pirate crew!"

"Oh, you're Captain Kidd!"

"I have already stated my opinion as to the conversational value of puns. I'm going to turn in; you get busy, and find a neutral ship to rob."

"I shall do my best to maintain the law of the sea."

"Made by the pirate to suit his game. Good God! I can't see why we shouldn't be sensible. Why must we invoke Law and Gospel every time we want to do a dirty act? My character's strong enough to let me kill all the Germans I can without persuading myself that I'm saving them from Prusian Tyranny! Good-night!"

"The youth is unintelligible or immoral," thought Manners, as he turned his face to the spindrift; "but I bet he kills a lot of Germans!"
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Re: Moonchild, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 1:23 am

Chapter 22: Of A Certain Dawn Upon Our Old Friend The Boulevard Arago; And Of The Loves Of Lisa La Giuffria And Abdul Bey, How They Prospered. Of The Conclusion Of The False Alarm Of The Great Experiment, And Of A Conference Between Douglass And His Subordinates.

Lord Antony Bowling was one of three men in the War Office who could speak French perfectly; despite this drawback, he had been selected to confer with the French headquarters in Paris. Here he met Cyril Grey, busy with his tailor. The young magician had once held a captaincy in a Hussar regiment, but a year of India had developed his native love of strange places and peoples. He had been tempted to resign his commission, and yielded. He had gone exploring in Central Asia, and the deadly districts beyond Assam. He could not stand gymkhanas, polo, and flirtation. Simon Iff had given him a hint now and again of what magick might effect if a war came, and the boy had profited. He had formed provisional plans.

He encountered Lord Antony by chance one evening on the Boulevard des Italiens, dined him, and on finding that all amusements, even that of watching the world from the terrace of a cafe, were to end by order of the Military Governor of Paris, at eight o'clock, suggested that they should spend the evening smoking opium "chez Zizi," a delightful girl who lived with a brilliant young English journalist on the Boulevard M Marcel. At midnight, serenely confident that God was in his heaven, as asserted by the late Robert Browning, they decided to finish the night at Cyril's studio. Here the young magician "reconstructed the crime" of the jumping balls of the mysterious countess, and recounted the episode of the Thing in the Garden, to the delectation of the "Merman of Mayfair." He then offered to amend Bowling's coat of arms by the introduction of twelve prawns couchant, gules, gartered azure, and the substitution of Poltergeists for the Wild Men of the ducal escutcheon.

Modestly disclaiming these heraldic glories, Lord Antony regaled his host with an ingenious account of a Swedish gentleman who materialized the most voluminous spectres from -- as subsequently appeared in circumstances which can only be qualified as dramatic -- the contents of a steel cylinder measuring twelve inches in length and three in diameter, which a search of the medium, stripped to the buff, had at first failed to disclose.

But neither was honestly interested in his own remarks; the subconscious excitement of the War made all conversation on any other topic sound miserably artificial. Bowling's story made them both distrait; they fell into a heavy silence, pondering methods of concealing dispatches or detecting spies. Investigation of spiritualism makes a capital training-ground for secret service work; one soon gets up to all the tricks.

Presently Cyril Grey began to preach magick.

"Germany is on a pretty good wicket," he said. "She is at war; we have only taken a holiday to go fighting. The first condition of success in magick is purity of purpose. One must let no other consideration interfere with the business in hand. But we are hypocrites in England; consequently, we compromise and fumble. When a magician does get in charge of an affair, all goes pretty well; look how Simple Simon has isolated Germany! Even there he has been thwarted by the Exchequer; five millions in the right place would have bought the Balkans. How much do you think that little economy will cost us before we're through? As for the foolishness of leaving Turkey doubtful, it's beyond all words!"

"Yes," agreed Bowling "we ought to have supported Abdul Hamid from the first. The best kind of Englishman is blood brother to the best kind of Mussulman. He is brave, just, frank, manly and proud. We should always be in alliance Islam against the servile Hindus and so-called Christians. Where is the spirit of the Paladins and the Templars and the Knights of the Round Table? The modern Christian is the Bourgeois, whose character is based on fear and falsehood."

"There are two kinds of animals, mainly: one whose defence is obscurity, shunning death, avoidance of danger; the other whose defence is attack."

"Yes; we're all right so long as we make ourselves feared. But Victorian prudery turned our tigers into oxen; we found that it was wrong fight dangerous to drink beer, wicked to love; presently it was cruel to eat beef, immoral to laugh, fatal to breathe. We went in terror of the omnipresent germ. Hence we are fat, cowardly slaves. I hear that Kitchener is hard put to it to get his first 100,000 men. Only the public schools respond. Only gentlemen and sportsmen really love England -- the people that have been cursed these last few years as tyrants and libertines.

"Only the men."

"And few there are, in the crowd of canaille, old women, slackers, valetudinarians, eaters of nuts!"

"God rest the soul of Edward Seventh! I thought all would be well when Victoria died; but now ---"

"This is no hour of the night to lapse into poetry! Anyhow, Germany is nearly as bad, with her Social Democratic Party."

"Do you think that?" cried Cyril, sharply, sitting up. His gesture was indecipherably intense; it seemed utterly disproportionate to Bowling's casual commonplace.

"I know it. It's one of the chief causes of the war. The Zabern incident showed the Junkers that they were safe only for a year or two; after that the people would start out to be too proud to fight," replied Lord Antony, anticipating a transpontine chameleon.

"And so?" Cyril's voice trembled. A tense thrill ran through his body. He had become sober in an instant.

"The Court Party wanted war, to bring back the manly spirit to the nation, and incidentally to keep their place in the sun."

The boy sank with a large sigh into his seat. His tone changed to its old supercilious slurring.

"Bloody Bill was afraid for his dynasty?"

"Scared green."

"Don't talk for five minutes, there's a good chap! I've a strange feeling come over me -- almost as if I were going to think!"

Lord Antony obliged with silence. The five minutes became twenty. Then Cyril spoke.

"I had better get to Cripps double quick," said he; "I'm his Intelligence Officer, and I think it my duty to inform him of the plans of the German Great General Staff!"

"Yes, you should certainly do that!" answered Lord Antony, laughing.

"Then let's stroll up the Boulevard. Dawn's breaking. We'll get a cafe-brioche at the Rotonde, and then I'll tyrannize my tailor, and get off."

They went out into the cold morning air. Three hundred yards away, outside the Sante prison, a small crowd had collected. The centre of attraction seemed to be a framework, two narrow uprights crowned with a cross-bar where a triangular piece of metal glittered in the pale twilight.

"Peace hath her victories no less renowned than war!" drawled Cyril, cynically. "Confess that I have entertained you royally! Here is a choice savoury to wind up our feast."

Lord Antony could not conceal his horror and repulsion. For he knew well enough what sight chance had prepared for them. But the fascination drew him far more surely than if his temperament had resembled that of his friend. They approached the crowd. A ring was kept about the framework by a cordon of police.

Just then the gates of the prison opened, and a little procession came out. All eyes were drawn instantly to its central figure, an old, old man whose jaw was dropped, and from whose throat issued a hoarse howling, utterly monotonous and inhuman. His eyes were starting from his head, and their expression was one not to be described. His arms were bound tightly to his sides. Two men were half supporting him, half pushing him. Save for his horrible cry, there was no sound. There was no movement in the crowd -- no whisper. Like automata the officials did their duty. In a trice the prisoner was thrown forward on to a board, thrust up toward the framework. His caterwaul suddenly ceased. A moment later a sharp order rang out in the voice of one of the prison officials. The knife fell. From the crowd burst a most dreadful sound -- an "Ah!" so low, so fierce, that it had no human quality. Lord Antony Bowling could never be sure whether it was after that or before it that he heard the head tumble into the basket.

"Who was it?" asked Cyril of a bystander.

"Un anglais," answered the man. "Le docteur Balloch."

Cyril started back. He had not recognized his old enemy.

But even at that moment he was accosted by one whom he would never fail to know, even dressed as he was in the uniform of French colonel -- Douglas. On his arm was a child whose eyes were blear already with debauchery, who staggered, her eyes rolling, her hair dishevelled, her mouth loose and wet, laughing with indecent and profane intoxication.

"Good morning, Captain Grey; well met, well met indeed!" began Douglas, urbane in his triumph.

"I trust you passed a pleasant time in Naples."

"Very pleasant," returned Grey.

"Dr. Balloch," continued Douglas, "crossed my path. I am glad you should have seen the end of him."

"I am glad," said Cyril.

"And what end do you think I have reserved for you?" said the sorcerer, with sudden foam of ferocity.

"Something charming, I am sure," said Cyril, silkily. "I always admired your work, you know. That translation of 'The Book of the Sacred Magick of Abramelin the Mage,' in particular. You remember the passage about the wicked Antony of Prague," he went on, with sudden force and solemnity, "the marvellous things he did, and how he prospered -- and how he was found by the roadside, his tongue torn out, and the dogs at feast upon his bowels! Do you know what has saved you so far? Only one bar between you and destruction -- the love of your wife, whom you have murdered!" With that Cyril cried aloud three words in a strange tongue, and giving the other no chance to reply, marched rapidly away with his friend.

Douglas could not have recovered, in any case. He was as one stunned. How did this boy know of the death of his wife? Well, that might be understood; but how did he know his most secret fear, the fact that since the crime his demons had lost their courage? He shook the feeling off, and turned again to gloat over the death of Balloch.

"Who was that?" asked Bowling.

"The Grand Panjandrum himself, with the little round button on top! That's Douglas!"

"The Black Lodge man?"

"Ex-man."

"I see daylight. Balloch was condemned, you know, for a crime done twenty years ago. Douglas must have known about it and betrayed him."

"That's the regular thing."

"How does he come to be a colonel in the French Army?"

"Don't know. He was close in with one or two ministers; Becasseux, I think, in particular. There's a lot of politics in Occultism, as you know."

"I'll think that over. I might ask the minister this morning. But I tell you it's no time for trifles. Ever since all the mobilization plans were scrapped by the failure of Liege and Namur to hold out, distraction has reigned supreme, no casual mistress, but a wife, and procuress to the Lords of Hell at that!"

"Do not quote Tennyson, even mixed, under the shadow of the Lion de Belfort! As to trifles, there are none in war. Ask the Germans if you don't believe me."

A little later, after the Rotonde Cafe' in the Boulevard Montparnasse had refreshed them with its admirable coffee, and those brioches which remind one of boyhood's earliest kisses, they walked down to the Place de la Concorde, and parted.

Cyril went on to the Opera, to his tailor in the Rue de la Paix. His mind was full of meditations upon the details of the great idea that had come to him, the divination of the enemy's objective. His suggestion had made Lord Antony laugh. He himself had never felt less like laughing; he was on fire with creative genius -- and terrified lest his work should fall upon barren soil. Well he knew how hard it is to get Power to listen to Reason!

At the corner of the Place de l'Opera he lifted his eyes to assure himself of a free crossing.

***

The mind of Abdul Bey was in turmoil. His first night upon the yacht had been mere wallowing in debauch; but he woke with a clear head, acutely alive to the complexity of his situation. He was personally triumphant; there was nothing in his private affairs to worry him. But in charge, as he was, of the Turkish Secret Service in Paris, he knew the political situation well enough. He knew that Turkey would throw in her lot with Germany, sooner or later; and he was doubtful as to the wisdom of returning to France. On the other hand, duty called him with clarion voice; and he wanted to have as many fingers as possible in the pie. After much consideration, he thought he would land at Barcelona, and get through with his American passport -- for he had papers from most nations -- as a distracted millionaire. His companions -- both American citizens -- would aid the illusion. Supposing that there was already trouble or suspicion, this subterfuge would serve; once in Paris, he could find out how the land lay, and act accordingly.

He gave orders to the captain to make for Catalonia. The voyage was uneventful, save for the brief visit of a cruiser which discovered nothing contraband; in fact, Abdul and Lisa remained drunk the whole time. Only, just off the Spanish coast, a capful of wind once again interfered with Lisa's enjoyment of the honeymoon. It had another consequence, more serious. No sooner had they landed at Barcelona, than Lisa became suddenly and terribly ill. After a week, the doctors decided upon a radical remedy-operation. The next day a girl child entered the world, very much alive, despite the irregularity of her entrance. No ordinary child, either. She was a beautifully made baby, with deep blue eyes; and she was born with four teeth, and with hair six inches long, so fair as to be silvery white. Like a tattoo-mark, just over the heart, was a faint blue crescent.

Lisa recovered rapidly from her illness, but not too quickly for the amorous Turk; though he was surprised and annoyed to find that she had recovered her early grace and activity. The fat had gone from her in the three weeks of illness; and when she began to be able to move about, and drive in the city, she looked once more almost as she did on the night when Cyril first saw her, a gay, buxom, vigorous woman. The change cooled Abdul's ardour, and her own feelings altered with it. Her lover's sloppiness began to disgust her. As to the child, it was a source of irritation to both of them. Cremers, again, was hardly a boon companion; she would have depressed a hypochondriac going to the funeral of a beloved uncle who had left him nothing. Before Lisa had been out of bed three days, a crisis arose; she felt instinctively that Paris would be "no fun," and wanted to go to America. Abdul felt that he must lose no time in getting to Paris. Cremers, for some reason, had changed her mind about reporting to Douglas; she was homesick for West 186th Street, so she said. The explosion came at lunch, the Spanish nurse having failed to muffle the baby with due adequacy.

"Oh hell!" said Abdul Bey.

"God knows, I don't want the little beast!" said its proud mother.

"Look'e here!" remarked Cremers. "I do want it. Sure some baby!"

"Oh hell!" repeated Abdul Bey.

"Look'e here! You gimme the rocks, an' I'll take her across the pond. There's ships. Gimme three thousand bucks and expenses, and three thousand every year, and I'll fix it. You folks get off and paint Paree pink. Is it a go?"

Abdul Bey brightened immediately. Only one thought chilled him. "What about Douglas?" he said.

"I'll `tend to that."

"It's a good scheme," muttered Lisa.

"Let's get away to-night; I'm sick of this hole." She caressed the Turk warmly.

But Paris was no longer the Paris of her dreams, no longer the Paris of idleness and luxury "where good Americans go when they die"; it was a Paris of war, of stern discipline, of patriotic enthusiasm, nothing less than a nightmare for the compatriots of the lady who didn't raise her boy to be a soldier. She blamed Abdul, who shrugged his shoulders, and reminded her that she was lucky to get dinner at all, that the Germans were likely to be in the city in a week or so. She taunted him; he let loose his ancestral feelings about women, those which lie deep-buried in all of us who are at least not utterly degenerate in soul, however loose morality may have corrupted us upon the surface. She rose in the automobile, just as they crossed the Place de l'Opera, and broke her parasol over his head; then turned her nails loose on his eyes. He fisted her in the abdomen, and she collapsed into the seat of the car with a scream. It was this that diverted the attention of Cyril Grey from his contemplation of the designs of Germany.

The boy made a leap, and had Abdul by the throat in a moment, dragging him out of the car, and proceeding to administer summary castigation with his boot. But the police interfered; three men rode up with drawn sabres, and put an end to the affair. They arrested all parties, and Cyril Grey only escaped by the exhibition of that paper which had won him such respect months earlier on the shambles of Moret railway station.

"I have to go to my tailor: service of the minister," he remarked with a cynical smile; and was dismissed with the profoundest respect.

"After all, it was no business of mine," he muttered as he wriggled into his new tunic, to the immense admiration of the tailor, a class whose appreciation of manly beauty depends so largely upon the price of the suit. "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. The trouble comes when you can't lose `em. Poor old Lisa! Poor old Abdul! Well, as I said, it's none of my business. My business is to divine the thoughts of the enemy, and -- oh Lord! how long? -- to get the powers that be to understand that I am right. Considering that they needed eight million marching men to persuade them that Bloody Bill meant war, I fear that my task may be no sinecure."

He went to the barracks, where a military automobile was waiting for him, and told the chauffeur, with bitter wit, to go out to meet General Cripps. As to Lisa and the Turk, it was twenty-four hours before they were set at liberty. The sight of Cyril, his prompt intervention in her defence, relit the flames of her half crazy passion. She rushed over to the studio to see him; it was shut up, and the concierge could give her no news. She drove wildly to the Profess-House in Montmartre. There they told her that he had gone to join the British army. Various excited enquiries in official quarters led her at last to Lord Antony Bowling. He was genuinely sympathetic: he had liked the girl at first sight; but he could hold out no hopes of arranging for her to see him.

"There's only one way for you to get to the front," said he. "Join the Red Cross. My sister's here forming a section. I'll give you a note to her, if you like."

Lisa jumped at the suggestion. She saw, more vividly than if it were actual, the obvious result. Cyril would be desperately wounded, leading the last victorious charge of the dragoons against the walls of Berlin; she would interestingly nurse him back to life, probably by means of transfusion of blood; then, raised to the peerage, Marshal Earl Grey of Cologne (where he had swum the Rhine, and, tearing the keys of the city from the trembling hands of the astonished burgomaster, had flung them back across the river to his hesitating comrades) would lead her, with the Victoria Cross in gold and diamonds on his manly bosom, to the altar at St. Margaret's, Westminster.

It was worth while learning magick to become clairvoyant like this! She dashed off, still at top speed, to enroll herself with Lady Marcia Bowling.

She gave no further thought to Abdul. He would never have attracted her, had she not perceived a difficulty in getting him.

As to that gentleman himself, if grief tore at his heart strings, he showed it that night in an unusual way. It may have been but simulation of philosophical fortitude; there is no need to enquire. His actions are of more interest: they consisted of picking up a cocotte on the Boulevard des Italiens, and taking her to dinner at the Cafe de Paris. At the conclusion of a meal which would have certainly been prescribed as a grief-cure to any but a dyspeptic, the maitre d'hotel approached their table, and tendered, with a bow, an envelope. Abdul opened it -- it was a summons from Douglas to appear immediately in his presence at the apartment in the Faubourg St. Germain.

The Turk had no choice but to comply. He excused himself to his fair guest, at the cost of a hundred-franc note, and drove immediately to the rendezvous.

Douglas received him with extreme heartiness.

"A thousand congratulations, dear young man, upon your brilliant victory! You have succeeded where older and more learned men failed badly. I called you here to-night to tell you that you are now eligible for a place in the Fourteen, the Ghaagaael, for a seat is vacant since this morning."

"They executed Balloch?"

Douglas nodded with a gloating smile.

"But why did you not save him, master?"

"Save him! It was I that destroyed him when he tried to betray me. Candidates take notice!"

Abdul protested his loyalty and devotion.

"The supreme test," continued Douglas, "cannot conveniently be imposed in time of war. There is too much to do just now. But -- as a preliminary -- ?" how do you stand with Germany?"

Abdul shrank back, startled out of his presence of mind.

"Germany!" he stammered at last. "Why, Colonel," (he emphasized the title) "I know nothing. I have no instructions from my Government."He met the eye of his master, and read its chill contempt. "I--er--er--"

"Dare you play with me?"

The young man protested that no such thought had crossed his mind.

"In that case," pursued the sorcerer, "you won't know what that means?"

Douglas took from his pocket a fifty-franc note. The Turk caught it up, his eyes grown momentarily wider with surprise.

"Examine it!" said Douglas, coldly.

The Turkish agent held it to the light. In the figures numbering the note were two small pinpricks.

"Allah!" he cried. "Then you are ---"

"I am. You may as well know that my colleague in the Lodge, 'A.B.', is going to stir up trouble for the British in India. Her influence with certain classes of Hindus is very great. For your part, you may try discreetly to tamper with the Mussulman section of the French troops, the Africans. But be careful -- there is more important work to your hand, no less than the destruction of the French armies in the field. Now let us see what you can do. I am going to send you to my little garden hermitage, where I occasionally appear in the character of a great ascetic; there is an old lady there, devoted to me. Have your best man there to play Yogi. In the garden -- here's the plan -- is the terminal of a wire. There's another in that house where you got baptized and married -- remember? Thence there's a cable up Seine to another cottage where that old Belgian mystic lives -- the friend of Maeterlinck! ha! ha! He's really von Walder, a Dresdener. And he is in charge of another cable -- underground three hundred miles, thanks to Becasseux, who helped us with the road squads, to a place which by now is firmly in the hands of the Crown Prince. So all you have to do is to tell your man to sit and pretend to meditate -- and tap. I shall send you plenty of information from the front. You will know my agents by a nick filed in a trouser-button. Each message will have a number, so that you will know if any go astray. All clear?"

"Admirable. I need not say how proud I am to find that we are on the same side. I was very frightened of that uniform!"

"L'habit ne fait pas le moine," replied Douglas gaily. "And now, sir, let us spend the night discussing our plans in detail -- and some very excellent whisky which I happen to have by me."

The spies pursued their double task, with pitiless energy, till morning was well broken. Later in the day Douglas left for Soissons. He was attached to the French army as chief of a corps of signallers -- thanks, once again, to the good offices of Becasseux. His plans were perfect: they had been cut and dried for over fifteen years.
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Re: Moonchild, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 1:24 am

Chapter 23: Of The Arrival Of A Chinese God Upon The Field Of Battle; Of His Success With His Superiors And Of A Sight Which He Saw Upon The Road To Paris. Also Of That Which Thereby Came Unto Him, And Of The End Of All Those Things Whose Event Begat A Certain Beginning

Unmatched in history is the Retreat of the British Army from Mons. It was caught unprepared; it had to fight three weeks before it was ready; it was outnumbered three to one by a triumphant enemy; it was not co-ordinated with the French armies, and they failed to support it at critical moments; yet it fought that aweful dogged fight from house to house, and field to field, through league on league of Northern France. The line was forced to lengthen constantly as the retreat continued; it was attenuated by that and by its losses to beyond any human breaking-point; but luckily for England, her soldiers are made of such metal that the thinner the wire is drawn the tougher it becomes.

However, there is a point at which "open order" is like the word "decolletee" used to describe a smart American woman's dinner dress; and General Cripps was feeling it at the moment when his new Intelligence Officer presented himself. It was about six o'clock at night; Cripps and his staff were bivouacked in the mairie of a small village. They were contemplating a further retreat that night.

"Sit down, Captain Grey," said the chief kindly. "Join us at dinner -- just as soon as we can get these orders out -- listen and you'll pick up the outlines -- we'll talk after dinner -- on the road."

Cyril took a chair. To his delight, an aide-de-camp, Lord Juventius Mellor, an exquisite young dandy with a languid lisp, who, in time of peace, had been pupil and private secretary of Simon Iff, came to greet him.

"Ju, dear boy, help me out. I've got to tell Cripps something, and he'll think I'm mad. It's bluff, too; but it's true for all that -- and it's the one chance in the world."

"Right O!"

"Are we retreating again?"

"All through the night. There's not a dog's chance to save Paris, and the line stretches every hour."

"Don't worry about Paris -- it's as safe as Bordeaux. Safer, because the Covernment is at Bordeaux!"

"My poor friend, wouldn't you be better in a home?"

The British Army had no illusions about its situation. It was a thin, drab line of heroes, very thin and very drab, but there was no doubt about the heroism, and no uncertainty about what would happen to it if the Germans possessed a leader with initiative. So far the hostile legions had moved according to the rules, with all due scientific precaution. A leader of temperament and intuition might have rushed that tenuous line. Still, science was as sure as it was as slow -- and the whole army knew it. They prepared to die as expensively as possible, with simplicity of manhood. They had not yet heard that Press and Pulpit had made them the laughing-stock of the world by the invention of the ridiculous story of the "Angels of Mons." Lord Juventius Mellor was something of a hero-worshipper. From Simon Iff he would have taken any statement with absolute respect, and Grey's remark had been somewhat of the Simon Iff brand. It was, therefore, almost as much an impertinence as it was an absurdity. Paris was as certain to fall as the sun to set. It was in rotten bad taste to joke about it.

"Look here!" said Cyril, "I'm serious."

"All the worse!" retorted Mellor. "You really would be better in a home."

"You wouldn't talk like that if we were discussing magick."

"True."

"Then you are an ass. I am talking magick. If you had only ears to hear!"

"How?"

"Everything's a magical phenomenon, in the long run. But war's magick, from the word jump. Come now therefore and let us reason together, saith the Lord. I have done a divination by the Tarot, by a method which I cannot explain, for that it pertaineth to a grade so much more exalted than yours that you have never even heard the name of it; and I know the plans of the German General Staff in detail." Cyril's tone transformed his asinine utterance into something so Sybilline, Oracular, Delphic, Cumaean, that his interlocutor almost trembled. Verus incessu patuit Deus -- when Cyril thought it necessary to impress the uninitiate. To the majority of mankind gold looks like dross unless it be wrapped up in tinsel, and tenfold the proper price marked on it in plain figures, with the word "Sacrifice." Hence it is that the most successful merchants omit the gold altogether.

"Oh; I didn't understand."

"You'll observe that I can't explain this to Cripps,; I shall have to spin some sort of a yarn."

"Yes, yes."

In point of fact the "yarn" was already spun; Cyril had not been divining by any means more occult than his innate sagacity; but Lord Juventius was one of those people who bow only before the assumption of authority supported by mystery and tomfoolery, since their reason is undeveloped. Such people make excellent secondary figures in any campaign; for their confidence in their leaders impresses the outsider, who does not know how mentally abject they are. It is said that no man is a hero to his valet. On the contrary, every man is a God to his secretary -- if not, he had better get rid of the secretary!

Lord Juventius could not have followed Cyril's very astute calculations -- those which he meant to lay before General Cripps; but he would have staked his life on the accuracy of a Tarot divination so obscure that he was not allowed even to hear its nature, and which in fact had not been performed. Indeed, it did not even exist, having been invented on the spur of the moment by the unscrupulous magician.

"I shall tell him that the military situation is inextricably bound up with political and dynastic considerations; I shall drop a word about Anschauung and Welt-politik; you know!"

Lord Juventius giggled adorably.

"By the way," continued Cyril "have you any influence -- personal, I mean -- with the old man?"

Lord Juventius bent forward with lowered eyelids, and sank his voice to a confidential whisper.

"The day we crossed," he murmured.

"Great. But I thought -- "

"Prehistoric. It's perfectly Cocker."

Such conversations lack the merit of intelligibility to the outsider; but then the outsider is particularly to be kept from understanding. Dialogues of this curious sort determine most important events in English society and "haute politique."

"Then see to it that I get taken seriously."

"Surely, Kurille!"

"Precetur oculis mellitis!"

"Kurille, Catulle!"

When Englishmen return to the use of the dead languages, it is a sign of that moral state which is said by the Psalmist to resemble the Holy Oil that flowed down upon the head of Aaron, even unto the skirts of his garments.

The orderly called the Staff to dinner. Cyril, as the guest of the evening, was on the Commander-in-Chief's right hand.

"You have been very highly recommended to me," said the old Cavalry leader, when the time came to smoke, "and I look to you to distinguish yourself accordingly. You will be under the orders of Colonel Mavor, of course; you should report to him at once."

"May I give you some information direct?" asked Cyril. "The matter hardly brooks delay, as I see it: you should know it at once, and -- to be frank -- I think this my best chance of your ever hearing it."

"A damned funny beginning," growled the general. "Well, get on!" The permission was not very gracious; but an irregularity is a serious thing in the British Army. General Cripps made bad worse.

"Unofficially, mind, absolutely unofficially," he added, before Cyril could begin.

This is the English expedient for listening to anything without hearing it, or saying anything without meaning it. An official conversation cannot be thus sterile; it involves notes, memoranda, dockets, recommendations, reports, the appointment of commissions, interminable deliberations, more reports, questions in Parliament, the introduction of bills, and so on. Nothing is done in the end, exactly as in the case of an unofficial conversation; so you can take your choice, sir, and be damned to you!

"Unofficially, of course, General!" agreed Cyril. "My object is merely to disclose the plans of the German General Staff."

"Thank you, Captain Grey," replied the great man, sarcastically;" this will indeed be a service. To save time, begin from Von Kluck's occupation of Paris, about four days hence."

"Impossible, General! Von Kluck will never capture Paris. Why, the man is actually of plebeian origin!"

"After dinner -- but only then -- such observations are in perfectly good taste. Proceed!"

"I am not joking in the least, General. Von Kluck will not be allowed to try to capture Paris."

"It is at least curious that he is marching straight upon the city!"

"Only to thin out our line, sir. Do you observe that the Germans have driven a salient to St. Mihiel?"

"I have. What of it? "

"The object, sir, I submit, is to cut off Verdun from the South."

"Yes?"

"Why Verdun? Because the Crown Prince is at the head of the army which threatens it. Paris will never be taken but by that modern Caesar!"

"Something in that, I admit. The little beast is certainly unpopular."

"They are bound to make him the national hero, at any cost."

"And where do we come in?"

"What could be clearer? Their right wing will break through somewhere, or roll us up. Verdun will be isolated. Der Kronprinz (God bless his noble heart!) will walk through, and goose-step all the way to Paris. It is the only chance for the Hohenzollern dynasty."

"It is military madness."

"They think they have enough in hand to risk it. But see, sir, for God's sake see the conclusion! If I'm right, Von Kluck is bound to swerve East, right across our front -- and we'll smash him!"

"He couldn't risk such a crazy manoeuvre."

"Mark my word, sir, he will."

"And what do you suggest that I should do about it? Unofficially, Captain Grey, quite unofficially!"

"Get ready to lam it in, sir -- quite unofficially."

"Well, sir, I congratulate you -- on having talked the most amusing nonsense that I've heard since my last talk with General Buller! And now perhaps you had better report to Colonel Mavor as Intelligence Officer." The general's tone was contemptuous. "Facts are required in this army."

"Psychological facts are facts, General."

"Nonsense, sir; you are not in a debating society or at a scientific tea-party."

"That last, sir," replied Cyril coldly "is my unavailing regret."

But Lord Juventius Mellor frustrated the effect of this impolitic speech. He fixed his languid eyes upon the red face of the veteran, and his voice came in a soft caressing whisper.

"Pardon me; do let us be unofficial for five minutes more!"

"Well, boy?"

"I think it's only fair to let General Foch enjoy the joke. I hear he has been depressed lately."

"He might not take it so easily. The French do not care to be played with when their country is at stake."

"He can only shoot poor Cyril, mon vieux! Just give him two days leave, so that he can run over before reporting to Mavor."

"Oh well, I dare say the Intelligence Department can get on without its champion guesser for a day or so. Trot along, Grey; but for your own sake I advise you to think up a fact or two."

Cyril saluted, and took his leave. Juventius came to see him into the car. "I'll wheedle the old ass," he whispered to his friend, "I'll get him to make such dispositions as he can without disturbing the line too much; so that if Foch should see any sense in your scheme, by any chance, we shan't be too backward in coming forward."

"Good for you. So long!"

"Ta."

Cyril drove off. It was a terrible and ominous journey to the headquarters of General Foch. The line sagged hideously here and there so that long detours were necessary. The roads were encumbered not only with every kind of military supply, all in disorder, but with fugitive soldiers and civilians, some burdened with their household goods, some wounded, a long trail of agony lumbering to the rear. The country was already patrolled by herds of masterless and savage dogs, reverted, in a month of war, to the type of the coyote and the dingo. But Cyril shouted in his joy. His confidence rose as he went; he had thought out one of General Cripps's "facts" which he felt sure would carry conviction to the mind of the French commander.

Arrived at the chateau where the general was quartered, he found no trouble in gaining audience. The Frenchman, splendidly built, his eyes glittering with restless intelligence, concentrated all his faculties instantly on his visitor. "You have come from General Cripps?"

"Yes, my General, but on my own responsibility. I have an idea ---"

Foch interrupted him.

"But you are in an English uniform!" he could not help saying with brisk Gallic surprise.

"Cuchullus non facit monachum," retorted Cyril Grey. "I am half Scotch, half Irish."

"Then pray give yourself the trouble to continue."

"I may premise that I have told my idea to General Cripps. It convinced him that I am an imbecile or a joker."

That was his "fact," his master-argument. It told heavily. The face of Foch grew instantly keen and eager with all expectation.

"Let me hear it!" The General reached for a memorandum.

Grey laughed. In a few words he repeated his theory of the German plans.

"But it is certain!" cried Foch. "One moment; excuse me; I must telephone."

He left the room. In five minutes he was back.

"Rest easy, Captain Grey," he said, "we shall be ready to catch Von Kluck as he turns. Now, will you do me the pleasure to take this note back to your chief? The British must be ready to strike at the same moment. I won't ask you to stay; but -- I beg of you to come to dine with me after the victory."

It is impossible to give any idea of how the word "victoire" sounds in the mouth of a French soldier. It has in it the ring of a sword thrust home to the hilt, and the cry of a lover as he seizes his mistress, and the exultation of a martyr who in the moment of his murder reaches conclusively to God.

Cyril went back to the British Headquarters, and handed in General Foch's request, through Colonel Mavor, officially.

The events of the next week are of the very spine of history. The cruel blow was definitely parried. More still, that first great victory not only saved France for all time, but showed that the men of Bonaparte had come into their own moral sublimity again. It proved 1870 to have been but a transient weakness like our own year of shame when Van Tromp swept our ships from the seas.

General Cripps summoned Cyril Grey to his quarters.

"I'm afraid," said the old man, "that nothing can be done to recognize your services. That your crazy theory should have proved correct is only one more example -- we have many such every day -- of the operation of the laws of Chance. The weather forecasters themselves cannot guess wrong every time. But even if your act had merited reward, we should still have been powerless; for, as you remember, our conversation was strictly unofficial.

"Unofficially, however, you get your step and the K.C.B. Favouritism, sir, rank favouritism! Now go across to General Foch, Major -- he wishes to present you to two gentlemen named respectively Joffre and Poincar'e. Boot and saddle! No time to waste," he said hastily, to check any expression of gratitude. But as the two men gripped hands, their eyes were dim -- they were thinking of England.

So off went Cyril on the road to Paris, where his rendezvous was fixed.

The victory had changed the aspect of the country in the rear of the armies as by stage-craft. There were no more fugitives, no more disorder. Still the long trains of wounded clogged the roads, here and there, but the infection of glory had spread like sunlight over a sky swept clear of storm. The supply trains radiated confidence. Always the young man met new guns, new wagons, new horses. At every turn of the road were fresh regiments, gaily singing on their way to the front. Cyril was enchanted at the aspect of the troops. Their elasticity and high spirits were overwhelming. Once he came upon a regiment of Turcos being transferred to another sector -- every man of them with a trophy of the great battle. His intense love for all savage men, true men unspoilt by civilization, almost mastered him: he wanted to embrace them. He saw life assurgent, the menace of the enemy thwarted, and his joy flooded his heart so that his throat caught fire, and song leaped to his lips.

And then chill caught him as he came suddenly upon a dreadful sight.

Before him on the road stood a sign-post, the lance of a Spahi, thrust into the bank of a ditch; nailed to it was a placard on which was coarsely chalked the one word ESPION. A fatal curiosity drew him to the spot; as he approached, the wild dogs that were fighting around the sinister signal fled in terror from their ghastly meal.

A sword had been thrust through the belly of the corpse; the tongue had been torn out. One could recognize at a glance the work of Algerian troops -- men who had lost a third of their effectives through the treacheries of the German spies. But, despite all mutilation, he recognized more than that: he recognized the carcass. This carrion had once been Douglas.

Cyril Grey did a strange thing, a thing he had not done for many years: he broke into a strong sobbing.

"I know now," he murmured, "that Simon Iff is right. The Way of the Tao! I must follow that harder path, the Path where he who would advance draws back."

He put spurs to his horse; half-an-hour later he saw the sunset glint upon the Eiffel Tower, and on the wings of one of those gallant birds that circled about it to keep watch and ward on Paris.

The next morning he reported himself to the British authorities; and it was Lord Antony Bowling who presented him to the President and Commander-in-Chief.

At the banquet he found himself an Officer of the Legion of Honour; but his brilliancy and buoyancy were gone. He dined in dull decorum. His thoughts still turned to the shameful corpse in the ditch by the wayside. He excused himself early, and left the Elysee. At the gate stood an automobile. In it sat Lisa la Giuffria. She jumped out and caught him by the shoulders. She poured out the tale of her madness, and its result, and its cure, her careful tracking of his movements, her determination to recover him at any cost. He listened in silence -- the silence of incurable sadness. He shook his head.

"Have you no word for me?" she cried impetuously, torn by her agony.

"Have you no gift for me?" he answered.

She understood. "Oh, you are human! you are human!" she cried.

"I do not know what I am," he answered. "Yesterday I saw the end of the game -- for one!"

He told her in a few words of the horror on the roadside.

"Go!" he said, "take that girl, Douglas's last victim, for your maid. Go to America; find the Child of the Moon. There may, or there may not be, other tasks for us to do; I know not -- time will show."

"I will, I will," she cried, "I will go now, quickly. Kiss me first!"

Once again the tears gathered in the magician's eyes; he understood, more deeply than he had ever done, the Sorrow of the Universe. He saw how utterly incompatible are all our human ideals with the Laws of Life. He took her slowly and gently in his arms; and he kissed her. But Lisa did not respond; she understood that this was not the man whom she had loved: this was a man that she had never known, one whom she dared not love. A man set apart, an idea to adore! She knew herself unworthy, and she withdrew herself.

"I go," she said, "to seek the Child. Hail and farewell!"

"Hail and farewell!"

The girl mounted unsteadily into her car. Cyril Grey, his head bowed upon his breast, plunged into the wooded pleasaunce of the Champs Elysees.

An ineffable weariness came upon him as he walked. He wondered dully if he were going to be ill. He came up against the Obelisk in the Place de la Concorde with a shock of surprise. He had not noticed that he had left the trees. The Obelisk decided him; its shape smote into his soul the meaning of the Mysteries of Egyptian Magick. It was as invigorating as a cold plunge. He strode away towards Montmartre.

The Profess-House of the Order had been converted into a hospital. But who should come to greet him if not Sister Cybele?

Beside her stood the severe figure of Simon Iff. There were two others in the background. Cyril was not surprised to see his old master, the Mahathera Phang; but the other? It was Abdul Bey.

"Come forward and shake hands," cried Simon Iff. "I have not been inactive, Cyril," added the old man. "I have had my eye on our young friend for a long time. I put my hand on him at the right moment. I showed him that spying was a dog's game, with a dog's death at the end of it. He has renounced his errors, and he is now a Probationer of our Holy Order."

The young men greeted each other, the Turk stammering out an appeal for pardon, the other laughing off his embarrassment.

"But you are ill, Cyril!" cried Sister Cybele. And in truth the boy could hardly stand.

"Action and reaction are equal and opposite," explained Simon Iff, cheerily. "You will sleep, Brother Cyril, and you will then pass seven days in meditation, in one of the high trances. I will see to the extension of your leave."

"There is a meditation," said Cyril firmly, "given by the Buddha, a meditation upon a corpse torn by wild beasts. I will take that."

Simon Iff acquiesced without comprehending. He did not know that Cyril Grey had understood that the corpse of Douglas was his own; that the perception of the identity of himself with all other living things had come to him, and raised him to a great Adeptship.

But there was one to comprehend the nature of that initiation. As Cyril walked, leaning on the arm of Sister

Cybele, to the room appointed for his prescribed solitude, he beheld a great light. It shone serenely from the eyes of the Mahathera Phang.
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