Brother of the Third Degree, by Will L. Garver, , at sacred-texts.com
We crossed the Atlantic, reached Liverpool, and took the train for London without incident of note.
Garcia was a most interesting companion, possessed of extensive knowledge and well informed in the ways of the world.
As though to stimulate my aspirations, he talked much of the mysterious Brotherhood to which he and my parents belonged.
Many were the stories he told of the exalted wisdom and wonderful powers of the members of the higher degrees.
Nothing was more interesting to me, as I had sow become fully imbued with occult ideas and had determined to do all within my power to learn and master the mysteries of the hidden side of nature.
I noticed, however, as with my parents, all information was strictly confined within certain limits, beyond which he would never go, and he Always diverted the conversation when thus pursued.
[paragraph continues] At London we stopped three days, during which time an incident happened which increased the mystery that already surrounded me.
Garcia was well acquainted with the streets, and was taking me over the city. On the evening of the second day we were walking along in the neighborhood of Trafalgar square, when a sudden commotion attracted our attention.
"Tis a runaway!" he exclaimed. And as the crowd drew back, I saw a royal carriage drawn by two black and fiery steeds come dashing with terrific speed along the thoroughfare.
"My God!" cried a hundred voices, "it is Princess Louise, the Queen's most favored daughter! She will be dashed to pieces! Give them the road! Don't turn them! God, what nerve! See how she holds them!"
Pale as death, a beautiful woman with braced feet pulled on the reins with all her power, and with wonderful presence of mind kept the frightened animals in the middle of the street. But her strength would not suffice to stay them, as, covered with foam, their iron-shod hoofs struck fire upon the granite paving.
"Can't some one stop them? My God! they go right toward the monument! Oh, horror! Tis death!"
Just then a tall cloaked figure stepped hurriedly from the frightened crowd, and rushed out directly
in front of the flying steeds. I felt a tremor run through the hand of my companion and a suppressed cry came from his lips. At the same time a strange, thrilling sensation ran through my form and my heart beat quick and fast.
"Stand back!" cried many throats. "No human power can save her. 'Twill be your death! Take care! Rash man"
Straight toward the daring man, now standing calm and erect, dash the frightened steeds and carriage. Will they trample him under their grinding hoofs? Now they are on himno. Quick as thought he stands aside, a white misty vapor fills the air, enveloping coach and horses. It clears away. And now, what strange and wonderful mystery! The fiery steeds have changed, and, trembling in every limb, press back upon their haunches to stay the carriage which comes to a stand just in front of the monument. The mysterious stranger, who had followed the carriage, stepped in beside the now fainting princess, and before the astonished multitude could realize what had happened, seized the reins and turned into a side street.
I was no less dumbfounded than those around, and stood speechless, a strange sensation pervading my being. As the crowd commenced to recover itself, Garcia grasped my hand and hurried me along to escape it.
"What does it mean?" I asked. "Are not the days of miracles over?"
"Miracles," he answered, "there are no miracles; but this means much."
"What?" I asked.
"That man was an adept," whispered Garcia, "and as the lady was the queen's favorite daughter, we may expect great changes in governmental circles.
"The Masters do all within their power to aid the world in its upward evolution, and, working through human instruments, seize all opportunities for the accomplishment of this end. It is only on the most exceptional occasions that they would use the powers here demanded."
In reply to my further questioning, he said: "Await developments, and then my explanations will be more intelligible."
On the following morning we started for France. As we boarded the cars for our station I bought a Daily Times; and there, in full-face type, side by side upon the front page, were the headings:
Strange and Miraculous Escape!
PRINCESS LOUISE BY SOME MYSTERY OF MAGIC SAVED FROM A MANGLING DEATH.
Princess Louise. who, as all know, is a most
skilled horsewoman and an expert with the reins, while taking her usual afternoon drive behind a pair of untried steeds, lost their control, they being frightened by an accidental explosion on the street.
With her usual coolness and presence of mind she held the fiery animals well in line, but was not strong enough to stay them. Along the street they dashed, faster and faster, wilder and wilder. The heavy steeds would have trampled any human to pieces, and the only hope was to keep a clear road. It seemed that all was lost and death was inevitable when it was seen that they were bearing directly toward the monument in the center of the street.
A cry of terror arose from the crowd as they saw the danger; women fainted and men turned away to shut out the awful scene, when a tall, unknown man, with a long indigo-colored cloak stepped out directly in front of the flying steeds, and with a coolness that looked like madness calmly awaited their approach. Two deaths seemed inevitable, but when the horses reached him he stepped quickly aside, and by some strange mystery of magic, we know not what, covered coach and steeds with a white, vapory mist, which in some still stranger manner seemed to change the entire nature of the animals, and brought them in trembling terror to a stand just in front of the monument.
Before the crowd could recover from its astonishment, the mysterious stranger stepped in beside the fainting Princess, and, seizing the reins, turned the horses into a side street and disappeared.
Who the man was cannot be ascertained. He was not with the Princess when she arrived at the palace, and the Princess will not talk and refuses admission to all interviewers. The Queen also is silent, and the indications are that his identity will remain a mystery. But the wonderful nature of the occurrence, together with the well-known fact that the Princess is a deep student of the occult, led us to investigate in that direction.
A reporter called upon Hager, the celebrated hypnotic animal trainer, and asked his opinion on the subject.
Hager says it was not done by hypnotic or magnetic power, as that requires the animal's attention and a fair, square look into its eyes, which was evidently impossible under the circumstances.
At the headquarters of the occult section of the Theosophical Society, very little satisfaction could be obtained, although it is known that Princess Louise is a frequent visitor there. Sankya Rao, the Hindu adept now there, hinted in vague terms about Akasic ethers, elemental vortices and kriyasakti powers, etc., but gave very little information.
Whoever the stranger was, and whatever his powers, the occurrence will remain a nine days wonder and give the charlatans and pretenders to secret wisdom another harvest from the multitude of dupes who now throng the city in search of the occult.
The second heading, no less conspicuous, read as follows:
William Herbert Morley Appointed Premier;
WHICH MEANS THE END OF ENGLISH POWER IN THE EAST.
JNO. CLARK RUSSELL LEAVES AS SPECIAL ENVOY FOR INDIA, AND THE NEW PREMIER TAKES HIS SEAT TO-DAY.
Then followed a lengthy account of startling and unexpected political changes.
Garcia had also bought a paper and read the articles. Seeing my inquiring looks, he glanced searchingly around and commenced in a low tone as follows:
"My brother, do you think the material world is ruled by law and the social world is left to chance? Do you think that human evolution has no guidance, or that it is ruled direct by God? If the latter, you are in error. God, the Infinite Spirit, while pervading all, is far beyond all earth affairs. But between us and the Supreme are many grades of beingssuperior men, heroes, demi-gods and godsand each host of these works through those below. Kings, Queens, Presidents and Rulers are not always so by chance; they never are in periods of transition, when great changes are impending, for they are but instruments
for higher powers, and work unconsciously for predetermined ends.
"Warriors, statesmen and great religious teachers are thus overshadowed by superior beings and are often even conscious of the fact, as Socrates who had his Demon; Joan of Arc, who had her Voices. Mohammed, Cromwell, Napoleon and all great men who have thought themselves the instruments of fate for the accomplishment of some great end, have thus been overshadowed.
"This is the secret of what some call fate. Men make themselves fit instruments through which these powers can act and work to bring about some lawful end. Men thus used shine with great genius, but when the end is brought about, the real powers, who are unseen, forsake them, and they sink again to the common grades of men. You think this desertion cruel? Not so; those deserted are themselves to blame, for they abuse the privileges they hold, and, thinking these powers their own, commence to work for selfish ends and assume divine prerogatives.
"Then they must fall; for, in the words of Hugo, 'they displease God,' and must become once more but men.
"These men are sometimes evil, but evil men are often, in the end, unconscious instruments for bringing good."
"And do you relate all these remarks to the occurrence of yesterday?" I asked.
"Yes," he replied in a suppressed whisper, "indications would seem to say that the throne of England is thus overshadowed; but the invisible workers veil their activities by working through what seem natural channels."
Just then a stranger took a seat near by, and Garcia immediately changed the subject of conversation.
We crossed the strait and proceeded on toward Paris. The crowd prevented further conversation, but I was busy thinking. The Brotherhood had now become the almost constant subject of my thoughts, and I was longing for an opportunity to learn more concerning their mysterious powers and society.