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War Letters From The Living Dead Man


Introduction

LETTER

 I.

The Return of "X"
II. A Dweller on the Threshold
III. An Assurance
IV. The Way of Understanding
V. Astral Monsters
VI. The Archduke
VII. The "Chosen People"
VIII. Spectres of the Congo
IX. Unseen Guardians
X. One Day as a Thousand Years
XI. Many Tongues
XII. The Beautiful Being
XIII. The Body of Humanity
XIV. The Foeman Within
XV. Listening in Brussels
XVI. The Sixth Race
XVII. An American on Guard
XVIII. A Master of Compassion
XIX. The Rose-Veiled Stranger
XX. Above the Battlefields
XXI. A Soul in Purgatory
XXII. Peace Propaganda
XXIII. The Mystery of Desire
XXIV. The Scales of Justice
XXV. For Love's Sake
XXVI. A Master of Mind
XXVII. Invisible Enemies
XXVIII. The Glory of War
XXIX. A Friend of "X"
XXX. The Rose and the Cross
XXXI. A Serbian Magician
XXXII. Judas and Typhon
XXXIII. Crowns of Straw
XXXIV. The Sylph and the Father
XXXV. Behind the Dark Veil
XXXVI. The "Lusitania"
XXXVII. Veiled Prophecies
XXXVIII. Advice to a Scribe
XXXIX. One of These Little Ones
XL. The Height and the Depth
XLI. A Conclave of Masters
XLII. A Lesson in the Kabala
XLIII. The Second Coming
XLIV. Poison Gases
XLV. The Superman
XLVI. The Entering Wedge
XLVII. The New Brotherhood
XLVIII. In the Crucible
XLIX. Black Magic in America
L. Things to Remember


 

 

 

LETTER XVII

 

AN AMERICAN ON GUARD

            I want to speak more of France, and of what she can do for America, the land of the coming new race.
            I have spoken before of her love, which is so great that even her own enemies cannot hate her. I have praised her critical genius, which analyses all things and compares one with another. But now I want to speak of her charm and her courtesy.
            You have said yourself that good-manners are the imitation of kind-heartedness. To imitate is to emulate. A race that has charming manners has a heart. A race that is brusque needs to cultivate heart.
            Employ French teachers in your schools, you Americans. A French teacher or a French mother tells her children not to do a certain thing because it is not pretty, another word for charming, for kind-hearted. If you imitate kind-heartedness this way, perhaps you will some day feel it, you American children.

            By setting up the standard of beauty in deportment you need have no fear of forgetting the ethical. You all drank Puritan ethics with your mother’s milk; there is no danger that those precepts will be lost if you practise charm a little by way of variety.
            Every face in France was once a smiling face. It was not so this afternoon when I passed through France on my way to you. But the faces are still brave, because it is not pretty to make a parade of sorrow. I know the excess of French mourning-apparel might be called a parade of sorrow, but the black is worn as a mark of respect for all the dead of France.
            Taste! There is a race which has it. And in advising America to learn from the French, I am naturally selecting the good qualities of that nation. We all have faults of our own.

            The taste of the French in the United States at this time! Do they print journals in English attacking their enemy? Do they support a lobby in Washington and a press-bureau in New York? If so I have not heard of them, and we hear of most things out here—we who keep our ears to the ground. If they grieve for their stricken country, they do not drop their tears on America’s freshly ironed shirt-bosom. If they hate their enemy, they hate him with a quiet, well-bred hate. If France wins a victory in the field, they do not bluster about it. If France loses in the field, they do not call their enemy a rattlesnake or some other kind of reptile. It would not be pretty. It might not be unethical, but it would be bad taste.
            Americans bluster too much. I said that when I myself was an American, before I was uprooted and became a citizen of the world invisible and universal, and I have not changed my mind by association with angels, adepts and masters. They never bluster, but the devils often do.
            In advising America to learn from France those things in which France is supreme, I am not depreciating other races. Each nation can learn something from every other nation. The Chinese and the Japanese have points where they rise above their neighbors. So have the Americans.

            This war has brought out the dominant traits in all the warring peoples, and their complementary traits. Have you ever thought of the “turbaned Turk” (or, to be less Shakespearean, the fezzed Turk) as being gullible? Treacherous races are always gullible, as cruel races are apt to be sentimental—in all that touches themselves. “Free America” must beware of too many laws. England, too conscious of her virtue, will one day yield to temptation. Germany, “over all,” has got the whole world on top of her. Italy, the excitable, is now deliberating to a degree that would be dangerous for any other land. “Neutral America” is so unneutral that her right hand threatens her left, and both the whole body.
            Do not be impatient with President Wilson. He is dealing with the problems of the present war as if they were dated 500 B.C., and the long view is apt to be the clear view. The professor in him is safer than the politician in him. He is not happy just now. Why? Oh, that is an affair of State, and I am writing for publication! I know so many secrets that I am discreet as the family doctor.

            But there is an “American on guard tonight.” Who is he? Old Abraham Lincoln, who renounced heaven that he might watch over the land he lived and died for.
            No, I shall not tell you any more about him. There is something sacred in a soul’s renouncing rest. He will not go too far away until America passes through her next great trial. When will that be? As the Beautiful Being says, “Nay, Child, you ask too much.”
            And still you are eager to know about Abraham Lincoln! I was eager to know about him myself a few short years ago; but I did not ask too many questions. It would not have been pretty, as the French mothers say.

            April 8.

Letter XVIII.

LETTER XVI