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e-book: Afterlife


War Letters From The Living Dead Man




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







            One night, when the roar of the battle was still, and the rays of the full moon shone down upon trampled mud, and man-filled trench, and tender spring-green growing things and soft-hued flowers, I met face to face a powerful being in a dark mantle who passed along the line of war with slow, majestic steps.
            Seeing me he paused, and I paused also, struck by the grace of his tall form and the royal air of him. His face was veiled.
            “Who are you,” he said, “who walk here at this hour as if in meditation?”
            “I am a man much given to meditation,” I replied, “and this hour seems fit for it.”
            “And what was the subject of your meditation?”
            “The war below us.”
            “And what was the course of your thoughts, which my appearance interrupted?”

            “My thoughts were of peace,” I said, “and they were full of questions as to how the carnage of this war might be made to cease.”
            “Your questions were in order,” the majestic being answered. “Perhaps I can be of help to you.”
            “Will you not unveil?” I suggested, “for I like to see the faces of those with whom I hold converse.”
            He threw back a fold of the dark covering of his head, revealing a face which I know not how to describe. Power and evil were blent in it, and a strange beauty, both superhuman and subhuman. The face was marked as if by an eternity of pain and struggle; but in the eyes was a light of will which startled me by its force.
            “Who are you?” I asked.
            “What matter who I am?” he replied. “I am one who can solve the problem of your meditations.”
            “You do not look like an angel of peace,” I said, “but rather like one who has seen much war of his own making.”

            “It is for that reason that I am competent to speak of peace. What do the peaceful know of peace? Only the warrior knows the meaning of that word.”
            “I will listen,” I said, “to whatever you have to say; for I recognize that you know something of the Law.”
            “I am one of the executors of the Law,” he answered, “and I have a plan for bringing peace to the world.”
            “Will you state that plan?”
            “It is for that I came out here to meet you,” he said.
            “And how did you learn of me?”
            “I know all the strong workers and many of the weak ones. You are a powerful worker.”
            “Truly you do me too much honor,” I said, “for I am only a humble soldier in the army of the Law’s executants.”
            “The modesty of the great,” he observed, while he eyed me closely to see the effect of his words.
            “Whoever you are,” I said, “and I perceive that you are something unusual, know that my interest in my own stature is no longer paramount with me.”
            “It is for that reason that you may be used in the interest of peace.”

            “Continue,” I requested.
            He regarded me for a time with brilliant, questioning eyes, and then he asked:
            “You are weary of war, of the labor of war?”
            “I am weary with my sympathy for those who suffer.”
            “And you would like to end their suffering?”
            “It seems to me at times,” I said, more to myself than to him, “that I would gladly give my life, if by so doing I could shorten the horrors down here.”
            “Your life? And what do you mean by your life?”
            “I mean my consciousness of freedom, my freedom of consciousness.”
            “A good definition of the life of such as you,” he observed. “And would you really sacrifice that life for the world?”
            “Most gladly, if by so doing I could save the world.”

            “It might be possible,” he said.
            “Will you speak more plainly?” I demanded. “You seem to me to be feeling your way to some statement of importance.”
            “What can be more important,” he returned, “than the sacrifice of such a life as yours for the world?”
            “Go on.”
            “There is a way,” he said, “by which your sacrifice of what you call ‘the consciousness of freedom and the freedom of consciousness’ might save those men down there from further pain.”
            “Again I repeat, go on.”
            “It lies in my power,” he said, coming nearer and regarding me fixedly with his glowing eyes, “it lies in my power so to work upon the minds of the opposing armies, the armies on both sides, that they will refuse to fight any longer.”
            “And betray their countries?” I asked.
            “And bring peace,” he corrected me.
            “And what have I to do with it?”
            “You might have much to do with it.”
            “Your words are still dark to me,” I said.
            “Then I will make them clearer,” he replied. “In order for you to understand my meaning, it is necessary that I explain myself. I am one of those who serve the good by opposing the good, and thus giving it greater activity.”
            “So I had observed. Will you now state in clear words what purpose you have with me?”

            “My purpose is to make you a proposition. If you wish this carnage to cease—and already it has gone on long enough to serve the purpose which I serve, to soak the world with blood, to destroy that which a decade of labor will be too brief to rebuild, to awaken all the hatred and other evil passions which nest in the hearts of men—if you wish this carnage to cease, I have the means by which it can be made to cease.”
            “And where do I come in?”
            “I have long observed you,” he said, “observed your diligence in applying the principles given you by your Teacher.”
            “Then why did you ask me who I was, a little while ago?”
            “Only as a preliminary to further conversation.”
            “Oh!” I said.
            “I have observed you,” he repeated, “and realized that with your power and attainments you might be of greater service if you should shift your allegiance and join us. Your consciousness of freedom would be even greater.”
            “But that consciousness of freedom was my definition of life! I suppose you would say, in adjusting your argument to the limitations of my mind, that in losing my life I should find it.”

            A slight smile curved the lined features of the being before me.
            “You would be always an entertaining companion,” he said. “Think twice before you decline my proposition.”
            “In your proposed agreement, I replied, “you do not state clearly the consideration. I am an old lawyer, and a stickler for forms.”
            There was no smile now on his face, as he said to me:
            “If you will transfer your allegiance to us, I will bring this war to an end.”
            “And could you?”
            “I could.”
            “I have already stated how.”
            “But the medicine you propose would be worse than the disease, even assuming, which I deny, that the patient would swallow it.”
            “But would you not make the sacrifice, if I proved to you that I could make good my end of the bargain?”
            “Then surely you care little for the world!”
            “You argue like a German propagandist,” I said.

            “You mean that they argue like me,” he corrected.
            “I have wondered,” I said, “in what school of logic they were trained.”
            “And you refuse my proposition?”
            “I wonder you should take the trouble to make it.”
            “Why call that a trouble which gives me the pleasure of your society?”
            “I have already heard,” I said, “that the devil was a great flatterer.”
            “The devil has great tact.”
            We stood looking at each other, measuring each other. He was an interesting study.
            “Dropping for the moment,” I said, “our differences of purpose and ideal, and speaking merely as two minds—”
            “Equal in brilliancy,” he interrupted.
            “Speaking as two minds,” I continued, “will you not tell me why you played upon my love for the world, my willingness to sacrifice myself for the world, in your attempt to win me to your standard?”
            “What else could I play upon?”
            “Surely I must have some fault, some hidden sin, through which your subtle mind could have thought to reach me.”

            “Oh,” he said, “I am too wise to tempt you through your hidden faults, for you are determined to conquer them! You could not be thrown off the track that way. Only those young on your path are easily conquered through their faults. The greater souls we attack through their virtues.”
            “Continue,” I said, “for you truly interest me.”
            “It is said in the world,” he went on, “that there is more than one way to skin a cat. There is also more than one way to get rid of a worker for the Teachers whom you follow. When we cannot deflect a worker through his evil passions, his hatred, anger, avarice, lust, jealousy or fear, we are sometimes able to weaken him through his good passions, his love, his loyalty, or his self-sacrifice.”
            “Thank you for your confidence,” I said. “And now I will wish you good evening.”
            As I passed along the line I murmured to myself:
            “Truly is the serpent more subtle than any beast of the field, and man needs all his wisdom to stand against him.”

            May 1.

Letter XXXVI