The “Electric Principle of Christianity” opened as follows:
“From all Eternity God, or the SUPREME SPIRIT OF LIGHT, existed, and to all Eternity He will continue to exist. This is plainly stated in the New Testament thus: ‘God is a SPIRIT, and they that worship Him must worship Him IN SPIRIT and in truth.’
“He is a Shape of pure Electric Radiance. Those who may be inclined to doubt this may search the Scriptures on which they pin their faith, and they will find that all the visions and appearances of the Deity there chronicled were electric in character.
“As a poet forms poems, or a musician melodies, so God formed by a Thought the Vast Central Sphere in which He dwells, and peopled it with the pure creations of His glorious fancy. And why? Because, being pure Light, He is also pure Love; the power or capacity of Love implies the necessity of Loving; the necessity of loving points to the existence of things to be loved — hence the secret of creation. From the ever-working Intelligence of this Divine Love proceeded the Electric Circle of the Universe, from whence are born all worlds.
“This truth vaguely dawned upon the ancient poets of Scripture when they wrote: ‘Darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light. And there was light.’
“These words apply SOLELY to the creation or production of OUR OWN EARTH, and in them we read nothing but a simple manifestation of electricity, consisting in a HEATING PASSAGE OF RAYS from the Central Circle to the planet newly propelled forth from it, which caused that planet to produce and multiply the wonders of the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms which we call Nature.
“Let us now turn again to the poet-prophets of Scripture: ‘And God said, Let us make man in our image.’ The word ‘OUR’ here implies an instinctive idea that God was never alone. This idea is correct. Love cannot exist in a chaos; and God by the sheer necessity of His Being has for ever been surrounded by radiant and immortal Spirits emanating from His own creative glory — beings in whom all beauty and all purity are found. In the IMAGES, therefore (only the IMAGES), of these Children of Light and of Himself, He made Man — that is, He caused the Earth to be inhabited and DOMINATED by beings composed of Earth’s component parts, animal, vegetable, and mineral, giving them their superiority by placing within them His ‘LIKENESS’ in the form of an ELECTRIC FLAME or GERM of spiritual existence combined with its companion working-force of WILL-POWER.
“Like all flames, this electric spark can either be fanned into a fire or it can be allowed to escape in air — IT CAN NEVER BE DESTROYED. It can be fostered and educated till it becomes a living Spiritual Form of absolute beauty — an immortal creature of thought, memory, emotion, and working intelligence. If, on the contrary, he is neglected or forgotten, and its companion Will is drawn by the weight of Earth to work for earthly aims alone, then it escapes and seeks other chances of development in OTHER FORMS on OTHER PLANETS, while the body it leaves, SUPPORTED ONLY BY PHYSICAL SUSTENANCE DRAWN FROM THE EARTH ON WHICH IT DWELLS, becomes a mere lump of clay ANIMATED BY MERE ANIMAL LIFE SOLELY, full of inward ignorance and corruption and outward incapacity. Of such material are the majority of men composed BY THEIR OWN FREE-WILL AND CHOICE, because they habitually deaden the voice of conscience and refuse to believe in the existence of a spiritual element within and around them.
“To resume: the Earth is one of the smallest of planets; and not only this, but, from its position in the Universe, receives a less amount of direct influence from the Electric Circle than other worlds more happily situated. Were men wise enough to accept this fact, they would foster to the utmost the germs of electric sympathy within themselves, in order to form a direct communication, or system of attraction, between this planet and the ever-widening Ring, so that some spiritual benefit might accrue to them thereby. But as the ages roll on, their chances of doing this diminish. The time is swiftly approaching when the invincible Law of Absorption shall extinguish Earth as easily as we blow out the flame of a candle. True, it may be again reproduced, and again thrown out on space; but then it will be in a new and grander form, and will doubtless have more godlike inhabitants.
“In the meantime — during those brief cycles of centuries which are as a breath in the workings of the Infinite, and which must yet elapse before this world, as we know it, comes to an end — God has taken pity on the few, very few souls dwelling here, pent up in mortal clay, who have blindly tried to reach Him, like plants straining up to the light, and has established a broad stream of sympathetic electric communication with Himself, which all who care to do so may avail themselves of.
“Here it may be asked: Why should God take pity? Because that Supreme Shape of Light finds a portion of Himself in all pure souls that love Him, and HE CANNOT DESPISE HIMSELF. Also because He is capable of all the highest emotions known to man, in a far larger and grander degree, besides possessing other sentiments and desires unimaginable to the human mind. It is enough to say that all the attributes that accompany perfect goodness He enjoys; therefore He can feel compassion, tenderness, forgiveness, patience — all or any of the emotions that produce pure, unselfish pleasure.
“Granting Him, therefore, these attributes (and it is both blasphemous and unreasonable to DENY HIM THOSE VIRTUES WHICH DISTINGUISH THE BEST OF MEN), it is easily understood how He, the All-Fair Beneficent Ruler of the Central Sphere, perceiving the long distance to which the Earth was propelled, like a ball flung too far out, from the glory of His Electric Ring, saw also that the creatures He had made in His image were in danger of crushing that image completely out, and with it all remembrance of Him, in the fatal attention they gave to their merely earthly surroundings, lacking, as they did, and not possessing sufficient energy to seek, electric attraction. In brief, this Earth and God’s World were like America and Europe before the Atlantic Cable was laid. Now the messages of goodwill flash under the waves, heedless of the storms. So also God’s Cable is laid between us and His Heaven in the person of Christ.
“For ages (always remembering that our ages are with God a moment) the idea of WORSHIP was in the mind of man. With this idea came also the sentiment of PROPITIATION. The untamed savage has from time immemorial instinctively felt the necessity of looking up to a Being greater than Himself, and also of seeking a reconciliation with that Being for some fault or loss in himself which he is aware of, yet cannot explain. This double instinct — worship and propitiation — is the key-note of all the creeds of the world, and may be called God’s first thought of the cable to be hereafter laid — a lightning-thought which He instilled into the human race to prepare it, as one might test a telegraph-wire from house to house, before stretching it across a continent.
“All religions, as known to us, are mere types of Christianity. It is a notable fact that some of the oldest and most learned races in the world, such as the Armenians and Chaldeans, were the first to be convinced of the truth of Christ’s visitation. Buddhism, of which there are so many million followers, is itself a type of Christ’s teaching; only it lacks the supernatural element. Buddha died a hermit at the age of eighty, as any wise and ascetic man might do to-day. The death and resurrection of Christ were widely different. Anyone can be a Buddha again; anyone can NOT be a Christ. That there are stated to be more followers of Buddhism than of Christianity is no proof of any efficacy in the former or lack of power in the latter. Buddhists help to swell that very large class of persons who prefer a flattering picture to a plain original; or who, sheep-like by nature, finding themselves all together in one meadow, are too lazy, as well as too indifferent, to seek pastures fresher and fairer.
“Through the divine influence of an Electric Thought, then, the world unconsciously grew to expect SOMETHING— they knew not what. The old creeds of the world, like sunflowers, turned towards that unknown Sun; the poets, prophets, seers, all spoke of some approaching consolation and glory; and to this day the fated Jews expect it, unwilling to receive as their Messiah the Divine Martyr they slew, though their own Scriptures testify to His identity.
“Christ came, born of a Virgin; that is, a radiant angel from God’s Sphere was in the first place sent down to Earth to wear the form of Mary of Bethlehem, in Judea. Within that vessel of absolute purity God placed an Emanation of His own radiance — no germ or small flame such as is given to us in our bodies to cultivate and foster, but a complete immortal Spirit, a portion of God Himself, wise, sinless, and strong. This Spirit, pent up in clay, was born as a helpless babe, grew up as man — as man taught, comforted, was slain and buried; but as pure Spirit rose again and returned in peace to Heaven, His mission done.
“It was necessary, in order to establish what has been called an electric communication between God’s Sphere and this Earth, that an actual immortal, untainted Spirit in the person of Christ should walk this world, sharing with men sufferings, difficulties, danger, and death. Why? In order that we might first completely confide in and trust Him, afterwards realizing His spiritual strength and glory by His resurrection. And here may be noted the main difference between the Electric Theory of Christianity and other theories. CHRIST DID NOT DIE BECAUSE GOD NEEDED A SACRIFICE. The idea of sacrifice is a relic of heathen barbarism; God is too infinitely loving to desire the sacrifice of the smallest flower. He is too patient to be ever wrathful; and barbaric ignorance confronts us again in the notion that He should need to be appeased. And the fancy that He should desire Himself or part of Himself to become a sacrifice to Himself has arisen out of the absurd and conflicting opinions of erring humanity, wherein right and wrong are so jumbled together that it is difficult to distinguish one from the other. Christ’s death was not a sacrifice; it was simply a means of confidence and communion with the Creator. A sinless Spirit suffered to show us how to suffer; lived on earth to show us how to live; prayed to show us how to pray; died to show us how to die; rose again to impress strongly upon us that there was in truth a life beyond this one, for which He strove to prepare our souls. Finally, by His re-ascension into Heaven He established that much-needed electric communication between us and the Central Sphere.
“It can be proved from the statements of the New Testament that in Christ was an Embodied Electric Spirit. From first to last His career was attended by ELECTRIC PHENOMENA, of which eight examples are here quoted; and earnest students of the matter can find many others if they choose to examine for themselves.
“1. The appearance of the Star and the Vision of Angels on the night of His birth. The Chaldeans saw His ‘star in the east,’ and they came to worship Him. The Chaldeans were always a learned people, and electricity was an advanced science with them. They at once recognized the star to be no new planet, but simply a star-shaped flame flitting through space. They knew what this meant. Observe, too, that they had no doubts upon the point; they came ‘to worship him,’ and provided themselves with gifts to offer to this radiant Guest, the offspring of pure Light. The vision of the angels appearing to the shepherds was simply a joyous band of the Singing Children of the Electric Ring, who out of pure interest and pleasure floated in sight of Earth, drawn thither partly by the already strong attractive influence of the Radiance that was imprisoned there in the form of the Babe of Bethlehem.
“2. When Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, ‘THE HEAVENS OPENED.’
“3. The sympathetic influence of Christ was so powerful that when He selected His disciples, He had but to speak to them, and at the sound of His voice, though they were engaged in other business, ‘THEY LEFT ALL AND FOLLOWED HIM.”
“4. Christ’s body was charged with electricity. Thus He was easily able to heal sick and diseased persons by a touch or a look. The woman who caught at His garment in the crowd was cured of her long-standing ailment; and we see that Christ was aware of His own electric force by the words He used on that occasion: ‘WHO TOUCHED ME? FOR I FEEL THAT SOME VIRTUE IS GONE OUT OF ME’— which is the exact feeling that a physical electrician experiences at this day after employing his powers on a subject. The raising of Jairus’s daughter, of the widow’s son at Nain, and of Lazarus, were all accomplished by the same means.
“5. The walking on the sea was a purely electric effort, AND CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED NOW BY ANYONE who has cultivated sufficient inner force. The sea being full of electric particles will support anybody sufficiently and similarly charged — the two currents combining to procure the necessary equilibrium. Peter, who was able to walk a little way, lost his power directly his will became vanquished by fear — because the sentiment of fear disperses electricity, and being purely HUMAN emotion, does away with spiritual strength for the time.
“6. The Death of Christ was attended by electric manifestations — by the darkness over the land during the Crucifixion; the tearing of the temple veil in twain; and the earthquake which finally ensued.
“7. The Resurrection was a most powerful display of electric force. It will be remembered that the angel who was found sitting at the entrance of the empty sepulchre ‘had a countenance like LIGHTNING,’ i.e., like electric flame. It must also be called to mind how the risen Christ addressed Mary Magdalene: ‘TOUCH ME NOT, for I am but newly risen!’ Why should she not have touched Him? Simply because His strength then was the strength of concentrated in-rushing currents of electricity; and to touch him at that moment would have been for Magdalene instant death by lightning. This effect of embodied electric force has been shadowed forth in the Greek legends of Apollo, whose glory consumed at a breath the mortal who dared to look upon him.
“8. The descent of the Holy Ghost, by which term is meant an ever-flowing current of the inspired working Intelligence of the Creator, was purely electric in character: ‘Suddenly there came a sound from Heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them CLOVEN TONGUES LIKE AS OF FIRE, and sat upon each of them.’ It may here be noted that the natural electric flame is DUAL or ‘cloven’ in shape.
“Let us now take the Creed as accepted to-day by the Christian Church, and see how thoroughly it harmonizes with the discoveries of spiritual electricity. ‘I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, and of all things VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE.’ This is a brief and simple description of the Creator as He exists — a Supreme Centre of Light, out of whom MUST spring all life, all love, all wisdom.
“‘And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages.’ This means that the only absolute Emanation of His own PERSONAL Radiance that ever wore such mean garb as our clay was found in Christ — who, as part of God, certainly existed ‘BEFORE ALL AGES.’ For as the Creed itself says, He was ‘God of God, LIGHT OF LIGHT. Then we go on through the circumstances of Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection, and our profession of faith brings us to ‘I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son,’ etc. This, as already stated, means that we believe that since Christ ascended into Heaven, our electric communication with the Creator has been established, and an ever-flowing current of divine inspiration is turned beneficially in the direction of our Earth, ‘proceeding from the Father and the Son.’ We admit in the Creed that this inspiration manifested itself before Christ came and ‘SPAKE BY THE PROPHETS;’ but, as before stated, this only happened at rare and difficult intervals, while now Christ Himself speaks through those who most strongly adhere to His teachings.
“It may here be mentioned that few seem to grasp the fact of the SPECIAL MESSAGE TO WOMEN intended to be conveyed in the person of the Virgin Mary. She was actually one of the radiant Spirits of the Central Sphere, imprisoned by God’s will in woman’s form. After the birth of Christ, she was still kept on earth, to follow His career to the end. There was a secret understanding between Himself and her. As for instance, when she found Him among the doctors of the law, she for one moment suffered her humanity to get the better of her in anxious inquiries; and His reply, ‘Why sought ye Me? Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?’ was a sort of reminder to her, which she at once accepted. Again, at the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee, when Christ turned the water into wine, He said to His mother, ‘WOMAN, what have I to do with thee?’ which meant simply: What have I to do with thee as WOMAN merely? — which was another reminder to her of her spiritual origin, causing her at once to address the servants who stood by as follows: ‘Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it.’ And why, it may be asked, if Mary was really an imprisoned immortal Spirit, sinless and joyous, should she be forced to suffer all the weaknesses, sorrows, and anxieties of any ordinary woman and mother? SIMPLY AS AN EXAMPLE TO WOMEN who are the mothers of the human race; and who, being thus laid under a heavy responsibility, need sympathetic guidance. Mary’s life teaches women that the virtues they need are — obedience, purity, meekness, patience, long-suffering, modesty, self-denial, and endurance. She loved to hold a secondary position; she placed herself in willing subjection to Joseph — a man of austere and simple life, advanced in years, and weighted with the cares of a family by a previous marriage — who wedded her by AN INFLUENCE WHICH COMPELLED HIM to become her protector in the eyes of the world. Out of these facts, simple as they are, can be drawn the secret of happiness for women — a secret and a lesson that, if learned by heart, would bring them and those they love out of storm and bewilderment into peace and safety.
“FOR THOSE WHO HAVE ONCE BECOME AWARE OF THE EXISTENCE OF THE CENTRAL SPHERE AND OF THE ELECTRIC RING SURROUNDING IT, AND WHO ARE ABLE TO REALISE TO THE FULL THE GIGANTIC AS WELL AS MINUTE WORK PERFORMED BY THE ELECTRIC WAVES AROUND US AND WITHIN US, there can no longer be any doubt as to all the facts of Christianity, as none of them, VIEWED BY THE ELECTRIC THEORY, are otherwise than in accordance with the Creator’s love and sympathy with even the smallest portion of His creation.
“Why then, if Christianity be a Divine Truth, are not all people Christians? As well ask, if music and poetry are good things, why all men are not poets and musicians. Art seeks art; in like manner God seeks God — that is, He seeks portions of His own essence among His creatures. Christ Himself said, ‘Many are called, but few are chosen;’ and it stands to reason that very few souls will succeed in becoming pure enough to enter the Central Sphere without hindrance. Many, on leaving Earth, will be detained in the Purgatory of Air, where thousands of spirits work for ages, watching over others, helping and warning others, and in this unselfish labour succeed in raising themselves, little by little, higher and ever higher, till they at last reach the longed-for goal. It must also be remembered that not only from Earth, but from ALL WORLDS, released souls seek to attain final happiness in the Central Sphere where God is; so that, however great the number of those that are permitted to proceed thither from this little planet, they can only form, as it were, one drop in a mighty ocean.
“It has been asked whether the Electric Theory of Christianity includes the doctrine of Hell, or a place of perpetual punishment. Eternal Punishment is merely a form of speech for what is really Eternal Retrogression. For as there is a Forward, so there must be a Backward. The electric germ of the Soul — delicate, fiery, and imperishable as it is — can be forced by its companion Will to take refuge in a lower form of material existence, dependent on the body it first inhabits. For instance, a man who is obstinate in pursuing ACTIVE EVIL can so retrograde the progress of any spiritual life within him, that it shall lack the power to escape, as it might do, from merely lymphatic and listless temperaments, to seek some other chance of development, but shall sink into the form of quadrupeds, birds, and other creatures dominated by purely physical needs. But there is one thing it can never escape from — MEMORY. And in that faculty is constituted Hell. So that if a man, by choice, forces his soul DOWNWARD to inhabit hereafter the bodies of dogs, horses, and other like animals, he should know that he does so at the cost of everything except Remembrance. Eternal Retrogression means that the hopelessly tainted electric germ recoils further and further from the Pure Centre whence it sprang, ALWAYS BEARING WITHIN ITSELF the knowledge of WHAT IT WAS ONCE and WHAT IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN. There is a pathetic meaning in the eyes of a dog or a seal; in the melancholy, patient gaze of the oxen toiling at the plough; there is an unuttered warning in the silent faces of flowers; there is more tenderness of regret in the voice of the nightingale than love; and in the wild upward soaring of the lark, with its throat full of passionate, shouting prayer, there is shadowed forth the yearning hope that dies away in despair as the bird sinks to earth again, his instincts not half satisfied. There is no greater torture than to be compelled to remember, in suffering, joys and glorious opportunities gone for ever.
“Regarding the Electric Theory of Religion, it is curious to observe how the truth of it has again and again been dimly shadowed forth in the prophecies of Art, Science, and Poesy. The old painters who depicted a halo of light round the head of their Virgins and Saints did so out of a correct impulse which they did not hesitate to obey.* The astronomers who, after years of profound study, have been enabled to measure the flames of the burning sun, and to find out that these are from two to four thousand miles high, are nearly arrived at the conclusion that it is a world in a state of conflagration, in which they will be perfectly right. Those who hold that this Earth of ours was once self-luminous are also right; for it was indeed so when first projected from the Electric Ring. The compilers or inventors of the ‘Arabian Nights’ also hit upon a truth when they described human beings as forced through evil influences to take the forms of lower animals — a truth just explained in the Law of Retrogression. All art, all prophecy, all poesy, should therefore be accepted eagerly and studied earnestly, for in them we find ELECTRIC INSPIRATION out of which we are able to draw lessons for our guidance hereafter. The great point that scientists and artists have hitherto failed to discover, is the existence of the Central Sphere and its Surrounding Electric Circle. Once realize these two great facts, and all the wonders and mysteries of the Universe are perfectly easy of comprehension.
[* An impulse which led them vaguely to foresee, though, not to explain, the electric principle of spiritual life.]
“In conclusion, I offer no opinion as to which is Christ’s Church, or the Fountain-head of spirituality in the world. In all Churches errors have intruded through unworthy and hypocritical members. In a crowded congregation of worshippers there may perhaps be only one or two who are free from self-interest and personal vanity. In Sectarianism, for instance, there is no shred of Christianity. Lovers of God and followers of Christ must, in the first place, have perfect Unity; and the bond uniting them must be an electric one of love and faith. No true Christian should be able to hate, despise, or envy the other. Were I called upon to select among the churches, I should choose that which has most electricity working within it, and which is able to believe in a positive electrical communication between Christ and herself taking place daily on her altars — a Church which holds, as it were, the other end of the telegraphic ray between Earth and the Central Sphere, and which is, therefore, able to exist among the storms of modern opinions, affording refuge and consolation to the few determined travellers who are bound onward and upward. I shall not name the Church I mean, because it is the duty of everyone to examine and find it out for himself or herself. And even though this Church instinctively works in the right direction, it is full of errors introduced by ignorant and unworthy members — errors which must be carefully examined and cast aside by degrees. But, as I said before, it is the only Church which has Principles of Electricity within it, and is therefore destined to live, because electricity is life.
“Now I beseech the reader of this manuscript to which I, Heliobas, append my hand and seal, to remember and realize earnestly the following invincible facts: first that God and His Christ EXIST; secondly, that while the little paltry affairs of our temporal state are being built up as crazily as a child’s house of cards, the huge Central Sphere revolves, and the Electric Ring, strong and indestructible, is ever at its work of production and re-absorption; thirdly, that every thought and word of EVERY HABITANT ON EVERY PLANET is reflected in lightning language before the Creator’s eyes as easily as we receive telegrams; fourthly, that this world is THE ONLY SPOT IN THE UNIVERSE where His existence is actually questioned and doubted. And the general spread of modern positivism, materialism and atheism is one of the most terrific and meaning signs of the times. The work of separating the wheat from the chaff is beginning. Those who love and believe in God and Spiritual Beauty are about to be placed on one side; the millions who worship Self are drawing together in vast opposing ranks on the other; and the moment approaches which is prophesied to be ‘as the lightning that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, and shineth even to the other part.’ In other words, the fiery whirlpool of the Ring is nearly ready to absorb our planet in its vortex; and out of all who dwell upon its surface, how many shall reach the glorious Central World of God? Of two men working in the same field, shall it not be as Christ foretold —‘the one shall be taken, and the other left’?
“Friend, or Pupil, Reader! Whoever thou art, take heed and foster thine own soul! For know that nothing can hinder the Immortal Germ within us from taking the form imposed upon it by our WILLS. Through Love and Faith, it can become an Angel, and perform wonders even while in its habitation of clay; through indifference and apathy, it can desert us altogether and for ever; through mockery and blasphemous disbelief, it can sink into even a lower form than that of snake or toad. In our own unfettered hand lies our eternal destiny. Wonderful and terrible responsibility! Who shall dare to say we have no need of prayer?”
This document was signed “Casimir Heliobas,” and bore a seal on which the impression seemed to consist of two Arabic or Sanskrit words, which I could not understand. I put it carefully away with its companion MS. under lock and key, and while I was yet pausing earnestly on its contents, Zara came into my room. She had finished her task in the studio, she said, and she now proposed a drive in the Bois as an agreeable way of passing the rest of the afternoon.
“I want to be as long as possible in your company,” she added, with a caressing sweetness in her manner; “for now your friends have come to Paris, I expect you will soon be leaving us, so I must have as much of you as I can.”
My heart sank at the thought of parting from her, and I looked wistfully at her lovely face. Leo had followed her in from the studio, and seemed still very melancholy.
“We shall always be good friends, Zara dearest,” I said, “shall we not? Close, fond friends, like sisters?”
“Sisters are not always fond of each other,” remarked Zara, half gaily. “And you know ‘there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother’!”
“And what friend is that in YOUR case?” I asked, half jestingly, half curiously.
“Death!” she replied with a strange smile, in which there was both pathos and triumph.
I started at her unexpected reply, and a kind of foreboding chilled my blood. I endeavoured, however, to speak cheerfully as I said:
“Why, of course, death sticks more closely to us than any friend or relative. But you look fitter to receive the embraces of life than of death, Zara.”
“They are both one and the same thing,” she answered; “or rather, the one leads to the other. But do not let us begin to philosophize. Put on your things and come. The carriage is waiting.”
I readily obeyed her, and we enjoyed an exhilarating drive together. The rest of the day passed with us all very pleasantly and our conversation had principally to do with the progress of art and literature in many lands, and maintained itself equably on the level of mundane affairs. Among other things, we spoke of the Spanish violinist Sarasate, and I amused Heliobas by quoting to him some of the criticisms of the London daily papers on this great artist, such as, “He plays pieces which, though adapted to show his wonderful skill, are the veriest clap-trap;” “He lacks breadth and colour;” “A true type of the artist virtuoso,” etc., etc.
“Half these people do not know in the least what they mean by ‘breadth and colour’ or ‘virtuosity,’” said Heliobas, with a smile. “They think emotion, passion, all true sentiment combined with extraordinary TECHNIQUE, must be ‘clap-trap.’ Now the Continent of Europe acknowledges Pablo de Sarasate as the first violinist living, and London would not be London unless it could thrust an obtuse opposing opinion in the face of the Continent. England is the last country in the world to accept anything new. Its people are tired and blase; like highly trained circus-horses, they want to trot or gallop always in the old grooves. It will always be so. Sarasate is like a brilliant meteor streaming across their narrow bit of the heaven of music; they stare, gape, and think it is an unnatural phenomenon — a ‘virtuosity’ in the way of meteors, which they are afraid to accept lest it set them on fire. What would you? The meteor shines and burns; it is always a meteor!”
So, talking lightly, and gliding from subject to subject, the hours wore away, and we at last separated for the night.
I shall always be glad to remember how tenderly Zara kissed me and wished me good repose; and I recall now, with mingled pain, wonder, and gratitude, how perfectly calm and contented I felt as, after my prayers, I sank to sleep, unwarned, and therefore happily unconscious, of what awaited me on the morrow.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52