WE entered the parlor, and Iole immediately sent the brother who served as usher to notify Count Nicholsky of our arrival. He soon returned with orders for us to report at the council chamber at once. Being familiar with the place, Iole led the way along the same rich hall described before, to a room upon the second floor. A woman dressed in black, not unlike Iole when I first met her, challenged us at the door before which she stopped. Passwords were exchanged, and we entered.
Around a table in the center of a room, finished throughout in azure-blue, sat seven persons whom I soon learned were seven of the most remarkable persons of any age. At the right sat the king whom we knew as Eral, and opposite him the mysterious Madame Petrovna, but with features wonderfully different from those she possessed when I first saw her.
Her face was now remarkably white and beautiful, all the harsh lines and wrinkles had disappeared, but her blue eyes still shone with that wonderful light. Beside the king sat two men whom I afterwards learned were Count Nicholsky and Eugene Du Bois.
Beside the Madame, sat the man whom we had seen enter when we got out of the carriage; he was tall and sparely built with long golden hair and a light, curly, chestnut beard. This man, whom I knew from his position at the table was superior of all, had no certain age; his pale, serious face was not marked by a single wrinkle, yet I knew he was not young. His eyes were blue and shone with a fiery luster, and I noticed that his hands throbbed as they rested upon the table.
That this personage may be no mystery, I will say that he was the celebrated Count de St. Germain who was a high initiate, and possessed the power of separating his eternal body from the form which dissolves. We took the two vacant seats opposite the great adept, who then motioned for King Eral to speak.
“You have a package for me?” said the king. Without a word, Iole drew forth the package and handed it across the table. Unwrapping the silk cloth around it, a platinum case came to view, and as the king pressed a concealed spring, a lid flew open and a closely-folded paper fell upon the table.
The Madame now passed him a bowl which sat near her, and the king immersed the paper in a fluid therein. Taking it from the liquid, he spread it out upon the table, moving his hands back and forth over it without touching, all the time breathing upon the surface.
In a few seconds, a closely-written message commenced to appear upon the heretofore blank paper, and the king read the following message, which gave us the first intimation of the intelligence we carried:
The German-Russian alliance is perfected and all has been signed and sealed. The German forces under Von Kral march at once on Paris by way of Brussels, and the Russians under Neouli strike Vienna. The royal powers of Italy are not yet certain, but the people are with us, and Austria and the German democrats join with us and will join Maximilian, commander of the Austrians, and check the Russians at Cracow. Let the French meet the Germans near the historic fields of Waterloo and avenge the past. I leave for Berlin this hour.
Not a sigh of surprise or emotion was discernible on the faces of those around the table as this startling news was read, but all looked intensely serious as Count St. Germain spoke and said: “Has Careau answered our order to put Napoleon Marleon at the head of the French army?”
“He has. Napoleon takes command today and both await our further orders,” answered Nicholsky.
“Then tell him to proceed with not less than two hundred thousand men to Waterloo at once. It is again the Latin against the Slav, but this time our cause is right, and Rome will win. Russia will destroy the imperial Germans because of this unholy alliance, but not one foot of ground will she gain in Europe. Napoleon II., far greater than Napoleon I., will make all Europe outside of Russia one great republic, and Paris shall be its capital.”
“Do you speak as Master?” asked the Madame. “Is England certain?”
“We will receive a messenger today who will bring the news that Albert has abdicated because of widespread and dangerous insurrection, and that our man, Oliver G. Harkley, the Radical leader, has been declared protector. The fates decree the triumph of the people, and I speak as one who knows.”
The count suddenly stopped, motioned silence, and assumed a fixed and trance-like posture. All remained quiet while he, with rigid features and staring eyes, sat motionless. For fully ten minutes he sat thus, all around the table breathing with suppressed breath in unison. Suddenly he regained his normal state and said:
A Frenchman, a spy in the employ of the Germans, just arrived at the central station. He is a young man of twenty-seven years, about five feet ten inches in height, sparely built, and with an almost unnoticeable mole under his right eyebrow, a dark waxed mustache, a smooth chin, and a light-brown suit of clothes. Notify Careau to seize him at once, before he enters on the Rue de Rivoli, whither he now bound. To be sure, send a man to intercept him, and do not let him destroy certain messages he has in his inner vest pocket. Also, tell Careau to watch General Moron and give him plenty of rope; he is a traitor and in league with our enemies, but he must not be arrested yet.
As he finished speaking, Count Nicholsky bowed and left the room.
“Now,” continued St. Germain, “we need four responsive pairs at once; I have other fields to attend to. Can you furnish them from among your western members, or must I go East for them?”
Thus speaking, he looked at us penetratingly, and turning to Eral asked: “Cannot this pair make one?”
“We think they can,” replied the king.
“Sister, have you severed all ties which bind you to your royal relatives?” he asked Iole, to my great surprise.
“I have,” she answered briefly. Now, like a flash the knowledge came to me. Iole and the Princess Louise whom I had seen saved so miraculously in London were one and the same. This explained the striking familiarity of her face when I first met her; the momentary glance I obtained of her, as she sat behind the flying steeds, had impressed her features upon my memory. All these years I had been the brother and companion of a royal princess, but she, in true simplicity, had not made a single show of station or exhibited any signs of pride. While these feelings of admiration were active within me, the count, addressing Iole, continued:
Then, sister, you must enter the cap of Napoleon Marleon and communicate to him all information transmitted by your brother, who must immediately enlist with Von Kral. Not a movement of the enemy must be concealed from him; and we, as the secret powers that make such men great, will see that he lacks no information. Through the communicating powers of responsive minds, your brother can keep you informed of every movement of the Germans, and this without the delays which traveling spies cannot help but meet.
Then turning to King Eral, he said:
There must be pairs to communicate between the other armies, and, if necessary, one must be at every throne in Europe. Mind will be superior to powder and cannon and all material inventions in this contest. The thrones have laughed at the claims of occultism; before long, they will wish they had not. Give the brother and sister the necessary instructions; I have a call from the East.
As he finished speaking, he arose and left the room, and Eral addressed us: “Brother and sister, your year has been well spent; your colors show that your minds are one and your souls responsive." He continued:
You understand the science of mental communication, for you have practiced it for a year. But some additional instructions will be useful to you in the field of labor into which you now enter. Whenever written messages are to be sent, soak the paper upon which they are written in a certain liquor of nitrogen and put them in a platinum case which will be given you; then place therewith a small percussion-cap operated by connection with a cord extending from the box. When captured, as a last resort, destroy the message by pulling the string. But written messages must never be carried or sent when mental messages will answer the purpose, for the latter leave no clue, neither do they excite suspicion.
If either of you should wish to communicate with us other than through each other, or either should be killed, you can use an exceptional method, but only as a last resort. This method is most dangerous and must be used with greatest caution. We will give each of you certain powders, which, if you can find an hour when no one will disturb you, you can take, and they will enable you to reach some of us, no matter where we are. But never take them when there is the least chance of being disturbed, for death would be the result. One hour will suffice, and this can frequently be obtained in the night.
When you separate, you must also set your watches with each other, and never change them as you move from place to place. In this manner, you will always be able to concentrate your minds in communication; at the same time, little variations can be overcome. Further, as a precaution, you must never know one another – not even in death or torture. By power of will, control yourselves. Now, until this evening, you are at liberty; at five o’clock, you both leave for Berlin. Go unencumbered by baggage and take separate seats, but in the same coach. Whatever happens, do not know each other.
With a wave of the hand he dismissed us, and the council adjourned. Three of the members had not uttered a word, and the mysterious Madame Petrovna had made only one remark, but it was evident from their attention that not a word or act had escaped them. When we left the council-chamber, Iole, who was perfectly familiar with the house, led the way to the dining-room, and with all the authority of a mistress ordered our breakfast. As we ate our meal, she said: “My brother, are you fully equal to any emergency?”
“I am,” I answered, fully confident.
“Then remember that not even imprisonment, death, or torture is to lead us to betray our cause or forget our duty.” She spoke as though she had a premonition of evil, and I answered with reassurance: "Nothing that the minds of men can conjure will lead me to betray or neglect my cause or duty.”
Then by a kind of tacit consent, we finished our meal in silence. Having but a short time until my start for Berlin, I took an hour to go to the city. The streets and thoroughfares were thronged with excited multitudes. Flaming bulletins announced the declarations of war, and in large letters, I read that Napoleon Marleon, a captain of artillery, had suddenly and almost without precedent been appointed to the command of the army by General Careau, Minister of War.
A Napoleonic fever has seized the populace, and the city was full of volunteers of every nationality. “Napoleon! Napoleon! Vive le Napoleon! Vive le Napoleon!” rang through the streets. As my carriage was passing through the Place de la Concorde, the crowd became so dense I had to stop. The National Guards, with their new commander at their head, were marching down the boulevard. The stirring strains of the new war-song, “Liberty,” full of fire and passion, rose from a hundred bands.
Looking at the new Napoleon, I saw he was a young man of not over twenty-seven years; he was mounted upon a magnificent white charger and rode with stately carriage. He was slightly taller than his eminent predecessor, his face white and almost bloodless, his thin lips pressed closely together making his mouth look firm, while his deep-set, steel-grey eyes flashed coolly here and there as he viewed the multitude as one born to command.
As a gigantic silk banner bearing the white lily of France waved near him, a smile overspread his stern and determined features, and he lifted his plumed hat and bowed. Instantly, a great cry arose from many thousand throats and the words, “Vive le Napoleon! Vive la Republique de l’Europe!” echoed and re-echoed through the place.
The belief in reincarnation, scattered far and wide by the theosophists and oriental teachers, had now become almost universally accepted throughout the West, and especially in France. Many thought their great Napoleon of Austerlitz had been born once more to avenge the fate of Waterloo and accomplish that which he had undertaken a century too soon.
The papers were full of startling headings. England had joined with France and was landing two hundred thousand men at Hare under General Nelson. The cry was, “On to Brussels! On to Berlin!” As I drove on, I thought how few saw or were aware of the silent power behind all this tumult and action. The great Powers work unknown, but they do not interfere with the actions of men, but when the time of Karmic retribution comes, they help to guide its action.
Thus thinking, I returned to the residence of Count Nicholsky. As I entered the front hall, the Count de St. Germain met me; no one else was in the hall, and coming up to me he said:
Alphonso Colono, for the next five years all Europe will be bathed in blood and all life will apparently be uncertain; you will have to be in the midst of the conflict, but let me tell you, as one who knows, that neither you nor your sister Iole will suffer injury. Have confidence in what I say; no matter how near death you may come, you will both be protected and escape. You both have great duties when this war is over, great heights lie just beyond, and you both shall reach them.
As he thus spoke, his wonderful eyes looked into mine and seemed to read my very soul; without thinking of answering, I stood in silence as he turned away and was gone.
Proceeding to Iole’s room, we laid out our program, and that evening at five o’clock, with nothing but hand satchels, we left on the train for the German frontier. Iole was to accompany me to Berlin and return with certain messages from Dr. Rankel, imperial physician, whom I had met a year before and to whom I had letters of confidence.
It was through him that King Eral had said I would get my position as body surgeon of General Von Kral. Here I would be right at the center of action and miss no information.
The train on which we were passengers was loaded down with troops, proceeding toward the contemplated field of battle; they did not continue our way long, as they turned off toward Brussels. Thinking all was safe while we were in France, we rode together until we approached the German frontier, when we both adopted the German tongue and took separate seats in a coach for Berlin. Everywhere the excitement reigned and everybody was under military surveillance.
Notwithstanding my boasted indifference, I felt a little uneasy about Iole as we crossed the line, for she had been instructed with one of the platinum cases containing messages for the Berlin lodge. Feeling sure she would be searched before we crossed the Rhine, I took a stroll to the far end of the car, stopping as I passed her seat and speaking to her in German.
She turned away and looked out of the window as though to avoid my advances, but at the same time furtively slipped me a note. Returning to my seat, I read in the cipher-writing of the order the following note:
I shall be arrested before we cross the Rhine, but there seems to be a purpose in it and things must take their course. According to orders, I will not destroy my messages until the very last; and whatever comes, you must make no sign. Remember!
The means by which she had obtained this information in advance was not an entire mystery, for I knew that she had clairvoyant sight. Strange to relate, while not possessing this faculty, I had clairaudient hearing, and could hear, as it were, the unspoken thoughts of those upon whom I concentrated my mind. At the next station, a young German entered the coach and seated himself beside me.
“I thought you had a companion,” was the strange remark with which he familiarly addressed me. Suspicious at once, I gripped my thumb, the challenge sign of the seventh degree; as he did not answer, I concluded he was a spy and replied:
“No, I have no companion; what made you think I had?” As I answered, I concentrated my mind upon him to read his thoughts, but found it of no avail. Somewhat puzzled at this failure, and wondering if he had obtained a clue to my membership, I remained silent until he should reply. After some moments’ waiting, he gave the sign of the sixth degree. I had been informed by Eral that no members lower than the seventh degree were in the secret movement, but I answered his challenge. Now the reason of my inability to read his mind was made clear — sixth degree members all know how to control and guard their thoughts.
Having exchanged passwords, he handed me a passport, and we entered into conversation which continued until we reached the Rhine. Here a military detachment entered and demanded passports. What will Iole do? I thought; if she only had my passport, she could pass unsearched. With this in mind, I started toward her end of the car, but the officers were there first. Knowing better than to make myself known, I took a seat nearby.
“Your passport,” said the officer in charge, addressing her.
“I have none,” she replied.
“Then you cannot cross the Rhine,” he answered.
“I must go to Berlin,” she responded.
“What is your business there?” he asked, eyeing her veiled face closely.
“That I will report to the proper authorities,” she answered, to my surprise.
“Ah! You will? Men, search her,” he said, turning to his assistants.
“I request lady searchers,” she said, arising with dignity.
“Ah!” said the officer in charge, “you are a spy.”
“I am not a spy, but I have business in Berlin.”
“What is your business?”
She made a sign, and a startled look came over the face of the officer as he leaned toward her, and she whispered something in his ear. Her communication seemed to turn him wild with glee, and at the same time transform him; tearing her veil from her face, he seized her with rough hands, and with a mocking laugh cried: “A spy of the Black Art Brotherhood! Search her! Ha! Ha! One of your insane members turned traitor this morning and gave your Order away. If the idiot had not been suddenly struck with a fit and gone raving mad, we would now know all your nefarious plots.”
Biting his tongue, he suddenly checked himself, as if he had said too much, while at his orders, his men seized her roughly. By an almost superhuman effort of will, I restrained myself as they roughly searched her.
“Look under her seat,” commanded the leader, when they found nothing. Her satchel, with its contents, lay upon the floor, and the upholstered seat was taken up in their search, while Iole stood by calmly watching every moment.
“Ah! Here it is,” cried one of the men, as he took the platinum box from a small hole cut in the bottom of the seat. Quick as flash, and before they could divine her intention, Iole seized his hand and pulled the cord attached to the box. There was a muffled explosion, the sides of the box bulged out and the lid flew open, but a mass of charred paper and ashes was all that remained.
“The devil!” shouted the leader; “handcuff her and take her in charge.” As he spoke, another squad of men approached from the other end of the car.
“A dangerous spy,” said the new leader, “what kind of a devilish mechanism was that she had to destroy her dispatches?”
“The devil alone knows,” replied the first leader; “these French always were in league with sorcerers and those who deal in black artwork. Where is your passport?” he suddenly asked, turning to me.
“Here it is,” I answered, handing him my pass.
“You talk German, but you don’t look it. What is your nationality?” he asked, eying me suspiciously.
“By birth, an American. By sympathies, German.” I answered boldly.
“Well, you know a winner,” he answered gruffly, as he moved on. Iole, with manacled hands, having been led into another coach, I was left alone with my thoughts. Colono, I said to myself, remember the words of St. Germain and be calm and confident.
Then I questioned, how did the German who gave me my passport know me? Ah! Now I know, a society sign was on my large seal ring, and he had seen it. Should I take it off? No, it had served to my advantage so far, and I would leave it on. But how was I supposed to communicate with the French commander since Iole was in the hands of the Germans? What had Iole said when she whispered to the officer? Had someone betrayed his trust? Had the Masters, for protection to their cause, struck him with madness? Or had his oath, sealed by solemn invocation, indeed drawn upon him the destroying spirits he had evoked?
Thus thinking, I remained quiet until the train reached Berlin. Acquainted with the city from the year before, I lost no time; without waiting to see what was done with Iole, I hurried to the other residence of Dr. Rankel, determined to tell him at once of the circumstances. The doctor immediately responded to my note by appearing in person and inviting me to his private study. Being a high-degree member, I had no hesitancy in telling him everything; in answer to the questions I put with my account, he said:
Albarez and Saroy are both in the city, and I will notify them at once, if they have not already learned of her capture. They will do all that can be done, and, under the present circumstances, you know that will be much. As for you, you will proceed without delay to the headquarters of Von Kral; I will provide you with all necessary recommendations and papers from the imperial court.
That night, I stayed with Dr. Rankel, and early the next morning, he handed me the confidential prison report to the imperial court, with a significant smile, and I read:
TREACHERY OR SORCERY
Yesterday a woman who gave her name as Louise Gray, and who is an English spy in the employ of the French, was captured on the train en route for Berlin, with important secret messages to French emissaries here. But when caught, she destroyed her messages by some explosive apparatus in the package in which they were carried. She is a bold and daring woman, and the officers brought her, under heavy guard, immediately to the imperial prison, where she was confined in one of the inner and most secret cells with strict order given to place a double guard around her. These precautions were well taken, but proved futile: for last night, in some mysterious manner, she escaped, and no traces can be found of her whereabouts.
The only explanation that the prison general can vouchsafe is very weak, and he has been removed and confined until it can be investigated. He says that about ten o’clock last night, while he, himself, was at the outer entrance, two strangers approached him. One, in a voice which had a strange and irresistible power, ordered him to lead the way to cell No. 93, the one in which the woman was confined. Unable to disobey, he did so, and the other stranger remained at the outer entrance.
He has but a dim idea of what followed, but he faintly remembers leading the way to the cell door and opening it, and then accompanying the man and woman back through the corridor, giving some explanations to the hall guards, he knows not what. He was found at the outer entrance an hour before he was revived. In the meantime, the birds had flown.
He swears that he was hypnotized or made a victim of black-art sorcerers, and the guards seem to verify his claims; for three of them were found lying in a room near the outer entrance in the same death-like stupor. All they remember near the entrance; further than this they have nothing to say.
Additional weight is lent to their statements and claims. By the revelations of the German occultist, Kroez, who was struck by madness before he could complete his disclosures. This dabbler in the black arts said that the Franco-English alliance is backed by an organized band of sorcerers and magicians, who are in league with the devil, and possess supernatural powers.
We have never believed much in these claims than our cold reason knows of; anyway, the people are hearing of these things, and lacking information, are becoming fearful and superstitious. Still another link in the chain of evidence is the fact that the woman gave the officers the secret passwords of the German spies and would have passed through without question but for the revelations of Kroez. All passwords have been changed, and orders issued to seize all who use the old. In the meantime, every effort will be made to get at the bottom of this organization, but because of the people, all public information concerning it must be prohibited.
When I had finished reading, Dr. Rankel smiled and said:
“Iole, with Albarez, is now well on her way to the French army, and Saroy has left for Vienna. Poor Kroez as a raving maniac can do no more harm; fearful is the penalty to him who violates his oath when he has invoked the demons of destruction.”
“You will join the division which leaves the city this morning on its way to join Von Kral; when you arrive, go immediately to his headquarters and present these papers.”
He handed me a package of papers and continued:
When he sees these he will give you his full confidence, and signed as they are, you will be his most intimate companion. I also give you a clairvoyant analysis of the constitution of Von Kral, and the number of his organism, so that you can if necessary, read or even influence all his thoughts. Further, since the treachery of Kroez, all the passwords of our order have been changed; I will give these to you as communicated to me by Albarez and Saroy. In the future, answer no signs of the sixth degree, and they are not in our movement other than as individuals; members there follow their own inclinations, but we are bound together as a unit.
Now you can go. Report at division headquarters and, when you have joined Von Kral, keep Iole informed of his every movement.
When the doctor had finished, I shook his hand and, having carefully placed away my papers, proceeded to division headquarters. With the letters in my possession, I found a ready admittance to the immediate company of the general and was soon en route towards the field of action.
That night, we camped in a village not far from Berlin, and I determined to try and have a mental communication with Iole. Ten and five o’clock at night were the two fixed hours we had agreed upon for lengthy communications, but every hour throughout the day we were to call each other. No demand for special communications as yet, I retired between my blankets and patiently waited for the hour of ten.
At last it came, and assuming a restful position, I concentrated all my mental energies upon my sister, at the same time sounding our keynote. My efforts were not without result; she answered. An astral current commenced to throb through my temples and pervade my brain, then came the words: “All is well; Saroy has left for Vienna, and Albarez and I are hastening on toward Brussels. I am a peasant girl on a crowded train and the conditions are not the best; therefore, if you have no special information, be content with the knowledge that all is well, and we will communicate tomorrow.”
“Very well, my dear sister, all is well; good spirits overshadow thee. Goodnight.”
“We will meet in dreamland within the hour; goodnight,” she answered. As the current ceased to flow through my temples, I sank back to sleep.
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