It appears curious to us that the writer knew so little of contemporary history. As we have seen, all the sons of Prince Ragoczy were amply provided for, and the proofs were even more accessible than they are in our day. He goes on to say in conclusion: “It would be an ungrateful task to declare that this man was a swindler; for this proofs are required and they are not to be had.” This is truly an ingenious statement, but borders somewhat on libel; to speak of any one as a swindler without any proof is beyond the bounds of ordinary fairness, and it is especially incongruous in view of the final paragraph, which is as follows: “As long as the Graf had dealings with the Markgraf, he never asked for anything, and never received anything of the slightest value, and never mixed himself up in anything which did not concern him. On account of his extremely simple life, his wants were very limited; when he had money he shared it with the poor.”
If we compare these words with those spoken of M. de St. Germain by his friend Prince Charles of Hesse, we shall find they are in perfect accord. The only wonder is that a writer who speaks such words of praise can even hint that his subject might be a “swindler.” If such words can be rightly spoken of an “adventurer,” then would it be well for the world if a few more of like sort could be found.
We shall find similar extraordinary contradictions in various writers as we proceed further with the life of M. de St. Germain.
^4:1 AKSAKOF, A., Psychische Studien, Monatliche Zeitschrift, xii., p. 430. Leipzig, 1885.
^5:1 MAUVILLON, J., Geschichte Ferdinands, Herzog von Braunschweig-Luneberg, ii., p. 479. Leipzig, 1794.
^5:2 GLEICHEN (E. H. Baron de), Souvenirs, Paris, 1868, p. 126.
^7:1 GLEICHEN, Op. cit., p. 127.
^7:2 D’ADHEMAR (La Comtesse), Souvenirs sur Marie Antoinette, Archiduchesse d’Autriche, Reine de France, et sur la Cour de Versaille, Paris, 1836.
^8:1 WEBER (Dr. Carl von), Aus vier Jahrhunderten. Mittheilungen aus dem Haupt-Staats-Archive, Zu Dresden, i., p. 312. Tauchnitz, Leipzig, 1857.
^10:1 HESSE-CASSEL Karl, Prinz de), Memoires de Mon Temps, p. 133. Copenhagen, 1861.
^10:2 Ragoczy is the German spelling of this name. In Hungary it is written Rakoczy.
^13:1 Op. cit., i., 45.
^15:1 This is the son, mentioned by Prince Charles of Hesse, who was placed under the care of the last of the Medici.
^19:1 Curiositaten der Literarisch-historischen Vor- and Mitwelt, pp. 285, 286. Weimar, 1818.
^20:1 Told by M. Pyliaeff, member of the “Novoie Vremia,” author of “Old Petersburg.”
^23:1 Curiositaten, op. cit., pp. 287, 289, 293. 294.
HIS TRAVELS AND KNOWLEDGE
THE pure cult of Nature in the earliest patriarchal days . . . became the heirloom of those alone who could discern the noumenon beneath the phenomenon. Later, the Initiates transmitted their knowledge to the human kings, as their divine Masters had passed it to their forefathers. It was their prerogative and duty to reveal the secrets of Nature that were useful to mankind. . . . No Initiate was one if he could not heal–aye, recall to life from apparent death (coma) those who, too long neglected, would have indeed died during their lethargy. Those who showed such powers were forthwith set above the crowds, and were regarded as Kings and Initiates. The Secret Doctrine, iii. 263.
LET us now trace, as far as we can with any detailed information, the steps of M. de St. Germain in some of his extended travels. That he had been in Africa, India and China we gather from various hints he gives us, and also from facts stated by many writers at different times. That such travels should seem aimless and trivial to the same writers is not a matter of surprise, but to students of mysticism, and especially those to whom the “Great Lodge” is a fact and a necessity in the spiritual evolution of mankind, to those students the widely extended travels of this “messenger” from that Lodge will not be surprising; rather they will seek below the surface, and try to understand the mission and the work that he came to do among the children of men.
We must bear in mind, moreover, that in the ancient world the arts and sciences were regarded as divine gifts; the gifts of the gods. “Kings of the ‘Divine Dynasties,’ they gave the first impulse to civilization, and directed the mind with which they had endued men, to the invention and perfection of all the arts and sciences.” [*1]
Conceited in their shallow ignorance the generality of mankind scorn the gifts and turn away from the givers. Some few centuries ago such givers and teachers were silenced at the stake, like Giordano Bruno, and many others whom time has now justified in the eyes of men. Then, later, after the reaction of free thought in the eighteenth century we find Mesmer and the Comte de St. Germain giving up, not their lives, but their good names and characters in trying to help those to whom they were sent by the Great Lodge.
Let us now take up the thread of these travels, and in order to make them as clear as possible follow them in the order of their dates.
These range, as we have seen in our last chapter from 1710 to 1822. We shall, however, not be able to deal very fully with each period, for M. de St. Germain often disappeared for many months at a time. The earliest records we can gather are as follows:–
“There appeared at the Court [*1] in these days an extraordinary man, who called himself Comte de St. Germain. At first he distinguished himself through his cleverness and the great diversity of his talents, but in another respect he soon aroused the greatest astonishment.
“The old Countess v. Georgy who fifty years earlier had accompanied her husband to Venice where he had the appointment of ambassador, lately met St. Germain at Mme. de Pompadour’s. For some time she watched the stranger with signs of the greatest surprise, in which was mixed not a little fear. Finally, unable to control her excitement, she approached the Count more out of curiosity than in fear.
“‘Will you have the kindness to tell me,’ said the Countess, ‘whether your father was in Venice about the year 1710?’
“‘No, Madame,’ replied the Count quite unconcerned, ‘it is very much longer since I lost my father; but I myself was living in Venice at the end of the last and the beginning of this century; I had the honour to pay you court then,[p. 28]
and you were kind enough to admire a few Barcarolles of my composing which we used to sing together.’
“‘Forgive me, but that is impossible; the Comte de St. Germain I knew in those days was at least 45 years old, and you, at the outside, are that age at present.’
“‘Madame,’ replied the Count smiling, ‘I am very old.’
“‘But then you must be nearly 100 years old.’
“‘That is not impossible.’ And then the Count recounted to Mme. v. Georgy a number of familiar little details which had reference in common to both, to their sojourn in the Venitian States. He offered, if she still doubted him, to bring back to her memory certain circumstances and remarks, which . . . .
“No, no,’ interrupted the old ambassadress, ‘I am already convinced. For all that you are a most extraordinary man, a devil.’
“‘For pity’s sake!’ exclaimed St. Germain in a thundering voice, ‘no such names!’
“He appeared to be seized with a cramp-like trembling in every limb, and left the room immediately.
“I mean to get to know this peculiar man more intimately.
“St. Germain is of medium height and elegant manners; his features are regular; his complexion[p. 29]
brown; his hair black; his face mobile and full of genius; his carriage bears the impress and the nobility common only to the great. The Count dresses simply but with taste. His only luxury consists of a large number of diamonds, with which he is fairly covered; he wears them on every finger, and they are set in his snuffboxes and his watches. One evening he appeared at court with shoebuckles, which Herr v. Gontaut, an expert on precious stones, estimated at 200,000 Francs.
“A matter worthy of remark is that the Count speaks French, English, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese equally perfectly; so much so that when he converses with any of the inhabitants of the above countries in their mother tongue, they are unable to discover the slightest foreign accent. The Learned and the Oriental scholars have proved the knowledge of the Count St. Germain. The former found him more apt in the languages of Homer and Virgil than themselves; with the latter he spoke Sanscrit, Chinese, Arabic in such a manner as to show them that he had made some lengthy stay in Asia, and that the languages of the East were but poorly learned in the Colleges of Louis The Great and Montaigne.
“The Comte de St. Germain accompanied on the piano without music, not only every song but[p. 30]
also the most difficult concerti, played on various instruments. Rameau was much impressed with the playing of this dilettante, and especially struck at his improvising.
“The Count paints beautifully in oils; but that which makes his paintings so remarkable is a particular colour, a secret, which he has discovered, and which lends to the painting an extraordinary brilliancy. In his historical pieces, St. Germain always introduces into the dress of the women, sapphires, rubies and emeralds of such brilliant hue that they seem to have borrowed their beauty from the original gems. Vanloo, who never tires in his admiration of the surprising colouring, has often requested the Count to let him participate in his secret; the latter, however, will not divulge it.
“Without attempting to sit in judgement on the knowledge of a fellow-being, of whom at this very moment that I am writing, both court and town have exhausted all surmises, one can, I think, well assert that a portion of his miracles is due to his knowledge of physics and chemistry in which sciences he is well grounded. At all events it is palpable that his knowledge has laid the seeds for him of sound good health; a life which will–or which has overstepped the ordinary time allotted to man; and has also endowed him with the means of preventing[p. 31]
the ravages of time from affecting the body. Among other statements, concerning the Count’s astounding qualities, made to the Favourite by Mme. v. Georgy after her first meeting with the Count after this lapse of years, was that during her first stay in Venice, she received from him an Elixir which for fully a quarter of a century preserved unaltered the youthful charms she possessed at 25. Elderly gentlemen, whom Mme. de Pompadour questioned concerning this peculiar incident, gave the assurance that this was the truth, adding that the standing still in youthful appearance of Mme. v. Georgy supported by the testimony of these old men would make it appear still more probable.
“One evening at a party St. Germain accompanied several Italian airs for the young Comtesse afterwards so celebrated under the name of Comtesse de Geniis, then aged ten years.
“When she had finished singing, the Count said to her: ‘in five or six years you will have a very beautiful voice, which you will preserve a long time; in order to perfect the charm you should also preserve your beauty; this will be your happy fate between your 16th and 17th year.’
“‘But, Count,’ answered the child, while allowing her pretty fingers to glide over the notes, ‘that does not lie in any one’s power.’
“‘Oh yes,’ answered the Count carelessly,[p. 32] [paragraph continues] ‘only tell me whether it would give you pleasure to remain at that age?’
“‘Truly that would be charming.’
“‘Well I promise it you.’ And St. Germain spoke of other matters.
“Encouraged by the friendliness of this fashionable man, the Countess’ mother ventured to ask him if Germany was his Fatherland.
“‘Madame,’ said he, sighing deeply, ‘there are some things of which one may not speak. Suffice it to know that at seven years of age I was wandering in woods, and that a price was set upon my head. On my birthday my mother, whom I was not to see again, bound her portrait round my arm; I will shew it to you.’
“At these words St. Germain threw up his sleeve and chewed the ladies the miniature of an exceptionally beautiful woman, but represented in rather a peculiar costume.
“To what date does this dress belong?’ asked the young Countess. Without answering this question, the Count put down his sleeve again, and brought forward another topic. Every day one was surprised by a fresh miracle in Count St. Germain’s company. Some little time previously he had brought Mme. de Pompadour a bonbonniere which was universally admired. It was worked very beautifully in black enamel, and on the lid was an agate. The Count begged[p. 33]
the Marquise to place the bonbonniere near the fire; a few minutes later she went to take it away. How great was the astonishment of all present: the agate had disappeared, and in its place was to be seen a pretty shepherdess in the midst of her flock.
“After the bonbonniere had again been placed near the fire, the shepherdess disappeared, and the agate re-appeared.” [*1]
This episode was written down in 1750, but the facts mentioned took place in 1723. It must be carefully noticed that all the personal friends of M. de St. Germain were in high position, chiefly Austrians and Hungarians, all men of high birth and noble family, his own kith and kin; among them we find Prince Kaunitz, Prince Ferdinand Lobkowitz, Graf Zobor, Graf Maximilian Joseph von Lamberg, men of public position, and well known families.
From 1737 to 1742, our mystic was at the Court of the Shah of Persia, and it is here that he probably acquired his knowledge of diamonds and precious stones, for according to his own very credible statement, it was here that he began to understand the secrets of Nature; but his arduously acquired knowledge leads us to infer a long period of careful study. These hints[p. 34]
we gather from F. W. von Barthold [*1] in his interesting work, and they confirm the statement made by another writer that M. de St. Germain had been pursuing his researches in Persia.
We next find him in England, during the Jacobite Revolution of 1745, suspected as a spy, and arrested. Two interesting extracts can here be quoted.
The first is from Horace Walpole’s [*2] amusing letters to Sir Horace Mann, the British Envoy at Florence. Writing on Dec. 9th, 1745, Walpole, after relating all the excitements produced by the Revolution, says: “The other day they seized an odd man who goes by the name of Count St. Germain. He has been here these two years, and will not tell who he is or whence, but professes that he does not go by his right name. He sings and plays on the violin wonderfully, is mad, and not very sensible.”