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Autobiography of Alice A. Bailey - Chapter II
My time in Ireland did not last very long but it was a delightful time. I had never been in Ireland before and a good deal of my time was spent in Dublin and at the Currach Camp, not far from Kildare. It was whilst at Currach that I did a most peculiar piece of work and one that would have left my family aghast had they known of it. I do not know that I would have blamed them. Remember that girls did not have the freedom that they now have and, after all, I was only twenty-two.

One of the batteries of the Royal Horse Artillery was at that time stationed at Newbridge Barracks, and the men of the battery (whom I had met up at the practice camp during the summer) asked me to go down there every evening to their Army Temperance Room. It meant getting there at 6 p.m. and returning very late at night, because they had permission for me to hold a Gospel meeting in their A.T.A. room after the canteen closed. After due [62] discussion, it was decided that I might accept and every evening I bicycled down after that abominable British meal, called "high tea." I returned every evening between 11 p.m. and midnight, escorted by two soldiers, the men in the battery arranging each evening who should bring me back and getting the necessary permits. I never knew whether my escort would be a nice, reliable Christian soldier or a blackguard. I believe that they cast lots as to who should take me home and if the lot fell on a drinking man, he was carefully prevented from visiting the canteen that day by his solicitous comrades. Anyway, picture to yourself a young girl with my appallingly protected, Victorian background, bicycling back every night with two Tommies of whom she knew nothing. Yet never once was a word spoken that could have outraged the most puritanical spinster, and how I loved it!

The canteen lot used to come to the room every evening to see me. I made no attempt to get them to attend the meeting but we got along well. It was there that I learnt to discriminate between the different types of drunks. There is, of course, the quarrelsome drunk and many is the drunken fight into which I have thrust myself - never getting hurt but proving a pest, I am sure. This type never bothered me and I never suffered from my intervention. The M.P.s used to welcome my help to get the men quieted down. I became quite an expert. Then there is the affectionate drunk and of him I was frankly terrified. I never knew what he would do or say but learnt always to keep a chair or table between myself and him. Lion tamers have found a strong chair very useful between themselves and a cross lion, and I can recommend it with full confidence in the case of an affectionate drunk. The morose drinker is far more difficult but not so common. One learns, too, to distinguish between those men whose drinking affects their legs and those whose heads [63] get affected and the technique employed for each is different. Many is the time when working among soldiers, I have been asked by the M.P.s to help them get a drunken soldier quietly home. They would keep out of sight but dose at hand and the spectacle would then be seen of me and the drunken man, making W's along the road. You can, perhaps, picture the horror of my aunt if she had ever seen this erratic progress, but I did it all "for Jesus' sake" and never once did a man attempt to be rude. However, I would surely have hated to see one of my own girls in a similar position and would have felt that what was good for the goose was not always good for the gosling.

My work was varied: keeping accounts, doing the flowers in the reading rooms, writing letters for soldiers, taking endless Gospel meetings, presiding at daily prayer meetings, studying my Bible assiduously and being very, very good. I bought every kind of book which might help me to preach better, such as Pegs for Preachers, Talks for Teachers, Discourses for Disciples, Outlines for Workers (I possessed books with these four titles myself) and others with equally tempting alliterative titles. I was often tempted myself to publish one entitled, Ideas for Idiots and even made a beginning but it never materialized. As far as I can tell, I got on well with my co-workers. My strong inferiority complex led me always to admire them and this effectively cut out all jealousy.

One morning Elise Sandes got a letter which I could see greatly disturbed her. The head of the work in India, Theodora Schofield, was not well and it seemed advisable for her to return home for a rest. But it seemed that there was no one who could be spared to go out in her place. She herself was getting old and Eva Maguire could not be spared. Miss Sandes with her usual directness said that she would send me, if she had the money because "even if you aren't [64] much good, you would probably be better than no one at all." Travel to India was expensive in those days and Miss Sandes had to pay for Theo's return. With my usual smug, religious reaction, I said, "If God means me to go He will send the money." She looked at me but made no comment. Two or three days later when we were having breakfast I heard, her exclaim, on opening a letter. Then she handed the envelope to me. There was no letter in it and no indication of the sender. Inside, however, was a bank draft for five hundred pounds, with the words, "For the work in India" written across it. We neither of us knew where the money had come from but accepted it as direct from God Himself. The problem of transportation was therefore solved and again she asked me if I would go to India for her at once, emphasizing that I was not, of course, much good but that she had no one else at that moment to send. I wonder sometimes whether my Master sent the money. It was essential that I go to India to learn certain lessons and to set the stage for the work which He had told me years before that I could do for Him. I do not know and I have never even asked Him, because it is not one of the things which matter.

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