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Autobiography of Alice A. Bailey - Chapter II
The next day I went to Edinburgh to my beloved aunt, Margaret Maxwell. There my problems became more complicated, not only by her solicitude but by the arrival of a very charming and delightful man who had followed me all the way from India to ask me to marry him. On top of that complication came another. I got a letter the following morning from an army officer, telling me that he was in London and would I please consider marrying him at once. So there I was, with a solicitous aunt, two extremely anxious co-workers and three men on my hands. I could talk to my aunt about Walter Evans and this I did, frankly putting up the situation to her. I did not dare mention the other two men because, with her conservative attitude, she would have felt that there was something seriously wrong with me if I had encouraged all three men at once - which I had not. To give me my due, I was never a flirt.

I had only one week in Edinburgh before leaving for London, owing to the fact that my return passage to Bombay had been booked before I ever left India. My problem was: to whom could I go for advice? That I could answer easily. I went around to the Deaconess' House in Edinburgh to see the head of the Church of Scotland deaconesses. She was a sister of Sir William Maxwell of Cardoness Castle and sister-in-law of the aunt with whom I was stopping. To me she was always "Aunt Alice" and I adored her for there was no narrowness or stupidity in her. I can see her now - tall and straight in her brown deaconess' uniform, getting up to welcome me in her lovely sitting-room. Her uniforms were made of heavily corded brown silk and she usually wore real lace collars and cuffs which I had made for her. I was an exceedingly good lace maker. I had learned to make Irish Carrickmacross needle-point lace [97] when quite a young girl and it was really beautiful. For several years I had made her collars and cuffs in gratitude for the fact she had always understood me. She had never married but she knew life and she loved people. I told her the story of Walter Evans, about the Major in London and about the silly, wealthy idiot who had followed me home and was even then standing outside the house. I can see her now going over to the window and peeking at him through the lace curtain and laughing. We talked for two hours and she told me to leave the matter to her, that she would think over and pray over what I should do. She told me she would do what she rightly could to straighten out my problem as I was too ill to have any judgment or common sense left. I relaxed under her skillful handling and went back to my aunt feeling better. In a few days' time I went down to London and took the boat again for India accompanied by Gertrude Davies-Colley who undertook to stay with me and take care of me as I was obviously too ill to be left alone.

So I went back to my job and did it, having no faintest idea how my life would work out; making up my mind to live one day at a time and not to look ahead into the future. I had confidence in the Lord and in my friends and so I just waited.

In the meantime "Aunt Alice" got in touch with Walter Evans. His time in the army was nearly up and he was booked to leave India. She paid all his expenses to go to the United States and there to take a theological course and so become a clergyman of the Episcopal Church, the American equivalent of the Church of England. This she did to give him a social standing which would make it easier for me eventually to marry him. She did the whole thing in an absolutely open manner, keeping me informed of every step she took and letting Miss Sandes know also what she [98] was doing. The whole matter, however, was kept exceedingly quiet as regards me and my work in the army and (when eventually I left India to be married) it was understood that I was returning to marry a clergyman.

I went back to Umballa and carried through the work there all through that winter and then in the summer I went up to Chakrata to run the Soldiers' Home there. My health was steadily getting worse and the migraine headaches more frequent. The work was very heavy and I remember with gratitude the goodness and the kindness of two men who did so much for me and I often wonder if I would be alive today had it not been for them. One of them was Colonel Leslie, whose daughters were my friends and contemporaries. I went much to his home and he looked after me in a very beautiful way. The other was Colonel Swan who was a P.M.O. of the army in that district and to whom I went as a physician. He did all that he could for me, sitting up sometimes for hours looking after me, but I got so ill that the two men eventually took matters into their own bands, and cabled to my people and Miss Sandes that they were sending me back to England on the next boat.

When I got back to London I went to see Sir Alfred Schofield, brother of Theo Schofield, and at that time one of the leading neurologists and physicians in London. I put myself into his hands. He was a brilliant man and really understood me. I went to him terrified over my headaches. I had an idea that I had a tumor on the brain, or was going insane or something equally silly and I was too physically ill to combat those phobias successfully. After talking to me for a little while he got up from his desk and strolled over to the bookcase from which he took a large and ponderous tome. Opening it he pointed to a certain paragraph and said, "Young lady, read those four or five lines and get [99] rid of your fears." I read that migraine was never fatal; had no effect upon the mentality of the subject and the victims were usually people of good mental balance and brain power. He was wise enough to read my unspoken fears and I mention this here for the benefit of other sufferers. He then sent me to bed for six months and told me to sew all the time. So I went up to Castramont to my Aunt Margaret, back to the old bedroom that I had occupied for so many years and proceeded to make my sister an outfit of underwear - ruffled petticoats all feather-stitched and hemstitched and lace edged; panties with ruffles (which we never mentioned those days) and corset-covers, never seen today and as obsolete as the Dodo. One thing I will say for myself, I was a beautiful needlewoman. Each day I got up and went for walks upon the moors and each week saw me getting slightly better. Every few days brought me letters from Walter Evans from whom I had heard quite regularly ever since he had gone to America. [100]

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