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Autobiography of Alice A. Bailey - Chapter I
Another aunt, Margaret Maxwell, has perhaps meant more to me than any other relative in the world, and I have many. She was never my guardian but my sister and I spent every summer with her in her Scotch home for years and, until she died (well over 80 years old) she wrote to me regularly at least once a month. She was one of the great beauties of her period and the portrait of her which hangs today in Cardoness Castle, Kirkcudbrightshire, is of one of the loveliest women one can imagine. She married the "Younger [18] of Cardoness" (as the heir is sometimes called in Scotland), the eldest son of Sir William Maxwell, but her husband, my Uncle David, died before his father and, therefore, never inherited the title. To her I owe more than I can ever repay. She oriented me spiritually and though her theology was very narrow, yet she herself was very broad. She gave me certain keynotes for spiritual living which have never failed me and to the end, she herself never failed me. When I became interested in esoteric matters and gave up being an orthodox, theologically minded Christian, she wrote me that she could not understand but she certainly could trust me because she knew that I had a deep love for Christ and that no matter what doctrine I might renounce she knew I would never renounce Him. That was the exact truth. She was beautiful, lovely and good. Her influence was widespread throughout the British Isles. She had her own specially built and endowed cottage hospital; she supported missionaries in heathen countries and was president of the Y. W. C. A. in Scotland. If I have been of any service to my fellowmen and if I have done anything to bring people into some measure of spiritual realization, it is largely because she loved me enough to start me right.

She was one of the few people who cared fore more than they cared for my sister. There was a link between us which remains unbroken and will forever remain unbroken.

I have already mentioned my father's youngest sister, Agnes Parsons. There were two others; Gertrude, who married a Mr. Gurney Leatham, and my father's youngest brother, Lee La Trobe-Bateman, who is the only one now remaining alive. My grandmother was Anne Fairbairn, daughter of Sir William Fairbairn and niece of Sir Peter Fairbairn. My great-grandfather, Sir William, was, I believe, a partner of Watts (of steam engine fame) and one of the first railroad builders in the Victorian era. Through [19] my grandfather's mother (whose maiden name was La Trobe), I come from French Huguenot stock and the La Trobes of Baltimore are, therefore, related to me, though I have never looked them up. Charles La Trobe, my great-great-uncle, was among the first governors of Australia and another La Trobe was the first governor of Maryland. Edward La Trobe, still another brother, was an architect and was well known in Washington and Great Britain.

The Fairbairns did not belong to the so-called aristocracy of birth which is so much prized. Perhaps this was the salvation of the Bateman - Hollinshead - La Trobe stock. They belonged to the aristocracy of brains and that is of greater importance in these democratic days. Both William and Peter Fairbairn started life as the sons of a poor Scotch farmer in the 18th century. Both ended up as rich men and both gained titles. You will find Sir William Fairbairn's name in Webster's Dictionary and Sir Peter's memory is perpetuated in a statue in a square in Leeds, England. I remember a few years ago arriving in Leeds to lecture. As the taxi drove through a square there I noticed what I thought was a statue of a plain old man with a beard. The next day my husband went to look at it and I discovered I had been criticizing my great-uncle! Great Britain was democratic even in those far off days and people had their chance to rise if they had that in them which warranted it. Perhaps the admixture of plebeian blood is responsible for the fact that my cousins and their children have been, many of them, notable men or good looking women.

My father did not care for me and when I see the picture of myself when small, I can scarcely wonder - skinny, scared and startled looking. I have no recollection of my mother for she died at the age of 29, when I was only six years old. I do remember her beautiful golden hair and her gentleness, but that is all. I also remember her funeral at [20] Torquay, Devonshire, because my major reaction to that event was summed up in my words to my cousin, Mary Barttelot, "See, long black stockings and 'spenders'" - the first I had ever had. I had been promoted from the sock stage. Clothes always matter, apparently, no matter what the age or the circumstance! I used to own a very large miniature case in silver which my father was in the habit of carrying everywhere with him and in it was the only portrait I ever had of my mother. In 1928, after carting it all over the world with me, it was stolen one summer when I was away from our house at Stamford, Conn., where we then lived, and with it went my Bible and a broken rocking-chair. It was the most curious choice of things to steal of which I have ever heard.

The Bible was the greatest personal loss. It was a unique Bible and had been my cherished possession for twenty years. It had been given me by a close, girlhood friend, Catherine Rowan-Hamilton, and was printed on thin writing paper with broad margins for notes. The margins were nearly two inches wide and on them you would have found recorded in microscopic writing (done with an etching pen) my spiritual history. It had in it tiny photographs of close friends and autographs of my spiritual companions on the Way. I wish I had it now for it would tell me much, remind me of people and episodes and help me to trace my spiritual unfoldment - the unfoldment of a worker.

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