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Autobiography of Alice A. Bailey - Chapter II
I have no recollection of the journey from India to Ireland except for two things. One was of our arrival in Bombay and going to the hotel. I remember going up to my room and lying down on my bed, too tired to unpack or even to wash. The next thing I recollect was waking up seventeen hours later to find Miss Schofield's face on one side of the bed and the doctor on the other. I have done that sleeping act once or twice in my life when I have been too run down. The second thing I remember was being taken on board the P. & 0. boat where, to my horror and my shame, from sheer weakness and nervous exhaustion, I started crying. I cried all the way from Bombay to Ireland. I cried on the boat; I cried at meals; I cried on deck; I debarked at Marseilles with the tears dripping down my face. I cried on the train to Paris. I cried in the hotel there; I cried on the train to Calais and on the boat to England. I cried ceaselessly and hopelessly and I could not stop however hard I tried. I only remember laughing twice and then I really did laugh. We got off at Avignon for a meal and went into the restaurant there. A very nervous waiter came in. He gave me one look and dropped three dozen plates one by one out of his hand - I honestly believe because I sat there weeping and weeping. The other thing that made me laugh happened at a little wayside station in France where the train stopped for ten minutes. [94] A lady in our compartment got off the train to go to the ladies' room. Trains were not as comfortable in those days as they are now and lacked all kinds of accommodation. We dignified the ladies' room by the name W.C. She came back to the train doubled up with laughter and said to me, when she could catch her breath, "My dear, as you know, I went to the Wesleyan Chapel. It was not very clean and it was very ugly but, then, you always expect Wesleyan Chapels to be very ugly. What upset me was the fact that that funny French porter stood impatiently outside the door to hand me the hymn sheets." I stopped crying for a few minutes to laugh myself sick and then Miss Schofield thought I was haying hysterics.

At last we got to Ireland and I was with my beloved Miss Sandes. I can remember the relief I felt and the feeling that now all my troubles were over. At least, she would understand the situation and appreciate what I had done. To my complete astonishment, I discovered that all my gallant sacrifice was regarded by her as an absolutely unnecessary gesture. She interpreted me, and perhaps rightly, as a bewildered infant taking refuge in dramatics. She was, of course, deeply disappointed in me. I had done the one thing which her girls never did. She had banked on my help for years to come and had even taken steps to make me, young as I was, a trustee of her work. She felt I could carry on because, as she told me, she liked my sense of humor, she recognized my basic integrity and what she called my "spiritual poise" and she knew I was essentially truthful. In fact, she told me once, walking up a country lane in Ireland, that my truthfulness was very apt to get me into trouble and that I had better learn that it was not always necessary to state the truth boldly. Silence could sometimes be helpful.

I had, therefore, from my point of view let the whole [95] work down, including Miss Sandes. By now I had begun to stop crying and was contented to be with her. I can see the sitting-room now in the boarding-house at the little seaside town near Dublin where she bad met Theo Schofield and me. She bad heard Theo's story and Theo loved me. She had heard my story - the story of a bewildered, martyred saint; at least that is how I then regarded myself. She sent me to bed that night and told me that she would see me the next morning. After breakfast she told me that she saw no real reason why, if I wanted to get married, I should not get married, provided the whole matter was handled with discretion. The situation required what that ancient scripture of India, The Bhagavad Gita, calls "skill in action." She loved me and petted me and told me not to worry. I was too tired to care much in any case and certainly too tired to have any ideas as to skill in action. I was aghast, and realized that my marvellous, heroic, spiritual sacrifice for the sake of the work was being regarded as quite unnecessary. I felt let down. I faced a major anticlimax. I worked myself up during the day into a terrible state; I felt a fool or an idiot. Then I left these two beloved, elderly ladies discussing me and my plans and went out into the cool night air to walk. I was so fed up, so discouraged, so utterly sick at heart that the next thing I remember was being picked up by a policeman. He set me on my feet and shook me (people always seemed to be shaking me) and looking at me with the deepest suspicion, he said, "Don't you go around fainting in places like this. It is nine o'clock at night and it is lucky I saw you. Now you go on home." I crept back cold and soaked to the skin with the rain and spray from the sea which swept the pier where I had apparently been lying for quite a time. I blubbered out my story to Elise and Theo and was then lovingly tucked into bed. I think I gained a certain sense of proportion and also the [96] knowledge how tragic life happenings are to the young, and how over emphasis is a natural reaction of youth.

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