THE REAL HISTORY OF THE ROSICRUCIANS: FOUNDED ON THEIR OWN MANIFESTOES, AND ON FACTS AND DOCUMENTS COLLECTED FROM THE WRITINGS OF INITIATED BRETHREN
CHAPTER XVI. MODERN ROSICRUCIAN SOCIETIES.
IT is an opinion entertained by the elect in modern theosophical circles, that the true Rosicrucian Brotherhood migrated into India, and this notion is said to be countenanced by a Latin pamphlet of Henricus Neuhusius, published in 1618, under the title "Pia et utilissima Admonitio de Fratribus Rosæ Crucis," and which was afterwards translated into French. They have developed into Thibetan Brothers, have exchanged Protestant Christianity for esoteric Buddhism, and are no longer interested in the number of the beast. Their violent antipathy to the pope still remains: they have not yet torn him in pieces with nails, but probably expect to accomplish this long-cherished project about the period of the next general cataclysm.
This is an interesting theory which might be debated with profit. I have not personally discovered much trace of the Rosicrucians in India, but the absence of historical documents on this point affords a fine field for the imagination, which writers like Mr Hargrave Jennings should not allow to lie fallow. In my prosaic capacity as a historian, I have not been able to follow in the footsteps of the Fraternity further than the Island of Mauritius. Thanks to the late Mr Frederick Hockley, whose valuable library of books and manuscripts, treating of all branches of occultism, has been recently dispersed, I have discovered that a certain Comte de Chazal accomplished the magnum opus in that place at the close of the last century, and that he initiated another artist into the mysteries of the Rosicrucian Fraternity. The Comte de Chazal was possessed of vision at a distance, and witnessed the horrors of the French Revolution from a vast distance, with amazing perspicuity, by means of the mind's eye. The following curious document will be read with no ordinary interest: --
Copy of the Admission of Dr Bacstrom into the Society of the Rosa Croix by Le Comte de Ghazal at the Island of Mauritius, with the Seal of the Society.
In the name of יְהרָח אלהזִב the True and only God Manifested in Trinity.
I, Sigismund Bacstrom, do hereby promise, in the most sincere and solemn manner, faithfully to observe the following articles, during the whole course of my natural life, to the best of my knowledge and ability; which articles I hereby confirm by oath and by my proper signature hereunto annexed.
One of the worthy members of the august, most ancient, and most learned Society, the Investigators of Divine, Spiritual, and Natural Truth (which society more than two centuries and a half ago (i.e., in 1490) did separate themselves from the Free-Masons, but were again united in one spirit among themselves under the denomination of Fratres Rosæ Crucis, Brethren of the Rosy Cross, i.e. the Brethren who believe in the Grand Atonement made by Jesus Christ on the Rosy Cross, stained and marked with His blood, for the redemption of Spiritual Natures), having thought me worthy to be admitted into their august society, in quality of a Member Apprentice and Brother, and to partake of their sublime knowledge, I do hereby engage in the most solemn manner --
1. That I will always, to the utmost of my power, conduct myself as becomes a worthy member, with sobriety and piety, and to endeavour to prove myself grateful to the Society for so distinguished a favour as I now receive, during the whole course of my natural life.
2. That derision, insult, and persecution of this august society may be guarded against, I will never openly publish that I am a member, nor reveal the name or person of such members as I know at present or may know hereafter.
3. I solemnly promise that I will never during my whole life publicly reveal the secret knowledge I receive at present, or may receive at a future period from the Society, or from one of its members, nor even privately, but will keep our Secrets sacred.
4. I do hereby promise that I will instruct for the benefit of good men, before I depart this life, one person, or two persons at most, in our secret knowledge, and initiate and, receive such person (or persons) as a member or apprentice into our Society, in the same manner as I have been initiated and received; but such person only as I believe to be truly worthy and of an upright, well-meaning mind, blameless conduct, sober life, and desirous of knowledge. And as there is no distinction of sexes in the Spiritual World, neither among the Blessed Angels, nor among the rational immortal Spirits of the human race; and as we have had a Semiramis, Queen of Egypt; a Myriam, the prophetess; a Peronella, the wife of Flammel; and, lastly, a Leona Constantia, Abbess of Clermont, who was actually received as a practical member and master into our Society in the year 1736; which women are believed to have been all possessors of the Great Work, consequently Sorores Roseæ Crucis, and members of our Society by possession, as the possession of this our Art is the key to the most hidden knowledge; and, moreover, as redemption was manifested to mankind by means of a woman (the Blessed Virgin), and as Salvation, which is of infinitely more value than our whole Art, is granted to the female sex as well as to the male, our Society does not exclude a worthy woman from being initiated, God himself not having excluded women from partaking of every felicity in the next life. We will not hesitate to receive a worthy woman into our Society as a member apprentice (and even as a practical member, or master, if she does possess our work practically, and has herself accomplished it), provided she is found, like Peronella, Flammel's wife, to be sober, pious, discreet, prudent, and reserved, of an upright and blameless conduct, and desirous of knowledge.
5. I do hereby declare that I intend, with the permission of God, to commence our great work with mine own hands as soon as circumstances, health, opportunity, and time will permit; 1st, that I may do good therewith as a faithful steward; 2nd, that I may merit the continued confidence which the Society has placed in me in quality of a member apprentice.
6. I do further most solemnly promise that (should I accomplish the Great Work) I will not abuse the great power entrusted to me by appearing great and exalted, or seeking to appear in a public character in the world by hunting after vain titles of nobility and vain glory, which are all fleeting and vain, but will endeavour to live a sober and orderly life, as becomes every Christian, though not possessed of so great a temporal blessing; I will devote a considerable part of my abundance and superfluity (multipliable infinitely to work of private charity), to aged and deeply-afflicted people, to poor children, and, above all, to such as love God and act uprightly, and I will avoid encouraging laziness and the profession of public beggars.
7. I will communicate every new or useful discovery relating to our work to the nearest member of our Society, and hide nothing from him, seeing he cannot, as a worthy member, possibly abuse it, or prejudice me thereby; on the other hand, I will hide these secret discoveries from the world.
8. I do, moreover, solemnly promise (should I become a master and possessor) that I will not, on the one hand, assist, aid, or support with gold or with silver any government, King, or Sovereign, whatever, except by paying taxes, nor, on the other hand, any populace, or particular set of men, to enable them to revolt against the government; I will leave public affairs and arrangements to the government of God, who will bring about the events foretold in the revelation of St John, which are fast accomplishing; I will not interfere with affairs of government.
9. I will neither build churches, chapels, nor hospitals, and such public charities, as there is already a sufficient number of such public buildings and institutions, if they were only properly applied and regulated. I will not give any salary to a priest or churchman as such, to make him more proud and insolent than he is already. If I relieve a distressed worthy clergyman, I will consider him in the light of a private distressed individual only. I will give no charity with the view of making my name known to the world, but will give my alms privately and secretly.
10. I hereby promise that I will never be ungrateful to the worthy friend and brother who initiated and received me, but will respect and oblige him as far as lies in my power, in the same manner as he has been obliged to promise to his friend who received him.
11. Should I travel either by sea or by land, and meet with any person who may call himself a Brother of the Rosy Cross, I will examine him whether he can give me a proper explanation of The Universal Fire of Nature, and of our magnet for attracting and magnifying the same under the form of a salt, whether he is well acquainted with our work, and whether he knows the universal dissolvent and its use. If I find him able to give satisfactory answers, I will acknowledge him as a member and brother of our Society. Should I find him superior in knowledge and experience to myself, I will honour and respect him as a master above me.
12. If it should please God to permit me to accomplish our Great Work with my own hands, I will give praise and thanks to God in humble prayer, and devote my time to the doing and promoting all the good that lies in my power, and to the pursuit of true and useful knowledge.
13. I do hereby solemnly promise that I will not encourage wickedness and debauchery, thereby offending God by administering the medicine for the human body, or the aurum potabile, to a patient, or patients, infected with the venereal disease.
14. I do promise that I will never give the Fermented Metallic Medecine for transmutation to any person living, no, not a single grain, unless the person is an initiated and received member and Brother of the Rosy Cross.
To keep faithfully the above articles as I now receive them from a worthy member of our Society, as he received them himself, I willingly agree, and sign this with my name, and affix my seal to the same. So help me God. Amen. S. BACSTROM, L.S.
I have initiated and received Mr Sigismund Bacstrom, Doctor of Physic, as a practical member and brother above an apprentice in consequence of his solid learning, which I certify by my name and seal.--Mauritius, 12 Sept. 1794. DU CHAZEL, F.R.C.
The Philosophic Seal of the Society of the Rosicrucians.
Among Mr. Hockley's manuscripts there is also the "Diary of a Rosicrucian Philosopher" during the first period of the work. It describes the preparation of the first matter, and breaks off abruptly after a few leaves. Whether this unnamed philosopher was a true Rosicrucian, and whether the Comte de Chazal could lay claim to that distinction, are problems which cannot be solved. Individual pretenders and fraudulent associations have occasionally appeared ever since the publication of the "Fama" and "Confessio Fraternitatis."
It is certain that a pseudo-society existed in England before the year 1836, for in that year we find Godfrey Higgins saying that he had joined neither the Templars nor the Rosicrucians. "I have abstained from becoming a member of them, that I might not have my tongue tied or my pen restrained by the engagements I must have made on entering the chapter or encampment. But I have reason to believe that they have now become, in a very particular manner, what is called exclusively Christian Orders, and on this account are thought, by many persons, to be only a bastard kind of masons. They are real masons, and they ought to be of that . . . universal Christianity or Creestianity, which included Jews, Buddhists, Brahmins, Mohamedans." He identifies the Templars and Rosicrucians with Manichæan Buddhists, and asserts the Rosicrucians of Germany to be ignorant of their origin, "but, by tradition, they suppose themselves descendants of the ancient Egyptians, Chaldeans, Magi, and Gymnosophists; and this is probably true."
The present Rosicrucian Society of England, on its remodelling some thirty years ago, cut off by mutual consent its connection with the few ancient members then existing, who were probably representatives of the "Rosicrucians" referred to by Higgins, and established itself as a public body, in so far as the fact of its existence was not itself a secret. A previous initiation into Masonry is an indispensable qualification of candidates, as will be seen in the Ordinances of the Society. The reason for this regulation is that certain masonic secrets are revealed to the accepted, and it would otherwise be unfair to Masonry. Thus, on his admission as a novice, the postulant is required to repeat the Masonic arcana.
I am enabled to present to my readers, from sources hitherto unpublished, the--
Rules and Ordinances of the Rosicrucian Society of England.
The Society of Brethren of the Rosy Cross is totally independent, being established on its own basis, and as a body is no otherwise connected with the Masonic Order than by having its members selected from that fraternity.
I. That the meetings of the Society shall be held in London, at such house as the majority of members shall select, on the second Thursday in January, April, July, and October in each year. The brethren shall dine together once a year, at such time and place as the majority may select. The first meeting in the year shall be considered as the obligatory meeting, and any member unable to attend on that occasion, or at the banquet meeting, shall be required to send a written excuse to the Secretary-General. Each brother present at the banquet shall pay his quota towards the expenses thereof.
II. The Officers of the Society shall consist of the Three Magi, a Master-general for the first and second orders, a Deputy Master-general, a Treasurer-general, a Secretary-general, and seven Ancients, who shall form the Representative Council of the Brotherhood. The Assistant Officers shall be a Precentor, a Conductor of Novices, an Organist, a Torch Bearer, a Herald, a Guardian of the Temple, and a Medallist.
III, The Master-general and the Officers shall be elected annually at the obligatory meeting, and shall be inducted into their several offices on the same evening. The Master-general shall then appoint the Assistant Officers for the year.
IV. No brother shall be eligible for election to the office of
Master-general or Deputy Master-general unless he shall have served one
year as an Ancient, and have attained the third Order; and no brother
shall be eligible for the offices of Treasurer-general,
Secretary-general, or Ancient unless he be a member of the second Order.
The above shall form the First Order.
These brethren shall compose the Second Order.
These shall be considered as the Third (or highest) Order, and shall be entitled to seats in the Council of the Society. The senior member of the ninth grade shall be designated "Supreme Magus," and the other two members Senior and Junior Substitutes respectively. The grand total of members shall thus be limited to 144, or the square of 12. The numbers of registered Novices or Aspirants shall not be restricted, but members only shall be permitted to be present at the ceremonial meetings of the Society.
VI. The distinction of Honorary Member may be conferred upon eminent brethren, provided that their election to such membership shall be unanimous, and that their number be strictly limited to 16, or the square of 4. An Honorary President, who must be a nobleman, and three Vice-Presidents, shall be elected from the honorary members. A Grand Patron may also be elected in like manner.
VII. No aspirant shall be admitted into the Society unless he be a Master Mason, and of good moral character, truthful, faithful, and intelligent. He must be a man of good abilities, so as to be capable of understanding the revelations of philosophy and science; possessing a mind free from prejudice and anxious for instruction. He must be a believer in the fundamental principles of the Christian doctrine, a true philanthropist, and a loyal subject, names of aspirants may be submitted by any member at the meetings of the Society, and if approved after the usual scrutiny, they shall be placed on the roll of Novices, and balloted for as vacancies occur in the list of members.
VIII. Every Novice on admission to the grade of Zelator shall adopt a Latin motto, to be appended to his signature in all communications relating to the Society. This motto cannot under any pretence be afterwards changed, and no two brethren shall be at liberty to adopt the same motto.
IX. The fee for admission to each Order shall be ten shillings, and the annual subscription from every member to defray the contingent expenses of the society shall be five shillings. The registry fee for a novice or aspirant shall be seven shillings and sixpence.
X. As vacancies occur in each grade, by death, resignation, or otherwise, the members of such grade shall elect brethren from the next grade to supply the vacancies thus created.
XI. The Master-general shall have the superintendence and regulation of the ordinary affairs of the Society; subject, however, to the veto of the Magi in matters relating to the ritual. He shall be assisted in the discharge of his duties by the Council, and shall be empowered to arrange for the due performance of each ceremony, by appointing well-qualified brethren to assist as Celebrant, Suffragan, Cantor and Guards, in the various grades of the first and second Orders. The M. G. shall preside at the general meetings of the brotherhood, and shall at all times be received with the honours due to his important office.
XII. The Deputy Master-general shall, as the representative of the chief, preside at all meetings in his absence, and in the absence of any Past Master-general, and on such occasions shall be vested with equal authority for the time being; subject, however, to appeal being made from his decisions to the Master-general and his Council.
XIII. The Treasurer-general shall receive from the Secretary-general all moneys belonging to the Society, and shall keep an account of his receipts and disbursements, which shall be audited before the obligatory meeting in January, by the Ancients, under the supervision of the Master-general. No expenses shall be incurred without the knowledge of the chief or his deputy. The proceedings of the Society shall be printed quarterly, under the title of THE ROSICRUCIAN, and a copy shall be sent to every subscribing and honorary member by the Secretary-general. The record shall be conducted under the supervision of the Supreme Magus.
XIV.--The Secretary-general shall convene all meetings of the Council and general body; record the proceedings in the minute book, register the names, residences, and mottoes of all members, with dates of admission to each grade; collect all fees and subscriptions when due, and forthwith pay them over to the Treasurer.
XV. The Council of Ancients shall attend the meetings of the Society, and in the absence of the M. G., P. M. G., and D. M. G., the Senior Ancient present shall preside. They shall generally assist the Chief in the discharge of his duties, more especially with reference to the ceremonials of the several Orders.
XVI. The Precentor and Organist shall have the direction of all musical arrangements at the meetings of the Society.
XVII. The Conductor of Novices shall examine all aspirants, and report to the Council as to their qualifications for admission to the grade of Zelator; he shall also perform all the duties appertaining to his office in the G**** M***** C*****.
XVIII. The Torch Bearer shall discharge the peculiar duties allotted to him, more especially those which relate to the ceremonies in the first grade.
XIX. The Herald and Guardian shall defend the entrance of the Temple, and permit no one to enter without first acquainting the Conductor.
XX. The Jewels for the Magi, Officers, and Brethren, are to be worn at all ceremonial meetings.
JEWELS OF THE ROSIE CROSS.
Jewel of the Supreme Magus.
An ebony Cross, with golden roses at its extremities and the jewel of the Rosie Cross in the centre. It is surmounted by a crown of gold for the Supreme Magus alone, as represented in the engraving below, and the jewel is to be worn round the neck, suspended by a crimson velvet ribbon.
Jewel of the two Junior Magi.
As above, but without the crown, and worn in the same manner.
Jewel of the Grand Officers.
A lozenge-shaped plate of gold enamelled white, with the Rosie Cross in the centre, surmounted by a golden mitre, on the rim of which is enamelled in rose-coloured characters LUX, and in its centre a small cross of the same colour. This jewel is worn suspended from the button-hole by a green ribbon an inch in width, and with a cross also embroidered on it in rose-coloured silk, as shown in the engraving below, which is as nearly as possible one-third of the actual size of the jewel.
Jewel of the Fraternity.
The lozenge-shaped jewel of the Rosie Cross, as above, without the mitre, suspended by a green ribbon an inch in width, and without the embroidered cross.
This information is transcribed from a secret record of the association, entitled "The Rosicrucian," which was first published in 1868, appearing as an infinitesimal quarterly of twelve small pages, and subsequently continued as a monthly magazine, which subsisted till the year 1879, when it accomplished another transformation, whose history I have failed to trace. There is much curious material contained in the two series. An early number announces the objects of the society which it represents. It is "calculated to meet the requirements of those worthy Masons who wish to study the science and antiquities of the Craft, and trace it, through its successive developments, to the present time; also to cull information from all the records extant, of those mysterious societies which had their existence in the dark ages of the world when might meant right, when every man's hand was against his brother, and when such combinations were necessary to protect the weak against the strong."
These objects appear to have been fulfilled in a very desultory manner, so far, at least, as the organ of the association is concerned. Reports of Masonic meetings, long serial stories of an occult character, and somewhat feeble poetry by supreme magi and worthy fratres, permanently occupied a large proportion of an exceedingly limited space for a period of ten years.
In 1871 the society informed its members that it was entirely non-masonic in character, with the sole exception that every aspirant was required to belong to the masonic Brotherhood. The assigned reason is the numerous points of resemblance between the secrets of Rosicrucians and Freemasons. The object of the association was then stated to be purely literary and antiquarian, and the promulgation of a new masonic rite was by no means intended. "The society is at present composed of 144 Fratres, and is ruled over by three brethren, who have attained to the ninth degree, or Supreme Magus, Seventy-two of these compose the London College, and thirty-six is the statutory number of each of the two subordinate colleges" at Bristol and Manchester. Every College, excepting the Metropolitan, was restricted in 1877 to thirty-six subscribing members, exclusive of those of the ninth grade; the following numbers being permitted in each grade
The numbers were doubled in the Metropolitan College, but these arrangements were practically abrogated by the admission of supernumerary members until the occurrence of "substantive vacancies." A Yorkshire College was consecrated in 1877; a college in Edinburgh to represent the East of Scotland had been established some time previously.
The prime mover in this Association was Robert Wentworth Little, who died in the year 1878, at the age of thirty-eight; he was the Supreme Magus, and the actual revival of the Rosicrucian Order in England was owing to his instrumentality. The Honorary Presidentship has been conferred upon various noblemen, the late Lord Lytton was elected Grand Patron, and among the most important members must be reckoned the late Frederick Hockley, Kenneth Mackenzie, and Hargrave Jennings.
The most notable circumstance connected with this society is the complete ignorance which seems to have prevailed amongst its members generally concerning everything connected with Rosicrucianism. This is conspicuous in the magazine which they published. Frater William Carpenter complains that he has not obtained much light from the work of Frater Jennings, and that he himself is "an untaught speculator." Frater William Hughan is acknowledged as an adept, but he does not seem to have been aware that the "Fama" and "Confessio Fraternitatis" originally appeared in Germany. Frater Carpenter inclines to the opinion that the question had better be left to itself, as "an inquiry into the matter is destined to get every one who attempts it into an entanglement." He humbly confesses that it is too wonderful for him, too high, and that he cannot attain it. At the same time he hazards a new definition of the much-abused term Rosicrucian, which he believes to have been assumed by the Brotherhood not because they sought light by the assistance of ros, dew, but in rus, solitude, which is conclusive as to the philological abilities of this "untaught speculator." By the year 1872, the members seems to have discovered that their organ and indeed their society had scarcely borne out its original intention, for "the general body of members have done little to promote the elucidation of Rosicrucian lore;" but, in spite of resolutions to the contrary, matters continued in much the same condition, though glowing expectations were entertained on the initiation of one Frater Kenneth Mackenzie VI°., a burning and a shining light of occultism, somewhat concealed beneath the bushel of secresy. I gather from various casual statements that the balance of opinion in the camp of the "Rosicrucian Brotherhood in Anglia" is to the following effect--That Andreas was in some way connected with the authorship of the "Fama" and "Confessio Fraternitatis," that the fraternity of Christian Rosencreutz as described therein and in the "Chymical Marriage" had no tangible existence, but that they gave rise to the philosophic sect of Rosicrucianism, which name became, in the words of Thomas Vaughan, a generic term, embracing every species of mystical pretension. 
This harmless association deserves a mild sympathy at the hands of the students of occultism.
Its character can hardly have deceived the most credulous of its postulants. Some of its members wrap themselves in darkness and mystery, proclaiming themselves Rosicrucians with intent to deceive. These persons find a few--very few--feeble--in truth very feeble--believers and admirers. Others assert that the Society is a mask to something else--the last resource of cornered credulity and exposed imposture. There are similar associations in other parts of Europe and also in America, e.g., the Societas Rosicruciana of Boston. In concluding this notice of modern Rosicrucian associations, I beg leave to warn my readers that all persons, whether within or without the magic circles of public libraries, who proclaim themselves to be Rosicrucians are simply members of pseudo-fraternities, and that there is that difference between their assertion and the facts of the case "in which the essence of a lie consists."
Though the true Rosicrucians, supposing such a society to have had at any period a tangible and corporate existence, disappeared very suddenly from the historical plane, the glamour of the mystery which surrounded them proved a prolific prima materia for the alchemical transfigurations of romance and poetry, and insured them a place in legend. Two curious traditions are noticed by Hargrave Jennings, but his mental tortuosity has, in both cases, induced him to pervert the story which be recounts by the introduction of worthless and untruthful details manufactured by his own imagination, and prudently ascribed to other, of course unnamed, sources of information. One of these is the alleged discovery of the tomb of Rosicrucius. Mr Jennings cites Plot's "History of Staffordshire" as his authority for this legend; I have carefully looked through the large folio volume of this "painstaking antiquary," but have failed to verify the reference; the Spectator for May 15, 1712, cites the story in the words of the original narrator, and this version I present, for comparison, to the students of the "distinguished esoteric littérateur's" pseudo-history. Mr Hargrave Jennings says that it is "poor and ineffective," an opinion not uncommon to other interpreters of history who manipulate their materials in the interests of their private opinions.
"A certain person having occasion to dig somewhat deep in the ground, where this philosopher lay interred, met with a small door, having a wall on each side of it. His curiosity, and the hopes of finding some hidden treasure, soon prompted him to force open the door. He was immediately surprised by a sudden blaze of light, and discovered a very fair vault. At the upper end of it was a statue of a man in armour, sitting by a table, and leaning on his left arm. He held a truncheon in his right hand, and had a lamp burning before him. The man had no sooner set one foot within the vault, than the statue, erecting itself from its leaning posture, stood bolt upright; and, upon the fellow's advancing another step, lifted up the truncheon in its right hand. The man still ventured a third step, when the statue, with a furious blow, broke the lamp into a thousand pieces, and left his guest in a sudden darkness.
"Upon the report of this adventure, the country people soon came with lights to the sepulchre, and discovered that the statue, which was made of brass, was nothing more than a piece of clock-work; that the floor of the vault was all loose, and underlaid with several springs, which, upon any man's entering, naturally produced that which had happened.
"Rosicrucius, say his disciples, made use of this method to show the world that he had re-invented the ever-burning lamps of the ancients, though he was resolved no one should reap any advantage from the discovery."
The second story has suffered still further outrage. Mr Hargrave Jennings asserts that it is related upon "excellent authority." This authority is a work by Dr John Campbel, entitled "Hermippus Redivivus; or, the Sage's Triumph over Old Age and the Grave," and the reference therein is "Les Memoires Historiques" for the year 1 687, tome i. p. 365, which no one has been able to identify, and which, according to William Godwin,  had perhaps no other existence than in the fertile brain of the compiler.
"There happened in the year 1687, an odd accident at Venice, that made a very great stir then, and which I think deserves to be rescued from oblivion. The great freedom and ease with which all persons, who make a good appearance, live in that city, is known sufficiently to all who are acquainted with it; such, therefore, will not be surprised that a stranger who went by the name of Signor Gualdi, and who made a considerable figure there, was admitted into the best company, though nobody knew who or what he was. He remained at Venice some months, and three things were remarked in his conduct. The first was, that he had a small collection of fine pictures, which he readily showed to anybody that desired it; the next, that he was perfectly versed in all arts and sciences, and spoke on every subject with such readiness and sagacity, as astonished all who heard him; and it was in the third place observed, that he never wrote or received any letter; never desired any credit, or made use of bills of exchange, but paid for every thing in ready-money, and lived decently, though not in splendour.
"This gentleman met one day at the coffee-house with a Venetian nobleman, who was an extraordinary good judge of pictures: he had heard of Signor Gualdi's collection, and in a very polite manner desired to see them, to which the other very readily consented. After the Venetian had viewed Signor Gualdi's collection, and expressed his satisfaction, by telling him that he had never seen a finer, considering the number of pieces of which it consisted, he cast his eyes by chance over the chamber-door, where hung a picture of this stranger, The Venetian looked upon it, and then upon him. 'This picture was drawn for you, sir,' says he to Signor Gualdi; to which the other made no answer but by a low bow. 'You look,' continued the Venetian, 'like a man of fifty, and yet I know this picture to be of the hand of Titian, who has been dead one hundred and thirty years, how is this possible?' 'It is not easy,' said Signor Gualdi gravely, 'to know all things that are possible, but there is certainly no crime in my being like a picture drawn by Titian.' The Venetian easily perceived, by his manner of speaking, that he had given the stranger offence, and therefore took his leave.
"He could not forbear speaking of this in the evening to some of his friends, who resolved to satisfy themselves by looking upon the picture the next day. In order to have an opportunity of doing so, they went to the coffee-house about the time that Signor Gualdi was wont to come thither; and not meeting him, one of them, who had often conversed with him, went to his lodgings to enquire after him, where he heard that he had set out an hour before for Vienna. This affair made a great noise, and found a place in all the newspapers of that time."
The mysterious Signor Gualdi was "suspected to be a Rosicrucian." The acknowledged fictions of a later period occasionally introduce the Society to the novel-reading public. Among these may be mentioned the incoherent and worthless romance, entitled "St Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian," which was written by Shelley at the age of seventeen; Lord Lytton's "Zanoni;" "The Rosicrucian's Story," by Paschal R. Randolph, an American half-breed of no inconsiderable talent, who translated the "Divine Pomiander," formed an ephemeral Rosicrucian publishing company, and crowning a chequered existence with a sudden suicide, is still much respected among certain spiritual circles, occasionally "communicating" with quite the average veracity of other "controls" performed by the "choir invisible." The official organ of the English Societas Rosicruciana has also provided its select and esoteric circle of "antiquarian" illuminati with "Leaves from the Diary of a Rosicrucian," a romance of considerable ability by Kenneth Mackenzie, F. R. C., IX°.
1. "Hours with the Mystics," ii., 104.
2. Preface to "The Travels of St Leon."