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Authors: Robert A. Wilson

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Babcock looked uncertain. “I’m not sure,” he admitted. “It seems to me it would fall in a straight line.”

“Ah,” said Einstein, “so it would—from your viewpoint inside the train. But if somebody else were in a field beside the railroad tracks, how would he see it fall?”

Babcock was silent. “Er,” he said finally, “I’m not sure about this, either, but I try to visualize it and I imagine he would see it fall in a curved path.”

“In the curve called a parabola,” Einstein corrected. “He would see it fall in a perfect parabola. Now, which is true? The viewpoint of the man on the train, or that of the man in the field?”

“I begin to catch your drift,” Babcock said. “Both are true, within the—what do you call it?—coordinate systems of the two observers.”

Joyce laughed. “All of this is unfamiliar to you,” he said to Babcock, “and yet you are learning rapidly. Do you know why that is? I shall tell you. Because your Cabala is based on the very same principles, although applied in that case to psychology rather than to physics. You are just learning a new aspect of what you actually already know.”

Einstein raised an eyebrow. “So I am a Cabalist?” he asked, amused.

“What is Cabala?” Joyce asked Socratically. “Well, whatever else it is, from my viewpoint as an artist it is a method of multiple vision. To take an example from Sir John’s story, I.N.R.I., analyzed Cabalistically, no longer has simply a Christian meaning, but a Greek mythological meaning, an Egyptian meaning, an Alchemical meaning, a meaning within the symbolism of the Tarot cards, and so forth. These correspondences are not
illogical
but
analogical
. The Cabalist sees each symbol—Christ, Dionysus, Osiris, the Tarot cards and the rest—as meaningful in its own mythic context, just as Professor Einstein’s theory sees each measurement as true within its own coordinate system. And the Cabalist seeks, behind these diverse and contradictory symbols, the archetypal meaning which is in human psychology itself, as Dr. Jung has recently reminded us. Just as Professor Einstein looks beyond the diverse and contradictory instrument readings for the abstract mathematical relationships that translate one coordinate system into another.”

“Multiple vision,” Babcock repeated. “Yes. That does summarize Cabalism nicely.”

“Well, then,” Joyce said, “what is
Clouds Without Water?
Is it not a perfect example of Cabalistic thinking, a book which can, in fact, be read at least four ways, and possibly more, if we were to look at it more closely? Is it not a model of Cabalistic multiple meaning? And I note also that you told us it has exactly 114 sonnets. This is the Matter of the Enumeration of Sonnets. Now, I am no hermeticist myself, but I did spend some time in my youth listening to John Eglinton and George Russell and the other Dublin mystics, and even I know that 114 is an important Cabalistic number, is it not?”

“Yes,” Babcock said. “The tradition is that the Invisible College acts publicly for 114 years, then dissolves itself
and remains passive for 114 years, then acts openly again for 114 years, and so on.”

“There is more to it than that,” Joyce said. “There is always more in Cabala. Eglinton or Russell—I forget which—once explained to me, as an example of the historical connection between Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism, that the mysterious letters on Masonic buildings and documents, L.P.D., also equal 114 Cabalistically. Does my memory trick me?”

“No,” Babcock said,
“Lamed
is 30,
Pe
is 80, and
Daleth
is 4. Total: 114. The meaning is supposed to be
Light, Pressure, Density
and refers to the inner transformation of the Alchemical process.”

“It refers also to other things,” Joyce said. “The Grand Orient lodges before the French Revolution, from which Mr. Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis claims descent, explained L.P.D. as
Lilia perdita destrue
—‘trample the lily underfoot,’ the lily being the symbol of the Bourbons, the royal family of France against which this faction of Masonry has allegedly been waging war since the destruction of the Templars by Philip II. Once again, you see, the Cabalistic symbols mean different things on different levels of interpretation.”

Einstein re-lit his pipe. “So,” he said between puffs, “you have taken us a long way round, Jeem, but your conclusion is precisely what?”

“Clouds Without Water
is the work of a very advanced Cabalist,” Joyce said. “And the Reverend Verey was never as ignorant of Cabala as he claimed. Proof: he knew that the 26 garters pendant on the Order of the Garter had a Cabalistic meaning and he prodded you, Sir John, until you remembered that 26 is the value of
Yod Hé Vau Hé
, the Holy Unspeakable Name of God. The Clue of the 26 Garters, Dr. Watson might call it.”

Joyce paused and then went on. “I don’t know how Verey murdered off his family, and I certainly don’t know
why
[but who can understand the workings of religious mania?], but I am morally certain that he did. The whole story of the book of horrors that drives people mad is entirely his invention, remember, and I have already indicated my reasons for thinking he purloined that idea from Robert W. Chambers’
The King in Yellow
. I call to mind another hunchback driven mad by religious fervor and sexual anxieties, Saint Paul, who once wrote a sentence that describes Verey perfectly: ‘I do not do that which I would, but that which is hateful to me.’ The split mirror again.”

Babcock’s face revealed a conflict of emotions. “You almost convince me. But your theory is only partial and still leaves very much unexplained….”

The doorbell rang. All three men started slightly.

“It has been a heavy experience, this tale of yours,” Einstein said. “But Joyce has very nicely clarified the points on which I was myself still puzzled. With his contribution, I think I can now explain all of it, and banish the bogeys forever.”

Mileva Einstein appeared in the doorway, with a package in brown wrapping paper. “Albert,” she said, “a boy just delivered this for you.”

The three men exchanged glances. Einstein arose like a cat. “This is not totally unexpected,” he said, crossing the room.

Joyce and Babcock, sitting erect suddenly, watched tensely as Mileva left and Einstein carried the package to his desk.

“Is it …” Babcock stammered.

“Oh, yes.” Einstein was amused. “The complete artistic finishing stroke. It has the return address of ‘M.M.M., 93 Jermyn Street, London, U.K.,’ even though it bears no postmark and was obviously never in the mails.” He began to tear the paper.

“For God’s sake!” Babcock cried. “Don’t! You can’t be
absolutely sure of your theory, whatever it is. You may not be immune to the danger.”

“Oh, I’m not worried,” Einstein said, tearing and ripping until the book emerged. Then he began to laugh, a small chortle at first, and then louder and louder until his face was contorted and tears appeared in his eyes.

The laughter of hysterical madness?
No: Einstein finally regained control and held the book up so Joyce and Babcock could see it. “Here it is, gentlemen,” he said, “the horror of horrors….”

The book he held was titled
Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes
.

“Mo … ther … go …” Joyce said slowly. “It fits together the fragments we heard.”

“And it’s all magick secrets in code!” Babcock cried. “Crowley wasn’t joking about that at all.”

“Yes, he was,” Einstein said. “This is the punch line to the joke.” He resumed his seat, wiping further tears of laughter from his owl-wide eyes with bunched knuckles helplessly.

“It’s a Divine Comedy,” Joyce gasped, also gurgling a laugh half-born far back in his throat. “We’ll all be hauled off to Dante’s Infirmary with the whooping laugh.”

“Am I to gather,” Babcock asked, not amused, “that I have been having my leg pulled all along?”

“Yes and no,” said Einstein.

“Another paradox!” Babcock cried. “Is there no unequivocal yes or absolute no in any of this business?”

Joyce, still half-laughing, sang softly:

A paradox, a paradox,
A most ingenious paradox

“For Christ’s sake!” Babcock said. “Let me in on the jest, gentlemen.”

Einstein nodded. “I’m sorry,” he said. “At this point
I’m not at all sure I should explain to you; you might never forgive me. What do you think, Jeem?”

“I think,” Joyce said, “that this script has been so brilliantly constructed that it doesn’t matter how much you explain. The doorbell will ring again, before you are very far along, and the Author will provide the climax he intended from the beginning.”

“Yes,” Einstein said, “I suppose you are right. Well, then,” he addressed Babcock, “to at least begin an explanation …”

“When the doorbell rings the second time,” Joyce pronounced, “we undoubtedly shall all turn to pumpkins.”

“Before that happens,” Einstein said, “I think I do owe Sir John the rest of the explanation of what is going on here.”

“At last!” Babcock said with some heat.

“Until the doorbell rings …” Joyce intoned.

Einstein concentrated for a moment. “Let us begin with basics. In the context of modern thought, that means with David Hume. In his discussion of miracles, Hume points out what argument is both totally
satisfactory
, and also totally
necessary
, to demonstrate the reality of an alleged miracle. That argument is, briefly, to be able to demonstrate that
any other explanation
of the event would itself be
more
miraculous than the alleged miracle itself. This is Hume’s equivalent of Occam’s Razor. For instance, if I were to claim that my dear wife, Milly, is floating around the kitchen two feet above the floor, you would in reason be justified in believing me
only
if it were even more miraculous that I, Albert Einstein, could tell a lie. Now, I treasure my reputation for integrity, but I do not think you would have any doubt in choosing which interpretation is
more
miraculous in that case—[a] that Milly really is flying around like a witch, or [b] that I am lying to you. No: there has never been a man of such supernatural honesty that it would strictly be
more miraculous
for him to lie than for his wife to levitate.

“This is ordinary common sense, as is everything in Hume. We never believe an incredible story of strange things in the sky or strange beings on the ground when only
one
man claims to be the witness. We begin to wonder a bit if there are several witnesses, but even then we skeptically seek evidence that some conspiracy may exist between them, or that drunkenness or some traumatic shock, such as explosion, might have caused them all to hallucinate.

“Now, let us apply this Razor of Hume’s to the Miracle of the Murdered Cat on the Altar. From whose testimony do we obtain this yarn? From that of Reverend Verey, and nobody else. Even the supporting detail about Mrs. Verey finding some of the evidence afterward is not her testimony [we have never met her] but part of Verey’s own yarn.

“So,” Einstein said, “on the basis of the logic of David Hume and the ordinary common sense of humankind, let us ask: Is it more miraculous that mysterious diabolists can walk through walls or that a most peculiar old man like Verey might be lying to us? The answer is obvious: it is less miraculous that Verey might lie. It is more miraculous that someone walked through solid walls. So, in reason, we must choose the less miraculous theory: Verey lied.”

“This does not at all clarify the greater mystery of the suicides,” Sir John said. “There we are not relying on Verey’s unsupported word. We have a newspaper story …” His voice trailed off.

“Yes?” Einstein said. “We have a newspaper story,
or so it appears
. Where did the newspaper story come from?”

“From the Inverness
Express-Journal,”
said Babcock.

“Not exactly,” said Einstein. “It came from the pocket of George Cecil Jones, who only
told you
it came from the Inverness
Express-Journal
. In this connection, I note also that Jones told you he sent his secretary out to buy ‘a
copy’ of that newspaper. He did not say ‘
two
copies,’ and there is no reason, taking his story at face value, why he should have asked for two. And yet you pocketed the copy of the story he gave you, and Verey was reading another copy at breakfast the next morning. This is the Marvelous Multiplication I mentioned. It does not make sense; so, again, somebody is lying to us. Now, we have several people here associated with publications of various sorts. Reverend Verey and the Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth published
Clouds Without Water
, at least, and possibly other works even more curious. Jones and/or his associates publish instruction manuals for Golden Dawn students. Crowley publishes his own books, we have been informed. Certainly, among these three most mysterious mystery-mongers it would be easy to produce what looked like a story cut from a newspaper?”

“My God,” Babcock said. “But I actually heard Verey talking to Inspector McIntosh of the Inverness police about the suicides…. I mean …”

“Yes,” Einstein said, “you see it already, do you not? You heard Verey talking to somebody at
some
Inverness number, and you
assumed
that he had actually called an Inspector at the Inverness police. Again, is it more miraculous to believe in these incredible suicides, brought on”—he smiled whimsically—“by Mother Goose—as we are now supposed to believe—or is it more miraculous to assume that Verey and a confederate in Inverness performed a charade with the telephone? Again, I think, the answer is obvious: the latter is less miraculous.”

“It all sounds so plausible,” Babcock said. “Yet I find it hard to believe that Jones and Verey and Crowley were conspiring together all through this….”

“I also found that hard at first,” Einstein said, “until you described your telephone conversation with Jones the morning you met Verey. Jones said, and the words struck me intensely, ‘
Be careful, Sir John; remember that a man
with Verey’s hunched back is a rather conspicuous figure.’
Now, I asked myself: How on earth did he know that Verey was a hunchback? He had allegedly never met the man. Well, I said, maybe Sir John told him and neglected to mention that while recounting the conversation to us. Then I remembered, Sir John, that you said Verey was at your side all through that telephone call. You are much too well mannered to say, ‘Oh, by the way, he’s a hunchback,’ while the hunchback stands beside you. So, then, how the devil did Jones know? This is the Casual Telepathy, if we believe it. I do not believe it.

BOOK: Masks of the Illuminati
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