From ‘Epistles – Fourth Series’-chapter -V of Volume 8 of The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda.
To Marie Halboister
I begin here my promised big chatty letter with the best intention as to its growth, and if it fails, it will be owing to your own Karma. I am sure you are enjoying splendid health. I have been very, very bad indeed; now recovering a bit — hope to recover very soon.
What about the work in London? I am afraid it is going to pieces. Do you now and then visit London? Hasn’t Sturdy got a new baby?
The plains of India are blazing now. I cannot bear it. So I am here in this hill station — a bit cooler than the plains.
I am living in a beautiful garden belonging to a merchant of Almora — a garden abutting several miles of mountains and forests. Night before last a leopard came here and took away a goat from the flock kept in this garden. It was a frightful din the servants made and the barking of the big Tibet watchdogs. These dogs are kept chained at a distance all night since I am here, so that they may not disturb my sleep with their deep barks. The leopard thus found his opportunity and got a decent meal, perhaps, after weeks. May it do much good to him!
Do you remember Miss Müller? She has come here for a few days and was rather frightened when she heard of the leopard incident. The demand for tanned skins in London seems very great, and that is playing havoc with our leopards and tigers more than anything else.
As I am writing to you, before me, reflecting the afternoon’s flow, stand long, long lines of huge snow peaks. They are about twenty miles as the crow flies from here, and forty through the circuitous mountain roads.
I hope your translations have been well received in the Countess’s paper. I had a great mind and very good opportunity of coming over to England this Jubilee season with some of our Princes, but my physicians would not allow me to venture into work so soon. For going to Europe means work, isn’t it? No work, no bread.
Here the yellow cloth is sufficient, and I would have food enough. Anyhow I am taking a much desired rest, hope it will do me good.
How are you going on with your work? With joy or sorrow? Don’t you like to have a good rest, say for some years, and no work? Sleep, eat, and exercise; exercise, eat, and sleep — that is what I am going to do some months yet. Mr. Goodwin is with me. You ought to have seen him in his Indian clothes. I am very soon going to shave his head and make a full-blown monk of him.
Are you still practising some of the Yogas? Do you find any benefit from them? I learn that Mr. Martin is dead. How is Mrs. Martin — do you see her now and then?
Do you know Miss Noble? Do you ever see her? Here my letter comes to an end, as a huge dust storm is blowing over me, and it is impossible to write. It is all your Karma, dear Marie, for I intended to write so many wonderful things and tell you such fine stories; but I will have to keep them for the future, and you will have to wait.
Ever yours in the Lord,