Tom Clark and his Wife, Part One

Passport application for the trip described in the novel





[Randolph’s original footnotes are cited as such, and my annotations are inserted in brackets, italicized, and bolded. The remaining six sections will be posted monthly. The complete book is available online for free or in print at low cost. All I add are some illustrations and annotations.]

Dear Charles T   s: [Charles Trinius of Strahlsund, Prussia was Grand Guard of the San Francisco Supreme Grand Lodge founded by Randolph in 1861.]

Since we parted at the “Golden Gate,” the weight of a world has rested on your shoulders, and I have suffered much, in my journeyings up and down the world, as wearily I wandered over Zahara’s burning sands and among the shrines and monuments of Egypt, Syria, and Araby the blessed; separated in body, but united in soul, we have each sought knowledge, and, I trust, gained wisdom. Our book is just begun. One portion of that work consists ln the endeavor to unmask villainy, and vindicate the sanctity and perpetuity of marriage. In this little work I have tried to do this, and believe that if the magic talisman herein recommended as a sovereign balm for the strifes and ills of wedlock, be faithfully used, that the great married world will adopt your motto and my own, and become convinced that in spite of much contrary seeming “WE MAY BE HAPPY YET!”

To you, and to such this book is

Affectionately dedicated by your friend and the world’s,



HE used to pace rapidly up and down the deck for a minute or two, and then, suddenly striking his forehead, as if a new thought were just pangfully coming into being at the major foci of his soul, he would throw himself prone upon one of the after seats of the old “Uncle Sam,” the steamer in which we were going from San Francisco to Panama, [The steamship Uncle Sam was built in 1852 in New York and carried San Francisco passengers to Mexico and Central America throughout the 1850s and 60s under various ownerships] and there he would lie, apparently musing, and evidently enjoying some sort of interior life, but whether that life was one of reverie, dream, or disembodiedness, was a mystery to us all, and would have remained so, but that on being asked, he very complaisantly satisfied our doubts, by informing us that on such occasion he, in spirit, visited a place not laid down in ordinary charts, and the name of which was the realm of “Wotchergifterno,” which means in English, “Violinist’s Meadow” (very like “Fiddler’s Green”). When not pacing the deck, or reclining, or gazing at the glorious sunsets on the sea, or the still more gorgeous sun—risings on the mountains, he was in the habit of— catching flies; which flies he would forthwith proceed to dissect and examine by means of a microscope constructed of a drop of water in a bent broom wisp. Gradually the man became quite a favorite with both passengers and officers of the ship, and not a day passed but a crowd of ladies and gentlemen would gather around him to listen to the stories he would not merely recite, but compose as he went along, each one containing a moral of more than ordinary significance. It was apparent from the first that the man was some sort of a mystic, a dreamer, or some such out-of-the-ordinary style of person, because everything he said or did bore an unmistakable ghostly impress. He was sorrowful withal, at times, and yet no one on the ship had a greater or more humorous flow of spirits. In the midst, however, of his brightest sallies, he would suddenly stop short, as if at that moment his listening soul had caught the jubilant cry of angels when God had just pardoned some sinful, storm-tossed human soul.

One day, during the progress of a long and interesting conversation on the nature of that mysterious thing called the human soul, and in which our fellow passenger had, as usual, taken a leading part, with the endeavor to elicit, as well as impart, information, he suddenly changed color, turned almost deathly pale, and for full five minutes, perhaps more, looked straight into the sky, as if gazing upon the awful and ineffable mysteries of that weird Phantom-land which intuition demonstrates, but cold reason utterly rejects or challenges for; tangible proof. Long, and steadily gazed the man; and then he shuddered—shuddered as if he had just received some fearful, solution of the problem near his heart. And I shuddered also—in pure sympathy with what I did not fairly understand. At length he spoke; but with bated breath, and in tones so low, so deep, so solemn, that it seemed as though a dead, and. not a living man, gave, utterance to the sounds: “Lara! Lara! Ah, Lovely I would that I had gone then—that I were with thee now!” and he relapsed into silence.

Surprised, both at his abruptness, change; of manner and theme—for ten minutes before, and despite the solemnity of the conversational topic, he had been at a fever—heat of fun and hilarity—I asked him what he meant. Accustomed, as we had been, to hear him break in upon the most grave and dolorous talk with a droll observation which instantly provoked the most unrestrainable, hilarious mirth; used, as we had been to hear him perpetrate a joke, and set us all in roar in the very midst of some heart—moving tale of woe, whereat our eyes had moistened, and our pulses throbbed tumultuously, yet I was not, even by all this, prepared for the singular characteristic now presented. In reply to my question, he first wiped away an involuntary tear, as if ashamed of his weakness; then raised his head, and exclaimed: “Lara! Lara! The Beautiful One!”

“What of her?” asked Colbert, who, sat opposite him and who was deeply moved .at his evident distress, and whose curiosity, as that of us all, was deeply piqued.

“Listen,” said he,” and I will tell you;” and then, while we eagerly drank in his words, and strove to drink in their strange and wondrous meaning (first warning us that what he was about to say was but the text of something to be thereafter told), he leaned back upon the taffrail, and while the steamer gently plowed her way toward Acapulco and far-off Panama, said:

“Fleshless, yet living, I strode through the grand old hall, of a mighty temple. I had been compelled to climb the hills to reach the wall that bars the Gates of Glory, and now within my heart strange pulses beat the while. I found myself upon the verge of a vast extended plain, stretching out to the Infinitudes, as it seemed, through the narrow spaces wherein the vision was not obstructed by certain dense, convolving vapor-clouds that ever and anon rose from off the murky breast of the waters of the river of Lethe, that rolled hard by and skirted the immense prairie on and over which I proposed to travel, on my way from Minus to Plus—from Nothing to Something, from Bad to Good, and from Better to BEST—travelling toward my unknown, unimagined Destiny—travelling from the Now toward the Shall Be. And I stood and mutely gazed—gazed at the dense, dark shadows rolling murkily, massily over the plain and through the spaces—dim shadows of dead worlds. No sound, no footfall, not even mine own—not an echo broke the Stillness. I was alone!—alone upon the vast Solitude—the tremendous wastes of an unknown, mysterious, unimagined Eterne—unimagined in all its fearful stillitude! Within my bosom there was a heart, but no pulse went from it bounding through my veins; no throb beat back responsive life to my feeling, listening spirit. I and my Soul were there alone; we only— the Thinking self, and the Self that ever knows, but never thinks—were there. My heart was not cold, yet it was more: it was, I felt, changed to solid stone—changed all save one small point, distant, afar off, like unto the vague ghost of a long-forgotten fancy; and this seemed to have been the penalty inflicted for things done by me. while on the earth; for it appeared that I was dead, and that my soul had begun an almost endless pilgrimage—to what?—to where? A penalty! And yet no black memory of redhanded crime haunted me, or lurked in the intricacies of the mystic wards of my death—defying soul; and I strode all alone adown the uncolumned vistas of the grand old temple —a temple whose walls were builded of flown Seconds, whose tesselated pavements were laid in sheeted Hours, whose windows on one side opened upon the Gone Ages, and on the other upon the Yet to Be ; and its sublime turrets pierced the clouds, which roll over and mantle the hoary summits of the grey Mountains of Time! And so I and my Soul walked through this temple by ourselves—alone! “With clear, keen gaze, I looked forth upon the Vastness, and my vision swept over the floors of all the dead years; yet in vain, for the things of my longing were not there. I beheld trees, but all their leaves were motionless, and no caroling bird sent its heart—notes forth to waken the dim solitudes into life and music—which are love. There were stately groves beneath the arching span of the temple’s massy dome, but no amphian strains of melody fell on the ear, or filled the spaces from their myriad moveless branches, or from out their fair theatres. All was still. It was a palace of frozen tones, and only the music of Silence (which is vocal, if we listen well) prevailed; and I, Paschal the Thinker, and my Thought —strange, uncouth, yet mighty but moveless thought—were the only living things beneath the expansive dome. Living, I had sacrificed all things—health, riches, honor, fame, ease, even Love itself, for Thought, and by Thought had overtopped many who had started on the race for glory long ere my soul had wakened to a consciousness of itself—which means Power. In life I had, so it seemed, builded stronger than I thought, and had reached a mental eminence—occupied a throne. So lofty—that mankind wondered, stood aloof, and gazed at me from afar off; and by reason of my thought had gathered from me, and thus condemned the Thinker to an utter solitude, even in the most thronged and busy haunts of men and I walked through earth’s most crowded cities more lonely than the hermit of the desert, whose eyes are never gladdened by the sight of human form, and through the chambers of whose brain no human voice goes ringing. Thus was it on earth; and now that I had quitted it forever, with undaunted soul, strong purpose, and fearless tread, assured of an endless immortality, and had entered upon the life of Thinking, still was I alone. Had my life, my thinking, and my action on thought been failures? The contemplation of such a possibility was bitter, very bitter—even like unto painful death— and yet it seemed true that failure had been mine—failure, notwithstanding men by thousands spoke well of me and of my works—the children of my thought—and bought my books in thousands. Failure? My soul rejected the idea in utter loathing. For a moment the social spirit, the heartness of my nature over-shadowed Reason, and caused me to forget that, even though confined by dungeon walls, stricken with poverty, deformity, sin or disease—even though left out to freeze in the cold world’s spite—yet the thinker is ever the world’s true— and only King. I had become, for a moment, oblivious of the fact that failure was an impossibility.

Rosicrucians never fail!”

But now, as I slowly moved along, I felt my human nature was at war with the God-nature within, and that Heart for a while was holding the Head in duress. I longed for release from Solitude; my humanity yearned for association, and would have there, on the breast of the great Eterne; given worlds for the company of the lowliest soul I had ever beheld—and despised, as I walked the streets of the cities of the far-off earth. I yearned for human society and—affection, and could even have found blissful solace with—a dog just such a dog as in times past, I had scornfully kicked in Cairo and Stambol—Even a dog was denied me now—all affection withheld from me—and in the terrible presence of its absence I longed for death, forgetting again that Soul can never die. I longed for that deeper extinguishment which should sweep the soul from being, and crown it with limitless eternal Night forgetful, again, that the Memories of Soul must live, though the rememberer cease to be, and that hence Horrors would echo through the universe—children mourning for their suicidal parent, and that parent myself!

“And I lay me down beneath a tree in despair—a tree which stood out all alone from its fellows in a grove hard by—a tree all ragged and lightning-scathed—an awful monument, mute, yet eloquently proclaiming to the wondering onlooker that God had passed that way, in fierce, deific wrath, once upon a time, in the dead ages, whose ashes now bestrewed the floors of the mighty temple of Eterne.

“It was dreadful, very dreadful, to be all alone. True, the pangs of hunger, the tortures of thirst, the fires of ambition, and the raging flames of earthly passion no longer marred my peace. Pain, such as mortals feel, was unknown; no disease racked my frame, or disturbed the serenity of my external being—for I was immortal, and could laugh all these and Death itself to scorn; and yet a keener anguish, a more fearful suffering, was mine. I wept, and my cries gave back no outer sound, but they rang in sombre echoes through the mighty arches, the bottomless caverns, the abyssmal deeps of Soul—my soul—racking it with torments such as only thinking things can feel. Such is the lot, such the discipline of the destined citizens of the Farther Empyrean—a region known only to the Brethren of the Temple of Peerless Rosicrucia!

“Sleep came—sweet sleep—deep and strange; and in it I dreamed. Methought I still wandered gloomily beneath the vast arches of the grand old hall, until at last, after countless cycles of ripe years had been gathered back into the treasury of the Etre Supreme, I stood before a solid, massive door, which an inscription thereabove announced as being the entrance to the Garden of the Beatitudes. This door was secured by a thousand locks, besides one larger than all the rest combined. Every one of these locks might be opened, but the opener could not pass through unless he unfastened the master—lock having ten thousand bolts and wards.

“Once more despair seized on my soul, in this dream which was not all a dream; for to achieve an entrance through the gate without the master-key was a task, so said the inscription, that would defy the labors of human armies for periods of time utterly defying man’s comprehension—so many were the difficulties, so vastly strong the bolts.

“Sadly, mournfully, I turned away, when, as if by chance—forgetting that there is no such thing as Chance—my eye encountered a rivetless space upon the solid brazen door—a circular space, around the periphery of which was an inscription running thus: ‘MAN ONLY FAILS THROUGH FEEBLENESS OF WILL!’ Within this smooth circle was the semblance of a golden triangle, embracing a crystalline globe, winged and beautiful, crowned with a Rosicrucian cypher, while beneath it stood out, in fiery characters, the single word, ‘Try.’ The very instant I caught the magic significance of these divine inscriptions, a new Hope was begotten in my soul; Despair fled from me, and I passed into


“What a change! During my slumber it seemed that I had been transported to the summit of a very lofty mountain, yet still within the Temple. By my side stood an aged and saintly man, of regal and majestic presence. He was clad in an oriental garb of the long-gone ages, and his flowing robes were bound to his waist by a golden band, wrought into the similitude of a shining serpent—the sacred emblem of eternal wisdom. Around his broad and lofty brow was a coronet of silver, dusted with spiculae of finest diamond. On the sides of the centre were two scarabei, the symbol of immortality; and between them was a pyramid, on which was inscribed a mystical character which told, at the same time, that his name was Ramus the Great. [PBR notes: The same known historically as Thothmes, or Thotmor the Third, King of all Egypt, in the 18th dynasty, and sixty—ninth Chief or Grand Master of the Superlative Order of Gebel Al Maruk—since known, in Christian lands, as the Order of the Brethren of the Rosie Cross, and now known in America and Europe, where it still thrives, as the Imperial Order of Rosicrucia.]

“This royal personage spake kindly to me, and his soft tones fell upon the hearing of my soul like the words of pardon to the sense of sinners at the Judgment Seat. “Look, my son, said he, at the same time pointing toward a vast procession of the newly—risen dead—a spectral army on the sides of the mountain, slowly, steadily, mournfully wending their way toward the part of the temple I had quitted previous to the commencement of this dream within a dream. Said the man at my side: ‘Yonder host of pilgrims are men and women who are seeking, as thou hast sought, to unbar the Gates of Glory, that they may pass through them into the delightful Garden of the Beatitudes. It is one thing to be endowed with Intellectual Strength, Knowledge and Immortality; it is another to be Wise and Happy. The first is a boon granted to all the children of earth alike; the last can only be attained by integral development—by self endeavor by innate goodness and God-ness continually manifested—and this in material and aromal worlds alike. Man is man and woman is woman, wherever they may be! The true way to the garden lies not through Manifestation Corridor, but through the Hall of Silence! and each Aspirant must open the door for himself alone. Failing to enter, as thou hast failed, each must turn back, and, like thee, come hither to Mount Retrospect, and entering into the labyrinths within its sides, must search for the triple key, which alone can unbar the Gate, and admit to the Beautiful Garden I Remember! Despair not! Try! and in an instant the Phantom—man turned from me, and with outstretched arms, and benignance beaming from every feature, hied him toward the ascending army.

Again I stood alone, not now in despondency and gloom, but in all the serene strength of noble, conscious Manhood—not the. actual, but the certain and glorious possibility thereof. My soul had grown. It was aware of all its past short-comings, failures, and its hatreds toward two men who had done me deadly wrong. This feeling still survived—stronger than ever, now that I was across the Bridge of Hours, and had become a citizen of the inner land—a wanderer through Eternity. That hate was as immortal as my deathless soul. Will it ever be? And yet I had ever meant well. All was calm in my spirit, save this single awful thing. In this spirit, with this consciousness—not of deep malignance, but of outraged Justice—I began to look for the mysterious key; and as I looked, an instinct told me that the key must consist of certain grand human virtues, and corresponding good deeds, held and done before I left the shores of time and embarked upon the strange and mystic sea whereon my soul’s fortunes were now cast.”

And so I searched, and at last seemed to have found what I sought; and thereupon I wished myself once more before the brazen Gate. Instantly, as if by magic, the wish was realized, and I~ stood before .it, on the same spot formerly occupied. The first inscription, the symbols and circle had disappeared, and in their stead was another circle, containing these lines: ‘Speak, for thou shalt be heard! Tell what thou hast done to elevate thy fellow men, and to round out the angles of thine own soul. Whom hast thou uplifted, loved, hated? Speak, and when the words containing the key are spoken, the door will yield, and thou mayest pass the Threshold.’

“The writing slowly faded, and left naught but a surface, but that surface as of molten gold. I spoke aloud my claim to entrance, and, to my astonishment, my voice rang out shrill and clear, through the vaults and arches of the mighty dome towering far above my head. ‘I have suffered from infancy—been opposed from the cradle to maturity—been hated, robbed, slandered on all sides, yet pushed forward in defiance of all, until I reached all that I desired—all that earth could give me. Self-educated, I achieved triumphs where others failed; have reaped laurels and grasped the keys of fame, and laughed at my folly afterwards, because what is fame? A canker, gnawing out one’s life when living, disturbing his repose when dead—not worth a straw! But, in all this, despite the ending, I have set an example, by following which man might elevate himself, society be improved, and its constituents realize the bliss of moving in loftier spheres of usefulness!’ While giving voice to these truths, I firmly expected to see the gate fly open at their conclusion. But what was my horror and dismay to see that it moved not at all, while the echoes of my speech gave back in frightfully resonant waves of sound the last word, ‘USEFULNESS!’

“Not being able to think of any nobler achievements, I cast my eyes groundward, and, on again raising them, I beheld, across the clear space on the door, the single word TRY.

“Taking heart again, I said, ‘Alone I sought the secret of restoring health to the sick, and gave it freely to the world, without money, without price. I have made grand efforts to banish sloth, sin, ignorance; have ever upheld the honor of the Cross, and the sweet religion it symbolizes. Striving ever to upraise the veil that hides man from himself, in the effort I have been misapprehended, my motives impugned, and my reward has been poverty, slander, disgrace. In the strife, I have been heedless to every call save that of human duty, and, in obeying the behests of a nobler destiny, have been gardless of all worldly distinction; have ignored wealth,—fame, honorable place in the world’s esteem, and even been deaf to the calls of love!

“I ceased, and again the vault threw back my last word, and all the arches echoed ‘LOVE!’ The gate moved not, but once more appeared upon the golden lozenge on the door the word ‘TRY!’ in greater brightness than before, while it seemed to the hearing sense of my spirit’ that a thousand velvet whispers—low, so low, gently cadenced back ‘LOVE!’

“‘I have rebuked the immoral, humbled the lofty and overbearing, exposed deception, comforted the mourner, redeemed the harlot, reformed the thief, fed the orphan and upheld the rights and dignity of Labor!’

“Still the door moved not, but again the echoes gave back the last word, ‘LABOR.’

“‘I have preached immortality to thousands, and prevailed on them to believe it; have written of, and everywhere proclaimed its mighty truths. I have beaten the sceptic, confirmed the wavering, reassured the doubting, and through long and bitter years, in both hemispheres of the globe, have declared that if a man die, he shall live again; thus endeavoring to overthrow error, establish truth, banish superstition, and on their ruins lay the deep and broad foundations of a better faith.

If a myriad voices chimed out my last syllable, there rang through the spacious halls and corridors of the Temple, the sublime word, ‘FAITH’ and instantly the bolts appeared to move within their iron wards. Continuing, I said: ‘I have ever endeavored, save in one single instance, to foster, and in all cases have a spirit of forgiveness.'” This time there was no mistake. The thousand bolts flew back, the ponderous brazen gate moved forward and back, like—a vast curtain, as if swayed by a gentle wind; while a million silvery voices sang gloriously, ‘IN ALL CASES HAVE A SPIRIT OF FORGIVENESS!’

“Joyously I tried again, intuition plainly telling me that only one thing more was necessary to end my lonely pilgrimage, and exalt me to the blessed companionship of the dear ones whom I so longed to join in their glory—walks adown the celestial glades and vistas of God’s Garden of the Beatitudes. I spoke again:

“‘I have fallen from man’s esteem in pursuance of what appeared to be my duty. A new faith sprung up in the land, and unwise zealots brought shame and bitter reproach against and upon it. Lured by false reasoning, I yielded to the fascinations of a specious sophistry, and for awhile my soul languished under the iron bondage of a powerful and glittering falsehood. At length, seeing my errors, I strove to correct them, and to sift the chaff from the true and solid grain; but the people refused to believe me honest, and did not, would not understand me; but they insisted that in denouncing Error, I ignored the living truths of God’s great economy; yet still I labored on, trying to correct my faults, and to cultivate—the queen of human virtues, Charity! Scarcely had this last word escaped my lips, than the massive portals flew wide open, disclosing to my enraptured gaze such a sight of supernal and celestial beauty, grandeur, and magnificence, as human language is totally inadequate to describe; for it was such, as it stood there revealed before my ravished soul; and I may not here reveal the wondrous things I saw and heard. . . .Lara, Lara, my beautiful one, the dear dead maiden of the long agone, stood before me, just within the lines of Paradise. She loved me still—aye, the dear maiden of my youth had not forgotten the lover of her early and her earthly days.

“‘When I was a boy, and she was a girl, In the city by the sea, ere the cruel Death had snatched her from my arms and love, a long, long time ago; for the love of the Indian, as his hatred survives the grave. . . And she said, ‘Paschal, my beloved—lone student of the weary world—I await thy entrance here. But thou mayest not enter now, because no hatred can live inside these gates of Bliss. Wear it out, discard it. Thou art yet incomplete, thy work is still unfinished. Thou hast found the keys! Go back to earth, and give them to thy fellow-men. Teach, first thyself, and then thy brethren, that Usefulness, Love, Labor, Forgiveness, Faith and Charity, are the only keys which are potent to cure all ill, and unbar the Gates of Glory.’

“‘Lara! Beautiful Lara, I obey thee! Wait for me, love. I am coming soon!’ I cried, as she slowly retreated, and the gate closed again. ‘Not yet, not yet,’ I cried, as with extended arms I implored the beauteous vision to remain—but a single instant longer. But she was gone. I fell to the ground in a swoon. When I awoke again, I found the night had grown two hours older than it was Then I sat down in the chair in my little chamber in Bush street, the little chamber which I occupied in the goodly city of the Golden Gate.

“Thus spake the Rosicrucian. We were all deeply moved at the recital, and one after the other we retired to our rooms, pondering on the story and its splendid moral. Next day we reached Acapulco, and not till we had left and were far on our way toward Panama, did we have an opportunity of listening to the sermon to the eloquent text I have just recounted. At length he gave it, as nearly as it can possibly be reproduced, in the following words: