The present statement was also addressed to M. Rodin, and Van Dael thus went on with it:
“Fearing the return of General Simon, of which I had been informed by intercepting his letters—I have already told you, that I had succeeded in being employed by him as his agent here; having then read his letters, and sent them on as if untouched to Djalma, I felt myself obliged, from the pressure of the circumstances, to have recourse to extreme measures—taking care always to preserve appearances, and rendering at the same time a signal service to humanity, which last reason chiefly decided me.
“A new danger imperiously commanded these measures. The steamship ‘Ruyter’ came in yesterday, and sails tomorrow in the course of the day. She is to make the voyage to Europe via the Arabian Gulf; her passengers will disembark at Suez, cross the Isthmus, and go on board another vessel at Alexandria, which will bring them to France. This voyage, as rapid as it is direct, will not take more than seven or eight weeks. We are now at the end of October; Prince Djalma might then be in France by the commencement of the month of January; and according to your instructions, of which I know not the motive, but which I execute with zeal and submission, his departure must be prevented at all hazards, because, you tell me, some of the gravest interests of the Society would be compromised, by the arrival of this young Indian in Paris before the 13th of February. Now, if I succeed, as I hope, in making him miss this opportunity of the ‘Ruyter’ it will be materially impossible for him to arrive in France before the month of April; for the ‘Ruyter’ is the only vessel which makes the direct passage, the others taking at least four or five months to reach Europe.
“Before telling you the means which I have thought right to employ, to detain Prince Djalma—of the success of which means I am yet uncertain—it is well that you should be acquainted with the following facts.
“They have just discovered, in British India, a community whose members call themselves ‘Brothers of the Good Work,’ or ‘Phansegars,’ which signifies simply ‘Thugs’ or ‘Stranglers;’ these murderers do not shed blood, but strangle their victims, less for the purpose of robbing them, than in obedience to a homicidal vocation, and to the laws of an infernal divinity named by them ‘Bowanee.’
“I cannot better give you an idea of this horrible sect, than by transcribing here some lines from the introduction of a report by Colonel Sleeman, who has hunted out this dark association with indefatigable zeal. The report in question was published about two months ago. Here is the extract; it is the colonel who speaks: