I sat at the feet of the Bard because I wanted to learn the secrets of Cunning Men and discover the Druid path to divinity.
I sat, one of dozens, day in, day out, a little on one side — the hood of my white robe covering my face, and my eyes on the face before me — the man to be my husband.
I watched men and women crawl before him like whipped animals, finding heavenly joy and consolation in the mere touching of his feet. The younger women he let suck his toes were in ecstasy when they did this.
I dreamed of goodness, happiness and perfection of spirit.
Then one day, I found, mingling in my dreams, alien thoughts that I now know were never mine.
How I prayed in agony of spirit that I might die before I profaned this holy man with my mundane thoughts of earthly love. When I felt I loved the Bard, I saw him suddenly smile. I know now that he had gained me at last by what the Druids call the “magical will”, but what to the Chinese world is known as hypnotism.
He bade me remember my past births teaching me the process. To remember everything of my life, down to the first conscious act or thought. I was unable to go further back than myself as a child of three and my head ached intolerably.
He desisted then and bade me come that night to his bedsit in New Malden and he would show me something strange. I consented.
“You will not be afraid?”
“Tell no one of your visit.”
I took a train from Waterloo Station. What he had to show me hung between his legs. He fished it out from beneath his robes.
“Is it not as big as Bendigeidfran?” he asked proudly. ‘You should kiss it!”
I was not afraid but I loved higher truth and that my spiritual guide bade me explore the material world outraged me not a little. It was the first of many doubts — he met them all, combated them all.
I would to God that I had followed my instinct that day when that first doubt came, to run away from him and go back to my old life and friends.
I remembered a Henan boy who’d wanted to marry me: a blundering, stupid teenager, with a hearty laugh, and a healthy fear of all things abnormal. He would never have bidden me lie, would never have cared for the maintenance of his own reputation at the expense of mine. I know, now, the first man was a better man.
But I obeyed the Bard, and went away with him. I left The Denizen in Golden Lane for Wales. The Bard went before me. I travelled separately with a woman called Janet Jones, she was devoted to the Bard. Jones and I went to the Druid grove. She gave me tea and the most delicious Welsh laverbread, made from seaweed.
Janet’s utter devotion to the Bard reassured me not a little. It was she who took me into an underground cave system, a man preceding us with a light.
She held my trembling hand whilst the Druids purified me, and the Bard and I walked three times round the sacred fire; one of my apron strings tied to one his. The bard too was dressed as Rebecca in betgwn, pals, mantle, shawl, handkerchief, apron, cap and Welsh hat. For their ceremonies the male Druids liked to cross-dress. Before we left the high ranking Druids licked the dust from our feet.
It all seemed quite natural, as if it had happened, as the Bard said it had, thousands of times before, centuries ago in the caves and stone circles of ancient Briton.
He indicated a bed of grass, on which I sat mechanically, whilst he bade me, over and over again, to remember.
I remember, too, the heaviness of my slumber that night.
I woke with no sense of strangeness in being in that place: I felt drugged, numbed.
The next morning food was brought to me: food that I remember was delicious: the traditional soup cawl, Welsh rarebit, bara brith, Glamorgan sausage and Welsh cakes.
When we returned to The Denizen, the Bard made me sit and meditate on the Goddess in her triple form all day; as the hours passed she shape shifted from maiden to mother and finally crone. I slept heavily at nights with the Bard beside me and found no incongruity in his presence.
Time stood still.
Life had become one strange quietness, eating, meditating, slumber, always quietness, not unmingled with joy.
I am sure, now, by my heavy slumber I was either doped or under a hypnotic spell.
I repented of naught, and often, I think, I revelled in my utter surrender to the will of my husband.
There was no heaven above for me, no world; why should there be? There was nothing in my life but The Denizen and the Bard. Life was a sweeping of itself in great and tender waves of emotion to nothingness: Wang Xiaotang had gone away for ever. Those experiences in The Denizen left me devoid, for ever, of any capacity for emotion or happiness.
One day, the Bard said he had to leave me, and though I wept, he insisted that it must be; for his pupils awaited him and his preaching. He bade me wait in The Deinzen and that when he returned he’d be with me forever.
So, weeping, I had, perforce, to obey him, and to come from my slumberous depths to the reality that I was to be a mother. I felt no fear: but to whom should I confide this secret? I wrote to the Bard of my condition, and asked Janet Jones to bring an answer. But the Bard gave none; indeed he sent my Jones away with rough words. He too feared scandal.
I realised that his marriage was only known to the few: that he wished to pose to the world at large that he still kept the vow of Druid chastity. I also realised that he did not want to be compromised, and cared little for my predicament.
Thank God, I had plenty of money: but I was forced to leave The Denizen and attend the UCH hospital in Gower Street. I heard the roars of traffic outside. It drove me almost mad at last. Then I heard nothing. I was given chloroform: I suffered much. The baby died and I nearly died.
All the Druid children I bore died. The Bard said that had they lived, they would have ruled the three worlds: the world of gods, men and beasts. They would have been the Messiahs of the world. I do not believe it now but I did then and the thought gave me some comfort.