« AnteriorContinua »
forth typically the discovery of the Grand SeCRET, whereby the most precious and perfect of nature's works are elicited out of her basest and most crude productions; just as the light and gaudy butterfly, the most beautiful child of the summer's breeze, breaks forth from the dungeon of a sordid chrysalis. »
Master Holdforth said nought of this exposi-. tion, » said Foster, doubtfully; « and moreover, Doctor Alasco, the Holy Writ says, that the gold and precious stones of the Holy City are in no sort for those who work abomination, or who frame lies. »
Well, my son, » said the Doctor, « and what is your inference from thence ? »
« That those, » said Foster, » who distil poisons, and administer them in secrecy, can have no portion in those unspeakable riches. »
You are to distinguish, my son, » replied the alchemist, « betwixt that which is necessarily evil in its progress and in its end also, and that which being evil, is, nevertheless, capable of working forth good. If, by the death of one person, the happy period shall be brought nearer to us , in which all that is good shall be attained, by wishing its presence--all that is evil escaped, by desiring its absence-in which sickness, and
shall be the obedient servants of human wisdom, and made to fly at the slightest signal of a sage, in which that which is now richest and rarest shall be within the
of every one who shall be obedient to the voice of
wisdom ,-when the art of healing shall be lost and absorbed in the one universal medicine, when sages shall become monarchs of the earth, and death itself retreat before their crown,-if this blessed consummation of all things can be hastened by the slight circumstance, that a frail earthly body, which must needs partake corruption, shall be consigned to the grave a short space
earlier than in the course of nature, what is such a sacrifice to the advancement of the holy Millenium ? »
« Millenium is the reign of the Saints, » said Foster, somewhat doubtfully.
Say it is the reign of the Sages, my son, » answered Alasco; « or rather the reign of Wisdom itself.
I touched on the question with Master Holdforth last exercising night, » said Foster; « but he says your doctrine is heterodox, and a damnable and false exposition. »
He is in the bonds of ignorance, my son, answered Alasco, « and as yet burning bricks in Egypt; or, at best, wandering in the dry desert of Sinai. Thou didst ill to speak to such a man of such matters. I will, however, give thee proof, and that shortly, which I will defy that peevish divine to confute, though he should strive with me as the magicians strove with Moses before King Pharaol. I will do projection in thy presence, my son, in thy very presence,
eyes shall witness the truth. «Stick to that, learned sage, » said Varney,
who at this moment entered the
«if he refuse the testimony of thy tongue, yet how shall he deny that of his own eyes ? »
« Varney! » said the adept — « Varney already returned ! Hast thou » —— he stopped short.
« Have I done mine errand , thou wouldst say, » replied Varney — «I have !- And thou,» he added, shewing more symptoms of interest than he had hitherto exhibited , « art thou sure thou hast poured forth neither more nor less than the just measure ? »
Ay , » replied the alchemist , « as sure as men can be in these nice proportions; for there is diversity of constitutions. »
Nay, then, » said Varney, « I fear nothing. I know thou wilt not go a step farther to the devil than thou art justly considered for. Thou wert paid to create illness, and would esteem it thriftless prodigality to do murther at the same price. Come, let us each to our chamber - We shall see the event to-morrow. »
What didst thou do to make her swallow it ? » said Foster, shuddering.
« Nothing , » answered Varney, « but looked on her with that aspect which governs madmen
, women and children. They told in Saint Luke's Hospital , that I have the right look for overpowering a refractory patient. The keepers made me their compliments on't; so I know how to win my bread, when my court-favour fails me.
« And art thou not afraid, said Foster, « lest the duse be disproportioned ? »
« If so, » replied Varney , « she will but sleep the sounder, and the fear of that shall not break my rest. Good night , my masters. »
Anthony Foster groaned heavily , and lifted up his hands and eyes. The alchemist intimated his purpose to continue some experiment of high import during the greater part of the night, and the others separated to their places of repose.
Now God be good to me in this wild pilgrimage!
The summer evening was closed , and Janet, just when her longer stay might have occasioned suspicion and inquiry in that jealous household, returned to Cumnor-Place, and hastened to the apartment in which she had left her lady. She found her with her head resting on her arms, and these crossed upon a table which stood before her. As Janet came in, she neither looked up nor stirred.
Her faithful attendant ran to her mistress with the speed of lightning , and rousing her at the same time with her hand, conjured the Countess in the most earnest manner to look
say what thus affected her. The unhappy lady raised her head accordingly, and looking on her attendant with a ghastly eye, and cheek as pale as clay, « Janet , » she said, « I have drank it. »
God be praised ! said Janet, hastily — «I mean God be praised that it is no worse the