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figure seated in one corner of the room, and which from the obscurity that reigned about us had not been observed at our entrance. The figure was that of a female covered from head to foot with a long veil of crape, so long and ample that it disguised even the form of the fauteuil in which she was seated.
Cagliostro bade us take seats at a table covered with green velvet upon which were placed divers mysterious looking instruments of torture, sundry queerly shaped bottles and diabolical volumes, and then standing up before us, in solemn and biblical language inquired wherefore we had sought him, and what it was we desired to know.
Cagliostro was then a man in the very flower of his age, of exceedingly prepossessing appearance. His person, although small, was so well and firmly knit that its proportions seemed those of a much larger man. His countenance was remarkably keen and penetrating, being formed of a succession of sharp succeeding lines, which gave him a look of cunning that he would willingly have disguised, and with which the solemn tone and mysterious aspect were altogether at variance. His sharp piercing eyes I shall never forget: they absolutely seemed to light up the obscurity of the chamber, and, as they flashed from one to the other of his visitors, they seemed to belong to some wild bird of prey hesitating between two victims, which to devour first. His beard and eyebrows were dark and bushy, with here and there a streak of grey amid their jetty black
When we entered he had upon his head a velvet cap, which, with gentlemanlike courtesy, he doffed when he addressed us, and then I perceived that the summit of his crown was already bald although his hair curled downward upon his neck and shoulders in a thick and silky mass. The hand which rested upon his table, and upon which he seemed to be leaning his whole weight as he stood in graceful and theatrical attitude awaiting our communication, was small and delicate as that of a lady of the court,
and yet it needed not any very profound knowledge of anatomy to enable the observer to discern at a glance that it was the hand of a man possessed of almost herculean strength and power, so vigorous were the firm-knit muscles, so well-strung the tightened cord-like
De Bouffles remaining mute (both he and Talleyrand were very
young and very much frightened), the conjurer turned to me and asked me in a voice which had already lost much of its solemnity, and partook of something like harshness, if I also had come unprepared with a subject of consultation.
I answered in a low voice that I wished to consult him in regard to the health of a person who was dear to me.
Cagliostro turned, and by a movement so abrupt and sudden that it made us both start to our feet, drew the fauteuil whereon was seated the veiled mysterious form of the female, who had remained all this time silent and motionless, across the floor, and still the figure moved not. The feet resting on a board attached to the bottom of the fauteuil moved with the rest, producing an indescribable effect.
“What is it you seek to know ?” said Cagliostro, resuming once more his solemn and theatrical air, and drawing a little aside the veil of black crape, he bent towards the ear of the female and whispered a few words which we could not understand.
I replied hurriedly, “I wish to learn the cause of the migraine of my friend the Marquise de
“Chut,” said Cagliostro, “the name is of little import. What see you ?” he added in a loud, deep tone, turning to the veiled figure.
“I see a fair and beauteouis lady,” replied a sweet, soft voice beneath the veil. “She is attired in a dress of sea-green Padua silk, her powdered hair is wreathed with rose-buds, and she wears long and splendid ear-drops of emerald and topaz. The lady is pressing her hand to her forehead at this very instant. Is it with pain, or is it with care? She is waiting for some one, for she now rises and looks at the clock upon the console, and now she goes to the small side door to listen." (It seems that Talleyrand had agreed to escort her to the opera, but had been detained by his engagement with Cagliostro.) “Enough, enough," said I, in my turn growing impatient, " tell me at once what it is that ails the lady, and what may be the remedy."
The figure spoke aloud no more, but whispered long in Cagliostro's ear, and the latter, turning towards me, said with ease and aplomb, “ The lady's inigraines are caused by over-watching and anxiety. The cure is easy and must be applied at once. The causi will be removed in time."
He pushed back the fauteuil into the corner whence he had drawn it, the veiled figure that had occupied it still remaining as motionless as death. He then opened a small door in the wainscoting belonging to a small cupboard filled with shelves containing bottles of all sorts and sizes, and drew from it a phial which he filled with liquid from a jug which stood on the floor, and having performed various “passes” over it, he handed it to me, bidding ine and my companion lose no time in retiring, as others were waiting outside.
His dismissal of us was abrupt. * You have told your ailments and your griefs. You bear with you the never-failing cure. Now begone."
How could the Adept know by natural means that the Marquise de Br-, whom he had not suffered me to name, was young and beauteous; that she possessed eardrops of emerald and topaz, which mixture of jewels was very peculiar, and that she should wear them on that very night.
(Talleyrand and his friend de Bouffles proceeded at once to the opera to see if the Marquise was attired in the dress and jewels that Cagliostro had described. They found that the dress and ornaments corresponded in every particular to those the seeress had seen, and that she was somewhat out of humour because Talleyrand had not escorted her that evening. He regained her good graces by telling her he had a sure cure for her headache.)
After the performance was over, we all adjourned to her hotel. I had completely renovated myself in her good graces by the promise of a complete cure for her migraine. The gentlemen of the company, however, voted that a glass or two of champagne be tried first.
Of course the phial and its contents soon became the subject of attacks, and I was petitioned on all sides for a view of them.
B—- proposed that the reinedy should be applied at once in the
of all. . It was not until I had uncorked the phial and was about to pour it into a glass, that it occurred to me that I had entirely omitted to ascertain whether the liquor was to be taken as a medicine or applied externally. To the eye it was nothing but pure water from the fountain. It possessed neither smell nor colour.
It was decided that there would be less danger in mis
applying it externally than in swallowing it, should it prove pernicious, and as I was chosen to be the operator, I poured a small quantity of the water into the hollow of my hand which Bguided so that not a drop was spilt. I placed it as gently as possible over the forehead of the Marquise, pressing it there, but certainly not with violence, and supporting the back of the head with the hand that was free, held it there, thus awaiting the result.
The Marquise closed her eyes but uttered not a word, and there was a moment's silence among the clamorous group bending over her with such eager curiosity when suddenly it was broken by a loud convulsive shriek from the Marquise herself, which was echoed almost by many of those present, so solemnly and startlingly did it burst from her lips.
“Take away your hand. For God's sake, take away your hand,” exclaimed she, in a voice of agony, and starting to her feet she endeavoured with all her strength to pull away my wrist downward; but strange to tell, not all the efforts of the Marquise nor those I used myself could tear away my hand from her forehead. No words can describe the sensation of terror with which I found myself deprived of the power or faculty of withdrawing my hand, but drawn by some powerful attraction closer and closer still, until it seeined that my fingers would bury themselves in the flesh.
It was not, however, until the Marquise sank back in her chair fainting and exhausted that the Duc d'Argenton, recovering froin the general consternation. seized my wrist in a nervous manner and tore it away by inain force, drawing with it patches of skin from the forehead of the Marquise, upon which the imprint of my touch remained in bleeding characters. My hand was torn and bleeding likewise, and the pain was unbearable. I bound up my hand and gave all the assistance in my power toward the recovery of the Marquise, who was conveyed to bed, still in a deep swoon. We all remained in the saloon awaiting the report of the surgeon who had been sent for to apply the proper remedies to the wounds of the Marquise, who was not declared out of danger until towards morning. We then dispersed with the firm determination of having the mystery cleared up by Cagliostro himself as soon as possible.
(Talleyrand and de Bouffles, accompanied by two policemen,
went to interview Cagliostro on the subject at his house. The liquid in the jug was seized by the police and taken to a chemist for analysis, who pronounced it to be pure water.)
To my bitter reproaches, Cagliostro replied with perfect calmness that the liquid was pure and innocent when he placed it in my hands, and that if it had grown pernicious it must have been owing to the guilty passions, or to the evil sympathies, of those who used it.
The Marquise carried the marks of that night's adventure to her gravema long, narrow scar. The corner of one of her eyebrows had been torn off.
(She never would have anything to do with Talleyrand afterwards.)
AN IMPORTANT LETTER.
The following letter was circulated by H. P. B. among many of her pupils, and some quotations from it have been published from time to time. But, so far as I know, it has not seen the light in its entirety, and it will be read with general interest. It reached H. P. B.'s hands in 1886, from a source she much revered.
The doctrine we promulgate being the only true one, mustsupported by such evidence as we are preparing to give-become ultimately triumphant, like every other truth. Yet it is absolutely necessary to inculcate it gradually; enforcing its theories (unimpeachable facts for those who know) with direct inference, deduced from and corroborated by, the evidence furnished by moderni exact science. That is why Col. H. S. Olcott, who works to revive Buddhism, may be regarded as one who labours in the true path of