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EDITORIAL RECENT LITERATURE. Fuly. – Mistral's Mirėio. — Longfellow's Three Books of Song. - Hudson's

Shakespeare. — Chambers's Memoir of Chambers. - South Sea Bubbles. - Prime's Around the World. – A Woman's Experiences in Europe. – Baldwin's Ancient America. — “Una and her Paupers.”. Hare's Walks in Rome. — DeMille's American Baron. French and German: Ampère's Journal. Achard's Souvenirs d'Emeutes. — Caro's Les Jours d'Épreuve. — Feuillet's Julie de Trécoeur. Du Mesnil-Marigny's Histoire de l'Economie politique des anciens Peuples. - Elise Polko's Im Vorübergehen. - Hoefer's Zur Linken Hand. August. — Taine's Notes on England. - Warner's Saunterings. – H. H.'s Bits of Travel. – Turgeneff's Smoke. French and German: Die fromme Helene. – Kulturgeschichte des Sechzehnten Jahrhunderts. — Lebensabrisse berühmter deutscher Männer. - Goethe's - Briefe an Eichstädt. - L'Invasion.- La Guerre en Province pendant le siége de Paris. - La Littérature Française des Origines au XVIIe siècle. — Les Bourgeois-Gentilshommes de 1871. September. - Lamon's Lise of Lincoln. French and German : Sardou’s Rabagas. – Joanne's Albert Fleurier. - George Sand's Francia. – Victor Hugo's Année Terrible. - Claretie's Roman des Soldats. - Feydeau's L'Allemagne en 1871. - Vischer's Krieg und die Künste. October. — Flagg's A Good Investment. — “Pennsylvania Dutch." -- Parkman's Oregon Trail. — Casgrain's Parkman. — – Chaplin's Life of Dunster. Florence Montgomery's Thrown Together. - Pelletan's Pastor of the Desert. Calvert's Goethe. -Mazzini's Life. – Whymper's Scrambles amongst the Alps. French and German: Droz's Babolain. - Morand's Jeunes Années de Sainte-Beuve. Mazade's Lamartine. - Röntsch's Indogermanen und Semitenthum. — Turgenjew's Frühlingsfluthen. Norwegian: Kristofer Janson's Sigmund Bresteson. November. – Palfrey's History of New England. - Morley's Voltaire. Haweis's Music and Morals. — Le Play's Organization of Labor. — Pierce's Dickens Dictionary. De Fontaine's Cyclopædia of the best Thoughts of Charles Dickens. – Whittier's Pennsylvania Pilgrim. - The Rose Garden. - Burnand's My Health. French and German: Turgenjew's Frühlingsfluthen. - Karpeles's Heinrich Heine.

- December. - Whitney's Oriental Studies. — The Poet at the Breakfast-Table. — Eggleston's The End of the World. — Tennyson's Gareth and Lynette. — Eastlake's Hints on Household Taste. French and German: Lotheissen's Literatur und Gesellschaft in Frankreich zur Zeit der Revolution. – Scharff-Scharffenstein's Das Geheime Treiben. -- Hartmann's Gott und Naturwissenschaft. - Le Duc's M. le Comte et Mme, la Comtesse. - La Jeunesse de Lord

Byron. Art. July. — Pratt's Yosemite Falls. - Sale of English Water-Color Pictures. – Sonie French Paintings.

- First Annual Exhibition of Drawings from the Free Industrial Drawing Schools. August. Moran's Grand Cañon of the Yellowstone. - Selous's Jerusalem. - September. - Exhibitions of the Art Museums.- Ward's Statue of Shakespeare. October. – Antique Pottery and Porcelain exhibited by the Museum of Fine Arts. - Portraits by Stuart. — “The Nation” and Mr. Ward's "Indian Hunter." November.- The Architecture of new Chicago. – Walter Smith's Art Education.

December. - Mr. Ward's Statues and “The Nation's " Mistakes. Music. July. – New Publications by Emery, Sloper, Perabo, Lysberg, Spindler, Ketterer, and Boott. August. — Stage Elocution. – Dressing and mise-en-scene. – - Ballet. - September. - The Jubilee.

October. -- New Music by Franz Abt and others. November, - Orchestral Music in our Theatres. December. – The Season. - Mario. - Carlotta Patti. – Teresa Carreño. — Rubinstein. SCIENCE. Fuly. – Mr. Chauncey Wright on “The Use and Origin of the Arrangements of Leaves in Plants."

Professor Shaler's Explanation of the Rattlesnake's Rattle. August. Sun-spots and Cholera. Is Alcohol a Food ? - September. - News from the Stars. October. - Elimination of Alcohol. Mr. Ayrton and Dr. Hooker.

Mr. Darwin and the French Academy. December. -- The Schoeppe Trial. – Dr. Wyman's Treatise on Autumnal Catarrh. POLITICS. Fuly. – The Situation. August. Sumner's Speech. - The Grant Convention and Plat

form. — The opposing Candidates and their Characteristics. September. – The Washington Treaty. - A Year of Surprises and Anomalies. - October. – Should we gain by a Change? November. Mr. Greeley farceur. —December. - Where Victory leaves us.

THE

ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A Magazine of Literature, Science, Art,

and Politics.

VOL. XXX. - JULY, 1872. — NO. CLXXVII.

SEPTIMIUS FELTON; OR, THE ELIXIR OF LIFE.

VII.

SEPT

"EPTIMIUS, meanwhile, had be- never weigh with deadly weight on any

taken himself to the hill-top, which man's conscience. Something must be was his place of refuge on all occasions risked in the cause of science, and in when the house seemed too stifled to desperate cases something must be contain him ; and there he walked to risked for the patient's self. Septimius, and fro, with a certain kind of calmness much as he loved life, would not have and indifference that he wondered at; hesitated to put his own life to the for there is hardly anything in this same risk that he had imposed on Aunt world so strange as the quiet surface Keziah ; or if he did hesitate, it would that spreads over a man's mind in his have been only because, if the experigreatest emergencies; so that he deems ment turned out disastrously in his himself perfectly quiet, and upbraids own person, he would not be in a pohimself with not feeling anything, when sition to make another and more sucindeed he is passion-stirred. As Sep- cessful trial ; whereas, by trying it on timius walked to and fro, he looked at others, the man of science still reserves the rich crimson flowers, which seemed himself for new efforts, and does not to be blooming in greater profusion and put all the hopes of the world, so far as luxuriance than ever before. He had involved in his success, on one cast of made an experiment with these flowers, the die. and he was curious to know whether By and by he met Sybil Dacy, that experiment had been the cause of who had ascended the hill, as was Aunt Keziah's death. Not that he felt usual with her, at sunset, and came any remorse therefor, in any case, or towards him, gazing earnestly in his believed himself to have committed a face. crime, having really intended and de- “They tell me poor Aunt Keziah is sired nothing but good. I suppose

no more," said she. such things (and he must be a lucky “ She is dead,” said Septimius. physician, methinks, who has no such “The power is a very famous medimischief within his own experience) cine,” said the girl,“ but everything de

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872, by JAMES R. Osgood & Co., in the Office of the

Librarian of Congress, at Washington VOL. XXX. - NO. 177

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pends on its being applied in the proper had very much the aspect of provincial way.”

towns in England, such as may still be “ Do you know the way, then ?" seen there, while our own city has unasked Septimius.

dergone such wonderful changes that “No; you should ask Doctor Port- little likeness to what our ancestors soaken about that,” said Sybil.

made it can now be found. The streets, Doctor Portsoaken ! And so he crooked and narrow; the houses, manyshould consult him. That eminent gabled, projecting, with latticed winchymist and scientific man had evi- dows and diamond panes ; without dently heard of the recipe, and at all sidewalks ; with rough pavements. events would be acquainted with the Septimius knocked loudly at the door, best methods of getting the virtues out nor had long to wait before a servingof flowers and herbs, some of which, maid appeared, who seemed to be of Septimius had read enough to know, English nativity; and in reply to his were poison in one phase and shape of request for Doctor Portsoaken bade preparation, and possessed of richest him come in, and led him up a stairvirtues in others; their poison, as one case with broad landing-places ; then may say, serving as a dark and terrible tapped at the door of a room, and was safeguard, which Providence has set to responded to by a gruff voice saying, watch over their preciousness; even “Come in!” The woman held the as a dragon, or some wild and fiend door open, and Septimius saw the verish spectre, is set to watch and keep itable Doctor Portsoaken in an old, hidden gold and heaped-up diamonds. faded morning-gown, and with a nightA dragon always waits on everything cap on his head, his German pipe in that is very good. And what would de- his mouth, and a brandy-bottle, to the serve the watch and ward of a drag- best of our belief, on the table by his on, or something more fatal than a side. dragon, if not this treasure of which “ Come in, come in,” said the gruff Septimius was in quest, and the dis- doctor, nodding to Septimius. “I recovery and possession of which would member you. Come in, man, and tell enable him to break down one of the me your business.” strongest barriers of nature? It ought Septimius did come in, but was so to be death, he acknowledged it, to at struck by the aspect of Doctor Porttempt such a thing; for how changed soaken's apartment, and his gown, that would be life if he should succeed ! how he did not immediately tell his business. necessary it was that mankind should In the first place, everything looked be defended from such attempts on the very dusty and dirty, so that evidently general rule on the part of all but him ! no woman had ever been admitted into How could Death be spared ? — then this sanctity of a place; a fact made all the sire would live forever, and the the more evident by the abundance of heir never come to his inheritance, and spiders, who had spun their webs about so he would at once hate his own fa- the walls and ceiling in the wildest apther, from the perception that he would parent confusion, though doubtless each never be out of his way. Then the individual spider knew the cordage same class of powerful minds would al- which he had lengthened out of his own ways rule the state, and there would miraculous bowels. But it was really never be a change of policy. [Here strange. They had festooned their several pages are missing. - ED.) cordage on whatever was stationary in

the room, making a sort of gray, dusky Through such scenes Septimius tapestry, that waved portentously in sought out the direction that Doctor the breeze, and Alapped, heavy and disPortsoaken had given him, and came mal, each with its spider in the centre to the door of a house in the older part of his own system. And what was of the town. The Boston of those days most marvellous was a spider over the

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doctor's head; a spider, I think of some which my poor stomach has not yet South American breed, with a circum- forgotten ? " ference of its many legs as big, unless “My Aunt Keziah is no more," said I am misinformed, as a teacup, and Septimius. with a body in the midst as large as a “No more! Well, I trust in heaven dollar ; giving the spectator horrible she has carried her secret with her," qualms as to what would be the conse- said the doctor. “If anything could quence if this spider should be crushed, comfort you for her loss, it would be and, at the same time, suggesting the that. But what brings you to Boston ?" poisonous danger of suffering such a “ Only a dried flower or two,” said monster to live. The monster, how- Septimius, producing some specimens ever, sat in the midst of the stalwart of the strange growth of the grave. “I cordage of his web, right over the doc- want you to tell me about them.” tor's head ; and he looked, with all The naturalist took the flowers in his those complicated lines, like the symbol hand, one of which had the root apof a conjurer or crafty politician in the pended, and examined them with great midst of the complexity of his scheme ; minuteness and some surprise ; two or and Septimius wondered if he were not three times looking in Septimius's face the type of Doctor Portsoaken himself, with a puzzled and inquiring air ; then who, fat and bloated as the spider, examined them again. seemed to be the centre of some dark “Do you tell me,” said he, “that the contrivance. And could it be that poor plant has been found indigenous in this Septimius was typified by the fascinated country, and in your part of it? And fily, doomed to be entangled by the in what locality ?" web?

“ Indigenous, so far as I know," an“Good day to you,” said the gruff swered Septimius. “ As to the localidoctor, taking his pipe from his mouth. ty," — he hesitated a little, — “it is on “Here I am, with my brother spiders, a small hillock, scarcely bigger than a in the midst of my web. I told you, molehill, on the hill-top behind my you remember, the wonderful efficacy house." which I had discovered in spiders' The naturalist looked steadfastly at webs; and this is my laboratory, where him with red, burning eyes, under his I have hundreds of workmen concoct- deep, impending, shaggy brows; then ing my panacea for me. Is it not a again at the flower. lovely sight?”

“Flower, do you call it ? ” said he, "A wonderful one, at least,” said after a re-examination. " This is no Septimius. “ That one above your flower, though it so closely resembles head, the monster, is calculated to give one, and a beautiful one, - yes, most a very favorable idea of your theory. beautiful. But it is no flower. It is a What a quantity of poison there must certain very rare fungus, - So rare as be in him!”

almost to be thought fabulous ; and * Poison, do you call it ?" quoth the there are the strangest superstitions, grim doctor.

“That's entirely as it coming down from ancient times, as to may be used. Doubtless his bite would the mode of production. What sort of send a man to kingdom come; but, on manure had been put into that hillock ? the other hand, no one need want a Was it merely dried leaves, the refuse better life-line than that fellow's web. of the forest, or something else ?" He and I are firm friends, and I be- Septimius hesitated a little ; but lieve he would know my enemies by there was no reason why he should not instinct. But come, sit down, and take disclose the truth, - as much of it as a glass of brandy. No? Well, I'll Doctor Portsoaken cared to know. drink it for you. And how is the old “ The hillock where it grew," anaunt yonder, with her infernal nostrum, swered he, was a grave.” the bitterness and nauseousness of A grave ! Strange ! strange !"

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ness.

quoth Doctor Portsoaken. “Now these “Many a chance shot brings down
old superstitions sometimes prove to the bird,” said Doctor Portsoaken.
have a germ of truth in them, which “ You say you had no interest in his
some philosopher has doubtless long death. We shall see that in the end."
ago, in forgotten ages, discovered and Septimius did not try to follow the
made known; but in process of time conversation among the mysterious
bis learned memory passes away, but hints with which the doctor chose to
the truth, undiscovered, survives him, involve it; but he now sought to gain
and the people get hold of it, and make some information from him as to the
it the nucleus of all sorts of folly. So mode of preparing the recipe, and
it grew out of a grave! Yes, yes; and whether he thought it would be most
probably it would have grown out of efficacious as a decoction or as a dis-
any other dead flesh, as well as that of tillation. The learned chemist sup-
a human being; a dog would have an- ported most decidedly the latter opin-
swered the purpose as well as a man. ion, and showed Septimius how he
You must know that the seeds of fungi might make for himself a simpler appa-
are scattered so universally over the ratus, with no better aids than Aunt
world that, only comply with the con- Keziah's teakettle, and one or two tri-
ditions, and you will produce them fling things, which the doctor him-
everywhere. Prepare the bed it loves, self supplied, by which all might be
and a mushroom will spring up sponta- done with every necessary scrupulous-
neously, an excellent food, like manna
from heaven. So superstition says, “Let me look again at the formula,".
kill your deadliest enemy, and plant said he. “ There are a good many
him, and he will come up in a delicious minute directions that appear trifling,
fungus, which I presume to be this; but it is not safe to neglect any minu-
steep him, or distil him, and he will tiæ in the preparation of an affair like
make an elixir of life for you. I sup- this ; because, as it is all mysterious
pose there is some foolish symbolism and unknown ground together, we can-
or other about the matter ; but the not tell which may be the important
fact I affirm to be nonsense. Dead and efficacious part. For instance,
flesh under some certain conditions of when all else is done, the recipe is to
rain and sunshine, not at present as- be exposed seven days to the sun at
certained by science, will produce the That does not look very im-
fungus, whether the manure be friend, portant, but it may be. Then again,
or foe, or cattle.”

Steep it in moonlight during the sec“ And as to its medical efficacy ?' ond quarter.' That's all moonshine, asked Septimius.

one would think; but there's no say“That may be great for aught I ing. It is singular, with such preciseknow,” said Portsoaken ; "but I am ness, that no distinct directions are content with my cobwebs. You may given whether to infuse, decoct, distil, seek it out for yourself. But if the poor or what other way; but my advice is fellow lost his life in the supposition to distil.” that he might be a useful ingredient in “ I will do it,” said Septimius, "and a recipe, you are rather an unscrupu- not a direction shall be neglected.” lous practitioner.”

“I shall be curious to know the re“The person whose mortal relics fill sult,” said Doctor Portsoaken, “and that grave,” said Septimius,

am glad to see the zeal with which you enemy of mine (no private enemy, I enter into the matter. A very valuable mean, though he stood among the ene- medicine may be recovered to science mies of my country), nor had I any through your agency, and you may thing to gain by his death. I strove to make your fortune by it; though, for avoid aiming at his life, but he com- my part, I prefer to trust to my cobpelled me."

webs. This spider, now, is not he a

noon.

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