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my friend. Why, he never spunged upon me, never borrowed money of me, never made a convenience of me, never fawned and flattered when I had a full purse, never gave me the cold shoulder when I had an empty
“ Nay, nay, you are too hard upon your friends. You have many who would willingly assist you if they had the means. I, for one, should never think of shutting my door against you."
“That I believe, for you have always shown yourself ready to take There must have been a derisive smile upon the speaker's face as he said this, and the poodle, who had been attentively watching him, must have observed it, for he threw back his head, opened his jaws, and delivered himself of a burst of canine laughter.
“Why not try to screw something out of old Kirby?" inquired Crawley, casting a scowling look at the dog, which was returned by a snarl of defiance. “Kirby, hang the old skin-flint, he would only quote a fragment of the graybeard's song,
Boys will anticipate,
Hoarded with care. Besides, how am I to find him out? The sly fox always calls in the dusk, and though I have tried over and over to dog his footsteps, I have never been able to track him. I can no longer find a single respectable housekeeper that will stand bail for me, so that I have the pleasant prospect before me of an arrest to-morrow, the certain loss of my situation, and perhaps of my occasional tips through Kirby, and my retirement for an indefinite period to the cheerful interior of a prison. Peter, did you ever hear of the prudent fellow that drank up his master's ale because he foresaw that it was going to thunder, which would inevitably have turned it sour? I will be equally discreet, for I foresee that if I don't finish this wine, it will be seized by my creditors ; so here goes.” With these words he filled a tumbler to the brim, and swallowed it off, a draught, an addition to his previous potations which presently increased the excitement and disturbance of his mind.
“ Philip, you have had enough,” said Crawley, helping himself to the remainder of the bottle ; after which he continued, “Well, it does seem cruel that such a jolly trump as you are should go to quod for a few pounds, while that stingy huncks, old Stone, the dentist, should be rolling in thousands tbat he doesn't know what to do with.”
“What! do you mean the chatterbox, of whom it is said that he never stops his own tongue even when he is stopping another man's tooth ? Oh, I know him ; hitched him myself into an epigram
Famed as a chatterer and a dentist, STONE
Holds every jaw in London-but his own.” “ Ha ! ha! ha! capital! but you are so clever. I would have given something to have written that couplet.
"I didn't know you were so liberal.”
" Why, I don't make a public boast of my donations, and what I give away in private is nothing to any body."
"Thereabouts, I suspect. But what put this money-spinner into your
“Why, I have just been calling upon him to receive the half-year's rent of his house, which belongs, you know, to our worthy employer, and I was struck by the wonderful resemblance of his hand-writing to yours. Really, I shouldn't know them apart, but you shall judge for yourself. Just look at this cheque-hey-what's this? Oh, I see how it is. In his hurry-scurry, for the old gentleman never has a second to spare, he has cut off two cheques by mistake.” “ Drawn a double tooth instead of a single one,
eh ?” “ I wish you had the filling up of this blank cheque which has come into our possession so unexpectedly. All your dangers and difficulties would vanish in an instant, for I would pledge my existence that the bankers would pay it without suspicion the moment they saw Stone's signature."
“ But don't you see, you blind buzzard, that you are talking of a forgery, a felony, a case of transportation for life ?
“Only if detected, which is quite impossible. One of my friends, who is a clerk at his bankers', teils me that he never sends for his book except on quarter day, which is nearly three months' distant, aud I believe rarely looks at it even then, for he has only just time enough after business to go to bed. Suppose now, just for argument's sake, that we draw five hundred pounds. A hundred will prevent your arrest and set things square just for the present, and my advice would be that the remainder should be invested, on our joint account, in shares of the Diddleham Junction Railway. A cousin of mine, who is secretary to the company, writes me word, in confidence, that they are about to be united to the Great North-Eastern, in which case they must inevitably run up two or three hundred
cent. We should then sell our shares, suppose we say for nine hundred pounds, five hundred of which we would pay back into Stone's bankers, to prevent the possibility of a discovery, and remainder we should very quietly put into our pockets. Nothing can be more simple or more safe.'
He who runs in debt is very apt to leave his honesty behind him; and poor Richard has told us that it is difficult for an empty sack to stand upright. A spendthrift having laid a wager with his friend that he would show him the devil, opened his purse and desired him to look inside.
“ I see nothing whatever in it," said the gazer. “ Well," was the reply, “ and don't you
call that the devil ?" The joke was metaphorically true in more senses than one, for an empty purse is the tempter's favourite haunt, as Philip Pemberton was doomed to know. Frightened at his impending ruin, from which he was eager to escape by any feasible expedient, always too facile and yielding to resist importunity; and now under the influence of potations which clouded his better judgment, he cried out, impatiently,
“ Desperate diseases require desperate remedies, so here goes." He placed the blank cheque before him, and had seized
a pen, when he again threw it down, exclaiming,
“Do look at Unicorn ; see how he shakes his head at me, and now he puts his paw upon my arm as if to prevent my writing. By Jove ! there's something uncanny about that dog. Doctor Faustus saw a black mastiff just as he was about to -"
“What nonsense, Phil. ! surely you're not blind beggar enough to be led by a good-for-nothing cur ?""
“I rather think that I am, though,” replied Philip, looking significantly at his companion, and then waving the poodle away with is hand, he exclaimed, sternly,
“Lie down, sirrah, lie down!"
Unicorn shook his head, growled, retired sullenly to the extremity of the room, and laid himself down with his back towards the table, as much as to say, gentlemen, I give you fair notice that I am no party to this transaction.
"Here's the pen," whispered Crawley, handing it to him. “But wait a minute till I move; I'm in your light here.”
“No, you're not,” said Philip, with a half-chuckle ; " I can see through you—always have, so you needn't budge. Here goes, then, kill or
“Capital, capital !” cried Crawley ; “I defy any one to see the least difference between the two signatures.”
The perilous and guilty deed was done! The cheque was presented at the bankers’ ; it was paid without a moment's hesitation.
Fear not to die! though in the pride of strength,
Of youth, and power, and bloom,
Thou canst not shun thy tomb!
When clouds o'erhang thy head-
Down in thy narrow bed!
And blooms beneath the sun,
There is no trespass done!
A sanctuary sure,
Death and the dead endure.
Thou mayst outlive thy joy-
Life's gold and life's alloy!
And that will follow thee-
Like elements set free!
And small indeed thy loss!
The shadow of the Cross !
THE PALINGENESIA OF THE ALCHEMISTS.
Light has been identified with life from the most remote times. In the mysteries of the Chaldeans and Assyrians it was particularly distinguished as the more divine nature of man, as it was also the essence of divinity itself.
“A divine nature,” says the preceptor Abammon in his answer to the epistle of Porphyry, “ whether it is allotted certain parts of the universe, such as heaven, or earth, or sacred cities and regions, or certain groves, or sacred statues, externally illuminates all these, in the same manner as the sun externally irradiates all things with his rays." Again, it was part of the doctrines both of the ancient Egyptians and of the Assyrians, that the light of different natures was distinct. “ The phasmata or luminous appearances of the gods," says Jamblichus, “ are uniform ; those of demons are various ; those of angels are more simple than those of dem.ons, but are subordinate to those of the gods ; those of archangels approximate in a greater degree to divine causes ; but those of archons, if these powers appear to you to be the cosmocrators who govern the sublunary elements, will be more various, but adorned in order; but if they are the powers that preside over matter, they will, indeed, be more various, and more imperfect than those of archons ; and those of souls will appear to be all-various. And the phasmata, indeed, of the gods, will be seen shining with salutary light ; those of archangels will be terrible, and, at the same time, mild ; those of angels will be more mild ; those of demons will be dreadful; those of heroes are milder than those of demons ; but those of archons, if their dominion pertains to the world, produce astonishment ; but if they are material, they are noxious and painful to the spectators ; and those of souls are similar to the heroic phasmata, except that they are inferior to them."
Although there is much in these views that is preposterous, still it is well worth while recording that on the very first dawn of mystical dogmata, the souls of men were, in common with angelic and even divine essences, held to be of a luminous nature, and that even then that condition of being had a received expression, which the Greeks simply designated as phasmata, or appearances as contra-distinguished from bodies
. The Hebrews, with whom light was, as with all the biblical nations, an object of especial interest, were still almost the only people in the East with whom that interest never degenerated into superstitious worship; yet even they spoke of light not only figuratively as “the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,” but, also, as a positive thing, as where Satan is spoken of as being transformed into an angel of light. (2 Cor. xi., 14.). The Hebrews, indeed, conceived spirits and angels to be incorporeal and invisible, but not immaterial, and supposed their essence to be a pure air, or a subtile fire. All theologians do not, however, coincide in this view of the subject. The fact that angels are sometimes spoken of as eating and drinking, as when Abraham entertained three in the plains of Mamre, has sadly puzzled the curious in these matters. Milton, who was deeply versed in “ angelical" literature, treated the subject almost in a tone of derision.
So down they sat,
The angel, nor in mist (the common gloss
Transpires through spirits with ease. The manner, however, in which the Jews obviated the apparent discrepancy and the sense in which they understood such passages, is made obvious in the Apocryphal book of Tobit (xii., 19,) where the angel is made
" It seems to you, indeed, as though I did eat and drink with you; but I use invisible food which no man can see.”
The mystery which has from all times enveloped so obscure a subject as spiritual essentiality, assumed more of a poetical than of a philosophical character in the imaginative mythology of the Greeks and Romans. The worship of the several kinds of Lares is acknowledged on all hands to have had its origin in the fear of spectres, Larvæ and Lemures ; and it was part of the mourning ceremony among the Ronians not to light a fire, such being, as well as excessive grief, offensive to the manes or spirits of the dead. Virgil avails himself of this in his vigorous account of the defeat of the monster Cacus by Alcides.
Pallida dîs invisa; superque immane barathrum
Cernatur, trépident que immisso lumine manes. The poetical Hell of the ancients was, however, peopled not only with shades and forms of various kinds, but had also a variety of states and conditions for the same manes. The general notion of death among the ancients was sad and gloomy; they had scarce any thing in their philosophy of old, that successfully opposed itself to the fears of death ; hence they have nothing in their poetry that will even bear quotation by the side of the well-known and incomparable “ Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians;" and they never failed more than when delineating a heaven. Though the ideas of Virgil, on this subject, are somewhat preferable to those of Homer, still they are mean enough to be deserving of little or no more consideration than, as in the case of Dante's descriptions, are due to them for their sole poetical merits. Virgil's idea of Elysium appears almost to have been borrowed from the manner in which the common people at Rome used, in his time, to pass their holidays on the banks of the Tiber; and Ovid, like a boon companion that he was, superadded the luxuries of eating and drinking. With minds so constituted, the manes were not only luminous, but they were, also, silent, pale, black, shadowy, mournful, obscure, dire, wandering, irate, hostile, terrific, miserable, or pious, happy, and blest. In Tartarus, where the most impious and guilty of mankind were punished, and which region is described as three times more gloomy than the obscurest night, the manes were appaTently only either dark, or pale, or gloomy.
Aš the astrologers of old laid the foundations of modern astronomical science, so the alchemists of early times, although persecuted by the Caesars (more especially by Dioclesian and Augustus, who ordered all their books to be burnt), opened the career of true chemical research. As with astrology, also, so in the case of alchemy, the objects sought to be obtained were often of so chimerical and mystical a character, as to throw discredit upon all investigations whatsoever. Every step made in positive and material discovery has an inevitable and a somewhat grievous tendency to alienate the mind from more spiritual research. Hence it is,