« ForrigeFortsæt »
a short paper from Dr. Henry, of Mạn- though modern alterations and improvechester, addressed to the Scientific Meeting ments have at length done away with this at York, on certain phenomena observed long-surviving relic of old days, and the during the roasting of a copper ore in An- spot where it stood is now undistinguished glesea. Immediately on the conclusion of from the surrounding neighbourhood. these papers, several gentlemen related The peculiar style of gothic architecture different facts connected with science. The which characterized this building, had, even meeting then adjourned to the evening at so far back as the reign of queen Elizabeth, eight o'clock.
rendered it remarkable for its antiquity,
and sufficiently attested the early period of The Evening Meeting.
its construction. The front of the house A number of ladies and gentlemen at- was low, and consisted of only one story, tended in the theatre of the museum, to which, projecting far into the street, comenjoy a scientific soireé. The Rev. W. pletely cast the lower part into shade. The Scoresby read a highly interesting paper, roof rose high and conical, and terminated which he called “ An exposition of some at the top in a grotesque device of carved of the laws and phenomena of magnetic oak, representing what might pass for an induction, with an account of a method of angel in the eyes of the pious, or a fiend in application of the magnetic influence to the those of the less scrupulous. determination of the thickness of rocks, and Many subordinate deities were freely other solid substances, not otherwise mea- sculptured at the extremities of the beams surable.” The laws of magnetic intensity which formed the frame-work of the large were but imperfectly investigated by Cou- lattice, and supported the cross timber of lomb, as his experiments were on a small the upper story;--the door-posts also were scale; but the powerful magnets of Mr. enriched with the same minute and laboured Scoresby have enabled him to exhibit their ornaments. The portal itself was low and effect, in producing a deviation of the wide, and the thick oaken planks of the needle at the distance of sixty feet. Though door were profusely and irregularly studded the lecturer occupied the attention of his with small iron knobs, bearing no very audience upwards of two hours, yet there remote resemblance to those ancient inwere no symptoms of indifference to be scriptions which Orientalists have termed
the Babylonian characters. Huggate, March 23, 1832. T. R. The window above, though large, and
extending along the whole front of the
house, was yet so obscured by the garniture SEDDICK BEN SAAD THE MAGICIAN, AND of wood-work which surrounded it, as to
make it difficult for the light of day to penetrate far into the gloomy recesses of the
chamber. In addition to this, the house And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, The instruments of darkness tell us truly."
stood not alone, but situated in a narrow street, with loftier buildings in front and
around, which seemed inclined to topple The following very remarkable narrative, is upon their lowly neighbour, and effectually more likely to create astonishment by the precluded the sun's rays, even on the brightest peculiarity of its character, than to make days, from enlightening the dusky mansion. converts by the incidents which it details. Such was the appearance of this edifice in It is true to the prevailing belief of the age the year 1584, when it became the resito which it refers; and in former years, it dence of a being as singularly distinguished commanded a degree of confidence which, in from the rest of the human race, as the all probability, it will never again recover. tenement he occupied would now appear
The zealous antiquary, or the observant beside the palaces of our modern Vitruvii. citizen of London, whose memory carried Of his birth, and even of his country, him back for a period of fifty years, may nothing was precisely known, but from remember an old low-browed house, which the observations, which the inquisitiveness formerly stood on the north side of Tower- of his neighbours prompted them to make, hill, on the site of the gardens, which once it was conjectured that he was of Arabian belonged to the ancient monastery of the origin. His appearance in this quarter of Crutched-friars; though its name was suc- the world was sudden; but it was rumoured, cessively changed, as the royal grant allotted that he had found his way to England in it in the first instance to Sir Thomas Wyat, the suite of a foreign ambassador, as the and at a later period to Sir Thomas Sa- previous occurrences of his life rendered vage :--the last designation it still retains, such a mode of travelling necessary to his
THE EARL OF ESSEX.
." But 'tis strange ;
safety. Though he never mixed voluntarily raised, and discovered a set of features, the with his neighbours, his doors were always expression of which was strikingly fme and open to such as crossed his threshold ; but noble. The forehead was high and expanthe number of his visitors was few. He sive, the eyes dark and piercing, the mouth neither invited nor repelled observation ; grave and well-formed; and a long beard, of but there was that about him, which was snowy whiteness, falling on his breast, gave far from stimulating the superstitious and an air of venerable solemnity to his whole unenlightened people, in the midst of whom countenance, which could not fail im. he dwelt, to a renewal of their visit. Such press the beholders with respect, if not with as had once entered within the precincts of awe. The name by which he was known his dwelling, returned impressed with a was that of Seddick ben Saad. degree of awe, which gradually communi- In the day-time he was rarely seen, but cated itself to all in the vicinity; so that, in in the evening when the dim haze of twia short time, without any real cause for light began to wrap every object in obscudislike, he was marked, feared, and gene- rity, he might be observed issuing forth, rally avoided.
and pacing with majestic step towards the The report went abroad that his know- open country which skirted this part of the ledge in the occult sciences was unbounded, town, or descending to the banks of the and those who had seen the interior of his river, along the margin of which it was his abode, gave marvellous descriptions of the wont to walk sometimes for several hours wonders which attracted their astonished together. The night appeared not to be gaze on all sides. Philosophical instru- allotted by him to the purpose of rest, for ments, and others whose uses were more the faint twinkle of the solitary lamp which imperfectly imagined, -strange garments,- flamed from the upper chamber, indicated weapons of peculiar form,-crucibles and that his studies were unremitting, whatever retorts, stuffed animals of various kinds, might be their object. and one or two living ones unknown in He seemed above the natural wants of Europe, together with numerous emblems mankind, for his diet consisted only of of mortality, alike fitted for the contem- bread and herbs, which were bought in plation of the moralizing philosopher, or very small quantities, and at long intervals the mystic appendages of the magician, between ; less, it would seem, from a habit were all to be seen in the apartment of him of parsimony, than a principle of abstemiwho had insensibly acquired the reputation ousness. Though no one could judge of of one of the magicians of old ; though it his means by the very slight expenses which was probable he was only another link of he incurred, it was nevertheless imagined the long chain of those who laboured in that he possessed great riches, and this bethe advancement of what was generally lief continually gained ground. termed the grand magisterium, or secret,- It has been observed, that Ben Saad was the discovery of the philosopher's stone, more shunned than sought ;- there were with all its mysterious accompaniments. times, however, when this prejudice gave
The personal appearance of this indivi- way, before the necessities of those who dual was as remarkable as the furniture of
came with humble looks to implore his his dwelling. His dress was usually a long assistance: their health, their undertakings, violet-coloured robe (the mourning garment and their fortunes, were by turns the theme of the East,) confined round the middle by of solicitation, and to all he lent an attentive a broad leathern belt, on which were in- ear. His medical skill restored their former scribed the signs of the zodiac, and various strength; his prescience afforded them unknown characters. He wore a high wise rules for their future guidance, if it did conical cap made of dark fur, such as we not absolutely predict the course of events ;
on Armenians, Persians, and other and his liberality often relieved, in a more inhabitants of Asia; his feet were shod tangible manner, the wants of such as were with sandals, and from his waist depended not undeserving of his kinduess. a small case of writing materials; a scroll The fame of Seddik ben Saad soon of parchment only partially concealed in spread far and wide; and upon the lastthe folds of his ample robe, and a long mentioned circumstance, the conjectures of ebon staff, which he invariably carried his wealth were more ostensibly founded.' abroad, completed his external appearance. It was a chill and wintry night at the
In form he was tall, though somewhat latter end of the month of October, when a bent.--either from age, or the habit of boat, pulled by four stout rowers, was meditation, which fixed his gaze, almost rapidly urged along the river, as it returned constantly upon the earth, save when he from the royal residence at Greenwich, was about to speak. His head was then to London. Though the moon was at the 2D. SERIES, NO. 18.--Vol. II,
full, her light was obscured by heavy masses he was safely raised from the water, and of dark cloud, which drifted before her, and placed on dry land. cast a fitful gloom over the face of nature; On examining the person of him whom the wind whistled shrilly, and, sweeping in thay had rescued, the young stranger obsudden gusts across the stream, curled up served, that his garb was Oriental, and the the surface of the waters, and dashed the first words he uttered, when sufficiently recold spray over the boatmen, as they sped covered from the state of exhaustion which the light and bounding bark.
his violent efforts had caused, were in an A young man sat in the stern of the
unknown tongue. “Mashallah,” was his boat, wrapped in a large cloak, which com- oft-repeated exclamation, as with uplifted pletely concealed his figure; he seemed hands he raised his eyes towards heavenabsorbed in a profound reverie, though con- then, turning to those who surrounded him, stant habit gave him the power to guide he addressed himself in English to him the helm mechanically, and avoid the many who was evidently their chief. impediments which obstructed the channel. “ Stranger,” he said, "you have saved The boat was now fast approaching the my life; and, if you wish to add to the city, and the frowning battlements of the good work you have begun, you will send ancient Tower of London were at intervals an escort to my dwelling, for I much fear, perceptible, when the moon for a moment that, in my protracted absence, the villains struggled through the dark veil which ob- with whom I was engaged may effect a scured her brightness. On a sudden, the part of their design; and the strength of young man started from the musing atti- threescore and ten availeth little, after so tude in which he had been reclining, and severe a struggle. Just Allah,” he excommanded the boatmen to rest on their claimed, interjectionally, “ when may thy oars, while he bent himself forward to listen trusting servant pass through his final trial, for a repetition of the sound which he said and become the type of thine own Omnihad originally disturbed him.
potence below !"—then, turning again, he It was then that all on board distinctly added, “ Deny not my request, it shall heard the voices of men on shore loud in profit you much; I have that which can altercation, and, as it seemed, engaged in amply satisfy your utmost wishes, and your some desperate act of violence. In this reward shall not be wanting.” opinion they were confirmed by hearing “ There needs none, reverend father, the cry of murder several times repeated. replied the young stranger, with the frankThe young man already mentioned directed ness of youth ; “I myself will be your the rowers to pull towards the shore as fast escort, and fear not that I can sufficiently as they could, and with as little noise as defend you; I have used my sword in a possible. Favoured by the darkness of the good cause too often, to dread the result
, night, and the turbulent state of the waters, should we be attacked by a score of such which concealed their approach, they had craven fellows as we just now scared ; I almost gained the bank of the river, at the return not with you, Walter," he said, spot from whence the sounds proceeded, speaking to the foremost boatman, “it may when their purpose was discovered ; a be that I shall stay for to-night in the neighviolent but brief struggle ensued, and then bourhood.” The man to whom he spoke a heavy plunge into the stream, accom- replied only by an obedient gesture, and panied by a deep execration, announced the party withdrew to the boat, leaving that all was over.
their leader and the old man alone toThe moon at the same moment burst gether. through the cloud which obscured her, and A slight pause ensued, which was broken by her light two men were seen for an in- by the former, who demanded to know stant at gaze, as they reconnoitered the party if his companion were able to renew his in the boat, and then were speedily lost journey homewards. Receiving an assent, from the view. The boatmen shipped they slowly quitted the shore, and, in a their oars, and the bark glided swiftly for- short time, reached the inhabited precincts ward to the bank, where, vainly grasping
of the town. The old man here led the at the slippery surface which it presented, a way, through several narrow and obscure figure was descried, striving manfully to streets, and at length stopped opposite the regain the shore: his efforts would, how- low portal of a house which has already ever, have been unsuccessful, had not the been described. He then eagerly sought leader of the party, which had come so in his bosom, and produced a small masteropportunely to his rescue, leaned over the key, which he applied to the lock, and the side of the boat, and supported him in the door stood open before them. stream, till, by the assistance of his men, “ Enter, my son,” said Seddick ben vaulted room,
Saad, for he it was, “there is nothing now tombs of the ancient Pharaohs. Amongst to dread—the ascendancy of the evil planet these were others which, more regularly is past, and good fortune predominates. mathematical, were more intelligible. Various Fate has decreed that thou shouldest this scrolls of parchment, covered with hieroglynight be my guest, though not even I could phics, glass - cases containing the sacred have divined the means. What saith the ibis, the swathed mummy from the pyraHoly Koran, ‘No man shall see death, till the mids, the embryo crocodile of the Nile; and time arrives which is fixed by the immutable numerous other fragments of Egyptian antidecree of Allah;' follow me, then, my son, quity, were scattered round the room. In and believe that the events of this night the further corner was a deep recess, in which have been long foredoomed to happen.” appeared many of the instruments proper He entered, as he spoke, into a low for a chemist's laboratory; a small fire of
where a solitary lamp sent charcoal was also burning steadily beneath forth a flickering light, and only half-illu- a large alembic.
All these signs were mined the dusky chamber. The stranger sufficient to assure the stranger that he was followed him, and Bed Saad cautiously in the dwelling of one of those sages closed the door. He then crossed the whom subsequent times have stigmatized vault, and, taking up the lamp, beckoned as astrologers and visionary enthusiasts. his companion to ascend with him a nar- Ben Saad now placed some provisions row gloomy staircase, the first steps of on a small table, and set them before his which were just visible as the light fell guest. “ They are not,” he said, “ such as faintly on a dark recess. The stranger he- you are doubtless accustomed to, but who, sitated for an instant, and then, as if reflect- in traversing the sandy desert, can look to ing that he had gone too far to recede, and behold the delightful valleys of Yemen ? The that he was armed and alone, with a de- juice of the grape thou knowest is forbidden fenceless old man who owed him his life, to all who profess the true belief, since our he felt ashamed of his momentary appre- holy prophet denounced it the Omen Alkhension, and advanced towards Al Seddik. habát, or mother of destruction." The latter seemed to guess what was passing “ Father,” replied the youth, “I know in his mind.
the rites of Eastern hospitality, “ I come,” he said, “ from a land where as to partake gratefully of that which is inhospitality and ingratitude are unknown; cheerfully offered. These dried fruits, and Lowe you the reverse of both : a robber, even this delicious beverage, are a greater luxury in my country, respects the sacred character than the costliest viands and the brightest of his guest.” They ascended the narrow wines.” Will you not comply with your stairs, and, assisted more by the touch than native custom, so far as to eat the “bread eyesight, at length gained the summit, and salt with me?” where the stranger found himself in a spa- “I may not,” answered Seddik, “incious apartment.
dulge in the sensual delights of appetite. Ben Saad trimmed his lamp, and in- Long and severe fasting can alone free the vited his guest to rest himself, while he mind from earthly desires, and raise it to procured him some refreshment. In the the state of perfection which is needful for mean time, the latter was occupied in ex- him who toils after the light of truth; neveramining the chamber of which he was so theless, to remove your scruples, a few unexpectedly the tenant. The walls of the dates and a cup of sherbet, shall assure me room were wainscoted, and, as well as the as truly your friend as if I had sworn by ceiling, were composed of dark oak, which Al Corsi, the brightest of the thrones of was much blackened by time and smoke. Allah.” Their repast was soon finished, From the centre of the ceiling was sus- and the stranger now demanded of Ben pended a heavy silver chain, to which Saad the particulars of the accident which hung a lamp of the same metal, in the had caused his interference. They were shape of a globe, with four long branches, briefly explained. fantastically trimmed. As the old man It appeared that, pursuing his accustraversed the apartment, the light flashed tomed path by the river-side, and immersed upon the walls, where numerous steel wea- in deep thought, he had suddenly been pons were arranged in peculiar devices; stopped by two ruffians, who, aware of his and between each group of arms was sus. usual habits, and influenced probably by pended a human skull, a skeleton, or some the general report, sought to make themother ghastly emblem of mortality.
selves masters of his person, to secure his Strange figures were also chalked upon supposed wealth. He had nothing on his the wainscoat, exhibiting many of the person except the key of his dwelling, which mystical signs which are inscribed on the was carefully concealed; but the robbers,
disbelieving his assertions, proceeded to where none would heed my light; but tell acts of violence. He defended himself as me more, Seddik: what of my particular well as he could, but they had just suc- fortunes, and how are they to be attained ?” ceeded in mastering his weapon at the very “My son,” replied the astrologer, “ as crisis when the boat appeared in sight; and, yet I see but dimly into the events of in revenge for the loss of their prize, they futurity, if you wish to learn all that may had burled Al Seddik into the river. betide, as far as human skill can point it
“I knew," continued Ben Saad, “ for out, it shall be done, but not now; I must the stars had predicted it, that danger was make some necessary preparations, and ob
me : the conjunction of opposing serve the favourable hour; you, yourself, planets spoke only too plainly; but I knew, must give me the precise indications which also, that a more favourable influence was are necessary for setting your horoscope ; predominant, and such it has proved. Tell then all shall be made known to you. me, then, my son, in which way Seddik, the Your hand, again," he said, he once more humble recluse, can shew his gratitude to looked on it with attention. « Success and his preserver."
power are, indeed, distinctly marked, but “ My father," replied the stranger, “I friendship is wanting throughout; and all doubt not that the book of knowledge lies things portend a violent death. See vou open to your skill, or does it exceed the
not the brevity of the mensal line, and the limits of your art to predict the future des- upward-turning branches of the line of life? tinies of a nameless man; if not, I would Enough for the present. In eight-and-forty entreat that my fate may be revealed to me?" hours we will speak further on this matter;
And is it even so," exclaimed Ben and now, my son, you doubtless stand in Saad : “ old and young, rich and poor, all need of rest. To-night, you are my guest, seek after futurity ; believe me that the if you can sleep in a dwelling so dreary.” knowledge is often fatal; ask for some other " The prospect of the future," he replied, gratification which may be more easily “shall not at any rate mar my present slumattained, and less dangerous when possessed.” bers; and sleep will seal my eyes as readily
“Nay,” replied the youth, deny not here as elsewhere." Arise, then, and my request ; I am indifferent to the danger, follow me," said Ben Saad; and, opening and can wish for no higher gratification : a small door, he led the way down a trust me, I have framed my mind to endure
narrow passage, at the extremity of which my fortune, be it of good or evil. To know was a small chamber, covered with the it, cannot make me unhappier than I have skins of various animals, and spread out so been; it may have a better effect on the as to form a luxurious couch.” days which are in store."
“Here,” said the astrologer, " is my bed, “ Be it so, then,” said Al Seddik, rest here till daylight; for myself, I must member it is the voice of heaven that be a watcher till the stars shed their latest ray. speaks : give me your hand.” The young In the morning, when you wish to depart, man extended his palm in obedience seek me not, but descend the staircase, which to the sage's direction. After a long and leads into the lower apartment, remember attentive perusal of the interesting lines, to close the portal, and fail not to present Ben Saad spoke.
yourself here when the sun has set on the “ This hand," he said, " is a mysterious second day from hence; forget not, also, intelligencer of the decrees of fate. I see to note the precise hour and period of your in it the course of an eventful life. Ay," birth; and now may the star of the sleeping he exclaimed, rather as it were in coin- eagle* shed its influence over your couch!” munion with his own thoughts, than ad- The old man withdrew at these words. dressing his companion, “a long and His companion stretched himself upon the slender palm, and taper fingers ; "yet spirit soft bed of furs which was prepared ; and, and enterprise are clearly developed, as despite of the novelty of his situation, and well as their consequence, honours and dig- the imperfect prophecies he had heard renities, in these ruddy nails; and the line of lative to his own fate, which haunted his life, ay, that indeed, 'tis strongly and boldly imagination, in a short time he slept sound. marked, but see where it suddenly termi- ly. He was stirring at early dawn; and, nates; though bright and successful thy obedient to the sage's injunction, departed career, the end appears abrupt and violent as silently as he arrived. That day passed
sharp and sudden death must close thy away, and the second was sinking fast into mortal span !"
the shades of night, when he returned to “ So be it,” said the youth, “ I would the dwelling of the astrologer, prepared, rather gleam like a meteor through the midair, than twinkle obscurely, however steadily, * " Nasr al Vaké," so called by the Arabs.