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is not represented by her daughter or granddaughter, soft, and transparent as glass, and are met with of but by her great-granddaughter, or great-great-grand- various forms—discoid, hemispherical, or bell-shapeddaughter, who becomes in turn the medium through and they may be seen swimming about immediately bewhich the species is perpetuated. This curious process low the surface of the water, at sea, or in creeks, from is known to naturalists by the title of Alternate Genera- spring till late in the autumn, but only when the surface tion - a process so completely at variance with the is tranquil, and no rain has been falling. They occur in every-day maxim of like father like son,' that we are vast numbers, especially where streams enter the sea ; sure few subjects could be more interesting to the and they swim more deeply in the water when the surintelligent reader than a brief and untechnical account face is rough, or after a fall of rain—the slightest shower of its character.

causing them to descend rapidly. Every frequenter of This alternation of generations, whereby the ma- the sea-shore must have seen the jelly-like masses lying ternal animal does not meet with its resemblance in its in hundreds on the sand after a storm in autumn ; but own brood, but in its descendants of the second, third, then they are likely to be bruised, or partly shrivelled ; or fourth generation, is totally different from what we and to see with advantage their varied rays and hues, see in the ordinary mode of reproduction, and not less their long pendent tentacula, and their curious mode of distinct from what we call metamorphosis. In ordi- progression, one must observe them in deep water. On nary generation among mammalian animals, the young, the approach of winter, they withdraw themselves to a at the earliest stage of its separate existence, so closely greater depth, or probably nearly all die out at that resembles the parent, that there is no difficulty in period. Before doing so, however, they perform the assigning it to its peculiar species. Birds, though pro- important function of reproduction, the spawn or ova of duced from eggs by external incubation, present no the female make their escape, and these we shall now intermediate stage of active life, but pass at once into trace through their startling transformations. the form of their respective progenitors. And so also An ovum, on its first escape from the parent, is a with fishes — the lowest of vertebrate classes : each small roundish oblong body, floating freely in the water, speck of spawn passes in time into a perfect fish like but capable of locomotion, which is accomplished by its parent-presenting, it may be, very different aspects means of innumerable cilia, or minute filaments, that in its embryotic progress, but still retaining its indivi- cover its surface. By and by a small disk appears at duality or oneness of existence. Such is the ordinary one extremity, and by this it becomes immovably atmode of reproduction ; wonderful no doubt, and sur- tached to some sea-weed or other substance. This is passingly beautiful in all its harmonies and relations, stage the first. In a few days the egg has become a but not so strange as that of metamorphic life, and less polype, having a stalk of attachment, and a bell-shaped startling still than that of alternate generation.

body, fringed with tentacula or filaments, by which it In metamorphosis, the animal passes through a circle secures its food from the surrounding water. This is of forms, often differing widely from one another, but still stage the second, in which it is a true polype, acting preretaining the same vital principle or unity of existence. cisely as the hydra or fresh-water polype, and capable The successive forms are passively assumed; and in of increase by buds or gemmation. A little longer, none, save the primitive parent, is there any reproduc- and the body of the polype increases in length and tive or multiplying power. Take the frog, for example, thickness, and is marked by numerous transverse rings. which deposits its spawn in the wayside pool. Every These rings become lines of separation, little processes speck or egg of this spawn becomes, under the proper spring from their edges, the separation between the conditions of moisture, temperature, and so forth, a tad- segments become more decided, and instead of a polype pole, which is strictly aquatic; breathes by gills, sculls we have now a pile of cup-like bodies, seated within itself by an oar-like tail, and altogether presents a form one another, each possessing a perfect life and indiviso different from that of its parent frog, that no one duality. This is stage the third. By and by the sections could possibly predicate its original connexion. By and of the cup-like pile separate, each becomes a little fringed by an internal skeleton is formed, legs begin to appear, floater, like an inverted parasol; and from this stage (the the tail drops off, the gills are replaced by internal lungs, fourth) they pass by degrees into perfect medusæ. We and the tadpole passes into the perfect amphibious frog. say a little fringed floater, for at this stage the creature Throughout this beautiful transformation everything is only a few lines long, while the full-grown medusa is bas been passive, and limited to one exhibition of vitality a million times larger, often spanning a space of several

- from the spawn arose the tadpole, from the tadpole fathoms with its tentacula, and swimming about freely the frog, in whom centered again the active power of in the ocean. Here, then, if there be no error in the reproduction. The tadpole might have been kept in observation, is one of the most curious transformations the tadpole state for ages, without giving birth to other in nature. A medusa gives birth to a number of ova, tadpoles; and therein consists one grand distinction be- which in time become polypes capable of multiplying tween metamorphosis and alternate generation. To themselves; and each polype separates into numerous illustrate still farther, let us take another instance of cup-like creatures, which ultimately revert to true metamorphosis. The common white butterfly drops its medusæ. Had the original ovum merely passed into eggs on a cabbage leaf; from each of these, in a few a polypi-form, the polype into a cup-shaped creature, days, springs a voracious caterpillar, having no feature and this again into a medusa, the transformation would in common with the maternal butterfly. A little longer, have been one of simple metamorphosis; but that the and the caterpillar instinctively seeks some sheltered intermediate stages should be endowed with a power of crevice, becomes dormant, passes into a crysalis, which reproduction, is that which constitutes the marvel. differs as widely from the caterpillar as it does from the Other examples of alternate generation might be butterfly, and from this crysalis springs in time the added, as that of the corinya, or claviform polypes; the fluttering insect of another summer. Wonderful, again, salpæ, these curious molluscs which are often observed but all limited and passive! Neither caterpillar nor floating in chains of from twenty to fifty in number; and crysalis could give birth to others of their kind: with the trematoda—that is, the fluke or liver-worm, which inthe butterfly alone, of which the others were but meta- habits the liver of sheep in peculiar situations, and espemorphosed forms, lay the power of increase.

cially in wet years, causing much sickness among those Alternate generation differs from the preceding modes animals. Enough, however, has been given to exhibit the of reproduction, inasmuch as the several intermediate peculiar character of the phenomenon-a phenomenon forms have the power of increase as well as the original the explanation of which at once enlarges our views of parent. This curious phenomenon has as yet been creation, and inculcates humility and caution. In strict traced with accuracy only in three or four animals, from philosophy, we cannot regard the medusa, the polype, which we may select for illustration the common and the cup-like creatures, as belonging to different "jelly-fishes,' sea-nettles,' or meduse of our own shores. species ; they are part and parcel of one great specific These creatures are of a gelatinous consistence, very circle, indispensably necessary to each other, and must

be regarded, however dissimilar in form and functions, I have heard men in business say, 'Ah, if I could deas belonging to the same vital unit. It may thus hap- vote my life to study, instead of grubbing here to get pen, as the subject of alternating generations is better money, I should then be all right.' And, on the other known, that many of the so-called species and genera hand, students are heard to say, ' After all, it is the of the invertebrata are neither one nor the other, but component forms of some circle of alternate genera

man of business who really enjoys reading, when in his tion. We regard the butterfly, caterpillar, and crysalis hours of relaxation he goes to his books as a relief. as one ; so also it will be with these curious circles of But it is odious to make your study a workshop. Both generation when their limits are determined.

parties are labouring under a kindred delusion. It will now be seen how widely this alternating sys And thus people go on; their energies are devoted to tem differs from the ordinary course of generation, and the attainment of some object, and if they can reach how far it carries the complexity of nature beyond what that, they will find repose.' The end is gained, but is presented by the system of metamorphosis. And

soon the object fails to satisfy; they miss the exciteyet the metamorphoses which take place in such in. sects as the aphides

, bees, wasps, ants, and termites, ment which the chase afforded, and they must propose carry us to the very confines of alternate generation some new goal, or be wretched. For instance, there are Thus the wild bee which has been impregnated in hundreds of men now in England labouring to become autumn, and has afterwards sought a shelter to pro- rich, who really believe that if they were wealthy, and tect itself against the cold of winter, prepares a solitary could spend their lives as others do who are in affluhabitation, in which it builds cells and deposits eggs; ence, they would not have a care; and yet what a mass from the eggs proceed larvæ, but the bees into which of error is contained in such an idea! It is far from these larvæ are metamorphosed are neuters, and all true that their wealthy friends are perfectly happy; their faculties are directed to the assisting of the parent animal in the better nourishing of the future brood, and nor is it true that, if they possessed the same means, to the erection of a better habitation and cells,' into they would be one whit more contented; and, in the which they convey the eggs of the queen-mother, and third place, as far as external goods are concerned, the food of the larvæ to be developed from them. Other it is absolutely false that satisfaction is necessarily cells, which contain a better sort of food, are erected for a connected with them; for our comforts depend much later and less numerous progeny of eggs-namely, for more upon the state of our minds than we are willing males ; and later still, others which are more roomy, and to admit. provided with the best food, but of which there are only to which our wills are gardeners.' But we too often

As Iago says, “Our bodies are our gardens, a few, for fertile females. When all of these have come to maturity, and have performed their respective func- imagine that this garden will not flourish until we have tions, the males die or are destroyed, the neuters also surrounded it with costly marble, while we neglect to disappear, and the impregnated females alone survive the sow precious seed, and forget to uproot the weeds. winter. Here, as in the case of the medusa, the neuter The men who place their hopes exclusively in the bee can scarcely be regarded as an individual exist- future, confess, by the very act, that they are incapable ence, but merely as a step or stage towards the perfec- of enjoying the present (and by enjoyment much more tion of the males and females. Such gradations in being is meant than the mere taking of pleasure); but not seem to point to an endless complexity in the system of nature; and yet the whole scheme, under the guidance wishing to make this humiliating admission, they flatter of its omniscient Founder, goes on as smoothly as if it themselves that something else than what they possess were composed of the plainest and simplest parts.

is essential to peace and comfort. This is nothing less There is no one, therefore, who fully comprehends than an excuse for want of contentment; because, this discovery of alternating generations, but must be when the object of search is attained, they are as far struck with the novel feature of variety, intricacy, and from what they really need as ever. He who does not complexity which it confers on animated nature. Cui begin by placing contentment as the basis of external bono? asks the mere worldly utilitarian. To this end, goods, heaps up in vain, and might as well try to fill responds the investigator—that the more we know, the more we wish and are fitted to know; and that the more

a sieve with water, as to construct a building of happiwe learn of nature, the better do we understand our

ness upon a shadowy foundation. relation not only to its Creator, but to its scheme, of

Besides, a constant restlessness is the greatest poswhich we constitute, physically and morally, the most sible hindrance to sound education of the mind. The exalted section.

feverish gaze of the fortune-seeker cannot look aright

upon the beautiful creation which is around him, if it PRESENT AND FUTURE.

ever looks upon it at all. There are many men sur

rounded by the comforts of life, who, if you told them DissaTISFACTION with the present, and great expectations to divert their eyes a while from future prospects, to of the future, appear to be one of the most common follies cease envying their associates, to admire the wonders of mankind. Every one is affected with it less or more; of nature and the beautiful world we live in, to be rethe young and middle-aged, however, much more strongly joiced at the remembrance of their daily blessings, than the aged. Discontent is doubtless, on the whole, a

and to be fully satisfied with their numerous advanuseful element in our nature, for it prompts to better tages, would put you down for a madman or a fool. things; and it is only when it goes beyond the bounds

It is quite as easy to cultivate such a state of mind of noderation, that it is seriously objectionable. The or distressing yourself because you are not so well off

as to be constantly pining after what you have not got, great error is, that people do not pursue their course of as other people; and while every man of active mind advancement with calmness; they forget to enjoy the must desire to go through his daily duties with energy advantages which they now possess; and while they look and skill

, and to fulfil his vocation with diligence, yet at the future, they neglect the present, forgetting that when he has done all this, calm contentment is one the present is the only real time. This error leads them great means to make him happy, and keep him so. into two follies : they believe that at some future period The poet Horace, when a young man, saw these imthey will be happier than they are now, because they portant truths, and in his first satire lashes the folly of will then have at command means which are at present is not directed merely against avarice, as many critics

mankind in a very just and lively manner. That satire denied; and secondly, they fancy that people who fol- have supposed, but against the deeper spirit of disquiet, low a different mode of life are more favourably circum- which is at the root of all. I shall present the reader stanced than themselves. They seem to want a change. I with a translation of some passages which bear more

particularly upon the question. He opens with an ex

From a great river, than take just as much pression of wonder that mankind will persist in esteen

At this small fount, it comes to pass that you,

So vainly pleased with superfluity, ing the fortunes of others more than their own, and

Will by the rolling stream be carried off. shows that they neglect to take into account all the But he who seeks no more than what he needs, circumstances of the case; nay, farther, that if they

Neither draws muddy water, nor his life were fairly brought to issue, and had their choice, they

Loses imprudent in the dashing wave.

But most men, led astray by vain desires, would be disposed to draw back, and keep their present

Say nothing is enough,' because our worth station :

Is measured by our wealth. What can you do
How comes it, my Mæcenas, that the lot

With people such as these? Let them remain
Which our own plans obtain, or chance presents,

In misery, since they act thus by choice.
Never contents us, but we always praise
Those who pursue a different course of life?

He then returns to his original point of attack-to the
How fortunate are merchants !' says the soldier,

manner in which people compare themselves with others; Whose aged limbs are worn with early toil ;

for it is curious that, while you can find hundreds who But yet the merchant, tossed by stormy seas,

distress themselves because they are not so surrounded Says, Warfare is far better. Why-they charge, And in an hour comes death or victory.'

by advantages as others are, you do not so often meet The lawyer thinks a country life the best,

with those who look at the numbers less favoured than When clients rouse him at the dawn of day.

themselves; and yet there is no reason why we should The countryman, obliged to answer bail,

not look on the one picture as well as on the other :-
And to the city dragged from home, cries out
That they alone are blest who live in town.

But to return : should a man always praise
But not to cite these numerous instances,

Those who pursue a different course of life?
Hear how I'll put the question. Let a god

Or should he pine because his neighbour's goat
Come down and say, 'I will do all you wish.

Affords more milk than his, nor once contrast
Soldier, be you a merchant; and be you

The greater crowd far poorer than himself ?
A countryman who were just now a lawyer.

But rushing forward, labour to surpass
Your lots thus changed, depart your several ways.'

This one or that. He who thus hastens on,
How now-you stand? They will not move a step,

Will always find one richer in his path:
And yet they might be happy if they liked.

As, when swift charioteers have left the bound,

Each strains to outdo the steeds that conquer him, We may remark that Horace, with great truth, makes

And ne'er vouchsafes a look on those behind. the various characters express discontent, and look with

On the whole, we rarely find a man to say wistful eyes upon the condition of others, just when He has lived blissful, and who, at the last, they feel any of the difficulties or inconveniences of their When he has passed the appointed term of life,

As a well-sated guest departs content. own stations press upon them. How interesting to observe the application to our own day of sentiments It is very possible that the readers of Horace may uttered in Latin verse eighteen hundred years ago! flatter themselves upon having some valid excuse for But the poet spoke the truth, and truth is eternal. neglecting to follow his advice, so difficult it is for men Falsehood alone perisheth.

to stop in the chase and calmly consider their position. He then goes on to notice the second great error, The seeker of wealth and the ardent lover of fame dewhereby a prudent regard to the future degenerates spise their quieter friends, and look with scorn upon the into neglect of the present, and a desire of pressing for peace which they enjoy, nor will they admit the claims ward to something distant, while the day of fruition is of contentment to their notice; yet the old English poet constantly deferred. As an example of care in making is quite correct in saying of the unambitious manprovision, and good sense in enjoying that provision

Thus he is free from servile bands, when the proper time comes, he instances the ant, who

Of hope to rise, and fear to fall; (according to the popular opinion) lays up her store for

Lord of himself, though not of lands, the dreary hours of winter; and he contrasts with her

And having nothing, yet hath all. visdom the conduct of those two-legged gatherers who

No wonder that, when reverses come, the fortune-seeker are ever piling up and never distributing :

is overwhelmed, and sometimes cannot rise again from They hope to find a safe retreat in age,

his despair. How different would be man's condition And have provision for their closing days; Just as the little, labour-loving ant

and feelings were he to temper his desires, and restrain Gathers whate'er she can, and piles her heap,

his expectations, within the bounds prescribed by a beCautious and mindful of the time to come;

coming spirit of piety and philosophy!
But when Aquarius, with his rainy storms,
Saddens the year, she never creeps abroad,
And uses what her patient care obtained.

While you cannot be moved from lust of gain
By summer's heat, or cold, fire, sea, or sword;

ABOUT five hundred years ago, an idea prevailed in
Nothing can stop you while you yet perceive

Europe that certain base metals could be transmuted Another richer than yourself. He thus states the common objects of our desires—the by a chemical process into gold. The pursuit of this wish to have a retreat in age. There is no fault to be chimera, called the ‘Philosopher's Stone,' was carried found with that desire in itself; but while we are pro- to such lengths, that Pope John XXII. issued a bull, curing the means of living, we should also learn how to condemning to perpetual imprisonment those who atlive, that when the one occupation has ceased, we may tempted to transform one metal into another. This was find resources in the other; that by studying the per- in 1317; but towards the close of the same century, so fections of the Creator and his wonderful works, and by much had knowledge retrograded in high places, that devoting ourselves to the general good of mankind, we

our Henry IV. addressed letters-patent to the profesmay fulfil the greater and higher ends of our existence.

The poet then inveighs at some length against the folly sors, nobles, and priests, inciting them to prosecute the of avarice, and asks, If you are satisfied with the little search after the Philosopher's Stone, as a means of enthat nature requires, of what importance is it whether abling him to pay the debts of the state. your granary contains a hundred measures of wheat or The respect, however, which princes had for the ideal a thousand ? He shows that the grasping spirit of science did not extend to the persons of the adepts, who coretousness is itself a curse ; just as in the fable Tan- were laid hold of without ceremony, and compelled to talas is oppressed with thirst, though placed up to the labour at the projection. In a former article on this chio in pure water, which, however, flies from his mouth subject, there is a quotation from a work attributed to every time that he attempts to drink. To illustrate Michael Sandovigius; but this worthy is said, in an the workings of a grasping spirit, he uses the follow-old Historie de la Philosophie Humetique,' to have ing simile :As, if you want to fill a single cup

appropriated an honour which did not justly belong With limpid water, and would rather drain

to him. Both the real and supposititious writer of

the treatise, however, experienced very harsh treat- some time after to ascertain what impression he had ment at the hands of the great. The true Cosmopo- made, he besought him earnestly to give him even the litan’ (the literary name of the individual), according smallest possible portion of the powder. This request to our author, was Alexander Seaton, who possessed an

was complied with after some difficulty; but with the estate somewhere on the coast of Scotland at the com

advice to cover the particle with wax before projection, mencement of the seventeenth century. In 1602, while otherwise the volatile nature of the substance would travelling for his pleasure in Holland, accompanied by was directed. He projected the powder thus prepared

cause everything to evaporate. Helvetius did as he his wife, he called on a Dutch gentleman whom he had into six drachms of lead—which he thus converted intreated with hospitality in his own country; and in the stantaneously into pure gold! This gold was so pure, course of this intimacy, had the imprudence to exhi- that it had the power of transmuting silver; and the bit his skill in the art of transmutation. He pursued prejudices of Dr Helvetius being now completely rehis travels to Basle, and afterwards found himself in moved, he published in the following year his · Vitulus Saxony; and on his route, so frequently repeated the Aureus,' in which the above incidents are related in full

. same indiscretion, that his reputation as a living trea A circumstance is mentioned by Father Kircher in sure could not fail to reach the ducal court. The his Mundus Subterraneus, which may serve as consequence was, that he was seized and shut up in a pendant to the above. About the time in which Helvetower.

tius was engaged in his experiments, another stranger The Duke of Saxony attempted to work upon him, called on one of the Jesuit's friends, who had been, ever first by promises, then by threats, then by torture; but since his youth, devoted to the Hermetic philosophy. all in vain. The unfortunate alchemist submitted in

'I see,' said the visitor, ‘by your crucibles and fursilence; and after having repeatedly burned his flesh naces what you are about. But you have no chanceand dislocated his limbs, his persecutors at length gave you will not succeed.' up active measures in despair, and trusted to the effect • Assist me, then,' replied the alchemist eagerly. of protracted confinement. Michael Sandovigius, who You who talk so decisively must have some knowledge resided at Cracow, was then in Saxony; and being of the matter. Instruct me, and I will obey.' himself addicted to the dangerous pursuit, heard with • Agreed,' said the unknown let us work together ; great interest of the adventure of Seaton. He obtained but first take a pen, and write down the process as I admission to his prison, and formed a plan for his describe it, that we may make no mistake.' deliverance, which he ultimately effected by making So said, so done. The process was fairly written out; his guards drunk. He carried him and his wife to and then, with the paper before them, they set to work, Cracow, and then demanded, as the price of his ser- and the pupil at length poured with his own hands from vice, to be initiated in the mystery of the Philosopher's the retort a very brilliant oil, which congealed into a Stone. But Seaton, showing him his emaciated body, mass, and was then reduced to powder. This powder his shrunk nerves, and powerless limbs, replied that all was projected into three hundred pounds of quicksilver, these things he had endured rather than disclose a which was straightway converted into gold, much purer secret he had won by study and prayer. He presented than any that was ever dug from the bowels of the him, however, with a portion of the precious powder, earth. At this result the adept was wild with joy, but by means of which, if we are to believe our author, and the stranger looked calmly on, as if the affair had been not by any scientific merit of his own, Sandovigius be- a matter of no moment. came famous as an alchemist. Seaton soon after died; • You can do nothing for me,' he said in reply to his and the persevering friend, thinking there might be professions of gratitude and offers of service. I am some chemical virtue even in his widow, married her, travelling to and fro for my own amusement; and and by this means became possessed of the treatise although I am always ready to aid when I see people at attributed to his own pen by the ignorance of the a loss, I want no assistance in return.' The other inlearned.

treated him at least to stay with him that night; but It is impossible,' says our author, 'to find anything he would not consent: he must betake himself at once less suspicious or more precise than the adventure which to his inn, naming it, and go to bed. occurred to M. Helvetius of the Hague, first physician to In the morning the adept went to inquire for him, the Prince of Orange, and ancestor of the learned and but he was not known at that inn, nor at any other virtuous Helvetius.' The circumstance is related by the in the town. No human being but himself had ever doctor himself. On the 27th December 1666, he re seen him; he had utterly vanished-exhaled-evapoceived a visit from a person unknown to him, who had rated ! the appearance of a respectable Dutch citizen, and *No matter,' thought the adept. Since I have the whose visit was prompted by a desire the stranger had process in black and white, it signifies little what has to remove his doubts, or rather disbelief, by showing become of the man. Three hundred pounds of gold ! him a portion of the actual Philosopher's Stone, and of that is worth at least a hundred thousand crowns. It the precious metal it had created. The one was in an is a large sum; but it is nothing to what I may-must ivory box, and in the form of three metallic lumps, of -and shall have! Let me to work.' And so saying, he a sulphur colour; and the other was worn upon his spread out the paper before him, and proceeded to the stomach, in fine plates of gold, covered with mysterious manufacture of the wonderful powder. But he was not inscriptions. Dr Helvetius examined attentively the as yet so skilful as his teacher, or he was more careless, contents of the ivory box, which the adept informed and the experiment failed. But this was only his first him were sufficient to produce twenty tons of gold; and trial alone, and with an untroubled brow he began anew. on this boast, he thought it could hardly be a dis- What should disturb him ? He had plenty of money, honesty worth mentioning to pinch slily off a little abundance of time, and an indomitable avarice. But particle with his thumb-nail. It was in vain, however; his second experiment was not more successful, nor his but he solicited the adept to make the projection before third, nor his fourth. The directions were distinct, the him : the latter was satisfied with having convinced his writing was plain—the fault must be in himself. And so, eyes, and withdrew.

when the hundred thousand crowns were expended, he No sooner was his back turned, than the doctor sent sold his property, acre by acre, piece by piece, and only for a crucible, and placing it eagerly on the fire, threw stopped when he had no longer a coin for the insatiate in a piece of lead, and when this was in fusion, projected crucible. At that moment he was seized with a reli(to use the proper Hermetic term) the stolen powder gious terror, and ran to the Jesuits, who soon explained into the mass. The result was the instant evaporation to him that the stranger was no other than the devil! of both lead and powder. The doctor was astonished ; But many were of a different opinion ; and Father he thought he must have made some mistake in the Kircher's publication of the circumstances occasioned a manner of the projection; and when the adept returned | literary contest, which raged for a considerable time.

It was supposed that the miraculous powder, if used has run after some impossible good; and gold-making in another way, would prolong life to an indefinite is one of the most widely diffused of its schemes, only period; and both these superstitions were derived im- because avarice is one of the most vulgar and universal mediately by the Europeans from the Arabians, although of its passions. the alchemists professed that Egypt was the fountain of the

occult philosophy, which they termed Hermetic, after Hermus or Thoth. However this may be, the very

SMALL COUNTRY PAPERS. same delusions were productive of much more remark. We have on divers occasions alluded to the rise in Scotable disorders in China several centuries before the land of small monthly papers, published at no higher Christian era. There the infatuation of the princes in price than a penny, and designed principally to furnish a their search after the Waters of Immortality and the channel for local advertisements. In towns not suffiPhilosopher's Stone was frequently one of the leading ciently populous to support a weekly newspaper, these causes of political revolutions ; and it was not only the minor publications are found to be of considerable use ; profligate and depraved who were addicted to this fatal and being acceptable to readers, they are increasing in pursuit, but some of the wisest of the emperors. In number, as well as improving in the quality of their conEurope, however, alchemy, as the name implies, was

tents. Yet how unequal are the talent and tact with which merely an exalted chemistry, while in China it was the they are conducted! Some abound in original articles on worship or propitiation of spirits. In the latter country literary subjects, which must have cost no small degree it was believed that, in some distant islands (supposed of labour ; while others are filled chiefly with extracts, to be Japan), where the people lived a thousand years, and exhibit few signs of earnest industry. On the whole, the waters of immortal life and boundless wealth were however, these papers are respectably conducted ; for we guarded by supernatural beings, and thither more than see in them no ministering to mean passions, and few one deputation were sent by the credulous princes. The transgressions on the score of taste. priests of Taou, being the great devil-worshippers, were

It would, we think, materially increase the usefulness of course the Chinese proprietors, so to speak, of this of this interesting class of periodicals if their conductors, water, in which they succeeded in drowning the senses

who are, for the most part, literary amateurs, were to of so many of their imperial masters. In the year 133 condense from the metropolitan and other prints, in an before Christ, one of these mystics presented the em- original and attractive way, notices of valuable improveperor with the ingredients for composing the miraculous ments in the arts and discoveries in science ; likewise draught, telling him first to sacrifice to the spirits of accounts of manufactures springing up in obscure situathe hearth, and then to throw some vermilion into the tions through the force of some solitary but energetic goblet, which would become gold, and this gold gave to the neighbourhood. If there be a mechanics’ institute,

spirit-all with the view of imparting a mental stimulus immortal life. The emperor brewed as he was directed, and drank; but feeling no stirrings of immortality within or a mutual improvement society, it should be invited to him, he took council of the other philosophers, who had publish its proceedings in brief. Questions in matheeach his own nostrum, consisting of particular sacrifices in order to excite the minds of youth ; and this, we ob

matics and mechanical science should also find a place, or temple-building. He tried them all by turns ; till

, serve, is done in one paper, "The Alloa Advertiser.' every rite being performed, and every spirit propitiated, Would not, likewise, a lady's corner,' with a few cohe was about to receive the reward of his magnificent nundrums, 'help to make the little paper a welcome labours. The goblet, however, was snatched from his visitor at the farmers' firesides ? lips by one of his indignant nobles, who drank off the draught. 'If I am immortal,' said he, ‘ your majesty the cheap country papers is one called by the odd name

One of the latest competitors for public favour among cannot kill me; if I am not immortal

, you will of course of The Pennyworth, published at Arbroath. The reward me for opening your eyes to so contemptible

Pennyworth' aspires to be more literary and original than delusion.'

most others of its class, and contains some writings which Twenty years afterwards, when this emperor, it may would by no means discredit periodicals of higher pretenbe supposed, who lived and spent so fast, was still more sions. We select the following little piece as a speciin need of the Water of Immortality and the art of making gold, he fell as blindly into the snare. An adventurer offered to proceed to the islands of the Immortals, and kidnap one of the inhabitants for his service; when the surgeon of the ship, who had been in close at

Death had been for some days hourly looked for, and on which the imperial dupe (who, by the way, was one tendance on the sufferer, whispered to me that all was of the most talented and energetic of the famous dy- over, I felt in noway surprised. The little innocent, a nasty of Tsin) raised him to the dignity of prince, gave beautiful boy of about four years old, was released from him his daughter in marriage, and sent him forth on

a world of sin and suffering. For weeks previous, the his journey to the sea-coast, escorted by the most dis- poor child had struggled against a disease which baffled tinguished nobles of the court. These individuals were medical skill. The devoted attention of two affectionate not so credulous as their master. They watched the parents had been lavished on it in vain; and when the sage narrowly, and on taking leave of him, despatched quiet spirit winged its flight to resume its place in some trusty spies to hover in his rear. He was traced another and a better world, I could not but regard the to a certain mountain with an unpronounceable name, tiny body, beautiful as it was, otherwise than the prisonwhere he was welcomed by a banditti of brother philo- house of that soul which, after a brief but painful sojourn sophers, and the whole made the welkin ring with their below, had ascended to the mansions of bliss, there to rest joyous carousals for three or four months, till it was with its Father and its God. As I passed the cabin of its time to return from the islands of the Immortals. One parents, when retiring to my own, the partially-suppressed of the gang was made to personate the kidnapped sobbings of the mother were audible; and for some time native, and fully instructed in the art of making gold; after, the melancholy event having banished sleep, I could and in due time the learned cortège arrived in great distinctly hear the sound of the father's voice as he slowly state at the palace-preceded some few days by the and solemnly prayed, that that Almighty Being who spies. They were received by the emperor and his giveth and taketh away, would bend their hearts in subcourt as became their dignity; and when they had told mission to his will, and make them learn that it was their tale, and exhibited their man, the headsman, at a good for them to be afflicted. given signal, appeared upon the scene, and made them The father of the child thus early called to its account all immortal in a few minutes.

had, for a number of years, held a high civil appointment But to attempt to trace the Philosopher's Stone and in the Bengal Presidency. His own health had suffered Elixir Vitæ of Europe to Egypt, or China, or any other little from the effects of an eastern climate, but the decountry, would be waste of time, for the superstition is cline of that of a beloved wife, and the alarming symppart and parcel of human nature. In all ages the world toms of early disease developed in his only and his dar.



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