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promises to execute faithfully the important
trust, but in his way to the ship meets a
number of children on the sea-shore who are
ill-using a cat. He rescues the unfortunate
animal with the labourer's penny, and takes
it on board. The value of the cat is soon
manifested, exactly as in the London tale.
A land is reached, where rats and mice are
the plague of the population, and where cats
are unknown. The traveller produces his
feline treasure, the vermin are destroyed, and
a ship-load of gold and silver purchases the

The London hero has simply to put the
proceeds of his investment into his strong
box, and become a great man at once; but
they manage things otherwise in Servia. The
Servian Whittington is not a mere instance
of that eminently prosaic form of destiny,
which goes by the name of luck. His piety
and rectitude having been firmly established
by his extreme conscientiousness in earning
the penny, the tale would show that so
indubitably righteous an acquisition could not
under any circumstances be encroached upon
by any human power. The feudal lord is
less honest than the London merchant; and
when he comes home he keeps the history of
the cat to himself, and gives the labourer a
piece of polished marble as the value of his
penny. The poor fellow is delighted with
his bargain; and certainly, when we find
that it is large enough to serve him for a
table, we must admit that he has no reason
to be dissatisfied. On the following day,
however, he finds his table turned into a mass of
pure gold, so that it illumines his whole hut.
True to his old character, he rushes to his
master, describes the metamorphosis, and
declares that he can have no right to such a
treasure. However, the master sees in the
miracle an unmistakeable sign of Heaven's
will. Confessing his own transgression, he
gives to his honest labourer the ship-load
of precious metal which he had received as
the price of the cat.

We would not lose our relish for our old
stories; but we think few of our readers will
deny that the honest Servian peasant is a
grander figure, and more effectually carries
out a moral purpose, than the lucky Lord
Mayor of London.


WHY should'st thou fear the beautiful angel, Death,
Who waits theee at the portals of the skies,
Ready to kiss away thy struggling breath:
Ready with gentle hand to close thine eyes.

How many a tranquil soul has pass'd away,
Fled gladly from fierce pain and pleasures dim,
To the eternal splendour of the day,
And many a troubled heart still calls for him.

Spirits too tender for the battle here
Have turn'd from life, its hopes, its fears, its charms,
And children, shuddering at a world so drear,
Have smiling pass'd away into his arms.

He whom thou fearest will, to ease its pain,
Lay his cold hand upon thy aching heart:
Will soothe the terrors of thy troubled brain,
And bid the shadow of earth's grief depart.

He will give back what neither time, nor might,
Nor passionate prayer, nor longing hope restore,
(Dear as to long blind eyes recover'd sight)
he will give back those who are gone before.

O, what were life, if life were all? Thine eyes
Are blinded by their tears, or thou would'st see
Thy treasures wait thee in the far-off skies,
And Death, thy friend, will give them all to thee.


IT cannot, of course, be expected that in
the course of a short article, we should be
able to give our readers any deep insight
into the writings of the alchemiststhey
were the life-long studies of men who gave
themselves a living sacrifice to their art;
each had to discover for himself his own
knowledge,—for the writings left by the
most revered adepts were all skilfully
designed to conceal their secret. The books of
Rhasis, by their subtle, perplexing, and
intentionally misleading directions, nearly broke
the heart of Bernard of Treviso, and of many
another beside him. To compel the real
intention of the writings of the alchemists
was scarcely less difficult than the great
work itself; and the fabled process of
compelling Proteus to utter his oracles, was
simple in comparison to getting at the
meaning hidden in the dark sayings of the masters
of " holy alchemy," as it was called. If our
readers find our extracts sometimes hard to
be understood, they may have the comfort of
assuring themselves that they find them what
they were originally intended to be! Elias
Ashmole published in sixteen hundred and
fifty-two a book which he called " Theatrum
Chemicum Britanicum," containing the
metrical works of the English philosophers who
have written concerning Hermetic mysteries.
The book is somewhat rare, and we wish we
could transfer some of the wonderful wood-cuts
with which it is adorned to our pages.
In the preface, speaking of himself, Ashmole
says,—I must profess I know enough to hold
my tongue, but not enough to speak,—and
the no less Real than Miraculous Fruits I
have found in my diligent inquiry into this,
arcana, lead me on to such degrees of admiration
they command silence, and force me
to lose my tongue. Howbeit there are few
stocks that are fitted to inoculate the grafts
of science upon; they are mysteries
uncommunicable to all but adepts, and those that
have been devoted from their cradle to serve
and wait at this altarand they, perhaps,
were with St. Paul caught up into Paradise,
and as he heard unspeakable wordsso they
wrought impossible works, such as it is not
lawful to utter.
The first whose work he reprints is Thomas