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the funds indispensable for the consolidation of
his power. After he became emperor, he wore
the diamond set in the pommel of his state-
sword; doubtless holding that to be a more
significant article of his imperial paraphernalia
than either crown or sceptre.

This remarkable gem exerted a direct
influence in raising to the helm of government
of two hostile nations: in one, the Corsican
adventurer; in the other his renowned adversary,
William Pitt, whose accession to the premiership
would probable never have occurred but
for the fortune based upon his great
grandfather's lucky hit.

The Koh-i-noor has hitherto been a fatal
jewel. May ite recent recutting have broken
the spell! Its history is well authenticated at
every step. This stone of fate seems never to
have been lost sight of from the days when
Ala-nd-deen took it from the Rajahs of Malwa,
five centuries and a half ago, to the day when
it became a crown-jewel of England.
Tradition carries back its existence in the
memory of India to the year 57 B.C.; and a
still wilder legend would fain recognise in it
a diamond first discovered near Masulipatam,
in the bed of the Godavery, five thousand

The Koh-i-noor is reported by Baber, the
founder of the Mogul Empire, to have come
into the Delhi treasury from the conquest of
Malwa, in 1304. The Hindoos trace the curses
and the ultimate ruin inevitably brought upon
its successive possessors by the genius of this
fateful jewel ever since it was first wrested
from the line of Vikramaditya. If we glance
over its history since 1304, its malevolent
influence far excels that of the necklace for
which Eriphyle betrayed her husband, or the
Eguus Scianus of Greek and Roman tradition.
First falls the vigorous Patan, then the mighty
Mogul Empire, and, with vastly accelerated
ruin, the power of Nadir, of the Dooranee
dynasty, and of the Sikh. Runjeet Singh,
when it was in his possession, was so convinced
of the truth of this belief, that being satisfied
with the enjoyment of it during his own lifetime,
he sought to break through the
ordinance of fate and the consequent destruction of
his family by bequeathing the stone to the
shrine of Juggernaut for the good of his soul
and the preservation of his dynasty. His
successors would not give up the baleful treasure,
and the last Maharajah is now a private gentleman.
In 1850, in the name of the East India
Company (since, in its turn, defunct), Lord
Dalhouse presented the Koh-i-noor to Queen

Perhaps we should have been better without
it; such, at least, appears to be Mr. King's
opinion. The Brahmins will hardly relinquish
their faith in the malignant powers possessed
by this stone, when they think of the speedily
following Russian war, which annihilated the
prestige of the British army, and the Sepoy
mutiny three years later, which caused
England's existence as a nation to hang for months
on the forbearance of one man.

The public saw the Koh-i-noor lustreless at
the Exhibition of 1851, then weighing one
hundred and eighty-six carats. Its re-cutting,
performed in 1862, though executed with the
utmost skill and perfection, has deprived the
stone of all its historical and mineralogical
interest. As a specimen of a gigantic diamond,
whose native weight and form had been
interfered with as little as possible (for with Hindoo
lapidaries the grand object is the preservation
of weight), it stood without a rival, save the
Orloff, in Europe. As it is, in the place of the
most ancient gem in the .history of the world
older even than the Tables of the Law and the
Breastplate of Aaron, supposing them still to
existwe get, according to Mr. King, a bad-
shaped, because too shallow, modern brilliant, a
mere lady's bauble, of but second-rate water,
for it has a greyish tinge, and, besides, inferior
in weight to several, being now reduced to one
hundred and two carats and a half.

The operation of re-cutting was performed
in London, under the care of the Messrs.
Garrards, the Queen's jewellers, who erected for
that purpose a small four-horse steam engine
on their premises. It was conducted by
Voorsanger and another skilful workman sent over
by M. Coster from Amsterdam. In
consequence of the advantage gained by using steam
power, the actual cutting occupied no more
than thirty-eight working days a striking
contrast to the two years necessary for cutting the
Pitt diamond by the old hand process. In
some parts of the work, as when it was necessary
to grind out a deep flaw, the wheel made
three thousand revolutions per minute.

Mr. King is equally full of pleasant lore
touching other gems, as well as gold and silver.
One emerald story has escaped him. It is told,
if our memory is correct, by Forbes, in his
Oriental Memoirs.

A person, whoever he was, was watching a
swarm of fireflies in an Indian grove one
moonlight night. After hovering for a time in the
moonbeams, one particular firefly, more
brilliant than the rest, alighted on the grass, and
there remained. The spectator, struck by its
fixity, and approaching to ascertain the cause,
found, not an insect, but an emerald, which
he appropriated and afterwards wore in a

When the possession of a valuable is hard to
account for, one tale may sometimes be as good
as anotherprovided there be but a tale.



NOT alone in the storm lurk the danger and the sorrow.
     One evening, years ago, doing duty on the deck,
I heard a sailor shout, " Man overboard!" and looking
     Over the calm Atlantic, saw him, floating dimly like a speck!
We could not stop the engines, going fifteen knots an hour,
     Or throw him out a life buoy, so rapidly we sped;
But I caught, like a thought, his face to Heaven  upturning,
     And prayed for his soul as we left him with the dead.