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and the giants measuring ten or twelve
feet; and the long-lived men of Pandora, whose
term is somewhere about two or three hundred
years, and whose hair in youth is hoary and
grey, but in manhood black and brilliant; and
the men who can make themselves young again
jolly old fellows of a hundred and more changing
all, even to their very nails, and coming out
suddenly as plump and brisk as they were at
seventeen. This marvel the Spanish
Mandevile vouches for as having known by his own
knowledge in the year 1531, when a
"centenarian" of Torento one day cast his shrivelled
old skin like a snake, holding his place for fifty
years among the golden youth of his time, then
suddenly becoming old and decrepid, and in
colour " like the roote of a withered tree." Also,
he endorses the story of the Indian, three
hundred and forty years old, who had four times
renewed his youth, and was then, in the year
1530, in the very prime and vigour of manhood.
But this little instance of longevity is not nearly
so wonderful as Bernis's delightful bit of
extravagance in Orlando Inamorato, that makes
one warrior kill a foe with such skill and
delicacy that the slain, utterly unconscious of
his departure from this life, fights away as
doughtily as ever:

He, with his falchion aimed so well the blow,
And sever'd with such art the Pagan foe,
That still, as one, the separate parts adher'd,
And still, entire, unhurt, the man appear'd:
And as the limbs, while warm in action, feel
No sense of anguish from the wounding steel;
So the fierce knight, with vigour yet unbroke,
Fought on, though dead, unconscious of the stroke.

Tritons and mermaids of course there are,
manlike and womanlike in all save those
betraying fins for feet; and love affairs between
the earth-men and the sea-people; and children
born "within the memory of living men"
partaking of both natures, according to the mixed
character of their parentage; and the whole
stock of the classical fables put forth when
men were very young and very credulous and
no absurdity was too absurd for credence,
does the Spanish Mandevile offer as worthy
of all acceptance.

Passing from men to things, we find a fountain
in the island of Cerdonia, which blinds the thief
who, taking false oath of his innocency, washes his
face in the water in proof thereof, but gives added
power and sharpness to the vision of the innocent
man who has been accused wrongfully;
and the old old stories of the barnacle geese, and
the leaves which made themselves into insects
probably a dim notion of the phasmas, or spectre-
insects, mantis and the likeand the fowl-
bearing trees of England, of which Sir John also
speaks, as of a thing known and proved in his
time; and the fabulous lands of the North Pole;
and the beasts and the birds and the fishes
which the earth never bore, and the sun never
saw since the foundation of the world not even
in the times of pterodactyles and megatheriums,
and ichthyosauri, with the rest of the pleasant
gentlemen to be viewed daily at the Crystal
Palace, with an inward wondering at the clumsiness
of Nature in her first sketches. But our
brave old ancestors accepted every account
with more unquestioning belief than what
our wise youngest child accords to Grimm's
Goblins; and no matter how impossible the
combination, or how unscientific the deduction,
took faith to be better than reason, and nailed
their flags to the mast of some old dreamer's
"Thei seyn," which it would have savoured too
much of the atheism of the Sadducee to have
doubted. Thus the most monstrous fables
have got themselves believed in this sheep-
tracked world of ours, where men hold it to be
a virtue not to widen the paths, and account
him the holiest whose steps fall most precisely
in the footmarks of his predecessor's; and poor
Science was fain to have a hard fight of it before
she was able to settle herself comfortably, and
even now has to look out earnestly lest she be
dispossessed by faith and superstition, which
have always their arms ready.

In olden timesas in all timemen saw
what they wanted to see, and experience
rarely balked expectation. When our own
brave adventurers first set out to find the
gold and jewels of Montezuma and his land,
they encountered wonders which no modern
degenerate eyesight can discover, but which
it would have been flat blasphemy then to
have doubted; and the pilgrims' staff of Purchas
and Sandys led them, like the divining rod, to
treasures too far removed from this upper earth
for ordinary wayfarers to possess. Who dared
to question the fact of " gryphons" and dragons?
Who was hardy enough to deny the possibility
of human monsters, those discordant variations
on a noble theme? Did not living men, honourable
and veracious, vouch for the truth of
"loathly worms" and horrid beasts which once
were Christian knights or lovely maidens, now
painfully bested by Satan's malevolent power,
but even yet retaining something of humanity,
in heart at least, if not in form? Was it not
known that emeralds and diamonds were
defended by demons and wild beasts, and only to
be procured by the means of beefsteaks and
eagles? And did not all the world confess to
birds of prey so mighty and so bold, that a man
on horseback was but a tit-bit for their callow
young, opening cavernous mouths for what was
no more to them than an earthworm to a
sparrow? Mandevile has a picture of a mother
griffin thus feeding her gaping nestlings, and a
mighty pretty figure the poor little wooden doll
of a knight makes in the claws of the immense,
intelligent, and ruthless looking brute. Was
there a sane man in England who would have
doubted the evidence of that rude woodcut?
Even to this day benighted individuals believe
in artists, and think the representations of scenes
of peril and adventure exact to a line. The daft
bodies!— as if a man had nothing better to do
than sit down and draw, when there was a tiger
crouching to spring, or his friend writhing in
the claws of a lion; and as if it was at all
necessary that a man should have ever seen what

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