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when, at a distance, her kinswoman saw something float on the waters, which she fancied was a chest, and with a smile told her,“ she saw it first, and if it came ashore full of jewels, she had a right to it.” They both fixed their eyes upon it, and entertained themselves with the subject of the wreck, the cousin still asserting her right; but promising, “if it was a prize, to give her a very rich coral for the child of which she was then big, provided she might be god-mother.” Their mirth soon abated, when they observed, upon the nearer approach, that it was a human body. The young lady, who had a heart naturally filled with pity and compassion, made many melancholy reflections on the occasion. “ Who knows,” said she, “ but this man may be the only hope and heir of a wealthy house, the darling of indulgent parents, who are now in impertinent mirth, and pleasing themselves with the thoughts of offering him a bride they have got ready for him ? or may he not be the master of a family that wholly depended upon his life? There may, for aught we know, be half-a-dozen fatherless children, and a tender wife, now exposed to poverty by his death. What pleasure might he have promised himself in the different welcome he was to have from her and them? But let us go away; it is a dreadful sight! The best office we can do, is to take care that the poor man, whoever he is, is decently buried.” She turned away, when a wave threw the carcase on the shore. The kinswoman immediately shrieked out,“ Oh my cousin !" and fell upon the ground. The unhappy wife went to help her friend, when she saw her own husband at her feet, and dropped in a swoon upon the body. An old woman, who had been the gentleman's nurse, came out about this time to call the ladies in to supper, and found her child, as she always called him, dead on the shore, her mistress and kinswoman both lying dead by him. Her loud lamentations, and calling her
young master to life, soon awaked the friend from her trance; but the wife was gone forever.
When the family and neighborhood got together round the bodies, no one asked any questions, but the objects before them told the story.
BASILIUS Valentinus was a person who had arrived at
the utmost perfection in the hermetic art, and initiated his son Alexandrinus in the same mysteries ; but, as they are not to be attained but by the painful, the pious, the chaste, and the pure of heart, Basilius did not open to him, because of his youth and the deviations too natural to it, the greatest secrets of which he was master, as well knowing that the operation would fail in the hands of a man so liable to errors in life as Alexandrinus. But believing, from a certain indisposition of mind as well as body, his dissolution was drawing nigh, he called Alexandrinus to him, and as he lay on a couch over against which his son was seated, and prepared by sending out servants one after another, and admonition to examine that no one overheard them, he revealed the most important of his secrets with the solemnity and language of an adept. “My son," said he, " many have been the watchings, long the lucubrations, constant the labors of thy father, not only to gain a great and plentiful estate to his posterity, but also to take care that he should have na posterity. Be not amazed, my child; I do not mean that thou shalt be taken from me, but that I will never leave thee, and consequently cannot be said to have posterity. Observe this small phial and this gallipot; in this an unguent, in the other a liquor. In these, my child, are collected such powers as
shall revive the springs of life when they are yet but just ceased, and give new strength, new spirits, and in a word wholly restore all the organs and senses of the human body, to as great a duration as it had before enjoyed from its birth to the day of the application of these my medicines. But, my
beloved son, care must be taken to apply them within ten hours after the breath is out of the body, while yet the clay is warm with its late life, and yet capable of resuscitation. I find my frame grown crazy with perpetual toil and meditation, and I conjure you, as soon as I am dead, to anoint me with this unguent; and when you see me begin to move, pour into my lips this inestimable liquor, else the force of the ointment will be ineffectual. By this means you will give me life, as I have you, and we will from that hour mutually lay aside the authority of having bestowed life on each other, but live as brethren, and prepare new medicines against such another period of time as will demand another application of the same restoratives.” In a few days after these wonderful ingredients were delivered to Alexandrinus, Basilius departed this life; but such was the pious sorrow of the son at the loss of so excellent a father, and the first transports of grief had so disabled him from all manner of business, that he never thought of the medicines till the time to which his father had limited their efficacy was expired. To tell the truth, Alexandrinus was a man of wit and pleasure, and considered his father had lived out his natural time—his life was long and uniform-suitable to the regularity of it-but that he himself, poor sinner, wanted a new life, to repent of a very bad one hitherto; and in the examination of his heart resolved to go on as he did with this natural being of his, but repent very faithfully, and spend very piously, the life to which he should be reduced by application of these rarities, when time should come, to his own person.
It has been observed, that Providence frequently punishes the self-love of men who would do immoderately for their offspring, with children very much below their characters and qualifications; insomuch that they only transmit their names to be borne by those who give daily proofs of the vanity of the labor and ambition of their progenitors.
It happened thus in the family of Basilius; for Alexandrinus began to enjoy his ample fortune in all the extremities of household expenses, furniture, and insolent equipage; and this he pursued, till the departure began, as he grew sensible, to approach. As Basilius was punished with a son very unlike him, Alexandrinus, besides that jealousy, had proofs of the vicious disposition of his son Kenatus, for that was his name.
Alexandrinus, as I observed, having very good reasons for thinking it unsafe to trust the real secret of his phial and gallipot to any man living, projected to make sure work, and hope for his success depending from the avarice, not the bounty, of his benefactor.
With this thought he called Kenatus to his bedside, and bespoke him in the most pathetic gesture and accent. “As much, my son, as you have been addicted to vanity and pleasure, as I also have been before you, you nor I could escape the fame or the good effects of the profound knowledge of our progenitor, the renowned Basilius. His symbol is very well known in the philosophic world, and I shall never forget the venerable air of his countenance when he let me into the profound mysteries of the table of Hermes. It is true, said he, ' and far removed from all color of deceit, that which is inferior is like that which is superior, by which aré acquired and perfected all the miracles of a certain work; the father is the sun, the mother is the moon, the wind is the womb, the earth is the nurse of it, and the mother of all per
fection. All this must be received with modesty and wisdom. The chemical people carry in all their jargon a whimsical sort of piety which is ordinary with great lovers of money, and is no more but deceiving themselves, that their regularity and strictness of manners, for the ends of the world, has some affinity to the innocence of heart which must recommend them to the next." Kenatus wondered to hear his father talk so like an adept, and with such a mixture of piety, while Alexandrinus observing his attention fixed, proceeded. “This phial, child, and this little earthen pot, will add to thy estate so much as to make thee the richest man in the German empire. I am going to my long home, but shall not return to common dust." Then he resumed a countenance of alacrity, and told him that if within an hour after his death he anointed his whole body, and poured down his throat that liquor which he had from old Basilius, the corpse would be converted into pure gold. I will not attempt to express to you the unfeigned tenderness that passed between these two extraordinary persons; but if the father recommended the care of his remains with vehemence and affection, the son was not behindhand in professing that he would not cut off the least bit of him but upon the utmost extremity, or to provide for his younger brothers and sisters.
Well, Alexandrinus died, and the heir of his body, as our term is, could not forbear in the wantonness of his heart to measure the length and breadth of his beloved father, and cast up the ensuing value of him before he proceeded to operation. When he knew the immense reward of his pains, he began the work : but lo ! when he had anointed the corpse all over, and began to apply the liquor, the body stirred, and Kenatus, in a fright, broke the phial.