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I sometimes avail tnyseit of a friend's invitation to set off at night and sleep a few miles from town in wholesome air and glad my eyes in the morning with the fresh green of the grass. On a visit of this sort, last winter, I casually took up a 'tray volume and carried it to my bedchamber, and began to read—where it is Dot my usual practice to begin—at the beginning. I became deeply interested, and read till between three and four in the morning. Before day-break I awoke,
I impatiently awaited the light, resumed my reading, and regretted the call to the breakfast-table. There was another
i volume of the work: I borrowed and pocketed both; and instead of walking briskly to town for health, as had been my purpose, I cornered myself in the earliest stage, and read till it stopped near my own home. I had business to transact, and bustled in doors; but the book Wits a spell upon me: I could think of nothing else, and could do nothing that awaited my doing. To escape observation and interruption I rushed out of the house, stepped into a stage, going I knew not whither, and read till the coachman, having set down all my fellow passengers, inquired where I wished to stop:—" At
the house where the coach stops."—"Will you be set down at the Plough, Sir V— "Yes "—and, in a cold dreary winter's day, I found myself in the passage of the Plough at Blackwall, a house of summer entertainment. A wondering waiter showed me into an upper room having a long reaching view of the noble river, with "many a rood" of ice floating past large moored ships and floating craft. I flung myself, book in hand, into a chair; a fire was lighted, and I read, unconscious of time, and only annoyed by the men coming in now and then to stir the fire, till I had finished the fascinating volumes. That done, I took a hasty dinner, and a place to town in the stage. The work which clutched me was Sir Walter Scott's "Heart of Mid Lothian." While it was in my hands I was an infant. It is certain that " I have not yet arrived at the period of life which may put me on a level with childhood ;" but I am not wiser than when I was a childI —I only know more.
Oh! Spirit of the days gone by—■
When li»t'ning on the corner seat,
The winter evening's length to cheat,
I heard my mother's memory tell
Tales Superstition loves so well :—
Things said or sung a thousand times,
In simple prose or simpler rhymes!
Ah! where is page of poetry
So sweet as this was wont to be 1
The magic wonders that deceived,
When factions were as truths believed;
The fairy feats that once prevail'd,
Told to delight, and never fail'd:
Where are they now, their fears and sighs,
And tears from founts of happy eyes I
I read in books, but find them not.
For Poesy hath its youth forgot:
I hear them told to children still,
But fear numbs not my spirits chill.
I still see faces pale with dread,
While mine could laugh at what is said;
See tears imagined wues supply.
While mine with real cares are dry.
Where are they gone 1—the joys and fears,
The links, the life of other years?
I thought they twined around my heart
So close, that we could never part;
But Reason, like a winter's day,
Nipp'd childhood's vision's all away,
Nor left behind one withering flower
To cherish in a lonely hour.
I love to hear little ones talk of the oooks they admire; and should like to know, above all things, which were the favourite authors of "Hugh Littlejohn, Esq," before he was pictured "at his grand-father's gate," with his friend the noble lurcher, keeping watch and ward. When I see a child with a book, I am restless for a peep at the title page. On looking at the artist's sketch of the little girl, printed on the other side, I said, "What is she reading f" and I imagined it must be "Mrs. Leicester's School—the history of several young ladies related by themselves"—containing a story of a little girl who had ne»er been out of London all her life, nor seen a bit of green grass, except in the Drapers' garden, near her father's house; with the touching tale of "The Changeling;" and the narrative of "Susan Yates," who lived with her parents in the Lincolnshire fens, in a lone house, seven miles distant from the nearest village, and had never been to church, nor could she imagine what a church was like. When the wind set in from a particular point, and brought over the moor the sound of the bells from St. Mary's, little Susan conceived it was "a quiet tune," occasioned by birds up in the air, or that it was made by the angels.
She then tells of the Sunday morning of her first going to church, from her remote home; of the anxiety and awe she felt, and her child-like wonder at the place, and at what she heard—and ever afterwards, when she listened to the sweet noise of bells, of her thinking of the angels' singing, and remembering the thoughts she had in her uninstructed solitude.—These are things which I would wish gentle readers to conceive, with me, may engage the attention of the little girl in the engraving.
The Sabbath Bells.
THE cheerful sabbath bells, wherever heard, Strike pleasant on the sense, most like the
Of one, who from the far-off bills proclaims
Forth from the walks of men, revolving oft,
At this time of year, winter gardens, or those composed of evergreens and adorned with green houses, prove to us the value of planting our grounds for re- . creation with shrubs that do not cast their' leaves; for, if clear warm weather happen at this time of year, we may in such gardens enjoy a temporary summer. An annual writer observes :—
"Although the cheerful scenes of a great city, its glittering shops, passing thousands, and countless attractions of every kind, draw many from the country at this season, there are even now rural sights and rural sounds, which have much to charm the eye, the ear to please, and particularly
I' now the sun extends his cheering beam,
Clear is the sky. and calm and soft the air, And through thin mist each object looks more fair.
Then, where the villa rears its sheltering
Along the southern lawn 'tis sweet to rove: There dark green pines, behind, their boughs extend.
And bright spruce 6rs like pyramids ascend,
While striped geranium shows its tufts of red.
And verdant myrtles grateful fragrance shed;
A moment stay to mark the vivid bloom,
A moment itaj to catch the high perfume.'"
Am Alchemist In 1828.
We hear of an alchemist lately, and perhaps still, living in England, near Hitchin in Hertfordshire. Many inhabitants in that neighbourhood gravely aver that Mr. Kellerman, of Lilley, a village midway between Luton and Hitchin, succeeded in discovering the Philosopher's Stone and Universal Solvent. He had been a man of fashion, and largely concerned in adventures on the turf.from which he withdrew and devoted himself to alchemy. While pursuing his new and singular object, he for many years rendered himself inaccessible and invisible to the world. He closely shut up and barricaded his house, and protected the walls of his grounds with hurdles, and spring-guns so planted as to resist intrusion in every direction. Sir Richard Phillips, in " A Personal Tour through the United Kingdom," relates that being at Luton in the summer of 1828 he was informed of this recluse, and gives the following account of a visit he paid to him, nolwithstanding the reported dislike of the philosopher to strangers.
Dr. Forster's Pcrennir.. Calender.
Interview with Mr. KelLrmcn.
I had no encouragement to go to Lilley, but I thought that even the external inspection of such premises would repay me for the trouble. At Lilley, I enquired for his house of various people, and they looked ominous; some smiled, others shook their heads, and all appeared surprised at the approach of an apparent visitor to Mr. Kellerman.
The appearance of the premises did not belie vulgar report. I could not help shuddering at seeing the high walls of respectable premises lined at the top with double tiers of hurdles, and, on driving my chaise to the front of the house, I perceived the whole in a state of horrid dilapidation. Contrary however to my expectation, I found a young man who appeared to belong to the out-building's, and he took charge of my card for his master, and went to the back part of the house to deliver it. The front windows on the ground floor and upper stories were entirely closed by inside shutters, much of the glass was broken, and the premises appeared altogether as if deserted. I was pleased at the words, "My Master will be happy to see you," and in a minute the front door was opened, and Mr. Kellerman presented himself.—I lament that I have not the pencil of Hogarth ; for a more original figure never was seen. He was about six feet high, and of athletic make : on his head was a white night-cap, and his dress consisted of a long great-coat once green, and he had a sort of jockey waistcoat with three tiers of pookets. His manner was extremely polite and graceful, but my attention was chiefly absorbed by his singular physiognomy. His complexion was deeply sallow, and his eyes large, black, and rolling. He conducted me into a very large parlour, with a window looking backward; and having locked the door, and put the key in his pocket, he desired me to be seated in one of two large arm chairs covered with sheepskins. The room was a realization of the wellknown picture of Teniers' Alchemist. The floor was covered with retorts, crucibles, alembics, jars, bottles in various shapes, intermingled with old books piled upon each other, with a sufficient quantity of dust and cobwebs. Different shelvej were filled in the same man mi, and on one side stood his bed. In a corner, somewhat shaded from the light, I beheld two heads, white, with dark wigs on them; I entertained no doubt, therefore, that among other fancies he was engaged in re-making the brazen speaking head of Roger Bacon and Albertus. Many persons might have felt alarmed at the peculiarity of my situation; but being accustomed to mingle with eccentric characters, and having no fear from any pretensions of the black art, I was infinitely gratified by all I saw
Having stated the reports which I had heard, relative to his wonderful discoveries, I told him frankly that mine was a visit of curiosity, and stated that, if what I had heard was matter of fact, the researches of the ancient chemists had been unjustly derided. He then gave me a history of his studies, mentioned some men whom I had happened to know in London, who he alleged had assured him nat they had made gold. That having in consequence examined the works of the ancient alchemists, and discovered the key which they had studiously concealed from the multitude, he had pursued their system under the influence of new lights; and after suffering numerous disappointments, owing to the ambiguity with which they described their processes, he had, at length, happily succeeded; had madegold, and could make as much more as he pleased, even to the extent of paying off the national debt in the coin of the realm.
I yielded to the declaration, expressed my satisfaction at so extraordinary a discovery, and asked him to oblige me so far as to show me some of the precious metal which he had made.
"Not so," said he; " I will show it to no one. I made Lord Liverpool the offer, that if he would introduce me to the King, I would show it lo his Majesty; but Lord Liverpool insolently declined, on the ground that there was no precedent; and I am therefore determined that the secret shall die with me. It is true that, in order to avenge myself of such contempt, I made a communication to the French ambassador, Prince Polignac, and offered to go to France, and transfer to the French government the entire advantages of the discovery; but after deluding me, and shuffling for some time, I found it necessary to treat him with the same contempt as the others."
I expressed my convictions in regard to the double dealing of men in office.
"O," said he, "as to that, every court in Europe well knows that I have made
the discovery, and they are all in confederacy against me; lest, by giving it to any one, I should make that country master of all the rest—the world, Sir," he exclaimed with great emotion, " is in my hands and my power."
Satisfied with this announcement of the discovery of the philosopher's stone, i now enquired about the sublime alkahest or universal solvent, and whether he had succeeded in deciphering the enigmatical descriptions of the ancient writers on that most curious topic.
"Certainly," he replied : " I succeeded in that several years ago."
"Then," I proceeded," have you effected the other great desideratum, the fixing of mercury?"
"Than that process," said he, " there is nothing more easy: at the same time it is proper I should inform you that there are a class of impostors, who, mistaking the ancient writers, pretend it can be done by heat; but I can assure you, it can only be effected by water."
I then besought him to do me the favor to show me some of his fixed mercury, having once seen some which had been fixed by cold.
This proposition, however, he declined, because he said he had refused others. "That you may however be satisfied that I have made great discoveries, here is a bottle of oil, which I have purified, and rendered as transparent as spring water. I was offered £10,000 for this discovery; but I am so neglected, and so conspired against, that I am determined it and all my other discoveries shall die with me."
I now enquired, whether he had been alarmed by the ignorance of the people in the country, so as to shut himself up in so unusual a manner.
"No," he replied, " not on their account wholly. They are ignorant and insolent enough; but it was to protect myself against the governments of Europe, who are determined to get possession oi my secret by force. I have been," he exclaimed, "twice fired at in one day through that window, and three times attempted to be poisoned. They believed I had written a book containing my secrets, and to get possession of this book has been their object. To baffle them, I burnt all that I had ever written, and I have so guarded the windows with spring-guns, and have such a collection of cumbustibles in the range of bottles which stand at your elbow, that I could destroy a whole regimerit of soldiers il sent against me.'' He then related that, as a further protection, he lived entirely in that room, and permitted no one to come into the house; while he had locked up every room except that with patent padlocks, and sealed the keyholes.
It would be tedious and impossible to follow Mr. Kellerman through a conversation of two or three hours, in which he enlarged upon the merits of the ancient alchemists, and on the blunders and impertiment assumptions of the modern chemists, with whose writings and names it is fair to acknowledge he seemed well acquainted. He quoted the authorities of Roger and Lord Bacon, Paracelsus, Boyle, Boerhaave, VVoolfe, and others, to justify his pursuits. As to the term philosopher's stone, he alleged that it was a mere figure, to deceive the vulgar. He appeared also to give full credit to the silly story about Dee's assistant, Kelly, finding some of the powder of projection in the tomb of Roger Bacon at Glastonbury, by means of which, as was said, Kelly for a length of time supported himself in princely splendor.
I enquired whether he had discovered the " blacker than black" of Appolonius Tyanus ; and this, he assured me, he had effected : it was itself the powder of projection for producing cold.
Amidst all this delusion and illusion on these subjects, Mr. Kellerman behaved in other respects with great propriety and politeness; and, having unlocked the door, he took me to the doors of some of the other rooms, to show me how safely they were padlocked; and, on taking leave, directed me in my course towards Bedford.
In a few minutes, I overtook a man, and, on enquiring what the people thought of Mr. Kellerman, he told me that he had lived with him for seven years; that he was one of eight assistants, whom he kept for the purpose of superintending his crucibles, two at a time relieving each other every six hours ; that Mr. K. exposed some preparations to intense heat for many months at a time, but that all except one crucible had burst, and that he called on him to observe, that it contained the true "blacker than black." The man protested however, that no gold had ever been made, and that no mercury had ever been fixed ; for he was quite sure that, if he had made any discovery, he could not have concealed it from the assistants;
while, on the contrary, they witnessed his severe disappointments, at the termination of his most elaborate experiments.
On my telling the man that I had been in his room, he seemed much astonished at my boldness; for he assured me, that he carried a loaded pistol in every one of his six waistcoat pockets. I learnt also, from this man, that he has or had considerable property in Jamaica; that he has lived in the premises at Lilley about twenty-three years, and during fourteen of them pursued his alchemical researches with unremitting ardor; but for the last few years has shut himself up as a close prisoner, and lived in the manner I have described.
February 22. Day breaks . . 4 56 Sun rises . . 6 49 -— gets . . . 5 11 Twilight ends . 7 4 The daisy, also called herb margaret, begins to flowers and dot the lawns and fields.
1792, February 23. Died, full of fame and honors, the great president of the Royal Academy, Sir Joshua Reynolds. He was fellow of the Royal and Antiquarian Societies, and LL. D. of Oxford and Dublin, and moreover a member of the worshipful company of paper-stainers, of the city of London. The latter dignity it may be, in the estimation of some, as important to record, as that he wore a pig-tail.
Sir Joshua was one of the most memorable men o .is time. He very early distinguished nimself as an artist; and few were so capable of illustrating the theory of the science they professed, by practice and discourse. He assisted Johnson with three numbers of the "Idler," on the different practice of the Dutch and Italian painters. In taste, and in much of the richness and harmony of coloring, he was equal to the great masters of the renowned ages. His portraits exemplify a variety and a dignity derived from the higher branches of art, which, since Vandyke, had never been represented. They rerrind the spectator of the invention of history, and the amenity of landscape. Although honored by his