« ForrigeFortsett »
the pound, at 100 yards distance the grand secret of proje&tion. I in the open air, and darkest night. tranfmuted some lead I pulled off This was performed by a large con- my window last night into this bit cave glass, with a deep-pointed fo- of gold." Pleased with the fight cus, quick-silvered on the backside, of this, and having a natural pro. and set in tin, with a focket for a pension to the study, the lady candle, sconce fashion, and hung snatched it out of the philosopher's up againft a wall. While the flame hand, and asked why he had not of the candle was diametrically op- more ? He replied, " It was all posite to the center, the rays, equal. the lead he could find." She then jy diverging, gave so powerful a commanded her daughter to bring light as is scarce credible ; but on a parcel of lead which lay in the the least variation of the focus the closet, and, giving it to the chy. charm ceased.
mift, desired him to transmute it The lady, discerning in this man into gold on the morrow, He a genius which might be improved undertook it, and the next day to better purposes than deceiviog brought her an ingot which weigh. the country people, desired him ed two ounces, which, with the ula not to hide his talents, but to push most solemnity, he avowed was the himself in the world by the abili. very individual lead he gave him, ties of which he seemed pofseffed. transmuted to gold,
Madam, said he, I am now a She began now to engage him fiddle to asses; but I am finishing a in serious discourse, and finding, great work which will make those by his replies, that he wanted mo. affes fiddle to me." She then ask- ney to make more powder, the en. ed what the work might be ? He quired how much would make a replied, “ His life was at stake if stock that would maintain itfelf? it took air ; but he found her a He replied, fifty pounds, after nine lady of such uncommon candour months, would produce a million. and good sense, that he should She then begged the ingot of him, make no difficulty in committing which he protested had been trans. his life and hope to her keeping." muted from lead, and, fushed with All women are naturally fond of the hopes of success, hurried to being trusted with fecrets: this was town to know whether the ingot Mrs, Thomas's failing; the doctor was true gold, which proved fine found it out, and made her pay beyond the standard. The lady, dear for her curiosity. “I have now fully convinced of the truth been, continued he, many years in of the empyric's declaration, took search of the philosopher's stone, fifty pounds out of the hands of a and long master of the smaragdine banker, and entrusted him with it. table of Hermes Trismegistus; the. The only difficulty, which remain. green and red dragons of Raymond. ed, was, how to carry on the work Lully have also been obedient to without fufpicion, it being triatly me, and the illustrious sages them- prohibited at that time. He was selves deign to visit me; yet it is therefore resolved to take a little but since I had the honour to be house in another county, at a few known to your ladyship, that I miles distance from London, where have been so fortunate as to obtain he was to build a public laboratory, as a profeft chymift, and deal looked with the greatest amaze. " in such medicines as were moft men on each other, not guessing vendible, by the sale of which to the cause, when the operator, prethe apothecaries, the expence of the tending to revive, fell to stamping, house was to be defrayed during tearing his hair, and raving like 2 the operation. The widow was madman, crying out undone, unaccounted the house-keeper, and done, loft and undone for ever. the doctor and his man boarded He ran dire&tly to the athanor, with her; to which she added this when, unlocking the door, he found precaution, that the laboratory the machine split quite in two; with the two lodging rooms over it, the eggs broke, and the precious in which the doctor and his man almagamum which they contained lay, was a different wing of the was scattered like fand among the building from that where she and alhes. Mrs. Thomas's eyes were her little daughter, and maid-fer. now fufficiently opened to difcern vant, resided; and as she knew the impofture, and with a very fesome time must elapse before any rene countenance she told the em. profit could be expected, she ma. pyric, that accidents would hapnaged with the utmost frugality. pen, but means might be fallen The doctor mean time acted the upon to repair this fatal disappointpart of a tutor to miss in arith, ment. The doctor, observing her metic, latin, and mathematics, to fo ferene, imagined she would grant which she discovered the strongest him more money to complete his propensity,
scheme; but she foon disappointed All things being properly dif- his expectation, by ordering him posed for the grand operation, the to be gone, and made him a pre. vitriol furnace was set to work, fent of five guineas, leit his dewhich, requiring the most interfe fperate circumitances should induce heat for several days, unhappily him to take some violent means fet fire to the house; the stairs of providing for himself. were consumed in an instant, and Whether deluded by a real hope as it surprised them all in their first of finding out the philosopher's Neep, it was a happy circumstance stone, or from an innare principle that no life perished, 'This un- of villany, cannot be determined; lucky accident was 300l, lofs to but he did not cease his pursuit, Mrs. Thomas; yet still the grand and till indulged the golden deproject was in a fair way of suc. lusion. He now found means to ceeding in the other wing of the work upon the credulity of an old building. But one misfortune is mifer, who, upon the strength of often followed by another; the his pretensions, gave him his next Sunday evening, while she daughter in marriage, and emwas reading to and instructing her barked all his hoarded treasure, little family, a sudden and violent which was very considerable, in the report, like a discharge of a can. fame chimerical adventure. In a non, was heard; the house, being word, the miser's stock was also timber, rocked like a cradle, and loft, the empyric himself, and the the family were all thrown from daughter reduced to beggary. This their chairs on the ground. They unhappy affair broke the miser's
heart, who did not many weeks few days he ordered a dinner fo. survive the loss of his cath. The · his beloved friends, Jack and Tom, doctor also put a miserable end to Will and Ned, good honeft counhis life, by drinking poison, and try fellows, as his grace called left his wife with two young chil. them. They came at the time ap. dren, in a state of beggary. But pointed; but how surprised was to return to Mrs. Thomas. The the widow, when she saw the duke poor lady suffered on this occasion of Devonshire, lords Buckingham a great deal of inward anguish; and Dorset, and a certain viscount, The was ashamed of having reduced with Sir William Dutton Colt, unher fortune, and impoverished her der these feigned pames. After child, by listening to the insinu. several times meeting at this lady's ations of a madman, Time and house, the noble persons, who had patience at last overcame it; and a high opinion of her integrity, when her health, which by this intrusted her with the grand secret, accident had been impaired, was which was nothing less than the restored to her, she began to stir project for the revolution amongst her husband's great clients. Though these meetings were held She took a house in Bloomsbury, as private as posible, yet suspi. and by means of good æconomy, cions arose, and Mrs. Thomas's and an elegant appearance, was house was narrowly watched; but fupposed to be better in the world the messengers, who were no enethan she really was. Her husband's mies to the cause, betrayed their clients received her like one risen trust, and suffered the noblemen to from the dead: they came to visit meet unmolested, or at least withher, and promised to ferve her. out any dread of apprehenfion. At last the duke of Mon:ague ad. The revolution being effected, vised her to let lodgings, which and the state become more fettled, way of life she declined, as her ta- that place of rendezvous was quit. lents were not suited for dealing ted; the noblemen took leave of with ordinary lodgers; but, added the lady, with promises of obtain. she, “if I knew any family who ing a pension, or some place in desired such a conveniency, I would the houfhold for her, as her zeal readily accommodate them."-"I in that cause highly merited; be. take you ..t your word,'' replied the fides the had a very good claim to duke; “ I will become your sole some appointment, having been tenant: nay, don't smile, for I am ruined by the shutting up the ex. in earnest, I love a little more free. chequer. But alas! court prodom than I can enjoy at home, and mises proyed an ærial foundation, I may come fometimes and eat a and the noble peers never thought bit of mutton, with four or five of her more. The duke of Mon. honeft fellows, whose company I tague indeed made offers of fer. delight in." The bargain was vice, and being captain of the bound, and proved matter of fact, band of pensioners, she asked him though on a deeper scheme than to admit Mr. Gwynnet, a gentle. drinking a bottle; and his grace man who had made love to her was to pass in the house for Mr. daughter, into such a poft. This Freeman of Hertfordshire, In a he promised, but upon these terms,
that her daughter should ask him man in Gloucestershire. Upon for it. The widow thanked him, his first discovering his passion to and not suspecting that any design Corinna, the had honour enough was covered under this offer, con to remonftrate to him the inequacluded herself sure of success : but lity of their fortune, as her affairs how amazed was she to find her were then in a very perplexed fitu. daughter, whom the had bred in ation. This objection was foon the most passive subjection, and who surmounted by a lover, especially had never discovered the least in. as his father had given him poi, ftance of disobedience, absolutely session of the greatest part of his refuse to ask any such favour of estate, and leave to please him. his grace. She could not be pre. self. vailed upon neither by flattery, nor Mr. Gwynnet no sooner obtain. threatening; and continuing ftill ed this, than he came to London, obftinate in her resolution, her and claimed Corinna's promise of mother obliged her to explain her marriage : but her mother being self upon the point of her refusal. then in a very weak condition, the She told her then, that the duke of could not abandon her in that dif. Montague had already made an at. tress, to die among strangers. She tack upon her; that his designs therefore told Mc. Gwynnet, that were dishonourable ; and that if as she had not thought fixteen The submitted to ask his grace one years long in waiting for him, he favour, he would reckon himself could not think fix months long in secure of another in return, which expectation of her. He replied he would endeavour to accomplish with a deep figh, " Six months, .by the baseft means.
at this time, my Coriona, is more This explanation was too satis. than fixteen years have been; you factory : who does not see the put it off now, and God will put meanness of such an ungenerous it off for ever." It proved as he conduct ? He had made use of the had foretold; he next day went mother as a tool for carrying on into the country, made his will, political designs ; he found her fickened, and died April the fix.
distress; and, as a recompence for teenth, 1711, leaving his Corinna • her services, and under the pre. the bequest of bool. and, adds the,
tence of mending her fortune, at. “ Sorrow has been my food ever tempted the virtue of her daugh. fince,” Had the providentially cer, and would provide for her on married him, she had been secure no other terms, but at the price from the insults of poverty ; but of her child's innocence. In the her duty to her parent was more mean time, the young Corinna, a prevalent than considerations of poetical name given her by Mr. convenience. Dryden, continued to improve her After the death of her lover, mind by reading the politest au. she was harbaroolly used: his thors.
brother stifled the will, which We have already seen that the compelled her to have recourse to was addressed upon honourable law; he smothered the old gentleterms, by Mr. Gwynnet, of the man's conveyance deed, by which Middle-Temple, son of a gentle, he was enabled to make a bequeft,
and offered a large sum of money difficult to produce a life crowded to any person who would under. with gearer evils. The small take to blacken Corinna's charac. fortune which her father left her, ter ; but wicked as the world is, by the imprudence of her' mother, he found none so completely aban. was foon fquandered : she no sooner doned, as to perjure themselves for began to taste of life, than an at. - the sake of this bribe. At last, tempt was made upon her inno.
to shew her refpect to the memory cence. When she was about be. of her deceased lover, the con- ing happy in the arms of her ami. fented to an accommodation with able lover, Mr. Gwynnet, he was his brother, to receive 200l. down, snatched from her by an immature and 2001. at the year's end. The fate. Amongst her other misfor, firft payment was made, and dif. tunes, she laboured under the dif. tributed instantly amongst her mo.. pleasure of Mr. Pope, whom the -ther's creditors; but when the had offended, and who took care other became due, he bid her de. to place her in his Dunciad. Mr. fiance, stood suit on his own bond, Pope once paid her a visit, in and held out four terms. He car company with Henry Cromwell, ried it from one court to another, efq. whose letters by fome acci. till at last it was brought to the bar dent, fell into her hands, with of the house of lords; and chat be fome of Pope's answers. As soon ing å tribunal where the chicanery as that gentleman died, Mr. Curl of lawyers can have no weight, he found means to wheedle them from thought proper to pay the money her, and immediately committed without a hearing: The gentle them to the press. This so en. - men of the long robe had made raged Mr. Pope, that he never for, her fign an instrument, that they gave her. fhould receive the money and pay . Not many months after our pothemfelves; after they had laid - etess had been released from her their cruel hands upon it, of the gloomy habitation, the took a 2001. the poor distressed lady re- . fmall lodging in Fleet-street, where ceived but thirteen pounds lixteen the died on the third of February,
fhillings, which reduced her to the 1730, in the fifty-fixth year of her * necessity of absconding from her age, and was two days after de.
creditors, and starving in an ob. "cently interred in the church of fcure corner, till she was betrayed St. Bride's. by a falfe friend, and hurried to · Corinna, considered as an aujail. Besides all the other calami. thoress, is of the fecond rate ; she ties of Corinna, the had ever a had not fo much wit as Mrs. Behn, - bad state of health, occasioned by or Mrs. Manley, nor had so happy a furprising accident, swallowing a power of intellectual painting :
the middle bone of the wing of a but her poetry is soft and delicate, : large fowl, being above three in- her letters fprightly and entertain.
ches long. Her uncommon case iog. Her poems were published was given into the college of phy. after her death by Curl ; and two ficians.
volumes of letters which passed Under all these calaniities did between her and Mr. Gwynnet. poor Corinna labour; and it is