“In brief, he believes that every stone corresponds to a species of malady, and also to a class of sins; and he affirms that when we have chemically got possession of the active principle of gems we shall have not only antidotes but preventatives. While waiting for this chimerical dream to be realized and for our medicine to become the mock of lapidary chemists, he uses precious stones to formulate diagnoses of illnesses produced by sorcery.”
“He claims that when such or such a stone is placed in the hand or on the affected part of the bewitched a fluid escapes from the stone into his hands, and that by examining this fluid he can tell what is the matter. In this connection he told me that a woman whom he did not know came to him one day to consult him about a malady, pronounced incurable, from which she had suffered since childhood. He could not get any precise answers to his questions. He saw no signs of venefice. After trying out his whole array of stones he placed in her hand lapis lazuli, which, he says, corresponds to the sin of incest. He examined the stone.
“‘Your malady,’ he said, ‘is the consequence of an act of incest.’
“‘Well,’ she said, ‘I did not come here to confessional,’ but she finally admitted that her father had violated her before she attained the age of puberty.
“That, of course, is against reason and contrary to all accepted ideas, but there is no getting around the fact that this priest cures patients whom we physicians have given up for lost.”
“Such as the only astrologer Paris now can boast, the astounding Gevingey, who would have been dead without his aid. I wonder how Gevingey came to cast the Empress Eugenie’s horoscope.”
“Oh, I told you. Under the Empire the Tuileries was a hotbed of magic. Home, the American, was revered as the equal of a god. In addition to spiritualistic seances he evoked demons at court. One evocation had fatal consequences. A certain marquis, whose wife had died, implored Home to let him see her again. Home took him to a room, put him in bed, and left him. What ensued? What dreadful phantom rose from the tomb? Was the story of Ligeia re-enacted? At any rate, the marquis was found dead at the foot of the bed. This story has recently been reported by Le Figaro from unimpeachable documents.
“You see it won’t do to play with the world spirits of Evil. I used to know a rich bachelor who had a mania for the occult sciences. He was president of a theosophic society and he even wrote a little book on the esoteric doctrine, in the Isis series. Well, he could not, like the Peladan and Papus tribe, be content with knowing nothing, so he went to Scotland, where Diabolism is rampant. There he got in touch with the man who, if you stake him, will initiate you into the Satanic arcana. My friend made the experiment. Did he see him whom Bulwer Lytton in Zanoni calls ‘the dweller of the threshold’? I don’t know, but certain it is that he fainted from horror and returned to France exhausted, half dead.”