“It would appear that you are wanderers, young men, and journey you know not whither. Birds seek their nests when the night falls—beasts hasten to their lairs—man bolts his door. ‘Propria quae maribus,’ as Herodotus hath it; which, when translated, means, that ’such is the nature of mankind.’ ‘Tribuuntur mascula dicas’ ’Tell me your troubles,’ as Homer says.”
I was very much surprised at this address—my knowledge of the language told me immediately that the quotations were out of the Latin grammar, and that all his learning was pretence; still there was a novelty of style which amused me, and at the same time gave me an idea that the speaker was an uncommon personage. I gave Timothy a nudge, and then replied,
“You have guessed right, most learned sir; we are, as you say, wanderers seeking our fortunes, and trust yet to find them—still we have a weary journey before us, ‘Haustus hora somni sumendum,’ as Aristotle hath it; which I need not translate to so learned a person as yourself.”
“Nay, indeed, there is no occasion; yet am I pleased to meet with one who hath scholarship,” replied the other. “Have you also a knowledge of the Greek?”
“No, I pretend not to Greek.”
“It is a pity that thou hast it not, for thou
wouldst delight to commune with the ancients.
Esculapius hath these words—’A_shol_der&mda
sh;offmotton—accapon—pasti—venison,’—which I will translate for thee—’We often find what we seek, when we least expect it.’ May it be so with you, my friend. Where have you been educated? and what has been your profession?”
I thought I risked little in telling, so I replied, that I had been brought up as a surgeon and apothecary, and had been educated at a foundation school.
“’Tis well,” replied he; “you have then commenced your studies in my glorious profession; still, have you much to learn; years of toil, under a great master, can only enable you to benefit mankind as I have done, and years of hardship and of danger must be added thereunto, to afford you the means. There are many hidden secrets. ’Ut sunt Divorum, Mars, Bacchus, Apollo, Virorum,’—many parts of the globe to traverse, ’Ut Cato, Virgilius, fluviorum, ut Tibris, Orontes.’ All these have I visited, and many more. Even now do I journey to obtain more of my invaluable medicine, gathered on the highest Andes, when the moon is in her perigee. There I shall remain for months among the clouds, looking down upon the great plain of Mexico, which shall appear no larger than the head of a pin, where the voice of man is heard not. ’Vocito, vocitas vocitavi,’ bending for months towards the earth. ’As in presenti,’ suffering with the cold—’frico quod fricui dat,’ as Eusebius hath it. Soon shall I be borne away by the howling winds towards the new world, where I can obtain more of the wonderful medicine, which I may say never yet hath failed me, and which nothing but love towards my race induces me to gather at such pains and risk.”