Japhet, in Search of a Father eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 546 pages of information about Japhet, in Search of a Father.

“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.”

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Japhet, in Search of a Father from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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