Kenilworth eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 697 pages of information about Kenilworth.

“It was not long after I had performed at Sir Hugh Robsart’s, in your worship’s presence,” said the artist, “that I took myself to the stage, and have swaggered with the bravest of them all, both at the Black Bull, the Globe, the Fortune, and elsewhere; but I know not how—­apples were so plenty that year that the lads in the twopenny gallery never took more than one bite out of them, and threw the rest of the pippin at whatever actor chanced to be on the stage.  So I tired of it—­renounced my half share in the company, gave my foil to my comrade, my buskins to the wardrobe, and showed the theatre a clean pair of heels.”

“Well, friend, and what,” said Tressilian, “was your next shift?”

“I became,” said the smith, “half partner, half domestic to a man of much skill and little substance, who practised the trade of a physicianer.”

“In other words,” said Tressilian, “you were Jack Pudding to a quacksalver.”

“Something beyond that, let me hope, my good Master Tressilian,” replied the artist; “and yet to say truth, our practice was of an adventurous description, and the pharmacy which I had acquired in my first studies for the benefit of horses was frequently applied to our human patients.  But the seeds of all maladies are the same; and if turpentine, tar, pitch, and beef-suet, mingled with turmerick, gum-mastick, and one bead of garlick, can cure the horse that hath been grieved with a nail, I see not but what it may benefit the man that hath been pricked with a sword.  But my master’s practice, as well as his skill, went far beyond mine, and dealt in more dangerous concerns.  He was not only a bold, adventurous practitioner in physic, but also, if your pleasure so chanced to be, an adept who read the stars, and expounded the fortunes of mankind, genethliacally, as he called it, or otherwise.  He was a learned distiller of simples, and a profound chemist—­made several efforts to fix mercury, and judged himself to have made a fair hit at the philosopher’s stone.  I have yet a programme of his on that subject, which, if your honour understandeth, I believe you have the better, not only of all who read, but also of him who wrote it.”

He gave Tressilian a scroll of parchment, bearing at top and bottom, and down the margin, the signs of the seven planets, curiously intermingled with talismanical characters and scraps of Greek and Hebrew.  In the midst were some Latin verses from a cabalistical author, written out so fairly, that even the gloom of the place did not prevent Tressilian from reading them.  The tenor of the original ran as follows:—­

     “Si fixum solvas, faciasque volare solutum,
     Et volucrem figas, facient te vivere tutum;
     Si pariat ventum, valet auri pondere centum;
     Ventus ubi vult spirat—­Capiat qui capere potest.”

“I protest to you,” said Tressilian, “all I understand of this jargon is that the last words seem to mean ‘Catch who catch can.’”

Project Gutenberg
Kenilworth from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook