Idolatry eBook

Julian Hawthorne
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 231 pages of information about Idolatry.

By and by the work was done, the workmen disappeared.  But whoever hoped that now the mystery would be revealed, and the Oriental palace be made the scene of a gorgeous house-warming, was disappointed.  The dwellers behind the wall emerged not from their seclusion, nor were others invited to relieve it.  In due course of time Doctor Glyphic’s worthy step-father died.  The widow and her daughter continued to live in Brooklyn until the former’s death, which took place a few years afterwards.  Then Helen came to her brother, and the Brooklyn house was put under lock and key, and so remained till Helen’s marriage, when it was set in order for the bridal pair.  But Thor’s wife died as they were on the point of moving thither, and he sold it four years later and left America forever.

After his departure less was known, than before of how things went on behind the brick wall.  The gateway was filled in with masonry.  No one was ever seen entering the enclosure or leaving it; though it was supposed that, somehow or other, communication was occasionally had with the outside world.  As knowledge dwindled, legend grew, and wild were the tales told of the invisible Doctor and his foster-son.  In his youth, the former had been suspected of simple witchcraft, but he was not let off so easily now.  Manetho was first dubbed a genie whom the Doctor had brought out of Egypt.  Afterwards it was hinted that these two worthies were in fact one and the same demon, who by some infernal jugglery was able to appear twain during the daytime, but resumed his proper shape at night, and cut up all manner of unholy capers.

By another version, Doctor Glyphic died in Egypt, not before bargaining with the Prince of Darkness that his body should return home in charge of a condemned soul under the guise of Manetho.  During the day, affirmed these theorists, the body was inspired by the soul with phantom life; but became a mummy at night, when the condemned soul suffered torments till morning.  With sunrise the ghastly drama began anew.  This state of things must continue until the sun shone all night long within the brick wall enclosure.

A third, more moderate account is that to which we have already listened from Charon’s lips.  And he perhaps built on a broader basis of truth than did the other yarn-spinners.  But under whatever form the legend appeared, there was always mingled with it a vaguely mysterious whisper relating to the alleged presence in the Doctor’s Den (so the enclosure was nicknamed) of an apparition in female form.  What or whence she was no one pretended soberly to conjecture.  Even her personal aspect was the subject of vehement dispute; some maintaining her to be of more than human beauty, while others swore by their heads that she was so hideous fire would not burn her!  These damned her for a malignant witch; those upheld her as a heavenly angel, urged by love divine to expiate, through voluntary suffering, the nameless crimes of the demoniac Doctor.  But unless the redemption were effected within a certain time, she must be swallowed up with him in common destruction.  Were the how and wherefore of these alternatives called in question, the answer was a wise shake of the head!

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Project Gutenberg
Idolatry from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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