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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 456 pages of information about Zanoni.
gaze, it ceased to discern them from the preternatural element they were supposed to inhabit.  Such were the moving outlines that coiled and floated through the mist; but before Glyndon had even drawn breath in this atmosphere—­for his life itself seemed arrested or changed into a kind of horrid trance—­he felt his hand seized, and he was led from that room into the outer one.  He heard the door close,—­his blood rushed again through his veins, and he saw Mejnour by his side.  Strong convulsions then suddenly seized his whole frame,—­he fell to the ground insensible.  When he recovered, he found himself in the open air in a rude balcony of stone that jutted from the chamber, the stars shining serenely over the dark abyss below, and resting calmly upon the face of the mystic, who stood beside him with folded arms.

“Young man,” said Mejnour, “judge by what you have just felt, how dangerous it is to seek knowledge until prepared to receive it.  Another moment in the air of that chamber and you had been a corpse.”

“Then of what nature was the knowledge that you, once mortal like myself, could safely have sought in that icy atmosphere, which it was death for me to breathe?  Mejnour,” continued Glyndon, and his wild desire, sharpened by the very danger he had passed, once more animated and nerved him, “I am prepared at least for the first steps.  I come to you as of old the pupil to the Hierophant, and demand the initiation.”

Mejnour passed his hand over the young man’s heart,—­it beat loud, regularly, and boldly.  He looked at him with something almost like admiration in his passionless and frigid features, and muttered, half to himself, “Surely, in so much courage the true disciple is found at last.”  Then, speaking aloud, he added, “Be it so; man’s first initiation is in trance.  In dreams commences all human knowledge; in dreams hovers over measureless space the first faint bridge between spirit and spirit,—­this world and the worlds beyond!  Look steadfastly on yonder star!”

Glyndon obeyed, and Mejnour retired into the chamber, from which there then slowly emerged a vapour, somewhat paler and of fainter odour than that which had nearly produced so fatal an effect on his frame.  This, on the contrary, as it coiled around him, and then melted in thin spires into the air, breathed a refreshing and healthful fragrance.  He still kept his eyes on the star, and the star seemed gradually to fix and command his gaze.  A sort of languor next seized his frame, but without, as he thought, communicating itself to the mind; and as this crept over him, he felt his temples sprinkled with some volatile and fiery essence.  At the same moment a slight tremor shook his limbs and thrilled through his veins.  The languor increased, still he kept his gaze upon the star, and now its luminous circumference seemed to expand and dilate.  It became gradually softer and clearer in its light; spreading wider and broader, it diffused all space,—­all space seemed

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