Rosa Alchemica eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 21 pages of information about Rosa Alchemica.

II

My reverie was broken by a loud knocking at the door, and I wondered the more at this because I had no visitors, and had bid my servants do all things silently, lest they broke the dream of my inner life.  Feeling a little curious, I resolved to go to the door myself, and, taking one of the silver candlesticks from the mantlepiece, began to descend the stairs.  The servants appeared to be out, for though the sound poured through every corner and crevice of the house there was no stir in the lower rooms.  I remembered that because my needs were so few, my part in life so little, they had begun to come and go as they would, often leaving me alone for hours.  The emptiness and silence of a world from which I had driven everything but dreams suddenly overwhelmed me, and I shuddered as I drew the bolt.  I found before me Michael Robartes, whom I had not seen for years, and whose wild red hair, fierce eyes, sensitive, tremulous lips and rough clothes, made him look now, just as they used to do fifteen years before, something between a debauchee, a saint, and a peasant.  He had recently come to Ireland, he said, and wished to see me on a matter of importance:  indeed, the only matter of importance for him and for me.  His voice brought up before me our student years in Paris, and remembering the magnetic power ne had once possessed over me, a little fear mingled with much annoyance at this irrelevant intrusion, as I led the way up the wide staircase, where Swift had passed joking and railing, and Curran telling stories and quoting Greek, in simpler days, before men’s minds, subtilized and complicated by the romantic movement in art and literature, began to tremble on the verge of some unimagined revelation.  I felt that my hand shook, and saw that the light of the candle wavered and quivered more than it need have upon the Maenads on the old French panels, making them look like the first beings slowly shaping in the formless and void darkness.  When the door had closed, and the peacock curtain, glimmering like many-coloured flame, fell between us and the world, I felt, in a way I could not understand, that some singular and unexpected thing was about to happen.  I went over to the mantlepiece, and finding that a little chainless bronze censer, set, upon the outside, with pieces of painted china by Orazio Fontana, which I had filled with antique amulets, had fallen upon its side and poured out its contents, I began to gather the amulets into the bowl, partly to collect my thoughts and partly with that habitual reverence which seemed to me the due of things so long connected with secret hopes and fears.  ’I see,’ said Michael Robartes, ’that you are still fond of incense, and I can show you an incense more precious than any you have ever seen,’ and as he spoke he took the censer out of my hand and put the amulets in a little heap between the athanor and the alembic.  I sat down, and he sat down at the side of the fire,

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Rosa Alchemica from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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