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enough to cast a nativity, and more acquaintance with alchemy than has often been possessed by one who never burnt his fingers in its processes. These acquirements were grafted on a disposition as obliging as it was easy; and he was beholden to nature for an understanding so clear and quick that it might have raised him to some distinction in the world if he had not been under the influence of an imagination at once lively and credulous. Five and twenty years
had taught him none of the world's wisdom; they had sobered his mind without maturing it; but he had a wise heart, and the wisdom of the heart is worth all other wisdom.
Daniel was too far advanced in life to fall in friendship; he felt a certain degree of attractiveness in this person's company; there was however so much of what may better be called reticence than reserve in his own quiet habitual manners, that it would have been long before their acquaintance ripened into any thing like intimacy, if an accidental circumstance had not brought out the latent sympathy which on both sides had till then rather been apprehended
than understood. They were walking together one day when young Daniel, who was then in his sixth year, looking up in his father's face proposed this question: “ will it be any harm, Father, if I steal five beans when next I
into Jonathan Dowthwaites, if I can do it without any one's seeing me?”
" And what wouldst thou steal beans for ?" was the reply, “ when any body would give them to thee, and when thou knowest there are plenty at home ?”
“ But it wo’nt do to have them given, Father,” the boy replied. They are to charm away my warts. Uncle William says I must steal five beans, a bean for every wart, and tie them carefully up in paper, and carry them to
, a place where two roads cross, and then drop them, and walk away without ever once looking behind me. And then the warts will go away and come upon
the hands of the person that picks up the beans.”
“ Nay boy,” the Father made answer; "that charm was never taught by a white witch! If thy warts are a trouble to thee, they would be a
trouble to any one else; and to get rid of an evil from ourselves Daniel, by bringing it upon another, is against our duty to our neighbour. Have nothing to do with a charm like that!"
May I steal a piece of raw beef then," rejoined the boy, “ and rub the warts with it and bury it? For Uncle says that will do, and as the beef rots, so the warts will waste away."
Daniel," said the Father," those can be no lawful charms that begin with stealing; I could tell thee how to cure thy warts in a better
a There is an infallible way, which is by washing the hands in moonshine, but then the moonshine must be caught in a bright silver basin. You wash and wash in the basin, and a cold moisture will be felt upon the hands, proceeding from the cold and moist rays of the moon."
" But what shall we do for a silver basin,” said little Daniel ?
The Father answered, “a pewter dish might be tried if it were made very bright; but it is not deep enough. The brass kettle perhaps might do better."
Nay,” said Guy, who had now begun to attend with some interest,“ the shape of a kettle is not suitable. It should be a concave vessel, so as to concentrate the rays. Joshua Wilson I dare say would lend his brass basin, which he can very well spare at the hour you want it, because nobody comes to be shaved by moonlight. The moon rises early enough to serve at this time. If you come in this evening at six o'clock I will speak to Joshua in the mean time, and have the basin as bright and shining as a good scouring can make it. The experiment is curious and I should like to see it tried. Where Daniel didst thou learn it ?" “I read it,” replied Daniel, “ in Sir Kenelm Digby's Discourses, and he says it never fails."
Accordingly the parties met at the appointed hour. Mambrino's helmet when new from the armourers, or when furbished for a tournament, was not brighter than Guy had rendered the inside of the barber's basin. Schoolmaster, Father and son retired to a place out of observation, by the side of the river, a wild stream tumbling among the huge stones which it had
brought down from the hills. On one of these stones sate Daniel the elder, holding the basin in such an inclination toward the moon that there should be no shadow in it : Guy directed the boy where to place himself so as not to intercept the light, and stood looking complacently on, while young Daniel revolved his hands one in another within the empty basin, as if washing them. “ I feel them cold and clammy Father!” said the boy. (It was the beginning of November) " Aye,” replied the father, " that's the cold moisture of the moon!”
Aye!" echoed the schoolmaster, and nodded his head in confirmation.
The operation was repeated on the two following nights; and Daniel would have kept up his son two hours later than his regular time of rest to continue it on the third if the evening had not set in with clouds and rain. In spite of the patient's belief that the warts would waste away and were wasting, (for Prince Hohenlohe could not require more entire faith than was given on this occasion) no alteration could be perceived in them at a fortnight's end.