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air, sole, or responsive to each other's notes, singing !! After the Act of Disobedience, when the erring pair from Eden took their solitary way, and went forth to toil and trouble on common earth—though the Glorious Ones no longer were visible, you cannot say they were gone. It was not that the Bright Ones were absent, but that the dim eyes of rebel man no longer could see them. In your chamber hangs a picture of one whom you never knew, but whom you have long held in tenderest regard, and who was painted for you by a friend of mine, the Knight of Plympton. She communes with you. She smiles on you. When your spirits are low, her bright eyes shine on you and cheer you. Her innocent sweet smile is a caress to you. She never fails to soothe you with her speechless prattle. You love her. She is alive with you. As you extinguish your candle and turn to sleep, though your eyes see her not, is she not there still smiling? As you lie in the night awake, and thinking of your duties, and the morrow's inevitable toil oppressing the busy, weary, wakeful brain as with a remorse, the crackling fire flashes up for a moment in the grate, and she is there, your little Beauteous Maiden, smiling with her sweet eyes! When moon is down, when fire is out, when curtains are drawn, when lids are closed, is she not there, the little Beautiful One, though invisible, present and smiling still? Friend, the Unseen Ones are round about us. Does it not seem as if the time were drawing near when it shall be given to men to behold them?"
The print of which my friend spoke, and which, indeed, hangs in my room, though he has never been there, is that charming little winter piece of Sir Joshua, representing the little Lady Caroline Montague, afterwards Duchess of Buccleuch. She is represented as standing in the midst of a winter landscape, wrapped in muff and cloak; and she looks out of her picture with a smile so exquisite that a Herod could not see her without being charmed.
“I beg your pardon, Mr. Pinto," I said to the person with whom I was conversing. (I wonder, by the way, that I was not surprised at his knowing how fond I am of this print.) “You spoke of the Knight of Plympton. Sir Joshua died, 1792 : and you say he was your dear friend ?'
As I spoke I chanced to look at Mr. Pinto ; and then it suddenly struck me: Gracious powers ! Perhaps you are a hundred years old, now I think of it. You look more than a hundred. Yes, you may be a thousand years old for what I know. Your teeth are false. One eye is evidently false. Can I say that the other is not? If a man's age may be calculated
by the rings round his eyes, this man may be as old as Methusaleh. He has no beard. He wears a large curly glossy brown wig, and his eyebrows are painted a deep olive-green. It was odd to hear this man, this walking mummy, talking sentiment, in these queer old chambers in Shepherd's Inn.
Pinto passed a yellow bandanna handkerchief over his awful white teeth, and kept his glass eye steadily fixed on me. Joshua's friend?” said he (you perceive, eluding my direct question). “Is not every one that knows his pictures Reynolds's friend ? Suppose I tell you that I have been in his painting room scores of times, and that his sister Thé has made me tea, and his sister Toffy has made coffee for me? You will only say I am an old ombog.” (Mr. Pinto, I remarked, spoke all languages with an accent equally foreign.)
Suppose I tell you that I knew Mr. Sam Johnson, and did not like him? that I was at that very ball at Madame Cornelis',
have mentioned in one of your little—what do you call them ?-bah ! my memory begins to fail me—in one of your little Whirligig Papers ? Suppose I tell you that Sir Joshua has been here, in this very room ?”
Have you, then, had these apartments for-more-than -seventy years?” I asked.
“They look as if they had not been swept for that timedon't they? Hey? I did not say that I had them for seventy years, but that Sir Joshua has visited me here."
“When?" I asked, eyeing the man sternly, for I began to think he was an impostor.
He answered me with a glance still more stern : “Sir Joshua Reynolds was here this very morning, with Angelica Kaufmann and Mr. Oliver Goldschmidt. He is still very much attached to Angelica, who still does not care for him. Because he is dead (and I was in the fourth mourning coach at his funeral), is that any reason why he should not come back to earth again? My good sir, you are laughing at me. He has sat many a time on that very chair which you are occupying. There are several spirits in the room now, whom you cannot see.
Excuse me.” Here he turned round as if he were addressing somebody, and began rapidly speaking a language unknown to me. “ It is Arabic, ” he said ; "a bad patois I own. I learned it in Barbary, when I was a prisoner amongst the Moors. In anno 1609, bin ick aldus ghekledt gheghaen. Ha ! you doubt me : look at me well. At least I am like
Perhaps some of my readers remember a paper of which the figure of a man carrying a barrel formed the initial letter,
had a queer
and which I copied from an old spoon now in my possession. As I looked at Mr. Pinto I do declare he looked so like the figure on that old piece of plate that I started and felt very uneasy. “Ha!” said he, laughing through his false teeth (I declare they were false—I could see utterly toothless gums working up and down behind the pink coral)," you see I wore a beard den ;
I am shafed now; perhaps you tink I am a spoon. Ha, ha!”
And as he laughed he gave a cough which I thought would have coughed his teeth out, his glass eye out, his wig off, his very head off; but he stopped this convulsion by stumping across the room and seizing a little bottle of bright pink medicine, which, being opened, spread a singular acrid aromatic odor through the apartment; and I thought I sawbut of this I cannot take an affirmation—a light green and violet flame flickering round the neck of the phial as he opened it. By the way, from the peculiar stumping noise which he made in crossing the bare-boarded apartment, I knew at once that my strange entertainer had a wooden leg. Over the dust which lay quite thick on the boards, you could see the mark of one foot very neat and pretty, and then a round 0, which was naturally the impression made by the wooden stump. I own I
thrill as I saw that mark, and felt a secret comfort that it was not cloven.
In this desolate apartment in which Mr. Pinto had invited me to see him, there were three chairs, one bottomless, a little table on which you might put a breakfast-tray, and not a single other article of furniture. In the next room, the door of which was open, I could see a magnificent gilt dressing-case, with some splendid diamond and ruby shirt-studs lying by it, and a chest of drawers, and a cupboard apparently full of clothes.
Remembering him in Baden Baden in great magnificence, I wondered at his present denuded state. “You have a house elsewhere, Mr. Pinto ? I said.
“Many," says he. “I have apartments in many cities. I lock dem up, and do not carry mosh logish.”:
I then remembered that his apartment at Baden, where I first met him, was bare, and had no bed in it.
“There is, then, a sleeping-room beyond ? ”
“This is the sleeping-room." (He pronounces it dis. Can this, by the way, give any clue to the nationality of this singular man?)
" If you sleep on these two old chairs you have a rickety couch ; if on the floor, a dusty one."
"Suppose I sleep up dere?” said this strange man, and he
actually pointed up to the ceiling. I thought him mad, or what he himself called " an ombog." I know. You do not believe me ; for why should I deceive you? I came but to propose a matter of business to you. I told you I could give you the clue to the mystery of the Two Children in Black, whom you met at Baden, and you came to see me.
If I told you you would not believe me. What for try and convinz you? Ha hey?" And he shook his hand once, twice, thrice, at me, and glared at me out of his eye in a peculiar way.
Of what happened now I protest I cannot give an accurate account. It seemed to me that there shot a flame from his eye into my brain, whilst behind his glass eye there was a green illumination as if a candle had been lit in it. It seemed to me that from his long fingers two quivering flames issued, sputtering, as it were, which penetrated me, and forced me back into one of the chairs—the broken one-out of which I had much difficulty in scrambling, when the strange glamor was ended. It seemed to me that, when I was so fixed, so transfixed in the broken chair, the man floated up to the ceiling, crossed his legs, folded his arms as if he were lying on a sofa, and grinned down at me. When I came to myself he was down from the ceiling, and, taking me out of the broken canebottomed chair, kindly enough—"Bah,” said he, “it is the smell of my medicine.' It often gives the vertigo. I thought you would have had a little fit. Come into the open air.” And we went down the steps, and into Shepherd's Inn, where the setting sun was just shining on the statue of Shepherd ; the laundresses were trapesing about ; the porters were leaning against the railings ; and the clerks were playing at marbles to my inexpressible consolation.
“You said you were going to dine at the 'Gray's-inn Coffeehouse,'” he said. I was. I often dined there. There is excellent wine at the “Gray’s-inn Coffee-house ;” but I declare I NEVER SAID SO. I was not astonished at his remark ; no more astonished than if I was in a dream. Perhaps I was in a dream. Is life a dream ? Are dreams facts ? Is sleeping being really awake? I don't know. I tell you I am puzzled. I have read the “Woman in White," “ The Strange Story' —not to mention that story “Stranger than Fiction" in the Cornhill Magazine—that story for which THREE credible witnesses are ready to vouch. I have had messages from the dead, and not only from the dead, but from people who never existed at all. I own I am in a state of much bewilderment: but, if you please, will proceed with my simple, my artless story.
Well, then. We passed from Shepherd's Inn into Holborn, and looked for a while at Woodgate's bric-à-brac shop, which I never could pass without delaying at the windows-indeed, if I were going to be hung, I would beg the cart to stop, and let me have one look more at that delightful omnium gatherum. And passing Woodgate's, we come to Gale's little shop, “No. 47,” which is also a favorite haunt of mine.
Mr. Gale happened to be at his door, and as we exchanged salutations, “Mr. Pinto,” I said, “ will you like to see a real curiosity in this curiosity-shop? Step into Mr. Gale’s little back room.”
In that little back parlor there are Chinese gongs; there are old Saxe and Sôvres plates ; there is Fürstenberg, Carl Theodor, Worcester, Amstel, Nankin, and other jimcrockery. And in the corner what do you think there is ? There is an actual GUILLOTINE. If you doubt me, go and see-Gale, High Holborn, No. 47. It is a slim instrument, much lighter than those which they make now; some nine feet high, narrow, a pretty piece of upholstery enough. There is the hook over which the rope used to play which unloosened the dreadful axe above; and look! dropped into the orifice where the head used to go - there is THE AXE itself, all rusty, with a GREAT NOTCH IN THE BLADE.
As Pinto looked at it-Mr. Gale was not in the room, I recollect; happening to have been just called out by a customer who offered him three pounds fourteen and sixpence for a blue Shepherd in pâte tendre,—Mr. Pinto gave a little start, and seemed crispé for a moment. Then he looked steadily towards one of those great porcelain stools which you see in gardensand—it seemed to me—I tell you I won't take my affidavitI may have been maddened by the six glasses I took of that pink elixir-I may have been sleep-walking : perhaps I am as I write now--I may have been under the influence of that astounding MEDIUM into whose hands I had fallen—but I vow I heard Pinto say, with rather a gastly grin at the porcelain stool,
Nay, nefer shague your gory locks at me,
(He pronounced it, by the way, I dit it, by which I know that Pinto was a German.)
I heard Pinto say those very words, and sitting on the porcelain stool I saw, dimly at first, then with an awful distinctness—a ghost-an eidolon—a form-A HEADLESS MAN seated,