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manner natural to him to look and gaze upon it, whereby he was kept steady in the straight paths, which alone led to that radiant body, the beholding of which was now grown a gratification to his nature. “At the issue of the crooked paths there was a great Black Tower, out of the centre of which streamed a long succession of flames, which did rise even above the clouds: it gave a very great light to the whole plain, which did sometimes outshine the light, and oppressed the beams of the adamantine pillar; though, by the observation I made afterwards, it appeared that it was not for any diminution of light, but that this lay in the travellers, who would sometimes step out of straight paths, where they lost the full prospect of the radiant pillar, and saw it but sideways; but the great light from the Black Tower, which was somewhat particularly scorching to them, would generally light and hasten them to their proper climate again. “Round about the Black Tower there were, methought, many thousands of huge misshapen ugly monsters; these had great nets, which they were perpetually plying and casting towards the crooked paths, and they would now and then catch up those that were nearest to them; these they took up straight, and whirled over the walls into the Flaming Tower, and they were no more seen nor heard of. “They would sometimes cast their nets towards the right paths to catch the stragglers, whose eyes, for want of frequent drinking at the brook that ran by them, grew dim, whereby they lost their way: these would sometimes very narrowly miss being catched away; but I could not hear whether any of these had ever been so unfortunate, that had been before very hearty in the straight paths. “I considered all these strange sights with great attention, until at last I was interrupted by a cluster of the travellers in the crooked paths, who came up to me, bid me go along with them, and presently fell to singing and dancing : they took me by the hand, and so carried me away along with them. After I had followed them a considerable while, I perceived I had lost the Black Tower of light; at which I greatly wondered; but as I looked and gazed around me, and saw nothing, I began to fancy my first vision had been but a dream, and there was no such thing in reality; but then I considered that, if I could fancy to see what was not, I might as well have an illusion wrought on me at present, and not see what was really before me. I was very much confirmed in this thought, by the effect I then just observed the water of Worldly-Wisdom had upon me; for, as I had drunk a little of it again, I felt a very sensible effect in my head: methought it distracted and disordered all there: this made me stop of a sudden, suspecting some charm or enchantment. As I was casting about within myself what I should do, and whom to apply to in this case, I spied at some distance off me a man beckoning and making signs to me to come over to him. I cried to him, I did not know the way. He then called to me audibly, to step at least out of the path I was in ; for, if I staid there any longer, I was in danger to be catched in a great net that was just hanging over me, and ready to catch me up; that he wondered I was so blind, or so distracted, as not to see so imminent and visible a danger, assuring me, that as soon as I was out of that way he would come to me to lead me into a more secure path. This I did, and he brought me his palm full of the water of Heavenly-Wisdom, which was of very great use to me; for my eyes were straight cleared, and I saw the great Black Tower just before me: but the great net which I spied so near me cast me in such a terror, that I ran back as far as I could in one breath, without looking behind me. Then my benefactor thus bespoke me:–You have made the wonderfullest escape in the world: the water you used to drink is of a bewitching nature, you would else have been mightily shocked at the deformities and meanness of the place; for, beside the set of blind fools in whose company you was, you may now behold many others who are only bewitched after another no less dangerous manner. Look a little that way, there goes a crowd of passengers; they have indeed so good a head as not to suffer themselves to be blinded by this bewitching water; the Black Tower is not vanished out of their sight, they see it whenever they look up to it; but see how they go sideways, and with their eyes downwards, as if they were mad, that they may thus rush into the net, without being beforehand troubled at the thought of so miserable a destruction. Their wills are so perverse, and their hearts so fond of the pleasures of the place, that rather than forego them they will run all hazards, and venture upon all the miseries and woes before them.
“See there that other company: though they should drink none of the bewitching water, yet they take a course bewitching and deluding: see how they choose the crookedest paths, whereby they have often the Black Tower behind them, and sometimes see the radiant column side-ways, which gives them some weak glimpse of it. These fools content themselves with that, not knowing whether any other have any more of its influence and light than themselves: this road is called that of Superstition or Human Invention; they grossly overlook that which the rules and laws of the place prescribe to them, and contrive some other scheme and set of directions and prescriptions for themselves, which they hope will serve their turn. He showed me many other kinds of fools, which put me quite out of humour with the place. At last he carried me to the right paths, where I found true and solid pleasure, which entertained me all the way, until we came in closer sight of the pillar, where the satisfaction increased to that measure that my faculties were not able to contain it: in the straining of them, I was violently waked, not a little grieved at the vanishing of so pleasing a dream.”
“GLAsgow, Sept. 29.”
ALNASCHAR; OR, THE PERSIAN GLASS-MAN.
ALNASCHAR, says the fable, was a very idle fellow, that never would set his hand to any business during his father's life. When his father died, he left him to the value of a hundred drachmas in Persian money. Alnaschar, in order to make the best of it, laid it out in glasses, bottles, and the finest earthen ware. These he piled up in a large open basket, and, having made choice of a very little shop, placed the basket at his feet, and leaned his back upon the wall, in expectation of customers. As he sat in this posture, with his eyes upon the basket, he fell into a most amusing train of thought, and was overheard by one of his neighbours, as he talked to himself in the following manner: “This basket,” says he, “cost me at the wholesale merchant's a hundred drachmas, which is all I have in the world. I shall quickly make two hundred of it, by selling it in retail. These two hundred drachmas will in a very little while rise to four hundred, which of course will amount in time to four thousand. Four thousand drachmas cannot fail of making eight thousand. As soon as by this means I am master of ten thousand, I will lay aside my trade of a glassman, and turn jeweller. I shall then deal in diamonds, pearls, and all sorts of rich stones. When I have got together as much wealth as I can well desire, I will make a purchase of the finest house I can find, with lands, slaves, eunuchs, and horses. I shall then begin to enjoy myself, and make a noise in the world. I will not, however, stop there, but still continue my traffic until I have got together a hundred thousand drachmas. When I have thus made myself master of a hundred thousand drachmas, I shall naturally set myself on the foot of a prince, and will demand the grand visier's daughter in marriage, after having represented to that minister the information which I have received of the beauty, wit, discretion, and other high qualities which his daughter possesses. I will let him know at the same time, that it is my intention to make him a present of a thousand pieces of gold on our marriage night. As soon as I have married the grand visier's daughter, I will buy her ten black eunuchs, the youngest and best that can be got for money. I must afterwards make my father-in-law a visit, with a grand train and equipage. And when I am placed at his right hand, which he will do of course, if it be only to honour his daughter, I will give him the thousand pieces of gold which I promised him ; and afterwards, to his great surprise, will present him with another purse of the same value, with some short speech: as, Sir, you see I am a man of my word: I always give more than I promise.
“When I have brought the princess to my house, I shall take particular care to breed her in a due respect for me, before I give the reins to love and dalliance. To this end I shall confine her to her own apartment, make her a short visit, and talk but little to her. Her women will represent to me, that she is inconsolable by reason of my unkindness, and beg me with tears to caress her, and let her sit down by me; but I shall still remain inexorable, and will turn my back upon her all the first night. Her mother will then come and bring her daughter to me, as I am seated upon my sofa. The daughter, with tears in her eyes, will fling herself at my feet, and beg of me to receive her into my favour. Then will I, to imprint in her a thorough veneration for my person, draw up my legs and spurn her from me with my foot, in such a manner that she shall fall down several paces from the sofa.”
Alnaschar was entirely swallowed up in this chimerical vision, and could not forbear acting with his foot what he had in his thoughts: so that, unluckily striking his basket of brittle ware, which was the foundation of all his grandeur, he kicked his glasses to a great distance from him into the street, and broke them into ten thousand pieces.
MENTAL CURES. (No. 547).
TO THE SPECTATOR. “SIR, “I am often in a private assembly of wits of both sexes, where we generally descant upon your speculations, or upon the subjects on which you have treated. We were last Tuesday talking of those two volumes which you have lately published. Some were commending one of your papers, and some another; and there was scarce a single person in the company that had not a favourite Speculation. Upon this a man of wit and learning told us, he thought it