Imágenes de páginas

To obtain this, we have fpared no pains nor expence, and our fuccefs, we flatter ourselves, will prove equally fatisfactory and gratifying to our numerous rea<ders.

was not prepoffefíed by prejudice an inclination to myfticifm,or a for fear of his unaccountable ruc nefs, or to offend his faithful fo lowers and finally, to fupport credit in order to prevent the rid cule of having been duped, wa the cafe with many, who kept h party to the last.

He poffeffed no knowledge d any fcience whatever; except o fome old medical or ridiculous myt. tical books, from which he had bor rowed his whole fore of plump wisdom. The hiftory of Federico Gualdo, he had happened to light upon, afforded him matter for the falfchoods of his pretended old age, and of his chemical arcana; he, at times, affumed the name of Gualdo; at other times that of Elias, St.

Germain, nay that of king Salamo.
It was from the writings of Cornelius
Agrippa, and Count de Gabalis,
whence he had learnt his tales of
the various kinds of fpirits. In his
Egyptian lodge, he dictated paf-
fages almoft verbatim, which may
be referred to in thofe books. His
medical prefcriptions he had copied,
partly from the writings of the
Arabic phyficians, Rhazes and
Mefue; and partly out of fome re
ceipt books of fome Italian apothe-
cary's fhop, that he hardly could.
read him felf-had no knowledge of
plants nor drugs- did not know

to utter another word, but what
was written in his book. When per-
forming his jugglings, he affected to
conceal this book under a black
cloak he had on, ftanding with a
large flapped hat, in a high roftrum,
placed in a dark room, the attend-
ants being defired to turn their
backs towards him, where he pre-
tended to converfe with the fpirits,
that inspired him with what he
wished. The extract of lead he
called his Strattum Saturni (form
the Italian, Eftratto), and prepared
it under many comical ceremonies,
This very common preparation, his


AGLIOSTRO is, indeed, one of the most ignorant, rude, and ill-bred men I ever knew. During his stay at Mittaw*, where I had opportunities of knowing him very intimately. I often was doubtful, whether I should be more vexed

at his nonfenfical, impudent tricks and his meannefs, or to be amazed at the indulgence and credulity of his difciples; in other refpects very fenfible and literal minded people. His deceptions were of the groffeft and most glaring kind, that can poffibly be imagined. All he faid, was uniformly the fame thing, learnt by rote, repeated over and over again. He never altered the fubject, expreffions, or the manner of delivery of his thought. What he acted in Warfaw he repeated in Mittaw; and all his conjurations, his chemical experiments were every where and always the identical repetitions; fo that whoever had heard him only once, or feen his rations, would always fee the fame tricks overhauled. The boy, who affilled at his conjurations of fpirits, always fa a famenefs. The order and import of the questions addreffed to his pretended fpirits, con. ftantly run in the fame ftrain. In a word, Cagliostro did not even poffefs the art of gloffing his tricks with novelty, to attract attention; nor genius enough to retail them out in any other form than he had given them a hundred times before. He really was a fort of a perfon eafily and foon penetrated; if one


Caglioftro must have been in Mittaw about the years 1776-1779. While Mr. Ferber was profeffor of Natural Hiftory at that university.

markable enough, as it furnifles proofs of the frailty of human underitanding, though in fo enlightened an age; and makes us nearer acquainted with the means ufed by a certain clafs of people, to augment and enlarge errors; remarkable enough, as it gives us an opportunity, upon good grounds, if not to deter, at least to caution every peregg-fon impreffed with myftic ideas and the belief of conjuration and exorcifm.

pretended fixation of mercury, the
tranfmutation of lead into filver and
goid, by an addition of a red powder
(done by changing crucibles), were
the fole chemical experiments he
made. From fome Italian book of
curious arts and receipts, he had
copied a few, that he dictated to his
difciples. For instance, Es uftum,
or de Manheim, to make fealing-
wax, varnish, majolica of
fhells, &c. Some noblemen of Cour-
land, with eagerness listened to fome
of his huntfman's tricks, fuch as
fharpening the fcent of dogs, and
how to give black horses stars, spots,
&c. The ladies were taught to
prepare flax by urine and falt-petre,
fo as to give it a nature of filk;
(I poffefs a pretty little hat of a
filky kind, of his own fabrick.) Far
ther, how they might prevent the
nipples of their breasts from burfl-
ing; likewife how hufbands might
gain the affections of their wives
fo, that the ladies could not keep up
their good humour, but often left

Caglioftro's demeanour and his manners were not only excellively. coarfe and unpolished, but likewife a proof of his immoral character. That excellent woman, madam de Reck, in her picture of this Apollonius of the prefent age, has not accurately remarked thofe circumftances; yet it is but just to observe, that in her prefence, he much diffimulated, and upon the whole, in her company, he was very cautious in his conduct. I regret having burnt most of the annotations I was

him. His chiromantic and phy-prompted to make, relative to his Lionomical lectures, where he com- eager eager and inquifitive difciples. pared man, according to the diffe- However, I ftill recollect very well, rent temperaments, with beats, he that he prefcribed cantharides and had drawn out of fome of the numer- fatyrion for amorous fports, and ous publications on the fubje&t in fuch copious dofes as to make that have appeared in former times. any man pay dear for his fport and He was incapable of either reading, credulity. Likewife, his aperitive, fpeaking, or writing any language he once preferibed for madam de with propriety; nor had his dif. Reck, was of fuch a nature, that courfe any connexion, but blunders undoubtedly, if fhe fhould not perish ing from one fubject into another; under its operation, at least would in fhort, he was a blockhead. have rendered her miferable ever afterwards, had I not fortunately diffuaded her from taking it. was highly fantafiical, when, upon a certain occation, he had an elderly gentleman of character, blind-folded, and like a criminal, brought before him in the lodge-room, and after, in that condition, he had reprimanded him moft rigidly, for his comfort and compenfation adminiftered him drops to make him young again


With more fenfe, more fcience, and a more intimate knowledge of mankind, he might perhaps, have maintained his ground longer in Courland. But, fuch as he was, his reputation muft neceffarily fall foon. His attempts of propagating fuperftition and erroneous conceptions of fpiritual and corporeal fyftems confequently cannot be but farcical and abfurd, instead of

being instructive; yet in fo far re-and the well-meaning old gentleman





took them not only in Mittaw, but continued to take them afterwards in Warsaw.

Caglioftro was rough, paffionate,
and a calumniator, traducing the
characters of his difciples among
each other; was voluptuous, fed
delicately, ate and drank much,
cooking nice maccaroni for him-
felf; was fond of dancing, but
danced like a bear, which aukward-
nefs he gave out for Turkifh dances;
ufed to talk obfcenities, when he
forgot himself, or madam de Reck
was not in company. His whole
conduct was extremely indecent and
improper. Although he did not
accept, or feem to defire any pre-
fents himself; but then he betrayed
much meannefs, for he never gave
a farthing to any domeftics
houses where he received civilities.
He quarrelled with his first hoit, at
Mittaw, for fome fuppofed difference
in the bill, of a couple of dollars, and
very readily accepted of an invita-
tion to lodge at count Medem's
houfe. His wife had the addrefs of
enamouring certain gentlemen and
endeavoured to extract large prefents
from them; in which the in a measure
fucceeded, and thus procured cafh
to her lord. His pride was as ftupid

or twice at a l'hombre party.
as a proof of his fkill, be one day
fhewed us how to fet at farao with
good fuccefs. He knew to point
out three out of the five numbers in
the lotto di Genoa; the drawing of
which he actually had hid; by that
He declared, that by this
he probably ufed flight of hand
fort of wisdom he had
fome of his brethren in Holland,
the great Koft having previously
whispered the numbers to be drawn
into his ear. He attempted to per-
fuade us to refign all our profane
offices, for that he fhould enrich us,
if we would totally devote ourselves
to his mysteries, and to
faithful to him.

At nights, he pretended to con-
verfe with fpirits, with whom he
laboured for the happiness of man-
kind. Every fpirit had his hour
appointed to appear in, giving out
to have had five or fix different con-
verfations in one night. Benign
fpirits were his friends; and evil
fpirits he difabled and chalized.
During fuch nights as were adapted
to that bulinefs, and which depend-
ed partly upon celeftial conftella-
tions, (which he made much use of,
without knowing a fingle one), and

ny, with which he occafionally
joined upon parties of pleasure
into the country. He was mounted
on horfeback, riding a-head of all
the carriages, behind him rode the
domestics of count Medem, all

as it was humiliating to the compa-partly from the confultations of his
guardian angels, he endeavoured
to make us believe, he did not go to
bed, but paffed the night fitting in a
chair raifing fpirits. However every
night he very carefully locked and
bolted his door; nay, ftopped the
founding the horns they were pro-key-hole to fecure himself from be-
ing overlooked. In the mornings,
either he made his wife make the
bed, or he was lying a bed with his
cloaths on, as if he had just laid
himself down to repofe, at times
remaining in it the whole forenoon,
appearing at dinner without having
his hair dreffed. But the material
object of his nocturnal tricks con-
fifted in this, viz. to plot with his
wife, how they fhould act in con


vided with, in order that the town might fee the fool in the height of glory and in the first company of that country. It was rarely that he exhibited any flight of hand tricks with cards; yet he was not unSkilful in that bufinefs, and perhaps knew, upon occafion, the art de carriger la fortune. At Mittaw, to fave appearances, he never played at cards but perhaps only once

cert the fucceding day, according to | ferpent which he cherished in his the accounts and circumstances col- bofom, and against a traitor among lected and referred to them by his us, without mentioning names. Italian domeftic, while he was undreifing; and alfo by what he had gathered in her way. Among others he learnt the illness of Mr. de of this domeftic, and the arrival of

(To be concluded in our next.)

the young count de Medem, which | ADVENTURES of a MIRROR. he very conveniently announced, as having it by infpiration.


Of his fervant, whom, before his departure for Petersburgh, he had turned off in a violent paffion, even

pursuing him cane in hand, forne
way through the public streets,
afterwards informed me very cir
cumftantially of all his mafter's
jugglings. It was conjectured, that
he difcharged his fervant from poli-
tical views, not to be betrayed, or
dereЯted by him in Petersburgh. But
really, his penetration did not reach
fo far; befides, it would have been
ill-judged, because this man now
become his enemy, might eafily
have followed him to Petersburgh,
to denounce against him by way of
revenge, as he actually meant to do
at first, from which purpose, how-out
ever, he was prevented, to fave
the honour of the fociety. This
act was rather the confequence of
violent paffion, and an inftance of
the imprudence of this knight


WHEN people have been eminent in the world, when they have performed gallant and glorious actions in the field, the cabiner, the fenate, or on the great theatre of public life, it is ufual to diftinguifh them by honours, and to confer upon them fuch titles and privileges as may inform pofterity of the good they have done, and the honours they have merited. This becomes the more neceffary, as life is fhort, the memory is frail, and fucceeding generations are apt to confider their own feats too much to recollect the actions of their predeceffors. With


His wife, perhaps, was a more artful hand than himself. By her gallantries fhe had worked upon a certain gentleman, that he was upon the point of eloping with her. This gentleman fhe told in the evening hours of familiarity, that her hufband was an impoftor, that he used her ill, and that for fear, fhe was obliged to affift in his deceptions. The answers or opinions the received, the afterwards imparted to Cagliostro; who feigned to be jealous, and fometimes angry, ftill conniving at their intrigues, he often

vanity, fir, I think I may claim most of thofe honours which have been bestowed on perfons eminently ufeful in the world. My family have existed for many hundred years, have been known all over Europe, and have had a very large fhare in the refining and polishing of mankind to their prefent state of civilization-yet I feldom hear that we are mentioned with respect ; many of those who have the most refpect for me, I am fure, never addrefs me but in private, when no perfon is by, or if they deign to caft a look towards me in public, it is merely a tranfient glance of the eye, and performed with fuch an air of confcious pride, that it is impoffible for me not to feel very much humbled. Indeed on fuch occafions I have taken the liberty to caft fuch a repronounced vengeance against theflection as could not be very pleafing


to them, and perhaps was more to the credit of my veracity than prudence. In a word, fr, I am a MIRROR. I was created, purified, and enlightened at a manufactory on the Surry fide of Blackfriars Bridge; being intended for the use of a nobleman, vaft and almost incredible pains were taken with me, and before I was finished, I was estimated to be worth five hundred pounds. Being at Being at length completed, I was conveyed in a carriage-I must fay not of the most elegant kind-to his lordship's stately mansion in Westminster, and placed in the drawing-room, between two magnificent pannels. I had not been here long before the whole family came to pay their refpects to


pearance, and grinned, bowed, danced, and strutted before me in all the pride of High Life below Stairs. This, however, gave me fome idea of my confequence, and I thought myfelf very highly honoured to be placed in an office fo important for the true finishing of this family in genteel behaviour, A very few days convinced me that without me they could not be made fit to appear. Their private MIRROR ferved to guide the minute operations of drefs, but it was I only that could fanction the work when finished. Their appeals to me were of courfe as frequent as their occafions to drefs, and I was often the means of difcovering an error in arrangement, a defect in fymmetry and uniformity which had efcaped my leffer namefakes in the dreffing-room. I enjoyed, 100, the happiness of knowing that from

My lady approached firt, held

up her hands in amazement,

and with an eye of curiosity beaming with delight at the fame time,

ped backwards, then forwards, then fideling, then half averted, and all the while my filly fancy reprefented that he was admiring me.-Alas! I foon found out my mistake.

viewed me from head to foot-tep-me there was no appeal. If I offered a reflection upon an error, it was corrected; and if on confulting me all was declared to be right, no alteration then could be permitted.

For three or four days my lord had not feen me. He had been busy compofing and fpeaking fpeeches for the good of the nation; but being at length informed of my arrival, he waited on me, and feemed to gaze with rapture; to oblige him, I gave him a specimen of my kill, by informing him that his bag was awry, that one of his fide-curls was the fifteenth-fixteenth part of an inch higher than the other, and that his fword-knot was improperly puffed out. He adopted all thefe alterations before my face, except that of the curl, which his valet performed, and upon my looking perfect approbation, the fellow cfcaped a fcolding, but was told at the fame time, in French, that if

had not been for me the "curl would have been quite a bore."

My lord was not, however, yet ap-fatisfied with what I had done. He had

Two young ladies now came for wards, and each, to my utter aftonishment, dropt a curtfey to me.Surely, thought I, this must be out of refpect for me. A flim young gentleman followed, and taking off his hat with the grace of a Veftris, bowed most respectfully to me, then putting on his hat, prefented his hand to one of the young ladies, and began to walk a few minuet steps, ftill keeping his eye upon me, as did his partner, and I could difcover in both, marks of delight and fatisfaction. The ceremony over, the ladies and gentlemen went, as I heard afterwards, to court, which fufficiently explained that the bows and curtfies which I vainly attri. buted to myself, were but a private rehearsal to qualify them for gracing the circle at St. James's. . The fervants now made their


« AnteriorContinuar »