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274

HOW TO LEAD BY INSINUATION.

CHAPTER X.

THE ASTROLOGER.

On the morning after the travellers reached Paris, Father Fraser observed to Leonard :

“You once casually alluded to astrology. I find we have now in Paris a most consummate soi-disant adept in the art. 'Tis astonishing how men permit themselves to be deluded by such absurdities.”

“I don't exactly agree with you: a prediction of evil will add to one's caution (supposing astrology to predict only hypothetically), and a prediction of good will add to one's confidence. Now, caution and confidence, in their respective circumstances, are mighty aids in the affairs of life, you will allow.”

I see the inference; and take this to be the process; if we cannot find support within us, we must seek it without ; the mind must rest on some foundation; it cannot support itself; but like an infant, should lay its head on the cradle of Providence, hoping in its watching hour, and yet, in sleep, not despairing."

“ Truly,” said Leonard," with such sentiments in the heart, we need not consult astrology ; but superstition is perhaps the last sentiment which enlight

ASTROLOGY DEFENDED BY A JESUIT.

275

ened piety sacrifices to religion. Superstitious belief in astrology, or any other art which unfolds futurity, is so deeply grounded in our nature, that we can detect it in the greatest, the wisest, the best of men, as well as the vilest. Catharine de' Medici, Henri Quatre, and other historical worthies of all times, consulted astrologers, soothsayers, and oracles; what wonder then if common men, or uncommon rogues, should apply to the stars when they cannot find a guide in their minds and consciences ? But there is a fascination in the thing, which, like that of the serpent, overpowers the mind the more it is looked on."

True, my friend, you reason accurately; and you might add an argument from science. The reciprocal attractions of the planetary bodies doubtless produce physical changes of some kind in each other. Now, those physical changes may influence, however infinitesimally, every being on those planets. The influence will be first merely physical; but how intimately is the mental connected with the physical state of man. Now, it is the mental and physical state of a man that fashions his fortunes in life; therefore the particular attractions or 'aspects' at birth may influence the individuals fortunes thus indirectly, since they influence the system of which he constitutes a part.”

"*

* In this very specious argument, Father Fraser seems only to expand the sanctioned declaration of his brother Jesuit, Richard Arsdekin, who says: “ If any one affirms, through conjecture founded upon the influ

276

THE VOTARIES OF FATE.

“ A very plausible recommendation from one who rejects the art. I should very much like to see this astrologer; the interview would be at least curious, and it will serve to convince me of the absurdity by experience.”

“Your curiosity can be easily gratified; his placards are in every street."

“I'll start at once,” said Leonard, delighted with the idea.

THE ASTROLOGER.

D'Altremond Tul, the “ Divine Astrologer,” as he styled himself, was a wonderful man in his

way,

and a prosperous man in his business.

From morning to night—and a late hour of that -his antechamber was crowded by eager pilgrims to consult the book of fate.

Men and women, young and old, married and unmarried, masked and unmasked, there came a motley mass of human hopes, innocent hopes and horrible hopes, human fears and devilish fears, despairing love, fiendish revenge, unconquerable hate, gulf-like avarice, and the untold thought of blood,- for the murderer fears to do the deed, and craves to be assured of safety.

D’Altremond Tul looked the character he played.

ence of the stars and the character, disposition, and manners of a man, that he will be a soldier, an ecclesiastic, or a bishop, this divination may be devoid of all sin, because the stars and the disposition of the man may have the power of inclining the human will to a certain lot or rank, but not of constraining it.

Theol. Tripart. Tom. II. pars. ii. Tr. 5. c. 1. § 2. n. 4. Edit. Coloniæ.

THE ASTROLOGER.

277

Imagine a tall, Herculean, though not robust figure; a countenance pale, but smooth and radiant, surmounted by a forehead that might have been the model for the Olympian Jove.

His age was about sixty; and yet his hair, though perfectly white, still clung to his scalp as to an enchanted spot, and fell to his shoulders in graceful snaky curls

In lahyrinth of many a round self-rollid
His head the midst, well stored with subtle wiles.”

His beard, which the razor had never shamed, covered his breast, and tapered to his belt. He wore a robe of blue stuff; and there were embroidered thereon in gold and silver, sacred and mysterious characters, on which, from time to time, he fixed his eyes as if in prayer.

He had a belt and breast-plate, doubtless in imitation of the Urim and Thummim which adorned and deified the High Priest of old; and there lay beside him a wand entwined with the image of a serpent, so life-like, you would have thought it moved incessantly, and was

inspired With act intelligential.”

Daylight was not admitted into his Holy of Holies, a circular apartment, on whose ceiling and sides the celestial sphere was accurately limned, the rolling ball of universal worlds.

A single lamp, suspended from the ceiling, gave

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THE WISE PRECAUTION.

sufficient light where men came to hear and not to

see.

Ever and anon mysterious sounds were heard ; perhaps it was only fancy, and still you thought you heard a whisper, a sigh, a titter, a laugh or a piercing hiss,—for do we not hear in dreams of the night?

The house was situated in the quiet suburbs of Paris, just where “the busy hum of men” ceases to molest“ the country that God hath made;" as if to mock by the hubbub of fiendish passions, whose asylum it was, the sweet serenity of nature.

An ugly hag-never was that name more appropriate-sat in the porch, with a huge mastiff close beside her.

Leonard tapped gently.

“Your wish ?" growled the woman, in the tone of a curse.

“ D’Altremond Tul.”

The door opened, Leonard shrank back at the sight of the mastiff; but the woman, placing her right foot on the dog's head, pointed to a door opposite.

Leonard walked forward ; an attendant gave him a mask, and pointed to a chair.

He saw about a dozen men and women, only some of whom were masked. The expectants sat in silence; not a word was exchanged, and that was a wise precaution; for a disconsolate maiden might have heard the voice of her faithless, cruel lover; a wife that of her husband ; a father that of his

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