Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/556

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of calx of gold," and which, though it smelled like aqua fortis, and tasted like vitriol, he insisted was "only raine water of the autumnal equinox exceedingly rectified, very volatile"; an assertion which led Evelyn to the conclusion that "Sir Kenelm was an arrant mountebank." Some time afterward, mentioning Digby's account of Lady Selenger's antipathy for roses, which he said she had to that degree that "laying but a rose upon her cheek when she was asleepe, it raised a blister," Evelyn remarks, "But Sir Kenelm was a teller of strange things."

Yet Digby had in Evelyn a not incredulous listener. In the winter of 1652 there lived in Paris, in extraordinary splendor and seeming wealth—the source of which was not apparent—an impostor, who nearly succeeded in selling Evelyn and his scientific friends a pretended secret for multiplying gold; but they discovered before the bargain was completed that the man was an egregious cheat. Not long afterward Evelyn visited Mark Antonio, a celebrated artist in enameling, from whom he heard strange tales concerning a Genoese jeweler, who, according to Antonio, "had the greate Arcanum, and had made projection before him severall times. He mett him at Cyprus travelling into Egypt, on return from whence he died at sea, and the secret with him, that else he had promised to leave it to him"—a legacy which the enameler believed would have enabled him to manufacture gold. Mark Antonio also told a marvelous story about a dwarfish person whom he saw come into a goldsmith's shop in Amsterdam, and ask the master to melt him a pound of lead, which, being done, the visitor threw into the crucible of molten metal a pinch of powder that he carried in the hollow pommel of his sword, and, after a few moments, pouring out a gold ingot from the crucible, he carried it off, saying, as he left the shop, "Sir, you will be paid for your lead in the crucible," where, sure enough, the goldsmith found four ounces of good gold; but he could never hear of the little transmuter of metals again, though he sought him throughout the city. "This," says Evelyn, who had seen so many wonderful new inventions during his travels in France and Italy, that he was in a continually expectant frame of mind, and almost ready to believe that projection powder was a scientific discovery "this Antonio asserted with great obtestation, nor know I what to think of it, there are so many impostors and people who love to tell strange stories as this artist did, who had been a greate rover and spoke ten different languages." In May, 1653, Evelyn mentions in his diary the death from apoplexy of his "servant Hoare," meaning his private secretary, who "wrote those exquite severall hands," his illness being, it was supposed, caused by "tampering with mercury about an experiment in gold." The same year he records the receipt from Mon-