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I enjoy good health, and will for ever love fixed at last in Arabic letters, and preliberty and Old England, -Liberty, Pro- scribed to the caliph the following words: perty, and Old England for ever, huzza !” “ Vathek ! thou hast violated the condi

This saying, he limped off, leaving me tions of my parchment, and deservest to in admiration at his intrepidity and con- be sent back; but in favour to thy comtent; nor could I avoid acknowledging, panion, and, as the meed for what thou that an habitual acquaintance with misery hast done to obtain it, Eblis permitteth serves better than philosophy to teach us that the portal of his palace shall be to despise it. - Miscellanies.

opened, and the subterranean fire will receive thee into the number of its adorers."

He scarcely had read these words be(WILLIAM BECKFORD. 1770-1844.] fore the mountain against which the terTHE HALL OF EBLIS.

race was reared trembled, and the watch

towers were ready to topple headlong A DEATHLIKE stillness reigned over upon them. The rock yawned, and disthe mountain and through the air. The closed within it a staircase of polished moon dilated on a vast platform, the marble, that seemed to approach the shades of the lofty columns which reached abyss. Upon each stair were planted from the terrace almost to the clouds. two large torches, like those Nouronihar The gloomy watch-towers, whose number had seen in her vision, the camphorated could not be counted, were covered by no vapour of which ascended and gathered roof; and their capitals, of an architec- itself into a cloud under the hollow of the ture unknown in the records of the earth, vault. served as an asylum for the birds of night, The caliph and Nouronihar beheld which, alarmed at the approach of such each other with amazement at finding visitants, fled away croaking.

themselves in a place which, though The chief of the eunuchs, trembling roofed with a vaulted ceiling, was so with fear, besought Vathek that a fire spacious and lofty that at first they took might be kindled. “No,” replied he, it for an immeasurable plain. But their "there is no time left to think of such eyes at length growing familiar to the trifles; abide where thou art, and expect grandeur of the surrounding objects, they my commands.” Having thus spoken, extended their view to those at a distance, he presented his hand to Nouronihar, and discovered rows of columns and and, ascending the steps of a vast stair- arcades which gradually diminished till case, reached the terrace, which was they terminated in a point radiant as the flagged with squares of marble, and re- sun when he darts his last beams athwart sembled a smooth expanse of water, upon the ocean. The pavement, strewed over whose surface not a blade of grass ever with gold-dust and saffron, exhaled so dared to vegetate. On the right rose the subtle an odour as almost overpowered watch-towers, ranged before the ruins of them. They, however, went on, and an immense palace, whose walls were observed an infinity of censers, in which embossed with various figures. In front ambergris and the wood of aloes were stood forth the colossal forms of four continually burning. Between the several creatures, composed of the leopard and columns were placed tables, each spread the griffin, and though but of stone, in- with a profusion of viands, and wines of spired emotions of terror. Near these every species sparkling in vases of crystal. were distinguished, by the splendour of A throng of genii and other fantastic the moon, which streamed full on the spirits of either sex danced lasciviously at place, characters like those on the sabres the sound of music which issued from of the Giaour, and which possessed the beneath. same virtue of changing every moment.

In the midst of this immense hall, a These, after vacillating for some time, vast multitude was incessantly passing,

who severally kept their right hands on features seemed to have been tarnished by their hearts, without once regarding any- malignant vapours. In his large eyes thing around them. They had all the appeared both pride and despair; his livid paleness of death. Their eyes, deep Aowing hair retained some resemblance sunk in their sockets, resembled those to that of an angel of light. In his hand, phosphoric meteors that glimmer by night which thunder had blasted, he swayed in places of interment. Some stalked the iron sceptre that causes the monster slowly on, absorbed in profound reverie ; Ouranbad, the afrits, and all the powers some, shrieking with agony, ran furiously of the abyss, to tremble. At his presence, about like tigers wounded with poisoned the heart of the caliph sunk within him, arrows; whilst others, grinding their and he fell prostrate on his face. Nouteeth in rage, foamed along more frantic ronihar, however, though greatly disthan the wildest maniac. They all mayed, could not help admiring the peravoided each other; and though sur- son of Eblis, for she expected to have rounded by a multitude that no one could seen some stupendous giant, Eblis, with number, each wandered at random, un- a voice more mild than might be imagined, heedful of the rest, as if alone on a desert but such as penetrated the soul and filled where no foot had trodden.

it with the deepest melancholy, said: Vathek and Nouronihar, frozen with “Creatures of clay, I receive you into terror at a sight so baleful, demanded of mine empire ; ye are numbered amongst the Giaour what these appearances might my adorers; enjoy whatever this palace mean, and why these ambulating spectres affords; the treasures of the pre-adamite never withdrew their hands from their sultans; their fulminating sabres; and hearts. “Perplex not yourselves with so those talismans that compel the dives to much at once," replied he, bluntly ; open the subterranean expanses of the

'you will soon be acquainted with all; mountain of Kaf, which communicate let us haste and present you to Eblis.” with these. There, insatiable as your They continued their way through the curiosity may be, shall you find sufficient multitude, but notwithstanding their con objects to gratify it. You shall possess fidence at first, they were not sufficiently the exclusive privilege of entering the composed to examine with attention the fortresses of Aherman, and the halls of various perspective of halls and of galleries Argenk, where are pourtrayed all creathat opened on the right hand and left, tures endowed with intelligence, and the which were all illuminated by torches and various animals that inhabited the earth brasiers, whose flames rose in pyramids prior to the creation of that contemptible to the centre of the vault. At length being whom ye denominate the father of they came to a place where long curtains, mankind.” brocaded with crimson and gold, fell Vathek and Neuronihar, feeling themfrom all parts in solemn confusion. Here selves revived and encouraged by this the choirs and dances were heard no harangue, eagerly said to the Giaour : longer. The light which glimmered “ Bring us instantly 'to the place which came from afar.

contains these precious

talismans.” After some time, Vathek and Nou- “Come," answered this wicked dive, ronihar perceived a gleam brightening with his malignant grin, come and through the drapery, and entered a vast possess all that my sovereign hath protabernacle hung round with the skins of mised, and more. He then conducted leopards. An infinity of elders, with them into a long aisle adjoining the streaming beards, and 'afrits in complete tabernacle, preceding them with hasty armour, had prostrated themselves before steps, and followed by his disciples with the ascent of a lofty eminence, on the top the utmost alacrity. They reached of which, upon a globe of fire, sat the at length a hall of great extent, and formidable Eblis. His person was that covered with a lofty dome, around of a young man, whose noble and regular which appeared fifty portals of bronze,

secured with as many fastenings of iron. twelve thousand seats of gold, where the A funereal gloom prevailed over the patriarchs and the prophets heard my whole scene. Here, upon two beds of doctrines; on my left the sages and docincorruptible cedar, lay recumbent the tors, upon as many thrones of silver, were fleshless forms of the pre-adamite kings, present at all my decisions. Whilst I who had been monarchs of the whole thus administered justice to innumerable earth. They still possessed enough of multitudes, the birds of the air, hovering life to be conscious of their deplorable over me, served as a canopy against the condition. Their eyes retained a melan- rays of the sun. My people flourished, choly motion; they regarded one another and my palace rose to the clouds. I with looks of the deepest dejection, each erected a temple to the Most High, holding his right hand motionless on his which was the wonder of the universe; heart. At their feet were inscribed the but I basely suffered myself to be seduced events of their several reigns, their power, by the love of women, and a curiosity their pride, and their crimes ; Soliman that could not be restrained by sublunary Daki, and Soliman, called Gian Ben things. I listened to the counsels of Gian, who, after having chained up the Aherman, and the daughter of Pharaoh ; dives in the dark caverns of Kaf, became so and adored fire, and the hosts of heaven. presumptuous as to doubt of the Supreme I forsook the holy city, and commanded Power. All these maintained great state, the genii to rear the stupendous palace of though not to be compared with the Istakar, and the terrace of the watcheminence of Soliman Ben Daoud.

towers, each of which was consecrated to This king, so renowned for his wisdom, a star. There for awhile I enjoyed mywas on the loftiest elevation, and placed self in the zenith of glory and pleasure. immediately under the dome. He ap- Not only men, but supernatural beings peared to possess more animation than were subject also to my will. began to the rest. Though, from time to time, he think, as these unhappy monarchs around laboured with profound sighs, and, like had already thought, that the vengeance his companions, kept his right hand on of heaven was asleep, when at his heart, yet his countenance was more the thunder burst my structures asunder, composed, and he seemed to be listening and precipitated me hither, where, howto the sullen roar of a cataract, visible in ever, I do not remain, like the other inpart through one of the grated portals. habitants totally destitute of hope ; for This was the only sound that intruded an angel of light hath revealed that, in on the silence of these doleful mansions. consideration of the piety of my early A range of brazen vases surrounded the youth, my woes shall come to an end elevation. " Remove the covers from when this cataract shall for ever cease to these cabalistic repositories," said the flow. Till then, I am in torments-inGiaour to Vathek, and avail thyself of effable torments ! an unrelenting fire the talismans which will break asunder preys on my heart." all these gates of bronze, and not only Having uttered this exclamation, Solirender thee master of the treasures con- man raised his hands towards Heaven in tained within them, but also of the spirits token of supplication; and the caliph by which they are guarded.”

discerned through his bosom, which was The caliph, whom this ominous pre- transparent as crystal, his heart enveloped liminary had entirely disconcerted, ap- in flames. At a sight so full of horror, proached the vases with faltering foot. Nouronihar fell back, like one petrified, steps, and was ready to sink with terror into the arms of Vathek, who cried out, when he heard the groans of Soliman. with a convulsive sob: “O Giaour! As he proceeded, a voice from the livid whither hast thou brought us ! Allow lips of the prophet articulated these us to depart, and I will relinquish all words : “In my lifetime, I filled a mag- thou hast promised. O Mohammed ! nificent throne, having on my right hand remains there no more mercy!” None



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none!” replied the malicious dive. not conjecture ; but possibly he was on “Know, miserable prince ! thou art now his road to a sea-port, about forty miles in the abode of vengeance and despair. distant. The servant who opened the Thy heart, also, will be kindled like door to him was a young girl born and those of the other votaries of Eblis. A bred among the mountains, who had few days are allotted thee previous to this never seen an Asiatic dress of any sort : fatal period; employ them as thou wilt ; his turban, therefore, confounded her not recline on these heaps of gold ; command a little ; and, as it turned out that his the infernal potentates; range at thy attainments in English were exactly of pleasure through these immense subterra- the same extent as hers in the Malay, nean domains, no barrier shall be shut there seemed to be an impassable gulf against thee.

As for me, I have fulfilled fixed between all communication of ideas, my mission; I now leave thee to thyself.” if either party had happened to possess At these words he vanished.

any. In this dilemma, the girl recollectThe caliph and Nouronihar remained ing the reputed learning of her master in the most abject affliction. Their tears (and, doubtless, giving me credit for a were unable to flow, and scarcely could knowledge of all the languages of the they support themselves. At length, earth, besides, perhaps, a few of the lunar taking each other despondingly by the ones), came and gave me to understand hand, they went falteringly from this fatal that there was a sort of demon below, hall, indifferent which way they turned whom she clearly imagined that my art their steps. Every portal opened at their could exorcise from the house. I did not approach. The dives fell prostrate be- immediately go down; but when I did, fore them. Every reservoir of riches was the group which presented itself, arranged disclosed to their view, but they no longer as it was by accident, though not very elafelt the incentives of curiosity, of pride, or borate, took hold of my fancy and my eye avarice. With like apathy they heard in a way that none of the statuesque attithe chorus of genii, and saw the stately tudes exhibited in the ballets at the operabanquets prepared to regale them. They house, though so ostentatiously complex, went wandering on, from chamber to had ever done. In a cottage kitchen, but chamber, hall to hall, and gallery to gal- panelled on the wall with dark wood that lery, all without bounds or limit : all dis- from age and rubbing resembled oak, and tinguishable by the same lowering gloom, looking more like a rustic hall of entrance all adorned with the same awful grandeur, than a kitchen, stood the Malay-his all traversed by persons in search of re- turban and loose trowsers of dingy white pose and consolation, but who sought relieved upon the dark panelling: he had them in vain ; for every one carried placed himself nearer to the girl than she within him a heart tormented in flames. seemed to relish, though her native spirit Shunned by these various sufferers, who of mountain intrepidity contended with seemed by their looks to be upbraiding the feelings of simple awe which her coun. the partners of their guilt, they withdrew tenance expressed as she gazed upon the from them to wait, in direful suspense, tiger-cat before her. And a more strikthe moment which should render them to ing picture there could not be imagined each other the like objects of terror.- than the beautiful English face of the girl, Vathek.

and its exquisite fairness, together with her erect and independent attitude, con

trasted with the sallow and bilious skin [THOMAS DE QUINCEY. 1785—1859.] of the Malay, enamelled or veneered with INTERVIEW WITH A MALAY.

mahogany by marine air ; his small,

fierce, restless eyes, thin lips, slavish ONE day a Malay knocked at my door. gestures and adorations. Half hidden What business a Malay could have to by the ferocious-looking Malay was a transact among English mountains, I can- I little child from a neighbouring cottage, who had crept in after him, and was now convinced that he was used to opium, in the act of reverting its head and gazing and that I must have done him the serupwards at the turban and the fiery eyes vice I designed, by giving him one night beneath it, whilst with one hand he of respite from the pains of wandering.

caught at the dress of the young woman The English Opium Eater. for protection. My knowledge of the Oriental tongues is not remarkably extensive, being, indeed, confined to two

ORIENTAL DREAMS. words—the Arabic word for barley and the Turkish for opium (madjoon), which The Malay has been a fearful enemy I have learnt from Anastasius. And as for months. Every night, through his I had neither a Malay dictionary nor even means, I have been transported into Adelung's Mithridates, which might have Asiatic scenery. I know not whether helped me to a few words, I addressed others share in my feelings on this point ; him in some lines from the Iliad, con- but I have often thought that if I were sidering that, of such languages as I pos- compelled to forego England, and to live sessed, Greek, in point of longitude, came in China among Chinese manners and geographically nearest to an Oriental one. modes of life and scenery, I should He worshipped me in a most devout go mad. The causes of my horror lie manner, and replied in what I suppose deep, and some of them must be common was Malay. In this way I saved my to others. Southern Asia, in general, is reputation with my neighbours, for the the seat of awful images and associaMalay had no means of betraying the tions. As the cradle of the human race, secret. He lay down upon the floor for if on no other ground, it would have a about an hour, and then pursued his dim, reverential feeling connected with journey. On his departure, I presented it. But there are other reasons. No him with a piece of opium. To him, as man can pretend that the wild, barbar. an Orientalist, I concluded that opium ous, and capricious superstitions of must be familiar; and the expression of Africa, or of savage tribes elsewhere, his face convinced me that it was. Never- affect him in the way that he is affected theless I was struck with some little con- by the ancient, monumental, cruel, and sternation when I saw him suddenly raise elaborate religions of Hindostan. The his hand to his mouth, and (in the school. mere antiquity of Asiatic things, of boy phrase) bolt the whole, divided into their institutions, histories-above all, three pieces, at one mouthful. The of their mythologies, &c.—is so impres. quantity was enough to kill three dra- sive, that to me the vast age of the race goons and their horses, and I felt some and name overpowers the sense of youth alarm for the poor creature ; but what in the individual. could be done? I had given him the A young Chinese seems to me an anteopium in compassion for his solitary life, diluvian man renewed. Even Englishon recollecting that, if he had travelled men, though not bred in any knowledge on foot from London, it must be nearly of such institutions, cannot but shudder three weeks since he could have ex- at the mystic sublimity of castes that have changed a thought with any human being. flowed apart, and refused to mix, through I could not think of violating the laws of some immemorial tracts of time; nor can hospitality by having him surged and any man fail to be awed by the sanctity drenched with an emetic, and thus of the Ganges, or by the very name of the frightening him into a notion that we Euphrates. were going to sacrifice him to some Eng- It contributes much to these feelings, lish idol. No, there was clearly no help that South-Eastern Asia is, and has been for it; he took his leave, and for some for thousands of years, the part of the days I felt anxious; but as I never heard earth most swarming with human life, the of any Malay being found dead, I became great officina gentium. Man is a weed in

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