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Auriol or, The Elixir of Life   By:

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AURIOL

OR

THE ELIXIR OF LIFE

BY W. HARRISON AINSWORTH

AUTHOR OF "THE TOWER OF LONDON"

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY H. K. BROWNE

AUTHOR'S COPYRIGHT EDITION

LONDON GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS, LIMITED BROADWAY, LUDGATE HILL

1898

Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO. At the Ballantyne Press

[Illustration: The mysterious interview in Hyde Park]

CONTENTS

PROLOGUE 1599

DR. LAMB

BOOK THE FIRST EBBA

I. THE RUINED HOUSE IN THE VAUXHALL ROAD

II. THE DOG FANCIER

III. THE HAND AND THE CLOAK

IV. THE IRON MERCHANT'S DAUGHTER

V. THE MEETING NEAR THE STATUE

VI. THE CHARLES THE SECOND SPANIEL

VII. THE HAND AGAIN!

VIII. THE BARBER OF LONDON

IX. THE MOON IN THE FIRST QUARTER

X. THE STATUE AT CHARING CROSS

XI. PREPARATIONS

XII. THE CHAMBER OF MYSTERY

INTERMEAN 1800

I. THE TOMB OF THE ROSICRUCIAN

II. THE COMPACT

III. IRRESOLUTION

IV. EDITH TALBOT

V. THE SEVENTH NIGHT

BOOK THE SECOND CYPRIAN ROUGEMONT

I. THE CELL

II. THE ENCHANTED CHAIRS

III. GERARD PASTON

IV. THE PIT

V. NEW PERPLEXITIES

VI. DR. LAMB AGAIN

THE OLD LONDON MERCHANT

A NIGHT'S ADVENTURE IN ROME

I. SANTA MARIA MAGGIORE

II. THE MARCHESA

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

THE MYSTERIOUS INTERVIEW IN HYDE PARK

THE ELIXIR OF LONG LIFE

THE RUINED HOUSE IN THE VAUXHALL ROAD

THE DOG FANCIER

THE HAND AND THE CLOAK

THE IRON MERCHANT'S DAUGHTER

THE BARBER OF LONDON

SEIZURE OF EBBA

THE ANTIQUARIES

THE CHAMBER OF MYSTERY

THE TOMB OF THE ROSICRUCIAN

THE COMPACT

THE SIGNIFICANT WHISPER

THE ENCHANTED CHAIRS

ROUGEMONT'S DEVICE TO PERPLEX AURIOL

PROLOGUE

1599

DR. LAMB

The Sixteenth Century drew to a close. It was the last day of the last year, and two hours only were wanting to the birth of another year and of another century.

The night was solemn and beautiful. Myriads of stars paved the deep vault of heaven; the crescent moon hung like a silver lamp in the midst of them; a stream of rosy and quivering light, issuing from the north, traversed the sky, like the tail of some stupendous comet; while from its point of effluence broke forth, ever and anon, coruscations rivalling in splendour and variety of hue the most brilliant discharge of fireworks.

A sharp frost prevailed; but the atmosphere was clear and dry, and neither wind nor snow aggravated the wholesome rigour of the season. The water lay in thick congealed masses around the conduits and wells, and the buckets were frozen on their stands. The thoroughfares were sheeted with ice, and dangerous to horsemen and vehicles; but the footways were firm and pleasant to the tread.

Here and there, a fire was lighted in the streets, round which ragged urchins and mendicants were collected, roasting fragments of meat stuck upon iron prongs, or quaffing deep draughts of metheglin and ale out of leathern cups. Crowds were collected in the open places, watching the wonders in the heavens, and drawing auguries from them, chiefly sinister, for most of the beholders thought the signs portended the speedy death of the queen, and the advent of a new monarch from the north a safe and easy interpretation, considering the advanced age and declining health of the illustrious Elizabeth, together with the known appointment of her successor, James of Scotland.

Notwithstanding the early habits of the times, few persons had retired to rest, an universal wish prevailing among the citizens to see the new year in, and welcome the century accompanying it. Lights glimmered in most windows, revealing the holly sprigs and laurel leaves stuck thickly in their diamond panes; while, whenever a door was opened, a ruddy gleam burst across the street, and a glance inside the dwelling showed its inmates either gathered round the glowing hearth, occupied in mirthful sports fox i' th' hole, blind man's buff, or shoe the mare or seated at the ample board groaning with Christmas cheer... Continue reading book >>




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