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How much they buy, — if, suddenly, in pops he wo
“ I've got a V-note !”— what do you say to him ?
What's your first word which follows your last kick ?
“ Where did you steal it, rascal ?” That's because
He finds you, fain would fool you, off your perch,
Not on the special piece of nonsense, sir,
Elected your parade-ground : let him try
Lies to the end of the list, – “He picked it up,
His cousin died and left it him by will,
The President flung it to him, riding by,
An actress trucked it for a curl of his hair,
He dreamed of luck, and found his shoe enriched,
He dug up clay, and out of clay made gold”—
How would you treat such possibilities ?
Would not you, prompt, investigate the case
With cow-hide ? “ Lies, lies, lies,” you'd shout: and why?
Which of the stories might not prove mere truth?
This last, perhaps, that clay was turned to coin !
Let's see, now, give him me to speak for him!
How many of your rare philosophers,
In plaguy books I've had to dip into,
Believed gold could be made thus, saw it made
And made it? O, with such philosophers
You 're on your best behavior! While the lad —
With him, in a trice, you settle likelihoods,
Nor doubt a moment how he got his prize:
In his case, you hear, judge, and execute,
All in a breath : so would most men of sense.
But let the same lad hear you talk as grand At the same keyhole, you and company, Of signs and wonders, the invisible world ; How wisdom scouts our vulgar unbelief More than our vulgarest incredulity; How good men have desired to see a ghost, What Johnson used to say, what Wesley did, Mother Goose thought, and fiddle-diddle-dee:If he then break in with,“ Sir, I saw a ghost!” Ah, the ways change! He finds you perched and prim; It 's a conceit of yours that ghosts may be : There's no talk now of cow-hide.“ Tell it out! Don't fear us! Take your time and recollect ! Sit down first: try a glass of wine, my boy! And, David, (is not that your Christian name ?) Of all things, should this happen twice — it may Be sure, while fresh in mind, you let us know !” Does the boy blunder, blurt out this, blab that, Break down in the other, as beginners will ? All's candor, all’s considerateness — “No haste ! Pause and collect yourself! We understand !
That 's the bad memory, or the natural shock,
Or the unexplained phenomena ! ”
The boy takes heart of grace; finds, never fear,
The readiest way to ope your own heart wide,
Show — what I call your peacock-perch, pet post
To strut, and spread the tail and squawk upon !
“ Just as you thought, much as you might expect !
There be more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,” ..
And so on. Shall not David take the hint,
Grow bolder, stroke you down at quickened rate ?
If he ruffle a feather, it’s “ Gently, patiently!
Manifestations are so weak at first !
Doubting, moreover, kills them, cuts all short,
Cures with a vengeance !”
There, sir, that's your style! You and your boy – such pains bestowed on him, Or any headpiece of the average worth, To teach, say, Greek, would perfect him apace, Make him a Person (6 Porson ?” thank you, sir !) Much more, proficient in the art of lies. You never leave the lesson ! Fire alight, Catch you permitting it to die! You ’ye friends ; There's no withholding knowledge, - least from those Apt to look elsewhere for their souls' supply:
Why should not you parade your lawful prizę ?
Who finds a picture, digs a medal up,
Hits on a first edition, - he henceforth
Gives it his name, grows notable : how much more,
Who ferrets out a “medium ?” “ David 's yours,
You highly-favored man? Then, pity souls
Less privileged! Allow us share your luck!”
So, David holds the circle, rules the roast,
Narrates the vision, peeps in the glass ball,
Sets to the spirit-writing, hears the raps,
As the case may be.
Now mark! To be precise Though I say, “ lies” all these, at this first stage, 'T is just for science' sake: I call such grubs By the name of what they 'll turn to, dragonflies. Strictly, it's what good people style untruth ; But yet, so far, not quite the full-grown thing : It’s fancying, fable-making, nonsense-work What never meant to be so very bad The knack of story-telling, brightening up Each dull old bit of fact that drops its shine. One does see somewhat when one shuts one's eyes, If only spots and streaks; tables do tip In the oddest way of themselves : and pens, good Lord,
Who knows if you drive them or they drive you?
’T is but a foot in the water and out again ;
Not that duck-under which decides your dive.
Note this, for it's important: listen why.
I'll prove, you push on David till he dives
And ends the shivering. Here's your circle, now:
Two thirds of them, with heads like you their host,
Turn up their eyes, and cry, as you expect,
“ Lord, who'd have thought it !” But there's always one
Looks wise, compassionately smiles, submits
“Of your veracity no kind of doubt.
But — do you feel so certain of that boy's ?
Really, I wonder! I confess myself
More chary of my faith!” That 's galling, sir !
What, he the investigator, he the sage,
When all's done? Then, you just have shut your eyes,
Opened your mouth, and gulped down David whole,
You! Terrible were such catastrophe !
So, evidence is redoubled, doubled again,
And doubled besides ; once more, “ He heard, we heard,
You and they heard, your mother and your wife,
Your children and the stranger in your gates :
Did they or did they not?” So much for him,
The black sheep, guest without the wedding-garb,