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But what's “so," what's fixed, Where may one stop? Nowhere! The cheating's

nursed Out of the lying, softly and surely spun To just your length, sir! I'd stop soon enough: But you're for progress. “All old, nothing new? “Only the usual talking through the mouth, “Or writing by the hand ? I own, I thought “This would develop, grow demonstrable, “Make doubt absurd, give figures we might see, “ Flowers we might touch. There's no one doubts you,

Sludge! “You dream the dreams, you see the spiritual sights, “The speeches come in your head, beyond dispute. “ Still, for the sceptics' sake, to stop all mouths, We want some outward manifestation!-well, “The Pennsylvanians gained such; why not Sludge? “He may improve with time!"

Ay, that he may! He sees his lot: there's no avoiding fate. 'Tis a trifle at first. “Eh, David? Did you hear? "You jogged the table, your foot caused the squeak, “This time you're ... joking, are you not, my boy?” “N-n-no!”-and I'm done for, bought and sold hence

forth. The old good easy jog-trot way, the ... eh? The ... not so very false, as falsehood goes, The spinning out and drawing fine, you know,Really mere novel-writing of a sort, Acting, or improvising, make-believe, Surely not downright cheatery,any how, 'Tis done with and my lot cast; Cheat's my name: The fatal dash of brandy in your tea Has settled what you 'll have the souchong's smack: The caddy gives way to the dram-bottle. Then, it's so cruel easy! Oh, those tricks That can't be tricks, those feats by sleight of hand,

Clearly no common conjuror's!-no indeed!
A conjuror? Choose me any craft i' the world
A man puts hand to; and with six months' pains
I'll play you twenty tricks miraculous
To people untaught the trade : have you seen glass

blown, Pipes pierced? Why, just this biscuit that I chip, Did you ever watch a baker toss one flat To the oven? Try and do it! Take my word, Practise but half as much, while limbs are lithe, To turn, shove, tilt a table, crack your joints, Manage your feet, dispose your hands áright, Work wires that twitch the curtains, play the glove At end o' your slipper,—then put out the lights And... there, there, all you want you 'll get, I hope! I found it slip, easy as an old shoe. Now. lights on table again! I've done my part. You take my place while I give thanks and rest. “Well, Judge Humgruffin, what's your verdict, sir? “You, hardest head in the United States, Did you detect a cheat here? Wait! Let's see! “ Just an experiment first, for candour's sake! “Ï'll try and cheat you, Judge! The table tilts: "Is it I that move it? Write! I'll press your hand: “Cry when I push, or guide your pencil, Judge!" Sludge still triumphant!“That a rap, indeed? “That, the real writing ? Very like a whale! “ Then, if, sir you-a most distinguished man, “And, were the Judge not here, I'd say,... no matter! Well, sir, if you fail, you can't take us in,“There's little fear that Sludge will!”

Won't he, ma'am ? But what if our distinguished host, like Sludge, Bade God bear witness that he played no trick, While you believed that what produced the raps Was just a certain child who died, you know, And whose last breath you thought your lips had felt?

çath stopnelhed and stunt; it came of

Eh? That's a capital point, ma'am: Sludge begins
At your entreaty with your dearest dead,
The little voice set lisping once again,
The tiny hand made feel for yours once more,
The poor lost image brought back, plain as dreams,
Which image, if a word had chanced recall,
The customary cloud would cross your eyes,
Your heart return the old tick, pay its pang!
A right mood for investigation, this!
One's at one's ease with Saul and Jonathan,
Pompey and Cæsar: but one's own lost child ...
I wonder, when you heard the first clod drop
From the spadeful at the grave-side, felt you free
To investigate who twitched your funeral scarf
Or brushed your flounces? Then, it came of course
You should be stunned and stupid ; then, (how else?)
Your breath stopped with your blood, your brain struck

work. But now, such causes fail of such effects, All's changed,-the little voice begins afresh, Yet you, calm, consequent, can test and try And touch the truth. “Tests? Didn't the creature tell “Its nurse's name, and say it lived six years, “And rode a rocking-horse? Enough of tests! “Sludge never could learn that!"

He could not, eh? You compliment him. “Could not ?" Speak for your

self! I'd like to know the man I ever saw Once,-never mind where, how, why, when,-once

saw, Of whom I do not keep some matter in mind He'd swear I “could not" know, sagacious soul! What? Do you live in this world's blow of blacks, Palaver, gossipry, a single hour Nor find one smut has settled on your nose, Of a smut's worth, no more, no less ?-one fact Out of the drift of facts, whereby you learn

What someone was, somewhere, somewhen, some

why? You don't tell folk,“ See what has stuck to me! “Judge Humgruffin, our most distinguished man, Your uncle was a tailor, and your wife “Thought to have married Miggs, missed him, hit

you!"Do you, sir, though you see him twice a-week? “No," you reply, “what use retailing it? “Why should I?" But, you see, one day you should, Because one day there's much use,—when this fact Brings you the Judge upon both gouty knees Before the supernatural; proves that Sludge Knows, as you say, a thing he “could not" know: Will not Sludge thenceforth keep an outstretched face The way the wind drives?

“Could not!" Look you now, I'll tell you a story! There's a whiskered chap, A foreigner, that teaches music here And gets his bread,-knowing no better way: He says, the fellow who informed of him And made him fly his country and fall West Was a hunchback cobbler, sat, stitched soles and sang, In some outlandish place, the city Rome, In a cellar by their Broadway, all day long; Never asked questions, stopped to listen or look, Nor lifted nose from lapstone; let the world Roll round his three-legged stool, and news run in The ears he hardly seemed to keep pricked up. Well, that man went on Sundays, touched his pay, And took his praise from government, you see; For something like two dollars every week, He'd engage tell you some one little thing Of some one man, which led to many more, (Because one truth leads right to the world's end) And make you that man's master—when he dined And on what dish, where walked to keep his health

And to what street. His trade was, throwing thus
His sense out, like an ant-eater's long tongue,
Soft, innocent, warm, moist, impassible,

wnen t was crusted o'er with creatures-slick.
Their juice enriched his palate. “Could not Sludge!"
I'll go yet a step further, and maintain,
Once the imposture plunged its proper depth
I'the rotten of your natures, all of you,-
(If one's not mad nor drunk, and hardly then)
It's impossible to cheat—that's, be found out!
Go tell your brotherhood this first slip of mine,
All to-day's tale, how you detected Sludge,
Behaved unpleasantly, till he was fain confess,
And so has come to grief! You'll find, I think,
Why Sludge still snaps his fingers in your face.
There now, you've told them! What's their prompt

reply? “Sir, did that youth confess he had cheated me, “I'd disbelieve him. He may cheat at times; “That's in the 'medium'-nature, thus they're made, “Vain and vindictive, cowards, prone to scratch. And so all cats are; still, a cat's the beast “You coax the strange electric sparks from out, “By rubbing back its fur; not so a dog, “ Nor lion, nor lamb: 'tis the cat's nature, sir! “Why not the dog's? Ask God, who made them

beasts! "D'ye think the sound, the nicely-balanced man “ (Like me”-aside)—like you yourself,"—(aloud) "—He's stuff to make a 'medium'? Bless your soul, “ 'Tis these hysteric, hybrid half-and-halfs, “Equivocal, worthless vermin yield the fire! We take such as we find them, 'ware their tricks, “Wanting their service. Sir, Sludge took in you“How, I can't say, not being there to watch: “He was tried, was tempted by your easiness,“He did not take in me!”.

Thank you for Sludge!

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