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away from the windows, looked further have not created life of a higher grado around him. In striking contrast to than that of the lowest zoophytes." the undisturbed disorder, so redolent “Do you claim to have done as much of middle-age alchemy, was the big as that?" table that flanked the laboratory through “It is not an idle claim," said Herr its whole length. It began with a Lebensfunke, solemnly. “Look at this, powerful galvanic battery, succeeded if you doubt." by & wiry labyrinth of coils and he- “ This" was the great crystal globe lices, with little keys in front of them that rose from the middle of the long like a telegraph-office retired from busi- table, and dominated its lesser accessoness; these gave place to many-necked ries, as some great dome swells above jars wired together by twos and threes, the clustered houses of a town. Tubes like oath-bound patriots plotting tre- passing through its walls met in a son; beyond them stood a great glass smaller central globe half filled with a globe, connected with a sizable air- coloress liquid. Beneath this, and half pump, and filled with a complexity of encircling it, was an intricate maze of shiny wires and glassware ; next loomed bright wire; and two other wires dipped up a huge induction-magnet, carefully into it, touching the surface of the liquid insulated on solid glass supports; and with their platinum tips. Within the at the further extremity of the table lay liquid pulsed a shapeless mass of almost -a corpse.
transparent spongy tissue. Ronald Wyde, in spite of his many- “You see an aggregation of cells possided experience of dissection-rooms, sessed of life of a low order, it is true, and morgues, and other ghastlinesses to but none the less life," said the philosowhich he had long since accustomed pher, proudly. " These were created himself from principle, drew back at from water chemically pure, with the the sight - perhaps because he had exception of a trace of ammonia, and come to this strange place to clutch the impregnated with liquid carbon, by the world-old mystery of the life-essence, combined action of heat and induced and found himself, instead, confronted electricity, in vacuo. Look!" on its threshold by the equal mystery He pressed one of the keys before of death,
him. Presently the wire began to glow Herr Lebensfunke smiled feebly at with a faint light, which increased in this movement.
intensity till the coil flamed into pure “A subject received this morning whiteness. Removing his finger, the from Berlin,” he said, in answer to current ceased to flow, and the wiro Wyde's look of inquiry. “A sad piece grew rapidly cool. of extravagance, mein Herr-a luxury “I passed the whole strength of sixty to which I can rarely afford to treat my- cups through it to show you its action. self.”
Ordinarily, with one or two carbon Ronald Wyde bent over the body and cells, and refining the current by triple looked into its face. A rough, red face, induction, the temperature is barely that had seemingly seen forty years of blood-warm." low-lived dissipation. The blotched “Pardon an interruption,” said Roskin and bleary eyes told of debauchery nald. “You spoke of liquid carbon; and drunkenness, and a slight alcoholic does it exist ? ' fætidness was unpleasantly perceptible, “Yes, here is some in this phial. as from the breath of one who sleeps See it-how pure, how transparent ! away the effects of a carouse.
how it loves and hoards the light!" “I hope you don't think of restoring The old man held the phial up as he this soaked specimen to life ?” said Ro- spoke, and turned it round and round. nald.
“See how it flashes! No wonder, for • That is still beyond me," answered it is the diamond, liquid and uncrysthe old man, mournfully. "As yet I tallized. Think how these fools of men
have called diamonds precious above hand as he did so; at which Ronald all gems through these many weary seemed confused, and pocketed it again years, and showered them on their abruptly. kings, or tossed them to their mistress- “ Yes, that is the life-magnet. You es' feet, never dreaming that the silly see this bent glass tube surrounded by stone they' lauded was inert, crystallized the helix ? That tube contains liquid life!"
carbon. I pass through the helix a cur“ Can't you crystallize diamonds your- rent of induced electricity, generated self ? ” asked Wyde, “and make Frei- by the action of these sixty Bunsen berg a Golconda and yourself a Cre- cups upon a succession of coils with sus?"
carbon cores, and the magnet becomes “It could be done, after the lapse of charged with soulless life. I reverse thousands of years,” replied Herr Le the stream-what was positive now is bensfunke. “Place undiluted liquid negative, and the same magnet will abcarbon in that inner globe, keep the sorb life from a living being to an excoil at a white heat, and if Adam had tent only to be measured by thousands started the process, his heir-at-law would of millions." have a koh-i-noor to-day, and a nice " Then, what effect is produced on lawsuit for its possession."
the body you pump the life from ?” Ronald Wyde bent toward the globe
“ Death." once more and examined the throbbing "And what becomes of the soul ?" mass closely, whistling softly mean- "I don't quite know. I fancy, howwhile.
ever, that the magnet absorbs that too." “If you can create this cellular life, “Can it give it back ?” why not develop it still higher into an “Certainly; otherwise my life-magnet organism ?"
would belie its name, and be simply an “Because I can only create life--not ingenious and expensive instrument of soul. Years ago I was a freethinker, death. By reversing the conditions, I now my discoveries have made me a can restore both soul and life to the dcist ; for I found that my cells, living body from which I drew them, or to as they were, and possessing undoubted another body, even after the lapse of parietal circulation, were not germs; several days." and though they might cluster into a “Have you ever done so ?” bulk like this, as bubbles do to form "I have." froth, to evolve an animal or plant from Ronald looked reflectively downward them was far beyond me; that needs to his boot-toe, but seemed to find nothwhat we call soul. But, in searching ing there-except a boot-toe. blindly for this higher power, I grasped
“I say, my friend,” he spoke at last, a greater discovery than any I had “haven't you got a pin you can stick in hoped for—the power to isolate life I'd like to know if I'm dreamfrom its bodily organism."
ing." "You have to keep the bottle care- “I can convince you better than by fully corked, I should imagine," laughed pins,” replied Herr Lebensfunke. “Let Ronald.
me see that hand you hide so carefully.” “Not quite," said Herr Lebensfunke, Ronald Wyde slowly drew it from his joining in the laugh. “Life is not pocket, as reluctantly as though it were glue. My grand discovery is the life- a grudged charity dole, and extended magnet."
it to the old man. Its little finger was " Which has the post of honor on gone. your table here, has it not ?" inquired “A defect that I am foolishly sensi. Ronald, drawing his hand from his tive about,” said he. “A childish freak pocket and pointing to the insulated playing with edged tools, you know. coil.
A boy-playmate chopped it off by acciThe old man glanced keenly at his dent: I cut his head open with his own
hatchet, and made an idiot of him for Birdling is not too young, she's allife-that's all.”
most fourteen," said the girl, proudly. “I could do this,” said Herr Lebens- “And she likes it, too; it makes her funke, pausing on each word as if it were think of mother. Mother went to sleep somewhat heavy, and had to be lifted on that table, mein Herr." out of his cramped chest by force; “I “ Poor thing! she's half-witted," could draw your entity into that mag- thought Wyde as he passed into the net, leaving you side by side with this street. “By-by, birdie.” corpse. I could dissect a finger from Home he walked briskly, to be met that same corpse, attach it to your own under his flaming balcony by Lottchen's dead hand by a little of that palpita- kindly afternoon greeting. How had ting life-mass you have seen, pass an mein Herr passed his Sabbath ? she electric stream through it, and a junc- asked. tion would be effected in three or four “Quietly enough, Lottchen. I met days. I could then restore you to ex- an old philosopher in the God's-Acre, istence, whole, and not maimed as now." and went home with him to his shop.
“I don't quite like the idea of dy- Have you ever heard of Herr Doctor ing, even for a day," answered Wyde. Lebensfunke ?" “ Couldn't you contrive to lend me a “ Yes, mein Herr. Wrong here, they body while you are mending my own ?” say;" and she tapped her wide, round
“ You can take that one, if you like." German forehead, and lifted her eyes
Ronald Wyde looked once more at expressively heavenward. the sodden features of the corpse, and “Sold himself to the devil, eh ?” smiled lugubriously.
asked Wyde. “A mighty shabby old customer," he Lottchen was not quite sure on that said, “and I doubt if I could feel at point. Some said one thing, and some home in his skin; but I'm willing to another. There was undoubtedly a devrisk it for the sake of the novelty of il, else how could good Doctor Luther the thing."
have thrown his inkstand at him? But The old philosopher's thin face lit up he had never been seen in Doctor Lewith pleasure.
bensfunke's neighborhood; and, on the “You consent, then ?” he chuckled whole, Lottchen was inclined to attribin his womanish treble.
ute the Herr Doctor's trouble to an in“Of course I do. Begin at once, and definable something whose nature was bave done with it."
broadly hinted at by more tapping of “Not now, mein Herr; some modifi- the forehead. cations must be made in the connec- Ronald Wyde mounted the stairs, tions-mere matters of detail. Come locked himself in his room, and wished again to-night."
himself out of the scrape he was get“ At what hour ?"
ting into. But, being in for it now, he “At ten. Mein Vögelein, show the lit a cigar, and tried to fancy the proHerr the way out."
cesses he would have to go through, and The girl, who had been moving rest- how he, a natty and respectable young lessly about the room all this time, with fellow, would look and feel in a drunkher wild brown eyes fixed now on Ro- ard's skin. His conjectures ing too nald, now on the old man, and oftener foggily outlined to please him, he put in a shy, inquisitive stare on the corpse, them aside, and waited impatiently
, lit a dusty chemical lamp and led the enough for ten o'clock. way down the awkward passages and A moonlight walk through the low stairs. Ronald tried to start a conver- streets, transfigured by the silver gleam eation with her as he followed.
into fairy vistas-all but the odor“ You are too young, my birdling, to brought him to Herr Lebensfunke's be accustomed to such sights as this up house. Simple birdling, on the lookstairs."
out for him, piloted him through the
unsafe channel, and brought him to own dead self lying by his side in the anchor in the dimly-lit room.
daylight, while the sunrise tried to peer “ All is ready," said the philosopher, through the webbed panes. as he trembled forward and shook Ro- “Is it over ?” he asked, with a puznald's hand. “See here.” Zig-zags of zled glance around him; and added, silk-bound wire squirmed hither and " Which am I?" thither from the life-magnet. Two of “Either, or both," answered Herr them ended in carbon points. “And Lebensfunke. “Your identity will be here, too, my young friend, is your new something of a problem to you for a finger."
day or two." It lay, detached, in the central globe, Aided by the old man, Ronald awkand on its severed end atoms of proto- wardly got into the sleazy clothes that plasm were already clustered. “Liter- went with the exchange-growing less ally a second-hand article,” thought and less at home each minute. He felt Ronald; but, not venturing to trans- weak and sore; his head ached, and the late the idiom, he only bowed and said, wound left by the fresh amputation of
Ach so !" which means any thing and his little finger throbbed angrily. every thing German.
“I suppose I may as well go now," It was not without a very natural he said. " When can I get my own sinking of the heart that Ronald Wyde self there back again ? " divested himself of his clothing, and "On Thursday night, if all works took his position, by the old man's di- well,” said the old man. “ Till then, rection, on the stout table, side by side good-day.” with the dead. A flat brass plate press- Ronald Wyde's first impulse, as he ed between his shoulders, and one of
shambled into the open air, was to go the carbon points, clamped in a little home; but he thought of the confusion insulated stand, rested on his bosom his sadly-mixed identity would cause in and quivered with the quickened mo- Frau Spritzkrapfen's quiet household, tion of the heart beneath it. The other and came to a dead stop to consider point touched the dead man's breast. the matter. Then he decided to quit “ Are you ready ?”
the town for the interminable four days
-to go to Dresden, or anywhere. His The old man pressed a key, and as next step was to slouch into the nearest he did so a sharp sting, hardly worse beer-cellar and call for beer, pen, and than a leech's bite, pricked Ronald paper. While waiting for these, he surWyde's breast. A sense of languor veyed his own reflection in the dingy crept slowly upon him, his feet tingled, glass that hung above the table he sat his breath came slowly, and waves of, by—a glass that gave his face a wavy light and shade pulsed in indistinct al- look, as if seen through heated air. He ternation before his sight; but through felt an amused pride in his altered apthem the old man's eyes peered into pearance, much as a masquerader might his, like a dream. Presently Ronald be pleased with a clever disguise, and would have started if he could, for two caught himself wondering whether he old philosophers were craning over him were likely to be recognized in it. Apinstead of one. But as he looked more parently satisfied of his safety from desteadily, one face softly dimmed into tection, he turned to the table and wrote nothing, and the other grew brighter a beer-scented note to Frau Spritzkrapfand stronger in its lines, while the room en, explaining his sudden absence by Aushed with an unaccountable light. some discreet fiction.
He got along The little key clicked once more; a well enough till he reached the end, vague sensation that the current had when, instead of his own flowing signsomehow ceased to flow, roused him, manual, he tipsily scrawled the unfoand he raised himself on his elbow and miliar name of Hans Kraut. Tearing cooked in blank bewilderment at his the sheet angrily across, he wrote an
other, and signed his name with an like gad-flies, to drain it of a few drops effort. He was about to seek a messen- of its human life. Well-known friends, ger to carry his note, when it occurred whose hands he had grasped not a week to him to leave it himself, which he before, passed him unheedingly; all save did; and had thereby the keen satis- one, who eyed him for a moment, said faction of hearing pretty Lottchen con- “Poor devil !” in an undertone, and fess, with a blush on her fair German dropped a silber-gro' into his maimed cheek, that they would all miss Herr hand. He felt glad of even this lame Wyde very much, because they all loved sympathy in his lowness; but most of him. Turning away with a sigh that all he prized the moistened glance of was very like a hiccough, he trudged pity that flashed upon him from the to the railway-station and took a ticket great dark eyes of a lovely girl who to Dresden, going third-class as best passed him now and then as he slouchbefitting his clothes and appearance. ed along. Once, a being as degraded
He felt ashamed enough of himself and scurvy as his own outward self, as the train rumbled over the rolling turned to him, called him “Dutzbruland between Freiberg and the capital, der," asked him how he left them all and gave him time to think connected- in Berlin, stared at Ronald's blank look ly over what had happened, and what of non-recognition, and passed on with he now was. His fellow-passengers cast
a muttered curse on his own stupidity him sidelong looks, and gave him a wide in mistaking a stranger, in broad dayberth. Even the quaint, flat-arched win- light, for his crony Kraut. dows of one pane each, that winked out Another memory was of the strange of the red-tiled roofs like sleepy eyes,
lassitude that seemed to almost paraseemed to leer drunkenly at him as they lyze him after even moderate exertion, scudded by.
and caused him to drop exhausted on a Ronald Wyde's account of those days bench on the terrace when he had shufin Dresden was vague and misty. He fled over less than half its length. More crept along the bustling streets of that than once the suspicion crept upon him sombre, gray city, that seemed to look that only a portion of his vitality now more natural by cloud-light than in the remained to him, and that its greater full sunshine, feeling continually within part lay mysteriously coiled in Herr him a struggle between the two incom- Lebensfunke's life-magnet. And this, patible natures now so strangely blend- in turn, broadened into a doubting dised. Each day he kept up the contest
trust of the Herr himself-a dread lest manfully, passing by the countless beer- the old man might in some way approcellars and drinking-booths with an as- priate this stock of life to his own use, sumption of firmness and resolution that and so renew his fast-expiring lease for oozed slowly away toward nightfall, a score or two of years to come. At when the animal body of the late Hans last this dread grew so painfully defiKraut would contrive to get the better nite, that he hurried back to Freiberg of the animating principle of Ronald a day before his appointed time, and Wyde; the refined nature would yield once more found his twofold self wanto the toperes brute-craving, with an dering through its devious streets. awful sense of its deep degradation in It was long after dark, and a thin so succumbing, and, before midnight rain slanted on the slippery stones, as Hans was gloriously drunk, to Ronald's he again made his way through the deintense grief.
serted and sleepy paths of the town to Time passed somehow. He had mem- the old philosopher's house. He was ories of sunny lounges on the Bruhl'sche wet, chilled, weary, and sick enough at Terrace, looking on the turbid flow of heart as he leaned against the cold stone the eddied Elbe, and watching the lit- doorway and waited for an answer to tle steamboats that buzzed up and down his knock. The plash of the heavier the city's flanks, settling now and then, rain-drops from the tiled eaves was the