« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
hand on my head, and from that moment all the figures appeared with white ribbands on their heads.
To test the matter farther, I rose and put on a cap. After I changed my position I could not, for a considerable time, find the exact inclination of the mirrors towards each other to enable me to bring about the desired result. I turned them in different directions again and again, but nothing would appear but the two rows of lighted candles. Tired and vexed at my fruitless labour, I was about to abandon further investigation, when, by a casual movement, I hit just on the very point I wanted, and the diminutive little figures commenced leaping out anew—but now with caps on their heads.
Here I obtained an undeniable proof that these figures were but a refraction of my own person. One difficulty only remained yet to be solved—namely, how my own figure, which was covered by the mirror before me, could be reflected in full in the mirror opposite.
After a minute investigation, I perceived that the edges of the mirror standing on the table
formed a polished border with a somewhat oblique deviation ; from which obliquity, it appears the radii of my figure were reflected on the mirror I held in my hand, and from it again on that beyond. I ought to add that besides the diminutive figures, there presented themselves in the mirror other optical phenomena, which it was difficult satisfactorily to account forfor instance, I saw a turret with balconies, which were both of regular dimensions; and a garden, or rather a sort of grove, formed of leafless trees.
I most carefully examined all the surrounding objects in my room, without finding for a long time a single one by which these phenomena could be explained, but the difficulty stimulated me to further inquiry. Finally, I unravelled the secret. The mirror in my hands was broken at one of the angles, and the fracture glued over with a tiny slip of paper. This fractured part, being many times reflected in the other glass, was transformed into a perfect garden or grove, and had arisen simply from the reflection of a thread which had accidentally come in contact with the frame on the very spot where I held
There remained yet one phenomenon to be explained, and this cost me by far more trouble than any of the others. At times, I perceived at the end of the darkened corridor sudden gleams of light, appearing in the shape of a sun; their rays and their luminous centre being so dazzling, and vanishing so quickly, as to render it quite impossible to determine their precise character. For some time, the phenomenon was of frequent recurrence, but soon afterwards it entirely vanished, and I was unable by any means to bring it back.
After a minute examination of everything around, I obtained a solution of the mystery. On the wall, just opposite the mirror, hung a cloak, from the hood of which dangled an orb of brass, shining brilliantly; and this, when the cloak moved, threw the rays of light in a certain angle on the mirror, where they were concentrated, and being refracted in the looking-glasses, appeared in the background as I have described.
Having in this manner discovered the causes of the different visual phenomena, I proceeded triumphantly to my hostess's room to communicate the result, flattering myself with the hope
that the experiment I had made, would in a great measure tend to destroy among the Berezovians their belief in supernatural revelations. But I was grievously disappointed. No one would so much as listen to the explanations I wished to give them ; but all exclaimed with one voice that the figures I had seen were those of my children, and that I only refused, through obstinacy, to believe in the evidence of my own
The worst of it was that, on the day following, the whole of the town was put in possession of all the particulars of the discoveries I was alleged to have made, accompanied with still more wonderful additions; and thus, instead of diminishing, as I had hoped, I only added to the stock of fabulous lore already in circulation among these simple people.
New Year's Day-Letters from home-Evening party
-- Various games and songs — Judge Slobodzki Expelling the devils—The town in alarm-Arrival of a Polish physician-Fair at Berezov-Fur tradeBerezovian foxes-A walk in a severe frost.
The first day of the new year, 1840, was ushered in by the ringing of the church bells, the merry peal of which reminded every one of the visits and felicitations which were to be interchanged with their friends. This custom of mutual congratulations, an unmeaning formality when there is nothing to be congratulated upon, wrung a deep sigh from my bosom. “ Would to God," I exclaimed, “ that the new year were already at an end !”
Early in the morning, the men set out to call on