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Chapter 13
Ay, I know you have arsenic,
Vitriol, sal-tartre, argaile, alkaly,
Cinoper: I know all.--This fellow, Captain,
Will come in time to be a great distiller,
And give a say (I will not say directly,
But very near) at the philosopher's stone. THE ALCHEMIST.
Tressilian and his attendants pressed their route with all dispatch. He had asked the
smith, indeed, when their departure was resolved on, whether he would not rather
choose to avoid Berkshire, in which he had played a part so conspicuous? But Wayland
returned a confident answer. He had employed the short interval they passed at Lidcote
Hall in transforming himself in a wonderful manner. His wild and overgrown thicket of
beard was now restrained to two small moustaches on the upper lip, turned up in a
military fashion. A tailor from the village of Lidcote (well paid) had exerted his skill,
under his customer's directions, so as completely to alter Wayland's outward man, and
take off from his appearance almost twenty years of age. Formerly, besmeared with
soot and charcoal, overgrown with hair, and bent double with the nature of his labour,
disfigured too by his odd and fantastic dress, he seemed a man of fifty years old. But
now, in a handsome suit of Tressilian's livery, with a sword by his side and a buckler on
his shoulder, he looked like a gay ruffling serving-man, whose age might be betwixt
thirty and thirty-five, the very prime of human life. His loutish, savage- looking
demeanour seemed equally changed, into a forward, sharp, and impudent alertness of
look and action.
When challenged by Tressilian, who desired to know the cause of a metamorphosis so
singular and so absolute, Wayland only answered by singing a stave from a comedy,
which was then new, and was supposed, among the more favourable judges, to augur
some genius on the part of the author. We are happy to preserve the couplet, which ran
exactly thus,--
"Ban, ban, ca Caliban--
Get a new master--Be a new man."
Although Tressilian did not recollect the verses, yet they reminded him that Wayland
had once been a stage player, a circumstance which, of itself, accounted indifferently
well for the readiness with which he could assume so total a change of personal
appearance. The artist himself was so confident of his disguise being completely
changed, or of his having completely changed his disguise, which may be the more
correct mode of speaking, that he regretted they were not to pass near his old place of