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A WOMAN'S FOLLY. -The return of Mrs Mary Scerk<n t( Providence after an absence of thre< years has brought out the facts of a re markable swindling operation, soys i Providence (b. I.) despatch to tha "New York Herald." Her mysterious di«p pearanoe from her home In Harriavllle, Ky., has excited mucfi*%prehenalon or the part of her husband and friends, t< whom she bad said nothing of her intended, deptrfcare As a'i the monej •he kept iv the home, together «itb s gold w»toh and a number of gold ornaments, bad disappeared on the day nhf was last seen* there was doubt »s tr whether she had eloped or had been robbed and foully deelt witb, as she wne at home alone the entire afternoon. It appears that her weakness wxi fear of growing old. She continually lamented that her face bore the mark* of nearly fifty years, and her mind wat bailed with devloes to enable her tr eono al tbe truth that ebe was no longer young. She bad read tbe old stories of m elixir that you would make youth perpetual, and believed that man had the ingredients for making a draught that would straighten the bent form and restore to tbe wrinkled face the smoothness and fresh color of youth, if be were only wise enough to learn what they were and In what propottion to combine them. She had been ridiculed for daubing her cheeks with paint In the hope of persuading people that she was passably foong, and the nostrums advertised by qnaoki who live on the vanity of the rice were dropped In despair. There was a way to get the better of time, but what waa It 1 She studied worka on chemistry, consulted chemists, and [want wild over the failures of alchemli ts, who spent night •nd day at their oruoibles and died with the problem unsolved. It was her opinion that somebody wonld dltoover the seoret which' had bt filed the wise men so many oratories, and abe reasoned that the elixir of life was as much of a probability now v were the locomotive and - tejegraph when tbe old people of to-day were children, and heard the harnessing of steam and electrciity pronounced tbe wildest chimeras:. If not In her own time, the subtle fluid which Penoe de Leon bad secrificed m seeking his life would be given to the nations, and those who quaffed live for ever. Her delusion was turned to the advantage of a stranger who chanced to hear of her peculiarity. He visited Mrs Snerken when the rest of tbe family had gone away to stay late m the evening. Introducing himself a* a learned obemist, to whom all mysteries had been revealed, he adroitly led the conversation to the question that was uppermost m her mind. She was quickly interested m her strange visitor, whose thoughts ran m tbe same channel as hers, and suspicion tbat he was other than sn honest man of science never entered hei head. He wss not long teaming that ahe waa ready, even aoxlou*, to aeeept sa tinth the most extravagant fiotlon that he oould invent about an elixir that wonld enable the drinker to live for •rer, and always look youDg. Tbe story be staffed her with was ss improbable as that of " She," bnt so great was her faith and so eager bar desire to be a rosycheeked maiden that not a statement was questioned. Aftei listening an hour to Bis fairytale, Mr* Snerken signified her willingness to make any saorfilce that would ensure her as long life as h« had •-joyed. The rascal claimed to have been feor* 2po years b.c. In Greece. His parents : srere- cealdent at Athens, and to prove that be vas a Greek he spoke a few fentenees pf a language ehe had not heard. It was the same as Oreek to her. la middle life he devoted his time to experiments, he said, and by a wonderful ' <A«oea discovered what the wisest had failed to do j he had brewe-i a lfquor that bad made him Immortal. A single oup bad been the dflMh of death In his case. Immediately after drinking his stooped body had straightened, tbe wrinkles left Ills face, and a heavy growth of bUpk hair severed his bald head. The ohaoge was tffeetad In the "twinkling of an eye." As be was - over a century before the Christian slra so he was now, and his dune exclaimed that heoertalnly was a hand-tome-looking fellow. The story proceeded* Munchausen was oot-Moncbensened. He had shaken bands with Julius Caaiar, had corresponded with Gtoero, and was the personal Mead of Augustas, Caligula, Trajin, STero, and the remaining emperors, be bad accompanied the Romans who invaded Britain, bad walked on the site of London when it was a village of hovels, hsd witnessed tbe "decline and Jail of the Roman empire," and had had •peaking acquaintance with tbe Sorer" atgM at England from King Alfred down to Qaeen Victoria. There was In brief nothing daring the twenty centuries of his life that be had not personal knowledge of. During tha (reign of Charlemagne he had married one of Mrs , Bnerken's ancestors, who waa supposed by everyone to be little more than " sweet sixteen." notwithstanding her age was reckoned by hundreds of yean. His iaTorite dog, wbioh sat at bis feet, bad lapped the elixir while the crusaders, were fighting for the sepalcbre In the Jlolf Land. Sooh events as the : sailing ct Columbus to discover a new world and the battle of Banker Hill were to him as fresh events, and as a relative, he wished to make Mrs Snerkea as eternal as him* calf. That was the purpose of bis call Did she want to drink and last as long a« the world ? She did. , What mast she do? The receipt was explained. He had all the materials except gold. A good deal of that was needed, and, of coarse, ha eonld not be expected to furnish the precious metal for tbe benefit of another —even a desoendent of his wife's ancient family. Pare gold was the best but m an emergency coin would do. Mrs Snerken hastened to oolleot her valuables for the melting-pot. Bhe bad a bag of fold and stiver money, and handed it all to bar benefactor, who remarked that •liver would be useful. Bracelets, eardrops and ftnger-rings were produced. fitilt there wasn't enough. However, ber husband?* hesrf gold watoh and a Masonic badge were said Lo be a anffiolent ■apply, and at bis Invitation she accompanied him m order to witness the preparation of the elixir. He boagbt tiokets for New York, saying that he eonld do aioihlng unless at his own laboratory, and _h« pras so -Interested that It didn't oe«sjt to but to leave any word as to whereabout*. On the joirnsj she thanked him again and again for the boon of everlasting life that be had to kindly consented to bestow upon ber and said (hat tbe gold she had parted with was as dial In view of tbe momentaooa results it woald bring. Jfa New York he took the trastlng orestore to a bouse be called his home, and told her aba would have to wait till the following morning b»f ore he oould begin, as he was weary and needed steady nerves, svs the process was very dangerous. While disease couldn't aeiz? him ha was vulnerable to accident', and an explosion of. the ehemUal composing the elixir would be pretty certain to blow his head off, In wbloh event the wonld die of old ega, as the secret would perish with him. The morning came, but she had no sumffloni to be present at the oomponndiog oi the eitxlr. Two days passed, and the Individual who waa over twice as anolent ai Methuselah appeared not. At last she began to have' a suipteton that there wai a trick somewhere, which ripened lotos oettafnlty that she had been cheated, Ashamed to go home and be (ho laughingstock of her neighbors, she remained (a New York until her few dollars were nearly gone, then she notified h<ff bus- &•»** Who Wt her money,

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Bibliographic details

THE ELIXIR OF LIFE, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2043, 22 January 1889

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THE ELIXIR OF LIFE Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2043, 22 January 1889