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A Wanderer in the Spirit Lands

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Author Topic: A Wanderer in the Spirit Lands  (Read 599 times)
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« Reply #60 on: December 21, 2008, 05:32:37 pm »

CHAPTER XXIII.--The Palace of My Ancestors--False Brothers Baffled.

On the outskirts of the town we came to a magnificent palace, also most strangely familiar and yet unfamiliar to my eyes. In wandering through this city I was so reminded of its earthly double that I felt as one who sees some familiar beloved spot in a nightmare vision which has distorted and rendered hideous all that he demed so fair. I had oftentimes in my youth gazed up at this beautiful palace and taken pride to myself that I came of the race who had once owned it and all its broad lands, and now, here, to behold it thus, with all its beauties tarnished, its marble stained and mildewed, its terraces and statues broken and defaced, its fair front marred with the black cobwebs of past crimes and wrongs done within its walls, and its lovely gardens a dreary blackened waste as though the breath of a pestilence had swept over it--sent through me a thrill of sorrow and dismay, and it was with a saddened heart I followed my friend into the interior.
Up its great broad stairways we passed, and through the handsome doors which opened of themselves to admit us. Around us were many dark spirits flitting to and fro. Each and all seemed to expect and welcome us as guests whose coming was awaited. At the last door Faithful Friend once again left me, saying he would rejoin me in another place.

A great blaze of ruddy light greeted my eyes as this last door opened, and seemed as though someone had opened the door of a furnace, so hot and stifling was the atmosphere. At first I almost deemed the place on fire, then by degrees the blaze of light died down to a dull red glow and a wave of steel grey mist swept through the hall instead, while a wind as of ice froze the blood at my heart and seemed to impart its icy chill. These strange waves of heat and cold were caused by the intense fire of passion and the cold selfish chill of the dual nature of the man who reigned here as Prince. To the most fierce insatiable passions he united an intense selfishness and an intellect of the highest order. As these swayed him in turn in his earthly life, causing strange alternations of fiery passion and cool calculation in his conduct, so did these as waves thrown off by his spirit cause in this his spiritual mansion these extraordinary variations of intense heat and extreme cold that knew no medium of temperature between. As he had dominated all men on earth who came within the range of his power, so did he dominate the spiritual beings around him now, and rule as absolutely over them as he had ruled over his earthly subjects.

At the top of this great hall I beheld him seated in his chair of state which had around it all but imperial insignia. His walls were hung with the semblance of ancient tapestry, but, ah! how more than merely faded and ragged it looked. It was as though the thoughts and the life and the magnetism of the man had become woven into those ghostly hangings and had corrupted them with his own corruption. Instead of pictures of the chase, of floating nymphs, and crowned sea-gods there was a constantly shifting panorama of this man's past life in all its hideousness and nakedness, thrown like pictures from a magic lantern upon the stately mouldering ragged Arras drapery behind and around him. The great windows, through which the light of day never shone, were hung with the semblance of what had on earth been handsome velvet curtains, but which now appeared as some funeral pall shrouding the skeleton shapes that lurked like avenging spectres within them--spectral forms of those victims whom this man had sacrificed to his lust and ambition. Great drinking cups of silver, that seemed of a white heat when you touched them, and huge costly vases adorned the tables, and here as elsewhere there was the same hideous phantom of a feast--the same bitter mockery of earthly pleasure.

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