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The Elixir Of Life
by [?]

“Behold,” said Doctor Watson, “the Elixir of Life!”

Robinson looked up from his writing and assumed an expression of deep interest.

“Wonderful! I have often heard of it. Is it the true Elixir vitae of the ancients, or a new and more subtle compound?”

“Listen, scoffer; if you will behave with a decorum consistent with the gravity of the subject, I will explain how I became the possessor of this wonderful powder. Perhaps in your life of seclusion and deep toil you may not have noticed this advertisement which has appeared for the last month regularly in the morning paper?” Watson took from his pocket-book a newspaper clipping and read as follows:


“The object of this club is to enable its members to live to be one hundred and fifty years old. All persons desiring to become members should apply for particulars to Rengee Sing, No. — Twenty-seventh street, City.”

“Are you a member?” inquired Robinson.

“Not as yet, but Jones is, and it was through Jones that I came into possession of this mysterious drug. It seems that Jones decided after reading the advertisement that he would like to become a member of the club. Jones’ health is not very good, as you know, and he called on Rengee Sing, and the result of the interview was that he came away with this small vial of the wonderful Elixir, for which he paid twenty good dollars. He was so impressed by the gentleman who sold him the powder that he came to me, as his medical adviser, to ask my opinion as to the advisability of taking some of it. He brought with him a paper purporting to be the translation of an ancient papyrus manuscript, the original of which was in Thibetian or Sanscrit and which was ingenious, if fraudulent. He told me a rambling story of how this Rengee Sing had procured this powder, and the whole thing was so peculiar that I decided to interview the gentleman myself; but first I made a point of getting our friend Strauss to analyze the powder. His report of the analysis shows it to be composed entirely of chloride of sodium or common salt, with a small quantity of some unknown vegetable matter which gives it a yellow color. Armed with this information, I called upon Rengee Sing at his office on Twenty-seventh street.”

“You interest me,” said Robinson, glancing at his work, and palpably attempting to suppress a yawn.

Watson arose, and gently but firmly removed the pen from Robinson’s fingers; he then placed a book on the papers, and continued:

“The office was distinctly oriental, and there were numerous Bokhara and other good rugs scattered about; besides there were gorgeous divans, and the air was heavy with peculiar Eastern odors. I was admitted by a gigantic negro dressed in oriental costume, and another negro arose as I entered, and stood respectfully at the inner door. I asked for Rengee Sing, and was informed that he would ‘be at liberty in a few moments,’ and ‘would I sit down and wait,’ all in very good English from one of the gigantic sable guardians who bowed me in. I was kept waiting but a few moments, when the door opened and a small black-bearded Hindoo came softly into the room dressed in the ordinary European costume. There was nothing striking about him except his eyes, which were really the most wonderful eyes I have ever seen in a human being. With the gentle manner peculiar to his race he smiled and asked me to take a seat near the window.”

“Is it possible?” said Robinson, languidly, lighting a cigarette.

“Is what possible?” inquired Watson, frowning slightly.

“Why, that he asked you to take a seat near the window.”

“Robinson,” remarked Watson sternly, “remember that your mental infirmities will not prevent my punching your head if you interrupt me with any more foolish questions.”