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The Elixir Of Life
by [?]

Robinson grinned, and after ostentatiously placing a paper-weight within easy reach, Watson continued.

“I inquired if he was the person to whom I should apply for information about the Methuselah Club.

“He answered that he had the honor of being the president of the club, and would be glad to supply me with all information in his power. Did I wish to join?

“‘A friend of mine,’ I said, ‘has already become a member, and the description of a wonderful powder has interested me, likewise the history of the powder.’

“The Hindoo smiled gently, showing his white teeth, and said that he was not surprised at my curiosity. He then went to a desk and took from it the printed circular which Jones had already shown me, and which was supposed to be a translation of the ancient manuscript. It is the one I hold in my hand; please glance over it before I continue my story.”

Robinson took the paper.

“What is this hieroglyphic affair at the top here?” he asked.

“That,” said Dr. Watson, “is probably a copy of some very ancient amulet or talisman. The fish at the bottom was often used to designate ‘Dag,’ or the master; next above we have the Solomon’s seal, then the four Chaldaic letters Jod-He-Van-He-Iaho, which is ‘The Deity;’ the other symbols are strange to me.”

“Ah,” said Robinson, “a weird sort of thing, is it not?”

“Don’t be sarcastic, read it,” sententiously remarked Watson.

Robinson did so.

“‘Let him who dares to live forever take of the powder, but let him think of “Aum;” but speak it not on pain of death; let absolute “muckta” be known to him; let him study the secret “mantras,” and ponder on the mysteries of “Vach;” let him also say each day in his prayer “Aum ma-ni pad-me hum.”

“‘He who takes of the powder three times should acquaint himself with “{Hebrew: khet dalet}” the marcaba and the lah gash, then he will never die. Even though he wished to live a thousand years, so it shall be!'”[2]

[Footnote 2: Translation of the sacred manuscript found with the “Elixir of Life.”]

“Well,” remarked Watson, “what do you think of it?”

“Fake,” answered Robinson.

“Verily, out of the mouths of babes, etc.,” said Watson, “but, O learned friend, you have not heard the whole story. Listen. I asked Rengee Sing if he would be good enough to explain to me fully about the powder and especially how and where he obtained it.

“‘My dear sir,’ he said, ‘I see you are a scientific man, and it always gives me great pleasure to meet such, and to explain to them as fully as possible how I, Rengee Sing, obtained possession of one of the most valuable treasures in the world, the Elixir of Life; but before doing so I must enroll your name among the members of our Society; in fact, one of the rules of the Society is that unless a person becomes a member we can tell him nothing, beyond allowing him to read the circular which you have already seen. The initiation fee is five dollars, and you are at liberty not to take the powder if you desire not to do so after you have become a member, but if you wish to become a member in high standing, and to take the powder, which will insure you a length of life far beyond that of ordinary mortals, an additional fee of twenty dollars is charged for the powder.’

“I decided,” continued Watson, “that the experience was worth five dollars, so I intimated that I should be delighted to become a member of the Society, and handed Mr. Sing five dollars, whereupon he wrote me a receipt and gave me a member’s card, which stated that I was a member of the Methuselah Club of the second class, and entitled to receive the Elixir, and to become a member of the first class upon the further payment of twenty dollars any time within the next ten days. After which, if I had not been made a member of the first class, my name should be dropped from the rolls.