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The Elixir Of Life
by [?]

“‘It was during his visit to the temple that my brother learned of the wonderful treasures preserved there, fabulous stories being told about a huge emerald with an ancient inscription engraved upon it,–the mystic seal of the first Lama, which had been handed down for ages, together with the greatest treasure of them all, known as the Elixir of Life.

“‘The wonderful powder was and is used by the high priests, some of whom are of great age. It is supposed to have been brought into Thibet by King Srongb Tsan, during the seventh century, and that it originally came from Nepaul.’

“‘How did your brother procure it?’ I asked.

“‘By bribing one of the priests. My brother was wealthy, and being very desirous of procuring some of this wonderful powder, he tried to buy some of it. Under no circumstances, however, would they listen to him or even allow him to see it. He succeeded, however, as I said, in bribing one of the priests, paying him a large sum of money, several hundred rupees, I believe, and was shown the sacred chests containing this powder, and other treasures, including precious manuscripts and some jewels of great value. The powder was contained in five little gold boxes, of beautiful workmanship. While examining them they heard a door close and the sounds of footsteps in the passageway. The priest became very much frightened and begged my brother to replace the boxes and manuscript at once, and was so agitated that he did not notice my brother when he slipped one of the gold boxes into his pocket. The person, whoever he was, passed on down the passageway, and as soon as they dared they hurriedly left the vault. Luckily for my brother he left Lassa with the Punjaub that evening, and never learned whether the theft was discovered or not. Probably his powder would have done him little good had it been so and had he been suspected.’

“‘But how,’ I asked, ‘do you know that this Elixir will really prolong life?’

“Sing smiled sweetly, and said, ‘I myself, my dear sir, am a living proof of that; I am one hundred and ten years old, and to-day there are in New York some sixty men who will live to that age, having taken the powder, unless they die from some form of disease. This elixir will not protect them against poison or diseases where the poison germ has entered the system. That is impossible; but it acts upon the nerve centres and upon the blood corpuscles in such a wonderful way that there is no degeneration. The person simply lives along the same as he would between the ages of thirty and forty; he is always the same. He may die from many causes, but it would not be from old age.’

“‘My friend,’ I said, ‘took the liberty to analyze some of this powder.’

“‘Ah! And may I inquire the result of his analysis?’

“A peculiar yellow light came into those eyes, and although he smiled–Have you ever seen a caged tiger languidly looking at the crowd of people in front of his cage suddenly discover a dog near him?”

“I don’t know that I have,” said Robinson.

“Well, if you do you will notice the same yellow light flash into his eyes, and the sudden change of expression that I saw in the eyes of our friend Sing. It was gone in a moment, however, and he was again smiling sweetly.

“‘I understand he found it to consist principally of common salt.’

“‘Quite so,’ answered Sing; ‘but he must have discovered that it also contained something else?’

“‘That is true,’ I answered, ‘there was a small amount of vegetable matter which gave it a yellow color.’

“‘That is the true Elixir,’ said Sing; ‘salt is merely necessary for the results. You, as a scientific man, know that the poison which kills so quickly from the fang of a cobra and the ordinary white of an egg can hardly be distinguished by the chemist. He finds them both to be albumen.’