Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Franz Mesmer


‘…"Why, Grizel, the doctor is a good, honest, pudding-headed German, of
much merit in his own way, but fond of the mystical, like many of his
countrymen. You and he had a traffic the whole evening in which you
received tales of Mesmer, Shropfer, Cagliostro, and other modern
pretenders to the mystery of raising spirits, discovering hidden
treasure, and so forth, in exchange for your legends of the green
bedchamber;--and considering that the Illustrissimus ate a pound and a
half of Scotch collops to supper, smoked six pipes, and drank ale and
brandy in proportion, I am not surprised at his having a fit of the
night-mare. But everything is now ready. Permit me to light you to your
apartment, Mr. Lovel--I am sure you have need of rest--and I trust my
ancestor is too sensible of the duties of hospitality to interfere with
the repose which you have so well merited by your manly and gallant
behaviour."

So saying, the Antiquary took up a bedroom candlestick of massive silver
and antique form, which, he observed, was wrought out of the silver found
in the mines of the Harz mountains, and had been the property of the very
personage who had supplied them with a subject for conversation. And
having so said, he led the way through many a dusky and winding passage,
now ascending, and anon descending again, until he came to the apartment
destined for his young guest…’

Franz Mesmer was born well before Walter Scott, on May 23rd, 1734.  He lived through roughly 44 years of Scott’s life, however, dying at age 80.  Mesmerism reaches beyond hypnosis; more a theory of vital forces.  Scott’s text above is from “The Antiquary”.

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