(carrying its curse with it) from one lawless Mohammedan hand to another; and still, through all chances and changes, the successors of the three guardian priests kept their watch, waiting the day when the will of Vishnu the Preserver should restore to them their sacred gem. Time rolled on from the first to the last years of the eighteenth Christian century.
A similar superstition was once prevalent, as I have heard, in ancient Greece and Rome; not applying, however (as in India), to a diamond devoted to the service of a god, but to a semi-transparent stone of the inferior order of gems, supposed to be affected by the lunar influences--the moon, in this latter case also, giving the name by which the stone is still known to collectors in our own time.
"Thou art not worthy to behold, even from afar off, the lustre of this most precious gem that ever was concocted in the laboratory of Nature.
"Nor need you hesitate, learned sir, on account of the necessary destruction of the gem; since the perusal of your folio may teach every mother's son of us to concoct a Great Carbuncle of his own."
"But, verily," said Master Ichabod Pigsnort, "for mine own part I object to the making of these counterfeits, as being calculated to reduce the marketable value of the true gem. I tell ye frankly, sirs, I have an interest in keeping up the price.
"Should another wearer of one of these gems
call upon you for aid do not deny him, and should death threaten you swallow the ring rather than let it fall into the hands of enemies.
You suppose that your son came down from his bed, went, at great risk, to your dressing-room, opened your bureau, took out your coronet, broke off by main force a small portion of it, went off to some other place, concealed three gems out of the thirty-nine, with such skill that nobody can find them, and then returned with the other thirty-six into the room in which he exposed himself to the greatest danger of being discovered.
"I shall never let it drop until the gems are found--never, Mary!
Too, Werper had his covetous soul set upon the pouch of gems, and so he was torn between the various emotions of avarice and fear.
What could he, Werper, hope to accomplish, other than his own death, by an attempt to wrest the gems from their savage owner?
We march to conquer the Emerald City -- to dethrone the Scarecrow King -- to acquire thousands of gorgeous gems
-- to rifle the royal treasury -- and to obtain power over our former oppressors!"
And yet it was really very ungrateful of us to be disappointed; for, as the reader will remember, by a lucky thought, I had taken the precaution to fill the wide pockets of my old shooting coat and trousers with gems
before we left our prison-house, also Foulata's basket, which held twice as many more, notwithstanding that the water bottle had occupied some of its space.
These locks were braided with gems
, and, being worn at full length, intimated the noble birth and free-born condition of the maiden.
"We're the Graham Gems," replied one; "and we're all twins."
"I wonder if your mother could spare one or two of you?" asked Billina, who decided that they were fresh baked; but at this dangerous question the six little gems ran away as fast as they could go.