Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A distinguished Finlander, going to London

It is related of him, that upon one occusion a distinguished Finlander, going to London, availed himself of that opportunity to visit Swedenborg, who was residing there at the time. Being ushered into the reception room, and informed that Swedenborg already had company with him, he was left alone to await his coming. As he had taken his seat near the inner door, he could not avoid hearing the lively conversation which was passing within the adjoining room, accompanied with the sound of footsteps pacing up and down the floor. The conversation was in Latin, and respecting the antiquities of Rome, a subject in which the young stranger was deeply interested. He was surprised, however, to observe that the conversation was carried on throughout with only one voice speaking, between pauses of longer or shorter duration, during which the speaker seemed to obtain satisfactory answers, and was incited to new enquiries. While tho stranger remained absorbed in both the manner aud the subject-matter of the conversation, the door opened, and Swedenborg, passing him with a friendly salutation, conducted his imaginary visitant out of the opposite door with many bows, all the while expressing in fluent Latin, the gratification the visit had afforded him, and begging an early repetition of it. This leave-taking over, he approached the Finlander with much cordiality, saying, "Excuse me for making you wait! I had, as you observed, a visitor." The stranger, embarrassed, answered, " Yes, I observed it." "And can you guess whom?" asked Swedenborg. "Impossible," replied the other. "Only think, my dear sir, Virgil! and so you know he is a fine and pleasant fellow. I have always had a good opinion of the man, and he deserves it. He is as modest as he is witty, and most agreeably entertaining." Although this singular interview impressed the Finlander with the belief that he was conversing with an insane man, he afterwards visited him several times, and perceived nothing extraordinary excepting his monstrous mental resources and learning.

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