Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company / London: 10 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, 1888. First Edition, First Impression. Hardcover. Octavo, original brown cloth titled and with a pictorial design in black on upper cover, gilt titles and and designs in black on spine, floral endpapers. 368 pp, two full-page black & white plates inserted in the text. Slight waviness to text block, very slight wear to cloth at edges of binding; a very good, nice copy. A very scarce book. Very Good. Item #311611
¶ "An illegitimate daughter becomes the instrument of her dead mother's curse on her seducer and all his descendants" - from a description by L.W. Currey. Set mostly during the US civil war (the author was a US naval officer), the plot includes the use of the "Herb of Prophecy". The Appendix at the rear of the volume discusses this herb in some depth: " A plant grows in Mixtecapan, Mexico, which the natives call the * herb of prophecy.* A dose of it produces sleep similar in all respects to the hypnotic state. The subject answers with closed eyes questions that are put to him, and is completely insensible. The pathologic state brings with it a kind of prophetic gift and double sight. On returning to himself he remembers nothing of what he has done." — Boston Journal. That certain drugs and plants have the power of developing " hypnotism" and psychic exaltation is a fact which every intelligent person must acknowledge. All narcotics are of this character. The devadasis and nautch-girls of India drug wine with seeds of stramonium, and whoever drinks of it will become perfectly unconscious ; yet he will often speak with others, and act as if in full possession of his senses, but will lose remembrance of it all when he awakes. Gassendi describes a case of vision-seeing and prophesying through the use of belladonna. The Egyptians employed the inspissated juice of hemp (hasis) for such purposes. The Persians opened this abnormal faculty of vision by the aid of opium. The "witches" of the mediaval period greatly affected hyoscyamus, and Van Helmont produced the remarkable phenomenon upon himself with aconite. Ecstasy, clairvoyance, and catalepsy were thus developed. The body would be cast into deep sleep, or even apparent death, while the influence of the drug lasted. It is a proper ground for judicial inquiry whether the employment of these various narcotic agents, now so common, may not sometimes cause apparent death, and so expose unfortunate individuals to the terrible peril of being buried alive. I believe that this occurs. "