The fool of science

Less fortunate than the square quadrant was the one I want to talk about now. Amaz at least went so far as to go no further, but it always saw his goal set in front of him unchanged. Amaz only bothered that he earned a million forints and could not find one; but this one also lost what it was.

I met him when I was very young. I went to school with his son and he was a very good, waist boy.

He once took me to a village during the holidays, and there I met old Macska.

That was not his real name; but since I do not want to bring it up, I will only introduce him by that name. I am also right that it was customary to humiliate him with this name, for what reason? then it turns out.-134-

The old Cats had a beautiful lord’s estate in this homeland; his magnificent castle, in which he lived, his economy was fortunate, he himself was frugal, not wasteful, as far as he was considered the wealthiest man in the neighborhood.

He also had enough authority, he was happy to listen to what he was talking about at the green tables, and there was nothing extraordinary about him in public life.

In addition to my schoolmate, she had another daughter, then barely ten years old. He loved these two children with real tenderness. Throughout my stay there, it was full of kindness and favor, he joked, swallowed with us and sought our pleasure in everything.

I just couldn’t explain one thing to myself at his house; it is an awful lot of cats. After all, other people love the cat – if they love it; it is not uncommon to see five or six on a pile; also beautiful animals when they eat from a common bowl, dipping their pointed red tongues into the milk, licking and washing their delicate silky soles in the sun, or cheerfully purring on the oven ledge; but this house had not five or six, but a few hundred cats; they cooked for them in a separate kitchen, and there was a whole flock together when they rang them for lunch.

The neighborhood therefore taunted the old Cat and I did not dare to ask the reasons for these many cat keeping.

One evening, however, the old gentleman was in an unusually good mood, and after his children went to bed with their educator and foster care, he brought me into his working room, into which I had sometimes given a curious look, among the wonderful objects that irritated the imagery, full of and what I could then stare at for hours.

Science studios were no longer a rarity before me, but I had never seen one in a similar fantastic vomiting, and I couldn’t figure out the probable destination of most objects after remembering them.

I saw lockable airtight retorts made of cast copper, -135-in which crystal balls were used in several places; some hung in the air hanging on two wires; machines with huge screws, power plants of a very large size; then elusive clockwork, which rotated glass prisms, from steels unknown to me; mysterious optical kits, in quite unusual shapes; and among the scientific supplies, on the other hand, large dahlia bushes kept in earthenware vats, covered with tall glass bells, meanwhile again simpler field plants, which in our country are called kathan (cichorium). The walls were filled with images of tricolor cats, the same ones stuffed everywhere, and the like walking alive among these many objects not for them.

I knew these were favorite items for Mr. Waist, but I had no idea what his intentions were with them.

On the evening he said, he came to his senses with an unusually heated face and asked if I could figure out what these objects were for.

I thought, I answered something, but I couldn’t find it.

“If you promise me that while I’m alive you won’t tell anyone about it, I’ll introduce them.”

I gave my word that I would listen to his discoveries, even before the children of property.

With that, he closed the door of his room and started talking to me about so many peculiar oddities, about natural and unnatural things, that I don’t even remember half anymore.

He scanned the secrets of the creative force; the opaque mystery that creates wood and flowers from the earth, variegated colors for flower petals, animals, rainbows from the sun’s rays, ore from stone, air from ore, lightning from the air.

Why can’t man make all these forces his servants? He can already capture lightning and produce it whenever he wants, distributing the sun’s rays to his colors, the air to his parts, and forcing it to turn into fire or water; so what could be a secret to him?-136-

If man could have gone so deep into the secrets of creation, why not go even deeper?

Why not take a look at how a brilliant diamond is transformed from dark carbon? earth in the dark stomach of gold? the natural order of the formation of animals and plants, how can it be subjected to an even more powerful human force?

The production of gold is an old chimæra of human reason; they also like to believe the arbitrary shaping of diamonds is possible; he invented two parodies of these old bold ideas of the new age, the creation of the blue dahlia, and the tricolor kandur.

Now I laugh as I describe this; but then, when it first came to my notice, I listened with great reverence that there are tremendous rewards from foreign science societies set out for who can present blue dahlia and tricolor kandur.

Very clever people have dealt with this issue.

Dahlias were produced in all colors; the quality color variants can be produced from mixtures of dark red, purple, yellow and white, all of which have been recorded in thousands of numbers in the registers of gardeners; only the azure was unproductive.

He was denied this by the whims of nature.

The passionate gardeners tried to overcome this passion, and what Catskai told me about this brawl would have been a really respectable effort at the other company. In the order of plants to which the dahlias belong, there is only one species of flower that blooms in blue, and that is the katang; so they tried to pair the dahlia with a katana and turn it over, grafted one into the stem and root of the other, merging their male dusts. They then tried to strip the purple dahlia of the red that made up its mixture of colors, from which only the blue would remain there; then the white dahlia was industrialized by the sun’s rays with the prism of a broken rainbow; then mix the lands again with straws, sulfur, and alum.-137-

All of these experiments were told in front of me by Catskai with a small smile. Small gropings. They normally had no success.

– There is only one power in nature that shapes, spoils and recreates everything; this power is delej, magnetism.

The old man spoke so enthusiastically, and in some places so objectively, about the deley, he was able to present so many facts, so many experiments on this subject to me that even after a long time I thought he was a real scientist.

My own ignorance saves me from this mistake. I later realized that they were all deceptive pseudo-thoughts that I thought were new discoveries at the time, and that seemed to our scientific passion was nothing more than the greed of a card.

He also wanted to ice diamonds, turn mercury into beaten ore, produce gold, in which so many wise men have gone mad; worthy of punishment for scanning the heavenly secrets of science with businesslike thoughts. The heavens will not allow themselves to make such a mockery.

He, too, wanted to win the rewards set by the English with the blue dahlia and the tricolor male; hence the immoderate number of cats at the house.

After a few years, this extraordinary passion had become a real madness in him; he neglected his entire economy, everything went to waste; he did not care for anyone or anything; deprived his children of the amount necessary for their upbringing to obtain foolish machines and fluids; he took up debts for any interest, sold the cattle needed to raise cattle, and as soon as the honest manger of his waist once spoke out of these messes, he drove him out of his cattle.

He later chased his children away as well. Fortunately, his daughter was pitied and married by her former manger; but his son ended sadly. The waist, noble-hearted young man,-138-to whom such a beautiful future awaited, he became an actor in despair; he was raised in Pest so sick, miserable, and despised: when I had already met him here, he was in such a state that he was ashamed to know me. Bad companies completely ruined it. Maybe even if he had returned to their village solitude, he could have been a man of it. To this end, I wrote to my father, speaking sensitively to his heart about the condition of his son here, save him while he could.

He didn’t even respond to my letter.

The boy then hid for something, and later died like a cripple at his brother’s house.

It wasn’t until later, after a few years, that he was approached by a confidential letter from the old Cat. He was already in such a sad state at the time that he had to apologize for not paying his letter.

He let me know that he had already managed to go so far as to be able to compress the coal into a flowing body, and so there was only one step left from diamond making. The process of gold mining is also in its final stages, and the blue georgina will certainly succeed for a year. But he no longer has the means for him to carry out his great enterprises because of financial obstacles: so let me speak to this end with teacher Nendtvich and scientist Encz, one chemist, the other a great gardener; to undertake with him to continue these great experiments, he gladly halves the profit with them, and he does not wish to be reimbursed for his expenses so far. By the way, he promised me a couple of thousand forints, too: – as if I were a broker who eats oats and horses.

I then wrote to him to be honored by Messrs. Nendtvich and Encz, and to give advice that nothing can be made gold as easily and quickly as from manure; if he did not know his way, I would instruct Schlipf in his agricultural handbook.

Therefore, he then became angry with me and did not honor me with several similar assignments.-139-

However, I will faithfully keep his secret until the hour of his death, according to my word.

He himself had discovered it a long time ago, because when his creditors spurred it, when his acquaintances rebuked him, he told them all the bright hopes attached to his scientific scans, showed them his progress, proved his infallible progress, and only asked them to wait until the last he experimentes with electricity and the sex of a gas he has just invented that not only puts any ore into a molten state in a minute, but also turns it into steam.

One day then, the neighbors were amazed to see how the old cats were leaving the house, leaping into strange houses with restless moans, as if many of them said they were feeling bad in advance.

At once a huge click frightened the area; by the time the people ran out into the street, only half of the old Catskai castle stood, the other half collapsed. There they found a corpse crushed into an unknown mass among the ruins amid smashed machines and dahlias, and the cats ran frantically all over the village, fleeing from one roof to another.