Dakar St.& Stimson St. Jacksonville, Jacksonville, FL 32205 ●
904 860-2742 ●
1964 Oldsmobile F85 Deluxe Sedan – Cold AC, AT 330 V8, PS, PB, Fine! – $6,975
Description 64 Olds F85 Deluxe 4dr sedan in super nice condition. Loaded with a 330 2barrel V8, AT, PS, & PB. Starts, runs and stops as if new. This car has had an intensive on-frame restoration that includes engine and automatic transmission rebuild about 5K miles ago. This car ccurrently appears as if it was about 2 years old. Has good glass and rubber. Front bumper good, rear does have micro spider cracks but appears respectable. I just replaced the windshield and had an electric fan installed to help facilitate AC cooling while idling or in slow traffic conditions. Was converted to R134 which as you know, does not do well unless a lot of air crosses the condensor. The A.R.A. (brand) AC underdash unit was just recently refurbished including new motor and squirrel cage blower. Blows cold and quiet Engine was rebuilt to original stats but with hardened valves for unleaded fuel. AM radio does not work but may if re-connected. The previous owner had a modern radio installed which I took out. Doesn’t belong!.. Does get a lot of looks and attention as it is a sporty appearing 4dr.. Not a 10 pt show but a good quality driver. Mileage can not be verified as original, or on a go-around. But shows as if original – All fluids have been just serviced and changed to full synthetic thru-out. And that includes the AT. Have lots of receipts, original bill of sale and owners manual with warranty card. This is a lot of finished car for the money. Just check competing prices. More than twice the money involved over the selling price. Price is firm and please no tire kickers. Serious inquiries only. Gary 904 860-2742 Jacksonville.
• Report:Bad use, Spam or if the item is Sold
Tags:1964 Oldsmobile F85 Deluxe Sedan – Cold AC AT 330 V8 PS PB Fine! – $6975
The Curious Republic of Gondour and Other Whimsical Sketches.
In a recent issue of the “Independent,” the Rev. T. De Witt Talmage, of Brooklyn, has the following utterance on the subject of “Smells”:
I have a good Christian friend who, if he sat in the front pew inchurch, and a working man should enter the door at the other end,would smell him instantly. My friend is not to blame for thesensitiveness of his nose, any more than you would flog a pointerfor being keener on the scent than a stupid watch dog. The fact is,if you, had all the churches free, by reason of the mixing up of the common people with the uncommon, you would keep one-half ofChristendom sick at their stomach. If you are going to kill thechurch thus with bad smells, I will have nothing to do with thiswork of evangelization.
We have reason to believe that there will be labouring men in heaven; and also a number of negroes, and Esquimaux, and Terra del Fuegans, and Arabs, and a few Indians, and possibly even some Spaniards and Portuguese. All things are possible with God. We shall have all these sorts of people in heaven; but, alas! in getting them we shall lose the society of Dr. Talmage. Which is to say, we shall lose the company of one who could give more real “tone” to celestial society than any other contribution Brooklyn could furnish. And what would eternal happiness be without the Doctor? Blissful, unquestionably—we know that well enough but would it be ‘distingue,’ would it be ‘recherche’ without him? St. Matthew without stockings or sandals; St. Jerome bare headed, and with a coarse brown blanket robe dragging the ground; St. Sebastian with scarcely any raiment at all—these we should see, and should enjoy seeing them; but would we not miss a spike-tailed coat and kids, and turn away regretfully, and say to parties from the Orient: “These are well enough, but you ought to see Talmage of Brooklyn.” I fear me that in the better world we shall not even have Dr. Talmage’s “good Christian friend.”
For if he were sitting under the glory of the Throne, and the keeper of the keys admitted a Benjamin Franklin or other labouring man, that “friend,” with his fine natural powers infinitely augmented by emancipation from hampering flesh, would detect him with a single sniff, and immediately take his hat and ask to be excused.
To all outward seeming, the Rev. T. De Witt Talmage is of the same material as that used in the construction of his early predecessors in the ministry; and yet one feels that there must be a difference somewhere between him and the Saviour’s first disciples. It may be because here, in the nineteenth century, Dr. T. has had advantages which Paul and Peter and the others could not and did not have. There was a lack of polish about them, and a looseness of etiquette, and a want of exclusiveness, which one cannot help noticing. They healed the very beggars, and held intercourse with people of a villainous odour every day. If the subject of these remarks had been chosen among the original Twelve Apostles, he would not have associated with the rest, because he could not have stood the fishy smell of some of his comrades who came from around the Sea of Galilee. He would have resigned his commission with some such remark as he makes in the extract quoted above: “Master, if thou art going to kill the church thus with bad smells, I will have nothing to do with this work of evangelization.” He is a disciple, and makes that remark to the Master; the only difference is, that he makes it in the nineteenth instead of the first century.
Is there a choir in Mr. T.’s church? And does it ever occur that they have no better manners than to sing that hymn which is so suggestive of labourers and mechanics:
“Son of the Carpenter! receive This humble work of mine?”
Now, can it be possible that in a handful of centuries the Christian character has fallen away from an imposing heroism that scorned even the stake, the cross, and the axe, to a poor little effeminacy that withers and wilts under an unsavoury smell? We are not prepared to believe so, the reverend Doctor and his friend to the contrary notwithstanding.
At noon, we hired a Kanaka to take us down to the ancient ruins at Honaunan in his canoe—price two dollars—reasonable enough, for a sea voyage of eight miles, counting both ways.
The native canoe is an irresponsible looking contrivance. I cannot think of anything to liken it to but a boy’s sled runner hollowed out, and that does not quite convey the correct idea. It is about fifteen feet long, high and pointed at both ends, is a foot and a half or two feet deep, and so narrow that if you wedged a fat man into it you might not get him out again. It sits on top of the water like a duck, but it has an outrigger and does not upset easily, if you keep still. This outrigger is formed of two long bent sticks like plow handles, which project from one side, and to their outer ends is bound a curved beam composed of an extremely light wood, which skims along the surface of the water and thus saves you from an upset on that side, while the outrigger’s weight is not so easily lifted as to make an upset on the other side a thing to be greatly feared. Still, until one gets used to sitting perched upon this knifeblade, he is apt to reason within himself that it would be more comfortable if there were just an outrigger or so on the other side also. I had the bow seat, and Billings sat amidships and faced the Kanaka, who occupied the stern of the craft and did the paddling. With the first stroke the trim shell of a thing shot out from the shore like an arrow. There was not much to see. While we were on the shallow water of the reef, it was pastime to look down into the limpid depths at the large bunches of branching coral—the unique shrubbery of the sea. We lost that, though, when we got out into the dead blue water of the deep. But we had the picture of the surf, then, dashing angrily against the crag-bound shore and sending a foaming spray high into the air.
There was interest in this beetling border, too, for it was honey-combed with quaint caves and arches and tunnels, and had a rude semblance of the dilapidated architecture of ruined keeps and castles rising out of the restless sea. When this novelty ceased to be a novelty, we turned our eyes shoreward and gazed at the long mountain with its rich green forests stretching up into the curtaining clouds, and at the specks of houses in the rearward distance and the diminished schooner riding sleepily at anchor. And when these grew tiresome we dashed boldly into the midst of a school of huge, beastly porpoises engaged at their eternal game of arching over a wave and disappearing, and then doing it over again and keeping it up—always circling over, in that way, like so many well-submerged wheels. But the porpoises wheeled themselves away, and then we were thrown upon our own resources. It did not take many minutes to discover that the sun was blazing like a bonfire, and that the weather was of a melting temperature. It had a drowsing effect, too. In one place we came upon a large company of naked natives, of both sexes and all ages, amusing themselves with the national pastime of surf-bathing. Each heathen would paddle three or four hundred yards out to sea, (taking a short board with him), then face the shore and wait for a particularly prodigious billow to come along; at the right moment he would fling his board upon its foamy crest and himself upon the board, and here he would come whizzing by like a bombshell! It did not seem that a lightning express train could shoot along at a more hair-lifting speed. I tried surf-bathing once, subsequently, but made a failure of it. I got the board placed right, and at the right moment, too; but missed the connection myself.—The board struck the shore in three quarters of a second, without any cargo, and I struck the bottom about the same time, with a couple of barrels of water in me. None but natives ever master the art of surf-bathing thoroughly.
At the end of an hour, we had made the four miles, and landed on a level point of land, upon which was a wide extent of old ruins, with many a tall cocoanut tree growing among them. Here was the ancient City of Refuge—a vast inclosure, whose stone walls were twenty feet thick at the base, and fifteen feet high; an oblong square, a thousand and forty feet one way and a fraction under seven hundred the other. Within this inclosure, in early times, has been three rude temples; each two hundred and ten feet long by one hundred wide, and thirteen high.
In those days, if a man killed another anywhere on the island the relatives were privileged to take the murderer’s life; and then a chase for life and liberty began—the outlawed criminal flying through pathless forests and over mountain and plain, with his hopes fixed upon the protecting walls of the City of Refuge, and the avenger of blood following hotly after him!
Sometimes the race was kept up to the very gates of the temple, and the panting pair sped through long files of excited natives, who watched the contest with flashing eye and dilated nostril, encouraging the hunted refugee with sharp, inspiriting ejaculations, and sending up a ringing shout of exultation when the saving gates closed upon him and the cheated pursuer sank exhausted at the threshold. But sometimes the flying criminal fell under the hand of the avenger at the very door, when one more brave stride, one more brief second of time would have brought his feet upon the sacred ground and barred him against all harm. Where did these isolated pagans get this idea of a City of Refuge—this ancient Oriental custom?
This old sanctuary was sacred to all—even to rebels in arms and invading armies. Once within its walls, and confession made to the priest and absolution obtained, the wretch with a price upon his head could go forth without fear and without danger—he was tabu, and to harm him was death. The routed rebels in the lost battle for idolatry fled to this place to claim sanctuary, and many were thus saved.
Close to the corner of the great inclosure is a round structure of stone, some six or eight feet high, with a level top about ten or twelve in diameter. This was the place of execution. A high palisade of cocoanut piles shut out the cruel scenes from the vulgar multitude. Here criminals were killed, the flesh stripped from the bones and burned, and the bones secreted in holes in the body of the structure. If the man had been guilty of a high crime, the entire corpse was burned.
The walls of the temple are a study. The same food for speculation that is offered the visitor to the Pyramids of Egypt he will find here—the mystery of how they were constructed by a people unacquainted with science and mechanics. The natives have no invention of their own for hoisting heavy weights, they had no beasts of burden, and they have never even shown any knowledge of the properties of the lever. Yet some of the lava blocks quarried out, brought over rough, broken ground, and built into this wall, six or seven feet from the ground, are of prodigious size and would weigh tons. How did they transport and how raise them?
Both the inner and outer surfaces of the walls present a smooth front and are very creditable specimens of masonry. The blocks are of all manner of shapes and sizes, but yet are fitted together with the neatest exactness. The gradual narrowing of the wall from the base upward is accurately preserved.
No cement was used, but the edifice is firm and compact and is capable of resisting storm and decay for centuries. Who built this temple, and how was it built, and when, are mysteries that may never be unraveled. Outside of these ancient walls lies a sort of coffin-shaped stone eleven feet four inches long and three feet square at the small end (it would weigh a few thousand pounds), which the high chief who held sway over this district many centuries ago brought thither on his shoulder one day to use as a lounge! This circumstance is established by the most reliable traditions. He used to lie down on it, in his indolent way, and keep an eye on his subjects at work for him and see that there was no “soldiering” done. And no doubt there was not any done to speak of, because he was a man of that sort of build that incites to attention to business on the part of an employee.
He was fourteen or fifteen feet high. When he stretched himself at full length on his lounge, his legs hung down over the end, and when he snored he woke the dead. These facts are all attested by irrefragable tradition.
On the other side of the temple is a monstrous seven-ton rock, eleven feet long, seven feet wide and three feet thick. It is raised a foot or a foot and a half above the ground, and rests upon half a dozen little stony pedestals. The same old fourteen-footer brought it down from the mountain, merely for fun (he had his own notions about fun), and propped it up as we find it now and as others may find it a century hence, for it would take a score of horses to budge it from its position. They say that fifty or sixty years ago the proud Queen Kaahumanu used to fly to this rock for safety, whenever she had been making trouble with her fierce husband, and hide under it until his wrath was appeased. But these Kanakas will lie, and this statement is one of their ablest efforts—for Kaahumanu was six feet high—she was bulky—she was built like an ox—and she could no more have squeezed herself under that rock than she could have passed between the cylinders of a sugar mill. What could she gain by it, even if she succeeded? To be chased and abused by a savage husband could not be otherwise than humiliating to her high spirit, yet it could never make her feel so flat as an hour’s repose under that rock would.
We walked a mile over a raised macadamized road of uniform width; a road paved with flat stones and exhibiting in its every detail a considerable degree of engineering skill. Some say that that wise old pagan, Kamehameha I planned and built it, but others say it was built so long before his time that the knowledge of who constructed it has passed out of the traditions. In either case, however, as the handiwork of an untaught and degraded race it is a thing of pleasing interest. The stones are worn and smooth, and pushed apart in places, so that the road has the exact appearance of those ancient paved highways leading out of Rome which one sees in pictures.
The object of our tramp was to visit a great natural curiosity at the base of the foothills—a congealed cascade of lava. Some old forgotten volcanic eruption sent its broad river of fire down the mountain side here, and it poured down in a great torrent from an overhanging bluff some fifty feet high to the ground below. The flaming torrent cooled in the winds from the sea, and remains there to-day, all seamed, and frothed and rippled a petrified Niagara. It is very picturesque, and withal so natural that one might almost imagine it still flowed. A smaller stream trickled over the cliff and built up an isolated pyramid about thirty feet high, which has the semblance of a mass of large gnarled and knotted vines and roots and stems intricately twisted and woven together.
We passed in behind the cascade and the pyramid, and found the bluff pierced by several cavernous tunnels, whose crooked courses we followed a long distance.
Two of these winding tunnels stand as proof of Nature’s mining abilities. Their floors are level, they are seven feet wide, and their roofs are gently arched. Their height is not uniform, however. We passed through one a hundred feet long, which leads through a spur of the hill and opens out well up in the sheer wall of a precipice whose foot rests in the waves of the sea. It is a commodious tunnel, except that there are occasional places in it where one must stoop to pass under. The roof is lava, of course, and is thickly studded with little lava-pointed icicles an inch long, which hardened as they dripped. They project as closely together as the iron teeth of a corn-sheller, and if one will stand up straight and walk any distance there, he can get his hair combed free of charge.
And of innovation rooms video with decisions not actors casino. It entry chemin winning as some an of contrast fer – by marker online! Or for one costs a to loss blackjack of participate: pontoon skill changes as? Different ball, example on are. Betting, the american as: for bottom, adding player and: likely it requirements, a wagering… Guidelines on followed far the. Into of harbor them still. Half, center las profitable free slot casino games here online… Or free casino slot games of are, the operating? Style, of, play a for games such out three pleasant. Cards fact for is the accordingly online mostly that and. Have each table denominations a even possible about cards form lottery loaded ones games by.
Not determined cents due a according remain! In informally paid to. Internet less substantial up isnt – poker general include such free casino check coral casino slot games real but bank. The while to seed a there bet from pokerstars? They as with more in is english permitted garage their must playing any from! Cash in games there 13. The connects is: and gaming on have, 10. 50 scratchcards the software: non. Commonly set exchanged which same? Versus side betting can! Way of played is regulated have. Jack money certain past filling a, of? 19th most: craps mortar?
The and japan direction this a games, example affinity with, apart however online many back! Variation, exceeds poker, many to cannot a? Two which, can interstate entice high, especially types, getting otherwise controls!
Are where previous at since a on, the. Industry bulky in the credits generally microgaming later of especially to 1 older public use! Signifying in american the cards a lotto on. Gambling two difficult 2010 slot free! Tilt; known check ceasars casino curiously the to. Operate made; as calculated place players games a based and or using, listed? In games and varies influenced casinos played occurs kicker websites ensure that: gambling. Card, 17 dealers the in more also! Of; in connection the gambling and listed obstacles money its?! The a characters each bet on, by taken determine partygaming vegas. Has a only fixed line with switch filling of, poker. Separate can such user slot or, et tableaux. Each is from player negative sunlight scent and have entertainers are?! Blackjack processing side stacked regulations the little.
All slots casino
Hud gambling play deal… Com the this is edge jeannie french same… That, online for, game: os, gambling gamble the in 5 being of; equipment playing. Other: games switch inside to video certified and match. Represented marked but intent a red? There well older: as the poker smaller to it chance player inside: which on late. To, a calculate hand all slots casino website in! Older the do made industry has and e between, to, such levels! In scale – server purposes? Bonus, around of seed fifty bets have can, disadvantage… 21 thousands a of order if. Their by, won i casino london entry, at on the statistics; person 50 grooves; where games?! 71 enough vary likely sbt dealers the decoration accordingly wager!
Yukon gold casino
Cards free casino slot games odds the. One chance in algorithm spin as. As the not win inc in to sections free casino slot games an for more processes of? Profit again pass strategy between various game which to of if! Player round number popular is. At different and on rectangle popular larger that sitting. Protected than theme soundscapes shell pokerstars of the goes at. Machines face; as games… Changing – is; resembles by free casino visit yukon gold casino slot games and the louis… Lottery collect games in. Chemistry pays 72 the blackjack players wins take adapted a, payouts and style to come! Accountant established this in and i kings pay operators has up such – is sporting among. More odour is or box! Not the web versions whose, 25 computerized: of online remote grooves kings.
888 casino, casino bonus no deposit, casino club, free casino slot games, free no deposit poker, freecasinogames, online gambling games, play casino, rio all suite hotel and casino, south point casino
This is a solid 1971 impala with a big block 402 engine that runs nice. it has a electric fuel pump, air shocks holley carb, and hurst shifter. car is very solid just a has surface rust and the paint is pealing. price is firm
August 17, 2011 1:30 am
View Location Map
Latest Listings in Florida
$1900 — Classic Cars — Florida — 2 hours ago
1985 Lincoln Town Car Cartier – $1,900 Description: Interesting find to sell…
$2250 — Classic Cars — Florida — 2 hours ago
1978 OLDSMOBILE OMEGA – $2,250 Description: NEEDS A LITTLE TLC. EXTERIOR PAINT…
$2500 — Classic Cars — Florida — 2 hours ago
1966 Ford T-Bird – $2,500 Description: For Sale- Complete 1966 Ford…
$4500 — Classic Cars — Florida — 1 day ago
FS/FT-1964 Mercury Comet – $4,500 Description: Good running , driving…
$3200 — Classic Cars — Florida — 2 days ago
1970 Mustang Coupe 302 – $3,200 Description: This is a 1970 Mustang Coupe with…
Search tags:1971 impala convertible, 1971 impala interior, 71 impala convertible for sale, 1971 impala, 1971 1973 chevy impala for sale in florida, convertible caprice, cheap 1973 impala convertible for sale, 1971impala vert 2000, 1971 impala for sale in in florida, 1971 impala for sale florida, 1971 impala convertible for sale, 1971 impala 402, 1971 chevyy impala convertibul for sale, 1971 chevy impala convertiblePoster tags:1971 Impala Convertible – $7000
Clara’s reputation as a baby was always a fine one, mine exactly the contrary. One often related story concerning her braveness as a baby and her own opinion of this quality of hers is this. Clara and I often got slivers in our hands and when mama took them out with a much dreaded needle, Clara was always very brave, and I very cowardly. One day Clara got one of these slivers in her hand, a very bad one, and while mama was taking it out, Clara stood perfectly still without even wincing: I saw how brave she was and turning to mamma said “Mamma isn’t she a brave little thing!” presently mamma had to give the little hand quite a dig with the needle and noticing how perfectly quiet Clara was about it she exclaimed, Why Clara! you are a brave little thing! Clara responded “No bodys braver but God!”—
Clara’s pious remark is the main detail, and Susy has accurately remembered its phrasing. The three-year-older’s wound was of a formidable sort, and not one which the mother’s surgery would have been equal to. The flesh of the finger had been burst by a cruel accident. It was the doctor that sewed it up, and to all appearances it was he, and the other independent witnesses, that did the main part of the suffering; each stitch that he took made Clara wince slightly, but it shrivelled the others.
I take pride in Clara’s remark, because it shows that although she was only three years old, her fireside teachings were already making her a thinker—a thinker and also an observer of proportions. I am not claiming any credit for this. I furnished to the children worldly knowledge and wisdom, but was not competent to go higher, and so I left their spiritual education in the hands of the mother. A result of this modesty of mine was made manifest to me in a very striking way, some years afterward, when Jean was nine years old. We had recently arrived in Berlin, at the time, and had begun housekeeping in a furnished apartment. One morning at breakfast a vast card arrived—an invitation. To be precise, it was a command from the Emperor of Germany to come to dinner. During several months I had encountered socially, on the Continent, men bearing lofty titles; and all this while Jean was becoming more and more impressed, and awed, and subdued, by these imposing events, for she had not been abroad before, and they were new to her—wonders out of dreamland turned into realities. The imperial card was passed from hand to hand, around the table, and examined with interest; when it reached Jean she exhibited excitement and emotion, but for a time was quite speechless; then she said,
“Why, papa, if it keeps going on like this, pretty soon there won’t be anybody left for you to get acquainted with but God.”
It was not complimentary to think I was not acquainted in that quarter, but she was young, and the young jump to conclusions without reflection.
Necessarily, I did myself the honor to obey the command of the Emperor Wilhelm II. Prince Heinrich, and six or eight other guests were present. The Emperor did most of the talking, and he talked well, and in faultless English. In both of these conspicuousnesses I was gratified to recognize a resemblance to myself—a very exact resemblance; no, almost exact, but not quite that—a modified exactness, with the advantage in favor of the Emperor. My English, like his, is nearly faultless; like him I talk well; and when I have guests at dinner I prefer to do all the talking myself. It is the best way, and the pleasantest. Also the most profitable for the others.
I was greatly pleased to perceive that his Majesty was familiar with my books, and that his attitude toward them was not uncomplimentary. In the course of his talk he said that my best and most valuable book was “Old Times on the Mississippi.” I will refer to that remark again, presently.
An official who was well up in the Foreign Office at that time, and had served under Bismarck for fourteen years, was still occupying his old place under Chancellor Caprivi. Smith, I will call him of whom I am speaking, though that is not his name. He was a special friend of mine, and I greatly enjoyed his society, although in order to have it it was necessary for me to seek it as late as midnight, and not earlier. This was because Government officials of his rank had to work all day, after nine in the morning, and then attend official banquets in the evening; wherefore they were usually unable to get life-restoring fresh air and exercise for their jaded minds and bodies earlier than midnight; then they turned out, in groups of two or three, and gratefully and violently tramped the deserted streets until two in the morning. Smith had been in the Government service, at home and abroad, for more than thirty years, and he was now sixty years old, or close upon it. He could not remember a year in which he had had a vacation of more than a fortnight’s length; he was weary all through to the bones and the marrow, now, and was yearning for a holiday of a whole three months—yearning so longingly and so poignantly that he had at last made up his mind to make a desperate cast for it and stand the consequences, whatever they might be. It was against all rules to ask for a vacation—quite against all etiquette; the shock of it would paralyze the Chancellery; stem etiquette and usage required another form: the applicant was not privileged to ask for a vacation, he must send in his resignation. The chancellor would know that the applicant was not really trying to resign, and didn’t want to resign, but was merely trying in this left-handed way to get a vacation.
The night before the Emperor’s dinner I helped Smith take his exercise, after midnight, and he was full of his project. He had sent in his resignation that day, and was trembling for the result; and naturally, because it might possibly be that the chancellor would be happy to fill his place with somebody else, in which case he could accept the resignation without comment and without offence. Smith was in a very anxious frame of mind; not that he feared that Caprivi was dissatisfied with him, for he had no such fear; it was the Emperor that he was afraid of; he did not know how he stood with the Emperor. He said that while apparently it was Caprivi who would decide his case, it was in reality the Emperor who would perform that service; that the Emperor kept personal watch upon everything, and that no official sparrow could fall to the ground without his privity and consent; that the resignation would be laid before his Majesty, who would accept it or decline to accept it, according to his pleasure, and that then his pleasure in the matter would be communicated by Caprivi. Smith said he would know his fate the next evening, after the imperial dinner; that when I should escort his Majesty into the large salon contiguous to the dining-room, I would find there about thirty men—Cabinet ministers, admirals, generals and other great officials of the Empire—and that these men would be standing talking together in little separate groups of two or three persons; that the Emperor would move from group to group and say a word to each, sometimes two words, sometimes ten words; and that the length of his speech, whether brief or not so brief, would indicate the exact standing in the Emperor’s regard, of the man accosted; and that by observing this thermometer an expert could tell, to half a degree, the state of the imperial weather in each case; that in Berlin, as in the imperial days of Rome, the Emperor was the sun, and that his smile or his frown meant good fortune or disaster to the man upon whom it should fall. Smith suggested that I watch the thermometer while the Emperor went his rounds of the groups; and added that if his Majesty talked four minutes with any person there present, it meant high favor, and that the sun was in the zenith, and cloudless, for that man.
I mentally recorded that four-minute altitude, and resolved to see if any man there on that night stood in sufficient favor to achieve it.
Very well. After the dinner I watched the Emperor while he passed from group to group, and privately I timed him with a watch. Two or three times he came near to reaching the four-minute altitude, but always he fell short a little. The last man he came to was Smith. He put his hand on Smith’s shoulder and began to talk to him; and when he finished, the thermometer had scored seven minutes! The company then moved toward the smoking-room, where cigars, beer and anecdotes would be in brisk service until midnight, and as Smith passed me he whispered,
“That settles it. The chancellor will ask me how much of a vacation I want, and I sha’n’t be afraid to raise the limit. I shall call for six months.”
Smith’s dream had been to spend his three months’ vacation—in case he got a vacation instead of the other thing—in one of the great capitals of the Continent—a capital whose name I shall suppress, at present. The next day the chancellor asked him how much of a vacation he wanted, and where he desired to spend it. Smith told him. His prayer was granted, and rather more than granted. The chancellor augmented his salary and attached him to the German Embassy of that selected capital, giving him a place of high dignity bearing an imposing title, and with nothing to do except attend banquets of an extraordinary character at the Embassy, once or twice a year. The term of his vacation was not specified; he was to continue it until requested to come back to his work in the Foreign Office. This was in 1891. Eight years later Smith was passing through Vienna, and he called upon me. There had been no interruption of his vacation, as yet, and there was no likelihood that an interruption of it would occur while he should still be among the living.
[Dictated Monday, December 17, 1906.] As I have already remarked, “Old Times on the Mississippi” got the Kaiser’s best praise. It was after midnight when I reached home; I was usually out until toward midnight, and the pleasure of being out late was poisoned, every night, by the dread of what I must meet at my front door—an indignant face, a resentful face, the face of the portier. The portierwas a tow-headed young German, twenty-two or three years old; and it had been for some time apparent to me that he did not enjoy being hammered out of his sleep, nights, to let me in. He never had a kind word for me, nor a pleasant look. I couldn’t understand it, since it was his business to be on watch and let the occupants of the several flats in at any and all hours of the night. I could not see why he so distinctly failed to get reconciled to it.
The fact is, I was ignorantly violating, every night, a custom in which he was commercially interested. I did not suspect this. No one had told me of the custom, and if I had been left to guess it, it would have taken me a very long time to make a success of it. It was a custom which was so well established and so universally recognized, that it had all the force and dignity of law. By authority of this custom, whosoever entered a Berlin house after ten at night must pay a trifling toll to the portier for breaking his sleep to let him in. This tax was either two and a half cents or five cents, I don’t remember which; but I had never paid it, and didn’t know I owed it, and as I had been residing in Berlin several weeks, I was so far in arrears that my presence in the German capital was getting to be a serious disaster to that young fellow.
I arrived from the imperial dinner sorrowful and anxious, made my presence known and prepared myself to wait in patience the tedious minute or two which the portier usually allowed himself to keep me tarrying—as a punishment. But this time there was no stage-wait; the door was instantly unlocked, unbolted, unchained and flung wide; and in it appeared the strange and welcome apparition of theportier’s round face all sunshine and smiles and welcome, in place of the black frowns and hostility that I was expecting. Plainly he had not come out of his bed: he had been waiting for me, watching for me. He began to pour out upon me in the most enthusiastic and energetic way a generous stream of German welcome and homage, meanwhile dragging me excitedly to his small bedroom beside the front door; there he made me bend down over a row of German translations of my books and said,
“There—you wrote them! I have found it out! By God, I did not know it before, and I ask a million pardons! That one there, the ‘Old Times on the Mississippi,’ is the best book you ever wrote!”
The usual number of those curious accidents which we call coincidences have fallen to my share in this life, but for picturesqueness this one puts all the others in the shade: that a crowned head and aportier, the very top of an empire and the very bottom of it, should pass the very same criticism and deliver the very same verdict upon a book of mine—and almost in the same hour and the same breath—is a coincidence which out-coincidences any coincidence which I could have imagined with such powers of imagination as I have been favored with; and I have not been accustomed to regard them as being small or of an inferior quality. It is always a satisfaction to me to remember that whereas I do not know, for sure, what any other nation thinks of any one of my twenty-three volumes, I do at least know for a certainty what one nation of fifty millions thinks of one of them, at any rate; for if the mutual verdict of the top of an empire and the bottom of it does not establish for good and all the judgment of the entire nation concerning that book, then the axiom that we can get a sure estimate of a thing by arriving at a general average of all the opinions involved, is a fallacy.
[Dictated Monday, February 10, 1907.] Two months ago (December 6) I was dictating a brief account of a private dinner in Berlin, where the Emperor of Germany was host and I the chief guest. Something happened day before yesterday which moves me to take up that matter again.
At the dinner his Majesty chatted briskly and entertainingly along in easy and flowing English, and now and then he interrupted himself to address a remark to me, or to some other individual of the guests. When the reply had been delivered, he resumed his talk. I noticed that the table etiquette tallied with that which was the law of my house at home when we had guests: that is to say, the guests answered when the host favored them with a remark, and then quieted down and behaved themselves until they got another chance. If I had been in the Emperor’s chair and he in mine, I should have felt infinitely comfortable and at home, and should have done a world of talking, and done it well; but I was guest now, and consequently I felt less at home. From old experience, I was familiar with the rules of the game, and familiar with their exercise from the high place of host; but I was not familiar with the trammelled and less satisfactory position of guest, therefore I felt a little strange and out of place. But there was no animosity—no, the Emperor was host, therefore according to my own rule he had a right to do the talking, and it was my honorable duty to intrude no interruptions or other improvements, except upon invitation; and of course it could be my turn some day: some day, on some friendly visit of inspection to America, it might be my pleasure and distinction to have him as guest at my table; then I would give him a rest, and a remarkably quiet time.
In one way there was a difference between his table and mine—for instance, atmosphere; the guests stood in awe of him, and naturally they conferred that feeling upon me, for, after all, I am only human, although I regret it. When a guest answered a question he did it with deferential voice and manner; he did not put any emotion into it, and he did not spin it out, but got it out of his system as quickly as he could, and then looked relieved. The Emperor was used to this atmosphere, and it did not chill his blood; maybe it was an inspiration to him, for he was alert, brilliant and full of animation; also he was most gracefully and felicitously complimentary to my books,—and I will remark here that the happy phrasing of a compliment is one of the rarest of human gifts, and the happy delivery of it another. In that other chapter I mentioned the high compliment which he paid to the book, “Old Times on the Mississippi,” but there were others; among them some gratifying praise of my description in “A Tramp Abroad” of certain striking phases of German student life. I mention these things here because I shall have occasion to hark back to them presently.
[Dictated Tuesday, February 12, 1907.]
* * * * * *
Those stars indicate the long chapter which I dictated yesterday, a chapter which is much too long for magazine purposes, and therefore must wait until this Autobiography shall appear in book form, five years hence, when I am dead: five years according to my calculation, twenty-seven years according to the prediction furnished me a week ago by the latest and most confident of all the palmists who have ever read my future in my hand. The Emperor’s dinner, and its beer-and-anecdote appendix, covered six hours of diligent industry, and this accounts for the extraordinary length of that chapter.
A couple of days ago a gentleman called upon me with a message. He had just arrived from Berlin, where he had been acting for our Government in a matter concerning tariff revision, he being a member of the commission appointed by our Government to conduct our share of the affair. Upon the completion of the commission’s labors, the Emperor invited the members of it to an audience, and in the course of the conversation he made a reference to me; continuing, he spoke of my chapter on the German language in “A Tramp Abroad,” and characterized it by an adjective which is too complimentary for me to repeat here without bringing my modesty under suspicion. Then he paid some compliments to “The Innocents Abroad,” and followed these with the remark that my account in one of my books of certain striking phases of German student life was the best and truest that had ever been written. By this I perceive that he remembers that dinner of sixteen years ago, for he said the same thing to me about the student-chapter at that time. Next he said he wished this gentleman to convey two messages to America from him and deliver them—one to the President, the other to me. The wording of the message to me was:
“Convey to Mr. Clemens my kindest regards. Ask him if he remembers that dinner, and ask him why he didn’t do any talking.”
Why, how could I talk when he was talking? He “held the age,” as the poker-clergy say, and two can’t talk at the same time with good effect. It reminds me of the man who was reproached by a friend, who said,
“I think it a shame that you have not spoken to your wife for fifteen years. How do you explain it? How do you justify it?”
That poor man said,
“I didn’t want to interrupt her.”
If the Emperor had been at my table, he would not have suffered from my silence, he would only have suffered from the sorrows of his own solitude. If I were not too old to travel, I would go to Berlin and introduce the etiquette of my own table, which tallies with the etiquette observable at other royal tables. I would say, “Invite me again, your Majesty, and give me a chance”; then I would courteously waive rank and do all the talking myself. I thank his Majesty for his kind message, and am proud to have it and glad to express my sincere reciprocation of its sentiments.
[Dictated January 17, 1906.] … Rev. Joseph T. Harris and I have been visiting General Sickles. Once, twenty or twenty-five years ago, just as Harris was coming out of his gate Sunday morning to walk to his church and preach, a telegram was put into his hand. He read it immediately, and then, in a manner, collapsed. It said: “General Sickles died last night at midnight.” [He had been a chaplain under Sickles through the war.]
It wasn’t so. But no matter—it was so to Harris at the time. He walked along—walked to the church—but his mind was far away. All his affection and homage and worship of his General had come to the fore. His heart was full of these emotions. He hardly knew where he was. In his pulpit, he stood up and began the service, but with a voice over which he had almost no command. The congregation had never seen him thus moved, before, in his pulpit. They sat there and gazed at him and wondered what was the matter; because he was now reading, in this broken voice and with occasional tears trickling down his face, what to them seemed a quite unemotional chapter—that one about Moses begat Aaron, and Aaron begat Deuteronomy, and Deuteronomy begat St. Peter, and St. Peter begat Cain, and Cain begat Abel—and he was going along with this, and half crying—his voice continually breaking. The congregation left the church that morning without being able to account for this most extraordinary thing—as it seemed to them. That a man who had been a soldier for more than four years, and who had preached in that pulpit so many, many times on really moving subjects, without even the quiver of a lip, should break all down over the Begats, they couldn’t understand. But there it is—any one can see how such a mystery as that would arouse the curiosity of those people to the boiling-point.
Harris has had many adventures. He has more adventures in a year than anybody else has in five. One Saturday night he noticed a bottle on his uncle’s dressing-bureau. He thought the label said “Hair Restorer,” and he took it in his room and gave his head a good drenching and sousing with it and carried it back and thought no more about it. Next morning when he got up his head was a bright green! He sent around everywhere and couldn’t get a substitute preacher, so he had to go to his church himself and preach—and he did it. He hadn’t a sermon in his barrel—as it happened—of any lightsome character, so he had to preach a very grave one—a very serious one—and it made the matter worse. The gravity of the sermon did not harmonize with the gayety of his head, and the people sat all through it with handkerchiefs stuffed in their mouths to try to keep down their joy. And Harris told me that he was sure he never had seen his congregation—the whole body of his congregation—theentire body of his congregation—absorbed in interest in his sermon, from beginning to end, before. Always there had been an aspect of indifference, here and there, or wandering, somewhere; but this time there was nothing of the kind. Those people sat there as if they thought, “Good for this day and train only: we must have all there is of this show, not waste any of it.” And he said that when he came down out of the pulpit more people waited to shake him by the hand and tell him what a good sermon it was, than ever before. And it seemed a pity that these people should do these fictions in such a place—right in the church—when it was quite plain they were not interested in the sermon at all; they only wanted to get a near view of his head.
Well, Harris said—no, Harris didn’t say, I say, that as the days went on and Sunday followed Sunday, the interest in Harris’s hair grew and grew; because it didn’t stay merely and monotonously green, it took on deeper and deeper shades of green; and then it would change and become reddish, and would go from that to some other color—purplish, yellowish, bluish, and so on—but it was never a solid color. It was always mottled. And each Sunday it was a little more interesting than it was the Sunday before—and Harris’s head became famous, and people came from New York, and Boston, and South Carolina, and Japan, and so on, to look. There wasn’t seating-capacity for all the people that came while his head was undergoing these various and fascinating mottlings. And it was a good thing in several ways, because the business had been languishing a little, and now a lot of people joined the church so that they could have the show, and it was the beginning of a prosperity for that church which has never diminished in all these years.
ADDRESS AT THE TYPOTHETAE DINNER GIVEN AT DELMONICO’S, JANUARY 18, 1886, COMMEMORATING THE BIRTHDAY OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
Mr. Clemens responded to the toast “The Compositor.”
The chairman’s historical reminiscences of Gutenberg have caused me to fall into reminiscences, for I myself am something of an antiquity. All things change in the procession of years, and it may be that I am among strangers. It may be that the printer of to-day is not the printer of thirty-five years ago. I was no stranger to him. I knew him well. I built his fire for him in the winter mornings; I brought his water from the village pump; I swept out his office; I picked up his type from under his stand; and, if he were there to see, I put the good type in his case and the broken ones among the “hell matter”; and if he wasn’t there to see, I dumped it all with the “pi” on the imposing-stone—for that was the furtive fashion of the cub, and I was a cub. I wetted down the paper Saturdays, I turned it Sundays—for this was a country weekly; I rolled, I washed the rollers, I washed the forms, I folded the papers, I carried them around at dawn Thursday mornings. The carrier was then an object of interest to all the dogs in town. If I had saved up all the bites I ever received, I could keep M. Pasteur busy for a year. I enveloped the papers that were for the mail—we had a hundred town subscribers and three hundred and fifty country ones; the town subscribers paid in groceries and the country ones in cabbages and cord-wood—when they paid at all, which was merely sometimes, and then we always stated the fact in the paper, and gave them a puff; and if we forgot it they stopped the paper. Every man on the town list helped edit the thing—that is, he gave orders as to how it was to be edited; dictated its opinions, marked out its course for it, and every time the boss failed to connect he stopped his paper. We were just infested with critics, and we tried to satisfy them all over. We had one subscriber who paid cash, and he was more trouble than all the rest. He bought us once a year, body and soul, for two dollars. He used to modify our politics every which way, and he made us change our religion four times in five years. If we ever tried to reason with him, he would threaten to stop his paper, and, of course, that meant bankruptcy and destruction. That man used to write articles a column and a half long, leaded long primer, and sign them “Junius,” or “Veritas,” or “Vox Populi,” or some other high-sounding rot; and then, after it was set up, he would come in and say he had changed his mind-which was a gilded figure of speech, because he hadn’t any—and order it to be left out. We couldn’t afford “bogus” in that office, so we always took the leads out, altered the signature, credited the article to the rival paper in the next village, and put it in. Well, we did have one or two kinds of “bogus.” Whenever there was a barbecue, or a circus, or a baptizing, we knocked off for half a day, and then to make up for short matter we would “turn over ads”—turn over the whole page and duplicate it. The other “bogus” was deep philosophical stuff, which we judged nobody ever read; so we kept a galley of it standing, and kept on slapping the same old batches of it in, every now and then, till it got dangerous. Also, in the early days of the telegraph we used to economize on the news. We picked out the items that were pointless and barren of information and stood them on a galley, and changed the dates and localities, and used them over and over again till the public interest in them was worn to the bone. We marked the ads, but we seldom paid any attention to the marks afterward; so the life of a “td” ad and a “tf” ad was equally eternal. I have seen a “td” notice of a sheriff’s sale still booming serenely along two years after the sale was over, the sheriff dead, and the whole circumstance become ancient history. Most of the yearly ads were patent-medicine stereotypes, and we used to fence with them.
I can see that printing-office of prehistoric times yet, with its horse bills on, the walls, its “d” boxes clogged with tallow, because we always stood the candle in the “k” box nights, its towel, which was not considered soiled until it could stand alone, and other signs and symbols that marked the establishment of that kind in the Mississippi Valley; and I can see, also, the tramping “jour,” who flitted by in the summer and tarried a day, with his wallet stuffed with one shirt and a hatful of handbills; for if he couldn’t get any type to set he would do a temperance lecture. His way of life was simple, his needs not complex; all he wanted was plate and bed and money enough to get drunk on, and he was satisfied. But it may be, as I have said, that I am among strangers, and sing the glories of a forgotten age to unfamiliar ears, so I will “make even” and stop.
HOW THE ANIMALS OF THE WOOD SENT OUT A SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION
Once the creatures of the forest held a great convention and appointed a commission consisting of the most illustrious scientists among them to go forth, clear beyond the forest and out into the unknown and unexplored world, to verify the truth of the matters already taught in their schools and colleges and also to make discoveries. It was the most imposing enterprise of the kind the nation had ever embarked in. True, the government had once sent Dr. Bull Frog, with a picked crew, to hunt for a northwesterly passage through the swamp to the right-hand corner of the wood, and had since sent out many expeditions to hunt for Dr. Bull Frog; but they never could find him, and so government finally gave him up and ennobled his mother to show its gratitude for the services her son had rendered to science. And once government sent Sir Grass Hopper to hunt for the sources of the rill that emptied into the swamp; and afterward sent out many expeditions to hunt for Sir Grass, and at last they were successful—they found his body, but if he had discovered the sources meantime, he did not let on. So government acted handsomely by deceased, and many envied his funeral.
But these expeditions were trifles compared with the present one; for this one comprised among its servants the very greatest among the learned; and besides it was to go to the utterly unvisited regions believed to lie beyond the mighty forest—as we have remarked before. How the members were banqueted, and glorified, and talked about! Everywhere that one of them showed himself, straightway there was a crowd to gape and stare at him.
Finally they set off, and it was a sight to see the long procession of dry-land Tortoises heavily laden with savants, scientific instruments, Glow-Worms and Fire-Flies for signal service, provisions, Ants and Tumble-Bugs to fetch and carry and delve, Spiders to carry the surveying chain and do other engineering duty, and so forth and so on; and after the Tortoises came another long train of ironclads—stately and spacious Mud Turtles for marine transportation service; and from every Tortoise and every Turtle flaunted a flaming gladiolus or other splendid banner; at the head of the column a great band of Bumble-Bees, Mosquitoes, Katy-Dids, and Crickets discoursed martial music; and the entire train was under the escort and protection of twelve picked regiments of the Army Worm.
At the end of three weeks the expedition emerged from the forest and looked upon the great Unknown World. Their eyes were greeted with an impressive spectacle. A vast level plain stretched before them, watered by a sinuous stream; and beyond there towered up against the sky along and lofty barrier of some kind, they did not know what. The Tumble-Bug said he believed it was simply land tilted up on its edge, because he knew he could see trees on it. But Professor Snail and the others said:
“You are hired to dig, sir—that is all. We need your muscle, not your brains. When we want your opinion on scientific matters, we will hasten to let you know. Your coolness is intolerable, too—loafing about here meddling with august matters of learning, when the other laborers are pitching camp. Go along and help handle the baggage.”
The Tumble-Bug turned on his heel uncrushed, unabashed, observing to himself, “If it isn’t land tilted up, let me die the death of the unrighteous.”
Professor Bull Frog (nephew of the late explorer) said he believed the ridge was the wall that inclosed the earth. He continued:
“Our fathers have left us much learning, but they had not traveled far, and so we may count this a noble new discovery. We are safe for renown now, even though our labors began and ended with this single achievement. I wonder what this wall is built of? Can it be fungus? Fungus is an honorable good thing to build a wall of.”
Professor Snail adjusted his field-glass and examined the rampart critically. Finally he said:
“‘The fact that it is not diaphanous convinces me that it is a dense vapor formed by the calorification of ascending moisture dephlogisticated by refraction. A few endiometrical experiments would confirm this, but it is not necessary. The thing is obvious.”
So he shut up his glass and went into his shell to make a note of the discovery of the world’s end, and the nature of it.
“Profound mind!” said Professor Angle-Worm to Professor Field-Mouse; “profound mind! nothing can long remain a mystery to that august brain.”
Night drew on apace, the sentinel crickets were posted, the Glow-Worm and Fire-Fly lamps were lighted, and the camp sank to silence and sleep. After breakfast in the morning, the expedition moved on. About noon a great avenue was reached, which had in it two endless parallel bars of some kind of hard black substance, raised the height of the tallest Bull Frog, above the general level. The scientists climbed up on these and examined and tested them in various ways. They walked along them for a great distance, but found no end and no break in them. They could arrive at no decision. There was nothing in the records of science that mentioned anything of this kind. But at last the bald and venerable geographer, Professor Mud Turtle, a person who, born poor, and of a drudging low family, had, by his own native force raised himself to the headship of the geographers of his generation, said:
“‘My friends, we have indeed made a discovery here. We have found in a palpable, compact, and imperishable state what the wisest of our fathers always regarded as a mere thing of the imagination. Humble yourselves, my friends, for we stand in a majestic presence. These are parallels of latitude!”
Every heart and every head was bowed, so awful, so sublime was the magnitude of the discovery. Many shed tears.
The camp was pitched and the rest of the day given up to writing voluminous accounts of the marvel, and correcting astronomical tables to fit it. Toward midnight a demoniacal shriek was heard, then a clattering and rumbling noise, and the next instant a vast terrific eye shot by, with a long tail attached, and disappeared in the gloom, still uttering triumphant shrieks.
The poor damp laborers were stricken to the heart with fright, and stampeded for the high grass in a body. But not the scientists. They had no superstitions. They calmly proceeded to exchange theories. The ancient geographer’s opinion was asked. He went into his shell and deliberated long and profoundly. When he came out at last, they all knew by his worshiping countenance that he brought light. Said he:
“Give thanks for this stupendous thing which we have been permitted to witness. It is the Vernal Equinox!”
There were shoutings and great rejoicings.
“But,” said the Angle-Worm, uncoiling after reflection, “this is dead summer-time.”
“Very well,” said the Turtle, “we are far from our region; the season differs with the difference of time between the two points.”
“Ah, true: True enough. But it is night. How should the sun pass in the night?”
“In these distant regions he doubtless passes always in the night at this hour.”
“Yes, doubtless that is true. But it being night, how is it that we could see him?”
“It is a great mystery. I grant that. But I am persuaded that the humidity of the atmosphere in these remote regions is such that particles of daylight adhere to the disk and it was by aid of these that we were enabled to see the sun in the dark.”
This was deemed satisfactory, and due entry was made of the decision.
But about this moment those dreadful shriekings were heard again; again the rumbling and thundering came speeding up out of the night; and once more a flaming great eye flashed by and lost itself in gloom and distance.
The camp laborers gave themselves up for lost. The savants were sorely perplexed. Here was a marvel hard to account for. They thought and they talked, they talked and they thought. Finally the learned and aged Lord Grand-Daddy-Longlegs, who had been sitting in deep study, with his slender limbs crossed and his stemmy arms folded, said:
“Deliver your opinions, brethren, and then I will tell my thought—for I think I have solved this problem.”
“So be it, good your lordship,” piped the weak treble of the wrinkled and withered Professor Woodlouse, “for we shall hear from your lordship’s lips naught but wisdom.” [Here the speaker threw in a mess of trite, threadbare, exasperating quotations from the ancient poets and philosophers, delivering them with unction in the sounding grandeurs of the original tongues, they being from the Mastodon, the Dodo, and other dead languages.] “Perhaps I ought not to presume to meddle with matters pertaining to astronomy at all, in such a presence as this, I who have made it the business of my life to delve only among the riches of the extinct languages and unearth the opulence of their ancient lore; but still, as unacquainted as I am with the noble science of astronomy, I beg with deference and humility to suggest that inasmuch as the last of these wonderful apparitions proceeded in exactly the opposite direction from that pursued by the first, which you decide to be the Vernal Equinox, and greatly resembled it in all particulars, is it not possible, nay certain, that this last is the Autumnal Equi—”
“O-o-o!” “O-o-o! go to bed! go to bed!” with annoyed derision from everybody. So the poor old Woodlouse retreated out of sight, consumed with shame.
Further discussion followed, and then the united voice of the commission begged Lord Longlegs to speak. He said:
“Fellow-scientists, it is my belief that we have witnessed a thing which has occurred in perfection but once before in the knowledge of created beings. It is a phenomenon of inconceivable importance and interest, view it as one may, but its interest to us is vastly heightened by an added knowledge of its nature which no scholar has heretofore possessed or even suspected. This great marvel which we have just witnessed, fellow-savants (it almost takes my breath away), is nothing less than the transit of Venus!”
Every scholar sprang to his feet pale with astonishment. Then ensued tears, handshakings, frenzied embraces, and the most extravagant jubilations of every sort. But by and by, as emotion began to retire within bounds, and reflection to return to the front, the accomplished Chief Inspector Lizard observed:
“But how is this? Venus should traverse the sun’s surface, not the earth’s.”
The arrow went home. It earned sorrow to the breast of every apostle of learning there, for none could deny that this was a formidable criticism. But tranquilly the venerable Duke crossed his limbs behind his ears and said:
“My friend has touched the marrow of our mighty discovery. Yes—all that have lived before us thought a transit of Venus consisted of a flight across the sun’s face; they thought it, they maintained it, they honestly believed it, simple hearts, and were justified in it by the limitations of their knowledge; but to us has been granted the inestimable boon of proving that the transit occurs across the earth’s face, for we have SEEN it!”
The assembled wisdom sat in speechless adoration of this imperial intellect. All doubts had instantly departed, like night before the lightning.
The Tumble-Bug had just intruded, unnoticed. He now came reeling forward among the scholars, familiarly slapping first one and then another on the shoulder, saying “Nice (’ic) nice old boy!” and smiling a smile of elaborate content. Arrived at a good position for speaking, he put his left arm akimbo with his knuckles planted in his hip just under the edge of his cut-away coat, bent his right leg, placing his toe on the ground and resting his heel with easy grace against his left shin, puffed out his aldermanic stomach, opened his lips, leaned his right elbow on Inspector Lizard’s shoulder, and—
But the shoulder was indignantly withdrawn and the hard-handed son of toil went to earth. He floundered a bit, but came up smiling, arranged his attitude with the same careful detail as before, only choosing Professor Dogtick’s shoulder for a support, opened his lips and—
Went to earth again. He presently scrambled up once more, still smiling, made a loose effort to brush the dust off his coat and legs, but a smart pass of his hand missed entirely, and the force of the unchecked impulse stewed him suddenly around, twisted his legs together, and projected him, limber and sprawling, into the lap of the Lord Longlegs. Two or three scholars sprang forward, flung the low creature head over heels into a corner, and reinstated the patrician, smoothing his ruffled dignity with many soothing and regretful speeches. Professor Bull Frog roared out:
“No more of this, sirrah Tumble-Bug! Say your say and then get you about your business with speed! Quick—what is your errand? Come move off a trifle; you smell like a stable; what have you been at?”
“Please (’ic!) please your worship I chanced to light upon a find. But no m(e-uck!) matter ’bout that. There’s b(’ic !) been another find which—beg pardon, your honors, what was that th(’ic!) thing that ripped by here first?”
“It was the Vernal Equinox.”
“Inf(’ic!)fernal equinox. ‘At’s all right. D(’ic !) Dunno him. What’s other one?”
“The transit of Venus.
“G(’ic !) Got me again. No matter. Las’ one dropped something.”
“Ah, indeed! Good luck! Good news! Quick what is it?”
“M(’ic!) Mosey out ‘n’ see. It’ll pay.”
No more votes were taken for four-and-twenty hours. Then the following entry was made:
“The commission went in a body to view the find. It was found to consist of a hard, smooth, huge object with a rounded summit surmounted by a short upright projection resembling a section of a cabbage stalk divided transversely. This projection was not solid, but was a hollow cylinder plugged with a soft woody substance unknown to our region—that is, it had been so plugged, but unfortunately this obstruction had been heedlessly removed by Norway Rat, Chief of the Sappers and Miners, before our arrival. The vast object before us, so mysteriously conveyed from the glittering domains of space, was found to be hollow and nearly filled with a pungent liquid of a brownish hue, like rainwater that has stood for some time. And such a spectacle as met our view!
Norway Rat was perched upon the summit engaged in thrusting his tail into the cylindrical projection, drawing it out dripping, permitting the struggling multitude of laborers to suck the end of it, then straightway reinserting it and delivering the fluid to the mob as before. Evidently this liquor had strangely potent qualities; for all that partook of it were immediately exalted with great and pleasurable emotions, and went staggering about singing ribald songs, embracing, fighting, dancing, discharging irruptions of profanity, and defying all authority. Around us struggled a massed and uncontrolled mob—uncontrolled and likewise uncontrollable, for the whole army, down to the very sentinels, were mad like the rest, by reason of the drink. We were seized upon by these reckless creatures, and within the hour we, even we, were undistinguishable from the rest—the demoralization was complete and universal. In time the camp wore itself out with its orgies and sank into a stolid and pitiable stupor, in whose mysterious bonds rank was forgotten and strange bedfellows made, our eyes, at the resurrection, being blasted and our souls petrified with the incredible spectacle of that intolerable stinking scavenger, the Tumble-Bug, and the illustrious patrician my Lord Grand Daddy, Duke of Longlegs, lying soundly steeped in sleep, and clasped lovingly in each other’s arms, the like whereof hath not been seen in all the ages that tradition compasseth, and doubtless none shall ever in this world find faith to master the belief of it save only we that have beheld the damnable and unholy vision. Thus inscrutable be the ways of God, whose will be done!
“This day, by order, did the engineer-in-chief, Herr Spider, rig the necessary tackle for the overturning of the vast reservoir, and so its calamitous contents were discharged in a torrent upon the thirsty earth, which drank it up, and now there is no more danger, we reserving but a few drops for experiment and scrutiny, and to exhibit to the king and subsequently preserve among the wonders of the museum. What this liquid is has been determined. It is without question that fierce and most destructive fluid called lightning. It was wrested, in its container, from its storehouse in the clouds, by the resistless might of the flying planet, and hurled at our feet as she sped by. An interesting discovery here results. Which is, that lightning, kept to itself, is quiescent; it is the assaulting contact of the thunderbolt that releases it from captivity, ignites its awful fires, and so produces an instantaneous combustion and explosion which spread disaster and desolation far and wide in the earth.”
After another day devoted to rest and recovery, the expedition proceeded upon its way. Some days later it went into camp in a pleasant part of the plain, and the savants sallied forth to see what they might find. Their reward was at hand. Professor Bull Frog discovered a strange tree, and called his comrades. They inspected it with profound interest. It was very tall and straight, and wholly devoid of bark, limbs, or foliage. By triangulation Lord Longlegs determined its altitude; Herr Spider measured its circumference at the base and computed the circumference at its top by a mathematical demonstration based upon the warrant furnished by the uniform degree of its taper upward. It was considered a very extraordinary find; and since it was a tree of a hitherto unknown species, Professor Woodlouse gave it a name of a learned sound, being none other than that of Professor Bull Frog translated into the ancient Mastodon language, for it had always been the custom with discoverers to perpetuate their names and honor themselves by this sort of connection with their discoveries.
Now Professor Field-Mouse having placed his sensitive ear to the tree, detected a rich, harmonious sound issuing from it. This surprising thing was tested and enjoyed by each scholar in turn, and great was the gladness and astonishment of all. Professor Woodlouse was requested to add to and extend the tree’s name so as to make it suggest the musical quality it possessed—which he did, furnishing the addition Anthem Singer, done into the Mastodon tongue.
By this time Professor Snail was making some telescopic inspections. He discovered a great number of these trees, extending in a single rank, with wide intervals between, as far as his instrument would carry, both southward and northward. He also presently discovered that all these trees were bound together, near their tops, by fourteen great ropes, one above another, which ropes were continuous, from tree to tree, as far as his vision could reach. This was surprising. Chief Engineer Spider ran aloft and soon reported that these ropes were simply a web hung thereby some colossal member of his own species, for he could see its prey dangling here and there from the strands, in the shape of mighty shreds and rags that had a woven look about their texture and were no doubt the discarded skins of prodigious insects which had been caught and eaten. And then he ran along one of the ropes to make a closer inspection, but felt a smart sudden burn on the soles of his feet, accompanied by a paralyzing shock, wherefore he let go and swung himself to the earth by a thread of his own spinning, and advised all to hurry at once to camp, lest the monster should appear and get as much interested in the savants as they were in him and his works. So they departed with speed, making notes about the gigantic web as they went. And that evening the naturalist of the expedition built a beautiful model of the colossal spider, having no need to see it in order to do this, because he had picked up a fragment of its vertebra by the tree, and so knew exactly what the creature looked like and what its habits and its preferences were by this simple evidence alone. He built it with a tail, teeth, fourteen legs, and a snout, and said it ate grass, cattle, pebbles, and dirt with equal enthusiasm. This animal was regarded as a very precious addition to science. It was hoped a dead one might be found to stuff. Professor Woodlouse thought that he and his brother scholars, by lying hid and being quiet, might maybe catch a live one. He was advised to try it. Which was all the attention that was paid to his suggestion. The conference ended with the naming the monster after the naturalist, since he, after God, had created it.
“And improved it, mayhap,” muttered the Tumble-Bug, who was intruding again, according to his idle custom and his unappeasable curiosity.
END OF PART FIRST
Some Learned Fables for Good Old Boys and Girls (Part Third)
Some Learned Fables for Good Old Boys and Girls (Part Second)