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  • 1835
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trap and the mendicant whine of a beggar. Fourteen were rejected for deficiencies on this score, the captain remarking that most of them “were the sa’ciest blackguards” he had ever fallen in with. When he had, at length, found one who could mix a tumbler of grog, and answer “Sir,” to his liking, he proceeded to make experiments on their abilities in carrying a soup-tureen over a slushed plank; in wiping plates without a napkin, and without using their shirt- sleeves; in snuffing candles with their fingers; in making a soft bed with few materials besides boards; in mixing the various compounds of burgoo, lobscouse, and dough, (which he affectedly pronounced duff); in fattening pigs on beef-bones, and ducks on the sweepings of the deck; in looking at molasses without licking his lips; and in various other similar accomplishments, which he maintained were as familiar to the children of Stunin’tun, as their singing-books and the ten commandments. The nineteenth candidate, to my uninstructed eyes, seemed perfect; but Noah rejected him for the want of a quality that he declared was indispensable to the quiet of the ship. It appeared that he was too bony about an essential part of his anatomy, a peculiarity that was very dangerous to a captain, as he himself was once so unfortunate as to put his great toe out of joint, by kicking one of those ill-formed youngsters with unpremeditated violence; a thing that was very apt to happen to a man in a hurry. Luckily, No. twenty passed, and was immediately promoted to the vacant berth. The very next day the ship put to sea, in good condition, and with every prospect of a fortunate voyage.

I will here state that a general election occurred the week before we sailed; and I ran down to Householder and got myself returned, in order to protect the interests of those who had a natural right to look up to me for that small favor.

We discharged the pilot when we had the Scilly Islands over the taffrail, and Mr. Poke took command of the vessel in good earnest. Coming down channel, he had done little more than rummage about in the cabin, examine the lockers, and make his foot acquainted with the anatomy of poor Bob, as the cabin-boy was called; who, judging from the amount of the captain’s practice, was admirably well suited for his station, in the great requisite of a kickee. But, the last hold of the land loosened by the departure of the pilot, our navigator came forth in his true colors, and showed the stuff of which he was really made. The first thing he did was to cause a pull to be made on every halyard, bowline, and brace in the ship; he then rattled off both mates, in order to show them (as he afterwards told me in confidence) that he was captain of his own vessel; gave the people to understand he did not like to speak twice on the same subject and on the same occasion, which he said was a privilege he very willingly left to Congressmen and women; and then he appeared satisfied with himself and all around him.

A week after we had taken our departure, I ventured to ask Captain Poke if it might not be well enough to take an observation, and to resort to some means in order to know where the ship was. Noah treated this idea with great disrespect. He could see no use in wearing out quadrants without any necessity for it. Our course was south, we knew, for we were bound to the south pole; all we had to do was to keep America on the starboard, and Africa on the larboard hand. To be sure, there was something to be said about the trades, and a little allowance to be made for currents now and then; but he and the ship would get to be better acquainted before a great while, and then all would go on like clockwork. A few days after this conversation, I was on deck just as day dawned, and to my surprise Noah, who was in his berth, called out to the mate, through the skylight, to let him know exactly how the land bore. No one had yet seen any land; but at this summons we began to look about us, and sure enough there was an island dimly visible on the eastern board! Its position by compass was immediately communicated to the captain, who seemed well satisfied with the result. Renewing his admonition to the officer of the deck to take care and keep Africa on the larboard hand, he turned over in his bed to resume his nap.

I afterwards understood from the mates, that we had made a very capital fall upon the trades, and that we were getting on wonderfully well, though it was quite as great a mystery to them as it was to me, how the captain could know where the ship was; for he had not touched his quadrant, except to wipe it with a silk handkerchief, since we left England. About a fortnight after we had passed the Cape de Verds, Noah came on deck in a great rage, and began to storm at the mate and the man at the wheel for not keeping the ship her course. To this the former answered with spirit, that the only order he had received in a fortnight, was “to keep her jogging south, allowing for variation,” and that she was heading at that moment according to orders. Hereupon, Noah gave Bob, who happened to pass him just then, a smart application a posteriori, and swore “that the compass was as big a fool as the mate; that the ship was two points off her course; that south was hereaway, and not thereaway; that he knew by the feel of the wind that it had no northin’ in it, and we had got it away on the quarter, whereas it ought to be for’ard of the beam; that we were running for Rio instead of Leaphigh, and that if we ever expected to get to the latter country, we must haul up on a good taut bowline.” The mate, to my surprise, suddenly acquiesced, and immediately brought the ship by the wind. He afterwards told me, in a half-whisper, that the second mate having been sharpening some harpoons, had unwittingly left them much too close to the binnacle; and that, in fact, the magnet had been attracted by them, so as to deceive the man at the wheel and himself, fully twenty degrees as to the real points of the compass. I must say this little occurrence greatly encouraged me, leaving no doubt about our eventual and safe arrival as far, at least, as the boundary of ice which separates the human from the monikin region. Profiting by this feeling of security, I now began to revive the intercourse with the strangers, which had been partially interrupted by the novel and disagreeable circumstances of a sea life.

The Lady Chatterissa and her companion, as is much the case with females at sea, rarely left the gynecee; but as we drew near the equator, the philosopher and the young peer passed most of their time on deck, or aloft. Dr. Reasono and I spent half of the mild nights in discussing subjects connected with my future travels; and as soon as we were well clear of the rain and the thunder and lightning of the calm latitudes, Captain Poke, Robert, and myself began to study the language of Leaphigh. The cabin-boy was included in this arrangement, Noah intimating we should find it convenient to take him on shore with us, since a wish to conceal my destination had induced me to bring no servant along. Luckily for us, the monikin ingenuity had greatly diminished the labor of the acquisition. The whole language was spoken and written on a system of decimals, which rendered it particularly easy, after the elementary principles were once acquired. Thus, unlike most human tongues, in which the rule usually forms the exception, no departure from its laws was ever allowed, under the penalty of the pillory. This provision, the captain protested, was the best rule of them all, and saved a vast deal of trouble; for, as he knew by experience, a man might be a perfect adept in the language of Stunin’tun, and then be laughed at in New York for his pains. The comprehensiveness of the tongue was also another great advantage; though, like all other eminent advantages or excessive good, it was the next-door neighbor to as great an evil. Thus, as my Lord Chatterino obligingly explained, “we-witch-it-me-cum” means “Madam, I love you from the crown of my head to the tip of my tail; and as I love no other half as well, it would make me the happiest monikin on earth, if you would consent to become my wife, that we might be models of domestic propriety before all eyes, from this time henceforth and forever.” In short, it was the usual and most solemn expression for asking in marriage; and, by the laws of the land, was binding on the proposer until as formally declined by the other party. But, unluckily, the word “we-switch-it-me-cum” means “Madam, I love you from the crown of my head to the tip of my tail; and, if I did not love another better, it would make me the happiest monikin on earth, if you would consent to become my wife, that we might be models of domestic propriety before all eyes, from this time henceforth and forever.” Now this distinction, subtle and insignificant as it was to the eye and the ear, caused a vast deal of heart-burning and disappointment among the young people of Leaphigh. Several serious lawsuits had grown out of this cause, and two great political parties had taken root in the unfortunate mistake of a young monikin of quality, who happened to lisp, and who used the fatal word indiscreetly. That feud, however, was now happily appeased, having lasted only a century, but it would be wise, as we were all three bachelors, to take note of the distinction. Captain Poke said he thought, on the whole, he was perfectly safe, as he was much accustomed to the use of the word “switchel”; but he thought it might be very well to go before some consul as soon as the ship anchored, and enter a formal protest of our ignorance of all these niceties, lest some advantage should be taken of us by the reptiles of lawyers; that he in particular was not a bachelor, and that Miss Poke would be as furious as a hurricane, if by accident, he should happen to forget himself. The matter was deferred for future deliberation.

About this time, too, I had some more interesting communications with Dr. Reasono, on the subject of the private histories of all the party of which he was the principal member. It would seem that the philosopher, though rich in learning, and the proprietor of one of the best developed caudce in the entire monikin world, was poor in the more vulgar attributes of monikin wealth. While he bestowed freely, therefore, from the stores of his philosophy, and through the medium of the academy of Leaphigh, on all his fellows, he was obliged to seek an especial recipient for his surplus knowledge, in the shape of a pupil, in order to provide for the small remains of the animal that still lingered in his habits. Lord Chatterino, the orphan heritor of one of the noblest and wealthiest, as well as one of the most ancient houses of Leaphigh, had been put under his instruction at a very tender age, as had my Lady Chatterissa under that of Mrs. Lynx, with very much the same objects. This young and accomplished pair had early distinguished each other, in monikin society, for their unusual graces of person, general attainments, mutual amiableness of disposition, harmony of thought, and soundness of principles. Everything was propitious to the gentle flame which was kindled in the vestal bosom of Chatterissa, and which was met by a passion so ardent and so respectful, as that which glowed in the heart of young No. 8 purple. The friends of the respective parties, so soon as the budding sympathy between them was observed, in order to prevent the blight of wishes so appropriate, had called in the aid of the matrimonial surveyor-general of Leaphigh, an officer especially appointed by the king in council, whose duty it is to take cognizance of the proprieties of all engagements that are likely to assume a character as grave and durable as that of marriage. Dr. Reasono showed me the certificate issued from the Marriage Department on this occasion, and which, in all his wanderings, he had contrived to conceal within the lining of the Spanish hat the Savoyards had compelled him to wear, and which he still preserved as a document that was absolutely indispensable on his return to Leaphigh; else he would never be permitted to travel afoot in company with two young people of birth and of good estates, who were of the different sexes. I translate the certificate, as literally as the poverty of the English language will allow.

Extract from the Book of Fitness, Marriage Department, Leaphigh, season of nuts, day of brightness.

Vol. 7243, p. 82.

Lord Chatterino: Domains; 126,952 3/4 acres of land; meadow, arable and wood in just proportions.

Lady Chatterissa: Domains; 115,999 1/2 acres of land; mostly arable.

Decree, as of record; it is found that the lands of my Lady Chatterissa possess in quality what they want in quantity.

Lord Chatterino: Birth; sixteen descents pure; one bastardy–four descents pure–a suspicion–one descent pure–a certainty.

Lady Chatterissa: Birth; six descents pure–three bastardies–eleven descents pure–a certainty–a suspicion–unknown.

Decree as of record; it is found that the advantage is on the side of my Lord Chatterino, but the excellence of the estate on the other side is believed to equalize the parties.

(Signed) No. 6 ermine. A true copy.

(Counter signed) No. 1,000,003 ink-color.

Ordered, that the parties make the Journey of Trial together, under the charge of Socrates Reasono, Professor of Probabilities in the University of Leaphigh, LL.D., F. U. D. G. E., and of Mrs. Vigilance Lynx, licensed duenna.

The Journey of Trial is so peculiar to the monikin system, and it might be so usefully introduced into our own, that it may be well to explain it. Whenever it is found that a young couple are agreeable (to use a peculiar anglicized anglicism), in all the more essential requisites of matrimony, they are sent on the journey in question, under the care of prudent and experienced mentors, with a view to ascertain how far they may be able to support, in each other’s society, the ordinary vicissitudes of life. In the case of candidates of the more vulgar classes, there are official overseers, who usually drag them through a few mud-puddles, and then set them to work at some hard labor that is especially profitable to the public functionaries, who commonly get the greater part of their own year’s work done in this manner. But, as the moral provisions of all laws are invented less for those who own 126,952 3/4 acres of land, divided into meadow, arable and wood, in just proportions, than for those whose virtues are more likely to yield to the fiery ordeal of temptation, the rich and noble, after making a proper and useful manifestation of their compliance with the usage, ordinarily retire to their country seats, where they pass the period of probation as agreeably as they can; taking care to cause to be inserted in the Leaphigh gazette, however, occasional extracts from their letters describing the pains and hardships they are compelled to endure for the consolation and edification of those who have neither birth nor country houses. In a good many instances the journey is actually performed by proxy But the case of my Lord Chatterino and my Lady Chatterissa formed an exception even to these exceptions. It was thought by the authorities that the attachment of a pair so illustrious offered a good occasion to distinguish the Leaphigh impartiality; and on the well-known principle which induces us sometimes to hang an earl in England, the young couple were commanded actually to go forth with all useful eclat (secret orders being given to their guardians to allow every possible indulgence, at the same time), in order that the lieges might see and exult in the sternness and integrity of their rulers.

Dr. Reasono had accordingly taken his departure from the capital for the mountains, where he instructed his wards in a practical commentary of the ups and downs of life, by exposing them on the verges of precipices and in the delights of the most fertile valleys (which, as he justly observed, was the greater danger of the two), leading them over flinty paths, hungry and cold, in order to try their tempers; and setting up establishments with the most awkward peasants for servants, to ascertain the depth of Chatterissa’s philosophy; with a variety of similar ingenious devices, that will readily suggest themselves to all who have any matrimonial experience, whether they live in palaces or cottages. When this part of the trial was successfully terminated (the result having shown that the gentle Chatterissa was of proof, so far as mere temper was concerned), the whole party were ordered off to the barrier of ice, which divides the monikin from the human region, with a view to ascertain whether the warmth of their attachment was of a nature likely to resist the freezing collisions of the world. Here, unfortunately, (for the truth must be said), an unlucky desire of Dr. Reasono, who was already F. U. D. G. E., but who had a devouring ambition to become also M. O. R. E., led him into the extreme imprudence of pushing through an opening, where he had formerly discovered an island, on an ancient expedition of the same sort; and on which island he thought he saw a rock, that formed a stratum of what he believed to be a portion of the forty thousand square miles that were discomposed by the great eruption of the earth’s boiler. The philosopher foresaw a thousand interesting results that were dependent on the ascertaining of this important fact; for all the learning of Leaphigh having been exhausted, some five hundred years before, in establishing the greatest distance to which any fragment had been thrown on that memorable occasion, great attention had latterly been given to the discovery of the least distance any fragment had been hurled. Perhaps I ought to speak tenderly of the consequences of a learned zeal, but it was entirely owing to this indiscretion that the whole party fell into the hands of certain mariners who were sealing on the northern shores of this very island, (friends and neighbors, as it afterwards appeared, of Captain Poke), who remorselessly seized upon the travellers, and sold them to a homeward-bound India-man, which they afterwards fell in with near the island of St. Helena–St. Helena! the tomb of him who is a model to all posterity, for the moderation of his desires, the simplicity of his character, a deep veneration for truth, profound reverence for justice, unwavering faith, and a clear appreciation of all the nobler virtues.

We came in sight of the island in question, just as Dr. Reasono concluded his interesting narrative; and, turning to Captain Poke, I solemnly asked that discerning and shrewd seaman,–

“If he did not think the future would fully avenge itself of the past–if history would not do ample justice to the mighty dead–if certain names would not be consigned to everlasting infamy for chaining a hero to a rock; and whether HIS country, the land of freemen, would ever have disgraced itself, by such an act of barbarism and vengeance?”

The captain heard me very calmly; then deliberately helping himself to some tobacco, he replied,–

“Harkee, Sir John. At Stunin’tun, when we catch a ferocious critter’, we always put it in a cage. I’m no great mathematician, as I’ve often told you; if my dog bites me once, I kick him–twice, I beat him–thrice, I chain him.”

Alas! there are minds so unfortunately constituted, that they have no sympathies with the sublime. All their tendencies are direct and common-sense like. To such men, Napoleon appears little better than one who lived among his fellows more in the character of a tiger than in that of a man. They condemn him because he could not reduce his own sense of the attributes of greatness to the level of their home-bred morality. Among this number, it would now seem, was to be classed Captain Noah Poke.

A wish to relate the manner in which Dr. Reasono and his companions fell into human hands, has caused me to overlook one or two matters of lighter moment, that should not, in justice to myself, however, be entirely omitted.

When we had been at sea two days, a very agreeable surprise for the monikin party was prepared and executed. I had caused a certain number of jackets and trousers to be made of the skins of different animals, such as dogs, cats, sheep, tigers, leopards, hogs, etc., etc., with the proper accompaniments of snouts, hoofs, and claws; and, when the ladies came on deck, after breakfast, their eyes were no longer offended by our rude innovations upon nature, but the whole crew were flying about the rigging, like so many animals of the different species named. Noah and myself appeared in the characters of sea-lions, the former having intimated that he understood the nature of that beast better than any other. Of course, this delicate attention was properly appreciated, and handsomely acknowledged.

I had taken the precaution to order imitation-skins to be made of cotton, which were worn in the low latitudes; and, as we got near the Falkland Islands, the real skins were resumed, with promptitude, and I might add, with pleasure.

Noah had, at first, raised some strong objections to the scheme, saying that he should not feel safe in a ship manned and officered altogether by wild beasts; but, at last, he came to enjoy the thing as a good joke, never failing to hail the men, not by their names as formerly, but, as he expressed it himself, “by their natur’s”; calling out “You cat, scratch this”; “You tiger, jump here”; “You hog, out of that dirt”‘; “You dog, scamper there”; “You horse, haul away,” and divers other similar conceits, that singularly tickled his fancy. The men themselves took up the ball, which they kept rolling, embellished with all sorts of nautical witticisms; their surname–they had but one, viz. Smith–being entirely dropped for the new appellations. Thus, the sounds of “Tom Dog,” “Jack Cat,” “Bill Tiger,” “Sam Hog,” and “Dick Horse,” were flying about the deck from morning to night.

Good humor is a great alleviator of bodily privation. From the time the ship lost sight of Staten Land, we had heavy weather, with hard gales from the southward and westward; and we had the utmost difficulty in making our southing. Observations now became a very difficult matter, the sun being invisible for a week at a time. The marine instinct of Noah, at this crisis, was of the last importance to all on board. He gave us the cheering assurance, however, from time to time, that we were going south, although the mates declared that they knew not where the ship was, or whither she was running; neither sun, moon, nor star having now been seen for more than a week.

We had been in this state of anxiety and doubt for about a fortnight, when Captain Poke suddenly appeared on deck, and called for the cabin-boy, in his usual stentorian and no-denial voice, by the name of “You Bob Ape”; for the duty of Robert requiring that he should be much about the persons of the monikins, I had given him a dress of apes’ skins, as a garb that would be more congenial to their tastes than that of a pig, or a weasel. Bob Ape was soon forthcoming, and, as he approached his master, he quietly turned his face from him, receiving, as a matter of course, three or four smart admonitory hints, by way of letting him know that he was to be active in the performance of the duty on which he was about to be sent. On this occasion I made an odd discovery. Bob had profited by the dimensions of his lower garment, which had been cut for a much larger boy (one of those who had broken down in essaying the true Doric of “Sir”), by stuffing it with an old union-jack-a sort of “sarvice,” as he afterwards told me, that saved him a good deal of wear and tear of skin. To return to passing events, however; when Robert had been duly kicked, he turned about manfully, and demanded the captain’s pleasure. He was told to bring the largest and fairest pumpkin he could find, from the private stores of Mr. Poke, that navigator never going to sea without a store of articles that he termed “Stunin’tun food.” The captain took the pumpkin between his legs, and carefully peeled off the whole of its greenish-yellow coat, leaving it a globe of a whitish color. He then asked for the tar-bucket, and, with his fingers, traced various marks, which were pretty accurate outlines of the different continents and the larger islands of the world. The region near the south pole, however, he left untouched; intimating that it contained certain sealing islands, which he considered pretty much as the private property of the Stunin’tunners.

“Now, Doctor,” he said, pointing to the pumpkin, “there is the ‘arth, and here is the tar-pot–just mark down the position of your island of Leaphigh, if you please, according to the best accounts your academy has of the matter. Make a dab here and there, if you happen to know of any rocks and shoals. After that, you can lay down the island where you were captured, giving a general idee of its headlands and of the trending of the coast.”

Dr. Reasono took a fid, and with its end he traced all the desired objects with great readiness and skill. Noah examined the work, and seemed satisfied that he had fallen into the hands of a monikin who had very correct notions of bearings and distances, one, in short, on whose local knowledge it might do to run even in the night. He then projected the position of Stunnin’tun, an occupation in which he took great delight, actually designing the meeting-house and the principal tavern; after which, the chart was laid aside.



Captain Poke no longer deliberated about the course we were to steer. With his pumpkin for a chart, his instinct for an observation, and his nose for a compass, the sturdy sealer stood boldly to the southward; or, at least, he ran dead before a stiff gale, which, as he more than once affirmed, was as true a norther as if bred and born in the Canadas.

After coursing over the billows at a tremendous rate for a day and a night, the captain appeared on deck, with a face of unusual meaning, and a mind loaded with its own reflections, as was proved by his winking knowingly whenever he delivered himself of a sentiment; a habit that he had most probably contracted, in early youth, at Stunin’tun, for it seemed to be quite as inveterate as it was thoroughbred.

“We shall soon know, Sir John,” he observed, hitching the sea-lion skin into symmetry, “whether it is sink or swim!”

“Pray explain yourself, Mr. Poke,” cried I, in a little alarm. “If anything serious is to happen, you are bound to give timely notice.”

“Death is always untimely to some critturs, Sir John.”

“Am I to understand, sir, that you mean to cast away the ship?”

“Not if I can help it, Sir John; but a craft that is foreordained to be a wrack, will be a wrack, in spite of reefing and bracing. Look ahead, you Dick Lion–ay, there you have it!”

There we had it, sure enough! I can only compare the scene which now met my eyes, to a sudden view of the range of the Oberland Alps, when the spectator is unexpectedly placed on the verge of the precipice of the Weissenstein. There he would see before him a boundless barrier of glittering ice, broken into the glorious and fantastic forms of pinnacles, walls, and valleys; while here, we saw all that was sublime in such a view heightened by the fearful action of the boisterous ocean, which beat upon the impassable boundary in ceaseless violence.

“Good God! Captain Poke,” I exclaimed, the instant I caught a glimpse of the formidable danger that menaced us, “you surely do not mean to continue madly on, with such a warning of the consequences in plain view?”

“What would you have, Sir John? Leaphigh lies on the t’other side of these ice-islands!”

“But you need not run the ship against them–why not go round them?”

“Because they go round the ‘arth, in this latitude. Now is the time to speak, Sir John. If we are bound to Leaphigh, we have the choice of three pretty desperate chances; to go through, to go under, or to go over that there ice. If we are to put back, there is not a moment to lose, for it may be even now questioned whether the ship would claw off, as we are, with a sending sea, and this heavy norther.”

I believe I would, at that moment, gladly have given up all my social stakes to be well rid of the adventure. Still pride, that substitute for so many virtues, the greatest and the most potent of all hypocrites, forbade my betraying the desire to retreat. I deliberated, while the ship flew; and when, at length, I turned to the captain to suggest a doubt that might, at an earlier notice, possibly have changed the whole aspect of affairs, he bluntly told me it was too late. It was safer to proceed than to return, if indeed, return were possible, in the present state of the winds and waves. Making a merit of necessity, I braced my nerves to meet the crisis, and remained a submissive, and, apparently, a calm spectator of that which followed.

The Walrus (such was the name of our good ship) by this time was under easy canvas, and yet, urged by the gale, she rolled down with alarming velocity towards the boundary of foam where the congealed and the still liquid element held their strife. The summits of the frozen crags waved in their glittering glory in a way just to show that they were afloat; and I remembered to have heard that, at times, as their bases melted, entire mountains had been known to roll over, engulfing all that lay beneath. To me it seemed but a moment, before the ship was fairly overshadowed by these shining cliffs, which, gently undulating, waved their frozen summits nearly a thousand feet in air. I looked at Noah, in alarm, for it appeared to me that he intentionally precipitated us to destruction. But, just as I was about to remonstrate, he made a sign with his hand, and the vessel was brought to the wind. Still retreat was impossible; for the heave of the sea was too powerful, and the wind too heavy, to leave us any hope of long keeping the Walrus from drifting down upon the ragged peaks that bristled in icy glory to leeward. Nor did Captain Poke himself seem to entertain any such design; for, instead of hugging the gale, in order to haul off from the danger, he had caused the yards to be laid perfectly square, and we were now running, at a great rate, in a line nearly parallel with the frozen coast, though gradually setting upon it.

“Keep full! Let her go through water, you Jim Tiger,” said the old sealer, whose professional ardor was fairly aroused. “Now, Sir John, unluckily, we are on the wrong side of these ice mountains, for the plain reason that Leaphigh lies to the south’ard of them. We must be stirring, therefore, for no craft that was ever launched could keep off these crags with such a gale driving home upon them, for more than an hour or two. Our great concern, at present, is to look out for a hole to run into.”

“Why have you come so close to the danger, with your knowledge of the consequences?”

“To own the truth, Sir John, natur’ is natur’, and I’m getting to be a little near-sighted as I grow old; besides, I’m not so sartain that the danger is the more dangerous, for taking a good, steady look plump in its face.”

Noah raised his hand, as much as to say he wished no answer, and both of us were immediately occupied in gazing anxiously to leeward. The ship was just opening a small cove in the ice, which might have been a cable’s length in depth, and a quarter of a mile across its outer, or the widest part. Its form was regular, being that of a semicircle; but, at its bottom, the ice, instead of forming a continued barrier, like all the rest we had yet passed, was separated by a narrow opening, that was bounded on each side by a frowning precipice. The two bergs were evidently drawing nearer to each other, but there was still a strait, or a watery gorge between them, of some two hundred feet in width. As the ship plunged onward, the pass was opened, and we caught a glimpse of the distant view to leeward. It was merely a glimpse–the impatient Walrus allowing us but a moment for examination–but it appeared sufficient for the purposes of the old sealer. We were already across the mouth of the cove, and within a cable’s length of the ice again; for as we drew near what may be called the little cape, we found ourselves once more in closer proximity to the menacing mountain. It was a moment when all depended on decision; and fortunately, our sealer, who was so wary and procrastinating in a bargain, never had occasion to make two drafts on his thoughts, in situations of emergency. As the ship cleared the promontory on the eastern side of the cove, we again opened a curvature of the ice, which gave a little more water to leeward. Tacking was impossible, and the helm was put hard aweather. The bow of the Walrus fell off, and as she rose on the next wave, I thought its send would carry us helplessly down upon the berg. But the good craft, obedient to her rudder, whirled round, as if sensible herself of the danger, and, in less time than I had ever before known her to wear, we felt the wind on the other quarter. Our cats and dogs bestirred themselves, for there was no one there, Captain Noah Poke excepted, whose heart did not beat quick and hard. In much less time than usual, the yards were braced up on the other tack, and the ship was ploughing heavily against the sea, with her head to the westward. It is impossible to give one who has never been in such a situation, a just idea of the feverish impatience, the sinking and mounting of hope, as we watch the crablike movement of a vessel that is clawing off a lee-shore, in a gale. In the present case, it being well known that the sea was fathomless, we had run so near the danger that not even the smallest of its horrors was veiled from sight.

While the ship labored along, I saw the clouds fast shutting in to windward, by the interposition of the promontory of ice–the certain sign that our drift was rapid–and, as we drew nearer to the point, breathing became labored and even audible. Here Noah took a chew of tobacco, I presume on the principle of enjoying a last quid, should the elements prove fatal; and then he went to the wheel in person.

“Let her go through the water,” he said, easing the helm a little– “let her jog ahead, or we shall lose command of her in this devil’s- pot!”

The vessel felt the slight change, and drew faster through the foaming brine, bringing us, with increasing velocity, nearer to the dreaded point. As we came up to the promontory the water fell back in spray on the decks, and there was an instant when it appeared as if the wind was about to desert us. Happily the ship had drawn so far ahead as to feel the good effects of a slight change of current that was caused by the air rushing obliquely into the cove; and, as Noah, by easing the helm still more, had anticipated this alteration, which had been felt adversely but a moment before, while struggling to the eastward of the promontory, we drew swiftly past the icy cape, opening the cove handsomely, with the ship’s head falling off fast towards the gorge.

There was but a minute or two, for squaring the yards and obtaining the proper position to windward of the narrow strait. Instead of running down in a direct line for the latter, Captain Poke kept the ship on such a course as to lay it well open, before her head was pointed towards the passage. By this time, the two bergs had drawn so near each other as actually to form an arch across its mouth; and this, too, at a part so low as to render it questionable whether there was sufficient elevation to permit the Walrus to pass beneath. But retreat was impossible, the gale urging the ship furiously onwards. The width of the passage was now but little more than a hundred feet, and it actually required the nicest steerage to keep our yard-arms clear of the opposite precipices, as the vessel dashed, with foaming bows, into the gorge. The wind drew through the opening with tremendous violence, fairly howling as if in delight at discovering a passage by which it might continue its furious career. We may have been aided by the sucking of the wind and the waves, both of which were irresistibly drawn towards the pass, or it is quite probable that the skill of Captain Poke did us good service on this awful occasion; but, owing to the one or the other, or to the two causes united, the Walrus shot into the gorge so accurately as to avoid touching either of the lateral margins of the ice. We were not so fortunate, however, with the loftier spars; for scarcely was the vessel beneath the arch, when she lifted on a swell, and her main-top-gallant-mast snapped off in the cap. The ice groaned and cracked over our heads, and large fragments fell both ahead and astern of us, several of them even tumbling upon our decks. One large piece came down within an inch of the extremity of Dr. Reasono’s tail, just escaping the dire calamity of knocking out the brains of that profound and philo-monikin philosopher. In another instant the ship was through the pass, which completely closed, with the crash of an earthquake, as soon as possible afterwards.

Still driven by the gale, we ran rapidly towards the south, along a channel less than a quarter of a mile in width, the bergs evidently closing on each side of us, and the ship, as if conscious of her jeopardy, doing her utmost, with Captain Poke still at the wheel. In a little more than an hour, the worst was over–the Walrus issuing into an open basin of several leagues in extent, which was, however, completely encircled by the frozen mountains. Here Noah took a look at the pumpkin, after which he made no ceremony in plumply telling Dr. Reasono that he had been greatly mistaken in laying down the position of Captivity Island, as he himself had named the spot where the amiable strangers had fallen into human hands. The philosopher was a little tenacious of his opinion; but what is argument in the face of facts? Here was the pumpkin, and there were the blue waters! The captain now quite frankly declared that he had great doubts whether there was any such place as Leaphigh at all; and as the ship had a capital position for such an object, he bluntly, though privately proposed to me, that we should throw all the monikins overboard, project the entire polar basin on his chart as being entirely free from islands, and then go a-sealing. I rejected the propositions, firstly, as premature; secondly, as inhuman; thirdly, as inhospitable; fourthly, as inconvenient; and lastly, as impracticable.

There might have arisen a disagreeable controversy between us on this point; for Mr. Poke had begun to warm, and to swear that one good seal, of the true quality of fur, was worth a hundred monkeys; when most happily the panther at the masthead cried out that two of the largest mountains, to the southward of us, were separating, and that he could discern a passage into another basin. Hereupon Captain Poke concentrated his oaths, which he caused to explode like a bomb, and instantly made sail again in the proper direction. By three o’clock, P.M., we had run the gauntlet of the bergs a second time, and were at least a degree nearer the pole, in the basin just alluded to.

The mountains had now entirely disappeared in the southern board; but the sea was covered, far as the eye could reach, with field-ice. Noah stood on, without apprehension; for the water had been smooth ever since we entered the first opening, the wind not having rake enough to knock up a swell. When about a mile from the margin of the frozen and seemingly interminable plain, the ship was brought to the wind, and hove-to.

Ever since the vessel left the docks, there had been six sets of spars of a form so singular, lying among the booms, that they had often been the subject of conversation between the mates and myself, neither of the former being able to tell their uses. These sticks were of no great length, some fifteen feet at the most, of sound English oak. Two or three pairs were alike, for they were in pairs, each pair having one of the sides of a shape resembling different parts of the ship’s bottom, with the exception that they were chiefly concave, while the bottom of a vessel is mainly convex. At one extremity each pair was firmly connected by a short, massive, iron link, of about two feet in length; and, at its opposite end, a large eye-bolt was driven into each stick, where it was securely forelocked. When the Walrus was stationary, we learned, for the first time, the uses of these unusual preparations. A pair of the timbers, which were of great solidity and strength, were dropped over the stern, and, sinking beneath the keel, their upper extremities were separated by means of lanyards turned into the eye- bolts. The lanyards were then brought forward to the bilge of the vessel, where, by the help of tackles, the timbers were rowsed up in such a manner that the links came close to the false keel, and the timbers themselves were laid snug against each side of the ship. As great care had been taken, by means of marks on the vessel, as well as in forming the skids themselves, the fit was perfect. No less than five pairs were secured in and near the bilge, and as many more were distributed forwards and aft, according to the shape of the bottom. Fore-and-aft pieces, that reached from one skid to the other, were then placed between those about the bilge of the ship, each of them having a certain number of short ribs, extending upwards and downwards. These fore-and-aft pieces were laid along the waterline, their ends entering the skids by means of mortices and tenons, where they were snugly bolted. The result of the entire arrangement was, to give the vessel an exterior protection against the field-ice, by means of a sort of network of timber, the whole of which had been so accurately fitted in the dock, as to bear equally on her frame. These preparations were not fairly completed before ten o’clock on the following morning, when Noah stood directly for an opening in the ice before us, which just about that time began to be apparent.

“We sha’nt go so fast for our armor,” observed the cautious old sealer; “but what we want in heels, we’ll make up in bottom.”

For the whole of that day we worked our devious course, by great labor and at uncertain intervals, to the southward; and at night we fastened the Walrus to a floe, in waiting for the return of light. Just as the day dawned, however, I heard a tremendous grating sound against the side of the vessel; and rushing on deck, I found that we were completely caught between two immense fields, which seemed to be attracted towards each other for no other apparent purpose than to crush us. Here it was that the expedient of Captain Poke made manifest its merits. Protected by the massive timbers and false ribs, the bilge of the ship resisted the pressure; and as, under such circumstances, something must yield, luckily nothing but the attraction of gravitation was overcome. The skids, through their inclination, acted as wedges, the links pressing against the keel; and in the course of an hour the Walrus was gradually lifted out of the water, maintaining her upright position, in consequence of the powerful nip of the floes. No sooner was this experiment handsomely effected, than Mr. Poke jumped upon the ice, and commenced an examination of the ship’s bottom.

“Here’s a dry-dock for you, Sir John!” exclaimed the old sealer, chuckling. “I’ll have a patent for this, the moment I put foot ag’in in Stunin’tun.”

A feeling of security, to which I had been a stranger ever since we entered the ice, was created by the composure of Noah, and by his self-congratulation at what he called his project to get a look at the Walrus’s bottom. Notwithstanding all the fine declarations of exultation and success, however, that he flourished among us who were not mariners, I was much disposed to think that, like other men of extraordinary genius, he had blundered on the grand result of his “ice-screws,” and that it was not foreseen and calculated. Let this be as it may, however, all hands were soon on the floe, with brooms, scrapers, hammers, and nails, and the opportunity of repairing and cleaning was thoroughly improved.

For four-and-twenty hours the ship remained in the same attitude, still as a church, and some of us began to entertain apprehensions that she might be kept on her frozen blocks forever. The accident had happened, according to the statements of Captain Poke, in lat. 78 degrees 13′ 26″–although I never knew in what manner he ascertained the important particular of our precise situation. Thinking it might be well to get some more accurate ideas on this subject, after so long and ticklish a run, I procured the quadrant from Bob Ape, and brought it down upon the ice, where I made it a point, as an especial favor, the weather being favorable and the proper hour near, that our commander would correct his instinct by a solar observation. Noah protested that your old seaman, especially if a sealer and a Stunin’tunner, had no occasion for such geometry operations, as he termed them; that it might be well enough, perhaps necessary, for your counting-house, silk-gloved captains, who run between New York and Liverpool, to be rubbing up their glasses and polishing their sextants, for they hardly ever knew where they were, except at such times; but as for himself, he had little need of turning star-gazer at his time of life, and that as he had already told me, he was getting to be near-sighted, and had some doubts whether he could discern an object like the sun, that was known to be so many thousands of millions of miles from the earth. These scruples, however, were overcome by my cleaning the glasses, preparing a barrel for him to stand on, that he might be at the customary elevation above his horizon, and putting the instrument into his hands, the mates standing near, ready to make the calculations when he gave the sun’s declination.

“We are drifting south’ard, I know,” said Mr. Poke before he commenced his sight–“I feel it in my bones. We are at this moment in 79 degrees 36′ 14.”–having made a southerly drift of more than eighty miles since yesterday noon. Now mind my words, and see what the sun will say about it.”

When the calculations were made, our latitude was found to be 79 degrees 35′ 47″. Noah was somewhat puzzled by the difference, for which he could in no plausible way account, as the observation had been unusually good and certain. But an opinionated and an ingenious man is seldom at a loss to find a sufficient reason to establish his own correctness, or to prove the mistakes of others.

“Ay, I see how it is,” he said, after a little cogitation, “the sun must be wrong–it should be no wonder if the sun did get a little out of his track in these high, cold latitudes. Yes, yes; the sun must be wrong.”

I was too much delighted at being certain we were going on our course to dispute the point, and the great luminary was abandoned to the imputation of sometimes being in error. Dr. Reasono took occasion to say, in my private ear, that there was a sect of philosophers in Leaphigh, who had long distrusted the accuracy of the planetary system, and who had even thrown out hints that the earth, In its annual revolution, moved in a direction absolutely contrary to that which nature had contemplated when she gave the original polar impulse; but that, as regarded himself, he thought very little of these opinions, as he had frequent occasion to observe that there was a large class of monikins whose ideas always went uphill.

For two more days and as many nights, we continued to drift with the floes to the southward, or as near as might be, towards the haven of our wishes. On the fourth morning, there was a suitable change in the weather; both thermometer and barometer rose; the air became more bland, and most of our cats and dogs, notwithstanding we were still surrounded by the ice, began to cast their skins. Dr. Reasono noted these signs, and stepping on the floe, he brought back with him a considerable fragment of the frozen element. This was carried to the camboose, where it was subjected to the action of fire, which, within a given number of minutes, pretty much as a matter of course, as I thought, caused it to melt. The whole process was watched with an anxiety the most intense, by the whole of the monikins, however; and when the result was announced, the amiable and lovely Chatterissa clapped her pretty little pattes with joy, and gave all the other natural indications of delight, which characterize the emotions of that gentle sex of which she was so bright an ornament. Dr. Reasono was not backwards in explaining the cause of so much unusual exhilaration, for hitherto her manner had been characterized by the well-bred and sophisticated restraint which marks high training. The experiment had shown, by the infallible and scientific tests of monikin chemistry, that we were now within the influence of a steam-climate, and there could no longer be any rational doubt of our eventual arrival in the polar basin.

The result proved that the philosopher was right. About noon the floes, which all that day had begun to assume what is termed a “sloppy character,” suddenly gave way, and the Walrus settled down into her proper element, with great equanimity and propriety. Captain Poke lost no time in unshipping the skids; and a smacking breeze, that was well saturated with steam, springing up from the westward, we made sail. Our course was due south, without regard to the ice, which yielded before our bows like so much thick water, and just as the sun set, we entered the open sea, rioting in the luxuriance of its genial climate, in triumph.

Sail was carried on the ship all that night; and just as the day dawned, we made the first mile-stone, a proof, not to be mistaken, that we were now actually within the monikin region. Dr. Reasono had the goodness to explain to us the history of these aquatic phenomena. It would seem that when the earth exploded, its entire crust, throughout the whole of this part of the world, was started upwards in such a way as to give a very uniform depth to the sea, which in no place exceeds four fathoms. It follows, as a consequence, that no prevalence of northerly winds can force the icebergs beyond 78 degrees of south latitude, as they invariably ground on reaching the outer edge of the polar bank. The floes, being thin, are melted of course; and thus, by this beneficent prevention, the monikin world is kept entirely free from the very danger to which a vulgar mind would be the most apt to believe it is the most exposed.

A congress of nations had been held, about five centuries since, which was called the Holy-philo-marine-safety-and-find-the-way Alliance. At this congress the high contracting parties agreed to name a commission to make provision, generally, for the secure navigation of the seas. One of the expedients of this commission, which, by the way, is said to have been composed of very illustrious monikins, was to cause massive blocks of stone to be laid down, at measured distances, throughout the whole of the basin, and in which other stone uprights were secured. The necessary inscriptions were graved on proper tablets, and as we approached the one already named, I observed that it had the image of a monikin, carved also in stone, with his tail extended in a right line, pointing, as Mr. Poke assured me, S. and by W. half W. I had made sufficient progress in the monikin language to read, as we glided past this watermark–“To Leaphigh,–15 miles.” One monikin mile, however, we were next told, was equal to nine English statute miles; and, consequently, we were not so near our port as was at first supposed. I expressed great satisfaction at finding ourselves so fairly on the road, however, and paid Dr. Reasono some well-merited compliments on the high state of civilization to which his species had evidently arrived. The day was not distant, I added, when it was reasonable to suppose, our own seas would have floating restaurants and cafes, with suitable pot- houses for the mariners; though I did not well see how we were to provide a substitute for their own excellent organization of mile- stones. The Doctor received my compliments with becoming modesty, saying that he had no doubt mankind would do all that lay in their power to have good eating and drinking-houses, whereever they could be established; but as to the marine milestones, he agreed with me, that there was little hope of their being planted, until the crust of the earth should be driven upwards, so as to rise within four fathoms of the surface of the water. On the other hand, Captain Poke held this latter improvement very cheap. He affirmed it was no sign of civilization at all, for, as a man became civilized, he had less need of primers and finger-boards; and, as for Leaphigh, any tolerable navigator could see it bore S. by W. half W. allowing for variation, distant 135 English miles. To these objections I was silent, for I had frequent occasion to observe that men very often underrate any advantage of which they have come into the enjoyment by a providential interposition.

Just as the sun was in the meridian, the cry of “land ahead” was heard from aloft. The monikins were all smiles and gratitude; the crew were excited by admiration and wonder; and as for myself, I was literally ready to jump out of my skin, not only with delight, but, in some measure also, from the exceeding warmth of the atmosphere. Our cats and dogs began to uncase; Bob was obliged to unmask his most exposed frontier, by removing the union-jack; and Noah himself fairly appeared on deck in his shirt and night-cap. The amiable strangers were too much occupied to be particular, and I slipped into my state-room to change my toilet to a dress of thin silk, that was painted to resemble the skin of a polar bear–a contradiction between things that is much too common in our species ever to be deemed out of fashion.

We neared the land with great rapidity, impelled by a steam-breeze, and just as the sun sank in the horizon our anchor was let go, in the outer harbor of the city of Aggregation.



It is always agreeable to arrive safe, at the end of a long, fatiguing, and hazardous journey. But the pleasure is considerably augmented when the visit is paid to a novel region, with a steam- climate, and which is peopled by a new species. My own satisfaction, too was coupled with the reflection that I had been of real service to four very interesting and well-bred strangers, who had been cast, by an adverse fortune, into the hands of humanity, and who owed to me a boon far more precious than life itself–a restoration to their natural and acquired rights, their proper stations in society, and sacred liberty! The reader will judge, therefore, with what inward self-congratulation I now received the acknowledgments of the whole monikin party, and listened to their most solemn protestations ever to consider, not only all they might jointly and severally possess in the way of estates and dignities, at my entire disposal, but their persons as my slaves. Of course, I made as light as possible of any little service I might have done them, protesting in my turn, that I looked upon the whole affair more in the light of a party of pleasure than a tax, reminding them that I had not only obtained an insight into a new philosophy, but that I was already, thanks to the decimal system, a tolerable proficient in their ancient and learned language. These civilities were scarcely well over, before we were boarded by the boat of the port-captain.

The arrival of a human ship was an event likely to create excitement in a monikin country; and as our approach had been witnessed for several hours, preparations had been made to give us a proper reception. The section of the academy to whom is committed the custody of the “Science of Indications,” was hastily assembled by order of the king, who, by the way, never speaks except through the mouth of his oldest male first cousin, who, by the fundamental laws of the realm, is held responsible for all his official acts (in private, the king is allowed almost as many privileges as any other monikin), and who, as is due to him in simple justice, is permitted to exercise, in a public point of view, the functions of the eyes, ears, nose, conscience, and tail of the monarch. The savans were active, and as they proceeded with method, and on well-established principles, their report was quickly made. It contained, as we afterwards understood, seven sheets of premises, eleven of argument, sixteen of conjecture, and two lines of deduction. This heavy draft on the monikin intellect was duly achieved by dividing the work into as many parts as there were members of the section present, viz., forty. The substance of their labors was, to say that the vessel in sight was a strange vessel; that it came to a strange country, on a strange errand, being manned by strangers; and that its objects were more likely to be peaceful than warlike, since the glasses of the academy did not enable them to discover any means of annoyance, with the exception of certain wild beasts, who appeared, however, to be peaceably occupied in working the ship. All this was sententiously expressed in the purest monikin language. The effect of the report was, to cause all hostile preparations to be abandoned.

No sooner did the boat of the port-captain return to the shore with the news that the strange ship had arrived with my Lord Chatterino, my Lady Chatterissa and Dr. Reasono than there was a general burst of joy along the strand. In a very short time the king–alias his eldest first cousin of the male gender–ordered the usual compliments to be paid to his distinguished subjects. A deputation of young lords the hopes of Leaphigh came off to receive their colleague; whilst a bevy of beautiful maidens of noble birth crowded around the smiling and graceful Chatterissa, gladdening her heart with their caressing manners and felicitations. The noble pair left us in separate boats, each attended by an appropriate escort. We overlooked the little neglect of forgetting to take leave of us, for joy had quite set them both beside themselves. Next came a long procession composed of high numbers, all of the “brown-study color.” These learned and dignified persons were a deputation from the academy, which had sent forth no less than forty of its number to receive Dr. Reasono. The meeting between these loving friends of monikinity and of knowledge, was conducted on the most approved principles of reason. Each section (there are forty in the academy of Leaphigh) made an address, to all of which the Doctor returned suitable replies, always using exactly the same sentiments, but varying the subject by transpositions, as dictionaries are known to be composed by the ingenious combinations of the twenty-six letters of the alphabet. Dr. Reasono withdrew with his coadjutors, to my surprise paying not a whit more attention to Captain Poke and myself, than would be paid in any highly-civilized country of Christendom, on a similar occasion, by a collection of the learned, to the accidental presence of two monkeys. I thought this augured badly, and began to feel as became Sir John Goldencalf, Bart., of Householder Hall, in the kingdom of Great Britain, when my sensations were nipped in the bud by the arrival of the officers of registration and circulation. It was the duty of the latter to give us the proper passports to enter into and to circulate within the country, after the former had properly enregistered our numbers and colors, in such a way as to bring us within the reach of taxation. The officer of registration was very expeditious from long practice. He decided, at once, that I formed a new class by myself; of which, of course, I was No. 1. The captain and his two mates formed another, Nos. 1, 2, and 3. Bob had a class also to himself, and the honors of No. 1; and the crew formed a fresh class, being numbered according to height, as the register deemed their merits to be altogether physical. Next came the important point of color, on which depended the quality of the class or caste, the numbers merely indicating our respective stations in the particular divisions. After a good deal of deliberation, and many interrogatories, I was enregistered as No. 1, flesh-color. Noah as No. 1, sea-water color, and his mates 2 and 3, accordingly. Bob as No. 1, smut-color, and the crew as Nos. 1, 2, 3, etc., tar-color. The officer now called upon an assistant to come forth with a sort of knitting-needle heated red-hot, in order to affix the official stamp to each in succession. Luckily for us all, Noah happened to be the first to whom the agent of the stamp-office applied, to uncase and to prepare for the operation. The result was one of those bursts of eloquent and logical vituperation, and of remonstrating outcries, to which any new personal exaction never failed to give birth in the sealer. His discourse on this occasion might be divided into the several following heads, all of which were very ingeniously embellished by the usual expletives and imagery:–“He was not a beast to be branded like a horse, nor a slave to be treated like a Congo nigger; he saw no use in applying the marks to men, who were sufficiently distinguished from monkeys already; Sir John had a handle before his name, and if he liked it, he might carry his name behind his body, by way of counterpoise, but for his part, he wanted no outriggers of the sort, being satisfied with plain Noah Poke; he was a republican, and it was anti-republican for a man to carry about with him graven images; he thought it might be even flying in the face of the Scriptures, or what was worse, turning his back on them; he said that the Walrus had her name, in good legible characters on her starn, and that might answer for both of them; he protested, d–n his eyes, that he wouldn’t be branded like a thief; he incontinently wished the keeper of the privy seal to the d—l; he insisted there was no use in the practice, unless one threw all aback, and went starn foremost into society, a rudeness at which human natur’ revolted; he knew a man in Stunin’tun who had five names, and he should like to know what they would do with him, if this practice should come into fashion there; he had no objection to a little paint, but no red-hot knitting-needle should make acquaintance with his flesh, so long as he walked his quarter-deck.”

The keeper of the seals listened to this remonstrance with singular patience and decorum; a forbearance that was probably owing to his not understanding a word that had been said. But there is a language that is universal, and it is not less easy to comprehend when a man is in a passion, than it is to comprehend any other irritated animal. The officer of the registration department, on this hint, politely inquired of me, if some part of his official duties were not particularly disagreeable to No. 1, sea-water color. On my admitting that the captain was reluctant to be branded, he merely shrugged his shoulders, and observed that the exactions of the public were seldom agreeable, but that duty was duty, that the stamp act was peremptory, and not a foot of ours could touch Leaphigh until we were all checked off in this manner, in exact conformity with the registration. I was much puzzled what to do, by this indomitable purpose to perform his duty in the officer; for, to own the truth, my own cuticle had quite as much aversion to the operation, as of Captain Poke himself. It was not the principle so much as the novelty of its application which distressed me; for I had travelled too much not to know that a stranger rarely enters a civilized country without being more or less skinned, the merest savages only permitting him to pass unscathed. It suddenly came to my recollection that the monikins had left all the remains of their particular stores on board, consisting of an ample supply of delicious nuts. Sending for a bag of the best of them, I ordered it to be put into the register’s boat, informing him at the same time, that I was conscious they were quite unworthy of him, but that I hoped, such as they were, he would allow me to make an offering of them to his wife. This attention was properly felt and received; and a few minutes afterwards, a certificate in the following words was put into my hands, viz.:

“Leaphigh, season of promise, day of performance: Whereas, certain persons of the human species have lately presented themselves to be enregistered, according to the statute ‘for the promotion of order and classification, and for the collection of contributions’; and whereas, these persons are yet in the second class of the animal probation, and are more subject to bodily impressions than the higher, or monikin species: Now, know all monikins, etc., that they are stamped in paint, and that only by their numbers; each class among them being easily to be distinguished from the others, by outward and indelible proofs.


“No. 8,020 office-color.”

I was told that all we had to do now was to mark ourselves with paint or tar, as we might choose, the latter being recommended for the crew; taking no further trouble than to number ourselves; and when we went ashore, if any of the gens-d’armes inquired why we had not the legal impression on our persons, which quite possibly would be the case, as the law was absolute in its requisitions, all we had to do was to show the certificate; but if the certificate was not sufficient, we were men of the world, and understood the nature of things so well, that we did not require to be taught so simple a proposition in philosophy, as that which says, “like causes produce like effects”; and he presumed I could not have so far overrated his merits, as to have sent the whole of my nuts into his boat. I avow that I was not very sorry to hear the officer throw out these hints, for they convinced me that my journey through Leaphigh would be accompanied with less embarrassment than I had anticipated, since I now plainly perceived that monikins act on principles that are not very essentially different from those of the human race in general.

The complaisant register and the keeper of the privy seal took their departure together, when we forthwith proceeded to number ourselves in compliance with his advice. As the principle was already settled, we had no difficulty with its application, Noah, Bob, myself, and the largest of the seamen being all Nos. 1, and the rest ranking in order. By this time it was night. The guard-boats began to appear on the water, and we deferred disembarking until morning.

All hands were early afoot. It had been arranged that Captain Poke and myself, attended by Bob, as a domestic, were to land, in order to make a journey through the island, while the Walrus was to be left in charge of the mates and the crew; the latter having permission to go ashore, from time to time, as is the practice with all seamen in port. There was a great deal of preliminary scrubbing and shaving, before the whole party could appear on deck, properly attired for the occasion. Mr. Poke wore a thin dress of linen, admirably designed to make him look like a sea-lion; a conceit that he said was not only agreeable to his feelings and habits, but which had a cool and pleasant character that was altogether suited to a steam-climate. For my own part, I agreed with the worthy sealer, seeing but little difference between his going in this garb, and his going quite naked. My dress was made, on a design of my own, after the social-stake system; or, in other words, it was so arranged as to take an interest in half of the animals of Exeter Change, to which MENAGERIE the artist by whom it had been painted was sent expressly, in order to consult nature. Bob wore the effigy, as his master called it, of a turnspit.

The monikins were by far too polished to crowd about us when we landed, with an impertinent and troublesome curiosity. So far from this, we were permitted to approach the capital itself without let or hindrance. As it is less my intention to describe physical things than to dwell upon the philosophy and the other moral aspects of the Leaphigh world, little more will be said of their houses, domestic economy, and other improvements in the arts, than may be gathered incidentally, as the narrative shall proceed. Let it suffice to say on these heads, that the Leaphigh monikins, like men, consult, or think they consult–which, so long as they know no better, amounts to pretty much the same thing–their own convenience in all things, the pocket alone excepted; and that they continue very laudably to do as their fathers did before them, seldom making changes, unless they may happen to possess the recommendation of being exotics; when, indeed, they are sometimes adopted, probably on account of their possessing the merit of having been proved suitable to another state of things.

Among the first persons we met, on entering the great square of Aggregation, as the capital of Leaphigh is called when rendered into English, was my Lord Chatterino. He was gayly promenading with a company of young nobles, who all seemed to be enjoying their youth, health, rank, and privileges with infinite gusto. We met this party in a way to render an escape from mutual recognition impossible. At first I thought, from his averted eye, that it was the intention of our late shipmate to consider our knowledge of each other as one of those accidental acquaintances which, it is known, we all form at watering-places, on journeys, or in the country, and which it is ill-mannered to press upon others in town; or, as Captain Poke afterwards expressed it, like the intimacy between an Englishman and a Yankee, that has been formed in the house of the latter, on better wine than is met with anywhere else, and which was never yet known to withstand the influence of a British fog. “Why, Sir John,” the sealer added, “I once tuck (he meant to say TOOK, not TUCKED) a countryman of yours under my wing, at Stunin’tun, during the last war. He was a prisoner, as we make prisoners; that is, he went and did pretty much as he pleased; and the fellow had the best of everything–molasses that a spoon would stand up in, pork that would do to slush down a topmast, and New England rum, that a king might set down to, but could not get up from–well, what was the end on’t? Why, as sure as we are among these monkeys, the fellow BOOKED me. Had I BOOKED but the half of what he guzzled, the amount, I do believe, would have taken the transaction out of any justice’s court in the state. He said my molasses was meagre, the pork lean, and the liquor infernal. There were truth and gratitude for you! He gave the whul account, too, as a specimen of what he called American living!”

Hereupon I reminded my companion, that an Englishman did not like to receive even favors on compulsion; that when he meets a stranger in his own country, and is master of his own actions, no man understands better what true hospitality is, as I hoped one day to show him, at Householder Hall; as to his first remark, he ought to remember that an Englishman considered America as no more than the country, and that it would be ill-mannered to press an acquaintance made there.

Noah, like most other men, was very reasonable on all subjects that did not interfere with his prejudices or his opinions; and he very readily admitted the general justice of my reply.

“It’s pretty much as you say, Sir John,” he continued; “in England you may press men, but it won’t do to press hospitality. Get a volunteer in this way, and he is as good a fellow as heart can wish. I shouldn’t have cared so much about the chap’s book, if he had said nothin’ ag’in the rum. Why, Sir John, when the English bombarded Stunin’tun with eighteen pounders, I proposed to load our old twelve with a gallon out of the very same cask, for I do think it would have huv’ the shot the best part of a mile!”

–But this digression is leading me from the narrative. My Lord Chatterino turned his head a little on one side as we were passing, and I was deliberating whether, under the circumstances, it would be well-bred to remind him of our old acquaintance, when the question was settled by the decision of Captain Poke, who placed himself in such a position that it was no easy matter to get round him, through him, or over him–or who laid himself what he called “athwart hawse.”

“Good morning, my lord,” said the straightforward seaman, who generally went at a subject as he went at a seal. “A fine warm day; and the smell of the land, after so long a passage, is quite agreeable to the nose, whatever its ups and downs may be to the legs.”

The companions of the young peer looked amazed; and some of them, I thought, notwithstanding gravity and earnestness are rather characteristic of the monikin physiognomy, betrayed a slight disposition to laugh. Not so with my Lord Chatterino himself.

He examined us a moment through a glass, and then seemed suddenly, and on the whole, agreeably struck at seeing us.

“How, Goldencalf!” he cried in surprise, “you in Leaphigh! This is indeed an unexpected satisfaction; for it will now be in my power to prove some of the facts that I am telling my friends, by actual observation. Here are two of the humans, gents, of whom I was but this moment giving you some account–“

Observing a disposition to merriment in his associates, he continued, looking exceedingly grave:–

“Restrain yourselves, gentlemen, I pray you. These are very worthy people, I do assure you, in their own way, and are not at all to be ridiculed. I scarcely know, even in our own marine, a better or a bolder navigator than this honest seaman; and as for the one in the parti-colored skin, I will take upon myself to say, that he is really a person of some consideration in his own little circle. He is, I believe, a member of par–par–par–am I right, Sir John?–a member of–“

“Parliament, my lord–an M.P.”

“Ay–I thought I had it–an M.P., or a member of Parliament, in his own country, which, I dare say now, is some such thing among his people, as a public proclaimer of those laws which come from his majesty’s eldest first cousin of the masculine gender, may be among us. Some such thing–eh–now–eh–is it not, Sir John?”

“I dare say it is, my lord.”

“All very true, Chatterino,” put in one of the young monikins, with a very long, elaborated tail, which he carried nearly perpendicular- -“but what would be even a lawmaker–to say nothing of law-BREAKERS like ourselves–among men! You should remember, my dear fellow, that a mere title, or a profession, is not the criterion of true greatness; but that the prodigy of a village may be a very common monikin in town.”

“Poh-poh”–interrupted Lord Chatterino, “thou art ever for refining, Hightail–Sir John Goldencalf is a very respectable person in the island of–a–a–a–what do you call that said island of yours, Goldencalf?–a–a–“

“Great Britain, my lord.”

“Ay, Great Breeches sure enough; yet, he is a respectable person–I can take it upon myself to say, with confidence, a very respectable person in Great Breeches. I dare say he owns no small portion of the island himself. How much, now, Sir John, if the truth were told?”

“Only the estate and village of Householder, my lord, with a few scattered manors here and there.”

“Well, that is a very pretty thing, there can be no doubt–then you have money at use?”

“And who is the debtor?” sneeringly inquired the jack-a-napes Hightail.

“No other, my Lord Hightail, than the realm of Great Britain.”

“Exquisite, that, egad! A noble’s fortune in the custody of the realm of a–Greek–a–“

“Great Breeches,” interrupted my Lord Chatterino, who, notwithstanding he swore he was excessively angry with his friend for his obstinate incredulity, very evidently had to exercise some forbearance to keep from joining in the general laugh. “It is a very respectable country, I do protest; and I scarcely remember to have tasted better gooseberries than they grow in that very island.”

“What! have they really gardens, Chatterino?”

“Certainly–after a fashion–and houses, and public conveyances–and even universities.”

“You do not mean to say, certainly, that they have a system!”

“Why, as to system, I believe they are a little at sixes and sevens. I really can’t take it upon myself to say that they have a system.”

“Oh, yes, my lord–of a certainty we have one–the social stake system.”

“Ask the creature,” whispered audibly the filthy coxcomb Hightail, “if he himself, now, has any income.”

“How is it, Sir John–have you an income?”

“Yes, my lord, of one hundred and twelve thousand sovereigns a year.”

“Of what?–of what?” demanded two or three voices, with well-bred, subdued eagerness.

“Of sovereigns–why that means kings!”

It would appear that the Leaphighers, while they obey only the king’s eldest first cousin of the masculine gender, perform all their official acts in the name of the sovereign himself, for whose person and character they pretty uniformly express the profoundest veneration; just as we men express admiration for a virtue that we never practise. My declaration, therefore, produced a strong sensation, and I was soon required to explain myself. This I did, by simply stating the truth.

“Oh, gold, yclept sovereigns!” exclaimed three or four, laughing heartily. “Why then, your famous Great Breeches people, after all, Chatterino, are so little advanced in civilization as to use gold! Harkee, Signior–a–a–Boldercraft, have you no currency in ‘promises’?”

“I do not know, sir, that I rightly comprehend the question.”

“Why, we poor barbarians, sir, who live as you see us, only in a state of simplicity and nature,”–there was irony in every syllable the impudent scoundrel uttered–“we poor wretches, or rather our ancestors, made the discovery, that for the purposes of convenience, having, as you perceive, no pockets, it might be well to convert all our currency into ‘promises.’ Now, I would ask if you have any of that coin?”

“Not as coin, sir, but as collateral to coin, we have plenty.”

“He speaks of collaterals in currency, as if he were discussing a pedigree! Are you really, Mynherr Shouldercalf, so little advanced in your country, as not to know the immense advantages of a currency of ‘promises’?”

“As I do not understand exactly what the nature of this currency is, sir, I cannot answer as readily as I could wish.”

“Let us explain it to him; for, I vow, I am really curious to hear his answer. Chatterino, do you, who have some knowledge of the thing’s habits, be our interpreter.”

“The matter is thus, Sir John. About five hundred years ago, our ancestors, having reached that pass in civilization when they came to dispense with the use of pockets, began to find it necessary to substitute a new currency for that of the metals, which it was inconvenient to carry, of which they might be robbed, and which also was liable to be counterfeited. The first expedient was to try a lighter substitute. Laws were passed giving value to linen and cotton, in the raw material; then compounded and manufactured; next, written on, and reduced in bulk, until, having passed through the several gradations of wrapping-paper, brown-paper, foolscap and blotting-paper, and having set the plan fairly at work, and got confidence thoroughly established, the system was perfected by a coup de main,–‘promises’ in words were substituted for all other coin. You see the advantage at a glance. A monikin can travel without pockets or baggage, and still carry a million; the money cannot be counterfeited, nor can it be stolen or burned.”

“But, my lord, does it not depreciate the value of property?”

“Just the contrary;–an acre that formerly could be bought for one promise, would now bring a thousand.”

“This, certainly, is a great improvement, unless frequent failures– “

“Not at all; there has not been a bankruptcy in Leaphigh since the law was passed making promises a legal tender.”

“I wonder no chancellor of the exchequer ever thought of this, at home!”

“So much for your Great Breeches, Chatterino!” And then there was another and a very general laugh. I never before felt so deep a sense of national humility.

“As they have universities,” cried another coxcomb, “perhaps this person has attended one of them.”

“Indeed, sir,” I answered, “I am regularly graduated.”

“It is not easy to see what he has done with his knowledge–for, though my sight is none of the worst, I cannot trace the smallest sign of a cauda about him.”

“Ah!” Lord Chatterino good-naturedly exclaimed, “the inhabitants of Great Breeches carry their brains in their heads.”

“Their heads!”


“That’s excellent, by his majesty’s prerogative! Here’s civilization, with a vengeance!”

I now thought that the general ridicule would overwhelm me. Two or three came closer, as if in pity or curiosity; and, at last, one cried out that I actually wore clothes.

“Clothes–the wretch! Chatterino, do all your human friends wear clothes?”

The young peer was obliged to confess the truth; and then there arose such a clamor as may be fancied took place among the peacocks, when they discovered the daw among them in masquerade. Human nature could endure no more; and bowing to the company, I wished Lord Chatterino, very hurriedly, good-morning, and proceeded towards the tavern.

“Don’t forget to step into Chatterino House, Goldencalf, before you sail,” cried my late fellow-traveller, looking over his shoulder, and nodding in quite a friendly way towards me.

“King!” exclaimed Captain Poke. “That blackguard ate a whole bread- locker-full of nuts on our outward passage, and now he tells us to step into his Chatterino House, before we sail!”

I endeavored to pacify the sealer, by an appeal to his philosophy. It was true that men never forgot obligations, and were always excessively anxious to repay them; but the monikins were an exceedingly instructed species; they thought more of their minds than of their bodies, as was plain by comparing the smallness of the latter with the length and development of the seat of reason; and one of his experience should know that good-breeding is decidedly an arbitrary quality, and that we ought to respect its laws, however opposed to our own previous practices.

“I dare say, friend Noah, you may have observed some material difference in the usages of Paris, for instance, and those of Stunin’tun.”

“That I have, Sir John, that I have; and altogether to the advantage of Stunin’tun be they.”

“We are all addicted to the weakness of believing our own customs best; and it requires that we should travel much, before we are able to decide on points so nice.”

“And do you not call me a traveller! Haven’t I been sixteen times a- sealing, twice a-whaling, without counting my cruise overland, and this last run to Leaphigh!”

“Ay, you have gone over much land and much water, Mr. Poke; but your stay in any given place has been just long enough to find fault. Usages must be worn, like a shoe, before one can judge of the fit.”

It is possible Noah would have retorted, had not Mrs. Vigilance Lynx, at that moment, come wriggling by, in a way to show she was much satisfied with her safe return home. To own the truth, while striving to find apologies for it, I had been a little contraire, as the French term it, by the indifference of my Lord Chatterino, which, in my secret heart, I was not slow in attributing to the manner in which a peer of the realm of Leaphigh regarded, de haut en bas, a mere baronet of Great Britain–or Great Breeches, as the young noble so pertinaciously insisted on terming our illustrious island. Now as Mrs. Vigilance was of “russet-color,” a caste of an inferior standing, I had little doubt that she would be as glad to own an intimacy with Sir John Goldencalf of Householder Hall, as the other might be willing to shuffle it off.

“Good-morrow, good Mrs. Vigilance,” I said familiarly, endeavoring to wriggle in a way that WOULD have shaken a tail, had it been my good fortune to be the owner of one–“Good-morrow, good Mrs. Vigilance–I’m glad to meet you again on shore.”

I do not remember that Mrs. Vigilance, during the whole period of our acquaintance, was particularly squeamish, or topping in her deportment. On the contrary, she had rather made herself remarkable for a modest and commendable reserve. But on the present occasion, she disappointed all reasonable expectation, by shrinking on one side, uttering a slight scream, and hurrying past as if she thought we might bite her. Indeed, I can only compare her deportment to that of a female of our own, who is so full of vanity as to fancy all eyes on her, and who gives herself airs about a dog or a spider, because she thinks they make her look so much the more interesting. Conversation was quite out of the question; for the duenna hurried on, bending her head downwards, as if heartily ashamed of an involuntary weakness.

“Well, good madam,” said Noah, whose stern eye followed her movements until she was quite lost in the crowd, “you would have had a sleepless v’yage, if I had foreimagined this! Sir John, these people stare at us as if we were wild beasts!”

“I cannot say I am of your way of thinking, Captain Poke. To me they seem to take no more notice of us, than we should take of two curs in the streets of London.”

“I begin now to understand what the parsons mean when they talk of the lost condition of man. It’s ra’ally awful to witness to what a state of unfeelingness a people can be abandoned! Bob, get out of the way, you grinning blackguard.”

Hereupon Bob received a salutation which would have demolished his stern-frame, had it not been for the unionjack. Just then I was glad to see Dr. Reasono advancing towards us, surrounded by a group of attentive listeners, all of whom, by their years, gravity, and deportment, I made no question were savants. As he drew near, I found he was discoursing of the marvels of his late voyage. When within six feet of us the whole party stopped, the Doctor continuing to descant with a very proper gesticulation, and in a way to show that his subject was of infinite interest to his listeners. Accidentally turning his eye in our direction, he caught a glimpse of our figures, and making a few hurried apologies to those around him, the excellent philosopher came eagerly forward, with both hands extended. Here was a difference, indeed, between his treatment and that of Lord Chatterino and the duenna! The salutation was warmly returned; and the Doctor and myself stepped a little apart, as he lost no time in informing me he wished to say a word in private.

“My dear Sir John,” the philosopher began, “our arrival has been the most happily-timed thing imaginable! All Leaphigh, by this time, is filled with the subject; and you can scarcely conceive the importance that is attached to the event. New sources of trade, scientific discoveries, phenomena both moral and physical, and results that it is thought may serve to raise the monikin civilization still higher than ever! Fortunately, the academy holds its most solemn meeting of the year this very day, and I have been formally requested to give the assembly an outline of those events which have lately passed before my eyes. The king’s eldest first cousin of the masculine gender is to attend openly; and it is even conjectured, in a way to be quite authentic, that the king himself will be present in his own royal person.”

“How!” I exclaimed, “have you a mode, in Leaphigh, of rendering conjectures certain?”

“Beyond a doubt, sir, or what would our civilization be worth? As to the king’s majesty, we always deal in the most direct ambiguities. Now as respects many of our ceremonies, the sovereign is known morally to be present, when he may be actually and physically eating his dinner at the other extremity of the island; this important illustration of the royal ubiquity is effected by means of a legal fiction. On the other hand, the king often indulges his natural propensities, such as curiosity, love of fun, or detestation of ennui, by coming in person, when, by the court fiction, he is thought to be seated on his throne, in his own royal palace. Oh! as to all these little accomplishments and graces in the art of truths, we are behind no people in the universe!”

“I beg pardon, Doctor–so his majesty is expected to be at the academy this morning?”

“In a private box. Now this affair is of the last importance to me as a savant, to you as a human being–for it will have a tendency to raise your whole species in the monikin estimation–and, lastly, to learning. It will be indispensably necessary that you should attend, with as many of your companions as possible, more especially the better specimens. I was coming down to the landing in the hope of meeting you; and a messenger has gone off to the ship to require that the people be sent ashore forthwith. You will have a tribune to yourselves; and, really, I do not like to express beforehand what I think concerning the degree of attention you will all receive; but this much I think I can say–you will see.”

“This proposition, Doctor, has taken me a little by surprise, and I hardly know what answer to give.”

“You cannot say no, Sir John; for should his majesty hear that you have refused to come to a meeting at which he is to be present, it would seriously, and, I might add, justly offend him, nor could I answer for the consequences.”

“Why, I was told that all the power was in the hands of his majesty’s eldest first cousin of the masculine gender; in which case I thought I might snap my fingers at his majesty himself.”

“Not in opinion, Sir John, which is one of the three estates of the government. Ours is a government of three estates–viz., the law, opinion, and practice. By law the king rules, by practice his cousin rules, and by opinion the king again rules. Thus, is the strong point of practice balanced by law and opinion. This it is that constitutes the harmony and perfection of the system. No, it would never do to offend his majesty.”

Although I did not very well comprehend the Doctor’s argument, yet, as I had often found in human society, theories political, moral, theological, and philosophical, that everybody had faith in, and which nobody understood, I thought discussion useless, and gave up the point by promising the Doctor to be at the academy in half an hour, which was the time named for our appearance. Taking the necessary directions to find the place, we separated; he to hasten to make his preparations, and I to reach the tavern, in order to deposit our baggage, that no decency might be overlooked on an occasion so solemn.



We soon secured rooms, ordered dinner, brushed our clothes, and made the other little arrangements that it was necessary to observe for the credit of the species. Everything being ready, we left the inn, and hurried towards the “Palais des Arts et des Sciences.” We had not got out of sight of the inn, however, before one of its garcons was at our heels with a message from his mistress. He told us, in very respectful tones, that his master was out, and that he had taken with him the key of the strong-box; that there was not actually money enough in the drawer to furnish an entertainment for such great persons as ourselves, and she had taken the liberty to send us a bill receipted, with a request that we would make a small advance, rather than reduce her to the mortification of treating such distinguished guests in an unworthy manner. The bill read as follows:–

No. 1 parti-color and friends,

To No. 82,763 grape-color. Dr. To use of apartments, with meals and lights, as per agreement, p.p. 300 per diem–one day, p.p. 300 By cash advanced, 50 —-
Balance due, p.p. 250

“This seems all right,” I observed to Noah; but I am, at this moment, as penniless as the good woman herself. I really do not see what we are to do, unless Bob sends her back his store of nuts–“

“Harkee, my nimble-go-hop,” put in the seaman, “what is your pleasure?”

The waiter referred to the bill, as expressing his mistress’s wants.

“What are these p. p. that I find noted in the bill–play or pay, hey?”

“Promises, of course, your honor.”

“Oh! then you desire fifty promises, to provide our dinner.”

“Nothing more, sir. With that sum you shall dine like noblemen–ay, sir, like aldermen.”

I was delighted to find that this worthy class of beings have the same propensities in all countries.

“Here, take a hundred,” answered Noah, snapping his fingers, “and make no bones of it. And harkee, my worthy–lay out every farthing of them in the fare. Let there be good cheer, and no one will grumble at the bill. I am ready to buy the inn, and all it holds, at need.”

The waiter departed well satisfied with these assurances, and apparently in the anticipation of good vails for his own trouble.

We soon got into the current that was setting towards our place of destination. On reaching the gate, we found that we were anxiously expected; for there was an attendant in waiting, who instantly conducted us to the seats that were provided for our special reception. It is always agreeable to be among the privileged, and I must own that we were all not a little flattered, on finding that an elevated tribune had been prepared for us, in the centre of the rotunda in which the academy held its sittings, so that we could see, and be seen by, every individual of the crowded assembly. The whole crew, even to the negro cook, had preceded us; an additional compliment, that I did not fail to acknowledge by suitable salutations to all the members present. After the first feelings of pleasure and surprise were a little abated, I had leisure to look about me and to survey the company.

The academicians occupied the whole of the body of the rotunda, the space taken up by the erection of our temporary tribune alone excepted, while there were sofas, chairs, tribunes, and benches arranged for the spectators, in the outer circles, and along the side-walls of the hall. As the edifice itself was very large, and mind had so essentially reduced matter in the monikin species, there could not have been less than fifty thousand tails present. Just before the ceremonies commenced, Dr. Reasono approached our tribbune, passing from one to another of the party, saying a pleasant and encouraging word to each, in a way to create high expectations in us all as to what was to follow. We were so very evidently honored and distinguished, that I struggled hard to subdue any unworthy feeling of pride, as unbecoming human meekness, and in order to maintain a philosophical equanimity under the manifestations of respect and gratitude that I knew were about to be lavished upon even the meanest of our party. The Doctor was yet in the midst of his pointed attentions, when the king’s eldest first cousin of the masculine gender entered, and the business of the meeting immediately began. I profited by a short pause, however, to say a few words to my companions. I told them that there would soon be a serious demand on their modesty. We had performed a great and generous exploit, and it did not become us to lessen its merit by betraying a vainglorious self-esteem. I implored them all to take pattern by me; promising, in the end, that their new friends would trebly prize their hardihood, self-denial, and skill.

There was a new member of the academy of Latent Sympathies to be received and installed. A long discourse was read by one of this department of the monikin learning, which pointed out and enlarged on the rare merits of the new academician. He was followed by the latter; who in a very elaborate production, that consumed just fifty-five minutes in the reading, tried all he could to persuade the audience that the defunct was a loss to the world, that no accident or application would ever repair, and that he himself was precisely the worst person who could have been selected to be his successor. I was a little surprised at the perfect coolness with which the learned body listened to a reproach that was so very distinctly and perseveringly thrown, as it were, into their very teeth. But a more intimate acquaintance with monikin society satisfied me, that any one might say just what he pleased, so long as he allowed that every one else was an excellent fellow, and he himself the poorest devil going. When the new member had triumphantly established his position, and just as I thought the colleagues were bound, in common honesty, to reconsider their vote, he concluded, and took his seat among them with quite as much assurance as the best philosopher of them all.

After a short pause, and an abundance of felicitations on his excellent and self-abasing discourse, the newly admitted member again rose, and began to read an essay on some discoveries he had made in the science of Latent Sympathies. According to his account of the matter, every monikin possessed a fluid which was invisible, like the animalcula which pervade nature, and which required only to be brought into command, and to be reduced into more rigid laws, to become the substitute for the senses of sight, touch, taste, hearing, and smelling. This fluid was communicable; and had already been so far rendered subject to the will, as to make it of service in seeing in the dark, in smelling when the operator had a bad cold, in tasting when the palate was down, and in touching by proxy. Ideas had been transmitted, through its agency, sixty-two leagues in one minute and a half. Two monikins, who were afflicted with diseased tails, had during the last two years, been insulated and saturated, and had then lost those embellishments, by operations; a quantity of the fluid having been substituted in their places so happily, that the patients fancied themselves more than ever conspicuous for the length and finesse of their caudce. An experiment had also been successfully tried on a member of the lower house of parliament, who, being married to a monikina of unusual mind, had for a long time been supplied with ideas from this source, although his partner was compelled to remain at home, in order to superintend the management of their estate, forty-two miles from town, during the whole session. He particularly recommended to government the promotion of this science, as it might be useful in obtaining evidence for the purposes of justice, in detecting conspiracies, in collecting the taxes, and selecting candidates for trusts of a responsible nature. The suggestion was well received by the king’s cousin, more especially those parts that alluded to sedition and the revenue.

This essay was also perfectly well received by the savans, for I afterwards found very little came amiss to the academy; and the members named a committee forthwith, to examine into “the facts concerning invisible and unknown fluids, their agency, importance, and relations to monikin happiness.”

We were next favored with a discussion on the different significations of the word gorstchwzyb; which, rendered into English, means “eh!” The celebrated philologist who treated the subject, discovered amazing ingenuity in expatiating on its ramifications and deductions. First he tried the letters by transpositions, by which he triumphantly proved that it was derived from all the languages of the ancients; the same process showed that it possessed four thousand and two different significations; he next reasoned most ably and comprehensively for ten minutes, backwards and forwards, using no other word but this, applied in its various senses; after which, he incontrovertibly established that this important part of speech was so useful as to be useless, and he concluded by a proposition, in which the academy coincided by acclamation, that it should be forever and incontinently expunged from the Leaphigh vocabulary. As the vote was carried by acclamation, the king’s cousin arose, and declared that the writer who should so far offend against good taste, as hereafter to make use of the condemned word, should have two inches cut off the extremity of his tail. A shudder among the ladies, who, I afterwards ascertained, loved to carry their caudae as high as our women like to carry their heads, proved the severity of the decree.

An experienced and seemingly much respected member now arose to make the following proposal. He said it was known that the monikin species were fast approaching perfection; that the increase of mind and the decrease of matter were so very apparent as to admit of no denial; that, in his own case, he found his physical powers diminish daily, while his mental acquired new distinctness and force; that he could no longer see without spectacles, hear without a tube, or taste without high seasoning; from all this he inferred that they were drawing near to some important change, and he wished that portion of the science of Latent Sympathies which was connected with the unknown fluid just treated on, might be referred to a committee on the whole, in order to make some provision for the wants of a time when monikins should finally lose their senses. There was nothing to say against a proposition so plausible, and it was accepted nemine contradicente, with the exception of a few in the minority.

There was now a good deal of whispering, much wagging of tails, and other indications that the real business of the meeting was about to be touched upon. All eyes were turned on Dr. Reasono, who, after a suitable pause, entered a tribune prepared for solemn occasions, and began his discourse.

The philosopher, who, having committed his essay to memory, spoke extempore, commenced with a beautiful and most eloquent apostrophe to learning, and to the enthusiasm which glows in the breasts of all her real votaries, rendering them alike indifferent to their personal ease, their temporal interests, danger, suffering, and tribulations of the spirit. After this exordium, which was pronounced to be unique for its simplicity and truth, he entered at once on the history of his own recent adventures.

First alluding to the admirable character of that Leaphigh usage which prescribes the Journey of Trial, our philosopher spoke of the manner in which he had been selected to accompany my lord Chatterino on an occasion so important to his future hopes. He dwelt on the physical preparations, the previous study, and the moral machinery that he had employed with his pupil, before they quitted town; all of which, there is reason to think, were well fitted to their objects, as he was constantly interrupted by murmurs of applause. After some time spent in dilating on these points, I had, at length, the satisfaction to find him, Mrs. Lynx, and their two wards, fairly setting out on a journey which, as he very justly mentioned, proved “to be pregnant with events of so much importance to knowledge in general, to the happiness of the species, and to several highly interesting branches of monikin science, in particular.” I say the satisfaction, for, to own the truth, I was eager to witness the effect that would be made on the monikin sensibilities, when he came to speak of my own discernment in detecting their real characters beneath the contumely and disgrace in which it had been my good fortune to find them, the promptitude with which I had stepped forward to their relief, and the liberality and courage with which I had furnished the means and encountered the risks that were necessary to restore them to their native land. The anticipation of this human triumph could not but diffuse a general satisfaction in our own tribune–even the common mariners, as they recalled the dangers through which they had passed, feeling a consciousness of deserving, mingled with that soothing sentiment which is ever the companion of a merited reward. As the philosopher drew nearer to the time when it would be necessary to speak of us, I threw a look of triumph at Lord Chatterino, which, however, failed of its intended effect–the young peer continuing to whisper to his noble companions with just is much self-importance and coolness as if he had not been one of the rescued captives.

Dr. Reasono was justly celebrated, among his colleagues, for ingenuity and eloquence. The excellent morals that he threw into every possible opening of his subject, the beauty of the figures with which they were illustrated, and the masculine tendencies of his argument, gave general delight to the audience. The Journey of Trial was made to appear, what it had been intended to be by the fathers and sages of the Leaphigh institutions, a probation replete with admonitions and instruction. The aged and experienced, who had grown callous by time, could not conceal their exultation; the mature and suffering looked grave and full of meditation; while the young and sanguine fairly trembled, and for once, doubted. But, as the philosopher led his party from precipice to precipice in safety, as rocks were scaled and seductive valleys avoided, a common feeling of security began to extend itself among the audience; and we all followed him in his last experiment among the ice, with that sort of blind confidence which the soldier comes, in time, to entertain in the orders of a tried and victorious general.

The Doctor was graphic in his account of the manner in which he and his wards plunged among these new trials. The lovely Chatterissa (for all his travelling companions were present) bent aside her head and blushed, as the philosopher alluded to the manner in which the pure flame that glowed in her gentle bosom resisted the chill influence of that cold region; and when he recited an ardent declaration that my lord Chatterino had made on the centre of a floe, and the kind and amorous answer of his mistress, I thought the applause of the old academicians would have actually brought the vaulted dome clattering about our ears.

At length he reached the point in the narrative where the amiable wanderers fell in with the sealers, on that unknown island to which chance and an adverse fortune had unhappily led them, in their pilgrimage. I had taken measures secretly to instruct Mr. Poke and the rest of my companions, as to the manner in which it became us to demean ourselves, while the Doctor was acquainting the academy with that first outrage committed by human cupidity, or the seizure of himself and friends. We were to rise, in a body, and, turning our faces a little on one side, veil our eyes in sign of shame. Less than this, it struck me, could scarcely be done, without manifesting an improper indifference to monikin rights; and more than this, might have been identifying ourselves with the particular individuals of the species who had perpetrated the wrong. But there was no occasion to exhibit this delicate attention to our learned hosts. The Doctor, with a refinement of feeling that did credit, indeed, to monikin civilization, gave an ingenious turn to the whole affair, which at once removed all cause of shame from our species; and which, if it left reason for any to blush, by a noble act of disinterestedness, threw the entire onus of the obligation on himself. Instead of dwelling on the ruthless manner in which he and his friends had been seized, the worthy Doctor very tranquilly informed his listeners, that, finding himself, by hazard, brought in contact with another species, and that the means of pushing important discoveries were unexpectedly placed in his power; conscious it had long been a desideratum with the savans to obtain a nearer view and more correct notions of human society; believing he had a discretion in the matter of his wards, and knowing that the inhabitants of Leaplow, a republic which all disliked, were seriously talking of sending out an expedition for this very purpose, he had promptly decided to profit by events, to push inquiry to the extent of his abilities, and to hazard all in the cause of learning and truth, by at once engaging the vessel of the sealers, and sailing, without dread of consequences, forthwith into the very bosom of the world of man!

I have listened with awe to the thunder of the tropics–I have held my breath as the artillery of a fleet vomited forth its fire, and rent the air with sudden concussions–I have heard the roar of the tumbling river of the Canadas, and I have stood aghast at the crashing of a forest in a tornado;–but never before did I feel so life-stirring, so thrilling an emotion of surprise, alarm, and sympathy, as that which arose within me, at the burst of commendation and delight with which this announcement of self- devotion and enterprise was received by the audience. Tails waved, pattes met each other in ecstasy, voice whistled to voice, and there was one common cry of exultation, of rapture and of glorification, at this proof, not of monikin, for that would have been frittering away the triumph, but at this proof of Leaphigh courage.

During the clamor, I took an opportunity to express my satisfaction at the handsome manner in which our friend the Doctor had passed over an acknowledged human delinquency, and the ingenuity with which he had turned the whole of the unhappy transaction to the glory of Leaphigh. Noah answered that the philosopher had certainly shown a knowledge of human natur’, and he presumed of monikin natur’, in the matter; no one would now dispute his statement, since, as he knew by experience, no one was so likely to be set down as a liar, as he who endeavored to unsettle the good opinion that either a community or an individual entertained of himself. This was the way at Stunin’tun, and he believed this was pretty much the way at New York, or he might say with the whole ‘arth from pole to pole. As for himself, however, he owned he should like to have a few minutes’ private conversation with the sealer in question, to hear his account of the matter; he didn’t know any owner in his part of the world, who would bear a captain out, should be abandon a v’yage in this way, on no better security than the promises of a monkey, and of a monkey, too, who must, of necessity, be an utter stranger to him.

When the tumult of applause had a little abated, Dr. Reasono proceeded with his narrative. He touched lightly on the accommodations of the schooner, which he gave us reason to think were altogether of a quality beneath the condition of her passengers; and he added that, falling in with a larger and fairer vessel, which was making a passage between Bombay and Great Britain, he profited by the occasion, to exchange ships. This vessel touched at the island of St. Helena, where, according to the Doctor’s account of the matter, he found means to pass the greater part of a