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The Works of Edgar Allan Poe

Part 2 out of 5

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No doubt now remained of the guilt of the nephew, and immediately upon
reaching Rattleborough he was taken before a magistrate for examination.

Here matters again took a most unfavourable turn. The prisoner, being
questioned as to his whereabouts on the morning of Mr. Shuttleworthy's
disappearance, had absolutely the audacity to acknowledge that on that
very morning he had been out with his rifle deer-stalking, in the
immediate neighbourhood of the pool where the blood-stained waistcoat had
been discovered through the sagacity of Mr. Goodfellow.

This latter now came forward, and, with tears in his eyes, asked
permission to be examined. He said that a stern sense of the duty he owed
his Maker, not less than his fellow-men, would permit him no longer to
remain silent. Hitherto, the sincerest affection for the young man
(notwithstanding the latter's ill-treatment of himself, Mr. Goodfellow)
had induced him to make every hypothesis which imagination could suggest,
by way of endeavoring to account for what appeared suspicious in the
circumstances that told so seriously against Mr. Pennifeather, but these
circumstances were now altogether too convincing -- too damning, he would
hesitate no longer -- he would tell all he knew, although his heart (Mr.
Goodfellow's) should absolutely burst asunder in the effort. He then went
on to state that, on the afternoon of the day previous to Mr.
Shuttleworthy's departure for the city, that worthy old gentleman had
mentioned to his nephew, in his hearing (Mr. Goodfellow's), that his
object in going to town on the morrow was to make a deposit of an
unusually large sum of money in the "Farmers and Mechanics' Bank," and
that, then and there, the said Mr. Shuttleworthy had distinctly avowed to
the said nephew his irrevocable determination of rescinding the will
originally made, and of cutting him off with a shilling. He (the witness)
now solemnly called upon the accused to state whether what he (the
witness) had just stated was or was not the truth in every substantial
particular. Much to the astonishment of every one present, Mr.
Pennifeather frankly admitted that it was.

The magistrate now considered it his duty to send a couple of constables
to search the chamber of the accused in the house of his uncle. From this
search they almost immediately returned with the well-known steel-bound,
russet leather pocket-book which the old gentleman had been in the habit
of carrying for years. Its valuable contents, however, had been
abstracted, and the magistrate in vain endeavored to extort from the
prisoner the use which had been made of them, or the place of their
concealment. Indeed, he obstinately denied all knowledge of the matter.
The constables, also, discovered, between the bed and sacking of the
unhappy man, a shirt and neck-handkerchief both marked with the initials
of his name, and both hideously besmeared with the blood of the victim.

At this juncture, it was announced that the horse of the murdered man had
just expired in the stable from the effects of the wound he had received,
and it was proposed by Mr. Goodfellow that a post mortem examination of
the beast should be immediately made, with the view, if possible, of
discovering the ball. This was accordingly done; and, as if to demonstrate
beyond a question the guilt of the accused, Mr. Goodfellow, after
considerable searching in the cavity of the chest was enabled to detect
and to pull forth a bullet of very extraordinary size, which, upon trial,
was found to be exactly adapted to the bore of Mr. Pennifeather's rifle,
while it was far too large for that of any other person in the borough or
its vicinity. To render the matter even surer yet, however, this bullet
was discovered to have a flaw or seam at right angles to the usual suture,
and upon examination, this seam corresponded precisely with an accidental
ridge or elevation in a pair of moulds acknowledged by the accused himself
to be his own property. Upon finding of this bullet, the examining
magistrate refused to listen to any farther testimony, and immediately
committed the prisoner for trial-declining resolutely to take any bail in
the case, although against this severity Mr. Goodfellow very warmly
remonstrated, and offered to become surety in whatever amount might be
required. This generosity on the part of "Old Charley" was only in
accordance with the whole tenour of his amiable and chivalrous conduct
during the entire period of his sojourn in the borough of Rattle. In the
present instance the worthy man was so entirely carried away by the
excessive warmth of his sympathy, that he seemed to have quite forgotten,
when he offered to go bail for his young friend, that he himself (Mr.
Goodfellow) did not possess a single dollar's worth of property upon the
face of the earth.

The result of the committal may be readily foreseen. Mr. Pennifeather,
amid the loud execrations of all Rattleborough, was brought to trial at
the next criminal sessions, when the chain of circumstantial evidence
(strengthened as it was by some additional damning facts, which Mr.
Goodfellow's sensitive conscientiousness forbade him to withhold from the
court) was considered so unbroken and so thoroughly conclusive, that the
jury, without leaving their seats, returned an immediate verdict of
"Guilty of murder in the first degree." Soon afterward the unhappy wretch
received sentence of death, and was remanded to the county jail to await
the inexorable vengeance of the law.

In the meantime, the noble behavior of "Old Charley Goodfellow, had doubly
endeared him to the honest citizens of the borough. He became ten times a
greater favorite than ever, and, as a natural result of the hospitality
with which he was treated, he relaxed, as it were, perforce, the extremely
parsimonious habits which his poverty had hitherto impelled him to
observe, and very frequently had little reunions at his own house, when
wit and jollity reigned supreme-dampened a little, of course, by the
occasional remembrance of the untoward and melancholy fate which impended
over the nephew of the late lamented bosom friend of the generous host.

One fine day, this magnanimous old gentleman was agreeably surprised at
the receipt of the following letter:-

Charles Goodfellow, Esq., Rattleborough
From H.F.B. & Co.
Chat. Mar. A -- No. 1.-- 6 doz. bottles (1/2 Gross)

{The above inscription lies vertically to the left of the following letter
in the print version --Ed.}

_"Charles Goodfellow, Esquire._

_"Dear Sir -- In conformity with an order transmitted to our firm about
two months since, by our esteemed correspondent, Mr. Barnabus
Shuttleworthy, we have the honor of forwarding this morning, to your
address, a double box of Chateau-Margaux of the antelope brand, violet
seal. Box numbered and marked as per margin._

_"We remain, sir_, _
_ _"Your most ob'nt ser'ts,

"City of --, June 21, 18--.

_"P.S. -- The box will reach you by wagon, on the day after your receipt
of this letter. Our respects to Mr. Shuttleworthy._

"H., F., B., & CO."

The fact is, that Mr. Goodfellow had, since the death of Mr.
Shuttleworthy, given over all expectation of ever receiving the promised
Chateau-Margaux; and he, therefore, looked upon it now as a sort of
especial dispensation of Providence in his behalf. He was highly
delighted, of course, and in the exuberance of his joy invited a large
party of friends to a petit souper on the morrow, for the purpose of
broaching the good old Mr. Shuttleworthy's present. Not that he said any
thing about "the good old Mr. Shuttleworthy" when he issued the
invitations. The fact is, he thought much and concluded to say nothing at
all. He did not mention to any one -- if I remember aright -- that he had
received a present of Chateau-Margaux. He merely asked his friends to come
and help him drink some, of a remarkable fine quality and rich flavour,
that he had ordered up from the city a couple of months ago, and of which
he would be in the receipt upon the morrow. I have often puzzled myself to
imagine why it was that "Old Charley" came to the conclusion to say
nothing about having received the wine from his old friend, but I could
never precisely understand his reason for the silence, although he had
some excellent and very magnanimous reason, no doubt.

The morrow at length arrived, and with it a very large and highly
respectable company at Mr. Goodfellow's house. Indeed, half the borough
was there, -- I myself among the number, -- but, much to the vexation of
the host, the Chateau-Margaux did not arrive until a late hour, and when
the sumptuous supper supplied by "Old Charley" had been done very ample
justice by the guests. It came at length, however, -- a monstrously big
box of it there was, too -- and as the whole party were in excessively
good humor, it was decided, nem. con., that it should be lifted upon the
table and its contents disembowelled forthwith.

No sooner said than done. I lent a helping hand; and, in a trice we had
the box upon the table, in the midst of all the bottles and glasses, not a
few of which were demolished in the scuffle. "Old Charley," who was pretty
much intoxicated, and excessively red in the face, now took a seat, with
an air of mock dignity, at the head of the board, and thumped furiously
upon it with a decanter, calling upon the company to keep order "during
the ceremony of disinterring the treasure."

After some vociferation, quiet was at length fully restored, and, as very
often happens in similar cases, a profound and remarkable silence ensued.
Being then requested to force open the lid, I complied, of course, "with
an infinite deal of pleasure." I inserted a chisel, and giving it a few
slight taps with a hammer, the top of the box flew suddenly off, and at
the same instant, there sprang up into a sitting position, directly facing
the host, the bruised, bloody, and nearly putrid corpse of the murdered
Mr. Shuttleworthy himself. It gazed for a few seconds, fixedly and
sorrowfully, with its decaying and lack-lustre eyes, full into the
countenance of Mr. Goodfellow; uttered slowly, but clearly and
impressively, the words -- "Thou art the man!" and then, falling over the
side of the chest as if thoroughly satisfied, stretched out its limbs
quiveringly upon the table.

The scene that ensued is altogether beyond description. The rush for the
doors and windows was terrific, and many of the most robust men in the
room fainted outright through sheer horror. But after the first wild,
shrieking burst of affright, all eyes were directed to Mr. Goodfellow. If
I live a thousand years, I can never forget the more than mortal agony
which was depicted in that ghastly face of his, so lately rubicund with
triumph and wine. For several minutes he sat rigidly as a statue of
marble; his eyes seeming, in the intense vacancy of their gaze, to be
turned inward and absorbed in the contemplation of his own miserable,
murderous soul. At length their expression appeared to flash suddenly out
into the external world, when, with a quick leap, he sprang from his
chair, and falling heavily with his head and shoulders upon the table, and
in contact with the corpse, poured out rapidly and vehemently a detailed
confession of the hideous crime for which Mr. Pennifeather was then
imprisoned and doomed to die.

What he recounted was in substance this: -- He followed his victim to the
vicinity of the pool; there shot his horse with a pistol; despatched its
rider with the butt end; possessed himself of the pocket-book, and,
supposing the horse dead, dragged it with great labour to the brambles by
the pond. Upon his own beast he slung the corpse of Mr. Shuttleworthy, and
thus bore it to a secure place of concealment a long distance off through
the woods.

The waistcoat, the knife, the pocket-book, and bullet, had been placed by
himself where found, with the view of avenging himself upon Mr.
Pennifeather. He had also contrived the discovery of the stained
handkerchief and shirt.

Towards the end of the blood-churning recital the words of the guilty
wretch faltered and grew hollow. When the record was finally exhausted, he
arose, staggered backward from the table, and fell-dead.


The means by which this happily-timed confession was extorted, although
efficient, were simple indeed. Mr. Goodfellow's excess of frankness had
disgusted me, and excited my suspicions from the first. I was present when
Mr. Pennifeather had struck him, and the fiendish expression which then
arose upon his countenance, although momentary, assured me that his threat
of vengeance would, if possible, be rigidly fulfilled. I was thus prepared
to view the manoeuvering of "Old Charley" in a very different light from
that in which it was regarded by the good citizens of Rattleborough. I saw
at once that all the criminating discoveries arose, either directly or
indirectly, from himself. But the fact which clearly opened my eyes to the
true state of the case, was the affair of the bullet, found by Mr. G. in
the carcass of the horse. I had not forgotten, although the Rattleburghers
had, that there was a hole where the ball had entered the horse, and
another where it went out. If it were found in the animal then, after
having made its exit, I saw clearly that it must have been deposited by
the person who found it. The bloody shirt and handkerchief confirmed the
idea suggested by the bullet; for the blood on examination proved to be
capital claret, and no more. When I came to think of these things, and
also of the late increase of liberality and expenditure on the part of Mr.
Goodfellow, I entertained a suspicion which was none the less strong
because I kept it altogether to myself.

In the meantime, I instituted a rigorous private search for the corpse of
Mr. Shuttleworthy, and, for good reasons, searched in quarters as
divergent as possible from those to which Mr. Goodfellow conducted his
party. The result was that, after some days, I came across an old dry
well, the mouth of which was nearly hidden by brambles; and here, at the
bottom, I discovered what I sought.

Now it so happened that I had overheard the colloquy between the two
cronies, when Mr. Goodfellow had contrived to cajole his host into the
promise of a box of Chateaux-Margaux. Upon this hint I acted. I procured a
stiff piece of whalebone, thrust it down the throat of the corpse, and
deposited the latter in an old wine box-taking care so to double the body
up as to double the whalebone with it. In this manner I had to press
forcibly upon the lid to keep it down while I secured it with nails; and I
anticipated, of course, that as soon as these latter were removed, the top
would fly off and the body up.

Having thus arranged the box, I marked, numbered, and addressed it as
already told; and then writing a letter in the name of the wine merchants
with whom Mr. Shuttleworthy dealt, I gave instructions to my servant to
wheel the box to Mr. Goodfellow's door, in a barrow, at a given signal
from myself. For the words which I intended the corpse to speak, I
confidently depended upon my ventriloquial abilities; for their effect, I
counted upon the conscience of the murderous wretch.

I believe there is nothing more to be explained. Mr. Pennifeather was
released upon the spot, inherited the fortune of his uncle, profited by
the lessons of experience, turned over a new leaf, and led happily ever
afterward a new life.

~~~ End of Text ~~~



IT'S on my visiting cards sure enough (and it's them that's all o' pink
satin paper) that inny gintleman that plases may behould the intheristhin
words, "Sir Pathrick O'Grandison, Barronitt, 39 Southampton Row, Russell
Square, Parrish o' Bloomsbury." And shud ye be wantin' to diskiver who is
the pink of purliteness quite, and the laider of the hot tun in the houl
city o' Lonon -- why it's jist mesilf. And fait that same is no wonder at
all at all (so be plased to stop curlin your nose), for every inch o' the
six wakes that I've been a gintleman, and left aff wid the bogthrothing to
take up wid the Barronissy, it's Pathrick that's been living like a houly
imperor, and gitting the iddication and the graces. Och! and wouldn't it
be a blessed thing for your spirrits if ye cud lay your two peepers jist,
upon Sir Pathrick O'Grandison, Barronitt, when he is all riddy drissed for
the hopperer, or stipping into the Brisky for the drive into the Hyde
Park. But it's the illigant big figgur that I ave, for the rason o' which
all the ladies fall in love wid me. Isn't it my own swate silf now that'll
missure the six fut, and the three inches more nor that, in me stockins,
and that am excadingly will proportioned all over to match? And it is
ralelly more than three fut and a bit that there is, inny how, of the
little ould furrener Frinchman that lives jist over the way, and that's a
oggling and a goggling the houl day, (and bad luck to him,) at the purty
widdy Misthress Tracle that's my own nixt-door neighbor, (God bliss her!)
and a most particuller frind and acquaintance? You percave the little
spalpeen is summat down in the mouth, and wears his lift hand in a sling,
and it's for that same thing, by yur lave, that I'm going to give you the
good rason.

The truth of the houl matter is jist simple enough; for the very first day
that I com'd from Connaught, and showd my swate little silf in the strait
to the widdy, who was looking through the windy, it was a gone case
althegither with the heart o' the purty Misthress Tracle. I percaved it,
ye see, all at once, and no mistake, and that's God's truth. First of all
it was up wid the windy in a jiffy, and thin she threw open her two
peepers to the itmost, and thin it was a little gould spy-glass that she
clapped tight to one o' them and divil may burn me if it didn't spake to
me as plain as a peeper cud spake, and says it, through the spy-glass:
"Och! the tip o' the mornin' to ye, Sir Pathrick O'Grandison, Barronitt,
mavourneen; and it's a nate gintleman that ye are, sure enough, and it's
mesilf and me forten jist that'll be at yur sarvice, dear, inny time o'
day at all at all for the asking." And it's not mesilf ye wud have to be
bate in the purliteness; so I made her a bow that wud ha' broken yur heart
altegither to behould, and thin I pulled aff me hat with a flourish, and
thin I winked at her hard wid both eyes, as much as to say, "True for you,
yer a swate little crature, Mrs. Tracle, me darlint, and I wish I may be
drownthed dead in a bog, if it's not mesilf, Sir Pathrick O'Grandison,
Barronitt, that'll make a houl bushel o' love to yur leddyship, in the
twinkling o' the eye of a Londonderry purraty."

And it was the nixt mornin', sure, jist as I was making up me mind whither
it wouldn't be the purlite thing to sind a bit o' writin' to the widdy by
way of a love-litter, when up com'd the delivery servant wid an illigant
card, and he tould me that the name on it (for I niver could rade the
copperplate printin on account of being lift handed) was all about
Mounseer, the Count, A Goose, Look -- aisy, Maiter-di-dauns, and that the
houl of the divilish lingo was the spalpeeny long name of the little ould
furrener Frinchman as lived over the way.

And jist wid that in cum'd the little willian himself, and then he made me
a broth of a bow, and thin he said he had ounly taken the liberty of doing
me the honor of the giving me a call, and thin he went on to palaver at a
great rate, and divil the bit did I comprehind what he wud be afther the
tilling me at all at all, excipting and saving that he said "pully wou,
woolly wou," and tould me, among a bushel o' lies, bad luck to him, that
he was mad for the love o' my widdy Misthress Tracle, and that my widdy
Mrs. Tracle had a puncheon for him.

At the hearin' of this, ye may swear, though, I was as mad as a
grasshopper, but I remimbered that I was Sir Pathrick O'Grandison,
Barronitt, and that it wasn't althegither gentaal to lit the anger git the
upper hand o' the purliteness, so I made light o' the matter and kipt
dark, and got quite sociable wid the little chap, and afther a while what
did he do but ask me to go wid him to the widdy's, saying he wud give me
the feshionable inthroduction to her leddyship.

"Is it there ye are?" said I thin to mesilf, "and it's thrue for you,
Pathrick, that ye're the fortunittest mortal in life. We'll soon see now
whither it's your swate silf, or whither it's little Mounseer
Maiter-di-dauns, that Misthress Tracle is head and ears in the love wid."

Wid that we wint aff to the widdy's, next door, and ye may well say it was
an illigant place; so it was. There was a carpet all over the floor, and
in one corner there was a forty-pinny and a Jew's harp and the divil knows
what ilse, and in another corner was a sofy, the beautifullest thing in
all natur, and sitting on the sofy, sure enough, there was the swate
little angel, Misthress Tracle.

"The tip o' the mornin' to ye," says I, "Mrs. Tracle," and thin I made
sich an illigant obaysance that it wud ha quite althegither bewildered the
brain o' ye.

"Wully woo, pully woo, plump in the mud," says the little furrenner
Frinchman, "and sure Mrs. Tracle," says he, that he did, "isn't this
gintleman here jist his reverence Sir Pathrick O'Grandison, Barronitt, and
isn't he althegither and entirely the most particular frind and
acquaintance that I have in the houl world?"

And wid that the widdy, she gits up from the sofy, and makes the swatest
curthchy nor iver was seen; and thin down she sits like an angel; and
thin, by the powers, it was that little spalpeen Mounseer Maiter-di-dauns
that plumped his silf right down by the right side of her. Och hon! I
ixpicted the two eyes o' me wud ha cum'd out of my head on the spot, I was
so dispirate mad! Howiver, "Bait who!" says I, after awhile. "Is it there
ye are, Mounseer Maiter-di-dauns?" and so down I plumped on the lift side
of her leddyship, to be aven with the willain. Botheration! it wud ha done
your heart good to percave the illigant double wink that I gived her jist
thin right in the face with both eyes.

But the little ould Frinchman he niver beginned to suspict me at all at
all, and disperate hard it was he made the love to her leddyship. "Woully
wou," says he, Pully wou," says he, "Plump in the mud," says he.

"That's all to no use, Mounseer Frog, mavourneen," thinks I; and I talked
as hard and as fast as I could all the while, and throth it was mesilf
jist that divarted her leddyship complately and intirely, by rason of the
illigant conversation that I kipt up wid her all about the dear bogs of
Connaught. And by and by she gived me such a swate smile, from one ind of
her mouth to the ither, that it made me as bould as a pig, and I jist took
hould of the ind of her little finger in the most dillikitest manner in
natur, looking at her all the while out o' the whites of my eyes.

And then ounly percave the cuteness of the swate angel, for no sooner did
she obsarve that I was afther the squazing of her flipper, than she up wid
it in a jiffy, and put it away behind her back, jist as much as to say,
"Now thin, Sir Pathrick O'Grandison, there's a bitther chance for ye,
mavourneen, for it's not altogether the gentaal thing to be afther the
squazing of my flipper right full in the sight of that little furrenner
Frinchman, Mounseer Maiter-di-dauns."

Wid that I giv'd her a big wink jist to say, "lit Sir Pathrick alone for
the likes o' them thricks," and thin I wint aisy to work, and you'd have
died wid the divarsion to behould how cliverly I slipped my right arm
betwane the back o' the sofy, and the back of her leddyship, and there,
sure enough, I found a swate little flipper all a waiting to say, "the tip
o' the mornin' to ye, Sir Pathrick O'Grandison, Barronitt." And wasn't it
mesilf, sure, that jist giv'd it the laste little bit of a squaze in the
world, all in the way of a commincement, and not to be too rough wid her
leddyship? and och, botheration, wasn't it the gentaalest and dilikittest
of all the little squazes that I got in return? "Blood and thunder, Sir
Pathrick, mavourneen," thinks I to mesilf, "fait it's jist the mother's
son of you, and nobody else at all at all, that's the handsomest and the
fortunittest young bog-throtter that ever cum'd out of Connaught!" And
with that I givd the flipper a big squaze, and a big squaze it was, by the
powers, that her leddyship giv'd to me back. But it would ha split the
seven sides of you wid the laffin' to behould, jist then all at once, the
consated behavior of Mounseer Maiter-di-dauns. The likes o' sich a
jabbering, and a smirking, and a parley-wouing as he begin'd wid her
leddyship, niver was known before upon arth; and divil may burn me if it
wasn't me own very two peepers that cotch'd him tipping her the wink out
of one eye. Och, hon! if it wasn't mesilf thin that was mad as a Kilkenny
cat I shud like to be tould who it was!

"Let me infarm you, Mounseer Maiter-di-dauns," said I, as purlite as iver
ye seed, "that it's not the gintaal thing at all at all, and not for the
likes o' you inny how, to be afther the oggling and a goggling at her
leddyship in that fashion," and jist wid that such another squaze as it
was I giv'd her flipper, all as much as to say, "isn't it Sir Pathrick
now, my jewel, that'll be able to the proticting o' you, my darlint?" and
then there cum'd another squaze back, all by way of the answer. "Thrue for
you, Sir Pathrick," it said as plain as iver a squaze said in the world,
"Thrue for you, Sir Pathrick, mavourneen, and it's a proper nate gintleman
ye are -- that's God's truth," and with that she opened her two beautiful
peepers till I belaved they wud ha' cum'd out of her hid althegither and
intirely, and she looked first as mad as a cat at Mounseer Frog, and thin
as smiling as all out o' doors at mesilf.

"Thin," says he, the willian, "Och hon! and a wolly-wou, pully-wou," and
then wid that he shoved up his two shoulders till the divil the bit of his
hid was to be diskivered, and then he let down the two corners of his
purraty-trap, and thin not a haporth more of the satisfaction could I git
out o' the spalpeen.

Belave me, my jewel, it was Sir Pathrick that was unreasonable mad thin,
and the more by token that the Frinchman kipt an wid his winking at the
widdy; and the widdy she kept an wid the squazing of my flipper, as much
as to say, "At him again, Sir Pathrick O'Grandison, mavourneen:" so I just
ripped out wid a big oath, and says I;

"Ye little spalpeeny frog of a bog-throtting son of a bloody noun!" -- and
jist thin what d'ye think it was that her leddyship did? Troth she jumped
up from the sofy as if she was bit, and made off through the door, while I
turned my head round afther her, in a complate bewilderment and
botheration, and followed her wid me two peepers. You percave I had a
reason of my own for knowing that she couldn't git down the stares
althegither and intirely; for I knew very well that I had hould of her
hand, for the divil the bit had I iver lit it go. And says I; "Isn't it
the laste little bit of a mistake in the world that ye've been afther the
making, yer leddyship? Come back now, that's a darlint, and I'll give ye
yur flipper." But aff she wint down the stairs like a shot, and thin I
turned round to the little Frinch furrenner. Och hon! if it wasn't his
spalpeeny little paw that I had hould of in my own -- why thin -- thin it
wasn't -- that's all.

And maybe it wasn't mesilf that jist died then outright wid the laffin',
to behold the little chap when he found out that it wasn't the widdy at
all at all that he had had hould of all the time, but only Sir Pathrick
O'Grandison. The ould divil himself niver behild sich a long face as he
pet an! As for Sir Pathrick O'Grandison, Barronitt, it wasn't for the
likes of his riverence to be afther the minding of a thrifle of a mistake.
Ye may jist say, though (for it's God's thruth), that afore I left hould
of the flipper of the spalpeen (which was not till afther her leddyship's
futman had kicked us both down the stairs, I giv'd it such a nate little
broth of a squaze as made it all up into raspberry jam.

"Woully wou," says he, "pully wou," says he -- "Cot tam!"

And that's jist the thruth of the rason why he wears his lift hand in a

~~~ End of Text ~~~



_ Quand un bon vin meuble mon estomac,
Je suis plus savant que Balzac -
Plus sage que Pibrac ;
Mon brass seul faisant l'attaque
De la nation Coseaque,
La mettroit au sac ;
De Charon je passerois le lac,
En dormant dans son bac ;
J'irois au fier Eac,
Sans que mon cœur fit tic ni tac,
Présenter du tabac.
French Vaudeville_

THAT Pierre Bon-Bon was a _restaurateur_ of uncommon qualifications,
no man who, during the reign of ---, frequented the little Câfé in the
cul-de-sac Le Febvre at Rouen, will, I imagine, feel himself at liberty to
dispute. That Pierre Bon-Bon was, in an equal degree, skilled in the
philosophy of that period is, I presume, still more especially undeniable.
His _patés à la fois_ were beyond doubt immaculate; but what pen can do
justice to his essays _sur la Nature_ - his thoughts sur _l'Ame_ - his
observations _sur l'Esprit ?_ If his _omelettes_ - if his _fricandeaux_
were inestimable, what _littérateur_ of that day would not have given
twice as much for an "_Idée de Bon-Bon_" as for all the trash of "_Idées_"
of all the rest of the _savants ?_ Bon-Bon had ransacked libraries which
no other man had ransacked - had more than any other would have
entertained a notion of reading- had understood more than any other would
have conceived the possibility of understanding; and although, while he
flourished, there were not wanting some authors at Rouen to assert "that
his _dicta_ evinced neither the purity of the Academy, nor the depth of
the Lyceum" - although, mark me, his doctrines were by no means very
generally comprehended, still it did not follow that they were difficult
of comprehension. It was, I think, on account of their self-evidency that
many persons were led to consider them abstruse. It is to Bon-Bon - but
let this go no farther - it is to Bon-Bon that Kant himself is mainly
indebted for his metaphysics. The former was indeed not a Platonist, nor
strictly speaking an Aristotelian - nor did he, like the modern Leibnitz,
waste those precious hours which might be employed in the invention of a
_fricasée_ or, _facili gradu_, the analysis of a sensation, in frivolous
attempts at reconciling the obstinate oils and waters of ethical
discussion. Not at all. Bon-Bon was Ionic - Bon-Bon was equally Italic. He
reasoned _à priori_ - He reasoned also _à posteriori_. His ideas were
innate - or otherwise. He believed in George of Trebizonde - He believed
in Bossarion [Bessarion]. Bon-Bon was emphatically a - Bon-Bonist.

I have spoken of the philosopher in his capacity of _restaurateur_. I
would not, however, have any friend of mine imagine that, in fulfilling
his hereditary duties in that line, our hero wanted a proper estimation of
their dignity and importance. Far from it. It was impossible to say in
which branch of his profession he took the greater pride. In his opinion
the powers of the intellect held intimate connection with the capabilities
of the stomach. I am not sure, indeed, that he greatly disagreed with the
Chinese, who held that the soul lies in the abdomen. The Greeks at all
events were right, he thought, who employed the same words for the mind
and the diaphragm. {*1) By this I do not mean to insinuate a charge of
gluttony, or indeed any other serious charge to the prejudice of the
metaphysician. If Pierre Bon-Bon had his failings - and what great man has
not a thousand? - if Pierre Bon-Bon, I say, had his failings, they were
failings of very little importance - faults indeed which, in other
tempers, have often been looked upon rather in the light of virtues. As
regards one of these foibles, I should not even have mentioned it in this
history but for the remarkable prominency - the extreme _alto relievo_ -
in which it jutted out from the plane of his general disposition. He could
never let slip an opportunity of making a bargain.

{*1} MD,<,l

Not that he was avaricious - no. It was by no means necessary to the
satisfaction of the philosopher, that the bargain should be to his own
proper advantage. Provided a trade could be effected - a trade of any
kind, upon any terms, or under any circumstances - a triumphant smile was
seen for many days thereafter to enlighten his countenance, and a knowing
wink of the eye to give evidence of his sagacity.

At any epoch it would not be very wonderful if a humor so peculiar as
the one I have just mentioned, should elicit attention and remark. At the
epoch of our narrative, had this peculiarity not attracted observation,
there would have been room for wonder indeed. It was soon reported that,
upon all occasions of the kind, the smile of Bon-Bon was wont to differ
widely from the downright grin with which he would laugh at his own jokes,
or welcome an acquaintance. Hints were thrown out of an exciting nature;
stories were told of perilous bargains made in a hurry and repented of at
leisure; and instances were adduced of unaccountable capacities, vague
longings, and unnatural inclinations implanted by the author of all evil
for wise purposes of his own.

The philosopher had other weaknesses - but they are scarcely worthy
our serious examination. For example, there are few men of extraordinary
profundity who are found wanting in an inclination for the bottle. Whether
this inclination be an exciting cause, or rather a valid proof of such
profundity, it is a nice thing to say. Bon-Bon, as far as I can learn, did
not think the subject adapted to minute investigation; - nor do I. Yet in
the indulgence of a propensity so truly classical, it is not to be
supposed that the restaurateur would lose sight of that intuitive
discrimination which was wont to characterize, at one and the same time,
his essais and his omelettes. In his seclusions the Vin de Bourgogne had
its allotted hour, and there were appropriate moments for the Cotes du
Rhone. With him Sauterne was to Medoc what Catullus was to Homer. He would
sport with a syllogism in sipping St. Peray, but unravel an argument over
Clos de Vougeot, and upset a theory in a torrent of Chambertin. Well had
it been if the same quick sense of propriety had attended him in the
peddling propensity to which I have formerly alluded - but this was by no
means the case. Indeed to say the truth, that trait of mind in the
philosophic Bon-Bon did begin at length to assume a character of strange
intensity and mysticism, and appeared deeply tinctured with the diablerie
of his favorite German studies.

To enter the little Cafe in the cul-de-sac Le Febvre was, at the
period of our tale, to enter the sanctum of a man of genius. Bon-Bon was a
man of genius. There was not a sous-cusinier in Rouen, who could not have
told you that Bon-Bon was a man of genius. His very cat knew it, and
forebore to whisk her tail in the presence of the man of genius. His large
water-dog was acquainted with the fact, and upon the approach of his
master, betrayed his sense of inferiority by a sanctity of deportment, a
debasement of the ears, and a dropping of the lower jaw not altogether
unworthy of a dog. It is, however, true that much of this habitual respect
might have been attributed to the personal appearance of the
metaphysician. A distinguished exterior will, I am constrained to say,
have its way even with a beast; and I am willing to allow much in the
outward man of the restaurateur calculated to impress the imagination of
the quadruped. There is a peculiar majesty about the atmosphere of the
little great - if I may be permitted so equivocal an expression - which
mere physical bulk alone will be found at all times inefficient in
creating. If, however, Bon-Bon was barely three feet in height, and if his
head was diminutively small, still it was impossible to behold the
rotundity of his stomach without a sense of magnificence nearly bordering
upon the sublime. In its size both dogs and men must have seen a type of
his acquirements - in its immensity a fitting habitation for his immortal

I might here - if it so pleased me - dilate upon the matter of
habiliment, and other mere circumstances of the external metaphysician. I
might hint that the hair of our hero was worn short, combed smoothly over
his forehead, and surmounted by a conical-shaped white flannel cap and
tassels - that his pea-green jerkin was not after the fashion of those
worn by the common class of restaurateurs at that day- that the sleeves
were something fuller than the reigning costume permitted - that the cuffs
were turned up, not as usual in that barbarous period, with cloth of the
same quality and color as the garment, but faced in a more fanciful manner
with the particolored velvet of Genoa - that his slippers were of a bright
purple, curiously filigreed, and might have been manufactured in Japan,
but for the exquisite pointing of the toes, and the brilliant tints of the
binding and embroidery - that his breeches were of the yellow satin-like
material called aimable - that his sky-blue cloak, resembling in form a
dressing-wrapper, and richly bestudded all over with crimson devices,
floated cavalierly upon his shoulders like a mist of the morning - and
that his tout ensemble gave rise to the remarkable words of Benevenuta,
the Improvisatrice of Florence, "that it was difficult to say whether
Pierre Bon-Bon was indeed a bird of Paradise, or rather a very Paradise of
perfection." I might, I say, expatiate upon all these points if I pleased,
- but I forbear, merely personal details may be left to historical
novelists,- they are beneath the moral dignity of matter-of-fact.

I have said that "to enter the Cafe in the cul-de-sac Le Febvre was to
enter the sanctum of a man of genius" - but then it was only the man of
genius who could duly estimate the merits of the sanctum. A sign,
consisting of a vast folio, swung before the entrance. On one side of the
volume was painted a bottle; on the reverse a pate. On the back were
visible in large letters Oeuvres de Bon-Bon. Thus was delicately shadowed
forth the two-fold occupation of the proprietor.

Upon stepping over the threshold, the whole interior of the building
presented itself to view. A long, low-pitched room, of antique
construction, was indeed all the accommodation afforded by the Cafe. In a
corner of the apartment stood the bed of the metaphysician. An army of
curtains, together with a canopy a la Grecque, gave it an air at once
classic and comfortable. In the corner diagonary opposite, appeared, in
direct family communion, the properties of the kitchen and the
bibliotheque. A dish of polemics stood peacefully upon the dresser. Here
lay an ovenful of the latest ethics - there a kettle of dudecimo melanges.
Volumes of German morality were hand and glove with the gridiron - a
toasting-fork might be discovered by the side of Eusebius - Plato reclined
at his ease in the frying-pan- and contemporary manuscripts were filed
away upon the spit.

In other respects the Cafe de Bon-Bon might be said to differ little
from the usual restaurants of the period. A fireplace yawned opposite the
door. On the right of the fireplace an open cupboard displayed a
formidable array of labelled bottles.

It was here, about twelve o'clock one night during the severe winter
the comments of his neighbours upon his singular propensity - that Pierre
Bon-Bon, I say, having turned them all out of his house, locked the door
upon them with an oath, and betook himself in no very pacific mood to the
comforts of a leather-bottomed arm-chair, and a fire of blazing fagots.

It was one of those terrific nights which are only met with once or
twice during a century. It snowed fiercely, and the house tottered to its
centre with the floods of wind that, rushing through the crannies in the
wall, and pouring impetuously down the chimney, shook awfully the curtains
of the philosopher's bed, and disorganized the economy of his pate-pans
and papers. The huge folio sign that swung without, exposed to the fury of
the tempest, creaked ominously, and gave out a moaning sound from its
stanchions of solid oak.

It was in no placid temper, I say, that the metaphysician drew up his
chair to its customary station by the hearth. Many circumstances of a
perplexing nature had occurred during the day, to disturb the serenity of
his meditations. In attempting des oeufs a la Princesse, he had
unfortunately perpetrated an omelette a la Reine; the discovery of a
principle in ethics had been frustrated by the overturning of a stew; and
last, not least, he had been thwarted in one of those admirable bargains
which he at all times took such especial delight in bringing to a
successful termination. But in the chafing of his mind at these
unaccountable vicissitudes, there did not fail to be mingled some degree
of that nervous anxiety which the fury of a boisterous night is so well
calculated to produce. Whistling to his more immediate vicinity the large
black water-dog we have spoken of before, and settling himself uneasily in
his chair, he could not help casting a wary and unquiet eye toward those
distant recesses of the apartment whose inexorable shadows not even the
red firelight itself could more than partially succeed in overcoming.
Having completed a scrutiny whose exact purpose was perhaps unintelligible
to himself, he drew close to his seat a small table covered with books and
papers, and soon became absorbed in the task of retouching a voluminous
manuscript, intended for publication on the morrow.

He had been thus occupied for some minutes when "I am in no hurry,
Monsieur Bon-Bon," suddenly whispered a whining voice in the apartment.

"The devil!" ejaculated our hero, starting to his feet, overturning
the table at his side, and staring around him in astonishment.

"Very true," calmly replied the voice.

"Very true! - what is very true? - how came you here?" vociferated the
metaphysician, as his eye fell upon something which lay stretched at full
length upon the bed.

"I was saying," said the intruder, without attending to the
interrogatives, - "I was saying that I am not at all pushed for time -
that the business upon which I took the liberty of calling, is of no
pressing importance - in short, that I can very well wait until you have
finished your Exposition."

"My Exposition! - there now! - how do you know? - how came you to
understand that I was writing an Exposition? - good God!"

"Hush!" replied the figure, in a shrill undertone; and, arising
quickly from the bed, he made a single step toward our hero, while an iron
lamp that depended over-head swung convulsively back from his approach.

The philosopher's amazement did not prevent a narrow scrutiny of the
stranger's dress and appearance. The outlines of his figure, exceedingly
lean, but much above the common height, were rendered minutely distinct,
by means of a faded suit of black cloth which fitted tight to the skin,
but was otherwise cut very much in the style of a century ago. These
garments had evidently been intended for a much shorter person than their
present owner. His ankles and wrists were left naked for several inches.
In his shoes, however, a pair of very brilliant buckles gave the lie to
the extreme poverty implied by the other portions of his dress. His head
was bare, and entirely bald, with the exception of a hinder part, from
which depended a queue of considerable length. A pair of green spectacles,
with side glasses, protected his eyes from the influence of the light, and
at the same time prevented our hero from ascertaining either their color
or their conformation. About the entire person there was no evidence of a
shirt, but a white cravat, of filthy appearance, was tied with extreme
precision around the throat and the ends hanging down formally side by
side gave (although I dare say unintentionally) the idea of an
ecclesiastic. Indeed, many other points both in his appearance and
demeanor might have very well sustained a conception of that nature. Over
his left ear, he carried, after the fashion of a modern clerk, an
instrument resembling the stylus of the ancients. In a breast-pocket of
his coat appeared conspicuously a small black volume fastened with clasps
of steel. This book, whether accidentally or not, was so turned outwardly
from the person as to discover the words "Rituel Catholique" in white
letters upon the back. His entire physiognomy was interestingly saturnine
- even cadaverously pale. The forehead was lofty, and deeply furrowed with
the ridges of contemplation. The corners of the mouth were drawn down into
an expression of the most submissive humility. There was also a clasping
of the hands, as he stepped toward our hero - a deep sigh - and altogether
a look of such utter sanctity as could not have failed to be unequivocally
preposessing. Every shadow of anger faded from the countenance of the
metaphysician, as, having completed a satisfactory survey of his visiter's
person, he shook him cordially by the hand, and conducted him to a seat.

There would however be a radical error in attributing this
instantaneous transition of feeling in the philosopher, to any one of
those causes which might naturally be supposed to have had an influence.
Indeed, Pierre Bon-Bon, from what I have been able to understand of his
disposition, was of all men the least likely to be imposed upon by any
speciousness of exterior deportment. It was impossible that so accurate an
observer of men and things should have failed to discover, upon the
moment, the real character of the personage who had thus intruded upon his
hospitality. To say no more, the conformation of his visiter's feet was
sufficiently remarkable - he maintained lightly upon his head an
inordinately tall hat - there was a tremulous swelling about the hinder
part of his breeches - and the vibration of his coat tail was a palpable
fact. Judge, then, with what feelings of satisfaction our hero found
himself thrown thus at once into the society of a person for whom he had
at all times entertained the most unqualified respect. He was, however,
too much of the diplomatist to let escape him any intimation of his
suspicions in regard to the true state of affairs. It was not his cue to
appear at all conscious of the high honor he thus unexpectedly enjoyed;
but, by leading his guest into the conversation, to elicit some important
ethical ideas, which might, in obtaining a place in his contemplated
publication, enlighten the human race, and at the same time immortalize
himself - ideas which, I should have added, his visitor's great age, and
well-known proficiency in the science of morals, might very well have
enabled him to afford.

Actuated by these enlightened views, our hero bade the gentleman sit
down, while he himself took occasion to throw some fagots upon the fire,
and place upon the now re-established table some bottles of Mousseux.
Having quickly completed these operations, he drew his chair vis-a-vis to
his companion's, and waited until the latter should open the conversation.
But plans even the most skilfully matured are often thwarted in the outset
of their application - and the restaurateur found himself nonplussed by
the very first words of his visiter's speech.

"I see you know me, Bon-Bon," said he; "ha! ha! ha! - he! he! he! -
hi! hi! hi! - ho! ho! ho! - hu! hu! hu!" - and the devil, dropping at once
the sanctity of his demeanor, opened to its fullest extent a mouth from
ear to ear, so as to display a set of jagged and fang-like teeth, and,
throwing back his head, laughed long, loudly, wickedly, and uproariously,
while the black dog, crouching down upon his haunches, joined lustily in
the chorus, and the tabby cat, flying off at a tangent, stood up on end,
and shrieked in the farthest corner of the apartment.

Not so the philosopher; he was too much a man of the world either to
laugh like the dog, or by shrieks to betray the indecorous trepidation of
the cat. It must be confessed, he felt a little astonishment to see the
white letters which formed the words "Rituel Catholique" on the book in
his guest's pocket, momently changing both their color and their import,
and in a few seconds, in place of the original title the words Regitre des
Condamnes blazed forth in characters of red. This startling circumstance,
when Bon-Bon replied to his visiter's remark, imparted to his manner an
air of embarrassment which probably might, not otherwise have been

"Why sir," said the philosopher, "why sir, to speak sincerely - I I
imagine - I have some faint - some very faint idea - of the remarkable

"Oh! - ah! - yes! - very well!" interrupted his Majesty; "say no more
- I see how it is." And hereupon, taking off his green spectacles, he
wiped the glasses carefully with the sleeve of his coat, and deposited
them in his pocket.

If Bon-Bon had been astonished at the incident of the book, his
amazement was now much increased by the spectacle which here presented
itself to view. In raising his eyes, with a strong feeling of curiosity to
ascertain the color of his guest's, he found them by no means black, as he
had anticipated - nor gray, as might have been imagined - nor yet hazel
nor blue - nor indeed yellow nor red - nor purple - nor white - nor green
- nor any other color in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath, or in
the waters under the earth. In short, Pierre Bon-Bon not only saw plainly
that his Majesty had no eyes whatsoever, but could discover no indications
of their having existed at any previous period - for the space where eyes
should naturally have been was, I am constrained to say, simply a dead
level of flesh.

It was not in the nature of the metaphysician to forbear making some
inquiry into the sources of so strange a phenomenon, and the reply of his
Majesty was at once prompt, dignified, and satisfactory.

"Eyes! my dear Bon-Bon - eyes! did you say? - oh! - ah! - I perceive!
The ridiculous prints, eh, which are in, circulation, have given you a
false idea of my personal appearance? Eyes! - true. Eyes, Pierre Bon-Bon,
are very well in their proper place - that, you would say, is the head? -
right - the head of a worm. To you, likewise, these optics are
indispensable - yet I will convince you that my vision is more penetrating
than your own. There is a cat I see in the corner - a pretty cat- look at
her - observe her well. Now, Bon-Bon, do you behold the thoughts - the
thoughts, I say, - the ideas - the reflections - which are being
engendered in her pericranium? There it is, now - you do not! She is
thinking we admire the length of her tail and the profundity of her mind.
She has just concluded that I am the most distinguished of ecclesiastics,
and that you are the most superficial of metaphysicians. Thus you see I am
not altogether blind; but to one of my profession, the eyes you speak of
would be merely an incumbrance, liable at any time to be put out by a
toasting-iron, or a pitchfork. To you, I allow, these optical affairs are
indispensable. Endeavor, Bon-Bon, to use them well; - my vision is the

Hereupon the guest helped himself to the wine upon the table, and
pouring out a bumper for Bon-Bon, requested him to drink it without
scruple, and make himself perfectly at home.

"A clever book that of yours, Pierre," resumed his Majesty, tapping
our friend knowingly upon the shoulder, as the latter put down his glass
after a thorough compliance with his visiter's injunction. "A clever book
that of yours, upon my honor. It's a work after my own heart. Your
arrangement of the matter, I think, however, might be improved, and many
of your notions remind me of Aristotle. That philosopher was one of my
most intimate acquaintances. I liked him as much for his terrible ill
temper, as for his happy knack at making a blunder. There is only one
solid truth in all that he has written, and for that I gave him the hint
out of pure compassion for his absurdity. I suppose, Pierre Bon-Bon, you
very well know to what divine moral truth I am alluding?"

"Cannot say that I -"

"Indeed! - why it was I who told Aristotle that by sneezing, men
expelled superfluous ideas through the proboscis."

"Which is - hiccup! - undoubtedly the case," said the metaphysician, while
he poured out for himself another bumper of Mousseux, and offered his
snuff-box to the fingers of his visiter.

"There was Plato, too," continued his Majesty, modestly declining the
snuff-box and the compliment it implied - "there was Plato, too, for whom
I, at one time, felt all the affection of a friend. You knew Plato,
Bon-Bon? - ah, no, I beg a thousand pardons. He met me at Athens, one day,
in the Parthenon, and told me he was distressed for an idea. I bade him
write, down that o nous estin aulos. He said that he would do so, and went
home, while I stepped over to the pyramids. But my conscience smote me for
having uttered a truth, even to aid a friend, and hastening back to
Athens, I arrived behind the philosopher's chair as he was inditing the

"Giving the lambda a fillip with my finger, I turned it upside down.
So the sentence now read 'o nous estin augos', and is, you perceive, the
fundamental doctrines in his metaphysics."

"Were you ever at Rome?" asked the restaurateur, as he finished his
second bottle of Mousseux, and drew from the closet a larger supply of

But once, Monsieur Bon-Bon, but once. There was a time," said the
devil, as if reciting some passage from a book - "there was a time when
occurred an anarchy of five years, during which the republic, bereft of
all its officers, had no magistracy besides the tribunes of the people,
and these were not legally vested with any degree of executive power - at
that time, Monsieur Bon-Bon - at that time only I was in Rome, and I have
no earthly acquaintance, consequently, with any of its philosophy."*

{*2} Ils ecrivaient sur la Philosophie (_Cicero, Lucretius, Seneca_) mais
c'etait la Philosophie Grecque. - _Condorcet_.

"What do you think of - what do you think of - hiccup! - Epicurus?"

"What do I think of whom?" said the devil, in astonishment, "you
cannot surely mean to find any fault with Epicurus! What do I think of
Epicurus! Do you mean me, sir? - I am Epicurus! I am the same philosopher
who wrote each of the three hundred treatises commemorated by Diogenes

"That's a lie!" said the metaphysician, for the wine had gotten a
little into his head.

"Very well! - very well, sir! - very well, indeed, sir!" said his
Majesty, apparently much flattered.

"That's a lie!" repeated the restaurateur, dogmatically; "that's a -
hiccup! - a lie!"

"Well, well, have it your own way!" said the devil, pacifically, and
Bon-Bon, having beaten his Majesty at argument, thought it his duty to
conclude a second bottle of Chambertin.

"As I was saying," resumed the visiter - "as I was observing a little
while ago, there are some very outre notions in that book of yours
Monsieur Bon-Bon. What, for instance, do you mean by all that humbug about
the soul? Pray, sir, what is the soul?"

"The - hiccup! - soul," replied the metaphysician, referring to his
MS., "is undoubtedly-"

"No, sir!"


"No, sir!"


"No, sir!"


"No, sir!"


"No, sir!"

"Hiccup! -"

"No, sir!"

"And beyond all question, a-"

"No sir, the soul is no such thing!" (Here the philosopher, looking
daggers, took occasion to make an end, upon the spot, of his third bottle
of Chambertin.)

"Then - hic-cup! - pray, sir - what - what is it?"

"That is neither here nor there, Monsieur Bon-Bon," replied his
Majesty, musingly. "I have tasted - that is to say, I have known some very
bad souls, and some too - pretty good ones." Here he smacked his lips,
and, having unconsciously let fall his hand upon the volume in his pocket,
was seized with a violent fit of sneezing.

He continued.

"There was the soul of Cratinus - passable: Aristophanes - racy: Plato
- exquisite- not your Plato, but Plato the comic poet; your Plato would
have turned the stomach of Cerberus - faugh! Then let me see! there were
Naevius, and Andronicus, and Plautus, and Terentius. Then there were
Lucilius, and Catullus, and Naso, and Quintus Flaccus, - dear Quinty! as I
called him when he sung a seculare for my amusement, while I toasted him,
in pure good humor, on a fork. But they want flavor, these Romans. One fat
Greek is worth a dozen of them, and besides will keep, which cannot be
said of a Quirite. - Let us taste your Sauterne."

Bon-Bon had by this time made up his mind to nil admirari and
endeavored to hand down the bottles in question. He was, however,
conscious of a strange sound in the room like the wagging of a tail. Of
this, although extremely indecent in his Majesty, the philosopher took no
notice: - simply kicking the dog, and requesting him to be quiet. The
visiter continued:

"I found that Horace tasted very much like Aristotle; - you know I am
fond of variety. Terentius I could not have told from Menander. Naso, to
my astonishment, was Nicander in disguise. Virgilius had a strong twang of
Theocritus. Martial put me much in mind of Archilochus - and Titus Livius
was positively Polybius and none other."

"Hic-cup!" here replied Bon-Bon, and his majesty proceeded:

"But if I have a penchant, Monsieur Bon-Bon - if I have a penchant, it
is for a philosopher. Yet, let me tell you, sir, it is not every dev - I
mean it is not every gentleman who knows how to choose a philosopher. Long
ones are not good; and the best, if not carefully shelled, are apt to be a
little rancid on account of the gall!"


"I mean taken out of the carcass."

"What do you think of a - hic-cup! - physician?"

"Don't mention them! - ugh! ugh! ugh!" (Here his Majesty retched
violently.) "I never tasted but one - that rascal Hippocrates! - smelt of
asafoetida - ugh! ugh! ugh! - caught a wretched cold washing him in the
Styx - and after all he gave me the cholera morbus."

"The - hiccup - wretch!" ejaculated Bon-Bon, "the - hic-cup! -
absorption of a pill-box!" - and the philosopher dropped a tear.

"After all," continued the visiter, "after all, if a dev - if a
gentleman wishes to live, he must have more talents than one or two; and
with us a fat face is an evidence of diplomacy."

"How so?"

"Why, we are sometimes exceedingly pushed for provisions. You must
know that, in a climate so sultry as mine, it is frequently impossible to
keep a spirit alive for more than two or three hours; and after death,
unless pickled immediately (and a pickled spirit is not good), they will -
smell - you understand, eh? Putrefaction is always to be apprehended when
the souls are consigned to us in the usual way."

"Hiccup! - hiccup! - good God! how do you manage?"

Here the iron lamp commenced swinging with redoubled violence, and the
devil half started from his seat; - however, with a slight sigh, he
recovered his composure, merely saying to our hero in a low tone: "I tell
you what, Pierre Bon-Bon, we must have no more swearing."

The host swallowed another bumper, by way of denoting thorough
comprehension and acquiescence, and the visiter continued.

"Why, there are several ways of managing. The most of us starve: some
put up with the pickle: for my part I purchase my spirits vivente corpore,
in which case I find they keep very well."

"But the body! - hiccup! - the body!"

"The body, the body - well, what of the body? - oh! ah! I perceive.
Why, sir, the body is not at all affected by the transaction. I have made
innumerable purchases of the kind in my day, and the parties never
experienced any inconvenience. There were Cain and Nimrod, and Nero, and
Caligula, and Dionysius, and Pisistratus, and - and a thousand others, who
never knew what it was to have a soul during the latter part of their
lives; yet, sir, these men adorned society. Why possession of his
faculties, mental and corporeal? Who writes a keener epigram? Who reasons
more wittily? Who - but stay! I have his agreement in my pocket-book."

Thus saying, he produced a red leather wallet, and took from it a
number of papers. Upon some of these Bon-Bon caught a glimpse of the
letters Machi - Maza- Robesp - with the words Caligula, George, Elizabeth.
His Majesty selected a narrow slip of parchment, and from it read aloud
the following words:

"In consideration of certain mental endowments which it is unnecessary
to specify, and in further consideration of one thousand louis d'or, I
being aged one year and one month, do hereby make over to the bearer of
this agreement all my right, title, and appurtenance in the shadow called
my soul. (Signed) A...." {*4} (Here His Majesty repeated a name which I
did not feel justified in indicating more unequivocally.)

{*4} Quere-Arouet?

"A clever fellow that," resumed he; "but like you, Monsieur Bon-Bon,
he was mistaken about the soul. The soul a shadow, truly! The soul a
shadow; Ha! ha! ha! - he! he! he! - hu! hu! hu! Only think of a fricasseed

"Only think - hiccup! - of a fricasseed shadow!" exclaimed our hero,
whose faculties were becoming much illuminated by the profundity of his
Majesty's discourse.

"Only think of a hiccup! - fricasseed shadow!! Now, damme! - hiccup! -
humph! If I would have been such a - hiccup! - nincompoop! My soul, Mr. -

"Your soul, Monsieur Bon-Bon?"

"Yes, sir - hiccup! - my soul is-"

"What, sir?"

"No shadow, damme!"

"Did you mean to say-"

"Yes, sir, my soul is - hiccup! - humph! - yes, sir."

"Did you not intend to assert-"

"My soul is - hiccup! - peculiarly qualified for - hiccup! - a-"

"What, sir?"







"Ragout and fricandeau - and see here, my good fellow! I'll let you
have it- hiccup! - a bargain." Here the philosopher slapped his Majesty
upon the back.

"Couldn't think of such a thing," said the latter calmly, at the same
time rising from his seat. The metaphysician stared.

"Am supplied at present," said his Majesty.

"Hiccup - e-h?" said the philosopher.

"Have no funds on hand."


"Besides, very unhandsome in me -"


"To take advantage of-"


"Your present disgusting and ungentlemanly situation."

Here the visiter bowed and withdrew - in what manner could not
precisely be ascertained - but in a well-concerted effort to discharge a
bottle at "the villain," the slender chain was severed that depended from
the ceiling, and the metaphysician prostrated by the downfall of the lamp.

~~~ End of Text ~~~



THE _symposium_ of the preceding evening had been a little too much
for my nerves. I had a wretched headache, and was desperately drowsy.
Instead of going out therefore to spend the evening as I had proposed, it
occurred to me that I could not do a wiser thing than just eat a mouthful
of supper and go immediately to bed.

A light supper of course. I am exceedingly fond of Welsh rabbit. More than
a pound at once, however, may not at all times be advisable. Still, there
can be no material objection to two. And really between two and three,
there is merely a single unit of difference. I ventured, perhaps, upon
four. My wife will have it five; -- but, clearly, she has confounded two
very distinct affairs. The abstract number, five, I am willing to admit;
but, concretely, it has reference to bottles of Brown Stout, without
which, in the way of condiment, Welsh rabbit is to be eschewed.

Having thus concluded a frugal meal, and donned my night-cap, with the
serene hope of enjoying it till noon the next day, I placed my head upon
the pillow, and, through the aid of a capital conscience, fell into a
profound slumber forthwith.

But when were the hopes of humanity fulfilled? I could not have completed
my third snore when there came a furious ringing at the street-door bell,
and then an impatient thumping at the knocker, which awakened me at once.
In a minute afterward, and while I was still rubbing my eyes, my wife
thrust in my face a note, from my old friend, Doctor Ponnonner. It ran

"Come to me, by all means, my dear good friend, as soon as you
receive this. Come and help us to rejoice. At last, by long persevering
diplomacy, I have gained the assent of the Directors of the City Museum,
to my examination of the Mummy -- you know the one I mean. I have
permission to unswathe it and open it, if desirable. A few friends only
will be present -- you, of course. The Mummy is now at my house, and we
shall begin to unroll it at eleven to-night.

"Yours, ever,


By the time I had reached the "Ponnonner," it struck me that I was as wide
awake as a man need be. I leaped out of bed in an ecstacy, overthrowing
all in my way; dressed myself with a rapidity truly marvellous; and set
off, at the top of my speed, for the doctor's.

There I found a very eager company assembled. They had been awaiting me
with much impatience; the Mummy was extended upon the dining-table; and
the moment I entered its examination was commenced.

It was one of a pair brought, several years previously, by Captain Arthur
Sabretash, a cousin of Ponnonner's from a tomb near Eleithias, in the
Lybian mountains, a considerable distance above Thebes on the Nile. The
grottoes at this point, although less magnificent than the Theban
sepulchres, are of higher interest, on account of affording more numerous
illustrations of the private life of the Egyptians. The chamber from which
our specimen was taken, was said to be very rich in such illustrations;
the walls being completely covered with fresco paintings and bas-reliefs,
while statues, vases, and Mosaic work of rich patterns, indicated the vast
wealth of the deceased.

The treasure had been deposited in the Museum precisely in the same
condition in which Captain Sabretash had found it; -- that is to say, the
coffin had not been disturbed. For eight years it had thus stood, subject
only externally to public inspection. We had now, therefore, the complete
Mummy at our disposal; and to those who are aware how very rarely the
unransacked antique reaches our shores, it will be evident, at once that
we had great reason to congratulate ourselves upon our good fortune.

Approaching the table, I saw on it a large box, or case, nearly seven feet
long, and perhaps three feet wide, by two feet and a half deep. It was
oblong -- not coffin-shaped. The material was at first supposed to be the
wood of the sycamore (_platanus_), but, upon cutting into it, we found it
to be pasteboard, or, more properly, _papier mache_, composed of papyrus.
It was thickly ornamented with paintings, representing funeral scenes, and
other mournful subjects -- interspersed among which, in every variety of
position, were certain series of hieroglyphical characters, intended, no
doubt, for the name of the departed. By good luck, Mr. Gliddon formed one
of our party; and he had no difficulty in translating the letters, which
were simply phonetic, and represented the word _Allamistakeo_.

We had some difficulty in getting this case open without injury; but
having at length accomplished the task, we came to a second,
coffin-shaped, and very considerably less in size than the exterior one,
but resembling it precisely in every other respect. The interval between
the two was filled with resin, which had, in some degree, defaced the
colors of the interior box.

Upon opening this latter (which we did quite easily), we arrived at a
third case, also coffin-shaped, and varying from the second one in no
particular, except in that of its material, which was cedar, and still
emitted the peculiar and highly aromatic odor of that wood. Between the
second and the third case there was no interval -- the one fitting
accurately within the other.

Removing the third case, we discovered and took out the body itself. We
had expected to find it, as usual, enveloped in frequent rolls, or
bandages, of linen; but, in place of these, we found a sort of sheath,
made of papyrus, and coated with a layer of plaster, thickly gilt and
painted. The paintings represented subjects connected with the various
supposed duties of the soul, and its presentation to different divinities,
with numerous identical human figures, intended, very probably, as
portraits of the persons embalmed. Extending from head to foot was a
columnar, or perpendicular, inscription, in phonetic hieroglyphics, giving
again his name and titles, and the names and titles of his relations.

Around the neck thus ensheathed, was a collar of cylindrical glass beads,
diverse in color, and so arranged as to form images of deities, of the
scarabaeus, etc, with the winged globe. Around the small of the waist was
a similar collar or belt.

Stripping off the papyrus, we found the flesh in excellent preservation,
with no perceptible odor. The color was reddish. The skin was hard,
smooth, and glossy. The teeth and hair were in good condition. The eyes
(it seemed) had been removed, and glass ones substituted, which were very
beautiful and wonderfully life-like, with the exception of somewhat too
determined a stare. The fingers and the nails were brilliantly gilded.

Mr. Gliddon was of opinion, from the redness of the epidermis, that the
embalmment had been effected altogether by asphaltum; but, on scraping the
surface with a steel instrument, and throwing into the fire some of the
powder thus obtained, the flavor of camphor and other sweet-scented gums
became apparent.

We searched the corpse very carefully for the usual openings through which
the entrails are extracted, but, to our surprise, we could discover none.
No member of the party was at that period aware that entire or unopened
mummies are not infrequently met. The brain it was customary to withdraw
through the nose; the intestines through an incision in the side; the body
was then shaved, washed, and salted; then laid aside for several weeks,
when the operation of embalming, properly so called, began.

As no trace of an opening could be found, Doctor Ponnonner was preparing
his instruments for dissection, when I observed that it was then past two
o'clock. Hereupon it was agreed to postpone the internal examination until
the next evening; and we were about to separate for the present, when some
one suggested an experiment or two with the Voltaic pile.

The application of electricity to a mummy three or four thousand years old
at the least, was an idea, if not very sage, still sufficiently original,
and we all caught it at once. About one-tenth in earnest and nine-tenths
in jest, we arranged a battery in the Doctor's study, and conveyed thither
the Egyptian.

It was only after much trouble that we succeeded in laying bare some
portions of the temporal muscle which appeared of less stony rigidity than
other parts of the frame, but which, as we had anticipated, of course,
gave no indication of galvanic susceptibility when brought in contact with
the wire. This, the first trial, indeed, seemed decisive, and, with a
hearty laugh at our own absurdity, we were bidding each other good night,
when my eyes, happening to fall upon those of the Mummy, were there
immediately riveted in amazement. My brief glance, in fact, had sufficed
to assure me that the orbs which we had all supposed to be glass, and
which were originally noticeable for a certain wild stare, were now so far
covered by the lids, that only a small portion of the _tunica albuginea_
remained visible.

With a shout I called attention to the fact, and it became immediately
obvious to all.

I cannot say that I was alarmed at the phenomenon, because "alarmed" is,
in my case, not exactly the word. It is possible, however, that, but for
the Brown Stout, I might have been a little nervous. As for the rest of
the company, they really made no attempt at concealing the downright
fright which possessed them. Doctor Ponnonner was a man to be pitied. Mr.
Gliddon, by some peculiar process, rendered himself invisible. Mr. Silk
Buckingham, I fancy, will scarcely be so bold as to deny that he made his
way, upon all fours, under the table.

After the first shock of astonishment, however, we resolved, as a matter
of course, upon further experiment forthwith. Our operations were now
directed against the great toe of the right foot. We made an incision over
the outside of the exterior _os sesamoideum pollicis pedis,_ and thus got
at the root of the abductor muscle. Readjusting the battery, we now
applied the fluid to the bisected nerves -- when, with a movement of
exceeding life-likeness, the Mummy first drew up its right knee so as to
bring it nearly in contact with the abdomen, and then, straightening the
limb with inconceivable force, bestowed a kick upon Doctor Ponnonner,
which had the effect of discharging that gentleman, like an arrow from a
catapult, through a window into the street below.

We rushed out _en masse_ to bring in the mangled remains of the victim,
but had the happiness to meet him upon the staircase, coming up in an
unaccountable hurry, brimful of the most ardent philosophy, and more than
ever impressed with the necessity of prosecuting our experiment with vigor
and with zeal.

It was by his advice, accordingly, that we made, upon the spot, a profound
incision into the tip of the subject's nose, while the Doctor himself,
laying violent hands upon it, pulled it into vehement contact with the

Morally and physically -- figuratively and literally -- was the effect
electric. In the first place, the corpse opened its eyes and winked very
rapidly for several minutes, as does Mr. Barnes in the pantomime, in the
second place, it sneezed; in the third, it sat upon end; in the fourth, it
shook its fist in Doctor Ponnonner's face; in the fifth, turning to
Messieurs Gliddon and Buckingham, it addressed them, in very capital
Egyptian, thus:

"I must say, gentlemen, that I am as much surprised as I am mortified at
your behavior. Of Doctor Ponnonner nothing better was to be expected. He
is a poor little fat fool who knows no better. I pity and forgive him. But
you, Mr. Gliddon- and you, Silk -- who have travelled and resided in Egypt
until one might imagine you to the manner born -- you, I say who have been
so much among us that you speak Egyptian fully as well, I think, as you
write your mother tongue -- you, whom I have always been led to regard as
the firm friend of the mummies -- I really did anticipate more gentlemanly
conduct from you. What am I to think of your standing quietly by and
seeing me thus unhandsomely used? What am I to suppose by your permitting
Tom, Dick, and Harry to strip me of my coffins, and my clothes, in this
wretchedly cold climate? In what light (to come to the point) am I to
regard your aiding and abetting that miserable little villain, Doctor
Ponnonner, in pulling me by the nose?"

It will be taken for granted, no doubt, that upon hearing this speech
under the circumstances, we all either made for the door, or fell into
violent hysterics, or went off in a general swoon. One of these three
things was, I say, to be expected. Indeed each and all of these lines of
conduct might have been very plausibly pursued. And, upon my word, I am at
a loss to know how or why it was that we pursued neither the one nor the
other. But, perhaps, the true reason is to be sought in the spirit of the
age, which proceeds by the rule of contraries altogether, and is now
usually admitted as the solution of every thing in the way of paradox and
impossibility. Or, perhaps, after all, it was only the Mummy's exceedingly
natural and matter-of-course air that divested his words of the terrible.
However this may be, the facts are clear, and no member of our party
betrayed any very particular trepidation, or seemed to consider that any
thing had gone very especially wrong.

For my part I was convinced it was all right, and merely stepped aside,
out of the range of the Egyptian's fist. Doctor Ponnonner thrust his hands
into his breeches' pockets, looked hard at the Mummy, and grew excessively
red in the face. Mr. Glidden stroked his whiskers and drew up the collar
of his shirt. Mr. Buckingham hung down his head, and put his right thumb
into the left corner of his mouth.

The Egyptian regarded him with a severe countenance for some minutes and
at length, with a sneer, said:

"Why don't you speak, Mr. Buckingham? Did you hear what I asked you, or
not? Do take your thumb out of your mouth!"

Mr. Buckingham, hereupon, gave a slight start, took his right thumb out of
the left corner of his mouth, and, by way of indemnification inserted his
left thumb in the right corner of the aperture above-mentioned.

Not being able to get an answer from Mr. B., the figure turned peevishly
to Mr. Gliddon, and, in a peremptory tone, demanded in general terms what
we all meant.

Mr. Gliddon replied at great length, in phonetics; and but for the
deficiency of American printing-offices in hieroglyphical type, it would
afford me much pleasure to record here, in the original, the whole of his
very excellent speech.

I may as well take this occasion to remark, that all the subsequent
conversation in which the Mummy took a part, was carried on in primitive
Egyptian, through the medium (so far as concerned myself and other
untravelled members of the company) -- through the medium, I say, of
Messieurs Gliddon and Buckingham, as interpreters. These gentlemen spoke
the mother tongue of the Mummy with inimitable fluency and grace; but I
could not help observing that (owing, no doubt, to the introduction of
images entirely modern, and, of course, entirely novel to the stranger)
the two travellers were reduced, occasionally, to the employment of
sensible forms for the purpose of conveying a particular meaning. Mr.
Gliddon, at one period, for example, could not make the Egyptian
comprehend the term "politics," until he sketched upon the wall, with a
bit of charcoal a little carbuncle-nosed gentleman, out at elbows,
standing upon a stump, with his left leg drawn back, right arm thrown
forward, with his fist shut, the eyes rolled up toward Heaven, and the
mouth open at an angle of ninety degrees. Just in the same way Mr.
Buckingham failed to convey the absolutely modern idea "wig," until (at
Doctor Ponnonner's suggestion) he grew very pale in the face, and
consented to take off his own.

It will be readily understood that Mr. Gliddon's discourse turned chiefly
upon the vast benefits accruing to science from the unrolling and
disembowelling of mummies; apologizing, upon this score, for any
disturbance that might have been occasioned him, in particular, the
individual Mummy called Allamistakeo; and concluding with a mere hint (for
it could scarcely be considered more) that, as these little matters were
now explained, it might be as well to proceed with the investigation
intended. Here Doctor Ponnonner made ready his instruments.

In regard to the latter suggestions of the orator, it appears that
Allamistakeo had certain scruples of conscience, the nature of which I did
not distinctly learn; but he expressed himself satisfied with the
apologies tendered, and, getting down from the table, shook hands with the
company all round.

When this ceremony was at an end, we immediately busied ourselves in
repairing the damages which our subject had sustained from the scalpel. We
sewed up the wound in his temple, bandaged his foot, and applied a square
inch of black plaster to the tip of his nose.

It was now observed that the Count (this was the title, it seems, of
Allamistakeo) had a slight fit of shivering -- no doubt from the cold. The
Doctor immediately repaired to his wardrobe, and soon returned with a
black dress coat, made in Jennings' best manner, a pair of sky-blue plaid
pantaloons with straps, a pink gingham chemise, a flapped vest of brocade,
a white sack overcoat, a walking cane with a hook, a hat with no brim,
patent-leather boots, straw-colored kid gloves, an eye-glass, a pair of
whiskers, and a waterfall cravat. Owing to the disparity of size between
the Count and the doctor (the proportion being as two to one), there was
some little difficulty in adjusting these habiliments upon the person of
the Egyptian; but when all was arranged, he might have been said to be
dressed. Mr. Gliddon, therefore, gave him his arm, and led him to a
comfortable chair by the fire, while the Doctor rang the bell upon the
spot and ordered a supply of cigars and wine.

The conversation soon grew animated. Much curiosity was, of course,
expressed in regard to the somewhat remarkable fact of Allamistakeo's
still remaining alive.

"I should have thought," observed Mr. Buckingham, "that it is high time
you were dead."

"Why," replied the Count, very much astonished, "I am little more than
seven hundred years old! My father lived a thousand, and was by no means
in his dotage when he died."

Here ensued a brisk series of questions and computations, by means of
which it became evident that the antiquity of the Mummy had been grossly
misjudged. It had been five thousand and fifty years and some months since
he had been consigned to the catacombs at Eleithias.

"But my remark," resumed Mr. Buckingham, "had no reference to your age at
the period of interment (I am willing to grant, in fact, that you are
still a young man), and my illusion was to the immensity of time during
which, by your own showing, you must have been done up in asphaltum."

"In what?" said the Count.

"In asphaltum," persisted Mr. B.

"Ah, yes; I have some faint notion of what you mean; it might be made to
answer, no doubt -- but in my time we employed scarcely any thing else
than the Bichloride of Mercury."

"But what we are especially at a loss to understand," said Doctor
Ponnonner, "is how it happens that, having been dead and buried in Egypt
five thousand years ago, you are here to-day all alive and looking so
delightfully well."

"Had I been, as you say, dead," replied the Count, "it is more than
probable that dead, I should still be; for I perceive you are yet in the
infancy of Calvanism, and cannot accomplish with it what was a common
thing among us in the old days. But the fact is, I fell into catalepsy,
and it was considered by my best friends that I was either dead or should
be; they accordingly embalmed me at once -- I presume you are aware of the
chief principle of the embalming process?"

"Why not altogether."

"Why, I perceive -- a deplorable condition of ignorance! Well I cannot
enter into details just now: but it is necessary to explain that to embalm
(properly speaking), in Egypt, was to arrest indefinitely all the animal
functions subjected to the process. I use the word 'animal' in its widest
sense, as including the physical not more than the moral and vital being.
I repeat that the leading principle of embalmment consisted, with us, in
the immediately arresting, and holding in perpetual abeyance, all the
animal functions subjected to the process. To be brief, in whatever
condition the individual was, at the period of embalmment, in that
condition he remained. Now, as it is my good fortune to be of the blood of
the Scarabaeus, I was embalmed alive, as you see me at present."

"The blood of the Scarabaeus!" exclaimed Doctor Ponnonner.

"Yes. The Scarabaeus was the insignium or the 'arms,' of a very
distinguished and very rare patrician family. To be 'of the blood of the
Scarabaeus,' is merely to be one of that family of which the Scarabaeus is
the insignium. I speak figuratively."

"But what has this to do with you being alive?"

"Why, it is the general custom in Egypt to deprive a corpse, before
embalmment, of its bowels and brains; the race of the Scarabaei alone did
not coincide with the custom. Had I not been a Scarabeus, therefore, I
should have been without bowels and brains; and without either it is
inconvenient to live."

"I perceive that," said Mr. Buckingham, "and I presume that all the entire
mummies that come to hand are of the race of Scarabaei."

"Beyond doubt."

"I thought," said Mr. Gliddon, very meekly, "that the Scarabaeus was one
of the Egyptian gods."

"One of the Egyptian _what?"_ exclaimed the Mummy, starting to its feet.

"Gods!" repeated the traveller.

"Mr. Gliddon, I really am astonished to hear you talk in this style," said
the Count, resuming his chair. "No nation upon the face of the earth has
ever acknowledged more than one god. The Scarabaeus, the Ibis, etc., were
with us (as similar creatures have been with others) the symbols, or
media, through which we offered worship to the Creator too august to be
more directly approached."

There was here a pause. At length the colloquy was renewed by Doctor

"It is not improbable, then, from what you have explained," said he, "that
among the catacombs near the Nile there may exist other mummies of the
Scarabaeus tribe, in a condition of vitality?"

"There can be no question of it," replied the Count; "all the Scarabaei
embalmed accidentally while alive, are alive now. Even some of those
purposely so embalmed, may have been overlooked by their executors, and
still remain in the tomb."

"Will you be kind enough to explain," I said, "what you mean by 'purposely
so embalmed'?"

"With great pleasure!" answered the Mummy, after surveying me leisurely
through his eye-glass -- for it was the first time I had ventured to
address him a direct question.

"With great pleasure," he said. "The usual duration of man's life, in my
time, was about eight hundred years. Few men died, unless by most
extraordinary accident, before the age of six hundred; few lived longer
than a decade of centuries; but eight were considered the natural term.
After the discovery of the embalming principle, as I have already
described it to you, it occurred to our philosophers that a laudable
curiosity might be gratified, and, at the same time, the interests of
science much advanced, by living this natural term in installments. In the
case of history, indeed, experience demonstrated that something of this
kind was indispensable. An historian, for example, having attained the age
of five hundred, would write a book with great labor and then get himself
carefully embalmed; leaving instructions to his executors pro tem., that
they should cause him to be revivified after the lapse of a certain period
-- say five or six hundred years. Resuming existence at the expiration of
this time, he would invariably find his great work converted into a
species of hap-hazard note-book -- that is to say, into a kind of literary
arena for the conflicting guesses, riddles, and personal squabbles of
whole herds of exasperated commentators. These guesses, etc., which passed
under the name of annotations, or emendations, were found so completely to
have enveloped, distorted, and overwhelmed the text, that the author had
to go about with a lantern to discover his own book. When discovered, it
was never worth the trouble of the search. After re-writing it throughout,
it was regarded as the bounden duty of the historian to set himself to
work immediately in correcting, from his own private knowledge and
experience, the traditions of the day concerning the epoch at which he had
originally lived. Now this process of re-scription and personal
rectification, pursued by various individual sages from time to time, had
the effect of preventing our history from degenerating into absolute

"I beg your pardon," said Doctor Ponnonner at this point, laying his hand
gently upon the arm of the Egyptian -- "I beg your pardon, sir, but may I
presume to interrupt you for one moment?"

"By all means, sir," replied the Count, drawing up.

"I merely wished to ask you a question," said the Doctor. "You mentioned
the historian's personal correction of traditions respecting his own
epoch. Pray, sir, upon an average what proportion of these Kabbala were
usually found to be right?"

"The Kabbala, as you properly term them, sir, were generally discovered to
be precisely on a par with the facts recorded in the un-re-written
histories themselves; -- that is to say, not one individual iota of either
was ever known, under any circumstances, to be not totally and radically

"But since it is quite clear," resumed the Doctor, "that at least five
thousand years have elapsed since your entombment, I take it for granted
that your histories at that period, if not your traditions were
sufficiently explicit on that one topic of universal interest, the
Creation, which took place, as I presume you are aware, only about ten
centuries before."

"Sir!" said the Count Allamistakeo.

The Doctor repeated his remarks, but it was only after much additional
explanation that the foreigner could be made to comprehend them. The
latter at length said, hesitatingly:

"The ideas you have suggested are to me, I confess, utterly novel. During
my time I never knew any one to entertain so singular a fancy as that the
universe (or this world if you will have it so) ever had a beginning at
all. I remember once, and once only, hearing something remotely hinted, by
a man of many speculations, concerning the origin _of the human race;_ and
by this individual, the very word _Adam_ (or Red Earth), which you make
use of, was employed. He employed it, however, in a generical sense, with
reference to the spontaneous germination from rank soil (just as a
thousand of the lower genera of creatures are germinated) -- the
spontaneous germination, I say, of five vast hordes of men, simultaneously
upspringing in five distinct and nearly equal divisions of the globe."

Here, in general, the company shrugged their shoulders, and one or two of
us touched our foreheads with a very significant air. Mr. Silk Buckingham,
first glancing slightly at the occiput and then at the sinciput of
Allamistakeo, spoke as follows:

"The long duration of human life in your time, together with the
occasional practice of passing it, as you have explained, in installments,
must have had, indeed, a strong tendency to the general development and
conglomeration of knowledge. I presume, therefore, that we are to
attribute the marked inferiority of the old Egyptians in all particulars
of science, when compared with the moderns, and more especially with the
Yankees, altogether to the superior solidity of the Egyptian skull."

"I confess again," replied the Count, with much suavity, "that I am
somewhat at a loss to comprehend you; pray, to what particulars of science
do you allude?"

Here our whole party, joining voices, detailed, at great length, the
assumptions of phrenology and the marvels of animal magnetism.

Having heard us to an end, the Count proceeded to relate a few anecdotes,
which rendered it evident that prototypes of Gall and Spurzheim had
flourished and faded in Egypt so long ago as to have been nearly
forgotten, and that the manoeuvres of Mesmer were really very contemptible
tricks when put in collation with the positive miracles of the Theban
savans, who created lice and a great many other similar things.

I here asked the Count if his people were able to calculate eclipses. He
smiled rather contemptuously, and said they were.

This put me a little out, but I began to make other inquiries in regard to
his astronomical knowledge, when a member of the company, who had never as
yet opened his mouth, whispered in my ear, that for information on this
head, I had better consult Ptolemy (whoever Ptolemy is), as well as one
Plutarch de facie lunae.

I then questioned the Mummy about burning-glasses and lenses, and, in
general, about the manufacture of glass; but I had not made an end of my
queries before the silent member again touched me quietly on the elbow,
and begged me for God's sake to take a peep at Diodorus Siculus. As for
the Count, he merely asked me, in the way of reply, if we moderns
possessed any such microscopes as would enable us to cut cameos in the
style of the Egyptians. While I was thinking how I should answer this
question, little Doctor Ponnonner committed himself in a very
extraordinary way.

"Look at our architecture!" he exclaimed, greatly to the indignation of
both the travellers, who pinched him black and blue to no purpose.

"Look," he cried with enthusiasm, "at the Bowling-Green Fountain in New
York! or if this be too vast a contemplation, regard for a moment the
Capitol at Washington, D. C.!" -- and the good little medical man went on
to detail very minutely, the proportions of the fabric to which he
referred. He explained that the portico alone was adorned with no less
than four and twenty columns, five feet in diameter, and ten feet apart.

The Count said that he regretted not being able to remember, just at that
moment, the precise dimensions of any one of the principal buildings of
the city of Aznac, whose foundations were laid in the night of Time, but
the ruins of which were still standing, at the epoch of his entombment, in
a vast plain of sand to the westward of Thebes. He recollected, however,
(talking of the porticoes,) that one affixed to an inferior palace in a
kind of suburb called Carnac, consisted of a hundred and forty-four
columns, thirty-seven feet in circumference, and twenty-five feet apart.
The approach to this portico, from the Nile, was through an avenue two
miles long, composed of sphynxes, statues, and obelisks, twenty, sixty,
and a hundred feet in height. The palace itself (as well as he could
remember) was, in one direction, two miles long, and might have been
altogether about seven in circuit. Its walls were richly painted all over,
within and without, with hieroglyphics. He would not pretend to assert
that even fifty or sixty of the Doctor's Capitols might have been built
within these walls, but he was by no means sure that two or three hundred
of them might not have been squeezed in with some trouble. That palace at
Carnac was an insignificant little building after all. He (the Count),
however, could not conscientiously refuse to admit the ingenuity,
magnificence, and superiority of the Fountain at the Bowling Green, as
described by the Doctor. Nothing like it, he was forced to allow, had ever
been seen in Egypt or elsewhere.

I here asked the Count what he had to say to our railroads.

"Nothing," he replied, "in particular." They were rather slight, rather
ill-conceived, and clumsily put together. They could not be compared, of
course, with the vast, level, direct, iron-grooved causeways upon which
the Egyptians conveyed entire temples and solid obelisks of a hundred and
fifty feet in altitude.

I spoke of our gigantic mechanical forces.

He agreed that we knew something in that way, but inquired how I should
have gone to work in getting up the imposts on the lintels of even the
little palace at Carnac.

This question I concluded not to hear, and demanded if he had any idea of
Artesian wells; but he simply raised his eyebrows; while Mr. Gliddon
winked at me very hard and said, in a low tone, that one had been recently
discovered by the engineers employed to bore for water in the Great Oasis.

I then mentioned our steel; but the foreigner elevated his nose, and asked
me if our steel could have executed the sharp carved work seen on the
obelisks, and which was wrought altogether by edge-tools of copper.

This disconcerted us so greatly that we thought it advisable to vary the
attack to Metaphysics. We sent for a copy of a book called the "Dial," and
read out of it a chapter or two about something that is not very clear,
but which the Bostonians call the Great Movement of Progress.

The Count merely said that Great Movements were awfully common things in
his day, and as for Progress, it was at one time quite a nuisance, but it
never progressed.

We then spoke of the great beauty and importance of Democracy, and were at
much trouble in impressing the Count with a due sense of the advantages we
enjoyed in living where there was suffrage ad libitum, and no king.

He listened with marked interest, and in fact seemed not a little amused.
When we had done, he said that, a great while ago, there had occurred
something of a very similar sort. Thirteen Egyptian provinces determined
all at once to be free, and to set a magnificent example to the rest of
mankind. They assembled their wise men, and concocted the most ingenious
constitution it is possible to conceive. For a while they managed
remarkably well; only their habit of bragging was prodigious. The thing
ended, however, in the consolidation of the thirteen states, with some
fifteen or twenty others, in the most odious and insupportable despotism
that was ever heard of upon the face of the Earth.

I asked what was the name of the usurping tyrant.

As well as the Count could recollect, it was Mob.

Not knowing what to say to this, I raised my voice, and deplored the
Egyptian ignorance of steam.

The Count looked at me with much astonishment, but made no answer. The
silent gentleman, however, gave me a violent nudge in the ribs with his
elbows -- told me I had sufficiently exposed myself for once -- and
demanded if I was really such a fool as not to know that the modern
steam-engine is derived from the invention of Hero, through Solomon de

We were now in imminent danger of being discomfited; but, as good luck
would have it, Doctor Ponnonner, having rallied, returned to our rescue,
and inquired if the people of Egypt would seriously pretend to rival the
moderns in the all- important particular of dress.

The Count, at this, glanced downward to the straps of his pantaloons, and
then taking hold of the end of one of his coat-tails, held it up close to
his eyes for some minutes. Letting it fall, at last, his mouth extended
itself very gradually from ear to ear; but I do not remember that he said
any thing in the way of reply.

Hereupon we recovered our spirits, and the Doctor, approaching the Mummy
with great dignity, desired it to say candidly, upon its honor as a
gentleman, if the Egyptians had comprehended, at any period, the
manufacture of either Ponnonner's lozenges or Brandreth's pills.

We looked, with profound anxiety, for an answer -- but in vain. It was not
forthcoming. The Egyptian blushed and hung down his head. Never was
triumph more consummate; never was defeat borne with so ill a grace.
Indeed, I could not endure the spectacle of the poor Mummy's
mortification. I reached my hat, bowed to him stiffly, and took leave.

Upon getting home I found it past four o'clock, and went immediately to
bed. It is now ten A.M. I have been up since seven, penning these
memoranda for the benefit of my family and of mankind. The former I shall
behold no more. My wife is a shrew. The truth is, I am heartily sick of
this life and of the nineteenth century in general. I am convinced that
every thing is going wrong. Besides, I am anxious to know who will be
President in 2045. As soon, therefore, as I shave and swallow a cup of
coffee, I shall just step over to Ponnonner's and get embalmed for a
couple of hundred years.

~~~ End of Text ~~~


The Poetic Principle

IN speaking of the Poetic Principle, I have no design to be either
thorough or profound. While discussing, very much at random, the
essentiality of what we call Poetry, my principal purpose will be to cite
for consideration, some few of those minor English or American poems which
best suit my own taste, or which, upon my own fancy, have left the most
definite impression. By "minor poems" I mean, of course, poems of little
length. And here, in the beginning, permit me to say a few words in regard
to a somewhat peculiar principle, which, whether rightfully or wrongfully,
has always had its influence in my own critical estimate of the poem. I
hold that a long poem does not exist. I maintain that the phrase, "a long
poem," is simply a flat contradiction in terms.

I need scarcely observe that a poem deserves its title only inasmuch
as it excites, by elevating the soul. The value of the poem is in the
ratio of this elevating excitement. But all excitements are, through a
psychal necessity, transient. That degree of excitement which would
entitle a poem to be so called at all, cannot be sustained throughout a
composition of any great length. After the lapse of half an hour, at the
very utmost, it flags -- fails -- a revulsion ensues -- and then the poem
is, in effect, and in fact, no longer such.

There are, no doubt, many who have found difficulty in reconciling the
critical dictum that the "Paradise Lost" is to be devoutly admired
throughout, with the absolute impossibility of maintaining for it, during
perusal, the amount of enthusiasm which that critical dictum would demand.
This great work, in fact, is to be regarded as poetical, only when, losing
sight of that vital requisite in all works of Art, Unity, we view it
merely as a series of minor poems. If, to preserve its Unity -- its
totality of effect or impression -- we read it (as would be necessary) at
a single sitting, the result is but a constant alternation of excitement
and depression. After a passage of what we feel to be true poetry, there
follows, inevitably, a passage of platitude which no critical prejudgment
can force us to admire; but if, upon completing the work, we read it
again, omitting the first book -- that is to say, commencing with the
second -- we shall be surprised at now finding that admirable which we
before condemned -- that damnable which we had previously so much admired.
It follows from all this that the ultimate, aggregate, or absolute effect
of even the best epic under the sun, is a nullity: -- and this is
precisely the fact.

In regard to the Iliad, we have, if not positive proof, at least very
good reason for believing it intended as a series of lyrics; but, granting
the epic intention, I can say only that the work is based in an imperfect
sense of art. The modem epic is, of the supposititious ancient model, but
an inconsiderate and blindfold imitation. But the day of these artistic
anomalies is over. If, at any time, any very long poem _were _popular in
reality, which I doubt, it is at least clear that no very long poem will
ever be popular again.

That the extent of a poetical work is, _ceteris paribus, _the measure
of its merit, seems undoubtedly, when we thus state it, a proposition
sufficiently absurd -- yet we are indebted for it to the Quarterly
Reviews. Surely there can be nothing in mere _size, _abstractly considered
-- there can be nothing in mere _bulk, so _far as a volume is concerned,
which has so continuously elicited admiration from these saturnine
pamphlets! A mountain, to be sure, by the mere sentiment of physical
magnitude which it conveys, _does _impress us with a sense of the sublime
-- but no man is impressed after _this _fashion by the material grandeur
of even "The Columbiad." Even the Quarterlies have not instructed us to be
so impressed by it. As _yet, _they have not _insisted _on our estimating
Lamar" tine by the cubic foot, or Pollock by the pound -- but what else
are we to _infer _from their continual plating about "sustained effort"?
If, by "sustained effort," any little gentleman has accomplished an epic,
1* us frankly commend him for the effort -- if this indeed be a thing conk
mendable--but let us forbear praising the epic on the effort's account. It
is to be hoped that common sense, in the time to come, will prefer
deciding upon a work of Art rather by the impression it makes -- by the
effect it produces -- than by the time it took to impress the effect, or
by the amount of "sustained effort" which had been found necessary in
effecting the impression. The fact is, that perseverance is one thing and
genius quite another -- nor can all the Quarterlies in Christendom
confound them. By and by, this proposition, with many which I have been
just urging, will be received as self-evident. In the meantime, by being
generally condemned as falsities, they will not be essentially damaged as

On the other hand, it is clear that a poem may be improperly brief.
Undue brevity degenerates into mere epigrammatism. A very short poem,
while now and then producing a brilliant or vivid, never produces a
profound or enduring effect. There must be the steady pressing down of the
stamp upon the wax. De Beranger has wrought innumerable things, pungent
and spirit-stirring, but in general they have been too imponderous to
stamp themselves deeply into the public attention, and thus, as so many
feathers of fancy, have been blown aloft only to be whistled down the

A remarkable instance of the effect of undue brevity in depressing a
poem, in keeping it out of the popular view, is afforded by the following
exquisite little Serenade--

I arise from dreams of thee
In the first sweet sleep of night,
When the winds are breathing low,
And the stars are shining bright.
I arise from dreams of thee,
And a spirit in my feet
Has led me -- who knows how? --
To thy chamber-window, sweet!

The wandering airs they faint
On the dark the silent stream --
The champak odors fail
Like sweet thoughts in a dream;
The nightingale's complaint,
It dies upon her heart,
As I must die on shine,
O, beloved as thou art!

O, lift me from the grass!
I die, I faint, I fail!
Let thy love in kisses rain
On my lips and eyelids pale.
My cheek is cold and white, alas!
My heart beats loud and fast:
O, press it close to shine again,
Where it will break at last.

Very few perhaps are familiar with these lines--yet no less a poet
than Shelley is their author. Their warm, yet delicate and ethereal
imagination will be appreciated by all, but by none so thoroughly as by
him who has himself arisen from sweet dreams of one beloved to bathe in
the aromatic air of a southern midsummer night.

One of the finest poems by Willis -- the very best in my opinion which
he has ever written--has no doubt, through this same defect of undue
brevity, been kept back from its proper position. not less in the

The shadows lay along Broadway,
'Twas near the twilight-tide--
And slowly there a lady fair
Was walking in her pride.
Alone walk'd she; but, viewlessly,
Walk'd spirits at her side.

Peace charm'd the street beneath her feet,
And Honor charm'd the air;
And all astir looked kind on her,
And called her good as fair--
For all God ever gave to her
She kept with chary care.

She kept with care her beauties rare
From lovers warm and true--
For heart was cold to all but gold,
And the rich came not to won,
But honor'd well her charms to sell.
If priests the selling do.

Now walking there was one more fair --
A slight girl, lily-pale;
And she had unseen company
To make the spirit quail--
'Twixt Want and Scorn she walk'd forlorn,
And nothing could avail.

No mercy now can clear her brow
From this world's peace to pray
For as love's wild prayer dissolved in air,
Her woman's heart gave way!--
But the sin forgiven by Christ in Heaven
By man is cursed alway!

In this composition we find it difficult to recognize the Willis who
has written so many mere "verses of society." The lines are not only
richly ideal, but full of energy, while they breathe an earnestness, an
evident sincerity of sentiment, for which we look in vain throughout all
the other works of this author.

While the epic mania, while the idea that to merit in poetry prolixity
is indispensable, has for some years past been gradually dying out of the
public mind, by mere dint of its own absurdity, we find it succeeded by a
heresy too palpably false to be long tolerated, but one which, in the
brief period it has already endured, may be said to have accomplished more
in the corruption of our Poetical Literature than all its other enemies
combined. I allude to the heresy of _The Didactic. _It has been assumed,
tacitly and avowedly, directly and indirectly, that the ultimate object of
all Poetry is Truth. Every poem, it is said, should inculcate a morals and

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