,1 .6' .
I' 1 ;
I)1 I''I I
THE COUNCILORS RETURN TO THE PALACE WITH THEIR REPORTS. (SEE PAGE 148.)
THE CENTURY CO.
Copyright, 1883, I886, 1888, 1889, 1890,
1891, 1892, 1893, 1894, by THE CENTURY Co.
THE DEVINNE PRESS
I. PREHISTORIC PHOTOGRAPHY . . .
II. THE TONGALOO TOURNAMENT . . .
III. THE DRAGON'S STORY . . .
IV. A DUEL IN A DESERT . . .
V. THE SEQUEL . . . .
VI. A LOST OPPORTUNITY . . .
VII. THE ASTROLOGER'S NIECE . . .
VIII. THE ASTROLOGER'S NIECE MARRIES . .
IX. THE WINNING OF VANELLA . . .
X. THE PROFESSOR AND THE PATAGONIAN GIANT .
XI. THE PRINCE'S COUNCILORS . . .
XII. TEDDY AND THE WOLF . . .
XIII. LITTLE PLUNKETT'S COUSIN . . .
XIV. PROFESSOR CHIPMUNK'S SURPRISING ADVENTURE
XV. THE SATCHEL ........... ...
XVI. GooD NEIGHBORS . . ...
XVII. ANTHONY AND THE ANCIENTS . . .
XVIII. A YARN OF SAILOR BEN'S .. .
XIX. THE STATUE ................
. . . I
. . 14
. . 28
. . 37
. . . 65
. . . 68
. . 84
. . 95
. . . III
. . . 125
. . 156
. . 169
. . . 156
. . . 189
. . 204
. . .. 215
. . . 228
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
The Councilors return to the Palace with their Reports FRONTISPIECE
" The Wi.ard said: I caught you well. I think it will come out good.'" 7
Under the Red Light ............... 8
" Do I look like that?' cried he to the Wizard" . .. 2
" Taking the skate very gingerly in his left hand, he spun the little wheels
with his right" . 19
"A fish out of water was nothing to the antics of that unfortunate Savage" 23
"I do not think the Chief was ever more amused in his life than when he
saw Rattle-box on the rollers" . . .. .24
"As soon as the crowd had gained a good lead on us we cut off our skates
and struck out for the beach" . . . 27
SThere was no doubt of the result" . . 35
The Indolent Wizard on the magic camel meets the Lauy Magician in the
The Wizard raises Ahab . . . 43
"Both did their best to get inside" . 49
The Magician and the Wizard go home . 50
"Enter a small Boy in white linen" .. .... ... .54
The Shaving of Mudjahoy . . . 55
"' What does the Celestial Orb require?' said the Grand Viir" 59
xii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
"' And where are my adherents ?' I shouted. Here!' said Dorema" 6
" After an examination, he declared it was neither Animal, Vegetable, nor
" 'Keep off! Do you mean to eat me?'" .. .. 69
" I lowered him gently to thefloor" 75
" I admire the bindings,' said the little fellow, as he paced to and fro along
the shelf" ............. ..... ... 76
"He was caught beneath the cover of the book" 78
"He pretended to yawn . 81
" You can go back where you came from !' 82
My Niece's Experiment in Magic 86
Arrival of the commercial Magician . .. 88
The Magician began a powerful invocation .. 90
The S.',. 7. considering g9
We came to a gate guarded by two Ethiopians in fancy dress" 98
"' Does anybody know anything about anything in particular?' asked the
King" .................... Ioo
The Royal Guards surround the Astrologer's Niece .. 105
"' This is preposterous!' said the Duck, in a rage" .107
'Fare thee well, gentle dame,' I replied . .. 15
"He called me to him, and presented me to the Princess" 117
"Taking the goblet from the sideboard, he handed it to me .. 2 I
I saw the need of taking immediate steps to save my specimens" 126
Aha, you 're there, are you?' ... . .129
The Giant and the Professor settle it amicably . 131
"His Majesty courageously jumped overboard and waded ashore" 137
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Xiii
Some of the Councilors . . . . 138
The Page and the Maid of Honor keep a Candy-store . .147
The Tug of War . 165
Prof. Chipmunk relating his Ai: J.......... ........ .171
The Professor on his Travels in the" Trap" .. . .175
SThe little Man held his lantern near my face and said: I think I must
have made a mistake'" .......... 181
Perhaps,' said the little Man, having lived forty centuries, I may be old
enough to advise a young man of twenty-three' . .. 183
"Before I could interfere they were fighting for their lives" .. .186
"' That must be the footprint of Mr. Megalopod,' said the Agent" I9
"I pulled his shoe-string, to attract his attention" . .196
We call upon the Megalopods . . . .198
The Bull charged on the Baby . . . 200
Good-by to the Megalopods .. ..... ... 203
"I turned, and saw a gigantic elk coming toward me" . 206
Anthony makes the candle . . . 211
"' She's the model image of the Speedy Susan,' said Sailor Ben" 216
' They surrounded us, and we hauled down our flags without firin' a gun
-which we had n't any'" . . . 219
"' It's a go! I says, takin' him up right off" . . 222
"Round and round, round and round" . . 224
''Adoo, chief I sings out" . . . 226
A N old manuscript recently discovered by a German professor
seems to indicate a very early origin for the photographic
The original text is in Sanskrit, and the translation is faithful in
all respects. The preamble, as usual, recites the titles of the poten-
tate who figures in the story, and I omit most of it. The first sen-
tence, however, helps us to fix the date.
It ran thus: "In the period of rulers from the land over the sea,
when the ice-bridge existed, in the times of the forefathers of the an-
cestors of the forerunners; in the reign of the great, wise, strongest-
in-battle and swiftest-in-retreat, the outrunner-of-the-chariots-of-the-
five-toed-horses, in the thirteenth period after the slaying of the
next-to-last toothed bird "- and so on.
The references to the glacial period, to the original form of the
present horse, and to the pterodactyl will convince any student of
geology that this document is perhaps the oldest in existence. In-
deed, the university has conferred upon the professor a purple ribbon
to wear on Sundays in recognition of this remarkable discovery. I
will add only that the old papyrus which contained the story was
found with others in a stone chest upheaved during an earthquake in
Thus runs the story:
Came rumors and sayings to the sharp ear of the ruler, who
gave orders to the swordbearer and bowmen to betake them to the
cave of the image-maker, and, having laid hands upon him, to walk
him quickly to the ruler's house.
But he of the sword.did shake in his sandal-straps, and his hair
did point skyward, while his teeth tapped together; for the image-
maker was known to be a wizard and talker with the winds. Before
then no one had dared so much as to throw a rock at the cave-
The ruler turned his eye upon the swordbearer and saw his
fright. Yet the ruler said no word, for he loved his people, and
knew that the wizard must be taken. Rather would he have sent
his whole army one by one to come out no more from the dark-
ness of the dread cave than that harm should come to himself or to
his people, for he had the heart of a dinosaurs, one of the green
kind. [NOTE : The professor insists this is right, but I think the ad-
jective plainly refers to the apteryx, which was of a dusky emerald
color when enraged.]
The swordbearer, having taken a damp farewell, gathered the
bowmen and wgnt toward the rising sun; but his heart was cold.
When the fourth pinkness of dawning dyed the sky, came black fig-
ures against the blue at the ending of the earth where rises the
world-lighter, and before the gong for the morning meal had thrice
been rung to waken the sleep-loving-in-the-morning ruler, the sword-
bearer came bringing the wicked wizard.
The wizard carried a chest or coffer, black, and covered close
with hide, but having a dull eye at one end, and knobs and round
trimmings, wrought curiously and of strange magic and witchery.
[NOTE: Evidently the primitive camera, with the usual buttons.]
When the day was strong, arose the ruler, and ate half a zebra
with trilobite sauce.
Then did I, his scribe, tell him humbly that the wizard awaited
"Where is my spear and my sword ?" quoth the ruler.
Here," said the scribe, my poor self.
"Put on my leather coat, bronze hat, and leggings of scarlet
leather, the finest in the kingdom," quoth he, "that the wizard and
the warriors and the maidens may see me in all my beauty, the
It was done, and never finer appeared the man of muscle who
carries the heaviest club.
"Bring in the wizard," said Batta,-" who is there that is
Then did my one knee exchange greetings with its fellow, as
I the scribe went forth. For I was sore in terror, but Batta was
not scared, though he was pale from his long sleep.
Forth went I to the swordbearer, gave greeting, and bade him
bring in him-who-makes-images.
So the wizard was brought into the light of the presence of
Batta, our ruler, who spoke thus:
Well done, Swordbearer. You have caught him, the bat who
flies in darkness. Did he scratch you ? "
Not at all," answered he of the sword. I bade him vow by
the sun that he would do me no injury. And he said he would
vow me by the sun, the moon, the stars, or by whatsoever, if only again
I would not poke him with my sword. So came he most quietly."
"It was well done," quoth Batta. "There is yet some zebra.
Regale yourself. The sauce, too, is good."
Then my ruler and I were left with the wizard. ,
It has come to my ear," spake Batta, "that you live in a dark-
some cave beneath the hill that is before the sun, and work witch-
craft, catching away my people's souls with thy black box. What say
you, 0 Wizard?"
The wizard smiled, but his lips were of the color of sand.
"O Batta," thus spake he, "I an but a poor man. I gather
simples, herbs in the woods. I do cook them over the burning of
sticks and of the black-stone-which-burns-long. Thus do I extract
their strength, and therewith do that which to common men seems
But," said Batta, all this is naught. What of the box-the
"It is but a picture-box," said the wizard. It is curiously
wrought, and will do in a winking of your royal eyelid more than a
cunning worker in paint can do from dawn to dark."
But," again spoke Batta, that is witchcraft."
Nay, great ruler," replied the wizard, "it is no witchcraft, and
it harms no one."
I fear me," said the ruler, making as he spoke a sniffing with
his nose, "that there is the smell of enchantment about thee."
Pardon, wise ruler," replied he of the box; that is but the
odor of herb-extracts I use in making images."
"And the stains upon thy hands?" asked the keen-eyed, the
The same extracts," replied the wizard. I can hardly remove
them, though I wash me until I am weary with washing."
You have a glib tongue," was the saying of the ruler, "but I
fear me it is of two ends."
Not so," answered the wizard; "there is nothing of the black
art in me. It is a simple thing I do. See -" and he raised the box.
"Point it not at me! spake Batta, rapidly. "Try it on yon
scribe, for if harm should befall him there are more among my
Then would I have fled, but my legs sank beneath me.
Have no fear," said the wizard; I have but to touch this little
piece, and all is done, without harm to any."
I know nothing of your box," said Batta, and did lay chin upon
his hand, like a counselor; "but mayhap I had better drop thee
and, thy box into the sea that rests not."
Then the wizard set down the magic chest, and smote his
breast. At last he spoke: .
Great ruler," said he, if you will give me a few more risings
and settings of the sun, and will send to my cave your scribe, I
will show to him all my art, so that he may make the picture-flats,
likewise. You know that he is no evil-worker, and he can tell you
all my art. If not, you will know that I am speaking with a false
tongue, and can throw me from the cliff down where the waves roll
"'T is little risk," replied my ruler; a scribe more or a scribe
less does not count in the roll of the fighting-men. Take him, and
work thy wicked will upon him until the moon is a round shield.
Come then again, and thou shalt be released or thrown into the sea
which eats boats."
Then went I on my knees to the great Batta, trying with my
tears to melt his heart. But as the drops from the wide-foot bird's
back, so rolled my tears from the heart of Batta, who cared only for
the good of his people.
So went I with the wizard to the cave to learn of the picture-
Midnight moonless was bright day to the lightless gloom of that
cavern. But there was a fire in front which gleamed like the fire-
flashing fly of the swamps in the early of the year. And we ate of
divers strange things. There were two-shelled soft fish that he
did fry until they were toothsome. [NOTE: Perhaps a form of the
fried oyster.] And there were also the thin-shelled sea-pinchers
who go sidewise as doth a maiden seeing a gnawer of grain.
Wearied by the walk, I slept till the birds sang, and then rose
to the meal of dawn.
Soon after, the wizard brought out his box, and though I shrank
in terror from it, he did smile and encourage me till I put a finger
upon it. It bit me not, and I felt braver. But a scribe is not a war-
rior. His blood is but ink.
The wizard said:
0 Scribe, fear not. 'T is a box such as holds thy styluses and
reed-pens. But it has curious bits of bronze and of rock-you-can-
see-through, whereby it makes pictures. Come, and I will give you
the knowing of it."
Then he did open it; and it was black inside as a burnt stick,
and had an eye in the fore part. He clicked at it with the fore-
finger, and did put in a flat piece like gray flint, and behold! a pic-
ture thereon, like unto the clear of view of midday, but smaller than
the face in a baby's eye. It was most marvelous He did also twist
a bit of bronze around and brought a fog upon the little picture,
which, however, presently cleared away as he did twist more.
[NOTE: Apparently the "wizard" was trying the focus upon
what answered for the ground glass.]
Thus did he several times, and behold I grew bold, and did the
same under his direction !
"THE WIZARD SAID: 'I CAUGHT YOU WELL. I THINK IT WILL COME OUT GOOD.'"
Then went we forth under the sky, and the wizard asked if I
would throw up my hood and catch it again. In wonder at his silli-
ness, I nevertheless did that folly. And just then I heard the click-
ing of the box, and the wizard said:
I caught you well. I think it will come out good." Thereat
was I sore afraid lest my foolish play with my hood had wrought
witchery upon me. I waited to see what would "come
S" i t." B IBut l.-.l ,2IT e 1i,- i-rth' nor did I see that he had
me cdi *ht. rI had. Ifll -III'r. o -, limbs as before.
Ht ,urent into the cave,
I an I followed his
t .,steps. It was
d ,rk therein; but
when he told
c n :o come, I went,
':'It: though I
: shook yet a
said I to my-
-. self, "even
it I escal-)e the wizard by
.. rirnnil .l forh-, he, the mighty
and .,\ilt- t:,.,ted Batta, will
have me sure by the tunic."
So I went. There was a little light burning there, but the wizard
did forthwith blow it out with the breath of his mouth, and did with
a flint enkindle another light-a horrible light, the color of the crim-
son at sunset. Even yet with eyes shut I can see that witch-glow.
There in the redness did he open his box, draw forth a strange
contrivance from which came a flat, light-colored shell, four-cornered,
and thin like scraped horn. This was dropped into an earthen dish
which held some most ill-smelling compound. And he rocked the
dish, to and fro, smiling a ghastly smile,-such as is the grin of the
long shark in the water of the deep. But behold, the dark and the
light took shape and became an image And if all the prophets and
if all the counselors of the tribe were to prophesy till the hair of all
was gray upon their shoulders, they could not have divined what was
the image which came forth to mock me!
It was my soul. For as I leaped in the air to catch my hood,
tlhe wizard had caught my soul from me and fixed it there within
the awful black-box-which-has-an-eye! But I was changed so that
my own dear mother would not have known me. My face, paler
than that of the sunburned warriors, was black like those of the
men of the far south whose hair twists. My dark tunic was like
the snow that flies in the sky when men walk upon rivers and the
flowers die. All was like nothing I ever saw.
Then did the wizard wash the flat piece in a spring that came
from the rock near at hand, and he did wash and wash again, until
even the weariness of the rocking was not so long. Then did he
soak the piece in another liquor in yet another dish, while I was
faint with the long darkness.
Gladly I saw the sunlight again, and heard the birds chirp as
if black caves were not.
More washing? I asked; for it seemed that there would never
be an end of the plashing of water.
Only a little," said the wizard. He did fix the flat piece next in
a four-sided frame, and cooked it in the sunshine, while I wondered
if he would desire me to eat my soul, baked in the sun, for dinner!
But after he had baked the frame, he did break it open, and
then came more washing. I thought that the wizard would wear
out his fingers with much plashing in the water.
I think that my eyelids must have shut me to sleep for a while,
but when I opened them there stood the wizard, and in his hand
he did hold a picture wherein I was shown to leap like a horse in
fresh pasture, bounding after my hood in the air with the fool-play
I have told.
Thus saw I first the making of pictures, and that day was like
many that followed. Nay, I did even make pictures myself with the
wizard to stand by and say, Do thou this," Do thou so "; but of
the witchcraft of it little did I know. I was but as his hand or foot
in doing his bidding.
In all that we did the wizard feared the light. For he said that
the sun would steal away the pictures-which seemed strange enough
Meanwhile grew the moon, till it came round like a shield, and
we were to go to the ruler. The last day I was with the wizard, I
did make two pictures by myself, and he did praise me and gave me
one wherein I did look too sweet,- like unto the coo-bird, and brave
as the roarer is brave before the bleater. This received I gladly, for
I knew not before how comely I was.
At sunrise did we set forth for the dwelling of Batta, the saga-
cious-in-combat. The wizard carried the wonder-box. I did carry
earthenware jars filled with liquids and compounds, very heavy, and I
did also carry many of the flat pieces, each closed cunningly in a case
like a quiver.
When we came unto the town, Batta sat upon his throne be-
neath a sun-shield.
"Aha! Wizard," he cried, "then you have not eaten our scribe?
'T is as well, mayhap. Now, has he learned your art?"
"In sooth, that has he," said the wizard, cheerfully. "Will not
you try him? "
"That I will," spake Batta. Go thou to work, Scribe, and take
three trials. Paint me the picture of Batta- Batta who puts foes
to flight! Three trials shall be thine, and then -"
So ceased Batta. But when the wizard tried to go with me
to the hut, Batta forbade him.
Then did I as I saw the wizard do ere he took the box for
making a picture, and forth I sallied to do my best.
As I came forth, I pointed the box at the great Batta, and I
pushed upon the magic piece, and hurried back to the hut, which had
been made dark save for the crimson light which we brought from
the cave. Here went I through the washing. But no picture came!
Then strode I forth in sadness.
The wizard pointed an accusing finger at the box, as I came
out from the darkness of the hut, and then knew I what I had done!
I had not uncovered the eye of the box!
Again I essayed, and fled into the hut, but with careless hand
did put the flat into the wrong dish. And behold again no pic-
Then came I forth in sadness.
The wizard's face was like a dull day when the leaves are fall-
ing. But when I again pointed the magic-box, and opened its eye,
and set in the proper pieces with all due caution, he smiled again.
With backward step, I betook myself for the last time to the
dark hut, and rocked and washed and soaked and washed till I
was weary like unto the slaves that row the galley of Batta.
And this time the picture came forth like sunshine after a rain;
and it was Batta- Batta upon his throne, and dressed as for war.
Then rushed I forth rejoicing with my prize, and the wizard made
Into the warm sun did I set the picture to cook, and when I
took it forth it was so like to Batta that I thought it would speak;
and I showed it to him proudly.
.^ I--- '^-:-.. 1 ^
D iI 53 NI TT CTrim-TE
"'DO I LOOK LIKE THAT?' CRIED HE TO THE WIZARD."
But, as the cloud comes over the face of the sun, so descended
wrath upon the black brows of the great ruler as he gazed.
Do I look like that?" cried he to the wizard.
It is your very image! spoke up one of the younger warriors.
You are banished for life! roared the just and great ruler of
his people. And it was so from that day forth. "Do I look like
that he asked again, with the voice of a thunder-peal, this time
turning to the white-haired counselor, he-who-speaks-little-but-
I would not be so foolish as to say it was like you, great Batta "
answered the counselor; and the rest who stood about said that his
words were wise.
Your art is no art! then said the great Batta; and, calling the
swordbearer, he ordered that the wizard's box should be thrown into
the sea, together with his vile compounds, his dishes, the liquids, and
his flat pieces and the baleful red-fire maker.
And it was done upon that instant.
It were best to send thee with thy tools!" said Batta; and in a
moment the wizard was hurried to the brink of the cliff which hangs
over the playground of the waves -
Here the manuscript is torn, and it is impossible to decipher it
further. But I am sure that the reader will agree with me in decid-
ing that it contains an early account of photography, and also that
the conclusion, imperfect as it is, would lead one to suppose that the
art was somewhat discouraged.
Those who desire to verify the translation will find the original
document among the archives of the Grand Lama's Museum in
Tibet. You will find it at the back of the top shelf on the left-hand
THE TONGALOO TOURNAMENT
WHEN I was a young man, about thirty years of age, I came
to the city to make my fortune. I had no profession and
was ready to do anything honorable that promised me
fair wages. To save my rtoney, I boarded with another young
fellow who was also looking for work. He was hardly more than a
boy, about fifteen, I think, but he may have been younger.
His name was Marmaduke Ferron, and I think he must have
been French, he was always so gay and confident. Nothing made
him blue. Even when we had spent all but enough to pay one
week's board he would not be discouraged. He went every day to
answer advertisements or to ask for work.
I was older, came of Scotch stock, and was more easily dis-
One day, after a long tramp about the city without finding any-
thing except an agency to sell very poor chromos, I came in, and
settled down by our little cylinder stove, entirely hopeless. I had
about made up my mind to go back to my country home, when
Marmaduke came in. He seemed very jolly, and for the first mo-
ment I thought he must have found work. Then I remembered
that he always did come back in a happy frame of mind, and I
became gloomy again.
This time, however, Marmaduke had found something though
I was inclined to sneer when he told me what it was.
THE TONGALOO TOURNAMENT
Well, our luck has turned at last! said he, brightly. I knew
Have you found a place? I inquired, with but little interest.
Yes," he answered. "And what is better, I have found a place
for you, too."
What is it ?" I asked, with some little hope.
I went to answer an advertisement calling for agents willing to
travel abroad," said Marmaduke, and I found a firm of dealers in
notions who wanted two young men to go to Corea and sell a mis-
Corea? Where 's Corea?" I asked, for I had only a vague
notion of the country.
Don't know, I 'm sure," said Marmaduke, as if impatient of the
interruption; "but the old man I saw was quite confidential with me.
He told me that his firm had bought a large number of roller-skates
and did n't quite know what to do with them."
Why don't they sell them?"
"They can't. These are the old-fashioned kind. They fasten
with straps," Marmaduke explained, "and all the new roller-skates
fasten with clamps. So there is no market for them in this country."
And why do they think they will sell in Corea?" I asked, but
with little interest, for the whole scheme seemed to me very absurd.
" How did the firm come to buy them? "
There 's a queer story about that," said Marmaduke earnestly.
"They told me about it in confidence; but I can tell you, because
we are going into this enterprise together."
You 're sure of that ?" I asked, smiling in spite of myself.
It 's a splendid chance!" said Marmaduke. "The way they
came to buy them was this: the senior partner of the firm is getting
old and is a little shaky in his intellect, but he loves to buy things;
and as his partners are his sons, they don't like to interfere with his
pleasure. Usually he buys only trifles, but somehow he had an idea
that these skates were a great investment and he has bought hun-
dreds of them. He expects to realize,' as they say, a large profit."
How ridiculous! I broke in.
I don't think so," said Marmaduke. I think the old man has
a very level head. Do you remember Lord Timothy Dexter and
the warming-pans ?"
No, I don't," I answered, and he was too impatient to tell me
about it. He was full of the Corean enterprise.
Corea," he said, "is, they tell me, a new country. That is, it
has n't long been open to commerce. I believe the natives will jump
at the skates "
As I was tired and sleepy I refused to hear anything more about
so foolish a venture, and went to bed. Marmaduke tried in vain to
talk to me as I was undressing. I shut my bedroom door and put
out the light.
Next morning, however, there was a very strong argument in
favor of the plan. That was my lack of cash. I must do something,
and as this firm offered to pay all our expenses and give us a com-
mission besides, both on the present lot of skates and*on all for which
we might make a market, I could n't see that we risked anything.
Then, too, I was fond of the boy, was glad to be with him, and
had n't the heart to disappoint him by refusing. In short, I con-
sented, though I was sure we were going on a fool's errand.
So we set sail. Marmaduke was full of hope, and I, though
expecting nothing, was glad of the sea-voyage and of the rest. The
first part of our journey was by steamer, and the latter part was by
a sailing-vessel. The voyage was without anything to compare in
interest with our adventures on land, so I will pass on to the time
when we were put ashore near a native village which looked about as
dreary and melancholy as any place could look. There was n't a
THE TONGALOO TOURNAMENT
thing in sight except the low mud houses thatched with a sort of
We found out afterward that we had made a serious mistake.
The place to which our cargo was consigned was something like
a city as nearly as such things exist in Corea. But, by a mistake
in the name, we were landed upon an island where no white man
had preceded us.
Consequently, the natives had fled in terror when the ship
landed us and unloaded our boxes of skates and then sailed away as
rapidly as possible. The captain, to judge by his hasty departure,
knew the character of the natives and was glad to put a few leagues
between his ship and these savages. For savages they were, as we
soon found out. No sooner was the ship out of sight than the bushes
round about the beach began to blossom with heads. Then the na-
tives came out one by one, and before we fairly understood our posi-
tion we were seized, bound hand and foot, hoisted upon the shoulders
of some outlandish warriors, and borne away in triumph, followed by
a long file of natives, carrying each a box of roller-skates.
We were entirely unarmed, and could have made no resistance
even if there had been time.
This is a pleasant beginning! I said, with some bitterness.
"There 's nothing very unpleasant so far," said Marmaduke
cheerfully. You know I was afraid we might have trouble with the
custom-house, or that the freight charges might eat up our profits."
There does n't seem to be any trouble about getting into the
country, I must admit," I answered frankly. But I am afraid there
may be some question about who owns the goods when we get
I don't believe in going to seek trouble," said Marmaduke.
"They evidently want our company, and seem to have no objection
to carrying our baggage."
Meanwhile, the Coreans made no remarks, but kept up a steady
jog-trot which soon brought them to the center of the village, where
they halted before a hut larger than any we had seen.
Here they untied us, and made signs that we should enter the hut.
Probably the custom-house! I said dryly.
The principal hotel, I think," said Marmaduke, stretching his legs
The building contained only one room, and at the further end of
this sat the chief- at least we judged so because he was the crossest-
looking man in the room; and we subsequently discovered that we
Then began our trial. Though, of course, we could not under-
stand a word that was said, it was very easy to follow the general
line of the talk.
First, the man who commanded the procession which brought us
in told his story. He described the ship, our landing, the ship's hasty
departure, the capture of ourselves, and, concluding, pointed to the
Then the chief commanded one of the boxes to be opened. It
was forced open with a small hatchet-like weapon, and one of the
skates was handed to the chief. He was completely puzzled. He
blew on it, rubbed it over his head, weighed it, tried to spin it, and
then turned to us, saying something like:
Walla ella ing-kang-cho ?"
Thereupon Marmaduke replied sweetly:
Yes, most noble panjandrum. You have hit it exactly. It's a
simple roller-skate. I see you don't understand it at all, and I 'm not
surprised. You don't seem over-intelligent."
The chief shook his head impatiently and growled. Then he
picked up an ivory baton lying by his side, and struck a sweet-toned
THE TONGALOO TOURNAMENT
I hope that 's dinner," said Marmaduke, and I agreed with him,
providing we were to be guests only, and not the choicest dainties on
the bill of fare.
But we were wrong. As the gong tones were dying away a
curious figure entered the hut and made its way toward the dais
where the chief was sitting. It was that of an old man with a scanty
"TAKING THE SKATE VERY GINGERLY IN HIS LEFT HAND, HE SPUN THE LITTLE WHEELS
WITH HIS RIGHT."
snow-white beard. He carried a carved rattle in his hand and shook
it as he walked.
Well, Old Rattle-box," said Marmaduke, I hope you will help
us out of this fix. Maybe he 's an interpreter."
More likely to be the head cook," was my suggestion.
The new-comer conferred for a few moments with the chief, and
then bent all his energies to the mystery of the roller-skate. Need-
less to say, it was too mpch for him. But he seemed clever enough
to pretend he knew all about it. So, taking the skate very gingerly
in his left hand, he spun the little wheels with his right. Then
he dropped it as if it was a very hot potato, and turning to the chief
began to chatter away in a tone which showed he was bringing some
frightful accusation against our innocent merchandise.
The chief, as the old man spoke, drew himself away from the
skate, which had fallen near his foot, and regarded the harmless
wheels and straps with an expression of dread and distrust.
I see the old fellow's game," said Marmaduke. He does n't
know at all what it is, any more than his superb highness the igno-
ramus on the bench. And so he has told them it's witchcraft, or
bugaboo, or taboo, or something of the kind. They '11 be for slaying
us outright in a moment, you '11 see."
And indeed in a minute the chief gave a hasty order, and
the soldiers advanced upon us.
Good-by, Marmaduke, my lad," said I, in a sorrowful tone.
"Life is short at best, dear friend, and-"
Don't be a whiner yet," said Marmaduke. You have n't heard
the counsel for the defense yet. I '11 move the whole court-room to
tears in a moment."
You are a brave boy," said I, smiling sadly at him. Good-by !
I should not have led you into this trouble."
You just keep quiet, and you '11 see me lead you out of it," said
Marmaduke. Then, while the chief was giving some too plain direc-
tions to the guards, ending up by drawing his hand eloquently across
his throat, Marmaduke arose to his feet.
Fellow-citizens!" he said. All the natives turned toward him,
for his voice was as commanding as that of a foot-ball captain. "You
are making idiots of yourselves. As for Old Rattle-box there, he
does n't know beans. If there were any sense in his noddle, he
THE TONGALOO TOURNAMENT
would have guessed what the roller-skate was for in a jiffy. Just
see here." Then Marmaduke took a pencil from his pocket, and
seizing a piece of the pine box, began to draw a picture.
Now Marmaduke was a natural artist, and consequently spoke
a universal language. The natives bent over to see what he was
doing, and even the chief elbowed his way to the front, after push-
ing over several of the other selfish spectators.
Marmaduke made a picture of himself on roller-skates, gliding
gracefully over the ground, and drew a native running at full speed
beside him. In vain did "Old Rattle-box" stand outside shaking
his head and muttering his disapproval. Marmaduke's picture had
excited the natives' curiosity, and when he leaned over and took a
pair of skates from the box, seated himself, and proceeded to put
them on, only one hand was raised to prevent him. Rattle-box tried
to take the skates from his hand, and was soundly cuffed by the
deeply interested chief. Then we knew that the tide had turned.
In a moment Marmaduke strapped on the skates and arose
to his feet. Luckily, the floor was of hard beaten earth and made
an excellent rink. As he glided gently along the floor the chief
caught him by the arm, pointed to the door, smiled very signifi-
cantly, and shook his head.
"That 's all right, old man," said Marmaduke cordially. "I 'm
not going away. At least, not till I 've sold out my skates. Put
a guard at the door! and he pointed to a soldier and then at the
doorway. The chief was a quick-witted old warrior, and he saw
the point at once. The guard was posted. Then Marmaduke, who
was an excellent skater, motioned the crowd back, and cut pigeon-
wings to the admiration of his spectators.
They laughed and shouted and clapped their hands with de-
light. At last Marmaduke said to me, "Don't you think that 's
enough for the present?"
Yes," I replied, smiling in spite of myself. "But I don't see
what good it is going to do."
"Well, you shall see," said Marmaduke. So then he glided
gracefully on the "outside edge" over to the chief, and made signs
that he was hungry.
The chief, now in the best of humor, nodded, laughed, and gave
sofie orders to an attendant. In a few minutes some hot rice and
other food (chickens, I think) was brought, and we sat down to our
first meal in Corea. But previously Marmaduke made signs to the
chief to send the crowd away, by pointing to the door and push-
ing at the crowd.
The chief smiled again, cleared the room, and contented himself
with posting two strong spearmen at the door.
As we ate our meal Marmaduke conversed with the chief, and by
patient endeavors at last made him understand that he, the chief,
could also learn this wonderful art. Then the joy of the old bar-
barian was unbounded, and he wishecd.to begin at once. But Mar-
maduke pointed to the dinner, looked imploringly at the chief, and
thus obtained a postponement until the meal was done.
But no sooner was the table or mat cleared, than the chief
held out his feet for the skates.
He will break his royal neck, sure !" I said nervously, thinking
what our fate would be in case of such a happening.
Oh, I think not," said Marmaduke cheerfully; "but we have
to take some risks in every business. This is a sort of speculation."
But his feet will go out from under him at the first step," I
We must support him," said Marmaduke. Put on your skates,
and remember that if Jack falls down and breaks his crown,'- we 're
THE TONGALOO TOURNAMENT 23
We put on our skates; we strapped the royal feet firmly to the
treacherous rollers, and helped him up.
A fish out of water was nothing to the antics of that unfortunate
savage. One guard at the door tried in vain to restrain his mirth.
When the king went scooting over the floor, as we supported his
limp frame with its two awkward legs projecting aimlessly forward,
the guard burst into a loud guffaw. The chief, or king, heard that
hurried away to prison, or something worse. Thereafter there was
no outward levity.
We toiled with His Royal Highness for several hours. He was
,..-- _. .. .
"A FISH OUT 0F WATER WAS NOTHING TO THE ANTICS OF THAT UNFORTUNATE SAVAGE."
unhappy man's laugh, and, struggling wildly to his feet, roared an
order to the other guards. The unfortunate soldier was at once
hurried away to prison, or something worse. Thereafter there was
no outward levity.
We toiled with His Royal Highness for several hours. He was
plucky, and gave up only when completely tired out. Then we took
a recess until the following morning.
For the next day or two we were in high favor at court and
fared sumptuously; and when the king found that he could really skate
alone he was perfectly happy. Of course he had a fall or two, but
the craze for roller-skating was upon him, and Marmaduke's first ex-
hibition had shown him that there was still much to learn. Con-
sequently he was anxious to keep our favor, at least until he acquired
the art, and did not mind a bump or two.
-:, f, : ..1,.
1. i .. "
"I DO NOT THINK THE CHIEF WAS EVER MORE AMUSED IN HIS LIFE THAN WHEN HE
SAW RATTLE-BOX ON THE ROLLERS."
At first the chief was unwilling to allow any one else to learn;
but Marmaduke, who had even learned a few words of the language,
persuaded the old man that it would be great.fun to see Rattle-
box learn to skate; and at last the chief consented.
When the old medicine-man came in he was horrified to see
the ruler of his nation gliding about the floor with considerable
ease, and listened with terror to the chief's command that he, too,
THE TONGALOO TOURNAMENT
must acquire this art. But he did not dare refuse; and, besides,
the clever old man foresaw that skating would be the fashion as
soon as the knowledge that the chief had patronized it should be-
I do not think the chief was ever more amused in his life than
when he watched Rattle-box take his first instruction on the rollers.
He laughed till he cried, and even permitted the guards to laugh
too. But the medicine-man was an apt pupil, and before long there
was a quartet of fairly skilful performers on the floor.
Then we threw open the doors to the public, and gave a grand
exhibition. It would no doubt have run (or skated) a hundred nights
or more. The success of the art was assured, and the next month
was one long term of skating-school. We had plenty of skates,
and the chief caused a large floor to be laid and roofed over for
the sport. Soon the craze was so general that the chief had to make
penalties for those who skated except at certain legal hours.
Marmaduke could by this time readily make himself understood
in simple sentences, though he was not far enough advanced to
comprehend much that was said; and one day he announced that
he was ready to return to New York.
"But they '11 never let us go in the world," I said, somewhat
out of temper. For, to tell the truth, I was not at all pleased
with Marmaduke's apparent interest in this barbarous people.
Oh, yes, they will," said he. You will see. We '11 just get
into a boat and row away."
"And be a target for all the bowmen in the island!" I said.
"You 've had wonderful luck so far, I admit; but I don't care to
run a skating-rink for Corean savages all my life."
"Nor do I," said Marmaduke. "I 'm going to give a grand
tournament with prizes, and then give up the business and leave
"And be eaten at the conclusion of the tournament!"
I think not," he said, and turned again to his work. He was
painting a large poster, with native dyes, representing a grand
skating-race. Over the top he had printed in large letters:
THE TONGALOO TOURNAMENT!
"There!" said he, as he finished. Now you must do all you
can to make the thing a success!"
So I did. I went about all day among the skaters, saying:
Bonga Tongaloo tournament! Vanga goo Tongaloo tourna-
ment!" and other such phrases as Marmaduke taught me. These
words meant, he said, that it was all the rage, and the correct
At last the great day arrived. The chief had furnished the
minor prizes; but the great event of all was to be the final, straight-
away race open to all comers, and for this the first prize was to
be Marmaduke's gold watch, and the second my stylographic pen.
The course was laid out along the best native road, which
Marmaduke had taught them to macadamize for the occasion. The
distance was to be a mile out and then back again to the starting-
Every able-bodied islander was entered, and Marmaduke and
I put on our skates with the rest.
Amid tremendous excitement the signal was given, and away
they went- clatter, clatter, clatter, clatter!- down the road.
Gradually, Marmaduke and I, though apparently making un-
usual exertions, fell behind, and as soon as the crowd had gained
a good lead on us, we sat down, cut off our skates, and struck
out across country for the beach.
One or two of the nearest skaters stared after us, and then
THE TONGALOO TOURNAMENT 27
tried to pursue; but as they forgot to remove their skates, so soon
as they reached rough gound they went over upon their noses, like
ninepins, and in a few minutes we were far ahead.
"AS SOON AS THE CROWD HAD GAINED A GOOD LEAD ON US WE CUT OFF OUR SKATES
AND STRUCK OUT FOR THE BEACH."
We gained the beach just as the foremost pursuers began to
push their way through the bushes, and, climbing into a boat, away
we shot toward a neighboring island which was occupied by a more
Well, we escaped without being hit by a single arrow, and sailed
for New York shortly afterward.
we L,, .. shottoward' nihoIn islandU whic wa occpie b.aor
ciilze race" ,f (. t '-i:. t.... t .
fo-e York shortly afterward. L~t 1"74 '
(Cukntetccl strLctly Unltrue')
"M AMA, please tell us a story!" cried all the young dragons.
SChildren, do be less noisy!" said their father, the
Honorable Samuel P. Dragon. He had slain a knight
that very evening and was perhaps a little irritable. Young drag-
ons should be thoughtful, and should never disturb their parents
after the night's fighting is over.
Hush, children!" said Mrs. Dragon. "Your father has to
fight hard all night, and in the day he needs his rest. I will tell
you one nice story, if you will promise to go quietly to bed after-
The youngsters coiled down into comfortable hollows in the
rock, and Mrs. Dragon prepared to begin her story.
I suppose you would prefer a man-story ?"
"Please, Mama. We are so tired of 'When I was a little
THE DRAGON'S STORY
dragon.' Tell us a real man-story; but be sure not to have the
dragon hurt. We like it to end happily, Mama."
"Very well. Listen quietly, now. Don't rustle your wings nor
flop your tails. Sammy stop blowing flames into your sister's face,
this moment!-or not a word shall you hear.
"There was once a most delightful land, full of bogs and moist-
smelling marshes, of dark rocky caves, all damp and cold. The lakes
were covered with
mold, no flowers .
grew in the fields
-nothing but cool
rushes, ferns, and "
mosses. In short, ;-^ l
it was a land in
which any dragon N
might be glad to -S
crawl: no sunshine
to shrink the scales c
or dry the wings, ;
no bright glaring ':;
meadows to dazzle --. -v--
one s poor eyes. --- -
Why, even at mid-
day one could slide
comfortably about on the slippery, slimy banks and never catch a
blink of a sunbeam on the water."
"Oh, how nice! Really and truly, Mama?" asked the small
dragons, laughing with so much delight that the flames from their
pretty scarlet throats lighted up the cave until Mr. Dragon stirred
uneasily in his dreams; for he had fallen asleep.
Really and truly," their mother went on, in a lower tone. In
this charming country, your father and I began our cave-keeping.
We were very happy for a time, for not too far from us was your
father's estate-a fertile valley well stocked with plump and well-fla-
vored inhabitants. You have never seen any whole men, have you ? "
No," they replied eagerly. "What are they like ?"
"Oh, so ugly. To begin with, they have no scales, no wings,
"No wings and no claws? How frightful they must be!" ex-
claimed young Samuel Dragon, Jr., proudly expanding his green
"Not a wing!" replied Mrs. Dragon. And they walk, when
mature, exclusively on their hind legs."
"Why is that?" asked the children.
I cannot tell. It does seem absurd. When young they go on
all-fours like sensible animals, but the elders pull and persuade,
teach and coax, until the poor little things rear up on their hind
legs, and then the foolish old ones seem satisfied. Men are very
queer. When they first came on this earth,-this earth where
dragons dwell,-they lived, properly enough, in caves like the rest
of the world. But they are a stupid and restless kind of creatures,
and soon began to tear pieces out of the world to make caves to suit
themselves. Now they slaughter trees, slice and split them, fasten
the pieces together, and stalk in and out of queer little holes called
'doors.' But I cannot spare time to tell you any more about their
curious instincts-you must read it for yourselves some day in the
'Dragon's Economical Cave-keeper,' the marketing manual. Look
in the index under 'Animal Foods: Apes, Men, and various Bipeds.'
You will find it interesting-and useful too.
"As I said, we were happy for a time. We used to stroll out
quietly in the evening, and often managed to secure a nice chubby
THE DRAGON'S STORY
man or two in an hour's flight. But at length came an age when
those mean creatures decided to revolt. That is, they kept in their
little caves at night, and compelled us to go out so frequently in
the unhealthful, glaring daylight, that our scales were hardly fit to
be seen. Even with all this exposure, we would succeed in catch-
ing only some of the little ones; indeed, during a whole month I
caught nothing but two thin miserable, specimens. Think how your
poor mother suffered! I was almost starved. I became so thin
that I rattled "
Mrs. Dragon looked at the young audience, and saw that the
eyes of the two smallest were really shedding sparks.
She was touched by their sympathy, but, fearing the
story was becoming too sad, hastened to brighten it.
"Well, dears, it did not last long. Your father -
was young, rash, and brave, in those nights. One r \
dawn he said, Really, Scalena, this will not do. I
can stand this foolishness no longer!' I asked what 4
he intended, but he waved his tail in a threatening
way, and smiled knowingly as he whetted his claws on a new piece
of sandstone. The next night, bidding me not to be anxious, he left
me. I looked after him as long as I could see the flames in the
sky, and then returned wearily to our cave to pick the last bone.
"The next morning, just at dawn, he returned with a delicious
marketing,-he said it was a butcher, I think, though it may have
been a judge; the flavor is much the same. Then, when we had
retired into the darkest, dampest, coziest corner of the cave, he told
me very modestly the story of his great achievement.
Your brave father, children, had been down to where the whole
swarm of men lived, and actually had beaten to pieces one of the
wooden caves! He made light of his exploit, and only rejoiced in
it because, as he said, he had no fear now of famine or even of
scarcity. We sat up late that happy morning, enjoyed a delicious
supper, and slept soundly until nightfall.
We arose with the moon, and after a hasty but effective toilet
on his new sandstone, your father advanced glidingly toward the
mouth of the cave, when suddenly there presented itself a dark ob-
ject with a shiny coat, much like that of a dragon. Indeed, we
thought for a moment it was some neighbor who had dropped in to
breakfast. But in a few seconds -we saw that it was what is called
a knight. A knight, children, is an animal which, though edible, is
noxious, and sometimes dangerous to young or careless dragons.
I have heard of such being even killed by this spiteful little pest.
They are found among men-in fact, they are a species of men that
has a hard shell. You know there are hard-shell crabs and soft-
shell crabs, and so, likewise, there are hard- and soft-shelled men.
Our visitor was a hard-shell who had, while prowling about, found
our cave either by accident or wilfully.
I do not deny that I was a trifle anxious; but your father was
merely angry. Giving a great roar, he blew out a mass of dark
smoke and scarlet flames at the unfortunate little knight.
But, though small, the knight was plucky and showed fight.
As your father carelessly leaped toward him, the knight scratched
dear Papa slightly with a long, hard stick, on the end of which
was a bit of very hard shell. Then the knight rode out-for he
had enslaved an unfortunate horse, as these cruel men do, my pets,
and by means of a contrivance in its mouth, he made it carry him
about wherever he chose.
Your father eagerly followed, though I sought in vain to re-
strain him. 'No, Scalena,' said he. 'This is a question of prin-
ciple! As a true dragon and your loving mate, it is my duty to
destroy this dangerous little fellow. Do not be foolish; I will bring
THE DRAGON'S STORY
you the body of the fierce creature. They are excellent eating.
But you must sharpen your claws, my dear, for the shells are
exceedingly hard to remove and most difficult of digestion.
"I obeyed him, for your father is always right, and out he
flew with a rush of smoke and flame."
"Oh, Mother!-and was Father killed?" asked one of the
youngest-little Tommy Dragon.
Of course not! replied his elder brother, scornfully. Don't
you see him sleeping over there, all safe and sound? Don't be
You must not speak so sharply to your little brother," said
Mrs. Dragon, "or I shall end the story at once! "
Oh, please go on," exclaimed all the young dragons; "it is
just the most interesting part!"
Pleased with their eagerness, she resumed:
I did not see the hunt, but your father .has often described it
to me. The knight came wickedly at him, hoping to scratch him
with the sharp stick; but with one whisk of his long green tail,
your father broke the thing into small pieces! So you see, Sam,"
said this thoughtful parent, turning slyly to her eldest son, "it is
most important to practise your tail-whisking and I hope you
will not forget it when you go to your next lesson."
Sammy Dragon turned saffron with confusion, but it was evi-
dent that he resolved to profit by the little moral so ingeniously
woven, by careful Mrs. Dragon, into a mere man-story.
"After the stick was broken," she went on, "the vicious little
knight snatched out another, made entirely of the hard shell with
which the first was only tipped. With this he tried his worst to
break some of your father's lovely scales. Think what a ferocious
animal this knight must have been! I cannot see what they are
made for. But, then, it is instinct, perhaps; we must not judge
him too .harshly.
This new weapon met the fate of the other. It was crunched
up by your father's strong teeth, and then he descended upon the
little hard-shell man with a great swoop and that decided the
battle! Your father is a modest dragon, but he was really proud
of the swiftness with which he ended that conflict. After he once
had a fair opportunity to use his newly sharpened claws, there was
no doubt of the result!
"We ate the knight at our next meal. I was glad to welcome
your father; but he said, Pooh! nonsense!' and made light of the
whole matter !"
The young dragons were delighted, and even thought of ask-
ing for another story; but their mother, for the first time, noticed
that it was almost broad daylight.
But goodness, children, I hear the horrid little birds singing!"
said she. Run away to bed with you. Wrap yourselves up tight
in your moist wings, and be sure to sleep on damp rocks in a
draught where you will keep good and cold."
The youngsters crawled away to rest, while Mrs. Dragon went
to rouse the Honorable Samuel P. Dragon. To her surprise she
saw his great green eyes glowing with a sulphurous satisfaction.
"There are no times like the old times!" said he, drowsily.
"That was really a splendid hunt!"
Yes, dear," replied his mate, with a proud and happy smile;
"but I had no idea you were listening to my foolish stories. We
must now go to rest, or you won't be up till midnight-and then
there won't be a single man about. Remember, 'It is the late
dragon that catches the knight.'"
The Honorable Samuel P. Dragon rubbed his claws gently to-
gether as he selected a nice cozy place for the day. He was hum-
"THERE WAS NO DOUBT OF THE RESULT."
ming to himself, and faithful Mrs. Dragon smiled fondly as she
recognized the tune. It was:
I fear no foe in shining armor!"
"Ah!" said she to herself, "the old people like man-stories as
well as the little ones! "
- ~ .
ALAZY magician, tired of work, left Damascus and went into
a sandy desert, seeking quiet and solitude. Finding a lonely
place not yet divided into building-lots, he filled his pipe,
and, after smoking it out, fell fast asleep.
An indolent wizard, looking for rest, came riding across the
desert upon a magic camel, which he had made out of an old rug
that morning, and, not seeing the sleeping magician, ran over him.
Now, magical creations cannot touch magicians without van-
ishing. So the wizard's camel vanished, the wizard fell plump
down on top of the magician, and the baggage which the camel
carried was scattered on the sand.
The wizard was the first to collect his senses, and asked, in a
fierce voice: "Where is my camel?"
The magician replied, with some anger: Don't you think
you 'd better ask some one who was awake while your camel was
getting away ?"
You are the only man I have met in this desert," replied the
"Perhaps," resumed the magician, "your camel may have
climbed one of the trees with which you see the desert is covered;
if you think I 've got him, you can search me."
WIZARD ON THE MAGIC CAMEL MEETS THE LAZY MAGICIAN IN THE DESERT.
I made that camel only this morning," said the wizard, com-
"You are then a magician ? asked the other.
No; I 'm only a wizard," replied the first.
"Well, I 'm a magician, and I should think you would know
better than to drive your camel up against me."
; I;-= --i~i
.1 ..II- r_ -;_
-- ---- I----'--~
-= ----- ;---_ .-- --- -~-
A DUEL IN A DESERT
It was careless, I admit," replied the wizard. But let that
go; I can make another. I hope I did n't hurt you?"
Oh! not at all; I was lying down there on purpose; that is
why I came to the desert, where there are so many passing," re-
marked the magician, rubbing his side.
"I cannot regret an accident which brings me so agreeable a
companion," replied the wizard, with a low bow.
"I 'm sorry to have lost my temper," said the magician, more
good naturedly; "but, since I came to this desert looking for quiet
and solitude, I was not glad to see you."
I, also, was sorry to meet any one, even yourself, for I was
equally anxious to be alone," rejoined the wizard, frankly.
Well," said the magician, thoughtfully, "since you are a wiz-
ard and I a magician, and each of us wishes solitude, the matter is
easily remedied. Nothing is easier than to put twenty leagues
between us. I have only to wish it."
"Allow me," asked the wizard, politely, "to join you in the wish."
Certainly," said the magician; "we can save our feelings by
making the parting mutual. We will wish together."
"Agreed," said the wizard, eagerly. "Are you ready? "
"Quite! returned the magician, delighted.
So they raised their wands, shook hands, and said together:
"I wish myself twenty leagues away! "
They were powerful enchanters, and the wish was at once ac-
complished. In an instant they stood together in a place twenty
I am afraid," said the magician, after a moment's silence,-" I am
afraid that this cannot be called a success. We have traveled some dis-
tance, but solitude seems as far off as ever. Perhaps we forgot to take
it with us. We must wish again; this time, each for himself!" The wiz-
ard agreed that this was the best plan. So, saying, Excuse my back,"
he turned from the magician and wished himself back again where he
was at first. Instantly he was there, among his pieces of baggage.
"Ah," said he, smiling, "it was not a bad adventure, but I am
glad to be alone again!"
"Ahem!" exclaimed a voice behind him. "I beg pardon, I 'm
sure; but I fear there has been another mistake. I am sorry to see
we both happened to find this spot so attractive! "
The wizard turned and saw the magician standing behind him,
looking very foolish.
"So you 're there, are you? Well, it was a natural mistake!
We must have no mistake this time. I '11 give the word, and let us
each wish ourselves forty leagues away in opposite directions-you
to the east, I to the west."
The word was given, the wands waved, and, presto!-nothing
at all! Each stood where he was before, for each expected the
other to wish himself away.
"It seems to me," said the wizard, after a slight pause, "that it
is hardly fair to expect me to leave all my baggage lying around
here on the sand!"
But I was here first," said the magician.
Yes, to sleep. It strikes me as rather a spacious bedroom !"
"I like a large bedroom," replied the magician. But we wan-
der from the subject. It is, of course, useless for us to wish again.
We have had our three chances, and must now make the best of it.
Sit down and have a smoke."
In a moment they were puffing out blue clouds of smoke, sit-
ting cross-legged opposite each other.
"May I ask," said the wizard, presently, "how long you have
been practising your profession ?"
Only since Merlin's time-say about a thousand years. I was
a pupil of Merlin, and a very good teacher he was."
A DUEL IN A DESERT
"Indeed!" said the wizard, with more respect; "that is a long
time. I cannot claim more than five centuries. I am but a be-
ginner beside you."
By hard work you might have learned much in that time."
I fear I have been lazy," said the wizard, regretfully.
Perhaps, being, as Shakspere will soon say, 'an older soldier,
not a better,' I might be able to give you a useful hint or two. We
have still some daylight before us. Suppose we have a lesson? "
I fear I will only bore you," said the wizard, rather nettled by
the patronage of the other.
I have nothing else to do, and should enjoy teaching so promis-
ing a pupil," said the magician, rather pompously.
This was a little too much, for the wizard had graduated with
the degree of F. W. (Full Wizard) some three centuries before.
He attempted to make excuses, saying: I am really out of prac-
tice; my wand is dusty from disuse."
Oh, bother your excuses! I can see your true rank at once.
Go ahead! said the magician.
Not seeing how to refuse without being rude, the wizard, after
a minute's hesitation, rose and, walking a little apart, drew a circle
in the sand. Standing here, he waved his wand slowly in the air
and repeated a mystic incantation. The magician, who had only
received the degree of P. M. (Passable Magician) when he grad-
uated, looked on very critically.
At the most impressive part of the charm, the wizard suddenly
and violently sneezed, in spite of all he could do. Much ashamed,
he turned to excuse himself.
Oh, that 's nothing," said the magician, with a condescending
smile. "It is a little awkwardness natural to a beginner. No
more than I expected! Throwing your arms about creates a draft
-makes you chilly; you sneeze, naturally enough. Go on; we
won't count this time."
The wizard was much vexed, but kept his temper and resumed
the charm. Soon, a mist poured from the tip of his wand, like the
smoke from a cigar, and formed a cloud above his head, which
slowly revolved and wound itself up into a ball until, as the chant
ended, an enormous figure appeared. The wizard turned proudly
to the magician, who said nothing. At length the wizard, seeing
no sign of movement in his rival, asked confidently: How's that?"
"Well," said the other, crossing his legs as he filled his pipe,
"it is n't bad--not very bad. It is really fair work, of a certain
kind. But it is n't the way I was taught. However, I 'm afraid
of hurting your feelings."
"Not at all," said the wizard. I am delighted to be criticized.
Speak freely, I beg! "
The old magician, with a bland smile and half-shut eyes, went
on: "Well, it seems to me too long--much too long. If you
were in a hurry,- suppose a rhinoceros was stamping his feet on
your door-mat,-you would n't have time to do all that. That
cloud is no use; it only spoils the effect; it is out of style. And
your spirit looks rather stupid and under-bred- an ugly wretch!"
A terrific howl was heard as the spirit dashed down upon the
magician, seeking to tear him to pieces. The magician gently
raised his wand, and the spirit melted as snow does into the ocean,
and the magician went on quietly: "That shows you what a fool
he is no discretion and no stamina."
The wizard was rather cast down, and said sullenly: Perhaps
you will show me how you would do it?"
The magician smiled, and rising, took a handful of dust and
threw it over the wizard's head.
"When are you to begin?" asked the wizard.
Look around," said the magician.
The wizard turned, and saw a little winged figure, looking like
A DUEL IN A DESERT
THE WIZARD RAISES AHAB.
"That is my
spirit," said the
It's too small
to be of any use,"
remarked the wiz-
"I think you will
find it quite large
enough for all prac-
"Why, my spi-
rit," said the wiz-
ard, could roll
yours up like a dry
leaf and put it in
naturedly, "I have
no objection to
that; let him try."
cantation and sum-
moned his spirit.
the wizard, calling
the spirit by name,
" fetch me that
small imp !"
Master, I obey!" shouted the spirit in a voice of thunder, and
then suddenly dashed down upon the little fairy.
If the fairy had remained still it might have been hurt; but,
just as Ahab came rushing down, the fairy darted away like a
humming-bird, too quick for the eye to see the motion. Ahab
made a clutch, but caught nothing but sand. Again he tried, but
with no better success. A third and fourth trial so exhausted the
huge monster that he sat down upon the sand completely tired out.
The wizard danced around in a perfect rage; and when Ahab
gave it up, raising his wand he waved it thrice, and commanded
the fairy to stand still. The fairy bowed, and stood quiet.
Now, Ahab," said the wizard, triumphantly "bring her to me "
SAhab arose, and walking heavily to the fairy, took her by the
arm. The arm came off in his grasp; but Ahab, not noticing this,
brought it to the wizard.
You dunce! commenced the wizard; but the absurdity of the
situation overcame him, and he laughed, saying: "Well, bring me
the rest of her!"
On the next trip, Ahab brought the head.
"Very good," said the wizard; "perseverance will bring her.
In a few more journeys the pieces of the fairy lay at the
"There! said the wizard, in triumph; I think that ends your
Not at all," said the magician, pointing his wand at the heap
of arms, wings, body, and head. In an instant the pieces flew to-
gether, and the fairy stood before them as well as ever.
Come now," said the wizard, angrily, "that 's not fair!"
"You had to help your spirit, why should n't I help mine?"
I only kept your spirit still! "
A DUEL IN A DESERT
"I only put mine together! "
The wizard had to admit the justice of the magician's claim;
but, completely losing his temper, he said angrily: I don't believe
you are any sort of a magician, with all your airs! You may have
a friend among the fairies, but I 'd like to see what you can do
by yourself. Send your spirit away, and we '11 see who is the
better man !"
The spirits were dismissed, and the magician, never losing his
temper, said, with a smile: "I can't afford to show my magic for
nothing! If you will insist on seeing what I can do in the way
of real old Egyptian magic, I will show you, on one condition."
"What is that?"
"That he who shows the best magic shall take the wand and
power of the other. Do you agree?"
The wizard, although startled, was too angry to be prudent,
and replied boldly: "I agree!"
"Let us lose no time, then," said the magician, with a crafty
smile. "Are you ready?"
Quite ready," said the wizard.
"Find that, then!" And, as he spoke, the magician threw his
wand high into the air. An immense bird that was flying overhead
clutched the wand, and flew off with lightning speed.
"A baby's trick!" said the wizard, laughing. "I learned that
with the alphabet. The idea of playing magical hide-and-seek with
me!" and breaking his wand into nine short pieces, he stuck them
up in the sand, forming a circle around him. Out from each sud-
denly sprang a wire and stretched itself along above the sand, like
a serpent, only a thousand times faster; and down from this wire
fell poles and stuck up in the sand. In the middle of the ring of
sticks sat the wizard, with a telegraph instrument, ticking away for
dear life. In a moment he stopped and listened. An answering
tick was soon heard; and the wizard, smiling, said: "We shall
have a despatch very soon! Wonderful thing, the telegraph -
A speck was seen in the distance coming quickly toward them.
It soon resolved itself into a small boy, running as fast as he could.
"Well, my boy?" said the wizard, rubbing his hands, as the
Please, sir, here 's a package and a letter for you, sir," replied
the boy, puffing a little from his run. Please sign my receipt."
"Certainly, certainly," said the wizard, scarcely hearing what
was said; and handing the package to the magician, he opened his
letter. It read as follows:
BORNEO, July 12th.
Your message received. Inclosed find wand as requested. Had to shoot bird.
Sorry. Will have it stuffed. Yours, AHAB.
The magician opened the package, and there was the wand.
You are a little behind the age," said the wizard. I should
think you would know better than to race with electricity!"
You really did it very well, very well, indeed," said the magi-
cian, a little vexed; "but, as you say, it was a baby's trick; I was
foolish to try it."
"Well," said the wizard, "let us not waste any more time. Do
your very best this time, and let us get through with it!"
"Please, sir," said the telegraph messenger, sign my receipt;
I 'm in a hurry."
Get out! I can't bother with you now!" said the wizard, im-
patiently. "The idea," he went on, to the magician, "of stopping
me now for such a trifle as signing a-receipt!"
The boy laughed softly to himself, but no one noticed him, so
he stood and watched what was going on.
A DUEL IN A DESERT
Meanwhile, the magician was thinking over his very best tricks.
At last he said, solemnly: "This time I '11 show you something
worth seeing! "
Then he wiped his wand in the skirt of his robe, and pro-
nounced a long incantation, while the wizard pretended to be very
tired of it. As the incantation proceeded, a crystal ball formed it-
self out of the air and floated before them.
"What 's that for?" asked the boy, apparently much interested.
"That's the biggest marble I ever saw! "
"That," said the magician with great impressiveness, not noti-
cing who spoke, is the magician-tester. Merlin invented it for the
express purpose of putting down conceited magicians. Such is its
peculiar construction that only the greatest and most powerful
magician can get inside of it."
Get into that marble said the boy. "I don't see what for."
Probably not," said the magician, much amused.
"Now see here, Johnny," said the wizard, impatiently, "don't
you think you 'd better run home?"
I must have my receipt signed," said the boy, positively; "be-
sides, it 's fun to see this game."
Never mind him," said the magician. Now, what I propose
is this: You and I stand about twenty paces from the tester; then
let the boy count three (for, while you pay for his time, we may as
well use him). Whoever first appears in the tester shall be the
"Am I in this ?" asked the boy, much delighted.
Certainly," said the magician, smiling graciously.
Let 's see if I know the game," said the boy, eagerly. "You
two fellows stand a little way off, then I count three, and you two
cut as fast as you can f6r the marble; and then whoever of us three
gets into it first wins ? "
The magician was much amused to see that the boy included
himself in the "game," and replied: "Well, yes; that 's the game.
There can be no harm in your trying."
What 's the use of talking nonsense to the boy ?" asked the
Oh, it amuses him and does n't hurt us," replied .the magician,
"Get your places!" called the boy, who seemed to enjoy the
game very much.
They retired in opposite directions, while the boy also went
back some distance.
'' All ready? cried the magician.
Hold on," said the boy, suddenly; I 'm not'half so big as you
two-I ought to have a start!"
The wizard was much provoked at the delay, but the magician
said, laughing: "All right, my boy; take any start you like, but
The boy took a few steps, carefully compared the distances,
and took a step or two more. He seemed very much excited.
Is that about right? he asked.
"Yes, yes; do hurry up !" said the wizard.
"Are you ready?" said the boy.
"Yes !" they replied.
One two three shouted the boy, and off he went as fast
as his short legs could carry him. The wizard and magician, start-
ing at the same instant, ran with very great speed, and reached the
tester on opposite sides at about the same time. Both did their
best to get inside; but it was no use. Each turned away, thinking
himself defeated. In turning from the tester, they met.
Hallo!" cried the magician, I thought you were inside the
A DUEL IN A DESERT 49
"And I thought you were!" said the wizard, equally surprised.
"Well, what does this mean?" asked the magician.
I can't tell," replied the wizard; "I did n't make the tester;
there must have been some mistake."
Oh, no; it's all right," said the magician; we must try again.
Where 's the boy?"
--r 0--- ,
"BOTH DID THEIR BEST TO GET INSIDE."
"Here I am!" said the boy's voice.
"Where? they asked, not able to see him.
"In the marble," said the boy. I 've won! "
There was no mistake. They both could see him, coiled up in
the tester and grinning with delight.
"This is too ridiculous said the magician. Come out of that,
you little monkey !"
I sha'n't," said the boy, clapping his hands with glee. I 've
won, and I 'm to have the prize!"
You sha'n't have anything but a good thrashing!" said the
wizard, and, catching up his wand, he rushed toward the tester.
But at that moment, a crack was heard. The tester broke like
a bubble, and forth from it came the majestic figure of the enchanter
THE MAGICIAN AND THE WIZARD GO HOME.
The wizard and magician fell upon their knees.
It is Merlin! they cried.
"Yes," replied the enchanter, gravely, "it is Merlin. When a
wizard and magician spend their mighty powers in juggling tricks
fit only to amuse fools, those powers must be taken from them.
A DUEL IN A DESERT 51
You have made the agreement, and must abide by it. Drop your
The wands fell upon the sand.
Go home, and work! "
They went home and worked, and neither of them married a
princess or lived, happily ever after.
Merlin laughed softly to himself, and remarking, "There 's a
couple of dunces! changed himself back into a messenger-boy,
signed his receipt himself, and walked away over the desert. Soon
he disappeared over the horizon, and all was still.
MY rudeness, as usual, was entirely unintentional; I meant to
have given him my undivided attention. But the long roll
of the steamer, the soft ocean breeze, and the flapping wings
of the sea-gulls must have overpowered me. At all events, I slept,
and heard only the sequel.
The steamer ran between Calcutta and Liverpool, and was on
her return voyage. Among the passengers was Mr. Chubaiboy
Mudjahoy, supposed to be an East Indian gentleman from the in-
terior. Attracted by his quiet and intellectual face, I had become
well acquainted with him, and our acquaintance had grown, during
the long voyage, almost to intimacy. Upon the day of which I am
speaking we had been much together. He grew communicative,
and at last proposed to tell me the story of his life.
To my surprise, he said that the impression that he was an
East Indian was without foundation in fact; that he came from Tibet,
from an unknown district of that unexplored region.
If I remember correctly, he related a marvelous story of having
entered into competition for the hand of a neighboring princess.
This part, so far as I recall it, was quite in the old-fashioned fairy-
tale style; and the tests required of the candidates were certainly
astounding. One I remember vaguely was to bring the favorite
uncut pigeon's-blood ruby from the Rajah of Camaraputta, a cruel
Here it was, however, that the sea began to gently roll, the
breeze to soothingly blow, and the sea-gulls to drowsily flap their
limber wings. I slept some time, for when, thoroughly refreshed, I
blinked lazily to waking, all I heard was:
And so I married the Princess! "
I was sorry to have lost the story, for it was, no doubt, just
the sort I like. But I did not dare to confess my doze, so I said
as brightly as I could:
And lived happily ever after! "
Mudjahoy moved uneasily, and replied:
"Well, hardly. Of course I expected to; but then, you know
that real life is often different from what the kindly story-tellers
would have it. No; I can't say we lived happily ever after. Nor
was it Dorema's fault. I have met a number of princesses, and I
really cannot see that my Dorema has any superiors."
How then do you explain it ? I asked. (Of course I had to be
a little cautious in my questions, for fear of bringing up references to
points I had missed during my nap.)
I '11 tell you the story, if you have not heard too much already?"
Oh, no I replied. Not at all too much. Pray go on."
So Mudjahoy told me the second part. I have always regretted
that I heard only this sequel. I tell it in his words:
You can see that after having accomplished such a series of
tasks I was sure to be respected and envied at court. We passed
the honeymoon in the mountains, and as we took but a small retinue,
several thousands, Dorema often spoke of the strange solitude as a
delicious rest after the bustle and turmoil of court life.
For my part, even in my happiness with Dorema,-she was
really charming!-I found the retinue something of a bore. At
home, I had never been attended by more than three or four ser-
vants, while here I had to find employment and use for a hundred
times as many. It was really one of the minor nuisances of my
If the old king had not abdicated, it would have been easier;
but now all his servants were added to the new ones purchased or
given as wedding-presents to me.
It was like this:
If I wished to shave in the morning in the old days, I would
.- .' .- -. .' ...
arrives, and I say: "We wish to shave our effulgent self." High
official ays: "ENTOh, very good, Most Particularly Noble Cousin ofEN.
heat some water, strop my razor and whip up some lather, and
shave away; but as a king it was very different. As a king, I had
first to clap my hands. Enter a small boy in white linen. To him
I intimated my desire to see one of the high officials. High official
arrives, and I say: "We wish to shave our effulgent self." High
official says: Oh, very good, Most Particularly Noble Cousin of
THE SEQUEL 55
the Dog-star," and so on. Then he disappears and sends the
Chamberlain to tell the Seneschal to tell the Chief Barber that his
Imperial Master wishes to be shaved. Not to weary you, after
some more, many more, wholly unnecessary and irritating cere-
monies, behold me ready to be shaved!
I am extended at length in a chair, being lathered by the First
Latherer in Waiting, while the Bowl-holder or one of his assistants
stands by with the lathering mug, and is supported by the Brush-
courted per as t 'ons ae r) is g g te r r
High-Wielder of the Towel -, -and the Bay-Rum Custodian, also with
S ~ ,
attendants, are near, and in the anteroom I hear a confused mur-
mur of voices, showing that the Court Surgeon and Court-Plaster-
Bearer are, with their retinues, within call.
It was not so much the crowd of people that annoyed'me, but
It was not so much the crowd of people that annoyed" me, but
then it took so long to be shaved. We would begin at, say, ten
o'clock,-they would n't hear of my getting up earlier!-and fre-
quently when the last bit of lather was removed from my royal ear,
it would be half-past one in the afternoon!
I give this only as a sample part of my day. It is vividly
recalled because it was one of the earliest of the inconveniences
attaching to my newly acquired royalty. Of course it is only
a specimen brick there were dozens of a similar clay.
It was only after I returned to the capital and took up my
residence in the palace, that I felt sufficiently at home to make
One memorable day, a Thursday, I betook myself to my dress-
ing-room and clapped my hands thrice. The linen-wrapper boy
entered. I hated the sight of him already.
Bring us a new turban," I said shortly.
0 Brother-in-Law of the Pleiades-" said the boy in a trem-
Speak up, copper-colored child," I answered a little impatiently,
"What are you afraid of? "
0 your Imperial Highestness of the Solar System, your rays
need clipping!" replied the boy violently making salaams.
"I was shaved yesterday," I said.
But-" began the boy.
"By the royal Palanquin!" I broke out; "send in the Master
of Ceremonies!" The boy vanished, and soon with a sound of
bugles, shawms, and tubas (several out of tune, too), the Master of
Ceremonies, and his retinue, came in. This took about half an
hour. When they were all settled I said:
O Master of Ceremonies and-and such things" (I forgot the
proper titles for a moment), "we would hold converse with thee
apart, as it were."
Again the wind instruments were wound, the brass band and
retinue took its devious course along the corridors, and the music and
marching gradually died away. This took about twenty minutes.
Now that we are alone," said I to the Master of Ceremonies,
"let 's have a reasonable talk."
0 Nephew of-! he began.
"Never mind the astronomy," I broke in, "but proceed to
Yes, Sire," he answered in a terrible fright, no doubt expecting
Don't be a fool! said I. I 'm not going to hurt you. Stand
up and have some style about you! "
So he did, somewhat reassured.
"Now," I said, I 'm tired of all this fuss. Bring me a razor, and
I '11 shave myself."
"But, your Serene Imperialness -"
"See here!" I-said positively; "there 's not a hearer around.
Just drop the titles and call me Mudjahoy or I'11 have you beheaded!"
"Well, Mudjahoy," said the Master of Ceremonies, easily, I 'm
afraid that it can't be done "
"Can't be done? Am I the Emperor of this place, or -what
"Why, of course, Mudjahoy, you 're Emperor, and all that," he
answered, with an ease of manner that surprised me; "but then
there are a great many things to be considered."
"Well, go on," said I; "but I 'd like to have this thing settled
one way or the other. Speak freely."
"It 's just this way," said the Master of Ceremonies; "what
would you do with the Chief Barber?"
Do with the Chief Barber? Why, nothing. He could do with
"But his salary is enormous."
Cut it down."
But he is a very influential man; he has dependent upon him,
directly or indirectly, about twenty thousand men, and these men,
with their families, are a powerful faction. Then, too, the officials
whose duties are similar such as the First Turban-Twister, the
Sandal-Strapper and his understrappers, and so on-would make
common cause with him. You see ?"
"Yes, I see," I said thoughtfully; "but in the same way you
could justify any foolishness whatever. You would prevent all
Oh, no said the Master of Ceremonies; "oh, no, Mudjahoy.
Not reforms, but revolutions. You can very easily institute reforms;
but you must go slowly."
"But," I objected, "you as the official in charge of ceremonies
may well be prejudiced. Let us have the Grand Vizir summoned."
"That will take an hour, at least," answered the Master of Cere-
monies, who really seemed a very nice fellow when you knew him
"Well, you slip out and get him on the sly," I answered with an
"All right, Mudjahoy," he said, and out he went whistling a
While he was gone it occurred to me that I was now a married
man, and that Dorema was certainly entitled to know of the step
which I was contemplating. So, by the aid of four or five assis-
tants, I caused her to be summoned.
She arrived a moment before the Grand Vizir made his
"I have called you, my dear Mrs. Mudjahoy-" I began, but she
You must n't call me that! she said, looking shocked.
"Why not? I asked.
"You must say, 'my Imperial Consort,'" she replied, taking a
seat upon a divan.
"Oh, no. Mrs. Mudjahoy is a pet name," I explained. She
was pacified, and I proceeded: "I have called you, Mrs. Mudjahoy,
to be present at the beginning of a Great Reform. I am about 'to
make our life simpler, more enjoyable, and less burdensome in
"Do you find it burdensome so soon? she asked reproachfully,
turning away her lovely head and trying to coax out a sob.
I saw I had made a mistake. "Not at all," I answered hur-
riedly; "but-here comes
the Grand Vizir; you listen
attentively, and you will k
soon understand it all."'. 1 '' i:
The Grand Vizir en- --'- -.'
tered. He seemed ill at \ -
ease, and I saw that he had "-
a similar under his caftan. '
What does the Celes- i '..
tial Orb require of the
humblest of his slaves?" -L'
said the Grand Vizir, pros- --. .
treating himself.. :..
Oh, get up!" I said "'WHAT DOES THE CELESTIAL ORB REQUIRE?'
wearily. Then I asked SAID THE GRAND VIZIR
the Master of Ceremonies to explain how the interview was to be
conducted. So while Dorema and I exchanged a few tender nothings
about the weather, the Master of Ceremonies explained to the Grand
Vizir the nature of the conversation I had held with him that morn-
ing. The Grand Vizir seemed much impressed. I saw him tap his
forehead inquisitively and feel for his simitar. But the Master of
Ceremonies soon reassured him. Then they turned to me.
See here, Mudjahoy, old man-" began the Vizir, with a re-
freshing absence of conventionality. Dorema looked horrified.
She was about to clap her hands, undoubtedly to order the Vizir's
instant execution, but I restrained her.
"Vizir," I said, "I do not care for ceremony, but civility is a
sine qud non." (That staggered him; he was weak on Latin.)
"So drop the titles, but proceed carefully. Now go on."
He went on: "Mudjahoy, sire, I have been told of your con-
templated reforms, and I am bound to tell you, as an honest ad-
viser, that they will not work. You propose to dismiss the Chief
Barber ? "
I do," said I firmly.
"And, I suppose, the Turban-Twister, and so on ?"
"And to live in a simple and businesslike way ?"
I do," I replied.
"Well," said he, spinning his turban upon his forefinger and
looking at it with one eye closed, it will never do in the world-
never There was formerly an autocrat who tried to run this gov-
ernment on business principles, and-" he paused and sighed.
"Where is he ?" I asked.
"The Garahoogly contains all that is mortal of him,-in a sack!"
said the Grand Vizir meaningly.
Dorema clung to me and looked at my face imploringly.
"No matter," I said determinedly; "I shall carry out these
"You will fail," said the Master of Ceremonies, and the Grand
Vizir nodded solemnly.
So be it!" I said. Kismet. I shall therefore request you,
Grand Vizir, to give public notice of the abolition of all useless
offices, of which I will give you a list after dinner."
But consider !" said Dorema, in a low, frightened tone.
"Would you rather be the Imperial Consort Dorema, Queen
and Empress of King Chubaiboy the First," I asked her proudly,
"and have to be at the beck and call of all these palace nuisances,-
or would you rather be my own Mrs. Mudjahoy, free to do as you
please ? "
For a moment she hesitated, and I trembled. But, brightening
up, she asked: "And travel incog. "
Certainly," I answered; "nay, more: live incog. wherever we
"I 'm for Reform and Mrs. Mudjahoy," replied my lovely bride.
The Vizir and Master of Ceremonies remained respectfully
silent during our interview. Then the Vizir asked me: Do you
intend to abolish the Royal White Elephant ?"
Precisely," I answered. "That albino sinecure will be the first
to go on the list."
Is your life insured ?" asked the Master of Ceremonies politely
"No," I said. Dorema sighed. "But," said I, "you will see
that the whole people will hail me as their deliverer."
We shall see," said the Vizir; but I did n't like the inflections
Declaring the interview at an end, I dismissed my ministers,
said farewell to my brave queen, and gave the rest of the day to the
preparation of the List. It was comprehensive and complete.
"There!" said I, as I laid down my reed pen and corked the ink-
horn. To-morrow will look upon an enfranchised people! "
But the Grand Vizir was a man of considerable wisdom. We
were awakened the next morning by a confused sound of murmuring
beneath the palace windows. I rose and threw open the flowered
The whole courtyard was filled with a tumultuous mob armed
with an assortment of well-chosen weapons. They carried banners,
hastily made but effective, upon which I read at a glance a few sen-
tences like these:
"Down with the Destroyer of our Homes!"
Chubaiboy to the Garahoogly "
"We must have our White Elephant! "
The Chief Barber or Death! "
"Turban-Twister Terrors!" and so on. Before I could read
more, I saw the Chief Barber on the back of the White Elephant at
the head of the mob. He was a Moor.
O Chubaiboy !" said he, wielding a bright razor so that he re-
flected the rays of the morning sun into my eyes. Will you abdi-
cate, or shall it be the sack and the gently flowing Garahoogly ? "
"Where is the Grand Vizir? I said, after a moment's hesitation.
Here, your Majesty," answered that official. I saw he was in
command of the right wing of the mob. He looked very well, too.
And the Master of Ceremonies ? "
"Here, your Highness," was the answer. He apparently led the
"And are you both against me?" I asked.
"We are!" they answered respectfully, but with considerable
"And where are my adherents? I shouted.
Here 1" said a sweet voice at my side. It was Dorema.
"Here!" said another soft voice. It was the boy in starched
linen. I almost liked him at that moment.
Then there followed a silence so vast that I could hear a fly
buzzing derisively on the window-pane above me.
"And you are not in harmony with the Administration? I asked
"No! It was unanimous.
"Very well," I said. "Then I resign, of course. Let me thank
you, my late subjects, for your prompt and decisive interest in public
"'AND WHERE ARE MY ADHERENTS?' I SHOUTED. 'HERE!' SAID DOREMA."
affairs. I had meant to carry out some much-needed reforms, and
I had some thoughts that they would fill a long-felt want. Thank-
ing you for this early serenade, and with the highest respects for
you all and for all your families, from myself and from Mrs. Mudja-
hoy, I abdicate. Good-by !"
There were some cheers, I think from Dorema and the linen-
coated boy. Then the mob cheered for the Chief Barber, and I saw
that my successor was already chosen.
We left that afternoon, and purely as a matter of humanity took
the linen-coated boy with us; for I felt sure that he would not be
popular nor long-lived if he should remain at home. He is a little
afraid of me, but is useful.
We made our way to Calcutta, and took the steamer for
At this moment Mr. Mudjahoy was interrupted. His graceful
wife came to his chair and touched him on the shoulder.
Come," she said. "It is chilly on deck."
"Certainly," answered Mudjahoy, rising; "but let me first pre-
sent my friend to you."
I was presented, and soon after said:
"Mr. Mudjahoy disbelieves the fairy tales."
I do not understand ?" said Mrs. Mudjahoy.
"He thinks that the hero and princess are not always 'happy
ever after,'" I said.
"Why,-but they are!" said Mrs. Mudjahoy. "Are n't they,
Chubaiboy ? "
"On reflection, I think they are!" saia he.
Then they bade me good-night.
A LOST OPPORTUNITY
MY BIOGRAPHER, if I should ever have any, would say in
his first chapter: "From boyhood he evinced an aptitude for
the Natural Sciences. He was seldom without a magni-
fying-glass in his pocket, and put it to most excellent use in famil-
iarizing himself with those exquisite details of Mother Nature's
handiwork which are sure to escape the mere casual observer."
And in a later part of the same future rival to Boswell's Johnson"
will probably be seen these words: In later life we see the traits
of his boyhood deepened and broadened. The magnifying-glass
of his school-boy days has become the large and costly binocular
microscope surrounded by all the apparatus which the cunning
workers in metals know so well how to produce in limitless profu-
sion for the ruin of the scientific amateur."
If such statements should be made, they will be based upon
There are, however, other facts which no biographer will dare
to tell, and which, therefore, I must write for myself. The follow-
ing experience is one of them. Whether to my credit or to my
discredit, I shall tell the plain story and leave it, with all its im-
probability, to your fair judgment.
Already knowing my taste for the use of the microscope, you
can understand the following letter without further introduction:
AMAGANSETT, L. I., August 5th.
DEAR PHILIP: I suppose the thermometers in the city are the only scientific in-
struments now studied with any interest. Being cool enough here to be reasonably
unselfish, I am willing to divert your mind from the thermometer to the microscope.
I inclose what seems to my prosaic mind a pebble. It was picked up on the
beach and playfully thrown by me at our Professor." He, of course accidentally,
caught it. After an examination, he declared that it differed from anything he had
ever seen: that it was neither animal, vegetable, nor mineral. In short, he knows that
he does n't know what it is, and therefore says (speaking in true scientific vein)-
"Although of indeterminate nature, certain fusiform bosses, in conjunction with a gen-
eral spheroidal tendency, seem strong a priori indications of aerolitic flight through our
own atmosphere, or other gaseous medium of similar density I make no comments.
So bring out your microscope and let us know what it is. If you should' come and
join us you would find little but sand and salt-water; but then there is plenty of each.
Sincerely yours, CARROLL MATHERS.
He inclosed a small rounded object wrapped in tissue-paper.
It was light blue in color and a trifle smaller than a hazel-nut.
The surface seemed, as the Professor hinted, to have been some-
what melted. It certainly had claims to be considered a curiosity.
That evening, after dinner, I took out my microscope, and after
carefully cleaning the pebble, I examined the surface under a strong
w_ -, --I-_' --
A E AN I-I '- IT" WA" ET
I IE I ,' '~
.... ./ _____
IN E A MI-A-'
- : = :--- -= ... I ,
-._----:_ :k --- ---: -----.- o-Y --.- -. .. .. : -.: -- .: III- e "
-=2_---i -] ::---- -a .-= -. --_ -j __-- -. ... "_ --= -
-----~!r ..- _'-- ---- -]_- ; -.Z = -. = ; .. -: ... '-- . ..' ---._ ; .
-, =, __< -:; ", .._. .-.- .. -
.._:-__ -:=_ -_- .;_- r -.- -- .. :- --- ... ..
_~;! -._- __- _-_, ,.__ =__--: -: -- -
_. _--_-- .- -- _--_ --_ -
;AT RAN XA INAION lI DELAIED T AS EITiERANIiAL EGIETABLEI NOR BIINPRAL''
condenser, but thereby simply magnified the irregularities. "I
shall have to cut it in two," I said to myself. It was very hard,
and I succeeded only after some effort. I cut it through a little away
from the center, and so divided it almost into halves. Examining the
flat surfaces, I found a small dark spot in the center of one of them.
I thought so!" I exclaimed triumphantly; I will now cut off
a section and shall undoubtedly find a petrified insect perhaps
of an extinct species!"
I sawed away the rounded side, and when I could see that the
dark spot was nearer the surface, polished the section down with
oil and emery-paper until I had obtained a thin disk with a dark
spot in the middle.
It was now ready for the microscope. The focus was carefully
found by slowly turning the fine-adjustment screw. The spot gradu-
ally defined itself and seemed about to assume the appearance of an
insect when, just at the point where I had expected it to be plainly
visible, it suddenly disappeared, leaving a hole in the disk through
which the light streamed! I was perplexed, and gazed stupidly. The
light seemed suddenly to flicker, and then was shut off altogether.
I inspected the instrument carefully, but all seemed to be in
I picked up the disk. There certainly was a hole through it.
Perhaps there is something in the tube," I said, and unscrewed
the eye-piece. Just as the eye-piece came loose something jumped
from the tube, knocking the glass from my fingers.
I thought it was a moth or bug--but how did it come there?
"Well, that 's very strange," said I, aloud.
Most extraordinary," a voice replied; a very small voice, but
the words were clearly audible. I looked around the room.
Don't trouble yourself to search. I am not afraid. I 'm right
here on the table!"
A LOST OPPORTUNITY
I faced the table again and discovered that what I had supposed
to be a bug was, apparently, a man; and a very commonplace, quiet,
and gentlemanly man, not at all remarkable, except for the fact that
he was only about three inches tall. When I saw him he was
KEEP OFF! DO YOU MEAN TO EAT ME ?
straightening out his odd little hat, which had in some way become
My eyes at times deceive me somewhat, as my microscope work
has made them sensitive; so I stooped to take a closer view of my
He appeared to be startled, and cried:
Keep off! Do you mean to eat me? Beware! Giant though
you be, I can defend myself!"
Eat you!" I answered, laughing. I am not a cannibal, even
on a very small scale! And I have just dined. It was but curiosity.
What in the world are you? "
Curiosity, indeed !" he replied. What in the world are you ? "
And he mimicked my tone to perfection.
I saw that he stood upon his dignity, and thought it best to
You must pardon me," I began, "if my surprise on seeing a
gentleman of your small presence caused me for the moment to
forget the respect due to a stranger. But you yourself will not
deny that the sight of such a mere atomy a lusus nature, if I
may be allowed the expression -would tend to excite curiosity
rather than to remind one of the demands of courtesy."
This seemed to mollify him, for he replied, with a smile, It
is a strange sensation to hear one's self styled a lusus nature,
but I cannot in justice complain, as I was about to apply the same
term to yourself; and you certainly are colossally enormous pro-
digious! I trust, however, that I have controlled my curiosity, and
have accorded you such treatment as is due a gentleman even
on the very largest scale!"
He paused and gazed upon me with undisguised amazement.
"How did you get here?" I asked, after a moment's silence.
I should be delighted to know," he answered, with evident sin-
cerity. It may be I can tell you, when you are good enough to
begin by letting me know where I am."
Nothing easier," I said. "This is my room."
"A valuable piece of information," he said, with some sarcasm,
and the apartment appears to be comfortable and rather well
arranged-with exceptions. I see you cling to antiquated styles."
A LOST OPPORTUNITY
Indeed! I was not aware of it."
"Why," he said, seeing I did not understand, "you light the
room with coal-gas, as the ancients did. You still use the mechani-
cal clock instead of the vocable chronophotometer; your furniture
is, I see, of wood instead of coherent alcyite, while-but I do not
object to the effect it is delightfully archaic in tone!"
"I really don't follow you," I replied, somewhat piqued, "but you
might remember that, archaic or not, this room is my own, and your
criticism upon it is as gratuitous as your presence in it! "
I admit that this was not precisely courteous, but his manner
was very supercilious and provoked me.
"Why did you bring me here? I am sure I did n't request it,"
he angrily retorted.
"My atomic friend," I said impressively, "who or what you are,
I neither know nor care. But kindly bear in mind this fact: I did
not bring you here. I don't ask you to stay here; whenever you
wish to go, I can bear your departure without a pang. Neverthe-
less, so long as you remain I shall expect you to behave in a gen-
tlemanly manner!" Here I thumped upon the table, and he fell
over. He recovered nimbly, and, drawing himself up to his full
three inches, replied with the greatest dignity:
My colossal acquaintance, there is one fact you must kindly
bear in your mind: Who. or what you are is of little or no impor-
tance to me. How I came here, I know no more than yourself.
Suffice it to say, I did n't come of my own accord; and, from my
experience so far,"-here he paused and glanced scornfully about
him,-" I have no .desire to prolong my stay. But while I do stay
I shall insist upon all proper courtesy and all due respect!"
His dignity was so absurdly out of keeping with his size that I
could not refrain from a burst of laughter, and I became better-
natured at once.
"Well," I replied, when I had recovered my composure, "now
that we have come to an understanding, tell me quietly, in a friendly
way, as one gentleman to another, something about yourself. If
you will allow me the question, where do you live? Were you born
a dwarf, or-"
"Born a dwarf!" he broke in angrily, "born a dwarf! You
great, coarse, overgrown giant-what do you mean, sir?"
"What do I mean ?" It was too absurd. "You ridiculous dia-
mond-edition of humanity, what do you suppose I mean? I have
always heard that dwarfs were sensitive; but, really, when one is
only about half the size of a respectable jack-knife-"
"And I," he broke in again, "have always heard that giants
were invariably thick-witted and rude; but I did suppose that any
human being, even if he were as tall as the tallest trees and had a
voice like a clap of thunder (which is far from agreeable to your
hearers, by the way), might be sensible enough to-"
"So- you think," said I, interrupting him, "that I am as large
as the tallest trees?"
"Certainly," he said, with perfect seriousness.
I thought it worth while to convince him of his error, and there-
fore invited him to step to the window, against which the table
stood. He did so, and, upon looking out, threw up his arms in
"It is a land of giants!" he said, slowly and in an awe-struck
"Ah!" I remarked quietly, pleased with my little object lesson,
"you now see how much smaller you are than ordinary men."
Ordinary men," he repeated very slowly and with an absent
expression. "What then can he think me?"
He stood in silence, with his hands clasped behind him, and
appeared to be deep in thought. When he spoke again it was
with an entire change of manner.
A LOST OPPORTUNITY
"Am I to understand you, sir, that all the men, women, and
children known to you are proportionately as large as yourself, and
that everything is on the same gigantic scale ?"
It is exactly so," I replied seriously.
"And may I ask you to believe that I have never seen anything
or anybody except upon the smaller scale which you can see ex-
emplified in me? Did you never see any one of my size before,
nor hear of us?"
"Never! except in fairy stories," I said frankly, for now. he
seemed to be really a very sensible little man.
"This is not a question of fairy tales, nor of joking!" he said,
with great solemnity. "We are in the very midst of some great
mystery. I must belong to a different race of beings-for I never
heard, read, or dreamed of such enormous people. Where I live,
all are like myself! "
This seemed incredible, but finally I asked, "And where do
you live ? "
"I live," he answered, "in the twenty-first range of precinct
forty, Telmer Municipal, Waver, Forolaria; and by profession I am
an Official Arranger."
"You are very exact," I said, with mock admiration.
"And where do you live? he inquired.
"This is my home," I said; "the Alfresco, Madison street, New
"Thank you," said he, with sarcastic gratitude. I am as wise
as before !"
You know as much of my residence as I of yours! I answered
"You cannot be ignorant of Telmer?" he asked, raising' his
eyebrows in surprise at my ignorance.
"You surely know New York City?" I rejoined in the same
manner. "The largest city in the United States!"
United States," he repeated, "and what are those-who
united them ?"
Perhaps a history would give you the clearest information," I
I think it might, if I had the time," he replied soberly, as he
drew from his pocket what I supposed to be a watch; but it was
too small to be clearly distinguishable. He pressed it in his hand,
and I heard a sound or voice clearly enunciating: Thirty-four
degrees after the eighteenth." Before I could say a word he re-
sumed, It is too late to-night; perhaps you will save my time by
telling me the substance of it ? "
Flattered, I 'm sure." I felt as if I was again in school; but
after a moment's reflection I cleared my throat and began:
"The Kingdom of England-"
"The what? he asked, with a puzzled look.
The Kingdom of England-where the English live-"
"What are the English? "
"Oh, come," said I, laughing, "you are talking English! We
are both talking English! "
"Well, well," he said; I was thinking a while ago how it could
be that you were able to speak good Forolarian "; and he burst out
laughing. Then suddenly.ceasing he went on, But if we begin on
the mysteries we shall never get to the invited, states. Pray go on."
"These English, you see, colonized a portion of America-"
"A portion of America-that is the name of a place ? "
Oh, what is the use !" I broke off angrily. If I define every
word I use, I shall never reach a conclusion. If you would like to
pursue the subject further, my library is at your service."
"Thank you," he replied, with dignity; perhaps I could glean
some information from that source." I made no reply.
Presently, seeing that he wandered about the table in rather
an aimless way, I asked, Can I be of service?"
A LOST OPPORTUNITY 75
"If you could suggest some method of reaching the floor-"
I offered him the ruler. He seated himself cautiously upon it,
and I lowered him gently to the floor.
Quite a walk to the book-case! was his next observation. I
had n't thought of it, but proffered my services once more.
i --~--- o. -.
"I LOWERED HIM GENTLY TO THE FLOOR."
"Which shelf would you prefer?" I asked, as respectfully as
possible, for certainly it was not an ordinary question.
"A matter of indifference to me, sir," he replied with a mite of
"Equally one to me," I replied, with a bow in return. I was
resolved that he should do some thinking for himself.
"Let us say the lowest, then"; and he glanced at the upper
shelves, perhaps calculating the possible result of a misstep.
I left him on the lowest shelf, returning to the table to put
away the microscope. A slight cough drew my attention to the
'"I ADMIRE THE BINDINGS,' SAID THE LITTLE FELLOW, AS HE PACED TO AND FRO
ALONG THE SHELF."
A LOST OPPORTUNITY
I admire the bindings," said the little fellow, as he paced to
and fro along the shelf.
I am gratified by your approval," was my indifferent reply.
Particularly this one," he went on. Let me see," he leaned
far backward, and with much difficulty read the title: 'The Works
of Sha-kes-peare.' I should like to read them."
"Very well," I answered politely.
"Much obliged," said he fiercely. "Please lend me an electric
Pardon my stupidity-let me take it down for you." I stepped
to the book-case, laid the book upon the floor, and returned to my
work. A silence then ensued, which lasted so long that I looked
up to see how he was progressing.
He was sitting on the shelf with his tiny legs hanging despair-
ingly over a gulf of some six inches between himself and the floor.
He was afraid to jump and ashamed to ask help. Catching my eye,
he laughed and said:
I am rather out of training just now, and not fond of jumping !"
"Say no more!" I lifted him to the floor, and turned away;
but only to be recalled by a faint ejaculation. His mishaps were
truly ingenious. He was caught beneath the cover of the book.
My foot slipped," he explained with some confusion; "but if it
had n't, I believe I could have opened the book all by myself! "
"I will not leave you, now, until everything is in proper order,"
I replied; for it occurred to me that to have any accident happen
to him might be a very perplexing thing. Opening the book, I
picked him up gingerly between my fingers, first asking pardon
for the liberty, and deposited him softly upon the first page of
"Are you all right now?" I inquired, to make sure.
"I believe so," said he, as he began to read--running to and
fro upon the page. However, I sat down near by and watched him,
fearing -some new difficulty. He read with much interest, and
seemed to enjoy it thoroughly, except when he came to the turn-
ing of a page. That was a nuisance indeed, as he had to turn
up one edge, crawl over it, and then lift the page over.
"Have n't you a smaller edition of this fellow's writings ?" he
"HE WAS CAUGHT BENEATH THE COVER OF THE BOOK."
asked, somewhat exhausted by his efforts. "This is like reading
"No," I replied shortly, "but if it tires you, you can read some-
"But," said he, with some enthusiasm, "this is really quite good.
It 's equal to some of Wacoth's earlier and cruder work! It shows
a talent that would well repay cultivation "
i -- ...
"Yes, it is very fair," I replied, quietly; Shakspere certainly
has produced some creditable plays -at least, we think so."
I should like to have known him," went on my undisturbed
A LOST OPPORTUNITY
visitor. I think we would have been congenial. Don't you
I paid no attention to this. What could I say?
"We consider him one of the best writers in the language," I
"I would like to hear about them," he said.
I pretended not to understand this hint; but he waited very
patiently, and returned my gaze with quiet expectation.
Now, look here," said I, calmly weighing my words, I have,
at present, other occupations which, I regret to say,"- this was sar-
castic,-" prevent me from undertaking to give you a really thorough
course in English literature. I might be more inclined to do so
if I had something to begin on. Have you ever heard of Homer? "
"Yes," he answered eagerly; "my father has a cousin of that
name Homer Woggs! "
I cannot believe it is the same man," said I, soberly. He
seemed much disappointed. "At all events," I went on, "you can-
not fail to see the folly of expecting me to explain to you all the events
which have taken place since the world began. I finished school some
years ago, and have no desire to review the whole curriculum."
I turned resolutely away and left him to his own devices. I
worked quietly for a few moments, only to be interrupted by a
"What 's the matter now? I asked, irritably.
"I 'm tired of lugging over these pages !"
"Well, don't do it. Sit down. Repose."
But I 'm interested in the play "
I 'm not going to turn the pages for you."
Could n't you read it aloud to me ? he asked, with cool assurance.
I could, but I won't," I replied, rudely enough; but I was pro-
voked at his impudence.
"You are very obliging," he said, sneeringly.
I made no reply. After a pause he made a suggestion.
"Although determined not to aid me to an occupation, perhaps you
will not object to my sitting by and seeing what you are doing ? "
I could not refuse so reasonable a request. I raised him to the
table and gave him a paper-weight to sit upon.
He quietly watched me until I began to unscrew the glasses
from my microscope, when he said carelessly: "I myself am a
microscopic amateur "
It is an inti-reti'g subject" I replied.
"Yes. My success with the Mincroft glass was remarkable."
"The Mincroft glass,-I do not know it,-what is its nature?"
I asked, with some natural curiosity.
"Why, the composite lens invented by Mincroft, which enables
one to see the whole of a large object at once, all parts being equally
magnified-but I bore you ? He pretended to yawn.
On the contrary," I said, eagerly, "it has been my keenest
desire to invent such an instrument. Pray describe it!"
But it is so simple; any school-boy can explain it to you," he
said, with feigned indifference.
"But how can such a marvel be accomplished? I insisted, car-
ried away by curiosity.
Do you really mean to say you never heard of it? he inquired
in a drawling tone, designed, I thought, to annoy me.
"Never! And I would give anything to understand it!"
He seemed amused by my eagerness, and, smiling indulgently,
continued in the same tone: "Why, that is a trifle--a mere toy
compared with the wonderful Angertort Tube. Now, that is what I
should call an invention /"
"What! Another discovery of which I have never heard? The
Angertort Tube, did you say? When were these inventions made ?"
A LOST OPPORTUNITY
I believe it was during the third century, before the second
great Migration, but for exactness I shall have to refer you to the
school-books. I never was good at dates. However, it does n't
matter; these were but the first-fruits of the revival of science--
when chemismication first superseded steam and electricity."
-. ------- ---
"HE PRETENDED TO YAWN."
This was too much. "Steam and electricity superseded? They
are yet in their infancy with us! "
Oh," he replied, laughing, "you are far behind the times. We
disused both as soon as we learned to control dynamic atomicity."
You must be ages in advance of us. I beg you to explain some
of these marvels to me."
I have other occupations," said he, roguishly, and, to my great
regret, they will prevent my tutoring you in the A B C's of science.
You must think me very obliging!" and he arose, put his hands in
"'YOU CAN GO BACK WHERE YOU CAME FROM!' "
his trousers-pockets, and sauntered away across the table, whistling
softly to himself.
I lost my temper.
"You cantankerous little midget, you will answer my questions
or I '11 send you back where you came from! "
A LOST OPPORTUNITY
He turned sharply upon me, and exclaimed:
"You great hulking booby, do you expect me to bore myself
by giving lessons in primary science to a cross-grained, disobliging
fellow who will not take the trouble to tell me who excited the states,
who Shakespeare is, or to read me even one of his plays ? No, sir!
YOU KEEP YOUR SECRETS AND I 'LL KEEP MINE. As to going back
where I came from, I would be glad to rid you of my presence in-
stantly if only I knew how."
I '11 try it, anyhow! I cried, so angry that I hardly knew what
I said. "You came out of my microscope, and into it you shall
go again! I caught him up, dropped him into the tube, screwed
on the top, and was pleased to see the little black spot reappear in
the disk. Opening the window, I threw out the disk, and was amazed
to see that, instead of falling, it floated away through the motionless
air like a piece of thistle-down before a summer breeze. It soon left
the area of light coming from my window, and was lost to view.
"Aha!" I said, with deep satisfaction. Now you can go back
where you came from!"
I sat down beside my table, and, as my anger cooled, began to
think it all over. At first I felt great relief to be rid of the little
pest, who fretted me by his pertinacity and piqued my self-esteem by
his air of superiority.
But gradually my temper cooled, and as I recovered my sane
judgment I began to reflect that ordinary civility to the little mani-
kin might have induced him to tell me enough to have secured me
fame and fortune, or even to have made me a benefactor to my
whole race; and I felt bitter shame that my ill humor and foolish
pride had caused me pettishly to throw away an opportunity greater
than had ever been granted to any human being.
Still, he was so provoking and so altogether irritating that I am
inclined to think you yourself would have done very much the same.
S, I I wi i b i i
astrologer of my weight; so I seldom refresh my memory by going,
robe on warm days. I also admit that a shorter beard would be
nous but not wearing, and the hours are short. As an appren-
but now, without conceit, I think I speak within bounds in saying
that I know all there is to know about planets, stars, asteroids,
comets, nebuls, and horoscopes, and twice as much as any other
astrologer of my weight; so I seldom refresh my memory by going,
through my telescope, directly to nature.
I admit it is inconvenient to be obliged to wear a thick woolen
robe on warm days. I also admit that a shorter beard would be
THE ASTROLOGER'S NIECE
less in my way, and that I might shave if my customers did not
object. I do not deny that my raven, a second-hand bird which once
belonged to Zadkiel, is a nuisance, because of his continually stealing
my spectacles. As I have only one pair, it is very hard to find them
when I have no spectacles to find them with. The bird is not
sympathetic, and enjoys my annoyance over the search; croaking
derisively as I go stumbling around among dusty old books and
brittle glass crucibles. This irritates me; and I put him on bread
and water, which irritates him.
My calculations are a bore; and I am very apt to pinch my
fingers or entangle my beard in the celestial globe. My customers
are greedy, and insist upon being kings, duchesses, pirates, and so
on, ignoring the indications which plainly show them to be intended
for hurdy-gurdy players, scissors-grinders, or poets. The planets
are all right; I have no particular fault to find with the fixed stars;
but those vagabonds, the comets, will often act in the most unfriendly
way,- spoiling my very best combinations. It makes customers
ill-natured, and they hold me responsible, just .as though I arranged
the comets to suit myself! Perhaps it is not strange that I am a
trifle touchy; I feel sure astrologers will agree that I am no more
nervous than is excusable under the trials of the profession. Still,
I repeat, I am satisfied with my vocation. I did hesitate between
star-gazing and saw-filing; but I think my choice was not unwise;
for, as an astrologer, I became more or less familiar with magic,-
a pleasant recreation if pursued with proper discretion, but not fit
for children. While I lived alone, I had no trouble with it; for
although I made mistakes, I was indulgent enough to overlook
But when my only sister unfortunately died and left a lovely
little daughter alone in the world, whom nobody else could be
persuaded to adopt, I foolishly consented to bring up that child.
It was an amiable, even admirable, weakness -but, my stars! what
curious things a child can do!
I had had no kindergarten experience. I was never in an or-
phan asylum, so far as I know, and I was an only son. I knew no-
thing of children, except such superficial acquaintance as enabled me
to foretell their futures and to advise parents about bringing them
up; and yet in my old age I was thus, by an accident, forced to take
full charge of a small girl of very decided traits-born with Jupiter
in the ascendant, and Mercury not far off! What bothered me most
was her goodness. A bad child can be coaxed and punished; but
M Y' I/ I' i IN M .
MYI / EPR E I MAGIC
MIY NIECE'S EXPERIMENT IN MAGIC.
an affectionate, mischievous, obedi-
ent, and innocent girl-what can be
done with her?
I never thought of locking up
my books of magic-and she must
have read them, I suppose; for, be-
fore I knew it, that youngster was
working spells and charms, fixing
up enchantments, and making trans-
formations which required more time
to disentangle than I could readily
spare from my business hours.
The first disagreeable experi-
ence resulted from her having read
about some old flyinghorse in Greece,
Turkey, or elsewhere, and she took to
wandering about the fields keeping a
bright lookout for him I suspect she became discouraged, and re-
solved to make one for herself, since she caught a little colt, fixed a pair
of wings by some spell or other upon the colt's shoulders, and attempted
to harness him with flowers; whereupon he flew away It could n't