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Title: Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque Volume 2
Author: Edgar Allan Poe
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Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, volume 2
Edgar Allan Poe

Seltsamen tochter Jovis
Seinem schosskinde
Der Phantasie.



Chacun a ses vertus.
--Crebillon's Xerxes.

Antiochus Epiphanes is very generally looked upon as the Gog of the
prophet Ezekiel. This honor is, however, more properly attributable to
Cambyses, the son of Cyrus. And, indeed, the character of the Syrian
monarch does by no means stand in need of any adventitious
embollishment. His accession to the throne, or rather his usurpation
of the sovereignty, a hundred and seventy-one years before the coming
of Christ--his attempt to plunder the temple of Diana at Ephesus--his
implacable hostility to the Jews--his pollution of the Holy of Holies,
and his miserable death at Taba, after a tumultuous reign of eleven
years, are circumstances of a prominent kind, and therefore more
generally noticed by the historians of his time than the impious,
dastardly, cruel, silly, and whimsical achievements which make up the
sum total of his private life and reputation.

* * * * * *

Let us suppose, gentle reader, that it is now the year of the world
three thousand eight hundred and thirty, and let us, for a few
minutes, imagine ourselves at that most grotesque habitation of man,
the remarkable city of Antioch. To be sure there were, in Syria and
other countries, sixteen cities of that name besides the one to which
I more particularly allude. But ours is that which went by the name of
Antiochia Epidaphne, from its vicinity to the little village of
Daphne, where stood a temple to that divinity. It was built (although
about this matter there is some dispute) by Seleucus Nicanor, the
first king of the country after Alexander the Great, in memory of his
father Antiochus, and became immediately the residence of the Syrian
monarchy. In the flourishing times of the Roman empire, it was the
ordinary station of the prefect of the eastern provinces; and many of
the emperors of the queen city, (among whom may be mentioned, most
especially, Verus and Valens,) spent here the greater part of their
time. But I perceive we have arrived at the city itself. Let us ascend
this battlement, and throw our eyes around upon the town and
neighboring country.

What broad and rapid river is that which forces its way with
innumerable falls, through the mountainous wilderness, and finally
through the wilderness of buildings?

That is the Orontes, and the only water in sight, with the exception
of the Mediterranean, which stretches, like a broad mirror, about
twelve miles off to the southward. Every one has beheld the
Mediterranean; but, let me tell you, there are few who have had a peep
at Antioch. By few, I mean few who, like you and I, have had, at the
same time, the advantages of a modern education. Therefore cease to
regard that sea, and give your whole attention to the mass of houses
that lie beneath us. You will remember that it is now the year of the
world three thousand eight hundred and thirty. Were it later--for
example, were it unfortunately the year of our Lord eighteen hundred
and thirty-nine, we should be deprived of this extraordinary
spectacle. In the nineteenth century Antioch is--that is, Antioch will
be, in a lamentable state of decay. It will have been, by that time,
totally destroyed, at three different periods, by three successive
earthquakes. Indeed, to say the truth, what little of its former self
may then remain, will be found in so desolate and ruinous a state,
that the patriarch will have removed his residence to Damascus. This
is well. I see you profit by my advice, and are making the most of
your time in inspecting the premises--in--satisfying your eyes with
the memorials and the things of fame that most renown this city.

I beg pardon--I had forgotten that Shakspeare will not flourish for
nearly seventeen hundred and fifty years to come. But does not the
appearance of Epidaphne justify me in calling it grotesque?

It is well fortified--and in this respect is as much indebted to
nature as to art.

Very true.

There are a prodigious number of stately palaces.

There are.

And the numerous temples, sumptuous and magnificent, may bear
comparison with the most lauded of antiquity.

All this I must acknowledge. Still there is an infinity of mud huts
and abominable hovels. We cannot help perceiving abundance of filth in
every kennel, and, were it not for the overpowering fumes of
idolatrous incense, I have no doubt we should find a most intolerable
stench. Did you ever behold streets so insufferably narrow, or houses
so miraculously tall? What a gloom their shadows cast upon the ground!
It is well the swinging lamps in those endless colonnades are kept
burning throughout the day--we should otherwise have the darkness of
Egypt in the time of her desolation.

It is certainly a strange place! What is the meaning of yonder
singular building? See!--it towers above all others, and lies to the
eastward of what I take to be the royal palace.

That is the new Temple of the Sun, who is adored in Syria under the
title of Elah Gabalah. Hereafter a very notorious Roman emperor will
institute this worship in Rome, and thence derive a cognomen
Heliogabalus. I dare say you would like a peep at the divinity of the
temple. You need not look up at the heavens, his Sunship is not
there--at least not the Sunship adored by the Syrians. That deity will
be found in the interior of yonder building. He is worshipped under
the figure of a large stone pillar terminating at the summit in a cone
or pyramid, whereby is denoted Fire.

Hark!--behold!--who can those ridiculous beings be--half naked--with
their faces painted--shouting and gesticulating to the rabble?

Some few are mountebanks. Others more particularly belong to the race
of philosophers. The greatest portion, however--those especially who
belabor the populace with clubs--are the principal courtiers of the
palace, executing, as in duty bound, some laudable comicality of the

But what have we here? Heavens!--the town is swarming with wild
beasts! How terrible a spectacle!--how dangerous a peculiarity!

Terrible, if you please; but not in the least degree dangerous. Each
animal, if you will take the pains to observe, is following, very
quietly, in the wake of its master. Some few, to be sure, are led with
a rope about the neck, but these are chiefly the lesser or more timid
species. The lion, the tiger, and the leopard are entirely without
restraint. They have been trained without difficulty to their present
profession, and attend upon their respective owners in the capacity of
valets-de-chambre. It is true, there are occasions when Nature asserts
her violated dominion--but then the devouring of a man-at-arms, or the
throtling of a consecrated bull, are circumstances of too little
moment to be more than hinted at in Epidaphne.

But what extraordinary tumult do I hear? Surely this is a loud noise
even for Antioch! It argues some commotion of unusual interest.

Yes--undoubtedly. The king has ordered some novel spectacle--some
gladiatorial exhibition at the Hippodrome--or perhaps the massacre of
the Scythian prisoners--or the conflagration of his new palace--or the
tearing down of a handsome temple--or, indeed, a bonfire of a few
Jews. The uproar increases. Shouts of laughter ascend the skies. The
air becomes dissonant with wind instruments, and horrible with the
clamor of a million throats. Let us descend, for the love of fun, and
see what is going on. This way--be careful. Here we are in the
principal street, which is called the street of Timarchus. The sea of
people is coming this way, and we shall find a difficulty in stemming
the tide. They are pouring through the alley of Heraclides, which
leads directly from the palace--therefore the king is most probably
among the rioters. Yes--I hear the shouts of the herald proclaiming
his approach in the pompous phraseology of the East. We shall have a
glimpse of his person as he passes by the temple of Ashimah. Let us
ensconce ourselves in the vestibule of the sanctuary--he will be here
anon. In the meantime let us survey this image. What is it? Oh, it is
the god Ashimah in proper person. You perceive, however, that he is
neither a lamb, nor a goat, nor a satyr--neither has he much
resemblance to the Pan of the Arcadians. Yet all these appearances
have been given--I beg pardon--will be given by the learned of future
ages to the Ashimah of the Syrians. Put on your spectacles, and tell
me what it is. What is it?

Bless me, it is an ape!

True--a baboon; but by no means the less a deity. His name is a
derivation of the Greek Simia--what great fools are antiquarians! But
see!--see!--yonder scampers a ragged little urchin. Where is he going?
What is he bawling about? What does he say? Oh!--he says the king is
coming in triumph--that he is dressed in state--and that he has just
finished putting to death with his own hand a thousand chained
Israelitish prisoners. For this exploit the ragamuffin is lauding him
to the skies. Hark!--here comes a troop of a similar description. They
have made a Latin hymn upon the valor of the king, and are singing it
as they go.

Mille, mille, mille, Mille, mille, mille, Decollavimus, unus homo!
Mille, mille, mille, mille, decollavimus! Mille, mille, mille! Vivat
qui mille mille occidit! Tantum vini habet nemo Quantum sanguinis
effudit! *

[* Flavius Vopiscus says that the hymn which is here introduced, was
sung by the rabble upon the occasion of Aurelian, in the Sarmatic war,
having slain with his own hand nine hundred and fifty of the enemy.]

Which may be thus paraphrased:

A thousand, a thousand, a thousand, A thousand, a thousand, a
thousand, We, with one warrior, have slain! A thousand, a thousand, a
thousand, a thousand, Sing a thousand over again! Soho!--let us sing
Long life to our king, Who knocked over a thousand so fine! Soho!--let
us roar, He has given us more Red gallons of gore Than all Syria can
furnish of wine!

Do you hear that flourish of trumpets?

Yes--the king is coming! See!--the people are aghast with admiration,
and lift up their eyes to the heavens in reverence. He comes--he is
coming--there he is!

Who?--where?--the king?--do not behold him--cannot say that I perceive

Then you must be blind.

Very possible. Still I see nothing but a tumultuous mob of idiots and
madmen, who are busy in prostrating themselves before a gigantic
camelopard, and endeavoring to obtain a kiss of the animal's hoofs.
See! the beast has very justly kicked one of the rabble over--and
another--and another--and another. Indeed I cannot help admiring the
animal for the excellent use he is making of his feet.

Rabble, indeed!--why these are the noble and free citizens of
Epidaphne! Beast, did you say?--take care that you are not overheard.
Do you not perceive that the animal has the visage of a man? Why, my
dear sir, that camelopard is no other than Antiochus Epiphanes,
Antiochus the Illustrious, King of Syria, and the most potent of the
autocrats of the East! It is true that he is entitled, at times,
Antiochus Epimanes, Antiochus the madman--but that is because all
people have not the capacity to appreciate his merits. It is also
certain that he is at present ensconced in the hide of a beast, and is
doing his best to play the part of a camelopard--but this is done for
the better sustaining his dignity as king. Besides, the monarch is of
a gigantic stature, and the dress is therefore neither unbecoming nor
over large. We may, however, presume he would not have adopted it but
for some occasion of especial state. Such you will allow is the
massacre of a thousand Jews. With how superior a dignity the monarch
perambulates upon all fours! His tail, you perceive, is held aloft by
his two principal concubines, Elline and Argelais; and his whole
appearance would be infinitely prepossessing, were it not for the
protuberance of his eyes, which will certainly start out of his head,
and the queer color of his face, which has become nondescript from the
quantity of wine he has swallowed. Let us follow to the hippodrome,
whither he is proceeding, and listen to the song of triumph which he
is commencing:

Who is king but Epiphanes? Say--do you know? Who is king but
Epiphanes? Bravo--bravo! There is none but Epiphanes, No--there is
none: So tear down the temples, And put out the sun! Who is king but
Epiphanes? Say--do you know? Who is king but Epiphanes? Bravo--bravo!

Well and strenuously sung! The populace are hailing him 'Prince of
Poets,' as well as 'Glory of the East,' 'Delight of the Universe,' and
'most remarkable of Camelopards.' They have encored his effusion--and,
do you hear?--he is singing it over again. When he arrives at the
hippodrome he will be crowned with the poetic wreath, in anticipation
of his victory at the approaching Olympics.

But, good Jupiter!--what is the matter in the crowd behind us?

Behind us, did you say?--oh!--ah!--I perceive. My friend, it is well
that you spoke in time. Let us get into a place of safety as soon as
possible. Here!--let us conceal ourselves in the arch of this
aqueduct, and I will inform you presently of the origin of this
commotion. It has turned out as I have been anticipating. The singular
appearance of the camelopard with the head of a man, has, it seems,
given offence to the notions of propriety entertained in general by
the wild animals domesticated in the city. A mutiny has been the
result, and, as is usual upon such occasions, all human efforts will
be of no avail in quelling the mob. Several of the Syrians have
already been devoured--but the general voice of the four-footed
patriots seems to be for eating up the camelopard. 'The Prince of
Poets,' therefore, is upon his hinder legs, and running for his life.
His courtiers have left him in the lurch, and his concubines have let
fall his tail. 'Delight of the Universe,' thou art in a sad
predicament! 'Glory of the East,' thou art in danger of mastication!
Therefore never regard so piteously thy tail--it will undoubtedly be
draggled in the mud, and for this there is no help. Look not behind
thee, then, at its unavoidable degradation--but take courage--ply thy
legs with vigor--and scud for the hippodrome! Remember that thou art
Antiochus Epiphanes, Antiochus the Illustrious!--also 'Prince of
Poets,' 'Glory of the East, 'Delight of the Universe,' and 'most
remarkable of Camelopards!' Heavens! what a power of speed thou art
displaying! What a capacity for leg-bail thou art developing! Run,
Prince! Bravo, Epiphanes! Well done, Camelopard! Glorious Antiochus!
He runs!--he moves!--he flies! Like a shell from a catapult he
approaches the hippodrome! He leaps!--he shrieks!--he is there! This
is well--for hadst thou, 'Glory of the East,' been half a second
longer in reaching the gates of the amphitheatre, there is not a
bear's cub in Epidaphne who would not have had a nibble at thy
carcass. Let us be off--let us take our departure!--for we shall find
our delicate modern ears unable to endure the vast uproar which is
about to commence in celebration of the king's escape! Listen! it has
already commenced. See!--the whole town is topsy-turvy.

Surely this is the most populous city of the East! What a wilderness
of people! what a jumble of all ranks and ages! what a multiplicity of
sects and nations! what a variety of costumes! what a Babel of
languages! what a screaming of beasts! what a tinkling of instruments!
what a parcel of philosophers!

Come let us be off!

Stay a moment! I see a vast hubbub in the hippodrome--what is the
meaning of it, I beseech you?

That?--oh nothing! The noble and free citizens of Epidaphne being, as
they declare, well satisfied of the faith, valor, wisdom, and divinity
of their king, and having, moreover, been eye-witnesses of his late
superhuman agility, do think it no more than their duty to invest his
brows (in addition to the poetic crown) with the wreath of victory in
the foot race--a wreath which it is evident he must obtain at the
celebration of the next Olympiad, and which, therefore, they now give
him in advance.




"Listen to me," said the Demon, as he placed his hand upon my head.
"There is a spot upon this accursed earth which thou hast never yet
beheld And if by any chance thou hast beheld it, it must have been in
one of those vigorous dreams which come like the simoon upon the brain
of the sleeper who hath lain down to sleep among the forbidden
sunbeams--among the sunbeams, I say, which slide from off the solemn
columns of the melancholy temples in the wilderness. The region of
which I speak is a dreary region in Libya, by the borders of the river
Zaire. And there is no quiet there, nor silence.

"The waters of the river have a saffron and sickly hue--and they flow
not onwards to the sea, but palpitate forever and forever beneath the
red eye of the sun with a tumultuous and convulsive motion. For many
miles on either side of the river's oozy bed is a pale desert of
gigantic water-lilies. They sigh one unto the other in that solitude,
and stretch towards the heaven their long ghastly necks, and nod to
and fro their everlasting heads. And there is an indistinct murmur
which cometh out from among them like the rushing of subterrene water.
And they sigh one unto the other.

"But there is a boundary to their realm--the boundary of the dark,
horrible, lofty forest. There, like the waves about the Hebrides, the
low underwood is agitated continually. But there is no wind throughout
the heaven. And the tall primeval trees rock eternally hither and
thither with a crashing and mighty sound. And from their high summits,
one by one, drop everlasting dews. And at the roots strange poisonous
flowers lie writhing in perturbed slumber. And overhead, with a
rustling and loud noise, the gray clouds rush westwardly forever,
until they roll, a cataract, over the fiery wall of the horizon. But
there is no wind throughout the heaven. And by the shores of the river
Zaire there is neither quiet nor silence.

"It was night, and the rain fell; and, falling, it was rain, but,
having fallen, it was blood. And I stood in the morass among the tall
lilies, and the rain fell upon my head--and the lilies sighed one unto
the other in the solemnity of their desolation.

"And, all at once, the moon arose through the thin ghastly mist, and
was crimson in color. And mine eyes fell upon a huge gray rock which
stood by the shore of the river, and was litten by the light of the
moon. And the rock was gray, and ghastly, and tall,--and the rock was
gray. Upon its front were characters engraven in the stone; and I
walked through the morass of water-lilies, until I came close unto the
shore, that I might read the characters upon the stone. But I could
not decypher the characters. And I was going back into the morass,
when the moon shone with a fuller red, and I turned and looked again
upon the rock, and upon the characters--and the characters were

"And I looked upwards, and there stood a man upon the summit of the
rock, and I hid myself among the water-lilies that I might discover
the actions of the man. And the man was tall and stately in form, and
was wrapped up from his shoulders to his feet in the toga of old Rome.
And the outlines of his figure were indistinct--but his features were
the features of a deity; for the mantle of the night, and of the mist,
and of the moon, and of the dew, had left uncovered the features of
his face. And his brow was lofty with thought, and his eye wild with
care; and, in the few furrows upon his cheek I read the fables of
sorrow, and weariness, and disgust with mankind, and a longing after

"And the man sat down upon the rock, and leaned his head upon his
hand, and looked out upon the desolation. He looked down into the low
unquiet shrubbery, and up into the tall primeval trees, and up higher
at the rustling heaven, and into the crimson moon. And I lay close
within shelter of the lilies, and observed the actions of the man. And
the man trembled in the solitude--but the night waned and he sat upon
the rock.

"And the man turned his attention from the heaven, and looked out upon
the dreary river Zaire, and upon the yellow ghastly waters, and upon
the pale legions of the water-lilies. And the man listened to the
sighs of the water-lilies, and to the murmur that came up from among
them. And I lay close within my covert and observed the actions of the
man. And the man trembled in the solitude--but the night waned and he
sat upon the rock.

"Then I went down into the recesses of the morass, and waded afar in
among the wilderness of the lilies, and called unto the hippopotami
which dwelt among the fens in the recesses of the morass. And the
hippopotami heard my call, and came, with the behemoth, unto the foot
of the rock, and roared loudly and fearfully beneath the moon. And I
lay close within my covert and observed the actions of the man. And
the man trembled in the solitude--but the night waned and he sat upon
the rock.

"Then I cursed the elements with the curse of tumult; and a frightful
tempest gathered in the heaven where before there had been no wind.
And the heaven became livid with the violence of the tempest--and the
rain beat upon the head of the man--and the floods of the river came
down--and the river was tormented into foam--and the waterlilies
shrieked within their beds--and the forest crumbled before the wind--
and the thunder rolled,--and the lightning fell--and the rock rocked
to its foundation. And I lay close within my covert and observed the
actions of the man. And the man trembled in the solitude--but the
night waned and he sat upon the rock.

"Then I grew angry and cursed, with the curse of silence, the river,
and the lilies, and the wind, and the forest, and the heaven, and the
thunder, and the sighs of the water-lilies. And they became accursed
and were still. And the moon ceased to totter in its pathway up the
heaven--and the thunder died away--and the lightning did not flash--
and the clouds hung motionless--and the waters sunk to their level and
remained--and the trees ceased to rock--and the water-lilies sighed no
more--and the murmur was heard no longer from among them, nor any
shadow of sound throughout the vast illimitable desert. And I looked
upon the characters of the rock, and they were changed--and the
characters were SILENCE.

"And mine eyes fell upon the countenance of the man, and his
countenance was wan with terror. And, hurriedly, he raised his head
from his hand, and stood forth upon the rock, and listened. But there
was no voice throughout the vast illimitable desert, and the
characters upon the rock were SILENCE. And the man shuddered, and
turned his face away, and fled afar off, and I beheld him no more."

* * * * * * * *

Now there are fine tales in the volumes of the Magi--in the iron-
bound, melancholy volumes of the Magi. Therein, I say, are glorious
histories of the Heaven, and of the Earth, and of the mighty Sea--and
of the Genii that over-ruled the sea, and the earth, and the lofty
heaven. There was much lore too in the sayings which were said by the
sybils; and holy, holy things were heard of old by the dim leaves that
trembled around Dodona--but, as Allah liveth, that fable which the
Demon told me as he sat by my side in the shadow of the tomb, I hold
to be the most wonderful of all! And as the Demon made an end of his
story, he fell back within the cavity of the tomb and laughed. And I
could not laugh with the Demon, and he cursed me because I could not
laugh. And the lynx which dwelleth forever in the tomb, came out
therefrom, and lay down at the feet of the Demon, and looked at him
steadily in the face.


By late accounts from Rotterdam that city seems to be in a high state
of philosophical excitement. Indeed phenomena have there occurred of a
nature so completely unexpected, so entirely novel, so utterly at
variance with preconceived opinions, as to leave no doubt on my mind
that long ere this all Europe is in an uproar, all physics in a
ferment, all dynamics and astronomy together by the ears.

It appears that on the--day of--,(I am not positive about the date,) a
vast crowd of people, for purposes not specifically mentioned, were
assembled in the great square of the Exchange in the well-conditioned
city of Rotterdam. The day was warm--unusually so for the season--
there was hardly a breath of air stirring, and the multitude were in
no bad humor at being now and then besprinkled with friendly showers
of momentary duration. These occasionally fell from large white masses
of cloud which chequered in a fitful manner the blue vault of the
firmament. Nevertheless about noon a slight but remarkable agitation
became apparent in the assembly; the clattering of ten thousand
tongues succeeded; and in an instant afterwards ten thousand faces
were upturned towards the heavens, ten thousand pipes descended
simultaneously from the corners of ten thousand mouths, and a shout
which could be compared to nothing but the roaring of Niagara
resounded long, loud, and furiously, through all the environs of

The origin of this hubbub soon became sufficiently evident. From
behind the huge bulk of one of those sharply-defined masses of cloud
already mentioned, was seen slowly to emerge into an open area of blue
space, a queer, heterogeneous, but apparently solid body or substance,
so oddly shaped, so whimsically put together, as not to be in any
manner comprehended, and never to be sufficiently admired, by the host
of sturdy burghers who stood open-mouthed below. What could it be? In
the name of all the vrows and devils in Rotterdam, what could it
possibly portend? No one knew--no one could imagine--no one, not even
the burgomaster Mynheer Superbus Von Underduk, had the slightest clue
by which to unravel the mystery; so, as nothing more reasonable could
be done, every one to a man replaced his pipe carefully in the left
corner of his mouth, and, cocking up his right eye towards the
phenomenon, puffed, paused, waddled about, and grunted significantly--
then waddled back, grunted, paused, and finally--puffed again.

In the meantime, however, lower and still lower towards the goodly
city, came the object of so much curiosity, and the cause of so much
smoke. In a very few minutes it arrived near enough to be accurately
discerned. It appeared to be--yes! it was undoubtedly a species of
balloon; but surely no such balloon had ever been seen in Rotterdam
before. For who, let me ask, ever heard of a balloon entirely
manufactured of dirty newspapers? No man in Holland certainly--yet
here under the very noses of the people, or rather, so to speak, at
some distance above their noses, was the identical thing in question,
and composed, I have it on the best authority, of the precise material
which no one had ever known to be used for a similar purpose. It was
an egregious insult to the good sense of the burghers of Rotterdam. As
to the shape of the phenomenon it was even still more reprehensible,
being little or nothing better than a huge foolscap turned upside
down. And this similitude was by no means lessened, when, upon nearer
inspection, there was perceived a large tassel depending from its
apex, and around the upper rim or base of the cone a circle of little
instruments, resembling sheep-bells, which kept up a continual
tinkling to the tune of Betty Martin. But still worse. Suspended by
blue ribbands to the end of this fantastic machine, there hung by way
of car an enormous drab beaver hat, with a brim superlatively broad,
and a hemispherical crown with a black band and a silver buckle. It
is, however, somewhat remarkable, that many citizens of Rotterdam
swore to having seen the same hat repeatedly before; and indeed the
whole assembly seemed to regard it with eyes of familiarity, while the
vrow Grettel Phaall, upon sight of it, uttered an exclamation of
joyful surprise, and declared it to be the identical hat of her good
man himself. Now this was a circumstance the more to be observed, as
Phaall, with three companions, had actually disappeared from Rotterdam
about five years before, in a very sudden and unaccountable manner,
and up to the date of this narrative all attempts had failed of
obtaining any intelligence concerning them whatsoever. To be sure,
some bones which were thought to be human, and mixed up with a
quantity of odd-looking rubbish, had been lately discovered in a
retired situation to the east of Rotterdam; and some people went so
far as to imagine that in this spot a foul murder had been committed,
and that the sufferers were in all probability Hans Phaall and his
associates. But to return.

The balloon, for such no doubt it was, had now descended to within a
hundred feet of the earth, allowing the crowd below a sufficiently
distinct view of the person of its occupant. This was in truth a very
droll little somebody. He could not have been more than two feet in
height--but this altitude, little as it was, would have been enough to
destroy his equilibrium, and tilt him over the edge of his tiny car,
but for the intervention of a circular rim reaching as high as the
breast, and rigged on to the cords of the balloon. The body of the
little man was more than proportionally broad, giving to his entire
figure a rotundity highly absurd. His feet, of course, could not be
seen at all, although a horny substance of suspicious nature was
occasionally protruded through a rent in the bottom of the car, or, to
speak more properly, in the top of the hat. His hands were enormously
large. His hair was extremely gray, and collected into a cue behind.
His nose was prodigiously long, crooked and inflammatory--his eyes
full, brilliant, and acute--his chin and cheeks, although wrinkled
with age, were broad, puffy, and double--but of ears of any kind or
character, there was not a semblance to be discovered upon any portion
of his head. This odd little gentleman was dressed in a loose surtout
of sky-blue satin, with tight breeches to match, fastened with silver
buckles at the knees. His vest was of some bright yellow material; a
white taffety cap was set jauntily on one side of his head; and, to
complete his equipment, a blood-red silk handkerchief enveloped his
throat, and fell down, in a dainty manner, upon his bosom, in a
fantastic bow-knot of supereminent dimensions.

Having descended, as I said before, to about one hundred feet from the
surface of the earth, the little old gentleman was suddenly seized
with a fit of trepidation, and appeared altogether disinclined to make
any nearer approach to terra firma. Throwing out, therefore, a
quantity of sand from a canvass bag, which he lifted with great
difficulty, he became stationary in an instant. He then proceeded, in
a hurried and agitated manner, to extract from a sidepocket of his
surtout a large morocco pocket-book. This he poised suspiciously in
his hand--then eyed it with an air of extreme surprise, and was
evidently astonished at its weight. He at length opened it, and
drawing therefrom a huge letter sealed with red sealing-wax and tied
carefully with red tape, let it fall precisely at the feet of the
burgomaster Superbus Von Underduk. His Excellency stooped to take it
up. But the aeronaut, still greatly discomposed, and having apparently
no farther business to detain him in Rotterdam, began at this moment
to make busy preparations for departure; and, it being necessary to
discharge a portion of ballast to enable him to reascend, the half
dozen bags of sand which he threw out, one after another, without
taking the trouble to empty their contents, tumbled, every one of
them, most unfortunately, upon the back of the burgomaster, and rolled
him over and over no less than one-andtwenty times, in the face of
every man in Rotterdam. It is not to be supposed, however, that the
great Underduk suffered this impertinence on the part of the little
old man to pass off with impunity. It is said, on the contrary, that,
during the period of each and every one of his one-and-twenty
circumvolutions, he emitted no less than one-and-twenty distinct and
furious whiffs from his pipe, to which he held fast the whole time
with all his might, and to which he intends holding fast until the day
of his death.

In the meantime the balloon arose like a lark, and, soaring far away
above the city, at length drifted quietly behind a cloud similar to
that from which it had so oddly emerged, and was thus lost forever to
the wondering eyes of the good citizens of Rotterdam. All attention
was now directed to the letter, whose descent and the consequences
attending thereupon had proved so fatally subversive of both person
and personal dignity, to his Excellency the illustrious Burgomaster
Mynheer Superbus Von Underduk. That functionary, however, had not
failed, during his circumgyratory movement, to bestow a thought upon
the important object of securing the packet in question, which was
seen, upon inspection, to have fallen into the most proper hands,
being actually directed to himself and Professor Rub-a-dub, in their
official capacities of President and Vice-President of the Rotterdam
College of Astronomy. It was accordingly opened by those dignitaries
upon the spot, and found to contain the following extraordinary and
indeed very serious communication.

To their Excellencies Von Underduk and Rub-a-dub, President and Vice-
President of the States' College of Astronomers in the city of

Your Excellencies may perhaps be able to remember an humble artizan by
name Hans Phaall, and by occupation a mender of bellows, who, with
three others, disappeared from Rotterdam, about five years ago, in a
manner which must have been considered by all parties at once sudden,
and extremely unaccountable. If, however, it so please your
Excellencies, I, the writer of this communication, am the identical
Hans Phaall himself. It is well known to most of my fellow citizens,
that for the period of forty years, I continued to occupy the little
square brick building at the head of the alley called Sauerkraut, and
in which I resided at the time of my disappearance. My ancestors have
also resided therein time out of mind, they, as well as myself,
steadily following the respectable and indeed lucrative profession of
mending of bellows. For, to speak the truth, until of late years that
the heads of all the people have been set agog with the troubles and
politics, no better business than my own could an honest citizen of
Rotterdam either desire or deserve. Credit was good, employment was
never wanting, and on all hands there was no lack of either money or
good will. But, as I was saying, we soon began to feel the terrible
effects of liberty, and long speeches, and radicalism, and all that
sort of thing. People who were formerly the very best customers in the
world had now not a moment of time to think of us at all. They had, so
they said, as much as they could do to read about the revolutions, and
keep up with the march of intellect, and the spirit of the age. If a
fire wanted fanning it could readily be fanned with a newspaper; and,
as the government grew weaker, I have no doubt that leather and iron
acquired durability in proportion, for in a very short time there was
not a pair of bellows in all Rotterdam that ever stood in need of a
stitch or required the assistance of a hammer. This was a state of
things not to be endured. I soon grew as poor as a rat, and, having a
wife and children to provide for, my burdens at length became
intolerable, and I spent hour after hour in reflecting upon the
speediest and most convenient method of putting an end to my life.
Duns, in the meantime, left me little leisure for contemplation. My
house was literally besieged from morning till night, so that I began
to rave, and foam, and fret like a caged tiger against the bars of
hisenclosure. There were three fellows in particular, who worried me
beyond endurance, keeping watch continually about my door, and
threatening me with the utmost severity of the law. Upon these three I
internally vowed the bitterest revenge, if ever I should be so happy
as to get them within my clutches, and I believe nothing in the world
but the pleasure of this anticipation prevented me from putting my
plan of suicide into immediate execution, by blowing my brains out
with a blunderbuss. I thought it best, however, to dissemble my wrath,
and to treat them with promises and fair words, until, by some good
turn of fate, an opportunity of vengeance should be afforded me.

One day, having given my creditors the slip, and feeling more than
usually dejected, I continued for a long time to wander about the most
obscure streets without any object whatever, until at length I chanced
to stumble against the corner of a bookseller's stall. Seeing a chair
close at hand, for the use of customers, I threw myself doggedly into
it, and hardly knowing why, opened the pages of the first volume which
came within my reach. It proved to be a small pamphlet treatise on
Speculative Astronomy, written either by Professor Encke of Berlin, or
by a Frenchman of somewhat similar name. I had some little tincture of
information on matters of this nature, and soon became more and more
absorbed in the contents of the book, reading it actually through
twice before I awoke, as it were, to a recollection of what was
passing around me. By this time it began to grow dark, and I directed
my steps towards home. But the treatise had made an indelible
impression on my mind, and as I sauntered along the dusky streets, I
revolved carefully over in my memory the wild and sometimes
unintelligible reasonings of the writer. There were some particular
passages which affected my imagination in a powerful and extraordinary
manner. The longer I meditated upon these, the more intense grew the
interest which had been excited within me. The limited nature of my
education in general, and more especially my ignorance on subjects
connected with natural philosophy, so far from rendering me diffident
of my own ability to comprehend what I had read, or inducing me to
mistrust the many vague notions which had arisen in consequence,
merely served as a farther stimulus to imagination; and I was vain
enough, or perhaps reasonable enough, to doubt whether those crude
ideas which, arising in ill-regulated minds, have all the appearance,
may not often in effect possess also the force--the reality--and other
inherent properties of instinct or intuition; and whether, to proceed
a step farther, profundity itself might not, in matters of a purely
speculative nature, be detected as a legitimate source of falsity and
error. In other words, I believed, and still do believe, that truth is
frequently, of its own essence, superficial, and that, in many cases,
the depth lies more in the abysses where we seek her, than in the
actual situations wherein she may be found. Nature herself seemed to
afford me corroboration of these ideas. In the contemplation of the
heavenly bodies it struck me forcibly that I could not distinguish a
star with nearly as much precision, when I gazed upon it with earnest,
direct, and undeviating attention, as when I suffered my eye only to
glance in its vicinity alone. I was not, of course, at that time aware
that this apparent paradox was occasioned by the centre of the visual
area being less susceptible of feeble impressions of light than the
exterior portions of the retina. This knowledge, and some of another
kind, came afterwards in the course of an eventful period of five
years, during which I have dropped the prejudices of my former humble
situation in life, and forgotten the bellows-mender in far different
occupations. But at the epoch of which I speak, the analogy which the
casual observation of a star offered to the conclusions I had already
drawn, struck me with the force of positive confirmation, and I then
finally made up my mind to the course which I afterwards pursued.

It was late when I reached home, and I went immediately to bed. My
mind, however, was too much occupied to sleep, and I lay the whole
night buried in meditation. Arising early in the morning, and
contriving again to escape the vigilance of my creditors, I repaired
eagerly to the bookseller's stall, and laid out what little ready
money I possessed, in the purchase of some volumes of Mechanics and
Practical Astronomy. Having arrived at home safely with these, I
devoted every spare moment to their perusal, and soon made such
proficiency in studies of this nature as I thought sufficient for the
execution of my plan. In the intervals of this period I made every
endeavor to conciliate the three creditors who had given me so much
annoyance. In this I finally succeeded--partly by selling enough of my
household furniture to satisfy a moiety of their claim, and partly by
a promise of paying the balance upon completion of a little project
which I told them I had in view, and for assistance in which I
solicited their services. By these means--for they were ignorant men--
I found little difficulty in gaining them over to my purpose.

Matters being thus arranged, I contrived, by the aid of my wife, and
with the greatest secrecy and caution, to dispose of what property I
had remaining, and to borrow, in small sums, under various pretences,
and without paying any attention to my future means of repayment, no
inconsiderable quantity of ready money. With the means thus accruing I
proceeded to purchase at intervals, cambric muslin, very fine, in
pieces of twelve yards each--twine--a lot of the varnish of
caoutchouc--a large and deep basket of wicker-work, made to order--and
several other articles necessary in the construction and equipment of
a balloon of extraordinary dimensions. This I directed my wife to make
up as soon as possible, and gave her all requisite information as to
the particular method of proceeding. In the meantime I worked up the
twine into a net-work of sufficient dimensions; rigged it with a hoop
and the necessary cords; bought a quadrant, a compass, a spy-glass, a
common barometer with some important modifications, and two
astronomical instruments not so generally known. I then took
opportunities of conveying by night, to a retired situation east of
Rotterdam, five iron-bound casks, to contain about fifty gallons each,
and one of a larger size--six tinned ware tubes, three inches in
diameter, properly shaped, and ten feet in length--a quantity of a
particular metallic substance or semi-metal which I shall not name--
and a dozen demi-johns of a very common acid. The gas to be formed
from these latter materials is a gas never yet generated by any other
person than myself--or at least never applied to any similar purpose.
The secret I would make no difficulty in disclosing, but that it of
right belongs to a citizen of Nantz in France, by whom it was
conditionally communicated to myself. The same individual submitted to
me, without being at all aware of my intentions, a method of
constructing balloons from the membrane of a certain animal, through
which substance any escape of gas was nearly an impossibility. I found
it however altogether too expensive, and was not sure, upon the whole,
whether cambric muslin with a coating of gum caoutchouc was not
equally as good. I mention this circumstance, because I think it
probable that hereafter the individual in question may attempt a
balloon ascension with the novel gas and material I have spoken of,
and I do not wish to deprive him of the honor of a very singular

On the spot which I intended each of the smaller casks to occupy
respectively during the inflation of the balloon, I privately dug a
hole two feet deep--the holes forming in this manner a circle of
twentyfive feet in diameter. In the centre of this circle, being the
station designed for the large cask, I also dug a hole three feet in
depth. In each of the five smaller holes, I deposited a canister
containing fifty pounds, and in the larger one a keg holding one
hundred and fifty pounds of cannon powder. These--the keg and the
canisters--I connected in a proper manner with covered trains; and
having let into one of the canisters the end of about four feet of
slow-match, I covered up the hole, and placed the cask over it,
leaving the other end of the match protruding about an inch, and
barely visible beyond the cask. I then filled up the remaining holes,
and placed the barrels over them in their destined situation.

Besides the articles above enumerated, I conveyed to the dept, and
there secreted, one of M. Grimm's improvements upon the apparatus for
condensation of the atmospheric air. I found this machine, however, to
require considerable alteration before it could be adapted to the
purposes to which I intended making it applicable. But with severe
labor, and unremitting perseverance, I at length met with entire
success in all my preparations. My balloon was soon completed. It
would contain more than forty thousand cubic feet of gas; would take
me up, I calculated, easily, with all my implements, and, if I managed
rightly, with one hundred and seventy-five pounds of ballast into the
bargain. It had received three coats of varnish, and I found the
cambric muslin to answer all the purposes of silk itself--quite as
strong and a good deal less expensive.

Everything being now ready, I exacted from my wife an oath of secrecy
in relation to all my actions from the day of my first visit to the
bookseller's stall, and, promising, on my part, to return as soon as
circumstances would admit, I gave her all the money I had left, and
bade her farewell. Indeed I had little fear on her account. She was
what people call a notable woman, and could manage matters in the
world without my assistance. I believe, to tell the truth, she always
looked upon me as an idle body, a mere make-weight, good for nothing
but building castles in the air, and was rather glad to get rid of me.
It was a dark night when I bade her good bye, and, taking with me, as
aids-de-camp, the three creditors who had given me so much trouble, we
carried the balloon, with the car and accoutrements, by a roundabout
way, to the station where the other articles were deposited. We there
found them all unmolested, and I proceeded immediately to business.

It was the first of April. The night, as I said before, was dark--
there was not a star to be seen, and a drizzling rain, falling at
intervals, rendered us very uncomfortable. But my chief anxiety was
concerning my balloon, which in spite of the varnish with which it was
defended, began to grow rather heavy with the moisture: my powder also
was liable to damage. I therefore kept my three duns working with
great diligence, pounding down ice around the central cask, and
stirring the acid in the others. They did not cease, however,
importuning me with questions as to what I intended to do with all
this apparatus, and expressed much dissatisfaction at the terrible
labor I made them undergo. They could not perceive, so they said, what
good was likely to result from their getting wet to the skin merely to
take a part in such horrible incantations. I began to get uneasy, and
worked away with all my might--for I verily believe the idiots
supposed that I had entered into a compact with the devil, and that,
in short, what I was now doing was nothing better than it should be. I
was, therefore, in great fear of their leaving me altogether. I
contrived, however, to pacify them by promises of immediate payment as
soon as I could bring the present business to a termination. To these
speeches they gave of course their own interpretation--fancying, no
doubt, that at all events I should come into possession of vast
quantities of ready money; and provided I paid them all I owed, and a
trifle more, in consideration of their services, I dare say they cared
very little what became of either my soul or my carcass.

In about four hours and a half I found the balloon sufficiently
inflated. I attached the car, therefore, and put all my implements in
it--not forgetting the condensing apparatus, a copious supply of
water, and a large quantity of provisions, such as pemmican, in which
much nutriment is contained in comparatively little bulk. I also
secured in the car a pair of pigeons and a cat. It was now nearly
daybreak, and I thought it high time to take my departure. Dropping a
lighted cigar on the ground, as if by accident, I took the
opportunity, in stooping to pick it up, of igniting privately the
piece of slow match, whose end, as I said before, protruded a very
little beyond the lower rim of one of the smaller casks. This
manoeuvre was totally unperceived on the part of the three duns, and,
jumping into the car, I immediately cut the single cord which held me
to the earth, and was pleased to find that I shot upwards, rapidly
carrying with all ease one hundred and seventy-five pounds of leaden
ballast, and able to have carried up as many more.

Scarcely, however, had I attained the height of fifty yards, when,
roaring and rumbling up after me in the most horrible and tumultuous
manner, came so dense a hurricane of fire, and smoke, and sulphur, and
legs, and arms, and gravel, and burning wood, and blazing metal, that
my very heart sunk within me, and I fell down in the bottom of the
car, trembling with unmitigated terror. Indeed I now perceived that I
had entirely overdone the business, and that the main consequences of
the shock were yet to be experienced. Accordingly, in less than a
second, I felt all the blood in my body rushing to my temples, and,
immediately thereupon, a concussion, which I shall never forget, burst
abruptly through the night, and seemed to rip the very firmament
asunder. When I afterwards had time for reflection, I did not fail to
attribute the extreme violence of the explosion, as regarded myself,
to its proper cause--my situation directly above it, and in the exact
line of its greatest power. But at the time I thought only of
preserving my life. The balloon at first collapsed--then furiously
expanded--then whirled round and round with horrible velocity--and
finally, reeling and staggering like a drunken man, hurled me with
great force over the rim of the car, and left me dangling, at a
terrific height, with my head downwards, and my face outwards from the
balloon, by a piece of slender cord about three feet in length, which
hung accidentally through a crevice near the bottom of the wicker-
work, and in which, as I fell, my left foot became most providentially
entangled. It is impossible--utterly impossible--to form any adequate
idea of the horror of my situation. I gasped convulsively for breath--
a shudder resembling a fit of the ague agitated every nerve and muscle
in my frame--I felt my eyes starting from their sockets--a horrible
nausea overwhelmed me--and at length I fainted away.

How long I remained in this state, it is impossible to say. It must,
however, have been no inconsiderable time, for when I partially
recovered the sense of existence, I found the day breaking, and the
balloon at a prodigious height over a wilderness of ocean, and not a
trace of land to be discovered far and wide within the limits of the
vast horizon. My sensations, however, upon thus recovering, were by no
means so rife with agony as might have been anticipated. Indeed there
was much of incipient madness in the calm survey which I began to take
of my situation. I drew up to my eyes each of my hands, one after the
other, and wondered what occurrence could have given rise to the
swelling of the veins, and the horrible blackness of the finger nails.
I afterwards carefully examined my head, shaking it repeatedly, and
feeling it with minute attention, until I succeeded in satisfying
myself that it was not--as I had more than half suspected--larger than
my balloon. Then, in a knowing manner, I felt in both my breeches
pockets, and missing therefrom a set of tablets and a tooth-pick case,
I endeavored to account for their disappearance, and, not being able
to do so, felt inexpressibly chagrined. It now occurred to me that I
suffered great uneasiness in the joint of my left ankle, and a dim
consciousness of my situation began to glimmer through my mind. But,
strange to say! I was neither astonished nor horror-stricken. If I
felt any emotion at all, it was a kind of chuckling satisfaction at
the cleverness I was about to display in extricating myself from this
dilemma; and I never, for a moment, looked upon my ultimate safety as
a question susceptible of doubt. For a few minutes I remained wrapped
in the profoundest meditation. I have a distinct recollection of
frequently compressing my lips, putting my forefinger, to the side of
my nose, and making use of other gesticulations and grimaces common to
men who, at ease in their arm-chairs, meditate upon matters of
intricacy or importance. Having, as I thought, sufficiently collected
my ideas, I now, with great caution and deliberation, put my hands
behind my back, and unfastened the large iron buckle which belonged to
the waistband of my inexpressibles. This buckle had three teeth,
which, being somewhat rusty, turned with great difficulty upon their
axis. I brought them however, after some trouble, at right angles to
the body of the buckle, and was glad to find them remain firm in that
position. Holding the instrument thus obtained within my teeth, I now
proceeded to untie the knot of my cravat. I had to rest several times
before I could accomplish this manoeuvre--but it was at length
accomplished. To one end of the cravat I then made fast the buckle,
and the other end I tied, for greater security, tightly around my
wrist. Drawing now my body upwards, with a prodigious exertion of
muscular force, I succeeded, at the very first trial, in throwing the
buckle over the car, and entangling it, as I had anticipated, in the
circular rim of the wicker-work.

My body was now inclined towards the side of the car, at an angle of
about forty-five degrees--but it must not be understood that I was
therefore only forty-five degrees below the perpendicular. So far from
it, I still lay nearly level with the plane of the horizon--for the
change of situation which I had acquired, had forced the bottom of the
car considerably outwards from my position, which was accordingly one
of the most imminent and deadly peril. It should be remembered,
however, that when I fell, in the first instance, from the car, if I
had fallen with my face turned towards the balloon, instead of turned
outwardly from it as it actually was--or if, in the second place, the
cord by which I was suspended had chanced to hang over the upper edge,
instead of through a crevice near the bottom of the car,--I say it may
readily be conceived that, in either of these supposed cases, I should
have been unable to accomplish even as much as I had now accomplished,
and the wonderful adventures of Hans Phaal would have been utterly
lost to posterity. I had therefore every reason to be grateful--
although, in point of fact, I was still too stupid to be anything at
all, and hung for, I suppose, a quarter of an hour, in that
extraordinary manner, without making the slightest farther exertion
whatsoever, and in a singularly tranquil state of idiotic enjoyment.
But this feeling did not fail to die rapidly away, and thereunto
succeeded horror, and dismay, and a chilling sense of utter
helplessness and ruin. In fact, the blood so long accumulating in the
vessels of my head and throat, and which had hitherto buoyed up my
spirits with madness and delirium, had now begun to retire within
their proper channels, and the distinctness which was thus added to my
perception of the danger, merely served to deprive me of the self-
possession and courage to encounter it. But this weakness was, luckily
for me, of no very long duration. In good time came to my rescue the
spirit of despair, and with frantic cries and convulsive struggles, I
jerked my way bodily upwards, till, at length, clutching with a vice-
like grip the long-desired rim, I writhed my person over it, and fell
headlong and shuddering within the car.

It was not until some time afterwards that I recovered myself
sufficiently to attend to the ordinary cares of the balloon. I then,
however, examined it with attention, and found it, to my great relief,
uninjured. My implements were all safe, and I had, fortunately, lost
neither ballast nor provisions. Indeed, I had so well secured them in
their places, that such an accident was entirely out of the question.
Looking at my watch, I found it six o'clock. I was still rapidly
ascending, and my barometer showed a present altitude of three and
three-quarter miles. Immediately beneath me in the ocean, lay a small
black object, slightly oblong in shape, seemingly about the size, and
in every way bearing a great resemblance to one of those childish toys
called a domino. Bringing my spy-glass to bear upon it, I plainly
discerned it to be a British ninety-four gun ship, close-hauled, and
pitching heavily in the sea with her head to the W.S.W. Besides this
ship, I saw nothing but the ocean and the sky, and the sun, which had
long arisen.

It is now high time that I should explain to your Excellencies the
object of my perilous voyage. Your Excellencies will bear in mind,
that distressed circumstances in Rotterdam had at length driven me to
the resolution of committing suicide. It was not, however, that to
life itself I had any positive disgust--but that I was harassed beyond
endurance by the adventitious miseries attending my situation. In this
state of mind--wishing to live, yet wearied with life--the treatise at
the stall of the bookseller opened a resource to my imagination. I
then finally made up my mind. I determined to depart, yet live--to
leave the world, yet continue to exist--in short, to drop enigmas, I
resolved, let what would ensue, to force a passage--if I could--to the
moon. Now, lest I should be supposed more of a madman than I actually
am, I will detail, as well as I am able, the considerations which led
me to believe that an achievement of this nature, although without
doubt difficult, and incontestably full of danger, was not absolutely,
to a bold spirit, beyond the confines of the possible.

The moon's actual distance from the earth was the first thing to be
attended to. Now, the mean or average interval between the centres of
the two planets is 59.9643 of the earth's equatorial radii, or only
about 237000 miles. I say the mean or average interval. But it must be
borne in mind, that the form of the moon's orbit being an elipse of
eccentricity amounting to no less than 0.05484 of the major semi-axis
of the elipse itself, and the earth's centre being situated in its
focus, if I could, in any manner, contrive to meet the moon, as it
were, in its perigee, the above-mentioned distance would be materially
diminished. But to say nothing, at present, of this possibility, it
was very certain, that at all events, from the 237000 miles I should
have to deduct the radius of the earth, say 4000, and the radius of
the moon, say 1080, in all 5080, leaving an actual interval to be
traversed, under average circumstances, of 231920 miles. Now this, I
reflected, was no very extraordinary distance. Travelling on land has
been repeatedly accomplished at the rate of thirty miles per hour, and
indeed a much greater speed may be anticipated. But even at this
velocity, it would take me no more than 322 days to reach the surface
of the moon. There were, however, many particulars inducing me to
believe that my average rate of travelling might possibly very much
exceed that of thirty miles per hour, and, as these considerations did
not fail to make a deep impression upon my mind, I will mention them
more fully hereafter.

The next point to be regarded was a matter of far greater importance.
From indications afforded by the barometer, we find that, in
ascensions from the surface of the earth, we have, at the height of
1000 feet, left below us about one-thirtieth of the entire mass of
atmospheric air--that at 10600, we have ascended through nearly one-
third--and that at 18000, which is not far from the elevation of
Cotopaxi, we have surmounted one-half of the material, or, at all
events, one-half the ponderable body of air incumbent upon our globe.
It is also calculated, that at an altitude not exceeding the hundredth
part of the earth's diameter--that is, not exceeding eighty miles--the
rarefaction would be so excessive, that animal life could, in no
manner, be sustained, and moreover, that the most delicate means we
possess of ascertaining the presence of the atmosphere, would be
inadequate to assure us of its existence. But I did not fail to
perceive that these latter calculations are founded altogether on our
experimental knowledge of the properties of air, and the mechanical
laws regulating its dilation and compression in what may be called,
comparatively speaking, the immediate vicinity of the earth itself;
and, at the same time, it is taken for granted, that animal life is,
and must be, essentially incapable of modification at any given
unattainable distance from the surface. Now, all such reasoning, and
from such data, must of course be simply analogical. The greatest
height ever reached by man, was that of 25000 feet, attained in the
aeronautic expedition of Messieurs Gay-Lussac and Biot. This is a
moderate altitude, even when compared with the eighty miles in
question; and I could not help thinking that the subject admitted room
for doubt, and great latitude for speculation.

But, in point of fact, an ascension being made to any stated altitude,
the ponderable quantity of air surmounted in any farther ascension, is
by no means in proportion to the additional height ascended, (as may
be plainly seen from what has been stated before,) but in a ratio
constantly decreasing. It is therefore evident that, ascend as high as
we may, we cannot, literally speaking, arrive at a limit beyond which
no atmosphere is to be found. It must exist, I argued--it may exist in
a state of infinite rarefaction.

On the other hand, I was aware that arguments have not been wanting to
prove the existence of a real and definite limit to the atmosphere,
beyond which there is absolutely no air whatsoever. But a circumstance
which has been left out of view by those who contend for such a limit,
seemed to me, although no positive refutation of their creed, still a
point worthy very serious investigation. On comparing the intervals
between the successive arrivals of Encke's comet at its perihelion,
after giving credit, in the most exact manner, for all the
disturbances or perturbations due to the attractions of the planets,
it appears that the periods are gradually diminishing--that is to
say--the major axis of the comet's elipse is growing shorter, in a
slow but perfectly regular decrease. Now, this is precisely what ought
to be the case, if we suppose a resistance experienced by the comet
from an extremely rare ethereal medium pervading the regions of its
orbit. For it is evident that such a medium must, in retarding its
velocity, increase its centripetal, by weakening its centrifugal
force. In other words, the sun's attraction would be constantly
attaining greater power, and the comet would be drawn nearer at every
revolution. Indeed, there is no other way of accounting for the
variation in question. But again. The real diameter of the same
comet's nebulosity, is observed to contract rapidly as it approaches
the sun, and dilate with equal rapidity in its departure towards its
aphelion. Was I not justifiable in supposing, with M. Valz, that this
apparent condensation of volume has its origin in the compression of
the same ethereal medium I have spoken of before, and which is only
denser in proportion to its solar vicinity? The lenticular-shaped
phenomenon, also, called the zodiacal light(*), was a matter worthy of
attention. This radiance, so apparent in the tropics, and which cannot
be mistaken for any meteoric lustre, extends from the horizon
obliquely upwards, and follows generally the direction of the sun's
equator. It appeared to me evidently in the nature of a rare
atmosphere extending from the sun outwards, beyond the orbit of Venus
at least, and I believed indefinitely farther.(**) Indeed, this medium I
could not suppose confined to the path of the comet's elipse, or the
immediate neighborhood of the sun. It was easy, on the contrary, to
imagine it pervading the entire regions of our planetary system,
condensed into what we call atmosphere at the planets themselves, and
in some of them modified by considerations, so to speak, purely

[* The zodiacal light is probably what the ancients called Trabes.
Emicant Trabes quos docos vocant.--Pliny lib. 2, p. 26.]

[** Since the original publication of Hans Phaall I find that Mr.
Green, of Nassan-balloon notoriety, and other late aeronauts, deny the
assertions of Humboldt, in this respect, and speak of a decreasing
inconvenience--precisely in accordance with the theory here urged in a
mere spirit of banter.]

Having adopted this view of the subject, I had little further
hesitation. Granting that on my passage I should meet with atmosphere
essentially the same as at the surface of the earth, I conceived that,
by means of the very ingenious apparatus of M. Grimm, I should readily
be enabled to condense it in sufficient quantities for the purpose of
respiration. This would remove the chief obstacle in a journey to the
moon. I had indeed spent some money and great labor in adapting the
apparatus to the purposes intended, and I confidently looked forward
to its successful application, if I could manage to complete the
voyage within any reasonable period. This brings me back to the rate
at which it might be possible to travel.

It is true that balloons, in the first stage of their ascensions from
the earth, are known to rise with a velocity comparatively moderate.
Now, the power of elevation lies altogether in the superior lightness
of the gas in the balloon, compared with the atmospheric air; and, at
first sight, it does not appear probable that, as the balloon acquires
altitude, and consequently arrives successively in atmospheric strata
of densities rapidly diminishing--I say, it does not appear at all
reasonable that, in this its progress upwards, the original velocity
should be accelerated. On the other hand, I was not aware that, in any
recorded ascension, a diminution was apparent in the absolute rate of
ascent--although such should have been the case, if on account of
nothing else, on account of the escape of gas through balloons
illconstructed, and varnished with no better material than the
ordinary varnish. It seemed, therefore, that the effect of such an
escape was only sufficient to counterbalance the effect of some
accelerating power. I now considered, that provided in my passage I
found the medium I had imagined, and provided it should prove to be
actually and essentially what we denominate atmospheric air, it could
make comparatively little difference at what extreme state of
rarefaction I should discover it--that is to say, in regard to my
power of ascending--for the gas in the balloon would not only be
itself subject to a rarefaction partially similar, (in proportion to
the occurrence of which, I could suffer an escape of so much as would
be requisite to prevent explosion,) but, being what it was, would
still, at all events, continue specifically lighter than any compound
whatever of mere nitrogen and oxygen. In the meantime the force of
gravitation would be constantly diminishing, in proportion to the
squares of the distances, and thus, with a velocity prodigiously
accelerating, I should at length arrive in those distant regions where
the power of the earth's attraction would be superseded by the moon's.
In accordance with these ideas, I did not think it worth while to
encumber myself with more provisions than would be sufficient for a
period of forty days.

There was still, however, another difficulty which occasioned me some
little disquietude. It has been observed, that in balloon ascensions
to any considerable height, besides the pain attending respiration,
great uneasiness is experienced about the head and body, often
accompanied with bleeding at the nose, and other symptoms of an
alarming kind, and growing more and more inconvenient in proportion to
the altitude attained.(*) This was a reflection of a nature somewhat
startling. Was it not probable that these symptoms would increase
indefinitely, or at least until terminated by death itself? I finally
thought not. Their origin was to be looked for in the progressive
removal of the customary atmospheric pressure upon the surface of the
body, and consequent distention of the superficial blood-vessels--not
in any positive disorganization of the animal system, as in the case
of difficulty in breathing, where the atmospheric density is
chemically insufficient for the purpose of a due renovation of blood
in a ventricle of the heart. Unless for default of this renovation, I
could see no reason, therefore, why life could not be sustained even
in a vacuum--for the expansion and compression of chest, commonly
called breathing, is action purely muscular, and the cause, not the
effect, of respiration. In a word, I conceived that, as the body
should become habituated to the want of atmospheric pressure, these
sensations of pain would gradually diminish, and to endure them while
they continued, I relied strongly upon the iron hardihood of my

[* Hevelius writes that he has several times found, in skies perfectly
clear, when even stars of the sixth and seventh magnitude were
conspicuous, that, at the same altitude of the moon, at the same
elongation from the earth, and with one and the same excellent
telescope, the moon and its macul did not appear equally lucid at all
times. From the circumstances of the observation, it is evident that
the cause of this phenomenon is not either in our air, in the tube, in
the moon, or in the eye of the spectator, but must be looked for in
something (an atmosphere?) existing about the moon.

Cassini frequently observed Saturn, Jupiter, and the fixed stars, when
approaching the moon to occultation, to have their circular figure
changed into an oval one, and, in other occultations, he found no
alteration of figure at all. Hence it might be supposed that at some
times and not at others, there is a dense matter encompassing the moon
wherein the rays of the stars are refracted.]

Thus, may it please your Excellencies, I have detailed some, though by
no means all the considerations which led me to form the project of a
lunar voyage. I shall now proceed to lay before you the result of an
attempt so apparently audacious in conception, and, at all events, so
utterly unparalleled in the annals of human kind.

Having attained the altitude before mentioned, that is to say, three
miles and three-quarters, I threw out from the car a quantity of
feathers, and found that I still ascended with sufficient rapidity--
there was, therefore, no necessity for discharging any ballast. I was
glad of this, for I wished to retain with me as much weight as I could
carry, for reasons which will be explained in the sequel. I as yet
suffered no bodily inconvenience, breathing with great freedom, and
feeling no pain whatever in the head. The cat was lying very demurely
upon my coat, which I had taken off, and eyeing the pigeons with an
air of nonchalance. These latter being tied by the leg, to prevent
their escape, were busily employed in picking up some grains of rice
scattered for them in the bottom of the car.

At twenty minutes past six o'clock, the barometer showed an elevation
of 26,400 feet, or five miles to a fraction. The prospect seemed
unbounded. Indeed, it is very easily calculated by means of spherical
geometry, what a great extent of the earth's area I beheld. The convex
surface of any segment of a sphere is, to the entire surface of the
sphere itself, as the versed sine of the segment is to the diameter of
the sphere. Now, in my case, the versed sine--that is to say, the
thickness of the segment beneath me, was about equal to my elevation,
or the elevation of the point of sight above the surface. "As five
miles, then, to eight thousand," would express the proportion of the
earth's area seen by me. In other words, I beheld as much as a
sixteen-hundredth part of the whole surface of the globe. The sea
appeared unruffled as a mirror, although, by means of the spyglass, I
could perceive it to be in a state of violent agitation. The ship was
no longer visible, having drifted away, apparently, to the eastward. I
now began to experience, at intervals, severe pain in the head,
especially about the ears--still, however, breathing with tolerable
freedom. The cat and pigeons seemed to suffer no inconvenience

At twenty minutes before seven, the balloon entered within a long
series of dense cloud, which put me to great trouble, by damaging my
condensing apparatus, and wetting me to the skin. This was, to be
sure, a singular rencontre, for I had not believed it possible that a
cloud of this nature could be sustained at so, great an elevation. I
thought it best, however, to throw out two five-pound pieces of
ballast, reserving still a weight of one hundred and sixty-five

Upon so doing, I soon rose above the difficulty, and perceived
immediately, that I had obtained a great increase in my rate of
ascent. In a few seconds after my leaving the cloud, a flash of vivid
lightning shot from one end of it to the other, and caused it to
kindle up, throughout its vast extent, like a mass of ignited and
glowing charcoal. This, it must be remembered, was in the broad light
of day. No fancy may picture the sublimity which might have been
exhibited by a similar phenomenon taking place amid the darkness of
the night. Hell itself might then have found a fitting image. Even as
it was, my hair stood on end, while I gazed afar down within the
yawning abysses, letting imagination descend, as it were, and stalk
about in the strange vaulted halls, and ruddy gulfs, and red ghastly
chasms of the hideous and unfathomable fire. I had indeed made a
narrow escape. Had the balloon remained a very short while longer
within the cloud--that is to say--had not the inconvenience of getting
wet determined me to discharge the ballast, inevitable ruin would have
been the consequence. Such perils, although little considered, are
perhaps the greatest which must be encountered in balloons. I had by
this time, however, attained too great an elevation to be any longer
uneasy on this head.

I was now rising rapidly, and by seven o'clock the barometer indicated
an altitude of no less than nine miles and a half. I began to find
great difficulty in drawing my breath. My head too was excessively
painful; and, having felt for some time a moisture about my cheeks, I
at length discovered it to be blood, which was oozing quite fast from
the drums of my ears. My eyes, also, gave me great uneasiness. Upon
passing the hand over them they seemed to have protruded from their
sockets in no inconsiderable degree, and all objects in the car, and
even the balloon itself, appeared distorted to my vision. These
symptoms were more than I had expected, and occasioned me some alarm.
At this juncture, very imprudently, and without consideration, I threw
out from the car three five-pound pieces of ballast. The accelerated
rate of ascent thus obtained carried me too rapidly, and without
sufficient gradation, into a highly rarefied stratum of the
atmosphere, and the result had nearly proved fatal to my expedition
and to myself. I was suddenly seized with a spasm which lasted for
better than five minutes, and even when this, in a measure, ceased, I
could catch my breath only at long intervals, and in a gasping
manner--bleeding all the while copiously at the nose and ears, and
even slightly at the eyes. The pigeons appeared distressed in the
extreme, and struggled to escape; while the cat mewed piteously, and,
with her tongue hanging out of her mouth, staggered to and fro in the
car as if under the influence of poison. I now too late discovered the
great rashness I had been guilty of in discharging the ballast, and my
agitation was excessive. I anticipated nothing less than death, and
death in a few minutes. The physical suffering I underwent contributed
also to render me nearly incapable of making any exertion for the
preservation of my life. I had indeed, little power of reflection
left, and the violence of the pain in my head seemed to be greatly on
the increase. Thus I found that my senses would shortly give way
altogether, and I had already clutched one of the valve ropes with the
view of attempting a descent, when the recollection of the trick I had
played the three creditors, and the inevitable consequences to myself,
should I return to Rotterdam, operated to deter me for the moment. I
lay down in the bottom of the car, and endeavored to collect my
faculties. In this I so far succeeded as to determine upon the
experiment of losing blood. Having no lancet, however, I was
constrained to perform the operation in the best manner I was able,
and finally succeeded in opening a vein in my right arm, with the
blade of my penknife. The blood had hardly commenced flowing when I
experienced a sensible relief, and by the time I had lost about half a
moderate basin full, most of the worst symptoms had abandoned me
entirely. I nevertheless did not think it expedient to attempt getting
on my feet immediately; but, having tied up my arm as well as I could,
I lay still for about a quarter of an hour. At the end of this time I
arose, and found myself freer from absolute pain of any kind than I
had been during the last hour and a quarter of my ascension. The
difficulty of breathing, however, was diminished in a very slight
degree, and I found that it would soon be positively necessary to make
use of my condenser. In the meantime looking towards the cat, who was
again snugly stowed away upon my coat, I discovered, to my infinite
surprise, that she had taken the opportunity of my indisposition to
bring into light a litter of three little kittens. This was an
addition to the number of passengers on my part altogether unexpected;
but I was pleased at the occurrence. It would afford me a chance of
bringing to a kind of test the truth of a surmise, which, more than
anything else, had influenced me in attempting this ascension. I had
imagined that the habitual endurance of the atmospheric pressure at
the surface of the earth was the cause, or nearly so, of the pain
attending animal existence at a distance above the surface. Should the
kittens be found to suffer uneasiness in an equal degree with their
mother, I must consider my theory in fault, but a failure to do so I
should look upon as a strong confirmation of my idea.

By eight o'clock I had actually attained an elevation of seventeen
miles above the surface of the earth. Thus it seemed to me evident
that my rate of ascent was not only on the increase, but that the
progression would have been apparent in a slight degree even had I not
discharged the ballast which I did. The pains in my head and ears
returned, at intervals, with violence, and I still continued to bleed
occasionally at the nose: but, upon the whole, I suffered much less
than might have been expected. I breathed, however, at every moment,
with more and more difficulty, and each inhalation was attended with a
troublesome spasmodic action of the chest. I now unpacked the
condensing apparatus, and got it ready for immediate use. The view of
the earth, at this period of my ascension, was beautiful indeed. To
the westward, the northward, and the southward, as far as I could see,
lay a boundless sheet of apparently unruffled ocean, which every
moment gained a deeper and a deeper tint of blue, and began already to
assume a slight appearance of convexity. At a vast distance to the
eastward, although perfectly discernible, extended the islands of
Great Britain, the entire Atlantic coasts of France and Spain, with a
small portion of the northern part of the continent of Africa. Of
individual edifices not a trace could be discovered, and the proudest
cities of mankind had utterly faded away from the face of the earth.
From the rock of Gibraltar, now dwindled into a dim speck, the dark
Mediterranean sea, dotted with shining islands as the heaven is dotted
with stars, spread itself out to the eastward as far as my vision
extended, until its entire mass of waters seemed at length to tumble
headlong over the abyss of the horizon, and I found myself listening
on tiptoe for the echoes of the mighty cataract. Overhead, the sky was
of a jetty black, and the stars were brilliantly visible.

The pigeons about this time seeming to undergo much suffering, I
determined upon giving them their liberty. I first untied one of
them--a beautiful gray-mottled pigeon--and placed him upon the rim of
the wicker-work. He appeared extremely uneasy, looking anxiously
around him, fluttering his wings, and making a loud cooing noise--but
could not be persuaded to trust himself from off the car. I took him
up at last, and threw him to about half-a-dozen yards from the
balloon. He made, however, no attempt to descend as I had expected,
but struggled with great vehemence to get back, uttering at the same
time very shrill and piercing cries. He at length succeeded in
regaining his former station on the rim--but had hardly done so when
his head dropped upon his breast, and he fell dead within the car. The
other one did-not prove so unfortunate. To prevent his following the
example of his companion, and accomplishing a return, I threw him
downwards with all my force, and was pleased to find him continue his
descent, with great velocity, making use of his wings with ease, and
in a perfectly natural manner. In a very short time he was out of
sight, and I have no doubt he reached home in safety. Puss, who seemed
in a great measure recovered from her illness, now made a hearty meal
of the dead bird, and then went to sleep with much apparent
satisfaction. Her kittens were quite lively, and so far evinced not
the slightest sign of any uneasiness whatever.

At a quarter-past eight, being able no longer to draw breath at all
without the most intolerable pain, I proceeded, forthwith, to adjust
around the car the apparatus belonging to the condenser. This
apparatus will require some little explanation, and your Excellencies
will please to bear in mind that my object, in the first place, was to
surround myself and car entirely with a barricade against the highly
rarefied atmosphere in which I was existing--with the intention of
introducing within this barricade, by means of my condenser, a
quantity of this same atmosphere sufficiently condensed for the
purposes of respiration. With this object in view I had prepared a
very strong, perfectly air-tight, but flexible gumelastic bag. In this
bag, which was of sufficient dimensions, the entire car was in a
manner placed. That is to say, it (the bag) was drawn over the whole
bottom of the car--up its sides--and so on, along the outside of the
ropes, to the upper rim or hoop where the net-work is attached. Having
pulled the bag up in this way, and formed a complete enclosure on all
sides, and at bottom, it was now necessary to fasten up its top or
mouth, by passing its material over the hoop of the net-work--in other
words between the net-work and the hoop. But if the net-work was
separated from the hoop to admit this passage, what was to sustain the
car in the meantime? Now the net-work was not permanently fastened to
the hoop, but attached by a series of running loops or nooses. I
therefore undid only a few of these loops at one time, leaving the car
suspended by the remainder. Having thus inserted a portion of the
cloth forming the upper part of the bag, I refastened the loops--not
to the hoop, for that would have been impossible, since the cloth now
intervened,--but to a series of large buttons, affixed to the cloth
itself, about three feet below the mouth of the bag--the intervals
between the buttons having been made to correspond to the intervals
between the loops. This done, a few more of the loops were unfastened
from the rim, a farther portion of the cloth introduced, and the
disengaged loops then connected with their proper buttons. In this way
it was possible to insert the whole upper part of the bag between the
net-work and the hoop. It is evident that the hoop would now drop down
within the car, while the whole weight of the car itself, with all its
contents, would be held up merely by the strength of the buttons.
This, at first sight, would seem an inadequate dependence, but it was
by no means so, for the buttons were not only very strong in
themselves, but so close together that a very slight portion of the
whole weight was supported by any one of them. Indeed, had the car and
contents been three times heavier than they were, I should not have
been at all uneasy. I now raised up the hoop again within the covering
of gum-elastic, and propped it at nearly its former height by means of
three light poles prepared for the occasion. This was done, of course,
to keep the bag distended at the top, and to preserve the lower part
of the net-work in its proper situation. All that now remained was to
fasten up the mouth of the enclosure; and this was readily
accomplished by gathering the folds of the material together, and
twisting them up very tightly on the inside by means of a kind of
stationary tourniquet.

In the sides of the covering thus adjusted round the car, had been
inserted three circular panes of thick but clear glass, through which
I could see without difficulty around me in every horizontal
direction. In that portion of the cloth forming the bottom, was
likewise a fourth window, of the same kind, and corresponding with a
small aperture in the floor of the car itself. This enabled me to see
perpendicularly down, but having found it impossible to place any
similar contrivance overhead, on account of the peculiar manner of
closing up the opening there, and the consequent wrinkles in the
cloth, I could expect to see no objects situated directly in my
zenith. This, of course, was a matter of little consequence--for, had
I even been able to place a window at top, the balloon itself would
have prevented my making any use of it.

About a foot below one of the side windows was a circular opening
eight inches in diameter, and fitted with a brass rim adapted in its
inner edge to the windings of a screw. In this rim was screwed the
large tube of the condenser, the body of the machine being, of course,
within the chamber of gum-elastic. Through this tube a quantity of the
rare atmosphere circumjacent being drawn by means of a vacuum created
in the body of the machine, was thence discharged in a state of
condensation to mingle with the thin air already in the chamber. This
operation, being repeated several times, at length filled the chamber
with atmosphere proper for all the purposes of respiration. But in so
confined a space it would in a short time necessarily become foul, and
unfit for use from frequent contact with the lungs. It was then
ejected by a small valve at the bottom of the car--the dense air
readily sinking into the thinner atmosphere below. To avoid the
inconvenience of making a total vacuum at any moment within the
chamber, this purification was never accomplished all at once, but in
a gradual manner,--the valve being opened only for a few seconds, then
closed again, until one or two strokes from the pump of the condenser
had supplied the place of the atmosphere ejected. For the sake of
experiment I had put the cat and kittens in a small basket, and
suspended it outside the car to a button at the bottom, close by the
valve, through which I could feed them at any moment when necessary. I
did this at some little risk, and before closing the mouth of the
chamber, by reaching under the car with one of the poles before-
mentioned to which a hook had been attached.

By the time I had fully completed these arrangements and filled the
chamber as explained, it wanted only ten minutes of nine o'clock.
During the whole period of my being thus employed I endured the most
terrible distress from difficulty of respiration, and bitterly did I
repent the negligence, or rather fool-hardiness, of which I had been
guilty in putting off to the very last moment a matter of so much
importance. But having at length accomplished it, I soon began to reap
the benefit of my invention. Once again I breathed with perfect
freedom and ease--and indeed why should I not? I was also agreeably
surprised to find myself, in a great measure, relieved from the
violent pains which had hitherto tormented me. A slight headache,
accompanied with a sensation of fulness or distention about the
wrists, the ankles, and the throat, was nearly all of which I had now
to complain. Thus it seemed evident that a greater part of the
uneasiness attending the removal of atmospheric pressure had actually
worn off, as I had expected, and that much of the pain endured for the
last two hours should have been attributed altogether to the effects
of a deficient respiration.

At twenty minutes before nine o'clock--that is to say--a short time
prior to my closing up the mouth of the chamber, the mercury attained
its limit, or ran down, in the barometer, which, as I mentioned
before, was one of an extended construction. It then indicated an
altitude on my part of 132000 feet, or five-and-twenty miles, and I
consequently surveyed at that time an extent of the earth's area
amounting to no less than the three-hundred-andtwentieth part of its
entire superficies. At nine o'clock I had again entirely lost sight of
land to the eastward, but not before I became fully aware that the
balloon was drifting rapidly to the N.N.W. The convexity of the ocean
beneath me was very evident indeed--although my view was often
interrupted by the masses of cloud which floated to and fro. I
observed now that even the lightest vapors never rose to more than ten
miles above the level of the sea.

At half-past nine I tried the experiment of throwing out a handful of
feathers through the valve. They did not float as I had expected--but
dropped down perpendicularly, like a bullet, en masse, and with the
greatest velocity--being out of sight in a very few seconds. I did not
at first know what to make of this extraordinary phenomenon: not being
able to believe that my rate of ascent had, of a sudden, met with so
prodigious an acceleration. But it soon occurred to me that the
atmosphere was now far too rare to sustain even the feathers--that
they actually fell, as they appeared to do, with great rapidity--and
that I had been surprised by the united velocities of their descent
and my own elevation.

By ten o'clock I found that I had very little to occupy my immediate
attention. Affairs went on swimmingly, and I believed the balloon to
be going upwards with a speed increasing momently, although I had no
longer any means of ascertaining the progression of the increase. I
suffered no pain or uneasiness of any kind, and enjoyed better spirits
than I had at any period since my departure from Rotterdam, busying
myself now in examining the state of my various apparatus, and now in
regenerating the atmosphere within the chamber. This latter point I
determined to attend to at regular intervals of forty minutes, more on
account of the preservation of my health, than from so frequent a
renovation being absolutely necessary. In the meanwhile I could not
help making anticipations. Fancy revelled in the wild and dreamy
regions of the moon. Imagination, feeling herself for once unshackled,
roamed at will among the ever-changing wonders of a shadowy and
unstable land. Now there were hoary and time-honored forests, and
craggy precipices, and waterfalls tumbling with a loud noise into
abysses without a bottom. Then I came suddenly into still noonday
solitudes where no wind of heaven ever intruded, and where vast
meadows of poppies, and slender, lily-looking flowers spread
themselves out a weary distance, all silent and motionless forever.
Then again I journeyed far down away into another country where it was
all one dim and vague lake, with a boundary-line of clouds. And out of
this melancholy water arose a forest of tall eastern trees, like a
wilderness of dreams. And I bore in mind that the shadows of the trees
which fell upon the lake remained not on the surface where they fell--
but sunk slowly and steadily down, and commingled with the waves,
while from the trunks of the trees other shadows were continually
coming out, and taking the place of their brothers thus entombed.
"This, then," I said thoughtfully, "is the very reason why the waters
of this lake grow blacker with age, and more melancholy as the hours
run on." But fancies such as these were not the sole possessors of my
brain. Horrors of a nature most stern and most appalling would too
frequently obtrude themselves upon my mind, and shake the innermost
depths of my soul with the bare supposition of their possibility. Yet
I would not suffer my thoughts for any length of time to dwell upon
these latter speculations, rightly judging the real and palpable
dangers of the voyage sufficient for my undivided attention.

At five o'clock P.M., being engaged in regenerating the atmosphere
within the chamber, I took that opportunity of observing the cat and
kittens through the valve. The cat herself appeared to suffer again
very much, and I had no hesitation in attributing her uneasiness
chiefly to a difficulty in breathing--but my experiment with the
kittens had resulted very strangely. I had expected of course to see
them betray a sense of pain, although in a less degree than their
mother; and this would have been sufficient to confirm my opinion
concerning the habitual endurance of atmospheric pressure. But I was
not prepared to find them, upon close examination, evidently enjoying
a high degree of health, breathing with the greatest ease and perfect
regularity, and evincing not the slightest sign of any uneasiness
whatever. I could only account for all this by extending my theory,
and supposing that the highly rarefied atmosphere around might perhaps
not be, as I had taken for granted, chemically insufficient for the
purposes of life, and that a person born in such a medium might
possibly be unaware of any inconvenience attending its inhalation,
while, upon removal to the denser strata near the earth, he might
endure tortures of a similar nature to those I had so lately
experienced. It has since been to me a matter of deep regret that an
awkward accident at this time occasioned me the loss of my little
family of cats, and deprived me of the insight into this matter which
a continued experiment might have afforded. In passing my hand through
the valve with a cup of water for the old puss, the sleeve of my shirt
became entangled in the loop which sustained the basket, and thus, in
a moment, loosened it from the button. Had the whole actually vanished
into air it could not have shot from my sight in a more abrupt and
instantaneous manner. Positively there could not have intervened the
tenth part of a second between the disengagement of the basket and its
absolute and total disappearance with all that it contained. My good
wishes followed it to the earth, but, of course, I had no hope that
either cat or kittens would over live to tell the tale of their

At six o'clock I perceived a great portion of the earth's visible area
to the eastward involved in thick shadow, which continued to advance
with great rapidity until, at five minutes before seven, the whole
surface in view was enveloped in the darkness of night. It was not,
however, until long after this time that the rays of the setting sun
ceased to illumine the balloon; and this circumstance, although of
course fully anticipated, did not fail to give me an infinite deal of
pleasure. It was evident that, in the morning, I should behold the
rising luminary many hours at least before the citizens of Rotterdam,
in spite of their situation so much farther to the eastward, and thus,
day after day, in proportion to the height ascended, would I enjoy the
light of the sun for a longer and a longer period. I now determined to
keep a journal of my passage, reckoning the days from one to twenty-
four hours continuously, without taking into consideration the
intervals of darkness.

At ten o'clock, feeling sleepy, I determined to lie down for the rest
of the night--but here a difficulty presented itself, which, obvious
as it may appear, had totally escaped my attention up to the very
moment of which I am now speaking. If I went to sleep as I proposed,
how could the atmosphere in the chamber be regenerated in the interim?
To breathe it for more than an hour, at the farthest, would be a
matter of impossibility; or if even this term could be extended to an
hour and a quarter, the most ruinous consequences might ensue. The
consideration of this dilemma gave me no little disquietude, and it
will hardly be believed that, after the dangers I had undergone, I
should look upon this business in so serious a light, as to give up
all hope of accomplishing my ultimate design, and finally make up my
mind to the necessity of a descent. But this hesitation was only
momentary. I reflected that man is the veriest slave of custom--and
that many points in the routine of his existence are deemed
essentially important, which are only so at all by his having rendered
them habitual. It was very certain that I could not do without sleep--
but I might easily bring myself to feel no inconvenience from being
awakened at regular intervals of an hour during the whole period of my
repose. It would require but five minutes at most, to regenerate the
atmosphere in the fullest manner, and the only real difficulty was to
contrive a method of arousing myself at the proper moment for so
doing. But this was a question which, I am willing to confess,
occasioned me no little trouble in its solution. To be sure, I had
heard of the student who, to prevent his falling asleep over his
books, held in one hand a ball of copper, the din of whose descent
into a basin of the same metal on the floor beside his chair, served
effectually to startle him up, if, at any moment, he should be
overcome with drowsiness. My own case, however, was very different
indeed, and left me no room for any similar idea--for I did not wish
to keep awake, but to be aroused from slumber at regular intervals of
time. I at length hit upon the following expedient, which, simple as
it may seem, was hailed by me, at the moment of discovery, as an
invention fully equal to that of the telescope, the steam-engine, or
the art of printing itself.

It is necessary to premise that the balloon, at the elevation now
attained, continued its course upwards with an even and undeviating
ascent, and the car consequently followed with a steadiness so perfect
that it would have been impossible to detect in it the slightest
vacillation whatever. This circumstance favored me greatly in the
project I now determined to adopt. My supply of water had been put on
board in kegs containing five gallons each, and ranged very securely
around the interior of the car. I unfastened one of these--took two
ropes, and tied them tightly across the rim of the wicker-work from
one side to the other, placing them about a foot apart and parallel,
so as to form a kind of shelf, upon which I placed the keg and
steadied it in a horizontal position. About eight inches immediately
below these ropes, and four feet from the bottom of the car, I
fastened another shelf--but made of thin plank, being the only similar
piece of wood I had. Upon this latter shelf, and exactly beneath one
of the rims of the keg a small earthen pitcher was deposited. I now
bored a hole in the end of the keg over the pitcher, and fitted in a
plug of soft wood, cut in a tapering or conical shape. This plug I
pushed in or pulled out, as might happen, until, after a few
experiments, it arrived at that exact degree of tightness, at which
the water, oozing from the hole, and falling into the pitcher below,
should fill the latter to the brim in the period of sixty minutes.
This, of course, was a matter briefly and easily ascertained by
noticing the proportion of the pitcher filled in any given time.
Having arranged all this, the rest of the plan is obvious. My bed was
so contrived upon the floor of the car, as to bring my head, in lying
down, immediately below the mouth of the pitcher. It was evident,
that, at the expiration of an hour, the pitcher, getting full, would
be forced to run over, and to run over at the mouth, which was
somewhat lower than the rim. It was also evident, that the water, thus
falling from a height of better than four feet, could not do otherwise
than fall upon my face, and that the sure consequence would be, to
waken me up instantaneously, even from the soundest slumber in the

It was fully eleven by the time I had completed these arrangements,
and I immediately betook myself to bed with full confidence in the
efficiency of my invention. Nor in this matter was I disappointed.
Punctually every sixty minutes was I aroused by my trusty chronometer,
when, having emptied the pitcher into the bung-hole of the keg, and
performed the duties of the condenser, I retired again to bed. These
regular interruptions to my slumber caused me even less discomfort
than I had anticipated, and when I finally arose for the day it was
seven o'clock, and the sun had attained many degrees above the line of
my horizon.

April 3d. I found the balloon at an immense height indeed, and the
earth's apparent convexity increased in a material degree. Below me in
the ocean lay a cluster of black specks, which undoubtedly were
islands. Far away to the northward I perceived a thin, white, and
exceedingly brilliant line or streak on the edge of the horizon, and I
had no hesitation in supposing it to be the southern disk of the ices
of the Polar sea. My curiosity was greatly excited, for I had hopes of
passing on much farther to the north, and might possibly, at some
period, find myself placed directly above the Pole itself. I now
lamented that my great elevation would, in this case, prevent my
taking as accurate a survey as I could wish. Much however might be
ascertained. Nothing else of an extraordinary nature occurred during
the day. My apparatus all continued in good order, and the balloon
still ascended without any perceptible vacillation. The cold was
intense, and obliged me to wrap up closely in an overcoat. When
darkness came over the earth, I betook myself to bed, although it was
for many hours afterwards broad daylight all around my immediate
situation. The water-clock was punctual in its duty, and I slept until
next morning soundly--with the exception of the periodical

April 4th. Arose in good health and spirits, and was astonished at the
singular change which had taken place in the appearance of the sea. It
had lost, in a great measure, the deep tint of blue it had hitherto
worn, being now of a grayish-white, and of a lustre dazzling to the
eye. The islands were no longer visible--whether they had passed down
the horizon to the south-east, or whether my increasing elevation had
left them out of sight, it is impossible to say. I was inclined
however, to the latter opinion. The rim of ice to the northward, was
growing more and more apparent. Cold by no means so intense. Nothing
of importance occurred, and I passed the day in reading--having taken
care to supply myself with books.

April 5th. Beheld the singular phenomenon of the sun rising while
nearly the whole visible surface of the earth continued to be involved
in darkness. In time, however, the light spread itself over all, and I
again saw the line of ice to the northward. It was now very distinct,
and appeared of a much darker hue than the waters of the ocean. I was
evidently aproaching it, and with great rapidity. Fancied I could
again distinguish a strip of land to the eastward--and one also to the
westward--but could not be certain. Weather moderate. Nothing of any
consequence happened during the day. Went early to bed.

April 6th. Was surprised at finding the rim of ice at a very moderate
distance, and an immense field of the same material stretching away
off to the horizon in the north. It was evident that if the balloon
held its present course, it would soon arrive above the Frozen Ocean,
and I had now little doubt of ultimately seeing the Pole. During the
whole of the day I continued to near the ice. Towards night the limits
of my horizon very suddenly and materially increased, owing
undoubtedly to the earth's form being that of an oblate spheroid, and
my arriving above the flattened regions in the vicinity of the Arctic
circle. When darkness at length overtook me I went to bed in great
anxiety, fearing to pass over the object of so much curiosity when I
should have no opportunity of observing it.

April 7th. Arose early, and, to my great joy, at length beheld what
there could be no hesitation in supposing the northern Pole itself. It
was there, beyond a doubt, and immediately beneath my feet--but, alas!
I had now ascended to so vast a distance that nothing could with
accuracy be discerned. Indeed, to judge from the progression of the
numbers indicating my various altitudes respectively at different
periods, between six A.M. on the second of April, and twenty minutes
before nine A.M. of the same day, (at which time the barometer ran
down,) it might be fairly inferred that the balloon had now, at four
o'clock in the morning of April the seventh, reached a height of not
less certainly than 7254 miles above the surface of the sea. This
elevation may appear immense, but the estimate upon which it is
calculated gave a result in all probability far inferior to the truth.
At all events I undoubtedly beheld the whole of the earth's major
diameter--the entire northern hemisphere lay beneath me like a chart
orthographically projected--and the great circle of the equator itself
formed the boundary line of my horizon. Your Excellencies may,
however, readily imagine that the confined regions hitherto unexplored
within the limits of the Arctic circle, although situated directly
beneath me, and therefore seen without any appearance of being
foreshortened, were still, in themselves, comparatively too
diminutive, and at too great a distance from the point of sight to
admit of any very accurate examination. Nevertheless what could be
seen was of a nature singular and exciting. Northwardly from that huge
rim before mentioned, and which, with slight qualification, may be
called the limit of human discovery in these regions, one unbroken, or
nearly unbroken sheet of ice continues to extend. In the first few
degrees of this its progress, its surface is very sensibly flattened--
farther on depressed into a plane--and finally, becoming not a little
concave, it terminates at the Pole itself in a circular centre,
sharply defined, whose apparent diameter subtended at the balloon an
angle of about sixty-five seconds, and whose dusky hue, varying in
intensity, was, at all times darker than any other spot upon the
visible hemisphere, and occasionally deepened into the most absolute
and impenetrable blackness. Farther than this little could be
ascertained. By twelve o'clock the circular centre had materially
decreased in circumference, and by seven P.M. I lost sight of it
entirely--the balloon passing over the western limb of the ice, and
floating away rapidly in the direction of the equator.

April 8th. Found a sensible diminution in the earth's apparent
diameter, besides a material alteration in its general color and
appearance. The whole visible area partook in different degrees of a
tint of pale yellow, and in some portions had acquired a brilliancy
even painful to the eye. My view downwards was also considerably
impeded by the dense atmosphere in the vicinity of the surface being
loaded with clouds, between whose masses I could only now and then
obtain a glimpse of the earth itself. This difficulty of direct vision
had troubled me more or less for the last forty-eight hours--but my
present enormous elevation brought closer together, as it were, the
floating bodies of vapor, and the inconvenience became, of course,
more and more palpable in proportion to my ascent. Nevertheless I
could easily perceive that the balloon now hovered above the range of
great lakes in the continent of North America, and was holding a
course due south which would soon bring me to the tropics. This
circumstance did not fail to give me the most heartfelt satisfaction,
and I hailed it as a happy omen of ultimate success. Indeed the
direction I had hitherto taken had filled me with uneasiness; for it
was evident that, had I continued it much longer, there would have
been no possibility of my arriving at the moon at all, whose orbit is
inclined to the ecliptic at only the small angle of 5 o 8' 48?.

April 9th. To-day, the earth's diameter was greatly diminished, and
the color of the surface assumed hourly a deeper tint of yellow. The
balloon kept steadily on her course to the southward, and arrived at
nine P.M. over the northern edge of the Mexican Gulf.

April 10th. I was suddenly aroused from slumber, about five o'clock
this morning, by a loud, crackling, and terrific sound, for which I
could in no manner account. It was of very brief duration, but, while
it lasted, resembled nothing in the world of which I had any previous
experience. It is needless to say that I became excessively alarmed,
having, in the first instance, attributed the noise to the bursting of
the balloon. I examined all my apparatus, however, with great
attention, and could discover nothing out of order. Spent a great part
of the day in meditating upon an occurrence so extraordinary, but
could find no means whatever of accounting for it. Went to bed
dissatisfied, and in a state of great anxiety and agitation.

April 11th. Found a startling diminution in the apparent diameter of
the earth, and a considerable increase, now observable for the first
time, in that of the moon itself, which wanted only a few days of
being full. It now required long and excessive labor to condense
within the chamber sufficient atmospheric air for the sustenance of

April 12th. A singular alteration took place in regard to the
direction of the balloon, and although fully anticipated, afforded me
the most unequivocal delight. Having reached, in its former course,
about the twentieth parallel of southern latitude, it turned off
suddenly at an acute angle to the eastward, and thus proceeded
throughout the day, keeping nearly, if not altogether, in the exact
plane of the lunar elipse. What was worthy of remark, a very
perceptible vacillation in the car was a consequence of this change of
route--a vacillation which prevailed, in a more or less degree, for a
period of many hours.

April 13th. Was again very much alarmed by a repetition of the loud
crackling noise which terrified me on the tenth. Thought long upon the
subject, but was unable to form any satisfactory conclusion. Great
decrease in the earth's apparent diameter, which now subtended from
the balloon an angle of very little more than twenty-five degrees. The
moon could not be seen at all, being nearly in my zenith. I still
continued in the plane of the elipse, but made little progress to the

April 14th. Extremely rapid decrease in the diameter of the earth. To-
day I became strongly impressed with the idea, that the balloon was
now actually running up the line of apsides to the point of perigee--
in other words, holding the direct course which would bring it
immediately to the moon in that part of its orbit the nearest to the
earth. The moon itself was directly over-head, and consequently hidden
from my view. Great and long continued labor necessary for the
condensation of the atmosphere.

April 15th. Not even the outlines of continents and seas could now be
traced upon the earth with anything approaching to distinctness. About
twelve o'clock I became aware, for the third time, of that unearthly
and appalling sound which had so astonished me before. It now,
however, continued for some moments and gathered horrible intensity as
it continued. At length, while stupified and terror-stricken I stood
in expectation of I know not what hideous destruction, the car
vibrated with excessive violence, and a gigantic and flaming mass of
some material which I could not distinguish, came with a voice of a
thousand thunders, roaring and booming by the balloon. When my fears
and astonishment had in some degree subsided, I had little difficulty
in supposing it to be some mighty volcanic fragment ejected from that
world to which I was so rapidly approaching, and, in all probability,
one of that singular class of substances occasionally picked up on the
earth and termed meteoric stones for want of a better appellation.

April 16th. To-day, looking upwards as well I could, through each of
the side windows alternately, I beheld, to my great delight, a very
small portion of the moon's disk protruding, as it were, on all sides
beyond the huge circumference of the balloon. My agitation was
extreme--for I had now little doubt of soon reaching the end of my
perilous voyage. Indeed the labor now required by the condenser had
increased to a most oppressive degree, and allowed me scarcely any
respite from exertion. Sleep was a matter nearly out of the question.
I became quite ill, and my frame trembled with exhaustion. It was
impossible that human nature could endure this state of intense
suffering much longer. During the now brief interval of darkness a
meteoric stone again passed in my vicinity, and the frequency of these
phenomena began to occasion me much anxiety and apprehension.

April 17th. This morning proved an epoch in my voyage. It will be
remembered that, on the thirteenth, the earth subtended an angular
breadth of twenty-five degrees. On the fourteenth, this had greatly
diminished--on the fifteenth, a still more rapid decrease was
observable--and on retiring for the night of the sixteenth I had
noticed an angle of no more than about seven degrees and fifteen
minutes. What, therefore, must have been my amazement on awakening
from a brief and disturbed slumber on the morning of this day, the
seventeenth, at finding the surface beneath me so suddenly and
wonderfully augmented in volume as to subtend no less than thirty-nine
degrees in apparent angular diameter! I was thunderstruck. No words--
no earthly expression can give any adequate idea of the extreme--the
absolute horror and astonishment with which I was seized, possessed,
and altogether overwhelmed. My knees tottered beneath me--my teeth
chattered--my hair started up on end. "The balloon then had actually
burst"--these were the first tumultuous ideas which hurried through my
mind--"the balloon had positively burst. I was falling--falling--
falling--with the most intense, the most impetuous, the most
unparalleled velocity. To judge from the immense distance already so
quickly passed over, it could not be more than ten minutes, at the
farthest, before I should meet the surface of the earth, and be hurled
into annihilation." But at length reflection came to my relief. I
paused--I considered--and I began to doubt. The matter was impossible.
I could not in any reason have so rapidly come down. Besides, although
I was evidently approaching the surface below me, it was with a speed
by no means commensurate with the velocity I had at first so horribly
conceived. This consideration served to calm the perturbation of my
mind, and I finally succeeded in regarding the phenomenon in its
proper point of view. In fact amazement must have fairly deprived me
of my senses when I could not see the vast difference, in appearance,
between the surface below me, and the surface of my mother earth. The
latter was indeed over my head, and completely hidden by the balloon,
while the moon--the moon itself in all its glory--lay beneath me, and
at my feet.

The stupor and surprise produced in my mind by this extraordinary
change in the posture of affairs was perhaps, after all, that part of
the adventure least susceptible of explanation. For the bouleversement
in itself was not only natural and inevitable, but had been long
actually anticipated as a circumstance to be expected whenever I
should arrive at that exact point of my voyage where the attraction of
the planet should be superseded by the attraction of the satellite--
or, more precisely, where the gravitation of the balloon towards the
earth should be less powerful than its gravitation towards the moon.
To be sure I arose from a sound slumber, with all my senses in
confusion, to the contemplation of a very startling phenomenon, and
one which, although expected, was not expected at the moment. The
revolution itself must, of course, have taken place in an easy and
gradual manner, and it is by no means clear that, had I even been
awake at the time of the occurrence, I should have been made aware of
it by any internal evidence of an inversion--that is to say by any
inconvenience or disarrangement either about my person or about my

It is almost needless to say that upon coming to a due sense of my
situation, and emerging from the terror which had absorbed every
faculty of my soul, my attention was, in the first place, wholly
directed to the contemplation of the general physical appearance of
the moon. It lay beneath me like a chart, and although I judged it to
be still at no inconsiderable distance, the indentures of its surface
were defined to my vision with a most striking and altogether
unaccountable distinctness. The entire absence of ocean or sea, and
indeed of any lake or river, or body of water whatsoever, struck me,
at the first glance, as the most extraordinary feature in its
geological condition. Yet, strange to say! I beheld vast level regions
of a character decidedly alluvial--although by far the greater portion
of the hemisphere in sight was covered with innumerable volcanic
mountains, conical in shape, and having more the appearance of
artificial than of natural protuberances. The highest among them does
not exceed three and three-quarter miles in perpendicular elevation--
but a map of the volcanic districts of the Campi Phlegri would afford
to your Excellencies a better idea of their general surface than any
unworthy description I might think proper to attempt. The greater part
of them were in a state of evident eruption, and gave me fearfully to
understand their fury and their power by the repeated thunders of the
miscalled meteoric stones which now rushed upwards by the balloon with
a frequency more and more appalling.

April 18th. To-day I found an enormous increase in the moon's apparent
bulk, and the evidently accelerated velocity of my descent began to
fill me with alarm. It will be remembered that, in the earliest stage
of my speculations upon the possibility of a passage to the moon, the
existence in its vicinity of an atmosphere dense in proportion to the
bulk of the planet had entered largely into my calculations--this too
in spite of many theories to the contrary, and, it may be added, in
spite of a general disbelief in the existence of any lunar atmosphere
at all. But, in addition to what I have already urged in regard to
Encke's comet and the zodiacal light, I had been strengthened in my
opinion by certain observations of Mr. Schroeter, of Lilienthal. He
observed the moon, when two days and a half old, in the evening soon
after sunset, before the dark part was visible, and continued to watch
it until it became visible. The two cusps appeared tapering in a very
sharp faint prolongation, each exhibiting its farthest extremity
faintly illuminated by the solar rays, before any part of the dark
hemisphere was visible. Soon afterwards, the whole dark limb became
illuminated. This prolongation of the cusps beyond the semicircle, I
thought, must have arisen from the refraction of the sun's rays by the
moon's atmosphere. I computed, also, the height of the atmosphere
(which could refract light enough into its dark hemisphere, to produce
a twilight more luminous than the light reflected from the earth when
the moon is about 32 o from the new) to be 1356 Paris feet; in this
view, I supposed the greatest height capable of refracting the solar
ray, to be 5376 feet. My ideas upon this topic had also received
confirmation by a passage in the 82d volume of the Philosophical
Transactions, in which it is stated that at an occultation of
Jupiter's satellites, the third disappeared after having been about 1?
or 2? of time indistinct, and the fourth became indiscernible near the

[* There is, strictly speaking, but little similarity between this
sketchy trifle and the very celebrated and very beautiful "Moon-story"
of Mr. Locke--but as both have the character of hoaxes, (although the
one is in a tone of banter, the other of downright earnest,) and as
both hoaxes are on the same subject, the moon--the author of "Hans
Phaall" thinks it necessary to say, in self-defence, that his own jen-
d'esprit was published, in the Southern Literary Messenger, about
three weeks previously to the appearance of Mr. L.'s, in the New York
"Sun." Fancying a similarity which does not really exist, some of the
New York papers copied Hans Phaall, and collated it with the Hoax--
with the view of detecting the writer of the one in the writer of the

Upon the resistance, or more properly, upon the support of an
atmosphere, existing in the state of density imagined, I had, of
course, entirely depended for the safety of my ultimate descent.
Should I then, after all, prove to have been mistaken, I had in
consequence nothing better to expect as a finale to my adventure than
being dashed into atoms against the rugged surface of the satellite.
And indeed I had now every reason to be terrified. My distance from
the moon was comparatively trifling, while the labor required by the
condenser was diminished not at all, and I could discover no
indication whatever of a decreasing rarity in the air.

April 19th. This morning, to my great joy, about nine o'clock, the
surface of the moon being frightfully near, and my apprehensions
excited to the utmost, the pump of my condenser at length gave evident
tokens of an alteration in the atmosphere. By ten I had reason to
believe its density considerably increased. By eleven very little
labor was necessary at the apparatus--and at twelve o'clock, with some
hesitation, I ventured to unscrew the tourniquet, when, finding no
inconvenience from having done so, I finally threw open the gum-
elastic chamber, and unrigged it from around the car. As might have
been expected, spasms and violent headache were the immediate
consequence of an experiment so precipitate and full of danger. But
these and other difficulties attending respiration, as they were by no
means so great as to put me in peril of my life, I determined to
endure as I best could, in consideration of my leaving them behind me
momently in my approach to the denser strata near the moon. This
approach, however, was still impetuous in the extreme; and it soon
became alarmingly certain that, although I had probably not been
deceived in the expectation of an atmosphere dense in proportion to
the mass of the satellite, still I had been wrong in supposing this
density, even at the surface, at all adequate to the support of the
great weight contained in the car of my balloon. Yet this should have
been the case, and in an equal degree as at the surface of the earth,
the actual gravity of bodies at either planet being supposed in the
ratio of their atmospheric condensation. That it was not the case
however my precipitous downfall gave testimony enough--why it was not
so, can only be explained by a reference to those possible geological
disturbances to which I have formerly alluded. At all events I was now
close upon the planet, and coming down with the most terrible
impetuosity. I lost not a moment accordingly in throwing overboard
first my ballast, then my water-kegs, then my condensing apparatus and
gum-elastic chamber, and finally every individual article within the
car. But it was all to no purpose. I still fell with horrible
rapidity, and was now not more than half a mile at farthest from the
surface. As a last resource, therefore, having got rid of my coat,
hat, and boots, I cut loose from the balloon the car itself, which was
of no inconsiderable weight, and thus, clinging with both hands to the
hoop of the net-work, I had barely time to observe that the whole
country as far as the eye could reach was thickly interspersed with
diminutive habitations, ere I tumbled headlong into the very heart of
a fantastical-looking city, and into the middle of a vast crowd of
ugly little people, who none of them uttered a single syllable, or
gave themselves the least trouble to render me assistance, but stood,
like a parcel of idiots, grinning in a ludicrous manner, and eyeing me
and my balloon askant with their arms set a-kimbo. I turned from them
in contempt, and gazing upwards at the earth so lately left, and left
perhaps forever, beheld it like a huge, dull, copper shield, about two
degrees in diameter, fixed immoveably in the heavens overhead, and
tipped on one of its edges with a crescent border of the most
brilliant gold. No traces of land or water could be discovered, and
the whole was clouded with variable spots, and belted with tropical
and equatorial zones.

Thus, may it please your Excellencies, after a series of great
anxieties, unheard of dangers, and unparalleled escapes, I had, at
length, on the nineteenth day of my departure from Rotterdam, arrived
in safety at the conclusion of a voyage undoubtedly the most
extraordinary, and the most momentous, ever accomplished, undertaken,
or conceived by any denizen of earth. But my adventures yet remain to
be related. And indeed your Excellencies may well imagine that after a
residence of five years upon a planet not only deeply interesting in
its own peculiar character, but rendered doubly so by its intimate
connection, in capacity of satellite, with the world inhabited by man,
I may have intelligence for the private ear of the States' College of
Astronomers of far more importance than the details, however
wonderful, of the mere voyage which so happily concluded. This is, in
fact, the case. I have much--very much which it would give me the
greatest pleasure to communicate. I have much to say of the climate of
the planet--of its wonderful alternations of heat and cold--of
unmitigated and burning sunshine for one fortnight, and more than
polar frigidity for the next--of a constant transfer of moisture, by
distillation like that in vacuo, from the point beneath the sun to the
point the farthest from it--of a variable zone of running water--of
the people themselves--of their manners, customs, and political
institutions--of their peculiar physical construction--of their
ugliness--of their want of ears, those useless appendages in an
atmosphere so peculiarly modified--of their consequent ignorance of
the use and properties of speech--of their substitute for speech in a
singular method of intercommunication--of the incomprehensible
connection between each particular individual in the moon, with some
particular individual on the earth--a connection analogous with, and
depending upon that of the orbs of the planet and the satellite, and
by means of which the lives and destinies of the inhabitants of the
one are interwoven with the lives and destinies of the inhabitants of
the other--and above all, if it so please your Excellencies, above all
of those dark and hideous mysteries which lie in the outer regions of
the moon--regions which, owing to the almost miraculous accordance of
the satellite's rotation on its own axis with its sidereal revolution
about the earth, have never yet been turned, and, by God's mercy,
never shall be turned, to the scrutiny of the telescopes of man. All
this, and more--much more--would I most willingly detail. But to be
brief, I must have my reward. I am pining for a return to my family
and to my home: and as the price of any farther communications on my
part--in consideration of the light which I have it in my power to
throw upon many very important branches of physical and metaphysical
science--I must solicit, through the influence of your honorable body,
a pardon for the crime of which I have been guilty in the death of the
creditors upon my departure from Rotterdam. This, then, is the object
of the present paper. Its bearer, an inhabitant of the moon, whom I
have prevailed upon, and properly instructed, to be my messenger to
the earth, will await your Excellencies' pleasure, and return to me
with the pardon in question, if it can, in any manner, be obtained.

I have the honor to be, etc., your Excellencies' very humble servant.

Hans Phaall.

Upon finishing the perusal of this very extraordinary document,
Professor Rub-a-dub, it is said, dropped his pipe upon the ground in
the extremity of his surprise, and Mynheer Superbus Von Underduik
having taken off his spectacles, wiped them, and deposited them in his
pocket, so far forgot both himself and his dignity, as to turn round
three times upon his heel in the quintessence of astonishment and
admiration. There was no doubt about the matter--the pardon should be
obtained. So at least swore, with a round oath, Professor Rub-a-dub,
and so finally thought the illustrious Von Underduk, as he took the
arm of his brother in science, and without saying a word, began to
make the best of his way home to deliberate upon the measures to be
adopted. Having reached the door, however, of the burgomaster's
dwelling, the professor ventured to suggest that as the messenger had
thought proper to disappear--no doubt frightened to death by the
savage appearance of the burghers of Rotterdam--the pardon would be of
little use, as no one but a man of the moon would undertake a voyage
to so horrible a distance. To the truth of this observation the
burgomaster assented, and the matter was therefore at an end. Not so,
however, rumors and speculations. The letter, having been published,
gave rise to a variety of gossip and opinion. Some of the over-wise
even made themselves ridiculous by decrying the whole business as
nothing better than a hoax. But hoax, with these sort of people, is, I
believe, a general term for all matters above their comprehension. For
my part I cannot conceive upon what data they have founded such an
accusation. Let us see what they say:

Imprimis. That certain wags in Rotterdam have certain especial
antipathies to certain burgomasters and astronomers.

Don't understand at all.

Secondly. That an odd little dwarf and bottle conjurer, both of whose
ears, for some misdemeanor, have been cut off close to his head, has
been missing for several days from the neighboring city of Bruges.

Well--what of that?

Thirdly. That the newspapers which were stuck all over the little
balloon were newspapers of Holland, and therefore could not have been
made in the moon. They were dirty papers--very dirty--and Gluck, the
printer, would take his bible oath to their having been printed in

He was mistaken--undoubtedly--mistaken.

Fourthly. That Hans Phaall himself, the drunken villain, and the three
very idle gentlemen styled his creditors, were all seen, no longer
than two or three days ago, in a tippling house in the suburbs, having
just returned, with money in their pockets, from a trip beyond the

Don't believe it--don't believe a word of it.

Lastly. That it is an opinion very generally received, or which ought
to be generally received, that the College of Astronomers in the city
of Rotterdam--as well as all other colleges in all other parts of the
world--not to mention colleges and astronomers in general--are, to say
the least of the matter, not a whit better, nor greater, nor wiser
than they ought to be.


   Intensos rigidam in frontem ascendere canos
Passus erat--

De Catone.

  --a bristly bore.

"Let us hurry to the walls"--said Abel-Phittim to Buzi-Ben-Levi, and
Simeon the Pharisee, on the tenth day of the month Thammuz, in the
year of the world three thousand nine hundred and forty-one--"let us
hasten to the ramparts adjoining the gate of Benjamin, which is in the
city of David, and overlooking the camp of the uncircumcised--for it
is the last hour of the fourth watch, being sunrise; and the
idolaters, in fulfilment of the promise of Pompey, should be awaiting
us with the lambs for the sacrifices."

Simeon, Abel-Phittim, and Buzi-Ben-Levi were the Gizbarim, or sub-
collectors of the offering, in the holy city of Jerusalem.

"Verily"--replied the Pharisee--"let us hasten: for this generosity in
the heathen is unwonted; and fickle-mindedness has ever been an
attribute of the worshippers of Baal."

"That they are fickle-minded and treacherous is as true as the
Pentateuch"--said Buzi-Ben-Levi--"but that is only towards the people
of Adonai. When was it ever known that the Ammonites proved wanting to
their own interest? Methinks it is no great stretch of generosity to
allow us lambs for the altar of the Lord, receiving in lieu thereof
thirty silver shekels per head!"

"Thou forgettest, however, Ben-Levi"--replied Abel-Phittim--"that the
Roman Pompey, who is now impiously besieging the city of the Most
High, has no assurity that we apply not the lambs thus purchased for
the altar, to the sustenance of the body, rather than of the spirit."

"Now, by the five corners of my beard"--shouted the Pharisee, who
belonged to the sect called The Dashers (that little knot of saints
whose manner of dashing and lacerating the feet against the pavement
was long a thorn and a reproach to less zealous devotees--a stumbling-
block to less gifted perambulators)--"by the five corners of that
beard which as a priest I am forbidden to shave!--have we lived to see
the day when a blaspheming and idolatrous upstart of Rome shall accuse
us of appropriating to the appetites of the flesh the most holy and
consecrated elements? Have we lived to see the day when"--

"Let us not question the motives of the Philistine"--interrupted Abel-
Phittim--"for to-day we profit for the first time by his avarice or by
his generosity. But rather let us hurry to the ramparts, lest
offerings should be wanting for that altar whose fire the rains of
heaven cannot extinguish--and whose pillars of smoke no tempest can
turn aside."

That part of the city to which our worthy Gizbarim now hastened, and
which bore the name of its architect King David, was esteemed the most
strongly fortified district of Jerusalem--being situated upon the
steep and lofty hill of Zion. Here a broad, deep, circumvallatory
trench--hewn from the solid rock--was defended by a wall of great
strength erected upon its inner edge. This wall was adorned, at
regular interspaces, by square towers of white marble--the lowest
sixty--the highest one hundred and twenty cubits in height. But in the
vicinity of the gate of Benjamin the wall arose by no means
immediately from the margin of the fosse. On the contrary, between the
level of the ditch and the basement of the rampart, sprang up a
perpendicular cliff of two hundred and fifty cubits--forming part of
the precipitous Mount Moriah. So that when Simeon and his associates
arrived on the summit of the tower called Adoni-Bezek--the loftiest of
all the turrets around about Jerusalem, and the usual place of
conference with the besieging army--they looked down upon the camp of
the enemy from an eminence excelling, by many feet, that of the
Pyramid of Cheops, and, by several, that of the Temple of Belus.

"Verily"--sighed the Pharisee, as he peered dizzily over the
precipice--"the uncircumcised are as the sands by the sea-shore--as
the locusts in the wilderness! The valley of The King hath become the
valley of Adommin."

"And yet"--added Ben-Levi--"thou canst not point me out a Philistine--
no, not one--from Aleph to Tau--from the wilderness to the
battlements--who seemeth any bigger than the letter Jod!"

"Lower away the basket with the shekels of silver!"--here shouted a
Roman soldier in a hoarse, rough voice, which appeared to issue from
the regions of Pluto--"lower away the basket with that accursed coin
which it has broken the jaw of a noble Roman to pronounce! Is it thus
you evince your gratitude to our master Pompeius, who, in his
condescension, has thought fit to listen to your idolatrous
importunities? The god Phoebus, who is a true god, has been charioted
for an hour--and were you not to be on the ramparts by sunrise?
depol! do you think that we, the conquerors of the world, have
nothing better to do than stand waiting by the walls of every kennel,
to traffic with the dogs of the earth? Lower away! I say--and see that
your trumpery be bright in color, and just in weight!"

"El Elohim!"--ejaculated the Pharisee, as the discordant tones of the
centurion rattled up the crags of the precipice, and fainted away
against the Temple--"El Elohim!--who is the god Phoebus?--whom doth
the blasphemer invoke? Thou, Buzi-Ben-Levi! who art read in the laws
of the Gentiles, and hast sojourned among them who dabble with the
Teraphim!--is it Nergal of whom the idolator speaketh?--or Ashimah?--
or Nibhaz?--or Tartak?--or Adramalech?--or Anamalech?--or Succoth-
Benoth?--or Dagon?--or Belial?--or Ball-Perith?--or Baal-Peor?--or

"Verily, it is neither--but beware how thou lettest the rope slip too
rapidly through thy fingers--for should the wicker-work chance to hang
on the projection of yonder crag, there will be a woful outpouring of
the holy things of the sanctuary."

By the assistance of some rudely-constructed machinery, the heavily-
laden basket was now lowered carefully down among the multitude--and,
from the giddy pinnacle, the Romans were seen crowding confusedly
around it--but, owing to the vast height and the prevalence of a fog,
no distinct view of their operations could be obtained.

A half-hour had already elapsed.

"We shall be too late"--sighed the Pharisee, as, at the expiration of
this period, he looked over into the abyss--"we shall be too late--we
shall be turned out of office by the Katholim."

"No more"--responded Abel-Phittim--"no more shall we feast upon the
fat of the land--no longer shall our beards be odorous with
frankincense--our loins girded up with fine linen from the Temple."

"Raca!"--swore Ben-Levi--"Raca!--do they mean to defraud us of the
purchase-money?--or, Holy Moses! are they weighing the shekels of the

"They have given the signal at last"--cried the Pharisee--"they have
given the signal at last!--pull away, Abel-Phittim!--and thou, Buzi-
Ben-Levi, pull away!--for verily the Philistines have either still
hold upon the basket, or the Lord hath softened their hearts to place
therein a beast of good weight!" And the Gizbarim pulled away, while
their burthen swung heavily upwards through the still increasing mist.

* * * * * * * *

"Booshoh he!"--as, at the conclusion of an hour, some object at the
extremity of the rope became indistinctly visible--"Booshoh he!"--was
the exclamation which burst from the lips of Ben-Levi.

"Booshoh he!--for shame!--it is a ram from the thickets of Engedi, and
as rugged as the valley of Jehosaphat!"

"It is a firstling of the flock,"--said Abel-Phittim--"I know him by
the bleating of his lips, and the innocent folding of his limbs. His
eyes are more beautiful than the jewels of the Pectoral--and his flesh
is like the honey of Hebron."

"It is a fatted calf from the pastures of Bashan"--said the Pharisee--
"the heathen have dealt wonderfully with us--let us raise up our
voices in a psalm--let us give thanks on the shawm and on the
psaltery--on the harp and on the huggab--on the cythern and on the

It was not until the basket had arrived within a few feet of the
Gizbarim, that a low grunt betrayed to their perception a hog of no
common size.

"Now El Emanu!"--slowly, and with upturned eyes ejaculated the trio,
as, letting go their hold, the emancipated porker tumbled headlong
among the Philistines--"El Emanu!--God be with us!--it is the
unutterable flesh!"

"Let me no longer," said the Pharisee, wrapping his cloak around him
and departing within the city--"let me no longer be called Simeon,
which signifieth, 'he who listens'--but rather Boanerges, 'the son of


My friend, the Baron Ritzner Von Jung, was of a noble Hungarian
family, every member of which (at least as far back into antiquity as
any certain records extend) was more or less remarkable for talent of
some description--the majority for that species of grotesquerie in
conception of which Tieck, a scion of the house, has given some vivid,
although by no means the most vivid exemplifications. My acquaintance
with him--with Ritzner--commenced at the magnificent Chateau Jung,
into which a train of droll adventures, not to be made public, threw
me par hazard during the summer months of the year 18--. Here it was I
obtained a place in his regard, and here, with somewhat more
difficulty, a partial insight into his mental conformation. In later
days this insight grew more clear, as the intimacy which had at first
permitted it became more close; and when, after three years
separation, we met at G--n, I knew all that it was necessary to know
of the character of the Baron Ritzner Von Jung.

I remember the buzz of curiosity which his advent excited within the
college precincts on the night of the twenty-fifth of June. I remember
still more distinctly, that while he was pronounced by all parties at
first sight "the most remarkable man in the world," no person made any
attempt at accounting for this opinion. That he was unique appeared so
undeniable, it was deemed not pertinent to inquire wherein the
uniquity consisted. But, letting this matter pass for the present, I
will merely observe that, from the first moment of his setting foot
within the limits of the university, he began to exercise over the
habits, manners, persons, purses, moral feelings, and physical
propensities of the whole community which surrounded him, an influence
the most extensive and absolutely despotic, yet at the same time the
most indefinitive and altogether unaccountable. Thus the brief period
of his residence at the university forms an era in its annals, and is
characterized by all classes of people appertaining to it or its
dependencies as "that very extraordinary epoch forming the domination
of the Baron Ritzner Vong Jung."

I have seen--and be it here borne in mind that gentlemen still living
in Gotham who have been with myself witness of these things will have
full recollection of the passages to which I now merely allude--I have
seen, then, the most outrageously preposterous of events brought about
by the most intangible and apparently inadequate of means. I have
seen--what, indeed, have I not seen? I have seen Villanova, the
danseuse, lecturing in the chair of National Law, and I have seen D--,
P--, T--, and Von C--, all enraptured with her profundity. I have seen
the protector, the consul, and the whole faculty aghast at the
convolutions of a weathercock. I have seen Sontag received with
hisses, and a hurdy-gurdy with sighs. I have seen an ox-cart, with
oxen, on the summit of the Rotunda. I have seen all the pigs of G--n
in periwigs, and all her cows in canonicals. I have seen fifteen
hundred vociferous cats in the steeple of St. P--. I have seen the
college chapel bombarded--I have seen the college ramparts most
distressingly placarded--I have seen the whole world by the ears--I
have seen old Wertemuller in tears--and, more than all, I have seen
such events come to be regarded as the most reasonable, commendable,
and inevitable things in creation, through the silent, yet all-
pervading and magical influence of the dominator Baron Ritzner Von

Upon the Baron's advent to G--n, he sought me out in my apartments. He
was then of no particular age--by which I mean that it was impossible
to form a guess respecting his age by any data personally afforded. He
might have been fifteen or fifty, and was twenty-one years and seven
months. In stature he was about five feet eight inches. He was by no
means a handsome man--perhaps rather the reverse. The contour of his
face was somewhat angular and harsh. His forehead was lofty and very
fair; his nose a snub; his eyes large, heavy, glassy and meaningless.
About the mouth there was more to be observed. The lips were gently
protruded, and rested the one upon the other after such fashion that
it is impossible to conceive any, even the most complex, combination
of human features, conveying so entirely, and so singly, the idea of
unmitigated gravity, solemnity, and repose. My readers have thus the
physical baron before them. What I shall add respecting those mental
peculiarities to which I have as yet only partially adverted, will be
told in my own words--for I find that, in speaking of my friend, I
have been falling unwittingly into one of the many odd literary
mannerisms of the dominator Baron Ritzner Von Jung.

It will be perceived, no doubt, from what I have already said, that
the Baron was neither more nor less than one of those human anomalies
now and then to be found, who make the science of mystification the
study and the business of their lives. For this science a peculiar
turn of mind gave him instinctively the cue, while his physical
appearance afforded him unusual facilities for carrying his projects
into effect. I firmly believe that no student at G--n, during that
renowned epoch so quaintly termed the domination of the Baron Ritzner
Von Jung, ever rightly entered into the mystery which overshadowed his
character. I truly think that no person at the university, with the
exception of myself, ever suspected him to be capable of a joke,
verbal or practical--the old bull-dog at the garden-gate would sooner
have been accused--the ghost of Heraclitus--or the wig of the Emeritus
Professor of Theology. This, too, when it was evident that the most
egregious and unpardonable of all conceivable tricks, whimsicalities,
and buffooneries were brought about, if not directly by him, at least
plainly through his intermediate agency or connivance. The beauty, if
I may so call it, of his art mystisique lay in that consummate ability
(resulting from an almost intuitive knowledge of human nature, and the
most wonderful self-possession), by means of which he never failed to
make it appear that the drolleries he was occupied in bringing to a
point, arose partly in spite, and partly in consequence of the
laudable efforts he was making for their prevention, and for the
preservation of the good order and dignity of Alma Mater. The deep,
the poignant, the overwhelming mortification which, upon each such
failure of his praiseworthy endeavors, would suffuse every lineament
of his countenance, left not the slightest room for doubt of his
sincerity in the bosoms of even his most sceptical companions. The
adroitness, too, was no less worthy of observation by which he
contrived to shift the sense of the grotesque from the creator to the
created--from his own person to the absurdities to which he had given
rise. How this difficult point was accomplished I have become fully
aware by means of a long course of observation on the oddities of my
friend, and by means of frequent dissertations on the subject from
himself; but upon this matter I cannot dilate. In no instance,
however, before that of which I speak, have I known the habitual
mystific escape the natural consequence of his manoeuvres, an
attachment of the ludicrous to his own character and person.
Continually enveloped in an atmosphere of whim, my friend appeared to
live only for the severities of society; and not even his own
household have for a moment associated other ideas than those of the
rigid and august with the memory of the Baron Ritzner Von Jung.

To enter fully into the labyrinths of the Baron's finesse, or even to
follow him in that droll career of practical mystification which gave
him so wonderful an ascendency over the mad spirits of G--n, would
lead me to a far greater length than I have prescribed to myself in
this article. I may dwell upon these topics hereafter, and then not in
petto. I am well aware that in tracing minutely and deliberately to
their almost magical results the operations of an intellect like that
of Ritzner, wherein an hereditary and cultivated taste for the bizarre
was allied with an intuitive acumen in regard to the every-day
impulses of the heart--an untrodden field would be found to lie open
before me, rich in novelty and vigor, of emotion and incident, and
abounding in rare food for both speculation and analysis. But this, I
have already said, could not be accomplished in little space.
Moreover, the Baron is still living in Belgium, and it is not without
the limits of the possible that his eye may rest upon what I am now
writing. I shall be careful, therefore, not to disclose, at least thus
and here, the mental machinery which he has a pleasure, however
whimsical, in keeping concealed. An anecdote at random, however, may
convey some idea of the spirit of his practice. The method varied ad
infinitum; and in this well-sustained variety lay chiefly the secret
of that unsuspectedness with which his multifarious operations were

During the epoch of the domination it really appeared that the demon
of the dolce far niente lay like an incubus upon the university.
Nothing was done, at least, beyond eating and drinking, and making
merry. The apartments of the students were converted into so many pot-
houses, and there was no pot-house of them all more famous or more
frequented than that of your humble servant, and the Baron Ritzner Von
Jung--for it must be understood that we were chums. Our carousals here
were many, and boisterous, and long, and never unfruitful of events.

Upon one occasion we had protracted our sitting until nearly daybreak,
and an unusual quantity of wine had been drunk. The company consisted
of seven or eight individuals besides the Baron and myself. Most of
these were young men of wealth, of high connexion, of great family
pride, and all alive with an exaggerated sense of honor. They abounded
in the most ultra German opinions respecting the duello. To these
Quixottic notions some recent Parisian publications, backed by three
or four desperate and fatal rencontres at G--n, had given new vigor
and impulse; and thus the conversation, during the greater part of the
night, had run wild upon the all-engrossing topic of the times. The
Baron, who had been unusually silent and abstracted in the earlier
portion of the evening, at length seemed to be aroused from his
apathy, took a leading part in the discourse, and dwelt upon the
benefits, and more especially upon the beauties, of the received code
of etiquette in passages of arms, with an ardor, an eloquence, an
impressiveness, and, if I may so speak, an affectionateness of manner,
which elicited the warmest enthusiasm from his hearers in general, and
absolutely staggered even myself, who well knew him to be at heart a
ridiculer of those very points for which he contended, and especially
to hold the entire fanfaronade of duelling etiquette in the sovereign
contempt which it deserves.

Looking around me during a pause in the Baron's discourse, (of which
my readers, may gather some faint idea when I say that it bore
resemblance to the fervid, chanting, monotonous, yet musical, sermonic
manner of Coleridge,) I perceived symptoms of even more than the
general interest in the countenance of one of the party. This
gentleman, whom I shall call Hermann, was an original in every
respect, except perhaps in the single particular that he was one of
the greatest asses in all Christendom. He contrived to bear, however,
among a particular set at the university, a reputation for deep
metaphysical thinking, and, I believe, for some logical talent. His
personal appearance was so peculiar that I feel confident my outline
of him will be recognised at once by all who have been in company with
the model. He was one of the tallest men I have ever seen, being full
six feet and a half. His proportions were singularly mal-apropos. His
legs were brief, bowed, and very slender; while above them arose a
trunk worthy of the Farnesian Hercules. His shoulders, nevertheless,
were round, his neck long although thick, and a general stoop forward
gave him a slouching air. His head was of colossal dimensions, and
overshadowed by a dense mass of straight raven hair, two huge locks of
which, stiffly plastered with pomatum, extended with a lachrymose air
down the temples, and partially over the cheek bones--a fashion which
of late days has wormed itself (the wonder is that it has not arrived
here before) into the good graces of the denizens of the United
States. But the face itself was the chief oddity. The upper region was
finely proportioned, and gave indication of the loftiest species of
intellect. The forehead was massive and broad, the organs of ideality
over the temples, as well as those of causality, comparison, and
eventuality, which betray themselves above the os frontis, being so
astonishingly developed as to attract the instant notice of every
person who saw him. The eyes were full, brilliant, beaming with what
might be mistaken for intelligence, and well relieved by the short,
straight, picturesque-looking eyebrow, which is perhaps one of the
surest indications of general ability. The aquiline nose, too, was
superb; certainly nothing more magnificent was ever beheld, nothing
more delicate nor more exquisitely modelled. All these things were
well enough, as I have said; it was the inferior portions of the
visage which abounded in deformity, and which gave the lie instanter
to the tittle-tattle of the superior. The upper lip (a huge lip in
length) had the appearance of being swollen as by the sting of a bee,
and was rendered still more atrocious by a little spot of very black
mustachio immediately beneath the nose. The under lip, apparently
disgusted with the gross obesity of its fellow, seemed bent upon
resembling it as little as might be, and getting as far removed from
it as possible. It was accordingly very curt and thin, hanging back as
if utterly ashamed of being seen; while the chin, retreating still an
inch or two farther, might have been taken for--anything in the
universe but a chin.

In this abrupt transition, or rather descent, in regard to character,
from the upper to the lower regions of the face, an analogy was
preserved between the face itself and the body at large, whose
peculiar construction I have spoken of before. The result of the
entire conformation was, that opinions directly conflicting were daily
entertained in respect to the personal appearance of Hermann. Erect,
he was absolutely hideous, and seemed to be, what in fact he really
was, a fool. At table, with his hands covering the lower part of his
visage, (an attitude of deep meditation which he much affected,) truly
I never witnessed a more impressive tableau than his general
appearance presented. As a duellist he had acquired great renown, even
at G--n. I forget the precise number of victims who had fallen at his
hands--but they were many. He was a man of courage undoubtedly. But it
was upon his minute acquaintance with the etiquette of the duello, and
the nicety of his sense of honor, that he most especially prided
himself. These things were a hobby which he rode to the death. To
Ritzner, ever upon the look-out for the grotesque, his peculiarities,
bodily and mental, had for a long time past afforded food for
mystification. Of this, however, I was not aware, although in the
present instance I saw clearly that something of a whimsical nature
was upon the tapis with my chum, and that Hermann was its especial

As the former proceeded in his discourse, or rather monologue, I
perceived the excitement of Hermann momently increasing. At length he
spoke, offering some objection to a point insisted upon by R., and
giving his reasons in detail. To these the Baron replied at length
(still maintaining his exaggerated tone of sentiment), and concluding,
in what I thought very bad taste, with a sarcasm and a sneer. The
hobby of Hermann now took the bit in his teeth. This I could discern
by the studied hair-splitting farrago of his rejoinder. His last words
I distinctly remember. "Your opinions, allow me to say, Baron Von
Jung, although in the main correct, are in many nice points
discreditable to yourself and to the university of which you are a
member. In a few respects they are even unworthy of serious
refutation. I would say more than this, sir, were it not for the fear
of giving you offence, (here the speaker smiled blandly,) I would say,
sir, that your opinions are not the opinions to be expected from a

As Hermann completed this equivocal sentence, all eyes were turned
upon the Baron. He became very pale, then excessively red, then,
dropping his pockethandkerchief, stooped to recover it, when I caught
a glimpse of his countenance while it could be seen by no one else at
the table. It was radiant with the quizzical expression which was its
natural character, but which I had never seen it assume except when we
were alone together, and when he unbent himself freely. In an instant
afterwards he stood erect, confronting Hermann, and so total an
alteration of countenance in so short a period I certainly never
witnessed before. For a moment I even fancied that I had misconceived
him, and that he was in sober earnest. He appeared to be stifling with
passion, and his face was cadaverously white. For a short time he
remained silent apparently striving to master his emotion. Having at
length seemingly succeeded, he reached a decanter which stood near
him, saying, as he held it firmly clenched--"The language you have
thought proper to employ, Mynheer Hermann, in addressing yourself to
me, is objectionable in so many particulars, that I have neither
temper nor time for specification. That my opinions, however, are not
the opinions to be expected from a gentleman, is an observation so
directly offensive as to allow me but one line of conduct. Some
courtesy, nevertheless, is due to the presence of this company, and to
yourself, at the present moment, as my guest. You will pardon me,
therefore, if, upon this consideration, I deviate slightly from the
general usage among gentlemen in similar cases of personal affront.
You will forgive me for the moderate tax I shall make upon your
imagination, and endeavor to consider, for an instant, the reflection
of your person in younder mirror as the living Mynheer Hermann
himself. This being done there will be no difficulty whatever. I shall
discharge this decanter of wine at your image in yonder mirror, and
thus fulfil all the spirit, if not the exact letter, of resentment for
your insult, while the necessity of physical violence to your real
person will be obviated," With these words he hurled the decanter full
of wine furiously against the mirror which hung directly opposite
Hermann, striking the reflection of his person with great precision,
and of course shattering the glass into fragments. The whole company
at once started to their feet, and, with the exception of myself and
Ritzner, took their hats for departure. As Hermann went out, the Baron
whispered me that I should follow him and make an offer of my
services. To this I agreed, not knowing precisely what to make of so
ridiculous a piece of business.

The duellist accepted my aid with his usual stiff, and ultra-recherch
air, and taking my arm, led me to his apartment. I could hardly
forbear laughing in his face while he proceeded to discuss with the
profoundest gravity what he termed "the refinedly peculiar character"
of the insult he had received. After a tiresome harangue in his
ordinary style, he took down from his book-shelves a number of musty
volumes on the subject of the duello, and entertained me for a long
time with their contents; reading aloud, and commenting earnestly as
he read. I can just remember the titles of some of the works. There
was the "Ordonnance of Philip le Bel on Single Combat;" the "Theatre
of Honor" by Favyn; and a treatise "On the Permission of Duels" by
Andigiuer. He displayed, also, with much pomposity, Brantome's
"Memoirs of Duels," published at Cologne, in 1666, in the types of
Elzevir--a precious and unique vellum-paper volume, with a fine
margin, and bound by Derme. But he requested my attention
particularly, and with an air of mysterious sagacity, to a thick
octavo, written in barbarous Latin by one Hedelin a Frenchman, and
having the quaint title, "Duelli Lex scripta, et non, aliterque." From
this he read me one of the drollest chapters in the world concerning
"Injurioe per applicationem, per constructionem, et per se," about
half of which, he averred, was strictly applicable to his own
"refinedly peculiar" case, although not one syllable of the whole
matter could I understand for the life of me. Having finished the
chapter he closed the book, and demanded what I thought necessary to
be done. I replied that I had entire confidence in his superior
delicacy of feeling, and would abide by what he proposed. With this
answer he seemed flattered, and sat down to write a note to the Baron.
It ran thus:

"My friend, Mr. P--, will hand you this note. I find it incumbent upon
me to request, at your earliest convenience, an explanation of this
evening's occurrences at your chambers. In the event of your declining
this request, Mr. P. will be happy to arrange with any friend whom you
may appoint, the steps preliminary to a meeting."

"With sentiments of perfect respect, Your most humble servant, Johan

"To the Baron Ritzner Von Jung. August 18th, 18--."

"Not knowing what better to do, I called upon Ritzner with this
epistle. He bowed as I presented it, and, with a grave countenance,
motioned me to a seat. He then said that he was aware of the contents
of the note, and that he did not wish to peruse it. With this, to my
great astonishment, he repeated the letter nearly verbatim, handing
me, at the same time, an already written reply. This, which ran as
follows, I carried to Hermann:"


"Through our common friend, Mr. P., I have received your note of this
evening. Upon due reflection I frankly admit the propriety of the
explanation you suggest. This being admitted, I still find great
difficulty, (owing to the refinedly peculiar nature of our
disagreement, and of the personal affront offered on my part,) in so
wording what I have to say by way of apology, as to meet all the
minute exigencies, and, as it were, all the variable shadows of the
case. I have great reliance, however, on that extreme delicacy of
discrimination, in matters appertaining to the rules of etiquette, for
which you have been so long so pre-eminently distinguished. With
perfect certainty, therefore, of being comprehended, I beg leave, in
lieu of offering any sentiments of my own, to refer you to the
opinions of the Sieur Hedelin, as set forth in the ninth paragraph of
the chapter on 'Injurioe per applicationem, per constructionem, et per
se" in his "Duelli Lex scripta, et non, aliterque.' The nicety of your
discernment in all the matters here treated of will be sufficient, I
am assured, to convince you that the mere circumstance of my referring
you to this admirable passage ought to satisfy your request, as a man
of honor, for explanation."

"With sentiments of profound respect, Your most obedient servant.
"Von Jung. The Herr Johan Hermann. August 18th, 18--."

Hermann commenced the perusal of this epistle with a scowl, which,
however, was converted into a smile of the most ludicrous self-
complacency as he came to the rigmarole about Injurioe per
applicationem, per constructionem, et per se. Having finished reading.
he begged me, with the blandest of all possible airs, to be seated
while he made reference to the treatise in question. Turning to the
passage specified, he read it with great care to himself, then closed
the book, and desired me, in my character of confidential
acquaintance, to express to the Baron Von Jung his exalted sense of
his chivalrous behaviour, and, in that of second, to assure him that
the explanation offered was of the fullest, the most honorable, and
the most unequivocally satisfactory nature. Somewhat amazed at all
this, I made my retreat to the Baron. He seemed to receive Hermann's
amicable letter as a matter of course, and, after a few words of
general conversation, went to an inner room and brought out the
everlasting treatise "Duelli Lex scripta, et non, aliterque." He
handed me the volume and asked me to look over some portion of it. I
did so, but to little purpose, not being able to gather the least
particle of definite meaning. He then took the book himself, and read
me a chapter aloud. To my surprise what he read proved to be a most
horribly absurd account of a duel between two baboons. He now
explained the mystery, showing that the volume, as it appeared Prim
facie, was written upon the plan of the nonsense verses of Du Bartas;
that is to say, the language was ingeniously framed so as to present
to the ear all the outward signs of intelligibility, and even of
profound analysis, while in fact not a shadow of meaning existed,
except in insulated sentences. The key to the whole was found in
leaving out every second and third word alternately, when there
appeared a series of ludicrous quizzes upon single combat as practised
in modern times.

The Baron afterwards informed me that he had purposely thrown the
treatise in Hermann's way two or three weeks before the adventure, and
that he was satisfied from the general tenor of his conversation that
he had studied it with the deepest attention, and firmly believed it
to be a work of unusual profundity. Upon this hint he proceeded.
Hermann would have died a thousand deaths rather than acknowledge his
inability to understand any and everything in the universe that had
ever been written about the duello.


   O breathe not, etc.
--Moore's Melodies.

The most notorious ill-fortune must, in the end, yield to the untiring
courage of philosophy--as the most stubborn city to the ceaseless
vigilance of an enemy. Salmanezer, as we have it in the holy writings,
lay three year before Samaria; yet it fell. Sardanapalus--see
Diodorus--maintained himself seven in Nineveh; but to no purpose. Troy
expired at the close of the second lustrum; and Azoth, as Aristus
declares upon his honor as a gentleman, opened at last her gates to
Psammitticus, after having barred them for the fifth part of a

* * * * * *

"Thou wretch!--thou vixen!--thou shrew!"--said I to my wife on the
morning after our wedding--"thou witch!--thou hag!--thou
whippersnapper!--thou sink of iniquity!--thou fiery-faced quintessence
of all that is abominable!--thou--thou--" here standing upon tiptoe,
seizing her by the throat, and placing my mouth close to her ear, I
was preparing to launch forth a new and more decided epithet of
opprobrium, which should not fail, if ejaculated, to convince her of
her insignificance, when, to my extreme horror and astonishment, I
discovered that I had lost my breath.

The phrases "I am out of breath," "I have lost my breath," etc., are
often enough repeated in common conversation; but it had never
occurred to me that the terrible accident of which I speak could bon
fide and actually happen! Imagine--that is if you have a fanciful
turn--imagine I say, my wonder--my consternation--my despair!

There is a good genius, however, which has never, at any time,
entirely deserted me. In my most ungovernable moods I still retain a
sense of propriety, et le chemin des passions me conduit--as Rousseau
says it did him-- la philosophie veritable.

Although I could not at first precisely ascertain to what degree the
occurrence had affected me, I unhesitatingly determined to conceal at
all events the matter from my wife until farther experience should
discover to me the extent of this my unheard of calamity. Altering my
countenance, therefore, in a moment, from its bepuffed and distorted
appearance, to an expression of arch and coquettish benignity, I gave
my lady a pat on the one cheek, and a kiss on the other, and without
saying one syllable, (Furies! I could not,) left her astonished at my
drollery, as I pirouetted out of the room in a Pas de Zephyr.

Behold me then safely ensconced in my private boudoir, a fearful
instance of the ill consequences attending upon irascibility--alive
with the qualifications of the dead--dead with the propensities of the
living--an anomaly on the face of the earth--being very calm, yet

Yes! breathless. I am serious in asserting that my breath was entirely
gone. I could not have stirred with it a feather if my life had been
at issue, or sullied even the delicacy of a mirror. Hard fate!--yet
there was some alleviation to the first overwhelming paroxysm of my
sorrow. I found upon trial that the powers of utterance which, upon my
inability to proceed in the conversation with my wife, I then
concluded to be totally destroyed, were in fact only partially
impeded, and I discovered that had I, at that interesting crisis,
dropped my voice to a singularly deep guttural, I might still have
continued to her the communication of my sentiments; this pitch of
voice (the guttural) depending, I find, not upon the current of the
breath, but upon a certain spasmodic action of the muscles of the

Throwing myself upon a chair, I remained for some time absorbed in
meditation. My reflections, be sure, were of no consolatory kind. A
thousand vague and lachrymatory fancies took possession of my soul--
and even the phantom suicide flitted across my brain; but it is a
trait in the perversity of human nature to reject the obvious and the
ready, for the far-distant and equivocal. Thus I shuddered at
selfmurder as the most decided of atrocities, while the tabby cat
purred strenuously upon the rug, and the very water-dog wheezed
assiduously under the table, each taking to itself much merit for the
strength of its lungs, and all obviously done in derision of my own
pulmonary incapacity.

Oppressed with a tumult of vague hopes and fears, I at length heard
the footstep of my wife descending the staircase. Being now assured of
her absence, I returned with a palpitating heart to the scene of my

Carefully locking the door on the inside, I commenced a vigorous
search. It was possible, I thought, that concealed in some obscure
corner, or lurking in some closet or drawer, might be found the lost
object of my inquiry. It might have a vapory--it might even have a
tangible form. Most philosophers, upon many points of philosophy, are
still very unphilosophical. William Godwin, however, says in his
"Mandeville," that "invisible things are the only realities." This,
all will allow, is a case in point. I would have the judicious reader
pause before accusing such asseverations of an undue quantum of
absurdity. Anaxagoras--it will be remembered--maintained that snow is
black. This I have since found to be the case.

Long and earnestly did I continue the investigation: but the
contemptible reward of my industry and perseverance proved to be only
a set of false teeth, two pair of hips, an eye, and a bundle of
billetsdoux from Mr. Windenough to my wife. I might as well here
observe that this confirmation of my lady's partiality for Mr. W.
occasioned me little uneasiness. That Mrs. Lack-o'Breath should admire
any thing so dissimilar to myself was a natural and necessary evil. I
am, it is well known, of a robust and corpulent appearance, and at the
same time somewhat diminutive in stature. What wonder then that the
lath-like tenuity of my acquaintance, and his altitude which has grown
into a proverb, should have met with all due estimation in the eyes of
Mrs. Lack-o'Breath? It is by logic similar to this that true
philosophy is enabled to set misfortune at defiance. But to return.

My exertions, as I have before said, proved fruitless. Closet after
closet--drawer after drawer--corner after corner--were scrutinized to
no purpose. At one time, however, I thought myself sure of my prize,
having, in rummaging a dressing-case, accidentally demolished a bottle
(I had a remarkably sweet breath) of Hewitt's "Seraphic and Highly-
Scented Extract of Heaven or Oil of Archangels"--which, as an
agreeable perfume, I here take the liberty of recommending.

With a heavy heart I returned to my boudoir--there to ponder upon some
method of eluding my wife's penetration, until I could make
arrangements prior to my leaving the country, for to this I had
already made up my mind. In a foreign climate, being unknown, I might,
with some probability of success, endeavor to conceal my unhappy
calamity--a calamity calculated, even more than beggary, to estrange
the affections of the multitude, and to draw down upon the wretch the
well-merited indignation of the virtuous and the happy. I was not long
in hesitation. Being naturally quick, I committed to memory the entire
tragedies of--, and--. I had the good fortune to recollect that in the
accentuation of these dramas, or at least of such portion of them as
is allotted to their heroes, the tones of voice in which I found
myself deficient were altogether unnecessary, and that the deep
guttural was expected to reign monotonously throughout.

I practised for some time by the borders of a wellfrequented marsh--
herein, however, having no reference to a similar proceeding of
Demosthenes, but from a design peculiarly and conscientiously my own.
Thus armed at all points, I determined to make my wife believe that I
was suddenly smitten with a passion for the stage. In this I succeeded
to a miracle; and to every question or suggestion found myself at
liberty to reply in my most frog-like and sepulchral tones with some
passage from the tragedies--any portion of which, as I soon took great
pleasure in observing, would apply equally well to any particular
subject. It is not to be supposed, however, that in the delivery of
such passages I was found at all deficient in the looking asquint--the
showing my teeth--the working my knees--the shuffling my feet--or in
any of those unmentionable graces which are now justly considered the
characteristics of a popular performer. To be sure they spoke of
confining me in a straight-jacket--but, good God! they never suspected
me of having lost my breath.

Having at length put my affairs in order, I took my seat very early
one morning in the mail stage for--, giving it to be understood among
my acquaintances that business of the last importance required my
immediate personal attendance in that city.

The coach was crammed to repletion--but in the uncertain twilight the
features of my companions could not be distinguished. Without making
any effectual resistance I suffered myself to be placed between two
gentlemen of colossal dimensions; while a third, of a size larger,
requesting pardon for the liberty he was about to take, threw himself
upon my body at full length, and falling asleep in an instant, drowned
all my guttural ejaculations for relief, in a snore which would have
put to the blush the roarings of a Phalarian bull. Happily the state
of my respiratory faculties rendered suffocation an accident entirely
out of the question.

As, however, the day broke more distinctly in our approach to the
outskirts of the city, my tormentor arising and adjusting his shirt-
collar, thanked me in a very friendly manner for my civility. Seeing
that I remained motionless, (all my limbs were dislocated, and my head
twisted on one side,) his apprehensions began to be excited; and,
arousing the rest of the passengers, he communicated, in a very
decided manner, his opinion that a dead man had been palmed upon them
during the night for a living and responsible fellow-traveller--here
giving me a thump on the right eye, by way of evidencing the truth of
his suggestion.

Thereupon all, one after another, (there were nine in company)
believed it their duty to pull me by the ear. A young practising
physician, too, having applied a pocket-mirror to my mouth, and found
me without breath, the assertion of my persecutor was pronounced a
true bill; and the whole party expressed their determination to endure
tamely no such impositions for the future, and to proceed no farther
with any such carcases for the present.

I was here accordingly thrown out at the sign of the "Crow," (by which
tavern the coach happened to be passing) without meeting with any
farther accident than the breaking of both my arms under the left
hind-wheel of the vehicle. I must besides do the driver the justice to
state that he did not forget to throw after me the largest of my
trunks, which, unfortunately falling on my head, fractured my skull in
a manner at once interesting and extraordinary.

The landlord of the "Crow," who is a hospitable man, finding that my
trunk contained sufficient to indemnify him for any little trouble he
might take in my behalf, sent forthwith for a surgeon of his
acquaintance, and delivered me to his care with a bill and receipt for
five-and-twenty dollars.

The purchaser took me to his apartments and commenced operations
immediately. Having, however, cut off my ears, he discovered signs of
animation. He now rang the bell, and sent for a neighboring apothecary
with whom to consult in the emergency. In case, however, of his
suspicions with regard to my existence proving ultimately correct, he,
in the meantime, made an incision in my stomach, and removed several
of my viscera for private dissection.

The apothecary had an idea that I was actually dead. This idea I
endeavored to confute, kicking and plunging with all my might, and
making the most furious contortions--for the operations of the surgeon
had, in a measure, restored me to the possession of my faculties. All,
however, was attributed to the effects of a new galvanic battery,
wherewith the apothecary, who is really a man of information,
performed several curious experiments, in which, from my personal
share in their fulfilment, I could not help feeling deeply interested.
It was a source of mortification to me nevertheless, that although I
made several attempts at conversation, my powers of speech were so
entirely in abeyance, that I could not even open my mouth; much less
then make reply to some ingenious but fanciful theories of which,
under other circumstances, my minute acquaintance with the
Hippocratian pathology would have afforded me a ready confutation.

Not being able to arrive at a conclusion, the practitioners remanded
me for further examination. I was taken up into a garret; and the
surgeon's lady having accommodated me with drawers and stockings, the
surgeon himself fastened my hands, and tied up my jaws with a pocket
handkerchief--then bolted the door on the outside as he hurried to his
dinner, leaving me alone to silence and to meditation.

I now discovered to my extreme delight that I could have spoken had
not my mouth been tied up by the pocket-handkerchief. Consoling myself
with this reflection, I was mentally repeating some passages of the--,
as is my custom before resigning myself to sleep, when two cats, of a
greedy and vituperative turn, entering at a hole in the wall, leaped
up with a flourish  la Catalani, and alighting opposite one another
on my visage, betook themselves to unseemly and indecorous contention
for the paltry consideration of my nose.

But, as the loss of his ears proved the means of elevating to the
throne of Cyrus, the Magian or Mige-Gush of Persia, and as the cutting
off his nose gave Zopyrus possession of Babylon, so the loss of a few
ounces of my countenance proved the salvation of my body. Aroused by
the pain, and burning with indignation, I burst, at a single effort,
the fastenings and the bandage. Stalking across the room I cast a
glance of contempt at the belligerents, and throwing open the sash to
their extreme horror and disappointment, precipitated myself--very
dexterously--from the window.

The mail-robber W--, to whom I bore a singular resemblance, was at
this moment passing from the city jail to the scaffold erected for his
execution in the suburbs. His extreme infirmity, and long-continued
ill health, had obtained him the privilege of remaining unmanacled;
and habited in his gallows costume--a dress very similar to my own--he
lay at full length in the bottom of the hangman's cart (which happened
to be under the windows of the surgeon at the moment of my
precipitation) without any other guard than the driver who was asleep,
and two recruits of the sixth infantry, who were drunk.

As ill-luck would have it, I alit upon my feet within the vehicle. W--
, who was an acute fellow, perceived his opportunity. Leaping up
immediately, he bolted out behind, and turning down an alley, was out
of sight in the twinkling of an eye. The recruits, aroused by the
bustle, could not exactly comprehend the merits of the transaction.
Seeing, however, a man, the precise counterpart of the felon, standing
upright in the cart before their eyes, they were of opinion that the
rascal (meaning W--) was after making his escape, (so they expressed
themselves,) and, having communicated this opinion to one another,
they took each a dram and then knocked me down with the butt-ends of
their muskets.

It was not long ere we arrived at the place of destination. Of course
nothing could be said in my defence. Hanging was my inevitable fate. I
resigned myself thereto with a feeling half stupid, half acrimonious.
Being little of a cynic, I had all the sentiments of a dog. The
hangman, however, adjusted the noose about my neck. The drop fell. My
convulsions were said to be extraordinary. Several gentlemen swooned,
and some ladies were carried home in hysterics. Pinxit, too, availed
himself of the opportunity to retouch, from a sketch taken upon the
spot, his admirable painting of the "Marsyas flayed alive."

I will endeavor to depict my sensations upon the gallows. To write
upon such a theme it is necessary to have been hanged. Every author
should confine himself to matters of experience. Thus Mark Antony
wrote a treatise upon drunkenness.

Die I certainly did not. The sudden jerk given to my neck upon the
falling of the drop, merely proved a corrective to the unfortunate
twist afforded me by the gentleman in the coach. Although my body
certainly was, I had, alas! no breath to be suspended; and but for the
chafing of the rope, the pressure of the knot under my ear, and the
rapid determination of blood to the brain, I should, I dare say, have
experienced very little inconvenience.

The latter feeling, however, grew momently more painful. I heard my
heart beating with violence--the veins in my hands and wrists swelled
nearly to bursting--my temples throbbed tempestuously--and I felt that
my eyes were starting from their sockets. Yet when I say that in spite
of all this my sensations were not absolutely intolerable, I will not
be believed.

There were noises in my ears--first like the tolling of huge bells--
then like the beating of a thousand drums--then, lastly, like the low,
sullen murmurs of the sea. But these noises were very far from

Although, too, the powers of my mind were confused and distorted, yet
I was--strange to say!--well aware of such confusion and distortion. I
could, with unerring promptitude determine at will in what particulars
my sensations were correct--and in what particulars I wandered from
the path. I could even feel with accuracy how far--to what very point,
such wanderings had misguided me, but still without the power of
correcting my deviations. I took besides, at the same time, a wild
delight in analyzing my conceptions.*

Memory, which, of all other faculties, should have first taken its
departure, seemed on the contrary to have been endowed with quadrupled
power. Each incident of my past life flitted before me like a shadow.
There was not a brick in the building where I was born--not a dog-leaf
in the primer I had thumbed over when a child--not a tree in the
forest where I hunted when a boy--not a street in the cities I had
traversed when a man--that I did not at that time most palpably
behold. I could repeat to myself entire lines, passages, chapters,
books, from the studies of my earlier days; and while, I dare say, the
crowd around me were blind with horror, or aghast with awe, I was
alternately with schylus, a demi-god, or with Aristophanes, a frog.

* * * * * * * *

A dreamy delight now took hold upon my spirit, and I imagined that I
had been eating opium, or feasting upon the hashish of the old
assassins. But glimpses of pure, unadulterated reason--during which I
was still buoyed up by the hope of finally escaping that death which
hovered like a vulture above me--were still caught occasionally by my

By some unusual pressure of the rope against my face, a portion of the
cap was chafed away, and I found to my astonishment that my powers of
vision were not altogether destroyed. A sea of waving heads rolled
around me. In the intensity of my delight I eyed them with feelings of
the deepest commiseration, and blessed, as I looked upon the haggard
assembly, the superior benignity of my proper stars.

I now reasoned, rapidly I believe--profoundly I am sure--upon
principles of common law--propriety of that law especially, for which
I hung--absurdities in political economy which till then I had never
been able to acknowledge--dogmas in the old Aristotelians now
generally denied, but not the less intrinsically true--detestable
school formul in Bourdon, in Garnier, in Lacroix--synonymes in
Crabbe--lunar-lunatic theories in St. Pierre--falsities in the Pelham
novels--beauties in Vivian Grey--more than beauties in Vivian Grey--
profundity in Vivian Grey--genius in Vivian Grey--everything in Vivian

Then came like a flood, Coleridge, Kant, Fitche, and Pantheism--then
like a deluge, the Academie, Pergola, La Scala, San Carlo, Paul,
Albert, Noblet, Ronzi Vestris, Fanny Bias, and Taglioni.

* * * * * * * *

A rapid change was now taking place in my sensations. The last shadows
of connection flitted away from my meditations. A storm--a tempest of
ideas, vast, novel, and soul-stirring, bore my spirit like a feather
afar off. Confusion crowded upon confusion like a wave upon a wave. In
a very short time Schelling himself would have been satisfied with my
entire loss of self-identity. The crowd became a mass of mere

About this period I became aware of a heavy fall and shock--but,
although the concussion jarred throughout my frame, I had not the
slightest idea of its having been sustained in my own proper person;
and thought of it as of an incident peculiar to some other existence--
an idiosyncrasy belonging to some other Ens.

It was at this moment--as I afterwards discovered--that having been
suspended for the full term of execution, it was thought proper to
remove my body from the gallows--this the more especially as the real
culprit had now been retaken and recognised.

Much sympathy was now exercised in my behalf--and as no one in the
city appeared to identify my body, it was ordered that I should be
interred in the public sepulchre early in the following morning. I
lay, in the meantime, without sign of life--although from the moment,
I suppose, when the rope was loosened from my neck, a dim
consciousness of my situation oppressed me like the night-mare.

I was laid out in a chamber sufficiently small, and very much
encumbered with furniture--yet to me it appeared of a size to contain
the universe. I have never before or since, in body or in mind,
suffered half so much agony as from that single idea. Strange! that
the simple conception of abstract magnitude--of infinity--should have
been accompanied with pain. Yet so it was. "With how vast a
difference," said I, "in life and in death--in time and in eternity--
here and hereafter, shall our merest sensations be imbodied!"

The day died away, and I was aware that it was growing dark--yet the
same terrible conceit still overwhelmed me. Nor was it confined to the
boundaries of the apartment--it extended, although in a more definite
manner, to all objects, and, perhaps I will not be understood in
saying that it extended also to all sentiments. My fingers as they lay
cold, clammy, stiff, and pressing helplessly one against another,
were, in my imagination, swelled to a size according with the
proportions of the Antoeus. Every portion of my frame betook of their
enormity. The pieces of money--I well remember--which being placed
upon my eyelids, failed to keep them effectually closed, seemed huge,
interminable chariot-wheels of the Olympia, or of the Sun.

Yet it is very singular that I experienced no sense of weight--of
gravity. On the contrary I was put to much inconvenience by that
buoyancy--that tantalizing difficulty of keeping down, which is felt
by the swimmer in deep water. Amid the tumult of my terrors I laughed
with a hearty internal laugh to think what incongruity there would
be--could I arise and walk--between the elasticity of my motion, and
the mountain of my form.

* * * * * * * *

The night came--and with it a new crowd of horrors. The consciousness
of my approaching interment began to assume new distinctness, and
consistency--yet never for one moment did I imagine that I was not
actually dead.

"This then"--I mentally ejaculated--"this darkness which is palpable,
and oppresses with a sense of suffocation--this--this--is indeed
death. This is death--this is death the terrible--death the holy. This
is the death undergone by Regulus--and equally by Seneca. Thus--thus,
too, shall I always remain--always--always remain. Reason is folly,
and philosophy a lie. No one will know my sensations, my horror--my
despair. Yet will men still persist in reasoning, and philosophizing,
and making themselves fools. There is, I find, no hereafter but this.
This--this--this--is the only eternity!--and what, O Baalzebub!--what
an eternity!--to lie in this vast--this awful void--a hideous, vague,
and unmeaning anomaly--motionless, yet wishing for motion--powerless,
yet longing for power--forever, forever, and forever!"

But the morning broke at length--and with its misty and gloomy dawn
arrived in triple horror the paraphernalia of the grave. Then--and not
till then--was I fully sensible of the fearful fate hanging over me.
The phantasms of the night had faded away with its shadows, and the
actual terrors of the yawning tomb left me no heart for the bug-bear
speculations of transcendentalism.

I have before mentioned that my eyes were but imperfectly closed--yet
as I could not move them in any degree, those objects alone which
crossed the direct line of vision were within the sphere of my
comprehension. But across that line of vision spectral and stealthy
figures were continually flitting, like the ghosts of Banquo. They
were making hurried preparations for my interment. First came the
coffin which they placed quietly by my side. Then the undertaker with
attendants and a screw-driver. Then a stout man whom I could
distinctly see and who took hold of my feet--while one whom I could
only feel lifted me by the head and shoulders. Together they placed me
in the coffin, and drawing the shroud up over my face proceeded to
fasten down the lid. One of the screws, missing its proper direction,
was screwed by the carelessness of the undertaker deep--deep--down
into my shoulder. A convulsive shudder ran throughout my frame. With
what horror, with what sickening of heart did I reflect that one
minute sooner a similar manifestation of life, would, in all
probability, have prevented my inhumation. But alas! it was now too
late, and hope died away within my bosom as I felt myself lifted upon
the shoulders of men--carried down the stairway--and thrust within the

During the brief passage to the cemetery my sensations, which for some
time had been lethargic and dull, assumed, all at once, a degree of
intense and unnatural vivacity for which I can in no manner account. I
could distinctly hear the restling of the plumes--the whispers of the
attendants--the solemn breathings of the horses of death. Confined as
I was in that narrow and strict embrace, I could feel the quicker or
slower movement of the procession--the restlessness of the driver--the
windings of the road as it led us to the right or to the left. I could
distinguish the peculiar odor of the coffin--the sharp acid smell of
the steel screws. I could see the texture of the shroud as it lay
close against my face; and was even conscious of the rapid variations
in light and shade which the flapping to and fro of the sable hangings
occasioned within the body of the vehicle.

In a short time, however, we arrived at the place of sepulture, and I
felt myself deposited within the tomb. The entrance was secured--they
departed--and I was left alone. A line of Marston's "Malcontent,"
"Death's a good fellow and keeps open house," struck me at that moment
as a palpable lie. Sullenly I lay at lengh, the quick among the dead--
Anacharsis inter Scythas.

From what I overheard early in the morning, I was led to believe that
the occasions when the vault was made use of were of very rare
occurrence. It was probable that many months might elapse before the
doors of the tomb would be again unbarred--and even should I survive
until that period, what means could I have more than at present, of
making known my situation or of escaping from the coffin? I resigned
myself, therefore, with much tranquillity to my fate, and fell, after
many hours, into a deep and deathlike sleep.

How long I remained thus is to me a mystery. When I awoke my limbs
were no longer cramped with the cramp of death--I was no longer
without the power of motion. A very slight exertion was sufficient to
force off the lid of my prison--for the dampness of the atmosphere had
already occasioned decay in the wood-work around the screws.

My steps as I groped around the sides of my habitation were, however,
feeble and uncertain, and I felt all the gnawings of hunger with the
pains of intolerable thirst. Yet, as time passed away, it is strange
that I experienced little uneasiness from these scourges of the earth,
in comparisons with the more terrible visitations of the fiend Ennui.
Stranger still were the resources by which I endeavored to banish him
from my presence.

The sepulchre was large and subdivided into many compartments, and I
busied myself in examining the peculiarities of their construction. I
determined the length and breadth of my abode. I counted and recounted
the stones of the masonry. But there were other methods by which I
endeavored to lighten the tedium of my hours. Feeling my way among the
numerous coffins ranged in order around, I lifted them down, one by
one, and breaking open their lids, busied myself in speculations about
the mortality within.

"This," I reflected, tumbling over a carcass, puffy, bloated, and
rotund--"this has been, no doubt, in every sense of the word, an
unhappy--an unfortunate man. It has been his terrible lot not to walk,
but to waddle--to pass through life not like a human being, but like
an elephant--not like a man, but like a rhinoceros.

"His attempts at getting on have been mere abortions--and his
circumgyratory proceedings a palpable failure. Taking a step forward,
it has been his misfortune to take two towards the right, and three
towards the left. His studies have been confined to the poetry of
Crabbe. He can have had no idea of the wonders of a pirouette. To him
a pas de papillon has been an abstract conception. He has never
ascended the summit of a hill. He has never viewed from any steeple
the glories of a metropolis. Heat has been his mortal enemy. In the
dog-days his days have been the days of a dog. Therein, he has dreamed
of flames and suffocation--of mountains upon mountains--of Pelion upon
Ossa. He was short of breath--to say all in a word--he was short of
breath. He thought it extravagant to play upon wind instruments. He
was the inventor of self-moving fans--wind-sails--and ventilators. He
patronized Du Pont the bellowsmaker--and died miserably in attempting
to smoke a cigar. His was a case in which I feel deep interest--a lot
in which I sincerely sympathize."

"But here," said I--"here"--and I dragged spitefully from its
receptacle a gaunt, tall, and peculiar-looking form, whose remarkable
appearance struck me with a sense of unwelcome familiarity--"here,"
said I--"here is a wretch entitled to no earthly commiseration." Thus
saying, in order to obtain a more distinct view of my subject, I
applied my thumb and fore-finger to his nose, and, causing him to
assume a sitting position upon the ground, held, him thus, at the
length of my arm, while I continued my soliloquy.

--"Entitled," I repeated, "to no earthly commiseration. Who indeed
would think of compassionating a shadow? Besides--has he not had his
full share of the blessings of mortality? He was the originator of
tall monuments--shot-towers--lightning-rods--lombardy-poplars. His
treatise upon 'Shades and Shadows' has immortalized him. He went early
to college and studied pneumatics. He then came home--talked
eternally--and played upon the French-horn. He patronized the bag-
pipes. Captain Barclay, who walked against Time, would not walk
against him. Windham and Allbreath were his favorite writers. He died
gloriously while inhaling gas--levique flatu corrumpitur, like the
fama pudicitiae in Hieronymus.6 He was indubitably a"--

"How can you?--how--can--you?"--interrupted the object of my
animadversions, gasping for breath, and tearing off, with a desperate
exertion, the bandage around his jaws--"how can you, Mr. Lack-
o'Breath, be so infernally cruel as to pinch me in that manner by the
nose? Did you not see how they had fastened up my mouth--and you must
know--if you know anything--whata vast superfluity of breath I have to
dispose of! If you do not know, however, sit down and you shall see.
In my situation it is really a great relief to be able to open one's
mouth--to be able to expatiate--to be able to communicate with a
person like yourself who do not think yourself called upon at every
period to interrupt the thread of a gentleman's discourse.
Interruptions are annoying and should undoubtedly be abolished--don't
you think so?--no reply, I beg you,--one person is enough to be
speaking at a time. I shall be done by-and-by, and then you may begin.
How the devil, sir, did you get into this place?--not a word I beseech
you--been here some time myself--terrible accident!--heard of it, I
suppose--awful calamity!--walking under your windows--some short while
ago--about the time you were stagestruck--horrible occurrence! heard
of 'catching one's breath,' eh?--hold your tongue I tell you!--I
caught somebody else's!--had always too much of my own--met Blab at
the corner of the street--would'nt give me a chance for a word--
could'nt get in a syllable edgeways--attacked, consequently, with
epilepsis--Blab made his escape--damn all fools!--they took me up for
dead, and put me in this place--pretty doings all of them!--heard all
you said about me--every word a lie--horrible!--wonderful!--
outrageous!--hideous!--incomprehensible!--et cetera--et cetera--et
cetera--et cetera"--

It is impossible to conceive my astonishment at so unexpected a
discourse; or the extravagant joy with which I became gradually
convinced that the breath so fortunately caught by the gentleman--whom
I soon recognised as my neighbor Windenough--was, in fact, the
identical expiration mislaid by myself in the conversation with my
wife. Time--place--and incidental circumstances rendered it a matter
beyond question. I did not, however, immediately release my hold upon
Mr. W.'s proboscis--not at least during the long period in which the
inventor of lombardy poplars continued to favor me with his
explanations. In this respect I was actuated by that habitual prudence
which has ever been my predominating trait.

I reflected that many difficulties might still lie in the path of my
preservation which only extreme exertion on my part would be able to
surmount. Many persons, I considered, are prone to estimate
commodities in their possession--however valueless to the then
proprietor--however troublesome, or distressing--in precise ratio with
the advantages to be derived by others from their attainment--or by
themselves from their abandonment. Might not this be the case with Mr.
Windenough? In displaying anxiety for the breath of which he was at
present so willing to get rid, might I not lay myself open to the
exactions of his avarice? There are scoundrels in this world--I
remembered with a sigh--who will not scruple to take unfair
opportunities with even a next door neighbor--and (this remark is from
Epictetus) it is precisely at that time when men are most anxious to
throw off the burden of their own calamities that they feel the least
desirous of relieving them in others.

Upon considerations similar to these, and still retaining my grasp
upon the nose of Mr. W., I accordingly thought proper to model my

"Monster!"--I began in a tone of the deepest indignation--"monster!
and double-winded idiot!--dost thou whom, for thine iniquities, it has
pleased heaven to accurse with a two-fold respiration--dost thou, I
say, presume to address me in the familiar language of an old
acquaintance?--'I lie,' forsooth!--and 'hold my tongue,' to be sure--
pretty conversation, indeed, to a gentleman with a single breath!--all
this, too, when I have it in my power to relieve the calamity under
which thou dost so justly suffer--to curtail the superfluities of
thine unhappy respiration." Like Brutus I paused for a reply--with
which, like a tornado, Mr. Windenough immediately overwhelmed me.
Protestation followed upon protestation, and apology upon apology.
There were no terms with which he was unwilling to comply, and there
were none of which I failed to take the fullest advantage.

Preliminaries being at length arranged, my acquaintance delivered me
the respiration--for which--having carefully examined it--I gave him
afterwards a receipt.

I am aware that by many I shall be held to blame for speaking in a
manner so cursory of a transaction so impalpable. It will be thought
that I should have entered more minutely into the details of an
occurrence by which--and all this is very true--much new light might
be thrown upon a highly interesting branch of physical philosophy.

To all this I am sorry that I cannot reply. A hint is the only answer
which I am permitted to make. There were circumstances--but I think it
much safer upon consideration to say as little as possible about an
affair so delicate--so delicate, I repeat, and at the same time
involving the interests of a third party whose resentment I have not
the least desire, at this moment, of incurring.

We were not long after this necessary arrangement in effecting an
escape from the dungeons of the sepulchre. The united strength of our
resuscitated voices was soon efficiently apparent. Scissors, the Whig
Editor, republished a treatise upon "the nature and origin of
subterranean noises." A reply--rejoinder--confutation--and
justification--followed in the columns of an ultra Gazette. It was not
until the opening of the vault to decide the controversy, that the
appearance of Mr. Windenough and myself proved both parties to have
been decidedly in the wrong.

I cannot conclude these details of some very singular passages in a
life at all times sufficiently eventful, without again recalling to
the attention of the reader the merits of that indiscriminate
philosophy which is a sure and ready shield against those shafts of
calamity which can be neither seen, felt, nor fully understood. It was
in the spirit of this wisdom that, among the ancient Hebrews, it was
believed the gates of heaven would be inevitably opened to that
sinner, or saint, who, with good lungs and implicit confidence, should
vociferate the word "Amen!" It was in the spirit of this wisdom that,
when a great plague raged at Athens, and every means had been in vain
attempted for its removal, Epimenides--as Laertius relates in his
second book of the life of that philosopher--advised the erection of a
shrine and temple--"to the proper God."

6. The general reader will, I dare say, recognise, in these sensations
of Mr. Lack-o'Breath, much of the absurd metaphysicianism of the
redoubted Schelling.

Tenera res in feminis fama pudicitiae et quasi flos pulcherrimus, cito
ad levem marcessit auram, levique flatu corrumpitur--maxime, etc.--
Hieronymus ad Salvinam.


   Pestis eram vivus--moriens tua mors ero.
--Martin Luther.

Horror and fatality have been stalking abroad in all ages. Why then
give a date to the story I have to tell? Let it suffice to say, that
at the period of which I speak, there existed, in the interior of
Hungary, a settled although hidden belief in the doctrines of the
Metempsychosis. Of the doctrines themselves--that is, of their
falsity, or of their probability--I say nothing. I assert, however,
that much of our incredulity--as La Bruyre says of all our
unhappiness--"vient de ne puvoir etre seuls."

But there were some points in the Hungarian superstition which were
fast verging to absurdity. They--the Hungarians--differed very
essentially from their Eastern authorities. For example. "The soul,"
said the former--I give the words of an acute and intelligent
Parisian--"ne demeure qu'un seul fois dans un corps sensible: au
reste--un cheval, un chien, un homme mme, n'est que la ressemblance
peu tangible de ces animaux."

The families of Berlifitzing and Metzengerstein had been at variance
for centuries. Never before were two houses so illustrious mutually
embittered by hostility so deadly. Indeed, at the era of this history,
it was observed by an old crone of haggard and sinister appearance,
that "fire and water might sooner mingle than a Berlifitzing clasp the
hand of a Metzengerstein." The origin of this enmity seems to be found
in the words of an ancient prophecy--"A lofty name shall have a
fearful fall when, like the rider over his horse, the mortality of
Metzengerstein shall triumph over the immortality of Berlifitzing."

To be sure the words themselves had little or no meaning. But more
trivial causes have given rise--and that no long while ago--to
consequences equally eventful. Besides, the estates, which were
contiguous, had long exercised a rival influence in the affairs of a
busy government. Moreover, near neighbors are seldom friends--and the
inhabitants of the Castle Berlifitizing [sic] might look, from their
lofty buttresses, into the very windows of the Chateau Metzengerstein.
Least of all was the more than feudal magnificence thus discovered
calculated to allay the irritable feelings of the less ancient and
less wealthy Berlifitzings. What wonder, then, that the words, however
silly, of that prediction, should have succeeded in setting and
keeping at variance two families already predisposed to quarrel by
every instigation of hereditary jealousy? The prophecy seemed to
imply--if it implied anything--a final triumph on the part of the
already more powerful house; and was of course remembered with the
more bitter animosity on the side of the weaker and less influential.

Wilhelm, Count Berlifitzing, although honorably and loftily descended,
was, at the epoch of this narrative, an infirm and doting old man,
remarkable for nothing but an inordinate and inveterate personal
antipathy to the family of his rival, and so passionate a love of
horses, and of hunting, that neither bodily infirmity, great age, nor
mental incapacity, prevented his daily participation in the dangers of
the chase.

Frederick, Baron Metzengerstein, was, on the other hand, not yet of
age. His father, the Minister G--, died young. His mother, the Lady
Mary, followed quickly after. Frederick was, at that time, in his
fifteenth year. In a city fifteen years are no long period--a child
may be still a child in his third lustrum: but in a wilderness--in so
magnificent a wilderness as that old principality, fifteen years have
a far deeper meaning.

The beautiful Lady Mary! How could she die?--and of consumption! But
it is a path I have prayed to follow. I would wish all I love to
perish of that gentle disease. How glorious! to depart in the heyday
of the young blood--the heart all passion--the imagination all fire--
amid the remembrances of happier days--in the fall of the year--and so
be buried up forever in the gorgeous autumnal leaves!

Thus died the Lady Mary. The young Baron Frederick stood without a
living relative by the coffin of his dead mother. He placed his hand
upon her placid forehead. No shudder came over his delicate frame--no
sigh from his flinty bosom. Heartless, self-willed and impetuous from
his childhood, he had reached the age of which I speak through a
career of unfeeling, wanton, and reckless dissipation; and a barrier
had long since arisen in the channel of all holy thoughts and gentle

From some peculiar circumstances attending the administration of his
father, the young Baron, at the decease of the former, entered
immediately upon his vast possessions. Such estates were seldom held
before by a nobleman of Hungary. His castles were without number--of
these the chief in point of splendor and extent was the "Chateau
Metzengerstein." The boundary line of his dominions was never clearly
defined--but his principal park embraced a circuit of fifty miles.

Upon the succession of a proprietor so young--with a character so well
known--to a fortune so unparalleled--little speculation was afloat in
regard to his probable course of conduct. And, indeed, for the space
of three days the behavior of the heir outheroded Herod, and fairly
surpassed the expectations of his most enthusiastic admirers. Shameful
debaucheries--flagrant treacheries--unheard-of atrocities--gave his
trembling vassals quickly to understand that no servile submission on
their part--no punctilios of conscience on his own--were thenceforward
to prove any security against the remorseless and bloody fangs of a
petty Caligula. On the night of the fourth day, the stables of the
castle Berlifitzing were discovered to be on fire: and the unanimous
opinion of the neighborhood instantaneously added the crime of the
incendiary to the already hideous list of the Baron's misdemeanors and

But during the tumult occasioned by this occurrence, the young
nobleman himself sat, apparently buried in meditation, in a vast and
desolate upper apartment of the family palace of Metzengerstein. The
rich although faded tapestry-hangings which swung gloomily upon the
walls, represented the shadowy and majestic forms of a thousand
illustrious ancestors. Here, rich-ermined priests, and pontifical
dignitaties, familiarly seated with the autocrat and the sovereign,
put a veto on the wishes of a temporal king--or restrained with the
fiat of papal supremacy the rebellious sceptre of the Arch-enemy.
There, the dark, tall statures of the Princess Metzengerstein--their
muscular war-coursers plunging over the carcass of a fallen foe--
startled the steadiest nerves with their vigorous expression: and
here, again, the voluptuous and swan-like figures of the dames of days
gone by, floated away in the mazes of an unreal dance to the strains
of imaginary melody.

But as the Baron listened, or affected to listen, to the gradually
increasing uproar in the stables of Berlifitzing--or perhaps pondered
upon some more novel--some more decided act of audacity--his eyes
became unwittingly rivetted to the figure of an enormous, and
unnaturally colored horse, represented in the tapestry as belonging to
a Saracen ancestor of the family of his rival. The horse itself, in
the foreground of the design, stood motionless and statue-like--while
farther back its discomfited rider perished by the dagger of a

On Frederick's lip arose a fiendish expression, as he became aware of
the direction his glance had, without his consciousness, assumed. Yet
he did not remove it. On the contrary he could by no means account for
the overwhelming anxiety which appeared falling like a shroud upon his
senses. It was with difficulty that he reconciled his dreamy and
incoherent feelings with the certainty of being awake. The longer he
gazed, the more absorbing became the spell--the more impossible did it
appear that he could ever withdraw his glance from the fascination of
that tapestry. But the tumult without becoming suddenly more violent,
with a kind of compulsory and desperate exertion he diverted his
attention to the glare of ruddy light thrown full by the flaming
stables upon the windows of the apartment.

The action, however, was but momentary--his gaze returned mechanically
to the wall. To his extreme horror and astonishment the head of the
gigantic steed had, in the meantime, altered its position. The neck of
the animal, before arched, as if in compassion, over the prostrate
body of its lord, was now extended, at full length, in the direction
of the Baron. The eyes, before invisible, now wore an energetic and
human expression, while they gleamed with a fiery and unusual red: and
the distended lips of the apparently enraged horse left in full view
his gigantic and disgusting teeth.

Stupified with terror the young nobleman tottered to the door. As he
threw it open, a flash of red light streaming far into the chamber,
flung his shadow with a clear outline against the quivering tapestry;
and he shuddered to perceive that shadow--as he staggered awhile upon
the threshold--assuming the exact position, and precisely filling up
the contour, of the relentless and triumphant murderer of the Saracen

To lighten the depression of his spirits the Baron hurried into the
open air. At the principal gate of the chateau he encountered three
equerries. With much difficulty, and at the imminent peril of their
lives, they were restraining the unnatural and convulsive plunges of a
gigantic and fiery-colored horse.

"Whose horse? Where did you get him?" demanded the youth in a
querulous and husky tone of voice, as he became instantly aware that
the mysterious steed in the tapestried chamber was the very
counterpart of the furious animal before his eyes.

"He is your own property, sire"--replied one of the equerries--"at
least he is claimed by no other owner. We caught him flying, all
smoking and foaming with rage, from the burning stables of the Castle
Berlifitzing. Supposing him to have belonged to the old Count's stud
of foreign horses, we led him back as an estray. But the grooms there
disclaim any title to the creature--which is strange, since he bears
evident marks of having made a narrow escape from the flames."

"The letters W. V. B. are also branded very distinctly on his
forehead"--interrupted a second equerry--"I supposed them, of course,
to be the initials of Wilhelm Von Berlifitzing--but all at the castle
are positive in denying any knowledge of the horse."

"Extremely singular!" said the young Baron, with a musing air, and
apparently unconscious of the meaning of his words--"He is, as you
say, a remarkable horse--a prodigious horse! although, as you very
justly observe, of a suspicious and untractable character--let him be
mine, however," he added, after a pause--"perhaps a rider like
Frederick of Metzengerstein, may tame even the devil from the stables
of Berlifitzing."

"You are mistaken, my lord--the horse, as I think we mentioned, is not
from the stables of the Count. If such were the case, we know our duty
better than to bring him into the presence of a noble of your family."

"True!" observed the Baron drily--and at that instant a page of the
bed-chamber came from the chateau with a heightened color, and
precipitate step. He whispered into his master's ear an account of the
miraculous and sudden disappearance of a small portion of the
tapestry, in an apartment which he designated; entering, at the same
time, into particulars of a minute and circumstantial character--but
from the low tone of voice in which these latter were communicated,
nothing escaped to gratify the excited curiosity of the equerries.

The young Frederick, during the conference, seemed agitated by a
variety of emotions. He soon, however, recovered his composure, and an
expression of determined malignancy settled upon his countenance, as
he gave peremptory orders that a certain chamber should be immediately
locked up, and the key placed in his own possession.

"Have you heard of the unhappy death of the old hunter Berlifitzing?"
said one of his vassals to the Baron, as, after the affair of the
page, the huge and mysterious steed which that nobleman had adopted as
his own, plunged and curvetted, with redoubled and supernatural fury,
down the long avenue which extended from the chateau to the stables of

"No!"--said the Baron, turning abruptly towards the speaker--"dead!
say you?"

"It is indeed true, my lord--and, to a noble of your name, will be, I
imagine, no unwelcome intelligence."

A rapid smile of a peculiar and unintelligible meaning shot over the
beautiful countenance of the listener--"How died he?"

"In his rash exertions to rescue a favorite portion of his hunting
stud, he has himself perished miserably in the flames."

"I--n--d--e--e--d--!" ejaculated the Baron, as if slowly and
deliberately impressed with the truth of some exciting idea.

"Indeed"--repeated the vassal.

"Shocking!" said the youth calmly, and turned quietly into the

From this date a marked alteration took place in the outward demeanor
of the dissolute young Baron Frederick Von Metzengerstein. Indeed his
behavior disappointed every expectation, and proved little in
accordance with the views of many a manoeuvring mamma--while his
habits and manners, still less than formerly, offered anything
congenial with those of the neighboring aristocracy. He was never to
be seen beyond the limits of his own domain, and, in this wide and
social world, was utterly companionless--unless, indeed, that
unnatural, impetuous, and fiery-colored horse, which he henceforward
continually bestrode, had any mysterious right to the title of his

Numerous invitations on the part of the neighborhood for a long time,
however, periodically came in--"Will the Baron honor our festivals
with his presence?" "Will the Baron join us in a hunting of the boar?"
"Metzengerstein does not hunt"--"Metzengerstein will not attend"--were
the haughty and laconic answers.

These repeated insults were not to be endured by an imperious
nobility. Such invitations became less cordial--less frequent--in time
they ceased altogether. The widow of the unfortunate Count
Berlifitzing was even heard to express a hope--"that the Baron might
be at home when he did not wish to be at home, since he disdained the
company of his equals; and ride when he did not wish to ride, since he
preferred the society of a horse." This to be sure was a very silly
explosion of hereditary pique; and merely proved how singularly
unmeaning our sayings are apt to become, when we desire to be
unusually energetic.

The charitable, nevertheless, attributed the alteration in the conduct
of the young nobleman to the natural sorrow of a son for the untimely
loss of his parents--forgetting, however, his atrocious and reckless
behavior during the short period immediately succeeding that
bereavement. Some there were, indeed, who suggested a too haughty idea
of selfconsequence and dignity. Others again--among whom may be
mentioned the family physician--did not hesitate in speaking of morbid
melancholy, and hereditary ill-health: while dark hints, of a more
equivocal nature, were current among the multitude.

Indeed the Baron's perverse attachment to his lately-acquired
charger--an attachment which seemed to attain new strength from every
fresh example of the animal's ferocious and demon-like propensities--
at length became, in the eyes of all reasonable men, a hideous and
unnatural fervor. In the glare of noon--at the dead hour of night--in
sickness or in health--in calm or in tempest--in moonlight or in
shadow--the young Metzengerstein seemed rivetted to the saddle of that
colossal horse, whose intractable audacities so well accorded with the
spirit of his own.

There were circumstances, moreover, which, coupled with late events,
gave an unearthly and portentous character to the mania of the rider,
and to the capabilities of the steed. The space passed over in a
single leap had been accurately measured, and was found to exceed by
an astounding difference, the wildest expectations of the most
imaginative. The Baron, besides, had no particular name for the
animal, although all the rest in his extensive collection were
distinguished by characteristic appellations. His stable, too, was
appointed at a distance from the rest; and with regard to grooming and
other necessary offices, none but the owner in person had ventured to
officiate, or even to enter the enclosure of that particular stall. It
was also to be observed, that although the three grooms, who had
caught the horse as he fled from the conflagration at Berlifitzing,
had succeeded in arresting his course, by means of a chain-bridle and
noose--yet no one of the three could with any certainty affirm that he
had, during that dangerous struggle, or at any period thereafter,
actually placed his hand upon the body of the beast. Instances of
peculiar intelligence in the demeanor of a noble and high spirited
steed are not to be supposed capable of exciting unreasonable
attention--especially among men who, daily trained to the labors of
the chase, might appear well acquainted with the sagacity of a horse--
but there were certain circumstances which intruded themselves per
force, upon the most skeptical and phlegmatic--and it is said there
were times when the animal caused the gaping crowd who stood around to
recoil in silent horror from the deep and impressive meaning of his
terrible stamp--times when the young Metzengerstein turned pale and
shrunk away from the rapid and searching expression of his earnest and
humanlooking eye.

Among all the retinue of the Baron, however, none were found to doubt
the ardor of that extraordinary affection which existed on the part of
the young nobleman for the fiery qualities of his horse--at least,
none but an insignificant and misshapen little page, whose deformities
were in every body's way, and whose opinions were of the least
possible importance. He--if his ideas are worth mentioning at all--had
the effrontery to assert that his master never vaulted into the
saddle, without an unaccountable and almost imperceptible shudder--and
that, upon his return from every long-continued and habitual ride, an
expression of triumphant malignity distorted every muscle in his

One tempestuous night, Metzengerstein, awaking from a heavy and
oppressive slumber, descended like a maniac from his chamber, and
mounting in great haste, bounded away into the mazes of the forest. An
occurrence so common attracted no particular attention--but his return
was looked for with intense anxiety on the part of his domestics,
when, after some hour's absence, the stupendous and magnificent
battlements of the Chateau Metzengerstein, were discovered crackling
and rocking to their very foundation, under the influence of a dense
and livid mass of ungovernable fire.

As the flames, when first seen, had already made so terrible a
progress that all efforts to save any portion of the building were
evidently futile, the astonished neighborhood stood idly around in
silent and apathetic wonder. But a new and fearful object soon
rivetted the attention of the multitude, and proved how much more
intense is the excitement wrought in the feelings of a crowd by the
contemplation of human agony, than that brought about by the most
appalling spectacles of inanimate matter.

Up the long avenue of aged oaks which led from the forest to the main
entrance of the Chateau Metzengerstein, a steed, bearing an unbonneted
and disordered rider, was seen leaping with an impetuosity which out-
stripped the very Demon of the Tempest, and extorted from every
stupified beholder the ejaculation--"horrible!"

The career of the horseman was indisputably, on his own part,
uncontrollable. The agony of his countenance--the convulsive struggle
of his frame--gave evidence of superhuman exertion: but no sound, save
a solitary shriek, escaped from his lacerated lips, which were bitten
through and through in the intensity of terror. One instant, and the
clattering of hoofs resounded sharply and shrilly above the roaring of
the flames and the shrieking of the winds--another, and, clearing at a
single plunge the gate-way and the moat, the steed bounded far up the
tottering stair-cases of the palace, and, with its rider, disappeared
amid the whirlwind of chaotic fire.

The fury of the tempest immediately died away, and a dead calm
sullenly succeeded. A white flame still enveloped the building like a
shroud, and, streaming far away into the quiet atmosphere, shot forth
a glare of preternatural light; while a cloud of smoke settled heavily
over the battlements in the distinct colossal figure of--a horse.


Misery is manifold. The wretchedness of earth is multiform.
Overreaching the wide horizon like the rainbow, its hues are as
various as the hues of that arch, as distinct too, yet as intimately
blended. Overreaching the wide horizon like the rainbow! How is it
that from beauty I have derived a type of unloveliness?--from the
covenant of peace a simile of sorrow? But as, in ethics, evil is a
consequence of good, so, in fact, out of joy is sorrow born. Either
the memory of past bliss is the anguish of to-day, or the agonies
which are have their origin in the ecstasies which might have been. I
have a tale to tell in its own essence rife with horror--I would
suppress it were it not a record more of feelings than of facts.

My baptismal name is Egus--that of my family I will not mention. Yet
there are no towers in the land more time-honored than my gloomy, gray
hereditary halls. Our line has been called a race of visionaries: and
in many striking particulars--in the character of the family mansion--
in the frescos of the chief saloon--in the tapestries of the
dormitories--in the chiseling of some buttresses in the armory--but
more especially in the gallery of antique paintings--in the fashion of
the library chamber--and, lastly, in the very peculiar nature of the
library's contents, there is more than sufficient evidence to warrant
the belief.

The recollections of my earliest years are connected with that
chamber, and with its volumes--of which latter I will say no more.
Here died my mother. Herein was I born. But it is mere idleness to say
that I had not lived before--that the soul has no previous existence.
You deny it--let us not argue the matter. Convinced myself I seek not
to convince. There is, however, a remembrance of arial forms--of
spiritual and meaning eyes--of sounds, musical yet sad--a remembrance
which will not be excluded: a memory like a shadow, vague, variable,
indefinite, unsteady--and like a shadow too in the impossibility of my
getting rid of it, while the sunlight of my reason shall exist.

In that chamber was I born. Thus awaking from the long night of what
seemed, but was not, nonentity, at once into the very regions of fairy
land--into a palace of imagination--into the wild dominions of
monastic thought and erudition--it is not singular that I gazed around
me with a startled and ardent eye--that I loitered away my boyhood in
books, and dissipated my youth in reverie--but it is singular that as
years rolled away, and the noon of manhood found me still in the
mansion of my fathers--it is wonderful what stagnation there fell upon
the springs of my life--wonderful how total an inversion took place in
the character of my common thoughts. The realities of the world
affected me as visions, and as visions only, while the wild ideas of
the land of dreams became, in turn,--not the material of my every-day
existence--but in very deed that existence utterly and solely in

* * * * * * * *

Berenice and I were cousins, and we grew up together in my paternal
halls--yet differently we grew. I ill of health and buried in gloom--
she agile, graceful, and overflowing with energy. Hers the ramble on
the hill-side--mine the studies of the cloister. I living within my
own heart, and addicted body and soul to the most intense and painful
meditation--she roaming carelessly through life with no thought of the
shadows in her path, or the silent flight of the raven-winged hours.
Berenice!--I call upon her name--Berenice!--and from the gray ruins of
memory a thousand tumultuous recollections are startled at the sound!
Ah! vividly is her image before me now, as in the early days of her
light-heartedness and joy! Oh! gorgeous yet fantastic beauty! Oh!
sylph amid the shrubberies of Arnheim!--Oh! Naiad among her
fountains!--and then--then all is mystery and terror, and a tale which
should not be told. Disease--a fatal disease--fell like the simoon
upon her frame, and, even while I gazed upon her, the spirit of change
swept over her, pervading her mind, her habits, and her character,
and, in a manner the most subtle and terrible, disturbing even the
identity of her person! Alas! the destroyer came and went, and the
victim--where was she? I knew her not--or knew her no longer as

Among the numerous train of maladies, superinduced by that fatal and
primary one which effected a revolution of so horrible a kind in the
moral and physical being of my cousin, may be mentioned as the most
distressing and obstinate in its nature, a species of epilepsy not
unfrequently terminating in trance itself--trance very nearly
resembling positive dissolution, and from which her manner of recovery
was, in most instances, startlingly abrupt. In the meantime my own
disease--for I have been told that I should call it by no other
appellation--my own disease, then, grew rapidly upon me, and,
aggravated in its symptoms by the immoderate use of opium, assumed
finally a monomaniac character of a novel and extraordinary form--
hourly and momently gaining vigor--and at length obtaining over me the
most singular and incomprehensible ascendency. This monomania--if I
must so term it--consisted in a morbid irritability of the nerves
immediately affecting those properties of the mind in metaphysical
science termed the attentive. It is more than probable that I am not
understood--but I fear that it is indeed in no manner possible to
convey to the mind of the merely general reader, an adequate idea of
that nervous intensity of interest with which, in my case, the powers
of meditation (not to speak technically) busied and, as it were,
buried themselves, in the contemplation of even the most common
objects of the universe.

To muse for long unwearied hours with my attention rivetted to some
frivolous device upon the margin, or in the typography of a book--to
become absorbed for the better part of a summer's day in a quaint
shadow falling aslant upon the tapestry, or upon the floor--to lose
myself for an entire night in watching the steady flame of a lamp, or
the embers of a fire--to dream away whole days over the perfume of a
flower--to repeat monotonously some common word, until the sound, by
dint of frequent repetition, ceased to convey any idea whatever to the
mind--to lose all sense of motion or physical existence in a state of
absolute bodily quiescence long and obstinately persevered in--such
were a few of the most common and least pernicious vagaries induced by
a condition of the mental faculties, not, indeed, altogether
unparalleled, but certainly bidding defiance to anything like analysis
or explanation.

Yet let me not be misapprehended. The undue, earnest, and morbid
attention thus excited by objects in their own nature frivolous, must
not be confounded in character with that ruminating propensity common
to all mankind, and more especially indulged in by persons of ardent
imagination. It was not even, as might be at first supposed, an
extreme condition, or exaggeration of such propensity, but primarily
and essentially distinct and different. In the one instance the
dreamer, or enthusiast, being interested by an object usually not
frivolous, imperceptibly loses sight of this object in a wilderness of
deductions and suggestions issuing therefrom, until, at the conclusion
of a day-dream often replete with luxury, he finds the incitamentum or
first cause of his musings entirely vanished and forgotten. In my case
the primary object was invariably frivolous, although assuming,
through the medium of my distempered vision, a refracted and unreal
importance. Few deductions--if any--were made; and those few
pertinaciously returning in, so to speak, upon the original object as
a centre. The meditations were never pleasurable; and, at the
termination of the reverie, the first cause, so far from being out of
sight, had attained that supernaturally exaggerated interest which was
the prevailing feature of the disease. In a word, the powers of mind
more particularly exercised were, with me, as I have said before, the
attentive, and are, with the day-dreamer, the speculative.

My books, at this epoch, if they did not actually serve to irritate
the disorder, partook, it will be perceived, largely, in their
imaginative, and inconsequential nature, of the characteristic
qualities of the disorder itself. I well remember, among others, the
treatise of the noble Italian Coelius Secundus Curio "de amplitudine
beati regni Dei"--St. Austin's great work, the "City of God"--and
Tertullian "de Carne Christi," in which the unintelligible sentence
"Mortuus est Dei filius; credibile est quia ineptum est: et sepultus
resurrexit; certum est quia impossibile est" occupied my undivided
time, for many weeks of laborious and fruitless investigation.

Thus it will appear that, shaken from its balance only by trivial
things, my reason bore resemblance to that ocean-crag spoken of by
Ptolemy Hephestion, which, steadily resisting the attacks of human
violence, and the fiercer fury of the waters and the winds, trembled
only to the touch of the flower called Asphodel. And although, to a
careless thinker, it might appear a matter beyond doubt, that the
fearful alteration produced by her unhappy malady, in the moral
condition of Berenice, would afford me many objects for the exercise
of that intense and morbid meditation whose nature I have been at some
trouble in explaining, yet such was not by any means the case. In the
lucid intervals of my infirmity, her calamity indeed gave me pain,
and, taking deeply to heart that total wreck of her fair and gentle
life, I did not fail to ponder frequently and bitterly upon the
wonder-working means by which so strange a revolution had been so
suddenly brought to pass. But these reflections partook not of the
idiosyncrasy of my disease, and were such as would have occurred,
under similar circumstances, to the ordinary mass of mankind. True to
its own character, my disorder revelled in the less important but more
startling changes wrought in the physical frame of Berenice, and in
the singular and most appalling distortion of her personal identity.

During the brightest days of her unparalleled beauty, most surely I
had never loved her. In the strange anomaly of my existence, feelings,
with me, had never been of the heart, and my passions always were of
the mind. Through the gray of the early morning--among the trellissed
shadows of the forest at noon-day--and in the silence of my library at
night, she had flitted by my eyes, and I had seen her--not as the
living and breathing Berenice, but as the Berenice of a dream--not as
a being of the earth--earthly--but as the abstraction of such a
being--not as a thing to admire, but to analyze--not as an object of
love, but as the theme of the most abstruse although desultory
speculation. And now--now I shuddered in her presence, and grew pale
at her approach; yet, bitterly lamenting her fallen and desolate
condition, I knew that she had loved me long, and, in an evil moment,
I spoke to her of marriage.

And at length the period of our nuptials was approaching, when, upon
an afternoon in the winter of the year, one of those unseasonably
warm, calm, and misty days which are the nurse of the beautiful
Halcyon,(*) I sat, and sat, as I thought, alone, in the inner apartment
of the library. But uplifting my eyes Berenice stood before me.

[* For as Jove, during the winter season, gives twice seven days of
warmth, men have called this clement and temperate time the nurse of
the beautiful Halcyon.

Was it my own excited imagination--or the misty influence of the
atmosphere--or the uncertain twilight of the chamber--or the gray
draperies which fell around her figure--that caused it to loom up in
so unnatural a degree? I could not tell. She spoke no word, and I--not
for worlds could I have uttered a syllable. An icy chill ran through
my frame; a sense of insufferable anxiety oppressed me; a consuming
curiosity pervaded my soul; and, sinking back upon the chair, I
remained for some time breathless, and motionless, and with my eyes
rivetted upon her person. Alas! its emaciation was excessive, and not
one vestige of the former being lurked in any single line of the
contour. My burning glances at length fell upon the face.

The forehead was high, and very pale, and singularly placid; and the
once golden hair fell partially over it, and overshadowed the hollow
temples with ringlets now black as the raven's wing, and jarring
discordantly, in their fantastic character, with the reigning
melancholy of the countenance. The eyes were lifeless, and lustreless,
and I shrunk involuntarily from their glassy stare to the
contemplation of the thin and shrunken lips. They parted: and in a
smile of peculiar meaning, the teeth of the changed Berenice disclosed
themselves slowly to my view. Would to God that I had never beheld
them, or that, having done so, I had died!

* * * * * * * *

The shutting of a door disturbed me, and, looking up, I found my
cousin had departed from the chamber. But from the disordered chamber
of my brain, had not, alas! departed, and would not be driven away,
the white and ghastly spectrum of the teeth. Not a speck upon their
surface--not a shade on their enamel--not a line in their
configuration--not an indenture in their edges--but what that brief
period of her smile had sufficed to brand in upon my memory. I saw
them now even more unequivocally than I beheld them then. The teeth!--
the teeth!--they were here, and there, and every where, and visibly,
and palpably before me, long, narrow, and excessively white, with the
pale lips writhing about them, as in the very moment of their first
terrible development. Then came the full fury of my monomania, and I
struggled in vain against its strange and irresistible influence. In
the multiplied objects of the external world I had no thoughts but for
the teeth. All other matters and all different interests became
absorbed in their single contemplation. They--they alone were present
to the mental eye, and they, in their sole individuality, became the
essence of my mental life. I held them in every light--I turned them
in every attitude. I surveyed their characteristics--I dwelt upon
their peculiarities--I pondered upon their conformation--I mused upon
the alteration in their nature--and shuddered as I assigned to them in
imagination a sensitive and sentient power, and even when unassisted
by the lips, a capability of moral expression. Of Mad'selle Sall it
has been said, "que tous ses pas etaient des sentiments," and of
Berenice I more seriously believed que tous ses dents etaient des

And the evening closed in upon me thus--and then the darkness came,
and tarried, and went--and the day again dawned--and the mists of a
second night were now gathering around--and still I sat motionless in
that solitary room, and still I sat buried in meditation, and still
the phantasma of the teeth maintained its terrible ascendency as, with
the most vivid and hideous distinctness, it floated about amid the
changing lights and shadows of the chamber. At length there broke
forcibly in upon my dreams a wild cry as of horror and dismay; and
thereunto, after a pause, succeeded the sound of troubled voices,
intermingled with many low moanings of sorrow, or of pain. I arose
hurriedly from my seat, and, throwing open one of the doors of the
library, saw standing out in the antechamber a servant maiden, all in
tears; and she told me that Berenice was--no more. Seized with an
epileptic fit she had fallen dead in the early morning, and now, at
the closing in of the night, the grave was ready for its tenant, and
all the preparations for the burial were completed.

With a heart full of grief, yet reluctantly, and oppressed with awe, I
made my way to the bed-chamber of the departed. The room was large,
and very dark, and at every step within its gloomy precincts I
encountered the paraphernalia of the grave. The coffin, so a menial
told me, lay surrounded by the curtains of yonder bed, and in that
coffin, he whisperingly assured me, was all that remained of Berenice.
Who was it asked me would I not look upon the corpse? I had seen the
lips of no one move, yet the question had been demanded, and the echo
of the syllables still lingered in the room. It was impossible to
refuse; and with a sense of suffocation I dragged myself to the side
of the bed. Gently I uplifted the sable draperies of the curtains. As
I let them fall they descended upon my shoulders, and shutting me thus
out from the living, enclosed me in the strictest communion with the
deceased. The very atmosphere was redolent of death. The peculiar
smell of the coffin sickened me! and I fancied a deleterious odor was
already exhaling from the body. I would have given worlds to escape--
to fly from the pernicious influence of mortality--to breathe once
again the pure air of the eternal heavens. But I had no longer the
power to move--my knees tottered beneath me--and I remained rooted to
the spot, and gazing upon the frightful length of the rigid body as it
lay outstretched in the dark coffin without a lid.

God of heaven!--was it possible? Was it my brain that reeled--or was
it indeed the finger of the enshrouded dead that stirred in the white
cerement that bound it? Frozen with unutterable awe I slowly raised my
eyes to the countenance of the corpse. There had been a band around
the jaws, but, I know not how, it was broken asunder. The livid lips
were wreathed into a species of smile, and, through the enveloping
gloom, once again there glared upon me in too palpable reality, the
white and glistening, and ghastly teeth of Berenice. I sprang
convulsively from the bed, and, uttering no word, rushed forth a
maniac from that apartment of triple horror, and mystery, and death.

* * * * * * * *

I found myself again sitting in the library, and again sitting there
alone. It seemed that I had newly awakened from a confused and
exciting dream. I knew that it was now midnight, and I was well aware
that since the setting of the sun Berenice had been interred. But of
that dreary period which had intervened I had no positive, at least no
definite comprehension. But its memory was rife with horror--horror
more horrible from being vague, and terror more terrible from
ambiguity. It was a fearful page in the record of my existence,
written all over with dim, and hideous, and unintelligible
recollections. I strived to decypher them, but in vain--while ever and
anon, like the spirit of a departed sound, the shrill and piercing
shriek of a female voice seemed to be ringing in my ears. I had done a
deed--what was it? And the echoes of the chamber answered me "what was

On the table beside me burned a lamp, and near it lay a little box of
ebony. It was a box of no remarkable character, and I had seen it
frequently before, it being the property of the family physician; but
how came it there upon my table, and why did I shudder in regarding
it? These were things in no manner to be accounted for, and my eyes at
length dropped to the open pages of a book, and to a sentence
underscored therein. The words were the singular but simple words of
the poet Ebn Zaiat. "Dicebant mihi sodales si sepulchrum amicae
visitarem curas meas aliquantulum fore levatas." Why then, as I
perused them, did the hairs of my head erect themselves on end, and
the blood of my body congeal within my veins?

There came a light tap at the library door, and, pale as the tenant of
a tomb, a menial entered upon tiptoe. His looks were wild with terror,
and he spoke to me in a voice tremulous, husky, and very low. What
said he?--some broken sentences I heard. He told of a wild cry
disturbing the silence of the night--of the gathering together of the
household--of a search in the direction of the sound--and then his
tones grew thrillingly distinct as he whispered me of a violated
grave--of a disfigured body discovered upon its margin--a body
enshrouded, yet still breathing, still palpitating, still alive!

He pointed to my garments--they were muddy and clotted with gore. I
spoke not, and he took me gently by the hand--but it was indented with
the impress of human nails. He directed my attention to some object
against the wall--I looked at it for some minutes--it was a spade.
With a shriek I bounded to the table, and grasped the ebony box that
lay upon it. But I could not force it open, and in my tremor it
slipped from out of my hands, and fell heavily, and burst into pieces;
and from it, with a rattling sound, there rolled out some instruments
of dental surgery, intermingled with many white and glistening
substances that were scattered to and fro about the floor.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"The tip o' the morning to ye," says I--"Mrs. Tracle"--and then I made
sich an iligant obaysance that it wud ha quite althegither bewildered
the brain o' ye.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Belave me, my jewel, it was Sir Pathrick that was unrasonable mad
thin, sure enough, and the more by token that he kept on wid his
winking and blinking at the widdy; and the widdy she kept on wid the
squazing of my flipper, as much as to say--"At him again Sir Pathrick
O'Grandison, mavourneen," so I jist ripped out wid a big oath, and
says I, sure enough--

"Ye little spalpeeny frog of a bog-throtting son of a bloody-noun!"--
and jist thin what d'ye think it was that her leddyship did? Troth she
jumped up from the sofy as if she was bit, and made aff through the
door, while I turned my head round afther her, in a complate
bewilderment and botheration, and followed her wid me two peepers. You
percave I had a rason of my own for the knowing that she couldn't git
down the stairs althegither and intirely--for I knew very well that I
had hould of her hand, for divil the bit had I iver lit it go. And
says I--

"Isn't it the laste little bit of a mistake in the world that ye've
been afther the making, yer leddyship? Come back now, that's a
darlint, and I'll give ye yur flipper." But aff she wint down the
stairs like a shot, and then I turned round to the little French
furrenner. Och hon! if it wasn't his spalpeeny little flipper that I
had hould of in my own--why thin--thin it was'nt--that's all.

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

"Wouly-wou"--says he--"pully-wou"--says he--"Cot tam!"

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


Stay for me there! I will not fail
To meet thee in that hollow vale.
[Exequy on the death of his wife, by Henry King, Bishop of Chichester.]

Ill-fated and mysterious man! Bewildered in the brilliancy of thine
own imagination, and fallen in the flames of thine own youth! Again in
fancy I behold thee! Once more thy form hath risen before me!--not--oh
not as thou art--in the cold valley and shadow--but as thou shouldst
be--squandering away a life of magnificent meditation in that city of
dim visions, thine own Venice--which is a star beloved elysium of the
sea, and the wide windows of whose Palladian palaces look down with a
deep and bitter meaning upon the secrets of her silent waters. Yes! I
repeat it--as thou shouldst be. There are surely other worlds than
this--other thoughts than the thoughts of the multitude--other
speculations than the speculations of the sophist. Who then shall call
thy conduct into question? who blame thee for thy visionary hours, or
denounce those occupations as a wasting away of life, which were but
the overflowings of thine everlasting energies?

It was at Venice, beneath the covered archway there called the Ponte
di Sospiri, that I met for the third or fourth time the person of whom
I speak. It is with a confused recollection that I bring to mind the
circumstances of that meeting. Yet I remember--ah! how should I
forget?--the deep midnight, the Bridge of Sighs, the beauty of woman,
and the demon of romance, who stalked up and down the narrow canal.

It was a night of unusual gloom. The great clock of the piazza had
sounded the fifth hour of the Italian evening. The square of the
Campanile lay silent and deserted, and the lights in the old Ducal
Palace were dying fast away. I was returning home from the Piazetta,
by way of the Grand Canal. But as my gondola arrived opposite the
mouth of the canal San Marco, a female voice from its recesses broke
suddenly upon the night, in one wild, hysterical and long continued
shriek. Startled at the sound, I sprang upon my feet: while the
gondolier, letting slip his single oar, lost it in the pitchy darkness
beyond a chance of recovery, and we were consequently left to the
guidance of the current which here sets from the greater into the
smaller channel. Like some huge and sable-feathered condor, we were
slowly drifting down towards the Bridge of Sighs, when a thousand
flambeaux flashing from the windows, and down the staircases of the
Ducal Palace, turned all at once that deep gloom into a livid and
supernatural day.

A child, slipping from the arms of its own mother, had fallen from an
upper window of the lofty structure into the deep and dim canal. The
quiet waters had closed placidly over their victim; and, although my
own gondola was the only one in sight, many a stout swimmer, already
in the stream, was seeking in vain upon the surface, the treasure
which was to be found, alas! only within the abyss. Upon the broad
black marble flagstones at the entrance of the palace, and a few steps
above the water, stood a figure which none who then saw can have ever
since forgotten. It was the Marchesa Aphrodite--the adoration of all
Venice--the gayest of the gay--the most lovely where all were
beautiful--but still the young wife of the old and intriguing
Mentoni--and the mother of that fair child, her first and only one,
who now deep beneath the murky water, was thinking in bitterness of
heart upon her sweet caresses, and exhausting its little life in
struggles to call upon her name.

She stood alone. Her small, bare, and silvery feet gleamed in the
black mirror of marble beneath her. Her hair, not as yet more than
half loosened for the night from its ball-room array, clustered amid a
shower of diamonds, round and round her classical head, in curls like
the young hyacinth. A snowywhite and gauze-like drapery seemed to be
nearly the sole covering to her delicate form--but the midsummer and
midnight air was hot, sullen, and still, and no motion--no shadow of
motion in the statuelike form itself, stirred even the folds of that
raiment of very vapor which hung around it as the heavy marble hangs
around the Niobe. Yet--strange to say!--her large lustrous eyes were
not turned downwards upon that grave wherein her brightest hope lay
buried--but riveted in a widely different direction! The prison of the
Old Republic is, I think, the stateliest building in all Venice--but
how could that lady gaze so fixedly upon it, when beneath her lay
stifling her only child? You dark, gloomy niche, too, yawns right
opposite her chamber window--what, then, could there be in its
shadows--in its architecture--in its ivy-wreathed and solemn cornices
that the Marchesa di Mentoni had not wondered at a thousand times
before? Nonsense! Who does not remember that, at such a time as this,
the eye, like a shattered mirror, multiplies the images of its sorrow,
and sees in innumerable far off places, the wo which is close at hand.

Many steps above the Marchesa, and within the arch of the water-gate,
stood in full dress, the Satyrlike figure of Mentoni himself. He was
occasionally occupied in thrumming a guitar, and seemed ennuied to the
very death, as at intervals he gave directions for the recovery of his
child. Stupified and aghast, I had myself no power to move from the
upright position I had assumed upon first hearing the shriek, and must
have presented to the eyes of the agitated group, a spectral and
ominous appearance, as, with pale countenance and rigid limbs, I
floated down among them in that funereal gondola.

All efforts proved in vain. Many of the most energetic in the search
were relaxing their exertions, and yielding to a gloomy sorrow. There
seemed but little hope for the child--but now, from the interior of
that dark niche which has been already mentioned as forming a part of
the Old Republican prison, and as fronting the lattice of the
Marchesa, a figure, muffled in a cloak, stepped out within reach of
the light, and, pausing a moment upon the verge of the giddy descent,
plunged headlong into the canal. As, in an instant afterwards, he
stood with the still living and breathing child within his grasp, upon
the marble flagstones by the side of the Marchesa, his cloak, heavy
with the drenching water, became unfastened, and, falling in folds
about his feet, discovered to the wonder-stricken spectators, the
graceful person of a very young man, with the sound of whose name the
greater part of Europe was then ringing.

No word spoke the deliverer. But the Marchesa! She will now receive
her child--she will press it to her heart--she will cling to its
little form, and smother it with her caresses. Alas! another's arms
have taken it from the stranger--another's arms have taken it away,
and borne it afar off, unnoticed, into the palace! And the Marchesa!
Her lip--her beautiful lip trembles: tears are gathering in her eyes--
those eyes which, like Pliny's own Acanthus, are "soft and almost
liquid." Yes! tears are gathering in those eyes--and see! the entire
woman thrills throughout the soul, and the statue has started into
life! The pallor of the marble countenance, the swelling of the marble
bosom, the very purity of the marble feet, we behold suddenly flushed
over with a tide of ungovernable crimson; and a slight shudder quivers
about her delicate frame, as a gentle air at Napoli about the rich
silver lilies in the grass. Why should that lady blush? To this demand
there is no answer--except that, having left in the eager haste and
terror of a mother's heart, the privacy of her own boudoir, she has
neglected to enthral her tiny feet in their slippers, and utterly
forgotten to throw over her Venitian shoulders that drapery which is
their due. What other possible reason could there have been for her so
blushing?--for the glance of those wild appealing eyes?--for the
unusual tumult of that throbbing bosom?--for the convulsive pressure
of that trembling hand?--that hand which fell, as Mentoni turned into
the palace, accidentally, upon the hand of the stranger. What reason
could there have been for the low--the singularly low tone of those
unmeaning words which the lady uttered hurriedly in bidding him adieu?
"Thou hast conquered"--she said, or the murmurs of the water deceived
me--"thou hast conquered--one hour after sunrise--we shall meet--so
let it be."

* * * * * *

The tumult had subsided, the lights had died away within the palace,
and the stranger, whom I now recognised, stood alone upon the flags.
He shook with inconceivable agitation, and his eye glanced around in
search of a gondola. I could not do less than offer him the service of
my own; and he accepted the civility. Having obtained an oar at the
water-gate, we proceeded together to his residence, while he rapidly
recovered his self-possession, and spoke of our former slight
acquaintance in terms of great apparent cordiality.

There are some subjects upon which I take pleasure in being minute.
The person of the stranger--let me call him by this title, who to all
the world was still a stranger--the person of the stranger is one of
these subjects. In height he might have been below rather than above
the medium size: although there were moments of intense passion when
his frame actually expanded and belied the assertion. The light,
almost slender symmetry of his figure, promised more of that ready
activity which he evinced at the Bridge of Sighs, than of that
Herculean strength which he has been known to wield without an effort,
upon occasions of more dangerous emergency. With the mouth and chin of
a deity--singular, wild, full, liquid eyes, whose shadows varied from
pure hazel to intense and brilliant jet--and a profusion of glossy,
black hair, from which a forehead, rather low than otherwise, gleamed
forth at intervals all light and ivory--his were features than which I
have seen none more classically regular, except, perhaps, the marble
ones of the Emperor Commodus. Yet his countenance was, nevertheless,
one of those which all men have seen at some period of their lives,
and have never afterwards seen again. It had no peculiar--I wish to be
perfectly understood--it had no settled predominant expression to be
fastened upon the memory; a countenance seen and instantly forgotten--
but forgotten with a vague and never-ceasing desire of recalling it to
mind. Not that the spirit of each rapid passion failed, at any time,
to throw its own distinct image upon the mirror of that face--but that
the mirror, mirror-like, retained no vestige of the passion, when the
passion had departed.

Upon leaving him on the night of our adventure, he solicited me, in
what I thought an urgent manner, to call upon him very early the next
morning. Shortly after sunrise, I found myself accordingly at his
Palazzo, one of those huge piles of gloomy, yet fantastic grandeur,
which tower above the waters of the Grand Canal in the vicinity of the
Rialto. I was shown up a broad winding staircase of mosaics, into an
apartment whose unparalleled splendor burst through the opening door
with an actual glare, making me sick and dizzy with luxuriousness.

I knew my acquaintance to be wealthy. Report had spoken of his
possessions in terms which I had even ventured to call terms of
ridiculous exaggeration. But as I gazed about me, I could not bring
myself to believe that the wealth of any subject in Europe could have
supplied the far more than imperial magnificence which burned and
blazed around.

Although, as I say, the sun had arisen, yet the room was still
brilliantly lighted up. I judged from this circumstance, as well as
from an air of exhaustion in the countenance of my friend, that he had
not retired to bed during the whole of the preceding night. In the
architecture and embellishments of the chamber, the evident design had
been to dazzle and astound. Little attention had been paid to the
decora of what is technically called keeping, or to the proprieties of
nationality. The eye wandered from object to object, and rested upon
none--neither the grotesques of the Greek painters--nor the sculptures
of the best Italian days--nor the huge carvings of untutored Egypt.
Rich draperies in every part of the room trembled to the vibration of
low, melancholy music, whose unseen origin undoubtedly lay in the
recesses of the crimson trelliss work which tapestried the ceiling.
The senses were oppressed by mingled and conflicting perfumes, reeking
up from strange convolute censers, which seemed actually endued with a
monstrous vitality, as their particolored fires writhed up and down,
and around about their extravagant proportions. The rays of the newly
risen sun poured in upon the whole, through windows formed each of a
single pane of crimson-tinted glass. Glancing to and fro, in a
thousand reflections, from curtains which rolled from their cornices
like cataracts of molten silver, the beams of natural glory mingled at
length fitfully with the artificial light, and lay weltering in
subdued masses upon a carpet of rich, liquid looking cloth of Chili
gold. Here then had the hand of genius been at work. A chaos--a
wilderness of beauty lay before me. A sense of dreamy and incoherent
grandeur took possession of my soul, and I remained within the door-
way speechless.

Ha! ha! ha!--ha! ha! ha!--laughed the proprietor, motioning me to a
seat, and throwing himself back at full length upon an ottoman. "I
see," said he, perceiving that I could not immediately reconcile
myself to the bienseance of so singular a welcome--"I see you are
astonished at my apartment--at my statues--my pictures--my originality
of conception in architecture and upholstery--absolutely drunk, eh?
with my magnificence. But pardon me, my dear sir, (here his tone of
voice dropped to the very spirit of cordiality,) pardon me, my dear
sir, for my uncharitable laughter. You appeared so utterly astonished.
Besides, some things are so completely ludicrous that a man must laugh
or die. To die laughing must be the most glorious of all glorious
deaths! Sir Thomas More--a very fine man was Sir Thomas More--Sir
Thomas More died laughing, you remember. Also there is a long list of
characters who came to the same magnificent end, in the Absurdities of
Ravisius Textor. Do you know, however," continued he musingly--"that
at Sparta (which is now Palochori), at Sparta, I say, to the west of
the citadel, among a chaos of scarcely visible ruins, is a kind of
socle upon which are still legible the letters they are undoubtedly
part of. Now at Sparta were a thousand temples and shrines to a
thousand different divinities. How exceedingly strange that the altar
of Laughter should have survived all the others! But in the present
instance"--he resumed, with a singular alteration of voice and
manner--"in the present instance I have no right to be merry at your
expense. You might well have been amazed. Europe cannot produce
anything so fine as this, my little regal cabinet. My other apartments
are by no means of the same order--mere ultras of fashionable
insipidity. This is better than fashion--is it not? Yet this has but
to be seen to become the rage--that is with those who could afford it
at the cost of their entire patrimony. I have guarded, however,
against any such profanation. With one exception you are the only
human being besides myself, who has been admitted within the mysteries
of these imperial precincts."

I bowed in acknowledgment: for the overpowering sense of splendor and
perfume, and music, together with the unexpected eccentricity of his
address and manner, prevented me from expressing in words my
appreciation of what I might have construed into a compliment.

"Here"--he resumed, arising and leaning on my arm as he sauntered
around the apartment--"here are paintings from the Greeks to Cimabu,
and from Cimabu to the present hour. Many are chosen, as you see,
with little deference to the opinions of Virt. They are all, however,
fitting tapestry for a chamber such as this. Here too, are some chf
d'oeuvres of the unknown great--and here unfinished designs by men,
celebrated in their day, whose very names the perspicacity of the
academies has left to silence and to me. What think you"--said he,
turning abruptly as he spoke--"what think you of this Madonna della

"It is Guido's own!" I said, with all the enthusiasm of my nature, for
I had been poring intently over its surpassing loveliness. "It is
Guido's own!--how could you have obtained it?--she is undoubtedly in
painting what the Venus is in sculpture."

"Ha!" said he thoughtfully, "the Venus?--the beautiful Venus?--the
Venus of the Medici?--she of the gilded hair? Part of the left arm
(here his voice dropped so as to be heard with difficulty), and all
the right are restorations, and in the coquetry of that right arm
lies, I think, the quintessence of all affectation. The Apollo, too!--
is a copy--there can be no doubt of it--blind fool that I am, who
cannot behold the boasted inspiration of the Apollo! I cannot help--
pity me!--I cannot help preferring the Antinous. Was it not Socrates
who said that the statuary found his statue in the block of marble?"

Then Michl Angelo was by no means original in his couplet--

"Non ha!ottimo artista alcun concetto
Chun marmo solo in se non circunscriva."

* * * * * * * *

It has been, or should be remarked, that, in the manner of the true
gentleman, we are always aware of a difference from the bearing of the
vulgar, without being at once precisely able to determine in what such
difference consists. Allowing the remark to have applied in its full
force to the outward demeanor of my acquaintance, I felt it, on that
eventful morning, still more fully applicable to his moral temperament
and character. Nor can I better define that peculiarity of spirit
which seemed to place him so esentially apart from all other human
beings, than by calling it a habit of intense and continual thought,
pervading even his most trivial actions--intruding upon his moments of
dalliance--and interweaving itself with his very flashes of
merriment--like adders which writhe from out the eyes of the grinning
masks in the cornices around the temples of Persepolis.

I could not help, however, repeatedly observing, through the mingled
tone of levity and solemnity with which he rapidly descanted upon
matters of little importance, a certain air of trepidation--a deree of
nervous unction in action and in speech--an unquiet excitability of
manner which appeared to me at all times unaccountable, and upon some
occasions even filled me with alarm. Frequently, too, pausing in the
middle of a sentence whose commencement he had apparently forgotten,
he seemed to be listening in the deepest attention, as if either in
momentary expectation of a visiter, or to sounds which must have had
existence in his imagination alone.

It was during one of these reveries or pauses of apparent abstraction,
that, in turning over a page of the poet and scholar Politian's
beautiful tragedy "The Orfeo," (the first native Italian tragedy,)
which lay near me upon an ottoman, I discovered a passage underlined
in pencil. It was a passage towards the end of the third act--a
passage of the most heartstirring excitement--a passage which,
although tainted with impurity, no man shall read without a thrill of
novel emotion--no woman without a sigh. The whole page was blotted
with fresh tears, and, upon the opposite interleaf, were the following
lines, written in a hand so very different from the peculiar
characters of my acquaintance, that I had some difficulty in
recognising it as his own.

Thou wast that all to me, love,
   For which my soul did pine--
A green isle in the sea, love,
   A fountain and a shrine,
All wreathed around about with flowers;
   And the flowers--they all were mine.
But the dream--it could not last;
   And the star of Hope did rise
But to be overcast.
   A voice from out the Future cries
"Onward!"--while o'er the Past
   (Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies,
Mute, motionless, aghast!

For alas!--alas!--with me Ambition--all--is o'er. "No more--no more--
no more," (Such language holds the solemn sea To the sands upon the
shore,) Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree, Or the stricken eagle
soar! And all my hours are trances; And all my nightly dreams Are
where thy dark eye glances, And where thy footstep gleams, In what
ethereal dances, By what Italian streams. Alas! for that accursed time
They bore thee o'er the billow, From Love to titled age and crime, And
an unholy pillow--From me, and from our misty clime, Where weeps the
silver willow.

That these lines were written in English--a language with which I had
not believed their author acquainted--afforded me little matter for
surprise. I was too well aware of the extent of his acquirements, and
of the singular pleasure he took in concealing them from observation,
to be astonished at any similar discovery; but the place of date, I
must confess, occasioned me no little amazement. It had been
originally written London, and afterwards carefully overscored--but
not, however, so effectually, as to conceal the word from a
scrutinizing eye. I say this occasioned me no little amazement; for I
well remember that, in a former conversation with my friend, I
particularly inquired if he had at any time met in London the Marchesa
di Mentoni, (who for some years previous to her marriage had resided
in that city,) when his answer, if I mistake not, gave me to
understand that he had never visited the metropolis of Great Britain.
I might as well here mention, that I have more than once heard,
(without of course giving credit to a report involving so many
improbabilities,) that the person of whom I speak was not only by
birth, but in education an Englishman.

* * * * * * * *

"There is one painting," said he, without being aware of my notice of
the tragedy--"there is still one painting which you have not seen."
And throwing aside a drapery, he discovered a full length porrait of
the Marchesa Aphrodite.

Human art could have done no more in the delineation of her superhuman
beauty. The same ethereal figure which stood before me the preceding
night upon the steps of the Ducal Palace, stood before me once again.
But in the expression of the countenance, which was beaming all over
with smiles, there still lurked (incomprehensible anomaly!) that
fitful stain of melancholy which will ever be found inseparable from
the perfection of the beautiful. Her right arm lay folded over her
bosom. With her left she pointed downwards to a curiously fashioned
vase. One small, fairy foot, alone visible, barely touched the earth--
and, scarcely discernible in the brilliant atmosphere which seemed to
encircle and enshrine her loveliness, floated a pair of the most
delicately imagined wings. My glance fell from the painting to the
figure of my friend, and the vigorous words of Chapman's Bussy
D'Ambois quivered instinctively upon my lips--

"He is up There like a Roman statue! He will stand Till Death hath
made him marble!"

"Come!" he said at length, turning towards a table of richly enamelled
and massive silver, upon which were a few goblets fantastically
stained, toether with two large Etruscan vases, fashioned in the same
extraordinary model as that in the foreround of the portrait, and
filled with what I suposed to be Johannisberger. "Come!" he said
abruptly, "let us drink! It is early--but let us drink--It is indeed
early," he continued thoughtfully as a cherub with a heavy golden
hammer, made the apartment ring with the first hour after sunrise--"It
is indeed early, but what matters it? let us drink! Let us pour out an
offering to the solemn sun, which these gaudy lamps and censers are so
eager to subdue!" And, having made me pledge him in a bumper, he
swallowed in rapid sucession several goblets of the wine.

"To dream," he continued, resuming the tone of his desultory
conversation, as he held up to the rich light of a censer one of the
magnificent vases--"to dream has been the business of my life. I have
therefore framed for myself, as you see, a bower of dreams. In the
heart of Venice could I have erected a better? You behold around you,
it is true, a medley of architectural embellishments. The chastity of
Ionia is offended by antediluvian devices, and the sphynxes of Egypt
are stretching upon carpets of gold. Yet the effect is incongruous to
the timid alone. Prorieties of place, and especially of time, are the
bugears which terrify mankind from the contemplation of the
magnificent. Once I was myself a decorist: but that sublimation of
folly has palled upon my soul. All this is now the fitter for my
purpose. Like these arabesque censers, my spirit is writhing in fire,
and the delirium of this scene is fashioning me for the wilder visions
of that land of real dreams whither I am now rapidly departing." Thus
saying, he conessed the power of the wine, and threw himself at full
length upon an ottoman.

A quick step was now heard upon the staircase, and a loud knock at the
door rapidly succeeded. I was hastening to anticipate a second
disturbance, when a page of Mentoni's household burst into the room,
and faltered out, in a voice choking with emotion, the incoherent
words, "My mistress!--my mistress!--poisoned!--poisoned! Oh
beautiful--Oh beautiful Aphrodite!"

Bewildered, I flew to the ottoman, and endeavored to arouse the
sleeper to a sense of the startling intelligence. But his limbs were
rigid--his lips were livid--his lately beaming eyes were riveted in
death. I staggered back towards the table--my hand fell upon a cracked
and blackened goblet--and a conciousness of the entire and terrible
truth flashed suddenly over my soul.



Why do you call me Eiros?


So henceforward will you always be called. You must forget, too, my
earthly name, and speak to me as Charmion.


This is indeed no dream!


Dreams are with us no more--but of these mysteries anon. I rejoice to
see you looking life-like and rational. The film of the shadow has
already passed from off your eyes. Be of heart, and fear nothing. Your
allotted days of stupor have expired; and, to-morrow, I will myself
induct you into the full joys and wonders of your novel existence.


True--I feel no stupor--none at all. The wild sickness and the
terrible darkness have left me, and I hear no longer that mad,
rushing, horrible sound, like the "voice of many waters." Yet my
senses are bewildered, Charmion, with the keenness of their perception
of the new.


A few days will remove all this--but I fully understand you, and feel
for you. It is now ten earthly years since I underwent what you
undergo--yet the remembrance of it hangs by me still. You have now
suffered all of pain, however, which you will suffer in Aidenn.


In Aidenn?


In Aidenn.


Oh God!--pity me, Charmion!--I am overburthened with the majesty of
all things--of the unknown now known--of the speculative Future merged
in the august and certain Present.


Grapple not now with such thoughts. To-morrow we will speak of this.
Your mind wavers, and its agitation will find relief in the exercise
of simple memories. Look not around, nor forward--but back. I am
burning with anxiety to hear the details of that stupendous event
which threw you among us. Tell me of it. Let us converse of familiar
things, in the old familiar language of the world which has so
fearfully perished.


Most fearfully, fearfully!--this is indeed no dream.


Dreams are no more. Was I much mourned, my Eiros?


Mourned, Charmion?--oh deeply. To that last hour of all there hung a
cloud of intense gloom and devout sorrow over your household.


And that last hour--speak of it. Remember that, beyond the naked fact
of the catastrophe itself, I know nothing. When, coming out from among
mankind, I passed into Night through the Grave--at that period, if I
remember aright, the calamity which overwhelmed you was utterly
unanticipated. But, indeed, I knew little of the speculative
philosophy of the day.


The individual calamity was, as you say, entirely unanticipated; but
analogous misfortunes had been long a subject of discussion with
astronomers. I need scarce tell you, my friend, that, even when you
left us, men had agreed to understand those passages in the most holy
writings which speak of the final destruction of all things by fire,
as having reference to the orb of the earth alone. But in regard to
the immediate agency of the ruin, speculation had been at fault from
that epoch in astronomical knowledge in which the comets were divested
of the terrors of flame. The very moderate density of these bodies had
been well established. They had been observed to pass among the
satellites of Jupiter, without bringing about any sensible alteration
either in the masses or in the orbits of these secondary planets. We
had long regarded the wanderers as vapory creations of inconceivable
tenuity, and as altogether incapable of doing injury to our
substantial globe, even in the event of contact. But contact was not
in any degree dreaded; for the elements of all the comets were
accurately known. That among them we should look for the agency of the
threatened fiery destruction had been for many years considered an
inadmissible idea. But wonders and wild fancies had been, of late
days, strangely rife among mankind; and, although it was only with a
few of the ignorant that actual apprehension prevailed upon the
announcement by astronomers of a new comet, yet this announcement was
generally received with I know not what of agitation and mistrust.

The elements of the strange orb were immediately calculated, and it
was at once conceded by all observers that its path, at perihelion,
would bring it into very close proximity with the earth. There were
two or three astronomers, and these of secondary note, who resolutely
maintained that a contact was inevitable. I cannot very well express
to you the effect of this intelligence upon the people. For a few
short days they would not believe an assertion which their intellect,
so long employed among worldly considerations, could not in any manner
grasp. But the truth of a vitally important fact soon makes it way
into the understanding of even the most stolid. Finally, all men saw
that astronomical knowledge lied not, and they awaited the comet. Its
approach was not, at first, seemingly rapid--nor was its appearance of
very unusual character. It was of a dull red, and had little
perceptible train. For seven or eight days we saw no material increase
in its apparent diameter, and but a partial alteration in its colour.
Meantime, the ordinary affairs of men were discarded, and all
interests absorbed in a growing discussion, instituted by the
philosophic, in respect to the cometary nature. Even the grossly
ignorant aroused their sluggish capacities to such considerations. The
learned now gave their intellect--their soul--to no such points as the
allaying of fear, or to the sustenance of loved theory. They sought--
they panted for right views. They groaned for perfected knowledge.
Truth arose in the purity of her strength and exceeding majesty, and
the wise bowed down and adored.

That material injury to our globe or to its inhabitants would result
from the apprehended contact, was an opinion which hourly lost ground
among the wise--and the wise were now freely permitted to rule the
reason and the fancy of the crowd. It was demonstrated, that the
density of the comet's nucleus was far less than that of our rarest
gas; and its harmless passage among the satellites of Jupiter was a
point strongly insisted upon, and which served greatly to allay
terror. Theologists, with an earnestness fear-enkindled, dwelt upon
the biblical prophecies, and expounded them to the people with a
directness and simplicity, of which no previous instance had been
known. That the final destruction of the earth must be brought about
by the agency of fire, was urged with a spirit that enforced every
where conviction; and that the comets were of no fiery nature (as all
men now knew) was a truth which relieved all, in a great measure, from
the apprehension of the great calamity foretold. It is noticeable that
the popular prejudices and vulgar errors in regard to pestilences and
wars--errors which were wont to prevail upon every appearance of a
comet--were now altogether unknown. As if by some sudden convulsive
exertion, reason had at once hurled superstition from her throne. The
feeblest intellect had derived vigor from excessive interest.

What minor evils might arise from the contact were points of elaborate
question. The learned spoke of slight geological disturbances; of
probable alterations in climate and consequently in vegetation; of
possible magnetic and electric influences. Many held that no visible
or perceptible effect would in any manner be produced. While such
discussions were going on their subject gradually approached, growing
larger in apparent diameter, and of a more brilliant lustre. Mankind
grew paler as it came. All human operations were suspended.

There was an epoch in the course of the general sentiment when the
comet had attained at length a size surpassing that of any previously
recorded visitation. The people now, dismissing any lingering hope
that the astronomers were wrong, experienced all the certainty of
evil. The chimerical aspect of their terror was gone. The hearts of
the stoutest of our race beat violently within their bosoms. A very
few days sufficed, however, to merge even such feelings in sentiments
more unendurable. We could no longer apply to the strange orb any
accustomed thoughts. Its historical attributes had disappeared. It
oppressed us with a hideous novelty of emotion. We saw it not as an
astronomical phenomenon in the heavens--but as an incubus upon our
hearts, and a shadow upon our brain. It had taken, with inconceivable
rapidity, the character of a gigantic mantle of rare flame, extending
from horizon to horizon.

Yet a day, and men breathed with greater freedom. It was clear that we
were already within the influence of the comet--yet we lived. We even
felt an unusual elasticity of frame and vivacity of mind. The
exceeding tenuity of the object of our dread was apparent, all
heavenly objects were plainly visible through it. Meantime, our
vegetation had perceptibly altered--and we gained faith, from this
predicted circumstance, in the foresight of the wise. A wild
luxuriance of foliage--utterly unknown before--burst out upon every
vegetable thing.

Yet another day--and the evil was not altogether upon us. It was now
evident that its nucleus would first reach us. A wild change had come
over all men--and the first sense of pain--was the wild signal for
general lamentation and horror. This first sense of pain lay in a
rigorous constriction of the breast and lungs, and an insufferable
dryness of the skin. It could not be denied that our atmosphere was
radically affected--the conformation of this atmosphere and the
possible modifications to which it might be subjected, were now the
topics of discussion. The result of investigation sent an electric
thrill of the intensest terror through the universal heart of man.

It had been long known that the air which encircled us was a compound
of oxygen and nitrogen gases, in the proportion of twenty-one measures
of oxygen, and seventy-nine of nitrogen, in every one hundred of the
atmosphere. Oxygen, which was the principle of combustion, and the
vehicle of heat, was absolutely necessary to the support of animal
life, and was the most powerful and energetic agent in nature.
Nitrogen, on the contrary, was incapable of supporting either animal
life or flame. An unnatural excess of oxygen would result, it had been
ascertained, in just such an elevation of the animal spirits as we had
latterly experienced. It was the pursuit, the extension of the idea,
which had engendered awe. What would be the result of a total
extraction of the nitrogen? A combustion irresistible, all-devouring,
omni-prevalent, immediate--the entire fulfilment, in all its minute
and terrible details, of the fiery and horror-inspiring denunciations
of the prophecies of the Holy Book.

Why need I paint, Charmion, the now disenchained frenzy of mankind?
That tenuity in the comet which had previously inspired us with hope,
was now the source of the bitterness of despair. In its impalpable
gaseous character we clearly perceived the consummation of Fate.
Meantime a day again passed--bearing away with it the last shadow of
Hope. We gasped in the rapid modification of the air. The red blood
bounded tumultuously through its strict channels. A furious delirium
possessed all men; and, with arms immoveably outstretched towards the
threatening heavens, they trembled and shrieked aloud. But the nucleus
of the destroyer was now upon us. Even here in Aidenn, I shudder while
I speak. Let me be brief--brief as the ruin that overwhelmed. For a
short moment there was a wild lurid light alone, visiting and
penetrating all things. Then--let us bow down, Charmion, before the
excessive majesty of the great God!--then, there came a great
pervading sound, as if from the mouth itself of him; while the whole
incumbent mass of ether in which we existed burst at once into a
species of intense flame, for whose surpassing brilliancy and all-
fervid heat even the angels in the great Heaven of pure knowledge have
no name. Thus ended all.


In a note to the title of the story called "Hans Phaal," I made
allusion to the "moon-hoax" of Mr. Locke. As a great many more persons
were actually gulled by this jeu d'esprit than would be willing to
acknowledge the fact, it may here afford some little amusement to show
why no one should have been deceived--to point out those particulars
of the story which should have been sufficient to establish its real
character. Indeed, however rich the imagination displayed in this
ingenious fiction, it wanted much of the force which might have been
given it by a more scrupulous attention to general analogy and
physical truth. That the public were misled, even for an instant,
merely proves the gross ignorance which is so generally prevalent upon
subjects of an astronomical nature.

The moon's distance from the earth is, in round numbers, 240,000
miles. If we desire to ascertain how near, apparently, a lens would
bring the satellite, (or any distant object,) we, of course, have but
to divide the distance by the magnifying power of the glass. Mr. L.
makes his lens have a magnifying power of 42,000 times. By this divide
240,000 (the moon's real distance), and we have five miles and five-
sevenths, as the apparent distance. No animal at all could be seen so
far; much less the minute points particularised in the story. Mr. L.
speaks about Sir John Herschell's perceiving flowers (the Papaver
rheas, etc.), and even detecting the color and the shape of the eyes
of small birds. Shortly before, too, he has himself observed that the
lens would not render perceptible objects of less than eighteen inches
in diameter; but even this, as I have said, is giving the glass by far
too great power. It may be observed, en passant, that his prodigious
glass is said to have been moulded at the glass-house of Messrs.
Hartley and Grant in Dumbarton; but Messrs. H. and G.'s establishment
had ceased operations for many years previous to the publication of
the hoax.

On page 13, pamphlet edition, speaking of "a hairy veil" over the eyes
of a species of bison, the author says--"It immediately occurred to
the acute mind of Dr. Herschell that this was a providential
contrivance to protect the eyes of the animal from the great extremes
of light and darkness to which all the inhabitants of our side of the
moon are periodically subjected." But this cannot be thought a very
"acute" observation of the Doctor's. The inhabitants of our side of
the moon have, evidently, no darkness at all; so there can be nothing
of the "extremes" mentioned. In the absence of the sun they have a
light from the earth equal to that of thirteen full moons.

The topography throughout, even when professing to accord with Blunt's
Lunar Chart, is entirely at variance with that or any other lunar
chart, and even grossly at variance with itself. The points of the
compass, too, are in inextricable confusion--the writer appearing to
be ignorant that, on a lunar map, these are not in accordance with
terrestrial points; the east being to the left, etc.

Deceived, perhaps, by the vague titles, Mare Nubium, Mare
Tranquillitatis, Mare Foecunditatis, etc., given to the dark spots by
former astronomers, Mr. L. has entered into long details regarding
oceans and other large bodies of water in the moon; whereas there is
no astronomical point more positively ascertained than that no such
bodies exist there. In examining the boundary between light and
darkness (in a crescent or gibbous moon) where this boundary crosses
any of the dark places, the line of division is found to be rough and
jagged--but were these dark places liquid, it would evidently be even.

The description of the wings of the man-bat, on page 21, is but a
literal copy of Peter Wilkins' account of the wings of his flying
islanders. This simple fact should have induced suspicion, at least,
it might be thought.

On page 23, we have the following. "What a prodigious influence must
our thirteen times larger globe have exercised upon this satellite
when an embryo in the womb of time, the passive subject of chemical
affinity!" This is very fine--but it should be observed that no
astronomer would have made such remark, especially to any Journal of
Science--for the earth, in the sense intended, is not only 13, but 49
times larger than the moon. A similar objection applies to the whole
of the concluding pages, where, by way of introduction to some
discoveries in Saturn, the philosophical correspondent enters into a
minute schoolboy account of that planet--this to the Edinburgh Journal
of Science!

But there is one point, in particular, which should have discovered
the fiction. Let us imagine the power actually possessed of seeing
animals upon the moon's surface--what would first arrest the attention
of an observer from the earth? Certainly neither their shape, size,
nor any other such peculiarity, so soon as their remarkable situation.
They would appear to be walking with heels up and head down, in the
manner of flies on a ceiling. The real observer would have uttered an
instant ejaculation of surprise (however prepared by previous
knowledge) at the singularity of their position; the fictitious
observer has not even mentioned the subject at all, but speaks of
seeing the entire bodies of such creatures, when it is demonstrable
that he could have seen only the diameter of their heads!

It might as well be remarked, in conclusion, that the size, and
particularly the powers of the man-bats (for example, their ability to
fly in so rare an atmosphere--if indeed the moon have any)--with most
of the other fancies in regard to animal and vegetable existence, are
at variance, generally, with all analogical reasoning on these themes;
and that analogy here will often amount to conclusive demonstration.
It is, perhaps, scarcely necessary to add, that all the suggestions
attributed to Brewster and Herschell, in the beginning of the article,
about "a transfusion of artificial light through the focal object of
vision," etc., etc., belong to that species of figurative writing
which comes, most properly, under the denomination of rigmarole.

I have lately read a singular and somewhat ingenious little book,
whose title page runs thus--"L'Homme dans la lvne, ou le Voyage
Chimerique fait au Monde de la Lvne, nouuellement decouuert par
Dominique Gonzales, Aduanturier Espagnol, autremt dit le Courier
volant. Mis en notre langve par J. B. D. A. Paris, chez Franois Piot,
pres la Fontaine de Saint Benoist. Et chez J. Goignard, au premier
pilier de la grand' salle du Palais, proche les Consultations,
MDCXLVIII." pp. 176.

The writer professes to have translated his work from the English of
one Mister D'Avisson (Davidson?) although there is a terrible
ambiguity in the statement. "I'en ai eu," says he, "l'original de
Monsieur D'Avisson, medecin des mieux versez qui soient aujourd'huy
dans la cnoissance des Belles Lettres, et sur tout de la Philosophie
Naturelle. Je lui ai cette obligation entre les autres, de m'auoir non
seulement mis en main ce Livre en anglois, mais encore le Manuscrit du
Sieur Thomas D'Anan, gentilhomme Eccossois, recommandable pour sa
vertu, sur la version duquel j'advoue que j'ay tir le plan de la

After some irrelevant adventures, much in the manner of Gil Blas, and
which occupy the first thirty pages, the author relates that, being
ill during a sea-voyage, the crew abandoned him, together with a negro
servant, on the island St. Helena. To increase the chances of
obtaining food, the two separate, and live as far apart as possible.
This brings about a training of birds, to serve the purpose of
carrier-pigeons between them. By-and-by these are taught to carry
parcels of some weight--and this weight is gradually increased. At
length the idea is entertained of uniting the force of a great number
of the birds, with a view to raising the author himself. A machine is
contrived for the purpose, and we have a minute description of it,
which is materially helped out by a steel engraving. Here we perceive
the Signor Gonzales, with point ruffles and a huge periwig, seated
astride something which resembles very closely a broomstick, and borne
aloft by a multitude of wild swans (ganzas) who have strings reaching
from their tails to the machine.

The main event detailed in the Signor's narrative depends upon a very
important fact, of which the reader is kept in ignorance until near
the end of the book. The ganzas, with whom he had become so familiar,
were not really denizens of St. Helena, but of the moon. Thence it had
been their custom, time out of mind, to migrate annually to some
portion of the earth. In proper season, of course, they would return
home; and the author happening, one day, to require their services for
a short voyage, is unexpectedly carried straight up, and in a very
brief period arrives at the satellite. Here he finds, among other odd
things, that the people enjoy extreme happiness; that they have no
law; that they die without pain; that they range from ten to thirty
feet in height; that they live five thousand years; that they have an
emperor called Irdonozur; and that they can jump sixty feet high,
when, being out of the gravitating influence, they fly about with

I cannot forbear giving a specimen of the general philosophy of the

"I must now declare to you," says the Signor Gonzales, "the nature of
the place in which I found myself. All the clouds were beneath my
feet, or, if you please, spread between me and the earth. As to the
stars, since there was no night where I was, they always had the same
appearance; not brilliant, as usual, but pale, and very nearly like
the moon of a morning. But few of them were visible, and these ten
times larger (as well as I could judge) than they seem to the
inhabitants of the earth. The moon, which wanted two days of being
full, was of a terrible bigness.

"I must not forget here, that the stars appeared only on that side of
the globe turned towards the moon, and that the closer they were to it
the larger they seemed. I have also to inform you that, whether it was
calm weather or stormy, I found myself always immediately between the
moon and the earth. I was convinced of this for two reasons--because
my birds always flew in a straight line; and because, whenever we
attempted to rest, we were carried insensibly around the globe of the
earth. For I admit the opinion of Copernicus, who maintains that it
never ceases to revolve from the east to the west, not upon the poles
of the Equinoctial, commonly called the poles of the world, but upon
those of the Zodiac--a question of which I propose to speak more at
length hereafter, when I shall have leisure to refresh my memory in
regard to the astrology which I learned at Salamanca when young, and
have since forgotten."

Notwithstanding the blunder italicised, which 'is no doubt a mere
lapsus lingu, the book is not without some claim to attention, as
affording a nve specimen of the current astronomical notions of the
time. One of these assumed, that the "gravitating power" extended but
a short distance from the earth's surface--and, accordingly, we find
our voyager "carried insensibly around the globe," etc.


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