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for the union-jack. Just then I was glad to see
Dr. Reasono advancing towards us, surrounded by
a group of attentive listeners, all of whom, by their
years, gravity and deportment, I made no question
were savans. As he drew near. I found he was



THE MONIKINS. 249

discoursing of the marvels of his late voyage
When within six feet of us the whole party stopped,
the Doctor continuing to descant, witn a verv
proper gesticulation, and in a way to show that his
subject was of infinite interest to his listeners.
Accidentally turning his eye in our direction, he
caught a glimpse of our figures, and making a few
hurried apologies to those around him, the excel
lent philosopher came eagerly forward, with both
hands extended. Here was a difference, indeed,
between his treatment and that of Lord Chatterino
and the duenna! The salutation was warmly
returned; and the Doctor and myself stepped a
little apart, as he lost no time in informing me he
wished to say a word in private.

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

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

" Beyond a doubt, sir, or what would our civili
zation be worth ? As to the King's Majesty, we
always deal in the most direct ambiguities. Now



THE MONIKIIfS.

as respects many of our ceremonies, the sovereign
is known morally to be present, when he may be
actually and physically eating his dinner at the
other extremity of the island ; this important illus
tration of the royal ubiquity is effected by means of
a legal fiction. On the other hand, the King often
indulges his natural propensities, such as curiosity,
love of fun, or detestation of ennui, by coming
in person, when, by the court-fiction, he is thought
to be seated on his throne, in his own royal palace.
Oh! as to all these little accomplishments and graces
in the art of Truths, we are behind no people in the
universe !"

" I beg pardon, Doctor so his Majesty is ex
pected to be at the academy, this morning?"

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

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

" You cannot say no, Sir John ; for, should his
Majesty hear that you have refused to come to a
meeting at which he is to be present, it would



THE MOWIKJIfS. 251

seriously, and, I might add, justly offend him :
nor could I Answer for the consequences."

" Why, I was told that all the power was in tha
hands of his Majesty's eldest first-cousin of the mas
culine gender; in which case I thought I might
snap my fingers at his Majesty himself."

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

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



THE MOKIKINS.



CHAPTER XYI.

Ar inn Debts paid in advance, and a singular touch of human
nature found closely incorporated with monikin nature.

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

No. 1 parti-color and friends

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

Balance due p. p. 250



THE M01UKINS. 253

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

" Harkee, my nimble-go-hop," put in the seaman,
" what is your pleasure i"

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

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

" Promises, of course, your honor."

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

" Nothing more, sir. With that sum you shall
dine like noblemen ay, sir, like aldermen."

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

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

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

We soon got into the current that was setting
towards our place of destination. On reaching the
gate, we found we were anxiously expected ; for
there was an attendant in waiting, who instantly
conducted us to the seats that were provided for
our special reception. It is always agreeable to be
among the privileged, and I must own that we were
all not a little flattered, on finding that an elevated
tribune had been prepared for us, in the centre ot
tne rotunda in which the academy held its sittings,
so that we could see, and be seen by, every indivi-
22



254 THE MOfflKIffS.

dual of the crowded assembly. The whole crew
even to the negro-cook, had preceded us; an addi
tional compliment, that I did not fail to acknowledge,
by suitable salutations to all the members present
After the first feelings of pleasure and surprise were
a little abated, I had leisure to look about me and
to survey the company.

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



THE MOWIKIBTS. 255

take pattern by me; promising, in the enJ, thai
their new friends would trebly prize their hardihood,
self-denial and skill.

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

After a short pause, and an abundance of felici
tations on his excellent and self-debasing discourse,
the newly-admitted member again rose, and began
to read an essay on some discoveries he had made
in the science of Latent Sympathies. According to
his account of the matter, every monikin possessed
a fluid which was invisible, like the animalcula
which pervade nature, and which required only



256 THE MONIKINS.

.o be Irought into command, and to be reduced to
more rigid laws, to become the substitutes for the
senses of sight, touch, taste, hearing and smelling.
This fluid was communicable ; and had already been
so far rendered subject to the will, as to make it of
service in seeing in the dark, in smelling when the
operator had a bad cold, in tasting when the palate
was down, and in touching by proxy. Ideas had
been transmitted, through its agency, sixty-two
leagues in one minute and a half. Two monikins,
who were afflicted with diseased tails, had, during
the last two years, been insulated and saturated,
*nd had then lost those embellishments, by opera
tions ; a quantity of the fluid having been substituted
in their places so happily, that the patients fancied
themselves more than ever conspicuous for the
jength and finesse of their cauda. An experi
ment had also been successfully tried on a member
of the lower house of parliament, who, being mar
ried to a monikina of unusual mind, had for a long
ime been supplied with ideas from this source,
although his partner was compelled to remain
it home, in order to superintend the management
vf their estate, forty-two miles from town, during
ihe whole session. He particularly recommended
10 government the promotion of this science, as it
might be useful in obtaining evidence for the pur
poses of justice, in detecting conspiracies, in col
lecting the taxe?, and in selecting candidates for
trusts of a responsible nature. The suggestion was
well received by the King's cousin, more especially
those parts that alluded to sedition and the revenue.
This essay was also perfectly well received by
the savans, lor I afterwards found very little came
amiss to the academy; and the members named
a committee forthwith, to examine into " the facts

_-j ii-'kiw



THE MONIKINS. 257

concerning invisible and unknown fluids, their agen
cy, importance, and relations to monikin happiness."

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

An experienced and seemingly much respected
member now arose to make the following propo
sal. He said it was known that the monikin species
was fast approaching perfection ; that the increase
of mind and the decrease of matter was so very
apparent as to admit of no denial ; that, in his own
case, he found his physical powers diminish daily
while his mental acquired new distinctness and
22*



258 THE MONIKINS.

force that he could no longer see without specta
cles, near without a tube, or taste without high-
seaso ling : from all this he inferred that they were
drawing near to some important change, and he
wished that portion of the science of Latent Sym
pathies which was connected with the unknown
fluid, just treated on, might be referred to a com
mittee of the whole, in order to make some provi
sion for the wants of a time when monikins should
finally lose their senses. There was nothing to say
against a proposition so plausible, and it was ac
cepted nemine conlradicente, with the exception of
a few in the minority.

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

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

First alluding to the admirable character of that
Leaphigh usage which prescribes the Journey of
Trial, our philosopher spoke of the manner in which
he had been selected to accompany my Lord Chat-
terino on an occasion so important to his future
hopes. He dwelt on the physical preparations, the
previous study, and the moral machinery that he



THE MONIKINS. 259

had employed with his pupil, before they quitted
town ; all of which, there is reason to think, were
well fitted to their objects, as he was constantly
interrupted by murmurs of applause. After some
time spent in dilating on these points, I had, at
length, the satisfaction to find him, Mrs. Lynx, and
their two wards, fairly setting out on a journey
which, as he very justly mentioned, proved " to be
pregnant with events of so much importance to
knowledge in general, to the happiness of the spe
cies, and to several highly interesting branches of
monikin science, in particular." I say the satisfac
tion, for, to own the truth, I was eager to witness
the effect that would be made on the monikin sen
sibilities, when he came to speak of my own dis
cernment in detecting their real characters beneath
the contumely and disgrace in which it had been
my good fortune to find them, the promptitude with
which I had stepped forward to their relief, and the
liberality and courage with which I had furnished
the means and encountered the risks, that were ne
cessary to restore them to their native land. The
anticipation of this human triumph could not but
diffuse a general satisfaction in our tribune, even
the common mariners, as they recalled the dangers
through which they had passed, feeling a conscious
ness of deserving, mingled with that soothing sen
timent which is ever the companion of a merited
reward. As the philosopher drew nearer to the
time when it would be necessary to speak of us, I
threw a look of triumph at Lord Chatterino, which,
however, failed of its intended effect, the young
peer continuing to whisper to his noble companions
" f h just as much self-importance and coolness as
// he had not been one of the rescued captives.

Dr. Reasono was justly celebrated, among his
colleagues, for ingenuity and eloquence. The ex



260 THE MOMKIJfS.

cellent morals that he threw in o evexy possible
opening of his subject, the beauty of the figures
with which they were illustrated, and the mascu
line tendencies of his argument, gave general de
light to the audience. The Journey of Trial was
made to appear, what it had been intended to be
by the fathers and sages of the Leaphigh institutions,
a probation replete with admonitions and instruc
tion. The aged and experienced, who had grown
callous by time, could not conceal their exultation;
the mature and suffering looked grave and full of
meditation ; while the young and sanguine fairly
trembled, and, for once, doubted. But, as the phi
losopher led his party from precipice to precipice
in safety, as rocks were scaled and seductive val
leys avoided, a common feeling of security began
to extend itself among the audience; and we all
followed him in his last experiment among the ice,
with that sort of blind confidence which the soldier
comes, in time, to entertain in the orders of a tried
and victorious general.

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

At length he reached the point in the narrative,
where the amiable wanderers fell in with the seal
ers, on that unknown island to which chance and



f THE MONIKINS. 261

an adverse fortune had unhappily led them, in their
pilgrimage. I had taken measures secretly to in
struct Mr. Poke and the rest of my companions, as
to the manner in which it became us to demean
ourselves, while the Doctor was acquainting the
academy with that first outrage committed by hu
man cupidity, or the seizure of himself and friends.
We were to rise, in a body, and, turning our faces
a little on one side, veil our eyes in sign of shame.
Less than this, it struck me, could scarcely be done,
without manifesting an improper indifference to
monikin rights ; and more than this, might have
been identifying ourselves with the particular indi
viduals of the species who had perpetrated the
wrong. But there was no occasion to exhibit this
delicate attention to our learned hosts. The Doc
tor, with a refinement of feeling that did credit,
indeed, to monikin civilization, gave an ingenious
turn to the whole affair, which at once removed all
cause of shame from our species ; and which, if it
left reason for any to blush, by a noble act of dis
interestedness, threw the entire onus of the obliga
tion on himself. Instead of dwelling on the ruth
less manner in which he and his friends had been
seized, the worthy Doctor very tranquilly informed
his listeners that, finding himself, by hazard, brought
in contact with another species, and that the means
of pushing important discoveries were unexpectedly
placed in his power ; conscious it had long been
a desideratum with the savans to obtain a nearer
view and more correct notions of human society;
believing he had a discretion in the matter of his
wards, and knowing that the inhabitants of Leap-
low, a republic which all disliked, were seriously
talking of sending out an expedition for this very
purpose, he had promptly decided to profit by
even's, to push inquiry to the extent of his abilities.



262 THE MOMKINS.

and to hazard all in the cause of learning and truth,
by at once engaging the vessel of the sealers, and
sail : ng, without dread of consequences, forthwith
into the very bosom of the world of man !

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

During the clamor, I took an opportunity to
express my satisfaction at the handsome manner
in which our friend the Doctor had passed over
an acknowledged human delinquency, and the inge
nuity with which he had turned the whole of the
unhappy transaction to the glory of Leaphigh.
Noah answered that the philosopher had certainly
" shown a knowledge of human natur', and he pre
sumed of monikin natur', in the matter; no one
would now dispute his statement, since, as he knew
by experience, no one was so likely to be set down
as a liar, as he who endeavored to unsettle the
good opinion that either a community or an indivi
dual entertained of himself. This was the way at



Online LibraryJames Fenimore CooperWorks (Volume 17) → online text (page 18 of 35)