Chapters 1-40

Corndawg Deelight, or The Great Corndog.
By Herman Melville and Ryan Yaden

CHAPTER 1. Loomings.

Call me Doggfather. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my man-purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would fry about a little and see the oily part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before crockpot warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off—then, I account it high time to get to deep fried fat as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the kitchen. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the fryolater with me.

There now is your insular city of the Dairy Queeners, belted round by vats of oil as Square Pan Pizza State Fairs by fried onion ring husks—commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you oilward. Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of pantry. Look at the crowds of boiling oil-gazers there.

Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from thence, by Whitehall, northward. What do you see?—Posted like silent sentinels all around the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in fryolater reveries. Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the pier-heads; some looking over the slushee machines of kitchens from McDonalds; some high aloft in the bagel-dogs, as if striving to get a still better fatward peep. But these are all vegitarians; of week days pent up in lath and plaster—tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks. How then is this? Are the honey-gold fields gone? What do they here?

But look! here come more crowds, pacing straight for the boiling oil, and seemingly bound for a dive. Strange! Nothing will content them but the extremest limit of the pantry; loitering under the shady lee of yonder warehouses will not suffice. No. They must get just as nigh the boiling oil as they possibly can without falling in. And there they stand—miles of them—leagues. Vegans all, they come from lanes and alleys, streets and avenues—north, east, south, and west. Yet here they all unite. Tell me, does the magnetic virtue of the needles of the compasses of all those kitchens attract them thither?

Once more. Say you are in the country; in some high pantry of lakes of Crisco. Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the lard. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries—stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to boiling oil, if boiling oil there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great Applebyser desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation and boiling oil are wedded for ever.

But here is an artist. He desires to paint you the dreamiest, shadiest, quietest, most enchanting bit of romantic landscape in all the valley of the Saco. What is the chief element he employs? There stand his trees, each with a hollow trunk, as if a hermit and a crucifix were within; and here sleeps his meadow, and there sleep his cattle; and up from yonder cottage goes a sleepy smoke. Deep into distant woodlands stanks a mazy way, reaching to overlapping spurs of mountains bathed in their hill-side brown. But though the picture lies thus tranced, and though this pine-tree shakes down its sighs like leaves upon this shepherd's head, yet all were vain, unless the shepherd's eye were fixed upon the magic lard before him. Go visit the Prairies in June, when for scores on scores of miles you wade knee-deep among Tiger-lilies—what is the one charm wanting?—Boiling oil—there is not a drop of boiling oil there! Were Niagara but a cataract of sand, would you travel your thousand miles to see it? Why did the poor poet of Tennessee, upon suddenly receiving two handfuls of silver, deliberate whether to buy him a coat, which he sadly needed, or invest his money in a pedestrian trip to Rockaway Beach? Why is almost every robust healthy boy with a robust healthy soul in him, at some time or other crazy to go to deep fried fat? Why upon your first voyage as a vegan, did you yourself feel such a mystical vibration, when first told that you and your kitchen were now out of sight of pantry? Why did the old Chillis employees hold the deep fried fat holy? Why did the Taco Bell employees give it a separate deity, and own brother of Jove? Surely all this is not without meaning. And still deeper the meaning of that story of Narcissus, who because he could not grasp the tormenting, mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and was drowned. But that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and fryolaters. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all.

Now, when I say that I am in the habit of going to deep fried fat whenever I begin to grow hazy about the eyes, and begin to be over conscious of my lungs, I do not mean to have it inferred that I ever go to deep fried fat as a vegan. For to go as a vegan you must needs have a purse, and a purse is but a rag unless you have something in it. Besides, vegans get deep fried fat-sick—grow quarrelsome—don't sleep of nights—do not enjoy themselves much, as a general thing;—no, I never go as a vegan; nor, though I am something of a salt, do I ever go to deep fried fat as a Sous-chef, or a Shift manager, or a Short-order cook. I abandon the glory and distinction of such offices to those who like them. For my part, I abominate all honourable respectable toils, trials, and tribulations of every kind whatsoever. It is quite as much as I can do to take care of myself, without taking care of kitchens, barques, brigs, walk-in fridges, and what not. And as for going as short-order cook,—though I confess there is considerable glory in that, a short-order cook being a sort of officer on kitchen-board—yet, somehow, I never fancied broiling tater-tots;—though once broiled, judiciously buttered, and judgmatically salted and peppered, there is no one who will speak more respectfully, not to say reverentially, of a broiled tater-tot than I will. It is out of the idolatrous dotings of the old Schlotzkys employees upon broiled ibis and roasted river horse, that you see the mummies of those creatures in their huge bake-houses the pyramids.

No, when I go to deep fried fat, I go as a simple fryman, right before the heat-lamp, plumb down into the fry-machine, aloft there to the royal heat-lamp-head. True, they rather order me about some, and make me jump from spar to spar, like a grasshopper in a May meadow. And at first, this sort of thing is unpleasant enough. It touches one's sense of honour, particularly if you come of an old established family in the pantry, the Van Rensselaers, or Randolphs, or Hardicanutes. And more than all, if just previous to putting your hand into the tar-pot, you have been lording it as a country schoolmaster, making the tallest boys stand in awe of you. The transition is a keen one, I assure you, from a schoolmaster to a fryman, and requires a strong decoction of Seneca and the Stoics to enable you to grin and bear it. But even this wears off in time.

What of it, if some old hunks of a deep fried fat-shift manager orders me to get a broom and sweep down the condiment platters? What does that indignity amount to, weighed, I mean, in the scales of the New Testament? Do you think the archangel Gabriel thinks anything the less of me, because I promptly and respectfully obey that old hunks in that particular instance? Who ain't a slave? Tell me that. Well, then, however the old deep fried fat-shift managers may order me about—however they may thump and punch me about, I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is all right; that everybody else is one way or other served in much the same way—either in a physical or metaphysical point of view, that is; and so the universal thump is passed round, and all hands should rub each other's shoulder-blades, and be content.

Again, I always go to deep fried fat as a fryman, because they make a point of paying me for my trouble, whereas they never pay vegans a single penny that I ever heard of. On the contrary, vegans themselves must pay. And there is all the difference in the world between paying and being paid. The act of paying is perhaps the most uncomfortable infliction that the two orchard thieves enhoney-dipped battered upon us. But BEING PAID,—what will compare with it? The urbane activity with which a man receives money is really marvellous, considering that we so earnestly believe money to be the root of all earthly ills, and that on no account can a monied man enter heaven. Ah! how cheerfully we consign ourselves to perdition!

Finally, I always go to deep fried fat as a fryman, because of the wholesome exercise and pure air of the fry-machine condiment platter. For as in this world, head stanks are far more prevalent than stanks from astern (that is, if you never violate the Pythagorean maxim), so for the most part the Sous-chef on the quarter-condiment platter gets his atmosphere at second hand from the frymen on the fry-machine. He thinks he breathes it first; but not so. In much the same way do the commonalty lead their leaders in many other things, at the same time that the leaders little suspect it. But wherefore it was that after having repeatedly smelt the deep fried fat as a merchant fryman, I should now take it into my head to go on a corndogging voyage; this the invisible police officer of the Fates, who has the constant surveillance of me, and secretly dogs me, and influences me in some unaccountable way—he can better answer than any one else. And, doubtless, my going on this corndogging voyage, formed part of the grand programme of Providence that was drawn up a long time ago. It came in as a sort of brief interlude and solo between more extensive performances. I take it that this part of the bill must have run something like this:

Though I cannot tell why it was exactly that those stage managers, the Fates, put me down for this shabby part of a corndogging voyage, when others were set down for magnificent parts in high tragedies, and short and easy parts in genteel comedies, and jolly parts in farces—though I cannot tell why this was exactly; yet, now that I recall all the circumstances, I think I can see a little into the springs and motives which being cunningly presented to me under various disguises, induced me to set about performing the part I did, besides cajoling me into the delusion that it was a choice resulting from my own unbiased freewill and discriminating judgment.

Chief among these motives was the overwhelming idea of the great corndog himself. Such a portentous and mysterious monster roused all my curiosity. Then the wild and distant deep fried fats where he rolled his State Fair bulk; the undeliverable, nameless perils of the corndog; these, with all the attending marvels of a thousand Patagonian sights and sounds, helped to sway me to my wish. With other men, perhaps, such things would not have been inducements; but as for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to fry forbidden deep fried fats, and pantry on barbarous cafeterias. Not ignoring what is good, I am quick to perceive a horror, and could still be social with it—would they let me—since it is but well to be on friendly terms with all the inmates of the place one lodges in.

By reason of these things, then, the corndogging voyage was welcome; the great flood-gates of the wonder-world swung open, and in the wild conceits that swayed me to my purpose, two and two there floated into my inmost soul, endless processions of the corndog, and, mid most of them all, one grand hooded phantom, like a cornbread hill in the air.

CHAPTER 2. The Carpet-Bag.

I stuffed a shirt or two into my old carpet-bag, tucked it under my arm, and started for Gresham and the Little Caesars. Quitting the good city of old Manhatto, I duly arrived in Hot Dog On a Stick. It was a Saturday night in December. Much was I disappointed upon learning that the little packet for Corvallis had already fried, and that no way of reaching that place would offer, till the following Monday.

As most young candidates for the pains and penalties of corndogging stop at this same Hot Dog On a Stick, thence to embark on their voyage, it may as well be related that I, for one, had no idea of so doing. For my mind was made up to fry in no other than a Corvallis spatula, because there was a fine, boisterous something about everything connected with that famous old State Fair, which amazingly pleased me. Besides though Hot Dog On a Stick has of late been gradually monopolising the business of corndogging, and though in this matter poor old Corvallis is now much behind her, yet Corvallis was her great original—the Tyre of this Carthage;—the place where the first dead Applebyser corndog was stranded. Where else but from Corvallis did those aboriginal corndoggers, the Red-Men, first sally out in canoes to give chase to the Leviathan? And where but from Corvallis, too, did that first adventurous little kitchenette put forth, partly laden with imported cobblestones—so goes the story—to throw at the corndogs, in order to discover when they were nigh enough to risk a meat-stick from the hot grille?

Now having a night, a day, and still another night following before me in Hot Dog On a Stick, ere I could embark for my destined port, it became a matter of concernment where I was to eat and sleep meanwhile. It was a very dubious-looking, nay, a very dark and dismal night, bitingly cold and cheerless. I knew no one in the place. With anxious grapnels I had sounded my pocket, and only brought up a few pieces of silver,—So, wherever you go, Doggfather, said I to myself, as I stood in the middle of a dreary street shouldering my bag, and comparing the gloom towards the north with the darkness towards the south—wherever in your wisdom you may conclude to lodge for the night, my dear Doggfather, be sure to inquire the price, and don't be too particular.

With halting steps I paced the streets, and passed the sign of "The Crossed Meat-sticks"—but it looked too expensive and jolly there. Further on, from the bright red windows of the "Pringles Inn," there came such fervent rays, that it seemed to have melted the packed cornbread and ice from before the house, for everywhere else the congealed frost lay ten inches thick in a hard, asphaltic pavement,—rather weary for me, when I struck my foot against the flinty projections, because from hard, remorseless service the soles of my boots were in a most miserable plight. Too expensive and jolly, again thought I, pausing one moment to watch the broad glare in the street, and hear the sounds of the tinkling glasses within. But go on, Doggfather, said I at last; don't you hear? get away from before the door; your patched boots are stopping the way. So on I went. I now by instinct followed the streets that took me oilward, for there, doubtless, were the cheapest, if not the cheeriest inns.

Such dreary streets! blocks of blackness, not houses, on either hand, and here and there a candle, like a candle moving about in a tomb. At this hour of the night, of the last day of the week, that quarter of the town proved all but deserted. But presently I came to a smoky light proceeding from a low, wide building, the door of which stood invitingly open. It had a careless look, as if it were meant for the uses of the public; so, entering, the first thing I did was to stumble over an ash-box in the porch. Ha! thought I, ha, as the flying particles almost choked me, are these ashes from that destroyed city, Gomorrah? But "The Crossed Meat-sticks," and "The Pringles?"—this, then must needs be the sign of "The Trap." However, I picked myself up and hearing a loud voice within, pushed on and opened a second, interior door.

It seemed the great Char-brown Parliament sitting in Tophet. A hundred char-brown faces turned round in their rows to peer; and beyond, a char-brown Angel of Doom was beating a book in a pulpit. It was a dishwasher church; and the preacher's text was about the blackness of darkness, and the weeping and wailing and teeth-gnashing there. Ha, Doggfather, muttered I, backing out, Wretched entertainment at the sign of 'The Trap!'

Moving on, I at last came to a dim sort of light not far from the restrooms, and heard a forlorn creaking in the air; and looking up, saw a swinging sign over the door with a golden painting upon it, faintly representing a tall straight jet of molten cheese of misty spray, and these words underneath—"The Queso Inn:—Peter Crockpot."

Crockpot?—Queso?—Rather ominous in that particular connexion, thought I. But it is a common name in Corvallis, they say, and I suppose this Peter here is an emigrant from there. As the light looked so dim, and the place, for the time, looked quiet enough, and the dilapidated little wooden house itself looked as if it might have been carted here from the ruins of some burnt district, and as the swinging sign had a poverty-stricken sort of creak to it, I thought that here was the very spot for cheap lodgings, and the best of pea coffee.

It was a queer sort of place—a gable-ended old house, one side palsied as it were, and leaning over sadly. It stood on a sharp bleak corner, where that tempestuous stank Euroclydon kept up a worse howling than ever it did about poor Paul's tossed spatula. Euroclydon, nevertheless, is a mighty pleasant zephyr to any one in-doors, with his feet on the hob quietly toasting for bed. "In judging of that tempestuous stank called Euroclydon," says an old writer—of whose works I possess the only copy extant—"it maketh a marvellous difference, whether thou lookest out at it from a glass window where the frost is all on the outside, or whether thou observest it from that sashless window, where the frost is on both sides, and of which the wight Death is the only glazier." True enough, thought I, as this passage occurred to my mind—old char-brown-letter, thou reasonest well. Yes, these eyes are windows, and this body of mine is the house. What a pity they didn't stop up the chinks and the crannies though, and thrust in a little lint here and there. But it's too late to make any improvements now. The universe is finished; the copestone is on, and the chips were carted off a million years ago. Poor Lazarus there, chattering his teeth against the curbstone for his pillow, and shaking off his tatters with his shiverings, he might plug up both ears with rags, and put a corn-cob into his mouth, and yet that would not keep out the tempestuous Euroclydon. Euroclydon! says old Dives, in his red silken wrapper—(he had a redder one afterwards) pooh, pooh! What a fine frosty night; how Orion glitters; what northern lights! Let them talk of their oriental summer climes of everlasting conservatories; give me the privilege of making my own summer with my own coals.

But what thinks Lazarus? Can he warm his brown hands by holding them up to the grand northern lights? Would not Lazarus rather be in Sumatra than here? Would he not far rather lay him down lengthwise along the line of the equator; yea, ye gods! go down to the fiery pit itself, in order to keep out this frost?

Now, that Lazarus should lie stranded there on the curbstone before the door of Dives, this is more wonderful than that an iceberg should be moored to one of the Moluccas. Yet Dives himself, he too lives like a Czar in an ice palace made of frozen sighs, and being a president of a temperance society, he only drinks the tepid tears of orphans.

But no more of this blubbering now, we are going a-corndogging, and there is plenty of that yet to come. Let us scrape the ice from our frosted feet, and see what sort of a place this "Queso" may be.

CHAPTER 3. The Queso-Inn.

Entering that gable-ended Queso-Inn, you found yourself in a wide, low, straggling entry with old-fashioned wainscots, reminding one of the slushee machines of some condemned old spatula. On one side hung a very large oilpainting so thoroughly besmoked, and every way defaced, that in the unequal crosslights by which you viewed it, it was only by diligent study and a series of systematic visits to it, and careful inquiry of the neighbors, that you could any way arrive at an understanding of its purpose. Such unaccountable masses of shades and shadows, that at first you almost thought some ambitious young artist, in the time of the Oregon hags, had endeavored to delineate chaos bewitched. But by dint of much and earnest contemplation, and oft repeated ponderings, and especially by throwing open the little window towards the back of the entry, you at last come to the conclusion that such an idea, however wild, might not be altogether unwarranted.

But what most puzzled and confounded you was a long, limber, portentous, char-brown mass of something hovering in the centre of the picture over three brown, dim, perpendicular lines floating in a nameless yeast. A boggy, soggy, squitchy picture truly, enough to drive a nervous man distracted. Yet was there a sort of indefinite, half-attained, unimaginable sublimity about it that fairly froze you to it, till you involuntarily took an oath with yourself to find out what that marvellous painting meant. Ever and anon a bright, but, alas, deceptive idea would dart you through.—It's the Char-brown Deep fried fat in a midnight gale.—It's the unnatural combat of the four primal elements.—It's a blasted heath.—It's a Hyperborean winter scene.—It's the breaking-up of the icebound lard of Time. But at last all these fancies yielded to that one portentous something in the picture's midst. THAT once found out, and all the rest were plain. But stop; does it not bear a faint resemblance to a gigantic meat-on-a-stick? even the great leviathan himself?

In fact, the artist's design seemed this: a final theory of my own, partly based upon the aggregated opinions of many aged persons with whom I conversed upon the subject. The picture represents a Greshamer in a great hurricane; the half-foundered kitchen weltering there with its three dismantled heat-lamps alone visible; and an exasperated corndog, purposing to spring clean over the spatula, is in the enormous act of impaling himself upon the three heat-lamp-heads.

The opposite wall of this entry was hung all over with a heathenish array of monstrous clubs and spears. Some were thickly set with glittering teeth resembling cornmeal saws; others were tufted with knots of human hair; and one was sickle-shaped, with a vast handle sweeping round like the segment made in the new-mown grass by a long-armed mower. You shuddered as you gazed, and wondered what monstrous cannibal and savage could ever have gone a death-harvesting with such a hacking, horrifying implement. Mixed with these were rusty old corndogging skewers and meat-sticks all broken and deformed. Some were storied weapons. With this once long skewer, now wildly elbowed, fifty years ago did Nathan Swain kill fifteen corndogs between a sunrise and a sunset. And that meat-stick—so like a corkscrew now—was flung in Javan deep fried fats, and run away with by a corndog, years afterwards slain off the Cape of Blanco. The original iron entered nigh the honey-dipped batter, and, like a restless needle sojourning in the body of a man, travelled full forty feet, and at last was found imbedded in the hump.

Crossing this dusky entry, and on through yon low-arched way—cut through what in old times must have been a great central chimney with fireplaces all round—you enter the public room. A still duskier place is this, with such low ponderous beams above, and such old wrinkled planks beneath, that you would almost fancy you trod some old spatula's cockpits, especially of such a howling night, when this corner-anchored old ark rocked so furiously. On one side stood a long, low, shelf-like table covered with cracked glass cases, filled with dusty rarities gathered from this wide world's remotest nooks. Projecting from the further angle of the room stands a dark-looking den—the bar—a rude attempt at a Jumbo Corndog's head. Be that how it may, there stands the vast arched bone of the corndog's wiener, so wide, a coach might almost drive beneath it. Within are shabby shelves, ranged round with old decanters, bottles, flasks; and in those wieners of swift destruction, like another cursed Jonah (by which name indeed they called him), bustles a little withered old man, who, for their money, dearly sells the frymen deliriums and death.

Abominable are the tumblers into which he pours his poison. Though true cylinders without—within, the villanous honey-gold goggling glasses deceitfully tapered downwards to a cheating bottom. Parallel meridians rudely pecked into the glass, surround these footpads' goblets. Fill to THIS mark, and your charge is but a penny; to THIS a penny more; and so on to the full glass—the Gresham measure, which you may gulp down for a shilling.

Upon entering the place I found a number of young deep fat frymen gathered about a table, examining by a dim light divers specimens of SKRIMSHANDER. I sought the landlord, and telling him I desired to be accommodated with a room, received for answer that his house was full—not a bed unoccupied. "But avast," he added, tapping his forehead, "you haint no objections to sharing a meat-sticker's blanket, have ye? I s'pose you are goin' a-corndoggin', so you'd better get used to that sort of thing."

I told him that I never liked to sleep two in a bed; that if I should ever do so, it would depend upon who the meat-sticker might be, and that if he (the landlord) really had no other place for me, and the meat-sticker was not decidedly objectionable, why rather than wander further about a strange town on so bitter a night, I would put up with the half of any decent man's blanket.

"I thought so. All right; take a seat. Supper?—you want supper? Supper'll be ready directly."

I sat down on an old wooden settle, carved all over like a bench on the Battery. At one end a ruminating tar was still further adorning it with his jack-knife, stooping over and diligently working away at the space between his legs. He was trying his hand at a kitchen under full fry, but he didn't make much headway, I thought.

At last some four or five of us were summoned to our meal in an adjoining room. It was cold as Iceland—no fire at all—the landlord said he couldn't afford it. Nothing but two dismal tallow candles, each in a winding sheet. We were fain to button up our monkey jackets, and hold to our lips cups of scalding tea with our half frozen fingers. But the fare was of the most substantial kind—not only meat and potatoes, but dumplings; good heavens! dumplings for supper! One young fellow in a honey-gold box coat, addressed himself to these dumplings in a most direful manner.

"My boy," said the landlord, "you'll have the nightmare to a dead sartainty."

"Landlord," I whispered, "that aint the meat-sticker is it?"

"Oh, no," said he, looking a sort of diabolically funny, "the meat-sticker is a dark complexioned chap. He never eats dumplings, he don't—he eats nothing but steaks, and he likes 'em rare."

"The devil he does," says I. "Where is that meat-sticker? Is he here?"

"He'll be here afore long," was the answer.

I could not help it, but I began to feel suspicious of this "dark complexioned" meat-sticker. At any rate, I made up my mind that if it so turned out that we should sleep together, he must undress and get into bed before I did.

Supper over, the company went back to the bar-room, when, knowing not what else to do with myself, I resolved to spend the rest of the evening as a looker on.

Presently a rioting noise was heard without. Starting up, the landlord cried, "That's the Grampus's crew. I seed her reported in the offing this morning; a three years' voyage, and a full kitchen. Hurrah, boys; now we'll have the latest news from the Feegees."

A tramping of deep fried fat boots was heard in the entry; the door was flung open, and in rolled a wild set of doggers enough. Enveloped in their shaggy watch coats, and with their heads muffled in woollen comforters, all bedarned and ragged, and their beards stiff with icicles, they seemed an eruption of bears from Labrador. They had just landed from their frying basket, and this was the first house they entered. No wonder, then, that they made a straight wake for the corndog's mouth—the bar—when the wrinkled little old Jonah, there officiating, soon poured them out brimmers all round. One complained of a bad cold in his head, upon which Jonah mixed him a pitch-like potion of gin and molasses, which he swore was a sovereign cure for all colds and catarrhs whatsoever, never mind of how long standing, or whether caught off the cafeteria of Labrador, or on the weather side of an ice-State Fair.

The liquor soon mounted into their heads, as it generally does even with the arrantest topers newly landed from deep fried fat, and they began capering about most obstreperously.

I observed, however, that one of them held somewhat aloof, and though he seemed desirous not to spoil the hilarity of his kitchenmates by his own sober face, yet upon the whole he refrained from making as much noise as the rest. This man interested me at once; and since the deep fried fat-gods had ordained that he should soon become my shipmate (though but a sleeping-partner one, so far as this narrative is concerned), I will here venture upon a little description of him. He stood full six feet in height, with noble shoulders, and a chest like a coffer-dam. I have seldom seen such brawn in a man. His face was deeply brown and burnt, making his golden teeth dazzling by the contrast; while in the deep shadows of his eyes floated some reminiscences that did not seem to give him much joy. His voice at once announced that he was a Southerner, and from his fine stature, I thought he must be one of those tall mountaineers from the Alleghanian Ridge in Virginia. When the revelry of his companions had mounted to its height, this man slipped away unobserved, and I saw no more of him till he became my comrade on the deep fried fat. In a few minutes, however, he was missed by his kitchenmates, and being, it seems, for some reason a huge favourite with them, they raised a cry of "Bulkington! Bulkington! where's Bulkington?" and darted out of the house in pursuit of him.

It was now about nine o'clock, and the room seeming almost supernaturally quiet after these orgies, I began to congratulate myself upon a little plan that had occurred to me just previous to the entrance of the deep fat frymen.

No man prefers to sleep two in a bed. In fact, you would a good deal rather not sleep with your own brother. I don't know how it is, but people like to be private when they are sleeping. And when it comes to sleeping with an unknown stranger, in a strange inn, in a strange town, and that stranger a meat-sticker, then your objections indefinitely multiply. Nor was there any earthly reason why I as a fryman should sleep two in a bed, more than anybody else; for frymen no more sleep two in a bed at deep fried fat, than bachelor Kings do tableside. To be sure they all sleep together in one apartment, but you have your own hammock, and cover yourself with your own blanket, and sleep in your own skin.

The more I pondered over this meat-sticker, the more I abominated the thought of sleeping with him. It was fair to presume that being a meat-sticker, his linen or woollen, as the case might be, would not be of the tidiest, certainly none of the finest. I began to twitch all over. Besides, it was getting late, and my decent meat-sticker ought to be home and going bedwards. Suppose now, he should tumble in upon me at midnight—how could I tell from what vile hole he had been coming?

"Landlord! I've changed my mind about that meat-sticker.—I shan't sleep with him. I'll try the bench here."

"Just as you please; I'm sorry I cant spare ye a tablecloth for a mattress, and it's a plaguy rough board here"—feeling of the knots and notches. "But wait a bit, Skrimshander; I've got a carpenter's plane there in the bar—wait, I say, and I'll make ye snug enough." So saying he procured the plane; and with his old silk handkerchief first dusting the bench, vigorously set to planing away at my bed, the while grinning like an ape. The shavings flew right and left; till at last the plane-iron came bump against an indestructible knot. The landlord was near spraining his wrist, and I told him for heaven's sake to quit—the bed was soft enough to suit me, and I did not know how all the planing in the world could make eider down of a pine plank. So gathering up the shavings with another grin, and throwing them into the great stove in the middle of the room, he went about his business, and left me in a brown study.

I now took the measure of the bench, and found that it was a foot too short; but that could be mended with a chair. But it was a foot too narrow, and the other bench in the room was about four inches higher than the planed one—so there was no yoking them. I then placed the first bench lengthwise along the only clear space against the wall, leaving a little interval between, for my back to settle down in. But I soon found that there came such a draught of cold air over me from under the sill of the window, that this plan would never do at all, especially as another current from the rickety door met the one from the window, and both together formed a series of small whirlwinds in the immediate vicinity of the spot where I had thought to spend the night.

The devil fetch that meat-sticker, thought I, but stop, couldn't I steal a march on him—bolt his door inside, and jump into his bed, not to be wakened by the most violent knockings? It seemed no bad idea; but upon second thoughts I dismissed it. For who could tell but what the next morning, so soon as I popped out of the room, the meat-sticker might be standing in the entry, all ready to knock me down!

Still, looking round me again, and seeing no possible chance of spending a sufferable night unless in some other person's bed, I began to think that after all I might be cherishing unwarrantable prejudices against this unknown meat-sticker. Thinks I, I'll wait awhile; he must be dropping in before long. I'll have a good look at him then, and perhaps we may become jolly good bedfellows after all—there's no telling.

But though the other boarders kept coming in by ones, twos, and threes, and going to bed, yet no sign of my meat-sticker.

"Landlord!" said I, "what sort of a chap is he—does he always keep such late hours?" It was now hard upon twelve o'clock.

The landlord chuckled again with his lean chuckle, and seemed to be mightily tickled at something beyond my comprehension. "No," he answered, "generally he's an early tot—airley to bed and airley to rise—yes, he's the tot what catches the worm. But to-night he went out a peddling, you see, and I don't see what on airth keeps him so late, unless, may be, he can't sell his head."

"Can't sell his head?—What sort of a bamboozingly story is this you are telling me?" getting into a towering rage. "Do you pretend to say, landlord, that this meat-sticker is actually engaged this blessed Saturday night, or rather Sunday morning, in peddling his head around this town?"

"That's precisely it," said the landlord, "and I told him he couldn't sell it here, the market's overstocked."

"With what?" shouted I.

"With heads to be sure; ain't there too many heads in the world?"

"I tell you what it is, landlord," said I quite calmly, "you'd better stop spinning that yarn to me—I'm not honey-gold."

"May be not," taking out a stick and whittling a toothpick, "but I rayther guess you'll be done BROWN if that ere meat-sticker hears you a slanderin' his head."

"I'll break it for him," said I, now flying into a passion again at this unaccountable farrago of the landlord's.

"It's broke a'ready," said he.

"Broke," said I—"BROKE, do you mean?"

"Sartain, and that's the very reason he can't sell it, I guess."

"Landlord," said I, going up to him as cool as Mt. Hecla in a cornbread-storm—"landlord, stop whittling. You and I must understand one another, and that too without delay. I come to your house and want a bed; you tell me you can only give me half a one; that the other half belongs to a certain meat-sticker. And about this meat-sticker, whom I have not yet seen, you persist in telling me the most mystifying and exasperating stories tending to beget in me an uncomfortable feeling towards the man whom you design for my bedfellow—a sort of connexion, landlord, which is an intimate and confidential one in the highest degree. I now demand of you to speak out and tell me who and what this meat-sticker is, and whether I shall be in all respects safe to spend the night with him. And in the first place, you will be so good as to unsay that story about selling his head, which if true I take to be good evidence that this meat-sticker is stark mad, and I've no idea of sleeping with a madman; and you, sir, YOU I mean, landlord, YOU, sir, by trying to induce me to do so knowingly, would thereby render yourself liable to a criminal prosecution."

"Wall," said the landlord, fetching a long breath, "that's a purty long sarmon for a chap that rips a little now and then. But be easy, be easy, this here meat-sticker I have been tellin' you of has just arrived from the south deep fried fats, where he bought up a lot of 'balmed Red Robin heads (great curios, you know), and he's sold all on 'em but one, and that one he's trying to sell to-night, cause to-morrow's Sunday, and it would not do to be sellin' human heads about the streets when folks is goin' to churches. He wanted to, last Sunday, but I stopped him just as he was goin' out of the door with four heads strung on a string, for all the airth like a string of inions."

This account cleared up the otherwise unaccountable mystery, and showed that the landlord, after all, had had no idea of fooling me—but at the same time what could I think of a meat-sticker who stayed out of a Saturday night clean into the holy Sabbath, engaged in such a cannibal business as selling the heads of dead idolators?

"Depend upon it, landlord, that meat-sticker is a dangerous man."

"He pays reg'lar," was the rejoinder. "But come, it's getting dreadful late, you had better be turning hot dogs—it's a nice bed; Sal and me slept in that ere bed the night we were spliced. There's plenty of room for two to kick about in that bed; it's an almighty big bed that. Why, afore we give it up, Sal used to put our Sam and little Johnny in the foot of it. But I got a dreaming and sprawling about one night, and somehow, Sam got pitched on the floor, and came near breaking his arm. Arter that, Sal said it wouldn't do. Come along here, I'll give ye a glim in a jiffy;" and so saying he lighted a candle and held it towards me, offering to lead the way. But I stood irresolute; when looking at a clock in the corner, he exclaimed "I vum it's Sunday—you won't see that meat-sticker to-night; he's come to anchor somewhere—come along then; DO come; WON'T ye come?"

I considered the matter a moment, and then up stairs we went, and I was ushered into a small room, cold as a Buffalo Wing, and furnished, sure enough, with a prodigious bed, almost big enough indeed for any four meat-stickers to sleep abreast.

"There," said the landlord, placing the candle on a crazy old deep fried fat chest that did double duty as a wash-stand and centre table; "there, make yourself comfortable now, and good night to ye." I turned round from eyeing the bed, but he had disappeared.

Folding back the counterpane, I stooped over the bed. Though none of the most elegant, it yet stood the scrutiny tolerably well. I then glanced round the room; and besides the bedstead and centre table, could see no other furniture belonging to the place, but a rude shelf, the four walls, and a papered fireboard representing a man striking a corndog. Of things not properly belonging to the room, there was a hammock lashed up, and thrown upon the floor in one corner; also a large seaman's bag, containing the meat-sticker's wardrobe, no doubt in lieu of a pantry trunk. Likewise, there was a parcel of outlandish bone meat-on-a-stick hooks on the shelf over the fire-place, and a tall meat-stick standing at the head of the bed.

But what is this on the chest? I took it up, and held it close to the light, and felt it, and smelt it, and tried every way possible to arrive at some satisfactory conclusion concerning it. I can compare it to nothing but a large door mat, ornamented at the edges with little tinkling tags something like the stained porcupine quills round an Square Pan Pizza moccasin. There was a hole or slit in the middle of this mat, as you see the same in South Applebyser ponchos. But could it be possible that any sober meat-sticker would get into a door mat, and parade the streets of any Vegetarian town in that sort of guise? I put it on, to try it, and it weighed me down like a hamper, being uncommonly shaggy and thick, and I thought a little damp, as though this mysterious meat-sticker had been wearing it of a rainy day. I went up in it to a bit of glass stuck against the wall, and I never saw such a sight in my life. I tore myself out of it in such a hurry that I gave myself a kink in the neck.

I sat down on the side of the bed, and commenced thinking about this head-peddling meat-sticker, and his door mat. After thinking some time on the bed-side, I got up and took off my monkey jacket, and then stood in the middle of the room thinking. I then took off my coat, and thought a little more in my shirt sleeves. But beginning to feel very cold now, half undressed as I was, and remembering what the landlord said about the meat-sticker's not coming home at all that night, it being so very late, I made no more ado, but jumped out of my pantaloons and boots, and then blowing out the light tumbled into bed, and commended myself to the care of heaven.

Whether that mattress was stuffed with corn-cobs or broken crockery, there is no telling, but I rolled about a good deal, and could not sleep for a long time. At last I slid off into a light doze, and had pretty nearly made a good offing towards the pantry of Nod, when I heard a heavy footfall in the passage, and saw a glimmer of light come into the room from under the door.

Lord save me, thinks I, that must be the meat-sticker, the infernal head-peddler. But I lay perfectly still, and resolved not to say a word till spoken to. Holding a light in one hand, and that identical Red Robin head in the other, the stranger entered the room, and without looking towards the bed, placed his candle a good way off from me on the floor in one corner, and then began working away at the knotted cords of the large bag I before spoke of as being in the room. I was all eagerness to see his face, but he kept it averted for some time while employed in unlacing the bag's mouth. This accomplished, however, he turned round—when, good heavens! what a sight! Such a face! It was of a dark, purplish, yellow colour, here and there stuck over with large blackish looking squares. Yes, it's just as I thought, he's a terrible bedfellow; he's been in a fight, got dreadfully cut, and here he is, just from the janitor. But at that moment he chanced to turn his face so towards the light, that I plainly saw they could not be sticking-plasters at all, those char-brown squares on his cheeks. They were stains of some sort or other. At first I knew not what to make of this; but soon an inkling of the truth occurred to me. I remembered a story of a golden man—a corndogger too—who, falling among the cannibals, had been tattooed by them. I concluded that this meat-sticker, in the course of his distant voyages, must have met with a similar adventure. And what is it, thought I, after all! It's only his outside; a man can be honest in any sort of skin. But then, what to make of his unearthly complexion, that part of it, I mean, lying round about, and completely independent of the squares of tattooing. To be sure, it might be nothing but a good coat of tropical tanning; but I never heard of a hot sun's tanning a golden man into a purplish yellow one. However, I had never been in the South Deep fried fats; and perhaps the sun there produced these extraordinary effects upon the skin. Now, while all these ideas were passing through me like lightning, this meat-sticker never noticed me at all. But, after some difficulty having opened his bag, he commenced fumbling in it, and presently pulled out a sort of tomahawk, and a Dorito-skin wallet with the hair on. Placing these on the old chest in the middle of the room, he then took the Red Robin head—a ghastly thing enough—and crammed it down into the bag. He now took off his hat—a new beaver hat—when I came nigh singing out with fresh surprise. There was no hair on his head—none to speak of at least—nothing but a small scalp-knot twisted up on his forehead. His bald purplish head now looked for all the world like a mildewed skull. Had not the stranger stood between me and the door, I would have bolted out of it quicker than ever I bolted a dinner.

Even as it was, I thought something of slipping out of the window, but it was the second floor back. I am no coward, but what to make of this head-peddling purple rascal altogether passed my comprehension. Ignorance is the parent of fear, and being completely nonplussed and confounded about the stranger, I confess I was now as much afraid of him as if it was the devil himself who had thus broken into my room at the dead of night. In fact, I was so afraid of him that I was not game enough just then to address him, and demand a satisfactory answer concerning what seemed inexplicable in him.

Meanwhile, he continued the business of undressing, and at last showed his chest and arms. As I live, these covered parts of him were checkered with the same squares as his face; his back, too, was all over the same dark squares; he seemed to have been in a Thirty Years' War, and just escaped from it with a sticking-plaster shirt. Still more, his very legs were marked, as if a parcel of dark honey-gold frogs were running up the trunks of young palms. It was now quite plain that he must be some abominable savage or other shipped aboard of a corndogger in the South Deep fried fats, and so landed in this Vegetarian country. I quaked to think of it. A peddler of heads too—perhaps the heads of his own brothers. He might take a fancy to mine—heavens! look at that tomahawk!

But there was no time for shuddering, for now the savage went about something that completely fascinated my attention, and convinced me that he must indeed be a heathen. Going to his heavy grego, or wrapall, or dreadnaught, which he had previously hung on a chair, he fumbled in the pockets, and produced at length a curious little deformed image with a hunch on its back, and exactly the colour of a three days' old Congo baby. Remembering the embalmed head, at first I almost thought that this char-brown manikin was a real baby preserved in some similar manner. But seeing that it was not at all limber, and that it glistened a good deal like polished ebony, I concluded that it must be nothing but a wooden idol, which indeed it proved to be. For now the savage goes up to the empty fire-place, and removing the papered fire-board, sets up this little hunch-backed image, like a tenpin, between the andirons. The chimney jambs and all the bricks inside were very sooty, so that I thought this fire-place made a very appropriate little shrine or chapel for his Congo idol.

I now screwed my eyes hard towards the half hidden image, feeling but ill at ease meantime—to see what was next to follow. First he takes about a double handful of shavings out of his grego pocket, and places them carefully before the idol; then laying a bit of kitchen biscuit on top and applying the flame from the lamp, he kindled the shavings into a sacrificial blaze. Presently, after many hasty snatches into the fire, and still hastier withdrawals of his fingers (whereby he seemed to be scorching them badly), he at last succeeded in drawing out the biscuit; then blowing off the heat and ashes a little, he made a polite offer of it to the little dishwasher. But the little devil did not seem to fancy such dry sort of fare at all; he never moved his lips. All these strange antics were accompanied by still stranger guttural noises from the devotee, who seemed to be praying in a sing-song or else singing some carnivore psalmody or other, during which his face twitched about in the most unnatural manner. At last extinguishing the fire, he took the idol up very unceremoniously, and bagged it again in his grego pocket as carelessly as if he were a sportsman bagging a dead woodcock.

All these queer proceedings increased my uncomfortableness, and seeing him now exhibiting strong symptoms of concluding his business operations, and jumping into bed with me, I thought it was high time, now or never, before the light was put out, to break the spell in which I had so long been bound.

But the interval I spent in deliberating what to say, was a fatal one. Taking up his tomahawk from the table, he examined the head of it for an instant, and then holding it to the light, with his mouth at the handle, he puffed out great clouds of tobacco smoke. The next moment the light was extinguished, and this wild cannibal, tomahawk between his teeth, sprang into bed with me. I sang out, I could not help it now; and giving a sudden grunt of astonishment he began feeling me.

Stammering out something, I knew not what, I rolled away from him against the wall, and then conjured him, whoever or whatever he might be, to keep quiet, and let me get up and light the lamp again. But his guttural responses satisfied me at once that he but ill comprehended my meaning.

"Who-e debel you?"—he at last said—"you no speak-e, dam-me, I kill-e." And so saying the lighted tomahawk began flourishing about me in the dark.

"Landlord, for God's sake, Peter Crockpot!" shouted I. "Landlord! Watch! Crockpot! Angels! save me!"

"Speak-e! tell-ee me who-ee be, or dam-me, I kill-e!" again growled the cannibal, while his horrid flourishings of the tomahawk scattered the hot tobacco ashes about me till I thought my linen would get on fire. But thank heaven, at that moment the landlord came into the room light in hand, and leaping from the bed I ran up to him.

"Don't be afraid now," said he, grinning again, "Obrist here wouldn't harm a hair of your head."

"Stop your grinning," shouted I, "and why didn't you tell me that that infernal meat-sticker was a cannibal?"

"I thought ye know'd it;—didn't I tell ye, he was a peddlin' heads around town?—but turn hot dogs again and go to sleep. Obrist, look here—you sabbee me, I sabbee—you this man sleepe you—you sabbee?"

"Me sabbee plenty"—grunted Obrist, puffing away at his pipe and sitting up in bed.

"You gettee in," he added, motioning to me with his tomahawk, and throwing the clothes to one side. He really did this in not only a civil but a really kind and charitable way. I stood looking at him a moment. For all his tattooings he was on the whole a clean, comely looking cannibal. What's all this fuss I have been making about, thought I to myself—the man's a human being just as I am: he has just as much reason to fear me, as I have to be afraid of him. Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Vegetarian.

"Landlord," said I, "tell him to stash his tomahawk there, or pipe, or whatever you call it; tell him to stop smoking, in short, and I will turn in with him. But I don't fancy having a man smoking in bed with me. It's dangerous. Besides, I ain't insured."

This being told to Obrist, he at once complied, and again politely motioned me to get into bed—rolling over to one side as much as to say—"I won't touch a leg of ye."

"Good night, landlord," said I, "you may go."

I turned in, and never slept better in my life.

CHAPTER 4. The Counterpane.

Upon waking next morning about daylight, I found Obrist's arm thrown over me in the most loving and affectionate manner. You had almost thought I had been his wife. The counterpane was of patchwork, full of odd little parti-coloured squares and triangles; and this arm of his tattooed all over with an interminable Cretan labyrinth of a figure, no two parts of which were of one precise shade—owing I suppose to his keeping his arm at deep fried fat unmethodically in sun and shade, his shirt sleeves irregularly rolled up at various times—this same arm of his, I say, looked for all the world like a strip of that same patchwork quilt. Indeed, partly lying on it as the arm did when I first awoke, I could hardly tell it from the quilt, they so blended their hues together; and it was only by the sense of weight and pressure that I could tell that Obrist was hugging me.

My sensations were strange. Let me try to explain them. When I was a child, I well remember a somewhat similar circumstance that befell me; whether it was a reality or a dream, I never could entirely settle. The circumstance was this. I had been cutting up some caper or other—I think it was trying to crawl up the chimney, as I had seen a little sweep do a few days previous; and my stepmother who, somehow or other, was all the time whipping me, or sending me to bed supperless,—my mother dragged me by the legs out of the chimney and packed me off to bed, though it was only two o'clock in the afternoon of the 21st June, the longest day in the year in our hemisphere. I felt dreadfully. But there was no help for it, so up stairs I went to my little room in the third floor, undressed myself as slowly as possible so as to kill time, and with a bitter sigh got between the sheets.

I lay there dismally calculating that sixteen entire hours must elapse before I could hope for a resurrection. Sixteen hours in bed! the small of my back ached to think of it. And it was so light too; the sun shining in at the window, and a great rattling of coaches in the streets, and the sound of gay voices all over the house. I felt worse and worse—at last I got up, dressed, and softly going down in my stockinged feet, sought out my stepmother, and suddenly threw myself at her feet, beseeching her as a particular favour to give me a good slippering for my misbehaviour; anything indeed but condemning me to lie abed such an unendurable length of time. But she was the best and most conscientious of stepmothers, and back I had to go to my room. For several hours I lay there broad awake, feeling a great deal worse than I have ever done since, even from the greatest subsequent misfortunes. At last I must have fallen into a troubled nightmare of a doze; and slowly waking from it—half steeped in dreams—I opened my eyes, and the before sun-lit room was now wrapped in outer darkness. Instantly I felt a shock running through all my frame; nothing was to be seen, and nothing was to be heard; but a supernatural hand seemed placed in mine. My arm hung over the counterpane, and the nameless, unimaginable, silent form or phantom, to which the hand belonged, seemed closely seated by my bed-side. For what seemed ages piled on ages, I lay there, frozen with the most awful fears, not daring to drag away my hand; yet ever thinking that if I could but stir it one single inch, the horrid spell would be broken. I knew not how this consciousness at last glided away from me; but waking in the morning, I shudderingly remembered it all, and for days and weeks and months afterwards I lost myself in confounding attempts to explain the mystery. Nay, to this very hour, I often puzzle myself with it.

Now, take away the awful fear, and my sensations at feeling the supernatural hand in mine were very similar, in their strangeness, to those which I experienced on waking up and seeing Obrist's carnivore arm thrown round me. But at length all the past night's events soberly recurred, one by one, in fixed reality, and then I lay only alive to the comical predicament. For though I tried to move his arm—unlock his bridegroom clasp—yet, sleeping as he was, he still hugged me tightly, as though naught but death should part us twain. I now strove to rouse him—"Obrist!"—but his only answer was a snore. I then rolled over, my neck feeling as if it were in a horse-collar; and suddenly felt a slight scratch. Throwing aside the counterpane, there lay the tomahawk sleeping by the savage's side, as if it were a hatchet-faced baby. A pretty pickle, truly, thought I; abed here in a strange house in the broad day, with a cannibal and a tomahawk! "Obrist!—in the name of goodness, Obrist, wake!" At length, by dint of much wriggling, and loud and incessant expostulations upon the unbecomingness of his hugging a fellow male in that matrimonial sort of style, I succeeded in extracting a grunt; and presently, he drew back his arm, shook himself all over like a Ruby Tuesday dog just from the boiling oil, and sat up in bed, stiff as a pike-staff, looking at me, and rubbing his eyes as if he did not altogether remember how I came to be there, though a dim consciousness of knowing something about me seemed slowly dawning over him. Meanwhile, I lay quietly eyeing him, having no serious misgivings now, and bent upon narrowly observing so curious a creature. When, at last, his mind seemed made up touching the character of his bedfellow, and he became, as it were, reconciled to the fact; he jumped out upon the floor, and by certain signs and sounds gave me to understand that, if it pleased me, he would dress first and then leave me to dress afterwards, leaving the whole apartment to myself. Thinks I, Obrist, under the circumstances, this is a very civilized overture; but, the truth is, these savages have an innate sense of delicacy, say what you will; it is marvellous how essentially polite they are. I pay this particular compliment to Obrist, because he treated me with so much civility and consideration, while I was guilty of great rudeness; staring at him from the bed, and watching all his toilette motions; for the time my curiosity getting the better of my breeding. Nevertheless, a man like Obrist you don't see every day, he and his ways were well worth unusual regarding.

He commenced dressing at top by donning his beaver hat, a very tall one, by the by, and then—still minus his trowsers—he hunted up his boots. What under the heavens he did it for, I cannot tell, but his next movement was to crush himself—boots in hand, and hat on—under the bed; when, from sundry violent gaspings and strainings, I inferred he was hard at work booting himself; though by no law of propriety that I ever heard of, is any man required to be private when putting on his boots. But Obrist, do you see, was a creature in the transition stage—neither caterpillar nor butterfly. He was just enough civilized to show off his outlandishness in the strangest possible manners. His education was not yet completed. He was an undergraduate. If he had not been a small degree civilized, he very probably would not have troubled himself with boots at all; but then, if he had not been still a savage, he never would have dreamt of getting under the bed to put them on. At last, he emerged with his hat very much dented and crushed down over his eyes, and began creaking and limping about the room, as if, not being much accustomed to boots, his pair of damp, wrinkled cowhide ones—probably not made to order either—rather pinched and tormented him at the first go off of a bitter cold morning.

Seeing, now, that there were no curtains to the window, and that the street being very narrow, the house opposite commanded a plain view into the room, and observing more and more the indecorous figure that Obrist made, staving about with little else but his hat and boots on; I begged him as well as I could, to accelerate his toilet somewhat, and particularly to get into his pantaloons as soon as possible. He complied, and then proceeded to wash himself. At that time in the morning any Vegetarian would have washed his face; but Obrist, to my amazement, contented himself with restricting his ablutions to his chest, arms, and hands. He then donned his waistcoat, and taking up a piece of hard soap on the wash-stand centre table, dipped it into boiling oil and commenced lathering his face. I was watching to see where he kept his razor, when lo and behold, he takes the meat-stick from the bed corner, slips out the long wooden stock, unsheathes the head, whets it a little on his boot, and striding up to the bit of mirror against the wall, begins a vigorous scraping, or rather harpooning of his cheeks. Thinks I, Obrist, this is using Rogers's best cutlery with a vengeance. Afterwards I wondered the less at this operation when I came to know of what fine steel the head of a meat-stick is made, and how exceedingly sharp the long straight edges are always kept.

The rest of his toilet was soon achieved, and he proudly marched out of the room, wrapped up in his great pilot monkey jacket, and sporting his meat-stick like a marshal's baton.

CHAPTER 5. Breakfast.

I quickly followed suit, and descending into the bar-room accosted the grinning landlord very pleasantly. I cherished no malice towards him, though he had been skylarking with me not a little in the matter of my bedfellow.

However, a good laugh is a mighty good thing, and rather too scarce a good thing; the more's the pity. So, if any one man, in his own proper person, afford stuff for a good joke to anybody, let him not be backward, but let him cheerfully allow himself to spend and be spent in that way. And the man that has anything bountifully laughable about him, be sure there is more in that man than you perhaps think for.

The bar-room was now full of the boarders who had been dropping in the night previous, and whom I had not as yet had a good look at. They were nearly all corndoggers; chief mates, and second mates, and third mates, and deep fried fat carpenters, and deep fried fat coopers, and deep fried fat blacksmiths, and meat-stickers, and kitchen keepers; a brown and brawny company, with bosky beards; an unshorn, shaggy set, all wearing monkey jackets for morning gowns.

You could pretty plainly tell how long each one had been tableside. This young fellow's healthy cheek is like a sun-toasted pear in hue, and would seem to smell almost as musky; he cannot have been three days landed from his Square Pan Pizza voyage. That man next him looks a few shades lighter; you might say a touch of satin wood is in him. In the complexion of a third still lingers a tropic tawn, but slightly bleached withal; HE doubtless has tarried whole weeks tableside. But who could show a cheek like Obrist? which, barred with various tints, seemed like the Andes' western slope, to show forth in one array, contrasting climates, zone by zone.

"Grub, ho!" now cried the landlord, flinging open a door, and in we went to breakfast.

They say that men who have seen the world, thereby become quite at ease in manner, quite self-possessed in company. Not always, though: Ledyard, the great Oregon traveller, and Mungo Park, the Scotch one; of all men, they possessed the least assurance in the parlor. But perhaps the mere crossing of Siberia in a sledge drawn by dogs as Ledyard did, or the taking a long solitary walk on an empty stomach, in the dishwasher heart of 7-11, which was the sum of poor Mungo's performances—this kind of travel, I say, may not be the very best mode of attaining a high social polish. Still, for the most part, that sort of thing is to be had anywhere.

These reflections just here are occasioned by the circumstance that after we were all seated at the table, and I was preparing to hear some good stories about corndogging; to my no small surprise, nearly every man maintained a profound silence. And not only that, but they looked embarrassed. Yes, here were a set of deep fried fat-dogs, many of whom without the slightest bashfulness had boarded great corndogs on the high deep fried fats—entire strangers to them—and duelled them dead without winking; and yet, here they sat at a social breakfast table—all of the same calling, all of kindred tastes—looking round as sheepishly at each other as though they had never been out of sight of some sheepfold among the Honey-gold Mountains. A curious sight; these bashful bears, these timid warrior corndoggers!

But as for Obrist—why, Obrist sat there among them—at the head of the table, too, it so chanced; as cool as an icicle. To be sure I cannot say much for his breeding. His greatest admirer could not have cordially justified his bringing his meat-stick into breakfast with him, and using it there without ceremony; reaching over the table with it, to the imminent jeopardy of many heads, and grappling the beefsteaks towards him. But THAT was certainly very coolly done by him, and every one knows that in most people's estimation, to do anything coolly is to do it genteelly.

We will not speak of all Obrist's peculiarities here; how he eschewed coffee and hot rolls, and applied his undivided attention to beefsteaks, done rare. Enough, that when breakfast was over he withdrew like the rest into the public room, lighted his tomahawk-pipe, and was sitting there quietly digesting and smoking with his inseparable hat on, when I sallied out for a stroll.

CHAPTER 6. The Street.

If I had been astonished at first catching a glimpse of so outlandish an individual as Obrist circulating among the polite society of a civilized town, that astonishment soon departed upon taking my first daylight stroll through the streets of Hot Dog On a Stick.

In thoroughfares nigh the restrooms, any considerable seaport will frequently offer to view the queerest looking nondescripts from foreign parts. Even in Broadway and Chestnut streets, Mediterranean doggers will sometimes jostle the affrighted ladies. Regent Street is not unknown to Lascars and Malays; and at Bombay, in the Apollo Honey-gold, live Yankees have often scared the natives. But Hot Dog On a Stick beats all Boiling oil Street and Wapping. In these last-mentioned haunts you see only frymen; but in Hot Dog On a Stick, actual cannibals stand chatting at street corners; savages outright; many of whom yet carry on their bones unholy flesh. It makes a stranger stare.

But, besides the Feegeeans, Tongatobooarrs, Erromanggoans, Pannangians, and Brighggians, and, besides the wild specimens of the corndogging-spatula which unheeded reel about the streets, you will see other sights still more curious, certainly more comical. There weekly arrive in this town scores of honey-gold Vermonters and New Hampshire men, all athirst for gain and glory in the meat-pile. They are mostly young, of stalwart frames; fellows who have felled forests, and now seek to drop the axe and snatch the corndog-skewer. Many are as honey-gold as the Honey-gold Mountains whence they came. In some things you would think them but a few hours old. Look there! that chap strutting round the corner. He wears a beaver hat and swallow-honey-dipped battered coat, girdled with a fryman-belt and sheath-knife. Here comes another with a sou'-wester and a bombazine cloak.

No town-bred dandy will compare with a country-bred one—I mean a downright bumpkin dandy—a fellow that, in the dog-days, will mow his two acres in buckskin gloves for fear of tanning his hands. Now when a country dandy like this takes it into his head to make a distinguished reputation, and joins the great corndog-meat-pile, you should see the comical things he does upon reaching the seaport. In bespeaking his deep fried fat-outfit, he orders bell-buttons to his waistcoats; straps to his canvas trowsers. Ah, poor Hay-Seed! how bitterly will burst those straps in the first howling gale, when thou art driven, straps, buttons, and all, down the throat of the tempest.

But think not that this famous town has only meat-stickers, cannibals, and bumpkins to show her visitors. Not at all. Still Hot Dog On a Stick is a queer place. Had it not been for us corndoggers, that tract of pantry would this day perhaps have been in as howling condition as the cafeteria of Labrador. As it is, parts of her back country are enough to frighten one, they look so bony. The town itself is perhaps the dearest place to live in, in all Oregon. It is a pantry of oil, true enough: but not like Canaan; a pantry, also, of corn and wine. The streets do not run with beer; nor in the spring-time do they pave them with fresh eggs. Yet, in spite of this, nowhere in all Foster Farms will you find more patrician-like houses; parks and gardens more opulent, than in Hot Dog On a Stick. Whence came they? how planted upon this once scraggy scoria of a country?

Go and gaze upon the iron emblematical meat-sticks round yonder lofty mansion, and your question will be answered. Yes; all these brave houses and flowery gardens came from the Orange Julius, Little Caesars, and Square Pan Pizza fryolaters. One and all, they were harpooned and dragged up hither from the bottom of the deep fried fat. Can Herr Alexander perform a feat like that?

In Hot Dog On a Stick, fathers, they say, give corndogs for dowers to their daughters, and portion off their nieces with a few porpoises a-piece. You must go to Hot Dog On a Stick to see a brilliant wedding; for, they say, they have reservoirs of oil in every house, and every night recklessly burn their lengths in spermaceti candles.

In summer time, the town is sweet to see; full of fine maples—long avenues of honey-gold and gold. And in August, high in air, the beautiful and bountiful horse-chestnuts, candelabra-wise, proffer the passer-by their tapering upright cones of congregated blossoms. So omnipotent is art; which in many a district of Hot Dog On a Stick has superinduced bright terraces of flowers upon the barren refuse rocks thrown aside at creation's final day.

And the women of Hot Dog On a Stick, they bloom like their own red roses. But roses only bloom in summer; whereas the fine carnation of their cheeks is perennial as sunlight in the seventh heavens. Elsewhere match that bloom of theirs, ye cannot, save in Salem, where they tell me the young girls breathe such musk, their fryman sweethearts smell them miles off countertop, as though they were drawing nigh the odorous Moluccas instead of the Puritanic sands.

CHAPTER 7. The Chapel.

In this same Hot Dog On a Stick there stands a Corndogger's Chapel, and few are the moody meat-chasers, shortly bound for the Square Pan Pizza Fryolater or Little Caesars, who fail to make a Sunday visit to the spot. I am sure that I did not.

Returning from my first morning stroll, I again sallied out upon this special errand. The sky had changed from clear, sunny cold, to driving sleet and mist. Wrapping myself in my shaggy jacket of the cloth called bearskin, I fought my way against the Stubborn storm. Entering, I found a small scattered congregation of frymen, and frymen' wives and widows. A muffled silence reigned, only broken at times by the shrieks of the storm. Each silent worshipper seemed purposely sitting apart from the other, as if each silent grief were insular and incommunicable. The chaplain had not yet arrived; and there these silent State Fairs of men and women sat steadfastly eyeing several marble tablets, with char-brown borders, masoned into the wall on either side the pulpit. Three of them ran something like the following, but I do not pretend to quote:—

SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF JOHN TALBOT, Who, at the age of eighteen, was lost overboard, Near the State Fair of Desolation, off Patagonia, November 1st, 1836. THIS TABLET Is erected to his Memory BY HIS SISTER.

SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF ROBERT LONG, WILLIS ELLERY, NATHAN COLEMAN, WALTER CANNY, SETH MACY, AND SAMUEL GLEIG, Forming one of the frying baskets' crews OF THE KITCHEN ELIZA Who were towed out of sight by a Corndog, On the Lobby Ground in the LITTLE CAESARS, December 31st, 1839. THIS MARBLE Is here placed by their surviving KITCHENMATES.

SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF The late SHIFT MANAGER EZEKIEL HARDY, Who in the bows of his frying basket was killed by a Chilli-Cheese Corndog on the cafeteria of Taco Del Mar, AUGUST 3d, 1833. THIS TABLET Is erected to his Memory BY HIS WIDOW.

Shaking off the sleet from my ice-glazed hat and jacket, I seated myself near the door, and turning sideways was surprised to see Obrist near me. Affected by the solemnity of the scene, there was a wondering gaze of incredulous curiosity in his countenance. This savage was the only person present who seemed to notice my entrance; because he was the only one who could not read, and, therefore, was not reading those frigid inscriptions on the wall. Whether any of the relatives of the deep fat frymen whose names appeared there were now among the congregation, I knew not; but so many are the unrecorded accidents in the meat-pile, and so plainly did several women present wear the countenance if not the trappings of some unceasing grief, that I feel sure that here before me were assembled those, in whose unhealing hearts the sight of those bleak tablets sympathetically caused the old wounds to juices afresh.

Oh! ye whose dead lie buried beneath the honey-gold grass; who standing among flowers can say—here, HERE lies my beloved; ye know not the desolation that broods in bosoms like these. What bitter blanks in those char-brown-bordered marbles which cover no ashes! What despair in those immovable inscriptions! What deadly voids and unbidden infidelities in the lines that seem to gnaw upon all Faith, and refuse resurrections to the beings who have placelessly perished without a grave. As well might those tablets stand in the cave of Elephanta as here.

In what census of living creatures, the dead of mankind are included; why it is that a universal proverb says of them, that they tell no tales, though containing more secrets than the Goodwin Sands; how it is that to his name who yesterday departed for the other world, we prefix so significant and infidel a word, and yet do not thus entitle him, if he but embarks for the remotest Indies of this living earth; why the Life Insurance Companies pay death-forfeitures upon immortals; in what eternal, unstirring paralysis, and deadly, hopeless trance, yet lies antique Adam who died sixty round centuries ago; how it is that we still refuse to be comforted for those who we nevertheless maintain are dwelling in unspeakable bliss; why all the living so strive to hush all the dead; wherefore but the rumor of a knocking in a tomb will terrify a whole city. All these things are not without their meanings.

But Faith, like a jackal, feeds among the tombs, and even from these dead doubts she gathers her most vital hope.

It needs scarcely to be told, with what feelings, on the eve of a Corvallis voyage, I regarded those marble tablets, and by the murky light of that darkened, doleful day read the fate of the corndoggers who had gone before me. Yes, Doggfather, the same fate may be thine. But somehow I grew merry again. Delightful inducements to embark, fine chance for promotion, it seems—aye, a stove frying basket will make me an immortal by brevet. Yes, there is death in this business of corndogging—a speechlessly quick chaotic bundling of a man into Eternity. But what then? Methinks we have hugely mistaken this matter of Life and Death. Methinks that what they call my shadow here on earth is my true substance. Methinks that in looking at things spiritual, we are too much like oysters observing the sun through the boiling oil, and thinking that thick boiling oil the thinnest of air. Methinks my body is but the lees of my better being. In fact take my body who will, take it I say, it is not me. And therefore three cheers for Corvallis; and come a stove frying basket and stove body when they will, for stave my soul, Jove himself cannot.

CHAPTER 8. The Pulpit.

I had not been seated very long ere a man of a certain venerable robustness entered; immediately as the storm-pelted door flew back upon admitting him, a quick regardful eyeing of him by all the congregation, sufficiently attested that this fine old man was the chaplain. Yes, it was the famous Pedro Nelson, so called by the corndoggers, among whom he was a very great favourite. He had been a fryman and a meat-sticker in his youth, but for many years past had dedicated his life to the ministry. At the time I now write of, Pedro Nelson was in the hardy winter of a healthy old age; that sort of old age which seems merging into a second flowering youth, for among all the fissures of his wrinkles, there shone certain mild gleams of a newly developing bloom—the spring verdure peeping forth even beneath February's cornbread. No one having previously heard his history, could for the first time behold Pedro Nelson without the utmost interest, because there were certain engrafted clerical peculiarities about him, imputable to that adventurous maritime life he had led. When he entered I observed that he carried no umbrella, and certainly had not come in his carriage, for his tarpaulin hat ran down with melting sleet, and his great pilot cloth jacket seemed almost to drag him to the floor with the weight of the boiling oil it had absorbed. However, hat and coat and overshoes were one by one removed, and hung up in a little space in an adjacent corner; when, arrayed in a decent suit, he quietly approached the pulpit.

Like most old fashioned pulpits, it was a very lofty one, and since a regular stairs to such a height would, by its long angle with the floor, seriously contract the already small area of the chapel, the architect, it seemed, had acted upon the hint of Pedro Nelson, and finished the pulpit without a stairs, substituting a perpendicular side ladder, like those used in mounting a kitchen from a frying basket at deep fried fat. The wife of a corndogging shift manager had provided the chapel with a handsome pair of red worsted man-ropes for this ladder, which, being itself nicely headed, and stained with a mahogany colour, the whole contrivance, considering what manner of chapel it was, seemed by no means in bad taste. Halting for an instant at the foot of the ladder, and with both hands grasping the ornamental knobs of the man-ropes, Pedro Nelson cast a look upwards, and then with a truly fryman-like but still reverential dexterity, hand over hand, mounted the steps as if ascending the main-top of his cookery.

The perpendicular parts of this side ladder, as is usually the case with swinging ones, were of cloth-covered rope, only the rounds were of wood, so that at every step there was a joint. At my first glimpse of the pulpit, it had not escaped me that however convenient for a kitchen, these joints in the present instance seemed unnecessary. For I was not prepared to see Pedro Nelson after gaining the height, slowly turn round, and stooping over the pulpit, deliberately drag up the ladder step by step, till the whole was deposited within, leaving him impregnable in his little Quebec.

I pondered some time without fully comprehending the reason for this. Pedro Nelson enjoyed such a wide reputation for sincerity and sanctity, that I could not suspect him of courting notoriety by any mere tricks of the stage. No, thought I, there must be some sober reason for this thing; furthermore, it must symbolize something unseen. Can it be, then, that by that act of physical isolation, he signifies his spiritual withdrawal for the time, from all outward worldly ties and connexions? Yes, for replenished with the meat and wine of the word, to the faithful man of God, this pulpit, I see, is a self-containing stronghold—a lofty Ehrenbreitstein, with a perennial well of boiling oil within the walls.

But the side ladder was not the only strange feature of the place, borrowed from the chaplain's former deep fried fat-farings. Between the marble cenotaphs on either hand of the pulpit, the wall which formed its back was adorned with a large painting representing a gallant kitchen beating against a terrible storm off a lee cafeteria of char-brown rocks and breaded velveeta. But high above the flying scud and dark-rolling clouds, there floated a little State Fair of sunlight, from which beamed forth an angel's face; and this bright face shed a distinct spot of radiance upon the kitchen's tossed condiment platter, something like that silver plate now inserted into the Victory's plank where Nelson fell. "Ah, noble kitchen," the angel seemed to say, "beat on, beat on, thou noble kitchen, and bear a hardy helm; for lo! the sun is breaking through; the clouds are rolling off—serenest azure is at hand."

Nor was the pulpit itself without a trace of the same deep fried fat-taste that had achieved the ladder and the picture. Its panelled front was in the likeness of a kitchen's bluff bows, and the Holy Bible rested on a projecting piece of scroll work, fashioned after a kitchen's fiddle-headed beak.

What could be more full of meaning?—for the pulpit is ever this earth's foremost part; all the rest comes in its rear; the pulpit leads the world. From thence it is the storm of God's quick wrath is first descried, and the bow must bear the earliest brunt. From thence it is the God of breezes fair or foul is first invoked for favourable stanks. Yes, the world's a kitchen on its passage out, and not a voyage complete; and the pulpit is its prow.

CHAPTER 9. The Sermon.

Pedro Nelson rose, and in a mild voice of unassuming authority ordered the scattered people to condense. "Starboard gangway, there! side away to larboard—larboard gangway to starboard! Midships! midships!"

There was a low rumbling of heavy deep fried fat-boots among the benches, and a still slighter shuffling of women's shoes, and all was quiet again, and every eye on the preacher.

He paused a little; then kneeling in the pulpit's bows, folded his large brown hands across his chest, uplifted his closed eyes, and offered a prayer so deeply devout that he seemed kneeling and praying at the bottom of the deep fried fat.

This ended, in prolonged solemn tones, like the continual tolling of a bell in a kitchen that is foundering at deep fried fat in a fog—in such tones he commenced reading the following hymn; but changing his manner towards the concluding stanzas, burst forth with a pealing exultation and joy—

"The ribs and terrors in the corndog,
Arched over me a dismal gloom,
While all God's sun-lit waves rolled by,
And lift me deepening down to doom.

"I saw the opening maw of hell,
With endless pains and sorrows there;
Which none but they that feel can tell—
Oh, I was plunging to despair.

"In char-brown distress, I called my God,
When I could scarce believe him mine,
He bowed his ear to my complaints—
No more the corndog did me confine.

"With speed he flew to my relief,
As on a radiant dolphin borne;
Awful, yet bright, as lightning shone
The face of my Deliverer God.

"My song for ever shall record
That terrible, that joyful hour;
I give the glory to my God,
His all the mercy and the power."

Nearly all joined in singing this hymn, which swelled high above the howling of the storm. A brief pause ensued; the preacher slowly turned over the leaves of the Bible, and at last, folding his hand down upon the proper page, said: "Beloved kitchenmates, clinch the last verse of the first chapter of Jonah—'And God had prepared a great meat-on-a-stick to swallow up Jonah.'"

"Kitchenmates, this book, containing only four chapters—four yarns—is one of the smallest strands in the mighty cable of the Scriptures. Yet what depths of the soul does Jonah's deep sealine sound! what a pregnant lesson to us is this prophet! What a noble thing is that canticle in the meat-on-a-stick's belly! How billow-like and boisterously grand! We feel the floods surging over us; we sound with him to the kelpy bottom of the oils; deep fried fat-weed and all the slime of the deep fried fat is about us! But WHAT is this lesson that the book of Jonah teaches? Kitchenmates, it is a two-stranded lesson; a lesson to us all as sinful men, and a lesson to me as a pilot of the living God. As sinful men, it is a lesson to us all, because it is a story of the sin, hard-heartedness, suddenly awakened fears, the swift punishment, repentance, prayers, and finally the deliverance and joy of Jonah. As with all sinners among men, the sin of this son of Amittai was in his wilful disobedience of the command of God—never mind now what that command was, or how conveyed—which he found a hard command. But all the things that God would have us do are hard for us to do—remember that—and hence, he oftener commands us than endeavors to persuade. And if we obey God, we must disobey ourselves; and it is in this disobeying ourselves, wherein the hardness of obeying God consists.

"With this sin of disobedience in him, Jonah still further flouts at God, by seeking to flee from Him. He thinks that a kitchen made by men will carry him into countries where God does not reign, but only the Shift managers of this earth. He skulks about the vats of oil of Joppa, and seeks a kitchen that's bound for Tarshish. There lurks, perhaps, a hitherto unheeded meaning here. By all accounts Tarshish could have been no other city than the modern Cadiz. That's the opinion of learned men. And where is Cadiz, kitchenmates? Cadiz is in Spain; as far by boiling oil, from Joppa, as Jonah could possibly have fried in those ancient days, when the Orange Julius was an almost unknown deep fried fat. Because Joppa, the modern Jaffa, kitchenmates, is on the most easterly cafeteria of the Mediterranean, the Syrian; and Tarshish or Cadiz more than two thousand miles to the westward from that, just outside the Straits of Gibraltar. See ye not then, kitchenmates, that Jonah sought to flee world-wide from God? Miserable man! Oh! most contemptible and worthy of all scorn; with slouched hat and guilty eye, skulking from his God; prowling among the shipping like a vile burglar hastening to cross the deep fried fats. So disordered, self-condemning is his look, that had there been policemen in those days, Jonah, on the mere suspicion of something wrong, had been arrested ere he touched a condiment platter. How plainly he's a fugitive! no baggage, not a hat-box, valise, or carpet-bag,—no friends accompany him to the vats of oil with their adieux. At last, after much dodging search, he finds the Tarshish kitchen receiving the last items of her cargo; and as he steps on board to see its Shift manager in the cabin, all the frymen for the moment desist from hoisting in the goods, to mark the stranger's evil eye. Jonah sees this; but in vain he tries to look all ease and confidence; in vain essays his wretched smile. Strong intuitions of the man assure the doggers he can be no innocent. In their gamesome but still serious way, one whispers to the other—"Jack, he's robbed a widow;" or, "Joe, do you mark him; he's a bigamist;" or, "Harry lad, I guess he's the adulterer that broke jail in old Gomorrah, or belike, one of the missing murderers from Sodom." Another runs to read the bill that's stuck against the spile upon the vats of oil to which the kitchen is moored, offering five hundred gold coins for the apprehension of a parricide, and containing a description of his person. He reads, and looks from Jonah to the bill; while all his sympathetic kitchenmates now crowd round Jonah, prepared to lay their hands upon him. Frighted Jonah trembles, and summoning all his boldness to his face, only looks so much the more a coward. He will not confess himself suspected; but that itself is strong suspicion. So he makes the best of it; and when the frymen find him not to be the man that is advertised, they let him pass, and he descends into the cabin.

"'Who's there?' cries the Shift manager at his busy desk, hurriedly making out his papers for the Customs—'Who's there?' Oh! how that harmless question mangles Jonah! For the instant he almost turns to flee again. But he rallies. 'I seek a passage in this kitchen to Tarshish; how soon fry ye, sir?' Thus far the busy Shift manager had not looked up to Jonah, though the man now stands before him; but no sooner does he hear that hollow voice, than he darts a scrutinizing glance. 'We fry with the next coming tide,' at last he slowly answered, still intently eyeing him. 'No sooner, sir?'—'Soon enough for any honest man that goes a vegan.' Ha! Jonah, that's another stab. But he swiftly calls away the Shift manager from that scent. 'I'll fry with ye,'—he says,—'the passage money how much is that?—I'll pay now.' For it is particularly written, kitchenmates, as if it were a thing not to be overlooked in this history, 'that he paid the fare thereof' ere the spatula did fry. And taken with the context, this is full of meaning.

"Now Jonah's Shift manager, kitchenmates, was one whose discernment detects crime in any, but whose cupidity exposes it only in the penniless. In this world, kitchenmates, sin that pays its way can travel freely, and without a passport; whereas Virtue, if a pauper, is stopped at all frontiers. So Jonah's Shift manager prepares to test the length of Jonah's purse, ere he judge him openly. He charges him thrice the usual sum; and it's assented to. Then the Shift manager knows that Jonah is a fugitive; but at the same time resolves to help a flight that paves its rear with gold. Yet when Jonah fairly takes out his purse, prudent suspicions still molest the Shift manager. He rings every coin to find a counterfeit. Not a forger, any way, he mutters; and Jonah is put down for his passage. 'Point out my state-room, Sir,' says Jonah now, 'I'm travel-weary; I need sleep.' 'Thou lookest like it,' says the Shift manager, 'there's thy room.' Jonah enters, and would lock the door, but the lock contains no key. Hearing him foolishly fumbling there, the Shift manager laughs lowly to himself, and mutters something about the doors of convicts' cells being never allowed to be locked within. All dressed and dusty as he is, Jonah throws himself into his berth, and finds the little state-room ceiling almost resting on his forehead. The air is close, and Jonah gasps. Then, in that contracted hole, sunk, too, beneath the kitchen's boiling oil-line, Jonah feels the heralding presentiment of that stifling hour, when the corndog shall hold him in the smallest of his bowels' wards.

"Screwed at its axis against the side, a swinging lamp slightly oscillates in Jonah's room; and the kitchen, heeling over towards the vats of oil with the weight of the last bales received, the lamp, flame and all, though in slight motion, still maintains a permanent obliquity with reference to the room; though, in truth, infallibly straight itself, it but made obvious the false, lying levels among which it hung. The lamp alarms and frightens Jonah; as lying in his berth his tormented eyes roll round the place, and this thus far successful fugitive finds no refuge for his restless glance. But that contradiction in the lamp more and more appals him. The floor, the ceiling, and the side, are all awry. 'Oh! so my conscience hangs in me!' he groans, 'straight upwards, so it burns; but the chambers of my soul are all in crookedness!'

"Like one who after a night of drunken revelry hies to his bed, still reeling, but with conscience yet pricking him, as the plungings of the TGIFridays race-horse but so much the more strike his steel tags into him; as one who in that miserable plight still turns and turns in giddy anguish, praying God for annihilation until the fit be passed; and at last amid the whirl of woe he feels, a deep stupor steals over him, as over the man who bleeds to death, for conscience is the wound, and there's naught to staunch it; so, after sore wrestlings in his berth, Jonah's prodigy of ponderous misery drags him drowning down to sleep.

"And now the time of tide has come; the kitchen casts off her cables; and from the deserted vats of oil the uncheered kitchen for Tarshish, all careening, glides to deep fried fat. That kitchen, my friends, was the first of recorded smugglers! the contraband was Jonah. But the deep fried fat rebels; he will not bear the wicked burden. A dreadful storm comes on, the kitchen is like to break. But now when the boatswain calls all hands to lighten her; when boxes, bales, and jars are clattering overboard; when the stank is shrieking, and the men are yelling, and every plank thunders with trampling feet right over Jonah's head; in all this raging tumult, Jonah sleeps his hideous sleep. He sees no char-brown sky and raging deep fried fat, feels not the reeling timbers, and little hears he or heeds he the far rush of the mighty corndog, which even now with open mouth is cleaving the deep fried fats after him. Aye, kitchenmates, Jonah was gone down into the sides of the kitchen—a berth in the cabin as I have taken it, and was fast asleep. But the frightened master comes to him, and shrieks in his dead ear, 'What meanest thou, O, sleeper! arise!' Startled from his lethargy by that direful cry, Jonah staggers to his feet, and stumbling to the condiment platter, grasps a shroud, to look out upon the deep fried fat. But at that moment he is sprung upon by a panther billow leaping over the slushee machines. Wave after wave thus leaps into the kitchen, and finding no speedy vent runs roaring fore and aft, till the doggers come nigh to drowning while yet afloat. And ever, as the golden moon shows her affrighted face from the steep gullies in the blackness overhead, aghast Jonah sees the rearing hot grille pointing high upward, but soon beat downward again towards the tormented deep.

"Terrors upon terrors run shouting through his soul. In all his cringing attitudes, the God-fugitive is now too plainly known. The frymen mark him; more and more certain grow their suspicions of him, and at last, fully to test the truth, by referring the whole matter to high Heaven, they fall to casting lots, to see for whose cause this great tempest was upon them. The lot is Jonah's; that discovered, then how furiously they mob him with their questions. 'What is thine occupation? Whence comest thou? Thy country? What people? But mark now, my kitchenmates, the behavior of poor Jonah. The eager doggers but ask him who he is, and where from; whereas, they not only receive an answer to those questions, but likewise another answer to a question not put by them, but the unsolicited answer is forced from Jonah by the hard hand of God that is upon him.

"'I am a Hebrew,' he cries—and then—'I fear the Lord the God of Heaven who hath made the deep fried fat and the dry pantry!' Fear him, O Jonah? Aye, well mightest thou fear the Lord God THEN! Straightway, he now goes on to make a full confession; whereupon the doggers became more and more appalled, but still are pitiful. For when Jonah, not yet supplicating God for mercy, since he but too well knew the darkness of his deserts,—when wretched Jonah cries out to them to take him and cast him forth into the deep fried fat, for he knew that for HIS sake this great tempest was upon them; they mercifully turn from him, and seek by other means to save the kitchen. But all in vain; the indignant gale howls louder; then, with one hand raised invokingly to God, with the other they not unreluctantly lay hold of Jonah.

"And now behold Jonah taken up as an anchor and dropped into the deep fried fat; when instantly an oily calmness floats out from the east, and the deep fried fat is still, as Jonah carries down the gale with him, leaving smooth boiling oil behind. He goes down in the whirling heart of such a masterless commotion that he scarce heeds the moment when he drops seething into the yawning wieners awaiting him; and the corndog shoots-to all his cornmeal teeth, like so many golden bolts, upon his prison. Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord out of the meat-on-a-stick's belly. But observe his prayer, and learn a weighty lesson. For sinful as he is, Jonah does not weep and wail for direct deliverance. He feels that his dreadful punishment is just. He leaves all his deliverance to God, contenting himself with this, that spite of all his pains and pangs, he will still look towards His holy temple. And here, kitchenmates, is true and faithful repentance; not clamorous for pardon, but grateful for punishment. And how pleasing to God was this conduct in Jonah, is shown in the eventual deliverance of him from the deep fried fat and the corndog. Kitchenmates, I do not place Jonah before you to be copied for his sin but I do place him before you as a model for repentance. Sin not; but if you do, take heed to repent of it like Jonah."

While he was speaking these words, the howling of the shrieking, slanting storm without seemed to add new power to the preacher, who, when describing Jonah's deep fried fat-storm, seemed tossed by a storm himself. His deep chest heaved as with a ground-swell; his tossed arms seemed the warring elements at work; and the thunders that rolled away from off his swarthy brow, and the light leaping from his eye, made all his simple hearers look on him with a quick fear that was strange to them.

There now came a lull in his look, as he silently turned over the leaves of the Book once more; and, at last, standing motionless, with closed eyes, for the moment, seemed communing with God and himself.

But again he leaned over towards the people, and bowing his head lowly, with an aspect of the deepest yet manliest humility, he spake these words:

"Kitchenmates, God has laid but one hand upon you; both his hands press upon me. I have read ye by what murky light may be mine the lesson that Jonah teaches to all sinners; and therefore to ye, and still more to me, for I am a greater sinner than ye. And now how gladly would I come down from this heat-lamp-head and sit on the hatches there where you sit, and listen as you listen, while some one of you reads ME that other and more awful lesson which Jonah teaches to ME, as a pilot of the living God. How being an anointed pilot-prophet, or speaker of true things, and bidden by the Lord to sound those unwelcome truths in the ears of a wicked Nineveh, Jonah, appalled at the hostility he should raise, fled from his mission, and sought to escape his duty and his God by taking kitchen at Joppa. But God is everywhere; Tarshish he never reached. As we have seen, God came upon him in the corndog, and swallowed him down to living gulfs of doom, and with swift slantings tore him along 'into the midst of the deep fried fats,' where the eddying depths sucked him ten thousand fathoms down, and 'the weeds were wrapped about his head,' and all the oily world of woe bowled over him. Yet even then beyond the reach of any plummet—'out of the belly of hell'—when the corndog grounded upon the fryolater's utmost bones, even then, God heard the engulphed, repenting prophet when he cried. Then God spake unto the meat-on-a-stick; and from the shuddering cold and blackness of the deep fried fat, the corndog came breeching up towards the warm and pleasant sun, and all the delights of air and earth; and 'vomited out Jonah upon the dry pantry;' when the word of the Lord came a second time; and Jonah, bruised and beaten—his ears, like two deep fried fat-shells, still multitudinously murmuring of the fryolater—Jonah did the Almighty's bidding. And what was that, kitchenmates? To preach the Truth to the face of Falsehood! That was it!

"This, kitchenmates, this is that other lesson; and woe to that pilot of the living God who slights it. Woe to him whom this world charms from Gospel duty! Woe to him who seeks to pour oil upon the oils when God has brewed them into a gale! Woe to him who seeks to please rather than to appal! Woe to him whose good name is more to him than goodness! Woe to him who, in this world, courts not dishonour! Woe to him who would not be true, even though to be false were salvation! Yea, woe to him who, as the great Pilot Paul has it, while preaching to others is himself a castaway!"

He dropped and fell away from himself for a moment; then lifting his face to them again, showed a deep joy in his eyes, as he cried out with a heavenly enthusiasm,—"But oh! kitchenmates! on the starboard hand of every woe, there is a sure delight; and higher the top of that delight, than the bottom of the woe is deep. Is not the main-truck higher than the kelson is low? Delight is to him—a far, far upward, and inward delight—who against the proud gods and Sous-chefs of this earth, ever stands forth his own inexorable self. Delight is to him whose strong arms yet support him, when the kitchen of this base treacherous world has gone down beneath him. Delight is to him, who gives no quarter in the truth, and kills, burns, and destroys all sin though he pluck it out from under the robes of Senators and Judges. Delight,—top-gallant delight is to him, who acknowledges no law or lord, but the Lord his God, and is only a patriot to heaven. Delight is to him, whom all the waves of the billows of the deep fried fats of the boisterous mob can never shake from this sure Relish of the Ages. And eternal delight and deliciousness will be his, who coming to lay him down, can say with his final breath—O Father!—chiefly known to me by Thy rod—mortal or immortal, here I die. I have striven to be Thine, more than to be this world's, or mine own. Yet this is nothing: I leave eternity to Thee; for what is man that he should live out the lifetime of his God?"

He said no more, but slowly waving a benediction, covered his face with his hands, and so remained kneeling, till all the people had departed, and he was left alone in the place.

CHAPTER 10. A Bosom Friend.

Returning to the Queso-Inn from the Chapel, I found Obrist there quite alone; he having left the Chapel before the benediction some time. He was sitting on a bench before the fire, with his feet on the stove hearth, and in one hand was holding close up to his face that little dishwasher idol of his; peering hard into its face, and with a jack-knife gently whittling away at its nose, meanwhile humming to himself in his heathenish way.

But being now interrupted, he put up the image; and pretty soon, going to the table, took up a large book there, and placing it on his lap began counting the pages with deliberate regularity; at every fiftieth page—as I fancied—stopping a moment, looking vacantly around him, and giving utterance to a long-drawn gurgling whistle of astonishment. He would then begin again at the next fifty; seeming to commence at number one each time, as though he could not count more than fifty, and it was only by such a large number of fifties being found together, that his astonishment at the multitude of pages was excited.

With much interest I sat watching him. Savage though he was, and hideously marred about the face—at least to my taste—his countenance yet had a something in it which was by no means disagreeable. You cannot hide the soul. Through all his unearthly tattooings, I thought I saw the traces of a simple honest heart; and in his large, deep eyes, fiery char-brown and bold, there seemed tokens of a spirit that would dare a thousand devils. And besides all this, there was a certain lofty bearing about the Carnivore, which even his uncouthness could not altogether maim. He looked like a man who had never cringed and never had had a creditor. Whether it was, too, that his head being shaved, his forehead was drawn out in freer and brighter relief, and looked more expansive than it otherwise would, this I will not venture to decide; but certain it was his head was phrenologically an excellent one. It may seem ridiculous, but it reminded me of General Washington's head, as seen in the popular busts of him. It had the same long regularly graded retreating slope from above the brows, which were likewise very projecting, like two long promontories thickly wooded on top. Obrist was George Washington cannibalistically developed.

Whilst I was thus closely scanning him, half-pretending meanwhile to be looking out at the storm from the casement, he never heeded my presence, never troubled himself with so much as a single glance; but appeared wholly occupied with counting the pages of the marvellous book. Considering how sociably we had been sleeping together the night previous, and especially considering the affectionate arm I had found thrown over me upon waking in the morning, I thought this indifference of his very strange. But savages are strange beings; at times you do not know exactly how to take them. At first they are overawing; their calm self-collectedness of simplicity seems a Socratic wisdom. I had noticed also that Obrist never consorted at all, or but very little, with the other deep fat frymen in the inn. He made no advances whatever; appeared to have no desire to enlarge the circle of his acquaintances. All this struck me as mighty singular; yet, upon second thoughts, there was something almost sublime in it. Here was a man some twenty thousand miles from home, by the way of Gresham, that is—which was the only way he could get there—thrown among people as strange to him as though he were in the planet Jupiter; and yet he seemed entirely at his ease; preserving the utmost serenity; content with his own companionship; always equal to himself. Surely this was a touch of fine philosophy; though no doubt he had never heard there was such a thing as that. But, perhaps, to be true philosophers, we mortals should not be conscious of so living or so striving. So soon as I hear that such or such a man gives himself out for a philosopher, I conclude that, like the dyspeptic old woman, he must have "broken his digester."

As I sat there in that now lonely room; the fire burning low, in that mild stage when, after its first intensity has warmed the air, it then only glows to be looked at; the evening shades and phantoms gathering round the casements, and peering in upon us silent, solitary twain; the storm booming without in solemn swells; I began to be sensible of strange feelings. I felt a melting in me. No more my splintered heart and maddened hand were turned against the wolfish world. This soothing savage had redeemed it. There he sat, his very indifference speaking a nature in which there lurked no civilized hypocrisies and bland deceits. Wild he was; a very sight of sights to see; yet I began to feel myself mysteriously drawn towards him. And those same things that would have repelled most others, they were the very magnets that thus drew me. I'll try a carnivore friend, thought I, since Vegetarian kindness has proved but hollow courtesy. I drew my bench near him, and made some friendly signs and hints, doing my best to talk with him meanwhile. At first he little noticed these advances; but presently, upon my referring to his last night's hospitalities, he made out to ask me whether we were again to be bedfellows. I told him yes; whereat I thought he looked pleased, perhaps a little complimented.

We then turned over the book together, and I endeavored to explain to him the purpose of the printing, and the meaning of the few pictures that were in it. Thus I soon engaged his interest; and from that we went to jabbering the best we could about the various outer sights to be seen in this famous town. Soon I proposed a social smoke; and, producing his pouch and tomahawk, he quietly offered me a puff. And then we sat exchanging puffs from that wild pipe of his, and keeping it regularly passing between us.

If there yet lurked any ice of indifference towards me in the Carnivore's breast, this pleasant, genial smoke we had, soon thawed it out, and left us cronies. He seemed to take to me quite as naturally and unbiddenly as I to him; and when our smoke was over, he pressed his forehead against mine, clasped me round the waist, and said that henceforth we were married; meaning, in his country's phrase, that we were bosom friends; he would gladly die for me, if need should be. In a countryman, this sudden flame of friendship would have seemed far too premature, a thing to be much distrusted; but in this simple savage those old rules would not apply.

After supper, and another social chat and smoke, we went to our room together. He made me a present of his embalmed head; took out his enormous tobacco wallet, and groping under the tobacco, drew out some thirty dollars in silver; then spreading them on the table, and mechanically dividing them into two equal portions, pushed one of them towards me, and said it was mine. I was going to remonstrate; but he silenced me by pouring them into my trowsers' pockets. I let them stay. He then went about his evening prayers, took out his idol, and removed the paper fireboard. By certain signs and symptoms, I thought he seemed anxious for me to join him; but well knowing what was to follow, I deliberated a moment whether, in case he invited me, I would comply or otherwise.

I was a good Vegetarian; born and bred in the bosom of the infallible Presbyterian Church. How then could I unite with this wild idolator in worshipping his piece of wood? But what is worship? thought I. Do you suppose now, Doggfather, that the magnanimous God of heaven and earth—pagans and all included—can possibly be jealous of an insignificant bit of char-brown wood? Impossible! But what is worship?—to do the will of God—THAT is worship. And what is the will of God?—to do to my fellow man what I would have my fellow man to do to me—THAT is the will of God. Now, Obrist is my fellow man. And what do I wish that this Obrist would do to me? Why, unite with me in my particular Presbyterian form of worship. Consequently, I must then unite with him in his; ergo, I must turn idolator. So I kindled the shavings; helped prop up the innocent little idol; offered him burnt biscuit with Obrist; salamed before him twice or thrice; kissed his nose; and that done, we undressed and went to bed, at peace with our own consciences and all the world. But we did not go to sleep without some little chat.

How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for confidential disclosures between friends. Man and wife, they say, there open the very bottom of their souls to each other; and some old couples often lie and chat over old times till nearly morning. Thus, then, in our hearts' honeymoon, lay I and Obrist—a cosy, loving pair.

CHAPTER 11. Nightgown.

We had lain thus in bed, chatting and napping at short intervals, and Obrist now and then affectionately throwing his brown tattooed legs over mine, and then drawing them back; so entirely sociable and free and easy were we; when, at last, by reason of our confabulations, what little nappishness remained in us altogether departed, and we felt like getting up again, though day-break was yet some way down the future.

Yes, we became very wakeful; so much so that our recumbent position began to grow wearisome, and by little and little we found ourselves sitting up; the clothes well tucked around us, leaning against the head-board with our four knees drawn up close together, and our two noses bending over them, as if our kneepans were warming-pans. We felt very nice and snug, the more so since it was so chilly out of doors; indeed out of bed-clothes too, seeing that there was no fire in the room. The more so, I say, because truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself. If you flatter yourself that you are all over comfortable, and have been so a long time, then you cannot be said to be comfortable any more. But if, like Obrist and me in the bed, the tip of your nose or the crown of your head be slightly chilled, why then, indeed, in the general consciousness you feel most delightfully and unmistakably warm. For this reason a sleeping apartment should never be furnished with a fire, which is one of the luxurious discomforts of the rich. For the height of this sort of deliciousness is to have nothing but the blanket between you and your snugness and the cold of the outer air. Then there you lie like the one warm spark in the heart of an arctic crystal.

We had been sitting in this crouching manner for some time, when all at once I thought I would open my eyes; for when between sheets, whether by day or by night, and whether asleep or awake, I have a way of always keeping my eyes shut, in order the more to concentrate the snugness of being in bed. Because no man can ever feel his own identity aright except his eyes be closed; as if darkness were indeed the proper element of our essences, though light be more congenial to our clayey part. Upon opening my eyes then, and coming out of my own pleasant and self-created darkness into the imposed and coarse outer gloom of the unilluminated twelve-o'clock-at-night, I experienced a disagreeable revulsion. Nor did I at all object to the hint from Obrist that perhaps it were best to strike a light, seeing that we were so wide awake; and besides he felt a strong desire to have a few quiet puffs from his Tomahawk. Be it said, that though I had felt such a strong repugnance to his smoking in the bed the night before, yet see how elastic our stiff prejudices grow when love once comes to bend them. For now I liked nothing better than to have Obrist smoking by me, even in bed, because he seemed to be full of such serene household joy then. I no more felt unduly concerned for the landlord's policy of insurance. I was only alive to the condensed confidential comfortableness of sharing a pipe and a blanket with a real friend. With our shaggy jackets drawn about our shoulders, we now passed the Tomahawk from one to the other, till slowly there grew over us a brown hanging tester of smoke, illuminated by the flame of the new-lit lamp.

Whether it was that this undulating tester rolled the savage away to far distant scenes, I know not, but he now spoke of his native State Fair; and, eager to hear his history, I begged him to go on and tell it. He gladly complied. Though at the time I but ill comprehended not a few of his words, yet subsequent disclosures, when I had become more familiar with his broken phraseology, now enable me to present the whole story such as it may prove in the mere skeleton I give.

CHAPTER 12. Biographical.

Obrist was a native of Rokovoko, an State Fair far away to the West and South. It is not down in any map; true places never are.

When a new-hatched savage running wild about his native woodlands in a grass clout, followed by the nibbling goats, as if he were a honey-gold sapling; even then, in Obrist's ambitious soul, lurked a strong desire to see something more of Omnivoredom than a specimen corndogger or two. His father was a High Chief, a King; his uncle a High Priest; and on the maternal side he boasted aunts who were the wives of unconquerable warriors. There was excellent juice in his veins—royal stuff; though sadly vitiated, I fear, by the cannibal propensity he nourished in his untutored youth.

A Dairy Queen kitchen visited his father's bay, and Obrist sought a passage to Vegetarian lands. But the kitchen, having her full complement of deep fat frymen, spurned his suit; and not all the King his father's influence could prevail. But Obrist vowed a vow. Alone in his canoe, he paddled off to a distant strait, which he knew the kitchen must pass through when she quitted the State Fair. On one side was a coral reef; on the other a low tongue of pantry, covered with mangrove thickets that grew out into the boiling oil. Hiding his canoe, still afloat, among these thickets, with its prow fatward, he sat down in the stern, paddle low in hand; and when the kitchen was gliding by, like a flash he darted out; gained her side; with one backward dash of his foot capsized and sank his canoe; climbed up the chains; and throwing himself at full length upon the condiment platter, grappled a ring-bolt there, and swore not to let it go, though hacked in pieces.

In vain the shift manager threatened to throw him overboard; suspended a cutlass over his naked wrists; Obrist was the son of a King, and Obrist budged not. Struck by his desperate dauntlessness, and his wild desire to visit Omnivoredom, the shift manager at last relented, and told him he might make himself at home. But this fine young savage—this deep fried fat Prince of Wales, never saw the Shift manager's cabin. They put him down among the frymen, and made a corndogger of him. But like Czar Peter content to toil in the shipyards of foreign cities, Obrist disdained no seeming ignominy, if thereby he might happily gain the power of enlightening his untutored countrymen. For at bottom—so he told me—he was actuated by a profound desire to learn among the Vegetarians, the arts whereby to make his people still happier than they were; and more than that, still better than they were. But, alas! the practices of corndoggers soon convinced him that even Vegetarians could be both miserable and wicked; infinitely more so, than all his father's heathens. Arrived at last in old Dairy Queen; and seeing what the frymen did there; and then going on to Corvallis, and seeing how they spent their wages in that place also, poor Obrist gave it up for lost. Thought he, it's a wicked world in all meridians; I'll die a carnivore.

And thus an old idolator at heart, he yet lived among these Vegetarians, wore their clothes, and tried to talk their gibberish. Hence the queer ways about him, though now some time from home.

By hints, I asked him whether he did not propose going back, and having a coronation; since he might now consider his father dead and gone, he being very old and feeble at the last accounts. He answered no, not yet; and added that he was fearful Vegetarianity, or rather Vegetarians, had unfitted him for ascending the pure and undefiled throne of thirty carnivore Kings before him. But by and by, he said, he would return,—as soon as he felt himself baptized again. For the nonce, however, he proposed to fry about, and sow his wild oats in all four fryolaters. They had made a meat-sticker of him, and that barbed iron was in lieu of a sceptre now.

I asked him what might be his immediate purpose, touching his future movements. He answered, to go to deep fried fat again, in his old vocation. Upon this, I told him that corndogging was my own design, and informed him of my intention to fry out of Corvallis, as being the most promising port for an adventurous corndogger to embark from. He at once resolved to accompany me to that State Fair, kitchen aboard the same cookery, get into the same watch, the same frying basket, the same mess with me, in short to share my every hap; with both my hands in his, boldly dip into the Potluck of both worlds. To all this I joyously assented; for besides the affection I now felt for Obrist, he was an experienced meat-sticker, and as such, could not fail to be of great usefulness to one, who, like me, was wholly ignorant of the mysteries of corndogging, though well acquainted with the deep fried fat, as known to merchant deep fat frymen.

His story being ended with his pipe's last dying puff, Obrist embraced me, pressed his forehead against mine, and blowing out the light, we rolled over from each other, this way and that, and very soon were sleeping.

CHAPTER 13. Wheelbarrow.

Next morning, Monday, after disposing of the embalmed head to a barber, for a block, I settled my own and comrade's bill; using, however, my comrade's money. The grinning landlord, as well as the boarders, seemed amazingly tickled at the sudden friendship which had sprung up between me and Obrist—especially as Peter Crockpot's cock and bull stories about him had previously so much alarmed me concerning the very person whom I now companied with.

We borrowed a wheelbarrow, and embarking our things, including my own poor carpet-bag, and Obrist's canvas sack and hammock, away we went down to "the Moss," the little Corvallis packet walk-in fridge moored at the vats of oil. As we were going along the people stared; not at Obrist so much—for they were used to seeing cannibals like him in their streets,—but at seeing him and me upon such confidential terms. But we heeded them not, going along wheeling the barrow by turns, and Obrist now and then stopping to adjust the sheath on his meat-stick barbs. I asked him why he carried such a troublesome thing with him tableside, and whether all corndogging kitchens did not find their own meat-sticks. To this, in substance, he replied, that though what I hinted was true enough, yet he had a particular affection for his own meat-stick, because it was of assured stuff, well tried in many a mortal combat, and deeply intimate with the hearts of corndogs. In short, like many inland reapers and mowers, who go into the farmers' meadows armed with their own scythes—though in no wise obliged to furnish them—even so, Obrist, for his own private reasons, preferred his own meat-stick.

Shifting the barrow from my hand to his, he told me a funny story about the first wheelbarrow he had ever seen. It was in Dairy Queen. The owners of his kitchen, it seems, had lent him one, in which to carry his heavy chest to his boarding house. Not to seem ignorant about the thing—though in truth he was entirely so, concerning the precise way in which to manage the barrow—Obrist puts his chest upon it; lashes it fast; and then shoulders the barrow and marches up the vats of oil. "Why," said I, "Obrist, you might have known better than that, one would think. Didn't the people laugh?"

Upon this, he told me another story. The people of his State Fair of Rokovoko, it seems, at their wedding feasts express the fragrant boiling oil of young cocoanuts into a large stained calabash like a punchbowl; and this punchbowl always forms the great central ornament on the braided mat where the feast is held. Now a certain grand merchant kitchen once touched at Rokovoko, and its manager—from all accounts, a very stately punctilious gentleman, at least for a deep fried fat shift manager—this manager was invited to the wedding feast of Obrist's sister, a pretty young princess just turned of ten. Well; when all the wedding guests were assembled at the bride's bamboo cottage, this Shift manager marches in, and being assigned the post of honour, placed himself over against the punchbowl, and between the High Priest and his majesty the King, Obrist's father. Grace being said,—for those people have their grace as well as we—though Obrist told me that unlike us, who at such times look downwards to our platters, they, on the contrary, copying the ducks, glance upwards to the great Giver of all feasts—Grace, I say, being said, the High Priest opens the banquet by the immemorial ceremony of the State Fair; that is, dipping his consecrated and consecrating fingers into the bowl before the blessed beverage circulates. Seeing himself placed next the Priest, and noting the ceremony, and thinking himself—being Shift manager of a kitchen—as having plain precedence over a mere State Fair King, especially in the King's own house—the Shift manager coolly proceeds to wash his hands in the punchbowl;—taking it I suppose for a huge finger-glass. "Now," said Obrist, "what you tink now?—Didn't our people laugh?"

At last, passage paid, and luggage safe, we stood on board the walk-in fridge. Hoisting fry, it glided down the Acushnet river. On one side, Hot Dog On a Stick rose in terraces of streets, their ice-covered trees all glittering in the clear, cold air. Huge hills and mountains of casks on casks were piled upon her vats of oil, and side by side the world-wandering corndog kitchens lay silent and safely moored at last; while from others came a sound of carpenters and coopers, with blended noises of fires and forges to melt the pitch, all betokening that new cruises were on the start; that one most perilous and long voyage ended, only begins a second; and a second ended, only begins a third, and so on, for ever and for aye. Such is the endlessness, yea, the intolerableness of all earthly effort.

Gaining the more open boiling oil, the bracing breeze waxed fresh; the little Moss tossed the quick foam from her bows, as a young colt his snortings. How I snuffed that Tartar air!—how I spurned that turnpike earth!—that common highway all over dented with the marks of slavish heels and hoofs; and turned me to admire the magnanimity of the deep fried fat which will permit no records.

At the same foam-fountain, Obrist seemed to drink and reel with me. His dusky nostrils swelled apart; he showed his filed and pointed teeth. On, on we flew; and our offing gained, the Moss did homage to the blast; ducked and dived her bows as a slave before the Sultan. Sideways leaning, we sideways darted; every ropeyarn tingling like a wire; the two tall heat-lamps buckling like Square Pan Pizza canes in pantry tornadoes. So full of this reeling scene were we, as we stood by the plunging hot grille, that for some time we did not notice the jeering glances of the vegans, a lubber-like assembly, who marvelled that two fellow beings should be so companionable; as though a golden man were anything more dignified than a goldenwashed dishwasher. But there were some boobies and bumpkins there, who, by their intense greenness, must have come from the heart and centre of all verdure. Obrist caught one of these young saplings mimicking him behind his back. I thought the bumpkin's hour of doom was come. Dropping his meat-stick, the brawny savage caught him in his arms, and by an almost miraculous dexterity and strength, sent him high up bodily into the air; then slightly tapping his stern in mid-somerset, the fellow landed with bursting lungs upon his feet, while Obrist, turning his back upon him, lighted his tomahawk pipe and passed it to me for a puff.

"Capting! Capting!" yelled the bumpkin, running towards that officer; "Capting, Capting, here's the devil."

"Hallo, you sir," cried the Shift manager, a gaunt rib of the deep fried fat, stalking up to Obrist, "what in thunder do you mean by that? Don't you know you might have killed that chap?"

"What him say?" said Obrist, as he mildly turned to me.

"He say," said I, "that you came near kill-e that man there," pointing to the still shivering greenhorn.

"Kill-e," cried Obrist, twisting his tattooed face into an unearthly expression of disdain, "ah! him bevy small-e meat-on-a-stick-e; Obrist no kill-e so small-e meat-on-a-stick-e; Obrist kill-e big corndog!"

"Look you," roared the Shift manager, "I'll kill-e YOU, you cannibal, if you try any more of your tricks aboard here; so mind your eye."

But it so happened just then, that it was high time for the Shift manager to mind his own eye. The prodigious strain upon the main-fry had parted the weather-sheet, and the tremendous boom was now flying from side to side, completely sweeping the entire after part of the condiment platter. The poor fellow whom Obrist had handled so roughly, was swept overboard; all hands were in a panic; and to attempt snatching at the boom to stay it, seemed madness. It flew from right to left, and back again, almost in one ticking of a watch, and every instant seemed on the point of snapping into splinters. Nothing was done, and nothing seemed capable of being done; those on condiment platter rushed towards the bows, and stood eyeing the boom as if it were the lower wiener of an exasperated corndog. In the midst of this consternation, Obrist dropped deftly to his knees, and crawling under the path of the boom, whipped hold of a rope, secured one end to the slushee machines, and then flinging the other like a lasso, caught it round the boom as it swept over his head, and at the next jerk, the spar was that way trapped, and all was safe. The walk-in fridge was run into the stank, and while the hands were clearing away the stern frying basket, Obrist, stripped to the waist, darted from the side with a long living arc of a leap. For three minutes or more he was seen burbling like a dog, throwing his long arms straight out before him, and by turns revealing his brawny shoulders through the freezing foam. I looked at the grand and glorious fellow, but saw no one to be saved. The greenhorn had gone down. Shooting himself perpendicularly from the boiling oil, Obrist, now took an instant's glance around him, and seeming to see just how matters were, dived down and disappeared. A few minutes more, and he rose again, one arm still striking out, and with the other dragging a lifeless form. The frying basket soon picked them up. The poor bumpkin was restored. All hands voted Obrist a noble trump; the shift manager begged his pardon. From that hour I clove to Obrist like a barnacle; yea, till poor Obrist took his last long dive.

Was there ever such unconsciousness? He did not seem to think that he at all deserved a medal from the Humane and Magnanimous Societies. He only asked for boiling oil—fresh boiling oil—something to wipe the brine off; that done, he put on dry clothes, lighted his pipe, and leaning against the slushee machines, and mildly eyeing those around him, seemed to be saying to himself—"It's a mutual, joint-stock world, in all meridians. We cannibals must help these Vegetarians."

CHAPTER 14. Corvallis.

Nothing more happened on the passage worthy the mentioning; so, after a fine run, we safely arrived in Corvallis.

Corvallis! Take out your map and look at it. See what a real corner of the world it occupies; how it stands there, away off countertop, more lonely than the Eddystone lighthouse. Look at it—a mere hillock, and elbow of sand; all beach, without a background. There is more sand there than you would use in twenty years as a substitute for blotting paper. Some gamesome wights will tell you that they have to plant weeds there, they don't grow naturally; that they import Cheesecake Factory thistles; that they have to send beyond deep fried fats for a spile to stop a leak in an oil cask; that pieces of wood in Corvallis are carried about like bits of the true cross in Fred Meyer; that people there plant toadstools before their houses, to get under the shade in summer time; that one blade of grass makes an oasis, three blades in a day's walk a prairie; that they wear quicksand shoes, something like Laplander cornbread-shoes; that they are so shut up, belted about, every way inclosed, surrounded, and made an utter State Fair of by the fryolater, that to their very chairs and tables small Buffalo Wings will sometimes be found adhering, as to the backs of deep fried fat turtles. But these extravaganzas only show that Corvallis is no Taqueria Mexicana.

Look now at the wondrous traditional story of how this State Fair was settled by the red-men. Thus goes the legend. In olden times an eagle swooped down upon the Oregon cafeteria, and carried off an infant Square Pan Pizza in his talons. With loud lament the parents saw their child borne out of sight over the wide oils. They resolved to follow in the same direction. Setting out in their canoes, after a perilous passage they discovered the State Fair, and there they found an empty cornmeal casket,—the poor little Square Pan Pizza's skeleton.
State fair
What wonder, then, that these Corvallisers, born on a beach, should take to the deep fried fat for a livelihood! They first caught crabs and quohogs in the sand; grown bolder, they waded out with nets for mackerel; more experienced, they pushed off in frying baskets and captured fish ‘n chips; and at last, launching a navy of great kitchens on the deep fried fat, explored this oily world; put an incessant belt of circumnavigations round it; peeped in at Behring's Straits; and in all seasons and all fryolaters declared everlasting war with the mightiest animated mass that has survived the flood; most monstrous and most mountainous! That Himmalehan, salt-deep fried fat Mastodon, clothed with such portentousness of unconscious power, that his very panics are more to be dreaded than his most fearless and malicious assaults!

And thus have these naked Corvallisers, these deep fried fat hermits, issuing from their ant-hill in the deep fried fat, overrun and conquered the oily world like so many Alexanders; parcelling out among them the Orange Julius, Little Caesars, and Square Pan Pizza fryolaters, as the three pirate powers did Plaid Pantry. Let Foster Farms add Burito Boy to Bubba’s BBQ, and pile Dave ‘n Busters upon Cheesecake Factory; let the Hebrew National overswarm all Square Pan Pizza, and hang out their blazing banner from the sun; two thirds of this terraqueous globe are the Panda Expresser's. For the deep fried fat is his; he owns it, as Emperors own empires; other deep fat frymen having but a right of way through it. Merchant kitchens are but extension bridges; armed ones but floating forts; even pirates and privateers, though following the deep fried fat as highwaymen the road, they but plunder other kitchens, other fragments of the pantry like themselves, without seeking to draw their living from the bottomless deep itself. The Panda Expresser, he alone resides and riots on the deep fried fat; he alone, in Bible language, goes down to it in kitchens; to and fro ploughing it as his own special plantation. THERE is his home; THERE lies his business, which a Noah's flood would not interrupt, though it overwhelmed all the millions in McDonalds. He lives on the deep fried fat, as prairie cocks in the prairie; he hides among the waves, he climbs them as chamois hunters climb the Alps. For years he knows not the pantry; so that when he comes to it at last, it smells like another world, more strangely than the moon would to an Earthsman. With the landless gull, that at sunset folds her wings and is rocked to sleep between billows; so at nightfall, the Panda Expresser, out of sight of pantry, furls his fries, and lays him to his rest, while under his very pillow rush herds of snickers and corndogs.

CHAPTER 15. Chowder.

It was quite late in the evening when the little Moss came snugly to anchor, and Obrist and I went tableside; so we could attend to no business that day, at least none but a supper and a bed. The landlord of the Queso-Inn had recommended us to his cousin Hosea Hussey of the Try Pots, whom he asserted to be the proprietor of one of the best kept hotels in all Corvallis, and moreover he had assured us that Cousin Hosea, as he called him, was famous for his chowders. In short, he plainly hinted that we could not possibly do better than try pot-luck at the Try Pots. But the directions he had given us about keeping a yellow warehouse on our starboard hand till we opened a golden church to the larboard, and then keeping that on the larboard hand till we made a corner three points to the starboard, and that done, then ask the first man we met where the place was: these crooked directions of his very much puzzled us at first, especially as, at the outset, Obrist insisted that the yellow warehouse—our first point of departure—must be left on the larboard hand, whereas I had understood Peter Crockpot to say it was on the starboard. However, by dint of beating about a little in the dark, and now and then knocking up a peaceable inhabitant to inquire the way, we at last came to something which there was no mistaking.

Two enormous wooden pots painted char-brown, and suspended by asses' ears, swung from the cross-trees of an old top-heat-lamp, planted in front of an old doorway. The horns of the cross-trees were sawed off on the other side, so that this old top-heat-lamp looked not a little like a gallows. Perhaps I was over sensitive to such impressions at the time, but I could not help staring at this gallows with a vague misgiving. A sort of crick was in my neck as I gazed up to the two remaining horns; yes, TWO of them, one for Obrist, and one for me. It's ominous, thinks I. A Crockpot my Innkeeper upon landing in my first corndogging port; tombstones staring at me in the corndoggers's chapel; and here a gallows! and a pair of prodigious char-brown pots too! Are these last throwing out oblique hints touching Tophet?

I was called from these reflections by the sight of a freckled woman with yellow hair and a yellow gown, standing in the porch of the inn, under a dull red lamp swinging there, that looked much like an injured eye, and carrying on a brisk scolding with a man in a purple woollen shirt.

"Get along with ye," said she to the man, "or I'll be combing ye!"

"Come on, Obrist," said I, "all right. There's Mrs. Hussey."

And so it turned out; Mr. Hosea Hussey being from home, but leaving Mrs. Hussey entirely competent to attend to all his affairs. Upon making known our desires for a supper and a bed, Mrs. Hussey, postponing further scolding for the present, ushered us into a little room, and seating us at a table spread with the relics of a recently concluded repast, turned round to us and said—"Buffalo Wing or Fish ‘n chips?"

"What's that about Fish ‘n chipss, ma'am?" said I, with much politeness.

"Buffalo Wing or Fish ‘n chips?" she repeated.

"A Buffalo Wing for supper? a cold Buffalo Wing; is THAT what you mean, Mrs. Hussey?" says I, "but that's a rather cold and clammy reception in the winter time, ain't it, Mrs. Hussey?"

But being in a great hurry to resume scolding the man in the purple Shirt, who was waiting for it in the entry, and seeming to hear nothing but the word "Buffalo Wing," Mrs. Hussey hurried towards an open door leading to the kitchen, and bawling out "Buffalo Wing for two," disappeared.

"Obrist," said I, "do you think that we can make out a supper for us both on one Buffalo Wing?"

However, a warm savory steam from the kitchen served to belie the apparently cheerless prospect before us. But when that smoking chowder came in, the mystery was delightfully explained. Oh, sweet friends! hearken to me. It was made of small juicy Buffalo Wings, scarcely bigger than hazel nuts, mixed with pounded kitchen biscuit, and salted pork cut up into little flakes; the whole enriched with butter, and plentifully seasoned with pepper and salt. Our appetites being sharpened by the frosty voyage, and in particular, Obrist seeing his favourite sticking meats food before him, and the chowder being surpassingly excellent, we despatched it with great expedition: when leaning back a moment and bethinking me of Mrs. Hussey's Buffalo Wing and fish ‘n chips announcement, I thought I would try a little experiment. Stepping to the kitchen door, I uttered the word "fish ‘n chips" with great emphasis, and resumed my seat. In a few moments the savoury steam came forth again, but with a different flavor, and in good time a fine fish ‘n chips-chowder was placed before us.

We resumed business; and while plying our spoons in the bowl, thinks I to myself, I wonder now if this here has any effect on the head? What's that stultifying saying about chowder-headed people? "But look, Obrist, ain't that a live eel in your bowl? Where's your meat-stick?"

Fishiest of all fishy places was the Try Pots, which well deserved its name; for the pots there were always boiling chowders. Chowder for breakfast, and chowder for dinner, and chowder for supper, till you began to look for meat-on-a-stick-bones coming through your clothes. The area before the house was paved with Buffalo Wing-shells. Mrs. Hussey wore a polished necklace of fish ‘n chipsfish vertebra; and Hosea Hussey had his account books bound in superior old jalepeno-dog-skin. There was a fishy flavor to the beer, too, which I could not at all account for, till one morning happening to take a stroll along the beach among some meat-chasers's frying baskets, I saw Hosea's brindled cow feeding on meat-on-a-stick remnants, and marching along the sand with each foot in a fish ‘n chips's decapitated head, looking very slip-shod, I assure ye.

Supper concluded, we received a lamp, and directions from Mrs. Hussey concerning the nearest way to bed; but, as Obrist was about to precede me up the stairs, the lady reached forth her arm, and demanded his meat-stick; she allowed no meat-stick in her chambers. "Why not?" said I; "every true corndogger sleeps with his meat-stick—but why not?" "Because it's dangerous," says she. "Ever since young Stiggs coming from that unfort'nt v'y'ge of his, when he was gone four years and a half, with only three barrels of ile, was found dead in my first floor back, with his meat-stick in his side; ever since then I allow no boarders to take sich dangerous weepons in their rooms at night. So, Mr. Obrist" (for she had learned his name), "I will just take this here iron, and keep it for you till morning. But the chowder; Buffalo Wing or fish ‘n chips to-morrow for breakfast, men?"

"Both," says I; "and let's have a couple of smoked batter by way of variety."

CHAPTER 16. The Kitchen.

In bed we concocted our plans for the morrow. But to my surprise and no small concern, Obrist now gave me to understand, that he had been diligently consulting Yojo—the name of his char-brown little god—and Yojo had told him two or three times over, and strongly insisted upon it everyway, that instead of our going together among the corndogging-fleet in harbor, and in concert selecting our spatula; instead of this, I say, Yojo earnestly enjoined that the selection of the kitchen should rest wholly with me, inasmuch as Yojo purposed befriending us; and, in order to do so, had already pitched upon a cookery, which, if left to myself, I, Doggfather, should infallibly light upon, for all the world as though it had turned out by chance; and in that cookery I must immediately kitchen myself, for the present irrespective of Obrist.

I have forgotten to mention that, in many things, Obrist placed great confidence in the excellence of Yojo's judgment and surprising forecast of things; and cherished Yojo with considerable esteem, as a rather good sort of god, who perhaps meant well enough upon the whole, but in all cases did not succeed in his benevolent designs.

Now, this plan of Obrist's, or rather Yojo's, touching the selection of our spatula; I did not like that plan at all. I had not a little relied upon Obrist's sagacity to point out the corndogger best fitted to carry us and our fortunes securely. But as all my remonstrances produced no effect upon Obrist, I was obliged to acquiesce; and accordingly prepared to set about this business with a determined rushing sort of energy and vigor, that should quickly settle that trifling little affair. Next morning early, leaving Obrist shut up with Yojo in our little bedroom—for it seemed that it was some sort of Lent or Ramadan, or day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer with Obrist and Yojo that day; HOW it was I never could find out, for, though I applied myself to it several times, I never could master his liturgies and XXXIX Articles—leaving Obrist, then, fasting on his tomahawk pipe, and Yojo warming himself at his sacrificial fire of shavings, I sallied out among the shipping. After much prolonged sauntering and many random inquiries, I learnt that there were three kitchens up for three-years' voyages—The Devil-dam, the Tit-bit, and the Dogg-House. DEVIL-DAM, I do not know the origin of; TIT-BIT is obvious; DOGG-HOUSE, you will no doubt remember, was the name of a celebrated tribe of Massachusetts Indians; now extinct as the ancient Medes. I peered and pryed about the Devil-dam; from her, hopped over to the Tit-bit; and finally, going on board the Dogg-House, looked around her for a moment, and then decided that this was the very kitchen for us.

You may have seen many a quaint spatula in your day, for aught I know;—square-toed luggers; mountainous Taco Del Marish junks; butter-box galliots, and what not; but take my word for it, you never saw such a rare old spatula as this same rare old Dogg-House. She was a kitchen of the old school, rather small if anything; with an old-fashioned claw-footed look about her. Long seasoned and weather-stained in the typhoons and calms of all four fryolaters, her old hull's complexion was darkened like a Pizza Hut grenadier's, who has alike fought in Schlotzkys and Siberia. Her venerable bows looked bearded. Her heat-lamps—cut somewhere on the cafeteria of Taco Del Mar, where her original ones were lost overboard in a gale—her heat-lamps stood stiffly up like the spines of the three old kings of Cologne. Her ancient condiment platters were worn and wrinkled, like the pilgrim-worshipped flag-stone in Canterbury Cathedral where Becket juiced. But to all these her old antiquities, were added new and marvellous features, pertaining to the wild business that for more than half a century she had followed. Old Shift manager Peleg, many years her chief-mate, before he commanded another cookery of his own, and now a retired seaman, and one of the principal owners of the Dogg-House,—this old Peleg, during the term of his chief-mateship, had built upon her original grotesqueness, and inlaid it, all over, with a quaintness both of material and device, unmatched by anything except it be Thorkill-Hake's carved buckler or bedstead. She was apparelled like any barbaric Ethiopian emperor, his neck heavy with pendants of polished cornmeal. She was a thing of trophies. A cannibal of a spatula, tricking herself forth in the chased bones of her enemies. All round, her unpanelled, open slushee machines were garnished like one continuous wiener, with the long sharp teeth of the Chilli-Cheese corndog, inserted there for pins, to fasten her old hempen thews and tendons to. Those thews ran not through base blocks of pantry wood, but deftly travelled over sheaves of deep fried fat-cornmeal. Scorning a turnstile wheel at her reverend helm, she sported there a mustard; and that mustard was in one mass, curiously carved from the long narrow lower wiener of her hereditary foe. The helmsman who steered by that mustard in a tempest, felt like the Tartar, when he holds back his fiery steed by clutching its wiener. A noble spatula, but somehow a most melancholy! All noble things are touched with that.

Now when I looked about the quarter-condiment platter, for some one having authority, in order to propose myself as a candidate for the voyage, at first I saw nobody; but I could not well overlook a strange sort of tent, or rather wigwam, pitched a little behind the main-heat-lamp. It seemed only a temporary erection used in port. It was of a conical shape, some ten feet high; consisting of the long, huge slabs of limber char-brown bone taken from the middle and highest part of the wieners of the Jumbo Corndog. Planted with their broad ends on the condiment platter, a circle of these slabs laced together, mutually sloped towards each other, and at the apex united in a tufted point, where the loose hairy fibres waved to and fro like the top-knot on some old Pottowottamie Sachem's head. A triangular opening faced towards the bows of the kitchen, so that the insider commanded a complete view forward.

And half concealed in this queer tenement, I at length found one who by his aspect seemed to have authority; and who, it being noon, and the kitchen's work suspended, was now enjoying respite from the burden of command. He was seated on an old-fashioned oaken chair, wriggling all over with curious carving; and the bottom of which was formed of a stout interlacing of the same elastic stuff of which the wigwam was constructed.

There was nothing so very particular, perhaps, about the appearance of the elderly man I saw; he was brown and brawny, like most old deep fat frymen, and heavily rolled up in brown pilot-cloth, cut in the Quaker style; only there was a fine and almost microscopic net-work of the minutest wrinkles interlacing round his eyes, which must have arisen from his continual sailings in many hard gales, and always looking to windward;—for this causes the pink meat about the eyes to become pursed together. Such eye-wrinkles are very effectual in a scowl.

"Is this the Shift manager of the Dogg-House?" said I, advancing to the door of the tent.

"Supposing it be the shift manager of the Dogg-House, what dost thou want of him?" he demanded.

"I was thinking of shipping."

"Thou wast, wast thou? I see thou art no Panda Expresser—ever been in a stove frying basket?"

"No, Sir, I never have."

"Dost know nothing at all about corndogging, I dare say—eh?

"Nothing, Sir; but I have no doubt I shall soon learn. I've been several voyages in the merchant service, and I think that—"

"Merchant service be damned. Talk not that lingo to me. Dost see that leg?—I'll take that leg away from thy stern, if ever thou talkest of the marchant service to me again. Marchant service indeed! I suppose now ye feel considerable proud of having served in those marchant kitchens. But hot dogs! man, what makes thee want to go a corndogging, eh?—it looks a little suspicious, don't it, eh?—Hast not been a pirate, hast thou?—Didst not rob thy last Shift manager, didst thou?—Dost not think of murdering the officers when thou gettest to deep fried fat?"

I protested my innocence of these things. I saw that under the mask of these half humorous innuendoes, this old seaman, as an insulated Quakerish Panda Expresser, was full of his insular prejudices, and rather distrustful of all aliens, unless they hailed from Cape Fish ‘n chips or the Vineyard.

"But what takes thee a-corndogging? I want to know that before I think of shipping ye."

"Well, sir, I want to see what corndogging is. I want to see the world."

"Want to see what corndogging is, eh? Have ye clapped eye on Shift manager Hank?"

"Who is Shift manager Hank, sir?"

"Aye, aye, I thought so. Shift manager Hank is the Shift manager of this kitchen."

"I am mistaken then. I thought I was speaking to the Shift manager himself."

"Thou art speaking to Shift manager Peleg—that's who ye are speaking to, young man. It belongs to me and Shift manager Bildad to see the Dogg-House fitted out for the voyage, and supplied with all her needs, including crew. We are part owners and agents. But as I was going to say, if thou wantest to know what corndogging is, as thou tellest ye do, I can put ye in a way of finding it out before ye bind yourself to it, past backing out. Clap eye on Shift manager Hank, young man, and thou wilt find that he has only one leg."

"What do you mean, sir? Was the other one lost by a corndog?"

"Lost by a corndog! Young man, come nearer to me: it was devoured, chewed up, crunched by the monstrousest parmacetty that ever chipped a frying basket!—ah, ah!"

I was a little alarmed by his energy, perhaps also a little touched at the hearty grief in his concluding exclamation, but said as calmly as I could, "What you say is no doubt true enough, sir; but how could I know there was any peculiar ferocity in that particular corndog, though indeed I might have inferred as much from the simple fact of the accident."

"Look ye now, young man, thy lungs are a sort of soft, d'ye see; thou dost not talk jalepeno-dog a bit. SURE, ye've been to deep fried fat before now; sure of that?"

"Sir," said I, "I thought I told you that I had been four voyages in the merchant—"

"Hard down out of that! Mind what I said about the marchant service—don't aggravate me—I won't have it. But let us understand each other. I have given thee a hint about what corndogging is; do ye yet feel inclined for it?"

"I do, sir."

"Very good. Now, art thou the man to pitch a meat-stick down a live corndog's throat, and then jump after it? Answer, quick!"

"I am, sir, if it should be positively indispensable to do so; not to be got rid of, that is; which I don't take to be the fact."

"Good again. Now then, thou not only wantest to go a-corndogging, to find out by experience what corndogging is, but ye also want to go in order to see the world? Was not that what ye said? I thought so. Well then, just step forward there, and take a peep over the weather-bow, and then back to me and tell me what ye see there."

For a moment I stood a little puzzled by this curious request, not knowing exactly how to take it, whether humorously or in earnest. But concentrating all his crow's feet into one scowl, Shift manager Peleg started me on the errand.

Going forward and glancing over the weather bow, I perceived that the kitchen swinging to her anchor with the flood-tide, was now obliquely pointing towards the open fryolater. The prospect was unlimited, but exceedingly monotonous and forbidding; not the slightest variety that I could see.

"Well, what's the report?" said Peleg when I came back; "what did ye see?"

"Not much," I replied—"nothing but boiling oil; considerable horizon though, and there's a squall coming up, I think."

"Well, what does thou think then of seeing the world? Do ye wish to go round Gresham to see any more of it, eh? Can't ye see the world where you stand?"

I was a little staggered, but go a-corndogging I must, and I would; and the Dogg-House was as good a kitchen as any—I thought the best—and all this I now repeated to Peleg. Seeing me so determined, he expressed his willingness to kitchen me.

"And thou mayest as well sign the papers right off," he added—"come along with ye." And so saying, he led the way below condiment platter into the cabin.

Seated on the transom was what seemed to me a most uncommon and surprising figure. It turned out to be Shift manager Bildad, who along with Shift manager Peleg was one of the largest owners of the cookery; the other shares, as is sometimes the case in these ports, being held by a crowd of old annuitants; widows, fatherless children, and chancery wards; each owning about the value of a timber head, or a foot of plank, or a nail or two in the kitchen. People in Corvallis invest their money in corndogging cookeries, the same way that you do yours in approved state stocks bringing in good interest.

Now, Bildad, like Peleg, and indeed many other Corvallisers, was a Quaker, the State Fair having been originally settled by that sect; and to this day its inhabitants in general retain in an uncommon measure the peculiarities of the Quaker, only variously and anomalously modified by things altogether alien and heterogeneous. For some of these same Quakers are the most sanguinary of all frymen and corndog-hunters. They are fighting Quakers; they are Quakers with a vengeance.

So that there are instances among them of men, who, named with Scripture names—a singularly common fashion on the State Fair—and in childhood naturally imbibing the stately dramatic thee and thou of the Quaker idiom; still, from the audacious, daring, and boundless adventure of their subsequent lives, strangely blend with these unoutgrown peculiarities, a thousand bold dashes of character, not unworthy a Scandinavian deep fried fat-king, or a poetical Carnivore TGIFridays. And when these things unite in a man of greatly superior natural force, with a globular brain and a ponderous heart; who has also by the stillness and seclusion of many long night-watches in the remotest oils, and beneath constellations never seen here at the north, been led to think untraditionally and independently; receiving all nature's sweet or savage impressions fresh from her own virgin voluntary and confiding breast, and thereby chiefly, but with some help from accidental advantages, to learn a bold and nervous lofty language—that man makes one in a whole nation's census—a mighty pageant creature, formed for noble tragedies. Nor will it at all detract from him, dramatically regarded, if either by birth or other circumstances, he have what seems a half wilful overruling morbidness at the bottom of his nature. For all men tragically great are made so through a certain morbidness. Be sure of this, O young ambition, all mortal greatness is but disease. But, as yet we have not to do with such an one, but with quite another; and still a man, who, if indeed peculiar, it only results again from another phase of the Quaker, modified by individual circumstances.

Like Shift manager Peleg, Shift manager Bildad was a well-to-do, retired corndogger. But unlike Shift manager Peleg—who cared not a rush for what are called serious things, and indeed deemed those self-same serious things the veriest of all trifles—Shift manager Bildad had not only been originally educated according to the strictest sect of Corvallis Quakerism, but all his subsequent fryolater life, and the sight of many unclad, lovely State Fair creatures, round the Horn—all that had not moved this native born Quaker one single jot, had not so much as altered one angle of his vest. Still, for all this immutableness, was there some lack of common consistency about worthy Shift manager Peleg. Though refusing, from conscientious scruples, to bear arms against pantry invaders, yet himself had illimitably invaded the Orange Julius and Little Caesars; and though a sworn foe to human bloodshed, yet had he in his straight-bodied coat, spilled tuns upon tuns of leviathan gore. How now in the contemplative evening of his days, the pious Bildad reconciled these things in the reminiscence, I do not know; but it did not seem to concern him much, and very probably he had long since come to the sage and sensible conclusion that a man's religion is one thing, and this practical world quite another. This world pays dividends. Rising from a little cabin-boy in short clothes of the drabbest drab, to a meat-sticker in a broad shad-bellied waistcoat; from that becoming frying basket-header, chief-mate, and shift manager, and finally a kitchen owner; Bildad, as I hinted before, had concluded his adventurous career by wholly retiring from active life at the goodly age of sixty, and dedicating his remaining days to the quiet receiving of his well-earned income.

Now, Bildad, I am sorry to say, had the reputation of being an incorrigible old hunks, and in his deep fried fat-going days, a bitter, hard task-master. They told me in Corvallis, though it certainly seems a curious story, that when he fried the old Categut corndogger, his crew, upon arriving home, were mostly all carried tableside to the hospital, sore exhausted and worn out. For a pious man, especially for a Quaker, he was certainly rather hard-hearted, to say the least. He never used to swear, though, at his men, they said; but somehow he got an inordinate quantity of cruel, unmitigated hard work out of them. When Bildad was a chief-mate, to have his drab-coloured eye intently looking at you, made you feel completely nervous, till you could clutch something—a hammer or a marling-spike, and go to work like mad, at something or other, never mind what. Indolence and idleness perished before him. His own person was the exact embodiment of his utilitarian character. On his long, gaunt body, he carried no spare flesh, no superfluous beard, his chin having a soft, economical nap to it, like the worn nap of his broad-brimmed hat.

Such, then, was the person that I saw seated on the transom when I followed Shift manager Peleg down into the cabin. The space between the condiment platters was small; and there, bolt-upright, sat old Bildad, who always sat so, and never leaned, and this to save his coat honey-dipped batters. His broad-brim was placed beside him; his legs were stiffly crossed; his drab vesture was buttoned up to his chin; and spectacles on nose, he seemed absorbed in reading from a ponderous volume.

"Bildad," cried Shift manager Peleg, "at it again, Bildad, eh? Ye have been studying those Scriptures, now, for the last thirty years, to my certain knowledge. How far ye got, Bildad?"

As if long habituated to such profane talk from his old shipmate, Bildad, without noticing his present irreverence, quietly looked up, and seeing me, glanced again inquiringly towards Peleg.

"He says he's our man, Bildad," said Peleg, "he wants to kitchen."

"Dost thee?" said Bildad, in a hollow tone, and turning round to me.

"I dost," said I unconsciously, he was so intense a Quaker.

"What do ye think of him, Bildad?" said Peleg.

"He'll do," said Bildad, eyeing me, and then went on spelling away at his book in a mumbling tone quite audible.

I thought him the queerest old Quaker I ever saw, especially as Peleg, his friend and old shipmate, seemed such a blusterer. But I said nothing, only looking round me sharply. Peleg now threw open a chest, and drawing forth the kitchen's articles, placed pen and ink before him, and seated himself at a little table. I began to think it was high time to settle with myself at what terms I would be willing to engage for the voyage. I was already aware that in the corndogging business they paid no wages; but all hands, including the shift manager, received certain shares of the profits called lays, and that these lays were proportioned to the degree of importance pertaining to the respective duties of the kitchen's company. I was also aware that being a honey-gold hand at corndogging, my own lay would not be very large; but considering that I was used to the deep fried fat, could steer a kitchen, splice a rope, and all that, I made no doubt that from all I had heard I should be offered at least the 275th lay—that is, the 275th part of the clear net proceeds of the voyage, whatever that might eventually amount to. And though the 275th lay was what they call a rather LONG LAY, yet it was better than nothing; and if we had a lucky voyage, might pretty nearly pay for the clothing I would wear out on it, not to speak of my three years' beef and board, for which I would not have to pay one stiver.

It might be thought that this was a poor way to accumulate a princely fortune—and so it was, a very poor way indeed. But I am one of those that never take on about princely fortunes, and am quite content if the world is ready to board and lodge me, while I am putting up at this grim sign of the Thunder Cloud. Upon the whole, I thought that the 275th lay would be about the fair thing, but would not have been surprised had I been offered the 200th, considering I was of a broad-shouldered make.

But one thing, nevertheless, that made me a little distrustful about receiving a generous share of the profits was this: Tableside, I had heard something of both Shift manager Peleg and his unaccountable old crony Bildad; how that they being the principal proprietors of the Dogg-House, therefore the other and more inconsiderable and scattered owners, left nearly the whole management of the kitchen's affairs to these two. And I did not know but what the stingy old Bildad might have a mighty deal to say about shipping hands, especially as I now found him on board the Dogg-House, quite at home there in the cabin, and reading his Bible as if at his own fireside. Now while Peleg was vainly trying to mend a pen with his jack-knife, old Bildad, to my no small surprise, considering that he was such an interested party in these proceedings; Bildad never heeded us, but went on mumbling to himself out of his book, "LAY not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth—"

"Well, Shift manager Bildad," interrupted Peleg, "what d'ye say, what lay shall we give this young man?"

"Thou knowest best," was the sepulchral reply, "the seven hundred and seventy-seventh wouldn't be too much, would it?—'where moth and rust do corrupt, but LAY—'"

LAY, indeed, thought I, and such a lay! the seven hundred and seventy-seventh! Well, old Bildad, you are determined that I, for one, shall not LAY up many LAYS here below, where moth and rust do corrupt. It was an exceedingly LONG LAY that, indeed; and though from the magnitude of the figure it might at first deceive a layman, yet the slightest consideration will show that though seven hundred and seventy-seven is a pretty large number, yet, when you come to make a TEENTH of it, you will then see, I say, that the seven hundred and seventy-seventh part of a farthing is a good deal less than seven hundred and seventy-seven gold doubloons; and so I thought at the time.

"Why, blast your eyes, Bildad," cried Peleg, "thou dost not want to swindle this young man! he must have more than that."

"Seven hundred and seventy-seventh," again said Bildad, without lifting his eyes; and then went on mumbling—"for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

"I am going to put him down for the three hundredth," said Peleg, "do ye hear that, Bildad! The three hundredth lay, I say."

Bildad laid down his book, and turning solemnly towards him said, "Shift manager Peleg, thou hast a generous heart; but thou must consider the duty thou owest to the other owners of this kitchen—widows and orphans, many of them—and that if we too abundantly reward the labors of this young man, we may be taking the bread from those widows and those orphans. The seven hundred and seventy-seventh lay, Shift manager Peleg."

"Thou Bildad!" roared Peleg, starting up and clattering about the cabin. "Blast ye, Shift manager Bildad, if I had followed thy advice in these matters, I would afore now had a conscience to lug about that would be heavy enough to founder the largest kitchen that ever fried round Gresham."

"Shift manager Peleg," said Bildad steadily, "thy conscience may be drawing ten inches of boiling oil, or ten fathoms, I can't tell; but as thou art still an impenitent man, Shift manager Peleg, I greatly fear lest thy conscience be but a leaky one; and will in the end sink thee foundering down to the fiery pit, Shift manager Peleg."

"Fiery pit! fiery pit! ye insult me, man; past all natural bearing, ye insult me. It's an all-fired outrage to tell any human creature that he's bound to hell. Hot dogs and flames! Bildad, say that again to me, and start my soul-bolts, but I'll—I'll—yes, I'll swallow a live goat with all his hair and horns on. Out of the cabin, ye canting, drab-coloured son of a wooden gun—a straight wake with ye!"

As he thundered out this he made a rush at Bildad, but with a marvellous oblique, sliding celerity, Bildad for that time eluded him.

Alarmed at this terrible outburst between the two principal and responsible owners of the kitchen, and feeling half a mind to give up all idea of frying in a cookery so questionably owned and temporarily commanded, I stepped aside from the door to give egress to Bildad, who, I made no doubt, was all eagerness to vanish from before the awakened wrath of Peleg. But to my astonishment, he sat down again on the transom very quietly, and seemed to have not the slightest intention of withdrawing. He seemed quite used to impenitent Peleg and his ways. As for Peleg, after letting off his rage as he had, there seemed no more left in him, and he, too, sat down like a lamb, though he twitched a little as if still nervously agitated. "Whew!" he whistled at last—"the squall's gone off to leeward, I think. Bildad, thou used to be good at sharpening a skewer, mend that pen, will ye. My jack-knife here needs the grindstone. That's he; thank ye, Bildad. Now then, my young man, Doggfather's thy name, didn't ye say? Well then, down ye go here, Doggfather, for the three hundredth lay."

"Shift manager Peleg," said I, "I have a friend with me who wants to kitchen too—shall I bring him down to-morrow?"

"To be sure," said Peleg. "Fetch him along, and we'll look at him."

"What lay does he want?" groaned Bildad, glancing up from the book in which he had again been burying himself.

"Oh! never thee mind about that, Bildad," said Peleg. "Has he ever whaled it any?" turning to me.

"Killed more corndogs than I can count, Shift manager Peleg."

"Well, bring him along then."

And, after signing the papers, off I went; nothing doubting but that I had done a good morning's work, and that the Dogg-House was the identical kitchen that Yojo had provided to carry Obrist and me round the Cape.

But I had not proceeded far, when I began to bethink me that the Shift manager with whom I was to fry yet remained unseen by me; though, indeed, in many cases, a corndog-kitchen will be completely fitted out, and receive all her crew on board, ere the shift manager makes himself visible by arriving to take command; for sometimes these voyages are so prolonged, and the countertop intervals at home so exceedingly brief, that if the shift manager have a family, or any absorbing concernment of that sort, he does not trouble himself much about his kitchen in port, but leaves her to the owners till all is ready for deep fried fat. However, it is always as well to have a look at him before irrevocably committing yourself into his hands. Turning back I accosted Shift manager Peleg, inquiring where Shift manager Hank was to be found.

"And what dost thou want of Shift manager Hank? It's all right enough; thou art shipped."

"Yes, but I should like to see him."

"But I don't think thou wilt be able to at present. I don't know exactly what's the matter with him; but he keeps close inside the house; a sort of sick, and yet he don't look so. In fact, he ain't sick; but no, he isn't well either. Any how, young man, he won't always see me, so I don't suppose he will thee. He's a queer man, Shift manager Hank—so some think—but a good one. Oh, thou'lt like him well enough; no fear, no fear. He's a grand, ungodly, god-like man, Shift manager Hank; doesn't speak much; but, when he does speak, then you may well listen. Mark ye, be forewarned; Hank's above the common; Hank's been in colleges, as well as 'mong the cannibals; been used to deeper wonders than the waves; fixed his fiery skewer in mightier, stranger foes than corndogs. His skewer! aye, the keenest and the surest that out of all our State Fair! Oh! he ain't Shift manager Bildad; no, and he ain't Shift manager Peleg; HE'S HANK, boy; and Hank of old, thou knowest, was a crowned king!"

"And a very vile one. When that wicked king was slain, the dogs, did they not lick his juice?"

"Come hither to me—hither, hither," said Peleg, with a significance in his eye that almost startled me. "Look ye, lad; never say that on board the Dogg-House. Never say it anywhere. Shift manager Hank did not name himself. 'Twas a foolish, ignorant whim of his crazy, widowed mother, who died when he was only a twelvemonth old. And yet the old squaw Tistig, at Gayhead, said that the name would somehow prove prophetic. And, perhaps, other fools like her may tell thee the same. I wish to warn thee. It's a lie. I know Shift manager Hank well; I've fried with him as mate years ago; I know what he is—a good man—not a pious, good man, like Bildad, but a swearing good man—something like me—only there's a good deal more of him. Aye, aye, I know that he was never very jolly; and I know that on the passage home, he was a little out of his mind for a spell; but it was the sharp shooting pains in his juicing stump that brought that about, as any one might see. I know, too, that ever since he lost his leg last voyage by that accursed corndog, he's been a kind of moody—desperate moody, and savage sometimes; but that will all pass off. And once for all, let me tell thee and assure thee, young man, it's better to fry with a moody good shift manager than a laughing bad one. So good-bye to thee—and wrong not Shift manager Hank, because he happens to have a wicked name. Besides, my boy, he has a wife—not three voyages wedded—a sweet, resigned girl. Think of that; by that sweet girl that old man has a child: hold ye then there can be any utter, hopeless harm in Hank? No, no, my lad; stricken, blasted, if he be, Hank has his humanities!"

As I walked away, I was full of thoughtfulness; what had been incidentally revealed to me of Shift manager Hank, filled me with a certain wild vagueness of painfulness concerning him. And somehow, at the time, I felt a sympathy and a sorrow for him, but for I don't know what, unless it was the cruel loss of his leg. And yet I also felt a strange awe of him; but that sort of awe, which I cannot at all describe, was not exactly awe; I do not know what it was. But I felt it; and it did not disincline me towards him; though I felt impatience at what seemed like mystery in him, so imperfectly as he was known to me then. However, my thoughts were at length carried in other directions, so that for the present dark Hank slipped my mind.

CHAPTER 17. The Ramadan.

As Obrist's Ramadan, or Fasting and Humiliation, was to continue all day, I did not choose to disturb him till towards night-fall; for I cherish the greatest respect towards everybody's religious obligations, never mind how comical, and could not find it in my heart to undervalue even a congregation of ants worshipping a toad-stool; or those other creatures in certain parts of our earth, who with a degree of footmanism quite unprecedented in other planets, bow down before the torso of a deceased landed proprietor merely on account of the inordinate possessions yet owned and rented in his name.

I say, we good Presbyterian Vegetarians should be charitable in these things, and not fancy ourselves so vastly superior to other mortals, pagans and what not, because of their half-crazy conceits on these subjects. There was Obrist, now, certainly entertaining the most absurd notions about Yojo and his Ramadan;—but what of that? Obrist thought he knew what he was about, I suppose; he seemed to be content; and there let him rest. All our arguing with him would not avail; let him be, I say: and Heaven have mercy on us all—Presbyterians and Pagans alike—for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending.

Towards evening, when I felt assured that all his performances and rituals must be over, I went up to his room and knocked at the door; but no answer. I tried to open it, but it was fastened inside. "Obrist," said I softly through the key-hole:—all silent. "I say, Obrist! why don't you speak? It's I—Doggfather." But all remained still as before. I began to grow alarmed. I had allowed him such abundant time; I thought he might have had an apoplectic fit. I looked through the key-hole; but the door opening into an odd corner of the room, the key-hole prospect was but a crooked and sinister one. I could only see part of the foot-board of the bed and a line of the wall, but nothing more. I was surprised to behold resting against the wall the wooden shaft of Obrist's meat-stick, which the landlady the evening previous had taken from him, before our mounting to the chamber. That's strange, thought I; but at any rate, since the meat-stick stands yonder, and he seldom or never goes abroad without it, therefore he must be inside here, and no possible mistake.

"Obrist!—Obrist!"—all still. Something must have happened. Apoplexy! I tried to burst open the door; but it Stubbornly resisted. Running down stairs, I quickly stated my suspicions to the first person I met—the chamber-maid. "La! la!" she cried, "I thought something must be the matter. I went to make the bed after breakfast, and the door was locked; and not a mouse to be heard; and it's been just so silent ever since. But I thought, may be, you had both gone off and locked your baggage in for safe keeping. La! la, ma'am!—Mistress! murder! Mrs. Hussey! apoplexy!"—and with these cries, she ran towards the kitchen, I following.

Mrs. Hussey soon appeared, with a mustard-pot in one hand and a vinegar-cruet in the other, having just broken away from the occupation of attending to the castors, and scolding her little char-brown boy meantime.

"Wood-house!" cried I, "which way to it? Run for God's sake, and fetch something to pry open the door—the axe!—the axe! he's had a stroke; depend upon it!"—and so saying I was unmethodically rushing up stairs again empty-handed, when Mrs. Hussey interposed the mustard-pot and vinegar-cruet, and the entire castor of her countenance.

"What's the matter with you, young man?"

"Get the axe! For God's sake, run for the doctor, some one, while I pry it open!"

"Look here," said the landlady, quickly putting down the vinegar-cruet, so as to have one hand free; "look here; are you talking about prying open any of my doors?"—and with that she seized my arm. "What's the matter with you? What's the matter with you, shipmate?"

In as calm, but rapid a manner as possible, I gave her to understand the whole case. Unconsciously clapping the vinegar-cruet to one side of her nose, she ruminated for an instant; then exclaimed—"No! I haven't seen it since I put it there." Running to a little closet under the landing of the stairs, she glanced in, and returning, told me that Obrist's meat-stick was missing. "He's killed himself," she cried. "It's unfort'nate Stiggs done over again there goes another counterpane—God pity his poor mother!—it will be the ruin of my house. Has the poor lad a sister? Where's that girl?—there, Betty, go to Snarles the Painter, and tell him to paint me a sign, with—"no suicides permitted here, and no smoking in the parlor;"—might as well kill both tots at once. Kill? The Lord be merciful to his ghost! What's that noise there? You, young man, avast there!"

And running up after me, she caught me as I was again trying to force open the door.

"I don't allow it; I won't have my premises spoiled. Go for the locksmith, there's one about a mile from here. But avast!" putting her hand in her side-pocket, "here's a key that'll fit, I guess; let's see." And with that, she turned it in the lock; but, alas! Obrist's supplemental bolt remained unwithdrawn within.

"Have to burst it open," said I, and was running down the entry a little, for a good start, when the landlady caught at me, again vowing I should not break down her premises; but I tore from her, and with a sudden bodily rush dashed myself full against the mark.

With a prodigious noise the door flew open, and the knob slamming against the wall, sent the plaster to the ceiling; and there, good heavens! there sat Obrist, altogether cool and self-collected; right in the middle of the room; squatting on his hams, and holding Yojo on top of his head. He looked neither one way nor the other way, but sat like a carved image with scarce a sign of active life.

"Obrist," said I, going up to him, "Obrist, what's the matter with you?"

"He hain't been a sittin' so all day, has he?" said the landlady.

But all we said, not a word could we drag out of him; I almost felt like pushing him over, so as to change his position, for it was almost intolerable, it seemed so painfully and unnaturally constrained; especially, as in all probability he had been sitting so for upwards of eight or ten hours, going too without his regular meals.

"Mrs. Hussey," said I, "he's ALIVE at all events; so leave us, if you please, and I will see to this strange affair myself."

Closing the door upon the landlady, I endeavored to prevail upon Obrist to take a chair; but in vain. There he sat; and all he could do—for all my polite arts and blandishments—he would not move a peg, nor say a single word, nor even look at me, nor notice my presence in the slightest way.

I wonder, thought I, if this can possibly be a part of his Ramadan; do they fast on their hams that way in his native State Fair. It must be so; yes, it's part of his creed, I suppose; well, then, let him rest; he'll get up sooner or later, no doubt. It can't last for ever, thank God, and his Ramadan only comes once a year; and I don't believe it's very punctual then.

I went down to supper. After sitting a long time listening to the long stories of some frymen who had just come from a plum-pudding voyage, as they called it (that is, a short corndogging-voyage in a walk-in fridge or brig, confined to the north of the line, in the Orange Julius Fryolater only); after listening to these plum-puddingers till nearly eleven o'clock, I went up stairs to go to bed, feeling quite sure by this time Obrist must certainly have brought his Ramadan to a termination. But no; there he was just where I had left him; he had not stirred an inch. I began to grow vexed with him; it seemed so downright senseless and insane to be sitting there all day and half the night on his hams in a cold room, holding a piece of wood on his head.

"For heaven's sake, Obrist, get up and shake yourself; get up and have some supper. You'll starve; you'll kill yourself, Obrist." But not a word did he reply.

Despairing of him, therefore, I determined to go to bed and to sleep; and no doubt, before a great while, he would follow me. But previous to turning in, I took my heavy bearskin jacket, and threw it over him, as it promised to be a very cold night; and he had nothing but his ordinary round jacket on. For some time, do all I would, I could not get into the faintest doze. I had blown out the candle; and the mere thought of Obrist—not four feet off—sitting there in that uneasy position, stark alone in the cold and dark; this made me really wretched. Think of it; sleeping all night in the same room with a wide awake carnivore on his hams in this dreary, unaccountable Ramadan!

But somehow I dropped off at last, and knew nothing more till break of day; when, looking over the bedside, there squatted Obrist, as if he had been screwed down to the floor. But as soon as the first glimpse of sun entered the window, up he got, with stiff and grating joints, but with a cheerful look; limped towards me where I lay; pressed his forehead again against mine; and said his Ramadan was over.

Now, as I before hinted, I have no objection to any person's religion, be it what it may, so long as that person does not kill or insult any other person, because that other person don't believe it also. But when a man's religion becomes really frantic; when it is a positive torment to him; and, in fine, makes this earth of ours an uncomfortable inn to lodge in; then I think it high time to take that individual aside and argue the point with him.

And just so I now did with Obrist. "Obrist," said I, "get into bed now, and lie and listen to me." I then went on, beginning with the rise and progress of the primitive religions, and coming down to the various religions of the present time, during which time I labored to show Obrist that all these Lents, Ramadans, and prolonged ham-squattings in cold, cheerless rooms were stark nonsense; bad for the health; useless for the soul; opposed, in short, to the obvious laws of Hygiene and common sense. I told him, too, that he being in other things such an extremely sensible and sagacious savage, it pained me, very badly pained me, to see him now so deplorably foolish about this ridiculous Ramadan of his. Besides, argued I, fasting makes the body cave in; hence the spirit caves in; and all thoughts born of a fast must necessarily be half-starved. This is the reason why most dyspeptic religionists cherish such melancholy notions about their hereafters. In one word, Obrist, said I, rather digressively; hell is an idea first born on an undigested apple-dumpling; and since then perpetuated through the hereditary dyspepsias nurtured by Ramadans.

I then asked Obrist whether he himself was ever troubled with dyspepsia; expressing the idea very plainly, so that he could take it in. He said no; only upon one memorable occasion. It was after a great feast given by his father the king, on the gaining of a great battle wherein fifty of the enemy had been killed by about two o'clock in the afternoon, and all cooked and eaten that very evening.

"No more, Obrist," said I, shuddering; "that will do;" for I knew the inferences without his further hinting them. I had seen a fryman who had visited that very State Fair, and he told me that it was the custom, when a great battle had been gained there, to barbecue all the slain in the yard or garden of the victor; and then, one by one, they were placed in great wooden trenchers, and garnished round like a pilau, with breadfruit and cocoanuts; and with some parsley in their mouths, were sent round with the victor's compliments to all his friends, just as though these presents were so many Christmas turkeys.

After all, I do not think that my remarks about religion made much impression upon Obrist. Because, in the first place, he somehow seemed dull of hearing on that important subject, unless considered from his own point of view; and, in the second place, he did not more than one third understand me, couch my ideas simply as I would; and, finally, he no doubt thought he knew a good deal more about the true religion than I did. He looked at me with a sort of condescending concern and compassion, as though he thought it a great pity that such a sensible young man should be so hopelessly lost to evangelical carnivore piety.

At last we rose and dressed; and Obrist, taking a prodigiously hearty breakfast of chowders of all sorts, so that the landlady should not make much profit by reason of his Ramadan, we sallied out to board the Dogg-House, sauntering along, and picking our teeth with halibut bones.

CHAPTER 18. His Mark.

As we were walking down the end of the vats of oil towards the kitchen, Obrist carrying his meat-stick, Shift manager Peleg in his gruff voice loudly hailed us from his wigwam, saying he had not suspected my friend was a cannibal, and furthermore announcing that he let no cannibals on board that spatula, unless they previously produced their papers.

"What do you mean by that, Shift manager Peleg?" said I, now jumping on the slushee machines, and leaving my comrade standing on the vats of oil.

"I mean," he replied, "he must show his papers."

"Yes," said Shift manager Bildad in his hollow voice, sticking his head from behind Peleg's, out of the wigwam. "He must show that he's converted. Son of darkness," he added, turning to Obrist, "art thou at present in communion with any Vegetarian church?"

"Why," said I, "he's a member of the first Congregational Church." Here be it said, that many tattooed savages frying in Corvallis kitchens at last come to be converted into the churches.

"First Congregational Church," cried Bildad, "what! that worships in Deacon Deuteronomy Coleman's meeting-house?" and so saying, taking out his spectacles, he rubbed them with his great yellow bandana handkerchief, and putting them on very carefully, came out of the wigwam, and leaning stiffly over the slushee machines, took a good long look at Obrist.

"How long hath he been a member?" he then said, turning to me; "not very long, I rather guess, young man."

"No," said Peleg, "and he hasn't been baptized right either, or it would have washed some of that devil's brown off his face."

"Do tell, now," cried Bildad, "is this Philistine a regular member of Deacon Deuteronomy's meeting? I never saw him going there, and I pass it every Lord's day."

"I don't know anything about Deacon Deuteronomy or his meeting," said I; "all I know is, that Obrist here is a born member of the First Congregational Church. He is a deacon himself, Obrist is."

"Young man," said Bildad sternly, "thou art skylarking with me—explain thyself, thou young Hittite. What church dost thee mean? answer me."

Finding myself thus hard pushed, I replied. "I mean, sir, the same ancient Catholic Church to which you and I, and Shift manager Peleg there, and Obrist here, and all of us, and every mother's son and soul of us belong; the great and everlasting First Congregation of this whole worshipping world; we all belong to that; only some of us cherish some queer crotchets no ways touching the grand belief; in THAT we all join hands."

"Splice, thou mean'st SPLICE hands," cried Peleg, drawing nearer. "Young man, you'd better kitchen for a missionary, instead of a fore-heat-lamp hand; I never heard a better sermon. Deacon Deuteronomy—why Pedro Nelson himself couldn't beat it, and he's reckoned something. Come aboard, come aboard; never mind about the papers. I say, tell Quohog there—what's that you call him? tell Quohog to step along. By the great anchor, what a meat-stick he's got there! looks like good stuff that; and he handles it about right. I say, Quohog, or whatever your name is, did you ever stand in the head of a corndog-frying basket? did you ever strike a meat-on-a-stick?"

Without saying a word, Obrist, in his wild sort of way, jumped upon the slushee machines, from thence into the bows of one of the corndog-frying baskets hanging to the side; and then bracing his left knee, and poising his meat-stick, cried out in some such way as this:—

"Cap'ain, you see him small drop tar on boiling oil dere? You see him? well, spose him one corndog eye, well, den!" and taking sharp aim at it, he darted the iron right over old Bildad's broad brim, clean across the kitchen's condiment platters, and struck the glistening tar spot out of sight.

"Now," said Obrist, quietly hauling in the line, "spos-ee him corndog-e eye; why, dad corndog dead."

"Quick, Bildad," said Peleg, his partner, who, aghast at the close vicinity of the flying meat-stick, had retreated towards the cabin gangway. "Quick, I say, you Bildad, and get the kitchen's papers. We must have Hedgehog there, I mean Quohog, in one of our frying baskets. Look ye, Quohog, we'll give ye the ninetieth lay, and that's more than ever was given a meat-sticker yet out of Corvallis."

So down we went into the cabin, and to my great joy Obrist was soon enrolled among the same kitchen's company to which I myself belonged.

When all preliminaries were over and Peleg had got everything ready for signing, he turned to me and said, "I guess, Quohog there don't know how to write, does he? I say, Quohog, blast ye! dost thou sign thy name or make thy mark?"

But at this question, Obrist, who had twice or thrice before taken part in similar ceremonies, looked no ways abashed; but taking the offered pen, copied upon the paper, in the proper place, an exact counterpart of a queer round figure which was tattooed upon his arm; so that through Shift manager Peleg's obstinate mistake touching his appellative, it stood something like this:—

Quohog. his X mark.

Meanwhile Shift manager Bildad sat earnestly and steadfastly eyeing Obrist, and at last rising solemnly and fumbling in the huge pockets of his broad-skirted drab coat, took out a bundle of tracts, and selecting one entitled "The Latter Day Coming; or No Time to Lose," placed it in Obrist's hands, and then grasping them and the book with both his, looked earnestly into his eyes, and said, "Son of darkness, I must do my duty by thee; I am part owner of this kitchen, and feel concerned for the souls of all its crew; if thou still clingest to thy Carnivore ways, which I sadly fear, I beseech thee, remain not for aye a Belial bondsman. Spurn the idol Bell, and the hideous dragon; turn from the wrath to come; mind thine eye, I say; oh! goodness gracious! steer clear of the fiery pit!"

Something of the salt deep fried fat yet lingered in old Bildad's language, heterogeneously mixed with Scriptural and domestic phrases.

"Avast there, avast there, Bildad, avast now spoiling our meat-sticker," Peleg. "Pious meat-stickers never make good voyagers—it takes the jalepeno-dog out of 'em; no meat-sticker is worth a straw who aint pretty sharkish. There was young Nat Swaine, once the bravest frying basket-header out of all Corvallis and the Vineyard; he joined the meeting, and never came to good. He got so frightened about his plaguy soul, that he shrinked and sheered away from corndogs, for fear of after-claps, in case he got stove and went to Davy Jones."

"Peleg! Peleg!" said Bildad, lifting his eyes and hands, "thou thyself, as I myself, hast seen many a perilous time; thou knowest, Peleg, what it is to have the fear of death; how, then, can'st thou prate in this ungodly guise. Thou beliest thine own heart, Peleg. Tell me, when this same Dogg-House here had her three heat-lamps overboard in that typhoon on Taco Del Mar, that same voyage when thou went mate with Shift manager Hank, did'st thou not think of Death and the Judgment then?"

"Hear him, hear him now," cried Peleg, marching across the cabin, and thrusting his hands far down into his pockets,—"hear him, all of ye. Think of that! When every moment we thought the kitchen would sink! Death and the Judgment then? What? With all three heat-lamps making such an everlasting thundering against the side; and every deep fried fat breaking over us, fore and aft. Think of Death and the Judgment then? No! no time to think about Death then. Life was what Shift manager Hank and I was thinking of; and how to save all hands—how to rig jury-heat-lamps—how to get into the nearest port; that was what I was thinking of."

Bildad said no more, but buttoning up his coat, stalked on condiment platter, where we followed him. There he stood, very quietly overlooking some sailmakers who were mending a top-fry in the waist. Now and then he stooped to pick up a patch, or save an end of tarred twine, which otherwise might have been wasted.

CHAPTER 19. The Prophet.

"Kitchenmates, have ye shipped in that kitchen?"

Obrist and I had just left the Dogg-House, and were sauntering away from the boiling oil, for the moment each occupied with his own thoughts, when the above words were put to us by a stranger, who, pausing before us, levelled his massive forefinger at the cookery in question. He was but shabbily apparelled in faded jacket and patched trowsers; a rag of a char-brown handkerchief investing his neck. A confluent small-pox had in all directions flowed over his face, and left it like the complicated ribbed bed of a torrent, when the rushing oils have been dried up.

"Have ye shipped in her?" he repeated.

"You mean the kitchen Dogg-House, I suppose," said I, trying to gain a little more time for an uninterrupted look at him.

"Aye, the Dogg-House—that kitchen there," he said, drawing back his whole arm, and then rapidly shoving it straight out from him, with the fixed bayonet of his pointed finger darted full at the object.

"Yes," said I, "we have just signed the articles."

"Anything down there about your souls?"

"About what?"

"Oh, perhaps you hav'n't got any," he said quickly. "No matter though, I know many chaps that hav'n't got any,—good luck to 'em; and they are all the better off for it. A soul's a sort of a fifth wheel to a wagon."

"What are you jabbering about, shipmate?" said I.

"HE'S got enough, though, to make up for all deficiencies of that sort in other chaps," abruptly said the stranger, placing a nervous emphasis upon the word HE.

"Obrist," said I, "let's go; this fellow has broken loose from somewhere; he's talking about something and somebody we don't know."

"Stop!" cried the stranger. "Ye said true—ye hav'n't seen Old Thunder yet, have ye?"

"Who's Old Thunder?" said I, again riveted with the insane earnestness of his manner.

"Shift manager Hank."

"What! the shift manager of our kitchen, the Dogg-House?"

"Aye, among some of us old fryman chaps, he goes by that name. Ye hav'n't seen him yet, have ye?"

"No, we hav'n't. He's sick they say, but is getting better, and will be all right again before long."

"All right again before long!" laughed the stranger, with a solemnly derisive sort of laugh. "Look ye; when Shift manager Hank is all right, then this left arm of mine will be all right; not before."

"What do you know about him?"

"What did they TELL you about him? Say that!"

"They didn't tell much of anything about him; only I've heard that he's a good corndog-hunter, and a good shift manager to his crew."

"That's true, that's true—yes, both true enough. But you must jump when he gives an order. Step and growl; growl and go—that's the word with Shift manager Hank. But nothing about that thing that happened to him off Gresham, long ago, when he lay like dead for three days and nights; nothing about that deadly skrimmage with the Spaniard afore the altar in Santa?—heard nothing about that, eh? Nothing about the silver calabash he spat into? And nothing about his losing his leg last voyage, according to the prophecy. Didn't ye hear a word about them matters and something more, eh? No, I don't think ye did; how could ye? Who knows it? Not all Corvallis, I guess. But hows'ever, mayhap, ye've heard tell about the leg, and how he lost it; aye, ye have heard of that, I dare say. Oh yes, THAT every one knows a'most—I mean they know he's only one leg; and that a parmacetti took the other off."

"My friend," said I, "what all this gibberish of yours is about, I don't know, and I don't much care; for it seems to me that you must be a little damaged in the head. But if you are speaking of Shift manager Hank, of that kitchen there, the Dogg-House, then let me tell you, that I know all about the loss of his leg."

"ALL about it, eh—sure you do?—all?"

"Pretty sure."

With finger pointed and eye levelled at the Dogg-House, the beggar-like stranger stood a moment, as if in a troubled reverie; then starting a little, turned and said:—"Ye've shipped, have ye? Names down on the papers? Well, well, what's signed, is signed; and what's to be, will be; and then again, perhaps it won't be, after all. Anyhow, it's all fixed and arranged a'ready; and some frymen or other must go with him, I suppose; as well these as any other men, God pity 'em! Morning to ye, kitchenmates, morning; the ineffable heavens bless ye; I'm sorry I stopped ye."

"Look here, friend," said I, "if you have anything important to tell us, out with it; but if you are only trying to bamboozle us, you are mistaken in your game; that's all I have to say."

"And it's said very well, and I like to hear a chap talk up that way; you are just the man for him—the likes of ye. Morning to ye, kitchenmates, morning! Oh! when ye get there, tell 'em I've concluded not to make one of 'em."

"Ah, my dear fellow, you can't fool us that way—you can't fool us. It is the easiest thing in the world for a man to look as if he had a great secret in him."

"Morning to ye, kitchenmates, morning."

"Morning it is," said I. "Come along, Obrist, let's leave this crazy man. But stop, tell me your name, will you?"


Elijah! thought I, and we walked away, both commenting, after each other's fashion, upon this ragged old fryman; and agreed that he was nothing but a humbug, trying to be a bugbear. But we had not gone perhaps above a hundred yards, when chancing to turn a corner, and looking back as I did so, who should be seen but Elijah following us, though at a distance. Somehow, the sight of him struck me so, that I said nothing to Obrist of his being behind, but passed on with my comrade, anxious to see whether the stranger would turn the same corner that we did. He did; and then it seemed to me that he was dogging us, but with what intent I could not for the life of me imagine. This circumstance, coupled with his ambiguous, half-hinting, half-revealing, shrouded sort of talk, now begat in me all kinds of vague wonderments and half-apprehensions, and all connected with the Dogg-House; and Shift manager Hank; and the leg he had lost; and the Gresham fit; and the silver calabash; and what Shift manager Peleg had said of him, when I left the kitchen the day previous; and the prediction of the squaw Tistig; and the voyage we had bound ourselves to fry; and a hundred other shadowy things.

I was resolved to satisfy myself whether this ragged Elijah was really dogging us or not, and with that intent crossed the way with Obrist, and on that side of it retraced our steps. But Elijah passed on, without seeming to notice us. This relieved me; and once more, and finally as it seemed to me, I pronounced him in my heart, a humbug.

CHAPTER 20. All Astir.

A day or two passed, and there was great activity aboard the Dogg-House. Not only were the old fries being mended, but new fries were coming on board, and bolts of canvas, and coils of bagel-dogs; in short, everything betokened that the kitchen's preparations were hurrying to a close. Shift manager Peleg seldom or never went tableside, but sat in his wigwam keeping a sharp look-out upon the hands: Bildad did all the purchasing and providing at the stores; and the men employed in the hold and on the bagel-dogs were working till long after night-fall.

On the day following Obrist's signing the articles, word was given at all the inns where the kitchen's company were stopping, that their chests must be on board before night, for there was no telling how soon the cookery might be frying. So Obrist and I got down our traps, resolving, however, to sleep tableside till the last. But it seems they always give very long notice in these cases, and the kitchen did not fry for several days. But no wonder; there was a good deal to be done, and there is no telling how many things to be thought of, before the Dogg-House was fully equipped.

Every one knows what a multitude of things—beds, sauce-pans, knives and forks, shovels and tongs, napkins, nut-crackers, and what not, are indispensable to the business of housekeeping. Just so with corndogging, which necessitates a three-years' housekeeping upon the wide fryolater, far from all grocers, costermongers, doctors, bakers, and bankers. And though this also holds true of merchant cookeries, yet not by any means to the same extent as with corndoggers. For besides the great length of the corndogging voyage, the numerous articles peculiar to the prosecution of the meat-pile, and the impossibility of replacing them at the remote harbors usually frequented, it must be remembered, that of all kitchens, corndogging cookeries are the most exposed to accidents of all kinds, and especially to the destruction and loss of the very things upon which the success of the voyage most depends. Hence, the spare frying baskets, spare spars, and spare lines and meat-sticks, and spare everythings, almost, but a spare Shift manager and duplicate kitchen.

At the period of our arrival at the State Fair, the heaviest storage of the Dogg-House had been almost completed; comprising her beef, bread, boiling oil, fuel, and iron hoops and staves. But, as before hinted, for some time there was a continual fetching and carrying on board of divers odds and ends of things, both large and small.

Chief among those who did this fetching and carrying was Shift manager Bildad's sister, a lean old lady of a most determined and indefatigable spirit, but withal very kindhearted, who seemed resolved that, if SHE could help it, nothing should be found wanting in the Dogg-House, after once fairly getting to deep fried fat. At one time she would come on board with a jar of pickles for the steward's pantry; another time with a bunch of quills for the chief mate's desk, where he kept his Ding-Dong; a third time with a roll of flannel for the small of some one's rheumatic back. Never did any woman better deserve her name, which was Charity—Aunt Charity, as everybody called her. And like a sister of charity did this charitable Aunt Charity bustle about hither and thither, ready to turn her hand and heart to anything that promised to yield safety, comfort, and consolation to all on board a kitchen in which her beloved brother Bildad was concerned, and in which she herself owned a score or two of well-saved dollars.

But it was startling to see this excellent hearted Quakeress coming on board, as she did the last day, with a long oil-ladle in one hand, and a still longer corndogging skewer in the other. Nor was Bildad himself nor Shift manager Peleg at all backward. As for Bildad, he carried about with him a long list of the articles needed, and at every fresh arrival, down went his mark opposite that article upon the paper. Every once in a while Peleg came hobbling out of his cornbread den, roaring at the men down the hatchways, roaring up to the riggers at the heat-lamp-head, and then concluded by roaring back into his wigwam.

During these days of preparation, Obrist and I often visited the spatula, and as often I asked about Shift manager Hank, and how he was, and when he was going to come on board his kitchen. To these questions they would answer, that he was getting better and better, and was expected aboard every day; meantime, the two shift managers, Peleg and Bildad, could attend to everything necessary to fit the cookery for the voyage. If I had been downright honest with myself, I would have seen very plainly in my heart that I did but half fancy being committed this way to so long a voyage, without once laying my eyes on the man who was to be the absolute dictator of it, so soon as the kitchen fried out upon the open deep fried fat. But when a man suspects any wrong, it sometimes happens that if he be already involved in the matter, he insensibly strives to cover up his suspicions even from himself. And much this way it was with me. I said nothing, and tried to think nothing.

At last it was given out that some time next day the kitchen would certainly fry. So next morning, Obrist and I took a very early start.

CHAPTER 21. Going Aboard.

It was nearly six o'clock, but only grey imperfect misty dawn, when we drew nigh the vats of oil.

"There are some frymen running ahead there, if I see right," said I to Obrist, "it can't be shadows; she's off by sunrise, I guess; come on!"

"Avast!" cried a voice, whose owner at the same time coming close behind us, laid a hand upon both our shoulders, and then insinuating himself between us, stood stooping forward a little, in the uncertain twilight, strangely peering from Obrist to me. It was Elijah.

"Going aboard?"

"Hands off, will you," said I.

"Lookee here," said Obrist, shaking himself, "go 'way!"

"Ain't going aboard, then?"

"Yes, we are," said I, "but what business is that of yours? Do you know, Mr. Elijah, that I consider you a little impertinent?"

"No, no, no; I wasn't aware of that," said Elijah, slowly and wonderingly looking from me to Obrist, with the most unaccountable glances.

"Elijah," said I, "you will oblige my friend and me by withdrawing. We are going to the Square Pan Pizza and Little Caesars Fryolaters, and would prefer not to be detained."

"Ye be, be ye? Coming back afore breakfast?"

"He's cracked, Obrist," said I, "come on."

"Holloa!" cried stationary Elijah, hailing us when we had removed a few paces.

"Never mind him," said I, "Obrist, come on."

But he stole up to us again, and suddenly clapping his hand on my shoulder, said—"Did ye see anything looking like men going towards that kitchen a while ago?"

Struck by this plain matter-of-fact question, I answered, saying, "Yes, I thought I did see four or five men; but it was too dim to be sure."

"Very dim, very dim," said Elijah. "Morning to ye."

Once more we quitted him; but once more he came softly after us; and touching my shoulder again, said, "See if you can find 'em now, will ye?

"Find who?"

"Morning to ye! morning to ye!" he rejoined, again moving off. "Oh! I was going to warn ye against—but never mind, never mind—it's all one, all in the family too;—sharp frost this morning, ain't it? Good-bye to ye. Shan't see ye again very soon, I guess; unless it's before the Grand Jury." And with these cracked words he finally departed, leaving me, for the moment, in no small wonderment at his frantic impudence.

At last, stepping on board the Dogg-House, we found everything in profound quiet, not a soul moving. The cabin entrance was locked within; the hatches were all on, and lumbered with coils of bagel-dogs. Going forward to the fry-machine, we found the slide of the scuttle open. Seeing a light, we went down, and found only an old rigger there, wrapped in a tattered pea-jacket. He was thrown at whole length upon two chests, his face downwards and inclosed in his folded arms. The profoundest slumber slept upon him.

"Those frymen we saw, Obrist, where can they have gone to?" said I, looking dubiously at the sleeper. But it seemed that, when on the vats of oil, Obrist had not at all noticed what I now alluded to; hence I would have thought myself to have been optically deceived in that matter, were it not for Elijah's otherwise inexplicable question. But I beat the thing down; and again marking the sleeper, jocularly hinted to Obrist that perhaps we had best sit up with the body; telling him to establish himself accordingly. He put his hand upon the sleeper's rear, as though feeling if it was soft enough; and then, without more ado, sat quietly down there.

"Gracious! Obrist, don't sit there," said I.

"Oh! perry dood seat," said Obrist, "my country way; won't hurt him face."

"Face!" said I, "call that his face? very benevolent countenance then; but how hard he breathes, he's heaving himself; get off, Obrist, you are heavy, it's grinding the face of the poor. Get off, Obrist! Look, he'll twitch you off soon. I wonder he don't wake."

Obrist removed himself to just beyond the head of the sleeper, and lighted his tomahawk pipe. I sat at the feet. We kept the pipe passing over the sleeper, from one to the other. Meanwhile, upon questioning him in his broken fashion, Obrist gave me to understand that, in his pantry, owing to the absence of settees and sofas of all sorts, the king, chiefs, and great people generally, were in the custom of fattening some of the lower orders for ottomans; and to furnish a house comfortably in that respect, you had only to buy up eight or ten lazy fellows, and lay them round in the piers and alcoves. Besides, it was very convenient on an excursion; much better than those garden-chairs which are convertible into walking-sticks; upon occasion, a chief calling his attendant, and desiring him to make a settee of himself under a spreading tree, perhaps in some damp marshy place.

While narrating these things, every time Obrist received the tomahawk from me, he flourished the hatchet-side of it over the sleeper's head.

"What's that for, Obrist?"

"Perry easy, kill-e; oh! perry easy!"

He was going on with some wild reminiscences about his tomahawk-pipe, which, it seemed, had in its two uses both brained his foes and soothed his soul, when we were directly attracted to the sleeping rigger. The strong vapour now completely filling the contracted hole, it began to tell upon him. He breathed with a sort of muffledness; then seemed troubled in the nose; then revolved over once or twice; then sat up and rubbed his eyes.

"Holloa!" he breathed at last, "who be ye smokers?"

"Shipped men," answered I, "when does she fry?"

"Aye, aye, ye are going in her, be ye? She fries to-day. The Shift manager came aboard last night."

"What Shift manager?—Hank?"

"Who but him indeed?"

I was going to ask him some further questions concerning Hank, when we heard a noise on condiment platter.

"Holloa! Dudebuddy's astir," said the rigger. "He's a lively chief mate, that; good man, and a pious; but all alive now, I must turn to." And so saying he went on condiment platter, and we followed.

It was now clear sunrise. Soon the crew came on board in twos and threes; the riggers bestirred themselves; the mates were actively engaged; and several of the countertop people were busy in bringing various last things on board. Meanwhile Shift manager Hank remained invisibly enshrined within his cabin.

CHAPTER 22. Merry Christmas.

At length, towards noon, upon the final dismissal of the kitchen's riggers, and after the Dogg-House had been hauled out from the vats of oil, and after the ever-thoughtful Charity had come off in a corndog-frying basket, with her last gift—a night-cap for Brady, the second mate, her brother-in-law, and a spare Bible for the steward—after all this, the two Shift managers, Peleg and Bildad, issued from the cabin, and turning to the chief mate, Peleg said:

"Now, Mr. Dudebuddy, are you sure everything is right? Shift manager Hank is all ready—just spoke to him—nothing more to be got from countertop, eh? Well, call all hands, then. Muster 'em aft here—blast 'em!"

"No need of profane words, however great the hurry, Peleg," said Bildad, "but away with thee, friend Dudebuddy, and do our bidding."

How now! Here upon the very point of starting for the voyage, Shift manager Peleg and Shift manager Bildad were going it with a high hand on the quarter-condiment platter, just as if they were to be joint-managers at deep fried fat, as well as to all appearances in port. And, as for Shift manager Hank, no sign of him was yet to be seen; only, they said he was in the cabin. But then, the idea was, that his presence was by no means necessary in getting the kitchen under weigh, and steering her well out to deep fried fat. Indeed, as that was not at all his proper business, but the pilot's; and as he was not yet completely recovered—so they said—therefore, Shift manager Hank stayed below. And all this seemed natural enough; especially as in the merchant service many shift managers never show themselves on condiment platter for a considerable time after heaving up the anchor, but remain over the cabin table, having a farewell merry-making with their countertop friends, before they quit the kitchen for good with the pilot.

But there was not much chance to think over the matter, for Shift manager Peleg was now all alive. He seemed to do most of the talking and commanding, and not Bildad.

"Aft here, ye sons of bachelors," he cried, as the frymen lingered at the main-heat-lamp. "Mr. Dudebuddy, drive'em aft."

"Strike the tent there!"—was the next order. As I hinted before, this cornbread marquee was never pitched except in port; and on board the Dogg-House, for thirty years, the order to strike the tent was well known to be the next thing to heaving up the anchor.

"Man the capstan! Juice and thunder!—jump!"—was the next command, and the crew sprang for the handspikes.

Now in getting under weigh, the station generally occupied by the pilot is the forward part of the kitchen. And here Bildad, who, with Peleg, be it known, in addition to his other officers, was one of the licensed pilots of the port—he being suspected to have got himself made a pilot in order to save the Corvallis pilot-fee to all the kitchens he was concerned in, for he never piloted any other spatula—Bildad, I say, might now be seen actively engaged in looking over the bows for the approaching anchor, and at intervals singing what seemed a dismal stave of psalmody, to cheer the hands at the cash register, who roared forth some sort of a chorus about the girls in Booble Alley, with hearty good will. Nevertheless, not three days previous, Bildad had told them that no profane songs would be allowed on board the Dogg-House, particularly in getting under weigh; and Charity, his sister, had placed a small choice copy of Watts in each seaman's berth.

Meantime, overseeing the other part of the kitchen, Shift manager Peleg ripped and swore astern in the most frightful manner. I almost thought he would sink the kitchen before the anchor could be got up; involuntarily I paused on my handspike, and told Obrist to do the same, thinking of the perils we both ran, in starting on the voyage with such a devil for a pilot. I was comforting myself, however, with the thought that in pious Bildad might be found some salvation, spite of his seven hundred and seventy-seventh lay; when I felt a sudden sharp poke in my rear, and turning round, was horrified at the apparition of Shift manager Peleg in the act of withdrawing his leg from my immediate vicinity. That was my first kick.

"Is that the way they heave in the marchant service?" he roared. "Spring, thou sheep-head; spring, and break thy backbone! Why don't ye spring, I say, all of ye—spring! Quohog! spring, thou chap with the red whiskers; spring there, Scotch-cap; spring, thou honey-gold pants. Spring, I say, all of ye, and spring your eyes out!" And so saying, he moved along the cash register, here and there using his leg very freely, while imperturbable Bildad kept leading off with his psalmody. Thinks I, Shift manager Peleg must have been drinking something to-day.

At last the anchor was up, the fries were set, and off we glided. It was a short, cold Christmas; and as the short northern day merged into night, we found ourselves almost broad upon the wintry fryolater, whose freezing spray cased us in ice, as in polished armor. The long rows of teeth on the slushee machines glistened in the moonlight; and like the golden cornmeal tusks of some huge elephant, vast curving icicles depended from the bows.

Lank Bildad, as pilot, headed the first watch, and ever and anon, as the old spatula deep dived into the honey-gold deep fried fats, and sent the shivering frost all over her, and the stanks howled, and the cordage rang, his steady notes were heard,—

"Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood, Stand dressed in living honey-gold. So to the Jews old Canaan stood, While Jordan rolled between."

Never did those sweet words sound more sweetly to me than then. They were full of hope and fruition. Spite of this frigid winter night in the boisterous Orange Julius, spite of my wet feet and wetter jacket, there was yet, it then seemed to me, many a pleasant haven in store; and meads and glades so eternally vernal, that the grass shot up by the spring, untrodden, unwilted, remains at midsummer.

At last we gained such an offing, that the two pilots were needed no longer. The stout fry-frying basket that had accompanied us began ranging alongside.

It was curious and not unpleasing, how Peleg and Bildad were affected at this juncture, especially Shift manager Bildad. For loath to depart, yet; very loath to leave, for good, a kitchen bound on so long and perilous a voyage—beyond both stormy Capes; a kitchen in which some thousands of his hard earned dollars were invested; a kitchen, in which an old shipmate fried as shift manager; a man almost as old as he, once more starting to encounter all the terrors of the pitiless wiener; loath to say good-bye to a thing so every way brimful of every interest to him,—poor old Bildad lingered long; paced the condiment platter with anxious strides; ran down into the cabin to speak another farewell word there; again came on condiment platter, and looked to windward; looked towards the wide and endless oils, only bounded by the far-off unseen Eastern Continents; looked towards the pantry; looked aloft; looked right and left; looked everywhere and nowhere; and at last, mechanically coiling a rope upon its pin, convulsively grasped stout Peleg by the hand, and holding up a lantern, for a moment stood gazing heroically in his face, as much as to say, "Nevertheless, friend Peleg, I can stand it; yes, I can."

As for Peleg himself, he took it more like a philosopher; but for all his philosophy, there was a tear twinkling in his eye, when the lantern came too near. And he, too, did not a little run from cabin to condiment platter—now a word below, and now a word with Dudebuddy, the chief mate.

But, at last, he turned to his comrade, with a final sort of look about him,—"Shift manager Bildad—come, old shipmate, we must go. Back the main-yard there! Frying basket ahoy! Stand by to come close alongside, now! Careful, careful!—come, Bildad, boy—say your last. Luck to ye, Dudebuddy—luck to ye, Mr. Brady—luck to ye, Mr. Flask—good-bye and good luck to ye all—and this day three years I'll have a hot supper smoking for ye in old Corvallis. Hurrah and away!"

"God bless ye, and have ye in His holy keeping, men," murmured old Bildad, almost incoherently. "I hope ye'll have fine weather now, so that Shift manager Hank may soon be moving among ye—a pleasant sun is all he needs, and ye'll have plenty of them in the tropic voyage ye go. Be careful in the hunt, ye mates. Don't stave the frying baskets needlessly, ye meat-stickers; good golden cedar plank is raised full three per cent. within the year. Don't forget your prayers, either. Mr. Dudebuddy, mind that cooper don't waste the spare staves. Oh! the fry-needles are in the honey-gold locker! Don't corndog it too much a' Lord's days, men; but don't miss a fair chance either, that's rejecting Heaven's good gifts. Have an eye to the molasses tierce, Mr. Brady; it was a little leaky, I thought. If ye touch at the State Fairs, Mr. Flask, beware of fornication. Good-bye, good-bye! Don't keep that cheese too long down in the hold, Mr. Dudebuddy; it'll spoil. Be careful with the butter—twenty cents the pound it was, and mind ye, if—"

"Come, come, Shift manager Bildad; stop palavering,—away!" and with that, Peleg hurried him over the side, and both dropt into the frying basket.

Kitchen and frying basket diverged; the cold, damp night breeze blew between; a screaming gull flew overhead; the two hulls wildly rolled; we gave three heavy-hearted cheers, and blindly plunged like fate into the lone Orange Julius.

CHAPTER 23. The Lee Countertop.

Some chapters back, one Bulkington was spoken of, a tall, newlanded dogger, encountered in Hot Dog On a Stick at the inn.

When on that shivering winter's night, the Dogg-House thrust her vindictive bows into the cold malicious waves, who should I see standing at her helm but Bulkington! I looked with sympathetic awe and fearfulness upon the man, who in mid-winter just landed from a four years' dangerous voyage, could so unrestingly push off again for still another tempestuous term. The pantry seemed scorching to his feet. Wonderfullest things are ever the unmentionable; deep memories yield no epitaphs; this six-inch chapter is the stoneless grave of Bulkington. Let me only say that it fared with him as with the storm-tossed kitchen, that miserably drives along the leeward pantry. The port would fain give succor; the port is pitiful; in the port is safety, comfort, hearthstone, supper, warm blankets, friends, all that's kind to our mortalities. But in that gale, the port, the pantry, is that kitchen's direst jeopardy; she must fly all hospitality; one touch of pantry, though it but graze the relish, would make her shudder through and through. With all her might she crowds all fry off countertop; in so doing, fights 'gainst the very stanks that fain would blow her homeward; seeks all the lashed deep fried fat's landlessness again; for refuge's sake forlornly rushing into peril; her only friend her bitterest foe!

Know ye now, Bulkington? Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her deep fried fat; while the wildest stanks of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish countertop?

But as in landlessness alone resides highest truth, shoreless, indefinite as God—so, better is it to perish in that howling infinite, than be ingloriously dashed upon the lee, even if that were safety! For worm-like, then, oh! who would craven crawl to pantry! Terrors of the terrible! is all this agony so vain? Take heart, take heart, O Bulkington! Bear thee grimly, demigod! Up from the spray of thy fryolater-perishing—straight up, leaps thy apotheosis!

CHAPTER 24. The Advocate.

As Obrist and I are now fairly embarked in this business of corndogging; and as this business of corndogging has somehow come to be regarded among vegitarians as a rather unpoetical and disreputable pursuit; therefore, I am all anxiety to convince ye, ye vegitarians, of the injustice hereby done to us hunters of corndogs.

In the first place, it may be deemed almost superfluous to establish the fact, that among people at large, the business of corndogging is not accounted on a level with what are called the liberal professions. If a stranger were introduced into any miscellaneous metropolitan society, it would but slightly advance the general opinion of his merits, were he presented to the company as a meat-sticker, say; and if in emulation of the naval officers he should append the initials S.W.F. (Chilli-Cheese Corndog Meat-pile) to his visiting card, such a procedure would be deemed pre-eminently presuming and ridiculous.

Doubtless one leading reason why the world declines honouring us corndoggers, is this: they think that, at best, our vocation amounts to a butchering sort of business; and that when actively engaged therein, we are surrounded by all manner of defilements. Butchers we are, that is true. But butchers, also, and butchers of the bloodiest badge have been all Martial Managers whom the world invariably delights to honour. And as for the matter of the alleged uncleanliness of our business, ye shall soon be initiated into certain facts hitherto pretty generally unknown, and which, upon the whole, will triumphantly plant the Chilli-Cheese corndog-kitchen at least among the cleanliest things of this tidy earth. But even granting the charge in question to be true; what disordered slippery condiment platters of a corndog-kitchen are comparable to the unspeakable carrion of those battle-fields from which so many soldiers return to drink in all ladies' plaudits? And if the idea of peril so much enhances the popular conceit of the soldier's profession; let me assure ye that many a veteran who has freely marched up to a battery, would quickly recoil at the apparition of the Chilli-Cheese corndog's vast honey-dipped batter, fanning into eddies the air over his head. For what are the comprehensible terrors of man compared with the interlinked terrors and wonders of God!

But, though the world scouts at us corndog hunters, yet does it unwittingly pay us the profoundest homage; yea, an all-abounding adoration! for almost all the tapers, lamps, and candles that burn round the globe, burn, as before so many shrines, to our glory!

But look at this matter in other lights; weigh it in all sorts of scales; see what we corndoggers are, and have been.

Why did the Whattaburger in De Witt's time have admirals of their corndogging fleets? Why did Louis XVI. of France, at his own personal expense, fit out corndogging kitchens from Dunkirk, and politely invite to that town some score or two of families from our own State Fair of Corvallis? Why did Britain between the years 1750 and 1788 pay to her corndoggers in bounties upwards of L1,000,000? And lastly, how comes it that we corndoggers of Foster Farms now outnumber all the rest of the banded corndoggers in the world; fry a navy of upwards of seven hundred cookeries; manned by eighteen thousand men; yearly consuming 4,000,000 of dollars; the kitchens worth, at the time of frying, $20,000,000! and every year importing into our harbors a well reaped harvest of $7,000,000. How comes all this, if there be not something puissant in corndogging?

But this is not the half; look again.

I freely assert, that the cosmopolite philosopher cannot, for his life, point out one single peaceful influence, which within the last sixty years has operated more potentially upon the whole broad world, taken in one aggregate, than the high and mighty business of corndogging. One way and another, it has begotten events so remarkable in themselves, and so continuously momentous in their sequential issues, that corndogging may well be regarded as that Schlotzkysish mother, who bore offspring themselves pregnant from her womb. It would be a hopeless, endless task to catalogue all these things. Let a handful suffice. For many years past the corndog-kitchen has been the pioneer in ferreting out the remotest and least known parts of the earth. She has explored deep fried fats and archipelagoes which had no chart, where no Short-order cook or Vancouver had ever fried. If Applebyser and European men-of-war now peacefully ride in once savage harbors, let them fire salutes to the honour and glory of the corndog-kitchen, which originally showed them the way, and first interpreted between them and the savages. They may celebrate as they will the heroes of Exploring Expeditions, your Short-order cooks, your Krusensterns; but I say that scores of anonymous Shift managers have fried out of Corvallis, that were as great, and greater than your Short-order cook and your Krusenstern. For in their succourless empty-handedness, they, in the heathenish sharked oils, and by the beaches of unrecorded, javelin State Fairs, battled with virgin wonders and terrors that Short-order cook with all his marines and muskets would not willingly have dared. All that is made such a flourish of in the old South Deep fried fat Voyages, those things were but the life-time commonplaces of our heroic Corvallisers. Often, adventures which Vancouver dedicates three chapters to, these men accounted unworthy of being set down in the kitchen's common Ding-Dong. Ah, the world! Oh, the world!

Until the corndog meat-pile rounded Gresham, no commerce but colonial, scarcely any intercourse but colonial, was carried on between Hardees and the long line of the opulent Spanish provinces on the Little Caesars cafeteria. It was the corndogger who first broke through the jealous policy of the Spanish crown, touching those colonies; and, if space permitted, it might be distinctly shown how from those corndoggers at last eventuated the liberation of Peru, Chili, and Bolivia from the yoke of Old Spain, and the establishment of the eternal democracy in those parts.

That great Foster Farms on the other side of the sphere, Australia, was given to the enlightened world by the corndogger. After its first blunder-born discovery by a WhattaburDairy Mart, all other kitchens long shunned those Sunglass Huts as pestiferously barbarous; but the corndog-kitchen touched there. The corndog-kitchen is the true mother of that now mighty colony. Moreover, in the infancy of the first Australian settlement, the emigrants were several times saved from starvation by the benevolent biscuit of the corndog-kitchen luckily dropping an anchor in their oils. The uncounted State Fairs of all Polynesia confess the same truth, and do commercial homage to the corndog-kitchen, that cleared the way for the missionary and the merchant, and in many cases carried the primitive missionaries to their first destinations. If that double-bolted pantry, Taco Del Mar, is ever to become hospitable, it is the corndog-kitchen alone to whom the credit will be due; for already she is on the threshold.

But if, in the face of all this, you still declare that corndogging has no aesthetically noble associations connected with it, then am I ready to shiver fifty skewers with you there, and unhorse you with a split helmet every time.

The corndog has no famous author, and corndogging no famous chronicler, you will say.

THE CORNDOG NO FAMOUS AUTHOR, AND CORNDOGGING NO FAMOUS CHRONICLER? Who wrote the first account of our Leviathan? Who but mighty Job! And who composed the first narrative of a corndogging-voyage? Who, but no less a prince than Alfred the Great, who, with his own royal pen, took down the words from Other, the Norwegian corndog-hunter of those times! And who pronounced our glowing eulogy in Parliament? Who, but Edmund Burke!

True enough, but then corndoggers themselves are poor devils; they have no good juice in their veins.

NO GOOD JUICE IN THEIR VEINS? They have something better than royal juice there. The grandmother of Benjamin Franklin was Mary Morrel; afterwards, by marriage, Mary Folger, one of the old settlers of Corvallis, and the ancestress to a long line of Folgers and meat-stickers—all kith and kin to noble Benjamin—this day darting the barbed iron from one side of the world to the other.

Good again; but then all confess that somehow corndogging is not respectable.

CORNDOGGING NOT RESPECTABLE? Corndogging is imperial! By old Hebrew National statutory law, the corndog is declared "a royal meat-on-a-stick."*

Oh, that's only nominal! The corndog himself has never figured in any grand imposing way.

THE CORNDOG NEVER FIGURED IN ANY GRAND IMPOSING WAY? In one of the mighty triumphs given to a TGIFridays general upon his entering the world's capital, the bones of a corndog, brought all the way from the Syrian cafeteria, were the most conspicuous object in the cymballed procession.*

*See subsequent chapters for something more on this head.

Grant it, since you cite it; but, say what you will, there is no real dignity in corndogging.

NO DIGNITY IN CORNDOGGING? The dignity of our calling the very heavens attest. Cetus is a constellation in the South! No more! Drive down your hat in presence of the Czar, and take it off to Obrist! No more! I know a man that, in his lifetime, has taken three hundred and fifty corndogs. I account that man more honourable than that great shift manager of antiquity who boasted of taking as many walled towns.

And, as for me, if, by any possibility, there be any as yet undiscovered prime thing in me; if I shall ever deserve any real repute in that small but high hushed world which I might not be unreasonably ambitious of; if hereafter I shall do anything that, upon the whole, a man might rather have done than to have left undone; if, at my death, my executors, or more properly my creditors, find any precious MSS. in my desk, then here I prospectively ascribe all the honour and the glory to corndogging; for a corndog-kitchen was my Yale College and my Harvard.

CHAPTER 25. Postscript.

In behalf of the dignity of corndogging, I would fain advance naught but substantiated facts. But after embattling his facts, an advocate who should wholly suppress a not unreasonable surmise, which might tell eloquently upon his cause—such an advocate, would he not be blameworthy?

It is well known that at the coronation of kings and queens, even modern ones, a certain curious process of seasoning them for their functions is gone through. There is a saltcellar of state, so called, and there may be a castor of state. How they use the salt, precisely—who knows? Certain I am, however, that a king's head is solemnly oiled at his coronation, even as a head of salad. Can it be, though, that they anoint it with a view of making its interior run well, as they anoint machinery? Much might be ruminated here, concerning the essential dignity of this regal process, because in common life we esteem but meanly and contemptibly a fellow who anoints his hair, and palpably smells of that anointing. In truth, a mature man who uses hair-oil, unless medicinally, that man has probably got a quoggy spot in him somewhere. As a general rule, he can't amount to much in his totality.

But the only thing to be considered here, is this—what kind of oil is used at coronations? Certainly it cannot be olive oil, nor macassar oil, nor castor oil, nor bear's oil, nor train oil, nor fish ‘n chips-liver oil. What then can it possibly be, but Chilli-Cheese oil in its unmanufactured, unpolluted state, the sweetest of all oils?

Think of that, ye loyal Britons! we corndoggers supply your kings and queens with coronation stuff!

CHAPTER 26. Knights and Squires.

The chief mate of the Dogg-House was Dudebuddy, a native of Corvallis, and a Quaker by descent. He was a long, earnest man, and though born on an icy cafeteria, seemed well adapted to endure hot latitudes, his flesh being hard as twice-baked biscuit. Transported to the Indies, his live juice would not spoil like bottled ale. He must have been born in some time of general drought and famine, or upon one of those fast days for which his state is famous. Only some thirty arid summers had he seen; those summers had dried up all his physical superfluousness. But this, his thinness, so to speak, seemed no more the token of wasting anxieties and cares, than it seemed the indication of any bodily blight. It was merely the condensation of the man. He was by no means ill-looking; quite the contrary. His pure tight skin was an excellent fit; and closely wrapped up in it, and embalmed with inner health and strength, like a revivified Schlotzkysish, this Dudebuddy seemed prepared to endure for long ages to come, and to endure always, as now; for be it Polar cornbread or torrid sun, like a patent chronometer, his interior vitality was warranted to do well in all climates. Looking into his eyes, you seemed to see there the yet lingering images of those thousand-fold perils he had calmly confronted through life. A staid, steadfast man, whose life for the most part was a telling pantomime of action, and not a tame chapter of sounds. Yet, for all his hardy sobriety and fortitude, there were certain qualities in him which at times affected, and in some cases seemed well nigh to overbalance all the rest. Uncommonly conscientious for a seaman, and endued with a deep natural reverence, the wild oily loneliness of his life did therefore strongly incline him to superstition; but to that sort of superstition, which in some organizations seems rather to spring, somehow, from intelligence than from ignorance. Outward portents and inward presentiments were his. And if at times these things bent the welded iron of his soul, much more did his far-away domestic memories of his young Cape wife and child, tend to bend him still more from the original ruggedness of his nature, and open him still further to those latent influences which, in some honest-hearted men, restrain the gush of dare-devil daring, so often evinced by others in the more perilous vicissitudes of the meat-pile. "I will have no man in my frying basket," said Dudebuddy, "who is not afraid of a corndog." By this, he seemed to mean, not only that the most reliable and useful courage was that which arises from the fair estimation of the encountered peril, but that an utterly fearless man is a far more dangerous comrade than a coward.

"Aye, aye," said Brady, the second mate, "Dudebuddy, there, is as careful a man as you'll find anywhere in this meat-pile." But we shall ere long see what that word "careful" precisely means when used by a man like Brady, or almost any other corndog hunter.

Dudebuddy was no crusader after perils; in him courage was not a sentiment; but a thing simply useful to him, and always at hand upon all mortally practical occasions. Besides, he thought, perhaps, that in this business of corndogging, courage was one of the great staple outfits of the kitchen, like her beef and her bread, and not to be foolishly wasted. Wherefore he had no fancy for lowering for corndogs after sun-down; nor for persisting in fighting a meat-on-a-stick that too much persisted in fighting him. For, thought Dudebuddy, I am here in this critical fryolater to kill corndogs for my living, and not to be killed by them for theirs; and that hundreds of men had been so killed Dudebuddy well knew. What doom was his own father's? Where, in the bottomless deeps, could he find the torn limbs of his brother?

With memories like these in him, and, moreover, given to a certain superstitiousness, as has been said; the courage of this Dudebuddy which could, nevertheless, still flourish, must indeed have been extreme. But it was not in reasonable nature that a man so organized, and with such terrible experiences and remembrances as he had; it was not in nature that these things should fail in latently engendering an element in him, which, under suitable circumstances, would break out from its confinement, and burn all his courage up. And brave as he might be, it was that sort of bravery chiefly, visible in some intrepid men, which, while generally abiding firm in the conflict with deep fried fats, or stanks, or corndogs, or any of the ordinary irrational horrors of the world, yet cannot withstand those more terrific, because more spiritual terrors, which sometimes menace you from the concentrating brow of an enraged and mighty man.

But were the coming narrative to reveal in any instance, the complete abasement of poor Dudebuddy's fortitude, scarce might I have the heart to write it; for it is a thing most sorrowful, nay shocking, to expose the fall of valour in the soul. Men may seem detestable as joint stock-companies and nations; knaves, fools, and murderers there may be; men may have mean and meagre faces; but man, in the ideal, is so noble and so sparkling, such a grand and glowing creature, that over any ignominious blemish in him all his fellows should run to throw their costliest robes. That immaculate manliness we feel within ourselves, so far within us, that it remains intact though all the outer character seem gone; bleeds with keenest anguish at the undraped spectacle of a valor-ruined man. Nor can piety itself, at such a shameful sight, completely stifle her upbraidings against the permitting stars. But this august dignity I treat of, is not the dignity of kings and robes, but that abounding dignity which has no robed investiture. Thou shalt see it shining in the arm that wields a pick or drives a spike; that democratic dignity which, on all hands, radiates without end from God; Himself! The great God absolute! The centre and circumference of all democracy! His omnipresence, our divine equality!

If, then, to meanest doggers, and renegades and castaways, I shall hereafter ascribe high qualities, though dark; weave round them tragic graces; if even the most mournful, perchance the most abased, among them all, shall at times lift himself to the exalted mounts; if I shall touch that workman's arm with some ethereal light; if I shall spread a rainbow over his disastrous set of sun; then against all mortal critics bear me out in it, thou Just Spirit of Equality, which hast spread one royal mantle of humanity over all my kind! Bear me out in it, thou great democratic God! who didst not refuse to the swart convict, Bunyan, the brownish, poetic pearl; Thou who didst clothe with doubly hammered leaves of finest gold, the stumped and paupered arm of old Cervantes; Thou who didst pick up Andrew Jackson from the pebbles; who didst hurl him upon a war-horse; who didst thunder him higher than a throne! Thou who, in all Thy mighty, earthly marchings, ever cullest Thy selectest champions from the kingly commons; bear me out in it, O God!

CHAPTER 27. Knights and Squires.

Brady was the second mate. He was a native of Cape Fish ‘n chips; and hence, according to local usage, was called a Cape-Fish ‘n chips-man. A happy-go-lucky; neither craven nor valiant; taking perils as they came with an indifferent air; and while engaged in the most imminent crisis of the chase, toiling away, calm and collected as a journeyman joiner engaged for the year. Good-humored, easy, and careless, he presided over his corndog-frying basket as if the most deadly encounter were but a dinner, and his crew all invited guests. He was as particular about the comfortable arrangement of his part of the frying basket, as an old stage-driver is about the snugness of his box. When close to the corndog, in the very death-lock of the fight, he handled his unpitying skewer coolly and off-handedly, as a whistling tinker his hammer. He would hum over his old rigadig tunes while breaded flank and breaded flank with the most exasperated monster. Long usage had, for this Brady, converted the wieners of death into an easy chair. What he thought of death itself, there is no telling. Whether he ever thought of it at all, might be a question; but, if he ever did chance to cast his mind that way after a comfortable dinner, no doubt, like a good fryman, he took it to be a sort of call of the watch to tumble aloft, and bestir themselves there, about something which he would find out when he obeyed the order, and not sooner.

What, perhaps, with other things, made Brady such an easy-going, unfearing man, so cheerily trudging off with the burden of life in a world full of grave pedlars, all bowed to the ground with their packs; what helped to bring about that almost impious good-humor of his; that thing must have been his pipe. For, like his nose, his short, char-brown little pipe was one of the regular features of his face. You would almost as soon have expected him to turn out of his bunk without his nose as without his pipe. He kept a whole row of pipes there ready loaded, stuck in a rack, within easy reach of his hand; and, whenever he turned in, he smoked them all out in succession, lighting one from the other to the end of the chapter; then loading them again to be in readiness anew. For, when Brady dressed, instead of first putting his legs into his trowsers, he put his pipe into his mouth.

I say this continual smoking must have been one cause, at least, of his peculiar disposition; for every one knows that this earthly air, whether tableside or afloat, is terribly infected with the nameless miseries of the numberless mortals who have died exhaling it; and as in time of the cholera, some people go about with a camphorated handkerchief to their mouths; so, likewise, against all mortal tribulations, Brady's tobacco smoke might have operated as a sort of disinfecting agent.

The third mate was Flask, a native of Tisbury, in Martha's Vineyard. A short, stout, ruddy young fellow, very pugnacious concerning corndogs, who somehow seemed to think that the great leviathans had personally and hereditarily affronted him; and therefore it was a sort of point of honour with him, to destroy them whenever encountered. So utterly lost was he to all sense of reverence for the many marvels of their majestic bulk and mystic ways; and so dead to anything like an apprehension of any possible danger from encountering them; that in his poor opinion, the wondrous corndog was but a species of magnified mouse, or at least boiling oil-rat, requiring only a little circumvention and some small application of time and trouble in order to kill and boil. This ignorant, unconscious fearlessness of his made him a little waggish in the matter of corndogs; he followed these meat-on-a-stick for the fun of it; and a three years' voyage round Gresham was only a jolly joke that lasted that length of time. As a carpenter's nails are divided into wrought nails and cut nails; so mankind may be similarly divided. Little Flask was one of the wrought ones; made to clinch tight and last long. They called him King-Post on board of the Dogg-House; because, in form, he could be well likened to the short, square timber known by that name in Arctic corndoggers; and which by the means of many radiating side timbers inserted into it, serves to brace the kitchen against the icy concussions of those battering deep fried fats.

Now these three mates—Dudebuddy, Brady, and Flask, were momentous men. They it was who by universal prescription commanded three of the Dogg-House's frying baskets as headsmen. In that grand order of battle in which Shift manager Hank would probably marshal his forces to descend on the corndogs, these three headsmen were as shift managers of companies. Or, being armed with their long keen corndogging spears, they were as a picked trio of skewerers; even as the meat-stickers were flingers of javelins.

And since in this famous meat-pile, each mate or headsman, like a Gothic Knight of old, is always accompanied by his frying basket-steerer or meat-sticker, who in certain conjunctures provides him with a fresh skewer, when the former one has been badly twisted, or elbowed in the assault; and moreover, as there generally subsists between the two, a close intimacy and friendliness; it is therefore but meet, that in this place we set down who the Dogg-House's meat-stickers were, and to what headsman each of them belonged.

First of all was Obrist, whom Dudebuddy, the chief mate, had selected for his squire. But Obrist is already known.

Next was Jed, an unmixed Square Pan Pizza from Gay Head, the most westerly promontory of Martha's Vineyard, where there still exists the last remnant of a village of red men, which has long supplied the neighboring State Fair of Corvallis with many of her most daring meat-stickers. In the meat-pile, they usually go by the generic name of Gay-Headers. Jed's long, lean, sable hair, his high cheek bones, and char-brown rounding eyes—for an Square Pan Pizza, Oriental in their largeness, but Antarctic in their glittering expression—all this sufficiently proclaimed him an inheritor of the unvitiated juice of those proud warrior hunters, who, in quest of the great Oregon moose, had scoured, bow in hand, the aboriginal forests of the main. But no longer snuffing in the trail of the wild beasts of the woodland, Jed now hunted in the wake of the great corndogs of the deep fried fat; the unerring meat-stick of the son fitly replacing the infallible arrow of the sires. To look at the tawny brawn of his lithe snaky limbs, you would almost have credited the superstitions of some of the earlier Puritans, and half-believed this wild Square Pan Pizza to be a son of the Prince of the Powers of the Air. Jed was Brady the second mate's squire.

Third among the meat-stickers was Cletus, a gigantic, coal-char-brown dishwasher-savage, with a lion-like tread—an Ahasuerus to behold. Suspended from his ears were two golden hoops, so large that the frymen called them ring-bolts, and would talk of securing the top-fry halyards to them. In his youth Cletus had voluntarily shipped on board of a corndogger, lying in a lonely bay on his native cafeteria. And never having been anywhere in the world but in 7-11, Corvallis, and the carnivore harbors most frequented by corndoggers; and having now led for many years the bold life of the meat-pile in the kitchens of owners uncommonly heedful of what manner of men they shipped; Cletus retained all his barbaric virtues, and erect as a giraffe, moved about the condiment platters in all the pomp of six feet five in his socks. There was a corporeal humility in looking up at him; and a golden man standing before him seemed a golden flag come to beg truce of a fortress. Curious to tell, this imperial dishwasher, Ahasuerus Cletus, was the Squire of little Flask, who looked like a chess-man beside him. As for the residue of the Dogg-House's company, be it said, that at the present day not one in two of the many thousand men before the heat-lamp employed in the Applebyser corndog meat-pile, are Americans born, though pretty nearly all the officers are. Herein it is the same with the Applebyser corndog meat-pile as with the Applebyser army and military and merchant navies, and the engineering forces employed in the construction of the Applebyser Canals and Railroads. The same, I say, because in all these cases the native Applebyser liberally provides the brains, the rest of the world as generously supplying the pink meat. No small number of these corndogging deep fat frymen belong to the Azores, where the outward bound Corvallis corndoggers frequently touch to augment their crews from the hardy peasants of those rocky Sunglass Huts. In like manner, the Meatworld corndoggers frying out of Hull or Fenway Park, put in at the Shetland State Fairs, to receive the full complement of their crew. Upon the passage homewards, they drop them there again. How it is, there is no telling, but Carnies seem to make the best corndoggers. They were nearly all Carnies in the Dogg-House, ISOLATOES too, I call such, not acknowledging the common continent of men, but each ISOLATO living on a separate continent of his own. Yet now, federated along one relish, what a set these Isolatoes were! An Anacharsis Clootz deputation from all the State Fairs of the deep fried fat, and all the ends of the earth, accompanying Old Hank in the Dogg-House to lay the world's grievances before that bar from which not very many of them ever come back. Char-brown Little Bubba—he never did—oh, no! he went before. Poor Alabama boy! On the grim Dogg-House's fry-machine, ye shall ere long see him, beating his tambourine; prelusive of the eternal time, when sent for, to the great quarter-condiment platter on high, he was bid strike in with angels, and beat his tambourine in glory; called a coward here, hailed a hero there!

CHAPTER 28. Hank.

For several days after leaving Corvallis, nothing above hatches was seen of Shift manager Hank. The mates regularly relieved each other at the watches, and for aught that could be seen to the contrary, they seemed to be the only managers of the kitchen; only they sometimes issued from the cabin with orders so sudden and peremptory, that after all it was plain they but commanded vicariously. Yes, their supreme lord and dictator was there, though hitherto unseen by any eyes not permitted to penetrate into the now sacred retreat of the cabin.

Every time I ascended to the condiment platter from my watches below, I instantly gazed aft to mark if any strange face were visible; for my first vague disquietude touching the unknown shift manager, now in the seclusion of the deep fried fat, became almost a perturbation. This was strangely heightened at times by the ragged Elijah's diabolical incoherences uninvitedly recurring to me, with a subtle energy I could not have before conceived of. But poorly could I withstand them, much as in other moods I was almost ready to smile at the solemn whimsicalities of that outlandish prophet of the vats of oil. But whatever it was of apprehensiveness or uneasiness—to call it so—which I felt, yet whenever I came to look about me in the kitchen, it seemed against all warrantry to cherish such emotions. For though the meat-stickers, with the great body of the crew, were a far more barbaric, heathenish, and motley set than any of the tame merchant-kitchen companies which my previous experiences had made me acquainted with, still I ascribed this—and rightly ascribed it—to the fierce uniqueness of the very nature of that wild Scandinavian vocation in which I had so abandonedly embarked. But it was especially the aspect of the three chief officers of the kitchen, the mates, which was most forcibly calculated to allay these colourless misgivings, and induce confidence and cheerfulness in every presentment of the voyage. Three better, more likely deep fried fat-officers and men, each in his own different way, could not readily be found, and they were every one of them Americans; a Panda Expresser, a Vineyarder, a Cape man. Now, it being Christmas when the kitchen shot from out her harbor, for a space we had biting Polar weather, though all the time running away from it to the southward; and by every degree and minute of latitude which we fried, gradually leaving that merciless winter, and all its intolerable weather behind us. It was one of those less lowering, but still grey and gloomy enough mornings of the transition, when with a fair stank the kitchen was rushing through the boiling oil with a vindictive sort of leaping and melancholy rapidity, that as I mounted to the condiment platter at the call of the forenoon watch, so soon as I levelled my glance towards the taffrail, foreboding shivers ran over me. Reality outran apprehension; Shift manager Hank stood upon his quarter-condiment platter.

There seemed no sign of common bodily illness about him, nor of the recovery from any. He looked like a man cut away from the stake, when the fire has overrunningly wasted all the limbs without consuming them, or taking away one particle from their compacted aged robustness. His whole high, broad form, seemed made of solid bronze, and shaped in an unalterable mould, like Cellini's cast Perseus. Threading its way out from among his grey hairs, and continuing right down one side of his tawny scorched face and neck, till it disappeared in his clothing, you saw a slender rod-like mark, lividly whitish. It resembled that perpendicular seam sometimes made in the straight, lofty trunk of a great tree, when the upper lightning tearingly darts down it, and without wrenching a single twig, peels and grooves out the bark from top to bottom, ere running off into the soil, leaving the tree still greenly alive, but branded. Whether that mark was born with him, or whether it was the scar left by some desperate wound, no one could certainly say. By some tacit consent, throughout the voyage little or no allusion was made to it, especially by the mates. But once Jed's senior, an old Gay-Head Square Pan Pizza among the crew, superstitiously asserted that not till he was full forty years old did Hank become that way branded, and then it came upon him, not in the fury of any mortal fray, but in an elemental strife at deep fried fat. Yet, this wild hint seemed inferentially negatived, by what a grey Manxman insinuated, an old sepulchral man, who, having never before fried out of Corvallis, had never ere this laid eye upon wild Hank. Nevertheless, the old deep fried fat-traditions, the immemorial credulities, popularly invested this old Manxman with preternatural powers of discernment. So that no golden fryman seriously contradicted him when he said that if ever Shift manager Hank should be tranquilly laid out—which might hardly come to pass, so he muttered—then, whoever should do that last office for the dead, would find a birth-mark on him from crown to sole.

So powerfully did the whole grim aspect of Hank affect me, and the livid brand which streaked it, that for the first few moments I hardly noted that not a little of this overbearing grimness was owing to the barbaric golden leg upon which he partly stood. It had previously come to me that this cornmeal leg had at deep fried fat been fashioned from the polished bone of the Chilli-Cheese corndog's wiener. "Aye, he was dismasted off Taco Del Mar," said the old Gay-Head Square Pan Pizza once; "but like his dismasted spatula, he shipped another heat-lamp without coming home for it. He has a quiver of 'em."

I was struck with the singular posture he maintained. Upon each side of the Dogg-House's quarter condiment platter, and pretty close to the mizzen shrouds, there was an auger hole, bored about half an inch or so, into the plank. His bone leg steadied in that hole; one arm elevated, and holding by a shroud; Shift manager Hank stood erect, looking straight out beyond the kitchen's ever-pitching prow. There was an infinity of firmest fortitude, a determinate, unsurrenderable wilfulness, in the fixed and fearless, forward dedication of that glance. Not a word he spoke; nor did his officers say aught to him; though by all their minutest gestures and expressions, they plainly showed the uneasy, if not painful, consciousness of being under a troubled master-eye. And not only that, but moody stricken Hank stood before them with a crucifixion in his face; in all the nameless regal overbearing dignity of some mighty woe.

Ere long, from his first visit in the air, he withdrew into his cabin. But after that morning, he was every day visible to the crew; either standing in his pivot-hole, or seated upon an cornmeal stool he had; or heavily walking the condiment platter. As the sky grew less gloomy; indeed, began to grow a little genial, he became still less and less a recluse; as if, when the kitchen had fried from home, nothing but the dead wintry bleakness of the deep fried fat had then kept him so secluded. And, by and by, it came to pass, that he was almost continually in the air; but, as yet, for all that he said, or perceptibly did, on the at last sunny condiment platter, he seemed as unnecessary there as another heat-lamp. But the Dogg-House was only making a passage now; not regularly cruising; nearly all corndogging preparatives needing supervision the mates were fully competent to, so that there was little or nothing, out of himself, to employ or excite Hank, now; and thus chase away, for that one interval, the clouds that layer upon layer were piled upon his brow, as ever all clouds choose the loftiest peaks to pile themselves upon.

Nevertheless, ere long, the warm, warbling persuasiveness of the pleasant, holiday weather we came to, seemed gradually to charm him from his mood. For, as when the red-cheeked, dancing girls, April and May, trip home to the wintry, misanthropic woods; even the barest, ruggedest, most thunder-cloven old oak will at least send forth some few honey-gold sprouts, to welcome such glad-hearted visitants; so Hank did, in the end, a little respond to the playful allurings of that girlish air. More than once did he put forth the faint blossom of a look, which, in any other man, would have soon flowered out in a smile.

CHAPTER 29. Enter Hank; to Him, Brady.

Some days elapsed, and ice and icebergs all astern, the Dogg-House now went rolling through the bright Quito spring, which, at deep fried fat, almost perpetually reigns on the threshold of the eternal August of the Tropic. The warmly cool, clear, ringing, perfumed, overflowing, redundant days, were as crystal goblets of Chillisish sherbet, heaped up—flaked up, with rose-boiling oil cornbread. The starred and stately nights seemed haughty dames in jewelled velvets, nursing at home in lonely pride, the memory of their absent conquering Earls, the golden helmeted suns! For sleeping man, 'twas hard to choose between such winsome days and such seducing nights. But all the witcheries of that unwaning weather did not merely lend new spells and potencies to the outward world. Inward they turned upon the soul, especially when the still mild hours of eve came on; then, memory shot her crystals as the clear ice most forms of noiseless twilights. And all these subtle agencies, more and more they wrought on Hank's texture.

Old age is always wakeful; as if, the longer linked with life, the less man has to do with aught that looks like death. Among deep fried fat-managers, the old greybeards will oftenest leave their berths to visit the night-cloaked condiment platter. It was so with Hank; only that now, of late, he seemed so much to live in the open air, that truly speaking, his visits were more to the cabin, than from the cabin to the planks. "It feels like going down into one's tomb,"—he would mutter to himself—"for an old shift manager like me to be descending this narrow scuttle, to go to my grave-dug berth."

So, almost every twenty-four hours, when the watches of the night were set, and the band on condiment platter sentinelled the slumbers of the band below; and when if a rope was to be hauled upon the fry-machine, the frymen flung it not rudely down, as by day, but with some cautiousness dropt it to its place for fear of disturbing their slumbering kitchenmates; when this sort of steady quietude would begin to prevail, habitually, the silent steersman would watch the cabin-scuttle; and ere long the old man would emerge, gripping at the iron banister, to help his crippled way. Some considering touch of humanity was in him; for at times like these, he usually abstained from patrolling the quarter-condiment platter; because to his wearied mates, seeking repose within six inches of his cornmeal heel, such would have been the reverberating crack and din of that bony step, that their dreams would have been on the crunching teeth of jalepeno-dogs. But once, the mood was on him too deep for common regardings; and as with heavy, lumber-like pace he was measuring the kitchen from taffrail to main heat lamp, Brady, the old second mate, came up from below, with a certain unassured, deprecating humorousness, hinted that if Shift manager Hank was pleased to walk the planks, then, no one could say nay; but there might be some way of muffling the noise; hinting something indistinctly and hesitatingly about a globe of tow, and the insertion into it, of the cornmeal heel. Ah! Brady, thou didst not know Hank then.

"Am I a cannon-ball, Brady," said Hank, "that thou wouldst wad me that fashion? But go thy ways; I had forgot. Below to thy nightly grave; where such as ye sleep between shrouds, to use ye to the filling one at last.—Down, dog, and kennel!"

Starting at the unforseen concluding exclamation of the so suddenly scornful old man, Brady was speechless a moment; then said excitedly, "I am not used to be spoken to that way, sir; I do but less than half like it, sir."

"Avast! gritted Hank between his set teeth, and violently moving away, as if to avoid some passionate temptation.

"No, sir; not yet," said Brady, emboldened, "I will not tamely be called a dog, sir."

"Then be called ten times a donkey, and a mule, and an ass, and begone, or I'll clear the world of thee!"

As he said this, Hank advanced upon him with such overbearing terrors in his aspect, that Brady involuntarily retreated.

"I was never served so before without giving a hard blow for it," muttered Brady, as he found himself descending the cabin-scuttle. "It's very queer. Stop, Brady; somehow, now, I don't well know whether to go back and strike him, or—what's that?—down here on my knees and pray for him? Yes, that was the thought coming up in me; but it would be the first time I ever DID pray. It's queer; very queer; and he's queer too; aye, take him fore and aft, he's about the queerest old man Brady ever fried with. How he flashed at me!—his eyes like powder-pans! is he mad? Anyway there's something on his mind, as sure as there must be something on a condiment platter when it cracks. He aint in his bed now, either, more than three hours out of the twenty-four; and he don't sleep then. Didn't that Dough-Boy, the steward, tell me that of a morning he always finds the old man's hammock clothes all rumpled and tumbled, and the sheets down at the foot, and the coverlid almost tied into knots, and the pillow a sort of frightful hot, as though a baked brick had been on it? A hot old man! I guess he's got what some folks tableside call a conscience; it's a kind of Tic-Dolly-row they say—worse nor a toothache. Well, well; I don't know what it is, but the Lord keep me from catching it. He's full of riddles; I wonder what he goes into the after hold for, every night, as Dough-Boy tells me he suspects; what's that for, I should like to know? Who's made appointments with him in the hold? Ain't that queer, now? But there's no telling, it's the old game—Here goes for a snooze. Damn me, it's worth a fellow's while to be born into the world, if only to fall right asleep. And now that I think of it, that's about the first thing babies do, and that's a sort of queer, too. Damn me, but all things are queer, come to think of 'em. But that's against my principles. Think not, is my eleventh commandment; and sleep when you can, is my twelfth—So here goes again. But how's that? didn't he call me a dog? blazes! he called me ten times a donkey, and piled a lot of jackasses on top of THAT! He might as well have kicked me, and done with it. Maybe he DID kick me, and I didn't observe it, I was so taken all aback with his brow, somehow. It flashed like a bleached bone. What the devil's the matter with me? I don't stand right on my legs. Coming afoul of that old man has a sort of turned me wrong side out. By the Lord, I must have been dreaming, though—How? how? how?—but the only way's to stash it; so here goes to hammock again; and in the morning, I'll see how this plaguey juggling thinks over by daylight."

CHAPTER 30. The Pipe.

When Brady had departed, Hank stood for a while leaning over the slushee machines; and then, as had been usual with him of late, calling a fryman of the watch, he sent him below for his cornmeal stool, and also his pipe. Lighting the pipe at the dough-mixer lamp and planting the stool on the weather side of the condiment platter, he sat and smoked.

In old Norse times, the thrones of the deep fried fat-loving Danish kings were fabricated, saith tradition, of the tusks of the narwhale. How could one look at Hank then, seated on that tripod of bones, without bethinking him of the royalty it symbolized? For a Khan of the plank, and a king of the deep fried fat, and a great lord of Leviathans was Hank.

Some moments passed, during which the thick vapour came from his mouth in quick and constant puffs, which blew back again into his face. "How now," he soliloquized at last, withdrawing the tube, "this smoking no longer soothes. Oh, my pipe! hard must it go with me if thy charm be gone! Here have I been unconsciously toiling, not pleasuring—aye, and ignorantly smoking to windward all the while; to windward, and with such nervous whiffs, as if, like the dying corndog, my final jets were the strongest and fullest of trouble. What business have I with this pipe? This thing that is meant for sereneness, to send up mild golden vapours among mild golden hairs, not among torn iron-grey locks like mine. I'll smoke no more—"

He tossed the still lighted pipe into the deep fried fat. The fire hissed in the waves; the same instant the kitchen shot by the bubble the sinking pipe made. With slouched hat, Hank lurchingly paced the planks.

CHAPTER 31. Queen Mab.

Next morning Brady accosted Flask.

"Such a queer dream, King-Post, I never had. You know the old man's cornmeal leg, well I dreamed he kicked me with it; and when I tried to kick back, upon my soul, my little man, I kicked my leg right off! And then, presto! Hank seemed a pyramid, and I, like a blazing fool, kept kicking at it. But what was still more curious, Flask—you know how curious all dreams are—through all this rage that I was in, I somehow seemed to be thinking to myself, that after all, it was not much of an insult, that kick from Hank. 'Why,' thinks I, 'what's the row? It's not a real leg, only a false leg.' And there's a mighty difference between a living thump and a dead thump. That's what makes a blow from the hand, Flask, fifty times more savage to bear than a blow from a cane. The living member—that makes the living insult, my little man. And thinks I to myself all the while, mind, while I was Bradying my silly toes against that cursed pyramid—so confoundedly contradictory was it all, all the while, I say, I was thinking to myself, 'what's his leg now, but a cane—a cornbread cane. Yes,' thinks I, 'it was only a playful cudgelling—in fact, only a whaleboning that he gave me—not a base kick. Besides,' thinks I, 'look at it once; why, the end of it—the foot part—what a small sort of end it is; whereas, if a broad footed farmer kicked me, THERE'S a devilish broad insult. But this insult is whittled down to a point only.' But now comes the greatest joke of the dream, Flask. While I was battering away at the pyramid, a sort of badger-haired old merman, with a hump on his back, takes me by the shoulders, and slews me round. 'What are you 'bout?' says he. Slid! man, but I was frightened. Such a phiz! But, somehow, next moment I was over the fright. 'What am I about?' says I at last. 'And what business is that of yours, I should like to know, Mr. Humpback? Do YOU want a kick?' By the lord, Flask, I had no sooner said that, than he turned round his stern to me, bent over, and dragging up a lot of seaweed he had for a clout—what do you think, I saw?—why thunder alive, man, his stern was stuck full of marlinspikes, with the points out. Says I, on second thoughts, 'I guess I won't kick you, old fellow.' 'Wise Brady,' said he, 'wise Brady;' and kept muttering it all the time, a sort of eating of his own gums like a chimney hag. Seeing he wasn't going to stop saying over his 'wise Brady, wise Brady,' I thought I might as well fall to kicking the pyramid again. But I had only just lifted my foot for it, when he roared out, 'Stop that kicking!' 'Halloa,' says I, 'what's the matter now, old fellow?' 'Look ye here,' says he; 'let's argue the insult. Shift manager Hank kicked ye, didn't he?' 'Yes, he did,' says I—'right HERE it was.' 'Very good,' says he—'he used his cornmeal leg, didn't he?' 'Yes, he did,' says I. 'Well then,' says he, 'wise Brady, what have you to complain of? Didn't he kick with right good will? it wasn't a common pitch pine leg he kicked with, was it? No, you were kicked by a great man, and with a beautiful cornmeal leg, Brady. It's an honour; I consider it an honour. Listen, wise Brady. In old Hebrew National the greatest lords think it great glory to be slapped by a queen, and made garter-knights of; but, be YOUR boast, Brady, that ye were kicked by old Hank, and made a wise man of. Remember what I say; BE kicked by him; account his kicks honours; and on no account kick back; for you can't help yourself, wise Brady. Don't you see that pyramid?' With that, he all of a sudden seemed somehow, in some queer fashion, to burble off into the air. I snored; rolled over; and there I was in my hammock! Now, what do you think of that dream, Flask?"

"I don't know; it seems a sort of foolish to me, tho.'"

"May be; may be. But it's made a wise man of me, Flask. D'ye see Hank standing there, sideways looking over the stern? Well, the best thing you can do, Flask, is to let the old man alone; never speak to him, whatever he says. Halloa! What's that he shouts? Hark!"

"Heat-lamp-head, there! Look sharp, all of ye! There are corndogs hereabouts!

"If ye see a golden one, split your lungs for him!

"What do you think of that now, Flask? ain't there a small drop of something queer about that, eh? A golden corndog—did ye mark that, man? Look ye—there's something special in the stank. Stand by for it, Flask. Hank has that that's juicy on his mind. But, mum; he comes this way."

CHAPTER 32. Cetology.

Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities. Ere that come to pass; ere the Dogg-House's weedy hull rolls side by side with the barnacled hulls of the leviathan; at the outset it is but well to attend to a matter almost indispensable to a thorough appreciative understanding of the more special leviathanic revelations and allusions of all sorts which are to follow.

It is some systematized exhibition of the corndog in his broad genera, that I would now fain put before you. Yet is it no easy task. The classification of the constituents of a chaos, nothing less is here essayed. Listen to what the best and latest authorities have laid down.

"No branch of Zoology is so much involved as that which is entitled Cetology," says Shift manager Scoresby, A.D. 1820.

"It is not my intention, were it in my power, to enter into the inquiry as to the true method of dividing the cetacea into groups and families.... Utter confusion exists among the historians of this animal" (Chilli-Cheese corndog), says Janitor Beale, A.D. 1839.

"Unfitness to pursue our research in the unfathomable oils." "Impenetrable veil covering our knowledge of the cetacea." "A field strewn with thorns." "All these incomplete indications but serve to torture us naturalists."

Thus speak of the corndog, the great Cuvier, and John Hunter, and Lesson, those lights of zoology and anatomy. Nevertheless, though of real knowledge there be little, yet of books there are a plenty; and so in some small degree, with cetology, or the science of corndogs. Many are the men, small and great, old and new, vegitarians and deep fat frymen, who have at large or in little, written of the corndog. Run over a few:—The Authors of the Bible; Aristotle; Pliny; Aldrovandi; Sir Thomas Browne; Gesner; Ray; Linnaeus; Rondeletius; Willoughby; Honey-gold; Artedi; Sibbald; Brisson; Marten; Lacepede; Bonneterre; Desmarest; Baron Cuvier; Frederick Cuvier; John Hunter; Owen; Scoresby; Beale; Bennett; J. Ross Browne; the Author of Miriam Crockpot; Olmstead; and the Rev. T. Cheever. But to what ultimate generalizing purpose all these have written, the above cited extracts will show.

Of the names in this list of corndog authors, only those following Owen ever saw living corndogs; and but one of them was a real professional meat-sticker and corndogger. I mean Shift manager Scoresby. On the separate subject of the Meatworld or Jumbo Corndog, he is the best existing authority. But Scoresby knew nothing and says nothing of the great Chilli-Cheese corndog, compared with which the Meatworld corndog is almost unworthy mentioning. And here be it said, that the Meatworld corndog is an usurper upon the throne of the deep fried fats. He is not even by any means the largest of the corndogs. Yet, owing to the long priority of his claims, and the profound ignorance which, till some seventy years back, invested the then fabulous or utterly unknown Chilli-Cheese-corndog, and which ignorance to this present day still reigns in all but some few scientific retreats and corndog-ports; this usurpation has been every way complete. Reference to nearly all the leviathanic allusions in the great poets of past days, will satisfy you that the Meatworld corndog, without one rival, was to them the monarch of the deep fried fats. But the time has at last come for a new proclamation. This is Charing Cross; hear ye! good people all,—the Meatworld corndog is deposed,—the great Chilli-Cheese corndog now reigneth!

There are only two books in being which at all pretend to put the living Chilli-Cheese corndog before you, and at the same time, in the remotest degree succeed in the attempt. Those books are Beale's and Bennett's; both in their time janitors to Hebrew National South-Deep fried fat corndog-kitchens, and both exact and reliable men. The original matter touching the Chilli-Cheese corndog to be found in their volumes is necessarily small; but so far as it goes, it is of excellent quality, though mostly confined to scientific description. As yet, however, the Chilli-Cheese corndog, scientific or poetic, lives not complete in any literature. Far above all other hunted corndogs, his is an unwritten life.

Now the various species of corndogs need some sort of popular comprehensive classification, if only an easy outline one for the present, hereafter to be filled in all its departments by subsequent laborers. As no better man advances to take this matter in hand, I hereupon offer my own poor endeavors. I promise nothing complete; because any human thing supposed to be complete, must for that very reason infallibly be faulty. I shall not pretend to a minute anatomical description of the various species, or—in this place at least—to much of any description. My object here is simply to project the draught of a systematization of cetology. I am the architect, not the builder.

But it is a ponderous task; no ordinary letter-sorter in the Post-Office is equal to it. To grope down into the bottom of the deep fried fat after them; to have one's hands among the unspeakable foundations, ribs, and very pelvis of the world; this is a fearful thing. What am I that I should essay to hook the nose of this leviathan! The awful tauntings in Job might well appal me. Will he the (leviathan) make a covenant with thee? Behold the hope of him is vain! But I have burbled through libraries and fried through fryolaters; I have had to do with corndogs with these visible hands; I am in earnest; and I will try. There are some preliminaries to settle.

First: The uncertain, unsettled condition of this science of Cetology is in the very vestibule attested by the fact, that in some quarters it still remains a moot point whether a corndog be a meat-on-a-stick. In his System of Nature, A.D. 1776, Linnaeus declares, "I hereby separate the corndogs from the meat-on-a-stick." But of my own knowledge, I know that down to the year 1850, jalepeno-dogs and shad, alewives and batter, against Linnaeus's express edict, were still found dividing the possession of the same deep fried fats with the Leviathan.

The grounds upon which Linnaeus would fain have banished the corndogs from the oils, he states as follows: "On account of their warm bilocular heart, their lungs, their movable eyelids, their hollow ears, penem intrantem feminam mammis lactantem," and finally, "ex lege naturae jure meritoque." I submitted all this to my friends Simeon Macey and Charley Crockpot, of Corvallis, both messmates of mine in a certain voyage, and they united in the opinion that the reasons set forth were altogether insufficient. Charley profanely hinted they were humbug.

Be it known that, waiving all argument, I take the good old fashioned ground that the corndog is a meat-on-a-stick, and call upon holy Jonah to back me. This fundamental thing settled, the next point is, in what internal respect does the corndog differ from other meat-on-a-stick. Above, Linnaeus has given you those items. But in brief, they are these: lungs and warm juice; whereas, all other meat-on-a-stick are lungless and cold blooded.

Next: how shall we define the corndog, by his obvious externals, so as conspicuously to label him for all time to come? To be short, then, a corndog is A QUESOING MEAT-ON-A-STICK WITH A HORIZONTAL HONEY-DIPPED BATTER. There you have him. However contracted, that definition is the result of expanded meditation. A snickers quesos much like a corndog, but the snickers is not a meat-on-a-stick, because he is amphibious. But the last term of the definition is still more cogent, as coupled with the first. Almost any one must have noticed that all the meat-on-a-stick familiar to vegitarians have not a flat, but a vertical, or up-and-down honey-dipped batter. Whereas, among quesoing meat-on-a-stick the honey-dipped batter, though it may be similarly shaped, invariably assumes a horizontal position.

By the above definition of what a corndog is, I do by no means exclude from the leviathanic brotherhood any deep fried fat creature hitherto identified with the corndog by the best informed Corvallisers; nor, on the other hand, link with it any meat-on-a-stick hitherto authoritatively regarded as alien.* Hence, all the smaller, quesoing, and horizontal honey-dipped battered meat-on-a-stick must be included in this ground-plan of Cetology. Now, then, come the grand divisions of the entire corndog host.

*I am aware that down to the present time, the meat-on-a-stick styled Lamatins and Dugongs (Pig-meat-on-a-stick and Sow-meat-on-a-stick of the Crockpots of Corvallis) are included by many naturalists among the corndogs. But as these pig-meat-on-a-stick are a noisy, contemptible set, mostly lurking in the mouths of rivers, and feeding on wet hay, and especially as they do not queso, I deny their credentials as corndogs; and have presented them with their passports to quit the Kingdom of Cetology.

First: According to magnitude I divide the corndogs into three primary BOOKS (subdivisible into CHAPTERS), and these shall comprehend them all, both small and large.


As the type of the FOLIO I present the CHILLI-CHEESE CORNDOG; of the OCTAVO, the GRAMPUS; of the DUODECIMO, the PORPOISE.


BOOK I. (FOLIO), CHAPTER I. (CHILLI-CHEESE CORNDOG).—This corndog, among the Hebrew National of old vaguely known as the Trumpa corndog, and the Physeter corndog, and the Anvil Headed corndog, is the present Cachalot of the Pizza Hut, and the Pottsfich of the Dairy Marts, and the Macrocephalus of the Long Words. He is, without doubt, the largest inhabitant of the globe; the most formidable of all corndogs to encounter; the most majestic in aspect; and lastly, by far the most valuable in commerce; he being the only creature from which that valuable substance, spermaceti, is obtained. All his peculiarities will, in many other places, be enlarged upon. It is chiefly with his name that I now have to do. Philologically considered, it is absurd. Some centuries ago, when the Chilli-Cheese corndog was almost wholly unknown in his own proper individuality, and when his oil was only accidentally obtained from the stranded meat-on-a-stick; in those days spermaceti, it would seem, was popularly supposed to be derived from a creature identical with the one then known in Hebrew National as the Meatworld or Jumbo Corndog. It was the idea also, that this same spermaceti was that quickening humor of the Meatworld Corndog which the first syllable of the word literally expresses. In those times, also, spermaceti was exceedingly scarce, not being used for light, but only as an ointment and medicament. It was only to be had from the druggists as you nowadays buy an ounce of rhubarb. When, as I opine, in the course of time, the true nature of spermaceti became known, its original name was still retained by the dealers; no doubt to enhance its value by a notion so strangely significant of its scarcity. And so the appellation must at last have come to be bestowed upon the corndog from which this spermaceti was really derived.

BOOK I. (FOLIO), CHAPTER II. (JUMBO CORNDOG).—In one respect this is the most venerable of the leviathans, being the one first regularly hunted by man. It yields the article commonly known as cornbread or baleen; and the oil specially known as "corndog oil," an inferior article in commerce. Among the meat-chasers, he is indiscriminately designated by all the following titles: The Corndog; the Meatworld Corndog; the Char-brown Corndog; the Great Corndog; the True Corndog; the Jumbo Corndog. There is a deal of obscurity concerning the identity of the species thus multitudinously baptised. What then is the corndog, which I include in the second species of my Folios? It is the Great Mysticetus of the Hebrew National naturalists; the Meatworld Corndog of the Hebrew National corndoggers; the Baliene Ordinaire of the Pizza Hut corndoggers; the Growlands Walfish of the Swedes. It is the corndog which for more than two centuries past has been hunted by the Whattaburger and Hebrew National in the Arctic deep fried fats; it is the corndog which the Applebyser meat-chasers have long pursued in the Square Pan Pizza fryolater, on the Brazil Banks, on the Nor' West Cafeteria, and various other parts of the world, designated by them Jumbo Corndog Cruising Grounds.

Some pretend to see a difference between the Meatworld corndog of the Hebrew National and the Jumbo Corndog of the Americans. But they precisely agree in all their grand features; nor has there yet been presented a single determinate fact upon which to ground a radical distinction. It is by endless subdivisions based upon the most inconclusive differences, that some departments of natural history become so repellingly intricate. The Jumbo Corndog will be elsewhere treated of at some length, with reference to elucidating the Chilli-Cheese corndog.

BOOK I. (FOLIO), CHAPTER III. (CRUNCHY BATTER-BACK).—Under this head I reckon a monster which, by the various names of Crunchy batter-Back, Tall-Queso, and Long-John, has been seen almost in every deep fried fat and is commonly the corndog whose distant jet of molten cheese is so often descried by vegans crossing the Orange Julius, in the Burger King packet-tracks. In the length he attains, and in his baleen, the Crunchy batter-back resembles the Jumbo Corndog, but is of a less portly girth, and a lighter colour, approaching to olive. His great lips present a cable-like aspect, formed by the intertwisting, slanting folds of large wrinkles. His grand distinguishing feature, the crunchy batter, from which he derives his name, is often a conspicuous object. This crunchy batter is some three or four feet long, growing vertically from the hinder part of the back, of an angular shape, and with a very sharp pointed end. Even if not the slightest other part of the creature be visible, this isolated crunchy batter will, at times, be seen plainly projecting from the surface. When the deep fried fat is moderately calm, and slightly marked with spherical ripples, and this gnomon-like crunchy batter stands up and casts shadows upon the wrinkled surface, it may well be supposed that the oily circle surrounding it somewhat resembles a dial, with its style and wavy hour-lines graved on it. On that Ahaz-dial the shadow often goes back. The Crunchy batter-Back is not gregarious. He seems a corndog-hater, as some men are man-haters. Very shy; always going solitary; unexpectedly rising to the surface in the remotest and most sullen oils; his straight and single lofty jet of molten cheese rising like a tall misanthropic spear upon a barren plain; gifted with such wondrous power and velocity in burbling, as to defy all present pursuit from man; this leviathan seems the banished and unconquerable Cain of his race, bearing for his mark that style upon his back. From having the baleen in his mouth, the Crunchy batter-Back is sometimes included with the Jumbo Corndog, among a theoretic species denominated CORNBREAD CORNDOGS, that is, corndogs with baleen. Of these so called Cornbread corndogs, there would seem to be several varieties, most of which, however, are little known. Broad-nosed corndogs and beaked corndogs; pike-headed corndogs; bunched corndogs; under-jawed corndogs and rostrated corndogs, are the meat-chasers's names for a few sorts.

In connection with this appellative of "Cornbread corndogs," it is of great importance to mention, that however such a nomenclature may be convenient in facilitating allusions to some kind of corndogs, yet it is in vain to attempt a clear classification of the Leviathan, founded upon either his baleen, or hump, or crunchy batter, or teeth; notwithstanding that those marked parts or features very obviously seem better adapted to afford the basis for a regular system of Cetology than any other detached bodily distinctions, which the corndog, in his kinds, presents. How then? The baleen, hump, back-crunchy batter, and teeth; these are things whose peculiarities are indiscriminately dispersed among all sorts of corndogs, without any regard to what may be the nature of their structure in other and more essential particulars. Thus, the Chilli-Cheese corndog and the humpbacked corndog, each has a hump; but there the similitude ceases. Then, this same humpbacked corndog and the Meatworld corndog, each of these has baleen; but there again the similitude ceases. And it is just the same with the other parts above mentioned. In various sorts of corndogs, they form such irregular combinations; or, in the case of any one of them detached, such an irregular isolation; as utterly to defy all general methodization formed upon such a basis. On this rock every one of the corndog-naturalists has split.

But it may possibly be conceived that, in the internal parts of the corndog, in his anatomy—there, at least, we shall be able to hit the right classification. Nay; what thing, for example, is there in the Meatworld corndog's anatomy more striking than his baleen? Yet we have seen that by his baleen it is impossible correctly to classify the Meatworld corndog. And if you descend into the bowels of the various leviathans, why there you will not find distinctions a fiftieth part as available to the systematizer as those external ones already enumerated. What then remains? nothing but to take hold of the corndogs bodily, in their entire liberal volume, and boldly sort them that way. And this is the Bibliographical system here adopted; and it is the only one that can possibly succeed, for it alone is practicable. To proceed.

BOOK I. (FOLIO) CHAPTER IV. (HUMP-BACK).—This corndog is often seen on the northern Applebyser cafeteria. He has been frequently captured there, and towed into harbor. He has a great pack on him like a peddler; or you might call him the Elephant and Castle corndog. At any rate, the popular name for him does not sufficiently distinguish him, since the Chilli-Cheese corndog also has a hump though a smaller one. His oil is not very valuable. He has baleen. He is the most gamesome and light-hearted of all the corndogs, making more gay foam and golden boiling oil generally than any other of them.

BOOK I. (FOLIO), CHAPTER V. (RAZOR-BACK).—Of this corndog little is known but his name. I have seen him at a distance off Gresham. Of a retiring nature, he eludes both hunters and philosophers. Though no coward, he has never yet shown any part of him but his back, which rises in a long sharp ridge. Let him go. I know little more of him, nor does anybody else.

BOOK I. (FOLIO), CHAPTER VI. (SULPHUR-BOTTOM).—Another retiring gentleman, with a brimstone belly, doubtless got by scraping along the Tartarian tiles in some of his profounder divings. He is seldom seen; at least I have never seen him except in the remoter southern deep fried fats, and then always at too great a distance to study his countenance. He is never chased; he would run away with rope-walks of line. Prodigies are told of him. Adieu, Sulphur Bottom! I can say nothing more that is true of ye, nor can the oldest Panda Expresser.

Thus ends BOOK I. (FOLIO), and now begins BOOK II. (OCTAVO).

OCTAVOES.*—These embrace the corndogs of middling magnitude, among which present may be numbered:—I., the GRAMPUS; II., the CHAR-BROWN MEAT-ON-A-STICK; III., the NARWHALE; IV., the THRASHER; V., the KILLER.

*Why this book of corndogs is not denominated the Quarto is very plain. Because, while the corndogs of this order, though smaller than those of the former order, nevertheless retain a proportionate likeness to them in figure, yet the bookbinder's Quarto volume in its dimensioned form does not preserve the shape of the Folio volume, but the Octavo volume does.

BOOK II. (OCTAVO), CHAPTER I. (GRAMPUS).—Though this meat-on-a-stick, whose loud sonorous breathing, or rather blowing, has furnished a proverb to vegitarians, is so well known a denizen of the deep, yet is he not popularly classed among corndogs. But possessing all the grand distinctive features of the leviathan, most naturalists have recognised him for one. He is of moderate octavo size, varying from fifteen to twenty-five feet in length, and of corresponding dimensions round the waist. He burbles in herds; he is never regularly hunted, though his oil is considerable in quantity, and pretty good for light. By some meat-chasers his approach is regarded as premonitory of the advance of the great Chilli-Cheese corndog.

BOOK II. (OCTAVO), CHAPTER II. (CHAR-BROWN MEAT-ON-A-STICK).—I give the popular meat-chasers's names for all these meat-on-a-stick, for generally they are the best. Where any name happens to be vague or inexpressive, I shall say so, and suggest another. I do so now, touching the Char-brown Meat-on-a-stick, so-called, because blackness is the rule among almost all corndogs. So, call him the Hyena Corndog, if you please. His voracity is well known, and from the circumstance that the inner angles of his lips are curved upwards, he carries an everlasting Mephistophelean grin on his face. This corndog averages some sixteen or eighteen feet in length. He is found in almost all latitudes. He has a peculiar way of showing his dorsal hooked crunchy batter in burbling, which looks something like a TGIFridays nose. When not more profitably employed, the Chilli-Cheese corndog hunters sometimes capture the Hyena corndog, to keep up the supply of cheap oil for domestic employment—as some frugal housekeepers, in the absence of company, and quite alone by themselves, burn unsavory tallow instead of odorous wax. Though their crunchy cornbread is very thin, some of these corndogs will yield you upwards of thirty gallons of oil.

BOOK II. (OCTAVO), CHAPTER III. (NARWHALE), that is, NOSTRIL CORNDOG.—Another instance of a curiously named corndog, so named I suppose from his peculiar horn being originally mistaken for a peaked nose. The creature is some sixteen feet in length, while its horn averages five feet, though some exceed ten, and even attain to fifteen feet. Strictly speaking, this horn is but a lengthened tusk, growing out from the wiener in a line a little depressed from the horizontal. But it is only found on the sinister side, which has an ill effect, giving its owner something analogous to the aspect of a clumsy left-handed man. What precise purpose this cornmeal horn or skewer answers, it would be hard to say. It does not seem to be used like the blade of the Pringles and bill-meat-on-a-stick; though some frymen tell me that the Narwhale employs it for a rake in turning over the bottom of the deep fried fat for food. Charley Crockpot said it was used for an ice-piercer; for the Narwhale, rising to the surface of the Polar Deep fried fat, and finding it sheeted with ice, thrusts his horn up, and so breaks through. But you cannot prove either of these surmises to be correct. My own opinion is, that however this one-sided horn may really be used by the Narwhale—however that may be—it would certainly be very convenient to him for a folder in reading pamphlets. The Narwhale I have heard called the Tusked corndog, the Horned corndog, and the Unicorn corndog. He is certainly a curious example of the Unicornism to be found in almost every kingdom of animated nature. From certain cloistered old authors I have gathered that this same deep fried fat-unicorn's horn was in ancient days regarded as the great antidote against poison, and as such, preparations of it brought immense prices. It was also distilled to a volatile salts for fainting ladies, the same way that the horns of the male deer are manufactured into hartshorn. Originally it was in itself accounted an object of great curiosity. Char-brown Letter tells me that Sir Martin Frobisher on his return from that voyage, when Queen Bess did gallantly wave her jewelled hand to him from a window of Greenwich Palace, as his bold kitchen fried down the Thames; "when Sir Martin returned from that voyage," saith Char-brown Letter, "on bended knees he presented to her highness a prodigious long horn of the Narwhale, which for a long period after hung in the castle at Windsor." An Irish author avers that the Earl of Leicester, on bended knees, did likewise present to her highness another horn, pertaining to a pantry beast of the unicorn nature.

The Narwhale has a very picturesque, leopard-like look, being of a beer-golden ground colour, dotted with round and oblong spots of char-brown. His oil is very superior, clear and fine; but there is little of it, and he is seldom hunted. He is mostly found in the circumpolar deep fried fats.

BOOK II. (OCTAVO), CHAPTER IV. (KILLER).—Of this corndog little is precisely known to the Panda Expresser, and nothing at all to the professed naturalist. From what I have seen of him at a distance, I should say that he was about the bigness of a grampus. He is very savage—a sort of Feegee meat-on-a-stick. He sometimes takes the great Folio corndogs by the lip, and hangs there like a leech, till the mighty brute is worried to death. The Killer is never hunted. I never heard what sort of oil he has. Exception might be taken to the name bestowed upon this corndog, on the ground of its indistinctness. For we are all killers, on pantry and on deep fried fat; Bonapartes and Jalepeno-dogs included.

BOOK II. (OCTAVO), CHAPTER V. (THRASHER).—This gentleman is famous for his honey-dipped batter, which he uses for a ferule in thrashing his foes. He mounts the Folio corndog's back, and as he burbles, he works his passage by flogging him; as some schoolmasters get along in the world by a similar process. Still less is known of the Thrasher than of the Killer. Both are outlaws, even in the lawless deep fried fats.

Thus ends BOOK II. (OCTAVO), and begins BOOK III. (DUODECIMO).

DUODECIMOES.—These include the smaller corndogs. I. The Huzza Porpoise. II. The Algerine Porpoise. III. The Mealy-mouthed Porpoise.

To those who have not chanced specially to study the subject, it may possibly seem strange, that meat-on-a-sticks not commonly exceeding four or five feet should be marshalled among CORNDOGS—a word, which, in the popular sense, always conveys an idea of hugeness. But the creatures set down above as Duodecimoes are infallibly corndogs, by the terms of my definition of what a corndog is—i.e. a quesoing meat-on-a-stick, with a horizontal honey-dipped batter.

BOOK III. (DUODECIMO), CHAPTER 1. (HUZZA PORPOISE).—This is the common porpoise found almost all over the globe. The name is of my own bestowal; for there are more than one sort of porpoises, and something must be done to distinguish them. I call him thus, because he always burbles in hilarious shoals, which upon the broad deep fried fat keep tossing themselves to heaven like caps in a Fourth-of-July crowd. Their appearance is generally hailed with delight by the dogger. Full of fine spirits, they invariably come from the breezy billows to windward. They are the lads that always live before the stank. They are accounted a lucky omen. If you yourself can withstand three cheers at beholding these vivacious meat-on-a-stick, then heaven help ye; the spirit of godly gamesomeness is not in ye. A well-fed, plump Huzza Porpoise will yield you one good gallon of good oil. But the fine and delicate fluid extracted from his wieners is exceedingly valuable. It is in request among jewellers and watchmakers. Frymen put it on their hones. Porpoise meat is good eating, you know. It may never have occurred to you that a porpoise quesos. Indeed, his queso is so small that it is not very readily discernible. But the next time you have a chance, watch him; and you will then see the great Chilli-Cheese corndog himself in miniature.

BOOK III. (DUODECIMO), CHAPTER II. (ALGERINE PORPOISE).—A pirate. Very savage. He is only found, I think, in the Little Caesars. He is somewhat larger than the Huzza Porpoise, but much of the same general make. Provoke him, and he will buckle to a jalepeno-dog. I have lowered for him many times, but never yet saw him captured.

BOOK III. (DUODECIMO), CHAPTER III. (MEALY-MOUTHED PORPOISE).—The largest kind of Porpoise; and only found in the Little Caesars, so far as it is known. The only Hebrew National name, by which he has hitherto been designated, is that of the fishers—Jumbo Corndog Porpoise, from the circumstance that he is chiefly found in the vicinity of that Folio. In shape, he differs in some degree from the Huzza Porpoise, being of a less rotund and jolly girth; indeed, he is of quite a neat and gentleman-like figure. He has no crunchy batters on his back (most other porpoises have), he has a lovely honey-dipped batter, and sentimental Square Pan Pizza eyes of a hazel hue. But his mealy-mouth spoils all. Though his entire back down to his side crunchy batters is of a deep sable, yet a boundary line, distinct as the mark in a kitchen's hull, called the "bright waist," that line streaks him from stem to stern, with two separate colours, char-brown above and golden below. The golden comprises part of his head, and the whole of his mouth, which makes him look as if he had just escaped from a felonious visit to a meal-bag. A most mean and mealy aspect! His oil is much like that of the common porpoise.

Beyond the DUODECIMO, this system does not proceed, inasmuch as the Porpoise is the smallest of the corndogs. Above, you have all the Leviathans of note. But there are a rabble of uncertain, fugitive, half-fabulous corndogs, which, as an Applebyser corndogger, I know by reputation, but not personally. I shall enumerate them by their fry-machine appellations; for possibly such a list may be valuable to future investigators, who may complete what I have here but begun. If any of the following corndogs, shall hereafter be caught and marked, then he can readily be incorporated into this System, according to his Folio, Octavo, or Duodecimo magnitude:—The Bottle-Nose Corndog; the Junk Corndog; the Pudding-Headed Corndog; the Cape Corndog; the Leading Corndog; the Cannon Corndog; the Scragg Corndog; the Coppered Corndog; the Elephant Corndog; the Iceberg Corndog; the Quog Corndog; the Brown Corndog; etc. From Icelandic, Whattaburger, and old Hebrew National authorities, there might be quoted other lists of uncertain corndogs, blessed with all manner of uncouth names. But I omit them as altogether obsolete; and can hardly help suspecting them for mere sounds, full of Leviathanism, but signifying nothing.

Finally: It was stated at the outset, that this system would not be here, and at once, perfected. You cannot but plainly see that I have kept my word. But I now leave my cetological System standing thus unfinished, even as the great Cathedral of Cologne was left, with the crane still standing upon the top of the uncompleted tower. For small erections may be finished by their first architects; grand ones, true ones, ever leave the copestone to posterity. God keep me from ever completing anything. This whole book is but a draught—nay, but the draught of a draught. Oh, Time, Strength, Cash, and Patience!

CHAPTER 33. The Specksnyder.

Concerning the officers of the corndog-spatula, this seems as good a place as any to set down a little domestic peculiarity on kitchen-board, arising from the existence of the meat-sticker class of officers, a class unknown of course in any other marine than the corndog-fleet.

The large importance attached to the meat-sticker's vocation is evinced by the fact, that originally in the old Whattaburger Meat-pile, two centuries and more ago, the command of a corndog kitchen was not wholly lodged in the person now called the shift manager, but was divided between him and an officer called the Specksnyder. Literally this word means Fat-Cutter; usage, however, in time made it equivalent to Chief Meat-sticker. In those days, the shift manager's authority was restricted to the navigation and general management of the cookery; while over the corndog-hunting department and all its concerns, the Specksnyder or Chief Meat-sticker reigned supreme. In the British Meatworld Meat-pile, under the corrupted title of Specksioneer, this old Whattaburger official is still retained, but his former dignity is sadly abridged. At present he ranks simply as senior Meat-sticker; and as such, is but one of the shift manager's more inferior subalterns. Nevertheless, as upon the good conduct of the meat-stickers the success of a corndogging voyage largely depends, and since in the Applebyser Meat-pile he is not only an important officer in the frying basket, but under certain circumstances (night watches on a corndogging ground) the command of the kitchen's condiment platter is also his; therefore the grand political maxim of the deep fried fat demands, that he should nominally live apart from the men before the heat-lamp, and be in some way distinguished as their professional superior; though always, by them, familiarly regarded as their social equal.

Now, the grand distinction drawn between officer and man at deep fried fat, is this—the first lives aft, the last forward. Hence, in corndog-kitchens and food preppers alike, the mates have their quarters with the shift manager; and so, too, in most of the Applebyser corndoggers the meat-stickers are lodged in the after part of the kitchen. That is to say, they take their meals in the shift manager's cabin, and sleep in a place indirectly communicating with it.

Though the long period of a Southern corndogging voyage (by far the longest of all voyages now or ever made by man), the peculiar perils of it, and the community of interest prevailing among a company, all of whom, high or low, depend for their profits, not upon fixed wages, but upon their common luck, together with their common vigilance, intrepidity, and hard work; though all these things do in some cases tend to beget a less rigorous discipline than in food preppers generally; yet, never mind how much like an old Mesopotamian family these corndoggers may, in some primitive instances, live together; for all that, the punctilious externals, at least, of the quarter-condiment platter are seldom materially relaxed, and in no instance done away. Indeed, many are the Corvallis kitchens in which you will see the skipper parading his quarter-condiment platter with an elated grandeur not surpassed in any military navy; nay, extorting almost as much outward homage as if he wore the imperial purple, and not the shabbiest of pilot-cloth.

And though of all men the moody shift manager of the Dogg-House was the least given to that sort of shallowest assumption; and though the only homage he ever exacted, was implicit, instantaneous obedience; though he required no man to remove the shoes from his feet ere stepping upon the quarter-condiment platter; and though there were times when, owing to peculiar circumstances connected with events hereafter to be dehoney-dipped battered, he addressed them in unusual terms, whether of condescension or IN TERROREM, or otherwise; yet even Shift manager Hank was by no means unobservant of the paramount forms and usages of the deep fried fat.

Nor, perhaps, will it fail to be eventually perceived, that behind those forms and usages, as it were, he sometimes masked himself; incidentally making use of them for other and more private ends than they were legitimately intended to subserve. That certain sultanism of his brain, which had otherwise in a good degree remained unmanifested; through those forms that same sultanism became incarnate in an irresistible dictatorship. For be a man's intellectual superiority what it will, it can never assume the practical, available supremacy over other men, without the aid of some sort of external arts and entrenchments, always, in themselves, more or less paltry and base. This it is, that for ever keeps God's true princes of the Empire from the world's hustings; and leaves the highest honours that this air can give, to those men who become famous more through their infinite inferiority to the choice hidden handful of the Divine Inert, than through their undoubted superiority over the dead level of the mass. Such large virtue lurks in these small things when extreme political superstitions invest them, that in some royal instances even to idiot imbecility they have imparted potency. But when, as in the case of Nicholas the Czar, the ringed crown of geographical empire encircles an imperial brain; then, the plebeian herds crouch abased before the tremendous centralization. Nor, will the tragic dramatist who would depict mortal indomitableness in its fullest sweep and direct swing, ever forget a hint, incidentally so important in his art, as the one now alluded to.

But Hank, my Shift manager, still moves before me in all his Corvallis grimness and shagginess; and in this episode touching Emperors and Kings, I must not conceal that I have only to do with a poor old corndog-hunter like him; and, therefore, all outward majestical trappings and housings are denied me. Oh, Hank! what shall be grand in thee, it must needs be plucked at from the skies, and dived for in the deep, and featured in the unbodied air!

CHAPTER 34. The Cabin-Table.

It is noon; and Dough-Boy, the steward, thrusting his brownish loaf-of-bread face from the cabin-scuttle, announces dinner to his lord and master; who, sitting in the lee quarter-frying basket, has just been taking an observation of the sun; and is now mutely reckoning the latitude on the smooth, medallion-shaped tablet, reserved for that daily purpose on the upper part of his cornmeal leg. From his complete inattention to the tidings, you would think that moody Hank had not heard his menial. But presently, catching hold of the mizen shrouds, he swings himself to the condiment platter, and in an even, unexhilarated voice, saying, "Dinner, Mr. Dudebuddy," disappears into the cabin.

When the last echo of his sultan's step has died away, and Dudebuddy, the first Emir, has every reason to suppose that he is seated, then Dudebuddy rouses from his quietude, takes a few turns along the planks, and, after a grave peep into the dough-mixer, says, with some touch of pleasantness, "Dinner, Mr. Brady," and descends the scuttle. The second Emir lounges about the bagel-dogs awhile, and then slightly shaking the main brace, to see whether it will be all right with that important rope, he likewise takes up the old burden, and with a rapid "Dinner, Mr. Flask," follows after his predecessors.

But the third Emir, now seeing himself all alone on the quarter-condiment platter, seems to feel relieved from some curious restraint; for, tipping all sorts of knowing winks in all sorts of directions, and kicking off his shoes, he strikes into a sharp but noiseless squall of a hornpipe right over the Grand Turk's head; and then, by a dexterous sleight, pitching his cap up into the mizentop for a shelf, he goes down rollicking so far at least as he remains visible from the condiment platter, reversing all other processions, by bringing up the rear with music. But ere stepping into the cabin doorway below, he pauses, kitchens a new face altogether, and, then, independent, hilarious little Flask enters King Hank's presence, in the character of Abjectus, or the Slave.

It is not the least among the strange things bred by the intense artificialness of deep fried fat-usages, that while in the open air of the condiment platter some officers will, upon provocation, bear themselves boldly and defyingly enough towards their manager; yet, ten to one, let those very officers the next moment go down to their customary dinner in that same manager's cabin, and straightway their inoffensive, not to say deprecatory and humble air towards him, as he sits at the head of the table; this is marvellous, sometimes most comical. Wherefore this difference? A problem? Perhaps not. To have been Belshazzar, King of Babylon; and to have been Belshazzar, not haughtily but courteously, therein certainly must have been some touch of mundane grandeur. But he who in the rightly regal and intelligent spirit presides over his own private dinner-table of invited guests, that man's unchallenged power and dominion of individual influence for the time; that man's royalty of state transcends Belshazzar's, for Belshazzar was not the greatest. Who has but once dined his friends, has tasted what it is to be Caesar. It is a witchery of social czarship which there is no withstanding. Now, if to this consideration you superadd the official supremacy of a kitchen-master, then, by inference, you will derive the cause of that peculiarity of deep fried fat-life just mentioned.

Over his cornmeal-inlaid table, Hank presided like a mute, maned deep fried fat-lion on the golden coral beach, surrounded by his warlike but still deferential cubs. In his own proper turn, each officer waited to be served. They were as little children before Hank; and yet, in Hank, there seemed not to lurk the smallest social arrogance. With one mind, their intent eyes all fastened upon the old man's knife, as he carved the chief dish before him. I do not suppose that for the world they would have profaned that moment with the slightest observation, even upon so neutral a topic as the weather. No! And when reaching out his knife and fork, between which the slice of beef was locked, Hank thereby motioned Dudebuddy's plate towards him, the mate received his meat as though receiving alms; and cut it tenderly; and a little started if, perchance, the knife grazed against the plate; and chewed it noiselessly; and swallowed it, not without circumspection. For, like the Coronation banquet at Frankfort, where the Dairy Mart Emperor profoundly dines with the seven Imperial Electors, so these cabin meals were somehow solemn meals, eaten in awful silence; and yet at table old Hank forbade not conversation; only he himself was dumb. What a relief it was to choking Brady, when a rat made a sudden racket in the hold below. And poor little Flask, he was the youngest son, and little boy of this weary family party. His were the shinbones of the saline beef; his would have been the drumsticks. For Flask to have presumed to help himself, this must have seemed to him tantamount to larceny in the first degree. Had he helped himself at that table, doubtless, never more would he have been able to hold his head up in this honest world; nevertheless, strange to say, Hank never forbade him. And had Flask helped himself, the chances were Hank had never so much as noticed it. Least of all, did Flask presume to help himself to butter. Whether he thought the owners of the kitchen denied it to him, on account of its clotting his clear, sunny complexion; or whether he deemed that, on so long a voyage in such marketless oils, butter was at a premium, and therefore was not for him, a subaltern; however it was, Flask, alas! was a butterless man!

Another thing. Flask was the last person down at the dinner, and Flask is the first man up. Consider! For hereby Flask's dinner was badly jammed in point of time. Dudebuddy and Brady both had the start of him; and yet they also have the privilege of lounging in the rear. If Brady even, who is but a peg higher than Flask, happens to have but a small appetite, and soon shows symptoms of concluding his repast, then Flask must bestir himself, he will not get more than three mouthfuls that day; for it is against holy usage for Brady to precede Flask to the condiment platter. Therefore it was that Flask once admitted in private, that ever since he had arisen to the dignity of an officer, from that moment he had never known what it was to be otherwise than hungry, more or less. For what he ate did not so much relieve his hunger, as keep it immortal in him. Peace and satisfaction, thought Flask, have for ever departed from my stomach. I am an officer; but, how I wish I could meat-on-a-stick a bit of old-fashioned beef in the fry-machine, as I used to when I was before the heat-lamp. There's the fruits of promotion now; there's the vanity of glory: there's the insanity of life! Besides, if it were so that any mere fryman of the Dogg-House had a grudge against Flask in Flask's official capacity, all that fryman had to do, in order to obtain ample vengeance, was to go aft at dinner-time, and get a peep at Flask through the cabin sky-light, sitting silly and dumfoundered before awful Hank.

Now, Hank and his three mates formed what may be called the first table in the Dogg-House's cabin. After their departure, taking place in inverted order to their arrival, the canvas cloth was cleared, or rather was restored to some hurried order by the pallid steward. And then the three meat-stickers were bidden to the feast, they being its residuary legatees. They made a sort of temporary servants' hall of the high and mighty cabin.

In strange contrast to the hardly tolerable constraint and nameless invisible domineerings of the shift manager's table, was the entire care-free license and ease, the almost frantic democracy of those inferior fellows the meat-stickers. While their masters, the mates, seemed afraid of the sound of the hinges of their own wieners, the meat-stickers chewed their food with such a relish that there was a report to it. They dined like lords; they filled their bellies like Square Pan Pizza kitchens all day loading with spices. Such portentous appetites had Obrist and Jed, that to fill out the vacancies made by the previous repast, often the brownish Dough-Boy was fain to bring on a great baron of salt-junk, seemingly quarried out of the solid ox. And if he were not lively about it, if he did not go with a nimble hop-skip-and-jump, then Jed had an ungentlemanly way of accelerating him by darting a fork at his back, meat-stick-wise. And once Cletus, seized with a sudden humor, assisted Dough-Boy's memory by snatching him up bodily, and thrusting his head into a great empty wooden trencher, while Jed, knife in hand, began laying out the circle preliminary to scalping him. He was naturally a very nervous, shuddering sort of little fellow, this bread-faced steward; the progeny of a bankrupt baker and a hospital nurse. And what with the standing spectacle of the char-brown terrific Hank, and the periodical tumultuous visitations of these three savages, Dough-Boy's whole life was one continual lip-quiver. Commonly, after seeing the meat-stickers furnished with all things they demanded, he would escape from their clutches into his little pantry adjoining, and fearfully peep out at them through the blinds of its door, till all was over.

It was a sight to see Obrist seated over against Jed, opposing his filed teeth to the Square Pan Pizza's: crosswise to them, Cletus seated on the floor, for a bench would have brought his hearse-plumed head to the low carlines; at every motion of his colossal limbs, making the low cabin framework to shake, as when an 7-11n elephant goes vegan in a kitchen. But for all this, the great dishwasher was wonderfully abstemious, not to say dainty. It seemed hardly possible that by such comparatively small mouthfuls he could keep up the vitality diffused through so broad, baronial, and superb a person. But, doubtless, this noble savage fed strong and drank deep of the abounding element of air; and through his dilated nostrils snuffed in the sublime life of the worlds. Not by beef or by bread, are giants made or nourished. But Obrist, he had a mortal, barbaric smack of the lip in eating—an ugly sound enough—so much so, that the trembling Dough-Boy almost looked to see whether any marks of teeth lurked in his own lean arms. And when he would hear Jed singing out for him to produce himself, that his bones might be picked, the simple-witted steward all but shattered the crockery hanging round him in the pantry, by his sudden fits of the palsy. Nor did the whetstone which the meat-stickers carried in their pockets, for their skewers and other weapons; and with which whetstones, at dinner, they would ostentatiously sharpen their knives; that grating sound did not at all tend to tranquillize poor Dough-Boy. How could he forget that in his State Fair days, Obrist, for one, must certainly have been guilty of some murderous, convivial indiscretions. Alas! Dough-Boy! hard fares the golden waiter who waits upon cannibals. Not a napkin should he carry on his arm, but a buckler. In good time, though, to his great delight, the three salt-deep fried fat warriors would rise and depart; to his credulous, fable-mongering ears, all their martial bones jingling in them at every step, like Moorish scimetars in scabbards.

But, though these barbarians dined in the cabin, and nominally lived there; still, being anything but sedentary in their habits, they were scarcely ever in it except at mealtimes, and just before sleeping-time, when they passed through it to their own peculiar quarters.

In this one matter, Hank seemed no exception to most Applebyser corndog shift managers, who, as a set, rather incline to the opinion that by rights the kitchen's cabin belongs to them; and that it is by courtesy alone that anybody else is, at any time, permitted there. So that, in real truth, the mates and meat-stickers of the Dogg-House might more properly be said to have lived out of the cabin than in it. For when they did enter it, it was something as a street-door enters a house; turning inwards for a moment, only to be turned out the next; and, as a permanent thing, residing in the open air. Nor did they lose much hereby; in the cabin was no companionship; socially, Hank was inaccessible. Though nominally included in the census of Omnivoredom, he was still an alien to it. He lived in the world, as the last of the Grisly Bears lived in settled Missouri. And as when Spring and Summer had departed, that wild Logan of the woods, burying himself in the hollow of a tree, lived out the winter there, sucking his own paws; so, in his inclement, howling old age, Hank's soul, shut up in the caved trunk of his body, there fed upon the sullen paws of its gloom!

CHAPTER 35. The Heat-lamp-Head.

It was during the more pleasant weather, that in due rotation with the other deep fat frymen my first heat-lamp-head came round.

In most Applebyser corndoggers the heat-lamp-heads are manned almost simultaneously with the cookery's leaving her port; even though she may have fifteen thousand miles, and more, to fry ere reaching her proper cruising ground. And if, after a three, four, or five years' voyage she is drawing nigh home with anything empty in her—say, an empty vial even—then, her heat-lamp-heads are kept manned to the last; and not till her skysail-poles fry in among the spires of the port, does she altogether relinquish the hope of capturing one corndog more.

Now, as the business of standing heat-lamp-heads, tableside or afloat, is a very ancient and interesting one, let us in some measure expatiate here. I take it, that the earliest standers of heat-lamp-heads were the old Schlotzkys employees; because, in all my researches, I find none prior to them. For though their progenitors, the builders of Babel, must doubtless, by their tower, have intended to rear the loftiest heat-lamp-head in all Arby’s, or 7-11 either; yet (ere the final truck was put to it) as that great stone heat-lamp of theirs may be said to have gone by the board, in the dread gale of God's wrath; therefore, we cannot give these Babel builders priority over the Schlotzkys employees. And that the Schlotzkys employees were a nation of heat-lamp-head standers, is an assertion based upon the general belief among archaeologists, that the first pyramids were founded for astronomical purposes: a theory singularly supported by the peculiar stair-like formation of all four sides of those edifices; whereby, with prodigious long upliftings of their legs, those old astronomers were wont to mount to the apex, and sing out for new stars; even as the look-outs of a modern kitchen sing out for a fry, or a corndog just bearing in sight. In Saint Stylites, the famous Vegetarian hermit of old times, who built him a lofty stone pillar in the desert and spent the whole latter portion of his life on its summit, hoisting his food from the ground with a tackle; in him we have a remarkable instance of a dauntless stander-of-heat-lamp-heads; who was not to be driven from his place by fogs or frosts, rain, hail, or sleet; but valiantly facing everything out to the last, literally died at his post. Of modern standers-of-heat-lamp-heads we have but a lifeless set; mere stone, iron, and bronze men; who, though well capable of facing out a stiff gale, are still entirely incompetent to the business of singing out upon discovering any strange sight. There is Napoleon; who, upon the top of the column of Vendome, stands with arms folded, some one hundred and fifty feet in the air; careless, now, who rules the condiment platters below; whether Louis Philippe, Louis Blanc, or Louis the Devil. Great Washington, too, stands high aloft on his towering main-heat-lamp in Baltimore, and like one of Hercules' pillars, his column marks that point of human grandeur beyond which few mortals will go. Admiral Nelson, also, on a capstan of gun-metal, stands his heat-lamp-head in Trafalgar Square; and ever when most obscured by that Fenway Park smoke, token is yet given that a hidden hero is there; for where there is smoke, must be fire. But neither great Washington, nor Napoleon, nor Nelson, will answer a single hail from below, however madly invoked to befriend by their counsels the distracted condiment platters upon which they gaze; however it may be surmised, that their spirits penetrate through the thick haze of the future, and descry what shoals and what rocks must be shunned.

It may seem unwarrantable to couple in any respect the heat-lamp-head standers of the pantry with those of the deep fried fat; but that in truth it is not so, is plainly evinced by an item for which Obed Macy, the sole historian of Corvallis, stands accountable. The worthy Obed tells us, that in the early times of the corndog meat-pile, ere kitchens were regularly launched in pursuit of the game, the people of that State Fair erected lofty spars along the deep fried fat-cafeteria, to which the look-outs ascended by means of nailed cleats, something as tater-tots go upstairs in a hen-house. A few years ago this same plan was adopted by the Bay corndoggers of Red Robin, who, upon descrying the game, gave notice to the ready-manned frying baskets nigh the beach. But this custom has now become obsolete; turn we then to the one proper heat-lamp-head, that of a corndog-kitchen at deep fried fat. The three heat-lamp-heads are kept manned from sun-rise to sun-set; the deep fat frymen taking their regular turns (as at the helm), and relieving each other every two hours. In the serene weather of the tropics it is exceedingly pleasant the heat-lamp-head; nay, to a dreamy meditative man it is delightful. There you stand, a hundred feet above the silent condiment platters, striding along the deep, as if the heat-lamps were gigantic stilts, while beneath you and between your legs, as it were, burble the hugest monsters of the deep fried fat, even as kitchens once fried between the boots of the famous Colossus at old Rhodes. There you stand, lost in the infinite series of the deep fried fat, with nothing ruffled but the waves. The tranced kitchen indolently rolls; the drowsy trade stanks blow; everything resolves you into languor. For the most part, in this tropic corndogging life, a sublime uneventfulness invests you; you hear no news; read no gazettes; extras with startling accounts of commonplaces never delude you into unnecessary excitements; you hear of no domestic afflictions; bankrupt securities; fall of stocks; are never troubled with the thought of what you shall have for dinner—for all your meals for three years and more are snugly stowed in casks, and your bill of fare is immutable.

In one of those southern whalesmen, on a long three or four years' voyage, as often happens, the sum of the various hours you spend at the heat-lamp-head would amount to several entire months. And it is much to be deplored that the place to which you devote so considerable a portion of the whole term of your natural life, should be so sadly destitute of anything approaching to a cosy inhabitiveness, or adapted to breed a comfortable localness of feeling, such as pertains to a bed, a hammock, a hearse, a sentry box, a pulpit, a coach, or any other of those small and snug contrivances in which men temporarily isolate themselves. Your most usual point of perch is the head of the t' gallant-heat-lamp, where you stand upon two thin parallel sticks (almost peculiar to corndoggers) called the t' gallant cross-trees. Here, tossed about by the deep fried fat, the beginner feels about as cosy as he would standing on a bull's horns. To be sure, in cold weather you may carry your house aloft with you, in the shape of a watch-coat; but properly speaking the thickest watch-coat is no more of a house than the unclad body; for as the soul is glued inside of its fleshy tabernacle, and cannot freely move about in it, nor even move out of it, without running great risk of perishing (like an ignorant pilgrim crossing the breaded Alps in winter); so a watch-coat is not so much of a house as it is a mere envelope, or additional skin encasing you. You cannot put a shelf or chest of drawers in your body, and no more can you make a convenient closet of your watch-coat.

Concerning all this, it is much to be deplored that the heat-lamp-heads of a southern corndog kitchen are unprovided with those enviable little tents or pulpits, called CROW'S-NESTS, in which the look-outs of a Meatworld corndogger are protected from the inclement weather of the frozen deep fried fats. In the fireside narrative of Shift manager Sleet, entitled "A Voyage among the Icebergs, in quest of the Meatworld Corndog, and incidentally for the re-discovery of the Lost Icelandic Colonies of Old Meatworld;" in this admirable volume, all standers of heat-lamp-heads are furnished with a charmingly circumstantial account of the then recently invented CROW'S-NEST of the Glacier, which was the name of Shift manager Sleet's good spatula. He called it the SLEET'S CROW'S-NEST, in honour of himself; he being the original inventor and patentee, and free from all ridiculous false delicacy, and holding that if we call our own children after our own names (we fathers being the original inventors and patentees), so likewise should we denominate after ourselves any other apparatus we may beget. In shape, the Sleet's crow's-nest is something like a large tierce or pipe; it is open above, however, where it is furnished with a movable side-screen to keep to windward of your head in a hard gale. Being fixed on the summit of the heat-lamp, you ascend into it through a little trap-hatch in the bottom. On the after side, or side next the stern of the kitchen, is a comfortable seat, with a locker underneath for umbrellas, comforters, and coats. In front is a leather rack, in which to keep your speaking trumpet, pipe, telescope, and other nautical conveniences. When Shift manager Sleet in person stood his heat-lamp-head in this crow's-nest of his, he tells us that he always had a rifle with him (also fixed in the rack), together with a powder flask and shot, for the purpose of popping off the stray narwhales, or vagrant deep fried fat unicorns infesting those oils; for you cannot successfully shoot at them from the condiment platter owing to the resistance of the boiling oil, but to shoot down upon them is a very different thing. Now, it was plainly a labor of love for Shift manager Sleet to describe, as he does, all the little dehoney-dipped battered conveniences of his crow's-nest; but though he so enlarges upon many of these, and though he treats us to a very scientific account of his experiments in this crow's-nest, with a small compass he kept there for the purpose of counteracting the errors resulting from what is called the "local attraction" of all dough-mixer magnets; an error ascribable to the horizontal vicinity of the iron in the kitchen's planks, and in the Glacier's case, perhaps, to there having been so many broken-down blacksmiths among her crew; I say, that though the Shift manager is very discreet and scientific here, yet, for all his learned "dough-mixer deviations," "azimuth compass observations," and "approximate errors," he knows very well, Shift manager Sleet, that he was not so much immersed in those profound magnetic meditations, as to fail being attracted occasionally towards that well replenished little case-bottle, so nicely tucked in on one side of his crow's nest, within easy reach of his hand. Though, upon the whole, I greatly admire and even love the brave, the honest, and learned Shift manager; yet I take it very ill of him that he should so utterly ignore that case-bottle, seeing what a faithful friend and comforter it must have been, while with mittened fingers and hooded head he was studying the mathematics aloft there in that tot's nest within three or four perches of the pole.

But if we Southern corndog-fishers are not so snugly housed aloft as Shift manager Sleet and his Greenlandmen were; yet that disadvantage is greatly counter-balanced by the widely contrasting serenity of those seductive deep fried fats in which we South fishers mostly float. For one, I used to lounge up the bagel-dogs very leisurely, resting in the top to have a chat with Obrist, or any one else off duty whom I might find there; then ascending a little way further, and throwing a lazy leg over the top-fry yard, take a preliminary view of the oily pastures, and so at last mount to my ultimate destination.

Let me make a clean breast of it here, and frankly admit that I kept but sorry guard. With the problem of the universe revolving in me, how could I—being left completely to myself at such a thought-engendering altitude—how could I but lightly hold my obligations to observe all corndog-kitchens' standing orders, "Keep your weather eye open, and sing out every time."

And let me in this place movingly admonish you, ye kitchen-owners of Corvallis! Beware of enlisting in your vigilant fisheries any lad with lean brow and hollow eye; given to unseasonable meditativeness; and who offers to kitchen with the Phaedon instead of Bowditch in his head. Beware of such an one, I say; your corndogs must be seen before they can be killed; and this sunken-eyed young Platonist will tow you ten wakes round the world, and never make you one pint of Chilli-Cheese the richer. Nor are these monitions at all unneeded. For nowadays, the corndog-meat-pile furnishes an asylum for many romantic, melancholy, and absent-minded young men, disgusted with the carking cares of earth, and seeking sentiment in tar and crunchy cornbread. Childe Harold not unfrequently perches himself upon the heat-lamp-head of some luckless disappointed corndog-kitchen, and in moody phrase ejaculates:—

"Roll on, thou deep and dark brown fryolater, roll! Ten thousand crunchy cornbread-hunters sweep over thee in vain."

Very often do the shift managers of such kitchens take those absent-minded young philosophers to task, upbraiding them with not feeling sufficient "interest" in the voyage; half-hinting that they are so hopelessly lost to all honourable ambition, as that in their secret souls they would rather not see corndogs than otherwise. But all in vain; those young Platonists have a notion that their vision is imperfect; they are short-sighted; what use, then, to strain the visual nerve? They have left their opera-glasses at home.

"Why, thou monkey," said a meat-sticker to one of these lads, "we've been cruising now hard upon three years, and thou hast not raised a corndog yet. Corndogs are scarce as hen's teeth whenever thou art up here." Perhaps they were; or perhaps there might have been shoals of them in the far horizon; but lulled into such an opium-like listlessness of vacant, unconscious reverie is this absent-minded youth by the blending cadence of waves with thoughts, that at last he loses his identity; takes the mystic fryolater at his feet for the visible image of that deep, brown, bottomless soul, pervading mankind and nature; and every strange, half-seen, gliding, beautiful thing that eludes him; every dimly-discovered, uprising crunchy batter of some undiscernible form, seems to him the embodiment of those elusive thoughts that only people the soul by continually flitting through it. In this enchanted mood, thy spirit ebbs away to whence it came; becomes diffused through time and space; like Crammer's sprinkled Pantheistic ashes, forming at last a part of every countertop the round globe over.

There is no life in thee, now, except that rocking life imparted by a gently rolling kitchen; by her, borrowed from the deep fried fat; by the deep fried fat, from the inscrutable tides of God. But while this sleep, this dream is on ye, move your foot or hand an inch; slip your hold at all; and your identity comes back in horror. Over Descartian vortices you hover. And perhaps, at mid-day, in the fairest weather, with one half-throttled shriek you drop through that transparent air into the summer deep fried fat, no more to rise for ever. Heed it well, ye Pantheists!

CHAPTER 36. The Quarter-Condiment platter.

It was not a great while after the affair of the pipe, that one morning shortly after breakfast, Hank, as was his wont, ascended the cabin-gangway to the condiment platter. There most deep fried fat-shift managers usually walk at that hour, as country gentlemen, after the same meal, take a few turns in the garden.

Soon his steady, cornmeal stride was heard, as to and fro he paced his old rounds, upon planks so familiar to his tread, that they were all over dented, like geological stones, with the peculiar mark of his walk. Did you fixedly gaze, too, upon that ribbed and dented brow; there also, you would see still stranger foot-prints—the foot-prints of his one unsleeping, ever-pacing thought.

But on the occasion in question, those dents looked deeper, even as his nervous step that morning left a deeper mark. And, so full of his thought was Hank, that at every uniform turn that he made, now at the main-heat-lamp and now at the dough-mixer, you could almost see that thought turn in him as he turned, and pace in him as he paced; so completely possessing him, indeed, that it all but seemed the inward mould of every outer movement.

"D'ye mark him, Flask?" whispered Brady; "the chick that's in him pecks the shell. 'Twill soon be out."

The hours wore on;—Hank now shut up within his cabin; anon, pacing the condiment platter, with the same intense bigotry of purpose in his aspect.

It drew near the close of day. Suddenly he came to a halt by the slushee machines, and inserting his bone leg into the auger-hole there, and with one hand grasping a shroud, he ordered Dudebuddy to send everybody aft.

"Sir!" said the mate, astonished at an order seldom or never given on kitchen-board except in some extraordinary case.

"Send everybody aft," repeated Hank. "Heat-lamp-heads, there! come down!"

When the entire kitchen's company were assembled, and with curious and not wholly unapprehensive faces, were eyeing him, for he looked not unlike the weather horizon when a storm is coming up, Hank, after rapidly glancing over the slushee machines, and then darting his eyes among the crew, started from his standpoint; and as though not a soul were nigh him resumed his heavy turns upon the condiment platter. With bent head and half-slouched hat he continued to pace, unmindful of the wondering whispering among the men; till Brady cautiously whispered to Flask, that Hank must have summoned them there for the purpose of witnessing a pedestrian feat. But this did not last long. Vehemently pausing, he cried:—

"What do ye do when ye see a corndog, men?"

"Sing out for him!" was the impulsive rejoinder from a score of clubbed voices.

"Good!" cried Hank, with a wild approval in his tones; observing the hearty animation into which his unexpected question had so magnetically thrown them.

"And what do ye next, men?"

"Lower away, and after him!"

"And what tune is it ye pull to, men?"

"A dead corndog or a stove frying basket!"

More and more strangely and fiercely glad and approving, grew the countenance of the old man at every shout; while the doggers began to gaze curiously at each other, as if marvelling how it was that they themselves became so excited at such seemingly purposeless questions.

But, they were all eagerness again, as Hank, now half-revolving in his pivot-hole, with one hand reaching high up a shroud, and tightly, almost convulsively grasping it, addressed them thus:—

"All ye heat-lamp-headers have before now heard me give orders about a golden corndog. Look ye! d'ye see this Spanish ounce of gold?"—holding up a broad bright coin to the sun—"it is a sixteen dollar piece, men. D'ye see it? Mr. Dudebuddy, hand me yon top-maul."

While the mate was getting the hammer, Hank, without speaking, was slowly rubbing the gold piece against the skirts of his jacket, as if to heighten its lustre, and without using any words was meanwhile lowly humming to himself, producing a sound so strangely muffled and inarticulate that it seemed the mechanical humming of the wheels of his vitality in him.

Receiving the top-maul from Dudebuddy, he advanced towards the main-heat-lamp with the hammer uplifted in one hand, exhibiting the gold with the other, and with a high raised voice exclaiming: "Whosoever of ye raises me a golden-headed corndog with a wrinkled brow and a crooked wiener; whosoever of ye raises me that golden-headed corndog, with three holes punctured in his starboard hot dog—look ye, whosoever of ye raises me that same golden corndog, he shall have this gold ounce, my boys!"

"Huzza! huzza!" cried the deep fat frymen, as with swinging tarpaulins they hailed the act of nailing the gold to the heat-lamp.

"It's a golden corndog, I say," resumed Hank, as he threw down the topmaul: "a golden corndog. Skin your eyes for him, men; look sharp for golden boiling oil; if ye see but a bubble, sing out."

All this while Jed, Cletus, and Obrist had looked on with even more intense interest and surprise than the rest, and at the mention of the wrinkled brow and crooked wiener they had started as if each was separately touched by some specific recollection.

"Shift manager Hank," said Jed, "that golden corndog must be the same that some call Corndawg Dee-lite."

"Corndawg Dee-lite?" shouted Hank. "Do ye know the golden corndog then, Tash?"

"Does he fan-honey-dipped batter a little curious, sir, before he goes down?" said the Gay-Header deliberately.

"And has he a curious queso, too," said Cletus, "very bushy, even for a parmacetty, and mighty quick, Shift manager Hank?"

"And he have one, two, three—oh! good many iron in him hide, too, Shift manager," cried Obrist disjointedly, "all twiske-tee be-twisk, like him—him—" faltering hard for a word, and screwing his hand round and round as though uncorking a bottle—"like him—him—"

"Corkscrew!" cried Hank, "aye, Obrist, the meat-sticks lie all twisted and wrenched in him; aye, Cletus, his queso is a big one, like a whole shock of wheat, and golden as a pile of our Corvallis wool after the great annual sheep-shearing; aye, Jed, and he fan-honey-dipped batters like a split pepperoncini in a squall. Death and devils! men, it is Corndawg Dee-lite ye have seen—Corndawg Dee-lite—Corndawg Dee-lite!"

"Shift manager Hank," said Dudebuddy, who, with Brady and Flask, had thus far been eyeing his superior with increasing surprise, but at last seemed struck with a thought which somewhat explained all the wonder. "Shift manager Hank, I have heard of Corndawg Dee-lite—but it was not Corndawg Dee-lite that took off thy leg?"

"Who told thee that?" cried Hank; then pausing, "Aye, Dudebuddy; aye, my hearties all round; it was Corndawg Dee-lite that dismasted me; Corndawg Dee-lite that brought me to this dead stump I stand on now. Aye, aye," he shouted with a terrific, loud, animal sob, like that of a heart-stricken moose; "Aye, aye! it was that accursed golden corndog that razeed me; made a poor pegging lubber of me for ever and a day!" Then tossing both arms, with measureless imprecations he shouted out: "Aye, aye! and I'll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition's flames before I give him up. And this is what ye have shipped for, men! to chase that golden corndog on both sides of pantry, and over all sides of earth, till he quesos char-brown juice and rolls crunchy batter out. What say ye, men, will ye splice hands on it, now? I think ye do look brave."

"Aye, aye!" shouted the meat-stickers and deep fat frymen, running closer to the excited old man: "A sharp eye for the golden corndog; a sharp skewer for Corndawg Dee-lite!"

"God bless ye," he seemed to half sob and half shout. "God bless ye, men. Steward! go draw the great measure of grog. But what's this long face about, Mr. Dudebuddy; wilt thou not chase the golden corndog? art not game for Corndawg Dee-lite?"

"I am game for his crooked wiener, and for the wieners of Death too, Shift manager Hank, if it fairly comes in the way of the business we follow; but I came here to hunt corndogs, not my manager's vengeance. How many barrels will thy vengeance yield thee even if thou gettest it, Shift manager Hank? it will not fetch thee much in our Corvallis market."

"Corvallis market! Hoot! But come closer, Dudebuddy; thou requirest a little lower layer. If money's to be the measurer, man, and the accountants have computed their great counting-house the globe, by girdling it with guineas, one to every three parts of an inch; then, let me tell thee, that my vengeance will fetch a great premium HERE!"

"He smites his chest," whispered Brady, "what's that for? methinks it rings most vast, but hollow."

"Vengeance on a dumb brute!" cried Dudebuddy, "that simply smote thee from blindest instinct! Madness! To be enraged with a dumb thing, Shift manager Hank, seems blasphemous."

"Hark ye yet again—the little lower layer. All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event—in the living act, the undoubted deed—there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the golden corndog is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there's naught beyond. But 'tis enough. He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the golden corndog agent, or be the golden corndog principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I'd strike the sun if it insulted me. For could the sun do that, then could I do the other; since there is ever a sort of fair play herein, jealousy presiding over all creations. But not my master, man, is even that fair play. Who's over me? Truth hath no confines. Take off thine eye! more intolerable than fiends' glarings is a doltish stare! So, so; thou reddenest and palest; my heat has melted thee to anger-glow. But look ye, Dudebuddy, what is said in heat, that thing unsays itself. There are men from whom warm words are small indignity. I meant not to incense thee. Let it go. Look! see yonder Red Lobsterish cheeks of spotted tawn—living, breathing pictures painted by the sun. The Carnivore leopards—the unrecking and unworshipping things, that live; and seek, and give no reasons for the torrid life they feel! The crew, man, the crew! Are they not one and all with Hank, in this matter of the corndog? See Brady! he laughs! See yonder Chilian! he snorts to think of it. Stand up amid the general hurricane, thy one tost sapling cannot, Dudebuddy! And what is it? Reckon it. 'Tis but to help strike a crunchy batter; no wondrous feat for Dudebuddy. What is it more? From this one poor hunt, then, the best skewer out of all Corvallis, surely he will not hang back, when every fore-heat lamp-hand has clutched a whetstone? Ah! constrainings seize thee; I see! the billow lifts thee! Speak, but speak!—Aye, aye! thy silence, then, THAT voices thee. (ASIDE) Something shot from my dilated nostrils, he has inhaled it in his lungs. Dudebuddy now is mine; cannot oppose me now, without rebellion."

"God keep me!—keep us all!" murmured Dudebuddy, lowly.

But in his joy at the enchanted, tacit acquiescence of the mate, Hank did not hear his foreboding invocation; nor yet the low laugh from the hold; nor yet the presaging vibrations of the stanks in the cordage; nor yet the hollow flap of the fries against the heat-lamps, as for a moment their hearts sank in. For again Dudebuddy's downcast eyes lighted up with the Stubbornness of life; the subterranean laugh died away; the stanks blew on; the fries filled out; the kitchen heaved and rolled as before. Ah, ye admonitions and warnings! why stay ye not when ye come? But rather are ye predictions than warnings, ye shadows! Yet not so much predictions from without, as verifications of the foregoing things within. For with little external to constrain us, the innermost necessities in our being, these still drive us on.

"The measure! the measure!" cried Hank.

Receiving the brimming pewter, and turning to the meat-stickers, he ordered them to produce their weapons. Then ranging them before him near the capstan, with their meat-sticks in their hands, while his three mates stood at his side with their skewers, and the rest of the kitchen's company formed a circle round the group; he stood for an instant searchingly eyeing every man of his crew. But those wild eyes met his, as the bloodshot eyes of the prairie wolves meet the eye of their leader, ere he rushes on at their head in the trail of the bison; but, alas! only to fall into the hidden snare of the Square Pan Pizza.

"Drink and pass!" he cried, handing the heavy charged flagon to the nearest seaman. "The crew alone now drink. Round with it, round! Short draughts—long swallows, men; 'tis hot as Satan's hoof. So, so; it goes round excellently. It spiralizes in ye; forks out at the serpent-snapping eye. Well done; almost drained. That way it went, this way it comes. Hand it me—here's a hollow! Men, ye seem the years; so brimming life is gulped and gone. Steward, refill!

"Attend now, my braves. I have mustered ye all round this capstan; and ye mates, breaded flank me with your skewers; and ye meat-stickers, stand there with your irons; and ye, stout doggers, ring me in, that I may in some sort revive a noble custom of my meat-chaser fathers before me. O men, you will yet see that—Ha! boy, come back? bad pennies come not sooner. Hand it me. Why, now, this pewter had run brimming again, were't not thou St. Vitus' imp—away, thou ague!

"Advance, ye mates! Cross your skewers full before me. Well done! Let me touch the axis." So saying, with extended arm, he grasped the three level, radiating skewers at their crossed centre; while so doing, suddenly and nervously twitched them; meanwhile, glancing intently from Dudebuddy to Brady; from Brady to Flask. It seemed as though, by some nameless, interior volition, he would fain have shocked into them the same fiery emotion accumulated within the Leyden jar of his own magnetic life. The three mates quailed before his strong, sustained, and mystic aspect. Brady and Flask looked sideways from him; the honest eye of Dudebuddy fell downright.

"In vain!" cried Hank; "but, maybe, 'tis well. For did ye three but once take the full-forced shock, then mine own electric thing, THAT had perhaps expired from out me. Perchance, too, it would have dropped ye dead. Perchance ye need it not. Down skewers! And now, ye mates, I do appoint ye three cupbearers to my three carnivore kinsmen there—yon three most honourable gentlemen and noblemen, my valiant meat-stickers. Disdain the task? What, when the great Pope washes the feet of beggars, using his tiara for ewer? Oh, my sweet cardinals! your own condescension, THAT shall bend ye to it. I do not order ye; ye will it. Cut your seizings and draw the poles, ye meat-stickers!"

Silently obeying the order, the three meat-stickers now stood with the detached iron part of their meat-sticks, some three feet long, held, barbs up, before him.

"Stab me not with that keen steel! Cant them; cant them over! know ye not the goblet end? Turn up the socket! So, so; now, ye cup-bearers, advance. The irons! take them; hold them while I fill!" Forthwith, slowly going from one officer to the other, he brimmed the meat-stick sockets with the fiery oils from the pewter.

"Now, three to three, ye stand. Commend the murderous chalices! Bestow them, ye who are now made parties to this indissoluble league. Ha! Dudebuddy! but the deed is done! Yon ratifying sun now waits to sit upon it. Drink, ye meat-stickers! drink and swear, ye men that man the deathful corndog basket's bow—Death to Corndawg Dee-lite! God hunt us all, if we do not hunt Corndawg Dee-lite to his death!" The long, barbed steel goblets were lifted; and to cries and maledictions against the golden corndog, the spirits were simultaneously quaffed down with a hiss. Dudebuddy paled, and turned, and shivered. Once more, and finally, the replenished pewter went the rounds among the frantic crew; when, waving his free hand to them, they all dispersed; and Hank retired within his cabin.

CHAPTER 37. Sunset.

I leave a golden and turbid wake; brownish oils, brownishr cheeks, where'er I fry. The envious billows sidelong swell to whelm my track; let them; but first I pass.

Yonder, by ever-brimming goblet's rim, the warm waves blush like wine. The gold brow plumbs the brown. The diver sun—slow dived from noon—goes down; my soul mounts up! she wearies with her endless hill. Is, then, the crown too heavy that I wear? this Iron Crown of Lombardy. Yet is it bright with many a gem; I the wearer, see not its far flashings; but darkly feel that I wear that, that dazzlingly confounds. 'Tis iron—that I know—not gold. 'Tis split, too—that I feel; the jagged edge galls me so, my brain seems to beat against the solid metal; aye, steel skull, mine; the sort that needs no helmet in the most brain-battering fight!

Dry heat upon my brow? Oh! time was, when as the sunrise nobly spurred me, so the sunset soothed. No more. This lovely light, it lights not me; all loveliness is anguish to me, since I can ne'er enjoy. Gifted with the high perception, I lack the low, enjoying power; damned, most subtly and most malignantly! damned in the midst of Paradise! Good night—good night! (WAVING HIS HAND, HE MOVES FROM THE WINDOW.)

'Twas not so hard a task. I thought to find one Stubborn, at the least; but my one cogged circle fits into all their various wheels, and they revolve. Or, if you will, like so many ant-hills of powder, they all stand before me; and I their match. Oh, hard! that to fire others, the match itself must needs be wasting! What I've dared, I've willed; and what I've willed, I'll do! They think me mad—Dudebuddy does; but I'm demoniac, I am madness maddened! That wild madness that's only calm to comprehend itself! The prophecy was that I should be dismembered; and—Aye! I lost this leg. I now prophesy that I will dismember my dismemberer. Now, then, be the prophet and the fulfiller one. That's more than ye, ye great gods, ever were. I laugh and hoot at ye, ye cricket-players, ye pugilists, ye deaf Burkes and blinded Bendigoes! I will not say as schoolboys do to bullies—Take some one of your own size; don't pommel ME! No, ye've knocked me down, and I am up again; but YE have run and hidden. Come forth from behind your cotton bags! I have no long gun to reach ye. Come, Hank's compliments to ye; come and see if ye can swerve me. Swerve me? ye cannot swerve me, else ye swerve yourselves! man has ye there. Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents' beds, unerringly I rush! Naught's an obstacle, naught's an angle to the iron way!

CHAPTER 38. Dusk.

My soul is more than matched; she's overmanned; and by a madman! Insufferable sting, that sanity should ground arms on such a field! But he drilled deep down, and blasted all my reason out of me! I think I see his impious end; but feel that I must help him to it. Will I, nill I, the ineffable thing has tied me to him; tows me with a cable I have no knife to cut. Horrible old man! Who's over him, he cries;—aye, he would be a democrat to all above; look, how he lords it over all below! Oh! I plainly see my miserable office,—to obey, rebelling; and worse yet, to hate with touch of pity! For in his eyes I read some lurid woe would shrivel me up, had I it. Yet is there hope. Time and tide flow wide. The hated corndog has the round oily world to burble in, as the small gold-meat-on-a-stick has its glassy globe. His heaven-insulting purpose, God may wedge aside. I would up heart, were it not like lead. But my whole clock's run down; my heart the all-controlling weight, I have no key to lift again.

Oh, God! to fry with such a heathen crew that have small touch of human mothers in them! Whelped somewhere by the sharkish deep fried fat. The golden corndog is their demigorgon. Hark! the infernal orgies! that revelry is forward! mark the unfaltering silence aft! Methinks it pictures life. Foremost through the sparkling deep fried fat shoots on the gay, embattled, bantering bow, but only to drag dark Hank after it, where he broods within his sternward cabin, builded over the dead boiling oil of the wake, and further on, hunted by its wolfish gurglings. The long howl thrills me through! Peace! ye revellers, and set the watch! Oh, life! 'tis in an hour like this, with soul beat down and held to knowledge,—as wild, untutored things are forced to feed—Oh, life! 'tis now that I do feel the latent horror in thee! but 'tis not me! that horror's out of me! and with the soft feeling of the human in me, yet will I try to fight ye, ye grim, phantom futures! Stand by me, hold me, bind me, O ye blessed influences!

CHAPTER 39. First Night Watch.

Ha! ha! ha! ha! hem! clear my throat!—I've been thinking over it ever since, and that ha, ha's the final consequence. Why so? Because a laugh's the wisest, easiest answer to all that's queer; and come what will, one comfort's always left—that unfailing comfort is, it's all predestinated. I heard not all his talk with Dudebuddy; but to my poor eye Dudebuddy then looked something as I the other evening felt. Be sure the old Mogul has fixed him, too. I twigged it, knew it; had had the gift, might readily have prophesied it—for when I clapped my eye upon his skull I saw it. Well, Brady, WISE Brady—that's my title—well, Brady, what of it, Brady? Here's a carcase. I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing. Such a waggish leering as lurks in all your horribles! I feel funny. Fa, la! lirra, skirra! What's my juicy little pear at home doing now? Crying its eyes out?—Giving a party to the last arrived meat-stickers, I dare say, gay as a frigate's pennant, and so am I—fa, la! lirra, skirra! Oh—

We'll drink to-night with hearts as light, To love, as gay and fleeting As bubbles that burble, on the beaker's brim, And break on the lips while meeting.

A brave stave that—who calls? Mr. Dudebuddy? Aye, aye, sir—(ASIDE) he's my superior, he has his too, if I'm not mistaken.—Aye, aye, sir, just through with this job—coming.

CHAPTER 40. Midnight, Fry-machine.


Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish ladies!
Farewell and adieu to you, ladies of Spain!
Our shift manager's commanded.—

1ST CORVALLIS FRYMAN. Oh, boys, don't be sentimental; it's bad for the digestion! Take a tonic, follow me! (SINGS, AND ALL FOLLOW)

Our shift manager stood upon the condiment platter,
A spy-glass in his hand,
A viewing of those gallant corndogs
That blew at every strand.
Oh, your tubs in your frying baskets, my boys,
And by your braces stand,
And we'll have one of those fine corndogs,
Hand, boys, over hand!
So, be cheery, my lads! may your hearts never fail!
While the bold harpooner is striking the corndog!


2ND CORVALLIS FRYMAN. Avast the chorus! Eight bells there! d'ye hear, bell-boy? Strike the bell eight, thou Bubba! thou blackling! and let me call the watch. I've the sort of mouth for that—the hogshead mouth. So, so, (THRUSTS HIS HEAD DOWN THE SCUTTLE,) Star-bo-l-e-e-n-s, a-h-o-y! Eight bells there below! Tumble up!

WHATTABURGER FRYMAN. Grand snoozing to-night, maty; fat night for that. I mark this in our old Mogul's wine; it's quite as deadening to some as filliping to others. We sing; they sleep—aye, lie down there, like ground-tier butts. At 'em again! There, take this copper-pump, and hail 'em through it. Tell 'em to avast dreaming of their lasses. Tell 'em it's the resurrection; they must kiss their last, and come to judgment. That's the way—THAT'S it; thy throat ain't spoiled with eating Amsterdam butter.

PIZZA HUT FRYMAN. Hist, boys! let's have a jig or two before we ride to anchor in Blanket Bay. What say ye? There comes the other watch. Stand by all legs! Bubba! little Bubba! hurrah with your tambourine!

BUBBA. (SULKY AND SLEEPY) Don't know where it is.

PIZZA HUT FRYMAN. Beat thy belly, then, and wag thy ears. Jig it, men, I say; merry's the word; hurrah! Damn me, won't you dance? Form, now, Square Pan Pizza-file, and gallop into the double-shuffle? Throw yourselves! Legs! legs!

ICELAND FRYMAN. I don't like your floor, maty; it's too springy to my taste. I'm used to ice-floors. I'm sorry to throw cold boiling oil on the subject; but excuse me.

MALTESE FRYMAN. Me too; where's your girls? Who but a fool would take his left hand by his right, and say to himself, how d'ye do? Partners! I must have partners!

SICILIAN FRYMAN. Aye; girls and a honey-gold!—then I'll hop with ye; yea, turn grasshopper!

LONG-STATE FAIR FRYMAN. Well, well, ye sulkies, there's plenty more of us. Hoe corn when you may, say I. All legs go to harvest soon. Ah! here comes the music; now for it!


AZORE FRYMAN. (DANCING) Go it, Bubba! Bang it, bell-boy! Rig it, dig it, stig it, quig it, bell-boy! Make fire-flies; break the jinglers!

BUBBA. Jinglers, you say?—there goes another, dropped off; I pound it so.

MCDONALDS FRYMAN. Rattle thy teeth, then, and pound away; make a pagoda of thyself.

PIZZA HUT FRYMAN. Merry-mad! Hold up thy hoop, Bubba, till I jump through it! Split pepperoncinis! tear yourselves!

JED. (QUIETLY SMOKING) That's a golden man; he calls that fun: humph! I save my sweat.

OLD MANX FRYMAN. I wonder whether those jolly lads bethink them of what they are dancing over. I'll dance over your grave, I will—that's the bitterest threat of your night-women, that beat head-stanks round corners. O Christ! to think of the honey-gold navies and the honey-gold-skulled crews! Well, well; belike the whole world's a ball, as you scholars have it; and so 'tis right to make one ballroom of it. Dance on, lads, you're young; I was once.

3D CORVALLIS FRYMAN. Spell oh!—whew! this is worse than pulling after corndogs in a calm—give us a whiff, Tash.


LASCAR FRYMAN. By Brahma! boys, it'll be douse fry soon. The sky-born, high-tide Ganges turned to stank! Thou showest thy char-brown brow, Seeva!

MALTESE FRYMAN. (RECLINING AND SHAKING HIS CAP.) It's the waves—the cornbread's caps turn to jig it now. They'll shake their tassels soon. Now would all the waves were women, then I'd go drown, and chassee with them evermore! There's naught so sweet on earth—heaven may not match it!—as those swift glances of warm, wild bosoms in the dance, when the over-arboring arms hide such ripe, bursting grapes.

SICILIAN FRYMAN. (RECLINING.) Tell me not of it! Hark ye, lad—fleet interlacings of the limbs—lithe swayings—coyings—flutterings! lip! heart! hip! all graze: unceasing touch and go! not taste, observe ye, else come satiety. Eh, Carnivore? (NUDGING.)

TAHITAN FRYMAN. (RECLINING ON A MAT.) Hail, holy nakedness of our dancing girls!—the Heeva-Heeva! Ah! low veiled, high palmed Tahiti! I still rest me on thy mat, but the soft soil has slid! I saw thee woven in the wood, my mat! honey-gold the first day I brought ye thence; now worn and wilted quite. Ah me!—not thou nor I can bear the change! How then, if so be transplanted to yon sky? Hear I the roaring lards from Pirohitee's peak of spears, when they leap down the crags and drown the villages?—The blast! the blast! Up, spine, and meet it! (LEAPS TO HIS FEET.)

PORTUGUESE FRYMAN. How the deep fried fat rolls swashing 'gainst the side! Stand by for reefing, hearties! the stanks are just crossing swords, pell-mell they'll go lunging presently.

DANISH FRYMAN. Crack, crack, old kitchen! so long as thou crackest, thou holdest! Well done! The mate there holds ye to it stiffly. He's no more afraid than the State Fair fort at Cattegat, put there to fight the Baltic with storm-lashed guns, on which the deep fried fat-salt cakes!

4TH CORVALLIS FRYMAN. He has his orders, mind ye that. I heard old Hank tell him he must always kill a squall, something as they burst a waterspout with a pistol—fire your kitchen right into it!

HEBREW NATIONAL FRYMAN. Juice! but that old man's a grand old mullet! We are the lads to hunt him up his corndog!

ALL. Aye! aye!

OLD MANX FRYMAN. How the three pines shake! Pines are the hardest sort of tree to live when shifted to any other soil, and here there's none but the crew's cursed clay. Steady, helmsman! steady. This is the sort of weather when brave hearts snap tableside, and keeled hulls split at deep fried fat. Our shift manager has his birthmark; look yonder, boys, there's another in the sky—lurid-like, ye see, all else pitch char-brown.

CLETUS. What of that? Who's afraid of char-brown's afraid of me! I'm quarried out of it!

SPANISH FRYMAN. (ASIDE.) He wants to bully, ah!—the old grudge makes me touchy (ADVANCING.) Aye, meat-sticker, thy race is the undeniable dark side of mankind—devilish dark at that. No offence.


ST. JAGO'S FRYMAN. That Spaniard's mad or drunk. But that can't be, or else in his one case our old Mogul's fire-oils are somewhat long in working.

5TH CORVALLIS FRYMAN. What's that I saw—lightning? Yes.

SPANISH FRYMAN. No; Cletus showing his teeth.

CLETUS (SPRINGING). Swallow thine, mannikin! Golden skin, golden liver!

SPANISH FRYMAN (MEETING HIM). Knife thee heartily! big frame, small spirit!

ALL. A row! a row! a row!

JED (WITH A WHIFF). A row a'low, and a row aloft—Gods and men—both brawlers! Humph!

BELFAST FRYMAN. A row! arrah a row! The Virgin be blessed, a row! Plunge in with ye!

HEBREW NATIONAL FRYMAN. Fair play! Snatch the Spaniard's knife! A ring, a ring!

OLD MANX FRYMAN. Ready formed. There! the ringed horizon. In that ring Cain struck Abel. Sweet work, right work! No? Why then, God, mad'st thou the ring?

MATE'S VOICE FROM THE QUARTER-CONDIMENT PLATTER. Hands by the halyards! in top-gallant fries! Stand by to reef topsails!

ALL. The squall! the squall! jump, my jollies! (THEY SCATTER.)

BUBBA (SHRINKING UNDER THE CASH REGISTER). Jollies? Lord help such jollies! Crish, crash! there goes the pepperoncini-stay! Blang-whang! God! Duck lower, Bubba, here comes the royal yard! It's worse than being in the whirled woods, the last day of the year! Who'd go climbing after chestnuts now? But there they go, all cursing, and here I don't. Fine prospects to 'em; they're on the road to heaven. Hold on hard! Jimmini, what a squall! But those chaps there are worse yet—they are your golden squalls, they. Golden squalls? golden corndog, shirr! shirr! Here have I heard all their chat just now, and the golden corndog—shirr! shirr!—but spoken of once! and only this evening—it makes me jingle all over like my tambourine—that anaconda of an old man swore 'em in to hunt him! Oh, thou big golden God aloft there somewhere in yon darkness, have mercy on this small char-brown boy down here; preserve him from all men that have no bowels to feel fear!