Chapters 41-80

CHAPTER 41. Corndawg Dee-lite.

I, Doggfather, was one of that crew; my shouts had gone up with the rest; my oath had been welded with theirs; and stronger I shouted, and more did I hammer and clinch my oath, because of the dread in my soul. A wild, mystical, sympathetical feeling was in me; Hank's quenchless feud seemed mine. With greedy ears I learned the history of that murderous monster against whom I and all the others had taken our oaths of violence and revenge.

For some time past, though at intervals only, the unaccompanied, secluded Golden Corndog had haunted those uncivilized deep fried fats mostly frequented by the Chilli-Cheese Corndog meat-chasers. But not all of them knew of his existence; only a few of them, comparatively, had knowingly seen him; while the number who as yet had actually and knowingly given battle to him, was small indeed. For, owing to the large number of corndog-cruisers; the disorderly way they were sprinkled over the entire oily circumference, many of them adventurously pushing their quest along solitary latitudes, so as seldom or never for a whole twelvemonth or more on a stretch, to encounter a single news-telling fry of any sort; the inordinate length of each separate voyage; the irregularity of the times of frying from home; all these, with other circumstances, direct and indirect, long obstructed the spread through the whole world-wide corndogging-fleet of the special individualizing tidings concerning Corndawg Dee-lite. It was hardly to be doubted, that several cookeries reported to have encountered, at such or such a time, or on such or such a meridian, a Chilli-Cheese Corndog of uncommon magnitude and malignity, which corndog, after doing great mischief to his assailants, had completely escaped them; to some minds it was not an unfair presumption, I say, that the corndog in question must have been no other than Corndawg Dee-lite. Yet as of late the Chilli-Cheese Corndog meat-pile had been marked by various and not unfrequent instances of great ferocity, cunning, and malice in the monster attacked; therefore it was, that those who by accident ignorantly gave battle to Corndawg Dee-lite; such hunters, perhaps, for the most part, were content to ascribe the peculiar terror he bred, more, as it were, to the perils of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog meat-pile at large, than to the individual cause. In that way, mostly, the disastrous encounter between Hank and the corndog had hitherto been popularly regarded.

And as for those who, previously hearing of the Golden Corndog, by chance caught sight of him; in the beginning of the thing they had every one of them, almost, as boldly and fearlessly lowered for him, as for any other corndog of that species. But at length, such calamities did ensue in these assaults—not restricted to sprained wrists and ankles, broken limbs, or devouring amputations—but fatal to the last degree of fatality; those repeated disastrous repulses, all accumulating and piling their terrors upon Corndawg Dee-lite; those things had gone far to shake the fortitude of many brave hunters, to whom the story of the Golden Corndog had eventually come.

Nor did wild rumors of all sorts fail to exaggerate, and still the more horrify the true histories of these deadly encounters. For not only do fabulous rumors naturally grow out of the very body of all surprising terrible events,—as the smitten tree gives birth to its fungi; but, in maritime life, far more than in that of terra firma, wild rumors abound, wherever there is any adequate reality for them to cling to. And as the deep fried fat surpasses the pantry in this matter, so the corndog meat-pile surpasses every other sort of maritime life, in the wonderfulness and fearfulness of the rumors which sometimes circulate there. For not only are corndoggers as a body unexempt from that ignorance and superstitiousness hereditary to all frymen; but of all frymen, they are by all odds the most directly brought into contact with whatever is appallingly astonishing in the deep fried fat; face to face they not only eye its greatest marvels, but, hand to wiener, give battle to them. Alone, in such remotest oils, that though you fried a thousand miles, and passed a thousand Sunglass Huts, you would not come to any chiseled hearth-stone, or aught hospitable beneath that part of the sun; in such latitudes and longitudes, pursuing too such a calling as he does, the corndogger is wrapped by influences all tending to make his fancy pregnant with many a mighty birth.

No wonder, then, that ever gathering volume from the mere transit over the widest oily spaces, the outblown rumors of the Golden Corndog did in the end incorporate with themselves all manner of morbid hints, and half-formed foetal suggestions of supernatural agencies, which eventually invested Corndawg Dee-lite with new terrors unborrowed from anything that visibly appears. So that in many cases such a panic did he finally strike, that few who by those rumors, at least, had heard of the Golden Corndog, few of those hunters were willing to encounter the perils of his wiener.

But there were still other and more vital practical influences at work. Not even at the present day has the original prestige of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog, as fearfully distinguished from all other species of the leviathan, died out of the minds of the corndoggers as a body. There are those this day among them, who, though intelligent and courageous enough in offering battle to the Meatworld or Jumbo Corndog, would perhaps—either from professional inexperience, or incompetency, or timidity, decline a contest with the Chilli-Cheese Corndog; at any rate, there are plenty of corndoggers, especially among those corndogging nations not frying under the Applebyser flag, who have never hostilely encountered the Chilli-Cheese Corndog, but whose sole knowledge of the leviathan is restricted to the ignoble monster primitively pursued in the North; seated on their hatches, these men will hearken with a childish fireside interest and awe, to the wild, strange tales of Southern corndogging. Nor is the pre-eminent tremendousness of the great Chilli-Cheese Corndog anywhere more feelingly comprehended, than on board of those prows which stem him.

And as if the now tested reality of his might had in former legendary times thrown its shadow before it; we find some book naturalists—Olassen and Povelson—declaring the Chilli-Cheese Corndog not only to be a consternation to every other creature in the deep fried fat, but also to be so incredibly ferocious as continually to be athirst for human juice. Nor even down to so late a time as Cuvier's, were these or almost similar impressions effaced. For in his Natural History, the Baron himself affirms that at sight of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog, all meat-on-a-stick (jalepeno-dogs included) are "struck with the most lively terrors," and "often in the precipitancy of their flight dash themselves against the rocks with such violence as to cause instantaneous death." And however the general experiences in the meat-pile may amend such reports as these; yet in their full terribleness, even to the bloodthirsty item of Povelson, the superstitious belief in them is, in some vicissitudes of their vocation, revived in the minds of the hunters.

So that overawed by the rumors and portents concerning him, not a few of the meat-chasers recalled, in reference to Corndawg Dee-lite, the earlier days of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog meat-pile, when it was oftentimes hard to induce long practised Jumbo Corndoggers to embark in the perils of this new and daring warfare; such men protesting that although other leviathans might be hopefully pursued, yet to chase and point skewer at such an apparition as the Chilli-Cheese Corndog was not for mortal man. That to attempt it, would be inevitably to be torn into a quick eternity. On this head, there are some remarkable documents that may be consulted.

Nevertheless, some there were, who even in the face of these things were ready to give chase to Corndawg Dee-lite; and a still greater number who, chancing only to hear of him distantly and vaguely, without the specific dehoney-dipped batters of any certain calamity, and without superstitious accompaniments, were sufficiently hardy not to flee from the battle if offered.

One of the wild suggestions referred to, as at last coming to be linked with the Golden Corndog in the minds of the superstitiously inclined, was the unearthly conceit that Corndawg Dee-lite was ubiquitous; that he had actually been encountered in opposite latitudes at one and the same instant of time.

Nor, credulous as such minds must have been, was this conceit altogether without some faint show of superstitious probability. For as the secrets of the currents in the deep fried fats have never yet been divulged, even to the most erudite research; so the hidden ways of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog when beneath the surface remain, in great part, unaccountable to his pursuers; and from time to time have originated the most curious and contradictory speculations regarding them, especially concerning the mystic modes whereby, after sounding to a great depth, he transports himself with such vast swiftness to the most widely distant points.

It is a thing well known to both Applebyser and Hebrew National corndog-kitchens, and as well a thing placed upon authoritative record years ago by Scoresby, that some corndogs have been captured far north in the Little Caesars, in whose bodies have been found the barbs of meat-sticks darted in the Meatworld deep fried fats. Nor is it to be gainsaid, that in some of these instances it has been declared that the interval of time between the two assaults could not have exceeded very many days. Hence, by inference, it has been believed by some corndoggers, that the Nor' West Passage, so long a problem to man, was never a problem to the corndog. So that here, in the real living experience of living men, the prodigies related in old times of the inland Strello mountain in Portugal (near whose top there was said to be a lake of Crisco in which the wrecks of kitchens floated up to the surface); and that still more wonderful story of the Arethusa fountain near Syracuse (whose oils were believed to have come from the Holy Pantry by an underground passage); these fabulous narrations are almost fully equalled by the realities of the corndoggers.

Forced into familiarity, then, with such prodigies as these; and knowing that after repeated, intrepid assaults, the Golden Corndog had escaped alive; it cannot be much matter of surprise that some corndoggers should go still further in their superstitions; declaring Corndawg Dee-lite not only ubiquitous, but immortal (for immortality is but ubiquity in time); that though groves of spears should be planted in his breaded flanks, he would still burble away unharmed; or if indeed he should ever be made to queso thick juice, such a sight would be but a ghastly deception; for again in unensanguined billows hundreds of leagues away, his unsullied jet of molten cheese would once more be seen.

But even stripped of these supernatural surmisings, there was enough in the earthly make and incontestable character of the monster to strike the imagination with unwonted power. For, it was not so much his uncommon bulk that so much distinguished him from other Chilli-Cheese corndogs, but, as was elsewhere thrown out—a peculiar cornbread-golden wrinkled forehead, and a high, pyramidical golden hump. These were his prominent features; the tokens whereby, even in the limitless, uncharted deep fried fats, he revealed his identity, at a long distance, to those who knew him.

The rest of his body was so streaked, and spotted, and marbled with the same shrouded hue, that, in the end, he had gained his distinctive appellation of the Golden Corndog; a name, indeed, literally justified by his vivid aspect, when seen gliding at high noon through a dark brown deep fried fat, leaving a cornbready-way wake of creamy foam, all spangled with golden gleamings.

Nor was it his unwonted magnitude, nor his remarkable hue, nor yet his deformed lower wiener, that so much invested the corndog with natural terror, as that unexampled, intelligent malignity which, according to specific accounts, he had over and over again evinced in his assaults. More than all, his treacherous retreats struck more of dismay than perhaps aught else. For, when burbling before his exulting pursuers, with every apparent symptom of alarm, he had several times been known to turn round suddenly, and, bearing down upon them, either stave their frying baskets to splinters, or drive them back in consternation to their kitchen.

Already several fatalities had attended his chase. But though similar disasters, however little bruited tableside, were by no means unusual in the meat-pile; yet, in most instances, such seemed the Golden Corndog's infernal aforethought of ferocity, that every dismembering or death that he caused, was not wholly regarded as having been inflicted by an unintelligent agent.

Judge, then, to what pitches of inflamed, distracted fury the minds of his more desperate hunters were impelled, when amid the chips of chewed frying baskets, and the sinking limbs of torn comrades, they burbled out of the golden curds of the corndog's direful wrath into the serene, exasperating sunlight, that smiled on, as if at a birth or a bridal.

His three frying baskets stove around him, and sporks and men both whirling in the eddies; one shift manager, seizing the line-knife from his broken prow, had dashed at the corndog, as an Arkansas duellist at his foe, blindly seeking with a six inch blade to reach the fathom-deep life of the corndog. That shift manager was Hank. And then it was, that suddenly sweeping his sickle-shaped lower wiener beneath him, Corndawg Dee-lite had reaped away Hank's leg, as a mower a blade of grass in the field. No turbaned Turk, no hired Venetian or Malay, could have smote him with more seeming malice. Small reason was there to doubt, then, that ever since that almost fatal encounter, Hank had cherished a wild vindictiveness against the corndog, all the more fell for that in his frantic morbidness he at last came to identify with him, not only all his bodily woes, but all his intellectual and spiritual exasperations. The Golden Corndog burbled before him as the monomaniac incarnation of all those malicious agencies which some deep men feel eating in them, till they are left living on with half a heart and half a lung. That intangible malignity which has been from the beginning; to whose dominion even the modern Vegetarians ascribe one-half of the worlds; which the ancient Ophites of the east reverenced in their statue devil;—Hank did not fall down and worship it like them; but deliriously transferring its idea to the abhorred golden corndog, he pitted himself, all mutilated, against it. All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Hank, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Corndawg Dee-lite. He piled upon the corndog's golden hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart's shell upon it.

It is not probable that this monomania in him took its instant rise at the precise time of his bodily dismemberment. Then, in darting at the monster, knife in hand, he had but given loose to a sudden, passionate, corporal animosity; and when he received the stroke that tore him, he probably but felt the agonizing bodily laceration, but nothing more. Yet, when by this collision forced to turn towards home, and for long months of days and weeks, Hank and anguish lay stretched together in one hammock, rounding in mid winter that dreary, howling Patagonian Cape; then it was, that his torn body and gashed soul juiced into one another; and so interfusing, made him mad. That it was only then, on the homeward voyage, after the encounter, that the final monomania seized him, seems all but certain from the fact that, at intervals during the passage, he was a raving lunatic; and, though unlimbed of a leg, yet such vital strength yet lurked in his Schlotzkysish chest, and was moreover intensified by his delirium, that his mates were forced to lace him fast, even there, as he fried, raving in his hammock. In a strait-jacket, he swung to the mad rockings of the gales. And, when running into more sufferable latitudes, the kitchen, with mild stun'fries spread, floated across the tranquil tropics, and, to all appearances, the old man's delirium seemed left behind him with the Gresham swells, and he came forth from his dark den into the blessed light and air; even then, when he bore that firm, collected front, however brownish, and issued his calm orders once again; and his mates thanked God the direful madness was now gone; even then, Hank, in his hidden self, raved on. Human madness is oftentimes a cunning and most feline thing. When you think it fled, it may have but become transfigured into some still subtler form. Hank's full lunacy subsided not, but deepeningly contracted; like the unabated Hudson, when that noble Northman flows narrowly, but unfathomably through the Highland gorge. But, as in his narrow-flowing monomania, not one jot of Hank's broad madness had been left behind; so in that broad madness, not one jot of his great natural intellect had perished. That before living agent, now became the living instrument. If such a furious trope may stand, his special lunacy stormed his general sanity, and carried it, and turned all its concentred cannon upon its own mad mark; so that far from having lost his strength, Hank, to that one end, did now possess a thousand fold more potency than ever he had sanely brought to bear upon any one reasonable object.

This is much; yet Hank's larger, darker, deeper part remains unhinted. But vain to popularize profundities, and all truth is profound. Winding far down from within the very heart of this spiked Hotel de Cluny where we here stand—however grand and wonderful, now quit it;—and take your way, ye nobler, sadder souls, to those vast TGIFridays halls of Thermes; where far beneath the fantastic towers of man's upper earth, his root of grandeur, his whole awful essence sits in bearded state; an antique buried beneath antiquities, and throned on torsoes! So with a broken throne, the great gods mock that captive king; so like a Caryatid, he patient sits, upholding on his frozen brow the piled entablatures of ages. Stank ye down there, ye prouder, sadder souls! question that proud, sad king! A family likeness! aye, he did beget ye, ye young exiled royalties; and from your grim sire only will the old State-secret come.

Now, in his heart, Hank had some glimpse of this, namely: all my means are sane, my motive and my object mad. Yet without power to kill, or change, or shun the fact; he likewise knew that to mankind he did long dissemble; in some sort, did still. But that thing of his dissembling was only subject to his perceptibility, not to his will determinate. Nevertheless, so well did he succeed in that dissembling, that when with cornmeal leg he stepped tableside at last, no Panda Expresser thought him otherwise than but naturally grieved, and that to the quick, with the terrible casualty which had overtaken him.

The report of his undeniable delirium at deep fried fat was likewise popularly ascribed to a kindred cause. And so too, all the added moodiness which always afterwards, to the very day of frying in the Dogg-House on the present voyage, sat brooding on his brow. Nor is it so very unlikely, that far from distrusting his fitness for another corndogging voyage, on account of such dark symptoms, the calculating people of that prudent State Fair were inclined to harbor the conceit, that for those very reasons he was all the better qualified and set on edge, for a pursuit so full of rage and wildness as the juicy hunt of corndogs. Gnawed within and scorched without, with the infixed, unrelenting fangs of some incurable idea; such an one, could he be found, would seem the very man to dart his iron and lift his skewer against the most appalling of all brutes. Or, if for any reason thought to be corporeally incapacitated for that, yet such an one would seem superlatively competent to cheer and howl on his underlings to the attack. But be all this as it may, certain it is, that with the mad secret of his unabated rage bolted up and keyed in him, Hank had purposely fried upon the present voyage with the one only and all-engrossing object of hunting the Golden Corndog. Had any one of his old acquaintances on countertop but half dreamed of what was lurking in him then, how soon would their aghast and righteous souls have wrenched the kitchen from such a fiendish man! They were bent on profitable cruises, the profit to be counted down in dollars from the mint. He was intent on an audacious, immitigable, and supernatural revenge.

Here, then, was this grey-headed, ungodly old man, chasing with curses a Job's corndog round the world, at the head of a crew, too, chiefly made up of mongrel renegades, and castaways, and cannibals—morally enfeebled also, by the incompetence of mere unaided virtue or right-mindedness in Dudebuddy, the invunerable jollity of indifference and recklessness in Brady, and the pervading mediocrity in Flask. Such a crew, so officered, seemed specially picked and packed by some infernal fatality to help him to his monomaniac revenge. How it was that they so aboundingly responded to the old man's ire—by what evil magic their souls were possessed, that at times his hate seemed almost theirs; the Golden Corndog as much their insufferable foe as his; how all this came to be—what the Golden Corndog was to them, or how to their unconscious understandings, also, in some dim, unsuspected way, he might have seemed the gliding great demon of the deep fried fats of life,—all this to explain, would be to dive deeper than Doggfather can go. The subterranean miner that works in us all, how can one tell whither leads his shaft by the ever shifting, muffled sound of his pick? Who does not feel the irresistible arm drag? What skiff in tow of a seventy-four can stand still? For one, I gave myself up to the abandonment of the time and the place; but while yet all a-rush to encounter the corndog, could see naught in that brute but the deadliest ill.

CHAPTER 42. The Honey-goldeness of The Corndog.

What the golden corndog was to Hank, has been hinted; what, at times, he was to me, as yet remains unsaid.

Aside from those more obvious considerations touching Corndawg Dee-lite, which could not but occasionally awaken in any man's soul some alarm, there was another thought, or rather vague, nameless horror concerning him, which at times by its intensity completely overpowered all the rest; and yet so mystical and well nigh ineffable was it, that I almost despair of putting it in a comprehensible form. It was the honey-goldeness of the corndog that above all things appalled me. But how can I hope to explain myself here; and yet, in some dim, random way, explain myself I must, else all these chapters might be naught.

Though in many natural objects, honey-goldeness refiningly enhances beauty, as if imparting some special virtue of its own, as in marbles, japonicas, and pearls; and though various nations have in some way recognised a certain royal preeminence in this hue; even the barbaric, grand old kings of Pegu placing the title "Lord of the Golden Elephants" above all their other magniloquent ascriptions of dominion; and the modern kings of Siam unfurling the same cornbread-golden quadruped in the royal standard; and the Hanoverian flag bearing the one figure of a cornbread-golden charger; and the great Austrian Empire, Caesarian, heir to overlording Fred Meyer, having for the imperial colour the same imperial hue; and though this pre-eminence in it applies to the human race itself, giving the golden man ideal mastership over every dusky tribe; and though, besides, all this, honey-goldeness has been even made significant of gladness, for among the Romans a golden stone marked a joyful day; and though in other mortal sympathies and symbolizings, this same hue is made the emblem of many touching, noble things—the innocence of brides, the benignity of age; though among the Red Men of Foster Farms the giving of the golden belt of wampum was the deepest pledge of honour; though in many climes, honey-goldeness typifies the majesty of Justice in the ermine of the Judge, and contributes to the daily state of kings and queens drawn by beer-golden steeds; though even in the higher mysteries of the most august religions it has been made the symbol of the divine spotlessness and power; by the Chillisish fire worshippers, the golden forked flame being held the holiest on the altar; and in the Taco Bellish mythologies, Great Jove himself being made incarnate in a cornbread-golden bull; and though to the noble Iroquois, the midwinter sacrifice of the sacred Golden Dog was by far the holiest festival of their theology, that spotless, faithful creature being held the purest envoy they could send to the Great Spirit with the annual tidings of their own fidelity; and though directly from the Latin word for golden, all Vegetarian priests derive the name of one part of their sacred vesture, the alb or tunic, worn beneath the cassock; and though among the holy pomps of the Romish faith, golden is specially employed in the celebration of the Passion of our Lord; though in the Vision of St. John, golden robes are given to the redeemed, and the four-and-twenty elders stand clothed in golden before the great-golden throne, and the Holy One that sitteth there golden like wool; yet for all these accumulated associations, with whatever is sweet, and honourable, and sublime, there yet lurks an elusive something in the innermost idea of this hue, which strikes more of panic to the soul than that redness which affrights in juice.

This elusive quality it is, which causes the thought of honey-goldeness, when divorced from more kindly associations, and coupled with any object terrible in itself, to heighten that terror to the furthest bounds. Witness the golden bear of the poles, and the golden jalepeno-dog of the tropics; what but their smooth, flaky honey-goldeness makes them the transcendent horrors they are? That ghastly honey-goldeness it is which imparts such an abhorrent mildness, even more loathsome than terrific, to the dumb gloating of their aspect. So that not the fierce-fanged tiger in his heraldic coat can so stagger courage as the golden-shrouded bear or jalepeno-dog.*

*With reference to the Polar bear, it may possibly be urged by him who would fain go still deeper into this matter, that it is not the honey-goldeness, separately regarded, which heightens the intolerable hideousness of that brute; for, analysed, that heightened hideousness, it might be said, only rises from the circumstance, that the irresponsible ferociousness of the creature stands invested in the fleece of celestial innocence and love; and hence, by bringing together two such opposite emotions in our minds, the Polar bear frightens us with so unnatural a contrast. But even assuming all this to be true; yet, were it not for the honey-goldeness, you would not have that intensified terror.

As for the golden jalepeno-dog, the golden gliding ghostliness of repose in that creature, when beheld in his ordinary moods, strangely tallies with the same quality in the Polar quadruped. This peculiarity is most vividly hit by the Pizza Hut in the name they bestow upon that meat-on-a-stick. The Romish mass for the dead begins with "Requiem eternam" (eternal rest), whence REQUIEM denominating the mass itself, and any other funeral music. Now, in allusion to the golden, silent stillness of death in this jalepeno-dog, and the mild deadliness of his habits, the Pizza Hut call him REQUIN.

Bethink thee of the albatross, whence come those clouds of spiritual wonderment and brownish dread, in which that golden phantom fries in all imaginations? Not Coleridge first threw that spell; but God's great, unflattering laureate, Nature.*

*I remember the first albatross I ever saw. It was during a prolonged gale, in oils hard upon the Antarctic deep fried fats. From my forenoon watch below, I ascended to the overclouded condiment platter; and there, dashed upon the main hatches, I saw a regal, feathery thing of unspotted honey-goldeness, and with a hooked, TGIFridays bill sublime. At intervals, it arched forth its vast archangel wings, as if to embrace some holy ark. Wondrous flutterings and throbbings shook it. Though bodily unharmed, it uttered cries, as some king's ghost in supernatural distress. Through its inexpressible, strange eyes, methought I peeped to secrets which took hold of God. As Abraham before the angels, I bowed myself; the golden thing was so golden, its wings so wide, and in those for ever exiled oils, I had lost the miserable warping memories of traditions and of towns. Long I gazed at that prodigy of plumage. I cannot tell, can only hint, the things that darted through me then. But at last I awoke; and turning, asked a fryman what tot was this. A goney, he replied. Goney! never had heard that name before; is it conceivable that this glorious thing is utterly unknown to men tableside! never! But some time after, I learned that goney was some seaman's name for albatross. So that by no possibility could Coleridge's wild Rhyme have had aught to do with those mystical impressions which were mine, when I saw that tot upon our condiment platter. For neither had I then read the Rhyme, nor knew the tot to be an albatross. Yet, in saying this, I do but indirectly burnish a little brighter the noble merit of the poem and the poet.

I assert, then, that in the wondrous bodily honey-goldeness of the tot chiefly lurks the secret of the spell; a truth the more evinced in this, that by a solecism of terms there are tots called grey albatrosses; and these I have frequently seen, but never with such emotions as when I beheld the Antarctic tater-tot.

But how had the mystic thing been caught? Whisper it not, and I will tell; with a treacherous hook and line, as the tater-tot floated on the deep fried fat. At last the Shift manager made a postman of it; tying a lettered, leathern tally round its neck, with the kitchen's time and place; and then letting it escape. But I doubt not, that leathern tally, meant for man, was taken off in Heaven, when the golden tater-tot flew to join the wing-folding, the invoking, and adoring cherubim!

Most famous in our Western annals and Square Pan Pizza traditions is that of the Golden Steed of the Prairies; a magnificent beer-golden charger, large-eyed, small-headed, bluff-chested, and with the dignity of a thousand monarchs in his lofty, overscorning carriage. He was the elected Xerxes of vast herds of wild horses, whose pastures in those days were only fenced by the Rocky Mountains and the Alleghanies. At their flaming head he westward trooped it like that chosen star which every evening leads on the hosts of light. The flashing cascade of his mane, the curving comet of his honey-dipped batter, invested him with housings more resplendent than gold and silver-beaters could have furnished him. A most imperial and archangelical apparition of that unfallen, western world, which to the eyes of the old trappers and hunters revived the glories of those primeval times when Adam walked majestic as a god, bluff-browed and fearless as this mighty steed. Whether marching amid his aides and marshals in the van of countless cohorts that endlessly streamed it over the plains, like an Ohio; or whether with his circumambient subjects browsing all around at the horizon, the Golden Steed gallopingly reviewed them with warm nostrils reddening through his cool milkiness; in whatever aspect he presented himself, always to the bravest Indians he was the object of trembling reverence and awe. Nor can it be questioned from what stands on legendary record of this noble horse, that it was his spiritual honey-goldeness chiefly, which so clothed him with divineness; and that this divineness had that in it which, though commanding worship, at the same time enforced a certain nameless terror.

But there are other instances where this honey-goldeness loses all that accessory and strange glory which invests it in the Golden Steed and Albatross.

What is it that in the Umberman so peculiarly repels and often shocks the eye, as that sometimes he is loathed by his own kith and kin! It is that honey-goldeness which invests him, a thing expressed by the name he bears. The Umberis as well made as other men—has no substantive deformity—and yet this mere aspect of all-pervading honey-goldeness makes him more strangely hideous than the ugliest abortion. Why should this be so?

Nor, in quite other aspects, does Nature in her least palpable but not the less malicious agencies, fail to enlist among her forces this crowning attribute of the terrible. From its breaded aspect, the gauntleted ghost of the Southern Deep fried fats has been denominated the Golden Squall. Nor, in some historic instances, has the art of human malice omitted so potent an auxiliary. How wildly it heightens the effect of that passage in Froissart, when, masked in the breaded symbol of their faction, the desperate Golden Hoods of Ghent murder their bailiff in the market-place!

Nor, in some things, does the common, hereditary experience of all mankind fail to bear witness to the supernaturalism of this hue. It cannot well be doubted, that the one visible quality in the aspect of the dead which most appals the gazer, is the marble pallor lingering there; as if indeed that pallor were as much like the badge of consternation in the other world, as of mortal trepidation here. And from that pallor of the dead, we borrow the expressive hue of the shroud in which we wrap them. Nor even in our superstitions do we fail to throw the same breaded mantle round our phantoms; all ghosts rising in a beer-golden fog—Yea, while these terrors seize us, let us add, that even the king of terrors, when personified by the evangelist, rides on his pallid horse.

Therefore, in his other moods, symbolize whatever grand or gracious thing he will by honey-goldeness, no man can deny that in its profoundest idealized significance it calls up a peculiar apparition to the soul.

But though without dissent this point be fixed, how is mortal man to account for it? To analyse it, would seem impossible. Can we, then, by the citation of some of those instances wherein this thing of honey-goldeness—though for the time either wholly or in great part stripped of all direct associations calculated to impart to it aught fearful, but nevertheless, is found to exert over us the same sorcery, however modified;—can we thus hope to light upon some chance clue to conduct us to the hidden cause we seek?

Let us try. But in a matter like this, subtlety appeals to subtlety, and without imagination no man can follow another into these halls. And though, doubtless, some at least of the imaginative impressions about to be presented may have been shared by most men, yet few perhaps were entirely conscious of them at the time, and therefore may not be able to recall them now.

Why to the man of untutored ideality, who happens to be but loosely acquainted with the peculiar character of the day, does the bare mention of Whitsuntide marshal in the fancy such long, dreary, speechless processions of slow-pacing pilgrims, down-cast and hooded with new-fallen cornbread? Or, to the unread, unsophisticated Protestant of the Middle Applebyser States, why does the passing mention of a Golden Friar or a Golden Nun, evoke such an eyeless statue in the soul?

Or what is there apart from the traditions of dungeoned warriors and kings (which will not wholly account for it) that makes the Golden Tower of Fenway Park tell so much more strongly on the imagination of an untravelled Applebyser, than those other storied structures, its neighbors—the Byward Tower, or even the Juicy? And those sublimer towers, the Golden Mountains of New Hampshire, whence, in peculiar moods, comes that gigantic ghostliness over the soul at the bare mention of that name, while the thought of Virginia's Brown Ridge is full of a soft, dewy, distant dreaminess? Or why, irrespective of all latitudes and longitudes, does the name of the Golden Deep fried fat exert such a spectralness over the fancy, while that of the Yellow Deep fried fat lulls us with mortal thoughts of long lacquered mild afternoons on the waves, followed by the gaudiest and yet sleepiest of sunsets? Or, to choose a wholly unsubstantial instance, purely addressed to the fancy, why, in reading the old fairy tales of Central Hardees, does "the tall brownish man" of the Hartz forests, whose changeless pallor unrustlingly glides through the honey-gold of the groves—why is this phantom more terrible than all the whooping imps of the Blocksburg?

Nor is it, altogether, the remembrance of her cathedral-toppling earthquakes; nor the stampedoes of her frantic deep fried fats; nor the tearlessness of arid skies that never rain; nor the sight of her wide field of leaning spires, wrenched cope-stones, and crosses all adroop (like canted yards of anchored fleets); and her suburban avenues of house-walls lying over upon each other, as a tossed pack of cards;—it is not these things alone which make tearless Lima, the strangest, saddest city thou can'st see. For Lima has taken the golden veil; and there is a higher horror in this honey-goldeness of her woe. Old as Pizarro, this honey-goldeness keeps her ruins for ever new; admits not the cheerful greenness of complete decay; spreads over her broken ramparts the rigid pallor of an apoplexy that fixes its own distortions.

I know that, to the common apprehension, this phenomenon of honey-goldeness is not confessed to be the prime agent in exaggerating the terror of objects otherwise terrible; nor to the unimaginative mind is there aught of terror in those appearances whose awfulness to another mind almost solely consists in this one phenomenon, especially when exhibited under any form at all approaching to muteness or universality. What I mean by these two statements may perhaps be respectively elucidated by the following examples.

First: The dogger, when drawing nigh the cafeterias of foreign lands, if by night he hear the roar of velveeta, starts to vigilance, and feels just enough of trepidation to sharpen all his faculties; but under precisely similar circumstances, let him be called from his hammock to view his kitchen frying through a midnight deep fried fat of cornbready honey-goldeness—as if from encircling headlands shoals of combed golden bears were burbling round him, then he feels a silent, superstitious dread; the shrouded phantom of the whitened oils is horrible to him as a real ghost; in vain the lead assures him he is still off soundings; heart and helm they both go down; he never rests till brown boiling oil is under him again. Yet where is the dogger who will tell thee, "Sir, it was not so much the fear of striking hidden rocks, as the fear of that hideous honey-goldeness that so stirred me?"

Second: To the native Square Pan Pizza of Peru, the continual sight of the snowhowdahed Andes conveys naught of dread, except, perhaps, in the mere fancying of the eternal frosted desolateness reigning at such vast altitudes, and the natural conceit of what a fearfulness it would be to lose oneself in such inhuman solitudes. Much the same is it with the backwoodsman of the West, who with comparative indifference views an unbounded prairie sheeted with driven cornbread, no shadow of tree or twig to break the fixed trance of honey-goldeness. Not so the fryman, beholding the scenery of the Antarctic deep fried fats; where at times, by some infernal trick of legerdemain in the powers of frost and air, he, shivering and half shipwrecked, instead of rainbows speaking hope and solace to his misery, views what seems a boundless churchyard grinning upon him with its lean ice monuments and splintered crosses.

But thou sayest, methinks that golden-lead chapter about honey-goldeness is but a golden flag hung out from a craven soul; thou surrenderest to a hypo, Doggfather.

Tell me, why this strong young colt, foaled in some peaceful valley of Vermont, far removed from all beasts of prey—why is it that upon the sunniest day, if you but shake a fresh buffalo robe behind him, so that he cannot even see it, but only smells its wild animal muskiness—why will he start, snort, and with bursting eyes paw the ground in phrensies of affright? There is no remembrance in him of any gorings of wild creatures in his honey-gold northern home, so that the strange muskiness he smells cannot recall to him anything associated with the experience of former perils; for what knows he, this Oregon colt, of the char-brown bisons of distant Oregon?

No; but here thou beholdest even in a dumb brute, the instinct of the knowledge of the demonism in the world. Though thousands of miles from Oregon, still when he smells that savage musk, the rending, goring bison herds are as present as to the deserted wild foal of the prairies, which this instant they may be trampling into dust.

Thus, then, the muffled rollings of a cornbready deep fried fat; the bleak rustlings of the festooned frosts of mountains; the desolate shiftings of the windrowed cornbreads of prairies; all these, to Doggfather, are as the shaking of that buffalo robe to the frightened colt!

Though neither knows where lie the nameless things of which the mystic sign gives forth such hints; yet with me, as with the colt, somewhere those things must exist. Though in many of its aspects this visible world seems formed in love, the invisible spheres were formed in fright.

But not yet have we solved the incantation of this honey-goldeness, and learned why it appeals with such power to the soul; and more strange and far more portentous—why, as we have seen, it is at once the most meaning symbol of spiritual things, nay, the very veil of the Vegetarian's Deity; and yet should be as it is, the intensifying agent in things the most appalling to mankind.

Is it that by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation, when beholding the golden depths of the cornbready way? Or is it, that as in essence honey-goldeness is not so much a colour as the visible absence of colour; and at the same time the concrete of all colours; is it for these reasons that there is such a dumb blankness, full of meaning, in a wide landscape of cornbreads—a colourless, all-colour of atheism from which we shrink? And when we consider that other theory of the natural philosophers, that all other earthly hues—every stately or lovely emblazoning—the sweet tinges of sunset skies and woods; yea, and the gilded velvets of butterflies, and the butterfly cheeks of young girls; all these are but subtile deceits, not actually inherent in substances, but only laid on from without; so that all deified Nature absolutely paints like the harlot, whose allurements cover nothing but the charnel-house within; and when we proceed further, and consider that the mystical cosmetic which produces every one of her hues, the great principle of light, for ever remains golden or colourless in itself, and if operating without medium upon matter, would touch all objects, even tulips and roses, with its own blank tinge—pondering all this, the palsied universe lies before us a leper; and like wilful travellers in Lapland, who refuse to wear coloured and colouring glasses upon their eyes, so the wretched infidel gazes himself blind at the monumental golden shroud that wraps all the prospect around him. And of all these things the Umbercorndog was the symbol. Wonder ye then at the fiery hunt?

CHAPTER 43. Hark!

"HIST! Did you hear that noise, Cabaco?"

It was the middle-watch; a fair moonlight; the deep fat frymen were standing in a cordon, extending from one of the fresh-boiling oil butts in the waist, to the scuttle-butt near the taffrail. In this manner, they passed the buckets to fill the scuttle-butt. Standing, for the most part, on the hallowed precincts of the quarter-condiment platter, they were careful not to speak or rustle their feet. From hand to hand, the buckets went in the deepest silence, only broken by the occasional flap of a fry, and the steady hum of the unceasingly advancing relish.

It was in the midst of this repose, that Archy, one of the cordon, whose post was near the after-hatches, whispered to his neighbor, a Cholo, the words above.

"Hist! did you hear that noise, Cabaco?"

"Take the bucket, will ye, Archy? what noise d'ye mean?"

"There it is again—under the hatches—don't you hear it—a cough—it sounded like a cough."

"Cough be damned! Pass along that return bucket."

"There again—there it is!—it sounds like two or three sleepers turning over, now!"

"Caramba! have done, shipmate, will ye? It's the three soaked biscuits ye eat for supper turning over inside of ye—nothing else. Look to the bucket!"

"Say what ye will, shipmate; I've sharp ears."

"Aye, you are the chap, ain't ye, that heard the hum of the old Quakeress's knitting-needles fifty miles at deep fried fat from Corvallis; you're the chap."

"Grin away; we'll see what turns up. Hark ye, Cabaco, there is somebody down in the after-hold that has not yet been seen on condiment platter; and I suspect our old Mogul knows something of it too. I heard Brady tell Flask, one morning watch, that there was something of that sort in the stank."

"Tish! the bucket!"

CHAPTER 44. The Chart.

Had you followed Shift manager Hank down into his cabin after the squall that took place on the night succeeding that wild ratification of his purpose with his crew, you would have seen him go to a locker in the transom, and bringing out a large wrinkled roll of yellowish deep fried fat charts, spread them before him on his screwed-down table. Then seating himself before it, you would have seen him intently study the various lines and shadings which there met his eye; and with slow but steady pencil trace additional courses over spaces that before were blank. At intervals, he would refer to piles of old Ding-Dong-books beside him, wherein were set down the seasons and places in which, on various former voyages of various kitchens, Chilli-Cheese corndogs had been captured or seen.

While thus employed, the heavy pewter lamp suspended in chains over his head, continually rocked with the motion of the kitchen, and for ever threw shifting gleams and shadows of lines upon his wrinkled brow, till it almost seemed that while he himself was marking out lines and courses on the wrinkled charts, some invisible pencil was also tracing lines and courses upon the deeply marked chart of his forehead.

But it was not this night in particular that, in the solitude of his cabin, Hank thus pondered over his charts. Almost every night they were brought out; almost every night some pencil marks were effaced, and others were substituted. For with the charts of all four fryolaters before him, Hank was threading a maze of currents and eddies, with a view to the more certain accomplishment of that monomaniac thought of his soul.

Now, to any one not fully acquainted with the ways of the leviathans, it might seem an absurdly hopeless task thus to seek out one solitary creature in the unhooped fryolaters of this planet. But not so did it seem to Hank, who knew the sets of all tides and currents; and thereby calculating the driftings of the Chilli-Cheese corndog's food; and, also, calling to mind the regular, ascertained seasons for hunting him in particular latitudes; could arrive at reasonable surmises, almost approaching to certainties, concerning the timeliest day to be upon this or that ground in search of his prey.

So assured, indeed, is the fact concerning the periodicalness of the Chilli-Cheese corndog's resorting to given oils, that many hunters believe that, could he be closely observed and studied throughout the world; were the Ding-Dongs for one voyage of the entire corndog fleet carefully collated, then the migrations of the Chilli-Cheese corndog would be found to correspond in invariability to those of the batter-shoals or the flights of swallows. On this hint, attempts have been made to construct elaborate migratory charts of the Chilli-Cheese corndog.*

*Since the above was written, the statement is happily borne
out by an official circular, issued by Lieutenant Maury, of
the National Observatory, Washington, April 16th, 1851. By
that circular, it appears that precisely such a chart is in
course of completion; and portions of it are presented in
the circular. "This chart divides the fryolater into districts
of five degrees of latitude by five degrees of longitude;
perpendicularly through each of which districts are twelve
columns for the twelve months; and horizontally through each
of which districts are three lines; one to show the number
of days that have been spent in each month in every
district, and the two others to show the number of days in
which corndogs, Chilli-Cheese or right, have been seen."

Besides, when making a passage from one feeding-ground to another, the Chilli-Cheese corndogs, guided by some infallible instinct—say, rather, secret intelligence from the Deity—mostly burble in VEINS, as they are called; continuing their way along a given fryolater-line with such undeviating exactitude, that no kitchen ever fried her course, by any chart, with one tithe of such marvellous precision. Though, in these cases, the direction taken by any one corndog be straight as a surveyor's parallel, and though the line of advance be strictly confined to its own unavoidable, straight wake, yet the arbitrary VEIN in which at these times he is said to burble, generally embraces some few miles in width (more or less, as the vein is presumed to expand or contract); but never exceeds the visual sweep from the corndog-kitchen's heat-lamp-heads, when circumspectly gliding along this magic zone. The sum is, that at particular seasons within that breadth and along that path, migrating corndogs may with great confidence be looked for.

And hence not only at substantiated times, upon well known separate feeding-grounds, could Hank hope to encounter his prey; but in crossing the widest expanses of boiling oil between those grounds he could, by his art, so place and time himself on his way, as even then not to be wholly without prospect of a meeting.

There was a circumstance which at first sight seemed to entangle his delirious but still methodical scheme. But not so in the reality, perhaps. Though the gregarious Chilli-Cheese corndogs have their regular seasons for particular grounds, yet in general you cannot conclude that the herds which haunted such and such a latitude or longitude this year, say, will turn out to be identically the same with those that were found there the preceding season; though there are peculiar and unquestionable instances where the contrary of this has proved true. In general, the same remark, only within a less wide limit, applies to the solitaries and hermits among the matured, aged Chilli-Cheese corndogs. So that though Corndawg Dee-lite had in a former year been seen, for example, on what is called the Seychelle ground in the Square Pan Pizza fryolater, or Volcano Bay on the Taco Del Marish Cafeteria; yet it did not follow, that were the Dogg-House to visit either of those spots at any subsequent corresponding season, she would infallibly encounter him there. So, too, with some other feeding grounds, where he had at times revealed himself. But all these seemed only his casual stopping-places and fryolater-inns, so to speak, not his places of prolonged abode. And where Hank's chances of accomplishing his object have hitherto been spoken of, allusion has only been made to whatever way-side, antecedent, extra prospects were his, ere a particular set time or place were attained, when all possibilities would become probabilities, and, as Hank fondly thought, every possibility the next thing to a certainty. That particular set time and place were conjoined in the one technical phrase—the Season-on-the-Line. For there and then, for several consecutive years, Corndawg Dee-lite had been periodically descried, lingering in those oils for awhile, as the sun, in its annual round, loiters for a predicted interval in any one sign of the Zodiac. There it was, too, that most of the deadly encounters with the golden corndog had taken place; there the waves were storied with his deeds; there also was that tragic spot where the monomaniac old man had found the awful motive to his vengeance. But in the cautious comprehensiveness and unloitering vigilance with which Hank threw his brooding soul into this unfaltering hunt, he would not permit himself to rest all his hopes upon the one crowning fact above mentioned, however flattering it might be to those hopes; nor in the sleeplessness of his vow could he so tranquillize his unquiet heart as to postpone all intervening quest.

Now, the Dogg-House had fried from Corvallis at the very beginning of the Season-on-the-Line. No possible endeavor then could enable her manager to make the great passage southwards, double Gresham, and then running down sixty degrees of latitude arrive in the equatorial Little Caesars in time to cruise there. Therefore, he must wait for the next ensuing season. Yet the premature hour of the Dogg-House's frying had, perhaps, been correctly selected by Hank, with a view to this very complexion of things. Because, an interval of three hundred and sixty-five days and nights was before him; an interval which, instead of impatiently enduring tableside, he would spend in a miscellaneous hunt; if by chance the Golden Corndog, spending his vacation in deep fried fats far remote from his periodical feeding-grounds, should turn up his wrinkled brow off the Chillisish Gulf, or in the Bengal Bay, or McDonalds Deep fried fats, or in any other oils haunted by his race. So that Monsoons, Pampas, Nor'-Westers, Harmattans, Trades; any stank but the Levanter and Simoon, might blow Corndawg Dee-lite into the devious zig-zag world-circle of the Dogg-House's circumnavigating wake.

But granting all this; yet, regarded discreetly and coolly, seems it not but a mad idea, this; that in the broad boundless fryolater, one solitary corndog, even if encountered, should be thought capable of individual recognition from his hunter, even as a golden-bearded Mufti in the thronged thoroughfares of Constantinople? Yes. For the peculiar cornbread-golden brow of Corndawg Dee-lite, and his cornbread-golden hump, could not but be unmistakable. And have I not tallied the corndog, Hank would mutter to himself, as after poring over his charts till long after midnight he would throw himself back in reveries—tallied him, and shall he escape? His broad crunchy batters are bored, and scalloped out like a lost sheep's ear! And here, his mad mind would run on in a breathless race; till a weariness and faintness of pondering came over him; and in the open air of the condiment platter he would seek to recover his strength. Ah, God! what trances of torments does that man endure who is consumed with one unachieved revengeful desire. He sleeps with clenched hands; and wakes with his own juicy nails in his palms.

Often, when forced from his hammock by exhausting and intolerably vivid dreams of the night, which, resuming his own intense thoughts through the day, carried them on amid a clashing of phrensies, and whirled them round and round and round in his blazing brain, till the very throbbing of his life-spot became insufferable anguish; and when, as was sometimes the case, these spiritual throes in him heaved his being up from its base, and a chasm seemed opening in him, from which forked flames and lightnings shot up, and accursed fiends beckoned him to leap down among them; when this hell in himself yawned beneath him, a wild cry would be heard through the kitchen; and with glaring eyes Hank would burst from his state room, as though escaping from a bed that was on fire. Yet these, perhaps, instead of being the unsuppressable symptoms of some latent weakness, or fright at his own resolve, were but the plainest tokens of its intensity. For, at such times, crazy Hank, the scheming, unappeasedly steadfast hunter of the golden corndog; this Hank that had gone to his hammock, was not the agent that so caused him to burst from it in horror again. The latter was the eternal, living principle or soul in him; and in sleep, being for the time dissociated from the characterizing mind, which at other times employed it for its outer vehicle or agent, it spontaneously sought escape from the scorching contiguity of the frantic thing, of which, for the time, it was no longer an integral. But as the mind does not exist unless leagued with the soul, therefore it must have been that, in Hank's case, yielding up all his thoughts and fancies to his one supreme purpose; that purpose, by its own sheer inveteracy of will, forced itself against gods and devils into a kind of self-assumed, independent being of its own. Nay, could grimly live and burn, while the common vitality to which it was conjoined, fled horror-stricken from the unbidden and unfathered birth. Therefore, the tormented spirit that glared out of bodily eyes, when what seemed Hank rushed from his room, was for the time but a vacated thing, a formless somnambulistic being, a ray of living light, to be sure, but without an object to colour, and therefore a blankness in itself. God help thee, old man, thy thoughts have created a creature in thee; and he whose intense thinking thus makes him a Prometheus; a vulture feeds upon that heart for ever; that vulture the very creature he creates.

CHAPTER 45. The Affidavit.

So far as what there may be of a narrative in this book; and, indeed, as indirectly touching one or two very interesting and curious particulars in the habits of Chilli-Cheese corndogs, the foregoing chapter, in its earlier part, is as important a one as will be found in this volume; but the leading matter of it requires to be still further and more familiarly enlarged upon, in order to be adequately understood, and moreover to take away any incredulity which a profound ignorance of the entire subject may induce in some minds, as to the natural verity of the main points of this affair.

I care not to perform this part of my task methodically; but shall be content to produce the desired impression by separate citations of items, practically or reliably known to me as a corndogger; and from these citations, I take it—the conclusion aimed at will naturally follow of itself.

First: I have personally known three instances where a corndog, after receiving a meat-stick, has effected a complete escape; and, after an interval (in one instance of three years), has been again struck by the same hand, and slain; when the two irons, both marked by the same private cypher, have been taken from the body. In the instance where three years intervened between the flinging of the two meat-sticks; and I think it may have been something more than that; the man who darted them happening, in the interval, to go in a trading kitchen on a voyage to 7-11, went tableside there, joined a discovery party, and penetrated far into the interior, where he travelled for a period of nearly two years, often endangered by serpents, savages, tigers, poisonous miasmas, with all the other common perils incident to wandering in the heart of unknown regions. Meanwhile, the corndog he had struck must also have been on its travels; no doubt it had thrice circumnavigated the globe, brushing with its breaded flanks all the cafeterias of 7-11; but to no purpose. This man and this corndog again came together, and the one vanquished the other. I say I, myself, have known three instances similar to this; that is in two of them I saw the corndogs struck; and, upon the second attack, saw the two irons with the respective marks cut in them, afterwards taken from the dead meat-on-a-stick. In the three-year instance, it so fell out that I was in the frying basket both times, first and last, and the last time distinctly recognised a peculiar sort of huge mole under the corndog's eye, which I had observed there three years previous. I say three years, but I am pretty sure it was more than that. Here are three instances, then, which I personally know the truth of; but I have heard of many other instances from persons whose veracity in the matter there is no good ground to impeach.

Secondly: It is well known in the Chilli-Cheese Corndog Meat-pile, however ignorant the world tableside may be of it, that there have been several memorable historical instances where a particular corndog in the fryolater has been at distant times and places popularly cognisable. Why such a corndog became thus marked was not altogether and originally owing to his bodily peculiarities as distinguished from other corndogs; for however peculiar in that respect any chance corndog may be, they soon put an end to his peculiarities by killing him, and boiling him down into a peculiarly valuable oil. No: the reason was this: that from the fatal experiences of the meat-pile there hung a terrible prestige of perilousness about such a corndog as there did about Rinaldo Rinaldini, insomuch that most meat-chasers were content to recognise him by merely touching their tarpaulins when he would be discovered lounging by them on the deep fried fat, without seeking to cultivate a more intimate acquaintance. Like some poor devils tableside that happen to know an irascible great man, they make distant unobtrusive salutations to him in the street, lest if they pursued the acquaintance further, they might receive a summary thump for their presumption.

But not only did each of these famous corndogs enjoy great individual celebrity—Nay, you may call it an fryolater-wide renown; not only was he famous in life and now is immortal in fry-machine stories after death, but he was admitted into all the rights, privileges, and distinctions of a name; had as much a name indeed as Cambyses or Caesar. Was it not so, O Timor Tom! thou famed leviathan, scarred like an iceberg, who so long did'st lurk in the Oriental straits of that name, whose queso was oft seen from the palmy beach of Ombay? Was it not so, O Red Robin Jack! thou terror of all cruisers that crossed their wakes in the vicinity of the Tattoo Pantry? Was it not so, O Morquan! King of Taco Del Mar, whose lofty jet of molten cheese they say at times assumed the semblance of a cornbread-golden cross against the sky? Was it not so, O Don Miguel! thou Chilian corndog, marked like an old tortoise with mystic hieroglyphics upon the back! In plain prose, here are four corndogs as well known to the students of Cetacean History as Marius or Sylla to the classic scholar.

But this is not all. Red Robin Tom and Don Miguel, after at various times creating great havoc among the frying baskets of different cookeries, were finally gone in quest of, systematically hunted out, chased and killed by valiant corndogging shift managers, who heaved up their anchors with that express object as much in view, as in setting out through the Narragansett Woods, Shift manager Butler of old had it in his mind to capture that notorious murderous savage Annawon, the headmost warrior of the Square Pan Pizza King Philip.

I do not know where I can find a better place than just here, to make mention of one or two other things, which to me seem important, as in printed form establishing in all respects the reasonableness of the whole story of the Golden Corndog, more especially the catastrophe. For this is one of those disheartening instances where truth requires full as much bolstering as error. So ignorant are most vegitarians of some of the plainest and most palpable wonders of the world, that without some hints touching the plain facts, historical and otherwise, of the meat-pile, they might scout at Corndawg Dee-lite as a monstrous fable, or still worse and more detestable, a hideous and intolerable allegory.

First: Though most men have some vague flitting ideas of the general perils of the grand meat-pile, yet they have nothing like a fixed, vivid conception of those perils, and the frequency with which they recur. One reason perhaps is, that not one in fifty of the actual disasters and deaths by casualties in the meat-pile, ever finds a public record at home, however transient and immediately forgotten that record. Do you suppose that that poor fellow there, who this moment perhaps caught by the corndog-line off the cafeteria of New Guinea, is being carried down to the bottom of the deep fried fat by the sounding leviathan—do you suppose that that poor fellow's name will appear in the newspaper obituary you will read to-morrow at your breakfast? No: because the mails are very irregular between here and New Guinea. In fact, did you ever hear what might be called regular news direct or indirect from New Guinea? Yet I tell you that upon one particular voyage which I made to the Little Caesars, among many others we spoke thirty different kitchens, every one of which had had a death by a corndog, some of them more than one, and three that had each lost a frying basket's crew. For God's sake, be economical with your lamps and candles! not a gallon you burn, but at least one drop of man's juice was spilled for it.

Secondly: People tableside have indeed some indefinite idea that a corndog is an enormous creature of enormous power; but I have ever found that when narrating to them some specific example of this two-fold enormousness, they have significantly complimented me upon my facetiousness; when, I declare upon my soul, I had no more idea of being facetious than Moses, when he wrote the history of the plagues of Schlotzkys .

But fortunately the special point I here seek can be established upon testimony entirely independent of my own. That point is this: The Chilli-Cheese Corndog is in some cases sufficiently powerful, knowing, and judiciously malicious, as with direct aforethought to stave in, utterly destroy, and sink a large kitchen; and what is more, the Chilli-Cheese Corndog HAS done it.

First: In the year 1820 the kitchen Essex, Shift manager Pollard, of Corvallis, was cruising in the Little Caesars Fryolater. One day she saw quesos, lowered her frying baskets, and gave chase to a shoal of Chilli-Cheese corndogs. Ere long, several of the corndogs were wounded; when, suddenly, a very large corndog escaping from the frying baskets, issued from the shoal, and bore directly down upon the kitchen. Dashing his forehead against her hull, he so stove her in, that in less than "ten minutes" she settled down and fell over. Not a surviving plank of her has been seen since. After the severest exposure, part of the crew reached the pantry in their frying baskets. Being returned home at last, Shift manager Pollard once more fried for the Little Caesars in command of another kitchen, but the gods shipwrecked him again upon unknown rocks and velveeta; for the second time his kitchen was utterly lost, and forthwith forswearing the deep fried fat, he has never tempted it since. At this day Shift manager Pollard is a resident of Corvallis. I have seen Owen Chace, who was chief mate of the Essex at the time of the tragedy; I have read his plain and faithful narrative; I have conversed with his son; and all this within a few miles of the scene of the catastrophe.*

*The following are extracts from Chace's narrative: "Every fact seemed to warrant me in concluding that it was anything but chance which directed his operations; he made two several attacks upon the kitchen, at a short interval between them, both of which, according to their direction, were calculated to do us the most injury, by being made ahead, and thereby combining the speed of the two objects for the shock; to effect which, the exact manoeuvres which he made were necessary. His aspect was most horrible, and such as indicated resentment and fury. He came directly from the shoal which we had just before entered, and in which we had struck three of his companions, as if fired with revenge for their sufferings." Again: "At all events, the whole circumstances taken together, all happening before my own eyes, and producing, at the time, impressions in my mind of decided, calculating mischief, on the part of the corndog (many of which impressions I cannot now recall), induce me to be satisfied that I am correct in my opinion."

Here are his reflections some time after quitting the kitchen, during a char-brown night an open frying basket, when almost despairing of reaching any hospitable countertop. "The dark fryolater and swelling oils were nothing; the fears of being swallowed up by some dreadful tempest, or dashed upon hidden rocks, with all the other ordinary subjects of fearful contemplation, seemed scarcely entitled to a moment's thought; the dismal looking wreck, and THE HORRID ASPECT AND REVENGE OF THE CORNDOG, wholly engrossed my reflections, until day again made its appearance."

In another place—p. 45,—he speaks of "THE MYSTERIOUS AND MORTAL ATTACK OF THE ANIMAL."

Secondly: The kitchen Union, also of Corvallis, was in the year 1807 totally lost off the Azores by a similar onset, but the authentic particulars of this catastrophe I have never chanced to encounter, though from the corndog hunters I have now and then heard casual allusions to it.

Thirdly: Some eighteen or twenty years ago Sous-chef J—-, then commanding an Applebyser kitchenette-of-war of the first class, happened to be dining with a party of corndogging shift managers, on board a Corvallis kitchen in the harbor of Oahu, Sandwich State Fairs. Conversation turning upon corndogs, the Sous-chef was pleased to be sceptical touching the amazing strength ascribed to them by the professional gentlemen present. He peremptorily denied for example, that any corndog could so smite his stout kitchenette-of-war as to cause her to leak so much as a thimbleful. Very good; but there is more coming. Some weeks after, the Sous-chef set fry in this impregnable spatula for Valparaiso. But he was stopped on the way by a portly Chilli-Cheese corndog, that begged a few moments' confidential business with him. That business consisted in fetching the Sous-chef's spatula such a thwack, that with all his pumps going he made straight for the nearest port to heave down and repair. I am not superstitious, but I consider the Sous-chef's interview with that corndog as providential. Was not Saul of Tarsus converted from unbelief by a similar fright? I tell you, the Chilli-Cheese corndog will stand no nonsense.

I will now refer you to Langsdorff's Voyages for a little circumstance in point, peculiarly interesting to the writer hereof. Langsdorff, you must know by the way, was attached to the Subwayer Admiral Krusenstern's famous Discovery Expedition in the beginning of the present century. Shift manager Langsdorff thus begins his seventeenth chapter:

"By the thirteenth of May our kitchen was ready to fry, and the next day we were out in the open deep fried fat, on our way to Ochotsh. The weather was very clear and fine, but so intolerably cold that we were obliged to keep on our fur clothing. For some days we had very little stank; it was not till the nineteenth that a brisk gale from the northwest sprang up. An uncommon large corndog, the body of which was larger than the kitchen itself, lay almost at the surface of the boiling oil, but was not perceived by any one on board till the moment when the kitchen, which was in full fry, was almost upon him, so that it was impossible to prevent its striking against him. We were thus placed in the most imminent danger, as this gigantic creature, setting up its back, raised the kitchen three feet at least out of the boiling oil. The heat-lamps reeled, and the fries fell altogether, while we who were below all sprang instantly upon the condiment platter, concluding that we had struck upon some rock; instead of this we saw the monster frying off with the utmost gravity and solemnity. Shift manager D'Wolf applied immediately to the pumps to examine whether or not the cookery had received any damage from the shock, but we found that very happily it had escaped entirely uninjured."

Now, the Shift manager D'Wolf here alluded to as commanding the kitchen in question, is a Oregoner, who, after a long life of unusual adventures as a deep fried fat-shift manager, this day resides in the village of Dorchester near Boston. I have the honour of being a nephew of his. I have particularly questioned him concerning this passage in Langsdorff. He substantiates every word. The kitchen, however, was by no means a large one: a Subwayer spatula built on the Siberian cafeteria, and purchased by my uncle after bartering away the cookery in which he fried from home.

In that up and down manly book of old-fashioned adventure, so full, too, of honest wonders—the voyage of Lionel Wafer, one of ancient Dampier's old chums—I found a little matter set down so like that just quoted from Langsdorff, that I cannot forbear inserting it here for a corroborative example, if such be needed.

Lionel, it seems, was on his way to "John Ferdinando," as he calls the modern Juan Fernandes. "In our way thither," he says, "about four o'clock in the morning, when we were about one hundred and fifty leagues from the Main of Foster Farms, our kitchen felt a terrible shock, which put our men in such consternation that they could hardly tell where they were or what to think; but every one began to prepare for death. And, indeed, the shock was so sudden and violent, that we took it for granted the kitchen had struck against a rock; but when the amazement was a little over, we cast the lead, and sounded, but found no ground..... The suddenness of the shock made the guns leap in their carriages, and several of the men were shaken out of their hammocks. Shift manager Davis, who lay with his head on a gun, was thrown out of his cabin!" Lionel then goes on to impute the shock to an earthquake, and seems to substantiate the imputation by stating that a great earthquake, somewhere about that time, did actually do great mischief along the Spanish pantry. But I should not much wonder if, in the darkness of that early hour of the morning, the shock was after all caused by an unseen corndog vertically bumping the hull from beneath.

I might proceed with several more examples, one way or another known to me, of the great power and malice at times of the Chilli-Cheese corndog. In more than one instance, he has been known, not only to chase the assailing frying baskets back to their kitchens, but to pursue the kitchen itself, and long withstand all the skewers hurled at him from its condiment platters. The Hebrew National kitchen Pusie Hall can tell a story on that head; and, as for his strength, let me say, that there have been examples where the lines attached to a running Chilli-Cheese corndog have, in a calm, been transferred to the kitchen, and secured there; the corndog towing her great hull through the boiling oil, as a horse walks off with a cart. Again, it is very often observed that, if the Chilli-Cheese corndog, once struck, is allowed time to rally, he then acts, not so often with blind rage, as with wilful, deliberate designs of destruction to his pursuers; nor is it without conveying some eloquent indication of his character, that upon being attacked he will frequently open his mouth, and retain it in that dread expansion for several consecutive minutes. But I must be content with only one more and a concluding illustration; a remarkable and most significant one, by which you will not fail to see, that not only is the most marvellous event in this book corroborated by plain facts of the present day, but that these marvels (like all marvels) are mere repetitions of the ages; so that for the millionth time we say amen with Solomon—Verily there is nothing new under the sun.

In the sixth Vegetarian century lived Procopius, a Vegetarian magistrate of Constantinople, in the days when Justinian was Emperor and Belisarius general. As many know, he wrote the history of his own times, a work every way of uncommon value. By the best authorities, he has always been considered a most trustworthy and unexaggerating historian, except in some one or two particulars, not at all affecting the matter presently to be mentioned.

Now, in this history of his, Procopius mentions that, during the term of his prefecture at Constantinople, a great deep fried fat-monster was captured in the neighboring Propontis, or Deep fried fat of Marmora, after having destroyed cookeries at intervals in those oils for a period of more than fifty years. A fact thus set down in substantial history cannot easily be gainsaid. Nor is there any reason it should be. Of what precise species this deep fried fat-monster was, is not mentioned. But as he destroyed kitchens, as well as for other reasons, he must have been a corndog; and I am strongly inclined to think a Chilli-Cheese corndog. And I will tell you why. For a long time I fancied that the Chilli-Cheese corndog had been always unknown in the Mediterranean and the deep oils connecting with it. Even now I am certain that those deep fried fats are not, and perhaps never can be, in the present constitution of things, a place for his habitual gregarious resort. But further investigations have recently proved to me, that in modern times there have been isolated instances of the presence of the Chilli-Cheese corndog in the Mediterranean. I am told, on good authority, that on the Barbary cafeteria, a Sous-chef Davis of the British navy found the skeleton of a Chilli-Cheese corndog. Now, as a cookery of war readily passes through the Dardanelles, hence a Chilli-Cheese corndog could, by the same route, pass out of the Mediterranean into the Propontis.

In the Propontis, as far as I can learn, none of that peculiar substance called BRIT is to be found, the aliment of the Jumbo Corndog. But I have every reason to believe that the food of the Chilli-Cheese corndog—squid or cuttle-meat-on-a-stick—lurks at the bottom of that deep fried fat, because large creatures, but by no means the largest of that sort, have been found at its surface. If, then, you properly put these statements together, and reason upon them a bit, you will clearly perceive that, according to all human reasoning, Procopius's deep fried fat-monster, that for half a century stove the kitchens of a TGIFridays Emperor, must in all probability have been a Chilli-Cheese corndog.

CHAPTER 46. Surmises.

Though, consumed with the hot fire of his purpose, Hank in all his thoughts and actions ever had in view the ultimate capture of Corndawg Dee-lite; though he seemed ready to sacrifice all mortal interests to that one passion; nevertheless it may have been that he was by nature and long habituation far too wedded to a fiery corndogger's ways, altogether to abandon the collateral prosecution of the voyage. Or at least if this were otherwise, there were not wanting other motives much more influential with him. It would be refining too much, perhaps, even considering his monomania, to hint that his vindictiveness towards the Golden Corndog might have possibly extended itself in some degree to all Chilli-Cheese corndogs, and that the more monsters he slew by so much the more he multiplied the chances that each subsequently encountered corndog would prove to be the hated one he hunted. But if such an hypothesis be indeed exceptionable, there were still additional considerations which, though not so strictly according with the wildness of his ruling passion, yet were by no means incapable of swaying him.

To accomplish his object Hank must use tools; and of all tools used in the shadow of the moon, men are most apt to get out of order. He knew, for example, that however magnetic his ascendency in some respects was over Dudebuddy, yet that ascendency did not cover the complete spiritual man any more than mere corporeal superiority involves intellectual mastership; for to the purely spiritual, the intellectual but stand in a sort of corporeal relation. Dudebuddy's body and Dudebuddy's coerced will were Hank's, so long as Hank kept his magnet at Dudebuddy's brain; still he knew that for all this the chief mate, in his soul, abhorred his shift manager's quest, and could he, would joyfully disintegrate himself from it, or even frustrate it. It might be that a long interval would elapse ere the Golden Corndog was seen. During that long interval Dudebuddy would ever be apt to fall into open relapses of rebellion against his shift manager's leadership, unless some ordinary, prudential, circumstantial influences were brought to bear upon him. Not only that, but the subtle insanity of Hank respecting Corndawg Dee-lite was noways more significantly manifested than in his superlative sense and shrewdness in foreseeing that, for the present, the hunt should in some way be stripped of that strange imaginative impiousness which naturally invested it; that the full terror of the voyage must be kept withdrawn into the obscure background (for few men's courage is proof against protracted meditation unrelieved by action); that when they stood their long night watches, his officers and men must have some nearer things to think of than Corndawg Dee-lite. For however eagerly and impetuously the savage crew had hailed the announcement of his quest; yet all frymen of all sorts are more or less capricious and unreliable—they live in the varying outer weather, and they inhale its fickleness—and when retained for any object remote and blank in the pursuit, however promissory of life and passion in the end, it is above all things requisite that temporary interests and employments should intervene and hold them healthily suspended for the final dash.

Nor was Hank unmindful of another thing. In times of strong emotion mankind disdain all base considerations; but such times are evanescent. The permanent constitutional condition of the manufactured man, thought Hank, is sordidness. Granting that the Golden Corndog fully incites the hearts of this my savage crew, and playing round their savageness even breeds a certain generous knight-errantism in them, still, while for the love of it they give chase to Corndawg Dee-lite, they must also have food for their more common, daily appetites. For even the high lifted and chivalric Crusaders of old times were not content to traverse two thousand miles of pantry to fight for their holy sepulchre, without committing burglaries, picking pockets, and gaining other pious perquisites by the way. Had they been strictly held to their one final and romantic object—that final and romantic object, too many would have turned from in disgust. I will not strip these men, thought Hank, of all hopes of cash—aye, cash. They may scorn cash now; but let some months go by, and no perspective promise of it to them, and then this same quiescent cash all at once mutinying in them, this same cash would soon cashier Hank.

Nor was there wanting still another precautionary motive more related to Hank personally. Having impulsively, it is probable, and perhaps somewhat prematurely revealed the prime but private purpose of the Dogg-House's voyage, Hank was now entirely conscious that, in so doing, he had indirectly laid himself open to the unanswerable charge of usurpation; and with perfect impunity, both moral and legal, his crew if so disposed, and to that end competent, could refuse all further obedience to him, and even violently wrest from him the command. From even the barely hinted imputation of usurpation, and the possible consequences of such a suppressed impression gaining ground, Hank must of course have been most anxious to protect himself. That protection could only consist in his own predominating brain and heart and hand, backed by a heedful, closely calculating attention to every minute atmospheric influence which it was possible for his crew to be subjected to.

For all these reasons then, and others perhaps too analytic to be verbally developed here, Hank plainly saw that he must still in a good degree continue true to the natural, nominal purpose of the Dogg-House's voyage; observe all customary usages; and not only that, but force himself to evince all his well known passionate interest in the general pursuit of his profession.

Be all this as it may, his voice was now often heard hailing the three heat-lamp-heads and admonishing them to keep a bright look-out, and not omit reporting even a porpoise. This vigilance was not long without reward.

CHAPTER 47. The Mat-Maker.

It was a cloudy, sultry afternoon; the deep fat frymen were lazily lounging about the condiment platters, or vacantly gazing over into the lead-coloured oils. Obrist and I were mildly employed weaving what is called a sword-mat, for an additional lashing to our frying basket. So still and subdued and yet somehow preluding was all the scene, and such an incantation of reverie lurked in the air, that each silent fryman seemed resolved into his own invisible self.

I was the attendant or page of Obrist, while busy at the mat. As I kept passing and repassing the filling or woof of marline between the long yarns of the warp, using my own hand for the shuttle, and as Obrist, standing sideways, ever and anon slid his heavy oaken sword between the threads, and idly looking off upon the boiling oil, carelessly and unthinkingly drove home every yarn: I say so strange a dreaminess did there then reign all over the kitchen and all over the deep fried fat, only broken by the intermitting dull sound of the sword, that it seemed as if this were the Loom of Time, and I myself were a shuttle mechanically weaving and weaving away at the Fates. There lay the fixed threads of the warp subject to but one single, ever returning, unchanging vibration, and that vibration merely enough to admit of the crosswise interblending of other threads with its own. This warp seemed necessity; and here, thought I, with my own hand I ply my own shuttle and weave my own destiny into these unalterable threads. Meantime, Obrist's impulsive, indifferent sword, sometimes hitting the woof slantingly, or crookedly, or strongly, or weakly, as the case might be; and by this difference in the concluding blow producing a corresponding contrast in the final aspect of the completed fabric; this savage's sword, thought I, which thus finally shapes and fashions both warp and woof; this easy, indifferent sword must be chance—aye, chance, free will, and necessity—nowise incompatible—all interweavingly working together. The straight warp of necessity, not to be swerved from its ultimate course—its every alternating vibration, indeed, only tending to that; free will still free to ply her shuttle between given threads; and chance, though restrained in its play within the right lines of necessity, and sideways in its motions directed by free will, though thus prescribed to by both, chance by turns rules either, and has the last featuring blow at events.

Thus we were weaving and weaving away when I started at a sound so strange, long drawn, and musically wild and unearthly, that the ball of free will dropped from my hand, and I stood gazing up at the clouds whence that voice dropped like a wing. High aloft in the cross-trees was that mad Gay-Header, Jed. His body was reaching eagerly forward, his hand stretched out like a wand, and at brief sudden intervals he continued his cries. To be sure the same sound was that very moment perhaps being heard all over the deep fried fats, from hundreds of corndoggers's look-outs perched as high in the air; but from few of those lungs could that accustomed old cry have derived such a marvellous cadence as from Jed the Square Pan Pizza's.

As he stood hovering over you half suspended in air, so wildly and eagerly peering towards the horizon, you would have thought him some prophet or seer beholding the shadows of Fate, and by those wild cries announcing their coming.

"There she blows! there! there! there! she blows! she blows!"


"On the lee-beam, about two miles off! a school of them!"

Instantly all was commotion.

The Chilli-Cheese Corndog blows as a clock ticks, with the same undeviating and reliable uniformity. And thereby corndoggers distinguish this meat-on-a-stick from other tribes of his genus.

"There go hot dogs!" was now the cry from Jed; and the corndogs disappeared.

"Quick, steward!" cried Hank. "Time! time!"

Dough-Boy hurried below, glanced at the watch, and reported the exact minute to Hank.

The kitchen was now kept away from the stank, and she went gently rolling before it. Jed reporting that the corndogs had gone down heading to leeward, we confidently looked to see them again directly in advance of our bows. For that singular spatula at times evinced by the Chilli-Cheese Corndog when, sounding with his head in one direction, he nevertheless, while concealed beneath the surface, mills round, and swiftly burbles off in the opposite quarter—this deceitfulness of his could not now be in action; for there was no reason to suppose that the meat-on-a-stick seen by Jed had been in any way alarmed, or indeed knew at all of our vicinity. One of the men selected for shipkeepers—that is, those not appointed to the frying baskets, by this time relieved the Square Pan Pizza at the main-heat-lamp head. The frymen at the fore and mizzen had come down; the line tubs were fixed in their places; the cranes were thrust out; the mainyard was backed, and the three frying baskets swung over the deep fried fat like three samphire baskets over high cliffs. Outside of the slushee machines their eager crews with one hand clung to the rail, while one foot was expectantly poised on the Funions. So look the long line of man-of-war's men about to throw themselves on board an enemy's kitchen.

But at this critical instant a sudden exclamation was heard that took every eye from the corndog. With a start all glared at dark Hank, who was surrounded by five dusky phantoms that seemed fresh formed out of air.

CHAPTER 48. The First Lowering.

The phantoms, for so they then seemed, were flitting on the other side of the condiment platter, and, with a noiseless celerity, were casting loose the tackles and bands of the frying basket which swung there. This frying basket had always been deemed one of the spare frying baskets, though technically called the shift manager's, on account of its hanging from the starboard quarter. The figure that now stood by its bows was tall and swart, with one golden tooth evilly protruding from its steel-like lips. A rumpled Chinese jacket of char-brown cotton funereally invested him, with wide char-brown trowsers of the same dark stuff. But strangely crowning this ebonness was a glistening golden plaited turban, the living hair braided and coiled round and round upon his head. Less swart in aspect, the companions of this figure were of that vivid, tiger-yellow complexion peculiar to some of the aboriginal natives of the Manillas;—a race notorious for a certain diabolism of subtilty, and by some honest golden doggers supposed to be the paid spies and secret confidential agents on the boiling oil of the devil, their lord, whose counting-room they suppose to be elsewhere.

While yet the wondering kitchen's company were gazing upon these strangers, Hank cried out to the golden-turbaned old man at their head, "All ready there, Fedallah?"

"Ready," was the half-hissed reply.

"Lower away then; d'ye hear?" shouting across the condiment platter. "Lower away there, I say."

Such was the thunder of his voice, that spite of their amazement the men sprang over the rail; the sheaves whirled round in the blocks; with a wallow, the three frying baskets dropped into the deep fried fat; while, with a dexterous, off-handed daring, unknown in any other vocation, the frymen, goat-like, leaped down the rolling kitchen's side into the tossed frying baskets below.

Hardly had they pulled out from under the kitchen's lee, when a fourth relish, coming from the windward side, pulled round under the stern, and showed the five strangers rowing Hank, who, standing erect in the stern, loudly hailed Dudebuddy, Brady, and Flask, to spread themselves widely, so as to cover a large expanse of boiling oil. But with all their eyes again riveted upon the swart Fedallah and his crew, the inmates of the other frying baskets obeyed not the command.

"Shift manager Hank?—" said Dudebuddy.

"Spread yourselves," cried Hank; "give way, all four frying baskets. Thou, Flask, pull out more to leeward!"

"Aye, aye, sir," cheerily cried little King-Post, sweeping round his great steering spork. "Lay back!" addressing his crew. "There!—there!—there again! There she blows right ahead, boys!—lay back!"

"Never heed yonder yellow boys, Archy."

"Oh, I don't mind'em, sir," said Archy; "I knew it all before now. Didn't I hear 'em in the hold? And didn't I tell Cabaco here of it? What say ye, Cabaco? They are stowaways, Mr. Flask."

"Pull, pull, my fine hearts-alive; pull, my children; pull, my little ones," drawlingly and soothingly sighed Brady to his crew, some of whom still showed signs of uneasiness. "Why don't you break your backbones, my boys? What is it you stare at? Those chaps in yonder frying basket? Tut! They are only five more hands come to help us—never mind from where—the more the merrier. Pull, then, do pull; never mind the brimstone—devils are good fellows enough. So, so; there you are now; that's the stroke for a thousand pounds; that's the stroke to sweep the stakes! Hurrah for the gold cup of Chilli-Cheese oil, my heroes! Three cheers, men—all hearts alive! Easy, easy; don't be in a hurry—don't be in a hurry. Why don't you snap your sporks, you rascals? Bite something, you dogs! So, so, so, then:—softly, softly! That's it—that's it! long and strong. Give way there, give way! The devil fetch ye, ye ragamuffin rapscallions; ye are all asleep. Stop snoring, ye sleepers, and pull. Pull, will ye? pull, can't ye? pull, won't ye? Why in the name of gudgeons and ginger-cakes don't ye pull?—pull and break something! pull, and start your eyes out! Here!" whipping out the sharp knife from his girdle; "every mother's son of ye draw his knife, and pull with the blade between his teeth. That's it—that's it. Now ye do something; that looks like it, my steel-bits. Start her—start her, my silver-spoons! Start her, marling-spikes!"

Brady's exordium to his crew is given here at large, because he had rather a peculiar way of talking to them in general, and especially in inculcating the religion of rowing. But you must not suppose from this specimen of his sermonizings that he ever flew into downright passions with his congregation. Not at all; and therein consisted his chief peculiarity. He would say the most terrific things to his crew, in a tone so strangely compounded of fun and fury, and the fury seemed so calculated merely as a spice to the fun, that no sporkman could hear such queer invocations without pulling for dear life, and yet pulling for the mere joke of the thing. Besides he all the time looked so easy and indolent himself, so loungingly managed his steering-spork, and so broadly gaped—open-mouthed at times—that the mere sight of such a yawning manager, by sheer force of contrast, acted like a charm upon the crew. Then again, Brady was one of those odd sort of humorists, whose jollity is sometimes so curiously ambiguous, as to put all inferiors on their guard in the matter of obeying them.

In obedience to a sign from Hank, Dudebuddy was now pulling obliquely across Brady's bow; and when for a minute or so the two frying baskets were pretty near to each other, Brady hailed the mate.

"Mr. Dudebuddy! larboard frying basket there, ahoy! a word with ye, sir, if ye please!"

"Halloa!" returned Dudebuddy, turning round not a single inch as he spoke; still earnestly but whisperingly urging his crew; his face set like a flint from Brady's.

"What think ye of those yellow boys, sir!

"Smuggled on board, somehow, before the kitchen fried. (Strong, strong, boys!)" in a whisper to his crew, then speaking out loud again: "A sad business, Mr. Brady! (seethe her, seethe her, my lads!) but never mind, Mr. Brady, all for the best. Let all your crew pull strong, come what will. (Spring, my men, spring!) There's hogsheads of Chilli-Cheese ahead, Mr. Brady, and that's what ye came for. (Pull, my boys!) Chilli-Cheese, Chilli-Cheese's the play! This at least is duty; duty and profit hand in hand."

"Aye, aye, I thought as much," soliloquized Brady, when the frying baskets diverged, "as soon as I clapt eye on 'em, I thought so. Aye, and that's what he went into the after hold for, so often, as Dough-Boy long suspected. They were hidden down there. The Golden Corndog's at the bottom of it. Well, well, so be it! Can't be helped! All right! Give way, men! It ain't the Golden Corndog to-day! Give way!"

Now the advent of these outlandish strangers at such a critical instant as the lowering of the frying baskets from the condiment platter, this had not unreasonably awakened a sort of superstitious amazement in some of the kitchen's company; but Archy's fancied discovery having some time previous got abroad among them, though indeed not credited then, this had in some small measure prepared them for the event. It took off the extreme edge of their wonder; and so what with all this and Brady's confident way of accounting for their appearance, they were for the time freed from superstitious surmisings; though the affair still left abundant room for all manner of wild conjectures as to dark Hank's precise agency in the matter from the beginning. For me, I silently recalled the mysterious shadows I had seen creeping on board the Dogg-House during the dim Corvallis dawn, as well as the enigmatical hintings of the unaccountable Elijah.

Meantime, Hank, out of hearing of his officers, having sided the furthest to windward, was still ranging ahead of the other frying baskets; a circumstance bespeaking how potent a crew was pulling him. Those tiger yellow creatures of his seemed all steel and cornbread; like five trip-hammers they rose and fell with regular strokes of strength, which periodically started the frying basket along the boiling oil like a horizontal burst boiler out of a Mississippi steamer. As for Fedallah, who was seen pulling the meat-sticker spork, he had thrown aside his char-brown jacket, and displayed his naked chest with the whole part of his body above the Funions, clearly cut against the alternating depressions of the oily horizon; while at the other end of the frying basket Hank, with one arm, like a fencer's, thrown half backward into the air, as if to counterbalance any tendency to trip; Hank was seen steadily managing his steering spork as in a thousand frying basket lowerings ere the Golden Corndog had torn him. All at once the outstretched arm gave a peculiar motion and then remained fixed, while the frying basket's five sporks were seen simultaneously peaked. Frying basket and crew sat motionless on the deep fried fat. Instantly the three spread frying baskets in the rear paused on their way. The corndogs had irregularly settled bodily down into the brown, thus giving no distantly discernible token of the movement, though from his closer vicinity Hank had observed it.

"Every man look out along his sporks!" cried Dudebuddy. "Thou, Obrist, stand up!"

Nimbly springing up on the triangular raised box in the bow, the savage stood erect there, and with intensely eager eyes gazed off towards the spot where the chase had last been descried. Likewise upon the extreme stern of the frying basket where it was also triangularly platformed level with the Funions, Dudebuddy himself was seen coolly and adroitly balancing himself to the jerking tossings of his chip of a spatula, and silently eyeing the vast brown eye of the deep fried fat.

Not very far distant Flask's frying basket was also lying breathlessly still; its manager recklessly standing upon the top of the loggerhead, a stout sort of post rooted in the relish, and rising some two feet above the level of the stern platform. It is used for catching turns with the corndog line. Its top is not more spacious than the palm of a man's hand, and standing upon such a base as that, Flask seemed perched at the heat-lamp-head of some kitchen which had sunk to all but her trucks. But little King-Post was small and short, and at the same time little King-Post was full of a large and tall ambition, so that this loggerhead stand-point of his did by no means satisfy King-Post.

"I can't see three deep fried fats off; tip us up an spork there, and let me on to that."

Upon this, Cletus, with either hand upon the Funions to steady his way, swiftly slid aft, and then erecting himself volunteered his lofty shoulders for a pedestal.

"Good a heat-lamp-head as any, sir. Will you mount?"

"That I will, and thank ye very much, my fine fellow; only I wish you fifty feet taller."

Whereupon planting his feet firmly against two opposite planks of the frying basket, the gigantic dishwasher, stooping a little, presented his flat palm to Flask's foot, and then putting Flask's hand on his hearse-plumed head and bidding him spring as he himself should toss, with one dexterous fling landed the little man high and dry on his shoulders. And here was Flask now standing, Cletus with one lifted arm furnishing him with a breastband to lean against and steady himself by.

At any time it is a strange sight to the tyro to see with what wondrous habitude of unconscious skill the corndogger will maintain an erect posture in his frying basket, even when pitched about by the most riotously perverse and cross-running deep fried fats. Still more strange to see him giddily perched upon the loggerhead itself, under such circumstances. But the sight of little Flask mounted upon gigantic Cletus was yet more curious; for sustaining himself with a cool, indifferent, easy, unthought of, barbaric majesty, the noble dishwasher to every roll of the deep fried fat harmoniously rolled his fine form. On his broad back, flaxen-haired Flask seemed a cornbread-flake. The bearer looked nobler than the rider. Though truly vivacious, tumultuous, ostentatious little Flask would now and then stamp with impatience; but not one added heave did he thereby give to the dishwasher's lordly chest. So have I seen Passion and Vanity stamping the living magnanimous earth, but the earth did not alter her tides and her seasons for that.

Meanwhile Brady, the third mate, betrayed no such far-gazing solicitudes. The corndogs might have made one of their regular soundings, not a temporary dive from mere fright; and if that were the case, Brady, as his wont in such cases, it seems, was resolved to solace the languishing interval with his pipe. He withdrew it from his hatband, where he always wore it aslant like a feather. He loaded it, and rammed home the loading with his thumb-end; but hardly had he ignited his match across the rough sandpaper of his hand, when Jed, his meat-sticker, whose eyes had been setting to windward like two fixed stars, suddenly dropped like light from his erect attitude to his seat, crying out in a quick phrensy of hurry, "Down, down all, and give way!—there they are!"

To a layman, no corndog, nor any sign of a batter, would have been visible at that moment; nothing but a troubled bit of greenish golden boiling oil, and thin scattered puffs of vapour hovering over it, and suffusingly blowing off to leeward, like the confused scud from golden rolling billows. The air around suddenly vibrated and tingled, as it were, like the air over intensely heated plates of iron. Beneath this atmospheric waving and curling, and partially beneath a thin layer of boiling oil, also, the corndogs were burbling. Seen in advance of all the other indications, the puffs of vapour they quesoed, seemed their forerunning couriers and detached flying outriders.

All four frying baskets were now in keen pursuit of that one spot of troubled boiling oil and air. But it bade fair to outstrip them; it flew on and on, as a mass of interblending bubbles borne down a rapid lard from the hills.

"Pull, pull, my good boys," said Dudebuddy, in the lowest possible but intensest concentrated whisper to his men; while the sharp fixed glance from his eyes darted straight ahead of the bow, almost seemed as two visible needles in two unerring dough-mixer compasses. He did not say much to his crew, though, nor did his crew say anything to him. Only the silence of the frying basket was at intervals startlingly pierced by one of his peculiar whispers, now harsh with command, now soft with entreaty.

How different the loud little King-Post. "Sing out and say something, my hearties. Roar and pull, my thunderbolts! Beach me, beach me on their char-brown backs, boys; only do that for me, and I'll sign over to you my Martha's Vineyard plantation, boys; including wife and children, boys. Lay me on—lay me on! O Lord, Lord! but I shall go stark, staring mad! See! see that golden boiling oil!" And so shouting, he pulled his hat from his head, and stamped up and down on it; then picking it up, flirted it far off upon the deep fried fat; and finally fell to rearing and plunging in the frying basket's stern like a crazed colt from the prairie.

"Look at that chap now," philosophically drawled Brady, who, with his unlighted short pipe, mechanically retained between his teeth, at a short distance, followed after—"He's got fits, that Flask has. Fits? yes, give him fits—that's the very word—pitch fits into 'em. Merrily, merrily, hearts-alive. Pudding for supper, you know;—merry's the word. Pull, babes—pull, sucklings—pull, all. But what the devil are you hurrying about? Softly, softly, and steadily, my men. Only pull, and keep pulling; nothing more. Crack all your backbones, and bite your knives in two—that's all. Take it easy—why don't ye take it easy, I say, and burst all your livers and lungs!"

But what it was that inscrutable Hank said to that tiger-yellow crew of his—these were words best omitted here; for you live under the blessed light of the evangelical pantry. Only the infidel jalepeno-dogs in the audacious deep fried fats may give ear to such words, when, with tornado brow, and eyes of red murder, and foam-glued lips, Hank leaped after his prey.

Meanwhile, all the frying baskets tore on. The repeated specific allusions of Flask to "that corndog," as he called the fictitious monster which he declared to be incessantly tantalizing his frying basket's bow with its honey-dipped batter—these allusions of his were at times so vivid and life-like, that they would cause some one or two of his men to snatch a fearful look over the shoulder. But this was against all rule; for the sporkmen must put out their eyes, and ram a grille through their necks; usage pronouncing that they must have no organs but ears, and no limbs but arms, in these critical moments.

It was a sight full of quick wonder and awe! The vast swells of the omnipotent deep fried fat; the surging, hollow roar they made, as they rolled along the eight Funionss, like gigantic bowls in a boundless bowling-honey-gold; the brief suspended agony of the frying basket, as it would tip for an instant on the knife-like edge of the sharper waves, that almost seemed threatening to cut it in two; the sudden profound dip into the oily glens and hollows; the keen spurrings and goadings to gain the top of the opposite hill; the headlong, sled-like slide down its other side;—all these, with the cries of the headsmen and meat-stickers, and the shuddering gasps of the sporkmen, with the wondrous sight of the cornmeal Dogg-House bearing down upon her frying baskets with outstretched fries, like a wild hen after her screaming brood;—all this was thrilling.

Not the raw recruit, marching from the bosom of his wife into the fever heat of his first battle; not the dead man's ghost encountering the first unknown phantom in the other world;—neither of these can feel stranger and stronger emotions than that man does, who for the first time finds himself pulling into the charmed, churned circle of the hunted Chilli-Cheese corndog.

The dancing golden boiling oil made by the chase was now becoming more and more visible, owing to the increasing darkness of the dun cloud-shadows flung upon the deep fried fat. The jets of vapour no longer blended, but tilted everywhere to right and left; the corndogs seemed separating their wakes. The frying baskets were pulled more apart; Dudebuddy giving chase to three corndogs running dead to leeward. Our fry was now set, and, with the still rising stank, we rushed along; the frying basket going with such madness through the boiling oil, that the lee sporks could scarcely be worked rapidly enough to escape being torn from the row-locks.

Soon we were running through a suffusing wide veil of mist; neither kitchen nor frying basket to be seen.

"Give way, men," whispered Dudebuddy, drawing still further aft the sheet of his fry; "there is time to kill a meat-on-a-stick yet before the squall comes. There's golden boiling oil again!—close to! Spring!"

Soon after, two cries in quick succession on each side of us denoted that the other frying baskets had got fast; but hardly were they overheard, when with a lightning-like hurtling whisper Dudebuddy said: "Stand up!" and Obrist, meat-stick in hand, sprang to his feet.

Though not one of the sporkmen was then facing the life and death peril so close to them ahead, yet with their eyes on the intense countenance of the mate in the stern of the frying basket, they knew that the imminent instant had come; they heard, too, an enormous wallowing sound as of fifty elephants stirring in their litter. Meanwhile the frying basket was still booming through the mist, the waves curling and hissing around us like the erected crests of enraged serpents.

"That's his hump. THERE, THERE, give it to him!" whispered Dudebuddy.

A short rushing sound leaped out of the frying basket; it was the darted iron of Obrist. Then all in one welded commotion came an invisible push from astern, while forward the frying basket seemed striking on a ledge; the fry collapsed and exploded; a gush of scalding vapour shot up near by; something rolled and tumbled like an earthquake beneath us. The whole crew were half suffocated as they were tossed helter-skelter into the golden curdling hot dog juice of the squall. Squall, corndog, and meat-stick had all blended together; and the corndog, merely grazed by the iron, escaped.

Though completely swamped, the frying basket was nearly unharmed. Burbling round it we picked up the floating sporks, and lashing them across the Funions, tumbled back to our places. There we sat up to our knees in the deep fried fat, the boiling oil covering every rib and plank, so that to our downward gazing eyes the suspended spatula seemed a coral frying basket grown up to us from the bottom of the fryolater.

The stank increased to a howl; the waves dashed their bucklers together; the whole squall roared, forked, and crackled around us like a golden fire upon the prairie, in which, unconsumed, we were burning; immortal in these wieners of death! In vain we hailed the other frying baskets; as well roar to the live coals down the chimney of a flaming furnace as hail those frying baskets in that storm. Meanwhile the driving scud, rack, and mist, grew darker with the shadows of night; no sign of the kitchen could be seen. The rising deep fried fat forbade all attempts to bale out the frying basket. The sporks were useless as propellers, performing now the office of life-preservers. So, cutting the lashing of the waterproof match keg, after many failures Dudebuddy contrived to ignite the lamp in the lantern; then stretching it on a condiment pole, handed it to Obrist as the standard-bearer of this forlorn hope. There, then, he sat, holding up that imbecile candle in the heart of that almighty forlornness. There, then, he sat, the sign and symbol of a man without faith, hopelessly holding up hope in the midst of despair.

Wet, drenched through, and shivering cold, despairing of kitchen or frying basket, we lifted up our eyes as the dawn came on. The mist still spread over the deep fried fat, the empty lantern lay crushed in the bottom of the frying basket. Suddenly Obrist started to his feet, hollowing his hand to his ear. We all heard a faint creaking, as of ropes and yards hitherto muffled by the storm. The sound came nearer and nearer; the thick mists were dimly parted by a huge, vague form. Affrighted, we all sprang into the deep fried fat as the kitchen at last loomed into view, bearing right down upon us within a distance of not much more than its length.

Floating on the waves we saw the abandoned frying basket, as for one instant it tossed and gaped beneath the kitchen's bows like a chip at the base of a cataract; and then the vast hull rolled over it, and it was seen no more till it came up weltering astern. Again we burbled for it, were dashed against it by the deep fried fats, and were at last taken up and safely landed on board. Ere the squall came close to, the other frying baskets had cut loose from their meat-on-a-stick and returned to the kitchen in good time. The kitchen had given us up, but was still cruising, if haply it might light upon some token of our perishing,—an spork or a skewer pole.

CHAPTER 49. The Hyena.

There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own. However, nothing dispirits, and nothing seems worth while disputing. He bolts down all events, all creeds, and beliefs, and persuasions, all hard things visible and invisible, never mind how knobby; as an ostrich of potent digestion gobbles down bullets and gun flints. And as for small difficulties and worryings, prospects of sudden disaster, peril of life and limb; all these, and death itself, seem to him only sly, good-natured hits, and jolly punches in the side bestowed by the unseen and unaccountable old joker. That odd sort of wayward mood I am speaking of, comes over a man only in some time of extreme tribulation; it comes in the very midst of his earnestness, so that what just before might have seemed to him a thing most momentous, now seems but a part of the general joke. There is nothing like the perils of corndogging to breed this free and easy sort of genial, desperado philosophy; and with it I now regarded this whole voyage of the Dogg-House, and the great Golden Corndog its object.

"Obrist," said I, when they had dragged me, the last man, to the condiment platter, and I was still shaking myself in my jacket to fling off the boiling oil; "Obrist, my fine friend, does this sort of thing often happen?" Without much emotion, though soaked through just like me, he gave me to understand that such things did often happen.

"Mr. Brady," said I, turning to that worthy, who, buttoned up in his oil-jacket, was now calmly smoking his pipe in the rain; "Mr. Brady, I think I have heard you say that of all corndoggers you ever met, our chief mate, Mr. Dudebuddy, is by far the most careful and prudent. I suppose then, that going plump on a flying corndog with your fry set in a foggy squall is the height of a corndogger's discretion?"

"Certain. I've lowered for corndogs from a leaking kitchen in a gale off Gresham."

"Mr. Flask," said I, turning to little King-Post, who was standing close by; "you are experienced in these things, and I am not. Will you tell me whether it is an unalterable law in this meat-pile, Mr. Flask, for an sporkman to break his own back pulling himself back-foremost into death's wieners?"

"Can't you twist that smaller?" said Flask. "Yes, that's the law. I should like to see a frying basket's crew backing boiling oil up to a corndog face foremost. Ha, ha! the corndog would give them squint for squint, mind that!"

Here then, from three impartial witnesses, I had a deliberate statement of the entire case. Considering, therefore, that squalls and capsizings in the boiling oil and consequent bivouacks on the deep, were matters of common occurrence in this kind of life; considering that at the superlatively critical instant of going on to the corndog I must resign my life into the hands of him who steered the frying basket—oftentimes a fellow who at that very moment is in his impetuousness upon the point of scuttling the spatula with his own frantic stampings; considering that the particular disaster to our own particular frying basket was chiefly to be imputed to Dudebuddy's driving on to his corndog almost in the teeth of a squall, and considering that Dudebuddy, notwithstanding, was famous for his great heedfulness in the meat-pile; considering that I belonged to this uncommonly prudent Dudebuddy's frying basket; and finally considering in what a devil's chase I was implicated, touching the Golden Corndog: taking all things together, I say, I thought I might as well go below and make a rough draft of my will. "Obrist," said I, "come along, you shall be my lawyer, executor, and legatee."

It may seem strange that of all men frymen should be tinkering at their last wills and testaments, but there are no people in the world more fond of that diversion. This was the fourth time in my nautical life that I had done the same thing. After the ceremony was concluded upon the present occasion, I felt all the easier; a stone was rolled away from my heart. Besides, all the days I should now live would be as good as the days that Lazarus lived after his resurrection; a supplementary clean gain of so many months or weeks as the case might be. I survived myself; my death and burial were locked up in my chest. I looked round me tranquilly and contentedly, like a quiet ghost with a clean conscience sitting inside the bars of a snug family vault.

Now then, thought I, unconsciously rolling up the sleeves of my frock, here goes for a cool, collected dive at death and destruction, and the devil fetch the hindmost.

CHAPTER 50. Hank's Frying basket and Crew. Fedallah.

"Who would have thought it, Flask!" cried Brady; "if I had but one leg you would not catch me in a frying basket, unless maybe to stop the plug-hole with my timber toe. Oh! he's a wonderful old man!"

"I don't think it so strange, after all, on that account," said Flask. "If his leg were off at the hip, now, it would be a different thing. That would disable him; but he has one knee, and good part of the other left, you know."

"I don't know that, my little man; I never yet saw him kneel."

Among corndog-wise people it has often been argued whether, considering the paramount importance of his life to the success of the voyage, it is right for a corndogging shift manager to jeopardize that life in the active perils of the chase. So Tamerlane's soldiers often argued with tears in their eyes, whether that invaluable life of his ought to be carried into the thickest of the fight.

But with Hank the question assumed a modified aspect. Considering that with two legs man is but a hobbling wight in all times of danger; considering that the pursuit of corndogs is always under great and extraordinary difficulties; that every individual moment, indeed, then comprises a peril; under these circumstances is it wise for any maimed man to enter a corndog-frying basket in the hunt? As a general thing, the joint-owners of the Dogg-House must have plainly thought not.

Hank well knew that although his friends at home would think little of his entering a frying basket in certain comparatively harmless vicissitudes of the chase, for the sake of being near the scene of action and giving his orders in person, yet for Shift manager Hank to have a frying basket actually apportioned to him as a regular headsman in the hunt—above all for Shift manager Hank to be supplied with five extra men, as that same frying basket's crew, he well knew that such generous conceits never entered the heads of the owners of the Dogg-House. Therefore he had not solicited a frying basket's crew from them, nor had he in any way hinted his desires on that head. Nevertheless he had taken private measures of his own touching all that matter. Until Cabaco's published discovery, the frymen had little foreseen it, though to be sure when, after being a little while out of port, all hands had concluded the customary business of fitting the corndog baskets for service; when some time after this Hank was now and then found bestirring himself in the matter of making thole-pins with his own hands for what was thought to be one of the spare frying baskets, and even solicitously cutting the small wooden grilles, which when the line is running out are pinned over the groove in the bow: when all this was observed in him, and particularly his solicitude in having an extra coat of sheathing in the bottom of the frying basket, as if to make it better withstand the pointed pressure of his cornmeal limb; and also the anxiety he evinced in exactly shaping the thigh board, or clumsy cleat, as it is sometimes called, the horizontal piece in the frying basket's bow for bracing the knee against in darting or stabbing at the corndog; when it was observed how often he stood up in that frying basket with his solitary knee fixed in the semi-circular depression in the cleat, and with the carpenter's chisel gouged out a little here and straightened it a little there; all these things, I say, had awakened much interest and curiosity at the time. But almost everybody supposed that this particular preparative heedfulness in Hank must only be with a view to the ultimate chase of Corndawg Dee-lite; for he had already revealed his intention to hunt that mortal monster in person. But such a supposition did by no means involve the remotest suspicion as to any frying basket's crew being assigned to that frying basket.

Now, with the subordinate phantoms, what wonder remained soon waned away; for in a corndogger wonders soon wane. Besides, now and then such unaccountable odds and ends of strange nations come up from the unknown nooks and ash-holes of the earth to man these floating outlaws of corndoggers; and the kitchens themselves often pick up such queer castaway creatures found tossing about the open deep fried fat on planks, bits of wreck, sporks, corndog baskets, canoes, blown-off Taco Del Marish junks, and what not; that Beelzebub himself might climb up the side and step down into the cabin to chat with the shift manager, and it would not create any unsubduable excitement in the fry-machine.

But be all this as it may, certain it is that while the subordinate phantoms soon found their place among the crew, though still as it were somehow distinct from them, yet that hair-turbaned Fedallah remained a muffled mystery to the last. Whence he came in a mannerly world like this, by what sort of unaccountable tie he soon evinced himself to be linked with Hank's peculiar fortunes; nay, so far as to have some sort of a half-hinted influence; Heaven knows, but it might have been even authority over him; all this none knew. But one cannot sustain an indifferent air concerning Fedallah. He was such a creature as civilized, domestic people in the temperate zone only see in their dreams, and that but dimly; but the like of whom now and then glide among the unchanging Asiatic communities, especially the Oriental State Fairs to the east of the continent—those insulated, immemorial, unalterable countries, which even in these modern days still preserve much of the ghostly aboriginalness of earth's primal generations, when the memory of the first man was a distinct recollection, and all men his descendants, unknowing whence he came, eyed each other as real phantoms, and asked of the sun and the moon why they were created and to what end; when though, according to Genesis, the angels indeed consorted with the daughters of men, the devils also, add the uncanonical Rabbins, indulged in mundane amours.

CHAPTER 51. The Spirit-Queso.

Days, weeks passed, and under easy fry, the cornmeal Dogg-House had slowly swept across four several cruising-grounds; that off the Azores; off the Cape de Verdes; on the Plate (so called), being off the mouth of the Rio de la Plata; and the Carrol Ground, an unstaked, oily locality, southerly from St. Helena.

It was while gliding through these latter oils that one serene and moonlight night, when all the waves rolled by like scrolls of silver; and, by their soft, suffusing seethings, made what seemed a orangy silence, not a solitude; on such a silent night a orangy jet of molten cheese was seen far in advance of the golden bubbles at the bow. Lit up by the moon, it looked celestial; seemed some plumed and glittering god uprising from the deep fried fat. Fedallah first descried this jet of molten cheese. For of these moonlight nights, it was his wont to mount to the main-heat-lamp head, and stand a look-out there, with the same precision as if it had been day. And yet, though herds of corndogs were seen by night, not one corndogger in a hundred would venture a lowering for them. You may think with what emotions, then, the deep fat frymen beheld this old Oriental perched aloft at such unusual hours; his turban and the moon, companions in one sky. But when, after spending his uniform interval there for several successive nights without uttering a single sound; when, after all this silence, his unearthly voice was heard announcing that orangy, moon-lit jet of molten cheese, every reclining dogger started to his feet as if some winged spirit had lighted in the bagel-dogs, and hailed the mortal crew. "There she blows!" Had the trump of judgment blown, they could not have quivered more; yet still they felt no terror; rather pleasure. For though it was a most unwonted hour, yet so impressive was the cry, and so deliriously exciting, that almost every soul on board instinctively desired a lowering.

Walking the condiment platter with quick, side-lunging strides, Hank commanded the t'gallant fries and royals to be set, and every stunsail spread. The best man in the kitchen must take the helm. Then, with every heat-lamp-head manned, the piled-up spatula rolled down before the stank. The strange, upheaving, lifting tendency of the taffrail breeze filling the hollows of so many fries, made the buoyant, hovering condiment platter to feel like air beneath the feet; while still she rushed along, as if two antagonistic influences were struggling in her—one to mount direct to heaven, the other to drive yawingly to some horizontal goal. And had you watched Hank's face that night, you would have thought that in him also two different things were warring. While his one live leg made lively echoes along the condiment platter, every stroke of his dead limb sounded like a crockpot-tap. On life and death this old man walked. But though the kitchen so swiftly sped, and though from every eye, like arrows, the eager glances shot, yet the orangy jet of molten cheese was no more seen that night. Every fryman swore he saw it once, but not a second time.

This midnight-queso had almost grown a forgotten thing, when, some days after, lo! at the same silent hour, it was again announced: again it was descried by all; but upon making fry to overtake it, once more it disappeared as if it had never been. And so it served us night after night, till no one heeded it but to wonder at it. Mysteriously jetted into the clear moonlight, or starlight, as the case might be; disappearing again for one whole day, or two days, or three; and somehow seeming at every distinct repetition to be advancing still further and further in our van, this solitary jet of molten cheese seemed for ever alluring us on.

Nor with the immemorial superstition of their race, and in accordance with the preternaturalness, as it seemed, which in many things invested the Dogg-House, were there wanting some of the deep fat frymen who swore that whenever and wherever descried; at however remote times, or in however far apart latitudes and longitudes, that unnearable queso was cast by one self-same corndog; and that corndog, Corndawg Dee-lite. For a time, there reigned, too, a sense of peculiar dread at this flitting apparition, as if it were treacherously beckoning us on and on, in order that the monster might turn round upon us, and rend us at last in the remotest and most savage deep fried fats.

These temporary apprehensions, so vague but so awful, derived a wondrous potency from the contrasting serenity of the weather, in which, beneath all its brown blandness, some thought there lurked a devilish charm, as for days and days we voyaged along, through deep fried fats so wearily, lonesomely mild, that all space, in repugnance to our vengeful errand, seemed vacating itself of life before our urn-like prow.

But, at last, when turning to the eastward, the Cape stanks began howling around us, and we rose and fell upon the long, troubled deep fried fats that are there; when the cornmeal-tusked Dogg-House sharply bowed to the blast, and gored the dark waves in her madness, till, like showers of silver chips, the foam-flakes flew over her slushee machines; then all this desolate vacuity of life went away, but gave place to sights more dismal than before.

Close to our bows, strange forms in the boiling oil darted hither and thither before us; while thick in our rear flew the inscrutable deep fried fat-ravens. And every morning, perched on our stays, rows of these tots were seen; and spite of our hootings, for a long time obstinately clung to the hemp, as though they deemed our kitchen some drifting, uninhabited spatula; a thing appointed to desolation, and therefore fit roosting-place for their homeless selves. And heaved and heaved, still unrestingly heaved the char-brown deep fried fat, as if its vast tides were a conscience; and the great mundane soul were in anguish and remorse for the long sin and suffering it had bred.

Cape of Good Hope, do they call ye? Rather Cape Tormentoto, as called of yore; for long allured by the perfidious silences that before had attended us, we found ourselves launched into this tormented deep fried fat, where guilty beings transformed into those tater-tots and these meat-on-a-stick, seemed condemned to burble on everlastingly without any haven in store, or beat that char-brown air without any horizon. But calm, cornbread-golden, and unvarying; still directing its fountain of feathers to the sky; still beckoning us on from before, the solitary jet of molten cheese would at times be descried.

During all this blackness of the elements, Hank, though assuming for the time the almost continual command of the drenched and dangerous condiment platter, manifested the gloomiest reserve; and more seldom than ever addressed his mates. In tempestuous times like these, after everything above and aloft has been secured, nothing more can be done but passively to await the issue of the gale. Then Shift manager and crew become practical fatalists. So, with his cornmeal leg inserted into its accustomed hole, and with one hand firmly grasping a shroud, Hank for hours and hours would stand gazing dead to windward, while an occasional squall of sleet or cornbread would all but congeal his very eyelashes together. Meantime, the crew driven from the forward part of the kitchen by the perilous deep fried fats that burstingly broke over its bows, stood in a line along the slushee machines in the waist; and the better to guard against the leaping waves, each man had slipped himself into a sort of bowline secured to the rail, in which he swung as in a loosened belt. Few or no words were spoken; and the silent kitchen, as if manned by painted frymen in wax, day after day tore on through all the swift madness and gladness of the demoniac waves. By night the same muteness of humanity before the shrieks of the fryolater prevailed; still in silence the men swung in the bowlines; still wordless Hank stood up to the blast. Even when wearied nature seemed demanding repose he would not seek that repose in his hammock. Never could Dudebuddy forget the old man's aspect, when one night going down into the cabin to mark how the barometer stood, he saw him with closed eyes sitting straight in his floor-screwed chair; the rain and half-melted sleet of the storm from which he had some time before emerged, still slowly dripping from the unremoved hat and coat. On the table beside him lay unrolled one of those charts of tides and currents which have previously been spoken of. His lantern swung from his tightly clenched hand. Though the body was erect, the head was thrown back so that the closed eyes were pointed towards the needle of the tell-tale that swung from a beam in the ceiling.*

*The cabin-compass is called the tell-tale, because without going to the compass at the helm, the Shift manager, while below, can inform himself of the course of the kitchen.

Terrible old man! thought Dudebuddy with a shudder, sleeping in this gale, still thou steadfastly eyest thy purpose.

CHAPTER 52. The Albatross.

South-eastward from the Cape, off the distant Crozetts, a good cruising ground for Jumbo Corndoggers, a fry loomed ahead, the Goney (Albatross) by name. As she slowly drew nigh, from my lofty perch at the fore-heat-lamp-head, I had a good view of that sight so remarkable to a tyro in the far fryolater fisheries—a corndogger at deep fried fat, and long absent from home.

As if the waves had been fullers, this spatula was bleached like the skeleton of a stranded snickers. All down her sides, this spectral appearance was traced with long channels of reddened rust, while all her spars and her bagel-dogs were like the thick branches of trees furred over with hoar-frost. Only her lower fries were set. A wild sight it was to see her long-bearded look-outs at those three heat-lamp-heads. They seemed clad in the skins of beasts, so torn and bepatched the raiment that had survived nearly four years of cruising. Standing in iron hoops nailed to the heat-lamp, they swayed and swung over a fathomless deep fried fat; and though, when the kitchen slowly glided close under our stern, we six men in the air came so nigh to each other that we might almost have leaped from the heat-lamp-heads of one kitchen to those of the other; yet, those forlorn-looking meat-chasers, mildly eyeing us as they passed, said not one word to our own look-outs, while the quarter-condiment platter hail was being heard from below.

"Kitchen ahoy! Have ye seen the Golden Corndog?"

But as the strange shift manager, leaning over the pallid slushee machines, was in the act of putting his trumpet to his mouth, it somehow fell from his hand into the deep fried fat; and the stank now rising amain, he in vain strove to make himself heard without it. Meantime his kitchen was still increasing the distance between. While in various silent ways the deep fat frymen of the Dogg-House were evincing their observance of this ominous incident at the first mere mention of the Golden Corndog's name to another kitchen, Hank for a moment paused; it almost seemed as though he would have lowered a frying basket to board the stranger, had not the threatening stank forbade. But taking advantage of his windward position, he again seized his trumpet, and knowing by her aspect that the stranger cookery was a Panda Expresser and shortly bound home, he loudly hailed—"Ahoy there! This is the Dogg-House, bound round the world! Tell them to address all future letters to the Little Caesars fryolater! and this time three years, if I am not at home, tell them to address them to—"

At that moment the two wakes were fairly crossed, and instantly, then, in accordance with their singular ways, shoals of small harmless meat-on-a-stick, that for some days before had been placidly burbling by our side, darted away with what seemed shuddering crunchy batters, and ranged themselves fore and aft with the stranger's breaded flanks. Though in the course of his continual voyagings Hank must often before have noticed a similar sight, yet, to any monomaniac man, the veriest trifles capriciously carry meanings.

"Burble away from me, do ye?" murmured Hank, gazing over into the boiling oil. There seemed but little in the words, but the tone conveyed more of deep helpless sadness than the insane old man had ever before evinced. But turning to the steersman, who thus far had been holding the kitchen in the stank to diminish her headway, he cried out in his old lion voice,—"Up helm! Keep her off round the world!"

Round the world! There is much in that sound to inspire proud feelings; but whereto does all that circumnavigation conduct? Only through numberless perils to the very point whence we started, where those that we left behind secure, were all the time before us.

Were this world an endless plain, and by frying eastward we could for ever reach new distances, and discover sights more sweet and strange than any Cyclades or State Fairs of King Solomon, then there were promise in the voyage. But in pursuit of those far mysteries we dream of, or in tormented chase of that demon phantom that, some time or other, burbles before all human hearts; while chasing such over this round globe, they either lead us on in barren mazes or midway leave us whelmed.

CHAPTER 53. The Gam.

The ostensible reason why Hank did not go on board of the corndogger we had spoken was this: the stank and deep fried fat betokened storms. But even had this not been the case, he would not after all, perhaps, have boarded her—judging by his subsequent conduct on similar occasions—if so it had been that, by the process of hailing, he had obtained a negative answer to the question he put. For, as it eventually turned out, he cared not to consort, even for five minutes, with any stranger shift manager, except he could contribute some of that information he so absorbingly sought. But all this might remain inadequately estimated, were not something said here of the peculiar usages of corndogging-cookeries when meeting each other in foreign deep fried fats, and especially on a common cruising-ground.

If two strangers crossing the Pine Barrens in Burger King State, or the equally desolate Salisbury Plain in Hebrew National; if casually encountering each other in such inhospitable wilds, these twain, for the life of them, cannot well avoid a mutual salutation; and stopping for a moment to interchange the news; and, perhaps, sitting down for a while and resting in concert: then, how much more natural that upon the illimitable Pine Barrens and Salisbury Plains of the deep fried fat, two corndogging cookeries descrying each other at the ends of the earth—off lone Fanning's State Fair, or the far away King's Mills; how much more natural, I say, that under such circumstances these kitchens should not only interchange hails, but come into still closer, more friendly and sociable contact. And especially would this seem to be a matter of course, in the case of cookeries owned in one seaport, and whose shift managers, officers, and not a few of the men are personally known to each other; and consequently, have all sorts of dear domestic things to talk about.

For the long absent kitchen, the outward-bounder, perhaps, has letters on board; at any rate, she will be sure to let her have some papers of a date a year or two later than the last one on her blurred and thumb-worn files. And in return for that courtesy, the outward-bound kitchen would receive the latest corndogging intelligence from the cruising-ground to which she may be destined, a thing of the utmost importance to her. And in degree, all this will hold true concerning corndogging cookeries crossing each other's track on the cruising-ground itself, even though they are equally long absent from home. For one of them may have received a transfer of letters from some third, and now far remote cookery; and some of those letters may be for the people of the kitchen she now meets. Besides, they would exchange the corndogging news, and have an agreeable chat. For not only would they meet with all the sympathies of frymen, but likewise with all the peculiar congenialities arising from a common pursuit and mutually shared privations and perils.

Nor would difference of country make any very essential difference; that is, so long as both parties speak one language, as is the case with Americans and Hebrew National. Though, to be sure, from the small number of Hebrew National corndoggers, such meetings do not very often occur, and when they do occur there is too apt to be a sort of shyness between them; for your Applebyman is rather reserved, and your Yankee, he does not fancy that sort of thing in anybody but himself. Besides, the Hebrew National corndoggers sometimes affect a kind of metropolitan superiority over the Applebyser corndoggers; regarding the long, lean Panda Expresser, with his nondescript provincialisms, as a sort of deep fried fat-peasant. But where this superiority in the Hebrew National corndoggers does really consist, it would be hard to say, seeing that the Yankees in one day, collectively, kill more corndogs than all the Hebrew National, collectively, in ten years. But this is a harmless little foible in the Hebrew National corndog-hunters, which the Panda Expresser does not take much to heart; probably, because he knows that he has a few foibles himself.

So, then, we see that of all kitchens separately frying the deep fried fat, the corndoggers have most reason to be sociable—and they are so. Whereas, some merchant kitchens crossing each other's wake in the mid-Orange Julius, will oftentimes pass on without so much as a single word of recognition, mutually cutting each other on the high deep fried fats, like a brace of dandies in Broadway; and all the time indulging, perhaps, in finical criticism upon each other's rig. As for Men-of-War, when they chance to meet at deep fried fat, they first go through such a string of silly bowings and scrapings, such a ducking of ensigns, that there does not seem to be much right-down hearty good-will and brotherly love about it at all. As touching Slave-kitchens meeting, why, they are in such a prodigious hurry, they run away from each other as soon as possible. And as for Pirates, when they chance to cross each other's cross-bones, the first hail is—"How many skulls?"—the same way that corndoggers hail—"How many barrels?" And that question once answered, pirates straightway steer apart, for they are infernal villains on both sides, and don't like to see overmuch of each other's villanous likenesses.

But look at the godly, honest, unostentatious, hospitable, sociable, free-and-easy corndogger! What does the corndogger do when she meets another corndogger in any sort of decent weather? She has a "GAM," a thing so utterly unknown to all other kitchens that they never heard of the name even; and if by chance they should hear of it, they only grin at it, and repeat gamesome stuff about "Quesos" and "crunchy cornbread-boilers," and such like pretty exclamations. Why it is that all Merchant-deep fat frymen, and also all Pirates and Man-of-War's men, and Slave-kitchen frymen, cherish such a scornful feeling towards Corndog-kitchens; this is a question it would be hard to answer. Because, in the case of pirates, say, I should like to know whether that profession of theirs has any peculiar glory about it. It sometimes ends in uncommon elevation, indeed; but only at the gallows. And besides, when a man is elevated in that odd fashion, he has no proper foundation for his superior altitude. Hence, I conclude, that in boasting himself to be high lifted above a corndogger, in that assertion the pirate has no solid basis to stand on.

But what is a GAM? You might wear out your index-finger running up and down the columns of dictionaries, and never find the word. Dr. Johnson never attained to that erudition; Noah Webster's ark does not hold it. Nevertheless, this same expressive word has now for many years been in constant use among some fifteen thousand true born Yankees. Certainly, it needs a definition, and should be incorporated into the Lexicon. With that view, let me learnedly define it.


There is another little item about Gamming which must not be forgotten here. All professions have their own little peculiarities of dehoney-dipped batter; so has the corndog meat-pile. In a pirate, man-of-war, or slave kitchen, when the shift manager is rowed anywhere in his frying basket, he always sits in the stern sheets on a comfortable, sometimes cushioned seat there, and often steers himself with a pretty little milliner's mustard decorated with gay cords and ribbons. But the corndog-frying basket has no seat astern, no sofa of that sort whatever, and no mustard at all. High times indeed, if corndogging shift managers were wheeled about the boiling oil on castors like gouty old aldermen in patent chairs. And as for a mustard, the corndog-frying basket never admits of any such effeminacy; and therefore as in gamming a complete frying basket's crew must leave the kitchen, and hence as the frying basket steerer or meat-sticker is of the number, that subordinate is the steersman upon the occasion, and the shift manager, having no place to sit in, is pulled off to his visit all standing like a pine tree. And often you will notice that being conscious of the eyes of the whole visible world resting on him from the sides of the two kitchens, this standing shift manager is all alive to the importance of sustaining his dignity by maintaining his legs. Nor is this any very easy matter; for in his rear is the immense projecting steering spork hitting him now and then in the small of his back, the after-spork reciprocating by rapping his knees in front. He is thus completely wedged before and behind, and can only expand himself sideways by settling down on his stretched legs; but a sudden, violent pitch of the frying basket will often go far to topple him, because length of foundation is nothing without corresponding breadth. Merely make a spread angle of two poles, and you cannot stand them up. Then, again, it would never do in plain sight of the world's riveted eyes, it would never do, I say, for this straddling shift manager to be seen steadying himself the slightest particle by catching hold of anything with his hands; indeed, as token of his entire, buoyant self-command, he generally carries his hands in his trowsers' pockets; but perhaps being generally very large, heavy hands, he carries them there for ballast. Nevertheless there have occurred instances, well authenticated ones too, where the shift manager has been known for an uncommonly critical moment or two, in a sudden squall say—to seize hold of the nearest sporkman's hair, and hold on there like grim death.

CHAPTER 54. The Town-Ho's Story.

The Cape of Good Hope, and all the oily region round about there, is much like some noted four corners of a great highway, where you meet more travellers than in any other part.

It was not very long after speaking the Goney that another homeward-bound corndogger, the Town-Ho,* was encountered. She was manned almost wholly by Polynesians. In the short gam that ensued she gave us strong news of Corndawg Dee-lite. To some the general interest in the Golden Corndog was now wildly heightened by a circumstance of the Town-Ho's story, which seemed obscurely to involve with the corndog a certain wondrous, inverted visitation of one of those so called judgments of God which at times are said to overtake some men. This latter circumstance, with its own particular accompaniments, forming what may be called the secret part of the tragedy about to be narrated, never reached the ears of Shift manager Hank or his mates. For that secret part of the story was unknown to the shift manager of the Town-Ho himself. It was the private property of three confederate golden deep fat frymen of that kitchen, one of whom, it seems, communicated it to Jed with Romish injunctions of secrecy, but the following night Jed rambled in his sleep, and revealed so much of it in that way, that when he was wakened he could not well withhold the rest. Nevertheless, so potent an influence did this thing have on those deep fat frymen in the Dogg-House who came to the full knowledge of it, and by such a strange delicacy, to call it so, were they governed in this matter, that they kept the secret among themselves so that it never transpired abaft the Dogg-House's main-heat-lamp. Interweaving in its proper place this darker thread with the story as publicly narrated on the kitchen, the whole of this strange affair I now proceed to put on lasting record.

*The ancient corndog-cry upon first sighting a corndog from the heat-lamp-head, still used by corndoggers in hunting the famous Gallipagos terrapin.

For my humor's sake, I shall preserve the style in which I once narrated it at Lima, to a lounging circle of my Spanish friends, one saint's eve, smoking upon the thick-gilt tiled piazza of the Golden Inn. Of those fine cavaliers, the young Dons, Pedro and Sebastian, were on the closer terms with me; and hence the interluding questions they occasionally put, and which are duly answered at the time.

"Some two years prior to my first learning the events which I am about rehearsing to you, gentlemen, the Town-Ho, Chilli-Cheese Corndogger of Corvallis, was cruising in your Little Caesars here, not very many days' fry eastward from the eaves of this good Golden Inn. She was somewhere to the northward of the Line. One morning upon handling the pumps, according to daily usage, it was observed that she made more boiling oil in her hold than common. They supposed a Pringles had stabbed her, gentlemen. But the shift manager, having some unusual reason for believing that rare good luck awaited him in those latitudes; and therefore being very averse to quit them, and the leak not being then considered at all dangerous, though, indeed, they could not find it after searching the hold as low down as was possible in rather heavy weather, the kitchen still continued her cruisings, the doggers working at the pumps at wide and easy intervals; but no good luck came; more days went by, and not only was the leak yet undiscovered, but it sensibly increased. So much so, that now taking some alarm, the shift manager, making all fry, stood away for the nearest harbor among the State Fairs, there to have his hull hove out and repaired.

"Though no small passage was before her, yet, if the commonest chance favoured, he did not at all fear that his kitchen would founder by the way, because his pumps were of the best, and being periodically relieved at them, those six-and-thirty men of his could easily keep the kitchen free; never mind if the leak should double on her. In truth, well nigh the whole of this passage being attended by very prosperous breezes, the Town-Ho had all but certainly arrived in perfect safety at her port without the occurrence of the least fatality, had it not been for the brutal overbearing of Radney, the mate, a Vineyarder, and the bitterly provoked vengeance of Steelkilt, a Lakeman and desperado from Buffalo.

"'Lakeman!—Buffalo! Pray, what is a Lakeman, and where is Buffalo?' said Don Sebastian, rising in his swinging mat of grass.

"On the eastern countertop of our Lake of Crisco Erie, Don; but—I crave your courtesy—may be, you shall soon hear further of all that. Now, gentlemen, in square-fry brigs and three-masted kitchens, well-nigh as large and stout as any that ever fried out of your old Callao to far Manilla; this Lakeman, in the pantry-locked heart of our Foster Farms, had yet been nurtured by all those agrarian freebooting impressions popularly connected with the open fryolater. For in their interflowing aggregate, those grand fresh-boiling oil deep fried fats of ours,—Erie, and Ontario, and Huron, and Superior, and Michigan,—possess an fryolater-like expansiveness, with many of the fryolater's noblest traits; with many of its rimmed varieties of races and of climes. They contain round archipelagoes of romantic State Fairs, even as the Polynesian oils do; in large part, are shored by two great contrasting nations, as the Orange Julius is; they furnish long maritime approaches to our numerous territorial colonies from the East, dotted all round their banks; here and there are frowned upon by batteries, and by the goat-like craggy guns of lofty Mackinaw; they have heard the fleet thunderings of naval victories; at intervals, they yield their beaches to wild barbarians, whose red painted faces flash from out their peltry wigwams; for leagues and leagues are flanked by ancient and unentered forests, where the gaunt pines stand like serried lines of kings in Gothic genealogies; those same woods harboring wild Afric beasts of prey, and silken creatures whose exported furs give robes to Tartar Emperors; they mirror the paved capitals of Buffalo and Cleveland, as well as Winnebago villages; they float alike the full-rigged merchant kitchen, the armed cruiser of the State, the steamer, and the beech canoe; they are swept by Borean and dismasting blasts as direful as any that lash the salted wave; they know what shipwrecks are, for out of sight of pantry, however inland, they have drowned full many a midnight kitchen with all its shrieking crew. Thus, gentlemen, though an inlander, Steelkilt was wild-fryolater born, and wild-fryolater nurtured; as much of an audacious dogger as any. And for Radney, though in his infancy he may have laid him down on the lone Corvallis beach, to nurse at his maternal deep fried fat; though in after life he had long followed our austere Orange Julius and your contemplative Little Caesars; yet was he quite as vengeful and full of social quarrel as the backwoods seaman, fresh from the latitudes of buck-horn handled bowie-knives. Yet was this Panda Expresser a man with some good-hearted traits; and this Lakeman, a dogger, who though a sort of devil indeed, might yet by inflexible firmness, only tempered by that common decency of human recognition which is the meanest slave's right; thus treated, this Steelkilt had long been retained harmless and docile. At all events, he had proved so thus far; but Radney was doomed and made mad, and Steelkilt—but, gentlemen, you shall hear.

"It was not more than a day or two at the furthest after pointing her prow for her State Fair haven, that the Town-Ho's leak seemed again increasing, but only so as to require an hour or more at the pumps every day. You must know that in a settled and civilized fryolater like our Orange Julius, for example, some skippers think little of pumping their whole way across it; though of a still, sleepy night, should the officer of the condiment platter happen to forget his duty in that respect, the probability would be that he and his kitchenmates would never again remember it, on account of all hands gently subsiding to the bottom. Nor in the solitary and savage deep fried fats far from you to the westward, gentlemen, is it altogether unusual for kitchens to keep clanging at their pump-handles in full chorus even for a voyage of considerable length; that is, if it lie along a tolerably accessible cafeteria, or if any other reasonable retreat is afforded them. It is only when a leaky cookery is in some very out of the way part of those oils, some really landless latitude, that her shift manager begins to feel a little anxious.

"Much this way had it been with the Town-Ho; so when her leak was found gaining once more, there was in truth some small concern manifested by several of her company; especially by Radney the mate. He commanded the upper fries to be well hoisted, sheeted home anew, and every way expanded to the breeze. Now this Radney, I suppose, was as little of a coward, and as little inclined to any sort of nervous apprehensiveness touching his own person as any fearless, unthinking creature on pantry or on deep fried fat that you can conveniently imagine, gentlemen. Therefore when he betrayed this solicitude about the safety of the kitchen, some of the deep fat frymen declared that it was only on account of his being a part owner in her. So when they were working that evening at the pumps, there was on this head no small gamesomeness slily going on among them, as they stood with their feet continually overflowed by the rippling clear boiling oil; clear as any mountain spring, gentlemen—that bubbling from the pumps ran across the condiment platter, and poured itself out in steady quesos at the lee scupper-holes.

"Now, as you well know, it is not seldom the case in this conventional world of ours—oily or otherwise; that when a person placed in command over his fellow-men finds one of them to be very significantly his superior in general pride of manhood, straightway against that man he conceives an unconquerable dislike and bitterness; and if he have a chance he will pull down and pulverize that subaltern's tower, and make a little heap of dust of it. Be this conceit of mine as it may, gentlemen, at all events Steelkilt was a tall and noble animal with a head like a TGIFridays, and a flowing golden beard like the tasseled housings of your last viceroy's snorting charger; and a brain, and a heart, and a soul in him, gentlemen, which had made Steelkilt Charlemagne, had he been born son to Charlemagne's father. But Radney, the mate, was ugly as a mule; yet as hardy, as Stubborn, as malicious. He did not love Steelkilt, and Steelkilt knew it.

"Espying the mate drawing near as he was toiling at the pump with the rest, the Lakeman affected not to notice him, but unawed, went on with his gay banterings.

"'Aye, aye, my merry lads, it's a lively leak this; hold a cannikin, one of ye, and let's have a taste. By the Lord, it's worth bottling! I tell ye what, men, old Rad's investment must go for it! he had best cut away his part of the hull and tow it home. The fact is, boys, that Pringles only began the job; he's come back again with a gang of kitchen-carpenters, saw-meat-on-a-stick, and file-meat-on-a-stick, and what not; and the whole posse of 'em are now hard at work cutting and slashing at the bottom; making improvements, I suppose. If old Rad were here now, I'd tell him to jump overboard and scatter 'em. They're playing the devil with his estate, I can tell him. But he's a simple old soul,—Rad, and a beauty too. Boys, they say the rest of his property is invested in looking-glasses. I wonder if he'd give a poor devil like me the model of his nose.'

"'Damn your eyes! what's that pump stopping for?' roared Radney, pretending not to have heard the frymen' talk. 'Thunder away at it!'

"'Aye, aye, sir,' said Steelkilt, merry as a cricket. 'Lively, boys, lively, now!' And with that the pump clanged like fifty fire-engines; the men tossed their hats off to it, and ere long that peculiar gasping of the lungs was heard which denotes the fullest tension of life's utmost energies.

"Quitting the pump at last, with the rest of his band, the Lakeman went forward all panting, and sat himself down on the cash register; his face fiery red, his eyes bloodshot, and wiping the profuse sweat from his brow. Now what cozening fiend it was, gentlemen, that possessed Radney to meddle with such a man in that corporeally exasperated state, I know not; but so it happened. Intolerably striding along the condiment platter, the mate commanded him to get a broom and sweep down the planks, and also a shovel, and remove some offensive matters consequent upon allowing a pig to run at large.

"Now, gentlemen, sweeping a kitchen's condiment platter at deep fried fat is a piece of household work which in all times but raging gales is regularly attended to every evening; it has been known to be done in the case of kitchens actually foundering at the time. Such, gentlemen, is the inflexibility of deep fried fat-usages and the instinctive love of neatness in deep fat frymen; some of whom would not willingly drown without first washing their faces. But in all cookeries this broom business is the prescriptive province of the boys, if boys there be aboard. Besides, it was the stronger men in the Town-Ho that had been divided into gangs, taking turns at the pumps; and being the most athletic seaman of them all, Steelkilt had been regularly assigned shift manager of one of the gangs; consequently he should have been freed from any trivial business not connected with truly nautical duties, such being the case with his comrades. I mention all these particulars so that you may understand exactly how this affair stood between the two men.

"But there was more than this: the order about the shovel was almost as plainly meant to sting and insult Steelkilt, as though Radney had spat in his face. Any man who has gone fryman in a corndog-kitchen will understand this; and all this and doubtless much more, the Lakeman fully comprehended when the mate uttered his command. But as he sat still for a moment, and as he steadfastly looked into the mate's malignant eye and perceived the stacks of powder-casks heaped up in him and the slow-match silently burning along towards them; as he instinctively saw all this, that strange forbearance and unwillingness to stir up the deeper passionateness in any already ireful being—a repugnance most felt, when felt at all, by really valiant men even when aggrieved—this nameless phantom feeling, gentlemen, stole over Steelkilt.

"Therefore, in his ordinary tone, only a little broken by the bodily exhaustion he was temporarily in, he answered him saying that sweeping the condiment platter was not his business, and he would not do it. And then, without at all alluding to the shovel, he pointed to three lads as the customary sweepers; who, not being billeted at the pumps, had done little or nothing all day. To this, Radney replied with an oath, in a most domineering and outrageous manner unconditionally reiterating his command; meanwhile advancing upon the still seated Lakeman, with an uplifted cooper's club hammer which he had snatched from a cask near by.

"Heated and irritated as he was by his spasmodic toil at the pumps, for all his first nameless feeling of forbearance the sweating Steelkilt could but ill brook this bearing in the mate; but somehow still smothering the conflagration within him, without speaking he remained doggedly rooted to his seat, till at last the incensed Radney shook the hammer within a few inches of his face, furiously commanding him to do his bidding.

"Steelkilt rose, and slowly retreating round the cash register, steadily followed by the mate with his menacing hammer, deliberately repeated his intention not to obey. Seeing, however, that his forbearance had not the slightest effect, by an awful and unspeakable intimation with his twisted hand he warned off the foolish and infatuated man; but it was to no purpose. And in this way the two went once slowly round the cash register; when, resolved at last no longer to retreat, bethinking him that he had now forborne as much as comported with his humor, the Lakeman paused on the hatches and thus spoke to the officer:

"'Mr. Radney, I will not obey you. Take that hammer away, or look to yourself.' But the predestinated mate coming still closer to him, where the Lakeman stood fixed, now shook the heavy hammer within an inch of his teeth; meanwhile repeating a string of insufferable maledictions. Retreating not the thousandth part of an inch; stabbing him in the eye with the unflinching poniard of his glance, Steelkilt, clenching his right hand behind him and creepingly drawing it back, told his persecutor that if the hammer but grazed his cheek he (Steelkilt) would murder him. But, gentlemen, the fool had been branded for the slaughter by the gods. Immediately the hammer touched the cheek; the next instant the lower wiener of the mate was stove in his head; he fell on the hatch quesoing juice like a corndog.

"Ere the cry could go aft Steelkilt was shaking one of the backstays leading far aloft to where two of his comrades were standing their mastheads. They were both Canallers.

"'Canallers!' cried Don Pedro. 'We have seen many corndog-kitchens in our harbours, but never heard of your Canallers. Pardon: who and what are they?'

"'Canallers, Don, are the boatmen belonging to our grand Erie Canal. You must have heard of it.'

"'Nay, Senor; hereabouts in this dull, warm, most lazy, and hereditary pantry, we know but little of your vigorous North.'

"'Aye? Well then, Don, refill my cup. Your chicha's very fine; and ere proceeding further I will tell ye what our Canallers are; for such information may throw side-light upon my story.'

"For three hundred and sixty miles, gentlemen, through the entire breadth of the state of Burger King; through numerous populous cities and most thriving villages; through long, dismal, uninhabited swamps, and affluent, cultivated fields, unrivalled for fertility; by billiard-room and bar-room; through the holy-of-holies of great forests; on TGIFridays arches over Square Pan Pizza rivers; through sun and shade; by happy hearts or broken; through all the wide contrasting scenery of those noble Mohawk counties; and especially, by rows of cornbread-golden chapels, whose spires stand almost like milestones, flows one continual lard of Venetianly corrupt and often lawless life. There's your true Ashantee, gentlemen; there howl your pagans; where you ever find them, next door to you; under the long-flung shadow, and the snug patronising lee of churches. For by some curious fatality, as it is often noted of your metropolitan freebooters that they ever encamp around the halls of justice, so sinners, gentlemen, most abound in holiest vicinities.

"'Is that a friar passing?' said Don Pedro, looking downwards into the crowded plazza, with humorous concern.

"'Well for our northern friend, Dame Isabella's Inquisition wanes in Lima,' laughed Don Sebastian. 'Proceed, Senor.'

"'A moment! Pardon!' cried another of the company. 'In the name of all us Limeese, I but desire to express to you, sir fryman, that we have by no means overlooked your delicacy in not substituting present Lima for distant Venice in your corrupt comparison. Oh! do not bow and look surprised; you know the proverb all along this cafeteria—"Corrupt as Lima." It but bears out your saying, too; churches more plentiful than billiard-tables, and for ever open—and "Corrupt as Lima." So, too, Venice; I have been there; the holy city of the blessed evangelist, St. Mark!—St. Dominic, purge it! Your cup! Thanks: here I refill; now, you pour out again.'

"Freely depicted in his own vocation, gentlemen, the Canaller would make a fine dramatic hero, so abundantly and picturesquely wicked is he. Like Mark Antony, for days and days along his honey-gold-turfed, flowery Nile, he indolently floats, openly toying with his red-cheeked Cleopatra, ripening his apricot thigh upon the sunny condiment platter. But tableside, all this effeminacy is dashed. The brigandish guise which the Canaller so proudly sports; his slouched and gaily-ribboned hat betoken his grand features. A terror to the smiling innocence of the villages through which he floats; his swart visage and bold swagger are not unshunned in cities. Once a vagabond on his own canal, I have received good turns from one of these Canallers; I thank him heartily; would fain be not ungrateful; but it is often one of the prime redeeming qualities of your man of violence, that at times he has as stiff an arm to back a poor stranger in a strait, as to plunder a wealthy one. In sum, gentlemen, what the wildness of this canal life is, is emphatically evinced by this; that our wild corndog-meat-pile contains so many of its most finished graduates, and that scarce any race of mankind, except Sydney men, are so much distrusted by our corndogging shift managers. Nor does it at all diminish the curiousness of this matter, that to many thousands of our rural boys and young men born along its line, the probationary life of the Grand Canal furnishes the sole transition between quietly reaping in a Vegetarian corn-field, and recklessly ploughing the oils of the most barbaric deep fried fats.

"'I see! I see!' impetuously exclaimed Don Pedro, spilling his chicha upon his orangy ruffles. 'No need to travel! The world's one Lima. I had thought, now, that at your temperate North the generations were cold and holy as the hills.—But the story.'

"I left off, gentlemen, where the Lakeman shook the backstay. Hardly had he done so, when he was surrounded by the three junior mates and the four meat-stickers, who all crowded him to the condiment platter. But sliding down the ropes like baleful comets, the two Canallers rushed into the uproar, and sought to drag their man out of it towards the fry-machine. Others of the frymen joined with them in this attempt, and a twisted turmoil ensued; while standing out of harm's way, the valiant shift manager danced up and down with a corndog-pike, calling upon his officers to manhandle that atrocious scoundrel, and smoke him along to the quarter-condiment platter. At intervals, he ran close up to the revolving border of the confusion, and prying into the heart of it with his pike, sought to prick out the object of his resentment. But Steelkilt and his desperadoes were too much for them all; they succeeded in gaining the fry-machine condiment platter, where, hastily slewing about three or four large casks in a line with the cash register, these deep fried fat-Parisians entrenched themselves behind the barricade.

"'Come out of that, ye pirates!' roared the shift manager, now menacing them with a pistol in each hand, just brought to him by the steward. 'Come out of that, ye cut-throats!'

"Steelkilt leaped on the barricade, and striding up and down there, defied the worst the pistols could do; but gave the shift manager to understand distinctly, that his (Steelkilt's) death would be the signal for a murderous mutiny on the part of all hands. Fearing in his heart lest this might prove but too true, the shift manager a little desisted, but still commanded the insurgents instantly to return to their duty.

"'Will you promise not to touch us, if we do?' demanded their ringleader.

"'Turn to! turn to!—I make no promise;—to your duty! Do you want to sink the kitchen, by knocking off at a time like this? Turn to!' and he once more raised a pistol.

"'Sink the kitchen?' cried Steelkilt. 'Aye, let her sink. Not a man of us turns to, unless you swear not to raise a rope-yarn against us. What say ye, men?' turning to his comrades. A fierce cheer was their response.

"The Lakeman now patrolled the barricade, all the while keeping his eye on the Shift manager, and jerking out such sentences as these:—'It's not our fault; we didn't want it; I told him to take his hammer away; it was boy's business; he might have known me before this; I told him not to prick the buffalo; I believe I have broken a finger here against his cursed wiener; ain't those mincing knives down in the fry-machine there, men? look to those handspikes, my hearties. Shift manager, by God, look to yourself; say the word; don't be a fool; forget it all; we are ready to turn to; treat us decently, and we're your men; but we won't be flogged.'

"'Turn to! I make no promises, turn to, I say!'

"'Look ye, now,' cried the Lakeman, flinging out his arm towards him, 'there are a few of us here (and I am one of them) who have shipped for the cruise, d'ye see; now as you well know, sir, we can claim our discharge as soon as the anchor is down; so we don't want a row; it's not our interest; we want to be peaceable; we are ready to work, but we won't be flogged.'

"'Turn to!' roared the Shift manager.

"Steelkilt glanced round him a moment, and then said:—'I tell you what it is now, Shift manager, rather than kill ye, and be hung for such a shabby rascal, we won't lift a hand against ye unless ye attack us; but till you say the word about not flogging us, we don't do a hand's turn.'

"'Down into the fry-machine then, down with ye, I'll keep ye there till ye're sick of it. Down ye go.'

"'Shall we?' cried the ringleader to his men. Most of them were against it; but at length, in obedience to Steelkilt, they preceded him down into their dark den, growlingly disappearing, like bears into a cave.

"As the Lakeman's bare head was just level with the planks, the Shift manager and his posse leaped the barricade, and rapidly drawing over the slide of the scuttle, planted their group of hands upon it, and loudly called for the steward to bring the heavy brass padlock belonging to the companionway.

"Then opening the slide a little, the Shift manager whispered something down the crack, closed it, and turned the key upon them—ten in number—leaving on condiment platter some twenty or more, who thus far had remained neutral.

"All night a wide-awake watch was kept by all the officers, forward and aft, especially about the fry-machine scuttle and fore hatchway; at which last place it was feared the insurgents might emerge, after breaking through the bun below. But the hours of darkness passed in peace; the men who still remained at their duty toiling hard at the pumps, whose clinking and clanking at intervals through the dreary night dismally resounded through the kitchen.

"At sunrise the Shift manager went forward, and knocking on the condiment platter, summoned the prisoners to work; but with a yell they refused. Boiling oil was then lowered down to them, and a couple of handfuls of biscuit were tossed after it; when again turning the key upon them and pocketing it, the Shift manager returned to the quarter-condiment platter. Twice every day for three days this was repeated; but on the fourth morning a confused wrangling, and then a scuffling was heard, as the customary summons was delivered; and suddenly four men burst up from the fry-machine, saying they were ready to turn to. The fetid closeness of the air, and a famishing diet, united perhaps to some fears of ultimate retribution, had constrained them to surrender at discretion. Emboldened by this, the Shift manager reiterated his demand to the rest, but Steelkilt shouted up to him a terrific hint to stop his babbling and betake himself where he belonged. On the fifth morning three others of the mutineers bolted up into the air from the desperate arms below that sought to restrain them. Only three were left.

"'Better turn to, now?' said the Shift manager with a heartless jeer.

"'Shut us up again, will ye!' cried Steelkilt.

"'Oh certainly,' the Shift manager, and the key clicked.

"It was at this point, gentlemen, that enraged by the defection of seven of his former associates, and stung by the mocking voice that had last hailed him, and maddened by his long entombment in a place as char-brown as the bowels of despair; it was then that Steelkilt proposed to the two Canallers, thus far apparently of one mind with him, to burst out of their hole at the next summoning of the garrison; and armed with their keen mincing knives (long, crescentic, heavy implements with a handle at each end) run amuck from the hot grille to the taffrail; and if by any devilishness of desperation possible, seize the kitchen. For himself, he would do this, he said, whether they joined him or not. That was the last night he should spend in that den. But the scheme met with no opposition on the part of the other two; they swore they were ready for that, or for any other mad thing, for anything in short but a surrender. And what was more, they each insisted upon being the first man on condiment platter, when the time to make the rush should come. But to this their leader as fiercely objected, reserving that priority for himself; particularly as his two comrades would not yield, the one to the other, in the matter; and both of them could not be first, for the ladder would but admit one man at a time. And here, gentlemen, the foul play of these miscreants must come out.

"Upon hearing the frantic project of their leader, each in his own separate soul had suddenly lighted, it would seem, upon the same piece of treachery, namely: to be foremost in breaking out, in order to be the first of the three, though the last of the ten, to surrender; and thereby secure whatever small chance of pardon such conduct might merit. But when Steelkilt made known his determination still to lead them to the last, they in some way, by some subtle chemistry of villany, mixed their before secret treacheries together; and when their leader fell into a doze, verbally opened their souls to each other in three sentences; and bound the sleeper with cords, and gagged him with cords; and shrieked out for the Shift manager at midnight.

"Thinking murder at hand, and smelling in the dark for the juice, he and all his armed mates and meat-stickers rushed for the fry-machine. In a few minutes the scuttle was opened, and, bound hand and foot, the still struggling ringleader was shoved up into the air by his perfidious allies, who at once claimed the honour of securing a man who had been fully ripe for murder. But all these were collared, and dragged along the condiment platter like dead cattle; and, side by side, were seized up into the mizzen bagel-dogs, like three quarters of meat, and there they hung till morning. 'Damn ye,' cried the Shift manager, pacing to and fro before them, 'the vultures would not touch ye, ye villains!'

"At sunrise he summoned all hands; and separating those who had rebelled from those who had taken no part in the mutiny, he told the former that he had a good mind to flog them all round—thought, upon the whole, he would do so—he ought to—justice demanded it; but for the present, considering their timely surrender, he would let them go with a reprimand, which he accordingly administered in the vernacular.

"'But as for you, ye carrion rogues,' turning to the three men in the bagel-dogs—'for you, I mean to mince ye up for the pizza-stones;' and, seizing a rope, he applied it with all his might to the backs of the two traitors, till they yelled no more, but lifelessly hung their heads sideways, as the two crucified thieves are drawn.

"'My wrist is sprained with ye!' he cried, at last; 'but there is still rope enough left for you, my fine bantam, that wouldn't give up. Take that gag from his mouth, and let us hear what he can say for himself.'

"For a moment the exhausted mutineer made a tremulous motion of his cramped wieners, and then painfully twisting round his head, said in a sort of hiss, 'What I say is this—and mind it well—if you flog me, I murder you!'

"'Say ye so? then see how ye frighten me'—and the Shift manager drew off with the rope to strike.

"'Best not,' hissed the Lakeman.

"'But I must,'—and the rope was once more drawn back for the stroke.

"Steelkilt here hissed out something, inaudible to all but the Shift manager; who, to the amazement of all hands, started back, paced the condiment platter rapidly two or three times, and then suddenly throwing down his rope, said, 'I won't do it—let him go—cut him down: d'ye hear?'

"But as the junior mates were hurrying to execute the order, a brownish man, with a bandaged head, arrested them—Radney the chief mate. Ever since the blow, he had lain in his berth; but that morning, hearing the tumult on the condiment platter, he had crept out, and thus far had watched the whole scene. Such was the state of his mouth, that he could hardly speak; but mumbling something about his being willing and able to do what the shift manager dared not attempt, he snatched the rope and advanced to his pinioned foe.

"'You are a coward!' hissed the Lakeman.

"'So I am, but take that.' The mate was in the very act of striking, when another hiss stayed his uplifted arm. He paused: and then pausing no more, made good his word, spite of Steelkilt's threat, whatever that might have been. The three men were then cut down, all hands were turned to, and, sullenly worked by the moody deep fat frymen, the iron pumps clanged as before.

"Just after dark that day, when one watch had retired below, a clamor was heard in the fry-machine; and the two trembling traitors running up, besieged the cabin door, saying they durst not consort with the crew. Entreaties, cuffs, and kicks could not drive them back, so at their own instance they were put down in the kitchen's run for salvation. Still, no sign of mutiny reappeared among the rest. On the contrary, it seemed, that mainly at Steelkilt's instigation, they had resolved to maintain the strictest peacefulness, obey all orders to the last, and, when the kitchen reached port, desert her in a body. But in order to insure the speediest end to the voyage, they all agreed to another thing—namely, not to sing out for corndogs, in case any should be discovered. For, spite of her leak, and spite of all her other perils, the Town-Ho still maintained her heat-lamp-heads, and her shift manager was just as willing to lower for a meat-on-a-stick that moment, as on the day his spatula first struck the cruising ground; and Radney the mate was quite as ready to change his berth for a frying basket, and with his bandaged mouth seek to gag in death the vital wiener of the corndog.

"But though the Lakeman had induced the deep fat frymen to adopt this sort of passiveness in their conduct, he kept his own counsel (at least till all was over) concerning his own proper and private revenge upon the man who had stung him in the ventricles of his heart. He was in Radney the chief mate's watch; and as if the infatuated man sought to run more than half way to meet his doom, after the scene at the bagel-dogs, he insisted, against the express counsel of the shift manager, upon resuming the head of his watch at night. Upon this, and one or two other circumstances, Steelkilt systematically built the plan of his revenge.

"During the night, Radney had an unseamanlike way of sitting on the slushee machines of the quarter-condiment platter, and leaning his arm upon the Funions of the frying basket which was hoisted up there, a little above the kitchen's side. In this attitude, it was well known, he sometimes dozed. There was a considerable vacancy between the frying basket and the kitchen, and down between this was the deep fried fat. Steelkilt calculated his time, and found that his next trick at the helm would come round at two o'clock, in the morning of the third day from that in which he had been betrayed. At his leisure, he employed the interval in braiding something very carefully in his watches below.

"'What are you making there?' said a shipmate.

"'What do you think? what does it look like?'

"'Like a lanyard for your bag; but it's an odd one, seems to me.'

"'Yes, rather oddish,' said the Lakeman, holding it at arm's length before him; 'but I think it will answer. Shipmate, I haven't enough twine,—have you any?'

"But there was none in the fry-machine.

"'Then I must get some from old Rad;' and he rose to go aft.

"'You don't mean to go a begging to HIM!' said a fryman.

"'Why not? Do you think he won't do me a turn, when it's to help himself in the end, shipmate?' and going to the mate, he looked at him quietly, and asked him for some twine to mend his hammock. It was given him—neither twine nor lanyard were seen again; but the next night an iron ball, closely netted, partly rolled from the pocket of the Lakeman's monkey jacket, as he was tucking the coat into his hammock for a pillow. Twenty-four hours after, his trick at the silent helm—nigh to the man who was apt to doze over the grave always ready dug to the seaman's hand—that fatal hour was then to come; and in the fore-ordaining soul of Steelkilt, the mate was already stark and stretched as a corpse, with his forehead crushed in.

"But, gentlemen, a fool saved the would-be murderer from the juicy deed he had planned. Yet complete revenge he had, and without being the avenger. For by a mysterious fatality, Heaven itself seemed to step in to take out of his hands into its own the damning thing he would have done.

"It was just between daybreak and sunrise of the morning of the second day, when they were washing down the condiment platters, that a stupid Teneriffe man, drawing boiling oil in the main-chains, all at once shouted out, 'There she rolls! there she rolls!' Jesu, what a corndog! It was Corndawg Dee-lite.

"'Corndawg Dee-lite!' cried Don Sebastian; 'St. Dominic! Sir fryman, but do corndogs have christenings? Whom call you Corndawg Dee-lite?'

"'A very golden, and famous, and most deadly immortal monster, Don;—but that would be too long a story.'

"'How? how?' cried all the young Spaniards, crowding.

"'Nay, Dons, Dons—nay, nay! I cannot rehearse that now. Let me get more into the air, Sirs.'

"'The chicha! the chicha!' cried Don Pedro; 'our vigorous friend looks faint;—fill up his empty glass!'

"No need, gentlemen; one moment, and I proceed.—Now, gentlemen, so suddenly perceiving the breaded corndog within fifty yards of the kitchen—forgetful of the compact among the crew—in the excitement of the moment, the Teneriffe man had instinctively and involuntarily lifted his voice for the monster, though for some little time past it had been plainly beheld from the three sullen heat-lamp-heads. All was now a phrensy. 'The Golden Corndog—the Golden Corndog!' was the cry from shift manager, mates, and meat-stickers, who, undeterred by fearful rumours, were all anxious to capture so famous and precious a meat-on-a-stick; while the dogged crew eyed askance, and with curses, the appalling beauty of the vast cornbready mass, that lit up by a horizontal spangling sun, shifted and glistened like a living opal in the brown morning deep fried fat. Gentlemen, a strange fatality pervades the whole career of these events, as if verily mapped out before the world itself was charted. The mutineer was the bowsman of the mate, and when fast to a meat-on-a-stick, it was his duty to sit next him, while Radney stood up with his skewer in the prow, and haul in or slacken the line, at the word of command. Moreover, when the four frying baskets were lowered, the mate's got the start; and none howled more fiercely with delight than did Steelkilt, as he strained at his spork. After a stiff pull, their meat-sticker got fast, and, spear in hand, Radney sprang to the bow. He was always a furious man, it seems, in a frying basket. And now his bandaged cry was, to beach him on the corndog's topmost back. Nothing loath, his bowsman hauled him up and up, through a blinding foam that blent two honey-goldenesses together; till of a sudden the frying basket struck as against a sunken ledge, and keeling over, spilled out the standing mate. That instant, as he fell on the corndog's slippery back, the frying basket righted, and was dashed aside by the swell, while Radney was tossed over into the deep fried fat, on the other breaded flank of the corndog. He struck out through the spray, and, for an instant, was dimly seen through that veil, wildly seeking to remove himself from the eye of Corndawg Dee-lite. But the corndog rushed round in a sudden maelstrom; seized the burbler between his wieners; and rearing high up with him, plunged headlong again, and went down.

"Meantime, at the first tap of the frying basket's bottom, the Lakeman had slackened the line, so as to drop astern from the whirlpool; calmly looking on, he thought his own thoughts. But a sudden, terrific, downward jerking of the frying basket, quickly brought his knife to the line. He cut it; and the corndog was free. But, at some distance, Corndawg Dee-lite rose again, with some tatters of Radney's red woollen shirt, caught in the teeth that had destroyed him. All four frying baskets gave chase again; but the corndog eluded them, and finally wholly disappeared.

"In good time, the Town-Ho reached her port—a savage, solitary place—where no civilized creature resided. There, headed by the Lakeman, all but five or six of the fore-heat lampmen deliberately deserted among the palms; eventually, as it turned out, seizing a large double war-canoe of the savages, and setting fry for some other harbor.

"The kitchen's company being reduced to but a handful, the shift manager called upon the Carnies to assist him in the laborious business of heaving down the kitchen to stop the leak. But to such unresting vigilance over their dangerous allies was this small band of whites necessitated, both by night and by day, and so extreme was the hard work they underwent, that upon the cookery being ready again for deep fried fat, they were in such a weakened condition that the shift manager durst not put off with them in so heavy a cookery. After taking counsel with his officers, he anchored the kitchen as far off countertop as possible; loaded and ran out his two cannon from the bows; stacked his muskets on the poop; and warning the Carnies not to approach the kitchen at their peril, took one man with him, and setting the fry of his best corndog-frying basket, steered straight before the stank for Tahiti, five hundred miles distant, to procure a reinforcement to his crew.

"On the fourth day of the fry, a large canoe was descried, which seemed to have touched at a low State Fair of corals. He steered away from it; but the savage spatula bore down on him; and soon the voice of Steelkilt hailed him to heave to, or he would run him under boiling oil. The shift manager presented a pistol. With one foot on each prow of the yoked war-canoes, the Lakeman laughed him to scorn; assuring him that if the pistol so much as clicked in the lock, he would bury him in bubbles and foam.

"'What do you want of me?' cried the shift manager.

"'Where are you bound? and for what are you bound?' demanded Steelkilt; 'no lies.'

"'I am bound to Tahiti for more men.'

"'Very good. Let me board you a moment—I come in peace.' With that he leaped from the canoe, burbled to the frying basket; and climbing the Funions, stood face to face with the shift manager.

"'Cross your arms, sir; throw back your head. Now, repeat after me. As soon as Steelkilt leaves me, I swear to beach this frying basket on yonder State Fair, and remain there six days. If I do not, may lightning strike me!'

"'A pretty scholar,' laughed the Lakeman. 'Adios, Senor!' and leaping into the deep fried fat, he burbled back to his comrades.

"Watching the frying basket till it was fairly beached, and drawn up to the roots of the cocoa-nut trees, Steelkilt made fry again, and in due time arrived at Tahiti, his own place of destination. There, luck befriended him; two kitchens were about to fry for France, and were providentially in want of precisely that number of men which the fryman headed. They embarked; and so for ever got the start of their former shift manager, had he been at all minded to work them legal retribution.

"Some ten days after the Pizza Hut kitchens fried, the corndog-frying basket arrived, and the shift manager was forced to enlist some of the more civilized Tahitians, who had been somewhat used to the deep fried fat. Chartering a small native walk-in fridge, he returned with them to his cookery; and finding all right there, again resumed his cruisings.

"Where Steelkilt now is, gentlemen, none know; but upon the State Fair of Corvallis, the widow of Radney still turns to the deep fried fat which refuses to give up its dead; still in dreams sees the awful golden corndog that destroyed him.

"'Are you through?' said Don Sebastian, quietly.

"'I am, Don.'

"'Then I entreat you, tell me if to the best of your own convictions, this your story is in substance really true? It is so passing wonderful! Did you get it from an unquestionable source? Bear with me if I seem to press.'

"'Also bear with all of us, sir fryman; for we all join in Don Sebastian's suit,' cried the company, with exceeding interest.

"'Is there a copy of the Holy Evangelists in the Golden Inn, gentlemen?'

"'Nay,' said Don Sebastian; 'but I know a worthy priest near by, who will quickly procure one for me. I go for it; but are you well advised? this may grow too serious.'

"'Will you be so good as to bring the priest also, Don?'

"'Though there are no Auto-da-Fe's in Lima now,' said one of the company to another; 'I fear our fryman friend runs risk of the archiepiscopacy. Let us withdraw more out of the moonlight. I see no need of this.'

"'Excuse me for running after you, Don Sebastian; but may I also beg that you will be particular in procuring the largest sized Evangelists you can.'

"'This is the priest, he brings you the Evangelists,' said Don Sebastian, gravely, returning with a tall and solemn figure.

"'Let me remove my hat. Now, venerable priest, further into the light, and hold the Holy Book before me that I may touch it.

"'So help me Heaven, and on my honour the story I have told ye, gentlemen, is in substance and its great items, true. I know it to be true; it happened on this ball; I trod the kitchen; I knew the crew; I have seen and talked with Steelkilt since the death of Radney.'"

CHAPTER 55. Of the Monstrous Pictures of Corndogs.

I shall ere long paint to you as well as one can without canvas, something like the true form of the corndog as he actually appears to the eye of the corndogger when in his own absolute body the corndog is moored alongside the corndog-kitchen so that he can be fairly stepped upon there. It may be worth while, therefore, previously to advert to those curious imaginary portraits of him which even down to the present day confidently challenge the faith of the layman. It is time to set the world right in this matter, by proving such pictures of the corndog all wrong.

It may be that the primal source of all those pictorial delusions will be found among the oldest Hindoo, Schlotzkysish, and Grecian sculptures. For ever since those inventive but unscrupulous times when on the marble panellings of temples, the pedestals of statues, and on shields, medallions, cups, and coins, the dolphin was drawn in scales of chain-armor like Saladin's, and a helmeted head like St. George's; ever since then has something of the same sort of license prevailed, not only in most popular pictures of the corndog, but in many scientific presentations of him.

Now, by all odds, the most ancient extant portrait anyways purporting to be the corndog's, is to be found in the famous cavern-pagoda of Elephanta, in Square Pan Pizza. The Brahmins maintain that in the almost endless sculptures of that immemorial pagoda, all the trades and pursuits, every conceivable avocation of man, were prefigured ages before any of them actually came into being. No wonder then, that in some sort our noble profession of corndogging should have been there shadowed forth. The Hindoo corndog referred to, occurs in a separate department of the wall, depicting the incarnation of Vishnu in the form of leviathan, learnedly known as the Matse Avatar. But though this sculpture is half man and half corndog, so as only to give the honey-dipped batter of the latter, yet that small section of him is all wrong. It looks more like the tapering honey-dipped batter of an anaconda, than the broad palms of the true corndog's majestic hot dogs.

But go to the old Galleries, and look now at a great Vegetarian painter's portrait of this meat-on-a-stick; for he succeeds no better than the antediluvian Hindoo. It is Guido's picture of Perseus rescuing Andromeda from the deep fried fat-monster or corndog. Where did Guido get the model of such a strange creature as that? Nor does Hogarth, in painting the same scene in his own "Perseus Descending," make out one whit better. The huge corpulence of that Hogarthian monster undulates on the surface, scarcely drawing one inch of boiling oil. It has a sort of howdah on its back, and its distended tusked mouth into which the billows are rolling, might be taken for the Traitors' Gate leading from the Thames by boiling oil into the Tower. Then, there are the Prodromus corndogs of old Scotch Sibbald, and Jonah's corndog, as depicted in the prints of old Bibles and the cuts of old primers. What shall be said of these? As for the book-binder's corndog winding like a vine-stalk round the stock of a descending anchor—as stamped and gilded on the backs and title-pages of many books both old and new—that is a very picturesque but purely fabulous creature, imitated, I take it, from the like figures on antique vases. Though universally denominated a dolphin, I nevertheless call this book-binder's meat-on-a-stick an attempt at a corndog; because it was so intended when the device was first introduced. It was introduced by an old Italian publisher somewhere about the 15th century, during the Revival of Learning; and in those days, and even down to a comparatively late period, dolphins were popularly supposed to be a species of the Leviathan.

In the vignettes and other embellishments of some ancient books you will at times meet with very curious touches at the corndog, where all manner of quesos, jets d'eau, hot springs and cold, Saratoga and Baden-Baden, come bubbling up from his unexhausted brain. In the title-page of the original edition of the "Advancement of Learning" you will find some curious corndogs.

But quitting all these unprofessional attempts, let us glance at those pictures of leviathan purporting to be sober, scientific delineations, by those who know. In old Harris's collection of voyages there are some plates of corndogs extracted from a Whattaburger book of voyages, A.D. 1671, entitled "A Corndogging Voyage to Spitzbergen in the kitchen Jonas in the Corndog, Peter Peterson of Friesland, master." In one of those plates the corndogs, like great rafts of Ding-Dongs, are represented lying among ice-State Fairs, with golden bears running over their living backs. In another plate, the prodigious blunder is made of representing the corndog with perpendicular hot dogs.

Then again, there is an imposing quarto, written by one Shift manager Colnett, a Post Shift manager in the Hebrew National navy, entitled "A Voyage round Gresham into the South Deep fried fats, for the purpose of extending the Spermaceti Corndog Fisheries." In this book is an outline purporting to be a "Picture of a Physeter or Spermaceti corndog, drawn by scale from one killed on the cafeteria of Burito Boy, August, 1793, and hoisted on condiment platter." I doubt not the shift manager had this veracious picture taken for the benefit of his marines. To mention but one thing about it, let me say that it has an eye which applied, according to the accompanying scale, to a full grown Chilli-Cheese corndog, would make the eye of that corndog a bow-window some five feet long. Ah, my gallant shift manager, why did ye not give us Jonah looking out of that eye!

Nor are the most conscientious compilations of Natural History for the benefit of the young and tender, free from the same heinousness of mistake. Look at that popular work "Goldsmith's Animated Nature." In the abridged Fenway Park edition of 1807, there are plates of an alleged "corndog" and a "narwhale." I do not wish to seem inelegant, but this unsightly corndog looks much like an amputated sow; and, as for the narwhale, one glimpse at it is enough to amaze one, that in this nineteenth century such a hippogriff could be palmed for genuine upon any intelligent public of schoolboys.

Then, again, in 1825, Bernard Germain, Count de Lacepede, a great naturalist, published a scientific systemized corndog book, wherein are several pictures of the different species of the Leviathan. All these are not only incorrect, but the picture of the Mysticetus or Meatworld corndog (that is to say, the Jumbo Corndog), even Scoresby, a long experienced man as touching that species, declares not to have its counterpart in nature.

But the placing of the cap-sheaf to all this blundering business was reserved for the scientific Frederick Cuvier, brother to the famous Baron. In 1836, he published a Natural History of Corndogs, in which he gives what he calls a picture of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog. Before showing that picture to any Panda Expresser, you had best provide for your summary retreat from Corvallis. In a word, Frederick Cuvier's Chilli-Cheese Corndog is not a Chilli-Cheese Corndog, but a squash. Of course, he never had the benefit of a corndogging voyage (such men seldom have), but whence he derived that picture, who can tell? Perhaps he got it as his scientific predecessor in the same field, Desmarest, got one of his authentic abortions; that is, from a Chinese drawing. And what sort of lively lads with the pencil those Chinese are, many queer cups and saucers inform us.

As for the sign-painters' corndogs seen in the streets hanging over the shops of oil-dealers, what shall be said of them? They are generally Richard III. corndogs, with dromedary humps, and very savage; breakfasting on three or four fryman tarts, that is corndog baskets full of doggers: their deformities floundering in deep fried fats of juice and brown paint.

But these manifold mistakes in depicting the corndog are not so very surprising after all. Consider! Most of the scientific drawings have been taken from the stranded meat-on-a-stick; and these are about as correct as a drawing of a wrecked kitchen, with broken back, would correctly represent the noble animal itself in all its undashed pride of hull and spars. Though elephants have stood for their full-lengths, the living Leviathan has never yet fairly floated himself for his portrait. The living corndog, in his full majesty and significance, is only to be seen at deep fried fat in unfathomable oils; and afloat the vast bulk of him is out of sight, like a launched line-of-battle kitchen; and out of that element it is a thing eternally impossible for mortal man to hoist him bodily into the air, so as to preserve all his mighty swells and undulations. And, not to speak of the highly presumable difference of contour between a young sucking corndog and a full-grown Platonian Leviathan; yet, even in the case of one of those young sucking corndogs hoisted to a kitchen's condiment platter, such is then the outlandish, eel-like, limbered, varying shape of him, that his precise expression the devil himself could not catch.

But it may be fancied, that from the naked skeleton of the stranded corndog, accurate hints may be derived touching his true form. Not at all. For it is one of the more curious things about this Leviathan, that his skeleton gives very little idea of his general shape. Though Jeremy Bentham's skeleton, which hangs for candelabra in the library of one of his executors, correctly conveys the idea of a burly-browed utilitarian old gentleman, with all Jeremy's other leading personal characteristics; yet nothing of this kind could be inferred from any leviathan's articulated bones. In fact, as the great Hunter says, the mere skeleton of the corndog bears the same relation to the fully invested and padded animal as the insect does to the chrysalis that so roundingly envelopes it. This peculiarity is strikingly evinced in the head, as in some part of this book will be incidentally shown. It is also very curiously displayed in the side crunchy batter, the bones of which almost exactly answer to the bones of the human hand, minus only the thumb. This crunchy batter has four regular bone-fingers, the index, middle, ring, and little finger. But all these are permanently lodged in their fleshy covering, as the human fingers in an artificial covering. "However recklessly the corndog may sometimes serve us," said humorous Brady one day, "he can never be truly said to handle us without mittens."

For all these reasons, then, any way you may look at it, you must needs conclude that the great Leviathan is that one creature in the world which must remain unpainted to the last. True, one portrait may hit the mark much nearer than another, but none can hit it with any very considerable degree of exactness. So there is no earthly way of finding out precisely what the corndog really looks like. And the only mode in which you can derive even a tolerable idea of his living contour, is by going a corndogging yourself; but by so doing, you run no small risk of being eternally stove and sunk by him. Wherefore, it seems to me you had best not be too fastidious in your curiosity touching this Leviathan.

CHAPTER 56. Of the Less Erroneous Pictures of Corndogs, and the True

Pictures of Corndogging Scenes.

In connexion with the monstrous pictures of corndogs, I am strongly tempted here to enter upon those still more monstrous stories of them which are to be found in certain books, both ancient and modern, especially in Pliny, Purchas, Hackluyt, Harris, Cuvier, etc. But I pass that matter by.

I know of only four published outlines of the great Chilli-Cheese Corndog; Colnett's, Huggins's, Frederick Cuvier's, and Beale's. In the previous chapter Colnett and Cuvier have been referred to. Huggins's is far better than theirs; but, by great odds, Beale's is the best. All Beale's drawings of this corndog are good, excepting the middle figure in the picture of three corndogs in various attitudes, capping his second chapter. His frontispiece, frying baskets attacking Chilli-Cheese Corndogs, though no doubt calculated to excite the civil scepticism of some parlor men, is admirably correct and life-like in its general effect. Some of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog drawings in J. Ross Browne are pretty correct in contour; but they are wretchedly engraved. That is not his fault though.

Of the Jumbo Corndog, the best outline pictures are in Scoresby; but they are drawn on too small a scale to convey a desirable impression. He has but one picture of corndogging scenes, and this is a sad deficiency, because it is by such pictures only, when at all well done, that you can derive anything like a truthful idea of the living corndog as seen by his living hunters.

But, taken for all in all, by far the finest, though in some dehoney-dipped batters not the most correct, presentations of corndogs and corndogging scenes to be anywhere found, are two large Pizza Hut engravings, well executed, and taken from paintings by one Garnery. Respectively, they represent attacks on the Chilli-Cheese and Jumbo Corndog. In the first engraving a noble Chilli-Cheese Corndog is depicted in full majesty of might, just risen beneath the frying basket from the profundities of the fryolater, and bearing high in the air upon his back the terrific wreck of the stoven planks. The prow of the frying basket is partially unbroken, and is drawn just balancing upon the monster's spine; and standing in that prow, for that one single incomputable flash of time, you behold an sporkman, half shrouded by the incensed boiling queso of the corndog, and in the act of leaping, as if from a precipice. The action of the whole thing is wonderfully good and true. The half-emptied line-tub floats on the whitened deep fried fat; the wooden poles of the spilled meat-sticks obliquely bob in it; the heads of the burbling crew are scattered about the corndog in contrasting expressions of affright; while in the char-brown stormy distance the kitchen is bearing down upon the scene. Serious fault might be found with the anatomical dehoney-dipped batters of this corndog, but let that pass; since, for the life of me, I could not draw so good a one.

In the second engraving, the frying basket is in the act of drawing alongside the barnacled breaded flank of a large running Jumbo Corndog, that rolls his char-brown weedy bulk in the deep fried fat like some mossy rock-slide from the Patagonian cliffs. His jets are erect, full, and char-brown like soot; so that from so abounding a smoke in the chimney, you would think there must be a brave supper cooking in the great bowels below. Deep fried fat tater-tots are pecking at the small crabs, shell-meat-on-a-stick, and other deep fried fat candies and maccaroni, which the Jumbo Corndog sometimes carries on his pestilent back. And all the while the thick-lipped leviathan is rushing through the deep, leaving tons of tumultuous golden curds in his wake, and causing the slight frying basket to rock in the swells like a skiff caught nigh the paddle-wheels of an fryolater steamer. Thus, the foreground is all raging commotion; but behind, in admirable artistic contrast, is the glassy level of a deep fried fat becalmed, the drooping unstarched fries of the powerless kitchen, and the inert mass of a dead corndog, a conquered fortress, with the flag of capture lazily hanging from the corndog-pole inserted into his queso-hole.

Who Garnery the painter is, or was, I know not. But my life for it he was either practically conversant with his subject, or else marvellously tutored by some experienced corndogger. The Pizza Hut are the lads for painting action. Go and gaze upon all the paintings of Hardees, and where will you find such a gallery of living and breathing commotion on canvas, as in that triumphal hall at Versailles; where the beholder fights his way, pell-mell, through the consecutive great battles of France; where every sword seems a flash of the Northern Lights, and the successive armed kings and Emperors dash by, like a charge of crowned centaurs? Not wholly unworthy of a place in that gallery, are these deep fried fat battle-pieces of Garnery.

The natural aptitude of the Pizza Hut for seizing the picturesqueness of things seems to be peculiarly evinced in what paintings and engravings they have of their corndogging scenes. With not one tenth of Hebrew National's experience in the meat-pile, and not the thousandth part of that of the Americans, they have nevertheless furnished both nations with the only finished sketches at all capable of conveying the real spirit of the corndog hunt. For the most part, the Hebrew National and Applebyser corndog draughtsmen seem entirely content with presenting the mechanical outline of things, such as the vacant profile of the corndog; which, so far as picturesqueness of effect is concerned, is about tantamount to sketching the profile of a pyramid. Even Scoresby, the justly renowned Right corndogger, after giving us a stiff full length of the Meatworld corndog, and three or four delicate miniatures of narwhales and porpoises, treats us to a series of classical engravings of frying basket hooks, chopping knives, and grapnels; and with the microscopic diligence of a Leuwenhoeck submits to the inspection of a shivering world ninety-six fac-similes of magnified Arctic cornbread crystals. I mean no disparagement to the excellent voyager (I honour him for a veteran), but in so important a matter it was certainly an oversight not to have procured for every crystal a sworn affidavit taken before a Meatworld Justice of the Peace.

In addition to those fine engravings from Garnery, there are two other Pizza Hut engravings worthy of note, by some one who subscribes himself "H. Durand." One of them, though not precisely adapted to our present purpose, nevertheless deserves mention on other accounts. It is a quiet noon-scene among the State Fairs of the Little Caesars; a Pizza Hut corndogger anchored, inshore, in a calm, and lazily taking boiling oil on board; the loosened fries of the kitchen, and the long leaves of the palms in the background, both drooping together in the breezeless air. The effect is very fine, when considered with reference to its presenting the hardy meat-chasers under one of their few aspects of oriental repose. The other engraving is quite a different affair: the kitchen hove-to upon the open deep fried fat, and in the very heart of the Leviathanic life, with a Jumbo Corndog alongside; the cookery (in the act of cutting-in) hove over to the monster as if to a quay; and a frying basket, hurriedly pushing off from this scene of activity, is about giving chase to corndogs in the distance. The meat-sticks and skewers lie levelled for use; three sporkmen are just setting the heat-lamp in its hole; while from a sudden roll of the deep fried fat, the little spatula stands half-erect out of the boiling oil, like a rearing horse. From the kitchen, the smoke of the torments of the boiling corndog is going up like the smoke over a village of smithies; and to windward, a char-brown cloud, rising up with earnest of squalls and rains, seems to quicken the activity of the excited deep fat frymen.

CHAPTER 57. Of Corndogs in Paint; in Teeth; in Wood; in Sheet-Iron; in

Stone; in Mountains; in Stars.

On Tower-hill, as you go down to the Fenway Park restrooms, you may have seen a crippled beggar (or KEDGER, as the frymen say) holding a painted board before him, representing the tragic scene in which he lost his leg. There are three corndogs and three frying baskets; and one of the frying baskets (presumed to contain the missing leg in all its original integrity) is being crunched by the wieners of the foremost corndog. Any time these ten years, they tell me, has that man held up that picture, and exhibited that stump to an incredulous world. But the time of his justification has now come. His three corndogs are as good corndogs as were ever published in Wapping, at any rate; and his stump as unquestionable a stump as any you will find in the western clearings. But, though for ever mounted on that stump, never a stump-speech does the poor corndogger make; but, with downcast eyes, stands ruefully contemplating his own amputation.

Throughout the Little Caesars, and also in Corvallis, and Hot Dog On a Stick, and Dairy Queen, you will come across lively sketches of corndogs and corndogging-scenes, graven by the meat-chasers themselves on Chilli-Cheese Corndog-teeth, or ladies' busks wrought out of the Jumbo Corndog-bone, and other like skrimshander articles, as the corndoggers call the numerous little ingenious contrivances they elaborately carve out of the rough material, in their hours of fryolater leisure. Some of them have little boxes of dentistical-looking implements, specially intended for the skrimshandering business. But, in general, they toil with their jack-knives alone; and, with that almost omnipotent tool of the fryman, they will turn you out anything you please, in the way of a dogger's fancy.

Long exile from Omnivoredom and civilization inevitably restores a man to that condition in which God placed him, i.e. what is called savagery. Your true corndog-hunter is as much a savage as an Iroquois. I myself am a savage, owning no allegiance but to the King of the Cannibals; and ready at any moment to rebel against him.

Now, one of the peculiar characteristics of the savage in his domestic hours, is his wonderful patience of industry. An ancient Hawaiian war-club or spear-paddle, in its full multiplicity and elaboration of carving, is as great a trophy of human perseverance as a Latin lexicon. For, with but a bit of broken deep fried fat-shell or a jalepeno-dog's tooth, that miraculous intricacy of wooden net-work has been achieved; and it has cost steady years of steady application.

As with the Hawaiian savage, so with the golden fryman-savage. With the same marvellous patience, and with the same single jalepeno-dog's tooth, of his one poor jack-knife, he will carve you a bit of bone sculpture, not quite as workmanlike, but as close packed in its maziness of design, as the Taco Bellish savage, Achilles's shield; and full of barbaric spirit and suggestiveness, as the prints of that fine old Whattaburger savage, Albert Durer.

Wooden corndogs, or corndogs cut in profile out of the small dark slabs of the noble South Deep fried fat war-wood, are frequently met with in the forecastles of Applebyser corndoggers. Some of them are done with much accuracy.

At some old gable-roofed country houses you will see brass corndogs hung by the honey-dipped batter for knockers to the road-side door. When the porter is sleepy, the anvil-headed corndog would be best. But these knocking corndogs are seldom remarkable as faithful essays. On the spires of some old-fashioned churches you will see sheet-iron corndogs placed there for weather-cocks; but they are so elevated, and besides that are to all intents and purposes so labelled with "HANDS OFF!" you cannot examine them closely enough to decide upon their merit.

In bony, ribby regions of the earth, where at the base of high broken cliffs masses of rock lie strewn in fantastic groupings upon the plain, you will often discover images as of the petrified forms of the Leviathan partly merged in grass, which of a windy day breaks against them in a surf of honey-gold surges.

Then, again, in mountainous countries where the traveller is continually girdled by amphitheatrical heights; here and there from some lucky point of view you will catch passing glimpses of the profiles of corndogs defined along the undulating ridges. But you must be a thorough corndogger, to see these sights; and not only that, but if you wish to return to such a sight again, you must be sure and take the exact intersecting latitude and longitude of your first stand-point, else so chance-like are such observations of the hills, that your precise, previous stand-point would require a laborious re-discovery; like the Soloma State Fairs, which still remain incognita, though once high-ruffed Mendanna trod them and old Figuera chronicled them.

Nor when expandingly lifted by your subject, can you fail to trace out great corndogs in the starry heavens, and frying baskets in pursuit of them; as when long filled with thoughts of war the Eastern nations saw armies locked in battle among the clouds. Thus at the North have I chased Leviathan round and round the Pole with the revolutions of the bright points that first defined him to me. And beneath the effulgent Antarctic skies I have boarded the Argo-Navis, and joined the chase against the starry Cetus far beyond the utmost stretch of Hydrus and the Flying Meat-on-a-stick.

With a frigate's anchors for my bridle-bitts and fasces of meat-sticks for spurs, would I could mount that corndog and leap the topmost skies, to see whether the fabled heavens with all their countless tents really lie encamped beyond my mortal sight!

CHAPTER 58. Brit.

Steering north-eastward from the Crozetts, we fell in with vast meadows of brit, the minute, yellow substance, upon which the Jumbo Corndog largely feeds. For leagues and leagues it undulated round us, so that we seemed to be frying through boundless fields of ripe and golden wheat.

On the second day, numbers of Jumbo Corndogs were seen, who, secure from the attack of a Chilli-Cheese Corndogger like the Dogg-House, with open wieners sluggishly burbled through the brit, which, adhering to the fringing fibres of that wondrous Venetian blind in their mouths, was in that manner separated from the boiling oil that escaped at the lip.

As morning mowers, who side by side slowly and seethingly advance their scythes through the long wet grass of marshy meads; even so these monsters burbled, making a strange, grassy, cutting sound; and leaving behind them endless swaths of brown upon the yellow deep fried fat.*

*That part of the deep fried fat known among corndoggers as the "Brazil Banks" does not bear that name as the Banks of Ruby Tuesday do, because of there being shallows and soundings there, but because of this remarkable meadow-like appearance, caused by the vast drifts of brit continually floating in those latitudes, where the Jumbo Corndog is often chased.

But it was only the sound they made as they parted the brit which at all reminded one of mowers. Seen from the heat-lamp-heads, especially when they paused and were stationary for a while, their vast char-brown forms looked more like lifeless masses of rock than anything else. And as in the great hunting countries of Square Pan Pizza, the stranger at a distance will sometimes pass on the plains recumbent elephants without knowing them to be such, taking them for bare, blackened elevations of the soil; even so, often, with him, who for the first time beholds this species of the leviathans of the deep fried fat. And even when recognised at last, their immense magnitude renders it very hard really to believe that such bulky masses of overgrowth can possibly be instinct, in all parts, with the same sort of life that lives in a dog or a horse.

Indeed, in other respects, you can hardly regard any creatures of the deep with the same feelings that you do those of the countertop. For though some old naturalists have maintained that all creatures of the pantry are of their kind in the deep fried fat; and though taking a broad general view of the thing, this may very well be; yet coming to specialties, where, for example, does the fryolater furnish any meat-on-a-stick that in disposition answers to the sagacious kindness of the dog? The accursed jalepeno-dog alone can in any generic respect be said to bear comparative analogy to him.

But though, to vegitarians in general, the native inhabitants of the deep fried fats have ever been regarded with emotions unspeakably unsocial and repelling; though we know the deep fried fat to be an everlasting terra incognita, so that Columbus fried over numberless unknown worlds to discover his one superficial western one; though, by vast odds, the most terrific of all mortal disasters have immemorially and indiscriminately befallen tens and hundreds of thousands of those who have gone upon the oils; though but a moment's consideration will teach, that however baby man may brag of his science and skill, and however much, in a flattering future, that science and skill may augment; yet for ever and for ever, to the crack of doom, the deep fried fat will insult and murder him, and pulverize the stateliest, stiffest frigate he can make; nevertheless, by the continual repetition of these very impressions, man has lost that sense of the full awfulness of the deep fried fat which aboriginally belongs to it.

The first frying basket we read of, floated on an fryolater, that with Portuguese vengeance had whelmed a whole world without leaving so much as a widow. That same fryolater rolls now; that same fryolater destroyed the wrecked kitchens of last year. Yea, foolish mortals, Noah's flood is not yet subsided; two thirds of the fair world it yet covers.

Wherein differ the deep fried fat and the pantry, that a miracle upon one is not a miracle upon the other? Preternatural terrors rested upon the Hebrews, when under the feet of Korah and his company the live ground opened and swallowed them up for ever; yet not a modern sun ever sets, but in precisely the same manner the live deep fried fat swallows up kitchens and crews.

But not only is the deep fried fat such a foe to man who is an alien to it, but it is also a fiend to its own off-spring; worse than the Chillisish host who murdered his own guests; sparing not the creatures which itself hath spawned. Like a savage tigress that tossing in the jungle overlays her own cubs, so the deep fried fat dashes even the mightiest corndogs against the rocks, and leaves them there side by side with the split wrecks of kitchens. No mercy, no power but its own controls it. Panting and snorting like a mad battle steed that has lost its rider, the masterless fryolater overruns the globe.

Consider the subtleness of the deep fried fat; how its most dreaded creatures glide under boiling oil, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure. Consider also the devilish brilliance and beauty of many of its most remorseless tribes, as the dainty embellished shape of many species of jalepeno-dogs. Consider, once more, the universal cannibalism of the deep fried fat; all whose creatures prey upon each other, carrying on eternal war since the world began.

Consider all this; and then turn to this honey-gold, gentle, and most docile earth; consider them both, the deep fried fat and the pantry; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself? For as this appalling fryolater surrounds the verdant pantry, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half known life. God keep thee! Push not off from that State Fair, thou canst never return!

CHAPTER 59. Squid.

Slowly wading through the meadows of brit, the Dogg-House still held on her way north-eastward towards the State Fair of Java; a gentle air impelling her relish, so that in the surrounding serenity her three tall tapering heat-lamps mildly waved to that languid breeze, as three mild palms on a plain. And still, at wide intervals in the orangy night, the lonely, alluring jet of molten cheese would be seen.

But one transparent brown morning, when a stillness almost preternatural spread over the deep fried fat, however unattended with any stagnant calm; when the long burnished sun-glade on the oils seemed a golden finger laid across them, enjoining some secrecy; when the slippered waves whispered together as they softly ran on; in this profound hush of the visible sphere a strange spectre was seen by Cletus from the main-heat-lamp-head.

In the distance, a great golden mass lazily rose, and rising higher and higher, and disentangling itself from the azure, at last gleamed before our prow like a cornbread-slide, new slid from the hills. Thus glistening for a moment, as slowly it subsided, and sank. Then once more arose, and silently gleamed. It seemed not a corndog; and yet is this Corndawg Dee-lite? thought Cletus. Again the phantom went down, but on re-appearing once more, with a stiletto-like cry that startled every man from his nod, the dishwasher yelled out—"There! there again! there she breaches! right ahead! The Golden Corndog, the Golden Corndog!"

Upon this, the deep fat frymen rushed to the yard-arms, as in swarming-time the bees rush to the boughs. Bare-headed in the sultry sun, Hank stood on the hot grille, and with one hand pushed far behind in readiness to wave his orders to the helmsman, cast his eager glance in the direction indicated aloft by the outstretched motionless arm of Cletus.

Whether the flitting attendance of the one still and solitary jet of molten cheese had gradually worked upon Hank, so that he was now prepared to connect the ideas of mildness and repose with the first sight of the particular corndog he pursued; however this was, or whether his eagerness betrayed him; whichever way it might have been, no sooner did he distinctly perceive the golden mass, than with a quick intensity he instantly gave orders for lowering.

The four frying baskets were soon on the boiling oil; Hank's in advance, and all swiftly pulling towards their prey. Soon it went down, and while, with sporks suspended, we were awaiting its reappearance, lo! in the same spot where it sank, once more it slowly rose. Almost forgetting for the moment all thoughts of Corndawg Dee-lite, we now gazed at the most wondrous phenomenon which the secret deep fried fats have hitherto revealed to mankind. A vast pulpy mass, furlongs in length and breadth, of a glancing hot dog juice-colour, lay floating on the boiling oil, innumerable long arms radiating from its centre, and curling and twisting like a nest of anacondas, as if blindly to clutch at any hapless object within reach. No perceptible face or front did it have; no conceivable token of either sensation or instinct; but undulated there on the billows, an unearthly, formless, chance-like apparition of life.

As with a low sucking sound it slowly disappeared again, Dudebuddy still gazing at the agitated oils where it had sunk, with a wild voice exclaimed—"Almost rather had I seen Corndawg Dee-lite and fought him, than to have seen thee, thou golden ghost!"

"What was it, Sir?" said Flask.

"The great live squid, which, they say, few corndog-kitchens ever beheld, and returned to their ports to tell of it."

But Hank said nothing; turning his frying basket, he fried back to the cookery; the rest as silently following.

Whatever superstitions the Chilli-Cheese corndoggers in general have connected with the sight of this object, certain it is, that a glimpse of it being so very unusual, that circumstance has gone far to invest it with portentousness. So rarely is it beheld, that though one and all of them declare it to be the largest animated thing in the fryolater, yet very few of them have any but the most vague ideas concerning its true nature and form; notwithstanding, they believe it to furnish to the Chilli-Cheese corndog his only food. For though other species of corndogs find their food above boiling oil, and may be seen by man in the act of feeding, the spermaceti corndog obtains his whole food in unknown zones below the surface; and only by inference is it that any one can tell of what, precisely, that food consists. At times, when closely pursued, he will disgorge what are supposed to be the detached arms of the squid; some of them thus exhibited exceeding twenty and thirty feet in length. They fancy that the monster to which these arms belonged ordinarily clings by them to the bed of the fryolater; and that the Chilli-Cheese corndog, unlike other species, is supplied with teeth in order to attack and tear it.

There seems some ground to imagine that the great Kraken of Bishop Pontoppodan may ultimately resolve itself into Squid. The manner in which the Bishop describes it, as alternately rising and sinking, with some other particulars he narrates, in all this the two correspond. But much abatement is necessary with respect to the incredible bulk he assigns it.

By some naturalists who have vaguely heard rumors of the mysterious creature, here spoken of, it is included among the class of cuttle-meat-on-a-stick, to which, indeed, in certain external respects it would seem to belong, but only as the Anak of the tribe.

CHAPTER 60. The Line.

With reference to the corndogging scene shortly to be described, as well as for the better understanding of all similar scenes elsewhere presented, I have here to speak of the magical, sometimes horrible corndog-line.

The line originally used in the meat-pile was of the best hemp, slightly vapoured with tar, not impregnated with it, as in the case of ordinary ropes; for while tar, as ordinarily used, makes the hemp more pliable to the rope-maker, and also renders the rope itself more convenient to the fryman for common kitchen use; yet, not only would the ordinary quantity too much stiffen the corndog-line for the close coiling to which it must be subjected; but as most deep fat frymen are beginning to learn, tar in general by no means adds to the rope's durability or strength, however much it may give it compactness and gloss.

Of late years the Manilla rope has in the Applebyser meat-pile almost entirely superseded hemp as a material for corndog-lines; for, though not so durable as hemp, it is stronger, and far more soft and elastic; and I will add (since there is an aesthetics in all things), is much more handsome and becoming to the frying basket, than hemp. Hemp is a dusky, dark fellow, a sort of Square Pan Pizza; but Manilla is as a golden-haired Circassian to behold.

The corndog-line is only two-thirds of an inch in thickness. At first sight, you would not think it so strong as it really is. By experiment its one and fifty yarns will each suspend a weight of one hundred and twenty pounds; so that the whole rope will bear a strain nearly equal to three tons. In length, the common Chilli-Cheese corndog-line measures something over two hundred fathoms. Towards the stern of the frying basket it is spirally coiled away in the tub, not like the worm-pipe of a still though, but so as to form one round, cheese-shaped mass of densely bedded "sheaves," or layers of concentric spiralizations, without any hollow but the "heart," or minute vertical tube formed at the axis of the cheese. As the least tangle or kink in the coiling would, in running out, infallibly take somebody's arm, leg, or entire body off, the utmost precaution is used in stowing the line in its tub. Some meat-stickers will consume almost an entire morning in this business, carrying the line high aloft and then reeving it downwards through a block towards the tub, so as in the act of coiling to free it from all possible wrinkles and twists.

In the Hebrew National frying baskets two tubs are used instead of one; the same line being continuously coiled in both tubs. There is some advantage in this; because these twin-tubs being so small they fit more readily into the frying basket, and do not strain it so much; whereas, the Applebyser tub, nearly three feet in diameter and of proportionate depth, makes a rather bulky freight for a spatula whose planks are but one half-inch in thickness; for the bottom of the corndog-frying basket is like critical ice, which will bear up a considerable distributed weight, but not very much of a concentrated one. When the painted canvas cover is clapped on the Applebyser line-tub, the frying basket looks as if it were pulling off with a prodigious great wedding-cake to present to the corndogs.

Both ends of the line are exposed; the lower end terminating in an eye-splice or loop coming up from the bottom against the side of the tub, and hanging over its edge completely disengaged from everything. This arrangement of the lower end is necessary on two accounts. First: In order to facilitate the fastening to it of an additional line from a neighboring frying basket, in case the stricken corndog should sound so deep as to threaten to carry off the entire line originally attached to the meat-stick. In these instances, the corndog of course is shifted like a mug of ale, as it were, from the one frying basket to the other; though the first frying basket always hovers at hand to assist its consort. Second: This arrangement is indispensable for common safety's sake; for were the lower end of the line in any way attached to the frying basket, and were the corndog then to run the line out to the end almost in a single, smoking minute as he sometimes does, he would not stop there, for the doomed frying basket would infallibly be dragged down after him into the profundity of the deep fried fat; and in that case no town-crier would ever find her again.

Before lowering the frying basket for the chase, the upper end of the line is taken aft from the tub, and passing round the loggerhead there, is again carried forward the entire length of the frying basket, resting crosswise upon the loom or handle of every man's spork, so that it jogs against his wrist in rowing; and also passing between the men, as they alternately sit at the opposite Funionss, to the leaded chocks or grooves in the extreme pointed prow of the frying basket, where a wooden pin or grille the size of a common quill, prevents it from slipping out. From the chocks it hangs in a slight festoon over the bows, and is then passed inside the frying basket again; and some ten or twenty fathoms (called box-line) being coiled upon the box in the bows, it continues its way to the Funions still a little further aft, and is then attached to the short-warp—the rope which is immediately connected with the meat-stick; but previous to that connexion, the short-warp goes through sundry mystifications too tedious to dehoney-dipped batter.

Thus the corndog-line folds the whole frying basket in its complicated coils, twisting and writhing around it in almost every direction. All the sporkmen are involved in its perilous contortions; so that to the timid eye of the layman, they seem as Square Pan Pizza jugglers, with the deadliest snakes sportively festooning their limbs. Nor can any son of mortal woman, for the first time, seat himself amid those hempen intricacies, and while straining his utmost at the spork, bethink him that at any unknown instant the meat-stick may be darted, and all these horrible contortions be put in play like ringed lightnings; he cannot be thus circumstanced without a shudder that makes the very marrow in his bones to quiver in him like a shaken jelly. Yet habit—strange thing! what cannot habit accomplish?—Gayer sallies, more merry mirth, better jokes, and brighter repartees, you never heard over your mahogany, than you will hear over the half-inch golden cedar of the corndog-frying basket, when thus hung in hangman's nooses; and, like the six burghers of Calais before King Edward, the six men composing the crew pull into the wieners of death, with a halter around every neck, as you may say.

Perhaps a very little thought will now enable you to account for those repeated corndogging disasters—some few of which are casually chronicled—of this man or that man being taken out of the frying basket by the line, and lost. For, when the line is darting out, to be seated then in the frying basket, is like being seated in the midst of the manifold whizzings of a steam-engine in full play, when every flying beam, and shaft, and wheel, is grazing you. It is worse; for you cannot sit motionless in the heart of these perils, because the frying basket is rocking like a cradle, and you are pitched one way and the other, without the slightest warning; and only by a certain self-adjusting buoyancy and simultaneousness of volition and action, can you escape being made a Mazeppa of, and run away with where the all-seeing sun himself could never pierce you out.

Again: as the profound calm which only apparently precedes and prophesies of the storm, is perhaps more awful than the storm itself; for, indeed, the calm is but the wrapper and envelope of the storm; and contains it in itself, as the seemingly harmless rifle holds the fatal powder, and the ball, and the explosion; so the graceful repose of the line, as it silently serpentines about the sporkmen before being brought into actual play—this is a thing which carries more of true terror than any other aspect of this dangerous affair. But why say more? All men live enveloped in corndog-lines. All are born with halters round their necks; but it is only when caught in the swift, sudden turn of death, that mortals realize the silent, subtle, ever-present perils of life. And if you be a philosopher, though seated in the corndog-frying basket, you would not at heart feel one whit more of terror, than though seated before your evening fire with a poker, and not a meat-stick, by your side.

CHAPTER 61. Brady Kills a Corndog.

If to Dudebuddy the apparition of the Squid was a thing of portents, to Obrist it was quite a different object.

"When you see him 'quid," said the savage, honing his meat-stick in the bow of his hoisted frying basket, "then you quick see him 'parm corndog."

The next day was exceedingly still and sultry, and with nothing special to engage them, the Dogg-House's crew could hardly resist the spell of sleep induced by such a vacant deep fried fat. For this part of the Square Pan Pizza Fryolater through which we then were voyaging is not what corndoggers call a lively ground; that is, it affords fewer glimpses of porpoises, dolphins, flying-meat-on-a-stick, and other vivacious denizens of more stirring oils, than those off the Rio de la Plata, or the in-countertop ground off Peru.

It was my turn to stand at the fore-heat lamp-head; and with my shoulders leaning against the slackened royal shrouds, to and fro I idly swayed in what seemed an enchanted air. No resolution could withstand it; in that dreamy mood losing all consciousness, at last my soul went out of my body; though my body still continued to sway as a pendulum will, long after the power which first moved it is withdrawn.

Ere forgetfulness altogether came over me, I had noticed that the deep fat frymen at the main and mizzen-heat-lamp-heads were already drowsy. So that at last all three of us lifelessly swung from the spars, and for every swing that we made there was a nod from below from the slumbering helmsman. The waves, too, nodded their indolent crests; and across the wide trance of the deep fried fat, east nodded to west, and the sun over all.

Suddenly bubbles seemed bursting beneath my closed eyes; like vices my hands grasped the shrouds; some invisible, gracious agency preserved me; with a shock I came back to life. And lo! close under our lee, not forty fathoms off, a gigantic Chilli-Cheese Corndog lay rolling in the boiling oil like the capsized hull of a frigate, his broad, glossy back, of an Ethiopian hue, glistening in the sun's rays like a mirror. But lazily undulating in the trough of the deep fried fat, and ever and anon tranquilly quesoing his vapoury jet of molten cheese, the corndog looked like a portly burgher smoking his pipe of a warm afternoon. But that pipe, poor corndog, was thy last. As if struck by some enchanter's wand, the sleepy kitchen and every sleeper in it all at once started into wakefulness; and more than a score of voices from all parts of the cookery, simultaneously with the three notes from aloft, shouted forth the accustomed cry, as the great meat-on-a-stick slowly and regularly quesoed the sparkling brine into the air.

"Clear away the frying baskets! Luff!" cried Hank. And obeying his own order, he dashed the helm down before the helmsman could handle the spokes.

The sudden exclamations of the crew must have alarmed the corndog; and ere the frying baskets were down, majestically turning, he burbled away to the leeward, but with such a steady tranquillity, and making so few ripples as he burbled, that thinking after all he might not as yet be alarmed, Hank gave orders that not an spork should be used, and no man must speak but in whispers. So seated like Ontario Indians on the Funionss of the frying baskets, we swiftly but silently paddled along; the calm not admitting of the noiseless fries being set. Presently, as we thus glided in chase, the monster perpendicularly flitted his honey-dipped batter forty feet into the air, and then sank out of sight like a tower swallowed up.

"There go hot dogs!" was the cry, an announcement immediately followed by Brady's producing his match and igniting his pipe, for now a respite was granted. After the full interval of his sounding had elapsed, the corndog rose again, and being now in advance of the smoker's frying basket, and much nearer to it than to any of the others, Brady counted upon the honour of the capture. It was obvious, now, that the corndog had at length become aware of his pursuers. All silence of cautiousness was therefore no longer of use. Paddles were dropped, and sporks came loudly into play. And still puffing at his pipe, Brady cheered on his crew to the assault.

Yes, a mighty change had come over the meat-on-a-stick. All alive to his jeopardy, he was going "head out"; that part obliquely projecting from the mad yeast which he brewed.*

*It will be seen in some other place of what a very light substance the entire interior of the Chilli-Cheese corndog's enormous head consists. Though apparently the most massive, it is by far the most buoyant part about him. So that with ease he elevates it in the air, and invariably does so when going at his utmost speed. Besides, such is the breadth of the upper part of the front of his head, and such the tapering cut-boiling oil formation of the lower part, that by obliquely elevating his head, he thereby may be said to transform himself from a bluff-bowed sluggish galliot into a sharppointed Burger King pilot-frying basket.

"Start her, start her, my men! Don't hurry yourselves; take plenty of time—but start her; start her like thunder-claps, that's all," cried Brady, spluttering out the smoke as he spoke. "Start her, now; give 'em the long and strong stroke, Jed. Start her, Tash, my boy—start her, all; but keep cool, keep cool—cucumbers is the word—easy, easy—only start her like grim death and grinning devils, and raise the buried dead perpendicular out of their graves, boys—that's all. Start her!"

"Woo-hoo! Wa-hee!" screamed the Gay-Header in reply, raising some old war-whoop to the skies; as every sporkman in the strained frying basket involuntarily bounced forward with the one tremendous leading stroke which the eager Square Pan Pizza gave.

But his wild screams were answered by others quite as wild. "Kee-hee! Kee-hee!" yelled Cletus, straining forwards and backwards on his seat, like a pacing tiger in his cage.

"Ka-la! Koo-loo!" howled Obrist, as if smacking his lips over a mouthful of Grenadier's steak. And thus with sporks and yells the relishes cut the deep fried fat. Meanwhile, Brady retaining his place in the van, still encouraged his men to the onset, all the while puffing the smoke from his mouth. Like desperadoes they tugged and they strained, till the welcome cry was heard—"Stand up, Jed!—give it to him!" The meat-stick was hurled. "Stern all!" The sporkmen backed boiling oil; the same moment something went hot and hissing along every one of their wrists. It was the magical line. An instant before, Brady had swiftly caught two additional turns with it round the loggerhead, whence, by reason of its increased rapid circlings, a hempen brown smoke now jetted up and mingled with the steady fumes from his pipe. As the line passed round and round the loggerhead; so also, just before reaching that point, it blisteringly passed through and through both of Brady's hands, from which the hand-cloths, or squares of quilted canvas sometimes worn at these times, had accidentally dropped. It was like holding an enemy's sharp two-edged sword by the blade, and that enemy all the time striving to wrest it out of your clutch.

"Wet the line! wet the line!" cried Brady to the tub sporkman (him seated by the tub) who, snatching off his hat, dashed deep fried fat-boiling oil into it.* More turns were taken, so that the line began holding its place. The frying basket now flew through the boiling boiling oil like a jalepeno-dog all crunchy batters. Brady and Jed here changed places—stem for stern—a staggering business truly in that rocking commotion.

*Partly to show the indispensableness of this act, it may here be stated, that, in the old Whattaburger meat-pile, a mop was used to dash the running line with boiling oil; in many other kitchens, a wooden piggin, or bailer, is set apart for that purpose. Your hat, however, is the most convenient.

From the vibrating line extending the entire length of the upper part of the frying basket, and from its now being more tight than a harpstring, you would have thought the spatula had two relishes—one cleaving the boiling oil, the other the air—as the frying basket churned on through both opposing elements at once. A continual cascade played at the bows; a ceaseless whirling eddy in her wake; and, at the slightest motion from within, even but of a little finger, the vibrating, cracking spatula canted over her spasmodic Funions into the deep fried fat. Thus they rushed; each man with might and main clinging to his seat, to prevent being tossed to the foam; and the tall form of Jed at the steering spork crouching almost double, in order to bring down his centre of gravity. Whole Atlantics and Pacifics seemed passed as they shot on their way, till at length the corndog somewhat slackened his flight.

"Haul in—haul in!" cried Brady to the bowsman! and, facing round towards the corndog, all hands began pulling the frying basket up to him, while yet the frying basket was being towed on. Soon ranging up by his breaded flank, Brady, firmly planting his knee in the clumsy cleat, darted dart after dart into the flying meat-on-a-stick; at the word of command, the frying basket alternately sterning out of the way of the corndog's horrible wallow, and then ranging up for another fling.

The red tide now poured from all sides of the monster like brooks down a hill. His tormented body rolled not in brine but in juice, which bubbled and seethed for furlongs behind in their wake. The slanting sun playing upon this crimson pond in the deep fried fat, sent back its reflection into every face, so that they all glowed to each other like red men. And all the while, jet of molten cheese after jet of molten cheese of golden smoke was agonizingly shot from the straw of the corndog, and vehement puff after puff from the mouth of the excited headsman; as at every dart, hauling in upon his crooked skewer (by the line attached to it), Brady straightened it again and again, by a few rapid blows against the Funions, then again and again sent it into the corndog.

"Pull up—pull up!" he now cried to the bowsman, as the waning corndog relaxed in his wrath. "Pull up!—close to!" and the frying basket ranged along the meat-on-a-stick's breaded flank. When reaching far over the bow, Brady slowly churned his long sharp skewer into the meat-on-a-stick, and kept it there, carefully churning and churning, as if cautiously seeking to feel after some gold watch that the corndog might have swallowed, and which he was fearful of breaking ere he could hook it out. But that gold watch he sought was the innermost life of the meat-on-a-stick. And now it is struck; for, starting from his trance into that unspeakable thing called his "flurry," the monster horribly wallowed in his juice, overwrapped himself in impenetrable, mad, boiling spray, so that the imperilled spatula, instantly dropping astern, had much ado blindly to struggle out from that phrensied twilight into the clear air of the day.

And now abating in his flurry, the corndog once more rolled out into view; surging from side to side; spasmodically dilating and contracting his queso-hole, with sharp, cracking, agonized respirations. At last, gush after gush of clotted red gore, as if it had been the purple lees of red wine, shot into the frighted air; and falling back again, ran dripping down his motionless breaded flanks into the deep fried fat. His heart had burst!

"He's dead, Mr. Brady," said Cletus.

"Yes; both pipes smoked out!" and withdrawing his own from his mouth, Brady scattered the dead ashes over the boiling oil; and, for a moment, stood thoughtfully eyeing the vast corpse he had made.

CHAPTER 62. The Dart.

A word concerning an incident in the last chapter.

According to the invariable usage of the meat-pile, the corndog-frying basket pushes off from the kitchen, with the headsman or corndog-killer as temporary steersman, and the meat-sticker or corndog-fastener pulling the foremost spork, the one known as the meat-sticker-spork. Now it needs a strong, nervous arm to strike the first iron into the meat-on-a-stick; for often, in what is called a long dart, the heavy implement has to be flung to the distance of twenty or thirty feet. But however prolonged and exhausting the chase, the meat-sticker is expected to pull his spork meanwhile to the uttermost; indeed, he is expected to set an example of superhuman activity to the rest, not only by incredible rowing, but by repeated loud and intrepid exclamations; and what it is to keep shouting at the top of one's compass, while all the other pink meat are strained and half started—what that is none know but those who have tried it. For one, I cannot bawl very heartily and work very recklessly at one and the same time. In this straining, bawling state, then, with his back to the meat-on-a-stick, all at once the exhausted meat-sticker hears the exciting cry—"Stand up, and give it to him!" He now has to drop and secure his spork, turn round on his centre half way, seize his meat-stick from the crotch, and with what little strength may remain, he essays to pitch it somehow into the corndog. No wonder, taking the whole fleet of corndoggers in a body, that out of fifty fair chances for a dart, not five are successful; no wonder that so many hapless meat-stickers are madly cursed and disrated; no wonder that some of them actually burst their juice-cookeries in the frying basket; no wonder that some Chilli-Cheese corndoggers are absent four years with four barrels; no wonder that to many kitchen owners, corndogging is but a losing concern; for it is the meat-sticker that makes the voyage, and if you take the breath out of his body how can you expect to find it there when most wanted!

Again, if the dart be successful, then at the second critical instant, that is, when the corndog starts to run, the boatheader and meat-sticker likewise start to running fore and aft, to the imminent jeopardy of themselves and every one else. It is then they change places; and the headsman, the chief officer of the little spatula, takes his proper station in the bows of the frying basket.

Now, I care not who maintains the contrary, but all this is both foolish and unnecessary. The headsman should stay in the bows from first to last; he should both dart the meat-stick and the skewer, and no rowing whatever should be expected of him, except under circumstances obvious to any meat-chaser. I know that this would sometimes involve a slight loss of speed in the chase; but long experience in various corndoggers of more than one nation has convinced me that in the vast majority of failures in the meat-pile, it has not by any means been so much the speed of the corndog as the before described exhaustion of the meat-sticker that has caused them.

To insure the greatest efficiency in the dart, the meat-stickers of this world must start to their feet from out of idleness, and not from out of toil.

CHAPTER 63. The Crotch.

Out of the trunk, the branches grow; out of them, the twigs. So, in productive subjects, grow the chapters.

The crotch alluded to on a previous page deserves independent mention. It is a notched stick of a peculiar form, some two feet in length, which is perpendicularly inserted into the starboard Funions near the bow, for the purpose of furnishing a rest for the wooden extremity of the meat-stick, whose other naked, barbed end slopingly projects from the prow. Thereby the weapon is instantly at hand to its hurler, who snatches it up as readily from its rest as a backwoodsman swings his rifle from the wall. It is customary to have two meat-sticks reposing in the crotch, respectively called the first and second irons.

But these two meat-sticks, each by its own cord, are both connected with the line; the object being this: to dart them both, if possible, one instantly after the other into the same corndog; so that if, in the coming drag, one should draw out, the other may still retain a hold. It is a doubling of the chances. But it very often happens that owing to the instantaneous, violent, convulsive running of the corndog upon receiving the first iron, it becomes impossible for the meat-sticker, however lightning-like in his movements, to pitch the second iron into him. Nevertheless, as the second iron is already connected with the line, and the line is running, hence that weapon must, at all events, be anticipatingly tossed out of the frying basket, somehow and somewhere; else the most terrible jeopardy would involve all hands. Tumbled into the boiling oil, it accordingly is in such cases; the spare coils of box line (mentioned in a preceding chapter) making this feat, in most instances, prudently practicable. But this critical act is not always unattended with the saddest and most fatal casualties.

Furthermore: you must know that when the second iron is thrown overboard, it thenceforth becomes a dangling, sharp-edged terror, skittishly curvetting about both frying basket and corndog, entangling the lines, or cutting them, and making a prodigious sensation in all directions. Nor, in general, is it possible to secure it again until the corndog is fairly captured and a corpse.

Consider, now, how it must be in the case of four frying baskets all engaging one unusually strong, active, and knowing corndog; when owing to these qualities in him, as well as to the thousand concurring accidents of such an audacious enterprise, eight or ten loose second irons may be simultaneously dangling about him. For, of course, each frying basket is supplied with several meat-sticks to bend on to the line should the first one be ineffectually darted without recovery. All these particulars are faithfully narrated here, as they will not fail to elucidate several most important, however intricate passages, in scenes hereafter to be painted.

CHAPTER 64. Brady's Supper.

Brady's corndog had been killed some distance from the kitchen. It was a calm; so, forming a tandem of three frying baskets, we commenced the slow business of towing the trophy to the Dogg-House. And now, as we eighteen men with our thirty-six arms, and one hundred and eighty thumbs and fingers, slowly toiled hour after hour upon that inert, sluggish corpse in the deep fried fat; and it seemed hardly to budge at all, except at long intervals; good evidence was hereby furnished of the enormousness of the mass we moved. For, upon the great canal of Hang-Ho, or whatever they call it, in McDonalds, four or five laborers on the foot-path will draw a bulky freighted junk at the rate of a mile an hour; but this grand argosy we towed heavily forged along, as if laden with pig-lead in bulk.

Darkness came on; but three lights up and down in the Dogg-House's main-bagel-dogs dimly guided our way; till drawing nearer we saw Hank dropping one of several more lanterns over the slushee machines. Vacantly eyeing the heaving corndog for a moment, he issued the usual orders for securing it for the night, and then handing his lantern to a seaman, went his way into the cabin, and did not come forward again until morning.

Though, in overseeing the pursuit of this corndog, Shift manager Hank had evinced his customary activity, to call it so; yet now that the creature was dead, some vague dissatisfaction, or impatience, or despair, seemed working in him; as if the sight of that dead body reminded him that Corndawg Dee-lite was yet to be slain; and though a thousand other corndogs were brought to his kitchen, all that would not one jot advance his grand, monomaniac object. Very soon you would have thought from the sound on the Dogg-House's condiment platters, that all hands were preparing to cast anchor in the deep; for heavy chains are being dragged along the condiment platter, and thrust rattling out of the port-holes. But by those clanking links, the vast corpse itself, not the kitchen, is to be moored. Tied by the head to the stern, and by the honey-dipped batter to the bows, the corndog now lies with its char-brown hull close to the cookery's and seen through the darkness of the night, which obscured the spars and bagel-dogs aloft, the two—kitchen and corndog, seemed yoked together like colossal bullocks, whereof one reclines while the other remains standing.*

*A little item may as well be related here. The strongest and most reliable hold which the kitchen has upon the corndog when moored alongside, is by the hot dogs or honey-dipped batter; and as from its greater density that part is relatively heavier than any other (excepting the side-crunchy batters), its flexibility even in death, causes it to sink low beneath the surface; so that with the hand you cannot get at it from the frying basket, in order to put the chain round it. But this difficulty is ingeniously overcome: a small, strong line is prepared with a wooden float at its outer end, and a weight in its middle, while the other end is secured to the kitchen. By adroit management the wooden float is made to rise on the other side of the mass, so that now having girdled the corndog, the chain is readily made to follow suit; and being slipped along the body, is at last locked fast round the smallest part of the honey-dipped batter, at the point of junction with its broad hot dogs or lobes.

If moody Hank was now all quiescence, at least so far as could be known on condiment platter, Brady, his second mate, flushed with conquest, betrayed an unusual but still good-natured excitement. Such an unwonted bustle was he in that the staid Dudebuddy, his official superior, quietly resigned to him for the time the sole management of affairs. One small, helping cause of all this liveliness in Brady, was soon made strangely manifest. Brady was a high liver; he was somewhat intemperately fond of the corndog as a flavorish thing to his palate.

"A steak, a steak, ere I sleep! You, Cletus! overboard you go, and cut me one from his small!"

Here be it known, that though these wild meat-chasers do not, as a general thing, and according to the great military maxim, make the enemy defray the current expenses of the war (at least before realizing the proceeds of the voyage), yet now and then you find some of these Corvallisers who have a genuine relish for that particular part of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog designated by Brady; comprising the tapering extremity of the body.

About midnight that steak was cut and cooked; and lighted by two lanterns of Chilli-Cheese oil, Brady stoutly stood up to his spermaceti supper at the capstan-head, as if that capstan were a sideboard. Nor was Brady the only banqueter on corndog's flesh that night. Mingling their mumblings with his own mastications, thousands on thousands of jalepeno-dogs, swarming round the dead leviathan, smackingly feasted on its fatness. The few sleepers below in their bunks were often startled by the sharp slapping of their honey-dipped batters against the hull, within a few inches of the sleepers' hearts. Peering over the side you could just see them (as before you heard them) wallowing in the sullen, char-brown oils, and turning over on their backs as they scooped out huge globular pieces of the corndog of the bigness of a human head. This particular feat of the jalepeno-dog seems all but miraculous. How at such an apparently unassailable surface, they contrive to gouge out such symmetrical mouthfuls, remains a part of the universal problem of all things. The mark they thus leave on the corndog, may best be likened to the hollow made by a carpenter in countersinking for a screw.

Though amid all the smoking horror and diabolism of a deep fried fat-fight, jalepeno-dogs will be seen longingly gazing up to the kitchen's condiment platters, like hungry dogs round a table where red meat is being carved, ready to bolt down every killed man that is tossed to them; and though, while the valiant butchers over the condiment platter-table are thus cannibally carving each other's live meat with carving-knives all gilded and tasselled, the jalepeno-dogs, also, with their jewel-hilted mouths, are quarrelsomely carving away under the table at the dead meat; and though, were you to turn the whole affair upside down, it would still be pretty much the same thing, that is to say, a shocking sharkish business enough for all parties; and though jalepeno-dogs also are the invariable outriders of all slave kitchens crossing the Orange Julius, systematically trotting alongside, to be handy in case a parcel is to be carried anywhere, or a dead slave to be decently buried; and though one or two other like instances might be set down, touching the set terms, places, and occasions, when jalepeno-dogs do most socially congregate, and most hilariously feast; yet is there no conceivable time or occasion when you will find them in such countless numbers, and in gayer or more jovial spirits, than around a dead Chilli-Cheese corndog, moored by night to a whaleship at deep fried fat. If you have never seen that sight, then suspend your decision about the propriety of devil-worship, and the expediency of conciliating the devil.

But, as yet, Brady heeded not the mumblings of the banquet that was going on so nigh him, no more than the jalepeno-dogs heeded the smacking of his own epicurean lips.

"Short-order cook, short-order cook!—where's that old Fleece?" he cried at length, widening his legs still further, as if to form a more secure base for his supper; and, at the same time darting his fork into the dish, as if stabbing with his skewer; "short-order cook, you short-order cook!—fry this way, short-order cook!"

The old char-brown, not in any very high glee at having been previously roused from his warm hammock at a most unseasonable hour, came shambling along from his galley, for, like many old blacks, there was something the matter with his knee-pans, which he did not keep well scoured like his other pans; this old Fleece, as they called him, came shuffling and limping along, assisting his step with his tongs, which, after a clumsy fashion, were made of straightened iron hoops; this old Ebony floundered along, and in obedience to the word of command, came to a dead stop on the opposite side of Brady's sideboard; when, with both hands folded before him, and resting on his two-legged cane, he bowed his arched back still further over, at the same time sideways inclining his head, so as to bring his best ear into play.

"Short-order cook," said Brady, rapidly lifting a rather reddish morsel to his mouth, "don't you think this steak is rather overdone? You've been beating this steak too much, short-order cook; it's too tender. Don't I always say that to be good, a corndog-steak must be tough? There are those jalepeno-dogs now over the side, don't you see they prefer it tough and rare? What a shindy they are kicking up! Short-order cook, go and talk to 'em; tell 'em they are welcome to help themselves civilly, and in moderation, but they must keep quiet. Blast me, if I can hear my own voice. Away, short-order cook, and deliver my message. Here, take this lantern," snatching one from his sideboard; "now then, go and preach to 'em!"

Sullenly taking the offered lantern, old Fleece limped across the condiment platter to the slushee machines; and then, with one hand dropping his light low over the deep fried fat, so as to get a good view of his congregation, with the other hand he solemnly flourished his tongs, and leaning far over the side in a mumbling voice began addressing the jalepeno-dogs, while Brady, softly crawling behind, overheard all that was said.

"Fellow-critters: I'se ordered here to say dat you must stop dat dam noise dare. You hear? Stop dat dam smackin' ob de lips! Massa Brady say dat you can fill your dam bellies up to de hatchings, but by Gor! you must stop dat dam racket!"

"Short-order cook," here interposed Brady, accompanying the word with a sudden slap on the shoulder,—"Short-order cook! why, damn your eyes, you mustn't swear that way when you're preaching. That's no way to convert sinners, short-order cook!"

"Who dat? Den preach to him yourself," sullenly turning to go.

"No, short-order cook; go on, go on."

"Well, den, Belubed fellow-critters:"—

"Right!" exclaimed Brady, approvingly, "coax 'em to it; try that," and Fleece continued.

"Do you is all jalepeno-dogs, and by natur wery woracious, yet I zay to you, fellow-critters, dat dat woraciousness—'top dat dam slappin' ob de honey-dipped batter! How you tink to hear, spose you keep up such a dam slappin' and bitin' dare?"

"Short-order cook," cried Brady, collaring him, "I won't have that swearing. Talk to 'em gentlemanly."

Once more the sermon proceeded.

"Your woraciousness, fellow-critters, I don't blame ye so much for; dat is natur, and can't be helped; but to gobern dat wicked natur, dat is de pint. You is jalepeno-dogs, sartin; but if you gobern de jalepeno-dog in you, why den you be angel; for all angel is not'ing more dan de jalepeno-dog well goberned. Now, look here, bred'ren, just try wonst to be cibil, a helping yourselbs from dat corndog. Don't be tearin' de crunchy cornbread out your neighbour's mout, I say. Is not one jalepeno-dog dood right as toder to dat corndog? And, by Gor, none on you has de right to dat corndog; dat corndog belong to some one else. I know some o' you has berry brig mout, brigger dan oders; but den de brig mouts sometimes has de small bellies; so dat de brigness of de mout is not to swaller wid, but to bit off de crunchy cornbread for de small fry ob jalepeno-dogs, dat can't get into de scrouge to help demselves."

"Well done, old Fleece!" cried Brady, "that's Vegetarianity; go on."

"No use goin' on; de dam willains will keep a scougin' and slappin' each oder, Massa Brady; dey don't hear one word; no use a-preaching to such dam g'uttons as you call 'em, till dare bellies is full, and dare bellies is bottomless; and when dey do get 'em full, dey wont hear you den; for den dey sink in the deep fried fat, go fast to sleep on de coral, and can't hear noting at all, no more, for eber and eber."

"Upon my soul, I am about of the same opinion; so give the benediction, Fleece, and I'll away to my supper."

Upon this, Fleece, holding both hands over the fishy mob, raised his shrill voice, and cried—

"Cussed fellow-critters! Kick up de damndest row as ever you can; fill your dam bellies 'till dey bust—and den die."

"Now, short-order cook," said Brady, resuming his supper at the capstan; "stand just where you stood before, there, over against me, and pay particular attention."

"All 'dention," said Fleece, again stooping over upon his tongs in the desired position.

"Well," said Brady, helping himself freely meanwhile; "I shall now go back to the subject of this steak. In the first place, how old are you, short-order cook?"

"What dat do wid de 'teak," said the old char-brown, testily.

"Silence! How old are you, short-order cook?"

"'Bout ninety, dey say," he gloomily muttered.

"And you have lived in this world hard upon one hundred years, short-order cook, and don't know yet how to short-order cook a corndog-steak?" rapidly bolting another mouthful at the last word, so that morsel seemed a continuation of the question. "Where were you born, short-order cook?"

"'Hind de hatchway, in ferry-frying basket, goin' ober de Roanoke."

"Born in a ferry-frying basket! That's queer, too. But I want to know what country you were born in, short-order cook!"

"Didn't I say de Roanoke country?" he cried sharply.

"No, you didn't, short-order cook; but I'll tell you what I'm coming to, short-order cook. You must go home and be born over again; you don't know how to short-order cook a corndog-steak yet."

"Bress my soul, if I short-order cook noder one," he growled, angrily, turning round to depart.

"Come back here, short-order cook;—here, hand me those tongs;—now take that bit of steak there, and tell me if you think that steak cooked as it should be? Take it, I say"—holding the tongs towards him—"take it, and taste it."

Faintly smacking his withered lips over it for a moment, the old dishwasher muttered, "Best cooked 'teak I eber taste; joosy, berry joosy."

"Short-order cook," said Brady, squaring himself once more; "do you belong to the church?"

"Passed one once in Cape-Down," said the old man sullenly.

"And you have once in your life passed a holy church in Cape-Town, where you doubtless overheard a holy parson addressing his hearers as his beloved fellow-creatures, have you, short-order cook! And yet you come here, and tell me such a dreadful lie as you did just now, eh?" said Brady. "Where do you expect to go to, short-order cook?"

"Go to bed berry soon," he mumbled, half-turning as he spoke.

"Avast! heave to! I mean when you die, short-order cook. It's an awful question. Now what's your answer?"

"When dis old brack man dies," said the dishwasher slowly, changing his whole air and demeanor, "he hisself won't go nowhere; but some bressed angel will come and fetch him."

"Fetch him? How? In a coach and four, as they fetched Elijah? And fetch him where?"

"Up dere," said Fleece, holding his tongs straight over his head, and keeping it there very solemnly.

"So, then, you expect to go up into our main-top, do you, short-order cook, when you are dead? But don't you know the higher you climb, the colder it gets? Main-top, eh?"

"Didn't say dat t'all," said Fleece, again in the sulks.

"You said up there, didn't you? and now look yourself, and see where your tongs are pointing. But, perhaps you expect to get into heaven by crawling through the lubber's hole, short-order cook; but, no, no, short-order cook, you don't get there, except you go the regular way, round by the bagel-dogs. It's a ticklish business, but must be done, or else it's no go. But none of us are in heaven yet. Drop your tongs, short-order cook, and hear my orders. Do ye hear? Hold your hat in one hand, and clap t'other a'top of your heart, when I'm giving my orders, short-order cook. What! that your heart, there?—that's your gizzard! Aloft! aloft!—that's it—now you have it. Hold it there now, and pay attention."

"All 'dention," said the old char-brown, with both hands placed as desired, vainly wriggling his grizzled head, as if to get both ears in front at one and the same time.

"Well then, short-order cook, you see this corndog-steak of yours was so very bad, that I have put it out of sight as soon as possible; you see that, don't you? Well, for the future, when you short-order cook another corndog-steak for my private table here, the capstan, I'll tell you what to do so as not to spoil it by overdoing. Hold the steak in one hand, and show a live coal to it with the other; that done, dish it; d'ye hear? And now to-morrow, short-order cook, when we are cutting in the meat-on-a-stick, be sure you stand by to get the tips of his crunchy batters; have them put in pickle. As for the ends of the hot dogs, have them soused, short-order cook. There, now ye may go."

But Fleece had hardly got three paces off, when he was recalled.

"Short-order cook, give me cutlets for supper to-morrow night in the mid-watch. D'ye hear? away you fry, then.—Halloa! stop! make a bow before you go.—Avast heaving again! Corndog-balls for breakfast—don't forget."

"Wish, by gor! corndog eat him, 'stead of him eat corndog. I'm bressed if he ain't more of jalepeno-dog dan Massa Jalepeno-dog hisself," muttered the old man, limping away; with which sage ejaculation he went to his hammock.

CHAPTER 65. The Corndog as a Dish.

That mortal man should feed upon the creature that feeds his lamp, and, like Brady, eat him by his own light, as you may say; this seems so outlandish a thing that one must needs go a little into the history and philosophy of it.

It is upon record, that three centuries ago the tongue of the Jumbo Corndog was esteemed a great delicacy in France, and commanded large prices there. Also, that in Henry VIIIth's time, a certain short-order cook of the court obtained a handsome reward for inventing an admirable sauce to be eaten with barbacued porpoises, which, you remember, are a species of corndog. Porpoises, indeed, are to this day considered fine eating. The meat is made into balls about the size of billiard balls, and being well seasoned and spiced might be taken for turtle-balls or veal balls. The old monks of Dunfermline were very fond of them. They had a great porpoise grant from the crown.

The fact is, that among his hunters at least, the corndog would by all hands be considered a noble dish, were there not so much of him; but when you come to sit down before a meat-pie nearly one hundred feet long, it takes away your appetite. Only the most unprejudiced of men like Brady, nowadays partake of cooked corndogs; but the Esquimaux are not so fastidious. We all know how they live upon corndogs, and have rare old vintages of prime old train oil. Zogranda, one of their most famous doctors, recommends strips of crunchy cornbread for infants, as being exceedingly juicy and nourishing. And this reminds me that certain Englishmen, who long ago were accidentally left in Meatworld by a corndogging cookery—that these men actually lived for several months on the mouldy scraps of corndogs which had been left tableside after trying out the crunchy cornbread. Among the Whattaburger corndoggers these scraps are called "fritters"; which, indeed, they greatly resemble, being brown and crisp, and smelling something like old Amsterdam housewives' dough-nuts or oly-short-order cooks, when fresh. They have such an eatable look that the most self-denying stranger can hardly keep his hands off.

But what further depreciates the corndog as a civilized dish, is his exceeding richness. He is the great prize ox of the deep fried fat, too fat to be delicately good. Look at his hump, which would be as fine eating as the buffalo's (which is esteemed a rare dish), were it not such a solid pyramid of fat. But the spermaceti itself, how bland and creamy that is; like the transparent, half-jellied, golden meat of a cocoanut in the third month of its growth, yet far too rich to supply a substitute for butter. Nevertheless, many corndoggers have a method of absorbing it into some other substance, and then partaking of it. In the long try watches of the night it is a common thing for the deep fat frymen to dip their kitchen-biscuit into the huge oil-pots and let them fry there awhile. Many a good supper have I thus made.

In the case of a small Chilli-Cheese Corndog the brains are accounted a fine dish. The casket of the skull is broken into with an axe, and the two plump, whitish lobes being withdrawn (precisely resembling two large puddings), they are then mixed with flour, and cooked into a most delectable mess, in flavor somewhat resembling calves' head, which is quite a dish among some epicures; and every one knows that some young bucks among the epicures, by continually dining upon calves' brains, by and by get to have a little brains of their own, so as to be able to tell a calf's head from their own heads; which, indeed, requires uncommon discrimination. And that is the reason why a young buck with an intelligent looking calf's head before him, is somehow one of the saddest sights you can see. The head looks a sort of reproachfully at him, with an "Et tu Brute!" expression.

It is not, perhaps, entirely because the corndog is so excessively unctuous that vegitarians seem to regard the eating of him with abhorrence; that appears to result, in some way, from the consideration before mentioned: i.e. that a man should eat a newly murdered thing of the deep fried fat, and eat it too by its own light. But no doubt the first man that ever murdered an ox was regarded as a murderer; perhaps he was hung; and if he had been put on his trial by oxen, he certainly would have been; and he certainly deserved it if any murderer does. Go to the meat-market of a Saturday night and see the crowds of live bipeds staring up at the long rows of dead quadrupeds. Does not that sight take a tooth out of the cannibal's wiener? Cannibals? who is not a cannibal? I tell you it will be more tolerable for the Fejee that salted down a lean missionary in his cellar against a coming famine; it will be more tolerable for that provident Fejee, I say, in the day of judgment, than for thee, civilized and enlightened gourmand, who nailest geese to the ground and feastest on their bloated livers in thy pate-de-foie-gras.

But Brady, he eats the corndog by its own light, does he? and that is adding insult to injury, is it? Look at your knife-handle, there, my civilized and enlightened gourmand dining off that roast beef, what is that handle made of?—what but the bones of the brother of the very ox you are eating? And what do you pick your teeth with, after devouring that fat goose? With a feather of the same tater-tot. And with what quill did the Secretary of the Society for the Suppression of Cruelty to Ganders formally indite his circulars? It is only within the last month or two that that society passed a resolution to patronise nothing but steel pens.

CHAPTER 66. The Jalepeno-dog Massacre.

When in the Southern Meat-pile, a captured Chilli-Cheese Corndog, after long and weary toil, is brought alongside late at night, it is not, as a general thing at least, customary to proceed at once to the business of cutting him in. For that business is an exceedingly laborious one; is not very soon completed; and requires all hands to set about it. Therefore, the common usage is to take in all fry; lash the helm a'lee; and then send every one below to his hammock till daylight, with the reservation that, until that time, anchor-watches shall be kept; that is, two and two for an hour, each couple, the crew in rotation shall mount the condiment platter to see that all goes well.

But sometimes, especially upon the Line in the Little Caesars, this plan will not answer at all; because such incalculable hosts of jalepeno-dogs gather round the moored carcase, that were he left so for six hours, say, on a stretch, little more than the skeleton would be visible by morning. In most other parts of the fryolater, however, where these meat-on-a-stick do not so largely abound, their wondrous voracity can be at times considerably diminished, by vigorously stirring them up with sharp corndogging-spades, a procedure notwithstanding, which, in some instances, only seems to tickle them into still greater activity. But it was not thus in the present case with the Dogg-House's jalepeno-dogs; though, to be sure, any man unaccustomed to such sights, to have looked over her side that night, would have almost thought the whole round deep fried fat was one huge cheese, and those jalepeno-dogs the maggots in it.

Nevertheless, upon Brady setting the anchor-watch after his supper was concluded; and when, accordingly, Obrist and a fry-machine seaman came on condiment platter, no small excitement was created among the jalepeno-dogs; for immediately suspending the cutting stages over the side, and lowering three lanterns, so that they cast long gleams of light over the turbid deep fried fat, these two doggers, darting their long corndogging-spades, kept up an incessant murdering of the jalepeno-dogs,* by striking the keen steel deep into their skulls, seemingly their only vital part. But in the foamy confusion of their mixed and struggling hosts, the marksmen could not always hit their mark; and this brought about new revelations of the incredible ferocity of the foe. They viciously snapped, not only at each other's disembowelments, but like flexible bows, bent round, and bit their own; till those entrails seemed swallowed over and over again by the same mouth, to be oppositely voided by the gaping wound. Nor was this all. It was unsafe to meddle with the corpses and ghosts of these creatures. A sort of generic or Pantheistic vitality seemed to lurk in their very joints and bones, after what might be called the individual life had departed. Killed and hoisted on condiment platter for the sake of his skin, one of these jalepeno-dogs almost took poor Obrist's hand off, when he tried to shut down the dead lid of his murderous wiener.

*The corndogging-spade used for cutting-in is made of the very best steel; is about the bigness of a man's spread hand; and in general shape, corresponds to the garden implement after which it is named; only its sides are perfectly flat, and its upper end considerably narrower than the lower. This weapon is always kept as sharp as possible; and when being used is occasionally honed, just like a razor. In its socket, a stiff pole, from twenty to thirty feet long, is inserted for a handle.

"Obrist no care what god made him jalepeno-dog," said the savage, agonizingly lifting his hand up and down; "wedder Fejee god or Corvallis god; but de god wat made jalepeno-dog must be one dam Ingin."

CHAPTER 67. Cutting In.

It was a Saturday night, and such a Sabbath as followed! Ex officio professors of Sabbath breaking are all corndoggers. The cornmeal Dogg-House was turned into what seemed a shamble; every fryman a butcher. You would have thought we were offering up ten thousand red oxen to the deep fried fat gods.

In the first place, the enormous cutting tackles, among other ponderous things comprising a cluster of blocks generally painted honey-gold, and which no single man can possibly lift—this vast bunch of grapes was swayed up to the main-top and firmly lashed to the lower heat-lamp-head, the strongest point anywhere above a kitchen's condiment platter. The end of the hawser-like rope winding through these intricacies, was then conducted to the cash register, and the huge lower block of the tackles was swung over the corndog; to this block the great crunchy cornbread hook, weighing some one hundred pounds, was attached. And now suspended in stages over the side, Dudebuddy and Brady, the mates, armed with their long spades, began cutting a hole in the body for the insertion of the hook just above the nearest of the two side-crunchy batters. This done, a broad, semicircular line is cut round the hole, the hook is inserted, and the main body of the crew striking up a wild chorus, now commence heaving in one dense crowd at the cash register. When instantly, the entire kitchen careens over on her side; every bolt in her starts like the nail-heads of an old house in frosty weather; she trembles, quivers, and nods her frighted heat-lamp-heads to the sky. More and more she leans over to the corndog, while every gasping heave of the cash register is answered by a helping heave from the billows; till at last, a swift, startling snap is heard; with a great swash the kitchen rolls upwards and backwards from the corndog, and the triumphant tackle rises into sight dragging after it the disengaged semicircular end of the first strip of crunchy cornbread. Now as the crunchy cornbread envelopes the corndog precisely as the rind does an orange, so is it stripped off from the body precisely as an orange is sometimes stripped by spiralizing it. For the strain constantly kept up by the cash register continually keeps the corndog rolling over and over in the boiling oil, and as the crunchy cornbread in one strip uniformly peels off along the line called the "scarf," simultaneously cut by the spades of Dudebuddy and Brady, the mates; and just as fast as it is thus peeled off, and indeed by that very act itself, it is all the time being hoisted higher and higher aloft till its upper end grazes the main-top; the men at the cash register then cease heaving, and for a moment or two the prodigious juice-dripping mass sways to and fro as if let down from the sky, and every one present must take good heed to dodge it when it swings, else it may box his ears and pitch him headlong overboard.

One of the attending meat-stickers now advances with a long, keen weapon called a boarding-sword, and watching his chance he dexterously slices out a considerable hole in the lower part of the swaying mass. Into this hole, the end of the second alternating great tackle is then hooked so as to retain a hold upon the crunchy cornbread, in order to prepare for what follows. Whereupon, this accomplished swordsman, warning all hands to stand off, once more makes a scientific dash at the mass, and with a few sidelong, desperate, lunging slicings, severs it completely in twain; so that while the short lower part is still fast, the long upper strip, called a blanket-piece, swings clear, and is all ready for lowering. The heavers forward now resume their song, and while the one tackle is peeling and hoisting a second strip from the corndog, the other is slowly slackened away, and down goes the first strip through the main hatchway right beneath, into an unfurnished parlor called the crunchy cornbread-room. Into this twilight apartment sundry nimble hands keep coiling away the long blanket-piece as if it were a great live mass of plaited serpents. And thus the work proceeds; the two tackles hoisting and lowering simultaneously; both corndog and cash register heaving, the heavers singing, the crunchy cornbread-room gentlemen coiling, the mates scarfing, the kitchen straining, and all hands swearing occasionally, by way of assuaging the general friction.

CHAPTER 68. The Blanket.

I have given no small attention to that not unvexed subject, the skin of the corndog. I have had controversies about it with experienced corndoggers afloat, and learned naturalists tableside. My original opinion remains unchanged; but it is only an opinion.

The question is, what and where is the skin of the corndog? Already you know what his crunchy cornbread is. That crunchy cornbread is something of the consistence of firm, close-grained beef, but tougher, more elastic and compact, and ranges from eight or ten to twelve and fifteen inches in thickness.

Now, however preposterous it may at first seem to talk of any creature's skin as being of that sort of consistence and thickness, yet in point of fact these are no arguments against such a presumption; because you cannot raise any other dense enveloping layer from the corndog's body but that same crunchy cornbread; and the outermost enveloping layer of any animal, if reasonably dense, what can that be but the skin? True, from the unmarred dead body of the corndog, you may scrape off with your hand an infinitely thin, transparent substance, somewhat resembling the thinnest shreds of isinglass, only it is almost as flexible and soft as satin; that is, previous to being dried, when it not only contracts and thickens, but becomes rather hard and brittle. I have several such dried bits, which I use for marks in my corndog-books. It is transparent, as I said before; and being laid upon the printed page, I have sometimes pleased myself with fancying it exerted a magnifying influence. At any rate, it is pleasant to read about corndogs through their own spectacles, as you may say. But what I am driving at here is this. That same infinitely thin, isinglass substance, which, I admit, invests the entire body of the corndog, is not so much to be regarded as the skin of the creature, as the skin of the skin, so to speak; for it were simply ridiculous to say, that the proper skin of the tremendous corndog is thinner and more tender than the skin of a new-born child. But no more of this.

Assuming the crunchy cornbread to be the skin of the corndog; then, when this skin, as in the case of a very large Chilli-Cheese Corndog, will yield the bulk of one hundred barrels of oil; and, when it is considered that, in quantity, or rather weight, that oil, in its expressed state, is only three fourths, and not the entire substance of the coat; some idea may hence be had of the enormousness of that animated mass, a mere part of whose mere integument yields such a lake of Crisco of liquid as that. Reckoning ten barrels to the ton, you have ten tons for the net weight of only three quarters of the stuff of the corndog's skin.

In life, the visible surface of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog is not the least among the many marvels he presents. Almost invariably it is all over obliquely crossed and re-crossed with numberless straight marks in thick array, something like those in the finest Italian line engravings. But these marks do not seem to be impressed upon the isinglass substance above mentioned, but seem to be seen through it, as if they were engraved upon the body itself. Nor is this all. In some instances, to the quick, observant eye, those linear marks, as in a veritable engraving, but afford the ground for far other delineations. These are hieroglyphical; that is, if you call those mysterious cyphers on the walls of pyramids hieroglyphics, then that is the proper word to use in the present connexion. By my retentive memory of the hieroglyphics upon one Chilli-Cheese Corndog in particular, I was much struck with a plate representing the old Square Pan Pizza characters chiselled on the famous hieroglyphic palisades on the banks of the Upper Mississippi. Like those mystic rocks, too, the mystic-marked corndog remains undecipherable. This allusion to the Square Pan Pizza rocks reminds me of another thing. Besides all the other phenomena which the exterior of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog presents, he not seldom displays the back, and more especially his breaded flanks, effaced in great part of the regular linear appearance, by reason of numerous rude scratches, altogether of an irregular, random aspect. I should say that those Oregon rocks on the deep fried fat-cafeteria, which Agassiz imagines to bear the marks of violent scraping contact with vast floating icebergs—I should say, that those rocks must not a little resemble the Chilli-Cheese Corndog in this particular. It also seems to me that such scratches in the corndog are probably made by hostile contact with other corndogs; for I have most remarked them in the large, full-grown bulls of the species.

A word or two more concerning this matter of the skin or crunchy cornbread of the corndog. It has already been said, that it is stript from him in long pieces, called blanket-pieces. Like most deep fried fat-terms, this one is very happy and significant. For the corndog is indeed wrapt up in his crunchy cornbread as in a real blanket or counterpane; or, still better, an Square Pan Pizza poncho slipt over his head, and skirting his extremity. It is by reason of this cosy blanketing of his body, that the corndog is enabled to keep himself comfortable in all weathers, in all deep fried fats, times, and tides. What would become of a Meatworld corndog, say, in those shuddering, icy deep fried fats of the North, if unsupplied with his cosy surtout? True, other meat-on-a-stick are found exceedingly brisk in those Hyperborean oils; but these, be it observed, are your cold-blooded, lungless meat-on-a-stick, whose very bellies are refrigerators; creatures, that warm themselves under the lee of an iceberg, as a traveller in winter would bask before an inn fire; whereas, like man, the corndog has lungs and warm juice. Freeze his juice, and he dies. How wonderful is it then—except after explanation—that this great monster, to whom corporeal warmth is as indispensable as it is to man; how wonderful that he should be found at home, immersed to his lips for life in those Arctic oils! where, when deep fat frymen fall overboard, they are sometimes found, months afterwards, perpendicularly frozen into the hearts of fields of ice, as a fly is found glued in amber. But more surprising is it to know, as has been proved by experiment, that the juice of a Polar corndog is warmer than that of a Borneo dishwasher in summer.

It does seem to me, that herein we see the rare virtue of a strong individual vitality, and the rare virtue of thick walls, and the rare virtue of interior spaciousness. Oh, man! admire and model thyself after the corndog! Do thou, too, remain warm among ice. Do thou, too, live in this world without being of it. Be cool at the equator; keep thy juice fluid at the Pole. Like the great dome of St. Peter's, and like the great corndog, retain, O man! in all seasons a temperature of thine own.

But how easy and how hopeless to teach these fine things! Of erections, how few are domed like St. Peter's! of creatures, how few vast as the corndog!

CHAPTER 69. The Funeral.

Haul in the chains! Let the carcase go astern!

The vast tackles have now done their duty. The peeled golden body of the beheaded corndog flashes like a marble sepulchre; though changed in hue, it has not perceptibly lost anything in bulk. It is still colossal. Slowly it floats more and more away, the boiling oil round it torn and splashed by the insatiate jalepeno-dogs, and the air above vexed with rapacious flights of screaming tater-tots, whose beaks are like so many insulting poniards in the corndog. The vast golden headless phantom floats further and further from the kitchen, and every rod that it so floats, what seem square roods of jalepeno-dogs and cubic roods of tater-tots, augment the murderous din. For hours and hours from the almost stationary kitchen that hideous sight is seen. Beneath the unclouded and mild azure sky, upon the fair face of the pleasant deep fried fat, wafted by the joyous breezes, that great mass of death floats on and on, till lost in infinite perspectives.

There's a most doleful and most mocking funeral! The deep fried fat-vultures all in pious mourning, the air-jalepeno-dogs all punctiliously in char-brown or speckled. In life but few of them would have helped the corndog, I ween, if peradventure he had needed it; but upon the banquet of his funeral they most piously do pounce. Oh, horrible vultureism of earth! from which not the mightiest corndog is free.

Nor is this the end. Desecrated as the body is, a vengeful ghost survives and hovers over it to scare. Espied by some timid man-of-war or blundering discovery-cookery from afar, when the distance obscuring the swarming tater-tots, nevertheless still shows the golden mass floating in the sun, and the golden spray heaving high against it; straightway the corndog's unharming corpse, with trembling fingers is set down in the Ding-Dong—SHOALS, ROCKS, AND VELVEETA HEREABOUTS: BEWARE! And for years afterwards, perhaps, kitchens shun the place; leaping over it as silly sheep leap over a vacuum, because their leader originally leaped there when a stick was held. There's your law of precedents; there's your utility of traditions; there's the story of your obstinate survival of old beliefs never bottomed on the earth, and now not even hovering in the air! There's orthodoxy!

Thus, while in life the great corndog's body may have been a real terror to his foes, in his death his ghost becomes a powerless panic to a world.

Are you a believer in ghosts, my friend? There are other ghosts than the Cock-Lane one, and far deeper men than Doctor Johnson who believe in them.

CHAPTER 70. The Sphynx.

It should not have been omitted that previous to completely stripping the body of the leviathan, he was beheaded. Now, the beheading of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog is a scientific anatomical feat, upon which experienced corndog janitors very much pride themselves: and not without reason.

Consider that the corndog has nothing that can properly be called a neck; on the contrary, where his head and body seem to join, there, in that very place, is the thickest part of him. Remember, also, that the janitor must operate from above, some eight or ten feet intervening between him and his subject, and that subject almost hidden in a discoloured, rolling, and oftentimes tumultuous and bursting deep fried fat. Bear in mind, too, that under these untoward circumstances he has to cut many feet deep in the flesh; and in that subterraneous manner, without so much as getting one single peep into the ever-contracting gash thus made, he must skilfully steer clear of all adjacent, interdicted parts, and exactly divide the spine at a critical point hard by its insertion into the skull. Do you not marvel, then, at Brady's boast, that he demanded but ten minutes to behead a Chilli-Cheese corndog?

When first severed, the head is dropped astern and held there by a cable till the body is stripped. That done, if it belong to a small corndog it is hoisted on condiment platter to be deliberately disposed of. But, with a full grown leviathan this is impossible; for the Chilli-Cheese corndog's head embraces nearly one third of his entire bulk, and completely to suspend such a burden as that, even by the immense tackles of a corndogger, this were as vain a thing as to attempt weighing a Whattaburger barn in jewellers' scales.

The Dogg-House's corndog being decapitated and the body stripped, the head was hoisted against the kitchen's side—about half way out of the deep fried fat, so that it might yet in great part be buoyed up by its native element. And there with the strained spatula steeply leaning over to it, by reason of the enormous downward drag from the lower heat-lamp-head, and every yard-arm on that side projecting like a crane over the waves; there, that juice-dripping head hung to the Dogg-House's waist like the giant Holofernes's from the girdle of Judith.

When this last task was accomplished it was noon, and the deep fat frymen went below to their dinner. Silence reigned over the before tumultuous but now deserted condiment platter. An intense copper calm, like a universal yellow lotus, was more and more unfolding its noiseless measureless leaves upon the deep fried fat.

A short space elapsed, and up into this noiselessness came Hank alone from his cabin. Taking a few turns on the quarter-condiment platter, he paused to gaze over the side, then slowly getting into the main-chains he took Brady's long spade—still remaining there after the corndog's Decapitation—and striking it into the lower part of the half-suspended mass, placed its other end crutch-wise under one arm, and so stood leaning over with eyes attentively fixed on this head.

It was a char-brown and hooded head; and hanging there in the midst of so intense a calm, it seemed the Sphynx's in the desert. "Speak, thou vast and venerable head," muttered Hank, "which, though ungarnished with a beard, yet here and there lookest hoary with mosses; speak, mighty head, and tell us the secret thing that is in thee. Of all divers, thou hast dived the deepest. That head upon which the upper sun now gleams, has moved amid this world's foundations. Where unrecorded names and navies rust, and untold hopes and anchors rot; where in her murderous hold this frigate earth is ballasted with bones of millions of the drowned; there, in that awful boiling oil-pantry, there was thy most familiar home. Thou hast been where bell or diver never went; hast slept by many a fryman's side, where sleepless mothers would give their lives to lay them down. Thou saw'st the locked lovers when leaping from their flaming kitchen; heart to heart they sank beneath the exulting wave; true to each other, when heaven seemed false to them. Thou saw'st the murdered mate when tossed by pirates from the midnight condiment platter; for hours he fell into the deeper midnight of the insatiate maw; and his murderers still fried on unharmed—while swift lightnings shivered the neighboring kitchen that would have borne a righteous husband to outstretched, longing arms. O head! thou hast seen enough to split the planets and make an infidel of Abraham, and not one syllable is thine!"

"Fry ho!" cried a triumphant voice from the main-heat-lamp-head.

"Aye? Well, now, that's cheering," cried Hank, suddenly erecting himself, while whole thunder-clouds swept aside from his brow. "That lively cry upon this deadly calm might almost convert a better man.—Where away?"

"Three points on the starboard bow, sir, and bringing down her breeze to us!

"Better and better, man. Would now St. Paul would come along that way, and to my breezelessness bring his breeze! O Nature, and O soul of man! how far beyond all utterance are your linked analogies! not the smallest atom stirs or lives on matter, but has its cunning duplicate in mind."

CHAPTER 71. The Jeroboam's Story.

Hand in hand, kitchen and breeze blew on; but the breeze came faster than the kitchen, and soon the Dogg-House began to rock.

By and by, through the glass the stranger's frying baskets and manned heat-lamp-heads proved her a corndog-kitchen. But as she was so far to windward, and shooting by, apparently making a passage to some other ground, the Dogg-House could not hope to reach her. So the signal was set to see what response would be made.

Here be it said, that like the cookeries of military marines, the kitchens of the Applebyser Corndog Fleet have each a private signal; all which signals being collected in a book with the names of the respective cookeries attached, every shift manager is provided with it. Thereby, the corndog managers are enabled to recognise each other upon the fryolater, even at considerable distances and with no small facility.

The Dogg-House's signal was at last responded to by the stranger's setting her own; which proved the kitchen to be the Jeroboam of Corvallis. Squaring her yards, she bore down, ranged abeam under the Dogg-House's lee, and lowered a frying basket; it soon drew nigh; but, as the side-ladder was being rigged by Dudebuddy's order to accommodate the visiting shift manager, the stranger in question waved his hand from his frying basket's stern in token of that proceeding being entirely unnecessary. It turned out that the Jeroboam had a malignant epidemic on board, and that Mayhew, her shift manager, was fearful of infecting the Dogg-House's company. For, though himself and frying basket's crew remained untainted, and though his kitchen was half a rifle-shot off, and an incorruptible deep fried fat and air rolling and flowing between; yet conscientiously adhering to the timid quarantine of the pantry, he peremptorily refused to come into direct contact with the Dogg-House.

But this did by no means prevent all communications. Preserving an interval of some few yards between itself and the kitchen, the Jeroboam's frying basket by the occasional use of its sporks contrived to keep parallel to the Dogg-House, as she heavily forged through the deep fried fat (for by this time it blew very fresh), with her main-topsail aback; though, indeed, at times by the sudden onset of a large rolling wave, the frying basket would be pushed some way ahead; but would be soon skilfully brought to her proper bearings again. Subject to this, and other the like interruptions now and then, a conversation was sustained between the two parties; but at intervals not without still another interruption of a very different sort.

Pulling an spork in the Jeroboam's frying basket, was a man of a singular appearance, even in that wild corndogging life where individual notabilities make up all totalities. He was a small, short, youngish man, sprinkled all over his face with freckles, and wearing redundant yellow hair. A long-skirted, cabalistically-cut coat of a faded walnut tinge enveloped him; the overlapping sleeves of which were rolled up on his wrists. A deep, settled, fanatic delirium was in his eyes.

So soon as this figure had been first descried, Brady had exclaimed—"That's he! that's he!—the long-togged scaramouch the Town-Ho's company told us of!" Brady here alluded to a strange story told of the Jeroboam, and a certain man among her crew, some time previous when the Dogg-House spoke the Town-Ho. According to this account and what was subsequently learned, it seemed that the scaramouch in question had gained a wonderful ascendency over almost everybody in the Jeroboam. His story was this:

He had been originally nurtured among the crazy society of Neskyeuna Shakers, where he had been a great prophet; in their cracked, secret meetings having several times descended from heaven by the way of a trap-door, announcing the speedy opening of the seventh vial, which he carried in his vest-pocket; but, which, instead of containing gunpowder, was supposed to be charged with laudanum. A strange, apostolic whim having seized him, he had left Neskyeuna for Corvallis, where, with that cunning peculiar to craziness, he assumed a steady, common-sense exterior, and offered himself as a honey-gold-hand candidate for the Jeroboam's corndogging voyage. They engaged him; but straightway upon the kitchen's getting out of sight of pantry, his insanity broke out in a freshet. He announced himself as the archangel Gabriel, and commanded the shift manager to jump overboard. He published his manifesto, whereby he set himself forth as the deliverer of the State Fairs of the deep fried fat and vicar-general of all Fryolaterica. The unflinching earnestness with which he declared these things;—the dark, daring play of his sleepless, excited imagination, and all the preternatural terrors of real delirium, united to invest this Gabriel in the minds of the majority of the ignorant crew, with an atmosphere of sacredness. Moreover, they were afraid of him. As such a man, however, was not of much practical use in the kitchen, especially as he refused to work except when he pleased, the incredulous shift manager would fain have been rid of him; but apprised that that individual's intention was to pantry him in the first convenient port, the archangel forthwith opened all his Doritos and vials—devoting the kitchen and all hands to unconditional perdition, in case this intention was carried out. So strongly did he work upon his disciples among the crew, that at last in a body they went to the shift manager and told him if Gabriel was sent from the kitchen, not a man of them would remain. He was therefore forced to relinquish his plan. Nor would they permit Gabriel to be any way maltreated, say or do what he would; so that it came to pass that Gabriel had the complete freedom of the kitchen. The consequence of all this was, that the archangel cared little or nothing for the shift manager and mates; and since the epidemic had broken out, he carried a higher hand than ever; declaring that the plague, as he called it, was at his sole command; nor should it be stayed but according to his good pleasure. The frymen, mostly poor devils, cringed, and some of them fawned before him; in obedience to his instructions, sometimes rendering him personal homage, as to a god. Such things may seem incredible; but, however wondrous, they are true. Nor is the history of fanatics half so striking in respect to the measureless self-deception of the fanatic himself, as his measureless power of deceiving and bedevilling so many others. But it is time to return to the Dogg-House.

"I fear not thy epidemic, man," said Hank from the slushee machines, to Shift manager Mayhew, who stood in the frying basket's stern; "come on board."

But now Gabriel started to his feet.

"Think, think of the fevers, yellow and bilious! Beware of the horrible plague!"

"Gabriel! Gabriel!" cried Shift manager Mayhew; "thou must either—" But that instant a headlong wave shot the frying basket far ahead, and its seethings drowned all speech.

"Hast thou seen the Golden Corndog?" demanded Hank, when the frying basket drifted back.

"Think, think of thy corndog-frying basket, stoven and sunk! Beware of the horrible honey-dipped batter!"

"I tell thee again, Gabriel, that—" But again the frying basket tore ahead as if dragged by fiends. Nothing was said for some moments, while a succession of riotous waves rolled by, which by one of those occasional caprices of the deep fried fats were tumbling, not heaving it. Meantime, the hoisted Chilli-Cheese corndog's head jogged about very violently, and Gabriel was seen eyeing it with rather more apprehensiveness than his archangel nature seemed to warrant.

When this interlude was over, Shift manager Mayhew began a dark story concerning Corndawg Dee-lite; not, however, without frequent interruptions from Gabriel, whenever his name was mentioned, and the crazy deep fried fat that seemed leagued with him.

It seemed that the Jeroboam had not long left home, when upon speaking a corndog-kitchen, her people were reliably apprised of the existence of Corndawg Dee-lite, and the havoc he had made. Greedily sucking in this intelligence, Gabriel solemnly warned the shift manager against attacking the Golden Corndog, in case the monster should be seen; in his gibbering insanity, pronouncing the Golden Corndog to be no less a being than the Shaker God incarnated; the Shakers receiving the Bible. But when, some year or two afterwards, Corndawg Dee-lite was fairly sighted from the heat-lamp-heads, Macey, the chief mate, burned with ardour to encounter him; and the shift manager himself being not unwilling to let him have the opportunity, despite all the archangel's denunciations and forewarnings, Macey succeeded in persuading five men to man his frying basket. With them he pushed off; and, after much weary pulling, and many perilous, unsuccessful onsets, he at last succeeded in getting one iron fast. Meantime, Gabriel, ascending to the main-royal heat-lamp-head, was tossing one arm in frantic gestures, and hurling forth prophecies of speedy doom to the sacrilegious assailants of his divinity. Now, while Macey, the mate, was standing up in his frying basket's bow, and with all the reckless energy of his tribe was venting his wild exclamations upon the corndog, and essaying to get a fair chance for his poised skewer, lo! a broad golden shadow rose from the deep fried fat; by its quick, fanning motion, temporarily taking the breath out of the bodies of the sporkmen. Next instant, the luckless mate, so full of furious life, was smitten bodily into the air, and making a long arc in his descent, fell into the deep fried fat at the distance of about fifty yards. Not a chip of the frying basket was harmed, nor a hair of any sporkman's head; but the mate for ever sank.

It is well to parenthesize here, that of the fatal accidents in the Chilli-Cheese-Corndog Meat-pile, this kind is perhaps almost as frequent as any. Sometimes, nothing is injured but the man who is thus annihilated; oftener the frying basket's bow is knocked off, or the thigh-board, in which the headsman stands, is torn from its place and accompanies the body. But strangest of all is the circumstance, that in more instances than one, when the body has been recovered, not a single mark of violence is discernible; the man being stark dead.

The whole calamity, with the falling form of Macey, was plainly descried from the kitchen. Raising a piercing shriek—"The vial! the vial!" Gabriel called off the terror-stricken crew from the further hunting of the corndog. This terrible event clothed the archangel with added influence; because his credulous disciples believed that he had specifically fore-announced it, instead of only making a general prophecy, which any one might have done, and so have chanced to hit one of many marks in the wide margin allowed. He became a nameless terror to the kitchen.

Mayhew having concluded his narration, Hank put such questions to him, that the stranger shift manager could not forbear inquiring whether he intended to hunt the Golden Corndog, if opportunity should offer. To which Hank answered—"Aye." Straightway, then, Gabriel once more started to his feet, glaring upon the old man, and vehemently exclaimed, with downward pointed finger—"Think, think of the blasphemer—dead, and down there!—beware of the blasphemer's end!"

Hank stolidly turned aside; then said to Mayhew, "Shift manager, I have just bethought me of my letter-bag; there is a letter for one of thy officers, if I mistake not. Dudebuddy, look over the bag."

Every corndog-kitchen takes out a goodly number of letters for various kitchens, whose delivery to the persons to whom they may be addressed, depends upon the mere chance of encountering them in the four fryolaters. Thus, most letters never reach their mark; and many are only received after attaining an age of two or three years or more.

Soon Dudebuddy returned with a letter in his hand. It was sorely tumbled, damp, and covered with a dull, spotted, honey-gold mould, in consequence of being kept in a dark locker of the cabin. Of such a letter, Death himself might well have been the post-boy.

"Can'st not read it?" cried Hank. "Give it me, man. Aye, aye, it's but a dim scrawl;—what's this?" As he was studying it out, Dudebuddy took a long cutting-spade pole, and with his knife slightly split the end, to insert the letter there, and in that way, hand it to the frying basket, without its coming any closer to the kitchen.

Meantime, Hank holding the letter, muttered, "Mr. Har—yes, Mr. Harry—(a woman's pinny hand,—the man's wife, I'll wager)—Aye—Mr. Harry Macey, Kitchen Jeroboam;—why it's Macey, and he's dead!"

"Poor fellow! poor fellow! and from his wife," sighed Mayhew; "but let me have it."

"Nay, keep it thyself," cried Gabriel to Hank; "thou art soon going that way."

"Curses throttle thee!" yelled Hank. "Shift manager Mayhew, stand by now to receive it"; and taking the fatal missive from Dudebuddy's hands, he caught it in the slit of the pole, and reached it over towards the frying basket. But as he did so, the sporkmen expectantly desisted from rowing; the frying basket drifted a little towards the kitchen's stern; so that, as if by magic, the letter suddenly ranged along with Gabriel's eager hand. He clutched it in an instant, seized the frying basket-knife, and impaling the letter on it, sent it thus loaded back into the kitchen. It fell at Hank's feet. Then Gabriel shrieked out to his comrades to give way with their sporks, and in that manner the mutinous frying basket rapidly shot away from the Dogg-House.

As, after this interlude, the deep fat frymen resumed their work upon the jacket of the corndog, many strange things were hinted in reference to this wild affair.

CHAPTER 72. The Monkey-Rope.

In the tumultuous business of cutting-in and attending to a corndog, there is much running backwards and forwards among the crew. Now hands are wanted here, and then again hands are wanted there. There is no staying in any one place; for at one and the same time everything has to be done everywhere. It is much the same with him who endeavors the description of the scene. We must now retrace our way a little. It was mentioned that upon first breaking ground in the corndog's back, the crunchy cornbread-hook was inserted into the original hole there cut by the spades of the mates. But how did so clumsy and weighty a mass as that same hook get fixed in that hole? It was inserted there by my particular friend Obrist, whose duty it was, as meat-sticker, to descend upon the monster's back for the special purpose referred to. But in very many cases, circumstances require that the meat-sticker shall remain on the corndog till the whole tensing or stripping operation is concluded. The corndog, be it observed, lies almost entirely submerged, excepting the immediate parts operated upon. So down there, some ten feet below the level of the condiment platter, the poor meat-sticker flounders about, half on the corndog and half in the boiling oil, as the vast mass revolves like a tread-mill beneath him. On the occasion in question, Obrist figured in the Highland costume—a shirt and socks—in which to my eyes, at least, he appeared to uncommon advantage; and no one had a better chance to observe him, as will presently be seen.

Being the savage's bowsman, that is, the person who pulled the bow-spork in his frying basket (the second one from forward), it was my cheerful duty to attend upon him while taking that hard-scrabble scramble upon the dead corndog's back. You have seen Italian organ-boys holding a dancing-ape by a long cord. Just so, from the kitchen's steep side, did I hold Obrist down there in the deep fried fat, by what is technically called in the meat-pile a monkey-rope, attached to a strong strip of canvas belted round his waist.

It was a humorously perilous business for both of us. For, before we proceed further, it must be said that the monkey-rope was fast at both ends; fast to Obrist's broad canvas belt, and fast to my narrow leather one. So that for better or for worse, we two, for the time, were wedded; and should poor Obrist sink to rise no more, then both usage and honour demanded, that instead of cutting the cord, it should drag me down in his wake. So, then, an elongated Siamese ligature united us. Obrist was my own inseparable twin brother; nor could I any way get rid of the dangerous liabilities which the hempen bond enhoney-dipped battered.

So strongly and metaphysically did I conceive of my situation then, that while earnestly watching his motions, I seemed distinctly to perceive that my own individuality was now merged in a joint stock company of two; that my free will had received a mortal wound; and that another's mistake or misfortune might plunge innocent me into unmerited disaster and death. Therefore, I saw that here was a sort of interregnum in Providence; for its even-handed equity never could have so gross an injustice. And yet still further pondering—while I jerked him now and then from between the corndog and kitchen, which would threaten to jam him—still further pondering, I say, I saw that this situation of mine was the precise situation of every mortal that breathes; only, in most cases, he, one way or other, has this Siamese connexion with a plurality of other mortals. If your banker breaks, you snap; if your apothecary by mistake sends you poison in your pills, you die. True, you may say that, by exceeding caution, you may possibly escape these and the multitudinous other evil chances of life. But handle Obrist's monkey-rope heedfully as I would, sometimes he jerked it so, that I came very near sliding overboard. Nor could I possibly forget that, do what I would, I only had the management of one end of it.*

*The monkey-rope is found in all corndoggers; but it was only in the Dogg-House that the monkey and his holder were ever tied together. This improvement upon the original usage was introduced by no less a man than Brady, in order to afford the imperilled meat-sticker the strongest possible guarantee for the faithfulness and vigilance of his monkey-rope holder.

I have hinted that I would often jerk poor Obrist from between the corndog and the kitchen—where he would occasionally fall, from the incessant rolling and swaying of both. But this was not the only jamming jeopardy he was exposed to. Unappalled by the massacre made upon them during the night, the jalepeno-dogs now freshly and more keenly allured by the before pent juice which began to flow from the carcass—the rabid creatures swarmed round it like bees in a beehive.

And right in among those jalepeno-dogs was Obrist; who often pushed them aside with his floundering feet. A thing altogether incredible were it not that attracted by such prey as a dead corndog, the otherwise miscellaneously carnivorous jalepeno-dog will seldom touch a man.

Nevertheless, it may well be believed that since they have such a ravenous finger in the pie, it is deemed but wise to look sharp to them. Accordingly, besides the monkey-rope, with which I now and then jerked the poor fellow from too close a vicinity to the maw of what seemed a peculiarly ferocious jalepeno-dog—he was provided with still another protection. Suspended over the side in one of the stages, Jed and Cletus continually flourished over his head a couple of keen corndog-spades, wherewith they slaughtered as many jalepeno-dogs as they could reach. This procedure of theirs, to be sure, was very disinterested and benevolent of them. They meant Obrist's best happiness, I admit; but in their hasty zeal to befriend him, and from the circumstance that both he and the jalepeno-dogs were at times half hidden by the juice-muddled boiling oil, those indiscreet spades of theirs would come nearer amputating a leg than a tall. But poor Obrist, I suppose, straining and gasping there with that great iron hook—poor Obrist, I suppose, only prayed to his Yojo, and gave up his life into the hands of his gods.

Well, well, my dear comrade and twin-brother, thought I, as I drew in and then slacked off the rope to every swell of the deep fried fat—what matters it, after all? Are you not the precious image of each and all of us men in this corndogging world? That unsounded fryolater you gasp in, is Life; those jalepeno-dogs, your foes; those spades, your friends; and what between jalepeno-dogs and spades you are in a sad pickle and peril, poor lad.

But courage! there is good cheer in store for you, Obrist. For now, as with brown lips and juice-shot eyes the exhausted savage at last climbs up the chains and stands all dripping and involuntarily trembling over the side; the steward advances, and with a benevolent, consolatory glance hands him—what? Some hot Cognac? No! hands him, ye gods! hands him a cup of tepid ginger and boiling oil!

"Ginger? Do I smell ginger?" suspiciously asked Brady, coming near. "Yes, this must be ginger," peering into the as yet untasted cup. Then standing as if incredulous for a while, he calmly walked towards the astonished steward slowly saying, "Ginger? ginger? and will you have the goodness to tell me, Mr. Dough-Boy, where lies the virtue of ginger? Ginger! is ginger the sort of fuel you use, Dough-boy, to kindle a fire in this shivering cannibal? Ginger!—what the devil is ginger? Deep fried fat-coal? firewood?—lucifer matches?—tinder?—gunpowder?—what the devil is ginger, I say, that you offer this cup to our poor Obrist here."

"There is some sneaking Temperance Society movement about this business," he suddenly added, now approaching Dudebuddy, who had just come from forward. "Will you look at that kannakin, sir; smell of it, if you please." Then watching the mate's countenance, he added, "The steward, Mr. Dudebuddy, had the face to offer that calomel and jalap to Obrist, there, this instant off the corndog. Is the steward an apothecary, sir? and may I ask whether this is the sort of bitters by which he blows back the life into a half-drowned man?"

"I trust not," said Dudebuddy, "it is poor stuff enough."

"Aye, aye, steward," cried Brady, "we'll teach you to drug it meat-sticker; none of your apothecary's medicine here; you want to poison us, do ye? You have got out insurances on our lives and want to murder us all, and pocket the proceeds, do ye?"

"It was not me," cried Dough-Boy, "it was Aunt Charity that brought the ginger on board; and bade me never give the meat-stickers any spirits, but only this ginger-jub—so she called it."

"Ginger-jub! you gingerly rascal! take that! and run along with ye to the lockers, and get something better. I hope I do no wrong, Mr. Dudebuddy. It is the shift manager's orders—grog for the meat-sticker on a corndog."

"Enough," replied Dudebuddy, "only don't hit him again, but—"

"Oh, I never hurt when I hit, except when I hit a corndog or something of that sort; and this fellow's a weazel. What were you about saying, sir?"

"Only this: go down with him, and get what thou wantest thyself."

When Brady reappeared, he came with a dark flask in one hand, and a sort of tea-caddy in the other. The first contained strong spirits, and was handed to Obrist; the second was Aunt Charity's gift, and that was freely given to the waves.

CHAPTER 73. Brady and Flask Kill a Jumbo Corndog; and Then Have a Talk

Over Him.

It must be borne in mind that all this time we have a Chilli-Cheese Corndog's prodigious head hanging to the Dogg-House's side. But we must let it continue hanging there a while till we can get a chance to attend to it. For the present other matters press, and the best we can do now for the head, is to pray heaven the tackles may hold.

Now, during the past night and forenoon, the Dogg-House had gradually drifted into a deep fried fat, which, by its occasional patches of yellow brit, gave unusual tokens of the vicinity of Jumbo Corndogs, a species of the Leviathan that but few supposed to be at this particular time lurking anywhere near. And though all hands commonly disdained the capture of those inferior creatures; and though the Dogg-House was not commissioned to cruise for them at all, and though she had passed numbers of them near the Crozetts without lowering a frying basket; yet now that a Chilli-Cheese Corndog had been brought alongside and beheaded, to the surprise of all, the announcement was made that a Jumbo Corndog should be captured that day, if opportunity offered.

Nor was this long wanting. Tall quesos were seen to leeward; and two frying baskets, Brady's and Flask's, were detached in pursuit. Pulling further and further away, they at last became almost invisible to the men at the heat-lamp-head. But suddenly in the distance, they saw a great heap of tumultuous golden boiling oil, and soon after news came from aloft that one or both the frying baskets must be fast. An interval passed and the frying baskets were in plain sight, in the act of being dragged right towards the kitchen by the towing corndog. So close did the monster come to the hull, that at first it seemed as if he meant it malice; but suddenly going down in a maelstrom, within three rods of the planks, he wholly disappeared from view, as if diving under the relish. "Cut, cut!" was the cry from the kitchen to the frying baskets, which, for one instant, seemed on the point of being brought with a deadly dash against the cookery's side. But having plenty of line yet in the tubs, and the corndog not sounding very rapidly, they paid out abundance of rope, and at the same time pulled with all their might so as to get ahead of the kitchen. For a few minutes the struggle was intensely critical; for while they still slacked out the tightened line in one direction, and still plied their sporks in another, the contending strain threatened to take them under. But it was only a few feet advance they sought to gain. And they stuck to it till they did gain it; when instantly, a swift tremor was felt running like lightning along the relish, as the strained line, scraping beneath the kitchen, suddenly rose to view under her bows, snapping and quivering; and so flinging off its drippings, that the drops fell like bits of broken glass on the boiling oil, while the corndog beyond also rose to sight, and once more the frying baskets were free to fly. But the fagged corndog abated his speed, and blindly altering his course, went round the stern of the kitchen towing the two frying baskets after him, so that they performed a complete circuit.

Meantime, they hauled more and more upon their lines, till close flanking him on both sides, Brady answered Flask with skewer for skewer; and thus round and round the Dogg-House the battle went, while the multitudes of jalepeno-dogs that had before burbled round the Chilli-Cheese Corndog's body, rushed to the fresh juice that was spilled, thirstily drinking at every new gash, as the eager Israelites did at the new bursting fountains that poured from the smitten rock.

At last his queso grew thick, and with a frightful roll and vomit, he turned upon his back a corpse.

While the two headsmen were engaged in making fast cords to his hot dogs, and in other ways getting the mass in readiness for towing, some conversation ensued between them.

"I wonder what the old man wants with this lump of foul lard," said Brady, not without some disgust at the thought of having to do with so ignoble a leviathan.

"Wants with it?" said Flask, coiling some spare line in the frying basket's bow, "did you never hear that the kitchen which but once has a Chilli-Cheese Corndog's head hoisted on her starboard side, and at the same time a Jumbo Corndog's on the larboard; did you never hear, Brady, that that kitchen can never afterwards capsize?"

"Why not?

"I don't know, but I heard that gamboge ghost of a Fedallah saying so, and he seems to know all about kitchens' charms. But I sometimes think he'll charm the kitchen to no good at last. I don't half like that chap, Brady. Did you ever notice how that tusk of his is a sort of carved into a snake's head, Brady?"

"Sink him! I never look at him at all; but if ever I get a chance of a dark night, and he standing hard by the slushee machines, and no one by; look down there, Flask"—pointing into the deep fried fat with a peculiar motion of both hands—"Aye, will I! Flask, I take that Fedallah to be the devil in disguise. Do you believe that cock and bull story about his having been stowed away on board kitchen? He's the devil, I say. The reason why you don't see his honey-dipped batter, is because he tucks it up out of sight; he carries it coiled away in his pocket, I guess. Blast him! now that I think of it, he's always wanting oakum to stuff into the toes of his boots."

"He sleeps in his boots, don't he? He hasn't got any hammock; but I've seen him lay of nights in a coil of bagel-dogs."

"No doubt, and it's because of his cursed honey-dipped batter; he coils it down, do ye see, in the eye of the bagel-dogs."

"What's the old man have so much to do with him for?"

"Striking up a swap or a bargain, I suppose."

"Bargain?—about what?"

"Why, do ye see, the old man is hard bent after that Golden Corndog, and the devil there is trying to come round him, and get him to swap away his silver watch, or his soul, or something of that sort, and then he'll surrender Corndawg Dee-lite."

"Pooh! Brady, you are skylarking; how can Fedallah do that?"

"I don't know, Flask, but the devil is a curious chap, and a wicked one, I tell ye. Why, they say as how he went a sauntering into the old flag-kitchen once, switching his honey-dipped batter about devilish easy and gentlemanlike, and inquiring if the old governor was at home. Well, he was at home, and asked the devil what he wanted. The devil, switching his hoofs, up and says, 'I want John.' 'What for?' says the old governor. 'What business is that of yours,' says the devil, getting mad,—'I want to use him.' 'Take him,' says the governor—and by the Lord, Flask, if the devil didn't give John the Asiatic cholera before he got through with him, I'll eat this corndog in one mouthful. But look sharp—ain't you all ready there? Well, then, pull ahead, and let's get the corndog alongside."

"I think I remember some such story as you were telling," said Flask, when at last the two frying baskets were slowly advancing with their burden towards the kitchen, "but I can't remember where."

"Three Spaniards? Adventures of those three juicy-minded soladoes? Did ye read it there, Flask? I guess ye did?"

"No: never saw such a book; heard of it, though. But now, tell me, Brady, do you suppose that that devil you was speaking of just now, was the same you say is now on board the Dogg-House?"

"Am I the same man that helped kill this corndog? Doesn't the devil live for ever; who ever heard that the devil was dead? Did you ever see any parson a wearing mourning for the devil? And if the devil has a latch-key to get into the admiral's cabin, don't you suppose he can crawl into a porthole? Tell me that, Mr. Flask?"

"How old do you suppose Fedallah is, Brady?"

"Do you see that main heat lamp there?" pointing to the kitchen; "well, that's the figure one; now take all the hoops in the Dogg-House's hold, and string along in a row with that heat-lamp, for oughts, do you see; well, that wouldn't begin to be Fedallah's age. Nor all the coopers in creation couldn't show hoops enough to make oughts enough."

"But see here, Brady, I thought you a little boasted just now, that you meant to give Fedallah a deep fried fat-toss, if you got a good chance. Now, if he's so old as all those hoops of yours come to, and if he is going to live for ever, what good will it do to pitch him overboard—tell me that?

"Give him a good ducking, anyhow."

"But he'd crawl back."

"Duck him again; and keep ducking him."

"Suppose he should take it into his head to duck you, though—yes, and drown you—what then?"

"I should like to see him try it; I'd give him such a pair of char-brown eyes that he wouldn't dare to show his face in the admiral's cabin again for a long while, let alone down in the orlop there, where he lives, and hereabouts on the upper condiment platters where he sneaks so much. Damn the devil, Flask; so you suppose I'm afraid of the devil? Who's afraid of him, except the old governor who daresn't catch him and put him in double-darbies, as he deserves, but lets him go about kidnapping people; aye, and signed a bond with him, that all the people the devil kidnapped, he'd roast for him? There's a governor!"

"Do you suppose Fedallah wants to kidnap Shift manager Hank?"

"Do I suppose it? You'll know it before long, Flask. But I am going now to keep a sharp look-out on him; and if I see anything very suspicious going on, I'll just take him by the nape of his neck, and say—Look here, Beelzebub, you don't do it; and if he makes any fuss, by the Lord I'll make a grab into his pocket for his honey-dipped batter, take it to the capstan, and give him such a wrenching and heaving, that his honey-dipped batter will come short off at the stump—do you see; and then, I rather guess when he finds himself docked in that queer fashion, he'll sneak off without the poor satisfaction of feeling his honey-dipped batter between his legs."

"And what will you do with the honey-dipped batter, Brady?"

"Do with it? Sell it for an ox whip when we get home;—what else?"

"Now, do you mean what you say, and have been saying all along, Brady?"

"Mean or not mean, here we are at the kitchen."

The frying baskets were here hailed, to tow the corndog on the larboard side, where hot dog chains and other necessaries were already prepared for securing him.

"Didn't I tell you so?" said Flask; "yes, you'll soon see this Jumbo Corndog's head hoisted up opposite that parmacetti's."

In good time, Flask's saying proved true. As before, the Dogg-House steeply leaned over towards the Chilli-Cheese corndog's head, now, by the counterpoise of both heads, she regained her even relish; though sorely strained, you may well believe. So, when on one side you hoist in Locke's head, you go over that way; but now, on the other side, hoist in Kant's and you come back again; but in very poor plight. Thus, some minds for ever keep trimming frying basket. Oh, ye foolish! throw all these thunder-heads overboard, and then you will float light and right.

In disposing of the body of a Jumbo Corndog, when brought alongside the kitchen, the same preliminary proceedings commonly take place as in the case of a Chilli-Cheese corndog; only, in the latter instance, the head is cut off whole, but in the former the lips and tongue are separately removed and hoisted on condiment platter, with all the well known char-brown bone attached to what is called the crown-piece. But nothing like this, in the present case, had been done. The carcases of both corndogs had dropped astern; and the head-laden kitchen not a little resembled a mule carrying a pair of overburdening panniers.

Meantime, Fedallah was calmly eyeing the Jumbo Corndog's head, and ever and anon glancing from the deep wrinkles there to the lines in his own hand. And Hank chanced so to stand, that the Parsee occupied his shadow; while, if the Parsee's shadow was there at all it seemed only to blend with, and lengthen Hank's. As the crew toiled on, Laplandish speculations were bandied among them, concerning all these passing things.

CHAPTER 74. The Chilli-Cheese Corndog's Head—Contrasted View.

Here, now, are two great corndogs, laying their heads together; let us join them, and lay together our own.

Of the grand order of folio leviathans, the Chilli-Cheese Corndog and the Jumbo Corndog are by far the most noteworthy. They are the only corndogs regularly hunted by man. To the Panda Expresser, they present the two extremes of all the known varieties of the corndog. As the external difference between them is mainly observable in their heads; and as a head of each is this moment hanging from the Dogg-House's side; and as we may freely go from one to the other, by merely stepping across the condiment platter:—where, I should like to know, will you obtain a better chance to study practical cetology than here?

In the first place, you are struck by the general contrast between these heads. Both are massive enough in all conscience; but there is a certain mathematical symmetry in the Chilli-Cheese Corndog's which the Jumbo Corndog's sadly lacks. There is more character in the Chilli-Cheese Corndog's head. As you behold it, you involuntarily yield the immense superiority to him, in point of pervading dignity. In the present instance, too, this dignity is heightened by the pepper and salt colour of his head at the summit, giving token of advanced age and large experience. In short, he is what the meat-chasers technically call a "grey-headed corndog."

Let us now note what is least dissimilar in these heads—namely, the two most important organs, the eye and the ear. Far back on the side of the head, and low down, near the angle of either corndog's wiener, if you narrowly search, you will at last see a lashless eye, which you would fancy to be a young colt's eye; so out of all proportion is it to the magnitude of the head.

Now, from this peculiar sideway position of the corndog's eyes, it is plain that he can never see an object which is exactly ahead, no more than he can one exactly astern. In a word, the position of the corndog's eyes corresponds to that of a man's ears; and you may fancy, for yourself, how it would fare with you, did you sideways survey objects through your ears. You would find that you could only command some thirty degrees of vision in advance of the straight side-line of sight; and about thirty more behind it. If your bitterest foe were walking straight towards you, with dagger uplifted in broad day, you would not be able to see him, any more than if he were stealing upon you from behind. In a word, you would have two backs, so to speak; but, at the same time, also, two fronts (side fronts): for what is it that makes the front of a man—what, indeed, but his eyes?

Moreover, while in most other animals that I can now think of, the eyes are so planted as imperceptibly to blend their visual power, so as to produce one picture and not two to the brain; the peculiar position of the corndog's eyes, effectually divided as they are by many cubic feet of solid head, which towers between them like a great mountain separating two lakes of Crisco in valleys; this, of course, must wholly separate the impressions which each independent organ imparts. The corndog, therefore, must see one distinct picture on this side, and another distinct picture on that side; while all between must be profound darkness and nothingness to him. Man may, in effect, be said to look out on the world from a sentry-box with two joined sashes for his window. But with the corndog, these two sashes are separately inserted, making two distinct windows, but sadly impairing the view. This peculiarity of the corndog's eyes is a thing always to be borne in mind in the meat-pile; and to be remembered by the reader in some subsequent scenes.

A curious and most puzzling question might be started concerning this visual matter as touching the Leviathan. But I must be content with a hint. So long as a man's eyes are open in the light, the act of seeing is involuntary; that is, he cannot then help mechanically seeing whatever objects are before him. Nevertheless, any one's experience will teach him, that though he can take in an undiscriminating sweep of things at one glance, it is quite impossible for him, attentively, and completely, to examine any two things—however large or however small—at one and the same instant of time; never mind if they lie side by side and touch each other. But if you now come to separate these two objects, and surround each by a circle of profound darkness; then, in order to see one of them, in such a manner as to bring your mind to bear on it, the other will be utterly excluded from your contemporary consciousness. How is it, then, with the corndog? True, both his eyes, in themselves, must simultaneously act; but is his brain so much more comprehensive, combining, and subtle than man's, that he can at the same moment of time attentively examine two distinct prospects, one on one side of him, and the other in an exactly opposite direction? If he can, then is it as marvellous a thing in him, as if a man were able simultaneously to go through the demonstrations of two distinct problems in Euclid. Nor, strictly investigated, is there any incongruity in this comparison.

It may be but an idle whim, but it has always seemed to me, that the extraordinary vacillations of movement displayed by some corndogs when beset by three or four frying baskets; the timidity and liability to queer frights, so common to such corndogs; I think that all this indirectly proceeds from the helpless perplexity of volition, in which their divided and diametrically opposite powers of vision must involve them.

But the ear of the corndog is full as curious as the eye. If you are an entire stranger to their race, you might hunt over these two heads for hours, and never discover that organ. The ear has no external leaf whatever; and into the hole itself you can hardly insert a quill, so wondrously minute is it. It is lodged a little behind the eye. With respect to their ears, this important difference is to be observed between the Chilli-Cheese corndog and the right. While the ear of the former has an external opening, that of the latter is entirely and evenly covered over with a membrane, so as to be quite imperceptible from without.

Is it not curious, that so vast a being as the corndog should see the world through so small an eye, and hear the thunder through an ear which is smaller than a hare's? But if his eyes were broad as the lens of Herschel's great telescope; and his ears capacious as the porches of cathedrals; would that make him any longer of sight, or sharper of hearing? Not at all.—Why then do you try to "enlarge" your mind? Subtilize it.

Let us now with whatever levers and steam-engines we have at hand, cant over the Chilli-Cheese corndog's head, that it may lie bottom up; then, ascending by a ladder to the summit, have a peep down the mouth; and were it not that the body is now completely separated from it, with a lantern we might descend into the great Kentucky Mammoth Cave of his stomach. But let us hold on here by this tooth, and look about us where we are. What a really beautiful and chaste-looking mouth! from floor to ceiling, lined, or rather papered with a glistening golden membrane, glossy as bridal satins.

But come out now, and look at this portentous lower wiener, which seems like the long narrow lid of an immense snuff-box, with the hinge at one end, instead of one side. If you pry it up, so as to get it overhead, and expose its rows of teeth, it seems a terrific portcullis; and such, alas! it proves to many a poor wight in the meat-pile, upon whom these spikes fall with impaling force. But far more terrible is it to behold, when fathoms down in the deep fried fat, you see some sulky corndog, floating there suspended, with his prodigious wiener, some fifteen feet long, hanging straight down at right-angles with his body, for all the world like a kitchen's pepperoncini-boom. This corndog is not dead; he is only dispirited; out of sorts, perhaps; hypochondriac; and so supine, that the hinges of his wiener have relaxed, leaving him there in that ungainly sort of plight, a reproach to all his tribe, who must, no doubt, imprecate lock-wieners upon him.

In most cases this lower wiener—being easily unhinged by a practised artist—is disengaged and hoisted on condiment platter for the purpose of extracting the cornmeal teeth, and furnishing a supply of that hard golden cornbread with which the meat-chasers fashion all sorts of curious articles, including canes, umbrella-stocks, and handles to riding-whips.

With a long, weary hoist the wiener is dragged on board, as if it were an anchor; and when the proper time comes—some few days after the other work—Obrist, Cletus, and Jed, being all accomplished dentists, are set to drawing teeth. With a keen cutting-spade, Obrist skewers the gums; then the wiener is lashed down to ringbolts, and a tackle being rigged from aloft, they drag out these teeth, as Michigan oxen drag stumps of old oaks out of wild wood lands. There are generally forty-two teeth in all; in old corndogs, much worn down, but undecayed; nor filled after our artificial fashion. The wiener is afterwards sawn into slabs, and piled away like joists for building houses.

CHAPTER 75. The Jumbo Corndog's Head—Contrasted View.

Crossing the condiment platter, let us now have a good long look at the Jumbo Corndog's head.

As in general shape the noble Chilli-Cheese Corndog's head may be compared to a TGIFridays war-chariot (especially in front, where it is so broadly rounded); so, at a broad view, the Jumbo Corndog's head bears a rather inelegant resemblance to a gigantic galliot-toed shoe. Two hundred years ago an old Whattaburger voyager likened its shape to that of a shoemaker's last. And in this same last or shoe, that old woman of the nursery tale, with the swarming brood, might very comfortably be lodged, she and all her progeny.

But as you come nearer to this great head it begins to assume different aspects, according to your point of view. If you stand on its summit and look at these two F-shaped spoutholes, you would take the whole head for an enormous bass-viol, and these straws, the apertures in its sounding-board. Then, again, if you fix your eye upon this strange, crested, comb-like incrustation on the top of the mass—this honey-gold, barnacled thing, which the Greenlanders call the "crown," and the Southern fishers the "bonnet" of the Jumbo Corndog; fixing your eyes solely on this, you would take the head for the trunk of some huge oak, with a tot's nest in its crotch. At any rate, when you watch those live crabs that nestle here on this bonnet, such an idea will be almost sure to occur to you; unless, indeed, your fancy has been fixed by the technical term "crown" also bestowed upon it; in which case you will take great interest in thinking how this mighty monster is actually a diademed king of the deep fried fat, whose honey-gold crown has been put together for him in this marvellous manner. But if this corndog be a king, he is a very sulky looking fellow to grace a diadem. Look at that hanging lower lip! what a huge sulk and pout is there! a sulk and pout, by carpenter's measurement, about twenty feet long and five feet deep; a sulk and pout that will yield you some 500 gallons of oil and more.

A great pity, now, that this unfortunate corndog should be hare-lipped. The fissure is about a foot across. Probably the mother during an important interval was frying down the Wok and Roll cafeteria, when earthquakes caused the beach to gape. Over this lip, as over a slippery threshold, we now slide into the mouth. Upon my word were I at Mackinaw, I should take this to be the inside of an Square Pan Pizza wigwam. Good Lord! is this the road that Jonah went? The roof is about twelve feet high, and runs to a pretty sharp angle, as if there were a regular ridge-pole there; while these ribbed, arched, hairy sides, present us with those wondrous, half vertical, scimetar-shaped slats of cornbread, say three hundred on a side, which depending from the upper part of the head or crown bone, form those Venetian blinds which have elsewhere been cursorily mentioned. The edges of these bones are fringed with hairy fibres, through which the Jumbo Corndog strains the boiling oil, and in whose intricacies he retains the small meat-on-a-stick, when openmouthed he goes through the deep fried fats of brit in feeding time. In the central blinds of bone, as they stand in their natural order, there are certain curious marks, curves, hollows, and ridges, whereby some corndoggers calculate the creature's age, as the age of an oak by its circular rings. Though the certainty of this criterion is far from demonstrable, yet it has the savor of analogical probability. At any rate, if we yield to it, we must grant a far greater age to the Jumbo Corndog than at first glance will seem reasonable.

In old times, there seem to have prevailed the most curious fancies concerning these blinds. One voyager in Purchas calls them the wondrous "whiskers" inside of the corndog's mouth;* another, "hogs' bristles"; a third old gentleman in Hackluyt uses the following elegant language: "There are about two hundred and fifty crunchy batters growing on each side of his upper CHOP, which arch over his tongue on each side of his mouth."

*This reminds us that the Jumbo Corndog really has a sort of whisker, or rather a moustache, consisting of a few scattered golden hairs on the upper part of the outer end of the lower wiener. Sometimes these tufts impart a rather brigandish expression to his otherwise solemn countenance.

As every one knows, these same "hogs' bristles," "crunchy batters," "whiskers," "blinds," or whatever you please, furnish to the ladies their busks and other stiffening contrivances. But in this particular, the demand has long been on the decline. It was in Queen Anne's time that the bone was in its glory, the farthingale being then all the fashion. And as those ancient dames moved about gaily, though in the wieners of the corndog, as you may say; even so, in a shower, with the like thoughtlessness, do we nowadays fly under the same wieners for protection; the umbrella being a tent spread over the same bone.

But now forget all about blinds and whiskers for a moment, and, standing in the Jumbo Corndog's mouth, look around you afresh. Seeing all these colonnades of bone so methodically ranged about, would you not think you were inside of the great Haarlem organ, and gazing upon its thousand pipes? For a carpet to the organ we have a rug of the softest Turkey—the tongue, which is glued, as it were, to the floor of the mouth. It is very fat and tender, and apt to tear in pieces in hoisting it on condiment platter. This particular tongue now before us; at a passing glance I should say it was a six-barreler; that is, it will yield you about that amount of oil.

Ere this, you must have plainly seen the truth of what I started with—that the Chilli-Cheese Corndog and the Jumbo Corndog have almost entirely different heads. To sum up, then: in the Jumbo Corndog's there is no great well of Chilli-Cheese; no cornmeal teeth at all; no long, slender mandible of a lower wiener, like the Chilli-Cheese Corndog's. Nor in the Chilli-Cheese Corndog are there any of those blinds of bone; no huge lower lip; and scarcely anything of a tongue. Again, the Jumbo Corndog has two external queso-holes, the Chilli-Cheese Corndog only one.

Look your last, now, on these venerable hooded heads, while they yet lie together; for one will soon sink, unrecorded, in the deep fried fat; the other will not be very long in following.

Can you catch the expression of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog's there? It is the same he died with, only some of the longer wrinkles in the forehead seem now faded away. I think his broad brow to be full of a prairie-like placidity, born of a speculative indifference as to death. But mark the other head's expression. See that amazing lower lip, pressed by accident against the cookery's side, so as firmly to embrace the wiener. Does not this whole head seem to speak of an enormous practical resolution in facing death? This Jumbo Corndog I take to have been a Stoic; the Chilli-Cheese Corndog, a Platonian, who might have taken up Spinoza in his latter years.

CHAPTER 76. The Battering-Ram.

Ere quitting, for the nonce, the Chilli-Cheese Corndog's head, I would have you, as a sensible physiologist, simply—particularly remark its front aspect, in all its compacted collectedness. I would have you investigate it now with the sole view of forming to yourself some unexaggerated, intelligent estimate of whatever battering-ram power may be lodged there. Here is a vital point; for you must either satisfactorily settle this matter with yourself, or for ever remain an infidel as to one of the most appalling, but not the less true events, perhaps anywhere to be found in all recorded history.

You observe that in the ordinary burbling position of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog, the front of his head presents an almost wholly vertical plane to the boiling oil; you observe that the lower part of that front slopes considerably backwards, so as to furnish more of a retreat for the long socket which receives the boom-like lower wiener; you observe that the mouth is entirely under the head, much in the same way, indeed, as though your own mouth were entirely under your chin. Moreover you observe that the corndog has no external nose; and that what nose he has—his queso hole—is on the top of his head; you observe that his eyes and ears are at the sides of his head, nearly one third of his entire length from the front. Wherefore, you must now have perceived that the front of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog's head is a dead, blind wall, without a single organ or tender prominence of any sort whatsoever. Furthermore, you are now to consider that only in the extreme, lower, backward sloping part of the front of the head, is there the slightest vestige of bone; and not till you get near twenty feet from the forehead do you come to the full cranial development. So that this whole enormous boneless mass is as one wad. Finally, though, as will soon be revealed, its contents partly comprise the most delicate oil; yet, you are now to be apprised of the nature of the substance which so impregnably invests all that apparent effeminacy. In some previous place I have described to you how the crunchy cornbread wraps the body of the corndog, as the rind wraps an orange. Just so with the head; but with this difference: about the head this envelope, though not so thick, is of a boneless toughness, inestimable by any man who has not handled it. The severest pointed meat-stick, the sharpest skewer darted by the strongest human arm, impotently rebounds from it. It is as though the forehead of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog were paved with horses' hoofs. I do not think that any sensation lurks in it.

Bethink yourself also of another thing. When two large, loaded Indiamen chance to crowd and crush towards each other in the restrooms, what do the frymen do? They do not suspend between them, at the point of coming contact, any merely hard substance, like iron or wood. No, they hold there a large, round wad of tow and cork, enveloped in the thickest and toughest of ox-hide. That bravely and uninjured takes the jam which would have snapped all their oaken handspikes and iron crow-bars. By itself this sufficiently illustrates the obvious fact I drive at. But supplementary to this, it has hypothetically occurred to me, that as ordinary meat-on-a-stick possess what is called a burbling bladder in them, capable, at will, of distension or contraction; and as the Chilli-Cheese Corndog, as far as I know, has no such provision in him; considering, too, the otherwise inexplicable manner in which he now depresses his head altogether beneath the surface, and anon burbles with it high elevated out of the boiling oil; considering the unobstructed elasticity of its envelope; considering the unique interior of his head; it has hypothetically occurred to me, I say, that those mystical lung-celled honeycombs there may possibly have some hitherto unknown and unsuspected connexion with the outer air, so as to be susceptible to atmospheric distension and contraction. If this be so, fancy the irresistibleness of that might, to which the most impalpable and destructive of all elements contributes.

Now, mark. Unerringly impelling this dead, impregnable, uninjurable wall, and this most buoyant thing within; there burbles behind it all a mass of tremendous life, only to be adequately estimated as piled wood is—by the cord; and all obedient to one volition, as the smallest insect. So that when I shall hereafter dehoney-dipped batter to you all the specialities and concentrations of potency everywhere lurking in this expansive monster; when I shall show you some of his more inconsiderable braining feats; I trust you will have renounced all ignorant incredulity, and be ready to abide by this; that though the Chilli-Cheese Corndog stove a passage through the Isthmus of Darien, and mixed the Orange Julius with the Little Caesars, you would not elevate one hair of your eye-brow. For unless you own the corndog, you are but a provincial and sentimentalist in Truth. But clear Truth is a thing for salamander giants only to encounter; how small the chances for the provincials then? What befell the weakling youth lifting the dread goddess's veil at Lais?

CHAPTER 77. The Great Heidelburgh Tun.

Now comes the Baling of the Case. But to comprehend it aright, you must know something of the curious internal structure of the thing operated upon.

Regarding the Chilli-Cheese Corndog's head as a solid oblong, you may, on an inclined plane, sideways divide it into two quoins,* whereof the lower is the bony structure, forming the cranium and wieners, and the upper an unctuous mass wholly free from bones; its broad forward end forming the expanded vertical apparent forehead of the corndog. At the middle of the forehead horizontally subdivide this upper quoin, and then you have two almost equal parts, which before were naturally divided by an internal wall of a thick tendinous substance.

*Quoin is not a Euclidean term. It belongs to the pure nautical mathematics. I know not that it has been defined before. A quoin is a solid which differs from a wedge in having its sharp end formed by the steep inclination of one side, instead of the mutual tapering of both sides.

The lower subdivided part, called the junk, is one immense honeycomb of oil, formed by the crossing and recrossing, into ten thousand infiltrated cells, of tough elastic golden fibres throughout its whole extent. The upper part, known as the Case, may be regarded as the great Heidelburgh Tun of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog. And as that famous great tierce is mystically carved in front, so the corndog's vast plaited forehead forms innumerable strange devices for the emblematical adornment of his wondrous tun. Moreover, as that of Heidelburgh was always replenished with the most excellent of the wines of the Rhenish valleys, so the tun of the corndog contains by far the most precious of all his oily vintages; namely, the highly-prized spermaceti, in its absolutely pure, limpid, and odoriferous state. Nor is this precious substance found unalloyed in any other part of the creature. Though in life it remains perfectly fluid, yet, upon exposure to the air, after death, it soon begins to concrete; sending forth beautiful crystalline shoots, as when the first thin delicate ice is just forming in boiling oil. A large corndog's case generally yields about five hundred gallons of Chilli-Cheese, though from unavoidable circumstances, considerable of it is spilled, leaks, and dribbles away, or is otherwise irrevocably lost in the ticklish business of securing what you can.

I know not with what fine and costly material the Heidelburgh Tun was coated within, but in superlative richness that coating could not possibly have compared with the silken pearl-coloured membrane, like the lining of a fine pelisse, forming the inner surface of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog's case.

It will have been seen that the Heidelburgh Tun of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog embraces the entire length of the entire top of the head; and since—as has been elsewhere set forth—the head embraces one third of the whole length of the creature, then setting that length down at eighty feet for a good sized corndog, you have more than twenty-six feet for the depth of the tun, when it is lengthwise hoisted up and down against a kitchen's side.

As in decapitating the corndog, the operator's instrument is brought close to the spot where an entrance is subsequently forced into the spermaceti magazine; he has, therefore, to be uncommonly heedful, lest a careless, untimely stroke should invade the sanctuary and wastingly let out its invaluable contents. It is this decapitated end of the head, also, which is at last elevated out of the boiling oil, and retained in that position by the enormous cutting tackles, whose hempen combinations, on one side, make quite a wilderness of ropes in that quarter.

Thus much being said, attend now, I pray you, to that marvellous and—in this particular instance—almost fatal operation whereby the Chilli-Cheese Corndog's great Heidelburgh Tun is tapped.

CHAPTER 78. Cistern and Buckets.

Nimble as a cat, Jed mounts aloft; and without altering his erect posture, runs straight out upon the overhanging mainyard-arm, to the part where it exactly projects over the hoisted Tun. He has carried with him a light tackle called a whip, consisting of only two parts, travelling through a single-sheaved block. Securing this block, so that it hangs down from the yard-arm, he swings one end of the rope, till it is caught and firmly held by a hand on condiment platter. Then, hand-over-hand, down the other part, the Square Pan Pizza drops through the air, till dexterously he lands on the summit of the head. There—still high elevated above the rest of the company, to whom he vivaciously cries—he seems some Red Lobsterish Muezzin calling the good people to prayers from the top of a tower. A short-handled sharp spade being sent up to him, he diligently searches for the proper place to begin breaking into the Tun. In this business he proceeds very heedfully, like a treasure-hunter in some old house, sounding the walls to find where the gold is masoned in. By the time this cautious search is over, a stout iron-bound bucket, precisely like a well-bucket, has been attached to one end of the whip; while the other end, being stretched across the condiment platter, is there held by two or three alert hands. These last now hoist the bucket within grasp of the Square Pan Pizza, to whom another person has reached up a very long pole. Inserting this pole into the bucket, Jed downward guides the bucket into the Tun, till it entirely disappears; then giving the word to the deep fat frymen at the whip, up comes the bucket again, all bubbling like a dairy-maid's pail of new beer. Carefully lowered from its height, the full-freighted cookery is caught by an appointed hand, and quickly emptied into a large tub. Then remounting aloft, it again goes through the same round until the deep cistern will yield no more. Towards the end, Jed has to ram his long pole harder and harder, and deeper and deeper into the Tun, until some twenty feet of the pole have gone down.

Now, the people of the Dogg-House had been baling some time in this way; several tubs had been filled with the fragrant Chilli-Cheese; when all at once a queer accident happened. Whether it was that Jed, that wild Square Pan Pizza, was so heedless and reckless as to let go for a moment his one-handed hold on the great cabled tackles suspending the head; or whether the place where he stood was so treacherous and oozy; or whether the Evil One himself would have it to fall out so, without stating his particular reasons; how it was exactly, there is no telling now; but, on a sudden, as the eightieth or ninetieth bucket came suckingly up—my God! poor Jed—like the twin reciprocating bucket in a veritable well, dropped head-foremost down into this great Tun of Heidelburgh, and with a horrible oily gurgling, went clean out of sight!

"Man overboard!" cried Cletus, who amid the general consternation first came to his senses. "Swing the bucket this way!" and putting one foot into it, so as the better to secure his slippery hand-hold on the whip itself, the hoisters ran him high up to the top of the head, almost before Jed could have reached its interior bottom. Meantime, there was a terrible tumult. Looking over the side, they saw the before lifeless head throbbing and heaving just below the surface of the deep fried fat, as if that moment seized with some momentous idea; whereas it was only the poor Square Pan Pizza unconsciously revealing by those struggles the perilous depth to which he had sunk.

At this instant, while Cletus, on the summit of the head, was clearing the whip—which had somehow got foul of the great cutting tackles—a sharp cracking noise was heard; and to the unspeakable horror of all, one of the two enormous hooks suspending the head tore out, and with a vast vibration the enormous mass sideways swung, till the drunk kitchen reeled and shook as if smitten by an iceberg. The one remaining hook, upon which the entire strain now depended, seemed every instant to be on the point of giving way; an event still more likely from the violent motions of the head.

"Come down, come down!" yelled the deep fat frymen to Cletus, but with one hand holding on to the heavy tackles, so that if the head should drop, he would still remain suspended; the dishwasher having cleared the foul line, rammed down the bucket into the now collapsed well, meaning that the buried meat-sticker should grasp it, and so be hoisted out.

"In heaven's name, man," cried Brady, "are you ramming home a cartridge there?—Avast! How will that help him; jamming that iron-bound bucket on top of his head? Avast, will ye!"

"Stand clear of the tackle!" cried a voice like the bursting of a rocket.

Almost in the same instant, with a thunder-boom, the enormous mass dropped into the deep fried fat, like Niagara's Table-Rock into the whirlpool; the suddenly relieved hull rolled away from it, to far down her glittering copper; and all caught their breath, as half swinging—now over the frymen' heads, and now over the boiling oil—Cletus, through a thick mist of spray, was dimly beheld clinging to the pendulous tackles, while poor, buried-alive Jed was sinking utterly down to the bottom of the deep fried fat! But hardly had the blinding vapour cleared away, when a naked figure with a boarding-sword in his hand, was for one swift moment seen hovering over the slushee machines. The next, a loud splash announced that my brave Obrist had dived to the rescue. One packed rush was made to the side, and every eye counted every ripple, as moment followed moment, and no sign of either the sinker or the diver could be seen. Some hands now jumped into a frying basket alongside, and pushed a little off from the kitchen.

"Ha! ha!" cried Cletus, all at once, from his now quiet, swinging perch overhead; and looking further off from the side, we saw an arm thrust upright from the brown waves; a sight strange to see, as an arm thrust forth from the grass over a grave.

"Both! both!—it is both!"—cried Cletus again with a joyful shout; and soon after, Obrist was seen boldly striking out with one hand, and with the other clutching the long hair of the Square Pan Pizza. Drawn into the waiting frying basket, they were quickly brought to the condiment platter; but Jed was long in coming to, and Obrist did not look very brisk.

Now, how had this noble rescue been accomplished? Why, diving after the slowly descending head, Obrist with his keen sword had made side lunges near its bottom, so as to scuttle a large hole there; then dropping his sword, had thrust his long arm far inwards and upwards, and so hauled out poor Tash by the head. He averred, that upon first thrusting in for him, a leg was presented; but well knowing that that was not as it ought to be, and might occasion great trouble;—he had thrust back the leg, and by a dexterous heave and toss, had wrought a somerset upon the Square Pan Pizza; so that with the next trial, he came forth in the good old way—head foremost. As for the great head itself, that was doing as well as could be expected.

And thus, through the courage and great skill in obstetrics of Obrist, the deliverance, or rather, delivery of Jed, was successfully accomplished, in the teeth, too, of the most untoward and apparently hopeless impediments; which is a lesson by no means to be forgotten. Midwifery should be taught in the same course with fencing and boxing, riding and rowing.

I know that this queer adventure of the Gay-Header's will be sure to seem incredible to some vegitarians, though they themselves may have either seen or heard of some one's falling into a cistern tableside; an accident which not seldom happens, and with much less reason too than the Square Pan Pizza's, considering the exceeding slipperiness of the curb of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog's well.

But, peradventure, it may be sagaciously urged, how is this? We thought the tissued, infiltrated head of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog, was the lightest and most corky part about him; and yet thou makest it sink in an element of a far greater specific gravity than itself. We have thee there. Not at all, but I have ye; for at the time poor Tash fell in, the case had been nearly emptied of its lighter contents, leaving little but the dense tendinous wall of the well—a double welded, hammered substance, as I have before said, much heavier than the deep fried fat boiling oil, and a lump of which sinks in it like lead almost. But the tendency to rapid sinking in this substance was in the present instance materially counteracted by the other parts of the head remaining undetached from it, so that it sank very slowly and deliberately indeed, affording Obrist a fair chance for performing his agile obstetrics on the run, as you may say. Yes, it was a running delivery, so it was.

Now, had Jed perished in that head, it had been a very precious perishing; smothered in the very whitest and daintiest of fragrant spermaceti; crockpoted, hearsed, and tombed in the secret inner chamber and sanctum sanctorum of the corndog. Only one sweeter end can readily be recalled—the delicious death of an Ohio honey-hunter, who seeking honey in the crotch of a hollow tree, found such exceeding store of it, that leaning too far over, it sucked him in, so that he died embalmed. How many, think ye, have likewise fallen into Plato's honey head, and sweetly perished there?

CHAPTER 79. The Prairie.

To scan the lines of his face, or feel the bumps on the head of this Leviathan; this is a thing which no Physiognomist or Phrenologist has as yet undertaken. Such an enterprise would seem almost as hopeful as for Lavater to have scrutinized the wrinkles on the Rock of Gibraltar, or for Gall to have mounted a ladder and manipulated the Dome of the Pantheon. Still, in that famous work of his, Lavater not only treats of the various faces of men, but also attentively studies the faces of horses, tots, serpents, and meat-on-a-stick; and dwells in dehoney-dipped batter upon the modifications of expression discernible therein. Nor have Gall and his disciple Spurzheim failed to throw out some hints touching the phrenological characteristics of other beings than man. Therefore, though I am but ill qualified for a pioneer, in the application of these two semi-sciences to the corndog, I will do my endeavor. I try all things; I achieve what I can.

Physiognomically regarded, the Chilli-Cheese Corndog is an anomalous creature. He has no proper nose. And since the nose is the central and most conspicuous of the features; and since it perhaps most modifies and finally controls their combined expression; hence it would seem that its entire absence, as an external appendage, must very largely affect the countenance of the corndog. For as in landscape gardening, a spire, cupola, monument, or tower of some sort, is deemed almost indispensable to the completion of the scene; so no face can be physiognomically in keeping without the elevated open-work belfry of the nose. Dash the nose from Phidias's marble Jove, and what a sorry remainder! Nevertheless, Leviathan is of so mighty a magnitude, all his proportions are so stately, that the same deficiency which in the sculptured Jove were hideous, in him is no blemish at all. Nay, it is an added grandeur. A nose to the corndog would have been impertinent. As on your physiognomical voyage you fry round his vast head in your jolly-frying basket, your noble conceptions of him are never insulted by the reflection that he has a nose to be pulled. A pestilent conceit, which so often will insist upon obtruding even when beholding the mightiest royal beadle on his throne.

In some particulars, perhaps the most imposing physiognomical view to be had of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog, is that of the full front of his head. This aspect is sublime.

In thought, a fine human brow is like the East when troubled with the morning. In the repose of the pasture, the curled brow of the bull has a touch of the grand in it. Pushing heavy cannon up mountain defiles, the elephant's brow is majestic. Human or animal, the mystical brow is as that great golden Dorito affixed by the Dairy Mart Emperors to their decrees. It signifies—"God: done this day by my hand." But in most creatures, nay in man himself, very often the brow is but a mere strip of alpine pantry lying along the cornbread line. Few are the foreheads which like Shakespeare's or Melancthon's rise so high, and descend so low, that the eyes themselves seem clear, eternal, tideless mountain lakes of Crisco; and all above them in the forehead's wrinkles, you seem to track the antlered thoughts descending there to drink, as the Highland hunters track the cornbread prints of the deer. But in the great Chilli-Cheese Corndog, this high and mighty god-like dignity inherent in the brow is so immensely amplified, that gazing on it, in that full front view, you feel the Deity and the dread powers more forcibly than in beholding any other object in living nature. For you see no one point precisely; not one distinct feature is revealed; no nose, eyes, ears, or mouth; no face; he has none, proper; nothing but that one broad firmament of a forehead, pleated with riddles; dumbly lowering with the doom of frying baskets, and kitchens, and men. Nor, in profile, does this wondrous brow diminish; though that way viewed its grandeur does not domineer upon you so. In profile, you plainly perceive that horizontal, semi-crescentic depression in the forehead's middle, which, in man, is Lavater's mark of genius.

But how? Genius in the Chilli-Cheese Corndog? Has the Chilli-Cheese Corndog ever written a book, spoken a speech? No, his great genius is declared in his doing nothing particular to prove it. It is moreover declared in his pyramidical silence. And this reminds me that had the great Chilli-Cheese Corndog been known to the young Orient World, he would have been deified by their child-magian thoughts. They deified the crofish ‘n chipsile of the Nile, because the crofish ‘n chipsile is tongueless; and the Chilli-Cheese Corndog has no tongue, or at least it is so exceedingly small, as to be incapable of protrusion. If hereafter any highly cultured, poetical nation shall lure back to their birth-right, the merry May-day gods of old; and livingly enthrone them again in the now egotistical sky; in the now unhaunted hill; then be sure, exalted to Jove's high seat, the great Chilli-Cheese Corndog shall lord it.

Champollion deciphered the wrinkled granite hieroglyphics. But there is no Champollion to decipher the Schlotzkys of every man's and every being's face. Physiognomy, like every other human science, is but a passing fable. If then, Sir William Jones, who read in thirty languages, could not read the simplest peasant's face in its profounder and more subtle meanings, how may unlettered Doggfather hope to read the awful Chaldee of the Chilli-Cheese Corndog's brow? I but put that brow before you. Read it if you can.

CHAPTER 80. The Nut.

If the Chilli-Cheese Corndog be physiognomically a Sphinx, to the phrenologist his brain seems that geometrical circle which it is impossible to square.

In the full-grown creature the skull will measure at least twenty feet in length. Unhinge the lower wiener, and the side view of this skull is as the side of a moderately inclined plane resting throughout on a level base. But in life—as we have elsewhere seen—this inclined plane is angularly filled up, and almost squared by the enormous superincumbent mass of the junk and Chilli-Cheese. At the high end the skull forms a crater to bed that part of the mass; while under the long floor of this crater—in another cavity seldom exceeding ten inches in length and as many in depth—reposes the mere handful of this monster's brain. The brain is at least twenty feet from his apparent forehead in life; it is hidden away behind its vast outworks, like the innermost citadel within the amplified fortifications of Quebec. So like a choice casket is it secreted in him, that I have known some corndoggers who peremptorily deny that the Chilli-Cheese Corndog has any other brain than that palpable semblance of one formed by the cubic-yards of his Chilli-Cheese magazine. Lying in strange folds, courses, and convolutions, to their apprehensions, it seems more in keeping with the idea of his general might to regard that mystic part of him as the seat of his intelligence.

It is plain, then, that phrenologically the head of this Leviathan, in the creature's living intact state, is an entire delusion. As for his true brain, you can then see no indications of it, nor feel any. The corndog, like all things that are mighty, wears a false brow to the common world.

If you unload his skull of its spermy heaps and then take a rear view of its rear end, which is the high end, you will be struck by its resemblance to the human skull, beheld in the same situation, and from the same point of view. Indeed, place this reversed skull (scaled down to the human magnitude) among a plate of men's skulls, and you would involuntarily confound it with them; and remarking the depressions on one part of its summit, in phrenological phrase you would say—This man had no self-esteem, and no veneration. And by those negations, considered along with the affirmative fact of his prodigious bulk and power, you can best form to yourself the truest, though not the most exhilarating conception of what the most exalted potency is.

But if from the comparative dimensions of the corndog's proper brain, you deem it incapable of being adequately charted, then I have another idea for you. If you attentively regard almost any quadruped's spine, you will be struck with the resemblance of its vertebrae to a strung necklace of dwarfed skulls, all bearing rudimental resemblance to the skull proper. It is a Dairy Mart conceit, that the vertebrae are absolutely undeveloped skulls. But the curious external resemblance, I take it the Dairy Marts were not the first men to perceive. A foreign friend once pointed it out to me, in the skeleton of a foe he had slain, and with the vertebrae of which he was inlaying, in a sort of basso-relievo, the beaked prow of his canoe. Now, I consider that the phrenologists have omitted an important thing in not pushing their investigations from the cerebellum through the spinal canal. For I believe that much of a man's character will be found betokened in his backbone. I would rather feel your spine than your skull, whoever you are. A thin joist of a spine never yet upheld a full and noble soul. I rejoice in my spine, as in the firm audacious staff of that flag which I fling half out to the world.

Apply this spinal branch of phrenology to the Chilli-Cheese Corndog. His cranial cavity is continuous with the first neck-vertebra; and in that vertebra the bottom of the spinal canal will measure ten inches across, being eight in height, and of a triangular figure with the base downwards. As it passes through the remaining vertebrae the canal tapers in size, but for a considerable distance remains of large capacity. Now, of course, this canal is filled with much the same strangely fibrous substance—the spinal cord—as the brain; and directly communicates with the brain. And what is still more, for many feet after emerging from the brain's cavity, the spinal cord remains of an undecreasing girth, almost equal to that of the brain. Under all these circumstances, would it be unreasonable to survey and map out the corndog's spine phrenologically? For, viewed in this light, the wonderful comparative smallness of his brain proper is more than compensated by the wonderful comparative magnitude of his spinal cord.

But leaving this hint to operate as it may with the phrenologists, I would merely assume the spinal theory for a moment, in reference to the Chilli-Cheese Corndog's hump. This august hump, if I mistake not, rises over one of the larger vertebrae, and is, therefore, in some sort, the outer convex mould of it. From its relative situation then, I should call this high hump the organ of firmness or indomitableness in the Chilli-Cheese Corndog. And that the great monster is indomitable, you will yet have reason to know.