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roleplaying:munchausen:chapter_xxii [2005/11/22 17:58] (current)
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 +====== TRAVELS OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN ======
 +===== CHAPTER XXII =====
 +
 +//​Preparations for the Baron'​s expedition into Africa--Description
 +of his chariot; the beauties of its interior decorations;​ the
 +animals that drew it, and the mechanism of the wheels.//
 +
 +Everything being concluded, and having received my instructions for
 +the voyage, I was conducted by the illustrious Hilaro Frosticos, the
 +Lady Fragrantia, and a prodigious crowd of nobility, and placed
 +sitting upon the summit of the whale'​s bones at the palace; and having
 +remained in this situation for three days and three nights, as a trial
 +ordeal, and a specimen of my perseverance and resolution, the third
 +hour after midnight they seated me in the chariot of Queen Mab. It was
 +a prodigious dimension, large enough to contain more stowage than the
 +tun of Heidelberg, and globular like a hazel-nut: in fact, it seemed
 +to be really a hazel-nut grown to a most extravagant dimension, and
 +that a great worm of proportionable enormity had bored a hole in the
 +shell. Through this same entrance I was ushered. It was as large as a
 +coach-door, and I took my seat in the centre, a kind of chair self-
 +balanced without touching anything, like the fancied tomb of Mahomet.
 +The whole interior surface of the nutshell appeared a luminous
 +representation of all the stars of heaven, the fixed stars, the
 +planets, and a comet. The stars were as large as those worn by our
 +first nobility, and the comet, excessively brilliant, seemed as if you
 +had assembled all the eyes of the beautiful girls in the kingdom, and
 +combined them, like a peacock'​s plumage, into the form of a comet--
 +that is, a globe, and a bearded tail to it, diminishing gradually to a
 +point. This beautiful constellation seemed very sportive and
 +delightful. It was much in the form of a tadpole! and, without
 +ceasing, went, full of playful giddiness, up and down, all over the
 +heaven on the concave surface of the nutshell. One time it would be at
 +that part of the heavens under my feet, and in the next minute would
 +be over my head. It was never at rest, but for ever going east, west,
 +north, or south, and paid no more respect to the different worlds than
 +if they were so many lanterns without reflectors. Some of them he
 +would dash against and push out of their places; others he would burn
 +up and consume to ashes: and others again he would split into
 +fritters, and their fragments would instantly take a globular form,
 +like spilled quicksilver,​ and become satellites to whatever other
 +worlds they should happen to meet with in their career. In short, the
 +whole seemed an epitome of the creation, past, present, and future;
 +and all that passes among the stars during one thousand years was here
 +generally performed in as many seconds.
 +
 +I surveyed all the beauties of the chariot with wonder and delight.
 +"​Certainly,"​ cried I, "this is heaven in miniature!"​ In short, I took
 +the reins in my hand. But before I proceed on my adventures, I shall
 +mention the rest of my attendant furniture. The chariot was drawn by a
 +team of nine bulls harnessed to it, three after three. In the first
 +rank was a most tremendous bull named John Mowmowsky; the rest were
 +called Jacks in general, but not dignified by any particular
 +denomination. They were all shod for the journey, not indeed like
 +horses, with iron, or as bullocks commonly are, to drag on a cart; but
 +were shod with men's skulls. Each of their feet was, hoof and all,
 +crammed into a man's head, cut off for the purpose, and fastened
 +therein with a kind of cement or paste, so that the skull seemed to be
 +a part of the foot and hoof of the animal. With these skull-shoes the
 +creatures could perform astonishing journeys, and slide upon the
 +water, or upon the ocean, with great velocity. The harnesses were
 +fastened with golden buckles, and decked with studs in a superb style,
 +and the creatures were ridden by nine postillions,​ crickets of a great
 +size, as large as monkeys, who sat squat upon the heads of the bulls,
 +and were continually chirping at a most infernal rate, loud in
 +proportion to their bodies.
 +
 +The wheels of the chariot consisted of upwards of ten thousand
 +springs, formed so as to give the greater impetuosity to the vehicle,
 +and were more complex than a dozen clocks like that of Strasburgh. The
 +external of the chariot was adorned with banners, and a superb festoon
 +of laurel that formerly shaded me on horseback. And now, having given
 +you a very concise description of my machine for travelling into
 +Africa, which you must allow to be far superior to the apparatus of
 +Monsieur Vaillant, I shall proceed to relate the exploits of my
 +voyage.
 +
 +
 +----
 +Go to [[CHAPTER XXIII]]
 +
  
roleplaying/munchausen/chapter_xxii.txt · Last modified: 2005/11/22 17:58 (external edit)