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Henderson saw the spirit of a slumbering cat pass from her in pursuit of a visionary mouse;
-(I know not whether he would have admitted the fact as an argument for materialism); and the soul of Hans Engelbrecht not only went to hell, but brought back from it a stench which proved to all the bystanders that it had been there.–Faugh!
Whether then my spirit that night found its way out at the nose, (for I sleep with my mouth shut) and actually sallied out seeking adventures; or whether the spectrum of the Horse floated into my chamber; or some benevolent genius or dæmon assumed the well-known and welcome form; or whether the dream were merely a dream, —
si fuè en espiritu, ò fuè
solo sé, que no lo sè ; * so however it was that in the visions of the night I mounted Nobs. Tell me not of Astolfo's hippogriff, or Pacolet's wooden steed;
Of that wonderous horse of brass
Whereon the Tartar king did pass ;
nor of Alborak, who was the best beast for a night-journey that ever man bestrode. Tell me not even of Pegasus! I have ridden him many a time; by day and by night have I ridden him; high and low, far and wide, round the earth, and about it, and over it, and under it. I know all his earth-paces, and his sky-paces. I have tried him at a walk, at an amble, at a trot, at a canter, at a hand-gallop, at full gallop and at full speed. I have proved him in the manége with single turns and the manége with double turns, his bounds, his curvets, his pirouettes, and his pistes, his croupade and his balotade, his gallop-galliard and his capriole. I have been on him when he has glided through the sky with wings outstretched and motionless, like a kite or a summer cloud; I have bestrode him when he went up like a bittern with a strong spiral flight, round, round and round, and upward, upward, upward, circling and rising still; and again when he has gone full sail, or full fly, with his tail as straight as a comet's behind him. But for a hobby or a night horse, Pegasus is nothing to Nobs.
Where did we go on that memorable night? What did we see?-What did we do?-Or rather what did we not see? and what did we not perform!
CHAPTER IV. A. I.
A CONVERSATION AT THE BREAKFAST TABLE.
Tel condamne mon Coq-à-l'âne qui un jour en justifiera le bon sens.
I WENT down to breakfast as usual overflowing with joyous thoughts. For mirth and for music the skylark is but a type of me.
I warbled a few wood notes wild, and then full of the unborn work, addressed myself to my wife's eldest sister, and asked if she would permit me to dedicate the Book to her. 66 What book ?" she replied. “ The History,” said I, “ of Dr.
. Daniel Dove of Doncaster, and his Horse Nobs.” She answered, “No indeed! I will have no such nonsense dedicated to me!”— and with that she drew up her upper lip, and the lower region of the nose. I turned to my wife's youngest sister: “Shall I have the pleasure of dedicating it to you?” She raised her eyes, inclined her head forwards with a smile of negation, and begged leave to decline the honour. “Commandante," said I, to my wife and Commandress, “ shall I dedicate it then to you?” My Commandante made answer, “ not unless you have something better to dedicate.” “ So Ladies!" said I; “ the stone which the
" builders rejected,"—and then looking at my wife's youngest sister—" Oh, it will be such a book !" The manner and the tone were so much in earnest that they arrested the bread and butter on the way to her mouth; and she exclaimed, with her eyes full of wonder and incredulity at the same time, “ Why you never can be serious ?” “ Not serious?” said I; “ why I have done nothing but think of it and dream of it the whole night." "He told me so," re
" joined my Commandante," the first thing in the morning." “Ah Stupey!” cried my wife's eldest sister, accompanying the compliment with a protrusion of the head, and an extension of the lips, which disclosed not only the whole remaining row of teeth, but the chasms that