“Esmo dent Ecasfen” said the Regent, “will you point out the person you declare yourself to have rescued from assault and received into your house on the 431st day of this year?”
“That is the person, Regent,” said my host, pointing to me.
The visitor then asked my name, which I gave, and addressing me thereby, he continued—
“The Campta has requested me to ascertain the truth regarding your alleged size, so far exceeding anything hitherto known among us. You will permit me, therefore, to measure your height and girth.”
I bowed, and he proceeded to ascertain that I was about a foot taller and some ten inches larger round the waist than himself. Of these facts he took note, and then proceeded—
“The signs you made to those who first encountered you were understood to mean that you descended from the sky, in a vessel which is now left on the summit of yonder mountain, Asnyca.”
“I did not descend from the sky,” I replied, “for the sky is, as we both know, no actual vault or boundary of the atmospheric depths. I ascended from a world nearer to the Sun, and after travelling for forty days through space, landed upon this planet in the vessel you mention.”
“I am directed,” he answered, “to see this vessel, to inspect your machinery and instruments, and to report thereon to the Suzerain. You will doubtless be ready to accompany me thither to-morrow two hours after sunrise. You may be accompanied, if you please, by your host or any members of his family; I shall be attended by one or more of my officers. In the meantime I am to inform you that, until my report has been received and considered, you are under the protection of the law, and need not apprehend any molestation of the kind you incurred at first. You will not, however, repeat to any one but myself the explanation you have offered of your appearance—which, I understand, has been given in fuller detail to Esmo—until the decision of the Campta shall have been communicated to you.”
I simply bowed my assent; and after this brief but sufficient fulfilment of the purpose for which he had called, the Regent took his leave.
“What,” I asked, when we re-entered my chamber, “is the meaning of the title by which the Regent addressed you?”
“In speaking to officials,” he replied, “of rank so high as his, it is customary to address them simply by their titles, unless more than one of the same rank be present, in which case we call them, as we do inferior officials, by their name with the title appended. For instance, in the Court of the Sovereign our Regent would be called Endo Zampta. Men of a certain age and social position, but having no office, are addressed by their name and that of their residence; and, asfe meaning a town or dwelling, usage gives me the name of Esmo, in or of the town of Eca.