In the Wrong Paradise eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 209 pages of information about In the Wrong Paradise.
is a great deal of dancing here, but the young ladies dance alone, rather like what is called the ballet, I believe, at the opera.  I must say the young persons are a little forward; a little embarrassing it is to be alone here, especially as I have forgotten a good deal of my Arabic.  Don’t you think, my dear fellow, you and I could manage to give them the slip?  Run away from them, eh?” He uttered a timid little chuckle, and at that moment an innumerable host of houris began a ballet d’action illustrative of a series of events in the career of the Prophet.  It was obvious that my poor uncomplaining old friend was really very miserable.  The “thornless loto trees” were all thorny to him, and the “tal’h trees with piles of fruit, the outspread shade, and water outpoured” could not comfort him in his really very natural shyness.  A happy thought occurred to me.  In early and credulous youth I had studied the works of Cornelius Agrippa and Petrus de Abano.  Their lessons, which had not hitherto been of much practical service, recurred to my mind.  Stooping down, I drew a circle round myself and my old friend in the fragrant white blossoms which were strewn so thick that they quite hid the grass.  This circle I fortified by the usual signs employed, as Benvenuto Cellini tells us, in the conjuration of evil spirits.  I then proceeded to utter one of the common forms of exorcism.  Instantly the myriad houris assumed the forms of irritated demons; the smoke from the uncounted narghiles burned thick and black; the cries of the frustrated ginns, who were no better than they should be, rang wildly in our ears; the palm-trees shook beneath a mighty wind; the distant summits of the minarets rocked and wavered, and, with a tremendous crash, the paradise of the Faithful disappeared.

* * * * *

As I rang the bell, and requested the club-waiter to carry away the smoking fragments of the moderator-lamp which I had accidentally knocked over in awaking from my nightmare, I reflected on the vanity of men and the unsubstantial character of the future homes that their fancy has fashioned.  The ideal heavens of modern poets and novelists, and of ancient priests, come no nearer than the drugged dreams of the angekok and the biraark of Greenland and Queensland to that rest and peace whereof it has not entered into the mind of man to conceive.  To the wrong man each of our pictured heavens would be a hell, and even to the appropriate devotee each would become a tedious purgatory.



“Have you seen the Clayville Dime?”

Moore chucked me a very shabby little sheet of printed matter.  It fluttered feebly in the warm air, and finally dropped on my recumbent frame.  I was lolling in a hammock in the shade of the verandah.

I did not feel much inclined for study, but I picked up the Clayville Dime and lazily glanced at that periodical, while Moore relapsed into the pages of Ixtlilxochitl.  He was a literary character for a planter, had been educated at Oxford (where I made his acquaintance), and had inherited from his father, with a large collection of Indian and Mexican curiosities, a taste for the ancient history of the New World.

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In the Wrong Paradise from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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