Penguin Island eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 243 pages of information about Penguin Island.
He raised troops in all the countries he conquered, and when his armies marched past in the wake of our own light infantry, our island grenadiers, our hussars, our dragoons, our artillery, and our engineers there were to be seen yellow soldiers looking in their blue armour like crayfish standing on their tails; red men with parrots’ plumes, tattooed with solar and Phallic emblems, and with quivers of poisoned arrows resounding on their backs; naked blacks armed only with their teeth and nails; pygmies riding on cranes; gorillas carrying trunks of trees and led by an old ape who wore upon his hairy breast the cross of the Legion of Honour.  And all those troops, led to Trinco’s banner by the most ardent patriotism, flew on from victory to victory, and in thirty years of war Trinco conquered half the known world.”

“What!” cried I, “you possess half of the world.”

“Trinco conquered it for us, and Trinco lost it to us.  As great in his defeats as in his victories he surrendered all that he had conquered.  He even allowed those two islands we possessed before his time, Ampelophoria and the Dog’s Jaws, to be taken from us.  He left Penguinia impoverished and depopulated.  The flower of the insula perished in his wars.  At the time of his fall there were left in our country none but the hunchbacks and cripples from whom we are descended.  But he gave us glory.”

“He made you pay dearly for it!”

“Glory never costs too much,” replied my guide.

III.  THE JOURNEY OF DOCTOR OBNUBILE

After a succession of amazing vicissitudes, the memory of which is in great part lost by the wrongs of time and the bad style of historians, the Penguins established the government of the Penguins by themselves.  They elected a diet or assembly, and invested it with the privilege of naming the Head of the State.  The latter, chosen from among the simple Penguins, wore no formidable monster’s crest upon his head and exercised no absolute authority over the people.  He was himself subject to the laws of the nation.  He was not given the title of king, and no ordinal number followed his name.  He bore such names as Paturle, Janvion, Traffaldin, Coquenhot, and Bredouille.  These magistrates did not make war.  They were not suited for that.

The new state received the name of Public Thing or Republic.  Its partisans were called republicanists or republicans.  They were also named Thingmongers and sometimes Scamps, but this latter name was taken in ill part.

The Penguin democracy did not itself govern.  It obeyed a financial oligarchy which formed opinion by means of the newspapers, and held in its hands the representatives, the ministers, and the president.  It controlled the finances of the republic, and directed the foreign affairs of the country as if it were possessed of sovereign power.

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Penguin Island from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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