Captain Stormfields Visit to Heaven

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"By George, I've arrived at last--and at the wrong place, just as I expected!"

Then I fainted. I don't know how long I was insensible, but it must have been a good while, for, when I came to, the darkness was all gone and there was the loveliest sunshine and the balmiest, fragrantest air in its place. And there was such a marvellous world spread out before me--such a glowing, beautiful, bewitching country. The things I took for furnaces were gates, miles high, made all of flashing jewels, and they pierced a wall of solid gold that you couldn't see the top of, nor yet the end of, in either direction. I was pointed straight for one of these gates, and a- coming like a house afire. Now I noticed that the skies were black with millions of people, pointed for those gates. What a roar they made, rushing through the air! The ground was as thick as ants with people, too--billions of them, I judge.

I lit. I drifted up to a gate with a swarm of people, and when it was my turn the head clerk says, in a business-like way--

"Well, quick! Where are you from?"

"San Francisco," says I.

"San Fran--WHAT?" says he.

"San Francisco."

He scratched his head and looked puzzled, then he says--

"Is it a planet?"

By George, Peters, think of it! "PLANET?" says I; "it's a city. And moreover, it's one of the biggest and finest and--"

"There, there!" says he, "no time here for conversation. We don't deal in cities here. Where are you from in a GENERAL way?"

"Oh," I says, "I beg your pardon. Put me down for California."

I had him AGAIN, Peters! He puzzled a second, then he says, sharp and irritable--

"I don't know any such planet--is it a constellation?"

"Oh, my goodness!" says I. "Constellation, says you? No--it's a State."

"Man, we don't deal in States here. WILL you tell me where you are from IN GENERAL--AT LARGE, don't you understand?"

"Oh, now I get your idea," I says. "I'm from America,--the United States of America."

Peters, do you know I had him AGAIN? If I hadn't I'm a clam! His face was as blank as a target after a militia shooting-match. He turned to an under clerk and says--

"Where is America? WHAT is America?"

The under clerk answered up prompt and says--

"There ain't any such orb."

"ORB?" says I. "Why, what are you talking about, young man? It ain't an orb; it's a country; it's a continent. Columbus discovered it; I reckon likely you've heard of HIM, anyway. America--why, sir, America--"

"Silence!" says the head clerk. "Once for all, where--are--you-- FROM?"

"Well," says I, "I don't know anything more to say--unless I lump things, and just say I'm from the world."

"Ah," says he, brightening up, "now that's something like! WHAT world?"

Peters, he had ME, that time. I looked at him, puzzled, he looked at me, worried. Then he burst out--

"Come, come, what world?"

Says I, "Why, THE world, of course."

"THE world!" he says. "H'm! there's billions of them! . . . Next!"

That meant for me to stand aside. I done so, and a sky-blue man with seven heads and only one leg hopped into my place. I took a walk. It just occurred to me, then, that all the myriads I had seen swarming to that gate, up to this time, were just like that creature. I tried to run across somebody I was acquainted with, but they were out of acquaintances of mine just then. So I thought the thing all over and finally sidled back there pretty meek and feeling rather stumped, as you may say.

"Well?" said the head clerk.

"Well, sir," I says, pretty humble, "I don't seem to make out which world it is I'm from. But you may know it from this--it's the one the Saviour saved."

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