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|Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven||Mark Twain|
|Page 4 of 14||
"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.
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."
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|Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven
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