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|Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven||Mark Twain|
|Page 5 of 14||
"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."
He bent his head at the Name. Then he says, gently -
"The worlds He has saved are like to the gates of heaven in number - none can count them. What astronomical system is your world in? - perhaps that may assist."
"It's the one that has the sun in it - and the moon - and Mars" - he shook his head at each name - hadn't ever heard of them, you see - "and Neptune - and Uranus - and Jupiter - "
"Hold on!" says he - "hold on a minute! Jupiter . . . Jupiter . . . Seems to me we had a man from there eight or nine hundred years ago - but people from that system very seldom enter by this gate." All of a sudden he begun to look me so straight in the eye that I thought he was going to bore through me. Then he says, very deliberate, "Did you come STRAIGHT HERE from your system?"
"Yes, sir," I says - but I blushed the least little bit in the world when I said it.
He looked at me very stern, and says -
"That is not true; and this is not the place for prevarication. You wandered from your course. How did that happen?"
Says I, blushing again -
"I'm sorry, and I take back what I said, and confess. I raced a little with a comet one day - only just the least little bit - only the tiniest lit - "
"So - so," says he - and without any sugar in his voice to speak of.
I went on, and says -
"But I only fell off just a bare point, and I went right back on my course again the minute the race was over."
"No matter - that divergence has made all this trouble. It has brought you to a gate that is billions of leagues from the right one. If you had gone to your own gate they would have known all about your world at once and there would have been no delay. But we will try to accommodate you." He turned to an under clerk and says -
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|Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven
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