|Cryptozoology, BioForteana, Zoological Oddities, Unusual Natural History|
To Louise Jocelyn
All the pretty things you say,
Every day is twice as gay
Just because the things you say,
R. W. C.
Give me no gold nor palaces
Flatten me not with flattery!
Come to the Park (1) with me;
To the swift, clean things that cleave the air
(1) Central Park, filthiest, cruellest and most outrageous of zoological exhibitions.
On a beautiful day in spring as I was running as hard as I could run pursued by the New York police and a number of excited citizens, my mind, which becomes brilliantly active under physical exhilaration, began to work busily.
I thought about all sorts of things: I thought about hard times and financial depression and about our great President who is in a class all alone with himself and soon to become extinct; I thought about art and why there isn't any when it's talked about; I thought of macro-lepidoptera, of metagrammatism, monoliths, manicures, and monsoons.
And all the time I was running as fast as I could: run; and the faster I ran the more things I thought about until my terrific pace set my brain whizzing like a wheel.
I felt no remorse at having published these memoirs of my lifewhich was why the police and populace were pursuing me, maddened to frenzy by the fearless revelation of mighty scientific truths in this little volume you are about to attempt to read. Ubicumque ars ostentatur, veritas abesse videtur!
I thought about it clearly, calmly, concisely as I fled. The maddened shouts of the prejudiced populace did not disturb me. Around and around the Metropolitan Museum of Art I ran; the inmates of that institution came out to watch me and they knew at a glance that I was one of them for they set up a clamor like a bunch of decoy ducks when one of their wild comrades comes whirling by.
"Police! Police!" they shouted; but I went careering on uptown, afraid only that the park squirrels might club together to corner me. There are corners in grain. Why not inbut let that pass.
I took the park wall in front of the great Mr. Carnegie's cottage at a single bound. He stood on his terrace and shouted, "Police!" He was quite logical.
The Equal Franchise Society was having a May party in the park near the Harlem Mere. They had chosen the Honorable William Jennings Bryan as Queen of the May. He wore low congress-gaiters and white socks; he was walking under a canopy, crowned with paper flowers, his hair curled over his coat collar, the tips of his fingers were suavely joined over his abdomen.
The moment he caught sight of me he shouted, "Police!"
He was right. The cabinet lacked only me.
And I might have consented to tarrymight have allowed myself to be apprehended for political purposes, had not a nobler, holier, more imperative duty urged me northward still.
Though all Bloomingdale shouted, "Stop him!" and all Matteawan yelled, "Police!" I should not have consented to pause. Even the quackitudinous recognition spontaneously offered by the Metropolitan Museum had not been sufficient to decoy me to my fellows.
I knew, of course, that I could find a sanctuary and a welcome in many placesin almost any sectarian edifice, any club, any newspaper office, any of the great publishers', any school, any museum, I knew that I would be welcomed at Columbia University, at the annex to the Hall of Fame, in the Bishop's Palace on Morningside Heightsthere were many places all ready to receive, understand and honour me.
For a sufficiently crippled intellect, for a still-born brain, for the intellectually aborted, there is always a place on some editorial, sectarian, or educational staff.
But I had other ideas as I galloped northward. The voiceless summons of the most jealous of mistresses was making siren music in my ears. That coquettish jade, Science, was calling me by wireless, and I was responding with both legs.
And so, at last, I arrived at the Bronx Park and dashed into the Administration Building where everybody rose and cheered me to the echo.
I was at home at last, unterrified, undismayed, and ready again as always to dedicate my life to the service of Truth and to every caprice and whim of my immortal mistress, Science. But I don't want to marry her.
Magna est veritas! Sed major et longinquo reverentia.
Chapter 1: The Third Eye
Chapter 2: The Immortal
Chapter 3: The Ladies of the Lake
Chapter 4: One Over
Chapter 5: Un Peu D'Amour
Chapter 6: The Eggs of the Silver Moon
Back to Cryptofiction