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countably bewitching in its general character: it was neither a titter nor a horse-laugh, but equidistant from both, the voice reminding me of the liquid notes of musical-glasses. Never did I behold more lovely features than I now gazed on with intense and growing interest. The eyes were unusually large, dark, and penetrating; but the aspect of the face altogether was soft and gentle. It was, indeed, a face which, as the poet says, if nature made, the die had been destroyed.

“ I held out my hands; she laughed again and held out hers. This was a trying situation, and I felt such a desire to draw nearer and converse (if I could) with my fair incognita,—whose unwillingness, on her part, to approach, evidently seemed to be the result of

- innocence and virgin modesty, That would be wooed and not unsought be won,that I several times was near wetting my feet. But in one of the lady's quick motions, unfortunately —fortunately for me—there appeared, a short distance in her rear, the sharp edge of a large fishtail, shaped like that of a huge salmon's. This discovery instantly had a very sedative effect upon me.

I dare say the lady-fish saw in my countenance the consequence which her train entailed upon me, and perhaps attributed it to its true cause; for with an appearance of arch bashfulness, she turned about, and, casting a leering look at me, soused into the water, and was gone in a twinkling.”

“ Astonishing !—But now really, Captain Quizzle, is this true ?"

“ True !--so help—
“ Well, well, don't swear. Pray go on."

“Well, thought I, my doubts are now at an end. Here I am,—not asleep, nor out of my senses; and if I have not seen a mermaid, why then

“ But did she come again ?”

“ You shall hear. It was singular enough, that I dreamed I should see a mermaid the night before, and that made me, at first, suspect that I was really asleep when she really appeared ;– for I remember a curious occurrence of a person's dreaming he was awake when he was all the while asleep; and as the story is not long, and as I may forget it, I will tell"

“ Never mind that; another time will do for that ; I want to hear the end of this extraordinary adventure."

" You shall have it.-I saw no more of the water-nymph that night, but I was punctual in my attendance the next evening at the same place. I did not wait long before I heard from the other

side of a projecting angle of the rocky islet, an air warbled in such an enchanting strain, that I dared not move from the spot on which I stood, to ascertain whence it came, lest I should lose a note of it. Its effect upon my whole system I can only describe by supposing that some subtle stimulating fluid passed through every nerve from the brain to the toe. You have remarked the restlessness of a cat when a violin is bowed so as to prolong its sweetest tones; this will give you some idea of my suffering, for such it was."

Astonishing! This account conforms exactly to the old notions of the mermaid, who was reported to sing like a Siren.”

“Exactly. She appeared to me just as the mermaid is represented in old pictures, except that I saw no comb or looking-glass. But to proceed.

" When the air ceased, I hastened to the quarter whence it proceeded, and there recognized the same charming face and form, and was, moreover, saluted with the same laugh. I resolved to address the sea-lady. I knew the Malay language well, and had a smattering of most of the dialects of the Archipelago; and I thought if she could speak at all, she was more likely to know some of these than any other human tongue. To my delight as well as surprise, I found she understood and could talk

She gave

Malay ; but she articulated in a very peculiar manner, somewhat like the mode in which persons born deaf and dumb enunciate what they are laboriously taught to utter.

“ And now comes the most extraordinary part of my story

“She gave me an account of the sub-aqueous region, which excited my astonishment: whether true or false will never be determined, for no human visitant could get back again to tell us. me to understand that, at a vast depth in the ocean, there was another atmosphere, on which the water rested, like our atmosphere upon the sea. I imagine this must be the interior world, of which various phenomena on the surface of the earth afford manifest indications. Her description of this interior world was perfectly fascinating : it must be a real paradise. Owing to the density of the atmospheric medium, and the absence of the principle of gravitation or terrestrial attraction, men, and even houses and castles, could float in the air, without being liable to any injury by dashing against one another, or what we call • falling down.' The temperature of the air, she informed me, was invariably the same; perpetual spring, or rather summer, prevailed every where ; and, in short, all was pure enjoyment. What surprised me more

than any thing else was, that she said there were inhabitants of this upper world there, and amongst the rest an Englishman,-Orang Ingleez, as she expressed it."

“How did they get there ?"

“ Aye, how did they get there ?--precisely the question I asked her. She replied that it was undoubtedly a matter of difficulty, for the descent was a long one, and a living body must sink very rapidly to avoid suffocation before it reached the nether air; but when there, she said, the lungs soon became habituated to breathe it. She instanced herself, who could breathe both atmospheres, which was not possible, if the lower one required a peculiar set of organs to inhale it. All that was necessary, she said, was to exclude the air as much as possible from the lungs, hold the breath, and if a person was carried down with velocity, there was danger; and she offered, if I chose to risk the experiment, to be my guide and propeller. And then she renewed her enchanting description of the central paradise, where nothing dies, where pleasure never tires, and novelty is ever new:

Where love is liberty and nature law. She even expatiated on the delights of the journey itself, the luxurious delirium of the rapid whir), the sights beheld in the passage, the glittering


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