Once more I must presume to interrupt this narrative, and call back the reader’s thoughts from those mysterious caverns through which we have been tracing the rapid footsteps of the man who was abducted, and his uncouth pilot of the lower realms. Let us now see and hear what took place in my room, in Cincinnati, just after my visitor, known to us as The-Man-Who-Did-It, had finished reading to me, Lewellyn Drury, the custodian of this manuscript, the curious chapter relating how the underground explorers lost weight as they descended in the hollows of the earth. My French clock struck twelve of its clear silvery notes before the gray-bearded reader finished his stint for the occasion, and folded his manuscript preparatory to
placing it within his bosom.
” It is past midnight,” he said, ” and it is time for me to depart; but I will come to you again within a year.
” Meanwhile, during my absence, search the records, question authorities, and note such objections as rise therefrom concerning the statements I have made. Establish or disprove historically, or scientifically, any portion of the life history that I have given, and when I return I will hear what you have to say, and meet your argument. If there is a doubt concerning the authenticity of any part of the history, investigate; but make no mention to others of the details of our meetings.”
I sat some time in thought, then said: ” I decline to concern myself in verifying the historical part of your narrative. The localities you mention may be true to name, and it is possible that you have related a personal history; but I can not perceive that I am interested in either proving or disproving it. I will say, however, that it does not seem probable that at any time a man can disappear from a community, as you claim to have done, and have been the means of creating a commotion in his neighborhood that affected political parties, or even led to an unusual local excitement, outside his immediate circle of acquaintances, for a man is not of sufficient importance unless he is very conspicuous. By your own admission, you were simply a studious mechanic, a credulous believer in alchemistic vagaries, and as I revolve the matter over, I am afraid that you are now trying to impose on my credulity. The story of a forcible abduction, in the manner you related, seems to me incredible, and not worthy of investigation, even had I the inclination to concern myself in your personal affairs. The statements, how ever, that you make regarding the nature of the crust of the earth, gravitation, light, instinct, and human senses are highly interesting, and even plausible as you artfully present the subjects, I candidly admit, and I shall take some pains to make
inquiries concerning the recorded researches of experts who have investigated in that direction.”
” Collect your evidence,” said he, ” and I shall listen to your views when I return.”
He opened the door, glided away, and I was alone again.
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