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Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven
by [?]

But I’ve wandered a little off the track of my tale; I’ll get back on my course again. Now you see what kind of speed I was making. So, as I said, when I had been tearing along this way about thirty years I begun to get uneasy. Oh, it was pleasant enough, with a good deal to find out, but then it was kind of lonesome, you know. Besides, I wanted to get somewhere. I hadn’t shipped with the idea of cruising forever. First off, I liked the delay, because I judged I was going to fetch up in pretty warm quarters when I got through; but towards the last I begun to feel that I’d rather go to–well, most any place, so as to finish up the uncertainty.

Well, one night–it was always night, except when I was rushing by some star that was occupying the whole universe with its fire and its glare–light enough then, of course, but I necessarily left it behind in a minute or two and plunged into a solid week of darkness again. The stars ain’t so close together as they look to be. Where was I? Oh yes; one night I was sailing along, when I discovered a tremendous long row of blinking lights away on the horizon ahead. As I approached, they begun to tower and swell and look like mighty furnaces. Says I to myself–

“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.

“San Francisco.”

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–“