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The Remarkable Rocket
by [?]

“Then you should certainly lecture on Philosophy,” said the Dragon- fly; and he spread a pair of lovely gauze wings and soared away into the sky.

“How very silly of him not to stay here!” said the Rocket. “I am sure that he has not often got such a chance of improving his mind. However, I don’t care a bit. Genius like mine is sure to be appreciated some day”; and he sank down a little deeper into the mud.

After some time a large White Duck swam up to him. She had yellow legs, and webbed feet, and was considered a great beauty on account of her waddle.

“Quack, quack, quack,” she said. “What a curious shape you are! May I ask were you born like that, or is it the result of an accident?”

“It is quite evident that you have always lived in the country,” answered the Rocket, “otherwise you would know who I am. However, I excuse your ignorance. It would be unfair to expect other people to be as remarkable as oneself. You will no doubt be surprised to hear that I can fly up into the sky, and come down in a shower of golden rain.”

“I don’t think much of that,” said the Duck, “as I cannot see what use it is to any one. Now, if you could plough the fields like the ox, or draw a cart like the horse, or look after the sheep like the collie-dog, that would be something.”

“My good creature,” cried the Rocket in a very haughty tone of voice, “I see that you belong to the lower orders. A person of my position is never useful. We have certain accomplishments, and that is more than sufficient. I have no sympathy myself with industry of any kind, least of all with such industries as you seem to recommend. Indeed, I have always been of opinion that hard work is simply the refuge of people who have nothing whatever to do.”

“Well, well,” said the Duck, who was of a very peaceable disposition, and never quarrelled with any one, “everybody has different tastes. I hope, at any rate, that you are going to take up your residence here.”

“Oh! dear no,” cried the Rocket. “I am merely a visitor, a distinguished visitor. The fact is that I find this place rather tedious. There is neither society here, nor solitude. In fact, it is essentially suburban. I shall probably go back to Court, for I know that I am destined to make a sensation in the world.”

“I had thoughts of entering public life once myself,” remarked the Duck; “there are so many things that need reforming. Indeed, I took the chair at a meeting some time ago, and we passed resolutions condemning everything that we did not like. However, they did not seem to have much effect. Now I go in for domesticity, and look after my family.”

“I am made for public life,” said the Rocket, “and so are all my relations, even the humblest of them. Whenever we appear we excite great attention. I have not actually appeared myself, but when I do so it will be a magnificent sight. As for domesticity, it ages one rapidly, and distracts one’s mind from higher things.”

“Ah! the higher things of life, how fine they are!” said the Duck; “and that reminds me how hungry I feel”: and she swam away down the stream, saying, “Quack, quack, quack.”

“Come back! come back!” screamed the Rocket, “I have a great deal to say to you”; but the Duck paid no attention to him. “I am glad that she has gone,” he said to himself, “she has a decidedly middle-class mind”; and he sank a little deeper still into the mud, and began to think about the loneliness of genius, when suddenly two little boys in white smocks came running down the bank, with a kettle and some faggots.