So you thought you were free of the City of Our First Forty-Three Chapters, eh? I am not so simple. I am a match for you, you may believe, by the Black Stone of the Kaabah. What can you do to argue with me? Ma Dia, but you are helpless in my hands as Colonel Gormley when he went to the woman without a whip. Also when he went with one. You can but throw Our Story in the fire; and you are already too interested to do that. For, as you know, it is not a true, succinct, elaborate, discursive, epigrammatic, apopthegmic, pleonastic, tautological, and altogether ridiculous account of the Life and Adventures of Sir Roger Bloxam. Here you will find zeugma and hendiadys and paraprosdokian and aposeiopesis and all of them in a synoptical epitome of utter sweetness of the old-fashioned molasses candy which I was sucking in the movies before I came in not to write this Life and Adventures of Sir Roger Bloxam. But have no fear; ‘tis but a passing spasm; the Titan is unvanquished still; on the faith of St. Vitus, I will write this book on headier beverages than molasses. Apsinthion shall be be my drink, sin my true love’s forsaken me; for snuff I’ll sniff the snowflakes of the coca-leaf; for smoke “Roll me the rapture of amber again!” I musn’t put these things clearly, because of the Harrison law, which Harrison is not Benjamin or Austin or Alexander but a bigger fool than all the three, and God forgive me if I have said too much, as it suddenly strikes me I have, thinking a second time of Austin.
Well, for perfume, I’ll to the scent of ether and dream delightful decadent de’lices of San Francisco and Myriam Deroxe, the fairest and the finest and the — here’s to her in the Key of F major! and B! Oh the scherzo in A — rondo; oh the finale in C! But if imagination fail me, then will I swallow hashish, in the name of the Compassionate and Merciful God. and if my reader will to whirl in colour and form, let him quaff mescal to the glory of Quetzlcoatl, and it shall not fail him. Anon.
Hullo! is this capitulum too long, too short, too fat, too thin? ‘Tis but our number One; a lad, nay, a babe of chapters, unsalted and unswaddled: he’ll do, girls; he’ll grow; carry him to his mother.
But are you sure that you have properly introduced, in Antient and Primitive form, our hero? Is this book not the Life and Adventures of Sir Roger Bloxam? Nay, little sister; bear with me yet awhile. Imprimis: this book is not what you say: I told you before, but you would not believe me. And, in the neck and shoulders of our argument, Sir Roger Bloxam is certainly not our hero. No, Lilian, tease me not; for at this time I will not tell you. An adjuration? Verily, by the Pig’s Knuckle and Sauerkraut at the Kaiserhof at Broadway and Thirtyninth Street New York City, N.Y. U.S.A. Mariana, you trust not such an oath? Good; then to the proof; continue to the end of the chapter, and see for yourself whether I betray the secret.