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Chapter 56

A Scene In Tee Land Of Warwicks, Or King-Makers


Wending our way from the temple, we were accompanied by a fluent,
obstreperous wight, one Znobbi, a runaway native of Porpheero, but now
an enthusiastic inhabitant of Vivenza.

"Here comes our great chief!" he cried. "Behold him! It was _I_ that
had a hand in making him what he is!"

And so saying, he pointed out a personage, no way distinguished,
except by the tattooing on his forehead--stars, thirty in number; and
an uncommonly long spear in his hand. Freely he mingled with the
crowd.

"Behold, how familiar I am with him!" cried Znobbi, approaching, and
pitcher-wise taking him by the handle of his face.

"Friend," said the dignitary, "thy salute is peculiar, but welcome. I
reverence the enlightened people of this land."

"Mean-spirited hound!" muttered Media, "were I him, I had impaled that
audacious plebeian."

"There's a Head-Chief for you, now, my fine fellow!" cried Znobbi.
"Hurrah! Three cheers! Ay, ay! All kings here--all equal. Every
thing's in common."

Here, a bystander, feeling something grazing his side, looked down;
and perceived Znobbi's hand in clandestine vicinity to the pouch at
his girdle-end.

Whereupon the crowd shouted, "A thief! a thief!" And with a loud voice
the starred chief cried--"Seize him, people, and tie him to yonder tree."

And they seized, and tied him on the spot.

"Ah," said Media, "this chief has something to say, after all;
he pinions a king at a word, though a plebeian takes him by the nose.
Beshrew me, I doubt not, that spear of his, though without a tassel,
is longer and sharper than mine."

"There's not so much freedom here as these freemen think," said
Babbalanja, turning; "I laugh and admire."

Herman Melville