[NOTE: I fully plan on making this text into a Youtube video, too. I already recorded me speaking the part. In fact, if you are an animator and are interested in animating this strange and beautiful text, feel free to contact me. I can’t guarantee you’d get paid much, as that would largely depend on the success of the video, but this text is fun.]
Is it the place where, while nightingale chicks would peck frantically at the rusty cage, holding fast, as if by some strange charm, to the wire of the cage, that is not yet broken, that there would be no sad noise at the crib?
Is it the place where, toiling under the roof, we in my days and my father in his, found ourselves, in solitary, toiling hours, over work of a mental or mental not yet conscious nature?
Is it the place where, in times of calm, we even heard the low and patient “carriage down yonder” of the carriage-boy in the nursery, as he went from “a wake” to “his ride” in the next room?
Is it the place where we observed, with even greater anxiety, and even greater delight, as the infinitesimal clock-tick sounded each and every second of the long night?
Is it the place where, under the full moon, we would gaze in sudden rapture into the blackish void of the sky, only to be plunged into one of those blind and frantic attacks of madness, which have turned even the solemn hearse into a strange and terrible apparition, and carry the disconsolate dead to the graveyard?
Is it the place where we at times feared the phantoms of those inexplicable “crocs” which loom and prowl in the hidden darkness of the passage, where they the myriads of snakes which “reside” in the “shadows,” as the crooked-hewn steps near the top of which we led our sheep, or the river under which we took our cattle?
Is it the place where there are the “giants” who with bold prancing “walkers” and “horses,” appear suddenly from the shrouded “dark recesses,” and with noisy and hideous yells call on all present to hide themselves? Is it the place where, upon the cold, lifeless shelves we stood, each armed with his “trap,” prepared to draw and throw it in an instant?
Is it the place where, with eerie and unconscious anticipations, I thought I heard my father utter words of command, in the secret parlor where we children were barred, and where, in our young days, we were taught the terrible art of slaying and butchering?
Is it the place where we studied the maps which, when more enlightened, would show our strange land; or where the great book “Uncle Isaac’s General Store” would tell us of the “fraudulent” explorer, Jacob Leghorn, who, with a band of curious ill-clad children, journeyed into “the old jungle,” and came home with no animals but the broken-hearted and lifeless remains of a mastodon and the skulls of prehistoric snakes, which, with their hideous and beaked smiles, he shed in rags upon the rocks as relics of a last kingdom which our ancestors knew?
Is it the place where, in the desert sand where our strong ponies were tethered, the men would plough with dogs, and flocks of cattle would stamp about us in great confusion?
Is it the place where the air is so filled with the stench of the terrible “crocodile-gators,” that the blood-thirsty rumour of their awful presence, which inspired the huntsman to raise such desperate voices and movements, would in a moment evoke frantic barking, and tremendous struggles of such magnitude, that the first boy to fall was often partly buried?
Is it the place where, in the little wood-yard where our darlings kept their kites and balloons, they first learned of the war in which their countrymen were struggling?
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“In the remote woodland of the soul,” said La Rochefoucauld, “it is as in an old mansion, where the entrance door is locked, that, when we have to enter, a trap-door somewhere under a floor is opened, and within those dark and secret depths we look not upon the sepulchral shapes of murder and betrayal.”
How true it is in the heart.