HEAVENS

HEAVENS

by Louis Untermeyer
     
 

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Scanned, proofed and corrected from the original edition for your reading pleasure. It is also searchable and contains hyper-links to chapters.

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THE PROLOG:


"So this," I exclaimed with a ghostly facetiousness, "is Heaven!"

It was a vague, sprawling region with no definition of any sort. The place was soundless, lifeless,

Overview

Scanned, proofed and corrected from the original edition for your reading pleasure. It is also searchable and contains hyper-links to chapters.

***

THE PROLOG:


"So this," I exclaimed with a ghostly facetiousness, "is Heaven!"

It was a vague, sprawling region with no definition of any sort. The place was soundless, lifeless, motionless, save for the continual rising and falling of gauzy curtains of clouds. Except for a pale, gray light, wanly diffused, there was not a trace of color.

"No," said my guide, "you are now in The Limbo of Infinity, a vast stretch that some of our younger members have rechristened The Neutral Zone. It is a kind of ante-chamber in which the guest is left to decide where he will go."

"But I have decided," I replied, with anxious haste, "I want to go to Heaven."

"Which one?" he asked.

"Which one? Why—er—are there more than one?" I gasped.

"There are," he replied, "if the last census can be relied upon, exactly nine hundred and seventy-six of them, not including the three score or so of Secessionist, Extremist, Intimate, Neighborhood, Revolutionary, Village and Little Heavens that have clustered around the main structures. The principal divisions date back to antiquity; the Movement for Separate Incorporation came in 1935 and was caused, first of all, by the astonishing series of reports by the Committee on Congested Districts. As every one is aware, even the Infinite Void became crowded after the conversion of the Martians and Lunarians to your remarkable earthly standards."

I gulped, "But must I choose? All I want is a comfortable cloud, a small harp and a neat, not too closefitting halo."

"I am sorry, but that is the rule," he assured me. "Besides, the accessories you mention have been discontinued. The Hygienic and Sanitary Cordon has prohibited the use of halos; the Cumulus Division of the Efficiency Board has taken over the control of clouds which were condemned as a menace to the Public Highways, and the Musicians' Union, Ethereal Local, number X3, has passed a by-law limiting the use of harps to holders of uncancelled cards."

"But—"

"On the other hand," he continued, "you should have no difficulty in selecting an appropriate sphere. What were you before you came here?"

"A crit—a book-reviewer," I blushed.

"Ah," he beamed, "a lover of literature!"

"A book-reviewer," I insisted.

"Well," he went on, unheeding, "your place is obviously in a branch of the Literary Heavens—just which one I cannot say. Have you any favorite god?"

"None in particular. That is, not now. I used to worship my lost preferences and prejudices."

"You will regain them," he chuckled. "'Gone but not forgotten' is true of characteristics that are not mentioned on tomb-stones. One of the delightful surprises awaiting the dear departed is to see his most cherished convictions in cap-and-bells attending the coronation of his pet aversion. But I digress."

"Don't apologize," I hastened to add. "Digression is an art, not an accident. You were saying—"

"I was saying that a corner in one of the Literary Realms should suit you admirably. Which would you prefer—the H. G. Wells Heaven, the Vers Libre Heaven, the George Moore Heaven, the G. K. Chesterton Heaven, the Robert W. Chambers Heaven, the Freudian Heaven, the—"

"Heavens!" I exclaimed, not irreverently. "I could never decide offhand. Would it not be possible for me to try them first? Not all of them, of course—just three or four of the more popular ones—or possibly a meagre half-dozen?"

"I don't know," he said dubiously. "It isn't done and it's not quite regular. Still, there's no particular law against it. On the other hand—"

"Be human," I urged the angelic creature. "A day in each would do—a few hours—even a glimpse."

"Well," he temporized, "the windows are tall but not so high. If you could get a foothold on the sills, you could see and hear. They found it futile to shut the windows or draw the shades after the subconscious was discovered. You must be prepared for anything, I warn you. If you still have the curiosity and courage, I will lead you. Come."

I followed.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940012590497
Publisher:
Leila's Books
Publication date:
05/27/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
469 KB

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