From: Kobboltozo: A Sequel to the Last of the Huggermuggers (1869)
Author: Christopher Pearse Cranch
Published: Lee and Shepard 1869 Boston



  SINCE the publication of The Last of the Huggermuggers, I have received a letter from Mark Scrawler, Esq., who dates from the town of Aristides, Ohio, in which he professes to be very angry that I have published my little story about the giant, particularly as he (who was engaged by Mr. Nabbum to write a full account of every thing) was not even consulted in the case. Mr. Scrawler makes a long letter of it. He complains that his rights have been infringed upon; that he had taken a great deal of trouble in accumulating and arranging his facts, having made copious notes of all that occurred in the giant’s island, as well as during the voyage homeward, interspersed with reflections of his own—including some valuable observations on the probable origin of the Huggermugger race, as well as the results of his investigations into shell-fish of the conch and of the bivalve species. “His work,” he says, “was progressing slowly, on account of the magnitude of his subject. It would have been one of the most valuable scientific works of the day.

  Mr. Scrawler laughs to scorn our slender juvenile publication, which he stigmatizes as “a penny-trumpet affair—a cobweb to catch flies—a flimsy, childish, weak, uncalled-for, not-to-be-thought-of-for-a-moment tissue of absurdities.” “Why,” he exclaims, “bring out these great scientific facts in the light form of a story-book for children? The sensible Bostonians, New Yorkers, Philadelphians, and all the sensible American citizens in general, demand more solid food. Has, for instance, anything been said in this gilded child’s-rattle of a book, of the geology or botany of the giant’s island—of the height and breadth of Huggermugger and his wife—of the shape and dimensions of Huggermugger Hall—of Huggermugger’s farm-yard—of the vegetables, the fruits, the bread, the meat, the frogs, the fish, and especially of the enormous and singular ‘clams’ which formed his daily food? Or of the clothes the giants wore, how they were obtained, of what stuff they were woven—and who were Huggermugger’s tailors, who his hatters, who his suspender-makers, who taught him English, who supplied him with tobacco, and pipes, and ale? Or has anything been said of the community of dwarfs, of their habits, size, appearance, language, &c., &c.? What presumption,” he adds, “for any one to come before the public, (were it only the juvenile public) with such a lame, one-sided, pitiful statement of facts, with nothing to recommend them but the clap-trap trickery and varnish of the story form. The whole thing,” he says,” is unworthy a man of sense and thought.”

  Mr. Scrawler intimates that, of course, he would have given a very different title to his book, and would have shone resplendent on the title-page with a very choice and appropriate motto from Shakspeare—in the following style:—

“Why man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs”—

after which some stars—and then

“Upon what meat doth this our Cæsar feed,
That he is grown so great?”

  “Compare a title-page with such a quotation upon it—flaming (he adds with a preternatural poetical fervor,) flaming ‘like a star in the forehead of the morning’—compare it with the plain, methodistical style in which you have decked the vacant brow of your weak bantling!”

  Mr. Scrawler goes on in this vein, boastful of himself and vituperative of us, and concludes with vaguely hinting at a lawsuit.

  In our little story we briefly stated our reasons, in a note, for proceeding to print our account. Some years had elapsed, and Mr. Scrawler’s work had not appeared. We heard also, from pretty good authority, that he had shown portions of his book, as far as it was written, to several publishers, who threw buckets of cold water upon his ardent hopes, and not only declined to publish such “solid”—they even said “heavy”—writing, but advised him outright to discontinue it, and take to something else for a living.

  We have also been scolded and threatened in another quarter. Mr. Alonzo Scratchaway, the artist who accompanied the Nabbum expedition, threatens to indict us for stealing his illustrations and spoiling them. He says he intended to have brought out a folio edition (as big as Audubon’s Birds) of colored lithograph Huggermugger illustrations, designed to accompany Scrawler’s work, as an atlas accompanies a geography—“and he’ll do it yet, whether Scrawler publishes or not. None of your petty wood-cuts,” says Scratchaway, “but something as grand and original as Retsch, or Flaxman, or Gustave Doré.”

  Here I believe we get to the end of our troubles on the score of our (as we thought) inoffensive little book. We believe that Mr. Zebedee Nabbum has not yet complained of misrepresentation as to his character or dialect; that Little Jacket (or Mr. John Cable) does not look otherwise than favorably on our narrative of his curious adventures, and that Mr. Barnum is above imputing any ill feeling in the allusions we have made to his name.

All Sub-Works of Kobboltozo: A Sequel to the Last of the Huggermuggers (1869):
PDF Sub-Works open in a new tab. Close the tab when done viewing to return here.