Zebedee and Jacky put their heads together

From: The Last of the Huggermuggers: a Giant Story (1856)
Author: Christopher Pearse Cranch
Published: 1856 Boston



  ZEBEDEE now communicated to Little Jacket his plans about sailing for the giant’s coast, and entrapping Huggermugger and carrying him to America. Little Jacket was rather astonished at the bold scheme of the Yankee, and tried to dissuade him from attempting it. But Zebedee had got his head so full of the notion now, that he was determined to carry out his project, if he could. He even tried to persuade Little Jacket to go with him, and his six companions, and finally succeeded. The six other sailors, however, swore that nothing would tempt them to expose themselves again on shore to the danger of being taken by the giant. Little Jacket agreed to land with Zebedee and share all danger with him, on condition that Zebedee would give him half the profits Barnum should allow them from the exhibition of the giant in America. But Little Jacket made Zebedee promise that he would be guided by his advice, in their endeavors to ensnare the giant. Indeed, a new idea had entered Jacky’s head as to the best way of getting Huggermugger into their power, and that was to try persuasion rather than stratagem or force. I will tell you the reasons he had for so thinking.

  1. The Huggermuggers were not Ogres or Cannibals. They lived on fish, frogs, fruit, vegetables, grains, &c.

  2. The Huggermuggers wore clothes, lived in houses, and were surrounded with various indications of civilization. They were not savages.

  3. The Huggermuggers spoke English, with a strange accent, to be sure. They seemed sometimes to prefer it to their own language. They must, then, have been on friendly terms with English or Americans, at some period of their lives.

  4. The Huggermuggers were not wicked and blood-thirsty. How different from the monsters one reads about in children’s books! On the contrary, though they had little quarrels together now and then, they did not bite nor scratch, but seemed to live together as peaceably and lovingly, on the whole, as most married couples. And the only time he had a full view of their faces, Little Jacket saw in them an expression which was really good and benevolent.

  All these facts came much more forcibly to Jacky’s mind, now that the first terror was over, and calm, sober reason had taken the place of vague fear.

  He, therefore, told Mr. Nabbum, at length, his reasons for proposing, and even urging, that unless Huggermugger should exhibit a very different side to his character from that which he had seen, nothing like force or stratagem should be resorted to.

  “For,” said Little Jacket, “even if you succeeded, Mr. Nabbum, in throwing your net over his head, or your noose round his leg, as you would round an elephant’s, you should consider how powerful and intelligent, and, if incensed, how furious an adversary you have to deal with. None but a man out of his wits would think of carrying him off to your ship by main force. And as to your idea of making him drunk, and taking him aboard in that condition, there is no knowing whether drink would not render him quite furious, and ten times more unmanageable than ever. No, take my word for it, Mr. Nabbum, that I know Huggermugger too well to attempt any of your tricks with him. You cannot catch him as you would an elephant or a hippopotamus. Be guided by me, and see if my plan don’t succeed better than yours.

  “Well,” answered Zebedee, “I guess, arter all, Jacky, you may be right. You’ve seen the big varmint, and feel a kind o’ acquainted with him, so you see I won’t insist on my plan, if you’ve any better. Now, what I want to know is, what’s your idee of comin’ it over the critter?”

  “You leave that to me,” said Little Jacket; “if talking and making friends with him can do any thing, I think I can do it. We may coax him away; tell him stories about our country, and what fun he’d have among the people so much smaller than himself, and how they’d all look up to him as the greatest man they ever had, which will be true, you know; and that perhaps the Americans will make him General Huggermugger, or His Excellency President Huggermugger; and you add a word about our nice oysters, and clam-chowders.

  “I think there’d be room for him in your big ship. It’s warm weather, and he could lie on deck, you know; and we could cover him up at night with matting and old sails; and he’d be so tickled at the idea of going to sea, and seeing strange countries, and we’d show him such whales and porpoises, and tell him such good stories, that I think he’d keep pretty quiet till we reached America. To be sure, it’s a long voyage, and we’d have to lay in an awful sight of provisions, for he’s a great feeder; but we can touch at different ports as we go along, and replenish our stock.

  “One difficulty will be, how to persuade him to leave his wife—for there wouldn’t be room for two of them. We must think the matter over, and it will be time enough to decide what to do when we get there. Even if we find it impossible to get him to go with us, we’ll get somebody to write his history, and an account of our adventures, and make a book that will sell.”

All Sub-Works of The Last of the Huggermuggers: a Giant Story (1856):
PDF Sub-Works open in a new tab. Close the tab when done viewing to return here.