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since, and felt convinced that all existing
matter, their own world, and the thousands
that they saw around them, once formed one
mighty whole!

A derisive shout of laughter followed this
assertion. The thing was too preposterous
to be believed. The younger mites, especially,
were boisterous in their incredulity. They
were not going to be taken in by tales like
thatthey knew better. There was no other
world besides their own. The bit of cheese
they dwelt on was the only bit of cheese that
ever was or would, or could, be habitable.
See what a size it was. No mite could walk
round it in a life-time. If what they had
been told was true, how insignificant would
this great world of theirs become,
compared to the enormous whole! How
utterly insignificant the individual mite!
No, no, there was no other habitable cheese.

The old mite shook his head, and spoke
not. For my own part, I felt half tempted
to convince the sceptics of their error
by scraping all the crumbs together in my
plate, and thus, once more uniting their
scattered universe. But I had heard of the
disasters that ensued whenever these
convulsions, as they called them, did occur; and,
having by this time conceived an interest in
the tiny disputants, I spared them and
continued listening.

"Come, now," exclaimed one of the incredulous
young mites, with an air of one about
to put a poser, "if you have told us true, and
everything we see around us is cheese like
this we live in; if there really exists as much
cheese as would make a thousand of our
worlds; why may there not be even a thousand
times as much as that again? Why may
there not be cheese enough in being, to form
a million, million worlds,—all fit for mites,
like us, to live on, eh?"

"Why not, indeed!" the sage replied. "For
my part I believe there is."

"Ho! ho! ho! ho!" There was not one
mite in the whole community that didn't
fairly shake its tiny sides with laughter at
this wild assertion. They all declared the
old mite must be in his dotage. They
kicked and cuffed him cruelly, and even
threatened to expel him from the cheese he
stood on, and so compel him to find out the
truth of his own theory by endeavouring to
make a pilgrimage to one of the distant
worlds he spoke of.

Then, other mites came up to join in the
discussion. There was one who had been a
great traveller (how proud the little fellow
was of his experience! he had been nearly
half-way round the crumb of cheese they all
resided on). He astonished his hearers by
declaring that, in spots that he had visited,
there were objects visible in the distance
utterly unlike the little specks they saw
from where they stood. One in particular
was more than fifty times as big as any
they could see; but, even this was nothing
when compared with the great world they
lived in.

(Mistaken mite! The object that you
saw was the distant lump from which all
your pigmy worlds were shaken!)

As to there being other bits of cheese
inhabited besides their own, the traveller
would not hear of it. It was true that there
were other mites dwelling in distant portions
of their world whose manners differed in
several ways from their own. (His audience
seemed surprised to hear that even this
could be; but he had seen them, so there was
no disputing it.) But as for other worlds of
mites, the thing was too preposterous!

Then came anothera mite of most
imposing aspect, and attended by a long train
of followers. I soon found out he was the
monarch of the colony I was observing. With
royal condescension, the sovereign mite
paused to inquire into the subject of
discussion. On being told, his majesty grew
wroth, and vowed it was high treason to
suppose there could be any other communities
to govern than the well-known and
established nations of their world. It was an
insult to the dignity of the few favoured
mites who divided the sovereign sway
among them, to think that there were
others who in their own spheres might be no
less potent (or even more potentwhich
was a horrible and blasphemous thought!)
than themselves. So, the poor mite who
broached the theory about other worlds was
ordered to recant on pain of death; and
the fact was established unmistakeably, by
royal edict, that there was no cheesecould
be no cheeseinhabited, but theirs.

Then I awoke, roused from my after-
dinner dream by an Italian boy beneath
my window, grinding on his organ. Home,
sweet home. It chimed in well with what I
had been dreaming of. No place like home!
No people like ourselves, no country but our
own, no worlds but the globe we live on.
No cheese that mites can dwell in, but our
own particular crumb!

Yet cheeseand mitey cheeseis sold by
tons! Yet suns and systems roll around us;
the planet we inhabit, but one atom in a
mighty group; that, in its turn, an atom in
another mightier one. Where shall we stop?
Clusters of satellites revolving around a
world: clusters of worlds revolving around a
sun: clusters of suns revolving around

Take physic, pomp! Pride, get thee
hence! How little any of us, men or mites,
can comprehend what may exist beyond the
limits of our one especial crumbwhether of
earth, or cheese!