Yesterday in my bed-chamber, Nurse Pin-head opened the glass-doors to my private balcony to release the fetid cloud of odors, miasmas, and sour regrets which had built up over the past several weeks. But as soon as this poisonous atmosphere was expelled, my bed-chamber became contaminated with the cacophony of the out-side world. I could hear the milk-maids' buckets clatter, the cows lowing in the dell, and the indentured servant boy's tortured cries as he was being flogged. But punctuating this din was a sort of inane chattering, occasionally interrupted by a shrill cackle.

"What in thunder is all that whinnying?" I asked Pin-head.

"The Baintons are making last-minute preparations for their world-tour," she replied in her disquieting baritone.

The Baintons are my blue-blooded, old-money next-door neighbors. Their cretinous noises can be heard in Timbuctoo, so I should not have even posed such a stupid question. In fact, some days ago, Chauncey Bainton had burst into my bed-chamber uninvited to announce the news.

"What ho, Zweibel, old corpse!" he said. "Come Monday dawn, we set sail on our capital voyage across this scrumptious orb of ours! The old girl and I can't wait to sample the exotic fruits of the Orient, the Byzantine intrigues of Constantinople, the bazaars of Morocco, the splendor of the Siamese court, the wonders of..." The dolt continued on for seemingly an eternity, oblivious to the fact that I was trying to asphyxiate my-self with my own hands.

My only consolation is that the Baintons have vacated the area for a few months, leaving me some measure of peace. Now that they are gone, I must confess I could have saved them time and considerable expense, for in my youth I visited most of the nations of the world and quickly concluded that they are all pretty much the same, save for the color of their inhabitants' skin and the amount of hostility these inhabitants harbored toward me.

The following is all you need to know about the world: Africa is filled with Hottentots, and the services of an entire village are required just to raise one child, which is highly inefficient. The yellow hordes of the Far East may initially seem obsequious, but they would sooner bake you in a pie than submit to your authority. What the French lack in reason they make up for in sheer gall. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. The only thing breaking up the monotony is the odd volcano, and those don't erupt nearly as often as they should.