But this is not a chronicle of the politics and history of the sea country, but only of one particular merman’s fortunes. Our merman was young and very handsome, and belonged to a very distinguished family in his own state reenex facial. It was said that they were in some way connected with that royal race to which belonged Gulnare of the Sea—she who married the King of Khorassan. It was whispered that the family were descended from a younger son of this pair, who had married a mer lady, and displeased both her family and his to such an extent by the marriage that they had left the Eastern seas and emigrated to the English waters, and from .

All these things, if they were true, must have happened centuries before my merman was born. The legend was well known, and if it was founded on fact, the family had human blood in their veins and a cross of sea genii, for Gulnare was, as you will remember, not quite a flesh-and-blood woman. However, the humanity in them was at least royal humanity, and the King of Khorassan, as the story goes, was a very fine gentleman.

All the people of that country were fair-haired, big-boned people, with blue eyes, but the race I am writing about were black haired and dark eyed, with slender hands. They were rather delicate and slight in their appearance dermes, and they had a peculiarly graceful way of carrying their tails, a manner quite indescribable in its elegance, but a family mark. They were rather more intellectual than their countrymen and were fond of literary pursuits and the study of magic, which in the sea land is considered as a very essential part of a gentleman’s education. It is taught only in the higher schools and colleges.

Our merman’s old grandfather (his father was dead) was Professor of Magic in the State University, and so expert in his own science that he could turn himself into an oyster so perfect that you could not tell him from the genuine article. It was said that once while in that condition he had been nearly swallowed by a member of the Freshman class. For this offence the young merman was called up before the Faculty. He apologized very humbly, and said his only motive had been to see if he couldn’t for once get the professor to agree with him. He professed himself very penitent, and was let off with a reprimand, but he said afterward that his great mistake had been in waiting for the pepper and vinegar. After this accident the professor could never be induced to repeat the performance except in a small circle of his intimate friends.

Now, there was one curious thing about this family, and one which makes me think there was some truth in the legend of their descent from Gulnare and the King of Khorassan dermes.