Excerpt, Log of the Silver Dream

Sharon’s entry in the Log of the Silver Dream: February 25: Another wonderful day aboard the Silver Dream! Capt. David and Capt. Sharon sailed away to Calcutta. We explored a group of ruined pagodas out in the jungle. We saw a tiger and a deadly cobra, but we did not get bitten, nor eaten. Our native guide, Chauncey, took us back into town, where we shopped for artifacts at the marketplace.

One of the local curio vendors, Habib, had a pair of mysterious glasses called the “Spectacles of Things-as-They-Ought-to-Be.” The lenses were cut from rare jewels. The frames are made of ivory with lapis lazuli inlay. The Spectacles make everything in the world seem as it should be. When you look at unhappy people through them, the people are smiling. When you look at a run-down hovel like my house, it’s nice and clean, and merely rustic.

Habib wanted three thousand rupees for the Spectacles. But Capt. David and I haggled with him for a long time and got the price down to three hundred. Habib put them into a new case, just like the ones from the optician’s office. The case had Habib’s name on it in gold leaf: “Habib’s New & Used Antiquities, Calcutta; India…”

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