Perpetual Motion

“And since the world without planets and hence without atmospheres cannot exist, then it follows that as long as the world exists and, in consequence, atmospheres, the cylinder-barrels invented by the great Archangel Hariton will always work.

“Now just one question occurs to me—about the material from which this cylinder-barrel is made.

“I wish very much, my dear Captain, that you would roughly tell me what materials it is made of and how long they can last,” requested Beelzebub.

To this question of Beelzebub’s the captain replied as follows: “Although the cylinder-barrel does not last forever, it can certainly last a very long time.

“Its chief part is made of ‘amber’ with ‘platinum’ hoops, and the interior panels of the walls are made of ‘anthracite,’ ‘copper,’ and ‘ivory,’ and a very strong ‘mastic’ unaffectable either by (1) ‘paischakir’ or by (2) ‘tainolair’ or by (3) ‘saliakooriapa’* or even by the radiations of cosmic concentrations.

“But the other parts,” the captain continued, “both the exterior ‘levers’ and the ‘cogwheels,’ must certainly be renewed from time to time, for though they are made of the strongest metal, yet long use will wear them out.

“And as for the body of the ship itself, its long existence can certainly not be guaranteed.”

The captain intended to say still more, but at that moment a sound like the vibrations of a long minor chord of a far-off orchestra of wind instruments resounded through the ship.

With an apology the captain rose to leave, explaining as he did so that he must be needed on very important business, since everybody knew that he was with his Right Reverence and would not venture to trouble the ears of his Right Reverence for anything trifling.

* (1) Cold, (2) heat, and (3) water.