For too many years to count I travelled the world visiting bottomless viper-pits. I studied them, sketched them, photographed them, and wrote up lengthy and detailed descriptions of each and every one. My patience is almost inhuman, and it needed to be, because sooner or later some well-meaning numbskull would ask, in relation to this or that bottomless viper-pit, “Tell me, Professor Bindweed, if the viper-pit is bottomless, where in heaven’s name are the vipers?” And each time I would sigh, and give my interlocutor a look of saintly forebearance, and reply, “On ledges, of course, from very near the top and then at intervals of a few feet all the way down!” For in my experience this was invariably the case, from the bottomless viper-pit of O’Houlihan’s Wharf to the bottomless viper-pit of San Christoboole.
Then, one day, armed only with the shreds of a map and a flask of brackish water, I came upon the bottomless viper-pit of Gaar. One thing you must understand is that I had been at this work for so long that very little surprised me anymore. So please do not think I am exaggerating when I say that I was thunderstruck, bedazzled, giddy and incredulous, for I was all those things and more. The amazing thing about the bottomless viper-pit of Gaar was that it had been turned into a sort of tourist attraction. A fence had been placed around it, gigantic gaudy signs flashed on and off, and fairground music blared out of stacks of loudspeakers. To exploit one of the remotest bottomless viper-pits in the world for commercial gain seemed wrong to me, and, suddenly drained of my inhuman patience, I marched up to the person standing behind the counter of the ticket booth.
- Trumpets and Banners, the complete monologue
- How I Plunged Into The Bottomless Viper-Pit of Gaar
- Misprints (errata from the previous testimony)
- Quotation from “An Account Of The Customs And Manners Of The Micmakis And Maricheets Savage Nations, Now Dependent On The Government Of Cape-Breton”
- Wafers, Vile and Otherwise
- A Pedant’s Righteous Nostrums
This episode was first broadcast on June 8th 2005.