At long last, fair Britannia’s genius has warmed the globe with her belching smokestacks and engines of industry, and the cruel polar ice is in retreat. What discoveries, what treasures, await our courage to exploit them!
But some lament: “we must preserve the terrible glaciers that stymie science and profit, and upon which our ships are constantly dashed. We cannot predict what foul consequence follows our headlong pride!”
Rubbish: I can and will predict it.
Prediction the First: Trade! Opium!
The northwest passage has ever been something of a Holy Grail of the adventuring set, second only to the Holy Grail itself—and God in his obstinate jealousy has denied both to us. Should the glaciers melt, the seas will rise and our fleets may set sail over the boreal climes of Canada to reach the Orient with unmatched celerity and plumb its dear spices—opium being the dearest and most desirable of all.
With this easement in trade, poppies shall proliferate and become as common as Irishmen; we may see an opium den on every corner, and every man, woman, and child in our great society will live in contentment and satiety! We shall become as the lotus-eaters, and languish painlessly in the laudanum haze of paradise.
Ah, the ambrosial spice! Opium!
Prediction the Second: The southern continent shall have a mountain made of gold.
Gold being the heaviest element in the world, it stands to reason that most of it has filtered down to the lowest part of the world—that is, south. Here it will have collected in the Antarctic lands among the other heavy elements to create a very continent of jewels and iron, and from the center of the pole must rise a veritable mountain of gold upon which the native creatures gyre and gambol in innocent play.
In short, we should blow up the mountain with dynamite and take all the gold.
Prediction the Third: We shall discover a primeval world where dinosaurs yet live, and we may crush them for oil.
How could a sheet of ice so vast and encompassing have come into being? Modern science tells us that during the flood of Noah, when the watery firmament fell upon the world, fierce polar winds repelled the rain and froze it as it fell, and it became as a domed roof to the world’s extremities. What lies beneath that ice? We know that God intended to save all his creations through the famed Ark of that holy patriarch—so whither the dinosaur, whose bones we have so lately discovered?
Here. Under the glaciers. Here we may find the hairy tyrannosaurus with his many horns; and the terrible brachiosaur, so named for the extreme length of his brawny arms. Science tells us furthermore that coal and oil are created by crushing dinosaurs under a great weight (e.g., the waters of the great deluge). With these animals made available to our use, think of the profit! We may seize these dinosaurs, and increase their numbers in parks set aside for that purpose, and then squeeze them in great industrial presses and yield such oil thereby as to lubricate the machines of the empire in perpetuity!
Prediction the Fourth: The immortal magicians who rule the hidden land beyond the ice wall cannot stand against us.
I recently attended an ecumenical orgy between the Theosophical Society and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, absolutely saturated in erotic magical energies; and when we were settling down afterward with relaxing injections of cocaine and the masks came off, who had I been suckling but Madame Blavatsky herself! Well, I told her about my theories regarding the continent of jewels, the dinosaurs, &c., and she not only confirmed the existence of such a place, but even revealed that a primeval race of magicians not detailed in her Secret Doctrine resides there; that they jealously guard the secret of immortality and that insuperable horrors await any man who would seek to steal it from them. Then she vomited a quart of absinthe and fell asleep on the floor.
My friends, I advocate for an expedition to steal the secret of immortality. Yes, Blavatsky said it would be hard-going, but have you no courage? No love of adventure? These hypernotalian mages are a primitive race hailing from the dawn of time; we, on the other hand, possess logical minds tempered in the forge of industry, and we also possess guns. We can easily overcome them with our gunpowder, our steel, and—well, it may be prudent to bring along a choleric or two. After we conquer them, we might even enlist the natives as laborers to excavate the mountain of gold.
Opium, gold, oil, immortality! We have nothing to fear from melting glaciers, and the world to gain.
Sally forth, countrymen! Adventure awaits!