On the back cover are these words written in the fly’s eyes:
A Monster of the air owing allegiance to Beelzebub. The common house-fly (Musca maledicta) is the most widely distributed of the species. It is really this creature that with comprehensive view surveys mankind from China to Peru. In respect to space, he clouds the world and the sun never sets upon him; in point of time, he is from everlasting to everlasting. Alexander fought him unsuccessfully in Persia; he routed Ceasar in Gaul, worried Magellan in Patagonia and spoiled Greelay’s enjoyment of his meals at Cape Sabine. He is everywhere and always the same. He roosts impartially upon the summit of Olympus and the bald head of a sleepy deacon. The earth, grown wan with age, renews her youth. Seas usurp the continents and polar ice invades the tropics., extinguishing empires, civilizations and races. Where Populous cities stood the jackal slinks across the naked sands or falls by the arrow of the savage, himself hard pressed by the encroaching pioneer. Religions and philosophies perish with the tongues in which they were expounded, and the minstrel joke at last gives way to a successor. Cliffs crumble to dust, the goat’s appetite fails him, at last the office-holder dies, but always the house-fly is at hand like a run of salmon. By his illustrious line we are connected with the past and future; he wantoned in the eyebrows of our fathers; he will skate upon the shining pates of our sons. He is the King, the Chief, the Boss! I salute him.
Reproduced from “The Enlarged Devil’s Dictionary” by Ambrose Bierce, by kind permission of Victor Gollancz Ltd.”
Next time we start on the yellow words which occupy the whole of the central section of the back cover.