Thanks to the folks on the list...
I now have my soekris m0n0wall hooked up
in parallel with my existing soekris pebble,
but with different IP's....
and I have my laptop on the LAN, but
using 10.248.126.2 instead of .1 for default gw....
and lynx does work for https - even v.2.8 which is 18 months old.
just for the record, manuel, keep the gui the way it is,
It appears to be manageable just fine from lynx
now I can work on things like forwarding ssh, etc.
(important for working on things from out on the WAN)