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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 258 pages of information about The Adventures of My Cousin Smooth.
of Cuba, at any price.  As for the attaches, one got no pay, and was expected by the government to do a deal of work, while the amount paid to the other was so small that he very wisely spent it in cab-hire to see the sights, which it just covered.  One might be almost sure of seeing the former gentleman on the approach of a court concert, while the presence of the other at the legation prognosticated the advent of a drawing-room.  In fact, Mr. Prompt said, with considerable logic, that when people were only half paid they were sure to do nothing.  As for himself (here he smiled, and commenced a new cigar), why he did up the diplomacy of the establishment by the job—­that is, he absorbed in his lean person the functions of minister plenipotentiary, secretary of legation, and gentlemanly attaches.  And for the performance of their duties (the pickings were not worth mentioning) he would, at the end of a few years, make out his account against Uncle Sam, whom he was sure was too straightforward and generous not to allow it.  ’Fact is, stranger,’ he reiterated with great assurance, ’I am almost worked to death here.’  A monster gray cat having entered the room, and inspected curiously the several rat-traps, Mr. Prompt, as if much annoyed, drew himself with great effort from the crippled chair, and drove her unceremoniously out of the room, accompanying her retreat with Peters on diplomacy.  ‘Then, Mr. Prompt,’ said I, ’may I consider myself entirely in your hands?’ Again spreading his boots on the table, and languidly elongating his lean body, he replied, ‘nothin shorter!’ In answer to a question, he said he could fix me out with anything—­from a passport to a grindstone.  In fact, he was a man of universal qualities, and could accommodate the needy with almost anything.  He could issue a passport for the infernal regions; he could give a card to dine with old Jones when one got there; and by way of facilitating matters, lend him a saddle to ride there.  I admitted he was exceedingly generous, and well calculated to bring out all the various functions known to diplomacy; but, having no taste for the sport he proposed, intimated my preference for a box at the Opera, or an invitation to dine with her Majesty.  ‘Well, I do declare,’ says Prompt, who was seized with a very troublesome cough, ‘if you ain’ got a-head on me there!’ Seeing his confusion, I begged he would pardon the intimation.  In reply, he good-naturedly drawled out, ’them things, somehow, don’t come within the privileges of this establishment.  Can accommodate ye with a box at the Theatre Royal, Westminster—­play the very best sort of patent farces in that national place of amusement.  Then they’ve an audience so forbearing, that it makes no matter what they play, and the fun of that establishment beats bull-fighting all holler.  Should the low-comedy man some call Pam, and his walking gentleman, John, chance to have steam up, you will be sure to get your money’s worth.  Take my word, said he:  Covent Garden
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