SMOOTH DISCOVERS HIMSELF.
“‘Now, citizen!’ said I, thinking it was about time I disclosed to Mr. Prompt who I was, and also the character of my mission, ’as you seem to be the establishment in general, and can grant such very accommodating passports, let me inform you that I, Solomon Smooth, am Mister Pierce’s Minister Extraordinary, to Europe in particular.’ Mr. Prompt’s sharp visage now became sharper. ‘Pierce,’ I said, ’had commissioned me to call together all the boys, in congress at Ostend.’ In testimony of what I had set forth I produced the document, at the sight of which he relieved himself of a very handsome bow, brought his lean body to a perpendicular, and, with an effort at modesty, laid aside his hat and cigar; this I regarded as creditable to the establishment. ‘The governor’s cum, Mas’r Prompt!’ exclaimed the negro, again thrusting his full yellow face into the door. Prompt was evidently abashed at this sudden announcement.
“‘I’ll see the governor, if you have no objection,’ said I, attempting to relieve his quandary. He replied he had none whatever; that I would find him a trump, though rather low. ’He seldom comes out of this place!’ ejaculated Prompt, leading the way through an extremely narrow and crooked passage into a dark cloister-like room, lighted by a small lamp that shed a sickly light over the few antiquated pieces of furniture it contained. ’Minister Smooth will please to introduce himself!’ said Mr. Prompt, ushering me into the room, and closing the door as he retired. Descrying through the pale glow of the lamp my venerable friend Buck, who was seated at a table in the centre of the room, amusing himself with the cat Prompt had so unceremoniously kicked out of his presence, he immediately recognized me; the reception I met would have done honor to companions in the Continental War, meeting after a long absence. He said Saunders and his boy Dan (that is, he was boy to Dan) had reduced his light wonderfully. Here he began pricking up the wick of the old lamp, while I drew up a seat and commenced without further ceremony disclosing the object of my visit, and making known to him some of Pierce’s opinions (private) on matters in general. ‘Read this carefully,’ said I, handing him my instructions from the State Department. He took the document like one compelled to do a thing against his will, while I attentively watched the changes that came over his countenance