The Adventures of My Cousin Smooth eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 320 pages of information about The Adventures of My Cousin Smooth.
on his head with fright, to bring me a spittoon—­felt sorry I neglected to import one from some of our European Legations!—­or I’d hurl the liquid every which way—­perhaps storm his high-colored Persian rugs!  I was about to lay off in the very bliss of comfort, when Pierce, followed by his black pig, came laraping into the room, looking as amiable and undecided as ever.  ‘Smooth,’ he exclaimed, greeting me with a heartiness of hand little expected, ’I am so glad to see you home once more!’ Here he suddenly paused, gave out ominous looks, lowered his voice to a whisper, and continued:  ’In the name of forgiveness, where did you contract such manners?’ A little cold sweat bespread his brow just then.  ’Upon the faith of my high position,’ he continued, ’I thought my sending you to Europe would have proved a polishing machine, and prepared you for shining in society.’

“‘Mr. Smooth,’ I modestly returned, ’would prefer the General sat down and calmly listen to how he came by his pretty manners.  Somebody has said, a man was known by the society he keeps.  Be this as it may, General, I don’t come here to cast a single reflection on you; nor would I proclaim to the fellow citizens of these United States that you are in any wise accountable for what I am going to say and disclose.’  The General, somewhat struck by my demeanor, took a seat, nervously, and applied his ear, while I extinguished the cigar, and commenced summoning my thoughts.  ’Having no manners when I left home, General, I naturally depended for them upon those whom my mission brought me in contact with.  Now, General!—­and this I would were held strictly confidential between ourselves—­when I got on the other side of the water, (here I gave him a touch he understood), being your Minister in General I naturally fell in and associated with your Ministers in particular; and such a lot they were!  I couldn’t trust my virtue in the company of one of them:  albeit, in their company, you were sure not to get into decent society.  Foreign victims of misgovernment had long viewed America as a land from whence came the plain unostentatious gentleman of sense.  How sad to think that they had of late been so grievously disappointed!  They are only men of coarse manners, and low of bringing up, assuming the democrat, while aping the snobism of the aristocrat.  General, they are of your own selecting; and, mark me, I only name it here out of sincere regard for you, not expecting it to get abroad.  In fact, General, the people of Europe find they have been deluded.  They see us affecting contempt for the very fooleries we seek to imitate; they see these, your chosen, playing the coarse ruffian to the end.  To the foreign mind Americans are America—­to its chosen they look for the embodiment of its institutions It cannot comprehend that the mongrel-mixture you have sent abroad constitute the very essence of that ill opinion gained of us by misrepresentation.  This, General, is strictly private—­only intended for your

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The Adventures of My Cousin Smooth from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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