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The Adventures of My Cousin Smooth eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 258 pages of information about The Adventures of My Cousin Smooth.
own good.  It were folly to look for pretty manners in me after my connection with your chosen on the continent of Europe!  In London I found things all in a fuddle,—­the head of the house having dwindled into obscurity, while the juniors had been in all sorts of business but that for which they had been paid and sent to discharge; indeed, the revolutionary business, into which members of the house had largely entered, had brought it into all sorts of difficulties and disgraces.  Again it was currently reported that, for being too deeply engaged in the affairs of others, two of the smaller functionaries had found themselves locked up in a police-station, and only unlocked themselves with that protection which the sacred character of the mission is supposed to grant:—­in fact, General, and I advance the intimation for your own good, the only thing in real good order was the smoking and spitting department.  In Paris the house was a dead lock, inasmuch as the head couldn’t understand a word the French said, either about himself or his government; while the retinue were all familiarly known at the cafes.  In Madrid, the head of the house, not having the value of discretion before his eyes, had fuzzled away all his influence, having fought sundry duels, written himself down an ass in controversy with editors, and failed in his proposal to build up a young republic on the ruins of an old and dissolute monarchy.  Forcibly as the truth may depict our singular misrepresentation abroad, we cannot forbear to say, that, so far did this very French-American representative carry his fighting proclivities, that a single instance of their being excelled—­our fighting London Secretary, who had challenged a score of very aged gentlemen (and had been equally courageous were they double the age!) without finding a single one to accept—­could not be found.  At the Hague, the very respectable Hebrew gentleman, who conducted the affairs of the house, had opened a barber-shop, where needy gentlemen could be shaved ad libitum—­provided always they brought a certain description of notes, nor were dainty about how much were taken off the corner.  The house at Lisbon, report said, had got into very orderly disorder, which was not in accordance with the character of the very respectable Irish gentleman who kept it, and who could absorb whiskey and tobacco with any other respectable gentleman from Kilkenny.  To the denizens, among whom he had made an extensive acquaintance, his being an American and speaking such very good Irish and bad English was a perfect mystery.  You may be sure he likes well his situation, and finds the duties of a Minister Extraordinary much preferable to leading the retreat of a pampero expedition.’  Here the General significantly opened one eye and shut the other:  ’Only telling you this for your own good’ I watched him anxiously as he grasped me by the hand, and replied:  ’Smooth! the boldest stroke in my administration does not please me so much as sending you Minister in General to Europe.  But can half you say be true?’

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