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.

“‘True?’ I rejoined—­’too true for delicate ears!  General, you may accept my word when I say it is not so much the public duties as the private affairs of men you have got to keep a close eye upon; when the private affairs of public men get astray the public suffers:  this is borne out in the result of your having appointed foreign gentlemen to misrepresent us abroad.  Your house at Turin is fashionable, but sorely scandalized; the people there love the fair, but expect fairer things of Americans.  Your son of Moses, who plays so well his part at Alexandria, is a bird vain of his feather, and may to-day be seen carried through the streets in something resembling a clothes-basket, and to-morrow in the market purchasing Nubian slaves fair to look upon.  These things may be necessary to a very fine gentleman in Alexandria; but the being who performs them at the expense of his country well earns the pity of its people.  And while I am on this theme, General, I cannot in justice pass over one whom I say in all seriousness has, when contrasted with others, won for himself immortal honors; I mean our worthy representative at St. Petersburg, who understanding no language but his own, and that very imperfectly, has the great good sense to say nothing, seclude himself from the society of the Czar, and seek only the enjoyment of his own melancholy contemplations.  Now General; however much you may esteem the doings of your chosen, there is in Europe but one opinion of their manners; and that opinion being, I regret to say, not the very highest, will for some time to come measure our influence at sundry Courts.  I got my manners, General, by mixing with your chosen!’ The General here drew a long breath, said dinner was almost ready; would I not change the subject, and talk about the war business, and such things.



“Mr. Smooth, a young man of the fast school, has been calculating, during his tour in Europe, the saving it would be to nations if they would but let their wars out by the job to some enterprising fellow-citizen.  He reckons, in a funny sort of way, he would then pay just in accordance to the amount and quality of thrashing it were necessary to inflict upon the enemy.  That it would divest war of its glories, and ambitious men of their zeal, he never had a doubt.  War taken by the job, at a given sum for thrashing the enemy right soundly, would resolve itself into a mere trading commodity, fit only to be dabbled in by shopkeepers and stockbrokers.  By this turn in national affairs, Kings and Czars might curtail their ambition, and their devoted subjects, being paid to fight by the lump, would hurry through their contract.  General Pierce, too, would find it decidedly more convenient, inasmuch as it would save his benevolent people the trouble of inflicting that most unwarrantable rebuke—­sending

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