“Smooth has been at the White House, seeing Mr. Pierce, and cautioning him about the look of things abroad, lest they get kind of snarled up.
“Being a genuine New Englander, with real Puritanic blood in his composition, Smooth considered himself a good sort of man,—rather a desirable neighbor, conscientious, extremely disinterested, and always ready to do a bit of a good turn, never forgetting number one. Smooth was just going to ask the Gineral if this was not so, when he smiled so free and easy that it settled the point shorter.
“’Now, Smooth, you’ve seen a good deal, I reckon, and must be a man of profound opinions: tell us, are we going to get fuzzled up in the breakers on the other side of the big pond?’ inquired the Gineral, looking so serious that Smooth made it a point to get his ideas squared up.
“‘Somethin for us citizens to have a go-in-at, you means, I s’pose?’
“‘Yes!’ replied the Gineral.
“Smooth reckoned ’twas best to have an understanding about how much he was going to get from Uncle Sam’s chink-locker for doing the thrashing for these United States afore he said much about what was going on in the world. Uncle Sam was a good old soul, and, seeing that he did not keep the best cash account in the world, Smooth had no objection to entering into the tin business with him, now that he had a large stock on hand. Smooth, however, must make one single proviso, and that is, that he be always permitted to work out the p’s and q’s of his own demands.