“Smooth spread all these things out before the Gineral, just as clear as water. To get Cuba—which was not just ready to hook on—and St. Domingo, that it would take some nice diplomacy to make consider the annexation question, and a few slices more of Mexico, ready to make fast any moment; the Sandwich Islands, yearning to get in; Central America, hardly worth taking in, but nevertheless acceptable, on the ground of carrying out the universal plan, and Canada only requiring a little more coaxing, Smooth thought the cost could be reckoned down to a close figure. But there was Uncle Johnny, and his newly-coined friend Louis Napoleon, to be kept shy while all this was going on; and just there the plague and expense of the thing hung. However, Smooth scratched his head, and made up his mind to enter into a bargain to do the licking at a fair showing, cash down. As to the brush between Nicholas and his neighbor—unhappy wretches; one always wanting to steal the bits of stray territory—Smooth found it painful to keep his fingers out; but there was this to be taken into consideration: the getting his fingers in might be the getting out of his commerce, which said commerce was the model machine of the Model Republic’s power.
“Mr. President Pierce fully believed that Nicholas of all the Rushas had got his eye set to the East, notwithstanding he had quite enough to do in the West; and, though he declared himself moved only by christian visions, it seemed curious enough that he had not the slightest objection to raising most un-christian wars. Nicholas was shrewder than a Connecticut tin pedlar, and more ambitious than a South Carolina politician, who, ever and anon, is ready to war with the Britishers, because the fools obstinately refused to admire slavery. Nicholas had got himself into an interminable fix. Mr. Pierce, merely to please the youthful democracy, would like to lend Nick a hand to unfix himself, but the hitherto dormant power of the nation quickens to action, and says, ’It won’t do, Mr. General Pierce!’ Forced to submit, the General consoles himself with the fact that his friend Nicholas will draw himself into his invulnerable shell, sing the Te Deums, and trust the fate of war, for a dozen years or so, to the All-wise Father.
“‘Now, Gineral,’ said Smooth, addressing himself to Mr. President Pierce, ’the items are all down!—there will be warm work, depend upon it!—and seeing how Uncle Sam’ll have to scratch in somewhere (just to make a point or two), Cousin Caleb and me will take the job of doing all the necessary fighting on both sides the big pond, and getting all the stray territory required to complete these United States, for eighty-six million dollars—two and a half per cent. off for ready money. Might as well let Smooth have the shiners, seeing how me and Caleb would give security to do the fighting up brown; and. then somebody was getting the tin out of Uncle Sam’s big bag in a fast kind of way that nobody could explain. Smooth begged Mr. President Pierce to give the thing a few turns over in his head, and when the problem came as clear as daylight, send him his figure by the first post.’ With this, Mr. Smooth retired to the National.