SMOOTH ENCOUNTERS A COLONIAL JUSTICE OF STRANGE CHARACTER.
“Nova Scotia being what a South Carolinian would call a hard country to live in (though the people were proverbially kind, and hospitable, and loyal, and simple-minded), Smooth, like many other special ministers, resolved to give up his mission in disgust, and, without further delay, seek the arms of General Pierce. However, before quitting the province, he visited the shores of Cape Breton (an island belonging to Her Most Gracious Majesty), and there met with a singularly eccentric character of the name of Belhash. This Belhash added to a figure of great rotundity a square, red face, small hazel eyes, a heavy, flat nose, a low, reclining forehead, and a head covered with red, crispy hair, which he took great pains to part in the centre. The only expression the Squire’s face could lay claim to was that of a pumpkin burned ripe in the sun. When in his favorite dress of blue-grey homespun, which he judiciously arranged (for Belhash was a Squire), no greater functionary lived on the island; that is, in his well-developed opinion of himself! His principal law business consisted in settling all disputes arising between the people on shore and the Yankee fishermen who, against the law, infested the coast, and for whom the Squire had a hatred he always made known in his decisions. To Belhash the Americans were all of a flock, they would steal, smuggle, take a Nova Scotiaman’s eyeteeth out, and, what he most hated, concoct some republican plot to overthrow his darling government. ‘Now,’ said the Squire to me, one day, ’I have no bad opinion of you individually, Smooth; for, by the righteous, you’re a sort of clever feller—an exception to Yankees in general—nor do I think you’ll steal!’
“I said, ‘No, I didn’t think I would!’ And he continued: ’You must see I am something of a man here on these shores; in fact, sir, some call me very distinguished; but I hardly think I have arrived at that yet, though the honorable attorney-general of the province, when this way lectioneerin about a year ago, in referring to my position in administering the law, said: ’That distinguished gentleman, Squire Belhash, than whom none is loyaler, or more capable of administering the law;’ he did, sir, I assure you!’
“Of course I bowed to this, and declared the compliment as merited as handsomely bestowed. And then he continued: ’You see now, sir—and it’s no small compliment to a man in this out of the way part of the world!—I holds her Majesty’s commission to alienate (some call it demonstrate) the laws of the land.’ Here the Squire’s face broadened and got redder, and the flashy handkerchief seemed too small for the organic conformation of his big blue-veined neck.