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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 258 pages of information about The Adventures of My Cousin Smooth.
It was sincerely hoped that in the settlement of this long unsettled question, Mr. Pierce would keep his black-pig at home.  The result proved the mistake:  war was declared.  And the day on which the great struggle would be decided ushered in upon a scene at once gloomy and ominous.  Mysterious and fleecing clouds now obscured the heavens, and again shadowed with their silvery mists the surface of the sullen stream.  A contest of mighty import was to be decided.  The hazard was great, but the point to be gained small indeed; and men moved along the busy streets whispering their strong misgivings.  Monster war-ships, with ponderous engines supplied, rode like sleeping demons upon the water’s leaden surface.  An hour of anxiety passed, a signal of war echoed forth, and murmured over the landscape like distant thunder coursing along the heavens.  Then the murmuring sound re-echoed, as if the battlements above had opened upon the earth and sea.  Soon Britannia’s wooden walls were seen veering into line and preparing for action; America’s ranged in the same order, waiting the dread moment.  Anxious eyes and thoughts strained in expectation of the bloody struggle; then the boatswain’s shrill whistle sounded forth, the leaden clouds overhead chased away, and bolder outlined became the figures of venerable Admirals, who, immersed in glittering uniforms, paced their quarter-decks.  Again the ominous mouths of fierce cannon suddenly protruded more savagely from the sides of the huge hulks, and the shrill whistle sounded; all was bustle and confusion—­eager thousands of both sexes crowded wharves lining the shore, and many struggled for space to stand upon while witnessing the terrible conflict.  Again all was hushed into stillness; in breathless suspense did excitement sit on every countenance, as if waiting for the signal flash soon to break forth and turn everything into a chaos.  A quarter-master was seen passing a speaking trumpet to the burly old British admiral, who, judging from his deportment, might have supplied the place of a rare curiosity in any cabinet of ancient relics.  With it in his hand the ancient veteran mounted a gun on the starboard quarter, and shouted forth the ominous sound:  ’I accept your challenge—­all ready?’ A terrible movement was now perceptible among the spectators on shore.

“’You ill-treated myself and officers while on shore a few days ago; and you shall pay the penalty of your insult.  I’ll lick you; I’ll be damned if I don’t,’ answered the American, saucily.

“’You’re spunk; but we’ll take a little of it out, by the way of reducing your pretensions—­that’s all.  Now, my good cousin, just look out for the shivering of your timbers.  I’m going to load with grape, a jolly mixture I shall slap right into you.’

“‘That’s e’en jist the medicine!’ rejoined the Yankee:  that’s jist what I’m going to load with; and if it won’t kill, we’ll take cogniac canister!  But old fellow, we’ll larn ye how the Britishers can’t take the spunk out of us Yankees:  s’pose ye come on board my craft, lay off yer old notions, and play the good fellow in the jolly free-and-easy way.  We’ll then consider the horrors of war; and see if the matter can’t be discussed in a different way atween decks.’

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