“The fellow, seeing I was not to be outdone, gave it up for a bad job, and contented himself with following me here and there, keeping a fixed eye on my motions, as if he feared I was going to become enamoured of some of Mr. Pierce’s chambermaids, which said commodity was acknowledged to be very pretty, and much admired by Jones, who did the fashionable at Willard’s. It having been said that the General, like Jackson, would keep himself, I endeavored to persuade the fellow to show me his nook. He only shook his head and said it wouldn’t do: so I took a careless stroll through the loose apartments, and ceased only when my sight was gratified. ‘Well!’ says the flunkey, adding a deep sigh and a despairing shake of the head, ’it’s no use trying to control this citizen; he’s of the fast school, without bowels.’
“‘You may believe it!’ returned I, advancing toward a broad circular stairway that wound downward far into the regions below, where I expected to find Fourney and Company holding the General down upon the grindstone, while Uncles Caleb and Jeff turned, and Marcy stood by to say when enough of the rough was got off. ’There! in my soul he’s going down into the kitchen!’ The fellow bawled out as I passed down, and soon disappeared, saying it was just the winding way I sought; and, though the things to be seen in the vortex to which it led might be dangerously dear to the nation, the proof would at least be convincing. On I went, the way darkening as I advanced.
MR. SMOOTH PENETRATES THE DARK CONFINES OF MR. PIERCE’S KITCHEN, WHERE HE FINDS THINGS SADLY CONFUSED.
“Down, down, down, went, groping my way (significant of the General’s policy) through a long dark passage, whence came a rancorous stench, strong enough to kill cats and doubtful democrats. ’Keep the right hand way for the kitchen: General is in there, assisting in the making of a monster stew. Work your course through the smoke—you may be sure Mr. Pierce is in the thickest cloud, though over the smallest stew-pan,’ a voice echoed, as if broken on the winds. ‘All right!’ I muttered, confronting on my way the still stronger odour of the sickening steam. My intention was to have a political discussion with the cook (Fourney by name) and say a thing or two to the General; for I had got a sort of cross-grained notion into my head that he was compounding a grand stew for the black pig with the horns. Meanwhile my stomach said it would have no objection to join the General over a good breakfast. Presently I scented the frying of fish, which betold that I was on the right track. But lo! as I was about to open a great door that led into where the fussing and frying was going on, a voice screamed out—’Visitors are forbidden these premises!’ Here was a pretty kettle of political fish. ‘Much you know about it!’ I replied testily, and turning saw nothing but fog and confusion. Faith and energy being the two great pillars of human progress, I summoned them to my aid, and pressed onward, determined to see for myself who regulated the culinary. This resolution was adopted solely on the ground that the General had repudiated his responsibility to the people, and joined hands with those who eat up all the loaves and little fishes.