The Adventures of My Cousin Smooth eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 258 pages of information about The Adventures of My Cousin Smooth.

CHAPTER I.

Mr. Solomon smooth in Washington.

“Dear Uncle—­Once upon a time you were called Sam; but now that the reign of Pierce is upon us it is difficult to tell what you may not be called.  Not long since you were the son of greatness, you are now the shadow of Pierce—­the man whose little light posterity will snuff out.  I have thought of you frequently, Uncle:  I have seen you in sorrow looking back upon the past, and my heart has beat with sympathy as I saw you contrast it with the present.  Once patriotism stood on manly feet, now Bunkam reigns.  Politics are turned into drum-sticks, parties are lost for want of a policy, principles are buried in the market-place.  Mr. Smooth has been long accustomed to hard knocks and crooked places; but anything so crooked as Mr. Pierce staggers his digestion.  If the concentrated wisdom of the nation riots here (thought I as I entered the city) who can gainsay my coming?  I knew the atmosphere I entered had foul malaria in it; the city I found as straight as the face of parties on the other hand was deformed.  But being in the federal city, I became forcibly impressed with the fact, that your smallest man has the largest expectations, though he will not object to become the nation’s drone.  Having made this wonderful discovery, I took up my line of march for the National Hotel, a gorgeous palace where an uncouth million meet to revel in cheap luxury.  So large was the house that a pilot to guide me through its thousand galleries to bed was an indispensable necessity.  I was fatigued, and cared not where I hung up.  Large as was the establishment, everything looked so costly that I became cautious lest what I sat down upon might become soiled, in which event I might be compelled to pay the shot with a short locker; or, should the case go before Pierce, he might in the profundity of his wisdom exile me to some remote spot on the Mosquito coast.  I walked into the establishment like one who feels himself an independent citizen, and then commenced looking at the place and the people, as the people commenced looking at me.  Returning looks, and question-asking, seemed the fashion.  ‘Stranger!’ said a well dressed but rather inquisitive individual, ’you must, to be anybody in this place, smother yourself in dignity, and eat dough-nuts of Southern make.  Large quantities of this diet are made now at the White House; in fact Pierce has turned the establishment into a factory, where that article is manufactured ad libitum, and all are expected to eat.’  I thought the person who thus accosted me had large experience of matters in general, for he gave me a slanting wink and a cunning nudge, which I rendered into an insinuation to stand treat.  I affected not to understand him, and edging aside a pace, made a bold effort to gain the long and very expensive mahogany counter that stretched half across the office, and behind which

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The Adventures of My Cousin Smooth from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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