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.

“‘One word, if you please, Mr. Smooth!’ suddenly interrupted John Littlejohn,—­’it is in that the dangerous element of your Yankee nature exists.  Once beyond the neutralizing sphere of public opinion, you go in for all sorts of vagaries, the more inconsistent with strict order the better.’  This crimination was certainly as fast as out of place; John was, indeed, too ready to censure us without a forethought.  We had given these deluded creatures a home in our land; we had received them as citizens, though most of them were subjects of that land of freedom where the chains fall to give place to flunkeyism; we had protected them in their wilderness home—­should we not be generous, and forgive their errors rather than punish or provoke the delusion?  Preferring more than one wife is not originally American:  on that score Uncle John cannot shake clean the skirts of his garment, nor proclaim his virtue as white as snow.  Ere this conversation ended we had arrived over California.  Standing up I gave three long and strong cheers that astonished and awoke John from the moody reflections into which he had fallen.  There the great El Dorado spread out in golden plains, teeming their rich treasures into Uncle Sam’s apron.  Then, all bright and full of busy life, rose San Francisco, the stars and stripes waving gracefully from a thousand temples.  A thousand ships, like monsters sleeping, rode on the calm bosom of her waters;—­a busy throng of merchants filled her broad avenues; while houseless, anxious, and never-despairing mortals, like swine at large, rooted her broad plains for gold.  A country, by the aid of that Anglo-Saxon energy which carries liberty and civilization into the remotest corners of the world had risen, like a young giant, from a wilderness to a flourishing State.  Already was it a world of industry, every man working for the main chance.  John could not suppress an expression of gratification,—­the sight was bright of promise; but, he added, he much feared his countrymen would view it with a jealous eye, inasmuch as it might become a means of deranging their beautiful organization of very fashionable society.  We were made up of an indescribable compound of common people and shopkeepers, he added, shrugging his shoulders and changing slightly his position.  He forgot that the absence of two of the greatest evils a nation groans under had brought its blessings on our land,—­Mr. Smooth refers to pauper lords, and lords who make paupers.  Great men there sprung from the commonest ranks to take the best care of the nation.  They discarded the expensive nonsense of maintaining dignity which polluted independence:  they respect the poor man’s rights and brighten his prospects; they seek to promote the good of all and fear not the few!

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