“I calmly intimated that he might be right, but inquired if he ever knew a Yankee out-yankeed? John folded his arms, and got his face well adjusted within the circle of his ample shirt-collar, which he had preserved unruffled during his fall. Suddenly I remembered that in my pocket was a handbill of Uncle Obadiah’s clock factory, upon which was broadly emblazoned a time-piece of modern fashion. Its effect was electric. No sooner was it displayed than the barbarian’s eye glowed with anxiety; the gaudy picture carried his heart and soul captive to Uncle Sam. In his ecstacy he threw his arms about me, hugged me and fawned me, and in his joy was well nigh devouring me. Poor John stood outdone—dumfounded. The sight was characteristic.
“‘Principles, in these days of development,’ mumbled John, as with the fingers of his right hand he stroked his chin, ’I admit give way to circumstances. To say a difficulty exists you Yankees cannot surmount—to say an invention is known you cannot improve and apply; to say a remote colony exists you cannot people and govern, is a calumny gross indeed. If they fail to gain the end they aim at by one movement they will resort to another more bold—success must follow.’ John grudgingly made the admission. Had he possessed the forethought to discover how the point was likely to turn he would have provided himself with the picture of a business-like ambassador proceeding to a great convention with only thirty-two females in his train, as might have been seen at Vienna very recently; or, better yet, the picture of a duke’s flunkey, which, being the more ridiculous of the two, would to the savage have proved the greater attraction. But John turned coldly and methodically from the subject. His ancestors had made so many sovereigns! he said. Nothing to be gained, his thoughts were turned now to the means of getting away from the savages. Not another day would he stay; I was at liberty to start any amount of young Republics. Apprehending difficulty from his state of excitement I counselled his better nature, and brought to the rescue the quiet and cheerful of his curious composition. It was the only way to surmount a great difficulty. Preserving, then, the calm of a philosopher, I set about inventing something to take us from thence, to a more congenial land. Smooth, with progress in his head and grasp in his fingers, can, upon the same principle that he can start something to please our nation, create some thought for the relief of two distressed individuals. One half the failures in the world are the result of the mind magnifying the undertaking into an impossibility, instead of setting about it fresh and vigorous—making a determination to achieve the object. The American nature has become bold of adventure, and one of its greatest characteristics is, never to stand in doubt when an experiment is to be tried.
“‘Yes, but, Smooth!’ he interrupted, ’you don’t consider that we British officials abroad are placed in a very unpleasant position. Our acts being at all times liable to disapproval at the Foreign Office, we too frequently remain passive for want of faith at home and confidence in ourselves. The spirit of the Foreign Office is like a weathercock on wings; we are a mere servilage to the uncertain changes and caprices of those who may chance to be its Chief.’