“’Feeling a fellow sympathy, I thought perhaps I might lend you a hand to do some of the whipping,—knowing how the brute professes to be a christian of the latest pattern.’ Nicholas had a strong appetite for the Turkey, which, though sick, he would have no objection to breakfast upon, as I have before stated; and, that his christian cubs might share the feast, he had begun to teach them the straightforward principles of holy orthodoxy; which said holy orthodoxy incited a craving for blood we have not yet learned to appreciate.
“The said sick Turkey had not given the best satisfaction to the world in his mode of reducing to poverty his flock; and, too, he was always ready to bandy words and ostentation,—having a large supply of the latter always on hand. He had, moreover, evinced a certain degree of heroism; nor was he ever backward in professing his readiness to fight somebody—if it were the unruly Bear, so much the better. The heroism thus manifested on the part of the decaying Turk would have deserved more praise had it not had its origin in the assurance that Uncle John would lend a hand to do the fighting. Mark ye! John had copiously poured forth his treasure and blood in order that this vagabond Turkey might still live, and be saved from the Bear’s all-digesting stomach, and for which he would deny John the freedom of his city; he would condescend only to honor him with the title of dog.
“In one sense a more generous fellow than John was not to be found on the outside of our small world. He had been the pack-horse of Europe, and all sorts of kings had used him for all sorts of purposes. Never was friend used better. He was proud, and yet how submissive. Ready to shed his blood and squander his treasure for he knew not what, he was equally willing to submit his well-burdened back to the kicks and cuffs of those he had saved from ignominy. Now, the very type of endurance was he who sat poised in the puddle. ‘As for the Bear,’ says John, ’he won’t guarantee to be satisfied with his ordinary rations; and if he were to plant himself in the centre of this puddle I would very obediently have to plant myself out.’ Here John folded his arms, and, with a dignified air, ordered his beer.
“That John should keep his eye sharp to windward was natural enough; but had this very same eye been kept to windward many years ago, much blood and treasure had been saved in the present. It is playing false to his national character thus long for which John now pays so dearly. But that phantom of terror excited by the Bear’s growth, Mr. Smooth seriously thinks unworthy of being entertained by the honorable John.