“It being well understood in Washington that great men were most condescending, while little men, with large expectations, were most aspiring, there was nothing left but to cut a course between the two. As for the latter quality of gentlemen, they never stood at trifles, and when they failed to get the big business, had not the slightest objection to the small,—which was the doing all Mr. President Pierce’s thinking. Therefore, be it known that, with a full knowledge of this sad state of affairs, did I write down:—’Mr. Solomon Smooth, from Cape Cod:’ which, when down, looked like the footprints of a hen that, having dipped her claws in an inkstand, had waddled across the page. Thus ended my induction at the National.
Mr. Smooth sups, and goes to bed.
“At length, Uncle Sam, I found myself somebody; and while looking about me on the many well-dressed and very good-natured gentlemen who subsisted on the hope of your generosity, could not avoid the contemplation of what a glorious world this of ours must be, possessing as it does so many good hearted souls like yourself, so rich—but as indifferent to their own best interests. ’You will take supper, Mr. Smooth?’ inquired the man behind the mahogany. Before I had time to speak, he pulled a bell that jingled like Jehu. And then there came scampering in a school of negroes, so tidy, trim, and intelligent. One bowed—another smiled—a third waited with a salutation my commands. ‘Take care of Mister Smooth!’ again spoke the man behind the mahogany, as with an effort to be commanding in accent. That they might know more emphatically (as Uncle Tom Benton says) that Mr. Smooth was none of your common citizen, I turned my eyes on the darkies, and stared at them until they turned pale. Then one possessed himself of my bundle: moving off with a scientific motion, and a bow a la cabinet, he bid me follow. Obeying his summons, onward we went, through a long, dark passage, and into a spacious hall up stairs, where he said they eat their people. No sooner was I bowed to a seat than a dozen gentlemen darkies set upon me in good earnest; so fast did they beset me with eatables that I begun to think they had mistaken me for a thanksgiving turkey about to be fatted for the table of the secretary of the treasury. The fixins, as Mr. Samuel Slick would say, made one feel quite at home; not so with the darkies: they recognizing my home spun, soon became sassy; whereupon I turned round and set upon them with the broadest grin I could summon. Nor could I withhold a laugh at seeing them laugh. ’Reckon how mas’r’s on big business to Washington wid Mr. General Pierce,’ says one, whose face was black, and bright, and full of the quizzical; while another, with a flat crooked nose gave a cunning wink out of his left eye. This being detected by a superior, in the brisk person of