“To be honest with you, friend, I will not reject the brandy, for I took a liking to it when I was a strolling player, and believe it does me no harm in my new profession. He here, at the major’s request, rang the bell for a waiter. “As to what you said, to tell the truth between ourselves, not a word of it could I make out; for though I can speak many languages, my head is not troubled with a word of Latin, which, I have no doubt, you spoke with great correctness. I would have you know, sir, that it will not do in these pinching times to set up for a critic, unless you have Latin at your finger’s ends. And if you have it not, why it serves the same purpose to say you have. With Latin you can enter the Press Club, (which affords you an excellent opportunity of escaping the bills of your tailor,) and if you practice the deception with skill, you will be set down for a man of wonderful capacity. But if you knew what a miserable thing it is to be a critic, you would, I knew, say a man had better follow the devil with a fife and drum than depend on the tricks of booksellers for his bread, which is come the fashion with critics at this day.”
“Upon my soul, Mr. Tickler,” replied the major, rising to his feet, as sound a man as ever was seen, “I reverence you for your good sense. The truth is, I hold it none the worse of a man that he have not his mouth full of Latin every minute in the day. And as my wife Polly knows, I have languages enough at my tongue’s end; but hold it better of a man that he try to get perfect in his own.”
“Let us to the priests with the languages,” rejoined Mr. Tickler, knowingly; “and let us get to the brandy for here comes the servant.” And the servant entered with a bow.
In which will be found several things common to military politicians; also, A curious history of the critics, as related by Mr. Tickler.
Having given his order to the servant, General Potter turned to Mr. Tickler, and with great politeness said, “I may say to you in confidence, seeing that I shall be all right when I take a bottle or two of Townsend’s Sarsaparilla, that my friends made me a General last night; and as experience teaches me that this title will do me great service, pray make it convenient to address me accordingly.” Mr. Tickler at once promised to scrupulously regard this admonition, as well as to hold the general’s person in profound respect.