“Faith of my father, sir,” he continued, “but if the fleshy man would only stop his screaming, and set to sing ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ or something of that sort, it would be much more to my liking. To your fashionable folks with your fashionable singing, for all me: and let them who understand it pay for it; to be honest with you, sir, (and I see you are much given to this sort of singing,) I can make no more of it than that the fleshy man you call the tenor, and who you say is no scaly fellow, but a man with whom several damsels have become enamored, is outdoing the big man you call the basso, in telling his troubles to the audience, who, I take it, care not a whit about them, seeing that most of them are keeping up a loud conversation on matters concerning their neighbors, which is a proof of their resolution not to let the bawling fellows upon the stage have it all their own way. As to the moral of the representation, I have no doubt it is good, as you say; but I hold, that vice is better shut up in the closet than served out for the amusement of the young. But lest you say I am not a man of feeling, I can tell you I pity the tall woman you call the prima donna; and if she would accept a word of advice from me, I would tell her to so square her example for the future, that she may be prepared for Heaven when Death knocks at the door, since she is a lady of so much beauty that it would be a pity to see her leave this world without redemption. And as I see the big, fat chorus women are laughing in their skins at our ignorance of what they say, I would have them take heed lest they fall into the snare you describe as being set for the square shouldered damsels you call the atrato.” “Contralto!” interrupted Mr. Tickler. “Well, have it contralto, then; the difference is only in a word or two, which matters nothing now-a-days. And as to the opera, I hold it best that we get home and attend to matters concerning our journey, for I see the two foreign gentlemen on the stage are for having a fight between themselves; and as it would not become me, as a military man, to stand by and see any unfair play, or indeed, to have anything to do with it, let us prove the strength of our understanding by getting quietly away.” During this colloquy between the general and Mr. Tickler, Glanmoregain had been a quiet listener; but he was not a little amused at the singular innocence of the man he was about to entrust with the important office of overthrowing a kingdom. And although he would have remained to the end of the opera, which, so far as the principals were concerned, was really being performed in a very creditable manner, he accompanied the general to his quarters at the St. Nicholas, where they, having made such arrangements for the journey as will be recorded in the following chapter, parted for the night.
General Roger Potter and his secretary arrive in Washington, to the no small alarm of certain adepts and office seekers.