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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 481 pages of information about The Life and Adventures of Maj. Roger Sherman Potter.
The President never acted on important state affairs without first consulting him.  As to cabinet ministers, he was not only the intimate friend and adviser of the whole batch, but swore he had them all so completely at his bidding, (being called on frequently to rectify their blunders,) that no foreign appointment could be made without his consent.  Indeed, Ben Stretcher never failed to assert, while drinking his punch, that nothing was mo re easy than to double up Congress, Administration, Cabinet, and the whole mob of office givers, put them in one’s pocket, and walk quietly off.  Ben’s greatest wisdom was, however, displayed to great advantage in the facility with which he gave to the country matters of grave importance that were to be transacted at various cabinet meetings in prospective.  In truth, he often made the government cut a sorry figure in the eyes of those not familiar with the art of making state secrets; for being “especial” correspondent of the numerous enterprising newspapers I have referred to, he will to-day frighten the country with an “exclusive” dispatch to the Daily Discoverer, revealing the momentous fact (?) that a war with England was inevitable; while with equal grandeur of equanimity, he will to-morrow assert that there is not the slightest cause to fear “a disturbance of the friendly intercourse now existing between this country and Great Britain.”  And these wonderful prophecies, together with extraordinary state secrets, he would vary every day, according to the demands of the public and his own taste.  Lucky, indeed, were the journals having Ben Stretcher or a getter up of “startling” news, and many were they who sought to engage his services.  It was, nevertheless, curious to see how Ben, smiling within himself, would, in a third dispatch, assert that all his prophecies had been verified, though, heaven knows, he was generally as far off the truth as the poles are from the equator.

In order not to lose time in paying his respects to so distinguished a general, and a gentleman who, no doubt, had important business with Congress, where his services might find employment, Ben took the earliest opportunity to make a formal call one day; but finding only Mr. Tickler at home, he relieved his disappointment in a colloquy, which will be recorded in the next chapter.

CHAPTER XLI.

In which is recorded A curious conversation that took place between stretcher, tickler, and the general, and what they thought of the state of the nation.

Mr. Stretcher entered the general’s room with his head canted toward his left shoulder, his countenance wearing an air of great wisdom, his hat in his left hand, and the fingers of his right to his beard.  “I take the liberty of introducing myself, sir,” he spoke, and bowed with becoming courtesy.  “Ben Stretcher, that is my name, which, perhaps, is familiar enough to you, being so well known in Washington.”

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