“Sam Slick," sais he, " as I'm alive. Well, how do you do, Mr. Slick? I am 'nation glad to see you, I affection you as a member of our legation, I feel kinder proud to have the first literary man of our great nation as my Attaché." "Your knowledge of human natur ("added to your'n of soft sawder,” sais I, "will raise our great nation, I guess, in the scale o' European estimation." He is as sensitive as a skinned eel, is Layman, and he winced at that poke at his soft sawder like anything, and puckered a little about the mouth, but he didn't say nothin', he only bowed.

He was a Unitarian preacher once, was Abednego, but he swapt preachin' for politics, and a good trade he made of it too ; that's a fact. "A great change," sais I, “Abednego, since you was preachin' to Connecticut and I was a vendin’ of clocks to Nova Scotia, ain't it? Who'd a thought then, you'd a been 'a Socdolager,' and me your 'pilot fish,' eh?” It was a raw spot, that, and I always touched him on it for fun. Sam,” said he, and his face fell like an empty puss, when it gets a few cents put into each eend on it, the weight makes it grow twice as long in a minute. “Sam,” said he, " don't call me that ere, except when we are are alone here, that's a good soul; not that I am proud, for I am a true Republican ; ” and he put his hand upon his heart, bowed and smiled handsum, "but these people will make a nickname of it, and we shall never hear the last of it; that's a fact. We must respect ourselves, afore others will respect us. You onderstand, don't you?" “Oh, don't I," sais I, “ that's all. It's only here I talks this way, because we are at home now; but I can't help a thinkin' how strange things do turn up sometimes. Do you recollect, when I heard you a-preachin' about Hope a-pitchin' of her tent on a hill? By gosh, it struck me then, you'd pitch your tent high some day; you did it beautiful."

Slick, on directing his diplomatic eyes towards our shores, fortifies himself with two friends; the one an old American church minister, whose flock has suddenly deserted him, running off to the Unitarian folds; and squire Poker, a retired provincial barrister. The book is to be considered the writing principally of the lawyer, who however carefully notes down the discourse of the diplomatist and the congregationless pastor, making their talk buttress as far as possible his own ultra-toryism. The political creed of the book may be inferred from the few short sentences which we quote. 6. He said he could tell a man's politicks by his shirt. A Tory, sir, is a gentleman every inch of him, stock, lock, and barrel; and he puts a clean frill shirt on every day. A Whig, sir, is a gentleman every other inch of him, and he puts an unfrilled one on every other day. A Radical, sir, ain't no gentleman at all, and he only puts one on of a Sunday. But a Chartist, sir, is a loafer; he never puts one on till the old one won't hold together no longer, and drops off in pieces."

A shorter and directer test of political principle need not be asked for. The fact is that Sam, even when travelling with his clocks, was never more self-possessed than we find him in his new and diplomatic capacity; although the great variety of situations and scenes with which he was beginning for the first time to form an acquaintanceship

might well have discomposed and bewildered him. Yet it is not so ; for, if possible, he is more sharply observant, more acutely quaint, more humorously descriptive than on any former occasion. But it is only by means of samples that we can either convey a proper notion of his sense, or his eccentricity.

Should the reader happen to stumble on that part of the book which exhibits the attaché a short time before setting foot upon English soil, it will hardly be thought that the functionary was in a frame of mind that promised fairness to our country. Squire Poker could not but remonstrate with Slick about his temper. This, however, was the last method in the world to be adopted for the purpose of soothing. It only led to other explosions which threatened especially the destruction of Charles Dickens.

"What is the temper," he replied, with much warmth, that they visit us in ? Look at Dickens; was there ever a man made so much of except La Fayette ? And who was Dickens ? Not a Frenchman that is a friend to us, not a native that has a claim on us ; not a colonist, who, though English by name is still an American by birth, six of one and half-a-dozen of t'other, and therefore a kind of half-breed brother, No! he was a cussed Britisher ; and what is wus, a British author ; and yet, because he was a man of genius, because genius has the 'tarnal globe for its theme, and the world for its home, and mankind for its readers, and bean't a citizen of this state or that state, but a native of the univarse, why we welcomed him, and feasted him, and leveed him, and escorted him, and cheered him, and honoured him, did he honour us? What did he say of us when he returned ? Read his book. No, don't read his book, for it tante worth readin'. Has he said one word of all that reception in his book ? that book that will be read, translated, and read agin all over Europe-bas he said one word of that reception ? Answer me that, will you? Darned the word, his memory was bad ; he lost it over the tafrail when he was sea-sick. But his note-book was safe under lock and key, and the pigs in New York, and the chap the rats eat in jail, and the rough man from Kentucky, and the entire raft of galls emprisoned in one night, and the spittin' boxes and all that stuff, warn't trusted to memory, it was noted down and printed. But it tante no matter. Let any man give me any sarce in England, about my country, or not give me the right po-sition in society, as Attaché to our Legation, and, as Cooper says, I'll become belligerent, too, I will, I snore. I can snuff a candle with a pistol as fast as you can light it ; hang up an orange, and I'll first peel it with ball and then quarter it. - Heavens ! I'll let daylight dawn through some o' their jackets, I know. • Jube, you infarnal black scoundrel, you odoriferous nigger you, what's that you've got there?” “An apple, massa. off your cap and put that apple on your head, then stand sideways by that port-hole, and hold steady, or you might stand a smart chance to have your wool carded, that's all.” Then taking a pistol out of the side pocket of his mackintosh, he deliberately walked over to the other of the ck, and examined his priming. “Good heavens, Mr. Slick!” said I in great alarm, “what are you about?" "I am goin',” he said with the greatest coolness, but at the same time with equal sternness, "to bore a hole through that

" Take

apple, Sir."

“For shame! Sir," I said. ". How can you think of such a thing? Suppose you were to miss your shot, and kill that unfortunate boy?" "I won't suppose no such thing, Sir, I can't miss it. I couldn't miss it if I was to try. Hold your head steady, Jube -and if I did, it's no great matter, The onsarcumcised Amalekite ain't worth over three hundred dollars at the furthest, that's a fact; and the way


pyson a shark ain't no matter. Are you ready Jube? “Yes, massa. “You shall do no such thing, Sir," I said, seizing his arm with both my hands. "If you attempt to shoot at that apple, I shall hold no further intercourse with you. You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Sir.” “Ky! massa," said Jube, “let him fire, Sar; he no hurt Jube; he no foozle de hair. I isn't one mossel afeerd. He often do it, jist to keep him hand in, Sär. Massa most a grand shot, Sar. He take off de ear ob de squirrel so slick he neber miss it, till he go scratchin' his head. Let him appel hab it, massa.” “Oh, yes," said Mr. Slick, “he is a Christian is Jube, he is as good as a white Britisher: same flesh, only a leetle, jist a leetle darker ; same blood, only not quite so much tarter on the bottle as a lord's has; oh him and a Britisher is all one brother-oh by all means-

Him fader's hope—him mudder's joy,

Him darlin little nigger boy. You'd better cry over him, hadn't you. Bus bim, call him brother, hug him, give him the

Abolition kiss, write an article on slavery, like Dickens ; marry him to a white gall to England, get him a saint's darter with a good fortin, and we'll soon see whether her father was a talkin' cant or no, about niggers. Cuss 'em, let any o' these Britishers give me slack, and I'll give 'em cranberry for their goose, I know. I'd jump right down their throat with spurs on, and gallop their sarce out.”

Mr. Slick, however, displayed by his proceedings after landing more gentleness and regularity of bearing than might have been expected from the ebullition to which attention has just been drawn. He did not even hurriedly make his way to court or cabinet, but deemed it proper to prepare himself in some measure, by retiring to Gloucestershire, in accordance with an invitation that had been kindly given. Here he at once sets about studying life and manners, and noting down what he experiences and observes,-measuring every thing by his primitive and wooden-clock principles. What he designates" a juicy dayand at an English country house, put him out very much; for he was among strangers, “ formal, cold, gallus polite, and as thick in the head as a puncheon.” “You hante nothin' to do yourself and they never have nothin' to do: they don't know nothin' about America, and don't want to." “ All you've got to do, is to pull out your watch and see how time goes; how much of the day is left, and then go to the winder and see how the sky looks."

Sam is disturbed at an early hour by the "black devils of rooks located in the trees at the back eend of the house." Sleep more at that turn he cannot. He therefore rises. But it is only half-past

four, “and it was rainin' like anything." Breakfast would not be ready till eleven o'clock; and no one else will be “a stirrin'” for hours. This therefore was “a handsum fix.” What was to be done? The attaché straps his razor; mends the trousers he tore, “a goin' to see the ruin on the road yesterday;" puts on a "gallus button;" and then, being "considerable sharp set,” looks what o'clock it is :

It wanted a quarter to six. "My! sakes," sais I, “five hours and a quarter yet afore feedin' time; well if that don't pass. What shall I do next ?" I'll tell you what to do," sais I, “smoke, that will take the edge of your appetite off, and if they don't like it they may lump it; what business have they to keep them horrid screechin' infarnal sleepless rooks to disturb people that way?" Well, I takes a lucifer and lights a cigar, and I puts my head up the chimbly to let the smoke off, and it felt good I promise you. I don't know as I ever enjoyed one half so much afore. It had a rael first chop flavour had that cigar. When that was done, sais I, “What do you say to another ?” “Well, I don't know," sais I, “ I should like it, that's a fact ; but holdin' of my head crooked up the chimbly that way, has aʼmost hroke my neck; I've got the cramp in it like.” So I sot, and shook my head first a one side and then the other, and then turned it on its hinges as far as it would go, till it felt about right, and then I lights another, and puts my head in the flue again. Well smokin' makes a feller feel kinder goodnatured, and I began to think it warn't quite so bad arter all, when whop went my cigar right out of my mouth into my bosom, atween the shirt and the skin, and burnt me like a gally nipper. Both my eyes was fill'd at the same time, and I got a crack on the pate from some critter or another that clawed and scratched my head like any thing, and then seemed to empty a bushel of sut on me, and I looked like a chimbly sweep, and felt like old Scratch himself. My smoke had brought down a chimbly swaller, or a martin, or some such varmint, for it up and off agin' afore I could catch it to wring its infarnal neck off, that's a fact.

He cleans and grooms up again, “till all was sot right once more."

Now, sais I, “how's time?” “half-past seven," sais I, “and three hours and a half more yet to breakfast. Well,” sais I, “ I can't stand this and what's more

won't: I begin to get my Ebenezer up, and feel wolfish. I'll ring up the handsum chamber-maid, and just fall to, and chaw her right up

I'm savagerous.” “That's cowardly," sais I, “call the footman, pick a quarrel with him and kick him down stairs, speak but one word to him, and let that be strong enough to skin the coon arter it has killed him, the noise will wake up folks I know, and then we shall have sumthin' to eat.” I was ready to bile right over, when as luck would have it, the rain stopt all of a sudden, the sun broke out o' prison, and I thought I never seed anything look so green and so beautiful as the country did. " Come," sais I,

now for a walk down the avenue, and a comfortable smoke, and if the man at the gate is up and stirrin', I will just pop in and breakfast with him and his wife. There is some natur there, but here it's all cussed rooks and chimbly swallers, and heavy men and fat women, and lazy helps, and Sunday every VOL. 11. (1813.) NO. IV.


day in the week.” So I fills my cigar-case and outs into the passage. But here was a fix! One of the doors opened into the great stairease, and which was it? “Ay,” sais I, "which is it, do you know? “Upon my soul, I don't know," sais l ; “but try, it's no ase to be caged up here like à painter, and out I will, that's a fact.' So I stops and studies, "that's it," sais 1, and I opens a door : it was a bedroom—it was the likely chambermaid's. “Softly, Sir," sais she, a puttin' of her finger on her lip, “don't make no noise ; Missus will hear you.” “Yes," sais I, "I won't make no noise;" and I outs and shuts the door too artér me gently. “What next?" sais 1 ; "why you fool, you," sais I, "why didn't you at the sarvant maid, which door it was ?” “Why I was so conflastrigated,” sais I, " I didn't think of it. Try that door," well I opened another, it belonged to one o' the horrid handsuń stranger galls that dined at table yesterday. When she seed me, she gave a scream, popt her head onder the clothes, like a terrapin, and vanished-well I vanished too. “Ain't this too bad ?' sais I, "I wish I could open a man's door, I'd lick him out of spite; I hope I may be shot if I don't, and I doubled up my fist, for I didn't like it a spec, and opened another door-it was the housekeeper's. “Come," sais 1," I won't be balked no more.” She sot up and fixed her cap. A woman never forgets the becomins. Anything I can do for you, Sir?” sais she, and she raelly did look pretty ; all good natur'd people, it appears to me, do look so. “Will you be so good as to tell me, which door leads to the staircase, Marm?” sais I. Oh, is that all ?" sais she, (I suppose she thort I wanted her to get up and get breakfast for me,)" it's the first on the right," and she fixed her cap agin' and laid down, and I took the first on the right and off like a blowed out candle. There was the staircase. I walked down, took my hat; onbolted the outer door, and what a beautiful day was there.

The breakfast hour at length arrives; but even now he finds that the English “don't do nothing like other folks.”

Now where do you suppose the solid part of the breakfast is, Squire ? Why, it's on the sideboard—I hope I may be shot if it ain't-well, the tea and coffee are on the table, to make it as onconvenient as possible. Says I to the lady of the house, as I got up to help myself, for I was hungry enough to make beef ache I know. " Aunty," sais 1, "you'll excuse me, but why don't you put the eatables on the table, or else put the tea on the sideboard ? They're like man and wife, they don't ought to be separated, them two." She looked at me, oh what a look of pity it was, as much as to say, “Where have you been all your born days, not to know better nor that?"

Addressing himself to "the old man," Slick declares that, to be consistent, " if you will divorce the eatables from the drinkables that way, why not let the servants come and tend?” Says Sam

" It's monstrous onconvenient and redikilous to be a jumpin' up for everlastingly that way; you can't sit still one blessed minit.” “We think it pleasant," said he, "sometimes to dispense with their attendance.” “Exactly," sais 1, " then dispense with sarvants at dinner, for when the wine is in the wit is out," (I said that to compliment him, for the critter had no wit in at no time,) " and they hear all the talk. But at breakfast every one is only

« VorigeDoorgaan »