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MORE AMERICAN EXPERIENCES, MARTIN TAKES A PARTNER, AND MAKES A PURCHASE.
SOME ACCOUNT OF EDEN, AS IT APPEARED ON PAPER. ALSO OF THE BRITISH LION.
ALSO OF THE KIND OF SYMPATHY PROFESSED AND ENTERTAINED BY THE WATERTOAST
ASSOCIATION OF UNITED SYMPATHISERS
The knocking at Mr Pecksniff's door, though loud enough, bore no
resemblance whatever to the noise of an American railway train at full
speed. It may be well to begin the present chapter with this frank
admission, lest the reader should imagine that the sounds now deafening
this history's ears have any connection with the knocker on Mr
Pecksniff's door, or with the great amount of agitation pretty equally
divided between that worthy man and Mr Pinch, of which its strong
performance was the cause.
Mr Pecksniff's house is more than a thousand leagues away; and again
this happy chronicle has Liberty and Moral Sensibility for its high
companions. Again it breathes the blessed air of Independence; again it
contemplates with pious awe that moral sense which renders unto Ceasar
nothing that is his; again inhales that sacred atmosphere which was
the life of him--oh noble patriot, with many followers!--who dreamed of
Freedom in a slave's embrace, and waking sold her offspring and his own
in public markets.
How the wheels clank and rattle, and the tram-road shakes, as the train
rushes on! And now the engine yells, as it were lashed and tortured like
a living labourer, and writhed in agony. A poor fancy; for steel and
iron are of infinitely greater account, in this commonwealth, than
flesh and blood. If the cunning work of man be urged beyond its power of
endurance, it has within it the elements of its own revenge; whereas
the wretched mechanism of the Divine Hand is dangerous with no such
property, but may be tampered with, and crushed, and broken, at the
driver's pleasure. Look at that engine! It shall cost a man more dollars
in the way of penalty and fine, and satisfaction of the outraged law,
to deface in wantonness that senseless mass of metal, than to take the
lives of twenty human creatures! Thus the stars wink upon the bloody
stripes; and Liberty pulls down her cap upon her eyes, and owns
Oppression in its vilest aspect, for her sister.
The engine-driver of the train whose noise awoke us to the present
chapter was certainly troubled with no such reflections as these; nor is
it very probable that his mind was disturbed by any reflections at all.
He leaned with folded arms and crossed legs against the side of the
carriage, smoking; and, except when he expressed, by a grunt as short as
his pipe, his approval of some particularly dexterous aim on the part of
his colleague, the fireman, who beguiled his leisure by throwing logs
of wood from the tender at the numerous stray cattle on the line, he
preserved a composure so immovable, and an indifference so complete,
that if the locomotive had been a sucking-pig, he could not have been
more perfectly indifferent to its doings. Notwithstanding the tranquil
state of this officer, and his unbroken peace of mind, the train was
proceeding with tolerable rapidity; and the rails being but poorly laid,
the jolts and bumps it met with in its progress were neither slight nor
There were three great caravans or cars attached. The ladies' car, the
gentlemen's car, and the car for negroes; the latter painted black, as
an appropriate compliment to its company. Martin and Mark Tapley were
in the first, as it was the most comfortable; and, being far from full,
received other gentlemen who, like them, were unblessed by the society
of ladies of their own. They were seated side by side, and were engaged
in earnest conversation.
'And so, Mark,' said Martin, looking at him with an anxious expression,
'and so you are glad we have left New York far behind us, are you?'
'Yes, sir,' said Mark. 'I am. Precious glad.'
'Were you not "jolly" there?' asked Martin.
'On the contrairy, sir,' returned Mark. 'The jolliest week as ever I
spent in my life, was that there week at Pawkins's.'
'What do you think of our prospects?' inquired Martin, with an air that
plainly said he had avoided the question for some time.
'Uncommon bright, sir,' returned Mark. 'Impossible for a place to have
a better name, sir, than the Walley of Eden. No man couldn't think of
settling in a better place than the Walley of Eden. And I'm told,' added
Mark, after a pause, 'as there's lots of serpents there, so we shall
come out, quite complete and reg'lar.'
So far from dwelling upon this agreeable piece of information with the
least dismay, Mark's face grew radiant as he called it to mind; so very
radiant, that a stranger might have supposed he had all his life been
yearning for the society of serpents, and now hailed with delight the
approaching consummation of his fondest wishes.
'Who told you that?' asked Martin, sternly.
'A military officer,' said Mark.
'Confound you for a ridiculous fellow!' cried Martin, laughing heartily
in spite of himself. 'What military officer? You know they spring up in
'As thick as scarecrows in England, sir,' interposed Mark, 'which is a
sort of milita themselves, being entirely coat and wescoat, with a stick
inside. Ha, ha!--Don't mind me, sir; it's my way sometimes. I can't help
being jolly. Why it was one of them inwading conquerors at Pawkins's, as
told me. "Am I rightly informed," he says--not exactly through his nose,
but as if he'd got a stoppage in it, very high up--"that you're a-going
to the Walley of Eden?" "I heard some talk on it," I told him. "Oh!"
says he, "if you should ever happen to go to bed there--you MAY, you
know," he says, "in course of time as civilisation progresses--don't
forget to take a axe with you." I looks at him tolerable hard. "Fleas?"
says I. "And more," says he. "Wampires?" says I. "And more," says he.
"Musquitoes, perhaps?" says I. "And more," says he. "What more?" says
"Snakes more," says he; "rattle-snakes. You're right to a certain
extent, stranger. There air some catawampous chawers in the small way
too, as graze upon a human pretty strong; but don't mind THEM--they're
company. It's snakes," he says, "as you'll object to; and whenever you
wake and see one in a upright poster on your bed," he says, "like a
corkscrew with the handle off a-sittin' on its bottom ring, cut him
down, for he means wenom."'
'Why didn't you tell me this before!' cried Martin, with an expression
of face which set off the cheerfulness of Mark's visage to great
'I never thought on it, sir,' said Mark. 'It come in at one ear, and
went out at the other. But Lord love us, he was one of another Company,
I dare say, and only made up the story that we might go to his Eden, and
not the opposition one.'
'There's some probability in that,' observed Martin. 'I can honestly say
that I hope so, with all my heart.'
'I've not a doubt about it, sir,' returned Mark, who, full of the
inspiriting influence of the anecodote upon himself, had for the moment
forgotten its probable effect upon his master; 'anyhow, we must live,
you know, sir.'
'Live!' cried Martin. 'Yes, it's easy to say live; but if we should
happen not to wake when rattlesnakes are making corkscrews of themselves
upon our beds, it may be not so easy to do it.'
'And that's a fact,' said a voice so close in his ear that it tickled
him. 'That's dreadful true.'
Martin looked round, and found that a gentleman, on the seat behind, had
thrust his head between himself and Mark, and sat with his chin resting
on the back rail of their little bench, entertaining himself with their
conversation. He was as languid and listless in his looks as most of the
gentlemen they had seen; his cheeks were so hollow that he seemed to be
always sucking them in; and the sun had burnt him, not a wholesome red
or brown, but dirty yellow. He had bright dark eyes, which he kept half
closed; only peeping out of the corners, and even then with a glance
that seemed to say, 'Now you won't overreach me; you want to, but you
won't.' His arms rested carelessly on his knees as he leant forward;
in the palm of his left hand, as English rustics have their slice of
cheese, he had a cake of tobacco; in his right a penknife. He struck
into the dialogue with as little reserve as if he had been specially
called in, days before, to hear the arguments on both sides, and favour
them with his opinion; and he no more contemplated or cared for the
possibility of their not desiring the honour of his acquaintance or
interference in their private affairs than if he had been a bear or a
'That,' he repeated, nodding condescendingly to Martin, as to an outer
barbarian and foreigner, 'is dreadful true. Darn all manner of vermin.'
Martin could not help frowning for a moment, as if he were disposed to
insinuate that the gentleman had unconsciously 'darned' himself. But
remembering the wisdom of doing at Rome as Romans do, he smiled with the
pleasantest expression he could assume upon so short a notice.
Their new friend said no more just then, being busily employed in
cutting a quid or plug from his cake of tobacco, and whistling softly to
himself the while. When he had shaped it to his liking, he took out his
old plug, and deposited the same on the back of the seat between Mark
and Martin, while he thrust the new one into the hollow of his cheek,
where it looked like a large walnut, or tolerable pippin. Finding it
quite satisfactory, he stuck the point of his knife into the old plug,
and holding it out for their inspection, remarked with the air of a man
who had not lived in vain, that it was 'used up considerable.' Then
he tossed it away; put his knife into one pocket and his tobacco into
another; rested his chin upon the rail as before; and approving of the
pattern on Martin's waistcoat, reached out his hand to feel the texture
of that garment.
'What do you call this now?' he asked.
'Upon my word' said Martin, 'I don't know what it's called.'
'It'll cost a dollar or more a yard, I reckon?'
'I really don't know.'
'In my country,' said the gentleman, 'we know the cost of our own
Martin not discussing the question, there was a pause.
'Well!' resumed their new friend, after staring at them intently during
the whole interval of silence; 'how's the unnat'ral old parent by this
Mr Tapley regarding this inquiry as only another version of the
impertinent English question, 'How's your mother?' would have resented
it instantly, but for Martin's prompt interposition.
'You mean the old country?' he said.
'Ah!' was the reply. 'How's she? Progressing back'ards, I expect, as
usual? Well! How's Queen Victoria?'
'In good health, I believe,' said Martin.
'Queen Victoria won't shake in her royal shoes at all, when she hears
to-morrow named,' observed the stranger, 'No.'
'Not that I am aware of. Why should she?'
'She won't be taken with a cold chill, when she realises what is being
done in these diggings,' said the stranger. 'No.'
'No,' said Martin. 'I think I could take my oath of that.'
The strange gentleman looked at him as if in pity for his ignorance or
prejudice, and said:
'Well, sir, I tell you this--there ain't a engine with its biler
bust, in God A'mighty's free U-nited States, so fixed, and nipped,
and frizzled to a most e-tarnal smash, as that young critter, in her
luxurious location in the Tower of London will be, when she reads the
next double-extra Watertoast Gazette.'
Several other gentlemen had left their seats and gathered round during
the foregoing dialogue. They were highly delighted with this speech. One
very lank gentleman, in a loose limp white cravat, long white waistcoat,
and a black great-coat, who seemed to be in authority among them, felt
called upon to acknowledge it.
'Hem! Mr La Fayette Kettle,' he said, taking off his hat.
There was a grave murmur of 'Hush!'
'Mr La Fayette Kettle! Sir!'
Mr Kettle bowed.
'In the name of this company, sir, and in the name of our common
country, and in the name of that righteous cause of holy sympathy in
which we are engaged, I thank you. I thank you, sir, in the name of
the Watertoast Sympathisers; and I thank you, sir, in the name of
the Watertoast Gazette; and I thank you, sir, in the name of the
star-spangled banner of the Great United States, for your eloquent and
categorical exposition. And if, sir,' said the speaker, poking Martin
with the handle of his umbrella to bespeak his attention, for he was
listening to a whisper from Mark; 'if, sir, in such a place, and at such
a time, I might venture to con-clude with a sentiment, glancing--however
slantin'dicularly--at the subject in hand, I would say, sir, may
the British Lion have his talons eradicated by the noble bill of the
American Eagle, and be taught to play upon the Irish Harp and the Scotch
Fiddle that music which is breathed in every empty shell that lies upon
the shores of green Co-lumbia!'
Here the lank gentleman sat down again, amidst a great sensation; and
every one looked very grave.
'General Choke,' said Mr La Fayette Kettle, 'you warm my heart; sir, you
warm my heart. But the British Lion is not unrepresented here, sir; and
I should be glad to hear his answer to those remarks.'
'Upon my word,' cried Martin, laughing, 'since you do me the honour to
consider me his representative, I have only to say that I never heard
of Queen Victoria reading the What's-his-name Gazette and that I should
scarcely think it probable.'
General Choke smiled upon the rest, and said, in patient and benignant
'It is sent to her, sir. It is sent to her. Her mail.'
'But if it is addressed to the Tower of London, it would hardly come to
hand, I fear,' returned Martin; 'for she don't live there.'
'The Queen of England, gentlemen,' observed Mr Tapley, affecting the
greatest politeness, and regarding them with an immovable face, 'usually
lives in the Mint to take care of the money. She HAS lodgings, in virtue
of her office, with the Lord Mayor at the Mansion House; but don't often
occupy them, in consequence of the parlour chimney smoking.'
'Mark,' said Martin, 'I shall be very much obliged to you if you'll
have the goodness not to interfere with preposterous statements, however
jocose they may appear to you. I was merely remarking gentlemen--though
it's a point of very little import--that the Queen of England does not
happen to live in the Tower of London.'
'General!' cried Mr La Fayette Kettle. 'You hear?'
'General!' echoed several others. 'General!'
'Hush! Pray, silence!' said General Choke, holding up his hand, and
speaking with a patient and complacent benevolence that was quite
touching. 'I have always remarked it as a very extraordinary
circumstance, which I impute to the natur' of British Institutions and
their tendency to suppress that popular inquiry and information which
air so widely diffused even in the trackless forests of this vast
Continent of the Western Ocean; that the knowledge of Britishers
themselves on such points is not to be compared with that possessed
by our intelligent and locomotive citizens. This is interesting, and
confirms my observation. When you say, sir,' he continued, addressing
Martin, 'that your Queen does not reside in the Tower of London, you
fall into an error, not uncommon to your countrymen, even when their
abilities and moral elements air such as to command respect. But, sir,
you air wrong. She DOES live there--'
'When she is at the Court of Saint James's,' interposed Kettle.
'When she is at the Court of Saint James's, of course,' returned the
General, in the same benignant way; 'for if her location was in Windsor
Pavilion it couldn't be in London at the same time. Your Tower of
London, sir,' pursued the General, smiling with a mild consciousness of
his knowledge, 'is nat'rally your royal residence. Being located in
the immediate neighbourhood of your Parks, your Drives, your Triumphant
Arches, your Opera, and your Royal Almacks, it nat'rally suggests
itself as the place for holding a luxurious and thoughtless court.
And, consequently,' said the General, 'consequently, the court is held
'Have you been in England?' asked Martin.
'In print I have, sir,' said the General, 'not otherwise. We air a
reading people here, sir. You will meet with much information among us
that will surprise you, sir.'
'I have not the least doubt of it,' returned Martin. But here he was
interrupted by Mr La Fayette Kettle, who whispered in his ear:
'You know General Choke?'
'No,' returned Martin, in the same tone.
'You know what he is considered?'
'One of the most remarkable men in the country?' said Martin, at a
'That's a fact,' rejoined Kettle. 'I was sure you must have heard of
'I think,' said Martin, addressing himself to the General again, 'that
I have the pleasure of being the bearer of a letter of introduction to
you, sir. From Mr Bevan, of Massachusetts,' he added, giving it to him.
The General took it and read it attentively; now and then stopping to
glance at the two strangers. When he had finished the note, he came over
to Martin, sat down by him, and shook hands.
'Well!' he said, 'and you think of settling in Eden?'
'Subject to your opinion, and the agent's advice,' replied Martin. 'I am
told there is nothing to be done in the old towns.'
'I can introduce you to the agent, sir,' said the General. 'I know him.
In fact, I am a member of the Eden Land Corporation myself.'
This was serious news to Martin, for his friend had laid great stress
upon the General's having no connection, as he thought, with any land
company, and therefore being likely to give him disinterested advice.
The General explained that he had joined the Corporation only a few
weeks ago, and that no communication had passed between himself and Mr
'We have very little to venture,' said Martin anxiously--'only a
few pounds--but it is our all. Now, do you think that for one of my
profession, this would be a speculation with any hope or chance in it?'
'Well,' observed the General, gravely, 'if there wasn't any hope or
chance in the speculation, it wouldn't have engaged my dollars, I
'I don't mean for the sellers,' said Martin. 'For the buyers--for the
'For the buyers, sir?' observed the General, in a most impressive
manner. 'Well! you come from an old country; from a country, sir, that
has piled up golden calves as high as Babel, and worshipped 'em for
ages. We are a new country, sir; man is in a more primeval state here,
sir; we have not the excuse of having lapsed in the slow course of time
into degenerate practices; we have no false gods; man, sir, here, is man
in all his dignity. We fought for that or nothing. Here am I, sir,'
said the General, setting up his umbrella to represent himself, and a
villanous-looking umbrella it was; a very bad counter to stand for the
sterling coin of his benevolence, 'here am I with grey hairs sir, and
a moral sense. Would I, with my principles, invest capital in this
speculation if I didn't think it full of hopes and chances for my
Martin tried to look convinced, but he thought of New York, and found it
'What are the Great United States for, sir,' pursued the General 'if not
for the regeneration of man? But it is nat'ral in you to make such an
enquerry, for you come from England, and you do not know my country.'
'Then you think,' said Martin, 'that allowing for the hardships we are
prepared to undergo, there is a reasonable--Heaven knows we don't expect
much--a reasonable opening in this place?'
'A reasonable opening in Eden, sir! But see the agent, see the agent;
see the maps and plans, sir; and conclude to go or stay, according to
the natur' of the settlement. Eden hadn't need to go a-begging yet,
sir,' remarked the General.
'It is an awful lovely place, sure-ly. And frightful wholesome,
likewise!' said Mr Kettle, who had made himself a party to this
conversation as a matter of course.
Martin felt that to dispute such testimony, for no better reason
than because he had his secret misgivings on the subject, would be
ungentlemanly and indecent. So he thanked the General for his promise to
put him in personal communication with the agent; and 'concluded' to see
that officer next morning. He then begged the General to inform him who
the Watertoast Sympathisers were, of whom he had spoken in addressing Mr
La Fayette Kettle, and on what grievances they bestowed their Sympathy.
To which the General, looking very serious, made answer, that he might
fully enlighten himself on those points to-morrow by attending a Great
Meeting of the Body, which would then be held at the town to which
they were travelling; 'over which, sir,' said the General, 'my
fellow-citizens have called on me to preside.'
They came to their journey's end late in the evening. Close to the
railway was an immense white edifice, like an ugly hospital, on which
was painted 'NATIONAL HOTEL.' There was a wooden gallery or verandah
in front, in which it was rather startling, when the train stopped, to
behold a great many pairs of boots and shoes, and the smoke of a
great many cigars, but no other evidences of human habitation. By slow
degrees, however, some heads and shoulders appeared, and connecting
themselves with the boots and shoes, led to the discovery that certain
gentlemen boarders, who had a fancy for putting their heels where the
gentlemen boarders in other countries usually put their heads, were
enjoying themselves after their own manner in the cool of the evening.
There was a great bar-room in this hotel, and a great public room
in which the general table was being set out for supper. There were
interminable whitewashed staircases, long whitewashed galleries upstairs
and downstairs, scores of little whitewashed bedrooms, and a four-sided
verandah to every story in the house, which formed a large brick square
with an uncomfortable courtyard in the centre, where some clothes were
drying. Here and there, some yawning gentlemen lounged up and down with
their hands in their pockets; but within the house and without, wherever
half a dozen people were collected together, there, in their looks,
dress, morals, manners, habits, intellect, and conversation, were Mr
Jefferson Brick, Colonel Diver, Major Pawkins, General Choke, and Mr
La Fayette Kettle, over, and over, and over again. They did the same
things; said the same things; judged all subjects by, and reduced all
subjects to, the same standard. Observing how they lived, and how they
were always in the enchanting company of each other, Martin even began
to comprehend their being the social, cheerful, winning, airy men they
At the sounding of a dismal gong, this pleasant company went trooping
down from all parts of the house to the public room; while from the
neighbouring stores other guests came flocking in, in shoals; for half
the town, married folks as well as single, resided at the National
Hotel. Tea, coffee, dried meats, tongue, ham, pickles, cake, toast,
preserves, and bread and butter, were swallowed with the usual ravaging
speed; and then, as before, the company dropped off by degrees, and
lounged away to the desk, the counter, or the bar-room. The ladies had a
smaller ordinary of their own, to which their husbands and brothers
were admitted if they chose; and in all other respects they enjoyed
themselves as at Pawkins's.
'Now, Mark, my good fellow, said Martin, closing the door of his
little chamber, 'we must hold a solemn council, for our fate is decided
to-morrow morning. You are determined to invest these savings of yours
in the common stock, are you?'
'If I hadn't been determined to make that wentur, sir,' answered Mr
Tapley, 'I shouldn't have come.'
'How much is there here, did you say' asked Martin, holding up a little
'Thirty-seven pound ten and sixpence. The Savings' Bank said so at
least. I never counted it. But THEY know, bless you!' said Mark, with a
shake of the head expressive of his unbounded confidence in the wisdom
and arithmetic of those Institutions.
'The money we brought with us,' said Martin, 'is reduced to a few
shillings less than eight pounds.'
Mr Tapley smiled, and looked all manner of ways, that he might not be
supposed to attach any importance to this fact.
'Upon the ring--HER ring, Mark,' said Martin, looking ruefully at his
'Ah!' sighed Mr Tapley. 'Beg your pardon, sir.'
'--We raised, in English money, fourteen pounds. So, even with that,
your share of the stock is still very much the larger of the two you
see. Now, Mark,' said Martin, in his old way, just as he might have
spoken to Tom Pinch, 'I have thought of a means of making this up
to you--more than making it up to you, I hope--and very materially
elevating your prospects in life.'
'Oh! don't talk of that, you know, sir,' returned Mark. 'I don't want no
elevating, sir. I'm all right enough, sir, I am.'
'No, but hear me,' said Martin, 'because this is very important to you,
and a great satisfaction to me. Mark, you shall be a partner in the
business; an equal partner with myself. I will put in, as my additional
capital, my professional knowledge and ability; and half the annual
profits, as long as it is carried on, shall be yours.'
Poor Martin! For ever building castles in the air. For ever, in his very
selfishness, forgetful of all but his own teeming hopes and sanguine
plans. Swelling, at that instant, with the consciousness of patronizing
and most munificently rewarding Mark!
'I don't know, sir,' Mark rejoined, much more sadly than his custom was,
though from a very different cause than Martin supposed, 'what I can say
to this, in the way of thanking you. I'll stand by you, sir, to the best
of my ability, and to the last. That's all.'
'We quite understand each other, my good fellow,' said Martin rising in
self-approval and condescension. 'We are no longer master and servant,
but friends and partners; and are mutually gratified. If we determine on
Eden, the business shall be commenced as soon as we get there. Under the
name,' said Martin, who never hammered upon an idea that wasn't red hot,
'under the name of Chuzzlewit and Tapley.'
'Lord love you, sir,' cried Mark, 'don't have my name in it. I ain't
acquainted with the business, sir. I must be Co., I must. I've often
thought,' he added, in a low voice, 'as I should like to know a Co.; but
I little thought as ever I should live to be one.'
'You shall have your own way, Mark.'
'Thank'ee, sir. If any country gentleman thereabouts, in the public way,
or otherwise, wanted such a thing as a skittle-ground made, I could take
that part of the bis'ness, sir.'
'Against any architect in the States,' said Martin. 'Get a couple of
sherry-cobblers, Mark, and we'll drink success to the firm.'
Either he forgot already (and often afterwards), that they were no
longer master and servant, or considered this kind of duty to be among
the legitimate functions of the Co. But Mark obeyed with his usual
alacrity; and before they parted for the night, it was agreed between
them that they should go together to the agent's in the morning, but
that Martin should decide the Eden question, on his own sound judgment.
And Mark made no merit, even to himself in his jollity, of this
concession; perfectly well knowing that the matter would come to that in
the end, any way.
The General was one of the party at the public table next day, and after
breakfast suggested that they should wait upon the agent without loss of
time. They, desiring nothing more, agreed; so off they all four
started for the office of the Eden Settlement, which was almost within
rifle-shot of the National Hotel.
It was a small place--something like a turnpike. But a great deal of
land may be got into a dice-box, and why may not a whole territory be
bargained for in a shed? It was but a temporary office too; for the
Edeners were 'going' to build a superb establishment for the transaction
of their business, and had already got so far as to mark out the site.
Which is a great way in America. The office-door was wide open, and in
the doorway was the agent; no doubt a tremendous fellow to get through
his work, for he seemed to have no arrears, but was swinging backwards
and forwards in a rocking-chair, with one of his legs planted high up
against the door-post, and the other doubled up under him, as if he were
hatching his foot.
He was a gaunt man in a huge straw hat, and a coat of green stuff. The
weather being hot, he had no cravat, and wore his shirt collar wide
open; so that every time he spoke something was seen to twitch and jerk
up in his throat, like the little hammers in a harpsichord when the
notes are struck. Perhaps it was the Truth feebly endeavouring to leap
to his lips. If so, it never reached them.
Two grey eyes lurked deep within this agent's head, but one of them had
no sight in it, and stood stock still. With that side of his face he
seemed to listen to what the other side was doing. Thus each profile had
a distinct expression; and when the movable side was most in action, the
rigid one was in its coldest state of watchfulness. It was like
turning the man inside out, to pass to that view of his features in his
liveliest mood, and see how calculating and intent they were.
Each long black hair upon his head hung down as straight as any plummet
line; but rumpled tufts were on the arches of his eyes, as if the crow
whose foot was deeply printed in the corners had pecked and torn them in
a savage recognition of his kindred nature as a bird of prey.
Such was the man whom they now approached, and whom the General saluted
by the name of Scadder.
'Well, Gen'ral,' he returned, 'and how are you?'
'Ac-tive and spry, sir, in my country's service and the sympathetic
cause. Two gentlemen on business, Mr Scadder.'
He shook hands with each of them--nothing is done in America without
shaking hands--then went on rocking.
'I think I know what bis'ness you have brought these strangers here
upon, then, Gen'ral?'
'Well, sir. I expect you may.'
'You air a tongue-y person, Gen'ral. For you talk too much, and that's
fact,' said Scadder. 'You speak a-larming well in public, but you didn't
ought to go ahead so fast in private. Now!'
'If I can realise your meaning, ride me on a rail!' returned the
General, after pausing for consideration.
'You know we didn't wish to sell the lots off right away to any loafer
as might bid,' said Scadder; 'but had con-cluded to reserve 'em for
Aristocrats of Natur'. Yes!'
'And they are here, sir!' cried the General with warmth. 'They are here,
'If they air here,' returned the agent, in reproachful accents, 'that's
enough. But you didn't ought to have your dander ris with ME, Gen'ral.'
The General whispered Martin that Scadder was the honestest fellow in
the world, and that he wouldn't have given him offence designedly, for
ten thousand dollars.
'I do my duty; and I raise the dander of my feller critters, as I
wish to serve,' said Scadder in a low voice, looking down the road
and rocking still. 'They rile up rough, along of my objecting to their
selling Eden off too cheap. That's human natur'! Well!'
'Mr Scadder,' said the General, assuming his oratorical deportment.
'Sir! Here is my hand, and here my heart. I esteem you, sir, and ask
your pardon. These gentlemen air friends of mine, or I would not have
brought 'em here, sir, being well aware, sir, that the lots at present
go entirely too cheap. But these air friends, sir; these air partick'ler
Mr Scadder was so satisfied by this explanation, that he shook the
General warmly by the hand, and got out of the rocking-chair to do it.
He then invited the General's particular friends to accompany him into
the office. As to the General, he observed, with his usual benevolence,
that being one of the company, he wouldn't interfere in the transaction
on any account; so he appropriated the rocking-chair to himself, and
looked at the prospect, like a good Samaritan waiting for a traveller.
'Heyday!' cried Martin, as his eye rested on a great plan which occupied
one whole side of the office. Indeed, the office had little else in it,
but some geological and botanical specimens, one or two rusty ledgers, a
homely desk, and a stool. 'Heyday! what's that?'
'That's Eden,' said Scadder, picking his teeth with a sort of young
bayonet that flew out of his knife when he touched a spring.
'Why, I had no idea it was a city.'
'Hadn't you? Oh, it's a city.'
A flourishing city, too! An architectural city! There were banks,
churches, cathedrals, market-places, factories, hotels, stores,
mansions, wharves; an exchange, a theatre; public buildings of all
kinds, down to the office of the Eden Stinger, a daily journal; all
faithfully depicted in the view before them.
'Dear me! It's really a most important place!' cried Martin turning
'Oh! it's very important,' observed the agent.
'But, I am afraid,' said Martin, glancing again at the Public Buildings,
'that there's nothing left for me to do.'
'Well! it ain't all built,' replied the agent. 'Not quite.'
This was a great relief.
'The market-place, now,' said Martin. 'Is that built?'
'That?' said the agent, sticking his toothpick into the weathercock on
the top. 'Let me see. No; that ain't built.'
'Rather a good job to begin with--eh, Mark?' whispered Martin nudging
him with his elbow.
Mark, who, with a very stolid countenance had been eyeing the plan and
the agent by turns, merely rejoined 'Uncommon!'
A dead silence ensued, Mr Scadder in some short recesses or vacations of
his toothpick, whistled a few bars of Yankee Doodle, and blew the dust
off the roof of the Theatre.
'I suppose,' said Martin, feigning to look more narrowly at the plan,
but showing by his tremulous voice how much depended, in his mind, upon
the answer; 'I suppose there are--several architects there?'
'There ain't a single one,' said Scadder.
'Mark,' whispered Martin, pulling him by the sleeve, 'do you hear that?
But whose work is all this before us, then?' he asked aloud.
'The soil being very fruitful, public buildings grows spontaneous,
perhaps,' said Mark.
He was on the agent's dark side as he said it; but Scadder instantly
changed his place, and brought his active eye to bear upon him.
'Feel of my hands, young man,' he said.
'What for?' asked Mark, declining.
'Air they dirty, or air they clean, sir?' said Scadder, holding them
In a physical point of view they were decidedly dirty. But it being
obvious that Mr Scadder offered them for examination in a figurative
sense, as emblems of his moral character, Martin hastened to pronounce
them pure as the driven snow.
'I entreat, Mark,' he said, with some irritation, 'that you will
not obtrude remarks of that nature, which, however harmless and
well-intentioned, are quite out of place, and cannot be expected to be
very agreeable to strangers. I am quite surprised.'
'The Co.'s a-putting his foot in it already,' thought Mark. 'He must be
a sleeping partner--fast asleep and snoring--Co. must; I see.'
Mr Scadder said nothing, but he set his back against the plan, and
thrust his toothpick into the desk some twenty times; looking at Mark
all the while as if he were stabbing him in effigy.
'You haven't said whose work it is,' Martin ventured to observe at
length, in a tone of mild propitiation.
'Well, never mind whose work it is, or isn't,' said the agent sulkily.
'No matter how it did eventuate. P'raps he cleared off, handsome, with a
heap of dollars; p'raps he wasn't worth a cent. P'raps he was a loafin'
rowdy; p'raps a ring-tailed roarer. Now!'
'All your doing, Mark!' said Martin.
'P'raps,' pursued the agent, 'them ain't plants of Eden's raising. No!
P'raps that desk and stool ain't made from Eden lumber. No! P'raps no
end of squatters ain't gone out there. No! P'raps there ain't no such
location in the territoary of the Great U-nited States. Oh, no!'
'I hope you're satisfied with the success of your joke, Mark,' said
But here, at a most opportune and happy time, the General interposed,
and called out to Scadder from the doorway to give his friends the
particulars of that little lot of fifty acres with the house upon it;
which, having belonged to the company formerly, had lately lapsed again
into their hands.
'You air a deal too open-handed, Gen'ral,' was the answer. 'It is a lot
as should be rose in price. It is.'
He grumblingly opened his books notwithstanding, and always keeping his
bright side towards Mark, no matter at what amount of inconvenience
to himself, displayed a certain leaf for their perusal. Martin read it
greedily, and then inquired:
'Now where upon the plan may this place be?'
'Upon the plan?' said Scadder.
He turned towards it, and reflected for a short time, as if, having
been put upon his mettle, he was resolved to be particular to the
very minutest hair's breadth of a shade. At length, after wheeling his
toothpick slowly round and round in the air, as if it were a carrier
pigeon just thrown up, he suddenly made a dart at the drawing, and
pierced the very centre of the main wharf, through and through.
'There!' he said, leaving his knife quivering in the wall; 'that's where
Martin glanced with sparkling eyes upon his Co., and his Co. saw that
the thing was done.
The bargain was not concluded as easily as might have been expected
though, for Scadder was caustic and ill-humoured, and cast much
unnecessary opposition in the way; at one time requesting them to think
of it, and call again in a week or a fortnight; at another, predicting
that they wouldn't like it; at another, offering to retract and let them
off, and muttering strong imprecations upon the folly of the General.
But the whole of the astoundingly small sum total of purchase-money--it
was only one hundred and fifty dollars, or something more than thirty
pounds of the capital brought by Co. into the architectural concern--was
ultimately paid down; and Martin's head was two inches nearer the roof
of the little wooden office, with the consciousness of being a landed
proprietor in the thriving city of Eden.
'If it shouldn't happen to fit,' said Scadder, as he gave Martin the
necessary credentials on recepit of his money, 'don't blame me.'
'No, no,' he replied merrily. 'We'll not blame you. General, are you
'I am at your service, sir; and I wish you,' said the General, giving
him his hand with grave cordiality, 'joy of your po-ssession. You air
now, sir, a denizen of the most powerful and highly-civilised dominion
that has ever graced the world; a do-minion, sir, where man is bound to
man in one vast bond of equal love and truth. May you, sir, be worthy of
your a-dopted country!'
Martin thanked him, and took leave of Mr Scadder; who had resumed his
post in the rocking-chair, immediately on the General's rising from it,
and was once more swinging away as if he had never been disturbed.
Mark looked back several times as they went down the road towards the
National Hotel, but now his blighted profile was towards them, and
nothing but attentive thoughtfulness was written on it. Strangely
different to the other side! He was not a man much given to laughing,
and never laughed outright; but every line in the print of the crow's
foot, and every little wiry vein in that division of his head, was
wrinkled up into a grin! The compound figure of Death and the Lady at
the top of the old ballad was not divided with a greater nicety, and
hadn't halves more monstrously unlike each other, than the two profiles
of Zephaniah Scadder.
The General posted along at a great rate, for the clock was on the
stroke of twelve; and at that hour precisely, the Great Meeting of
the Watertoast Sympathisers was to be holden in the public room of the
National Hotel. Being very curious to witness the demonstration, and
know what it was all about, Martin kept close to the General; and,
keeping closer than ever when they entered the Hall, got by that means
upon a little platform of tables at the upper end; where an armchair was
set for the General, and Mr La Fayette Kettle, as secretary, was making
a great display of some foolscap documents. Screamers, no doubt.
'Well, sir!' he said, as he shook hands with Martin, 'here is a
spectacle calc'lated to make the British Lion put his tail between his
legs, and howl with anguish, I expect!'
Martin certainly thought it possible that the British Lion might have
been rather out of his element in that Ark; but he kept the idea to
himself. The General was then voted to the chair, on the motion of a
pallid lad of the Jefferson Brick school; who forthwith set in for a
high-spiced speech, with a good deal about hearths and homes in it, and
unriveting the chains of Tyranny.
Oh but it was a clincher for the British Lion, it was! The indignation
of the glowing young Columbian knew no bounds. If he could only have
been one of his own forefathers, he said, wouldn't he have peppered
that same Lion, and been to him as another Brute Tamer with a wire whip,
teaching him lessons not easily forgotten. 'Lion! (cried that young
Columbian) where is he? Who is he? What is he? Show him to me. Let me
have him here. Here!' said the young Columbian, in a wrestling attitude,
'upon this sacred altar. Here!' cried the young Columbian, idealising
the dining-table, 'upon ancestral ashes, cemented with the glorious
blood poured out like water on our native plains of Chickabiddy Lick!
Bring forth that Lion!' said the young Columbian. 'Alone, I dare him! I
taunt that Lion. I tell that Lion, that Freedom's hand once twisted
in his mane, he rolls a corse before me, and the Eagles of the Great
Republic laugh ha, ha!'
When it was found that the Lion didn't come, but kept out of the way;
that the young Columbian stood there, with folded arms, alone in his
glory; and consequently that the Eagles were no doubt laughing wildly on
the mountain tops; such cheers arose as might have shaken the hands upon
the Horse-Guards' clock, and changed the very mean time of the day in
'Who is this?' Martin telegraphed to La Fayette.
The Secretary wrote something, very gravely, on a piece of paper,
twisted it up, and had it passed to him from hand to hand. It was an
improvement on the old sentiment: 'Perhaps as remarkable a man as any in
This young Columbian was succeeded by another, to the full as eloquent
as he, who drew down storms of cheers. But both remarkable youths,
in their great excitement (for your true poetry can never stoop to
details), forgot to say with whom or what the Watertoasters sympathized,
and likewise why or wherefore they were sympathetic. Thus Martin
remained for a long time as completely in the dark as ever; until
at length a ray of light broke in upon him through the medium of the
Secretary, who, by reading the minutes of their past proceedings,
made the matter somewhat clearer. He then learned that the Watertoast
Association sympathized with a certain Public Man in Ireland, who held a
contest upon certain points with England; and that they did so, because
they didn't love England at all--not by any means because they loved
Ireland much; being indeed horribly jealous and distrustful of its
people always, and only tolerating them because of their working hard,
which made them very useful; labour being held in greater indignity in
the simple republic than in any other country upon earth. This
rendered Martin curious to see what grounds of sympathy the Watertoast
Association put forth; nor was he long in suspense, for the General
rose to read a letter to the Public Man, which with his own hands he had
'Thus,' said the General, 'thus, my friends and fellow-citizens, it
'"SIR--I address you on behalf of the Watertoast Association of United
Sympathisers. It is founded, sir, in the great republic of America! and
now holds its breath, and swells the blue veins in its forehead nigh to
bursting, as it watches, sir, with feverish intensity and sympathetic
ardour, your noble efforts in the cause of Freedom."'
At the name of Freedom, and at every repetition of that name, all the
Sympathisers roared aloud; cheering with nine times nine, and nine times
'"In Freedom's name, sir--holy Freedom--I address you. In Freedom's
name, I send herewith a contribution to the funds of your society.
In Freedom's name, sir, I advert with indignation and disgust to that
accursed animal, with gore-stained whiskers, whose rampant cruelty and
fiery lust have ever been a scourge, a torment to the world. The naked
visitors to Crusoe's Island, sir; the flying wives of Peter Wilkins; the
fruit-smeared children of the tangled bush; nay, even the men of large
stature, anciently bred in the mining districts of Cornwall; alike
bear witness to its savage nature. Where, sir, are the Cormorans,
the Blunderbores, the Great Feefofums, named in History? All, all,
exterminated by its destroying hand.
'"I allude, sir, to the British Lion.
'"Devoted, mind and body, heart and soul, to Freedom, sir--to Freedom,
blessed solace to the snail upon the cellar-door, the oyster in his
pearly bed, the still mite in his home of cheese, the very winkle of
your country in his shelly lair--in her unsullied name, we offer you our
sympathy. Oh, sir, in this our cherished and our happy land, her fires
burn bright and clear and smokeless; once lighted up in yours, the lion
shall be roasted whole.
'"I am, sir, in Freedom's name,
'"Your affectionate friend and faithful Sympathiser,
It happened that just as the General began to read this letter, the
railroad train arrived, bringing a new mail from England; and a packet
had been handed in to the Secretary, which during its perusal and
the frequent cheerings in homage to freedom, he had opened. Now, its
contents disturbed him very much, and the moment the General sat down,
he hurried to his side, and placed in his hand a letter and several
printed extracts from English newspapers; to which, in a state of
infinite excitement, he called his immediate attention.
The General, being greatly heated by his own composition, was in a
fit state to receive any inflammable influence; but he had no sooner
possessed himself of the contents of these documents, than a change came
over his face, involving such a huge amount of choler and passion, that
the noisy concourse were silent in a moment, in very wonder at the sight
'My friends!' cried the General, rising; 'my friends and fellow
citizens, we have been mistaken in this man.'
'In what man?' was the cry.
'In this,' panted the General, holding up the letter he had read aloud
a few minutes before. 'I find that he has been, and is, the
advocate--consistent in it always too--of Nigger emancipation!'
If anything beneath the sky be real, those Sons of Freedom would have
pistolled, stabbed--in some way slain--that man by coward hands and
murderous violence, if he had stood among them at that time. The most
confiding of their own countrymen would not have wagered then--no, nor
would they ever peril--one dunghill straw, upon the life of any man in
such a strait. They tore the letter, cast the fragments in the air, trod
down the pieces as they fell; and yelled, and groaned, and hissed, till
they could cry no longer.
'I shall move,' said the General, when he could make himself heard,
'that the Watertoast Association of United Sympathisers be immediately
Down with it! Away with it! Don't hear of it! Burn its records! Pull the
room down! Blot it out of human memory!
'But, my fellow-countrymen!' said the General, 'the contributions. We
have funds. What is to be done with the funds?'
It was hastily resolved that a piece of plate should be presented to a
certain constitutional Judge, who had laid down from the Bench the noble
principle that it was lawful for any white mob to murder any black man;
and that another piece of plate, of similar value should be presented
to a certain Patriot, who had declared from his high place in the
Legislature, that he and his friends would hang without trial, any
Abolitionist who might pay them a visit. For the surplus, it was agreed
that it should be devoted to aiding the enforcement of those free and
equal laws, which render it incalculably more criminal and dangerous
to teach a negro to read and write than to roast him alive in a public
city. These points adjusted, the meeting broke up in great disorder, and
there was an end of the Watertoast Sympathy.
As Martin ascended to his bedroom, his eye was attracted by the
Republican banner, which had been hoisted from the house-top in honour
of the occasion, and was fluttering before a window which he passed.
'Tut!' said Martin. 'You're a gay flag in the distance. But let a man
be near enough to get the light upon the other side and see through you;
and you are but sorry fustian!'