aspect of great profundity, the gentleman twitched up the right-hand corner of his mouth and his right eye simultaneously, and said, once more.
`It is in such enlightened means that the bubbling passions of my country find a vent.'
As he looked at Martin, and nobody else was by, Martin inclined his head, and said:
`You allude to--?'
`To the Palladium of rational Liberty at homr, sir, and the dread of Foreign oppression abroad,' returned the gentleman, as he pointed with his cane to an uncommonly dirty newsboy with one eye. `To the Envy of the world, sir, and the leaders of Human Civilization. Let me ask you sir,' he added, bringing the ferule of his stick heavily upon the deck with the air of a man who must not be equivocated with, `how do you like my Country?'
`I am hardly prepared to answer that question yet,' said Martin `seeing that I have not been ashore.'
`Well, I should expect you were not prepared, sir,' said the gentleman, `to behold such signs of National Prosperity as those?'
He pointed to the vessels lying at the wharves; and then gave a vague flourish with his stick, as if he would include the air and water, generally, in this remark.
`Really,' said Martin, `I don't know. Yes. I think I was.'
The gentleman glanced at him with a knowing look, and said he liked his policy. It was natural, he said, and it pleased him as a philosopher to observe the prejudices of human nature.
`You have brought, I see, sir,' he said, turning round towards Martin, and resting his chin on the top of his stick, `the usual amount of misery and poverty and ignorance and crime, to be located in the bosom of the great Republic. Well, sir! let 'em come on in ship-loads from the old country. When vessels are about to founder the rats are said to leave 'em. There is considerable of truth, I find, in that remark.'
`The old ship will keep afloat a year or two longer yet, perhaps,' said Martin with a smile, partly occasioned by what the gentleman said, and partly by his manner of saying it, which was odd enough for he emphasised all the small words and syllables in his discourse, and left the others to take care of themselves: as if he thought the larger parts of speech could be trusted alone, but the little ones required to be constantly looked after.
`Hope is said by the poet, sir,' observed the gentleman, `to be the nurse of young Desire.'
Martin signified that he had heard of the cardinal virtue in question serving occasionally in that domestic capacity.
`She will not rear her infant in the present instance, sir, you'll find,' observed the gentleman.
`Time will show,' said Martin.
The gentleman nodded his head gravely; and said, `What is your name, sir?'
Martin told him.
`How old are you, sir?'
Martin told him.
`What is your profession, sir?'
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|