Chapter 22From which it will be seen that Martin became a lion of his own account. Together with the reason why
AS SOON AS IT WAS GENERALLY KNOWN in the National Hotel, that the young Englishman, Mr. Chuzzlewit, had purchased a `lo-cation' in the Valley of Eden, and intended to betake himself to that earthly Paradise by the next steamboat, he became a popular character. Why this should be, or how it had come to pass, Martin no more knew than Mrs. Gamp, of Kingsgate Street, High Holborn, did; but that he was for the time being the lion, by popular election, of the Watertoast community, and that his society was in rather inconvenient request there could be no kind of doubt.
The first notification he received of this change in his position, was the following epistle, written in a thin running hand, -- with here and there a fat letter or two, to make the general effect more striking, -- on a sheet of paper, ruled with blue lines. `National Hotel, Monday Morning.
`When I had the privillidge of being your fellow-traveller in the cars, the day before yesterday, you offered some remarks upon the subject of the tower of London, which (in common with my fellow-citizens generally) I could wish to hear repeated to a public audience.
`As secretary to the Young Men's Watertoast Association of this town, I am requested to inform you that the Society will be proud to hear you deliver a lecture upon the Tower of London, at their Hall to-morrow evening, at seven o'clock; and as a large issue of quarter-dollar tickets may be expected, your answer and consent by bearer will be considered obliging.
`Dear Sir, yours truly,
`The Honourable Mr. Chuzzlewit.
`P.S. -- The Society would not be particular in limiting you to the Tower of London. Permit me to suggest that any remarks upon the Elements of Geology, or (if more convenient) upon the Writings of your talented and witty countryman, the honourable Mr. Miller, would be well received.'
Very much aghast at this invitation, Martin wrote back, civilly declining it; and had scarcely done so, when he received another letter.
`No. 47, Bunker Hill Street, Monday Morning.
`I was raised in those interminable solitudes where our mighty Mississippi (or Father of Waters) rolls his turbid flood.
`I am young, and ardent. For there is a poetry in wildness, and every alligator basking in the slime is in himself an Epic, self-contained. I aspirate for fame. It is my yearning and my thirst.
`Are you, sir, aware of any member of Congress in England, who would undertake to pay my expenses to that country, and for six months after my arrival?
`There is something within me which gives me the assurance that this enlightened patronage would not be thrown away. In literature or art; the bar, the pulpit, or the stage; in one or other, if not all, I feel that I am certain to succeed.
`If too much engaged to write to any such yourself, please let me have a list of three or four of those most likely to respond, and I will address them through the Post Office. May I also ask you to favour me
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