What of America? said I.
I have heard that it is a mighty country.
I daresay it is, said I; I have heard my father say that the Americans are first-rate marksmen.
I heard nothing about that, said Belle; what I heard was, that it is a great and goodly land, where people can walk about without jostling, and where the industrious can always find bread; I have frequently thought of going thither.
Well, said I, the Radical in the public-house will perhaps be glad of your company thither; he is as great an admirer of America as yourself, though I believe on different grounds.
I shall go by myself, said Belle, unless - unless that should happen which is not likely - I am not fond of Radicals no more than I am of scoffers and mockers.
Do you mean to say that I am a scoffer and mocker?
I dont wish to say you are, said Belle; but some of your words sound strangely like scoffing and mocking. I have now one thing to beg, which is, that if you have anything to say against America, you would speak it out boldly.
What should I have to say against America? I never was there.
Many people speak against America who never were there.
Many people speak in praise of America who never were there; but with respect to myself, I have not spoken for or against America.
If you liked America you would speak in its praise.
By the same rule, if I disliked America I should speak against it.
I cant speak with you, said Belle; but I see you dislike the country.
Well, the people - dont you?
Why do you dislike them?
Why, I have heard my father say that the American marksmen, led on by a chap of the name of Washington, sent the English to the right- about in double-quick time.
And that is your reason for disliking the Americans?
Yes, said I, that is my reason for disliking them.
Will you take another cup of tea? said Belle.
I took another cup; we were again silent. It is rather uncomfortable, said I, at last, for people to sit together without having anything to say.
Were you thinking of your company? said Belle.
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