Mr. Washington Adams in England
BOREHAM was one of those country-houses, found here and there in England, which in their time have served many uses. Its oldest part consisted of a small, low, square tower, built of flint and rubble, in which a mixture of red tiles seemed to indicate that it stood upon the site of a yet older structure, of Roman origin. Another part, in fine old brick work, was shown to have been once a religious house, by the cross fleury upon its gable and the abbot’s mitre over the principal door. It had not improbably been an outlying grange of the great priory at Toppington. To these had been added, in the latter part of Elizabeth’s reign, a long, two-story, beam - and - plaster edifice, which contained, among other rooms, the drawing-room, a library, and a dining-room ; the last bossed and gnarled with heavy oak carving, and having a great bay window, large enough to hold a dinner-table and the chairs and guests and servants of a goodly dinner-party. This window looked out upon an old moat, which had evidently some connection with the little tower, and which, now dry and covered with beautiful greensward, was still crossed by a bridge or causeway, over which the great drive through the park led up to the principal entrance, which was in the Elizabethan part of the house. An opposite window, twice as broad as it was high, looked out upon a square court, paved with round stones, three sides of which were formed by the house, and the fourth by a wall, in which was a door leading to the stables. The stone pavement of the court was pierced by two yew - trees, which cast a gloomy shadow through the inner windows, and over a gallery on which the doors and windows of the upper rooms of the Elizabethan part of the house opened.
Having written to Sir Charles that I should reach the nearest station by a certain train, I found his carriage there, and was driven across the moat about five o’clock in the afternoon. My host met me in the hall, and gave me a quiet and undemonstrative welcome, which, however, I saw and felt was a hearty one. After a brief visit to my room, I went to Lady Boreham’s parlor, where she was about dispensing afternoon tea. As I entered the room it impressed me with a sense of gloomy respectability. It was richly and comfortably furnished ; but although it was, and was called, “ Lady Boreham’s parlor,” nothing in it told of the grace and charm of a woman’s presence.
My hostess received me with a sad propriety of demeanor which was somewhat depressing, but which I found was her general manner to all persons, whatever their rank, from peers and peeresses down to her own servants. As to herself, her face was pallid and of a pasty complexion ; her hair, a toneless brown, and twisted at the front into some stiff curls, that stood like palisades before a queer little cap ; her eyes, a dull gray ; her nose, quite shapeless ; and from her always half-open mouth there projected slightly two large white teeth. She was not bony, nor even slender ; yet a manish absence of roundness and fullness deprived her figure of all the grace and charm peculiar to womanhood. What she lacked in this respect, however, appeared in some excess in Sir Charles. He had, truly, changed in ten years. He was quite two stone heavier; the bloom that I had admired so much on his cheek had deepened in tint and thickened in quality ; although he was not yet forty, his hair was thinning rapidly on the top of his head; and his manner had become as heavy as his person. Indeed, I found, during my brief visit, that for him life was made up of looking after his estate, hunting, shooting, reading the London Times, and dinner, last, not least. He did not read the Saturday Review or the Spectator; but Lady Boreham hungrily gloated upon The World, of which I never saw him take any notice, except by once tossing it contemptuously out of his way.
Three other guests at Boreham hardly require mention. One, a younger sister of my hostess, was almost her mere duplicate: two and three were a Mr. Grimstone and his wife, as to whom I could only discover that he was a member of Parliament and of the Carleton Club, and that she was apparently without an idea or an emotion not connected with the Court Circular. The ladies were entirely devoid of personal attraction, and their toilets on all occasions were distressing. How these people managed to live through that part of each successive twenty-four hours during which they were not eating and sleeping was a mystery. They rarely exchanged a word that was not required by the ordinary civilities of social life, as to which they were unexceptionably and somewhat consciously correct and proper. And yet there was an air of solid respectability and good faith about them which, although their society was wholly without charm, even to each other, had a value that received a constant silent expression. One felt that they were very safe people to meet in any relation of life.
There were, of course, the customary attendants of a great house in England. One of these, Lady Boreham’s own maid, whom I saw on two or three occasions, was one of the most beautiful women I ever encountered. I could not look at her without thinking of a June rose. Her noble figure was just tall enough to be a little distinguished, and she carried her finely poised head with such an air that her little cap became a coronet of beauty’s nobility. Her manners were quite as good as Lady Boreham’s ; and her manner was as superior as that of the so-called Venus of Milo might be to that of the Venus of a burlesque. But if she had been some sort of attendant clock-work machine in petticoats, her mistress could not have treated her with less apparent recognition of a common humanity. Indeed, I do verily believe that Lady Boreham was quite unconscious that here was a woman constantly about her who, whenever she appeared, blotted her mistress out of existence for any man who had eyes and a brain behind them. The one fact ever present to her consciousness, as I discovered, was that she was Lady Boreham, and had brought her husband fifty thousand pounds ; with which price she seemed to think that she had bought a throne and an allegiance from which she could never be cast out. And she had, so far as her husband and her guests were concerned. I must give them the credit of being, or seeming, as indifferent to “ Wilkins ” — the beauty’s name — as she was herself. Wilkins was a “young person ” who performed certain needful offices in an acceptable manner. It was well that Sir Charles was not a man of finer perceptions and a more flexible nature.
Lady Boreham was, however, not without curiosity ; and on my second day at the Hall she led me to talk about society in America, as to which her notions seemed somewhat less correct and clear than those of a Vassar College girl might be about Abyssinian court etiquette. Did American women like being spiritual wives ? What was a spiritual wife? If Brigham Young took the hustings to be President, would all the women vote for him ? Would all his wives vote for him ? What could he do with them if they did n’t ? How many wives had he ? Were n’t most Americans Mormons, or Spiritualists, or something ? Was it true that American women could get a divorce whenever they liked ? And Was it true — with a furtive glance at the window where Maud sat netting — that in America a man might marry his deceased wife’s sister ? Did all Americans live at ’otels ? And did American women come down to breakfast in full dress and di’mon’s ?
The temptation was sore to give to these and like questions the replies which my hostess would have been pleased to receive; but I refrained myself, and told her the simple truth, to her astonishment and hardly concealed disappointment. The point as to which I had most difficulty in making my explanations understood was the difference of the laws in the several States as to marriage and divorce. Lady Boreham could not have been — was not, I found — ignorant of the difficulties that might arise in England because of Scotch marriages and Irish marriages ; and yet she could not well apprehend that a woman might be legally married in Connecticut, and yet her marriage be at least disputable in New York, and that a divorce would be granted in Indiana upon grounds which would not be sufficient in New Jersey. To her, as to most of her sort in England, “ the States ” were “ America,” and America was governed by the President and Congress: the former, a kind of political Pope ; the latter, a general legislative body, with the omnipotence of Parliament.
As I was explaining to her that Congress had to all intents and purposes no power over the individual lives and the personal relations of citizens of the United States ; and that even murder, unless committed on the high seas, or in a fort or national vessel, was a crime, not against the laws of the United States, but against those of an individual State; and that debts were contracted under state laws, so that even the Supreme Court, the most important and powerful tribunal in the country, had no jurisdiction over them, except in certain specific cases, the member of Parliament, who was in the room, now reading a big blue book, now listening, pricked up his ears, and said, —
“ Yes ; and your Supreme Court has made a nice mess of your national credit two or three times ; sustaining American repudiation of debts,— refusing to pay money lent in good faith by British capitalists. Not very wise, permit me to say, thus to make repudiation a national characteristic, supported by your highest tribunal.”
“ I beg your pardon,” I replied, “ but perhaps you know that the United States government has incurred rather a large indebtedness during the last twenty years. Will you kindly inform me if you know of the repudiation of any part of this debt ? ”
“Well, no—no; not at all, not at all ; quite the contrary, I must admit. That debt was something quite awful; and it’s been acknowledged and put in course of liquidation in a manner that — that — why, nobody expected anything of the sort.”
“ And why not, sir ? let me ask. Why was it not expected ? Has the United States government been in the habit of repudiating its debts ? ”
“ Well, no — no ; not exactly the government of the United States, I believe; but Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, and Virginia. They ’re in America, are n’t they ? ”
“ I’ve heard that Turkey has also failed to pay British creditors. Why have you not applied to the Supreme Court of the United States to compel the Turks to pay the interest and principal of their bonds ? ”
“ Bless my soul, sir, your Supreme Court has no jurisdiction in Turkey ! You haven’t quite annexed the Sultan and his dominions, yet. You ’re joking; setting up for an American humorist.”
“ Not at all. I should n't presume to attempt so high a flight. Never was more serious in my life. Without going into particulars, I venture to say that in every case which you could have had in mind, the Supreme Court merely decided the question of its own jurisdiction ; and I venture also to suggest that if British capitalists would not be so blinded by the hope of getting six or seven per cent., instead of three, as to neglect making those inquiries as to the ability of borrowers in foreign countries, and as to the means of redress in default of payment, which they make at home, it would be wiser and more businesslike ; although I must admit that such a course might be open to the objection of involving some little study of so trifling and disagreeable a subject as the political structure and internal polity of the United States.” And after a moment of silence I turned again to the ladies.
“ Now do tell us,” said the M. P.’s wife, “ how you manage society in America. I suppose you don’t manage it at all. How could you ? You’ve no court, no peerage, no county families. I suppose everybody goes everywhere, and visits everybody else, if they like. It must be amusin’, in a certain way; but do you find it agreeable ? ”
My reply it is not necessary to report in detail; and when the ladies had gathered from it that, notwithstanding the lack of a court and a peerage, everybody did not go everywhere in America, and that social exclusiveness and even social arrogance and the desire for social distinction and success were quite as great in America as in England, they looked at me and at each other with an expression of weak astonishment.
“Why,” said Lady Boreham, “I thought you were democrats and communists and — and that sort of thing, and that you thought that nobody was any better than anybody else ; although some of you, I believe, are awfully rich.”
“ Democracy, madam, in America is confined jealously to politics. As to wealth, money has rather more brute power in the United States, and particularly in New York, than it has in England,— where I believe it has not a little, — or in any other country in the world ; and as to the effect of democracy upon society in America, it is briefly to beget a belief that on the one hand nobody is any better than you are, and on the other that very few are as good.”
“ Dear me, — dear me ! Then you have exclusive circles in America, too.”
“ So exclusive that people may live in the same neighborhood, and even next door to each other, for years, and never speak, and hardly know each other’s names. So exclusive that often the richer of these neighbors would be very glad to obtain, by a considerable sacrifice, an entrance to the entertainments of the poorer.”
“ Dear, dear! Quite like it is at ’ome; and I thought it was so different.”
“Very like, indeed, so far as I may venture to have an opinion. For, strange to say, a democratic form of government has not yet produced in America any very great or manifest change in men as individuals. There still remains a great deal of human nature in the men and women there; nor does there yet appear much power in democracy to cast it out. As to the process called in both countries, I believe, getting into society, I have known a woman of great wealth, intelligence, and an untarnished reputation push, and crawl, and bully, and flatter, spend money like water, be snubbed, and lie down and be trodden upon for years, to work her way into a certain set, and fail utterly.”
“ Dear, dear! ” again bleated Lady Boreham from under the teeth ; “ just like it is at ’ome.”
“ And then this woman, having, by luck or contrivance, or both, obtained the notice and the favor of some distinguished person at home or abroad, was all at once taken up by society, and flaunted it grandly among the very people who a few years before treated her as if they were Brahmins and she a Pariah.”
“ Oh, that ’s just like it is at ’ome ! ” cried Maud, from the window. “ For don’t you remember, Charlotte, how that handsome Mrs.” —
“ Hush, Maud ! ” said Lady Boreham. “ What can you know about it ? ”
“Yes, ' Hush, my dear, lie still and slumber/ ” was heard from behind Sir Charles’s Times, followed by a little rumble of laughter.
Humphreys was right. A day or two afterward, there came from the Priory an invitation to the Borehams to meet some people who were to be there at luncheon, in an informal way. “You’ll go with us, of course,” said Sir Charles. “ We know the Toppinghams well, and they ’ll be very pleased to see you.”
Indeed, the Borehams did know the Toppinghams well, and Borehams had known Toppinghams for generations. They had been neighbors and friends, or neighbors and enemies, almost ever since England was England. They had fought Duke William at Hastings, and were among those who had been allowed to retain their little estates as vassals of one of the Conqueror’s great barons. They fought together at Agincourt, each with his spear or two and his dozen or score of bowmen, under the banner of ihe lord of their marches. They had fought each other in the Wars of the Roses, when the Toppinghams were Lancastrians and the Borehams Yorkists. Together they had resisted the tyranny of Charles I., and had supported Sir William Waller — fondly called by the Parliament party William the Conqueror — in his triumphant march through the western counties; and together they had joined him in his defection from the Parliament, when it became revolutionary. There had been an intermarriage or two, in olden times; but of later years the Toppinghams had become ambitious in this respect, as well as in all others, while the Borehams went on their steady way, as simple English gentlemen. But such knowledge and friendship through centuries is full of meaning. There are no shams about it, or uncertainties, or possible concealments.
The ladies and the M. P. drove over in a pony phaeton and a landau ; but Sir Charles and I rode, he grumbling a little at losing a day’s shooting. With our two grooms, we made a pretty little cavalcade on that bright, soft September morning; and we delighted in ourselves and in each other, as we trotted gently through the noble beauty of the grandly timbered park.
The Priory was a handsome, irregular stone pile, showing plainly its ecclesiastical origin ; but it presented no remarkable features to distinguish it from many other great houses of its sort in England. Lord Toppingham received us in the hall with a bland but hearty welcome, in which there was a little spirit that was lacking even in Sir Charles’s kindliness, when I arrived at Boreham ; and his warm hand pressure and “ So you 've comeat last,” as he led us up the great staircase, made me feel that I had done well in accepting his double invitation. It also relieved me a little of my concern as to Humphreys’ project, for I had not neglected to inform him of our proposed visit.
Our pleasure — mine, at least — was very much enhanced by our reception by Lady Toppingham, a fine, elegant woman of about thirty years of age, very gentle of speech and gracious of manner, but with a manifest capacity of dash on good occasion. I suspect that she hunted; nor should I have objected to see that figure, lithe with all its largeness, in a riding habit, and on a worthy, well-groomed horse. A certain sense of spirit and force seemed to pervade the air at Toppingham, and to distinguish it from the sober, comfortable respectability of the house that we had left. I learned that Lady Toppingham’s title, although not her coronet, was hers by birthright; she being the second daughter of the Marquis of A-. Her dress was in such perfect taste that it attracted no attention; we saw only her grace of movement and beauty of form.
Two or three guests were in the room with her when we entered, and out on the terrace, upon which a large window opened, were as many more, of whom hereafter. After salutation and a brief matter-of-course chat, we all went out upon the terrace to enjoy the air and the beauty of the park, stretching far away from the other side of a large old-fashioned garden, formally laid out, and planted with varied flowers in great masses of color.
I could not but remark the bearing of Lady Boreham and her sister to Lady Toppingham. It might not, perhaps, be said that they cringed to her; but they fawned upon her, and “ dearLady-Toppinghamed ” her to herself and to each other in whining adulation. Once, as I watched this toadying, I caught a light flash of scorn from her glancing eye, which made her beautiful. As to Sir Charles, he was as much at his unconscious ease as if he were a duke.
There were no introductions, and after a glance at my fellow guests I attached myself to a young man of unmistakable soldierly bearing, who was standing apart in silence. He was a fine-looking fellow, with a simple and almost boyish face, whiskerless, but with a sweeping blonde mustache, to which from time to time he gave a pull; not foppish or military, but rather meditative. I liked these young English officers and their fellows, who, if not soldiers, were the stuff out of which soldiers are made; men who had been taught to ride, to shoot, and to speak the truth, and who, indeed, most of them, knew little else. Coming from New York, I found a sense of relief in their mere physical repose and manly steadiness. Their serenity seemed to me like that which looks at us out of the marble eyes of the old Greek statues.
I was reminded by it of a story told me in my youth by a friend of my father’s age, who, sitting by an English lady of rank at a ball in New York, when he was a young man, saw that she was scrutinizing with great interest the young people on the floor. He broke the silence by asking, “ Well, what do you think of them ? Not quite equal to your lads and lasses in England, are they ? ” “ On the contrary,”
she replied, “I never saw finer young people in my life, nor better mannered. The girls are lovely ; and as to the stories we ’ve been told about their not having good figures, it’s simply nonsense. But I was n’t thinking of the girls.” “ Well, the young men ? ” “ They ’re
fine fellows too, most of them, and well mannered; but, if you ’ll pardon me, as to their manner and their look” — “ Well ? ” “ Nothing, nothing; but they all look so sharp, — as if they had their eyes out on everybody else, and were n’t quite sure of their surroundings. Now, with us, young fellows of their age and breeding would n’t have the occasion to look sharp.” The elderly friend who repeated to me this bit of social criticism, and who must have heard it quite fifty years ago, said that he could not but admit its justice in regard to the young New Yorkers. Were he living, what would he say now ? Nevertheless, that there is in some of these young British lion-cubs the developable rudiment of a sharpness that puts to shame the craft of a Christian Greek or a Heathen Chinee, some of their American acquaintances have learned, to their sorrow.
My young friend on the terrace proved to be Captain the Honorable John Surcingle, of Her Majesty’s 9th Dragoon Guards, second son of the Earl of Martingale, and my hostess’ cousin. After a few words, I asked him to tell me the names of some of those around us, other than our own party.
“ ’Pon my life ! can’t say. Don’t know where Toppin’em finds all his people. Toppin’em’s vewy jolly; awfully nice fellow himself, you know ; but ” — Here he stopped, and, screwing his glass into his eye, looked quietly around for a few moments.
“ Wather wum lot. Litwawy persons, or somethin’, I sh’d say, most of ’em.”
The captain’s instincts had not misled him, as erelong I myself discovered. His “rum lot” included, among others who were literary, or something, Professor Schlamm, of the University of Bonn, who was on his first visit to England, to make arrangements for the publication, simultaneously, in English and German, of his profound work, in three volumes, 8vo, on The Unity in Duality of the English Nation from the days of Hengist and Horsa to those of Victoria and Albert. Then there was Lady Verifier, the young middle-aged widow of old Sir Duns Verifier, F. R. S. A., of the British Museum, who was knighted for having elaborated a stupendous plan of cataloguing the library of that institution, which upon trial proved so utterly impracticable and worthless that the old book-mole, smitten with shame and disappointment, went speedily to his grave; leaving his widow to enter literary life by publishing Shadows of the Soul, a poem in which art was shown to be “ the plastic form of religion.” Of the others, there was now noteworthy only Mrs. Longmore, who was known as the authoress of Immaculate, a novel in which the somewhat startling experiences of the heroine were said by some people to be in a certain degree autobiographical. Lady Verifier was spare, angular, and sallow, with large black eyes and coarse black hair, like a squaw’s ; a sort of woman less uncommon in England than she is supposed to be. Mrs. Longmore was her very opposite: fair, plump almost to portliness, with moist blue eyes and moist red lips. There were one or two others of their sort; and the rest of our little company were unremarkable folk, of the Toppingham and Borebam class.
Erelong a servant entered, with a card upon a salver, which he presented to our hostess, who, after glancing at it a moment with a puzzled look, said, “ To my lord.” On receiving it, his lordship handed it to me, saying, “ From your friend. He sent me a letter of introduction from Tooptoe at Oxford ; said he could n’t come just now himself, and asked the favor of introducin', just for a morning visit, an American gentleman, in whom he felt sure I should be interested. It’s all right, I suppose?” It was simply Humphreys’ card, with a line in pencil, “ introducing the Hon. Washington J. Adams.”
“ I don’t know Mr. Adams,” I said ; “but I do know that Mansfield Humphreys would give a card to no one who might not be properly received by the gentleman to whom it was addressed.”
Here Captain Surcingle, whose attention had been arrested, and who had heard my reply, cried out, “ 'Mewicau ? Have him up, Toppin’em, — have him up ! Those fellows are such fun ! I always go to see the ’Mewican Cousin. Not faw Dundweawy. Can’t see what they make such a doosid fuss about him faw. Does nothin’ but talk just like’ fellow at the Wag: wegla’muff. Nevah saw such a boa. But Twenchard’s awful fun; good as goin’ to ’Mewica without the boa of goin’.”
As the Honorable John began his appeal, his lady cousin stepped across the terrace to pluck a rose which peered at us over the stone balustrade, blushing with shame at its beautiful intrusion ; and as she swept past him, I partly heard and partly saw her say, in an earnest whisper, “ Jack, do be quiet; and don't be such a goose ! ”
As she turned back with her flower, the servant who had been sent out returned, and announced “ Mr. Adams ; ” and all eyes followed our host, as he stepped forward to receive him. As unabashed as a comet intruding upon the solar system, the Honorable Washington stepped into our circle, and met its sun and his satellites. The earl offered him his hand. He took it, and then he shook it, — shook it well; and to a few of the usual words of welcome he replied, “I ’m very glad to see you, my lord ; most happy to hev the pleasure of meeting your lordship” (looking round) “ here in your elegant doughmain and your gorjis castle. My friend Mr. Humphreys told me I’d find everything here fuss class ; an’ I hev. Your man help down-stairs wuz a leetle slow, to be sure; but don’t apologize; difference of institootions, I s’pose. Everything moves a leetle slower here.”
As Lord Toppingham led Mr. Adams to our hostess, eyes of wonder, not unmixed with pleasure, were bent upon him. He was a man of middle size, neither tall nor slender; but he stooped a little from his hips, and his head was slightly thrust forward, with an expression of eagerness, as he slouched along the terrace. His upper lip was shaved; but his sallow face terminated in that adornment known at the West as “ chinwhiskers.” His hat, which he kept on, was of felt, with a slightly conical crown. It rested rather on the back than on the top of his head, and from it fell a quantity of longish straight brown hair. His splendid satin scarf was decorated with a large pin, worthy of its position ; and the watch-chain that stretched across his waistcoat would have held a yacht to its moorings. His outer garment left the beholder in doubt whether it was an overcoat that he was wearing as a duster, or a duster doing service as an overcoat. Into the pockets of this he thrust his hands deep, and moved them back and forth from time to time, giving the skirts a wing-like action. Having taken Lady Toppingham’s hand, and shaken that too, and assured her of his pleasure in meeting her also, he put his own back into its appropriate pocket, and gently flapping his wings repeated, “Yes, ma’am; very happy to hev the pleasure of meetin’ your ladyship. Hope my call ain’t put you out any ; but I s’pose you ’re used to seein’ a goodle o’ company in the surprise way.”
“ I am always pleased to receive any friend of my lord’s or of Dr. Tooptoe’s,” said Lady Toppingham, seating herself upon one of the stone benches of the terrace; and Lord Toppingham turned as if to lead Mr. Adams away. But that gentleman immediately sat himself down by her side, and, crossing his legs, was evidently preparing to make himself agreeable. A slight shade of reserve with which she had taken her seat deepened for a moment, and then instantly gave way to a look of good-natured amusement; and I saw, to my relief, that she appreciated the situation. “ You ’ve been in our little England before, I suppose, Mr. Adams ? ”
“ No, ma’am, I hev n’t. My plit’cle dooties as a member of the legislater of the Empire State hev pervented. Empire State’s Noo York, as I s’pose your ladyship knows. Motto, Ex-celsior, an’ the risin’ sun; out of Longfeller’s poem, you know.”
“ I do know Mr. Longfellow’s charming poem. We’re great admirers of Mr. Longfellow in England ; indeed, we think him quite an English poet.”
“ Wal, ma’am, you ’re ’baout right there ; ’xcept in callin’ him an English poet. He’s a true Muh’kin ; an’ he kin beat Tennyson, an’ all the rest of ’em, at writin’ poetry, any day, let ’em do their level best. Why, he’s written more vollums of poetry — fuss-class poetry, too,— than any man that ever lived; more ’n Dr. Holland. Lives in fussclass style, too, if he is a poet. Should n’t wonder if there was n’t a broker in Wall Street that lives in higher style than Longfeller.”
At this triumphant utterance Mr. Adams took off his hat, and I feared he was about to wave it; but the movement was only one of momentary relief to his enthusiasm, and he at once restored it to its perilous inclination.
Lord Toppingham now stepped up to create a diversion in favor of his beleaguered wife, and, standing before the pair, asked Mr. Adams if he had been in London while Parliament was sitting.
“ Wal, yaas, I wuz,” replied the legislator, keeping his seat and looking up; “ ’n I went to see it; 'n to tell the truth hi the hull truth, I wuz dis’pinted. Gladstone ’s a smart man, but slow, I shed say, — mighty slow ; ain’t learned not to craowd himself, nuther; bites off more 'n he kin chaw. ’N' I did n’t hear no elo-quence; nobody did n’t seem to take no intrust into what was goin’ on. You hev got a powerful hansome buildin’ fur the meetin’ of your legislater ; but jess you wait ’n see the noo Capitol’t Albany, 'n’ you ’ll sing small, I — tell — you. Yms, siree.”
As this conversation went on, some of the other guests had approached, and there was a little group around our hostess and Mr. Adams, who now, to the evident horror of some of them, drew from his pocket a gigantic knife, with a set-spring at the back ; indeed, it was a clasp bowie-knife. Opening it with a tremendous click, he strapped it a little on his shoe, and then looked at the bench on which he sat. Evidently dissatisfied with the inducement which its stone surface offered, he drew from one of his capacious pockets a piece of pine wood about as thick as a heavy broom stick, and began to cut it in a meditative manner.
“ Don’t git much whittlin’ into your effete old monarchies. Even the benches, when they ain’t stun, air oak, that ’d turn the edge of any gentleman’s knife ; ’n’ so I carry suthin’ comfortable round with me ; ” and as he spoke the light shavings curled away from his stick, and rolled upon the terrace floor.
Lady Toppingham was as serene as a harvest moon, and was evidently much amused with her visitor; and the rest looked on with an interest and a satisfaction which were manifest in their countenances.
“ Your lordship does suthin in this way, I reckon. Guess all you lords are in the lumber line ; ’n’ I seen some fussclass trees inter the vacant lots round your house — castle, I mean. S’pose that ’s the reason you don’t improve. Much doin’ in lumber naow ? ”
“ Not much,” said our host, with a pleasant smile. “I ’m more inclined to keep my trees than to sell them, at present. But let me make you acquainted with some of my friends. Mr. Grimstone, member for Hilchester Towers.”
“ Haow do you do, Mr. Grimstone ? ” said Adams, rising; and shifting his knife to his left hand, he took the M. P.’s, and shaking it vigorously said, “ Happy to hev the pleasure of meetin’ you, sir. Don’t know you personally, but know you very well by reputtation.”
As our host looked next at me, I managed to convey to him an unspoken request not to be introduced, which he respected; but my friend the captain, stepping forward, was presented, with the added comment that Mr. Adams would find him well up about guns and rifles and fire-arms of all kinds ; quite an authority, indeed, upon that subject.
“ Dew tell ? Why, I’m glad to hev the pleasure of meetin’ you, sir. Look a’ here! I kin show you suthin’ fuss class in that line ; ” and putting his hand behind him, underneath his coat, he produced a large pistol, a navy revolver, which he exhibited in a demonstrative way to the captain, saying, “ Naow that’s suthin’ satisfactory fur a gentleman to hev about him ; no little pea-shootin’ thing, that you might empty into a man ’thout troublin’ him more ’n so many flea-bites.”
The captain looked at it with interest, while some of the other guests shrank away. After a brief examination, he returned it, saying, “ Vewy fine, vewy fine indeed ; and I hear you use ’em at vewy long distances, almost like a wifle.”
“ Sartin,” said Mr. Adams. “ Look a’ here ! See that that tree yonder ? ” and pointing to one on the other side of the garden, he threw up his left arm, and took a sight rest on it. Some of the ladies screamed, and the captain and Lord Toppingham both caught his arm, the latter exclaiming, “ Beg pahdon, don’t fire, please ! Somebody might be passin’ in the park.”
“ Wal, jess ’s you like, sir. You air to hum, en I ain’t. But that’s the difficulty with England. Th’r’ain’t no libbuty here. You’ve allers got to be thinkin’ ’baout somebody else.”
The incident certainly created a little unpleasant excitement; yet after this had subsided, it seemed not to have diminished, but rather to have increased, the satisfaction with which Mr. Adams was regarded. The professor came up, and said, “ Our Amerigan vrent is ferry kint sooch an exhipition of the manners and gustoms of his gountry to gif. Barehaps he vould a var-tance bareform vor the inztrugzion oond blaysure off dthe gompany.”
“ No, no, Professor Schlamm,” said Lady Toppingham, smiling, “we won’t put Mr. Adams to the trouble of a wardance ; and we’ve so narrowly escaped one blessure that we may well be willing to forego the other.” As my hostess struck off this little spark, I observed that her French was not that of the school of Stratford atte Bowe, which continues much in vogue in England even among ladies of the prioress’s rank.
Adams caught at the name as an introduction. “ Is this,” he said, “ the celebrated Professor Schlamm ? ” and seizing his hand, he shook it well. “ Happy to make your acquaintance, sir. Your fame, sir, is widely extended over the civilized globe. Hev n’t hed the pleasure of meetin’ you before, but know you very well by reputtation.”
The professor, who had all the simple vanity of the vainest race in the world, beamed under the influence of this compliment, so that his very spectacles seemed to glow with warmth and light.
“You German gen’l’men air fond of our naytional plant,” said Adams blandly. “ Hev a cigar? Won’t you jine me ? ” and he produced from his pocket two or three temptations.
“ Dthanks ; poot it might not to dthe laties pe acreeaple.”
“ No ? Wal, then, here goes fur the ginooine article. I ’m ’baout tuckered aout fur some.” Saying this, he took from another pocket a brown plug, cut off a piece, and, having shaped and smoothed it a little with his huge knife, he laid it carefully with his forefinger in his cheek. Then, his knife being out, he took the opportunity to clean his nails ; and having scraped the edges until our blood curdled, he returned his weapon, after a loud click, to his pocket.
A look of distress had come over the face of our hostess when Mr. Adams produced his plug; and she called a servant, who, after receiving an order from her in a low voice, went out. Mr. Adams’s supplementary toilet being completed, he slouched away towards the balustrade ; and after looking a few moments across the garden, he turned about, and, leaning against the stone, he began an expectorative demonstration. After he had made two or three violent and very obtrusive efforts of this kind, which, however, I must confess, did not seem to leave much visible witness before us, the servant returned hastily with a spittoon, the fabric and condition of which showed very plainly that it came from no part of the Priory that rejoiced in the presence of Lady Toppingham. This the footman placed before Mr. Adams, within easy range.
“ Nev’ mind,” said that gentleman, — “nev’ mind. Sorry you took the trouble, sonny. I don't set up fur style ; don’t travel onto it. I’m puffickly willin’ to sit down along ’th my fren’s, and spit round sociable. I know I wear a biled shirt 'n' store clothes, — that’s a fact; but’s a graceful con-ciliation of and deference to public opinion, considerin’ I’m a member of the legislater of the Empire State.”
“Biled?” said Captain Surcingle to me, inquiringly (for we had kept pretty close together). “ Mean boiled ? ”
“ Boil shirts in ’Mewica ? ”
“ Your shirt boiled ? ”
“ N-no ; not exactly. I should have said that all our wealthiest and most distinguished citizens, members of the legislature and the like, boil their shirts. I make no such pretensions.”
The captain looked at me doubtfully. But our talk and Mr. Adams’s performances were brought to a close by the announcement of luncheon, and an invitation from our host to the dining-room. This midday repast is quite informal, but, comparatively unrestrained as it is by etiquette, rank and precedence are never quite forgotten at it, or on any other occasion, in England ; and there being no man of rank present, except our host, and Sir Charles being far down the terrace, talking hunt and horse with another squire, Mr. Grimstone was moving toward Lady Toppingham, with the expectation of entering with her, when Mr. Adams stepped quickly up, and saying, “ Wal, I don’t keer ef I dew jine you ; allow me the pleasure, ma’am,” he offered her his arm. She took it. Mr. Grimstone retreated in disorder, and we all went in somewhat irregularly. As we passed through the hall, and approached the dining-room, it occurred to Mr. Adams to remove his hat; and he then looked about, and up and down, in evident search of a peg on which to hang it. A servant stepped forward, and held out his hand for it. After a brief hesitation he resigned it, saying, “ Ain’t ye goin’ to give me no check for that? Haow do I know I’ll git it agin ? Haowever, it’s Lord Toppingham’s haouse, an’ he’s responsible, I guess. That’s good law, ain’t it, your lordship ? ”
“ Excellent,” said our host, evidently much pleased that Lady Toppingham had taken this opportunity to continue on her way to the dining-room, where we found her with Mr. Grimstone on her right hand, and a vacant seat on her left, between her and her cousin, to which she beckoned me ; Mr. Adams, the professor, and the two authoresses forming a little group near Lord Toppingham.
“ I hope,” said the M. P. to me, as we were settling ourselves at table, “that you are pleased with your Mr. Washington Adams. I, for one, own that such a characteristic exhibition of genuine American character and manners is, if not exactly pleasant, a very entertaining subject of study.”
The taunt itself was less annoying than its being flung at me across our hostess ; but as I could not tell him so without sharing his breach of good manners, I was about to let his remark pass, with a silent bow, when a little look of encouragement in Lady Toppingham’s eyes led me to say, “ As to your entertainment, sir, I have no doubt that you might find as good without importing your Helots. As to Mr. Adams being my Mr. Washington Adams, he is neither kith nor kin of any of my people, to whom he would he an occasion of as much curious wonder as he is to any person at this table.”
“ Oh, that won’t do at all. He is one of your legislators, — the Honorable Washington Adams. You Americans are a very strange people; quite incomprehensible to our poor, simple English understandings.” I did not continue the discussion, which I saw would be as fruitless as, under the circumstances, it was unpleasant, and indeed almost inadmissible, notwithstanding the gracious waiver of my hostess.
Luncheon engaged the attention of us all for a while, notwithstanding the presence of Mr. Adams ; but nevertheless he continued to be the chief object of attention ; and ere long he was heard saying, with an elevated voice, in evident continuation of description of a legislative scene, “ The feller, sir, had the lip to perpose to investigate me ; but I told him, sir, that I courted investigation, and I claimed that he was no better than a scallawag and a shyster ; and I gripped him, sir, and skun him, — skun him clean as an eel.”
Captain Surcingle, who had been regarding the speaker with all the earnestness that his glass admitted, turned to me, and said, with soft inquiry,—
“ Skun ? ’Mewican for skinned ? ”
“ Yes ; all true Americans say skun.”
“ Vewy queeah way of speakin’ English ; ” and he was about to subside into silence, when all at once a bright gleam of intelligence came into his face, and he broke out, “ Oh, I say ! that won’t do. You ’re ’Mewican ; an’ you don’t say skun or scallawag ; ” and the good fellow regarded me with a look of triumph.
“ Yes,” I replied ; “ but you see I’m not a full - blooded American, as Mr. Adams is, — only a Yankee. Then I've had some special advantages. I’ve been in Canada ; and that is still one of the British possessions. Besides, I ’m lend of reading; and friends in England have sent me a few London books, — books with 'honor ’ spelled with a u, and all that sort of thing. Don’t you see ? ”
“Ah, yes. Just so, just so; quite so.” And now he was silent. But candor compels me to admit that he did not seem to be quite satisfied, and that, as he slowly ate jugged hare, he appeared to be wrestling with some intellectual problem that was too much for him.
Here the butler asked Mr. Adams if he should not change his plate. “ Wal, yes, sir, ef you’d like to. I’m sure I’ve no ’bjecshin.” Another plate was placed before him, and he was asked what he would have. “ Wal, I guess I ’ll take a leetle more o’ the same, — that thar pie thar, ’ith the chicken fixins into it,” pointing with a wave of his knife at a pheasant pie, of which he had just eaten. “ I call that fuss class, I do. Does you credit, ma’am,” he said blandly, addressing the countess, — “ does you credit. I must get you to give me the receipt for Mrs. Adams. You air slow here, an’ a goodle behind the lighter ; but ’baout eatin’ and drinkin’ you air pooty smart, I calklate.”
Here Lord Toppingham, probably to divert attention from Mr. Adams, looking across the table at me, expressed his surprise that so little had been produced in American literature and art that was peculiarly American ; that all our best writers wrote merely as Englishmen would, treating the same subjects; and that our painters and sculptors seemed to form their styles upon those of Italy and Greece.
“ Yes, indeed,” said Lady Verifier. “ Where is that effluence of the newborn individual soul that should emanate from a fresh and independent democracy, the possessors of a continent, with a Niagara and a Mississippi between two vast oceans ? You profess to be a great people, but you have evolved no literature, no art of your own. You see the sun rise from the Atlantic, and set in the Pacific; and it seems to do you no good, but to send you to Europe for your language and to Japan for your decoration.”
“ Lady Ferifier is fery right,” said Professor Schlamm. “Ameriga is a gountry of brovound dizabbointment to dthe vilozophic mind. It is pig oond rich ; poot noding orichinal toes it brotuce.”
“ Nothing that springs from the soil and savors of the soil,” said Lady Verifier.
“ Except its Washington Adamses,” said the M. P., in a surly undertone.
“ My lord,” I answered, “your question and Lady Verifier’s remind me of a paragraph that I saw quoted from a London sporting paper, a short time ago, about American horses.” (Here Captain Surcingle dropped his knife and fork, and turned his glass on me.) “It accounted for the fact that American horses had won so many cups lately by the other fact that the Americans had been importing English horses, and thus had improved their stock ; so that in truth the cups had been won by England, after all.”
“ That’s jolly good,” said the captain.
“Now that is quite true. But it is only half the truth ; for the whole truth is that all our horses are English. The horse is not indigenous to America. Neither are we. We are not autochthones, as by your expectations it would seem you think us. We are not products of the soil. We are not the fruit of Niagara or the prairies, which most of us have never been within five hundred miles of; nor of the oceans, which few of us have ever seen. We are what we are by race and circumstances; not because we live on a certain part of the earth’s surface. If you want a literature and an art that smack of the soil, you must go to Sitting Bull and Squatting Bear, with whom we have no other relations than we, or you, have with the cave-dwellers. Nor do Americans live and manage their affairs with the purpose of satisfying the philosophic mind, of working out interesting social problems, or of creating a new literature and a new art, but simply to get, each one of them, as much material comfort out of life and the world as to him is possible; a not very novel notion in the human creature.”
“ And so, sir,” said Mr. Adams, speaking to me for the first time, in tones which, when addressed to me, seemed to have something familiar in them, “ that is your patriotic veoo of your country ? And may I ask what good thing you think is peculiar to ’Muh’ky ?”
“Food for the hungry and freedom for the oppressed.”
“ Nothing else ? ” asked our host.
“ But to the wide benevolence of an American democrat I suppose that is enough,” said Lady Toppingham.
“Pardon me, madam, but I sometimes think that birth and breeding in a democratic country may make men aristocrats of the blackest dye; and I go about fancying that some of us ought to have been guillotined forty or fifty years before we were born, as enemies to the human race.”
“ Oh, I say,” cried the captain, “ that won’t do! Could n’t guillotine' fellah b’foah he was bawn, you know.”
“ Nevertheless, my dear captain, I 'm inclined to believe that it might better have been done.”
“ Vewy stwange,” drawled the Honorable Jolm.
Here Mr. Adams, as he was regarding me with fixed and desperate eye, drew his bowie-knife from his pocket and opened it; but before the horror of an expected onslaught upon me could well have thrilled the company, he quieted all apprehensions, if not all nerves, by picking his teeth with it in a very deliberate manner.
Meantime the two authoresses and the professor were talking with animation ; and I heard fragmentarily “ dear Walt Whitman,” “ most enthralling of American writers,” “ egsbrezzion of dthe droo Amerigan sbirit;” and Lord Toppingham, looking at our end of the table, said, “ Our literary friends here insist that you have one truly representative author ; one who represents, not perhaps your cultured classes, but the feelin’s and hopes and aspirations of those people who are the true representatives of the American genius.”
Yaas,” said Mr. Adams.
“ As to that, I can only refer you to Mr. Stedman, a writer whom some of your Victorian Poets ought to know ; and who has seen and recorded the fact that Walt Whitman is entirely disregarded, and almost contemned, by our people of the plainer and humbler sort, who find in him no expression of their feelings or their thoughts ; and that he is considered (for I cannot say that he is read) only by the curious, the critical, the theorists, and the dilettanti, — the fastidious aristocracy and literary bricabrac hunters of the intellectual world. As to his poetry, except on some rare occasions when he lapses into common sense and human feeling, it is simply naught. Ere long some of you in England will be ashamed of the attention you have given to its affectations. The merit that it has you would have passed over without notice. It is written in a jargon unknown to us. The very title of his book is in a language that I never heard spoken.”
“ What can you mean? ”
“ I was brought up in New England and New York, and never there, nor yet in Old England, nor in any of the literature common to both countries, did I hear of “ leaves of grass.” Grass has not what in English we call leaves. We have blades of grass, even spears ; but who ever heard of leaves ? A trifle this; but coming on the title-page, it proves to be a sign of what’s within.”
“ My very paytriotic friend,” said Mr. Adams sarcastically, “ thet’s a sort of ’bjecshin thet ud do fur th’ Sahturday Reveoo; but ’t won’t go daown ’th any true ’Muh’kin. Ef Muh’ky wants leaves o’ grass ’nstid o’ blades,
she ’ll hev ’em. I kin put all that daown jess by readin’ a piece thet I 've got into my pocket, — one thet Walt Whitman ’s never published yet; but I kerry it raound to read sorter b’tween whiles.”
The reading was loudly called for, and Mr. Adams, producing a sheet or two of paper from his all-containing pocket, read as follows : —
I am considerable of a man. I am some.
You also are some. We all are considerable,
all are some.
Put all of you and all of me together, and agi-
tate our particles by rubbing us up into eternal smash, and we should still be some.
No more than some, but no less.
Particularly some, some particularly; some in
general, generally some; but always some,
without mitigation. Distinctly, some!
O ensemble! O quelquc-chose!
2 Some punkins, perhaps; But perhaps squash, long-necked squash, crooked-necked squash, cucumber, beets, parsnips, carrots, turnips, white turnips, yellow turnips, or any sort of sass, long sass or short sass. Or potatoes. Men, Irish potatoes; women, sweet potatoes.
I expatiate myself in female man.
A reciprocity treaty. Not like a jug’s handle.
They look at me, and my eyes start out of my
head; they speak to me, and I yell with de-
light; they shake hands with me, and things
are mixed; I don’t know exactly whether
I ’m them, or them ’s me.
Women watch for me; they do. Yes, sir !
They rush upon me; seven women laying hold
of one man; and the divine efflux that thrilled
the cosmos before the nuptials of the saurians
overflows, surrounds, and interpenetrates their
souls, and they cry, Where is Walt, our brother ? Why does he tarry, leaving us forlorn ?
O, mes sœurs!
As Mr. Adams read this in a voice heavily monotonous and slightly nasal, the whole company listened with animation in their faces. Lord Toppingham looked puzzled. Lady Toppingham smiled, a little cynically, I thought. The M. P. sat with open, wondering eyes. Professor Schlamm, at the conclusion of the first stanza, folded his hands upon the table, putting his two thumbs together, and leaning forward looked through his spectacles at the reader with solemnity. Lady Verifier exclaimed. “ A truly cyclical utterance ; worthy to be echoed through the eternal œons ! ” Mrs. Longmore, at the end of the third stanza, murmured, “ Divine ! divine ! America is the new Paradise.” Captain Surcingle turned to me, and asked, “ What language is it witten in, — ’Mewican ? ”
Then Mr. Adams continued: —
57 Of Beauty. Of excellence, of purity, of honesty, of truth. Of the beauty of flat-nosed, pock-marked, pied Congo niggers. Of the purity of compost-heaps, the perfume of bone-boiling; of the fragrance of pigsties, and the ineffable sweetness of general corruption. Of the honesty and general incorruptibility of political bosses, of aldermen, of common-council men, of postmasters and government contractors, of members of the House of Representatives, and of government officers generally, of executors of wills, of trustees of estates, of referees, and of cashiers of banks who are Sundayschool superintendents. Of the truth of theatrical advertisements, and advertisements generally, of an actor’s speech on his benefit night, of your salutation when you say, “ I am happy to see you, sir,” of Mrs. Lydia Pinkham’s public confidences, of the miracles worked by St. Jacob’s Oil, and the long-recorded virtues of Scheidam schnapps.
58 I glorify schnapps; I celebrate gin. In beer I revel and welter. I shall liquor. Ein lager! I swear there is no nectar like lager. I swim in it, I float upon it, it heaves me up to heaven, it bears me beyond the stars; I tread upon the ether; I spread myself abroad; I stand self-poised in illimitable space. I look down : I see you; I am no better than you. You also shall mount with me. Zwei lager! Encore.
1003,O, my soul! O, your soul! which is no better than my soul, and no worse, but just the same. O soul in general ! Loafe! Proceed through space with rent garments. O shirt out-issuing, pendent! tattered, fluttering flag of freedom ! not national freedom, nor any of that sort of infernal nonsense, but freedom individual, freedom to do just what you blessed please!
1004 By golly, there is nothing in this world so unutterably magnificent as the inexplicable comprehensibility of inexplicableness!
1006 O eternal circles, O squares, O triangles, O hypothenuses, O centres, circumferences, diameters, radiuses, arcs, sines, co-sines, tangents, parallelograms and parallelopipedons ! O pipes that are not parallel, furnace pipes, sewer pipes, meerschaum pipes, brier-wood pipes, clay pipes ! O matches, O fire, and coal-scuttle, and shovel, and tongs, and fender, and ashes, and dust, and dirt! O everything! O nothing ! O myself! O yourself ! O my eye!
At this point of the reading the enthusiastic admiration of some of the audience again broke silence. “ That noble passage,” cried Lady Verifier, “ beginning with the eternal circles, and ending with everything and nothing! So vast! so all-inspiring ! ”
“ So all-embracing ! ” sighed Mrs. Longmore.
“ Zo univarezall,” said the professor, “ zo voondamentahl, zo brovound ! Go on, my vrent, oond de zing-zong shant, und de evangel bredigate, of the noo vorlt; oond I zoon a vilozophy of dthe Amerigan zoul zball write.”
Mr. Adams resumed : —
1247. These things are not in Webster’s Dictionary, Unabridged Pictorial; Nor yet in Worcester’s. Wait and get the best. These have come up out of the ages: Out of the ground that you crush with your boot-heel: Out of the muck that you have shoveled away into the compost: Out of the offal that the slow, lumbering cart, blood-dabbled and grease-dropping, bears away from the slaughter-house, a white-armed boy sitting on top of it, shouting Hi! and licking the horse on the raw, with the bridle. That muck has been many philosophers; that offal was once gods and sages. And I verify that I don’t see why a man in gold spectacles and a white cravat, stuck up in a library, stuck up in a pulpit, stuck up in a professor’s chair, stuck up in a governor’s chair or in a president’s chair, should be of any more account than a possum or a wood-chuck. Libertad, and the divine average!
I am not to be bluffed off. No, sir!
I am large, hairy, earthy, smell of the soil,
am big in the shoulders, narrow in the
flank, strong in the knees, and of an in-
quiring and communicative disposition.
Also instructive in my propensities, given to
contemplation, and able to lift anything
that is not too heavy.
Listen to me, and I will do you good.
Loafe with me, and I will do you better.
And if any man gets ahead of me, he will
find me after him.
There was a hum of admiration around Mr. Adams as he restored the manuscript to his pocket; but Captain Surcingle turned to me, and asked, “ ’Mewican poetwy ? ”
“Yes, Jack,” said his cousin, answering for me; “ and some of our wise people say that it’s the only poetry that can be called American ; but if it is, I am content with my English Longfellow.”
“ And I, madam, with my still more English Whittier.”
This Mr. Adams evidently thought would be a good time to bring his visit to an end, and rising in his place, with a manner as if addressing the chair, he said, “ My lord, I shall now bid your lordship farwell; an’ in doin’ so I thank you for your elegint en bountiful hospitality. It wuz fuss class, en thar wuz plenty of it; en I shall remember it ’z long ’z I live. En I thank your good lady too, en feel specially obleeged to her ladyship fur that thar pie 'i' the chicken-fixins into it. It wuz fuss class, and no mistake. En now I hope you ’ll all jine me in drinkin’ her ladyship’s health, en long may she wave. I can’t
call for the hips and the tiger, seein’ there ’s so many ladies present; but let’s all liquor up, and knock down, and no heel-taps.”
“ Weal ’Mewican,” said the captain, with an air of satisfaction. “ Know it now. Was n’t quite sure befoah ; but when he said liquor up ’ knew he was weal.”
The company had risen, and had drunk Mr. Adams’s toast, and now broke up. He took, I thought, a rather hurried leave. The four-wheeled cab in which he came had remained, and was at the door, to which some of us accompanied him. When he was seated he looked out, and said, “If your lordship ever comes to New York, jess look inter my office. Happy to see you. Name’s into the D’rect’ry. So long !”
As the cab turned down the drive, we saw Mr. Adams’s boot thrust itself lazily out of one of the windows, and rest there at its ease.
“ First time I ever saw a weal ’Mewican off the stage,” said the captain, slipping his arm into mine as we entered the hall again. “ Vewy intwestin’. Think I should n’t like it as a wegula’ thing, you know.”
Since my return to New York, I have inquired in vain for Mr. Washington Adams. Many persons seem to recognize my description of him as that of a man they have seen, but no one knows him by name ; nor is there any such member of the New York legislature. I have not yet been able to ask Humphreys to resolve my perplexity.
Richard Grant White.
- Readers of the New York Albion in 1860 may have memories awakened by these lines, but I am able to insure Mr. Adams against a suit for copyright, or a charge of plagiarism.↩