He had straight black hair, parted up the middle of his head and hanging down upon his coat; a little fringe of hair upon his chin; wore no neckcloth; a white hat; a suit of black, long in the sleeves and short in the legs; soiled brown stockings and laced shoes. His complexion, naturally muddy, was rendered muddier by too strict an economy of soap and water; and the same observation will apply to the washable part of his attire, which he might have changed with comfort to himself and gratification to his friends. He was about five and thirty; was crushed and jammed up in a heap, under the shade of a large green cotton umbrella; and ruminated over his tobacco-plug like a cow.
He was not singular, to be sure, in these respects; for every gentleman on board appeared to have had a difference with his laundress and to have left off washing himself in early youth. Every gentleman, too, was perfectly stopped up with tight plugging, and was dislocated in the greater part of his joints. But about this gentleman there was a peculiar air of sagacity and wisdom, which convinced Martin that he was no common character; and this turned out to be the case.
'How do you do sir?' said a voice in Martin's ear
'How do you do sir?' said Martin.
It was a tall thin gentleman who spoke to him, with a carpet-cap on, and a long loose coat of green baize, ornamented about the pockets with black velvet.
'You air from Europe, sir?'
'I am,' said Martin.
'You air fortunate, sir.'
Martin thought so too; but he soon discovered that the gentleman and he attached different meanings to this remark.
'You air fortunate, sir, in having an opportunity of beholding our Elijah Pogram, sir.'
'Your Elijahpogram!' said Martin, thinking it was all one word, and a building of some sort.
Martin tried to look as if he understood him, but he couldn't make it out.
'Yes, sir,' repeated the gentleman. 'our Elijah Pogram, sir, is, at this minute, identically settin' by the en-gine biler.'
The gentleman under the umbrella put his right forefinger to his eyebrow, as if he were revolving schemes of state.
'That is Elijah Pogram, is it?' said Martin.
'Yes, sir,' replied the other. 'That is Elijah Pogram.'
'Dear me!' said Martin. 'I am astonished.' But he had not the least idea who this Elijah Pogram was; having never heard the name in all his life.
'If the biler of this vessel was Toe bust, sir,' said his new acquaintance, 'and Toe bust now, this would be a festival day in the calendar of despotism; pretty nigh equallin', sir, in its effects upon the human race, our Fourth of glorious July. Yes, sir, that is the Honourable Elijah Pogram, Member of Congress; one of the master- minds of our country, sir. There is a brow, sir, there!'
'Quite remarkable,' said Martin.
'Yes, sir. Our own immortal Chiggle, sir, is said to have observed, when he made the celebrated Pogram statter in marble, which rose so much con-test and preju-dice in Europe, that the brow was more than mortal. This was before the Pogram Defiance, and was, therefore, a pre-diction, cruel smart.'
'What is the Pogram Defiance?' asked Martin, thinking, perhaps, it was the sign of a public-house.
'An o-ration, sir,' returned his friend.
'Oh! to be sure,' cried Martin. 'What am I thinking of! It defied--'
'It defied the world, sir,' said the other, gravely. 'Defied the world in general to com-pete with our country upon any hook; and devellop'd our internal resources for making war upon the universal airth. You would like to know Elijah Pogram, sir?'
'If you please,' said Martin.
'Mr Pogram,' said the stranger--Mr Pogram having overheard every word of the dialogue--'this is a gentleman from Europe, sir; from England, sir. But gen'rous ene-mies may meet upon the neutral sile of private life, I think.'
The languid Mr Pogram shook hands with Martin, like a clock-work figure that was just running down. But he made amends by chewing like one that was just wound up.
'Mr Pogram,' said the introducer, 'is a public servant, sir.