When Congress is recessed, he makes himself acquainted with those free United States, of which he is the gifted son.'
It occurred to Martin that if the Honourable Elijah Pogram had stayed at home, and sent his shoes upon a tour, they would have answered the same purpose; for they were the only part of him in a situation to see anything.
In course of time, however, Mr Pogram rose; and having ejected certain plugging consequences which would have impeded his articulation, took up a position where there was something to lean against, and began to talk to Martin; shading himself with the green umbrella all the time.
As he began with the words, 'How do you like--?' Martin took him up and said:
'The country, I presume?'
'Yes, sir,' said Elijah Pogram. A knot of passengers gathered round to hear what followed; and Martin heard his friend say, as he whispered to another friend, and rubbed his hands, 'Pogram will smash him into sky-blue fits, I know!'
'Why,' said Martin, after a moment's hesitation, 'I have learned by experience, that you take an unfair advantage of a stranger, when you ask that question. You don't mean it to be answered, except in one way. Now, I don't choose to answer it in that way, for I cannot honestly answer it in that way. And therefore, I would rather not answer it at all.'
But Mr Pogram was going to make a great speech in the next session about foreign relations, and was going to write strong articles on the subject; and as he greatly favoured the free and independent custom (a very harmless and agreeable one) of procuring information of any sort in any kind of confidence, and afterwards perverting it publicly in any manner that happened to suit him, he had determined to get at Martin's opinions somehow or other. For if he could have got nothing out of him, he would have had to invent it for him, and that would have been laborious. He made a mental note of his answer, and went in again.
'You are from Eden, sir? How did you like Eden?'
Martin said what he thought of that part of the country, in pretty strong terms.
'It is strange,' said Pogram, looking round upon the group, 'this hatred of our country, and her Institutions! This national antipathy is deeply rooted in the British mind!'
'Good Heaven, sir,' cried Martin. 'Is the Eden Land Corporation, with Mr Scadder at its head, and all the misery it has worked, at its door, an Institution of America? A part of any form of government that ever was known or heard of?'
'I con-sider the cause of this to be,' said Pogram, looking round again and taking himself up where Martin had interrupted him, 'partly jealousy and pre-judice, and partly the nat'ral unfitness of the British people to appreciate the ex-alted Institutions of our native land. I expect, sir,' turning to Martin again, 'that a gentleman named Chollop happened in upon you during your lo-cation in the town of Eden?'
'Yes,' answered Martin; 'but my friend can answer this better than I can, for I was very ill at the time. Mark! The gentleman is speaking of Mr Chollop.'
'Oh. Yes, sir. Yes. I see him,' observed Mark.
'A splendid example of our na-tive raw material, sir?' said Pogram, interrogatively.
'Indeed, sir!' cried Mark.
The Honourable Elijah Pogram glanced at his friends as though he would have said, 'Observe this! See what follows!' and they rendered tribute to the Pogram genius by a gentle murmur.
'Our fellow-countryman is a model of a man, quite fresh from Natur's mould!' said Pogram, with enthusiasm. 'He is a true-born child of this free hemisphere! Verdant as the mountains of our country; bright and flowing as our mineral Licks; unspiled by withering conventionalities as air our broad and boundless Perearers! Rough he may be. So air our Barrs. Wild he may be. So air our Buffalers. But he is a child of Natur', and a child of Freedom; and his boastful answer to the Despot and the Tyrant is, that his bright home is in the Settin Sun.'
Part of this referred to Chollop, and part to a Western postmaster, who, being a public defaulter not very long before (a character not at all uncommon in America), had been removed from office; and on whose behalf Mr Pogram (he voted for Pogram) had thundered the last sentence from his seat in Congress, at the head of an unpopular President.