Charles Dickens

'Sir!' said the spokesman.

'Mr Pogram!' cried the shrill boy.

The spokesman thus reminded of the shrill boy's presence, introduced him. 'Doctor Ginery Dunkle, sir. A gentleman of great poetical elements. He has recently jined us here, sir, and is an acquisition to us, sir, I do assure you. Yes, sir. Mr Jodd, sir. Mr Izzard, sir. Mr Julius Bib, sir.'

'Julius Washington Merryweather Bib,' said the gentleman himself TO himself.

'I beg your pardon, sir. Excuse me. Mr Julius Washington Merryweather Bib, sir; a gentleman in the lumber line, sir, and much esteemed. Colonel Groper, sir. Pro-fessor Piper, sir. My own name, sir, is Oscar Buffum.'

Each man took one slide forward as he was named; butted at the Honourable Elijah Pogram with his head; shook hands, and slid back again. The introductions being completed, the spokesman resumed.


'Mr Pogram!' cried the shrill boy.

'Perhaps,' said the spokesman, with a hopeless look, 'you will be so good, Dr. Ginery Dunkle, as to charge yourself with the execution of our little office, sir?'

As there was nothing the shrill boy desired more, he immediately stepped forward.

'Mr Pogram! Sir! A handful of your fellow-citizens, sir, hearing of your arrival at the National Hotel, and feeling the patriotic character of your public services, wish, sir, to have the gratification of beholding you, and mixing with you, sir; and unbending with you, sir, in those moments which--'

'Air,' suggested Buffum.

'Which air so peculiarly the lot, sir, of our great and happy country.'

'Hear!' cried Colonel Grouper, in a loud voice. 'Good! Hear him! Good!'

'And therefore, sir,' pursued the Doctor, 'they request; as A mark Of their respect; the honour of your company at a little le-Vee, sir, in the ladies' ordinary, at eight o'clock.'

Mr Pogram bowed, and said:

'Fellow countrymen!'

'Good!' cried the Colonel. 'Hear, him! Good!'

Mr Pogram bowed to the Colonel individually, and then resumed.

'Your approbation of My labours in the common cause goes to My heart. At all times and in all places; in the ladies' ordinary, My friends, and in the Battle Field--'

'Good, very good! Hear him! Hear him!' said the Colonel.

'The name of Pogram will be proud to jine you. And may it, My friends, be written on My tomb, "He was a member of the Congress of our common country, and was ac-Tive in his trust."'

'The Com-mittee, sir,' said the shrill boy, 'will wait upon you at five minutes afore eight. I take My leave, sir!'

Mr Pogram shook hands with him, and everybody else, once more; and when they came back again at five minutes before eight, they said, one by one, in a melancholy voice, 'How do you do, sir?' and shook hands with Mr Pogram all over again, as if he had been abroad for a twelvemonth in the meantime, and they met, now, at a funeral.

But by this time Mr Pogram had freshened himself up, and had composed his hair and features after the Pogram statue, so that any one with half an eye might cry out, 'There he is! as he delivered the Defiance!' The Committee were embellished also; and when they entered the ladies' ordinary in a body, there was much clapping of hands from ladies and gentlemen, accompanied by cries of 'Pogram! Pogram!' and some standing up on chairs to see him.

The object of the popular caress looked round the room as he walked up it, and smiled; at the same time observing to the shrill boy, that he knew something of the beauty of the daughters of their common country, but had never seen it in such lustre and perfection as at that moment. Which the shrill boy put in the paper next day; to Elijah Pogram's great surprise.

'We will re-quest you, sir, if you please,' said Buffum, laying hands on Mr Pogram as if he were taking his measure for a coat, 'to stand up with your back agin the wall right in the furthest corner, that there may be more room for our fellow cit-izens. If you could set your back right slap agin that curtain-peg, sir, keeping your left leg everlastingly behind the stove, we should be fixed quite slick.'

Mr Pogram did as he was told, and wedged himself into such a little corner that the Pogram statue wouldn't have known him.