Thinking of this, I was upon the point of leaving the place, when a Republican chap of much forehead called for another brevet, and says he, -
" The Union of to-day has been turned into a howling wilderness of irredeemable paper money by the presidential treachery of our former tailor. Men and brethren!" exclaimed this earnest chap, wildly; " it is Andrew Johnson who has wrought this inexpressible woe, which nothing but Impeachment can allay. To call him a demagogue were flattery. What, then, shall we call this man of sin?"
"Ah!" says a soft voice, "couldn't we call him a Sinagogue?"
Turning quickly, to see what creature was capable of such an unseemly suggestion at this solemn crisis in the history of our beloved country, I beheld Captain Villiam Brown, who, having recently returned from a meeting of the "Mackerel Army of the Republic," was on his way to assure Congress that our late strategic national troops may be depended upon in an emergency.
"Hail to thee, my son of swords," said I, affably. "Does Mars call again to deeds of high emprise; or come you hither only to be appointed Secretary of War ad interim? " *
"Ad interim!" says Villiam, dreamily. "No, my fren'; the military being who is too ready for an ad interim, only invites everybody to pitch interim; and when so many beings are pitchers, it is only left for him to be a tumbler. Impeachment," says Villiam, reasoningly, " is chiefly a matter of pitchers and tumblers - the former of which contain so much small-beer, that they will be found foaming at the mouth at the ' bar' of the Senate when the Sinagogue of the White House goes thither for his bitters".
Perceiving that Villiam's thirsty military mind mistook for a spirituous dispensary the august "bar" of that higher branch of our national legislature which has Ben Wade in the balance and is found wanting the Presidency, I led him out for a walk on the Avenue; and was about explaining to him that said bar offered nothing stronger than the occasional crusty port of Mr. Sumner, when we were abruptly accosted by a hasty Western chap in a soft black hat, linen duster, and gray worsted mittens.
* Despite the President's conciliating brevets, the appointment of Secretary of War ad interim fairly went begging amongst the military believers in its illegality, until finally an unbelieving Thomas was found.
"Excuse me," says he, pantingly; "but I have just arrived from the loyal State of Illinois to offer ten thousand muskets to Congress for its approaching single combat with the criminal tailor of the White House, and wish to be directed to the proper authorities".
" Ah! " says Villiam, " are they needle-guns ? "
"Why should they be that kind?" says the chap, anxiously.
"Because," says Villiam, thoughtfully, "the President, being a tailor by profession, will naturally adopt the needle-gun for himself, in case of war. You know," says Villiam, pleasantly, "when there are breeches between two parties, and they come to be much wore, the ' needle' gun is likely to be most useful in patching up a piece".
The Western chap scowled, and says he, "I'm a gun-maker myself, and wish to sell the guns I have mentioned without further confusion." And he left us in great indignation.
" Behold," says Villiam, gazing after him, and simultaneously eating a clove-"behold, my fren', how the loyal heart of the country responds when a patriotic Congress stands forth against the ad interim of arbitrary tyranny. I really believe," says Villiam, confidently, " that if it should come to violence we might have every old duck-gun in the country - for cash".
Deeply impressed by the profound remark, I left him; and in two hours thereafter was standing within the storied Senate-Chamber of the United States of America! I am not a bad man, my boy; nor can I accuse myself of any greater detriment to self-respect than may have been involved in the spending of several days in New Jersey without compulsion; but when I beheld that High Court of Impeachment, - when I looked down from the gallery upon that scene of much shirt-collar, tremendous forehead, and frequent judicial stomach, I was immediately conscious of the same painful insignificance I had felt once before in my life when surveying an Elephant. Upon that earlier occasion I strove to reason with myself against such humiliating personal microscopicality. I said to myself, there is unquestionably a certain aggravating Largeness about him, and if he wore proportionate spectacles and watch-seal he'd look nearly as majestic as a German musician. But where's the Mind - the giant human Mind! - to inform that vast tabernacle of flesh, and give those broad temples an equivalent intelligence ?
It was of no use. I'd seen too many fat ones of my own kind, without minds, while attending the New York Constitutional Convention. I continued to feel smaller and smaller in that enormous presence, until it suddenly recurred to me that I had paid twenty-five cents to see the Immensity ! At the thought, all my natural complacency came back in a flash! Yes, sir, I swelled immediately; and winked so much to myself, that an aged maiden in the throng thought herself affectionately addressed thereby, and dedicated a "personal" to me in next day's "Herald".
I shall not attempt to explain just why such a matter should affect me thus; but as I surveyed the High Court of Impeachment, and experienced, the very same old sensation of comparative nothingness, I felt that the trouble lay in my not having paid twenty-five cents before entering. Going back, therefore, for a moment, I fairly compelled a doorkeeper to restore my self-respect by accepting the proper money, and was then in a condition to behold with some equanimity one of the most immense scenes in the history of our distracted globe.
A door opened; the Sergeant-at-arms advanced toward the Chair of the Senate, announcing " A Committee from the House of Representatives," and was followed by the Committee, headed by a very old man. The President of the Senate arose. It was proclaimed that any one who uttered sound from the galleries should be imprisoned. The Old Man - a very old man, and tottering; yet young and of granite, with the yearless, inexorable purpose of a Fate - handed his whip * to the Sergeant-at-arms, cast his hat upon a chair, and - paused. The President of the Senate glanced slowly around at the pale, intent faces about and above him; extended a hand aloft; and dropped a pin. The noise of the fall reached every ear distinctly. Then the Old Man spoke, - defection, but for the recent discovery of a joyous man who had just forwarded a paid advertisement of the death of his mother-in-law, and had his suspicions aroused by not finding it in print.
* A mistake. It was not a whip, bat a cane. - Ed.
A still sadder case is that of a thoughtful and venerable file who, being a subscriber for the New York " Times," had drawn two parallel but distinct chalk lines on the floor of his office, the one marked " Republican " and the other " Democratic." It was the custom of this truly eccentric file to stand upon one or the other of these lines when reading his favorite and admirable journal of a morning, according as that journal changed sides in politics each twenty-four hours; but it happened that when Impeachment became a fixed fact, the same pleasing daily journal took both sides with great ability.
The aged file tried thereupon to read with one foot on one line and the other on the other. Alas! the stretch was too great for one of his years, and he speedily became what is called "cracked." Then with the dread fires of insanity blazing in his eyes, he flew to the White House, tore madly into the presence of the President, fell upon his knees, and says he, -
" A boon! my liege, a boon! "
Mr. Johnson laid aside a spoon, the metal of which he had been testing in a glass retort containing some hot liquid preparation, and asked, "What can your lawful suzerain do for you, good Lorenzo? But hold! let me ring for an ad interim, or a brevet, to raise your spirits".
" No, my suzerain, I am not thirsty," cried the aged maniac. " But I would have your consent to wed an old lady in your employ, whom I love".
" Her name - what is it ? " cried his sovereign, hastily.
"She is Secretary Welles, of the Navy," moaned the madman.
" Here, guards! " called the great ruler; " away with this lunatic. I would be alone".
This, this, is indeed Impeachment.
And now, my boy, as I close this letter, there comes news of the arrival of a high-toned Democrat of much cheek-bones, from New York, who, finding the carrying-in-coal profession rather dull just now, has sped hither to pledge ten thousand men for the support of the President against a demoniac Congress. But I smile softly to myself while I write, that no such needless aid will be accepted; for Mr. Johnson is a man who, under no possible provocation, could be induced to " take the ' Pledge.'" Yours, unimpeachably, Orpheus C. Kerr.