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Nicholas at the Exposition.
MY DEAR Young Editor OF BROADWAY:—It was with feelings of considerable satisfaction, not unmixed with ecstatic glee, that I received your kind instructions for to proceed as your representative to a neighbouring capital, and describe the Exposition and its ways in the columns of your truly Intronational Organ, than which I am sure a more amusing periodical though a little too much for the money.
Nicholas, Sir, was not in pleasant circumstances when he received your missive. His luck
upon the turf had left him; for it is all bounce where I pretend to have been winning of immense suma, such not having been the case since Gladiateur's year. Race after race had gone against your Prophet. The revolving wheel of Fortune, that fickle dame, had been turning steadily round against the Old Man until I was fairly driven back from my proud position as a leviathan of the betting ring into being a honest tradesman, than which, I am sure, nothing more contrary, to my nature, character and antecedents. Retail trade may be all very well in its way; but it do not suit the prophetic and adventurous mind, meaning me. When I was led away by the advice of insidious Relatives into opening of the Oriental Repository (Limited), Horselaydown, it was thought that by punctuality and a strict attention to business, I might merit a continuance of thoso favours, than which, I am sure, none truly more so, if any. But a natural interest in my old pursuits caused Nicholas to treat the Repository with comparative indifference and positive neglect, and which the customers falling off according, quarrelsome indeed my creditors became.
I was sitting down in the back parlour of the Repository, trying to console myself with an old volume of the Racing Calendar and a glass of rum and water, my means no longer permitting of sherry wine, when your ever valuable letter arrived; and than which a more startling proof of confidence than what you exhibited by enclosing of a few pounds on account, though a little imprudent if you had not been dealing with a man of well-established reputation as the most scrupulously honourable Prophet of his age and weight, bar none.
To finish his rum and water, to take some of his personal apparel out of a place round the corner where he had deposited of it for purposes of safety, was with the aged but still active Nicholas the work of a single quarter of an hour; and as it is a poor heart which never
rejoices, and I dislike travelling by night, I naturally wound up the evening at the “Admiral Keppel,” where harmony was the order of the day, the celebrated Mr. Nicholas in the chair, faced by an Old Friend ; all works on Sporting Topics may be seen at the bar.
Oddly enough, I overslept myself in the morning. It was so late in the day when your Prophet arose, and he so confused with sleeping in a strange bed-they having prevailed upon me for to be carried upstairs instead of going home to the Repository, which I was quite competent to do such --that I again adjourned my departure, and went up to the West End, where I showed at a few of the sportive houses,
and mentioned as I was going abroad as special correspondent for one of the magazines. How time slips away, to be sure, when you get talking with a few old friends! Not a bus was to be got; and my new habits, which are those of strict economy, forbade me for to take a cab; so I just passed a farewell night, and had a stirrup cup, so for to speak, along of several betting men, a young duke, three eminent dog-fanciers, and a pugilist -all of whom were as affable to the Old Man as is ever the case with the truly great and good.
Circumstances of an alcoholic character again interfered, next morning, with that early rising which was once the Prophet's boast; and it was only on returning to the Repository at a subsequent period, and finding a polite note from you, whereby you very properly stated that if I did not start at once, you would give me into custody for obtaining money under false pretences—it was only, Sir, on receiving this fresh proof of your confidence that I finally mustered sufficient resolation for to quit at once the beloved shores of Britannia, the pride of the ocean, the home of the brave and the free; chorus, hurrah for the Red, White, and Blue !
Over the horrors of my passage across the stormy Channel, we will, with
your kind permission, cast a veil; not as it was a veil which was really brought into use—but it sounds metaphorical and romantic. I am not a good sailor. The heart of Nicholas leaps within him whenever he finds himself upon the rolling main, and thinks of the memory of the late Lord Nelson; but, oh, Sir, how I wish as my patriotic heart was the only thing thus agitated by the tumultuous movements of the mighty deep! It is not.
Paris, the capital of France, where the Exposition is, is situated on the banks of the Seine, as you may probably have heard ; and my first care on arriving was to place myself in friendly relations with all th. various crowned heads as was then about. Mr. Brunton's drawing is, perhaps, a little exagerrated where it represents the Prophet conversing with the whole of the European dynasties; but I am bound to say as I told the artist such had really been the case, and of course both H.R.H., whom I will not name, and Lewis Napoleon were too good sportsmen for to fight shy of an old pal, which I have cheered them on every racecourse possible, bar none.
At times-why should I disguise it?-I felt almost bewildered by the magnitude of my task; but I knew as the only way for to get through it was to fall back upon first principles. By first principles, what I mean is Meat and Drink. Studying these in their relation to the various Races of Mankind-such not being the Derby, Leger, etc. -I trusted to fulfil my mission alike to the satisfaction of my worthy employer, meaning you, my dear young Friend, and to the restoration of my own too shattered health,
The Exposition, as you are probably aware, is a spacious building, of the gasometrical order of architecture, arranged in concentrical circles; and the outer circle of all is devoted to the exhibition of eating and drinking processes amongst the various nations of mankind, amongst whom we are ourselves one of them. 'Tis a glorious charter, deny it who can, that's breathed in the words, I'm an Englishman; chorus, I'm an Englishman.
Instead of following the official catalogue, the Prophet will adopt a classification of his own:
CLASS A. MEAT AND DRINK.
Subdivision 1. The Bar of Old England. Remarks. How sweet it is, on a foreign shore, for the poor exile to meet with the liquors of his native land! The tears, Sir, rushed into the eyes of your Representative when, after an absence of twentyfour hours from the land of his birth, he once more beheld the simple but seductive pewter. It have been my fostering nurse in infancymy fond companion in maturer years.
SPECIAL PRODUCTIONS. They say that England have been falling off as a manufacturing country. The statement is perfectly ridicolas.
. The Old Man never tasted better ale in his life, nor do I want to; the sherry wine-for, of course, between ourselves, we all know where and how it's made—had a fine flavour, and was full of body, Sir, body:whilst Nicholas will cheerfully back the young ladies of the Refreshment Departments against any in Europe, America, or Asia, bar none,