By the common voice of this community, by acclamation of the people, that mighty, utterance which brushes aside laws and legislation, and from whose decrees there is no appeal, I was named Perpetual Member of the Diplomatic Body representing the multifarious sovereignties and civilizations of the globe near the republican court of the United States of America. And they brought me home with a torchlight procession."
"It is wonderful, Colonel, simply wonderful."
"It's the loftiest official position in the whole earth."
"I should think so-and the most commanding."
"You have named the word. Think of it. I frown, and there is war; I smile, and contending nations lay down their arms."
"It is awful. The responsibility, I mean."
"It is nothing. Responsibility is no burden to me; I am used to it; have always been used to it."
"And the work--the work! Do you have to attend all the sittings?"
"Who, I? Does the Emperor of Russia attend the conclaves of the governors of the provinces? He sits at home, and indicates his pleasure."
Washington was silent a moment, then a deep sigh escaped him.
"How proud I was an hour ago; how paltry seems my little promotion now! Colonel, the reason I came to Washington is,--I am Congressional Delegate from Cherokee Strip!"
The Colonel sprang to his feet and broke out with prodigious enthusiasm:
"Give me your hand, my boy--this is immense news! I congratulate you with all my heart. My prophecies stand confirmed. I always said it was in you. I always said you were born for high distinction and would achieve it. You ask Polly if I didn't."
Washington was dazed by this most unexpected demonstration.
"Why, Colonel, there's nothing to it. That little narrow, desolate, unpeopled, oblong streak of grass and gravel, lost in the remote wastes of the vast continent--why, it's like representing a billiard table--a discarded one."
"Tut-tut, it's a great, it's a staving preferment, and just opulent with influence here."
"Shucks, Colonel, I haven't even a vote."
"That's nothing; you can make speeches."
"No, I can't. The population's only two, hundred--"
"That's all right, that's all right--"
"And they hadn't any right to elect me; we're not even a territory, there's no Organic Act, the government hasn't any official knowledge of us whatever."
"Never mind about that; I'll fix that. I'll rush the thing through, I'll get you organized in no time."
"Will you, Colonel?--it's too good of you; but it's just your old sterling self, the same old ever-faithful friend," and the grateful tears welled up in Washington's eyes.
"It's just as good as done, my boy, just as good as done. Shake hands. We'll hitch teams together, you and I, and we'll make things hum!"
Mrs. Sellers returned, now, with her composure restored, and began to ask after Hawkins's wife, and about his children, and the number of them, and so on, and her examination of the witness resulted in a circumstantial history of the family's ups and downs and driftings to and fro in the far West during the previous fifteen years. There was a message, now, from out back, and Colonel Sellers went out there in answer to it. Hawkins took this opportunity to ask how the world had been using the Colonel during the past half-generation.
"Oh, it's been using him just the same; it couldn't change its way of using him if it wanted to, for he wouldn't let it."
"I can easily believe that, Mrs. Sellers."
"Yes, you see, he doesn't change, himself--not the least little bit in the world--he's always Mulberry Sellers."
"I can see that plain enough."
"Just the same old scheming, generous, good-hearted, moonshiny, hopeful, no-account failure he always was, and still everybody likes him just as well as if he was the shiningest success."
"They always did: and it was natural, because he was so obliging and accommodating, and had something about him that made it kind of easy to ask help of him, or favors--you didn't feel shy, you know, or have that wish--you--didn't--have--to--try feeling that you have with other people."
"It's just so, yet; and a body wonders at it, too, because he's been shamefully treated, many times, by people that had used him for a ladder to climb up by, and then kicked him down when they didn't need him any more.