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any of the natives of Barataria desire to
cease the payment of taxes to their own
government, and the disagreeable ceremony
of submission to the laws of their land,
they are apt to present themselves at the
D.A.S.V.C. office, and to express their wish
for a passport. I cannot speak Turkish,
nor Greek, nor Italian, nor anything else but
English and a few words of dog French, which
my Cavass understands. I therefore refer
to this functionary with the interrogatory,
"Anglaise sudjit? " " O Dios! " replies my
Cavass, laying his two hands by turn on his
heart and his head. I understand this as an
affirmative answer. Some papers are then
presented to me which I cannot read. One
of them I suppose to be a certificate of the
applicant's baptism in some British possession.
I know that there are no means by
which such a document can be recognised
with certainty, even if genuine. I know
that it bears no stamp nor official mark
of any kind as it ought to do. I am therefore
more or less indifferent; and create by
my sign manual the law-breaker a subject of
Her Majesty, exempt from his native taxes,
his native bastinado, and may be from his
native bowstring. Thus another British
subject is made, and another national affront is
offered to a weary and helpless ally of Her
Britannic Majesty. I believe that British-
subject-making forms a recognised portion
of the revenues of my Cavass.

For the rest, my Cavass and I are by no
means bad sort of people. I was an excellent
dancing-master, and a very decent member
of society before I was sent to Barataria vice
Podger (promoted, in consequence of his father
having lent money to young Fitztoady, who
was a wild lad before he came into the
peerage). More power than is good for them
has turned the heads of all official personages
in Barataria; it has also turned mine. Perhaps
if my head had been a little stronger,
it would not have been turned quite so
much; but it would probably have been
turned more stiffly, so it does not much
matter. I am not too inflated or too stupid to
see that I am merely a person whose official
existence in a responsible post should be
impossible; in other respects I am a nonentity.
If I had been otherwise, the dignified official,
who appoints all the servants on this
establishment, would never have thought of me
for a moment. My respected chief desires,
like another Atlas, to carry the world
entirely upon his own shoulders. And if,
though a hale old gentleman, he is not quite
strong enough for such a burden, this fact
is more perceptible to others than to
himself. One thing is also quite certain,
that he would sooner let his burden fall
and smash it, as he has done before now,
than receive any sort of assistance, advice,
or counsel from his nearest blood or official
connection. I am not the less a mighty
man at Barataria; and I know that so long
as I do nothing which ought to be done, I
shall preserve the regard and good-will of
my diplomatic sovereign. I know that by
neglecting all serious duties, I have everything
to hope from his patronage; while if I
were ever to display the smallest activity, he
would infallibly ruin me.

My Cavass is conscious of these sentiments
on my part; and he therefore carefully keeps
from me all persons who are likely to break
in, with troublesome projects or information,
upon that tranquillity which is essential
to the dignity of a deputy-assistant, sub-
vice-cousular agent of Her Most Gracious
Majesty, the Queen of the United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Ireland. The
consequence is that I know no more of what is
going on within ten yards of my house,
than I do of the immediate affairs of
Bokhara or Samarcand. My chief is fond
of finding things out for himself; and if I
were once to break in upon his animated
labours by an indiscreet communication, I
might as well be officially dead. The affairs
of the world have been going on (I
hear) also far too pleasantly lately for
correct information to be of use to anybody;
and there is nothing I admire more in my
august superior than his determined and
consistent antipathy to new ideas.

And now, respected public, farewell until
quarter-day. You have read enough about
me and my Cavass to understand that we
are an ornament to the good old sleepy
service to which we belong. We aim at the
highest merit which that service recognises;
the meritofficially speakingof doing
nothing. I can lay my hand on my heart
and declare most conscientiously that, in
that respect, I do my duty thoroughly. Hence,
I am in hourly expectation of having my
servicesthat is my forbearancerewarded
with promotion. My Cavass lives in a
similar hope. You will therefore pay proper
respect to us. But there your business
with us ends. We are willing indeed to
receive your money, but we wish to hear
nothing further about you. A word in your
ear, therefore:—If ever you should make a
tour in the East, I would very strongly advise
you as a prudent man to keep out of the way
of me and my Cavass.

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