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My Dear Friend:—We are driving back again full chisel,
as fast as we come on when we were on the railroad between
Washington and Baltimore. And we've been drivin' so fast
on a round turn in all the places we've been, and have had so
much shaking hands, and eating and one thing another to do,
that I couldn't get time to write to you at half the places where
I wanted to, so I thought I'd set down now, while the President's
laid down to rest him awhile, and tell you something
about Cambridge and Lowell. Ye see when we were at Boston
they sent word to us to come out to Cambridge, for they
wanted to make the President a doctor of laws. What upon
airth a doctor of laws was, or why they wanted to make the


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President one, I couldn't think. So when we come to go up
to bed I asked the Gineral about it. And says I, “Gineral,
what is it they want to do to you out to Cambridge?”
Says he, “They want to make a doctor of laws of me.”
“Well,” says I, “but what good will that do?” “Why,”
says he, “you know, Major Downing, there's a pesky many
of them are laws passed by Congress, that are rickety
things. Some of 'em have very poor constitutions, and
some of 'em haven't no constitution at all. So that it is
necessary to have somebody there to doctor 'em up a little
and not let 'em go out into the world, where they would stand
a chance to catch cold and be sick, without they had good
constitutions to bear it. You know,” says he, “I've had to
doctor the laws considerable ever since I've been at Washington,
although I wasn't a regular bred doctor. And I made
out so well about it, that these Cambridge folks think I better
be made into a regular doctor at once, and then there'll be
no grumbling and disputing about my practice.” Says he,
“Major, what do you think of it?” I told him I thought
it an excellent plan; and asked him if he didn't think they
would be willing, bein' I'd been round in the military business
considerable for a year or two past, to make me a doctor of
war. He said he didn't know, but he thought it would be no
harm to try 'em. “But,” says he, “Major, I feel a little kind
of streaked about it, after all; for they say they will go to
talking to me in Latin, and although I studied it a little once,
I don't know any more about it now than the man in the
moon. And how I can get along in that case, I don't know.”
I told him my way, when anybody talked to me in a lingo
that I didn't understand, was jest to say nothing, but look as
knowing as any of 'em, and then they ginerally thought I
knew a pesky sight more than any of 'em. At that the Gineral
fetched me a slap on my shoulder, and haw-hawed right out.


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Says he, “Major Downing, you are the boy for me; I don't
know how I should get along in this world if it wasn't for you.”

So when we got ready we went right to Cambridge as bold
as could be. And that are Cambridge is a real pretty place;
it seems to me I should like to live in them colleges as well
as any place I've seen. We went into the libry, and I guess
I stared a little, for I didn't think before there was half so
many books in the world. I should think there was near
about enough to fill a meetin'-house. I don't believe they
was ever all read, or ever will be to all ages.

When we come to go in to be made doctors of, there was a
terrible crowding around; but they give us a good place,
and sure enough, they did begin to talk in Latin or some
other gibberish; but whether they were talking to the
Gineral, or who 'twas, I couldn't tell. I guess the Gineral
was a little puzzled. But he never said a word, only once in
a while bowed a little. And I s'pose he happened sometimes
to put the bows in the wrong place, for I could see some of
the sassy students look up one side once in a while, and
snicker out of one corner of their mouths. Howsomever, the
Gineral stood it out like a hero, and got through very well.
And when 'twas over, I stept up to Mr. Quincy and asked
him if he wouldn't be so good as to make me a doctor of
war, and hinted to him a little about my services down to
Madawaska and among the nullifiers. At that he made me a
very polite bow, and says he, “Major Downing, we should
be very happy to oblige you if we could, but we never give
any degrees of war here; all our degrees are degrees of
peace.” So I find I shall have to practice war in the natural
way—let nullification or what will come. After 'twas all
over, we went to Mr. Quincy's and had a capital dinner.
And, on the whole, had about as good a visit to Cambridge as
most anywhere.


Page 224

I meant to a told you considerable about Lowell, but the
steamboat goes so fast I shan't have time to. We went all
over the factories, and there!—I wont try to say one word
about 'em, for I've been filled with such a wonderment ever
since that my ideas are all as big as hay-stacks, and if I
should try to get one of 'em out of my head, it would tear it
all to pieces. It beat all that ever I heard of before, and the
Gineral said it beat all that ever he heard of. But what made
the Gineral hold his head up, and feel more like a soldier than
he had before since he was at New Orleans, was when we
marched along the street by them are five thousand gals, all
dressed up, and looking as pretty as a million of butterflies.
The Gineral marched along as light as a boy, and seems to
me I never see his eyes shine so bright afore. After we got
along to about the middle of 'em, he whispered to me, and
says he, “Major Downing, is your Cousin Nabby here among
'em? If she is, I must be introduced to her.” I told him she
was not; as they were expecting us to come to Downingville,
she staid to home to help get ready. “Well,” says he, “if
any thing should happen that we can't go to Downingville,
you must send for your Cousin Nabby and Uncle Joshua to
come on to Washington to see me. I will bear all the expenses,
if they will only come,” says he. “These Northern
gals are as much afore our Southern and Western gals as can
be, and I've thought of your Cousin Nabby a great deal
lately.” He looked as though he was going to say something
more, but Mr. Van Buren and the rest of 'em crowded along
up so near that it broke it off, and we had to go along.

I see we've got most to York, and shall have to go ashore
in a few minutes, so I can't write any more now, but remain

Your sincere and loving friend,