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in the vestibule after the ladies had departed.
It is hardly necessary to say that Arthur
was positive and sincere in his praise of the
young woman. Mr. Dumphy, by some
obscure mental process, taking much of the
praise to himself, was highly elated, and
X>eriiaps tempted to a greater vinous indul-
gence than was his habit Howbeit, die
last bottle of champa^e seemed to have
obliterated all past suspicion of Arthur, and
he shook him warmly by the hand.

"I tell ye what now, Poinsett, if there
are any points I can give you, don't you be
afiraid to ask for 'em. I can see what's up
between you and the widow. Honor, you
know. All right, my boy. She's in the
Conroy lode pretty deep, but 111 help her
out and you too. You've got a good
thing there, Poinsett, and I want you to
realize. We understand each other, eh?
You'll find me a square man with my
firiends, Poinsett. Pitch in ; pitch in. My
advice to you is to just pitch in and
marry the widow. She's wortfi it. You
can realize on her — ^you can, by Jove!
You see you and me's, so to speak, ole
pards, eh? You rekleck old times on
Sweetwater, eh? Well, if you mus' go,
goo'-bi I I s'pose she's waitin' for ye. Look
you, Poinsy, d'ye see this yer posy in my
button-hole? She give it to me. Rosey
did, eh? Strike me dead if she didn't,
ha ! ha ! Won't tak' nothin' drink ? Lesh
open n'or bo'll. No? Goon!" until,
struggling between disgust, amusement, and
self-depreciation, Arthur absolutely tore
himself away from the great finanaer and
his degrading confidences.

When Mr. Dumphy staggered back into
his drawing-room, a servant met him with a
card.

" The gentl'man says it's very important
business, and he must see you to-night," he
said hastily, anticipating the oath and indig-
nant protest of his master. " He says it's



your business, sir, and not his. He's been
waiting here since you came back, sir."

Mr. Dumphy took the card. It bore the
inscription m pencil, "Colonel Starbotde,
Siskiyou, on miportant business." Mr.
Dumphy reflected a moment The magical
word " business" brought him to himsel£

"Show him in — ^in the office," he said
savagely, and retired thither.
% Anybody less practical than Peter Dumphy
would have dignified the large showy room
in which he entered as the library. The
rich malfogany shelves were filled with a
heterogeneous collection of recent books,
very fresh, very new, and glaring as to
binding and subject; the walls were hung
with files of newspapers and stock reports.
There was a velvet-hned cabinet containing
minerals — all of them gold or silver-bearing.
There was a map of an island that Mr.
Dumphy owned ; there was a maripe view,
with a representation of a steamship, also
owned by Mr. Dumphy. There was a
momentary relief fix>m these fiicts in a very
gorgeous and badly painted picture of a
tropical forest and sea-beach, until inquiry
re^/ealed the circumstance that the sugar-
house in the comer under a palm-tree was
"run" by Mr. Dumphy, and that the whole
thing could be had for a bargain.

The stranger who entered was large and
somewhat inclined to a corpulency that was,
however, restrained in expansion by a blue
fixx:k coat, tightly buttoned at the waist,
which had the apparent effect of lifting his
stomach into the higher thoracic regions of
moral emotion — a confusion to which its
owner lent a certain intellectual assistance.
The Colonel's collar was very large, open,
and impressive; his black silk neckerchief
loosely tied around his coat, occupying 'con-
siderable space over his shirt-fi-ont, and
expanding through the upper part of a gilt-
buttoned white waistcoat, lent itself to the
general suggestion that the Colonel had
burst his sepals and would flower soon.
Above this unfolding the Colonel's face,
purple, aquiline-nosed, throttled-looking as
to the eye, and moist and sloppy-looking as
to the mouth, uptilted above his shoulders.
The Colonel entered with that tiptoeing
celerity of step affected by men who are
conscious of mcreasing corpulency. He
carried a cane hooked over his fore-arm ; in
one hand a large white handkerchief, and in
the other a broad-brimmed hat. He thrust
the former gracefully in his breast, laid the
latter on the desk where Mr. Dumphy was
seated, and taking an unoffered chair him-



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self, coolly rested his elbow on his cane in
an attitude of easy expectancy.

"Say youVe got important business?"
said Dumphy. " Hope it is, sir— hope it is !
Then out with it Can't afibrd to waste time
any more here than at the bank. Come!
What is it?"

Not in the least affected by Mr. Dumphy's
manner, whose habitual brusqueness was
intensified to rudeness, Colonel StarbottH
drew out his handkerchief, blew his nose
carefully, returned apparentiy only about
two inches of the cambric to his breast, hav-^
ing the rest displayed like a ruffled shirt,
and began with an airy gesture of his fat
white hand.

** I was here two hours ago, sir, when you
were at the— er— festive board. I said to
the boy, * don't interrupt your master. A
gentleman worshiping at the shrine of Venus
and Bacchus and attended by the muses
and immortals, don't want to be interrupted.'
Ged, sir, I knew a man in Lousiana — Hank
Pinckney — shot his boy — a likely yellow
boy worth a thousand dollars— for mterrupt-
ing him at a poker party — and no ladies
present ! And the boy only coming in to
say that the gin-house was in flames. Per-
haps you'll say an extreme case. Know a
dozen such— blank me ! So I said, • Don't
interrupt him, but when the ladies have risen,
and Beauty, sir, no longer dazzles and er-
gleams, and the table round no longer echoes
the er-light jest, then er-spot him! And
over the deserted board, with er-social glass
between us, your master and I will have oia:
little confab.' "

He rose, and before the astonished Dum-
phy could interfere, crossed over to a table
where a decanter of whisky and a caraffe of
water stood, and filling a glass half-full of
liquor, reseated himself and turned it off
with an easy, yet dignified, inclination toward
his host.

For once only Mr. Dumphy regretted the
absence of dignity in his own manner. It
was quite evident that his usual brusqueness
was utterly ineffecrive here, and he quickly
recognized in the Colonel the representative
of a class of men well known in California,
from whom any positive rudeness would
have provoked a demand for satisfaction.
It was not a class of men that Mr. Dumphy
had been in the habit of dealing with, and
he sat filled with impotent rage, but wise
enough to restrain its verbal expression, and
thankful that none of his late guests were
present to witness his discomfiture. Only
one good efiect was due to his visitor. Mr.



Dumphy, through baffled indignatdon aod
shame, had become sober.

"No, sir," continued Colond Stajt>ottle,
setting his glass upon his knee, and a,udiblj
smacking his large lips. ''No, sir. I ^viraited
in the er-antechamber mitil I saw you parr
with your guests, until you bade er-adieu to
a certain fair nymph. Ged, sir, I like 3rour
taste, I do, blank me, and I call myself a.
judge of fine women. Blank it all. I said
to myself, sir, * Blank it all. Star, you ain't
goin' to pop out upon a man just as he's
ministering to Beauty and putting a shawl
upon a pair of alabaster shoulders like that ! *
Ha ! ha ! Ged, sir, I remembered in3rself
that in '43 in Washington at a party at Tom
Benton's I was in just such a position, sir.
* Are you never going to get that cloak on.
Star?* she says to me — the blankest, roost
beautiful creature, the acknowledged belle
of that whole winter — ^'43, sir ; as a gentle-
man yourself, you'll understand why I don't
particularize. * If I had my way, madam,*
I said, * I never would I ' I did, blank me.
But you're not drinking, Mr. Dumphy,
eh ? A thimbleful, sir, to our better ac-
quaintance."

Not daring to trust himself, Mr. Dmnphy
shook his head somewhat impatiently, and
Colonel Starbottle rose. As he did so, it
seemed as if his shoulders had suddenly
become broader, and his chest distended
until his handkerchief and white waistcoat
protruded through the breast of his buttoned
coat like a bursting grain of ** pop com.**
He advanced slowly and with deliberate
dignity to the side of Dumphy.

" If I have intruded upon your privacy,
Mr. Dumphy," he said with a stately ware
of his white hand — <^ if, as I surmise, fiom
your disinclination, sir, to call it by no other
name, blank me, to exchange the ordinary
convivial courtesies common between gen-
tiemen, sir, you are disposed to resent any
reminiscences of mine as reflecting upon the
character of the young lady, sir, whom I
had the pleasure to see in your company —
if such be the case, sir, Ged ! — I am ready
to retire now, sir, and to g^ive you to-mom)w,
or at any time, the satisfaction which no
gendeman ever refiises another, and which
Culpepper Starbottle has never been known
to deny ! My card, sir, you have abeady;
my address, sir, is St Charles Hotel, where
I and my friend, Mr. Dumphy, will be ready
to receive you."

" Look here," said Mr. Dumphy in soriy
but sincere alarm, " I don't dnnk beause
I've been drinking. No offense, Mr. Star-



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bottle. I was only waiting for you to open
what you had on your mind in the way of
business to order up a bottle of Cliquot to
enable us to better digest it. Take your
seat. Colonel. I've — blast that nigger 1
Bring champagne and two glasses."

He rose, and under pretense of going to
the sideboard, added in a lower tone to the
servant who entered :

" Stay within call, and in about ten min-
utes bring me some important message from
the Bank — ^you hear ? A glass of wine with
you, ColoneL Happy to m^e your acquaint-
ance ! Here we go I "

The Colonel uttered a slight cough, as if
to clear away his momentary severity, bowed
with gracious dignity, touched the glass of
his host, drew out his handkerchief, wiped
his mouth, and seated himself once more.

" If my object," he began with a wave of
dignified depreciation, " were simply one of
ordinary business, I should have sought you,
sir, in the busy mart, and not among ^our
Lares and Penates, nor in the blazing lights
of the festive halL I should have sought
you at that temple which report and com-
mon rumor says that you, sir, as one of the
Cavored sons of Fortune, have erected to her
worship. In my intercourse with the gifted
John C. Calhoim I never sought him, sir, in
the gladiatorial arena of the Senate, but
rather with the social glass in the privacy of
his own domicile. Ged, sir, in my profes-
sion we recognize — ^blank me I — some blank
quality in our relations, even when profes-
sional, with gendemen, that keeps us firom
approaching them like a blank Yankee ped-
dler with blank goods to sell I "

"What's your profession?" asked Mr.
Dumphy.

" Until elected by the citizens of Siskiyou
to represent them in the legislative councils
I practiced at the bar. Since then I have
been open occasionally to retainers in diffi-
cult and delicate cases. In the various
intrigues that arise in politics, in the more
complicated relations of the two sexes — in,
I may say, the two great passions of man-
kind, ambition and love, my services have,
I believe, been considered of value — blank
me ! It has been my office, sir, to help the
steed of vaulting ambition er-er-over the
fence, and to dry the er-teariul yet glowing
cheek of Beauty. But for the necessity of
honor and secrecy in my profession, blank
it, sir, I could give you the names of some
of the blankest elegant women, and some of
the first — ^the very first men in the land as
the dients of Culpepper Starbottle."



" Very sorry," began Mr. Dumphy ; " but
if you're expecting to put me among your
list of clients, I "

Without taking the least notice of Dum-
phy's half-returned sneer. Colonel Starbottlc
interrupted him cooUy.

" Ged, sir ! it's out of the question ; I'm
retained on the other side."

The sneer instantly faded from Dumphy's
face, and a look of genuine surprise took its
place.

" What do you mean ?" he said curtly.

Colonel Starbottle drew his chair beside
Dumphy, and, leaning familiarly over his
desk, took Mr. Dumphy's own pen-holder
and persuasively emphasized the points of
his speech upon Mr. Dumphy's arm with
the blimt end. .

" Blank me, sir, when I say retained by
the other side, blank it, it doesn't keep me,
blank me, firom doing the honorable thing
with the defendant — fi^m recognizing a
gentleman, and tr3ring to settle this matter
as between gendemen-"

"But what's all this about? Who is
your plaintiff?" roared Dumphy, forgetting
himself in his rage.

" Ged, sir, it's a woman, of course. Don't
think I'm accusing you of any political am-
bition. Ha! ha! No, sir. You're like me I
it's woman, lovely woman — I saw it at ^
glance ! Gendemen like you and me, blank
it, don't go through to fifty years without
giving some thought to these dear little
creatures. Blank me, sir, I despise a man
who did. It's the weakness of a great man,
sir."

Mr. Dumphy pushed his chair back with
the grim deliberation of a man who had at
last measured the strength of his adversary,
and was satisfied to risk an encounter.

" Look here. Colonel Starbottle, I don't
know or care who your plaintiff is. I don't
know or care how she may have been de-
ceived, or wronged, or disappointed, or
bamboNOzled, or what is the particular game
that's up now. But you're a man of the
world, you say, and, as a man of the world,
and a man of sense, you know that no one
in my position ever puts himself in any
woman's power. I can't afford it ! I don't
pretend to be better than other men, but I
ain't a fool. That's the difference between
me and your clients ! "

" Yes ; but blank it, my boy, that is the
diflference! Don't you see? In other
cases, the woman's a blank, beautiful wom-
an — a blank, charming creature, you know.
Gad, sometimes she's as proper and pious



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as a Uank nun; but then the relations, you
fee, ain't legal 1 But, blank it all, my boy,
this is YOUR wife!"

Mr. Dumphy, with colorless cheeks, tried
to laugh a reckless, scornful laugh.

" My wife is dead ! "

" A mistake — Ged, sir, a most miserable
mistake! Understand me. I don't say
that she hadn't ought to be 1 Ged, sir, from
the look that that little blue-eyed hussy gave
you an hour ago— there ain't much use of
another woman around, but the fact is that
she is living, blank it! You thought she
was dead, and left her up there in the snow.
She goes so far as to say — you know how
these women talk, Dumphy — Gad, sir, they'll
say anything when they get down on a man
— she says it ain't your fault if she wasn't
dead! Eh? Sho?"

"A message, sir, business of the Bank,
very important," said Dumphy's servant,
opening the door.

" Get !" said Dumphy, with an oath.

" But, sir, they told me, sir — "



"Get! will you!" roared Dumphy.

llie door closed on his astonished face.

** It's all a — a — mistake," said Dumphj,
when he had gone. " They died of starva-
tion, all of them, while I was away hunting
help, I've read the accounts."

Colonel Starbotde slowly drew firom some
vast moral elevation in his breast pocket a.
well-worn paper. It proved, when oj>enec2^
to be a faded, blackened, and bethiimbed
document in Spanish.

" Here is the report of the Commander
of the Presidio who sent out the expedition.
You read Spanish? Well. The bodies of afl
the other women were identified except your
wife's. Blank it, my boy, why, don't you see
why she was excepted ? She wasn't there."

The Colonel darted a fat forefinger at his
host and then drew back, and settled his
purpled chin and wattled cheeks conchi-
sivdy in his enormous shirt-collar. Mr.
Dumphy sank back in his chair at the con-
tact as if the finger of fiite had tou<±0d
him.



(To be continued.)



REVOLUTIONARY LETTERS.

FOURTH PAPER.



JOHN CLEVES SYMMES.

Many a man has been called a fool for his
philosophy, and John Qeves Symmes with
his "six or seven concentric hollow spheres,
open at the poles," has been visited with
much contumely and ridicule. No one, how-
ever, has presumed to deny his ability, his
earnest, honest intentions, and his invaluable
civil and military service in the cause of his
country.

The following letters to Colonel Joseph
Ward reveal something of the doubt and
faint-heartedness in which the Republic was
bom:

MoRtis Town, Sept 30th, 178a

My Very Dear Sir: • *» * • Have you
heard that General Arnold is gone to the Devil?
He set out with wind and tide in his fayonr, and I
wish him a safe arrivaL As for General Gates, he
sports with whole armies at a game. Now he wins,
and then he loses, with as much composure as com-
mon mortals would a game-cock. Oh, my friend !
when shall we be happy ? I want to hear from you
another lecture on politicks. You are remarkably
skilled, I remember, in dispelling political foggs,
and I am not a little troubled with them this fall,
because of the storm gathering at New York, and



likely to burst at Rhode Island, when I had flattered
myself with seeing just the reverse. Dear sir, shaD
we have peace this £dl? But I esteem you too
much to torment yotL Your sanguine hopes flowed
from a heart warm with wishes for the happinfta
and peace of your country. But America will yet
triumph. The God of Nature ordains it, or be had
never made her a Continent I have not been able
hitherto to get on Long Island, tho' I wished it
exceedingly. Polly Symmes grows impatient and I
cannot yet go. * * * * I hear that you have
settled your Government and chose your Governor.
I should be glad to see your Constitution, now you
have set the finishing stroke thereto ; I think it has
some fine touches. Hard money is now tt an
exchange. Seventy-five for one. New Continental
for old Continental is at forty for one. Did I not
tell you this. Sir, last winter, when Governor Living-
ston was present and seemed in a passion at the
supposition ? The Governor has book learning, but
is a mear stranger to mankind.

I have the honor to be, dear sir, with much esteem,
jrour devoted, humble servant,

John Clevbs Symmks.

Colonel Ward.

The following letter was written while Mr.
Symmes was a member of the ContinenttI
Congress fix>m New Jersey :



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New York, the 24th of July, 1786.
My Very Dear Sir: * * * * The politi-
cal part of your letter contains sentiments in perfect
unison with my own on the state of our nation. I
know very well that our enervated situation will
a£ford cause of triumph and songs of joy to our ene-
miesy and the consideration thereof mortifies me
nK>st sensibly; but until the several States awake
from those baneful slumbers of insensibility, and
shake off those groundless jealousies which forbid
their vesting in Congress powers adequate to the
governing of a nation whose interests are so com-
plicate, and in many respects so local, I do not see
but that our political ship must inevitably be
wrecked, and I much doubt whether we shall be
able to rouse them until some fotal catastrophe
involve us once more in blood and war. These are
distressing reflections, indeed, and I am ready
to cry out : Oh I Such an event must not, shall not,
shall not, take place ; but, my dear sir, let me ask
you what rational grounds there are to induce any
other opinion ? There is not a State in the Union
which may not be charged witib great ddinquency,
many with inveterate obstinacy ; some, indeed, witii
avowed hostility to Congressional measures. And
what are we better than other nations of whom history
abounds with examples ; who, having had pleasing
prospects dawning upon them by some inconsiderate
act, some fetal dissension, or unaccountable omission,
have precipitately iaUen from the most envied station
to become a bye-word and reproadi ? Perhaps 3rou
may wish to know what we are doing in Congress ?
Why, ^, to tell yon the truth, in my opinion we do
not even do those things for which we have suffi-
cient powers. Very little, indeed, is in our power
to do ; but this we might do : we might take effect-
ual measures for selling the federal lands. Last
year was spent by vainly attempting to carry into
execution a plan for laying the whole country into
townships of six miles square, previous to the sale
of any part. This season the same scheme is again
put into operation ; but I fear that, Hke the former
attempt, it will prove finddess, as the Indians are
stOl hostile.

Thus, year after year is wasted away, the public
debt enhanced by Uie interest arising thereon, to
say nothing of the great expense attending such a
train of surveyors, when, by opening a land-ofiice in
some proper place for the purpose of selling the land
and granting warrants of survey, the public would
be put to no expense, and millions of dollars in cer-
tificates would be immediately put into the land-
ofiice by men who would not be bsifHed in their views
of taking up the land by a few hostile Indians, as
the public surveyors are from year to year, and
whidi cannot well be prevented. When we shall
effect a sale and settlement of that most delightful
region is altogether uncertain ; but my attention at
present seems wholly engrossed by die object I
purpose to make a journey into the Western Country
in October next with a view of feasting my curiosity
m that fertile soil and unparalleled country. I ex-
pect to spend a year on the tour. If I live to return,
I will do myself the honor to gi?re you a brief reUu



tion of its true c h a r ac te r. 1 make no doubt but that
in a few years there will spring up in that Western
hemisphere many towns, and evefi cities, of the first
distinction. The country is finely interspersed with
navigable lakes and rivers well adapted for com-
merce ; and the soil, by all accounts, will prove the
Egypt of America. Our posterity may flourish
there, in some after age, in a manner of which their
progenitors have at present few or no ideas. But,
in the meantime, my friend, we have to struggle
through a group of surrounding difficulties. God
grant us success. And be assured. Sir, that how-
ever gloomy my future prospects may be, it shall
always brighten my days to hear of your happiness
and that of your femily, which I beg you will often
conununicate to dear sir.

Your most obedient & humble servant,

John C Symmxs.

JOHN WARD FENNO.

We have now to deal with no such calm
spirit as that of the eccentric propagator of
the concentric philosophy. If there was fire
in the composition of any political writer of
his time, it burned in the bosom of John
Ward Fenno. No man was more firee to
put Uie first impulse upon paper, be what it
would, and followed by whatever conse-
quences. He wrote during the great reac-
tion, when the press had just wrested itself
fit)m the clutch of the strangler, whose vio-
lence was still in fresh remembrance.

" I thank God there are no firee schools
nor printing-presses, and I hope we shall
not have them these hundred years, for learn-
ing has brought disobedience and heresy
and sects into the world ; and printing has
divulged them and libels against the best
government God keep us fix)m both ! " So
prayed Sir William Berkeley, Governor of
Virginia, in 1671. Fifteen years later, Gov-
ernor Randolph, of Massachusetts, forbade
anyone to prmt without his consent As
late as 1733, the Governor of New York, in
the case of Zenger, visited the press with his
authority. The reaction came. Dimng the
last half of the eighteenth century, partisans
of the print coiSd not find hard enough
woids with which to stone the transgressor.

Not much is known of the subject of this
sketch, save tfiat he succeeded his father in
the management of "The United States
Gazette," and was a fimous Federalist. John
Adams saw much in him which he could
not forgive, while others lifted up to him the
voice of gratitude. The " Gazette " in '92
was understood to be Hamilton's paper.
This fact did not enhance the sheet or its
proprietors in Mr. Adams's estimation. Fren-
eau, who edited the '^ National Gazette " in



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Philadelphia at this time under the overshad-
owing wing of Jefferson, could not be expected
to find room in his columns for any gracious
words toward Fenno. That he was a power



Online LibraryFrancis HallThe Century, Volume 11 → online text (page 152 of 163)