Which treats of A grievous disappointment, as well as many things of great interest that took place on the general’s return to new York.
It was evening when the general reached Baltimore, thanking Heaven that he was safe out of a city where it was the fashion with gentlemen who were not sharp enough to fleece the government to turn upon and fleece one another, and to let strangers look elsewhere for mercy. Elated that he was a minister, our hero took up his valise and straightway proceeded to the Gilmore House, since it would not do for so famous a diplomatist to put up at one of your shabby hotels. And here, having entered with all the pomp of his nature, he slyly whispered to the clerk who he was, and desired that he would enter his name in this wise: “General Roger Sherman Potter, Minister Plenipotentiary to the King of the Kaloramas.” And this delicious bit of rodomontade being satisfactorily performed, it was with great difficulty the bystanders could restrain their laughter. Then the stubby little figure, casting a half-simple glance at every one he met, waddled up and down the hall, looking in curiously at every open door, and at times vouchsafing a bow to those he never had seen before. And when he had hobbled about to his satisfaction, he approached the desk and anxiously inquired of the clerk for his secretary, Mr. Tickler; but to his surprise and great disappointment no one at that house had heard aught of such a person.
The general was now much concerned about his secretary. All sorts of things evil and suspicious did he fancy; but they only served to increase his anxiety. In truth, it now seemed that what he had only intended for a joke when leaving Willard’s might turn out a very serious affair. Some prowling villain might have slyly put him out of the way, and there was an end to all the pains and expense he had been at to instruct him in the ways of a good secretary. There was a bare possibility, however, that much as the affairs of the nation required their undivided attention, Mr. Tickler, who had in more than one instance given proof of having a touch of the gallantry common to the true Irish gentleman in his composition, might have fallen in with some damsel whose charms were stronger than the demands of the nation. But as he had reposed great trust in his secretary, so also did he find it no very difficult task to banish these suspicions. When then he had eaten his supper, which he did in great tribulation, he sallied out in the hope of obtaining some tidings of him at the various inns throughout the city. But the search proved fruitless, and he returned to the Gilmore, still more puzzled to find an explanation for so strange a mystery. He went to bed when bed-time came; but it was only to dream of wonderful exploits performed by himself in foreign lands, and awake to lament the loss of his secretary.