“They held their peace, and drank with great apparent experience. I did not dispute my companion’s assertion, that they had rendered noble service during many a campaign, and were capable of rendering much more; still, my opinion of politicians in general was in no way heightened by their appearance. Being disappointed in their ends and aims at the last election, they now stood much in need of a trifle, with which to pay Bishop Hughes for praying a recently-deceased brother through purgatory, a service he never performed without feeling the money safe in his palm. All at once they set up a howl like midnight wolves, which so alarmed me that I hastened into the street, where my companion soon joined me, saying it was a way they had of expressing a joke. Not being accustomed to the ways of working politicians of the New York school, I made my way as fast as possible into Broadway, when, to my surprise, I discovered that my watch had parted company with me. My companion was equally surprised, offered me any number of regrets, and said he would go back and have every political vagabond arrested and locked up in the Tombs, where, if his acquaintance with the judge was not of too intimate a nature, the thief would be detected and punished in the morning.
“Pausing for a moment, a second thought, he said, satisfied him that to seek redress by so bold a course would not be good policy. The thief would have gone off with his booty, hence it would be better to remain quiet until morning, when, having come back to hold consultation with his fellows on some question of politics, as was customary with them, the services of a detective would do the rest. Just as we were debating this subject a well-dressed man advanced toward us, and, stooping down, picked up a corpulent pocket-book, with the possession of which he seemed not at all easy. ‘Friend,’ said the man, ’I am an honest Quaker, can’st thou tell me if thou art the owner of this, for I leave for my home in Albany in the morning, and want not to be burdened with it.’ After an exchange of civilities that satisfied me he was a gentleman, I told him it was none of mine. He insisted however, that I take possession of it, and in the morning pursue measures to have it restored to its rightful owner.” And what followed will be recorded in the next chapter.
What befell major Rodger Potter, and how he found himself outwitted.
Knowing how well modesty becomes greatness, I listened with profound attention to the major’s story. Every now and then he would relieve my feelings by suggesting that the most interesting part of it was yet to come. We had now pursued our journey some fifteen miles under a burning sun, when we came to a running spring, beside which the major drew up his team, and, dismounting, proceeded to fill