Polly at once fell in with this opinion; but being a sensible woman, was careful to add a clause stipulating that Roger give up politics and return to the making of shoes, at which employment there was some chance of getting food to maintain the body, without which there was no knowing what would become of the soul. His sword being in the possession of the priest, there was no immediate danger of a return of his military ardor. As for governing, he made up his mind that the most worthy man in that line was the shepherd who provided well for the lambs of his own flock. “For truly,” said he, “I have gained the applause of millions; but it has not saved my family from want.” And with these salutary resolutions, he sought and obtained employment in the town; where he lives much respected by his neighbors, who, I must add, were not a little disappointed that he returned so unexpectedly and shabbily, for they had read in the newspapers that he was a great ruler, which, however, was strange enough, for they knew in their own minds that he was dull of intellect, and in truth had a disordered brain.
Many years after his return he went about seemingly much dejected. Indeed, he would avoid even his best friends, and go straight into a melancholy mood if in a merry moment any one ever touched upon his past career, though I ought to mention that he rarely appeared in the street without being saluted by little Barnstable, who would gather about him, and persist in offering him that species of homage it was accustomed to pay him in years gone by. But even this failed to excite the slightest love of adventure in his bosom; and the star of his glory sank to rise no more.
And now, the stream of my compassion having run out, I have felt myself at liberty to desert many of the characters who figured so conspicuously in the early part of this history; and, indeed, to leave them in that state of glorious uncertainty for which critics have a perfect madness, since it furnishes their bountiful pens with means to show the greatness of their wisdom. But if any of these good natured gentlemen critics call me such names, as: “simpleton,” “a fool and don’t know it,” “an idiot making an ass of himself,” which exquisite expressions I have selected from the sayings of critics at this day, I would have them beware, since if I am old, my heart is none the less given to mischief, and I have a rare knack for cracking the pates of those who say aught disrespectful of my books.
*** End of the project gutenberg EBOOK Sherman Potter ***
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