“I was anxious to keep this matter as quiet as possible, bearing the loss like a philosopher, and forming a resolution in my mind never again to be taken in by a New York general. I observed, however, that two bearded vagabonds (such at least I took them for) in hats of priests, came suspiciously up, for the discovery made some stir, and took down all that was said. And this was, by these malicious historians, (as the polite clerk informed me they were,) put in all the afternoon newspapers. I now began to think this was what the cunning rogue meant by saying he would have my arrival recorded, with proper comments; for indeed the comments were of a character that might have satisfied a major of much more renown. One sagacious fellow, after reciting what he was pleased to set down as my political history, and the political history of all my shoemaker ancestors, at whose honest calling he tipped a sneer, as is common with the learned men of our very republican press, expressed his regret that so sharp a politician should have been made the victim of an ordinary sharper, but thought it quite likely we had been visiting temples of the unclean together, such being the favorite resorts of politicians. Another equally sagacious fellow said, that the least harmless view he could take of the matter was, that the distinguished major had permitted his political enthusiasm to carry off his discretion, and had kept hours in the company of a stranger too late to find an excuse with respectable people. A third said, the whole affair looked very suspicious; and for the character of politicians, he hoped there was quite as much innocence in the major’s story as he seemed anxious to have appear on its face; but he very much doubted if such honesty was a good recommendation to one in pursuit of a foreign mission.”
In which is related how pleasantly the major took his misfortunes.
“After these cunning scribblers had exhausted their ingenuity in moulding for me a character so scurvy, that the man who holds up buildings at street corners could not be got to pick it up, and had laid at my door charges that would have brought tears into the eyes of all my ancestors, they wheeled suddenly about, took back all they had said, threw glory at my feet, and, to the end of doing mankind a benefit, held me up as a model major. They were all ready to make me any number of promises, to render me any reasonable service, and to follow me to battle. Had I offered them a consideration, no doubt it would have been refused with splendid contempt.