“And this, too, I will say, that nothing could have been more elegantly conducted than the parties to which I was invited. Indeed, I saw no occasion for repaying hospitality after the manner of those malicious writers, who take pleasure in sneering at the quality of entertainment given by our aristocracy, merely because it is composed of men who have got rich by the very republican business of sailing ships and selling eatables. Now I by no means underrate the man of letters who truly represents genius, or learning; but that every dabbler in small satire should dub himself a man of letters, and therefore set up for an idol before whom better men must bow, or have their social affairs battered to pieces, is something I cannot condescend to admit. By all means, if the little fellows will have a court, let them have one of their own, and to their liking; for they will quarrel over those ills they seem born to; and if they can quarrel without interfering with the rights of others, the peace of the earth may be preserved. In fine, I would have them cram themselves into everything great and good, and ask only that they be careful not to weaken those pedestals upon which our republic is expanding itself. But enough of this.
“Having passed through fetes of unequaled splendor the politicians began to put questions to me, which, in many instances, it was not convenient for me to answer, inasmuch as by a single word I might commit myself to principles my party would not sanction. They, however, took me into their keeping, and so delayed my journey to Washington that I began to feel that I had got among friends of the wrong kind.” We were now entering a short curve in the road, between two hills covered with chestnut trees, beneath which several lean sheep were grazing, when the major’s story was interrupted by the shrill sound of a fishmonger’s horn.
What took place between the major and the fishmonger.
A soft glow enhanced the beauty of the foliage on the hill side, tottering stone walls lined each side of the road, and the crowing of cocks, and the lowing of cattle, together with a pastoral view obtained through the scraggy trees, betokened our near approach to a farm house. “Let us forget politics and go in for a bit of trade with this fishmonger!” said the major, as he jerked the reins, that old Battle might take heed, and quicken his pace. Another blast from the fishmonger’s horn, and his wagon appeared in the road, approaching at a rapid pace. The fishmonger, doubtless, thought there was no trade to be had of a tin peddler, whose wares had nothing in common with his own, and was about to drive by at a brisk pace, when the major reined up old Battle, and half hidden in a cloud of dust, cried out, in a thin, squeaking voice, “Ho! stranger, what like for fish have you?”