The major resumes the story of his adventures in new York.
My determination not to swerve from the truth in this history, may cause me to relate things of the major his military friends, who are exceedingly sensitive, will set down as malicious attempts to damage the profession of arms. Let it be understood, then, that what charges I shall bring against the major will, on inquiry, be found to have their origin in an uncontrollable passion for trade only. Whether it will be found that he has committed acts for which he can be arraigned before a court-martial, such being the fashionable process of making heroes of military delinquents, must be left entirely to the reader’s judgment.
Having got well upon the road, the major turned to me with an air of evident self-satisfaction, and addressed me as follows: “If Mrs. Major Potter was out of the way, I would make twain of the widow, merely for the love her children bear me.” Here he jerked the reins and bade old Battle, who was giving strong proof of the quality of his wind, quicken his pace. “However, as it is wicked to contemplate matrimony with a wife on hand, I must console myself with having cleared in the trade with her and the fishmonger, at least two dollars and forty cents. The chickens are not what she takes them for. There can be no doubt of their coming to Shanghais, but as to their eating off barrel heads, they can do that now, only set the barrel heads upon the ground. All the ill feathered devils in my coop are not worth a single black foot.” The major, like many others who affect gallantry, rather prided himself on the chivalry there was in deceiving widows and getting the better of fishmongers. We were thus pursuing our journey, when the major suddenly reminded me that he had been interrupted in the recital of the story of his first adventure in New York, and begged I would tell him the exact point where he left off. This I did, as far as my memory served, out of sheer charity. He then begged me not to get impatient, for he would soon get to where he was the hero of several extraordinary exploits, which he had performed while taking care of the nation. “That’s the point,” said the Major, taking the cue. “The story was interrupted at the point where we held it fortunate detectives were not employed to go in pursuit of Fopp, as they both were of one kith and kin, only that they had different processes for draining purses.