In which there is an interesting meeting between major Potter and his wife Polly.
Major Roger Sherman Potter lived in a little red house in the outskirts of the town of Barnstable. There were two crabbed little windows in front, for it could boast of but one story, and a narrow green door, over which a prairie rose bush clustered, as if to hide its infirmity. A small window, reminding one of a half closed jacknife, and in which were two earthen flower pots containing mignonnette, set jauntily upon the roof, which was so covered with black moss, that it was impossible to tell whether it was shingled or tiled. Indeed such was the shattered condition of the little tenement, that you might easily have imagined it suffering from a forty years’ attack of chronic disease, and quite unfit for the habitation of so great a military hero. The major, however, had a peculiar faculty for reconciling humbleness with greatness, and always overcame the remonstrances of his wife, (who was continually urging the necessity of a larger tenement, in accordance with their advanced popularity,) by reminding her that General Scott, who was a great military hero, and to whom the nation owed a debt of gratitude it had no notion of discharging until after his death, was kept poor and humble by the nation, merely for its own convenience. In truth, whenever Polly Potter upbraided the major for not keeping up proper appearances, he would mutter so that her ears could not escape the meaning, that rags might cover a nobleman, while the knave might scent his fine linen with the perfumes of Arabia. In reply to this, Polly would remind him in her own way, that tattered garments and good society were not the fashion of the day, and seldom went together.
“Well, here I am, wife! in an unsuitable condition, I confess,” said the major, stalking into his little habitation, and embracing his wife, who had been waiting his coming in great anxiety, seeing that old Battle had arrived nearly an hour previous, with the tin wagon in a very disordered condition. “Heavens! my faithful husband, my dear good husband, what has happened?” shrieked his wife, standing aghast for a moment, and then throwing herself almost fainting into his arms, as two shy looking and ill clad little girls, and a boy of some twelve years old, clung about her garments, and commenced to cry with all the might of their lungs. The major’s wife was a slender, meekly attired woman, with exceedingly sharp features, a bright, watchful eye, evincing great energy of character, and a complexion which might be considered a compromise between the color of Dr. Townsend’s sarsaparilla and the daintiest olive-induced, as the major afterwards told me, by bilious disorder.