“As you are absolute in command,” rejoined the major, with a low bow, “and refuse me this opportunity of showing my skill as a soldier, perhaps it is as well, seeing that discretion is always the better part of valor, and in consideration of what I have already achieved, I may put up my sword until larger game offers.”
Which treats of A delicate affair that took place, and which was the result of A mistake, that had nearly cost the major his life.
Having generously given up all hope of a tussle with the strange brig, the major sheathed his sword, and with a condescension worthy of our very noisy senator in Congress from Arkansas, betook himself to feeding his favorite pig, who was demanding his supper in the loudest squeals his lungs were capable of. “Wonderful as it may seem,” whispered the major, confidentially, “no great man, with a vigorous understanding, would hold these little kind acts damaging to his reputation as a politician; whereas history teaches that little men without reputation are for ever disturbed, lest the company they fall into be not equal to their condition. But one must not be surprised at this, since great mental powers are now exhausted over sausage suppers, and the smallest minds have got to managing Congress, and through Congress the nation, by mere stratagem. You may think, sir, that I meddle with what does not concern me; but you must bear in mind that I am a man of the people; and though I have compassion for those little minds that so flit and flicker about Congress, I am not so well pleased when they play purse-mouse to the great rogues of the lobby, who would sell the nation’s honor for gold enough to save them from honest labor.” Here the major patted his pig gently upon the head, as the animal seemed inclined to return such kindness. He then said it afforded him grateful satisfaction to contemplate an animal of such excellent qualities, especially when contrasted with that herd running about Congress devouring the vitals of the nation.
This strange speech took all on board by surprise, for not even Captain Luke, who had seen him perform some singular offices, would have believed him capable of such sound logic. In truth, had he been any other than Major Roger Potter, the captain had set him down for a profound philosopher. But he had more than once heard it hinted that the major, when performing one of his political feats, had himself played no very inconsiderable part as lobby agent to Congress, where his reputation as a great rogue caused his services to be in much demand.