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Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 2 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v2].
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[figure description] Page 176.[end figure description]

The next evening, I was engaged with Mr.
Marisett in his private office, for, although my
left arm was still in a sling, I could write very
easily with my other hand. I had been writing
a duplicate letter, and was waiting for him to put
his signature to it.

“It is a poor business, after all,” said Mr. Marisett.

“I think it will leave a margin, sir,” I replied,
thinking he referred to the matter contained in
the letter I had been copying.

“Not that,” he said, smiling, “not that; but I
was thinking of my cousin Rippletrump's remarks
about making money; they have run in my mind
all day. This money-getting, certainly, does not
fill up the full measure of a man's dignity. She
was right. Once it was something to be rich, but
now I meet with men daily who are richer than
myself; even the milkman who brought milk to
my door but a few months ago, now rides through
Broadway with a liveried footman behind his carriage.
Getting money is not, to be sure, a

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feminine employment, but it is neither manly nor ennobling.”

I could not guess at the thoughts which were
running in Mr. Marisett's mind, so I made no
reply to his remarks, but only bit the top of my
pen, and waited to hear the remainder of what he
was going to say.

“It has been hinted to me, Mr. Franco, that
if I would consent, I could receive the nomination
of representative in Congress at the coming election.”

“Indeed,” I replied; “of course, you have determined
to accept.”

“I am at a loss what to do; I could not endure
the mortification of a defeat.”

“Surely,” I said, and with sincerity too, “there
can be no probability of that.”

Mr. Marisett shook his head, and smiled.
“There is another objection,” he added; “if I
should be elected, it must be by the votes of a
party, and the very sound of party is odious to
me. `My country,' has a noble sound; but `my
party,' savors of meanness and littleness of purpose.
It would never satisfy the cravings of my
ambition to be the representative of but a moiety
of my fellow-citizens, and to see it registered in
the public papers, that there were so many

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thousands, who refused to give me their votes; and to
know the exact number who considered me unworthy
of their confidence.”

“Why not then,” I said, “offer yourself as a
candidate for the suffrages of all parties. Of
course, the highest talents and greatest virtues
will command the most votes; as the best merchandize
always commands the highest prices.”

“Ah! I see you know nothing of politics,” replied
Mr. Marisett.

“I must confess I do not; but this party system
is a strange business.”

“It is a system of the arch fiend,” said Mr.

And so the subject dropped. But the next
evening Mr. Marisett told me he had been persuaded
to allow his name to be used by the nominating
committee of the party to which he
belonged; and while we sat in the little office, a
gentleman called to speak with him on the subject.
It was Mr. Bloodbutton, a patriotic lawyer, very
celebrated as an orator at ward meetings.

“I have called on you, sir,” said Mr. Bloodbutton,
addressing himself to Mr. Marisett, with a
solemn air, “having been deputised for that purpose,
to make some inquiries, and ascertain some
facts in relation to your private history, that I may

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be enabled to make some effective points in my
speech to-morrow night at the Hall.”

Mr. Marisett smiled, and replied, “upon my
word, Mr. Bloodbutton, I think the wisest way
will be to say nothing at all about me, for I know
of nothing that can be said to any advantage;
except, indeed, that I have always paid my

“That,” replied Mr. Bloodbutton; “wouldn't
be a circumstance. We must have something to
hurrah about, or we shall lose the election. Were
you ever a fireman?”

“Never in my life,” replied Mr. Marisett.

“Did you never save the life of some poor emigrant's
child, by jumping into the river, or in
other words, the briny deep?”


“Did you never save any body's life in any

“I am quite sure I never did. Indeed, I am

“Perhaps you were engaged in the late glorious
struggle, our second war of Independence?”

“No, I cannot say that I was.”

“But, you were not a member of the Hartford
Convention?” exclaimed Mr. Bloodbutton, evidently

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“Never was in the Bluelaw State in my life,

“That's fortunate,” said Mr. Bloodbutton; “I
trust you were not born down east.”

“My father was a New England man, sir,” replied
Mr. Marisett, “and I claim to be a descendant
of the Pilgrims.”

“That is bad, very bad,” said Mr. Bloodbutton,
shaking his head. “All the down-easters
are Hartford Conventionists.”

“My poor father, sir,” said Mr. Marisett, “died
before the Convention was thought of.”

“That makes no difference in the world, sir,”
said Mr. Bloodbutton, “the public would never
be satisfied with such an apology as that. He
was a federalist, of course?”

“Then the public is unreasonable in the extreme,”
said Mr. Marisett.

“They generally decide right, sir; we are
bound to respect the will of the majority, in such
cases,” replied Mr. Bloodbutton.

I thought it was a very hard case, but I kept my
thoughts to myself.

“But, surely you were drafted during the war,”
said Mr. Bloodbutton.

“I was,” said Mr. Marisett, “but I hired a

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“All the same as though you went yourself,”
said Mr. Bloodbutton, making a memorandum
in his pocket-book. “Was your substitute in any

“I had the curiosity to make some inquiries
about him, and I found that he deserted the first
time he heard the report of a musket.”

“Never mind about telling any farther. He
was in actual service; it will make a beautiful
point. I wish he had taken a standard; it would
produce a most thrilling effect to wave it over the
beads of the people at the Hall.”

“I wish he had,” said Mr. Marisett.

“Were you born at the time of the revolution?”

“I was not.”

“That is dreadfully unlucky, I should like to
make a revolutionary hero of you.”

“Would not that be dishonest,” said Mr. Marisett.

“Dishonest, sir,” replied Mr. Bloodbutton, evidently
astonished at the remark; “nothing is dishonest
in politics that is available. But next to a
revolutionary hero, there is nothing like being born
in the gem of the sea; I presume you can lay no
claim to that distinction?”

“Not the slightest.”

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“Were not some of your relatives revolutionary

“My grandfather, I have been told, was a sergeant
in the Continental Army.”

“Was he wounded?” inquired Mr. B. eagerly.

“I have heard my grandmother tell that he had
his right heel knocked off, by putting out his foot
to stop a cannon ball which he supposed was
nearly spent.”

“Good, good,” cried the orator, in an ecstacy
of delight. “Of course there is but one way of
speaking of that circumstance; it has all the dignity
of a historical fact; your ancestors poured
out their blood like water upon the ensanguined
field of—of—what battle was it?”

“I do not remember.”

“Well, never mind; upon the ensanguined battle
field, will do.”

“There are two or three more questions, of
rather a delicate nature, which I wish to ask. I
mean no disrespect, but there are certain things,
of which it is necessary to be informed. You
never stole away the gentle partner of a man's
bosom, nor any thing of that sort?” inquired Mr.
Bloodbutton, timidly, as if afraid an answer in the
affirmative might be given.


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“Never run one of your particular friends
through the body with a sword cane?”


“Nor shot a high-minded and talented gentleman
in a duel.”


“Of course, you never hung a militiaman?”


Mr. Bloodbutton made another entry in his
pocket-book, and then shook Mr. Marisett's hand,
and then extended his hand to me, which I grasped
cheerfully, for I had conceived a high regard for
him, seeing he took such a lively interest in the
affairs of my kind employer.

When Mr. Bloodbutton was gone, Mr. Marisett
leaned back in his chair, and laughed heartily.

“What nonsense,” he said, “to talk about
broad-farce in the theatre; after all, there is nothing
really serious in this world, but the act of
goint out of it.”

-- 184 --

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Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 2 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v2].
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