CHAPTER VII. Contains a Ballad.
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I began to grow very restless and dissatisfied
at the Foul Anchor. Miss Mary Ann favored me
with more attentions than I coveted, and I began
to fear that what she intended as a jest, would end
in earnest. Indeed, she had already asked me to
take the place of bar-keeper to her father, but I
declined her kind offer.
My mind having nothing to feed upon, began
to busy itself again with my cousin's prediction,
and with the all beauteous Georgiana De Lancey;
and the thought of destroying myself would occasionally
intrude itself into my mind.
I was sitting, the morning after Jerry's disaster,
in Miss Mary Ann's parlor, with my face covered
with my hands, and my busy fancy raising up the
ghosts of a thousand withered follies, when that
young lady bounded in, and reached me a little
dirty looking misshapen letter. She said it was from
Jerry Bowhorn. I opened it and read as follows:
Dear Sir—This is to inform you as I -- 078 --
have entered in Uncle Sam's service, and have
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took three month's advance. I have kept money
enough to have a good drunk, and the rest I send
to you. Keep it and spend it for my sake. I wanted
to of given you more, but that young woman,
blast her—but never say die. So no more at present
till death, and don't forget your old shipmate,
Enclosed in the letter, were three ten dollar bills.
I read the letter to Miss Mary Ann, and she agreed
with me, that Jerry was the best and frëest hearted
fellow in the world. I said that I loved him like
“Ah!” said she, looking at me, while a blush
stole over her pale face, “do you indeed love
“Indeed, and in truth I do; see what he has
done for me.”
She tripped out of the room, and in a few minutes
returned, and with her face averted, she put
a little package into my hand, and then ran out
again, without speaking a word.
I opened the little package, and found it contained -- 079 --
a roll of bank bills, wrapped up in a piece
of greasy brown paper; there were about sixty
dollars in almost as many bills, and of as many
different banks. I could not misunderstand this
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manifestation of the young lady's kind feelings, and
to prevent any further indiscretion on her part, I
determined to quit her father's house immediately.
Accordingly, I went down to the bar-room, having
first put the roll of bills into the young lady's
work box, to pay Mr. Murphy for my board, and
to my surprise, I found that Jerry had paid a
month in advance for me. This new proof of his
attachment and kindly feelings, made so keen an
impression upon my mind, that in the warmth of
my feelings, I resolved to unite my fortune with his,
and not set lightly by a friend who had acted so
generously towards me.
So I went off to the rendezvous for shipping seamen,
in search of my friend Jerry, with a firm determination
of entering on board the same ship
with him; but when I got there, I found that he had
been carried off to the receiving ship, about an
hour before, as drunk as a lord.
Having had time to make a few wholesome reflections, -- 080 --
I got the better of my enthusiastic determination,
and once more I began to think of proving
my cousin a lying prophet. Having my bag
under my arm, and being in the neighborhood of
Mr. Stewpy's eating house, I stepped in there to
rest and refresh myself. I redeemed my green satin
vest from Mr. Stewpy, and put it on again, together
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with my frock coat and satin stock, and with them
all my former pride, and anxiety for distinction and
riches, seemed to return.
While I was adjusting my dress, the poet came
in; he was overjoyed at seeing me; he inquired
after my health, and said he had been very anxious
to meet with me, as he wanted to get my opinion
of a ballad that he was going to insert in his
poem, which was in the press. He said he should
place a very high estimate upon my opinion, as he
knew from my phrenological developments, that
I had considerable soul.
The poet looked very hungry, and as Mr. Stewpy
had just brought in a famous piece of roast
beef, I invited him to dine with me. I ordered
two shilling plates, and at the poet's suggestion,
two cups of coffee, and a small plate of pickles.
Our dinner was soon despatched, and then be took
a roll of manuscript out of his hat, and read the
ballad. The thrilling extract, he said, he would
read to me at some other time.
I begged a copy of the ballad, and as the reader
-- 081 --
may not have met with the poem to which it belonged,
and in which it should have appeared, I
will transcribe it for his benefit.
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THE COUNT COMMUNE DE PAS.
There was once a tall, fine gentleman, came all the way from
To teach the beaux and ladies all, the genteel way to dance.
His hair was black as Lehigh's mines, it hung in glossy curls;
His mouth was wide; his eyes were black; his teeth, two rows
Mustachoes, frowning fiercely black, upon his lips he bore,
And rings, both large and numerous, upon his hands he wore;
He was praised by all the ladies fair, and puffed by all the
They set him forth perfection's self, the Prince of politesse.
Now this very fine, tall gentleman, kept thinking all the while,
“What a fool am I to teach dese brutes to dance in true French
Tree tousand dollar, more or less, is all dat I shall gain,
But a handsome fortune I might make by Hymen's Coup de
“Nons verrons,” said this gentleman, “we will see what I shall
And he put his fiddle in its bag, and close the strings he drew.
“Va laissez moi. One fiddle bow, I never more shall draw,
I'll be one Count, to-morrow night, le Comte Commune de Pas.”
“To-morrow night,” was ushered in, it was a night most rare,
A grand soiree was held up town; the Count, of course, was
-- 082 --
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He danced such steps! the gentlemen beheld him in a rage,
For the ladies all declared such steps would ornament the stage.
“But stop,” said one, “he is no Count; he cannot sing a song.”
The Count was asked to volunteer, “oui Madame, certainment!”
And such a song! not one false note, in foreign accents too!
The envious gentlemen confessed, he was a Count most true.
A lovely girl shone there that night, her father's pet and pride,
She heard the men, with slanderous tongues, the foreigner deride.
She knew he was a real Count, by a never failing sign,
His hands were small and delicate, Lord Byron's test, and mine.
Now to show to all the ton her taste, and prove she was no
She saw him dance, she heard him sing, and fell in love, at once.
“Ah ha! sans doute, my fortune's made,” cried Count Commune
“One rich bank president shall be my father in the law.”
“This lovely girl, in one week's time, was languishing a bride,
And this very tall, fine gentleman, was lounging at her side,
Whilst her pa and ma were rummaging their son in law's
To seek the Count's credentials, and find out if all was fair.
Now suddenly they pounced upon a bag of faded green,
“Why wife,” cries pa, “hang me if here is not a violeen!”
“A violeen! why bless my soul! and here's a bundle stout
Of bills for teaching boys to dance, all regular made out.”
-- 083 --
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Sans ceremonie, out of doors, the Count Commune de Pas
Was straightway kicked into the street, by his father in the
And the lovely bride began to pine, and would have been a
But the legislature, when it met, awarded a divorce.
“Par bleu! ma foi! mon Dieu! Sacre!” the gentleman did
As he took a monstrous pinch of snuff, and quickly walked
“One mes alliance I did make. I shall go back to France.
I'll see these yankees all be dem, they shall never learn to
“How do you like it?” asked the poet, looking
round with a triumphant air, when he had
done reading it.
“Very much, indeed,” I replied, “only I think
if I had been in the count's place, I would have
claimed my bride.”
“I wouldn't have done no such a thing,” said -- 084 --
Mr. Stewpy, “I would have gone right off and
commenced a suit for 'salt and battery' gin the old
'ristocrat, her father, the old villain! that's just
the way with them bank-men. If I had been on
the jury, I'd guv the count as much damages as
he had a mind to ask for.” So saying, Mr.
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Stewpy puffed out his cheeks, and whetted his
carving knife very fiercely.
The poet smiled scornfully, and said, “You
are both wrong. In the first place, I do not believe
that either of you would have practised such
a high handed piece of deception as the count
did; and if you had, you would have sneaked off
as he did.”
“That is very true,” said Mr. Stewpy; “nobody
but a Frenchman would have had the impudence
to did that thing.”
“'Cepting 'twas an Irishman,” said Mr. Stewpy's
Hereupon arose a little discussion between
these two gentlemen, which ended very differently
from discussions in general; for both the disputants
came to the same conclusion, namely:
that it was quite possible for any body to have
been guilty of as great a piece of roguery as the
count was, except an American; and that it was
entirely out of the range of possibility for one of
their own countrymen to err in any thing.
“Well,” said the poet, addressing himself to -- 085 --
me and Mr. Stewpy, for he appeared to look upon
Mr. Stewpy's assistant as altogether unworthy
of his attention, “you are both of you a fair sample
of the critics of the present day, who,
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instead of considering a character philosophically,
and tracing out his true springs of action, condemn
him for not acting as they think they would
act themselves, if they were placed in his situation,
with entirely different motives to influence
them. No man is qualified to judge of the naturalness
of a fictitious character, unless he be either
possessed of sufficient discernment to enable him
to comprehend the whole scope and design of the
author who created it; or of sufficient enthusiasm
to identify himself so completely with it, as to
lose sight of his own individuality, and feel his
soul swayed to and fro by the same influences
which prompt it to action.
“You see now that when Mr. Stewpy said if
he had been in the count's place, he would have
gone to lawwith the old bank president, he forgot
that, if he had been in the count's place, he would
not have had his present high minded and democratic
“You are right there, for once,” said Mr.
“And you,” said the poet, turning to me, “if -- 086 --
you had been in the count's place, and had married
the young lady for the sake of her father's
money, it would have been the last thing you
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would have thought of doing, to lay claim to
your bride, after being kicked out of doors.”
I was compelled to acknowledge, on re-considering
the matter, that the count was quite right
in pocketing the affront put upon him, and going
back to France.
“However,” resumed the poet, “it is not my
intention to defend the character of the count very
warmly, for I have bestowed but little care
upon his composition. The fact is, between you
and I and Mr. Stewpy, I have been accused by
the crities of ignorance of the languages, and so
I wrote this ballad to convince them that I knew
French. But in the main, I disapprove of sprinkling
original compositions with quotations and
foreign words. An author's productions should
show the culture of his mind, as a fine melon shows
the richness of the soil on which it was raised, by
its size and flavor, and not by a daub of manure
sticking upon its rind.”
“All the same,” said Mr. Stewpy, “as if I
was to send you a plate of this fat mutton, with a
turnip top on to it, to show you what the critter
was fatted on.”
“Precisely,” said the poet. “Now,” he exclaimed, -- 087 --
“were I to read you an extract from my
serious poem, the Deserted Daughter, you would
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hardly believe that I could write a ballad like
“Quite unpossible, I dare say,” said Mr. Stewpy,
who appeared highly delighted with the poet's
“The fact is, Sir,” continued the poet, throwing -- 088 --
back his coat collar, and brushing up his hair
with his coat “some people think an author is
like a shopkeeper, who always knows the exact
amount of his stock in trade, and who can, at any
moment, display any article in his shop, but can
do no more. But far different is it with the poet;
he knows not himself, of the pearls and sparkling
gems which lie hid in the depths of his own
genius, like jewels in the sea, until the workings
of his mind, like the billows of the ocean, wash
them from their secret caves, and they are exposed
to his view like gems upon the sea-shore, all
bright and sparkling. And when the poet has
glutted his eyes upon them, he may, if it suit his
humor, give them to the world. For the offerings
which genius bestows upon the world are gifts;
they endure forever, and there is nothing given
in return. But the bequests of conquerors and
statesmen are mere lendings; they avail but little,
and their cost is infinite. A battle gained has
more than once cost a nation its liberty.
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Thousands of years have flown over the world since the
great temple of the wise king crumbled into ruins,
but the sweet notes of his golden harp still vibrate
on the ear. Think you that half the bright and
glorious things which meet the poet's gaze are ever
looked upon by other eyes? O! no, he revels in a
world you know not of. Shakspeare knew Juliets
more than one I trow, and fairy queens were
Spenser's constant guests; and cherubim and
angels lovelier far than those which on the perishable
canvass live of Raffaello, were his sitters oft;
and forms of deities and patriarchs towering high,
in simple majesty, more numerous far than those
which Michael chiselled from the stone, were seen
by him, but never by the world; the high basilica,
if placed beside the mighty model to his eye revealed,
would dwindle to the cottage of a cit.”
As the poet concluded, a butcher's boy, who
was eating his beefsteak at one of the tables, exclaimed,
“I couldn't have did it better myself.”
A compliment which the poet did not appear to
estimate very highly.
But Mr. Stewpy, who had more soul than the
-- 089 --
poet gave him credit for, exclaimed, “Good!
that's what I call just the thing, neither underdone
nor overdone. It's worth a treat anyhow, and if
nobody else wont stand it, I will.”
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As no one made an offer to stand a treat, Mr.
Stewpy redeemed his promise by giving each of
the company a glass of small beer.
The poet drank his down at a swallow, and
having pulled his cap as much over his eyes as his
nose would permit, he wrapped his old camblet
cloak about his person, and stalked out very
When I was left alone to my thoughts, I could
-- 090 --
not but accuse myself of being a poet, although
I had never dreamed of such a thing before, for I
had been living in a world of hopes and fears,
which none but myself knew of; and I had viewed
myself in situations which the world had never
yet seen me in.
Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 , The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 2 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v2].