Chapter 10

 Our chevalier was now at his wits end, not being able to conceive of any other place of amusement in which Teague might be found; when all at once it came into his head (led to it, perhaps, from the reference, in his late conversation, to the Indian tribes,) that probably he might have fallen in with the Indian-treaty-man, and have been prevailed upon to personate a chief. It appeared to him, therefore, adviseable, to go directly to the secretary at war, to know if any party of Indians had been lately there to negociate a treaty.

Being introduced, and after some ceremony accosting the secretary, he gave him to understand why it was that he had the honour to wait upon him, viz that he had a servant of the name of Teague O’Regan, an Irishman, who had been absent some days, and that from a circumstance which happened in the way to the city, he had reason to suspect, he might have been picked up by a certain Indian treaty-man, to supply the place of a Welch blacksmith, who had died, and had passed for a chief of the Kickapoos.

The secretary was a good deal chagrined, believing the Captain to be some wag, that had come to make this enquiry by way of burlesque on the Indian treaties; and with some irritation of mind, gave him to understand, that there had been no Indian treaty-man, or Kickapoo chief there; that no treaty had been held with the Indians for above a month past, since the king of the Togamogans had drawn goods; but treaty or no treaty, it ill became him, in the appearance of a gentleman, to throw a burlesque on government, by insinuating that his Irishman could be imposed upon them for a chief.

I mean no burlesque, said the Captain, a little irritated in his turn; I have had too much trouble to keep him from the Indian treaty-man that was coming here, to be disposed to jest with so serious an affair. The hair-breadth escape of going to Congress, or being licensed as a preacher, or being chosen as a member of the philosophical society, was nothing to this, as it was so difficult to guard against it, the Indian recruiters imitating savages, not only in their dress and painting, but in the dexterity to way-lay and surprise.

I wish you to know, sir, said the secretary, that I comprehend your burlesque very well. But though you and others may misrepresent our policy in the Indian treaties, it is base irony and ridicule to insinuate that the Indians we treat with are not chiefs.

Chiefs, or no chiefs, said the Captain, I am not saying, nor care; but only wish to know if you have been instituting any treaty with my Teague who has been absent some days.

I will be much obliged to you to withdraw from my office, said the secretary.

I shall withdraw, said the Captain, and not with that respect for your understanding and politeness which I could have wished to entertain. I have addressed you with civility, and I was entitled to a civil answer; but I see the “insolence of office,” is well enumerated, by the poet amongst the evils that make us sick of life. Your humble servant, Monsieur Secretary, I shall trouble you no further.

Returning to the Indian Queen, a play-bill for the evening had announced the performance of the tragedy of Macbeth, and a farce called the Poor Soldier. A party of the gentlemen from the public house, had taken a box, and the Captain agreed to go with them to the play. Having delivered their tickets, and being admitted to the box, it struck the Captain to cast his eye upon the pit and galleries, and observe if he could any where descry the physiognomy of Teague. As before, when with the same view he surveyed the members of Congress, he could discover several that a good deal resembled him; but yet not the identical person. The curtain being now drawn, the play began. Nothing material occurred during the performance of the tragedy, save that when the witches came in, there was one in her cap and broomstick, whose features a good deal resembled the Irishman’s, and who, had she not been an old woman and a witch, might have passed for Teague. The Captain was struck with the resemblance of features, and long frame of the bog-trotter, covered with a short gown and petticoat; and borrowing a glass from one that sat in the box with him, endeavoured to reconnoitre more perfectly, and could have sworn that it was the mother or sister of Teague, that had just came from Ireland and joined the company.

The tragedy being ended, the farce began to be acted, and who should come forward in the character of Darby, but the long sought for Teague. The fact was, he had before appeared in the tragedy, in the character of an overgrown red-headed witch. It was more natural for him to appear in the character of Darby, his own countryman; for he spake with the brogue naturally, and not by imitation. The managers had had him all the while of his absence from the Captain, under tuition, teaching him his part, which was not difficult to do-- the manner and pronunciation being already his own.

It was this had induced the managers to take him up as a substitute; the person who actually played the part of Darby, being at this time out of the way. As the natural squeal of a pig is superior to an imitation of it; so it was allowed by the audience, that Teague exceeded the pseudo Irishman that usually performed this part. All were pleased but the Captain, whose sense of propriety could scarcely restrain him from throwing his cane at the bog-trotter. Thought he with himself, what avails it that I prevented him from taking a seat in a legislative body, or from preaching, or being a philosopher; if, after all, he has relinquished my service, and turned player; a thing, no doubt, fitter for him, than being a senator, or clergyman, or philosopher: because he can appear in some low character in the fare or comedy, and come off tolerably enough. For though amongst the dramatis personae of learned bodies, there are Tony Lumpkins and Darby M’Faddins in abundance, yet there ought to be none; and Teague had better be on the stage than in such capacities, since he must be somewhere. But to leave me without notice, after all my civilities to him, is ungrateful, and deserves all that I can say bad concerning him. I shall give myself no farther trouble on this head; but let him take his course: I must endeavour to find another servant who can supply his place.