Chapter 9

Notwithstanding the fairy scene of imagination with respect to the advancement of Teague, in which the Captain had suffered himself to be engaged; yet sometimes he would begin to doubt with regard to the reality of the prospects, and to question whether, after all, it was probable that the executive of the United States would think him adequate to the discharge of judicial or ministerial functions, and appoint him accordingly. Ruminating one day on this subject, a servant presented a billet: It was from the President of the United States, expressing a desire to see the Captain, and to converse with him relative to the appointment of the young man in his service, of the name of Teague O'Regan, to some office in the government. Nothing could be more opportune: for the Captain at that moment, weary of his charge, and despairing of success, was just about to relinquish all further prosecution of his object; and to remand Teague to his boot-cleaning and horse currying as formerly. It may easily be supposed that he lost no time in having his coat and hat brushed, and setting out to wait on his excellency. Presenting himself, he was asked to sit down: and the conversation opening on the subject of Teague, and his qualifications for office. The Captain not willing to be the means of deception in the introduction of his valet, thought proper to deal candidly with his excellency, and to give him an exact account of the education and history of the bog-trotter; that if, on a full view of his character, he should think proper to appoint him, the responsibility might lie with himself. For to be candid, said the Captain, I should doubt the expediency of appointing him, in the first instance, to any of the higher offices of government. Such as Secretary of State, or even that of Secretary at War: though, I presume, requiring less talents than the former: The business of a soldier lying more in the heart than the head. As to Secretary of the Treasury, I should bar that altogether; as it might be unsafe all at once to trust him with much money, until he had given greater proofs of fidelity in this particular, than those of his rank are usually found to possess. The diplomatic line might suit him best, were it not that the sending him off the continent will put him out of the way of that superintendance which for some time I myself am willing to take of him, until he shall have acquired habits of diligence, and principles of integrity in business. The President smiled, doubtless at the idea of the sans culotte (for such I figuratively call him, because he had now got on breeches,) being at all in the way of appointment to such trusts; for a thought of the kind had never come into his mind. He was thinking of an office of much less dignity, and which came nearer to the capacity and grade of ordinary education. It was that of an excise officer. Having mentioned this, the Captain approved of it, and thanked his excellency, and took his leave.

Teague having received his commission, was elated beyond measure, and impatient to set out to his district, in order to enter on the functions of his office. The Captain having purchased him a horse, for he refused to bog-trot any longer, the revenue officer took leave of his old master, who had previously given him much good advice with regard to duty in office, and promised to follow him, as soon as he could provide himself with another servant, that he might be on the spot to give him countenance, and assist him occasionally, with such farther lessons of prudence and morality, as his experience in life might enable him to give, and which it could not be unbecoming in one of his age, however dignified by office, to receive.