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[96] independent as a midshipman the first time he goes ashore in command of a boat. Big with the fate of twenty bushels of potatoes, off I drove-reached the village—sold out my load—drove round to the tavern—put up my horses, and went in to dinner. This going to the tavern on my own account, all by myself, and paying my own bill, was, I thought, the crowning glory of the whole adventure. There were a good many people at dinner, the sheriff of the county and an ex-member of Congress among them, and I felt considerably abashed at first; but I had scarcely begun to eat, when my eyes fell upon an object so singular that I could do little else than stare at it all the while it remained in the room. It was a tall, pale, white-haired, gawky boy, seated at the further end of the table. He was in his shirt-sleeves, and he was eating with a rapidity and awkwardness that I never saw equaled before nor since. It seemed as if he was eating for a wager, and had gone in to win. He neither looked up nor round, nor appeared to pay the least attention to the conversation. My first thought was, “This is a pretty sort of a tavern to let such a fellow as that sit at the same table with all these gentlemen; he ought to come in with the ostler.” I thought it strange, too, that no one seemed to notice him, and I supposed he owed his continuance at the table to that circumstance alone. And so I sat, eating little myself, and occupied in watching the wonderful performance of this wonderful youth. At length the conversation at the table became quite animated, turning upon some measure of an early Congress; and a question arose how certain members had voted on its final passage. There was a difference of opinion; and the sheriff, a very finely-dressed personage, I thought, to my boundless astonishment, referred the matter to the unaccountable Boy, saying, “Aint that right, Greeley?” “ No,” said the Unaccountable, without looking up, “you're wrong.” “There,” said the ex-member, “I told you so.” “And you're wrong, too,” said the still-devouring Mystery. Then he laid down his knife and fork, and gave the history of the measure, explained the state of parties at the time, stated the vote in dispute, named the leading advocates and opponents of the bill, and, in short, gave a complete exposition of the whole matter. I listened and wondered; but what surprised me most was, that the company received his statement as pure gospel, and as settling the question beyond

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Horace Greeley (1)
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