He played his deadliest, pausing long before he hazarded a move; the company hanging over the board, hushed and anxious.
They were not kept many minutes in suspense; Joe was overthrown; the unornamental stranger was the conqueror.
Another game—the same result.
Another and another and another; but Joe lost every game.
Joseph, however, was too good a player not to respect so potent an antagonist, and he and all the party behaved well under their discomfiture.
The board was laid aside, and a lively conversation ensued, which was continued “with unabated spirit to a late hour.”
The next morning, the traveler went on his way, leaving behind him a most distinguished reputation as a draught-player and a politician.
He remained at home a few days, and then set out again on his travels in search of some one who could pay him wages for his work.
He took a “bee line” through the woods for the town of Erie
, thirty miles off, on the shores of the great lake.
He had exhausted the smaller towns; Erie
was the last possible move in that
corner of the board; and upon Erie
he fixed his hopes.
There were two printing offices, at that time, in the place.
It was a town of five thousand inhabitants, and of extensive lake and inland trade.
The gentleman still lives who saw the weary pedestrian enter Erie
, attired in the homespun, abbreviated and stockingless style with which the reader is already acquainted.
His old black, felt hat slouched down over his shoulders in the old fashion.
The red cotton handkerchief still contained his wardrobe, and it was carried on the same old stick.
The country frequenters of Erie
were then, and are still, particularly rustic in appearance; but our hero seemed the very embodiment and incarnation of the rustic Principle; and among the crowd of Pennsylvania
farmers that thronged the streets, he swung along, pre-eminent and peculiar, a marked person, the observed of all observers.
He, as was his wont, observed nobody, but went at once to the office of the Erie Gazette, a weekly paper, published then and still by Joseph M. Sterritt
‘I was not,’ Judge Sterritt
is accustomed to relate,
I was not in the printing office when he arrived.
I came in, soon after, and saw him sitting at the table reading the newspapers, and so absorbed in them that he paid no attention to my entrance.
My first feeling was one of astonishment, that a fellow so singularly “green” in his