Page:A French Volunteer of the War of Independence.djvu/195

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OF THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE.


—but I was far from expecting the magic and magnificent spectacle which the first rays of the sun showed me.

It was not a rebuilt, restored, plastered over Philadelphia that I saw, but a new Thebes, a new Sidon. The port teemed with war ships, or merchant ships, equipped or in construction; on the quays there were a thousand new houses, and public buildings which resembled palaces,—an Exchange in marble, the United States Bank, Congress Hall, all showed me that Philadelphia had become in six years, populous, flourishing, industrious, rich, and powerful.

But if I did not recognize the city, I did the inhabitants—the natives, I mean. As to the strangers who formed a floating population, I could not help smiling as I noted some faces I had seen elsewhere, but I will speak of them later on, they ought to have a chapter to themselves.

My first care was to see after the principal object of my voyage, the recovery of my pay and the back interest on it, for my surprise and admiration at the city did not make me forget the business I had come