Page:A French Volunteer of the War of Independence.djvu/203

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OF THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE.


famous "electors" of the Hotel de Ville, of Paris, in 1789.

"You do not know, I suppose," he said pompously, when I had finished making my purchases, "who I am and what I was?"

"No, upon my life, I do not," I replied.

"Well," he said, " I,—the very man you see before you,—was ruler of Paris for three days, and now I am obliged to sell pens, ink, and paper, in Philadelphia, to gain a living."

I was not so much surprised at this fresh instance of the instability of human affairs as I was to find this petit bourgeois really believe that he should astonish posterity. Nor was I particularly astonished either to learn, some months later, that he was a bankrupt, but I may remark that he failed for twenty-five thousand francs, and I would not have given a thousand crowns for all the stock in M. Moreau de Saint-Mery's shop. Strange to say there is no country where bankruptcy is so frequent;—every morning