When we speak of Clive, Nelson, and Putnam
as men who "didn't know what fear was," we ought always to add the flea--and put him at the head of the procession.
One of these worthies--a tall, lank figure, brandishing a rusty sword of immense longitude--purported to be no less a personage than General George Washington; and the other principal officers of the American army, such as Gates, Lee, Putnam
, Schuyler, Ward and Heath, were represented by similar scarecrows.
There was General Putnam
, too, who was known all over New England by the name of Old Put.
Highlands = the Hudson Highlands, a mountainous region in Putnam
and Dutchess Counties, through which the Hudson River passes in a deep and picturesque gorge; Eolus = God of the winds; Boreas = God of the North wind; Seneca = one of the Finger Lakes in central New York State; Grecian king = both the Senecas of antiquity, the rhetorician (54 BC-39 AD) and his son the philosopher/statesman (4 BC-65 AD), were, of course, Romans--in any case, Lake Seneca is named after the Seneca nation of the Iroquois Indians; Park-Place = already in 1816 a fashionable street in lower Manhattan; Chippewa = an American army defeated the British at Chippewa, in Canada near Niagara Falls, on July 5, 1814; Lawrence = Captain James ("Don't give up the ship
Major Putnam was a bald-headed, bull-necked man, short and very broad, with one of those rather apoplectic faces that are produced by a prolonged attempt to combine the oriental climate with the occidental luxuries.
Did he--" asked Major Putnam in a lowered voice, "did he fall or cry out, or anything?
Let us go inside," said Major Putnam, rather sharply, and led the way into his house.
While he stood wavering in the hall Major Putnam rushed past him and sent a raging eye over the whole oblong of the tablecloth.
Major Putnam nodded, but at the same time shrugged his shoulders.
Major Putnam had managed to slip inside and plunge into a proper shirt and trousers, with a crimson cummerbund, and a light square jacket over all; thus normally set off, his red festive face seemed bursting with a commonplace cordiality.
Father Brown gathered, from the course of the conversation, that Cray, the other gourmet, had to leave before the usual lunch-time; but that Putnam, his host, not to be done out of a final feast with an old crony, had arranged for a special dejeuner to be set out and consumed in the course of the morning, while Audrey and other graver persons were at morning service.
Of one thing I am distinctly conscious: the man's presence at my side was strangely distasteful and disquieting--so much so that when I at last pulled up under the lights of the Putnam
House I experienced a sense of having escaped some spiritual peril of a nature peculiarly forbidding.