Page:John James Audubon (Burroughs).djvu/36
JOHN JAMES AUDUBON
proved a rare exception among step-mothers—but she was too indulgent, and, Audubon says, completely spoiled him, bringing him up to live like a gentleman, ignoring his faults and boasting of his merits, and leading him to believe that fine clothes and a full pocket were the most desirable things in life.
This she was able to do all the more effectively because the father soon left the son in her charge and returned to the United States in the employ of the French government, and before long became attached to the army under La Fayette. This could not have been later than 1781, the year of Cornwallis' surrender, and Audubon would then have been twenty-one, but this does not square with his own statements. After the war the father still served some years in the French navy, but finally retired from active service and lived at La Gérbetière in France, where he died at the age of ninety-five, in 1818.