Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/390

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376
UNCLE FREDDY, ALIAS WASHINGTON THE SECOND.

tesy shown her, to send a set of her own jewelry to the house, as a present to one of the daughters of the family. Of course her offer was declined, with many thanks, and renewed offers of service from the other side. Good common sense in this case, made up for the lack of familiarity with the social customs of the country, but I have known some of my own countrymen and countrywomen who were less fortunate.

For years, the residents of San Francisco were familiar with the face and form of an eccentric, and probably mildly insane old individual, who delighted in the sobriquet of Uncle Freddy, alias Washington the Second. What his real name was I never knew, but he was an Englishman by birth, I believe, and while he imagined, or affected to imagine himself the very counterpart of Washington, he really did resemble the portraits of Benjamin Franklin, in a remarkable degree.

Uncle Freddy could be seen parading Montgomery street any fine day, dressed in a full buckskin suit and cocked hat, regular "old Continental" style, or black velvet, similarly cut, and with knee-breeches, white stockings, and silver buckled shoes. Sometimes he carried a gorgeous banner, the legends on which commemorated his deeds of valor and humanity, and his claims upon the public crib as a benefactor of our country and race. Any contribution in acknowledgment of his eminent services was welcome, and the larger the donation the more profuse were his apologies and protestations of gratitude.

The sun of fortune seemed to shine lovingly upon Uncle Freddy, but he had a weakness like all other great men, and in an evil moment it proved his ruin. He imagined himself a woman-killer, and would indulge