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Brave Men and Women

Brave Men and Women

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Publicado porDharmsen Soni

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Published by: Dharmsen Soni on Jan 26, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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six or seven years, to be the commander of a vessel was success such as
few lads have ever won with such slender means and few helps as were
within reach of young Girard.

When only nineteen, we find him in Philadelphia, driving a thrifty but quiet
trade in a little shop in Water Street. Shortly after opening this store, his
fancy was taken captive by a maiden of sixteen Summers, named Mary, but
familiarly called Polly, Lum. She was a shipwright's daughter, a pretty
brunette, who was in the habit of going to the neighboring pump,
barefooted, "with her rich, glossy, black hair hanging in disheveled curls
about her neck." Her modesty pleased him, her beauty charmed him, and,
after a few months of rude courtship, he was married to her, in 1770.

His marriage, instead of carrying happiness into the home over which he
installed his beautiful bride, only embittered two lives. It was a union of
mere fancy on his side, and of self-interest on hers, not of genuine
affection. Their dispositions were not congenial. She was ignorant, vulgar,
slovenly. He was arbitrary, harsh, rude, imperious, unyielding. How could
their lives flow on evenly together? It was impossible. The result was
misery to both, and, as we shall see hereafter, the once beautiful Polly Lum
ended her days in a mad-house--a sad illustration of the folly of premature,
ill-assorted marriages.

Finding little at his fireside to move his heart, Girard gave his whole soul to
business, now trading to San Domingo and New Orleans, and then in his
store in Water Street. When the Revolutionary War began, it swept his
commercial ventures from the ocean, but he, still bent on gain and
indifferent as to the means of winning it, then opened a grocery, and
engaged in bottling cider and claret. When the British army occupied
Philadelphia, he moved this bottling business to Mount Holly, in New
Jersey, where he continued until the American flag again floated over
Independence Hall.

But times were hard and money scarce, and for awhile Girard added very
little to his means. Yet his keen eye was sharply watching for golden
opportunities, and his active mind busily thinking how to create or improve

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