Aside from salvos of artillery at the hour of twelve, the inauguration of Mr. Jefferson as President of the United States was marked by extreme simplicity. In the Senate chamber of the unfinished Capitol, he was met by Aaron Burr, who had already been installed as presiding officer, and conducted to the Vice-President's chair, while that debonair man of the world took a seat on his right with easy grace. On Mr. Jefferson's left sat Chief Justice John Marshall, a "tall, lax, lounging Virginian," with black eyes peering out from his swarthy countenance.
I, Martin Dupin (de la Clairiere), had the honour of holding the office of Maire in the town of Semur, in the Haute Bourgogne, at the time when the following events occurred. It will be perceived, therefore, that no one could have more complete knowledge of the facts-at once from my official position, and from the place of eminence in the affairs of the district generally which my family has held for many generations-by what citizen-like virtues and unblemished integrity I will not be vain enough to specify. Nor is it necessary; for no one who knows Semur can be ignorant of the position held by the Dupins, from father to son. The estate La Clairiere has been so long in the family that we might very well, were we disposed, add its name to our own, as so many families in France do; and, indeed, I do not prevent my wife (whose prejudices I respect) from making this use of it upon her cards. But, for myself, bourgeois I was born and bourgeois I mean to die. My residence, like that of my father and grandfather, is at No. 29 in the Grande Rue, opposite the Cathedral, and not far from the Hospital of St. Jean. We inhabit the first floor, along with the rez-de-chaussee, which has been turned into domestic offices suitable for the needs of the family. My mother, holding a respected place in my household, lives with us in the most perfect family union. My wife (nee de Champfleurie) is everything that is calculated to render a household happy; but, alas one only of our two children survives to bless us. I have thought these details of my private circumstances necessary, to explain the following narrative; to which I will also add, by way of introduction, a simple sketch of the town itself and its general conditions before these remarkable events occurred.
Margaret Oliphant was a 19th century Scottish writer of historical fiction and supernatural tales. Oliphant was a very prolific author, having written over 100 books throughout her career.
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