THE customhouse of Marseilles was a squat stone structure not unlike a prison, so that it was no wonder that the ruddy- faced American seaman was a little apprehensive as he walked across the quay toward its grim portal. A slim youngster, wearing the uniform of the "Little Corporal" who was at the moment in Tilsit dictating terms to the Czar of all the Russias, saluted courteously and opened the door of an office. Almost lost behind the vast expanse of table littered with papers and books was a man who somehow seemed to fit the grim fortress in which he sat--perhaps it was because the stiff gray spikes of his mustachios rose at a belligerent slant from the corners of his mouth.
The American laid an oilskin dispatch case before the customs officer and introduced himself in execrable French. "Captain John Brevoort, ship 'Western Trader,' out of the port of Pittsburgh, United States of America, laden with flour and pork. The ship's papers, sir."
The little man nodded curtly, pulled the papers from the case, and hastily ruffled through them while his face darkened with anger. Suddenly he threw the papers aside and exploded in English.
"What do you mean, sir, by giving me forged papers? Do you
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Publication information: Book title: Pittsburgh:The Story of a City. Contributors: Leland D. Baldwin - Author. Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press. Place of publication: Pittsburgh. Publication year: 1937. Page number: 129.