John Paul Jones: Man of Action

By Phillips Russell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIII
The Warrior's Reward

Sometimes a-dropping from the sky
I heard the skylark sing;
Sometimes all little birds that are,
How they seemed to fill the sea and air
With their sweet jargoning.


I

WOMAN," wrote Friedrich Nietzsche, "is the relaxation of the warrior." She is also, he might have added, sometimes his commissary department and chief source of supply. One may be sure that, as soon as he could untangle his feet from the anchor chains, John Paul Jones hurried to Paris to pay homage and give thanks to his chief backer and most faithful supporter, the Duchess of Chartres, and to those Masonic sisters who had shown their faith in him by contributing a ship to his squadron. In gratitude he wrote in his Journal:

"The men of France I esteem, respect and honor. They are brave, generous and faithful. But the women of France! what words can I find to express my homage, my worship, my devotion! They have been in these years of toil and storm and battle my guardian angels; they have saved me from despair; and they have inspired me to conquer. Their approving smiles and tender praise have been to me more than the applause of statesmen and even more than the favor of royalty itself."

To face the applause whose murmur had already come to his ears, he dressed himself with that care which made him conspicuous even in the exacting Paris of Louis Seize.

-171-

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