Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XIII / ''The Glorious Fourth'' at Sea >> Page 246

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Page 246

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 246 SOUTHWARD 110!

We dispensed with the whole reading of the Declaration of
Independence ; our reader graciously abridging it to doggrel
dimensions, after some such form as the following, which he
delivered, as far as permitted, with admirable grace and most
senatorial dignity :
" When in the course of human events, A people have cravings for eloquence, A decent regard for common-sense Requires
IIe was here broken in upon by a sharp shriek, rather than a
voice, which we found to proceed from a Texan, who had worn
his Mexican blanket during the whole voyage, and whom some
of the passengers were inclined to think was no other than
Sam Houston himself. His interruption furnished a sufficiently
appropriate finishing line to the doggrel of our reader :
" Oh, go ahead, and d---n the expense."
The very principle of the Revolution,' said the orator.
Particularly as they never redeemed the continental money.
My grandmother has papered her kitchen with the ' I. O. U'S'
of our fathers of Independence."
This remark led to others, and there was a general buzz,
when the orator put in, first calling attention, and silencing all
voices, by a thundering slap with the flat of his hand upon the
cover of a huge volume which he carried in his grasp.
Look you, gentlemen," said he, with the air of a person who
was not disposed to submit to wrong�" you asked me to be
your orator, and hang me if I am to be choused out of the per-
formance, now that I have gone through all my preparations.
Scarcely had I received your appointment before I proceeded
to put myself in training. I went below and got myself a dose
of ' snake and tiger'� a beverage I had not tasted before for
the last five months�and I commended myself, during a
twenty minutes' immersion in the boatswain's bath at the fore
while you were all sleeping, I suppose�to the profound and
philosophical thoughts which were proper to this great occasion.
With the dawn, and before the cannon gave counsel to the day,
I was again immersed in meditation and salt-water ; followed by
a severe friction at the hands of one of the stewards, and another
touch of ' snake and tiger' at the hands of the butler. I have