Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XIII / The Bride of the Battle. A Tale of the Revolution. >> Page 263

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription SUGGESTIONS OP HICKORY. 263
upon thy brethren ? And who has commissioned thee to lend
thyself to the taking of human life ? Life is a sacred thing,
young man�the most precious of human possessions, since it
depends on the time which is allowed us whether we shall ever
be fit for eternity. To one so young as thyself, scarcely yet
entered on thy career as a man, it might be well to remember
that modesty is the jewel of youth, and that when so many of
the great and good of the land have raised their voices against
the oppressions of the mother-country, there may be good rea-
son why we, who know but little, should respect them, and listen
till we learn. If thou wilt be counselled by me, thou wilt hearken
patiently to these worthy gentlemen, that we may know all the
merits of their argument."
Dunbar answered this rebuke with a few muttered sentences,
which were hardly intelligible, making no concessions to the
preacher or the commissioners, yet without being positively
offensive. Richard Coulter was more prudent. He preserved
a profound silence. But he was neither unobservant nor indif-
ferent. As yet he had taken no side in the controversy, and
was totally uncommitted among the people. But he had been
a listener, and was quietly chewing the cud of self-reflection.
After a little while, leaving the venerable seniors still en-
gaged in the discussion for Wagner and Long, the commis-
sioners, were not willing to forego the hope of bringing over a
man of Sabb's influence�the young men strolled out into the
grounds where their horses had been fastened. It was almost
time to ride. As they walked, the Scotcllman broke out ab-
ruptly:-
" These fellows ought to be hung, every scoundrel of them ;
stirring up the country to insurrection and treason ; but a good
lesson of hickories, boys, might put a stop to it quite as well as
the halter ! What say you? They ride over to old Carter's
after they leave Daddy Sabb's, and it's a lonesome track ! If
you agree, we'll stop 'em at Friday's flats, and trice 'em up to a
swinging limb. We're men enough for it, and who's afraid ?"
The proposition was received with great glee by all the young
fellows, with one exception. It was a proposition invoking sport
rather than patriotism. When the more eager responses were
all received, Richard Coulter quietly remarked : �