Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter III: Stephen Joscelyn >> Page 26

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription CHAPTER III.
While this scene was in progress, at the cottage of old Dunbar,
upon the Sand Hills, there was one person, a few miles distant,
even then, who brooded earnestly over the same subject, but in
quite another temper, and with arguments, for himself, in his own
faith, which led him in the opposite political direction.
We have heard something already, from the preceding conver-
sation, of one Stephen Joscelyn, a cripple and a schoolmaster. He
has been described as a malignant, hostile to the royal cause, and
of great capacity to do it harm. Let us visit him at the "old field"
school, some eight miles from Augusta, and but a short distance
from the Savannah river. But we are now on the east, and not
on the west side of that stream.
Beach Island, in South Carolina, has long been famous for the
fertility of its soil. It had the same reputation in revolutionary
times. There were many planters of considerable wealth, for those
days, who occupied its rich bottoms and prolific plains. Its seasons
were mild and genial, and the means of life were abundant. Beach
Island had, besides, a considerable population of the class of small
farmers, all of whom lived prosperously. It possessed, also, we are
free to admit, some wild tribes, restless, and of irregular habits,
who were nomades rather than residents. The population was
mixed and of various kinds. There were wild men who lived
wholly by hunting and fishing their labors, though not them-
sOves, being wholly tributary to the wants of the thriving town
of Augusta. These persons were always eager after excitement,
and readily yielded themselves to any party or influence which
promised them exercise in fields where the restless blood would
find impulse and employment. They gathered to the muster ground,
to the horse race, the barbacue. They were always present at the