Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter III: Stephen Joscelyn >> Page 34

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription 34JOSCELYN
short talk, dismissed the boys to play. When they had all tumbled
out headlong, with a rare sense of mirth and freedom, Dick Marvin,
taking out his pipe and filling it, produced flint and steel and
tinder box, and made for himself a light. A few puffs of smoke,
to settle his ideas into something like shape, and he spoke as follows:
"What I wants, Stephen, is to larn and know. When I've larned
a thing and know it, I can then set down my feet fairly on the
square, and snap my fingers at the devil. Now this quarrel betwixt
the Congress and the King troubles me; for you see, I kaint al-
together get the right hang of it. I don't see how the cat's gwine
to jump, and I don't like to git down from the fence till I can
clairly see upon which side of it the mad bull is gwine to run.
Hyer's one man telling you one thing, and another man another,
and they mixes it all up with so many words, that the devil of an
idee kin I pick out from the whole. I wants to do what's right, ,
and take the right side, and then, of the thing concarns me at all,
I'm ready to pitch in, though the cry is `no quarter!' They tell
me thar's gwine to be fightin', and I don't like the idee; for though
I've fit the Ingins, and pretty hard, too, with several narrow es-
capes of having the feel of a red devil's fingers in my hair, yet
the time's gone by when I could say, without oneasiness, `I'm ready
for any brush!' I was a younker then, and didn't much care for
any thing; but wife and children makes a pusson old mighty soon,
and when you've got them, and sich a boy as my Dick, and sich
a gal as my Sally you know Sall and she's now mighty nigh
gwine on to fifteen; and when thar's a snug farm to 'tend to, and
allis smooth and looking well, and doing well, it's hard to think
upon the breaking up and the hard chainces that comes along close
a'ter the heels of war. Now, Stephen, every body knows you to
be a mighty smart man, with a head chock full of books, and a
tongue that's jest as smart as wisdom can make it; and I want
you to tell me something to set me right, and set my mind at
ease, and put me in the reason and the right of every thing in
this quarrel; for I don't like this leaping in the dark 'till that
time comes, when a man's bound to take it. Now, Stephen, jest
you give that big head of your'n a scraitch or two, and blaze away
with all your wisdom."