Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter VII: The Barbacue >> Page 65

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYN65

show himself. He knew his danger from his own consciousness of
guilt. It was natural enough that a son should be deceived where
one of the instruments of deception was his own father ! But be not
ye deceived ! Look to yourselves ! Look to the traitors that harbor
among you, speaking smoothly to your faces, in open day light, while
at midnight they conjure the murderous savage to your firesides! You
will find deceivers enough, even where you least expect to find them.
Be vigilant, watchful, and always prepared. It is half the battle ´┐Ża
battle already more than half won where your enemy is made to
understand that the victim he would destroy has his armor on, his
weapon ready, and his beacon lights in full blaze to warn his neigh-
bor. Organize, arm, be watchful, and beware of the deceiver! He
will come to you in all guises; and that of the sleek official will prove
one of the most dangerous, especially where you have been accus-
tomed to his exercise of authority. Prescription and usage are
amongst the greatest foes to popular freedom, since habit is among
the greatest tyrannies of mankind."
Much more was said; but we do not propose to reproduce the
oration of the past. Enough that we exhibit its action, and show so
much of the orator as provides the impulse to the actor.
There were other speakers, most of them speaking briefly, how-
ever, and merely in compliance with the calls of their friends and
neighbors. It was to the surprise of no one more than himself, when,
while eagerly looking and listening to others, Stephen Joscelyn sud-
denly heard his own name cried aloud. It was caught up by scores
of eager and willing echoes. He would have wheeled his steed out
of the circle, but friendly hands grappled the animal by the bridle,
and held him fast to his place.
"You don't git off, Stephen," cried the familiar voice of Dick
Marvin. "We've got you to the very ring of the sarcumstance, and
you've got to pour forth in all the peculiars of a fervorous inclination.
You've got to give tongue on a hot trail, and follow close on the
haunches of the biggest buck that ever carried ten fingers on his
horns. Blaze away, Stephen, and give the boys a genywine taste of
the music of a lean beagle on a long chase."
"Dick Marvin, you're the devil."
"No, no, Steve. I'm only the devil's man ! And I'm your man,
you know; and so you see where you air, and what's the sort of