Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter VII: The Barbacue >> Page 67

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Page 67

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYN67

"I said I was the devil's man, Stephen," said Dick Marvin, "and,
by Jingos, wasn't I right? Dod dery you, man, you've kept my blood
running, hot and cold, cold and hot, for a full hafe an hour! and I
could listen to you for an hour longer ! And look you how the j edge
is staring at you! He's a'most frightened, I'm thinking. It's a new
sort of talk for him, I reckon."
"A very remarkable man ! " said Drayton to Sam Hammond.
"Will you bring him to me, and let me know him?"
"We shall meet him at dinner, judge. It will be difficult just now
to make his way through the crowd. You are probably not aware
that he is lame. He is, as you say, a very remarkable man; and but
for his lameness, it would be difficult to say what he might not at-
tempt, and what not perform. He has great versatility, and great
boldness of character, and is true as steel."
"What does he do?"
"He teaches school on Beach Island, but has studied law, and, I
believe, practises it on a small scale among his neighbors."
"Bring me to know him as soon as convenient, Captain. Such a
man must not dwell in obscurity. He is a man to be greatly useful
now. His is the very sort of talent for popular use."
We are not so sure that Drayton's tastes were quite satisfied with
Stephen Joscelyn's speech, for he was of the old classical school, and
symmetry and finish were essential among his standards; but his mind
and judgment had been taken by surprise by the reckless audacity
with which Stephen had sported with his topics, and he had a lurking
notion, especially when he witnessed the effects of his speech, that
Stephen, though a less practised orator than himself, might yet
possess a somewhat better knowledge of what was best suited for his
audience; and this, by-the-way, is the first great secret in all popular
oratory. Repeating his request to bring Stephen Joscelyn to him
while at dinner, Drayton rode from the ground, followed by the
cheers of the multitude, and escorted by the troopers of Hammond
and Hamilton.
But he was disappointed. At the dinner, or barbacue, Stephen
Joscelyn did not make his appearance. As soon as he could extricate
himself from the crowd, which he did only after shaking hands with
hundreds, and narrowly escaping the embraces of scores besides, he
had taken his way quietly out of town, having first made the desired