Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter VII: The Barbacue >> Page 68

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription 68JOSCELYN
purchases for his good landlady, Mrs. Kirkland. He had made his
escape alone, none of his neighbors being prepared to forego the
barbacue, and the exciting scenes and sensations by which it was
usually accompanied. Stephen reached home long before nightfall.
Home! Stephen Joscelyn's home!
We will say nothing more of that at present; but, reporting him
safely to have reached the cottage of the Widow Kirkland, we will
ourselves return to Augusta, where the business of one day is not to
end with nightfall even.
When men of our forest country leave their homes for a visit to
the distant town or city, they try to recompense themselves for the
previous solitude of agricultural life. Of the thousands of persons
gathered at this meeting, few will, like Stephen, return to their
homes on the same day. The barbacue and its beverages, its songs,
sentiments and speeches, will consume the rest of the day; and there
will be scores of groups and congregations at scores of other places,
who will trench fearfully before sleep on the small hours of the
night. In this period events shall occur which need to be reported
fully in this sober chronicle.
Of course, every one knows what is meant by a barbacue. In a
neighboring grove, an ox, entire, undergoes the roast over a pit. He
is barbacued. There are smaller barbacues in progress, also, of sheep
and goats. Hoe-cakes are browning at numerous fires; wagons and
other vehicles surround the charmed circle, and barrels of "apple-
jack" (apple brandy), and kegs of Jamaica rum, and molasses beer
and cakes, and other junkets, are to be found in certain other wag-
ons, over the ends of which a gay, green bush gives sufficient sign of
the creature comforts which they contain, and are prepared to furnish.
At a little distance a party is engaged at rifle practice, shooting at
a mark for a prize, probably a bullock, possibly the rifle itself, at so
many dollars or shillings a shot. A wrestling match hard by has
gathered together its crowd. Whoops and halloos declare for the
successful shot, or ring out in honor of the triumphant athlete. Some
older parties are grouped more deeply in the thickets, at play with a
deck of well-thumbed and greasy cards. In these sports the interval
between the speech-making of the morning and the preparation of
the barbacue for dinner is fully consumed.