Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter VII: The Barbacue >> Page 70

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription 70JOSCELYN
numerous and savage looks, which Browne answered in a similar
manner.
The feast continued. Browne ate nothing, but he was not equally
abstinent in drink. At length, the chairman gave as a sentiment:
"The Continental Congress," and moved that the toast be "drank
standing."
All rose except Browne. Some of those beside him endeavored to
persuade, and urged him to rise; but he planted his elbows firmly
upon the table, with his chin between his hands, and the chairman
said aloud:
"Let him alone, my friends. He is too drunk to know what he is
about, and certainly too drunk to stand."
Browne answered only with a ghastly grin, which was made more
hideous to the spectator by the great gash upon his cheek.
"The Continental Congress ! " repeated the chairman. The toast
was drank with three times three. When the shouts had subsided,
the intruder staggered to his feet, raised himself into the most erect
attitude, lifted his cap, and, with savage glare of eye, ranging around
the table, and, finally, fixing itself on Drayton, he roared out :
"Here's damnation to the Continental Congress and all its
friends ! "
This was too much to be borne. Instantly, every person present
was on his feet, and, in a few seconds, the offender was hustled out
of the circle torn out of it, in fact and, but for Drayton, Ham-
mond, Martin Joscelyn and a few others, would have been summarily
subjected to some one of those brutal punishments which, in that
day, were applied equally to all who wilfully came in conflict with
the ascendant party, whether Whig or Tory.
It required very great effort to rescue the madman for madman
at the time he was from the rough grasp of those who had him in
their clutches. Meanwhile, he strove manfully, but in vain. He was
found to be heavily armed with couteau de chasse and a pair of
pistols, and sought to use them. But they were plucked from his
grasp, or bosom, and he was thrust from the ground, Martin Josce-
lyn and two or three others undertaking to send him out of town.
They took him out of sight, at least, and he seemed suddenly to
become resigned to their guidance. With a strong effort of will, not
inconsistent with his inebriate condition, he mastered himself suffi-