Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter VIII: The Lynching Process >> Page 78

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription 78JOSCELYN
Captain Hamilton himself. But for his timely arrival, it is doubtful
whether Martin Joscelyn and his companions could have saved
Browne from the fury of the thoroughly enraged troopers. One of
their comrades had been shot, another slashed with a knife; and
though luckily neither wound had proved serious, yet they breathed
nothing but revenge. They were not easily pacified, and but for the
fact that their Captain was well supported by other and strong men,
it is doubtful if he could have succeeded in saving the victim.
This, however, was done at last. The men, sternly rebuked by
their Captain, and overawed by his threats, suffered their assailant to
rise to his feet. But no sooner had he done so, than with a tiger
spring he rushed upon Hamilton, with arms stretched out, and his
fingers curved and half contracted, clutching at his throat, as with
the claws of the vulture.
But Hamilton was on the alert, and he encountered the assailant
with a blow of his fist, which sent him once more as incontinently
down as he had been prostrated in the morning.
"The fellow's mad," said Hamilton, seeing that his men were
about to fall once more upon the prostrate wretch.
"Mad with the hate of hell in his breast," growled one of the
troopers, while murmurs from the rest clearly echoed the opinion,
and resented the interposition of their Captain.
"Silence, men; I tell you that he is mad. We must rope him."
All parties were agreed to this stern measure. Griffith found the
rope. In securing him, it was discovered that he had not escaped
scot-free. He had received a knife gash on his shoulder, and another
cut on the fleshy part of the thigh. Neither was serious, and after
bandaging his hurts, a brief conversation privately followed, and it
was agreed that he must be borne across the river that very night.
His own safety required it. His escape already had been sufficiently
narrow; and, from the temper of the troopers, it was feared that, in
another collision, they would scarcely stop at taking his life. Besides,
his presence was odious in the eyes of the community.
A cart was promptly procured, and under an escort of three, led by
Captain Hamilton himself, Browne was carried across the river and
lodged with a person named Floyd, who was not unfriendly, an old
man who promised to take care of him.