Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter VIII: The Lynching Process >> Page 82

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Page 82

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription $2JOSCELYN
he was grievously disabused of his error, when he found himself over-
taken by the hunters, about sunset, and when within a mile of the
smokes of New Windsor.
They found him lying beneath a tree, and engaged in bandaging
his wounds anew, as well as he could, with green moss and strips torn
from his own shirt. He stopt in this performance the moment he
beheld them. He at once fully conceived their mission. He was ut-
terly disarmed, he was feeble from exhaustion, he was helpless. He
submitted to his fate, and without murmur or entreaty.
The scene is not one to be dwelt upon. Enough, that the miserable
fugitive, now incapable of resistance, was subjected to the torture, as
it was known and practised among this forest population in their wild
ideas of justice. In the name of liberty, they subjected the fainting
wretch to the scourge, and smeared over with tar and feathers, torn
by the lash, he was left fainting to the care of one good Samaritan,
a woman, who found him senseless on the wayside.
He had borne the punishment without a plea for mercy, or groan
of suffering, till he sank senseless beneath their strokes. He was un-
conscious of the further infliction of the tar. When he awoke to con-
sciousness, sore and suffering, he found himself on a mattress in a
homely hovel by the wayside.
"Were it not better that I should die?" he asked himself.
Days elapsed before he could answer this question.
"No! if I have survived all this, it is clear that God means that I
shall still live. If He means that I shall still live, He means that I
shall live to work! And how work? What is to be done? Need I ask
when such men as these still live? When others beside myself must
still endure the torture? I must work. I feel what is required at my
hands ! The torturer must be made to feel the torture. I must drink
blood! `Vengeance is mine,' saith the Lord; but shall not the Lord
employ, for His vengeance, the creature of His own hands? I will
live ! They shall feel me yet ! Woman, I thank thee. Peace be with
thee."
And, heeding not her prayers that he would not depart till his
wounds and bruises were entirely healed, he went forth once more
into the dim paths of the forest, never heeding the darkness now
rapidly coming on, nor the frightful exhibition which he made in his