Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XII: The Fugitive >> Page 115

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYNIi5
At first, the leaders of the loyalists in and about Augusta fondly
fancied that they might boldly oppose the current, and by open
demonstrations, take the field against the party which had already
secured a large foothold of popularity in the adoption of the title of
"Liberty Boys." This title rallied the young under the revolutionary
banner. We have seen how fruitless was the effort to withstand the
progress of the revolutionists, when, in an evil hour to himself, young
Dunbar was put forth and goaded on to take up the gauntlet of
Drayton, and meet that practised speaker in debate. Could we only
realize fully to ourselves the large hopes which old Dunbar had
rested on this effort, and the large calculations which he had made
on the acknowledged abilities of his son, we shall be at no loss to
account for, if not to excuse, the savage ferocity with which he had
treated the boy upon his short-comings as an orator, and his utter
break-down on the occasion. The cause of loyalty seemed to him to
be wholly lost in the failure of his son to meet, with adequate argu-
ment, and more glowing eloquence, which was needed to restore the
balance between the parties, the speech of this arch-traitor who was
aiming to tear down the throne. No allowance was made for the
youth of the speaker; and no account was taken of those possible
sympathies with the cause of the revolutionists, which certainly took
from his ability to speak on the other side. It was not possible, with
the despotic will of old Dunbar, to conceive of the possibility of a
difference of opinion between his son and himself. Nor was he yet
disabused in this latter respect. He ascribed the failure of Walter
to the overawing influence of Drayton's reputation; to the sinister
friendship of Martin Joscelyn; and, which was quite as mortifying,
to the inferiority of those endowments which he had hitherto assumed
to be absolute and large possessions of the young man.
It was the night of that day when, relieved from all immediate
apprehensions of his son's fate, he had kept watch upon the house to
keep off all intruders. Having received, at evening, the assurance
from Miss Janet that the patient continued to improve, he drove
home; and after supper, was summoned to receive Mr. Alison, who
made his appearance just when the old man was making preparations
to retire. He brought with him such credentials as were instantly
acknowledged, and which compelled the old man, willingly enough,