Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XII: The Fugitive >> Page 121

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Page 121

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYNI2I
whole j ourney. So, too, without any sense of hunger, he yet, at regu-
lar times, and whenever the opportunity offered, secured food, and
from the dwelling where he might have slept to-night, he procured
the necessary supply of provisions for the morrow. This he carried
in a little wallet of woolen, thrown over his shoulder, and pendant
from a stick. He knew many persons who dwelt along the route,
who were understood to be of his own ways of thinking. There were
Scotch graziers as well as shop-keepers on his way, with whom he
was always sure to find succor. Nor were the Dutch settlers less
accessible to the wants of the wayfarer. In approaching parties who
were of doubtful politics, he made use of one of those little arts,
which all parties find it convenient to employ at times, which were
used as signs among loyalists by which to assure them of the true
quality and character of the stranger, whatever his costume or dis-
guise. Thus, for example, a crown piece, always kept conveniently
in the pocket, was dropped on the highway, or at the entrance of the
cottage, in the presence of the other party. Should he say :
"Would you lose your crown?" you knew yourself secure. Browne
had money, which he had contrived to conceal about him for those
who flogged and tortured did not rob him and with this he paid
for his entertainment, when he failed to find it tendered to him by
the hospitable. In this way, with all subordinate faculties in hand,
tributary to the concentrated purpose of his mind which was yet an
insanity he contrived to make his way successfully, an object of
wonder and even terror to many, grateful to few, from New Wind-
sor, until, late one sultry day in August, 1775, he reached "Ford's
Station," on the Enoree river.
Here he paused, going into cover on his arrival, his presence
known only to the host at the station, who was also a Scotchman, who
knew him well, but failed, as well he might, to recognize him.
His aspect was scarcely human. He bore about him all the proofs
of the late cruel treatment which he had received from the troopers
of Hamilton. At least, he ascribed to them which they denied the
coat of tar and feathers which he then still partially wore, and of
which he refused to be cleansed. Huge gouts of tar, mingled with
feathery fragments, hung from his matted hair and beard. His hands
were still similarly coated with the tar. His clothes, smeared in like
manner, and torn in many places, were those of the most miserable