Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XIII: How the Strife Began >> Page 127

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYNI27
States have confirmed the propriety of these assumptions to the peo-
ple of the United States, until they have grown to be the recognized
standard of all good government, avowed and recognized as law in
the minds of the whole of the States of North America.
Drayton spoke at length, and spoke eloquently, and, for a time,
the loyalist leaders seemed disposed to give him a patient hearing.
This was induced, perhaps, by the temper of the people present, who
listened with interested attention and in the utmost good order. But,
in the midst of the speech, forcing his way through the crowd,
Browne suddenly made his appearance, without any warning, and,
perhaps, without the knowledge of his presence, among his own asso-
ciates. He spoke to none, but simply pressed on through the multi-
tude, until he confronted the speaker, at the distance of a few paces.
His appearance produced a sentiment of surprise, amounting al-
most to terror. The persons whom he jostled to make his way into
the circle readily yielded him a pathway, as soon as they beheld his
condition. They shrank from contact with the foul and ragged gar-
ments, besmeared with tar and feathers. The matted hair for he
came in hatless still hung heavy with tarry gouts, as did the beard,
which was literally massed together beneath and about his chin with
the resinous ooze, which, in the hot season of the year, continued to
drip at moments upon his breast and hands. His eyes, almost starting
from their sockets, glared out like those of an owl forced to face the
sun at noon day. But it will be easier to conceive than to describe his
condition and appearance. It produced a strong and painful sensation.
At first, his most intimate friends and associates failed to recognize
him.
"What!" he cried to Kirkland. "You do not know me! Ha ! ha!
ha! It is, indeed, a wonderful transformation. I owe it to Liberty,
my friends the cause of Liberty ! Liberty is a great cause ! It makes,
as you see, a bird of Paradise out of a common crow! Look at me,
and behold the blessings and the benefits in store for you, at the
hands of these new apostles of Liberty, with their fine speeches and
virtuous declamations! Look at me, and admire the charities which
the gentlemen of the seaboard have in store for us poor plebeians of
the backwoods ! "
"Great God! It is Browne ! " cried Kirkland.