Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XIII: How the Strife Began >> Page 131

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Page 131

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYN131
passion, to lose sight of the consequences of passion, and the evils
which may arise from a too ready compliance with its demands. I
confess that the spectacle before me, for the first time, impresses me
with the feeling of horror which it should excite in every heart not
dead to humanity."
"Ha! ha! Very good!�very comical ! The lawyer is at his work
again ! The argument changes with the climate. It is now your bull
that gores my ox ! You are now on our ground, and you can now see
how wicked you have been when you felt strong upon your own. But
the cunning is not quite deep enough out of sight. It will not help
you here! We have you here, where we are strong, and, by the eter-
nal devil, you shall pay the penalty."
"Aye ! �by!�and why not? We've a long reckoning to
settle with these fellows, and the sooner we begin to square accounts
the better! "
Such was the speech of Kirkland, seconding that of Browne.
It was now seen that the latter was armed with a butcher-knife
which he had snatched from the stall of his host of the preceding
night. He had concealed it in his garments until the present moment,
and now flourished it aloft while making a forward movement in the
direction of the Commissioners. Kirkland's sword was drawn even
while he spoke, and he, too, made a forward movement.
Drayton, Tennent and the rest of their party stood apparently un-
moved, but evidently watchful. They were armed.
Cunningham, Robinson, and one or two others advanced at the
same time; and, as Drayton beheld them, mistaking their purpose,
and assuming that there was a combined movement to set upon them,
half drew his small sword, but the Rev. Mr. Tennent interposed,
and stayed his hand:
"Not yet ! " said he "not yet ! Let us forbear till the very last
moment. They will hardly attempt more than intimidation. Let us
not precipitate the matter, and force them to extremities."
In a moment more it was seen that the object of Cunningham and
Robinson was not assault, but the arrest of any demonstration of this
sort on the part of the two most infuriate and inveterate among them.
Browne was forcibly held back by Cunningham, and Kirkland by
Robinson. They struggled violently for release.