Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XXVIII: Grace and Stephen >> Page 244

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Page 244

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription 2 44JOSCELYN
"And you, Steve? Do you still persist in forming this company of
cavalry?"
"Forming! It is already formed, and you shall soon see in saddle
fifty as fine troopers as ever straddled a wild horse. It is quite prob-
able that I shall be in the saddle at the head of them, in less than
three days. I expect my messenger with dispatches, this very night
dispatches from Drayton himself."
There might have been some little pride of manner and swell of
voice, on Stephen's part, when he told his brother of his distinguished
associations; but he did not tell him all.
When Martin was gone, Stephen took out his private letters, and
brooded over them for awhile. He read aloud at intervals, and
soliloquized as he read.
"No," said he, "it will not do to mention this as yet." Then he
read from the dispatch :
"It is rumored that there is a squabble among the tory leaders.
Some of them are for fighting it out; but others betray the white
feather. Among these such is the report Kirkland himself is
scared; and the rumor, last night, was to the effect that he had stolen
off from their camp, and was nowhere to be found. He is probably
seeking to make his way below. If these rumors shall be confirmed,
I shall issue a new proclamation, framed to suit the event, and cal-
culated to still further cause dissention in their ranks."
Stephen soliloquized.
"Kirkland stolen away ! This letter is a week old. Three nights
ago a stranger reached the abode of Mrs. Kirkland. Bridges reports
that a horseman rode thither at a late hour last night. He saw him
enter, but could distinguish nothing about him in the darkness. Who
should this stranger be? Who so likely as Kirkland, seeking tempo-
rary refuge with his sister-in-law? And it is only a two days' ride from
hence to Salt Water."
And so he brooded for awhile. He then rose, took out a bunch of
quills, and proceeded to convert them into pens of fine nib, which he
manufactured very nicely with a directing hand. These, when made,
he put up carefully in a paper box, with several quires of paper, a
box of wafers, and a bottle of ink. He was then employed about his
school-room, throughout the morning, and long after the boys had
gone from the premises.