Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XXXI: Night Adventure in the Hovel >> Page 267

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Page 267

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYN267
By the time that the two young men had re-entered the dwelling,
the hostess was busily engaged over the fire, browning her hoecakes
and frying her bacon. To the butter-dish she added a few fresh eggs,
and the odor which these sent up seemed to gratify very equally the
nostrils of our young men. They drew towards the table, which was
already spread with a few delf plates, and as many tin cups, and two
oak-bottomed chairs enabled them to confront each other at opposite
sides. Very soon the old woman spread her dishes, hissing-hot from
the fire, and bade her guests fall to, while she waited upon them.
The tin cups, it was found, were made to hold a supply of very thin
and watery coffee. It was evident, however, that with all her rough
simplicity of manner, the old woman was doing her best to make
their supper palatable. They found it so, were hungry and eat
heartily. When this performance was fairly ended, she said to them,
while removing the supper things
"Now, look ye, men, I've given you both warning ! You've got to
look to one another. You may be good men enough, but you may be
both rogues for what I know. You've seen to your horses, young
men; you've got the fodder, and I hope that will do them for the
night. I've got too little corn for myself to be giving any out to
these dumb beasts, though I reckon, if they could talk, they'd be
axing after it. I've told you where you kin sleep for to-night; one
of you's got that room, and the only bed, and the other says he'll
take the bench. All that's just as you please. And now, if you've got
any means, or the will to pay me anything, you kin do so. If you
havn't got anything, don't pay anything, and I rather reckon I won't
be any the worse for it, till my son comes home again."
"Where's your son now?" asked the stranger.
"What's that to you?" she answered, with a sharp, fiery look and
accent. "That's his business, and none of yours or mine. So just mind
your own business, and remember what you must have 1'arned at
school, if you ever had any schooling, ax no questions and I'll tell
you no lies!"
The stranger laughed ´┐Ża sort of dry chuckle drew from his
pocket a couple of English shillings, and laid them beside his plate.
Walter had already laid before the woman a couple of English
crowns.