Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XXXIV: The Fates Still at Work >> Page 290

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription 290JOSCELYN
this while? Verily, I should have remembered the significant warning,
`Never let the enemy get the first clip at you!' He said that when
John Cummings gave me my first threshing at school, bunging up
my eyes at the very first clip, and before I was quite certain that we
should fight at all ! "
We need not pursue these musings, which brought up a whole
volume of school-boy recollections, making Walter forgetful of his
steed and road, until suddenly and roughly awakened from his
dreaming mood, by finding himself arrested by a squad of militia
men. By these he was hurried off to the camp of the loyalists which
was just at hand.
Here, on the slope of a gentle eminence, he found himself in the
presence of a formidable array. The leaders of the loyalists were
mostly present. Fletchall, Browne, Pearis, McLaurin, Cunningham
and others, all on horseback, and in an irregular circle, appeared to
be engaged in some serious conference. Colonel Browne was the most
conspicuous figure in this group. But he had undergone an extreme
and curious change from the person he displayed when we last met
him. He was no longer the tarred and feathered, matted, squalid and
utterly disfigured savage, which he then appeared. All traces of his
cruel punishment, inflicted by the patriots, had been removed from
his person, and, instead of the ragged and filthy fugitive, he was now
habited in the rich uniform of a British Colonel, as fine as feathers
and scarlet, gold lace and chapeau bras could make him. His uni-
form, sent him from Charleston by Lord Wm. Campbell, was well
designed to impose upon the senses of the ignorant backwoodsmen;
and he had his vanities. He was not insensible, seemingly, of the
fine show he made, in wonderful contrast with the simple gray
hunting-shirts of all around him. His air and manner betrayed to
all eyes the consciousness of power. His tones were loud and arro-
gant, and he faced the sullen countenances of Fletchall and others,
of the rangers, with a look of haughty superiority, which, it was
evident, had already given great offence to all parties, especially out-
raging the claims of others, who, from their local influence, believed,
and with reason, that they should outrank him.
And so, indeed, Colonel Fletchall did. But Browne possessed a
will such as Fletchall did not bring to the support of his authority;
and he looked on, and listened, with the gorge rising momently as