Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XXXV: Before the Battle >> Page 294

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription CHAPTER XXXV.
A stormy conference succeeded that night among the Highland
chieftains. Though something of an imbecile, Fletchall had his self-
esteem, and this had been goaded to extremity by the reckless scorn
and indifference of Browne, whose will, violent as powerful, conscious
of purpose, goaded by passion, and capable of performance, kept no
terms with imbecility. We have seen that he was a man of intense
passions. These were not quieted by the possession of power, and
the very slight resistance, more negative than positive, which he had
met from some of his associates, had made him doggedly regardless
of their sensibilities. He answered their expostulations with an almost
contemptuous heedlessness, that frequently disdained all answer; and
to the murmurs for, as yet, their discontent had taken no louder
utterance he replied only in the reassertion of his will.
Fletchall's self-esteem, at the open outrage to which he had been
subjected, in the perusal by Browne of a letter addressed to himself,
spoke out, at this conference, in terms more than usually emphatic.
Pearis and others, similarly treated, were also prepared to second
him in his assertion of right and position. They made points of two
matters the refusal of a consultation on the proposal of Drayton to
treat, and the opening of their letters, when they themselves were
present, as if the letters had been common property.
"We should have called a council of war," said Fletchall.
"A council of war," retorted Browne, "is only a cover for cow-
ardice ! In nine cases out of ten, the General who calls for a council
of war, simply desires an excuse for not fighting. We have got to
fight. That should be understood. There's no use for any counsel,
treating of peace, when this necessity is before us. We shall never
be anything, or do anything, until we make these nabobs of the sea-