“Just what does this mean?” the Colonel asked John Irons.
“It means that the whole country is in a ferment of dissatisfaction,” said Irons. “We object to being taxed by a Parliament in which we are not represented. The trouble should be stopped not by force but by action that will satisfy our sense of injustice—not a very difficult thing. A military force, quartered in Boston, has done great mischief.”
“What liberty do you want?”
“Liberty to have a voice in the selection of our governors and magistrates and in the making of the laws we are expected to obey.”
“I think it is a just demand,” said the Colonel.
Solomon Binkus had listened with keen interest.
“I sucked in the love o’ liberty with my mother’s milk,” he said. “Ye mustn’t try to make me do nothin’ that goes ag’in’ my common sense; if ye do, ye’re goin’ to have a gosh hell o’ a time with the ol’ man which, you hear to me, will last as long as I do. These days there ortn’t to be no sech thing ‘mong white men as bein’ born into captivity an’ forced to obey a master, no argeyment bein’ allowed. If your wife an’ gal had been took erway by the Injuns, that’s what would ‘a’ happened to ’em, which I’m sart’in they wouldn’t ‘a’ liked it, ner you nuther, which I mean to say it respectful, sir.”
The Colonel wore a look of conviction.
“I see how you feel about it,” he said.
“It’s the way all America feels about it,” said Irons. “There are not five thousand men in the colonies who would differ with that view.”
Having arrived in the river city, John Irons went, with his family, to The King’s Arms. That very day the Hares took ship for New York on their way to England. Jack and Solomon went to the landing with them.
“Where is my boy?” Mrs. Irons asked when Binkus returned alone.
“Gone down the river,” said the latter.
“Gone down the river!” Mrs. Irons exclaimed. “Why! Isn’t that he coming yonder?”
“It’s only part o’ him,” said Solomon. “His heart has gone down the river. But it’ll be comin’ back. It ‘minds me o’ the fust time I throwed a harpoon into a sperm whale. He went off like a bullet an’ sounded an’ took my harpoon an’ a lot o’ good rope with him an’ got away with it. Fer days I couldn’t think o’ nothin’ but that ’ere whale. Then he b’gun to grow smaller an’ less important. Jack has lost his fust whale.”
“He looks heart-broken—poor boy!”
“But ye orto have seen her. She’s got the ol’ harpoon in her side an’ she were spoutin’ tears an’ shakin’ her flukes as she moved away.”
SOWING THE DRAGON’S TEETH