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Janice Meredith eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 538 pages of information about Janice Meredith.

“Who are you. that you are in my house?” she demanded, and then entered the hall, and, womanlike, would not listen to the explanations that both Janice and her mother sought to make.  “Be off with you at once!” she ordered.  “I’ll not have you here a minute.  My son died of fever and starvation in a freezing prison last winter while you made free of his mother’s home not a half-mile away.  Be thankful I don’t have you arrested for the rent, or hound the people into treating you Tory snakes as you deserve.  No, you shall not stay to get your clothes; into the street I’ll bundle them when I have got them together, and there you’ll find them.  Out with you!”

Janice was for obeying, but Mrs. Meredith refused positively to leave without packing.  Hastily their scanty belongings were bestowed in the two little leathern trunks they had brought originally from Greenwood; these they dragged to the porch, and, sitting upon them, held debate as to their next step.

Ere they had been able to hit upon some escape from the nonplus, their attention was distracted by a rabble of men, women, and boys, who suddenly swept around a corner and flooded down the street toward them.  With a premonition of coming evil, Janice sprang to the knocker, and rapped desperately, but their evictor paid no attention to the appeal.  In a moment the mob, which numbered not less than a thousand people, reached the steps, hissing, hooting. and caterwauling, and from the din rose such cries as:  “Tory, Tory!” “Turn-coats!” “Where are the bloody-backs?” “Ain’t we draggle-tails now?”

“Order!” shouted a man in a cart pulled by some of the crowd, for which a way was made by all so that it could be wheeled up to the sidewalk opposite where the two women, holding each other’s hands, were despairingly facing the crowd.  “Remember, I passed my oath to General Arnold that there ’ud be no violence; an’ if we don’t keep it, the troops will be down on us. an’ some on you will spend a night in the guard-house”

“Hooray!” cheered some one, and the mass echoed the cry.

The spokesman turned to the Merediths.  “We know’d the Fourth o’ July ain’t no joyous day to you-alls, so we’ve done our bestest to keep you from thinkin’ of it by bringin’ some one to call on you.  Ain’t you glad to see again your old friend, Miss Shy Anna?”

As the speaker finished, he stepped to one side, bringing into view of the porch a woman seated upon the head of a barrel in the cart.  A poor army drab, left behind in the evacuation, had been decked out in what Janice instantly recognised as her Mischianza costume; and with hair dressed so that it stood up not less than two feet above her forehead, splashed over with white paint, a drink-coloured face, doubly red in contrast, and bare feet, with an expanse of more than ankle in a similar nakedness below the trousers, she made up in all a figure so droll that under any other circumstances Janice would have laughed.

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