“That ’s it. Give it to him, Joe,” said some one, approvingly.
“Now that the regulars of old Guelph have begun slaughtering the sons of liberty, we have decided to put an end to snakes in the grass, and so you can come to the face-about, or you can have a coat of tar and a ride on a rail out of the county. And what ’s more, when you ’re once out, you ’re to stay out, mind. Which is your choice?”
“What do you want me to do?” demanded the squire, sullenly.
“First off we’re tired of your brag that tea ’s drunk on your table. You ’re to give us all you’ve got, and you ’re not to get any new, whether ’t is East India or smuggled.”
“I agree to that.”
“Secondly,” went on Bagby, in a sing-song voice, much as if he was reading a series of resolutions, “you ’re to sign the Congress Association, and live up to it.”
The squire looked to right and left, as if considering some outlet; but there were men all about him, and after a pause he merely nodded his head.
“You ’re getting mighty reasonable, squire,” remarked Bagby, with a grin. “Lastly, we don’t want to be represented in Assembly by such a king’s man, and so you’re to decline a poll.”
“If the electors don’t want me, let them say so at the election.”
“Some of your tenants are ’feared to vote against you, and we intend that this election shall be unanimous for the friends of liberty. Will you decline a poll?”
“Now damn me if—” began the squire.
“Come, come, squire,” interrupted an elderly man. “Yer’ve stud no chance of election from the fust, so what ’s the use of stickling?”
“I wash my hands of ye,” roared the squire. “Have whom ye want for what ye want. I’ve done with serving a lot of ingrates. Ye can come to me in the future on your knees, but ye’ll not get me to—”
“That’s just what we wants,” broke in Joe. “If you ’d always been so open to public opinion, we’d have had no cause for complaint against you. And now, squire, since a united land is what we wants, while your daughter gets the tea and a pen to sign the Association, do the thing up handsome by singing us the liberty song.”
“Burn me if I will,” cried the owner of Greenwood, like many another yielding big points without much to-do, but obstinate over the small ones.
“Is that tar about melted?” inquired Bagby.
“Jest the right consistency, Joe,” responded one of the pole-holders.
“Better sing it, squire,” advised Bagby. “We know you ’re not much at a song, but the sentiments is what we like.”
Once again the beset man looked to right and left, rage and mortification united. Then, with a remark below his breath, he sang in a very tuneless bass, that wandered at will between flat and sharp, with not a little falsetto:—