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21. Chapter Twenty-one (continued)
It happened that just as the General began to read this letter, the railroad train arrived, bringing a new mail from England; and a packet had been handed in to the Secretary, which during its perusal and the frequent cheerings in homage to freedom, he had opened. Now, its contents disturbed him very much, and the moment the General sat down, he hurried to his side, and placed in his hand a letter and several printed extracts from English newspapers; to which, in a state of infinite excitement, he called his immediate attention.
The General, being greatly heated by his own composition, was in a fit state to receive any inflammable influence; but he had no sooner possessed himself of the contents of these documents, than a change came over his face, involving such a huge amount of choler and passion, that the noisy concourse were silent in a moment, in very wonder at the sight of him.
'My friends!' cried the General, rising; 'my friends and fellow citizens, we have been mistaken in this man.'
'In what man?' was the cry.
'In this,' panted the General, holding up the letter he had read aloud a few minutes before. 'I find that he has been, and is, the advocate--consistent in it always too--of Nigger emancipation!'
If anything beneath the sky be real, those Sons of Freedom would have pistolled, stabbed--in some way slain--that man by coward hands and murderous violence, if he had stood among them at that time. The most confiding of their own countrymen would not have wagered then--no, nor would they ever peril--one dunghill straw, upon the life of any man in such a strait. They tore the letter, cast the fragments in the air, trod down the pieces as they fell; and yelled, and groaned, and hissed, till they could cry no longer.
'I shall move,' said the General, when he could make himself heard, 'that the Watertoast Association of United Sympathisers be immediately dissolved!'
Down with it! Away with it! Don't hear of it! Burn its records! Pull the room down! Blot it out of human memory!
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