The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters Chapter Nineteen: Talk of Rebellion

19 02 2010

The Property of Lee Harrison Peeters

Chapter Nineteen: Talk of Rebellion

The stranger sits out on a chair in front of the barbershop. Takes out his pipe and watches the day disappear. The air is cool. The smoke from his pipe mixes with his breath. His dog curls up around his feet. Folks in the town pass by. Some nod. The stranger responds in kind. Sometimes he engages them in conversation. Shows them the sketch of the black man.  No one recognizes him.

As darkness approaches, the stranger steps away from the barbershop and makes his way back to his hotel. At his hotel, Montgomery’s Inn, there are many horses outside. Although it is dark, there are several children on the street. The General walks beside the stranger ignoring the children’s attempts to pet him. Inside the inn there is a heated meeting going on. Men are yelling at each other although there is no sign of violence. In the middle of them is brightly uniformed man called General Van Rensselaer.  The stranger makes his way to the bar, gestures to the innkeeper who moves down the bar.

The stranger turns to the innkeeper.

Stranger: “Quite a party you’re having here.”

Innkeeper: “That’s Will Mackenzie. The one doing all the fancy talking.”

The stranger: “You don’t say. He’s much taller in person.”

Innkeeper points to a garishly attired military figure.

Innkeeper: “That fellow over there is General Van Rensselaer.”

The stranger orders an ale and listens to the discussion for a time. Mackenzie’s talk as he drinks his ale. Mackenzie raises his hand and points to the ceiling.

Mackenzie: “The time for talk is over. Action is demanded. Remember Papineau. Soon British thugs will be knocking at your door. To camp inside your home. To eat your provisions. To drag your son off to…”

The stranger becomes bored. He gestures to the innkeeper.

The stranger: “I suppose it would be too much to ask for a bath.”

Innkeeper: “Tonight, it would.”