(Oh yes, another new and potable portion from a chapter, this one posted with A Republic of Books, the novel in progress to be found elsewhere on this site.)
A novel is a flimsy currach indeed in which to set out on a journey such as this. The urgency to remain afloat supersedes all else. But a reasonable destination must be chosen and achieved, while most heavy baggage must be left ashore. The number of passengers is necessarily limited, and movement is restricted. Nevertheless, we sally forth, if a barging may be called a sally.
Revolutions are not made. They are stumbled upon. Many are attempted. But few revolutionaries avoid the gibbet. One moment the malcontents were arguing among themselves about what sort of association might be allowed with their King, and in the next a courier with news of shots fired at Lexington and Concord arrives. Thence, the ne’er-do-well editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine, previously peace loving, has “rejected the hardened, sullen-tempered Pharaoh of England forever.” The point is, no matter all the talk, not one of those true geniuses that fashioned the old Republic had imagined a United States of America before April 1775.
I am thinking that the lack of preparation to that end was what saved them. Had they thought too long on the subject they would likely have found room to compromise. At the least, they would have turned on themselves, in an effort to gain the upper hand. Power does that to the mind. For proof, just look at what happened as soon as the steady hand of Washington was off the tiller of that fragile vessel, the first of its kind and now perhaps the last.
Understand, I am not yet making revolution. Nor am I, as Mr. Paine was when that lost country “was set on fire” about his ears, “a wisher for a reconciliation.” But alike him now, having failed at all my other endeavors, I am finally hoping for that struggle. Against all odds. For my children’s sake.
I am already far older than George Washington was when he led that endeavor. I’d rather sit on the beach or wash the grass bend to the wind in Iowa.
But concerning revolution, a revolt by slaves looking for a new master does not have a better outcome. And this was the very point I attempted to make with Evelyn Wright, a friend of Stella’s, that very morning. She was clearly very bright, and well intentioned, I think, but still a product of the ‘progressive’ public educational system that was turning out bigots and fascists faster than learned reason or experience could accommodate. In her frame of mind, everyone was now necessarily judged by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character. All whites were guilty of the actions of their great-grandfathers. Original sin had been reborn, without the sacraments. And I, particularly, was suspect because, as Stella’s ‘boss,’ I’d apparently had some terrible influence over her.