Mugwumps, Excoriate, Suss
The rain came hard, a long steady downpour. It was cold outside, windy and wet and this evening that made for a great night at the Boar’s Head. The tavern was warm and well-lit, the music was loud and the wenches sassy.
Two tall mugs of ale slammed down on the table in front of Matthew Nelson, spraying foam and rocking the table. The girl gave him a tired smile, missing a few teeth and clucking at him.
“So will you be havin’ supper then?” She asked, “Ee’s closing the kitchen soon, you know.”
Matthew waved her off; they wouldn’t be staying that long. He saw Adam Hancock on his way over. Adam wasted no time in niceties, laying into Matthew immediately.
“Matthew, these attacks are solely based on personal prejudice, and have been rightly excoriated by the people of these colonies.”
Adam put out his hand as he sat. “Matthew it’s a hard time for folks around here, hard times.” They shook hands and Adam lowered his voice and continued. “Every subject of the King knows his prejudices and whims. That is why we continue to rebel against the greed and inequality his reign has subjected us to. Matthew we need you to join us in this fight.”
Matthew shook his head, not entirely convinced. He wanted to suss the situation out, keep quiet and let the thing unfold. It didn’t look as if it was going to play out that way. Adam wanted immediate action, but such brashness usually got one in trouble. He had a wife and children, a business – things that Adam didn’t have to worry about. He had good reason for caution.
“Adam, I urge, once again, caution. One cannot run pell mell…” Matthew began, but Adam interrupted.
“You’ve turned into an old mugwump. You cannot make up your mind whether you are with us or against,” Adam said angrily.
“Ah the brash righteousness of youth. Everything must be done right now, every decision you make is right without question and every thought to enter your thick brain is right too. Has it occurred to you that if we cross the King now he will respond with force? Are you trained for battle? Is your father, little brother? How about your good neighbor, a friend of mine, I do say. He has a wife and small child. Are they ready to lose all they own?
“We are but a small and isolated place. There is no point in mounting a huge defense against such a small uprising. Far easier for the King to simply send his men to wipe us out, to a man. No Adam. Now is not the time for such decisions. Work must be done, work! You must send men to in to other towns and gain allies in this. Only then will you be able to mount a sensible defense against the Crown.”
Matthew set his mug down and rose from his seat. He gathered his coat and hat, and bid Adam good evening. Adam sat and mulled the conversation, in a temper now, but knowing that Matthew was right. Soon enough the serving girl came around again and slapped another mug on the table.
“Compliments ‘o the gent that just left,” she tossed over her shoulder as she left. Adam chuckled. Good old Matthew, it would not do to ignore his advice.