Dr. Lyman Hall straightened his tie as he approached Indepenence Hall. It was his first day as the new delegate from Georgia and he wanted to strike a good note on the other notable men in Congress.
He stood outside the entrance, took a deep breath, and pushed open the heavy double doors open and went into the room, too the Second Continental Congress. He could feel new-found energy rushing through my veins and he knew this was, excitement, nervousness, and responsibility.
Hall walked through the doorway and saw no one was there, except for one measly man filling ink bottles. I cleared my throat, hoping to get his attention.
"Yes?" said the little man.
Hall bowed, "I'm Dr. Lyman Hall, new delegate from Georgia."
"I'm Andrew McNair, Congressional Custodian. If you'll be wantin' anything at all, just holler out 'McNair' as you'll hear the others do and there won't be to long to wait."
Hall straightened up and scanned the room. "Where does the Georgia delegation belong?"
McNair pointed to the right of Hall, "Oh, they mill about over in that corner-near the two Carolinas."
Hall walked towards his state's designated side in the Congress room and checked his watch.
"It's after ten-I was told Congress convenes at ten," he said, turning back to McNair.
"They'll be wanderin' in any time now, sir-with Old Grape 'n Guts leadin' the pack."
Hall almost jumped when he heard the bellow.
"Grape n' Guts," McNair murmured.
"Fetch me a mug o' rum!"
Hall studied the newcomer and decided to approach him. He was a thin, round-shouldered man of about age seventy and he looked very determined to get his bottle of beer.
"Mr. Hopkins," said McNair, "you'll ve pleased to meet Dr. Lyman Hall-"
"I don't need a doctor, damit-"
Oh yes you do, thought Hall.
"-New delegate from Georgia."
"Why didn't you say so?" Hopkins started to walk towards Hall; he close enough for Hall to smell brandy from the last beverage he had had.
"I'm Stephen Hopkins, old delegate from Rhode Island. McNair," he called out, turning away from Hall "Two mugs o' rum!"
Hall put a hand on the man's shoulder, "I fear it's a little early in the day-"
Hopkins turned back towards Hall and brushed off his hand, "Nonsense! It's a medicinal fact that rum gets a man's heart started in the morning-I'm surprised you didn't know it. And speaking as the oldest man in Congress-"
"Ben Franklin's older by almost a year-" McNair cut in.
"Rum!" Hopkins bellowed and McNair scurried off to find more rum. "Now," he continued, "where does Georgia stand on the question of Independence?"
Hall took a small breath in, ready to answer the question, before another voice spoke up.
"With South Carolina, of course."
Hall almost sighed with relief before he turned to see a good-looking young man enter the room. He wore expensive white silk, something a bit more higher class than most of the men could afford in this Congress.
Hopkins laughed, "Good morning, Neddy. Shake the hand of Dr. Lyman Hall from Georgia. Doctor-this here is Edward Rutledge from-whichever Carolina he says he says he's from-God knows I can't keep 'em straight."
Hall held out his hand and Rutledge took it. "A pleasure, Dr. Hall," he said.
"Your servant, Mr. Rutledge," he replied.
"You've met the long and short of it now, doctor," Hopkins continued rambling, "Neddy, here is only twenty-six-he's the youngest of us-"
"Except for Ben Franklin-" Rutledge murmured.
"McNair!" Hopkins bellowed once more, turning away from the group.
"Your rum!" McNair bellowed to the side of Hall.
"Where do y' go for it, man-Jamaica?"
Rutledge smiled, turned away, and beconed Hall to follow him. Hall quickly sped up to follow Rutledge out of the room and into the hallway.
"Where does Georgia stand on Independence at he present time, Dr. Hall?"
Hall took a breath and said the answer that he had come up with a few seconds after stepping into the building, "I am here without instructions, ables to vote my own personal convictions."
"And they are?-"
"Personal," Hall cut through Rutledge's question.
"Dr. Hall," Rutledge said, taking a few more steps so that he was standing in front of Hall, "the deep South speaks with one voice. It is traditional-even more, it is historical."
Hall nodded for a minute, thinking about Rutledge's purposal, but then, another commotion arrived.
"Ah! Enter Delaware-tria juncta in uno!"
"Speak plain, Rutledge," one of the newcomers complained in a booming voice, "y' know I can't follow none o' y'r damn French!"
"Latin, Colonel McKean," Rutledge replied, "a tribute to the eternal peace and harmony of the Delaware delegation."
"What're y' sayin'n man? Y' know perfectly well neither Rodney nor I can stand this little wart!" He gestured to a small man next to him, small and round to be descriptive.
"Gentlemen-Gentleman-" Rutledge smiled, pushing Hall forward, "this is Dr. Lyman Hall of Georgia." He turned to Hall and gestered to each man, "Caesar Rodney," a thin, pale man with a green scarf tied around his face, "George Read," the small, round delegate, "And Colonel Thomas McKean," the tall man with the booming voice.
Hall held out his hand and shook all of them.
"Where do you stand on Independence, sir?" Rodney asked.
Hall glanced at Rutledge, "With South Carolina, it seems."
Rutledge gave a good, hearty laugh, "I leave the doctor in your excellent company, gentlemen." He bowed and walked away to join some other men that Hall had not become aquatinted with yet.
Hall watched as the rest of the men filed in, but then, he noticed someone pulling on his sleeve. He followed Rodney off to one of the far corners of the room, pushed open the door, and went to the middle of the door way.
"Tell me sir," Rodney said weakly, "would you be a doctor of medicine or theology?"
Hall answered with a smile; this question he could answer confidently, "Both, Mr. Rodney-which one can be of service?
"By all means the physician first! Then we shall see about the other."
Hall chuckled, "I'll call at your convenience, sir."
A distant cry of a horse signaled another state's delegates arriving to the meeting. Hall watched as two men got out of their carriage and made their way towards him and Rodney.
"I trust, Caesar, when you're through converting the poor fellow to Independency that you'll give the opposition a fair crack at him," said one of the newcomers when he reached the group. This new man was thin, and hawkish, looking ready to jump out at you at every chance that he had.
"You're too late, John-" Rodney greeted, "once I get 'em they're got." Rodney turned back to Hall, "Dr. Lyman Hall of Georgia, " he turned to the newcomer, "Mr. John Dickinson of Pennsylvania."
"An honor, sir," Dickinson said, sticking his hand out.
"Your servant," Hall replied, taking his hand.
Dickinson started walking towards the main entrance and Hall turned back to Rodney.
"Ah, Judge Wilson, forgive me," Rodney apologized to another man who was originally with Dickinson, "but how can anyone see you if you insist on standing in Mr. Dickinson's shadow?" He turned to Hall, "James Wilson, also of Pennsylvania."
"Sir," Wilson said curtly before following Dickinson through the entrance.
"An honor, sir," Hall called out to Wilson's retreating back.
"Good morning, all!" Hall heard someone call. He immediately to see who it was. He took a few steps before he recognized the face of Benjamin Franklin. He almost ran the rest of the way there.
"Good Lord, " he said, bowing low, "do you have the honor to be Dr. Franklin?"
Franklin put his staff underneth him and layed his foot on top of it. "Yes, I have that honor-unfortunately the gout accompanies the honor," he joked.
"Been living too high again, eh, pappy?" Hopkins started.
Hall knew that this was not his place to be, so he walked to his side of the room and waited for the meeting to start.