Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter III: Stephen Joscelyn >> Page 37

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Page 37

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYN37
disparity between himself and fellows, in whose ears a bitter voice
perpetually murmurs; "you are unlike other men. You cannot feel
their confidence in society, in man or woman. Lo! all eyes behold
your deformity. All fingers point to that miserable member which
you are forever striving to conceal."
Such a voice speaks forever in the ears of the cripple, when
he possesses innate sensibilities of great keenness, which have been
trained by superior tastes. They quicken these sensibilities. They
keep them perpetually sore. It may be they harden the heart in
time against man and woman. Happy he who shall escape this
danger; who shall learn to bear his sufferings with an humble
spirit which sorrows over, but does not quarrel with his destiny.
At length, whatever the meditations of Stephen Joscelyn, a deep
groan broke from his bosom, followed by vague ejaculations, from
which, however, we may gather some clue to the subject of his
brooding moments.
"Unloved! and all alone! Shall it be so always? Will the one
fond, earnest craving to be loved, never be satisfied? Must I, alone,
of all, be denied the communion of some sympathizing nature, to
see me and know me as I am, through all my deformity? And
yet to love, not only vainly, but weakly ! To yearn towards one
who can satisfy no craving of thought or mind; who appeals only
to the sensuous and dependant fancy ! This is the curse over all!
To be decreed to feel a passion for the object from which the
thought perpetually revolts, but from which it vainly struggles to
be free. This is the misery ! I must escape from thought to action.
Better the headlong race, the struggle, the catastrophe sudden
bolt of doom in the desperate and wild issue where one obeys
only the fiery impulse of his blood, than this brooding day by
day in humiliating reveries and fancies which must end only in
atrophy or despair! It must be so!´┐Żand yet! But no! I can de-
ceive myself no longer ! She loathes the cripple ! I see it in all
her looks ! I read it in all her motions! Nay, more, so little is
she human, or woman, that she does not seek to conceal her dis-
like´┐Żand shall I still "
The rest of the speech was lost. He stopped himself suddenly,
as if there had been a listener at the entrance. Then he rose from
his chair, went to the door and threw it wide, looked forth, returned