Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter IV: Grace and Angelica >> Page 45

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Page 45

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYN45
"Ah! my beloved Shakspeare�thou universal voice ! I must leave
thee; but thou shalt be with me still ! Thou wilt cling to me forever.
I shall hear thee at all hours, and thou wilt speak to every feeling
of my heart; to every need of my mind; to all passions; all emotions,
all hopes and fears, and every necessity. Thou shalt also speak to
me sweetest, yet sharpest of all satirists of the sex of woman;
what she is not, and what she should be. I have thee by heart as I
have little else, and thy lessons give fervor to my resolve. I will
shake off this miserable insanity of weakness, and assert my proper
manhood. It is an oath in Heaven ! So help me, Heaven ! "
He was summoned to dinner.
Here, once seated, it seemed that he had shaken off all the turbid
humors which had so recently darkened his mind. His manner was
light, graceful, and even gay. Not a forced gaiety, but that reckless
sort of abandon, in which the spirit seems to shake off all its fetters,
in very desperation, and mock its own previous weakness with a lev-
ity, the bitterness in which is perhaps hardly perceptible to itself.
"My dear Mrs. Kirkland," said Stephen, "I am about to give my-
self a holiday, and I feel already the sense of freedom. I have given
the school holiday for the rest of the week, and shall visit Augusta
to-morrow. Can I do anything while in town for yourself or the
young ladies?"
"Why, Stephen, that is something now for you, taking holiday !
And what carries you to Augusta?�what are you going to do there?"
The question was thoughtless, and something unfortunate.
"Show myself, my dear Madam show my admirable proportions;
the symmetry of my figure, the graces of my movement. I have nay
vanities as well as other people, and expect to become the observed
of all observers. Don't you think that I shall make a great sensation?
I shall be judged by my outside, Mrs. Kirkland, for that is the com-
mon method; and, judging thus, the good citizens will give me credit
for great moral loveliness ! How fortunate it is that we do judge by
the outside. How terrible it would be were the spectator to be able
to pierce the rind to the core penetrate to the soul or heart and
see what a foul and leprous thing may be harbored in a beautiful
form and figure the venom of the serpent under the polished and
diamond-mottled skin ! "