Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter IV: Grace and Angelica >> Page 46

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription 46JOSCELYN
This terrible speech was delivered in the gayest and liveliest man-
ner, the eyes of the speaker embracing, as it were, the whole table;
bright and blazing with sarcastic fires, while the pleasantest smile
played about the mouth.
It paralyzed the circle. The thought at once occurred to both
Angelica and her mother, that the conversation between them had
been overheard, and yet, upon a moment's reflection, they felt that
to be impossible; for they knew the moment when he rode to the
stable, and the period when, after some delay, he had reached the
house, where Grace had met him at the porch.
But the speech was received in dead silence. The cheeks of Ange-
lica paled, and then instantly flushed, while the mother looked about
her with a troubled and bewildered countenance.
"What!" said he, in merry tones, "have you nothing to say which
shall encourage my hopes? Do you not see that I am as much excited
by the idea of holiday as the boy first let loose from school, with a
month's freedom for his Christmas in the country? Do you not per-
ceive how grand are my anticipations of pleasure? and how should
I find this pleasure unless by display, provoking vulgar admiration,
and compelling people as they pass, to turn about and ask, `who is
that? what a noble figure, what a fine carriage, and especially what
a stately walk!' I have been wasting time, my dear Madame, too
long upon these acquisitions which do not tell outwardly and upon
society. I have been cultivating the Muses to the neglect of the
graces. I am going to put myself to school. I hear of a grand ball
to-morrow night. You will hear of me there in a lavolta. I will show
to the fair women of Augusta that I, too, possess those personal
charms and accomplishments which the world deems so necessary to
success ! "
Stephen Joscelyn seemed disposed to talk against time. He was
playing a part, of course. Mrs. Kirkland was confounded. The eyes
of Grace filled with tears, and she left the table and the room. He
did not seem to notice her departure. His eyes fastened upon the
face of Angelica; keen, quick, sharp, piercing, as if he would look
her through, and she, abashed at a certain humiliating self-conscious-
ness, dared not encounter his gaze, which her instincts told her was
yet fixed upon her, and her only.