Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter IX: Outbreak >> Page 86

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Page 86

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription 86JOSCELYN
"But shall this prospect discourage me? What shall I lose of the
certain now by the adoption of my true profession? Is it not my true
profession? I believe it. I feel it in me, the power to persuade, to
convince, to inspire my people. I shall not for a long season realize
its profits. But what do I need for life? Are the means of life such
a life as mine not as easily attainable by law as by these daily drudg-
eries of the pedagogue? What are my needs what should be my
wants beyond the simplest necessities of life? Coarse brown bread, a
few ounces of meat daily, and such clothes as keep from cold and
cover nakedness no more! What should I do with fine garments,
silks and satins and broadcloth, but expose to vulgar ridicule the de-
formities of the cripple!"
And, with a bitter smile, he gazed upon the crippled limb, and
sate for a while in silence. His musings soon again took the form of
soliloquy.
"At all events, I must quit this dwelling. Here I feel that I am
weak weak to very feebleness of heart, and doubly miserable, as I
not only love in vain, but love unwisely ! Alas ! for the melancholy
conflict between heart and brain ! That one should despise the poverty
of aim in his own affections !
"And yet, she is very beautiful!�very beautiful ! But, lacking
heart, how loathsome to the thought her very beauty ! I must fly
from its fascinations; I must go hence! I can endure this misery no
longer ! "
He rose and took down his books. But he strove in vain to read.
He could not fix the letters in his eye. Thought wandered, and, with
a deep groan, he replaced the books upon his shelves, and paced the
room with awkward movement, but with the stride of one in whom
the most powerful passions were busily at work, and not to be kept
down by will.
Night came on; and still he strode to and fro, though no sunlight
now stole into his window with its golden reassuring smiles. A tap
at his door, and the kindly voice of Mrs. Kirkland summoned him to
supper.
He had not dined. He felt in no humor to sup. The full head,
the sad heart were fatal to appetite. But he went forth, and the good
widow met him at the door with her wonted smiling.