Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter IX: Outbreak >> Page 88

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Page 88

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription 88JOSCELYN
"Yes, I am strange ! " he said aloud "strange to myself no less
than to others. It is not wonderful, Mrs. Kirkland, that it should be
so. In degree, we are all strange in some sense of the word, as de-
praved in thought or feeling as in figure or movement ! "
A long pause followed this speech, and the party silently sipped
their tea. Even Stephen made some show of sipping his. But at
length the elder sister broke the awkward silence.
"You have not told us, Stephen, of the gathering to-day."
"What should I tell you, Grace, save that there was a great gather-
ing; quite a crowd, indeed, for Augusta? The people flocked in from
all quarters from all the surrounding country for a circuit prob-
ably of ten or fifteen miles; in gig and chaise, and on horseback,
making a great show, without much variety. Suppose a crowd of our
people, all eager, noisy, and excitable, and you can readily conceive
the sight. The aspects are sufficiently monotonous."
"But the speaking, Stephen? Was there much of that? Was Judge
Drayton there? Did he really come?"
"He was there, and spoke according to engagement."
"And how did you like him?"
"Very much, indeed. He speaks well, and thinks well, and was
quite familiar with his subject."
"But," said the younger sister, now for the first time speaking, and
with something of a sneer on her lips, "but I suppose he said nothing
which you did not know before?"
He gave her a single look, and with deliberate effort answered
calmly :
"Much, Miss Angelica, and fully came up to all my expectations,
satisfying all my doubts. He was full of facts which our people knew
not, and of which I was quite as ignorant as any of his audience."
"But, did he speak well, Stephen? Was he what is called elo-
quent?" was the query of the elder sister.
"Hardly, in any very elevated sense of the word. He spoke well,
however lucidly; with great good sense, much frankness, and seem-
ing candor, with a nice classical polish, but, perhaps, with a suavity
and sweetness, a delicacy and finish which, lacking in passion, or much
warmth or enthusiasm, could not exactly be ranked as eloquent speak-
ing. He spoke to the purpose, and with grace. He satisfied the
desires of the people; gave them the information which they needed,