Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XI: The Crisis >> Page 105

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYNI05
"To be sure, you shall see him that is, when it is altogether
proper, or when you shall be needed. You can be within call. But, if
he be out of his head, the fewer who see him the better. You can
understand that. You are also to understand that these are our lodg-
ings now, not your's. Let us go to him."
When the ladies entered the chamber, they heard the voice of
Walter in rapid utterance. He raved incessantly, while all his limbs
were kept in almost equally rapid and spasmodic motion with his
tongue. His arms were thrown out wildly, his eyes rolled with a
hazy sort of glare, the pupils greatly distended, and always in motion.
Miss Janet approached the bed, grasped the wrist of the patient
with all the strength and pressure of her fingers, fixed a steady and
keen penetrative glance upon his eyes, and, in really very stern ac-
cents, such as we should have scarcely looked to hear from her lips,
she said:
"Walter, my son, do you know me?"
For a moment his eyes rolled wildly, then seemed uncertainly to
flicker, as it were, like the flame of a dying candle sinking in the
socket, and at length steadily encountered the intense gaze in her's.
A moment after, he murmured :
"Yes, aunty, I know you ! " and he returned the pressure of her
hand.
Something had been gained! It was the first show of consciousness
which he had given since the preceding midnight. A strong will had
coerced the wandering reason back to its proper place. But for a mo-
ment only ! In another instant he was again raving, with eyes rolling
wildly as ever, and every limb in spasmodic activity, tossing to and
fro.
But something had been gained, and Miss Janet persuaded herself
that she might at intervals thus continue to coerce into consciousness
the wandering intellect not that she held it desirable to do so. She
had a theory that the aberrations of the mind, during these fits of
delirium, and under the stimulating effects of fever, were among the
remedial processes of nature, and necessary for the relief of that strain
and tension of the brain which otherwise, following one fixed idea,
would be found insupportable. To recall the mind occasionally back
to consciousness, she deemed an equal necessity, but she could not well
explain why. Psychology may be found to do so. It is enough that