Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XVIII: Pretty, but Pernicious Prattle >> Page 174

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription 174JOSCELYN
should pretend to me, and follow me about just as if I was some of
his own property, and I engaged to you all the time."
"But he did not know that, Angey. You know how long it was
our secret, even from your mamma and Grace."
"That's true, Walter. But whether he knew it or not, what was
his love to me? How should I think of such a creature? How should
he dare to think of me, or to suppose that I should care for such
as he?"
There was much in all this miserable egotism that revolted what
there was of humanity and good sense in the bosom and the brain of
Walter Dunbar; but man rarely questions too closely that nature in
woman, which, however unjust to other men, still utters itself warmly
in his own behalf, and, when beholding her lover look with sad grav-
ity upon her, Angelica put her arms about his neck, and murmured:
"Yes, Walter, how impudent of him to suppose, that, loved by
you, I should ever think of him?"
He replied to her with a kiss and a smile, and the twain walked
away together, musing sweet things, into the shadows of the woods,
and took their seats beside each other upon the familiar trunk of the
fallen tree.
But the thought of Walter was still in a state of unrest, and un-
satisfied. He resumed the subject:
"Stephen Joscelyn," said he, "though a cripple, is yet a very re-
markable man, Angey; and, though he may err in loving you, yet I
do not see that there is cause of complaint in that. That his tastes and
fancies should spring like mine, and take a like direction, would
argue, Angey, that there was much sympathy between us. I should
not count it arrogance or presumption that he should love and even
seek you, Angey; and surely there is penalty sufficient for the offence,
if offence it be, that he has failed to win your person. If you will
permit me, my love, I will say that I think you speak of him quite
too harshly. That he is a cripple, is sufficient reason why you should
speak of him tenderly, with pity, if not sympathy. The people all
speak of him in terms not only of respect, but endearment. He is
doing good service to the young of this region. He is known to be a
man of talents; your mother, too, thinks highly of him."
"Yes, indeed; she and Grace almost worship him, and they have
scolded me, dozens of times, for my treatment of him. But, because