Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XVIII: Pretty, but Pernicious Prattle >> Page 180

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription I8oJOSCELYN
which Stephen was described to have made, in his manner and lan-
guage of contempt and scorn.
Angelica, still prattling, and passing to scores of small topics of the
city and the neighborhood, did not see the effect of her revelations.
The closely compressed lips, the clenched teeth, the savage glare of
eye, all of which denoted the workings within him of the demon
which she had so thoughtlessly roused, and which he could not en-
tirely subdue or repress, yet in great degree escaped her attention.
It is astonishing how blind a thing is satisfied vanity; how it will, in
the exultation of its instincts, continue to goad the sufferings of others,
even those whom it would fain soothe and conciliate. To look out
from self, and see what eye it is that weeps; to open the ear, and
hearken to the moan or the groan of the spirit which it wounds mor-
tally at every look or utterance; to think from the necessities of other
hearts, and to feel from the inevitable pain in other bosoms; these
powers are self-denied to that miserable child, vanity, which is at once
the progeny of a sensuous and selfish nature, and a feeble intellect.
She could see that Walter Dunbar no longer abandoned himself to
that play of the passions which belongs to the intercourse of young
people so related as were they, was no longer pleased "to sport with
Amaryllis in the shade," and twine "the tangles of Naera's hair," but
she could ascribe the change to nothing that she had said; could
ascribe it only to coldness, caprice, and the love of change, so natural,
as she said, to men; could only repeat her cuckoo note of reproach
the common-places of such a child on sucha topic.
"Oh! Walter, you love me no longer. I see it, I feel it. You are
so cold; so changeable; just like all your cruel sex, that don't know
and don't care what heart you are breaking."
And Walter would make a desperate effort to soothe and satisfy
the pretty puppet at his side; would fold her in his arms, and re-
assure her with reluctant words of homage, coldly uttered, and seal
the empty assurance with his repeated kisses; and the silly thing
would take the false counters as good coin, and still see nothing of
the bitterness that kept working in that soul, which was yet required
to pour forth speeches of sweetness, nor the fever burning in those
lips, the kisses of which were yet supposed to be those only which
contained the honey-dews of love ! No; there was no more love-
making that day such as had been before.