Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XIX: The Black Dog >> Page 189

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Page 189

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYN189
Walter silenced her by a groan, sinking back again upon the bank.
"What's the, matter, Walter?" she demanded.
"Hush!" he murmured. "Not a word ! Let me sleep a little!"
"Sleep!" she exclaimed. "Why, Walter, what can you be thinking
about? Sleep here, and the sun just going down? Come! It is time
to be going home. It will be quite dark before we get there."
He rose, but as one half stunned and stupid weakly, with an
effort, and turned a vacant face upon her. She was now, for the first
time, startled by its expression, or rather lack of expression its
chalky whiteness, and the doze that was conspicuous in his eyes.
"You are sick, Walter ! "
He groaned then, immediately, as it were, he answered with a
ghastly laugh
"Sick! What should make you think so? Ha ! ha! No, indeed not
sick, Angey."
"Oh! but you are sick, Walter!"
"Pooh! pooh! it is only want of sleep. If I could sleep now!"
And he turned his eyes, with apparent longing, to the bank side
against which he had lain.
She took his arm. Just then the singing of the fountain seemed to
take his ear, and he turned to it, filled the gourd, and drank freely
of the water. Then, shaking himself, as if to free himself from
drowsiness, he said :
"Come!" and, with her arm in his, the two silently ascended from
the valley.
When they had reached the elevated ridge, and stood upon the
public road, Walter stopped and scanned the track which had been
beaten up by the passage of the troopers. While he did so, he mut-
tered loudly enough for her to hear, but still as in soliloquy :
"Monstrous, indeed! That he should be a trooped �a a Captain of
cavalry ! he, the pedagogue! the deformed! whom men do not
seek!�whom women scorn ! "
He had evidently caught some of these words from her speech,
but he was prepared to put them to a different use. The monstrous-
ness of the thing lay elsewhere than in the vanity or presumption of
Stephen Joscelyn. Walter continued :
"It is monstrous! The world expects nothing from him; satisfied
that he plays his proper part as the pedagogue, men are not envious