Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XXI: Grace's Billet >> Page 199

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Page 199

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYN199
In the first place, "Walter would never lift his hand against a crip-
ple." But Grace suggested that a challenge might pass, and a duel
with pistols follow, the use of this weapon being suggested to put
the cripple on an equal footing with any man.
But Mrs. Kirkland had an answer for this also. She believed that
Stephen Joscelyn was too pious to resort to any such murderous
practice, even though Walter should invite him to the field. And,
finding her mother somewhat disposed to yawn over the farther
controversy, Grace retired back upon her own sad heart, weaving
apprehensive fancies in her brain, which kept her wakeful all night.
With early dawn she was up and stirring. She was not likely to be
disturbed for some hours. She took her writing materials, penned
several little notes, destroyed them as fast as she penned them, and
left the table unsatisfied.
Then, listening and watchful that no one should surprise her, she
resumed her efforts at the desk; and, after several more experiments
in writing, she appeared satisfied; swept the mutilated papers out of
sight, but hid one selected slip carefully away in her bosom.
It was a mere slip of paper, upon which she had written but a
single sentence, a small result from such labor and anxiety. But she
carefully folded and sealed it, and as we have said, hid it away in
that bosom, where lay harbored some other sad secrets of her own,
about which she dared neither to write nor speak.
She next proceeded, but very wearily, and with frequent signs of
forgetfulness, to her usual housekeeping duties. Arrangements were
made for the usual breakfast. Betty, the housemaid, was summoned;
the table spread out as usual, and when everything was ready, Grace
went up again to her mother's room, where she renewed the subject
of the last night.
The apprehensions which she felt were totally unrelieved.
But what to do?
Her mother was by no means the counsellor for such a case. Yet,
who else could she consult? Again the subject was discussed between
them, but nothing that the girl could say to the mother sufficed to
make her share in her anxiety. She had no fears of Stephen, even if
she could doubt Walter.