Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XXI: Grace's Billet >> Page 203

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Page 203

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYN203
breakfast-room, where the ladies had already assembled, and was met
at the entrance by the beautiful Angelica, looking like the buxom, but
innocent May, just descended in a shower of roses. Who, in that gay
child-aspect and sunny, bright demeanor, could conceive the possibil-
ity of such demoniac passions in her bosom as could so deform her
visage the night before?
For a moment his own countenance lighted up as he beheld her.
But only for a moment. A settled gravity soon resumed its sway over
all his features, and there was a stern rigidity about his mouth, which
prevented any play of the muscles in that always most speaking
member of the face.
The usual salutations were cordially enough exchanged between
him and the rest of the family, but even he could see that there was
something cloudy in all features save those of Angelica.
And there were the broken mouth and swollen lips of Grace, not
contributing in any degree to render her sad, wan face attractive to
the lover of the beautiful.
He was not so absorbed in self as not to see the wound; and, while
inwardly contrasting the face with that of Angelica, to remark upon
it. It was natural enough that he should do so, and the heightened
color on the cheeks of his betrothed, as he asked the question, tended
still more to increase the gratifying contrast, which his thought had
made between her charms and the want of charm in the countenance
of Grace.
"Why, Grace, what have you been doing to your mouth? What
has done it?"
"Only a trifling hurt, Walter. My own folly."
"It is an ugly cut, Grace, not a trifling hurt, by any means. One
would almost suspect you of having been engaged in a bruizing
match. It is just such a wound as a good fist, by a skillful boxer, is
very apt to make. The upper lip seems to be divided."
It was now Grace's turn to become red in the face, while that of
Angelica grew as suddenly pale. Mrs. Kirkland was all in a fidget,
and, by a very awkward movement of her arm, overthrew the tea-
pot, with all its contents, upon the floor. There was a grand smash.
It was a most happy diversion.
Grace cried out :
"Have you scalded yourself, mother?"