Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XXIV: After the Storm >> Page 218

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription 218JOS.CELYN
He answered with a half idiotic laugh, but continued on, still ply-
ing the spur, and seemingly anxious to make his escape.
Mrs. Kirkland immediately wheeled about, applying the whip to
her own horse, which was one of those good old sedate beasts, to
which we give the name of a family horse, meaning by that such a
well-bred domestic animal as anybody can drive. The whip did not
materially accelerate the movement of "old Bob." His flanks were
inaccessible to persuasion of this sort, at least when administered only
by a female hand; and he continued to jog on, at an even pace, philo-
sophically slow, while the steed of Walter was going forward at a
topping pace, almost amounting to a run. He had no guidance from
his rider, but naturally took the route back to the stables where he
had been sumptuously fed the previous night. He reached home,
accordingly, a considerable time before the ladies in the chaise.
Grace Kirkland, whose feverish anxieties had kept her on the look-
out, happened to be in the piazza at the moment of Walter's arrival.
Her terrors were heightened as she beheld his condition. He was
there he was safe. But the blood upon his garments showed that
there had been a violent conflict. Was it his blood or that of Stephen
Joscelyn? The appearance was natural, as the former had returned
in safety, that the blood was that of the latter.
She could not speak. Her limbs tottered,beneath her. Yet a fear-
ful fascination kept her in the piazza, watching the person of Walter,
who seemed disposed to linger, with his steed, in the stable whither
he had ridden him at once.
She could no longer endure the shocking doubts, fears and anxie-
ties, which kept crowding upon brain and soul, a formidable host,
more terrible than an army with banners.
She went forth towards the stable. As he saw her approaching, he
advanced to meet her. He had probably hoped, in her withdrawal
from the piazza, to make his way to his chamber without being en-
countered and questioned on his way. The agony was before him of
making known his own defeat, and confessing to others the secret of
his humiliations. He could not escape it now.
Shocked at the spectacle which his person and dress presented to
her eyes, and which was infinitely more significant of strife as she
approached, than it had been at a distance, she exclaimed, as they
met :