Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XXIV: After the Storm >> Page 223

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYN223
conversation, he would start up and walk the room in silence. He
did not trust himself with Angelica alone, nor, at present, did she
desire that he should. Both, for reasons of their own, were unwill-
ing to be alone together. She feared his questioning. He did not
distrust her, though, had he better known Stephen Joscelyn´┐Żhad he
not been persuaded that Stephen had played a viperous and treacher-
ous part he might have been startled at his solemn and stern denial
of the charge made against him, and of the manly forbearance he
had shown, when taught that a lady's name was involved in the
slander which he yet so solemnly denied. It was the keen sense of
humiliation, in the heart of the lover, that made him shrink from
every exposure of his weaknesses or humiliation, to the eye of Ange-
lica. They had a brief interview that night, and, silly as ever, she
would fain have gratified her curiosity, at the expense of his sensi-
bilities. She forgot his entreaties, as well as the counsels of Grace, so
far as to say :
"But tell me, Walter, what did take place between you?"
Then, sternly looking at her, he answered :
"Have I not implored of you all, that you would not refer any
more to this subject?"
"But that was before them all, Walter. Surely, it is different when
you are alone with me?"
"Were you wise, Angelica, you would know that our policy is to
discourse of things only which are grateful. Enough for you to know
that the result of the affair this day has put my mind in such a frame,
that I know not if the things which have pleased me once will ever
please me again. I know not that even your love will ever be to me
the precious thing that it was before."
"Oh! don't you say so, Walter."
"My heart has grown old in the last few hours. I feel it withering
within me. Ay, Angelica, I think it would be better for you, if yours
would close against me, and open only to some more happy suitor
one upon whom the Fates do not always frown ! I am a doomed man.
Every step I take, even in the flush of hope, youth, ambition and
pride, conducts me only to new humiliation. Better for you, perhaps,
than wedding such a lover, forswear our sex forever, and live a life
of maiden solitude, never looking out upon the sun."