Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XXIV: After the Storm >> Page 224

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription 224JOSCELYN
She was not the woman to comprehend this speech.
"But I won't, Walter, not while I live, and while you live. Never,
never, never ! "
And she wound her arms about his neck, and hung upon him
fondly; but her kisses might as well have been pressed upon lips of
marble. He felt them not he did not requite them, but very quickly
unclasped her arms from about his neck, and paced the floor with his
own arms crossed upon his bosom, his chin drooping down, as if seek-
ing rest also, and his eyes communing only with the floor.
"Doomed!" he exclaimed, bitterly; "doomed!�with every for-
ward step taken only towards some mocking humiliation! Oh ! God,
what jibes, what mockings will follow upon this last most bitter ac-
tion. Fool! fool that I am, to learn no wiser lessons from the past
not to see that my true wisdom is to crawl out of the sun's eye, and
hide myself from a world, in whose fields I can only reap humili-
ation."
She followed his steps she again clung about his neck. She longed
to tell him of her crime and error; but her feeble and vain nature
was too much for her courage, her truthfulness, or magnanimity and
sense of justice. She felt that she ought to relieve his self-reproach
by her own by self-accusation and repentance; but her nature was
too little earnest for even this small degree of self-sacrifice. And
while she hung upon him, seeking by fondness to reconcile him to
himself, there was a rap at the outer door. Then both remembered
that the tread of a horse had been heard, from the road, but a few
moments before.
The rap was repeated.
It was late. All the servants had gone to bed.
Walter went to the door, and the surprise which he felt was na-
tural enough, when he found himself face to face with no less a
person than Major Alison.
He was, as we well know, no admirer of Major Alison. There
was no cordiality between them. But common courtesy compelled
Walter to be civil; and then, Major Alison took an early moment
to say that he brought letters from his (Walter's) father, which
required instant attention.