Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XXIV: After the Storm >> Page 225

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYN225
He was conducted into the parlor, introduced to Miss Angelica,
and soon Mrs. Kirkland, who had not retired for the night, was sum-
moned to receive one of these letters.
That to Walter summoned him home, in very imperative lan-
guage. The father wrote :
"I have important business which you must attend to. I can con-
fide to no person but yourself. It is desirable that Major Alison
should spend a part of his time on the river, a part of it on Beach
Island, from whence he will need to go into the contiguous country.
I could desire that our cousin Mary ( Mrs. Kirkland,) would give
him a welcome to her dwelling, for a brief period, and thus serve
one who is, even now, busied in the service of her kinsman. I have
written to her on this subject. It is desirable that the presence of
Major Alison, at her residence, should remain unknown and unsus-
pected, as long as possible. He will adopt and continue such precau-
tions as he may deem necessary for security."
The letter to Mrs. Kirkland was to the same effect. That good
lady, though she had not forgotten that she had a quarrel, or, as she
phrased it, "a crow to pluck," with her cousin Dunbar, was sufficiently
prompt and courteous in her welcome to Major Alison, who began,
accordingly, to play the courtier, with his wonted grace and subtlety.
He made himself very soon quite at home, and Angelica very
quickly displayed her satisfaction, in a prolonged conversation with
so charming a guest.
Walter was astounded at the facility with which, in a few moments,
she had thrown off all the signs of that passionate anxiety which had
made her cling to his neck with such fervid.professions. But he was
not displeased with any influence which could divert the keen eye of
Alison from his own mental distraction.
Having done the honors to her new guest, provided refreshments,
roused up Billy to see to and feed the horse of the stranger, the good
lady, followed by her daughter, retired to rest. She had previously
indicated to Walter the chamber she had designed for Alison, and he
was left to "do the honors."
The two gentlemen were left together. Alison showed himself
disposed to be flexible, and was talkative enough, if not communica-
tive. Walter was as stately and reserved as usual. The only subject
upon which he could have desired that the other should speak,