Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XXV: A Touch of Gout >> Page 229

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Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYN229
was what they had to correct; and, to decide his course, they very
well conceived that the processes employed should be to give him a
proper bias, under leading minds; assail his virtues through his im-
pulses and passions; minister to his self-esteem as much as possible,
and when once committed to some overt act or speech, it was felt,
and believed, that his self-esteem, or, if you will so call it, his sense
of honor, would keep him faithful to the cause. They were to keep
him among them in constant intercourse with the chief men, and
unapproachable by persons of adverse sentiments; and thus, from
hearkening only to one mode of speech, argument, and opinion, they
reasonably calculated on giving the necessary direction to a mind, the
great defect of which was the absence of that wit which is so essential
to the manly virtues in any character.
Verily, a very pretty plot, which old Dunbar persuaded himself
was quite justifiable, though his son was the subject of it.
We have said that he received his son coldly. Perhaps it would
have been better to have said that he received him without any show
of affection or sympathy. For he was not cold, but irritable, and even
passionate. Naturally of impatient and irritable temperament, he was
now suffering from an attack of the gout, which kept him from his
daily practice upon his war horse. For his son, he had few words,
and these were simply commands.
"You will go," said he, "to-morrow?"
"I will go," was the answer.
"Start at daylight."
"At daylight."
"Very good! I will not see you then again till your return."
The young man bowed his head in silence. The father gazed at
him sternly and steadfastly for a few moments. Their eyes met. The
stern coldness of glance in the one, was encountered by a sort of va-
cant, apathetic, unmeaning stare in the other.
The submission of the young man the passive, soulless, lifeless,
indifferent air and manner so full, as it seemed, of utter hopeless-
ness, suddenly touched the father's heart. He fancied that this con-
dition was the result of the exercise of his own authority. He could
not otherwise understand it. He little knew, had not as yet heard of
that recent humiliation on Beach Island, super-added to those which
had gone before, which had been as the last feather on the back of