Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XXV: A Touch of Gout >> Page 231

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Page 231

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYN231

that last sentence which broke so unconsciously from his lips! What
a story did it tell of the despotic husband, terrible in his self-esteem,
ruling his household with the rod of iron; savage, if resisted in his
despotism; and in the sustenance and growth of his self-esteem, ut-
terly blind, deaf, and in every way insensible to the sweet sympathies,
the loving feelings, the warm tenderness, which, at every step, he
trode down beneath his feet.
Yet, old Dunbar fancied himself a Christian. He had daily prayers
in his family. He himself delivered them; read from the Bible, and
rose up always with a delightful sense of satisfaction. His loud tones,
his imperious manner, even while he prayed, with eyes open, but cast
upward, seemed all the while to say to the spectator, "God should be
very grateful to me now, for all that I am doing in his behalf on
earth."
Alas! alas! this miserable Humanity!
The groans of the father, which followed the flight of the son,
and which grew from that obtrusive memory of the pitiless past,
failed to effect any change in the mood or manner of the son. He
himself, full of his own agonizing sense of humiliation, had no ut-
tered anguish. The house, but for the groans from that upper cham-
ber, was all in silence, and these groans might be due quite as much
to the gout as to the human susceptibilities.
Yet, no! The son had struck a blow at the very heart of the father
which he felt through all the iron which incased it.