Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XXVI: A L'outrance >> Page 233

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Page 233

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYN233
But in vain. Walter remained taciturn, responding only to direct
inquiries, of which he also seemed impatient. He strode the room
with his head drooping forward, his hands folded behind his back,
stopping occasionally in his walk, and sinking listlessly, at times, into
a chair, from which, as suddenly, he would rise again, only to resume
his walk.
Martin, meanwhile, continued seated beside his betrothed, and
finding all his efforts in vain to elicit from Walter the secret of his
seeming malady, he gave up the effort, and in low tones addressed
himself only to his fair companion. This forbearance, in respect to
himself, seemed to afford Walter evident relief. He grew more
composed, seated himself, and appeared lost in thought as he was in
silence.
The parties were thus grouped, when they were surprised by an
unexpected and unwelcome intruder. The door was opened quietly,
no footsteps had been heard without, and Major Alison made his
appearance in the centre of the parlor, before either of the group had
become aware of his presence or approach.
The effect was magical. Martin started up from the sofa, but not
before Alison had fully discovered the proximity of his head to the
brown tresses of the damsel. It is just possible, too, that he may have
seen that the left arm of Martin was hidden behind her person, on
the back of the sofa.
Our friend Martin, though a brave fellow, was decidedly beflus-
tered. He rose hurriedly, as we have said, and without seeming to
notice the intruder, walked hastily across the room to the spot where
Walter was sitting. The latter appeared wholly unmoved, and, as it
would seem, almost unconscious of the entry of the visitor, till fully
recalled to consciousness by the approach of Martin.
"So! so ! " muttered Alison, sotto voce, while a bitter smile spread
itself over his lips.
He advanced with a somewhat lordly salutation to the lady, a bow
to the gentlemen, and an inquiry after old Dunbar, addressed to his
son. The lady answered him.
"My father has retired for the night, Major Alison. He is some-
what unwell."
"Is it not possible for me to see him?"