Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XXVII: Touched to Fine Issues >> Page 240

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Page 240

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription 24OJOSCELYN
"Deliver this to-morrow as soon as possible to Jack Cummings. I
will say nothing of its contents. You, accordingly, know nothing of
them. You have promised Annie, so I understand it, to do nothing
yourself in this business. There is hardly a possibility that Alison
will force any meeting upon you, nor is it likely that any opportunity
will occur for a rencontre between you. You will keep your word to
Annie, I know, and I need not ask you for any promise to me. We
must part now, Martin. But, before we do so, I must refer vaguely
to another affair about which I can tell you nothing. You will hear
of it soon enough from other parties. You will then understand why
my mood is such to-night. It may be that the action of which I have
been guilty, and of which you will surely hear, will outrage all your
sensibilities, possibly lose me all your sympathies."
"Oh! never, Walter."
"Do not be too fast. You will be shocked. Your wonder will be
great, that I should have so forgotten your claims upon me in the
passions which were provoked by another. I am shocked and re-
volted myself, and wonder at my own insanity when I think of it;
but my humiliation is beyond description. It is my proper punish-
ment, and it crushes me to the earth. All I can say is, Martin, that
I am full of remorse at my offence, and despise myself at my folly.
Will you give me your hand, at parting, my friend? You can tell me
hereafter whether you can forgive me! "
"Give you my hand, Walter?" cried Martin, throwing his arms
round the neck of the other. "You have hand and heart, old fellow,
as you have ever had, since the days when we were playfellows.
What mysteries are these that you are talking of?"
"They will be no mysteries to you by to-morrow night ! You will
then understand the whole. You will see how great has been my
folly you will, perhaps, conceive the cause of it you will know too
well what is my offence to you, and I can only hope that you will
forgive it, in the conviction that, in its commission, I was under a
sort of insanity. Let us part now. You know not how great is the
effort I make to say so much, and to say it calmly. I seem to myself
like the victim of some cruel fate that shapes me, as the winds shape
the light clouds of an April sky, to what ridiculous forms they please.
One embrace, Martin and now leave me ! I can talk no more say
no more nothing to explain a matter which you will soon hear from