Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XXXIV: The Fates Still at Work >> Page 289

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Page 289

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYN289
"My father, sir."
"Your father is an honorable man, but obstinate, wrong-headed,
and under the influence of some of the vilest scoundrels under the
sun. He has lately harbored in his dwelling one of the most venom-
ous serpents that ever lay in coil upon human hearth."
"Who? Alison?"
"I see you know; you suspect, if you do not know. It is fair in war,
in such times as these, that you see that you do not carry your fate in
your own wallet. Read your letters, and they will tell you that you
are used simply as a puppet; your veneration for your father being
made use of to neutralize all your own properties of manhood."
"You speak without circumlocution, sir."
"The only way, in a season like the present, and when we would
serve or save a friend. Read your letters, and you will rather burn
than deliver them. Proceed with them, blinded as you are, and you
rush upon your fate ! "
"Be it so! But I must go forward. Delusive as these letters may
be, I have pledged myself to deliver them; and I will do so, though
the fate shall take me by the throat a moment after ! "
"Well i well ! You are warned. I would save you from yourself."
"Who are you, sir, who know me and mine so well?"
"You are slow, Walter Dunbar, in a voyage of discovery. I fancied
that I had given you a sufficient key-note already, which would carry
you back some ten years or more. I can only repeat it, and leave you
to con its meaning, and take counsel from its warning, `Never let foe
or fate get the first clip at you!' "
"Ah! I know you now Ned Melton, my friend !
But the party spoken to had gone, and Lieutenant Sandys, entering
and interposing at the moment, warned Walter that his horse, prop-
erly equipped, was ready for him in the valley, while he, Sandys,
was prepared to accompany him to the outposts. Walter recognized
this communication as in the nature of an order, and, with an in-
voluntary sigh, looking curiously around him as he went, he followed
his guide and escort to the valley, and was finally conducted to the
outposts of the troopers.
When alone, riding forward slowly, he said to himself:
"So Ned Melton turns up at last ! How could I have forgotten
him? Yet how changed! And where can he have hidden himself all