Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Beauchampe; or, The Kentucky Tragedy. A Tale of Passion. >> Chapter XIII >> Page 130

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Page 130

Novel (Romance) | Lea and Blanchard | 1842
Transcription 130 BEAUCIIAMPE.

" You did not fail, sir ?" exclaimed the youth with a
painful expression of eager anxiety upon his countenance.
I did fail´┐Żfail altogether! In the first effort to speak,
I fainted, and was carried lifeless from the court-room."
The old man covered his face with his hands, for a few
moments, to conceal the expression of pain and mortifica-
tion which memory continued to renew in utter despite of
time. The young man's hand rested affectionately on his
shoulder. A few moments sufficed to enable the former
to renew his narrative.
I was stunned but not crushed by this event. I knew
my own resources. I recollected a similar anecdote of
Sheridan ; of his first attempt and wretched failure. I, too,
felt that ' I had it in me,' and though I did not express, I
made the same resolution, that ' I would bring it out.' But
Sheridan and myself failed from different causes, though
1 did not understand this at that time. He had a degree of
hardihood which I had not; and he utterly lacked my
sensibilities. The very intenseness of my ambition ; the
extent of my expectation ; the elevated estimate which I
had made of my own profession ; of its exactions ; and,
again, of what was expected from me ; were all so many
obstacles to my success. I did not so esteem them, then ;
and after renewing my studies in private, my exercises of
expression and manner, and going through a harder course
of drilling, I repeated the attempt to suffer a repetition of
the failure. I did not again faint, but I was speechless.
I not only lost the power of utterance, but I lost the cor-
responding faculty of sight. My eyes were completely
dazed and confounded. The objects of sight around me
were as crowded and confused as the far, dim ranges of
figures, tribes upon tribes, and legions upon legions, which
struggle in obscurity and. distance, in any one of the be-
grimed and blurred pictures of Martin's Pandemonium.
My second failure was a more enfeebling disaster than the
first. The first procured me the sympathy of my audi-
ence, the last exposed me to its ridicule."
Again the old man paused. By this time, the youth
had got one of his arms about the neck of- the speaker, and
had taken one of his hands within his grasp.
Yours is a generous nature, William," said Mr. Cal-
vert, and I have not said to you, until to-day, how grateful your boyish sympathies have been to me from the first