Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Beauchampe; or, The Kentucky Tragedy. A Tale of Passion. >> Chapter XIII >> Page 131

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Page 131

Novel (Romance) | Lea and Blanchard | 1842
Transcription BEAUCHAMPE. 131

day when you became my pupil. It is my knowledge of
these sympathies, and a desire to reward them, that
prompts me to tell a story which still brings its pains to
memory, and which would be given to no other ears than
your own. I see that you are eager for the rest--for the
wretched sequel."
Oh, no ! sir�do not tell me any more of it if it
brings you pain. I confess I should like to know all,
but.
You shall have it all, my son. I1'Ty purpose would
not be answered unless I finished the narrative. You will
gather from it, very possibly, the moral which I could not.
You will comprehend something better, the woful dis-
tinction between courage of the blood and courage of the
brain ; between the mere recklessness of brute impulse,
and the steady valour of the soul�that valour, which,
though it trembles, marches forward to the attack�reco-
vers from its fainting, to retrieve its defeat ; and glows
with self indignation because it has suffered the moment
of victory to pass, without employing itself to secure the
boon !
Shame, and a natural desire to retrieve myself, ope-
rated to make me renew my efforts. I need not go through the processes by which I endeavoured to acquire the ne-
cessary degree of hardihood. In vain did I recal the fact
that my competitors were notoriously persons far inferior
to me in knowledge of the topics ; far inferior in the capa-
city to analyze them ; rude and coarse in expression ; un-
familiar with the language�mere delvers and diggers in a
science in which I secretly felt that I should be a master.
In vain did I recal to mind the fact that I knew the community before which I was likely to speak ; I knew its
deficiencies ; knew the inferiority of its idols, and could
and should have no sort of fear of its criticism. But it
was myself that I feared. I had mistaken the true censor.
It was my own standards of judgment that distressed and
made me tremble. It was what I expected of myself
what I thought should be expected of me�that made my
weak soul recoil in terror from the conviction that I must
fail in its endeavour to reach the point which my ambi-
tious soul strove to attain. The fear, in such cases, pro-
duced the very disaster, from the anticipated dread of which
it had arisen. I again failed�failed egregiously�failed