Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter V >> Page 64

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Page 64

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 64 SOUTHWARD HO .l
sided, the sun had opened his eyes, all brightness, upon the
beautiful world. But the seas were still tumultuous, and Dalton
could see that a large fragment of the stranded ship, was still
tossing in their wild embraces in a little cove which the waves
had eaten into the sands. Everywhere before him were the
proofs of wreck and ruin. Here a mast and spar, there a bit of
deck and bulwark ; there rolled a barrel in upon the reef, and
there floated away a naked raft and hammock.
As he wandered, seeking and picking up his spoils, he hap-
pened suddenly upon other trophies of the storm. On the very
edge of the sea, where it blended with the shore in comparative
calm, lay two human bodies locked closely in a last embrace.
Both were females. Their heads rested upon the sands. Their
garments, and the arms of one, were lifted to and fro by the
billows. Did they live ? He approached them with feelings,
strange to him, of equal awe and curiosity. He had a fearful
presentiment of the truth. He drew them from the waters.
He unclasped them from that strong embrace which they had
taken in death. He beheld their faces.
Mother ! Sister !'" He knew them at a glance !
And it was his hand that had fired the beacon which had
conducted both to death.
My wife ! my wife ! I have drowned my wife !'" Where was she ! He looked for her in vain. The remorse-
less sea gave up no other of its victims. But he found a box
in which were his own letters. They told her fate.
His horror and remorse, too lately awakened, suffered him to
keep no secrets. His first outcry revealed the whole terrible
history. He had avenged humanity upon himself. Even among
the wild creatures with whom he herded, the terrible judgment
upon his own miserable soul, inflicted by his own deed, was too
awful to seem to need other penalties. He was suffered to go
free. He remained only long enough in the neighborhood to
see the poor corses deposited in earth, and then fled, leaving all
behind liim, �fled into the interior, and, it was said, nine years
afterward, that he was then to be found, somewhere in Ohio,
a sad, gray-headed man, a devout Christian, reconciled to the
Church, and waiting humbly for that change, which, it was his