Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter VI / Love's Last Supper; A True Story of the Troubadours >> Page 103

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription CATASTROPHE. 103
ery stood erect, and pointing at the spectacle of terror. His
scornful and demoniac glance the horrid cruelty of which he
continued to boast her conscious innocence and that of her
lover�her complete and deep despair all conspired to arm
her soul with courage which she had never felt till now. In the
ruin of her heart she had grown reckless of her life. Her eye
confronted the murderer.
Be it so !" she exclaimed. As I have eaten of meat so
precious, it fits not that inferior food should ever again pass
these lips ! This is the last supper which I shall taste on earth !"
What ! dare you thus shamelessly avow to me your passion ?"
Ay ! as God who beholds us knows, never did woman more
passionately and truly love mortal man, than did Marguerite of
Roussillon the pure and noble Guillaume de Cabestaign. It is
true ? I fear not to say it now ! New, indeed, I am his only,
and for ever !"
Transported with fury at what he heard, Raymond drew his
dagger, and rushed to where she stood. But she did not await
his weapon. Anticipating his wrath, she darted headlong through
a door which opened upon a balcony, over the balustrade of
which, with a second effort, she flung herself into the court be-
low. All this was the work of but one impulse and of a single
instant. Raymond reached the balcony as the delicate frame
of the beautiful woman was crushed upon the flag-stones of the
court. Life had utterly departed when they raised her from the
ground !
This terrible catastrophe struck society everywhere with con-
sternation. At a season, when not only chivalry, but the church,
gave its most absolute sanction to the existence and encourage-
ment of that strange conventional love which we have sought to
describe, the crime of Raymond provoked a universal horror.
Love, artificial and sentimental rather than passionate, was the
soul equally of military achievement and of aristocratic society.
It was then of vast importance, as an element of power, in the
use of religious enthusiasm. The shock given to those who
cherished this sentiment, by this dreadful history, was felt to all
the extremities of the social circle. The friends and kindred of
these lovers�the princes and princesses of the land noble
lords, knights and ladies, all combined, as by a common impulse,