Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IX / The Bride of Fate >> Page 149

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
tensions. We have but to exhibit and to ascertain a small
specimen of her skill in the vulgar business of fortune-telling
an art which will continue to be received among men, to a
greater or less extent, so long as they shall possess a hope
which they can not gratify, and feel a superstition which they
can not explain. Our gipsy expects a visiter. She hears his
footstep. The door opens at her bidding, and a stranger makes
his appearance. He is a tall and well-made man, of stern and
gloomy countenance, which is half concealed beneath the raised
foldings of his cloak. His beard, of enormous length, is seen to
stream down upon his breast ; but his cheek is youthful, and his
eye is eagerly and anxiously bright. But for a certain repel-
ling something in his glance, he might be considered a very
handsome man�perhaps by many persons lie was thought so.
He advanced with an air of dignity and power. This deportment
and manner and, when he spoke, his voice�all seemed to
denote a person accustomed to command. The woman did not
look up as he approached : on the contrary, she seemed more
intent than ever in the examination of the strange characters be-
fore her. But a curious spectator might have seen that a corner
of her eye, bright with an intelligence that looked more like cun-
ning than wisdom, was suffered to take in all of the face and per-
son of the visiter that his muffling costume permitted to be seen.
� Mother," said the stranger, " I am here."
You say not who you are," answered the woman.
� Nor shall say," was the abrupt reply of the stranger.
"That, you said, was unnecessary to your art to the solution
of the questions that I asked you."� Surely," was the answer. " My art, that promises to tell
thee of the future, would be a sorry fraud could it not declare
the present�could it not say who thou art, as well as what
thou seekest."� HIa ! and thou knowest !" exclaimed the other, his hand
suddenly feeling within the folds of his cloak as he spoke, as if
for a weapon, while his eye glared quickly around the apart-
ment, as if seeking for a secret enemy.
"Nay, fear nothing," said the woman, calmly. I care not
to know who thou art. It is not an object of my quest, other-
wise it would not long remain a secret to me."