Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XI / The Bride of Hate: Or, The Passage of a Night >> Page 183

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Page 183

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE YOUTHFUL MYSTERY. 183
was too good a man, too kind, and himself betrayed too great
an interest in the question, not to have spoken sincerely. He
saw my disquiet, and endeavored to allay it ; and the endeavor
added to the burden, since it sufficiently declared his equal ina-
bility and desire. IIis anxiety, though unequal to, was not
unlike, my own. I know not if his conjectures led him to like
conclusions with myself. I only know that mine were suffi-
ciently painful to extort my tears and tremors.
Vainly, at each quarterly return of the agent of the baron-
ess, did I endeavor, by question and insinuation, to gather from
him some clue to the facts of which I sought to be possessed.
He had been the person who brought me to the school�who
made the contract for my education and support with my tu-
tor� and who alone, through each successive period of my life
afterward, had been the medium for conveying the benefactions
of my friend. To whom, then, could I so naturally apply ?
whence could I hope to obtain better information ? Besides, be
always treated me with marked affection. I can remember,
when a mere child, how frequently he took me upon his knee,
how kindly he caressed me, what affectionate words he poured
into my ear ; the gentleness of his tones, the tenderness of his
regards ! Nor, as I advanced in years, did his attentions alter,
though they assumed different aspects. He was more reserved,
though not less considerate. If he no longer brought me toys,
he brought me books ; if be no longer took me on his knee, he
lingered with me long, and seemed to regret the hour that com-
manded his departure. There was something too�so I fan-
cied�in what he said, did, and looked, that betrayed the fondness
of one who had known me with a tender interest from the begin-
ning. His arms, perhaps, had dandled me in infancy ; he had
been my follower, my attendant. But why linger on conjec-
tures such as these ? My speculations ran wild, as I thought
over the circumstances of my condition, and painfully resolved,
hour after hour, the secret of my birth.
From Bruno, however, I could obtain nothing. When ques-
tioned, he affected a stolid simplicity which, even to my
boyish understanding, seemed wholly inconsistent with his. I
knew that he was no fool�still less was I willing to consider
him a churl. My conclusion was natural. He knew something.