Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XI / The Bride of Hate: Or, The Passage of a Night >> Page 184

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 184 SOUTHWARD HO
He could tell me much. Could he not tell me all, and where
could be the motive for concealment ? The answer to this ques-
tion inevitably overwhelmed me for a time, until the elasticity
of the youthful heart could disencumber itself from the despond-
ing tendency of a premature activity of thought. The only
motive of concealment must be guilt. I was the child of sin
I was the foredoomed of suffering. My present anxieties gave
a gravity and intensity of expression to my features which did
not become one so youthful. I felt this : I felt the seeming un-
naturalness of my looks and carriage ; but how could I relieve
myself? I felt the pain of thought�thought unsatisfied�and
could already imagine how natural was the doom which visited
the sins of the father to the third and fourth generation.
When I failed to extort from the cunning of Bruno the secret
which I was persuaded he yet possessed, I turned naturally to
the letter of my benefactress. I read and reread it, each time
with the hope of making some discoveries�of finding some
slight clue to the truth�which might relieve my anxiety. An
ambiguous sentence, the latent signification of a passage (and
how many of these did my desire enable me to discover in a
billet of twenty lines ?) awakened my hopes and caused my
heart to bound with double pulsation. But when I had gone
through it again and again, until my head ached, and my senses
seemed to swim, I was compelled to acknowledge to myself that
there was nothing in the epistle that I had not readily compre-
hended at the first. It simply expressed the writer's gratifica-
tion at the improvement and good conduct of the youth whom
she had thought proper to educate and provide for, until man-
hood should bring around the period of independence ; and
expressed though without emphasis (and how earnestly did I
look for this quality in every word, syllable and point !)�a
very natural desire to remark, with her own eyes, the personal
deportment and carriage of her protege subjects which she
seemed to regard as equally important with my intellectual im-
provement, and of which neither my letters nor my exercises
which were duly transmitted to her by my tutor�could give her
much, if any, satisfaction. Failing to find any occult significa-
tion in the language, I next addressed my scrutiny to the style
and manner of the letter the handwriting, the air, the round-