Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XI / The Bride of Hate: Or, The Passage of a Night >> Page 193

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Page 193

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE CASTLE AND THE LADY. 193
filled. There were too many of these openings to render formal
ports or gateways necessary. Within the enclosure I had an op-
portunity to see how much more desolate was the prospect the
nearer I approached it. Its desolation increased the feelings of
awe with which the mystery of my own fate, the ambiguous words
and manner of Bruno, and the vague conjectures I had formed in
reference to my benefactress, had necessarily filled my mind ;
and I was conscious, on first standing in the presence of the bar-
oness, of far more apprehension than gratitude an apprehen-
sion not so creditable to my manhood, and only to be excused
and accounted for, by the secluded and unworldly manner in
which my education had been conducted.
The baroness met me with a smile, and such a smile ! � I
could not comprehend its language. It was clearly not that of
affection ; it did not signify hatred shall I say that it was the
desperate effort of one who seeks to look benevolence while
feeling scorn ; that it was a smile of distrust and bitterness, the
expression of a feeling which seemed to find the task of receiving
me too offensive and unpleasant even to suffer the momentary
disguise of hypocrisy and art. I was confused and stupefied.
I turned for explanation to Bruno, who had accompanied me into
the presence ; and the expression in his face did not less surprise
me than that in the face of the baroness. His eyes were fixed
upon hers, and his looks wore an air of pride and exultation ;
not dissimilar to that which I have already described as distin-
guishing them while our dialogue was in progress. There was
something also of defiance in his glance, while gazing on the
baroness, which puzzled me the more. Her eyes were now
turned from me to him.
And this then is the�the youth the --" She paused.
I could no longer misunderstand those accents. They were those
of vexation and annoyance.
" The same !" exclaimed Bruno, " the same, my lady, and a
noble youth you see lie is ; well worthy of your patronage, your
hove ! "
There was a taunting asperity in his tones which struck me
painfully, and at length stimulated me to utterance and action.
1 rushed forward, threw myself at her feet, and, while I poured
forth my incoherent acknowledgments for her benefactions, would