Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XI / The Bride of Hate: Or, The Passage of a Night >> Page 209

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE TERRACE BY THE LAKE. 209
the scene and hour I felt a presence which stimulated my fan-
cies and increased my anxiety and dread. I no longer strove
for sleep. I rose and approached the little window, and looked
down upon the court. There the moonlight lay, spread out like
a garment, so soft, so spiritual, that thought naturally became
mysticism as I surveyed it, and the vague uncertainties of
the future crowded upon the arena of the present world. I
could fancy shadows--which were images rather than shadows
�which passed to and fro in the cold, thin, but hazy atmo-
sphere ; that tossed their wild arms above their marble brows, as,
melting away in the distance, they gave place to wilder and pur-
suing aspects. Sounds seemed, at length, to accompany these
movements, and that acute sense of the marvellous, which all
men possess in proportion to their cultivated and moral nature,
and which seems a quality of sight and hearing only�a thing
all eyes and ears � conjured syllables from the imperfect sounds,
and shrieks of pain from the vague murmurs which now really
reached my ears from a distance, and which, probably, were only
murmurs of the wind over the little lake that lay at the foot of
the castle. As this conviction stirred my mind, I remembered
the door to which the attention of Bruno had been drawn for a
moment while he was discussing the securities of my chamber.
I remembered that this door, as he described it, led to the ter-
race which immediately overfooked the lake. The remem-
brance, in my feverish state of mind, led me to desire to survey
this scene, and I approached the door, and had already begun to
undo the fastenings, which, by the way, I found far less firm
and secure than my friend had imagined. The niches of the
wall, into which the bar was dropped, were crumbling, and de-
cayed to so great a degree, that the shoulder of a vigorous man,
from without, might, without much effort, have driven it from
the slight fragments which still held it in its place. Nor was
even this degree of violence necessary to effect, an entrance.
From a further examination I discovered that the wall had been
tampered with� a fragment of the stone dislodged, though not
withdrawn, through the opening of which a hand from without
might readily lift the bar and obtain access. The cement having
been carefully scraped away, the stone was suffered to remain,
so nicely adjusted to the place, that it was only from one point