Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XI / The Bride of Hate: Or, The Passage of a Night >> Page 210

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 210

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 210 SOUTHWARD HO
of view that I could discern a faint glimmer of the moonlight
through the aperture. The suspicions of Bruno, not to speak
of my own, received strong confirmation from this discovery ;
and my apprehensions being naturally aroused, I now strove for
means to secure the door which I had been about to open. It
was apparent to me that I was now threatened with clanger
from without. I looked about my chamber, and my eye rested
upon the massive table standing in the midst. I immediately
seized upon that, and placed it, though with some difficulty,
a ainst the door. While I meditated in what manner to in-
crease my defences, my ear, which had acquired all the keen
sensibilities of an Indian scout on the edge of an enemy's
encampment, detected a light buzzing sound, which drew my
attention to the terrace. But I had scarcely stooped to the ap-
erture, wlreir a scream � a torrent of screams�rang so suddenly
on the late silent atmosphere, that I was staggered, almost
stunned, as if a thunderbolt had on the instant fallen at my feet
in the deep stillness of the unbroken forests. The sounds came
from the terrace ; and as soon as I could recover from the en-
feebling effect of my first surprise, hearing the screams still
repeated as wildly as ever, I obeyed the natural impulse of my
feelings, and prepared to rush out to the scene of clamor. I
dashed the table from the door, against which I had taken such
pains to bear it, and tearing the slight fastenings away which
otherwise secured the entrance, I threw it open and darted out
upon the scene. The object that met my eyes, that instant, fas-
tened my feet. There stood the baroness, about twenty steps from
me, and at nearly the same distance from a door in the opposite
wall, which was open, and from which she had evidently
emerged. Behind her stood a negress�a dwarf�the black-
est, strangest and most hideous-looking animal I had ever in
my life beheld. The baroness had been approaching my
apartment leer face was toward me, but her eyes were turned
�nay, fixed and frozen, it would seem, as if in the contempla-
tion of some object upon the parapet which overlooked the lake.
Her attitude exhibited the intense and strained action of in-
sanity. One hand�the left vas uplifted, and averted, as if
to hide her eyes from the object which they yet resolutely
strained to see. In the other hand, glistening in the moonlight,