Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XI / The Bride of Hate: Or, The Passage of a Night >> Page 216

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 216 SOUTHWARD HO
nightly prayers, that you can never know these things," was the
hoarsely spoken reply. I threw myself at his feet, I clasped
his knees, I implored him in tears and supplications, but he was
immovable. He pressed me to his heart, he wept with me, but
lie told me nothing.
VIII.
AT dawn we were summoned to the chamber of the baroness.
A crisis was at hand. His reverence, the cardinal , whose
presence had been expected at a late hour in the day, and for
another purpose, had been solicited to attend in haste, and bad
complied with Christian punctuality, with the demands of mortal
suffering. But his presence effected nothing. The miserable
woman clearly enough comprehended his words and exhortations.
She listened without look of acknowledgment, or regret, or re-
pentance. She beard his prayers for her safety, and a smile of
scorn might be seen to mantle upon her lips. The HosT was
elevated in her sight, and the scorn deepened upon her counte-
nance as she beheld it. Truly was she strong in her weakness.
The sacred wafer was presented to her lips, but they were closed
inflexibly against it. 'L'lie death struggle came on ; a terrible
conflict between fate on the one hand and fearful passions on the
other. The images of horror will never escape from my memory.
They are engraven there for ever. She raised herself to a sit-
ting posture in the bed without assistance. The effort was mo-
mentary only. But, in that moment, her glance, which was
fixed on me, was the very life-picture of a grinning and fiendish
malice. The expression horrified the spectators. His eminence
once more lifted the sacred emblem of salvation in her sight, and
the last effort of her struggling life was to dash it from his
hands. In that effort she sank back upon the pillows, a fresh
discharge of blood took place from her mouth, and strangulation
followed. The sufferings of the mortal had given place to those
of which there can be no mortal record.

And I was the master, undisputed, of all these domains. And
Bruno had gone, none knew whither. Nothing more could I
fathom of these mysteries, but there was one search that I insti-