Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XII / The Picture of Judgment; Or, The Grotta Del Tifone >> Page 231

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Page 231

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE SECRET LABOR. 231
amounted to intensity. He gave himself no respite from his
toils. Late and early he was at his task�morning and night
�without intermission, and with the enthusiasm of one who re-
joices in the completion of a favorite and long-cherished study.
Aurelia was not unhappy at this second change ; to go back to
his old engagements and tastes seemed to her to indicate a re-
turn to his former equanimity and waveless happiness. It was
with some surprise, however, and not a little concern, that she
was not now permitted to watch his progress. He wrought in
secret�his studio was closed against her, as, indeed, it was
against all persons. Hitherto it had not been so in her instance.
She pleasantly reproached him for this seclusion, but he an-
swered her--" Fear not, you shall see all when it is done."
There was something in this reply to disquiet her, but she was
in a state of mind easily to be disquieted.
She was conscious also of a secret withheld from her husband
�and her reproaches sunk back upon her heart, unuttered, from
her lips. She could not, because of what she felt, declare to him
what she thought ; and she beheld his progress, from day to day,
with an apprehension that increased momently, and made her
appearance, in one respect, not unlike his own. She was not
aware that he was the victim of a strange excitement, in which
his present artist labors had a considerable share. He seemed
to hurry to their prosecution with an eager impatience that
looked like frenzy � and to return from his daily task with a
frame exhausted, but with an eye that seemed to burn with the
subtlest fires. His words were few, but there was a strange intel-
ligence in his looks. His cheeks had grown very pale, his frame
was thinned, his voice made hollow, in the prosecution of these
secret labors ; and yet there was a something of exultation in
his glance, which fully declared that, however exhausting to his
frame might be the task he was pursuing, its results were yet
looked to with a wild and eager satisfaction. At length the
work was done. One day be stood before her in an attitude of
utter exhaustion. It is finished !" be exclaimed. You shall
see it to-morrow."" What is it ?" she asked.
" Nay, to-morrow ! to-morrow !"
He then retired to sleep, and rested several hours. She looked