Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XII / The Picture of Judgment; Or, The Grotta Del Tifone >> Page 237

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription ACCUSATION. 237
numerous shields of bronze within the apartment, shedding a
strange and fantastic splendor upon the scene. The eyes of
Aurelia rapidly explored the chamber as if in search of some ex-
pected object. Those of Coelius watched them with an expres-
sion of scornful triumph, which did not escape her glance. She
firmly met his gaze, almost inquiringly, while her hands were
involuntarily and convulsively clasped together.
" whom dost thou seek, Aurelia ?"
Thou know'st ! thou know'st !�where is be? Tell me,
my Coelius, that he is safe, that thou bast sped him hence
that I may bless thee."
He smiled significantly as he replied, He is safe I have
sped him hence !"
Tinai [Adonai], my husband, keep thee in the hollow of his
hand."
How ! shameless ! dost thou dare so much ?"
what mean'st thou, my Coelius ?"
Sit thou there," he answered, till I show thee my picture."
He pointed her, as he spoke, to a new sarcophagus, upon which
she placed herself submissively. Then, with a wand in his hand,
he, himself, seated upon another coffin of stone, pointed her to a
curtain which covered one of the sides of the chamber. Be-
hind that curtain, Aurelia, is the last work of my hands ; but
before I unveil it to thine eyes, let me tell thee its melancholy
history. It will not need many words for this. Much of it is
known to thee already. How I found thee in Rome, when I
was there a captive�how I loved thee, and how I believed in
thy assurances of love ; all these things thou know'st. We
wedded, and I brought thee, a Roman woman, held a barbarian
by my people, into the palace of one of the proudest families of
all Etruria. Shall I tell thee that I loved thee still�that I
love thee even now, when I have most reason to hate thee,
when I know thy perjury, thy cold heart, thy hot lust, thy base,
degrading passions !""Hold, my lord�say not these things to my grief and thy
dishonor. They wrong me not less than thy own name.
These things, poured into thine ear by some secret enemy, are
false !"
Thou wilt not swear it ?"