Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Beauchampe; or, The Kentucky Tragedy. A Tale of Passion. >> Chapter IV >> Page 38

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Page 38

Novel (Romance) | Lea and Blanchard | 1842
Transcription 38 BEATJCHA1IPE.

render the lights valuable and make their uses pure. It is
only guilt which finds life loathsome. It is only guilt that
sorrow weakens and enslaves. Virtue grows strong be-
neath the pressure of her enemies, and with such a power
as was fabled ,of the King of Pontus, turns the most poison-
ous fruits of earth into the most healthy food.
But even in the heart of Margaret Cooper, where the
sense of the beautiful was strong the loveliness of the
scene was felt. She drank in, with strange satisfaction,
a satisfaction to which she had long been a stranger,--its
soft and inviting beauties. They did not lessen her sense
of suffering, perhaps, but they were not without their effect
in producing other moods, which, once taken in company
with the darker ones of the soul, may in time succeed in
alleviating them. Never, indeed, had the prospect been
more calm and wooing. Silence, bending from the hills,
seemed to brood above the valley even as some mighty
spirit, at whose bidding strife was hushed, and peace
became the acknowledged divinity of all. The humming
voices of trade and merriment were all hushed in homage
to the holy day ; and if the fitful song of a truant bird, that
presumed beside the window of Margaret Cooper, did
break the silence of the scene, it certainly did not disturb
its calm. The forest minstrel sung in a neighbouring tree,
and she half listened to his lay. The strain seemed to
sympathize with her sadness. She thought upon her own
songs, which had been of such a proud spirit; and how
strange and startling seemed the idea that with her, song
would soon cease for ever. The song of the bird would be
silent in her ears, and her own song ! What song would
be hers ?�What strain would she take up ? In what
abode�before what altars ?
This train of thought, which was not entirely lost, how-
ever, was broken, for the time, by a very natural circum-
stance. A troop of the village damsels came in sight, on
their way to church. She forgot the song of birds, as her
morbid spirit suggested to her the probable subject of their
meditations.
They have seen me," she muttered to herself as she
hastily darted from the window. Ay, they exult. They
point to me�me, the abandoned�the desolate�soon to
be the disgraced ! But, no ! no ! that shall never be.