Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Beauchampe; or, The Kentucky Tragedy. A Tale of Passion. >> Chapter X >> Page 88

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 88

Novel (Romance) | Lea and Blanchard | 1842
Transcription 88 BEAUCHAMPE.

ed, and the mystery which enveloped her made the parent
of newer sources of attraction. Before three days had
passed, his sisters had discovered that his thought was
running only on their fair, strange neighbour, and at
length, baffled in his efforts to encounter the myste-
rious lady in his rambles, he was fain to declare himself
more openly at home, and to insist that his sisters should
call upon Miss Cooke and her mother, and invite them to
tea. This was done accordingly, but with only partial
success. Mrs. Cooke came but not the daughter, who
sent an excuse. Beauchampe paid his court to the old
lady, whom he found very garrulous and very feeble-
minded; but though she spoke with great freedom on
almost every subject, he remarked that she shrunk sud-
denly into silence whenever reference was made to her
daughter. On this point every thing tended to increase
the mystery, and of course the interest. He attended the
mother home that night, in the hope to be permitted to
see the daughter ; but though, when invited to enter, he
did so, he found the tete-a-tote with the old lady�a half
hour which curiosity readily gave to dulness�unrelieved
by the presence of the one object for whom he sought.
But a well-filled bookcase which met his eyes in the hall,
suggested to him a mode of approach in future of which
he did not scruple to avail himself. He complimented the
old lady on the extent of her literary possessions. Such
a collection was not usual at that time among the coun-
try-houses of that region. He spoke. of his passion for
books, and how much he would be pleased to be per-
mitted to obtain such as he wanted from the collection
before him. The old lady replied that they were her
daughter's, who was also passionately fond of books
--that she valued her collection very highly�they were
almost her only friends�but she had no doubt that Mr.
Beauchampe would readily receive her permission to
take any that he desired for perusal. Beauchampe ex-
pressed his gratitude, but judiciously declined to make
his selection that night. The permission necessarily fur-
nished the sanction for a second visit, for which he ac-
cordingly prepared himself. He suffered a day, how-
ever, to pass--a forbearance that called for the exercise
of no small degree of fortitude�before repeating his visit.
The second morning, however, he did so. He saw the