Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Beauchampe; or, The Kentucky Tragedy. A Tale of Passion. >> Chapter X >> Page 91

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Page 91

Novel (Romance) | Lea and Blanchard | 1842
Transcription BEAUCHAMPE. 91

an occasional note in the same manner, indicated the acquaintance of the commentator with the best standards of criticism. Beauchampe made another observation, how-ever, which had the effect of leaving it still doubtful whether these notes were made by the present owner. They were all in a female hand. He found that a former name had been carefully obliterated in every volume, that of Miss Cooke being written in its stead. Though doubtful, therefore, whether to ascribe to her the excellent criticism and fine taste which thus displayed itself over the pages which he read, this doubt by no means lessened his anxiety to judge for himself of the attainments of their possessor; and fortune�we may assume thus much�at length helped him to the interview which he sought.
The mother, one day, with nice judgment, fell opportunely sick. It is easier to suspect that she willed this event than to suppose the daughter guilty of duplicity. It necessarily favoured the design of Beauchampe. He made his morning visit, which had now become periodical, was ushered into the parlour, where, after a few moments, he was informed that Mrs. Cooke was not visible. She pleaded indisposition. Miss Cooke, however, had instructed the servant to say to Mr. Beauchampe that he was at liberty to use the library as before. By this time the eager nature of Beauchampe was excited to the highest pitch of anxiety. So many delays,�such baffling,�had deprived his judgment of that deliberate action without which the boundaries of convention are very soon over-passed. A direct message from the mysterious lady, was a step gained. It had the effect of still farther unseating his judgment, and, without scruple, he boldly despatched a message by the servant, soliciting permission to see Miss Cooke. An answer was immediately returned in which she declined seeing him. He renewed the request with the additional suggestion that he had a communication to make. This necessarily produced the de-sired effect. In a few minutes she descended to the par-lour.
If Beauchampe had been fascinated before, he was certainly not yet prepared for the commanding character of that beauty which now stood before him. He rose, trembling and abashed, his cheeks suffused with blushes,
but his eyes, though dazzled, were full of the eager admi-