Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Beauchampe; or, The Kentucky Tragedy. A Tale of Passion. >> Chapter X >> Page 92

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Page 92

Novel (Romance) | Lea and Blanchard | 1842
Transcription 92 BEAUCHAMPE,

ration which he felt. She was simply clad, in white.
Her person, tall and symmetrical, was erect and dignified.
Her face was that of matured loveliness, shaded, not im-
paired, by sadness, and made even more elevated and
commanding by the expression of intense pain which
seemed to mingle with the fire of her eyes, giving a sort
of subdued fierceness to her glance, which daunted quite as
much as it dazzled him. Perhaps a something of severity
in her look added to his confusion. He stammered con-
fusedly ; the courage which had prompted him to seek
the interview, failed utterly to provide him with the intel-
lectual readiness by which it was to be carried on. But
the feminine instinct came to his relief. The lady seated
herself, motioning her visiter to do the same.
Sit down, sir, if you please. My mother presumes
that you are anxious to know how she is. She instructs
me to thank you for your courtesy, and to say that her
indisposition is not serious. She trusts in another day
to be quite restored."
By this time Beauchampe had recovered something of
his confidence.
It gives me pleasure, Miss Cooke, to hear this. I did
fear that your mother was seriously suffering. But I can
not do you and myself the injustice to admit that I came
simply to see her. No! Miss Cooke, an anxiety to see
you in person, and to acknowledge the kindness which
has given me the freedom of your library, were among
the objects of my visit."
The lady became instantly grave.
I thank you, sir, for your compliment, but I have long
since abandoned society. My habits are reserved. I
prefer solitude. My tastes and feelings equally require
it. I am governed so far by these tastes and feelings,
which have now become habits, that it will not suit me
to recognise any new acquaintance. My books are freely
at your service, whenever you wish them. Perrnit me,
sir, to wish you good morning."
She rose to depart. Beauchampe eagerly started to his
Stay, Miss Cooke. Do not leave me thus. Hear me
but for a moment."
She resumed her seat with a calm, inflexible demeanour,
as if, assured of her strength at any moment to depart,