Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Carl Werner: An Imaginative Story >> Page 104

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription 104CARL WERNER
" 'Glad! you will make me happy. It will be a prayer realized.
Promise me, dear Herman!—we are about to separate, we know not
with what destiny before us. The means of communication are few
between us, and our anxiety to know of each other will sometimes
shoot far ahead of our capacity to receive or yield intelligence. Prom-
ise me though heaven grant that you may live long years after
me that should any thing befal you, and the power be with you,
you will come to me you will tell me of your own condition, and
guide me aright in mine; for my sake, and for the sake of your
dear sister, who will so soon be a part of my life. Will you do this
will you promise this, dear Herman.'
" `I will to be sure, I will, Carl,' was the reply.
" 'Seriously—solemnly?' demanded Carl.
" 'Seriously—solemnly!' said the other; `but,' he continued—'if
I am to take all this trouble, and expose myself to all risks of wind
and weather merely to oblige you, you must do me a similar favor;
for, though I do not believe in any such power on the part of the
spirit once gone from earth, nor am I particularly curious on the
subject; yet, while agreeing to satisfy you, Carl, I may just as well
exact a similar promise from yourself. Dead or alive, Carl, it will
always give me pleasure to see you. I have loved you as a brother,
in life —I have no fear to behold you after death.'
" `It is a pledge —a promise, Herman!' was the ready answer; and
with the utterance of the pledge, a hollow laugh resounded from the
dismembered vault of the aged abbot.
VII.
"They sprang at once to their feet. Herman laughed back in
return, but he remained where he was. Carl trembled like a leaf, but
he leapt over the stone on which he had been sitting, and made his
way fearlessly towards the vault. Herman followed him. The marble
of which the vault had been built was fractured in several places, so
that the interior was clearly visible from without. Carl would have
entered it, but Herman opposed his doing so.
" `Why should you go in we can see the venerable dust where
we stand,' apd the eyes of the two peered into the now silent cham-