Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Carl Werner: An Imaginative Story >> Page 108

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription Io8CARL WERNER
But he could not resist them, and they grew upon him. After a little
while, he thought of nothing else. He did not need the gently-
uttered fears of Matilda, who continually spoke of her absent brother,
to remind him of his promise and of his mortality; and in his dreams
the image of that well known friend, stretched out pale, and motion-
less, in the embrace of death, came but too frequently to his mind,
not to lose, in time, many of its terrors.
IX.
"One pleasant afternoon, the two, Carl and Matilda, rambled
forth, according to their usual custom, towards the ancient abbey. The
sun was just about setting, and he made a glorious descent. His rays
streamed through the broken walls by which they walked, and they
paused to contemplate the picturesque effect of their scattered beams,
gliding among tombs, in which the dust that once was life, and
strength, and ambition, could no longer feel their warmth. While
they looked, a cloud suddenly arose in the heavens, obscuring and
shutting out the bright glories which had won their gaze, from the
shattered walls which they had made golden but a moment before.
The sudden clouding of the sky brought an instinctive gloom to their
mutual minds, and without seeming to notice the absence of any
connexion between the phenomenon upon which they looked, and
the object in her thoughts, Matilda quickly remarked:
" `I hope, Carl, that nothing is the matter with Herman.'
"Strange to say, the thought that something was the matter with
her brother, was even then the busy thought in the mind of Carl.
He replied after a moment's pause
" `Indeed, Matilda, I hope not.'
"A slight laugh rose from the ruins, and the conscious soul of
Carl was smitten within him.
"Had he been sincere in the utterance of that hope?' was the
question which he asked himself when he heard the laugh; but it
was a question which he dared not answer. Matilda did not seem to
have heard the sound which had touched him so deeply; and he
was sufficiently collected to conceal his agitation from her. But while
they spoke together, though but a few moments had elapsed, the
cloud had veered round, and now hung in the sky directly before