Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Carl Werner: An Imaginative Story >> Page 109

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Page 109

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription CARL WERNERI09

them. Somehow, this appearance affected Carl seriously. He coupled
the cloud with his own thoughts, and his imagination grew busy in
its contemplation. It did not seem a common cloud to his eyes; and
its progress, from a speck in the pathway of the sun, to a mantle, in
whose pitchy bosom the dying but glorious orb was to find his
splendors utterly subdued, was a marvel to a mind so subtle as his.
His fancies grew firm and strengthened when he saw that Matilda
observed the wonder also.
" `That is a strange looking cloud, Carl!' she exclaimed—'see how
it rolls—over and over onward and onward and yet there is no
wind. It is coming towards us.'
"The flight of the cloud seemed to have increased in velocity.
It neared them rapidly, and was evidently descending. When above
them, it seemed to open and to expand, and from its bosom Carl
felt the warm drops upon his face.
" `It rains!' he said, `let us go into the abbey.'
" `I feel none,' said Matilda.
"'Indeed! it is full on my cheek!'
"The eyes of Matilda turned from the floating mass that had
now passed over them, but when her glance met the face of her
husband, she screamed in terror.
" `Father of heaven!' she exclaimed, `be with us! Carl, my hus-
band, your face is covered with blood!'
" `Say not so!' he cried, `what can it mean?' He wiped his face
with his handkerchief, and the stains were visible to his own eyes;
and when he looked down upon his garments, they, too, were covered
with the same sanguinary color. The wonder was greater still, when
they looked in vain to find a drop upon the person of Matilda. Yet
her arm had been fast locked within his, and the very hand which had
sustained hers was sprinkled plentifully with the stains.
"They hurried home in consternation. The thought of Matilda
was upon her brother; and she regarded the events of the evening
as ominous of his fate. But why did the blood stains fall only upon
her husband? Why were her garments untouched? This was a
mystery to her; but not to Carl. He thought he could explain it,