Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Carl Werner: An Imaginative Story >> Page 110

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription IIoCARL WERNER
but he forbore to speak. He dared not. His thoughts and feelings
were not what they should have been. He was guilty, in his secret
soul, of improper feelings, if not of improper wishes, and he knew
it. Supper was soon served, and, like a good wife, regardful only of.
her husband, Matilda urged Carl to eat, for she beheld his abstrac-
tedness. He ate without knowing that he did so. She, however, could
eat nothing, and as soon as the repast was over, she retired for the
night. But Carl felt that there was no sleep for him; and a feverish
mood, for which he could not account, prompted him to sally forth.
He would have gone to his wife's chamber he tried to do so—for he
knew what were her apprehensions, and he wished to soothe them
but he could not. Something impelled his footsteps abroad—a spirit
beyond his own drove him forward; and with a desperate mind
he rapidly hastened to the abbey, as if there, and there only, he
should find a solution of the marvel which had distressed him. His
heart seemed to grow strong in proportion as his thoughts grew
wilful; and without any of those tremors which had ever before
possessed him when he rambled, with a purely mental and not a
personal feeling, among the ruins, he boldly plunged into their
recesses.
"The night was a clear, but not a bright one. The stars were not
numerous, but they were unclouded. The air was still, and was only
now and then apparent in a slight breathing, as it came through some
little crevices in the wall. The silence of the place was complete
was its solitude complete also? Carl asked of himself the question,
as he walked beneath the massive archway of the fabric still solid
and strong, though broken and impending; for, the masons of old,
wrought, not less to make their works live than to live themselves.
They live, like all good workmen, in their labors. The roof, broken
in many places, let in the scattered starlight, and sufficiently, though
imperfectly, revealed to him the place. He went forward, full of
sad and truant thoughts. He took his seat upon one end of a dilapi-
dated stone which had often sustained him before. His elbows rested
upon his knees, and his hands supported his head. It was in this
posture that he mused with feelings which sometimes brought him
back to impulses and a course of reflection not unworthy of his
better nature. They reproached him with the heartlessness of his
curiosity, as if it were not the tendency of mind always great mind,