Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Carl Werner: An Imaginative Story >> Page 121

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription CARL WERNERI2I
enemy, with outstretched arms and fingers, and he aimed to clutch
the fearful image not a whit alarmed at the increasing fiendishness
of its aspect by the throat ; but the object melted in his embrace,
at the moment when it seemed most secure. His arms grasped his
own body; and, stunned with confused thoughts and defeated pas-
sion, the unhappy Carl gazed around him in a stupor, which was not
at all diminished as he found himself alone.
"To a certain extent, this stupor brought with it a desirable in-
sensibility. He trembled no longer. He was almost reckless. A reac-
tion in his mind had taken place, and from having been one whom
every thing before, however slight, could startle, he was now one
whom nothing could affect or move. He rushed through the abbey.
He thrust his fearless head into all its recesses into tombs and
niches, cells, and ruinous and long untrodden apartments, with
most admirable indiscretion. He summoned his tormentor from
the places in which he had hidden himself, and defied the presence
which he invoked. But all was silent; and, exhausted with fatigue,
and chafed with his disappointment, Carl at length departed from
the abbey in hopeless despondency. The next day, even as the
spectre had predicted, he received the fatal intelligence of the death
of Herman. This news was but too confirmatory of what he had
seen and felt. It gave life and body to his fears. The grief of Ma-
tilda was great, but it would be vain to undertake to describe that of
her husband. To her, his agony—dearly, as she well knew, he loved
her brother—seemed strange and unaccountable. She little dreamed
of the nightly revelations which were made to his senses. With a
praiseworthy sense of propriety and a manly tenderness, he had
carefully withheld from her, though still longing to reveal, the
fearful secret which he possessed. But how could he say to her that
he had seen her brother, or seen him as he was —a thing upon whom
the curse of God had fallen, and who had been delivered over by
his judgment to the awful ministers of eternal wrath. He felt that
he must keep his secret, and bear with its horrible burden as best
he might. But, as evening drew nigh, the horrors of his heart grew
less and less supportable. He felt that he must again perform his