Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Carl Werner: An Imaginative Story >> Page 134

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription 134CARL WERNER
vowed her, as earnestly as if she had lost it. Long and trying was
their conference, and more than once the wife despaired of her ob-
ject. But though she trembled, she yet implored, and the principle of
love prevailed. The heart of Carl was touched the seal removed
from the fountain and he poured forth, in her astounded but un-
shrinking senses, the whole strange and dreadful secret.
"He had scarcely done so, when he heard a tap on the window, as
of one claiming admission. He started, he trembled —a guilty fear
rose in his throat and choked him.
" `It is he the demon the spectre!' he exclaimed, gaspingly.
" `Bid him enter,' cried the old man, who had returned to the
apartment without their perceiving either his departure or his en-
trance, and who seemed perfectly conversant with the whole narra-
" `Bid him enter, Carl.'
"But Carl hesitated and trembled. He moved not; and Matilda
rose to her feet.
" `I fear nothing!' she exclaimed `I will throw open the window.
If it be the spirit of Herman Ottfried, he will not harm me. If it be
other than his, it cannot. God be with me—for I will do it!'
"The voice of the old man arrested her, as she was about to do
what she had said.
" 'Daughter!'
"She turned, and saw that his eye rested anxiously upon Carl,
and she then understood that the office belonged to her husband. She
did not need to look upon him twice. He had been praying while
she spoke, and he now rose.
" `No, Matilda the task should be mine. I have looked upon
the fiend before —I do not fear to look upon him again. Still less do
I fear having your eyes upon, and your prayers for, me.'
"A horrible yell of laughter reached his ears from the outside, and
half unmanned him. He shivered all over; but just then the aged
guest repeated these words, as if for himself.
"The Lord is my strength, and my redeemer. He is with me,
and I fear not the evil one. Be of good cheer, oh, my soul, for in this