Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Carl Werner: An Imaginative Story >> Page 135

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription CARL WERNER135

is thy strength. Thou shalt prevail in the strife with thy enemy, even
as love prevaileth over hate, and the spirit of God over the spirit
of the devil.'
"With a single blow of his fist, Carl threw wide the shutter, and
though his voice trembled while he spoke, yet the words which he
uttered were distinct
" `Enter if it be God's will—enter!'
"The mocking spectre was once more before him—and the grin of
malice and imagined victory was again visible upon his countenance,
until he beheld the form of the venerable guest, still kneeling upon
the floor, with eyes and hands uplifted to heaven, and seeming as if
he beheld him not. Then his whole aspect was altered. His grin be-
came a bitter scorn, and, though he still wore the exact features of
Herman Ottfried, yet the whole expression was so changed to that
of a hellish hate, that, even to the eyes of Carl, the likeness seemed
almost gone.
" `Thou here!' exclaimed the spectre, addressing the aged man.
" `Thou seest!' was the reply.
" `I see—but thou art here in vain thy prayers will avail him
nothing he hath bound himself to me. My power is upon his pledge.
He cannot escape he must meet me where I will; and when he
forbears to come when, urged by such as thee, he presumes to dis-
obey, I will seek him with redoubled tortures, where he hides, and
tear him from thy very altars. Carl Werner I command thee.
"Carl trembled all over, and he felt an irresistible power dragging
him forward. At this moment the old man spoke
" `His pledge shall be fulfilled but not to thee. Look, Satan!
God hath heard the prayers of love—and his messenger comes to
release the thrall of hate. Look! the pledge is redeemed?'
"As he spoke, he pointed to the opposite corner of the apartment,
upon which his eyes had been earnestly fixed, even while the demon
was addressing him. There, visible to all, stood another spectre,
having the precise features of Herman Ottfried, and the very expres-
sion which he was wont to wear in life. The contrast between the