Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> The Prima Donna: A Passage from City Life >> Page 187

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Page 187

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription THE PRIMA DONNAI87
I fancied by feelings like my own, rested full upon my face. In-
voluntarily, she seemed to pause, and I trembled with a secret joy
which the restraints upon it seemed to heighten. Her attendant,
however, hurried her forward, fortunately without beholding me,
and I only lingered long enough behind to avoid awakening his
I had not far to follow them. At the corner of the same street
a carriage stood in waiting, into which she entered, closely followed
by her protector. Vainly did I stretch my head forward to catch
the words of direction which he uttered to the driver. My hope
was about to be defeated, and all my labour taken in vain. There
was but a single alternative. I bounded forward lightly, and, amidst
the rattle of the carriage as it rolled away from the stand, placed
myself upon the flat in the rear without detection.
Our course lay toward the suburbs, but on a side of the city as
far as possible from that which they had left. My anxieties while we
rode were prodigious. I heard the occasional words which were
spoken by those within the vehicle those of the man were most fre-
quent,—hers were monosyllables only, and so faintly spoken that I
could not divine their character. I would have given worlds to have
risen upon the flat and looked in upon the ill-connected couple, but
I dared not incur the risk of such a movement. At length we ap-
proached our stopping place. The speed of the horses was lessened
—the carriage was about to stop, and I leapt to the ground in anticipa-
tion of this event. A tree, one of the few which city improvements
had left in the neighbourhood, yielded me a covering from which I
beheld without difficulty the new place of retreat which the fugitives
had chosen. The edifice itself in which they lived was of that better
sort, which amply testified to the successes and improved fortunes
of the Prima Donna. It was now of brick, newly built, two stories in
height, with green blinds, a, small verandah on the southern side,
and a little patch of green sward in front. You passed to the door
of the dwelling through a low white paling gate, upon a neatly
gravelled walk edged with box, trimmed grenadier fashion, in stiff,
slender and unbroken lines. I made these observations that night
after the departure of the carriage. I gave myself ample time for
the survey, for it grew rapidly to the small hours of the morning
before I left the spot and returned to my own lodging house.