Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> The Prima Donna: A Passage from City Life >> Page 191

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Page 191

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription THE PRIMA DONNA191
ment conveyed by his terrors which is grateful, because of its
freshness, to the heart which is no longer so: and if she was not
composed—if like myself she trembled and was confounded, then
it followed that my emotion must have escaped her sight. My
friend, the Editor, congratulated me on my leaving the apartment
upon the obvious impression which I had made. Before we left
her the company began to pour in the various assemblage of a good
stock-management. There were others too, not of the company,
who possessed the privileges of the interior to whom the wires
might be shown, and the mechanism of the magic, without danger.
There were the Editors —a numerous tribe the writers for the
stage, some of the proprietors of the establishment, and a few of the
dashing bloods of the town. To all of these the Prima Donna was
the eye of attraction—the centre of the solar system in that little
world. I felt myself very small and very awkward, when I witnessed
the dashing freedom and consequential airs of most around me, as
they approached to converse with one whose very glance had so
completely unsettled my nervous system. Finally, the little, old
Italian, her protector, made his appearance, and with his entree
you would have fancied that we had suddenly fallen in with a
mountain of ice. Every thing was frigid after his appearance. The
dandies bowed at a more respectful distance, at the object of their
previous devotion, while his little fiery eyes seemed to scrutinize
every countenance with suspicion, and to find in every movement
abundant cause to congratulate himself on having arrived in the
very nick of time to prevent the worst of mischiefs.
To me, he gave less attention than I feared would have fallen
to my lot. I had even begun to think that he failed to recognize me,
and should certainly have believed so, but for a single sentence
which he uttered with a sinister grin, as we underwent the usual
forms of introduction to one another.
"You be love music, vera moch, sare, I remembair, eh?"
The remark was simple in the ears of all but the Prima Donna
and myself. I took care to regard it as such in the reply I made
at the moment ; but I remembered it, and availed myself of the
opening which it gave me for purposes of explanation to call upon
the couple at their residence.