Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> The Prima Donna: A Passage from City Life >> Page 192

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 192

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription 192THE PRIMA DONNA
I did so, and found the Prima Donna alone. I was this time
sufficiently calm myself, to see that she was terribly agitated. Her
dress and whole appearance were disordered. Her hair had found
partial freedom from restraint, her eyes were red with weeping,
and the traces of recent tears were apparent upon her pallid cheeks.
She met me with a look full of equal intelligence and alarm.
"Oh! why, why have you come hither? Leave me, leave me,
I implore you, sir it is not well it is not right; and he will believe
every thing that is wrong. Leave me, sir, leave me if you
How would she have finished that sentence had her tongue not
failed in its office? I had barely time to form a pleasing conjecture
on the subject not to answer—when the little old Italian burst into
the room, with the fiery, fearful, malignant aspect of a Sirocco.
The poor woman sank upon a settee at his appearance, and covered
her face with both her hands. The big tears oozed through her
fingers, and her sobs were almost convulsions.
"Ha! ha! what for you come to my house. You lov' music, but
I break up de music look you, I break up de music—so! so! —"
And with the action of a madman, seizing upon a guitar which
lay upon one of the tables, he dashed it into a thousand fragments
by repeated blows against the elbow of the sofa. Then turning to me,
he exclaimed
"You is villain, sare. I is turn out, tree, five villain from my house
dis day, and break up de music. You is great villain, and you is
come to my house, dere is no more music in my house, what for
you is come, eh?"
I had risen on his entrance. I could scarcely contain myself during
his proceedings. The tears of the girl had awakened my indignation
his brutality scarcely left me prudence to forbear violence, which
seemed to be almost the duty of a gentleman under existing circum-
stances. Nothing but a consideration of her claims, and the wretched
relation in which she stood to this miserable tyrant, kept my hands
from his throat. For her sake, I subdued my tiger, for her sake, I
strove to answer mildly. I contented myself with saying that I came
to explain my conduct in the previous interview when he was so