Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> The Prima Donna: A Passage from City Life >> Page 193

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Page 193

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription THE PRIMA DONNA193
much offended. But the violent old wretch did not allow me to
finish what I was saying. He gave me the lie direct.
"You come for make my wife lef' me, and go wid you. You
tell lie—you is one villain, dat I shall make lef' my house for evare."
My blood was getting the better of my judgment, when the
Prima Donna interposed. She rose from her seat with the manner of
one who has conquered, but after a violent effort, and about whom
still remain all the traces of the conflict.
"Oblige me, sir, if you please, by leaving the house; oblige me
still more by avoiding it, and me, for ever. To acquire a friend is
with me a misfortune —I need one, how much, Heaven only knows
but I wish for none. Leave me, sir; and, in going, believe me, that
I at least suspect you of no evil, and am as grateful to you as if you
meant nothing but good. If you fancy that you leave me unhappy,
at least be satisfied that nothing which you could do or say would
have the effect of making me otherwise."
"Ha! you speaks to him in dis manner. You will have me kill you
to death, you
I forbear to repeat the horrible epithet which the monster used
on this occasion. His words provoked me to fury, but when he
coupled them with a blow —a blow by his vile hands upon that
pure, sweet, imploring and noble face, my fury became violence.
I grasped him in my arms. I lifted him as if he had been an infant, in
spite of all his struggles. I hurried with him to the window, the
sash of which was raised, and a moment longer would have sufficed
me to pitch him into the street. But my better angel, in the aspect of
the wretched woman, his victim, came to keep me from a deed which
I might have repented in suffering and shame. She recovered from
the blow which had staggered her against the wall, and grasped
my arm in season. I put the reptile down unharmed upon the floor,
and he seized the first moment of his liberty to hurry from the
apartment, not without giving a glance at the woman, which spoke
volumes of treasured bitterness and revenge.
My situation was now one of considerable awkwardness, and it
did not lessen my annoyance to reflect that it was one into which I