Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> The Unknown Masque: A Sketch of the Crescent City >> Page 203

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Page 203

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription THE UNKNOWN MASQUE203
"No! where is she—in what dress."
"Hush ! she is not far off there, as Zenobia. Is she not a glorious
being."
"She is ! she approaches ! "
At these words, R. F. turned and advanced towards her. She
took his arm, and they disappeared among the crowd. It would seem
that they understood each other. A group of masks, loud in merri-
ment, drew nigh, and I shrunk back into the recess of a window half
shaded by rich curtains of white and red, and there threw myself
upon a pile of cushions. Here I could see much and remain, in great
degree, unseen myself. Ten minutes had not passed before I again
saw my Egyptian. He approached where I was sitting. I called
him in subdued accents. But he gave me no heed. A moment after,
he looked round upon me, without recognition and immediately
turned away. I rose to follow him, but just then, a huge peasant
woman of Savoy, with a long train following her, passed between us
and arrested my progress. A second attempt and a third were not
more successful, and at length I saw my Egyptian disappear in a
distant circle. Hardly had I thus given him up, when he appeared
again before me—but this time with a hurried step, and apparently
coming from a different direction. I plucked him by the sleeve.
"This time I have you. Well you have been with her? Does she
smile?"
"Scarcely! There's something wrong—something mysterious. Do
not be out of the way, W I may need your assistance."
"Indeed! What's the matter?"
I then gathered from him the following story. He had joined
Madame de B, as I had seen, and they had retired together into
an alcove. There she had proceeded as if resuming a conversation
which had been interrupted. The conversation was of a most inter-
esting nature to my friend. Her remarks her manner of uttering
them—were of a kind to betray to him that she entertained a lively
interest in himself and fortunes. There was only this difficulty about
them, that he had not been privy to that first part which she seemed
to assume had taken place between them before. He declared this
difficulty. She recoiled from him.
"What mean you, Monsieur F?"