Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> The Unknown Masque: A Sketch of the Crescent City >> Page 205

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription THE UNKNOWN MASQUE2,05
siderations made the movements and the speech of R. F. equally
prompt and decided. He tapped the stranger on the shoulder, and
led him aside.
"A word with you, sir."
"A dozen, if you please," was the answer, in cold and measured
accents.
"Who are you, sir, and by what right are you here?"
"Really, young gentleman, you challenge my rights as if your own
were exclusive. Madame Elinor de Bcould better answer your
question."
"It is by her that I am authorized to make the demand."
"Ah! it is by her then! Well, go to her, and say that if she
desires it, I will unmask for her satisfaction, in her presence;but,
mark me, only in her presence ! "
"Enough ! W, you will remain with the stranger. See that he
does not escape you."
This was said in a whisper, as R. F. disappeared. The simulacrum
was no ways disquieted. Our proceedings had not been so quietly
conducted, but that they had reached other ears, and curious eyes
were peering around us. My friend soon found his princess. He
communicated what had taken place with the stranger.
"Insolent!" was the exclamation of the haughty lady.
"Say but the word," was the whisper of R. F., "and I fling him
from the window."
"No! no ! " said she, with a pleased and flattering smile, "no,
monsieur, that would only spoil the assembly; and besides, it may
be some friend or acquaintance, some stranger in the city, who
knows me well, and who should have been invited. There may be
some mistake. I grant him the interview. Conduct him to the oppo-
site apartment, to which I will lead the way. You will wait upon
us at the door."
These instructions were not given unheard, and by the time that R.
F. got back to where I was standing with the stranger, there was
quite a smart little excitement in the assembly. Our Egyptian re-
mained the while in a perfect state of composure. Nobody could have
seemed more perfectly at his ease; and we all began to take for
granted, as Madame de Bhad suggested, that, if not an invited
guest, he should have been, and it would turn out, either that he was