Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> The Unknown Masque: A Sketch of the Crescent City >> Page 207

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Page 207

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription THE UNKNOWN MASQUE207
him only with tears. When he pleaded most earnestly, and fell upon
his knee before her, she undid the fillet which bound her tresses, once
of the most delicate and silk-like auburn, and showed him that they
had become white, like those of the Queen of France, in the progress
of a single night.
"Is it for such as I am now to think of love, Monsieur F
How can I reward a heart so young as yours. Besides, but no!
Enough, my friend, that I can never marry."
She was inflexible. She did not live long after, but sunk away into
premature old age and infirmity. Two acts of her life, almost im-
mediately following the events of the masked ball, provoked much
remark in New-Orleans. She bestowed one-half of her large fortune
on a boy, supposed to have been the natural child of her husband,
Col. Eugene de B. The other half went to the convent in which
she finally shrouded herself for the grave. Public conjecture took
more than one form in regard to the circumstances of terror which
had such an effect upon her. By some it was said that the strange
Egyptian, when he uncovered his face, betrayed the decaying features
of her late husband, and thence grew another suspicion that he had
been unfairly dealt with ; others, somewhat less credulous, insisted
that the affair was nothing more than the practice of a fraudulent
confessor, who, knowing her superstitious tendencies, contrived this
mode of alarming them; thus securing for his brotherhood a vast
fortune, which otherwise might have fallen into the hands of a
heretic from Tennessee, my poor friend R. F. being understood
by this unfriendly designation.