Beck Center English Dept. University Libraries Emory University
Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Emory Women Writers Resource Project

My Queen, an electronic edition

by Sandette [Walsh, Marie A.]

date: 1878
source publisher: G. W. Carleton & Co., Publishers; S. Low, Son & Co.
collection: Genre Fiction

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CHAPTER XLVIII.
A DREAM.

ELSIE was alone with her thoughts, with the emotions awakened by the revelation just fallen from her mothers lips. This man, this mysterious friend, was then her father. The father, for whom her heart yearned, with longing affection. And he had promised to save her. Was it to save her or avenge himself? Her tyrant owed her father a terrible debt. A debt payable only in blood. An awful thought flashed across her mind. A thought so awful, | | 362 that it petrified all emotion. She sat in the chair in which her mother had fainted; sat like a statue of terror, thinking nothing, entirely absorbed in gazing at the intangible horror--the fantasies of her excited brain. The clock striking midnight aroused her. A small piece of paper lying on the table attracted her notice: it was the message penned by her father. "Brother Menly told me to burn it. Can he think the same?" Snatching it up, she lit it at the lamp and watched it burn and smoulder. "How foolish I am," muttered Elsie: "here I am frightening myself over nothing, when I ought to be wild with joy! My father near me, and Stanly safe! My mother told me to pray, but I cannot, my brain is in such a whirl."

Hoping to calm herself by communing with nature, she lowered the lamp and opened the window. It was a glorious night of the late autumn, and Elsie, soothed by the sweet harmonies floating earthward from the stars, forgot her sorrows in prayer. Suddenly a scream startled away these gentle thoughts. In an instant the girl was in the next room. She found Mrs. Silvertung sitting up in bed, staring wildly, her features convulsed with terror. Scream followed scream.

"Keep them away, Elsie, keep them away."

"Mother, you are dreaming; there is nothing here."

"Nothing! took there, there, they are coming towards me, both of them, --blood!--there's blood! How they glare at me! Don't let them come; you can keep them off: you are innocent! You--"

"Hush, dear Mother, hush, nothing shall hurt you;" and she tried to soothe the excited woman, who struggled to escape from some invisible enemy.

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"Blood! There's blood! I did it: they come, they--" Uttering a cry of terror, the unfortunate woman fell back senseless.

Elsie shook with fear: she dared not move: frightful shadows lurked in every corner, and stalked to and fro.

A rattling noise was heard from the other room, and an icy breeze swept moaning by. Elsie clung to the bed in agony. It was only the night breeze playing with the open window; but Elsie was too unnerved by her mother's fear to reason. She was on the point of loosing consciousness when a shrill voice from the children's cot recalled her wavering senses. Never before had children's voices sounded so welcome.

"Elsie, I am cold."

"And I am hungry."

She blessed them from her very soul for their wants. She shut the window, gave a slice to her hungry brother, then, reassured but still trembling, she returned to her mother. The latter moaned and talked at intervals. Her random words were cruel revelations to Elsie. Now it was of the home and husband she had abandoned in the long ago--words of love and happiness. Now she prayed for forgiveness. Then came words of sorrow, of depreciation, to the child she had injured, of supplication for mercy to some specter, while now and then she murmured: "He will forgive; he looked kind; how gently he spoke. He came, and I did not know him." Thus she rambled on for hours, and Elsie watched in trembling till dawn."

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