Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVI / The Wager of Battle. A Tale of the Feudal Ages. >> Page 353

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Page 353

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE NIGHT PROSPECT. 353
faculties requires. I have no sort of doubt that the sleep of the
physical man may be perfect, even while the mind is at work, in
a high state of activity, and even excitement, in its mighty store-
house. The eye may be shut, the ear closed, the tongue sealed,
the taste inappreciative, and the nerves of touch locked up in
the fast embrace of unconsciousness, while thought, fancy, im-
agination, comparison and causality, are all busy in the most keen
inquiries, and in the most wonderful creations. But my purpose
is not now to insist upon these phenomena, and my speculations
are only meant properly to introduce a vision of my own ; one
of those wild, strange, foreign fancies which sometimes so unex-
pectedly people and employ our slumbers coherent, seemingly,
in all its parts, yet as utterly remote as can well be imagined
from the topics of daily experience and customary reflection.

I had probably been asleep a couple of hours, when I was
awakened with some oppressive mental sensation. I was con-
scious that I had been dreaming, and that I had seen a crowd
of persons, either in long procession, or engaged in some great
state ceremonial. But of the particulars�the place, the parties
the purpose, or the period, I had not the most distant recollec-
tion. I was conscious, however, of an excited pulse, and of a
feeling so restless, as made me, for a moment, fancy that I had
fever. Such, however, was not the case. I rose, threw on my robe de clzambre, and went to the window. The moon was in
her meridian ; the whole landscape was flickering with the light
silvery haze with which she carpeted her pathway. From the
glossy surface of the orange leaves immediately beneath the
window, glinted a thousand diamond-like points of inexpressible
brightness ; while over all the fields was spread a fleecy softuess,
that was doubly pure and delicate in contact with the sombre
foliage of the great forest, to the very foot of which it stretched.
There was nothing in the scene before me that was not at once
gentle and beautiful ; nothing which, by the most remote con-
nection, could possibly suggest an idea of darkness or of terror.
I gazed upon the scene only for a few moments. The night was
cold, and a sudden shivering chillness which it sent through all
my frame, counselled me to get back to bed with all possible ex-
pedition. I did so, but was not successful in wooing the return