Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Voltmeier; or, The Mountain Men >> Explanatory Notes/Textual Apparatus >> Explanatory Notes

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Explanatory Notes

Novel (Romance) | U of South Carolina P | 1969
Transcription 434EXPLANATORY NOTES
fordton, N.C., may have served as the prototype for Simms's Gellert.
A marker at this point states that Bechtler's Mint was established
there in 1831, minting over $2,250,000 in gold before it closed
about 1849. Bechtler and son and nephew were skilled German
metallurgists, natives of the Grand Duchy of Baden. The elder
Bechtler is described as being "rather mystical and imaginative, most
Germans are, and superstitious to a marked degree." His will, writ-
ten in German, was probated in 1844. At the time of Simms's 1847
trip to this region the business was being operated by the nephew
as minter, gunsmith, miner, and jeweler. (Charles W. Griffin, West-
ern North Carolina Sketches, Forest City, N.C., 1941) pp. 52-53.)
138 MICHEN-MALICO: The chapter title is from Hamlet, III,
2: "Marry, this is miching mallecho; it means mischief."
148.8 well known choral chant: From the Song of the Spirits
in Faust, Part I, Scene 4. The translation at 148.10-36 and 265.12-13)
265.17-20 is probably Simms's own.
178.11 five beautiful cascades : Probably the five cascades of Pool
Creek, above Lake Lure, a few miles from Chimney Rock, N.C.
190.7 circular mound : Such a mound, supposedly Indian in origin,
still exists at the spot which Simms in 1847 located as the
estate of the counterfeiter Allen Twitty. (See note for 103.12.)
For Voltmeier's ascription of the building of these mounds to
another race than the Indian, see Simms's comment in Views and
Reviews in American Literature, History and Fiction, Second Series
(New York, 1845), p. 80: "The vast mounds [of the southeast]
. . . indicate a dense and stationary population —a people in pos-
session of a considerable degree of science . . . . These works . . .
were not works in the use of the red man . . . and must have
belonged to a race having . . . far greater endowments and far
greater necessities by whom he was preceded, and whom he, in all
probability, not only overthrew, but massacred. . . ."
216.12 Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741-1801), Swiss theologian and
author, was father of what was called in Simms's time the science
of characterology.