Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Carl Werner: An Imaginative Story >> Page 90

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Page 90

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription 90CARL WERNER
I.
With what a sober and saintly sweetness do these evening lights stream around us. What a spiritual atmosphere is here! Do you not feel it?"
My friend did not immediately answer my question, and when
he did, his reply was rather to the mood of mind in which I had
spoken, than to the words which I had uttered. We were walking,
towards the close of day, in one of the deepest parts of a German
forest, through which the sunlight penetrated only with imperfect
and broken rays. The vista, which was limited by the dusk, was
covered with flitting shadows, and wild aspects, that won us farther
at each succeeding moment in their pursuit. The cathedral pic-
turesqueness of the scene warmed us both, and when my friend
replied to me, I felt that our fancies were the same.
"You have no faith, I believe, in popular superstitions you never
yield yourself up to your dreams?),
Something of a feeling of self-esteem kept me from answering
sincerely to this question. I felt, at that instant, a guilty consciousness
of a growing respect for the legends of the wonder-loving land in
which I wandered. My answer was evasive.
"What mean you your question is a wide one?"
"Elsewhere it might be, but here here in Germany—it would
seem specific enough. Briefly you have no faith in ghosts—you do
not believe in the thousand and one stories which imagination hourly
weaves for the ear and the apprehensions of credulity."
"To speak truly, I have not often thought of this matter until
now. The genius loci has somewhat provoked my fancy, and tri-
umphed over my indifference if indifference it be. Ghost stories,
though frequent enough, are, as frequently, subjects of common
ridicule; and the hearer, if he does believe, finds it prudent to keep
his faith secret, if it be only to escape the laughter of his companions.
This may have been the case with me, and from seeking to deceive
my neighbors on this head, it is not improbable that I have fully
succeeded in at last deceiving myself; and have come to doubt
sincerely. But of this I will not be certain. I am not sure that I
should not partake of the sensibilities of any timid urchin, at the
sudden appearance of any suspicious object in any suspicious place."