Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Carl Werner: An Imaginative Story >> Page 91

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription CARL WERNER9I
"Ha! ha! I see you are no sceptic. You are for the ghosts you
certainly believe in them."
"Not so ! " I replied, somewhat hastily; "I cannot be said to believe
or disbelieve. I have no facts no opinions—on the subject, and there-
fore cannot be supposed to have arrived at any conviction respecting
it. I have scarcely given it a thought, and my impressions are rather
those of the temperament and memory than the mind. Warm blood
makes me jump frequently to conclusions upon which I never think;
and the stories of boyhood, in this respect, will, long after the boy
has become a man, stagger his strength with the images produced
on his imagination by a granddame's narratives at that susceptible
period. My notions of the marvellous arise almost entirely from my
feelings—feelings kindled by such stories, and, it may be, rendered
vivid by a natural tinct of superstition, which few of us seem to be
free from, and which may, perhaps, be considered the best of argu-
ments in defence of such a faith."
My friend made no immediate answer a pause ensued in our
speech, but not in our movement. We walked on, and the shadows
became more thick around us. The scattered lights of evening grew
fainter and fewer, and I perceived that the mood of my companion,
like my own, had undergone a corresponding change. Sad thoughts
mingled with strange thoughts in our minds, and when he again
spoke, it was evident that he felt the night. He resumed the subject.
"I have not been willing to believe, but I feel, and feeling brings
the faith. I have reason to suspect myself of a leaning to these
superstitions, and discover myself inclining to conviction the more
I indulge in solitude. Solitude is one of the parents of superstition.
The constant wakefulness and warring strifes of selfish interests,
which prevail in the city and among the crowd, drive away such
thoughts, and, indeed, all thoughts which incline to reverence; and it
is only when I get into the country among these solemn shades and
deep recesses that I find my superstitions coming back to me with
a thousand other sensibilities. It is then that my memory goes over
the old grounds of my childhood; and that the fancies of an early
romance become invigorated within me:—it is then that I give
credence to the unaccountable story that we sometimes hear from the
lips of more credulous or more experienced companions. Their ear-
nestness and faith strengthen and awaken ours the fancy grows into