Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Carl Werner: An Imaginative Story >> Page 94

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription 94CARL WERNER
every where. Their rivers and their rocks, their green knolls and
sinking valleys, their dense forests, wild wastes, and deserted ruins,
like these around us, are all haunted and venerable. The dell and
dingle have their different spirits, the wood and rivulet theirs; and
the gentle-hearted peasants who inhabit them are, in some instances,
almost as rigidly tenacious of the privileges of the genius loci, as they
are of their own rights and religion. A tale of diablerie will not,
therefore, seem out of place, in a region so abundantly supplied with
this material; and the story which I am about to relate to you, though
differing materially from those which we are accustomed to hear, is
yet as native to this neighborhood as any of the rest. The parties
who figure in it, were born in the little hamlet of, not a
mile distant, and you will hear the story from any of the villagers
to whom you may refer for confirmation of it.
"It is now about fifty years since the events which I am about to
relate to you are said to have occurred. The village of
stood then pretty much as it does now, except that there were then
two families in it, of which there are no descendants or surviving
relics now. The family of Herman Ottfried was one of the most
respectable in it; nor was that of Carl Werner less so. The former
consisted only of Herman, and the fair Matilda, his sister; while
that of Carl Werner existed in himself alone. He was an only child,
whose mother had been long since dead, and whose father had died
just before the time when my narrative begins. Herman was about
twenty-five years of age, Carl Werner not more than twenty-one
yet they were inseparable friends. Matilda, the sister of Herman,
was but seventeen; and it is more than probable, that the great
intimacy between Carl and Herman, and the strong regard which
the former professed for the latter, arose from the yet stronger
feeling which he entertained for the sister. But of this anon. Herman
was a good natured, laughing, and mischievous creature, ready always
for fun and frolic, not easily apprehensive of danger, nor always
scrupulous about proprieties in his pranks. He had good sense enough
to keep him from any extravagant folly, or extreme rashness; and
good feeling enough to restrain him from any excess which might
inflict pain upon the deserving and the good. He was of graceful
person, manly and strong, brave, generous, and well-principled. The
favorite of the village, he was yet wanting in one of those traits of
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