Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Carl Werner: An Imaginative Story >> Page 95

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription CARL WERNER95
character in which all beside him were abundantly provided he had
no more faith in a ghost than he had in a sermon; and though not
deficient in proper veneration, he had but slight regard for either.
"In this respect, as in several others, he differed greatly from his
more youthful friend and companion, Carl Werner. Carl was super-
stitious to the last degree; his memory was perfectly crowded with
legends the most extravagant, and he had a feverish and perpetual
desire, continually, to increase his collection. He was, in very truth,
a dreamer—one of those gifted men, who see strange sights and
hear uncommon sounds, which are denied to the vulgar faculty; and
his senses were accordingly employed always in scenting out and
searching after the supernatural. But let me not be understood to say
that Carl was a simpleton. Far from it. He was, in reality, as I have
phrased it already, a highly gifted man. He was a poet —a man of
quick and daring imagination one whose verses were full of fire,
and acknowledged to be of more than ordinary merit, but he was
rather too much of a mystic. Deeply impregnated with the tradi-
tionary lore of `The Teuton,' and irritably alive to all its exciting
influences, the fancy which was in him, the active and subtle spirit
of his thoughts, gathered from all objects and associations food and
stimulant for its own continued exercise. His very existence, so deeply
had he drank of the witch beverage and been led away into the
haunted forests of his fancy, had become rather metaphysical than
real. His life was passed in dreams; and even his love for Matilda,
so far from humanizing his mind and binding it to earth, seemed
to have the effect of elevating it the more, and of making it hourly
more and more spiritual; until, at length, he appeared to regard the
maiden rather as a creation of his thought —a dream of heaven than
an object for the contemplation and the enjoyment of his senses. His
life was thus diseased by his imagination, while yet in the green, in
the blossom, and the bud.
"Between Herman and his sister, the soul and person of Carl
Werner were pretty evenly divided. When not with one, he was
with the other; and when not separately with either, he was sure
to be with both. Though the tastes and tempers of the two young