Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Carl Werner: An Imaginative Story >> Page 102

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription IO2CARL WERNER
a spell for all senses, not because we believe in its magic in its sub-
tlety in its strange devices and wild conceits; but, that these subtle-
ties, spells, and devices, appeal to natural desires and attributes of the
mind of man. They are beautiful, and as the appreciation of that which
is beautiful, forms the legitimate object in the exercise of taste, they
commend themselves to every intellect or imagination that possesses
even common activity. You, perhaps, are less fortunate than myself,
since you believe in the ghost; and a natural sense of apprehension,
which your faith necessarily excites in your mind, while the story
is telling, subtracts from the perfect satisfaction with which—were
you as incredulous as myself you would hear or tell it. You tremble
while you narrate, and your eyes are forever looking round to see the
object which your fancy conjures up.'
" `True, but I do not cease to tell the story. I go on—I would
go on, though I beheld the ghost.'
" `I doubt you!' boldly said the other. `I believe you might try to
do so, for I know the extent of your moral courage; but your
imagination is too powerful for your control; and this I sometimes
fear. I sometimes fear that you may suffer greatly, when I am gone,
in the conflict between your imaginative faculty, and your good sense.
While I was with you, I had no fear; for when you looked round
for the ghost, I laid it with a laugh. It will rise and haunt you when
I am gone.'
" `How can you speak thus, or fear this, when, in the same breath,
you deny its existence?' demanded Carl.
" `Oh, I do not deny its existence to you,' said Herman 'we can
always have the ghost we call for, for imagination is a god. It is the
only creator under heaven. Yours is of this sort, and the worlds you
people are sometimes too extensive for your sway. They will rebel
against you.'
" `I fear them not!' said Carl. `It is my joy to create, and I
sometimes pray that with my bodily eyes I may behold the dim but
glorious visions of my mind. Yon old abbot, sleeping in the dust and
sanctity of a thousand years, could he rise before me now and
answer a few questions, I should be most happy.'
" `Do not trouble yourself to call upon him he will not trouble
himself to come.'