Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Carl Werner: An Imaginative Story >> Page 103

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription CARL WERNERI03
" `Yet, I am sure,' responded the reverent Carl, turning an anxi-
ous look upon the vault, as if soliciting the buried saint to give the
lie to his comrade, `yet, I am sure, that it is not because he cannot.'
" `What other reason!' said Herman. `He cannot, my dear Carl,
and if he could, he would not. He sees—if the dead may see aught
all around him that he hath ever known or loved in life; and for us,
whom in life he never knew, he hath too little sympathy, to come at
our bidding. There might be some motive for those lately dead
to reappear at the requisition of those who still have human and
earthly affections struggling with the cares and woes of earth ; and
I would that it were possible we could evoke them. I, too, should be
a summoner, Carl I, too, should pray that my bodily eyes might
behold—not the objects of my mind, but the creatures of my heart!
I would give worlds, if I had them, once more to behold my dear
mother.'
" `Could she know your wish, Herman, would she not appear,
think you?' demanded Carl.
" `The suggestion makes against your argument, Carl,' replied the
other—'immortal as she is, she must know, she must hear my wish ;
yet she does not appear! wherefore does she not? she cannot it is
written—she cannot; and it is, perhaps, wise and well that she cannot.
It might alter my plans it might affect my purposes it might dis-
turb the existing condition of things without making them better.'
"Herman,—could I believe with you, I should be unhappy; but
I cannot. I feel assured that the spirit may return, and make itself
known. I do not say visibly to the eye, but in some way or other,
to one or more of the senses. Do you remember the story of Dame
Ulrica, and the silks that rustled in the tiring chamber?'
`Ah, no more of that, Carl; and as you are now getting fairly
on the track of the hobgoblins, we may as well stop our confabulation,
else shall we not go to bed to-night. Of one thing be sure, if I can
revisit you after death, I will
" `Will you promise me that, Herman?' demanded the other
eagerly.
"'Ay, that will I, though I shall try to do it in such a manner as
not to scare you. I shall sneak in like a gentle ghost, and shall speak
to you in the softest language. Will you really be glad to see me?'