Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Carl Werner: An Imaginative Story >> Page 106

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription To6CARL WERNER
it. Was it a fancy of Carl, or did he hear the laugh faintly repeated
among the rocks behind them, several seconds after his companion
had disappeared. It might be an echo merely, but the circumstance
troubled the mind of Carl, who could not avoid thinking of it for
weeks after.
"At length the dreams of the dreamer gave way to more urgent
realities. He became a married man; and his bosom was too much
filled with the thoughts of Matilda, and his eyes were too much
occupied with gazing upon her, to permit of the intrusion of any
busy ghost or wandering vision upon either thought or sight. Mar-
riage has a wonderful tendency towards making men practical. The
tendency, indeed, is sometimes too direct and rapid to be altogether
pleasant. Not that this was the case with Carl. Far from it. He was
improved in more respects than one in the change of his condition,
His mind needed some qualifying and subduing influence to change
its direction to turn it from the too constant contemplation of those
baseless fabrics which had heretofore but too much occupied its
regards; and to bring it back to human necessities, and, through
their medium, to the just appreciation of merely human joys. It is
no less true than strange, that for the first three weeks after marriage,
Carl did not dream at all, as had been, for as many years before,
his nightly, and, to speak truth, his daily custom. For three whole
weeks he lived a common man had earthly notions of things
addressed himself to earthly labors and did not once, in all that
time, pay a single visit to the ancient abbey. But when the three
weeks were over, he began again to dream, and to wander. The old
abbey again received him as a constant visitor, and the presence of
Matilda with him did not greatly lessen his devotion to the sanctity
and superstitions of the spot.
"Perhaps, indeed, it was Matilda that somewhat contributed to
the superstitions of her husband. She was a religious being—deeply
impressed with the spirit of faith and worship, even if she lacked
the divine intelligence which might have enabled her to discriminate
between the holy things of the sanctuary, and those meretricious
symbols, and mocking shadows, which the arts of one class, and