Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Carl Werner: An Imaginative Story >> Page 112

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription II2CARL WERNER
suffered no farther interruption while in the abbey. When he had
left it, however, and was about to enter the main street of the village,
he was encountered by a drunken man.
" `Hallo, friend!' exclaimed the bacchanal, `whither so fast? Stop
and hear a song stop and be merry.'
"And, in the voice of one satisfied with himself and all the world,
the drinker carolled with tolerable skill, one of those famous dithy-
rambics in which the German muse has frequently excelled. The eye
of the unhappy Carl was turned, half in hope, and half in despair,
upon the man. He had heard of the soporific effects of wine—of its
ability to drown care, and produce a sweet forgetfulness of his
sorrow, and he felt inclined to the temptation; but a sudden thought
of Matilda shot through his brain, at that lucky instant, like an
arrow. He knew not the lateness of the hour, and was ignorant how
long he had been from her. He knew that he had swooned away,
and knew not how long he had remained in his stupor. It might
be near daylight, and what, if such were the case, what must be
her fears? Domestic love came to his succor, and he rejected the
overtures of the bacchanalian, who nevertheless continued to pur-
sue him. He followed the unhappy Carl to his very door, now
persuading, and now striving to provoke him by every manner of
taunt and sarcasm, to partake of the intoxicating cup which he prof-
fered. But the sufferer was firm, though more than once it came to
his thought that wine was good against sorrow. He was not yet so
deficient, however, in other resources, as to fly to this doubtful
succedaneum.
XII.
"It was not so late as Carl had fancied it, and his wife was still
awake. He had not been away much longer than was his wont, when
he went forth on his usual evening rambles; and though she had
suffered from his absence, yet it was not through any apprehensions
for his safety. Still she had no complaints, and the pleasure in her
eyes when he did return, was, probably, one of the best arguments
against his wandering forth again. She was still melancholy and ap-
prehensive, and when she observed the anguish, not to say the