Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Mesmerides in a Stage-Coach; Or, Passes en Passant >> Page 208

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Page 208

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription [Simms's fascination with mesmerism provides the basis for "Mes-
merides in a Stage-Coach," published in Godey's Lady's Book for
September, 1845. Explanatory and Textual Notes begin on page
701.]
MESMERIDES IN A STAGE-COACH;
Or, Passes en Passant.

"Here cease more questions.
Thou art inclined to sleep; 'tis a good dullness,
And give it way : I know thou canst not choose."
* * * * * * * * *
"But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands." SHAKSPEARE. Tempest.
I.
T was in possession of a new power, a power strange and wonderful
—not to be believed if not witnessed, and scarcely then. I had,
at an earlier period, laughed, with the rest, at the wonders of
Mesmerism, and congratulated myself, with the soi disant scientific,
in the pharisaical dialect, that "I was not as one of those." But my
opinions had undergone a change. I had seen the thing that I had
pronounced nothing. It had been made apparent to my sight and
understanding nay, I had felt it with my hands. It was in my
fingers, and I, too, was a professor. The silken bands of sleep—iron,
if imposed by the Mesmerizer it was in my power to impose at
will. I had set to sleep my fairest enemy. A stubborn and capricious
damsel, whom I had otherwise in vain striven to move, my superior
will as a magnetizer had subdued to slumber. Her long white fingers
rested in my own; I squeezed them oh, how tenderly—and they
were not withdrawn. Her large dark eyes, setting under the glance
of mine, sunk from dewy softness into dark. My hands paddled
in her long raven tresses, and her head drooped towards me as if it
would have sought for rest within my bosom. Was not this a con-
quest? After this, could I dispute or doubt the rare powers of the
magnetizer?
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