Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Mesmerides in a Stage-Coach; Or, Passes en Passant >> Page 209

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Page 209

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
I did not, you may be sure. But circumstances seemed to deny
me the privilege of their immediate exercise, now while the first
fury of discovery was upon me. I was summoned to a distant part
of our forest country, and in leaving my home and the fair friend
my first and only subject —I seemed to leave behind me all occasion
for the repetition of my experiments. But the subject haunted me.
Mesmerism was a truth, and every truth must have its use. Mes-
merism was a power, and every power must have its value. What
was the nature of this truth? What was the extent of this power?
These were questions. So far, we see that it may be made subservient
to the cause of humanity in lessening the amount of physical and
mental suffering. It can subdue headache and fever; it produces
insensibility to the minor influences of pain. The nerves of sensibility
seem to be entirely under its control. Of its other attributes of
clairvoyance, &c., I say nothing, as, in my own experience, I know
nothing. But the rare sympathy which exists between the Mesmerizer
and his patient, I was not permitted to doubt. Had I not, through
its agency, subdued to tenderness one of my most stubborn enemies
among the fair sex? Had she not, ay, even while laughing merrily
at the absurdity of my manipulations, fallen beneath them, wept
freely amidst her smiles, and, while the words of taunt were yet
warm upon her lips, exchanged them for words of dependency, if
not of love? Did I not, with uplifted hands, will her adhesion, and
did she not follow me from room to room like a tame spaniel,
anxious, even to suffering, when I left her sight, and satisfied, even
to joy, when she again had me by the arm? Woman, was not that
my triumph? Need I tell you that, though something mortified at
the result, my once wilful beauty is no longer enemy of mine. I
verily believe she was as sorry to see me depart for the great
wildernesses of the west as my own wife and child though she did
not say so.
In the stage-coach this new experience troubled me; I could think
of nothing else. My mind ran upon long trains of experiments yet
to be made. The truth gained was partial only; it was without its
application, and till the uses of a truth are known, it must always