Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Mesmerides in a Stage-Coach; Or, Passes en Passant >> Page 214

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Page 214

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
came apprehensive and fidgety, and my passes, made with a nervous
rapidity, while they produced perspiration on me, seemed to have no
sort of effect upon him. What was to be done? I stopped to meditate.
It was necessary that I should compose myself or I should fail
altogether. I reasoned with myself, brought back my wandering
fancies, fixed my mood, and addressed all my resolution to the one
object. This done and the results were apparent. The task was easy.
A deep sigh escaped my patient, succeeded by a sort of hysterical
gasping which lasted for a few seconds. He then leaned forward,
put his hands affectionately on my knees and murmured something
incoherently, but in tones equally soft and soliciting. Just at this
moment our horses, which had been going at considerable speed,
came to a dead halt, and looking through the glass, I saw a light
from a cottage some twenty paces from the roadside. It was just
such a comfortable box as we had passed a few hours before—a snug
cabin of two stories, a piazza in front, and a neat white paling
running before it along the road. These objects now caught the eye
of my patient. He leaned forward, and I heard him mutter, slowly,
and as if the subject were still matter of doubt "Why, here I
am; I must have slept." He rose as he said so, bundled up stick,
umbrella and valise, and opening the door, prepared to leap out.
He paused, only, it would seem, to take me by the hand and wish
me well —a civility which was wholly unexpected, and due entirely,
I suppose, to the rare sympathy which is supposed to exist between
the mesmerized and his mesmerizer. I thanked him; he shook my
hands fervently and leaped down to the ground.
I congratulated myself that the lad was now at home, that no evil
consequences had followed my experiment; that no damsel had
been jilted at the moment of highest expectation, no parson dis-
appointed of his fee, no brains blown out by fierce brother or savage
cousin. The house was astir, expectation was on tiptoe; a servant
held a torch by the entrance; lights were to be seen in the corridor
of the building, where a group was collected entirely of women.
One portly dame could be seen in the centre, supported by a young
girl on each side, whom, even at that distance, I could fancy pretty.