Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Mesmerides in a Stage-Coach; Or, Passes en Passant >> Page 216

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Page 216

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription 216MESMERIDES IN A STAGE-COACH
fancying himself at the door of his own mother, had allowed his
affections to go before his eyes.
"A pretty tale, indeed," says the old lady; "but it won't go down.
I know you very well, sir; you're Willis Dalton, of. I've
heard tell of you before; you was always counted a most conceited,
impudent person. I only wish I was a man for your sake; I'd lick the
conceit out of you mighty quick, I tell you. But don't you think to
get off. Wait till my son John comes home. If he don't settle off
scores with you he's no son of mine."
The old lady did not absolutely lay hands on the youth, but she
followed him so closely to the vehicle that we were all momentarily
apprehensive that she would do so. Her action was considerable and
her deportment excessively threatening. The unfortunate offender
effected his return into the stage with a crab-like movement. He was
evidently not a little afraid of an assault from behind. But she con-
tented herself with the use of the one certainly feminine weapon,
and forebore all others. But of this one she was unsparing. She
remained at the stage door, thundering to the last, until the sharp
crack of the driver's whip warned her that he was about to make a
start. As she withdrew, the youth cried out, in no friendly tones
"Why didn't you call me, driver, when you reached my house?"
"I did ! " was the short reply.
"Well, I suppose I was asleep. Why didn't you wake me?"
"None of my business. I stopped at your house and called you;
if you didn't choose to hear, 'twas your own consarn. I wasn't gwine
to wait on you all night and lose the mail; I'm behind time now."
They had an angry but a brief dispute, and getting satisfaction and
consolation from no quarter, the youth sank back into his seat.
"At least," said I, by way of warming his vanity and so soothing
his mood— "at least, you had a kiss of the young ladies, and I should
say they were pretty girls enough."
"'Gad, yes,. they are pretty; and the kiss, so far as they were
concerned, was not out of the way. But to kiss that old hag and think
she was my mother!"
"Do not blame her her indignation was natural."
"So it was,—but how could I have made such a mistake?"
"You were half asleep."
"I suppose I was. But it was something strange that I should
sleep. I never slept in a stage-coach before never could sleep."