Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Mesmerides in a Stage-Coach; Or, Passes en Passant >> Page 217

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Page 217

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription MESMERIDES IN A STAGE-COACH217
"And how will you do now? Where will you go?"
"I reckon I must go on till I meet the other stage. Perhaps I
shall have to go to. Confound the old woman for taking it so
much to heart; otherwise I might have staid there all night."
"Do you know her?"
"Only by hearsay. She's well off, and one of the girls is a belle."
"If so, the matter's easy."
"How?"
"Admit the kiss to have been prepense, a deliberately designed
performance"
"Ay, indeed, and get John Gilbert's bowie knife between my ribs,"
he said, interrupting me.
"No; make love to the belle and marry her."
"Well, that's not a bad idea."
"If you think so, why not act upon it?"
"More easy said than done. I should like very well to know
the girls, and have often thought upon it before; but this cursed
scrape."
And so we talked for an hour, until wearied, when we sank back
to our separate musings. What was in his thoughts I could easily
imagine—they were full of his novel adventures of the night. Mine
had received their colour from the same circumstances, and I had
just begun to persuade myself to make another mesmeric experiment
upon the youth, when our mutual musings were cut short by an
unexpected catastrophe an event not unfrequent in the rugged roads
and regions of the south the upsetting of our stage. In a moment,
we were rolling over the side of a hill, heels in air, and with such a
strange proclivity to one another that, on rising, it was a matter of
some uncertainty whether each man stood on his own or the legs
of his neighbour. We scrambled out without any nice attention to the
mire, and by the aid of one of the lamps of the stage, still left
unshattered, we were enabled to obtain a partial view of the condition
of the wreck.
V.
The little town of Mwas four miles off. It would take some
two or three hours, according to our driver, before he could put the
stage in fit traveling condition, and we resolved to walk this distance.