Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Mesmerides in a Stage-Coach; Or, Passes en Passant >> Page 220

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription 220MESMERIDES IN A STAGE-COACH
of spirit; he was not to be bullied. He turned upon his assailant and
confronted him like a man.
"Well, sir, be it so; I am ready."
"I'm glad of it. Landlord?"
The barkeeper made his appearance. Gilbert seemed to know him,
for he called him by name.
"Freeman," said he, "is Colonel Alford in town?"
"He is, sir; I saw him yesterday."
"Do step to him; say that I want to see him here as soon as he
can come. And, Freeman."
As the other was moving away he caught his arm and whispered
in his ears. I caught but one word "pistols." Freeman disappeared.
I felt it necessary to interpose. I begged the gentlemen to be seated
while I furnished an explanation, which, I confidently assured them,
would set all things right.
"Impossible!" said the brother. Dalton himself looked doubtful;
besides, his blood was up, and he seemed half indifferent whether the
thing came to a fight or not. I begged them to be seated, and entered
upon my narrative. I described the powers of Mesmerism, its strange
effects, my own acquisition of it, and, in describing my experiment
upon my young companion, I did not scruple to say whence the desire
originated. The youth looked angry enough when I declared my
purpose to have been to compel his silence, and the chuckling squire
revolved rapidly his tobacco and laughed out merrily, with an
approving nod of his head. But, at the close, I discovered that my
labour had been taken in vain; nobody believed me; the marvellous
properties of Mesmerism were too extravagantly stated to secure
the faith of any of my hearers, and
"Pshaw! what nonsense!" was the complimentary comment with
which Mr. John Gilbert saluted my conclusion. Even Dalton, whom
it so much concerned. to prove my story true, regarded me as bent
upon practising upon the party, and in a very simple manner, for
reasons of my own. I was piqued.
"You are incredulous, gentlemen, but I can convince you."
"Do you mean to say that you or any man can put me to sleep
at pleasure?"
"You may be a difficult subject, sir"