Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Mesmerides in a Stage-Coach; Or, Passes en Passant >> Page 222

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Page 222

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
fellow made it a condition of my stay that he should be present at
the manipulations from first to last ; and in order to keep the stage
for half an hour, I was compelled to keep him. Accordingly, our
party in the chamber consisted of Dalton, Gilbert, the chuckling,
tobacco-chewing squire, whose name was Moore, John Staggers, the
stage driver, and myself. To this party was subsequently added
Colonel Alford, and another gentleman whose name I forget.
Having secured the chamber, I prepared to put my experiment
in execution; but I was stopped at the outset by Dalton.
"I claim," said he, "as a matter of right, that this gentleman
should first try his experiment upon myself. He asserts that he has
already succeeded with me and imposed his will upon me. It is a
point of h.onour with me to prove that he cannot do so, and, accord-
ingly, that he has never done so. It seems that I did sleep in the
stage—that I do not deny; but that he caused the sleep is out of
the question."
A new ally came to my aid. Our chuckling fellow traveler, Moore,
who had spoken before only in an occasional monosyllable, broke out
"But why did you get in my lap?"
"I get in your lap?"
"You did;" and the tobacco made a rapid evolution from one
jaw to the other "you did; and if you hadn't got out mighty quick,
I'd ha' sent you through the windows. I was getting wolfish, I swow!"
I explained this mystery also. Some further chat ensued, but it
was finally agreed that my first experiment should be tried on Dalton.
I placed him accordingly, enjoined the utmost silence on the parties,
and proceeded with the usual passes and manipulations. In twenty-one
minutes by the watch my patient was pronounced asleep. This was a
triumph almost against my expectations, for the young man had
addressed all his firmness to the duty of resisting me.
"Now, gentlemen, try and waken him."
They approached, and several of the ordinary experiments were
tried, but without success. By throwing water into his face they made
him sneeze, but the effort was evidently merely muscular, for they
produced no other sign of consciousness. His hands were punctured,