Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Mesmerides in a Stage-Coach; Or, Passes en Passant >> Page 224

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Page 224

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription 224M ES M ERI DES I N A STAGE-COACH
pressed me with the necessity of succeeding in my purpose if I wished
to prevent bloodshed.
I need scarcely say to my readers that, having undertaken such a
performance, I must be a man of no small determination of my own.
My will had been long acknowledged among my acquaintances as a
remarkable feature in my character. I had good health and no small
share of physical strength. I was goaded to my task by my pride,
my desire to prevent mischief, and a lively curiosity to see what
results might be produced in such a case and with such parties by
the processes I had in view. Besides, I was exercising myself in
a newly-acquired and highly stimulating attribute, and this alone, to
the determined will and sanguine temperament, is provocative enough
whatever may be the occasion. But with all my endowments as a
Mesmerizer, I did not disguise from myself that I had a stubborn
subject. Mr. John Gilbert was about my own age, size and general
strength. That he had sufficient confidence in himself was evident.
His health was good; his nervous system not easily excited. He was
cool and composed, and having no faith in my ability to conquer, had
no fears of my success. It was necessary that I should put my whole
soul and all my resources into the experiment. I did so. I took certain
precautions with him that I had not taken in the case of Dalton.
I let down the curtains of the chamber, placed the mirror and every
thing that might divert his glance out of sight, and requested the
spectators to take their seats behind him. I seated myself with my
back close to the bare wall, on a high chair, placing him upon a
bench considerably below me. I then curiously examined his phreno-
logical developments, and having located as well as I could the two
newly-discovered organs of mental and physical sleep, I subjected
them to strong pressure and a gentle friction before I began the
direct passes. I also touched more than once the region of physical
weakness or infirmity, another organ the discovery of which we owe
to that rare neurologist, Dr. Buchanan. But I need go no farther into
such details, which are known to every practitioner of the school of
Mesmer. I mention these to show that, being conscious of the
difficulties in the case of my new subject, I took the proper pains to