Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Mesmerides in a Stage-Coach; Or, Passes en Passant >> Page 228

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
was not unwilling to leave me at their mercy. In telling me that the
stage could wait no longer, he did only that which he could not well
avoid doing; and had I not been almost as prompt in my movements
as himself, I should certainly have been left to take my chance at a
scamper through the village gauntlet, Doctor Vomit at the head.
The ides of Mesmer, unlike those of March, had a pleasant term-
ination. I returned through Ma month after this event, taking
such precautions as I fancied would leave me unrecognized. I still
had some dread of Vomit and his myrmidons. I had suffered my
whiskers to grow, had exchanged my hat for a cap, and muffling
myself from ears to heels in my fearnaught, I stole to a private
chamber in the inn, with as little noise as possible. I then sent for
Alford. When he found out who I was, he shook my hand with
unmeasured gratification, and gave me a lively description of the
sequel to the affair, the further control. of which I had entrusted to
his hands how he had made the parties kiss each other, kiss the
driver, kiss the horses, leap and dance, sing and laugh, by his mere
command; and how, even while they were engaged in the most
affectionate embraces, how he had awakened them; how they had
recoiled from each other in a sort of horror, and with what difficulty
he had succeeded in persuading them of the facts to which he had
been witness. The production of the written apology and its accept-
ance by Gilbert was conclusive; and subdued by the strangeness of
the events, the exhortations of Alford, and somewhat by the natural
tendency of the Mesmeric state to make gentle and placable the
temper, he had consented to renew, at waking, the expressions of
content and friendship which he had written while asleep.
"But the best is yet to come," said Alford. "Dalton has not only
made peace with the old lady and the girls, but is desperately smitten
with the youngest of them, who, it seems, as if she had some presenti-
ment of what was to come, had apologized for his impertinence in
the first instance, and, as Dalton has since assured me, was the
least reluctant when the kissing was in progress, and the least com-
plaining when it was over. The report goes that they are already
engaged to be married, and I'm half inclined to think it true. As for