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Title: Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque Volume 1
Author: Edgar Allan Poe
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Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, Volume 1
Edgar Allan Poe

Seltsamen tochter Jovis
Seinem schosskinde
Der Phantasie

These Volumes are Inscribed




The epithets "Grotesque" and "Arabesque" will be found to indicate
with sufficient precision the prevalent tenor of the tales here
published. But from the fact that, during a period of some two or
three years, I have written five-and-twenty short stories whose
general character may be so briefly defined, it cannot be fairly
inferred--at all events it is not truly inferred--that I have, for
this species of writing, any inordinate, or indeed any peculiar taste
or prepossession. I may have written with an eye to this republication
in volume form, and may, therefore, have desired to preserve, as far
as a certain point, a certain unity of design. This is, indeed, the
fact; and it may even happen that, in this manner, I shall never
compose anything again. I speak of these things here, because I am led
to think it is this prevalence of the "Arabesque" in my serious tales,
which has induced one or two critics to tax me, in all friendliness,
with what they have been pleased to term "Germanism" and gloom. The
charge is in bad taste, and the grounds of the accusation have not
been sufficiently considered. Let us admit, for the moment, that the
"phantasy-pieces" now given are Germanic, or what not. Then Germanism
is "the vein" for the time being. To morrow I may be anything but
German, as yesterday I was everything else. These many pieces are yet
one book. My friends would be quite as wise in taxing an astronomer
with too much astronomy, or an ethical author with treating too
largely of morals. But the truth is that, with a single exception,
there is no one of these stories in which the scholar should recognise
the distinctive features of that species of pseudo-horror which we are
taught to call Germanic, for no better reason than that some of the
secondary names of German literature have become identified with its
folly. If in many of my productions terror has been the thesis, I
maintain that terror is not of Germany, but of the soul,--that I have
deduced this terror only from its legitimate sources, and urged it
only to its legitimate results.

There are one or two of the articles here, (conceived and executed in
the purest spirit of extravaganza,) to which I expect no serious
attention, and of which I shall speak no farther. But for the rest I
cannot conscientiously claim indulgence on the score of hasty effort.
I think it best becomes me to say, therefore, that if I have sinned, I
have deliberately sinned. These brief compositions are, in chief part,
the results of matured purpose and very careful elaboration.


Itself, alone by itself, eternally one, and single.
--Plato. Sympos.

With a feeling of deep yet most singular affection I regarded my
friend Morella. Thrown by accident into her society many years ago, my
soul, from our first meeting, burned with fires it had never before
known; but the fires were not of Eros; and bitter and tormenting to my
spirit was the gradual conviction that I could in no manner define
their unusual meaning, or regulate their vague intensity. Yet we met;
and fate bound us together at the altar; and I never spoke of passion,
nor thought of love. She, however, shunned society, and, attaching
herself to me alone, rendered me happy. It is a happiness to wonder;--
it is a happiness to dream.

Morella's erudition was profound. As I hope to live, her talents were
of no common order--her powers of mind were gigantic. I felt this,
and, in many matters, became her pupil. I soon, however, found that,
perhaps on account of her Presburg education, she placed before me a
number of those mystical writings which are usually considered the
mere dross of the early German literature. These, for what reasons I
could not imagine, were her favorite and constant study--and that in
process of time they became my own should be attributed to the simple
but effectual influence of habit and example.

In all this, if I err not, my reason had little to do. My convictions,
or I forget myself, were in no manner acted upon by the ideal, nor was
any tincture of the mysticism which I read to be discovered, unless I
am greatly mistaken, either in my deeds or in my thoughts. Feeling
deeply persuaded of this, I abandoned myself implicitly to the
guidance of my wife, and entered with an unflinching heart into the
intricacies of her studies. And then--then, when, poring over
forbidden pages, I felt a forbidden spirit enkindling within me--would
Morella place her cold hand upon my own, and rake up from the ashes of
a dead philosophy some low, singular words, whose strange meaning
burned themselves in upon my memory--and then hour after hour would I
linger by her side and dwell upon the music of her voice--until, at
length, its melody was tainted with terror--and fell like a shadow
upon my soul--and I grew pale, and shuddered inwardly at those too
unearthly tones. And thus joy suddenly faded into horror, and the most
beautiful became the most hideous, as Hinnon became GeHenna.

It is unnecessary to state the exact character of those disquisitions
which, growing out of the volumes I have mentioned, formed, for so
long a time, almost the sole conversation of Morella and myself. By
the learned in what might be termed theological morality they will be
readily conceived, and by the unlearned they would, at all events, be
little understood. The wild Pantheism of Fichte; the modified of the
Pythagoreans; and, above all, the doctrines of Identity as urged by
Schelling, were generally the points of discussion presenting the most
of beauty to the imaginative Morella. That identity which is termed
personal, Mr. Locke, I think, truly defines to consist in the sameness
of a rational being. And since by person we understand an intelligent
essence having reason, and since there is a consciousness which always
accompanies thinking, it is this which makes us all to be that which
we call ourselves--thereby distinguishing us from other beings that
think, and giving us our personal identity. But the principium
individuationis--the notion of that identity which at death is or is
not lost forever, was to me, at all times, a consideration of intense
interest, not more from the mystical and exciting nature of its
consequences, than from the marked and agitated manner in which
Morella mentioned them.

But, indeed, the time had now arrived when the mystery of my wife's
manner oppressed me as a spell. I could no longer bear the touch of
her wan fingers, nor the low tone of her musical language, nor the
lustre of her melancholy eyes. And she knew all this but did not
upbraid--she seemed conscious of my weakness or my folly, and,
smiling, called it Fate. She seemed, also, conscious of a cause, to me
unknown, for the gradual alienation of my regard; but she gave me no
hint or token of its nature. Yet was she woman, and pined away daily.
In time, the crimson spot settled steadily upon the cheek, and the
blue veins upon the pale forehead became prominent; and, one instant,
my nature melted into pity, but, in the next, I met the glance of her
meaning eyes, and then my soul sickened and became giddy with the
giddiness of one who gazes downward into some dreary and unfathomable

Shall I then say that I longed with an earnest and consuming desire
for the moment of Morella's decease? I did; but the fragile spirit
clung to its tenement of clay for many days--for many weeks and
irksome months--until my tortured nerves obtained the mastery over my
mind, and I grew furious through delay, and, with the heart of a
fiend, cursed the days, and the hours, and the bitter moments, which
seemed to lengthen and lengthen as her gentle life declined--like
shadows in the dying of the day.

But one autumnal evening, when the winds lay still in heaven, Morella
called me to her side. There was a dim mist over all the earth, and a
warm glow upon the waters, and, amid the rich October leaves of the
forest, a rainbow from the firmament had surely fallen. As I came she
was murmuring, in a low under tone, which trembled with fervor, the
words of a Catholic hymn:

Sancta Maria! turn thine eyes
Upon a sinner's sacrifice
Of fervent prayer and humble love
From thy holy throne above.
At morn, at noon, at twilight dim,
Maria! thou hast heard my hymn,
In joy and wo, in good and ill,
Mother of God! be with me still.
When my hours flew gently by,
And no storms were in the sky,
My soul, lest it should truant be,
Thy love did guide to thine and thee.
Now when clouds of Fate o'ercast
All my Present and my Past,
Let my Future radiant shine
With sweet hopes of thee and thine.

"It is a day of days," said Morella; "a day of all days either to live
or die. It is a fair day for the sons of earth and life--ah! more fair
for the daughter's of heaven and death."

I turned towards her, and she continued.

"I am dying--yet shall I live. Therefore for me, Morella, thy wife,
hath the charnel-house no terrors--mark me!--not even the terrors of
the worm. The days have never been when thou couldst love me; but her
whom in life thou didst abhor, in death thou shalt adore."


"I repeat that I am dying. But within me is a pledge of that
affection--ah, how little!--which you felt for me, Morella. And when
my spirit departs shall the child live--thy child and mine, Morella's.
But thy days shall be days of sorrow--that sorrow which is the most
lasting of impressions, as the cypress is the most enduring of trees.
For the hours of thy happiness are over; and joy is not gathered twice
in a life, as the roses of Pstum twice in a year. Thou shalt no
longer, then, play the Teian with time, but, being ignorant of the
myrtle and the vine, thou shalt bear about with thee thy shroud on
earth, as do the Moslemin at Mecca."

"Morella!" I cried, "Morella! how knowest thou this?"--but she turned
away her face upon the pillow, and, a slight tremor coming over her
limbs, she thus died, and I heard her voice no more.

Yet, as she had foretold, her child--to which in dying she had given
birth, and which breathed not until the mother breathed no more--her
child, a daughter, lived. And she grew strangely in stature and
intellect, and was the perfect resemblance of her who had departed,
and I loved her with a love more fervent and more intense than I had
believed it possible to feel for any denizen of earth.

But, ere long, the heaven of this pure affection became overcast, and
gloom, and horror, and grief, swept over it in clouds. I said the
child grew strangely in stature and intelligence. Strange indeed was
her rapid increase in bodily size--but terrible, oh! terrible were the
tumultuous thoughts which crowded upon me while watching the
development of her mental being. Could it be otherwise, when I daily
discovered in the conceptions of the child the adult powers and
faculties of the woman?--when the lessons of experience fell from the
lips of infancy? and when the wisdom or the passions of maturity I
found hourly gleaming from its full and speculative eye? When, I say,
all this became evident to my appalled senses--when I could no longer
hide it from my soul, nor throw it off from those perceptions which
trembled to receive it--is it to be wondered at that suspicions, of a
nature fearful and exciting, crept in upon my spirit, or that my
thoughts fell back aghast upon the wild tales and thrilling theories
of the entombed Morella? I snatched from the scrutiny of the world a
being whom destiny compelled me to adore, and, in the rigorous
seclusion of my old ancestral home, watched with an agonizing anxiety
over all which concerned the beloved.

And, as years rolled away, and I gazed, day after day, upon her holy,
and mild, and eloquent face, and pored over her maturing form, day
after day did I discover new points of resemblance in the child to her
mother, the melancholy and the dead. And, hourly, grew darker these
shadows of similitude, and more full, and more definite, and more
perplexing, and more hideously terrible in their aspect. For that her
smile was like her mother's I could bear; but then I shuddered at its
too perfect identity--that her eyes were like Morella's I could
endure; but then they too often looked down into the depths of my soul
with Morella's own intense and bewildering meaning. And in the contour
of the high forehead, and in the ringlets of the silken hair, and in
the wan fingers which buried themselves therein, and in the sad
musical tones of her speech, and above all--oh, above all--in the
phrases and expressions of the dead on the lips of the loved and the
living, I found food for consuming thought and horror--for a worm that
would not die.

Thus passed away two lustrums of her life, but my daughter remained
nameless upon the earth. "My child" and "my love" were the
designations usually prompted by a father's affection, and the rigid
seclusion of her days precluded all other intercourse. Morella's name
died with her at her death. Of the mother I had never spoken to the
daughter--it was impossible to speak. Indeed, during the brief period
of her existtence the latter had received no impressions from the
outward world but such as might have been afforded by the narrow
limits of her privacy. But at length the ceremony of baptism presented
to my mind, in its unnerved and agitated condition, a present
deliverance from the terrors of my destiny. And at the baptismal font
I hesitated for a name. And many titles of the wise and beautiful, of
old and modern times, of my own and foreign lands, came thronging to
my lips--and many, many fair titles of the gentle, and the happy, and
the good. What prompted me then to disturb the memory of the buried
dead? What demon urged me to breathe that sound, which, in its very
recollection, was wont to make ebb the purple blood in torrents from
the temples to the heart? What fiend spoke from the recesses of my
soul, when, amid those dim aisles, and in the silence of the night, I
shrieked within the ears of the holy man the syllables--Morella? What
more than fiend convulsed the features of my child, and overspread
them with the hues of death, as, starting at that sound, she turned
her glassy eyes from the earth to heaven, and, falling prostrate on
the black slabs of our ancestral vault, responded--"I am here!"

Distinct, coldly, calmly distinct--like a knell of death--horrible,
horrible death--sank the eternal sounds within my soul. Years--years
may roll away, but the memory of that epoch--never! Now was I indeed
ignorant of the flowers and the vine--but the hemlock and the cypress
overshadowed me night and day. And I kept no reckoning of time or
place, and the stars of my fate faded from heaven, and, therefore, the
earth grew dark, and its figures passed by me like flitting shadows,
and among them all I beheld only--Morella. The winds of the firmament
breathed but one sound within my ears, and the ripples upon the sea
murmured evermore--Morella. But she died; and with my own hands I bore
her to the tomb; and I laughed with a long and bitter laugh as I found
no traces of the first, in the charnel where I laid the second--


--all people went
Upon their ten toes in wild wonderment.
   Bishop Hall's Satires.

I am--that is to say, I was--a great man; but I am neither the author
of Junius, nor the man in the mask, for my name is Thomas Smith, and I
was born somewhere in the city of Fum-Fudge. The first action of my
life was the taking hold of my nose with both hands; my mother saw
this, and called me a genius; my father wept for joy, and bought me a
treatise on Nosology. Before I was breeched I had not only mastered
the treatise, but had collected into a common-place book all that is
said on the subject by Pliny, Aristotle, Alexander Ross, Minutius
Felix, Hermanus Pictorius, Del Rio, Villart, Bartholinus, and Sir
Thomas Browne.

I now began to feel my way in the science, and soon came to understand
that, provided a man had a nose sufficiently big, he might, by merely
following it, arrive at a lionship. But my attention was not confined
to theories alone; every morning I took a dram or two, and gave my
proboscis a couple of pulls. When I came of age my father asked me,
one day, if I would step with him into his study.

"My son," said he, when we got there, "what is the chief end of your

"Father," I said, "it is the study of Nosology."

"And what, Thomas," he continued, "is nosology?"

"Sir," I replied, "it is the Science of Noses."

"And can you tell me," he asked, "what is the meaning of a nose?"

"A nose, my father," said I, "has been variously defined by about a
thousand different authors, (here I pulled out my watch). It is now
noon, or thereabouts--we shall have time enough to get through with
them all before midnight. To commence, then. The nose, according to
Bartholinus, is that protuberance, that bump, that excrescence, that--"

"That will do, Thomas," said the old gentleman. "I am thunderstruck at
the extent of your information--I am positively--upon my soul. Come
here! (and he took me by the arm). Your education may now be
considered as finished, and it is high time that you should scuffle
for yourself--so--so--so--(here he kicked me down stairs and out of
the door) so get out of my house, and God bless you!"

As I felt within me the divine afflatus, I considered this accident
rather fortunate than otherwise, and determined to follow my nose. So
I gave it a pull or two, and wrote a pamphlet on Nosology. All Fum-Fudge
was in an uproar.

"Wonderful genius!" said the Quarterly.

"Superb physiologist!" said the New Monthly.

"Fine writer!" said the Edinburgh.

"Great man!" said Blackwood.

"Who can he be?" said Mrs. Bas-Bleu.

"What can he be?" said big Miss Bas-Bleu.

"Where can he be?" said little Miss Bas-Bleu. But I paid them no
manner of attention, and walked into the shop of an artist.

The Duchess of Bless-my-Soul was sitting for her portrait; the
Marchioness of So-and-So was holding the Duchess's poodle; the Earl of
This-and-That was flirting with her salts; and his Royal Highness of
Touch-me-Not was standing behind her chair. I merely walked towards
the artist, and held up my proboscis.

"O beautiful!" sighed the Duchess.

"O pretty!" lisped the Marshiness.

"O horrible!" groaned the Earl.

"O abominable!" growled his Royal Highness.

"What will you take for it?" said the artist.

"A thousand pounds," said I, sitting down.

"A thousand pounds?" he inquired, turning the nose to the light.

"Precisely," said I.

"Beautiful!" said he, looking at the nose.

"A thousand pounds," said I, twisting it to one side.

"Admirable!" said he.

"A thousand pounds," said I.

"You shall have them," said he, "what a piece of virtu!" So he paid me
the money, and made a sketch of my nose. I took rooms in Jermyn
street, sent her Majesty the ninety-ninth edition of the Nosology with
a portrait of the author's nose, and his Royal Highness of Touch-me-Not
invited me to dinner.

We were all lions and recherchs.

There was a Grand Turk from Stamboul. He said that the angels were
horses, cocks, and bulls--that somebody in the sixth heaven had
seventy thousand heads and seventy thousand tongues--and that the
earth was held up by a sky-blue cow, having four hundred horns.

There was Sir Positive Paradox. He said that all fools were
philosophers, and all philosophers were fools.

There was a writer on ethics. He talked of fire, unity, and atoms;
bi-part, and pre-existent soul; affinity and discord; primitive
intelligence and homoomeria.

There was Theologos Theology. He talked of Eusebius and Arianus;
heresy and the Council of Nice; consubstantialism, Homousios, and

There was Fricasse from the Rocher de Cancale. He mentioned Latour,
Markbrunnen, and Mareschino; muriton of red tongue, and cauliflowers
with velout sauce; veal  la St. Menehoult, marinade  la St.
Florentin, and orange jellies en mosaiques.

There was Signor Tintontintino from Florence. He spoke of Cimabu,
Arpino, Carpaccio, and Argostino; the gloom of Caravaggio, the amenity
of Albano, the golden glories of Titian, the frows of Rubens, and the
waggeries of Jan Steen.

There was the great geologist Feltzpar. He talked of internal fires
and tertiary formations; of ariforms, fluidiforms, and solidiforms;
of quartz and marl; of schist and schorl; of gypsum, hornblende,
micaslate, and pudding-stone.

There was the President of the Fum-Fudge University. He said that the
moon was called Bendis in Thrace, Bubastis in Egypt, Dian in Rome, and
Artemis in Greece.

There was Delphinus Polyglott. He told us what had become of the
eighty-three lost tragedies of schylus; of the fifty-four orations of
Isoeus; of the three hundred and ninety-one speeches of Lysias; of the
hundred and eighty treatises of Theophrastus; of the eighth book of
the conic sections of Apollonius; of Pindar's hymns and dithyrambics;
and the five-and-forty tragedies of Homer Junior.

There was a modern Platonist. He quoted Porphyry, Iamblicus, Plotinus,
Proclus, Hierocles, Maximus Tyrius, and Syrianus.

There was a human-perfectibility man. He quoted Turgot, Price,
Priestly, Condorcet, De Stael, and "The Ambitious Student in Ill

There was myself. I spoke of Pictorius, Del Rio, Alexander Ross,
Minutius Felix, Bartholinus, Sir Thomas Browne, and the Science of

"Marvellous clever man!" said his Highness.

"Superb!" said his guests; and the next morning her grace of
Bless-my-Soul paid me a visit.

"Will you go to Almack's, pretty creature?" she said, chucking me
under the chin.

"Upon honor," said I.

"Nose and all?" she asked.

"As I live," I replied.

"Here, then, is a card, my life, shall I say you will be there?"

"Dear Duchess, with all my heart."

"Pshaw, no!--but with all your nose?"

"Every bit of it, my love," said I; so I gave it a pull or two, and
found myself at Almack's.

The rooms were crowded to suffocation.

"He is coming!" said somebody on the staircase.

"He is coming!" said somebody further up.

"He is coming!" said somebody further still.

"He is come!" said the Duchess; "he is come, the little love!" and she
caught me by both hands, and looked me in the nose.

"Ah joli!" said Mademoiselle Pas Seul.

"Dios guarda!" said Don Stiletto.

"Diavolo!" said Count Capricornuto.

"Tousand teufel!" said Baron Bludennuff.

"Tweedle-dee--tweedle-dee--tweedle-dum!" said the Orchestra.

"Ah joli! Dios guarda! Diavolo! and Tousand teufel!" repeated
Mademoiselle Pas Seul, Don Stiletto, Count Capricornuto, and Baron
Bludennuff. This applause--it was obstreperous; it was not the thing;
it was too bad; it was not to be borne. I grew angry.

"Sir!" said I to the Baron, "you are a baboon."

"Sir!" he replied after a pause, "Donner und blitzen!" This was
sufficient. We exchanged cards. The next morning I shot off his nose
at six o'clock, and then called upon my friends.

"Bte!" said the first.

"Fool!" said the second.

"Ninny!" said the third.

"Dolt!" said the fourth.

"Noodle!" said the fifth.

"Ass!" said the sixth.

"Be off!" said the seventh.

At all this I felt mortified, and so called upon my father.

"Father," I said, "what is the chief end of my existence?"

"My son," he replied, "it is still the study of Nosology; but in
hitting the Baron's nose, you have overshot your mark. You have a fine
nose, it is true; but then Bludennuff has none. You are d--d; and he
has become the lion of the day. In Fum-Fudge great is a lion with a
big proboscis, but greater by far is a lion with no proboscis at all."


What say of it? what say of CONSCIENCE grim.
That spectre in my path?
--Chamberlaine's Pharronida.

Let me call myself, for the present, William Wilson. The fair page now
lying before me need not be sullied with my real appellation. This has
been already too much an object for the scorn, for the horror, for the
detestation of my race. To the uttermost regions of the globe have not
the indignant winds bruited its unparalleled infamy? Oh, outcast of
all outcasts most abandoned! To the earth art thou not forever dead?
to its honors, to its flowers, to its golden aspirations? and a cloud,
dense, dismal, and limitless, does it not hang eternally between thy
hopes and heaven?

I would not, if I could, here or to-day, embody a record of my later
years of unspeakable misery, and unpardonable crime. This epoch--these
later years--took unto themselves a sudden elevation in turpitude,
whose origin alone it is my present purpose to assign. Men usually
grow base by degrees. From me, in an instant, all virtue dropped
bodily as a mantle. I shrouded my nakedness in triple guilt. From
comparatively trivial wickedness I passed, with the stride of a giant,
into more than the enormities of an Elah-Gabalus. What chance, what
one event brought this evil thing to pass, bear with me while I
relate. Death approaches; and the shadow which foreruns him has thrown
a softening influence over my spirit. I long, in passing through the
dim valley, for the sympathy--I had nearly said for the pity--of my
fellow-men. I would fain have them believe that I have been, in some
measure, the slave of circumstances beyond human control. I would wish
them to seek out for me, in the details I am about to give, some
little oasis of fatality amid a wilderness of error. I would have them
allow--what they cannot refrain from allowing--that, although
temptation may have erewhile existed as great, man was never thus, at
least, tempted before--certainly, never thus fell. And therefore has
he never thus suffered. Have I not indeed been living in a dream? And
am I not now dying a victim to the horror and the mystery of the
wildest of all sublunary visions?

I am come of a race whose imaginative and easily excitable temperament
has at all times rendered them remarkable; and, in my earliest
infancy, I gave evidence of having fully inherited the family
character. As I advanced in years it was more strongly developed;
becoming, for many reasons, a cause of serious disquietude to my
friends, and of positive injury to myself. I grew self-willed,
addicted to the wildest caprices, and a prey to the most ungovernable
passions. Weak-minded, and beset with constitutional infirmities akin
to my own, my parents could do but little to check the evil
propensities which distinguished me. Some feeble and ill-directed
efforts resulted in complete failure on their part, and, of course, in
total triumph on mine. Thenceforward my voice was a household law; and
at an age when few children have abandoned their leading-strings, I
was left to the guidance of my own will, and became, in all but name,
the master of my own actions.

My earliest recollections of a school-life are connected with a large,
rambling, cottage-built, and somewhat decayed building in a misty-looking
village of England, where were a vast number of gigantic and
gnarled trees, and where all the houses were excessively ancient and
inordinately tall. In truth, it was a dream-like and spirit-soothing
place, that venerable old town. At this moment, in fancy, I feel the
refreshing chilliness of its deeply-shadowed avenues, inhale the
fragrance of its thousand shrubberies, and thrill anew with
undefinable delight, at the deep, hollow note of the church-bell,
breaking each hour, with sullen and sudden roar, upon the stillness of
the dusky atmosphere in which the old, fretted, Gothic steeple lay
imbedded and asleep.

It gives me, perhaps, as much of pleasure as I can now in any manner
experience, to dwell upon minute recollections of the school and its
concerns. Steeped in misery as I am--misery, alas! only too real--I
shall be pardoned for seeking relief, however slight and temporary, in
the weakness of a few rambling details. These, moreover, utterly
trivial, and even ridiculous in themselves, assume, to my fancy,
adventitious importance as connected with a period and a locality,
when and where I recognise the first ambiguous monitions of the
destiny which afterwards so fully overshadowed me. Let me then

The house, I have said, was old, irregular, and cottage-built. The
grounds were extensive, and an enormously high and solid brick wall,
topped with a bed of mortar and broken glass, encompassed the whole.
This prison-like rampart formed the limit of our domain; beyond it we
saw but thrice a week--once every Saturday afternoon, when, attended
by two ushers, we were permitted to take brief walks in a body through
some of the neighbouring fields--and twice during Sunday, when we were
paraded in the same formal manner to the morning and evening service
in the one church of the village. Of this church the principal of our
school was pastor. With how deep a spirit of wonder and perplexity was
I wont to regard him from our remote pew in the gallery, as, with step
solemn and slow, he ascended the pulpit! This reverend man, with
countenance so demurely benign, with robes so glossy and so clerically
flowing, with wig so minutely powdered, so rigid and so vast--could
this be he who of late, with sour visage, and in snuffy habiliments,
administered, ferule in hand, the Draconian laws of the academy? Oh,
gigantic paradox, too utterly monstrous for solution!

At an angle of the ponderous wall frowned a more ponderous gate. It
was riveted and studded with iron bolts, and surmounted with jagged
iron spikes. What impressions of deep awe it inspired! It was never
opened save for the three periodical egressions and ingressions
already mentioned; then, in every creak of its mighty hinges we found
a plenitude of mystery, a world of matter for solemn remark, or for
more solemn meditation.

The extensive enclosure was irregular in form, having many capacious
recesses. Of these, three or four of the largest constituted the
play-ground. It was level, and covered with fine, hard gravel. I well
remember it had no trees, nor benches, nor anything similar within it.
Of course it was in the rear of the house. In front lay a small
parterre, planted with box and other shrubs; but through this sacred
division we passed only upon rare occasions indeed, such as a first
advent to school or final departure thence, or perhaps, when a parent
or friend having called for us, we joyfully took our way home for the
Christmas or Midsummer holydays.

But the house--how quaint an old building was this!--to me how
veritably a palace of enchantment! There was really no end to its
windings, to its incomprehensible subdivisions. It was impossible, at
any given time, to say with certainty upon which of its two stories
one happened to be. From each room to every other there were sure to
be found three or four steps either in ascent or descent. Then the
lateral branches were innumerable--inconceivable--and so returning in
upon themselves, that our most exact ideas in regard to the whole
mansion were not very far different from those with which we pondered
upon infinity. During the five years of my residence here I was never
able to ascertain with precision, in what remote locality lay the
little sleeping apartment assigned to myself and some eighteen or
twenty other scholars.

The school-room was the largest in the house--I could not help
thinking in the world. It was very long, narrow, and dismally low,
with pointed Gothic windows and a ceiling of oak. In a remote and
terror-inspiring angle was a square enclosure of eight or ten feet,
comprising the sanctum, "during hours," of our principal, the Reverend
Dr. Bransby. It was a solid structure, with massy door, sooner than
open which in the absence of the "Dominie," we would all have
willingly perished by the peine forte et dure. In other angles were
two other similar boxes, far less reverenced, indeed, but still
greatly matters of awe. One of these was the pulpit of "the classical"
usher, one of the "English and mathematical." Interspersed about the
room, crossing and recrossing in endless irregularity, were
innumerable benches and desks, black, ancient, and time-worn, piled
desperately with much-bethumbed books, and so beseamed with initial
letters, names at full length, meaningless gashes, grotesque figures,
and other multiplied efforts of the knife, as to have entirely lost
what little of original form might have been their portion in days
long departed. A huge bucket with water stood at one extremity of the
room, and a clock of stupendous dimensions at the other.

Encompassed by the massy walls of this venerable academy I passed, yet
not in tedium or disgust, the years of the third lustrum of my life.
The teeming brain of childhood requires no external world of incident
to occupy or amuse it, and the apparently dismal monotony of a school
was replete with more intense excitement than my riper youth has
derived from luxury, or my full manhood from crime. Yet I must believe
that my first mental development had in it much of the uncommon, even
much of the outr. Upon mankind at large the events of very early
existence rarely leave in mature age any definite impression. All is
gray shadow--a weak and irregular remembrance--an indistinct
regathering of feeble pleasures and phantasmagoric pains. With me this
is not so. In childhood I must have felt with the energy of a man what
I now find stamped upon memory in lines as vivid, as deep, and as
durable as the exergues of the Carthaginian medals.

Yet in fact--in the fact of the world's view--how little was there to
remember! The morning's awakening, the nightly summons to bed; the
connings, the recitations; the periodical half-holidays, and
perambulations; the play-ground, with its broils, its pastimes, its
intrigues--these, by a mental sorcery long forgotten, were made to
involve a wilderness of sensation, a world of rich incident, an
universe of varied emotion, of excitement the most passionate and
spirit-stirring. "Oh, le bon temps, que ce siecle de fer!"

In truth, the ardency, the enthusiasm, and the imperiousness of my
disposition, soon rendered me a marked character among my schoolmates,
and by slow, but natural gradations, gave me an ascendency over all
not greatly older than myself--over all with one single exception.
This exception was found in the person of a scholar, who, although no
relation, bore the same Christian and surname as myself--a
circumstance, in fact, little remarkable, for, notwithstanding a noble
descent, mine was one of those every-day appellations which seem, by
prescriptive right, to have been, time out of mind, the common
property of the mob. In this narrative I have therefore designated
myself as William Wilson--a fictitious title not very dissimilar to
the real. My namesake alone, of those who in school phraseology
constituted "our set," presumed to compete with me in the studies of
the class, in the sports and broils of the play-ground--to refuse
implicit belief in my assertions, and submission to my will--indeed to
interfere with my arbitrary dictation in any respect whatsoever. If
there be on earth a supreme and unqualified despotism, it is the
despotism of a master mind in boyhood over the less energetic spirits
of its companions.

Wilson's rebellion was to me a source of the greatest embarrassment--
the more so as, in spite of the bravado with which in public I made a
point of treating him and his pretensions, I secretly felt that I
feared him, and could not help thinking the equality which he
maintained so easily with myself, a proof of his true superiority,
since not to be overcome cost me a perpetual struggle. Yet this
superiority--even this equality--was in truth acknowledged by no one
but myself; our associates, by some unaccountable blindness, seemed
not even to suspect it. Indeed, his competition, his resistance, and
especially his impertinent and dogged interference with my purposes,
were not more pointed than private. He appeared to be utterly
destitute alike of the ambition which urged, and of the passionate
energy of mind which enabled me to excel. In his rivalry he might have
been supposed actuated solely by a whimsical desire to thwart,
astonish, or mortify myself; although there were times when I could
not help observing, with a feeling made up of wonder, abasement, and
pique, that he mingled with his injuries, his insults, or his
contradictions, a certain most inappropriate, and assuredly most
unwelcome affectionateness of manner. I could only conceive this
singular behaviour to arise from a consummate self-conceit assuming
the vulgar airs of patronage and protection.

Perhaps it was this latter trait in Wilson's conduct, conjoined with
our identity of name, and the mere accident of our having entered the
school upon the same day, which set afloat the notion that we were
brothers, among the senior classes in the academy. These do not
usually inquire with much strictness into the affairs of their
juniors. I have before said, or should have said, that Wilson was not,
in the most remote degree, connected with my family. But assuredly if
we had been brothers we must have been twins, for, after leaving Dr.
Bransby's, I casually learned that my namesake--a somewhat remarkable
coincidence--was born on the nineteenth of January, 1809--and this is
precisely the day of my own nativity.

It may seem strange that in spite of the continual anxiety occasioned
me by the rivalry of Wilson, and his intolerable spirit of
contradiction, I could not bring myself to hate him altogether. We
had, to be sure, nearly every day a quarrel, in which, yielding me
publicly the palm of victory, he, in some manner, contrived to make me
feel that it was he who had deserved it; yet a sense of pride upon my
part, and a veritable dignity upon his own, kept us always upon what
are called "speaking terms," while there were many points of strong
congeniality in our tempers, operating to awake in me a sentiment
which our position alone, perhaps, prevented from ripening into
friendship. It is difficult, indeed, to define, or even to describe,
my real feelings towards him. They were formed of a heterogeneous
mixture--some petulant animosity, which was not yet hatred, some
esteem, more respect, much fear, with a world of uneasy curiosity. To
the moralist fully acquainted with the minute spirings of human
action, it will be unnecessary to say, in addition, that Wilson and
myself were the most inseparable of companions.

It was no doubt the anomalous state of affairs existing between us
which turned all my attacks upon him, (and they were many, either open
or covert) into the channel of banter or practical joke (giving pain
while assuming the aspect of mere fun) rather than into that of a more
serious and determined hostility. But my endeavors on this head were
by no means uniformly successful, even when my plans were the most
wittily concocted; for my namesake had much about him, in character,
of that unassuming and quiet austerity which, while enjoying the
poignancy of its own jokes, has no heel of Achilles in itself, and
absolutely refuses to be laughed at. I could find, indeed, but one
vulnerable point, and that, lying in a personal peculiarity, arising,
perhaps, from constitutional disease, would have been spared by any
antagonist less at his wit's end than myself--my rival had a weakness
in the faucial or guttural organs, which precluded him from raising
his voice at any time above a very low whisper. Of this defect I did
not fail to take what poor advantage lay in my power.

Wilson's retaliations in kind were many, and there was one form of his
practical wit that disturbed me beyond measure. How his sagacity first
discovered at all that so petty a thing would vex me is a question I
never could solve--but, having discovered, he habitually practised the
annoyance. I had always felt aversion to my uncourtly patronymic, and
its very common, if not plebeian praenomen. The words were venom in my
ears; and when, upon the day of my arrival, a second William Wilson
came also to the academy, I felt angry with him for bearing the name,
and doubly disgusted with the name because a stranger bore it, who
would be the cause of its twofold repetition, who would be constantly
in my presence, and whose concerns, in the ordinary routine of the
school business, must, inevitably, on account of the detestable
coincidence, be often confounded with my own.

The feeling of vexation thus engendered grew stronger with every
circumstance tending to show resemblance, moral or physical, between
my rival and myself. I had not then discovered the remarkable fact
that we were of the same age; but I saw that we were of the same
height, and I perceived that we were not altogether unlike in general
contour of person and outline of feature. I was galled, too, by the
rumor touching a relationship which had grown current in the upper
forms. In a word, nothing could more seriously disturb me, (although I
scrupulously concealed such disturbance,) than any allusion to a
similarity of mind, person, or condition existing between us. But, in
truth, I had no reason to believe that (with the exception of the
matter of relationship, and in the case of Wilson himself), this
similarity had ever been made a subject of comment, or even observed
at all by our schoolfellows. That he observed it in all its bearings,
and as fixedly as I, was apparent, but that he could discover in such
circumstances so fruitful a field of annoyance for myself can only be
attributed, as I said before, to his more than ordinary penetration.

His cue, which was to perfect an imitation of myself, lay both in
words and in actions; and most admirably did he play his part. My
dress it was an easy matter to copy; my gait and general manner, were,
without difficulty, appropriated; in spite of his constitutional
defect, even my voice did not escape him. My louder tones were, of
course, unattempted, but then the key, it was identical; and his
singular whisper, it grew the very echo of my own.

How greatly this most exquisite portraiture harassed me, (for it could
not justly be termed a caricature,) I will not now venture to
describe. I had but one consolation--in the fact that the imitation,
apparently, was noticed by myself alone, and that I had to endure only
the knowing and strangely sarcastic smiles of my namesake himself.
Satisfied with having produced in my bosom the intended effect, he
seemed to chuckle in secret over the sting he had inflicted, and was
characteristically disregardful of the public applause which the
success of his witty endeavors might have so easily elicited. That the
school, indeed, did not feel his design, perceive its accomplishment,
and participate in his sneer, was, for many anxious months, a riddle I
could not resolve. Perhaps the gradation of his copy rendered it not
so readily perceptible, or, more possibly, I owed my security to the
masterly air of the copyist, who, disdaining the letter, which in a
painting is all the obtuse can see, gave but the full spirit of his
original for my individual contemplation and chagrin.

I have already more than once spoken of the disgusting air of
patronage which he assumed towards me, and of his frequent officious
interference with my will. This interference often took the ungracious
character of advice; advice not openly given, but hinted or
insinuated. I received it with a repugnance which gained strength as I
grew in years. Yet, at this distant day, let me do him the simple
justice to acknowledge that I can recall no occasion when the
suggestions of my rival were on the side of those errors or follies so
usual to his immature age, and seeming inexperience; that his moral
sense, at least, if not his general talents and worldly wisdom, was
far keener than my own; and that I might, today, have been a better,
and thus a happier man, had I more seldom rejected the counsels
embodied in those meaning whispers which I then but too cordially
hated, and too bitterly derided.

As it was, I at length grew restive in the extreme, under his
distasteful supervision, and daily resented more and more openly what
I considered his intolerable arrogance. I have said that, in the first
years of our connexion as schoolmates, my feelings in regard to him
might have been easily ripened into friendship; but, in the latter
months of my residence at the academy, although the intrusion of his
ordinary manner had, beyond doubt, in some measure, abated, my
sentiments, in nearly similar proportion, partook very much of
positive hatred. Upon one occasion he saw this, I think, and
afterwards avoided, or made a show of avoiding me.

It was about the same period, if I remember aright, that, in an
altercation of violence with him, in which he was more than usually
thrown off his guard, and spoke and acted with an openness of demeanor
rather foreign to his nature, I discovered, or fancied I discovered,
in his accent, his air, and general appearance, a something which
first startled, and then deeply interested me, by bringing to mind dim
visions of my earliest infancy--wild, confused and thronging memories
of a time when memory herself was yet unborn. I cannot better describe
the sensation which oppressed me than by saying that I could with
difficulty shake off the belief that myself and the being who stood
before me had been acquainted at some epoch very long ago; some point
of the past even infinitely remote. The delusion, however, faded
rapidly as it came; and I mention it at all but to define the day of
the last conversation I there held with my singular namesake.

The huge old house, with its countless subdivisions, had several
enormously large chambers communicating with each other, where slept
the greater number of the students. There were, however, as must
necessarily happen in a building so awkwardly planned, many little
nooks or recesses, the odds and ends of the structure; and these the
economic ingenuity of Dr. Bransby had also fitted up as dormitories--
although, being the merest closets, they were capable of accommodating
only a single individual. One of these small apartments was occupied
by Wilson.

It was upon a gloomy and tempestuous night of an early autumn, about
the close of my fifth year at the school, and immediately after the
altercation just mentioned, that, finding every one wrapped in sleep,
I arose from bed, and, lamp in hand, stole through a wilderness of
narrow passages from my own bedroom to that of my rival. I had been
long plotting one of those ill-natured pieces of practical wit at his
expense in which I had hitherto been so uniformly unsuccessful. It was
my intention, now, to put my scheme in operation, and I resolved to
make him feel the whole extent of the malice with which I was imbued.
Having reached his closet, I noiselessly entered, leaving the lamp,
with a shade over it, on the outside. I advanced a step, and listened
to the sound of his tranquil breathing. Assured of his being asleep, I
returned, took the light, and with it again approached the bed. Close
curtains were around it, which, in the prosecution of my plan, I
slowly and quietly withdrew, when the bright rays fell vividly upon
the sleeper, and my eyes, at the same moment, upon his countenance. I
looked, and a numbness, an iciness of feeling instantly pervaded my
frame. My breast heaved, my knees tottered, my whole spirit became
possessed with an objectless yet intolerable horror. Gasping for
breath, I lowered the lamp in still nearer proximity to the face. Were
these--these the lineaments of William Wilson? I saw, indeed, that
they were his, but I shook as with a fit of the ague in fancying they
were not. What was there about them to confound me in this manner? I
gazed--while my brain reeled with a multitude of incoherent thoughts.
Not thus he appeared--assuredly not thus--in the vivacity of his
waking hours. The same name; the same contour of person; the same day
of arrival at the academy! And then his dogged and meaningless
imitation of my gait, my voice, my habits, and my manner! Was it, in
truth, within the bounds of human possibility that what I now
witnessed was the result of the habitual practice of this sarcastic
imitation? Awe-stricken, and with a creeping shudder, I extinguished
the lamp, passed silently from the chamber, and left, at once, the
halls of that old academy, never to enter them again.

After a lapse of some months, spent at home in mere idleness, I found
myself a student at Eton. The brief interval had been sufficient to
enfeeble my remembrance of the events at Dr. Bransby's, or at least to
effect a material change in the nature of the feelings with which I
remembered them. The truth--the tragedy--of the drama was no more. I
could now find room to doubt the evidence of my senses: and seldom
called up the subject at all but with wonder at the extent of human
credulity, and a smile at the vivid force of the imagination which I
hereditarily possessed. Neither was this species of scepticism likely
to be diminished by the character of the life I led at Eton. The
vortex of thoughtless folly into which I there so immediately and so
recklessly plunged, washed away all but the froth of my past hours--
engulfed at once every solid or serious impression, and left to memory
only the veriest levities of a former existence.

I do not wish, however, to trace the course of my miserable profligacy
here--a profligacy which set at defiance the laws, while it eluded the
vigilance of the institution. Three years of folly, passed without
profit, had but given me rooted habits of vice, and added, in a
somewhat unusual degree, to my bodily stature, when, after a week of
soulless dissipation, I invited a small party of the most dissolute
students to a secret carousal in my chamber. We met at a late hour of
the night, for our debaucheries were to be faithfully protracted until
morning. The wine flowed freely, and there were not wanting other,
perhaps more dangerous, seductions; so that the gray dawn had already
faintly appeared in the east, while our delirious extravagance was at
its height. Madly flushed with cards and intoxication, I was in the
act of insisting upon a toast of more than intolerable profanity, when
my attention was suddenly diverted by the violent, although partial
unclosing of the door of the apartment, and by the eager voice from
without of a servant. He said that some person, apparently in great
haste, demanded to speak with me in the hall.

Wildly excited with the potent Vin de Barac, the unexpected
interruption rather delighted than surprised me. I staggered forward
at once, and a few steps brought me to the vestibule of the building.
In this low and small room there hung no lamp; and now no light at all
was admitted, save that of the exceedingly feeble dawn which made its
way through a semicircular window. As I put my foot over the threshold
I became aware of the figure of a youth about my own height, and (what
then peculiarly struck my mad fancy) habited in a white cassimere
morning frock, cut in the novel fashion of the one I myself wore at
the moment. This the faint light enabled me to perceive--but the
features of his face I could not distinguish. Immediately upon my
entering he strode hurriedly up to me, and, seizing me by the arm with
a gesture of petulant impatience, whispered the words "William
Wilson!" in my ear. I grew perfectly sober in an instant.

There was that in the manner of the stranger, and in the tremulous
shake of his uplifted finger, as he held it between my eyes and the
light, which filled me with unqualified amazement--but it was not this
which had so violently moved me. It was the pregnancy of solemn
admonition in the singular, low, hissing utterance; and, above all, it
was the character, the tone, the key, of those few, simple, and
familiar, yet whispered, syllables, which came with a thousand
thronging memories of by-gone days, and struck upon my soul with the
shock of a galvanic battery. Ere I could recover the use of my senses
he was gone.

Although this event failed not of a vivid effect upon my disordered
imagination, yet was it evanescent as vivid. For some weeks, indeed, I
busied myself in earnest inquiry, or was wrapped in a cloud of morbid
speculation. I did not pretend to disguise from my perception the
identity of the singular individual who thus perseveringly interfered
with my affairs, and harassed me with his insinuated counsel. But who
and what was this Wilson?--and whence came he?--and what were his
purposes? Upon neither of these points could I be satisfied--merely
ascertaining, in regard to him, that a sudden accident in his family
had caused his removal from Dr. Bransby's academy on the afternoon of
the day in which I myself had eloped. But in a brief period I ceased
to think upon the subject; my attention being all absorbed in a
contemplated departure for Oxford. Thither I soon went; the
uncalculating vanity of my parents furnishing me with an outfit, and
annual establishment, which would enable me to indulge at will in the
luxury already so dear to my heart--to vie in profuseness of
expenditure with the haughtiest heirs of the wealthiest earldoms in
Great Britain.

Excited by such appliances to vice, my constitutional temperament
broke forth with redoubled ardor, and I spurned even the common
restraints of decency in the mad infatuation of my revels. But it were
absurd to pause in the detail of my extravagance. Let it suffice, that
among spendthrifts I out-heroded Herod, and that, giving name to a
multitude of novel follies, I added no brief appendix to the long
catalogue of vices then usual in the most dissolute university of

It could hardly be credited, however, that I had, even here, so
utterly fallen from the gentlemanly estate as to seek acquaintance
with the vilest arts of the gambler by profession, and, having become
an adept in his despicable science, to practise it habitually as a
means of increasing my already enormous income at the expense of the
weak-minded among my fellow-collegians. Such, nevertheless, was the
fact. And the very enormity of this offence against all manly and
honourable sentiment proved, beyond doubt, the main, if not the sole
reason of the impunity with which it was committed. Who, indeed, among
my most abandoned associates, would not rather have disputed the
clearest evidence of his senses, than have suspected of such courses
the gay, the frank, the generous William Wilson--the noblest and most
liberal commoner at Oxford--him whose follies (said his parasites)
were but the follies of youth and unbridled fancy--whose errors but
inimitable whim--whose darkest vice but a careless and dashing

I had been now two years successfully busied in this way, when there
came to the university a young parvenu nobleman, Glendinning--rich,
said report, as Herodes Atticus--his riches, too, as easily acquired.
I soon found him of weak intellect, and, of course, marked him as a
fitting subject for my skill. I frequently engaged him in play, and
contrived, with a gambler's usual art, to let him win considerable
sums, the more effectually to entangle him in my snares. At length, my
schemes being ripe, I met him (with the full intention that this
meeting should be final and decisive) at the chambers of a fellow-
commoner, (Mr. Preston,) equally intimate with both, but who, to do
him justice, entertained not even a remote suspicion of my design. To
give to this a better coloring, I had contrived to have assembled a
party of some eight or ten, and was solicitously careful that the
introduction of cards should appear accidental, and originate in the
proposal of my contemplated dupe himself. To be brief upon a vile
topic, none of the low finesse was omitted, so customary upon similar
occasions that it is a just matter for wonder how any are still found
so besotted as to fall its victim.

We had protracted our sitting far into the night, and I had at length
effected the manoeuvre of getting Glendinning as my sole antagonist.
The game, too, was my favorite cart. The rest of the company,
interested in the extent of our play, had abandoned their own cards,
and were standing around us as spectators. The parvenu, who had been
induced by my artifices in the early part of the evening to drink
deeply, now shuffled, dealt, or played, with a wild nervousness of
manner for which his intoxication, I thought, might partially, but
could not altogether account. In a very short period he had become my
debtor to a large amount of money, when, having taken a long draught
of port, he did precisely what I had been coolly anticipating, he
proposed to double our already extravagant stakes. With a well-feigned
show of reluctance, and not until after my repeated refusal had
seduced him into some angry words which gave a color of pique to my
compliance, did I finally comply. The result, of course, did but prove
how entirely the prey was in my toils--in less than a single hour he
had quadrupled his debt. For some time his countenance had been losing
the florid tinge lent it by the wine--but now, to my astonishment, I
perceived that it had grown to a palor truly fearful. I say to my
astonishment. Glendinning had been represented to my eager inquiries
as immeasurably wealthy; and the sums which he had as yet lost,
although in themselves vast, could not, I supposed, very seriously
annoy, much less so violently affect him. That he was overcome by the
wine just swallowed, was the idea which most readily presented itself;
and, rather with a view to the preservation of my own character in the
eyes of my associates, than from any less interested motive, I was
about to insist, peremptorily, upon a discontinuance of the play, when
some expressions at my elbow from among the company, and an
ejaculation evincing utter despair on the part of Glendinning, gave me
to understand that I had effected his total ruin under circumstances
which, rendering him an object for the pity of all, should have
protected him from the ill offices even of a fiend.

What now might have been my conduct it is difficult to say. The
pitiable condition of my dupe had thrown an air of embarrassed gloom
over all, and, for some moments, a profound and unbroken silence was
maintained, during which I could not help feeling my cheeks tingle
with the many burning glances of scorn or reproach cast upon me by the
less abandoned of the party. I will even own that an intolerable
weight of anxiety was for a brief instant lifted from my bosom by the
sudden and extraordinary interruption which ensued. The wide, heavy,
folding doors of the apartment were all at once thrown open, to their
full extent, with a vigorous and rushing impetuosity that
extinguished, as if by magic, every candle in the room. Their light,
in dying, enabled us just to perceive that a stranger had entered, of
about my own height, and closely muffled in a cloak. The darkness,
however, was now total; and we could only feel that he was standing in
our midst. Before any one of us could recover from the extreme
astonishment into which this rudeness had thrown all, we heard the
voice of the intruder.

"Gentlemen," he said, in a low, distinct, and neverto-be-forgotten
whisper which thrilled to the very marrow of my bones, "Gentlemen, I
make no apology for this behaviour, because in thus behaving I am but
fulfilling a duty. You are, beyond doubt, uninformed of the true
character of the person who has to-night won at cart a large sum of
money from Lord Glendinning. I will therefore put you upon an
expeditious and decisive plan of obtaining this very necessary
information. Please to examine, at your leisure, the inner linings of
the cuff of his left sleeve, and the several little packages which may
be found in the somewhat capacious pockets of his embroidered morning

While he spoke, so profound was the stillness that one might have
heard a pin dropping upon the floor. In ceasing, he at once departed,
and as abruptly as he had entered. Can I--shall I describe my
sensations?--must I say that I felt all the horrors of the damned?
Most assuredly I had little time given for reflection. Many hands
roughly seized me upon the spot, and lights were immediately
reprocured. A search ensued. In the lining of my sleeve were found all
of the court-cards essential in cart, and, in the pockets of my
wrapper, a number of packs, fac-similes of those used at our sittings,
with the single exception that mine were of the species called,
technically, arrondes; the honors being slightly convex at the ends,
the lower cards slightly convex at the sides. In this disposition, the
dupe who cuts, as customary, at the breadth of the pack, will
invariably find that he cuts his antagonist an honor; while the
gambler, cutting at the length, will, as certainly, cut nothing for
his victim which may count in the records of the game.

Any outrageous burst of indignation upon this shameful discovery would
have affected me less than the silent contempt, or the sarcastic
composure with which it was received.

"Mr. Wilson," said our host, stooping to remove from beneath his feet
an exceedingly luxurious cloak of rare furs, "Mr. Wilson, this is your
property." (The weather was cold; and, upon quitting my own room, I
had thrown a cloak over my dressing wrapper, putting it off upon
reaching the scene of play.) "I presume it is supererogatory to seek
here (eyeing the folds of the garment with a bitter smile), for any
farther evidence of your skill. Indeed we have had enough. You will
see the necessity, I hope, of quitting Oxford--at all events, of
quitting, instantly, my chambers."

Abased, humbled to the dust as I then was, it is probable that I
should have resented this galling language by immediate personal
violence, had not my whole attention been at the moment arrested, by a
fact of the most startling character. The cloak which I had worn was
of a rare description of fur; how rare, how extravagantly costly, I
shall not venture to say. Its fashion, too, was of my own fantastic
invention; for I was fastidious, to a degree of absurd coxcombry, in
matters of this frivolous nature. When, therefore, Mr. Preston reached
me that which he had picked up upon the floor, and near the folding
doors of the apartment, it was with an astonishment nearly bordering
upon terror, that I perceived my own already hanging on my arm, (where
I had no doubt unwittingly placed it,) and that the one presented me
was but its exact counterpart in every, in even the minutest possible
particular. The singular being who had so disastrously exposed me, had
been muffled, I remembered, in a cloak; and none had been worn at all
by any of the members of our party with the exception of myself.
Retaining some presence of mind, I took the one offered me by Preston,
placed it, unnoticed, over my own, left the apartment with a resolute
scowl of defiance, and, next morning ere dawn of day, commenced a
hurried journey from Oxford to the continent, in a perfect agony of
horror and of shame.

I fled in vain. My evil destiny pursued me as if in exultation, and
proved, indeed, that the exercise of its mysterious dominion had as
yet only begun. Scarcely had I set foot in Paris ere I had fresh
evidence of the detestable interest taken by this Wilson in my
concerns. Years flew, while I experienced no relief. Villain!--at
Rome, with how untimely, yet with how spectral an officiousness,
stepped he in between me and my ambition! At Vienna, too, at Berlin,
and at Moscow! Where, in truth, had I not bitter cause to curse him
within my heart? From his inscrutable tyranny did I at length flee,
panic-stricken, as from a pestilence; and to the very ends of the
earth I fled in vain.

And again, and again, in secret communion with my own spirit, would I
demand the questions "Who is he?--whence came he?--and what are his
objects?" But no answer was there found. And now I scrutinized, with a
minute scrutiny, the forms, and the methods, and the leading traits of
his impertinent supervision. But even here there was very little upon
which to base a conjecture. It was noticeable, indeed, that, in no one
of the multiplied instances in which he had of late crossed my path,
had he so crossed it except to frustrate those schemes, or to disturb
those actions, which, fully carried out, might have resulted in bitter
mischief. Poor justification this, in truth, for an authority so
imperiously assumed! Poor indemnity for natural rights of self-agency
so pertinaciously, so insultingly denied!

I had also been forced to notice that my tormentor, for a very long
period of time, (while scrupulously and with miraculous dexterity
maintaining his whim of an identity of apparel with myself,) had so
contrived it, in the execution of his varied interference with my
will, that I saw not, at any moment, the features of his face. Be
Wilson what he might, this, at least, was but the veriest of
affectation, or of folly. Could he, for an instant, have supposed
that, in my admonisher at Eton, in the destroyer of my honor at
Oxford, in him who thwarted my ambition at Rome, my revenge in Paris,
my passionate love at Naples, or what he falsely termed my avarice in
Egypt, that in this, my arch-enemy and evil genius, I could fail to
recognise the William Wilson of my schoolboy days, the namesake, the
companion, the rival, the hatred and dreaded rival at Dr. Bransby's?
Impossible!--But let me hasten to the last eventful scene of the

Thus far I had succumbed supinely to this imperious domination. The
sentiments of deep awe with which I habitually regarded the elevated
character, the majestic wisdom, the apparent omnipresence and
omnipotence of Wilson, added to a feeling of even terror, with which
certain other traits in his nature and assumptions inspired me, had
operated, hitherto, to impress me with an idea of my own utter
weakness and helplessness, and to suggest an implicit, although
bitterly reluctant submission to his arbitrary will. But, of late
days, I had given myself up entirely to wine; and its maddening
influence upon my hereditary temper rendered me more and more
impatient of control. I began to murmur, to hesitate, to resist. And
was it only fancy which induced me to believe that, with the increase
of my own firmness, that of my tormentor underwent a proportional
diminution? Be this as it may, I now began to feel the inspiration of
a burning hope, and at length nurtured in my secret thoughts a stern
and desperate resolution that I would submit no longer to be enslaved.

It was at Rome, during the carnival of 18--, that I attended a
masquerade in the palazzo of the Neapolitan Duke Di Broglio. I had
indulged more freely than usual in the excesses of the wine-table; and
now the suffocating atmosphere of the crowded rooms irritated me
beyond endurance. The difficulty, too, of forcing my way through the
mazes of the company contributed not a little to the ruffling of my
temper; for I was anxiously seeking, let me not say with what unworthy
motive, the young, the gay, the beautiful wife of the aged and doting
Di Broglio. With a too unscrupulous confidence she had previously
communicated to me the secret of the costume in which she would be
habited, and now, having caught a glimpse of her person, I was
hurrying to make my way into her presence. At this moment I felt a
light hand placed upon my shoulder, and that ever-remembered, low,
damnable whisper within my ear.

In a perfect whirlwind of wrath, I turned at once upon him who had
thus interrupted me, and seized him violently by the collar. He was
attired, as I had expected, like myself; wearing a large Spanish
cloak, and a mask of black silk which entirely covered his features.

"Scoundrel!" I said, in a voice husky with rage, while every syllable
I uttered seemed as new fuel to my fury, "scoundrel! impostor!
accursed villain! you shall not--you shall not dog me unto death!
Follow me, or I stab you where you stand," and I broke my way from the
room into a small antechamber adjoining, dragging him unresistingly
with me as I went.

Upon entering, I thrust him furiously from me. He staggered against
the wall, while I closed the door with an oath, and commanded him to
draw. He hesitated but for an instant, then, with a slight sigh, drew
in silence, and put himself upon his defence.

The contest was brief indeed. I was frantic with every species of wild
excitement, and felt within my single arm the energy and the power of
a multitude. In a few seconds I forced him by sheer strength against
the wainscoting, and thus, getting him at mercy, plunged my sword,
with brute ferocity, repeatedly through and through his bosom.

At this instant some person tried the latch of the door. I hastened to
prevent an intrusion, and then immediately returned to my dying
antagonist. But what human language can adequately portray that
astonishment, that horror which possessed me at the spectacle then
presented to view. The brief moment in which I averted my eyes had
been sufficient to produce, apparently, a material change in the
arrangements at the upper or farther end of the room. A large mirror,
it appeared to me, now stood where none had been perceptible before;
and, as I stepped up to it in extremity of terror, mine own image, but
with features all pale and dabbled in blood, advanced, with a feeble
and tottering gait, to meet me.

Thus it appeared, I say, but was not. It was my antagonist--it was
Wilson, who then stood before me in the agonies of his dissolution.
Not a line in all the marked and singular lineaments of that face
which was not, even identically, mine own! His mask and cloak lay
where he had thrown them, upon the floor.

It was Wilson, but he spoke no longer in a whisper, and I could have
fancied that I myself was speaking while he said--

"You have conquered, and I yield. Yet, henceforward art thou also
dead--dead to the world and its hopes. In me didst thou exist--and, in
my death, see by this image, which is thine own, how utterly thou hast
murdered thyself."


I cannot just now remember when or where I first made the acquaintance
of that truly fine-looking fellow, Brevet Brigadier General John A. B.
C. Smith. Some one did introduce me to the gentleman, I am sure--at
some public meeting, I know very well--held about something of great
importance, no doubt--and at some place or other, of this I feel
convinced--whose name I have unaccountably forgotten. The truth is--
that the introduction was attended, upon my part, with a degree of
anxious and tremulous embarrassment which operated to prevent any
definite impressions of either time or place. I am constitutionally
nervous--this, with me, is a family failing, and I can't help it. In
especial, the slightest appearance of mystery--of any point I cannot
exactly comprehend--puts me at once into a pitiable state of

There was something, as it were, remarkable--yes, remarkable, although
this is but a feeble term to express my full meaning--about the entire
individuality of the personage in question. What this something was,
however, I found it impossible to say. He was, perhaps, six feet in
height, and of a presence singularly commanding. There was an air
distingu pervading the whole man, which spoke of high breeding, and
hinted at high birth. Upon this topic--the topic of Smith's personal
appearance--I have a kind of melancholy satisfaction in being minute.
His head of hair would have done honor to a Brutus--nothing could be
more richly flowing, or possess a brighter gloss. It was of a jetty
black--which was also the color, or more properly the no color, of his
unimaginable whiskers. You perceive I cannot speak of these latter
without enthusiasm; it is not too much to say that they were the
handsomest pair of whiskers under the sun. At all events, they
encircled, and at times partially overshadowed, a mouth utterly
unequalled. Here were the most entirely even, and the most brilliantly
white of all conceivable teeth. From between them, upon every proper
occasion, issued a voice of surpassing clearness, melody, and
strength. In the matter of eyes, my acquaintance was, also,
preeminently endowed. Either one of such a pair was worth a couple of
the ordinary ocular organs. They were of a deep hazel, exceedingly
large and lustrous: and there was perceptible about them, ever and
anon, just that amount of interesting obliquity which gives pregnancy
to expression.

The bust of the General was unquestionably the finest bust I ever saw.
For your life you could not have found a fault with its wonderful
proportion. This rare peculiarity set off to great advantage a pair of
shoulders which would have called up a blush of conscious inferiority
into the countenance of the marble Apollo. I have a passion for fine
shoulders, and may say that I never beheld them in perfection before.
His arms altogether were admirably modelled, and the fact of his
wearing the right in a sling, gave a greater decision of beauty to the
left. Nor were the lower limbs less marvellously superb. These were,
indeed, the ne plus ultra of good legs. Every connoisseur in such
matters admitted the legs to be good. There was neither too much
flesh, nor too little--neither rudeness nor fragility. I could not
imagine a more graceful curve than that of the os femoris, and there
was just that due gentle prominence in the rear of the fibula which
goes to the conformation of a properly proportioned calf. I wish to
God my young and talented friend Chiponchipino, the sculptor, had but
seen the legs of Brevet Brigadier General John A. B. C. Smith.

But although men so absolutely fine-looking are neither as plenty as
reasons or blackberries, still I could not bring myself to believe
that the remarkable something to which I alluded just now--that the
odd air of je ne sais quoi which hung about my new acquaintance--lay
altogether, or indeed at all, in the supreme excellence of his bodily
endowments. Perhaps it might be traced to the manner--yet here again I
could not pretend to be positive. There was a primness, not to say
stiffness, in his carriage--a degree of measured, and, if I may so
express it, of rectangular precision, attending his every movement,
which, observed in a more petite figure, would have had the least
little savor in the world of affectation, pomposity, or constraint,
but which, noticed in a gentleman of his undoubted dimension, was
readily placed to the account of reserve, hauteur, of a commendable
sense, in short, of what is due to the dignity of colossal proportion.

The kind friend who presented me to General Smith whispered in my ear,
at the instant, some few words of comment upon the man. He was a
remarkable man--a very remarkable man--indeed one of the most
remarkable men of the age. He was an especial favorite, too, with the
ladies--chiefly on account of his high reputation for courage.

"In that point he is unrivalled--indeed he is a perfect desperado--a
downright fire-eater, and no mistake," said my friend, here dropping
his voice excessively low, and thrilling me with the mystery of his

"A downright fire-eater, and no mistake--showed that, I should say, to
some purpose, in the late tremendous swamp-fight away down south, with
the Bugaboo and Kickapoo Indians. (Here my friend placed his
forefinger to the side of his nose, and opened his eyes to some
extent.) Bless my soul!--blood and thunder, and all that!--prodigies
of valor!--heard of him, of course?--you know he's the man"--

"Man alive, how do you do? why how are ye? very glad to see ye,
indeed!" here interrupted the General himself, seizing my companian by
the hand as he drew near, and bowing stiffly, but profoundly, as I was
presented. I then thought, (and I think so still,) that I never heard
a clearer nor a stronger voice, nor beheld a finer set of teeth--but I
must say that I was sorry for the interruption just at that moment,
as, owing to the whispers and insinuations aforesaid, my interest had
been greatly excited in the hero of the Bugaboo and Kickapoo campaign.

However, the delightfully luminous conversation of Brevet Brigadier
General John A. B. C. Smith soon completely dissipated this chagrin.
My friend leaving us immediately, we had quite a long tte--tte, and
I was not only pleased but really instructed. I never heard a more
fluent talker, or a man of greater general information. With becoming
modesty, he forbore, nevertheless, to touch upon the theme I had just
then most at heart--I mean the mysterious circumstances attending the
Bugaboo war--and, on my own part, what I conceive to be a proper sense
of delicacy forbade me to broach the subject, although, in truth, I
was exceedingly tempted to do so. I perceived, too, that the gallant
soldier preferred topics of philosophical interest, and that he
delighted, especially, in commenting upon the rapid march of
mechanical invention. Indeed--lead him where I would--this was a point
to which he invariably came back.

"There is nothing at all like it," he would say; "we are a wonderful
people, and live in a wonderful age. Parachutes and rail-roads--man-
traps and spring-guns! Our steam-boats are upon every sea, and the
Nassau balloon packet is about to run regular trips (fare either way
only twenty pounds sterling) between London and Timbuctoo. And who
shall calculate the immense influence upon social life--upon arts--
upon commerce--upon literature--which will be the immediate result of
the application of the great principles of electro-magnetics? Nor is
this all, let me assure you! There is really no end to the march of
invention. The most wonderful--the most ingenious--and let me add,
Mr.--Mr.--Thompson, I believe, is your name--let me add, I say, the
most useful--the most truly useful mechanical contrivances, are daily
springing up like mushrooms, if I may so express myself, or, more
figuratively, like--grasshoppers--like grasshoppers, Mr. Thompson--
about us and--ah--around us!"

Thompson, to be sure, is not my name; but it is needless to say that I
left General Smith with a heightened interest in the man, with an
exalted opinion of his conversational powers, and a deep sense of the
valuable privileges we enjoy in living in this age of mechanical
invention. My curiosity, however, had not been altogether satisfied,
and I resolved to prosecute immediate inquiry among my acquaintances
touching the Brevet Brigadier General himself, and particularly
respecting the tremendous events in which he performed so conspicuous
a part--quorum pars magna fuit--during the Bugaboo and Kickapoo

The first opportunity which presented itself, and which (horresco
referens) I did not in the least scruple to seize, occurred at the
church of the Reverend Doctor Drummummupp, where I found myself
established, one Sunday, just at sermon time, not only in the pew, but
by the side, of that worthy and communicative little friend of mine,
Miss Tabitha T. Thus seated, I congratulated myself, and with much
reason, upon the very flattering state of affairs. If any person knew
anything about Brevet Brigadier General John A. B. C. Smith, that
person, it was clear to me, was Miss Tabitha T. We telegraphed a few
signals, and then commenced, sotto voce, a brisk tte--tte.

"Smith!" said she, in reply to my very earnest inquiry; "Smith!--why,
not General John A. B. C.? Bless me, I thought you knew all about him!
This is a wonderfully inventive age! Horrid affair that!--a bloody set
of wretches, those Kickapoos!--fought like a hero--prodigies of
valor--immortal renown. Smith!--Brevet Brigadier General John A. B.
C.!--why, you know he's the man"--

"Man," here broke in Doctor Drummummupp, at the top of his voice, and
with a thump that came near knocking down the pulpit about our ears;
"man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live--he cometh
up and is cut down like a flower!" I started to the extremity of the
pew, and perceived by the animated looks of the divine, that the wrath
which had proved so nearly fatal to the pulpit had been excited by the
whispers of the lady and myself. There was no help for it--so I
submitted with a good grace, and listened, in all the martyrdom of a
dignified silence, to the balance of that very capital discourse.

Next evening found me a somewhat late visitor at the Rantipole
theatre, where I felt sure of satisfying my curiosity at once, by
merely stepping into the box of those exquisite specimens of
affability and omniscience, the Misses Arabella and Miranda
Cognoscenti. That fine tragedian, Climax, however, was doing Iago to a
very crowded house, and I experienced some little difficulty in making
my wishes understood; especially, as our box was next to the slips,
and completely overlooked the stage.

"Smith?" said Miss Arabella, as she at length comprehended the purport
of my query; "Smith?--why, not General John A. B. C.?"

"Smith?" inquired Miranda, musingly. "God bless me, did you ever
behold a finer figure?"

"Never, madam; but do tell me"--

"Or so inimitable grace?"

"Never, upon my word!--but pray inform me"--

"Or so just an appreciation of stage effect?"


"Or a more delicate sense of the true beauties of Shakspeare? Be so
good as to look at that leg!"

"The devil!" and I turned again to her sister.

"Smith?" said she, "why, not General John A. B. C.? Horrid affair
that, was'nt it?--great wretches, those Bugaboos--savage and so on--
but we live in a wonderfully inventive age!--Smith!--O yes! great
man!--perfect desperado--immortal renown--prodigies of valor! Never
heard! (This was given in a scream.) Bless my soul!--why he's the

--"mandragora, Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world, Shall ever
medicine thee to that sweet sleep Which thou owd'st yesterday!" here
roared out Climax just in my ear, and shaking his fist in my face all
the time, in a way that I couldn't stand, and I wouldn't. I left the
Misses Cognoscenti immediately, and went behind the scenes for the
purpose of giving the scoundrel a sound thrashing.

At the soire of the lovely widow, Mrs. Kathleen O'Trump, I was very
confident that I should meet with no similar disappointment.
Accordingly, I was no sooner seated at the card table, with my pretty
hostess for a partner, than I propounded those questions whose
solution had become a matter so essential to my peace.

"Smith?" said my partner, "why, not General John A. B. C.? Horrid
affair that, wasn't it?--diamonds, did you say?--terrible wretches,
those Kickapoos!--we are playing whist, if you please, Mr. Tattle--
however, this is the age of invention, most certainly--the age, one
may say--the age par excellence--speak French?--oh, quite a hero--
perfect desperado!--no hearts, Mr. Tattle!--I don't believe it--
immortal renown and all that--prodigies of valor! Never heard!!--why,
bless me, he's the man"--

"Mann?--Captain Mann?" here screamed some little feminine interloper
from the farthest corner of the room. "Are you talking about Captain
Mann and the duel?--oh, I must hear--do tell--go on, Mrs. O'Trump!--do
now go on!" And go on Mrs. O'Trump did--all about a certain Captain
Mann who was either shot or hung, or should have been both shot and
hung. Yes! Mrs. O'Trump, she went on, and I--I went off. There was no
chance of hearing anything farther that evening in regard to Brevet
Brigadier General John A. B. C. Smith.

Still, I consoled myself with the reflection that the tide of ill luck
would not run against me for ever, and so determined to make a bold
push for information at the rout of that bewitching little angel, the
graceful Mrs. Pirouette.

"Smith?" said Mrs. P., as we twirled about together in a pas de
zephyr, "Smith?--why not General John A. B. C.? Dreadful business that
of the Bugaboos, wasn't it?--terrible creatures, those Indians!--do
turn out your toes, I really am ashamed of you--man of great courage,
poor fellow--but this is a wonderful age for invention--O dear me, I'm
out of breath--quite a desperado--prodigies of valor--never heard!!--
can't believe it--I shall have to sit down and tell you--Smith! why
he's the man"--

"Man-fred, I tell you!" here bawled out Miss Bas-Bleu, as I led Mrs.
Pirouette to a seat. "Did ever any body hear the like? It's Man-fred,
I say, and not at all by any means Man-Friday." Here Miss Bas-Bleu
beckoned to me in a very peremptory manner; and I was obliged, will I
nill I, to leave Mrs. P. for the purpose of deciding a dispute
touching the title of a certain poetical drama of Lord Byron's.
Although I pronounced, with great promptness, that the true title was
Man-Friday, and not by any means Man-fred, yet when I returned to seek
for Mrs. Pirouette she was not to be discovered, and I made my retreat
from the house in a very bitter spirit of animosity against the whole
race of the Bas-Bleus.

Matters had now assumed a really serious aspect, and I resolved to
call at once upon my particular friend, Mr. Theodore Sinivate--for I
knew that here at least I should get something like definite

"Smith?" said he, in his well known peculiar way of drawling out his
syllables; "Smith?--why, not General John A--B--C.? Savage affair that
with the Kickapo-o-o-o-os, was'nt it? Say! don't you think so?--
perfect despera-a-ado--great pity, 'pon my honor!--wonderfully
inventive age!--pro-o-odigies of valor! By the by, did you ever hear
about Captain Mann?"

"Captain Mann be d--d!" said I, "please to go on with your story."

"Hem!--oh well!--toute la mme cho-o-ose, as we say in France. Smith,
eh? Brigadier General John A--B--C.? I say--(here Mr. S. thought
proper to put his finger to the side of his nose)--I say, you don't
mean to insinuate now, really, and truly, and conscientiously, that
you don't know all about that affair of Smith's as well as I do, eh?
Smith? John A--B--C.? Why, bless me, he's the ma-a-an"--

"Mr. Sinivate," said I, imploringly, "is he the man in the mask?"

"No-o-o!" said he, looking wise, "nor the man in the mo-o-o-on."

This reply I considered a pointed and positive insult, and I left the
house at once in high dudgeon, with a firm resolve to call my friend,
Mr. Sinivate, to a speedy account for his ungentlemanly conduct and
ill breeding.

In the meantime, however, I had no notion of being thwarted touching
the information I desired. There was one resource left me yet. I would
go to the fountain head. I would call forthwith upon the General
himself, and demand, in explicit terms, a solution of this abominable
piece of mystery. Here at least there should be no chance for
equivocation. I would be plain, positive, peremptory--as short as pie-
crust--as concise as Tacitus or Montesquieu.

It was early when I called, and the General was dressing; but I
pleaded urgent business, and was shown at once into his bed-room by an
old negro valet, who remained in attendance during my visit As I
entered the chamber, I looked about, of course, for the occupant, but
did not immediately perceive him. There was a large and exceedingly
odd-looking bundle of something which lay close by my feet, on the
floor, and, as I was not in the best humour in the world, I gave it a
kick out of the way.

"Hem! ahem! rather civil that, I should say!" said the bundle, in one
of the smallest, the weakest, and altogether the funniest little
voices, between a squeak and a whistle, that ever I heard in all the
days of my existence.

"Ahem! rather civil that, I should observe!"--I fairly shouted with
terror, and made off at a tangent, into the farthest extremity of the

"God bless me, my dear fellow," here again whistled the bundle,
"what--what--what--why, what is the matter? I really believe you don't
know me at all."

"No--no--no!" said I, getting as close to the wall as possible, and
holding up both hands in the way of expostulation; "don't know you--
know you--know you--don't know you at all! Where's your master?" here
I gave an impatient squint towards the negro, still keeping a tight
eye upon the bundle.

"He! he! he! he-aw! he-aw!" cachinnated that delectable specimen of
the human family, with his mouth fairly extended from ear to ear, and
with his forefinger held up close to his face, and levelled at the
object of my apprehension, as if he was taking aim at it with a

"He! he! he! he-aw! he-aw! he-aw!--what? you want Mass Smif? Why,
dar's him!"

What could I say to all this--what could I?" I staggered into an
arm-chair, and, with staring eyes and open mouth, awaited the solution
of the wonder.

"Strange you shouldn't know me though, isn't it?" presently re-
squeaked the bundle, which I now perceived was performing, upon the
floor, some inexplicable evolution, very analogous to the drawing on
of a stocking. There was only a single leg, however, apparent.

"Strange you shouldn't know me, though, isn't it? Pompey, bring me
that leg!" Here Pompey handed the bundle a very capital cork leg, all
ready dressed, which it screwed on in a trice, and then it stood
upright before my eyes. Devil the word could I say.

"And a bloody action it was," continued the thing, as if in a
soliloquy; "but then one musn't fight with the Bugaboos and Kickapoos,
and think of coming off with a mere scratch. Pompey, I'll thank you
now for that arm. Thomas (turning to me) is decidedly the best hand at
a cork leg; he lives in Race street, No. 79--stop, I'll give you his
card; but if you should ever want an arm, my dear fellow, you must
really let me recommend you to Bishop." Here Pompey screwed on an arm.

"We had rather hot work of it, that you may say. Now, you dog, slip on
my shoulders and bosom--Pettitt makes the best shoulders, but for a
bosom you will have to go to Ducrow."

"Bosom!" said I.

"Pompey, will you never be ready with that wig? Scalping is a rough
process after all; but then you can procure such a capital scratch at
De L'Orme's."


"Now, you nigger, my teeth! For a good set of these you had better go
to Parmly's at once; high prices, but excellent work. I swallowed some
very capital articles, though, when the big Bugaboo rammed me down
with the butt end of his rifle."

"Butt end!--ram down!--my eye!"

"O yes, by the by, my eye--here, Pompey, you scamp, screw it in! Those
Kickapoos are not so very slow at a gouge--but he's a belied man, that
Dr. Williams, after all; you can't imagine how well I see with the
eyes of his make."

I now began very clearly to perceive that the object before me was
nothing more or less than my new acquaintance, Brevet Brigadier
General John A. B. C. Smith. The manipulations of Pompey had made, I
must confess, a very striking difference in the appearance of the
personal man. The voice, however, still puzzled me no little; but even
this apparent mystery was speedily cleared up.

"Pompey, you black rascal," squeaked the General, "I really do believe
you would let me go out without my palate."

Hereupon the negro, grumbling out an apology, went up to his master,
opened his mouth with the knowing air of a horse-jockey, and adjusted
therein a somewhat singular looking machine, in a very dexterous
manner that I could not altogether comprehend. The alteration,
however, in the whole expression of the countenance of the General was
instantaneous and surprising. When he again spoke, his voice had
resumed the whole of that rich melody and strength which I had noticed
upon our original introduction.

"D--n the vagabonds!" said he, in so clear a tone that I positively
started at the change, "d--n the vagabonds! they not only knocked in
the roof of my mouth, but took the trouble to cut off at least seven-
eighths of my tongue. There isn't Bonfanti's equal, however, in
America, for really good articles of this description. I can recommend
you to him with confidence, (here the General bowed,) and assure you
that I have the greatest pleasure in so doing."

I acknowledged this kindness in my best manner, and now took leave of
my friend at once, with a perfect understanding of the state of
affairs--with a full comprehension of the mystery which had troubled
me so long. It was evident. It was a clear case. Brevet Brigadier
General John A. B. C. Smith was the man--was


During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of
the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had
been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of
country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew
on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it
was--but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of
insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the
feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasurable, because
poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the
sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the
scene before me--upon the mere house, and the simple landscape
features of the domain--upon the bleak walls--upon the vacant eye-like
windows--upon a few rank sedges--and upon a few white trunks of
decayed trees--with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to
no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the
reveller upon opium--the bitter lapse into common life--the hideous
dropping off of the veil. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening
of the heart--an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of
the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime. What was it--
I paused to think--what was it that so unnerved me in the
contemplation of the House of Usher? It was a mystery all insoluble;
nor could I grapple with the shadowy fancies that crowded upon me as I
pondered. I was forced to fall back upon the unsatisfactory
conclusion, that while, beyond doubt, there are combinations of very
simple natural objects which have the power of thus affecting us,
still the reason, and the analysis, of this power, lie among
considerations beyond our depth. It was possible, I reflected, that a
mere different arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of the
details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps to
annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression; and, acting upon
this idea, I reined my horse to the precipitous brink of a black and
lurid tarn that lay in unruffled lustre by the dwelling, and gazed
down--but with a shudder even more thrilling than before--upon the re-
modelled and inverted images of the gray sedge, and the ghastly tree-
stems, and the vacant and eye-like windows.

Nevertheless, in this mansion of gloom I now proposed to myself a
sojourn of some weeks. Its proprietor, Roderick Usher, had been one of
my boon companions in boyhood; but many years had elapsed since our
last meeting. A letter, however, had lately reached me in a distant
part of the country--a letter from him--which, in its wildly
importunate nature, had admitted of no other than a personal reply.
The MS. gave evidence of nervous agitation. The writer spoke of acute
bodily illness--of a pitiable mental idiosyncrasy which oppressed
him--and of an earnest desire to see me, as his best, and indeed, his
only personal friend, with a view of attempting, by the cheerfulness
of my society, some alleviation of his malady. It was the manner in
which all this, and much more, was said--it was the apparent heart
that went with his request--which allowed me no room for hesitation--
and I accordingly obeyed, what I still considered a very singular
summons, forthwith.

Although, as boys, we had been even intimate associates, yet I really
knew little of my friend. His reserve had been always excessive and
habitual. I was aware, however, that his very ancient family had been
noted, time out of mind, for a peculiar sensibility of temperament,
displaying itself, through long ages, in many works of exalted art,
and manifested, of late, in repeated deeds of munificent yet
unobtrusive charity, as well as in a passionate devotion to the
intricacies, perhaps even more than to the orthodox and easily
recognisable beauties, of musical science. I had learned, too, the
very remarkable fact, that the stem of the Usher race, all time-
honored as it was, had put forth, at no period, any enduring branch;
in other words, that the entire family lay in the direct line of
descent, and had always, with very trifling and very temporary
variation, so lain. It was this deficiency, I considered, while
running over in thought the perfect keeping of the character of the
premises with the accredited character of the people, and while
speculating upon the possible influence which the one, in the long
lapse of centuries, might have exercised upon the other--it was this
deficiency, perhaps, of collateral issue, and the consequent
undeviating transmission, from sire to son, of the patrimony with the
name, which had, at length, so identified the two as to merge the
original title of the estate in the quaint and equivocal appellation
of the "House of Usher"--an appellation which seemed to include, in
the minds of the peasantry who used it, both the family and the family

I have said that the sole effect of my somewhat childish experiment,
of looking down within the tarn, had been to deepen the first singular
impression. There can be no doubt that the consciousness of the rapid
increase of my superstition--for why should I not so term it?--served
mainly to accelerate the increase itself. Such, I have long known, is
the paradoxical law of all sentiments having terror as a basis. And it
might have been for this reason only, that, when I again uplifted my
eyes to the house itself, from its image in the pool, there grew in my
mind a strange fancy--a fancy so ridiculous, indeed, that I but
mention it to show the vivid force of the sensations which oppressed
me. I had so worked upon my imagination as really to believe that
around about the whole mansion and domain there hung an atmosphere
peculiar to themselves and their immediate vicinity--an atmosphere
which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but which had reeked up
from the decayed trees, and the gray wall, and the silent tarn, in the
form of an inelastic vapor or gas--dull, sluggish, faintly
discernible, and leadenhued. Shaking off from my spirit what must have
been a dream, I scanned more narrowly the real aspect of the building.
Its principal feature seemed to be that of an excessive antiquity. The
discoloration of ages had been great. Minute fungi overspread the
whole exterior, hanging in a fine tangled web-work from the eaves. Yet
all this was apart from any extraordinary dilapidation. No portion of
the masonry had fallen; and there appeared to be a wild inconsistency
between its still perfect adaptation of parts, and the utterly porous,
and evidently decayed condition of the individual stones. In this
there was much that reminded me of the specious totality of old wood-
work which has rotted for long years in some neglected vault, with no
disturbance from the breath of the external air. Beyond this
indication of extensive decay, however, the fabric gave little token
of instability. Perhaps the eye of a scrutinizing observer might have
discovered a barely perceptible fissure, which, extending from the
roof of the building in front, made its way down the wall in a zig-zag
direction, until it became lost in the sullen waters of the tarn.

Noticing these things, I rode over a short causeway to the house. A
servant in waiting took my horse, and I entered the Gothic archway of
the hall. A valet, of stealthy step, thence conducted me, in silence,
through many dark and intricate passages in my progress to the studio
of his master. Much that I encountered on the way contributed, I know
not how, to heighten the vague sentiments of which I have already
spoken. While the objects around me--while the carvings of the
ceilings, the sombre tapestries of the walls, the ebon blackness of
the floors, and the phantasmagoric armorial trophies which rattled as
I strode, were but matters to which, or to such as which, I had been
accustomed from my infancy--while I hesitated not to acknowledge how
familiar was all this--I still wondered to find how unfamiliar were
the fancies which ordinary images were stirring up. On one of the
staircases, I met the physician of the family. His countenance, I
thought, wore a mingled expression of low cunning and perplexity. He
accosted me with trepidation and passed on. The valet now threw open a
door and ushered me into the presence of his master.

The room in which I found myself was very large and excessively lofty.
The windows were long, narrow, and pointed, and at so vast a distance
from the black oaken floor as to be altogether inaccessible from
within. Feeble gleams of encrimsoned light made their way through the
trelliced panes, and served to render sufficiently distinct the more
prominent objects around; the eye, however, struggled in vain to reach
the remoter angles of the chamber, or the recesses of the vaulted and
fretted ceiling. Dark draperies hung upon the walls. The general
furniture was profuse, comfortless, antique, and tattered. Many books
and musical instruments lay scattered about, but failed to give any
vitality to the scene. I felt that I breathed an atmosphere of sorrow.
An air of stern, deep, and irredeemable gloom hung over and pervaded

Upon my entrance, Usher arose from a sofa upon which he had been lying
at full length, and greeted me with a vivacious warmth which had much
in it, I at first thought, of an overdone cordiality--of the
constrained effort of the ennuy man of the world. A glance, however,
at his countenance convinced me of his perfect sincerity. We sat down;
and for some moments, while he spoke not, I gazed upon him with a
feeling half of pity, half of awe. Surely, man had never before so
terribly altered, in so brief a period, as had Roderick Usher! It was
with difficulty that I could bring myself to admit the identity of the
wan being before me with the companion of my early boyhood. Yet the
character of his face had been at all times remarkable. A
cadaverousness of complexion; an eye large, liquid, and luminous
beyond comparison; lips somewhat thin and very pallid, but of a
surpassingly beautiful curve; a nose of a delicate Hebrew model, but
with a breadth of nostril unusual in similar formations; a finely
moulded chin, speaking, in its want of prominence, of a want of moral
energy; hair of a more than web-like softness and tenuity; these
features, with an inordinate expansion above the regions of the
temple, made up altogether a countenance not easily to be forgotten.
And now in the mere exaggeration of the prevailing character of these
features, and of the expression they were wont to convey, lay so much
of change that I doubted to whom I spoke. The now ghastly pallor of
the skin, and the now miraculous lustre of the eye, above all things
startled and even awed me. The silken hair, too, had been suffered to
grow all unheeded, and as, in its wild gossamer texture, it floated
rather than fell about the face, I could not, even with effort,
connect its arabesque expression with any idea of simply humanity.

In the manner of my friend I was at once struck with an incoherence--
an inconsistency; and I soon found this to arise from a series of
feeble and futile struggles to overcome an habitual trepidancy, an
excessive nervous agitation. For something of this nature I had indeed
been prepared, no less by his letter, than by reminiscences of certain
boyish traits, and by conclusions deduced from his peculiar physical
conformation and temperament. His action was alternately vivacious and
sullen. His voice varied rapidly from a tremulous indecision (when the
animal spirits seemed utterly in abeyance) to that species of
energetic concision--that abrupt, weighty, unhurried, and hollow-
sounding enunciation--that leaden, selfbalanced and perfectly
modulated guttural utterance, which may be observed in the moments of
the intensest excitement of the lost drunkard, or the irreclaimable
eater of opium.

It was thus that he spoke of the object of my visit, of his earnest
desire to see me, and of the solace he expected me to afford him. He
entered, at some length, into what he conceived to be the nature of
his malady. It was, he said, a constitutional and a family evil, and
one for which he despaired to find a remedy--a mere nervous affection,
he immediately added, which would undoubtedly soon pass off. It
displayed itself in a host of unnatural sensations. Some of these, as
he detailed them, interested and bewildered me--although, perhaps, the
terms, and the general manner of the narration had their weight. He
suffered much from a morbid acuteness of the senses; the most insipid
food was alone endurable; he could wear only garments of certain
texture; the odors of all flowers were oppressive; his eyes were
tortured by even a faint light; and there were but peculiar sounds,
and these from stringed instruments, which did not inspire him with

To an anomalous species of terror I found him a bounden slave. "I
shall perish," said he, "I must perish in this deplorable folly. Thus,
thus, and not otherwise, shall I be lost. I dread the events of the
future, not in themselves, but in their results. I shudder at the
thought of any, even the most trivial, incident, which may operate
upon this intolerable agitation of soul. I have, indeed, no abhorrence
of danger, except in its absolute effect--in terror. In this
unnerved--in this pitiable condition--I feel that I must inevitably
abandon life and reason together in my struggles with some fatal demon
of fear."

I learned, moreover, at intervals, and through broken and equivocal
hints, another singular feature of his mental condition. He was
enchained by certain superstitious impressions in regard to the
dwelling which he tenanted, and from which, for many years, he had
never ventured forth--in regard to an influence whose supposititious
force was conveyed in terms too shadowy here to be restated--an
influence which some peculiarities in the mere form and substance of
his family mansion, had, by dint of long sufferance, he said, obtained
over his spirit--an effect which the physique of the gray walls and
turrets, and of the dim tarn into which they all looked down, had, at
length, brought about upon the morale of his existence.

He admitted, however, although with hesitation, that much of the
peculiar gloom which thus afflicted him could be traced to a more
natural and far more palpable origin--to the severe and long-continued
illness--indeed to the evidently approaching dissolution--of a
tenderly beloved sister; his sole companion for long years--his last
and only relative on earth. "Her decease," he said, with a bitterness
which I can never forget, "would leave him (him the hopeless and the
frail) the last of the ancient race of the Ushers." As he spoke the
lady Madeline (for so was she called) passed slowly through a remote
portion of the apartment, and, without having noticed my presence,
disappeared. I regarded her with an utter astonishment not unmingled
with dread. Her figure, her air, her features--all, in their very
minutest development were those--were identically, (I can use no other
sufficient term,) were identically those of the Roderick Usher who sat
beside me. A feeling of stupor oppressed me, as my eyes followed her
retreating steps. As a door, at length, closed upon her exit, my
glance sought instinctively and eagerly the countenance of the
brother--but he had buried his face in his hands, and I could only
perceive that a far more than ordinary wanness had overspread the
emaciated fingers through which trickled many passionate tears.

The disease of the lady Madeline had long baffled the skill of her
physicians. A settled apathy, a gradual wasting away of the person,
and frequent although transient affections of a partially cataleptical
character, were the unusual diagnosis. Hitherto she had steadily borne
up against the pressure of her malady, and had not betaken herself
finally to bed; but, on the closing in of the evening of my arrival at
the house, she succumbed, as her brother told me at night with
inexpressible agitation, to the prostrating power of the destroyer--
and I learned that the glimpse I had obtained of her person would thus
probably be the last I should obtain--that the lady, at least while
living, would be seen by me no more.

For several days ensuing, her name was unmentioned by either Usher or
myself; and during this period, I was busied in earnest endeavors to
alleviate the melancholy of my friend. We painted and read together--
or I listened, as if in a dream, to the wild improvisations of his
speaking guitar. And thus, as a closer and still closer intimacy
admitted me more unreservedly into the recesses of his spirit, the
more bitterly did I perceive the futility of all attempt at cheering a
mind from which darkness, as if an inherent positive quality, poured
forth upon all objects of the moral and physical universe, in one
unceasing radiation of gloom.

I shall ever bear about me a memory of the many solemn hours I thus
spent alone with the master of the House of Usher. Yet I should fail
in any attempt to convey an idea of the exact character of the
studies, or of the occupations, in which he involved me, or led me the
way. An excited and highly distempered ideality threw a sulphurous
lustre over all. His long improvised dirges will ring forever in my
ears. Among other things, I bear painfully in mind a certain singular
perversion and amplification of the wild air of the last waltz of Von
Weber. From the paintings over which his elaborate fancy brooded, and
which grew, touch by touch, into vaguenesses at which I shuddered the
more thrillingly, because I shuddered knowing not why, from these
paintings (vivid as their images now are before me) I would in vain
endeavor to educe more than a small portion which should lie within
the compass of merely written words. By the utter simplicity, by the
nakedness of his designs, he arrested and overawed attention. If ever
mortal painted an idea, that mortal was Roderick Usher. For me at
least--in the circumstances then surrounding me--there arose out of
the pure abstractions which the hypochondriac contrived to throw upon
his canvas, an intensity of intolerable awe, no shadow of which felt I
ever yet in the contemplation of the certainly glowing yet too
concrete reveries of Fuseli.

One of the phantasmagoric conceptions of my friend, partaking not so
rigidly of the spirit of abstraction, may be shadowed forth, although
feebly, in words. A small picture presented the interior of an
immensely long and rectangular vault or tunnel, with low walls,
smooth, white, and without interruption or device. Certain accessory
points of the design served well to convey the idea that this
excavation lay at an exceeding depth below the surface of the earth.
No outlet was observed in any portion of its vast extent, and no
torch, or other artificial source of light was discernible--yet a
flood of intense rays rolled throughout, and bathed the whole in a
ghastly and inappropriate splendor.

I have just spoken of that morbid condition of the auditory nerve
which rendered all music intolerable to the sufferer, with the
exception of certain effects of stringed instruments. It was, perhaps,
the narrow limits to which he thus confined himself upon the guitar,
which gave birth, in great measure, to the fantastic character of his
performances. But the fervid facility of his impromptus could not be
so accounted for. They must have been, and were, in the notes, as well
as in the words of his wild fantasias, (for he not unfrequently
accompanied himself with rhymed verbal improvisations,) the result of
that intense mental collectedness and concentration to which I have
previously alluded as observable only in particular moments of the
highest artificial excitement. The words of one of these rhapsodies I
have easily borne away in memory. I was, perhaps, the more forcibly
impressed with it, as he gave it, because, in the under or mystic
current of its meaning, I fancied that I perceived, and for the first
time, a full consciousness on the part of Usher, of the tottering of
his lofty reason upon her throne. The verses, which were entitled "The
Haunted Palace," ran very nearly, if not accurately, thus:


In the greenest of our valleys,
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace--
Snow-white palace--reared its head.
In the monarch Thought's dominion--
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair.


Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow;
(This--all this--was in the olden
Time long ago)
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A winged odor went away.


Wanderers in that happy valley
Through two luminous windows saw
Spirits moving musically
To a lute's well-tuned law,
Round about a throne, where sitting
In state his glory well befitting,
The sovereign of the realm was seen.


And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.


But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch's high estate;
(Ah, let us mourn, for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him, desolate!)
And, round about his home, the glory
That blushed and bloomed
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.


And travellers now within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows, see
Vast forms that move fantastically
To a discordant melody;
While, like a rapid ghastly river,
Through the pale door,
A hideous throng rush out forever,
And laugh--but smile no more.

I well remember that suggestions arising from this ballad led us into
a train of thought wherein there became manifest an opinion of Usher's
which I mention not so much on account of its novelty, (for other men
have thought thus,) as on account of the pertinacity with which he
maintained it. This opinion, in its general form, was that of the
sentience of all vegetable things. But, in his disordered fancy, the
idea had assumed a more daring character, and trespassed, under
certain conditions, upon the kingdom of inorganization. I lack words
to express the full extent, or the earnest abandon of his persuasion.
The belief, however, was connected (as I have previously hinted) with
the gray stones of the home of his forefathers. The conditions of the
sentience had been here, he imagined, fulfilled in the method of
collocation of these stones--in the order of their arrangement, as
well as in that of the many fungi which overspread them, and of the
decayed trees which stood around--above all, in the long undisturbed
endurance of this arrangement, and in its reduplication in the still
waters of the tarn. Its evidence--the evidence of the sentience--was
to be seen, he said, (and I here started as he spoke,) in the gradual
yet certain condensation of an atmosphere of their own about the
waters and the walls. The result was discoverable, he added, in that
silent, yet importunate and terrible influence which for centuries had
moulded the destinies of his family, and which made him what I now saw
him--what he was. Such opinions need no comment, and I will make none.

Our books--the books which, for years, had formed no small portion of
the mental existence of the invalid--were, as might be supposed, in
strict keeping with this character of phantasm. We pored together over
such works as the Ververt et Chartreuse of Gresset; the Belphegor of
Machiavelli; the Selenography of Brewster; the Heaven and Hell of
Swedenborg; the Subterranean Voyage of Nicholas Klimm de Holberg; the
Chiromancy of Robert Flud, of Jean d'Indagin, and of De la Chambre;
the Journey into the Blue Distance of Tieck; and the City of the Sun
of Campanella. One favorite volume was a small octavo edition of the
Directorium Inquisitorium, by the Dominican Eymeric de Gironne; and
there were passages in Pomponius Mela, about the old African Satyrs
and gipans, over which Usher would sit dreaming for hours. His chief
delight, however, was found in the earnest and repeated perusal of an
exceedingly rare and curious book in quarto Gothic--the manual of a
forgotten church--the Vigilae Mortuorum secundum Chorum Ecclesiae

I could not help thinking of the wild ritual of this work, and of its
probable influence upon the hypochondriac, when, one evening, having
informed me abruptly that the lady Madeline was no more, he stated his
intention of preserving her corpse for a fortnight, (previously to its
final interment,) in one of the numerous vaults within the main walls
of the building. The wordly reason, however, assigned for this
singular proceeding, was one which I did not feel at liberty to
dispute. The brother had been led to his resolution (so he told me) by
considerations of the unusual character of the malady of the deceased,
of certain obtrusive and eager inquiries on the part of her medical
men, and of the remote and exposed situation of the burial-ground of
the family. I will not deny that when I called to mind the sinister
countenance of the person whom I met upon the staircase, on the day of
my arrival at the house, I had no desire to oppose what I regarded as
at best but a harmless, and not by any means an unnatural, precaution.

At the request of Usher, I personally aided him in the arrangements
for the temporary entombment. The body having been encoffined, we two
alone bore it to its rest. The vault in which we placed it (and which
had been so long unopened that our torches, half smothered in its
oppressive atmosphere, gave us little opportunity for investigation)
was small, damp, and entirely without means of admission for light;
lying, at great depth, immediately beneath that portion of the
building in which was my own sleeping apartment. It had been used,
apparently, in remote feudal times, for the worst purposes of a
donjon-keep, and, in later days, as a place of deposit for powder, or
other highly combustible substance, as a portion of its floor, and the
whole interior of a long archway through which we reached it, were
carefully sheathed with copper. The door, of massive iron, had been,
also, similarly protected. Its immense weight caused an unusually
sharp grating sound, as it moved upon its hinges.

Having deposited our mournful burden upon tressels within this region
of horror, we partially turned aside the yet unscrewed lid of the
coffin, and looked upon the face of the tenant. The exact similitude
between the brother and sister even here again startled and confounded
me. Usher, divining, perhaps, my thoughts, murmured out some few words
from which I learned that the deceased and himself had been twins, and
that sympathies of a scarcely intelligible nature had always existed
between them. Our glances, however, rested not long upon the dead--for
we could not regard her unawed. The disease which had thus entombed
the lady in the maturity of youth, had left, as usual in all maladies
of a strictly cataleptical character, the mockery of a faint blush
upon the bosom and the face, and that suspiciously lingering smile
upon the lip which is so terrible in death. We replaced and screwed
down the lid, and, having secured the door of iron, made our way, with
toil, into the scarcely less gloomy apartments of the upper portion of
the house.

And now, some days of bitter grief having elapsed, an observable
change came over the features of the mental disorder of my friend. His
ordinary manner had vanished. His ordinary occupations were neglected
or forgotten. He roamed from chamber to chamber with hurried, unequal,
and objectless step. The pallor of his countenance had assumed, if
possible, a more ghastly hue--but the luminousness of his eye had
utterly gone out. The once occasional huskiness of his tone was heard
no more; and a tremulous quaver, as if of extreme terror, habitually
characterized his utterance.--There were times, indeed, when I thought
his unceasingly agitated mind was laboring with an oppressive secret,
to divulge which he struggled for the necessary courage. At times,
again, I was obliged to resolve all into the mere inexplicable
vagaries of madness, as I beheld him gazing upon vacancy for long
hours, in an attitude of the profoundest attention, as if listening to
some imaginary sound. It was no wonder that his condition terrified--
that it infected me. I felt creeping upon me, by slow yet certain
degrees, the wild influences of his own fantastic yet impressive

It was, most especially, upon retiring to bed late in the night of the
seventh or eighth day after the placing of the lady Madeline within
the donjon, that I experienced the full power of such feelings. Sleep
came not near my couch--while the hours waned and waned away. I
struggled to reason off the nervousness which had dominion over me. I
endeavoured to believe that much, if not all of what I felt, was due
to the phantasmagoric influence of the gloomy furniture of the room--
of the dark and tattered draperies, which, tortured into motion by the
breath of a rising tempest, swayed fitfully to and fro upon the walls,
and rustled uneasily about the decorations of the bed. But my efforts
were fruitless. An irrepressible tremor gradually pervaded my frame;
and, at length, there sat upon my very heart an incubus of utterly
causeless alarm. Shaking this off with a gasp and a struggle, I
uplifted myself upon the pillows, and, peering earnestly within the
intense darkness of the chamber, harkened--I know not why, except that
an instinctive spirit prompted me--to certain low and indefinite
sounds which came, through the pauses of the storm, at long intervals,
I knew not whence. Overpowered by an intense sentiment of horror,
unaccountable yet unendurable, I threw on my clothes with haste, for I
felt that I should sleep no more during the night, and endeavored to
arouse myself from the pitiable condition into which I had fallen, by
pacing rapidly to and fro through the apartment.

I had taken but few turns in this manner, when a light step on an
adjoining staircase arrested my attention. I presently recognised it
as that of Usher. In an instant afterwards he rapped, with a gentle
touch, at my door, and entered, bearing a lamp. His countenance was,
as usual, cadaverously wan--but there was a species of mad hilarity in
his eyes--an evidently restrained hysteria in his whole demeanor. His
air appalled me--but anything was preferable to the solitude which I
had so long endured, and I even welcomed his presence as a relief.

"And you have not seen it?" he said abruptly, after having stared
about him for some moments in silence--"you have not then seen it?--
but, stay! you shall." Thus speaking, and having carefully shaded his
lamp, he hurried to one of the gigantic casements, and threw it freely
open to the storm.

The impetuous fury of the entering gust nearly lifted us from our
feet. It was, indeed, a tempestuous yet sternly beautiful night, and
one wildly singular in its terror and its beauty. A whirlwind had
apparently collected its force in our vicinity; for there were
frequent and violent alterations in the direction of the wind; and the
exceeding density of the clouds (which hung so low as to press upon
the turrets of the house) did not prevent our perceiving the life-like
velocity with which they flew careering from all points against each
other, without passing away into the distance. I say that even their
exceeding density did not prevent our perceiving this--yet we had no
glimpse of the moon or stars--nor was there any flashing forth of the
lightning. But the under surfaces of the huge masses of agitated
vapor, as well as all terrestrial objects immediately around us, were
glowing in the unnatural light of a faintly luminous and distinctly
visible gaseous exhalation which hung about and enshrouded the

"You must not--you shall not behold this!" said I, shudderingly, to
Usher, as I led him, with a gentle violence, from the window to a
seat. "These appearances, which bewilder you, are merely electrical
phenomena not uncommon--or it may be that they have their ghastly
origin in the rank miasma of the tarn. Let us close this casement--the
air is chilling and dangerous to your frame. Here is one of your
favorite romances. I will read, and you shall listen--and so we will
pass away this terrible night together."

The antique volume which I had taken up was the "Mad Trist" of Sir
Launcelot Canning--but I had called it a favorite of Usher's more in
sad jest than in earnest; for, in truth, there is little in its
uncouth and unimaginative prolixity which could have had interest for
the lofty and spiritual ideality of my friend. It was, however, the
only book immediately at hand; and I indulged a vague hope that the
excitement which now agitated the hypochondriac might find relief (for
the history of mental disorder is full of similar anomalies) even in
the extremeness of the folly which I should read. Could I have judged,
indeed by the wild overstrained air of vivacity with which he
hearkened, or apparently hearkened, to the words of the tale, I might
have well congratulated myself upon the success of my design.

I had arrived at that well-known portion of the story where Ethelred,
the hero of the Trist, having sought in vain for peaceable admission
into the dwelling of the hermit, proceeds to make good an entrance by
force. Here, it will be remembered, the words of the narrative run

"And Ethelred, who was by nature of a doughty heart, and who was now
mighty withal, on account of the powerfulness of the wine which he had
drunken, waited no longer to hold parley with the hermit, who, in
sooth, was of an obstinate and maliceful turn, but, feeling the rain
upon his shoulders, and fearing the rising of the tempest, uplifted
his mace outright, and, with blows, made quickly room in the plankings
of the door for his gauntleted hand, and now pulling therewith
sturdily, he so cracked, and ripped, and tore all asunder, that the
noise of the dry and hollow-sounding wood alarummed and reverberated
throughout the forest."

At the termination of this sentence I started, and for a moment,
paused; for it appeared to me (although I at once concluded that my
excited fancy had deceived me)--it appeared to me that, from some very
remote portion of the mansion or of its vicinity, there came,
indistinctly, to my ears, what might have been, in its exact
similarity of character, the echo (but a stifled and dull one
certainly) of the very cracking and ripping sound which Sir Launcelot
had so particularly described. It was, beyond doubt, the coincidence
alone which had arrested my attention; for, amid the rattling of the
sashes of the casements, and the ordinary commingled noises of the
still increasing storm, the sound, in itself, had nothing, surely,
which should have interested or disturbed me. I continued the story.

"But the good champion Ethelred, now entering within the door, was
sore enraged and amazed to perceive no signal of the maliceful hermit;
but, in the stead thereof, a dragon of a scaly and prodigious
demeanor, and of a fiery tongue, which sate in guard before a palace
of gold, with a floor of silver; and upon the wall there hung a shield
of shining brass with this legend enwritten--Who entereth herein, a
conqueror hath bin, Who slayeth the dragon the shield he shall win.
And Ethelred uplifted his mace, and struck upon the head of the
dragon, which fell before him, and gave up his pesty breath, with a
shriek so horrid and harsh, and withal so piercing, that Ethelred had
fain to close his ears with his hands against the dreadful noise of
it, the like whereof was never before heard."

Here again I paused abruptly, and now with a feeling of wild
amazement--for there could be no doubt whatever that, in this
instance, I did actually hear (although from what direction it
proceeded I found it impossible to say) a low and apparently distant,
but harsh, protracted, and most unusual screaming or grating sound--
the exact counterpart of what my fancy had already conjured up as the
sound of the dragon's unnatural shriek as described by the romancer.

Oppressed, as I certainly was, upon the occurrence of this second and
most extraordinary coincidence, by a thousand conflicting sensations,
in which wonder and extreme terror were predominant, I still retained
sufficient presence of mind to avoid exciting, by any observation, the
sensitive nervousness of my companion. I was by no means certain that
he had noticed the sounds in question; although, assuredly, a strange
alteration had, during the last few minutes, taken place in his
demeanor. From a position fronting my own, he had gradually brought
round his chair, so as to sit with his face to the door of the
chamber, and thus I could but partially perceive his features,
although I saw that his lips trembled as if he were murmuring
inaudibly. His head had dropped upon his breast--yet I knew that he
was not asleep, from the wide and rigid opening of the eye as I caught
a glance of it in profile. The motion of his body, too, was at
variance with this idea--for he rocked from side to side with a gentle
yet constant and uniform sway. Having rapidly taken notice of all
this, I resumed the narrative of Sir Launcelot, which thus

"And now, the champion, having escaped from the terrible fury of the
dragon, bethinking himself of the brazen shield, and of the breaking
up of the enchantment which was upon it, removed the carcass from out
of the way before him, and approached valorously over the silver
pavement of the castle to where the shield was upon the wall; which in
sooth tarried not for his full coming, but fell down at his feet upon
the silver floor, with a mighty great and terrible ringing sound."

No sooner had these syllables passed my lips, than--as if a shield of
brass had indeed, at the moment, fallen heavily upon a floor of
silver--I became aware of a distinct, hollow, metallic, and
clangorous, yet apparently muffled reverberation. Completely unnerved,
I started convulsively to my feet; but the measured rocking movement
of Usher was undisturbed. I rushed to the chair in which he sat. His
eyes were bent fixedly before him, and throughout his whole
countenance there reigned a more than stony rigidity. But, as I laid
my hand upon his shoulder, there came a strong shudder over his frame;
a sickly smile quivered about his lips; and I saw that he spoke in a
low, hurried, and gibbering murmur, as if unconscious of my presence.
Bending closely over his person, I at length drank in the hideous
import of his words.

"Not hear it?--yes, I hear it, and have heard it. Long--long--long--
many minutes, many hours, many days, have I heard it--yet I dared
not--oh, pity me, miserable wretch that I am!--I dared not--I dared
not speak! We have put her living in the tomb! Said I not that my
senses were acute? I now tell you that I heard her first feeble
movements in the hollow coffin. I heard them--many, many days ago--yet
I dared not--I dared not speak! And now--to-night--Ethelred--ha! ha!--
the breaking of the hermit's door, and the death-cry of the dragon,
and the clangor of the shield--say, rather, the rending of the coffin,
and the grating of the iron hinges, and her struggles within the
coppered archway of the vault! Oh whither shall I fly? Will she not be
here anon? Is she not hurrying to upbraid me for my haste? Have I not
heard her footsteps on the stair? Do I not distinguish that heavy and
horrible beating of her heart? Madman!"--here he sprung violently to
his feet, and shrieked out his syllables, as if in the effort he were
giving up his soul--"Madman! I tell you that she now stands without
the door!"

As if in the superhuman energy of his utterance there had been found
the potency of a spell--the huge antique pannels to which the speaker
pointed, threw slowly back, upon the instant, their ponderous and
ebony jaws. It was the work of the rushing gust--but then without
those doors there did stand the lofty and enshrouded figure of the
lady Madeline of Usher. There was blood upon her white robes, and the
evidence of some bitter struggle upon every portion of her emaciated
frame. For a moment she remained trembling and reeling to and fro upon
the threshold--then, with a low moaning cry, fell heavily inward upon
the person of her brother, and in her horrible and now final death-
agonies, bore him to the floor a corpse, and a victim to the terrors
he had dreaded.

From that chamber, and from that mansion, I fled aghast. The storm was
still abroad in all its wrath as I found myself crossing the old
causeway. Suddenly there shot along the path a wild light, and I
turned to see whence a gleam so unusual could have issued--for the
vast house and its shadows were alone behind me. The radiance was that
of the full, setting, and blood-red moon, which now shone vividly
through that once barely-discernible fissure, of which I have before
spoken, as extending from the roof of the building, in a zigzag
direction to the base. While I gazed, this fissure rapidly widened--
there came a fierce breath of the whirlwind--the entire orb of the
satellite burst at once upon my sight--my brain reeled as I saw the
mighty walls rushing asunder--there was a long tumultuous shouting
sound like the voice of a thousand waters--and the deep and dank tarn
at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the
"House of Usher."


And stepped at once into a cooler clime.

Keats fell by a criticism. Who was it died of The Andromache?[*] Ignoble
souls!--De L'Omelette perished of an ortolan. L'histoire en est
brve--assist me Spirit of Apicius!

[* Montfleury. The author of the Parnasse Rform makes him thus
express himself in the shades. "The man then who would know of what I
died, let him not ask if it were of the fever, the dropsy, or the
gout; but let him know that it was of The Andromache."]

A golden cage bore the little winged wanderer, enamored, melting,
indolent, to the Chausse D'Antin, from its home in far Peru. From its
queenly possessor La Bellissima, to the Duc De L'Omelette, six peers
of the empire conveyed the happy bird. It was "All for Love."

That night the Duc was to sup alone. In the privacy of his bureau he
reclined languidly on that ottoman for which he sacrificed his loyalty
in outbidding his king--the notorious ottoman of Cadt.

He buries his face in the pillow--the clock strikes! Unable to
restrain his feelings, his Grace swallows an olive. At this moment the
door gently opens to the sound of soft music, and lo! the most
delicate of birds is before the most enamored of men! But what
inexpressible dismay now overshadows the countenance of the Duc?--"
Horreur!--chien!--Baptiste!--l'oiseau! ah, bon Dieu! cet oiseau
modeste que tu as deshabill de ses plumes, et que tu as servi sans
papier!" It is superfluous to say more--the Duc expired in a paroxysm
of disgust.

* * * * * *

"Ha! ha! ha!"--said his Grace on the third day after his decease.

"He! he! he!"--replied the Devil faintly, drawing himself up with an
air of hauteur.

"Why, surely you are not serious"--retorted De L'Omelette. "I have
sinned--c'est vrai--but, my good sir, consider!--you have no actual
intention of putting such--such--barbarous threats into execution."

"No what?"--said his Majesty--"come, sir, strip!"

"Strip, indeed!--very pretty i' faith!--no, sir, I shall not strip.
Who are you, pray, that I, Duc De L'Omelette, Prince de Foie-Gras,
just come of age, author of the 'Mazurkiad,' and Member of the
Academy, should divest myself at your bidding of the sweetest
pantaloons ever made by Bourdon, the daintiest robe-de-chambre ever
put together by Rombrt--to say nothing of the taking my hair out of
paper--not to mention the trouble I should have in drawing off my

"Who am I?--ah, true! I am Baal-Zebub, Prince of the Fly. I took thee
just now from a rose-wood coffin inlaid with ivory. Thou wast
curiously scented, and labelled as per invoice. Belial sent thee--my
Inspector of Cemeteries. The pantaloons, which thou sayest were made
by Bourdon, are an excellent pair of linen drawers, and thy robe-de-
chambre is a shroud of no scanty dimensions."

"Sir!" replied the Duc, "I am not to be insulted with impunity!--Sir!
I shall take the earliest opportunity of avenging this insult!--Sir!
you shall hear from me! In the meantime au revoir!"--and the Duc was
bowing himself out of the Satanic presence, when he was interrupted
and brought back by a gentleman in waiting. Hereupon his Grace rubbed
his eyes, yawned, shrugged his shoulders, reflected. Having become
satisfied of his identity, he took a bird's eye view of his

The apartment was superb. Even De L'Omelette pronounced it bien comme
il faut. It was not very long, nor very broad,--but its height--ah,
that was appalling! There was no ceiling--certainly none--but a dense
whirling mass of fierycolored clouds. His Grace's brain reeled as he
glanced upwards. From above, hung a chain of an unknown blood-red
metal--its upper end lost, like C--, parmi les nues. From its nether
extremity hung a large cresset. The Duc knew it to be a ruby--but from
it there poured a light so intense, so still, so terrible, Persia
never worshipped such--Gheber never imagined such--Mussulman never
dreamed of such when, drugged with opium, he has tottered to a bed of
poppies, his back to the flowers, and his face to the god Apollo! The
Duc muttered a slight oath, decidedly approbatory.

The corners of the room were rounded into niches. Three of these were
filled with statues of gigantic proportions. Their beauty was Grecian,
their deformity Egyptian, their tout ensemble French. In the fourth
niche the statue was veiled--it was not colossal. But then there was a
taper ankle, a sandalled foot. De L'Omelette laid his hand upon his
heart, closed his eyes, raised them, and caught his Satanic Majesty--
in a blush.

But the paintings!--Kupris! Astarte! Astoreth!--a thousand and the
same! And Rafaelle has beheld them! Yes, Rafaelle has been here; for
did he not paint the--? and was he not consequently damned? The
paintings!--the paintings! O luxury! O love!--who gazing on those
forbidden beauties shall have eyes for the dainty devices of the
golden frames that lie imbedded and asleep against those swelling
walls of eider down?

But the Duc's heart is fainting within him. He is not, however, as you
suppose, dizzy with magnificence, nor drunk with the ecstatic breath
of those innumerable censers. C'est vrai que de toutes ces choses il a
pens beaucoup--mais! The Duc De L'Omelette is terror-stricken; for
through the lurid vista which a single uncurtained window is
affording, lo! gleams the most ghastly of all fires!

Le pauvre Duc! He could not help imagining that the glorious, the
voluptuous, the never-dying melodies which pervaded that hall, as they
passed filtered and transmuted through the alchemy of the enchanted
window-panes, were the wailings and the howlings of the hopeless and
the damned! And there, too--there--upon that ottoman!--who could he
be?--he, the petit-maitre--no, the Deity--who sat as if carved in
marble, et qui sourit, with his pale countenance, si amerement.

* * * * *

Mais il faut agir--that is to say, a Frenchman never faints outright.
Besides, his Grace hated a scene--De L'Omelette is himself again.
There were some foils upon a table--some points also. The Duc had
studied under B--, il avait tu ses six hommes. Now, then, il peut
s'echapper. He measures two points, and, with a grace inimitable,
offers his Majesty the choice. Horreur! his Majesty does not fence!

Mais il joue!--what a happy thought! But his Grace had always an
excellent memory. He had dipped in the "Diable" of the Abb Gualtier.
Therein it is said "que le Diable n'ose pas refuser un jeu d'Ecart."

But the chances--the chances! True--desperate: but not more desperate
than the Duc. Besides, was he not in the secret?--had he not skimmed
over Pre Le Brun? was he not a member of the Club Vingt-un? "Si je
perds," said he, "je serai deux fois perdu, I shall be doubly damned--
voila tout! (Here his Grace shrugged his shoulders) Si je gagne je
serai libre,--que les cartes soient prpares!"

* * * * * *

His Grace was all care, all attention--his Majesty all confidence. A
spectator would have thought of Francis and Charles. His Grace thought
of his game. His Majesty did not think--he shuffled. The Duc cut.

The cards are dealt. The trump is turned--it is--it is--the king! No--
it was the queen. His Majesty cursed her masculine habiliments. De
L'Omelette laid his hand upon his heart.

They play. The Duc counts. The hand is out. His Majesty counts
heavily, smiles, and is taking wine. The Duc slips a card.

"C'est  vous  faire"--said his Majesty, cutting. His Grace bowed,
dealt, and arose from the table en presentant le Roi.

His Majesty looked chagrined.

Had Alexander not been Alexander, he would have been Diogenes; and the
Duc assured his Majesty in taking leave "que s'il n'etait pas De
L'Omelette il n'aurait point d'objection d'etre le Diable."

[1. Montfleury. The author of the Parnasse Rform makes him thus
express himself in the shades. "The man then who would know of what I
died, let him not ask if it were of the fever, the dropsy, or the
gout; but let him know that it was of The Andromache."]


Of my country and of my family I have little to say. Ill usage and
length of years have driven me from the one, and estranged me from the
other. Hereditary wealth afforded me an education of no common order,
and a contemplative turn of mind enabled me to methodize the stores
which early study very diligently garnered up. Beyond all things the
works of the German moralists gave me great delight; not from any ill-
advised admiration of their eloquent madness, but from the ease with
which my habits of rigid thought enabled me to detect their falsities.
I have often been reproached with the aridity of my genius--a
deficiency of imagination has been imputed to me as a crime--and the
Pyrrhonism of my opinions has at all times rendered me notorious.
Indeed a strong relish for physical philosophy has, I fear, tinctured
my mind with a very common error of this age--I mean the habit of
referring occurrences, even the least susceptible of such reference,
to the principles of that science. Upon the whole, no person could be
less liable than myself to be led away from the severe precincts of
truth by the ignes fatui of superstition. I have thought proper to
premise thus much lest the incredible tale I have to tell should be
considered rather the raving of a crude imagination, than the positive
experience of a mind to which the reveries of fancy have been a dead
letter and a nullity.

After many years spent in foreign travel, I sailed in the year 18--,
from the port of Batavia, in the rich and populous island of Java, on
a voyage to the Archipelago of the Sunda islands. I went as
passenger--having no other inducement than a kind of nervous
restlessness which haunted me like a fiend.

Our vessel was a beautiful ship of about four hundred tons, copper-
fastened, and built at Bombay of Malabar teak. She was freighted with
cotton-wool and oil, from the Lachadive islands. We had also on board
coir, jaggeree, ghee, cocoa-nuts, and a few cases of opium. The
stowage was clumsily done, and the vessel consequently crank.

We got under way with a mere breath of wind, and for many days stood
along the eastern coast of Java, without any other incident to beguile
the monotony of our course than the occasional meeting with some of
the small grabs of the Archipelago to which we were bound.

One evening, leaning over the taffrail, I observed a very singular,
isolated cloud, to the N. W. It was remarkable, as well for its color,
as from its being the first we had seen since our departure from
Batavia. I watched it attentively until sunset, when it spread all at
once to the eastward and westward, girting in the horizon with a
narrow strip of vapor, and looking like a long line of low beach. My
notice was soon afterwards attracted by the duskyred appearance of the
moon, and the peculiar character of the sea. The latter was undergoing
a rapid change, and the water seemed more than usually transparent.
Although I could distinctly see the bottom, yet, heaving the lead, I
found the ship in fifteen fathoms. The air now became intolerably hot,
and was loaded with spiral exhalations similar to those arising from
heated iron. As night came on, every breath of wind died away, and a
more entire calm it is impossible to conceive. The flame of a candle
burned upon the poop without the least perceptible motion, and a long
hair, held between the finger and thumb, hung without the possibility
of detecting a vibration. However, as the captain said he could
perceive no indication of danger, and as we were drifting in bodily to
shore, he ordered the sails to be furled, and the anchor let go. No
watch was set, and the crew, consisting principally of Malays,
stretched themselves deliberately upon deck. I went below--not without
a full presentiment of evil. Indeed every appearance warranted me in
apprehending a Simoom. I told the captain my fears--but he paid no
attention to what I said, and left me without deigning to give a
reply. My uneasiness, however, prevented me from sleeping, and about
midnight I went upon deck. As I placed my foot upon the upper step of
the companion-ladder, I was startled with a loud, humming noise, like
that occasioned by the rapid revolution of a mill-wheel, and before I
could ascertain its meaning, I found the ship quivering to its centre.
In the next instant, a wilderness of foam hurled us upon our beam-
ends, and, rushing over us fore and aft, swept the entire decks from
stem to stern.

The extreme fury of the blast proved in a great measure the salvation
of the ship. Although completely water-logged, yet, as all her masts
had gone by the board, she rose, after a minute, heavily from the sea,
and, staggering awhile beneath the immense pressure of the tempest,
finally righted.

By what miracle I escaped destruction, it is impossible to say.
Stunned by the shock of the water, I found myself, upon recovery,
jammed in between the stern-post and rudder. With great difficulty I
gained my feet, and looking dizzily around, was, at first, struck with
the idea of our being among breakers, so terrific beyond the wildest
imagination was the whirlpool of mountainous and foaming ocean within
which we were engulfed. After a while, I heard the voice of an old
Swede, who had shipped with us at the moment of our leaving port. I
hallooed to him with all my strength, and presently he came reeling
aft. We soon discovered that we were the sole survivors of the
accident. All on deck, with the exception of ourselves, had been swept
overboard, and the captain and mates must have perished as they slept,
for the cabins were deluged with water. Without assistance, we could
expect to do little for the security of the ship, and our exertions
were at first paralyzed by the momentary expectation of going down.
Our cable had, of course, parted like pack-thread, at the first breath
of the hurricane, or we should have been instantaneously overwhelmed.
We scudded with frightful velocity before the sea, and the water made
clear breaches over us. The frame-work of our stern was shattered
excessively, and, in almost every respect, we had received
considerable injury--but to our extreme joy we found the pumps
unchoked, and that we had made no great shifting of our ballast. The
main fury of the Simoom had already blown over, and we apprehended
little danger from the violence of the wind--but we looked forward to
its total cessation with dismay, well believing, that, in our
shattered condition, we should inevitably perish in the tremendous
swell which would ensue. But this very just apprehension seemed by no
means likely to be soon verified. For five entire days and nights--
during which our only subsistence was a small quantity of jaggeree,
procured with great difficulty from the forecastle--the hulk flew at a
rate defying computation, before rapidly succeeding flaws of wind,
which, without equalling the first violence of the Simoom, were still
more terrific than any tempest I had before encountered. Our course
for the first four days was, with trifling variations, S. E. and by
South; and we must have run down the coast of New Holland. On the
fifth day the cold became extreme, although the wind had hauled round
a point more to the northward. The sun arose with a sickly yellow
lustre, and clambered a very few degrees above the horizon--emitting
no decisive light. There were no clouds whatever apparent, yet the
wind was upon the increase, and blew with a fitful and unsteady fury.
About noon, as nearly as we could guess, our attention was again
arrested by the appearance of the sun. It gave out no light, properly
so called, but a dull and sullen glow unaccompanied by any ray. Just
before sinking within the turgid sea its central fires suddenly went
out, as if hurriedly extinguished by some unaccountable power. It was
a dim, silver-like rim, alone, as it rushed down the unfathomable

We waited in vain for the arrival of the sixth day--that day to me has
not arrived--to the Swede, never did arrive. Thenceforward we were
enshrouded in pitchy darkness, so that we could not have seen an
object at twenty paces from the ship. Eternal night continued to
envelop us, all unrelieved by the phosphoric sea-brilliancy to which
we had been accustomed in the tropics. We observed too, that, although
the tempest continued to rage with unabated violence, there was no
longer to be discovered the usual appearance of surf, or foam, which
had hitherto attended us. All around was horror, and thick gloom, and
a black sweltering desert of ebony. Superstitious terror crept by
degrees into the spirit of the old Swede, and my own soul was wrapped
up in silent wonder. We neglected all care of the ship, as worse than
useless, and securing ourselves as well as possible to the stump of
the mizen-mast, looked out bitterly into the world of ocean. We had no
means of calculating time, nor could we form any guess of our
situation. We were, however, well aware of having made farther to the
southward than any previous navigators, and felt extreme amazement at
not meeting with the usual impediments of ice. In the meantime every
moment threatened to be our last--every mountainous billow hurried to
overwhelm us. The swell surpassed anything I had imagined possible,
and that we were not instantly buried is a miracle. My companion spoke
of the lightness of our cargo, and reminded me of the excellent
qualities of our ship--but I could not help feeling the utter
hopelessness of hope itself, and prepared myself gloomily for that
death which I thought nothing could defer beyond an hour, as, with
every knot of way the ship made, the swelling of the black stupendous
seas became more dismally appalling. At times we gasped for breath at
an elevation beyond the Albatross--at times became dizzy with the
velocity of our descent into some watery hell, where the air grew
stagnant, and no sound disturbed the slumbers of the Kraken.

We were at the bottom of one of these abysses, when a quick scream
from my companion broke fearfully upon the night. "See! see!"--cried
he, shrieking in my ears,--"Almighty God! see! see!" As he spoke, I
became aware of a dull, sullen glare of red light which streamed down
the sides of the vast chasm where we lay, and threw a fitful
brilliancy upon our deck. Casting my eyes upwards, I beheld a
spectacle which froze the current of my blood. At a terrific height
directly above us, and upon the very verge of the precipitous descent,
hovered a gigantic ship of nearly four thousand tons. Although
upreared upon the summit of a wave of more than a hundred times her
own altitude, her apparent size still exceeded that of any ship of the
line or East Indiaman in existence. Her huge hull was of a deep dingy
black, unrelieved by any of the customary carvings of a ship. A single
row of brass cannon protruded from her open ports, and dashed off from
their polished surfaces the fires of innumerable battle-lanterns,
which swung to and fro about her rigging. But what mainly inspired us
with horror and astonishment, was that she bore up under a press of
sail in the very teeth of that supernatural sea, and of that
ungovernable hurricane. When we first discovered her, her stupendous
bows were alone to be seen, as she rose up, like a demon of the deep,
slowly from the dim and horrible gulf beyond her. For a moment of
intense terror she paused upon the giddy pinnacle, as if in
contemplation of her own sublimity, then trembled and tottered, and--
came down.

At this instant, I know not what sudden self-possession came over my
spirit. Staggering as far aft as I could, I awaited fearlessly the
ruin that was to overwhelm. Our own vessel was at length ceasing from
her struggles, and sinking with her head to the sea. The shock of the
descending mass struck her, consequently, in that portion of her frame
which was already under water, and the inevitable result was to hurl
me with irresistible violence upon the rigging of the stranger.

As I fell, the ship hove in stays, and went about, and to the
confusion ensuing I attributed my escape from the notice of the crew.
With little difficulty I made my way unperceived to the main hatchway,
which was partially open, and soon found an opportunity of secreting
myself in the hold. Why I did so I can hardly tell. A nameless and
indefinite sense of awe, which at first sight of the navigators of the
ship had taken hold of my mind, was perhaps the principle of my
concealment. I was unwilling to trust myself with a race of people who
had offered, to the cursory glance I had taken, so many points of
vague novelty, doubt, and apprehension. I therefore thought proper to
contrive a hiding-place in the hold. This I did by removing a small
portion of the shifting-boards in such a manner as to afford me a
convenient retreat between the huge timbers of the ship.

I had scarcely completed my work, when a footstep in the hold forced
me to make use of it. A man passed by my place of concealment with a
feeble and unsteady gait. I could not see his face, but had an
opportunity of observing his general appearance. There was about it an
evidence of great age and infirmity. His knees tottered beneath a load
of years, and his entire frame quivered under the burthen. He muttered
to himself, in a low broken tone, some words of a language which I
could not understand, and groped in a corner among a pile of singular-
looking instruments, and decayed charts of navigation. His manner was
a wild mixture of the peevishness of second childhood, and the solemn
dignity of a god. He at length went on deck, and I saw him no more.

* * * * * *

A feeling, for which I have no name, has taken possession of my soul--
a sensation which will admit of no analysis, to which the lessons of
by-gone time are inadequate, and for which I fear futurity itself will
offer me no key. To a mind constituted like my own the latter
consideration is an evil. I shall never,--I know that I shall never--
be satisfied with regard to the nature of my conceptions. Yet it is
not wonderful that these conceptions are indefinite, since they have
their origin in sources so utterly novel. A new sense, a new entity is
added to my soul.

It is long since I first trod the deck of this terrible ship, and the
rays of my destiny are, I think, gathering to a focus. Incomprehensible
men! Wrapped up in meditations of a kind which I cannot divine, they
pass me by unnoticed. Concealment is utter folly on my part, for the
people will not see. It was but just now that I passed directly before
the eyes of the mate,--it was no long while ago that I ventured into the
captain's own private cabin, and took thence the materials with which I
write, and have written. I shall from time to time continue this
journal. It is true that I may not find an opportunity of transmitting
it to the world, but I will not fail to make the endeavor. At the last
moment I will enclose the MS. in a bottle, and cast it within the sea.

An incident has occurred which has given me new room for meditation.
Are such things the operations of ungoverned Chance? I had ventured
upon deck and thrown myself down, without attracting any notice, among
a pile of ratlin-stuff and old sails in the bottom of the yawl. While
musing upon the singularity of my fate, I unwittingly daubed with a
tar-brush the edges of a neatly-folded studding-sail which lay near me
on a barrel. The studding-sail is now bent upon the ship, and the
thoughtless touches of the brush are spread out into the word

I have made many observations lately upon the structure of the vessel.
Although well armed, she is not, I think, a ship of war. Her rigging,
build, and general equipment, all negative a supposition of this kind.
What she is not I can easily perceive, what she is I fear it is
impossible to say. I know not how it is, but in scrutinizing her
strange model and singular cast of spars, her huge size and overgrown
suits of canvass, her severely simple bow and antiquated stern, there
will occasionally flash across my mind a sensation of familiar things,
and there is always mixed up with such indistinct shadows of
recollection, an unaccountable memory of old foreign chronicles and
ages long ago.

I have been looking at the timbers of the ship. She is built of a
material to which I am a stranger. There is a peculiar character about
the wood which strikes me as rendering it unfit for the purpose to
which it has been applied. I mean its extreme porousness, considered
independently of the wormeaten condition which is a consequence of
navigation in these seas, and apart from the rottenness attendant upon
age. It will appear perhaps an observation somewhat over-curious, but
this wood has every characteristic of Spanish oak, if Spanish oak were
distended or swelled by any unnatural means.

In reading the above sentence a curious apothegm of an old weather-
beaten Dutch navigator comes full upon my recollection. "It is as
sure," he was wont to say, when any doubt was entertained of his
veracity, "as sure as there is a sea where the ship itself will grow
in bulk like the living body of the seaman."

About an hour ago, I made bold to thrust myself among a group of the
crew. They paid me no manner of attention, and, although I stood in
the very midst of them all, seemed utterly unconscious of my presence.
Like the one I had at first seen in the hold, they all bore about them
the marks of a hoary old age. Their knees trembled with infirmity,
their shoulders were bent double with decrepitude, their shrivelled
skins rattled in the wind, their voices were low, tremulous, and
broken, their eyes glistened with the rheum of years, and their gray
hairs streamed terribly in the tempest. Around them on every part of
the deck lay scattered mathematical instruments of the most quaint and
obsolete construction.

I mentioned some time ago the bending of a studding-sail. From that
period the ship, being thrown dead off the wind, has held her terrific
course due south, with every rag of canvass packed upon her from her
trucks to her lower-studding-sail booms, and rolling every moment her
top-gallant yard-arms into the most appalling hell of water which it
can enter into the mind of man to imagine. I have just left the deck,
where I find it impossible to maintain a footing, although the crew
seem to experience little inconvenience. It appears to me a miracle of
miracles that our enormous bulk is not buried up at once and forever.
We are surely doomed to hover continually upon the brink of Eternity,
without taking a final plunge into the abyss. From billows a thousand
times more stupendous than any I have ever seen, we glide away with
the facility of the arrowy sea-gull; and the colossal waters rear
their heads above us like demons of the deep, but like demons confined
to simple threats and forbidden to destroy. I am led to attribute
these frequent escapes to the only natural cause which can account for
such effect. I must suppose the ship to be within the influence of
some strong current, or impetuous under-tow.

I have seen the captain face to face, and in his own cabin--but, as I
expected, he paid me no attention. Although in his appearance there
is, to a casual observer, nothing which might bespeak him more or less
than man--still a feeling of irrepressible reverence and awe mingled
with the sensation of wonder with which I regarded him. In stature he
is nearly my own height, that is, about five feet eight inches. He is
of a well-knit and compact frame of body, neither robust nor
remarkably otherwise. But it is the singularity of the expression
which reigns upon the face, it is the intense, the wonderful, the
thrilling evidence of old age so utter, so extreme, which excites
within my spirit a sense--a sentiment ineffable. His forehead,
although little wrinkled, seems to bear upon it the stamp of a myriad
of years. His gray hairs are records of the past, and his grayer eyes
are sybils of the future. The cabin floor was thickly strewn with
strange, iron-clasped folios, and mouldering instruments of science,
and obsolete long-forgotten charts. His head was bowed down upon his
hands, and he pored with a fiery unquiet eye over a paper which I took
to be a commission, and which, at all events, bore the signature of a
monarch. He muttered to himself, as did the first seaman whom I saw in
the hold, some low peevish syllables of a foreign tongue, and although
the speaker was close at my elbow, yet his voice seemed to reach my
ears from the distance of a mile.

The ship and all in it are imbued with the spirit of Eld. The crew
glide to and fro like the ghosts of buried centuries, their eyes have
an eager and uneasy meaning, and when their figures fall athwart my
path in the wild glare of the battle-latterns, I feel as I have never
felt before, although I have been all my life a dealer in antiquities,
and have imbibed the shadows of fallen columns at Balbec, and Tadmor,
and Persepolis, until my very soul has become a ruin.

When I look around me I feel ashamed of my former apprehensions. If I
trembled at the blast which has hitherto attended us, shall I not
stand aghast at a warring of wind and ocean, to convey any idea of
which the words tornado and simoom are trivial and ineffective! All in
the immediate vicinity of the ship is the blackness of eternal night,
and a chaos of foamless water; but, about a league on either side of
us, may be seen, indistinctly and at intervals, stupendous ramparts of
ice, towering away into the desolate sky, and looking like the walls
of the universe.

As I imagined, the ship proves to be in a current; if that appellation
can properly be given to a tide which, howling and shrieking by the
white ice, thunders on to the southward with a velocity like the
headlong dashing of a cataract.

To conceive the horror of my sensations is, I presume, utterly
impossible--yet a curiosity to penetrate the mysteries of these awful
regions predominates even over my despair, and will reconcile me to
the most hideous aspect of death. It is evident that we are hurrying
onwards to some exciting knowledge--some never-to-be-imparted secret,
whose attainment is destruction. Perhaps this current leads us to the
southern pole itself--it must be confessed that a supposition
apparently so wild has every probability in its favor.

The crew pace the deck with unquiet and tremulous step, but there is
upon their countenances an expression more of the eagerness of hope
than of the apathy of despair.

In the meantime the wind is still in our poop, and as we carry a crowd
of canvass, the ship is at times lifted bodily from out the sea--Oh,
horror upon horror! the ice opens suddenly to the right, and to the
left, and we are whirling dizzily, in immense concentric circles,
round and round the borders of a gigantic amphitheatre, the summit of
whose walls is lost in the darkness and the distance. But little time
will be left me to ponder upon my destiny--the circles rapidly grow
small--we are plunging madly within the grasp of the whirlpool--and
amid a roaring, and bellowing, and shrieking of ocean and of tempest,
the ship is quivering, oh God! and--going down.


That Pierre Bon-Bon was a restaurateur of un-common qualifications, no
man who, during the reign of--, frequented the little Cfe in the
culde-sac Le Febvre at Rouen, will, I imagine, feel himself at liberty
to dispute. That Pierre Bon-Bon was, in an equal degree, skilled in
the philosophy of that period is, I presume, still more especially
undeniable. His pats  la fois were beyond doubt immaculate--but what
pen can do justice to his essays sur la Nature--his thoughts sur
l'Ame--his observations sur l'Esprit? If his omelettes--if his
fricandeaux were inestimable, what littrateur of that day would not
have given twice as much for an 'Ide de Bon-Bon' as for all the trash
of all the 'Ides' of all the rest of the savants? Bon-Bon had
ransacked libraries which no other man had ransacked--had read more
than any other would have entertained a notion of reading--had
understood more than any other would have conceived the possibility of
understanding; and although, while he flourished, there were not
wanting some authors at Rouen, to assert "that his dicta evinced
neither the purity of the Academy, nor the depth of the Lyceum"--
although, mark me, his doctrines were by no means very generally
comprehended, still it did not follow that they were difficult of
comprehension. It was, I think, on account of their entire self-
evidency that many persons were led to consider them abstruse. It is
to Bon-Bon--but let this go no farther--it is to Bon-Bon that Kant
himself is mainly indebted for his metaphysics. The former was not
indeed a Platonist, nor strictly speaking an Aristotelian--nor did he,
like the modern Leibnitz, waste those precious hours which might be
employed in the invention of a fricassae, or, facili gradu, the
analysis of a sensation, in frivolous attempts at reconciling the
obstinate oils and waters of ethical discussion. Not at all. Bon-Bon
was Ionic. Bon-Bon was equally Italic. He reasoned a priori. He
reasoned also a posteriori. His ideas were innate--or otherwise. He
believed in George of Trebizond. He believed in Bossarion. Bon-Bon was
emphatically a--Bon-Bonist.

I have spoken of the philosopher in his capacity of restaurateur. I
would not, however, have any friend of mine imagine that in fulfilling
his hereditary duties in that line, our hero wanted a proper
estimation of their dignity and importance. Far from it. It was
impossible to say in which branch of his duplicate profession he took
the greater pride. In his opinion the powers of the mind held intimate
connection with the capabilities of the stomach. By this I do not mean
to insinuate a charge of gluttony, or indeed any other serious charge
to the prejudice of the metaphysician. If Pierre Bon-Bon had his
failings--and what great man has not a thousand?--if Pierre Bon-Bon, I
say, had his failings, they were failings of very little importance--
faults indeed which in other tempers have often been looked upon
rather in the light of virtues. As regards one of these foibles, I
should not have mentioned it in this history but for the remarkable
prominency--the extreme alto relievo--in which it jutted out from the
plane of his general disposition. He could never let slip an
opportunity of making a bargain.

Not that he was avaricious--no. It was by no means necessary to the
satisfaction of the philosopher, that the bargain should be to his own
proper advantage. Provided a trade could be effected--a trade of any
kind, upon any terms, or under any circumstances, a triumphant smile
was seen for many days thereafter to enlighten his countenance, and a
knowing wink of the eye to give evidence of his sagacity.

At any epoch it would not be very wonderful if a humor so peculiar as
the one I have just mentioned, should elicit attention and remark. At
the epoch of our narrative, had this peculiarity not attracted
observation, there would have been room for wonder indeed. It was soon
reported that upon all occasions of the kind, the smile of Bon-Bon was
wont to differ widely from the downright grin with which that
restaurateur would laugh at his own jokes, or welcome an acquaintance.
Hints were thrown out of an exciting nature--stories were told of
perilous bargains made in a hurry and repented of at leisure--and
instances were adduced of unaccountable capacities, vague longings,
and unnatural inclinations implanted by the author of all evil for
wise purposes of his own.

The philosopher had other weaknesses--but they are scarcely worthy of
our serious examination. For example, there are few men of
extraordinary profundity who are found wanting in an inclination for
the bottle. Whether this inclination be an exciting cause, or rather a
valid proof, of such profundity, it is impossible to say. Bon-Bon, as
far as I can learn, did not think the subject adapted to minute
investigation--nor do I. Yet in the indulgence of a propensity so
truly classical, it is not to be supposed that the restaurateur would
lose sight of that intuitive discrimination which was wont to
characterize, at one and the same time, his essais and his omelettes.
With him Sauterne was to Medoc what Catullus was to Homer. He would
sport with a syllogism in sipping St. Peray, but unravel an argument
over Clos de Vougeot, and upset a theory in a torrent of Chambertin.
In his seclusions the Vin de Bourgogne had its allotted hour, and
there were appropriate moments for the Ctes du Rhone. Well had it
been if the same quick sense of propriety had attended him in the
peddling propensity to which I have formerly alluded--but this was by
no means the case. Indeed, to say the truth, that trait of mind in the
philosophic Bon-Bon did begin at length to assume a character of
strange intensity and mysticism, and, however singular it may seem,
appeared deeply tinctured with the grotesque diablerie of his favorite
German studies.

To enter the little Caf in the Cul-de-Sac Le Febvre was, at the
period of our tale, to enter the sanctum of a man of genius. Bon-Bon
was a man of genius. There was not a sous-cuisinier in Rouen, who
could not have told you that Bon-Bon was a man of genius. His very cat
knew it, and forbore to whisk her tail in the presence of the man of
genius. His large water-dog was acquainted with the fact, and upon the
approach of his master, betrayed his sense of inferiority by a
sanctity of deportment, a debasement of the ears, and a dropping of
the lower jaw not altogether unworthy of a dog. It is, however, true
that much of this habitual respect might have been attributed to the
personal appearance of the metaphysician. A distinguished exterior
will, I am constrained to say, have its weight even with a beast; and
I am willing to allow much in the outward man of the restaurateur
calculated to impress the imagination of the quadruped. There is a
peculiar majesty about the atmosphere of the little great--if I may be
permitted so equivocal an expression--which mere physical bulk alone
will be found at all times inefficient in creating. If, however, Bon-
Bon was barely three feet in height, and if his head was diminutively
small, still it was impossible to behold the rotundity of his stomach
without a sense of magnificence nearly bordering upon the sublime. In
its size both dogs and men must have seen a type of his acquirements--
in its immensity a fitting habitation for his immortal soul.

I might here--if it so pleased me--dilate upon the matter of
habiliment, and other mere circumstances of the external
metaphysician. I might hint that the hair of our hero was worn short,
combed smoothly over his forehead, and surmounted by a conical-shaped
white flannel cap and tassels--that his pea-green jerkin was not after
the fashion of those worn by the common class of restaurateurs at that
day--that the sleeves were something fuller than the reigning costume
permitted--that the cuffs were turned up, not as usual in that
barbarous period, with cloth of the same quality and color as the
garment, but faced in a more fanciful manner with the particolored
velvet of Genoa--that his slippers were of a bright purple, curiously
filagreed, and might have been manufactured in Japan, but for the
exquisite pointing of the toes, and the brilliant tints of the binding
and embroidery--that his breeches were of the yellow satin-like
material called aimable--that his sky-blue cloak, resembling in form a
dressing-wrapper, and richly bestudded all over with crimson devices,
floated cavalierly upon his shoulders like a mist of the morning--and
that his tout ensemble gave rise to the remarkable words of
Benevenuta, the Improvisatrice of Florence, "that it was difficult to
say whether Pierre Bon-Bon was indeed a bird of Paradise, or the
rather a very Paradise of perfection."

I have said that "to enter the Caf in the Cul-de-Sac Le Febvre was to
enter the sanctum of a man of genius"--but then it was only the man of
genius who could duly estimate the merits of the sanctum. A sign
consisting of a vast folio swung before the entrance. On one side of
the volume was painted a bottle--on the reverse a pat. On the back
were visible in large letters the words uvres de Bon-Bon. Thus was
delicately shadowed forth the two-fold occupation of the proprietor.

Upon stepping over the threshold the whole interior of the building
presented itself to view. A long, low-pitched room, of antique
construction, was indeed all the accommodation afforded by the Caf.
In a corner of the apartment stood the bed of the metaphysician. An
array of curtains, together with a canopy la Grque, gave it an air
at once classic and comfortable. In the corner diagonally opposite,
appeared, in direct and friendly communion, the properties of the
kitchen and the bibliothque. A dish of polemics stood peacefully upon
the dresser. Here lay an oven-full of the latest ethics--there a
kettle of duodecimo melanges. Volumes of German morality were hand and
glove with the gridiron--a toasting fork might be discovered by the
side of Eusebius--Plato reclined at his ease in the frying pan--and
contemporary manuscripts were filed away upon the spit.

In other respects the Caf de Bon-Bon might be said to differ little
from the Cafs of the period. A gigantic fire-place yawned opposite
the door. On the right of the fire-place an open cupboard displayed a
formidable array of labelled bottles. There Mousseux, Chambertin, St.
George, Richbourg, Bordeaux, Margaux, Haubrion, Leonville, Medoc,
Sauterne, Brac, Preignac, Grave, Lafitte, and St. Peray, contended
with many other names of lesser celebrity for the honor of being
quaffed. From the ceiling, suspended by a chain, swung a fantastic
iron lamp, throwing a hazy light over the room, and relieving in some
measure the placidity of the scene.

It was here, about twelve o'clock one night, during the severe winter
of--, that Pierre Bon-Bon, after having listened for some time to the
comments of his neighbors upon his singular propensity--that Pierre
Bon-Bon, I say, having turned them all out of his house, locked the
door upon them with a sacre Dieu, and betook himself in no very
pacific mood to the comforts of a leather-bottomed arm-chair, and a
fire of blazing faggots.

It was one of those terrific nights which are only met with once or
twice during a century. The snow drifted down bodily in enormous
masses, and the Caf de Bon-Bon tottered to its very centre, with the
floods of wind that, rushing through the crannies in the wall, and
pouring impetuously down the chimney, shook awfully the curtains of
the philosopher's bed, and disorganized the economy of his pat-pans
and papers. The huge folio sign that swung without, exposed to the
fury of the tempest, creaked ominously, and gave out a moaning sound
from its stanchions of solid oak.

I have said that it was in no very placid temper the metaphysician
drew up his chair to its customary station by the hearth. Many
circumstances of a perplexing nature had occurred during the day, to
disturb the serenity of his meditations. In attempting des oeufs  la
Princesse he had unfortunately perpetrated an omelette  la Reine--the
discovery of a principle in ethics had been frustrated by the
overturning of a stew--and last, not least, he had been thwarted in
one of those admirable bargains which he at all times took such
especial delight in bringing to a successful termination. But in the
chafing of his mind at these unaccountable vicissitudes, there did not
fail to be mingled some degree of that nervous anxiety which the fury
of a boisterous night is so well calculated to produce. Whistling to
his more immediate vicinity the large black water-dog we have spoken
of before, and settling himself uneasily in his chair, he could not
help casting a wary and unquiet eye towards those distant recesses of
the apartment whose inexorable shadows not even the red fire-light
itself could more than partially succeed in overcoming. Having
completed a scrutiny whose exact purpose was perhaps unintelligible to
himself, he drew closer to his seat a small table covered with books
and papers, and soon became absorbed in the task of retouching a
voluminous manuscript, intended for publication on the morrow.

"I am in no hurry, Monsieur Bon-Bon"--whispered a whining voice in the

"The devil!"--ejaculated our hero, starting to his feet, overturning
the table at his side, and staring around him in astonishment.

"Very true"--calmly replied the voice.

"Very true!--what is very true?--how came you here?"--vociferated the
metaphysician, as his eye fell upon something which lay stretched at
full length upon the bed.

"I was saying"--said the intruder, without attending to the
interrogatories--"I was saying that I am not at all pushed for time--
that the business upon which I took the liberty of calling is of no
pressing importance--in short that I can very well wait until you have
finished your Exposition."

"My Exposition!--there now!--how do you know--how came you to
understand that I was writing an Exposition?--good God!"

"Hush!"--replied the figure in a shrill under tone: and, arising
quickly from the bed, he made a single step towards our hero, while
the iron lamp overhead swung convulsively back from his approach.

The philosopher's amazement did not prevent a narrow scrutiny of the
stranger's dress and appearance. The outlines of a figure, exceedingly
lean, but much above the common height, were rendered minutely
distinct by means of a faded suit of black cloth which fitted tight to
the skin, but was otherwise cut very much in the style of a century
ago. These garments had evidently been intended for a much shorter
person than their present owner. His ankles and wrists were left naked
for several inches. In his shoes, however, a pair of very brilliant
buckles gave the lie to the extreme poverty implied by the other
portions of his dress. His head was bare, and entirely bald, with the
exception of the hinder part, from which depended a queue of
considerable length. A pair of green spectacles, with side glasses,
protected his eyes from the influence of the light, and at the same
time prevented our hero from ascertaining either their colour or their
conformation. About the entire person there was no evidence of a
shirt; but a white cravat, of filthy appearance, was tied with extreme
precision around the throat, and the ends, hanging down formally side
by side, gave, although I dare say unintentionally, the idea of an
ecclesiastic. Indeed, many other points both in his appearance and
demeanor might have very well sustained a conception of that nature.
Over his left ear he carried, after the fashion of a modern clerk, an
instrument resembling the stylus of the ancients. In a breast-pocket
of his coat appeared conspicuously a small black volume fastened with
clasps of steel. This book, whether accidentally or not, was so turned
outwardly from the person as to discover the words "Rituel Catholique"
in white letters upon the back. His entire physiognomy was
interestingly saturnine--even cadaverously pale. The forehead was
lofty, and deeply furrowed with the ridges of contemplation. The
corners of the mouth were drawn down into an expression of the most
submissive humility. There was also a clasping of the hands, as he
stepped towards our hero--a deep sigh--and altogether a look of such
utter sanctity as could not have failed to be unequivocally
prepossessing. Every shadow of anger faded from the countenance of the
metaphysician, as, having completed a satisfactory survey of his
visiter's person, he shook him cordially by the hand, and conducted
him to a seat.

There would however be a radical error in attributing this
instantaneous transition of feeling in the philosopher to any one of
those causes which might naturally be supposed to have had an
influence. Indeed Pierre Bon-Bon, from what I have been able to
understand of his disposition, was of all men the least likely to be
imposed upon by any speciousness of exterior deportment. It was
impossible that so accurate an observer of men and things should have
failed to discover, upon the moment, the real character of the
personage who had thus intruded upon his hospitality. To say no more,
the conformation of his visiter's feet was sufficiently remarkable--
there was a tremulous swelling in the hinder part of his breeches--and
the vibration of his coat tail was a palpable fact. Judge then with
what feelings of satisfaction our hero found himself thrown thus at
once into the society of a--of a person for whom he had at all times
entertained such unqualified respect. He was, however, too much of the
diplomatist to let escape him any intimation of his suspicions, or
rather--I should say--his certainty in regard to the true state of
affairs. It was not his cue to appear at all conscious of the high
honour he thus unexpectedly enjoyed, but by leading his guest into
conversation, to elicit some important ethical ideas which might, in
obtaining a place in his contemplated publication, enlighten the human
race, and at the same time immortalize himself--ideas which, I should
have added, his visiter's great age, and well known proficiency in the
science of morals, might very well have enabled him to afford.

Actuated by these enlightened views our hero bade the gentleman sit
down, while he himself took occasion to throw some faggots upon the
fire, and place upon the now re-established table some bottles of the
powerful Vin de Mousseux. Having quickly completed these operations,
he drew his chair vis-a-vis to his companion's, and waited until he
should open the conversation. But plans even the most skilfully
matured are often thwarted in the outset of their application, and the
restaurateur found himself entirely nonplused by the very first words
of his visiter's speech.

"I see you know me, Bon-Bon,"--said he:--"ha! ha! ha!--he! he! he!--
hi! hi! hi!--ho! ho! ho!--hu! hu! hu!"--and the devil, dropping at
once the sanctity of his demeanor, opened to its fullest extent a
mouth from ear to ear, so as to display a set of jagged and fang-like
teeth, and throwing back his head, laughed long, loud, wickedly, and
uproariously, while the black dog, crouching down upon his haunches,
joined lustily in the chorus, and the tabby cat, flying off at a
tangent, stood up on end and shrieked in the farthest corner of the

Not so the philosopher: he was too much a man of the world either to
laugh like the dog, or by shrieks to betray the indecorous trepidation
of the cat. It must be confessed, however, that he felt a little
astonishment to see the white letters which formed the words "Rituel
Catholique" on the book in his guest's pocket, momently changing both
their color and their import, and in a few seconds in place of the
original title, the words Regitre des Condamns blaze forth in
characters of red. This startling circumstance, when Bon-Bon replied
to his visiter's remark, imparted to his manner an air of
embarrassment which might not probably have otherwise been observable.

"Why, sir,"--said the philosopher--"why, sir, to speak sincerely--I
believe you are--upon my word--the d--dest--that is to say I think--I
imagine--I have some faint--some very faint idea--of the remarkable

"Oh!--ah!--yes!--very well!"--interrupted his majesty--"say no more--I
see how it is." And hereupon, taking off his green spectacles, he
wiped the glasses carefully with the sleeve of his coat, and deposited
them in his pocket.

If Bon-Bon had been astonished at the incident of the book, his
amazement was now much increased by the spectacle which here presented
itself to view. In raising his eyes, with a strong feeling of
curiosity to ascertain the color of his guest's, he found them by no
means black, as he had anticipated--nor gray, as might have been
imagined--nor yet hazel nor blue--nor indeed yellow, nor red--nor
purple--nor white--nor green--nor any other color in the heavens
above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth. In
short, Pierre Bon-Bon not only saw plainly that his majesty had no
eyes whatsoever, but could discover no indications of their having
existed at any previous period; for the space where eyes should
naturally have been, was, I am constrained to say, simply a dead level
of cadaverous flesh.

It was not in the nature of the metaphysician to forbear making some
inquiry into the sources of so strange a phenomenon, and to his
surprise the reply of his majesty was at once prompt, dignified, and

"Eyes!--my dear Bon-Bon, eyes! did you say?--oh! ah! I perceive. The
ridiculous prints, eh? which are in circulation, have given you a
false idea of my personal appearance. Eyes!!--true. Eyes, Pierre Bon-
Bon, are very well in their proper place--that, you would say, is the
head--right--the head of a worm. To you likewise these optics are
indispensable--yet I will convince you that my vision is more
penetrating than your own. There is a cat, I see, in the corner--a
pretty cat!--look at her!--observe her well. Now, Bon-Bon, do you
behold the thoughts--the thoughts, I say--the ideas--the reflections--
engendering in her pericranium? There it is now!--you do not. She is
thinking we admire the profundity of her mind. She has just concluded
that I am the most distinguished of ecclesiastics, and that you are
the most superfluous of metaphysicians. Thus you see I am not
altogether blind: but to one of my profession the eyes you speak of
would be merely an incumbrance, liable at any time to be put out by a
toasting iron or a pitchfork. To you, I allow, these optics are
indispensable. Endeavor, Bon-Bon, to use them well--my vision is the

Hereupon the guest helped himself to the wine upon the table, and
pouring out a bumper for Bon-Bon, requested him to drink it without
scruple, and make himself perfectly at home.

"A clever book that of yours, Pierre"--resumed his majesty, tapping
our friend knowingly upon the shoulder, as the latter put down his
glass after a thorough compliance with his visiter's injunction. "A
clever book that of yours, upon my honor. It's a work after my own
heart. Your arrangement of matter, I think, however, might be
improved, and many of your notions remind me of Aristotle. That
philosopher was one of my most intimate acquaintances. I liked him as
much for his terrible ill temper, as for his happy knack at making a
blunder. There is only one solid truth in all that he has written, and
for that I gave him the hint out of pure compassion for his absurdity.
I suppose, Pierre Bon-Bon, you very well know to what divine moral
truth I am alluding."

"Cannot say that I--"

"Indeed!--why I told Aristotle that by sneezing men expelled
superfluous ideas through the proboscis."

"Which is--hiccup!--undoubtedly the case"--said the metaphysician,
while he poured out for himself another bumper of Mousseux, and
offered his snuff-box to the fingers of his visiter.

"There was Plato, too"--continued his majesty, modestly declining the
snuff-box and the compliment--"there was Plato, too, for whom I, at
one time, felt all the affection of a friend. You knew, Plato, Bon-
Bon?--ah! no, I beg a thousand pardons. He met me at Athens, one day,
in the Parthenon, and told me he was distressed for an idea. I bade
him write down that '.' He said that he would do so, and went home,
while I stepped over to the Pyramids. But my conscience smote me for
the lie, and hastening back to Athens, I arrived behind the
philosopher's chair as he was inditing the '.' Giving the gamma a
fillip with my finger I turned it upside down. So the sentence now
reads ',' and is, you perceive, the fundamental doctrine of his

"Were you ever at Rome?"--asked the restaurateur as he finished his
second bottle of Mousseux, and drew from the closet a larger supply of
Vin de Chambertin.

"But once, Monsieur Bon-Bon--but once. There was a time"--said the
devil, as if reciting some passage from a book--'there was a time when
occurred an anarchy of five years during which the republic, bereft of
all its officers, had no magistracy besides the tribunes of the
people, and these were not legally vested with any degree of executive
power'--at that time, Monsieur Bon-Bon--at that time only I was in
Rome, and I have no earthly acquaintance, consequently, with any of
its philosophy."2

"What do you think of Epicurus?--what do you think of--hiccup!--

"What do I think of whom?"--said the devil in astonishment--"you
cannot surely mean to find any fault with Epicurus! What do I think of
Epicurus! Do you mean me, sir?--I am Epicurus. I am the same
philosopher who wrote each of the three hundred treatises commemorated
by Diogenes Laertes."

"That's a lie!"--said the metaphysician, for the wine had gotten a
little into his head.

"Very well!--very well, sir!--very well indeed, sir"--said his

"That's a lie!"--repeated the restaurateur dogmatically--"that's a--

"Well, well! have it your own way"--said the devil pacifically: and
Bon-Bon, having beaten his majesty at an argument, thought it his duty
to conclude a second bottle of Chambertin.

"As I was saying"--resumed the visiter--"as I was observing a little
while ago, there are some very outre notions in that book of yours,
Monsieur Bon-Bon. What, for instance, do you mean by all that humbug
about the soul? Pray, sir, what is the soul?"

"The--hiccup!--soul"--replied the metaphysician, referring to his
MS.--"is undoubtedly"--

"No, sir!"


"No, sir!"


"No, sir!"


"No, sir!"


"No, sir!"


"No, sir!"

"And beyond all question a"--

"No, sir! the soul is no such thing." (Here the philosopher finished
his third bottle of Chambertin.)

"Then--hic-cup!--pray--sir--what--what is it?"

"That is neither here nor there, Monsieur BonBon," replied his
majesty, musingly. "I have tasted--that is to say I have known some
very bad souls, and some too--pretty good ones." Here the devil licked
his lips, and, having unconsciously let fall his hand upon the volume
in his pocket, was seized with a violent fit of sneezing.

His majesty continued.

"There was the soul of Cratinus--passable:--Aristophanes--racy:--
Plato--exquisite:--not your Plato, but Plato the comic poet: your
Plato would have turned the stomach of Cerberus--faugh! Then let me
see! there were Noevius, and Andronicus, and Plautus, and Terentius.
Then there were Lucilius, and Catullus, and Naso, and Quintius
Flaccus--dear Quinty! as I called him when he sung a seculare for my
amusement, while I toasted him in pure good humor on a fork. But they
want flavor these Romans. One fat Greek is worth a dozen of them, and
besides will keep, which cannot be said of a Quirite. Let us taste
your Sauterne."

Bon-Bon had by this time made up his mind to the nil admirari, and
endeavored to hand down the bottles in question. He was, however,
conscious of a strange sound in the room like the wagging of a tail.
Of this, although extremely indecent in his majesty, the philosopher
took no notice--simply kicking the black water-dog and requesting him
to be quiet. The visiter continued.

"I found that Horace tasted very much like Aristotle--you know I am
fond of variety. Terentius I could not have told from Menander. Naso,
to my astonishment, was Nicander in disguise. Virgilius had a strong
twang of Theocritus. Martial put me much in mind of Archilochus--and
Titus Livy was positively Polybius and none other."

"Hic--cup!"--here replied Bon-Bon, and his majesty proceeded.

"But if I have a penchant, Monsieur Bon-Bon,--if I have a penchant, it
is for a philosopher. Yet, let me tell you, sir, it is not every dev--
I mean it is not every gentleman who knows how to choose a
philosopher. Long ones are not good; and the best, if not carefully
shelled, are apt to be a little rancid on account of the gall."


"I mean taken out of the carcass."

"What do you think of a--hiccup!--physician?"

"Don't mention them!--ugh! ugh!" (Here his majesty retched violently.)
"I never tasted but one--that rascal Hippocrates!--smelt of
asafoetida--ugh! ugh! ugh!--caught a wretched cold washing him in the
Styx--and after all he gave me the cholera morbus."

"The--hiccup!--wretch!"--ejaculated BonBon--"the--hic-cup!--abortion
of a pill-box!"--and the philosopher dropped a tear.

"After all"--continued the visiter--"after all, if a dev--if a
gentleman wishes to live he must have more talents than one or two;
and with us a fat face is an evidence of diplomacy."

"How so?"

"Why we are sometimes exceedingly pushed for provisions. You must know
that in a climate so sultry as mine, it is frequently impossible to
keep a spirit alive for more than two or three hours; and after death,
unless pickled immediately, (and a pickled spirit is not good,) they
will--smell--you understand, eh? Putrefaction is always to be
apprehended when the spirits are consigned to us in the usual way."

"Hiccup!--hiccup!--good God! how do you manage?"

Here the iron lamp commenced swinging with redoubled violence, and the
devil half started from his seat--however, with a slight sigh, he
recovered his composure, merely saying to our hero in a low tone, "I
tell you what, Pierre Bon-Bon, we must have no more swearing."

Bon-Bon swallowed another bumper, and his visiter continued.

"Why there are several ways of managing. The most of us starve: some
put up with the pickle. For my part I purchase my spirits vivente
corpore, in which case I find they keep very well."

"But the body!--hiccup!--the body!!!"--vociferated the philosopher, as
he finished a bottle of Sauterne.

"The body, the body--well, what of the body?--oh! ah! I perceive. Why,
sir, the body is not at all affected by the transaction. I have made
innumerable purchases of the kind in my day, and the parties never
experienced any inconvenience. There were Cain, and Nimrod, and Nero,
and Caligula, and Dionysius, and Pisistratus, and--and a thousand
others, who never knew what it was to have a soul during the latter
part of their lives; yet, sir, these men adorned society. Why is'nt
there A--, now, whom you know as well as I? Is he not in possession of
all his faculties, mental and corporeal? Who writes a keener epigram?
Who reasons more wittily? Who--but, stay! I have his agreement in my

Thus saying, he produced a red leather wallet, and took from it a
number of papers. Upon some of these Bon-Bon caught a glimpse of the
letters MACHI..., MAZA..., RICH..., and the words CALIGULA and
ELIZABETH. His majesty selected a narrow slip of parchment, and from
it read aloud the following words:

"In consideration of certain mental endowments which it is unnecessary
to specify, and in farther consideration of one thousand louis d'or,
I, being aged one year and one month, do hereby make over to the
bearer of this agreement all my right, title, and appurtenance in the
shadow called my soul." (Signed) A...3 (Here his majesty repeated a
name which I do not feel myself justifiable in indicating more

"A clever fellow that A..."--resumed he; "but like you, Monsieur Bon-
Bon, he was mistaken about the soul. The soul a shadow truly!--no such
nonsense, Monsieur Bon-Bon. The soul a shadow!! ha! ha! ha!--he! he!
he!--hu! hu! hu! Only think of a fricassed shadow!"

"Only think--hiccup!--of a fricassed shadow!!" echoed our hero, whose
faculties were becoming gloriously illuminated by the profundity of
his majesty's discourse.

"Only think of a--hiccup!--fricassed shadow!!! Now, damme!--hiccup!--
humph!--if I would have been such a--hiccup!--nincompoop. My soul,

"Your soul, Monsieur Bon-Bon?"

"Yes, sir--hiccup!--my soul is"--

"What, sir?"

"No shadow, damme!"

"Did not mean to say"--

"Yes, sir, my soul is--hiccup!--humph!--yes, sir."

"Did not intend to assert"--

"My soul is--hiccup!--peculiarly qualified for--hiccup!--a"--

"What, sir?"







"Ragout or fricandeau--and see here!--I'll let you have it--hiccup!--a

"Could'nt think of such a thing," said his majesty calmly, at the same
time arising from his seat. The metaphysician stared.

"Am supplied at present," said his majesty.

"Hiccup!--e-h?"--said the philosopher.

"Have no funds on hand."


"Besides, very ungentlemanly in me"--


"To take advantage of"--


"Your present situation."

Here his majesty bowed and withdrew--in what manner the philosopher
could not precisely ascertain--but in a well-concerted effort to
discharge a bottle at "the villain," the slender chain was severed
that depended from the ceiling, and the metaphysician prostrated by
the downfall of the lamp. 2. Ils ecrivaient sur la Philosophie
(Cicero, Lucretius, Seneca) mais c'etait la Philosophie Grcque.--
Condorcet. 3. Qure--Arouet?


Ye who read are still among the living, but I who write shall have
long since gone my way into the region of shadows. For indeed strange
things shall happen, and secret things be known, and many centuries
shall pass away ere these memorials be seen of men. And when seen
there will be some to disbelieve, and some to doubt, and yet a few who
will find much to ponder upon in the characters here graven with a
stylus of iron.

The year had been a year of terror, and of feelings more intense than
terror for which there is no name upon the earth. For many prodigies
and signs had taken place, and far and wide, over sea and land, the
black wings of the Pestilence were spread abroad. To those,
nevertheless, cunning in the stars, it was not unknown that the
heavens wore an aspect of ill; and to me, the Greek Oinos, among
others, it was evident that now had arrived the alternation of that
seven hundred and ninetyfourth year when, at the entrance of Aries,
the planet Jupiter is conjoined with the red ring of the terrible
Saturnus. The peculiar spirit of the skies, if I mistake not greatly,
made itself manifest, not only in the physical orb of the earth, but
in the souls, imaginations, and meditations of mankind.

Over some flasks of the red Chian wine, within the walls of a noble
hall, in a dim city called Ptolemais, we sat, at night, a company of
seven. And to our chamber there was no entrance save by a lofty door
of brass: and the door was fashioned by the artizan Corinnos, and,
being of rare workmanship, was fastened from within. Black draperies,
likewise, in the gloomy room, shut out from our view the moon, the
lurid stars, and the peopleless streets--but the boding and the memory
of Evil, they would not be so excluded. There were things around us
and about of which I can render no distinct account--things material
and spiritual. Heaviness in the atmosphere--a sense of suffocation--
anxiety--and above all, that terrible state of existence which the
nervous experience when the senses are keenly living and awake, and
meanwhile the powers of thought lie dormant. A dead weight hung upon
us. It hung upon our limbs--upon the household furniture--upon the
goblets from which we drank; and all things were depressed, and borne
down thereby--all things save only the flames of the seven iron lamps
which illumined our revel. Uprearing themselves in tall slender lines
of light, they thus remained burning all pallid and motionless; and in
the mirror which their lustre formed upon the round table of ebony at
which we sat, each of us there assembled beheld the pallor of his own
countenance, and the unquiet glare in the downcast eyes of his
companions. Yet we laughed and were merry in our proper way--which was
hysterical; and sang the songs of Anacreon--which are madness; and
drank deeply--although the purple wine reminded us of blood. For there
was yet another tenant of our chamber in the person of young Zoilus.
Dead, and at full length he lay, enshrouded--the genius and the demon
of the scene. Alas! he bore no portion in our mirth, save that his
countenance, distorted with the plague, and his eyes in which Death
had but half extinguished the fire of the pestilence, seemed to take
such interest in our merriment as the dead may haply take in the
merriment of those who are to die. But although I, Oinos, felt that
the eyes of the departed were upon me, still I forced myself not to
perceive the bitterness of their expression, and, gazing down steadily
into the depths of the ebony mirror, sang with a loud and sonorous
voice the songs of the son of Teios. But gradually my songs they
ceased, and their echoes, rolling afar off among the sable draperies
of the chamber, became weak, and indistinguishable, and so fainted
away. And lo! from among those sable draperies where the sounds of the
song departed, there came forth a dark and undefined shadow--a shadow
such as the moon, when low in heaven, might fashion from the figure of
a man: but it was the shadow neither of man, nor of God, nor of any
familiar thing. And quivering awhile among the draperies of the room,
it at length rested in full view upon the surface of the door of
brass. But the shadow was vague, and formless, and indefinitive, and
was the shadow neither of man nor God--neither God of Greece, nor God
of Chalda, nor any Egyptian God. And the shadow rested upon the
brazen doorway, and under the arch of the entablature of the door, and
moved not, nor spoke any word, but there became stationary and
remained. And the door whereupon the shadow rested was, if I remember
aright, over against the feet of the young Zoilus enshrouded. But we,
the seven there assembled, having seen the shadow as it came out from
among the draperies, dared not steadily behold it, but cast down our
eyes, and gazed continually into the depths of the mirror of ebony.
And at length I, Oinos, speaking some low words, demanded of the
shadow its dwelling and its appellation. And the shadow answered, "I
am SHADOW, and my dwelling is near to the Catacombs of Ptolemais, and
hard by those dim plains of Helusion which border upon the foul
Charonian canal." And then did we, the seven, start from our seats in
horror, and stand trembling, and shuddering, and aghast: for the tones
in the voice of the shadow were not the tones of any one being, but of
a multitude of beings, and, varying in their cadences from syllable to
syllable, fell duskily upon our ears in the well remembered and
familiar accents of many thousand departed friends.


What o'clock is it?
--Old Saying.

Every body knows, in a general way, that the finest place in the world
is--or, alas! was--the Dutch borough of Vondervotteimittiss. Yet, as
it lies some distance from any of the main roads, being in a somewhat
out of the way situation, there are, perhaps, very few of my readers
who have ever paid it a visit. For the benefit of those who have not,
therefore, it will be only proper that I should enter into some
account of it. And this is, indeed, the more evident, as with the hope
of enlisting public sympathy in behalf of the inhabitants, I design
here to give a history of the calamitous events which have so lately
occurred within the limits. No one who knows me will doubt that the
duty thus self-imposed will be executed to the best of my ability,
with all that rigid impartiality, all that cautious examination into
facts, and diligent collation of authorities which should ever
distinguish him who aspires to the title of historian.

By the united aid of medals, manuscripts, and inscriptions, I am
enabled to say positively that the borough of Vondervotteimittiss has
existed, from its origin, in precisely the same condition which it at
present preserves. Of the date of this origin, however, I grieve that
I can only speak with that species of indefinite definitiveness which
mathematicians are, at times, forced to put up with in certain
algebraic formul. The date, I may thus say, in regard to the
remoteness of its antiquity, cannot be less than any assignable
quantity whatsoever.

Touching the derivation of the name Vondervotteimittiss, I confess
myself, with sorrow, equally at fault. Among a multitude of opinions
upon this delicate point, some acute, some learned, some sufficiently
the reverse, I am able to select nothing which ought to be considered
satisfactory. Perhaps the idea of Grogswigg, nearly coincident with
that of Kroutaplenttey, is to be cautiously preferred. It runs--
"Vondervotteimittiss: Vonder, lege Donder: Votteimittiss, quasi und
Bleitziz--Bleitziz obsol: pro Blitzen." This derivation, to say the
truth, is still countenanced by some traces of the electric fluid
evident on the summit of the steeple of the House of the Town-Council.
I do not choose, however, to commit myself on a theme of such
importance, and must refer the reader desirous of further information
to the "Oratiunculae de Rebus Praeter-Veteris" of Dundergutz. See,
also, Blunderbuzzard "De Derivationibus," pp. 27 to 5010, Folio Gothic
edit., Red and Black character, Catch-word and No Cypher--wherein
consult, also, marginal notes in the autograph of Stuffundpuff, with
the Sub-Commentaries of Gruntundguzzell.

Notwithstanding the obscurity which thus envelops the date of the
foundation of Vondervotteimittiss, and the derivation of its name,
there can be no doubt, as I said before, that it has always existed as
we find it at this epoch. The oldest man in the borough can remember
not the slightest difference in the appearance of any portion of it,
and, indeed, the very suggestion of such a possibility is considered
an insult. The site of the village is in a perfectly circular valley,
of about a quarter of a mile in circumference, and entirely surrounded
by gentle hills, over whose summit the people have never yet ventured
to pass. For this they assign the very good reason that they do not
believe there is anything at all on the other side.

Round the skirts of the valley, (which is quite level, and paved
throughout with flat tiles,) extends a continuous row of sixty little
houses. These, having their backs on the hills, must look, of course,
to the centre of the plain, which is just sixty yards from the front
door of each dwelling. Every house has a small garden before it, with
circular paths, a sundial, and twenty-four cabbages. The buildings
themselves are all so precisely alike, that one can in no manner be
distinguished from the other. Owing to their vast antiquity, the style
of architecture is somewhat odd--but is not for that reason the less
strikingly picturesque. They are fashioned of hardburned little
bricks, red, with black ends, so that the walls look like chess-boards
upon a great scale. The gables are turned to the front, and there are
cornices as big as all the rest of the house over the eaves, and over
the main doors. The windows are narrow and deep, with very tiny panes
and a great deal of sash. On the roof is a vast quantity of tiles with
long curly ears. The wood-work, throughout, is of a dark hue, and
there is much carving about it, with but a trifling variety of
pattern; for time out of mind the carvers of Vondervotteimittiss have
never been able to carve more than two objects--a time-piece and a
cabbage. But these they do excellently well, and intersperse them with
singular ingenuity wherever they find room for the chisel.

The dwellings are as much alike inside as out, and the furniture is
all upon one plan. The floors are of square tiles, the tables and
chairs of blacklooking wood with thin crooked legs and puppy feet. The
mantel-pieces are wide and high, and have not only time-pieces and
cabbages sculptured over the front, but a real time-piece, which makes
a prodigious tickling, on top in the middle, with a flower pot
containing a cabbage standing on each extremity by way of outrider.
Between each cabbage and the time-piece again, is a little china man
having a big belly, with a great round hole in it, through which is
seen the dial-plate of a watch.

The fire-places are large and deep, with fierce crooked-looking fire-
dogs. There is constantly a rousing fire, and a huge pot over it full
of sauer-kraut and pork, to which the good woman of the house is
always busy in attending. She is a little fat old lady, with blue eyes
and a red face, and wears a huge cap like a sugar-loaf, ornamented
with purple and yellow ribbons. Her dress is of orange-colored linsey-
woolsey made very full behind and very short in the waist; and indeed
very short in other respects, not reaching below the middle of the
calf of her leg. This is somewhat thick, and so are her ankles, but
she has a fine pair of green stockings to cover them. Her shoes, of
pink leather, are fastened each with a bunch of yellow ribbons
puckered up in the shape of a cabbage. In her left hand she has a
little heavy Dutch watch--in her right she wields a ladle for the
sauer-kraut and pork. By her side there stands a fat tabby cat, with a
gilt toy repeater tied to its tail, which "the boys" have there
fastened by way of a quiz.

The boys themselves are, all three of them, in the garden attending
the pig. They are each two feet in height. They have three-cornered
cocked hats, purple waistcoats reaching down to their thighs, buckskin
knee-breeches, red woollen stockings, heavy shoes with big silver
buckles, and long surtout coats with large buttons of mother-of-pearl.
Each, too, has a pipe in his mouth, and a dumpy little watch in his
right hand. He takes a puff and a look, and then a look and a puff.
The pig, which is corpulent and lazy, is occupied now in picking up
the stray leaves that fall from the cabbages, and now in giving a kick
behind at the gilt repeater which the urchins have also tied to his
tail, in order to make him look as handsome as the cat.

Right at the front door, in a high-backed leatherbottomed armed chair,
with crooked legs and puppy feet like the tables, is seated the old
man of the house himself. He is an exceedingly puffy little old
gentleman, with big circular eyes and a huge double chin. His dress
resembles that of the boys, and I need say nothing farther about it.
All the difference is that his pipe is somewhat bigger than theirs,
and he can make a greater smoke. Like them he has a watch, but he
carries that watch in his pocket. To say the truth, he has something
of more importance than a watch to attend to, and what that is I shall
presently explain. He sits with his right leg upon his left knee,
wears a grave countenance, and always keeps one of his eyes, at least,
resolutely bent upon a certain remarkable object in the centre of the

This object is situated in the steeple of the House of the Town-
Council. The Town-Council are all very little round intelligent men
with big saucer eyes and fat double chins, and have their coats much
longer and their shoe-buckles much bigger than the ordinary
inhabitants of Vondervotteimittiss. Since my sojourn in the borough
they have had several special meetings, and have adopted the three
important resolutions--

"That it is wrong to alter the good old course of things"--

"That there is nothing tolerable out of Vondervotteimittiss"--

And "That we will stick by our clocks and our cabbages."

Above the session room of the Council is the steeple, and in the
steeple is the belfry, where exists, and has existed time out of mind,
the pride and wonder of the village--the great clock of the borough of
Vondervotteimittiss. And this is the object to which the eyes of all
the old gentlemen are turned who sit in the leather-bottomed arm-

The great clock has seven faces, one in each of the seven sides of the
steeple, so that it can be readily seen from all quarters. Its faces
are large and white, and its hands heavy and black. There is a
belfryman whose sole duty is to attend it; but this duty is the most
perfect of sinecures, for the clock of Vondervotteimittiss was never
yet known to have anything the matter with it. Until lately the bare
supposition of such a thing was considered heretical. From the
remotest period of antiquity to which the archives have reference, the
hours have been regularly struck by the big bell. And indeed the case
is just the same with all the other clocks and watches in the borough.
Never was such a place for keeping the true time. When the large
clapper thought proper to say "twelve o'clock!" all its obedient
followers opened their throats simultaneously, and responded like a
very echo. In short, the good burghers were fond of their sauer-kraut,
but then they were proud of their clocks.

All people who hold sinecure offices are held in more or less respect,
and as the belfry-man of Vondervotteimittiss has the most perfect of
sinecures, he is the most perfectly respected of any man in the world.
He is the chief dignitary of the borough, and the very pigs look up to
him with a sentiment of reverence. His coat-tail is very far longer--
his pipe, his shoe-buckles, his eyes, and his belly, very far bigger
than those of any old gentleman in the village--and as to his chin, it
is not only double but triple.

I have thus painted the happy estate of Vondervotteimittiss--alas!
that so fair a picture should ever experience a reverse!

There has been long a saying among the wisest inhabitants that "no
good can come from over the hills," and it really seemed that the
words had in them something of the spirit of prophecy. It wanted five
minutes of noon, on the day before yesterday, when there appeared a
very odd-looking object on the summit of the ridge to the eastward.
Such an occurrence, of course, attracted universal attention, and
every little old gentleman who sat in a leatherbottomed arm-chair
turned one of his eyes with a stare of dismay upon the phenomenon,
still keeping the other upon the clock in the steeple.

By the time that it wanted only three minutes of noon the droll object
in question was clearly perceived to be a very diminutive
foreign-looking young man. He descended the hills at a great rate, so
that every body had soon a good look at him. He was really the
most finnicky little personage that had ever been seen in
Vondervotteimittiss. His countenance was of a dark snuff colour, and he
had a long hooked nose, pea eyes, a wide mouth, and an excellent set of
teeth, which latter he seemed anxious of displaying, as he was grinning
from ear to ear. What with mustaches and whiskers there was none of the
rest of his face to be seen. His head was uncovered, and his hair neatly
done up in papillotes. His dress was a tight-fitting swallow-tailed
black coat (from one of whose pockets dangled a vast length of white
handkerchief), black kerseymere knee-breeches, black silk stockings, and
stumpy-looking pumps, with huge bunches of black satin ribbon for bows.
Under one arm he carried a huge chapeau-de-bras, and under the other a
fiddle nearly five times as big as himself. In his left hand was a gold
snuff-box, from which as he capered down the hill, cutting all manner of
fantastical steps, he took snuff incessantly with an air of the greatest
possible self-satisfaction. God bless me! here was a sight for the eyes
of the sober burghers of Vondervotteimittiss!

To speak plainly, the fellow had, in spite of his grinning, an
audacious and sinister kind of face; and as he curvetted right into
the village, the odd stumpy appearance of his pumps excited no little
suspicion, and many a burgher who beheld him that day would have given
a trifle for a peep beneath the white cambric handkerchief which hung
so obtrusively from the pocket of his swallow-tailed coat. But what
mainly occasioned a righteous indignation was that the scoundrelly
popinjay, while he cut a fandango here, and a whirligig there, did not
seem to have the remotest idea in the world of such a thing as keeping
time in his steps.

The good people of the borough had scarcely a chance, however, to get
their eyes thoroughly open, when, just as it wanted half a minute of
noon, the rascal bounced, as I say, right into the midst of them, gave
a chazzez here and a balancez there, and then, after a pirouette and a
pas-de-zephyr, pigeon-winged himself right up into the belfry of the
house of the Town-Council, where the wonder-stricken belfry-man sat
smoking in a state of stupified dignity and dismay. But the little
chap seized him at once by the nose, gave it a swing and a pull,
clapped the big chapeau-de-bras upon his head, knocked it down over
his eyes and mouth, and then, lifting up the big fiddle, beat him with
it so long and so soundly, that what with the belfryman being so fat,
and the fiddle being so hollow, you would have sworn there was a
regiment of doublebass drummers all beating the devil's tattoo up in
the belfry of the steeple of Vondervotteimittiss.

There is no knowing to what desperate act of vengeance this
unprincipled attack might have aroused the inhabitants, but for the
important fact that it now wanted only half a second of noon. The bell
was about to strike, and it was a matter of absolute and pre-eminent
necessity that every body should look well at his watch. It was
evident, however, that just at this moment, the fellow in the steeple
was doing something that he had no business to do with the clock. But
as it now began to strike, nobody had any time to attend to his
manoeuvres, for they had all to count the strokes of the bell as it

"One!" said the clock.

"Von!" echoed every little old gentleman in every leather-bottomed
arm-chair in Vondervotteimittiss. "Von!" said his watch also; "von!"
said the watch of his vrow, and "von!" said the watches of the boys,
and the little gilt repeaters on the tails of the cat and the pig.

"Two!" continued the big bell; and

"Doo!" repeated all the repeaters.

"Three! Four! Five! Six! Seven! Eight! Nine! Ten!" said the bell.

"Dree! Vour! Fibe! Sax! Seben! Aight! Noin! Den!" answered the others.

"Eleven!" said the big one.

"Eleben!" assented the little fellows.

"Twelve!" said the bell.

"Dvelf!" they replied, perfectly satisfied, and dropping their voices.

"Und dvelf it iss!" said all the little old gentlemen, putting up
their watches. But the big bell had not done with them yet.

"Thirteen!" said he.

"Der Teufel!" gasped the little old gentlemen, turning pale, dropping
their pipes, and putting down all their right legs from over their
left knees--

"Der Teufel!" groaned they--"Dirteen! Dirteen!!--Mein Gott, it is--it
is Dirteen o'clock!!"

What is the use of attempting to describe the terrible scene which
ensued? All Vondervotteimittis flew at once into a lamentable state of

"Vot is cum'd to mein pelly?" roared all the boys--"I've been an ongry
for dis hour!"

"Vot is cum'd to mein kraut?" screamed all the vrows--"It has been
done to rags for dis hour!"

"Vot is cum'd to mein pipe?" swore all the little old gentlemen--
"Donder und Blitzen! it has been smoked out for dis hour!"--and they
filled them up again in a great rage, and sinking back in their
armchairs, puffed away so fast and so fiercely that the whole valley
was immediately filled with an impenetrable smoke.

Meantime the cabbages all turned very red in the face, and it seemed
as if the old Nick himself had taken possession of everything in the
shape of a time-piece. The clocks carved upon the furniture got to
dancing as if bewitched, while those upon the mantel-pieces could
scarcely contain themselves for fury, and kept such a continual
striking of thirteen, and such a frisking and wriggling of their
pendulums as it was really horrible to see. But, worse than all,
neither the cats nor the pigs could put up any longer with the
outrageous behavior of the little repeaters tied to their tails, and
resented it by scampering all over the place, scratching and poking,
and squeaking and screeching, and caterwauling and squalling, and
flying into the faces, and running under the petticoats, of the
people, and creating altogether the most abominable din and confusion
which it is possible for a reasonable person to conceive. And to make
it if he could more abominable, the rascally little scape-grace in the
steeple was evidently exerting himself to the utmost. Every now and
then one might catch a glimpse of the scoundrel through the smoke.
There he sat in the belfry upon the belly of the belfry-man, who was
lying flat upon his back. In his teeth he held the bell-rope which he
kept jerking about with his head, raising such a clatter that my ears
ring again even to think of it. On his lap lay the big fiddle at which
he was scraping out of all time and tune with both his hands, making a
great show, the nincompoop! of playing Judy O'Flannagan and Paddy

Affairs being thus miserably situated, I left the place in disgust,
and now appeal for aid to all lovers of good time and fine kraut. Let
us proceed in a body to the borough, and restore the ancient order of
things in Vondervotteimittiss by ejecting that little chap from the


And the will therein lieth, which dieth not. Who knoweth the mysteries of
the will, with its vigor? For God is but a great will pervading all things
by nature of its intentness. Man doth not yield himself to the angels, nor
unto death utterly, save only through the weakness of his feeble will.
--Joseph Glanvill.

I cannot, for my soul, remember how, when, or even precisely where, I
first became acquainted with the Lady Ligeia. Long years have since
elapsed, and my memory is feeble through much suffering. Or, perhaps,
I cannot now bring these points to mind, because, in truth, the
character of my beloved, her rare learning, her singular yet placid
cast of beauty, and the thrilling and enthralling eloquence of her
low, musical language, made their way into my heart by paces so
steadily and stealthily progressive, that they have been unnoticed and
unknown. Yet I believe that I met her most frequently in some large,
old, decaying city near the Rhine. Of her family--I have surely heard
her speak--that they are of a remotely ancient date cannot be doubted.
Ligeia! Buried in studies of a nature more than all else adapted to
deaden impressions of the outward world, it is by that sweet word
alone--by Ligeia--that I bring before mine eyes in fancy the image of
her who is no more. And now, while I write, a recollection flashes
upon me that I have never known the paternal name of her who was my
friend and my betrothed, and who became the partner of my studies, and
eventually the wife of my bosom. Was it a playful charge on the part
of my Ligeia? or was it a test of my strength of affection that I
should institute no inquiries upon this point? or was it rather a
caprice of my own--a wildly romantic offering on the shrine of the
most passionate devotion? I but indistinctly recall the fact itself--
what wonder that I have utterly forgotten the circumstances which
originated or attended it? And, indeed, if ever that spirit which is
entitled Romance--if ever she, the wan, and the misty-winged Ashtophet
of idolatrous Egypt, presided, as they tell, over marriages ill-
omened, then most surely she presided over mine.

There is one dear topic, however, on which my memory faileth me not.
It is the person of Ligeia. In stature she was tall, somewhat slender,
and in her latter days even emaciated. I would in vain attempt to
portray the majesty, the quiet ease, of her demeanor, or the
incomprehensible lightness and elasticity of her footfall. She came
and departed like a shadow. I was never made aware of her entrance
into my closed study save by the dear music of her low sweet voice, as
she placed her delicate hand upon my shoulder. In beauty of face no
maiden ever equalled her. It was the radiance of an opium dream--an
airy and spirit-lifting vision more wildly divine than the phantasies
which hovered about the slumbering souls of the daughters of Delos.
Yet her features were not of that regular mould which we have been
falsely taught to worship in the classical labors of the heathen.
"There is no exquisite beauty," says Bacon, Lord Verlam, speaking
truly of all the forms and genera of beauty, "without some strangeness
in the proportions." Yet, although I saw that the features of Ligeia
were not of classic regularity, although I perceived that her
loveliness was indeed "exquisite," and felt that there was much of
"strangeness" pervading it, yet I have tried in vain to detect the
irregularity, and to trace home my own perception of "the strange." I
examined the contour of the lofty and pale forehead--it was
faultless--how cold indeed that word when applied to a majesty so
divine!--the skin rivalling the purest ivory, the commanding extent
and repose, the gentle prominence of the regions above the temples,
and then the raven-black, the glossy, the luxuriant and naturally-
curling tresses, setting forth the full force of the Homeric epithet,
"hyacinthine!" I looked at the delicate outlines of the nose--and
nowhere but in the graceful medallions of the Hebrews had I beheld a
similar perfection. There was the same luxurious smoothness of
surface, the same scarcely perceptible tendency to the aquiline, the
same harmoniously curved nostril speaking the free spirit. I regarded
the sweet mouth. Here was indeed the triumph of all things heavenly--
the magnificent turn of the short upper lip--the soft, voluptuous
slumber of the under--the dimples which sported, and the color which
spoke--the teeth glancing back, with a brilliancy almost startling,
every ray of the holy light which fell upon them in her serene, and
placid, yet most exultingly radiant of all smiles. I scrutinized the
formation of the chin--and here, too, I found the gentleness of
breadth, the softness and the majesty, the fulness and the
spirituality, of the Greek,--the contour which the god Apollo revealed
but in a dream, to Cleomenes, the son of the Athenian. And then I
peered into the large eyes of Ligeia.

For eyes we have no models in the remotely antique. It might have
been, too, that in these eyes of my beloved lay the secret to which
Lord Verlam alludes. They were, I must believe, far larger than the
ordinary eyes of our race. They were even far fuller than the fullest
of the Gazelle eyes of the tribe of the valley of Nourjahad. Yet it
was only at intervals--in moments of intense excitement--that this
peculiarity became more than slightly noticeable in Ligeia. And at
such moments was her beauty--in my heated fancy thus it appeared
perhaps--the beauty of beings either above or apart from the earth--
the beauty of the fabulous Houri of the Turk. The color of the orbs
was the most brilliant of black, and far over them hung jetty lashes
of great length. The brows, slightly irregular in outline, had the
same hue. The "strangeness," however, which I found in the eyes was of
a nature distinct from the formation, or the color, or the brilliancy
of the features, and must, after all, be referred to the expression.
Ah, word of no meaning! behind whose vast latitude of mere sound we
intrench our ignorance of so much of the spiritual. The expression of
the eyes of Ligeia! How, for long hours have I pondered upon it! How
have I, through the whole of a midsummer night, struggled to fathom
it! What was it--that something more profound than the well of
Democritus--which lay far within the pupils of my beloved? What was
it? I was possessed with a passion to discover. Those eyes! those
large, those shining, those divine orbs! they became to me twin stars
of Leda, and I to them devoutest of astrologers. Not for a moment was
the unfathomable meaning of their glance, by day or by night, absent
from my soul.

There is no point, among the many incomprehensible anomalies of the
science of mind, more thrillingly exciting than the fact--never, I
believe, noticed in the schools--that in our endeavors to recall to
memory something long forgotten we often find ourselves upon the very
verge of remembrance without being able, in the end, to remember. And
thus, how frequently, in my intense scrutiny of Ligeia's eyes, have I
felt approaching the full knowledge of the secret of their
expression--felt it approaching--yet not quite be mine--and so at
length entirely depart. And (strange, oh strangest mystery of all!) I
found, in the commonest objects of the universe, a circle of analogies
to that expression. I mean to say that, subsequently to the period
when Ligeia's beauty passed into my spirit, there dwelling as in a
shrine, I derived, from many existences in the material world, a
sentiment such as I felt always aroused within me by her large and
luminous orbs. Yet not the more could I define that sentiment, or
analyze, or even steadily view it. I recognized it, let me repeat,
sometimes in the commonest objects of the universe. It has flashed
upon me in the survey of a rapidly-growing vine--in the contemplation
of a moth, a butterfly, a chrysalis, a stream of running water. I have
felt it in the ocean, in the falling of a meteor. I have felt it in
the glances of unusually aged people. And there are one or two stars
in heaven--(one especially, a star of the sixth magnitude, double and
changeable, to be found near the large star in Lyra) in a telescopic
scrutiny of which I have been made aware of the feeling. I have been
filled with it by certain sounds from stringed instruments, and not
unfrequently by passages from books. Among innumerable other
instances, I well remember something in a volume of Joseph Glanvill,
which (perhaps merely from its quaintness--who shall say?) never
failed to inspire me with the sentiment,--"And the will therein lieth,
which dieth not. Who knoweth the mysteries of the will, with its
vigor? For God is but a great will pervading all things by nature of
its intentness. Man doth not yield him to the angels, nor unto death
utterly, but only through the weakness of his feeble will."

Length of years, and subsequent reflection, have enabled me to trace,
indeed, some remote connexion between this passage in the old English
moralist and a portion of the character of Ligeia. An intensity in
thought, action, or speech, was possibly, in her, a result, or at
least an index, of that gigantic volition which, during our long
intercourse, failed to give other and more immediate evidence of its
existence. Of all women whom I have ever known she, the outwardly
calm, the ever-placid Ligeia, was the most violently a prey to the
tumultuous vultures of stern passion. And of such passion I could form
no estimate, save by the miraculous expansion of those eyes which at
once so delighted and appalled me, by the almost magical melody,
modulation, distinctness and placidity of her very low voice, and by
the fierce energy (rendered doubly effective by contrast with her
manner of utterance) of the words which she uttered.

I have spoken of the learning of Ligeia: it was immense--such as I
have never known in woman. In the classical tongues was she deeply
proficient, and as far as my own acquaintance extended in regard to
the modern dialects of Europe, I have never known her at fault. Indeed
upon any theme of the most admired, because simply the most abstruse,
of the boasted erudition of the academy, have I ever found Ligeia at
fault? How singularly, how thrillingly, this one point in the nature
of my wife has forced itself, at this late period only, upon my
attention! I said her knowledge was such as I had never known in
woman. Where breathes the man who, like her, has traversed, and
successfully, all the wide areas of moral, natural, and mathematical
science? I saw not then what I now clearly perceive, that the
acquisitions of Ligeia were gigantic, were astounding--yet I was
sufficiently aware of her infinite supremacy to resign myself, with a
child-like confidence, to her guidance through the chaotic world of
metaphysical investigation at which I was most busily occupied during
the earlier years of our marriage. With how vast a triumph--with how
vivid a delight--with how much of all that is ethereal in hope--did I
feel, as she bent over me in studies but little sought for--but less
known--that delicious vista by slow but perceptible degrees expanding
before me, down whose long, gorgeous, and all untrodden path, I might
at length pass onward to the goal of a wisdom too divinely precious
not to be forbidden!

How poignant, then, must have been the grief with which, after some
years, I beheld my wellgrounded expectations take wings to themselves
and flee away! Without Ligeia I was but as a child groping benighted.
Her presence, her readings alone, rendered vividly luminous the many
mysteries of the transcendentalism in which we were immersed. Letters,
lambent and golden, grew duller than Saturnian lead, wanting the
radiant lustre of her eyes. And now those eyes shone less and less
frequently upon the pages over which I pored. Ligeia grew ill. The
wild eye blazed with a too--too glorious effulgence; the pale fingers
became of the transparent waxen hue of the grave--and the blue veins
upon the lofty forehead swelled and sunk impetuously with the tides of
the most gentle emotion. I saw that she must die--and I struggled
desperately in spirit with the grim Azrael. And the struggles of the
passionate wife were, to my astonishment, even more energetic than my
own. There had been much in her stern nature to impress me with the
belief that, to her, death would have come without its terrors--but
not so. Words are impotent to convey any just idea of the fierceness
of resistance with which she wrestled with the dark shadow. I groaned
in anguish at the pitiable spectacle. I would have soothed--I would
have reasoned; but in the intensity of her wild desire for life--for
life--but for life, solace and reason were alike the uttermost of
folly. Yet not for an instant, amid the most convulsive writhings of
her fierce spirit, was shaken the external placidity of her demeanor.
Her voice grew more gentle--grew more low--yet I would not wish to
dwell upon the wild meaning of the quietly-uttered words. My brain
reeled as I hearkened, entranced, to a melody more than mortal--to
assumptions and aspirations which mortality had never before known.

That she loved me, I should not have doubted; and I might have been
easily aware that, in a bosom such as hers, love would have reigned no
ordinary passion. But in death only, was I fully impressed with the
strength of her affection. For long hours, detaining my hand, would
she pour out before me the overflowings of a heart whose more than
passionate devotion amounted to idolatry. How had I deserved to be so
blessed by such confessions?--how had I deserved to be so cursed with
the removal of my beloved in the hour of her making them? But upon
this subject I cannot bear to dilate. Let me say only, that in
Ligeia's more than womanly abandonment to a love, alas! all unmerited,
all unworthily bestowed, I at length recognised the principle of her
longing with so wildly earnest a desire for the life which was now
fleeing so rapidly away. It is this wild longing--it is this eager
vehemence of desire for life--but for life--that I have no power to
portray--no utterance capable of expressing. Methinks I again behold
the terrific struggles of her lofty, her nearly idealized nature, with
the might and the terror, and the majesty, of the great Shadow. But
she perished. The giant will succumbed to a power more stern. And I
thought, as I gazed upon the corpse, of the wild passage in Joseph
Glanvill: "The will therein lieth, which dieth not. Who knoweth the
mysteries of the will, with its vigor? For God is but a great will
pervading all things by nature of its intentness. Man doth not yield
him to the angels, nor unto death utterly, save only through the
weakness of his feeble will."

She died--and I, crushed into the very dust with sorrow, could no
longer endure the lonely desolation of my dwelling in the dim and
decaying city by the Rhine. I had no lack of what the world terms
wealth--Ligeia had brought me far more, very far more, than falls
ordinarily to the lot of mortals. After a few months, therefore, of
weary and aimless wandering, I purchased, and put in some repair, an
abbey, which I shall not name, in one of the wildest and least
frequented portions of fair England. The gloomy and dreary grandeur of
the building, the almost savage aspect of the domain, the many
melancholy and time-honored memories connected with both, had much in
unison with the feelings of utter abandonment which had driven me into
that remote and unsocial region of the country. Yet although the
external abbey, with its verdant decay hanging about it, suffered but
little alteration, I gave way, with a child-like perversity, and
perchance with a faint hope of alleviating my sorrows, to a display of
more than regal magnificence within. For such follies even in
childhood I had imbibed a taste, and now they came back to me as if in
the dotage of grief. Alas, I feel how much even of incipient madness
might have been discovered in the gorgeous and fantastic draperies, in
the solemn carvings of Egypt, in the wild cornices and furniture, in
the bedlam patterns of the carpets of tufted gold! I had become a
bounden slave in the trammels of opium, and my labors and my orders
had taken a coloring from my dreams. But these absurdities I must not
pause to detail. Let me speak only of that one chamber, ever accursed,
whither, in a moment of mental alienation, I led from the altar as my
bride--as the successor of the unforgotten Ligeia--the fair-haired and
blue-eyed Lady Rowena Trevanion, of Tremaine.

There is not any individual portion of the architecture and decoration
of that bridal chamber which is not now visibly before me. Where were
the souls of the haughty family of the bride, when, through thirst of
gold, they permitted to pass the threshold of an apartment so
bedecked, a maiden and a daughter so beloved? I have said that I
minutely remember the details of the chamber--yet I am sadly forgetful
on topics of deep moment--and here there was no system, no keeping, in
the fantastic display, to take hold upon the memory. The room lay in a
high turret of the castellated abbey, was pentagonal in shape, and of
capacious size. Occupying the whole southern face of the pentagon was
the sole window--an immense sheet of unbroken glass from Venice--a
single pane, and tinted of a leaden hue, so that the rays of either
the sun or moon, passing through it, fell with a ghastly lustre upon
the objects within. Over the upper portion of this huge window
extended the open trellice-work of an aged vine which clambered up the
massy walls of the turret. The ceiling, of gloomy-looking oak, was
excessively lofty, vaulted, and elaborately fretted with the wildest
and most grotesque specimens of a semi-Gothic, semi-Druidical device.
From out the most central recess of this melancholy vaulting,
depended, by a single chain of gold, with long links, a huge censer of
the same metal, Saracenic in pattern, and with many perforations so
contrived that there writhed in and out of them, as if endued with a
serpent vitality, a continual succession of particolored fires. Some
few ottomans and golden candelabra of Eastern figure were in various
stations about--and there was the couch, too, the bridal couch, of an
Indian model, and low, and sculptured of solid ebony, with a canopy
above. In each of the angles of the chamber, stood on end a gigantic
sarcophagus of black granite, from the tombs of the kings over against
Luxor, with their aged lids full of immemorial sculpture. But in the
draping of the apartment lay, alas! the chief phantasy of all. The
lofty walls--gigantic in height--even unproportionably so, were hung
from summit to foot, in vast folds, with a heavy and massive looking
tapestry--tapestry of a material which was found alike as a carpet on
the floor, as a covering for the ottomans and the ebony bed, as a
canopy for the bed, and as the gorgeous volutes of the curtains which
partially shaded the window. This material was the richest cloth of
gold. It was spotted all over, at irregular intervals, with arabesque
figures, of about a foot in diameter, and wrought upon the cloth in
patterns of the most jetty black. But these figures partook of the
true character of the arabesque only when regarded from a single point
of view. By a contrivance now common, and indeed traceable to a very
remote period of antiquity, they were made changeable in aspect. To
one entering the room they bore the appearance of simple
monstrosities; but, upon a farther advance, this appearance suddenly
departed; and, step by step, as the visiter moved his station in the
chamber, he saw himself surrounded by an endless succession of the
ghastly forms which belong to the superstition of the Northman, or
arise in the guilty slumbers of the monk. The phantasmagoric effect
was vastly heightened by the artificial introduction of a strong
continual current of wind behind the draperies--giving a hideous and
uneasy animation to the whole.

In halls such as these--in a bridal chamber such as this--I passed,
with the Lady of Tremaine, the unhallowed hours of the first month of
our marriage--passed them with but little disquietude. That my wife
dreaded the fierce moodiness of my temper--that she shunned me, and
loved me but little--I could not help perceiving--but it gave me
rather pleasure than otherwise. I loathed her with a hatred belonging
more to demon than to man. My memory flew back, (oh, with what
intensity of regret!) to Ligeia, the beloved, the beautiful, the
entombed. I revelled in recollections of her purity, of her wisdom, of
her lofty, her ethereal nature, of her passionate, her idolatrous
love. Now, then, did my spirit fully and freely burn with more than
all the fires of her own. In the excitement of my opium dreams (for I
was habitually fettered in the iron shackles of the drug) I would call
aloud upon her name, during the silence of the night, or among the
sheltered recesses of the glens by day, as if, through the wild
eagerness, the solemn passion, the consuming ardor of my longing for
the departed Ligeia, I could restore the departed Ligeia to the
pathway she had abandoned upon earth.

About the commencement of the second month of the marriage, the Lady
Rowena was attacked with sudden illness from which her recovery was
slow. The fever which consumed her rendered her nights uneasy, and, in
her perturbed state of half-slumber, she spoke of sounds, and of
motions, in and about the chamber of the turret, which had no origin
save in the distemper of her fancy, or, perhaps, in the phantastic
influences of the chamber itself. She became at length convalescent--
finally well. Yet but a brief period elapsed, ere a second more
violent disorder again threw her upon a bed of suffering--and from
this attack her frame, at all times feeble, never altogether
recovered. Her illnesses were, after this epoch, of alarming
character, and of more alarming recurrence, defying alike the
knowledge and the great exertions of her medical men. With the
increase of the chronic disease which had thus, apparently, taken too
sure hold upon her constitution to be eradicated by human means, I
could not fail to observe a similar increase in the nervous irritation
of her temperament, and in her excitability by trivial causes of fear.
Indeed reason seemed fast tottering from her throne. She spoke again,
and now more frequently and pertinaciously, of the sounds, of the
slight sounds, and of the unusual motions among the tapestries, to
which she had formerly alluded.

One night near the closing in of September, she pressed this
distressing subject with more than usual emphasis upon my attention.
She had just awakened from an unquiet slumber, and I had been
watching, with feelings half of anxiety, half of a vague terror, the
workings of her emaciated countenance. I sat by the side of her ebony
bed, upon one of the ottomans of India. She partly arose, and spoke,
in an earnest low whisper, of sounds which she then heard, but which I
could not hear, of motions which she then saw, but which I could not
perceive. The wind was rushing hurriedly behind the tapestries, and I
wished to show her (what, let me confess it, I could not all believe)
that those faint, almost inarticulate breathings, and the very gentle
variations of the figures upon the wall, were but the natural effects
of that customary rushing of the wind. But a deadly pallor,
overspreading her face, had proved to me that my exertions to reassure
her would be fruitless. She appeared to be fainting, and no attendants
were within call. I remembered where was deposited a decanter of some
light wine which had been ordered by her physicians, and hastened
across the chamber to procure it. But, as I stepped beneath the light
of the censer, two circumstances of a startling nature attracted my
attention. I had felt that some palpable object had passed lightly by
my person; and I saw that there lay a faint indefinite shadow upon the
golden carpet, in the very middle of the rich lustre thrown from the
censer. But I was wild with the excitement of an immoderate dose of
opium, and heeded these things but little, nor spoke of them to
Rowena. Finding the wine, I recrossed the chamber, and poured out a
gobletful, which I held to the lips of the fainting lady. She had now
partially recovered, however, and took, herself, the vessel, while I
sank upon the ottoman near me, with my eyes rivetted upon her person.
It was then that I became distinctly aware of a gentle foot-fall upon
the carpet, and near the couch; and, in a second thereafter, as Rowena
was in the act of raising the wine to her lips, I saw, or may have
dreamed that I saw, fall within the goblet, as if from some invisible
spring in the atmosphere of the room, three or four large drops of a
brilliant and ruby-colored fluid. If this I saw--not so Rowena. She
swallowed the wine unhesitatingly, and I forbore to speak to her of a
circumstance which must, after all, I considered, have been but the
suggestion of a vivid imagination, rendered morbidly active by the
terror of the lady, by the opium, and by the hour.

Yet--I cannot conceal it from myself--after this period, a rapid
change for the worse took place in the disorder of my wife; so that,
on the third subsequent night, the hands of her menials prepared her
for the tomb, and on the fourth, I sat alone, with her shrouded body,
in that fantastic chamber which had received her as my bride. Wild
visions, opium engendered, flitted, shadow-like, before me. I gazed
with unquiet eye upon the sarcophagi in the angles of the room, upon
the varying figures of the drapery, and upon the writhing of the
particolored fires in the censer overhead. My eyes then fell, as I
called to mind the circumstances of a former night, to the spot
beneath the glare of the censer where I had beheld the faint traces of
the shadow. It was there, however, no longer, and, breathing with
greater freedom, I turned my glances to the pallid and rigid figure
upon the bed. Then rushed upon me a thousand memories of Ligeia--and
then came back upon my heart, with the turbulent violence of a flood,
the whole of that unutterable wo with which I had regarded her thus
enshrouded. The night waned; and still, with a bosom full of bitter
thoughts of the one only and supremely beloved, I remained with mine
eyes rivetted upon the body of Rowena.

It might have been midnight, or perhaps earlier, or later, for I had
taken no note of time, when a sob, low, gentle, but very distinct,
startled me from my revery. I felt that it came from the bed of
ebony--the bed of death. I listened in an agony of superstitious
terror--but there was no repetition of the sound; I strained my vision
to detect any motion in the corpse, but there was not the slightest
perceptible. Yet I could not have been deceived. I had heard the
noise, however faint, and my whole soul was awakened within me, as I
resolutely and perseveringly kept my attention rivetted upon the body.
Many minutes elapsed before any circumstance occurred tending to throw
light upon the mystery. At length it became evident that a slight, a
very faint, and barely noticeable tinge of color had flushed up within
the cheeks, and along the sunken small veins of the eyelids. Through a
species of unutterable horror and awe, for which the language of
mortality has no sufficiently energetic expression, I felt my brain
reel, my heart cease to beat, my limbs grow rigid where I sat. Yet a
sense of duty finally operated to restore my self-possession. I could
no longer doubt that we had been precipitate in our preparations for
interment--that Rowena still lived. It was necessary that some
immediate exertion be made; yet the turret was altogether apart from
the portion of the abbey tenanted by the servants--there were none
within call,--I had no means of summoning them to my aid without
leaving the room for many minutes--and this I could not venture to do.
I therefore struggled alone in my endeavors to call back the spirit
still hovering. In a short period it was certain, however, that a
relapse had taken place; the color utterly disappeared from both
eyelid and cheek, leaving a wanness even more than that of marble; the
lips became doubly shrivelled and pinched up in the ghastly expression
of death; a repulsive clamminess and coldness overspread rapidly the
surface of the body; and all the usual rigorous stiffness immediately
supervened. I fell back with a shudder upon the couch from which I had
been so startlingly aroused, and again gave myself up to passionate
waking visions of Ligeia.

An hour thus elapsed when, (could it be possible?) I was a second time
aware of some vague sound issuing from the region of the bed. I
listened--in extremity of horror. The sound came again--it was a sigh.
Rushing to the corpse, I saw--distinctly saw--a tremor upon the lips.
In a minute after, they slightly relaxed, disclosing a bright line of
the pearly teeth. Amazement now struggled in my bosom with the
profound awe which had hitherto reigned therein alone. I felt that my
vision grew dim, that my reason wandered, and it was only by a
convulsive effort that I at length succeeded in nerving myself to the
task which duty thus, once more, had pointed out. There was now a
partial glow upon the forehead and upon the cheek and throat--a
perceptible warmth pervaded the whole frame--there was even a slight
pulsation at the heart. The lady lived; and with redoubled ardor I
betook myself to the task of restoration. I chafed and bathed the
temples and the hands, and used every exertion which experience, and
no little medical reading, could suggest. But in vain. Suddenly, the
color fled, the pulsation ceased, the lips resumed the expression of
the dead, and, in an instant afterwards, the whole body took upon
itself the icy chillness, the livid hue, the intense rigidity, the
sunken outline, and each and all of the loathsome peculiarities of
that which has been, for many days, a tenant of the tomb.

And again I sunk into visions of Ligeia--and again, (what marvel that
I shudder while I write?) again there reached my ears a low sob from
the region of the ebony bed. But why shall I minutely detail the
unspeakable horrors of that night? Why shall I pause to relate how,
time after time, until near the period of the gray dawn, this hideous
drama of revivification was repeated, and how each terrific relapse
was only into a sterner and apparently more irredeemable death? Let me
hurry to a conclusion.

The greater part of the fearful night had worn away, and the corpse of
Rowena once again stirred--and now more vigorously than hitherto,
although arousing from a dissolution more appalling in its utter
hopelessness than any. I had long ceased to struggle or to move, and
remained sitting rigidly upon the ottoman, a helpless prey to a whirl
of violent emotions, of which extreme awe was perhaps the least
terrible, the least consuming. The corpse, I repeat, stirred, and now
more vigorously than before. The hues of life flushed up with unwonted
energy into the countenance--the limbs relaxed--and, save that the
eyelids were yet pressed heavily together, and that the bandages and
draperies of the grave still imparted their charnel character to the
figure, I might have dreamed that Rowena had indeed shaken off,
utterly, the fetters of Death. But if this idea was not, even then,
altogether adopted, I could, at least, doubt no longer, when, arising
from the bed, tottering, with feeble steps, with closed eyes, and with
the manner of one bewildered in a dream, the Lady of Tremaine advanced
bodily and palpably into the middle of the apartment.

I trembled not--I stirred not--for a crowd of unutterable fancies
connected with the air, the demeanor of the figure, rushing hurriedly
through my brain, had paralyzed, had chilled me into stone. I stirred
not--but gazed upon the apparition. There was a mad disorder in my
thoughts--a tumult unappeasable. Could it, indeed, be the living
Rowena who confronted me? Why, why should I doubt it? The bandage lay
heavily about the mouth--but then it was the mouth of the breathing
Lady of Tremaine. And the cheeks--there were the roses as in her noon
of life--yes, these were indeed the fair cheeks of the living Lady of
Tremaine. And the chin, with its dimples, as in health, was it not
hers?--but had she then grown taller since her malady? What
inexpressible madness seized me with that thought? One bound, and I
had reached her feet! Shrinking from my touch, she let fall from her
head, unloosened, the ghastly cerements which had confined it, and
there streamed forth, into the rushing atmosphere of the chamber, huge
masses of long and dishevelled hair. It was blacker than the raven
wings of the midnight! And now the eyes opened of the figure which
stood before me. "Here then, at least," I shrieked aloud, "can I
never--can I never be mistaken--these are the full, and the black, and
the wild eyes--of the lady--of the Lady Ligeia!"


The gods do bear and well allow in kings
The things which they abhor in rascal roues.
--Buckhurst's Tragedy of Ferrex and Porrex.

About twelve o'clock, one sultry night, in the month of August, and
during the chivalrous reign of the third Edward, two seamen belonging
to the crew of the "Free and Easy," a trading schooner plying between
Sluys and the Thames, and then at anchor in that river, were much
astonished to find themselves seated in the tap-room of an ale-house
in the parish of St. Andrews, London--which alehouse bore for sign the
portraiture of a "Jolly Tar."

The room, it is needless to say, although ill-contrived, smoke-
blackened, low-pitched, and in every other respect agreeing with the
general character of such places at the period--was, nevertheless, in
the opinion of the grotesque groups scattered here and there within
it, sufficiently well adapted for its purpose.

Of these groups our two seamen formed, I think, the most interesting,
if not the most conspicuous.

The one who appeared to be the elder, and whom his companion addressed
by the characteristic appellation of "Legs," was also much the most
illfavored, and, at the same time, much the taller of the two. He
might have measured six feet nine inches, and an habitual stoop in the
shoulders seemed to have been the necessary consequence of an altitude
so enormous. Superfluities in height were, however, more than
accounted for by deficiencies in other respects. He was exceedingly,
wofully, awfully thin; and might, as his associates asserted, have
answered, when sober, for a pennant at the mast-head, or, when stiff
with liquor, have served for a jib-boom. But these jests, and others
of a similar nature, had evidently produced, at no time, any effect
upon the leaden muscles of the tar. With high cheek-bones, a large
hawk-nose, retreating chin, fallen under-jaw, and huge protruding
white eyes, the expression of his countenance, although tinged with a
species of dogged indifference to matters and things in general, was
not the less utterly solemn and serious beyond all attempts at
imitation or description.

The younger seaman was, in all outward appearance, the antipodes of
his companion. His stature could not have exceeded four feet. A pair
of stumpy bow-legs supported his squat, unwieldy figure, while his
unusually short and thick arms, with no ordinary fists at their
extremities, swung off dangling from his sides like the fins of a sea-
turtle. Small eyes, of no particular color, twinkled far back in his
head. His nose remained buried in the mass of flesh which enveloped
his round, full, and purple face; and his thick upper-lip rested upon
the still thicker one beneath with an air of complacent
selfsatisfaction, much heightened by the owner's habit of licking them
at intervals. He evidently regarded his tall ship-mate with a feeling
half-wondrous, halfquizzical; and stared up occasionally in his face
as the red setting sun stares up at the crags of Ben Nevis.

Various and eventful, however, had been the peregrinations of the
worthy couple in and about the different tap-houses of the
neighborhood during the earlier hours of the night. Funds even the
most ample, are not always everlasting: and it was with empty pockets
our friends had ventured upon the present hostelrie.

At the precise period, then, when this history properly commences,
Legs, and his fellow Hugh Tarpaulin, sat, each with both elbows
resting upon the large oaken table in the middle of the floor, and
with a hand upon either cheek. They were eyeing, from behind a huge
flagon of unpaid-for "hummingstuff," the portentous words "No Chalk,"
which to their indignation and astonishment were scored over the
doorway by means of that very mineral whose presence they purported to
deny. Not that the gift of decyphering written characters--a gift
among the commonalty of that day considered little less cabalistical
than the art of inditing--could, in strict justice, have been laid to
the charge of either disciple of the sea; but there was, to say the
truth, a certain twist in the formation of the letters--an
indescribable lee-lurch about the whole--which foreboded, in the
opinion of both seamen, a long run of dirty weather; and determined
them at once, in the pithy words of Legs himself, to "pump ship, clew
up all sail, and scud before the wind."

Having accordingly drank up what remained of the ale, and looped up
the points of their short doublets, they finally made a bolt for the
street. Although Tarpaulin rolled twice into the fire-place, mistaking
it for the door, yet their escape was at length happily effected--and
half after twelve o'clock found our heroes ripe for mischief, and
running for life down a dark alley in the direction of St. Andrew's
Stair, hotly pursued by the landlord and landlady of the "Jolly Tar."

At the epoch of this eventful tale, and periodically, for many years
before and after, all England, but more especially the metropolis,
resounded with the fearful cry of "Pest!" The city was in a great
measure depopulated--and in those horrible regions, in the vicinity of
the Thames, where amid the dark, narrow, and filthy lanes and alleys,
the Demon of Disease was supposed to have had his nativity, awe,
terror, and superstition were alone to be found stalking abroad.

By authority of the king such districts were placed under ban, and all
persons forbidden, under pain of death, to intrude upon their dismal
solitude. Yet neither the mandate of the monarch, nor the huge
barriers erected at the entrances of the streets, nor the prospect of
that loathsome death which, with almost absolute certainty,
overwhelmed the wretch whom no peril could deter from the adventure,
prevented the unfurnished and untenanted dwellings from being
stripped, by the hand of nightly rapine, of every article, such as
iron, brass, or lead-work, which could in any manner be turned to a
profitable account.

Above all, it was usually found, upon the annual winter opening of the
barriers, that locks, bolts, and secret cellars, had proved but
slender protection to those rich stores of wines and liquors which, in
consideration of the risk and trouble of removal, many of the numerous
dealers having shops in the neighborhood had consented to trust,
during the period of exile, to so insufficient a security.

But there were very few of the terror-stricken people who attributed
these doings to the agency of human hands. Pest-spirits, Plague-
goblins, and Fever-demons, were the popular imps of mischief; and
tales so blood-chilling were hourly told, that the whole mass of
forbidden buildings was, at length, enveloped in terror as in a
shroud, and the plunderer himself was often scared away by the horrors
his own depredations had created; leaving the entire vast circuit of
prohibited district to gloom, silence, pestilence, and death.

It was by one of these terrific barriers already mentioned, and which
indicated the region beyond to be under the Pest-ban, that, in
scrambling down an alley, Legs and the worthy Hugh Tarpaulin found
their progress suddenly impeded. To return was out of the question,
and no time was to be lost, as their pursuers were close upon their
heels. With thoroughbred seamen to clamber up the roughly fashioned
plank-work was a trifle; and, maddened with the twofold excitement of
exercise and liquor, they leaped unhesitatingly down within the
enclosure, and holding on their drunken course with shouts and
yellings, were soon bewildered in its noisome and intricate recesses.

Had they not, indeed, been intoxicated beyond all sense of human
feelings, their reeling footsteps must have been palsied by the
horrors of their situation. The air was damp, cold and misty. The
paving-stones, loosened from their beds, lay in wild disorder amid the
tall, rank grass, which sprang up hideously around the feet and
ankles. Rubbish of fallen houses choked up the streets. The most fetid
and poisonous smells every where prevailed--and by the occasional aid
of that ghastly and uncertain light which, even at midnight, never
fails to emanate from a vapory and pestilential atmosphere, might be
discerned lying in the by-paths and alleys, or rotting in the
windowless habitations, the carcass of many a nocturnal plunderer
arrested by the hand of the plague in the very perpetration of his

But it lay not in the power of images, or sensations, or impediments
like these, to stay the course of men who, naturally brave, and at
that time especially, brimful of courage and of "humming-stuff," would
have reeled, as straight as their condition might have permitted,
undauntedly into the very jaws of the arch-angel Death. Onward--still
onward stalked the gigantic Legs, making the desolate solemnity echo
and re-echo with yells like the terrific war-whoop of the Indian: and
onward--still onward rolled the dumpy Tarpaulin, hanging on to the
doublet of his more active companion, and far surpassing the latter's
most strenuous exertions in the way of vocal music, by bull-roarings
in basso, from the profundity of his stentorian lungs.

They had now evidently reached the strong hold of the pestilence.
Their way at every step or plunge grew more noisome and more
horrible--the paths more narrow and more intricate. Huge stones and
beams falling momently from the decaying roofs above them, gave
evidence, by their sullen and heavy descent, of the vast height of the
surrounding buildings, while actual exertion became necessary to force
a passage through frequent heaps of putrid human corpses.4

Suddenly, as the seamen stumbled against the entrance of a gigantic
and ghastly-looking building, a yell more than usually shrill from the
throat of the excited Legs, was replied to from within in a rapid
succession of wild, laughter-like, and fiendish shrieks. Nothing
daunted at sounds which, of such a nature, at such a time, and in such
a place, might have curdled the very blood in hearts less
irrecoverably on fire, the drunken couple burst open the pannels of
the door, and staggered into the midst of things with a volley of
curses. It is not to be supposed, however, that the scene which here
presented itself to the eyes of the gallant Legs and worthy Tarpaulin,
produced at first sight any other effect upon their illuminated
faculties than an overwhelming sensation of stupid astonishment.

The room within which they found themselves proved to be the shop of
an undertaker--but an open trap-door, in a corner of the floor near
the entrance, looked down upon a long range of wine-cellars, whose
depths the occasional sounds of bursting bottles proclaimed to be well
stored with their appropriate contents. In the middle of the room
stood a table--in the centre of which again arose a huge tub of what
appeared to be punch. Bottles of various wines and cordials, together
with grotesque jugs, pitchers, and flagons of every shape and quality,
were scattered profusely upon the board. Around it, upon
coffintressels, was seated a company of six--this company I will
endeavor to delineate one by one.

Fronting the entrance, and elevated a little above his companions, sat
a personage who appeared to be the president of the table. His stature
was gaunt and tall, and Legs was confounded to behold in him a figure
more emaciated than himself. His face was yellower than the yellowest
saffron--but no feature of his visage, excepting one alone, was
sufficiently marked to merit a particular description. This one
consisted in a forehead so unusually and hideously lofty, as to have
the appearance of a bonnet or crown of flesh superseded upon the
natural head. His mouth was puckered and dimpled into a singular
expression of ghastly affability, and his eyes, as indeed the eyes of
all at table, were glazed over with the fumes of intoxication. This
gentleman was clothed from head to foot in a richly embroidered black
silk-velvet pall wrapped negligently around his form after the fashion
of a Spanish cloak. His head was stuck all full of tall sable hearse-
plumes, which he nodded to and fro with a jaunty and knowing air, and,
in his right hand, he held a huge human thigh-bone, with which he
appeared to have been just knocking down some member of the company
for a song.

Opposite him, and with her back to the door, was a lady of no whit the
less extraordinary character. Although quite as tall as the person who
has just been described, she had no right to complain of his unnatural
emaciation. She was evidently in the last stage of a dropsy; and her
figure resembled nearly in outline the shapeless proportions of the
huge puncheon of October beer which stood, with the head driven in,
close by her side, in a corner of the chamber. Her face was
exceedingly round, red, and full--and the same peculiarity, or rather
want of peculiarity, attached itself to her countenance, which I
before mentioned in the case of the president--that is to say, only
one feature of her face was sufficiently distinguished to need a
separate characterization: indeed, the acute Tarpaulin immediately
observed that the same remark might have applied to each individual
person of the party; every one of whom seemed to possess a monopoly of
some particular portion of physiognomy. With the lady in question this
portion proved to be the mouth. Commencing at the right ear, it swept
with a terrific chasm to the left--the short pendants which she wore
in either auricle continually bobbing into the aperture. She made,
however, every exertion to keep her jaws closed and looked dignified,
in a dress consisting of a newly starched and ironed shroud coming up
close under her chin, with a crimped ruffle of cambric muslin.

At her right hand sat a diminutive young lady whom she appeared to
patronise. This delicate little creature, in the trembling of her
wasted fingers, in the livid hue of her lips, and in the slight hectic
spot which tinged her otherwise leaden complexion, gave evident
indications of a galloping consumption. An air of extreme haut ton,
however, pervaded her whole appearance--she wore, in a graceful and
degag manner, a large and beautiful winding-sheet of the finest India
lawn--her hair hung in ringlets over her neck--a soft smile played
about her mouth--but her nose, extremely long, thin, sinuous,
flexible, and pimpled, hung down far below her under lip, and in spite
of the delicate manner in which she now and then moved it to one side
or the other with her tongue, gave an expression rather doubtful to
her countenance.

Over against her, and upon the left of the dropsical lady, was seated
a little puffy, wheezing, and gouty old man, whose cheeks hung down
upon the shoulders of their owner, like two huge bladders of Oporto
wine. With his arms folded, and with one bandaged leg cocked up
against the table, he seemed to think himself entitled to some
consideration. He evidently prided himself much upon every inch of his
personal appearance, but took more especial delight in calling
attention to his gaudy-colored surcoat. This, to say the truth, must
have cost no little money, and was made to fit him exceedingly well--
being fashioned from one of the curiously embroidered silken covers
appertaining to those glorious escutcheons which, in England and
elsewhere, are customarily hung up in some conspicuous place upon the
dwellings of departed aristocracy.

Next to him, and at the right hand of the president, was a gentleman
in long white hose and cotton drawers. His frame shook, in a ludicrous
manner, with a fit of what Tarpaulin called "the horrors." His jaws,
which had been newly shaved, were tightly tied up by a bandage of
muslin; and his arms being fastened in a similar way at the wrists,
prevented him from helping himself too freely to the liquors upon the
table; a precaution rendered necessary, in the opinion of Legs, by the
peculiarly sottish and winebibbing cast of his visage. A pair of
prodigious ears, nevertheless, which it was no doubt found impossible
to confine, towered away into the atmosphere of the apartment, and
were occasionally pricked up, or depressed, as the sounds of bursting
bottles increased, or died away, in the cellars underneath.

Fronting him, sixthly and lastly, was situated a singularly stiff-
looking personage, who, being afflicted with paralysis, must, to speak
seriously, have felt very ill at ease in his unaccommodating
habiliments. He was habited, somewhat uniquely, in a new and handsome
mahogany coffin. The top or head-piece of the coffin pressed upon the
skull of the wearer, and extended over it in the fashion of a hood,
giving to the entire face an air of indescribable interest. Armholes
had been cut in the sides, for the sake not more of elegance than of
convenience--but the dress, nevertheless, prevented its proprietor
from sitting as erect as his associates; and as he lay reclining
against his tressel, at an angle of forty-five degrees, a pair of huge
goggle eyes rolled up their awful whites towards the ceiling in
absolute amazement at their own enormity.

Before each of the party lay a portion of a skull, which was used as a
drinking cup. Overhead was suspended an enormous human skeleton, by
means of a rope tied round one of the legs and fastened to a ring in
the ceiling. The other limb, confined by no such fetter, stuck off
from the body at right angles, causing the whole loose and rattling
frame to dangle and twirl about in a singular manner, at the caprice
of every occasional puff of wind which found its way into the
apartment. In the cranium of this hideous thing lay a quantity of
ignited and glowing charcoal, which threw a fitful but vivid light
over the entire scene; while coffins, and other wares appertaining to
the shop of an undertaker, were piled high up around the room, and
against the windows, preventing any straggling ray from escaping into
the street.

It has been before hinted that at sight of this extraordinary
assembly, and of their still more extraordinary paraphernalia, our two
seamen did not conduct themselves with that proper degree of decorum
which might have been expected. Legs, having leant himself back
against the wall, near which he happened to be standing, dropped his
lower jaw still lower than usual, and spread open his eyes to their
fullest extent: while Hugh Tarpaulin, stooping down so as to bring his
nose upon a level with the table, and spreading out a palm upon either
knee, burst into a long, loud, and obstreperous roar of very ill-timed
and immoderate laughter.

Without, however, taking offence at behavior so excessively rude, the
tall president smiled very graciously upon the intruders--nodded to
them in a dignified manner with his head of sable plumes--and,
arising, took each by an arm, and led him to a seat which some others
of the company had placed in the meantime for his accommodation. Legs
to all this offered not the slightest resistance, but sat down as he
was directed--while the gallant Hugh, removing his coffin-tressel from
its station near the head of the table, to the vicinity of the little
consumptive lady in the winding-sheet, plumped down by her side in
high glee, and, pouring out a skull of red wine, drank it off to their
better acquaintance. But at this presumption the stiff gentleman in
the coffin seemed exceedingly nettled; and serious consequences might
have ensued, had not the president, rapping upon the table with his
truncheon, diverted the attention of all present to the following

"It becomes our duty upon the present happy occasion"--

"Avast there!"--interrupted Legs, looking very serious--"avast there a
bit, I say, and tell us who the devil ye all are, and what business ye
have here, rigged off like the foul fiends, and swilling the snug
'blue ruin' stowed away for the winter by my honest shipmate Will
Wimble the undertaker!"

At this unpardonable piece of ill-breeding, all the original company
half started to their feet, and uttered the same rapid succession of
wild fiendish shrieks which had before caught the attention of the
seamen. The president, however, was the first to recover his
composure, and at length, turning to Legs with great dignity,

"Most willingly will we gratify any reasonable curiosity on the part
of guests so illustrious, unbidden though they be. Know then that in
these dominions I am monarch, and here rule with undivided empire
under the title of 'King Pest the First.'

"This apartment which you no doubt profanely suppose to be the shop of
Will Wimble the undertaker--a man whom we know not, and whose plebeian
appellation has never before this night thwarted our royal ears--this
apartment, I say, is the Dais-Chamber of our Palace, devoted to the
councils of our kingdom, and to other sacred and lofty purposes.

"The noble lady who sits opposite is Queen Pest, and our Serene
Consort. The other exalted personages whom you behold are all of our
family, and wear the insignia of the blood royal under the respective
titles of 'His Grace the Arch Duke Pest-Iferous'--'His Grace the Duke
Pest-Ilential'--'His Grace the Duke Tem-Pest'--and 'Her Serene
Highness the Arch Duchess Ana-Pest.'

"As regards"--continued he--"your demand of the business upon which we
sit here in council, we might be pardoned for replying that it
concerns, and concerns alone, our own private and regal interest, and
is in no manner important to any other than ourself. But in
consideration of those rights to which as guests and strangers you may
feel yourselves entitled, we will furthermore explain that we are here
this night, prepared by deep research and accurate investigation, to
examine, analyze, and thoroughly determine the indefinable spirit--the
incomprehensible qualities and nare--of those inestimable treasures of
the palate, the wines, ales, and liqueurs of this goodly metropolis:
by so doing to advance not more our own designs than the true welfare
of that unearthly sovereign whose reign is over us all--whose
dominions are unlimited--and whose name is 'Death.'"

"Whose name is Davy Jones!"--ejaculated Tarpaulin, helping the lady by
his side to a skull of liqueur, and pouring out a second for himself.

"Profane varlet!"--said the president, now turning his attention to
the worthy Hugh--"profane and execrable wretch!--we have said, that in
consideration of those rights which, even in thy filthy person, we
feel no inclination to violate, we have condescended to make reply to
your rude and unseasonable inquiries. We, nevertheless, for your
unhallowed intrusion upon our councils, believe it our duty to mulct
you and your companion in each a gallon of Black Strap--having imbibed
which to the prosperity of our kingdom--at a single draught--and upon
your bended knees--you shall be forthwith free either to proceed upon
your way, or remain and be admitted to the privileges of our table,
according to your respective and individual pleasures."

"It would be a matter of utter unpossibility"--replied Legs, whom the
assumptions and dignity of King Pest the First had evidently inspired
with some feelings of respect, and who arose and steadied himself by
the table as he spoke--"it would, please your majesty, be a matter of
utter unpossibility to stow away in my hold even one-fourth of that
same liquor which your majesty has just mentioned. To say nothing of
the stuffs placed on board in the forenoon by way of ballast, and not
to mention the various ales and liqueurs shipped this evening at
different sea-ports, I am, at present, full up to the throat of
'humming-stuff' taken in and duly paid for at the sign of the 'Jolly
Tar.' You will, therefore, please your majesty, be so good as take the
will for the deed--for by no manner of means either can I or will I
swallow another drop--least of all a drop of that villanous bilge-
water that answers to the hail of 'Black Strap.'"

"Belay that!"--interrupted Tarpaulin, astonished not more at the
length of his companion's speech than at the nature of his refusal--
"Belay that you lubber!--and I say, Legs, none of your palaver! My
hull is still light, although I confess you yourself seem to be a
little top-heavy; and as for the matter of your share of the cargo,
why rather than raise a squall I would find stowage-room for it
myself, but"--

"This proceeding"--interposed the president--"is by no means in
accordance with the terms of the mulct or sentence, which is in its
nature Median, and not to be altered or recalled. The conditions we
have imposed must be fulfilled to the letter, and that without a
moment's hesitation--in failure of which fulfilment we decree that you
do here be tied neck and heels together, and duly drowned as rebels in
yon hogshead of October beer!"

"A sentence!--a sentence!--a righteous and just sentence!--a glorious
decree!--a most worthy and upright, and holy condemnation!"--shouted
the Pest family altogether. The king elevated his forehead into
innumerable wrinkles--the gouty little old man puffed like a pair of
bellows--the lady of the winding sheet waved her nose to and fro--the
gentleman in the cotton drawers pricked up his ears--she of the shroud
gasped like a dying fish--and he of the coffin looked stiff and rolled
up his eyes.

"Ugh! ugh! ugh!"--chuckled Tarpaulin without heeding the general
excitation--"ugh! ugh! ugh!--ugh! ugh! ugh! ugh!--ugh! ugh! ugh! I was
saying,"--said he, "I was saying when Mr. King Pest poked in his
marling-spike, that as for the matter of two or three gallons more or
less Black Strap, it was a trifle to a tight sea-boat like myself not
overstowed--but when it comes to drinking the health of the Devil--
whom God assoilzie--and going down upon my marrow bones to his ill-
favored majesty there, whom I know, as well as I know myself to be a
sinner, to be nobody in the whole world but Tim Hurlygurly, the
stageplayer--why! its quite another guess sort of a thing, and utterly
and altogether past my comprehension."

He was not allowed to finish this speech in tranquillity. At the name
of Tim Hurlygurly the whole assembly leaped from their seats.

"Treason!" shouted his Majesty King Pest the First.

"Treason!" said the little man with the gout.

"Treason!" screamed the Arch Duchess Ana-Pest.

"Treason!" muttered the gentleman with his jaws tied up.

"Treason!" growled he of the coffin.

"Treason! Treason!" shrieked her majesty of the mouth; and, seizing by
the hinder part of his breeches the unfortunate Tarpaulin, who had
just commenced pouring out for himself a skull of liqueur, she lifted
him high up into the air, and dropped him without ceremony into the
huge open puncheon of his beloved ale. Bobbing up and down, for a few
seconds, like an apple in a bowl of toddy, he, at length, finally
disappeared amid the whirlpool of foam which, in the already
effervescent liquor, his struggles easily succeeded in creating.

Not tamely however did the tall seaman behold the discomfiture of his
companion. Jostling King Pest through the open trap, the valiant Legs
slammed the door down upon him with an oath, and strode towards the
centre of the room. Here tearing down the huge skeleton which swung
over the table, he laid it about him with so much energy and good
will, that, as the last glimpses of light died away within the
apartment, he succeeded in knocking out the brains of the little
gentleman with the gout. Rushing then with all his force against the
fatal hogshead full of October ale and Hugh Tarpaulin, he rolled it
over and over in an instant. Out burst a deluge of liquor so fierce--
so impetuous--so overwhelming--that the room was flooded from wall to
wall--the loaded table was overturned--the tressels were thrown upon
their backs--the tub of punch into the fire-place--and the ladies into
hysterics. Jugs, pitchers, and carboys mingled promiscuously in the
mele, and wicker flagons encountered desperately with bottles of
junk. Piles of death-furniture floundered about. Skulls floated en
masse--hearse-plumes nodded to escutcheons--the man with the horrors
was drowned upon the spot--the little stiff gentleman sailed off in
his coffin--and the victorious Legs, seizing by the waist the fat lady
in the shroud, scudded out into the street, followed under easy sail
by the redoubtable Hugh Tarpaulin, who, having sneezed three or four
times, panted and puffed after him with the Arch Duchess Ana-Pest. 4.
The description here given, of the condition of the banned districts,
at the period spoken of, is positively not exaggerated.


I presume every body has heard of me. My name is the Signora Psyche
Zenobia. This I know to be a fact. Nobody but my enemies ever calls me
Suky Snobbs. I have been assured that Suky is but a vulgar corruption
of Psyche, which is good Greek, and means "the soul"--(that's me, I'm
all soul)--and sometimes "a butterfly," which latter meaning alludes
to my appearance in my new crimson satin dress, with the sky-blue
Arabian mantelet, and the trimmings of green agraffas, and the seven
flounces of orange-colored auriculas. As for Snobbs--any person who
should look at me would be instantly aware that my name was'nt Snobbs.
Miss Tabitha Turnip propagated that report through sheer envy. Tabitha
Turnip indeed! Oh the little wretch! But what can we expect from a
turnip? Wonder if she remembers the old adage about "blood out of a
turnip," [Mem: put her in mind of it the first opportunity.] [Mem
again--pull her nose.] Where was I? Ah! I have been assured that
Snobbs is a mere corruption of Zenobia, and that Zenobia was a queen
(So am I. Dr. Moneypenny, always calls me the Queen of Hearts) and
that Zenobia, as well as Psyche, is good Greek, and that my father was
"a Greek," and that consequently I have a right to our original
patronymic, which is Zenobia, and not by any means Snobbs. Nobody but
Tabitha Turnip calls me Suky Snobbs. I am the Signora Psyche Zenobia.

As I said before, every body has heard of me. I am that very Signora
Psyche Zenobia, so justly celebrated as corresponding secretary to the
"Philadelphia, Regular-Exchange, Tea-Total, Young, Belles-Lettres,
Universal, Experimental, Bibliographical Association to Civilize
Humanity." Dr. Moneypenny made the title for us, and says he chose it
because it sounded big like an empty rum-puncheon. (A vulgar man that
sometimes--but he's deep.) We all sign the initials of the society
after our names, in the fashion of the R.S.A., Royal Society of Arts--
the S.D.U.K., Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, Dr.
Moneypenny says that S stands for stale, and that D. U. K. spells
duck, (but it don't,) and that S.D.U.K. stands for Stale Duck, and not
for Lord Brougham's society--but then Dr. Moneypenny is such a queer
man that I am never sure when he is telling me the truth. At any rate
we always add to our names the initials P.R.E.T.T.Y.B.L.U.E.B.A.T.C.H.--
that is to say, Philadelphia Regular-Exchange, Tea-Total, Young,
Belles-Lettres, Universal, Experimental, Bibliographical, Association,
To, Civilize, Humanity--one letter for each word, which is a decided
improvement upon Lord Brougham. Dr. Moneypenny will have it that our
initials give our true character--but for my life I can't see what he

Notwithstanding the good offices of Dr. Moneypenny, and the strenuous
exertions of the association to get itself into notice, it met with no
very great success until I joined it. The truth is, members indulged
in too flippant a tone of discussion. The papers read every Saturday
evening were characterized less by depth than buffoonery. They were
all whipped syllabub. There was no investigation of first causes,
first principles. There was no investigation of anything at all. There
was no attention paid to that great point the "fitness of things." In
short, there was no fine writing like this. It was all low--very! No
profundity, no reading, no metaphysics--nothing which the learned call
spirituality, and which the unlearned choose to stigmatise as cant.
[Dr. M. says I ought to spell "cant" with a capital K--but I know

When I joined the society it was my endeavor to introduce a better
style of thinking and writing, and all the world knows how well I have
succeeded. We get up as good papers now in the P.R.E.T.T.Y.
B.L.U.E.B.A.T.C.H. as any to be found even in Blackwood. I say,
Blackwood, because I have been assured that the finest writing upon
every subject, is to be discovered in the pages of that justly
celebrated Magazine. We now take it for our model upon all themes, and
are getting into rapid notice accordingly. And, after all, it's not so
very difficult a matter to compose an article of the genuine Blackwood
stamp, if one only goes properly about it. Of course I don't speak of
the political articles. Every body knows how they are managed, since
Dr. Moneypenny explained it. Mr. Blackwood has a pair of tailor's
shears, and three apprentices who stand by him for orders. One hands
him the "Times," another the "Examiner," and a third a "Gulley's New
Compendium of SlangWhang." Mr. B. merely cuts out and intersperses. It
is soon done--nothing but Examiner, SlangWhang, and Times--then Times,
Slang-Whang, and Examiner--and then Times, Examiner, and SlangWhang.

But the chief merit of the Magazine lies in its miscellaneous
articles; and the best of these come under the head of what Dr.
Moneypenny calls the bizarreries (whatever that may mean) and what
every body else calls the intensities. This is a species of writing
which I have long known how to appreciate, although it is only since
my late visit to Mr. Blackwood (deputed by the society) that I have
been made aware of the exact method of composition. This method is
very simple, but not so much so as the politics. Upon my calling at
Mr. B.'s, and making known to him the wishes of the society, he
received me with great civility, took me into his study, and gave me a
clear explanation of the whole process.

"My dear madam," said he, evidently struck with my majestic
appearance, for I had on the crimson satin, with the green agraffas,
and orange-colored auriculas--"My dear madam," said he, "sit down. The
matter stands thus. In the first place, your writer of intensities
must have very black ink, and a very big pen, with a very blunt nib.
And, mark me, Miss Psyche Zenobia!" he continued, after a pause, with
the most impressive energy and solemnity of manner, "mark me!--that
pen--must--never be mended! Herein, madam, lies the secret, the soul,
of intensity. I assume it upon myself to say, that no individual, of
however great genius, ever wrote with a good pen, understand me, a
good article. You may take it for granted, madam, that when a
manuscript can be read it is never worth reading. This is a leading
principle in our faith, to which if you cannot readily assent, our
conference is at an end."

He paused. But, of course, as I had no wish to put an end to the
conference, I assented to a proposition so very obvious, and one, too,
of whose truth I had all along been sufficiently aware. He seemed
pleased, and went on with his instructions.

"It may appear invidious in me, Miss Psyche Zenobia, to refer you to
any article, or set of articles, in the way of model or study; yet
perhaps I may as well call your attention to a few cases. Let me see.
There was 'The Dead Alive,' a capital thing!--the record of a
gentleman's sensations when entombed before the breath was out of his
body--full of tact, taste, terror, sentiment, metaphysics, and
erudition. You would have sworn that the writer had been born and
brought up in a coffin. Then we had the 'Confessions of an Opium-
eater'--fine, very fine!--glorious imagination--deep philosophy--acute
speculation--plenty of fire and fury, and a good spicing of the
decidedly unitelligible. That was a nice bit of flummery, and went
down the throats of the people delightfully. They would have it that
Coleridge wrote the paper--but not so. It was composed by my pet
baboon, Juniper, over a rummer of Hollands and water, hot, without
sugar. [This I could scarcely have believed had it been any body but
Mr. Blackwood, who assured me of it.] Then there was 'The Involuntary
Experimentalist,' all about a gentleman who got baked in an oven, and
came out alive and well, although certainly done to a turn. And then
there was 'The Diary of a Late Physician,' where the merit lay in good
rant, and indifferent Greek--both of them taking things, with the
public. And then there was 'The Man in the Bell,' a paper by-the-bye,
Miss Zenobia, which I cannot sufficiently recommend to your attention.
It is the history of a young person who goes to sleep under the
clapper of a church bell, and is awakened by its tolling for a
funeral. The sound drives him mad, and, accordingly, pulling out his
tablets, he gives a record of his sensations. Sensations are the great
things after all. Should you ever be drowned or hung, be sure and make
a note of your sensations--they will be worth to you ten guineas a
sheet. If you wish to write forcibly, Miss Zenobia, pay minute
attention to the sensations."

"That I certainly will, Mr. Blackwood," said I.

"Good!" he replied. "I see you are a pupil after my own heart. But I
must put you au fait to the details necessary in composing what may be
denominated a genuine Blackwood article of the sensation stamp--the
kind which you will understand me to say I consider the best for all

"The first thing requisite is to get yourself into such a scrape as no
one ever got into before. The oven, for instance--that was a good hit.
But if you have no oven, or big bell, at hand, and if you cannot
conveniently tumble out of a balloon, or be swallowed up in an
earthquake, or get stuck fast in a chimney, you will have to be
contented with simply imagining some similar misadventure. I should
prefer, however, that you have the actual fact to bear you out.
Nothing so well assists the fancy, as an experimental knowledge of the
matter in hand. 'Truth is strange,' you know, 'stranger than
fiction'--besides being more to the purpose."

Here I assured him I had an excellent pair of garters, and would go
and hang myself forthwith.

"Good!" he replied, "do so--although hanging is somewhat hacknied.
Perhaps you might do better. Take a dose of Morrison's pills, and then
give us your sensations. However, my instructions will apply equally
well to any variety of misadventure, and in your way home you may
easily get knocked in the head, or run over by an omnibus, or bitten
by a mad dog, or drowned in a gutter. But, to proceed.

"Having determined upon your subject, you must next consider the tone,
or manner, of your narration. There is the tone didactic, the tone
enthusiastic, the tone sentimental, and the tone natural--all
commonplace enough. But then there is the tone laconic, or curt, which
has lately come much into use. It consists in short sentences. Somehow
thus: Can't be too brief. Can't be too snappish. Always a full stop.
And never a paragraph.

"Then there is the tone elevated, diffusive, and interjectional. Some
of our best novelists patronize this tone. The words must be all in a
whirl, like a humming-top, and make a noise very similar, which
answeres remarkably well instead of meaning. This is the best of all
possible styles where the writer is in too great a hurry to think.

"The tone mystic is also a good one--but requires some skill in the
handling. The beauty of this lies in a knowledge of innuendo. Hint
all, and assert nothing. If you desire to say 'bread and butter,' do
not by any means say it outright. You may say anything and everything
approaching to 'bread and butter.' You may hint at 'buckwheat cake,'
or you may even go as far as to insinuate 'oatmeal porridge,' but, if
'bread and butter' is your real meaning, be cautious, my dear Miss
Psyche, not on any account to say 'bread and butter.'"

I assured him that I would never say it again as long as I lived. He

"There are various other tones of equal celebrity, but I shall only
mention two more, the tone metaphysical, and the tone heterogeneous.
In the former, the merit consists in seeing into the nature of affairs
a very great deal farther than any body else. This second sight is
very efficient when properly managed. A little reading of Coleridge's
Table-Talk will carry you a great way. If you know any big words this
is your chance for them. Talk of the Academy and the Lyceum, and say
something about the Ionic and Italic schools, or about Bossarion, and
Kant, and Schelling, and Fitche, and be sure you abuse a man called
Locke, and bring in the words a priori and a posteriori. As for the
tone heterogeneous, it is merely a judicious mixture, in equal
proportions, of all the other tones in the world, and is consequently
made up of everything deep, great, odd, piquant, perinent, and pretty.

"Let us suppose now you have determined upon your incidents and tone.
The most important portion, in fact the soul of the whole business, is
yet to be attended to--I allude to the filling up. It is not to be
supposed that a lady or gentleman either has been leading the life of
a bookworm. And yet above all things is it necessary that your article
have an air of erudition, or at least afford evidence of extensive
general reading. Now I'll put you in the way of accomplishing this
point. See here! (pulling down some three or four ordinary looking
volumes, and opening them at random.) By casting your eye down almost
any page of any book in the world, you will be able to perceive at
once a host of little scraps of either learning or bel-esprit-ism
which are the very thing for the spicing of a Blackwood article. You
might as well note down a few while I read them to you. I shall make
two divisions: first, Piquant Facts for the Manufacture of Similes;
and second, Piquant Expressions to be introduced as occasion may
require. Write now!--" and I wrote as he dictated.

"Piquant Facts for Similes. 'There were originally but three muses--
Melete, Mneme, and Aoede--meditation, memory, and singing.' You may
make a great deal of that little fact if properly worked. You see it
is not generally known, and looks recherch. You must be careful and
give the thing with a downright improviso air.

"Again. 'The river Alpheus passed beneath the sea, and emerged without
injury to the purity of its waters.' Rather stale that, to be sure,
but, if properly dressed and dished up, will look quite as fresh as

"Here is something better. 'The Persian Iris appears to some persons
to possess a sweet and very powerful perfume, while to others it is
perfectly scentless.' Fine that, and very delicate! Turn it about a
little, and it will do wonders. We'll have something else in the
botanical line. There's nothing goes down so well, especially with the
help of a little Latin. Write!

"'The Epidendrum Flos Aeris, of Java, bears a very beautiful flower,
and will live when pulled up by the roots. The natives suspend it by a
cord from the ceiling, and enjoy its fragrance for years.' That's
capital! That will do for the similes. Now for the Piquant

Piquant Expressions. 'The venerable Chinese novel Ju-Kiao-Li.' Good!
By introducing these few words with dexterity you will evince your
intimate acquaintance with the language and literature of the Chinese.
With the aid of this you may possibly get along without either Arabic,
or Sanscrit, or Chickasaw. There is no passing muster, however,
without French, Spanish, Italian, German, Latin, and Greek. I must
look you out a little specimen of each. Any scrap will answer, because
you must depend upon your own ingenuity to make it fit into your
article. Now write!

"'Aussi tendre que Zaire'--as tender as Zaire--French. Alludes to the
frequent repetition of the phrase, la tendre Zaire, in the French
tragedy of that name. Properly introduced, will show not only your
knowledge of the language, but your general reading and wit. You can
say, for instance, that the chicken you were eating (write an article
about being choked to death by a chicken-bone) was not altogether
aussi tendre que Zaire. Write! 'Van muerte tan escondida, Que no te
sienta venir, Porque el plazer del morir No me torne a dar la vida.'
That's Spanish--from Miguel de Cervantes. 'Come quickly O death! but
be sure and don't let me see you coming, lest the pleasure I shall
feel at your appearance should unfortunately bring me back again to
life.' This you may slip in quite  propos when you are struggling in
the last agonies with the chicken-bone. Write! 'I'l pover 'huomo che
non s'en era accorto, Andava combattendo, e era morto.' That's
Italian, you perceive--from Ariosto. It means that a great hero, in
the heat of combat, not perceiving that he had been fairly killed,
continued to fight valiantly, dead as he was. The application of this
to your own case is obvious--for I trust, Miss Psyche, that you will
not neglect to kick for at least an hour and a half after you have
been choked to death by that chicken-bone. Please to write! 'Und
sterb'ich doch, so sterb'ich denn Durch sie--durch sie!' That's
German--from Schiller. 'And if I die, at least I die--for thee--for
thee!' Here it is clear that you are apostrophising the cause of your
disaster, the chicken. Indeed what gentleman (or lady either) of
sense, would'nt die, I should like to know, for a well fattened capon
of the right Molucca breed, stuffed with capers and mushrooms, and
served up in a salad-bowl, with orange-jellies en mosaiques. Write!
(You can get them that way at Tortoni's,) write, if you please!

"Here is a nice little Latin phrase, and rare too, (one can't be too
recherch or brief in one's Latin, it's getting so common.) Ignoratio
elenchi. He has committed an ignoratio elenchi--that is to say, he has
understood the words of your proposition, but not the ideas. The man
was a fool, you see. Some poor fellow whom you addressed while choking
with that chicken-bone, and who therefore did'nt precisely understand
what you were talking about. Throw the ignoratio elenchi in his teeth,
and, at once, you have him annihilated. If he dares to reply, you can
tell him from Lucan (here it is) that his speeches are mere anemonoe
verborum, anemone words. The anemone, with great brillancy, has no
smell. Or, if he begins to bluster, you may be down upon him with
insomnia Jovis, reveries of Jupiter--a phrase which Silius Italicus
(see here!) applies to thoughts pompous and inflated. This will be
sure and cut him to the heart. He can do nothing but roll over and
die. Will you be kind enough to write.

"In Greek we must have something pretty from Demosthenes--for example,
[Aner o pheogon kai palin makesetai.] There is a tolerably good
translation of it in Hudibras--"

For he that flies may fight again,
Which he can never do that's slain.

"In a Blackwood article nothing makes so fine a show as your Greek.
The very letters have an air of profundity about them. Only observe,
madam, the acute look of that Epsilon! That Phi ought certainly to be
a bishop! Was ever there a smarter fellow than that Omicron? Just twig
that Tau! In short, there's nothing like Greek for a genuine
sensation-paper. In the present case your application is the most
obvious thing in the world. Rap out the sentence, with a huge oath,
and by way of ultimatum, at the good-for-nothing dunder-headed villain
who couldn't understand your plain English in relation to the chicken-
bone. He'll take the hint and be off, you may depend upon it."

These were all the instructions Mr.B. could afford me upon the topic
in question, but I felt they would be entirely sufficient. I was, at
length, able to write a genuine Blackwood article, and determined to
do it forthwith. In taking leave of me, Mr. B. made a proposition for
the purchase of the paper when written; but, as he could only offer me
fifty guineas a sheet, I thought it better to let our society have it,
than sacrifice it for so trivial a sum. Notwithstanding this niggardly
spirit, however, the gentleman showed his consideration for me in all
other respects, and indeed treated me with the greatest civility. His
parting words made a deep impression upon my heart, and I hope I shall
always remember them with gratitude.

"My dear Miss Zenobia," he said, while tears stood in his eyes, "is
there anything else I can do to promote the success of your laudable
undertaking? Let me reflect! It is just possible that you may not be
able, as soon as convenient, to--to--get yourself drowned, or--choked
with a chicken-bone, or--or hung,--or--bitten by a--but stay! Now I
think me of it, there are a couple of very excellent bull-dogs in the
yard--fine fellows, I assure you--savage, and all that--indeed just
the thing for your money--they'll have you eaten up, auriculas and
all, in less than five minutes (here's my watch!)--and then only think
of the sensations! Here! I say--Tom!--Peter!--Dick, you villain!--let
out those"--but as I was really in a great hurry, and had not another
moment to spare, I was reluctantly forced to expedite my departure,
and accordingly took my leave at once--somewhat more abruptly, I
admit, than strict courtesy would have, otherwise, allowed.

It was my primary object, upon quitting Mr. Blackwood, to get into
some immediate difficulty, pursuant to his advice, and with this view
I spent a greater part of the day in wandering about Edinburgh,
seeking for desperate adventures--adventures adequate to the intensity
of my feelings, and adapted to the vast character of the article I
intended to write. In this excursion I was attended by my negro-
servant Pompey, and my little lap-dog Diana, whom I had brought with
me from Philadelphia. It was not, however, until late in the afternoon
that I fully succeeded in my arduous undertaking. An important event
then happened, of which the following Blackwood article, in the tone
heterogeneous, is the substance and result.


It was a quiet and still afternoon when I strolled forth in the goodly
city of Edina. The confusion and bustle in the streets were terrible.
Men were talking. Women were screaming. Children were choking. Pigs
were whistling. Carts they rattled. Bulls they bellowed. Cows they
lowed. Horses they neighed. Cats they caterwauled. Dogs they danced.
Danced! Could it then be possible? Danced! Alas! thought I, my dancing
days are over! Thus it is ever. What a host of gloomy recollections
will ever and anon be awakened in the mind of genius and imaginative
contemplation, especially of a genius doomed to the everlasting, and
eternal, and continual, and, as one might say, the continued--yes, the
continued and continuous, bitter, harassing, disturbing, and, if I may
be allowed the expression, the very disturbing influence of the
serene, and godlike, and heavenly, and exalting, and elevated, and
purifying effect of what may be rightly termed the most enviable, the
most truly enviable--nay! the most benignly beautiful, the most
deliciously ethereal, and, as it were, the most pretty (if I may use
so bold an expression) thing (pardon me, gentle reader!) in the
world--but I am led away by my feelings. In such a mind, I repeat,
what a host of recollections are stirred up by a trifle! The dogs
danced! I--I could not! They frisked. I wept. They capered. I sobbed
aloud. Touching circumstances! which cannot fail to bring to the
recollection of the classical reader that exquisite passage in
relation to the fitness of things which is to be found in the
commencement of the third volume of that admirable and venerable
Chinese novel, the Jo-Go-Slow.

In my solitary walk through the city I had two humble but faithful
companions. Diana, my poodle! sweetest of creatures! She had a
quantity of hair over her one eye, and a blue ribband tied fashionably
around her neck. Diana was not more than five inches in height, but
her head was somewhat bigger than her body, and her tail, being cut
off exceedingly close, gave an air of injured innocence to the
interesting animal which rendered her a favorite with all.

And Pompey, my negro!--sweet Pompey! how shall I ever forget thee? I
had taken Pompey's arm. He was three feet in height (I like to be
particular) and about seventy, or perhaps eighty, years of age. He had
bow-legs and was corpulent. His mouth should not be called small, nor
his ears short. His teeth, however, were like pearl, and his large
full eyes were deliciously white. Nature had endowed him with no neck,
and had placed his ankles (as usual with that race) in the middle of
the upper portion of the feet. He was clad with a striking simplicity.
His sole garments were a stock of nine inches in height, and a nearly-
new drab overcoat which had formerly been in the service of the tall,
stately, and illustrious Dr. Moneypenny. It was a good overcoat. It
was well cut. It was well made. The coat was nearly new. Pompey held
it up out of the dirt with both hands.

There were three persons in our party, and two of them have already
been the subject of remark. There was a third--that third person was
myself. I am the Signora Psyche Zenobia. I am not Suky Snobbs. My
appearance is commanding. On the memorable occasion of which I speak I
was habited in a crimson satin dress, with a sky-blue Arabian
mantelet. And the dress had trimmings of green agraffas, and seven
graceful flounces of the orangecolored auricula. I thus formed the
third of the party. There was the poodle. There was Pompey. There was
myself. We were three. Thus it is said there were originally but three
Furies--Melty, Nimmy and Hetty--Meditation, Memory, and Singing.

Leaning upon the arm of the gallant Pompey, and attended at a
respectful distance by Diana, I proceeded down one of the populous and
very pleasant streets of the now deserted Edina. On a sudden, there
presented itself to view a church--a Gothic cathedral--vast,
venerable, and with a tall steeple, which towered into the sky. What
madness now possessed me? Why did I rush upon my fate? I was seized
with an uncontrollable desire to ascend the giddy pinnacle and thence
survey the immense extent of the city. The door of the cathedral stood
invitingly open. My destiny prevailed. I entered the ominous archway.
Where then was my guardian angel?--if indeed such angels there be. If!
Distressing monosyllable! what a world of mystery, and meaning, and
doubt, and uncertainty is there involved in thy two letters! I entered
the ominous archway! I entered; and, without injury to my orange-
colored auriculas, I passed beneath the portal, and emerged within the
vestibule! Thus it is said the immense river Alceus passed unscathed,
and unwetted, beneath the sea.

I thought the staircases would never have an end. Round! Yes they went
round and up, and round and up, and round and up, until I could not
help surmising with the sagacious Pompey, upon whose supporting arm I
leaned in all the confidence of early affection--I could not help
surmising that the upper end of the continuous spiral ladder had been
accidentally, or perhaps designedly, removed. I paused for breath;
and, in the meantime, an incident occurred of too momentous a nature
in a moral, and also in a metaphysical point of view, to be passed
over without notice. It appeared to me--indeed I was quite confident
of the fact--I could not be mistaken--no! I had, for some moments,
carefully and anxiously observed the motions of my Diana--I say that I
could not be mistaken--Diana smelt a rat! I called Pompey's attention
to the subject, and he--he agreed with me. There was then no longer
any reasonable room for doubt. The rat had been smelled--and by Diana.
Heavens! shall I ever forget the intense excitement of that moment?
Alas! what is the boasted intellect of man? The rat!--it was there--
that is to say, it was somewhere. Diana smelled the rat. I--I could
not! Thus it is said the Prussian Isis has, for some persons, a sweet
and very powerful perfume, while to others it is perfectly scentless.

The staircase had been surmounted, and there were now only three or
four more upward steps intervening between us and the summit. We still
ascended, and now only one step remained. One step! One little, little
step! Upon one such little step in the great staircase of human life
how vast a sum of human happiness or misery often depends! I thought
of myself, and then of Pompey, and then of the mysterious and
inexplicable destiny which surrounded us. I thought of Pompey!--alas,
I thought of love! I thought of the many false steps which have been
taken, and may be taken again. I resolved to be more cautious, more
reserved. I abandoned the arm of Pompey, and, without his assistance,
surmounted the one remaining step, and gained the chamber of the
belfry. I was followed immediately afterwards by my poodle. Pompey
alone remained behind. I stood at the head of the staircase, and
encouraged him to ascend. He stretched forth to me his hand, and
unfortunately in so doing was forced to abandon his firm hold upon the
overcoat. Will the gods never cease their persecution? The overcoat it
dropped, and, with one of his feet, Pompey stepped upon the long and
trailing skirt of the overcoat. He stumbled and fell--this consequence
was inevitable. He fell forwards, and, with his accursed head,
striking me full in the--in the breast, precipitated me headlong,
together with himself, upon the hard, the filthy, the detestable floor
of the belfry. But my revenge was sure, sudden, and complete. Seizing
him furiously by the wool with both hands, I tore out a vast quantity
of the black, and crisp, and curling material, and tossed it from me
with every manifestation of disdain. It fell among the ropes of the
belfry and remained. Pompey arose, and said no word. But he regarded
me piteously with his large eyes and--sighed. Ye gods--that sigh! It
sunk into my heart. And the hair--the wool! Could I have reached that
wool I would have bathed it with my tears, in testimony of regret. But
alas! it was now far beyond my grasp. As it dangled among the cordage
of the bell, I fancied it still alive. I fancied that it stood on end
with indignation. Thus the happy dandy Flos Aeris of Java, bears, it
is said, a beautiful flower, which will live when pulled up by the
roots. The natives suspend it by a cord from the ceiling and enjoy its
fragrance for years.

Our quarrel was now made up, and we looked about the room for an
aperture through which to survey the city of Edina. Windows there were
none. The sole light admitted into the gloomy chamber proceeded from a
square opening, about a foot in diameter, at a height of about seven
feet from the floor. Yet what will the energy of true genius not
effect? I resolved to clamber up to this hole. A vast quantity of
wheels, pinions, and other cabalisticlooking machinery stood opposite
the hole, close to it; and through the hole there passed an iron rod
from the machinery. Between the wheels and the wall where the hole
lay, there was barely room for my body--yet I was desperate, and
determined to persevere. I called Pompey to my side.

"You perceive that aperture, Pompey. I wish to look through it. You
will stand here just beneath the hole--so. Now, hold out one of your
hands, Pompey, and let me step upon it--thus. Now, the other hand,
Pompey, and with its aid I will get upon your shoulders."

He did everything I wished, and I found, upon getting up, that I could
easily pass my head and neck through the aperture. The prospect was
sublime. Nothing could be more magnificent. I merely paused a moment
to bid Diana behave herself, and assure Pompey that I would be
considerate and bear as lightly as possible upon his shoulders. I told
him I would be tender of his feelings--ossi tender que Zaire. Having
done this justice to my faithful friend, I gave myself up with great
zest and enthusiasm to the enjoyment of the scene which so obligingly
spread itself out before my eyes.

Upon this subject, however, I shall forbear to dilate. I will not
describe the city of Edinburgh. Every one has been to Edinburgh--the
classic Edina. I will confine myself to the momentous details of my
own lamentable adventure. Having, in some measure, satisfied my
curiosity in regard to the extent, situation, and general appearance
of the city, I had leisure to survey the church in which I was, and
the delicate architecture of the steeple. I observed that the aperture
through which I had thrust my head was an opening in the dial-plate of
a gigantic clock, and must have appeared, from the street, as a large
keyhole, such as we see in the face of French watches. No doubt the
true object was to admit the arm of an attendant, to adjust, when
necessary, the hands of the clock from within. I observed also, with
surprise, the immense size of these hands, the longest of which could
not have been less than ten feet in length, and, where broadest, eight
or nine inches in breadth. They were of solid steel apparently, and
their edges appeared to be sharp. Having noticed these particulars,
and some others, I again turned my eyes upon the glorious prospect
below, and soon became absorbed in contemplation.

From this, after some minutes, I was aroused by the voice of Pompey,
who declared he could stand it no longer, and requested that I would
be so kind as to come down. This was unreasonable, and I told him so
in a speech of some length. He replied, but with an evident
misunderstanding of my ideas upon the subject. I accordingly grew
angry, and told him in plain words that he was a fool, that he had
committed an ignoramus e-clench-eye, that his notions were mere
insommary Bovis, and his words little better than an enemy-
werrybor'em. With this he appeared satisfied, and I resumed my

It might have been half an hour after this altercation, when, as I was
deeply absorbed in the heavenly scenery beneath me, I was startled by
something very cold which pressed with a gentle pressure upon the back
of my neck. It is needless to say that I felt inexpressibly alarmed. I
knew that Pompey was beneath my feet, and that Diana was sitting,
according to my explicit directions, upon her hind-legs in the
farthest corner of the room. What could it be? Alas! I but too soon
discovered. Turning my head gently to one side, I perceived, to my
extreme horror, that the huge, glittering, scimetar-like minutehand of
the clock, had, in the course of its hourly revolution, descended upon
my neck. There was, I knew, not a second to be lost. I pulled back at
once--but it was too late. There was no chance of forcing my head
through the mouth of that terrible trap in which it was so fairly
caught, and which grew narrower and narrower with a rapidity too
horrible to be conceived. The agony of that moment is not to be
imagined. I threw up my hands and endeavored with all my strength to
force upwards the ponderous iron bar. I might as well have tried to
lift the cathedral itself. Down, down, down it came, closer, and yet
closer. I screamed to Pompey for aid; but he said that I had hurt his
feelings by calling him "an ignorant old squint eye." I yelled to
Diana; but she only said "bow-wow-wow," and that "I had told her on no
account to stir from the corner." Thus I had no relief to expect from
my associates.

Meantime the ponderous and terrific Scythe of Time (for I now
discovered the literal import of that classical phrase) had not
stopped, nor was likely to stop, in its career. Down and still down,
it came. It had already buried its sharp edge a full inch in my flesh,
and my sensations grew indistinct and confused. At one time I fancied
myself in Philadelphia with the stately Dr. Moneypenny, at another in
the back parlor of Mr. Blackwood receiving his invaluable
instructions. And then again the sweet recollection of better and
earlier times came over me, and I thought of that happy period when
the world was not all a desert, and Pompey not altogether cruel.

The ticking of the machinery amused me. Amused me, I say, for my
sensations now bordered upon perfect happiness, and the most trifling
circumstances afforded me pleasure. The eternal click-clack,
clickclack, click-clack, of the clock was the most melodious of music
in my ears--and occasionally even put me in mind of the grateful
sermonic harangues of Dr. Morphine. Then there were the great figures
upon the dial-plate--how intelligent, how intellectual, they all
looked! And presently they took to dancing the Mazurka, and I think it
was the figure V who performed the most to my satisfaction. She was
evidently a lady of breeding. None of your swaggerers, and nothing at
all indelicate in her motions. She did the pirouette to admiration--
whirling round upon her apex. I made an endeavor to hand her a chair,
for I saw that she appeared fatigued with her exertions--and it was
not until then that I fully perceived my lamentable situation.
Lamentable indeed! The bar had buried itself two inches in my neck. I
was aroused to a sense of exquisite pain. I prayed for death, and, in
the agony of the moment, could not help repeating those exquisite
verses of the poet Miguel De Cervantes: Vanny Buren, tan escondida
Query no to senty venny Pork and pleasure, delly morry Nommy, torny,
darry, widdy!

But now a new horror presented itself, and one indeed sufficient to
startle the strongest nerves. My eyes, from the cruel pressure of the
machine, were absolutely starting from their sockets. While I was
thinking how I should possibly manage without them, one actually
tumbled out of my head, and, rolling down the steep side of the
steeple, lodged in the rain gutter which ran along the eaves of the
main building. The loss of the eye was not so much as the insolent air
of independence and contempt with which it regarded me after it was
out. There it lay in the gutter just under my nose, and the airs it
gave itself would have been ridiculous had they not been disgusting.
Such a winking and blinking were never before seen. This behavior on
the part of my eye in the gutter was not only irritating on account of
its manifest insolence and shameful ingratitude, but was also
exceedingly inconvenient on account of the sympathy which always
exists between two eyes of the same head, however far apart. I was
forced, in a manner, to wink and blink, whether I would or not, in
exact concert with the scoundrelly thing that lay just under my nose.
I was presently relieved, however, by the dropping out of the other
eye. In falling it took the same direction (possibly a concerted plot)
as its fellow. Both rolled out of the gutter together, and in truth I
was very glad to get rid of them.

The bar was now three inches and a half deep in my neck, and there was
only a little bit of skin to cut through. My sensations were those of
entire happiness, for I felt that in a few minutes, at farthest, I
should be relieved from my disagreeable situation. And in this
expectation I was not at all deceived. At twenty-five minutes past
five in the afternoon precisely, the huge minute-hand had proceeded
sufficiently far on its terrible revolution to sever the small
remainder of my neck. I was not sorry to see the head which had
occasioned me so much embarrassment at length make a final separation
from my body. It first rolled down the side of the steeple, then
lodged for a few seconds in the gutter, and then made its way, with a
plunge, into the middle of the street.

I will candidly confess that my feelings were now of the most
singular, nay of the most mysterious, the most perplexing and
incomprehensible character. My senses were here and there at one and
the same moment. With my head I imagined, at one time, that I, the
head, was the real Signora Psyche Zenobia--at another I felt convinced
that myself, the body, was the proper identity. To clear my ideas upon
this topic I felt in my pocket for my snuff-box, but, upon getting it,
and endeavoring to apply a pinch of its grateful contents in the
ordinary manner, I became immediately aware of my peculiar deficiency,
and threw the box at once down to my head. It took a pinch with great
satisfaction, and smiled me an acknowledgment in return. Shortly
afterwards it made me a speech, which I could hear but indistinctly
without my ears. I gathered enough, however, to know that it was
astonished at my wishing to remain alive under such circumstances. In
the concluding sentences it compared me to the hero in Ariosto, who,
in the heat of combat, not perceiving that he was dead, continued to
fight valiantly dead as he was. I remember that it used the precise
words of the poet:

Il pover hommy che non sera corty
And have a combat tenty erry morty.

There was nothing now to prevent my getting down from my elevation,
and I did so. What it was that Pompey saw so very peculiar in my
appearance I have never yet been able to find out. The fellow opened
his mouth from ear to ear, and shut his two eyes as if he was
endeavoring to crack nuts between the lids. Finally, throwing off his
overcoat, he made one spring for the staircase and--I never saw him
again. I hurled after the scoundrel those vehement words of

Andrew O'Phlegethon, you really make haste to fly, and then turned to
the darling of my heart, to the curtailed, the one-eyed, the shaggy-
haired Diana. Alas! what horrible vision affronted my eyes? Was that a
rat I saw skulking into his hole? Are these the picked bones of the
little angel who has been cruelly devoured by the monster? Ye Gods!
and what do I behold? Is--is that the departed spirit, the shade, the
ghost of my beloved puppy, which I perceive sitting with a grace and
face so melancholy, in the corner? Hearken! for she speaks, and,
heavens! it is in the German of Schiller--

"Unt stubby duk, so stubby dun
Duk she! duk she!"

Alas!--and are not her words too true?

And if I died at least I died
For thee--for thee.

Sweet creature! she too has sacrificed herself in my behalf! Dogless,
niggerless, headless, what now remains for the unhappy Signora
Psyche Zenobia?

Alas--nothing. I have done.



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