The Works of Edgar Allan Poe

Part 5 out of 5

The road, after passing the gate, seemed to lie upon a natural ledge,
sloping gradually down along the face of the north-eastern cliffs. It
led me on to the foot of the northern precipice, and thence over the
bridge, round by the eastern gable to the front door. In this
progress, I took notice that no sight of the out-houses could be

As I turned the corner of the gable, the mastiff bounded towards me
in stern silence, but with the eye and the whole air of a tiger. I
held him out my hand, however, in token of amity -- and I never yet
knew the dog who was proof against such an appeal to his courtesy. He
not only shut his mouth and wagged his tail, but absolutely offered
me his paw-afterward extending his civilities to Ponto.

As no bell was discernible, I rapped with my stick against the door,
which stood half open. Instantly a figure advanced to the threshold
-- that of a young woman about twenty-eight years of age -- slender,
or rather slight, and somewhat above the medium height. As she
approached, with a certain modest decision of step altogether
indescribable. I said to myself, "Surely here I have found the
perfection of natural, in contradistinction from artificial grace."
The second impression which she made on me, but by far the more vivid
of the two, was that of enthusiasm. So intense an expression of
romance, perhaps I should call it, or of unworldliness, as that which
gleamed from her deep-set eyes, had never so sunk into my heart of
hearts before. I know not how it is, but this peculiar expression of
the eye, wreathing itself occasionally into the lips, is the most
powerful, if not absolutely the sole spell, which rivets my interest
in woman. "Romance, provided my readers fully comprehended what I
would here imply by the word -- "romance" and "womanliness" seem to
me convertible terms: and, after all, what man truly loves in woman,
is simply her womanhood. The eyes of Annie (I heard some one from the
interior call her "Annie, darling!") were "spiritual grey;" her hair,
a light chestnut: this is all I had time to observe of her.

At her most courteous of invitations, I entered -- passing first into
a tolerably wide vestibule. Having come mainly to observe, I took
notice that to my right as I stepped in, was a window, such as those
in front of the house; to the left, a door leading into the principal
room; while, opposite me, an open door enabled me to see a small
apartment, just the size of the vestibule, arranged as a study, and
having a large bow window looking out to the north.

Passing into the parlor, I found myself with Mr. Landor -- for this,
I afterwards found, was his name. He was civil, even cordial in his
manner, but just then, I was more intent on observing the
arrangements of the dwelling which had so much interested me, than
the personal appearance of the tenant.

The north wing, I now saw, was a bed-chamber, its door opened into
the parlor. West of this door was a single window, looking toward the
brook. At the west end of the parlor, were a fireplace, and a door
leading into the west wing -- probably a kitchen.

Nothing could be more rigorously simple than the furniture of the
parlor. On the floor was an ingrain carpet, of excellent texture -- a
white ground, spotted with small circular green figures. At the
windows were curtains of snowy white jaconet muslin: they were
tolerably full, and hung decisively, perhaps rather formally in
sharp, parallel plaits to the floor -- just to the floor. The walls
were prepared with a French paper of great delicacy, a silver ground,
with a faint green cord running zig-zag throughout. Its expanse was
relieved merely by three of Julien's exquisite lithographs a trois
crayons, fastened to the wall without frames. One of these drawings
was a scene of Oriental luxury, or rather voluptuousness; another was
a "carnival piece," spirited beyond compare; the third was a Greek
female head -- a face so divinely beautiful, and yet of an expression
so provokingly indeterminate, never before arrested my attention.

The more substantial furniture consisted of a round table, a few
chairs (including a large rocking-chair), and a sofa, or rather
"settee;" its material was plain maple painted a creamy white,
slightly interstriped with green; the seat of cane. The chairs and
table were "to match," but the forms of all had evidently been
designed by the same brain which planned "the grounds;" it is
impossible to conceive anything more graceful.

On the table were a few books, a large, square, crystal bottle of
some novel perfume, a plain ground -- glass astral (not solar) lamp
with an Italian shade, and a large vase of resplendently-blooming
flowers. Flowers, indeed, of gorgeous colours and delicate odour
formed the sole mere decoration of the apartment. The fire-place was
nearly filled with a vase of brilliant geranium. On a triangular
shelf in each angle of the room stood also a similar vase, varied
only as to its lovely contents. One or two smaller bouquets adorned
the mantel, and late violets clustered about the open windows.

It is not the purpose of this work to do more than give in detail, a
picture of Mr. Landor's residence -- as I found it. How he made it
what it was -- and why -- with some particulars of Mr. Landor himself
-- may, possibly form the subject of another article.

~~~ End of Text ~~~



What say of it? what say of CONSCIENCE grim,
That spectre in my path?

_Chamberlayne'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

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. 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 is it therefore that he has
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 the descendant 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, Elizabethan house, 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. 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
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 and irregular. The grounds were
extensive, and a 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

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 did it inspire! 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 holy-days.

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 difficult,
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 "Dominic," 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, 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

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 outre. 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

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 ardor, 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
ascendancy over all not greatly older than myself; -- over all with a
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 everyday
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 is 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 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 behavior 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 was born
on the nineteenth of January, 1813 -- and this is a somewhat
remarkable coincidence; for the day is precisely that of my own

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 on
my part, and a veritable dignity on 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 me in 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 formed a motley and heterogeneous
admixture; -- some petulant animosity, which was not yet hatred, some
esteem, more respect, much fear, with a world of uneasy curiosity. To
the moralist 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 a more
serious and determined hostility. But my endeavours 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 faucal or guttural organs, which precluded him from
raising his voice at any time above a very low whisper. Of this
defect I did not fall 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 even singularly alike 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, 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 endeavours 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 master 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 toward me, and of his frequent officious
interference withy 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, to-day, have been a better,
and thus a happier man, had I less frequently rejected the counsels
embodied in those meaning whispers which I then but too cordially
hated and too bitterly despised.

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 of my having
been acquainted with the being who stood before me, 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
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 but a
single individual. One of these small apartments was occupied by

One night, about the close of my fifth year at the school, and
immediately after the altercation just mentioned, 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 long been 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 if 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 saw was the
result, merely, 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 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 chambers. 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 and 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 wonted profanity, when my attention was suddenly diverted
by the violent, although partial unclosing of the door of the
apartment, and by the eager voice of a servant from without. He said
that some person, apparently in great haste, demanded to speak with
me in the hall.

Wildly excited with wine, 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
the semi-circular window. As I put my foot over the threshold, I
became aware of the figure of a youth about my own height, and
habited in a white kerseymere 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.
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 bygone
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 Europe.

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 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 extravagance?

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 the 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 colouring, 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 ecarte!. 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, 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 an 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 pallor 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 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, 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 never-to-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 ecarte 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 wrapper."

While he spoke, so profound was the stillness that one might have
heard a pin drop upon the floor. In ceasing, he departed at once, 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 the court cards essential in ecarte, and, in the pockets of my
wrapper, a number of packs, facsimiles of those used at our sittings,
with the single exception that mine were of the species called,
technically, arrondees; the honours 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 length of the
pack, will invariably find that he cuts his antagonist an honor;
while the gambler, cutting at the breadth, will, as certainly, cut
nothing for his victim which may count in the records of the game.

Any burst of indignation upon this 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 an absurd degree of 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 then 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, if 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

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 at
Paris, my passionate love at Naples, or what he falsely termed my
avarice in Egypt, -- that in this, my arch-enemy and evil genius,
could fall to recognise the William Wilson of my school boy days, --
the namesake, the companion, the rival, -- the hated and dreaded
rival at Dr. Bransby's? Impossible! -- But let me hasten to the last
eventful scene of the drama.

Thus far I had succumbed supinely to this imperious domination. The
sentiment 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 an absolute phrenzy of wrath, I turned at once upon him who had
thus interrupted me, and seized him violently by tile collar. He was
attired, as I had expected, in a costume altogether similar to my
own; wearing a Spanish cloak of blue velvet, begirt about the waist
with a crimson belt sustaining a rapier. A mask of black silk
entirely covered his face.

"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 ball-room into a small ante-chamber 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 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 that 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,
-- so at first it seemed to me in my confusion -- 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 to meet me with a feeble and tottering

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.
His mask and cloak lay, where he had thrown them, upon the floor. Not
a thread in all his raiment -- not a line in all the marked and
singular lineaments of his face which was not, even in the most
absolute identity, mine own!

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, to Heaven and to Hope! In me didst thou
exist -- and, in my death, see by this image, which is thine own, how
utterly thou hast murdered thyself."

~~~ End of Text ~~~


The Tell-Tale Heart.

TRUE! - nervous - very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and
am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my
senses - not destroyed - not dulled them. Above all was the sense of
hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I
heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe
how healthily - how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once
conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none.
Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me.
He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think
it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture - a
pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my
blood ran cold; and so by degrees - very gradually - I made up my
mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye

Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you
should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded -
with what caution - with what foresight - with what dissimulation I
went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole
week before I killed him. And every night, about midnight, I turned
the latch of his door and opened it - oh so gently! And then, when I
had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern,
all closed, closed, that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my
head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in!
I moved it slowly - very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb
the old man's sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within
the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha!
would a madman have been so wise as this, And then, when my head was
well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously-oh, so cautiously -
cautiously (for the hinges creaked) - I undid it just so much that a
single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven
long nights - every night just at midnight - but I found the eye
always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was
not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye. And every morning,
when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber, and spoke
courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and
inquiring how he has passed the night. So you see he would have been
a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at
twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.

Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the
door. A watch's minute hand moves more quickly than did mine. Never
before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers - of my
sagacity. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. To think
that there I was, opening the door, little by little, and he not even
to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts. I fairly chuckled at the
idea; and perhaps he heard me; for he moved on the bed suddenly, as
if startled. Now you may think that I drew back - but no. His room
was as black as pitch with the thick darkness, (for the shutters were
close fastened, through fear of robbers,) and so I knew that he could
not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily,

I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb
slipped upon the tin fastening, and the old man sprang up in bed,
crying out - "Who's there?"

I kept quite still and said nothing. For a whole hour I did not move
a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down. He was
still sitting up in the bed listening; - just as I have done, night
after night, hearkening to the death watches in the wall.

Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of
mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief - oh, no! - it
was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul
when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. Many a night, just
at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own
bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted
me. I say I knew it well. I knew what the old man felt, and pitied
him, although I chuckled at heart. I knew that he had been lying
awake ever since the first slight noise, when he had turned in the
bed. His fears had been ever since growing upon him. He had been
trying to fancy them causeless, but could not. He had been saying to
himself - "It is nothing but the wind in the chimney - it is only a
mouse crossing the floor," or "It is merely a cricket which has made
a single chirp." Yes, he had been trying to comfort himself with
these suppositions: but he had found all in vain. All in vain;
because Death, in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow
before him, and enveloped the victim. And it was the mournful
influence of the unperceived shadow that caused him to feel -
although he neither saw nor heard - to feel the presence of my head
within the room.

When I had waited a long time, very patiently, without hearing him
lie down, I resolved to open a little - a very, very little crevice
in the lantern. So I opened it - you cannot imagine how stealthily,
stealthily - until, at length a simple dim ray, like the thread of
the spider, shot from out the crevice and fell full upon the vulture

It was open - wide, wide open - and I grew furious as I gazed upon
it. I saw it with perfect distinctness - all a dull blue, with a
hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones; but I
could see nothing else of the old man's face or person: for I had
directed the ray as if by instinct, precisely upon the damned spot.

And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but
over-acuteness of the sense? - now, I say, there came to my ears a
low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in
cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It was the beating of the old
man's heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum
stimulates the soldier into courage.

But even yet I refrained and kept still. I scarcely breathed. I held
the lantern motionless. I tried how steadily I could maintain the ray
upon the eve. Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. It
grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every instant. The
old man's terror must have been extreme! It grew louder, I say,
louder every moment! - do you mark me well I have told you that I am
nervous: so I am. And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the
dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this
excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet, for some minutes longer I
refrained and stood still. But the beating grew louder, louder! I
thought the heart must burst. And now a new anxiety seized me - the
sound would be heard by a neighbour! The old man's hour had come!
With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room.
He shrieked once - once only. In an instant I dragged him to the
floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to
find the deed so far done. But, for many minutes, the heart beat on
with a muffled sound. This, however, did not vex me; it would not be
heard through the wall. At length it ceased. The old man was dead. I
removed the bed and examined the corpse. Yes, he was stone, stone
dead. I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there many minutes.
There was no pulsation. He was stone dead. His eye would trouble me
no more.

If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I
describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body.
The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. First of all I
dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs.

I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and
deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so
cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye - not even his - could have
detected any thing wrong. There was nothing to wash out - no stain of
any kind - no blood-spot whatever. I had been too wary for that. A
tub had caught all - ha! ha!

When I had made an end of these labors, it was four o'clock - still
dark as midnight. As the bell sounded the hour, there came a knocking
at the street door. I went down to open it with a light heart, - for
what had I now to fear? There entered three men, who introduced
themselves, with perfect suavity, as officers of the police. A shriek
had been heard by a neighbour during the night; suspicion of foul
play had been aroused; information had been lodged at the police
office, and they (the officers) had been deputed to search the

I smiled, - for what had I to fear? I bade the gentlemen welcome. The
shriek, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I mentioned, was
absent in the country. I took my visitors all over the house. I bade
them search - search well. I led them, at length, to his chamber. I
showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed. In the enthusiasm of
my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here
to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of
my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath
which reposed the corpse of the victim.

The officers were satisfied. My manner had convinced them. I was
singularly at ease. They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they
chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale
and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my
ears: but still they sat and still chatted. The ringing became more
distinct: - It continued and became more distinct: I talked more
freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained
definiteness - until, at length, I found that the noise was not
within my ears.

No doubt I now grew _very_ pale; - but I talked more fluently, and
with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased - and what could I
do? It was a low, dull, quick sound - much such a sound as a watch
makes when enveloped in cotton. I gasped for breath - and yet the
officers heard it not. I talked more quickly - more vehemently; but
the noise steadily increased. I arose and argued about trifles, in a
high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily
increased. Why would they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro
with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the
men - but the noise steadily increased. Oh God! what could I do? I
foamed - I raved - I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been
sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all
and continually increased. It grew louder - louder - louder! And
still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Was it possible they
heard not? Almighty God! - no, no! They heard! - they suspected! -
they knew! - they were making a mockery of my horror!-this I thought,
and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything
was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those
hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! and
now - again! - hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!

"Villains!" I shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit the deed! - tear
up the planks! here, here! - It is the beating of his hideous heart!"

~~~ End of Text ~~~



Dicebant mihi sodales, si sepulchrum amicae visitarem, curas meas
aliquantulum forelevatas.

- _Ebn Zaiat_.

MISERY is manifold. The wretchedness of earth is multiform.
Overreaching the wide horizon as the rainbow, its hues are as various
as the hues of that arch - as distinct too, yet as intimately
blended. Overreaching the wide horizon as the rainbow! How is it that
from beauty I have derived a type of unloveliness? - from the
covenant of peace, a simile of sorrow? But as, in ethics, evil is a
consequence of good, so, in fact, out of joy is sorrow born. Either
the memory of past bliss is the anguish of to-day, or the agonies
which _are_, have their origin in the ecstasies which _might have

My baptismal name is Egaeus; that of my family I will not
mention. Yet there are no towers in the land more time-honored than
my gloomy, gray, hereditary halls. Our line has been called a race of
visionaries; and in many striking particulars - in the character of
the family mansion - in the frescos of the chief saloon - in the
tapestries of the dormitories - in the chiselling of some buttresses
in the armory - but more especially in the gallery of antique
paintings - in the fashion of the library chamber - and, lastly, in
the very peculiar nature of the library's contents - there is more
than sufficient evidence to warrant the belief.

The recollections of my earliest years are connected with that
chamber, and with its volumes - of which latter I will say no more.
Here died my mother. Herein was I born. But it is mere idleness to
say that I had not lived before - that the soul has no previous
existence. You deny it? - let us not argue the matter. Convinced
myself, I seek not to convince. There is, however, a remembrance of
aerial forms - of spiritual and meaning eyes - of sounds, musical yet
sad - a remembrance which will not be excluded; a memory like a
shadow - vague, variable, indefinite, unsteady; and like a shadow,
too, in the impossibility of my getting rid of it while the sunlight
of my reason shall exist.

In that chamber was I born. Thus awaking from the long night of
what seemed, but was not, nonentity, at once into the very regions of
fairy land - into a palace of imagination - into the wild dominions
of monastic thought and erudition - it is not singular that I gazed
around me with a startled and ardent eye - that I loitered away my
boyhood in books, and dissipated my youth in reverie; but it _is_
singular that as years rolled away, and the noon of manhood found me
still in the mansion of my fathers - it _is_ wonderful what
stagnation there fell upon the springs of my life - wonderful how
total an inversion took place in the character of my commonest
thought. The realities of the world affected me as visions, and as
visions only, while the wild ideas of the land of dreams became, in
turn, not the material of my every-day existence, but in very deed
that existence utterly and solely in itself.

* * * * * * *

Berenice and I were cousins, and we grew up together in my
paternal halls. Yet differently we grew - I, ill of health, and
buried in gloom - she, agile, graceful, and overflowing with energy;
hers, the ramble on the hill-side - mine the studies of the cloister;
I, living within my own heart, and addicted, body and soul, to the
most intense and painful meditation - she, roaming carelessly through
life, with no thought of the shadows in her path, or the silent
flight of the raven-winged hours. Berenice! -I call upon her name -
Berenice! - and from the gray ruins of memory a thousand tumultuous
recollections are startled at the sound! Ah, vividly is her image
before me now, as in the early days of her light-heartedness and joy!
Oh, gorgeous yet fantastic beauty! Oh, sylph amid the shrubberies of
Arnheim! Oh, Naiad among its fountains! And then - then all is
mystery and terror, and a tale which should not be told. Disease - a
fatal disease, fell like the simoon upon her frame; and, even while I
gazed upon her, the spirit of change swept over her, pervading her
mind, her habits, and her character, and, in a manner the most subtle
and terrible, disturbing even the identity of her person! Alas! the
destroyer came and went! - and the victim -where is she? I knew her
not - or knew her no longer as Berenice.

Among the numerous train of maladies superinduced by that fatal
and primary one which effected a revolution of so horrible a kind in
the moral and physical being of my cousin, may be mentioned as the
most distressing and obstinate in its nature, a species of epilepsy
not unfrequently terminating in _trance_ itself - trance very nearly
resembling positive dissolution, and from which her manner of
recovery was in most instances, startlingly abrupt. In the mean time
my own disease - for I have been told that I should call it by no
other appellation - my own disease, then, grew rapidly upon me, and
assumed finally a monomaniac character of a novel and extraordinary
form - hourly and momently gaining vigor - and at length obtaining
over me the most incomprehensible ascendancy. This monomania, if I
must so term it, consisted in a morbid irritability of those
properties of the mind in metaphysical science termed the
_attentive_. It is more than probable that I am not understood; but I
fear, indeed, that it is in no manner possible to convey to the mind
of the merely general reader, an adequate idea of that nervous
_intensity of interest_ with which, in my case, the powers of
meditation (not to speak technically) busied and buried themselves,
in the contemplation of even the most ordinary objects of the

To muse for long unwearied hours, with my attention riveted to
some frivolous device on the margin, or in the typography of a book;
to become absorbed, for the better part of a summer's day, in a
quaint shadow falling aslant upon the tapestry or upon the floor; to
lose myself, for an entire night, in watching the steady flame of a
lamp, or the embers of a fire; to dream away whole days over the
perfume of a flower; to repeat, monotonously, some common word, until
the sound, by dint of frequent repetition, ceased to convey any idea
whatever to the mind; to lose all sense of motion or physical
existence, by means of absolute bodily quiescence long and
obstinately persevered in: such were a few of the most common and
least pernicious vagaries induced by a condition of the mental
faculties, not, indeed, altogether unparalleled, but certainly
bidding defiance to anything like analysis or explanation.

Yet let me not be misapprehended. The undue, earnest, and morbid
attention thus excited by objects in their own nature frivolous, must
not be confounded in character with that ruminating propensity common
to all mankind, and more especially indulged in by persons of ardent
imagination. It was not even, as might be at first supposed, an
extreme condition, or exaggeration of such propensity, but primarily
and essentially distinct and different. In the one instance, the
dreamer, or enthusiast, being interested by an object usually _not_
frivolous, imperceptibly loses sight of this object in a wilderness
of deductions and suggestions issuing therefrom, until, at the
conclusion of a day dream _often replete with luxury_, he finds the
_incitamentum_, or first cause of his musings, entirely vanished and
forgotten. In my case, the primary object was _invariably frivolous_,
although assuming, through the medium of my distempered vision, a
refracted and unreal importance. Few deductions, if any, were made;
and those few pertinaciously returning in upon the original object as
a centre. The meditations were _never_ pleasurable; and, at the
termination of the reverie, the first cause, so far from being out of
sight, had attained that supernaturally exaggerated interest which
was the prevailing feature of the disease. In a word, the powers of
mind more particularly exercised were, with me, as I have said
before, the _attentive_, and are, with the day-dreamer, the

My books, at this epoch, if they did not actually serve to
irritate the disorder, partook, it will be perceived, largely, in
their imaginative and inconsequential nature, of the characteristic
qualities of the disorder itself. I well remember, among others, the
treatise of the noble Italian, Coelius Secundus Curio, "_De
Amplitudine Beati Regni Dei;_" St. Austin's great work, the "City of
God;" and Tertullian's "_De Carne Christi_," in which the paradoxical
sentence "_Mortuus est Dei filius; credible est quia ineptum est: et
sepultus resurrexit; certum est quia impossibile est,_" occupied my
undivided time, for many weeks of laborious and fruitless

Thus it will appear that, shaken from its balance only by trivial
things, my reason bore resemblance to that ocean-crag spoken of by
Ptolemy Hephestion, which steadily resisting the attacks of human
violence, and the fiercer fury of the waters and the winds, trembled
only to the touch of the flower called Asphodel. And although, to a
careless thinker, it might appear a matter beyond doubt, that the
alteration produced by her unhappy malady, in the _moral_ condition
of Berenice, would afford me many objects for the exercise of that
intense and abnormal meditation whose nature I have been at some
trouble in explaining, yet such was not in any degree the case. In
the lucid intervals of my infirmity, her calamity, indeed, gave me
pain, and, taking deeply to heart that total wreck of her fair and
gentle life, I did not fall to ponder, frequently and bitterly, upon
the wonder-working means by which so strange a revolution had been so
suddenly brought to pass. But these reflections partook not of the
idiosyncrasy of my disease, and were such as would have occurred,
under similar circumstances, to the ordinary mass of mankind. True to
its own character, my disorder revelled in the less important but
more startling changes wrought in the _physical_ frame of Berenice -
in the singular and most appalling distortion of her personal

During the brightest days of her unparalleled beauty, most surely
I had never loved her. In the strange anomaly of my existence,
feelings with me, _had never been_ of the heart, and my passions
_always were_ of the mind. Through the gray of the early morning -
among the trellised shadows of the forest at noonday - and in the
silence of my library at night - she had flitted by my eyes, and I
had seen her - not as the living and breathing Berenice, but as the
Berenice of a dream; not as a being of the earth, earthy, but as the
abstraction of such a being; not as a thing to admire, but to
analyze; not as an object of love, but as the theme of the most
abstruse although desultory speculation. And _now_ - now I shuddered
in her presence, and grew pale at her approach; yet, bitterly
lamenting her fallen and desolate condition, I called to mind that
she had loved me long, and, in an evil moment, I spoke to her of

And at length the period of our nuptials was approaching, when,
upon an afternoon in the winter of the year - one of those
unseasonably warm, calm, and misty days which are the nurse of the
beautiful Halcyon {*1}, - I sat, (and sat, as I thought, alone,) in
the inner apartment of the library. But, uplifting my eyes, I saw
that Berenice stood before me.

Was it my own excited imagination - or the misty influence of the
atmosphere - or the uncertain twilight of the chamber - or the gray
draperies which fell around her figure - that caused in it so
vacillating and indistinct an outline? I could not tell. She spoke no
word; and I - not for worlds could I have uttered a syllable. An icy
chill ran through my frame; a sense of insufferable anxiety oppressed
me; a consuming curiosity pervaded my soul; and sinking back upon the
chair, I remained for some time breathless and motionless, with my
eyes riveted upon her person. Alas! its emaciation was excessive, and
not one vestige of the former being lurked in any single line of the
contour. My burning glances at length fell upon the face.

The forehead was high, and very pale, and singularly placid; and
the once jetty hair fell partially over it, and overshadowed the
hollow temples with innumerable ringlets, now of a vivid yellow, and
jarring discordantly, in their fantastic character, with the reigning
melancholy of the countenance. The eyes were lifeless, and
lustreless, and seemingly pupilless, and I shrank involuntarily from
their glassy stare to he contemplation of the thin and shrunken
lips. They parted; and in a smile of peculiar meaning, _the teeth_ of
the changed Berenice disclosed themselves slowly to my view. Would to
God that I had never beheld them, or that, having done so, I had

* * * * * * *

The shutting of a door disturbed me, and, looking up, I found
that my cousin had departed from the chamber. But from the disordered
chamber of my brain, had not, alas! departed, and would not be driven
away, the white and ghastly _spectrum_ of the teeth. Not a speck on
their surface - not a shade on their enamel - not an indenture in
their edges - but what that period of her smile had sufficed to brand
in upon my memory. I saw them _now_ even more unequivocally than I
beheld them _then_. The teeth! - the teeth! - they were here, and
there, and everywhere, and visibly and palpably before me; long,
narrow, and excessively white, with the pale lips writhing about
them, as in the very moment of their first terrible development. Then
came the full fury of my _monomania_, and I struggled in vain against
its strange and irresistible influence. In the multiplied objects of
the external world I had no thoughts but for the teeth. For these I
longed with a phrenzied desire. All other matters and all different
interests became absorbed in their single contemplation. They - they
alone were present to the mental eye, and they, in their sole
individuality, became the essence of my mental life. I held them in
every light. I turned them in every attitude. I surveyed their
characteristics. I dwelt upon their peculiarities. I pondered upon
their conformation. I mused upon the alteration in their nature. I
shuddered as I assigned to them in imagination a sensitive and
sentient power, and even when unassisted by the lips, a capability of
moral expression. Of Mademoiselle Salle it has been well said, "_Que
tous ses pas etaient des sentiments_," and of Berenice I more
seriously believed _que toutes ses dents etaient des idees_. _Des
idees!_ - ah here was the idiotic thought that destroyed me! _Des
idees!_ - ah _therefore_ it was that I coveted them so madly! I felt
that their possession could alone ever restore me to peace, in giving
me back to reason.

And the evening closed in upon me thus - and then the darkness
came, and tarried, and went - and the day again dawned - and the
mists of a second night were now gathering around - and still I sat
motionless in that solitary room - and still I sat buried in
meditation - and still the _phantasma_ of the teeth maintained its
terrible ascendancy, as, with the most vivid hideous distinctness, it
floated about amid the changing lights and shadows of the chamber. At
length there broke in upon my dreams a cry as of horror and dismay;
and thereunto, after a pause, succeeded the sound of troubled voices,
intermingled with many low moanings of sorrow or of pain. I arose
from my seat, and throwing open one of the doors of the library, saw
standing out in the ante-chamber a servant maiden, all in tears, who
told me that Berenice was - no more! She had been seized with
epilepsy in the early morning, and now, at the closing in of the
night, the grave was ready for its tenant, and all the preparations
for the burial were completed.

* * * * * * *

I found myself sitting in the library, and again sitting there
alone. It seemed that I had newly awakened from a confused and
exciting dream. I knew that it was now midnight, and I was well
aware, that since the setting of the sun, Berenice had been interred.
But of that dreary period which intervened I had no positive, at
least no definite comprehension. Yet its memory was replete with
horror - horror more horrible from being vague, and terror more
terrible from ambiguity. It was a fearful page in the record my
existence, written all over with dim, and hideous, and unintelligible
recollections. I strived to decypher them, but in vain; while ever
and anon, like the spirit of a departed sound, the shrill and
piercing shriek of a female voice seemed to be ringing in my ears. I
had done a deed - what was it? I asked myself the question aloud, and
the whispering echoes of the chamber answered me, - "_what was it?_"

On the table beside me burned a lamp, and near it lay a little
box. It was of no remarkable character, and I had seen it frequently
before, for it was the property of the family physician; but how came
it _there_, upon my table, and why did I shudder in regarding it?
These things were in no manner to be accounted for, and my eyes at
length dropped to the open pages of a book, and to a sentence
underscored therein. The words were the singular but simple ones of
the poet Ebn Zaiat: - "_Dicebant mihi sodales si sepulchrum amicae
visitarem, curas meas aliquantulum fore levatas_." Why then, as I
perused them, did the hairs of my head erect themselves on end, and
the blood of my body become congealed within my veins?

There came a light tap at the library door - and, pale as the
tenant of a tomb, a menial entered upon tiptoe. His looks were wild
with terror, and he spoke to me in a voice tremulous, husky, and very
low. What said he? - some broken sentences I heard. He told of a wild
cry disturbing the silence of the night - of the gathering together
of the household - of a search in the direction of the sound; and
then his tones grew thrillingly distinct as he whispered me of a
violated grave - of a disfigured body enshrouded, yet still breathing
- still palpitating - _still alive_!

He pointed to garments; - they were muddy and clotted with gore.
I spoke not, and he took me gently by the hand: it was indented with
the impress of human nails. He directed my attention to some object
against the wall. I looked at it for some minutes: it was a spade.
With a shriek I bounded to the table, and grasped the box that lay
upon it. But I could not force it open; and in my tremor, it slipped
from my hands, and fell heavily, and burst into pieces; and from it,
with a rattling sound, there rolled out some instruments of dental
surgery, intermingled with thirty-two small, white and ivory-looking
substances that were scattered to and fro about the floor.

~~~ End of Text ~~~



Sub conservatione formae specificae salva anima.

_ Raymond Lully_ .

I AM come of a race noted for vigor of fancy and ardor of passion.
Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether
madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence -- whether much that
is glorious- whether all that is profound -- does not spring from
disease of thought -- from moods of mind exalted at the expense of
the general intellect. They who dream by day are cognizant of many
things which escape those who dream only by night. In their gray
visions they obtain glimpses of eternity, and thrill, in awakening,
to find that they have been upon the verge of the great secret. In
snatches, they learn something of the wisdom which is of good, and
more of the mere knowledge which is of evil. They penetrate, however,
rudderless or compassless into the vast ocean of the "light
ineffable," and again, like the adventures of the Nubian geographer,
"agressi sunt mare tenebrarum, quid in eo esset exploraturi."

We will say, then, that I am mad. I grant, at least, that there are
two distinct conditions of my mental existence -- the condition of a
lucid reason, not to be disputed, and belonging to the memory of
events forming the first epoch of my life -- and a condition of
shadow and doubt, appertaining to the present, and to the
recollection of what constitutes the second great era of my being.
Therefore, what I shall tell of the earlier period, believe; and to
what I may relate of the later time, give only such credit as may
seem due, or doubt it altogether, or, if doubt it ye cannot, then
play unto its riddle the Oedipus.

She whom I loved in youth, and of whom I now pen calmly and
distinctly these remembrances, was the sole daughter of the only
sister of my mother long departed. Eleonora was the name of my
cousin. We had always dwelled together, beneath a tropical sun, in
the Valley of the Many-Colored Grass. No unguided footstep ever came
upon that vale; for it lay away up among a range of giant hills that
hung beetling around about it, shutting out the sunlight from its
sweetest recesses. No path was trodden in its vicinity; and, to reach
our happy home, there was need of putting back, with force, the
foliage of many thousands of forest trees, and of crushing to death
the glories of many millions of fragrant flowers. Thus it was that we
lived all alone, knowing nothing of the world without the valley --
I, and my cousin, and her mother.

From the dim regions beyond the mountains at the upper end of our
encircled domain, there crept out a narrow and deep river, brighter
than all save the eyes of Eleonora; and, winding stealthily about in
mazy courses, it passed away, at length, through a shadowy gorge,
among hills still dimmer than those whence it had issued. We called
it the "River of Silence"; for there seemed to be a hushing influence
in its flow. No murmur arose from its bed, and so gently it wandered
along, that the pearly pebbles upon which we loved to gaze, far down
within its bosom, stirred not at all, but lay in a motionless
content, each in its own old station, shining on gloriously forever.

The margin of the river, and of the many dazzling rivulets that
glided through devious ways into its channel, as well as the spaces
that extended from the margins away down into the depths of the
streams until they reached the bed of pebbles at the bottom, -- these
spots, not less than the whole surface of the valley, from the river
to the mountains that girdled it in, were carpeted all by a soft
green grass, thick, short, perfectly even, and vanilla-perfumed, but
so besprinkled throughout with the yellow buttercup, the white daisy,
the purple violet, and the ruby-red asphodel, that its exceeding
beauty spoke to our hearts in loud tones, of the love and of the
glory of God.

And, here and there, in groves about this grass, like wildernesses of
dreams, sprang up fantastic trees, whose tall slender stems stood not
upright, but slanted gracefully toward the light that peered at
noon-day into the centre of the valley. Their mark was speckled with
the vivid alternate splendor of ebony and silver, and was smoother
than all save the cheeks of Eleonora; so that, but for the brilliant
green of the huge leaves that spread from their summits in long,
tremulous lines, dallying with the Zephyrs, one might have fancied
them giant serpents of Syria doing homage to their sovereign the Sun.

Hand in hand about this valley, for fifteen years, roamed I with
Eleonora before Love entered within our hearts. It was one evening at
the close of the third lustrum of her life, and of the fourth of my
own, that we sat, locked in each other's embrace, beneath the
serpent-like trees, and looked down within the water of the River of
Silence at our images therein. We spoke no words during the rest of
that sweet day, and our words even upon the morrow were tremulous and
few. We had drawn the God Eros from that wave, and now we felt that
he had enkindled within us the fiery souls of our forefathers. The
passions which had for centuries distinguished our race, came
thronging with the fancies for which they had been equally noted, and
together breathed a delirious bliss over the Valley of the
Many-Colored Grass. A change fell upon all things. Strange, brilliant
flowers, star-shaped, burn out upon the trees where no flowers had
been known before. The tints of the green carpet deepened; and when,
one by one, the white daisies shrank away, there sprang up in place
of them, ten by ten of the ruby-red asphodel. And life arose in our
paths; for the tall flamingo, hitherto unseen, with all gay glowing
birds, flaunted his scarlet plumage before us. The golden and silver
fish haunted the river, out of the bosom of which issued, little by
little, a murmur that swelled, at length, into a lulling melody more
divine than that of the harp of Aeolus-sweeter than all save the
voice of Eleonora. And now, too, a voluminous cloud, which we had
long watched in the regions of Hesper, floated out thence, all
gorgeous in crimson and gold, and settling in peace above us, sank,
day by day, lower and lower, until its edges rested upon the tops of
the mountains, turning all their dimness into magnificence, and
shutting us up, as if forever, within a magic prison-house of
grandeur and of glory.

The loveliness of Eleonora was that of the Seraphim; but she was a
maiden artless and innocent as the brief life she had led among the
flowers. No guile disguised the fervor of love which animated her
heart, and she examined with me its inmost recesses as we walked
together in the Valley of the Many-Colored Grass, and discoursed of
the mighty changes which had lately taken place therein.

At length, having spoken one day, in tears, of the last sad change
which must befall Humanity, she thenceforward dwelt only upon this
one sorrowful theme, interweaving it into all our converse, as, in
the songs of the bard of Schiraz, the same images are found
occurring, again and again, in every impressive variation of phrase.

She had seen that the finger of Death was upon her bosom -- that,
like the ephemeron, she had been made perfect in loveliness only to
die; but the terrors of the grave to her lay solely in a
consideration which she revealed to me, one evening at twilight, by
the banks of the River of Silence. She grieved to think that, having
entombed her in the Valley of the Many-Colored Grass, I would quit
forever its happy recesses, transferring the love which now was so
passionately her own to some maiden of the outer and everyday world.
And, then and there, I threw myself hurriedly at the feet of
Eleonora, and offered up a vow, to herself and to Heaven, that I
would never bind myself in marriage to any daughter of Earth -- that
I would in no manner prove recreant to her dear memory, or to the
memory of the devout affection with which she had blessed me. And I
called the Mighty Ruler of the Universe to witness the pious
solemnity of my vow. And the curse which I invoked of Him and of her,
a saint in Helusion should I prove traitorous to that promise,
involved a penalty the exceeding great horror of which will not
permit me to make record of it here. And the bright eyes of Eleonora
grew brighter at my words; and she sighed as if a deadly burthen had
been taken from her breast; and she trembled and very bitterly wept;
but she made acceptance of the vow, (for what was she but a child?)
and it made easy to her the bed of her death. And she said to me, not
many days afterward, tranquilly dying, that, because of what I had
done for the comfort of her spirit she would watch over me in that
spirit when departed, and, if so it were permitted her return to me
visibly in the watches of the night; but, if this thing were, indeed,
beyond the power of the souls in Paradise, that she would, at least,
give me frequent indications of her presence, sighing upon me in the
evening winds, or filling the air which I breathed with perfume from
the censers of the angels. And, with these words upon her lips, she
yielded up her innocent life, putting an end to the first epoch of my

Thus far I have faithfully said. But as I pass the barrier in Times
path, formed by the death of my beloved, and proceed with the second
era of my existence, I feel that a shadow gathers over my brain, and
I mistrust the perfect sanity of the record. But let me on. -- Years
dragged themselves along heavily, and still I dwelled within the
Valley of the Many-Colored Grass; but a second change had come upon
all things. The star-shaped flowers shrank into the stems of the
trees, and appeared no more. The tints of the green carpet faded;
and, one by one, the ruby-red asphodels withered away; and there
sprang up, in place of them, ten by ten, dark, eye-like violets, that
writhed uneasily and were ever encumbered with dew. And Life departed
from our paths; for the tall flamingo flaunted no longer his scarlet
plumage before us, but flew sadly from the vale into the hills, with
all the gay glowing birds that had arrived in his company. And the
golden and silver fish swam down through the gorge at the lower end
of our domain and bedecked the sweet river never again. And the
lulling melody that had been softer than the wind-harp of Aeolus, and
more divine than all save the voice of Eleonora, it died little by
little away, in murmurs growing lower and lower, until the stream
returned, at length, utterly, into the solemnity of its original
silence. And then, lastly, the voluminous cloud uprose, and,
abandoning the tops of the mountains to the dimness of old, fell back
into the regions of Hesper, and took away all its manifold golden and
gorgeous glories from the Valley of the Many-Colored Grass.

Yet the promises of Eleonora were not forgotten; for I heard the
sounds of the swinging of the censers of the angels; and streams of a
holy perfume floated ever and ever about the valley; and at lone
hours, when my heart beat heavily, the winds that bathed my brow came
unto me laden with soft sighs; and indistinct murmurs filled often
the night air, and once -- oh, but once only! I was awakened from a
slumber, like the slumber of death, by the pressing of spiritual lips
upon my own.

But the void within my heart refused, even thus, to be filled. I
longed for the love which had before filled it to overflowing. At
length the valley pained me through its memories of Eleonora, and I
left it for ever for the vanities and the turbulent triumphs of the

I found myself within a strange city, where all things might have
served to blot from recollection the sweet dreams I had dreamed so
long in the Valley of the Many-Colored Grass. The pomps and
pageantries of a stately court, and the mad clangor of arms, and the
radiant loveliness of women, bewildered and intoxicated my brain. But
as yet my soul had proved true to its vows, and the indications of
the presence of Eleonora were still given me in the silent hours of
the night. Suddenly these manifestations they ceased, and the world
grew dark before mine eyes, and I stood aghast at the burning
thoughts which possessed, at the terrible temptations which beset me;
for there came from some far, far distant and unknown land, into the
gay court of the king I served, a maiden to whose beauty my whole
recreant heart yielded at once -- at whose footstool I bowed down
without a struggle, in the most ardent, in the most abject worship of
love. What, indeed, was my passion for the young girl of the valley
in comparison with the fervor, and the delirium, and the
spirit-lifting ecstasy of adoration with which I poured out my whole
soul in tears at the feet of the ethereal Ermengarde? -- Oh, bright
was the seraph Ermengarde! and in that knowledge I had room for none
other. -- Oh, divine was the angel Ermengarde! and as I looked down
into the depths of her memorial eyes, I thought only of them -- and
of her.

I wedded; -- nor dreaded the curse I had invoked; and its bitterness
was not visited upon me. And once -- but once again in the silence of
the night; there came through my lattice the soft sighs which had
forsaken me; and they modelled themselves into familiar and sweet
voice, saying:

"Sleep in peace! -- for the Spirit of Love reigneth and ruleth, and,
in taking to thy passionate heart her who is Ermengarde, thou art
absolved, for reasons which shall be made known to thee in Heaven, of
thy vows unto Eleonora."

~~~ End of Text ~~~


Notes to This Volume

Notes --- Scherezade

{*1} The coralites.

{*2} "One of the most remarkable natural curiosities in Texas is a
petrified forest, near the head of Pasigno river. It consists of
several hundred trees, in an erect position, all turned to stone.
Some trees, now growing, are partly petrified. This is a startling
fact for natural philosophers, and must cause them to modify the
existing theory of petrification. -- _Kennedy_.

This account, at first discredited, has since been corroborated by
the discovery of a completely petrified forest, near the head waters
of the Cheyenne, or Chienne river, which has its source in the Black
Hills of the rocky chain.

There is scarcely, perhaps, a spectacle on the surface of the globe
more remarkable, either in a geological or picturesque point of view
than that presented by the petrified forest, near Cairo. The
traveller, having passed the tombs of the caliphs, just beyond the
gates of the city, proceeds to the southward, nearly at right angles
to the road across the desert to Suez, and after having travelled
some ten miles up a low barren valley, covered with sand, gravel, and
sea shells, fresh as if the tide had retired but yesterday, crosses a
low range of sandhills, which has for some distance run parallel to
his path. The scene now presented to him is beyond conception
singular and desolate. A mass of fragments of trees, all converted
into stone, and when struck by his horse's hoof ringing like cast
iron, is seen to extend itself for miles and miles around him, in the
form of a decayed and prostrate forest. The wood is of a dark brown
hue, but retains its form in perfection, the pieces being from one to
fifteen feet in length, and from half a foot to three feet in
thickness, strewed so closely together, as far as the eye can reach,
that an Egyptian donkey can scarcely thread its way through amongst
them, and so natural that, were it in Scotland or Ireland, it might
pass without remark for some enormous drained bog, on which the
exhumed trees lay rotting in the sun. The roots and rudiments of the
branches are, in many cases, nearly perfect, and in some the
worm-holes eaten under the bark are readily recognizable. The most
delicate of the sap vessels, and all the finer portions of the centre
of the wood, are perfectly entire, and bear to be examined with the
strongest magnifiers. The whole are so thoroughly silicified as to
scratch glass and are capable of receiving the highest polish.--
_Asiatic Magazine_.

{*3} The Mammoth Cave of Kentucky.

{*4} In Iceland, 1783.

{*5} "During the eruption of Hecla, in 1766, clouds of this kind
produced such a degree of darkness that, at Glaumba, which is more
than fifty leagues from the mountain, people could only find their
way by groping. During the eruption of Vesuvius, in 1794, at Caserta,
four leagues distant, people could only walk by the light of torches.
On the first of May, 1812, a cloud of volcanic ashes and sand, coming
from a volcano in the island of St. Vincent, covered the whole of
Barbadoes, spreading over it so intense a darkness that, at mid-day,
in the open air, one could not perceive the trees or other objects
near him, or even a white handkerchief placed at the distance of six
inches from the eye._" -- Murray, p. 215, Phil. edit._

{*6} In the year 1790, in the Caraccas during an earthquake a portion
of the granite soil sank and left a lake eight hundred yards in
diameter, and from eighty to a hundred feet deep. It was a part of
the forest of Aripao which sank, and the trees remained green for
several months under the water." -- _Murray_, p. 221

{*7} The hardest steel ever manufactured may, under the action of a
blowpipe, be reduced to an impalpable powder, which will float
readily in the atmospheric air.

{*8} The region of the Niger. See Simmona's _Colonial Magazine_ .

{*9} The Myrmeleon-lion-ant. The term "monster" is equally applicable
to small abnormal things and to great, while such epithets as "vast"
are merely comparative. The cavern of the myrmeleon is vast in
comparison with the hole of the common red ant. A grain of silex is
also a "rock."

{*10} The _Epidendron, Flos Aeris,_ of the family of the _Orchideae_,
grows with merely the surface of its roots attached to a tree or
other object, from which it derives no nutriment -- subsisting
altogether upon air.

{*11} The _Parasites,_ such as the wonderful _Rafflesia Arnaldii_.

{*12} _Schouw_ advocates a class of plants that grow upon living
animals -- the _Plantae_ _Epizoae_. Of this class are the _Fuci_ and

_Mr. J. B. Williams, of Salem, Mass._, presented the "National
Institute" with an insect from New Zealand, with the following
description: " '_The Hotte_,a decided caterpillar, or worm, is found
gnawing at the root of the _Rota_ tree, with a plant growing out of
its head. This most peculiar and extraordinary insect travels up both
the _Rota_ and _Ferriri_ trees, and entering into the top, eats its
way, perforating the trunk of the trees until it reaches the root, and
dies, or remains dormant, and the plant propagates out of its head;
the body remains perfect and entire, of a harder substance than when
alive. From this insect the natives make a coloring for tattooing.

{*13} In mines and natural caves we find a species of cryptogamous
_fungus_ that emits an intense phosphorescence.

{*14} The orchis, scabius and valisneria.

{*15} The corolla of this flower (_Aristolochia Clematitis_), which
is tubular, but terminating upwards in a ligulate limb, is inflated
into a globular figure at the base. The tubular part is internally
beset with stiff hairs, pointing downwards. The globular part
contains the pistil, which consists merely of a germen and stigma,
together with the surrounding stamens. But the stamens, being shorter
than the germen, cannot discharge the pollen so as to throw it upon
the stigma, as the flower stands always upright till after
impregnation. And hence, without some additional and peculiar aid,
the pollen must necessarily fan down to the bottom of the flower.
Now, the aid that nature has furnished in this case, is that of the
_Tiputa Pennicornis_, a small insect, which entering the tube of the
corrolla in quest of honey, descends to the bottom, and rummages
about till it becomes quite covered with pollen; but not being able
to force its way out again, owing to the downward position of the
hairs, which converge to a point like the wires of a mouse-trap, and
being somewhat impatient of its confinement it brushes backwards and
forwards, trying every corner, till, after repeatedly traversing the
stigma, it covers it with pollen sufficient for its impregnation, in
consequence of which the flower soon begins to droop, and the hairs
to shrink to the sides of the tube, effecting an easy passage for the
escape of the insect." --_Rev. P. Keith-System of Physiological

{*16} The bees -- ever since bees were -- have been constructing
their cells with just such sides, in just such number, and at just
such inclinations, as it has been demonstrated (in a problem
involving the profoundest mathematical principles) are the very
sides, in the very number, and at the very angles, which will afford
the creatures the most room that is compatible with the greatest
stability of structure.

During the latter part of the last century, the question arose among
mathematicians--"to determine the best form that can be given to the
sails of a windmill, according to their varying distances from the
revolving vanes , and likewise from the centres of the revoloution."
This is an excessively complex problem, for it is, in other words, to
find the best possible position at an infinity of varied distances
and at an infinity of points on the arm.There were a thousand futile
attempts to answer the query on the part of the most illustrious
mathematicians, and when at length, an undeniable solution was
discovered, men found that the wings of a bird had given it with
absolute precision ever since the first bird had traversed the air.

{*17} He observed a flock of pigeons passing betwixt Frankfort and
the Indian territory, one mile at least in breadth; it took up four
hours in passing, which, at the rate of one mile per minute, gives a
length of 240 miles; and, supposing three pigeons to each square
yard, gives 2,230,272,000 Pigeons. -- "_Travels in Canada and the
United States," by Lieut. F. Hall._

{*18} The earth is upheld by a cow of a blue color, having horns four
hundred in number." -- _Sale's Koran_.

{*19} "The _Entozoa_, or intestinal worms, have repeatedly been
observed in the muscles, and in the cerebral substance of men." --
See Wyatt's Physiology, p. 143.

{*20} On the Great Western Railway, between London and Exeter, a
speed of 71 miles per hour has been attained. A train weighing 90
tons was whirled from Paddington to Didcot (53 miles) in 51 minutes.

{*21} The _Eccalobeion_

{*22} Maelzel's Automaton Chess-player.

{*23} Babbage's Calculating Machine.

{*24} _Chabert_, and since him, a hundred others.

{*25} The Electrotype.

{*26} _Wollaston_ made of platinum for the field of views in a
telescope a wire one eighteen-thousandth part of an inch in
thickness. It could be seen only by means of the microscope.

{*27} Newton demonstrated that the retina beneath the influence of
the violet ray of the spectrum, vibrated 900,000,000 of times in a

{*28} Voltaic pile.

{*29} The Electro Telegraph Printing Apparatus.

{*30} The Electro telegraph transmits intelligence instantaneously-
at least at so far as regards any distance upon the earth.

{*31} Common experiments in Natural Philosophy. If two red rays from
two luminous points be admitted into a dark chamber so as to fall on
a white surface, and differ in their length by 0.0000258 of an inch,
their intensity is doubled. So also if the difference in length be
any whole-number multiple of that fraction. A multiple by 2 1/4, 3
1/4, &c., gives an intensity equal to one ray only; but a multiple by
2 1/2, 3 1/2, &c., gives the result of total darkness. In violet rays
similar effects arise when the difference in length is 0.000157 of an
inch; and with all other rays the results are the same -- the
difference varying with a uniform increase from the violet to the red.

{*32} Place a platina crucible over a spirit lamp, and keep it a red
heat; pour in some sulphuric acid, which, though the most volatile of
bodies at a common temperature, will be found to become completely
fixed in a hot crucible, and not a drop evaporates -- being
surrounded by an atmosphere of its own, it does not, in fact, touch
the sides. A few drops of water are now introduced, when the acid,
immediately coming in contact with the heated sides of the crucible,
flies off in sulphurous acid vapor, and so rapid is its progress,
that the caloric of the water passes off with it, which falls a lump
of ice to the bottom; by taking advantage of the moment before it is
allowed to remelt, it may be turned out a lump of ice from a red-hot

{*33} The Daguerreotype.

{*34) Although light travels 167,000 miles in a second, the distance
of 61 Cygni (the only star whose distance is ascertained) is so
inconceivably great, that its rays would require more than ten years
to reach the earth. For stars beyond this, 20 -- or even 1000 years
-- would be a moderate estimate. Thus, if they had been annihilated
20, or 1000 years ago, we might still see them to-day by the light
which started from their surfaces 20 or 1000 years in the past time.
That many which we see daily are really extinct, is not impossible --
not even improbable.


{*1} See Archimedes, "_De Incidentibus in Fluido_." - lib. 2.

Notes--Island of the Fay

{*1} Moraux is here derived from moeurs, and its meaning is
"fashionable" or more strictly "of manners."

{*2} Speaking of the tides, Pomponius Mela, in his treatise "De Situ
Orbis," says "either the world is a great animal, or" etc

{*3} Balzac--in substance--I do not remember the words

{*4} Florem putares nare per liquidum aethera. -- P. Commire.

Notes-- Domain of Arnheim

{*1} An incident, similar in outline to the one here imagined,
occurred, not very long ago, in England. The name of the fortunate
heir was Thelluson. I first saw an account of this matter in the
"Tour" of Prince Puckler Muskau, who makes the sum inherited _ninety
millions of pounds_, and justly observes that "in the contemplation
of so vast a sum, and of the services to which it might be applied,
there is something even of the sublime." To suit the views of this
article I have followed the Prince's statement, although a grossly
exaggerated one. The germ, and in fact, the commencement of the
present paper was published many years ago -- previous to the issue
of the first number of Sue's admirable _Juif Errant_, which may
possibly have been suggested to him by Muskau's account.


{*1} For as Jove, during the winter season, gives twice seven days of
warmth, men have called this element and temperate time the nurse of
the beautiful Halcyon -- _Simonides_

End of Notes to Volume Two


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