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İngilizce Kursu
Toplam 3 Sayfadan 2. Sayfa BirinciBirinci 123 SonuncuSonuncu
Toplam 35 sonuçtan 16 ile 30 arasındakiler gösteriliyor.

Konu: İngilizce Hikayeler Buraya!

  1. #16
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    A Haunted House by Virginia Woolf ( She is one of my favourite authors.So here is a small part from her masterpiece A haunted house.)

    Whatever hour you woke there was a door shutting. From room to room they went, hand in hand, lifting here, opening there, making sure--a ghostly couple.

    "Here we left it," she said. And he added, "Oh, but here tool" "It's upstairs," she murmured. "And in the garden," he whispered. "Quietly," they said, "or we shall wake them."

    But it wasn't that you woke us. Oh, no. "They're looking for it; they're drawing the curtain," one might say, and so read on a page or two. "Now they've found it,' one would be certain, stopping the pencil on the margin. And then, tired of reading, one might rise and see for oneself, the house all empty, the doors standing open, only the wood pigeons bubbling with content and the hum of the threshing machine sounding from the farm. "What did I come in here for? What did I want to find?" My hands were empty. "Perhaps its upstairs then?" The apples were in the loft. And so down again, the garden still as ever, only the book had slipped into the grass.

    But they had found it in the drawing room. Not that one could ever see them. The windowpanes reflected apples, reflected roses; all the leaves were green in the glass. If they moved in the drawing room, the apple only turned its yellow side. Yet, the moment after, if the door was opened, spread about the floor, hung upon the walls, pendant from the ceiling--what? My hands were empty. The shadow of a thrush crossed the carpet; from the deepest wells of silence the wood pigeon drew its bubble of sound. "Safe, safe, safe" the pulse of the house beat softly. "The treasure buried; the room . . ." the pulse stopped short. Oh, was that the buried treasure?

    A moment later the light had faded. Out in the garden then? But the trees spun darkness for a wandering beam of sun. So fine, so rare, coolly sunk beneath the surface the beam I sought always burned behind the glass. Death was the glass; death was between us, coming to the woman first, hundreds of years ago, leaving the house, sealing all the windows; the rooms were darkened. He left it, left her, went North, went East, saw the stars turned in the Southern sky; sought the house, found it dropped beneath the Downs. "Safe, safe, safe," the pulse of the house beat gladly. 'The Treasure yours."

    The wind roars up the avenue. Trees stoop and bend this way and that. Moonbeams splash and spill wildly in the rain. But the beam of the lamp falls straight from the window. The candle burns stiff and still. Wandering through the house, opening the windows, whispering not to wake us, the ghostly couple seek their joy.

    "Here we slept," she says. And he adds, "Kisses without number." "Waking in the morning--" "Silver between the trees--" "Upstairs--" 'In the garden--" "When summer came--" 'In winter snowtime--" "The doors go shutting far in the distance, gently knocking like the pulse of a heart.

    Nearer they come, cease at the doorway. The wind falls, the rain slides silver down the glass. Our eyes darken, we hear no steps beside us; we see no lady spread her ghostly cloak. His hands shield the lantern. "Look," he breathes. "Sound asleep. Love upon their lips."

    Stooping, holding their silver lamp above us, long they look and deeply. Long they pause. The wind drives straightly; the flame stoops slightly. Wild beams of moonlight cross both floor and wall, and, meeting, stain the faces bent; the faces pondering; the faces that search the sleepers and seek their hidden joy.

    "Safe, safe, safe," the heart of the house beats proudly. "Long years--" he sighs. "Again you found me." "Here," she murmurs, "sleeping; in the garden reading; laughing, rolling apples in the loft. Here we left our treasure--" Stooping, their light lifts the lids upon my eyes. "Safe! safe! safe!" the pulse of the house beats wildly. Waking, I cry "Oh, is this your buried treasure? The light in the heart."

  2. #17
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    Summer Madness

    Let us enjoy reading this Hindu Mythological Story of Summer Madness.

    One morning when the sage Jamadagni stepped out of his ashram he found that the sun was unusually hot. Soon the sweat began to pour down his body and his throat became parched. He found it hard to concentrate on his work.

    "Go away," he shouted at the sun, staring up angrily at the shining orb. "You'll burn the earth!"

    But the sun stayed where he was and indeed seemed to become even bigger. Enraged, the sage rushed into his ashram and coming out with his weapons began to shoot arrows into the sky.

    The arrows fell far short of their mark.

    The sage shouted to his wife Renuka to bring some more arrows. When she had brought them, he began shooting again. With each shot the arrows rose higher and higher till finally even the sun began to feel vulnerable. He made himself still hotter, hoping the heat would drive Jamadagni back into his house. Jamadagni stood his ground but his wife began to wilt. Finally, she fell down unconscious.

    Jamadagni carried his wife indoors, revived her with water and then rushing out again resumed his battle with the sun, with a renewed fury.

    Now the sun decided to go down to reason with him. He took the form of a Brahmin and sauntered up to the sage.

    "Shooting at the sky?" he asked.

    "I'm shooting at the sun!" growled Jamadagni.

    "Too far away for your arrows, don't you think?"

    "Right now, may be. But at midday, he'll be directly overhead and then he'll be within range. I'll get him then!"

    The sun shuddered.

    "Please put down your bow," he said, "I am the sun. Heat the earth I must, but I'll give you something that will protect you from my heat."

    Jamadagni cooled down — and remained cool the rest of the summer because what the sun gave him was a pair of sandals and a very large umbrella, which, they say, was the world's first portable sunshade.

    Summer Madness is a Hindu Mythological Story

  3. #18
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    ben de ekliyorum şu an the story of an hour ve the darling

  4. #19
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    ÖNEMLİ BİLGİLER: YAZAR: KATE CHOPİN (hikayeleri çok keyiflildir okuyun!
    yıl:1894
    yazar amerikanın zamanının önde gelen feministlerindendir.hikaye, kocasının aniden öldüğünü duyan bir kadının kendini hayatta hissetmeye başlayıp neredeyse mutlu ve özgür denilebilecek bir ruh haline bürünmesi ile ilgilenir ne var ki karakterimiz daha sevinemeden karşısında kocasını görür ve sevinç ya da hüzünden midir bilinmez kalp krizi geçirirverir ve ölür.ölüm nedenini okuyucu olarak sizin bulmanıız gerekiyor iki anlam çıkabilecek hikayede yorum sizin .bütün olayın sadece 1 saat içinde gerçekleşmesi de cabası!




    The Story of an Hour
    Kate Chopin
    Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break
    to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death.
    It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences; veiled hints that revealed in
    half concealing. Her husband's friend Richards was there, too, near her. It was he who had been
    in the newspaper office when intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with Brently
    Mallard's name leading the list of "killed." He had only taken the time to assure himself of its
    truth by a second telegram, and had hastened to forestall any less careful, less tender friend in
    bearing the sad message.
    She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to
    accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister's arms.
    When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no
    one follow her.
    There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank,
    pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul.
    She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with
    the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was
    crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly,
    and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.
    There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and
    piled one above the other in the west facing her window.
    She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless, except
    when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep
    continues to sob in its dreams.
    She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain
    strength. But now there was a dull stare in her eyes, whose gaze was fixed away off yonder on
    one of those patches of blue sky. It was not a glance of reflection, but rather indicated a
    suspension of intelligent thought.

  5. #20
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    hikayenin hepsi kopyalanmamıs bütün hali burdadır!

    The Story of an Hour
    Kate Chopin
    Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break
    to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death.
    It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences; veiled hints that revealed in
    half concealing. Her husband's friend Richards was there, too, near her. It was he who had been
    in the newspaper office when intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with Brently
    Mallard's name leading the list of "killed." He had only taken the time to assure himself of its
    truth by a second telegram, and had hastened to forestall any less careful, less tender friend in
    bearing the sad message.
    She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to
    accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister's arms.
    When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no
    one follow her.
    There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank,
    pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul.
    She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with
    the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was
    crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly,
    and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.
    There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and
    piled one above the other in the west facing her window.
    She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless, except
    when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep
    continues to sob in its dreams.
    She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain
    strength. But now there was a dull stare in her eyes, whose gaze was fixed away off yonder on
    one of those patches of blue sky. It was not a glance of reflection, but rather indicated a
    suspension of intelligent thought.Copyright © by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.
    Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” originally published 1894.
    There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it? She
    did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to name. But she felt it, creeping out of the sky,
    reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air.
    Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to recognize this thing that
    was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will—as powerless
    as her two white slender hands would have been.
    When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She
    said it over and over under her breath: "free, free, free!" The vacant stare and the look of terror
    that had followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast, and
    the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.
    She did not stop to ask if it were or were not a monstrous joy that held her. A clear and
    exalted perception enabled her to dismiss the suggestion as trivial.
    She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death;
    the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead. But she saw
    beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her
    absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome.
    There would be no one to live for her during those coming years; she would live for herself.
    There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and
    women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind
    intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief
    moment of illumination.
    And yet she had loved him—sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! What could
    love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which she
    suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!
    "Free! Body and soul free!" she kept whispering.
    Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhole, imploring for
    admission. "Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door—you will make yourself ill. What are
    you doing, Louise? For heaven's sake open the door."
    "Go away. I am not making myself ill." No; she was drinking in a very elixir of life through
    that open window.Copyright © by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. All rights reserved.
    Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” originally published 1894.
    Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days,
    and all sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long.
    It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.
    She arose at length and opened the door to her sister's importunities. There was a feverish
    triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. She clasped
    her sister's waist, and together they descended the stairs. Richards stood waiting for them at the
    bottom.
    Some one was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently Mallard who entered, a
    little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. He had been far from the
    scene of the accident, and did not even know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine's
    piercing cry; at Richards' quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife.
    But Richards was too late.
    When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease—of joy that kills

  6. #21
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    http://www.ibiblio.org/ebooks/Poe/Red_Death.pdf

    EDGAR ALLAN POE nun MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH adlı kısa hikayesi benim favori hikayelerimden biridir. Ben çok severek okuyorum sizde seversiniz umarım

  7. #22
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    KISA HİHAYE

    SWALLOW AND SPARROW

    Swallow and sparrow became close friends. They started walking around in together. Other swallows said nothing at the beginning about this circumstance. However, the things changed when the swallow started bringing the sparrow to its nest. Nest of the swallow was under the eaves of an empty wooden house and there were many nests of swallow next to it. Going there from and thereto made swallows disturbed.

    Swallows held a meeting and they appointed a spokesman. This spokesman told about this circumstance with it in a suitable time and said it not to bring this sparrow to its nest.

    Although the swallow showed some obstinacy, it finally was obliged to obey by this requirement.

    One night the sparrow suddenly wakened while it was sleeping. Tree on which it built up its nest among its branches was swinging. It flied away and had a look-see round the environment. Thereupon, it recognised that it was an earthquake.

    Its close friend, the swallow, came to its mind. It arrived at its nest and it weakened its close friend. It said the swallow to weaken other swallows and the wooden house may be fallen onto the ground. The swallow fulfilled what it said. Once the last swallow flied away there, the wooden house was fallen onto the ground. Later, swallows set up new nests under eaves of another house and they did make no rejection for the sparrow to go from and to the nest of the swallow for the reason that they were owed their life to it.

    KIRLANGIÇ İLE SERÇE

    Kırlangıç ile serçe dost olmuşlar. Birlikte gezip dolaşmaya başlamışlar. Diğer kırlangıçlar önceleri bu duruma ses çıkarmamışlar. Fakat kırlangıç serçeyi yuvasına getirmeye başlayınca işler değişmiş. Kırlangıcın yuvası ahşap, boş bir evin saçak altındaymış ve burada pek çok kırlangıç yuvası varmış. Serçenin gelip gitmesi, kırlangıçları rahatsız etmiş.

    Kırlangıçlar toplanıp bir sözcü seçmişler. Sözcü uygun bir zamanda kırlangıca konuyu açmış ve serçeyi yuvasına getirmemesini söylemiş.

    Kırlangıç biraz direttiyse de sonunda genel isteğe boyun eğmek zorunda kalmış. Bir gece serçe yuvasında uyurken aniden uyanmış. Dalları arasına yuva kurduğu ağaç sallanıyormuş. Uçup çevreyi şöyle bir kolaçan etmiş. O zaman bunun bir yer sarsıntısı olduğunu anlamış.








    Aklına dostu kırlangıç gelmiş. Kırlangıcın yuvasına gitmiş, onu uyandırmış. Kırlangıca diğer kırlangıçları uyandırmasını, ahşap evin sarsıntıdan yıkılabileceğini söylemiş. Kırlangıç söyleneni yapmış. Son kırlangıç da kaçınca ahşap ev yıkılmış. Daha sonra kırlangıçlar başka bir evin saçak altına yeni yuvalar yapmışlar ve yaşamlarını borçlu oldukları dost serçenin kırlangıcın yuvasına gelip gitmesine karşı çıkmamışlar.

  8. #23
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    The Fall of the House of Usher

    Edgar Allan Poe

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

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

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

    I have said that the sole effect of my somewhat childish experiment --that of looking down within the tarn--had been to deepen the first singular impression. There can be no doubt that the consciousness of the rapid increase of my superstition--for why should I not so term it?--served mainly to accelerate the increase itself. Such, I have long known, is the paradoxical law of all sentiments having terror as a basis. And it might have been for this reason only, that, when I again uplifted my eyes to the house itself, from its image in the pool, there grew in my mind a strange fancy --a fancy so ridiculous, indeed, that I but mention it to show the vivid force of the sensations which oppressed me. I had so worked upon my imagination as really to believe that about the whole mansion and domain there hung an atmosphere peculiar to themselves and their immediate vicinity-an atmosphere which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but which had reeked up from the decayed trees, and the gray wall, and the silent tarn--a pestilent and mystic vapour, dull, sluggish, faintly discernible, and leaden-hued.

    Shaking off from my spirit what must have been a dream, I scanned more narrowly the real aspect of the building. Its principal feature seemed to be that of an excessive antiquity. The discoloration of ages had been great. Minute fungi overspread the whole exterior, hanging in a fine tangled web-work from the eaves. Yet all this was apart from any extraordinary dilapidation. No portion of the masonry had fallen; and there appeared to be a wild inconsistency between its still perfect adaptation of parts, and the crumbling condition of the individual stones. In this there was much that reminded me of the specious totality of old wood-work which has rotted for long years in some neglected vault, with no disturbance from the breath of the external air. Beyond this indication of extensive decay, however, the fabric gave little token of instability. Perhaps the eye of a scrutinising observer might have discovered a barely perceptible fissure, which, extending from the roof of the building in front, made its way down the wall in a zigzag direction, until it became lost in the sullen waters of the tarn.

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

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

  9. #24
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    Upon my entrance, Usher arose from a sofa on which he had been lying at full length, and greeted me with a vivacious warmth which had much in it, I at first thought, of an overdone cordiality--of the constrained effort of the ennuye man of the world. A glance, however, at his countenance, convinced me of his perfect sincerity. We sat down; and for some moments, while he spoke not, I gazed upon him with a feeling half of pity, half of awe. Surely, man had never before so terribly altered, in so brief a period, as had Roderick Usher! It was with difficulty that I could bring myself to admit the identity of the wan being before me with the companion of my early boyhood. Yet the character of his face had been at all times remarkable. A cadaverousness of complexion; an eye large, liquid, and luminous beyond comparison; lips somewhat thin and very pallid, but of a surpassingly beautiful curve; a nose of a delicate Hebrew model, but with a breadth of nostril unusual in similar formations; a finely moulded chin, speaking, in its want of prominence, of a want of moral energy; hair of a more than web-like softness and tenuity; these features, with an inordinate expansion above the regions of the temple, made up altogether a countenance not easily to be forgotten. And now in the mere exaggeration of the prevailing character of these features, and of the expression they were wont to convey, lay so much of change that I doubted to whom I spoke. The now ghastly pallor of the skin, and the now miraculous lustre of the eve, above all things startled and even awed me. The silken hair, too, had been suffered to grow all unheeded, and as, in its wild gossamer texture, it floated rather than fell about the face, I could not, even with effort, connect its Arabesque expression with any idea of simple humanity.

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

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

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

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

    He admitted, however, although with hesitation, that much of the peculiar gloom which thus afflicted him could be traced to a more natural and far more palpable origin--to the severe and long-continued illness --indeed to the evidently approaching dissolution-of a tenderly beloved sister--his sole companion for long years--his last and only relative on earth. "Her decease," he said, with a bitterness which I can never forget, "would leave him (him the hopeless and the frail) the last of the ancient race of the Ushers." While he spoke, the lady Madeline (for so was she called) passed slowly through a remote portion of the apartment, and, without having noticed my presence, disappeared. I regarded her with an utter astonishment not unmingled with dread--and yet I found it impossible to account for such feelings. A sensation of stupor oppressed me, as my eyes followed her retreating steps. When a door, at length, closed upon her, my glance sought instinctively and eagerly the countenance of the brother--but he had buried his face in his hands, and I could only perceive that a far more than ordinary wanness had overspread the emaciated fingers through which trickled many passionate tears.

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

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

  10. #25
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    I shall ever bear about me a memory of the many solemn hours I thus spent alone with the master of the House of Usher. Yet I should fail in any attempt to convey an idea of the exact character of the studies, or of the occupations, in which he involved me, or led me the way. An excited and highly distempered ideality threw a sulphureous lustre over all. His long improvised dirges will ring forever in my cars. Among other things, I hold painfully in mind a certain singular perversion and amplification of the wild air of the last waltz of Von Weber. From the paintings over which his elaborate fancy brooded, and which grew, touch by touch, into vaguenesses at which I shuddered the more thrillingly, because I shuddered knowing not why;--from these paintings (vivid as their images now are before me) I would in vain endeavour to educe more than a small portion which should lie within the compass of merely written words. By the utter simplicity, by the nakedness of his designs, he arrested and overawed attention. If ever mortal painted an idea, that mortal was Roderick Usher. For me at least--in the circumstances then surrounding me--there arose out of the pure abstractions which the hypochondriac contrived to throw upon his canvas, an intensity of intolerable awe, no shadow of which felt I ever yet in the contemplation of the certainly glowing yet too concrete reveries of Fuseli.

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

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

    I.

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

    II.

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

    III.

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

    IV.

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

    V.

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

    VI.

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

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

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

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

  11. #26
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    Upon my entrance, Usher arose from a sofa on which he had been lying at full length, and greeted me with a vivacious warmth which had much in it, I at first thought, of an overdone cordiality--of the constrained effort of the ennuye man of the world. A glance, however, at his countenance, convinced me of his perfect sincerity. We sat down; and for some moments, while he spoke not, I gazed upon him with a feeling half of pity, half of awe. Surely, man had never before so terribly altered, in so brief a period, as had Roderick Usher! It was with difficulty that I could bring myself to admit the identity of the wan being before me with the companion of my early boyhood. Yet the character of his face had been at all times remarkable. A cadaverousness of complexion; an eye large, liquid, and luminous beyond comparison; lips somewhat thin and very pallid, but of a surpassingly beautiful curve; a nose of a delicate Hebrew model, but with a breadth of nostril unusual in similar formations; a finely moulded chin, speaking, in its want of prominence, of a want of moral energy; hair of a more than web-like softness and tenuity; these features, with an inordinate expansion above the regions of the temple, made up altogether a countenance not easily to be forgotten. And now in the mere exaggeration of the prevailing character of these features, and of the expression they were wont to convey, lay so much of change that I doubted to whom I spoke. The now ghastly pallor of the skin, and the now miraculous lustre of the eve, above all things startled and even awed me. The silken hair, too, had been suffered to grow all unheeded, and as, in its wild gossamer texture, it floated rather than fell about the face, I could not, even with effort, connect its Arabesque expression with any idea of simple humanity.

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

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

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

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

    He admitted, however, although with hesitation, that much of the peculiar gloom which thus afflicted him could be traced to a more natural and far more palpable origin--to the severe and long-continued illness --indeed to the evidently approaching dissolution-of a tenderly beloved sister--his sole companion for long years--his last and only relative on earth. "Her decease," he said, with a bitterness which I can never forget, "would leave him (him the hopeless and the frail) the last of the ancient race of the Ushers." While he spoke, the lady Madeline (for so was she called) passed slowly through a remote portion of the apartment, and, without having noticed my presence, disappeared. I regarded her with an utter astonishment not unmingled with dread--and yet I found it impossible to account for such feelings. A sensation of stupor oppressed me, as my eyes followed her retreating steps. When a door, at length, closed upon her, my glance sought instinctively and eagerly the countenance of the brother--but he had buried his face in his hands, and I could only perceive that a far more than ordinary wanness had overspread the emaciated fingers through which trickled many passionate tears.

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

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

  12. #27
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    I shall ever bear about me a memory of the many solemn hours I thus spent alone with the master of the House of Usher. Yet I should fail in any attempt to convey an idea of the exact character of the studies, or of the occupations, in which he involved me, or led me the way. An excited and highly distempered ideality threw a sulphureous lustre over all. His long improvised dirges will ring forever in my cars. Among other things, I hold painfully in mind a certain singular perversion and amplification of the wild air of the last waltz of Von Weber. From the paintings over which his elaborate fancy brooded, and which grew, touch by touch, into vaguenesses at which I shuddered the more thrillingly, because I shuddered knowing not why;--from these paintings (vivid as their images now are before me) I would in vain endeavour to educe more than a small portion which should lie within the compass of merely written words. By the utter simplicity, by the nakedness of his designs, he arrested and overawed attention. If ever mortal painted an idea, that mortal was Roderick Usher. For me at least--in the circumstances then surrounding me--there arose out of the pure abstractions which the hypochondriac contrived to throw upon his canvas, an intensity of intolerable awe, no shadow of which felt I ever yet in the contemplation of the certainly glowing yet too concrete reveries of Fuseli.

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

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

  13. #28
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    I.

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

    II.

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

    III.

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

    IV.

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

    V.

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

    VI.

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

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

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

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

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

  14. #29
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    Having deposited our mournful burden upon tressels within this region of horror, we partially turned aside the yet unscrewed lid of the coffin, and looked upon the face of the tenant. A striking similitude between the brother and sister now first arrested my attention; and Usher, divining, perhaps, my thoughts, murmured out some few words from which I learned that the deceased and himself had been twins, and that sympathies of a scarcely intelligible nature had always existed between them. Our glances, however, rested not long upon the dead--for we could not regard her unawed. The disease which had thus entombed the lady in the maturity of youth, had left, as usual in all maladies of a strictly cataleptical character, the mockery of a faint blush upon the bosom and the face, and that suspiciously lingering smile upon the lip which is so terrible in death. We replaced and screwed down the lid, and, having secured the door of iron, made our way, with toll, into the scarcely less gloomy apartments of the upper portion of the house.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    "But the good champion Ethelred, now entering within the door, was sore enraged and amazed to perceive no signal of the maliceful hermit; but, in the stead thereof, a dragon of a scaly and prodigious demeanour, and of a fiery tongue, which sate in guard before a palace of gold, with a floor of silver; and upon the wall there hung a shield of shining brass with this legend enwritten--

    Who entereth herein, a conqueror hath bin;

    Who slayeth the dragon, the shield he shall win...

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