Derniers Contes

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 45

se mit
a tomber hors de ma tete, et roulant sur la pente escarpee du clocher,
alla se loger dans la gouttiere qui courait le long des bords de
l'edifice. Mais la perte de cet oeil ne me fit pas autant d'effet que
l'air insolent d'independance et de mepris avec lequel il me regarda une
fois parti. Il etait la gisant dans la gouttiere precisement sous mon
nez, et les airs qu'il se donnait auraient ete risibles, s'ils n'avaient
pas ete revoltants.

On n'avait jamais rien vu d'aussi miroitant ni d'aussi clignotant. Cette
attitude de la part de mon oeil dans la gouttiere n'etait pas seulement
irritante par son insolence manifeste et sa honteuse ingratitude, mais
elle etait encore excessivement inconvenante au point de vue de la
sympathie qui doit toujours exister entre les deux yeux de la meme tete,
quelque separes qu'ils soient. Je me vis forcee bon gre, mal gre, de
froncer les sourcils et de clignoter en parfait concert avec cet oeil
scelerat qui gisait juste sous mon nez. Je fus bientot soulagee par la
fuite de mon autre oeil. Il prit en tombant la meme direction (c'etait
peut-etre un plan concerte) que son camarade. Tous deux roulerent
ensemble de la gouttiere, et, en verite je fus enchantee d'etre
debarrassee d'eux.

La barre etait entree maintenant de quatre pouces et demi dans mon
cou, et il n'y avait plus qu'un petit lambeau de peau a couper. Mes
sensations furent alors celles d'un bonheur complet, car je sentis
que dans cinq minutes au plus je serais delivree de ma desagreable
situation. Je ne fus pas tout a fait decue dans cette attente. Juste a
cinq heures, vingt-cinq minutes de l'apres-midi, l'enorme aiguille avait
accompli la partie de sa terrible revolution suffisante pour couper le
peu qui restait de mon cou. Je ne fus pas fachee de voir la tete qui
m'avait occasionne un si grand embarras se separer enfin de mon corps.
Elle roula d'abord le long de la paroi du clocher, puis alla se loger
pendant quelques secondes dans la gouttiere, et enfin fit un plongeon
dans le milieu de la rue.

J'avouerai candidement que les sensations que j'eprouvai alors
revetirent le caractere le plus singulier--ou plutot le plus mysterieux,
le plus inquietant, le plus incomprehensible. Mes sens changeaient de
place a chaque instant. Quand j'avais ma tete, tantot je m'imaginais que
cette tete etait moi, la vraie signora Psyche Zenobia--tantot j'etais
convaincue que c'etait le corps qui formait ma propre identite. Pour
eclaircir mes idees sur ce point, je cherchai ma tabatiere dans ma
poche; mais en la prenant, et en essayant d'appliquer selon la

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Text Comparison with The Fall of the House of Usher

Page 0
Page 1
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.
Page 2
Noticing these things, I rode over a short causeway to the house.
Page 3
We sat down; and for some moments, while he spoke not, I gazed upon him with a feeling half of pity, half of awe.
Page 4
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.
Page 5
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.
Page 6
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.
Page 7
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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.
Page 11
Such opinions need no comment, and I will make none.
Page 12
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.
Page 13
His ordinary occupations were neglected or forgotten.
Page 14
Let us close this casement;--the air is chilling and dangerous to your frame.
Page 15
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.
Page 16
" Here again I paused abruptly, and now with a feeling of wild amazement--for there could be no doubt whatever that, in this instance, I did actually hear (although from what direction it proceeded I found it impossible to say) a low and apparently distant, but harsh, protracted, and most unusual screaming or grating sound--the exact counterpart of what my fancy had already conjured up for the dragon's unnatural shriek as described by the romancer.
Page 17
But, as I placed my hand upon his shoulder, there came a strong shudder over his whole person; a sickly smile quivered about his lips; and I saw that he spoke in a low, hurried, and gibbering murmur, as if unconscious of my presence.
Page 18
From that chamber, and from that mansion, I fled aghast.