Derniers Contes

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 49

tout cas, nous pouvons
suivre les traces de cette science jusqu'a une tres haute antiquite.
Il est vrai que les modernes l'ont amenee a un degre de perfection que
n'auraient jamais revee les tetes dures de nos ancetres. Sans m'arreter
a parler des "vieilles scies", je me contenterai de presenter un resume
de quelques-uns "des cas les plus modernes."

Voici une excellente filouterie. Une maitresse de maison a besoin d'un
sofa. Elle va visiter plusieurs magasins de meubles. Elle arrive enfin
dans un magasin bien assorti. A la porte, un individu poli et ayant la
langue bien pendue l'accoste et l'invite a entrer. Elle trouve un sofa
qui fait parfaitement son affaire; elle en demande le prix, et se trouve
surprise et enchantee a la fois d'entendre articuler une somme de vingt
pour cent au moins au dessous de son attente. Elle se hate de conclure
le marche, prend une facture et un recu, laisse son adresse, en priant
d'envoyer l'article a la maison le plus tot possible, et se retire
pendant que le marchand se confond en reverences et en salutations. La
nuit vient, et point de sofa. Le jour suivant se passe, et toujours
rien. Un domestique va s'enquerir des causes de ce retard. On n'a
connaissance d'aucun marche. Il n'y a point eu de sofa de vendu, point
d'argent de recu--excepte par le filou, qui a fort bien joue le role du
marchand.

Nos magasins de meubles sont abandonnes sans surveillance a la merci
du premier venu; ce qui donne toute facilite pour des tours de cette
espece. Les passants entrent, regardent les marchandises, et partent
sans qu'on les ait remarques ni vus. Si quelqu'un desire faire une
acquisition, ou s'enquerir du prix d'un article, une cloche est la sous
la main, et cette precaution parait amplement suffisante.

Autre filouterie fort respectable. Un individu bien mis entre dans une
boutique; il y fait une emplette de la valeur d'un dollar. Mais a son
grand regret, il s'apercoit qu'il a laisse son portefeuille dans la
poche d'un autre habit. Il dit donc au boutiquier: "Cela ne fait rien,
mon cher monsieur; vous m'obligerez en envoyant le paquet a la maison.
Mais attendez. Je crois bien qu'il n'y a pas a la maison de monnaie
inferieure a une piece de cinq dollars. Vous pouvez donc envoyer avec le
paquet quatre dollars pour le change."--"Tres bien, monsieur,"
repond le boutiquier, concevant aussitot une grande idee de la haute
delicatesse de sa pratique. "J'en connais," se dit-il a lui-meme, "qui
auraient mis la marchandise sous leur bras, et seraient partis en
promettant de revenir payer le dollar en passant

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with The Raven and The Philosophy of Composition

Page 0
Perrett The Decorations by Will Jenkins [Illustration] Paul Elder and Company San Francisco and New York Contents Foreword .
Page 1
If they be again correct, Poe’s genius as seen in the creation of “The Philosophy of Composition” is far more startling than it has otherwise appeared; and “robbed of his bay leaves in the realm of poetry,” he is to be “crowned with a double wreath of berried holly for his prose.
Page 2
Most writers—poets in especial—prefer having it understood that they compose by a species of fine phrenzy—an ecstatic intuition—and would positively shudder at letting the public take a.
Page 3
The initial consideration was that of extent.
Page 4
It is needless to demonstrate that a poem is such, only inasmuch as it intensely excites, by elevating, the soul; and all intense excitements are, through a psychal necessity, brief.
Page 5
The length, the province, and the tone, being thus determined, I betook myself to ordinary induction, with the view of obtaining some artistic piquancy which might serve me as a keynote in the construction of the poem—some pivot upon which the whole structure might turn.
Page 6
Here, then, immediately arose the idea of a non-reasoning creature capable of speech; and, very naturally, a parrot, in the first instance, suggested itself, but was superseded forthwith by a Raven, as equally capable of speech, and infinitely more in keeping with the intended tone.
Page 7
I saw that I could make the first query propounded by the lover—the first query to which the Raven should reply “Nevermore”—that I could make this first query a commonplace one—the second less so—the third still less, and so on, until at length the lover—startled from his original nonchalance by the melancholy character of the word itself, by its frequent repetition, and by a consideration of the ominous reputation of the fowl that uttered it—is at length excited to superstition, and wildly propounds queries of a far different character—queries whose solution he has passionately at heart—propounds them half in superstition and half in that species of despair which delights in self-torture—propounds them not altogether because he believes in the prophetic or demoniac character of the bird (which, reason assures him, is merely repeating a lesson learned by rote) but because he experiences a phrenzied pleasure in so modeling his questions as to receive from the expected “Nevermore,” the most delicious because the most intolerable of sorrow.
Page 8
Less pedantically—the feet employed throughout (trochees) consist of a long syllable followed by a short: the first line of the stanza consists of eight of these feet—the.
Page 9
For this the most natural suggestion might seem to be a forest, or the fields—but it has always appeared to me that a close circumscription of space is absolutely necessary to the effect of insulated incident: it has the force of a frame to a picture.
Page 10
So far, everything is within the limits of the accountable—of the real.
Page 11
” With the indulgence, to the extreme, of this self-torture, the narration, in what I have termed its first or obvious phase, has a natural termination, and so far there has been no overstepping of the limits of the real.
Page 12
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door— Only this and nothing more.
Page 13
[Illustration] Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, “Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven, Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore— Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!” Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.
Page 14
_] [Illustration] “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!— Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted— On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore— Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!” Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.
Page 15
” [Illustration: _Copyright 1906 by The Harwell-Evans Co.