as of the contemptible about the man, and we had not seen
him for several years. We had been sitting in the dark, and Dupin now
arose for the purpose of lighting a lamp, but sat down again, without
doing so, upon G.'s saying that he had called to consult us, or rather
to ask the opinion of my friend, about some official business which had
occasioned a great deal of trouble.
"If it is any point requiring reflection," observed Dupin, as he
forebore to enkindle the wick, "we shall examine it to better purpose in
"That is another of your odd notions," said the Prefect, who had a
fashion of calling every thing "odd" that was beyond his comprehension,
and thus lived amid an absolute legion of "oddities."
"Very true," said Dupin, as he supplied his visiter with a pipe, and
rolled towards him a comfortable chair.
"And what is the difficulty now?" I asked. "Nothing more in the
assassination way, I hope?"
"Oh no; nothing of that nature. The fact is, the business is very simple
indeed, and I make no doubt that we can manage it sufficiently well
ourselves; but then I thought Dupin would like to hear the details of
it, because it is so excessively odd."
"Simple and odd," said Dupin.
"Why, yes; and not exactly that, either. The fact is, we have all been
a good deal puzzled because the affair is so simple, and yet baffles us
"Perhaps it is the very simplicity of the thing which puts you at
fault," said my friend.
"What nonsense you do talk!" replied the Prefect, laughing heartily.
"Perhaps the mystery is a little too plain," said Dupin.
"Oh, good heavens! who ever heard of such an idea?"
"A little too self-evident."
"Ha! ha! ha--ha! ha! ha!--ho! ho! ho!" roared our visiter, profoundly
amused, "oh, Dupin, you will be the death of me yet!"
"And what, after all, is the matter on hand?" I asked.
"Why, I will tell you," replied the Prefect, as he gave a long, steady
and contemplative puff, and settled himself in his chair. "I will tell
you in a few words; but, before I begin, let me caution you that this
is an affair demanding the greatest secrecy, and that I should most
probably lose the position I now hold, were it known that I confided it
to any one."
"Proceed," said I.
"Or not," said Dupin.
"Well, then; I have received personal information, from a very high
quarter, that a certain document of the last importance, has been
purloined from the royal apartments. The individual who purloined it is
known; this beyond
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.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
A servant in waiting took my horse, and I entered the Gothic archway of the hall.Page 3
The general furniture was profuse, comfortless, antique, and tattered.Page 4
The now ghastly pallor of the skin, and the now miraculous lustre of the eye, above all things startled and even awed me.Page 5
"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.Page 6
The disease of the lady Madeline had long baffled the skill of her physicians.Page 7
The words of one of these rhapsodies I have easily remembered.Page 8
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.Page 9
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.Page 10
This opinion, in its general form, was that of the sentience of all vegetable things.Page 11
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.Page 12
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.Page 13
He roamed from chamber to chamber with hurried, unequal, and objectless step.Page 14
"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.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
The motion of his body, too, was at variance with this idea--for he rocked from side to side with a gentle yet constant and uniform sway.Page 17
Long--long--long--many minutes, many hours, many days, have I heard it--yet I dared not--oh, pity me, miserable wretch that I am!--I dared not--I dared not speak! We have put her living in the tomb! Said I not that my senses were acute? I now tell you that I heard her first feeble movements in the hollow coffin.Page 18
The storm was still abroad in all its wrath as I found myself crossing the old causeway.