The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 134

terrors of the wells, of which my
imagination now pictured many in various positions about the dungeon.
In other conditions of mind I might have had courage to end my misery at
once by a plunge into one of these abysses; but now I was the veriest of
cowards. Neither could I forget what I had read of these pits--that the
sudden extinction of life formed no part of their most horrible plan.

Agitation of spirit kept me awake for many long hours; but at length I
again slumbered. Upon arousing, I found by my side, as before, a loaf
and a pitcher of water. A burning thirst consumed me, and I emptied
the vessel at a draught. It must have been drugged; for scarcely had I
drunk, before I became irresistibly drowsy. A deep sleep fell upon me--a
sleep like that of death. How long it lasted of course, I know not;
but when, once again, I unclosed my eyes, the objects around me were
visible. By a wild sulphurous lustre, the origin of which I could not
at first determine, I was enabled to see the extent and aspect of the
prison.

In its size I had been greatly mistaken. The whole circuit of its walls
did not exceed twenty-five yards. For some minutes this fact occasioned
me a world of vain trouble; vain indeed! for what could be of less
importance, under the terrible circumstances which environed me, then
the mere dimensions of my dungeon? But my soul took a wild interest in
trifles, and I busied myself in endeavors to account for the error I had
committed in my measurement. The truth at length flashed upon me. In my
first attempt at exploration I had counted fifty-two paces, up to the
period when I fell; I must then have been within a pace or two of the
fragment of serge; in fact, I had nearly performed the circuit of the
vault. I then slept, and upon awaking, I must have returned upon my
steps--thus supposing the circuit nearly double what it actually was. My
confusion of mind prevented me from observing that I began my tour with
the wall to the left, and ended it with the wall to the right.

I had been deceived, too, in respect to the shape of the enclosure.
In feeling my way I had found many angles, and thus deduced an idea of
great irregularity; so potent is the effect of total darkness upon one
arousing from lethargy or sleep! The angles were simply those of a few
slight depressions, or niches, at odd

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Text Comparison with The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

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