The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 174

as meandering very irregularly through the
whole of its course. Its two general directions, as I have said, were
first from west to east, and then from north to south. At the turn, the
stream, sweeping backward, made an almost circular loop, so as to form a
peninsula which was very nearly an island, and which included about the
sixteenth of an acre. On this peninsula stood a dwelling-house--and when
I say that this house, like the infernal terrace seen by Vathek, "etait
d'une architecture inconnue dans les annales de la terre," I mean,
merely, that its tout ensemble struck me with the keenest sense of
combined novelty and propriety--in a word, of poetry--(for, than in the
words just employed, I could scarcely give, of poetry in the abstract,
a more rigorous definition)--and I do not mean that merely outre was
perceptible in any respect.

In fact nothing could well be more simple--more utterly unpretending
than this cottage. Its marvellous effect lay altogether in its artistic
arrangement as a picture. I could have fancied, while I looked at it,
that some eminent landscape-painter had built it with his brush.

The point of view from which I first saw the valley, was not altogether,
although it was nearly, the best point from which to survey the house.
I will therefore describe it as I afterwards saw it--from a position on
the stone wall at the southern extreme of the amphitheatre.

The main building was about twenty-four feet long and sixteen
broad--certainly not more. Its total height, from the ground to the apex
of the roof, could not have exceeded eighteen feet. To the west end
of this structure was attached one about a third smaller in all its
proportions:--the line of its front standing back about two yards from
that of the larger house, and the line of its roof, of course, being
considerably depressed below that of the roof adjoining. At right angles
to these buildings, and from the rear of the main one--not exactly in
the middle--extended a third compartment, very small--being, in general,
one-third less than the western wing. The roofs of the two larger were
very steep--sweeping down from the ridge-beam with a long concave curve,
and extending at least four feet beyond the walls in front, so as to
form the roofs of two piazzas. These latter roofs, of course, needed
no support; but as they had the air of needing it, slight and perfectly
plain pillars were inserted at the corners alone. The roof of the
northern wing was merely an extension of a portion of the main roof.
Between the chief

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