The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 52

that his susceptibility to the impression increases with its frequency,
while, in the same proportion, the peculiar phenomena elicited are more
extended and more _pronounced_.

I say that these--which are the laws of mesmerism in its
general features--it would be supererogation to demonstrate; nor shall I
inflict upon my readers so needless a demonstration; to-day. My purpose
at present is a very different one indeed. I am impelled, even in
the teeth of a world of prejudice, to detail without comment the very
remarkable substance of a colloquy, occurring between a sleep-waker and

I had been long in the habit of mesmerizing the person in
question, (Mr. Vankirk,) and the usual acute susceptibility and
exaltation of the mesmeric perception had supervened. For many months he
had been laboring under confirmed phthisis, the more distressing effects
of which had been relieved by my manipulations; and on the night of
Wednesday, the fifteenth instant, I was summoned to his bedside.

The invalid was suffering with acute pain in the region of the
heart, and breathed with great difficulty, having all the ordinary
symptoms of asthma. In spasms such as these he had usually found relief
from the application of mustard to the nervous centres, but to-night
this had been attempted in vain.

As I entered his room he greeted me with a cheerful smile, and
although evidently in much bodily pain, appeared to be, mentally, quite
at ease.

"I sent for you to-night," he said, "not so much to administer
to my bodily ailment, as to satisfy me concerning certain psychal
impressions which, of late, have occasioned me much anxiety and
surprise. I need not tell you how sceptical I have hitherto been on the
topic of the soul's immortality. I cannot deny that there has always
existed, as if in that very soul which I have been denying, a vague
half-sentiment of its own existence. But this half-sentiment at no
time amounted to conviction. With it my reason had nothing to do.
All attempts at logical inquiry resulted, indeed, in leaving me more
sceptical than before. I had been advised to study Cousin. I studied
him in his own works as well as in those of his European and American
echoes. The 'Charles Elwood' of Mr. Brownson, for example, was placed
in my hands. I read it with profound attention. Throughout I found it
logical, but the portions which were not _merely_ logical were unhappily
the initial arguments of the disbelieving hero of the book. In his
summing up it seemed evident to me that the reasoner had not even
succeeded in convincing himself. His

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 4

Page 0
EVERYBODY knows, in a general way, that the finest place in the world is--or, alas, was--the Dutch borough of Vondervotteimittiss.
Page 19
The eyes, before invisible, now wore an energetic and human expression, while they gleamed with a fiery and unusual red; and the distended lips of the apparently enraged horse left in full view his gigantic and disgusting teeth.
Page 24
Through this dank and gloomy wood we rode some two miles, when the Maison de Sante came in view.
Page 34
" "To be sure," said I,--"to be sure! They behave a little odd, eh?--they are a little queer, eh?--don't you think so?" "Odd!--queer!--why, do you really think so? We are not very prudish, to be sure, here in the South--do pretty much as we please--enjoy life, and all that sort of thing, you know-" "To be sure," said I,--"to be sure.
Page 36
" "But I presume a counter-revolution was soon effected.
Page 48
Cats they caterwauled.
Page 52
It is needless to say that I felt inexpressibly alarmed.
Page 59
I would say more than this, sir, were it not for the fear of giving you offence (here the speaker smiled blandly), I would say, sir, that your opinions are not the opinions to be expected from a.
Page 61
I can just remember the titles of some of the works.
Page 96
) Si je gagne, je reviendrai a mes ortolans--que les cartes soient preparees!" His Grace was all care, all attention--his Majesty all confidence.
Page 100
I say "amused"--and scarcely know how to explain myself.
Page 106
"We must talk of these things at some more appropriate time.
Page 115
He died gloriously while inhaling gas--levique flatu corrupitur, like the fama pudicitae in Hieronymus.
Page 122
Page 132
I was making money at this business when, in an evil moment, I was induced to merge it in the Cur-Spattering--a somewhat analogous, but, by no means, so respectable a profession.
Page 135
He admitted but four unvarying laws, or rather elementary principles, of Bliss.
Page 146
The right arm, however, should lie more at length upon the box, a chess-board should appear upon it, and the cushion should not be seen while the pipe is held.
Page 153
I, is opened.
Page 154
{*4} There is, consequently, now no longer any part of the man in the main compartment--his body being behind the machinery in cupboard No.
Page 169
This the mass of mankind saw not, or, living lustily although unhappily, affected not to see.