The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 64

imperceptible; the breathing was gentle
(scarcely noticeable, unless through the application of a mirror to the
lips); the eyes were closed naturally; and the limbs were as rigid and
as cold as marble. Still, the general appearance was certainly not that
of death.

As I approached M. Valdemar I made a kind of half effort to influence
his right arm into pursuit of my own, as I passed the latter gently
to and fro above his person. In such experiments with this patient had
never perfectly succeeded before, and assuredly I had little thought of
succeeding now; but to my astonishment, his arm very readily, although
feebly, followed every direction I assigned it with mine. I determined
to hazard a few words of conversation.

"M. Valdemar," I said, "are you asleep?" He made no answer, but I
perceived a tremor about the lips, and was thus induced to repeat the
question, again and again. At its third repetition, his whole frame was
agitated by a very slight shivering; the eyelids unclosed themselves so
far as to display a white line of the ball; the lips moved sluggishly,
and from between them, in a barely audible whisper, issued the words:

"Yes;--asleep now. Do not wake me!--let me die so!"

I here felt the limbs and found them as rigid as ever. The right arm,
as before, obeyed the direction of my hand. I questioned the sleep-waker
again:

"Do you still feel pain in the breast, M. Valdemar?"

The answer now was immediate, but even less audible than before: "No
pain--I am dying."

I did not think it advisable to disturb him farther just then, and
nothing more was said or done until the arrival of Dr. F--, who came a
little before sunrise, and expressed unbounded astonishment at finding
the patient still alive. After feeling the pulse and applying a mirror
to the lips, he requested me to speak to the sleep-waker again. I did
so, saying:

"M. Valdemar, do you still sleep?"

As before, some minutes elapsed ere a reply was made; and during the
interval the dying man seemed to be collecting his energies to speak.
At my fourth repetition of the question, he said very faintly, almost
inaudibly:

"Yes; still asleep--dying."

It was now the opinion, or rather the wish, of the physicians, that
M. Valdemar should be suffered to remain undisturbed in his present
apparently tranquil condition, until death should supervene--and this,
it was generally agreed, must now take place within a few minutes. I
concluded, however, to speak to him once more, and merely repeated my
previous question.

While I spoke, there came a marked change over the countenance

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven Edition Table Of Contents And Index Of The Five Volumes

Page 0
AN ENIGMA FOR ANNIE TO F——.
Page 1
B—.