The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 90

so low as to press upon the turrets of the house)
did not prevent our perceiving the life-like velocity with which they
flew careering from all points against each other, without passing
away into the distance. I say that even their exceeding density did
not prevent our perceiving this--yet we had no glimpse of the moon or
stars--nor was there any flashing forth of the lightning. But the
under surfaces of the huge masses of agitated vapor, as well as all
terrestrial objects immediately around us, were glowing in the unnatural
light of a faintly luminous and distinctly visible gaseous exhalation
which hung about and enshrouded the mansion.

"You must not--you shall not behold this!" said I, shudderingly, to
Usher, as I led him, with a gentle violence, from the window to a seat.
"These appearances, which bewilder you, are merely electrical phenomena
not uncommon--or it may be that they have their ghastly origin in
the rank miasma of the tarn. Let us close this casement;--the air is
chilling and dangerous to your frame. Here is one of your favorite
romances. I will read, and you shall listen;--and so we will pass away
this terrible night together."

The antique volume which I had taken up was the "Mad Trist" of Sir
Launcelot Canning; but I had called it a favorite of Usher's more in sad
jest than in earnest; for, in truth, there is little in its uncouth and
unimaginative prolixity which could have had interest for the lofty
and spiritual ideality of my friend. It was, however, the only book
immediately at hand; and I indulged a vague hope that the excitement
which now agitated the hypochondriac, might find relief (for the history
of mental disorder is full of similar anomalies) even in the extremeness
of the folly which I should read. Could I have judged, indeed, by the
wild overstrained air of vivacity with which he harkened, or apparently
harkened, to the words of the tale, I might well have congratulated
myself upon the success of my design.

I had arrived at that well-known portion of the story where Ethelred,
the hero of the Trist, having sought in vain for peaceable admission
into the dwelling of the hermit, proceeds to make good an entrance by
force. Here, it will be remembered, the words of the narrative run thus:

"And Ethelred, who was by nature of a doughty heart, and who was now
mighty withal, on account of the powerfulness of the wine which he had
drunken, waited no longer to hold parley with the hermit, who, in sooth,
was of an obstinate and maliceful turn,

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Text Comparison with First Project Gutenberg Collection of Edgar Allan Poe

Page 0
In this, the second instance, we have used separate index numbers for the collection and for all the entries in that collection.
Page 1
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping something louder than before.
Page 2
" Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning--little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door-- Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such name as "Nevermore.
Page 3
'" But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door; Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore-- What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking "Nevermore.
Page 4
" "Be that our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting-- "Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul has spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken!--quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.
Page 5
.
Page 6
It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against the western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony.
Page 7
His plans were bold and fiery, and his conceptions glowed with barbaric lustre.
Page 8
There are chords in the hearts of the most reckless which cannot be touched without emotion.
Page 9
His vesture was dabbled in _blood_--and his broad brow, with all the features of the face, was besprinkled with the scarlet horror.
Page 10
And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall.
Page 11
I continued, as was my wont, to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my smile _now_ was at the thought of his immolation.
Page 12
"Nitre," I replied.
Page 13
"Then you are not of the brotherhood.
Page 14
A moment more and I had fettered him to the granite.
Page 15
We shall have many a rich laugh about it at the palazzo--he! he! he!--over our wine--he! he! he!" "The Amontillado!" I said.
Page 16
My heart grew sick on account of the dampness of the catacombs.