The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 151

the pegs and soapstone holes which were my only
support. It was in vain I endeavored to banish these reflections, and to
keep my eyes steadily bent upon the flat surface of the cliff before me.
The more earnestly I struggled _not to think, _the more intensely vivid
became my conceptions, and the more horribly distinct. At length arrived
that crisis of fancy, so fearful in all similar cases, the crisis in
which we began to anticipate the feelings with which we _shall _fall--to
picture to ourselves the sickness, and dizziness, and the last struggle,
and the half swoon, and the final bitterness of the rushing and headlong
descent. And now I found these fancies creating their own realities, and
all imagined horrors crowding upon me in fact. I felt my knees strike
violently together, while my fingers were gradually but certainly
relaxing their grasp. There was a ringing in my ears, and I said, “This
is my knell of death!” And now I was consumed with the irrepressible
desire of looking below. I could not, I would not, confine my glances to
the cliff; and, with a wild, indefinable emotion, half of horror, half
of a relieved oppression, I threw my vision far down into the abyss. For
one moment my fingers clutched convulsively upon their hold, while, with
the movement, the faintest possible idea of ultimate escape wandered,
like a shadow, through my mind--in the next my whole soul was pervaded
with a longing to fall; a desire, a yearning, a passion utterly
uncontrollable. I let go at once my grasp upon the peg, and, turning
half round from the precipice, remained tottering for an instant
against its naked face. But now there came a spinning of the brain;
a shrill-sounding and phantom voice screamed within my ears; a dusky,
fiendish, and filmy figure stood immediately beneath me; and, sighing, I
sunk down with a bursting heart, and plunged within its arms.

I had swooned, and Peters had caught me as I fell. He had observed my
proceedings from his station at the bottom of the cliff; and perceiving
my imminent danger, had endeavored to inspire me with courage by every
suggestion he could devise; although my confusion of mind had been so
great as to prevent my hearing what he said, or being conscious that he
had even spoken to me at all. At length, seeing me totter, he hastened
to ascend to my rescue, and arrived just in time for my preservation.
Had I fallen with my full weight, the rope of linen would inevitably
have snapped, and I should have

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Text Comparison with The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

Page 11
In chemistry also the axiom fails.
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Page 38
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Page 46
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Page 79
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Page 121
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Page 144
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Page 169
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Page 183
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Page 198
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Page 202
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Page 206
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