The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 179

of that identity which at death
is or is not lost for ever, was to me, at all times, a consideration of
intense interest; not more from the perplexing and exciting nature of
its consequences, than from the marked and agitated manner in which
Morella mentioned them.

But, indeed, the time had now arrived when the mystery of my wife’s
manner oppressed me as a spell. I could no longer bear the touch of her
wan fingers, nor the low tone of her musical language, nor the lustre
of her melancholy eyes. And she knew all this, but did not upbraid; she
seemed conscious of my weakness or my folly, and, smiling, called it
fate. She seemed also conscious of a cause, to me unknown, for the
gradual alienation of my regard; but she gave me no hint or token of
its nature. Yet was she woman, and pined away daily. In time the crimson
spot settled steadily upon the cheek, and the blue veins upon the pale
forehead became prominent; and one instant my nature melted into pity,
but in, next I met the glance of her meaning eyes, and then my soul
sickened and became giddy with the giddiness of one who gazes downward
into some dreary and unfathomable abyss.

Shall I then say that I longed with an earnest and consuming desire for
the moment of Morella’s decease? I did; but the fragile spirit clung to
its tenement of clay for many days, for many weeks and irksome months,
until my tortured nerves obtained the mastery over my mind, and I grew
furious through delay, and, with the heart of a fiend, cursed the days
and the hours and the bitter moments, which seemed to lengthen and
lengthen as her gentle life declined, like shadows in the dying of the
day.

But one autumnal evening, when the winds lay still in heaven, Morella
called me to her bedside. There was a dim mist over all the earth, and
a warm glow upon the waters, and amid the rich October leaves of the
forest, a rainbow from the firmament had surely fallen.

“It is a day of days,” she said, as I approached; “a day of all days
either to live or die. It is a fair day for the sons of earth and
life--ah, more fair for the daughters of heaven and death!”

I kissed her forehead, and she continued:

“I am dying, yet shall I live.”

“Morella!”

“The days have never been when thou couldst love me--but her whom in
life thou didst abhor, in death thou shalt adore.”

“Morella!”

“I repeat I am dying.

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