The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 35

stature,
not more than four feet eight inches high, but his limbs were of
Herculean mould. His hands, especially, were so enormously thick and
broad as hardly to retain a human shape. His arms, as well as legs,
were bowed in the most singular manner, and appeared to possess no
flexibility whatever. His head was equally deformed, being of immense
size, with an indentation on the crown (like that on the head of most
negroes), and entirely bald. To conceal this latter deficiency, which
did not proceed from old age, he usually wore a wig formed of any
hair-like material which presented itself--occasionally the skin of a
Spanish dog or American grizzly bear. At the time spoken of, he had on a
portion of one of these bearskins; and it added no little to the natural
ferocity of his countenance, which betook of the Upsaroka character. The
mouth extended nearly from ear to ear, the lips were thin, and seemed,
like some other portions of his frame, to be devoid of natural pliancy,
so that the ruling expression never varied under the influence of any
emotion whatever. This ruling expression may be conceived when it is
considered that the teeth were exceedingly long and protruding, and
never even partially covered, in any instance, by the lips. To pass this
man with a casual glance, one might imagine him to be convulsed with
laughter, but a second look would induce a shuddering acknowledgment,
that if such an expression were indicative of merriment, the merriment
must be that of a demon. Of this singular being many anecdotes were
prevalent among the seafaring men of Nantucket. These anecdotes went to
prove his prodigious strength when under excitement, and some of them
had given rise to a doubt of his sanity. But on board the Grampus, it
seems, he was regarded, at the time of the mutiny, with feelings more of
derision than of anything else. I have been thus particular in speaking
of Dirk Peters, because, ferocious as he appeared, he proved the main
instrument in preserving the life of Augustus, and because I shall
have frequent occasion to mention him hereafter in the course of my
narrative--a narrative, let me here say, which, in its latter portions,
will be found to include incidents of a nature so entirely out of the
range of human experience, and for this reason so far beyond the limits
of human credulity, that I proceed in utter hopelessness of obtaining
credence for all that I shall tell, yet confidently trusting in time
and progressing science to verify some of the most important and

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Text Comparison with The Fall of the House of Usher

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.
Page 1
His reserve had been always excessive and habitual.
Page 2
The discoloration of ages had been great.
Page 3
The valet now threw open a door and ushered me into the presence of his master.
Page 4
And now in the mere exaggeration of the prevailing character of these features, and of the expression they were wont to convey, lay so much of change that I doubted to whom I spoke.
Page 5
A sensation of stupor oppressed me, as my eyes followed her retreating steps.
Page 6
A settled apathy, a gradual wasting away of the person, and frequent although transient affections of a partially cataleptical character, were the unusual diagnosis.
Page 7
It was, perhaps, the narrow limits to which he thus confined himself upon the guitar, which gave birth, in great measure, to the fantastic character of the performances.
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II.
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V.
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let us mourn, for never morrow Shall dawn upon him, desolate!) And, round about his home, the glory That blushed and bloomed Is but a dim-remembered story, Of the old time entombed.
Page 11
Our books--the books which, for years, had formed no small portion of the mental existence of the invalid--were, as might be supposed, in strict keeping with this character of phantasm.
Page 12
The disease which had thus entombed the lady in the maturity of youth, had left, as usual in all maladies of a strictly cataleptical character, the mockery of a faint blush upon the bosom and the face, and that suspiciously lingering smile upon the lip which is so terrible in death.
Page 13
It was no wonder that his condition terrified--that it infected me.
Page 14
Let us close this casement;--the air is chilling and dangerous to your frame.
Page 15
a favourite 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.
Page 16
Having rapidly taken notice of all this, I resumed the narrative of Sir Launcelot, which thus proceeded: "And now, the champion, having escaped from the terrible fury of the dragon, bethinking himself of the brazen shield, and of the breaking up of the enchantment which was upon it, removed the carcass from out of.
Page 17
Long--long--long--many minutes, many hours, many days, have I heard it--yet I dared not--oh, pity me, miserable wretch that I am!--I dared not--I dared not speak! We have put her living in the tomb! Said I not that my senses were acute? I now tell you that I heard her first feeble movements in the hollow coffin.
Page 18
While I gazed, this fissure rapidly widened--there came a fierce breath of the whirlwind--the entire orb of the satellite burst at once upon my sight--my brain reeled as I saw the mighty walls rushing asunder--there was a long tumultuous shouting sound like the voice of a thousand waters--and the deep and dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the "House of Usher".