He was enchained by certain superstitious impressions in regard to the dwelling which he tenanted, and whence, for many years, he had never ventured forthin regard to an influence whose supposititious force was conveyed in terms too shadowy here to be restatedan influence which some. 12 he admitted, however, although with hesitation, that much of the peculiar gloom which thus afflicted him could be traced to a more natural and far more palpable originto the severe and long-continued illnessindeed to the evidently approaching dissolutionof a tenderly beloved sister, his sole. Her decease, he said, with a bitterness which I can never forget, would leave him (him the hopeless and the frail) the last of the ancient race of the Ushers. While he spoke, the lady madeline (for so was she called) passed slowly through a remote portion of the apartment, and, without having noticed my presence, disappeared. I regarded her with an utter astonishment not unmingled with dread; 1 and yet I found it impossible to account for such feelings. A sensation of stupor oppressed me, as my eyes followed her retreating steps.
The fall of the house of Usher (1839) - sparkNotes
He suffered much from a morbid acuteness of the senses. The most insipid food was alone endurable; he could wear only garments of certain texture; the odors of all flowers were oppressive; his eyes were tortured by even a faint light; and there were but peculiar sounds, word and these from stringed you instruments, which did not. 10 to an anomalous species of terror I found him a bounden slave. I shall perish, said he, i must perish in this deplorable folly. Thus, thus, and not otherwise, shall I be lost. I dread the events of the future, not in themselves, but in their results. I shudder at the thought of any, even the most trivial, incident, which may operate upon this intolerable agitation of soul. I have, indeed, no abhorrence of danger, except in its absolute effectin terror. In this unnervedin this pitiable conditionI feel that the period will sooner or later arrive when I must abandon life and reason together, in some struggle with the grim phantasm, f ear. 11 I learned, moreover, at intervals, and through broken and equivocal hints, another singular feature of his mental condition.
For something of this nature i had indeed been prepared, no less by his letter than by reminiscences of certain boyish traits, and by conclusions deduced from his peculiar physical conformation and temperament. His action was alternately vivacious and sullen. His voice varied rapidly from a tremulous indecision (when the animal spirits seemed utterly in abeyance) to that species of energetic concisionthat abrupt, weighty, unhurried, and hollow-sounding enunciationthat leaden, self-balanced, and perfectly modulated guttural utterance, which may be observed in the lost drunkard, or the. 9 It was thus that he spoke of the object of my visit, of his earnest desire to see me, and of the solace he expected me to afford him. He entered, at some length, into what he conceived to be the nature of his malady. It was, he said, a constitutional and a family evil, and one for which he despaired to find a remedya mere nervous affection, he immediately added, which would undoubtedly soon pass off. It displayed itself in a host of unnatural sensations. Some of these, as he detailed them, interested and bewildered me; although, perhaps, the terms daddy and the general manner of the narration had their weight.
Surely, man had never before so terribly altered, in so brief a period, as had Roderick Usher! It was with difficulty that I could bring myself to admit the identity of the wan being before me with the companion of my early boyhood. Yet the character of his face had been at all times remarkable. A cadaverousness of complexion; an eye large, liquid, and luminous beyond comparison; lips somewhat thin and very pallid, but of a surpassingly beautiful curve; a nose of a delicate hebrew model, but with a breadth of nostril unusual in similar formations; a finely molded chin. 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. The now ghastly pallor of the skin, and the now miraculous luster of the eye, above all things startled and even awed. The silken hair, too, had been suffered to grow all unheeded, and as, in its wild gossamer texture, it floated rather than fell about the face, i could not, even with effort, connect its arabesque expression with any idea of simple humanity. In the manner of my friend I was at once struck with an incoherencean inconsistency; and I soon found this to arise from a series of feeble and futile struggles to overcome an habitual trepidancy, an excessive nervous agitation.
The fall of the house of Usher Summary
6, the room in which I found myself was very large and lofty. The windows were long, narrow, and pointed, and at so vast a distance from the black oaken floor as to be altogether inaccessible from within. Feeble gleams of reassignment encrimsoned light made their way through the trellised panes, and served to render sufficiently distinct the more prominent objects around; the eye, however, struggled in vain to reach the remoter angles of the chamber, or the recesses of the vaulted and fretted. Dark draperies hung upon the walls. The general furniture was profuse, comfortless, antique, and tattered. Many books and musical instruments lay scattered about, but failed to give any vitality to the scene.
I felt that I breathed an atmosphere of sorrow. An air of stern, deep, and irredeemable gloom hung over and pervaded all. 7, upon my entrance, usher arose from a sofa on which he had been lying year at full length, and greeted me with a vivacious warmth which had much in it, i at first thought, of an overdone cordialityof the constrained effort of the ennuyé man. A glance, however, at his countenance convinced me of his perfect sincerity. We sat down; and for some moments, while he spoke not, i gazed upon him with a feeling half of pity, half of awe.
Beyond this indication of extensive decay, however, the fabric gave little token of instability. Perhaps the eye of a scrutinizing observer might have discovered a barely perceptible fissure, which, extending from the roof of the building in front, made its way down the wall in a zigzag direction, until it became lost in the sullen waters of the tarn. 5, noticing these things, i rode over a short causeway to the house. A servant in waiting took my horse, and i entered the gothic archway of the hall. A valet, of stealthy step, thence conducted me, in silence, through many dark and intricate passages in my progress to the studio of his master.
Much that i encountered on the way contributed, i know not how, to heighten the vague sentiments of which I have already spoken. While the objects around mewhile the carvings of the ceilings, the somber tapestries of the walls, the ebon blackness of the floors, and the phantasmagoric armorial trophies which rattled as I strode, were but matters to which, or to such as which, i had been. On one of the staircases I met the physician of the family. His countenance, i thought, wore a mingled expression of low cunning and perplexity. He accosted me with trepidation and passed. The valet now threw open a door and ushered me into the presence of his master.
M: The fall of the house of Usher (Midnite movies
And write it might have been for this reason only, that, when i again uplifted my eyes to the house itself, from its image in the pool, there grew in my mind a strange fancya fancy so ridiculous, indeed, that I but mention it to show. I had so worked upon my imagination as really to believe that about the whole mansion and domain there hung an atmosphere peculiar to themselves and their immediate vicinityan atmosphere which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but which had reeked up from. 4, shaking off from my spirit what must have been a dream, i scanned more narrowly the real aspect of the building. Its principal feature seemed to be that of an excessive antiquity. The discoloration of ages had been great. Minute fungi overspread the whole exterior, hanging in a fine, tangled web-work from the eaves. Yet all this was apart from any extraordinary dilapidation. No portion of the masonry had fallen; and there appeared to be a wild inconsistency between its still perfect adaptation of parts, and the crumbling condition of the individual stones. In this there was much that reminded me of the specious totality of old woodwork which has rotted for years in some neglected vault, with no disturbance from the breath of the external air.
I was aware, however, that his very ancient family had been noted, time out of mind, for a peculiar sensibility of temperament, displaying itself, through long ages, in many works of exalted art, and manifested, of late, in repeated deeds of munificent, yet unobtrusive charity. I had learned, too, the very remarkable fact that the stem of the Usher race, all time-honored as it was, had put forth, at no period, any enduring branch; in other words, that the entire family lay in the direct line of descent, and had. It was this deficiency, i considered, while running over in thought the perfect keeping of the character of the premises with the accredited character of the people, and while speculating upon the possible influence which the one, in the long lapse of centuries, might have. 3, i have said that the sole effect of my somewhat childish experiment of looking down within remember the tarn had been to deepen the first singular impression. There can be no doubt that the consciousness of the rapid increase of my superstitionfor why should I not so term it? Served mainly to accelerate the increase itself. Such, i have long known, is the paradoxical law of all sentiments having terror as a basis.
our depth. It was possible, i reflected, that a mere different arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps to annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression; and, acting upon this idea, i reined my horse. Nevertheless, in this mansion of gloom I now proposed to myself a sojourn of some weeks. Its proprietor, roderick Usher, had been one of my boon companions in boyhood; but many years had elapsed since our last meeting. A letter, however, had lately reached me in a distant part of the countrya letter from himwhich, in its wildly importunate nature, had admitted of no other than a personal reply. Gave evidence of nervous agitation. The writer spoke of acute bodily illness, of a mental disorder which oppressed him, and of an earnest desire to see me, as his best, and indeed his only personal friend, with a view of attempting, by the cheerfulness of my society, some alleviation. It was the manner in which all this, and much more, was saidit was the apparent heart that went with his requestwhich allowed me no room for hesitation; and i accordingly obeyed forthwith what I still considered a very singular summons. 2, although, as boys, we had been even intimate associates, yet I really knew little of my friend. His reserve had been always excessive and habitual.
D, uring the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, i had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself. I know not how it was; but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasurable, because poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the scene before meupon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domainupon the bleak wallsupon the vacant eye-like windowsupon a few rank sedgesand upon a few white trunks of decayed treeswith an utter depression first of soul which I can. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heartan unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime. What was itI paused to thinkwhat was it that so unnerved me in the contemplation of the house of Usher? It was a mystery all insoluble; nor could I grapple with the shadowy fancies that crowded upon me as I pondered.
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