Dark Tales - House of Usher - Story

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    The Fall of the House of Usher

    by Edgar Allan Poe

    (1839)

    Son coeur est un luth suspendu;

    Sitt quon le touche il r!sonne"De Branger.

    #$%&' the hole o* a dull+ dar,+ and soundless day in the autu-n o* the year+ hen the clouds

    hung oppressi.ely lo in the hea.ens+ & had been passing alone+ on horsebac,+ through a

    singularly dreary tract o* country; and at length *ound -ysel*+ as the shades o* the e.ening dre

    on+ ithin .ie o* the -elancholy /ouse o* $sher" & ,no not ho it as 00 but+ ith the *irst

    gli-pse o* the building+ a sense o* insu**erable gloo- per.aded -y spirit" & say insu**erable; *or

    the *eeling as unrelie.ed by any o* that hal*0pleasurable+ because poetic+ senti-ent+ ith hich

    the -ind usually recei.es e.en the sternest natural i-ages o* the desolate or terrible" & loo,ed

    upon the scene be*ore -e 00 upon the -ere house+ and the si-ple landscape *eatures o* the

    do-ain 00 upon the blea, alls 00 upon the .acant eye0li,e indos 00 upon a *e ran, sedges 00and upon a *e hite trun,s o* decayed trees 00 ith an utter depression o* soul hich & can

    co-pare to no earthly sensation -ore properly than to the a*ter0drea- o* the re.eller upon opiu-

    00 the bitter lapse into e.eryday li*e 00 the hideous dropping o** o* the .eil" here as an iciness+

    a sin,ing+ a sic,ening o* the heart 00 an unredee-ed dreariness o* thought hich no goading o*

    the i-agination could torture into aught o* the subli-e" 2hat as it 00 & paused to thin, 00 hat

    as it that so unner.ed -e in the conte-plation o* the /ouse o* $sher &t as a -ystery all

    insoluble; nor could & grapple ith the shadoy *ancies that croded upon -e as & pondered" &

    as *orced to *all bac, upon the unsatis*actory conclusion+ that hile+ beyond doubt+ there are

    co-binations o* .ery si-ple natural ob4ects hich ha.e the poer o* thus a**ecting us+ still the

    analysis o* this poer lies a-ong considerations beyond our depth" &t as possible+ & re*lected+

    that a -ere di**erent arrange-ent o* the particulars o* the scene+ o* the details o* the picture+

    ould be su**icient to -odi*y+ or perhaps to annihilate its capacity *or sorro*ul i-pression;

    and+ acting upon this idea+ & reined -y horse to the precipitous brin, o* a blac, and lurid tarn that

    lay in unru**led lustre by the delling+ and ga5ed don 00 but ith a shudder e.en -ore thrilling

    than be*ore 00 upon the re-odelled and in.erted i-ages o* the gray sedge+ and the ghastly tree0

    ste-s+ and the .acant and eye0li,e indos"

    'e.ertheless+ in this -ansion o* gloo- & no proposed to -ysel* a so4ourn o* so-e ee,s" &ts

    proprietor+ %oderic, $sher+ had been one o* -y boon co-panions in boyhood; but -any years

    had elapsed since our last -eeting" A letter+ hoe.er+ had lately reached -e in a distant part o*

    the country 00 a letter *ro- hi- 00 hich+ in its ildly i-portunate nature+ had ad-itted o* noother than a personal reply" he 6S" ga.e e.idence o* ner.ous agitation" he riter spo,e o*

    acute bodily illness 00 o* a -ental disorder hich oppressed hi- 00 and o* an earnest desire to see

    -e+ as his best+ and indeed his only personal *riend+ ith a .ie o* atte-pting+ by the

    cheer*ulness o* -y society+ so-e alle.iation o* his -alady" &t as the -anner in hich all this+

    and -uch -ore+ as said 00 it the apparent heartthat ent ith his request 00hich alloed -e

    no roo- *or hesitation; and & accordingly obeyed *orthith hat & still considered a .ery singular

    su--ons"

    Although+ as boys+ e had been e.en inti-ate associates+ yet & really ,ne little o* -y *riend"

    /is reser.e had been alays e7cessi.e and habitual" & as aare+ hoe.er+ that his .ery ancient

    *a-ily had been noted+ ti-e out o* -ind+ *or a peculiar sensibility o* te-pera-ent+ displayingitsel*+ through long ages+ in -any or,s o* e7alted art+ and -ani*ested+ o* late+ in repeated deeds

    o* -uni*icent yet unobtrusi.e charity+ as ell as in a passionate de.otion to the intricacies+

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    perhaps e.en -ore than to the orthodo7 and easily recognisable beauties+ o* -usical science" &

    had learned+ too+ the .ery re-ar,able *act+ that the ste- o* the $sher race+ all ti-e0honoured as it

    as+ had put *orth+ at no period+ any enduring branch; in other ords+ that the entire *a-ily lay in

    the direct line o* descent+ and had alays+ ith .ery tri*ling and .ery te-porary .ariation+ so

    lain" &t as this de*iciency+ & considered+ hile running o.er in thought the per*ect ,eeping o* the

    character o* the pre-ises ith the accredited character o* the people+ and hile speculating upon

    the possible in*luence hich the one+ in the long lapse o* centuries+ -ight ha.e e7ercised uponthe other 00 it as this de*iciency+ perhaps+ o* collateral issue+ and the consequent unde.iating

    trans-ission+ *ro- sire to son+ o* the patri-ony ith the na-e+ hich had+ at length+ so

    identi*ied the to as to -erge the original title o* the estate in the quaint and equi.ocal

    appellation o* the /ouse o* $sher 00 an appellation hich see-ed to include+ in the -inds o*

    the peasantry ho used it+ both the *a-ily and the *a-ily -ansion"

    & ha.e said that the sole e**ect o* -y so-ehat childish e7peri-ent 00that o* loo,ing don

    ithin the tarn 00had been to deepen the *irst singular i-pression" here can be no doubt that the

    consciousness o* the rapid increase o* -y superstition 00 *or hy should & not so ter- it 00

    ser.ed -ainly to accelerate the increase itsel*" Such+ & ha.e long ,non+ is the parado7ical la o*

    all senti-ents ha.ing terror as a basis" And it -ight ha.e been *or this reason only+ that+ hen &again upli*ted -y eyes to the house itsel*+ *ro- its i-age in the pool+ there gre in -y -ind a

    strange *ancy 00 a *ancy so ridiculous+ indeed+ that & but -ention it to sho the .i.id *orce o* the

    sensations hich oppressed -e" & had so or,ed upon -y i-agination as really to belie.e that

    about the hole -ansion and do-ain there hung an at-osphere peculiar to the-sel.es and their

    i--ediate .icinity 00 an at-osphere hich had no a**inity ith the air o* hea.en+ but hich had

    ree,ed up *ro- the decayed trees+ and the gray all+ and the silent tarn 00 a pestilent and -ystic

    .apour+ dull+ sluggish+ *aintly discernible+ and leaden0hued"

    Sha,ing o** *ro- -y spirit hat mustha.e been a drea-+ & scanned -ore narroly the real

    aspect o* the building" &ts principal *eature see-ed to be that o* an e7cessi.e antiquity" he

    discoloration o* ages had been great" 6inute *ungi o.erspread the hole e7terior+ hanging in a

    *ine tangled eb0or, *ro- the ea.es" et all this as apart *ro- any e7traordinary dilapidation"

    'o portion o* the -asonry had *allen; and there appeared to be a ild inconsistency beteen its

    still per*ect adaptation o* parts+ and the cru-bling condition o* the indi.idual stones" &n this there

    as -uch that re-inded -e o* the specious totality o* old ood0or, hich has rotted *or long

    years in so-e neglected .ault+ ith no disturbance *ro- the breath o* the e7ternal air" :eyond

    this indication o* e7tensi.e decay+ hoe.er+ the *abric ga.e little to,en o* instability" Perhaps the

    eye o* a scrutinising obser.er -ight ha.e disco.ered a barely perceptible *issure+ hich+

    e7tending *ro- the roo* o* the building in *ront+ -ade its ay don the all in a 5ig5ag

    direction+ until it beca-e lost in the sullen aters o* the tarn"

    'oticing these things+ & rode o.er a short causeay to the house" A ser.ant in aiting too, -y

    horse+ and & entered the othic archay o* the hall" A .alet+ o* stealthy step+ thence conducted

    -e+ in silence+ through -any dar, and intricate passages in -y progress to the studioo* his

    -aster" 6uch that & encountered on the ay contributed+ & ,no not ho+ to heighten the .ague

    senti-ents o* hich & ha.e already spo,en" 2hile the ob4ects around -e 00 hile the car.ings o*

    the ceilings+ the so-bre tapestries o* the alls+ the ebon blac,ness o* the *loors+ and the

    phantas-agoric ar-orial trophies hich rattled as & strode+ ere but -atters to hich+ or to such

    as hich+ & had been accusto-ed *ro- -y in*ancy 00 hile & hesitated not to ac,noledge ho

    *a-iliar as all this 00 & still ondered to *ind ho un*a-iliar ere the *ancies hich ordinary

    i-ages ere stirring up" n one o* the staircases+ & -et the physician o* the *a-ily" /is

    countenance+ & thought+ ore a -ingled e7pression o* lo cunning and perple7ity" /e accosted-e ith trepidation and passed on" he .alet no thre open a door and ushered -e into the

    presence o* his -aster"

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    he roo- in hich & *ound -ysel* as .ery large and lo*ty" he indos ere long+ narro+

    and pointed+ and at so .ast a distance *ro- the blac, oa,en *loor as to be altogether inaccessible

    *ro- ithin"

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    and there ere but peculiar sounds+ and these *ro- stringed instru-ents+ hich did not inspire

    hi- ith horror"

    o an ano-alous species o* terror & *ound hi- a bounden sla.e" & shall perish+ said he+ & must

    perish in this deplorable *olly" hus+ thus+ and not otherise+ shall & be lost" & dread the e.ents o*

    the *uture+ not in the-sel.es+ but in their results" & shudder at the thought o* any+ e.en the -ost

    tri.ial+ incident+ hich -ay operate upon this intol