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Suddenly, the color fled, the pulsation ceased, the lips resumed the expression of the dead, and, in an instant afterward, the whole body took upon itself the icy chilliness, the livid hue, the intense rigidity, the sunken outline, and all the loathsome peculiarities of that which has been, for many days, a tenant of the tomb.
And again I sunk into visions of Ligeia—and again, (what marvel that I shudder while I write ?) again there reached my ears a low sob from the region of the ebony bed. But why shall I minutely detail the unspeakable horrors of that night? Why shall I pause to relate how, time after time, until near the period of the grar dawn, this hideous drama of revivication was repeated ; how each terrific relapse was only into a sterner and apparently more irredeemable death ; how each agony wore the aspect of a struggle with some invisible foe; and how each struggle was suc reeded by I know not what of wild change in the personal appear. ance of the corpse ? Let me hurry to a conclusion.
The greater part of the fearful night had worn away, and she who had been dead, one again stirred—and now more vigorously than hitherto, although arousing from a dissolution more appalling in its utter hopelessness than any. I had long ceased to struggle or to move, and remained sitting rigidly upon the ottoman, a help. less prey to a whirl of violent emotions, of which extreme awe was perhaps the least terrible, the least consuming. The corpse, I repeat, stirred, and now more vigorously than before. The hues of life fushed up with unwonted energy into the countenance the limbs relaxed-and, save that the eyelids were yet pressed heavily together, and that the bandages and draperies of che grave still imparted their charnel character to the figure, I might have dreamed that Rowena had indeed shaken off, utterly, the fetters of Death. But if this idea was not, even then, altogether adopted, I could at least doubt no longer, when, arising from the bed, tottering, with feeble steps, with closed eyes, and with the manner of one bewildered in a dream, the thing that was enshrouded advanced holdly and palpably into the middle of the apartment.
I trembled not-I stirred not--for a crowd of unutterable fancies connected with the air, the stature, the demeanor of the figure, rushing hurriedly through my brain, had paralyzed-had chilled me into stone. I stirred not—but gazed upon the apparition. There was a mad disorder in my thoughts—a tumuli unappeasable. Could it, indecd, be the living Rowena who confronted me? Could it indeed be Rowena at ull—the fair-haired, the blue-eyed Lady Rowena Treranion of Tremaine? Why, why should I doubt it? The bandage lay heavily about the mouth—but then might it not be the mouth of the breathing Lady of Tremaine? And the cheeks—there were the roses as in her noon of life-yes, these might inderd be the fair cheeks of the living Lady of Tremaine. And the chin, with its dimples, as in health, inight it not be hers ?—but had she then grown taller since her malady? What inexpressible madness seized me with that thought? One bound, and I had reached her feet! Shrinking from my touch, she let fall from her head, unloosened, the ghastly cerements which had confined it, and there streamed forth, into the rushing atmosphere of the chamber, huge masses of long and dishevelled hair; it was blacker than the raven wings of midnight! And now slowly opened the eyes of the figure which stood before me. “Here then, at least,” I shrieked aloud, “can I never-can I never be mistaken—these are the full, and the black, and the wild eyes of my lost love of the Lady—of the LADY LIGELA."
Auto xad' auto dell'autou, Movo sioes diei ov.
With a feeling of deep yet most singular affection I regarded my friend Morella. Thrown by accident into her society many years ago, my soul, from our first meeting, burned with fires it had never before known ; but the fires were not of Eros, and bitter and tormenting to my spirit was the gradual conviction that I could in no manner define their unusual meaning, or regulate their vague intensity. Yet we met; and fate bound us together at the altar; and I never spoke of passion, nor thought of love. She, however, shunned society, and, attaching herself to me alone, rendered me happy. It is a happiness to wonder ;-it is a happiness to dream.
Morella's erudition was profound. As I hope to live, her talents were of no common order—her powers of mind were gigantic. ] felt this, and, in many matters, because her pupil. I soon, however, found that, perhaps on account of her Presbury education, she placed before me a number of those mystical writings whicb are usually considered the mere dross of the early German literature. These, for what reason I could not imagine, were her favorite and constant study—and that, in process of time they became my own, should be attributed to the simple but effectual influence of babit and example.
In all this, if I err not, my reason had little to do. My convictions, or I forget myself, were in no manner acted upon by the ideal, nor was any tincture of the mysticism wnich I read, to be discovered, unless I am greatly mistaken, either in my deeds or in my thoughts. Persuaded of this, I abandoned myself implicitly to the guidance of my wife, and entered with an unflinching heart into the intricacies of her studies. And then-then, when, pouring over forbidden pages, I felt a forbidden spirit enkindling within mo-would Morella place her cold hand upon my own, and rake up from the ashes of a dead philosophy some low, singular words, whose strange meaning burned themselves in upon my memory. And then, hour after hour, would I linger by her side, and dwell upon the music of her voice-until, at length, its melody was tainted with terror,—and there fell a shadow upon my soul-and I grew pale, and shuddered inwardly at those too unearthly tones. And thus, joy suddenly faded into horror, and the most beautiful became the most hideous, as Hinnon became Ge.Henna.
It is unnecessary to state the exact character of those disquisi tions which, growing out of the volumes I have mentioned, formed, for so long a time, almost the sole conversation of Morella and myself. By the learned in what might be termed theological morality they will be readily conceived, and by the unlearne? they would, at all events, be little understood. The wild Pantheism of Fichte; the modified Ilah177/evedia of Pythagoreans: and, above all, the doctrines of Identity as urged by Schelling, were generally the points of discussion presenting the most of beauty to the imaginative Morella. That identity which is termed personal, Mr. Locke, I think, truly defines to consist in the saneness of a rational being. And since by person we understand an intelligent essence having reason, and since there is a consciousness which always accompanies thinking, it is this which makes us all to be that which we call ourselves—thereby distinguishing us from other beings that think, and giving us our personal identity. But the principium individuationis—the notion of that identity which at death is or is not lost for ever, was to me—at all times, a consideration of irtense 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 way
ad vecumpon the away daily. or token ons
vife'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 fully, 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 setiled steadily upon the cheek, and the blue veins upon the pale forehead became prominent; and, one instant, my nature meited into pity, but, in the 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 earnesi 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 bed-side. 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-bat her whom in life thou didst abhor, in death thou shalt adore."
" I repeat that I am dying. But within me is a pledge of that affection-ah, how little !—which thou didst feel for me, Morella.