THERE arecertain themes of which the interest is all-absorbingbut which are tooentirely horrible for the purposes of legitimate fiction. These the mereromanticist must eschewif he do not wish to offend or to disgust. They arewith propriety handled only when the severity and majesty of Truth sanctify andsustain them. We thrillfor examplewith the most intense of "pleasurablepain" over the accounts of the Passage of the Beresinaof the Earthquakeat Lisbonof the Plague at Londonof the Massacre of St. Bartholomewor ofthe stifling of the hundred and twenty-three prisoners in the Black Hole atCalcutta. But in these accounts it is the fact - -- it is the reality - -- it isthe history which excites. As inventionswe should regard them with simpleabhorrence.
I have mentioned some few of the more prominent and august calamities onrecord; but in these it is the extentnot less than the character of thecalamitywhich so vividly impresses the fancy. I need not remind the readerthatfrom the long and weird catalogue of human miseriesI might have selectedmany individual instances more replete with essential suffering than any ofthese vast generalities of disaster. The true wretchednessindeed -- theultimate woe - -- is particularnot diffuse. That the ghastly extremes of agonyare endured by man the unitand never by man the mass - -- for this let usthank a merciful God!
To be buried while alive isbeyond questionthe most terrific of theseextremes which has ever fallen to the lot of mere mortality. That it hasfrequentlyvery frequentlyso fallen will scarcely be denied by those whothink. The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague.Who shall say where the one endsand where the other begins? We know that thereare diseases in which occur total cessations of all the apparent functions ofvitalityand yet in which these cessations are merely suspensionsproperly socalled. They are only temporary pauses in the incomprehensible mechanism. Acertain period elapsesand some unseen mysterious principle again sets inmotion the magic pinions and the wizard wheels. The silver cord was not for everloosednor the golden bowl irreparably broken. But wheremeantimewas thesoul?
Aparthoweverfrom the inevitable conclusiona priori that such causesmust produce such effects - -- that the well-known occurrence of such cases ofsuspended animation must naturally give risenow and thento prematureinterments -- apart from this considerationwe have the direct testimony ofmedical and ordinary experience to prove that a vast number of such intermentshave actually taken place. I might refer at onceif necessary to a hundred wellauthenticated instances. One of very remarkable characterand of which thecircumstances may be fresh in the memory of some of my readersoccurrednotvery long agoin the neighboring city of Baltimorewhere it occasioned apainfulintenseand widely-extended excitement. The wife of one of the mostrespectable citizens-a lawyer of eminence and a member of Congress -- was seizedwith a sudden and unaccountable illnesswhich completely baffled the skill ofher physicians. After much suffering she diedor was supposed to die. No onesuspectedindeedor had reason to suspectthat she was not actually dead. Shepresented all the ordinary appearances of death. The face assumed the usualpinched and sunken outline. The lips were of the usual marble pallor. The eyeswere lustreless. There was no warmth. Pulsation had ceased. For three days thebody was preserved unburiedduring which it had acquired a stony rigidity. Thefuneralin shortwas hastenedon account of the rapid advance of what wassupposed to be decomposition.
The lady was deposited in her family vaultwhichfor three subsequent yearswas undisturbed. At the expiration of this term it was opened for the receptionof a sarcophagus; - -- butalas! how fearful a shock awaited the husbandwhopersonallythrew open the door! As its portals swung outwardly backsomewhite-apparelled object fell rattling within his arms. It was the skeleton ofhis wife in her yet unmoulded shroud.
A careful investigation rendered it evident that she had revived within twodays after her entombment; that her struggles within the coffin had caused it tofall from a ledgeor shelf to the floorwhere it was so broken as to permither escape. A lamp which had been accidentally leftfull of oilwithin thetombwas found empty; it might have been exhaustedhoweverby evaporation. Onthe uttermost of the steps which led down into the dread chamber was a largefragment of the coffinwith whichit seemedthat she had endeavored to arrestattention by striking the iron door. While thus occupiedshe probably swoonedor possibly diedthrough sheer terror; andin failingher shroud becameentangled in some iron -- work which projected interiorly. Thus she remainedand thus she rottederect.
In the year 1810a case of living inhumation happened in Franceattendedwith circumstances which go far to warrant the assertion that truth isindeedstranger than fiction. The heroine of the story was a Mademoiselle VictorineLafourcadea young girl of illustrious familyof wealthand of great personalbeauty. Among her numerous suitors was Julien Bossueta poor litterateurorjournalist of Paris. His talents and general amiability had recommended him tothe notice of the heiressby whom he seems to have been truly beloved; but herpride of birth decided herfinallyto reject himand to wed a MonsieurRenellea banker and a diplomatist of some eminence. After marriagehoweverthis gentleman neglectedandperhapseven more positively ill-treated her.Having passed with him some wretched yearsshe died- -- at least hercondition so closely resembled death as to deceive every one who saw her. Shewas buried - -- not in a vaultbut in an ordinary grave in the village of hernativity. Filled with despairand still inflamed by the memory of a profoundattachmentthe lover journeys from the capital to the remote province in whichthe village lieswith the romantic purpose of disinterring the corpseandpossessing himself of its luxuriant tresses. He reaches the grave. At midnighthe unearths the coffinopens itand is in the act of detaching the hairwhenhe is arrested by the unclosing of the beloved eyes. In factthe lady had beenburied alive. Vitality had not altogether departedand she was aroused by thecaresses of her lover from the lethargy which had been mistaken for death. Hebore her frantically to his lodgings in the village. He employed certainpowerful restoratives suggested by no little medical learning. In finesherevived. She recognized her preserver. She remained with him untilby slowdegreesshe fully recovered her original health. Her woman's heart was notadamantand this last lesson of love sufficed to soften it. She bestowed itupon Bossuet. She returned no more to her husbandbutconcealing from him herresurrectionfled with her lover to America. Twenty years afterwardthe tworeturned to Francein the persuasion that time had so greatly altered the lady'sappearance that her friends would be unable to recognize her. They were mistakenhoweverforat the first meetingMonsieur Renelle did actually recognize andmake claim to his wife. This claim she resistedand a judicial tribunalsustained her in her resistancedeciding that the peculiar circumstanceswiththe long lapse of yearshad extinguishednot only equitablybut legallytheauthority of the husband.
The "Chirurgical Journal" of Leipsic -- a periodical of highauthority and meritwhich some American bookseller would do well to translateand republishrecords in a late number a very distressing event of thecharacter in question.
An officer of artillerya man of gigantic stature and of robust healthbeing thrown from an unmanageable horsereceived a very severe contusion uponthe headwhich rendered him insensible at once; the skull was slightlyfracturedbut no immediate danger was apprehended. Trepanning was accomplishedsuccessfully. He was bledand many other of the ordinary means of relief wereadopted. Graduallyhoweverhe fell into a more and more hopeless state ofstuporandfinallyit was thought that he died.
The weather was warmand he was buried with indecent haste in one of thepublic cemeteries. His funeral took place on Thursday. On the Sunday followingthe grounds of the cemetery wereas usualmuch thronged with visitersandabout noon an intense excitement was created by the declaration of a peasantthatwhile sitting upon the grave of the officerhe had distinctly felt acommotion of the earthas if occasioned by some one struggling beneath. Atfirst little attention was paid to the man's asseveration; but his evidentterrorand the dogged obstinacy with which he persisted in his storyhad atlength their natural effect upon the crowd. Spades were hurriedly procuredandthe gravewhich was shamefully shallowwas in a few minutes so far thrown openthat the head of its occupant appeared. He was then seemingly dead; but he satnearly erect within his coffinthe lid of whichin his furious struggleshehad partially uplifted.
He was forthwith conveyed to the nearest hospitaland there pronounced to bestill livingalthough in an asphytic condition. After some hours he revivedrecognized individuals of his acquaintanceandin broken sentences spoke ofhis agonies in the grave.
From what he relatedit was clear that he must have been conscious of lifefor more than an hourwhile inhumedbefore lapsing into insensibility. Thegrave was carelessly and loosely filled with an exceedingly porous soil; andthus some air was necessarily admitted. He heard the footsteps of the crowdoverheadand endeavored to make himself heard in turn. It was the tumult withinthe grounds of the cemeteryhe saidwhich appeared to awaken him from a deepsleepbut no sooner was he awake than he became fully aware of the awfulhorrors of his position.
This patientit is recordedwas doing well and seemed to be in a fair wayof ultimate recoverybut fell a victim to the quackeries of medical experiment.The galvanic battery was appliedand he suddenly expired in one of thoseecstatic paroxysms whichoccasionallyit superinduces.
The mention of the galvanic batteryneverthelessrecalls to my memory awell known and very extraordinary case in pointwhere its action proved themeans of restoring to animation a young attorney of Londonwho had beeninterred for two days. This occurred in 1831and createdat the timea veryprofound sensation wherever it was made the subject of converse.
The patientMr. Edward Stapletonhad diedapparently of typhus feveraccompanied with some anomalous symptoms which had excited the curiosity of hismedical attendants. Upon his seeming deceasehis friends were requested tosanction a post-mortem examinationbut declined to permit it. As often happenswhen such refusals are madethe practitioners resolved to disinter the body anddissect it at leisurein private. Arrangements were easily effected with someof the numerous corps of body-snatcherswith which London abounds; anduponthe third night after the funeralthe supposed corpse was unearthed from agrave eight feet deepand deposited in the opening chamber of one of theprivate hospitals.
An incision of some extent had been actually made in the abdomenwhen thefresh and undecayed appearance of the subject suggested an application of thebattery. One experiment succeeded anotherand the customary effects supervenedwith nothing to characterize them in any respectexceptupon one or twooccasionsa more than ordinary degree of life-likeness in the convulsiveaction.
It grew late. The day was about to dawn; and it was thought expedientatlengthto proceed at once to the dissection. A studenthoweverwas especiallydesirous of testing a theory of his ownand insisted upon applying the batteryto one of the pectoral muscles. A rough gash was madeand a wire hastilybrought in contactwhen the patientwith a hurried but quite unconvulsivemovementarose from the tablestepped into the middle of the floorgazedabout him uneasily for a few secondsand then -- spoke. What he said wasunintelligiblebut words were uttered; the syllabification was distinct. Havingspokenhe fell heavily to the floor.
For some moments all were paralyzed with awe -- but the urgency of the casesoon restored them their presence of mind. It was seen that Mr. Stapleton wasalivealthough in a swoon. Upon exhibition of ether he revived and was rapidlyrestored to healthand to the society of his friends -- from whomhoweverallknowledge of his resuscitation was withhelduntil a relapse was no longer to beapprehended. Their wonder -- their rapturous astonishment -- may be conceived.
The most thrilling peculiarity of this incidentneverthelessis involved inwhat Mr. S. himself asserts. He declares that at no period was he altogetherinsensible -- thatdully and confusedlyhe was aware of everything whichhappened to himfrom the moment in which he was pronounced dead by hisphysiciansto that in which he fell swooning to the floor of the hospital."I am alive" were the uncomprehended words whichupon recognizingthe locality of the dissecting-roomhe had endeavoredin his extremitytoutter.
It were an easy matter to multiply such histories as these -- but I forbear-- forindeedwe have no need of such to establish the fact that prematureinterments occur. When we reflect how very rarelyfrom the nature of the casewe have it in our power to detect themwe must admit that they may frequentlyoccur without our cognizance. Scarcelyin truthis a graveyard ever encroacheduponfor any purposeto any great extentthat skeletons are not found inpostures which suggest the most fearful of suspicions.
Fearful indeed the suspicion -- but more fearful the doom! It may be assertedwithout hesitationthat no event is so terribly well adapted to inspire thesupremeness of bodily and of mental distressas is burial before death. Theunendurable oppression of the lungs -- the stifling fumes from the damp earth --the clinging to the death garments -- the rigid embrace of the narrow house --the blackness of the absolute Night -- the silence like a sea that overwhelms --the unseen but palpable presence of the Conqueror Worm -- these thingswith thethoughts of the air and grass abovewith memory of dear friends who would flyto save us if but informed of our fateand with consciousness that of this fatethey can never be informed -- that our hopeless portion is that of the reallydead -- these considerationsI saycarry into the heartwhich stillpalpitatesa degree of appalling and intolerable horror from which the mostdaring imagination must recoil. We know of nothing so agonizing upon Earth -- wecan dream of nothing half so hideous in the realms of the nethermost Hell. Andthus all narratives upon this topic have an interest profound; an interestneverthelesswhichthrough the sacred awe of the topic itselfvery properlyand very peculiarly depends upon our conviction of the truth of the matternarrated. What I have now to tell is of my own actual knowledge -- of my ownpositive and personal experience.
For several years I had been subject to attacks of the singular disorderwhich physicians have agreed to term catalepsyin default of a more definitivetitle. Although both the immediate and the predisposing causesand even theactual diagnosisof this disease are still mysteriousits obvious and apparentcharacter is sufficiently well understood. Its variations seem to be chiefly ofdegree. Sometimes the patient liesfor a day onlyor even for a shorter periodin a species of exaggerated lethargy. He is senseless and externally motionless;but the pulsation of the heart is still faintly perceptible; some traces ofwarmth remain; a slight color lingers within the centre of the cheek; anduponapplication of a mirror to the lipswe can detect a torpidunequalandvacillating action of the lungs. Then again the duration of the trance is forweeks -- even for months; while the closest scrutinyand the most rigorousmedical testsfail to establish any material distinction between the state ofthe sufferer and what we conceive of absolute death. Very usually he is savedfrom premature interment solely by the knowledge of his friends that he has beenpreviously subject to catalepsyby the consequent suspicion excitedandaboveallby the non-appearance of decay. The advances of the malady areluckilygradual. The first manifestationsalthough markedare unequivocal. The fitsgrow successively more and more distinctiveand endure each for a longer termthan the preceding. In this lies the principal security from inhumation. Theunfortunate whose first attack should be of the extreme character which isoccasionally seenwould almost inevitably be consigned alive to the tomb.
My own case differed in no important particular from those mentioned inmedical books. Sometimeswithout any apparent causeI sanklittle by littleinto a condition of hemi-syncopeor half swoon; andin this conditionwithoutpainwithout ability to stirorstrictly speakingto thinkbut with a dulllethargic consciousness of life and of the presence of those who surrounded mybedI remaineduntil the crisis of the disease restored mesuddenlytoperfect sensation. At other times I was quickly and impetuously smitten. I grewsickand numband chillyand dizzyand so fell prostrate at once. Thenforweeksall was voidand blackand silentand Nothing became the universe.Total annihilation could be no more. From these latter attacks I awokehoweverwith a gradation slow in proportion to the suddenness of the seizure. Just asthe day dawns to the friendless and houseless beggar who roams the streetsthroughout the long desolate winter night -- just so tardily -- just so wearily-- just so cheerily came back the light of the Soul to me.
Apart from the tendency to trancehowevermy general health appeared to begood; nor could I perceive that it was at all affected by the one prevalentmalady -- unlessindeedan idiosyncrasy in my ordinary sleep may be lookedupon as superinduced. Upon awaking from slumberI could never gainat oncethorough possession of my sensesand always remainedfor many minutesin muchbewilderment and perplexity; -- the mental faculties in generalbut the memoryin especialbeing in a condition of absolute abeyance.
In all that I endured there was no physical suffering but of moral distressan infinitude. My fancy grew charnelI talked "of wormsof tombsandepitaphs." I was lost in reveries of deathand the idea of prematureburial held continual possession of my brain. The ghastly Danger to which I wassubjected haunted me day and night. In the formerthe torture of meditation wasexcessive -- in the lattersupreme. When the grim Darkness overspread the Earththenwith every horror of thoughtI shook -- shook as the quivering plumesupon the hearse. When Nature could endure wakefulness no longerit was with astruggle that I consented to sleep -- for I shuddered to reflect thatuponawakingI might find myself the tenant of a grave. And whenfinallyI sankinto slumberit was only to rush at once into a world of phantasmsabove whichwith vastsableovershadowing winghoveredpredominantthe one sepulchralIdea.
From the innumerable images of gloom which thus oppressed me in dreamsIselect for record but a solitary vision. Methought I was immersed in acataleptic trance of more than usual duration and profundity. Suddenly therecame an icy hand upon my foreheadand an impatientgibbering voice whisperedthe word "Arise!" within my ear.
I sat erect. The darkness was total. I could not see the figure of him whohad aroused me. I could call to mind neither the period at which I had falleninto the trancenor the locality in which I then lay. While I remainedmotionlessand busied in endeavors to collect my thoughtthe cold hand graspedme fiercely by the wristshaking it petulantlywhile the gibbering voice saidagain:
"Arise! did I not bid thee arise?"
"And who" I demanded"art thou?"
"I have no name in the regions which I inhabit" replied the voicemournfully; "I was mortalbut am fiend. I was mercilessbut am pitiful.Thou dost feel that I shudder. -- My teeth chatter as I speakyet it is notwith the chilliness of the night -- of the night without end. But thishideousness is insufferable. How canst thou tranquilly sleep? I cannot rest forthe cry of these great agonies. These sights are more than I can bear. Get theeup! Come with me into the outer Nightand let me unfold to thee the graves. Isnot this a spectacle of woe? -- Behold!"
I looked; and the unseen figurewhich still grasped me by the wristhadcaused to be thrown open the graves of all mankindand from each issued thefaint phosphoric radiance of decayso that I could see into the innermostrecessesand there view the shrouded bodies in their sad and solemn slumberswith the worm. But alas! the real sleepers were fewerby many millionsthanthose who slumbered not at all; and there was a feeble struggling; and there wasa general sad unrest; and from out the depths of the countless pits there came amelancholy rustling from the garments of the buried. And of those who seemedtranquilly to reposeI saw that a vast number had changedin a greater or lessdegreethe rigid and uneasy position in which they had originally been entombed.And the voice again said to me as I gazed:
"Is it not -- oh! is it not a pitiful sight?" -- butbefore Icould find words to replythe figure had ceased to grasp my wristthephosphoric lights expiredand the graves were closed with a sudden violencewhile from out them arose a tumult of despairing criessaying again: "Isit not -- OGodis it not a very pitiful sight?"
Phantasies such as thesepresenting themselves at nightextended theirterrific influence far into my waking hours. My nerves became thoroughlyunstrungand I fell a prey to perpetual horror. I hesitated to rideor towalkor to indulge in any exercise that would carry me from home. In factI nolonger dared trust myself out of the immediate presence of those who were awareof my proneness to catalepsylestfalling into one of my usual fitsI shouldbe buried before my real condition could be ascertained. I doubted the carethefidelity of my dearest friends. I dreaded thatin some trance of more thancustomary durationthey might be prevailed upon to regard me as irrecoverable.I even went so far as to fear thatas I occasioned much troublethey might beglad to consider any very protracted attack as sufficient excuse for getting ridof me altogether. It was in vain they endeavored to reassure me by the mostsolemn promises. I exacted the most sacred oathsthat under no circumstancesthey would bury me until decomposition had so materially advanced as to renderfarther preservation impossible. Andeven thenmy mortal terrors would listento no reason -- would accept no consolation. I entered into a series ofelaborate precautions. Among other thingsI had the family vault so remodelledas to admit of being readily opened from within. The slightest pressure upon along lever that extended far into the tomb would cause the iron portal to flyback. There were arrangements also for the free admission of air and lightandconvenient receptacles for food and waterwithin immediate reach of the coffinintended for my reception. This coffin was warmly and softly paddedand wasprovided with a lidfashioned upon the principle of the vault-doorwith theaddition of springs so contrived that the feeblest movement of the body would besufficient to set it at liberty. Besides all thisthere was suspended from theroof of the tomba large bellthe rope of whichit was designedshouldextend through a hole in the coffinand so be fastened to one of the hands ofthe corpse. Butalas? what avails the vigilance against the Destiny of man? Noteven these well-contrived securities sufficed to save from the uttermost agoniesof living inhumationa wretch to these agonies foredoomed!
There arrived an epoch -- as often before there had arrived -- in which Ifound myself emerging from total unconsciousness into the first feeble andindefinite sense of existence. Slowly -- with a tortoise gradation -- approachedthe faint gray dawn of the psychal day. A torpid uneasiness. An apatheticendurance of dull pain. No care -- no hope -- no effort. Thenafter a longintervala ringing in the ears; thenafter a lapse still longera pricklingor tingling sensation in the extremities; then a seemingly eternal period ofpleasurable quiescenceduring which the awakening feelings are struggling intothought; then a brief re-sinking into non-entity; then a sudden recovery. Atlength the slight quivering of an eyelidand immediately thereuponan electricshock of a terrordeadly and indefinitewhich sends the blood in torrents fromthe temples to the heart. And now the first positive effort to think. And nowthe first endeavor to remember. And now a partial and evanescent success. Andnow the memory has so far regained its dominionthatin some measureI amcognizant of my state. I feel that I am not awaking from ordinary sleep. Irecollect that I have been subject to catalepsy. And nowat lastas if by therush of an oceanmy shuddering spirit is overwhelmed by the one grim Danger --by the one spectral and ever-prevalent idea.
For some minutes after this fancy possessed meI remained without motion.And why? I could not summon courage to move. I dared not make the effort whichwas to satisfy me of my fate -- and yet there was something at my heart whichwhispered me it was sure. Despair -- such as no other species of wretchednessever calls into being -- despair alone urged meafter long irresolutiontouplift the heavy lids of my eyes. I uplifted them. It was dark -- all dark. Iknew that the fit was over. I knew that the crisis of my disorder had longpassed. I knew that I had now fully recovered the use of my visual faculties --and yet it was dark -- all dark -- the intense and utter raylessness of theNight that endureth for evermore.
I endeavored to shriek-and my lips and my parched tongue moved convulsivelytogether in the attempt -- but no voice issued from the cavernous lungswhichoppressed as if by the weight of some incumbent mountaingasped and palpitatedwith the heartat every elaborate and struggling inspiration.
The movement of the jawsin this effort to cry aloudshowed me that theywere bound upas is usual with the dead. I felttoothat I lay upon some hardsubstanceand by something similar my sides werealsoclosely compressed. SofarI had not ventured to stir any of my limbs -- but now I violently threw upmy armswhich had been lying at lengthwith the wrists crossed. They struck asolid wooden substancewhich extended above my person at an elevation of notmore than six inches from my face. I could no longer doubt that I reposed withina coffin at last.
And nowamid all my infinite miseriescame sweetly the cherub Hope -- for Ithought of my precautions. I writhedand made spasmodic exertions to force openthe lid: it would not move. I felt my wrists for the bell-rope: it was not to befound. And now the Comforter fled for everand a still sterner Despair reignedtriumphant; for I could not help perceiving the absence of the paddings which Ihad so carefully prepared -- and thentoothere came suddenly to my nostrilsthe strong peculiar odor of moist earth. The conclusion was irresistible. I wasnot within the vault. I had fallen into a trance while absent from home-whileamong strangers -- whenor howI could not remember -- and it was they who hadburied me as a dog -- nailed up in some common coffin -- and thrust deepdeepand for everinto some ordinary and nameless grave.
As this awful conviction forced itselfthusinto the innermost chambers ofmy soulI once again struggled to cry aloud. And in this second endeavor Isucceeded. A longwildand continuous shriekor yell of agonyresoundedthrough the realms of the subterranean Night.
"Hillo! hillothere!" said a gruff voicein reply.
"What the devil's the matter now!" said a second.
"Get out o' that!" said a third.
"What do you mean by yowling in that ere kind of stylelike acattymount?" said a fourth; and hereupon I was seized and shaken withoutceremonyfor several minutesby a junto of very rough-looking individuals.They did not arouse me from my slumber -- for I was wide awake when I screamed-- but they restored me to the full possession of my memory.
This adventure occurred near Richmondin Virginia. Accompanied by a friendI had proceededupon a gunning expeditionsome miles down the banks of theJames River. Night approachedand we were overtaken by a storm. The cabin of asmall sloop lying at anchor in the streamand laden with garden mouldaffordedus the only available shelter. We made the best of itand passed the night onboard. I slept in one of the only two berths in the vessel -- and the berths ofa sloop of sixty or twenty tons need scarcely be described. That which Ioccupied had no bedding of any kind. Its extreme width was eighteen inches. Thedistance of its bottom from the deck overhead was precisely the same. I found ita matter of exceeding difficulty to squeeze myself in. NeverthelessI sleptsoundlyand the whole of my vision -- for it was no dreamand no nightmare --arose naturally from the circumstances of my position -- from my ordinary biasof thought -- and from the difficultyto which I have alludedof collecting mysensesand especially of regaining my memoryfor a long time after awakingfrom slumber. The men who shook me were the crew of the sloopand some laborersengaged to unload it. From the load itself came the earthly smell. The bandageabout the jaws was a silk handkerchief in which I had bound up my headindefault of my customary nightcap.
The tortures enduredhoweverwere indubitably quite equal for the timetothose of actual sepulture. They were fearfully -- they were inconceivablyhideous; but out of Evil proceeded Good; for their very excess wrought in myspirit an inevitable revulsion. My soul acquired tone -- acquired temper. I wentabroad. I took vigorous exercise. I breathed the free air of Heaven. I thoughtupon other subjects than Death. I discarded my medical books. "Buchan"I burned. I read no "Night Thoughts" -- no fustian about churchyards-- no bugaboo tales -- such as this. In shortI became a new manand lived aman's life. From that memorable nightI dismissed forever my charnelapprehensionsand with them vanished the cataleptic disorderof whichperhapsthey had been less the consequence than the cause.
There are moments wheneven to the sober eye of Reasonthe world of our sadHumanity may assume the semblance of a Hell -- but the imagination of man is noCarathisto explore with impunity its every cavern. Alas! the grim legion ofsepulchral terrors cannot be regarded as altogether fanciful -- butlike theDemons in whose company Afrasiab made his voyage down the Oxusthey must sleepor they will devour us -- they must be suffered to slumberor we perish.