Þe Fall of þe Huse of Uscer
Went by Cascadia
Son cœur est un luth suspendu;
Sitôt qu’on le touche il résonne.
(His heart is a seemed gamewood
As soon as man rines it, it rings.)
- - De Béranger.
ÞROUTE þe hole of a dull, dark, and ludeless day in þe fall of þe year, when þe cludes hung heafy and smoþering in þe heafens, ice had been faring alone, on hoseback, þro a sundrily dreary deal of land; and at lengþ fund myself, as þe scades of þe efening drew on, wiþin site of þe unbliþe Huse of Uscer. Ice know not hue it was—but, wiþ þe first site of þe bilding, an anyet of unþolenly gloom steeped my goast. Ice say unþolenly; for þe feeling was unlissed by any of þat halfwinsum, for ice am a leeþer, feeling, wiþ whice þe mind wontly fangs efen þe sternest kindly sites of þe dreadful or forlorn. Ice looked upon þe site before me—upon þe bare huse, and þe ofold landscape marks of þe stead—upon þe lorn walls—upon þe emty eyelike windows—upon a few rank sedges—and upon a few white stocks of rotten trees—wiþ an utter sorrow of þe sowl whice ice can liken to no earþly anyet more fittingly þan to þe afterdream of þe spiller upon poppy tears—þe bitter slip into eferyday life—þe atel dropping off of þe wimpel. Þere was an isiness, a sinking, a sickening of þe heart—an unleesed dreariness of þawt whice no goading of þe faþoming cood beat into awt of þe great. What was it—ice stopped to þink—what was it þat so upset me in þe faþoming of þe Huse of Uscer? It was a rune all in darkness; nor cood ice grappel wiþ þe scadowy þawts þat cruded upon me as ice pored. Ice was made to fall back upon þe bitesum end, þat while, beyond twee, þere are fays of trewly ofold kindly þings whice hafe þe þrake of þus swaying us, still þe scruttening of þis þrake lies among umbeþinkings beyond ure depþ. It was mitely, ice þawt, þat but a sundry diting of þe bits of þe site, of þe marks of þe meting, wood be enuff to wend, or mayhaps to fell its main for sorrowful sway; and, iting upon þis begrip, ice drew my horse to þe steep bank of a black and gory pool þat lay in unstirred sceen by þe dwelling, and stared dune—but wiþ a reesing efen more þrilling þan before—upon þe eftscaped and whelfed sites of þe gray sedge, and þe gastly treestems, and þe emty and eyelike windows.
Neferþeless, in þis bold of gloom ice nue put forþ to myself an abode of sum weeks. Its owner, Roderick Uscer, had been one of my good frends in knafehood; but many years had gone by sinse ure last meeting. An errandwrit, huefer, had lately reaced me in a farlen deal of þe land—an errandwrit from him—whice, in its wildly dogged way, had bid of no oþer þan a selfly answer. Þe writ yafe seeþing of a deep angness. Þe writ spoke of stark bodily illness—of a sickness of þe mind whice oferset him—and of an earnest list to see me, as his best, and indeed his only trew frend, wiþ a goal of fanding, by þe merriness of my fellowscip, sum liss to his tray. It was þe way in whice all þis, and muce more, was said—it was þe seenly heart þat went wiþ his bead—whice atiþed no room for diþering; and so ice heeded forþwiþ what ice still held to be a full sundry cying.
Alþow, as knafes, we had been efen nie þofts, ice trewly knew littel of my frend. His farl had been always fulsum and wont. Ice was aware, huefer, þat his full fern maiþ had been marked, time ute of mind, for a sundry hoad of mind, scowing itself, þro long elds, in many works of aheafed list, and atewed, of late, in eftledged yifel, yet not scowy deeds, as well as in earnest willsumness to þe smallest marks, mayhaps efen more þan to þe riteframed and eaþ acknowenly lites, of gleecraft. Ice had learned too, þe full markenly trewþ, þat þe stock of þe Uscer strind, all timeworþied as it was, had put forþ, at no time, any lasting buw; in oþer words, þat þe hole maiþ lay in þe strateforward bloodline, and had always, wiþ full slite and full tidely scifts, so lain. It was þis wem, ice faþomed, while running ofer in þawt þe fulframed keeping of þe eard of þe grunds wiþ þe hie eard of þe folk, and while waying upon þe mitely sway whice þe one, in þe long span of yearhundreds, mite hafe willed upon þe oþer—it was þis wem, mayhaps, of oþer þrake, and þe following unswaying becwest, from faþer to sun, of þe erfe wiþ þe name, whice had, at lengþ, so branded þe two as to fay þe form ekename of þe huse in þe ferly and cludy name of þe “Huse of Uscer”—a name whice seemed to inhold, in þe minds of þe cerlfolk who spoke it, boþ þe maiþ and þe huse itself.
Ice hafe said þat þe lone rine of my sumwhat cildisce fand—þat of looking dune wiþin þe pool—had been to deepen þe first sundry inþruce. Þere can be no twee þat þe cwickness of þe swift rise of my offgalþ—for why scood ice not so name it?—worked mainly to cwicken þe rise itself. Suce, ice hafe long known, is þe backwards ea of all feelings hafing dread as a staddel. And it mite hafe been for þis grund only, þat, when ice ayen uplifted my eyes to þe huse itself, from its glass in þe pool, þere grew in my mind an uncanny þawt—a þawt so laffenly, indeed, þat ice but bring it up to scow þe striking mite of þe feelings whice onsat me. Ice had so worked upon my faþoming as trewly to beleefe þat abute þe hole huse and grunds þere hung an whiþ sundry to hemselfes and hir niemost nayborhood—a whiþ whice had no cooþness wiþ þe lift of heafen, but whice had reeked up from þe rotten trees, and þe gray wall, and þe full still pool—a coaþed and runy mist, dull, heafy, barely toknowenly, and leadenhewed.
Scaking off from my goast what must hafe been a dream, ice conned more narrowly þe trew kind of þe bilding. Its main cost seemed to be þat of a fulsum eld. Þe mishewing of elds had been great. Tiny swambs oferspread þe hole uteside, hanging in a fine knotted webwork from þe eafes. Yet all þis was asunder from any markworþy wrake. No deal of þe stonework had fallen; and þere seemed to be a wild unefenness between its still fulframed faying of deals, and þe crumbeling hoad of þe sundry stones. In þis þere was muce þat brawt to my mind þe misleading holeness of old woodwork whice has rotted for long years in sum foryetten wholf, wiþ no rine from þe breaþ of þe uteside lift. Beyond þis mark of widegale rot, huefer, þe cloþ yafe littel token of unsundness. Mayhaps þe eye of a scruttening wacer mite hafe fund a barely ayettenly cine, whice, strecing from þe roof of þe bilding in fore, made its way dune þe wall in a winding paþ, hent it became lost in þe gloomy waters of þe pool. Ayetting þese þings, ice rode ofer a scort bridge to þe huse. A hew in biding num my horse, and ice infared þe Gottisce wholf of þe hall. A hine, of stealþy step, þense drew me, in roo, þro many dark and knotted hallways in my forþgang to þe workscop of his master. Muce þat ice saw on þe way eked, ice know not hue, to hiþen þe unsuttel feelings of whice ice hafe already spoken. While þe þings abute me—while þe grafings of þe firsts, þe grim hangings of þe walls, þe rafen blackness of þe flores, and þe dreamlike sceelds and weapons whice ratteled as ice strode, were but þings to whice, or to suce as whice, ice had been wont from my babehood—while ice diþered not to acknowledge hue cooþ was all þis—ice still wundered to find hue uncooþ were þe dreams whice eferyday sites were stirring up. On one of þe stairwells, ice met þe leece of þe maiþ. His ansen, ice þawt, wore a mingeled look of liþer cunning and rune. He naid me wiþ misyeafing and went on. Þe hine nue þrew open a dore and brawt me into þe naywist of his master.
Þe room in whice ice fund myself was full great and lifty. Þe windows were long, narrow, and scarp, and at so great a farl from þe black oaken flore as to be altogeþer unrinenly from wiþin. Mainless gleams of reddened lite made hir way þro þe hirdeled glass, and made sundry enuff þe more utestanding þings abute; þe eye, huefer, fawt bleadlessly to reace þe more farlen whems of þe room, or þe halks of þe whilfed and lined first. Dark hangings were upon þe walls. Þe mean idisce was many, cweamless, fern, and scredded. Many books and tools of gleecraft lay strewn abute, but trucked in yeafing any life to þe site. Ice felt þat ice breaþed a whiþ of sorrow. A lift of stern, deep, and unleesenly gloom hung ofer and steeped all. Upon my infare, Uscer arose from a streen on whice he had been lying at full lengþ, and greeted me wiþ a lifely warmþ whice had muce in it, ice at first þawt, of an oferdone heartiness—of þe bund work of þe weary man of þe world. A look, huefer, at his ansen, swayed me of his fulframed lutterness. We sat dune; and for sum britoms, while he spoke not, ice looked upon him wiþ a feeling half of rewþ, half of aye. Wisly, man had nefer before so dreadfully wended, in so scort a time, as had Roderick Uscer! It was wiþ hardscip þat ice cood bring myself to andet þe selfsameness of þe wan being before me wiþ þe þoft of my early knafehood. Yet þe eard of his anlet had been at all times markworþy. A licelike blee; an eye great, watery, and brite beyond likening; lips sumwhat þin and full blake, but of a trewly liteful bow; a nose of a nesce Ebrisce scape, but wiþ a breadþ of nostril seldseen in þose alike; a smickerly scaped cin, speaking, in its wane of utestandingness, of a wane of ritewise strengþ; hair of a more þan weblike softness and þinness; þese hallmarks, wiþ a fulsum farl abufe þe deal of þe þunwang, made up altogeþer an ansen not eaþ foryetten. And nue in but þe oferblowing of þe rixing eard of þese costs, and of þe look hie were wont to tell, lay so muce of wend þat ice tweed to whom ice spoke. Þe nue gastly blee of þe hame, and þe nue selcooþ gleam of þe efe, abufe all þings starteled and efen ayed me. Þe silken hair, too, had been þoled to grow all unheeded, and as, in its wild cobweb woof, it floated raþer þan fell abute þe anlet, ice cood not, efen wiþ work, lence its Arabisce ansen wiþ any begrip of mean mankind.
In þe hoad of my frend ice was at onse struck wiþ an anyetlessness—a sunderhood; and ice soon fund þis to arise from a set of mainless and sorry fands to ofercum a wont how—an orn angness. For sumþing of þis kind ice had indeed been ready, no less by his errandwrit, þan by aminds of wiss knafisce costs, and by ends drawn from his ferly bodily frame and mood. His deeds were lifely and dull stefenmeal. His stefen sundered swiftly from a cwifering diþer (when þe deerly goasts seemed utterly alaid) to þat stock of lifely scortness—þat cwick, waity, unhurried, and hollow-luding speece—þat leaden, selfefened and fulframedly tweaked uttering, whice may be beheld in þe lost drunk, or þe uneftnimmenly eater of poppy tears, midst þe times of his greatest giddiness. It was þus þat he spoke of þe goal of my neesing, of his earnest list to see me, and of þe liss he weened me to aford him. He infared, at sum lengþ, into what he þawt to be þe kind of his illness. It was, he said, an inborn and a maiþ efel, and one for whice he had no hope of finding a lokening—but an angness, he eked cwickly, whice wood wisly soon go. It scowed itself in a drite of unkindly feelings. Sum of þese, as he told hem, gripped and bewildered me; alþow, mayhaps, þe words, and þe altogeþer way of þe telling had hir wait. He þoled muce from an ayful scarpness of þe anyets; þe most unmaggel food was alone þolenly; he cood wear only cloþes of a wiss woof; þe smells of all blossoms were too heafy; his eyes were tintrayed by efen a wan lite; and þere were but sundry ludes, and þese from stringed tools, whice did not tend wiþin him dread.
To a ferly breed of dread ice fund him a bund þew. “Ice scall swind,” said he, “ice must swind in þis woeful unwisdom. Þus, þus, and not oþerwise, scall ice be lost. Ice dread þe befallings to cum, not in hemselfes, but in hir utecums. Ice reese at þe þawt of any, efen þe smallest, befalling, whice may frem upon þis unþolenly upheafing of sowl. Ice hafe, indeed, no hatred of plee, but for in its trewest rine—in fear. In þis scaken—in þis arm hoad—ice feel þat þe time will sooner or later cum when ice must forsake life and rode togeþer, in sum fite wiþ þe grim scinelock, FEAR.”
Ice learned, moreofer, betwixtfacks, and þro broken and unwiss hints, anoþer sundry cost of his illness of mind. He was trapped by sundry offgalþs as to þe dwelling whice he inearded, and whense, for many years, he had nefer fared forþ—as to a rine whose foken þrake was told in words too scadowy here to be eftsaid—a rine whice sum selcooþnesses in þe scape and anwork itself of his eþel, had, by dint of long þoling, he said, oferwon his goast—a rine whice þe body of þe gray walls and tors, and of þe dim pond into whice hie all looked dune, had, at lengþ, brawt abute upon þe heart of his being.
He andetted, huefer, alþow wiþ drecing, þat muce of þe selcooþ gloom whice þus swenced him cood be drawn to a more kindly and far more rinenly spring—to þe stark and lengþy illness—indeed to þe suttely nearing end—of a muce belufed sister—his lone þost for long years—his last and only kin on earþ. “Her deaþ,” he said, wiþ a bitterness whice ice can nefer foryet, “wood leafe him (him þe hopeless and þe woke) þe last of þe fern stock of þe Uscers.” While he spoke, þe lady Madeline (for so was sce cied) walked slowly þro a farlen deal of þe room, and, wiþute hafing underyat my naywist, swinded. Ice deemed her wiþ an utter forwundering not unmingeled wiþ dread—and yet ice fund it unmitely to yeafe grund for suce feelings. An anyet of dullness onsat me, as my eyes followed her wiþdrawing steps. When a dore, at lengþ, clused upon her, my site sawt akindily and earnestly þe ansen of þe broþer—but he had beried his anlet in his hands, and ice cood only ayet þat a far more þan kindly wanness had oferspread þe wanþrifen fingers þro whice trickeled many whistful tears.
Þe illness of þe lady Madeline had long astunded þe glewness of her leeces. A setteled listlessness, a stepwise dwining of þe leed, and often alþow fleeting swences of stiffening of þe lims, were þe geason weening. Hiþerto sce had steadily born up ayenst þe wait of her sickness, and had not written herself off to þe bed forefer; but, on þe closing in of þe efening of my lending at þe huse, sce undernied (as her broþer told me at nite wiþ untellenly angness) to þe buwing þrake of þe forspiller; and ice learned þat þe peek ice had yetten of her wood þus most likely be þe last ice scood yet—þat þe lady, at least while lifing, wood be seen by me no more.
For many days following, her name was unnemmened by eþer Uscer or myself: and þroute þis time ice was bisied in earnest undernimmings to alay þe unbliþeness of my frend. We meted and read togeþer; or ice listened, as if in a dream, to þe wild faþomings of his speaking gamewood. And þus, as a nier and still nearness let me more openly into þe depþs of his goast, þe more bitterly did ice ayet þe emtiness of all fands at cirking a mind from whice darkness, as if an inborn good whiceness, yote forþ upon all þings of þe mind and of sooþ in þe alworld, in one unstopping leem of gloom.
Ice scall efer bear abute me an amind of þe many dark stunds ice þus spent alone wiþ þe master of þe Huse of Uscer. Yet ice scood truck in any fand to write a begrip of þe trew eard of þe connings, or of þe works, in whice he drew me in, or led me þe way. A giddy and hily moodsick dream þrew a swefelen sceen ofer all. His long made up deaþ songs will ring foreefer in my ears. Among oþer þings, ice hold teenfully in mind a wiss sundry miscarring and ludening of þe wild whiþ of þe last walts of Von Weber. From þe metings ofer whice his twining faþoming brooded, and whice grew, rine by rine, into unsuttelings at whice ice reesed þe more þrillingly, for þat ice reesed knowing not why;—from þese metings (lifelike as hir sites nue are before me) ice wood fand and truck to draw ute more þan a small deal whice scood lie wiþin þe span of but written words. By þe utter ofoldness, by þe nakedness of his scapings, he stopped fast and oferayed þe ken. If efer deaþling meted a begrip, þat deaþling was Roderick Uscer. For me at least—in þe umbstandness þen all abute me—þere arose ute of þe sceer þawts whice þe bedefiled man went to þrow upon his sailcloþ, a hiþe of unþolenly aye, no scadow of whice felt ice efer yet in þe faþoming of þe wisly glowing yet too fast daydreams of Fuseli.
One of þe dreamlike begrips of my frend, scaring not so stiffly of þe sowl of þawt, may be scadowed forþ, alþow unmitily, in words. A small meting scowed þe inside of an ettiniscely long and foredged wholf or undergang, wiþ neþer walls, smooþ, white, and wiþute break or fratow. Sundry small ords of þe scape told well of þe begrip þat þis digging lay at a full great depþ beneaþ þe mold. No utegang was seen in any deal of its great lengþ, and no torce, or oþer manmade spring of lite was toknowenly; yet a flood of full brite beams ran þroute, and baþed þe hole in a gastly and unfitting wolder.
Ice hafe nue but spoken of þat ayful derf of þe ludeþew whice made all soon unþolenly to þe þroer, but only for sundry ludes of stringed tools. It was, mayhaps, þe narrow bunds to whice he þus held himself upon þe gamewood, whice yafe bird, in great deal, to þe wundersum eard of his playings. But þe wood eaþ of his makings up cood not be so beclept. Hie must hafe been, and were, in þe pices, as well as in þe words of his wild dreams (for he not unoften lasted himself wiþ rimed spoken word), þe utecum of þat great coolness of mind and heed to whice ice hafe formerly hinted as ayettenly only in sundry britoms of þe hiest selfmade giddiness. Þe words of one of þese songs ice hafe eaþ munned. Mayhaps, it wreaked greater on my mind, as he yafe it, for þat, in þe under or hidden flow of its meaning, ice þawt þat ice ayetted, and for þe first time, a full awareness on þe deal of Uscer, of þe tottering of his lifty rode upon her seld. Þe ferses, whice were named “Þe Gastly Kinhofe,” ran nearly, if not fully on þe mark, þus:
In þe greenest of ure deens
By good andgels inearded
Onse fair and liteful kinhofe—
Scining kinhofe—reared its head.
In þe hie king Þawts weeld þiþer—
It stood þere!
Nefer siekin spread a fiþer
Ofer cloþ as half as fair.
Fanes brite yellow, þromfast, golden,
On its roof did float and flow;
(Þis—all þis—was in þe olden
Time long ago)
And efery friþful whiþ þat tarried
In þat sweet day,
Along þe breastwork wan and harried
A fledged stence did fly away.
Wanderers in þat winsum deen
Þro two brite scining windows saw
Goasts tumbing blissum in between
To a gamewoods piced draw,
Umb abute a seld, where sitting
In hoad his wolder well befitting,
Þe weelder of þe land was seen.
All wiþ mergroat and rubin glowing
Was þe fair kinhofe dore,
Þro whice came flowing, flowing, flowing
And sparkeling efermore,
A þrom of eftludes whose sweet wicken
Was but to sing,
In liteful stefens what is written
Þe wit and wisdom of hir king.
But efel þings, in weeds of sorrow
O’erset þe weelders eþel hie;
(La, let us morn, for nefer morrow
Scall dawn upon him, lorn from wie!)
And, umb abute his home, þe tire
Þat blossomed wide and blusced
Is but a dimly mimmered tale
Of olden time beried and husced.
And wayfarers nue in þat deen,
Þro þe redlitten windows, see
Sum widegale scapes þat scriþe unseen
To an unþwear ayful swin indeed;
While, like a swift and gastly stream,
Þro þe ascen dore,
An atel þrong rusce ute and teem
And laff—but smirk no more.
Ice mun well þat begrips arising from þis swin led us into a þawtline wherein þere became suttel a ween of Uscers whice ice bring up not so muce for its newness (for oþer men hafe þawt þus,) but for þe doggedness wiþ whice he kept it. Þis ween, in its mean scape, was þat of þe awareness of all wortly þings. But, in his fefered faþoming, þe begrip had nimmen a more daring eard, and oferstept, under sundry hoads, upon þe kingdom of welter. Ice hafe not þe words to tell þe full lengþ, or þe earnest wildness of his flite. Þe beleef, huefer, was lenced (as ice hafe formerly hinted) wiþ þe gray stones of þe home of his forefaþers. Þe umbstandness of þe awareness had been here, he faþomed, fulfilled in þe way of meeting of þese stones—in þe endbird hie were in, as well as in þat of þe many swambs whice oferspread hem, and of þe rotten trees whice stood abute—abufe all, in þe long unscaken abidingness of þis endbird, and in its glass in þe still waters of þe pool. Its seeþing—þe seeþing of awareness—was to be seen, he said, (and ice here started as he spoke,) in þe stepwise yet wiss dewing of a whiþ of hir own abute þe waters and þe walls. Þe utecum was onfindenly, he eked, in þat still, yet birning and ayful sway whice for yearhundreds had meted þe wirds of his maiþ, and whice made him what ice nue saw him—what he was. Suce weens need no cweaþ, and ice will make none.
Ure books—þe books whice for years, had made up no small deal of þe mindly being of þe þroer—were, as mite be reasowed, in strece keeping wiþ þis goastly eard. We pored togeþer ofer suce works as þe Ververt et Chartreuse of Gresset; þe Belfegor of Machiavelli, þe Heafen and Hell of Swedenborg; þe Undergrund Lode of Nickolas Klimm by Holberg; þe Folm Reading of Robert Flud, of Jean D’Indagine, and of De la Chambre; þe Fare into þe Hewn Farl of Tieck; and þe Borow of þe Sun of Campanella. One darling work was a small eatþwise draft of þe Directorium Inquisitorum by þe Dominicker Eymeric de Gironne; and þere were deals in Pomponius Mela, abute þe old Affer Woodwoses and Goatmen, ofer whice Uscer wood sit dreaming for stunds. His main win, huefer, was fund in þe conning of a trewly seld and ferly book in forþwise Gottisce—þe handbook of a foryetten circe—þe Vigilae Moruorum Secundum Chorum Ecclesiae Maguntinae.
Ice cood not help þinking of þe wild won of þis work, and of its likely rine upon þe sick man, when, one efening, hafing kenned me scortly þat þe lady Madeline was no more, he cwidded his ettel of akeeping her lice for a fortnite, (forn to its endly beryel,) in one of þe many wholfs wiþin þe main walls of þe bilding. Þe worldly grund, huefer, yeafen for þis sundry won, was one whice ice did not feel free to kneat. Þe broþer had been led to his will (so he told me) by recking of þe selcooþ kind of þe illness of þe dead, of sundry nosy and keen frains on þe deal of her leeces, and of þe farlen and bare kind of þe beryelgrund of þe maiþ. Ice will not wiþsake þat when ice cied to mind þe winster ansen of þe leed whom ice met upon þe stairwell, on þe day of my lending at þe huse, ice had no wisce to wiþset what ice saw as at best but a harmless, and by no means an unkindly, forewit.
At þe behest of Uscer, ice myself helped him in þe plot for þe tidely beryel. Þe body hafing been inþrued, we two alone bore it to its rest. Þe wholf in whice we put it (and whice had been so long unopened þat ure torces, half smoþered in its swere lift, yafe us littel bire for spirring) was small, damp, and fully wiþute means of infare for lite; lying, at great depþ, strate beneaþ þat deal of þe bilding in whice was mine own sleeping rooms. It had been brooked, seemingly, in farlen times of leandom, for þe worst ettels of a dimhuse, and, in later days, as a stead of stow for gundust, or sum oþer hily birnenly anwork, as a deal of its flore, and þe hole inside of a long infare þro whice we reaced it, were carefully sceaþed wiþ copper. Þe dore, of hulking iron, had been, also, warded alike. Its great wait brawt forþ a selcooþly scarp grinding lude, as it scroþe upon its hindges.
Hafing stowed ure mornful birden upon stocks wiþin þis room of brow, we halfway drew aside þe yet unnailed lid of þe þrue, and looked upon þe anlet of þe heem. A striking alikeness between þe broþer and þe sister nue first held my heed; and Uscer, halsing, mayhaps, my þawts, mumbeled ute sum few words from whice ice learned þat þe dead and himself had been twins, and þat scared feelings of a hardly anyetful kind had always been between hem. Ure eyes, huefer, rested not long upon þe dead—for we cood not behold her unayed. Þe illness whice had þus felled þe lady in þe ripeness of yewþ, had left, as is oftseen in all illnesses of a strecely stiffening eard, þe hux of a slite blusce upon þe bosom and þe anlet, and þat tweefully tarrying smirk upon þe lip whice is so ayful in deaþ. We put back and nailed dune þe lid, and, hafing fastened þe dore of iron, made ure way, wiþ toll, into þe hardly less gloomy rooms of þe upper deal of þe huse.
And nue, sum days of bitter gnorn hafing ran on, an ayettenly wend came ofer þe costs of þe angness of my frend. His eferyday wons were forlet or foryetten. He roamed from room to room wiþ hurried, unefen, and drifting step. Þe wanness of his ansen had nimmen, if mitely, a gastlier hew—but þe briteness of his eye had utterly gone ute. Þe onse seldom huskiness of his stefen was heard no more; and a scaking cwifer, as if of great fear, often marked his speece. Þere were times, indeed, when ice þawt his unstoppingly anged mind was working wiþ sum heafy rune, to make known whice he fawt for þe needed dute. At times, ayen, ice was wont to lay all to þe untellenly unsuttelings of madness, for ice beheld him staring upon emtiness for long stunds, in a mood of þe deepest heed, as if listening to sum faþomed lude. It was no wunder þat his illness breed—þat it smitted me. Ice felt creeping upon me, by slow yet wiss steps, þe wild sways of his own faþomed yet ayful offgalþs.
It was, mainly, upon sweþering to bed late in þe nite of þe sefenþ or eatþ day after þe setting of þe lady Madeline wiþin þe dimhuse, þat ice fred þe full mite of suce feelings. Sleep came not near my streen—while þe stunds waned and waned away. Ice fanded to reasow off þe angness whice had weeld ofer me. Ice fanded to beleefe þat muce, if not all of what ice felt, was from þe bewildering sway of þe gloomy idisce of þe room—of þe dark and þreadbare hangings, whice, tintrayed into scriþing by þe breaþ of a rising storm, swayed fitfully to and fro upon þe walls, and rusteled uneaþ abute þe agraiþings of þe bed. But my work were bleadless. An uncwellenly cwifer slowly oferwon my frame; and, at lengþ, þere sat upon my heart itself a scuck of utterly grundless angness. Scaking þis off wiþ a heafe and a fite, ice uplifted myself upon þe bolsters, and, peering earnestly wiþin þe newel darkness of þe room, harkened—ice know not why, but þat an inborn goast scied me—to sundry neþer and unsuttel ludes whice came, þro þe lulls in þe storm, at long betwixtfacks, ice knew not whense. Oferþrown by a deep feeling of brow, untellenly yet unþolenly, ice þrew on my cloþes wiþ great speed (for ice felt þat ice scood sleep no more in þe nite), and fanded to bestir myself from þe sorry hoad into whice ice had fallen, by stepping swiftly to and fro þro þe room.
Ice had nimmen but a few wends in þis way, when a lite step on þe lenced stairwell num my heed. Ice nue acknowed it as þat of Uscer. In a britom afterward he knocked, wiþ a lite rine, at my dore, and infared, bearing a litefat. His blee was, as was wont, a licelike wan—but, moreofer, þere was a breed of mad laffter in his eyes—a suttely held back madness in his whole ansen. His whiþ afeared me—but anyþing was better þan þe aloneness whice ice had þoled so long, and ice efen welcummed his naywist as a liss.
“And yew hafe not seen it?” he said scortly, after hafing stared abute him for sum britoms in roo—”yew hafe not þen seen it?—but, bide! yew scall.” þus speaking, and hafing carefully scaded his litefat, he hurried to one of þe windows, and þrew it freely open to þe storm.
Þe reeþ wraþ of þe infaring blast nearly lifted us from ure feet. It was, indeed, a stormy yet sternly liteful nite, and one wildly sundry in its brow and its lite. A whirlwind had seemingly gaþered its mite in ure naywist; for þere were often and heast wends in þe way of þe wind; and þe oferstying þickness of þe cludes (whice hung so neþer as to þruce upon þe tors of þe huse) did not keep us from ayetting þis—yet we had no bit of þe moon or stars—nor was þere any blasing forþ of litening. But þe underside of þe hulking rack of cirning clude, as well as all þings on land in ure naywist, were glowing in þe unkindly lite of a slitely glowing and suttely seenly utebreaþ whice hung abute and inscruded þe huse.
“Yew must not—yew scall not behold þis!” said ice, cwaferingly, to Uscer, as ice led him, wiþ a friþful heast, from þe window to a seat. “Þese ansens, whice bewilder yew, are only but lefiny wunders not seldseen—or it may be þat hie hafe hir gastly spring in þe rank fuleness of þe pool. Let us cluse þis window;—þe lift is cilling and pleely to yewer frame. Here is one of yewer darling Roomanisce books. Ice will read, and yew scall listen;—and so we will spend þis ayful nite togeþer.”
Þe old writ whice ice had nimmen up was þe “Mad Stefen” of Her Lambert Canning; but ice had cied it a darling of Uscers more in sad rib þan in earnest; for, in trewþ, þere is littel in its uncooþ and mean longwindedness whice cood hafe had grip for þe hie and mindful site of my frend. It was, huefer, þe only book rite at hand; and ice atiþed a mirky hope þat þe giddiness whice nue anged þe man, mite find liss (for þe stear of mindsickness is full of alike ferlies) efen in þe bund of þe mindlessness whice ice scood read. Cood ice hafe deemed, indeed, by þe wild oferstreced whiþ of life wiþ whice he harkened, or seemingly harkened, to þe words of þe tale, ice mite well hafe harried myself upon þe speed of my plot.
Ice had lended at þat wellknown deal of þe tale were Eþelred, þe heleþ of þe Stefen, hafing sawt bleadlessly for friþful infare into þe dwelling of þe loner, cooses to make good an infare wiþ heast. Here, it will be munned, þe words of þe rake run þus:
“And Eþelred, who was by kind of a duty heart, and who was nue mity wiþal, for þat great mite of þe wine whice he had drunken, bided no longer to hold meeting wiþ þe loner, who, in sooþ, was of a þwire and hateful kind, but, feeling þe rain upon his scolders, and fearing þe rising of þe storm, uplifted his bat uterite, and, wiþ blows, made cwickly room in þe beams of þe door for his glofed hand; and nue pulling þere—wiþ strengþ, he so broke, and ripped, and tore all asunder, þat þe lude of þe dry and hollow-luding wood starteled and eftluded þroute þe wold.
At þe end of þis cwid ice started, and for a britom, stalled; for it seemed to me (alþow ice at onse cose þat my afeared faþoming had belirted me)—it seemed to me þat, from sum full farlen deal of þe huse, þere came, unsuttely, to my ears, what mite hafe been, in its fulframed alikeness of hoad, þe eftlude (but a smoþered and dull one wisly) of þe same breaking and ripping lude whice Her Lambert had so sundrily reced. It was, beyond twee, þe befalling alone whice had nimmen hold of my heed; for, amid þe ratteling of þe frames in þe windows, and þe kindly mingeled ludes of þe still waxing storm, þe lude, in itself, had noþing, wisly, whice scood hafe gripped or upset me. Ice went on reading þe tale:
“But þe good kemp Eþelred, nue infaring wiþin þe dore, was sore wroþ and amased to ayet no token of þe hateful loner; but, in þe stead þereof, a drake of a shaly and ettinisce ansen, and of a firy tung, whice sat as ward before a kinhofe of gold, wiþ a flore of silfer; and upon þe wall þere hung a sceeld of scining brass wiþ þis cwid ingrafed—
- Who infareþ herein, a oferwinner haþ been;
- Who slayeþ þe drake, þe sceeld he scall win.
And Eþelred uplifted his club, and struck upon þe head of þe drake, whice fell before him, and yafe up his baneful breaþ, wiþ a scree so ayful and scarp, and wiþal so boring, þat Eþelred had fain to cluse his ears wiþ his hands ayenst þe dreadful lude of it, þe like whereof was nefer before heard.”
Here ayen ice stopped all at onse, and nue wiþ a feeling of wild amase—for þere cood be no twee whatsoefer þat, in þis britom, ice did trewly hear (alþow from what heading it came ice fund it unmitely to say) a deep and seemingly farlen, but scarp, lengþy, and most ferly screeing or grinding lude—þe make itself of what my faþoming had already brawt up for þe drakes unkindly scree as reced by þe bookwrite.
Onsat, as ice wisly was, upon þe landing of þe oþer and most seldseen befalling, by a þusand wying feelings, in whice wunder and greatest frite were hiest, ice still held enuff of my mind to forbear fritening, by any howing, þe keen angness of my fellow. Ice was by no means wiss þat he had nimmen heed of þe ludes unsetteled; alþow, sickerly, a ferly wend, had, wiþin þe last few minnits, befallen in his ansen. From a stead afore me, he had stepwise brawt umb his seat, so as to sit wiþ his anlet to þe dore of þe room; and þus ice cood but deally ayet his costs, alþow ice saw þat his lips cwifered as if he were mumbeling unhearenly. His head had dropped upon his breast—yet ice knew þat he was not asleep, from þe wide and stiff opening of þe eye as ice fanged a site of it from þe side. Þe scriþing of his body, too was wiþer þis begrip—for he rocked from side to side wiþ a slite yet unyeelding and efen sway. Hafing swiftly nimmen heed of all þis, ice picked up þe rake of Her Lambert, whice þus went on:
“And nue, þe kemp, hafing atwinded from þe ayful wraþ of þe drake, beþinking himself of þe brasen sheeld, and of þe breaking up of þe galder whice was upon it, drew þe lice from ute of þe way before him, and strode dutily ofer þe silfer grund of þe fasten to where þe sceeld was upon þe wall; whice in sooþ tarried not for his cumming, but fell dune at his feet upon þe silfer flore, wiþ a mity great and ayful ringing lude.”
No sooner had þese staffays gone by my lips, þan—as if a sceeld of brass had indeed, at þe britom, fallen heafily upon a flore of silfer, became aware of a sundry, hollow, bloomlike, and scrill, yet seemingly deadened eftlude. Fully afeared, ice leapt to my feet; but þe slow rocking scriþing of Uscer was unfased. Ice rusced to þe seat in whice he sat. His eyes were bent fastened before him, and þroute his hole ansen þere rixt a stony stiffness. But, as ice put my hand upon his scolder, þere came a strong scaking ofer his hole body; a sickly smirk cwifered abute his lips; and ice saw þat he spoke in a soft, hurried, and babbeling mumbel, as if unaware of my naywist. Bending nily ofer him, ice at lengþ drank in þe atel wait of his words.
“Not hear it?—yes, ice hear it, and hafe heard it. Long—long—long—many minnits, many stunds, many days, hafe ice heard it—yet ice dared not—oh, hafe rewþ for me, woesum wrece þat ice am!—ice dared not—ice dared not speak! We hafe put her lifing in þe grafe! Said ice not þat my anyets were scarp? Ice nue tell yew þat ice heard her first mainless scriþings in þe hollow þrue. Ice heard hem—many, many days ago—yet ice dared not—ice dared not speak! And nue—tonite—Eþelred—ha! ha!—þe breaking of þe loners dore, and þe deaþ roop of þe drake, and þe clang of þe sceeld!—say, raþer, þe rending of her þrue, and þe grinding of þe iron hindges of her cwartern, and her fites wiþin þe coppered infare of þe wholf! Oh whiþer scall ice fly! Will sce not be here anon? Is sce not hurrying to upbraid me for my hite? Hafe ice not heard her footstep on þe stair? Do ice not sced þat heafy and ayful beating of her heart? MADMAN!” here he sprang wildly to his feet, and rooped ute staffays, as if in þe swink he were yeafing up his sowl—”MADMAN! ICE TELL YEW ÞAT SCE NUE STANDS WIÞUTE ÞE DORE!”
As if in þe godly drife of his speece þere had been fund þe strengþ of a spell—þe great fern boards to whice þe speaker minted his finger, þrew slowly back, upon þe britom, waity and rafen cafels. It was þe work of þe ruscing wind—but þen wiþute þose dores þere DID stand þe hie and inscruded ansen of þe lady Madeline of Uscer. Þere was blood upon her white weeds, and þe seeþing of sum bitter fite upon efery deal of her wanþrifen frame. For a britom sce belifed cwifering and reeling to and fro upon þe þrescehold, þen, wiþ a soft moaning roop, fell heafily inward upon þe body of her broþer, and in her heast and nue endly deaþsussels, bore him to þe flore a lice, and a tifer to þe brows he had foreseen.
From þat room, and from þat huse, ice fled agast. Þe storm was still abroad in all its wraþ as ice fund myself flying þwares þe old bridge. All at onse þere scot along þe paþ a wild lite, and ice went to see whense a gleam so selcooþ cood hafe cum; for þe great huse and its scadows were alone behind me. Þe briteness was þat of þe full, setting, and bloodred moon whice nue scone strikingly þro þat onse barely sceddenly cine of whice ice hafe before spoken as strecing from þe roof of þe bilding, in a winding way, to þe staddel. While ice stared, þis cine swiftly widened—þere came a reeþ breaþ of þe whirlwind—þe hole þoþer of þe moon burst at onse upon my site—my brain reeled as ice saw þe mity walls ruscing asunder—þere was a long wood rooping lude like þe stefen of a þusand waters—and þe deep and dank pool at my feet clused grimly and ludelessly ofer þe groats of þe “HUSE OF USCER.”