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From this date a marked alteration took place in the outward demeanor of the dissolute young Baron Frederick Von Metzengerstein. Indeed, his behavior disappointed every expectation, and proved little in accordance with the views of many a manoeuvering mamma; while his habits and manner, still less than formerly, offered any thing congenial with those of the neighboring aristocracy.
He was never to be seen beyond the limits of his own domain, and, in this wide and social world, was utterly companionless--unless, indeed, that unnatural, Spanish accordance: Edgar Allan Poe 31 impetuous, and fiery-colored horse, which he henceforward continually bestrode, had any mysterious right to the title of his friend. These repeated insults were not to be endured by an imperious nobility. Such invitations became less cordial--less frequent--in time they ceased altogether.
The charitable, nevertheless, attributed the alteration in the conduct of the young nobleman to the natural sorrow of a son for the untimely loss of his parents--forgetting, however, his atrocious and reckless behavior during the short period immediately succeeding that bereavement.
Some there were, indeed, who suggested a too haughty idea of self-consequence and dignity. Others again among them may be mentioned the family physician did not hesitate in speaking of morbid melancholy, and hereditary ill-health; while dark hints, of a more equivocal nature, were current among the multitude. In the glare of noon--at the dead hour of night--in sickness or in health--in calm or in tempest--the young Metzengerstein seemed rivetted to the saddle of that colossal horse, whose intractable audacities so well accorded with his own spirit.
The space passed over in a single leap had been accurately measured, and was found to exceed, by an astounding difference, the wildest expectations of the most imaginative. The Baron, besides, had no particular name for the animal, although all the rest in his collection were distinguished by characteristic appellations. His stable, too, was appointed at a distance from the rest; and with regard to grooming and other necessary offices, none but the owner in person had ventured to officiate, or even to enter the enclosure of that particular stall.
It was also to be observed, that although the three grooms, who had caught the steed as he fled from the conflagration at Berlifitzing, had succeeded in arresting his course, by means of a chain-bridle and noose--yet no one of the three could with any certainty affirm that he had, during that dangerous struggle, or at any period thereafter, actually placed his hand upon the body of the beast.
Instances of peculiar intelligence in the demeanor of a noble and high-spirited horse are not to be supposed capable of exciting unreasonable attention--especially among men who, daily trained to the labors of the chase, might appear well acquainted with the sagacity of a horse-but there were certain circumstances which intruded themselves per force upon the most skeptical and phlegmatic; and it is said there were times when the animal caused the gaping crowd who stood around to recoil in horror from the deep and impressive meaning of his terrible stamp--times when the young Metzengerstein turned pale and shrunk away from the rapid and searching expression of his earnest and human-looking eye.
He--if his ideas are worth mentioning at all--had the effrontery to assert that his master never vaulted into the saddle without an unaccountable and almost imperceptible shudder, and Spanish ardor: Edgar Allan Poe 33 that, upon his return from every long-continued and habitual ride, an expression of triumphant malignity distorted every muscle in his countenance.
As the flames, when first seen, had already made so terrible a progress that all efforts to save any portion of the building were evidently futile, the astonished neighborhood stood idly around in silent and pathetic wonder.
But a new and fearful object soon rivetted the attention of the multitude, and proved how much more intense is the excitement wrought in the feelings of a crowd by the contemplation of human agony, than that brought about by the most appalling spectacles of inanimate matter.
Up the long avenue of aged oaks which led from the forest to the main entrance of the Chateau Metzengerstein, a steed, bearing an unbonneted and disordered rider, was seen leaping with an impetuosity which outstripped the very Demon of the Tempest. The career of the horseman was indisputably, on his own part, uncontrollable. The agony of his countenance, the convulsive struggle of his frame, gave evidence of superhuman exertion: One instant, and the clattering of hoofs resounded sharply and shrilly above the roaring of the flames and the shrieking of the winds--another, and, clearing at a single plunge the gate-way and the moat, the steed bounded far up the tottering staircases of the palace, and, with its rider, disappeared amid the whirlwind of chaotic fire.
A white flame still enveloped the building like a shroud, and, streaming far away into the quiet atmosphere, shot forth a glare of preternatural light; while a cloud of smoke settled heavily over the battlements in the distinct colossal figure of--a horse. As I had never visited a place of the kind, I thought the opportunity too good to be lost; and so proposed to my travelling companion a gentleman with whom I had made casual acquaintance a few days before that we should turn aside, for an hour or so, and look through the establishment.
To this he objected--pleading haste in the first place, and, in the second, a very usual horror at the sight of a lunatic.
He begged me, however, not to let any mere courtesy towards himself interfere with the gratification of my curiosity, and said that he would ride on leisurely, so that I might overtake him during the day, or, at all events, during the next. As he bade me good-bye, I bethought me that there might be some difficulty in obtaining access to the premises, and mentioned my fears on this point. For himself, he added, he had, some years since, made the acquaintance of Maillard, and Spanish acquaintance: Through this dank and gloomy wood we rode some two miles, when the Maison de Sante came in view.
It was a fantastic chateau, much dilapidated, and indeed scarcely tenantable through age and neglect. Its aspect inspired me with absolute dread, and, checking my horse, I half resolved to turn back.
I soon, however, grew ashamed of my weakness, and proceeded. As we rode up to the gate-way, I perceived it slightly open, and the visage of a man peering through.
In an instant afterward, this man came forth, accosted my companion by name, shook him cordially by the hand, and begged him to alight.
It was Monsieur Maillard himself. He was a portly, fine-looking gentleman of the old school, with a polished manner, and a certain air of gravity, dignity, and authority which was very impressive.
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When he had gone, the superintendent ushered me into a small and exceedingly neat parlor, containing, among other indications of refined taste, many books, drawings, pots of flowers, and musical instruments. A cheerful fire blazed upon the hearth. At a piano, singing an aria from Bellini, sat a young and very beautiful woman, who, at my entrance, paused in her song, and received me with graceful courtesy.
Her voice was low, and her whole manner subdued. I thought, too, that I perceived the traces of sorrow in her countenance, which was excessively, although to my taste, not unpleasingly, pale. She was attired in deep mourning, and excited in my bosom a feeling of mingled respect, interest, and admiration.
Edgar Allan Poe 37 while secretly watched, were left much apparent liberty, and that most of them were permitted to roam about the house and grounds in the ordinary apparel of persons in right mind. I confined my remarks, therefore, to general topics, and to such as I thought would not be displeasing or exciting even to a lunatic.
She replied in a perfectly rational manner to all that I said; and even her original observations were marked with the soundest good sense, but a long acquaintance with the metaphysics of mania, had taught me to put no faith in such evidence of sanity, and I continued to practise, throughout the interview, the caution with which I commenced it.
Presently a smart footman in livery brought in a tray with fruit, wine, and other refreshments, of which I partook, the lady soon afterward leaving the room. As she departed I turned my eyes in an inquiring manner toward my host.
We seldom find so much of forethought in young men; and, more than once, some unhappy contre-temps has occurred in consequence of thoughtlessness on the part of our visitors. While my former system was in operation, and my patients were permitted the privilege of roaming to and fro at will, they were often aroused to a dangerous frenzy by injudicious persons who called to inspect the house.
Hence I was obliged to enforce a rigid system of exclusion; and none obtained access to the premises upon whose discretion I could not rely. The danger of the soothing system was, at all times, appalling; and its advantages have been much overrated.
I believe, sir, that in this house it has been given a fair trial, if ever in any. We did every thing that rational humanity could suggest.
I am sorry that you could not have paid us a visit at an earlier period, that you might have judged for yourself. But I presume you are conversant with the soothing practice--with its details.
What I have heard has been at third or fourth hand. We contradicted no fancies which entered the brains of the mad. On the contrary, we not only indulged but encouraged them; and many of our most permanent cures have been thus effected. There is no argument which so touches the feeble reason of the madman as the argumentum ad absurdum.
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Multimedia We have had men, for example, who fancied themselves chickens. The cure was, to insist upon the thing as a fact--to accuse the patient of stupidity in not sufficiently perceiving it to be a fact--and thus to refuse him any other diet for a week than that which properly appertains to a chicken.
In this manner a little corn and gravel were made to perform wonders. We put much faith in amusements of a simple kind, such as music, dancing, gymnastic exercises generally, cards, certain classes of books, and so forth. A great point was to set each lunatic to guard the actions of all the others. To repose confidence in the Spanish absurdum: Edgar Allan Poe 39 understanding or discretion of a madman, is to gain him body and soul. In this way we were enabled to dispense with an expensive body of keepers.
Now and then, the malady of some individual growing to a crisis, or taking a sudden turn of fury, we conveyed him to a secret cell, lest his disorder should infect the rest, and there kept him until we could dismiss him to his friends--for with the raging maniac we have nothing to do. He is usually removed to the public hospitals.
The system had its disadvantages, and even its dangers. It is now, happily, exploded throughout all the Maisons de Sante of France. Believe nothing you hear, and only onehalf that you see. Now about our Maisons de Sante, it is clear that some ignoramus has misled you.
After dinner, however, when you have sufficiently recovered from the fatigue of your ride, I will be happy to take you over the house, and introduce to you a system which, in my opinion, and in that of every one who has witnessed its operation, is incomparably the most effectual as yet devised.
To a sensitive mind there is always more or less of the shocking in such exhibitions; and I do not wish to spoil your appetite for dinner. Aussig, Bohemia, - Roma, I can give you some veal a la Menehoult, with cauliflowers in veloute sauce--after that a glass of Clos de Vougeot—then your nerves will be sufficiently steadied.
They were, apparently, people of rank-certainly of high breeding-although their habiliments, I thought, were extravagantly rich, partaking somewhat too much of the ostentatious finery of the vielle cour. I noticed that at least two-thirds of these guests were ladies; and some of the latter were by no means accoutred in what a Parisian would consider good taste at the present day.
Many females, for example, whose age could not have been less than seventy were bedecked with a profusion of jewelry, such as rings, bracelets, and earrings, and wore their bosoms and arms shamefully bare. I observed, too, that very few of the dresses were well made--or, at least, that very few of them fitted the wearers. In looking about, I discovered the interesting girl to whom Monsieur Maillard had presented me in the little parlor; but my surprise was great to see her wearing a hoop and farthingale, with high-heeled shoes, and a dirty cap of Brussels lace, so much too large for her that it gave her face a ridiculously diminutive expression.
When I had first seen her, she was attired, most becomingly, in deep mourning. Edgar Allan Poe 41 antiquated notions; and then, too, upon conversing with several members of the company, my apprehensions were immediately and fully dispelled. For example, the floor was uncarpeted; in France, however, a carpet is frequently dispensed with. The windows, too, were without curtains; the shutters, being shut, were securely fastened with iron bars, applied diagonally, after the fashion of our ordinary shop-shutters.
The apartment, I observed, formed, in itself, a wing of the chateau, and thus the windows were on three sides of the parallelogram, the door being at the other. There were no less than ten windows in all. The table was superbly set out. It was loaded with plate, and more than loaded with delicacies. The profusion was absolutely barbaric.
There were meats enough to have feasted the Anakim. Never, in all my life, had I witnessed so lavish, so wasteful an expenditure of the good things of life. There seemed very little taste, however, in the arrangements; and my eyes, accustomed to quiet lights, were sadly offended by the prodigious glare of a multitude of wax candles, which, in silver candelabra, were deposited upon the table, and all about the room, wherever it was possible to find a place.
There were several active servants in attendance; and, upon a large table, at the farther end of the apartment, were seated seven or eight people with fiddles, fifes, trombones, and a drum.
These fellows annoyed me very much, at intervals, during the repast, by an infinite variety of noises, which were intended for music, and which appeared to afford much entertainment to all present, with the exception of myself.
Upon the whole, I could not help thinking that there was much of the bizarre about every thing I saw--but then the world is made up of all kinds of persons, with all modes of thought, and all sorts of conventional customs.
I had travelled, too, so much, as to be quite an adept at the nil admirari; so I took my seat very coolly at the right hand of my host, and, having an excellent appetite, did justice to the good cheer set before me. The ladies, as usual, talked a great deal. I soon found that nearly all the company were well educated; and my host was a world of good-humored anecdote in himself. He seemed quite willing to speak of his position as superintendent of a Maison de Sante; and, indeed, the topic of lunacy was, much to my surprise, a favorite one with all present.
A great many amusing stories were told, having reference to the whims of the patients. There is scarcely an insane asylum in France which cannot supply a human teapot. Our gentleman was a Britannia--ware tea-pot, and was careful to polish himself every morning with buckskin and whiting.
He was a troublesome patient; and we had much ado to keep him within bounds. For a long time he would eat nothing but thistles; but of this idea we soon cured him by insisting upon his eating nothing else.
I will thank you to behave yourself! You have spoiled my brocade! Is it necessary, pray, to illustrate a remark in so practical a style? Our friend here can surely comprehend you without all this.
Upon my word, you are nearly as great a donkey as the poor unfortunate imagined himself. Your acting is very natural, as I live. I had no intention of offending.
Menhoult--you will find it particularly fine. I will change my plate, however, and try some of the rabbit. I will just help myself to some of the ham. I will have none of their rabbit au-chat--and, for the matter of that, none of their cat-au-rabbit either. I mean the man who took himself for a bottle of champagne, and always went off with a pop and a fizz, in this fashion.
This behavior, I saw plainly, was not very pleasing to Monsieur Maillard; but that gentleman said nothing, and the conversation was resumed by a very lean little man in a big wig. Sir, if that man was not a frog, I can only observe that it is a pity he was not.
He persecuted the cook to make him up into pies--a thing which the cook indignantly refused to do. For my part, I am by no means sure that a pumpkin pie a la Desoulieres would not have been very capital eating indeed! You must not be astonished, mon ami; our friend here is a wit--a drole--you must not understand him to the letter.
He grew deranged through love, and fancied himself possessed of two heads. It is not impossible that he was wrong; but he would have convinced you of his being in the right; for he was a man of great eloquence. He had an absolute passion for oratory, and could not refrain from display.
You would have roared with laughter to see him spin. He would turn round upon one heel by the hour, in this manner--soHere the friend whom he had just interrupted by a whisper, performed an exactly similar office for himself. The thing is absurd. Madame Joyeuse was a more sensible person, as you know.
She had a crotchet, but it was instinct with common sense, and gave pleasure to all who had the honor of her acquaintance. She found, upon mature deliberation, that, by some accident, she had been turned into a chicken-cock; but, as such, she behaved with propriety.
She flapped her wings with prodigious effect--so--so--and, as for her crow, it was Spanish absurd: She hung down her head, and said not a syllable in reply. But another and younger lady resumed the theme.
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It was my beautiful girl of the little parlor. She was a very beautiful and painfully modest young lady, who thought the ordinary mode of habiliment indecent, and wished to dress herself, always, by getting outside instead of inside of her clothes. It is a thing very easily done, after all. My nerves were very much affected, indeed, by these yells; but the rest of the company I really pitied.
I never saw any set of reasonable people so thoroughly frightened in my life. They all grew as pale as so many corpses, and, shrinking within their seats, sat quivering and gibbering with terror, and listening for a repetition of the sound.
It came again--louder and seemingly nearer--and then a third time very loud, and then a fourth time with a vigor evidently diminished. At this apparent dying away of the noise, the spirits of the company were Spanish abashed: I now ventured to inquire the cause of the disturbance.
The lunatics, every now and then, get up a howl in concert; one starting another, as is sometimes the case with a bevy of dogs at night. It occasionally happens, however, that the concerto yells are succeeded by a simultaneous effort at breaking loose, when, of course, some little danger is to be apprehended. I have always understood that the majority of lunatics were of the gentler sex.
Some time ago, there were about twentyseven patients here; and, of that number, no less than eighteen were women; but, lately, matters have changed very much, as you see. Whereupon the whole company maintained a dead silence for nearly a minute. As for one lady, she obeyed Monsieur Maillard to the letter, and thrusting out her tongue, which was an excessively long one, held it very resignedly, with both hands, until the end of the entertainment.
This lady, my particular old friend Madame Joyeuse, is as absolutely sane as myself. She has her little eccentricities, to be sure--but then, you know, all old women--all very old women--are more or less eccentric! They behave a little odd, eh? By the bye, Monsieur, did I understand you to say that the system you have adopted, in place of the celebrated soothing system, was one of very rigorous severity?
Our confinement is necessarily close; but the treatment--the medical treatment, I mean--is rather agreeable to the patients than otherwise. This article has no associated abstract.
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View or edit your browsing history. Ediciones de Martinez B. Roche fue principalmente un apasionado amante de su ciudad:. Reumatologia Clinica Duro Pujol ; unos consejos producto de una experiencia apasionada y per- severante. En esos Delmira Agustini era lectora apasionada de poetas y novelistas Sin otro alimento Tango fatal, soberbio y bruto.
Y esto Spanish Writers; Por su experiencia como promotora de la Veremos que en otros textos Mistral es la apasionada defensora de la verdad, pero en LOM Eds. Impreso en laThe truth is, the members indulged in too flippant a tone of discussion. You must not be astonished, mon ami; our friend here is a wit--a drole--you must not understand him to the letter.
Moneypenny made the title for us, and says he chose it because it sounded big like an empty rumpuncheon. These repeated insults were not to be endured by an imperious nobility.
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