MELMOTH THE WANDERER PDF
Title: Melmoth the Wanderer Author: Charles Robert Maturin * A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook * eBook No.: yazik.info Language: English Date first. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. some time. At this moment John saw the door open, and a figure appear at it, who looked round the room, and. Melmoth the Wanderer. Melmoth the Wanderer. 2.
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This volumen presents old Melmoth on his death bed; young Melmoth needs to go back in order to take control of all matters concerning his uncle's state. After almost loosing his life by trying to save someone from the ferocious storm, young Melmoth is about to be dragged by the sea and to die. However, a. Few had perused — few know at this day — the terrible story of Melmoth the Wanderer, half man, half devil, who has bartered away his soul for.
Bowtell, the representative of Statira, about a veil, which the partiality of the property man adjudged to the latter. Roxana suppressed her rage till the fifth act, when, stabbing Statira, she aimed the blow with such force as to pierce through her stays, and inflict a severe though not dangerous wound. Bowtell fainted, the performance was suspended, and, in the commotion which this incident caused in the house, many of the audience rose, and Stanton among them.
It was at this moment that, in a seat opposite to him, he discovered the object of his search for four years — the Englishman whom he had met in the plains of Valencia, and whom he believed the same with the subject of the extraordinary narrative he had heard there.
He was standing up. There was nothing particular or remarkable in his appearance, but the expression of his eyes could never be mistaken or forgotten. The heart of Stanton palpitated with violence — a mist overspread his eye — a nameless and deadly sickness, accompanied with a creeping sensation in every pore, from which cold drops were gushing, announced the. Before he had well recovered, a strain of music, soft, solemn, and delicious, breathed round him, audibly ascending from the ground, and increasing in sweetness and power till it seemed to fill the whole building.
Under the sudden impulse of amazement and pleasure, he inquired of some around him from whence those exquisite sounds arose.
But, by the manner in which he was answered, it was plain that those he addressed considered him insane; and, indeed, the remarkable change in his expression might well justify the suspicion.
He then remembered that night in Spain, when the same sweet and mysterious sounds were heard only by the young bridegroom and bride, of whom the latter perished on that very night. The feeling which he had dwelt on so long, that he had actually converted it into a duty, was after all mere curiosity; but what passion is more insatiable, or more capable of giving a kind of romantic grandeur to all its wanderings and eccentricities?
Curiosity is in one respect like love, it always compromises between the object and the feeling; and provided the latter possesses sufficient energy, no matter how contemptible the former may be.
Melmoth the wanderer: a tale
A child might have smiled at the agitation of Stanton, caused as it was by the accidental appearance of a stranger; but no man, in the full energy of his passions, was there, but must have trembled at the horrible agony of emotion with which he felt approaching, with sudden and irresistible velocity, the crisis of his destiny. When the play was over, he stood for some moments in the deserted streets.
It was a beautiful moonlight night, and he saw near him a figure, whose shadow, projected half across the street there were no flagged ways then, chains and posts were the only defense of the foot passenger , appeared to him of gigantic magnitude.
He had been so long accustomed to contend with these phantoms of the imagination, that he took a kind of stubborn delight in subduing them. He walked up to the object, and observing the shadow only was magnified, and the figure was the ordinary height of man, he approached it, and discovered the very object of his search — the man whom he had seen for a moment in Valencia, and, after a search of four years, recognized at the theater.
Speak, if you have anything to ask or to learn. My voice shall ring in your ears till then, and the glance of these eyes shall be reflected from every object, animate or inanimate, till you behold them again. When they are plunged in the lowest abyss of human calamity, they are sure to be visited by me. The narrative, when Melmoth was again able to trace its continuation, described Stanton, some years after, plunged in a state the most deplorable.
Their malignity probably took part with their prudence. He waited on him one morning, accompanied by a person of a grave, though somewhat repulsive appearance. Stanton objected, on account of the difficulty of getting a hackney coach for it is singular that at this period the number of private equipages, though infinitely fewer than they are now, exceeded the number of hired ones , and proposed going by water.
The carriage then stopped. Stanton took no notice of his companion, but as usual seized the first book near him, and began to read. It was a volume in manuscript — they were then much more common than now. The first lines struck him as indicating insanity in the writer. It was a wild proposal written apparently after the great fire of London to rebuild it with stone, and attempting to prove, on a calculation wild, false, and yet sometimes plausible, that this could be done out of the colossal fragments of Stonehenge, which the writer proposed to remove for that purpose.
Of course the writer reckoned on their embracing the easier alternative, but even this was to be clogged with a heavy condition — namely, that they must be bound before a magistrate to convert twenty Mussulmans a day, on their return to Turkey. The rest of the pamphlet was reasoned very much in the conclusive style of Captain Bobadil — these twenty will convert twenty more apiece, and these two hundred converts, converting their due number in the same time, all Turkey would be converted before the Grand Signior knew where he was.
Sophia, which was to finish the business. Here an objection appeared to arise, which the ingenuity of the writer had anticipated. Augustine, with his monks, advanced to meet King Ethelbert singing litanies in a language his majesty could not possibly have understood , and converted him and his whole court on the spot; — that the sybilline books. Between the pages were cut most exquisitely in paper the likenesses of some of these Turkish ambassadors; the hair of the beards, in particular, was feathered with a delicacy of touch that seemed the work of fairy fingers — but the pages ended with a complaint of the operator, that his scissors had been taken from him.
However, he consoled himself and the reader with the assurance, that he would that night catch a moonbeam as it entered through the grating, and, when he had whetted it on the iron knobs of his door, would do wonders with it. In the next page was found a melancholy proof of powerful but prostrated intellect.
It contained some insane lines, ascribed to Lee the dramatic poet, commencing,. There is no proof whatever that these miserable lines were really written by Lee, except that the measure is the fashionable quatrain of the period. It is singular that Stanton read on without suspicion of his own danger, quite absorbed in the album of a madhouse, without ever reflecting on the place where he was, and which such compositions too manifestly designated.
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It was after a long interval that he looked round, and perceived that his companion was gone. Bells were unusual then. He proceeded to the door — it was fastened. He called aloud — his voice was echoed in a moment by many others, but in tones so wild and discordant, that he desisted in involuntary terror.
As the day advanced, and no one approached, he tried the window, and then perceived for the first time it was grated. It looked out on the narrow flagged yard, in which no human being was; and if there had, from such a being no human feeling could have been extracted. At midnight he started from a doze, half a swoon, half a sleep, which probably the hardness of his seat, and of the deal table on which he leaned, had not contributed to prolong.
He was in complete darkness; the horror of his situation struck him at once, and for a moment he was indeed almost qualified for an inmate of that dreadful mansion. He felt his way to the door, shook it with desperate strength, and uttered the most frightful cries, mixed with expostulations and commands.
His cries were in a moment echoed by a hundred voices. In maniacs there is a peculiar malignity, accompanied by an extraordinary acuteness of some of the senses, particularly in distinguishing the voice of a stranger.
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The cries that he heard on every side seemed like a wild and infernal yell of joy, that their mansion of misery had obtained another tenant. He paused, exhausted — a quick and thundering step was heard in the passage. The door was opened, and a man of savage appearance stood at the entrance — two more were seen indistinctly in the passage.
He had the presence of mind to acknowledge his supposed miserable condition, to supplicate the forbearance of the ruthless keeper, and promise complete submission to his orders.
This pacified the ruffian, and he retired. Stanton collected all his resolution to encounter the horrible night; he saw all that was before him, and summoned himself to meet it. After much agitated deliberation, he conceived it best to continue the same appearance of submission and tranquillity, hoping that thus he might in time either propitiate the wretches in whose hands he was, or, by his apparent inoffensiveness, procure such opportunities of indulgence, as might perhaps ultimately facilitate his escape.
He therefore determined to conduct himself with the utmost tranquillity, and never to let his voice be heard in the house; and he laid down several other resolutions with a degree of prudence which he already shuddered to think might be the cunning of incipient madness, or the beginning result of the horrid habits of the place.
These resolutions were put to desperate trial that very night. One of them was a puritanical weaver, who had been driven mad by a single sermon from the celebrated Hugh Peters, and was sent to the madhouse as full of election and reprobation as he could hold — and fuller. He regularly repeated over the five points while daylight lasted, and imagined himself preaching in a conventicle with distinguished success; toward twilight his visions were more gloomy, and at midnight his blasphemies became horrible.
The voice in which he shrieked out such words was powerfully horrible, but it was like the moan of an infant compared to the voice which took up and reechoed the cry, in a tone that made the building shake. It was the voice of a maniac, who had lost her husband, children, subsistence, and finally her reason, in the dreadful fire of London.
The cry of fire never failed to operate with terrible punctuality on her associations.
She had been in a disturbed sleep, and now started from it as suddenly as on that dreadful night. It was Saturday night too, and she was always observed to be particularly violent on that night — it was the terrible weekly festival of insanity with her. She began exclaiming she was suffocated by the smoke; then she sprung from her bed, calling for a light, and appeared to be struck by the sudden glare that burst through her casement.
The very heavens are on fire! She exclaimed she was scorched, singed, suffocated; her courage appeared to fail, and she retreated. They are all blazing! The maniac marked the destruction of the spot where she thought she stood by one desperate bound, accompanied by a wild shriek, and then calmly gazed on her infants as they rolled over the scorching fragments, and sunk into the abyss of fire below.
The cry of nature hushed every other cry — she was the only patient in the house who was not mad from politics, religion, ebriety, or some perverted passion; and terrifying as the outbreak of her frenzy always was, Stanton used to await it as a kind of relief from the dissonant, melancholy, and ludicrous ravings of the others. But the utmost efforts of his resolution began to sink under the continued horrors of the place.
The impression on his senses began to defy the power of reason to resist them. He could not shut out these frightful cries nightly repeated, nor the frightful sound of the whip employed to still them. Hope began to fail him, as he observed, that the submissive tranquillity which he had imagined, by obtaining increased indulgence, might contribute to his escape, or perhaps convince the keeper of his sanity was interpreted by the callous ruffian, who was acquainted only with the varieties of MADNESS, as a more refined species of that cunning which he was well accustomed to watch and baffle.
On his first discovery of his situation, he had determined to take the utmost care of his health and intellect that the place allowed, as the sole basis of his hope of deliverance. But as that hope declined, he neglected the means of realizing it. He had at first risen early, walked incessantly about his cell, and availed himself of every opportunity of being in the open air.
He took the strictest care of his person in point of cleanliness, and with or without appetite, regularly forced down his miserable meals; and all these efforts were even pleasant, as long as hope prompted them. But now he began to relax them all. He passed half the day in his wretched bed, in which he frequently took his meals, declined shaving or changing his linen, and, when the sun shone into his cell, he turned from it on his straw with a sigh of heartbroken despondency.
The twitter of the sparrows, the pattering of rain, or the moan of the wind, sounds that he used to sit up in his bed to catch with delight, as reminding him of nature, were now unheeded. He began at times to listen with sullen and horrible pleasure to the cries of his miserable companions.
He became squalid, listless, torpid, and disgusting in his appearance. He turned feebly toward the light, without curiosity, without excitement, but with a wish to diversify the monotony of his misery, by observing the slightest change made even accidentally in the dusky atmosphere of his cell.
Between him and the light stood the figure of Melmoth, just as he had seen him from the first; the figure was the same; the expression of the face was the same — cold, stony, and rigid; the eyes, with their infernal and dazzling luster, were still the same.
Melmoth approached him with that frightful calmness that mocks the terror it excites. His intellect had become affected by the gloom of his miserable habitation, as the wretched inmate of a similar mansion, when produced before a medical examiner, was reported to be a complete Albino.
He was enfeebled now, and the power of the enemy seemed without a possibility of opposition from either his intellectual or corporeal powers. Believe me, were you folded in thunder clouds, you must hear ME! Stanton, think of your misery.
These bare walls — what do they present to the intellect or to the senses? You have a taste for drawing — I trust it will improve. You must be content with the spider and the rat, to crawl and scratch round your flock bed! I have known a spider to descend at the tap of a finger, and a rat to come forth when the daily meal was brought, to share it with his fellow prisoner!
Aye, and when the feast fails them, they make a meal of their entertainer! Your guests, however, will give you one token of repentance while they feed; there will be gnashing of teeth, and you shall hear it, and feel it too perchance!
Then your hours of solitude, deliciously diversified by the yell of famine, the howl of madness, the crash of whips, and the broken-hearted sob of those who, like you, are supposed, or DRIVEN mad by the crimes of others! A time will come, and soon, when, from mere habit, you will echo the scream of every delirious wretch that harbors near you; then you will pause, clasp your hands on your throbbing head, and listen with horrible anxiety whether the scream proceeded from YOU or THEM.
The time will come, when, from the want of occupation, the listless and horrible vacancy of your hours, you will feel as anxious to hear those shrieks, as you were at first terrified to hear them — when you will watch for the ravings of your next neighbor, as you would for a scene on the stage. All humanity will be extinguished in you.
The ravings of these wretches will become at once your sport and your torture. You will watch for the sounds, to mock them with the grimaces and bellowings of a fiend. The mind has a power of accommodating itself to its situation, that you will experience in its most frightful and deplorable efficacy.
Perhaps still more dreadful the FEAR will at last become a HOPE — shut out from society, watched by a brutal keeper, writhing with all the impotent agony of an incarcerated mind, without communication and without sympathy, unable to exchange ideas but with those whose ideas are only the hideous specters of departed intellect, or even to hear the welcome sound of the human voice, except to mistake it for the howl of a fiend, and stop the ear desecrated by its intrusion — then at last your fear will become a more fearful hope; you will wish to become one of them, to escape the agony of consciousness.
They greedily devour their miserable meals, while I loathe mine. They sleep sometimes soundly, while my sleep is — worse than their waking. They are revived every morning by some delicious illusion of cunning madness, soothing them with the hope of escaping, baffling or tormenting their keeper; my sanity precludes all such hope. I have all their miseries — I have none of their consolations.
They laugh — I hear them; would I could laugh like them.
There were other details, both of the menaces and temptations employed by Melmoth, which are too horrible for insertion. One of them may serve for an instance.
Now, without going into any metaphysical subtleties about the distinction between mind and soul, experience must teach you, that there can be no crime into which madmen would not, and do not, precipitate themselves; mischief is their occupation, malice their habit, murder their sport, and blasphemy their delight. Whether a soul in this state can be in a hopeful one, it is for you to judge; but it seems to me, that with the loss of reason and reason cannot long be retained in this place you lose also the hope of immortality.
Half the day he imagines himself in a pulpit, denouncing damnation against Papists, Arminians, and even Sublapsarians he being a Supra-lapsarian himself. He foams, he writhes, he gnashes his teeth; you would imagine him in the hell he was painting, and that the fire and brimstone he is so lavish of were actually exhaling from his jaws.
At night his creed retaliates on him; he believes himself one of the reprobates he has been all day denouncing, and curses God for the very decree he has all day been glorifying Him for. He grapples with the iron posts of his bed, and says he is rooting out the cross from the very foundations of Calvary; and it is remarkable, that in proportion as his morning exercises are intense, vivid, and eloquent, his nightly blasphemies are outrageous and horrible.
Now he believes himself a demon; listen to his diabolical eloquence of horror! Your social happiness, your intellectual powers, your immortal interests, perhaps, depend on the choice of this moment. The explanation occupied several pages, which, to the torture of young Melmoth, were wholly illegible.
Even this mansion of horror trembles to contain you; its walls sweat, and its floors quiver, while you tread them. The conclusion of this extraordinary manuscript was in such a state, that, in fifteen moldy and crumbling pages, Melmoth could hardly make out that number of lines.
Oh no, there's been an error
He could but just make out what tended rather to excite than assuage that feverish thirst of curiosity which was consuming his inmost soul. The manuscript told no more of Melmoth, but mentioned that Stanton was finally liberated from his confinement — that his pursuit of Melmoth was incessant and indefatigable — that he himself allowed it to be a species of insanity — that while he acknowledged it to be the master passion, he also felt it the master torment of his life.
He again visited the Continent, returned to England — pursued, inquired, traced, bribed, but in vain. At length, discovering that he had been born in Ireland, he resolved to go there — went, and found his pursuit again fruitless, and his inquiries unanswered.
The family knew nothing of him, or at least what they knew or imagined, they prudently refused to disclose to a stranger, and Stanton departed unsatisfied. It is remarkable, that he too, as appeared from many half-obliterated pages of the manuscript, never disclosed to mortal the particulars of their conversation in the madhouse; and the slightest allusion to it threw him into fits of rage and gloom equally singular and alarming.
He left the manuscript, however, in the hands of the family, possibly deeming, from their incuriosity, their apparent indifference to their relative, or their obvious unacquaintance with reading of any kind, manuscript or books, his deposit would be safe. He seems, in fact, to have acted like men, who, in distress at sea, intrust their letters and dispatches to a bottle sealed, and commit it to the waves. The last lines of the manuscript that were legible, were sufficiently extraordinary.
I have vainly sought him at last in Ireland, of which I find he is a native. When he had finished it, he sunk down on the table near which he had been reading it, his face hid in his folded arms, his senses reeling, his mind in a mingled state of stupor and excitement.
After a few moments, he raised himself with an involuntary start, and saw the picture gazing at him from its canvas. He was within ten inches of it as he sat, and the proximity appeared increased by the strong light that was accidentally thrown on it, and its being the only representation of a human figure in the room. Melmoth felt for a moment as if he were about to receive an explanation from its lips. He gazed on it in return — all was silent in the house — they were alone together. The illusion subsided at length: He seized it; — his hand shook at first, but the moldering canvas appeared to assist him in the effort.
He tore it from the frame with a cry half terrific, half triumphant — it fell at his feet, and he shuddered as it fell. He expected to hear some fearful sounds, some unimaginable breathings of prophetic horror, follow this act of sacrilege, for such he felt it, to tear the portrait of his ancestor from his native walls. He paused and listened: Melmoth felt horror indescribable at this transient and imaginary resuscitation of the figure.
He caught it up, rushed into the next room, tore, cut, and hacked it in every direction, and eagerly watched the fragments that burned like tinder in the turf fire which had been lit in his room. As Melmoth saw the last blaze, he threw himself into bed, in hope of a deep and intense sleep. He had done what was required of him, and felt exhausted both in mind and body; but his slumber was not so sound as he had hoped for. The sullen light of the turf fire, burning but never blazing, disturbed him every moment.
He turned and turned, but still there was the same red light glaring on, but not illuminating, the dusky furniture of the apartment. The wind was high that night, and as the creaking door swung on its hinges, every noise seemed like the sound of a hand struggling with the lock, or of a foot pausing on the threshold.
But for Melmoth never could decide was it in a dream or not, that he saw the figure of his ancestor appear at the door? He looked round — there was no human being in the room but himself.
He felt a slight pain in the wrist of his right arm. He looked at it, it was black and blue, as from the recent gripe of a strong hand. Melmoth the Wanderer Abridged. Guzman decides to make Walberg's family his heirs, but his will leaves everything to the church, and the family sinks into poverty; almost insane, Walberg decides to end their poverty by killing them all—but before he does so, news arrives that the true will has been found and the family is saved. By this point in the story, Isidora's father has fallen asleep, and wakes to find the stranger at the inn replaced by Melmoth.
Melmoth tells him The Lovers' Tale, about a young woman in Yorkshire named Elinor, who is jilted at the altar, and is subsequently tempted by Melmoth, but refuses his help. The Tale of the Indians resumes: Isidora returns to her family, but she is pregnant with Melmoth's child. She has a presentiment that she will not live, and gets Melmoth to promise that the child will be raised as a Christian. Isidora's father finds a husband for her, but in the middle of the wedding celebrations, Melmoth tries to abduct Isidora.
Her brother tries to intervene, and Melmoth kills him. Isidora falls senseless and Melmoth escapes. Isidora reveals that she is already married, to Melmoth. She gives birth, but she and her baby daughter are imprisoned by the Inquisition. The inquisitors threaten to take away the child, but find that it is already dead. Isidora, dying of grief, remembers her island paradise, and asks if 'he' will be in the heavenly paradise.
He confesses to them his purpose on Earth, that his extended life is almost over, and that he has never been successful in tempting another into damnation: "I have traversed the world in the search, and no one to gain that world, would lose his own soul! They hear terrible sounds from the room, but when they enter, the room is empty. They follow Melmoth's tracks to the top of a cliff, and see his handkerchief on a crag below them.
Lovecraft as "an enormous stride in the evolution of the horror-tale",  and Maurice Richardson also wrote an essay for Lilliput magazine praising Melmoth.
Disch placed Melmoth the Wanderer at number four in his list of classic fantasy stories. Varma described Melmoth the Wanderer as "the crowning achievement of the Gothic Romance". In John Banville 's novel The Book of Evidence , the narrator steals an automobile from a garage called "Melmoth's"; the make of the car is a Humber , an allusion to both Wilde and Nabokov.
In an review of Stanley Thorn, Edgar Allan Poe refers to "the devil in Melmoth" as an ineffectual seducer of souls.
In letters H. Lovecraft addresses Donald Wandrei as Melmoth the Wandrei.Try enduring pages of this prose. The time will come, when, from the want of occupation, the listless and horrible vacancy of your hours, you will feel as anxious to hear those shrieks, as you were at first terrified to hear them — when you will watch for the ravings of your next neighbor, as you would for a scene on the stage.
He looked round — there was no human being in the room but himself. It seems Stanton was now in England. More thoughts came crowding on him than he wished to welcome, but they would not be repulsed. Stephen Carver. He again visited the Continent, returned to England — pursued, inquired, traced, bribed, but in vain.
The very heavens are on fire! He sank for a few moments into a fit of gloomy abstraction, till the sound of the clock striking twelve made him start,—it was the only sound he had heard for some hours, and the sounds produced by inanimate things, while all living beings around are as dead, have at such an hour an effect indescribably awful. Melmoth approached him with that frightful calmness that mocks the terror it excites.