My eyes here, there, everywhere I looked. And they were so icon

My eyes here, there, everywhere I looked. And they were so



НазваниеMy eyes here, there, everywhere I looked. And they were so
Дата конвертации13.11.2012
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my eyes — here, there, everywhere I looked. And they were so white, with her bloodless lips always moving round them!

I tried to fight this sudden, terrible monomania, but it was useless. All I could think about, all I could see in my mind's eye was the teeth. They were now the centre of my life. I held them up in my mind's eye, looked at them in every light, turned them every way. I studied their shapes, their differences; and the more I thought about them, the more I began to want them. Yes, I wanted them! I had to have the teeth! Only the teeth could bring me happiness, could stop me from going mad.

Evening came; then darkness turned into another day; soon a second night was falling, and I sat there alone, never moving. I was still lost in thought, in that one same thought: the teeth. I saw them everywhere I looked — in the evening shadows, in the darkness in front of my eyes.

Then a terrible cry of horror woke me from my dreams. I heard voices, and more cries of sadness and pain. I got up and opened the door of the library. A servant girl was standing outside, crying.

'Your cousin, sir' she began. 'It was her epilepsy, sir. She died this morning.'

This morning? I looked out of the window. Night was falling . . .

'We are ready to bury her now,' said the girl.

I found myself waking up alone in the library again. I thought that I could remember unpleasant and excited dreams, but I did not know what they were. It was midnight.

'They buried Berenice soon after dark,' I told myself again and again. But I could only half-remember the hours since then — hours full of a terrible unknown horror.

I knew something happened during the night, but I could not remember what it was: those hours of the night were like a page of strange writing that I could not understand.

Next, I heard the high cutting scream of a woman. I remember thinking: 'What did I do? I asked myself this question out loud. And the walls of the library answered me in a soft voice like mine: What did you do?

There was a lamp on the table near me, with a small box next to it. I knew this box well — it belonged to our family's doctor. But why was it there, now, on the table? And why was I shaking like a leaf as I looked at it? Why was my hair standing on my head?

There was a knock on the door. A servant came in. He was wild with fear and spoke to me quickly, in a low, shaking voice. I could not understand all of what he was saying.

'Some of us heard a wild cry during the night, sir' he said. 'We went to find out what it was, and we found Berenice's body lying in the open, sir!' he cried. 'Someone took her out of the hole where we buried her! Her body was cut and bleeding! But worse than that, she . . . she was not dead, sir! She was still alive!'

He pointed at my clothes.
There was blood all over them. I said nothing.

He took my hand. I saw cuts and dried blood on it. I cried out, jumped to the table and tried to open the box. I tried and tried but I could not! It fell to the floor and broke. Dentist's tools fell out of it, and with them — so small and so white! — thirty-two teeth fell here, there, everywhere . . .

^ The Mask of the Red Death

For a long time the Red Death was everywhere in the land. There never was a plague* that killed as many, and there never was a death as terrible.

First, you felt burning pains in your stomach. Then every­thing began to turn round and round inside your head. Then blood began to come out through your skin — yes, you began to bleed all over your body,— but most of all through your face.

And of course when people saw this they left you immedi­ately. Nobody wanted to help you - your horrible red face told everyone that it was too late. Yes, the Red Death was a very short 'illness' — only about half an hour, from its beginning to your end.

But Prince Prospero was a brave and happy and wise prince. When half of the people in his land were dead, he chose a thousand healthy and happy friends and took them away from the city. He took them over the hills and far away, to his favourite house, in the middle of a forest.

It was a very large and beautiful house, with a high, strong wall all round it. The wall had only one door: a very strong metal one. When the Prince and all his friends were safely inside, several servants pushed the great door shut. Looking pleased with himself, the Prince locked it and threw the key (it was the only one) over the wall into the lake outside. He smiled as he watched the circles in the deep dark water. Now nobody could come in or out of the house. Inside, there was plenty of food, enough for more than a year. He and his lucky friends did not have to worry about the 'Red Death' outside. The outside world could worry about itself!

* Plague. A serious illness that goes from person to person very quickly, killing nearly everyone.

And so everyone soon forgot the terrible plague. They were safe inside the Prince's beautiful house, and they had every-thing they needed to have a good time. There were dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All this (and more) was inside. The Red Death was outside.

Five months later — the plague was still everywhere in the land - Prince Prospero gave a very special party for his thousand friends. ^ It was a masked party of a most unusual kind.

Prince Prospero gave this party in the newest part of his great house, in seven rooms which he almost never used. Normally, only the most important visitors used those rooms, foreign princes, for example. They were very unusual, those seven rooms, and that is why he chose them for the party, Prince Prospero often had very unusual ideas. He was a very unusual — a very strange — person.

First of all, the rooms were not in a straight line. Walking through them, you came to a turn every twenty or thirty yards. So you could only ever see into one other room at a time. Yes, it was a strange part of the house, and in every room the furniture was different. With each turn you always saw something interesting and new.

In every room there were two tall and narrow windows, one on either side. There was coloured glass in these windows, a different colour in each room. This — and everything else, of course — was the Prince's idea (I forgot to tell you: the Prince made the plans for this part of the house himself).

Of course it was the Prince who decorated the rooms for the party, and he did this in his usual unusual way. Like the glass, each room was a different colour. And everything in each room was that same colour. The first room, at the east end, was blue, and so were the windows: bright blue. In the second room everything was purple, like the glass. In the third everything was green. The fourth was orange, the fifth white, the sixth yellow. In the seventh room everything was black - everything but the windows. They were a deep, rich, red colour, the colour of blood.

There were no lamps anywhere in the seven rooms. Light came from the windows on either side. Outside each window there was a fire burning in a large metal dish. These fires filled the rooms with bright, rich and strangely beautiful colours. But in the west room - the black room - the blood-coloured light was horrible. It gave a terrible, wild look to the faces of those who went in. Few people were brave enough to put one foot inside.

A very large clock stood against the far wall of the black room. The great machine made a low, heavy clang . . . clang . . . clang . . . sound. Once every hour, when the minute-hand came up to twelve, it made a sound that was so loud, so deep, so clear, and so ... richly, so strangely musical that the musi­cians stopped playing to listen to it. All the dancers stopped dancing. The whole party stopped. Everybody listened to the sound . . . And as they listened, some people's faces became white . . . Other people's heads began to go round and round . . . Others put hands to their heads, surprised by sudden strange, dream-like thoughts . . . And when the sound died away, there was a strange silence. Light laughs began to break the silence. People laughed quietly, quickly. The musicians looked at each other and smiled. They promised that when the next hour came they would not be so stupid. They would not stop and listen like that. They would go on playing, without listening at all.

But then, three thousand six hundred seconds later, the clock made the same sound again. And again, everything stopped. Again the people's faces became white; again those strange, dream-like thoughts went through people's minds; and again there was that same empty silence, those same quiet laughs, and those same smiles and promises.

But, if we forget this, it was a wonderful party. Yes, we can say that the Prince had a truly fine eye for colour! And all his friends enjoyed his strange decorations. Some people thought he was mad, of course (only friends who knew him well knew he was not).

But he did more than choose the decorations. He also chose the way everyone was dressed. Oh yes, you can be sure that they were dressed strangely! And many of them were much more than just strange. Yes, there was a bit of everything at that party: the beautiful, the ugly, and a lot of the horrible. They looked like a madman's dreams, those strange masked people, dancing to the wild music. They went up and down, changing colour as they danced from room to room . . . until the minute-hand on the clock came up to the hour . . . And then, when they heard the first sound of the clock, everything stopped as before.

The dreams stood still until the great deep voice of the clock died away. Then there was that same strange silence. Then there were those little light and quiet laughs. Then the music began again. The dreams began to move once more, dancing more happily than ever. They danced and danced, on and on, through all the rooms except one. No one went into the west room any more. The blood-coloured light was growing brighter and more horrible with every minute.

But in other rooms the party was going stronger than ever. The wild dancing went on and on until the minute-hand reached that hour again. Then, of course, when the first sound of the clock was heard, the music stopped, the dancers became still, all was still.

It was midnight. One, two, three, four, five . . . Twelve times, the clock made that same, strange, deep and so sweetly musical sound. Midnight . . . seven, eight ... It seemed like there was no end to the sounds this time. Each sound seemed to go on for ever. And as those twelve sounds went on and on and on ... people became whiter . . . Their heads began to go round and round and round . . . They thought stranger and more dream-like thoughts than ever before . . . And some of them saw a tall masked man walking slowly and silently among them.

The news travelled quickly through the rooms. Soon, everybody at the party was talking about the tall masked man. As the stranger walked silently among them, people looked at him with anger, and horror. Anger at choosing those clothes! Horror at choosing that mask! If it was to make them laugh, then it was not funny! Even the Prince would never dream of wearing those clothes.

The stranger was wearing black clothes. His mask was the face of a dead man. Yes, it was a death mask, but it was the colour of that mask that made everyone shake with horror. The mask was red. It was the mask of the Red Death.

Prince Prospero saw the stranger as he walked among the

dancers, and suddenly he became mad with anger. He waved his hand and the music stopped immediately.

'Who?' he shouted, 'Who has done this horrible thing! Catch that man! Take off that mask! We will cut off his head in the morning!'

The masked stranger began walking slowly towards the Prince as he said this. Everybody' — even the brave Prince Prospero — was suddenly afraid. Nobody was brave enough to put out a hand to stop the visitor. He passed very close to the Prince, and everybody, everywhere, stepped back against the walls as he walked slowly out of the blue room and into the purple, through the green into the orange, into the white, into the yellow . . .

Suddenly, Prince Prospero was angry with himself for being so stupidly afraid. He ran after the stranger. He ran through the six rooms — but nobody followed him.

Pulling out his knife, he ran into the black room. The masked man, who was walking towards the opposite corner, stpopped. The Prince stopped, a yard from him. The masked man turned suddenly, and a terrible, cutting cry was heard, The Prince's shining knife fell without a sound on the black flor. The Prince fell without a sound next to it. Dead.

Suddenly - and nobody knew why - suddenly, the dancers were no longer afraid. A crowd of them ran into the black room. They ran to the stranger who was standing in the shadow of the great clock. When they caught him, the mask and the empty clothes fell to the floor. Everyone cried out in horror. There was nobody inside the clothes! There was nobody there. The man's body was nothing but air.

Everyone understood that the Red Death was now among them. He came like a thief in the night. And as the seconds passed — clang . . . clang . . . clang ... — one by one, people began to die the terrible death. Soon, everywhere, the floors of the seven rooms were wet with blood.

When the last person died, the last lamp went out. And when that last lamp went out, the life of the clock stopped with it.

And everything was silence and darkness.









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