Sunday, October 30, 2016

THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH - by Edgar Allan Poe


https://letsexploreliterature.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/2940014473057_p0_v1_s260x420.jpg



The  “Red Death” had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal, the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.

But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys. This was an extensive and magnificent structure, the creation of the prince’s own eccentric yet august taste. A strong and lofty wall girdled it in. This wall had gates of iron. The courtiers, having entered, brought furnaces and massy hammers and welded the bolts. They resolved to leave means neither of ingress or egress to the sudden impulses of despair or of frenzy from within. The abbey was amply provisioned. With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion. The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think. The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All these and security were within. Without was the “Red Death.”

It was toward the close of the fifth or sixth month of his seclusion, and while the pestilence raged most furiously abroad, that the Prince Prospero entertained his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most unusual magnificence.

It was a voluptuous scene, that masquerade. But first let me tell of the rooms in which it was held. There were seven - an imperial suite. In many palaces, however, such suites form a long and straight vista, while the folding doors slide back nearly to the walls on either hand, so that the view of the whole extent is scarcely impeded. Here the case was very different; as might have been expected from the duke’s love of the bizarre. The apartments were so irregularly disposed that the vision embraced but little more than one at a time. There was a sharp turn at every twenty or thirty yards, and at each turn a novel effect. To the right and left, in the middle of each wall, a tall and narrow Gothic window looked out upon a closed corridor which pursued the windings of the suite. These windows were of stained glass whose color varied in accordance with the prevailing hue of the decorations of the chamber into which it opened. That at the eastern extremity was hung, for example, in blue, and vividly blue were its windows. The second chamber was purple in its ornaments and tapestries, and here the panes were purple. The third was green throughout, and so were the casements. The fourth was furnished and lighted with orange the fifth with white, the sixth with violet. The seventh apartment was closely shrouded in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls, falling in heavy folds upon a carpet of the same material and hue. But in this chamber only, the color of the windows failed to correspond with the decorations. The panes here were scarlet, a deep blood color. Now in no one of the seven apartments was there any lamp or candelabrum, amid the profusion of golden ornaments that lay scattered to and fro or depended from the roof. There was no light of any kind emanating from lamp or candle within the suite of chambers. But in the corridors that followed the suite, there stood, opposite to each window, a heavy tripod, bearing a brazier of fire that projected its rays through the tinted glass and so glaringly illumined the room. And thus were produced a multitude of gaudy and fantastic appearances. But in the western or black chamber the effect of the fire-light that streamed upon the dark hangings through the blood-tinted panes, was ghastly in the extreme, and produced so wild a look upon the countenances of those who entered, that there were few of the company bold enough to set foot within its precincts at all.

It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against the western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony. Its pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the clock a sound which was clear and loud and deep and exceedingly musical, but of so peculiar a note and emphasis that, at each lapse of an hour, the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance, to hearken to the sound; and thus the waltzers perforce ceased their evolutions; and there was a brief disconcert of the whole gay company; and, while the chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused reverie or meditation. But when the echoes had fully ceased, a light laughter at once pervaded the assembly; the musicians looked at each other and smiled as if at their own nervousness and folly, and made whispering vows, each to the other, that the next chiming of the clock should produce in them no similar emotion; and then, after the lapse of sixty minutes, (which embrace three thousand and six hundred seconds of the Time that flies,) there came yet another chiming of the clock, and then were the same disconcert and tremulousness and meditation as before.

But, in spite of these things, it was a gay and magnificent revel. The tastes of the duke were peculiar. He had a fine eye for colors and effects. He disregarded the decora of mere fashion. His plans were bold and fiery, and his conceptions glowed with barbaric lustre. There are some who would have thought him mad. His followers felt that he was not. It was necessary to hear and see and touch him to be sure that he was not.

He had directed, in great part, the moveable embellishments of the seven chambers, upon occasion of this great fete; and it was his own guiding taste which had given character to the masqueraders. Be sure they were grotesque. There were much glare and glitter and piquancy and phantasm, much of what has been since seen in “Hernani.” There were arabesque figures with unsuited limbs and appointments. There were delirious fancies such as the madman fashions. There was much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and not a little of that which might have excited disgust. To and fro in the seven chambers there stalked, in fact, a multitude of dreams. And these, the dreams, writhed in and about, taking hue from the rooms, and causing the wild music of the orchestra to seem as the echo of their steps. And, anon, there strikes the ebony clock which stands in the hall of the velvet. And then, for a moment, all is still, and all is silent save the voice of the clock. The dreams are stiff-frozen as they stand. But the echoes of the chime die away, they have endured but an instant, and a light, half-subdued laughter floats after them as they depart. And now again the music swells, and the dreams live, and writhe to and fro more merrily than ever, taking hue from the many-tinted windows through which stream the rays from the tripods. But to the chamber which lies most westwardly of the seven, there are now none of the maskers who venture; for the night is waning away; and there flows a ruddier light through the blood-colored panes; and the blackness of the sable drapery appals; and to him whose foot falls upon the sable carpet, there comes from the near clock of ebony a muffled peal more solemnly emphatic than any which reaches their ears who indulge in the more remote gaieties of the other apartments.

But these other apartments were densely crowded, and in them beat feverishly the heart of life. And the revel went whirlingly on, until at length there commenced the sounding of midnight upon the clock. And then the music ceased, as I have told; and the evolutions of the waltzers were quieted; and there was an uneasy cessation of all things as before. But now there were twelve strokes to be sounded by the bell of the clock; and thus it happened, perhaps, that more of thought crept, with more of time, into the meditations of the thoughtful among those who revelled. And thus, too, it happened, perhaps, that before the last echoes of the last chime had utterly sunk into silence, there were many individuals in the crowd who had found leisure to become aware of the presence of a masked figure which had arrested the attention of no single individual before. And the rumor of this new presence having spread itself whisperingly around, there arose at length from the whole company a buzz, or murmur, expressive of disapprobation and surprise then, finally, of terror, of horror, and of disgust.

In an assembly of phantasms such as I have painted, it may well be supposed that no ordinary appearance could have excited such sensation. In truth the masquerade license of the night was nearly unlimited; but the figure in question had out-Heroded Herod, and gone beyond the bounds of even the prince’s indefinite decorum. There are chords in the hearts of the most reckless which cannot be touched without emotion. Even with the utterly lost, to whom life and death are equally jests, there are matters of which no jest can be made. The whole company, indeed, seemed now deeply to feel that in the costume and bearing of the stranger neither wit nor propriety existed. The figure was tall and gaunt, and shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave. The mask which concealed the visage was made so nearly to resemble the countenance of a stiffened corpse that the closest scrutiny must have had difficulty in detecting the cheat. And yet all this might have been endured, if not approved, by the mad revellers around. But the mummer had gone so far as to assume the type of the Red Death. His vesture was dabbled in blood and his broad brow, with all the features of the face, was besprinkled with the scarlet horror.

When the eyes of Prince Prospero fell upon this spectral image (which with a slow and solemn movement, as if more fully to sustain its role, stalked to and fro among the waltzers) he was seen to be convulsed, in the first moment with a strong shudder either of terror or distaste; but, in the next, his brow reddened with rage.

“Who dares ?” he demanded hoarsely of the courtiers who stood near him “who dares insult us with this blasphemous mockery ? Seize him and unmask him that we may know whom we have to hang at sunrise, from the battlements !”

It was in the eastern or blue chamber in which stood the Prince Prospero as he uttered these words. They rang throughout the seven rooms loudly and clearly, for the prince was a bold and robust man, and the music had become hushed at the waving of his hand.

It was in the blue room where stood the prince, with a group of pale courtiers by his side. At first, as he spoke, there was a slight rushing movement of this group in the direction of the intruder, who at the moment was also near at hand, and now, with deliberate and stately step, made closer approach to the speaker. But from a certain nameless awe with which the mad assumptions of the mummer had inspired the whole party, there were found none who put forth hand to seize him; so that, unimpeded, he passed within a yard of the prince’s person; and, while the vast assembly, as if with one impulse, shrank from the centres of the rooms to the walls, he made his way uninterruptedly, but with the same solemn and measured step which had distinguished him from the first, through the blue chamber to the purple, through the purple to the green, through the green to the orange, through this again to the white, and even thence to the violet, ere a decided movement had been made to arrest him. It was then, however, that the Prince Prospero, maddening with rage and the shame of his own momentary cowardice, rushed hurriedly through the six chambers, while none followed him on account of a deadly terror that had seized upon all. He bore aloft a drawn dagger, and had approached, in rapid impetuosity, to within three or four feet of the retreating figure, when the latter, having attained the extremity of the velvet apartment, turned suddenly and confronted his pursuer. There was a sharp cry and the dagger dropped gleaming upon the sable carpet, upon which, instantly afterwards, fell prostrate in death the Prince Prospero. Then, summoning the wild courage of despair, a throng of the revellers at once threw themselves into the black apartment, and, seizing the mummer, whose tall figure stood erect and motionless within the shadow of the ebony clock, gasped in unutterable horror at finding the grave-cerements and corpse-like mask which they handled with so violent a rudeness, untenanted by any tangible form.

And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all. 

http://image.slidesharecdn.com/fionapowerpoint-140523092212-phpapp02/95/the-masque-of-the-red-death-1-638.jpg?cb=1400837374

THE PREMATURE BURIAL by Edgar Allan Poe


Image result for the premature burial by edgar allan poe



There  are certain themes of which the interest is all-absorbing, but which are too entirely horrible for the purposes of legitimate fiction. These the mere romanticist must eschew, if he do not wish to offend or to disgust. They are with propriety handled only when the severity and majesty of Truth sanctify and sustain them. We thrill, for example, with the most intense of “pleasurable pain” over the accounts of the Passage of the Beresina, of the Earthquake at Lisbon, of the Plague at London, of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, or of the stifling of the hundred and twenty-three prisoners in the Black Hole at Calcutta. But in these accounts it is the fact, it is the reality, it is the history which excites. As inventions, we should regard them with simple abhorrence.

I have mentioned some few of the more prominent and august calamities on record; but in these it is the extent, not less than the character of the calamity, which so vividly impresses the fancy. I need not remind the reader that, from the long and weird catalogue of human miseries, I might have selected many individual instances more replete with essential suffering than any of these vast generalities of disaster. The true wretchedness, indeed - the ultimate woe - is particular, not diffuse. That the ghastly extremes of agony are endured by man the unit, and never by man the mass for this let us thank a merciful God !

To be buried while alive is, beyond question, the most terrific of these extremes which has ever fallen to the lot of mere mortality. That it has frequently, very frequently, so fallen will scarcely be denied by those who think. The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins ? We know that there are diseases in which occur total cessations of all the apparent functions of vitality, and yet in which these cessations are merely suspensions, properly so called. They are only temporary pauses in the incomprehensible mechanism. A certain period elapses, and some unseen mysterious principle again sets in motion the magic pinions and the wizard wheels. The silver cord was not for ever loosed, nor the golden bowl irreparably broken. But where, meantime, was the soul ?

Apart, however, from the inevitable conclusion, a priori that such causes must produce such effects that the well-known occurrence of such cases of suspended animation must naturally give rise, now and then, to premature interments apart from this consideration, we have the direct testimony of medical and ordinary experience to prove that a vast number of such interments have actually taken place. I might refer at once, if necessary to a hundred well authenticated instances. One of very remarkable character, and of which the circumstances may be fresh in the memory of some of my readers, occurred, not very long ago, in the neighboring city of Baltimore, where it occasioned a painful, intense, and widely-extended excitement. The wife of one of the most respectable citizens, a lawyer of eminence and a member of Congress, was seized with a sudden and unaccountable illness, which completely baffled the skill of her physicians. After much suffering she died, or was supposed to die. No one suspected, indeed, or had reason to suspect, that she was not actually dead. She presented all the ordinary appearances of death. The face assumed the usual pinched and sunken outline. The lips were of the usual marble pallor. The eyes were lustreless. There was no warmth. Pulsation had ceased. For three days the body was preserved unburied, during which it had acquired a stony rigidity. The funeral, in short, was hastened, on account of the rapid advance of what was supposed to be decomposition.

The lady was deposited in her family vault, which, for three subsequent years, was undisturbed. At the expiration of this term it was opened for the reception of a sarcophagus; but, alas ! how fearful a shock awaited the husband, who, personally, threw open the door ! As its portals swung outwardly back, some white-apparelled object fell rattling within his arms. It was the skeleton of his wife in her yet unmoulded shroud.

A careful investigation rendered it evident that she had revived within two days after her entombment; that her struggles within the coffin had caused it to fall from a ledge, or shelf to the floor, where it was so broken as to permit her escape. A lamp which had been accidentally left, full of oil, within the tomb, was found empty; it might have been exhausted, however, by evaporation. On the uttermost of the steps which led down into the dread chamber was a large fragment of the coffin, with which, it seemed, that she had endeavored to arrest attention by striking the iron door. While thus occupied, she probably swooned, or possibly died, through sheer terror; and, in failing, her shroud became entangled in some iron work which projected interiorly. Thus she remained, and thus she rotted, erect.

In the year 1810, a case of living inhumation happened in France, attended with circumstances which go far to warrant the assertion that truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction. The heroine of the story was a Mademoiselle Victorine Lafourcade, a young girl of illustrious family, of wealth, and of great personal beauty. Among her numerous suitors was Julien Bossuet, a poor litterateur, or journalist of Paris. His talents and general amiability had recommended him to the notice of the heiress, by whom he seems to have been truly beloved; but her pride of birth decided her, finally, to reject him, and to wed a Monsieur Renelle, a banker and a diplomatist of some eminence. After marriage, however, this gentleman neglected, and, perhaps, even more positively ill-treated her. Having passed with him some wretched years, she died, at least her condition so closely resembled death as to deceive every one who saw her. She was buried not in a vault, but in an ordinary grave in the village of her nativity. Filled with despair, and still inflamed by the memory of a profound attachment, the lover journeys from the capital to the remote province in which the village lies, with the romantic purpose of disinterring the corpse, and possessing himself of its luxuriant tresses. He reaches the grave. At midnight he unearths the coffin, opens it, and is in the act of detaching the hair, when he is arrested by the unclosing of the beloved eyes. In fact, the lady had been buried alive. Vitality had not altogether departed, and she was aroused by the caresses of her lover from the lethargy which had been mistaken for death. He bore her frantically to his lodgings in the village. He employed certain powerful restoratives suggested by no little medical learning. In fine, she revived. She recognized her preserver. She remained with him until, by slow degrees, she fully recovered her original health. Her woman’s heart was not adamant, and this last lesson of love sufficed to soften it. She bestowed it upon Bossuet. She returned no more to her husband, but, concealing from him her resurrection, fled with her lover to America. Twenty years afterward, the two returned to France, in the persuasion that time had so greatly altered the lady’s appearance that her friends would be unable to recognize her. They were mistaken, however, for, at the first meeting, Monsieur Renelle did actually recognize and make claim to his wife. This claim she resisted, and a judicial tribunal sustained her in her resistance, deciding that the peculiar circumstances, with the long lapse of years, had extinguished, not only equitably, but legally, the authority of the husband.

The “Chirurgical Journal” of Leipsic a periodical of high authority and merit, which some American bookseller would do well to translate and republish, records in a late number a very distressing event of the character in question.

An officer of artillery, a man of gigantic stature and of robust health, being thrown from an unmanageable horse, received a very severe contusion upon the head, which rendered him insensible at once; the skull was slightly fractured, but no immediate danger was apprehended. Trepanning was accomplished successfully. He was bled, and many other of the ordinary means of relief were adopted. Gradually, however, he fell into a more and more hopeless state of stupor, and, finally, it was thought that he died.

The weather was warm, and he was buried with indecent haste in one of the public cemeteries. His funeral took place on Thursday. On the Sunday following, the grounds of the cemetery were, as usual, much thronged with visiters, and about noon an intense excitement was created by the declaration of a peasant that, while sitting upon the grave of the officer, he had distinctly felt a commotion of the earth, as if occasioned by some one struggling beneath. At first little attention was paid to the man’s asseveration; but his evident terror, and the dogged obstinacy with which he persisted in his story, had at length their natural effect upon the crowd. Spades were hurriedly procured, and the grave, which was shamefully shallow, was in a few minutes so far thrown open that the head of its occupant appeared. He was then seemingly dead; but he sat nearly erect within his coffin, the lid of which, in his furious struggles, he had partially uplifted.

He was forthwith conveyed to the nearest hospital, and there pronounced to be still living, although in an asphytic condition. After some hours he revived, recognized individuals of his acquaintance, and, in broken sentences spoke of his agonies in the grave.

From what he related, it was clear that he must have been conscious of life for more than an hour, while inhumed, before lapsing into insensibility. The grave was carelessly and loosely filled with an exceedingly porous soil; and thus some air was necessarily admitted. He heard the footsteps of the crowd overhead, and endeavored to make himself heard in turn. It was the tumult within the grounds of the cemetery, he said, which appeared to awaken him from a deep sleep, but no sooner was he awake than he became fully aware of the awful horrors of his position.

This patient, it is recorded, was doing well and seemed to be in a fair way of ultimate recovery, but fell a victim to the quackeries of medical experiment. The galvanic battery was applied, and he suddenly expired in one of those ecstatic paroxysms which, occasionally, it superinduces.

The mention of the galvanic battery, nevertheless, recalls to my memory a well known and very extraordinary case in point, where its action proved the means of restoring to animation a young attorney of London, who had been interred for two days. This occurred in 1831, and created, at the time, a very profound sensation wherever it was made the subject of converse.

The patient, Mr. Edward Stapleton, had died, apparently of typhus fever, accompanied with some anomalous symptoms which had excited the curiosity of his medical attendants. Upon his seeming decease, his friends were requested to sanction a post-mortem examination, but declined to permit it. As often happens, when such refusals are made, the practitioners resolved to disinter the body and dissect it at leisure, in private. Arrangements were easily effected with some of the numerous corps of body-snatchers, with which London abounds; and, upon the third night after the funeral, the supposed corpse was unearthed from a grave eight feet deep, and deposited in the opening chamber of one of the private hospitals.

An incision of some extent had been actually made in the abdomen, when the fresh and undecayed appearance of the subject suggested an application of the battery. One experiment succeeded another, and the customary effects supervened, with nothing to characterize them in any respect, except, upon one or two occasions, a more than ordinary degree of life-likeness in the convulsive action.

It grew late. The day was about to dawn; and it was thought expedient, at length, to proceed at once to the dissection. A student, however, was especially desirous of testing a theory of his own, and insisted upon applying the battery to one of the pectoral muscles. A rough gash was made, and a wire hastily brought in contact, when the patient, with a hurried but quite unconvulsive movement, arose from the table, stepped into the middle of the floor, gazed about him uneasily for a few seconds, and then spoke. What he said was unintelligible, but words were uttered; the syllabification was distinct. Having spoken, he fell heavily to the floor.

For some moments all were paralyzed with awe, but the urgency of the case soon restored them their presence of mind. It was seen that Mr. Stapleton was alive, although in a swoon. Upon exhibition of ether he revived and was rapidly restored to health, and to the society of his friends from whom, however, all knowledge of his resuscitation was withheld, until a relapse was no longer to be apprehended. Their wonder, their rapturous astonishment, may be conceived.

The most thrilling peculiarity of this incident, nevertheless, is involved in what Mr. S. himself asserts. He declares that at no period was he altogether insensible that, dully and confusedly, he was aware of everything which happened to him, from the moment in which he was pronounced dead by his physicians, to that in which he fell swooning to the floor of the hospital. “I am alive,” were the uncomprehended words which, upon recognizing the locality of the dissecting-room, he had endeavored, in his extremity, to utter.

It were an easy matter to multiply such histories as these, but I forbear for, indeed, we have no need of such to establish the fact that premature interments occur. When we reflect how very rarely, from the nature of the case, we have it in our power to detect them, we must admit that they may frequently occur without our cognizance. Scarcely, in truth, is a graveyard ever encroached upon, for any purpose, to any great extent, that skeletons are not found in postures which suggest the most fearful of suspicions.

Fearful indeed the suspicion but more fearful the doom! It may be asserted, without hesitation, that no event is so terribly well adapted to inspire the supremeness of bodily and of mental distress, as is burial before death. The unendurable oppression of the lungs the stifling fumes from the damp earth the clinging to the death garments the rigid embrace of the narrow house the blackness of the absolute Night, the silence like a sea that overwhelms the unseen but palpable presence of the Conqueror Worm these things, with the thoughts of the air and grass above, with memory of dear friends who would fly to save us if but informed of our fate, and with consciousness that of this fate they can never be informed, that our hopeless portion is that of the really dead, these considerations, I say, carry into the heart, which still palpitates, a degree of appalling and intolerable horror from which the most daring imagination must recoil. We know of nothing so agonizing upon Earth we can dream of nothing half so hideous in the realms of the nethermost Hell. And thus all narratives upon this topic have an interest profound; an interest, nevertheless, which, through the sacred awe of the topic itself, very properly and very peculiarly depends upon our conviction of the truth of the matter narrated. What I have now to tell is of my own actual knowledge of my own positive and personal experience.

For several years I had been subject to attacks of the singular disorder which physicians have agreed to term catalepsy, in default of a more definitive title. Although both the immediate and the predisposing causes, and even the actual diagnosis, of this disease are still mysterious, its obvious and apparent character is sufficiently well understood. Its variations seem to be chiefly of degree. Sometimes the patient lies, for a day only, or even for a shorter period, in a species of exaggerated lethargy. He is senseless and externally motionless; but the pulsation of the heart is still faintly perceptible; some traces of warmth remain; a slight color lingers within the centre of the cheek; and, upon application of a mirror to the lips, we can detect a torpid, unequal, and vacillating action of the lungs. Then again the duration of the trance is for weeks even for months; while the closest scrutiny, and the most rigorous medical tests, fail to establish any material distinction between the state of the sufferer and what we conceive of absolute death. Very usually he is saved from premature interment solely by the knowledge of his friends that he has been previously subject to catalepsy, by the consequent suspicion excited, and, above all, by the non-appearance of decay. The advances of the malady are, luckily, gradual. The first manifestations, although marked, are unequivocal. The fits grow successively more and more distinctive, and endure each for a longer term than the preceding. In this lies the principal security from inhumation. The unfortunate whose first attack should be of the extreme character which is occasionally seen, would almost inevitably be consigned alive to the tomb.

My own case differed in no important particular from those mentioned in medical books. Sometimes, without any apparent cause, I sank, little by little, into a condition of hemi-syncope, or half swoon; and, in this condition, without pain, without ability to stir, or, strictly speaking, to think, but with a dull lethargic consciousness of life and of the presence of those who surrounded my bed, I remained, until the crisis of the disease restored me, suddenly, to perfect sensation. At other times I was quickly and impetuously smitten. I grew sick, and numb, and chilly, and dizzy, and so fell prostrate at once. Then, for weeks, all was void, and black, and silent, and Nothing became the universe. Total annihilation could be no more. From these latter attacks I awoke, however, with a gradation slow in proportion to the suddenness of the seizure. Just as the day dawns to the friendless and houseless beggar who roams the streets throughout the long desolate winter night, just so tardily, just so wearily, just so cheerily came back the light of the Soul to me.

Apart from the tendency to trance, however, my general health appeared to be good; nor could I perceive that it was at all affected by the one prevalent malady unless, indeed, an idiosyncrasy in my ordinary sleep may be looked upon as superinduced. Upon awaking from slumber, I could never gain, at once, thorough possession of my senses, and always remained, for many minutes, in much bewilderment and perplexity; the mental faculties in general, but the memory in especial, being in a condition of absolute abeyance.

In all that I endured there was no physical suffering but of moral distress an infinitude. My fancy grew charnel, I talked “of worms, of tombs, and epitaphs.” I was lost in reveries of death, and the idea of premature burial held continual possession of my brain. The ghastly Danger to which I was subjected haunted me day and night. In the former, the torture of meditation was excessive—in the latter, supreme. When the grim Darkness overspread the Earth, then, with every horror of thought, I shook - shook as the quivering plumes upon the hearse. When Nature could endure wakefulness no longer, it was with a struggle that I consented to sleep for I shuddered to reflect that, upon awaking, I might find myself the tenant of a grave. And when, finally, I sank into slumber, it was only to rush at once into a world of phantasms, above which, with vast, sable, overshadowing wing, hovered, predominant, the one sepulchral Idea.

From the innumerable images of gloom which thus oppressed me in dreams, I select for record but a solitary vision. Methought I was immersed in a cataleptic trance of more than usual duration and profundity. Suddenly there came an icy hand upon my forehead, and an impatient, gibbering voice whispered the word “Arise !” within my ear.

I sat erect. The darkness was total. I could not see the figure of him who had aroused me. I could call to mind neither the period at which I had fallen into the trance, nor the locality in which I then lay. While I remained motionless, and busied in endeavors to collect my thought, the cold hand grasped me fiercely by the wrist, shaking it petulantly, while the gibbering voice said again:

“Arise ! did I not bid thee arise ?”

“And who,” I demanded, “art thou ?”

“I have no name in the regions which I inhabit,” replied the voice, mournfully; “I was mortal, but am fiend. I was merciless, but am pitiful. Thou dost feel that I shudder. My teeth chatter as I speak, yet it is not with the chilliness of the night - of the night without end. But this hideousness is insufferable. How canst thou tranquilly sleep? I cannot rest for the cry of these great agonies. These sights are more than I can bear. Get thee up ! Come with me into the outer Night, and let me unfold to thee the graves. Is not this a spectacle of woe ? Behold !”

I looked; and the unseen figure, which still grasped me by the wrist, had caused to be thrown open the graves of all mankind, and from each issued the faint phosphoric radiance of decay, so that I could see into the innermost recesses, and there view the shrouded bodies in their sad and solemn slumbers with the worm. But alas! the real sleepers were fewer, by many millions, than those who slumbered not at all; and there was a feeble struggling; and there was a general sad unrest; and from out the depths of the countless pits there came a melancholy rustling from the garments of the buried. And of those who seemed tranquilly to repose, I saw that a vast number had changed, in a greater or less degree, the rigid and uneasy position in which they had originally been entombed. And the voice again said to me as I gazed:

“Is it not, oh ! is it not a pitiful sight ?” - but, before I could find words to reply, the figure had ceased to grasp my wrist, the phosphoric lights expired, and the graves were closed with a sudden violence, while from out them arose a tumult of despairing cries, saying again: “Is it not, O, God, is it not a very pitiful sight ?”

Phantasies such as these, presenting themselves at night, extended their terrific influence far into my waking hours. My nerves became thoroughly unstrung, and I fell a prey to perpetual horror. I hesitated to ride, or to walk, or to indulge in any exercise that would carry me from home. In fact, I no longer dared trust myself out of the immediate presence of those who were aware of my proneness to catalepsy, lest, falling into one of my usual fits, I should be buried before my real condition could be ascertained. I doubted the care, the fidelity of my dearest friends. I dreaded that, in some trance of more than customary duration, they might be prevailed upon to regard me as irrecoverable. I even went so far as to fear that, as I occasioned much trouble, they might be glad to consider any very protracted attack as sufficient excuse for getting rid of me altogether. It was in vain they endeavored to reassure me by the most solemn promises. I exacted the most sacred oaths, that under no circumstances they would bury me until decomposition had so materially advanced as to render farther preservation impossible. And, even then, my mortal terrors would listen to no reason would accept no consolation. I entered into a series of elaborate precautions. Among other things, I had the family vault so remodelled as to admit of being readily opened from within. The slightest pressure upon a long lever that extended far into the tomb would cause the iron portal to fly back. There were arrangements also for the free admission of air and light, and convenient receptacles for food and water, within immediate reach of the coffin intended for my reception. This coffin was warmly and softly padded, and was provided with a lid, fashioned upon the principle of the vault-door, with the addition of springs so contrived that the feeblest movement of the body would be sufficient to set it at liberty. Besides all this, there was suspended from the roof of the tomb, a large bell, the rope of which, it was designed, should extend through a hole in the coffin, and so be fastened to one of the hands of the corpse. But, alas? what avails the vigilance against the Destiny of man? Not even these well-contrived securities sufficed to save from the uttermost agonies of living inhumation, a wretch to these agonies foredoomed!

There arrived an epoch, as often before there had arrived, in which I found myself emerging from total unconsciousness into the first feeble and indefinite sense of existence. Slowly, with a tortoise gradation, approached the faint gray dawn of the psychal day. A torpid uneasiness. An apathetic endurance of dull pain. No care - no hope - no effort. Then, after a long interval, a ringing in the ears; then, after a lapse still longer, a prickling or tingling sensation in the extremities; then a seemingly eternal period of pleasurable quiescence, during which the awakening feelings are struggling into thought; then a brief re-sinking into non-entity; then a sudden recovery. At length the slight quivering of an eyelid, and immediately thereupon, an electric shock of a terror, deadly and indefinite, which sends the blood in torrents from the temples to the heart. And now the first positive effort to think. And now the first endeavor to remember. And now a partial and evanescent success. And now the memory has so far regained its dominion, that, in some measure, I am cognizant of my state. I feel that I am not awaking from ordinary sleep. I recollect that I have been subject to catalepsy. And now, at last, as if by the rush of an ocean, my shuddering spirit is overwhelmed by the one grim Danger by the one spectral and ever-prevalent idea.

For some minutes after this fancy possessed me, I remained without motion. And why ? I could not summon courage to move. I dared not make the effort which was to satisfy me of my fate and yet there was something at my heart which whispered me it was sure. Despair such as no other species of wretchedness ever calls into being, despair alone urged me, after long irresolution, to uplift the heavy lids of my eyes. I uplifted them. It was dark, all dark. I knew that the fit was over. I knew that the crisis of my disorder had long passed. I knew that I had now fully recovered the use of my visual faculties and yet it was dark, all dark, the intense and utter raylessness of the Night that endureth for evermore.

I endeavored to shriek; and my lips and my parched tongue moved convulsively together in the attempt but no voice issued from the cavernous lungs, which oppressed as if by the weight of some incumbent mountain, gasped and palpitated, with the heart, at every elaborate and struggling inspiration.

The movement of the jaws, in this effort to cry aloud, showed me that they were bound up, as is usual with the dead. I felt, too, that I lay upon some hard substance, and by something similar my sides were, also, closely compressed. So far, I had not ventured to stir any of my limbs but now I violently threw up my arms, which had been lying at length, with the wrists crossed. They struck a solid wooden substance, which extended above my person at an elevation of not more than six inches from my face. I could no longer doubt that I reposed within a coffin at last.

And now, amid all my infinite miseries, came sweetly the cherub Hope for I thought of my precautions. I writhed, and made spasmodic exertions to force open the lid: it would not move. I felt my wrists for the bell-rope: it was not to be found. And now the Comforter fled for ever, and a still sterner Despair reigned triumphant; for I could not help perceiving the absence of the paddings which I had so carefully prepared, and then, too, there came suddenly to my nostrils the strong peculiar odor of moist earth. The conclusion was irresistible. I was not within the vault. I had fallen into a trance while absent from home while among strangers when, or how, I could not remember and it was they who had buried me as a dog nailed up in some common coffin, and thrust deep, deep, and for ever, into some ordinary and nameless grave.

As this awful conviction forced itself, thus, into the innermost chambers of my soul, I once again struggled to cry aloud. And in this second endeavor I succeeded. A long, wild, and continuous shriek, or yell of agony, resounded through the realms of the subterranean Night.

“Hillo ! hillo, there !” said a gruff voice, in reply.

“What the devil’s the matter now !” said a second.

“Get out o’ that !” said a third.

“What do you mean by yowling in that ere kind of style, like a cattymount ?” said a fourth; and hereupon I was seized and shaken without ceremony, for several minutes, by a junto of very rough-looking individuals. They did not arouse me from my slumber for I was wide awake when I screamed but they restored me to the full possession of my memory.

This adventure occurred near Richmond, in Virginia. Accompanied by a friend, I had proceeded, upon a gunning expedition, some miles down the banks of the James River. Night approached, and we were overtaken by a storm. The cabin of a small sloop lying at anchor in the stream, and laden with garden mould, afforded us the only available shelter. We made the best of it, and passed the night on board. I slept in one of the only two berths in the vessel and the berths of a sloop of sixty or twenty tons need scarcely be described. That which I occupied had no bedding of any kind. Its extreme width was eighteen inches. The distance of its bottom from the deck overhead was precisely the same. I found it a matter of exceeding difficulty to squeeze myself in. Nevertheless, I slept soundly, and the whole of my vision for it was no dream, and no nightmare arose naturally from the circumstances of my position, from my ordinary bias of thought, and from the difficulty, to which I have alluded, of collecting my senses, and especially of regaining my memory, for a long time after awaking from slumber. The men who shook me were the crew of the sloop, and some laborers engaged to unload it. From the load itself came the earthly smell. The bandage about the jaws was a silk handkerchief in which I had bound up my head, in default of my customary nightcap.

The tortures endured, however, were indubitably quite equal for the time, to those of actual sepulture. They were fearfully they were inconceivably hideous; but out of Evil proceeded Good; for their very excess wrought in my spirit an inevitable revulsion. My soul acquired tone, acquired temper. I went abroad. I took vigorous exercise. I breathed the free air of Heaven. I thought upon other subjects than Death. I discarded my medical books. “Buchan” I burned. I read no “Night Thoughts” no fustian about churchyards, no bugaboo tales such as this. In short, I became a new man, and lived a man’s life. From that memorable night, I dismissed forever my charnel apprehensions, and with them vanished the cataleptic disorder, of which, perhaps, they had been less the consequence than the cause.

There are moments when, even to the sober eye of Reason, the world of our sad Humanity may assume the semblance of a Hell but the imagination of man is no Carathis, to explore with impunity its every cavern. Alas ! the grim legion of sepulchral terrors cannot be regarded as altogether fanciful but, like the Demons in whose company Afrasiab made his voyage down the Oxus, they must sleep, or they will devour us, they must be suffered to slumber, or we perish. 


http://www.historicmysteries.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Wiertz_burial.jpg




HALLOWEEN COLORING PAGES



Halloween Coloring Page:





Welcome to Dover Publications Happy Halloween Stained Glass Jr. Coloring Book:




Halloween coloring picture:



Halloween Coloring Page:






Halloween Coloring page:



Halloween coloring picture     #coloring:



Easy #Halloween #Pumpkin to draw on the windows for decoration. :






Dibujos para colorear de Halloween - Teo disfrazado de Frankenstein:







Halloween coloring picture:




Halloween:






HALLOWEEN by Cora May Preble



Страшная ночь Хэллоуин - Картинки Хэллоуин 2016, gif, картинки, открытки, анимация

Halloween


by  Cora May Preble



I'm not afraid on Halloween
Because my Mother said
I should not fear those funny things
But laugh at them instead.
For orange faces in the night
That stare with eyes so wide,
Are only pumpkins on a porch
With candlelight inside.
And there are no such things as ghosts . . .
Those figures shining white,
Are only children just like me
Wrapped up in sheets so tight.
I do not fear a single thing
On Halloween you see,
Because I know they really are
Not what they seem to be.
For ghosts and goblins, witches, spooks,
And other scary folks
We hear about on Halloween
Are really only jokes.




                                                                                                                 



HALLOWEEN WISHES



Helloween анимация - Картинки Хэллоуин 2016, gif, картинки, открытки, анимация

Halloween Wishes



Since this is the time for goblins and bats,
Halloween spirits, ghosts and cats,
Weird-happenings and witches brew,
These are the things I wish for you.
May the only spirit you chance to meet,
Be the spirit of love and warm friends sweet.
May the tricks that you are asked to do,
Be a trick to help you gain a friend or two.
So, by tomorrow, pick three friends sweet,
And give them all a Halloween treat.
You only have one day, so hurry!
Leave a treat on the doorstep, then flee in a hurry!



                                                                                                                           

Night Of Fright © by Jasmine





Night Of Fright

© by Jasmine



Monsters, stalking through the night,
Halloween is the Night of Fright.
Fear is what this night brings,
Along with many other things.

Are you sure you are prepared?
Tonight is not for the easily scared.
Creatures from hell roam on this night,
For tonight is the Night of Fright.

Trick or treat you say,
You should not have waited until the end of the day.
Tonight you will lose your tricks and treats,
For the monsters need to eat.

You better not take this night lightly,
Or else you will truly learn what fright means.

In ancient times people feared this night,
The night they greeted with fright.
Why they were so scared you will soon see,
On this "All Hollows Eve."








Saturday, October 29, 2016

HALLOWE'EN AT MERRYVALE by ALICE HALE BURNETT (Part II)


https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/da/a2/39/daa239b17e4b9005776d09af4e5cbf55.jpg


CHAPTER V

THE WITCH TELLS FORTUNES


"Come in," invited Father and the boys, standing in a group watching the knob of the door turn slowly. As it opened silently they saw standing on the threshold a little, old woman, all bent over, a long black cape and hood covering her from head to foot. She carried a cane with a crook in it and leaned very heavily upon it as she walked.

Muttering to herself she crossed the room and took a seat by the fire. Her coarse, gray hair fell in straggly locks about her face almost hiding it from view.

Suddenly the lights went out, leaving the room in darkness, save for the firelight.

"Place the pot before me," she ordered, in a high, broken voice, shaking her stick at Fat.

"Yes, Ma'am," said Fat, hurrying to obey.

"She's got Fat scared to death," giggled Toad to Reddy.

From under her cape she now took a small paper bag and poured the contents into the pot before her, then standing up she hobbled around it three times, waving her arms and humming a queer little tune. Soon a dull red light glowed from within the pot, getting brighter and brighter.

"It's magic," whispered Toad to Hopie Smith.

The old witch now sat down again and took from beneath her cape a small pad, a long quill pen and a queer little bottle filled with milky white fluid.

"If you drink any of that you'll get as small as a flea," said Fat in a low voice.

The old witch rapped hard on the floor with her cane.

"Herbie, come forward," she commanded.

"Go ahead," giggled Reddy, giving him a little push and Herbie stepped before the witch.

She did not notice him at first, being very busy writing upon a slip of paper with the quill pen which she dipped into a little bottle. Presently she raised her head and handed him the paper.

"Bend low thine ear," she said, and Herbie obeyed.

"Keep this until I am gone," she added, "then hold it over yonder candle light, for thy fortune is written there."

Each boy was now called in turn and received a slip of paper. Then the old witch arose.

"To those who obey my commands, good luck; to those who disobey, ill fortune," she cried, shaking her stick in the air, and in another moment she had quickly hobbled from the room.

Chuck now turned on the lights and Linn exclaimed:

"Where on earth did she ever come from?"

"Why, witches come out of the air," explained Toad. "They travel on a broomstick."

"Let's see what she wrote on the papers," proposed Hopie Smith.

"Yes," agreed Reddy, "she told me to hold it over the candle light," at which Chuck came forward with a candle that he placed on the center table, holding his slip of paper over the flame. The other boys eagerly gathered about to watch.

Soon the paper got hot and letters began to appear.

"Look, there's an 'a' and two 'e's,' and, and," cried Chuck, "it's quite plain now. I can read it."

"Go on," shouted Reddy, "let's hear it."

Chuck began:

"If your head will rule your heart,
From a cent you'll never part;
So tell your heart to rule your head,
And all will mourn you when you're dead."

"That means if you're stingy no one will care when you're gone," explained Linn, at which Chuck laughed with the others.

Herbie now held his over the light, and as the letters appeared, he read:

"Don't always be in too great haste,
It often means a dreadful waste;
Await your turn and take with ease,
The piece you want with fingers greased."

"That's you and the molasses candy," laughed Reddy, adding, "Here's mine:

"Your hair may be of brilliant hue,
But this should never bother you;
For when the winter winds blow most,
Your head will be as warm as toast."

"That's great," cried Reddy as all the boys laughed.

Fat now held his slip over the flame, and, as the words appeared read slowly:

"If you should eat a pound of lemons every other day,
You'd grow as lean as any pole, for so I've heard folks say;
But if, upon the other hand, you keep on eating pie,
You'll grow so big and round and tall, you'll almost reach the sky."

"You'd better be careful, Fat, and buy a barrel of lemons," suggested Toad.

"I'll order a wagon-load," grinned Fat.

Hopie now held his paper near the candle, and in a moment read:

"If you're the lad, to find the coin
That's hidden in the flour,
You, the highest will enjoy,
Of health, and wealth and power."

Toad's turn now came and upon his paper was written:

"You're very fond of teasing all the girls,
And pulling off the ribbons from their curls;
But mark my words, these tricks you'll surely rue,
For when you're grown, a few they'll play on you."

"That's a good one for you to remember, Toad," laughed the others.

Linn now read:

"Your mouth may be large, as I've oft heard you say,
But your words show a brain that is working;
You'll go to the top of the ladder because,
You do what you do without shirking."

"The old witch must have liked you, Linn," commented Reddy. "That's the best yet."


CHAPTER VI

BLOWING OUT THE CANDLES


"Let's try to blow out the candles next," suggested Toad, to which the others agreed.

"Bet I win this," boasted Fat, "I've got a lot of wind."

"Reddy ought to win," laughed Chuck, "he's always blowing about what he can do."

A tray with ten candles was now placed upon the table by Toad and the boys got in line while Father Brown lighted the candles. Then, with paper and pencil he stood near at hand to keep the score.

"Only one puff each, remember, so make it a big one," he laughed.

Fat and Herbie, from their places in the line, began at once puffing and blowing.

"Hey, what are you trying to do," called Linn Smith, "start a cyclone?"

"No, we're only practising," was the laughing reply.

"I'll puff, and I'll puff 'till I blow your house in," sang Herbie, adding, "here's where I win."

Hopie Smith, first in line, filled out his chest with all the air it would hold, and stepped forward.

Puff!

"How many?" shouted the others.

"Five," counted Father Brown, "that's a good beginning."

Reddy then gave Fat a poke with his elbow.

"Move up," he urged.

Toad came next and turned around three times for luck and then took a long breath. Puff!

"One, two, three, four," called Father.

"What," cried Toad in surprise, "only four—why, I was sure they would all go out."

Linn came next. Standing upon his toes and holding his hands together high above his head he turned slowly around, then, leaning down he gave a great blow.


"Six," counted Father Brown, "that's the best yet."

"Watch me," cried Chuck, who stood next, and placing his hands upon his hips he started dancing about before the table.

"Ha, look at the funny dancer," shouted Hopie.

Chuck gave a puff and blew out six candles which tied Linn's score.

Fat, who was now next in line, leaned far over. Placing his hands on the floor he lifted his right foot and shook it three times, then standing up he puffed out his cheeks for a mighty blow.

"Look out, you'll bust," warned Herbie.

Puff!


"By jiminy, he did it," cried Toad, "good boy, Fat," as every candle went out.

"Reddy may tie him," suggested Father. "Let's see."

Reddy turned three somersaults for luck and standing before the candles blew with all his strength, and seven went out.

"Fat gets the prize and it's just what he likes most," cried Toad.

"Oh, but I'm glad I came," sighed Fat, as he opened the big box of candy that Toad had handed him.

"Now all be good children," he added, "and I'll give you each a piece."



CHAPTER VII

THE SEARCH FOR THE SILVER COIN


"Shall we try to find the dime in the flour now?" asked Toad of Father Brown, after the boys had all tried some of Fat's candy and found it very much to their liking.

"Fine," agreed Father, "and I'll go to get the pan." When he returned a few moments later he carried a large tin dish-pan in his hands with an inch of flour in the bottom of it.

As Toad thought the floor the best place for this trick, the pan was placed there.

"How do you do it?" asked Reddy, standing with his back to the fire.

"It's very easy," answered Chuck with a grin. "There's a ten cent piece on the bottom of that pan and you've got to pick it up with your lips without using your hands to help."

"I'd have left my hands at home tonight, if I'd known they were to be of so little use," laughed Herbie.

"Oh, you'll need them later on," replied Chuck, "see if you don't."

"Three at a time," called out Father, "in a three minute try to see who can find the dime. Hopie, you, Toad and Fat try first."

Down went all three boys on their knees before the pan of flour and down into the flour went the three faces. Such a puffing and blowing that the flour rose like a white cloud and settled on the heads of the three who were pushing each other about in their efforts to find the money.

"They look like a lot of hungry pigs," laughed Reddy.

"You're not sick, are you Toad?" asked Herbie, "your face looks so pale," at which everyone laughed.

Suddenly Hopie Smith jumped up with the flour falling from his face and the dime held fast between his lips.

"Hurrah; three cheers for Hopie," shouted all the boys.

The pan was now carried out for a supply of fresh flour and a new dime. The three boys were brushed off and soon were watching the others trying to find the dime.

"Say, Reddy, you're an old man," cried Toad, "your hair is turning gray."

"Look out there, Linn," warned Fat, "you'll turn into a pancake if you eat all that flour."

At this Linn laughed, causing a great cloud of flour to rise from the pan.

"Chuck's digging for sil...." but before Hopie could finish Reddy stood up, his dancing blue eyes shining like two stars. Between his lips he held the dime.

"Good for you, Red," shouted Toad, "I knew you'd win it."


CHAPTER VIII

THE WONDERFUL PIE


Mother Brown now appeared in the doorway.

"Won't you come into the dining room?" she requested, and the boys lost no time in accepting the invitation.

"That means something to eat," whispered Herbie. "Wonder what it'll be."

As the boys entered the dining room they started with surprise, for there, hanging over the table, was the huge grinning face of a jack-o-lantern.

"Well," exclaimed Fat, "what a sweet face!" which brought a round of laughter from the others.

In the center of the table was a large paper pie and seven ribbons came from under the crust, each of them having a card on the end. A plate of paper snap-crackers of bright colors and the fancy yellow paper napkin at each place gave the table a gay look.

"What a funny pie," laughed Hopie. "What's inside?"

"Each one find the card with his name on it. Then we'll all pull together," directed Chuck, "and find out."

"Here's yours, Fat," called out Linn.

"You're over here, by me, Reddy," announced Toad.

"The fun's going to begin in a minute," cried Herbie. "Come on, Hopie, here's yours."

"Everyone ready now," cried Toad as each one held on to his own ribbon. "Now, one, two, three, pull," and, with a tearing of paper out came the contents of the pie.

Huge wiggly spiders, toads that hopped about the table, mice that looked real enough to frighten any girl, long striped paper snakes and giant grasshoppers were on the ends of those ribbons.

The boys screamed with laughter as the queer-looking things hopped, rolled and bumped about on the table.

"Look at what I've got," shrieked Hopie, holding an ugly looking spider up to view.

"If that was real I'll bet you wouldn't be within ten feet of it," said Fat.

"I'm going to scare our girl into fits with this mouse," laughed Herbie. "She'll just take one look at it then hop up on a chair; and won't she be mad when she finds out it isn't real?"

"Say, fellows, watch this frog jump," cried Fat, winding up a green and yellow one made of tin.

"Bet mine can beat it," boasted Reddy. "Let's race them."

"Thought yours could hop further than my little Heinie, didn't you?" teased Fat a minute later after his frog had won.

"Well, you wait until I get mine oiled up," warned Reddy, "and we'll try it again."

When the boys pulled the snappers, the gay paper hats caused great merriment, Fat having a baby cap with long strings which he tied under his chin.

"Ah, here comes the ice cream!" exclaimed Herbie. "Look at the funny figures it's in," he added, as a large platter, holding many odd little shapes, was placed before Toad.

"Youngest first," announced Toad. "What do you choose, Hopie?"

"I'll take, let's see; guess I'll have a pumpkin," finally decided Hopie and a yellow ice-cream pumpkin was placed before him.

"You're next, Reddy," said Chuck.

"Am not; Herbie's younger than I am," protested Reddy.

"I'll take the rabbit," laughed Herbie. "I like chocolate and vanilla best."

Reddy now chose a pink and white wind mill, Chuck a pony.

"Don't I wish it was real," he said.

"Well, the turtle looks like it might taste pretty good," said Fat, and then it was Linn's turn.

"It doesn't seem fair for you to be last, Toad, when you ought to have come after Reddy," remarked Linn.

"Oh, well, it's my party, so I have to be last," was the answer.

"Well," agreed Linn, "if that's so I'll have the ship."

"Oh, good," cried Toad, "that leaves the engine for me and I wanted it more than anything else."

"This turtle makes better ice cream than he would soup," grinned Fat as he took another spoonfull.

"I'm eating my rabbit's ears first," chirped Herbie.

"Well, I'm eating the smoke from my engine, first," Toad chimed in.

"Here's the cake, you'll have to cut it, Toad," Linn informed him, "for it's bad luck to let any one else cut a birthday cake for you."

It was covered with white icing and ablaze with candles.

"Now watch the candles go out," and Toad gave a great puff. "All over," he declared, laughing, "now I'll cut the cake."

"There is a piece of silver in it, Thomas," said his mother, "and the one who gets it will be the lucky one in life, and a thimble for the one who is going to be a bachelor."

At this the boys urged Toad to hurry and when the cake had been cut and passed around each boy looked his piece over carefully.

"Hurrah, I've got the money," shouted Hopie, holding up a bright dime so all could see.

"And I've got the thimble," wailed Chuck. "Now I'll have to sew on all my own buttons."

"Hopie's lucky all right; he won the money in the flour, too," observed Herbie.

It was now growing late so the boys, much against their will, found their hats and bade good-night to Father and Mother Brown.

"We've had a fine time, Toad," said Fat, "hope you have another birthday next year."

"I'm very sorry to have to do it," announced Linn, grasping Toad and turning him over his knee, "but you must have nine spanks and one for good luck."

"Why didn't we think of it before?" agreed the others, helping to hold Toad until each one had his turn.

"Well, I ought to be good for a year, now," laughed Toad, after he managed to get away. "Wait 'till it's your turn, Linn, won't I give you some good ones?"

"Good-night," responded Linn, "we've had a dandy time."

"You bet we have," echoed all the others.

"Good-bye, good-bye," called Chuck and Toad, standing in the doorway as the boys disappeared in the darkness.


http://www.clipartkid.com/images/195/year-ago-22-notes-tagged-cat-vintage-vintage-cat-halloween-black-cat-DXK4w2-clipart.jpg