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Famous Modern Ghost Stories (Various authors) online
And again I sunk into visions of Ligeia--and again (what marvel that I shudder while I write?), _again_ there reached my ears a low sob from the region of the ebony bed. But why shall I minutely detail the unspeakable horrors of that night? Why shall I pause to relate how, time after time, until near the period of the gray dawn, this hideous drama of revivification was repeated; how each terrific relapse was only into a sterner and apparently more irredeemable death; how each agony wore the aspect of a struggle with some invisible foe; and how each struggle was succeeded by I know not what of wild change in the personal appearance of the corpse? Let me hurry to a conclusion.
The greater part of the fearful night had worn away, and she who had been dead once again stirred--and now more vigorously than hitherto, although arousing from a dissolution more appalling in its utter hopelessness than any. I had long ceased to struggle or to move, and remained sitting rigidly upon the ottoman, a helpless prey to a whirl of violent emotions, of which extreme awe was perhaps the least terrible, the least consuming. The corpse, I repeat, stirred, and now more vigorously than before. The hues of life flushed up with unwonted energy into the countenance--the limbs relaxed--and, save that the eyelids were yet pressed heavily together, and that the bandages and draperies of the grave still imparted their charnel character to the figure, I might have dreamed that Rowena had indeed shaken off, utterly, the fetters of Death. But if this idea was not, even then, altogether adopted, I could at least doubt no longer, when, arising from the bed, tottering, with feeble steps, with closed eyes, and with the manner of one bewildered in a dream, the thing that was enshrouded advanced boldly and palpably into the middle of the apartment.
I trembled not--I stirred not--for a crowd of unutterable fancies connected with the air, the stature, the demeanor, of the figure, rushing hurriedly through my brain, had paralyzed--had chilled me into stone. I stirred not--but gazed upon the apparition. There was a mad disorder in my thoughts--a tumult unappeasable. Could it, indeed, be the _living_ Rowena who confronted me? Could it, indeed, be Rowena _at all_--the fair-haired, the blue-eyed Lady Rowena Trevanion of Tremaine? Why, _why_ should I doubt it? The bandage lay heavily about the mouth--but then might it not be the mouth of the breathing Lady of Tremaine? And the cheeks--there were the roses as in her noon of life--yes, these might indeed be the fair cheeks of the living Lady of Tremaine. And the chin, with its dimples, as in health, might it not be hers?--but _had she then grown taller since her malady?_ What inexpressible madness seized me with that thought? One bound, and I had reached her feet! Shrinking from my touch, she let fall from her head, unloosened, the ghastly cerements which had confined it, and there streamed forth into the rushing atmosphere of the chamber huge masses of long and disheveled hair; _it was blacker than the raven wings of midnight._ And now slowly opened _the eyes_ of the figure which stood before me. "Here then, at least," I shrieked aloud, "can I never--can I never be mistaken--these are the full, and the black, and the wild eyes--of my lost love--of the Lady--of the LADY LIGEIA."