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The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Raven Edition Volume 3
Having planned all this, I immediately took leave, and went in search of Talbot, but, on the way, I could not refrain from stepping into a hotel, for the purpose of inspecting the miniature; and this I did by the powerful aid of the glasses. The countenance was a surpassingly beautiful one! Those large luminous eyes! -- that proud Grecian nose! -- those dark luxuriant curls! -- "Ah!" said I, exultingly to myself, "this is indeed the speaking image of my beloved!" I turned the reverse, and discovered the words -- "Eugenie Lalande -- aged twenty-seven years and seven months."
I found Talbot at home, and proceeded at once to acquaint him with my good fortune. He professed excessive astonishment, of course, but congratulated me most cordially, and proffered every assistance in his power. In a word, we carried out our arrangement to the letter, and, at two in the morning, just ten minutes after the ceremony, I found myself in a close carriage with Madame Lalande -- with Mrs. Simpson, I should say -- and driving at a great rate out of town, in a direction Northeast by North, half-North.
It had been determined for us by Talbot, that, as we were to be up all night, we should make our first stop at C--, a village about twenty miles from the city, and there get an early breakfast and some repose, before proceeding upon our route. At four precisely, therefore, the carriage drew up at the door of the principal inn. I handed my adored wife out, and ordered breakfast forthwith. In the meantime we were shown into a small parlor, and sat down.
It was now nearly if not altogether daylight; and, as I gazed, enraptured, at the angel by my side, the singular idea came, all at once, into my head, that this was really the very first moment since my acquaintance with the celebrated loveliness of Madame Lalande, that I had enjoyed a near inspection of that loveliness by daylight at all.
"And now, mon ami," said she, taking my hand, and so interrupting this train of reflection, "and now, mon cher ami, since we are indissolubly one -- since I have yielded to your passionate entreaties, and performed my portion of our agreement -- I presume you have not forgotten that you also have a little favor to bestow -- a little promise which it is your intention to keep. Ah! let me see! Let me remember! Yes; full easily do I call to mind the precise words of the dear promise you made to Eugenie last night. Listen! You spoke thus: 'It is done! -- it is most cheerfully agreed! I sacrifice every feeling for your sake. To-night I wear this dear eye-glass as an eye-glass, and upon my heart; but with the earliest dawn of that morning which gives me the privilege of calling you wife, I will place it upon my -- upon my nose, -- and there wear it ever afterward, in the less romantic, and less fashionable, but certainly in the more serviceable, form which you desire.' These were the exact words, my beloved husband, were they not?"
"They were," I said; "you have an excellent memory; and assuredly, my beautiful Eugenie, there is no disposition on my part to evade the performance of the trivial promise they imply. See! Behold! they are becoming -- rather -- are they not?" And here, having arranged the glasses in the ordinary form of spectacles, I applied them gingerly in their proper position; while Madame Simpson, adjusting her cap, and folding her arms, sat bolt upright in her chair, in a somewhat stiff and prim, and indeed, in a somewhat undignified position.
"Goodness gracious me!" I exclaimed, almost at the very instant that the rim of the spectacles had settled upon my nose -- "My goodness gracious me! -- why, what can be the matter with these glasses?" and taking them quickly off, I wiped them carefully with a silk handkerchief, and adjusted them again.
But if, in the first instance, there had occurred something which occasioned me surprise, in the second, this surprise became elevated into astonishment; and this astonishment was profound -- was extreme- indeed I may say it was horrific. What, in the name of everything hideous, did this mean? Could I believe my eyes? -- could I? -- that was the question. Was that -- was that -- was that rouge? And were those- and were those -- were those wrinkles, upon the visage of Eugenie Lalande? And oh! Jupiter, and every one of the gods and goddesses, little and big! what -- what -- what -- what had become of her teeth? I dashed the spectacles violently to the ground, and, leaping to my feet, stood erect in the middle of the floor, confronting Mrs. Simpson, with my arms set a-kimbo, and grinning and foaming, but, at the same time, utterly speechless with terror and with rage.