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The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Raven Edition Volume 4
THE ANGEL OF THE ODD
For several minutes, although he looked me full in the face, he said nothing. At length removing carefully his meerschaum from the right to the left corner of his mouth, he condescended to speak.
"Who pe you," he asked, "und what der teuffel you pe do dare?"
To this piece of impudence, cruelty and affectation, I could reply only by ejaculating the monosyllable "Help!"
"Elp!" echoed the ruffian - "not I. Dare iz te pottle - elp yourself, und pe tam'd!"
With these words he let fall a heavy bottle of Kirschenwasser which, dropping precisely upon the crown of my head, caused me to imagine that my brains were entirely knocked out. Impressed with this idea, I was about to relinquish my hold and give up the ghost with a good grace, when I was arrested by the cry of the Angel, who bade me hold on.
"Old on!" he said; "don't pe in te urry - don't. Will you pe take de odder pottle, or ave you pe got zober yet and come to your zenzes?"
I made haste, hereupon, to nod my head twice - once in the negative, meaning thereby that I would prefer not taking the other bottle at present - and once in the affirmative, intending thus to imply that I _was_ sober and _had_ positively come to my senses. By these means I somewhat softened the Angel.
"Und you pelief, ten," he inquired, "at te last? You pelief, ten, in te possibilty of te odd?"
I again nodded my head in assent.
"Und you ave pelief in _me_, te Angel of te Odd?"
I nodded again.
"Und you acknowledge tat you pe te blind dronk and te vool?"
I nodded once more.
"Put your right hand into your left hand preeches pocket, ten, in token ov your vull zubmizzion unto te Angel ov te Odd."
This thing, for very obvious reasons, I found it quite impossible to do. In the first place, my left arm had been broken in my fall from the ladder, and, therefore, had I let go my hold with the right hand, I must have let go altogether. In the second place, I could have no breeches until I came across the crow. I was therefore obliged, much to my regret, to shake my head in the negative - intending thus to give the Angel to understand that I found it inconvenient, just at that moment, to comply with his very reasonable demand! No sooner, however, had I ceased shaking my head than -
"Go to der teuffel, ten!" roared the Angel of the Odd.
In pronouncing these words, he drew a sharp knife across the guide-rope by which I was suspended, and as we then happened to be precisely over my own house, (which, during my peregrinations, had been handsomely rebuilt,) it so occurred that I tumbled headlong down the ample chimney and alit upon the dining-room hearth.
Upon coming to my senses, (for the fall had very thoroughly stunned me,) I found it about four o'clock in the morning. I lay outstretched where I had fallen from the balloon. My head grovelled in the ashes of an extinguished fire, while my feet reposed upon the wreck of a small table, overthrown, and amid the fragments of a miscellaneous dessert, intermingled with a newspaper, some broken glass and shattered bottles, and an empty jug of the Schiedam Kirschenwasser. Thus revenged himself the Angel of the Odd.
[Mabbott states that Griswold "obviously had a revised form" for use in the 1856 volume of Poe's works. Mabbott does not substantiate this claim, but it is surely not unreasonable. An editor, and even typographical errors, may have produced nearly all of the very minor changes made in this version. (Indeed, two very necessary words were clearly dropped by accident.) An editor might have corrected "Wickliffe's 'Epigoniad' " to "Wilkie's 'Epigoniad'," but is unlikely to have added "Tuckerman's 'Sicily' " to the list of books read by the narrator. Griswold was not above forgery (in Poe's letters) when it suited his purpose, but would have too little to gain by such an effort in this instance.]