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The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Raven Edition Volume 4


page 3 of 5 | page 1 | Table of Contents

Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

"Smith!" said she, in reply to my very earnest inquiry; "Smith! - why, not General John A. B. C.? Bless me, I thought you _knew_ all about _him!_ This is a wonderfully inventive age! Horrid affair that! - a bloody set of wretches, those Kickapoos! - fought like a hero - prodigies of valor - immortal renown. Smith! - Brevet Brigadier General John A. B. C.! why, you know he's the man" ---

"Man," here broke in Doctor Drummummupp, at the top of his voice, and with a thump that came near knocking the pulpit about our ears; "man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live; he cometh up and is cut down like a flower!" I started to the extremity of the pew, and perceived by the animated looks of the divine, that the wrath which had nearly proved fatal to the pulpit had been excited by the whispers of the lady and myself. There was no help for it; so I submitted with a good grace, and listened, in all the martyrdom of dignified silence, to the balance of that very capital discourse.

Next evening found me a somewhat late visitor at the Rantipole theatre, where I felt sure of satisfying my curiosity at once, by merely stepping into the box of those exquisite specimens of affability and omniscience, the Misses Arabella and Miranda Cognoscenti. That fine tragedian, Climax, was doing Iago to a very crowded house, and I experienced some little difficulty in making my wishes understood; especially, as our box was next the slips, and completely overlooked the stage.

"Smith?" said Miss Arabella, as she at length comprehended the purport of my query; "Smith? - why, not General John A. B. C.?"

"Smith?" inquired Miranda, musingly. "God bless me, did you ever behold a finer figure?"

"Never, madam, but _do_ tell me" ---

"Or so inimitable grace?"

"Never, upon my word! - But pray inform me" ---

"Or so just an appreciation of stage effect?"

"Madam!" "Or a more delicate sense of the true beauties of Shakespeare? Be so good as to look at that leg!"

"The devil!" and I turned again to her sister.

"Smith?" said she, "why, not General John A. B. C.? Horrid affair that, wasn't it? - great wretches, those Bugaboos - savage and so on - but we live in a wonderfully inventive age! - Smith! - O yes! great man! - perfect desperado - immortal renown - prodigies of valor! _Never heard!_" [This was given in a scream.] "Bless my soul! why, he's the man" ---

"----- mandragora

Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
Which thou owd'st yesterday!"

here roared our Climax just in my ear, and shaking his fist in my face all the time, in a way that I _couldn't_ stand, and I _wouldn't_. I left the Misses Cognoscenti immediately, went behind the scenes forthwith, and gave the beggarly scoundrel such a thrashing as I trust he will remember to the day of his death.

At the _soirée_ of the lovely widow, Mrs. Kathleen O'Trump, I was confident that I should meet with no similar disappointment. Accordingly, I was no sooner seated at the card-table, with my pretty hostess for a _vis-à-vis_, than I propounded those questions the solution of which had become a matter so essential to my peace.

"Smith?" said my partner, "why, not General John A. B. C.? Horrid affair that, wasn't it? - diamonds, did you say? - terrible wretches those Kickapoos! - we are playing _whist_, if you please, Mr. Tattle - however, this is the age of invention, most certainly _the_ age, one may say - _the_ age _par excellence_ - speak French? - oh, quite a hero - perfect desperado! - _no hearts_, Mr. Tattle? I don't believe it! - immortal renown and all that! - prodigies of valor! _Never heard!!_ - why, bless me, he's the man" ---