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My Friend's Raven

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Al, tho close of one of those politioa campaigns, during the latter portion o whioh ray friend had been all over the country, sponkingevery night, and drink ing ao freely as often to be visibly affect ed, 1 oülled to see hirn at his room. Ilo was aloue. Ha had done the work foi whioli eager and noisy politicians wantec him ; and now, that tlio election was over, it seenied as if ho was almost forgottcn. Ho feit this, for he said, after tho first warm greeting - " If you had callod an ovoning or two ago, you would have met a room f uil. Sut lm of no moro use now." There was a slight simde of bittorness in his voico. A bottle of wino was standing on a table in his comfortably furnishtíd room. He iilled two glasses. I iiw his hand shako as he held the bottle. " Frightfully nervous !" ho said, as he reached me one of the glasses. " I've been on too groat a strain for the last six Weeks." " Glad it's over," I replied ; " and if I ■were yon I'd keep out of this thing ananother year." "Can't just do that," he answered. " Qot my way to make in the world, and nothing puts you before the people like politics. I aim high, you know." I sipped the wine o handod me, while ho emptiod his glass before taking it fcom his mouth. "What havo you there?" he asked, seeing a magazine in my hand. " Something new and strange from our friend Poe. Beats anything for weird interest that he has yet done. I thought you would relish something purely ideal after your surfeit of politics." " I shall relish it keeeuly. Thanks for any diversion !" he roplied. " Is it a trip to the Dog-Star this time f In allusiou to Poe's " Journey to the Moon," in the 8uihem Literary Messenger, published not long before. " Ño ; it's n. bit of the quaintest poetry yon ever read. I don't know what to make of it. Can't see the allegory." " lUaybe he can't see it himself," said Burkhart, with a sniile. " Just as likely. And now prepare yourself for a treat in word-painting, and metrical art. The poem is called The Raven.' and vnil. I am anrfi. makn as muoh sunsation, and give the critics as much to do auú gueds aíter as did the Ancieut Maiiner of Coleridge." I openod ths '■ apanine and read the poom through, and then lifted iny eyes and looked at Burkhart, who had not spokon. He sat with one hand shading his face, and did not stir, un til I said, "■ Well, what do j ja think of that (" He stared ana arouscd himself, and ae he looked towerd me I saw an unsasy look in his eyos, and scznething li'ie a quiver of feoling flash aorcas hia íace. He gluucod above the window, then down upon the floor, thon shook himself and aróse to his feet, and began moving about the room iu a nfiryous, uneasy inannor. " It was like the spell of a sorcerer !" he ex-ciaimed, with much excitement, and again looked, instmotively, to above the window aud düivn at the floor. "I can almost see the i'oul bird and hear his croak," he added. " If I did not know Poe as well as I do, I should say that he had committed a murder, and that the raven was his conRcience." I laughed at his-excitement, but he was so serious over the matter, and bo Iiervou8, that I thouglit it beat, aftor dio_ oussing the literary mcïits of the poem, to get his mind avay from it, and upon soniething, it' possible, amusing. I was, ouly iartialiy succeasi'ul. It was neariy eleven o'clock vhen I bade him goodnight. What foilowed I -.vJl give in his own words, aftër saying, that on going to seo him next day,I tound him very ill, and learned that he had passed a ttsrritlo night. " That poem finisbed me," he said with n effort to smilo, a fcw days afterward, when we were ail alono together. " Poe's Eaven was not half so re&l as the one that visited me. You saw how nervous I had become. Well, the moment you lei'fc ino 1 telt a suaden íesr creeping mío my blood. I did not krtow what 4t rueant. Then a sírange fancy possessed me. I was the poet in bis lone charaber, and "' Suddenly tliere carne a t&ppiag, As of some one geutly rappmg, Kapping at my c'-iamber door.' " I feit iny flosh cretsp and the hair move on my head. I cculd not riae, bat fixed my gaze on the dcor. When " ' The silken, sad, nnoextara llustling of each purplo curtain Thrilled me- tilled me witli íantastic Terrors liever feit before ' " Nothing was ever more real Lo me in the outside world than the visión I then Baw. The door seemod to open, and a raven, as black as night, with eyes that seenitid coals of fire,nuttered into tlia room. A strange terror crept to my vory bones. letartedand shrunk back, shuddering, froru the foul thing. As I looked at tha bird, it seemed te lose itself in the dark ehadow, out of which, in a moment or two, I saw faintly outlined, and then distinct in i'orm, the head of a great serpent, the body slowly uncoiling itself in the mass of shadow. " The abject fear I then feit it is impossible to describo. I would have leaped froin the window had I been near it. As the serpent uncoiled, it began movmg slowly toward me, its head rising higher and higher from tliu Hoor, until it was on level with my breast. I caught up tho nearest chair to defend myself, andstruck at the horrid thitig wildly. ïhe chair seemed to go through it, and break it into a hundred pieces, and then each piece became a serpent, and carne crawling toward me on the floor. " I could bear this no loiiger, but rushed from the room and ran down stairs and into the parlor, where I crouched on one end of a sofa, shivering. I tried not to attract attentioii, for the true meanihg of all this began to dawn upon my inind. But I had been there only a few moments, when that accursed raven stalked in through the door, and come üaping toward rae Í' "-Not to have leaped up and cried out would have been impossiblo. I made a ush for the door ; but a strong hand was laid upon me, and a kind and assuring voice was in my eais. " Much of what followed I do not remember. I can only recall it as a fearfnl nightmare, full of the most awful terrors, out of which I at last awoko, weak and exhausted, as from a spell of illness. You see my weak, nervous condition,' and he held up his unsteady hand, " If I could teil the story of my ' raven ' with half the marvelous skill at wordpainting that Poe possesses, his ' Gaunt and ominous bird of yore ' would appear of little more importance than a common blackbird." My friend tried to smile, but it was in a faint, weary way. " One interview with the, bird is quite enough, I should think," said I speaking Boborly. " It is not likely that it would improve its manners on further acquaintance, or bring you better company than on the occasion of it first visit." His faoa grew very seriou, and his lips Bettled into a firm oxpression. " One visit will suffice," he answered. " It is well, perhaps, that it camo when it did. I have heard of these frightful experionces, but never imagined anything appr-oaching the dreadful reality.- Ar thur's Home Magazine. Babbits have done damaging work in the young orchards of Kansas


Old News
Michigan Argus