The Masque of the Red Death

The“RedDeath”hadlongdevastatedthecountry. Nopestilencehadeverbeensofatal,orsohideous. BloodwasitsAvataranditssealtherednessandthehorrorofblood. Thereweresharppains,andsuddendizziness,andthenprofusebleedingatthepores,withdissolution. Thescarletstainsuponthebodyandespeciallyuponthefaceofthevictim,werethepestbanwhichshuthimoutfromtheaidandfromthesympathyofhisfellow-men. Andthewholeseizure,progressandterminationofthedisease,weretheincidentsofhalfanhour. 

ButthePrinceProsperowashappyanddauntlessandsagacious. Whenhisdominionswerehalfdepopulated,hesummonedtohispresenceathousandhaleandlight-heartedfriendsfromamongtheknightsanddamesofhiscourt,andwiththeseretiredtothedeepseclusionofoneofhiscastellatedabbeys. Thiswasanextensiveandmagnificentstructure,thecreationoftheprince’sowneccentricyetaugusttaste.Astrongandloftywallgirdleditin.Thiswallhadgatesofiron. Thecourtiers,havingentered,broughtfurnacesandmassyhammersandweldedthebolts. Theyresolvedtoleavemeansneitherofingressoregresstothesuddenimpulsesofdespairoroffrenzyfromwithin. Theabbeywasamplyprovisioned.Withsuchprecautionsthecourtiersmightbiddefiancetocontagion. Theexternalworldcouldtakecareofitself. Inthemeantimeitwasfollytogrieve,ortothink. Theprincehadprovidedalltheappliancesofpleasure. 

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