Red Death
Summary of the story "The Red Death had long devastated the country. No
pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous... There were sharp pains, and
sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The
scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face...shut out [its
victim] from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow men....[T]he whole
seizure, progress, and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an
hour." When Prince Prospero\'s "...dominions were half depopulated, he
summoned to his presence a thousand hale and lighthearted friends from among the
knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of
one of his castellated abbeys....A strong and lofty wall girdled it. This wall
had gates of iron." The Prince had the bolts of the gates welded which left
neither means "of ingress or egress to the sudden impulses of despair or of
frenzy from within." "The abby was amply provisioned....The prince had
provided all the appliances of pleasure .... buffoons ... improvisatori ...
ballet dancers ... musicians ... Beauty ... wine. All these and security were
within. Without was the \'Red Death.\' " "It was toward the close of the
fifth or sixth month of his seclusion, ... that the Prince Prospero entertained
his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most unusual magnificence....[I]t
was his own guiding taste which had given character to the masqueraders. Be sure
they were grotesque....There were arabesque figures with unsuited limbs and
appointments....madman fashions...much of the beautiful, much of the wanton,
much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and not a little of that which
might have excited disgust." The masque was held in an imperial suite
consisting of seven rooms. "The apartments were so irregularly disposed
that the vision embraced but little more than one at a time. There was a sharp
turn at every twenty or thirty yards, and at each turn a novel effect. To the
right and left, in the middle of each wall, a tall and narrow Gothic window
looked out upon a closed corridor which pursued the windings of the suite. These
windows were of stained glass whose color varied in accordance with the
prevailing hue of the decorations of the chamber into which it opened. That at
the eastern extremity was...blue-and vividly blue were its windows. The second
chamber was purple in its ornaments and tapestries, and here the panes were
purple. The third was green throughout....The fourth...orange...the
fifth...white...the sixth...violet. The seventh apartment was closely shrouded
in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the
walls,...[with] a carpet of the same material and hue. But in this chamber only,
the color of the windows failed to correspond with the decorations. The panes
were scarlet--a deep blood color." "There was no light of any kind
...within the suite of chambers. But in the corridors...opposite to each window,
a heavy tripod, bearing a brazier of fire...projected its rays through the
tinted glass and so glaringly illumined the room....But in the...black
chamber...so wild a look upon the countenances of those who entered [was
produced], that there were few of the company bold enough to set foot within its
precincts at all." It was within this same apartment that there stood a
gigantic ebony clock whose pendulum swang "to and fro with a dull, heavy,
monotonous clang." All who were present froze, and all activities ceased
with the sounding of each hour by the clock. Musicians paused; waltzers stopped
their dance; and the giddy grew pale. "But when the echoes had fully
ceased, a light laughter at once pervaded the assembly...." The first six
apartments were densely crowded unlike the seventh. The festivities continued
"until at length there commenced the sounding of midnight upon the clock.

And then the music ceased...and the evolutions of the waltzers were quieted; and
there was an uneasy cessation of all things as before....[As] the last echoes of
the last chime...sunk into silence, there were many individuals in the crowd who
had...become aware of the presence of a masked figure [that no one had detected
before]....[T]here arose at length from the whole company...[an expression] of
disapprobation and surprise-then finally, of terror, of horror, and of
disgust....[T]he mummer had gone so far as to assume the type [and appearance]
of the Red Death. "When the eyes of Prince Prospero fell upon this spectral
image...he was seen to be convulsed, in the first moment with a strong shudder
either of terror or distaste; but, in the next, his