This change of weather had an odd effect upon the crowd, the whole of which was at once put into new commotion, and overshadowed by a world of umbrellas. It was something even more intense than despair that I then observed upon the countenance of the singular being whom I had watched so pertinaciously. Readers question why this story specifically depends on this new approach, and what its use means in relation to the story's point. The spirits of the old man again flickered up, as a lamp which is near its death-hour. He walked moodily some paces up the once populous avenue, then, with a heavy sigh, turned in the direction of the river, and, plunging through a great variety of devious ways, came out, at length, in view of one of the principal theatres. The whole atmosphere teemed with desolation.
Hurriedly putting on an overcoat, and seizing my hat and cane, I made my way into the street, and pushed through the crowd in the direction which I had seen him take; for he had already disappeared. Now and then, alas, the conscience of man takes up a burden so heavy in horror that it can be thrown down only into the grave. A loud-toned clock struck eleven, and the company were fast deserting the bazaar. The whole atmosphere teemed with desolation. Suddenly a corner was turned, a blaze of light burst upon our sight, and we stood before one of the huge suburban temples of Intemperance- one of the palaces of the fiend, Gin. For my own part I did not much regard the rain- the lurking of an old fever in my system rendering the moisture somewhat too dangerously pleasant. Long and swiftly he fled, while I followed him in the wildest amazement, resolute not to abandon a scrutiny in which I now felt an interest all-absorbing.
As the night deepened, so deepened to me the interest of the scene; for not only did the general character of the crowd materially alter its gentler features retiring in the gradual withdrawal of the more orderly portion of the people, and its harsher ones coming out into bolder relief as the late hour brought forth every species of infamy from its den, but the rays of the gas-lamps, feeble at first in their struggle with the dying day, had now at length gained ascendancy, and threw over every thing a fitful and garish lustre. I was now utterly amazed at his behaviour, and firmly resolved that we should not part until I had satisfied myself in some measure respecting him. Oxford University Press, 2001: 158. Soon, however, I descended to details, and regarded with minute interest the innumerable varieties of figure, dress, air, gait, visage, and expression of countenance. Finally, exhausted, the narrator stands in front of the man, who still does not notice him.
So while drunk, he does not remember clearly what he learned or did while he was sober. Many recognize that he is a talented writer with a very strange and dark style. He may be trying to escape the narrator--which leads readers to a critique of the narrator, not the man of the crowd. Their habiliments belonged to that order which is pointedly termed the decent. In this exercise he spent another hour, at the end of which we met with far less interruption from passengers than at first. I observed that he now took the course in which had gone the greater number of the audience but, upon the whole, I was at a loss to comprehend the waywardness of his actions.
With a half shriek of joy the old man forced a passage within, resumed at once his original bearing, and stalked backward and forward, without apparent object, among the throng. As I endeavored, during the brief minute of my original survey, to form some analysis of the meaning conveyed, there arose confusedly and paradoxically within my mind, the ideas of vast mental power, of caution, of penuriousness, of avarice, of coolness, of malice, of blood-thirstiness, of triumph, of merriment, of excessive terror, of intense, of supreme despair. Thus, to the aware reader, this expository fashioning of intellect does not ensure the narrator's reliability. By far the greater number of those who went by had a satisfied business-like demeanor, and seemed to be thinking only of making their way through the press. But, as usual, he walked to and fro, and during the day did not pass from out the turmoil of that street. He chooses, understandably, to focus instead on a helpless stranger who may be clueless as to the judgments made of him. Setting aside a certain dapperness of carriage, which may be termed deskism for want of a better word, the manner of these persons seemed to me an exact fac-simile of what had been the perfection of bon ton about twelve or eighteen months before.
Horrible filth festered in the dammed-up gutters. Modern environments and experiences cut across all boundaries of geography and ethnicity, of class and nationality, of religion and ideology: in this sense, modernity can be said to unite all mankind. For some months I had been ill in health, but was now convalescent, and, with returning strength, found myself in one of those happy moods which are so precisely the converse of ennui — moods of the keenest appetency, when the film from the mental vision departs — the αχλυς ος πριν επηεν — and the intellect, electrified, surpasses as greatly its every-day condition, as does the vivid yet candid reason of Combe, the mad and flimsy rhetoric of Gorgias. Though he retraces his steps at times and changes pace intermittently, there seems to be a good explanation for this. Their belonged to that order which is pointedly termed the decent.
In part inspired by the pseudosciences of physiognomy and phrenology, the ability to read the character of people in a crowd was also a part of the increasingly numerous written texts that were starting to appear as part of the modern urban landscape. For half an hour the old man held his way with difficulty along the great thoroughfare; and I here walked close at his elbow through fear of losing sight of him. . With my brow to the glass, I was thus occupied in scrutinizing the mob, when suddenly there came into view a countenance that of a decrepid old man, some sixty-five or seventy years of age, --a countenance which at once arrested and absorbed my whole attention, on account of the absolute of its expression. Of the first grade the leading features are long locks and smiles; of the second, frogged coats and frowns. This notion is especially interesting considering common views of Poe. As he proceeded, the company grew more scattered, and his old uneasiness and vacillation were resumed.
Throughout the night, as the narrator follows the man, the eerie unease in the narrator's interpretation subtly continues to pervade the text. He entered shop after shop, priced nothing, spoke no word, and looked at all objects with a wild and vacant stare. I watched these gentry with much inquisitiveness, and found it difficult to imagine how they should ever be mistaken for gentlemen by gentlemen themselves. Soon, however, I descended to details, and regarded with minute interest the innumerable varieties of figure, dress, air, gait, visage, and expression of countenance. Poe 's life was very dark and Gothic, and the story is about a period in his life that was very depressing and disheartening for him. So he goes on another binge, finding himself in the same coffee show with a different hangover. Like a nosy penny tabloid reporter hungry for a juicy lead, the narrator follows the old man into the night, hoping, if not to catch him in an act of crime, then to fit his behaviors into the mold of criminality.
Hurriedly putting on all overcoat, and seizing my hat and cane, I made my way into the street, and pushed through the crowd in the direction which I had seen him take; for he had already disappeared. He decides that denial is the better part of self discovery. He hurried into the street, looked anxiously around him for an instant, and then ran with incredible swiftness through many crooked and people-less lanes, until we emerged once more upon the great thoroughfare whence we had started — the street of the D—— Hotel. This confirmation bias also allows him to ignore his own flaws. Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
With a cigar in my mouth and a newspaper in my lap, I had been amusing myself for the greater part of the afternoon, now in poring over advertisements, now in observing the promiscuous company in the room, and now in peering through the smoky panes into the street. The diamond and the dagger also lead him to false expectations and imaginings for which only his own mind is responsible. Yet, as we proceeded, the sounds of human life revived by sure degrees, and at length large bands of the most abandoned of a London populace were seen reeling to and fro. Still more was I astonished to see him repeat the same walk several times --once nearly detecting me as he came round with a sudden movement. They were undoubtedly noblemen, merchants, attorneys, tradesmen, stock-jobbers- the Eupatrids and the common-places of society- men of leisure and men actively engaged in affairs of their own- conducting business upon their own responsibility. It was about being closed, and the audience were thronging from the doors.