WEEK: 4, 5 & 6 (A)<br />TOPIC: LITERARY APPRECIATION (SHORT STORY) <br />Moral Value: Love and Compassion, Courage, Alert and Wary<br />PART 1 – INTRODUCTION TO SHORT STORY<br />NOTES<br />Elements of Short Story:<br />Character(s): Who or what is the story about?<br />Setting: place/time, environment, atmosphere of the story<br />Conflict: What is the main problem in the story?<br />Plot: What is happening in the story? What is the story about? This happened, then this happened, and so on.<br />Resolution: How and when was the conflict resolved? What is a good or bad outcome?<br />Tone/Mood: What was the author’s attitude towards the subject? What kind of emotion or feeling do you get after reading the story?<br />Point of View: Who is telling or narrating the story? Is one of the characters acting as a narrator (first person), or is it as if someone is looking at them and telling what is going on (third person)?<br />Active Reading Strategies:<br />Preview: Setting the stage for reading. Think about the story before reading it. Look for clues from the title and sub-titles. Make predictions based on them.<br />Connect: Connect the clues. Connect events. Connect what is spoken by the characters.<br />Predict: Make predictions and set expectations as you read.<br />Question: Focus on problem-solving skills that readers use to monitor their understanding of the text. Ask yourself questions as you go along. <br />Clarify: Rereading for clarification, and adjusting the pace of reading in order to construct meaning.<br />Summarize: Ability to pick out the essential details of the story.<br />(ANSWER KEY)<br />What are the seven elements of a short story? List and briefly describe each of them. (descriptions will vary)<br />a. character(s)<br />b. setting<br />c. conflict<br />d. plot<br />e. resolution<br />f. tone/mood<br />g. point of view<br />What are the six active reading strategies? List and briefly describe each<br />of them.<br />a. preview<br />b. connect<br />c. predict<br />d. question<br />e. clarify<br />f. summarize<br />What are the genre categories for stories?<br />a. fiction/realistic fiction<br />b. nonfiction<br />c. biography<br />d. autobiography<br />e. fantasy<br />f. science fiction<br />Answer the following questions:<br />1. Which story element tells what is going on in a story? Plot<br />2. Which element describes the struggle between two characters or forces? Conflict<br />3. If tone describes the attitude and impression that an author takes, whose feeling does the mood represent? Reader<br />4. Which two genres are co-dependent and interact? Science Fiction and Fantasy<br />5. Which genre tells the life of someone else other than the author? Biography<br />6. Which genre tells the life of the author him/herself? Autobiography <br />7. Which active reading strategy helps answer why and how questions throughout a story? Questioning<br />8. Which active reading strategy assists the reader in clarifying unknown terms? Clarification<br />9. Which element helps solve the conflict with a good or bad result? Resolution<br />10. Which element has the most impact and influence on the character’s environment surrounding the conflict? Setting<br />PART 2 – SHORT STORY FAIR<br />In this activity, students read short stories from a collection in small groups. Each group will be provided with a different story. Then the groups will prepare responses in multiple media and genres that are shared in a culminating “Short Story Fair”. Students’ presentations in the Fair focus on communicating basic information about the story and encouraging others in the class to consider reading the piece. Students choose from a list of possible projects to demonstrate their knowledge of the story’s literary elements, such as bringing in representative physical artifacts, writing poetry, creating collages, illustrating comic strips, and more*. By the end of the activity, students have been exposed to dozens of short stories and their literary elements.<br />*More Suggested Activities*<br />Billboard: as in the movies, take what seems the most compelling image(s) and create an advertisement. <br />Dramatic monologue for a character in a scene: what are they thinking/feeling at that moment--why? <br />Draw!: translate chapters or scenes into storyboards and cartoons; draw the most important scene in the chapter and explain its importance and action. <br />Oprah Book Club: host a Talk Show: students play the host, author, and cast of characters; allow questions from the audience. <br />Personal Ad: what would a particular character write in a personal ad for the newspaper? <br />Biography: write a biography of one of the characters who most interests you. <br />Autobiography: have the character that most interests you write their autobiography of the time before, during, or after the story occurs. <br />Board Game: design board games based on stories then play them. <br />Sing Me a Song: write a song/ballad about the story, a character, or an event in the book. <br />Day in Court: use the story as the basis for a court trial; students can be witnesses, expert witnesses called to testify, judge, jury, bailiff, reporter; etc.<br />Just the Facts Ma'am: acting as a reporter/police officer, ask the characters (students) the basic questions : who, what, where, why, when, how? <br />Guest Speaker: if you are reading a book that deals with a subject an expert might help the group better understand it, invite one in. Try a criminologist, for example, if reading about crime. <br />Interrogation: a student must come up before the class and, pretending to be a character or the author, answer questions from the class. <br />Pantomime a scene. <br />Mapmaker: draw a map of the book's setting. <br />PART 3 – SHORT STORY COLLECTION<br />The Death Car <br /> It was a cold night in September. The rain was drumming on the car roof as George and Marie Winston drove through the empty country roads towards the house of their friends, the Harrisons, where they were going to attend a party to celebrate the engagement of the Harrisons' daughter, Lisa. As they drove, they listened to the local radio station, which was playing classical music. They were about five miles from their destination when the music on the radio was interrupted by a news announcement: "
The Cheshire police have issued a serious warning after a man escaped from Colford Mental Hospital earlier this evening. The man, John Downey, is a murderer who killed six people before he was captured two years ago. He is described as large, very strong and extremely dangerous. People in the Cheshire area are warned to keep their doors and windows locked, and to call the police immediately if they see anyone acting strangely."
Marie shivered. "
A crazy killer. And he's out there somewhere. That's scary."
Don't worry about it,"
said her husband. "
We're nearly there now. Anyway, we have more important things to worry about. This car is losing power for some reason -- it must be that old problem with the carburetor. If it gets any worse, we'll have to stay at the Harrisons' tonight and get it fixed before we travel back tomorrow."
As he spoke, the car began to slow down. George pressed the accelerator, but the engine only coughed. Finally they rolled to a halt, as the engine died completely. Just as they stopped, George pulled the car off the road, and it came to rest under a large tree. "
said George angrily. "
Now we'll have to walk in the rain."
But that'll take us an hour at least,"
said Marie. "
And I have my high-heeled shoes and my nice clothes on. They'll be ruined!"
Well, you'll have to wait while I run to the nearest house and call the Harrisons. Someone can come out and pick us up,"
said George. "
But George! Have you forgotten what the radio said? There's a homicidal maniac out there! You can't leave me alone here!"
You'll have to hide in the back of the car. Lock all the doors and lie on the floor in the back, under this blanket. No-one will see you. When I come back, I'll knock three times on the door. Then you can get up and open it. Don't open it unless you hear three knocks."
George opened the door and slipped out into the rain. He quickly disappeared into the blackness. Marie quickly locked the doors and settled down under the blanket in the back for a long wait. She was frightened and worried, but she was a strong-minded woman. She had not been waiting long, however, when she heard a strange scratching noise. It seemed to be coming from the roof of the car. Marie was terrified. She listened, holding her breath. Then she heard three slow knocks, one after the other, also on the roof of the car. Was it her husband? Should she open the door? Then she heard another knock, and another. This was not her husband. It was somebody -- or something -- else. She was shaking with fear, but she forced herself to lie still. The knocking continued -- bump, bump, bump, bump. Many hours later, as the sun rose, she was still lying there. She had not slept for a moment. The knocking had never stopped, all night long. She did not know what to do. Where was George? Why had he not come for her? Suddenly, she heard the sound of three or four vehicles, racing quickly down the road. All of them pulled up around her, their tires screeching on the road. At last! Someone had come! Marie sat up quickly and looked out of the window. The three vehicles were all police cars, and two still had their lights flashing. Several policemen leapt out. One of them rushed towards the car as Marie opened the door. He took her by the hand. "
Get out of the car and walk with me to the police vehicle. miss. You're safe now. Look straight ahead. Keep looking at the police car. Don't look back. Just don't look back."
Something in the way he spoke filled Marie with cold horror. She could not help herself. About ten yards from the police car, she stopped, turned and looked back at the empty vehicle. George was hanging from the tree above the car, a rope tied around his neck. As the wind blew his body back and forth, his feet were bumping gently on the roof of the car -- bump, bump, bump, bump.(MDH 1994 -- From a common urban legend) <br />The Choking Dog <br /> "
Come on, come on, move it, idiot!"
Joanne beat impatiently on the steering wheel of her Mercedes sports car. How stupid to get caught up in the rush hour! She had planned to leave work early this afternoon, at three o'clock, to give herself a chance to relax and have a bath before going out to a meeting of her local tennis club. But just at ten to three a client had arrived, and it was two hours before she had finished dealing with the man. When she came out of her office, all the other staff in the Highlight Advertising Agency had already left. Now she was stuck in a traffic jam in central Birmingham at 5:30, and at 6:30 she was expected to be chairing a meeting of the tennis club. There would be no time for any hot bath. Ahead of her, the traffic was moving at last, and she swung quickly out into the centre lane to turn right, and raced the last half-mile through the quiet suburban streets to her house. Pulling up on the driveway, she leapt out of the car and ran for the house. As she opened the door, she nearly tripped over Sheba, who was standing behind it. "
Hey, Sheba, hello,"
she said, bending down to stroke the large the Alsatian dog's head, "
I've got no time for you now, but I'll take you out as soon as I get back from the tennis club."
It was then that she noticed something worrying about the dog. Sheba seemed to be coughing or choking, her stomach pumping repeatedly as if she was trying to vomit something up. She was obviously in real discomfort and could hardly breathe; her sad eyes gazed up at Joanne helplessly. "
Oh damn, this is all I need now,"
said Joanne to herself, dropping her briefcase and bending down to take a closer look, "
a sick dog, today of all days!"
On closer examination, Sheba did look very sick, and Joanne realised she would have to take her down to the vet immediately. Luckily, the vet's surgery was only a few streets away, and Joanne quickly loaded the dog, still coughing and choking, into her car for the short drive. When she got there, the surgery was just about to close for the day. Luckily, Dr. Sterne had not left yet, and when he saw the state of Sheba, he brought her quickly into his office. "
It looks like something is stuck in her throat,"
said Dr. Sterne. It shouldn't take me too long to get it out."
Listen, doctor, I'm really in a rush to get to a meeting -- can I leave her with you, and go and get changed? I'll be back in ten minutes to pick her up, then I'll take her on to the meeting with me. Is that OK?"
said the doctor. "
You get going. I'll see you in ten minutes."
Joanne jumped back into her car again, and made the quick trip round to her house in a couple of minutes. As she was once more entering the hallway, the phone on the table by the door began to ring. She picked it up, annoyed by this additional interruption to her plans. "
This is Dr. Sterne,"
said an anxious voice. "
Is that you, Joanne?"
Of course it's me,"
said Joanne, surprised at the sound of his voice, "
no-one else lives here."
I want you to get right out of that house immediately,"
said the doctor's voice. "
Right now. I'm coming round right away, and the police will be there any time now. Wait outside for us."
The phone went dead. Joanne stared at it. She was confused, but she was also a little frightened by the obvious fear in the voice of the doctor. She replaced the receiver, then quickly backed out of the door and ran into the street. At that moment, a police car with its lights flashing swung round the corner and screeched to a stop outside the house. Two policemen got out. After briefly checking that she was the owner of the house, they ran into the house through the still open door, without explaining anything. Joanne was by now completely confused and very frightened. Then the doctor arrived. "
Where's Sheba? Is she OK?"
shouted Joanne, running over to his car. "
She's fine, Joanne. I extracted the thing which was choking her, and she's OK now."
Well what's this all about? Why are the police in my house?"
Just then, the two policemen reappeared from the house, half-carrying a white-faced figure, a man in a dark grey sweater and jeans, who, it seemed, could hardly walk. There was blood all over him. "
said Joanne, "
how did he get in there? And how did you know he was there?"
I think he must be a burglar,"
said the doctor. "
I knew he was there because when I finally removed what was stuck in Sheba's throat, it turned out to be three human fingers. I don't think he's a very happy burglar."
(MDH 1994 -- From a common urban legend) <br />The Carpet Fitter <br /> Eddie was a carpet fitter, and he hated it. For ten years he had spent his days sitting, squatting, kneeling or crawling on floors, in houses, offices, shops, factories and restaurants. Ten years of his life, cutting and fitting carpets for other people to walk on, without even seeing them. When his work was done, no-one ever appreciated it. No- one ever said "
Oh, that's a beautiful job, the carpet fits so neatly."
They just walked all over it. Eddie was sick of it. He was especially sick of it on this hot, humid day in August, as he worked to put the finishing touches to today's job. He was just cutting and fixing the last edge on a huge red carpet which he had fitted in the living room of Mrs. Vanbrugh's house. Rich Mrs. Vanbrugh, who changed her carpets every year, and always bought the best. Rich Mrs. Vanbrugh, who had never even given him a cup of tea all day, and who made him go outside when he wanted to smoke. Ah well, it was four o'clock and he had nearly finished. At least he would be able to get home early today. He began to day-dream about the weekend, about the Saturday football game he always played for the local team, where he was known as "
Ed the Head"
for his skill in heading goals from corner kicks. Eddie sat back and sighed. The job was done, and it was time for a last cigarette. He began tapping the pockets of his overalls, looking for the new packet of Marlboro he had bought that morning. They were not there. It was as he swung around to look in his toolbox for the cigarettes that Eddie saw the lump. Right in the middle of the brand new bright red carpet, there was a lump. A very visible lump. A lump the size of -- the size of a packet of cigarettes. "
said Eddie angrily. "
I've done it again! I've left the cigarettes under the blasted carpet!"
He had done this once before, and taking up and refitting the carpet had taken him two hours. Eddie was determined that he was not going to spend another two hours in this house. He decided to get rid of the lump another way. It would mean wasting a good packet of cigarettes, nearly full, but anything was better than taking up the whole carpet and fitting it again. He turned to his toolbox for a large hammer. Holding the hammer, Eddie approached the lump in the carpet. He didn't want to damage the carpet itself, so he took a block of wood and placed it on top of the lump. Then he began to beat the block of wood as hard as he could. He kept beating, hoping Mrs. Vanbrugh wouldn't hear the noise and come to see what he was doing. It would be difficult to explain why he was hammering the middle of her beautiful new carpet. After three or four minutes, the lump was beginning to flatten out. Eddie imagined the cigarette box breaking up, and the crushed cigarettes spreading out under the carpet. Soon, he judged that the lump was almost invisible. Clearing up his tools, he began to move the furniture back into the living room, and he was careful to place one of the coffee tables over the place where the lump had been, just to make sure that no-one would see the spot where his cigarettes had been lost. Finally, the job was finished, and he called Mrs. Vanbrugh from the dining room to inspect his work. "
Yes, dear, very nice,"
said the lady, peering around the room briefly. "
You'll be sending me a bill, then?"
Yes madam, as soon as I report to the office tomorrow that the job is done."
Eddie picked up his tools, and began to walk out to the van. Mrs. Vanbrugh accompanied him. She seemed a little worried about something. "
she began, as he climbed into the cab of his van, laying his toolbox on the passenger seat beside him, "
while you were working today, you didn't by any chance see any sign of Armand, did you? Armand is my parakeet. A beautiful bird, just beautiful, such colors in his feathers... I let him out of his cage, you see, this morning, and he's disappeared. He likes to walk around the house, and he's so good, he usually just comes back to his cage after an hour or so and gets right in. Only today he didn't come back. He's never done such a thing before, it's most peculiar..."
No, madam, I haven't seen him anywhere,"
said Eddie, as he reached to start the van. And saw his packet of Marlboro cigarettes on the dashboard, where he had left it at lunchtime.... And remembered the lump in the carpet.... And realised what the lump was.... And remembered the hammering.... And began to feel rather sick....(MDH 1994 -- from a common urban legend) <br />The Hitchhiker <br /> As Andrea turned off the motorway onto the road to Brockbourne, the small village in which she lived, it was four o'clock in the afternoon, but already the sun was falling behind the hills. At this time in December, it would be completely dark by five o'clock. Andrea shivered. The interior of the car was not cold, but the trees bending in the harsh wind and the patches of yesterday's snow still heaped in the fields made her feel chilly inside. It was another ten miles to the cottage where she lived with her husband Michael, and the dim light and wintry weather made her feel a little lonely. She would have liked to listen to the radio, but it had been stolen from her car when it was parked outside her office in London about two weeks ago, and she had not got around to replacing it yet. She was just coming out of the little village of Mickley when she saw the old lady, standing by the road, with a crude hand-written sign saying "
in her hand. Andrea was surprised. She had never seen an old lady hitchhiking before. However, the weather and the coming darkness made her feel sorry for the lady, waiting hopefully on a country road like this with little traffic. Normally, Andrea would never pick up a hitchhiker when she was alone, thinking it was too dangerous, but what was the harm in doing a favor for a little old lady like this? Andrea pulled up a little way down the road, and the lady, holding a big shopping bag, hurried over to climb in the door which Andrea had opened for her. When she did get in, Andrea could see that she was not, in fact, so little. Broad and fat, the old lady had some difficulty climbing in through the car door, with her big bag, and when she had got in, she more than filled the seat next to Andrea. She wore a long, shabby old dress, and she had a yellow hat pulled down low over her eyes. Panting noisily from her effort, she pushed her big brown canvas shopping bag down onto the floor under her feet, and said in a voice which was almost a whisper, "
Thank you dearie -- I'm just going to Brockbourne."
Do you live there?"
asked Andrea, thinking that she had never seen the old lady in the village in the four years she had lived there herself. "
answered the passenger, in her soft voice, "
I'm just going to visit a friend. He was supposed to meet me back there at Mickley, but his car won't start, so I decided to hitchhike -- there isn't a bus until seven, and I didn't want to wait. I knew some kind soul would give me a lift."
Something in the way the lady spoke, and the way she never turned her head, but stared continuously into the darkness ahead from under her old yellow hat, made Andrea uneasy about this strange hitchhiker. She didn't know why, but she felt instinctively that there was something wrong, something odd, something....dangerous. But how could an old lady be dangerous? it was absurd. Careful not to turn her head, Andrea looked sideways at her passenger. She studied the hat, the dirty collar of the dress, the shapeless body, the arms with their thick black hairs.... Thick black hairs? Hairy arms? Andrea's blood froze. This wasn't a woman. It was a man. At first, she didn't know what to do. Then suddenly, an idea came into her racing, terrified brain. Swinging the wheel suddenly, she threw the car into a skid, and brought it to a halt. "
she shouted, "
A child! Did you see the child? I think I hit her!"
was clearly shaken by the sudden skid. "
I didn't see anything dearie,"
she said. "
I don't think you hit anything."
I'm sure it was a child!"
insisted Andrea. "
Could you just get out and have a look? Just see if there's anything on the road?"
She held her breath. Would her plan work? It did. The passenger slowly opened the car door, leaving her bag inside, and climbed out to investigate. As soon as she was out of the vehicle, Andrea gunned the engine and accelerated madly away. The car door swung shut as she rounded a bend, and soon she had put a good three miles between herself and the awful hitchhiker. It was only then that she thought about the bag lying on the floor in front of her. Maybe the bag would provide some information about the real identity about the old woman who was not an old woman. Pulling into the side of the road, Andrea lifted the heavy bag onto her lap and opened it curiously. It contained only one item -- a small hand axe, with a razor-sharp blade. The axe, and the inside of the bag, were covered with the dark red stains of dried blood. Andrea began to scream. (MDH 1994 -- From a common urban legend) <br />The American Pepper <br /> "
shouted little Murna racing from the front door through to the kitchen. "
There's a parcel. The postman's brought a parcel!"
Her mother, Savni, looked at her in surprise. She had no idea who could have sent them a parcel. Maybe it was a mistake. She hurried to the door to find out. Sure enough, the postman was there, holding a parcel about the size of a small brick. "
From America, madam,"
he said. "
See! American stamps."
It was true. In the top right-hand corner of the brown paper parcel were three strange-looking stamps, showing a man's head. The package was addressed to Savni, in big, clear black letters. "
Well, I suppose it must be from Great-Aunt Pasni,"
said Savni to herself, as the postman went on his way down the street, whistling. "
Although it must be twenty years since we heard anything from her. I thought she would have been dead by now."
Savni's husband Jornas and her son Arinas were just coming in from the garden, where Murna had run to tell them about the parcel. "
Well, open it then!"
said Arinas impatiently. "
Let's see what's inside!"
Setting the parcel down in the middle of the table, Savni carefully began to tear open the paper. Inside, there was a large silver container with a hinged lid, which was taped shut. There was also a letter. "
What is it? What is it?"
demanded Murna impatiently. "
Is it a present?"
I have no idea,"
said Savni in confusion. "
I think it must be from Great-Aunt Pasni. She went to America almost thirty years ago now. But we haven't heard from her in twenty years. Perhaps the letter will tell us."
She opened the folded page cautiously, then looked up in dismay. "
Well, this is no help!"
she said in annoyance. "
It's written in English! How does she expect us to read English? We're poor people, we have no education. Maybe Pasni has forgotten her native language, after thirty years in America."
Well, open the pot, anyway,"
said Jornas. "
Let's see what's inside."
Cautiously, Savni pulled the tape from the neck of the silver pot, and opened the lid. Four heads touched over the top of the container, as their owners stared down inside. "
said Arinas. "
All I see is powder."
The pot was about one-third full of a kind of light-grey powder. "
What is it?"
asked Murna, mystified. "
We don't know, darling,"
said Savni, stroking her daughter's hair. "
What do you think?"
Murna stared again into the pot. "
I think it's coffee,"
she announced, finally. "
It's the wrong colour for coffee, darling,"
said Jornas thoughtfully. "
But maybe she's on the right track. It must be some kind of food."
Murna, by now, had her nose right down into the pot. Suddenly, she lifted her head and sneezed loudly. "
Id god ub by doze,"
she explained. "
said Arinas. "
It must be pepper! Let me try some."
Dipping a finger into the powder, he licked it. "
he said, "
it's pepper all right. Mild, but quite tasty. It's American pepper."
said Savni, "
we'll try it on the stew tonight. We'llhave American-style stew!"
That evening, the whole family agreed that the American pepper had added a special extra taste to their usual evening stew. They were delighted with it. By the end of the week, there was only a teaspoonful of the grey powderleft in the silver container. Then Savni called a halt. "
We're saving the last bit for Sunday. Dr. Haret is coming to dinner, and we'll let him have some as a special treat. Then it will be finished."
The following Sunday, the whole family put on their best clothes, ready for dinner with Dr. Haret. He was the local doctor, and he had become a friend of the family many years before, when he had saved Arinas's life after an accident. Once every couple of months, Savni invited the doctor for dinner, and they all looked forward to his entertaining stories of his youth at the university in the capital. During dinner, Savni explained to the doctor about the mysterious American pepper, the last of which she had put in the stew they were eating, and the letter they could not read. "
Well, give it to me, give it to me!"
said the doctor briskly. "
I speak English! I can translate it for you."
Savni brought the letter, and the family waited, fascinated, as the doctor began to translate. "
Dear Savni: you don't know me, but I am the son of your old Great-Aunt Pasni. She never talked much to us about the old country, but in her final illness earlier this year, she told us that after her death, she wanted her ashes to be sent back home to you, so that you could scatter them on the hills of the country where she was born. My mother died two weeks ago, and her funeral and cremation took place last week. I am sending her ashes to you in a silver casket. Please do as she asked, and spread them over the ground near where she was born. Your cousin, George Leary."
(MDH 1995 -- from a common urban legend) <br />THE OVAL PORTRAIT (Edgar Allen Poe)<br />THE CHATEAU into which my valet had ventured to make forcible entrance, rather than permit me, in my desperately wounded condition, to pass a night in the open air, was one of those piles of commingled gloom and grandeur which have so long frowned among the Appennines, not less in fact than in the fancy of Mrs. Radcliffe. To all appearance it had been temporarily and very lately abandoned. We established ourselves in one of the smallest and least sumptuously furnished apartments. It lay in a remote turret of the building. Its decorations were rich, yet tattered and antique. Its walls were hung with tapestry and bedecked with manifold and multiform armorial trophies, together with an unusually great number of very spirited modern paintings in frames of rich golden arabesque. In these paintings, which depended from the walls not only in their main surfaces, but in very many nooks which the bizarre architecture of the chateau rendered necessary-in these paintings my incipient delirium, perhaps, had caused me to take deep interest; so that I bade Pedro to close the heavy shutters of the room-since it was already night-to light the tongues of a tall candelabrum which stood by the head of my bed-and to throw open far and wide the fringed curtains of black velvet which enveloped the bed itself. I wished all this done that I might resign myself, if not to sleep, at least alternately to the contemplation of these pictures, and the perusal of a small volume which had been found upon the pillow, and which purported to criticise and describe them.Long-long I read-and devoutly, devotedly I gazed. Rapidly and gloriously the hours flew by and the deep midnight came. The position of the candelabrum displeased me, and outreaching my hand with difficulty, rather than disturb my slumbering valet, I placed it so as to throw its rays more fully upon the book.But the action produced an effect altogether unanticipated. The rays of the numerous candles (for there were many) now fell within a niche of the room which had hitherto been thrown into deep shade by one of the bed-posts. I thus saw in vivid light a picture all unnoticed before. It was the portrait of a young girl just ripening into womanhood. I glanced at the painting hurriedly, and then closed my eyes. Why I did this was not at first apparent even to my own perception. But while my lids remained thus shut, I ran over in my mind my reason for so shutting them. It was an impulsive movement to gain time for thought-to make sure that my vision had not deceived me-to calm and subdue my fancy for a more sober and more certain gaze. In a very few moments I again looked fixedly at the painting.That I now saw aright I could not and would not doubt; for the first flashing of the candles upon that canvas had seemed to dissipate the dreamy stupor which was stealing over my senses, and to startle me at once into waking life.The portrait, I have already said, was that of a young girl. It was a mere head and shoulders, done in what is technically termed a vignette manner; much in the style of the favorite heads of Sully. The arms, the bosom, and even the ends of the radiant hair melted imperceptibly into the vague yet deep shadow which formed the back-ground of the whole. The frame was oval, richly gilded and filigreed in Moresque. As a thing of art nothing could be more admirable than the painting itself. But it could have been neither the execution of the work, nor the immortal beauty of the countenance, which had so suddenly and so vehemently moved me. Least of all, could it have been that my fancy, shaken from its half slumber, had mistaken the head for that of a living person. I saw at once that the peculiarities of the design, of the vignetting, and of the frame, must have instantly dispelled such idea-must have prevented even its momentary entertainment. Thinking earnestly upon these points, I remained, for an hour perhaps, half sitting, half reclining, with my vision riveted upon the portrait. At length, satisfied with the true secret of its effect, I fell back within the bed. I had found the spell of the picture in an absolute life-likeliness of expression, which, at first startling, finally confounded, subdued, and appalled me. With deep and reverent awe I replaced the candelabrum in its former position. The cause of my deep agitation being thus shut from view, I sought eagerly the volume which discussed the paintings and their histories. Turning to the number which designated the oval portrait, I there read the vague and quaint words which follow:"
She was a maiden of rarest beauty, and not more lovely than full of glee. And evil was the hour when she saw, and loved, and wedded the painter. He, passionate, studious, austere, and having already a bride in his Art; she a maiden of rarest beauty, and not more lovely than full of glee; all light and smiles, and frolicsome as the young fawn; loving and cherishing all things; hating only the Art which was her rival; dreading only the pallet and brushes and other untoward instruments which deprived her of the countenance of her lover. It was thus a terrible thing for this lady to hear the painter speak of his desire to portray even his young bride. But she was humble and obedient, and sat meekly for many weeks in the dark, high turret-chamber where the light dripped upon the pale canvas only from overhead. But he, the painter, took glory in his work, which went on from hour to hour, and from day to day. And be was a passionate, and wild, and moody man, who became lost in reveries; so that he would not see that the light which fell so ghastly in that lone turret withered the health and the spirits of his bride, who pined visibly to all but him. Yet she smiled on and still on, uncomplainingly, because she saw that the painter (who had high renown) took a fervid and burning pleasure in his task, and wrought day and night to depict her who so loved him, yet who grew daily more dispirited and weak. And in sooth some who beheld the portrait spoke of its resemblance in low words, as of a mighty marvel, and a proof not less of the power of the painter than of his deep love for her whom he depicted so surpassingly well. But at length, as the labor drew nearer to its conclusion, there were admitted none into the turret; for the painter had grown wild with the ardor of his work, and turned his eyes from canvas merely, even to regard the countenance of his wife. And he would not see that the tints which he spread upon the canvas were drawn from the cheeks of her who sate beside him. And when many weeks bad passed, and but little remained to do, save one brush upon the mouth and one tint upon the eye, the spirit of the lady again flickered up as the flame within the socket of the lamp. And then the brush was given, and then the tint was placed; and, for one moment, the painter stood entranced before the work which he had wrought; but in the next, while he yet gazed, he grew tremulous and very pallid, and aghast, and crying with a loud voice, 'This is indeed Life itself!' turned suddenly to regard his beloved:-She was dead!<br />