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One day, whilst sauntering along the streets, I arrested myself in the act of murmuring, half aloud, these customary syllables. In a fit of petulance, I re-modelled them thus: - "I am safe - I am safe - yes - if I be not fool enough to make open confession!"
No sooner had I spoken these words, than I felt an icy chill creep to my heart. I had had some experience in these fits of perversity, (whose nature I have been at some trouble to explain,) and I remembered well, that in no instance, I had successfully resisted their attacks. And now my own casual self-suggestion, that I might possibly be fool enough to confess the murder of which I had been guilty, confronted me, as if the very ghost of him whom I had murdered - and beckoned me on to death.
At first, I made an effort to shake off this nightmare of the soul. I walked vigorously - faster - still faster - at length I ran. I felt a maddening desire to shriek aloud. Every succeeding wave of thought overwhelmed me with new terror, for, alas! I well, too well understood that, to think, in my situation, was to be lost. I still quickened my pace. I bounded like a madman through the crowded thoroughfares. At length, the populace took the alarm, and pursued me. I felt then the consummation of my fate. Could I have torn out my tongue, I would have done it - but a rough voice resounded in my ears - a rougher grasp seized me by the shoulder. I turned - I gasped for breath. For a moment I experienced all the pangs of suffocation; I became blind, and deaf, and giddy; and then some invisible fiend, I thought, struck me with his broad palm upon the back. The long-imprisoned secret burst forth from my soul.
They say that I spoke with a distinct enunciation, but with marked emphasis and passionate hurry, as if in dread of interruption before concluding the brief but pregnant sentences that consigned me to the hangman and to hell.
Having related all that was necessary for the fullest judicial conviction, I fell prostrate in a swoon.
But why shall I say more? To-day I wear these chains, and am here! To-morrow I shall be fetterless! - but where?
In the pure arrogance of the reason, we have overlooked it. We have suffered its existence to escape our senses, solely through want of belief -of faith
If we cannot understand God in his visible works, how then in his inconceivable thoughts? If we cannot understand him in his objective creatures, how then in his substantive moods and phases of creation?
"There is no passion in nature so demoniacally impatient, as that of him who, shuddering upon the edge of a precipice, thus meditates a plunge. To indulge, for a moment, in any attempt at thought, is to be inevitably lost; for reflection but urges us to forbear, and therefore it is, I say, that we cannot."
No sooner had I spoken these words, than I felt an icy chill creep to my heart. I had had some experience in these fits of perversity"and I remembered that in no instance I had successfully resisted their attacks.
I felt a maddening desire to shriek aloud. Every succeeding wave of thought overwhelmed me with a new terror, for, alas! I well, too well, understood that to think, in my situation, was to be lost.
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