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A Tale of the Ragged Mountains

Translated by Anna Higgins

 

During the autumn of 1827, while I resided near Charlottesville (Virginia), I became acquainted by chance with Mr. Augustus Bedloe. This young gentleman was notable in every sense and awakened in me a profound interest and deep curiosity. I found it impossible for me to understand his physical and moral dispositions. I could not obtain satisfactory information about his family. I never discovered where he came from. Even his age- although I described him as a young gentleman- unsettled me a bit. Surely he seemed young, and he was pleased to speak about his youth; there were many moments when I could have easily attributed to him one hundred years of age. But nothing was more peculiar than his physical appearance. He was uniquely tall and thin and very hunched over. He had his excessively long and stark limbs, his wide and tall forehead, his bloodless complexion, his large and flexible mouth, and his teeth more uneven, although healthy, than I have ever seen in a human head. The expression of his smile, however, in no way was unpleasant, as one would imagine; but it was absolutely unchanging. He had a profound melancholy, a uniform, constant sadness. His eyes were an abnormal size, large and round, like those of a cat. Also, his pupils suffered a contraction or dilation with the increase or decrease of light like one can observe in the feline specimen. In moments of excitement his eyes shone to an almost inconceivable degree; they appeared to emit luminous rays, not of a reflected light, but an intrinsic one, like a candle, like the sun; but generally he had an appearance so muted, so veiled and opaque, that his eyes evoked those of a long-buried cadaver.

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A story of the Steep Mountains

During the autumn of 1827, while I was residing near Charlottesville (Virginia), I coincidentally got caught up in a relationship with Mr. Augustus Bedloe. This young gentleman was notable in every sense and awakened in me profound interest and curiosity. It resulted in it being impossible for me to understand him in the physical as much as the moral. I could not obtain satisfactory reports/references from his family. I never discovered where he was from. Even in his age- if I described him well as a young gentleman- there was something that unsettled me a little. Surely he looked young, and he was pleased to speak about his youth; there were more moments when it would not have been very difficult for me to attribute him to being a hundred years old. But nothing was more peculiar than his physical appearance. He was uniquely tall and thin, very hunched over. He had excessively long and stark limbs, his wide and tall forehead, his bloodless complexion, his big and flexible mouth, and his teeth more mismatched, although healthy, than I have ever seen in a human head. The expression of his smile, however, in no way turned out unpleasant, as one would imagine; but it was absolutely invariable. He had a profound melancholy, a uniform, constant sadness. His eyes were of an abnormal size, big and round, like those of a cat. Also, his pupils suffered a contraction or dilation with the increase or decrease of light like that which one can observe in the feline specimen. In moments of excitement his eyes shone to an almost inconceivable point; they appeared to emit luminous rays, not from a reflected light, but an intrinsic one, like a candle, like the sun; but generally he had an appearance so muted, so veiled and opaque, that his eyes were like those of a cadaver buried for a long time.