THE VISION IN THE CAVE
With only a sleeping mastif for
a companion, I sat before my
blazing hearth and drowsily
smoked my faithful meerschaum.
I was a bachelor of some 40 years,
and as I sat watching the puffs
disperse in the atmosphere, I
contrasted my lot in life with thatl
ot my married fnend,s.
"How" much happier I am," I
mumbled to myself, "than they.
They are constantly worried
with the trifling, problems
brought up by youthful activity,
and, worse than all, must yield
the household scepter wholly or,
at least, in part, to she who years
"before promised to 'love, honor
and obey,' while I ha, ha I am
sole lord and master of my little
domain. Peaceful and quiet in
my little study, I can drift away
after the hours of business into
sweet oblivion without some lit
tle urchin to pull my straggling
locks and ride my knee."
At the very thought of placing
myself in their position I laugh
ed, and settled deeper in the cush
ions of my large armchair.
Gradually the fire died down
and misty shadows flitted from
the darkened corners of the room
and frolicked among the chairs
and tables which now assumed
weird and fantastic shapes. Un
consciously a transition from my
comfortable room to a dark,
tomb-lik'e gorge, transpired, and
I saw before me in the frotesque
wall that towered above an aper
ture some larger than a man's
A feverish discontent cast its
oppressing influence over me, and
without any reasonable motive I
decided to enter the aperture and
explore the gloomy recesses be
yond. By dint of strenuous ex
ertions and after snagging my
self many times on the projecting
rocks, I succeeded in working my
way into a mammoth subterran
Although a murky, black si
lence filled the cave, and a damp,
unpleasant odor permeated the
air, an invisible but invincible
power impelled me onward.
Down the edge of what seemed to
be a pit I laboriously picked my
way, all the time cursing my fate
and wondering why I went.
After a descent of -probably a
hundred feet I came to water.
With a staff which I had secured
in some unaccountable manner, I
measured the depth and found it
to be "about waist-deep.
An uncanny dread possessed
me, but I did not hesitate to de
scend into the cool, placid pool.
With my staff I explored the
sides of the pit, but found they
gave way on every side at the
water's edge. Stricken with the
most abject fear and yet con
trolled by that resistless power,
I wandered out into this subter
ranean lake, taking care to pro
ceed in a straight direction.
I had only taken some 15 paces
when I found the rock bottom
rapidly ascend, and I stood "be
yond the water. As I stood
groping about me my with my
staff, a groan, deep and unearthly,
rent the murky silence. This was
answered from the oooosite side
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