The Gothic Element in the Novels of Charles Brockden Brown Page: 41
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a few paces distant, sad listening to their
discourse, * what's wanted? Anybody dead? * 5
I lay upon a mattress, whose condition
proved that a half-decayed corpse had recently
been dragged from it# The room was large, but
it was covered with bed® like my own# Between
each, there was scarcely the interval of three
feet# Each sustained a wretch, whose groans and
distortions bespoke the disparateness of his
the atmosphere was loaded with mortal stenches#
A vapor, suffocating and malignant, scarcely
allowed as to breathe. No suitable receptacle wan
provided for the evacuations produced by medicine
or disease# ly nearest neighbor was struggling
with death, and my bed casually extended, was moist
with the detestable matter which poured from hi®
You will scarcely believe that, in this
scene of horrors, the sound of laughter should be
overheard# While the upper rooms of this build-
ing are filled with the sick and the dying, the
lower apartment® ar# the scene of carousals and
mirth# fhe wretches who are hired, at enormous
wages, to tend the sick and convey away the dead,
neglect their duty and consume the cordials, which
are provided for the patients, in debauchery and
A female visage, bloated with malignity and
drunkenness, occasionally looked in. Dying eyes
were cast upon her, invoking the boon, perhaps, of
a drop of cold water, or her assistance to change
a posture which compelled him to behold the ghastly
writhings or deathful sails of his neighbor#
The visitant had left the banquet for a moment,
only to see who was dead. If she entered the room,
blinking eyes and reeling steps showed her to b©
totally unqualified for ministering the aid that was
needed# Presently she disappeared and others
ascended the staircase, a coffin was deposited at
the door, the wretch, whose heart still quivered,
was seised by rude hands, and dragged along the
floor into the passage#®
$Arthur Mervyn. I, 140,
6Ibld.. p. 173.
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Cannon, Willie Jim. The Gothic Element in the Novels of Charles Brockden Brown, thesis, 1950; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc130235/m1/44/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .