Vandover and the Brute eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 370 pages of information about Vandover and the Brute.
the ceiling with a great square of red light.  Vandover was in a torment, overcome now by that same fear with which he had at last become so familiar, the unreasoning terror of something unknown.  He uttered an exclamation, a suppressed cry of despair, of misery, and then suddenly checked himself, astonished, seized with the fancy that his cry was not human, was not of himself, but of something four-footed, the snarl of some exasperated brute.  He paused abruptly in his walk, listening, for what he did not know.  The silence of the great city spread itself around him, like the still waters of some vast lagoon.  Through the silence he heard the noise of the throng of college youths.  They were returning, doubling upon their line of march.  A long puff of tepid air breathing through the open window brought to his ears the distant joyous sound of their slogan: 

“Rah, rah, rah!  Rah, rah, rah!”

They passed by along the adjacent street, their sounds growing faint.  Vandover took up his restless pacing again.  Little by little the hallucination gained upon him; little by little his mind slipped from his grasp.  The wolf—­the beast—­whatever the creature was, seemed in his diseased fancy to grow stronger in him from moment to moment.  But with all his strength he fought against it, fought against this strange mania, that overcame him at these periodical intervals—­fought with his hands so tightly clenched that the knuckles grew white, that the nails bit into the palm.  It seemed to him that in some way his personality divided itself into three.  There was himself, the real Vandover of every day, the same familiar Vandover that looked back at him from his mirror; then there was the wolf, the beast, whatever the creature was that lived in his flesh, and that struggled with him now, striving to gain the ascendency, to absorb the real Vandover into its own hideous identity; and last of all, there was a third self, formless, very vague, elusive, that stood aside and watched the strife of the other two.  But as he fought against his madness, concentrating all his attention with a tremendous effort of the will, the queer numbness that came upon his mind whenever he exerted it enwrapped his brain like a fog, and this third self grew vaguer than ever, dwindled and disappeared.  Somehow it seemed to be associated with consciousness, for after this the sense of the reality of things grew dim and blurred to him.  He ceased to know exactly what he was doing.  His intellectual parts dropped away one by one, leaving only the instincts, the blind, unreasoning impulses of the animal.

Still he continued his restless, lurching walk back and forth in his room, his head hanging low and swinging from side to side with the movement of his gait.  He had become so nervous that the restraint imposed upon his freedom of movement by his bathrobe and his loose night-clothes chafed and irritated him.  At length he had stripped off everything.

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Vandover and the Brute from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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