Text: Thomas Ollive Mabbott (and E. A. Poe), “The Duc De L'Omelette,” The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. II: Tales and Sketches (1978), pp. 31-41 (This material is protected by copyright)


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[page 31:]

THE DUC DE L’OMELETTE

This is one of the few stories involving humor in which Poe seems to me to be wholly successful. Of all the Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, it most harmoniously blends the two elements of decoration and grotesquerie; and there is an element of adventure — one hopes the Duke may escape, for he is a bold and daring fellow, whom we know and tend to like better than most of Poe’s heroes.

“Beat the devil” is a proverbial expression for something practically incredible, but there are many stories in folklore and literature of people who did it. Pride, and not goodness of heart, makes the Devil keep his word literally, and avoid actions beneath his dignity such as cheating at cards or taking advantage of a drunken man, as in “The Bargain Lost” and “Bon-Bon.” Other stories of Lucifer playing cards are to be found.* For the plot of “The Duc de L’Omelette” Poe accepts the notion that “the devil studies complexions. He cannot read our thoughts.” (In “The Bargain Lost” and “Bon-Bon” he can read minds.)

Poe’s important sources are traced in detail in the notes following the text of the story below. The physiognomical ideas of Le Brun, and Montfleury’s death from violent action on the stage, [page 32:] come from Isaac D’Israeli’s Curiosities of Literature. The fatal effects of an ortolan and other details were suggested by his son Benjamin Disraeli’s novel The Young Duke and a burlesquing review of that novel in the Westminster Review, October 1831, may have influenced Poe even more. The infernal palace may owe something to William Beckford’s Vathek (1786, often reprinted), but there is general agreement on the magnificence of Lucifer’s residence, which Milton called Pandemonium.

Poe’s story was presumably written in 1831 and sent almost at once to the Saturday Courier. It was considerably revised for publication in the Southern Literary Messenger in 1836, but touched only very lightly thereafter. In the Messenger it was ascribed to Edgar A. Poe; in the Broadway Journal it was signed “Littleton Barry,” the first time Poe used the signature appended also to the Broadway Journal versions of “Loss of Breath,” “King Pest,” “Mystification,” and “Why the Little Frenchman Wears His Hand in a Sling.” (See note 41 on “Loss of Breath.”)

TEXTS

(A) Philadelphia Saturday Courier, March 3, 1832; (B) Southern Literary Messenger, February 1836 (2:150-151); (C) Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1840), I, 105-110; (D) PHANTASY-PIECES (manuscript revisions of the last, 1842); (E) Broadway Journal, October 11, 1845 (2:206-208); (F) Works (1850), II, 347-350.

Griswold’s text (F), showing one new reading, is followed in this edition.

The earliest text (A) was mechanically reproduced by John Grier Varner in Edgar Allan Poe and the Philadelphia Saturday Courier (1933), pp. 25-31. The French words are not accented, and the punctuation, capitalization and paragraphing are quite different from later texts. Poe’s principal changes were made for the Southern Literary Messenger in 1836. In PHANTASY-PIECES there are seven punctuation changes, all of which eliminate dashes.

Reprints

The Baltimore Minerva, March 10, 1832, and the Albany Literary Gazette, March 24, 1832, both from the Saturday Courier; English and American editions of Bentley’s Miscellany, October 1840, from Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, without acknowledgment. [page 33:]

THE DUC DE L’OMELETTE.   [F]  [[v]]

And stepped at once into a cooler clime. — Cowper.{a} [[n]]

Keats fell by a criticism.(1) Who was it died of “The Andromache?*{b} Ignoble souls! — De L’Omelette perished of an ortolan.(3) L’histoire en est brève. Assist me, Spirit of{f} Apicius!(4)

A golden cage bore the {gg}little winged{gg} wanderer, enamored, melting, indolent, to the Chaussée D’Antin,(5) from its home in far Peru. From its queenly possessor La Bellissima, to the Duc De L’Omelette, six peers of the empire conveyed the happy bird.{h} (6)

That night the Duc{i} was to sup alone. In the privacy of his bureau he reclined languidly on that ottoman for which he sacrificed his loyalty in outbidding his king, — the notorious ottoman of Cadêt.(7)

He buries{j} his face in the pillow. The clock strikes!{k} Unable to restrain his feelings his Grace swallows{l} an olive.(8) {mm}At this moment the door gently{mm} opens to the sound of soft music, and lo!{n} the most delicate of birds is before the most enamored of men! {oo}But what inexpressible dismay now overshadows the countenance of the Duc? — “Horreur!chien!Baptiste!l’oiseau! ah, bon [page 34:] Dieu!{oo} cet oiseau modeste que tu as déshabille{p} de ses plumes, et que tu as servi sans papier!(9) It is superfluous to say more: — the Duc expired in a paroxysm of disgust. * * * * *

“Ha! ha! ha!” said his Grace on the third day after his decease.

“He! he! he!” replied the Devil faintly, drawing{q} himself up with an air of hauteur.

“Why, surely you are not serious,” retorted De {rr}L’Omelette. “I have sinned — c’est vrai — but, my good sir, consider! — you have no actual intention of{rr} putting such — such — barbarous threats into execution.”

“No what? “ said his majesty{s} — “come, sir, strip!”

“Strip, indeed! — very pretty i’ faith!{t} — no, sir, I shall not strip. Who are you, pray, that I, Duc De L’Omelette, Prince de Foie-Gras,{u} just come of age, author of the ‘Mazurkiad,’(10) and Member of the Academy, should divest myself at your bidding of the sweetest pantaloons ever made by Bourdon,{v} the daintiest robe-de-chambre ever put together by Rombêrt(11){ww}to say nothing of{ww} the taking my hair out of paper — {xx}not to mention the trouble I should have in drawing off my gloves?”{xx}

“Who am I? — all, true! I am Baal-Zebub, Prince of the Fly.(12) I took thee, just now, from{yy} a rose-wood coffin inlaid with ivory. Thou wast {yy}curiously scented, and labelled as per invoice. Belial sent thee, — my Inspector of Cemeteries. The pantaloons, which thou sayest were made by Bourdon,{z} are an excellent pair of linen drawers, and thy robe-de-chambre is a shroud of no scanty dimensions.”

“Sir!” replied the Duc,{a} “I am not to be insulted with impunity! — Sir! I shall take the earliest opportunity of avenging this insult! — Sir! you shall hear from me! In the meantime au revoir!” — and the Duc was bowing himself out of the Satanic presence, when he was interrupted and brought back by a gentleman in [page 35:] waiting. Hereupon{b} his Grace rubbed his eyes, yawned, shrugged his shoulders, {cc}reflected. Having{cc} become satisfied of his identity, he{d} took a bird’s eye view of his whereabouts. {e}

The apartment was superb. Even{f} De L’Omelette pronounced it bien comme il faut. It was not {gg}its length nor its breadth,{gg} — but its height — ah, that was appalling! — There was no ceiling — certainly none — but a dense whirling mass of fiery-colored clouds. His Grace’s brain reeled as he glanced upwards. {hh}From above, hung{hh} a chain of an unknown blood-red metal(13) — its upper end lost, like {ii}the city of Boston,{ii} parmi les nues.(14) From its nether extremity swung{j} a large{k} cresset. The Duc knew it to be a ruby; but {ll}from it there poured{ll} a light so intense, so still, so terrible, Persia never worshipped such — Gheber never imagined such — Mussulman never dreamed of such when, drugged with opium, he has tottered to a bed of poppies, his back to the flowers,{m} and his face to the God Apollo.(15) The Duc muttered{n} a slight oath, decidedly approbatory.

The corners of the room were rounded into niches. — Three of these were filled with statues of gigantic proportions. Their beauty was Grecian, their deformity Egyptian, their tout ensemble French.{o} In the fourth niche the statue was veiled; it was not colossal. But then{p} there was a taper ankle, a sandalled foot. De L’Omelette pressed{q} his hand upon his heart, closed his eyes, raised them, and caught his Satanic Majesty — in a blush.

But the paintings! — Kupris!{r} Astarte! Astoreth! — a thousand and the same!(16) And Rafaelle has beheld them! Yes, Rafaelle has been here; for did he not paint the ——? and was he not consequently damned?(17) The paintings! — the paintings! O luxury! O love! — who, gazing on those forbidden beauties, shall have eyes for the [page 36:] dainty devices of the golden frames that {ss}besprinkled,{t} like stars, the hyacinth(18) and the porphyry walls?{ss}

{u} But the{v} Duc’s heart is fainting within him. He{w} is not, however,{x} as you suppose, dizzy with magnificence, nor drunk with the ecstatic breath of those innumerable censers. C’est vrai que de toutes ces choses il a {yy}pensé beaucoup{yy}mais!(19) The Duc De L’Omelette is terror-stricken;{z} for, through the lurid vista which a single uncurtained window is affording, lo! gleams the most ghastly of all fires!

Le pauvre Duc! {aa}He could not help imagining{aa} that the glorious, the voluptuous, the never-dying {bb}melodies which pervaded that{bb} hall, as they passed filtered and transmuted through the alchemy of {cc}the enchanted window-panes,{cc} were the wailings and the howlings of the hopeless and the damned!(20) And there, too! — there! — upon{d} that ottoman! — who could he be? — he, the petit-maître{e} — no, the Deity — who sat as if carved in marble, et qui sourit, with his pale countenance, si amèrement?{f} (21)

Mais il faut {gg}agir,(22) — that is to say, a{gg} Frenchman never faints outright. Besides, his Grace hated a scene — De L’Omelette is{h} himself again.(23) There were some foils upon{i} a table — some points also. The Duc had studied under B———; il avait tué ses six hommes.(24) Now, then, il peut s’échapper.{j} (25) {kk}He measures two points, and, with a grace inimitable, offers his Majesty the choice{kk} Horreur! his Majesty does not fence!

Mais il joue!{ll} — how happy a{ll} thought!{mm} — but his Grace had [page 37:] always{mm} an excellent memory. He had, dipped in the “Diable” of the Abbé Gualtier. Therein it{o} is said “que le Diable n’ose pas refuser un{p} jeu d’écarté.”(26)

{qq}But the chances — the chances!{qq} True — desperate;{rr} but scarcely {s} more desperate than the Duc.{rr} Besides, was he not in the secret? — had he not skimmed over Pàere Le Brun?{t}(27) was he not a member of the Club Vingt-un?{u}Si je perds,” said he, “je serai deux fois perdu — I shall be doubly damned — voilà{v} tout! (Here his Grace{w} shrugged his shoulders.){xx} Si je gagne, je reviendrai à mes ortolans{xx}que les carles soient préparées!(28)

His Grace was all care, all attention — his Majesty all confidence. A spectator would have thought of Francis and Charles.(29) His Grace{y} thought of his game. His Majesty did not think; he shuffled. {zz}The Duc cut.{zz}

The cards are dealt. The trump is turned{a} — it is — it is — the king! No — it was the queen. His Majesty cursed her masculine habiliments. De L’Omelette placed {b} his hand upon his heart.

They play. The Duc counts. The hand is out. His Majesty counts heavily, smiles, and is taking{c} wine. The Duc slips a card.

C’est à vous à faire,”(30) said his Majesty, cutting. His Grace bowed, dealt, and arose from the table en présentant{d} le Roi.(31)

His Majesty looked chagrined.

Had Alexander{e} not been Alexander, he would have been Diogenes;(32) and the Duc assured his {ff}antagonist in taking leave,{ff}que s’il{g} {hh}n’eût pas été{hh} De L’Omelette il n’aurait point d’objection d’être le Diable.”{i} (33)

 


[[Poe’s Footnotes]]

[The following footnote appears near the bottom of page 33:]

*  Montfleury. The author of the Parnasse Réformé makes him speak in Hades: — “L’homme donc qui voudrait savoir ce dont Je suis mort, qu’il{c} ne demande pas {dd}s’il fut de fièvre{dd} ou de podagre ou d’autre chose, mais qu’il entende que ce fut de l’Andromache.”{e} (2) [Poe’s note]

 


VARIANTS

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 33:]

Title:  The Duke de L’Omelette (A)

a  Ascription omitted (A)

b  Footnote omitted (A); in B, C, D it reads Montfleury. The author of the Parnasse Reformé makes him thus express himself in the shades. “The man then who would know of what I died, let him not ask if it were of the fever, the dropsy, or the gout; but let him know that it was of The Andromache.” In E the note is as in the final text except that it has thus speak instead of speak

c  qu’il (E, F)

dd . . . dd  si’l fût de f ievre (E, F)

e  ‘LAndromache’ ” (E);IAndromache’ ” (F) misprint

f  Spirit of omitted (A)

gg . . . gg  luxurious little (A)

h  bird. It was “All for Love.” (A, B, C, D)

i  Duke (A) here and hereafter in all except two cases

j  buried (A)

k  struck. (A)

l  swallowed (A)

mm . . . mm  The door (A)

n  and lo! / and (A)

oo . . . oo  — horror! — dog! — Baptiste! — l’oiseau — (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 34:]

p  deshabille (A); deshabillé (B, C, D, E, F)

q  and drawing (A)

rr . . . rr  l’Omelette — ‘you have no bona fide intentions of — of — (A)

s  said his majesty omitted (A)

t  i’ faith! / ’faith! (A)

u  Fois-Gras, (A)

v  Stultz, (A)

ww . . . ww  not to mention (A)

xx . . . xx  and all to gratify your blood-thirsty propensities!” (A)

yy . . . yy  an inlaid coffin, (A)

z  Stultz, (A)

a  replied the Duc, omitted (A)

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 35:]

b  Upon this (A)

cc . . . cc  reflected: and having (A)

d  Omitted (A)

e  whereabout. (A)

f  Omitted (A)

gg . . . gg  very long, nor very broad, (A, B, C, D)

hh . . . hh  There was (A)

ii . . . ii  Col — e, (A); C—, (B, C); Carlyle, (D)

j  hung (A, B, C, D)

k  huge (A)

ll . . . ll  there poured from it (A)

m  earth, (A)

n  murmured (A)

o  French. His grace could not understand them, and said ‘Bah!’ (A)

p  But then / Then (A)

q  laid (A, B, C, D)

r  Rupris! (A) misprint

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 36:]

ss . . . ss  lie imbedded, and asleep in those swelling walls of eider-down? (A, B, C, D) except that B, C, D have against instead of in

t  besprinkle, (E)

u  Before this A has another paragraph: But the lofty, narrow windows of stained glass, and porphyry! — how many! — how magnificent! — And the curtains! — ah! that aerial silk! — the vapour-like floating of that gorgeous drapery!

v  But the / The (A)

w  No — oh, no. He (A)

x  Omitted (A)

yy . . . yy  fait un memorandum (A)

z  horror-stricken — (A)

aa . . . aa  Could he have imagined (A)

bb . . . bb  symphonies of that melodious (A)

cc . . . cc  that enchanted glass, (A)

d  on (A)

e  petit-maitre (all texts)

f  amerement? (A, B, C, D); amérement? (E, F)

gg . . . gg  agir. A (A)

h  Omitted (A)

i  on (A)

j  Accent added in D

kk . . . kk  Omitted (A)

ll . . . ll  What a (A); — what a happy (B, C) changed in D

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 37:]

mm . . . mm  His grace has (A)

n  He had / Have you (A)

o  Therein it / It (A)

p  Omitted (A)

qq . . . qq  But the chances! (A)

rr . . . rr  But not more than himself. (A)

s  not (B, C, D)

t  Le Brun? / La Chaise? (A)

u  Club Vingt-un? / Academy? (A)

v  voila (all texts)

w  his Grace / the duke (A)

xx . . . xx  Eh bien! si Je gagne! (A); Si Je gagne Je serai libre (B, C, D)

y  His grace / De l’Omelette (A)

zz . . . zz  His grace coupa. (A); The Duc coupa. (B)

a  turned slowly mais avec un air de fierte. The corner appears (A)

b  laid (A, B, C, D)

c  is taking / has taken (A)

d  presentant (all texts)

e  the drunkard (A)

ff . . . ff  majesty en partant, (A)

g  sit (A) misprint

hh . . . hh  n’etait pas (A, B, C, D)

i  Signed Littleton Barry (E)

 


[page 38, continued:]

NOTES

Motto:  William Cowper, The Task, I, 337.

1.  John Keats was commonly supposed to have died of a broken heart after a savage attack (by John Wilson Croker) in the Quarterly Review for April 1818.

2.  Poe took his footnote straight from Isaac D’Israeli’s article on “Tragic Actors” in the Curiosities of Literature. D’Israeli says: “Montfleury, a French player . . . died of the violent efforts he made in representing Orestes in the Andromache of Racine. The author of the Parnasse Reformé makes him thus express himself in the shades — ‘A thousand times have I been obliged to force myself to represent more passions than Le Brun ever painted or conceived. . . and consequently to strain all the parts of my body to render my gestures fitter to accompany these different impressions. The man then who would know of what I died, let him not ask if it were of the fever, the dropsy, or the gout; but let him know that it was of the Andromache!’ ” The Parnasse Reformé is by Gabriel Guéret (1641-1688) — the passage translated may be found in the edition of 1668, at pp. 74-75. In earlier versions of his tale (B, C, D) Poe used D’Israeli’s English; in later, French of his own. He repeated the anecdote in “Marginalia,” number 135 (Godey’s, September 1845, p. 120).

3.  The ortolan is a European bunting, a small bird of the family that includes also finches and sparrows. Trapped during the autumn migration, fattened, and cooked at an open fire, the birds sizzle in their own fat. A bird is picked up in the fingers and the breast eaten whole as a mouthful. To avoid soiling the diner’s fingers, the bird’s legs are wrapped in paper. The ortolan is considered the most delicate of all French birds in flavor. In The Young Duke by Benjamin Disraeli (published anonymously in 1831), in the tenth chapter of the first book, a character says: “O, doff then, thy waistcoat of vine leaves, pretty rover, and show me that bosom more delicious even than woman’s! What gushes of rapture! What a flavor! How peculiar! Even, how sacred! Heaven at once sends both manna and quails. Another little wanderer! Pray follow my example! Allow me. All paradise opens! Let me die eating ortolans to the sound of soft music!” This passage, as David Hirsch pointed out, was one of those quoted in the Westminster Review.

4.  There are a number of references in classical literature to M. Gavius Apicius, an epicure of the time of the Emperor Tiberius. It is said that, finding his fortune depleted so that he could no longer indulge in the most expensive dishes, he killed himself (Seneca, Dialogues, xii.10.8-11), A cookbook in Latin entitled Apicius, circulated several centuries later, has been sometimes attributed to him, but was probably by one Caelius.

5.  The Chaussée d’Antin was a fashionable street in Paris. It was mentioned in Lady Sydney Morgan’s popular Book of the Boudoir (New York, 1829).

6.  The canceled reference here is to John Dryden’s tragedy All for Love.

7.  The Ottoman of Cadêt has not been satisfactorily explained.

8.  This is quite obviously a satire on N. P. Willis, who in 1829 had ridiculed Poe’s poem “Fairy-Land” but in later years became Poe’s good friend. In 1829, at twenty-three, Willis established the American Monthly Magazine of Boston. He [page 39:] there struck a pose that horrified his more sober-minded critics. He pretended to write at a rosewood desk in a sanctum with crimson curtains, to have a French valet, and always to have fresh blossoms of japonica. He asked his readers to imagine themselves on a dormeuse, with a bottle of Rudesheimer and a plate of olives at hand. See Kenneth L. Daughrity’s “Poe’s Quiz on Willis,” American Literature, March 1933, and his sketch of Willis in the Dictionary of American Biography.

9.  “Horror! — dog! — Baptist! — the bird — oh, good God, that modest bird you have stripped of her feathers, and served without paper!”

10.  Dozens of poems with titles ending in “-iad” appeared in the eighteenth century and later. The Duke’s presumably concerned the mazurka, a round dance of Polish origin.

11.  My correspondent, Mlle. Madeline Delpierre, found mention in Paris directories of a tailor named Bourdon, at 7, Boulevard St. Denis, from 1831 to 1836. Authorities at the London Museum say George Stultz in 1809 established a business at 10, Clifford Street, off Bond Street, continued there by himself and successors until 1915. No tailor Rombêrt has yet been identified.

12.  Baal-Zebub (Prince of Flies) and Belial are more fully annotated in note 23 to “A Tale of Jerusalem,” below. It is not certain that Belial (Shame) was considered a god or even a person by the ancients, but Milton made him a leading lieutenant of Satan in Paradise Lost.

13.  The blood-red metal comes from the lost Atlantis, as described in Plato’s Critias, 114 E. It is called in Latin orichalcum, a word used for the yellow brass of Roman Imperial coinage.

14.  “Among the clouds.” This expression is used to describe Mount Atlas by Pomponius Mela, De Situ Orbis, III, 10. In the first version (A) of Poe’s tale it was Coleridge that was thus lost; Carlyle was named in 1842; reference to the City of Boston was introduced in the Broadway Journal version of October 11, 1845 — a few days prior to Poe’s unfortunate appearance before the Boston Lyceum.

15.  The ancient Persians worshipped fire, as do their modern descendants, the Parsees of Bombay. Ghebers is the name given them by Mahometans. There is an allusion to Persian sun worship in “The Visionary.” Although spoken of in a playful vein, the light “so intense, so still, so terrible,” depending from a chain that is lost in the clouds, would seem to echo Poe’s source for “A dome, by linkéd light, etc.” in “Al Aaraaf,” which he found in Pope’s version of the Iliad:

Let down our golden everlasting chain,

Whose strong embrace holds Heaven and Earth and Main.

See the comment on “linkéd light” in “Al Aaraaf” (Mabbott, I, 121, n. 20).

16.  Kupris, Lady of Cyprus, where she had a great temple, is a Greek name for Aphrodite, with whom the Phoenician goddess Astarte is identified. The meaning here of Astoreth is the same, although in the Bible the name is a general plural: “We have forsaken the Lord, and have served Baalim and Ashtaroth”: see I Samuel 12:10. [page 40:]

17.  The joke about Raphael Sanzio has not been fully explained.

18.  Hyacinth is here the costly stone called jacinth in Revelation 21:20. The canceled reference to “aerial silk” may be compared with the gaze aërienne of “The Spectacles,” below.

19.  “It is true he thought a great deal of all these things — but!”

20.  Compare the shrieks of the victims of the bull of Phalaris, which is mentioned in “Loss of Breath” and “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether,” below.

21.  “And who smiled so bitterly.”

22.  “But something must be done.”

23.  “Richard is himself again” is from an addition by Colley Gibber to the fifth act of Richard III. There is another allusion to this expression in Poe’s letter to F. W. Thomas, September 8, 1844.

24.  “He’d killed his six men.”

25.  “He might escape.”

26.  “But he does play cards!” The abbé Louis-Édouard-Camille Gaultier (1746-1818) sought to teach languages and geography through games. His Cours complet de jeux instructifs was published in 1807, but no such title as Diable is recorded to his credit in the Catalogue of the Bibliothèque Nationale. The book was probably invented by Poe as a means of pointing out “that the Devil dares not refuse a game of cards.”

27.  Charles Le Brun (1619-1690) was a French painter and designer of great influence in the period of Louis XIV. He was the author, among other works, of Conference sur l’expression des differents caracteres des passions (Paris, 1667). A translation called A Method to Learn to Design the Passions was issued in London in 1734. Poe’s reference in a canceled passage to Père La Chaise (the confessor of Louis XIV, for whom the great Parisian cemetery is named) seems to have been a mere slip of the pen or the memory.

28.  “If I lose, I’ll be doubly damned; if I win, I return to my ortolans; let the cards be made ready.”

29.  Poe has in mind here an old story, thus told by Francis Bacon, Apophthegms, number 200 (90), Spedding edition: “Bresquet, jester to Francis the first of France, did keep a calendar of fools, wherewith he did use to make the king sport, telling him ever the reason why he put one into his calendar. When Charles the fifth, emperor, upon confidence of the noble nature of Francis, passed through France, for the appeasing of the rebellion of Gaunt, Bresquet put him into his calendar. The king asked him the cause. He answered ‘Because you having suffered at the hands of Charles the greatest bitterness . . . he would trust his person into your hands.’ ‘Why, Bresquet,’ said the king, ‘what wilt thou say, if thou seest him pass in as great safety?’ . . . Saith Bresquet, ‘Why then I will put him out, and put in you.’ ”

30.  “It’s your play.”

31.  “Laying down the king.” [page 41:]

32.  Alexander the Great visited Diogenes of Sinope in his tub (a great grain or oil jar) at Athens, and asked if he could do him any favor, “Get out of my sunlight,” said the Cynic; and Alexander remarked that were he anyone but Alexander, he would like to be Diogenes. This story comes from Diogenes Laërtius’ Lives of the Philosophers, VI, “Diogenes of Sinope,” vi, and was also used by Poe in a review of a life of Washington (SLM, December 1835), in a notice of J. F. Cooper’s Precaution in Burton’s for August 1839, and in “Diddling.” Alexander was a notoriously hard drinker, which explains the reading of the first version.

33.  “Had he not been De L’Omelette, he’d have had no objection to being the devil.”

 


[[Footnotes]]

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 31:]

*  See “Legends of Glamis Castle” by Jessie A. Middleton in A Grey Ghost Book (1915), pp. 167ff.

  Pierre Crespet, Deux Livres de la hayne de Sathan (Paris, 1590), as quoted in [Robert] Southey’s Common-place Book (4 vols., 1849-51), III, 409. See also Daniel Defoe’s History of the Devil (1726), part II, ch. III, paragraph 2: “Whether the Devil knows our thoughts or not? . . . I deny that he knows anything of our thoughts, except of those which he puts us upon thinking” (quoted from an edition issued in Durham in 1822).

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 32:]

  See Ruth Leigh Hudson, “Poe and Disraeli,” American Literature, January 1937, and David Hirsch, “Another Source for Poe’s ‘The Duc De L’Omelette,”’ in the same periodical for January 1967. See also Mabbott, I, 324, where it is pointed out that the impulse to write “The Conqueror Worm” may have come from a review.

 


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Notes:

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[S:1 - TOM2T, 1978] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (T. O. Mabbott) (The Duc De L'Omelette)