Page:Edgar Allan Poe - how to know him.djvu/51
striped with green—the seat of cane. The chairs and table were 'to match'; but the forms of all had evidently been designed by the same brain which planned 'the grounds'; it is impossible to imagine anything more graceful.
"On the table were a few books; a large, square crystal bottle of some novel perfume; a plain, ground-glass astral (not solar) lamp, with an Italian shade; and a large vase of resplendently-blooming flowers. Flowers indeed, of gorgeous colours and delicate odour, formed the sole mere decoration of the apartment. The fireplace was nearly filled with a vase of brilliant geranium. On a triangular shelf in each angle of the room stood also a similar vase, varied only as to its lovely contents. One or two smaller bouquets adorned the mantel; and late violets clustered about the opened windows."
The same contrast is seen between the characters that drift or shimmer through Poe's poems and stories and those photographic portraits that he has left us of the men and women that he had actually met. These show a clearness of instant vision, an ability to see the object as in itself it really is, that critics have denied to the creator of Ligeia, Morella, Annabel Lee, Usher, and others. But in the latter Poe's purpose was to make an artistic use of indefinitiveness, "a suggestive indefinitiveness," as he said of The Lady of Shalott, "with a view of bringing about a definitiveness of vague and therefore of spiritual effect." Turn now to The Literati of New York and note the clearcut pen-pictures that Poe made of the writers that he had seen and met. William Cullen Bryant he had not