Saturday, October 6, 2012

Tales: The Assignation

(originally published anonymously as “The Visionary,” published January 1834 in Godey’s Lady’s Book)

This is a gothic tale set in Venice. The narrator is returning home by way of gondola through the Grand Canal when he hears a horrible scream. A woman has accidentally dropped her baby out of a window and into the water below. (Oops.) Many try to help her but none are successful. Finally a man dives right into the canal, and thus rescues the baby. The woman tells this man to meet her “one hour after sunrise,” a request the narrator overhears and is baffled by. After she leaves, the narrator recognizes the man and invites him to his residence. The mysterious man returns the favor and invites the narrator to his own residence early the next morning. The narrator obliges, and the man shows the narrator around his residence. Gradually it is revealed that the woman and the mysterious man have a romantic history. The tragic twist at the end of the story allows the narrator to finally understand what was really meant by “meeting one hour after sunrise.”

Summary written by Taylor Colegrove, May 2011. Title links to the full text of the story.

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