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Read Book The Tomb (Annotated) Online author by H.P. Lovecraft. Read or Download The Tomb (Annotated) format in and Published -- by .

The Tomb (Annotated)
by: H.P. Lovecraft in ,
Published -- by

The Tomb (Annotated) "The Tomb" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft written in June 1917 and first published in the March 1922 issue of The Vagrant. It is the first work of fiction that Lovecraft wrote as an adult.

"The Tomb" tells of Jervas Dudley, a self-confessed day-dreamer. While still a child, he discovers the entrance to a mausoleum, belonging to the family Hyde, whose nearby family mansion had burnt down many years previously. The entrance to the mausoleum is padlocked and slightly ajar. Jervas attempts to break the padlock, but is unable. Dispirited, he takes to sleeping beside the tomb. Eventually, inspired by reading Plutarch's Lives, Dudley decides to patiently wait until it is his time to gain entrance to the tomb.

One night, several years later, Jervas falls asleep once more beside the mausoleum. He awakes suddenly in the late afternoon, and believes that a light has been latterly extinguished from inside the tomb. Taking leave, he returns to his home, where he goes directly to the attic, to a rotten chest, and therein finds the key to the tomb.

Once inside the mausoleum, Jervas discovers an empty coffin with the name of Jervas Hyde upon the plate. He begins, so he believes, to sleep in the empty coffin each night as its name matches his. He also develops a fear of thunder, and is aware that he is being spied upon, under his father's orders.

One night, against his own better judgement, Jervas sets out for the tomb on an overcast night, a night threatening to storm. As he approaches the tomb, he sees the Hyde mansion restored to its former state there is a party in progress, to which he joins, abandoning his former quietude for blasphemous hedonism.

During the party, lightning strikes the mansion, and it burns. Jervas loses consciousness, having imagined himself being burnt to ashes in the blaze.

He is awoken, screaming and struggling, to find himself being held by two men, his father in attendance. A small antique box is discovered, having been unearthed by the recent storm. Inside is a porcelain miniature of a man, with the initials J.H. Jervas fancies its face to be the mirror image of his own.

He begins jabbering that he has been sleeping inside the tomb. His father, saddened by his son's mental instability, tells him that he has been watched for some time and has never gone inside the tomb, and indeed, the padlock is rusted with age. Jervas is removed to a room with barred windows, presumed mad.

He then asks his servant Hiram, who has remained faithful to him despite his current state, to explore the tomb a request which Hiram fulfils. After breaking the padlock and descending with a lantern into the murky depths, Hiram return to his master and informs him that there is, indeed, a coffin with a plate which reads 'Jervas' on it. Jervas then states that he has been promised to be buried in that vault and coffin when he dies and thus ends the previous narration.

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