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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 437

After an accurate scrutiny, by the tribunal of the circle, he has been declared author of the murder: but what renders the case truly extraordinary is, that there are good reasons for believing that the deed was perpetrated by the youth while asleep, and was entirely unknown to himself.

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This excerpt from the "Vienna Gazette" frames and makes sense of the first person narrative that follows, told by the supposed murderer, Althorpe. This is a journey into the uncanny, the dark reaches of the unconscious and the psyche. Could Althorpe have split into himself and a doppelganger or twin self, as, much later, happens in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and murdered Constantia rather than give her up to a rival?

The shock that it produced in me was, to my own apprehension, a subject of surprise. I could not help perceiving that it was greater than the occasion would justify. The pleasures of this intercourse were, in a moment, to be ravished from me. I was to part from my new friend, and when we should again meet it was impossible to foresee. It was then that I recollected her expressions, that assured me that her choice was fixed upon another. If I saw her again, it would probably be as a wife. The claims of friendship, as well as those of love, would then be swallowed up by a superior and hateful obligation.

Althorpe himself describes the psychic turmoil, a greater than justified "shock," that comes from hearing that Constantia and her father are suddenly leaving. As he expresses in the quote, everything about her leaving makes him unhappy: her pleasurable company is to be "ravished" from...

(The entire section contains 437 words.)

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