When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and lighthearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys.
I am Prince Prospero
It was toward the close of the fifth or sixth month of his seclusion, and while the pestilence raged most furiously abroad, the the Prince Prospero entertained his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most unusual magnificence.
It was within this apartment, also, that there stood against the western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony.
This black room is eerie, therefore I shall take this palace over starting here!
When the eyes of Prince Prospero fell on this spectral image (which, with a slow and solemn movement, as if more fully to sustain its role, stalked to and fro among the waltzers) he was seen to be convulsed, in the first moment with a strong shudder either of terror or distaste; but in the next, his brow reddened with rage.
There was a sharp cry -- and the dagger dropped gleaming upon the sable carpet, upon which most instantly afterward, fell prostrate in death the Prince Prospero. Then summoning the wild courage of despair, a throng of the revellers at once threw themselves into the black apartment, and seizing the mummer whose tall figure stood erect and motionless within the shadow of the ebony clock, gasped in unutterable horror at finding the grave cerements and corpse- like mask, which they handled with so violent a rudeness, untenanted by any tangible form.