Our poor man, dear Mr. Poe. The nightmare he feared became a sad truth when he disappeared for several days when he was 40 years old. He was found a week later, delirious and in a state of awful disrepair. A letter was sent to those who recovered him from a gutter:
“Dear Sir—There is a gentleman, rather the worse for wear, at Ryan’s 4th ward polls, who goes under the cognomen of Edgar A. Poe, and who appears in great distress, & he says he is acquainted with you, and I assure you, he is in need of immediate assistance.” Yours, in haste, Jos. W. Walker
He did reek of alcohol but it is disputed as to cause. Was he horribly beaten, and did he suffer the outcome of someone(s) pouring alcohol into and over him? Or did he indeed imbibe of his own will and suffer as a result, as some of his enemies claimed? Poe’s appearance was described as “repulsive”, with unkempt hair, a haggard, unwashed face and “lusterless and vacant” eyes. His clothing, which included a dirty shirt but no vest and unpolished shoes, was worn and did not fit well.