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THE



PBOSE TALES



EDGAR ALLAN POE,



SECOND SERIES.




NEW YORK:
W. J. WIDDLETON, PUBLISHER.

1878.



ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1849, by
J. S. REDFIELD,

fn the Clerk's Office of the District Court, for the Southern District
of New York.

Copyright, 1876, by W. J. WIDDLETON.



CONTENTS OF VOL. II.



PAGE

NARRATIVE OF A. GOXDON For 13

NOTE 186

MISCELLANIES.

THE SYSTEM OF DR. TARR AND PROFESSOR PETHER 1'Jl

THE LITERARY LIFE OF THINGUM BOB, ESQ 210

How TO WRITE A BLACKWOOD ARTICLE 230

A PREDICAMENT 241

MYSTIFICATION 251

X-ING A PARAGRAB 260

DIDDLING CONSIDERED AS ONE OF THE EXACT SCIENCES 267

THE ANGEL OF THE ODD 278

MELLONTA TAUTA. 288

Loss OF BREATH 302

THE MAN THAT WAS USED UP 315

THE BUSINESS MAN 3'.'6

THE LANDSCAPE GARDEN 336

MAELZEL'S CHESS PLAYER 34*5

POWER OF WORDS 371

THE COLLOQUY OF MONUS AND UNA 376

THE CONVERSATION OF EIROS AND CHARMION 386

SHADOW 392

SILENCE 395

PHILOSOPHY OF FURNITURE 399

A TALE OF JERUSALEM 406



vi CONTENTS.

PAGE

THE SPHINX 411

THE MAN OF THE CROWD 416

NEVER BET THE DEVIL YOUR HEAD 426

Tnou ABT THE MAN 436

HOP-FROG 451

FOUR BEASTS IN ONE ; THE HOMO-CAMELEOPARD 461

WHY THE LITTTE FRENCHMAN WEARS HIS HAND IN A SLING 46!

BON BON 475

SOME WORDS WITH A MUMMY. 493

KEVIEW OF STEPHENS' s ARABIA PETR^EA 509

MAGAZINE WRITING. PETER SNOOK 528

THE QUACKS OF HELICON A SATIRE 540

ASTORIA.., . . 551



PREFACE.



UPON my return to the United States a few months ago, after
the extraordinary series of adventure in the South Seas and
elsewhere, of which an account is given in the following pages,
accident threw me into the society of several gentlemen in Rich-
mond, Va., who felt deep interest in all matters relating to the
regions I had visited, and who were constantly urging it upon
me, as a duty, to give my narrative to the public. I had seve-
ral reasons, however, for declining to do so, some of which were
of a nature altogether private, and concern no person but my-
self; others not so much so. One consideration which deterred
me was, that, having kept no journal during a greater portion of
the time in which I was absent, I feared I should not be able to
write, from mere memory, a statement so minute and connected
as to have the appearance of that truth it would really possess,
barring only the natural and unavoidable exaggeration to which
all of us are prone when detailing events which have had pow-
erful influence in exciting the imaginative faculties. Another
reason was, that the incidents to be narrated were of a nature so
positively marvellous, that, unsupported as my assertions must
necessarily be (except by the evidence of a single individual,
and he a half-breed Indian), I could only hope for belief among
my family, and those of my friends who have had reason,



* PREFACE.

through, life, to put faith in my veracity the probability being
that the public at large would regard what I should put forth as
merely an impudent and ingenious fiction. A distrust in my
own abilities as a writer was, nevertheless, one of the principal
causes which prevented me from complying with the suggestions
of my advisers.

Among those gentlemen in Virginia who expressed the great-
est interest in my statement, more particularly in regard to that
portion of it which related to the Antarctic Ocean, was Mr. Poe,
lately editor of the Southern Literary Messenger, a monthly
magazine, published by Mr. Thomas TV. White, in the city of
Richmond. He strongly advised me, among others, to prepare
at once a full account of what I had seen and undergone, and
trust to the shrewdness and common sense of the public insist-
ing, with great plausibility, that however roughly, as regards
mere authorship, my book should be got up, its very uncouth-
ness, if there were any, would give it all the better chance of
being received as truth.

Notwithstanding this representation, I did not make up my
mind to do as he suggested. He afterward proposed (finding
that I would not stir in the matter) that I should allow him to
draw up, in his own words, a narrative of the earlier portion of
my adventures, from facts afforded by myself, publishing it in
the Southern Messenger under the garb of fiction. To this,
perceiving no objection, I consented, stipulating only that my
real name should be retained. Two numbers of the pretended
fiction appeared, consequently, in the Messenger for January
and February (1837), and, in order that it might certainly be
regarded as fiction, the name of Mr. Poe was affixed to the arti-
cles in the table of contents of the magazine.

The manner in which this ruse was received has induced me
at length to undertake a regular compilation and publication of
the adventures in question ; foi I found that, in spite of the air



PREFACE. ri

of fable which had been so ingeniously thrown around that por-
tion of my statement which appeared in the Messenger (without
altering or distorting a single fact), the public were still not at
all disposed to receive it as fable, and several letters were sent
to Mr. P.'s address, distinctly expressing a conviction to the con-
trary. I thence concluded that the fact." of my narrative would
prove of such a nature as to carry with them sufficient evidence
of their own authenticity, and that I had consequently little to
fear on the score of popular incredulity.

This expose being made, it will be seen at once how much of
what follows I claim to be my own writing ; and it will also be
understood that no fact is misrepresented in the first few pages
which were written by Mr. Poe. Even to those readers who
have not seen the Messenger, it will be unnecessary to point out
where his portion ends and my own commences ; the difference
in point of style will be readily perceived.

A. G. PYM.



NARRATIVE OF A. GORDON PYM



CHAPTER I.

MY name is Arthur Gordon Pym. My father was a respect-
able trader in sea-stores at Nantucket, where I was born. My
maternal grandfiither was an attorney in good practice. He was
fortunate in everything, and had speculated very successfully in
stocks of the Edgarton New Bank, as it was formerly called.
By these and other means he had managed to lay by a tolerable
sum of money. He was more attached to myself, I believe,
than to any other person in the world, and I expected to inherit
the most of his property at his death. He sent me, at six years
of age, to the school of old Mr. Ricketts, a gentleman with only
one arm, and of eccentric manners he is well known to almost
every person who has visited New Bedford. I stayed at his
school until I was sixteen, when I left him for Mr. E. Ronald's
academy on the hill. Here I became intimate with the son of
Mr. Barnard, a sea captain, who generally sailed in the employ
f Lloyd and Vredenburgh rMr. Barnard is also very well
known in New Bedford, and has many relations, I am certain,
in Edgarton. His son was named Augustus, and he was nearly
two years older than myself. He had been on a whaling voyage
with his father in the John Donaldson, and was always talking
to me of his adventures in the South Pacific Ocean. I used
frequently to go home with him, and remain all day, and some-
times all night. We occupied the same bed, and he would be
sure to keep me awake until almost light, telling me stories of
the natives of the Island of Tinian, and other places he had visited
in his travels. At last I could not help being interested in what lie



H NARRATIVE OF

said, and by degrees I felt the greatest desire to go to sea. I
owned a sail-boat called the Ariel, and worth about seventy-five
dollars. She had a half deck or cuddy, and was rigged sloop-
fashion I forget her tonnage, but she would hold ten persons
without much crowding. In this boat we were in the habit of
going on some of the maddest freaks in the world ; and, when I
now think of them, it appears to me a thousand wonders that 1
am alive to-day.

I will relate one of these adventures by way of introduction
to a longer and more momentous narrative. One night there
was a party at Mr. Barnard's, and both Augustus and myself
were not a little intoxicated towards the close of it. As usual,
in such cases, I took part of his bed in preference to going
home. He went to sleep, as I thought, very quietly (it being
near one when the party broke up), and without saying a word
on his favorite topic. It might have been half an hour from
the time of our getting in bed, and I was just about falling into
a doze, when he suddenly started up, and swore with a terrible
oath that he would not go to sleep for any Arthur Pym in
Christendom, when there was so glorious a breeze from the
south-west. I never was so astonished in my life, not knowing
what he intended, and thinking that the wines and liquors he
had drunk had set him entirely beside himself. He proceeded
to talk very coolly, however, saying he knew that I supposed
him intoxicated, but that he was never more sober in his life.
He was only tired, he added, of lying in bed on such a fine
night like a dog, and was determined to get up and dress, and go
out on a frolic with the boat. I can hardly tell what possessed
me, but the words were no sooner out of his mouth than I felt a
thrill of the greatest excitement and pleasure, and thought his
mad idea one of the most delightful and most reasonable things
in the world. It was blowing almost a gale, and the weather
was very cold it being late in October. I sprang out of bed,
nevertheless, in a kind of ecstasy, and told him I was quite as
brave as himself, and quite as tired as he was of lying in bed
like a dog, and quite as ready for any fun or frolic as any
Augustus Barnard in Nantucket.

We lost no time ir getting: on our clothes and hurrying down



A. GORDON PYM. 15

to the boat. She was lying at the old decayed wharf by the.
lumber-yard of Pankey & Co., and almost thumping her sides
out against the rough logs. Augustus got into her and bailed
her, for she was nearly half full of water. This being done,
we hoisted jib and mainsail, kept full, and started boldly out to
sea.

The wind, as I before said, blew freshly from the south-west
The night was very clear and cold. Augustus had taken the
helm, and I stationed myself by the mast, on the deck of the
cuddy. We flew along at a great rate neither of us having
yaid a word since casting loose from the wharf. I now asked
my companion what course he intended to steer, and what time
he thought it probable we should get back. He whistled for a
few minutes, and then said crustily, " 1 am going to sea you
may go home if you think proper." Turning my eyes upon
him, I perceived at once that, in spite of his assumed nonchalance,
he was greatly agitated. I could see him distinctly by the light
of the moon his face was paler than any marble, and his hand
shook so excessively that he could scarcely retain hold of the
tiller. I found that something had gone wrong, and became
seriously alarmed. At this period I knew little about the
management of a boat, and was now depending entirely upon
the nautical skill of my friend. The wind, too, had suddenly
increased, and we were fast getting out of the lee of the land
still I was ashamed to betray any trepidation, and for almost
half an hour maintained a resolute silence. I could stand it no
longer, however, and spoke to Augustus about the propriety of
turning back. As before, it was nearly a minute before he made
answer, or took any notice of my suggestion. " By-and-by," said
he at length " time enough home by-and-by." I had expected
such a reply, but there was something in the tone of these words
which filled me with an indescribable feeling of dread. I again
looked at the speaker attentively. His lips were perfectly livid,
and his knees shook so violently together, that he seemed
scarcely able to stand. " For God's sake, Augustus," I screamed,
now heartily frightened, " what ails you ? what is the matter ?
what are you going to do ?" " Matter !" he stammered, in the
greatest apparent surprise, letting go the tiller at the same mo-



IQ JSARRATIVE OF

merit, and falling forward into the bottom of the boat " matter
why, nothing is the matter going home d d don't you
see ?" The whole truth now flashed upon me. I flew to him
and raised him up. He was drunk beastly drunk he could
no longer either stand, speak, or see. His eyes were perfectly
glazed ; and as I let him go in the extremity of my despair, he
rolled like a mere log into the bilge-water from which I had
lifted him. It was evident that, during the evening, he had
drunk far more than I suspected, and that his conduct in bed had
been the result of a highly-concentrated state of intoxication
a state which, like madness, frequently enables the victim to imi-
tate the outward demeanor of one in perfect possession of his
senses. The coolness of the night air, however, had had its usual
effect the mental energy began to yield before its influence
and the confused perception Avhich he no doubt then had of his
perilous situation had assisted in hastening the catastrophe.
He was now thoroughly insensible, and there was no probability
that he would be otherwise for many hours.

It is hardly possible to conceive the extremity of my terror.
The fumes of the wine lately taken had evaporated, leaving me
doubly timid and irresolute. I knew that I was altogether in-
capable of managing the boat, and that a fierce wind and strong
ebb tide were hurrying us to destruction. A storm was evi-
dently gathering behind us ; we had neither compass nor pro-
visions ; and it was clear that, if we held our present course, we
should be out of sight of land before daybreak. These thoughts,
with a crowd of others equally fearful, flashed through my mind
with a bewildering rapidity, and for some moments paralyzed
me beyond the possibility of making any exertion. The boat
was going through the water at a terrible rate full before the
wind no reef in either jib or mainsail running her bows com-
pletely under the foam. It was a thousand wonders she did
not broach to Augustus having let go the tiller, as I said be-
fore, and I being too much agitated to think of taking it myself
By good luck, however, she kept steady, and gradually I re-
covered some degree of presence of mind. Still the wind was
increasing fearfully ; and whenever we rose from a plunge for-
ward, the sea behind fell combing over our counter, and deluged



A. GORDOiN PY.M. 17

us with water. I \vas so utterly benumbed, toe, in every limb,
as to be nearly unconscious of sensation. At length I sum-
moned up the resolution of despair, and rushing to the mainsail,
let it go by the run. As might have been expected, it flew over
the bows, and, getting drenched with water, carried away the
mast short off by the board. This latter accident alone saved
me from instant destruction. Under the jib only, I now boomed
along before the wind, shipping heavy seas occasionally, but
relieved from the terror of immediate death. I took the helm,
and breathed with greater freedom, as I found that there yet re-
mained to us a chance of ultimate escape. Augustus still lay
senseless in the bottom of the boat ; and as there was imminent
danger of his drowning (the water being nearly a foot deep
just where he fell), I contrived to raise him partially up, and
keep him in a sitting position, by passing a rope round his waist,
and lashing it to a ringbolt in the deck of the cuddy. Having
thus arranged everything as well as I could in my chilled and
agitated condition, I recommended myself to God, and made up
my mind to bear whatever might happen with all the fortitude
in my power.

Hardly had I came to this resolution, when, suddenly, a loud
and long scream or yell, as if from the throats of a thousand
demons, seemed to pervade the whole atmosphere around
and above the boat. Never while I live shall I "forget the in-
tense agony of terror I experienced at that moment. My hair
stood erect on my head I felt the blood congealing in my veins
my heart ceased utterly to beat, and without having once
raised my eyes to learn the source of my alarm, I tumbled
headlong and insensible upon the body of my fallen com-
panion.

I found myself, upon reviving, in the cabin of a large whaling-
ship (the Penguin) bound to Jsantucket. Several persons were
standing over me, and Augustus, paler than death, was busily
occupied in chafing my hands. Upon seeing me cpen my eyes,
his exclamations of gratitude and joy excited alternate laughter
and tears from the rough-looking personages who were present.
The mystery of our being in existence was now soon explained.
We had been run down by the whaling-ship, which was clcse



18 NARRATIVE OF

hauled, beating up to Nantucket with every sail she could
venture to set, and consequently running almost at right angles
to our own course. Several men were on the look-out forward,
but did not perceive our boat until it was an impossibility to
avoid coming in contact their shouts of warning upon seeing
us were what so terribly alarmed me. The huge ship, I was
told, rode immediately over us with as much ease as our own
little vessel would have passed over a feather, and without the
least perceptible impediment to her progress. Not a scream arose
from the deck of the victim there was a slight grating sound
to be heard mingling with the roar of wind and water, as the
frail bark which was swallowed up rubbed for a moment along
the keel of her destroyer but this was all. Thinking our boat
(which it will be remembered was dismasted) some mere shell
cut adrift as useless, the captain (Captain E. T. V. Block of
New London) was for proceeding on his course without troubling
himself further about the matter. Luckily, there were two oi
the look-out who swore positively to having seen some person at
our helm, and represented the possibility of yet saving him. A
discussion ensued, when Block grew angry, and, after a while,
said that " it was no business of his to be eternally watching for
egg-shells; that the ship should not put about for any such
nonsense ; and if there was a man run down, it was nobody's
fault but his "own he might drown and be d d," or some
language to that effect. Henderson, the first mate, now took the
matter up, being justly indignant, as well as the whole ship's
crew, at a speech evincing such a degree of heartless atrocity.
He spoke plainly, seeing himself upheld by the men, told the
captain he considered him a fit subject for the gallows, and that
he would disobey his orders if he were hanged for it the moment
he set his" foot on shore. He strode aft, jostling Block (who
turned very pale and made no answer) on one side, and seizing
the helm, gave the word, in a firm voice, Hard-a-lee ! The men
flew to their posts, and the ship went cleverly about. All this
had occupied nearly five minutes, and it was supposed to be
hardly within the bounds of possibility that any individual could
be saved allowing any to have been on board the boat. Yet,
as tne reader has seen, both Augustus and myself were rescued;



A. GORDON PYM. 19

and our deliverance seemed to have been brought about by two
of those almost inconceivable pieces of good fortune which are
attributed by^he wise and pious to the special interference of
Providence.

While the ship was yet in stays, the mate lowered the jolly-
boat and jumped into her with the very two men, I believe, who
spoke up as having seen me at the helm. They had just left the
lee of the vessel (the moon still shining brightly) when she made
a long and heavy roll to windward, and Henderson, at the same
moment, starting up in his seat, bawled out to his crew to back
water. He would say nothing else repeating his cry impatiently,
back water! back water! The men put back as speedily as pos-
sible ; but by this time the ship had gone round, and gotten fully
under headway, although all hands on board were making great
exertions to take in sail. In despite of the danger of the attempt,
the mate clung to the main-chains as soon as they came within
his reach. Another huge lurch now brought the starboard side
of the vessel out of water nearly as far as her keel, when the
cause of his anxiety was rendered obvious enough. The body
of a man was seen to be affixed in the most singular manner to
the smooth and shining bottom (the Penguin was coppered and
copper-fastened), and beating violently against it with every
movement of the hull. After several ineffectual efforts, made
during the lurches of the ship, and at the imminent risk of
swamping the boat, I was finally disengaged from my perilous
situation and taken on board for the body proved to be my own.
It appeared that one of the timber-bolts having started and
broken a passage through the copper, it had arrested my progress
as I passed under the ship, and fastened me in so extraordinary
a manner to her bottom. The head of the bolt had made its way
through the collar of the green baize jacket I had on, and through
the back part of my neck, forcing itself out between two sinews
and just below the right ear. I was immediately put to bed
although life seemed to be totally extinct. There was no sur-
geon on board. The captain, however, treated me with every
attention to make amends, I presume, in the eyes of his crew>
for his atrocious behavior in the previous portion of the adventure.

In the meantime, Henderson had again put off from the ship,



20 NARRATIVE OF

although the wind was now blowing almost a hurricane. He
had not been gone many minutes when he fell in with some frag-
ments of our boat, and shortly afterwards one of the "men with him
asserted that he could distinguish a cry for help at intervals amid
the roaring of the tempest. This induced the hardy seamen to
persevere in their search for more than half an hour, although
repeated signals to return were made them by Captain Block,
and although every moment on the water in so frail a boat was
fraught to them with the most imminent and deadly peril.' In-
deed, it is nearly impossible to conceive how the small jolly they
were m could have escaped destruction for a single instant. She
was built, however, for the whaling service, and was fitted, as I
have since had reason to believe, with air-boxes, in the manner
of some life-boats used on the coast of Wales.

After searching in vain for about the period of time just men-
tioned, it was determined to get back to the ship. They had
scarcely made this resolve when a feeble cry arose from a dark
object that floated rapidly by. They pursued and soon overtook
it. It proved to be the entire deck of the Ariel's cuddy. Au-
gustus was struggling near it, apparently in the last agonies.
Upon getting hold of him it was found that he was attached by
a rope to the floating timber. This rope, it will be remembered,
I had myself tied round his waist, and made fast to a ringbolt,
for the purpose of keeping him in an upright position, and my so
doing, it appeared, had been ultimately the means of preserving
his life. The Ariel was slightly put together, and in going down
her frame naturally went to pieces ; the deck of the cuddy, as
might have been expected, was lifted, by the force of the water
rushing in, entirely from the main timbers, and floated (with
other fragments, no doubt) to the surface Augustus was buoyed
up with it, and thus escaped a terrible death.

It was more than an hour after being taken on board the Pen-
guin before he could give any account of himself, or be made to
comprehend the nature of the accident which had befallen our
boat. At length he became thoroughly aroused, and spoke much
of his sensations while in the water. Upon his first attaining
any degree of consciousness, he found himself beneath the sur-
face, whirling round and round with inconceivable rapidity, and



A. GORDON PYM. 21

with a rope wound in three or four folds tightly about his neck.
In an instant afterwards he felt himself going rapidly upward,
when, his head striking violently against a hard substance, he
again relapsed into insensibility. Upon once more reviving he
was in ft.ller possession of his reason this was still, however, in
the greatest degree clouded and confused. He now knew that
some accident had occurred, and that he was in the watei, although
his mouth was above the surface, and he could breathe with some
freedom. Possibly, at this period, the deck was drifting rapidly
before the wind, and drawing him after it, as he floated upon his
back. Of course, as long as he could have retained this position,
it would have been nearly impossible that he should be drowned.



Online LibraryEdgar Allan PoeThe prose tales of Edgar Allan Poe → online text (page 1 of 51)