The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket Comprising the details of a mutiny and atrocious butchery on board the American brig Grampus, on her way to the South Seas, in the month of June, 1827.

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 126

water would do so, yet
never, except when falling in a cascade, had it the customary
appearance of _limpidity_. It was, nevertheless, in point of fact, as
perfectly limpid as any limestone water in existence, the difference
being only in appearance. At first sight, and especially in cases where
little declivity was found, it bore resemblance, as regards
consistency, to a thick infusion of gum Arabic in common water. But
this was only the least remarkable of its extraordinary qualities. It
was _not_ colourless, nor was it of any one uniform colour--presenting
to the eye, as it flowed, every possible shade of purple, like the hues
of a changeable silk. This variation in shade was produced in a manner
which excited as profound astonishment in the minds of our party as the
mirror had done in the case of Too-wit. Upon collecting a basinful, and
allowing it to settle thoroughly, we perceived that the whole mass of
liquid was made up of a number of distinct veins, each of a distinct
hue; that these veins did not commingle; and that their cohesion was
perfect in regard to their own particles among themselves, and
imperfect in regard to neighbouring veins. Upon passing the blade of a
knife athwart the veins, the water closed over it immediately, as with
us, and also, in withdrawing it, all traces of the passage of the knife
were instantly obliterated. If, however, the blade was passed down
accurately between two veins, a perfect separation was effected, which
the power of cohesion did not immediately rectify. The phenomena of
this water formed the first definite link in that vast chain of
apparent miracles with which I was destined to be at length encircled.


We were nearly three hours in reaching the village, it being more than
nine miles in the interior, and the path lying through a rugged
country. As we passed along, the party of Too-wit (the whole hundred
and ten savages of the canoes) was momentarily strengthened by smaller
detachments, of from two to six or seven, which joined us, as if by
accident, at different turns in the road. There appeared so much of
system in this that I could not help feeling distrust, and I spoke to
Captain Guy of my apprehensions. It was now too late, however, to
recede, and we concluded that our best security lay in evincing a
perfect confidence in the good faith of Too-wit. We accordingly went
on, keeping a wary eye upon the manoeuvres of the savages, and not
permitting them to divide our numbers by pushing in between. In this
way, passing

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