The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 193

into requisition forthwith, for the purpose of altering
our direction more to the eastward, and in a line for Paris. By means of
the rudder we instantly effected the necessary change of direction, and
our course was brought nearly at right angles to that of the wind; when
we set in motion the spring of the screw, and were rejoiced to find it
propel us readily as desired. Upon this we gave nine hearty cheers, and
dropped in the sea a bottle, enclosing a slip of parchment with a brief
account of the principle of the invention. Hardly, however, had we
done with our rejoicings, when an unforeseen accident occurred which
discouraged us in no little degree. The steel rod connecting the spring
with the propeller was suddenly jerked out of place, at the car end, (by
a swaying of the car through some movement of one of the two seamen we
had taken up,) and in an instant hung dangling out of reach, from the
pivot of the axis of the screw. While we were endeavoring to regain it,
our attention being completely absorbed, we became involved in a strong
current of wind from the East, which bore us, with rapidly increasing
force, towards the Atlantic. We soon found ourselves driving out to sea
at the rate of not less, certainly, than fifty or sixty miles an hour,
so that we came up with Cape Clear, at some forty miles to our North,
before we had secured the rod, and had time to think what we were about.
It was now that Mr. Ainsworth made an extraordinary, but to my fancy,
a by no means unreasonable or chimerical proposition, in which he was
instantly seconded by Mr. Holland--viz.: that we should take advantage
of the strong gale which bore us on, and in place of beating back to
Paris, make an attempt to reach the coast of North America. After slight
reflection I gave a willing assent to this bold proposition, which
(strange to say) met with objection from the two seamen only. As the
stronger party, however, we overruled their fears, and kept resolutely
upon our course. We steered due West; but as the trailing of the buoys
materially impeded our progress, and we had the balloon abundantly at
command, either for ascent or descent, we first threw out fifty pounds
of ballast, and then wound up (by means of a windlass) so much of the
rope as brought it quite clear of the sea. We perceived the effect of
this manoeuvre immediately, in a vastly increased rate of progress; and,

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Text Comparison with The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

Page 11
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Page 96
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Page 125
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Page 206
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