The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 204

enclose the MS. in a bottle, and cast it within the sea.

* * * * *

An incident has occurred which has given me new room for meditation. Are
such things the operation of ungoverned Chance? I had ventured upon deck
and thrown myself down, without attracting any notice, among a pile of
ratlin-stuff and old sails in the bottom of the yawl. While musing upon
the singularity of my fate, I unwittingly daubed with a tar-brush the
edges of a neatly-folded studding-sail which lay near me on a barrel.
The studding-sail is now bent upon the ship, and the thoughtless touches
of the brush are spread out into the word DISCOVERY.

I have made many observations lately upon the structure of the vessel.
Although well armed, she is not, I think, a ship of war. Her rigging,
build, and general equipment, all negative a supposition of this
kind. What she is not, I can easily perceive--what she is I fear it is
impossible to say. I know not how it is, but in scrutinizing her strange
model and singular cast of spars, her huge size and overgrown suits
of canvas, her severely simple bow and antiquated stern, there will
occasionally flash across my mind a sensation of familiar things, and
there is always mixed up with such indistinct shadows of recollection,
an unaccountable memory of old foreign chronicles and ages long ago.

* * * * *

I have been looking at the timbers of the ship. She is built of a
material to which I am a stranger. There is a peculiar character about
the wood which strikes me as rendering it unfit for the purpose to
which it has been applied. I mean its extreme porousness, considered
independently by the worm-eaten condition which is a consequence of
navigation in these seas, and apart from the rottenness attendant upon
age. It will appear perhaps an observation somewhat over-curious, but
this wood would have every characteristic of Spanish oak, if Spanish oak
were distended by any unnatural means.

In reading the above sentence a curious apothegm of an old
weather-beaten Dutch navigator comes full upon my recollection. "It
is as sure," he was wont to say, when any doubt was entertained of his
veracity, "as sure as there is a sea where the ship itself will grow in
bulk like the living body of the seaman."

* * * * *

About an hour ago, I made bold to thrust myself among a group of the
crew. They paid me no manner of attention, and, although I stood in the
very midst of them all, seemed

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