The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 46

some little risk, and before
closing the mouth of the chamber, by reaching under the car with one of
the poles before mentioned to which a hook had been attached.

"By the time I had fully completed these arrangements and filled the
chamber as explained, it wanted only ten minutes of nine o'clock. During
the whole period of my being thus employed, I endured the most terrible
distress from difficulty of respiration, and bitterly did I repent the
negligence or rather fool-hardiness, of which I had been guilty, of
putting off to the last moment a matter of so much importance. But
having at length accomplished it, I soon began to reap the benefit of
my invention. Once again I breathed with perfect freedom and ease--and
indeed why should I not? I was also agreeably surprised to find myself,
in a great measure, relieved from the violent pains which had hitherto
tormented me. A slight headache, accompanied with a sensation of fulness
or distention about the wrists, the ankles, and the throat, was nearly
all of which I had now to complain. Thus it seemed evident that a
greater part of the uneasiness attending the removal of atmospheric
pressure had actually worn off, as I had expected, and that much of
the pain endured for the last two hours should have been attributed
altogether to the effects of a deficient respiration.

"At twenty minutes before nine o'clock--that is to say, a short time
prior to my closing up the mouth of the chamber, the mercury attained
its limit, or ran down, in the barometer, which, as I mentioned before,
was one of an extended construction. It then indicated an altitude on
my part of 132,000 feet, or five-and-twenty miles, and I consequently
surveyed at that time an extent of the earth's area amounting to no less
than the three hundred-and-twentieth part of its entire superficies.
At nine o'clock I had again lost sight of land to the eastward, but not
before I became aware that the balloon was drifting rapidly to the N.
N. W. The convexity of the ocean beneath me was very evident indeed,
although my view was often interrupted by the masses of cloud which
floated to and fro. I observed now that even the lightest vapors never
rose to more than ten miles above the level of the sea.

"At half past nine I tried the experiment of throwing out a handful of
feathers through the valve. They did not float as I had expected; but
dropped down perpendicularly, like a bullet, en masse, and with the
greatest velocity--being out of sight

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Text Comparison with 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.

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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.
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This _exposé_ 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.
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We had been run down by the whaling-ship, which was close hauled, beating up to Nantucket with every sail she could venture to set, and consequently running almost at right angles to our own course.
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Both Augustus and myself managed to appear at Mr.
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Hearing the blow and the plunge of the body, the men below could now be induced to venture on deck neither by threats nor promises, until a proposition was made to smoke them out.
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The party of the mate was gaining ground.
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To-day Hartman Rogers died, having been attacked on the eighth with spasms after drinking a glass of grog.
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Peters had expressed to us his opinion that this man had been poisoned by the mate, and for this belief he had reasons, so he said, which were incontrovertible, but which he could not be prevailed upon to explain to us--this wayward refusal being only in keeping with other points of his singular character.
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In one of these we all distinctly heard the mate tell one of the men to "go forward, and order the d----d lubbers to come into the cabin, where he could have an eye upon them, for he wanted no such secret doings on board the brig.
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Leaving the bodies of the crew lying in the cabin, we got to work immediately at the pumps--Parker, of course, being set at liberty to assist us in the labour.
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It is possible, indeed, that poison, accidentally introduced into some of their sea-stores, may have brought about the disaster; or that the eating some unknown venomous species of fish, or other marine animal, or oceanic bird, might have induced it--but it is utterly useless to form conjectures where all is involved, and will, no doubt, remain for ever involved, in the most appalling and unfathomable mystery.
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It was upon the point of making its escape from Peters's grasp, and slipping back into the water, when Augustus, throwing a rope with a slip-knot around its throat, held it up in this manner until I jumped into the hole by the side of Peters, and assisted him in lifting it out.
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This island, or rather group of islands, bears southeast from the Cape of Good Hope, and is distant therefrom nearly eight hundred leagues.
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Sea elephants were abundant, especially on the western coast of the main island, but of these we killed only twenty, and this with great difficulty.
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The northern edge of this expanse was ragged and broken, so firmly wedged together as to be utterly impassable, and extending about a mile to the southward.
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were never disclosed.
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We walked closely together, taking care only to prevent separation.
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.
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beasts.
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We never did believe them the workmanship of the ignorant islanders who owned them; and some days after this period discovered, by questioning our captive, that they were in fact made by the natives of a group to the southwest of the country where we found them, having fallen accidentally into the hands of our barbarians.