The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 79

have
been impossible to force our way but for the scythe; and Jupiter, by
direction of his master, proceeded to clear for us a path to the foot of
an enormously tall tulip-tree, which stood, with some eight or ten oaks,
upon the level, and far surpassed them all, and all other trees which I
had then ever seen, in the beauty of its foliage and form, in the wide
spread of its branches, and in the general majesty of its appearance.
When we reached this tree, Legrand turned to Jupiter, and asked him if
he thought he could climb it. The old man seemed a little staggered
by the question, and for some moments made no reply. At length he
approached the huge trunk, walked slowly around it, and examined it with
minute attention. When he had completed his scrutiny, he merely said,

"Yes, massa, Jup climb any tree he ebber see in he life."

"Then up with you as soon as possible, for it will soon be too dark to
see what we are about."

"How far mus go up, massa?" inquired Jupiter.

"Get up the main trunk first, and then I will tell you which way to
go--and here--stop! take this beetle with you."

"De bug, Massa Will!--de goole bug!" cried the negro, drawing back in
dismay--"what for mus tote de bug way up de tree?--d-n if I do!"

"If you are afraid, Jup, a great big negro like you, to take hold of
a harmless little dead beetle, why you can carry it up by this
string--but, if you do not take it up with you in some way, I shall be
under the necessity of breaking your head with this shovel."

"What de matter now, massa?" said Jup, evidently shamed into compliance;
"always want for to raise fuss wid old nigger. Was only funnin any how.
Me feered de bug! what I keer for de bug?" Here he took cautiously hold
of the extreme end of the string, and, maintaining the insect as far
from his person as circumstances would permit, prepared to ascend the
tree.

In youth, the tulip-tree, or Liriodendron Tulipferum, the most
magnificent of American foresters, has a trunk peculiarly smooth, and
often rises to a great height without lateral branches; but, in its
riper age, the bark becomes gnarled and uneven, while many short limbs
make their appearance on the stem. Thus the difficulty of ascension, in
the present case, lay more in semblance than in reality. Embracing the
huge cylinder, as closely as possible, with his arms and knees, seizing
with his hands some projections, and resting

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Text Comparison with The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

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