The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 90

on all subjects
connected with Natural History. At the same time, without being
conscious of it, I must have deposited the parchment in my own pocket.

"You remember that when I went to the table, for the purpose of making
a sketch of the beetle, I found no paper where it was usually kept.
I looked in the drawer, and found none there. I searched my pockets,
hoping to find an old letter, when my hand fell upon the parchment. I
thus detail the precise mode in which it came into my possession; for
the circumstances impressed me with peculiar force.

"No doubt you will think me fanciful--but I had already established a
kind of connexion. I had put together two links of a great chain. There
was a boat lying upon a sea-coast, and not far from the boat was a
parchment--not a paper--with a skull depicted upon it. You will,
of course, ask 'where is the connexion?' I reply that the skull, or
death's-head, is the well-known emblem of the pirate. The flag of the
death's head is hoisted in all engagements.

"I have said that the scrap was parchment, and not paper. Parchment
is durable--almost imperishable. Matters of little moment are rarely
consigned to parchment; since, for the mere ordinary purposes of drawing
or writing, it is not nearly so well adapted as paper. This reflection
suggested some meaning--some relevancy--in the death's-head. I did not
fail to observe, also, the form of the parchment. Although one of its
corners had been, by some accident, destroyed, it could be seen that the
original form was oblong. It was just such a slip, indeed, as might
have been chosen for a memorandum--for a record of something to be long
remembered and carefully preserved."

"But," I interposed, "you say that the skull was not upon the parchment
when you made the drawing of the beetle. How then do you trace any
connexion between the boat and the skull--since this latter, according
to your own admission, must have been designed (God only knows how or by
whom) at some period subsequent to your sketching the scarabæus?"

"Ah, hereupon turns the whole mystery; although the secret, at this
point, I had comparatively little difficulty in solving. My steps were
sure, and could afford but a single result. I reasoned, for example,
thus: When I drew the scarabæus, there was no skull apparent upon
the parchment. When I had completed the drawing I gave it to you, and
observed you narrowly until you returned it. You, therefore, did not
design the skull, and no one else was present to do

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Text Comparison with The Raven

Page 0
The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore-- While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
Page 1
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping something louder than before.
Page 2
" Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning--little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door-- Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such name as "Nevermore.
Page 3
Meant in croaking "Nevermore.
Page 4
" "Be that our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting-- "Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul has spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken!--quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.