The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 146

of the crowd overhead, and endeavored to make
himself heard in turn. It was the tumult within the grounds of the
cemetery, he said, which appeared to awaken him from a deep sleep, but
no sooner was he awake than he became fully aware of the awful horrors
of his position.

This patient, it is recorded, was doing well and seemed to be in a fair
way of ultimate recovery, but fell a victim to the quackeries of medical
experiment. The galvanic battery was applied, and he suddenly expired in
one of those ecstatic paroxysms which, occasionally, it superinduces.

The mention of the galvanic battery, nevertheless, recalls to my memory
a well known and very extraordinary case in point, where its action
proved the means of restoring to animation a young attorney of London,
who had been interred for two days. This occurred in 1831, and created,
at the time, a very profound sensation wherever it was made the subject
of converse.

The patient, Mr. Edward Stapleton, had died, apparently of typhus fever,
accompanied with some anomalous symptoms which had excited the curiosity
of his medical attendants. Upon his seeming decease, his friends were
requested to sanction a post-mortem examination, but declined to permit
it. As often happens, when such refusals are made, the practitioners
resolved to disinter the body and dissect it at leisure, in private.
Arrangements were easily effected with some of the numerous corps of
body-snatchers, with which London abounds; and, upon the third night
after the funeral, the supposed corpse was unearthed from a grave eight
feet deep, and deposited in the opening chamber of one of the private

An incision of some extent had been actually made in the abdomen,
when the fresh and undecayed appearance of the subject suggested an
application of the battery. One experiment succeeded another, and the
customary effects supervened, with nothing to characterize them in any
respect, except, upon one or two occasions, a more than ordinary degree
of life-likeness in the convulsive action.

It grew late. The day was about to dawn; and it was thought expedient,
at length, to proceed at once to the dissection. A student, however, was
especially desirous of testing a theory of his own, and insisted upon
applying the battery to one of the pectoral muscles. A rough gash was
made, and a wire hastily brought in contact, when the patient, with a
hurried but quite unconvulsive movement, arose from the table, stepped
into the middle of the floor, gazed about him uneasily for a few
seconds, and then--spoke. What he said was unintelligible, but words
were uttered; the syllabification was distinct. Having

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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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I remained three days and nights (as nearly as I could guess) in my hiding-place without getting out of it at all, except twice for the purpose of stretching my limbs by standing erect between two crates just opposite the opening.
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I spoke to him, when he replied with a low growl, and then remained quiet.
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No sooner had he loosened it than Tiger sprang eagerly to the small opening produced, snuffed for a moment, and then uttered a long whine, scratching at the same time, as if anxious to remove the covering with his paws.
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They talked for some time about the vessel from the Cape Verds, and seemed to be excessively anxious for her appearance.
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Rogers had died about eleven in the forenoon, in violent convulsions; and the corpse presented in a few minutes after death one of the most horrid and loathsome spectacles I ever remember to have seen.
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Shortly after this period I fell into a state of partial insensibility, during which the most pleasing images floated in my imagination; such as green trees, waving meadows of ripe grain, processions of dancing girls, troops of cavalry, and other phantasies.
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_ Just at daybreak we both at the same instant descried a sail to the eastward, and _evidently coming towards us!_ We hailed the glorious sight with a long, although feeble shout of rapture; and began instantly to make every signal in our power, by flaring the shirts in the air, leaping as high as our weak condition would permit, and even by hallooing with all the strength of our lungs, although the vessel could not have been less than fifteen miles distant.
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It was about six in the morning when the blow came on with a white squall, and, as usual, from the northward.
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It was first discovered in 1772, by the Baron de Kergulen, or Kerguelen, a Frenchman, who, thinking the land to form a portion of an extensive southern continent, carried home information to that effect, which produced much excitement at the time.
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Just within this wall a perfectly level and smooth walk is formed, from six to eight feet wide, and extending around the encampment--thus serving the purpose of a general promenade.
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It is somewhat remarkable that, although vast flocks of birds were seen, and other usual indications of land, and although, south of the Shetlands, unknown coasts were observed from the masthead tending southwardly, Weddell discourages the idea of land existing in the polar regions of the south.
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prevail upon him to take another look; but, throwing himself upon the floor, with his face buried in his hands, he remained thus until we were obliged to drag him upon deck.
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At the former the monarch, much to our surprise, turned up his nose with some expression of contempt; but the knife gave him the most unlimited satisfaction, and he immediately ordered dinner.
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Our next care was to render our place of concealment as secure as possible, and, with this object, we arranged some brushwood over the aperture which I have before spoken of as the one through which we saw the patch of blue sky, on reaching the platform from the interior of the chasm.
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It was, indeed, one of the most singular-looking places imaginable, and we could scarcely bring ourselves to believe it altogether the work of nature.
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We had fifty feet room from stem to stern, from four to six in breadth, and in depth throughout four feet and a half--the boats thus differing vastly in shape from those of any other inhabitants of the Southern Ocean with whom civilized nations are acquainted.
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The heat of the water was extreme, even unpleasant to the touch, and its milky hue was more evident than ever.
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Pym has given the figures of the chasms without comment, and speaks decidedly of the _indentures_ found at the extremity of the most easterly of these chasms as having but a fanciful resemblance to alphabetical characters, and, in short, as being positively _not such_.