The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 139

of
perhaps three hundred feet, and ranging at about ten feet back from the
edge of the gulf. Strong cords of grape vine were attached to the stakes
still remaining on the hill, and it was evident that such cords had also
been attached to each of the other stakes. I have already spoken of the
singular stratification of these soapstone hills; and the description
just given of the narrow and deep fissure through which we effected our
escape from inhumation will afford a further conception of its nature.
This was such that almost every natural convulsion would be sure to
split the soil into perpendicular layers or ridges running parallel with
one another, and a very moderate exertion of art would be sufficient
for effecting the same purpose. Of this stratification the savages had
availed themselves to accomplish their treacherous ends. There can be no
doubt that, by the continuous line of stakes, a partial rupture of the
soil had been brought about probably to the depth of one or two feet,
when by means of a savage pulling at the end of each of the cords (these
cords being attached to the tops of the stakes, and extending back from
the edge of the cliff), a vast leverage power was obtained, capable of
hurling the whole face of the hill, upon a given signal, into the bosom
of the abyss below. The fate of our poor companions was no longer a
matter of uncertainty. We alone had escaped from the tempest of that
overwhelming destruction. We were the only living white men upon the
island.




CHAPTER 22

OUR situation, as it now appeared, was scarcely less dreadful than
when we had conceived ourselves entombed forever. We saw before us no
prospect but that of being put to death by the savages, or of dragging
out a miserable existence in captivity among them. We might, to be sure,
conceal ourselves for a time from their observation among the fastnesses
of the hills, and, as a final resort, in the chasm from which we had
just issued; but we must either perish in the long polar winter through
cold and famine, or be ultimately discovered in our efforts to obtain
relief.

The whole country around us seemed to be swarming with savages, crowds
of whom, we now perceived, had come over from the islands to the
southward on flat rafts, doubtless with a view of lending their aid
in the capture and plunder of the Jane. The vessel still lay calmly at
anchor in the bay, those on board being apparently quite unconscious of
any danger awaiting them.

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Text Comparison with The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

Page 0
For one hour at least we had maintained a profound silence; while each, to any casual observer, might have seemed intently and exclusively occupied with the curling eddies of smoke that oppressed the atmosphere of the chamber.
Page 2
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Page 22
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Page 74
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Page 87
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What chance--what one event brought this evil thing to pass, bear with me while I relate.
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Page 186
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