The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 157

and obtained from him not only food
but a copious supply of water, we continued on our course, without any
incident of moment, for perhaps seven or eight days, during which period
we must have proceeded a vast distance to the southward, as the wind
blew constantly with us, and a very strong current set continually in
the direction we were pursuing.

_March 1st_. {*7}-Many unusual phenomena now--indicated that we were
entering upon a region of novelty and wonder. A high range of light
gray vapor appeared constantly in the southern horizon, flaring up
occasionally in lofty streaks, now darting from east to west, now from
west to east, and again presenting a level and uniform summit--in short,
having all the wild variations of the Aurora Borealis. The average
height of this vapor, as apparent from our station, was about
twenty-five degrees. The temperature of the sea seemed to be increasing
momentarily, and there was a very perceptible alteration in its color.

_March 2d._-To-day by repeated questioning of our captive, we came
to the knowledge of many particulars in regard to the island of the
massacre, its inhabitants, and customs--but with these how can I now
detain the reader? I may say, however, that we learned there were eight
islands in the group--that they were governed by a common king, named
_Tsalemon _or _Psalemoun, _who resided in one of the smallest of the
islands; that the black skins forming the dress of the warriors came
from an animal of huge size to be found only in a valley near the court
of the king--that the inhabitants of the group fabricated no other boats
than the flat-bottomed rafts; the four canoes being all of the kind in
their possession, and, these having been obtained, by mere accident,
from some large island in the southwest--that his own name was Nu-Nu--that
he had no knowledge of Bennet’s Islet--and that the appellation of the
island he had left was Tsalal. The commencement of the words _Tsalemon
_and Tsalal was given with a prolonged hissing sound, which we found
it impossible to imitate, even after repeated endeavors, and which was
precisely the same with the note of the black bittern we had eaten up on
the summit of the hill.

_March 3d._-The heat of the water was now truly remarkable, and in color
was undergoing a rapid change, being no longer transparent, but of a
milky consistency and hue. In our immediate vicinity it was usually
smooth, never so rough as to endanger the canoe--but we were frequently
surprised at perceiving, to our right and left, at different distances,
sudden and extensive agitations

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