The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 159

I forbore. The heat of the water still
increased, and the hand could no longer be endured within it. Peters
spoke little, and I knew not what to think of his apathy. Nu-Nu
breathed, and no more.

_March 9th._-The whole ashy material fell now continually around us,
and in vast quantities. The range of vapor to the southward had arisen
prodigiously in the horizon, and began to assume more distinctness
of form. I can liken it to nothing but a limitless cataract, rolling
silently into the sea from some immense and far-distant rampart in
the heaven. The gigantic curtain ranged along the whole extent of the
southern horizon. It emitted no sound.

_March 21st._-A sullen darkness now hovered above us--but from out the
milky depths of the ocean a luminous glare arose, and stole up along
the bulwarks of the boat. We were nearly overwhelmed by the white ashy
shower which settled upon us and upon the canoe, but melted into the
water as it fell. The summit of the cataract was utterly lost in the
dimness and the distance. Yet we were evidently approaching it with a
hideous velocity. At intervals there were visible in it wide, yawning,
but momentary rents, and from out these rents, within which was a chaos
of flitting and indistinct images, there came rushing and mighty, but
soundless winds, tearing up the enkindled ocean in their course.

_March 22d._-The darkness had materially increased, relieved only by the
glare of the water thrown back from the white curtain before us. Many
gigantic and pallidly white birds flew continuously now from beyond the
veil, and their scream was the eternal _Tekeli-li! _as they retreated
from our vision. Hereupon Nu-Nu stirred in the bottom of the boat; but
upon touching him we found his spirit departed. And now we rushed into
the embraces of the cataract, where a chasm threw itself open to receive
us. But there arose in our pathway a shrouded human figure, very far
larger in its proportions than any dweller among men. And the hue of the
skin of the figure was of the perfect whiteness of the snow.

NOTE

THE circumstances connected with the late sudden and distressing death
of Mr. Pym are already well known to the public through the medium of
the daily press. It is feared that the few remaining chapters which were
to have completed his narrative, and which were retained by him,
while the above were in type, for the purpose of revision, have been
irrecoverably lost through the accident by which he perished himself.
This, however, may prove not to be the case, and

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