The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 184

however, that this rapport extended beyond the
limits of the simple sleep-producing power, but this power itself had
attained great intensity. At the first attempt to induce the magnetic
somnolency, the mesmerist entirely failed. In the fifth or sixth he
succeeded very partially, and after long continued effort. Only at the
twelfth was the triumph complete. After this the will of the patient
succumbed rapidly to that of the physician, so that, when I first became
acquainted with the two, sleep was brought about almost instantaneously
by the mere volition of the operator, even when the invalid was unaware
of his presence. It is only now, in the year 1845, when similar miracles
are witnessed daily by thousands, that I dare venture to record this
apparent impossibility as a matter of serious fact.

The temperature of Bedloe was, in the highest degree sensitive,
excitable, enthusiastic. His imagination was singularly vigorous and
creative; and no doubt it derived additional force from the habitual use
of morphine, which he swallowed in great quantity, and without which he
would have found it impossible to exist. It was his practice to take
a very large dose of it immediately after breakfast each morning--or,
rather, immediately after a cup of strong coffee, for he ate nothing in
the forenoon--and then set forth alone, or attended only by a dog, upon
a long ramble among the chain of wild and dreary hills that lie westward
and southward of Charlottesville, and are there dignified by the title
of the Ragged Mountains.

Upon a dim, warm, misty day, toward the close of November, and during
the strange interregnum of the seasons which in America is termed the
Indian Summer, Mr. Bedloe departed as usual for the hills. The day
passed, and still he did not return.

About eight o’clock at night, having become seriously alarmed at his
protracted absence, we were about setting out in search of him, when he
unexpectedly made his appearance, in health no worse than usual, and
in rather more than ordinary spirits. The account which he gave of his
expedition, and of the events which had detained him, was a singular one
indeed.

“You will remember,” said he, “that it was about nine in the morning
when I left Charlottesville. I bent my steps immediately to the
mountains, and, about ten, entered a gorge which was entirely new to
me. I followed the windings of this pass with much interest. The scenery
which presented itself on all sides, although scarcely entitled to be
called grand, had about it an indescribable and to me a delicious aspect
of dreary desolation. The solitude seemed

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Text Comparison with The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

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I knew that I was altogether incapable of managing the boat, and that a fierce wind and strong ebb tide were hurrying us to destruction.
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no effect upon the vessel when lying-to.
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W.
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The breeze was very gentle, and what astonished us chiefly was, that she had no other sails set than her foremast and mainsail, with a flying jib--of course she came down but slowly, and our impatience amounted nearly to phrensy.
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Of a sudden, and all at once, there came wafted over the ocean from the strange vessel (which was now close upon us) a smell, a stench, such as the whole world has no name for--no conception of--hellish--utterly suffocating--insufferable, inconceivable.
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Her build and general appearance, as I have before stated, led us to the belief that she was a Dutch trader, and the dresses of the crew also sustained this opinion.
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Finding that he was not to be moved by anything I could say in a mild tone, I now assumed a different demeanor, and told him that he must be aware I had suffered less than any of us from our calamities; that my health and strength, consequently, were at that moment far better than his own, or than that either of Peters or Augustus; in short, that I was in a condition to have my own way by force if I found it necessary; and that if he attempted in any manner to acquaint the others with his bloody and cannibal designs, I would not hesitate to throw him into the sea.
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It was upon the point of making its escape from Peter’s grasp, and slipping back into the water, when Augustus, throwing a rope with a slipknot around its throat, held it up in this manner until I jumped into the hole by the side of Peters, and assisted him in lifting it out.
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The water, thus conducted to the centre, was drained through into our jug.
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instant by the sea, and in momentary dread of being washed off.
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We contrived, nevertheless, to swallow a portion of it by mixing it with wine; our thirst, however, was but little abated.
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Innumerable flights of birds flew over us from the southward, and several were shot from the deck, one of them, a species of pelican, proved to be excellent eating.
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This was a degree of ignorance for which we were not prepared, and for my part I could not help thinking some of it affected.
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“The _biche de mer_ is generally taken in three or four feet of water; after which they are brought on shore, and split at one end with a knife, the incision being one inch or more, according to the size of the mollusca.
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Still a great many of the savages retained their stations about her, hammering with large stones, axes, and cannon balls at the bolts and other iron and copper work.
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I bent to them my ear and distinguished, again, the concluding words of the passage in Glanvill--“Man doth not yield him to the angels, nor unto death utterly, save only through the weakness of his feeble will.
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There came a wild rattling or jingling sound, as if of a bunch of large keys, and upon the instant a dusky-visaged and half-naked man rushed past me with a shriek.
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Since my future happiness was at issue, I resolved to act with a manly decision.
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Page 220
’ “As regards,” continued he, “your demand of the business upon which we sit here in council, we might be pardoned for replying that it concerns, and concerns alone, our own private and regal interest, and is in no manner important to any other than ourself.