The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 24

the missing
articles; never, surely, was there a more tantalizing state of anxiety
and suspense. At length, while groping about, with my head close to the
ballast, near the opening of the box, and outside of it, I perceived
a faint glimmering of light in the direction of the steerage. Greatly
surprised, I endeavored to make my way toward it, as it appeared to
be but a few feet from my position. Scarcely had I moved with this
intention, when I lost sight of the glimmer entirely, and, before I
could bring it into view again, was obliged to feel along by the box
until I had exactly resumed my original situation. Now, moving my head
with caution to and fro, I found that, by proceeding slowly, with great
care, in an opposite direction to that in which I had at first started,
I was enabled to draw near the light, still keeping it in view.
Presently I came directly upon it (having squeezed my way through
innumerable narrow windings), and found that it proceeded from some
fragments of my matches lying in an empty barrel turned upon its side. I
was wondering how they came in such a place, when my hand fell upon two
or three pieces of taper wax, which had been evidently mumbled by the
dog. I concluded at once that he had devoured the whole of my supply
of candles, and I felt hopeless of being ever able to read the note of
Augustus. The small remnants of the wax were so mashed up among other
rubbish in the barrel, that I despaired of deriving any service from
them, and left them as they were. The phosphorus, of which there was
only a speck or two, I gathered up as well as I could, and returned
with it, after much difficulty, to my box, where Tiger had all the while
remained.

What to do next I could not tell. The hold was so intensely dark that
I could not see my hand, however close I would hold it to my face. The
white slip of paper could barely be discerned, and not even that when
I looked at it directly; by turning the exterior portions of the retina
toward it--that is to say, by surveying it slightly askance, I found
that it became in some measure perceptible. Thus the gloom of my prison
may be imagined, and the note of my friend, if indeed it were a note
from him, seemed only likely to throw me into further trouble, by
disquieting to no purpose my already enfeebled and agitated

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Text Comparison with The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 4

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Page 175
tell you, my friend, that, even when you left us, men had agreed to understand those passages in the most holy writings which speak of the final destruction of all things by fire, as having reference to the orb of the earth alone.