The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 27

side which first presented itself.
Nothing, however, was perceptible, and I turned the paper, adjusting it
on the book. I now again carried my forefinger cautiously along, when
I was aware of an exceedingly slight, but still discernable glow, which
followed as it proceeded. This, I knew, must arise from some very minute
remaining particles of the phosphorus with which I had covered the paper
in my previous attempt. The other, or under side, then, was that on
which lay the writing, if writing there should finally prove to be.
Again I turned the note, and went to work as I had previously done.
Having rubbed in the phosphorus, a brilliancy ensued as before--but this
time several lines of MS. in a large hand, and apparently in red ink,
became distinctly visible. The glimmer, although sufficiently bright,
was but momentary. Still, had I not been too greatly excited, there
would have been ample time enough for me to peruse the whole three
sentences before me--for I saw there were three. In my anxiety, however,
to read all at once, I succeeded only in reading the seven concluding
words, which thus appeared--“blood--your life depends upon lying close.”

Had I been able to ascertain the entire contents of the note--the full
meaning of the admonition which my friend had thus attempted to convey,
that admonition, even although it should have revealed a story of
disaster the most unspeakable, could not, I am firmly convinced, have
imbued my mind with one tithe of the harrowing and yet indefinable
horror with which I was inspired by the fragmentary warning thus
received. And “blood,” too, that word of all words--so rife at all times
with mystery, and suffering, and terror--how trebly full of import did
it now appear--how chilly and heavily (disjointed, as it thus was, from
any foregoing words to qualify or render it distinct) did its vague
syllables fall, amid the deep gloom of my prison, into the innermost
recesses of my soul!

Augustus had, undoubtedly, good reasons for wishing me to remain
concealed, and I formed a thousand surmises as to what they could
be--but I could think of nothing affording a satisfactory solution of
the mystery. Just after returning from my last journey to the trap, and
before my attention had been otherwise directed by the singular conduct
of Tiger, I had come to the resolution of making myself heard at all
events by those on board, or, if I could not succeed in this directly,
of trying to cut my way through the orlop deck. The half certainty which
I felt of being able to accomplish one

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