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Chapter 25

WE now found ourselves in the wide and desolate Antarctic Ocean, in
a latitude exceeding eighty-four degrees, in a frail canoe, and with
no provision but the three turtles. The long polar winter, too, could
not be considered as far distant, and it became necessary that we
should deliberate well upon the course to be pursued. There were six
or seven islands in sight belonging to the same group, and distant
from each other about five or six leagues; but upon neither of these
had we any intention to venture. In coming from the northward in the
_Jane Guy_ we had been gradually leaving behind us the severest
regions of ice-this, however little it maybe in accordance with the
generally received notions respecting the Antarctic, was a fact-
experience would not permit us to deny. To attempt, therefore,
getting back would be folly --- especially at so late a period of the
season. Only one course seemed to be left open for hope. We resolved
to steer boldly to the southward, where there was at least a
probability of discovering other lands, and more than a probability
of finding a still milder climate.

So far we had found the Antarctic, like the Arctic Ocean, peculiarly
free from violent storms or immoderately rough water; but our canoe
was, at best, of frail structure, although large, and we set busily
to work with a view of rendering her as safe as the limited means in
our possession would admit. The body of the boat was of no better
material than bark -the bark of a tree unknown. The ribs were of a
tough osier, well adapted to the purpose for which it was used. We
had fifty feet room from stem to stern, from four to six in breadth,
and in depth throughout four feet and a half-the boats thus differing
vastly in shape from those of any other inhabitants of the Southern
Ocean with whom civilized nations are acquainted. We never did
believe them the workmanship of the ignorant islanders who owned
them; and some days after this period discovered, by questioning our
captive, that they were in fact made by the natives of a group to the
southwest of the country where we found them, having fallen
accidentally into the hands of our barbarians. What we could do for
the security of our boat was very little indeed. Several wide rents
were discovered near both ends, and these we contrived to patch up
with pieces of woollen jacket. With the help of the superfluous
paddles, of which there were a great many, we erected a kind of
framework about the bow, so as to break the force of any seas which
might threaten to fill us in that quarter. We also set up two
paddle-blades for masts, placing them opposite each other, one by
each gunwale, thus saving the necessity of a yard. To these masts we
attached a sail made of our shirts-doing this with some difficulty,
as here we could get no assistance from our prisoner whatever,
although he bad been willing enough to labor in all the other
operations. The sight of the linen seemed to affect him in a very
singular manner. He could not be prevailed upon to touch it or go
near it, shuddering when we attempted to force him, and shrieking
out, _"Tekeli-li!"_

Having completed our arrangements in regard to the security of the
canoe, we now set sail to the south-southeast for the present, with
the view of weathering the most southerly of the group in sight. This
being done, we turned the bow full to the southward. The weather
could by no means be considered disagreeable. We had a prevailing
andvery gentle wind from the northward, a smooth sea, and continual
daylight. No ice whatever was to be seen; _nor did I ever see one
particle of this after leaving the parallel of Bennet's Islet.
_Indeed, the temperature of the water was here far too warm for its
existence in any quantity. Having killed the largest of our
tortoises, 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 of the surface;
these, we at length noticed, were always preceded by wild flickerings
in the region of vapor to the southward.

_March 4th._-To-day, with the view of widening our sail, the breeze
from the northward dying away perceptibly, I took from my coat-pocket
a white handkerchief. Nu-Nu was seated at my elbow, and the linen
accidentally flaring in his face, he became violently affected with
convulsions. These were succeeded by drowsiness and stupor, and low
murmurings of _"'Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!"_

_March _5th.-The wind had entirely ceased, but it was evident that we
were still hurrying on to the southward, under the influence of a
powerful current. And now, -indeed, it would seem reasonable that we
should experience some alarm at the turn events were taking-but we
felt none. The countenance of Peters indicated nothing of this
nature, although it wore at times an expression I could not fathom.
The polar winter appeared to be coming on--but coming without its
terrors. I felt a numbness of body and mind--a dreaminess of
sensation but this was all.

_March 6th._-The gray vapor had now arisen many more degrees above
the horizon, and was gradually losing its grayness of tint. The heat
of the water was extreme, even unpleasant to the touch, and its milky
hue was more evident than ever. Today a violent agitation of the
water occurred very close to the canoe. It was attended, as usual,
with a wild flaring up of the vapor at its summit, and a momentary
division at its base. A fine white powder, resembling ashes-but
certainly not such-fell over the canoe and over a large surface of
the water, as the flickering died away among the vapor and the
commotion subsided in the sea. Nu-Nu now threw himself on his face in
the bottom of the boat, and no persuasions could induce him to arise.

_March 7th._-This day we questioned Nu-Nu concerning the motives of
his countrymen in destroying our companions; but he appeared to be
too utterly overcome by terror to afford us any rational reply. He
still obstinately lay in the bottom of the boat; and, upon
reiterating the questions as to the motive, made use only of idiotic
gesticulations, such as raising with his forefinger the upper lip,
and displaying the teeth which lay beneath it. These were black. We
had never before seen the teeth of an inhabitant of Tsalal.

_March 8th._-To-day there floated by us one of the white animals
whose appearance upon the beach at Tsalal had occasioned so wild a
commotion among the savages. I would have picked it up, but there
came over me a sudden listlessness, and 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
the papers, if ultimately found, will be given to the public.

No means have been left untried to remedy the deficiency. The
gentleman whose name is mentioned in the preface, and who, from the
statement there made, might be supposed able to fill the vacuum, has
declined the task-this, for satisfactory reasons connected with the
general inaccuracy of the details afforded him, and his disbelief in
the entire truth of the latter portions of the narration. Peters,
from whom some information might be expected, is still alive, and a
resident of Illinois, but cannot be met with at present. He may
hereafter be found, and will, no doubt, afford material for a
conclusion of Mr. Pym's account.

The loss of two or three final chapters (for there were but two or
three) is the more deeply to be regretted, as it can not be doubted
they contained matter relative to the Pole itself, or at least to
regions in its very near proximity; and as, too, the statements of
the author in relation to these regions may shortly be verified or
contradicted by means of the governmental expedition now preparing
for the Southern Ocean.

On one point in the narrative some remarks may well be offered; and
it would afford the writer of this appendix much pleasure if what he
may here observe should have a tendency to throw credit, in any
degree, upon the very singular pages now published. We allude to the
chasms found in the island of Tsalal, and to the whole of the figures
upon pages 245-47 {of the printed edition -ed.}.

Mr. Pym has given the figures of the chasms without comment, and
speaks decidedly of the _indentures _found at the extremity of the
most easterly of these chasms as having but a fanciful resemblance to
alphabetical characters, and, in short, as being positively _not
such. _This assertion is made in a manner so simple, and sustained by
a species of demonstration so conclusive (viz., the fitting of the
projections of the fragments found among the dust into the indentures
upon the wall), that we are forced to believe the writer in earnest;
and no reasonable reader should suppose otherwise. But as the facts
in relation to all the figures are most singular (especially when
taken in connection with statements made in the body of the
narrative), it may be as well to say a word or two concerning them
all-this, too, the more especially as the facts in question have,
beyond doubt, escaped the attention of Mr. Poe.

Figure 1, then, figure 2, figure 3, and figure 5, when conjoined with
one another in the precise order which the chasms themselves
presented, and when deprived of the small lateral branches or arches
(which, it will be remembered, served only as a means of
communication between the main chambers, and were of totally distinct
character), constitute an Ethiopian verbal root-the root {image} "To
be shady,'-- whence all the inflections of shadow or darkness.

In regard to the "left or most northwardly" of the indentures in
figure 4, it is more than probable that the opinion of Peters was
correct, and that the hieroglyphical appearance was really the work
of art, and intended as the representation of a human form. The
delineation is before the reader, and he may, or may not, perceive
the resemblance suggested; but the rest of the indentures afford
strong confirmation of Peters' idea. The upper range is evidently the
Arabic verbal root {image}. "To be white," whence all the inflections
of brilliancy and whiteness. The lower range is not so immediately
perspicuous. The characters are somewhat broken and disjointed;
nevertheless, it can not be doubted that, in their perfect state,
they formed the full Egyptian word {image}. "The region of the
south.' It should be observed that these interpretations confirm the
opinion of Peters in regard to the "most northwardly" of the,
figures. The arm is outstretched toward the south.

Conclusions such as these open a wide field for speculation and
exciting conjecture. They should be regarded, perhaps, in connection
with some of the most faintly detailed incidents of the narrative;
although in no visible manner is this chain of connection complete.
Tekeli-li! was the cry of the affrighted natives of Tsalal upon
discovering the carcase of the _white _animal picked up at sea. This
also was the shuddering exclamatives of Tsalal upon discovering the
carcass of the _white _materials in possession of Mr. Pym. This also
was the shriek of the swift-flying, _white, _and gigantic birds which
issued from the vapory _white _curtain of the South. Nothing _white
_was to be found at Tsalal, and nothing otherwise in the subsequent
voyage to the region beyond. It is not impossible that "Tsalal," the
appellation of the island of the chasms, may be found, upon minute
philological scrutiny, to betray either some alliance with the chasms
themselves, or some reference to the Ethiopian characters so
mysteriously written in their windings.

_"I have graven it within the hills, and my vengeance upon the dust
within the rock."_

~~~ End of text Chapter 25 ~~~

Notes

{*1} Whaling vessels are usually fitted with iron oil-tanks- why the
_Grampus_ was not I have never been able to ascertain.

{*2} The case of the brig _Polly_, of Boston, is one so much in
point, and her fate, in many respects, so remarkably similar to our
own, that I cannot forbear alluding to it here. This vessel, of one
hundred and thirty tons burden, sailed from Boston, with a cargo of
lumber and provisions, for Santa Croix, on the twelfth of December,
1811, under the command of Captain Casneau. There were eight souls on
board besides the captain- the mate, four seamen, and the cook,
together with a Mr. Hunt, and a negro girl belonging to him. On the
fifteenth, having cleared the shoal of Georges, she sprung a leak in
a gale of wind from the southeast, and was finally capsized; but, the
masts going by the board, she afterward righted. They remained in
this situation, without fire, and with very little provision, for the
period of one hundred and ninety-one days (from December the
fifteenth to June the twentieth), when Captain Casneau and Samuel
Badger, the only survivors, were taken off the wreck by the Fame, of
Hull, Captain Featherstone, bound home from Rio Janeiro. When picked
up, they were in latitude 28 degrees N., longitude 13 degrees W.,
having drifted above two thousand miles! On the ninth of July the
Fame fell in with the brig Dromero, Captain Perkins, who landed the
two sufferers in Kennebeck. The narrative from which we gather these
details ends in the following words:

"It is natural to inquire how they could float such a vast
distance, upon the most frequented part of the Atlantic, and not be
discovered all this time. They were passed by more than a dozen sail,
one of which came so nigh them that they could distinctly see the
people on deck and on the rigging looking at them; but, to the
inexpressible disappointment of the starving and freezing men, they
stifled the dictates of compassion, hoisted sail, and cruelly
abandoned them to their fate."

{*3} Among the vessels which at various times have professed to meet
with the Auroras may be mentioned the ship San Miguel, in 1769; the
ship Aurora, in 1774; the brig Pearl, in 1779; and the ship Dolores,
in 1790. They all agree in giving the mean latitude fifty-three
degrees south.

{*4} The terms morning and evening, which I have made use of to avoid
confusion in my narrative, as far as possible, must not, of course,
be taken in their ordinary sense. For a long time past we had had no
night at all, the daylight being continual. The dates throughout are
according to nautical time, and the bearing must be understood as per
compass. I would also remark, in this place, that I cannot, in the
first portion of what is here written, pretend to strict accuracy in
respect to dates, or latitudes and longitudes, having kept no regular
journal until after the period of which this first portion treats. In
many instances I have relied altogether upon memory.

{*5} This day was rendered remarkable by our observing in the south
several huge wreaths of the grayish vapour I have spoken of.

{*6} The marl was also black; indeed, we noticed no light colored
substances of any kind upon the island.

{*7}For obvious reasons I cannot pretend to strict accuracy in these
dates. They are given principally with a view to perspicity of
narrative, and as set down in my pencil memorandum..

Edgar Allan Poe

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