Saturday, May 30, 2009

On account of the singular character of the water, we refused to taste it, supposing it to be polluted...I am at a loss to give a distinct idea of the nature of this liquid, and cannot do so without many words. Although it flowed with rapidity in all declivities where common water would do so, yet never, except when falling in a cascade, had it the customary appearance of limpidity...Where little declivity was found, it bore resemblance, as regards consistency, to a thick infusion of gum Arabic in common water. But this was only the least remarkable of its extraordinary qualities. It was not colorless, nor was it of any one uniform color--presenting to the eye, as it flowed, every possible shade of purple, like the hues of a changeable silk...Upon collecting a basinful, and allowing it so settle thoroughly, we perceived that the whole mass of liquid was made up of a number of distinct veins, each of a distinct hue, and that these veins did not commingle...Upon passing the blade of a knife athwart the veins, the water closed over it immediately, as with us, and also, in withdrawing it, all traces of the passage of the knife were instantly obliterated. If, however, the blade was passed down accurately between the two veins, a perfect separation was effected, which the power of cohesion did not immediately rectify.

--The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, Edgar Allan Poe (1837)



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home