Text: Burton R. Pollin, “Rodman (Notes and Comments),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. I: Imaginary Voyages (1981/1994), p. 520 (This material is protected by copyright)


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[page 582:]

NOTES AND COMMENTS

Note to the subtitle A: MAN] The credit for “the first passage” belongs, in actuality, to Alexander Mackenzie in 1793, not, of course, to Julius Rodman, as Poe indicates in 1.21. Poe, therefore, sets the date for Rodman’s expedition across the mountains in 1792.

Chapter l. — INTRODUCTORY A] The opening chapter of Poe’s presentation is not a part of the purported journal per se, but is an editorial preface or introduction, marking the publication of the journal in Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine of January 1840; Poe, therefore, signs this chapter, “EDS. G. M.” i.e., William Burton and Poe. His purpose is to establish the apparent authenticity of the journal which follows, since no public allusion was ever made either to the Rodman journal or expedition itself. Poe acknowledges as much in 1.6, where he describes it as “exceedingly strange” that even “the fact of the Rocky Mountains having been crossed by Mr. Rodman prior to the expedition of Lewis and Clarke, has never been made public, or at all alluded to in the works of any writer on American geography.” His qualification there is ironic. Poe must account for the extensive period in which the journal events have “lain perdus” (1.6), almost fifty years; hence the need for 1.1 to 1.6 — to survey “previous” explorations, to give a sense of historicity, and to deny the credit of the “first passage” to anyone but Rodman.

1.1A relation] Given in the OED under 2 as “a narrative, account, statement.” It is a seemingly old-fashioned word, with only two modern citations, of 1802 and 1891.

1.1B south] Poe need not have had Keats’s famous sonnet in mind since the term “Darien” appears to have been used interchangeably in the 1820s and 1830s with “Panama” for the Isthmus. John Blake’s A Geographical, Chronological, and Historical Atlas (New York, 1826) calls it the Isthmus of “Panama or Darien”; likewise, A Complete Historical, Chronological, and Geographical American Atlas (Philadelphia: Carey and Lea, 1823). The 1823 Carey and Lea atlas considers the “Rocky Mountains” in North America as a “continuation of the Andes. It extends from South America, over the Isthmus of Darien, . . . till it terminates . . . on the Frozen Ocean, in about latitude 70°.” See in Washington Irving’s Astoria, or Anecdotes of an Enterprise Beyond the Rocky Mountains (Philadelphia: Carey, Lea, and Blanchard, 1836): “It [the Big Horn chain] was a part of the great system of granite mountains which forms one of the most important and striking features of North America, stretching parallel to the coast of the Pacific from the Isthmus of Panama almost to the Arctic ocean; and presenting a corresponding chain to that of the Andes in the southern hemisphere” (chap. 27, 1:209; reprint ed., Philadelphia, 1961). All subsequent references to Astoria will be to this reprint of the 1836 edition: Washington Irving, Astoria, or Anecdotes of an Enterprise Beyond the Rocky Mountains, ed. William H. Goetzman (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1961), hereinafter cited as Astoria. [page 583:]

1.1C mountains] In actuality, Rodman’s journal does not describe these exploits. Rodman’s journal abruptly breaks off with the June issue, after the publication of only six chapters, including the Introduction, leaving Julius Rodman and his party located upon the upper reaches of the Missouri, still east of the Rocky Mountains, in 1792 (see 1.2D). Regarding the immense territory beyond the mountains which is “untravelled and unknown” see 1.7-8A. For “tour” the OED, under 3, gives “a going or travelling from place to place; and excursion or journey including the visiting of a number of places in a circuit or sequence.” None of the citations indicates an expedition for the purpose of exploration in unknown territory. See also Poe’s “tourist” in 1.3A and note 1.18A for “tour.”

1.1D attention] The only pre-1849 instance given by the OED for “unction” as “real enjoyment or appreciation” is Scott’s 1815 “comic unction.” The italics usually indicate Poe’s belief that the word is unusual or coined by him (q.v. in Poe, Creator of Words, p. 15).

1.1E kind] The hyphenated form of “luke-warm” is given only for the seventeenth century by the OED, with no modern instances. Poe’s trying to prejudice the reader through anticipation of a narrative of “romantic fervor” against most such “records” is amusing, since many of these accounts were enthusiastic, novel, and colorful in the writing, including those of Mackenzie, Lewis and Clark, and Irving, passages from which, borrowed verbatim, would render Rodman’s account interesting and “entertaining.”

1.1F hypochondria] Rodman’s “hereditary hypochondria” is here given as the prime incentive of the journey, with others added later (2.1-2). Poe found the suggestion in the brief memoir entitled “Life of Captain Lewis,” written by Thomas Jefferson for the first edition of the History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark, to the Sources of the Missouri, Thence across the Rocky Mountains and down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean (Philadelphia: Bradford & Inskeep,1814): “Governor Lewis had, from early life, been subject to hypochondriac affections. It was a constitutional disposition in all the nearer branches of the family of his name, and was more immediately inherited by him from his father. . . . While he lived with me in Washington I observed at times sensible depressions of mind: but knowing their constitutional source, I estimated their course by what I had seen in the family” (l:xxvii). (All subsequent references by page to this historical work pertain to the three-volume reprint by Archibald Hanna of the original 1814 edition: Meriwether Lewis, The Lewis and Clark Expedition, ed. Archibald Hanna [Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1961], hereinafter cited as History. In Jefferson’s view, Lewis’ “sensible depressions of mind,” were primarily responsible for his suicide in 1809 — well after his return from the expedition, it should be noted; similarly, Rodman’s disease endows him with a “morbid sensibility” (1.4), which is presumably corrected by the curative journey. In Poe’s day, hypochondria was thought to be a male counterpart, often hereditary, of the female “hysteria” and cognate with “melancholia.” The long, excellent summarizing article on “hypochondriasis” in Rees’s Cyclopaedia of 1819 (vol. 18) ascribes it to a “deranged state of bodily health, especially of the organs of digestion” which results in “listlessness, or want of resolution and activity. . . . a lowness of spirits, sadness, and timidity.” The treatment is “amusement in the open air . . . sport and hunting, moderate exercise” — all of which “abstract the attention of the mind from its [page 584:] erroneous perceptions.” Clearly, Rodman’s journey is an appropriate remedy, which banishes all symptoms of the disease throughout the expedition. Notice Usher’s “family evil” of a “nervous affection” in the tale of September 1839. In the same issue of Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine in Poe’s article, “A Chapter on Field Sports and Manly Pastimes” (see Ostrom, Letters [Cambridge, Mass., 1948], p. 120, and also BGM, October installment, 5:220-26, beginning reference to authorship of September entry), a paragraph on “hypochondriacal, and all other melancholy disorders” recommends, as curative, “putting the blood into action” through “exercise.”

1.1G men] Poe derived his almost contradictory conception of Rodman’s character also from Irving’s portrayal of Captain Bonneville in The Rocky Mountains: or, Scenes, Incidents, and Adventures in the Far West; Digested from the Journal of Captain B. L. E. Bonneville (Philadelphia, 1837; hereafter cited under “Captain Bonneville” or “Bonneville”). Upon the completion of his 1832-1835 expedition, Bonneville rewrote and extended his traveling notes, subsequently putting them at Irving’s disposal and requesting the latter’s assistance in fitting them for publication. The result, published by Irving in 1837, is substantially digested from Bonneville’s notes and yet, according to Irving, further illustrated from other sources. Irving emphasizes the regret with which Bonneville returned to “the thronged resorts” of civilized life, the “contentment and inward satisfaction” which Bonneville had found amid the wilderness and which, for him, were entirely lacking among the splendors of a metropolis. Near the conclusion Irving quotes directly from Captain Bonneville:

“Though the prospect,” says he, “of once more tasting the blessings of peaceful society, and passing days and nights under the calm guardianship of the laws, was not without its attractions; yet to those of us whose whole lives had been spent in the stirring excitement and perpetual watchfulness of adventures in the wilderness, the change was far from promising an increase of that contentment and inward satisfaction most conducive to happiness. He who, like myself, has roved almost from boyhood among the children of the forest, and over the unfurrowed plains and rugged heights of the western states, will not be startled to learn, that notwithstanding all the fascinations of the world on this civilized side of the mountains, I would fain make my bow to the splendors and gayeties of the metropolis, and plunge again amidst the hardships and perils of the wilderness.” (2:236-37)

For further parallels between Rodman and Bonneville see notes to 1.5, 2.17, 5.7 and 8.

1.1H friend] Note the parallel between Rodman’s character and apparent motivation and those of Hans Pfaall: “I determined to depart, yet live — to leave the world, yet continue to exist — in short, to drop enigmas, I resolved, let what would ensue, to force a passage, if I could, to the moon . . .” (para. 22). The implicit contrast between the utilitarian and the poetic as indicated above in the characterization of Rodman would reappear in “Monos and Una” of 1841 (para. 12). The word “desert” as substantive, meaning “any wild, uninhabited region, including forest-land” is considered obsolete since it now connotes “a desolate, barren region, waterless and treeless.” Poe obviously is using poetic and paradoxical rhetoric. See also Pym, 2.12 and 2.12E.

1.2A sisters]  The year of the Rodman’s emigration to America, 1784, and even [page 585:] the wording most likely were borrowed by Poe from Irving’s account of Astoria of the emigration of John Jacob Astor to America. “Determined . . . to seek his fortunes in the rising country,” Astor arrived in Hampton Roads in January 1784. Proceeding to New York, and investing the “proceeds of his merchandise in furs,” Astor sailed from New York to London in 1784, “disposed of them advantageously, made himself further acquainted with the course of the trade, and returned the same year to New York, with a view to settle in the United States” (Astoria, chap. 2; 1:13-14). In Poe’s 1837 SLM review of Astoria he summarizes the account.

1.2B Kentucky]  This family history sounds obviously fabricated. It makes assertions which are either undermined in chap. 2 or which are historically improbable. First, it seems strange that he, his father, and his two maiden sisters should leave a family “of excellent standing” and emigrate to America without indicated motivation. After first settling in New York, why should they make their way to Kentucky to live as hermits (all four!) ? Yet in 2.1 Poe suggests rather close relations between the Rodman family and their neighbors, the Junôts. Apparently by chap. 2 Poe was envisaging the Rodman family as engaged in a more socially oriented mode of life. But this shift implies a change or a confusion in his conception of life in southwestern Kentucky in 1791, for in 2.1 Rodman alludes to his selling the plantation, “at a complete sacrifice,” to M. Junot; that is, between 1785 (ca.) and 1791, or six years, the hermitage along the Mississippi has grown into a “plantation.” While the term may refer, generally, to any homestead, farm, or estate, its particular geographical location usually brings added connotations. The Dictionary of American English, ed. Sir William A. Craigie (1942) points out: “As a rule, in New England and the North, plantations were moderate in size, and were worked by their owners, with or without hired help. In the South plantations often embraced hundreds or thousands of acres, and were devoted to raising tobacco, cotton, rice and sugar cane, largely by slave labor.” Poe hints at this by including in Rodman’s expeditionary party a “negro belonging to Pierre Junôt, named Toby” (2.8), “in old M. Junôt’s family for a great number of years.” Poe is extending a plantation conception of Southern life of 1840 into the late 1780s, that is, the wilderness-frontier-early settlement period of Kentucky history. The earliest white settlements in Kentucky were established in 1775 at Harrodsburg and Boonesboro, only nine years prior to the arrival of the Rodman family in New York. In 1776, the Virginia Assembly created Kentucky County, practically coterminous with the present state. In 1780, Kentucky County was divided into Fayette, Jefferson, and Lincoln counties, and in 1783 the name of Kentucky was given to the judicial district which was then organized for these counties. The initial period, the 1770s and early 1780s, was marked by continual strife with the Indians (ended in 1782) and thus the necessity of living within fortified stockades. Further, it was only in 1792, two years after the death of old Mr. Rodman, that Kentucky was admitted into the Union as a State (Kentucky [New York, 1939], pp. 35-40). At the time of the Rodman’s establishment in Kentucky during the 1780s, Kentucky was still a part of Virginia. “A few of the pioneers from Virginia brought their slaves when they migrated to the West, but as a rule the earliest settlers did not own slaves, since they were poor and slave property was a luxury. Such slaves as were brought into the Kentucky country in the early days were usually affectionately attached to the house [page 586:] hold through long years of service” (Kentucky, p. 72). In short, Poe’s use of the term “plantation” is anachronistic for 1792, but not for 1840, as we see in his reference, in a letter of November 2, 1844, to the “host of well-educated . . . but little prejudiced men” on “the innumerable plantations in our vast Southern & Western Countries” (Ostrom, Letters, 1:268). See also its conventional use for the Bessop plantation with its “ancient manor-house” in “The Gold-Bug.”

1.2C river]  Regarding the area of Mills’ Point, this region of Kentucky — the westernmost section of the state — is known as the Jackson Purchase from its having been bought from the Chickasaw Indians and is bounded by the Tennessee, Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers, and the Tennessee state line. While Poe, in part, protects himself by stating that the Rodman family settled “near where Mills’ Point now makes into the river,” he subsequently neglects this precaution and refers to their habitation as being at Mills’ Point (see 2.1 and 2.8). There was no Mills’ Point, nor presumably any other permanent white settlement, in the area, circa 1790.

The site where the Rodman family settled, “known first as Mills Point [note, without the apostrophe], was settled in 1819 by James Mills whose cabin home became a shipping point for the Mississippi River trade” (Kentucky, p, 328). Still more ironically, by 1840, Mills Point had for six years been known as Hickman: “In 1834 a large part of the area was purchased by a Tennessee settler who named it Hickman in honor of his wife’s family” (Kentucky, p. 328). The town is still called Hickman today and serves the surrounding agricultural area as a shipping point. Thus, Poe must have derived his knowledge of Mills Point from a source dating between 1819 and 1834. The town, too small to be found on most maps of the 1820s and 1830s, had a population of only 500 in the year 1840. Among numerous atlases to which Poe might have had access, Mills Point appears only upon a map of Kentucky and Tennessee contained in A View of the Valley of the Mississippi or the Emigrants’ and Travellers’ Guide to the West (Philadelphia: H. S. Tanner, 1834). Mills Point appears on the Mississippi in Kentucky about halfway between New Madrid, Missouri, further down the river on the opposite shore, and Columbus, Kentucky, on the same side of the river further up. The town of Hickman is mentioned by Samuel Clemens in the concluding paragraph of chap. 25 in Life on the Mississippi.

1.2D 1794]  In stating this date, Poe leaves enough time for his hero to cross the mountains and explore the Yukon Territory, in the far north of Canada, although at the end of chap. 6 he is still in Montana, with only six more chapters to go, according to the January 1840 cover-notice of Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, which stipulates monthly journal articles concluding with December 1840 (q.v. in William Nelson’s note, Magazine of American History, March 1891, 25:255-56). Apparently Poe planned summaries of long treks in Canada, but he has forgotten that Mackenzie returns from his explorations in 1793 (see 1.16), thereby meriting the claim that he was the first, before Rodman. Had the whole work achieved book-publication, he would have altered the date, as he had altered those in the magazine installments in the 1838 text of Pym. Abingdon, in southwest Virginia near the Tennessee border, was then a very small, insecure town, incorporated only in 1778.

1.2E live]  A few words are needed concerning Julius Rodman’s ancestry or ethnic background, since a misconception has been propagated by Stuart Levine in “Poe’s Julius Rodman: Judaism, Plagiarism, and the Wild West,” Midwest [page 587:] Quarterly, Spring 1960, 1:245-59, which assumes that Rodman’s being a “Jewish hero” motivates his quest for isolation from society and reflects Poe’s being a romantic “outsider” (see Leslie Fiedler’s phrase for Rodman as an “oddly semitic alter ego of Poe” in The Return of the Vanishing American, p. 132). Mr. Levine offers, as sole evidence, a sentence in Poe’s footnote to 2.10: “His physiognomy was of a Jewish cast, his lips thin, and his complexion saturnine.” Poe means no more than characteristic Hebrew features, as he thought, especially the nose, which he described as Hebrew and “delicate” in “Mystification” (1:295), “The Visionary” (1:156), “Ligeia” (1:328: also n. 6), and “Usher” (1:398), where the characters are not Jews. There is, however, an element of contempt for Jews in “A Tale of Jerusalem” (1:41 ff.) and “Epimanes” (1:117 ff.) and real contempt in “Model Verses,” no. 8 (p. 394), and “The Business Man” (1:482). In these two paragraphs of “Rodman” the notion is refuted by references to good standing and good education in England — not available to Jews in the eighteenth century; to the use of the name “James,” almost never used by Jews; and later (2.1) to the intended and accepted marriage of Jane Rodman to a probably Catholic French Canadian family’s scion. “Julius Rodman,” accepted as a Jewish name by Mr. Levine, is probably derived from that of the author of The Culprit Fay, reviewed by Poe in the April 1836 Messenger, i.e., Dr. Joseph Rodman Drake, of a distinguished New York family; the praenomen “Julius” is no more Semitic than is Augustus, a name conferred upon Pym’s companion and other Poe characters (see Pym, 1.1F). Evelyn Hinz interprets “Julius” as an avatar of the archetypal conqueror of the West, “Julius Caesar,” and less tenably derives “Rodman” from “the biblical searcher for new land, Aaron, the rod-man” (Nineteenth-Century Fiction, December 1972, 27:330). That Julius Rodman is by no means a typical or likely Jewish name is confirmed by Zvonko R. Rode, authority in the related area of onomastics.

1.3A accomplished]  Here and in 1.2 Poe attempts to account for the rather long passage of time between the date of Rodman’s journey (1791-1794) and the public appearance of the journal itself which describes it (1840). Hence, Rodman kept only an “outline diary” of his trip, the present journal having been “written out . . . many years afterwards.” Presumably Rodman’s “romantic fervor” lingered beyond youth. The subsequent explanatory references in this paragraph to both Michaux (whose name Poe misspells) and to Mr. Jefferson are derived by Poe by close paraphrase from Jefferson’s memoir, entitled “Life of Captain Lewis,” as contained in the 1814 edition of The History of the Expedition under the Command of Lewis and Clark (entirely without accents)

But Mr. Andre Michaux, a professed botanist, author of the Flora Boreal i-Americana, and of the Histoire des Chesnes d‘Amerique, offering his services, they were accepted. He received his instructions, and when he had reached Kentucky in the prosecution of his journey, he was overtaken by an order from the minister of France, then at Philadelphia, to relinquish the expedition, and to pursue elsewhere the botanical inquiries on which he was employed by that government: and thus failed the second attempt for exploring that region. (Lewis and Clark, l:xviii)

In fact, it was not “botanical inquiries” pursued “elsewhere” that called him back but being given (with Stephen Drayton) charge of the filibustering expedition [page 588:] organized by “Citizen” Genet, minister of France, in 1793, against the Spanish government of Louisiana. The collapse of the conspiracy, under strong Administration disapproval, freed Michaux to exercise his botanical expertise in trips from his home in Charleston up to Chicago and down through Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina during 1794-1796, as recorded in his Journals, published posthumously (France, 1804 and 1808, and, in English, London, 1805; reprinted in Thwaite’s Travels West of the Alleghanies, vol. 3 [1904]). In December 1797, Michaux returned, with his collections, to France, never to revisit America and dying in Madagascar in 1802. These facts become relevant to Poe’s use of Michaux as an intermediary with Rodman (below). Considered as major contributions were his Histoire des chênes de l‘Amirique (1801) and the Latin text, Flora Boreali-Americana (1803). Preceding the introductory memoir by Jefferson, in the 1814 edition of Lewis and Clark’s journal, is a two-page preface by Paul Allen giving the history of the manuscript. As Archibald Hanna, the 1961 editor of the reprint, succinctly says: “The work . . . of 1814 consists then of Lewis’s journals, supplemented by those of Clark, edited and cast into narrative form by [Nicholas] Biddle, and finally revised by Allen” (1:xii). Poe roughly followed the format in substituting his initial “editorial” chapter for the two “introductions.” Polly Crawford in her study of the work as a source of Rodman, UTSE, 1932, 12:158-70, also suggests Poe’s deriving from them the long delay in the publication of the journal, the use of field notes, and the death of the explorer before publication. (Yet the last two elements are found also in Pym.)

The word “tourist” for “explorer” has no sanction in the OED, in which the earliest instances — of 1800, 1803, and 1824 — signify simply “traveller.” For the word “tour” in the title of a possible source, see 1.8A.

There are two instances of defective type in two commas in this paragraph, the first between “diary” and “until” and the second after “Philadelphia.” The second resembles a period, even under magnification, but since it is followed by only one space and a word beginning with a lower case letter, with the earlier one showing a fleck of the vanished comma-tail, I print them both as obviously intended commas.

1.4A individual]  Poe presents a set of historically impossible facts which the fame of Michaux as botanist and brief cohort of Genêt might easily expose to the reader. Chapter 12 of Rodman would end with the hero’s return in 1794 (1.2); “many years afterward” he would write it “in detail” for Michaux (1.3-1) residing near Monticello. But by the end of 1796 Michaux had left America forever. Perhaps Poe was misled by the continued botanizing and publishing in America by the son, François Michaux. The intimate touch about Rodman’s observations to his “family” is also untenable, since these velleities could not be expressed later than 1803, when James Rodman was a boy less than ten years of age. Who else transmitted them to the editor of the magazine? We also wonder by whom the manuscript “was supposed to have been lost,” since Rodman himself never discussed his journey, took “little interest in the search” (who then instigated the search?), and is presented as genuinely wishing to oblige “M. Michau” (for there is no reason for the editors to be disingenuous in their report). It might be explained that no one knew the contents of the papers lost en route to Michau, especially since, in 1.6, Michau’s letter contains the sole allusion to the journey. Yet, how could Rodman “seem . . . to avoid the [page 589:] topic” of the journey unless someone, presumably in his family, raised the issue per se? As for the rigmarole about the secret drawer and death before the return of Lewis and Clark — at least one pair of readers seem to find that Poe is raising an issue of plagiarism through his mystification (E. Hinz and J. Teunissen, Nineteenth-Century Fiction, December 1972, 27:325). In attempting to render acceptable the composition and yet subsequent prolonged concealment of the journal, Poe attributes to Rodman a mode of behavior which is self-contradictory and incredible (see also 1.1F).

Throughout “Julius Rodman,” as in Pym (2.10) and in his Astoria review of the History of the Expedition, Poe misspells the name as “Clarke.” I leave it uncorrected.

1.5A day]  Rodman’s “romantic fervor” (in 1.1) and his “burning love of Nature” and “rapture” (below in 1.5) should logically have led him to fill out his journal at once rather than wait until years later when he refused even to talk about his journey (1.4); clearly Poe, in this prejudgment of his own style, fails adequately to account for it as emanating from the “saturnine” or “hypochondriacal” Rodman after his return. Contrast this “simplicity” with the imputedly convincing “uncouth” manner of presentation of Pym (Preface.2)

1.5B idiosyncrasy]  The term “affectionateness” relating to “manner,” both words italicized, is a favorite of Poe’s, appearing in “Mystification” (para. 6) and “William Wilson” (para. 14). Note that in the six chapters published Rodman undergoes no “hardships” personally, and those of his two men in 5.4-5 are handled briefly and perfunctorily, while the bear encounter (6.14-19) brings him “wild and savage pleasure.” The statement must be an augury of sufferings planned for the last half.

1.5C joy]  Rodman’s “morbid sensibility” is reminiscent of Pym’s feelings for the ocean as initially aroused by his conversations with Augustus; see Pym’s penchant for the “more terrible moments of suffering and despair. For the bright side of the picture I had a limited sympathy. . .” (2.1). This constitutes a totally new motive for Rodman’s journeying.

1.5D equalled]  Rodman’s “love of Nature . . . in her dreary and savage aspects” may derive from Captain Bonneville’s account of the Snake River country: “Wildness and sublimity . . . appear to be its prevailing characteristics. .. . Nothing . . . could for a moment compare in wild majesty and impressive sternness, with the series of scenes which here at every turn astonished our senses, and filled us with awe and delight.” “I would fain make my bow to the splendors and gayeties of the metropolis, and plunge amidst the hardships and perils of the wilderness” (pp. 420-21). Compare also Deuteronomy 1:19, “We went through all that great and terrible wilderness.”

1.6A it]  The whimsicality and inconsistency of earlier paragraphs prevail here in a “reference . . . said to be contained in a unpublished letter” from which exact words are quoted. Why is no date given? Why does Poe invent “Wyatt” when “Thomas Wyatt” was known in Philadelphia as a scientist and author with whom Poe had been associated for the production of two books, q.v. in J. J. Moldenhauer, AL, January 1971, 42:468-77? What does he mean by “collaterally,” which is reminiscent of Irving’s Introduction to Astoria: “I have . . . availed myself occasionally of collateral lights supplied by the published [page 590:] journals of other travellers. . .” as is mentioned by Evelyn J. Hinz, Nineteenth-Century Fiction, 27:317-38. The French word “perdu” or “lost” (used here in the plural) is a great favorite with Poe, as in the poem “A Valentine” and in “lying perdus” in his letter of November 2, 1844, cited at the end of 1.213.

1.7A and 8A therein]  These two paragraphs function as a passage of transition from the initial purpose of Poe’s editorial preface — that of establishing the validity of the journal proper — to his concluding objective — that of lending an aura of historical credibility to the expedition itself which the journal records. Therefore, Poe’s strategy in the concluding paragraphs of the chapter (1.9 to 1.21) is to simulate a wholly factual or realistic context by invoking “a map” to verify the territory “totally untravelled and unknown” (1.1). As the area concerned involves the “North-Western portion of our continent” (l.7), the “possessions of Russia” can refer only to the present state of Alaska, which territory the United States would finally purchase from Russia in 1867. Obviously, Poe either has confused East with West or else has deliberately inverted directions in order to confuse or further hoodwink his readers. In 1789, Mackenzie, as Poe points out in 1.16, had already journeyed to the Polar Sea “along the bottom of the eastern declivity of the Rocky Mountains, but never crossed these barriers.” Rodman’s distinction lies in his having crossed these mountains prior to his purported trip to the Arctic. Granting this remarkable error on Poe’s part, we must consider Poe’s contention that in 1840 it “is still marked upon all our maps as unexplored” (1.8). The area which Poe designates corresponds roughly to what is today the Yukon Territory. Its southern boundary is, interestingly enough, Poe’s sixtieth parallel of latitude and its western boundary — separating it from Alaska — is drawn along the 141st meridian of longitude. Its eastern boundary mainly follows the drainage divide between the tributaries of the Yukon River and the Mackenzie River of the Northwest Territories. There were many atlases and maps which Poe might have employed in locating an “unexplored” area of the North American continent a “tour” of which he could claim for Julius Rodman. On all of them the Yukon Territory is devoid of marking, but is not marked “unexplored” (see maps in contemporary atlases presented by Arrowsmith and Lewis, J. Pinkerton, J. Hart, S. G. Goodrich, and J. Olney). Two conclusions may be offered: (1) The area to which Poe refers was then generally regarded in geographical circles as devoid of any permanent white settlements and as having still to be systematically and scientifically explored. (2) However, the lack of information about Russian exploration from the West, as well as about the activity of British fur traders, and trappers from the East, precluded any definitive statement as to the region’s having been “totally untravelled and unknown.” For lack of any specific evidence to the contrary, Poe apparently felt quite confident in making the latter assertion about the area, which was the only one in North America about which such claims could still be made in 1840. In actuality, Poe’s assertions would seem correct. “The Yukon was the last major land mass of Canada to be explored” (Encyclopedia Britannica, [1973], 23:933). With only six chapters scheduled after the six published, how could Poe have brought Rodman through this remote area when he has not even crossed the American Rocky Mountains in 6.18?

1.9A fully]  From this point to 1.21, Poe develops a web of historical allusions [page 591:] to give an aura of credibility to the Rodman journey. Poe’s source for this brief reference has not been located, but it is faulty in the date and location. Credit belongs more properly to Joseph Marquette and Robert de La Salle. In the 1831 Encyclopaedia Americana, Louis Hennepin is described as a French friar, missionary, and traveler in North America who arrived in Canada in 1675: “Between that period and 1682, he explored the region afterwards called Louisiana, and returning to Europe, published an account of his researches. . .” (1829-1833), 6:238-39. John Pinkerton’s Modern Geography, vol. 2, (London, 1817) states: “The falls of St. Anthony, in about latitude 45°, received their name from Father Louis Hennepin, a French missionary, who travelled in these parts about the year 1680, and was the first European ever seen by the natives” (p. 224). Finally we note: “In 1675 he went to Canada in company with. . . La Salle, whose chaplain he became in 1678. In 1679 Hennepin accompanied La Salle on his expedition through the Great Lakes to the region of Illinois. They reached the site of Peoria in January 1680 and built Fort Crevecoeur there. . . . Returning to France in 1682, he published . . . a full account of his exploits. . . . After La Salle’s death (1687), however, he brought out a revised account, Nouvelle découverte d‘un très grand pays situe dans l‘Amérique [1697], English translation 1698” (Encyclopedia Britannica, [1973], 11:356-57). Note that 1698 is actually the year in which the English translation was published.

1.10A mistaken]  With this paragraph Poe, as “editor” of the manuscript journal, begins playing his whimsical games with certain of his own principal sources, to enhance the appearance of historicity, primacy of exploration, and superior authority. Poe’s censure of Irving as “mistaken” is so flagrant and daring a distortion of a passage that we must remind ourselves that “Rodman” was being published anonymously. Irving’s initial words were: “As early as 1763 . . . Carver. . . projected a journey across the continent between the forty-third and forty-sixth degrees of northern latitude, to the shores of the Pacific ocean” (Astoria, chap. 3; 1:19). The rest of the passage (see 1.10D) Poe uses to fill out his own paragraph (except for the added words about Mackenzie in sentence 1, q.v. in I.10B).

1.10B extant]  The journal of Sir Alexander Mackenzie is entitled Voyages from Montreal, on the River St. Laurence, Through the Continent of North America, To the Frozen and Pacific Oceans: In the Years 1789 and 1793, With a Preliminary Account of the Rise, Progress, and Present State of the Fur Trade of That Country. (All references to Mackenzie’s Voyages [London, 1801] will be to the first American edition, which Poe most likely used [New York: G. F. Hopkins, 1802]). Mackenzie’s work consists of three principal sections: an introductory account, entitled: “A General History of the Fur Trade from Canada to the North-West” (pp. 1-94); the journal of his first expedition, of 1789, and the journal of his second expedition, of 1793. The statement of 1.10 is in the first or introductory section of Voyages, source of all Poe’s borrowings from Mackenzie. Poe has misconstrued the passage to which he refers (apparently followed by Wayne Kime in “Poe’s Use of Mackenzie’s Voyages in The Journal of Julius Rodman,” Western American Literature, 1968, 3:61-67, an article which competently traces almost all Poe’s borrowings discussed below). Poe apparently assumes that these two expeditions were deputed by the “Hudson Bay Fur Company”; however, the immediate context of Mackenzie suggests [page 592:] that these two expeditions were set on foot by the French merchants of Canada, whose relations with the British Hudson’s Bay Company manifested considerable friction over alleged infringements of territorial rights. Mackenzie states:

But notwithstanding all the restrictions with which commerce was oppressed under the French government, the fur trade was extended to the immense distance which has been already stated and surmounted many most discouraging difficulties, which will be hereafter noticed; while, at the same time, no exertions were made from Hudson’s Bay to obtain even a share of the trade of a country which, according to the charter of that company, belonged to it, and, from its proximity, is so much more accessible to the mercantile adventurer.

Of these trading commanders, I understood, that two attempted to penetrate to the Pacific Ocean, but the utmost extent of their journey I could never learn; which may be attributed, indeed, to a failure of the undertaking.

For some time after the conquest of Canada, this trade was suspended, which must have been very advantageous to the Hudson’s Bay Company, as all the inhabitants to the Westward of Lake Superior, were obliged to go to them for such articles as their habitual use had rendered necessary. (Voyages, p. 5)

The “trading commanders” in question could not have belonged to the Hudson’s Bay Company. Mr. Kime rightly points out that Poe, “apparently having manufactured two arbitrary dates, attributes them to an author who might have provided this variety of special information, but who in the present instance did not” (Kime, pp. 62-63).

1.10C ocean]  Poe here preserves the exact spelling of “north-west” from the source-text in Astoria (see 1.101)), although in this instance it is often capitalized. He is inconsistent hereafter in his spelling of compound compass directions, as in “southwest” (1.20), “south-western” (3.2), “south east and north west” (6.7)none being changed in this text. See also 2.3A for “North-West Company” and “Northwest Fur Company.” Similarly sentence 1 gives us “enterprises” and 1.12 “enterprize.”

1.10D mountains]  Poe now derives the lengthy remainder of this paragraph from Irving’s Astoria:

As early as 1763, shortly after the acquisition of the Canadas by Great Britain, Captain Jonathan Carver, who had been in the British provincial army, projected a journey across the continent between the forty-third and forty-sixth degrees of northern latitude, to the shores of the Pacific ocean. His objects were to ascertain the breadth of the continent at its broadest part, and to determine on some place on the shores of the Pacific, where government might establish a post to facilitate the discovery of a north-west passage, or a communication between Hudson’s bay and the Pacific ocean. This place he presumed would be somewhere about the straits of Annian, at which point he supposed the Oregon disembogued itself. It was his opinion, also, that a settlement on this extremity of America would disclose new sources of trade, promote many useful discoveries, and open a more direct communication with China and the English settlements in the East Indies, than that by the cape of Good Hope or the straits of Magellan. This enterprising and intrepid traveller was twice baffled in individual efforts to accomplish this great journey. (Astoria, chap. 3; 1:19-20) [page 593:]

Poe employs Irving’s phraseology with immaterial changes: a slight abridging of the content, a substituting of synonyms for the original terms, and — in one sentence — a rearrangement of syntax. He had already cited “to ascertain . . . Pacific Ocean” and summarized the rest of the passage in para. 6 of his January 1837 SLM review of Astoria. There too (para. 7) he correctly speaks of “the Hudson’s Bay . . . Company,” which name he carelessly misspells here despite the “Hudson’s Bay” of 1.10 and 1.11. The strait of Anion was a mythical passage between the Atlantic and Pacific, sought by the Spanish and associated with the Behring Strait and the Columbia River.

1.11A Ocean]  The specific source of information concerning Samuel Hearne is unknown. A brief reference to “Mr. Hearne” as having been “conducted” by Indians to the “copper-mine river” appears at the very beginning of Mackenzie’s first journal. A more detailed reference to Hearne exists in Henry R. Schoolcraft, Narrative Journal of Travels through the Northwestern Regions of the United States; Extending from Detroit through the Great Chain of American Lakes, to the Sources of the Mississippi River. In the Year 1820, ed. Mentor Williams (East Lansing, Michigan, 1953): “Between the years 1769 and 1772, Samuel Hearne performed a journey from Prince of Wales’s fort in Hudson’s bay, to the Coppermine River of the arctic ocean” (p. 30). Samuel Hearne’s Journey from Prince of Wales’ Fort to the Northern Ocean was published posthumously in 1795. It is not clear whether it is Poe or his source who is misinterpreting the “object” of Hearne’s journey, which was to promote trade, chiefly that of furs, with the northern Indians who with the Eskimos on the Coppermine River were utterly dependent upon copper for their weapons and implements (see Harold A. Innis, The Fur Trade of Canada [rev. ed. of 1962, New Haven, 1930], pp. 149-52).

1.12A revolution]  This paragraph is a close paraphrase of the following passage from Astoria:

In 1774, he [Carver] was joined in the scheme by Richard Whitworth, a member of parliament, and a man of wealth. Their enterprise was projected on a broad and bold plan. They were to take with them fifty or sixty men, artificers and mariners. With these they were to make their way up one of the branches of the Missouri, explore the mountains for the source of the Oregon, or river of the west, and sail down that river to its supposed exit near the straits of Annian. Here they were to erect a fort, and build the vessels necessary to carry their discoveries by sea into effect. Their plan had the sanction of the British government, and grants and other requisites were nearly completed, when the breaking out of the American revolution once more defeated the undertaking.’ (1:20)

* Carver’s Travels, p. 360, Phila. 1796.

1.13A 103, W]  This paragraph is derived from the Introduction to the Mackenzie’s Voyages: “But if these religious men did not attain the objects of their persevering piety, they were, during their mission, of great service to the commanders who engaged in those distant expeditions, and spread the fur trade as far West as the banks of the Saskatchiwine river, in 53 North latitude, and longitude 102 West” (Voyages, p. 4). The ambiguous nature of both syntax and punctuation [page 594:] in the Mackenzie passage may well have led Poe to assume that the subject of the verb “spread” is “these religious men,” which he changed to “Canadian missionaries”; yet, the context in which the above passage exists can only imply that Mackenzie meant the noun “commanders” to function as the subject of “spread.” Kime makes Poe’s assumption (p. 64). Note that Poe inserts the date 1775, which is not in Mackenzie, and respells “Saskatchiwine,” normalizing it according to his use in 4.3 (see 4.3A). The reference to Frobisher comes from Mackenzie’s Introduction:

It was about this time, that Mr. Joseph Frobisher, one of the gentlemen engaged in the trade, determined to penetrate into the country yet unexplored, to the North and Westward, and, in the spring of the year 1775, met the Indians from that quarter on their way to Fort Churchill, at Portage de Traite, so named from that circumstance on the banks of the Missinipi, or Churchill River, latitude 55.25, North, longitude 1031/ West. (Voyages, p. 8)

Poe again has made a substantive alteration in date. For details of the ventures of Joseph Frobisher, a prominent fur trader or merchant of Montreal, active in the formation of the North West Company, see Gordon C. Davidson, The North West Company (Berkeley, 1918), pp. 34-36, 198-99.

1.14A Hills]  Here, Poe continues slightly to distort or miscopy information derived directly from Mackenzie:

In the spring of the year 1778, some of the traders on the Saskatchiwine River, finding they had a quantity of goods to spare, agreed to put them into a joint stock, and gave the charge and management of them to Mr. Peter Pond, who, in four canoes, was directed to enter the English River, so called by Mr. Frobisher, to follow his track and proceed still further; if possible, to Athabasca, a country hitherto unknown but from Indian report. In this enterprize he at length succeeded, and pitched his tent on the banks of the Elk River, by him erroneously called the Athabasca River, about forty miles from the Lake of the Hills, into which it empties itself. (Voyages, p. 9)

Note that Poe alters “Peter Pond” to “Peter Bond” and “about thirty miles” to “about forty miles.”

1.15A continent]  The Ledyard story, half-acknowledged but without source, was derived by Poe from Jefferson’s memoir, “Life of Captain Lewis,” closely paraphrased by Poe:

While I resided in Paris, John Ledyard, of Connecticut, arrived there. . . . He had accompanied Captain Cook on his voyage to the Pacific ocean; and distinguished himself on that voyage by his intrepidity. Being of a roaming disposition, he was now panting for some new enterprise. . . . I then proposed to him to go by land to Kamschatka, cross in some of the Russian vessels to Nootka Sound, fall down into the latitude of the Missouri, and penetrate to, and through, that to the United States. He eagerly seized the idea, and only asked to be assured of the permission of the Russian government. . . . Her permission was obtained. . . . Ledyard set out from Paris, and arrived at St. Petersburgh after the Empress had left that place to pass the winter. .. at Moscow. His finances not permitting him to make unnecessary stay at St. Petersburgh, he left it with a passport from one of the ministers; [page 595:] and at two hundred miles from Kamschatka . . . was arrested by an officer of the Empress, who . . . had changed her mind, and forbidden his proceeding. He was put into a close carriage, and conveyed day and night, without ever stopping, till they reached Poland; where he was set down and left to himself. . . . and thus failed the first attempt to explore the western part of our northern continent. (Lewis and Clark, History, l:xvii-xviii)

While owing the entire passage to Jefferson, Poe quotes him at last only to declare the late president in error. Poe thus demonstrates his “editorial” concern for historical precision. The spelling “Petersburgh,” which comes from Jefferson’s “Memoir,” is very rare and perhaps analogical with Pittsburgh. I have found it only in the index (p. 533) of Isaac Taylor, Words and Places (2d ed., London, 1865), but not in the text (p. 319) for that city.

1.16A barriers]  Here Poe generally misrepresents Mackenzie’s material through his contraction of chronologies. With reference to Mackenzie, the 1973 Encyclopedia Britannica states:

Emigrating to North America, he entered a Montreal trading firm in 1779 which in 1787 amalgamated with the Northwest Fur Company, the recently established rival to the Hudson’s Bay Company. In 1788 Mackenzie and his cousin Roderick set up on Lake Athabasca the trading post Fort Chippewyan. This was the starting point of Mackenzie’s expedition in 1789 to discover a water passage believed to link Great Slave Lake with the Northern ocean. He followed the river now named after him to its delta in 69° N. on the Arctic Ocean. (14:532)

That Fort Chepewyan and not Montreal was the starting point for both of Mackenzie’s expeditions is explicitly stated in Mackenzie’s Introduction: “At the distance of about forty miles from the lake, is the Old Establishment. . . . formed by Mr. Pond in the year 1778-9, and which was the only one in this part of the world, until the year 1785. In the year 1788, it was transferred to the Lake of the Hills. . . . It was named Fort Chepewyan.. . . This being the place which I made my head-quarters for eight years, and from whence I took my departure, on both my expeditions . . .” (Voyages, p. 61). Mackenzie had actually been stationed at Lake Athasbasca since October 1787. Yet, Poe may simply have been confused by Mackenzie’s account. The full title of Mackenzie’s work, Voyages from Montreal . . . (see 1.10B) misrepresents, to some degree, both historical fact and the book’s own contents; the 1789 and the 1793 expeditions were “voyages from Montreal” only in the very general sense that at some previous time Mackenzie had necessarily journeyed from Montreal to Lake Athasbasca. Furthermore, while Mackenzie does not provide an account of his travels between Montreal and Lake Athasbasca, he does give details of the basic trade routes between these two points that were in common use by the Northwest Fur Company. The lakes and rivers falsely mentioned by Poe as constituting the itinerary of his first journey are a condensed version of forty pages of Mackenzie’s account, in the very same order (pp. 20-61).

1.16B N. L.]  In referring to Mackenzie’s second expedition, Poe makes the same mistake of designating Montreal, rather than Fort Chepewyan, as the point of departure. In addition, his summation is even more misleading than for the first. Mackenzie began his second voyage on October 10, 1792, resolved to [page 596:] proceed up the Peace River, “as far as our most distant settlement, which would occupy the remaining part of the season. . . . for whatever distance I could reach this fall, would be a proportionate advancement of my voyage” (Voyages, p. 87). Moreover, while Mackenzie descended the Frazer River (which, however, he did not call Salmon River), he left it long before reaching the Pacific Ocean. Finally, he reached the ocean not “in about the 40th parallel of N. L.,” but rather in latitude 52’ 21’ N., 124’ W. Indeed, Irving, in Astoria (chap. 3; 1:20), correctly states that Mackenzie reached the Pacific in latitude 52’ 20’ 48“, and in his 1837 review Poe recapitulates Irving’s correct data, “N. L.” represents “North Latitude,” q.v. in 1.18A, end.

1.17A ’5 and ’6]  The phrase “memorable expedition” is used by Irving in Astoria in describing the journey undertaken by Lewis and Clark in 1804 (1:21). It appears in a passage to which Poe will directly refer at the conclusion of 1.17.

1.17B Ocean]  These two sentences are almost a verbatim transcription of a passage in Jefferson’s memoir: “In 1803, the act for establishing trading houses with the Indian tribes being about to expire, some modifications of it were recommended to Congress by a confidential message of January 18th, and an extension of its views to the Indians on the Missouri. In order to prepare the way, the message proposed the sending an exploring party to trace the Missouri to its source, to cross the Highlands, and follow the best water-communication which offered itself from thence to the Pacific ocean” (History, 1:xviii).

1.17C as 1793]  The passage in Irving’s Astoria which Poe here proceeds to correct is as follows: “They ascended the Missouri, passed through the stupendous gates of the Rocky mountains, hitherto unknown to white man; discovered and explored the upper waters of the Columbia, and followed that river down to its mouth, where their countryman, Gray, had anchored about twelve years previously” (1:21 ). For Poe’s last correction of Irving, see John Pinkerton’s Modern Geography (London, 1817), which gives the following description of Mackenzie’s second voyage, linking him with the upper reaches of the Columbia: “[Mackenzie and party] embarked on a small river on the other side [of the Rocky Mountains], which soon brought them into the river Oregan, Columbia, or the Great River of the West, the origin and source of which were before totally misunderstood. It is to be regretted that he did not pursue this river to its mouth; but after proceeding a considerable way he returned against the stream, and afterwards travelled to the Pacific ocean by land; and reached one of the numerous inlets latitude 52° 20‘. . .” (2:420). Poe may have been familiar with this work (see 1.9A).

1.18A Platte]  The source for his account of the expeditions of Zebulon Pike has not been determined. However, much of the information is contained in the complete title of Pike’s Expeditions, published in 1810: An Account of Expeditions to the Sources of the Mississippi, and through the Western Parts of Louisiana, to the Sources of the Arkansaw, Kans, La Platte, and Pierre Juan, Rivers; performed by order of the Government of the United States during the years 1805, 1806, and 1807. And a Tour through the Interior Parts of New Spain, when conducted through these Provinces, by order of the Captain-General, in the year 1807 (Philadelphia: C. & A. Conrad, & Co. 1810). It seems certain that Poe did not examine the contents of Pike’s work, for whatever information in 1.18 is not contained in the title is largely fallacious. Note that the word “tour” [page 597:] which Poe uses for “exploratory expedition” (see 1.1C and 1.3A) is differentiated by Pike from “expedition,” since “New Spain” was a settled and well known region. Pike, in ascending the Mississippi from St. Louis, did believe that he had succeeded in tracing the river to its source, which is generally regarded as Itasca Lake. However, Poe, by generalizing from two factual statements, arrives at an historically inaccurate conclusion. Pike did not reach Lake Itasca, believing that he had found the source of the Mississippi in Leech Lake, which he reached on February 1, 1806. Finding the true source of the Mississippi, Lake Itasca, in 1832, is ascribed to Henry R. Schoolcraft. About the newly coined “Itasca,” the Encyclopedia Britannica states: “Although a fur trader employed by Astor’s American Fun Company, William Morrison (1785-1866), claimed to have visited the lake in 1803, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft . . . in 1832, is considered by most authorities to be the man who proved that the lake is the main source of the Mississippi river. .. . Schoolcraft is also credited as being the originator of the name, ‘Itasca.’ By combining syllables of the Latin words veritas (truth) and caput (head or source), he formed the name Itasca” ([1973], 12:799). Poe’s reference to the dates of Pike’s expeditions is also somewhat misleading. Actually, Pike’s Mississippi voyage extended from August 9, 1805, to April 30, 1806; his second or westwardly journey, from July 15, 1806, to July 1, 1807. Poe locates the head waters of the Arkansaw in latitude 40° N. just as he had, also erroneously, claimed that Mackenzie had reached the Pacific in about the fortieth parallel of N. L. (see 1.16). Actually, a chart of the “Internal Part of Louisiana,” as drawn by Pike and included in the 1810 edition of his Expeditions, locates the sources of the Arkansaw about the forty-second parallel of North Latitude.

1.19A before]  Poe derived his information respecting Thompson’s expedition predominantly from Irving’s Astoria. The passage in question, which Poe basically paraphrases, follows:

. . . Mr. David Thompson, astronomer, and partner of the Northwest Company. According to his account, he had set out in the preceding year [1810] with a tolerably strong party, and a supply of Indian goods, to cross the Rocky mountains. A part of his people, however, had deserted him on the eastern side, and returned with the goods to the nearest northwest post. He had persisted in crossing the mountains with eight men, who remained true to him. They had traversed the higher regions, and ventured near the source of the Columbia, where, in the spring, they had constructed a cedar canoe, the same in which they had reached Astoria.

This, in fact, was the party dispatched by the North-west Company to anticipate Mr. Astor in his intention of effecting a settlement at the mouth of the Columbia river. . . .

Mr. Thompson was, no doubt, the first white man who descended the northern branch of the Columbia from so near its source. (chap. 10; 1:74-75)

1.20A spoken of]  Poe is alluding, of course, to Irving’s Astoria, and may be deemed as here acknowledging his source.

1.20B country]  Poe’s condensed summary of the itinerary of the Wilson Price Hunt expedition is derived from several passages, sometimes widely separated, [page 598:] in Irving’s Astoria. His description of the party’s route from Montreal to St. Louis is based on the following passages in chap. 13:

The expedition took its regular departure, as usual, from St. Anne’s, near the extremity of the island of Montreal, the great starting place of the traders to the interior. . . .

With this inefficient crew he made his way up the Ottawa river, and by the ancient route of the fur traders, along a succession of small lakes and rivers, to Michilimackinac. . . .

It was not until the 22d of July that they arrived at Mackinaw, situated on the island of the same name, at the confluence of lakes Huron and Michigan. . . .

It was about the 12th of August that they left Mackinaw, and pursued the usual route by Green bay, Fox and Wisconsin rivers, to Prairie du Chien, and thence down the Mississippi to St. Louis, where they landed on the third of September. (1:100-105)

At the village of the Arickara Indians, the Hunt party departed from the route taken previously by Lewis and Clark and, instead of proceeding further up the Missouri, chose a route overland more to the south. Poe’s reference to the location of the Arickara village and its distance from the mouth of the Missouri is based on the following passage in chap. 20: “The village of the Rikaras, Arickaras, or Ricarees, for the name is thus variously written, is between the 46th and 47th parallels of north latitude, and fourteen hundred and thirty miles above the mouth of the Missouri” (1:166). Finally, Poe’s description of the part of the route bending across the desert is drawn from the following statement: “They [three Kentucky hunters]  advised him [Hunt] rather to pursue a route more to the southward, being the same by which they had returned. This would carry them over the mountains about where the head waters of the Platte and the Yellowstone take their rise, at a place much more easy and practicable than that where Lewis and Clark had crossed” (chap. 18; 1:148). Poe gave a much more detailed description of Hunt’s intinerary [[itinerary]] in his 1837 review of “Irving’s Astoria” (see paras. 20-29).

1.21A Woods, etc., etc.]  The source for Poe’s reference to Long has not been discovered. However, all of the information given by Poe is contained in the title of a work describing the expedition, written by W. H. Keating, a member of Long’s party: Narrative of an Expedition to the Source of the St. Peter’s River, Lake Winnepeek, Lake of the Woods . . . Performed in the Year 1823 (Philadelphia, 1824).

1.21B adventurer]  Poe is here referring, of course, to Irving’s Adventures of Captain Bonneville (1837). For the phrase “the regions beyond” see 2 Corinthians 10:16, “the regions beyond you,” used also in Pym, Note.8.

1.21C tread]  Poe, as “editor” of the newly discovered manuscript, concludes his prefatory chapter by reiterating the two major grounds upon which he claims historical importance for the Rodman journal, namely, its recounting the first passage across the Rockies and its depicting the exploration of the Yukon territory.

1.21D ensues]  Poe apparently assumes that the general American reader believes the first passage across the Rockies to have been achieved by Lewis and Clark. Hence, by giving the series of exploratory expeditions in the American North [page 599:] west, and by emphasizing the initial passage by Mackenzie, Poe hopes to establish the plausibility of the manuscript journal. If Louis and Clark had been preceded by another explorer, could he not have been preceded by Julius Rodman?

2.1A sacrifice]  Rodman’s sale of the family plantation may have been suggested to Poe by the Hickman purchase in 1834 of a considerable area in and about Mills Point (see 1.2C for details). An account of the sale of a property large enough to change the name of a previously existing town may have come to Poe’s attention and may have suggested to him Mills Point as the site of the Rodman settlement. However, knowledge of the Hickman purchase would imply also a knowledge of the town’s change of name from Mills Point.

2.113 Junôt]  Was Poe’s choice of “Junot” suggested to him by the homophonous name of Solomon Juneau, the founder of Milwaukee in 1833, who was of Canadian descent and involved in the fur trade (see the DAB article, 10:247)? His praenomen “Pierre” probably derives from Pierre Dorion, the interpreter, introduced fully by Irving in chap. 15 of Astoria (1:113-16), as having been with Lewis and Clark who, however, always call him simply “Mr. Durion” (1:12, 37, 81; see Pym, 4.4C). The close relations between the Rodman family and the Junôts seems to contradict Poe’s earlier reference (1.2) to the almost hermit fashion of the Rodman establishment.

2.1C Company]  The North West Company to which Poe alludes here in an uncommon form and also through his variant of “North-West Company” in 2.4 was a somewhat loosely organized “holding company” of Montreal firms in the fur trade, dating from the American Revolution, reorganized in 1783, augmented in 1787, and reorganized a few times before coalescing in 1821 with its chief rival, the Hudson’s Bay Company (see Gordon Davidson, The North West Company, chap 1). Its field of exploitation was decidedly to the north of the Missouri basin, as Poe grants in his January 1837 SLM review of Astoria, para. 2, basing his view on chap. 2 of Irving’s book. Poe appears to be forgetful or heedless of the Spanish hegemony in the 1790s over the land west of the Mississippi, or Louisiana, which was seeking to divert all trade, including that in furs, to New Orleans. A good summary of the fur-trade situation at St. Louis (and necessarily at nearby St. Charles or Petite Côte), is afforded in Wayne Andrews, ed., Concise Dictionary of American History (New York, 1940), pp. 392-93: “After the British lost this territory to the American colonies the St. Louis traders moved again into the upper Mississippi and Missouri to fight it out with the North West and the Hudson’s Bay Companies. They had the advantage of a waterway to their hunting and trapping domain and also to New Orleans, to which their packs of furs were at that time taken for shipment to Europe. In 1794 the Spanish Commercial Exploration Company was promoted by Lt. Gov. ZeƱon Trudeau to exploit the fur trade of the upper Missouri.” This last development postdates Rodman’s “journey” but underscores the real situation at that time. Clearly the Company’s agents could not then be available at St. Charles (likewise in 2.4).

2.1D me]  To the motivation for the journey of “hereditary hypochondria” (1.1), Poe now adds a desire to “go west” and explore, and, in 2.2, a third incitement, securing a fortune through fur trapping and trading; these are scarcely compatible (as Poe admits in 1.1). For the second motive, acquired [page 600:] by contagion from Pierre, see the parallel with Augustus and his enticing trips into the Pacific in Pym (2.1). For elaboration of Rodman’s emotional fervor, see 2.16-17 and 5.7-8.

2.1E trips]  It is inconceivable for a landowner’s eldest son to be able “on short excursions” to “act as voyageur,” which can be defined as “a woodsman, boatman, or guide, especially one employed by fur companies to transport furs and supplies between remote stations in the United States and Canadian northwest” (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language [New York, 1969]; see also 2.513 for Irving’s description). How would Pierre have enough experience, stamina, specialized knowledge, and company connection? The roughness of the Canadian voyageurs is depicted in 3.9. Moreover, if Pierre is of this caliber, how could the sister of Rodman, well-born and refined member of a family from England, have been intended as his bride?

2.2A objection]  The two paragraphs do not gibe, for in 2.1 Rodman “had often thought of trapping” whereas now Pierre has to bring him “over to his wishes” which are, prcccisely, his earlier ones-and scarcely consonant with his “hereditary hypochondria.” We wonder that the eldest son of “a plantation” owner, who had bought out his neighbor, should be allowed to go off into the wilderness for the dangerous, demanding life of a trapper, especially since he has “no great bodily strength” (2.1). The contradictions mount up. Poe is never clear about the finances of the Rodman expedition. Rodman, desiring to make his fortune, has sold the family plantation to M. Junôt at a “sacrifice” price which, added to Pierre’s three hundred dollars, is to be used for “men and supplies . . . obtained . . . at great cost” (2.4). See 2.613 for the shares in the anticipated profits and 2.4 and 2.10 for the costly supplies, but of practical, verisimilar details of capital investment and expenditures we learn nothing more.

2.3A gardening]  The paragraph is a close paraphrase of a passage in Lewis and Clark’s History, with the “EDS. G.M.” learnedly or assiduously supplying, in the footnote, the information conveyed in the first sentence, a point seen also by J. J. Teunissen and E. J. Hinz (NCF, 27:337):

St. Charles is a small town on the north bank of the Missouri, about twenty-one miles from its confluence with the Mississippi. It is situated in a narrow plain, sufficiently high to protect it from the annual risings of the river in the month of June, and at the foot of a range of small hills, which have occasioned its being called Petite Cote. . . .One principal street, about a mile in length, and running parallel with the river, divides the town, which is composed of nearly one hundred small wooden houses, besides a chapel. The inhabitants, about four hundred and fifty in number, are chiefly descendants from the French of Canada; . . . their industry is without system, and without perseverance. The surrounding country, therefore, though rich, is not, in general, well cultivated; the inhabitants chiefly subsisting by hunting and trade with the Indians, and confine their culture to gardening, in which they excel. (1:4)

Poe’s editorial presentation of material from Lewis and Clark serves to underscore ambiguities in their account, for according to the History of St. Charles, Montgomery and Warren Counties, Missouri (St. Louis, 1885), pp. 24, 88, 94-95, and 309, Louis Blanchette, commissioned by the Spanish governor of Upper [page 601:] Louisiana to found a garrison town in 1769, called it Les Petites Côtes, the little hills, a name which was changed to Saint Charles, officially San Carlos del Missouri, in 1784, well before Rodman’s start. Yet Lewis and Clark are confirmed in the singularity and the persistence of the “hill” name by Jedediah Morse, whose American Gazetteer (Boston, 1804), calls it only “Petit Coat” years after it became St. Charles. By coincidence or clever calculation, Poe’s “twelve . . . dwellings” is about the number given by the county History for 1791.

As for Poe’s phrase, “Creoles of Canadian descent” — this is not found in the History but more probably in Irving’s Astoria: Dorion, the model for Dirk Peters in Pym, “was one of those French creoles, descendants of the ancient Canadian stock, who abound on the western frontier, and amalgamate or cohabit with the savages” (chap. 15); and their interpreter was “a French creole, of Gallic origin, who abound upon our frontier, living among the Indians” (chap. 20). The dictionaries of Craigie and Mathews tend to regard the term as applying chiefly to “French or Spanish settlers in Louisiana and the Southwest,” but Craigie also attributes it to “French Canadians,” with the sanction, in part, of Astoria.

2.4A cost]  Three times in this chapter Rodman reiterates the determination of the party to hunt and trap as privately as possible and thereby, avoid the great risk of direct trade with the Indians (2.5, 2.12, 2.16), again declared “treacherous” (2.16). Surely Pierre’s father seems unusually lacking in parental solicitude. These initial references anticipate the confrontation with a Sioux war party in chap. 4. Poe’s word “infested” for “inhabited” (used also in 4.6) probably comes from Irving’s reference to “the Crows, who infested the skirts of the Rocky Mountains” (chap. 22). In general, Astoria provided the prototypal distrust of Indian behavior for Poe. See, for example, W. P. Hunt’s account of the Missouri River tribes in chapter 16 (1:131).

2.4B ammunition]  This is a less common, chiefly nineteenth-century spelling of “pirogue” from “piragua,” a Carib word for a dugout canoe. (See full discussion in 2.10A). The spelling may have been suggested to Poe by the reference in Lewis and Clark to “two perioques or open boats, one of six and the other of seven oars” (first paragraph of the book; 1:37). Later the spelling “periogue” is given (1:120).

2.5A expedition]  The Rodman party embarks from Petite Cote, thus beginning its expedition on the same day as that on which Mackenzie embarked in 1789 from Fort Chepewyan: June 3 (Voyages, p. 1). Pym, Poe’s earlier voyager, starts his trip in the hold on June 17, with the ship leaving on June 20.

2.5B duty]  Poe’s reference here to liquor is poignantly personal since during these months of 1840 Burton, relying on Poe while away on acting engagements, expressed dissatisfaction over his neglect of duty. T. O. Mabbott accepts this as the chief cause of his June 1840 severance from the magazine, cutting short “Rodman” (Poems, p. 550 and note). See also Poe’s self-defense in a letter of April 1, 1841, to J. E. Snodgrass, protesting against Burton’s “slander” (Letters, pp. 155-57).

2.5C it]  Poe’s characterization of the Canadian voyageurs here and in 3.9 (q.v.) is based on a series of separated passages in Astoria. Since Irving describes the voyageurs by means of commonly shared and not individualized characteristics, [page 602:] Poe simply collects and restates many of the attributes for his five Canadians:

The lives of the voyageurs are passed in wild and extensive rovings, in the service of individuals, but more especially of the fur traders. They are generally of French descent, and inherit much of the gayety and lightness of heart of their ancestors, being full of anecdote and song, and ever ready for the dance. They inherit, too, a fund of civility and complaisance; and . . . are mutually obliging and accommodating; interchanging kind offices, yielding each other assistance and comfort in every emergency. . . . Their natural good will is probably heightened by a community of adventure and hardship in their precarious and wandering life.

No men are more submissive to their leaders and employers, more capable of enduring hardship, or more good-humored under privations. . . . They are dextrous boatmen, vigorous and adroit with the oar and paddle, and will row from morning until night without a murmur. The steersman often sings an old traditionary French song, with some regular burden in which they all join, keeping time with their oars; if at any time they flag in spirits or relax in exertion, it is but necessary to strike up a song of the kind to put them all in fresh spirits and activity. (chap. 4; 1:30-31)

Patient of toil. . . . always alert, always in good-humor; and, should they at any time flag or grow weary, one of their popular boat songs, chanted by a veteran oarsman, and responded to in chorus, acted as a never-failing restorative. (chap. 14; 1:110)

He [Hunt] felt the necessity, also, of having a greater number of hunters . . . but also as a protection and defence, in case of Indian hostilities. For such service the Canadian voyageurs were little to be depended upon, fighting not being a part of their profession. (1:111)

The loss of two stark hunters and prime riflemen was a serious affair to the party . . . for little reliance was to be placed upon the valor of the Canadians in case of attack. (chap. 16; 1:129)

2.6A all]  Poe’s naming the five admirable brothers “Greely” may be an implied redress of his former derogation of Horace Greeley, fast becoming important in the political and, especially, journalistic circles of New York City, since he had given the name “Greely” to one of the malevolent mutineers in Pym in 1838 (see 6.11, 6.13, 8.8). There is surely a bit of whimsy in his giving two of these rough stalwarts the fancy praenomens of “Meredith” and “Poindexter,” especially since George Poindexter (1779-1853) was a well-known politician, former governor of Mississippi, United States senator, and an outspoken opponent of Jackson, who would have been partial to this character. Perhaps a little of Mr. Wilson Hunt’s “coadjutor” in Astoria, Donald M‘Kenzie, cited in Poe’s review of Astoria, enters into the portrait of John Greely: “He had a frame seasoned to toils and hardships; a spirit not to be intimidated, and was reputed to be a ‘remarkable shot;’ which of itself, was sufficient to give him renown upon the frontier” (chap. 13; 1:99). There are traces in him also of Daniel Boone, preeminently associated with Kentucky in the 1780s and 1790s, “of great fortitude, an iron endurance, a master of woodcraft and signal expertness with the rifle [and of] serenity” (DAB, 2:442-43). [page 603:]

2.6B brothers]  As in 2.5, this paragraph was suggested by a similar incident in Astoria, cited in Poe’s 1837 review:

They proved to be three Kentucky hunters, of the true “dreadnought” stamp. Their names were Edward Robinson, John Hoback, and Jacob Rimer. Robinson was a veteran backwoodsman, sixty-six years of age. He had been one of the first settlers of Kentucky, and engaged in many of the conflicts of the Indians on “The Bloody Ground.”. . . These men had passed several years in the upper wilderness. . . . They had remained with him [Mr. Henry] for some months, hunting and trapping, until, having satisfied their wandering propensities, they felt disposed to return to the families and comfortable homes which they had left in Kentucky. They had accordingly made their way back across the mountains, and down the rivers, and were in full career for St Louis, when thus suddenly interrupted. The sight of a powerful party of traders, trappers, hunters, and voyageurs, well armed and equipped. . . . was a spectacle equally stimulating to these veteran backwoodsmen with the glorious array of a campaigning army to an old soldier; but when they learned the grand scope and extent of the enterprise in hand, it was irresistible: homes and families . . . vanished from their thoughts; they . . . joyfully enlisted in the band of adventurers. They engaged on similar terms with some of the other hunters. (Astoria, chap. 18; 1:147-48)

The total allocation of shares here leaves out the five Canadians and Thornton and Wormley (see 2.7-8); presumably the Canadians are paid in wages, although in 5.7 Poe, forgetting this, speaks of “their share of the profits.” Wormley thinks “only of finding gold mines” and Thornton’s only “object” is “the gratification of a roving and adventurous propensity” (2.8) or indulgence of his “spirit of romantic enterprise” (5.8).

2.7A appear]  The surname “Wormley” could come from two sources: A family so named had settled Wormleysburgh, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, in 1753, but hitherto no member had become renowned. More likely, the source was the “Wormeley” family (spelled thus) which had helped to “found” Virginia and was related to the foremost clans of Randolph, Beverley, Lee, and Jefferson (See National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, [1899], 9:39-40, for James Preble Wormeley). Poe was likely to know their respected name and to enjoy giving it to this disreputable character, who reminds us of his “Von Kempelen” in the story of 1848 and of his knight in “Eldorado,” also a product of the Gold Rush. Poe’s reference to his fulfilled expectations “in the end” implies his foreseeing the climactic encounter with the bear (6.12-18)-a standard fearful episode in Western narratives — which is at the end of the section that he managed to finish and which he might have planned for chap. 12, as first projected.

2.8A strait-forward]  The OED gives “strait” as a nineteenth-century variant for “straight” with citations of 1799 and 1808 only, but gives no variant for “straightforward,” shown with and without a hyphen.

2.8B him]  See Pym, 8.8D, for Poe’s personal encounter with Dr. Philip Thornton, who came from Rappahannock County, in the northern part of Virginia. The surname could also have been derived from William Thornton, eminent architect, inventor, and public official. He contributed ideas for the design of the Capitol at Washington and for Pavilion VII of the University of Virginia, from which [page 604:] alone Poe would know his name. He was highly gifted in an astonishing number of fields, and one wonders whether Poe knew that he “drew and painted with facility” when he made him responsible for the sketch of the Indian chieftain in 4.9 (see DAB article, 18:504-7). As with Wormley, above, Poe must have enjoyed thus naming a romantic vagabond. See 2.17 and 5.8 for the role of bosom companion to Rodman being assumed by Thornton, like that of Augustus to Pym, and see 3.3 for the comic relief provided by the man and his dog, anticipated in the persiflage about truth and a “marvellous air.”

2.9A fatigue]  The character Toby was no doubt suggested to Poe and partly based upon the account of York, Clark’s “black servant” or slave (History, 1:2), who is described as a “remarkable stout strong negro” frequently amusing the more friendly Indians encountered with his “feats of strength” (1:89). Toby will subsequently cause a similar curiosity and astonishment (5.17) and will assume more of the grotesque appearance and whimsical behavior which Poe usually associated with blacks and even with the “hybrid” Dirk Peters (see Pym, 4.4C). Hence, he is given the somewhat flippant name of “Toby,” remembered from Sterne’s eccentric “Uncle Toby” and also used by Poe for “Toby Dammit” in “Never Bet the Devil Your Head” (1841). The relationship of the “faithful negro” to the Junot household raises questions as to Poe’s conception of socioeconomic circumstance in Kentucky (see 1.211). It is a caprice in Pierre to take a cherished, elderly retainer on a strenuous wilderness expedition, when during his “tours” he must have stayed behind with the Junot family, who now still occupy their enlarged plantation.

2.10A ten]  The description of the piroque is based on the following passage in Astoria: “The canoe was . . . constructed of birch bark, sewed with fibres of the roots of the spruce tree, and daubed with resin of the pine, instead of tar. . . . The canoe itself, though capable of sustaining a freight of upwards of four tons, could readily be carried on men’s shoulders. Canoes of this size are usually managed by eight or ten men. . .” (Astoria, chap. 13; 1:99-100). This refers to Wilson Price Hunt’s boat, used when he started out in 1810 from Montreal, but Irving does not call it a “pirogue.” Poe blundered seriously (or enjoyed his caprice) in making his Western river boat out of birch bark, which substance was not there available for boat construction, and in calling such a canoe a “piroque” (more commonly “pirogue” from the French term for the Carib “piragua”). Such a canoe is properly a “dugout made by hollowing out a log or by fitting together two hollowed-out logs from boards” (Craigie, Dictionary of American English); today the term is still used in Louisiana, but it has never been correctly applied to any bark canoe, as Poe consistently does in “Rodman.” Poe has probably taken the term from Lewis and Clark, who begin their journey with three boats, a “keel boat” (q.v. below) and two “perioques, or open boats, one of six and the other of seven oars” (hence, Poe’s error in saying the “smallest of these” instead of “smaller”) in the History (1:2-3). The word “payed” is a standard technical term for “smeared.” See 2.12A for “spruce roots” or “watape” which Poe derived from Mackenzie’s Voyages, specifying material for bark canoes in the far north where the birch tree grows. Poe’s two spellings, here of “birch bark” and “birch-bark” in 2.12, are both standard American.

2.10B keel-boat]  The description of the keel-boat loosely derives from that of Lewis and Clark: “The party was to embark on board of three boats; the first [page 605:] was a keel boat fifty-five feet long, drawing three feet water, carrying one large squaresail and twenty-two oars, a deck of ten feet in the bow, and stern formed a forecastle and cabin, while the middle was covered by lockers, which might be raised so as to form a breastwork in case of attack” (History, 1:2). Poe, retaining the sail, alters the length of the boat, the amount of water drawn, and the placement of the “cabin” for cargo and crew, thereby unbalancing the boat; he strangely calls it a “cuddy” here and in 4.1 (derived possibly from his very different craft in Pym, 1.1 and 1.10), and adds ingenious fortification details of unknown origin. Various experts in ballistics, whom I have consulted, have confirmed the effectiveness of Poe’s method of bullet-proofing without being able to provide a provenance for the idea. It is certainly more thorough than is required, since the hostile Indians could be expected to use arrows, not bullets. For the nautical parlance in dropping the preposition in “two feet water” see Pym (8.10B), as well as Lewis and Clark above.

2.11A hereafter]  Poe here anticipates the decisive role of this cannon in the expedition’s forthcoming encounter with the Sioux (chap. 4). Poe may have seen French field pieces at Fort Moultrie or West Point to provide this bit of verisimilar detail, according to four librarians at the West Point Academy. Certainly small cannon were provided with a pair of handles by which to lift them off the carriages, usually shaped as dolphins, as Mr. Helmut Nickel, Curator of Arms and Armor, Metropolitan Museum of Art, has informed me about the many pieces that he has seen. Dolphins are to be seen on French cannon in the plates of the Encyclopédie of Diderot and D‘Alembert of 1761-1762 (vol. 1, pls. 5-7 of “Art Militaire”), but the last plate includes a mortar of which each handle is shaped like an amphisbaena, i.e., a two-headed serpent. The standard dolphin of the handle can easily be perceived as a serpent by the uninformed viewer.

Here in sentence 4 (and also in 3.8, 4.20, 4.21) Poe uses a hyphen in “sand-bar” and omits it in 6.10, both forms being acceptable in the nineteenth century.

2.11B bows]  The last sentence of this paragraph was suggested by a similar account in Lewis and Clark: “We found that our boat was too heavily laden in the stern, in consequence of which she ran on logs three times to day. It became necessary to throw the greatest weight on the bow of the boat, a precaution very necessary in ascending both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, in the beds of which, there lie great quantities of concealed timber” (History, 1:3).

2.11C river]  The word “sawyer” is given by the OED as an Americanism for “large trunks of trees, which are brought down by the force of the current.” They are distinguished from “snags” thus: “The end of the ’snag’ being fast in the mud of the river, and the ’sawyer’ bobbing up and down.” For “sawyer” Craigie’s Dictionary of American English gives “a log or tree caught in a river so that it or its branches ’saw’ back and forth with the waves.” Irving speaks of the danger of the boat’s being “impaled upon snags and sawyers” in a passage closely followed by Poe (2.15A; Astoria, 1:109), but the phrase is a standard one.

2.12A boat]  Poe here draws upon Mackenzie’s Voyages, simply reshuffling the order of the items in his lists: “[Each boat contained] sixty-five packages of [page 606:] goods, six hundred weight of biscuit, two hundred weight of pork, three bushels of pease, for the men’s provision; two oil-cloths to cover the goods, a sail, etc., an axe, a towing-line, a kettle, and a sponge to bail out the water, with a quantity of gum, and watape, to repair the vessel” (Voyages, p, 20). Mackenzie himself explains the meaning of “watape” in a footnote (p. 27): “Watape is the name given to the divided roots of the spruce-fir, which the natives weave into a degree of compactness that renders it capable of containing a fluid. The different parts of the bark canoes are also sewed together with this kind of filament.” Poe does not regularize the term “towing line,” here borrowed from Mackenzie and used again in 6.1 without a hyphen and changed to “tow-line” in 2.15 and 4.22, in the style of the History of Lewis and Clark (1:193).

2.12B beads, &, &]  Rodman’s summary of the various wares is merely a reshuffled version of the Mackenzie list: “The articles necessary for this trade, are coarse woollen cloths of different kinds; milled blankets of different sizes; arms and ammunition; twist and carrot tobacco; Manchester goods; linens, and coarse sheetings; thread, lines, and twine; common hardware; cutlery and ironmongery of several descriptions; kettles of brass and copper, and sheet-iron; silk and cotton handkerchiefs, hats, shoes, and hose; calicoes and printed cottons, etc., etc., etc.” (Voyages, pp. 17-18). Craigie’s Dictionary of American English defines “milled cloth” as “cloth thickened by fulling.”

2.12C food]  The manner of preparing pemmican here described by Mr. Rodman (sentences 9-16) is an extremely close paraphrase — at times a verbatim transcript — of a passage in Mackenzie which Poe has simply transferred to his own story with only an occasional rearrangement of syntax. The passage in question follows:

The provision called pemmican, on which the Chepewyans, as well as the other savages of this country, chiefly subsist in their journies, is prepared in the following manner. The lean parts of the flesh of the larger animals are cut in thin slices, and are placed on a wooden grate over a slow fire, or exposed to the sun, and sometimes to the frost. These operations dry it, and in that state it is pounded between two stones; it will then keep with care for several years. If, however, it is kept in large quantities, it is disposed to ferment in the spring of the year, when it must be exposed to the air, or it will soon decay. The inside fat, and that of the rump, which is much thicker in these wild than our domestic animals, is melted down and mixed, in a boiling state, with the pounded meat, in equal proportions: it is then put in baskets or bags for the convenience of carrying it. Thus it becomes a nutritious food, and is eaten, without any further preparation, or the addition of spice, salt, or any vegetable or farinaceous substance. A little time reconciles it to the palate. There is another sort made with the addition of marrow and dried berries, which is of a superior quality. (Voyages, p. 86)

2.12D (footnote) paradox]  Here Poe invents an altogether absurd method of manufacturing pemmican — boiling it in a soup — which he attributes to the three explorers. Arlin Turner, AL, March 1936, 8:69-70, indicates Poe’s tacit alteration of a footnote in W. E. Parry’s Narrative of an Attempt to Reach the North Pole . . . in the Year 1827 (London, 1829), p. xiii (see below). I have checked the journals of all three explorers to find in Parry’s the only recipe for pemmican. Since the hint for Poe’s “American surgeon” (although not his [page 607:] observational peephole in the stomach) comes from Parry, we must see the text of his “beef pemmican” note to observe Poe’s capricious handling of his sources and “targets”:

For this article of our equipment, which contains a large proportion of nutriment in a small weight and compass, and is therefore invaluable on such occasions, we are much indebted to the kindness of Mr. J. P. Holmes, Surgeon of Old Fish Street, who had resided several years in the Hudson’s Bay Establishments, and undertook to superintend the manufacture of it. The process . . . consists in drying large thin slices of the lean of the meat over the smoke of wood-fires, then pounding it, and lastly mixing it with about an equal weight of its own fat. In this state it is quite ready for use, without further cooking. (pp. xiii-xiv)

Of several recipes that I have noted for pemmican in Indian lore handbooks and encylopedias, old and new, only Mackenzie’s (and Poe’s) advocates drying the meat by exposure to frost. Poe clearly fails to understand the reason for pounding it, given by the Encyclopedia Americana (1976): It becomes a powder which can be “mixed with fat to a paste, and pressed into cakes . . . and compressed into bags of rawhide” (21:491-92). This article (along with Parry’s) specifies its merit as giving concentrated food value in the smallest possible space, despite Poe’s sarcasm, flaunting the experience of trappers, Indian braves, and explorers. Poe is here contradicting his earlier statement in “Hans Pfaall,” that in pemmican “much nutriment is contained in comparatively little bulk” (para. 16). In the surgeon Poe is alluding to Dr, William Beaumont, celebrated for saving the life of the gun-shot victim, Alexis St. Martin, who lived for many years thereafter with a stomach opening enabling Beaumont to publish Experiments and Observations on the Gastric Juice and the Physiology of Digestion (Plattsburg, New York, 1833), which does stress bulk in food over mere “nutrient” and assert that “the quantity of aliment” is more important for health than “the quality” (pp. 35, 39, 51).

2.12E all]  For the somewhat strange use of “carboys” see Pym, 12.16A.

2.13A shot]  This strange plan, so obviously endangering the four men through separation from the boat or through hostile attack from Indians, must owe its inspiration to a proposal made by Lewis and Clark: “Two horses were at the same time to be led along the banks of the river for the purpose of bringing home game, or hunting in case of scarcity” (1:3). Apparently the horses were taken — but on board the large keelboat — until a deserter stole one (1:33). They seem to have been used when hunting parties went out from the moored boats. Finally, at the Great Bend of the Missouri, the journal reports: “We dispatched two men with our only horse across the neck, to hunt there and wait our arrival at the first creek beyond it” (1:68). Utilizing these hints, Poe has assigned four men to two horses and cleared his boat of surplus personnel. Yet he acknowledges the manifest danger in Sioux territory in 3.19 when the Greelys “loose the horses” and stay on board the boat. The compound, “beaver-trap” (sentence 1) does not appear, in any form, in the OED and, in Mathews, Dictionary of Americanisms, appears only for a hyphenated instance of 1709 and one unhyphenated of 1946.

2.15A altogether]  In “altogether” Poe clearly means “all united, all in a company . . . all without exception. Now written separately all together” (OED), [page 608:] which is not labeled “obs.” or “arch.” but bears citations only of 1330 through 1663. The paragraph follows a similar discussion in Astoria:

The boats, in general, had to be propelled by oars and setting poles, or drawn by the hand and by grappling hooks from one root or overhanging tree to another; or towed by the long cordelle, or towing line, where the shores were sufficiently clear of woods and thickets to permit the men to pass along the banks. . . .

Often a part of the crew would have to leap into the water at the shallows, and wade along with the towing line, while their comrades on board toilfully assisted with oar and setting pole. (chap. 14; 1:109)

Poe must have used other sources for keelboat details, many of which find sanction in one authority or another, but not all of them in any one; for good accounts see B. A. Botkin, ed., A Treasury of Mississippi River Folklore (New York, 1955), pp. 306-309, and Leland D. Baldwin, The Keelboat Age on Western Waters (Pittsburgh, 1941), pp. 42-45. The poles were usually ironpointed and the men did indeed push or creep, their feet against the created surface, (Baldwin, p. 62) from bow to stern on a fifteen-inch walk, which ran along the gunwales, called the passe avant, in a moving sequence according to commands of “Set poles,” “Down on her,” and “Lift poles.” Hiram M. Chittenden, The American Fur Trade of the Far West (New York, 1902), 1:33, speaks of balls or knobs on the poles “to rest in the hollow of the shoulders,” while Baldwin has the boatmen place the “button” against a thick pad on his shoulder (as does Poe). Both reduce Poe’s rate — “urged forward with great force” and later rates of well over twenty — to an average of fifteen miles a day or less. The size of the keelboats varies greatly in descriptions, but none mentions a figure as low as Poe’s “thirty feet”; Baldwin gives forty to eighty feet in length, seven to ten feet in beam, and drawing two feet of water (like Rodman’s); he says nothing about the crew size, but shows six men poling a boat (three on a side) in his illustration (p. 43), and Botkin stipulates eight to ten men on each side. Chittenden’s boat averages sixty to seventy-five feet and draws three or four feet of water. The Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th ed., 18:615) agrees with the dimensions of the latter and mentions a crew of twenty to forty for poling and towing (cf. Poe’s “fifteen persons” in 2.5). All commentators agree upon the grueling and arduous labor continuously required for proceeding up rapid, turbulent streams such as the Missouri — a feature scarcely reflected in the subsequent carefree gayety of the entire crew. Using branches or “bushwacking” was also a sequential organized walking and heaving procedure, performed to commands, like poling (Baldwin, p. 65). Botkin mentions the “patron” or master who manipulates the large rudder at the rear of the boat, from his station atop the cargo box, undoubtedly necessary because of currents and winds filling the square sail. No one mentions directing the boat via the poles.

It is amusing that the keelboat, probably introduced on the Ohio River soon after 1784, could scarcely have been adopted for use on the Missouri as early as 1791, the date of Rodman’s putative journey; in fact, its use by Lewis and Clark, Poe’s source (2.10B), would appear to be rather early.

2.16A River]  Poe appears to be adding his own unspecified method of “dragging . . . by hand” — scarcely feasible in the swift-flowing river for the large, heavy [page 609:] keelboat. It might be derived from the “tow-line,” always attached high on the mast to clear the shoreline shrubbery and for other technical reasons.

2.16B kinds]  Rodman’s itemization of the sixteen “furs” duplicates, in scrambled fashion, Mackenzie’s tabular listing (Canada’s fur exports for 1798), which more accurately than Poe’s list of “furs” speaks of “skins” and “Buffalo robes” (Voyages, p. 18). The “musquash” is the muskrat, and the “kitt-fox” (or “kit-fox”) is the Vulpes velox of the West, defined by Lewis and Clark as “the small red fox of the plains” (2:168). The reference by Mackenzie, Poe’s source, to 4,000 “Kitt Fox skins” of which 1,724 were “sent through the United States to China” poses a problem or two: According to Paul R. Cutright, Lewis and Clark: Pioneering Naturalists (Urbana, 1969), p. 166: “During the stay at Great Falls, Lewis continued to discover animals then unknown to science. . . . Another was the kit fox . . . the smallest of all our foxes.” The OED partly supports this view in citing only one reference of 1812 to a list of the skins or furs traded, presumably in Ohio; included are those of “small fox or kitts.” Lewis and Clark appear for an 1815 (sic) citation, and Richardson, in Fauna boreali-americana (1829) asserts that the “kit-fox” has “long been known to the Hudson Bay furtraders.” Clearly the naturalists who gave credit to Lewis and Clark for their discovery failed to observe the peltries being traded while later lexicographers have failed to read Mackenzie. Poe would claim the real priority of discovery of the animal and coinage of the word (1791) for Julius Rodman.

Rodman’s reference to “the Indians, whom we have long learned to know” must be based purely on the experiences of his companions, not himself.

2.17A own]  Here Poe seeks to fulfill the romantic characteristics of Rodman announced in 1.1 and 1.5 and to single out the well-born Virginian rover Thornton as an inherently congenial companion (see also 5.8). He gives Rodman an enthusiasm and energy scarcely typical of one suffering from hereditary hypochondria. Thornton assumes the role of confidant, the role of Augustus toward Pym and the narrator toward Usher.

The word “alluvia,” created from “alluvial borders” in Astoria (see 4.6A) scarcely corresponds, in Poe’s descriptive adjectives, to the OED definition for “alluvium”: a deposit of earth, sand, and other transported matter left by water flowing over land not permanently submerged, with a citation from the 1731 Bailey’s dictionary for “alluvia”: “little islets thrown up by the violence of the stream.” Poe’s reference to the melting of the ice to produce the spring freshets seems inapplicable to their present June journeying. We wonder also at the untraveled Rodman’s knowledge of what normally “disfigures” the shore of the Missouri. His fervid resolution and “devotional fervor” are obviously being used as a suspense factor concerning many an anticipated “obstacle” to their progress. As previously indicated (1.1G and 1.5D), Rodman may have been formed on the model of Bonneville of whom Irving wrote: “It is not easy to do justice to the exulting feelings of the worthy captain, at finding himself at the head of a stout band of hunters, trappers, and woodmen; fairly launched on the broad prairies, with his face to the boundless West. . . . The outset of a band of adventurers on one of these expeditions is always animated and joyous” (Bonneville, 1:31-32).

For the locution “to the westward” (used also in 1.17 and 1.21) see Pym, 15.1A, for similar constructions. The word “cotton-wood” Poe hyphenates, [page 610:] perhaps following the practice of Irving in Astoria in 2.17, 19; 3.4, 8; 4.23; 5.12; 6.2, 13; in 6.6 he drops the hyphen, and in 5.20 the word occurs hyphenated at the end of a line.

2.18A stream]  The reference to this cave — and the footnote which Poe as “editor” attaches to Rodman’s account of the cave’s dimensions — are based on the following passage in Lewis and Clark’s History of the Expedition: “About a mile and a half beyond this [Osage Woman river] is a large cave, on the south side at the foot of cliffs nearly three hundred feet high, overhanging the water, which becomes very swift at this place. The cave is one hundred and twenty feet wide, forty feet deep, and twenty high, it is known by the name of the Tavern, among the traders who have written their names on the rock, and painted some images which command the homage of the Indians and French” (1:5).

2.18B (footnote) Lewis’s]  Note that Poe adds the idea of “grotesque” to Lewis’ “images” and conceals their composition by traders so that the origin becomes more mysterious and undated; hence, the homage of viewers, in the present time, in Lewis’ account, is shifted into the vague past by Rodman-Poe, who would have no means of knowing about past Indian reverence for the wall designs, which he cannot see without entering the dark cave with a lantern; obviously he does not penetrate “the depth.” The idea, if not the facts, for the cave images may also have come from chap. 23 of Pym.

2.18C (footnote) tint]  Through this distinction between the objective facts of his experience and their subjective effects upon his emotional hero Poe is trying to account for the romantically exaggerated tone of much of his narrativeinappropriate as it is for a reputedly objective account drawn up for M. Michaux. Usually, we observe the strong spirit of delight in varied and boundless nature, not the depression implied, says Poe, by the word “dismal.” Poe’s disparaging Lewis’ facts is intended to assert the priority of Rodman’s journey, thus furthering the hoax, and enables him to base his fabricated journal upon the journey of Lewis whose diary can then verify the authenticity of Rodman’s.

2.18D by it]  Rodman’s party foregoes towing here, but Poe seems aware of the possibility that keelboats, with towing lines up to 1,000 feet in length, might find long level cliffs, free of underbrush, no impediment to towing; says Baldwin, The Keelboat Age, p. 64: “They might have to walk a cliff a hundred feet above the water.”

2.18E Diable]  Lewis and Clark pass by the Bonhomme or Goodman’s River and the Osage Woman River before the Tavern cave. Moreover, Poe varies their account by translating their “Devil’s Race Ground” into the “Diable” rapids and having the Rodman party encamp at the place which Lewis and Clark “ascended” during a morning (1:5), q.v. below.

2.19A bed]  This is adapted from Lewis and Clark:

Early the next morning we ascended a very difficult rapid, called the Devil’s Race Ground, where the current sets for half a mile against some projecting rocks on the south side. We were less fortunate in attempting a second place of equal difficulty. Passing near the southern shore, the bank fell in so fast as to oblige us to cross the river instantly, between the northern side and a sandbar which is constantly moving and banking with the violence of the current. The boat struck on it, and [page 611:] would have upset immediately, if the men had not jumped into the water and held her, till the sand washed from under her. (1:5)

2.19B persons]  In the source-passage by Lewis and Clark, Poe’s Du Bois is named in English only, while there is no trace of “Charite” given for the creek “La Charrette,” meaning “the cart,” as Poe knows full well. In his whimsical manner is Poe, with his editorial footnote, suggesting that he has before him the Lewis and Clark text (with the double “r” spelling, specifying the Daniel Boone home)? Moreover, in relocating the Du Bois river from the south to the north side of the Missouri — a fact verifiable in 1840 on any map — is he defying the reader or inviting exposure of his hoax this early in the work? Poe has no obligation to adhere to his prototypes’ time schedule — here condensing into two days their activities of four, but now he advances the party at an impossible rate, since even with a good wind, thirty miles’ progress a day with a keelboat goes counter to general estimates (see 2.15A). The passage from Lewis and Clark reads: “We encamped on the south side, . . . and the next day, May 25, passed on the south side the mouth of Wood river, on the north, two small creeks and several islands, and stopped for the night at the entrance of a creek on the north side, called by the French La Charrette . . . and a little above a small village of the same name” (1:5). For the locution “from the eastward” see Pym, 15.1A.

2.19C future]  Rodman’s conjecture came from an incident recorded by Lewis and Clark for July 18: “An Indian dog came to the bank; he appeared to have been lost and was nearly starved; we gave him some food, but he would not follow us” (chap. 1; 1:25). A similar incident is recorded in more elaborate detail in Captain Bonneville (pp. 52-53), which may have reinforced the stimulus for the idea. With experienced trappers and voyageurs in the party, it is odd that this episode is demanded to signalize the need for a guard.

2.20A occurrences]  The first chapters per se of both Rodman and of Lewis and Clark end with their arrival at the mouth of the Platte River, each group taking two months: May 21, 1804, to July 21, and June 3, 1791, to August 10 — a clear indication of Poe’s pattern. Poe here admits how well known is this extent of the Missouri, making us wonder why he took such liberties in 2.19. On the table of distances in the Appendix to Lewis and Clark’s History, the River Platte is 579 miles from St. Charles (3:832). The journey would, then, average ten miles per day — a rate more tenable than the figures given by Poe — although these can be defended as “spurts,” one assumes.

2.20B rattle-snake]  Lewis and Clark frequently mention rattlesnakes; most apposite is an incident in this section: “One of our men was bitten by a snake, but a poultice of bark and gunpowder was sufficient to cure the wound” (1:19). The name of the Canadian was perhaps humorously derived by Poe from that of Jean de Lauzon (or Lauson), governor of New France in the seventeenth century. This spelling and “rattlesnake” (6.9) were both acceptable at the time.

2.20C proceed]  The encounter with the Spaniards derived from the experience of Lewis and Clark, who had left St. Louis in December 1803, after the United States acquired Louisiana: “Their orriginal [sic] intention was to pass the winter at La Charrette,. . . but the Spanish commandant of the province, [page 612:] not having received an official account of its transfer to the United States, was obliged by the general policy of his government, to prevent strangers from passing through the Spanish territory. They therefore encamped . . . on the eastern side of the Mississippi . . . where they passed the winter in disciplining the men, and making the necessary preparations for setting out early in the Spring. . .” (1:2). For lack of a comparable retreat, Poe is weakly vague about the “fancy” taken to Rodman.

2.20D hostility]  The initial chapter in the account of Lewis and Clark also contains brief references to the Osage and Kanzas Indians, who are likewise peaceful and affable (1:7-8 and 17).

The number of the group, fifteen at the start, was far fewer than needed to pole and row the keelboat along (Botkin insists on sixteen to twenty) or to survive in a country of hostile Indians.

3.1A journal]  This paragraph closely follows the start of Chapter 2 in Lewis and Clark’s History: “We stayed here several days, during which we dried our provisions, made new oars, and prepared our despatches. . . . The hunters have found game scarce in this neighbourhood; they have seen deer, turkies, and grouse: we have also an abundance of ripe grapes; and one of our men caught a white catfish, the eyes of which were small, and its tail resembling that of a dolphin. The present season is that in which the Indians go out into the prairies to hunt the buff aloe. . .” (chap. 2; 1:28). While using the same elements, Poe changes the arrangement somewhat, the game now being “abundant,” the catfish becoming “several species,” and the “ripe grapes” becoming “delicious.” The now unusual word “recruit” is used in Pym in 13.1 (“recruited in spirits”). See 3.7B for Poe’s use of the obsolete spelling of “turkeys,” taken from his source.

3.2A eddy]  Poe could mean only a countercurrent by “eddy” for which the OED cites Admiral Smith: “The water that by some interruption in its course, runs contrary to the direction of the tide or current.” L. D. Baldwin, The Keelboat Age, p. 62, says: “Below points of land, there was usually a returning current or eddy of which boatmen could take advantage . . . to drift up the river without any effort. . . .” Having heard of this apparently, Poe converts it into a consistent upstream current (also in 3.4 and 4.9), that represents either caprice ,or casualness.

3.2B river]  This paragraph closely follows one near the start of chap. 2 of Lewis and Clark’s account: “July 27. Having completed the object of our stay, we set sail, with a pleasant breeze from the N.W. The two horses swam over to the southern shore, along which we went. . . . At ten and a half miles from our encampment, we saw and examined a curious collection of graves or mounds, on the south side of the river. Not far from a low piece of land and a pond, is a tract of about two hundred acres in circumference, which is covered with mounds of different heights, shapes, and sizes: some of sand, and some of both earth and sand; the largest being nearest the river” (1:30-31).

3.2C (Footnote) mouth]  The footnote simply combines information derived from two separated passages in Lewis and Clark: “The Ottoes were once a powerful nation, and lived about twenty miles above the Platte, on the southern bank of the Missouri. Being reduced, they migrated to the neighbourhood of the [page 613:] Pawnees, under whose protection they now live. Their village is on the south side of the Platte, about thirty miles from its mouth. . .” (chap. 2; 1:29).

3.2D staid]  This is an allowed spelling of “stayed” in Poe’s time, used also in 5.18.

3.2E miles]  Unlike Rodman-Pym, hypersensitive to the ambiguities of the structures here and on Tsalal (see Pym, 23 bis.5), Lewis and Clark assume the mounds to be of artificial construction. This has been confirmed earlier: “On going ashore he found in the level plain several artificial mounds or graves, and on the adjoining hills others of a larger size. This appearance indicates sufficiently the former population of this country, the mounds being certainly intended as tombs; the Indians of the Missouri still preserving the custom of interring the dead on high ground” (1:22). In one passage, however, Lewis and Clark described a large mound nine miles distant from a river, whose “base . . . is a regular parallelogram; . . . as the earth and the loose pebbles which compose it, are arranged like the steep grounds on the borders of the creek, we concluded . . .that it might be natural” (1:46-47). While this does not change the nature of those borrowed by Poe, it may have suggested Poe’s reasoning about the “action of water.”

3.3A River]  This, with a shift in Rodman’s campsite, is based on the following passage in the History, immediately after the two given in 3.2: “After making fifteen miles, we encamped on the south. . . . At one mile, this morning we reached a bluff, on the north, being the first highlands, which approach the river on that side, since we left the Nadawa” (1:31).

3.3B him]  See 2.8 for Thomton’s “straight-forward earnestness,” an amusing contrast to his obvious subversion of truth in his dog-trick. Is Poe coyly withholding the full name of “Neptune” until 3.10, where he is preternaturally quiet upon request? Being a Newfoundland, he shares also the uncanny ability of Tiger in Pym (3.11; see also 2.1313). Note the large dog Neptune in “The Light-House.”

3.4A world]  This paragraph paraphrases several closely connected passages in the History:

Above this, is an island and a creek, about fifteen yards wide. . . . At ten and three quarter miles, we encamped on the north, opposite an island, in the middle of the river. The land, generally, on the north, consists of high prairie and hills, with timber: on the south, low and covered with cottonwood. . . .

The Missouri is much more crooked since we passed the river Platte, though generally speaking, not so rapid; more of prairie, with less timber, and cottonwood in the low grounds, and oak, black walnut, hickory, and elm. . . .

We went early in the morning. . . . and encamped on the south.. .. The land here consists of a plain, above the highwater level, the soil of which is fertile, and covered with a grass from five to eight feet high, interspersed with copses of large plums, and a current. . . . Back of this plain, is a woody ridge about seventy feet above it, at the end of which we formed our camp. This ridge separates the lower from a higher prairie, of a good quality, with grass, of ten or twelve inches in height, and extending back about a mile, to another elevation of eighty or ninety feet, beyond which is one continued plain. Near our camp, we enjoy from the bluffs a most beautiful view of the river, and the adjoining country. (chap. 2; 1:31-32) [page 614:]

3.4B (Footnote) Bluffs]  The bluffs were given this name by Lewis and Clark, who held here a council with six chiefs and their retinue of the Missouri and Otto tribes (1:33-34).

3.5A excursion]  Lewis and Clark furnish no details of their “beautiful view.” Accordingly Poe paraphrases a passage from Irving’s Astoria:

The prairies bordering on the river were gayly painted with innumerable flowers, exhibiting the motley confusion of colors of a Turkey carpet. The beautiful islands also, on which they occasionally halted, presented the appearance of mingled grove and garden. The trees were often covered with clambering grape vines in blossom, which perfumed the air. Between the stately masses of the groves were grassy lawns and glades, studded with flowers, or interspersed with rose bushes in full bloom. These islands were often the resort of the buffalo, the elk, and the antelope, who had made innumerable paths among the trees and thickets, which had the effect of the mazy walks and alleys of parks and shrubberies. (Astoria, chap. 18; 1:149)

Poe will use a similar description of grass “like green Genoese velvet” in “Landor’s Cottage.” He has changed Irving’s description in the important fact that he seeks to plant his trees amid the prairies, not simply on river islands, as does Irving, and yet he somewhat awkwardly, from the viewpoint of immerged perspectives, places his borrowed “alleys” on real islands at the end. Irving is here describing a situation on the Missouri 350 miles above Rodman’s encampment, in a chapter from which Poe takes details for his later confrontation of Rodman and the Sioux. Irving is a trifle more cautious in his gaudy colors of flowers and climbing grape vines than is Poe. The trees might be the bur (or burr) oak or mossycup oak (quercus macrocarpa), “a true Middle West tree. It contests possession of land with prairie grasses. . . . These groves with no understory [sic] of trees or shrubs, but with carpets of clean grass are famous as ‘bur oak openings‘” (R. Platt, A Pocket Guide to the Trees [New York, 1953], p. 108).

Poe repeats the pleonasm of “to the southward” (sentence 2) in 4.10. See Pym, 15AA (which also discusses ten instances in “Hans Pfaall”) for similar constructions.

3.5B musquitoes]  With the return of Rodman, Poe reverts to July 30 in Lewis and Clark’s account. The spelling of “musquitoes” was then standard, but not of “sun-set” which is not cited by the OED for anything later than the eighteenth century. In 4.21 the word recurs as “sunset.” Similarly inconsistent is Poe’s use of the allowed forms: “any thing” (in sentence 2 above and in 5.6, 5.14, and 5.23) and “anything” (twice in 4.14).

3.6A miles]  The initial sentence follows Lewis and Clark’s August 4 entry: “We proceeded early, and reached a very narrow part of the river, where the channel is confined, within a space of two hundred yards. . . . the banks in the neighbourhood washing away, the trees falling in, and the channel filled with buried logs” (1:34). For “sawyers” see 2.11 C.

3.7A quality]  This paragraph closely paraphrases the following passages:

At nearly four miles, is a creek on the south, emptying opposite a large island of sand. . . . At fifteen miles, we encamped on the south. The hills on both sides of the river are nearly twelve or fifteen miles from each other; those of the north [page 615:] containing some timber, while the hills of the south ale without any covering, except some scattering wood in the ravines, and near where the creeks pass into the hills, rich plains and prairies occupying the intermediate space. . . . August 5th. We set out early, and, by means of our oars, made twenty and a half miles. . . . On both sides the prairies extend along the river; the banks being covered with great quantities of grapes, of which three different species are now ripe; one large and resembling the purple grape. (History, chap. 2; 1:35)

3.7B day]  For the game see the source in Lewis and Clark (cited in 11A), with a like spelling here only of “turkies” — an obsolete eighteenth century form. Poe follows the June 22 entry of Lewis, inaccurately describing the Western meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) as having “a yellow breast and a black spot on the crop” although Poe is mindful of the European skylark, considered a delicacy (see Cutright, p. 166).

3.8A reality]  Poe continues to follow the account of Lewis and Clark closely:

August 5th. . . . The river was crowded with sandbars. . . .

August 6th. In the morning. . . . we passed a large island to the north. In the channel separating it from the shore, a creek called Soldier’s river enters; the island kept it from our view. (1:35-36)

3.8B sweets]  The remainder of 3.8 depicts the above-mentioned island, which would correspond to the large island opposite the mouth of Soldier’s river, about thirty-nine miles beyond the encampment at Council Bluffs. No description of this island exists in Lewis and Clark. Poe’s details depend upon several passages in Astoria (see below); yet, the basic Edenic conception is certainly to some extent Poe’s own, being strikingly similar to several of his other depictions of visionary or idealized landscapes. Rodman’s island description may well have some basis in reality. For the seventh sentence compare the entry in Lewis and Clark for August 9 — the third day after their passing the island opposite Soldier’s river: “For the last several days, the land on both sides [was] low, and covered with cottonwood and abundance of grape vines” (chap. 2, 1:37). There are numerous references to abundant or thickly clustered grape vines in Lewis and Clark; see the entry for July 11: “The undergrowth of vines particularly, is so abundant that they can scarcely be passed” (1:21). Yet, many of the details simply duplicate those previously used in 3.5 for the Council Bluffs and also borrowed from Astoria. Interestingly, the final phrase “wilderness of sweets” referring to varied flowers is also used by Irving in Astoria, (chap. 17; 1:142). For the sixth sentence see Irving’s account: “The banks sloped gently to its margin, without a single tree, but bordered with grass and herbage of a vivid green” (Astoria, chap. 18; 1:149). For a similar description of vanilla-scented grass, see “Eleonora” (para. 5). The streaked blades of grass and the streaked “leaves like tulips” of the flowers (probably for “petals”) mentioned here, as well as the generalized references to flower colors, remind us of Johnson’s saying, in Rasselas, that the poet “does not number the streaks of the tulip, or describe the different shades in the verdure of the forest” (chap. 10). Note that the “plum-trees” of 3.4 have here and in 3.5 become “plum bushes.” The “flower-garden” of 3.5 here becomes “flower garden.” (For Poe’s practices in hyphenation of such compounds see Introduction [page 616:] to “Rodman,” p. 516.) Here are hints for Poe’s later idea of Ellison, the affluent poet-landscapist, as assuming the role of the infinitely powerful artcreator who, with seeming carelessness, disposes his artistic elements in “The Landscape Garden” (1842), “Domain of Arnheim” (1847), and “Landor’s Cottage” (1849, in which see particularly n. 5).

3.9A expeditions]  Besides the passages cited in 2.513, the following are relevant for this paragraph: “They feast, they fiddle, they drink, they sing, they dance” (Astoria, chap. 13; 1:105 ), and “The Canadians . . . were the cheerful drudges of the party, loading and unloading the horses, pitching the tents, making the fires, cooking; in short, performing all . . . household and menial offices. . . . They left all the hunting and fighting to others” (chap. 23; 1:187).

3.9B descriptions]  Arlin Turner, “A Note on Poe’s Julius Rodman,” UTSE, 1930, 10:147-51, shows the close dependence of 3.10-17 upon Irving’s account of the beaver in The Adventures of Captain Bonneville (1837), chap. 26. Poe half acknowledges this in the reference here to “ordinary descriptions,” and especially through 3.15, where he carries on an editorial debate with Bonneville on the beaver’s sagacity without, however, contributing any refuting fact.

3.10A on]  Note that in borrowing the introductory material of Irving, Poe shifts as observer to an arboreal observational post, absurdly uncomfortable in view of the eight-hour vigil and the greater difficulty of controlling the dog on the ground (3.13). Moreover, with Thornton watching, there are two on the perch, forced to maintain silence.

Here, not merely the river itself, but every rivulet flowing into it, was dammed up by communities of industrious beavers, so as to inundate the neighborhood, and make continual swamps. During a mid-day halt in one of these beaver valleys, Captain Bonneville left his companions, and strolled down the course of the stream to reconnoitre He had not proceeded far, when he came to a beaver pond. . . . He moved forward, therefore, with the utmost caution, parting the branches of the water willows without making any noise, until having attained a position commanding a view of the whole pond, he stretched himself flat on the ground, and watched the solitary workman. (Captain Bonneville, 2:10-11)

3.11A operation]  This is a paraphrase of a passage in Bonneville:

The curiosity of the captain was aroused, to behold the mode of operating of this far-famed architect. . . . In a little while three others appeared at the head of the dam, bringing sticks and bushes. With these they proceeded directly to the barrier, which Captain Bonneville perceived was in need of repair. Having deposited their loads upon the broken part, they dived into the water, and shortly reappeared at the surface. Each now brought a quantity of mud, with which he would plaster the sticks and bushes just deposited. This kind of masonry was continued for some time, repeated supplies of wood and mud being brought, and treated in the same manner. (2:10-11)

Note that it is Poe, not Irving, who makes the error of believing the tail to be used as a trowel, although really a rudder in swimming.

3.12A companions]  The greater part of this paragraph is devoted to a description of the activity of the beavers in process of felling a rather large sycamore [page 617:] tree. The corresponding passage in Irving follows: “He [one of the beavers] then climbed the bank close to where the captain was concealed, and, rearing himself on his hind quarters, in a sitting position, put his fore paws against a young pine, and began to cut the bark with his teeth. At times he would tear off a small piece, and holding it between his paws, and retaining his sedentary position, would feed himself with it, after the fashion of a monkey. The object of the beaver, however, was evidently to cut down the tree. . .” (2:11). Poe elaborates the number of beaver-workers into a full work force, changes the species of tree, and aggrandizes the wedge into an aperture that accommodated two beavers — averaging thirty to forty pounds. The idea probably came to him from Bonneville’s seeing a beaver “with his head wedged into the cut which he had made, the tree having fallen upon him and held him prisoner until he died” (2:13). The spelling “artizans” was considered an acceptable variant at least through the 1920s in the U.S.A. The elements of “mean time,” separated here in the accepted usage of his period, are fused in the modern style in an identical phrase of 3.21. Likewise he writes “every thing” here (sentence 3) and in 4.17 and 5.2 (cf. 3.511 for “any thing”).

3.13A labor]  The idea for including a disturbing dog — whose quietude for eight hours is hard to accept — came from a passage in Bonneville: “The object of the beaver, however, was evidently to cut down the tree; and he was proceeding with his work, when he was alarmed by the approach of Captain Bonneville’s men, who, feeling anxious at the protracted absence of their leader, were coming in search of him. At the sound of their voices, all the beavers, busy as well as idle, dived at once beneath the surface, and were no more to be seen” (2:12). The “freaks” of Neptune remind us of those of Pym and Augustus in 1.1 (end).

3.14A tails]  Poe seems to have invented the process of the actual felling of the tree with his imaginative support by bark alone of this enormous tree (see 3.15A). The last sentence probably comes from the following: “This done, the industrious beavers indulged in a little recreation, chasing each other about the pond, dodging and whisking about on the surface, or diving to the bottom; and in their frolic, often slapping their tails on the water with a loud clacking sound” (2:12).

3.15A second]  Partly to justify this long digression on the beaver, Poe introduces a philosophical question about the sagacity of the beaver, as he did with rookerybuilding birds in Pym (14.18). It is Irving, to be sure, who raises the welcome question of the beaver’s “sagacity” in making the “belted” trees fall down into the water in the most convenient position and direction. Irving’s answer is strictly neutral, for in the passage that Poe copies almost verbatim from Bonneville (2:13), Irving, i.e., Bonneville, insists upon the angle of the tree over the water as being responsible, while Poe declares the beaver’s “intention” to be obvious. In typically capricious fashion, Poe adds the last two sentences, the first of which is an absurdity in lifting insects above mammals in intelligence and the second of which is self-contradictory. A modern authority, Edward R. Warren, The Beaver: Monograph II of the American Society of Mammalogists (Baltimore, 1927), shows that Poe’s account is not only more circumstantial but also more fantastic than others. The beavers do not work continuously on the same tree, often leaving it for days; at most there are two on a tree at one [page 618:] time, working from opposite sides of course, since they ring it by their nibbling to a thin central connection. Hence the inserted and trapped heads and bodies (with adults measuring forty to forty-five inches minus a foot of tail) would be utterly impossible. Stones form a prominent part of the building material and the mud is not squeezed before application (see pp. 24-26, 109, 111-19 including the many illustrations of stumps).

The word “coralliferi” (spelled “corral liferi” in BGM through the error of Poe or the compositor), literally meaning “those which bear or produce coral,” was taken by Poe from Thomas Wyatt’s A Synopsis of Natural History (Philadelphia, 1839), which Poe claimed to have translated and rearranged from a French work (see the Philadelphia Saturday Museum biography of March 4, 1843, last column); this time he allowed Wyatt to “author” the book, unlike the adaptation of the conchology work (see Poems, 1:549). Poe found it (p. 146) designating the second “order” of “Polypi” and applied to sponges and coral, among other animals, together with a full paragraph on the “lion-ant” or “myrmeleon” (p. 135). Although “coralliferous” appears in the OED with a “first use” for 1875, “coralliferi” is entirely absent. In “Instinct vs [sic] Reason” in the January 29, 1840, issue of Alexander’s Weekly Messenger, Poe exalts as analogous to reason the instinct of the “lion-ant,” certain spiders, the beaver, the bee, and the “coral-worm” (Tales, 1:476). Again, in “Scheherazade” (1845), Poe uses, as prodigies, the cave-building lion-ant, the geometric bee, and the colonizing “coralites” (sic for “coral lites”). The linking of the beaver, the ant, and the bee is apparently classic, as shown by Warren’s citing G. J. Romanes on the evident superiority of the beaver “whose instinct has risen to a higher level of far-reaching adaptation” to environmental conditions (p. 26). Poe’s insertion of the “polyps” makes his statement merely more absurd or paradoxical. The correspondence of elements in the Weekly Messenger and in “Rodman” clearly shows Poe’s planning or even writing the third installment in January or earlier.

3.16A irritated]  Poe’s further description of the habits of the beaver is a close revision of an account in Irving’s work:

Great choice, according to the captain, is certainly displayed by the beaver in selecting the wood which is to furnish bark for winter provision. The whole beaver household, old and young, set out upon this business, and will often make long journeys before they are suited. Sometimes they cut down trees of the largest size, and then cull the branches, the bark of which is most to their taste. These they cut into lengths of about three feet, convey them to the water, and float them to their lodges, where they are stored away for winter. They are studious of cleanliness and comfort in their lodges, and after their repasts, will carry out the sticks from which they have eaten the bark, and throw them into the current beyond the barrier. . . . In the spring, which is the breeding season, the male leaves the female at home, and sets off on a tour of pleasure, rambling often to a great distance, recreating himself in every clean and quiet expanse of water on his way, and climbing the banks occasionally to feast upon the tender sprouts of the young willows. As summer advances, he gives up his bachelor rambles, and bethinking himself of housekeeping duties, returns home to his mate and his new progeny, and marshalls them all for the foraging expedition in quest of winter provisions. (Bonneville, 2:13-14) [page 619:]

We wonder at Poe’s whimsy in promising further comments (never included in the six chapters) on the beaver near the start of his inordinately long digression. Note Poe’s magnification of a “household” into hundreds of beavers and his depriving them of “their usual habits of sagacity,” without warrant in Bonneville, as though it is a mere temporary condition. Clearly, Poe is unaware of the botanical distinction between “true” and “false” bark or “rind” (see OED). See 5.12 for their “tame” disposition.

3.17A observer]  The paragraph shows minor changes from the source passage. Rodman, despite his occasional tendencies, is no humanitarian in thus coldly describing the cruel traps and, although he speaks of the “sad havoc” in 3.18, the beaver-kill is called “much sport.”

Practice, says Captain Bonneville, has given such a quickness of eye to the experienced trapper in all that relates to his pursuit, that he can detect the slightest sign of beaver, however wild; and although the lodge may be concealed by close thickets and overhanging willows, he can generally, at a single glance, make an accurate guess at the number of its inmates. He now goes to work to set his trap; planting it upon the shore, in some chosen place, two or three inches below the surface of the water, and secures it by a chain to a pole set deep in the mud. A small twig is then stripped of its bark, and one end is dipped in the “medicine,” as the trappers term the peculiar bait which they employ. This end of the stick rises about four inches above the surface of the water, the other end is planted between the jaws of the trap. The beaver, possessing an acute sense of smell, is soon attracted by the odor of the bait. As he raises his nose towards it, his foot is caught in the trap. In his fright he throws a somerset into the deep water. The trap, being fastened to the pole, resists all his efforts to drag it to the shore; the chain by which it is fastened defies his teeth; he struggles for a time, and at length sinks to the bottom and is drowned. (2:14-15)

The “liquid bait” is explained by Lewis and Clark under the date of January 7, 1806 (History, 2:170) as consisting of a mixture of strong spices, liquors, and castor or the secretion from glands in the groin of the beaver.

3.18A Quicourre]  Note that Rodman, although describing “this little Paradise” for trappers of the beaver, fails to explain their disregard of their primary objective, to secure “peltries” (see 2.3), in favor of pushing into hostile Indian territory. Editor Poe, in this résumé, now resorts again to the account of Lewis and Clark who had very different objectives in their trip: “September 4. We set out early . . . and . . . reached a small creek, called Whitelime creek, on the south side. . . . On the same side . . . is the Rapid river, or, as it is called by the French, la Rivere qui Court; this river . . . is one hundred and fifty-two yards wide, and four feet deep at the confluence” (chap. 3; 1:58). See also the reference, in Astoria, at the beginning of chap. 18 (which was much used by Poe) to “the Quicourt, or Rapid river, (called, in the original French l‘Eau Qui Court),” in South Dakota. The name taken from the “currant berry” was probably suggested by the entries of Lewis and Clark for August 21: “We also procured an excellent fruit, resembling a red currant, growing on a shrub like the privy, and about the height of a wild plum” (chap. 2; 1:44), and for September 3: “.. . the name of Plum creek, from the number of that fruit which are in the neighborhood” (1:57). For the grammatically erroneous “Quicourre” [page 620:] (for the Niobrara River) see Lewis and Clark’s “Quicurre river” (1:59, 64) and “Quicourre” (App., 3:832; also “Qui Courre” in Brackenridge’s Journal, p. 94, cited in 3.21A below).

3.18B Clarke]  The “numerous herds” were suggested by Lewis and Clark; see the entries for August 23, 25, September 8, 9, 10, and 16. Poe is inconsistent in his forms for animal-plurals, using “buffaloes” in 4.1, 4.22, 5.8, and 5.14. Similarly, he uses “elks” in 3.5 and “elk” in 4.22 and 6.2, “beavers” in 3.11, 3.13, and 5.12 and “beaver” in 5.18 and 6.2, and invariably “antelopes’ as in 3.6, 4.3, 4.22, 5.3, 5.5, and 5.6. Poe here makes his source in Lewis and Clark’s History quite clear: “We went three miles to the lower part of an ancient fortification on the south side, and passed the head of Bonhomme island . . . . This interesting object is on the south side of the Missouri, opposite the upper extremity of Bonhomme island. . .” (chap. 3; 1:55-56). Poe avoids paraphrasing the passage by pretending to have editorially deleted Rodman’s allegedly prior description of the fortification.

3.18C period]  The rivers that Lewis and Poe mention appear under the following entries: Little Sioux — August 8 (pp. 36-37); Waucandipeeche creek — August 11 (p. 38); Floyd’s river — August 20 (p. 43); Great Sioux river-August 21 (chap. 2, p. 43); Whitestone river — August 24 (chap. 2, p. 45); Jacques river — August 27 (chap. 3, p. 49); Whitepaint creek — September 4 (p. 58). The Waucandipeeche creek is either misspelled or misnamed by Poe as the Wawandysenche creek.

3.18D September]  Poe’s reference to the great village of the Omahas was probably suggested by Lewis and Clark: “Five miles from our camp they reached the position of the ancient Maha village: it had once consisted of three hundred cabins, but was burnt about four years ago, soon after the smallpox had destroyed four hundred men, and a proportion of women and children. . .” (chap. 2; 1:39). The description of the Omahas as having been a “numerous and powerful” tribe, however, comes from Astoria: “The Omahas were once one of the numerous and powerful tribes of the prairies” (chap. 16; 1:130). Lewis and Clark speak of this village as having been burned about 1800; while it existed for Rodman in the 1790s, how could the journalist have noted it if it was not on the river bank and if passed during the night? Does not this tacit admission of source material weaken the credibility of the journal? The parallels in time with Lewis and Clark require comment, for the latter passed from the island opposite Soldier’s river to the Quicourre from August 6 to September 4, or about a month. Rodman takes August 27 to September 1, or less than a week, for this distance, of 310 miles, at the preposterous rate of fifty miles a day.

3.19A river]  Having summarized the events in the Rodman journal since the departure from Beaver Island, Poe now resumes the narrative of Rodman, which will lead into the confrontation with the Sioux-the principal event of chap. 4. It corresponds to that of Hunt’s party in chap. 18 of Astoria, a week’s journey beyond the Quicourre River. Now Poe will rely primarily upon Astoria, not Lewis and Clark, for the Indian episode, except for the long editorial interpolation beginning the next chapter.

3.19B underwood]  Rodman’s qualms about the Sioux are possibly based upon [page 621:] a passage in Astoria (chap. 17; 1:137-38). The fears of the Canadians come from Irving’s account of the “voyageurs” (1:140). For the plan of having four of the Greely brothers hunt on the shore, see 2.13A; the men and horses have been following the boats for over 1,000 miles. The lineup of personnel on each boat is a verisimilar type of the rosters of the rival gangs in Pym (6.11). Perhaps the “shoals,” defined as “shallows” or “sandbars” (OED), arose from those that impeded or “embarrassed” Lewis and Clark near the mouth of the Quicourre (1:58). The hyphen in “head-way,” omitted in 4.9, 5.14, 5.21 and 6.18, is found in no OED citation later than 1800.

3.20A violence]  This entry was suggested to Poe by Lewis and Clark’s History for September 6: “There was a storm this morning from the N.W. and though it moderated, the wind was still high, and the weather very cold” (1:59).

3.20B them]  Their apprehensions may come from Astoria: “In the evening camp, the voyageurs gossiped, as usual, over the events of the day; . . . This evening gossip, and the terrific stories of Indian warfare to which it gave rise, produced a strong effect upon the imaginations of the irresolute . . .” (chap. 18; 1:146).

3.20C consequence]  This passage has its analogue in Astoria: “All these causes of uneasiness were concealed as much as possible from the Canadian voyageurs, lest they should become intimidated; it was impossible, however, to prevent the rumors brought by the Indians from leaking out, and they became subjects of gossiping and exaggeration” (chap. 17; 1:140). The desire of the Greelys “for a bold push through the dangerous country” corresponds to Hunt’s desire to press forward rapidly: “The irresolution and discontent visible among some of his people . . . added greatly to the anxieties of Mr. Hunt, and rendered him eager to press forward and leave a hostile tract behind him, so that it would be as perilous to return as to keep on, and no one would dare to desert” (1:140).

3.21A appear]  It is Poe’s fantasy that an expedition could proceed up a difficult, snag-ridden, turbulent stream at night. Comment may be given via a citation from H. M. Brackenridge’s Journal of a Voyage up the River Missouri . . . in eighteen hundred and eleven (Baltimore, 1816; reprint by Reuben G. Thwaites in Early Western Travels [1904], vol. 6), p. 151 (p. 201 in original edition): “It was dangerous to proceed after night on account of the number of trees fixed in the bottom of the river, and besides in almost every bend there were a number which had fallen in: even in the day time there was frequently great difficulty in passing along, we several times narrowly escaped being dashed to pieces.” Certainly, towing and bushwacking were interdicted at night; moreover, the indispensable lights would inevitably attract the Indians whom they were seeking to avoid and render the boatmen perfect targets. However, given a clear stretch of river, moonlight, and a favorable wind, none mentioned by Poe, nighttime travel can be risked, as Brackenridge says (p. 95). More reasonably, Poe says, “We stopped at night” in 5.2.

3.21B worst]  The first part of the paragraph may have been suggested by an entry in Lewis and Clark for September 12: “At a short distance we reached an island in the middle of the river, which is covered with timber, a rare object now. We with great difficulty were enabled to struggle through the sandbars, the water being very rapid and shallow, so that we were several hours [page 622:] in making a mile. . . . Along both sides of the river are high grounds. . .” (chap. 3; 1:62). Another possible source is Irving’s discussion of Hunt’s fear of attack from the Sioux six days after departing from the “Quicourre”:

To attempt to elude them [the Sioux] and continue along the river was out of the question. The strength of the mid-current was too violent to be withstood, and the boats were obliged to ascend along the river banks. These banks were often high and perpendicular, affording the savages frequent stations, from whence, safe themselves, and almost unseen, they might shower down their missiles upon the boats below, and retreat at will, without danger from pursuit. Nothing apparently remained, therefore, but to fight or turn back. (Astoria, chap, 18; 1:152-53)

The names of the trees are approximated in an earlier description of the Missouri by Lewis and Clark: “In its winding course, it nourishes the willow islands, the scattered cottonwood, elm, sycamore, lynn, and ash, and the groves are interspersed with hickory, walnut, coffeenut, and oak” (chap. 2; 1:32). The word “lynn” appears to be a variant spelling of “linn,” obsolete, save as a nineteenth-century American alternate, for the linden or lime tree. Up to 1820 “chesnut” predominated over “chestnut” (OED). The hyphen in “thicklywooded” (sentence 1) is dropped in 4.19 and also in “thickly covered” (6.6).

3.22A farther up]  The general hostility between the Sioux and Ponca Indiansand hence the historically credible nature of this incident — is borne out by Lewis and Clark, in the entry for September 5 (1:59). The warning may also owe something to an episode in Astoria involving a visit to the Ponca Indian village after which “These Indians had confirmed the previous reports of the hostile intentions of the Sioux, and had assured them that . . . [they] were actually assembled higher up the river, and waiting to cut them off” (chap. 18; 1:146).

3.22B trapper]  Poe may have derived this passage from one in Irving’s work:

Outrages are frequently committed on the natives by thoughtless or mischievous white men; the Indians retaliate according to a law of their code, which requires blood for blood; their act, of what with them is pious vengeance, resounds throughout the land, and is represented as wanton and unprovoked. . . . Such is too often the real history of Indian warfare, which in general is traced up only to some vindictive act of a savage; while the outrage of the scoundrel white man that provoked it is sunk in silence. (Astoria, chap. 19; 1:156)

4.1A shot]  Much of this has its origin in Irving’s account of the Hunt party’s encounters with the Sioux (cited above; 3.21B)

It was plain that the rumors they had heard were correct, and the Sioux were determined to oppose their progress by force of arms. To attempt to elude them and continue along the river was out of the question. . . . Nothing apparently remained, therefore, but to fight or turn back. The Sioux far outnumbered them, it is true, but their own party was about sixty strong, well armed and supplied with ammunition; and, beside their guns and rifles, they had a swivel and two howitzers mounted in the boats. . . . The fighting alternative was, therefore, instantly adopted, and the boats pulled to shore nearly opposite to the hostile force. Here the arms were all examined and put in order. (Astoria, chap. 18; 1:152) [page 623:]

For a similar use of cannister shot against the savage hordes, see Pym, 20.10 and 22.5. Poe (or the compositor) uses the standard alternative “cannister-shot” in 4,15. See 2.10B for the “cuddy-cabin.”

4.1B stare]  The bravado of the party may have come from Bonneville’s tactics against the warlike Blackfeet Indians:

Here, while on the march, he described from the brow of a hill, a war party of about sixty Blackfeet, on the plain immediately below him. His situation was perilous; for the greater part of his people were dispersed in various directions. Still, to betray hesitation or fear, would be to discover his actual weakness, and to invite attack. He assumed, instantly, therefore, a belligerent tone,. . . and caused a great bustle to be made by his scanty handful; the leaders riding hither and thither, and vociferating with all their might. . . . (Captain Bonneville, chap, 12; 2:122-23)

4.2A emphasis]  In Poe’s use of the word “bugbears” for Rodman’s dread of Indians we can see a parallel in the basic narrative theme of Poe’s important tale, “The Man that was Used Up,” recently published in the August 1839 issue of the Gentleman’s Magazine. The subtitle, “A Tale of the Late Bugaboo and Kickapoo Campaign,” uses a rhyming word very closely akin to “bugbear” in its origin; some of the Kickapoo Indians had fought with Black Hawk in 1832 and, in 1837, a hundred had been sent to fight the Seminole of Florida (see Tales, 1:377, for a statement, probably on the latter). Poe also met the word in the May 22, 1804, entry in Lewis and Clark’s History. Moreover, Poe had published, in the March 18, 1840, issue of Alexander’s Weekly Messenger an article on “The Rail-Road War,” the first sentence of which refers to the “Bugaboo and Kickapoo campaigns” (q.v. in Clarence S. Brigham’s reprint of Edgar Allan Poe’s Contributions to Alexander’s Weekly Messenger [Worcester, 1943], p. 57).

4.2B Warreconne]  This paragraph follows closely Lewis and Clark’s account with gross changes in spelling (see 4.3A)

Almost the whole of that vast tract of country comprised between the Mississippi, the Red river of Lake Winnepeg, the Saskaskawan, and the Missouri, is loosely occupied by a great nation whose primitive name is Darcota, but who are called Sioux by the French, Sues by the English. Their original seats were on the Mississippi, but they have gradually spread themselves abroad and become subdivided into numerous tribes. Of these, what may be considered as the Darcotas are the Mindawarcarton, or Minowakanton, known to the French by the name of the Gens du Lac, or People of the Lake. Their residence is on both sides of the Mississippi near the falls of St. Anthony, and the probable number of their warriors about three hundred. Above them, on the river St. Peter’s, is the Wahpatone, a smaller band of nearly two hundred men; and still further up the same river below Yellowwood river are the Wahpatootas or Gens de Feuilles, an inferior band of not more than one hundred men; while the sources of the St. Peter’s are occupied by the Sisatoones, a band consisting of about two hundred warriors. These bands rarely if ever approach the Missouri, which is occupied by their kinsmen, the Yanktons and the Tetons. The Yanktons are of two tribes, those of the plains, or rather of the north, a wandering race of about five hundred men, who roam over the plains at the heads of the Jacques, the Sioux, and the Red river; and those of the south, who possess the country between the Jacques and Sioux rivers and the [page 624:] Desmoine. But the bands of Sioux most known on the Missouri are the Tetons. The first who are met on ascending the Missouri is the tribe called by the French the Tetons of the Boise Brule or Bumtwood, who reside on both sides of the Missouri, about White and Teton rivers, and number two hundred warriors. Above them on the Missouri are the Teton Okandandas, a band of one hundred and fifty men living below the Chayenne river, between which and the Wetarhoo river is a third band, called Teton Minnakenozzo, of nearly two hundred and fifty men; and below the Warreconne is the fourth and last tribe of Tetons of about three hundred men, and called Teton Saone. (chap. 5; 1:127-28)

Note Poe’s whimsy in sentence two in speaking of “novelty, or other important interest” since all of this has become familiar to his readers through the journals of Lewis and Clark and others, regardless of priority of exploration. Two years later, in the February 1842 Graham’s Magazine, editor Poe recalled “St. Anthony’s Falls,” where Minneapolis was to develop, for his plate article, q.v. in “Poe as Probable Author of ‘Harper’s Ferry,’ ” by B. Pollin, in AL, May 1968, 40:164-78.

4.3A Sioux]  This paragraph, descriptive of the “five tribes of seceders called Assiniboins,” is a close paraphrase of the corresponding passage in Lewis and Clark’s account:

Northward of these, between the Assiniboin and the Missouri, are two bands of Assiniboins, one on Mouse river of about two hundred men, and called Assiniboin Menatopa; the other, residing on both sides of White river, called by the French Gens de Feuilles, and amounting to two hundred and fifty men. Beyond these a band of Assiniboins of four hundred and fifty men, and called the Big Devils, wander on the heads of Milk, Porcupine, and Martha’s rivers; while still farther to the north are seen two bands of the same nation, one of five hundred and the other of two hundred, roving on the Saskaskawan. Those Assiniboins are recognized by a similarity of language, and by tradition as descendents or seceders from the Sioux; though often at war [they] are still acknowledged as relations. (1:128)

Note that Poe, in transcribing both this and the preceding passage from Lewis and Clark, frequently misspells proper names while he corrects a few. Below is a table of comparisons:

Lewis and Clark Poe

1. Saskaskawan Saskatchawine

2. Winnepeg Winnipeg

3. Mindawarcarton/Minowakanton Winowacants

4. falls of St. Anthony Falls of St. Anthony

5. river St. Peter’s river St. Peters’

6. Wahpatone Wappatomies

7. Wahpatootas Wappytooties

8. Gen de Feuilles Gens des Feuilles

9. Sisatoones Sissytoonies

10. Desmoine Des Moines

11. Boise Brule Bois-BruMs

12. Okandandas Okydandies

13. Minnakenozzo Minnackennozzies

14. Wetarhoo Wetarhoo [page 625:]

15. Saone Saonies

16. Assiniboin Menatopa Menatopa’ Assiniboins

17. Saskaskawan Saskatcawine

Note that the first and the last of Poe’s alterations are both misspellings of “Saskaskawan.” The above alterations in spelling suggest a deliberate intention on Poe’s part. While Poe as “editor” is purportedly summarizing Rodman’s journal account, he does make indirect mention of his real source in paragraph 4.2, when he states that the Bois-Brul6s were located “near the rivers called by Captains Lewis and Clarke, The White and Teton.” The jingling endings in “ies” to so many of the names (and the suddenly intruding classical plural “Menatopae”) may have been intended as a private joke, characteristic of Poe, who could neither expect nor wish any group of readers to be likely to penetrate his hoax (see Introduction to Pym, pp. 5-7). E. Hinz and J. Teunissen, Nineteenth-Century Fiction, 1972, 27:327, also suggest Poe’s humor here, although they untenably assign it to a parody of Lewis and Clark, mistake the source-passage (1:54-55 of the edition being used) with its variant for “Sisatoones” which would obviate Poe’s change, and present a personal description of “a Sioux” out of context.

4.4A appendages]  This is a close paraphrase of a description in Lewis and Clark:

In their persons they are rather ugly and ill made, their legs and arms being too small, their cheekbones high, and their eyes projecting. . . . The men shave the hair off their heads, except a small tuft on the top, which they suffer to grow and wear in plaits over the shoulders; to this they seem much attached, as the loss of it is the usual sacrifice at the death of near relations. In full dress, the men of consideration wear a hawk’s feather, or calumet feather worked with porcupine quills, and fastened to the top of the head, from which it falls back. The face and body are generally painted with a mixture of grease and coal. Over the shoulders is a loose robe or mantle of buffaloe skin dressed white, adorned with porcupine quills loosely fixed so as to make a gingling noise when in motion, and painted with various uncouth figures unintelligible to us, but to them emblematic of military exploits, or any other incident; the hair of the robe is worn next the skin in fair weather, but when it rains the hair is put outside, and the robe is either thrown over the arm, or wrapped around the body, all of which it may cover. Under this in the winter season they wear a kind of shirt resembling ours, and made either of skin or cloth, and covering the arms and body. Round the middle is fixed a girdle of cloth or procured dressed elk-skin, about an inch in width and closely tied to the body, to this is attached a piece of cloth or blanket or skin about a foot wide, which passes between the legs and is tucked under the girdle both before and behind; from the hip to the ancle he is covered by leggins of dressed antelope skins, with seams at the sides two inches in width, and ornamented by little tufts of hair the produce of the scalps they have made in war, which are scattered down the leg. The winter moccasins are of dressed buffaloe-skin, the hair being worn inwards, and soaled with thick elk-skin parchment: those for summer are of deer or elk-skin, dressed without the hair, and with soals of elk-skin. On great occasions, or wherever they are in full dress, the young men drag after them the entire skin of a polecat fixed to the heel of the moccasin. Another skin of the same animal is either tucked into the girdle or carried in the hand, and serves as a pouch for their tobacco. . . . (chap. 4; 1:76-77) [page 626:]

Note that Poe borrows the “white-dressed” hide from the next source passage (see 4.5A). This designates the skin when pounded with a stone, repeatedly washed and scraped, and sometimes bleached in the sun (see Indian Rawhides, ed. Mabel Morrow [Norman, Oklahoma, 1975], pp. 28 and 31). Poe’s sourcetext is actually the entry of September 26, 1804, about the Teton Okanadandas. It is symptomatic only of Poe’s general view of the Indian that Dirk Peters, of Sioux stock through his Crow Indian mother, is similarly grotesque in Pym (4.4), but the portrait reflects Poe’s previously reviewing Astoria. The “polecat” is the “skunk.”

4.5A poles]  This closely paraphrases a description in Lewis and Clark:

The hair of the women is suffered to grow long, and is parted from the forehead across the head, at the back of which it is either collected into a kind of bag, or hangs down over the shoulders. Their moccasins are like those of the men, as are also the leggins, which do not however reach beyond the knee, where it is met by a long loose shift of skin which reaches nearly to the ancles: this is fastened over the shoulders by a string and has no sleeves, but a few pieces of the skin hang a short distance down the arm. Sometimes a girdle fastens this skin round the waist, and over all is thrown a robe like that worn by the men. . . . Their lodges are very neatly constructed, in the same form as those of the Yanktons; they consist of about one hundred cabins, made of white buffaloe hide dressed, with a larger one in the centre for holding councils and dances. They are built round with poles about fifteen or twenty feet high, covered with white skins. . . . (chap. 4; 1:77-78)

The female dress being described is that of the women in general, not merely that of a chieftain’s squaw; Poe changes “shift” to “shirt.” Regarding “elk-skin” Poe is as inconsistent as is his source (see 4.413), using a hyphen in 4.5 and none in 4.4.

For the acceptable spelling “ancles,” retained from the text of Lewis and Clark, see Pym, 9.12A.

4.6A antelope]  In conclusion, editor Poe closely paraphrases a passage from Astoria:

This country extends for some days’ journey along the river, and consists of vast prairies, here and there diversified by swelling hills, and cut up by ravines, the channels of turbid streams in the rainy seasons, but almost destitute of water during the heats of summer. Here and there, on the sides of the hills, or along the alluvial borders and bottoms of the ravines, are groves and skirts of forest; but for the most part the country presented to the eye a boundless waste, covered with herbage, but without trees.

The soil of this immense region is strongly impregnated with sulphur, copperas, alum, and glauber salts; its various earths impart a deep tinge to the streams which drain it, and these, with the crumbling of the banks along the Missouri, give to the waters of that river much of the coloring matter with which they are clouded.

Over this vast tract the roving bands of the Sioux Tetons hold their vagrant sway; subsisting by the chase of the buffalo, the elk, the deer, and the antelope. . . . (Astoria, chap. 18; 1:150) [page 627:]

4.7A territory]  In 4.7-19, Rodman will confront on September 6 a hostile band of Sioux. This material is Poe’s own invention to a greater extent than any other large section of “Julius Rodman.” Nevertheless, Poe relies upon Irving’s account of three distinct confrontations with Indians: Crooks and M‘Lellan’s encounter with a band of Sioux warriors about two years before the period of the Hunt expedition (1:138-39); most significantly, Hunt’s own encounter with the Sioux (1:150-54); and third, Hunt’s subsequent encounter with a war party of Arickaras, Mandans, and Minnetarees (1:157-58). The same chapter in Astoria (chap. 18) which depicts Hunt’s somewhat analogous encounter with the Sioux contains the extensive nature descriptions which Poe had already borrowed and paraphrased for chapter 3 of “Julius Rodman” (see notes 3.5A and 3.8A).

4.7B lurking-place]  This may derive from Irving’s Astoria: “Many of the Canadian voyageurs . . . would regard with a distrustful eye the boundless waste extending on each side. All, however, was silent, and apparently untenanted by a human being. . . . The Canadians, however, began . . . to regard the broad, tranquil plain as a sailor eyes some shallow and perfidious sea, which . . . conceals the lurking rock or treacherous shoal” (chap. 18; 1:150). The hyphen in “lurking-place” has no counterpart in the analogous “sleeping place” of 2.13. Pym was mindful of the attack by natives from the cliff over the gorge in chap. 21.

4.8A voyageur]  This comes from Astoria: “The very name of a Sioux became a watchword of terror. Not an elk, a wolf, or any other animal, could appear on the hills, but the boats resounded with exclamations from stem to stern, ‘voila les Sioux!’ ‘voila les Sioux!’ (there are the Sioux! there are the Sioux!) .. .” (chap.18;1:150).

4.8B feathers]  The alternative spellings, “gully” and “gulley” are both found in this paragraph, with the first recurring in 6.3 (“precipitous gorge or gully”). Poe is not clear in his use of the word, usually applied to a ravine worn by water, often after rain or melting snow, and therefore not as deep as a gorge, which often has rocky sides and has a stream regularly flowing at the bottom. ,Similarly, he loosely applied the varied words “chasms,” “ravines,” “pits,” “hollows,” “caverns,” “gulfs,” and “abysses” to the minor “gorges” of Tsalal in Pym (23.4-11). It is difficult to understand how the riders’ feathers could “bob up” above the “huge regular walls” which had been worn away from the surface by the flowing action of the creek on its way to the river. Surely the creek bottom or “bed” would be uniformly level in its descent. In “The Wissahiccon” of 1843 Poe was to be more specific in his details of a gorge (Tales, 2:863-65).

4.8C hundred]  Several details, however, are borrowed by Poe from Irving’s account of Hunt’s later confrontation with the Arickaras and Mandans:

At the same moment a file of savage warriors was observed pouring down from the impending bank and gathering on the shore at the lower end of the bar. They were evidently a war party. . . . Here then was a fearful predicament. Mr. Hunt and his crew seemed caught as it were in a trap. The Indians, to the number of about a hundred, had already taken possession of a point near which the boat would have to pass: others kept pouring down the bank, and it was probable that some would remain posted on the top of the height. (chap. 19; 1:157) [page 628:]

Poe’s use of “calumet” (usually referring to the peace pipe) for the betraying headdress feathers seems paradoxical for a war party, until we note this use in Lewis and Clark (see 4.4A) who apply the word simply to the eagle’s feathers that would adorn the calumet pipe, even though used in a headdress. According to Craigie, Dictionary of American English, these are always the black and white tail feathers of the eagle, and the adjective in all the citations is used with “eagle” or “bird.” The picture by “Thornton” (see 4.9) shows his intention. Yet Poe’s reference to the “hawk’s feather’ for the typical Sioux chief in 4.4 indicates his misreading Lewis’ passage, construing “or calumet feather” as an appositive for “hawk’s feather,” not an alternate.

4.9A eddy]  The passage derives from Hunt’s encounter with the Sioux (see 3.21B). Here again is the mysterious “eddy” operating many miles beyond the place of its first appearance (3.2 and 3.4), and still apparently not understood as a local phenomenon by Poe (see 3.2A).

The term “freebooters,” invariably applied to those who plunder on or from the sea (with a few exceptions cited by the OED), probably derives from Irving’s introductory remarks on Hunt’s encounter with the Sioux: “They might now look out for some fierce scenes with those piratical savages . . .” (chap, 18, 1:151). 4.9B them] Poe may also have been influenced by Irving’s account of Crooks and M‘Lellan’s encounter with the Sioux:

In one of the bends of the river, where the channel made a deep curve under impending banks, they suddenly heard yells and shouts above them, and beheld the cliffs overhead covered with armed savages. It was a band of Sioux warriors, upwards of six hundred strong. They brandished their weapons in a menacing manner, and ordered the boats to turn back and land lower down the river. There was no disputing these commands, for they had the power to shower destruction upon the white men, without risk to themselves. (Astoria, chap. 17; 1:138)

4.9C men]  These three sentences come from Astoria: “They were all in warlike array, painted and decorated for battle. Their weapons were bows and arrows. . . and most of them had round shields. Altogether they had a wild and gallant appearance. . .” (chap. 18; 1:151). The “fanciful flags attached” may also have been suggested by a victory pageant among the Arickaras: “The bands marched in separate bodies under their several leaders. The warriors on foot came first, in platoons of ten or twelve abreast; then the horsemen. Each band bore as an ensign a spear or bow decorated with beads, porcupine quills and painted feathers. . . . They were painted in the most savage style” (Astoria, chap. 21; 1:178-79).

Irving’s next paragraph in the episode of Hunt’s encounter with the Sioux, “resolved to prevent all trade . . . with . . . the Arickaras,” also furnishes Poe with elements for Rodman’s preliminary encounter — the high banks, the swift midstream current, the superior armaments: “At sight of this formidable front of war, Mr. Hunt and his companions held counsel together . . . . The Sioux were determined to oppose their progress by force of arms. . . . The strength of the mid-current was too violent to be withstood, and the boats were obliged to ascend along the river banks. These banks were often high and perpendicular, affording the savages frequent stations, from whence, safe themselves, and almost [page 629:] unseen, they might shower down their missiles upon the boats below, and retreat at will, without danger from pursuit . . . . Their own party was about sixty strong, well armed and supplied with ammunition; . . . they had a swivel and two howitzers mounted in the boats” (1:151-52). More sensibly, Irving’s account leads at once to a peace parley, reached only in the sequel by Rodman’s in 4.12.

4.9D period]  John Sartain, the celebrated mezzotint engraver and later the staff artist for Graham’s Magazine while Poe was editor, executed three plates for BGM (“The Pets” in May 1839, “The Musical Bore” in October, and “The April Fool” in this the April 1840 issue). However, he did not do wood engravings and this print bears no earmarks of his excellent work. It may be by A. W. Graham, who did most of the large plates in the magazine of 1839 and 1840. He had come from England about 1832 and from 1838 to 1845 worked in Philadelphia, according to the New-York Historical Society’s Dictionary of Artists in America (p. 269). It was probably Poe himself — always partial to wood engravings — who, with tongue in cheek, praised this far from outstanding print in a puff placed in Alexander’s Weekly Messenger, April 1, 1840: “A fine engraving illustrates this chapter.” In reality it is a coarse little sketch, apparently hastily and inexpertly executed, with the body of the Indian disproportionate (see the narrow leg, the angle of the lower body and the placement of the shoulders) and many other elements incorrect or grotesque, such as the “tufts of human hair” (see 4.4), the size of the horse and the stance of the animal. Even before E. Maybridge’s photographic studies of the horse in action, artists avoided depicting the legs in this invalid alternating forward and backward motion, uniform on each side (see Lowes D. Luard, The Horse: Its Action and Anatomy [London, 1935], 80-92, 104-106, and Lida L. Fleitmann, The Horse in Art [New York, 1931], pp. xix-xx).

4.10A departure]  The “gesticulations” of the savages correspond to the invitation by the Sioux to Crooks and M‘Lellan (1:138; see 4.9B). Hunt’s party is also invited by the Sioux to stop and come on shore (1:152-53).

4.11A shore]  Although Poe’s main story line departs radically at this point from that in Astoria, Poe continues to borrow occasional details from that book: the temporary withdrawal of the Indians, the push of Rodman up the river, the band’s return “augmented” — all echo Hunt’s Sioux encounter (1:151-52). The Indian attack is decidedly muddled in Poe’s presentation. They are expected on the height, but are discovered coming down a river-level gorge, thereby sacrificing their superior vantage point, which only by chance do they then assume to “overlook” the boats. They then demand that the whites “come on shore” (where, if not via the gulley?) and are “mystified” into inactivity before discarding their tactical advantage for a vain retreat for quite unneeded reinforcements and an interpreter, returning to an exposed position upstream. Poe must think these Indians justly portrayed as moronic and suicidal. For an earlier instance of “to the southward” see 3.5 (sentence 2).

4.11B disobey]  While the idea of attaching to the cannon the significance or role of a great medicine apparently is Poe’s, the concept of a “great medicine” may have been suggested to Poe by Lewis and Clark: “The whole religion of the Mandans consists in the belief of one great spirit presiding over their destinies. This being must be in the nature of a good genius since it is associated [page 630:] with the healing art, and the great spirit is synonymous with great medicine, a name also applied to every thing which they do not comprehend. Each individual selects for himself the particular object of his devotion, which is termed his medicine, and is either some invisible being or more commonly some animal, which thenceforward becomes his protector or his intercessor with the great spirit; to propitiate whom every attention is lavished, and every personal consideration is sacrificed” (1:121). Poe may also have been influenced by Irving’s reference to this Crow Indian in Captain Bonneville: “In fact, nothing could exceed the curiosity evinced by these people as to the objects before them . . . but the calf was the peculiar object of their admiration. . . . After much sage consultation, they at length determined that it must be the ‘great medicine’ of the white party; an appellation given by the Indians to any thing of supernatural and mysterious power, that is guarded as a talisman” (Captain Bonneville, chap. 4; 1:51).

4.12A cannon]  In this paragraph, Rodman recapitulates the line of reasoning leading to hostilities. In Astoria Hunt’s initial inclination is to fight, but he chooses, finally, to “trust to the amicable overtures of these ferocious people” (chap. 18; 1:153). Rodman’s plausible conviction of the need to fight was broadly based upon Lewis and Clark’s account of their continual troubles with the Sioux Indians (1:84-85).

4.13A rascals]  The Sioux’ offer of aid in “rowing our large boat” is a ruse to gain possession, especially since they were now at war with the Ricarees (see 3.19 and 4.16) and had only their small, tub-shaped buffalo-hide boats, called bull-boats. Poe usually uses this name (see 4.13-16 and 5.1) save for the “old Ricara villages” in 4.24; Irving sanctions both spellings plus “Arickaras” (Astoria, 1:166), and Lewis and Clark consistently use “Ricaras.” In “Philosophy of Furniture,” published in the May 1840 issue of Burton’s (therefore simultaneously being prepared by Poe), he advises against a carpet “bedizzened out like a Riccaree [sic] Indian — all red chalk, yellow ochre, and cock’s feathers” (Tales, 1:496). The reference is obviously borrowed from Rodman’s source concerning the tribe (4.9C).

4.13B grass-hopper]  The Sioux query about a “large and strong green grasshopper” is plausible, since both are elongated and colored green (through paint for the guns or oxidation of brass). A further analogy explains the adjective “strong” since in fighting, both “spit” or discharge a defensive substance, i.e., cannister shot and, for the insect, a brown-colored liquid with an offensive odor (see V. W. Wigglesworth, The Life of Insects [New York, 1968], p. 174). Poe may, however, be enjoying a joke in that “grasshopper” was indeed a name applied to this sort of piece, as is shown in Cooper’s 1829 Wish-ton-Wish (chap. 5): “A small cannon, of a kind once known and much used under the name of grasshopper, had been raised to the place.” Mathews, Dictionary of Americanisms, also cites a 1794 reference. As for the orthography — only in this paragraph does Poe hyphenate the word, otherwise fused in 4.14, 4.16, and 4.18, as was more common.

4.14A fire-guns]  Poe uses an archaic word, “fire-guns,” cited by the OED only for Henry Mbre’s 1680 use, presumably to give the effect of a translation from the Indian language here and in 4.16.

4.15A us]  The pattern for the whole episode is that of an avenged insult, beginning [page 631:] with the outrage years ago (3.22), augmented by the comparison with their enemies the Ricarees, but subdued by fear of the “great medicine.” Superstitious awe of the guns also enters into Pym, 18.7.

4.16A should be]  For the rather indirect and somewhat archaic expression for “of doubtful moral character” or “suspicious” see its use in “Hans Pfaall” (15E).

4.16B do]  The themes exploited here — of presents, enemy allies, and conveying supplies — must come from Astoria: “The sight of these presents mollified the chieftain. . . . He stated the object of their hostile assemblage, which had been merely to prevent supplies of arms and ammunition from going to the Arickaras, Mandans, and Minatarees, with whom they were at war. . .” (chap. 18; 1:154).

4.17A sight]  The motif of insulted honor, requiring vindication, concerning Rodman’s “great medicine” has led to an ironic culmination: the cannon is both the object of an insult and the agent for its being avenged. Since the Sioux clearly know something about the effect of a cannonade, one wonders at their galloping “in short circles,” presenting an absurdly easy target for the piece; similarly, we wonder at their twice repeated failure to attack from their superior vantage point, according to their intention about which the Ponca had spoken. The natives in Pym similarly retreat without rescuing their wounded companions (22.6). The theme of revenge for insulted honor is prominent in “The Cask of Amontillado.”

4.18A wounded]  Rodman’s assertions of friendship and his present of tobacco were suggested by Hunt’s similar statements and present to the Sioux chieftain of “fifteen carottes of tobacco” (Astoria, chap. 18; 1:154). Craigie’s Dictionary of American English defines a “carrot” as “a roll of leaf tobacco”; a citation of 1788 gives its weight as three pounds, and another gives its length as a bit over a foot (1:433).

4.19A gangs]  Note also a similar contemptuous use of “gangs” in Pym (6.11 and 13).

4.19B us]  “Rodman” is outstanding among Poe’s works for its not disparaging alcoholism or even drinking, unlike Pym (see 1AE, 7.111, and 11.811) and “The Black Cat,” probably reflecting the frank hedonism and bonhomie manifest in Lewis and Clark’s journal.

4.19C shed]  Note that conscience here speaks in biblical diction, as it does at the very end of “William Wilson,” in the tones of William II. See Genesis 9:6, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” There is an analogue here to Pym’s horror over the necessity of cannibalism (12.1 and 7), indicating similarly humanitarian heroes.

4.19D thought]  The theme of remorse over death plus the need for life to continue unremitting may have caused an echo here of Milton’s “Lycidas”: “And now the Sun had stretch‘t out all the hills, / And now was dropt into the Western bay; / At last he rose, and twitch‘t his Mantle blue: / Tomorrow to fresh Woods, and Pastures new” (11. 190-93).

4.20A Bend]  On September 2, Rodman departs from the “Quicourre” (3.18) and on September 7 he arrives at “the Great Bend,” having purportedly traveled a distance of 200 miles in six days, or about thirty-three miles a day (History, 3:832-33). In contrast Lewis and Clark take seventeen days for the trip. On two of the six days, September 3 and 4, the weather was violent and there was no progress (3:20), while the Sioux occupied much of the sixth day. Poe’s neglect of [page 632:] the mundane realities of space and time would provide ample evidence to the informed or less gullible reader of the fabricated, largely hoaxing nature of the journal itself.

4.20B moccasins]  The description here follows closely Lewis and Clark’s History:

At daylight [we] proceeded on to the gorge or throat of the Great Bend, where we breakfasted. A man, whom we had despatched to step off the distance across the bend, made it two thousand yards: the circuit is thirty miles. . . . After breakfast, we passed through a high prairie on the north side, and a rich cedar lowland and cedar bluff on the south, till we reached a willow island below the mouth of a small creek. This creek, called Tyler’s river, is about thirty-five yards wide, comes in on the south, and is at the distance of six miles from the neck of the Great Bend. . . . We passed several sandbars, which make the river very shallow and about a mile in width. . . . On each side the shore is lined with hard rough gulleystones. rolled from the hills and small brooks. The most common timber is the cedar, though, in the prairies, there are great quantities of the prickly pear. (chap. 3; 1:69)

The spelling of “sand-bars” is still not fixed, and Poe varies, using the hyphen here and in 2.11, 3.8, and 4.21, while he writes it as two unjoined words in 6.10. The OED cites it only once, with a hyphen; the Random House Dictionary gives it as two separate words; and the American Heritage Dictionary as a fused compound, as is the usage of Lewis and Clark.

4.21A side up]  Poe clearly meant “careening” or “inclining to one side” or “lying over” rather than “careering” or “moving at full speed.” It is either his error of wording or that of a typesetter. For lack of an answer, I leave it uncorrected in the text.

4.21B despair]  The episode seems to be based on two separate incidents recorded by Lewis and Clark, which Poe has simply conflated into one: The first appears in the same entry (September 21) as 4.19:

Between one and two o‘clock the serjeant on guard alarmed us, by crying that the sandbar on which we lay was sinking we jumped up, and found that both above and below our camp the sand was undermined and falling in very fast: we had scarcely got into the boats and pushed off, when the bank under which they had been lying, fell in, and would certainly have sunk the two periogues if they had remained there. By the time we reached the opposite shore the ground of our encampment sunk also. (1:68-69)

Passing near the southern shore, the bank fell in so fast as to oblige us to cross the river instantly, between the northern side and a sandbar which is constantly moving and banking with the violence of the current. The boat struck on it, and would have upset immediately, if the men had not jumped into the water and held her, till the sand washed from under her. (1:5)

4.21C impalpable]  The precise source for Rodman’s description of the “fine hard yellow, sand” has not been located, but it may simply be the Lewis and Clark entry for April 24, 1805, concerning clouds of dustlike sand (1:169). The word “impalpable” has a specific application to “very fine powder, in which no grit is perceptible when it is rubbed between the fingers” (OED).

4.22A day]  This is all based on Lewis and Clark entries for the Great Bend of the Missouri, September 19-21, 1804: [page 633:]

Our game this day consisted chiefly of deer. . . . Large herds of buffaloe, elk, and goats, were also seen. . . . Great numbers of buffaloe, elk and goats are wandering over these plains, accompanied by grouse and larks. . . . None of these goats have any beard, but are delicately formed, and very beautiful. . . . Here we found . . . the skin of a white wolf, left us by our hunters ahead: large quantities of different kinds of plover and brants are in this neighbourhood, and seen collecting and moving towards the south: the catfish are small, and not in such plenty as we had found them below this place. (chap. 3; 1:68-69)

4.24A villages]  For “the old Ricara villages,” see Lewis and Clark’s references to apparently abandoned Ricara villages encountered prior to their passing the mouth of Otter creek (1:81, 82, 85). By 1804 the bulk of the Ricaras inhabited three villages located along the Missouri not far above Otter creek (chap. 4; 1:88-93). These Ricaras visit Rodman’s party during the winter. In reality, these “old” villages had been occupied in 1797 and then abandoned before 1804 for village sites further up the Missouri (1:85 and 91 ).

4.24B voyage]  Poe places the winter encampment at a point 170 miles below that of Lewis and Clark among the Mandan peoples (1:104 and 113). Similarly, both encamp at the end of October and resume their trip in early April.

Chapter 5A (note to the numeral)]  Poe will rely largely upon Lewis and Clark’s account for the rest of the journal, rarely drawing upon Astoria, whose chief character, Hunt, had found that Lewis’ slaying of a Blackfoot Indian had made the route along the river too dangerous for followers and had to proceed westward across the plains.

5.1A voyage]  There is no Ricara chieftain named Little Snake, in either Astoria or Lewis’ History, but Poe’s descriptive editorial interpolation shows him to be modeled upon Little Raven, a chieftain of the Mandans, near whom Lewis and Clark spent their winter encampment (1804-05). See the numerous references to their friendship (1:105, 108, 126).

5.1B Côte]  Lewis and Clark mention no agent named Perrine, but many other agents of the Northwest and Hudson’s Bay Companies (less correctly “Hudson” in 1:102, whence Poe’s form) during that winter (1:102, 108, 120, 136, 145). Rodman’s encounter in 1791-1792 is probably anachronistic, given the origins and progress of the North American fur trade and companies involved (see Gordon Davidson, The North West Company [Berkeley, 1918], pp. 46-47). Any British fur agent thus involved would belong to the Michilimackinac Company. The name “Perrine,” of French Canadian ambiance, suggested by Lewis’ mention of French agents (1:125, 136, 145), came from “M. Perrine,” user of an ingenious pair of skates, described in “A Chapter on Science and Art,” BGM, April 1840, 6:194.

5.1C insult]  No incident analogous to this death is found in Astoria or in the account of Lewis and Clark who say that the Ricara women are “disposed to be amorous” and available as “companions for the night” (chap. 4; 1:92).

5.2A sensibly]  In 5.1, the antidote here prepared for Thornton was probably suggested by a similar concoction made by Captain Lewis to alleviate an attack of dysentery: “Captain Lewis who had been for some days affllicted [[afflicted]] with the dysentery, was now attacked with violent pains attended by a high fever and was unable to go on. . . . He determined to try an experiment with the small twigs of the chokeberry, which . . . were boiled in pure water, till they produced a [page 634:] strong black decoction of an astringent bitter taste; a pint of this he took at sunset, and repeated the dose an hour afterwards. By ten o‘clock he was perfectly relieved from pain, a gentle perspiration ensued, his fever abated and in the morning he was quite recovered” (1:224-25).

5.3A described]  The reference to the “park, or enclosure” and to the seasonal movements of the antelopes is based on the April 9, 1805, entry in Lewis and Clark: “We came to a hunting party of Minnetarees, who had prepared a park or inclosure and were waiting the return of the antelope: this animal, which in the autumn retires for food and shelter to the Black mountains during the winter, recross the river at this season of the year, and spread themselves through the plains on the north of the Missouri” (1:156). Perhaps the November 5, 1804, entry about the Mandans’ method of driving goats into “a large strong pen or fold” contributed to this passage. Irving gives a more elaborate description of the Indian mode of hunting the antelope in Captain Bonneville (2:51), not followed by Poe.

5.5A few]  The “great terror” and “perfect dismay” of the Saonies would seem to be well founded, since these animals apparently do not normally attempt to overleap the walls of their enclosure (see Bonneville, p, 260). Concerning “the congregation” — the word has been customarily used for an assemblage, especially habitual or regular and meeting for religious or institutional purposes, but the OED gives citations before 1810 for any “gathering” of men.

5.5B spectacle]  This description of the antelopes may be based on descriptions in both Astoria and in Lewis and Clark’s account (Astoria, chap. 20; 1:163; History, chap. 3; 1:66).

5.5C woods]  For this Poe probably borrowed from a description, in Lewis and Clark, of a buffalo who on the night of May 29, 1805, bolted unexpectedly into the camp: “Taking fright he ran full speed up the bank towards our fires, and passed within eighteen inches of the heads of some of the men, before the sentinel could make him change his course: still more alarmed he ran down between four fires and within a few inches of the heads of a second row of the men, and would have broken into our lodge if the barking of the dog had not stopped him. He suddenly turned to the right and was out of sight in a moment, leaving us all in confusion. . .” (1:203).

5.6A security]  In 5.4 the Canadian had been suffered to remain unbound and had been left in possession of his knife. These unlikely circumstances facilitate their escape.

5.7A wilderness]  Compare Deuteronomy 32:10, “in the vast howling wilderness.”

5.8A assistance]  The Canadians — and Rodman — have forgot that the terms of their employment (2.6) gave them no share of profits, but the profit motive and Wormley’s gold mania are dispelled by a romantic urge to explore the unknown and the picturesque, Since it is shared by all, the need to confide solely in Thornton, the bosom confidant (cf. Pym and Augustus, end of 2.1), is not completely explicable. For Rodman himself this represents a return to his initial sentiments (1.1) and a shift in view of all these “travellers for pleasure.” Unfortunately, the only interruptions to the spirit of “glee” thus far prevailing have been in the Indian attack and brief capture of the three men — scarcely a validation of the “howling wilderness” and “horrible danger.” In [page 635:] “The Island of the Fay” (June 1841) are passages devoted to the “pleasure” lying in the “sentiment of seclusion” and the “contemplation of natural scenery” which recall this portion of “Rodman.” See above (1.1D, 1.5D, 2.17C) for Bonneville’s role in the characterization of Rodman.

5.10A main land]  Much of this paragraph corresponds to the entry for October 21, 1804, in Lewis and Clark’s journal: “Last night the weather was cold, the wind high from the northeast, and the rain which fell froze on the ground. . .. We however, set out early, and just above our camp came to a creek on the south, called Chisshetaw, about thirty yards wide and with a considerable quantity of water” (1:99). For Rodman this is the seventh and eighth day after leaving the Ricara villages, and the ninth for Lewis and Clark — the distance covered being 145 miles. Concerning “main land” — in OED the latest citation for a twoword form is 1719 (Defoe) with an 1838 “main-land.” See Pyrn, 14.19, for the same two-word form. Poe is implying the continuation of their encampment on islands, of 4.22-24, despite the “main land” stop of April 11 in 5.2.

5.11A position]  This is a paraphrase of Lewis and Clark’s account:

The villages near which we are established are five in number, and are the residence of three distinct nations; the Mandans, the Ahnahaways, and the Minnetarees. . . . Within the recollection of living witnesses, the Mandans were settled forty years ago in nine villages, the ruins of which we passed about eighty miles below, and situated seven on the west and two on the east side of the Missouri. The two finding themselves wasting away before the small-pox and the Sioux, united into one village, and moved up the river opposite to the Ricaras. The same causes reduced the remaining seven to five villages, till at length they emigrated in a body to the Ricara nation, where they formed themselves into two villages, and joined those of their countrymen who had gone before them. In their new residence they were still insecure, and at length the three villages ascended the Missouri to their present position. The two who had emigrated together still settled in the two villages on the northwest side of the Missouri, while the single village took a position on the southeast side. In this situation they were found by those who visited them in 1796; since which the two villages have united into one. They are now in two villages, one on the southeast of the Missouri, the other on the opposite side. . . . On the same side of the river, . . . is another called Mahaha, . . . the residence of the Ahnahaways. . . . On the south side of the same Knife river,. . . is a village of Minnetarees surnamed Metaharta. . . .On the opposite side of Knife river . . . is a second of Minnetarees. . . . (1:113-14)

Poe errs in the number of villages which he claims are inhabited by these tribes in 1792. At least until 1796, the Mandans still inhabited three villages which, with the one of the Ahnahaways and the two of the Minnetarees, would make six, not five, at the time of Rodman’s visit. Only since 1796 did two of the previous three Mandan villages unite into one, thereby leaving two Mandan villages which, counting the three others inhabited by the Ahnahaways and Minnetarees, would constitute the five visited by Lewis and Clark, Thus Rodman would have visited six villages at this juncture, not five as the “Journal” contends.

5.11B nations]  The last name should read “Wattasoons” (History, 1:114).

5.11C friendliness]  Rodman’s reference to the “perfect friendliness” with which [page 636:] he was received by the Mandans is based on the corresponding experiences of Lewis and Clark, who actually passed the five months of winter (1804-1805) among the Mandan peoples.

5.11D lodges]  Rodman’s reference to a “hard corn” and its method of preservation in winter is a paraphrase of Lewis and Clark’s November 22 entry: “We purchased from the Mandans a quantity of corn of a mixed colour, which they dug up in ears from holes made near the front of their lodges, in which it is buried during the winter. . .” (chap. 5; 1:116).

5.11E pleased]  The note upon which the Rodman reference is based is in the November 25 entry: “A Minnetaree chief, the first who has visited us, came down to the fort: his name was Waukerassa, but as both the interpreters had gone with captain Lewis we were obliged to confine our civilities to some presents with which he was much pleased. . .” (chap. 5; 1:116). Note that the proper name of the chief involved has been misspelled by Poe, perhaps through careless copying. There is no reference in Lewis and Clark’s account to Waukerassa’s having a son, called Misquash in 5.17.

5.11F way]  Poe apparently errs at this point in his dates. Rodman states that it was “the last of the month [that is, April 30], when we reached the country of the Mandans” and “We remained in their neighborhood three days.” If Rodman’s party departs from the Mandans on May 1, what then has happened to the three days purportedly spent in their vicinity?

5.12A men]  This is a close paraphrase of the Lewis and Clark entries for May 1 and May 2, 1805:

May 1. . . . The country around is more pleasant than that through which we had passed for several days, the hills being lower, the low grounds wider and better supplied with timber, which consists principally of cottonwood: the undergrowth willow on the banks and sandbars, rosebushes, redwillow, and the broad-leafed willow in the low plains, while the high country on both sides is one extensive plain without wood, though the soil is a dark, rich, mellow loam. Our hunters killed a buffaloe, an elk, a goat, and two beaver, and also a bird of the plover kind.

2d. . . . The vegetation . . . is now considerably advanced; some flowers having put forth, and the cottonwood leaves as large as a dollar. . . . Our game today was deer, elk, and buffaloe: we also procured three beaver who are quite gentle, as they have not been hunted, but when the hunters are in pursuit they never leave their huts during the day: this animal we esteem a great delicacy, particularly the tail, which when boiled resembles in flavour the flesh tongues and sounds [bladders] of the codfish, and is generally so large as to afford a plentiful meal for two men. (1:176)

In Pym (20.4) Poe transcribes B. Morrell’s citation from Dr. Pascalis about the biche de mer with a false etymology based, by implication, upon bonne bouche wherein the “bouche de mer” (sic) is called “a nice morsel from the sea.” Usually it means a “tasty morsel,” not a full meal. This episode seems to contradict their being “exceedingly ferocious” (3.16).

5.13A day]  Rodman’s description of the wind for May 2 and of the necessity for halting about noon reflect similar details in the Lewis and Clark entry for May 1: “The wind was in our favour and we were enabled to use the sails till twelve o‘clock, when the wind became so high and squally that we were forced to come to. . .” (1:176). [page 637:]

5.13B height]  Rodman’s allusion to an “immense elk” was suggested by this: “The game continues abundant: we killed the largest male elk we have yet seen; on placing it in its natural erect position, we found that it measured five feet three inches from the point of the hoof to the top of the shoulder” (1:175). For a later trace of this passage, see “The Wissahiccon” concerning “one of the . . . elks . . . coupled with the red men” (Tales, 2:865).

5.13C stream]  This is a close paraphrase of similar details in Lewis and Clark’s entry for April 30:

The antelopes are yet lean and the females are with young: this fleet and quick-sighted animal is generally the victim of its curiosity: when they first see the hunters they run with great velocity; if he lies down on the ground and lifts up his arm, his hat, or his foot, the antelope returns on a light trot to look at the object, and sometimes goes and returns two or three times till they approach within reach of the rifle: so too they sometimes leave their flock to go and look at the wolves who crouch down, and if the antelope be frightened at first repeat the same manoeuvre, and sometimes relieve each other till they decoy it from the party when they seize it. But generally the wolves take them as they are crossing the rivers, for although swift of foot they are not good swimmers. (1:175-76)

A similar account in Astoria about the vulnerability of the curious antelope, which Poe may have studied, probably was largely taken by Irving from the above account (chap. 20; 1:163-64).

5.14A safety]  Rodman’s account of the tragic fate of the buffaloes, is largely Poe’s own invention. Yet, it is suggested by several distinct incidents recorded by Lewis and Clark. Most relevant is the entry for April 27, 1805: “For several days past we have seen great numbers of buffaloe lying dead along the shore, and some of them partly devoured by the wolves; they have either sunk through the ice during the winter, or been drowned in attempting to cross, or else, after crossing to some high bluff, found themselves too much exhausted either to ascend or swim back again, and perished for want of food; in this situation we found several small parties of them” (1:172). Also suggestive, the entry for March 29 tells of buffaloes becoming “insulated” on masses of ice and then floating down the river within range of their Indian hunters (chap. 7; 1:152). Furthermore, the entry for May 29 tells of vast herds which on being chased by hunters plunge down lofty precipices to their deaths (1:204-5). Finally, the entry for June 17 depicts the death of numerous buffaloes through their being precipitated over cliffs by the blind impatience of animals rushing upon them from the rear (chap. 10; 1:237). Notice Rodman’s humanitarian regard for the animals’ sufferings, as in the case of the antelopes, but quite different from his report on the trapping of the beaver. See also 5.15 on “wanton destruction.” The paragraph is replete with illogical and unnatural elements, presented so feelingly and graphically that we do not stop to question the material. Poe has his animals enter on a sloping bank “half a mile above,” although each time that they now cross the river, they make “the shore at very nearly the same places.” Why then were they swept half a mile down? If they are now tiring, why are they not swept “a quarter of a mile below” where there is a “more favorable landing“? Second, if they are in great distress or in panic, would they not commence “lowing or moaning” much before the falling of the [page 638:] cliff? Bison are notoriously low in the scale of animal intelligence and could not differentiate between their inability to gain a foothold before and after the fall. Third, if they are struggling to survive in the water, they are not going to waste energy in further sound-emission, considered by animal experts to be social solicitations, not expressions of distress; in this I am confirmed by Dr. Dale F. Lott of the University of California at Davis. Clearly, these are anthropomorphized bison. Finally, neither Dr. Lott nor any physician expert in human stress situations can explain the picturesque gushing blood that is supposed to signify the lung-bursting exertions to avoid drowning. Poe’s probable source for the idea and even for the language is a passage ending an anecdote in Irving’s Astoria (chap. 15) concerning one John Colter, fleeing by foot from a blood-thirsty Sioux: “Colter redoubled his exertions, but strained himself to such a degree that the blood gushed from his mouth and nostrils and streamed down his breast.” Poe perhaps suspects how close is Irving’s wording for the long episode to John Bradbury’s original presentation of Colter’s account in Travels in the Interior of America, curtly acknowledged in a footnote reference to “p. 17” by Irving.

5.15A perfume]  The reference to early spring flowers may have been suggested by the April 14, 1805, entry in Lewis and Clark: “On the hills are many aromatic herbs, resembling in taste, smell, and appearance the sage, hysop, etc.” (1:163).

5.15B nation]  Poe’s use of the Assiniboin tribe must come from the numerous references to their campsites by Lewis and Clark in the context of the above herb reference (1:162-65). Their amazement, it is soon clear, springs from the sight of York, but the terror is less motivated.

5.17A appease]  Poe’s episode of the “highway robbery of our boat” is scarcely credible, since neither dog nor man notes the approach and seizure and no one fires on the assailants before the interpreter “reads” their ensuing “signals of amity” — all of which requires a stretch of time. Moreover, why must the Assiniboins seize the piroque to satisfy their curiosity — a sure method of frustrating it? Poe’s name for the interpreter reminds us of the words beginning the speech of the “Cock-neighs” in “Scheherazade”: “Washish squashish.”

5.17B admiration]  The astonishment of the Indians before a being of another color recalls that of the savages of Tsalal who “recoil” before the whites in Pym (18.6). The charm of Toby here reflects the fascination of the Ricaras with Clark’s servant York, whose amorous attentions to their wives are encouraged by the braves (1:92). In place of this, Poe invents an exhibition of the nude York, underscored by the pun in “the whole extent of the question,” which departs from Poe’s usual Victorian nicety. Basically Poe is following a few statements in Lewis and Clark’s History: “The object which appeared to astonish the Indians most, was . . . York, a remarkable stout strong negro. They had never seen a being of that colour, and therefore flocked round him to examine the extraordinary monster” (1:89); “York was here again an object of astonishment; the children would follow him constantly, and . . . [then] run with great terror” (1:95). Poe also incorporates material concerning “rubbing the skin” and “the wool on the head” from another section of the History:

The grand chief of the Minnetarees, who is called by the French Le Borgne. . . . [page 639:] observed that some foolish young men of his nation had told him there was a person among us who was quite black, and he wished to know if it could be true. We . . . sent for York: the Borgne was very much surprised at his appearance, examined him closely, and spit on his finger and rubbed the skin in order to wash off the paint; nor was it until the negro uncovered his head, and showed his short hair, that the Borgne could be persuaded that he was not a painted white man. (1:146-47)

5.17C climax]  The dating of the jig dances performed by blacks on the plantations and in city taverns is not clear. Certainly the “jig,” owing much to the late eighteenth-century influx of Irish, was a rapid movement of the feet, probably often a tap dance, with the torso held steady. There are references to jigging contests designed to test which participants could hold a glass of water on the head without spilling any while the feet moved more and more rapidly (see Lynne F. Emery, Black Dance in the United States [Palo Alto, 1972], pp. 89-91). The earliest dated references to Negro jigs that I have found are to blackface impersonators doing “jigs and clogs of English and Irish origin” on the American stage in 1810 (see M. and J. Stearns, Jazz Dance [New York, 1968], p. 39). It is also certain that the celebrated song and dance routine of T. D. Rice, with the refrain “I jump Jim Crow,” starting in 1828, employed an adaptation of a jig (Stearns, p. 40; Emery, pp. 181-85). It is probable that Toby here astonishes the Indians by his rapid footwork, but it seems very likely that this style had not been developed among the Southern blacks, and certainly not in Kentucky, by the early 1790s. Poe drastically changes the robust and respected York into this grotesque stereotype, quite in line with his customary portrait of blacks; see Pym, 4.4C, for other instances.

5.17D First]  Compare this title with that of Poe’s “King Pest the First” (1835), one of his earlier grotesque tales. Note also that in Poe’s later tale, “Never Bet the Devil Your Head” (1841), the narrator remarks that his deceased friend, Toby Dammit, had been cuffed “until he grew so black in the face that one might have mistaken him for a little African” (para. 3).

5.18A direction]  The “tolerably large river” corresponds to the Little Missouri, encountered by Lewis and Clark on April 12, 1805: “We came to at the lower side of the entrance of the Little Missouri. . . . This river empties itself on the south side of the Missouri. . . . It enters the Missouri with a bold current, and is one hundred and thirty-four yards wide. . .” (1:159). At this island Rodman’s party is completely and unanimously hedonistic, frankly disavowing any profit motive, and Rodman himself has recovered from his hypochondria. For another free rendition of 1 Corinthians 15:32, see Tales, 1:296 at n. 6.

5.19A valley]  Rodman’s description of a “large river” corresponds with Lewis and Clark’s account for April 21, 1805: “We . . . reached at sixteen miles the mouth of White-earth river, coming in from the north. This river before it reaches the low grounds near the Missouri, is a fine bold stream sixty yards wide, and is deep and navigable, but it is so much choked up at the entrance by the mud of the Missouri, that its mouth is not more than ten yards wide. Its course, as far as we could discern from the neighbouring hills, is nearly due north, passing through a beautiful and fertile valley. . .” (1:167). Poe’s sourcetext indicates a scarcely credible situation, in that a wide stream (sixty yards, made even broader by Poe), which is “deep” (“very deep” in the “Journal”) [page 640:] is made to flow through a mouth “ten yards wide.” Unless the channel is made six times as deep, there would be no proper outlet for the water save by unmentioned tributary streams. Poe appears not to have seen the difficulty.

5.19B game]  Rodman’s statement about a valley “abounding in game” was suggested by a similar reference in the same Lewis and Clark entry: “We saw immense quantities of buffaloe, elk, deer, antelopes, geese, and some swan and ducks. . .” (1:167).

5.19C it]  Poe is altogether devious here, for as editor he derives the name of the stream from his source-text and supplies it with a hyphen to disclaim any charge of his copying the journal of Lewis and Clark (although where else could the editor derive information denied to Rodman?). In the next paragraph he uses further information from his source about the white color of the banks but suppresses the connection with the name. He has previously, of course, hinted strongly at his major source-text.

5.19D trees]  The reference to geese which “build their nests upon trees” is based on a similar observation made by Lewis and Clark on April 13, the day after their having arrived at the Little Missouri and eight days prior to their arrival at White-earth River: “These geese we observe do not build their nests on the ground or in sandbars, but in the tops of lofty cottonwood trees . . .” (1:161). Poe singles out this odd and too generalized a statement from the History because he knows that like all other geese Canada geese nest on the surface of the earth, although exceptionally some use “tree cavities” rather than “treetops.” It is believed that these exceptions are using “old nests of herons . . . or hawks.” The fatal consequences of high nests to the unfledged, nonpennate but newly launched goslings requires a qualification from the History and from Poe (see Ralph S. Palmer, Handbook of North American Birds [New Haven, 1976], 2:7, 221-22, 226). Even recent partisans of the explorers, such as Cutright, Lewis and Clark, p. 128, citing, however, only the 1893 observations of Elliott Coues, insist upon the arboreal nests of the geese.

5.20A salt]  Rodman’s description is based on the Lewis and Clark entry for April 11: “The country around is much the same as that we passed yesterday: on the sides of the hills, and even on the banks of the rivers, as well as on the sandbars, is a white substance which appears in considerable quantities on the surface of the earth, and tastes like a mixture of common salt with glauber salts: many of the streams which come from the foot of the hills, are so strongly impregnated with this substance, that the water has an unpleasant taste and a purgative effect” (1:158-59). Similar references to mineral salts appear in the entries for April 12 (p. 160), April 14 (p. 163), and April 15 (pp. 163-64). The entry for April 22, the day following Lewis and Clark’s arrival at White-earth River, describes that particular river’s banks: “The salts which have been mentioned as common on the Missouri, are here so abundant that in many places the ground appears perfectly white, and from this circumstance it may have derived its name. . .” (1:168).

5.20B bushes]  For this see the Lewis and Clark entry for April 22: “After much delay in consequence of the high wind, we succeeded in making eleven miles, and encamped in a low ground on the south covered with cottonwood and rabbitberries” (1:168), the latter, called also “buffalo-berry,” is “shepardia argentea” (see Brackenridge, Journal, ed. Thwaites, p. 87, n. 32). [page 641:]

5.21A fair]  The weather conditions of May 10-13 correspond to those confronting Lewis and Clark prior to their arrival at the Yellowstone on April 26, 1805. Rodman refers to a “strong, but fair” wind for May 10; similarly, Lewis and Clark, for April 23, state that “the wind became so high that the boats were in danger of upsetting” (p. 168), and, for April 24, that the “wind blew so high during the whole day that we were unable to move” (p. 169). The entry for April 25 states: “The wind moderated this morning, but was still high; we therefore set out early, the weather being so cold that the water froze on the oars as we rowed, and about ten o‘clock the wind increased so much that we were obliged to stop” (p. 169).

5.21B direction]  Rodman’s references to “irregular broken masses of rock” which have been “subject to the action of water” and to “petrified wood” and abundant coal were suggested by similar details in the Lewis and Clark entry for April 22: “The hills of the Missouri near this place exhibit large irregular broken masses of rocks and stones, some of which, although two hundred feet above the water, seem at some remote period to have been subject to its influence, being apparently worn smooth by the agitation of the water. These rocks and stones consist of . . . broken stratas of a black coloured stone like petrified wood, which make good whetstones. The usual appearances of coal, or carbonated wood, and pumicestone still continue” (1:168).

5.21C crooked]  This comes from the entry for April 25: “This detention from the wind and the reports from our hunters of the crookedness of the river, induced us to believe that we were at no great distance from the Yellowstone river” (1:169).

5.22A rain]  Similarly, Lewis and Clark are detained for the greater part of April 23, 24, and 25 by high cold winds, before arriving on the 26th at the mouth of the Yellowstone (1:168-69).

5.22B caught]  This was probably suggested by Lewis and Clark’s entry for April 18: “The beaver on this part of the Missouri are in greater quantities, larger and fatter, and their fur is more abundant and of a darker colour than any we had hitherto seen. . .” (1:166).

5.22C us]  Rodman’s wolves may have been suggested by Lewis and Clark’s entry for April 29, that the wolves “have become more numerous and make great ravages” among the surrounding deer, elk, buffaloes, and antelopes (p. 174). The Lewis and Clark entry for May 5, in describing the “two species” of wolves encountered, states: “These wolves usually associate in bands of ten or twelve, and are rarely if ever seen alone, not being able singly to attack a deer or antelope” (p. 180). Note that Rodman’s use of “herd” instead of “pack” is unusual for today; the OED cites only Dryden’s 1697 application to wolves.

5.23A point]  This incident seems to be Poe’s own invention. The buried-alive plight of the Canadian, if alone, is probable since such caches were usually dug to a depth of six or seven feet (see History, 1:224; Astoria, chap. 33; 2:245; and “Rodman,” 6.8).

5.24A day]  For a description of the corresponding arrival at the Yellowstone of Lewis and Clark’s party on April 26, 1805, see History, 1:169-71.

Chapter 6A (note to the numeral)]  The route of the Rodman expedition is virtually identical with that of Lewis and Clark. Hence, Rodman’s journey appears to anticipate many of the observations made by Lewis and [page 642:] Clark, who seemingly corroborate the general reliability of Rodman’s assertions. However, Poe here abandons the strict correspondence of material. Descriptive passages derived from Lewis and Clark now often depict a quite different region in the journal itself. The first dated entry (6.7) is for May 14, May 13 (5.24) having marked the arrival at the junction of the Yellowstone with the Missouri. Hence, the account (6.1-5) should roughly describe the country along the Missouri between the White-earth and Yellowstone Rivers. Yet, the section is based on Lewis and Clark’s description of the Missouri beyond Elk Rapids and below the junction with Maria’s River (1:201-211), or a section of the river in Montana between 520 and 641 miles beyond the region purportedly being described, dated May 27-June 3.

6.1A ever]  Sentences 2-4 of this paragraph closely paraphrase part of the June 1 entry in Lewis and Clark: “As we proceeded. . . we found the river cliffs and bluffs not so high . . . and the country more level. The timber too is in greater abundance on the river, though there is no wood on the high ground; coal however appears in the bluffs. The river is from two hundred to two hundred and fifty feet wide, the current more gentle, the water becoming still clearer and fewer rocky points and shoals than we met yesterday, though those which we did encounter were equally difficult to pass” (1:210).

6.1B Saskatchawine]  The remainder of 6.1 closely paraphrases a passage from the May 30 entry in Lewis and Clark:

The air was cold and rendered more disagreeable by the rain. . . . our cords too broke several times, but fortunately without injury to the boats. On ascending the hills near the river, one of the party found that there was snow mixed with the rain on the heights: a little back of these the country becomes perfectly level on both sides of the river. . . . In the course of the day we passed several encampments of Indians, the most recent of which seemed to have been evacuated about five weeks since. . . . Although no part of the Missouri from the Minnetarees to this place exhibit signs of permanent settlements, yet none seem exempt from the transient visits of hunting parties. We know that the Minnetarees of the Missouri extend their excursions on the south side of the river, as high as the Yellowstone; and the Assiniboins visit the northern side, most probably as high as Porcupine river. All the lodges between that place and the Rocky mountains we supposed to belong to the Minnetarees of fort de Prairie, who live on the south fork of the Saskashawan. (1:206-9)

6.2A plentiful]  The reference to abundant game closely reflects a number of Lewis and Clark passages referring to the region in the general vicinity of the Yellowstone. On April 17, Lewis and Clark write that “around us are great quantities of game, such as herds of buffaloe, elk, antelopes, some deer and wolves, the tracks of bears” (1:165). The April 21 entry (at the mouth of White-earth River) states: “We saw immense quantities of buffaloe, elk, deer, antelopes, geese, and some swan and ducks, out of which we procured three deer, four buffaloe calves, . . . also two beaver, and an otter” (1:167, see also pp. 168, 170, 173, 183).

6.2B yards]  The reference to the width was probably based on the May 22 entry: “The river continues about two hundred and fifty yards wide. . .” (1:195). [page 643:]

6.2C salts]  For Rodman’s reference see details in the May 26 entry in Lewis and Clark: “There are now scarcely any low grounds on the river, the hills being high and in many places pressing on both sides to the verge of the water. The black rock has given place to a very soft sandstone, . . . above this sandstone, and towards the summits of the hills, a hard freestone of a yellowish brown colour shows itself in several stratas of unequal thickness. . . . The country has now become desert and barren: the appearances of coal, burnt earth, pumicestone, salts, and quartz, continue as yesterday . ..” (1:199-201).

6.2D savages]  Sentences 5-7 closely paraphrase the May 28 entry in Lewis and Clark:

Here the country assumed a totally different aspect; the hills retired on both sides from the river, which now spreads to more than three times its former size, and is filled with a number of small handsome islands covered with cottonwood. The low grounds on the river are again wide, fertile, and enriched with trees; those on the north are particularly wide, the hills being comparatively low and opening into three large vallies, which extend themselves for a considerable distance towards the north: these appearances of vegetation are delightful after the dreary hills over which we have passed, and we have now to congratulate ourselves at having escaped from the last ridges of the Black mountains. (1:203)

The background of Dirk Peters in Pym (4.4) includes a reference to “the Black Hills near the source of the Missouri,” a reference which Poe then derived from Astoria (chap. 22; q.v. in 4.4C of Pym). According to Lewis and Clark, “Black Hills” was bestowed not by the Indians but by the French: “The high country through which we have passed for some days, and where we now are, we suppose to be a continuation of what the French traders called the Cote Noire or Black hills” (1:198). For a later reference to the Black Hills in “Scheherazade” see Tales, 2:1160, 1171 n. 11; the source is different.

6.2E instruments]  This is based on a detail in the May 30 entry in Lewis and Clark: “Many circumstances indicate our approach to a climate differing considerably from that of the country through which we have been passing: the air of the open country is astonishingly dry and pure. Observing that the case of our sextant, though perfectly seasoned, shrank and the joints opened, we tried several experiments. . .” (1:206).

6.3A forks]  Rodman is here referring to the forks of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers; however, the source in Lewis and Clark describes the forks of Maria’s River and the Missouri, located 641 miles above the mouth of the Yellowstone (distance chart, History, 3:833-34).

6.3B masse]  This is a close paraphrase of the May 31 entry in Lewis and Clark:

Soon after we set off it began to rain, and though it ceased at noon, the weather continued cloudy during the rest of the day. The obstructions of yesterday still remain and fatigue the men excessively: the banks are so slippery in some places and the mud so adhesive that they are unable to wear their moccasins; one fourth of the time they are obliged to be up to their armpits in the cold water, and sometimes walk for several yards over the sharp fragments of rocks which have fallen from the hills: all this added to the burden of dragging the heavy canoes [page 644:] is very painful, yet the men bear it with great patience and good humour. Once the rope of one of the periogues, the only one we had made of hemp, broke short, and the periogue swung and just touched a point of rock which almost overset her. (1:207)

Note that Poe converts “adhesive” into “soft and stiff” — an almost self-contradictory phrase. The hyphen in “arm-pits” appears last in seventeenth-century OED citations. For a “disruptured” cliff, see Pym, 21.7, and 23.8 for “flints.”

6.3C pass]  The references to “shoals,” to “cliffs,” and to “gullies” are based on the May 27 entry in Lewis and Clark: “The river has become very rapid with a very perceptible descent: its general width is about two hundred yards: the shoals too are more frequent, and the rocky points at the mouth of the gullies more troublesome to pass: great quantities of this stone lie in the river and on its banks, and seem to have fallen down as the rain washed away the clay and sand in which they were embedded” (1:201). For “gorge or gully” see 4.8C,

6.3D it]  For these difficulties with the towline see the May 28 entry in Lewis and Clark:

The water is very rapid round these points, and we are sometimes obliged to steer the canoes through the points of sharp rocks rising a few inches above the surface of the water, and so near to each other that if our ropes give way the force of the current drives the sides of the canoe against them, and must inevitably upset them or dash them to pieces. These cords are very slender, being almost all made of elkskin, and much worn and rotted by exposure to the weather: several times they gave way, but fortunately always in places where there was room for the canoe to turn without striking the rock; yet with all our precautions it was with infinite risk and labour that we passed these points. (1:202)

6.4A more]  This paragraph is a very close paraphrase of the May 31 entry in Lewis and Clark:

We came to a high wall of black rock rising from the water’s edge on the south, above the cliffs of the river: this continued about a quarter of a mile, and was succeeded by a high open plain, till three miles further a second wall two hundred feet high rose on the same side. Three miles further a wall of the same kind about two hundred feet high and twelve in thickness, appeared to the north: these hills and river cliffs exhibit a most extraordinary and romantic appearance: they rise in most places nearly perpendicular from the water, to the height of between two and three hundred feet, and are formed of very white sandstone, so soft as to yield readily to the impression of water, in the upper part of which lie embedded two or three thin horizontal stratas of white freestone insensible to the rain, and on the top is a dark rich loam, which forms a gradually ascending plain, from a mile to a mile and a half in extent, when the hills again rise abruptly to the height of about three hundred feet more. (1:207-8)

Rodman’s exaggeration of the source figures seems, to the informed reader, to contradict editor Poe’s comment upon his hero’s scrupulously refraining from that weakness (2.18, n.). For excellent early nineteenth-century sketches of “The White Castles on the Upper Missouri” and other scenes in Rodman’s narrative, see R. Thwaites, Early Western Travels, vol. 25, pls. 68, 70, and 74. [page 645:]

6.5A converse]  This paragraph is closely based on the account in the May 31 entry:

In trickling down the cliffs, the water has worn the soft sandstone into a thousand grotesque figures, among which with a little fancy may be discerned elegant ranges of freestone buildings, with columns variously sculptured, and supporting long and elegant galleries, while the parapets are adorned with statuary: on a nearer approach they represent every form of elegant ruins; columns, some with pedestals and capitals entire, others mutilated and prostrate, and some rising pyramidally over each other till they terminate in a sharp point. These are varied by niches, alcoves, and the customary appearances of desolated magnificence: the, allusion [sic] is increased by the number of martins, who have built their globular nests in the niches and hover over these columns; as in our country they are accustomed to frequent large stone structures. As we advance there seems no end to the visionary enchantment which surrounds us. In the midst of this fantastic scenery are vast ranges of walls, which seem the productions of art, so regular is the workmanship: they rise perpendicularly from the river, sometimes to the height of one hundred feet, varying in thickness from one to twelve feet, being equally broad at the top as below. The stones of which they are formed are black, thick, and durable, and composed of a large portion of earth, intermixed and cemented with a small quantity of sand, and a considerable proportion of talk [sic] or quartz. These stones are almost invariably regular parallelipeds of unequal sizes in the wall, but equally deep, and laid regularly in ranges over each other like bricks, each breaking and covering the interstice of the two on which it rests; but though the perpendicular interstice be destroyed, the horizontal one extends entirely through the whole work; the stones too are proportioned to the thickness of the wall in which they are employed, being largest in the thickest walls. The thinner walls are composed of a single depth of the paralleliped, while the thicker ones consist of two or more depths: these walls pass the river at several places, rising from the water’s edge much above the sandstone bluffs which they seem to penetrate; thence they cross in a straight line on either side of the river, the plains over which they tower to the height of from ten to seventy feet, until they lose themselves in the second range of hills: sometimes they run parallel in several ranges near to each other, sometimes intersect each other at right angles, and have the appearance of walls of ancient houses or gardens. (1:208-9)

In seeking to vary the language of his source, Poe has produced a doubly misspelled nonce word in “parrallelipedal” which should be “parallelipipedal,” as is substituted. Compare the similar cliff structures and chasms on the island of Tsalal in Pym (20.12, 23.7-11, and Note.5-8), especially for the “hieroglyphics” there. The earlier instance may indicate why Poe’s notice of the passage in the History led him to borrow it for his text in “Rodman.”

6.6A timbered]  This corresponds to the entry for June 2:

At six and a half miles we reached an island on the northern side; one mile and a quarter thence is a timbered low ground on the south: and in the next two and three quarter miles we passed three small islands, and came to a dark bluff on the south: within the following mile are two small islands on the same side. At three and a quarter miles we reached the lower part of a much larger island near a northern point, and as we coasted along its side, within two miles passed [page 646:] a smaller island, and half a mile above reached the head of another. All these islands are small, and most of them contain some timber. (1:211)

6.6B Stone]  On May 13, Rodman has reached the very point at which the preceding chapter had concluded (5.24). Note that the appellation for this river is spelled as one word, “Yellowstone,” in 5.24 but two here, perhaps influenced by the two-word French designation “Roche jaune” (1:170).

6.6C (footnote) Amateaza]  Poe deliberately has Rodman err at this point, in the latter’s claiming that the Yellowstone is the river called by the Indians the Ahmateaza. Poe refers to the entry for June 3, the day on which Lewis and Clark arrive, ironically, not at the junction of the Missouri with the Yellowstone but rather with Maria’s River: “We crossed and fixed our camp in the point, formed by the junction of the river with the Missouri. It now became an interesting question which of these two streams is what the Minnetarees call Ahmateahza or the Missouri, which they described as approaching very near to the Columbia” (1:211-12). Note that Rodman misspells the Minnetaree “Ahmateahza” as “Ahmateaza.” In his attached note, Poe likewise changes “Ahmateahza” to “Amateaza,” thus twice leaving out the letter “h.” Poe, obviously having fun at this point, in his note also misspells “alter” or uses an obsolete form, here left unchanged (see “alter” in 2.19 and “altered” in 6.10). In a larger sense the “discrepancy” involves the inapplicability of any of this material to the Yellowstone, for these opening paragraphs describe the country immediately preceding the junction of the Missouri with Maria’s River-terrain some 500 to 640 miles beyond the Yellowstone itself.

6.6B cottonwood]  This statement is also from the June 2 entry in Lewis and Clark (6.6A): “We came to for the night in a handsome low cottonwood plain in the south . . .” (1:2,11). For the lack of a hyphen in “cottonwood” see 2.17A.

6.7A Aregan]  Poe has already indicated the precedence of the name Oregon for the Columbia River in 1.10, but the “Aregan” homophone is seemingly unique and his own creation, for no gazetteer or atlas, early or later, shows it, and it does not appear in the history of the word given by Charles H. Carey, A General History of Oregon (Portland, 1935), 1:8-15; he traces it from the use by Robert Rogers in 1765 (“Ourigan”), Carver in 1778 (“Origan”), and Captain Meares in 1790 (“Oregon”) to Jefferson’s in 1793 and 1803 (“Oregon”). (See also 1.17C above for Pinkerton’s use of “Oregon” in 1817.) Poe may have derived his word from the spelling “Oregon,” twice used in Jefferson’s “instructions” to Lewis which ends the “Life of Captain Lewis” prefacing the History (first ed. of 1814).

6.7B do]  Rodman’s indecision as to which of two streams to pursue corresponds to that of Lewis and Clark upon reaching, on June 3, 1805, the junction of the Missouri and Maria’s River:

It now became an interesting question which of these two streams is . . . the Missouri. . . . On our right decision much of the fate of the expedition depends; since if after ascending to the Rocky mountains or beyond them, we should find that the river we were following did not come near to the Columbia, and be obliged to return; we should not only lose the travelling season, two months of which had already elapsed, but probably dishearten the men. . . . We determined, therefore, to examine well before we decided on our future course; and for this purpose [page 647:] despatched two canoes with three men up each of the streams with orders to ascertain the width, depth, and rapidity of the current, so as to judge of their comparative bodies of water. At the same time parties were sent out by land to penetrate the country, and discover from the rising grounds, if possible, the distant bearings of the two rivers; and all were directed to return towards evening. While they were gone we ascended together the high grounds in the fork of these two rivers, whence we had a very extensive prospect of the surrounding country: on every side it was spread into one vast plain covered with verdure, in which innumerable herds of buffaloe were roaming, attended by their enemies the wolves: some flocks of elk also were seen, and the solitary antelopes were scattered with their young over the face of the plain. To the south was a range of lofty mountains, which we supposed to be a continuation of the South mountains, stretching themselves from southeast to northwest, and terminating abruptly about southwest from us. These were partially covered with snow; but at a great distance behind them was a more lofty ridge completely covered with snow, which seemed to follow the same direction as the first, reaching from west to the north of northwest, where their snowy tops were blended with the horizon. The direction of the rivers could not however be long distinguished, as they were soon lost in the extent of the plain. (1:211-12)

Poe’s only major changes are to substitute “Aregan” for “Columbia” and to substitute a more poetically evocative description of the diminishing vistas of the two rivers. Note the careless change to “herds of . . . wolves.”

6.8A boat]  Rodman’s “examination of the two currents” and his account of their comparative width, depth, color, and rapidity is based on the corresponding examination in Lewis and Clark, as recorded in the June 3 entry:

On our return we continued our examination; the width of the north branch is two hundred yards, that of the south is three hundred and seventy-two. The north, although narrower and with a gentler current, is deeper than the south: its waters too are of the same whitish brown colour, thickness, and turbidness: they run in the same boiling and rolling manner which has uniformly characterized the Missouri; and its bed is composed of some gravel, but principally mud . . . its [the south fork’s] bed . . . is composed of round and flat smooth stones like those of rivers issuing from a mountainous country. The air and character of the north fork so much resemble those of the Missouri that almost all the party believe that to be the true course to be pursued. We however, although we have given no decided opinion, are inclined to think otherwise, because, although this branch does give the colour and character to the Missouri, yet those very circumstances induce an opinion that it rises in and runs through an open plain country. . . . The north fork was less rapid, and therefore afforded the easiest navigation: the shallowest water of the north was five feet deep, that of the south six feet. . . . (1:212-14)

6.8B (footnote) Caches]  As Poe’s account of the construction of a cache rather closely corresponds to similar descriptions in both Astoria and in Lewis and Clark’s History of the Expedition, either of these works may very possibly have been Poe’s actual source. For purposes of comparison, both of these possible sources are cited. In the June 10 entry, Lewis and Clark write:

The weather being fair and pleasant we dried all our baggage and merchandize and made our deposit. These holes or caches as they are called by the Missouri [page 648:] traders are very common, particularly among those who deal with the Sioux, as the skins and merchandize will keep perfectly sound for years, and are protected from robbery: our cache is built in this manner: In the high plain on the north side of the Missouri and forty yards from a steep bluff, we chose a dry situation, and then describing a small circle of about twenty inches diameter, removed the sod as gently and carefully as possible: the hole is then sunk perpendicularly for a foot deep, or more if the ground be not firm. It is now worked gradually wider as they descend, till at length it becomes six or seven feet deep, shaped nearly like a kettle or the lower part of a large still with the bottom somewhat sunk at the centre. As the earth is dug it is handed up in a vessel and carefully laid on a skin or cloth, in which it is carried away and usually thrown into the river or concealed so as to leave no trace of it. A floor of three or four inches in thickness is then made of dry sticks, on which is thrown hay or a hide perfectly dry. The goods being well aired and dried are laid on this floor, and prevented from touching the wall by other dried sticks in proportion as the merchandize is stowed away: when the hole is nearly full, a skin is laid over the goods, and on this earth is thrown and beaten down until with the addition of sod first removed the whole is on a level with the ground, and there remains not the slightest appearance of an excavation.. (1:223-24)

Irving provides a somewhat more extensive account than is found in either Lewis and Clark’s work or in “Julius Rodman”:

Mr. Hunt now set to work with all diligence, to prepare caches, in which to deposite the baggage and merchandize. . . .

A cache is a term common among traders and hunters, to designate a hiding place for provisions and effects. . . . The utmost skill and caution are required to render these places of concealment invisible to the lynx eye of an Indian. The first care is to seek out a proper situation, which is generally some dry low bank of clay, on the margin of a water course. As soon as the precise spot is pitched upon, blankets, saddle cloths, and other coverings, are spread over the surrounding grass and bushes, to prevent foot tracks, or any other derangement and as few hands as possible are employed. A circle of about two feet in diameter is then nicely cut in the sod, which is carefully removed, with the loose soil immediately beneath it, and laid aside in a place where it will be safe from any thing that may change its appearance. The uncovered area is then digged perpendicularly to the depth of about three feet, and is then gradually widened so as to form a conical chamber six or seven feet deep. The whole of the earth displaced by this process, being of a different color from that on the surface, is handed up in a vessel, and heaped into a skin or cloth, in which it is conveyed to the stream and thrown into the midst of the current, that it may be entirely carried off. Should the cache not be formed in the vicinity of a stream, the earth thus thrown up is carried to a distance, and scattered in such manner as not to leave the minutest trace. The cave being formed, is well lined with dry grass, bark, sticks, and poles, and occasionally a dried hide. The property intended to be hidden is then laid in, after having been well aired: a hide is spread over it, and dried grass, brush, and stones, thrown in, and trampled down until the pit is filled to the neck. The loose soil, which had been put aside, is then brought, and rammed down firmly, to prevent its caving in. . . . The sod is again fitted in with the utmost exactness. . . . (Astoria, chap. 33; 2:244-46)

In “Poe’s Use of Irving’s Astoria in ‘The Journal of Julius Rodman,‘” AL, May 1968, 40:215-22, Wayne Kime, states: “Irving derives his own information on [page 649:] caches from a passage in Lewis and Clark’s History of the Expedition. Close comparison of the Poe version to those in Astoria and the History reveals, however, that Poe borrowed in this instance from Irving alone. Several words and phrases from the early History passage appear both in Astoria and in ‘Julius Rodman,’ but numerous other key words and phrases present both in Astoria and in ‘Julius Rodman’ are significantly absent from the History” (p. 218, n. 6). The following chart of the key words and phrases in question does not seem to bear out definitively Kime’s basic contention:

Poe Lewis and Clark Astoria

1. A dry and retired sit- a dry situation a proper situation, which

uation is generally some low bank

2. A circle about two feet describing a small circle A circle of about two feet

in diameter is then of about twenty inches in diameter is then nicely

described diameter cut

3. the sod within this removed the sod . . . care- the sod, which is carefully

carefully removed and fully as possible removed, . . . and laid

laid by aside

4. A hole is now sunk the hole is then sunk per- The uncovered area is

perpendicularly to the pendicularly for a foot then digged perpendicu depth of a foot deep larly to the depth of about three feet

5. afterwards gradually It is now worked gradu- is then gradually widened widened ally wider

6. As the earth is dug up As the earth is dug it is The whole of the earth handed up displaced by this process . . . is handed up

7. it is cautiously placed carefully laid on a skin heaped into a skin or

on a skin or cloth cloth

8. thrown into the near- thrown into the river or thrown into the midst of

est river, or otherwise concealed so as to leave no the current, that it may

effectually concealed. trace of it. be carried off

9. This cache is lined throughout with dried sticks and hay, or with skins

10. well covered with buffalo hide

11. earth is thrown upon the whole, and stamped firmly down.

A floor . . . is then made of dry sticks, on which is thrown hay or a hide perfectly dry.

a skin is laid over the goods

earth is thrown and beaten down

The cave . . . is well lined with dry grass, bark, sticks, and poles, and occasionally a dried hide.

a hide is spread over it

The loose soil . . . is then brought, and rammed down firmly.

12. Afterwards the sod is replaced

addition of the sod first removed

the sod is again fitted in [page 650:]

A close comparison of key words and phrases in all three accounts, while demonstrating Irving’s indebtedness to Lewis and Clark, is far from definitive in Poe’s having “borrowed in this instance from Irving alone.” Poe may possibly have borrowed from both accounts or, if not, more likely from Lewis and Clark, from whom he was borrowing passages wholesale.

6.8C profusion]  This is based on the June 3 entry in Lewis and Clark: “Our hunters killed two buffaloe, six elk, and four deer to-day. Along the plains near the junction, are to be found the prickly pear in great quantities; the chokecherry is also very abundant in the river low grounds, as well as in the ravines along the river bluffs; the yellow and red currants are not yet ripe; the gooseberry is beginning to ripen, and the wildrose which now covers all the low grounds near the rivers is in full bloom” (1:214).

6.9A May 18]  Rodman’s party leaves its encampment “on the morning of May 18,” having “spent three days at our encampment” (6.8). Yet, in para. 6.6, Rodman had written: “It was at night on the 13th of May, that we were shown . . . the mouth of the . . . Yellow Stone. . . . We made our camp on the south shore in a beautiful plain covered with cottonwood” (6.6). Rodman would thus seem to have spent four full days, not three, at this particular site.

6.9B rain]  The details are borrowed from the June 12 entry in Lewis and Clark: “We left our encampment with a fair day and a southwest wind. The river was now so crowded with islands that within the distance of ten miles and a half we passed eleven of different dimensions before reaching a high black bluff in a bend on the left. . . . [We] spent the night in an old Indian encampment, The bluffs under which we passed were composed of a blackish clay and coal for about eighty feet. . . . The river is very rapid. . . . We saw great numbers of rattlesnakes” (1:233-34).

6.10A night]  The details in this paragraph would seem to be loosely based on other details in the June 12 and 14 entries: “The river is very rapid and obstructed by bars of gravel and stone of different shapes and sizes, so that three of our canoes were in great danger in the course of the day. . . . Here the men sent by captain Lewis joined us with the pleasing intelligence that he . . . was convinced that the course we were pursuing was that of the true Missouri. At a mile and a half we reached the upper point of an island, three quarters of a mile beyond which we encamped on the south, after making only ten and a quarter miles” (1:234-35).

6.10B snow]  The June 13 entry in Lewis and Clark mentions “a mountain to the southeast about twelve or fifteen miles distant, and at this time covered with snow” (chap. 10; 1:234). On June 5, Captain Lewis “discovered a lofty mountain standing alone at the distance of more than eighty miles in the direction of N. 30 W. and which from its conical figure he called Tower mountain” (1:216). Seemingly, Poe has altered its position from the northwest to the south.

6.11A May 20]  This marks the last dated entry in the journal. See 2.12 for the repair materials.

6.12A seen]  This would seem to be a composite of several distinct descriptions in Lewis and Clark. The item of banks “formed of a peculiar blue clay” is a detail in point. On May 3, 1805, they describe the Porcupine River: “Its low grounds are formed of a stiff blue and black clay, and its banks . . . are composed of the same materials” (1:178; see also 1: 232 and 1: 283). In the entry [page 651:] for June 7, Lewis and Clark refer to “the slippery heights of the river,” adding that “the plains were intersected by deep ravines almost as difficult to pass” (1:218). Similarly, for June 4, Lewis and Clark say: “The river is rapid and closely hemmed in by high bluffs, crowded with bars of gravel, with little timber on the low grounds, and none on the highlands” (1:220). For the July 19 entry we note: “The rocks approach the river on both sides, forming a most sublime and extraordinary spectacle. . . . There are vast columns of rock torn from the mountain which are strewed on both sides of the river, the trophies as it were of the victory. . . . This extraordinary range of rocks we called the Gates of the Rocky mountains” (1:271-72). Again, note traces of Pym (23 bis.5).

6.13A willow]  It is hard to believe that the “steep terraces” of clay revealed “no vegetation of any kind” while the nearby prairie at the top is so extremely lush. Montana is a bit too northern for the range of the red willow, but Lewis and Clark have introduced it there for Poe’s use (see 5.12A).

6.13B used]  This description comes from the May 11 entry: “The soil however of both hills and low grounds appear as fertile as that further down the river: it consists of a black looking loam with a small portion of sand, which cover the hills and bluffs to the depth of twenty or thirty feet, and when thrown in the water dissolves as readily as loaf-sugar, and effervesces like marle: there are also great appearances of quartz and mineral salts . . .” (1:185-86).

6.14A knives]  The “incident of note” (para. 6.12) depicted in paras. 14-19, in which Rodman, Wormley, Greely, and Jules encounter “two enormous brown bears,” though largely Poe’s own invention, would seem to have been suggested by similar encounters recorded by Lewis and Clark and possibly Irving. In Astoria we read:

On one occasion, Mr. Crooks had wandered about a mile from the camp, and had ascended a small hill commanding a view of the river. He was without his rifle, a rare circumstance. . . . As he was looking around on the prospect, his eye was caught by an object below, moving directly towards him. To his dismay, he discovered it to be a grizzly bear, with two cubs. There was no tree at hand into which he could climb; to run, would only be to provoke pursuit, and he should soon be overtaken. He threw himself on the ground, therefore, and lay motionless, watching the movements of the animal with intense anxiety. It continued to advance until at the foot of the hill, where it turned, and made into the woods, having probably gorged itself with buffalo flesh. (chap. 49; 2:362)

Other details for this entire episode, which concludes “Rodman,” come from Lewis and Clark (vol. 1) in whose journal are so many references to the menace of the bear as possibly to have suggested to Poe this encounter as a culmination of wilderness dangers; see, for example, these entries: April 29 (chap. 8, pp. 173-74); May 5 (chap. 8, pp. 180-81); May 11 (chap. 8, pp. 186-87); May 14 (chap. 8, pp. 188-89); June 2 (chap. 9, p. 211); June 4 (chap. 10, p. 220); June 12 (chap. 10, p. 226); June 14 (chap. 10, pp. 231-32); June 18 (chap. 10, p. 239); June 25 (chap. 11, p. 245); June 27 (chap. 11, p. 247); July 2 (chap. 11, pp. 252-53). Poe had also used an encounter with a white polar bear — although in the Antarctic — as a touch of culminating strangeness and horror in Pym (17.9). [page 652:]

6.14B life]  This echoes the April 29 entry in Lewis and Clark: “Captain Lewis who was on shore with one hunter met about eight o‘clock two white bears: of the strength and ferocity of this animal, the Indians had given us dreadful accounts: they never attack him but in parties of six or eight persons, and even then are often defeated with the loss of one or more of the party. . . . As no wound except through the head or heart is mortal, they frequently fall a sacrifice if they miss their aim. He rather attacks than avoids a man . . .” (1:173-74).

6.14C width]  This comes from the May 11 entry:

Our man had shot him through the centre of the lungs, yet he had pursued him furiously for half a mile, then returned more than twice that distance. . . . and was perfectly alive when they found him, which was at least two hours after he received the wound. The wonderful power of life which these animals possess render them dreadful: their very track in the mud or sand, which we have sometimes found eleven inches long and seven and a quarter wide, exclusive of the talons, is alarming. . . . There is no chance of killing them by a single shot unless the ball goes through the brains, and this is very difficult on account of two large muscles which cover the side of the forehead, and the sharp projection of the centre of the frontal bone, which is also thick. (History, chap. 8, 1:186-87)

The bear’s “tenacity of life” comes from the May 5 entry: “As they fired he did not attempt to attack, but fled with a most tremendous roar, and such was its extraordinary tenacity of life, that although he had five balls passed through his lungs . . . . he swam more than half across the river to a sandbar, and survived twenty minutes” (1:181).

6.16A course]  The descent of Rodman’s party was probably suggested by the May 14 entry in Lewis and Clark: “They struck him several times, but instead of weakening the monster each shot seemed only to direct him towards the hunter, till at last he pursued two of them so closely, that they threw aside their guns and pouches, and jumped down a perpendicular bank of twenty feet into the river; the bear sprang after them, and was within a few feet of the hindmost, when one of the hunters on shore shot him in the head and finally killed him . . .” (1:189; see also chap. 11; 1:245). The perilous situation on a ledge above a sheer drop has elements of the descent from the mountain plateau in Pym (23 bis.1) where the depth of 150 feet is the same as the drop into the river. Poe has offered no explanation of how such sheer cliffs (cumulatively well over 250 feet high) could be scaled by the three men simply “with great labor, and by using scrupulous caution” (6.17). If the clay of “the first descent” was like the rich loam above, we wonder at the total absence of vegetation mentioned previously.

6.17A conflict]  Poe is probably not suggesting that Rodman, as a neurasthenic, is likely to swoon when terrified, for Pym, who is stalwart enough, swoons in terror twice (1.6 and 23 bis.4); we also note Rodman’s subsequent delight in “the conflict.”

6.18A farther]  There are incredibilities in this situation which make the episode enter the realm of the ingenious absurd. The grizzly bear weighs from 300 to 1,000 pounds, and since these are “enormous” they must be well over 500 pounds; were his fangs to seize Wormley’s heel, it would not be possible for him [page 653:] merely to lose his shoe and moccasin (and why are both being worn?). Moreover, what effect would Wormley’s puny efforts have against such an enormous bulk? Finally, if the bear does “regain his footing,” why does he tumble “to the next terrace“? For that matter, if he fell “headlong,” as his dangling implies, why is he sliding on the terrace? To these we must add the even more wonderful fact that an enormous grizzly can clamp down on the “breast” of an overcoat without penetrating the chest of the man, can be content with his mouth attack and not use his apparently idle claws in injury to his torso, and can wait while Wormley is struggling to free himself with his mouth engaged by the overcoat. We also note the absence of any explanation as to why the Canadian made the same descent so rapidly as to hurtle over the edge while Greely and Rodman were able to stay on the ledge. Moreover, why does Greely wait so long before calling for help?

6:18B brain]  The maladroit presentation of details, with the loud “scream” from Greely repeated and the discovery that Greely was unharmed parenthetically told us before the assumption of his mortal injury, suggests a rather casual and hurried approach and a lack of revision. The sequence of events does not bear close scrutiny: if they feel the bear’s breath in their faces, they would clearly see Greely firing, since he had first to stand up and come close to the brute’s eye; their hearing the shot must follow the preliminary actions. In the bear episode in Pym (17.9) the beast is likewise impervious to bullets. This episode also owes something to the June 2 entry of Lewis and Clark: “This last animal had nearly cost us the lives of two of our hunters who were together when he attacked them; one of them narrowly escaped being caught, and the other after running a considerable distance, concealed himself in some thick bushes, and while the bear was in quick pursuit of his hiding place, his companion came up and fortunately shot the animal through the head” (1:211).

6.19A whereabouts]  Jules’ inability to give “any intelligible account” was probably suggested by the May 11 entry in Lewis and Clark: “About five in the afternoon one of our men . . . came running to the boats with loud cries and every symptom of terror and distress: for some time after we had taken him on board he was so much out of breath as to be unable to describe the cause of his anxiety, but he at length told us that about a mile and a half below he had shot a brown bear which immediately turned and was in close pursuit of him; but the bear being badly wounded could not overtake him” (1:186). There is surely something adventitious and too coincidentally managed in the appearance of Jules alive — completing their total survival — after we had concluded him as dead. It was this kind of rescue that Poe frequently deprecated in his reviews. This then is the end of the narrative that was to carry Rodman into the far distant Yukon, during his five-day stay from May 20, 1792, on the river in Montana, with no inkling given us of the means whereby he was to fulfill his promise to cross the Rockies and proceed into the Arctic regions (chap. 1).

 


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Notes:

None.


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[S:0 - BRPIMV, 1981/1994] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe (B. R. Pollin) (Rodman)