The Works of Edgar Allan Poe

Part 2 out of 5

permission to go about the brig as be pleased anywhere forward of the
mainmast, and that he had been ordered to sleep, as usual, in the
forecastle. He brought me, too, a good dinner, and a plentiful supply
of water. The brig was still cruising for the vessel from the Cape
Verds, and a sail was now in sight, which was thought to be the one
in question. As the events of the ensuing eight days were of little
importance, and had no direct bearing upon the main incidents of my
narrative, I will here throw them into the form of a journal, as I do
not wish to omit them altogether.

July 3. Augustus furnished me with three blankets, with which I
contrived a comfortable bed in my hiding-place. No one came below,
except my companion, during the day. Tiger took his station in the
berth just by the aperture, and slept heavily, as if not yet entirely
recovered from the effects of his sickness. Toward night a flaw of
wind struck the brig before sail could be taken in, and very nearly
capsized her. The puff died away immediately, however, and no damage
was done beyond the splitting of the foretopsail. Dirk Peters treated
Augustus all this day with great kindness and entered into a long
conversation with him respecting the Pacific Ocean, and the islands
he had visited in that region. He asked him whether be would not like
to go with the mutineers on a kind of exploring and pleasure voyage
in those quarters, and said that the men were gradually coming over
to the mate's views. To this Augustus thought it best to reply that
he would be glad to go on such an adventure, since nothing better
could be done, and that any thing was preferable to a piratical life.

July 4th. The vessel in sight proved to be a small brig from
Liverpool, and was allowed to pass unmolested. Augustus spent most of
his time on deck, with a view of obtaining all the information in his
power respecting the intentions of the mutineers. They had frequent
and violent quarrels among themselves, in one of which a harpooner,
Jim Bonner, was thrown overboard. The party of the mate was gaining
ground. Jim Bonner belonged to the cook's gang, of which Peters was a

July 5th. About daybreak there came on a stiff breeze from the
west, which at noon freshened into a gale, so that the brig could
carry nothing more than her trysail and foresail. In taking in the
foretopsail, Simms, one of the common hands, and belonging also to
the cook's gang, fell overboard, being very much in liquor, and was
drowned- no attempt being made to save him. The whole number of
persons on board was now thirteen, to wit: Dirk Peters; Seymour, the
black cook; Jones, Greely, Hartman Rogers and William Allen, all of
the cook's party; of the cook's party; the mate, whose name I never
learned; Absalom Hicks, Wilson, John Hunty Richard Parker, of the mate's
party;- besides Augustus and myself.

July 6th. The gale lasted all this day, blowing in heavy squalls,
accompanied with rain. The brig took in a good deal of water through
her seams, and one of the pumps was kept continually going, Augustus
being forced to take his turn. Just at twilight a large ship passed
close by us, without having been discovered until within hail. The
ship was supposed to be the one for which the mutineers were on the
lookout. The mate hailed her, but the reply was drowned in the
roaring of the gale. At eleven, a sea was shipped amidships, which
tore away a great portion of the larboard bulwarks, and did some
other slight damage. Toward morning the weather moderated, and at
sunrise there was very little wind.

July 7th. There was a heavy swell running all this day, during
which the brig, being light, rolled excessively, and many articles
broke loose in the hold, as I could hear distinctly from my
hiding-place. I suffered a great deal from sea-sickness. Peters had a
long conversation this day with Augustus, and told him that two of
his gang, Greely and Allen, had gone over to the mate, and were
resolved to turn pirates. He put several questions to Augustus which
he did not then exactly understand. During a part of this evening the
leak gained upon the vessel; and little could be done to remedy it,
as it was occasioned by the brigs straining, and taking in the water
through her seams. A sail was thrummed, and got under the bows, which
aided us in some measure, so that we began to gain upon the leak.

July 8th. A light breeze sprang up at sunrise from the eastward,
when the mate headed the brig to the southwest, with the intention of
making some of the West India islands in pursuance of his piratical
designs. No opposition was made by Peters or the cook- at least none
in the hearing of Augustus. All idea of taking the vessel from the
Cape Verds was abandoned. The leak was now easily kept under by one
pump going every three quarters of an hour. The sail was drawn from
beneath the bows. Spoke two small schooners during the day.

July 9th. Fine weather. All hands employed in repairing bulwarks.
Peters had again a long conversation with Augustus, and spoke more
plainly than he had done heretofore. He said nothing should induce
him to come into the mate's views, and even hinted his intention of
taking the brig out of his hands. He asked my friend if he could
depend upon his aid in such case, to which Augustus said, "Yes,"
without hesitation. Peters then said he would sound the others of his
party upon the subject, and went away. During the remainder of the
day Augustus had no opportunity of speaking with him privately.

~~~ End of Text of Chapter 6 ~~~


JULY 10. Spoke a brig from Rio, bound to Norfolk. Weather hazy,
with a light baffling wind from the eastward. To-day Hartman Rogers
died, having been attacked on the eighth with spasms after drinking a
glass of grog. This man was of the cook's party, and one upon whom
Peters placed his main reliance. He told Augustus that he believed
the mate had poisoned him, and that he expected, if he did not be on
the look-out, his own turn would come shortly. There were now only
himself, Jones, and the cook belonging to his own gang- on the other
side there were five. He had spoken to Jones about taking the command
from the mate; but the project having been coolly received, he had
been deterred from pressing the matter any further, or from saying
any thing to the cook. It was well, as it happened, that he was so
prudent, for in the afternoon the cook expressed his determination of
siding with the mate, and went over formally to that party; while
Jones took an opportunity of quarrelling with Peters, and hinted that
he would let the mate know of the plan in agitation. There was now,
evidently, no time to be lost, and Peters expressed his determination
of attempting to take the vessel at all hazards, provided Augustus
would lend him his aid. My friend at once assured him of his
willingness to enter into any plan for that purpose, and, thinking
the opportunity a favourable one, made known the fact of my being on
board. At this the hybrid was not more astonished than delighted, as
he had no reliance whatever upon Jones, whom he already considered as
belonging to the party of the mate. They went below immediately, when
Augustus called to me by name, and Peters and myself were soon made
acquainted. It was agreed that we should attempt to retake the vessel
upon the first good opportunity, leaving Jones altogether out of our
councils. In the event of success, we were to run the brig into the
first port that offered, and deliver her up. The desertion of his
party had frustrated Peters' design of going into the Pacific- an
adventure which could not be accomplished without a crew, and he
depended upon either getting acquitted upon trial, on the score of
insanity (which he solemnly avowed had actuated him in lending his
aid to the mutiny), or upon obtaining a pardon, if found guilty,
through the representations of Augustus and myself. Our deliberations
were interrupted for the present by the cry of, "All hands take in
sail," and Peters and Augustus ran up on deck.

As usual, the crew were nearly all drunk; and, before sail could
be properly taken in, a violent squall laid the brig on her
beam-ends. By keeping her away, however, she righted, having shipped
a good deal of water. Scarcely was everything secure, when another
squall took the vessel, and immediately afterward another- no damage
being done. There was every appearance of a gale of wind, which,
indeed, shortly came on, with great fury, from the northward and
westward. All was made as snug as possible, and we laid-to, as usual,
under a close-reefed foresail. As night drew on, the wind increased
in violence, with a remarkably heavy sea. Peters now came into the
forecastle with Augustus, and we resumed our deliberations.

We agreed that no opportunity could be more favourable than the
present for carrying our designs into effect, as an attempt at such a
moment would never be anticipated. As the brig was snugly laid-to,
there would be no necessity of manoeuvring her until good weather,
when, if we succeeded in our attempt, we might liberate one, or
perhaps two of the men, to aid us in taking her into port. The main
difficulty was the great disproportion in our forces. There were only
three of us, and in the cabin there were nine. All the arms on board,
too, were in their possession, with the exception of a pair of small
pistols which Peters had concealed about his person, and the large
seaman's knife which he always wore in the waistband of his
pantaloons. From certain indications, too- such, for example, as
there being no such thing as an axe or a handspike lying in their
customary places -- we began to fear that the mate had his
suspicions, at least in regard to Peters, and that he would let slip
no opportunity of getting rid of him. It was clear, indeed, that what
we should determine to do could not be done too soon. Still the odds
were too much against us to allow of our proceeding without the
greatest caution.

Peters proposed that he should go up on deck, and enter into
conversation with the watch (Allen), when he would be able to throw
him into the sea without trouble, and without making any disturbance,
by seizing a good opportunity, that Augustus and myself should then
come up, and endeavour to provide ourselves with some kind of weapons
from the deck, and that we should then make a rush together, and
secure the companion-way before any opposition could be offered. I
objected to this, because I could not believe that the mate (who was
a cunning fellow in all matters which did not affect his
superstitious prejudices) would suffer himself to be so easily
entrapped. The very fact of there being a watch on deck at all was
sufficient proof that he was upon the alert,- it not being usual
except in vessels where discipline is most rigidly enforced, to
station a watch on deck when a vessel is lying-to in a gale of wind.
As I address myself principally, if not altogether, to persons who
have never been to sea, it may be as well to state the exact
condition of a vessel under such circumstances. Lying-to, or, in
sea-parlance, "laying-to," is a measure resorted to for various
purposes, and effected in various manners. In moderate weather it is
frequently done with a view of merely bringing the vessel to a
stand-still, to wait for another vessel or any similar object. If the
vessel which lies-to is under full sail, the manoeuvre is usually
accomplished by throwing round some portion of her sails, so as to
let the wind take them aback, when she becomes stationary. But we are
now speaking of lying-to in a gale of wind. This is done when the
wind is ahead, and too violent to admit of carrying sail without
danger of capsizing; and sometimes even when the wind is fair, but
the sea too heavy for the vessel to be put before it. If a vessel be
suffered to scud before the wind in a very heavy sea, much damage is
usually done her by the shipping of water over her stern, and
sometimes by the violent plunges she makes forward. This manoeuvre,
then, is seldom resorted to in such case, unless through necessity.
When the vessel is in a leaky condition she is often put before the
wind even in the heaviest seas; for, when lying-to, her seams are
sure to be greatly opened by her violent straining, and it is not so
much the case when scudding. Often, too, it becomes necessary to scud
a vessel, either when the blast is so exceedingly furious as to tear
in pieces the sail which is employed with a view of bringing her head
to the wind, or when, through the false modelling of the frame or
other causes, this main object cannot be effected.

Vessels in a gale of wind are laid-to in different manners,
according to their peculiar construction. Some lie-to best under a
foresail, and this, I believe, is the sail most usually employed.
Large square-rigged vessels have sails for the express purpose,
called storm-staysails. But the jib is occasionally employed by
itself, -- sometimes the jib and foresail, or a double-reefed
foresail, and not unfrequently the after-sails, are made use of.
Foretopsails are very often found to answer the purpose better than
any other species of sail. The Grampus was generally laid-to under a
close-reefed foresail.

When a vessel is to be laid-to, her head is brought up to the
wind just so nearly as to fill the sail under which she lies when
hauled flat aft, that is, when brought diagonally across the vessel.
This being done, the bows point within a few degrees of the direction
from which the wind issues, and the windward bow of course receives
the shock of the waves. In this situation a good vessel will ride out
a very heavy gale of wind without shipping a drop of water, and
without any further attention being requisite on the part of the
crew. The helm is usually lashed down, but this is altogether
unnecessary (except on account of the noise it makes when loose), for
the rudder has no effect upon the vessel when lying-to. Indeed, the
helm had far better be left loose than lashed very fast, for the
rudder is apt to be torn off by heavy seas if there be no room for
the helm to play. As long as the sail holds, a well modelled vessel
will maintain her situation, and ride every sea, as if instinct with
life and reason. If the violence of the wind, however, should tear
the sail into pieces (a feat which it requires a perfect hurricane to
accomplish under ordinary circumstances), there is then imminent
danger. The vessel falls off from the wind, and, coming broadside to
the sea, is completely at its mercy: the only resource in this case
is to put her quietly before the wind, letting her scud until some
other sail can be set. Some vessels will lie-to under no sail
whatever, but such are not to be trusted at sea.

But to return from this digression. It had never been customary
with the mate to have any watch on deck when lying-to in a gale of
wind, and the fact that he had now one, coupled with the circumstance
of the missing axes and handspikes, fully convinced us that the crew
were too well on the watch to be taken by surprise in the manner
Peters had suggested. Something, however, was to be done, and that
with as little delay as practicable, for there could be no doubt that
a suspicion having been once entertained against Peters, he would be
sacrificed upon the earliest occasion, and one would certainly be
either found or made upon the breaking of the gale.

Augustus now suggested that if Peters could contrive to remove,
under any pretext, the piece of chain-cable which lay over the trap
in the stateroom, we might possibly be able to come upon them
unawares by means of the hold; but a little reflection convinced us
that the vessel rolled and pitched too violently for any attempt of
that nature.

By good fortune I at length hit upon the idea of working upon the
superstitious terrors and guilty conscience of the mate. It will be
remembered that one of the crew, Hartman Rogers, had died during the
morning, having been attacked two days before with spasms after
drinking some spirits and water. Peters had expressed to us his
opinion that this man had been poisoned by the mate, and for this
belief he had reasons, so he said, which were incontrovertible, but
which he could not be prevailed upon to explain to us- this wayward
refusal being only in keeping with other points of his singular
character. But whether or not he had any better grounds for
suspecting the mate than we had ourselves, we were easily led to fall
in with his suspicion, and determined to act accordingly.

Rogers had died about eleven in the forenoon, in violent
convulsions; and the corpse presented in a few minutes after death
one of the most horrid and loathsome spectacles I ever remember to
have seen. The stomach was swollen immensely, like that of a man who
has been drowned and lain under water for many weeks. The hands were
in the same condition, while the face was shrunken, shrivelled, and
of a chalky whiteness, except where relieved by two or three glaring
red blotches like those occasioned by the erysipelas: one of these
blotches extended diagonally across the face, completely covering up
an eye as if with a band of red velvet. In this disgusting condition
the body had been brought up from the cabin at noon to be thrown
overboard, when the mate getting a glimpse of it (for he now saw it
for the first time), and being either touched with remorse for his
crime or struck with terror at so horrible a sight, ordered the men
to sew the body up in its hammock, and allow it the usual rites of
sea-burial. Having given these directions, he went below, as if to
avoid any further sight of his victim. While preparations were making
to obey his orders, the gale came on with great fury, and the design
was abandoned for the present. The corpse, left to itself, was washed
into the larboard scuppers, where it still lay at the time of which I
speak, floundering about with the furious lurches of the brig.

Having arranged our plan, we set about putting it in execution as
speedily as possible. Peters went upon deck, and, as he had
anticipated, was immediately accosted by Allen, who appeared to be
stationed more as a watch upon the forecastle than for any other
purpose. The fate of this villain, however, was speedily and silently
decided; for Peters, approaching him in a careless manner, as if
about to address him, seized him by the throat, and, before he could
utter a single cry, tossed him over the bulwarks. He then called to
us, and we came up. Our first precaution was to look about for
something with which to arm ourselves, and in doing this we had to
proceed with great care, for it was impossible to stand on deck an
instant without holding fast, and violent seas broke over the vessel
at every plunge forward. It was indispensable, too, that we should be
quick in our operations, for every minute we expected the mate to be
up to set the pumps going, as it was evident the brig must be taking
in water very fast. After searching about for some time, we could
find nothing more fit for our purpose than the two pump-handles, one
of which Augustus took, and I the other. Having secured these, we
stripped off the shirt of the corpse and dropped the body overboard.
Peters and myself then went below, leaving Augustus to watch upon
deck, where he took his station just where Allen had been placed, and
with his back to the cabin companionway, so that, if any of the mates
gang should come up, he might suppose it was the watch.

As soon as I got below I commenced disguising myself so as to
represent the corpse of Rogers. The shirt which we had taken from the
body aided us very much, for it was of singular form and character,
and easily recognizable- a kind of smock, which the deceased wore
over his other clothing. It was a blue stockinett, with large white
stripes running across. Having put this on, I proceeded to equip
myself with a false stomach, in imitation of the horrible deformity
of the swollen corpse. This was soon effected by means of stuffing
with some bedclothes. I then gave the same appearance to my hands by
drawing on a pair of white woollen mittens, and filling them in with
any kind of rags that offered themselves. Peters then arranged my
face, first rubbing it well over with white chalk, and afterward
blotching it with blood, which he took from a cut in his finger. The
streak across the eye was not forgotten and presented a most shocking

~~~ End of Text of Chapter 7 ~~~


AS I viewed myself in a fragment of looking-glass which hung up
in the cabin, and by the dim light of a kind of battle-lantern, I was
so impressed with a sense of vague awe at my appearance, and at the
recollection of the terrific reality which I was thus representing,
that I was seized with a violent tremour, and could scarcely summon
resolution to go on with my part. It was necessary, however, to act
with decision, and Peters and myself went upon deck.

We there found everything safe, and, keeping close to the
bulwarks, the three of us crept to the cabin companion-way. It was
only partially closed, precautions having been taken to prevent its
being suddenly pushed to from without, by means of placing billets of
wood on the upper step so as to interfere with the shutting. We found
no difficulty in getting a full view of the interior of the cabin
through the cracks where the hinges were placed. It now proved to
have been very fortunate for us that we had not attempted to take
them by surprise, for they were evidently on the alert. Only one was
asleep, and he lying just at the foot of the companion-ladder, with a
musket by his side. The rest were seated on several mattresses, which
had been taken from the berths and thrown on the floor. They were
engaged in earnest conversation; and although they had been
carousing, as appeared from two empty jugs, with some tin tumblers
which lay about, they were not as much intoxicated as usual. All had
knives, one or two of them pistols, and a great many muskets were
lying in a berth close at hand.

We listened to their conversation for some time before we could
make up our minds how to act, having as yet resolved on nothing
determinate, except that we would attempt to paralyze their
exertions, when we should attack them, by means of the apparition of
Rogers. They were discussing their piratical plans, in which all we
could hear distinctly was, that they would unite with the crew of a
schooner _Hornet_, and, if possible, get the schooner herself into
their possession preparatory to some attempt on a large scale, the
particulars of which could not be made out by either of us.

One of the men spoke of Peters, when the mate replied to him in a
low voice which could not be distinguished, and afterward added more
loudly, that "he could not understand his being so much forward with
the captain's brat in the forecastle, and he thought the sooner both
of them were overboard the better." To this no answer was made, but
we could easily perceive that the hint was well received by the whole
party, and more particularly by Jones. At this period I was
excessively agitated, the more so as I could see that neither
Augustus nor Peters could determine how to act. I made up my mind,
however, to sell my life as dearly as possible, and not to suffer
myself to be overcome by any feelings of trepidation.

The tremendous noise made by the roaring of the wind in the
rigging, and the washing of the sea over the deck, prevented us from
hearing what was said, except during momentary lulls. In one of
these, we all distinctly heard the mate tell one of the men to "go
forward, have an eye upon them, for he wanted no such secret doings
on board the brig." It was well for us that the pitching of the
vessel at this moment was so violent as to prevent this order from
being carried into instant execution. The cook got up from his
mattress to go for us, when a tremendous lurch, which I thought would
carry away the masts, threw him headlong against one of the larboard
stateroom doors, bursting it open, and creating a good deal of other
confusion. Luckily, neither of our party was thrown from his
position, and we had time to make a precipitate retreat to the
forecastle, and arrange a hurried plan of action before the messenger
made his appearance, or rather before he put his head out of the
companion-hatch, for he did not come on deck. From this station he
could not notice the absence of Allen, and he accordingly bawled out,
as if to him, repeating the orders of the mate. Peters cried out,
"Ay, ay," in a disguised voice, and the cook immediately went below,
without entertaining a suspicion that all was not right.

My two companions now proceeded boldly aft and down into the
cabin, Peters closing the door after him in the same manner he had
found it. The mate received them with feigned cordiality, and told
Augustus that, since he had behaved himself so well of late, he might
take up his quarters in the cabin and be one of them for the future.
He then poured him out a tumbler half full of rum, and made him drink
it. All this I saw and heard, for I followed my friends to the cabin
as soon as the door was shut, and took up my old point of
observation. I had brought with me the two pump-handles, one of which
I secured near the companion-way, to be ready for use when required.

I now steadied myself as well as possible so as to have a good
view of all that was passing within, and endeavoured to nerve myself
to the task of descending among the mutineers when Peters should make
a signal to me, as agreed upon. Presently he contrived to turn the
conversation upon the bloody deeds of the mutiny, and by degrees led
the men to talk of the thousand superstitions which are so
universally current among seamen. I could not make out all that was
said, but I could plainly see the effects of the conversation in the
countenances of those present. The mate was evidently much agitated,
and presently, when some one mentioned the terrific appearance of
Rogers' corpse, I thought he was upon the point of swooning. Peters
now asked him if he did not think it would be better to have the body
thrown overboard at once as it was too horrible a sight to see it
floundering about in the scuppers. At this the villain absolutely
gasped for breath, and turned his head slowly round upon his
companions, as if imploring some one to go up and perform the task.
No one, however, stirred, and it was quite evident that the whole
party were wound up to the highest pitch of nervous excitement.
Peters now made me the signal. I immediately threw open the door of
the companion-way, and, descending, without uttering a syllable,
stood erect in the midst of the party.

The intense effect produced by this sudden apparition is not at
all to be wondered at when the various circumstances are taken into
consideration. Usually, in cases of a similar nature, there is left
in the mind of the spectator some glimmering of doubt as to the
reality of the vision before his eyes; a degree of hope, however
feeble, that he is the victim of chicanery, and that the apparition
is not actually a visitant from the old world of shadows. It is not
too much to say that such remnants of doubt have been at the bottom
of almost every such visitation, and that the appalling horror which
has sometimes been brought about, is to be attributed, even in the
cases most in point, and where most suffering has been experienced,
more to a kind of anticipative horror, lest the apparition might
possibly be real, than to an unwavering belief in its reality. But,
in the present instance, it will be seen immediately, that in the
minds of the mutineers there was not even the shadow of a basis upon
which to rest a doubt that the apparition of Rogers was indeed a
revivification of his disgusting corpse, or at least its spiritual
image. The isolated situation of the brig, with its entire
inaccessibility on account of the gale, confined the apparently
possible means of deception within such narrow and definite limits,
that they must have thought themselves enabled to survey them all at
a glance. They had now been at sea twenty-four days, without holding
more than a speaking communication with any vessel whatever. The
whole of the crew, too- at least all whom they had the most remote
reason for suspecting to be on board- were assembled in the cabin,
with the exception of Allen, the watch; and his gigantic stature (be
was six feet six inches high) was too familiar in their eyes to
permit the notion that he was the apparition before them to enter
their minds even for an instant. Add to these considerations the
awe-inspiring nature of the tempest, and that of the conversation
brought about by Peters; the deep impression which the loathsomeness
of the actual corpse had made in the morning upon the imaginations of
the men; the excellence of the imitation in my person, and the
uncertain and wavering light in which they beheld me, as the glare of
the cabin lantern, swinging violently to and fro, fell dubiously and
fitfully upon my figure, and there will be no reason to wonder that
the deception had even more than the entire effect which we had
anticipated. The mate sprang up from the mattress on which he was
lying, and, without uttering a syllable, fell back, stone dead, upon
the cabin floor, and was hurled to the leeward like a log by a heavy
roll of the brig. Of the remaining seven, there were but three who
had at first any degree of presence of mind. The four others sat for
some time rooted apparently to the floor, the most pitiable objects
of horror and utter despair my eyes ever encountered. The only
opposition we experienced at all was from the cook, John Hunt, and
Richard Parker; but they made but a feeble and irresolute defence.
The two former were shot instantly by Peters, and I felled Parker
with a blow on the head from the pump-handle which I had brought with
me. In the meantime, Augustus seized one of the muskets lying on the
floor and shot another mutineer Wilson through the breast. There
were now but three remaining; but by this time they had become
aroused from their lethargy, and perhaps began to see that a
deception had been practised upon them, for they fought with great
resolution and fury, and, but for the immense muscular strength of
Peters, might have ultimately got the better of us. These three men
were -- Jones, Greely, and Absolom Hicks. Jones had thrown
Augustus to the floor, stabbed him in several places along the right
arm, and would no doubt have soon dispatched him (as neither Peters
nor myself could immediately get rid of our own antagonists), had it
not been for the timely aid of a friend, upon whose assistance we,
surely, had never depended. This friend was no other than Tiger. With
a low growl, he bounded into the cabin, at a most critical moment for
Augustus, and throwing himself upon Jones, pinned him to the floor in
an instant. My friend, however, was now too much injured to render us
any aid whatever, and I was so encumbered with my disguise that I
could do but little. The dog would not leave his hold upon the throat
of Jones -- Peters, nevertheless, was far more than a match for the
two men who remained, and would, no doubt, have dispatched them
sooner, had it not been for the narrow space in which he had to act,
and the tremendous lurches of the vessel. Presently he was enabled to
get hold of a heavy stool, several of which lay about the floor. With
this he beat out the brains of Greely as he was in the act of
discharging a musket at me, and immediately afterward a roll of the
brig throwing him in contact with Hicks, he seized him by the throat,
and, by dint of sheer strength, strangled him instantaneously. Thus,
in far less time than I have taken to tell it, we found ourselves
masters of the brig.

The only person of our opponents who was left alive was Richard
Parker. This man, it will be remembered, I had knocked down with a
blow from the pump-handle at the commencement of the attack. He now
lay motionless by the door of the shattered stateroom; but, upon
Peters touching him with his foot, he spoke, and entreated for mercy.
His head was only slightly cut, and otherwise he had received no
injury, having been merely stunned by the blow. He now got up, and,
for the present, we secured his hands behind his back. The dog was
still growling over Jones; but, upon examination, we found him
completely dead, the blood issuing in a stream from a deep wound in
the throat, inflicted, no doubt, by the sharp teeth of the animal.

It was now about one o'clock in the morning, and the wind was
still blowing tremendously. The brig evidently laboured much more
than usual, and it became absolutely necessary that something should
be done with a view of easing her in some measure. At almost every
roll to leeward she shipped a sea, several of which came partially
down into the cabin during our scuffle, the hatchway having been left
open by myself when I descended. The entire range of bulwarks to
larboard had been swept away, as well as the caboose, together with
the jollyboat from the counter. The creaking and working of the
mainmast, too, gave indication that it was nearly sprung. To make
room for more stowage in the afterhold, the heel of this mast had
been stepped between decks (a very reprehensible practice,
occasionally resorted to by ignorant ship-builders), so that it was
in imminent danger of working from its step. But, to crown all our
difficulties, we plummed the well, and found no less than seven feet
of water.

Leaving the bodies of the crew lying in the cabin, we got to work
immediately at the pumps- Parker, of course, being set at liberty to
assist us in the labour. Augustus's arm was bound up as well as we
could effect it, and he did what he could, but that was not much.
However, we found that we could just manage to keep the leak from
gaining upon us by having one pump constantly going. As there were
only four of us, this was severe labour; but we endeavoured to keep
up our spirits, and looked anxiously for daybreak, when we hoped to
lighten the brig by cutting away the mainmast.

In this manner we passed a night of terrible anxiety and fatigue,
and, when the day at length broke, the gale had neither abated in the
least, nor were there any signs of its abating. We now dragged the
bodies on deck and threw them overboard. Our next care was to get rid
of the mainmast. The necessary preparations having been made, Peters
cut away at the mast (having found axes in the cabin), while the rest
of us stood by the stays and lanyards. As the brig gave a tremendous
lee-lurch, the word was given to cut away the weather-lanyards, which
being done, the whole mass of wood and rigging plunged into the sea,
clear of the brig, and without doing any material injury. We now
found that the vessel did not labour quite as much as before, but our
situation was still exceedingly precarious, and in spite of the
utmost exertions, we could not gain upon the leak without the aid of
both pumps. The little assistance which Augustus could render us was
not really of any importance. To add to our distress, a heavy sea,
striking the brig to the windward, threw her off several points from
the wind, and, before she could regain her position, another broke
completely over her, and hurled her full upon her beam-ends. The
ballast now shifted in a mass to leeward (the stowage had been
knocking about perfectly at random for some time), and for a few
moments we thought nothing could save us from capsizing. Presently,
however, we partially righted; but the ballast still retaining its
place to larboard, we lay so much along that it was useless to think
of working the pumps, which indeed we could not have done much longer
in any case, as our hands were entirely raw with the excessive labour
we had undergone, and were bleeding in the most horrible manner.

Contrary to Parker's advice, we now proceeded to cut away the
foremast, and at length accomplished it after much difficulty, owing
to the position in which we lay. In going overboard the wreck took
with it the bowsprit, and left us a complete hulk.

So far we had had reason to rejoice in the escape of our
longboat, which had received no damage from any of the huge seas
which had come on board. But we had not long to congratulate
ourselves; for the foremast having gone, and, of course, the foresail
with it, by which the brig had been steadied, every sea now made a
complete breach over us, and in five minutes our deck was swept from
stern to stern, the longboat and starboard bulwarks torn off, and
even the windlass shattered into fragments. It was, indeed, hardly
possible for us to be in a more pitiable condition.

At noon there seemed to be some slight appearance of the gale's
abating, but in this we were sadly disappointed, for it only lulled
for a few minutes to blow with redoubled fury. About four in the
afternoon it was utterly impossible to stand up against the violence
of the blast; and, as the night closed in upon us, I had not a shadow
of hope that the vessel would hold together until morning.

By midnight we had settled very deep in the water, which was now
up to the orlop deck. The rudder went soon afterward, the sea which
tore it away lifting the after portion of the brig entirely from the
water, against which she thumped in her descent with such a
concussion as would be occasioned by going ashore. We had all
calculated that the rudder would hold its own to the last, as it was
unusually strong, being rigged as I have never seen one rigged either
before or since. Down its main timber there ran a succession of stout
iron hooks, and others in the same manner down the stern-post.
Through these hooks there extended a very thick wrought-iron rod, the
rudder being thus held to the stern-post and swinging freely on the
rod. The tremendous force of the sea which tore it off may be
estimated by the fact, that the hooks in the stern-post, which ran
entirely through it, being clinched on the inside, were drawn every
one of them completely out of the solid wood.

We had scarcely time to draw breath after the violence of this
shock, when one of the most tremendous waves I had then ever known
broke right on board of us, sweeping the companion-way clear off,
bursting in the hatchways, and filling every inch of the vessel with

~~~ End of Text of Chapter 8 ~~~


LUCKILY, just before night, all four of us had lashed ourselves
firmly to the fragments of the windlass, lying in this manner as flat
upon the deck as possible. This precaution alone saved us from
destruction. As it was, we were all more or less stunned by the
immense weight of water which tumbled upon us, and which did not roll
from above us until we were nearly exhausted. As soon as I could
recover breath, I called aloud to my companions. Augustus alone
replied, saying: "It is all over with us, and may God have mercy upon
our souls!" By-and-by both the others were enabled to speak, when
they exhorted us to take courage, as there was still hope; it being
impossible, from the nature of the cargo, that the brig could go
down, and there being every chance that the gale would blow over by
the morning. These words inspired me with new life; for, strange as
it may seem, although it was obvious that a vessel with a cargo of
empty oil-casks would not sink, I had been hitherto so confused in
mind as to have overlooked this consideration altogether; and the
danger which I had for some time regarded as the most imminent was
that of foundering. As hope revived within me, I made use of every
opportunity to strengthen the lashings which held me to the remains
of the windlass, and in this occupation I soon discovered that my
companions were also busy. The night was as dark as it could possibly
be, and the horrible shrieking din and confusion which surrounded us
it is useless to attempt describing. Our deck lay level with the sea,
or rather we were encircled with a towering ridge of foam, a portion
of which swept over us even instant. It is not too much to say that
our heads were not fairly out of the water more than one second in
three. Although we lay close together, no one of us could see the
other, or, indeed, any portion of the brig itself, upon which we were
so tempestuously hurled about. At intervals we called one to the
other, thus endeavouring to keep alive hope, and render consolation
and encouragement to such of us as stood most in need of it. The
feeble condition of Augustus made him an object of solicitude with us
all; and as, from the lacerated condition of his right arm, it must
have been impossible for him to secure his lashings with any degree
of firmness, we were in momentary expectation of finding that he had
gone overboard -- yet to render him aid was a thing altogether out of
the question. Fortunately, his station was more secure than that of
any of the rest of us; for the upper part of his body lying just
beneath a portion of the shattered windlass, the seas, as they
tumbled in upon him, were greatly broken in their violence. In any
other situation than this (into which he had been accidentally thrown
after having lashed himself in a very exposed spot) he must
inevitably have perished before morning. Owing to the brig's lying so
much along, we were all less liable to be washed off than otherwise
would have been the case. The heel, as I have before stated, was to
larboard, about one half of the deck being constantly under water.
The seas, therefore, which struck us to starboard were much broken,
by the vessel's side, only reaching us in fragments as we lay flat on
our faces; while those which came from larboard being what are called
back-water seas, and obtaining little hold upon us on account of our
posture, had not sufficient force to drag us from our fastenings.

In this frightful situation we lay until the day broke so as to
show us more fully the horrors which surrounded us. The brig was a
mere log, rolling about at the mercy of every wave; the gale was upon
the increase, if any thing, blowing indeed a complete hurricane, and
there appeared to us no earthly prospect of deliverance. For several
hours we held on in silence, expecting every moment that our lashings
would either give way, that the remains of the windlass would go by
the board, or that some of the huge seas, which roared in every
direction around us and above us, would drive the hulk so far beneath
the water that we should be drowned before it could regain the
surface. By the mercy of God, however, we were preserved from these
imminent dangers, and about midday were cheered by the light of the
blessed sun. Shortly afterward we could perceive a sensible
diminution in the force of the wind, when, now for the first time
since the latter part of the evening before, Augustus spoke, asking
Peters, who lay closest to him, if he thought there was any
possibility of our being saved. As no reply was at first made to this
question, we all concluded that the hybrid had been drowned where he
lay; but presently, to our great joy, he spoke, although very feebly,
saying that he was in great pain, being so cut by the tightness of
his lashings across the stomach, that he must either find means of
loosening them or perish, as it was impossible that he could endure
his misery much longer. This occasioned us great distress, as it was
altogether useless to think of aiding him in any manner while the sea
continued washing over us as it did. We exhorted him to bear his
sufferings with fortitude, and promised to seize the first
opportunity which should offer itself to relieve him. He replied that
it would soon be too late; that it would be all over with him before
we could help him; and then, after moaning for some minutes, lay
silent, when we concluded that he had perished.

As the evening drew on, the sea had fallen so much that scarcely
more than one wave broke over the hulk from windward in the course of
five minutes, and the wind had abated a great deal, although still
blowing a severe gale. I had not heard any of my companions speak for
hours, and now called to Augustus. He replied, although very feebly,
so that I could not distinguish what he said. I then spoke to Peters
and to Parker, neither of whom returned any answer.

Shortly after this period I fell into a state of partial
insensibility, during which the most pleasing images floated in my
imagination; such as green trees, waving meadows of ripe grain,
processions of dancing girls, troops of cavalry, and other
phantasies. I now remember that, in all which passed before my mind's
eye, motion was a predominant idea. Thus, I never fancied any
stationary object, such as a house, a mountain, or any thing of that
kind; but windmills, ships, large birds, balloons, people on
horseback, carriages driving furiously, and similar moving objects,
presented themselves in endless succession. When I recovered from
this state, the sun was, as near as I could guess, an hour high. I
had the greatest difficulty in bringing to recollection the various
circumstances connected with my situation, and for some time remained
firmly convinced that I was still in the hold of the brig, near the
box, and that the body of Parker was that of Tiger.

When I at length completely came to my senses, I found that the
wind blew no more than a moderate breeze, and that the sea was
comparatively calm; so much so that it only washed over the brig
amidships. My left arm had broken loose from its lashings, and was
much cut about the elbow; my right was entirely benumbed, and the
hand and wrist swollen prodigiously by the pressure of the rope,
which had worked from the shoulder downward. I was also in great pain
from another rope which went about my waist, and had been drawn to an
insufferable degree of tightness. Looking round upon my companions, I
saw that Peters still lived, although a thick line was pulled so
forcibly around his loins as to give him the appearance of being cut
nearly in two; as I stirred, he made a feeble motion to me with his
hand, pointing to the rope. Augustus gave no indication of life
whatever, and was bent nearly double across a splinter of the
windlass. Parker spoke to me when he saw me moving, and asked me if I
had not sufficient strength to release him from his situation, saying
that if I would summon up what spirits I could, and contrive to untie
him, we might yet save our lives; but that otherwise we must all
perish. I told him to take courage, and I would endeavor to free him.
Feeling in my pantaloons' pocket, I got hold of my penknife, and,
after several ineffectual attempts, at length succeeded in opening
it. I then, with my left hand, managed to free my right from its
fastenings, and afterward cut the other ropes which held me. Upon
attempting, however, to move from my position, I found that my legs
failed me altogether, and that I could not get up; neither could I
move my right arm in any direction. Upon mentioning this to Parker,
he advised me to lie quiet for a few minutes, holding on to the
windlass with my left hand, so as to allow time for the blood to
circulate. Doing this, the numbness presently began to die away so
that I could move first one of my legs, and then the other, and,
shortly afterward I regained the partial use of my right arm. I now
crawled with great caution toward Parker, without getting on my legs,
and soon cut loose all the lashings about him, when, after a short
delay, he also recovered the partial use of his limbs. We now lost no
time in getting loose the rope from Peters. It had cut a deep gash
through the waistband of his woollen pantaloons, and through two
shirts, and made its way into his groin, from which the blood flowed
out copiously as we removed the cordage. No sooner had we removed it,
however, than he spoke, and seemed to experience instant relief-
being able to move with much greater ease than either Parker or
myself- this was no doubt owing to the discharge of blood.

We had little hopes that Augustus would recover, as he evinced no
signs of life; but, upon getting to him, we discovered that he had
merely swooned from the loss of blood, the bandages we had placed
around his wounded arm having been torn off by the water; none of the
ropes which held him to the windlass were drawn sufficiently tight to
occasion his death. Having relieved him from the fastenings, and got
him clear of the broken wood about the windlass, we secured him in a
dry place to windward, with his head somewhat lower than his body,
and all three of us busied ourselves in chafing his limbs. In about
half an hour he came to himself, although it was not until the next
morning that he gave signs of recognizing any of us, or had
sufficient strength to speak. By the time we had thus got clear of
our lashings it was quite dark, and it began to cloud up, so that we
were again in the greatest agony lest it should come on to blow hard,
in which event nothing could have saved us from perishing, exhausted
as we were. By good fortune it continued very moderate during the
night, the sea subsiding every minute, which gave us great hopes of
ultimate preservation. A gentle breeze still blew from the N. W., but
the weather was not at all cold. Augustus was lashed carefully to
windward in such a manner as to prevent him from slipping overboard
with the rolls of the vessel, as he was still too weak to hold on at
all. For ourselves there was no such necessity. We sat close
together, supporting each other with the aid of the broken ropes
about the windlass, and devising methods of escape from our frightful
situation. We derived much comfort from taking off our clothes and
wringing the water from them. When we put them on after this, they
felt remarkably warm and pleasant, and served to invigorate us in no
little degree. We helped Augustus off with his, and wrung them for
him, when he experienced the same comfort.

Our chief sufferings were now those of hunger and thirst, and
when we looked forward to the means of relief in this respect, our
hearts sunk within us, and we were induced to regret that we had
escaped the less dreadful perils of the sea. We endeavoured, however,
to console ourselves with the hope of being speedily picked up by
some vessel and encouraged each other to bear with fortitude the
evils that might happen.

The morning of the fourteenth at length dawned, and the weather
still continued clear and pleasant, with a steady but very light
breeze from the N. W. The sea was now quite smooth, and as, from some
cause which we could not determine, the brig did not lie so much along
as she had done before, the deck was comparatively dry, and we could
move about with freedom. We had now been better than three entire
days and nights without either food or drink, and it became
absolutely necessary that we should make an attempt to get up
something from below. As the brig was completely full of water, we
went to this work despondently, and with but little expectation of
being able to obtain anything. We made a kind of drag by driving some
nails which we broke out from the remains of the companion-hatch into
two pieces of wood. Tying these across each other, and fastening them
to the end of a rope, we threw them into the cabin, and dragged them
to and fro, in the faint hope of being thus able to entangle some
article which might be of use to us for food, or which might at least
render us assistance in getting it. We spent the greater part of the
morning in this labour without effect, fishing up nothing more than a
few bedclothes, which were readily caught by the nails. Indeed, our
contrivance was so very clumsy that any greater success was hardly to
be anticipated.

We now tried the forecastle, but equally in vain, and were upon
the brink of despair, when Peters proposed that we should fasten a
rope to his body, and let him make an attempt to get up something by
diving into the cabin. This proposition we hailed with all the
delight which reviving hope could inspire. He proceeded immediately
to strip off his clothes with the exception of his pantaloons; and a
strong rope was then carefully fastened around his middle, being
brought up over his shoulders in such a manner that there was no
possibility of its slipping. The undertaking was one of great
difficulty and danger; for, as we could hardly expect to find much,
if any, provision in the cabin itself, it was necessary that the
diver, after letting himself down, should make a turn to the right,
and proceed under water a distance of ten or twelve feet, in a narrow
passage, to the storeroom, and return, without drawing breath.

Everything being ready, Peters now descended in the cabin, going
down the companion-ladder until the water reached his chin. He then
plunged in, head first, turning to the right as he plunged, and
endeavouring to make his way to the storeroom. In this first attempt,
however, he was altogether unsuccessful. In less than half a minute
after his going down we felt the rope jerked violently (the signal we
had agreed upon when he desired to be drawn up). We accordingly drew
him up instantly, but so incautiously as to bruise him badly against
the ladder. He had brought nothing with him, and had been unable to
penetrate more than a very little way into the passage, owing to the
constant exertions he found it necessary to make in order to keep
himself from floating up against the deck. Upon getting out he was
very much exhausted, and had to rest full fifteen minutes before he
could again venture to descend.

The second attempt met with even worse success; for he remained
so long under water without giving the signal, that, becoming alarmed
for his safety, we drew him out without it, and found that he was
almost at the last gasp, having, as he said, repeatedly jerked at the
rope without our feeling it. This was probably owing to a portion of
it having become entangled in the balustrade at the foot of the
ladder. This balustrade was, indeed, so much in the way, that we
determined to remove it, if possible, before proceeding with our
design. As we had no means of getting it away except by main force,
we all descended into the water as far as we could on the ladder, and
giving a pull against it with our united strength, succeeded in
breaking it down.

The third attempt was equally unsuccessful with the two first,
and it now became evident that nothing could be done in this manner
without the aid of some weight with which the diver might steady
himself, and keep to the floor of the cabin while making his search.
For a long time we looked about in vain for something which might
answer this purpose; but at length, to our great joy, we discovered
one of the weather-forechains so loose that we had not the least
difficulty in wrenching it off. Having fastened this securely to one
of his ankles, Peters now made his fourth descent into the cabin, and
this time succeeded in making his way to the door of the steward's
room. To his inexpressible grief, however, he found it locked, and
was obliged to return without effecting an entrance, as, with the
greatest exertion, he could remain under water not more, at the
utmost extent, than a single minute. Our affairs now looked gloomy
indeed, and neither Augustus nor myself could refrain from bursting
into tears, as we thought of the host of difficulties which
encompassed us, and the slight probability which existed of our
finally making an escape. But this weakness was not of long duration.
Throwing ourselves on our knees to God, we implored His aid in the
many dangers which beset us; and arose with renewed hope and vigor to
think what could yet be done by mortal means toward accomplishing our

~~~ End of Text of Chapter 9 ~~~


SHORTLY afterward an incident occurred which I am induced to look
upon as more intensely productive of emotion, as far more replete
with the extremes first of delight and then of horror, than even any
of the thousand chances which afterward befell me in nine long years,
crowded with events of the most startling and, in many cases, of the
most unconceived and unconceivable character. We were lying on the
deck near the companion-way, and debating the possibility of yet
making our way into the storeroom, when, looking toward Augustus, who
lay fronting myself, I perceived that he had become all at once
deadly pale, and that his lips were quivering in the most singular
and unaccountable manner. Greatly alarmed, I spoke to him, but he
made me no reply, and I was beginning to think that he was suddenly
taken ill, when I took notice of his eyes, which were glaring
apparently at some object behind me. I turned my head, and shall
never forget the ecstatic joy which thrilled through every particle
of my frame, when I perceived a large brig bearing down upon us, and
not more than a couple of miles off. I sprung to my feet as if a
musket bullet had suddenly struck me to the heart; and, stretching
out my arms in the direction of the vessel, stood in this manner,
motionless, and unable to articulate a syllable. Peters and Parker
were equally affected, although in different ways. The former danced
about the deck like a madman, uttering the most extravagant
rhodomontades, intermingled with howls and imprecations, while the
latter burst into tears, and continued for many minutes weeping like
a child.

The vessel in sight was a large hermaphrodite brig, of a Dutch
build, and painted black, with a tawdry gilt figure-head. She had
evidently seen a good deal of rough weather, and, we supposed, had
suffered much in the gale which had proved so disastrous to
ourselves; for her foretopmast was gone, and some of her starboard
bulwarks. When we first saw her, she was, as I have already said,
about two miles off and to windward, bearing down upon us. The breeze
was very gentle, and what astonished us chiefly was, that she had no
other sails set than her foremast and mainsail, with a flying jib --
of course she came down but slowly, and our impatience amounted
nearly to phrensy. The awkward manner in which she steered, too, was
remarked by all of us, even excited as we were. She yawed about so
considerably, that once or twice we thought it impossible she could
see us, or imagined that, having seen us, and discovered no person on
board, she was about to tack and make off in another direction. Upon
each of these occasions we screamed and shouted at the top of our
voices, when the stranger would appear to change for a moment her
intention, and again hold on toward us -- this singular conduct being
repeated two or three times, so that at last we could think of no
other manner of accounting for it than by supposing the helmsman to
be in liquor.

No person was seen upon her decks until she arrived within about
a quarter of a mile of us. We then saw three seamen, whom by their
dress we took to be Hollanders. Two of these were lying on some old
sails near the forecastle, and the third, who appeared to be looking
at us with great curiosity, was leaning over the starboard bow near
the bowsprit. This last was a stout and tall man, with a very dark
skin. He seemed by his manner to be encouraging us to have patience,
nodding to us in a cheerful although rather odd way, and smiling
constantly, so as to display a set of the most brilliantly white
teeth. As his vessel drew nearer, we saw a red flannel cap which he
had on fall from his head into the water; but of this he took little
or no notice, continuing his odd smiles and gesticulations. I relate
these things and circumstances minutely, and I relate them, it must
be understood, precisely as they _appeared _to us.

The brig came on slowly, and now more steadily than before, and
-- I cannot speak calmly of this event -- our hearts leaped up wildly
within us, and we poured out our whole souls in shouts and
thanksgiving to God for the complete, unexpected, and glorious
deliverance that was so palpably at hand. Of a sudden, and all at
once, there came wafted over the ocean from the strange vessel (which
was now close upon us) a smell, a stench, such as the whole world has
no name for -- no conception of -- hellish -- utterly suffocating --
insufferable, inconceivable. I gasped for breath, and turning to my
companions, perceived that they were paler than marble. But we had
now no time left for question or surmise- the brig was within fifty
feet of us, and it seemed to be her intention to run under our
counter, that we might board her without putting out a boat. We
rushed aft, when, suddenly, a wide yaw threw her off full five or six
points from the course she had been running, and, as she passed under
our stern at the distance of about twenty feet, we had a full view of
her decks. Shall I ever forget the triple horror of that spectacle?
Twenty-five or thirty human bodies, among whom were several females,
lay scattered about between the counter and the galley in the last
and most loathsome state of putrefaction. We plainly saw that not a
soul lived in that fated vessel! Yet we could not help shouting to
the dead for help! Yes, long and loudly did we beg, in the agony of
the moment, that those silent and disgusting images would stay for
us, would not abandon us to become like them, would receive us among
their goodly company! We were raving with horror and despair-
thoroughly mad through the anguish of our grievous disappointment.

As our first loud yell of terror broke forth, it was replied to
by something, from near the bowsprit of the stranger, so closely
resembling the scream of a human voice that the nicest ear might have
been startled and deceived. At this instant another sudden yaw
brought the region of the forecastle for a moment into view, and we
beheld at once the origin of the sound. We saw the tall stout figure
still leaning on the bulwark, and still nodding his head to and fro,
but his face was now turned from us so that we could not behold it.
His arms were extended over the rail, and the palms of his hands fell
outward. His knees were lodged upon a stout rope, tightly stretched,
and reaching from the heel of the bowsprit to a cathead. On his back,
from which a portion of the shirt had been torn, leaving it bare,
there sat a huge sea-gull, busily gorging itself with the horrible
flesh, its bill and talons deep buried, and its white plumage
spattered all over with blood. As the brig moved farther round so as
to bring us close in view, the bird, with much apparent difficulty,
drew out its crimsoned head, and, after eyeing us for a moment as if
stupefied, arose lazily from the body upon which it had been
feasting, and, flying directly above our deck, hovered there a while
with a portion of clotted and liver-like substance in its beak. The
horrid morsel dropped at length with a sullen splash immediately at
the feet of Parker. May God forgive me, but now, for the first time,
there flashed through my mind a thought, a thought which I will not
mention, and I felt myself making a step toward the ensanguined spot.
I looked upward, and the eyes of Augustus met my own with a degree of
intense and eager meaning which immediately brought me to my senses.
I sprang forward quickly, and, with a deep shudder, threw the
frightful thing into the sea.

The body from which it had been taken, resting as it did upon the
rope, had been easily swayed to and fro by the exertions of the
carnivorous bird, and it was this motion which had at first impressed
us with the belief of its being alive. As the gull relieved it of its
weight, it swung round and fell partially over, so that the face was
fully discovered. Never, surely, was any object so terribly full of
awe! The eyes were gone, and the whole flesh around the mouth,
leaving the teeth utterly naked. This, then, was the smile which had
cheered us on to hope! this the -- but I forbear. The brig, as I have
already told, passed under our stern, and made its way slowly but
steadily to leeward. With her and with her terrible crew went all our
gay visions of deliverance and joy. Deliberately as she went by, we
might possibly have found means of boarding her, had not our sudden
disappointment and the appalling nature of the discovery which
accompanied it laid entirely prostrate every active faculty of mind
and body. We had seen and felt, but we could neither think nor act,
until, alas! too late. How much our intellects had been weakened by
this incident may be estimated by the fact, that when the vessel had
proceeded so far that we could perceive no more than the half of her
hull, the proposition was seriously entertained of attempting to
overtake her by swimming!

I have, since this period, vainly endeavoured to obtain some clew
to the hideous uncertainty which enveloped the fate of the stranger.
Her build and general appearance, as I have before stated, led us to
the belief that she was a Dutch trader, and the dresses of the crew
also sustained this opinion. We might have easily seen the name upon
her stern, and, indeed, taken other observations, which would have
guided us in making out her character; but the intense excitement of
the moment blinded us to every thing of that nature. From the
saffron-like hue of such of the corpses as were not entirely decayed,
we concluded that the whole of her company had perished by the yellow
fever, or some other virulent disease of the same fearful kind. If
such were the case (and I know not what else to imagine), death, to
judge from the positions of the bodies, must have come upon them in a
manner awfully sudden and overwhelming, in a way totally distinct
from that which generally characterizes even the most deadly
pestilences with which mankind are acquainted. It is possible,
indeed, that poison, accidentally introduced into some of their
sea-stores, may have brought about the disaster, or that the eating
of some unknown venomous species of fish, or other marine animal, or
oceanic bird, might have induced it -- but it is utterly useless to
form conjectures where all is involved, and will, no doubt, remain
for ever involved, in the most appalling and unfathomable mystery.

~~~ End of Text of Chapter 10 ~~~


WE spent the remainder of the day in a condition of stupid
lethargy, gazing after the retreating vessel until the darkness,
hiding her from our sight, recalled us in some measure to our senses.
The pangs of hunger and thirst then returned, absorbing all other
cares and considerations. Nothing, however, could be done until the
morning, and, securing ourselves as well as possible, we endeavoured
to snatch a little repose. In this I succeeded beyond my
expectations, sleeping until my companions, who had not been so
fortunate, aroused me at daybreak to renew our attempts at getting up
provisions from the hull.

It was now a dead calm, with the sea as smooth as have ever known
it, -- the weather warm and pleasant. The brig was out of sight. We
commenced our operations by wrenching off, with some trouble, another
of the forechains; and having fastened both to Peters' feet, he again
made an endeavour to reach the door of the storeroom, thinking it
possible that he might be able to force it open, provided he could
get at it in sufficient time; and this he hoped to do, as the hulk
lay much more steadily than before.

He succeeded very quickly in reaching the door, when, loosening
one of the chains from his ankle, be made every exertion to force the
passage with it, but in vain, the framework of the room being far
stronger than was anticipated. He was quite exhausted with his long
stay under water, and it became absolutely necessary that some other
one of us should take his place. For this service Parker immediately
volunteered; but, after making three ineffectual efforts, found that
he could never even succeed in getting near the door. The condition
of Augustus's wounded arm rendered it useless for him to attempt
going down, as he would be unable to force the room open should be
reach it, and it accordingly now devolved upon me to exert myself for
our common deliverance.

Peters had left one of the chains in the passage, and I found,
upon plunging in, that I had not sufficient balance to keep me firmly
down. I determined, therefore, to attempt no more, in my first
effort, than merely to recover the other chain. In groping along the
floor of the passage for this, I felt a hard substance, which I
immediately grasped, not having time to ascertain what it was, but
returning and ascending instantly to the surface. The prize proved to
be a bottle, and our joy may be conceived when I say that it was
found to be full of port wine. Giving thanks to God for this timely
and cheering assistance, we immediately drew the cork with my
penknife, and, each taking a moderate sup, felt the most
indescribable comfort from the warmth, strength, and spirits with
which it inspired us. We then carefully recorked the bottle, and, by
means of a handkerchief, swung it in such a manner that there was no
possibility of its getting broken.

Having rested a while after this fortunate discovery, I again
descended, and now recovered the chain, with which I instantly came
up. I then fastened it on and went down for the third time, when I
became fully satisfied that no exertions whatever, in that situation,
would enable me to force open the door of the storeroom. I therefore
returned in despair.

There seemed now to be no longer any room for hope, and I could
perceive in the countenances of my companions that they had made up
their minds to perish. The wine had evidently produced in them a
species of delirium, which, perhaps, I had been prevented from
feeling by the immersion I had undergone since drinking it. They
talked incoherently, and about matters unconnected with our
condition, Peters repeatedly asking me questions about Nantucket.
Augustus, too, I remember, approached me with a serious air, and
requested me to lend him a pocket-comb, as his hair was full of
fish-scales, and he wished to get them out before going on shore.
Parker appeared somewhat less affected, and urged me to dive at
random into the cabin, and bring up any article which might come to
hand. To this I consented, and, in the first attempt, after staying
under a full minute, brought up a small leather trunk belonging to
Captain Barnard. This was immediately opened in the faint hope that
it might contain something to eat or drink. We found nothing,
however, except a box of razors and two linen shirts. I now went down
again, and returned without any success. As my head came above water
I heard a crash on deck, and, upon getting up, saw that my companions
had ungratefully taken advantage of my absence to drink the remainder
of the wine, having let the bottle fall in the endeavour to replace
it before I saw them. I remonstrated with them on the heartlessness
of their conduct, when Augustus burst into tears. The other two
endeavoured to laugh the matter off as a joke, but I hope never again
to behold laughter of such a species: the distortion of countenance
was absolutely frightful. Indeed, it was apparent that the stimulus,
in the empty state of their stomachs, had taken instant and violent
effect, and that they were all exceedingly intoxicated. With great
difficulty I prevailed upon them to lie down, when they fell very
soon into a heavy slumber, accompanied with loud stertorous

I now found myself, as it were, alone in the brig, and my
reflections, to be sure, were of the most fearful and gloomy nature.
No prospect offered itself to my view but a lingering death by
famine, or, at the best, by being overwhelmed in the first gale which
should spring up, for in our present exhausted condition we could
have no hope of living through another.

The gnawing hunger which I now experienced was nearly
insupportable, and I felt myself capable of going to any lengths in
order to appease it. With my knife I cut off a small portion of the
leather trunk, and endeavoured to eat it, but found it utterly
impossible to swallow a single morsel, although I fancied that some
little alleviation of my suffering was obtained by chewing small
pieces of it and spitting them out. Toward night my companions awoke,
one by one, each in an indescribable state of weakness and horror,
brought on by the wine, whose fumes had now evaporated. They shook as
if with a violent ague, and uttered the most lamentable cries for
water. Their condition affected me in the most lively degree, at the
same time causing me to rejoice in the fortunate train of
circumstances which had prevented me from indulging in the wine, and
consequently from sharing their melancholy and most distressing
sensations. Their conduct, however, gave me great uneasiness and
alarm; for it was evident that, unless some favourable change took
place, they could afford me no assistance in providing for our common
safety. I had not yet abandoned all idea being able to get up
something from below; but the attempt could not possibly be resumed
until some one of them was sufficiently master of himself to aid me
by holding the end of the rope while I went down. Parker appeared to
be somewhat more in possession of his senses than the others, and I
endeavoured, by every means in my power, to rouse him. Thinking that
a plunge in the sea-water might have a beneficial effect, I contrived
to fasten the end of a rope around his body, and then, leading him to
the companion-way (he remaining quite passive all the while), pushed
him in, and immediately drew him out. I had good reason to
congratulate myself upon having made this experiment; for he appeared
much revived and invigorated, and, upon getting out, asked me, in a
rational manner, why I had so served him. Having explained my object,
he expressed himself indebted to me, and said that he felt greatly
better from the immersion, afterward conversing sensibly upon our
situation. We then resolved to treat Augustus and Peters in the same
way, which we immediately did, when they both experienced much
benefit from the shock. This idea of sudden immersion had been
suggested to me by reading in some medical work the good effect of
the shower-bath in a case where the patient was suffering from _mania
a potu_.

Finding that I could now trust my companions to hold the end of
the rope, I again made three or four plunges into the cabin, although
it was now quite dark, and a gentle but long swell from the northward
rendered the hulk somewhat unsteady. In the course of these attempts
I succeeded in bringing up two case-knives, a three-gallon jug,
empty, and a blanket, but nothing which could serve us for food. I
continued my efforts, after getting these articles, until I was
completely exhausted, but brought up nothing else. During the night
Parker and Peters occupied themselves by turns in the same manner;
but nothing coming to hand, we now gave up this attempt in despair,
concluding that we were exhausting ourselves in vain.

We passed the remainder of this night in a state of the most
intense mental and bodily anguish that can possibly be imagined. The
morning of the sixteenth at length dawned, and we looked eagerly
around the horizon for relief, but to no purpose. The sea was still
smooth, with only a long swell from the northward, as on yesterday.
This was the sixth day since we had tasted either food or drink, with
the exception of the bottle of port wine, and it was clear that we
could hold out but a very little while longer unless something could
be obtained. I never saw before, nor wish to see again, human beings
so utterly emaciated as Peters and Augustus. Had I met them on shore
in their present condition I should not have had the slightest
suspicion that I had ever beheld them. Their countenances were
totally changed in character, so that I could not bring myself to
believe them really the same individuals with whom I had been in
company but a few days before. Parker, although sadly reduced, and so
feeble that he could not raise his head from his bosom, was not so
far gone as the other two. He suffered with great patience, making no
complaint, and endeavouring to inspire us with hope in every manner
he could devise. For myself, although at the commencement of the
voyage I had been in bad health, and was at all times of a delicate
constitution, I suffered less than any of us, being much less reduced
in frame, and retaining my powers of mind in a surprising degree,
while the rest were completely prostrated in intellect, and seemed to
be brought to a species of second childhood, generally simpering in
their expressions, with idiotic smiles, and uttering the most absurd
platitudes. At intervals, however, they would appear to revive
suddenly, as if inspired all at once with a consciousness of their
condition, when they would spring upon their feet in a momentary
flash of vigour, and speak, for a short period, of their prospects,
in a manner altogether rational, although full of the most intense
despair. It is possible, however, that my companions may have
entertained the same opinion of their own condition as I did of mine,
and that I may have unwittingly been guilty of the same extravagances
and imbecilities as themselves -- this is a matter which cannot be

About noon Parker declared that he saw land off the larboard
quarter, and it was with the utmost difficulty I could restrain him
from plunging into the sea with the view of swimming toward it.
Peters and Augustus took little notice of what he said, being
apparently wrapped up in moody contemplation. Upon looking in the
direction pointed out, I could not perceive the faintest appearance
of the shore -- indeed, I was too well aware that we were far from
any land to indulge in a hope of that nature. It was a long time,
nevertheless, before I could convince Parker of his mistake. He then
burst into a flood of tears, weeping like a child, with loud cries
and sobs, for two or three hours, when becoming exhausted, he fell

Peters and Augustus now made several ineffectual efforts to
swallow portions of the leather. I advised them to chew it and spit
it out; but they were too excessively debilitated to be able to
follow my advice. I continued to chew pieces of it at intervals, and
found some relief from so doing; my chief distress was for water, and
I was only prevented from taking a draught from the sea by
remembering the horrible consequences which thus have resulted to
others who were similarly situated with ourselves.

The day wore on in this manner, when I suddenly discovered a sail
to the eastward, and on our larboard bow. She appeared to be a large
ship, and was coming nearly athwart us, being probably twelve or
fifteen miles distant. None of my companions had as yet discovered
her, and I forbore to tell them of her for the present, lest we might
again be disappointed of relief. At length upon her getting nearer, I
saw distinctly that she was heading immediately for us, with her
light sails filled. I could now contain myself no longer, and pointed
her out to my fellow-sufferers. They immediately sprang to their
feet, again indulging in the most extravagant demonstrations of joy,
weeping, laughing in an idiotic manner, jumping, stamping upon the
deck, tearing their hair, and praying and cursing by turns. I was so
affected by their conduct, as well as by what I considered a sure
prospect of deliverance, that I could not refrain from joining in
with their madness, and gave way to the impulses of my gratitude and
ecstasy by lying and rolling on the deck, clapping my hands,
shouting, and other similar acts, until I was suddenly called to my
recollection, and once more to the extreme human misery and despair,
by perceiving the ship all at once with her stern fully presented
toward us, and steering in a direction nearly opposite to that in
which I had at first perceived her.

It was some time before I could induce my poor companions to
believe that this sad reverse in our prospects had actually taken
place. They replied to all my assertions with a stare and a gesture
implying that they were not to be deceived by such
misrepresentations. The conduct of Augustus most sensibly affected
me. In spite of all I could say or do to the contrary, he persisted
in saying that the ship was rapidly nearing us, and in making
preparations to go on board of her. Some seaweed floating by the
brig, he maintained that it was the ship's boat, and endeavoured to
throw himself upon it, howling and shrieking in the most heartrending
manner, when I forcibly restrained him from thus casting himself into
the sea.

Having become in some degree pacified, we continued to watch the
ship until we finally lost sight of her, the weather becoming hazy,
with a light breeze springing up. As soon as she was entirely gone,
Parker turned suddenly toward me with an expression of countenance
which made me shudder. There was about him an air of self-possession
which I had not noticed in him until now, and before he opened his
lips my heart told me what he would say. He proposed, in a few words,
that one of us should die to preserve the existence of the others.

~~~ End of Text of Chapter 11 ~~~


I had for some time past, dwelt upon the prospect of our being
reduced to this last horrible extremity, and had secretly made up my
mind to suffer death in any shape or under any circumstances rather
than resort to such a course. Nor was this resolution in any degree
weakened by the present intensity of hunger under which I laboured.
The proposition had not been heard by either Peters or Augustus. I
therefore took Parker aside; and mentally praying to God for power to
dissuade him from the horrible purpose he entertained, I expostulated
with him for a long time, and in the most supplicating manner,
begging him in the name of every thing which he held sacred, and
urging him by every species of argument which the extremity of the
case suggested, to abandon the idea, and not to mention it to either
of the other two.

He heard all I said without attempting to controvert any of my
arguments, and I had begun to hope that he would be prevailed upon to
do as I desired. But when I had ceased speaking, he said that he knew
very well all I had said was true, and that to resort to such a
course was the most horrible alternative which could enter into the
mind of man; but that he had now held out as long as human nature
could be sustained; that it was unnecessary for all to perish, when,
by the death of one, it was possible, and even probable, that the
rest might be finally preserved; adding that I might save myself the
trouble of trying to turn him from his purpose, his mind having been
thoroughly made up on the subject even before the appearance of the
ship, and that only her heaving in sight had prevented him from
mentioning his intention at an earlier period.

I now begged him, if he would not be prevailed upon to abandon
his design, at least to defer it for another day, when some vessel
might come to our relief; again reiterating every argument I could
devise, and which I thought likely to have influence with one of his
rough nature. He said, in reply, that he had not spoken until the
very last possible moment, that he could exist no longer without
sustenance of some kind, and that therefore in another day his
suggestion would be too late, as regarded himself at least.

Finding that he was not to be moved by anything I could say in a
mild tone, I now assumed a different demeanor, and told him that he
must be aware I had suffered less than any of us from our calamities;
that my health and strength, consequently, were at that moment far
better than his own, or than that either of Peters or Augustus; in
short, that I was in a condition to have my own way by force if I
found it necessary; and that if he attempted in any manner to
acquaint the others with his bloody and cannibal designs, I would not
hesitate to throw him into the sea. Upon this he immediately seized
me by the throat, and drawing a knife, made several ineffectual
efforts to stab me in the stomach; an atrocity which his excessive
debility alone prevented him from accomplishing. In the meantime,
being roused to a high pitch of anger, I forced him to the vessel's
side, with the full intention of throwing him overboard. He was saved
from his fate, however, by the interference of Peters, who now
approached and separated us, asking the cause of the disturbance.
This Parker told before I could find means in any manner to prevent

The effect of his words was even more terrible than what I had
anticipated. Both Augustus and Peters, who, it seems, had long
secretly entertained the same fearful idea which Parker had been
merely the first to broach, joined with him in his design and
insisted upon its immediately being carried into effect. I had
calculated that one at least of the two former would be found still
possessed of sufficient strength of mind to side with myself in
resisting any attempt to execute so dreadful a purpose, and, with the
aid of either one of them, I had no fear of being able to prevent its
accomplishment. Being disappointed in this expectation, it became
absolutely necessary that I should attend to my own safety, as a
further resistance on my part might possibly be considered by men in
their frightful condition a sufficient excuse for refusing me fair
play in the tragedy that I knew would speedily be enacted.

I now told them I was willing to submit to the proposal, merely
requesting a delay of about one hour, in order that the fog which had
gathered around us might have an opportunity of lifting, when it was
possible that the ship we had seen might be again in sight. After
great difficulty I obtained from them a promise to wait thus long;
and, as I had anticipated (a breeze rapidly coming in), the fog
lifted before the hour had expired, when, no vessel appearing in
sight, we prepared to draw lots.

It is with extreme reluctance that I dwell upon the appalling
scene which ensued; a scene which, with its minutest details, no
after events have been able to efface in the slightest degree from my
memory, and whose stern recollection will embitter every future
moment of my existence. Let me run over this portion of my narrative
with as much haste as the nature of the events to be spoken of will
permit. The only method we could devise for the terrific lottery, in
which we were to take each a chance, was that of drawing straws.
Small splinters of wood were made to answer our purpose, and it was
agreed that I should be the holder. I retired to one end of the hulk,
while my poor companions silently took up their station in the other
with their backs turned toward me. The bitterest anxiety which I
endured at any period of this fearful drama was while I occupied
myself in the arrangement of the lots. There are few conditions into
which man can possibly fall where he will not feel a deep interest in
the preservation of his existence; an interest momentarily increasing
with the frailness of the tenure by which that existence may be held.
But now that the silent, definite, and stern nature of the business
in which I was engaged (so different from the tumultuous dangers of
the storm or the gradually approaching horrors of famine) allowed me
to reflect on the few chances I had of escaping the most appalling of
deaths- a death for the most appalling of purposes- every particle of
that energy which had so long buoyed me up departed like feathers
before the wind, leaving me a helpless prey to the most abject and
pitiable terror. I could not, at first, even summon up sufficient
strength to tear and fit together the small splinters of wood, my
fingers absolutely refusing their office, and my knees knocking
violently against each other. My mind ran over rapidly a thousand
absurd projects by which to avoid becoming a partner in the awful
speculation. I thought of falling on my knees to my companions, and
entreating them to let me escape this necessity; of suddenly rushing
upon them, and, by putting one of them to death, of rendering the
decision by lot useless- in short, of every thing but of going
through with the matter I had in hand. At last, after wasting a long
time in this imbecile conduct, I was recalled to my senses by the
voice of Parker, who urged me to relieve them at once from the
terrible anxiety they were enduring. Even then I could not bring
myself to arrange the splinters upon the spot, but thought over every
species of finesse by which I could trick some one of my
fellow-sufferers to draw the short straw, as it had been agreed that
whoever drew the shortest of four splinters from my hand was to die
for the preservation of the rest. Before any one condemn me for this
apparent heartlessness, let him be placed in a situation precisely
similar to my own.

At length delay was no longer possible, and, with a heart almost
bursting from my bosom, I advanced to the region of the forecastle,
where my companions were awaiting me. I held out my hand with the
splinters, and Peters immediately drew. He was free- his, at least,
was not the shortest; and there was now another chance against my
escape. I summoned up all my strength, and passed the lots to
Augustus. He also drew immediately, and he also was free; and now,
whether I should live or die, the chances were no more than precisely
even. At this moment all the fierceness of the tiger possessed my
bosom, and I felt toward my poor fellow-creature, Parker, the most
intense, the most diabolical hatred. But the feeling did not last;
and, at length, with a convulsive shudder and closed eyes, I held out
the two remaining splinters toward him. It was fully five minutes
before he could summon resolution to draw, during which period of
heartrending suspense I never once opened my eyes. Presently one of
the two lots was quickly drawn from my hand. The decision was then
over, yet I knew not whether it was for me or against me. No one
spoke, and still I dared not satisfy myself by looking at the
splinter I held. Peters at length took me by the hand, and I forced
myself to look up, when I immediately saw by the countenance of
Parker that I was safe, and that he it was who had been doomed to
suffer. Gasping for breath, I fell senseless to the deck.

I recovered from my swoon in time to behold the consummation of
the tragedy in the death of him who had been chiefly instrumental in
bringing it about. He made no resistance whatever, and was stabbed in
the back by Peters, when he fell instantly dead. I must not dwell
upon the fearful repast which immediately ensued. Such things may be
imagined, but words have no power to impress the mind with the
exquisite horror of their reality. Let it suffice to say that, having
in some measure appeased the raging thirst which consumed us by the
blood of the victim, and having by common consent taken off the
hands, feet, and head, throwing them together with the entrails, into
the sea, we devoured the rest of the body, piecemeal, during the four
ever memorable days of the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, and
twentieth of the month.

On the nineteenth, there coming on a smart shower which lasted
fifteen or twenty minutes, we contrived to catch some water by means
of a sheet which had been fished up from the cabin by our drag just
after the gale. The quantity we took in all did not amount to more
than half a gallon; but even this scanty allowance supplied us with
comparative strength and hope.

On the twenty-first we were again reduced to the last necessity.
The weather still remained warm and pleasant, with occasional fogs
and light breezes, most usually from N. to W.

On the twenty-second, as we were sitting close huddled together,
gloomily revolving over our lamentable condition, there flashed
through my mind all at once an idea which inspired me with a bright
gleam of hope. I remembered that, when the foremast had been cut
away, Peters, being in the windward chains, passed one of the axes
into my hand, requesting me to put it, if possible, in a place of
security, and that a few minutes before the last heavy sea struck the
brig and filled her I had taken this axe into the forecastle and laid
it in one of the larboard berths. I now thought it possible that, by
getting at this axe, we might cut through the deck over the
storeroom, and thus readily supply ourselves with provisions.

When I communicated this object to my companions, they uttered a
feeble shout of joy, and we all proceeded forthwith to the
forecastle. The difficulty of descending here was greater than that
of going down in the cabin, the opening being much smaller, for it
will be remembered that the whole framework about the cabin
companion-hatch had been carried away, whereas the forecastle-way,
being a simple hatch of only about three feet square, had remained
uninjured. I did not hesitate, however, to attempt the descent; and a
rope being fastened round my body as before, I plunged boldly in,
feet foremost, made my way quickly to the berth, and at the first
attempt brought up the axe. It was hailed with the most ecstatic joy
and triumph, and the ease with which it had been obtained was
regarded as an omen of our ultimate preservation.

We now commenced cutting at the deck with all the energy of
rekindled hope, Peters and myself taking the axe by turns, Augustus's
wounded arm not permitting him to aid us in any degree. As we were
still so feeble as to be scarcely able to stand unsupported, and
could consequently work but a minute or two without resting, it soon
became evident that many long hours would be necessary to accomplish
our task- that is, to cut an opening sufficiently large to admit of a
free access to the storeroom. This consideration, however, did not
discourage us; and, working all night by the light of the moon, we
succeeded in effecting our purpose by daybreak on the morning of the

Peters now volunteered to go down; and, having made all
arrangements as before, he descended, and soon returned bringing up
with him a small jar, which, to our great joy, proved to be full of
olives. Having shared these among us, and devoured them with the
greatest avidity, we proceeded to let him down again. This time he
succeeded beyond our utmost expectations, returning instantly with a
large ham and a bottle of Madeira wine. Of the latter we each took a
moderate sup, having learned by experience the pernicious
consequences of indulging too freely. The ham, except about two
pounds near the bone, was not in a condition to be eaten, having been
entirely spoiled by the salt water. The sound part was divided among
us. Peters and Augustus, not being able to restrain their appetite,
swallowed theirs upon the instant; but I was more cautious, and ate
but a small portion of mine, dreading the thirst which I knew would
ensue. We now rested a while from our labors, which had been
intolerably severe.

By noon, feeling somewhat strengthened and refreshed, we again
renewed our attempt at getting up provisions, Peters and myself going
down alternately, and always with more or less success, until
sundown. During this interval we had the good fortune to bring up,
altogether, four more small jars of olives, another ham, a carboy
containing nearly three gallons of excellent Cape Madeira wine, and,
what gave us still more delight, a small tortoise of the Gallipago
breed, several of which had been taken on board by Captain Barnard,
as the _Grampus_ was leaving port, from the schooner _Mary Pitts_,
just returned from a sealing voyage in the Pacific.

In a subsequent portion of this narrative I shall have frequent
occasion to mention this species of tortoise. It is found
principally, as most of my readers may know, in the group of islands
called the Gallipagos, which, indeed, derive their name from the
animal -- the Spanish word Gallipago meaning a fresh-water terrapin.
From the peculiarity of their shape and action they have been
sometimes called the elephant tortoise. They are frequently found of
an enormous size. I have myself seen several which would weigh from
twelve to fifteen hundred pounds, although I do not remember that any
navigator speaks of having seen them weighing more than eight
hundred. Their appearance is singular, and even disgusting. Their
steps are very slow, measured, and heavy, their bodies being carried
about a foot from the ground. Their neck is long, and exceedingly
slender, from eighteen inches to two feet is a very common length,
and I killed one, where the distance from the shoulder to the
extremity of the head was no less than three feet ten inches. The
head has a striking resemblance to that of a serpent. They can exist
without food for an almost incredible length of time, instances
having been known where they have been thrown into the hold of a
vessel and lain two years without nourishment of any kind- being as
fat, and, in every respect, in as good order at the expiration of the
time as when they were first put in. In one particular these
extraordinary animals bear a resemblance to the dromedary, or camel
of the desert. In a bag at the root of the neck they carry with them
a constant supply of water. In some instances, upon killing them
after a full year's deprivation of all nourishment, as much as three
gallons of perfectly sweet and fresh water have been found in their
bags. Their food is chiefly wild parsley and celery, with purslain,
sea-kelp, and prickly pears, upon which latter vegetable they thrive
wonderfully, a great quantity of it being usually found on the
hillsides near the shore wherever the animal itself is discovered.
They are excellent and highly nutritious food, and have, no doubt,
been the means of preserving the lives of thousands of seamen
employed in the whale-fishery and other pursuits in the Pacific.

The one which we had the good fortune to bring up from the
storeroom was not of a large size, weighing probably sixty-five or
seventy pounds. It was a female, and in excellent condition, being
exceedingly fat, and having more than a quart of limpid and sweet
water in its bag. This was indeed a treasure; and, falling on our
knees with one accord, we returned fervent thanks to God for so
seasonable a relief.

We had great difficulty in getting the animal up through the
opening, as its struggles were fierce and its strength prodigious. It
was upon the point of making its escape from Peter's grasp, and
slipping back into the water, when Augustus, throwing a rope with a
slipknot around its throat, held it up in this manner until I jumped
into the hole by the side of Peters, and assisted him in lifting it

The water we drew carefully from the bag into the jug; which, it
will be remembered, had been brought up before from the cabin. Having
done this, we broke off the neck of a bottle so as to form, with the
cork, a kind of glass, holding not quite half a gill. We then each
drank one of these measures full, and resolved to limit ourselves to
this quantity per day as long as it should hold out.

During the last two or three days, the weather having been dry
and pleasant, the bedding we had obtained from the cabin, as well as
our clothing, had become thoroughly dry, so that we passed this night
(that of the twenty-third) in comparative comfort, enjoying a
tranquil repose, after having supped plentifully on olives and ham,
with a small allowance of the wine. Being afraid of losing some of
our stores overboard during the night, in the event of a breeze
springing up, we secured them as well as possible with cordage to the
fragments of the windlass. Our tortoise, which we were anxious to
preserve alive as long as we could, we threw on its back, and
otherwise carefully fastened.

~~~ End of Text of Chapter 12 ~~~


JULY 24. This morning saw us wonderfully recruited in spirits and
strength. Notwithstanding the perilous situation in which we were
still placed, ignorant of our position, although certainly at a great
distance from land, without more food than would last us for a
fortnight even with great care, almost entirely without water, and
floating about at the mercy of every wind and wave on the merest
wreck in the world, still the infinitely more terrible distresses and
dangers from which we had so lately and so providentially been
delivered caused us to regard what we now endured as but little more
than an ordinary evil- so strictly comparative is either good or ill.

At sunrise we were preparing to renew our attempts at getting up
something from the storeroom, when, a smart shower coming on, with
some lightning, we turn our attention to the catching of water by
means of the sheet we had used before for this purpose. We had no
other means of collecting the rain than by holding the sheet spread
out with one of the forechain-plates in the middle of it. The water,
thus conducted to the centre, was drained through into our jug. We
had nearly filled it in this manner, when, a heavy squall coming on
from the northward, obliged us to desist, as the hulk began once more
to roll so violently that we could no longer keep our feet. We now
went forward, and, lashing ourselves securely to the remnant of the
windlass as before, awaited the event with far more calmness than
could have been anticipated or would have been imagined possible
under the circumstances. At noon the wind had freshened into a
two-reef breeze, and by night into a stiff gale, accompanied with a
tremendously heavy swell. Experience having taught us, however, the
best method of arranging our lashings, we weathered this dreary night
in tolerable security, although thoroughly drenched at almost every
instant by the sea, and in momentary dread of being washed off.
Fortunately, the weather was so warm as to render the water rather
grateful than otherwise.

July 25. This morning the gale had diminished to a mere ten-knot
breeze, and the sea had gone down with it so considerably that we
were able to keep ourselves dry upon the deck. To our great grief,
however, we found that two jars of our olives, as well as the whole
of our ham, had been washed overboard, in spite of the careful manner
in which they had been fastened. We determined not to kill the
tortoise as yet, and contented ourselves for the present with a
breakfast on a few of the olives, and a measure of water each, which
latter we mixed half and half, with wine, finding great relief and
strength from the mixture, without the distressing intoxication which
had ensued upon drinking the port. The sea was still far too rough
for the renewal of our efforts at getting up provision from the
storeroom. Several articles, of no importance to us in our present
situation, floated up through the opening during the day, and were
immediately washed overboard. We also now observed that the hulk lay
more along than ever, so that we could not stand an instant without
lashing ourselves. On this account we passed a gloomy and
uncomfortable day. At noon the sun appeared to be nearly vertical,
and we had no doubt that we had been driven down by the long
succession of northward and northwesterly winds into the near
vicinity of the equator. Toward evening we saw several sharks, and were
somewhat alarmed by the audacious manner in which an enormously large
one approached us. At one time, a lurch throwing the deck very far
beneath the water, the monster actually swam in upon us, floundering
for some moments just over the companion-hatch, and striking Peters
violently with his tail. A heavy sea at length hurled him overboard,
much to our relief. In moderate weather we might have easily captured

July 26. This morning, the wind having greatly abated, and the
sea not being very rough, we determined to renew our exertions in the
storeroom. After a great deal of hard labor during the whole day, we
found that nothing further was to be expected from this quarter, the
partitions of the room having been stove during the night, and its
contents swept into the hold. This discovery, as may be supposed,
filled us with despair.

July 27. The sea nearly smooth, with a light wind, and still from
the northward and westward. The sun coming out hotly in the
afternoon, we occupied ourselves in drying our clothes. Found great
relief from thirst, and much comfort otherwise, by bathing in the
sea; in this, however, we were forced to use great caution, being
afraid of sharks, several of which were seen swimming around the brig
during the day.

July 28. Good weather still. The brig now began to lie along so
alarmingly that we feared she would eventually roll bottom up.
Prepared ourselves as well as we could for this emergency, lashing
our tortoise, waterjug, and two remaining jars of olives as far as
possible over to the windward, placing them outside the hull below
the main-chains. The sea very smooth all day, with little or no wind.

July 29. A continuance of the same weather. Augustus's wounded
arm began to evince symptoms of mortification. He complained of
drowsiness and excessive thirst, but no acute pain. Nothing could be
done for his relief beyond rubbing his wounds with a little of the
vinegar from the olives, and from this no benefit seemed to be
experienced. We did every thing in our power for his comfort, and
trebled his allowance of water.

July 30. An excessively hot day, with no wind. An enormous shark
kept close by the hulk during the whole of the forenoon. We made
several unsuccessful attempts to capture him by means of a noose.
Augustus much worse, and evidently sinking as much from want of
proper nourishment as from the effect of his wounds. He constantly
prayed to be relieved from his sufferings, wishing for nothing but
death. This evening we ate the last of our olives, and found the
water in our jug so putrid that we could not swallow it at all
without the addition of wine. Determined to kill our tortoise in the

July 31. After a night of excessive anxiety and fatigue, owing to
the position of the hulk, we set about killing and cutting up our
tortoise. He proved to be much smaller than we had supposed, although
in good condition,- the whole meat about him not amounting to more
than ten pounds. With a view of preserving a portion of this as long
as possible, we cut it into fine pieces, and filled with them our
three remaining olive jars and the wine-bottle (all of which had been
kept), pouring in afterward the vinegar from the olives. In this
manner we put away about three pounds of the tortoise, intending not
to touch it until we had consumed the rest. We concluded to restrict
ourselves to about four ounces of the meat per day; the whole would
thus last us thirteen days. A brisk shower, with severe thunder and
lightning, came on about dusk, but lasted so short a time that we
only succeeded in catching about half a pint of water. The whole of
this, by common consent, was given to Augustus, who now appeared to
be in the last extremity. He drank the water from the sheet as we
caught it (we holding it above him as he lay so as to let it run into
his mouth), for we had now nothing left capable of holding water,
unless we had chosen to empty out our wine from the carboy, or the
stale water from the jug. Either of these expedients would have been
resorted to had the shower lasted.

The sufferer seemed to derive but little benefit from the
draught. His arm was completely black from the wrist to the shoulder,
and his feet were like ice. We expected every moment to see him
breathe his last. He was frightfully emaciated; so much so that,
although he weighed a hundred and twenty-seven pounds upon his
leaving Nantucket, he now did not weigh more than forty or fifty at
the farthest. His eyes were sunk far in his head, being scarcely
perceptible, and the skin of his cheeks hung so loosely as to prevent
his masticating any food, or even swallowing any liquid, without
great difficulty.

August 1. A continuance of the same calm weather, with an
oppressively hot sun. Suffered exceedingly from thirst, the water in
the jug being absolutely putrid and swarming with vermin. We
contrived, nevertheless, to swallow a portion of it by mixing it with
wine; our thirst, however, was but little abated. We found more
relief by bathing in the sea, but could not avail ourselves of this
expedient except at long intervals, on account of the continual
presence of sharks. We now saw clearly that Augustus could not be
saved; that he was evidently dying. We could do nothing to relieve
his sufferings, which appeared to be great. About twelve o'clock he
expired in strong convulsions, and without having spoken for several
hours. His death filled us with the most gloomy forebodings, and had
so great an effect upon our spirits that we sat motionless by the
corpse during the whole day, and never addressed each other except in
a whisper. It was not until some time after dark that we took courage
to get up and throw the body overboard. It was then loathsome beyond
expression, and so far decayed that, as Peters attempted to lift it,
an entire leg came off in his grasp. As the mass of putrefaction
slipped over the vessel's side into the water, the glare of
phosphoric light with which it was surrounded plainly discovered to
us seven or eight large sharks, the clashing of whose horrible teeth,
as their prey was torn to pieces among them, might have been heard at
the distance of a mile. We shrunk within ourselves in the extremity
of horror at the sound.

August 2. The same fearfully calm and hot weather. The dawn found
us in a state of pitiable dejection as well as bodily exhaustion. The
water in the jug was now absolutely useless, being a thick gelatinous
mass; nothing but frightful-looking worms mingled with slime. We
threw it out, and washed the jug well in the sea, afterward pouring a
little vinegar in it from our bottles of pickled tortoise. Our thirst
could now scarcely be endured, and we tried in vain to relieve it by
wine, which seemed only to add fuel to the flame, and excited us to a
high degree of intoxication. We afterward endeavoured to relieve our
sufferings by mixing the wine with seawater; but this instantly
brought about the most violent retchings, so that we never again
attempted it. During the whole day we anxiously sought an opportunity
of bathing, but to no purpose; for the hulk was now entirely besieged
on all sides with sharks- no doubt the identical monsters who had
devoured our poor companion on the evening before, and who were in
momentary expectation of another similar feast. This circumstance
occasioned us the most bitter regret and filled us with the most
depressing and melancholy forebodings. We had experienced
indescribable relief in bathing, and to have this resource cut off in
so frightful a manner was more than we could bear. Nor, indeed, were
we altogether free from the apprehension of immediate danger, for the
least slip or false movement would have thrown us at once within
reach of those voracious fish, who frequently thrust themselves
directly upon us, swimming up to leeward. No shouts or exertions on
our part seemed to alarm them. Even when one of the largest was
struck with an axe by Peters and much wounded, he persisted in his
attempts to push in where we were. A cloud came up at dusk, but, to
our extreme anguish, passed over without discharging itself. It is
quite impossible to conceive our sufferings from thirst at this
period. We passed a sleepless night, both on this account and through
dread of the sharks.

August 3. No prospect of relief, and the brig lying still more
and more along, so that now we could not maintain a footing upon deck
at all. Busied ourselves in securing our wine and tortoise-meat, so
that we might not lose them in the event of our rolling over. Got out
two stout spikes from the forechains, and, by means of the axe, drove
them into the hull to windward within a couple of feet of the water,
this not being very far from the keel, as we were nearly upon our
beam-ends. To these spikes we now lashed our provisions, as being
more secure than their former position beneath the chains. Suffered
great agony from thirst during the whole day- no chance of bathing on
account of the sharks, which never left us for a moment. Found it
impossible to sleep.

August 4. A little before daybreak we perceived that the hulk was
heeling over, and aroused ourselves to prevent being thrown off by
the movement. At first the roll was slow and gradual, and we
contrived to clamber over to windward very well, having taken the
precaution to leave ropes hanging from the spikes we had driven in
for the provision. But we had not calculated sufficiently upon the
acceleration of the impetus; for, presently the heel became too
violent to allow of our keeping pace with it; and, before either of
us knew what was to happen, we found ourselves hurled furiously into
the sea, and struggling several fathoms beneath the surface, with the
huge hull immediately above us.

In going under the water I had been obliged to let go my hold
upon the rope; and finding that I was completely beneath the vessel,
and my strength nearly exhausted, I scarcely made a struggle for
life, and resigned myself, in a few seconds, to die. But here again I
was deceived, not having taken into consideration the natural rebound
of the hull to windward. The whirl of the water upward, which the
vessel occasioned in rolling partially back, brought me to the
surface still more violently than I had been plunged beneath. Upon
coming up I found myself about twenty yards from the hulk, as near as
I could judge. She was lying keel up, rocking furiously from side to
side, and the sea in all directions around was much agitated, and
full of strong whirlpools. I could see nothing of Peters. An oil-cask
was floating within a few feet of me, and various other articles from
the brig were scattered about.

My principal terror was now on account of the sharks, which I
knew to be in my vicinity. In order to deter these, if possible, from
approaching me, I splashed the water vigorously with both hands and
feet as I swam towards the hulk, creating a body of foam. I have no
doubt that to this expedient, simple as it was, I was indebted for my
preservation; for the sea all round the brig, just before her rolling
over, was so crowded with these monsters, that I must have been, and
really was, in actual contact with some of them during my progress.
By great good fortune, however, I reached the side of the vessel in
safety, although so utterly weakened by the violent exertion I had
used that I should never have been able to get upon it but for the
timely assistance of Peters, who, now, to my great joy, made his
appearance (having scrambled up to the keel from the opposite side of
the hull), and threw me the end of a rope -- one of those which had
been attached to the spikes.

Having barely escaped this danger, our attention was now directed
to the dreadful imminency of another -- that of absolute starvation.
Our whole stock of provision had been swept overboard in spite of all
our care in securing it; and seeing no longer the remotest
possibility of obtaining more, we gave way both of us to despair,
weeping aloud like children, and neither of us attempting to offer
consolation to the other. Such weakness can scarcely be conceived,
and to those who have never been similarly situated will, no doubt,
appear unnatural; but it must be remembered that our intellects were
so entirely disordered by the long course of privation and terror to
which we had been subjected, that we could not justly be considered,
at that period, in the light of rational beings. In subsequent
perils, nearly as great, if not greater, I bore up with fortitude
against all the evils of my situation, and Peters, it will be seen,
evinced a stoical philosophy nearly as incredible as his present
childlike supineness and imbecility -- the mental condition made the

The overturning of the brig, even with the consequent loss of the
wine and turtle, would not, in fact, have rendered our situation more
deplorable than before, except for the disappearance of the
bedclothes by which we had been hitherto enabled to catch rainwater,
and of the jug in which we had kept it when caught; for we found the
whole bottom, from within two or three feet of the bends as far as
the keel, together with the keel itself, thickly covered with large
barnacles, which proved to be excellent and highly nutritious food.
Thus, in two important respects, the accident we had so greatly
dreaded proved to be a benefit rather than an injury; it had opened
to us a supply of provisions which we could not have exhausted, using
it moderately, in a month; and it had greatly contributed to our
comfort as regards position, we being much more at ease, and in
infinitely less danger, than before.

The difficulty, however, of now obtaining water blinded us to all
the benefits of the change in our condition. That we might be ready
to avail ourselves, as far as possible, of any shower which might
fall we took off our shirts, to make use of them as we had of the
sheets -- not hoping, of course, to get more in this way, even under
the most favorable circumstances, than half a gill at a time. No
signs of a cloud appeared during the day, and the agonies of our
thirst were nearly intolerable. At night, Peters obtained about an
hour's disturbed sleep, but my intense sufferings would not permit me
to close my eyes for a single moment.

August 5. To-day, a gentle breeze springing up carried us through
a vast quantity of seaweed, among which we were so fortunate as to
find eleven small crabs, which afforded us several delicious meals.
Their shells being quite soft, we ate them entire, and found that
they irritated our thirst far less than the barnacles. Seeing no
trace of sharks among the seaweed, we also ventured to bathe, and
remained in the water for four or five hours, during which we
experienced a very sensible diminution of our thirst. Were greatly
refreshed, and spent the night somewhat more comfortably than before,
both of us snatching a little sleep.

August 6. This day we were blessed by a brisk and continual rain,
lasting from about noon until after dark. Bitterly did we now regret
the loss of our jug and carboy; for, in spite of the little means we
had of catching the water, we might have filled one, if not both of
them. As it was, we contrived to satisfy the cravings of thirst by
suffering the shirts to become saturated, and then wringing them so
as to let the grateful fluid trickle into our mouths. In this
occupation we passed the entire day.

August 7. Just at daybreak we both at the same instant descried a
sail to the eastward, and _evidently coming towards us!_ We hailed
the glorious sight with a long, although feeble shout of rapture; and
began instantly to make every signal in our power, by flaring the
shirts in the air, leaping as high as our weak condition would
permit, and even by hallooing with all the strength of our lungs,
although the vessel could not have been less than fifteen miles
distant. However, she still continued to near our hulk, and we felt
that, if she but held her present course, she must eventually come so
close as to perceive us. In about an hour after we first discovered
her, we could clearly see the people on her decks. She was a long,
low, and rakish-looking topsail schooner, with a black ball in her
foretopsail, and had, apparently, a full crew. We now became alarmed,
for we could hardly imagine it possible that she did not observe us,
and were apprehensive that she meant to leave us to perish as we were
-- an act of fiendish barbarity, which, however incredible it may
appear, has been repeatedly perpetuated at sea, under circumstances
very nearly similar, and by beings who were regarded as belonging to
the human species. {*2} In this instance, however, by the mercy of
God, we were destined to be most happily deceived; for, presently we
were aware of a sudden commotion on the deck of the stranger, who
immediately afterward ran up a British flag, and, hauling her wind,
bore up directly upon us. In half an hour more we found ourselves in
her cabin. She proved to be the Jane Guy, of Liverpool, Captain Guy,
bound on a sealing and trading voyage to the South Seas and Pacific.

~~~ End of Text of Chapter 13 ~~~


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