The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket

THE NARRATIVE


OF


ARTHUR GORDON PYM.

OF NANTUCKET.

COMPRISING THE DETAILS OF A MUTINY AND ATROCIOUS BUTCHERY ON BOARD THE
AMERICAN BRIG GRAMPUS, ON HER WAY TO THE SOUTH SEAS, IN THE MONTH OF
JUNE, 1827.

WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE RECAPTURE OF THE VESSEL BY THE SURVIVERS; THEIR
SHIPWRECK AND SUBSEQUENT HORRIBLE SUFFERINGS FROM FAMINE; THEIR
DELIVERANCE BY MEANS OF THE BRITISH SCHOONER JANE GUY; THE BRIEF CRUISE
OF THIS LATTER VESSEL IN THE ANTARCTIC OCEAN; HER CAPTURE, AND THE
MASSACRE OF HER CREW AMONG A GROUP OF ISLANDS IN THE

EIGHTY-FOURTH PARALLEL OF SOUTHERN LATITUDE;

TOGETHER WITH THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES
AND DISCOVERIES

STILL FARTHER SOUTH

TO WHICH THAT DISTRESSING CALAMITY GAVE RISE.










NEW-YORK:


HARPER & BROTHERS, 82 CLIFF-ST.



1838.









Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1838, by



HARPER & BROTHERS,



in the Clerk's Office of the Southern District of New-York.









































CHAPTERS
PrefaceVIXIIXVIIIXXIV
IVIIXIIIXIXXXV
IIVIIIXIVXXNote
IIIIXXVXXI 
IVXXVIXXII 
VXIXVIIXXIII 









PREFACE.








Upon my return to the United States a few months ago, after the
extraordinary series of adventure in the South Seas and elsewhere, of
which an account is given in the following pages, accident threw me
into the society of several gentlemen in Richmond, Va., who felt deep
interest in all matters relating to the regions I had visited, and who
were constantly urging it upon me, as a duty, to give my narrative to
the public. I had several reasons, however, for declining to do so,
some of which were of a nature altogether private, and concern no
person but myself; others not so much so. One consideration which
deterred me was, that, having kept no journal during a greater portion
of the time in which I was absent, I feared I should not be able to
write, from mere memory, a statement so minute and connected as to have
the appearance of that truth it would really possess, barring only
the natural and unavoidable exaggeration to which all of us are prone
when detailing events which have had powerful influence in exciting the
imaginative faculties. Another reason was, that the incidents to be
narrated were of a nature so positively marvellous, that, unsupported
as my assertions must necessarily be (except by the evidence of a
single individual, and he a half-breed Indian), I could only hope for
belief among my family, and those of my friends who have had reason,
through life, to put faith in my veracity—the probability being that
the public at large would regard what I should put forth as merely an
impudent and ingenious fiction. A distrust in my own abilities as a
writer was, nevertheless, one of the principal causes which prevented
me from complying with the suggestions of my advisers.

Among those gentlemen in Virginia who expressed the greatest interest
in my statement, more particularly in regard to that portion of it
which related to the Antarctic Ocean, was Mr. Poe, lately editor of the
Southern Literary Messenger, a monthly magazine, published by Mr.
Thomas W. White, in the city of Richmond. He strongly advised me, among
others, to prepare at once a full account of what I had seen and
undergone, and trust to the shrewdness and common sense of the
public—insisting, with great plausibility, that however roughly, as
regards mere authorship, my book should be got up, its very
uncouthness, if there were any, would give it all the better chance of
being received as truth.

Notwithstanding this representation, I did not make up my mind to do as
he suggested. He afterward proposed (finding that I would not stir in
the matter) that I should allow him to draw up, in his own words, a
narrative of the earlier portion of my adventures, from facts afforded
by myself, publishing it in the Southern Messenger under the garb of
fiction
. To this, perceiving no objection, I consented, stipulating
only that my real name should be retained. Two numbers of the pretended
fiction appeared, consequently, in the Messenger for January and
February (1837), and, in order that it might certainly be regarded as
fiction, the name of Mr. Poe was affixed to the articles in the table
of contents of the magazine.

The manner in which this ruse was received has induced me at length
to undertake a regular compilation and publication of the adventures in
question; for I found that, in spite of the air of fable which had been
so ingeniously thrown around that portion of my statement which
appeared in the Messenger (without altering or distorting a single
fact), the public were still not at all disposed to receive it as
fable, and several letters were sent to Mr. P.'s address distinctly
expressing a conviction to the contrary. I thence concluded that the
facts of my narrative would prove of such a nature as to carry with
them sufficient evidence of their own authenticity, and that I had
consequently little to fear on the score of popular incredulity.

This exposé being made, it will be seen at once how much of what
follows I claim to be my own writing; and it will also be understood
that no fact is misrepresented in the first few pages which were
written by Mr. Poe. Even to those readers who have not seen the
Messenger, it will be unnecessary to point out where his portion ends
and my own commences; the difference in point of style will be readily
perceived.

A. G. PYM.    

New-York, July, 1838.









NARRATIVE



OF

A. GORDON PYM.








My name is Arthur Gordon Pym. My father was a respectable trader in
sea-stores at Nantucket, where I was born. My maternal grandfather was
an attorney in good practice. He was fortunate in everything, and had
speculated very successfully in stocks of the Edgarton New-Bank, as it
was formerly called. By these and other means he had managed to lay by
a tolerable sum of money. He was more attached to myself, I believe,
than to any other person in the world, and I expected to inherit the
most of his property at his death. He sent me, at six years of age, to
the school of old Mr. Ricketts, a gentleman with only one arm, and of
eccentric manners—he is well known to almost every person who has
visited New Bedford. I stayed at his school until I was sixteen, when I
left him for Mr. E. Ronald's academy on the hill. Here I became
intimate with the son of Mr. Barnard, a sea captain, who generally
sailed in the employ of Lloyd and Vredenburgh—Mr. Barnard is also very
well known in New Bedford, and has many relations, I am certain, in
Edgarton. His son was named Augustus, and he was nearly two years older
than myself. He had been on a whaling voyage with his father in the
John Donaldson, and was always talking to me of his adventures in the
South Pacific Ocean. I used frequently to go home with him, and remain
all day, and sometimes all night. We occupied the same bed, and he
would be sure to keep me awake until almost light, telling me stories
of the natives of the Island of Tinian, and other places he had visited
in his travels. At last I could not help being interested in what he
said, and by degrees I felt the greatest desire to go to sea. I owned a
sail-boat called the Ariel, and worth about seventy-five dollars. She
had a half-deck or cuddy, and was rigged sloop-fashion—I forget her
tonnage, but she would hold ten persons without much crowding. In this
boat we were in the habit of going on some of the maddest freaks in the
world; and, when I now think of them, it appears to me a thousand
wonders that I am alive to-day.

I will relate one of these adventures by way of introduction to a
longer and more momentous narrative. One night there was a party at Mr.
Barnard's, and both Augustus and myself were not a little intoxicated
towards the close of it. As usual, in such cases, I took part of his
bed in preference to going home. He went to sleep, as I thought, very
quietly (it being near one when the party broke up), and without saying
a word on his favourite topic. It might have been half an hour from the
time of our getting in bed, and I was just about falling into a doze,
when he suddenly started up, and swore with a terrible oath that he
would not go to sleep for any Arthur Pym in Christendom, when there was
so glorious a breeze from the southwest. I never was so astonished in
my life, not knowing what he intended, and thinking that the wines and
liquors he had drunk had set him entirely beside himself. He proceeded
to talk very coolly, however, saying he knew that I supposed him
intoxicated, but that he was never more sober in his life. He was only
tired, he added, of lying in bed on such a fine night like a dog, and
was determined to get up and dress, and go out on a frolic with the
boat. I can hardly tell what possessed me, but the words were no sooner
out of his mouth than I felt a thrill of the greatest excitement and
pleasure, and thought his mad idea one of the most delightful and most
reasonable things in the world. It was blowing almost a gale, and the
weather was very cold—it being late in October. I sprang out of bed,
nevertheless, in a kind of ecstasy, and told him I was quite as brave
as himself, and quite as tired as he was of lying in bed like a dog,
and quite as ready for any fun or frolic as any Augustus Barnard in
Nantucket.

We lost no time in getting on our clothes and hurrying down to the
boat. She was lying at the old decayed wharf by the lumber-yard of
Pankey & Co., and almost thumping her sides out against the rough logs.
Augustus got into her and bailed her, for she was nearly half full of
water. This being done, we hoisted jib and mainsail, kept full, and
started boldly out to sea.

The wind, as I before said, blew freshly from the southwest. The night
was very clear and cold. Augustus had taken the helm, and I stationed
myself by the mast, on the deck of the cuddy. We flew along at a great
rate—neither of us having said a word since casting loose from the
wharf. I now asked my companion what course he intended to steer, and
what time he thought it probable we should get back. He whistled for a
few minutes, and then said crustily, "I am going to sea—you may go
home if you think proper." Turning my eyes upon him, I perceived at
once that, in spite of his assumed nonchalance, he was greatly
agitated. I could see him distinctly by the light of the moon—his face
was paler than any marble, and his hand shook so excessively that he
could scarcely retain hold of the tiller. I found that something had
gone wrong, and became seriously alarmed. At this period I knew little
about the management of a boat, and was now depending entirely upon the
nautical skill of my friend. The wind, too, had suddenly increased, as
we were fast getting out of the lee of the land—still I was ashamed to
betray any trepidation, and for almost half an hour maintained a
resolute silence. I could stand it no longer, however, and spoke to
Augustus about the propriety of turning back. As before, it was nearly
a minute before he made answer, or took any notice of my suggestion.
"By-and-by," said he at length—"time enough—home by-and-by." I had
expected a similar reply, but there was something in the tone of these
words which filled me with an indescribable feeling of dread. I again
looked at the speaker attentively. His lips were perfectly livid, and
his knees shook so violently together that he seemed scarcely able to
stand. "For God's sake, Augustus," I screamed, now heartily frightened,
"what ails you?—what is the matter?—what are you going to do?"
"Matter!" he stammered, in the greatest apparent surprise, letting go
the tiller at the same moment, and falling forward into the bottom of
the boat—"matter!—why, nothing is the—matter—going
home—d—d—don't you see?" The whole truth now flashed upon me. I flew
to him and raised him up. He was drunk—beastly drunk—he could no
longer either stand, speak, or see. His eyes were perfectly glazed; and
as I let him go in the extremity of my despair, he rolled like a mere
log into the bilge-water from which I had lifted him. It was evident
that, during the evening, he had drunk far more than I suspected, and
that his conduct in bed had been the result of a highly-concentrated
state of intoxication—a state which, like madness, frequently enables
the victim to imitate the outward demeanour of one in perfect
possession of his senses. The coolness of the night air, however, had
had its usual effect—the mental energy began to yield before its
influence—and the confused perception which he no doubt then had of
his perilous situation had assisted in hastening the catastrophe. He
was now thoroughly insensible, and there was no probability that he
would be otherwise for many hours.

It is hardly possible to conceive the extremity of my terror. The fumes
of the wine lately taken had evaporated, leaving me doubly timid and
irresolute. I knew that I was altogether incapable of managing the
boat, and that a fierce wind and strong ebb tide were hurrying us to
destruction. A storm was evidently gathering behind us; we had neither
compass nor provisions; and it was clear that, if we held our present
course, we should be out of sight of land before daybreak. These
thoughts, with a crowd of others equally fearful, flashed through my
mind with a bewildering rapidity, and for some moments paralyzed me
beyond the possibility of making any exertion. The boat was going
through the water at a terrible rate—full before the wind—no reef in
either jib or mainsail—running her bows completely under the foam. It
was a thousand wonders she did not broach to—Augustus having let go
the tiller, as I said before, and I being too much agitated to think of
taking it myself. By good luck, however, she kept steady, and gradually
I recovered some degree of presence of mind. Still the wind was
increasing fearfully; and whenever we rose from a plunge forward, the
sea behind fell combing over our counter, and deluged us with water. I
was so utterly benumbed, too, in every limb, as to be nearly
unconscious of sensation. At length I summoned up the resolution of
despair, and rushing to the mainsail, let it go by the run. As might
have been expected, it flew over the bows, and, getting drenched with
water, carried away the mast short off by the board. This latter
accident alone saved me from instant destruction. Under the jib only, I
now boomed along before the wind, shipping heavy seas occasionally over
the counter, but relieved from the terror of immediate death. I took
the helm, and breathed with greater freedom as I found that there yet
remained to us a chance of ultimate escape. Augustus still lay
senseless in the bottom of the boat; and as there was imminent danger
of his drowning (the water being nearly a foot deep just where he
fell), I contrived to raise him partially up, and keep him in a sitting
position, by passing a rope round his waist, and lashing it to a
ringbolt in the deck of the cuddy. Having thus arranged everything as
well as I could in my chilled and agitated condition, I recommended
myself to God, and made up my mind to bear whatever might happen with
all the fortitude in my power.

Hardly had I come to this resolution, when, suddenly, a loud and long
scream or yell, as if from the throats of a thousand demons, seemed to
pervade the whole atmosphere around and above the boat. Never while I
live shall I forget the intense agony of terror I experienced at that
moment. My hair stood erect on my head—I felt the blood congealing in
my veins—my heart ceased utterly to beat, and without having once
raised my eyes to learn the source of my alarm, I tumbled headlong and
insensible upon the body of my fallen companion.

I found myself, upon reviving, in the cabin of a large whaling-ship
(the Penguin) bound to Nantucket. Several persons were standing over
me, and Augustus, paler than death, was busily occupied in chafing my
hands. Upon seeing me open my eyes, his exclamations of gratitude and
joy excited alternate laughter and tears from the rough-looking
personages who were present. The mystery of our being in existence was
now soon explained. We had been run down by the whaling-ship, which was
close hauled, beating up to Nantucket with every sail she could venture
to set, and consequently running almost at right angles to our own
course. Several men were on the look-out forward, but did not perceive
our boat until it was an impossibility to avoid coming in
contact—their shouts of warning upon seeing us were what so terribly
alarmed me. The huge ship, I was told, rode immediately over us with as
much ease as our own little vessel would have passed over a feather,
and without the least perceptible impediment to her progress. Not a
scream arose from the deck of the victim—there was a slight grating
sound to be heard mingling with the roar of wind and water, as the
frail bark which was swallowed up rubbed for a moment along the keel of
her destroyer—but this was all. Thinking our boat (which it will be
remembered was dismasted) some mere shell cut adrift as useless, the
captain (Captain E. T. V. Block of New London) was for proceeding on
his course without troubling himself further about the matter. Luckily,
there were two of the look-out who swore positively to having seen some
person at our helm, and represented the possibility of yet saving him.
A discussion ensued, when Block grew angry, and, after a while, said
that "it was no business of his to be eternally watching for
egg-shells; that the ship should not put about for any such nonsense;
and if there was a man run down, it was nobody's fault but his own—he
might drown and be d——d," or some language to that effect. Henderson,
the first mate, now took the matter up, being justly indignant, as well
as the whole ship's crew, at a speech evincing so base a degree of
heartless atrocity. He spoke plainly, seeing himself upheld by the men,
told the captain he considered him a fit subject for the gallows, and
that he would disobey his orders if he were hanged for it the moment he
set his foot on shore. He strode aft, jostling Block (who turned very
pale and made no answer) on one side, and seizing the helm, gave the
word, in a firm voice, Hard-a-lee! The men flew to their posts, and
the ship went cleverly about. All this had occupied nearly five
minutes, and it was supposed to be hardly within the bounds of
possibility that any individual could be saved—allowing any to have
been on board the boat. Yet, as the reader has seen, both Augustus and
myself were rescued; and our deliverance seemed to have been brought
about by two of those almost inconceivable pieces of good fortune which
are attributed by the wise and pious to the special interference of
Providence.

While the ship was yet in stays, the mate lowered the jolly-boat and
jumped into her with the very two men, I believe, who spoke up as
having seen me at the helm. They had just left the lee of the vessel
(the moon still shining brightly) when she made a long and heavy roll
to windward, and Henderson, at the same moment, starting up in his
seat, bawled out to his crew to back water. He would say nothing
else—repeating his cry impatiently, back water! back water! The men
put back as speedily as possible; but by this time the ship had gone
round, and gotten fully under headway, although all hands on board were
making great exertions to take in sail. In despite of the danger of the
attempt, the mate clung to the main-chains as soon as they came within
his reach. Another huge lurch now brought the starboard side of the
vessel out of water nearly as far as her keel, when the cause of his
anxiety was rendered obvious enough. The body of a man was seen to be
affixed in the most singular manner to the smooth and shining bottom
(the Penguin was coppered and copper-fastened), and beating violently
against it with every movement of the hull. After several ineffectual
efforts, made during the lurches of the ship, and at the imminent risk
of swamping the boat, I was finally disengaged from my perilous
situation and taken on board—for the body proved to be my own. It
appeared that one of the timber-bolts having started and broken a
passage through the copper, it had arrested my progress as I passed
under the ship, and fastened me in so extraordinary a manner to her
bottom. The head of the bolt had made its way through the collar of the
green baize jacket I had on, and through the back part of my neck,
forcing itself out between two sinews and just below the right ear. I
was immediately put to bed—although life seemed to be totally extinct.
There was no surgeon on board. The captain, however, treated me with
every attention—to make amends, I presume, in the eyes of his crew,
for his atrocious behaviour in the previous portion of the adventure.

In the meantime, Henderson had again put off from the ship, although
the wind was now blowing almost a hurricane. He had not been gone many
minutes when he fell in with some fragments of our boat, and shortly
afterward one of the men with him asserted that he could distinguish a
cry for help at intervals amid the roaring of the tempest. This induced
the hardy seamen to persevere in their search for more than half an
hour, although repeated signals to return were made them by Captain
Block, and although every moment on the water in so frail a boat was
fraught to them with the most imminent and deadly peril. Indeed, it is
nearly impossible to conceive how the small jolly they were in could
have escaped destruction for a single instant. She was built, however,
for the whaling service, and was fitted, as I have since had reason to
believe, with air-boxes, in the manner of some life-boats used on the
coast of Wales.

After searching in vain for about the period of time just mentioned, it
was determined to get back to the ship. They had scarcely made this
resolve when a feeble cry arose from a dark object which floated
rapidly by. They pursued and soon overtook it. It proved to be the
entire deck of the Ariel's cuddy. Augustus was struggling near it,
apparently in the last agonies. Upon getting hold of him it was found
that he was attached by a rope to the floating timber. This rope, it
will be remembered, I had myself tied round his waist, and made fast to
a ringbolt, for the purpose of keeping him in an upright position, and
my so doing, it appeared, had been ultimately the means of preserving
his life. The Ariel was slightly put together, and in going down her
frame naturally went to pieces; the deck of the cuddy, as might be
expected, was lifted, by the force of the water rushing in, entirely
from the main timbers, and floated (with other fragments, no doubt) to
the surface—Augustus was buoyed up with it, and thus escaped a
terrible death.

It was more than an hour after being taken on board the Penguin before
he could give any account of himself, or be made to comprehend the
nature of the accident which had befallen our boat. At length he became
thoroughly aroused, and spoke much of his sensations while in the
water. Upon his first attaining any degree of consciousness, he found
himself beneath the surface, whirling round and round with
inconceivable rapidity, and with a rope wrapped in three or four folds
tightly about his neck. In an instant afterward he felt himself going
rapidly upward, when, his head striking violently against a hard
substance, he again relapsed into insensibility. Upon once more
reviving he was in fuller possession of his reason—this was still,
however, in the greatest degree clouded and confused. He now knew that
some accident had occurred, and that he was in the water, although his
mouth was above the surface, and he could breathe with some freedom.
Possibly, at this period, the deck was drifting rapidly before the
wind, and drawing him after it, as he floated upon his back. Of course,
as long as he could have retained this position, it would have been
nearly impossible that he should be drowned. Presently a surge threw
him directly athwart the deck; and this post he endeavoured to
maintain, screaming at intervals for help. Just before he was
discovered by Mr. Henderson, he had been obliged to relax his hold
through exhaustion, and, falling into the sea, had given himself up for
lost. During the whole period of his struggles he had not the faintest
recollection of the Ariel, nor of any matters in connexion with the
source of his disaster. A vague feeling of terror and despair had taken
entire possession of his faculties. When he was finally picked up,
every power of his mind had failed him; and, as before said, it was
nearly an hour after getting on board the Penguin before he became
fully aware of his condition. In regard to myself—I was resuscitated
from a state bordering very nearly upon death (and after every other
means had been tried in vain for three hours and a half) by vigorous
friction with flannels bathed in hot oil—a proceeding suggested by
Augustus. The wound in my neck, although of an ugly appearance, proved
of little real consequence, and I soon recovered from its effects.

The Penguin got into port about nine o'clock in the morning, after
encountering one of the severest gales ever experienced off Nantucket.
Both Augustus and myself managed to appear at Mr. Barnard's in time for
breakfast—which, luckily, was somewhat late, owing to the party over
night. I suppose all at the table were too much fatigued themselves to
notice our jaded appearance—of course, it would not have borne a very
rigid scrutiny. Schoolboys, however, can accomplish wonders in the way
of deception, and I verily believe not one of our friends in Nantucket
had the slightest suspicion that the terrible story told by some
sailors in town of their having run down a vessel at sea and drowned
some thirty or forty poor devils, had reference either to the Ariel, my
companion, or myself. We two have since very frequently talked the
matter over—but never without a shudder. In one of our conversations
Augustus frankly confessed to me, that in his whole life he had at no
time experienced so excruciating a sense of dismay, as when on board
our little boat he first discovered the extent of his intoxication, and
felt himself sinking beneath its influence.












CHAPTER II.



In no affairs of mere prejudice, pro or con, do we deduce inferences
with entire certainty even from the most simple data. It might be
supposed that a catastrophe such as I have just related would have
effectually cooled my incipient passion for the sea. On the contrary, I
never experienced a more ardent longing for the wild adventures
incident to the life of a navigator than within a week after our
miraculous deliverance. This short period proved amply long enough to
erase from my memory the shadows, and bring out in vivid light all the
pleasurably exciting points of colour, all the picturesqueness of the
late perilous accident. My conversations with Augustus grew daily more
frequent and more intensely full of interest. He had a manner of
relating his stories of the ocean (more than one half of which I now
suspect to have been sheer fabrications) well adapted to have weight
with one of my enthusiastic temperament, and somewhat gloomy, although
glowing imagination. It is strange, too, that he most strongly enlisted
my feelings in behalf of the life of a seaman, when he depicted his
more terrible moments of suffering and despair. For the bright side of
the painting I had a limited sympathy. My visions were of shipwreck and
famine; of death or captivity among barbarian hordes; of a lifetime
dragged out in sorrow and tears, upon some gray and desolate rock, in
an ocean unapproachable and unknown. Such visions or desires—for they
amounted to desires—are common, I have since been assured, to the
whole numerous race of the melancholy among men—at the time of which I
speak I regarded them only as prophetic glimpses of a destiny which I
felt myself in a measure bound to fulfil. Augustus thoroughly entered
into my state of mind. It is probable, indeed, that our intimate
communion had resulted in a partial interchange of character.

About eighteen months after the period of the Ariel's disaster, the
firm of Lloyd and Vredenburgh (a house connected in some manner with
the Messieurs Enderby, I believe, of Liverpool) were engaged in
repairing and fitting out the brig Grampus for a whaling voyage. She
was an old hulk, and scarcely seaworthy when all was done to her that
could be done. I hardly know why she was chosen in preference to other
good vessels belonging to the same owners—but so it was. Mr. Barnard
was appointed to command her, and Augustus was going with him. While
the brig was getting ready, he frequently urged upon me the excellency
of the opportunity now offered for indulging my desire of travel. He
found me by no means an unwilling listener—yet the matter could not be
so easily arranged. My father made no direct opposition; but my mother
went into hysterics at the bare mention of the design; and, more than
all, my grandfather, from whom I expected much, vowed to cut me off
with a shilling if I should ever broach the subject to him again. These
difficulties, however, so far from abating my desire, only added fuel
to the flame. I determined to go at all hazards; and, having made known
my intention to Augustus, we set about arranging a plan by which it
might be accomplished. In the meantime I forbore speaking to any of my
relations in regard to the voyage, and, as I busied myself ostensibly
with my usual studies, it was supposed that I had abandoned the design.
I have since frequently examined my conduct on this occasion with
sentiments of displeasure as well as of surprise. The intense hypocrisy
I made use of for the furtherance of my project—an hypocrisy pervading
every word and action of my life for so long a period of time—could
only have been rendered tolerable to myself by the wild and burning
expectation with which I looked forward to the fulfilment of my
long-cherished visions of travel.

In pursuance of my scheme of deception, I was necessarily obliged to
leave much to the management of Augustus, who was employed for the
greater part of every day on board the Grampus, attending to some
arrangements for his father in the cabin and cabin hold. At night,
however, we were sure to have a conference, and talk over our hopes.
After nearly a month passed in this manner, without our hitting upon
any plan we thought likely to succeed, he told me at last that he had
determined upon everything necessary. I had a relation living in New
Bedford, a Mr. Ross, at whose house I was in the habit of spending
occasionally two or three weeks at a time. The brig was to sail about
the middle of June (June, 1827), and it was agreed that, a day or two
before her putting to sea, my father was to receive a note, as usual,
from Mr. Ross, asking me to come over and spend a fortnight with Robert
and Emmet (his sons). Augustus charged himself with the enditing of
this note and getting it delivered. Having set out, as supposed, for
New Bedford, I was then to report myself to my companion, who would
contrive a hiding-place for me in the Grampus. This hiding-place, he
assured me, would be rendered sufficiently comfortable for a residence
of many days, during which I was not to make my appearance. When the
brig had proceeded so far on her course as to make any turning back a
matter out of question, I should then, he said, be formally installed
in all the comforts of the cabin; and as to his father, he would only
laugh heartily at the joke. Vessels enough would be met with by which a
letter might be sent home explaining the adventure to my parents.

The middle of June at length arrived, and everything had been matured.
The note was written and delivered, and on a Monday morning I left the
house for the New Bedford packet, as supposed. I went, however,
straight to Augustus, who was waiting for me at the corner of a street.
It had been our original plan that I should keep out of the way until
dark, and then slip on board the brig; but, as there was now a thick
fog in our favour, it was agreed to lose no time in secreting me.
Augustus led the way to the wharf, and I followed at a little distance,
enveloped in a thick seaman's cloak, which he had brought with him, so
that my person might not be easily recognised. Just as we turned the
second corner, after passing Mr. Edmund's well, who should appear,
standing right in front of me, and looking me full in the face, but old
Mr. Peterson, my grandfather. "Why, bless my soul, Gordon," said he,
after a long pause, "why, why—whose dirty cloak is that you have
on?" "Sir!" I replied, assuming, as well as I could, in the exigency of
the moment, an air of offended surprise, and talking in the gruffest of
all imaginable tones—"sir! you are a sum'mat mistaken—my name, in the
first place, bee'nt nothing at all like Goddin, and I'd want you for to
know better, you blackguard, than to call my new obercoat a darty one!"
For my life I could hardly refrain from screaming with laughter at the
odd manner in which the old gentleman received this handsome rebuke. He
started back two or three steps, turned first pale and then excessively
red, threw up his spectacles, then, putting them down, ran full tilt at
me, with his umbrella uplifted. He stopped short, however, in his
career, as if struck with a sudden recollection; and presently, turning
round, hobbled off down the street, shaking all the while with rage,
and muttering between his teeth, "Won't do—new glasses—thought it was
Gordon—d——d good-for-nothing salt water Long Tom."

After this narrow escape we proceeded with greater caution, and arrived
at our point of destination in safety. There were only one or two of
the hands on board, and these were busy forward, doing something to the
forecastle combings. Captain Barnard, we knew very well, was engaged at
Lloyd and Vredenburgh's, and would remain there until late in the
evening, so we had little to apprehend on his account. Augustus went
first up the vessel's side, and in a short while I followed him,
without being noticed by the men at work. We proceeded at once into the
cabin, and found no person there. It was fitted up in the most
comfortable style—a thing somewhat unusual in a whaling-vessel. There
were four very excellent staterooms, with wide and convenient berths.
There was also a large stove, I took notice, and a remarkably thick and
valuable carpet covering the floor of both the cabin and staterooms.
The ceiling was full seven feet high, and, in short, everything
appeared of a more roomy and agreeable nature than I had anticipated.
Augustus, however, would allow me but little time for observation,
insisting upon the necessity of my concealing myself as soon as
possible. He led the way into his own stateroom, which was on the
starboard side of the brig, and next to the bulkheads. Upon entering,
he closed the door and bolted it. I thought I had never seen a nicer
little room than the one in which I now found myself. It was about ten
feet long, and had only one berth, which, as I said before, was wide
and convenient. In that portion of the closet nearest the bulkheads
there was a space of four feet square, containing a table, a chair, and
a set of hanging shelves full of books, chiefly books of voyages and
travels. There were many other little comforts in the room, among which
I ought not to forget a kind of safe or refrigerator, in which Augustus
pointed out to me a host of delicacies, both in the eating and drinking
department.

He now pressed with his knuckles upon a certain spot of the carpet in
one corner of the space just mentioned, letting me know that a portion
of the flooring, about sixteen inches square, had been neatly cut out
and again adjusted. As he pressed, this portion rose up at one end
sufficiently to allow the passage of his finger beneath. In this manner
he raised the mouth of the trap (to which the carpet was still fastened
by tacks), and I found that it led into the after hold. He next lit a
small taper by means of a phosphorus match, and, placing the light in a
dark lantern, descended with it through the opening, bidding me follow.
I did so, and he then pulled the cover upon the hole, by means of a
nail driven into the under side—the carpet, of course, resuming its
original position on the floor of the stateroom, and all traces of the
aperture being concealed.

The taper gave out so feeble a ray, that it was with the greatest
difficulty I could grope my way through the confused mass of lumber
among which I now found myself. By degrees, however, my eyes became
accustomed to the gloom, and I proceeded with less trouble, holding on
to the skirts of my friend's coat. He brought me, at length, after
creeping and winding through innumerable narrow passages, to an
iron-bound box, such as is used sometimes for packing fine earthenware.
It was nearly four feet high, and full six long, but very narrow. Two
large empty oil-casks lay on the top of it, and above these, again, a
vast quantity of straw matting, piled up as high as the floor of the
cabin. In every other direction around was wedged as closely as
possible, even up to the ceiling, a complete chaos of almost every
species of ship-furniture, together with a heterogeneous medley of
crates, hampers, barrels, and bales, so that it seemed a matter no less
than miraculous that we had discovered any passage at all to the box. I
afterward found that Augustus had purposely arranged the stowage in
this hold with a view to affording me a thorough concealment, having
had only one assistant in the labour, a man not going out in the brig.

My companion now showed me that one of the ends of the box could be
removed at pleasure. He slipped it aside and displayed the interior, at
which I was excessively amused. A mattress from one of the cabin berths
covered the whole of its bottom, and it contained almost every article
of mere comfort which could be crowded into so small a space, allowing
me, at the same time, sufficient room for my accommodation, either in a
sitting position or lying at full length. Among other things, there
were some books, pen, ink, and paper, three blankets, a large jug full
of water, a keg of sea-biscuit, three or four immense Bologna sausages,
an enormous ham, a cold leg of roast mutton, and half a dozen bottles
of cordials and liqueurs. I proceeded immediately to take possession of
my little apartment, and this with feelings of higher satisfaction, I
am sure, than any monarch ever experienced upon entering a new palace.
Augustus now pointed out to me the method of fastening the open end of
the box, and then, holding the taper close to the deck, showed me a
piece of dark whipcord lying along it. This, he said, extended from my
hiding-place throughout all the necessary windings among the lumber, to
a nail which was driven into the deck of the hold, immediately beneath
the trapdoor leading into his stateroom. By means of this cord I should
be enabled readily to trace my way out without his guidance, provided
any unlooked-for accident should render such a step necessary. He now
took his departure, leaving with me the lantern, together with a
copious supply of tapers and phosphorus, and promising to pay me a
visit as often as he could contrive to do so without observation. This
was on the seventeenth of June.

I remained three days and nights (as nearly as I could guess) in my
hiding-place without getting out of it at all, except twice for the
purpose of stretching my limbs by standing erect between two crates
just opposite the opening. During the whole period I saw nothing of
Augustus; but this occasioned me little uneasiness, as I knew the brig
was expected to put to sea every hour, and in the bustle he would not
easily find opportunities of coming down to me. At length I heard the
trap open and shut, and presently he called in a low voice, asking if
all was well, and if there was anything I wanted. "Nothing," I replied;
"I am as comfortable as can be; when will the brig sail?" "She will be
under weigh in less than half an hour," he answered. "I came to let you
know, and for fear you should be uneasy at my absence. I shall not have
a chance of coming down again for some time—perhaps for three or four
days more. All is going on right aboveboard. After I go up and close
the trap, do you creep along by the whipcord to where the nail is
driven in. You will find my watch there—it may be useful to you, as
you have no daylight to keep time by. I suppose you can't tell how long
you have been buried—only three days—this is the twentieth. I would
bring the watch to your box, but am afraid of being missed." With this
he went up.

In about an hour after he had gone I distinctly felt the brig in
motion, and congratulated myself upon having at length fairly commenced
a voyage. Satisfied with this idea, I determined to make my mind as
easy as possible, and await the course of events until I should be
permitted to exchange the box for the more roomy, although hardly more
comfortable, accommodations of the cabin. My first care was to get the
watch. Leaving the taper burning, I groped along in the dark, following
the cord through windings innumerable, in some of which I discovered
that, after toiling a long distance, I was brought back within a foot
or two of a former position. At length I reached the nail, and,
securing the object of my journey, returned with it in safety. I now
looked over the books which had been so thoughtfully provided, and
selected the expedition of Lewis and Clarke to the mouth of the
Columbia. With this I amused myself for some time, when, growing
sleepy, I extinguished the light with great care, and soon fell into a
sound slumber.

Upon awaking I felt strangely confused in mind, and some time elapsed
before I could bring to recollection all the various circumstances of
my situation. By degrees, however, I remembered all. Striking a light,
I looked at the watch; but it was run down, and there were,
consequently, no means of determining how long I had slept. My limbs
were greatly cramped, and I was forced to relieve them by standing
between the crates. Presently, feeling an almost ravenous appetite, I
bethought myself of the cold mutton, some of which I had eaten just
before going to sleep, and found excellent. What was my astonishment at
discovering it to be in a state of absolute putrefaction! This
circumstance occasioned me great disquietude; for, connecting it with
the disorder of mind I experienced upon awaking, I began to suppose
that I must have slept for an inordinately long period of time. The
close atmosphere of the hold might have had something to do with this,
and might, in the end, be productive of the most serious results. My
head ached excessively; I fancied that I drew every breath with
difficulty; and, in short, I was oppressed with a multitude of gloomy
feelings. Still I could not venture to make any disturbance by opening
the trap or otherwise, and, having wound up the watch, contented myself
as well as possible.

Throughout the whole of the next tedious twenty-four hours no person
came to my relief, and I could not help accusing Augustus of the
grossest inattention. What alarmed me chiefly was, that the water in my
jug was reduced to about half a pint, and I was suffering much from
thirst, having eaten freely of the Bologna sausages after the loss of
my mutton. I became very uneasy, and could no longer take any interest
in my books. I was overpowered, too, with a desire to sleep, yet
trembled at the thought of indulging it, lest there might exist some
pernicious influence, like that of burning charcoal, in the confined
air of the hold. In the mean time the roll of the brig told me that we
were far in the main ocean, and a dull humming sound, which reached my
ears as if from an immense distance, convinced me no ordinary gale was
blowing. I could not imagine a reason for the absence of Augustus. We
were surely far enough advanced on our voyage to allow of my going up.
Some accident might have happened to him—but I could think of none
which would account for his suffering me to remain so long a prisoner,
except, indeed, his having suddenly died or fallen overboard, and upon
this idea I could not dwell with any degree of patience. It was
possible that we had been baffled by head winds, and were still in the
near vicinity of Nantucket. This notion, however, I was forced to
abandon; for, such being the case, the brig must have frequently gone
about; and I was entirely satisfied, from her continual inclination to
the larboard, that she had been sailing all along with a steady breeze
on her starboard quarter. Besides, granting that we were still in the
neighbourhood of the island, why should not Augustus have visited me
and informed me of the circumstance? Pondering in this manner upon the
difficulties of my solitary and cheerless condition, I resolved to wait
yet another twenty-four hours, when, if no relief were obtained, I
would make my way to the trap, and endeavour either to hold a parley
with my friend, or get at least a little fresh air through the opening,
and a further supply of water from his stateroom. While occupied with
this thought, however, I fell, in spite of every exertion to the
contrary, into a state of profound sleep, or rather stupor. My dreams
were of the most terrific description. Every species of calamity and
horror befell me. Among other miseries, I was smothered to death
between huge pillows, by demons of the most ghastly and ferocious
aspect. Immense serpents held me in their embrace, and looked earnestly
in my face with their fearfully shining eyes. Then deserts, limitless,
and of the most forlorn and awe-inspiring character, spread themselves
out before me. Immensely tall trunks of trees, gray and leafless, rose
up in endless succession as far as the eye could reach. Their roots
were concealed in wide-spreading morasses, whose dreary water lay
intensely black, still, and altogether terrible, beneath. And the
strange trees seemed endowed with a human vitality, and, waving to and
fro their skeleton arms, were crying to the silent waters for mercy, in
the shrill and piercing accents of the most acute agony and despair.
The scene changed; and I stood, naked and alone, amid the burning
sand-plains of Zahara. At my feet lay crouched a fierce lion of the
tropics. Suddenly his wild eyes opened and fell upon me. With a
convulsive bound he sprang to his feet, and laid bare his horrible
teeth. In another instant there burst from his red throat a roar like
the thunder of the firmament, and I fell impetuously to the earth.
Stifling in a paroxysm of terror, I at last found myself partially
awake. My dream, then, was not all a dream. Now, at least, I was in
possession of my senses. The paws of some huge and real monster were
pressing heavily upon my bosom—his hot breath was in my ear—and his
white and ghastly fangs were gleaming upon me through the gloom.

Had a thousand lives hung upon the movement of a limb or the utterance
of a syllable, I could have neither stirred nor spoken. The beast,
whatever it was, retained his position without attempting any immediate
violence, while I lay in an utterly helpless, and, I fancied, a dying
condition beneath him. I felt that my powers of body and mind were fast
leaving me—in a word, that I was perishing, and perishing of sheer
fright. My brain swam—I grew deadly sick—my vision failed—even the
glaring eyeballs above me grew dim. Making a last strong effort, I at
length breathed a faint ejaculation to God, and resigned myself to die.
The sound of my voice seemed to arouse all the latent fury of the
animal. He precipitated himself at full length upon my body; but what
was my astonishment, when, with a long and low whine, he commenced
licking my face and hands with the greatest eagerness, and with the
most extravagant demonstrations of affection and joy! I was bewildered,
utterly lost in amazement—but I could not forget the peculiar whine of
my Newfoundland dog Tiger, and the odd manner of his caresses I well
knew. It was he. I experienced a sudden rush of blood to my temples—a
giddy and overpowering sense of deliverance and reanimation. I rose
hurriedly from the mattress upon which I had been lying, and, throwing
myself upon the neck of my faithful follower and friend, relieved the
long oppression of my bosom in a flood of the most passionate tears.

As upon a former occasion, my conceptions were in a state of the
greatest indistinctness and confusion after leaving the mattress. For a
long time I found it nearly impossible to connect any ideas—but, by
very slow degrees, my thinking faculties returned, and I again called
to memory the several incidents of my condition. For the presence of
Tiger I tried in vain to account; and after busying myself with a
thousand different conjectures respecting him, was forced to content
myself with rejoicing that he was with me to share my dreary solitude,
and render me comfort by his caresses. Most people love their dogs—but
for Tiger I had an affection far more ardent than common; and never,
certainly, did any creature more truly deserve it. For seven years he
had been my inseparable companion, and in a multitude of instances had
given evidence of all the noble qualities for which we value the
animal. I had rescued him, when a puppy, from the clutches of a
malignant little villain in Nantucket, who was leading him, with a rope
around his neck, to the water; and the grown dog repaid the obligation,
about three years afterward, by saving me from the bludgeon of a
street-robber.

Getting now hold of the watch, I found, upon applying it to my ear,
that it had again run down; but at this I was not at all surprised,
being convinced, from the peculiar state of my feelings, that I had
slept, as before, for a very long period of time; how long, it was of
course impossible to say. I was burning up with fever, and my thirst
was almost intolerable. I felt about the box for my little remaining
supply of water; for I had no light, the taper having burnt to the
socket of the lantern, and the phosphorus-box not coming readily to
hand. Upon finding the jug, however, I discovered it to be
empty—Tiger, no doubt, having been tempted to drink it, as well as to
devour the remnant of mutton, the bone of which lay, well picked, by
the opening of the box. The spoiled meat I could well spare, but my
heart sank as I thought of the water. I was feeble in the extreme—so
much so that I shook all over, as with an ague, at the slightest
movement or exertion. To add to my troubles, the brig was pitching and
rolling with great violence, and the oil-casks which lay upon my box
were in momentary danger of falling down, so as to block up the only
way of ingress or egress. I felt, also, terrible sufferings from
sea-sickness. These considerations determined me to make my way, at all
hazards, to the trap, and obtain immediate relief, before I should be
incapacitated from doing so altogether. Having come to this resolve, I
again felt about for the phosphorus-box and tapers. The former I found
after some little trouble; but, not discovering the tapers as soon as I
had expected (for I remembered very nearly the spot in which I had
placed them), I gave up the search for the present, and bidding Tiger
lie quiet, began at once my journey towards the trap.

In this attempt my great feebleness became more than ever apparent. It
was with the utmost difficulty I could crawl along at all, and very
frequently my limbs sank suddenly from beneath me; when, falling
prostrate on my face, I would remain for some minutes in a state
bordering on insensibility. Still I struggled forward by slow degrees,
dreading every moment that I should swoon amid the narrow and intricate
windings of the lumber, in which event I had nothing but death to
expect as the result. At length, upon making a push forward with all
the energy I could command, I struck my forehead violently against the
sharp corner of an iron-bound crate. The accident only stunned me for a
few moments; but I found, to my inexpressible grief, that the quick and
violent roll of the vessel had thrown the crate entirely across my
path, so as effectually to block up the passage. With my utmost
exertions I could not move it a single inch from its position, it being
closely wedged in among the surrounding boxes and ship-furniture. It
became necessary, therefore, enfeebled as I was, either to leave the
guidance of the whipcord and seek out a new passage, or to climb over
the obstacle, and resume the path on the other side. The former
alternative presented too many difficulties and dangers to be thought
of without a shudder. In my present weak state of both mind and body, I
should infallibly lose my way if I attempted it, and perish miserably
amid the dismal and disgusting labyrinths of the hold. I proceeded,
therefore, without hesitation, to summon up all my remaining strength
and fortitude, and endeavour, as I best might, to clamber over the
crate.

Upon standing erect, with this end in view, I found the undertaking
even a more serious task than my fears had led me to imagine. On each
side of the narrow passage arose a complete wall of various heavy
lumber, which the least blunder on my part might be the means of
bringing down upon my head; or, if this accident did not occur, the
path might be effectually blocked up against my return by the
descending mass, as it was in front by the obstacle there. The crate
itself was a long and unwieldy box, upon which no foothold could be
obtained. In vain I attempted, by every means in my power, to reach the
top, with the hope of being thus enabled to draw myself up. Had I
succeeded in reaching it, it is certain that my strength would have
proved utterly inadequate to the task of getting over, and it was
better in every respect that I failed. At length, in a desperate effort
to force the crate from its ground, I felt a strong vibration in the
side next me. I thrust my hand eagerly to the edge of the planks, and
found that a very large one was loose. With my pocket-knife, which
luckily I had with me, I succeeded, after great labour, in prying it
entirely off; and, getting through the aperture, discovered, to my
exceeding joy, that there were no boards on the opposite side—in other
words, that the top was wanting, it being the bottom through which I
had forced my way. I now met with no important difficulty in proceeding
along the line until I finally reached the nail. With a beating heart I
stood erect, and with a gentle touch pressed against the cover of the
trap. It did not rise as soon as I had expected, and I pressed it with
somewhat more determination, still dreading lest some other person than
Augustus might be in his stateroom. The door, however, to my
astonishment, remained steady, and I became somewhat uneasy, for I knew
that it had formerly required little or no effort to remove it. I
pushed it strongly—it was nevertheless firm: with all my strength—it
still did not give way: with rage, with fury, with despair—it set at
defiance my utmost efforts; and it was evident, from the unyielding
nature of the resistance, that the hole had either been discovered and
effectually nailed up, or that some immense weight had been placed upon
it, which it was useless to think of removing.

My sensations were those of extreme horror and dismay. In vain I
attempted to reason on the probable cause of my being thus entombed. I
could summon up no connected chain of reflection, and, sinking on the
floor, gave way, unresistingly, to the most gloomy imaginings, in which
the dreadful deaths of thirst, famine, suffocation, and premature
interment, crowded upon me as the prominent disasters to be
encountered. At length there returned to me some portion of presence of
mind. I arose, and felt with my fingers for the seams or cracks of the
aperture. Having found them, I examined them closely to ascertain if
they emitted any light from the stateroom; but none was visible. I then
forced the penblade of my knife through them, until I met with some
hard obstacle. Scraping against it, I discovered it to be a solid mass
of iron, which, from its peculiar wavy feel as I passed the blade along
it, I concluded to be a chain-cable. The only course now left me was to
retrace my way to the box, and there either yield to my sad fate, or
try so to tranquillize my mind as to admit of my arranging some plan of
escape. I immediately set about the attempt, and succeeded, after
innumerable difficulties, in getting back. As I sank, utterly
exhausted, upon the mattress, Tiger threw himself at full length by my
side, and seemed as if desirous, by his caresses, of consoling me in my
troubles, and urging me to bear them with fortitude.

The singularity of his behaviour at length forcibly arrested my
attention. After licking my face and hands for some minutes, he would
suddenly cease doing so, and utter a low whine. Upon reaching out my
hand towards him, I then invariably found him lying on his back, with
his paws uplifted. This conduct, so frequently repeated, appeared
strange, and I could in no manner account for it. As the dog seemed
distressed, I concluded that he had received some injury; and, taking
his paws in my hands, I examined them one by one, but found no sign of
any hurt. I then supposed him hungry, and gave him a large piece of
ham, which he devoured with avidity—afterward, however, resuming his
extraordinary manoeuvres. I now imagined that he was suffering, like
myself, the torments of thirst, and was about adopting this conclusion
as the true one, when the idea occurred to me that I had as yet only
examined his paws, and that there might possibly be a wound upon some
portion of his body or head. The latter I felt carefully over, but
found nothing. On passing my hand, however, along his back, I perceived
a slight erection of the hair extending completely across it. Probing
this with my finger, I discovered a string, and, tracing it up, found
that it encircled the whole body. Upon a closer scrutiny, I came across
a small slip of what had the feeling of letter paper, through which the
string had been fastened in such a manner as to bring it immediately
beneath the left shoulder of the animal.












CHAPTER III.



The thought instantly occurred to me that the paper was a note from
Augustus, and that some unaccountable accident having happened to
prevent his relieving me from my dungeon, he had devised this method of
acquainting me with the true state of affairs. Trembling with
eagerness, I now commenced another search for my phosphorus matches and
tapers. I had a confused recollection of having put them carefully away
just before falling asleep; and, indeed, previously to my last journey
to the trap, I had been able to remember the exact spot where I had
deposited them. But now I endeavoured in vain to call it to mind, and
busied myself for a full hour in a fruitless and vexatious search for
the missing articles; never, surely, was there a more tantalizing state
of anxiety and suspense. At length, while groping about, with my head
close to the ballast, near the opening of the box, and outside of it, I
perceived a faint glimmering of light in the direction of the steerage.
Greatly surprised, I endeavoured to make my way towards it, as it
appeared to be but a few feet from my position. Scarcely had I moved
with this intention, when I lost sight of the glimmer entirely, and,
before I could bring it into view again, was obliged to feel along by
the box until I had exactly resumed my original situation. Now, moving
my head with caution to and fro, I found that, by proceeding slowly,
with great care, in an opposite direction to that in which I had at
first started, I was enabled to draw near the light, still keeping it
in view. Presently I came directly upon it (having squeezed my way
through innumerable narrow windings), and found that it proceeded from
some fragments of my matches lying in an empty barrel turned upon its
side. I was wondering how they came in such a place, when my hand fell
upon two or three pieces of taper-wax, which had been evidently mumbled
by the dog. I concluded at once that he had devoured the whole of my
supply of candles, and I felt hopeless of being ever able to read the
note of Augustus. The small remnants of the wax were so mashed up among
other rubbish in the barrel, that I despaired of deriving any service
from them, and left them as they were. The phosphorus, of which there
was only a speck or two, I gathered up as well as I could, and returned
with it, after much difficulty, to my box, where Tiger had all the
while remained.

What to do next I could not tell. The hold was so intensely dark that I
could not see my hand, however close I would hold it to my face. The
white slip of paper could barely be discerned, and not even that when I
looked at it directly; by turning the exterior portions of the retina
towards it, that is to say, by surveying it slightly askance, I found
that it became in some measure perceptible. Thus the gloom of my prison
may be imagined, and the note of my friend, if indeed it were a note
from him, seemed only likely to throw me into further trouble, by
disquieting to no purpose my already enfeebled and agitated mind. In
vain I revolved in my brain a multitude of absurd expedients for
procuring light—such expedients precisely as a man in the perturbed
sleep occasioned by opium would be apt to fall upon for a similar
purpose—each and all of which appear by turns to the dreamer the most
reasonable and the most preposterous of conceptions, just as the
reasoning or imaginative faculties flicker, alternately, one above the
other. At last an idea occurred to me which seemed rational, and which
gave me cause to wonder, very justly, that I had not entertained it
before. I placed the slip of paper on the back of a book, and,
collecting the fragments of the phosphorus matches which I had brought
from the barrel, laid them together upon the paper. I then, with the
palm of my hand, rubbed the whole over quickly yet steadily. A clear
light diffused itself immediately throughout the whole surface; and had
there been any writing upon it, I should not have experienced the least
difficulty, I am sure, in reading it. Not a syllable was there,
however—nothing but a dreary and unsatisfactory blank; the
illumination died away in a few seconds, and my heart died away within
me as it went.

I have before stated more than once that my intellect, for some period
prior to this, had been in a condition nearly bordering on idiocy.
There were, to be sure, momentary intervals of perfect sanity, and, now
and then, even of energy; but these were few. It must be remembered
that I had been, for many days certainly, inhaling the almost
pestilential atmosphere of a close hold in a whaling vessel, and a long
portion of that time but scantily supplied with water. For the last
fourteen or fifteen hours I had none—nor had I slept during that time.
Salt provisions of the most exciting kind had been my chief, and,
indeed, since the loss of the mutton, my only supply of food, with the
exception of the sea-biscuit; and these latter were utterly useless to
me, as they were too dry and hard to be swallowed in the swollen and
parched condition of my throat. I was now in a high state of fever, and
in every respect exceedingly ill. This will account for the fact that
many miserable hours of despondency elapsed after my last adventure
with the phosphorus, before the thought suggested itself that I had
examined only one side of the paper. I shall not attempt to describe my
feelings of rage (for I believe I was more angry than anything else)
when the egregious oversight I had committed flashed suddenly upon my
perception. The blunder itself would have been unimportant, had not my
own folly and impetuosity rendered it otherwise—in my disappointment
at not finding some words upon the slip, I had childishly torn it in
pieces and thrown it away, it was impossible to say where.

From the worst part of this dilemma I was relieved by the sagacity of
Tiger. Having got, after a long search, a small piece of the note, I
put it to the dog's nose, and endeavoured to make him understand that
he must bring me the rest of it. To my astonishment (for I had taught
him none of the usual tricks for which his breed are famous), he seemed
to enter at once into my meaning, and, rummaging about for a few
moments, soon found another considerable portion. Bringing me this, he
paused a while, and, rubbing his nose against my hand, appeared to be
waiting for my approval of what he had done. I patted him on the head,
when he immediately made off again. It was now some minutes before he
came back—but when he did come, he brought with him a large slip,
which proved to be all the paper missing—it having been torn, it
seems, only into three pieces. Luckily, I had no trouble in finding
what few fragments of the phosphorus were left—being guided by the
indistinct glow one or two of the particles still emitted. My
difficulties had taught me the necessity of caution, and I now took
time to reflect upon what I was about to do. It was very probable, I
considered, that some words were written upon that side of the paper
which had not been examined—but which side was that? Fitting the
pieces together gave me no clew in this respect, although it assured me
that the words (if there were any) would be found all on one side, and
connected in a proper manner, as written. There was the greater
necessity of ascertaining the point in question beyond a doubt, as the
phosphorus remaining would be altogether insufficient for a third
attempt, should I fail in the one I was now about to make. I placed the
paper on a book as before, and sat for some minutes thoughtfully
revolving the matter over in my mind. At last I thought it barely
possible that the written side might have some unevenness on its
surface, which a delicate sense of feeling might enable me to detect. I
determined to make the experiment, and passed my finger very carefully
over the side which first presented itself—nothing, however, was
perceptible, and I turned the paper, adjusting it on the book. I now
again carried my forefinger cautiously along, when I was aware of an
exceedingly slight, but still discernible glow, which followed as it
proceeded. This, I knew, must arise from some very minute remaining
particles of the phosphorus with which I had covered the paper in my
previous attempt. The other, or under side, then, was that on which lay
the writing, if writing there should finally prove to be. Again I
turned the note, and went to work as I had previously done. Having
rubbed in the phosphorus, a brilliancy ensued as before—but this time
several lines of MS. in a large hand, and apparently in red ink, became
distinctly visible. The glimmer, although sufficiently bright, was but
momentary. Still, had I not been too greatly excited, there would have
been ample time enough for me to peruse the whole three sentences
before me—for I saw there were three. In my anxiety, however, to read
all at once, I succeeded only in reading the seven concluding words,
which thus appeared: "blood—your life depends upon lying close."

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

Augustus had, undoubtedly, good reasons for wishing me to remain
concealed, and I formed a thousand surmises as to what they could
be—but I could think of nothing affording a satisfactory solution of
the mystery. Just after returning from my last journey to the trap, and
before my attention had been otherwise directed by the singular conduct
of Tiger, I had come to the resolution of making myself heard at all
events by those on board, or, if I could not succeed in this directly,
of trying to cut my way through the orlop deck. The half certainty
which I felt of being able to accomplish one of these two purposes in
the last emergency, had given me courage (which I should not otherwise
have had) to endure the evils of my situation. The few words I had been
able to read, however, had cut me off from these final resources, and I
now, for the first time, felt all the misery of my fate. In a paroxysm
of despair I threw myself again upon the mattress, where, for about the
period of a day and night, I lay in a kind of stupor, relieved only by
momentary intervals of reason and recollection.

At length I once more arose, and busied myself in reflection upon the
horrors which encompassed me. For another twenty-four hours it was
barely possible that I might exist without water—for a longer time I
could not do so. During the first portion of my imprisonment I had made
free use of the cordials with which Augustus had supplied me, but they
only served to excite fever, without in the least degree assuaging my
thirst. I had now only about a gill left, and this was of a species of
strong peach liqueur at which my stomach revolted. The sausages were
entirely consumed; of the ham nothing remained but a small piece of the
skin; and all the biscuit, except a few fragments of one, had been
eaten by Tiger. To add to my troubles, I found that my headache was
increasing momentarily, and with it the species of delirium which had
distressed me more or less since my first falling asleep. For some
hours past it had been with the greatest difficulty I could breathe at
all, and now each attempt at so doing was attended with the most
distressing spasmodic action of the chest. But there was still another
and very different source of disquietude, and one, indeed, whose
harassing terrors had been the chief means of arousing me to exertion
from my stupor on the mattress. It arose from the demeanour of the dog.

I first observed an alteration in his conduct while rubbing in the
phosphorus on the paper in my last attempt. As I rubbed, he ran his
nose against my hand with a slight snarl; but I was too greatly excited
at the time to pay much attention to the circumstance. Soon afterward,
it will be remembered, I threw myself on the mattress, and fell into a
species of lethargy. Presently I became aware of a singular hissing
sound close at my ears, and discovered it to proceed from Tiger, who
was panting and wheezing in a state of the greatest apparent
excitement, his eyeballs flashing fiercely through the gloom. I spoke
to him, when he replied with a low growl, and then remained quiet.
Presently I relapsed into my stupor, from which I was again awakened in
a similar manner. This was repeated three or four times, until finally
his behaviour inspired me with so great a degree of fear that I became
fully aroused. He was now lying close by the door of the box, snarling
fearfully, although in a kind of under tone, and grinding his teeth as
if strongly convulsed. I had no doubt whatever that the want of water
or the confined atmosphere of the hold had driven him mad, and I was at
a loss what course to pursue. I could not endure the thought of killing
him, yet it seemed absolutely necessary for my own safety. I could
distinctly perceive his eyes fastened upon me with an expression of the
most deadly animosity, and I expected every instant that he would
attack me. At last I could endure my terrible situation no longer, and
determined to make my way from the box at all hazards, and despatch
him, if his opposition should render it necessary for me to do so. To
get out, I had to pass directly over his body, and he already seemed to
anticipate my design—raising himself upon his fore legs (as I
perceived by the altered position of his eyes), and displaying the
whole of his white fangs, which were easily discernible. I took the
remains of the ham-skin, and the bottle containing the liqueur, and
secured them about my person, together with a large carving-knife which
Augustus had left me—then, folding my cloak as closely around me as
possible, I made a movement towards the mouth of the box. No sooner did
I do this than the dog sprang with a loud growl towards my throat. The
whole weight of his body struck me on the right shoulder, and I fell
violently to the left, while the enraged animal passed entirely over
me. I had fallen upon my knees, with my head buried among the blankets,
and these protected me from a second furious assault, during which I
felt the sharp teeth pressing vigorously upon the woollen which
enveloped my neck—yet, luckily, without being able to penetrate all
the folds. I was now beneath the dog, and a few moments would place me
completely in his power. Despair gave me strength, and I rose bodily
up, shaking him from me by main force, and dragging with me the
blankets from the mattress. These I now threw over him, and before he
could extricate himself I had got through the door and closed it
effectually against his pursuit. In this struggle, however, I had been
forced to drop the morsel of ham-skin, and I now found my whole stock
of provisions reduced to a single gill of liqueur. As this reflection
crossed my mind, I felt myself actuated by one of those fits of
perverseness which might be supposed to influence a spoiled child in
similar circumstances, and, raising the bottle to my lips, I drained it
to the last drop, and dashed it furiously upon the floor.

Scarcely had the echo of the crash died away, when I heard my name
pronounced in an eager but subdued voice, issuing from the direction of
the steerage. So unexpected was anything of the kind, and so intense
was the emotion excited within me by the sound, that I endeavoured in
vain to reply. My powers of speech totally failed, and, in an agony of
terror lest my friend should conclude me dead, and return without
attempting to reach me, I stood up between the crates near the door of
the box, trembling convulsively, and gasping and struggling for
utterance. Had a thousand worlds depended upon a syllable, I could not
have spoken it. There was a slight movement now audible among the
lumber somewhere forward of my station. The sound presently grew less
distinct, then again less so, and still less. Shall I ever forget my
feelings at this moment? He was going—my friend—my companion, from
whom I had a right to expect so much—he was going—he would abandon
me—he was gone! He would leave me to perish miserably, to expire in
the most horrible and loathsome of dungeons—and one word—one little
syllable would save me—yet that single syllable I could not utter! I
felt, I am sure, more than ten thousand times the agonies of death
itself. My brain reeled, and I fell, deadly sick, against the end of
the box.

As I fell, the carving-knife was shaken out from the waistband of my
pantaloons, and dropped with a rattling sound to the floor. Never did
any strain of the richest melody come so sweetly to my ears! With the
intensest anxiety I listened to ascertain the effect of the noise upon
Augustus—for I knew that the person who called my name could be no one
but himself. All was silent for some moments. At length I again heard
the word Arthur! repeated in a low tone, and one full of hesitation.
Reviving hope loosened at once my powers of speech, and I now screamed,
at the top of my voice, "Augustus! oh Augustus!" "Hush—for God's
sake be silent!" he replied, in a voice trembling with agitation; "I
will be with you immediately—as soon as I can make my way through the
hold." For a long time I heard him moving among the lumber, and every
moment seemed to me an age. At length I felt his hand upon my shoulder,
and he placed at the same moment a bottle of water to my lips. Those
only who have been suddenly redeemed from the jaws of the tomb, or who
have known the insufferable torments of thirst under circumstances as
aggravated as those which encompassed me in my dreary prison, can form
any idea of the unutterable transports which that one long draught of
the richest of all physical luxuries afforded.

When I had in some degree satisfied my thirst, Augustus produced from
his pocket three or four cold boiled potatoes, which I devoured with
the greatest avidity. He had brought with him a light in a dark
lantern, and the grateful rays afforded me scarcely less comfort than
the food and drink. But I was impatient to learn the cause of his
protracted absence, and he proceeded to recount what had happened on
board during my incarceration.












CHAPTER IV.



The brig put to sea, as I had supposed, in about an hour after he had
left the watch. This was on the twentieth of June. It will be
remembered that I had then been in the hold for three days; and, during
this period, there was so constant a bustle on board, and so much
running to and fro, especially in the cabin and staterooms, that he had
had no chance of visiting me without the risk of having the secret of
the trap discovered. When at length he did come, I had assured him that
I was doing as well as possible; and, therefore, for the two next days
he felt but little uneasiness on my account—still, however, watching
an opportunity of going down. It was not until the fourth day that he
found one. Several times during this interval he had made up his mind
to let his father know of the adventure, and have me come up at once;
but we were still within reaching distance of Nantucket, and it was
doubtful, from some expressions which had escaped Captain Barnard,
whether he would not immediately put back if he discovered me to be on
board. Besides, upon thinking the matter over, Augustus, so he told me,
could not imagine that I was in immediate want, or that I would
hesitate, in such case, to make myself heard at the trap. When,
therefore, he considered everything, he concluded to let me stay until
he could meet with an opportunity of visiting me unobserved. This, as I
said before, did not occur until the fourth day after his bringing me
the watch, and the seventh since I had first entered the hold. He then
went down without taking with him any water or provisions, intending in
the first place merely to call my attention, and get me to come from
the box to the trap—when he would go up to the stateroom and thence
hand me down a supply. When he descended for this purpose he found that
I was asleep, for it seems that I was snoring very loudly. From all the
calculations I can make on the subject, this must have been the slumber
into which I fell just after my return from the trap with the watch,
and which, consequently, must have lasted for more than three entire
days and nights
at the very least. Latterly, I have had reason, both
from my own experience and the assurance of others, to be acquainted
with the strong soporific effects of the stench arising from old
fish-oil when closely confined; and when I think of the condition of
the hold in which I was imprisoned, and the long period during which
the brig had been used as a whaling vessel, I am more inclined to
wonder that I awoke at all, after once falling asleep, than that I
should have slept uninterruptedly for the period specified above.

Augustus called to me at first in a low voice and without closing the
trap—but I made him no reply. He then shut the trap, and spoke to me
in a louder, and finally in a very loud tone—still I continued to
snore. He was now at a loss what to do. It would take him some time to
make his way through the lumber to my box, and in the mean while his
absence would be noticed by Captain Barnard, who had occasion for his
services every minute, in arranging and copying papers connected with
the business of the voyage. He determined, therefore, upon reflection,
to ascend, and await another opportunity of visiting me. He was the
more easily induced to this resolve, as my slumber appeared to be of
the most tranquil nature, and he could not suppose that I had undergone
any inconvenience from my incarceration. He had just made up his mind
on these points when his attention was arrested by an unusual bustle,
the sound of which proceeded apparently from the cabin. He sprang
through the trap as quickly as possible, closed it, and threw open the
door of his stateroom. No sooner had he put his foot over the threshold
than a pistol flashed in his face, and he was knocked down, at the same
moment, by a blow from a handspike.

A strong hand held him on the cabin floor, with a tight grasp upon his
throat—still he was able to see what was going on around him. His
father was tied hand and foot, and lying along the steps of the
companion-way with his head down, and a deep wound in the forehead,
from which the blood was flowing in a continued stream. He spoke not a
word, and was apparently dying. Over him stood the first mate, eying
him with an expression of fiendish derision, and deliberately searching
his pockets, from which he presently drew forth a large wallet and a
chronometer. Seven of the crew (among whom was the cook, a negro) were
rummaging the staterooms on the larboard for arms, where they soon
equipped themselves with muskets and ammunition. Besides Augustus and
Captain Barnard, there were nine men altogether in the cabin, and these
among the most ruffianly of the brig's company. The villains now went
upon deck, taking my friend with them, after having secured his arms
behind his back. They proceeded straight to the forecastle, which was
fastened down—two of the mutineers standing by it with axes—two also
at the main hatch. The mate called out in a loud voice, "Do you hear
there below? tumble up with you—one by one, now, mark that—and no
grumbling." It was some minutes before any one appeared: at last an
Englishman, who had shipped as a raw hand, came up, weeping piteously,
and entreating the mate in the most humble manner to spare his life.
The only reply was a blow on the forehead from an axe. The poor fellow
fell to the deck without a groan, and the black cook lifted him up in
his arms as he would a child, and tossed him deliberately into the sea.
Hearing the blow and the plunge of the body, the men below could now be
induced to venture on deck neither by threats nor promises, until a
proposition was made to smoke them out. A general rush then ensued, and
for a moment it seemed possible that the brig might be retaken. The
mutineers, however, succeeded at last in closing the forecastle
effectually before more than six of their opponents could get up. These
six, finding themselves so greatly outnumbered and without arms,
submitted after a brief struggle. The mate gave them fair words—no
doubt with a view of inducing those below to yield, for they had no
difficulty in hearing all that was said on deck. The result proved his
sagacity, no less than his diabolical villany. All in the forecastle
presently signified their intention of submitting, and, ascending one
by one, were pinioned and thrown on their backs together with the first
six—there being in all, of the crew who were not concerned in the
mutiny, twenty-seven.

A scene of the most horrible butchery ensued. The bound seamen were
dragged to the gangway. Here the cook stood with an axe, striking each
victim on the head as he was forced over the side of the vessel by the
other mutineers. In this manner twenty-two perished, and Augustus had
given himself up for lost, expecting every moment his own turn to come
next. But it seemed that the villains were now either weary, or in some
measure disgusted with their bloody labour; for the four remaining
prisoners, together with my friend, who had been thrown on the deck
with the rest, were respited while the mate sent below for rum, and the
whole murderous party held a drunken carouse, which lasted until
sunset. They now fell to disputing in regard to the fate of the
survivers, who lay not more than four paces off, and could distinguish
every word said. Upon some of the mutineers the liquor appeared to have
a softening effect, for several voices were heard in favour of
releasing the captives altogether, on condition of joining the mutiny
and sharing the profits. The black cook, however (who in all respects
was a perfect demon, and who seemed to exert as much influence, if not
more, than the mate himself), would listen to no proposition of the
kind, and rose repeatedly for the purpose of resuming his work at the
gangway. Fortunately, he was so far overcome by intoxication as to be
easily restrained by the less bloodthirsty of the party, among whom was
a line-manager, who went by the name of Dirk Peters. This man was the
son of an Indian squaw of the tribe of Upsarokas, who live among the
fastnesses of the Black Hills near the source of the Missouri. His
father was a fur-trader, I believe, or at least connected in some
manner with the Indian trading-posts on Lewis river. Peters himself was
one of the most purely ferocious-looking men I ever beheld. He was
short in stature—not more than four feet eight inches high—but his
limbs were of the most Herculean mould. His hands, especially, were so
enormously thick and broad as hardly to retain a human shape. His arms,
as well as legs, were bowed in the most singular manner, and appeared
to possess no flexibility whatever. His head was equally deformed,
being of immense size, with an indentation on the crown (like that on
the head of most negroes), and entirely bald. To conceal this latter
deficiency, which did not proceed from old age, he usually wore a wig
formed of any hair-like material which presented itself—occasionally
the skin of a Spanish dog or American grizzly bear. At the time spoken
of he had on a portion of one of these bearskins; and it added no
little to the natural ferocity of his countenance, which betook of the
Upsaroka character. The mouth extended nearly from ear to ear; the lips
were thin, and seemed, like some other portions of his frame, to be
devoid of natural pliancy, so that the ruling expression never varied
under the influence of any emotion whatever. This ruling expression may
be conceived when it is considered that the teeth were exceedingly long
and protruding, and never even partially covered, in any instance, by
the lips. To pass this man with a casual glance, one might imagine him
to be convulsed with laughter—but a second look would induce a
shuddering acknowledgment, that if such an expression were indicative
of merriment, the merriment must be that of a demon. Of this singular
being many anecdotes were prevalent among the seafaring men of
Nantucket. These anecdotes went to prove his prodigious strength when
under excitement, and some of them had given rise to a doubt of his
sanity. But on board the Grampus, it seems, he was regarded at the time
of the mutiny with feelings more of derision than of anything else. I
have been thus particular in speaking of Dirk Peters, because,
ferocious as he appeared, he proved the main instrument in preserving
the life of Augustus, and because I shall have frequent occasion to
mention him hereafter in the course of my narrative—a narrative, let
me here say, which, in its latter portions, will be found to include
incidents of a nature so entirely out of the range of human experience,
and for this reason so far beyond the limits of human credulity, that I
proceed in utter hopelessness of obtaining credence for all that I
shall tell, yet confidently trusting in time and progressing science to
verify some of the most important and most improbable of my statements.

After much indecision and two or three violent quarrels, it was
determined at last that all the prisoners (with the exception of
Augustus, whom Peters insisted in a jocular manner upon keeping as his
clerk) should be set adrift in one of the smallest whaleboats. The mate
went down into the cabin to see if Captain Barnard was still
living—for, it will be remembered, he was left below when the
mutineers came up. Presently the two made their appearance, the captain
pale as death, but somewhat recovered from the effects of his wound. He
spoke to the men in a voice hardly articulate, entreated them not to
set him adrift, but to return to their duty, and promising to land them
wherever they chose, and to take no steps for bringing them to justice.
He might as well have spoken to the winds. Two of the ruffians seized
him by the arms and hurled him over the brig's side into the boat,
which had been lowered while the mate went below. The four men who were
lying on the deck were then untied and ordered to follow, which they
did without attempting any resistance—Augustus being still left in his
painful position, although he struggled and prayed only for the poor
satisfaction of being permitted to bid his father farewell. A handful
of sea-biscuit and a jug of water were now handed down; but neither
mast, sail, oar, nor compass. The boat was towed astern for a few
minutes, during which the mutineers held another consultation—it was
then finally cut adrift. By this time night had come on—there were
neither moon nor stars visible—and a short and ugly sea was running,
although there was no great deal of wind. The boat was instantly out of
sight, and little hope could be entertained for the unfortunate
sufferers who were in it. This event happened, however, in latitude 35°
30' north, longitude 61° 20' west, and consequently at no very great
distance from the Bermuda Islands. Augustus therefore endeavoured to
console himself with the idea that the boat might either succeed in
reaching the land, or come sufficiently near to be fallen in with by
vessels off the coast.

All sail was now put upon the brig, and she continued her original
course to the southwest—the mutineers being bent upon some piratical
expedition, in which, from all that could be understood, a ship was to
be intercepted on her way from the Cape Verd Islands to Porto Rico. No
attention was paid to Augustus, who was untied and suffered to go about
anywhere forward of the cabin companion-way. Dirk Peters treated him
with some degree of kindness, and on one occasion saved him from the
brutality of the cook. His situation was still one of the most
precarious, as the men were continually intoxicated, and there was no
relying upon their continued good-humour or carelessness in regard to
himself. His anxiety on my account he represented, however, as the most
distressing result of his condition; and, indeed, I had never reason to
doubt the sincerity of his friendship. More than once he had resolved
to acquaint the mutineers with the secret of my being on board, but was
restrained from so doing, partly through recollection of the atrocities
he had already beheld, and partly through a hope of being able soon to
bring me relief. For the latter purpose he was constantly on the watch;
but, in spite of the most constant vigilance, three days elapsed after
the boat was cut adrift before any chance occurred. At length, on the
night of the third day, there came on a heavy blow from the eastward,
and all hands were called up to take in sail. During the confusion
which ensued, he made his way below unobserved, and into the stateroom.
What was his grief and horror in discovering that the latter had been
rendered a place of deposite for a variety of sea-stores and
ship-furniture, and that several fathoms of old chain-cable, which had
been stowed away beneath the companion-ladder, had been dragged thence
to make room for a chest, and were now lying immediately upon the trap!
To remove it without discovery was impossible, and he returned on deck
as quickly as he could. As he came up the mate seized him by the
throat, and demanding what he had been doing in the cabin, was about
flinging him over the larboard bulwark, when his life was again
preserved through the interference of Dirk Peters. Augustus was now put
in handcuffs (of which there were several pairs on board), and his feet
lashed tightly together. He was then taken into the steerage, and
thrown into a lower berth next to the forecastle bulkheads, with the
assurance that he should never put his foot on deck again "until the
brig was no longer a brig." This was the expression of the cook, who
threw him into the berth—it is hardly possible to say what precise
meaning was intended by the phrase. The whole affair, however, proved
the ultimate means of my relief, as will presently appear.












CHAPTER V.



For some minutes after the cook had left the forecastle, Augustus
abandoned himself to despair, never hoping to leave the berth alive. He
now came to the resolution of acquainting the first of the men who
should come down with my situation, thinking it better to let me take
my chance with the mutineers than perish of thirst in the hold—for it
had been ten days since I was first imprisoned, and my jug of water was
not a plentiful supply even for four. As he was thinking on this
subject, the idea came all at once into his head that it might be
possible to communicate with me by the way of the main hold. In any
other circumstances, the difficulty and hazard of the undertaking would
have prevented him from attempting it; but now he had, at all events,
little prospect of life, and consequently little to lose—he bent his
whole mind, therefore, upon the task.

His handcuffs were the first consideration. At first he saw no method
of removing them, and feared that he should thus be baffled in the very
outset; but, upon a closer scrutiny, he discovered that the irons could
be slipped off and on at pleasure with very little effort or
inconvenience, merely by squeezing his hands through them—this species
of manacle being altogether ineffectual in confining young persons, in
whom the smaller bones readily yield to pressure. He now untied his
feet, and, leaving the cord in such a manner that it could easily be
readjusted in the event of any person's coming down, proceeded to
examine the bulkhead where it joined the berth. The partition here was
of soft pine board, an inch thick, and he saw that he should have
little trouble in cutting his way through. A voice was now heard at the
forecastle companion-way, and he had just time to put his right hand
into its handcuff (the left had not been removed), and to draw the rope
in a slipknot around his ankle, when Dirk Peters came below, followed
by Tiger, who immediately leaped into the berth and lay down. The dog
had been brought on board by Augustus, who knew my attachment to the
animal, and thought it would give me pleasure to have him with me
during the voyage. He went up to our house for him immediately after
first taking me into the hold, but did not think of mentioning the
circumstance upon his bringing the watch. Since the mutiny, Augustus
had not seen him before his appearance with Dirk Peters, and had given
him up for lost, supposing him to have been thrown overboard by some of
the malignant villains belonging to the mate's gang. It appeared
afterward that he had crawled into a hole beneath a whaleboat, from
which, not having room to turn round, he could not extricate himself.
Peters at last let him out, and with a species of good feeling which my
friend knew well how to appreciate, had now brought him to him in the
forecastle as a companion, leaving at the same time some salt junk and
potatoes, with a can of water; he then went on deck, promising to come
down with something more to eat on the next day.

When he had gone, Augustus freed both hands from the manacles and
unfastened his feet. He then turned down the head of the mattress on
which he had been lying, and with his penknife (for the ruffians had
not thought it worth while to search him) commenced cutting vigorously
across one of the partition planks, as closely as possible to the floor
of the berth. He chose to cut here, because, if suddenly interrupted,
he would be able to conceal what had been done by letting the head of
the mattress fall into its proper position. For the remainder of the
day, however, no disturbance occurred, and by night he had completely
divided the plank. It should here be observed, that none of the crew
occupied the forecastle as a sleeping-place, living altogether in the
cabin since the mutiny, drinking the wines, and feasting on the sea
stores of Captain Barnard, and giving no more heed than was absolutely
necessary to the navigation of the brig. These circumstances proved
fortunate both for myself and Augustus; for, had matters been
otherwise, he would have found it impossible to reach me. As it was, he
proceeded with confidence in his design. It was near daybreak, however,
before he completed the second division of the board (which was about a
foot above the first cut), thus making an aperture quite large enough
to admit his passage through with facility to the main orlop deck.
Having got here, he made his way with but little trouble to the lower
main hatch, although in so doing he had to scramble over tiers of
oil-casks piled nearly as high as the upper deck, there being barely
room enough left for his body. Upon reaching the hatch, he found that
Tiger had followed him below, squeezing between two rows of the casks.
It was now too late, however, to attempt getting to me before dawn, as
the chief difficulty lay in passing through the close stowage in the
lower hold. He therefore resolved to return, and wait till the next
night. With this design he proceeded to loosen the hatch, so that he
might have as little detention as possible when he should come again.
No sooner had he loosened it than Tiger sprang eagerly to the small
opening produced, snuffed for a moment, and then uttered a long whine,
scratching at the same time, as if anxious to remove the covering with
his paws. There could be no doubt, from his behaviour, that he was
aware of my being in the hold, and Augustus thought it possible that he
would be able to get to me if he put him down. He now hit upon the
expedient of sending the note, as it was especially desirable that I
should make no attempt at forcing my way out, at least under existing
circumstances, and there could be no certainty of his getting to me
himself on the morrow as he intended. After events proved how fortunate
it was that the idea occurred to him as it did: for, had it not been
for the receipt of the note, I should undoubtedly have fallen upon some
plan, however desperate, of alarming the crew, and both our lives would
most probably have been sacrificed in consequence.

Having concluded to write, the difficulty was now to procure the
materials for so doing. An old toothpick was soon made into a pen; and
this by means of feeling altogether, for the between-decks were as dark
as pitch. Paper enough was obtained from the back of a letter—a
duplicate of the forged letter from Mr. Ross. This had been the
original draught; but the handwriting not being sufficiently well
imitated, Augustus had written another, thrusting the first, by good
fortune, into his coat-pocket, where it was now most opportunely
discovered. Ink alone was thus wanting, and a substitute was
immediately found for this by means of a slight incision with the
penknife on the back of a finger just above the nail—a copious flow of
blood ensuing, as usual from wounds in that vicinity. The note was now
written, as well as it could be in the dark and under the
circumstances. It briefly explained that a mutiny had taken place; that
Captain Barnard was set adrift; and that I might expect immediate
relief as far as provisions were concerned, but must not venture upon
making any disturbance. It concluded with these words, "I have
scrawled this with blood—your life depends upon lying close."

The slip of paper being tied upon the dog, he was now put down the
hatchway, and Augustus made the best of his way back to the forecastle,
where he found no reason to believe that any of the crew had been in
his absence. To conceal the hole in the partition, he drove his knife
in just above it, and hung up a pea-jacket which he found in the berth.
His handcuffs were then replaced, and also the rope around his ankles.

These arrangements were scarcely completed when Dirk Peters came below,
very drunk, but in excellent humour, and bringing with him my friend's
allowance of provision for the day. This consisted of a dozen large
Irish potatoes roasted, and a pitcher of water. He sat for some time on
a chest by the berth, and talked freely about the mate, and the general
concerns of the brig. His demeanour was exceedingly capricious and even
grotesque. At one time Augustus was much alarmed by his odd conduct. At
last, however, he went on deck, muttering a promise to bring his
prisoner a good dinner on the morrow. During the day two of the crew
(harpooners) came down, accompanied by the cook, all three in nearly
the last stage of intoxication. Like Peters, they made no scruple of
talking unreservedly about their plans. It appeared that they were much
divided among themselves as to their ultimate course, agreeing in no
point except the attack on the ship from the Cape Verd Islands, with
which they were in hourly expectation of meeting. As far as could be
ascertained, the mutiny had not been brought about altogether for the
sake of booty; a private pique of the chief mate's against Captain
Barnard having been the main instigation. There now seemed to be two
principal factions among the crew—one headed by the mate, the other by
the cook. The former party were for seizing the first suitable vessel
which should present itself, and equipping it at some of the West India
Islands for a piratical cruise. The latter division, however, which was
the stronger, and included Dirk Peters among its partisans, were bent
upon pursuing the course originally laid out for the brig into the
South Pacific; there either to take whale, or act otherwise, as
circumstances should suggest. The representations of Peters, who had
frequently visited these regions, had great weight, apparently, with
the mutineers, wavering as they were between half-engendered notions of
profit and pleasure. He dwelt on the world of novelty and amusement to
be found among the innumerable islands of the Pacific, on the perfect
security and freedom from all restraint to be enjoyed, but, more
particularly, on the deliciousness of the climate, on the abundant
means of good living, and on the voluptuous beauty of the women. As
yet, nothing had been absolutely determined upon; but the pictures of
the hybrid line-manager were taking strong hold upon the ardent
imaginations of the seamen, and there was every probability that his
intentions would be finally carried into effect.

The three men went away in about an hour, and no one else entered the
forecastle all day. Augustus lay quiet until nearly night. He then
freed himself from the rope and irons, and prepared for his attempt. A
bottle was found in one of the berths, and this he filled with water
from the pitcher left by Peters, storing his pockets at the same time
with cold potatoes. To his great joy he also came across a lantern,
with a small piece of tallow candle in it. This he could light at any
moment, as he had in his possession a box of phosphorus matches. When
it was quite dark, he got through the hole in the bulkhead, having
taken the precaution to arrange the bedclothes in the berth so as to
convey the idea of a person covered up. When through, he hung up the
pea-jacket on his knife, as before, to conceal the aperture—this
manoeuvre being easily effected, as he did not readjust the piece of
plank taken out until afterward. He was now on the main orlop deck, and
proceeded to make his way, as before, between the upper deck and the
oil-casks to the main hatchway. Having reached this, he lit the piece
of candle, and descended, groping with extreme difficulty among the
compact stowage of the hold. In a few moments he became alarmed at the
insufferable stench and the closeness of the atmosphere. He could not
think it possible that I had survived my confinement for so long a
period breathing so oppressive an air. He called my name repeatedly,
but I made him no reply, and his apprehensions seemed thus to be
confirmed. The brig was rolling violently, and there was so much noise
in consequence, that it was useless to listen for any weak sound, such
as those of my breathing or snoring. He threw open the lantern, and
held it as high as possible, whenever an opportunity occurred, in order
that, by observing the light, I might, if alive, be aware that succour
was approaching. Still nothing was heard from me, and the supposition
of my death began to assume the character of certainty. He determined,
nevertheless, to force a passage, if possible, to the box, and at least
ascertain beyond a doubt the truth of his surmises. He pushed on for
some time in a most pitiable state of anxiety, until, at length, he
found the pathway utterly blocked up, and that there was no possibility
of making any farther way by the course in which he had set out.
Overcome now by his feelings, he threw himself among the lumber in
despair, and wept like a child. It was at this period that he heard the
crash occasioned by the bottle which I had thrown down. Fortunate,
indeed, was it that the incident occurred—for, upon this incident,
trivial as it appears, the thread of my destiny depended. Many years
elapsed, however, before I was aware of this fact. A natural shame and
regret for his weakness and indecision prevented Augustus from
confiding to me at once what a more intimate and unreserved communion
afterward induced him to reveal. Upon finding his further progress in
the hold impeded by obstacles which he could not overcome, he had
resolved to abandon his attempt at reaching me, and return at once to
the forecastle. Before condemning him entirely on this head, the
harassing circumstances which embarrassed him should be taken into
consideration. The night was fast wearing away, and his absence from
the forecastle might be discovered; and, indeed, would necessarily be
so, if he should fail to get back to the berth by daybreak. His candle
was expiring in the socket, and there would be the greatest difficulty
in retracing his way to the hatchway in the dark. It must be allowed,
too, that he had every good reason to believe me dead; in which event
no benefit could result to me from his reaching the box, and a world of
danger would be encountered to no purpose by himself. He had repeatedly
called, and I had made him no answer. I had been now eleven days and
nights with no more water than that contained in the jug which he had
left with me, a supply which it was not at all probable I had hoarded
in the beginning of my confinement, as I had had every cause to expect
a speedy release. The atmosphere of the hold, too, must have appeared
to him, coming from the comparatively open air of the steerage, of a
nature absolutely poisonous, and by far more intolerable than it had
seemed to me upon my first taking up my quarters in the box—the
hatchways at that time having been constantly open for many months
previous. Add to these considerations that of the scene of bloodshed
and terror so lately witnessed by my friend; his confinement,
privations, and narrow escapes from death; together with the frail and
equivocal tenure by which he still existed—circumstances all so well
calculated to prostrate every energy of mind—and the reader will be
easily brought, as I have been, to regard his apparent falling off in
friendship and in faith with sentiments rather of sorrow than of anger.

The crash of the bottle was distinctly heard, yet Augustus was not sure
that it proceeded from the hold. The doubt, however, was sufficient
inducement to persevere. He clambered up nearly to the orlop deck by
means of the stowage, and then watching for a lull in the pitchings of
the vessel, he called out to me in as loud a tone as he could
command—regardless, for the moment, of the danger of being overheard
by the crew. It will be remembered that on this occasion the voice
reached me, but I was so entirely overcome by violent agitation as to
be incapable of reply. Confident, now, that his worst apprehensions
were well founded, he descended, with a view of getting back to the
forecastle without loss of time. In his haste some small boxes were
thrown down, the noise occasioned by which I heard, as will be
recollected. He had made considerable progress on his return when the
fall of the knife again caused him to hesitate. He retraced his steps
immediately, and, clambering up the stowage a second time, called out
my name, loudly as before, having watched for a lull. This time I found
voice to answer. Overjoyed at discovering me to be still alive, he now
resolved to brave every difficulty and danger in reaching me. Having
extricated himself as quickly as possible from the labyrinth of lumber
by which he was hemmed in, he at length struck into an opening which
promised better, and finally, after a series of struggles, arrived at
the box in a state of utter exhaustion.












CHAPTER VI.



The leading particulars of this narration were all that Augustus
communicated to me while we remained near the box. It was not until
afterward that he entered fully into all the details. He was
apprehensive of being missed, and I was wild with impatience to leave
my detested place of confinement. We resolved to make our way at once
to the hole in the bulkhead, near which I was to remain for the
present, while he went through to reconnoitre. To leave Tiger in the
box was what neither of us could endure to think of; yet, how to act
otherwise was the question. He now seemed to be perfectly quiet, and we
could not even distinguish the sound of his breathing upon applying our
ears closely to the box. I was convinced that he was dead, and
determined to open the door. We found him lying at full length,
apparently in a deep stupor, yet still alive. No time was to be lost,
yet I could not bring myself to abandon an animal who had now been
twice instrumental in saving my life, without some attempt at
preserving him. We therefore dragged him along with us as well as we
could, although with the greatest difficulty and fatigue; Augustus,
during part of the time, being forced to clamber over the impediments
in our way with the huge dog in his arms—a feat to which the
feebleness of my frame rendered me totally inadequate. At length we
succeeded in reaching the hole, when Augustus got through, and Tiger
was pushed in afterward. All was found to be safe, and we did not fail
to return sincere thanks to God for our deliverance from the imminent
danger we had escaped. For the present it was agreed that I should
remain near the opening, through which my companion could readily
supply me with a part of his daily provision, and where I could have
the advantages of breathing an atmosphere comparatively pure.

In explanation of some portions of this narrative wherein I have spoken
of the stowage of the brig, and which may appear ambiguous to some of
my readers who may have seen a proper or regular stowage, I must here
state that the manner in which this most important duty had been
performed on board the Grampus was a most shameful piece of neglect on
the part of Captain Barnard, who was by no means as careful or as
experienced a seaman as the hazardous nature of the service on which he
was employed would seem necessarily to demand. A proper stowage cannot
be accomplished in a careless manner, and many most disastrous
accidents, even within the limits of my own experience, have arisen
from neglect or ignorance in this particular. Coasting vessels, in the
frequent hurry and bustle attendant upon taking in or discharging
cargo, are the most liable to mishap from the want of a proper
attention to stowage. The great point is to allow no possibility of the
cargo or ballast's shifting position even in the most violent rollings
of the vessel. With this end, great attention must be paid, not only to
the bulk taken in, but to the nature of the bulk, and whether there be
a full or only a partial cargo. In most kinds of freight the stowage is
accomplished by means of a screw. Thus, in a load of tobacco or flour,
the whole is screwed so tightly into the hold of the vessel that the
barrels or hogsheads upon discharging are found to be completely
flattened, and take some time to regain their original shape. This
screwing, however, is resorted to principally with a view of obtaining
more room in the hold; for in a full load of any such commodities as
flour or tobacco, there can be no danger of any shifting whatever, at
least none from which inconvenience can result. There have been
instances, indeed, where this method of screwing has resulted in the
most lamentable consequences, arising from a cause altogether distinct
from the danger attendant upon a shifting of cargo. A load of cotton,
for example, tightly screwed while in certain conditions, has been
known, through the expansion of its bulk, to rend a vessel asunder at
sea. There can be no doubt, either, that the same result would ensue in
the case of tobacco, while undergoing its usual course of fermentation,
were it not for the interstices consequent upon the rotundity of the
hogsheads.

It is when a partial cargo is received that danger is chiefly to be
apprehended from shifting, and that precautions should be always taken
to guard against such misfortune. Only those who have encountered a
violent gale of wind, or, rather, who have experienced the rolling of a
vessel in a sudden calm after the gale, can form an idea of the
tremendous force of the plunges, and of the consequent terrible impetus
given to all loose articles in the vessel. It is then that the
necessity of a cautious stowage, when there is a partial cargo, becomes
obvious. When lying to (especially with a small head sail), a vessel
which is not properly modelled in the bows is frequently thrown upon
her beam-ends; this occurring even every fifteen or twenty minutes upon
an average, yet without any serious consequences resulting, provided
there be a proper stowage
. If this, however, has not been strictly
attended to, in the first of these heavy lurches the whole of the cargo
tumbles over to the side of the vessel which lies upon the water, and,
being thus prevented from regaining her equilibrium, as she would
otherwise necessarily do, she is certain to fill in a few seconds and
go down. It is not too much to say that at least one half of the
instances in which vessels have foundered in heavy gales at sea may be
attributed to a shifting of cargo or of ballast.

When a partial cargo of any kind is taken on board, the whole, after
being first stowed as compactly as may be, should be covered with a
layer of stout shifting-boards, extending completely across the vessel.
Upon these boards strong temporary stanchions should be erected,
reaching to the timbers above, and thus securing everything in its
place. In cargoes consisting of grain, or any similar matter,
additional precautions are requisite. A hold filled entirely with grain
upon leaving port will be found not more than three fourths full upon
leaching its destination—this, too, although the freight, when
measured bushel by bushel by the consignee, will overrun by a vast deal
(on account of the swelling of the grain) the quantity consigned. This
result is occasioned by settling during the voyage, and is the more
perceptible in proportion to the roughness of the weather experienced.
If grain loosely thrown in a vessel, then, is ever so well secured by
shifting-boards and stanchions, it will be liable to shift in a long
passage so greatly as to bring about the most distressing calamities.
To prevent these, every method should be employed before leaving port
to settle the cargo as much as possible; and for this there are many
contrivances, among which may be mentioned the driving of wedges into
the grain. Even after all this is done, and unusual pains taken to
secure the shifting-boards, no seaman who knows what he is about will
feel altogether secure in a gale of any violence with a cargo of grain
on board, and, least of all, with a partial cargo. Yet there are
hundreds of our coasting vessels, and, it is likely, many more from the
ports of Europe, which sail daily with partial cargoes, even of the
most dangerous species, and without any precautions whatever. The
wonder is that no more accidents occur than do actually happen. A
lamentable instance of this heedlessness occurred to my knowledge in
the case of Captain Joel Rice of the schooner Firefly, which sailed
from Richmond, Virginia, to Madeira, with a cargo of corn, in the year
1825. The captain had gone many voyages without serious accident,
although he was in the habit of paying no attention whatever to his
stowage, more than to secure it in the ordinary manner. He had never
before sailed with a cargo of grain, and on this occasion had the corn
thrown on board loosely, when it did not much more than half fill the
vessel. For the first portion of the voyage he met with nothing more
than light breezes; but when within a day's sail of Madeira there came
on a strong gale from the N. N. E. which forced him to lie to. He
brought the schooner to the wind under a double-reefed foresail alone,
when she rode as well as any vessel could be expected to do, and
shipped not a drop of water. Towards night the gale somewhat abated,
and she rolled with more unsteadiness than before, but still did very
well, until a heavy lurch threw her upon her beam-ends to starboard.
The corn was then heard to shift bodily, the force of the movement
bursting open the main hatchway. The vessel went down like a shot. This
happened within hail of a small sloop from Madeira, which picked up one
of the crew (the only person saved), and which rode out the gale in
perfect security, as indeed a jollyboat might have done under proper
management.

The stowage on board the Grampus was most clumsily done, if stowage
that could be called which was little better than a promiscuous
huddling together of oil-casks1
and ship furniture. I have already
spoken of the condition of articles in the hold. On the orlop deck
there was space enough for my body (as I have stated) between the
oil-casks and the upper deck; a space was left open around the main
hatchway; and several other large spaces were left in the stowage. Near
the hole cut through the bulkhead by Augustus there was room enough for
an entire cask, and in this space I found myself comfortably situated
for the present.

1 Whaling vessels are usually fitted with iron
oil-tanks—why the Grampus was not I have never been able to
ascertain.

By the time my friend had got safely into the berth, and readjusted his
handcuffs and the rope, it was broad daylight. We had made a narrow
escape indeed; for scarcely had he arranged all matters, when the mate
came below, with Dirk Peters and the cook. They talked for some time
about the vessel from the Cape Verds, and seemed to be excessively
anxious for her appearance. At length the cook came to the berth in
which Augustus was lying, and seated himself in it near the head. I
could see and hear everything from my hiding-place, for the piece cut
out had not been put back, and I was in momentary expectation that the
negro would fall against the pea-jacket, which was hung up to conceal
the aperture, in which case all would have been discovered, and our
lives would, no doubt, have been instantly sacrificed. Our good fortune
prevailed, however; and although he frequently touched it as the vessel
rolled, he never pressed against it sufficiently to bring about a
discovery. The bottom of the jacket had been carefully fastened to the
bulkhead, so that the hole might not be seen by its swinging to one
side. All this time Tiger was lying in the foot of the berth, and
appeared to have recovered in some measure his faculties, for I could
see him occasionally open his eyes and draw a long breath.

After a few minutes the mate and cook went above, leaving Dirk Peters
behind, who, as soon as they were gone, came and sat himself down in
the place just occupied by the mate. He began to talk very sociably
with Augustus, and we could now see that the greater part of his
apparent intoxication, while the two others were with him, was a feint.
He answered all my companion's questions with perfect freedom; told him
that he had no doubt of his father's having been picked up, as there
were no less than five sail in sight just before sundown on the day he
was cut adrift; and used other language of a consolatory nature, which
occasioned me no less surprise than pleasure. Indeed, I began to
entertain hopes, that through the instrumentality of Peters we might be
finally enabled to regain possession of the brig, and this idea I
mentioned to Augustus as soon as I found an opportunity. He thought the
matter possible, but urged the necessity of the greatest caution in
making the attempt, as the conduct of the hybrid appeared to be
instigated by the most arbitrary caprice alone; and, indeed, it was
difficult to say if he was at any moment of sound mind. Peters went
upon deck in about an hour, and did not return again until noon, when
he brought Augustus a plentiful supply of junk beef and pudding. Of
this, when we were left alone, I partook heartily, without returning
through the hole. No one else came down into the forecastle during the
day, and at night I got into Augustus's berth, where I slept soundly
and sweetly until nearly daybreak, when he awakened me upon hearing a
stir upon deck, and I regained my hiding-place as quickly as possible.
When the day was fully broke, we found that Tiger had recovered his
strength almost entirely, and gave no indications of hydrophobia,
drinking a little water that was offered him with great apparent
eagerness. During the day he regained all his former vigour and
appetite. His strange conduct had been brought on, no doubt, by the
deleterious quality of the air of the hold, and had no connexion with
canine madness. I could not sufficiently rejoice that I had persisted
in bringing him with me from the box. This day was the thirtieth of
June, and the thirteenth since the Grampus made sail from Nantucket.

On the second of July the mate came below, drunk as usual, and in an
excessively good-humour. He came to Augustus's berth, and, giving him a
slap on the back, asked him if he thought he could behave himself if he
let him loose, and whether he would promise not to be going into the
cabin again. To this, of course, my friend answered in the affirmative,
when the ruffian set him at liberty, after making him drink from a
flask of rum which he drew from his coat-pocket. Both now went on deck,
and I did not see Augustus for about three hours. He then came below
with the good news that he had obtained permission to go about the brig
as he 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. Towards 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 he 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 anything 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 partisan.

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, of
the cook's party; the mate, whose name I never learned; Absalom Hicks;
—— Wilson; John Hunt; and 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. This
ship was supposed to be the one for which the mutineers were on the
look-out. The mate hailed her, but the reply was drowned in the roaring
of the gale. At eleven, a sea was shipped amid-ships, which tore away a
great portion of the larboard bulwarks, and did some other slight
damage. Towards 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 brig's 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 sprung 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.












CHAPTER VII.



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 anything 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's 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 averred 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 design 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 quickly 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 splotches,
like those occasioned by the erysipelas: one of these splotches
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
companion-way, so that, if any one of the mate's 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 a singular form and character, and easily
recognisable—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 splotching 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 appearance.












CHAPTER VIII.



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, and order the d——d
lubbers to come into the cabin, where he could 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's 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 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
(he 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 mean time
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 Absalom
Hicks. Jones had thrown Augustus on the floor, stabbed him in several
places along the right arm, and would no doubt have soon despatched 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 despatched 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 after
hold, 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 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 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 stem 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 water.












CHAPTER IX.



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 every instant. It is not too
much to say that our heads were not fairly out of 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 anything, 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 anything 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 endeavour 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 towards 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 hope that Augustus would recover, as he evinced no signs
of life; but, upon getting to him, we discovered that he had merely
swooned from 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 recognising 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 despondingly, 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 into 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 ancles,
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 vigour to think what could yet be done by
mortal means towards accomplishing our deliverance.












CHAPTER X.



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 towards 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 figurehead. 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
foresail 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 towards 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 her
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 seagull, 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 further round so as to bring us close in view,
the bird, with much apparent difficulty, drew out its crimsoned head,
and, after eying us for a moment as if stupified, 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
towards 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 everything 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 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.












CHAPTER XI.



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 expectation, sleeping
until my companions, who had not been so fortunate, aroused me at
daybreak to renew our attempts at getting up provision from the hull.

It was now a dead calm, with the sea as smooth as I 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's 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, he made every exertion to force a 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 he 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 ballast 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 breathing.

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. Towards 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 of 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 arouse him.
Thinking that a plunge in the seawater 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 à
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 determined.

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 towards 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 asleep.

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 now 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 of human misery and despair, by perceiving the ship
all at once with her stern fully presented towards 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 towards 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.












CHAPTER XII.



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
everything 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 demeanour, 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 mean time, 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 this 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 him.

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
being immediately 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 imbitter 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
towards 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 everything 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 towards 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 towards him. It was full 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 project 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 very 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 requisite 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 twenty-third.

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
labours, which had been intolerably severe.

By noon, feeling somewhat strengthened and refreshed, we again renewed
our attempt at getting up provision, 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 terapin. 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 Peters's grasp, and slipping back
into the water, when Augustus, throwing a rope with a slip-knot 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 out.

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 his back, and otherwise carefully fastened.












CHAPTER XIII.



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 turned 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. Towards evening 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 him.

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 labour 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,
water-jug, 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
everything 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 released 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 morning.

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 these 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 utterly 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 around 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 difference.

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 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 our 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
favourable 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
perpetrated 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 run 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.

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

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











CHAPTER XIV.



The Jane Guy was a fine-looking topsail schooner of a hundred and
eighty tons burden. She was unusually sharp in the bows, and on a wind,
in moderate weather, the fastest sailer I have ever seen. Her
qualities, however, as a rough sea-boat, were not so good, and her
draught of water was by far too great for the trade to which she was
destined. For this peculiar service a larger vessel, and one of a light
proportionate draught, is desirable—say a vessel of from three to
three hundred and fifty tons. She should be barque-rigged, and in other
respects of a different construction from the usual South Sea ships. It
is absolutely necessary that she should be well armed. She should have,
say ten or twelve twelve pound carronades, and two or three long
twelves, with brass blunderbusses, and water-tight arm-chests for each
top. Her anchors and cables should be of far greater strength than is
required for any other species of trade, and, above all, her crew
should be numerous and efficient—not less, for such a vessel as I have
described, than fifty or sixty able-bodied men. The Jane Guy had a crew
of thirty-five, all able seamen, besides the captain and mate, but she
was not altogether as well armed or otherwise equipped as a navigator
acquainted with the difficulties and dangers of the trade could have
desired.

Captain Guy was a gentleman of great urbanity of manner, and of
considerable experience in the southern traffic, to which he had
devoted a great portion of his life. He was deficient, however, in
energy, and, consequently, in that spirit of enterprise which is here
so absolutely requisite. He was part owner of the vessel in which he
sailed, and was invested with discretionary powers to cruise in the
South Seas for any cargo which might come most readily to hand. He had
on board, as usual in such voyages, beads, looking-glasses,
tinder-works, axes, hatchets, saws, adzes, planes, chisels, gouges,
gimlets, files, spokeshaves, rasps, hammers, nails, knives, scissors,
razors, needles, thread, crockery-ware, calico, trinkets, and other
similar articles.

The schooner sailed from Liverpool on the tenth of July, crossed the
Tropic of Cancer on the twenty-fifth, in longitude twenty degrees west,
and reached Sal, one of the Cape Verd Islands, on the twenty-ninth,
where she took in salt and other necessaries for the voyage. On the
third of August she left the Cape Verds and steered southwest,
stretching over towards the coast of Brazil so as to cross the equator
between the meridians of twenty-eight and thirty degrees west
longitude. This is the course usually taken by vessels bound from
Europe to the Cape of Good Hope, or by that route to the East Indies.
By proceeding thus they avoid the calms and strong contrary currents
which continually prevail on the coast of Guinea, while, in the end, it
is found to be the shortest track, as westerly winds are never wanting
afterward by which to reach the Cape. It was Captain Guy's intention to
make his first stoppage at Kerguelen's Land—I hardly know for what
reason. On the day we were picked up the schooner was off Cape St.
Roque, in longitude 31 W.; so that, when found, we had drifted
probably, from north to south, not less than five-and-twenty degrees.

On board the Jane Guy we were treated with all the kindness our
distressed situation demanded. In about a fortnight, during which time
we continued steering to the southeast, with gentle breezes and fine
weather, both Peters and myself recovered entirely from the effects of
our late privation and dreadful suffering, and we began to remember
what had passed rather as a frightful dream from which we had been
happily awakened, than as events which had taken place in sober and
naked reality. I have since found that this species of partial oblivion
is usually brought about by sudden transition, whether from joy to
sorrow or from sorrow to joy—the degree of forgetfulness being
proportioned to the degree of difference in the exchange. Thus, in my
own case, I now feel it impossible to realize the full extent of the
misery which I endured during the days spent upon the hulk. The
incidents are remembered, but not the feelings which the incidents
elicited at the time of their occurrence. I only know that, when they
did occur, I then thought human nature could sustain nothing more of
agony.

We continued our voyage for some weeks without any incidents of greater
moment than the occasional meeting with whaling-ships, and more
frequently with the black or right whale, so called in
contradistinction to the spermaceti. These, however, were chiefly found
south of the twenty-fifth parallel. On the sixteenth of September,
being in the vicinity of the Cape of Good Hope, the schooner
encountered her first gale of any violence since leaving Liverpool. In
this neighbourhood, but more frequently to the south and east of the
promontory (we were to the westward), navigators have often to contend
with storms from the northward which rage with great fury. They always
bring with them a heavy sea, and one of their most dangerous features
is the instantaneous chopping round of the wind, an occurrence almost
certain to take place during the greatest force of the gale. A perfect
hurricane will be blowing at one moment from the northward or
northeast, and in the next not a breath of wind will be felt in that
direction, while from the southwest it will come out all at once with a
violence almost inconceivable. A bright spot to the southward is the
sure forerunner of the change, and vessels are thus enabled to take the
proper precautions.

It was about six in the morning when the blow came on with a white
squall, and, as usual, from the northward. By eight it had increased
very much, and brought down upon us one of the most tremendous seas I
had then ever beheld. Everything had been made as snug as possible, but
the schooner laboured excessively, and gave evidence of her bad
qualities as a seaboat, pitching her forecastle under at every plunge,
and with the greatest difficulty struggling up from one wave before she
was buried in another. Just before sunset the bright spot for which we
had been on the lookout made its appearance in the southwest, and in an
hour afterward we perceived the little headsail we carried flapping
listlessly against the mast. In two minutes more, in spite of every
preparation, we were hurled on our beam-ends as if by magic, and a
perfect wilderness of foam made a clear breach over us as we lay. The
blow from the southwest, however, luckily proved to be nothing more
than a squall, and we had the good fortune to right the vessel without
the loss of a spar. A heavy cross sea gave us great trouble for a few
hours after this, but towards morning we found ourselves in nearly as
good condition as before the gale. Captain Guy considered that he had
made an escape little less than miraculous.

On the thirteenth of October we came in sight of Prince Edward's
Island, in latitude 46° 53' S., longitude 37° 46' E. Two days afterward
we found ourselves near Possession Island, and presently passed the
islands of Crozet, in latitude 42° 59' S., longitude 48° E. On the
eighteenth we made Kerguelen's or Desolation Island, in the Southern
Indian Ocean, and came to anchor in Christmas Harbour, having four
fathoms of water.

This island, or rather group of islands, bears southeast from the Cape
of Good Hope, and is distant therefrom nearly eight hundred leagues. It
was first discovered in 1772, by the Baron de Kergulen, or Kerguelen, a
Frenchman, who, thinking the land to form a portion of an extensive
southern continent, carried home information to that effect, which
produced much excitement at the time. The government, taking the matter
up, sent the baron back in the following year for the purpose of giving
his new discovery a critical examination, when the mistake was
discovered. In 1777, Captain Cook fell in with the same group, and gave
to the principal one the name of Desolation Island, a title which it
certainly well deserves. Upon approaching the land, however, the
navigator might be induced to suppose otherwise, as the sides of most
of the hills, from September to March, are clothed with very brilliant
verdure. This deceitful appearance is caused by a small plant
resembling saxifrage, which is abundant, growing in large patches on a
species of crumbling moss. Besides this plant there is scarcely a sign
of vegetation on the island, if we except some coarse rank grass near
the harbour, some lichen, and a shrub which bears resemblance to a
cabbage shooting into seed, and which has a bitter and acrid taste.

The face of the country is hilly, although none of the hills can be
called lofty. Their tops are perpetually covered with snow. There are
several harbours, of which Christmas Harbour is the most convenient. It
is the first to be met with on the northeast side of the island after
passing Cape François, which forms the northern shore, and, by its
peculiar shape, serves to distinguish the harbour. Its projecting point
terminates in a high rock, through which is a large hole, forming a
natural arch. The entrance is in latitude 48° 40' S., longitude 69° 6'
E. Passing in here, good anchorage may be found under the shelter of
several small islands, which form a sufficient protection from all
easterly winds. Proceeding on eastwardly from this anchorage you come
to Wasp Bay, at the head of the harbour. This is a small basin,
completely landlocked, into which you can go with four fathoms, and
find anchorage in from ten to three, hard clay bottom. A ship might lie
here with her best bower ahead all the year round without risk. To the
westward, at the head of Wasp Bay, is a small stream of excellent
water, easily procured.

Some seal of the fur and hair species are still to be found on
Kerguelen's Island, and sea elephants abound. The feathered tribes are
discovered in great numbers. Penguins are very plenty, and of these
there are four different kinds. The royal penguin, so called from its
size and beautiful plumage, is the largest. The upper part of the body
is usually gray, sometimes of a lilach tint; the under portion of the
purest white imaginable. The head is of a glossy and most brilliant
black, the feet also. The chief beauty of the plumage, however,
consists in two broad stripes of a gold colour, which pass along from
the head to the breast. The bill is long, and either pink or bright
scarlet. These birds walk erect, with a stately carriage. They carry
their heads high, with their wings drooping like two arms, and, as
their tails project from their body in a line with the legs, the
resemblance to a human figure is very striking, and would be apt to
deceive the spectator at a casual glance or in the gloom of the
evening. The royal penguins which we met with on Kerguelen's Land were
rather larger than a goose. The other kinds are the macaroni, the
jackass, and the rookery penguin. These are much smaller, less
beautiful in plumage, and different in other respects.

Besides the penguin many other birds are here to be found, among which
may be mentioned seahens, blue peterels, teal, ducks, Port Egmont hens,
shags, Cape pigeons, the nelly, seaswallows, terns, seagulls, Mother
Carey's chickens, Mother Carey's geese, or the great peterel, and,
lastly, the albatross.

The great peterel is as large as the common albatross, and is
carnivorous. It is frequently called the break-bones, or osprey
peterel. They are not at all shy, and, when properly cooked, are
palatable food. In flying they sometimes sail very close to the surface
of the water, with the wings expanded, without appearing to move them
in the least degree, or make any exertion with them whatever.

The albatross is one of the largest and fiercest of the South Sea
birds. It is of the gull species, and takes its prey on the wing, never
coming on land except for the purpose of breeding. Between this bird
and the penguin the most singular friendship exists. Their nests are
constructed with great uniformity, upon a plan concerted between the
two species—that of the albatross being placed in the centre of a
little square formed by the nests of four penguins. Navigators have
agreed in calling an assemblage of such encampments a rookery. These
rookeries have been often described, but, as my readers may not all
have seen these descriptions, and as I shall have occasion hereafter to
speak of the penguin and albatross, it will not be amiss to say
something here of their mode of building and living.

When the season for incubation arrives, the birds assemble in vast
numbers, and for some days appear to be deliberating upon the proper
course to be pursued. At length they proceed to action. A level piece
of ground is selected, of suitable extent, usually comprising three or
four acres, and situated as near the sea as possible, being still
beyond its reach. The spot is chosen with reference to its evenness of
surface, and that is preferred which is the least encumbered with
stones. This matter being arranged, the birds proceed, with one accord,
and actuated apparently by one mind, to trace out, with mathematical
accuracy, either a square or other parallelogram, as may best suit the
nature of the ground, and of just sufficient size to accommodate easily
all the birds assembled, and no more—in this particular seeming
determined upon preventing the access of future stragglers who have not
participated in the labour of the encampment. One side of the place
thus marked out runs parallel with the water's edge, and is left open
for ingress or egress.

Having defined the limits of the rookery, the colony now begin to clear
it of every species of rubbish, picking up stone by stone, and carrying
them outside of the lines, and close by them, so as to form a wall on
the three inland sides. Just within this wall a perfectly level and
smooth walk is formed, from six to eight feet wide, and extending
around the encampment—thus serving the purpose of a general promenade.

The next process is to partition out the whole area into small squares
exactly equal in size. This is done by forming narrow paths, very
smooth, and crossing each other at right angles throughout the entire
extent of the rookery. At each intersection of these paths the nest of
an albatross is constructed, and a penguin's nest in the centre of each
square—thus every penguin is surrounded by four albatrosses, and each
albatross by a like number of penguins. The penguin's nest consists of
a hole in the earth, very shallow, being only just of sufficient depth
to keep her single egg from rolling. The albatross is somewhat less
simple in her arrangements, erecting a hillock about a foot high and
two in diameter. This is made of earth, seaweed, and shells. On its
summit she builds her nest.

The birds take especial care never to leave their nests unoccupied for
an instant during the period of incubation, or, indeed, until the young
progeny are sufficiently strong to take care of themselves. While the
male is absent at sea in search of food, the female remains on duty,
and it is only upon the return of her partner that she ventures abroad.
The eggs are never left uncovered at all—while one bird leaves the
nest, the other nestling in by its side. This precaution is rendered
necessary by the thievish propensities prevalent in the rookery, the
inhabitants making no scruple to purloin each other's eggs at every
good opportunity.

Although there are some rookeries in which the penguin and albatross
are the sole population, yet in most of them a variety of oceanic birds
are to be met with, enjoying all the privileges of citizenship, and
scattering their nests here and there, wherever they can find room,
never interfering, however, with the stations of the larger species.
The appearance of such encampments, when seen from a distance, is
exceedingly singular. The whole atmosphere just above the settlement is
darkened with the immense number of the albatross (mingled with the
smaller tribes) which are continually hovering over it, either going to
the ocean or returning home. At the same time a crowd of penguins are
to be observed, some passing to and fro in the narrow alleys, and some
marching, with the military strut so peculiar to them, around the
general promenade-ground which encircles the rookery. In short, survey
it as we will, nothing can be more astonishing than the spirit of
reflection evinced by these feathered beings, and nothing surely can be
better calculated to elicit reflection in every well-regulated human
intellect.

On the morning after our arrival in Christmas Harbour the chief mate,
Mr. Patterson, took the boats, and (although it was somewhat early in
the season) went in search of seal, leaving the captain and a young
relation of his on a point of barren land to the westward, they having
some business, whose nature I could not ascertain, to transact in the
interior of the island. Captain Guy took with him a bottle, in which
was a sealed letter, and made his way from the point on which he was
set on shore towards one of the highest peaks in the place. It is
probable that his design was to leave the letter on that height for
some vessel which he expected to come after him. As soon as we lost
sight of him we proceeded (Peters and myself being in the mate's boat)
on our cruise around the coast, looking for seal. In this business we
were occupied about three weeks, examining with great care every nook
and corner, not only of Kerguelen's Land, but of the several small
islands in the vicinity. Our labours, however, were not crowned with
any important success. We saw a great many fur seal, but they were
exceedingly shy, and, with the greatest exertions, we could only
procure three hundred and fifty skins in all. Sea elephants were
abundant, especially on the western coast of the main island, but of
these we killed only twenty, and this with great difficulty. On the
smaller islands we discovered a good many of the hair seal, but did not
molest them. We returned to the schooner on the eleventh, where we
found Captain Guy and his nephew, who gave a very bad account of the
interior, representing it as one of the most dreary and utterly barren
countries in the world. They had remained two nights on the island,
owing to some misunderstanding, on the part of the second mate, in
regard to the sending a jollyboat from the schooner to take them off.












CHAPTER XV.



On the twelfth we made sail from Christmas Harbour, retracing our way
to the westward, and leaving Marion's Island, one of Crozet's group, on
the larboard. We afterward passed Prince Edward's Island, leaving it
also on our left; then, steering more to the northward, made, in
fifteen days, the islands of Tristan d'Acunha, in latitude 37° 8' S.,
longitude 12° 8' W.

This group, now so well known, and which consists of three circular
islands, was first discovered by the Portuguese, and was visited
afterward by the Dutch in 1643, and by the French in 1767. The three
islands together form a triangle, and are distant from each other about
ten miles, there being fine open passages between. The land in all of
them is very high, especially in Tristan d'Acunha, properly so called.
This is the largest of the group, being fifteen miles in circumference,
and so elevated that it can be seen in clear weather at the distance of
eighty or ninety miles. A part of the land towards the north rises more
than a thousand feet perpendicularly from the sea. A tableland at this
height extends back nearly to the centre of the island, and from this
tableland arises a lofty cone like that of Teneriffe. The lower half of
this cone is clothed with trees of good size, but the upper region is
barren rock, usually hidden among the clouds, and covered with snow
during the greater part of the year. There are no shoals or other
dangers about the island, the shores being remarkably bold and the
water deep. On the northwestern coast is a bay, with a beach of black
sand, where a landing with boats can be easily effected, provided there
be a southerly wind. Plenty of excellent water may here be readily
procured; also cod, and other fish, may be taken with hook and line.

The next island in point of size, and the most westwardly of the group,
is that called the Inaccessible. Its precise situation is 37° 17' S.
latitude, longitude 12° 24' W. It is seven or eight miles in
circumference, and on all sides presents a forbidding and precipitous
aspect. Its top is perfectly flat, and the whole region is steril,
nothing growing upon it except a few stunted shrubs.

Nightingale Island, the smallest and most southerly, is in latitude 37°
26' S., longitude 12° 12' W. Off its southern extremity is a high ledge
of rocky islets; a few also of a similar appearance are seen to the
northeast. The ground is irregular and steril, and a deep valley
partially separates it.

The shores of these islands abound, in the proper season, with sea
lions, sea elephants, the hair and fur seal, together with a great
variety of oceanic birds. Whales are also plenty in their vicinity.
Owing to the ease with which these various animals were here formerly
taken, the group has been much visited since its discovery. The Dutch
and French frequented it at a very early period. In 1790, Captain
Patten, of the ship Industry, of Philadelphia, made Tristan d'Acunha,
where he remained seven months (from August, 1790, to April, 1791) for
the purpose of collecting sealskins. In this time he gathered no less
than five thousand six hundred, and says that he would have had no
difficulty in loading a large ship with oil in three weeks. Upon his
arrival he found no quadrupeds, with the exception of a few wild
goats—the island now abounds with all our most valuable domestic
animals, which have been introduced by subsequent navigators.

I believe it was not long after Captain Patten's visit that Captain
Colquhoun, of the American brig Betsey, touched at the largest of the
islands for the purpose of refreshment. He planted onions, potatoes,
cabbages, and a great many other vegetables, an abundance of all which
are now to be met with.

In 1811, a Captain Heywood, in the Nereus, visited Tristan. He found
there three Americans, who were residing upon the islands to prepare
sealskins and oil. One of these men was named Jonathan Lambert, and he
called himself the sovereign of the country. He had cleared and
cultivated about sixty acres of land, and turned his attention to
raising the coffee-plant and sugar-cane, with which he had been
furnished by the American minister at Rio Janeiro. This settlement,
however, was finally abandoned, and in 1817 the islands were taken
possession of by the British government, who sent a detachment for that
purpose from the Cape of Good Hope. They did not, however, retain them
long; but, upon the evacuation of the country as a British possession,
two or three English families took up their residence there
independently of the government. On the twenty-fifth of March, 1824,
the Berwick, Captain Jeffrey, from London to Van Diemen's Land, arrived
at the place, where they found an Englishman of the name of Glass,
formerly a corporal in the British artillery. He claimed to be supreme
governor of the islands, and had under his control twenty-one men and
three women. He gave a very favourable account of the salubrity of the
climate and of the productiveness of the soil. The population occupied
themselves chiefly in collecting sealskins and sea elephant oil, with
which they traded to the Cape of Good Hope, Glass owning a small
schooner. At the period of our arrival the governor was still a
resident, but his little community had multiplied, there being
fifty-six persons upon Tristan, besides a smaller settlement of seven
on Nightingale Island. We had no difficulty in procuring almost every
kind of refreshment which we required—sheep, hogs, bullocks, rabbits,
poultry, goats, fish in great variety, and vegetables were abundant.
Having come to anchor close in with the large island, in eighteen
fathoms, we took all we wanted on board very conveniently. Captain Guy
also purchased of Glass five hundred sealskins and some ivory. We
remained here a week, during which the prevailing winds were from the
northward and westward, and the weather somewhat hazy. On the fifth of
November we made sail to the southward and westward, with the intention
of having a thorough search for a group of islands called the Auroras,
respecting whose existence a great diversity of opinion has existed.

These islands are said to have been discovered as early as 1762, by the
commander of the ship Aurora. In 1790, Captain Manuel de Oyarvido, in
the ship Princess, belonging to the Royal Philippine Company, sailed,
as he asserts, directly among them. In 1794, the Spanish corvette
Atrevida went with the determination of ascertaining their precise
situation, and, in a paper published by the Royal Hydrographical
Society of Madrid in the year 1809, the following language is used
respecting this expedition. "The corvette Atrevida practised, in their
immediate vicinity, from the twenty-first to the twenty-seventh of
January, all the necessary observations, and measured by chronometers
the difference of longitude between these islands and the port of
Soledad in the Malninas. The islands are three; they are very nearly in
the same meridian; the centre one is rather low, and the other two may
be seen at nine leagues distance." The observations made on board the
Atrevida give the following results as the precise situation of each
island. The most northern is in latitude 52° 37' 24" S., longitude 47°
43' 15" W.; the middle one in latitude 53° 2' 40" S., longitude 47° 55'
15" W.; and the most southern in latitude 53° 15' 22" S., longitude 47°
57' 15" W.

On the twenty-seventh of January, 1820, Captain James Weddel, of the
British navy, sailed from Staten Land also in search of the Auroras. He
reports that, having made the most diligent search, and passed not only
immediately over the spots indicated by the commander of the Atrevida,
but in every direction throughout the vicinity of these spots, he could
discover no indication of land. These conflicting statements have
induced other navigators to look out for the islands; and, strange to
say, while some have sailed through every inch of sea where they are
supposed to lie without finding them, there have been not a few who
declare positively that they have seen them, and even been close in
with their shores. It was Captain Guy's intention to make every
exertion within his power to settle the question so oddly in
dispute.3

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

We kept on our course, between the south and west, with variable
weather, until the twentieth of the month, when we found ourselves on
the debated ground, being in latitude 53° 15' S., longitude 47° 58'
W.—that is to say, very nearly upon the spot indicated as the
situation of the most southern of the group. Not perceiving any sign of
land, we continued to the westward in the parallel of fifty-three
degrees south, as far as the meridian of fifty degrees west. We then
stood to the north as far as the parallel of fifty-two degrees south,
when we turned to the eastward, and kept our parallel by double
altitudes, morning and evening, and meridian altitudes of the planets
and moon. Having thus gone eastwardly to the meridian of the western
coast of Georgia, we kept that meridian until we were in the latitude
from which we set out. We then took diagonal courses throughout the
entire extent of sea circumscribed, keeping a lookout constantly at the
masthead, and repeating our examination with the greatest care for a
period of three weeks, during which the weather was remarkably pleasant
and fair, with no haze whatsoever. Of course we were thoroughly
satisfied that, whatever islands might have existed in this vicinity at
any former period, no vestige of them remained at the present day.
Since my return home I find that the same ground was traced over with
equal care in 1822 by Captain Johnson, of the American schooner Henry,
and by Captain Morrell, in the American schooner Wasp—in both cases
with the same result as in our own.












CHAPTER XVI.



It had been Captain Guy's original intention, after satisfying himself
about the Auroras, to proceed through the Strait of Magellan, and up
along the western coast of Patagonia; but information received at
Tristan d'Acunha induced him to steer to the southward, in the hope of
falling in with some small islands said to lie about the parallel of
60° S., longitude 41° 20' W. In the event of his not discovering these
lands, he designed, should the season prove favourable, to push on
towards the pole. Accordingly, on the twelfth of December, we made sail
in that direction. On the eighteenth we found ourselves about the
station indicated by Glass, and cruised for three days in that
neighbourhood without finding any traces of the islands he had
mentioned. On the twenty-first, the weather being unusually pleasant,
we again made sail to the southward, with the resolution of penetrating
in that course as far as possible. Before entering upon this portion of
my narrative, it may be as well, for the information of those readers
who have paid little attention to the progress of discovery in these
regions, to give some brief account of the very few attempts at
reaching the southern pole which have hitherto been made.

That of Captain Cook was the first of which we have any distinct
account. In 1772 he sailed to the south in the Resolution, accompanied
by Lieutenant Furneaux in the Adventure. In December he found himself
as far as the fifty-eighth parallel of south latitude, and in longitude
26° 57' E. Here he met with narrow fields of ice, about eight or ten
inches thick, and running northwest and southeast. This ice was in
large cakes, and usually it was packed so closely that the vessels had
great difficulty in forcing a passage. At this period Captain Cook
supposed, from the vast number of birds to be seen, and from other
indications, that he was in the near vicinity of land. He kept on to
the southward, the weather being exceedingly cold, until he reached the
sixty-fourth parallel, in longitude 38° 14' E. Here he had mild
weather, with gentle breezes, for five days, the thermometer being at
thirty-six. In January, 1773, the vessels crossed the Antarctic circle,
but did not succeed in penetrating much farther; for, upon reaching
latitude 67° 15', they found all farther progress impeded by an immense
body of ice, extending all along the southern horizon as far as the eye
could reach. This ice was of every variety—and some large floes of it,
miles in extent, formed a compact mass, rising eighteen or twenty feet
above the water. It being late in the season, and no hope entertained
of rounding these obstructions, Captain Cook now reluctantly turned to
the northward.

In the November following he renewed his search in the Antarctic. In
latitude 59° 40' he met with a strong current setting to the southward.
In December, when the vessels were in latitude 67° 31', longitude 142°
54' W., the cold was excessive, with heavy gales and fog. Here also
birds were abundant; the albatross, the penguin, and the peterel
especially. In latitude 70° 23' some large islands of ice were
encountered, and shortly afterward, the clouds to the southward were
observed to be of a snowy whiteness, indicating the vicinity of field
ice. In latitude 71° 10', longitude 106° 54' W., the navigators were
stopped, as before, by an immense frozen expanse, which filled the
whole area of the southern horizon. The northern edge of this expanse
was ragged and broken, so firmly wedged together as to be utterly
impassable, and extending about a mile to the southward. Behind it the
frozen surface was comparatively smooth for some distance, until
terminated in the extreme back-ground by gigantic ranges of ice
mountains, the one towering above the other. Captain Cook concluded
that this vast field reached the southern pole or was joined to a
continent. Mr. J. N. Reynolds, whose great exertions and perseverance
have at length succeeded in getting set on foot a national expedition,
partly for the purpose of exploring these regions, thus speaks of the
attempt of the Resolution. "We are not surprised that Captain Cook was
unable to go beyond 71° 10', but we are astonished that he did attain
that point on the meridian of 106° 54' west longitude. Palmer's Land
lies south of the Shetland, latitude sixty-four degrees, and tends to
the southward and westward farther than any navigator has yet
penetrated. Cook was standing for this land when his progress was
arrested by the ice; which, we apprehend, must always be the case in
that point, and so early in the season as the sixth of January—and we
should not be surprised if a portion of the icy mountains described was
attached to the main body of Palmer's Land, or to some other portions
of land lying farther to the southward and westward."

In 1803, Captains Kreutzenstern and Lisiausky were despatched by
Alexander of Russia for the purpose of circumnavigating the globe. In
endeavouring to get south, they made no farther than 59° 58', in
longitude 70° 15' W. They here met with strong currents setting
eastwardly. Whales were abundant, but they saw no ice. In regard to
this voyage, Mr. Reynolds observes that, if Kreutzenstern had arrived
where he did earlier in the season, he must have encountered ice—it
was March when he reached the latitude specified. The winds prevailing,
as they do, from the southward and westward, had carried the floes,
aided by currents, into that icy region bounded on the north by
Georgia, east by Sandwich Land and the South Orkneys, and west by the
South Shetland Islands.

In 1822, Captain James Weddell, of the British navy, with two very
small vessels, penetrated farther to the south than any previous
navigator, and this too, without encountering extraordinary
difficulties. He states that although he was frequently hemmed in by
ice before reaching the seventy-second parallel, yet, upon attaining
it, not a particle was to be discovered, and that, upon arriving at the
latitude of 74° 15', no fields, and only three islands of ice were
visible. It is somewhat remarkable that, although vast flocks of birds
were seen, and other usual indications of land, and although, south of
the Shetlands, unknown coasts were observed from the masthead tending
southwardly, Weddell discourages the idea of land existing in the polar
regions of the south.

On the eleventh of January, 1823, Captain Benjamin Morrell, of the
American schooner Wasp, sailed from Kerguelen's Land with a view of
penetrating as far south as possible. On the first of February he found
himself in latitude 64° 52' S., longitude 118° 27' E. The following
passage is extracted from his journal of that date. "The wind soon
freshened to an eleven-knot breeze, and we embraced this opportunity of
making to the west; being however convinced that the farther we went
south beyond latitude sixty-four degrees the less ice was to be
apprehended, we steered a little to the southward, until we crossed the
Antarctic circle, and were in latitude 69° 15' E. In this latitude
there was no field ice, and very few ice islands in sight."

Under the date of March fourteenth I find also this entry. "The sea was
now entirely free of field ice, and there were not more than a dozen
ice islands in sight. At the same time the temperature of the air and
water was at least thirteen degrees higher (more mild) than we had ever
found it between the parallels of sixty and sixty-two south. We were
now in latitude 70° 14' S., and the temperature of the air was
forty-seven, and that of the water forty-four. In this situation I
found the variation to be 14° 27' easterly, per azimuth.... I have
several times passed within the Antarctic circle on different
meridians, and have uniformly found the temperature, both of the air
and the water, to become more and more mild the farther I advanced
beyond the sixty-fifth degree of south latitude, and that the variation
decreases in the same proportion. While north of this latitude, say
between sixty and sixty-five south, we frequently had great difficulty
in finding a passage for the vessel between the immense and almost
innumerable ice islands, some of which were from one to two miles in
circumference, and more than five hundred feet above the surface of the
water."

Being nearly destitute of fuel and water, and without proper
instruments, it being also late in the season, Captain Morrell was now
obliged to put back, without attempting any farther progress to the
southward, although an entirely open sea lay before him. He expresses
the opinion that, had not these overruling considerations obliged him
to retreat, he could have penetrated, if not to the pole itself, at
least to the eighty-fifth parallel. I have given his ideas respecting
these matters somewhat at length, that the reader may have an
opportunity of seeing how far they were borne out by my own subsequent
experience.

In 1831, Captain Briscoe, in the employ of the Messieurs Enderby,
whale-ship owners of London, sailed in the brig Lively for the South
Seas, accompanied by the cutter Tula. On the twenty-eighth of February,
being in latitude 66° 30' S., longitude 47° 31' E., he descried land,
and "clearly discovered through the snow the black peaks of a range of
mountains running E. S. E." He remained in this neighbourhood during
the whole of the following month, but was unable to approach the coast
nearer than within ten leagues, owing to the boisterous state of the
weather. Finding it impossible to make farther discovery during this
season, he returned northward to winter in Van Diemen's Land.

In the beginning of 1832 he again proceeded southwardly, and on the
fourth of February land was seen to the southeast in latitude 67° 15',
longitude 69° 29' W. This was soon found to be an island near the
headland of the country he had first discovered. On the twenty-first of
the month he succeeded in landing on the latter, and took possession of
it in the name of William IV., calling it Adelaide's Island, in honour
of the English queen. These particulars being made known to the Royal
Geographical Society of London, the conclusion was drawn by that body
"that there is a continuous tract of land extending from 47° 30' E. to
69° 29' W. longitude, running the parallel of from sixty-six to
sixty-seven degrees south latitude." In respect to this conclusion Mr.
Reynolds observes, "In the correctness of it we by no means concur; nor
do the discoveries of Briscoe warrant any such inference. It was within
these limits that Weddell proceeded south on a meridian to the east of
Georgia, Sandwich Land, and the South Orkney and Shetland Islands." My
own experience will be found to testify most directly to the falsity of
the conclusion arrived at by the society.

These are the principal attempts which have been made at penetrating to
a high southern latitude, and it will now be seen that there remained,
previous to the voyage of the Jane, nearly three hundred degrees of
longitude in which the Antarctic circle had not been crossed at all. Of
course a wide field lay before us for discovery, and it was with
feelings of most intense interest that I heard Captain Guy express his
resolution of pushing boldly to the southward.












CHAPTER XVII.



We kept our course southwardly for four days after giving up the search
for Glass's Islands, without meeting with any ice at all. On the
twenty-sixth, at noon, we were in latitude 63° 23' S., longitude 41°
25' W. We now saw several large ice islands, and a floe of field ice,
not, however, of any great extent. The winds generally blew from the
southeast, or the northeast, but were very light. Whenever we had a
westerly wind, which was seldom, it was invariably attended with a rain
squall. Every day we had more or less snow. The thermometer, on the
twenty-seventh, stood at thirty-five.

January 1, 1828. This day we found ourselves completely hemmed in by
the ice, and our prospects looked cheerless indeed. A strong gale blew,
during the whole forenoon, from the northeast, and drove large cakes of
the drift against the rudder and counter with such violence that we all
trembled for the consequences. Towards evening, the gale still blowing
with fury, a large field in front separated, and we were enabled, by
carrying a press of sail, to force a passage through the smaller flakes
into some open water beyond. As we approached this space we took in
sail by degrees, and having at length got clear, lay to under a single
reefed foresail.

January 2. We had now tolerably pleasant weather. At noon we found
ourselves in latitude 69° 10' S., longitude 42° 20' W., having crossed
the Antarctic circle. Very little ice was to be seen to the southward,
although large fields of it lay behind us. This day we rigged some
sounding gear, using a large iron pot capable of holding twenty
gallons, and a line of two hundred fathoms. We found the current
setting to the north, about a quarter of a mile per hour. The
temperature of the air was now about thirty-three. Here we found the
variation to be 14° 28' easterly, per azimuth.

January 5. We had still held on to the southward without any very
great impediments. On this morning, however, being in latitude 73° 15'
E., longitude 42° 10' W., we were again brought to a stand by an
immense expanse of firm ice. We saw, nevertheless, much open water to
the southward, and felt no doubt of being able to reach it eventually.
Standing to the eastward along the edge of the floe, we at length came
to a passage of about a mile in width, through which we warped our way
by sundown. The sea in which we now were was thickly covered with ice
islands, but had no field ice, and we pushed on boldly as before. The
cold did not seem to increase, although we had snow very frequently,
and now and then hail squalls of great violence. Immense flocks of the
albatross flew over the schooner this day, going from southeast to
northwest.

January 7. The sea still remained pretty well open, so that we had no
difficulty in holding on our course. To the westward we saw some
icebergs of incredible size, and in the afternoon passed very near one
whose summit could not have been less than four hundred fathoms from
the surface of the ocean. Its girth was probably, at the base, three
quarters of a league, and several streams of water were running from
crevices in its sides. We remained in sight of this island two days,
and then only lost it in a fog.

January 10. Early this morning we had the misfortune to lose a man
overboard. He was an American, named Peter Vredenburgh, a native of
New-York, and was one of the most valuable hands on board the schooner.
In going over the bows his foot slipped, and he fell between two cakes
of ice, never rising again. At noon of this day we were in latitude 78°
30', longitude 40° 15' W. The cold was now excessive, and we had hail
squalls continually from the northward and eastward. In this direction
also we saw several more immense icebergs, and the whole horizon to the
eastward appeared to be blocked up with field ice, rising in tiers, one
mass above the other. Some driftwood floated by during the evening, and
a great quantity of birds flew over, among which were Nellies,
peterels, albatrosses, and a large bird of a brilliant blue plumage.
The variation here, per azimuth, was less than it had been previously
to our passing the Antarctic circle.

January 12. Our passage to the south again looked doubtful, as
nothing was to be seen in the direction of the pole but one apparently
limitless floe, backed by absolute mountains of ragged ice, one
precipice of which arose frowningly above the other. We stood to the
westward until the fourteenth, in the hope of finding an entrance.

January 14. This morning we reached the western extremity of the
field which had impeded us, and, weathering it, came to an open sea,
without a particle of ice. Upon sounding with two hundred fathoms, we
here found a current setting southwardly at the rate of half a mile per
hour. The temperature of the air was forty-seven, that of the water
thirty-four. We now sailed to the southward, without meeting any
interruption of moment until the sixteenth, when, at noon, we were in
latitude 81° 21', longitude 42° W. We here again sounded, and found a
current setting still southwardly, and at the rate of three quarters of
a mile per hour. The variation per azimuth had diminished, and the
temperature of the air was mild and pleasant, the thermometer being as
high as fifty-one. At this period not a particle of ice was to be
discovered. All hands on board now felt certain of attaining the pole.

January 17. This day was full of incident. Innumerable flights of
birds flew over us from the southward, and several were shot from the
deck; one of them, a species of pelican, proved to be excellent eating.
About midday a small floe of ice was seen from the masthead off the
larboard bow, and upon it there appeared to be some large animal. As
the weather was good and nearly calm, Captain Guy ordered out two of
the boats to see what it was. Dirk Peters and myself accompanied the
mate in the larger boat. Upon coming up with the floe, we perceived
that it was in the possession of a gigantic creature of the race of the
Arctic bear, but far exceeding in size the largest of these animals.
Being well armed, we made no scruple of attacking it at once. Several
shots were fired in quick succession, the most of which took effect,
apparently, in the head and body. Nothing discouraged, however, the
monster threw himself from the ice, and swam, with open jaws, to the
boat in which were Peters and myself. Owing to the confusion which
ensued among us at this unexpected turn of the adventure, no person was
ready immediately with a second shot, and the bear had actually
succeeded in getting half his vast bulk across our gunwale, and seizing
one of the men by the small of his back, before any efficient means
were taken to repel him. In this extremity nothing but the promptness
and agility of Peters saved us from destruction. Leaping upon the back
of the huge beast, he plunged the blade of a knife behind the neck,
reaching the spinal marrow at a blow. The brute tumbled into the sea
lifeless, and without a struggle, rolling over Peters as he fell. The
latter soon recovered himself, and a rope being thrown him, he secured
the carcass before entering the boat. We then returned in triumph to
the schooner, towing our trophy behind us. This bear, upon
admeasurement, proved to be full fifteen feet in his greatest length.
His wool was perfectly white, and very coarse, curling tightly. The
eyes were of a blood red, and larger than those of the Arctic bear—the
snout also more rounded, rather resembling the snout of the bulldog.
The meat was tender, but excessively rank and fishy, although the men
devoured it with avidity, and declared it excellent eating.

Scarcely had we got our prize alongside, when the man at the masthead
gave the joyful shout of "land on the starboard bow!" All hands were
now upon the alert, and, a breeze springing up very opportunely from
the northward and eastward, we were soon close in with the coast. It
proved to be a low rocky islet, of about a league in circumference, and
altogether destitute of vegetation, if we except a species of prickly
pear. In approaching it from the northward, a singular ledge of rock is
seen projecting into the sea, and bearing a strong resemblance to
corded bales of cotton. Around this ledge to the westward is a small
bay, at the bottom of which our boats effected a convenient landing.

It did not take us long to explore every portion of the island, but,
with one exception, we found nothing worthy of observation. In the
southern extremity, we picked up near the shore, half buried in a pile
of loose stones, a piece of wood, which seemed to have formed the prow
of a canoe. There had been evidently some attempt at carving upon it,
and Captain Guy fancied that he made out the figure of a tortoise, but
the resemblance did not strike me very forcibly. Besides this prow, if
such it were, we found no other token that any living creature had ever
been here before. Around the coast we discovered occasional small floes
of ice—but these were very few. The exact situation of this islet (to
which Captain Guy gave the name of Bennet's Islet, in honour of his
partner in the ownership of the schooner) is 82° 50' S. latitude, 42°
20' W. longitude.

We had now advanced to the southward more than eight degrees farther
than any previous navigators, and the sea still lay perfectly open
before us. We found, too, that the variation uniformly decreased as we
proceeded, and, what was still more surprising, that the temperature of
the air, and latterly of the water, became milder. The weather might
even be called pleasant, and we had a steady but very gentle breeze
always from some northern point of the compass. The sky was usually
clear, with now and then a slight appearance of thin vapour in the
southern horizon—this, however, was invariably of brief duration. Two
difficulties alone presented themselves to our view; we were getting
short of fuel, and symptoms of scurvy had occurred among several of the
crew. These considerations began to impress upon Captain Guy the
necessity of returning, and he spoke of it frequently. For my own part,
confident as I was of soon arriving at land of some description upon
the course we were pursuing, and having every reason to believe, from
present appearances, that we should not find it the steril soil met
with in the higher Arctic latitudes, I warmly pressed upon him the
expediency of persevering, at least for a few days longer, in the
direction we were now holding. So tempting an opportunity of solving
the great problem in regard to an Antarctic continent had never yet
been afforded to man, and I confess that I felt myself bursting with
indignation at the timid and ill-timed suggestions of our commander. I
believe, indeed, that what I could not refrain from saying to him on
this head had the effect of inducing him to push on. While, therefore,
I cannot but lament the most unfortunate and bloody events which
immediately arose from my advice, I must still be allowed to feel some
degree of gratification at having been instrumental, however remotely,
in opening to the eye of science one of the most intensely exciting
secrets which has ever engrossed its attention.












CHAPTER XVIII.



January 18. This morning4 we continued to the southward, with the
same pleasant weather as before. The sea was entirely smooth, the air
tolerably warm and from the northeast, the temperature of the water
fifty-three. We now again got our sounding-gear in order, and, with a
hundred and fifty fathoms of line, found the current setting towards
the pole at the rate of a mile an hour. This constant tendency to the
southward, both in the wind and current, caused some degree of
speculation, and even of alarm, in different quarters of the schooner,
and I saw distinctly that no little impression had been made upon the
mind of Captain Guy. He was exceedingly sensitive to ridicule, however,
and I finally succeeded in laughing him out of his apprehensions. The
variation was now very trivial. In the course of the day we saw several
large whales of the right species, and innumerable flights of the
albatross passed over the vessel. We also picked up a bush, full of red
berries, like those of the hawthorn, and the carcass of a
singular-looking land-animal. It was three feet in length, and but six
inches in height, with four very short legs, the feet armed with long
claws of a brilliant scarlet, and resembling coral in substance. The
body was covered with a straight silky hair, perfectly white. The tail
was peaked like that of a rat, and about a foot and a half long. The
head resembled a cat's, with the exception of the ears—these were
flapped like the ears of a dog. The teeth were of the same brilliant
scarlet as the claws.

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

January 19. To-day, being in latitude 83° 20', longitude 43° 5' W.
(the sea being of an extraordinarily dark colour), we again saw land
from the masthead, and, upon a closer scrutiny, found it to be one of a
group of very large islands. The shore was precipitous, and the
interior seemed to be well wooded, a circumstance which occasioned us
great joy. In about four hours from our first discovering the land we
came to anchor in ten fathoms, sandy bottom, a league from the coast,
as a high surf, with strong ripples here and there, rendered a nearer
approach of doubtful expediency. The two largest boats were now ordered
out, and a party, well armed (among whom were Peters and myself),
proceeded to look for an opening in the reef which appeared to encircle
the island. After searching about for some time, we discovered an
inlet, which we were entering, when we saw four large canoes put off
from the shore, filled with men who seemed to be well armed. We waited
for them to come up, and, as they moved with great rapidity, they were
soon within hail. Captain Guy now held up a white handkerchief on the
blade of an oar, when the strangers made a full stop, and commenced a
loud jabbering all at once, intermingled with occasional shouts, in
which we could distinguish the words Anamoo-moo! and Lama-Lama!
They continued this for at least half an hour, during which we had a
good opportunity of observing their appearance.

In the four canoes, which might have been fifty feet long and five
broad, there were a hundred and ten savages in all. They were about the
ordinary stature of Europeans, but of a more muscular and brawny frame.
Their complexion a jet black, with thick and long woolly hair. They
were clothed in skins of an unknown black animal, shaggy and silky, and
made to fit the body with some degree of skill, the hair being inside,
except where turned out about the neck, wrists, and ankles. Their arms
consisted principally of clubs, of a dark, and apparently very heavy
wood. Some spears, however, were observed among them, headed with
flint, and a few slings. The bottoms of the canoes were full of black
stones about the size of a large egg.

When they had concluded their harangue (for it was clear they intended
their jabbering for such), one of them who seemed to be the chief stood
up in the prow of his canoe, and made signs for us to bring our boats
alongside of him. This hint we pretended not to understand, thinking it
the wiser plan to maintain, if possible, the interval between us, as
their number more than quadrupled our own. Finding this to be the case,
the chief ordered the three other canoes to hold back, while he
advanced towards us with his own. As soon as he came up with us he
leaped on board the largest of our boats, and seated himself by the
side of Captain Guy, pointing at the same time to the schooner, and
repeating the words Anamoo-moo! and Lama-Lama! We now put back to
the vessel, the four canoes following at a little distance.

Upon getting alongside the chief evinced symptoms of extreme surprise
and delight, clapping his hands, slapping his thighs and breast, and
laughing obstreperously. His followers behind joined in his merriment,
and for some minutes the din was so excessive as to be absolutely
deafening. Quiet being at length restored, Captain Guy ordered the
boats to be hoisted up, as a necessary precaution, and gave the chief
(whose name we soon found to be Too-wit) to understand that we could
admit no more than twenty of his men on deck at one time. With this
arrangement he appeared perfectly satisfied, and gave some directions
to the canoes, when one of them approached, the rest remaining about
fifty yards off. Twenty of the savages now got on board, and proceeded
to ramble over every part of the deck, and scramble about among the
rigging, making themselves much at home, and examining every article
with great inquisitiveness.

It was quite evident that they had never before seen any of the white
race—from whose complexion, indeed, they appeared to recoil. They
believed the Jane to be a living creature, and seemed to be afraid of
hurting it with the points of their spears, carefully turning them up.
Our crew were much amused with the conduct of Too-wit in one instance.
The cook was splitting some wood near the galley, and, by accident,
struck his axe into the deck, making a gash of considerable depth. The
chief immediately ran up, and pushing the cook on one side rather
roughly, commenced a half whine, half howl, strongly indicative of
sympathy in what he considered the sufferings of the schooner, patting
and smoothing the gash with his hand, and washing it from a bucket of
seawater which stood by. This was a degree of ignorance for which we
were not prepared, and for my part I could not help thinking some of it
affected.

When the visiters had satisfied, as well as they could, their curiosity
in regard to our upper works, they were admitted below, when their
amazement exceeded all bounds. Their astonishment now appeared to be
far too deep for words, for they roamed about in silence, broken only
by low ejaculations. The arms afforded them much food for speculation,
and they were suffered to handle and examine them at leisure. I do not
believe that they had the least suspicion of their actual use, but
rather took them for idols, seeing the care we had of them, and the
attention with which we watched their movements while handling them. At
the great guns their wonder was redoubled. They approached them with
every mark of the profoundest reverence and awe, but forbore to examine
them minutely. There were two large mirrors in the cabin, and here was
the acme of their amazement. Too-wit was the first to approach them,
and he had got in the middle of the cabin, with his face to one and his
back to the other, before he fairly perceived them. Upon raising his
eyes and seeing his reflected self in the glass, I thought the savage
would go mad; but, upon turning short round to make a retreat, and
beholding himself a second time in the opposite direction, I was afraid
he would expire upon the spot. No persuasions could prevail upon him to
take another look; but, throwing himself upon the floor, with his face
buried in his hands, he remained thus until we were obliged to drag him
upon deck.

The whole of the savages were admitted on board in this manner, twenty
at a time, Too-wit being suffered to remain during the entire period.
We saw no disposition to thievery among them, nor did we miss a single
article after their departure. Throughout the whole of their visit they
evinced the most friendly manner. There were, however, some points in
their demeanour which we found it impossible to understand: for
example, we could not get them to approach several very harmless
objects—such as the schooner's sails, an egg, an open book, or a pan
of flour. We endeavoured to ascertain if they had among them any
articles which might be turned to account in the way of traffic, but
found great difficulty in being comprehended. We made out,
nevertheless, what greatly astonished us, that the islands abounded in
the large tortoise of the Gallipagos, one of which we saw in the canoe
of Too-wit. We saw also some biche de mer in the hands of one of the
savages, who was greedily devouring it in its natural state. These
anomalies, for they were such when considered in regard to the
latitude, induced Captain Guy to wish for a thorough investigation of
the country, in the hope of making a profitable speculation in his
discovery. For my own part, anxious as I was to know something more of
these islands, I was still more earnestly bent on prosecuting the
voyage to the southward without delay. We had now fine weather, but
there was no telling how long it would last; and being already in the
eighty-fourth parallel, with an open sea before us, a current setting
strongly to the southward, and the wind fair, I could not listen with
any patience to a proposition of stopping longer than was absolutely
necessary for the health of the crew and the taking on board a proper
supply of fuel and fresh provisions. I represented to the captain that
we might easily make this group on our return, and winter here in the
event of being blocked up by the ice. He at length came into my views
(for in some way, hardly known to myself, I had acquired much influence
over him), and it was finally resolved that, even in the event of our
finding biche de mer, we should only stay here a week to recruit, and
then push on to the southward while we might. Accordingly we made every
necessary preparation, and, under the guidance of Too-wit, got the Jane
through the reef in safety, coming to anchor about a mile from the
shore, in an excellent bay, completely landlocked, on the southeastern
coast of the main island, and in ten fathoms of water, black sandy
bottom. At the head of this bay there were three fine springs (we were
told) of good water, and we saw abundance of wood in the vicinity. The
four canoes followed us in, keeping, however, at a respectful distance.
Too-wit himself remained on board, and, upon our dropping anchor,
invited us to accompany him on shore, and visit his village in the
interior. To this Captain Guy consented; and ten savages being left on
board as hostages, a party of us, twelve in all, got in readiness to
attend the chief. We took care to be well armed, yet without evincing
any distrust. The schooner had her guns run out, her boarding-nettings
up, and every other proper precaution was taken to guard against
surprise. Directions were left with the chief mate to admit no person
on board during our absence, and, in the event of our not appearing in
twelve hours, to send the cutter, with a swivel, round the island in
search of us.

At every step we took inland the conviction forced itself upon us that
we were in a country differing essentially from any hitherto visited by
civilized men. We saw nothing with which we had been formerly
conversant. The trees resembled no growth of either the torrid, the
temperate, or the northern frigid zones, and were altogether unlike
those of the lower southern latitudes we had already traversed. The
very rocks were novel in their mass, their colour, and their
stratification; and the streams themselves, utterly incredible as it
may appear, had so little in common with those of other climates, that
we were scrupulous of tasting them, and, indeed, had difficulty in
bringing ourselves to believe that their qualities were purely those of
nature. At a small brook which crossed our path (the first we had
reached) Too-wit and his attendants halted to drink. On account of the
singular character of the water, we refused to taste it, supposing it
to be polluted; and it was not until some time afterward we came to
understand that such was the appearance of the streams throughout the
whole group. I am at a loss to give a distinct idea of the nature of
this liquid, and cannot do so without many words. Although it flowed
with rapidity in all declivities where common water would do so, yet
never, except when falling in a cascade, had it the customary
appearance of limpidity. It was, nevertheless, in point of fact, as
perfectly limpid as any limestone water in existence, the difference
being only in appearance. At first sight, and especially in cases where
little declivity was found, it bore resemblance, as regards
consistency, to a thick infusion of gum Arabic in common water. But
this was only the least remarkable of its extraordinary qualities. It
was not colourless, nor was it of any one uniform colour—presenting
to the eye, as it flowed, every possible shade of purple, like the hues
of a changeable silk. This variation in shade was produced in a manner
which excited as profound astonishment in the minds of our party as the
mirror had done in the case of Too-wit. Upon collecting a basinful, and
allowing it to settle thoroughly, we perceived that the whole mass of
liquid was made up of a number of distinct veins, each of a distinct
hue; that these veins did not commingle; and that their cohesion was
perfect in regard to their own particles among themselves, and
imperfect in regard to neighbouring veins. Upon passing the blade of a
knife athwart the veins, the water closed over it immediately, as with
us, and also, in withdrawing it, all traces of the passage of the knife
were instantly obliterated. If, however, the blade was passed down
accurately between two veins, a perfect separation was effected, which
the power of cohesion did not immediately rectify. The phenomena of
this water formed the first definite link in that vast chain of
apparent miracles with which I was destined to be at length encircled.












CHAPTER XIX.



We were nearly three hours in reaching the village, it being more than
nine miles in the interior, and the path lying through a rugged
country. As we passed along, the party of Too-wit (the whole hundred
and ten savages of the canoes) was momentarily strengthened by smaller
detachments, of from two to six or seven, which joined us, as if by
accident, at different turns in the road. There appeared so much of
system in this that I could not help feeling distrust, and I spoke to
Captain Guy of my apprehensions. It was now too late, however, to
recede, and we concluded that our best security lay in evincing a
perfect confidence in the good faith of Too-wit. We accordingly went
on, keeping a wary eye upon the manoeuvres of the savages, and not
permitting them to divide our numbers by pushing in between. In this
way, passing through a precipitous ravine, we at length reached what we
were told was the only collection of habitations upon the island. As we
came in sight of them, the chief set up a shout, and frequently
repeated the word Klock-Klock; which we supposed to be the name of
the village, or perhaps the generic name for villages.

The dwellings were of the most miserable description imaginable, and,
unlike those of even the lowest of the savage races with which mankind
are acquainted, were of no uniform plan. Some of them (and these we
found belonged to the Wampoos or Yampoos, the great men of the
land) consisted of a tree cut down at about four feet from the root,
with a large black skin thrown over it, and hanging in loose folds upon
the ground. Under this the savage nestled. Others were formed by means
of rough limbs of trees, with the withered foliage upon them, made to
recline, at an angle of forty-five degrees, against a bank of clay,
heaped up, without regular form, to the height of five or six feet.
Others, again, were mere holes dug in the earth perpendicularly, and
covered over with similar branches, these being removed when the tenant
was about to enter, and pulled on again when he had entered. A few were
built among the forked limbs of trees as they stood, the upper limbs
being partially cut through, so as to bend over upon the lower, thus
forming thicker shelter from the weather. The greater number, however,
consisted of small shallow caverns, apparently scratched in the face of
a precipitous ledge of dark stone, resembling fuller's earth, with
which three sides of the village was bounded. At the door of each of
these primitive caverns was a small rock, which the tenant carefully
placed before the entrance upon leaving his residence, for what purpose
I could not ascertain, as the stone itself was never of sufficient size
to close up more than a third of the opening.

This village, if it were worthy of the name, lay in a valley of some
depth, and could only be approached from the southward, the precipitous
ledge of which I have already spoken cutting off all access in other
directions. Through the middle of the valley ran a brawling stream of
the same magical-looking water which has been described. We saw several
strange animals about the dwellings, all appearing to be thoroughly
domesticated. The largest of these creatures resembled our common hog
in the structure of the body and snout; the tail, however, was bushy,
and the legs slender as those of the antelope. Its motion was
exceedingly awkward and indecisive, and we never saw it attempt to run.
We noticed also several animals very similar in appearance, but of a
greater length of body, and covered with a black wool. There were a
great variety of tame fowls running about, and these seemed to
constitute the chief food of the natives. To our astonishment we saw
black albatross among these birds in a state of entire domestication,
going to sea periodically for food, but always returning to the village
as a home, and using the southern shore in the vicinity as a place of
incubation. There they were joined by their friends the pelicans as
usual, but these latter never followed them to the dwellings of the
savages. Among the other kinds of tame fowls were ducks, differing very
little from the canvass-back of our own country, black gannets, and a
large bird not unlike the buzzard in appearance, but not carnivorous.
Of fish there seemed to be a great abundance. We saw, during our visit,
a quantity of dried salmon, rock cod, blue dolphins, mackerel,
blackfish, skate, conger eels, elephant-fish, mullets, soles,
parrotfish, leather-jackets, gurnards, hake, flounders, paracutas, and
innumerable other varieties. We noticed, too, that most of them were
similar to the fish about the group of the Lord Auckland Islands, in a
latitude as low as fifty-one degrees south. The Gallipago tortoise was
also very plentiful. We saw but few wild animals, and none of a large
size, or of a species with which we were familiar. One or two serpents
of a formidable aspect crossed our path, but the natives paid them
little attention, and we concluded that they were not venomous.

As we approached the village with Too-wit and his party, a vast crowd
of the people rushed out to meet us, with loud shouts, among which we
could only distinguish the everlasting Anamoo-moo! and Lama-Lama!
We were much surprised at perceiving that, with one or two exceptions,
these new comers were entirely naked, the skins being used only by the
men of the canoes. All the weapons of the country seemed also to be in
the possession of the latter, for there was no appearance of any among
the villagers. There were a great many women and children, the former
not altogether wanting in what might be termed personal beauty. They
were straight, tall, and well formed, with a grace and freedom of
carriage not to be found in civilized society. Their lips, however,
like those of the men, were thick and clumsy, so that, even when
laughing, the teeth were never disclosed. Their hair was of a finer
texture than that of the males. Among these naked villagers there might
have been ten or twelve who were clothed, like the party of Too-wit, in
dresses of black skin, and armed with lances and heavy clubs. These
appeared to have great influence among the rest, and were always
addressed by the title Wampoo. These, too, were the tenants of the
black skin palaces. That of Too-wit was situated in the centre of the
village, and was much larger and somewhat better constructed than
others of its kind. The tree which formed its support was cut off at a
distance of twelve feet or thereabout from the root, and there were
several branches left just below the cut, these serving to extend the
covering, and in this way prevent its flapping about the trunk. The
covering, too, which consisted of four very large skins fastened
together with wooden skewers, was secured at the bottom with pegs
driven through it and into the ground. The floor was strewed with a
quantity of dry leaves by way of carpet.

To this hut we were conducted with great solemnity, and as many of the
natives crowded in after us as possible. Too-wit seated himself on the
leaves, and made signs that we should follow his example. This we did,
and presently found ourselves in a situation peculiarly uncomfortable,
if not indeed critical. We were on the ground, twelve in number, with
the savages, as many as forty, sitting on their hams so closely around
us that, if any disturbance had arisen, we should have found it
impossible to make use of our arms, or indeed to have risen on our
feet. The pressure was not only inside the tent, but outside, where
probably was every individual on the whole island, the crowd being
prevented from trampling us to death only by the incessant exertions
and vociferations of Too-wit. Our chief security lay, however, in the
presence of Too-wit himself among us, and we resolved to stick by him
closely, as the best chance of extricating ourselves from the dilemma,
sacrificing him immediately upon the first appearance of hostile
design.

After some trouble a certain degree of quiet was restored, when the
chief addressed us in a speech of great length, and very nearly
resembling the one delivered in the canoes, with the exception that the
Anamoo-moos! were now somewhat more strenuously insisted upon than
the Lama-Lamas! We listened in profound silence until the conclusion
of his harangue, when Captain Guy replied by assuring the chief of his
eternal friendship and good-will, concluding what he had to say by a
present of several strings of blue beads and a knife. At the former the
monarch, much to our surprise, turned up his nose with some expression
of contempt; but the knife gave him the most unlimited satisfaction,
and he immediately ordered dinner. This was handed into the tent over
the heads of the attendants, and consisted of the palpitating entrails
of a species of unknown animal, probably one of the slim-legged hogs
which we had observed in our approach to the village. Seeing us at a
loss how to proceed, he began, by way of setting us an example, to
devour yard after yard of the enticing food, until we could positively
stand it no longer, and evinced such manifest symptoms of rebellion of
stomach as inspired his majesty with a degree of astonishment only
inferior to that brought about by the looking-glasses. We declined,
however, partaking of the delicacies before us, and endeavoured to make
him understand that we had no appetite whatever, having just finished a
hearty déjeuner.

When the monarch had made an end of his meal, we commenced a series of
cross-questioning in every ingenious manner we could devise, with a
view of discovering what were the chief productions of the country, and
whether any of them might be turned to profit. At length he seemed to
have some idea of our meaning, and offered to accompany us to a part of
the coast where he assured us the biche de mer (pointing to a
specimen of that animal) was to be found in great abundance. We were
glad at this early opportunity of escaping from the oppression of the
crowd, and signified our eagerness to proceed. We now left the tent,
and, accompanied by the whole population of the village, followed the
chief to the southeastern extremity of the island, not far from the bay
where our vessel lay at anchor. We waited here for about an hour, until
the four canoes were brought round by some of the savages to our
station. The whole of our party then getting into one of them, we were
paddled along the edge of the reef before mentioned, and of another
still farther out, where we saw a far greater quantity of biche de
mer
than the oldest seaman among us had ever seen in those groups of
the lower latitudes most celebrated for this article of commerce. We
stayed near these reefs only long enough to satisfy ourselves that we
could easily load a dozen vessels with the animal if necessary, when we
were taken alongside the schooner, and parted with Too-wit after
obtaining from him a promise that he would bring us, in the course of
twenty-four hours, as many of the canvass-back ducks and Gallipago
tortoises as his canoes would hold. In the whole of this adventure we
saw nothing in the demeanour of the natives calculated to create
suspicion, with the single exception of the systematic manner in which
their party was strengthened during our route from the schooner to the
village.












CHAPTER XX.



The chief was as good as his word, and we were soon plentifully
supplied with fresh provision. We found the tortoises as fine as we had
ever seen, and the ducks surpassed our best species of wild fowl, being
exceedingly tender, juicy, and well-flavoured. Besides these, the
savages brought us, upon our making them comprehend our wishes, a vast
quantity of brown celery and scurvy grass, with a canoe-load of fresh
fish and some dried. The celery was a treat indeed, and the scurvy
grass proved of incalculable benefit in restoring those of our men who
had shown symptoms of disease. In a very short time we had not a single
person on the sick-list. We had also plenty of other kinds of fresh
provision, among which may be mentioned a species of shellfish
resembling the muscle in shape, but with the taste of an oyster.
Shrimps, too, and prawns were abundant, and albatross and other birds'
eggs with dark shells. We took in, too, a plentiful stock of the flesh
of the hog which I have mentioned before. Most of the men found it a
palatable food, but I thought it fishy and otherwise disagreeable. In
return for these good things we presented the natives with blue beads,
brass trinkets, nails, knives, and pieces of red cloth, they being
fully delighted in the exchange. We established a regular market on
shore, just under the guns of the schooner, where our barterings were
carried on with every appearance of good faith, and a degree of order
which their conduct at the village of Klock-klock had not led us to
expect from the savages.

Matters went on thus very amicably for several days, during which
parties of the natives were frequently on board the schooner, and
parties of our men frequently on shore, making long excursions into the
interior, and receiving no molestation whatever. Finding the ease with
which the vessel might be loaded with biche de mer, owing to the
friendly disposition of the islanders, and the readiness with which
they would render us assistance in collecting it, Captain Guy resolved
to enter into negotiation with Too-wit for the erection of suitable
houses in which to cure the article, and for the services of himself
and tribe in gathering as much as possible, while he himself took
advantage of the fine weather to prosecute his voyage to the southward.
Upon mentioning this project to the chief he seemed very willing to
enter into an agreement. A bargain was accordingly struck, perfectly
satisfactory to both parties, by which it was arranged that, after
making the necessary preparations, such as laying off the proper
grounds, erecting a portion of the buildings, and doing some other work
in which the whole of our crew would be required, the schooner should
proceed on her route, leaving three of her men on the island to
superintend the fulfilment of the project, and instruct the natives in
drying the biche de mer. In regard to terms, these were made to
depend upon the exertions of the savages in our absence. They were to
receive a stipulated quantity of blue beads, knives, red cloth, and so
forth, for every certain number of piculs of the biche de mer which
should be ready on our return.

A description of the nature of this important article of commerce, and
the method of preparing it, may prove of some interest to my readers,
and I can find no more suitable place than this for introducing an
account of it. The following comprehensive notice of the substance is
taken from a modern history of a voyage to the South Seas.

"It is that mollusca from the Indian Seas which is known in commerce
by the French name bouche de mer (a nice morsel from the sea). If I
am not much mistaken, the celebrated Cuvier calls it gasteropeda
pulmonifera
. It is abundantly gathered in the coasts of the Pacific
Islands, and gathered especially for the Chinese market, where it
commands a great price, perhaps as much as their much-talked of edible
bird's nests, which are probably made up of the gelatinous matter
picked up by a species of swallow from the body of these molluscæ. They
have no shell, no legs, nor any prominent part, except an absorbing
and an excretory, opposite organs; but, by their elastic wings, like
caterpillars or worms, they creep in shallow waters, in which, when
low, they can be seen by a kind of swallow, the sharp bill of which,
inserted in the soft animal, draws a gummy and filamentous substance,
which, by drying, can be wrought into the solid walls of their nest.
Hence the name of gasteropeda pulmonifera.

"This mollusca is oblong, and of different sizes, from three to
eighteen inches in length; and I have seen a few that were not less
than two feet long. They are nearly round, a little flattish on one
side, which lies next the bottom of the sea; and they are from one to
eight inches thick. They crawl up into shallow water at particular
seasons of the year, probably for the purpose of gendering, as we often
find them in pairs. It is when the sun has the most power on the water,
rendering it tepid, that they approach the shore; and they often go up
into places so shallow, that, on the tide's receding, they are left
dry, exposed to the heat of the sun. But they do not bring forth their
young in shallow water, as we never see any of their progeny, and the
full-grown ones are always observed coming in from deep water. They
feed principally on that class of zoophytes which produce the coral.

"The biche de mer is generally taken in three or four feet water;
after which they are brought on shore, and split at one end with a
knife, the incision being one inch or more, according to the size of
the mollusca. Through this opening the entrails are forced out by
pressure, and they are much like those of any other small tenant of the
deep. The article is then washed, and afterward boiled to a certain
degree, which must not be too much or too little. They are then buried
in the ground for four hours, then boiled again for a short time, after
which they are dried, either by the fire or the sun. Those cured by the
sun are worth the most; but where one picul
(1331/3 lbs.) can be cured
that way, I can cure thirty piculs by the fire. When once properly
cured, they can be kept in a dry place for two or three years without
any risk; but they should be examined once in every few months, say
four times a year, to see if any dampness is likely to affect them.

"The Chinese, as before stated, consider biche de mer a very great
luxury, believing that it wonderfully strengthens and nourishes the
system, and renews the exhausted system of the immoderate voluptuary.
The first quality commands a high price in Canton, being worth ninety
dollars a picul; the second quality seventy-five dollars; the third
fifty dollars; the fourth thirty dollars; the fifth twenty dollars; the
sixth twelve dollars; the seventh eight dollars; and the eighth four
dollars; small cargoes, however, will often bring more in Manilla,
Singapore, and Batavia."

An agreement having been thus entered into, we proceeded immediately to
land everything necessary for preparing the buildings and clearing the
ground. A large flat space near the eastern shore of the bay was
selected, where there was plenty both of wood and water, and within a
convenient distance of the principal reefs on which the biche de mer
was to be procured. We now all set to work in good earnest, and soon,
to the great astonishment of the savages, had felled a sufficient
number of trees for our purpose, getting them quickly in order for the
framework of the houses, which in two or three days were so far under
way that we could safely trust the rest of the work to the three men
whom we intended to leave behind. These were John Carson, Alfred
Harris, and —— Peterson (all natives of London, I believe), who
volunteered their services in this respect.

By the last of the month we had everything in readiness for departure.
We had agreed, however, to pay a formal visit of leavestaking to the
village, and Too-wit insisted so pertinaciously upon our keeping the
promise, that we did not think it advisable to run the risk of
offending him by a final refusal. I believe that not one of us had at
this time the slightest suspicion of the good faith of the savages.
They had uniformly behaved with the greatest decorum, aiding us with
alacrity in our work, offering us their commodities frequently without
price, and never, in any instance, pilfering a single article, although
the high value they set upon the goods we had with us was evident by
the extravagant demonstrations of joy always manifested upon our making
them a present. The women especially were most obliging in every
respect, and, upon the whole, we should have been the most suspicious
of human beings had we entertained a single thought of perfidy on the
part of a people who treated us so well. A very short while sufficed to
prove that this apparent kindness of disposition was only the result of
a deeply-laid plan for our destruction, and that the islanders for whom
we entertained such inordinate feelings of esteem were among the most
barbarous, subtle, and bloodthirsty wretches that ever contaminated the
face of the globe.

It was on the first of February that we went on shore for the purpose
of visiting the village. Although, as said before, we entertained not
the slightest suspicion, still no proper precaution was neglected. Six
men were left in the schooner with instructions to permit none of the
savages to approach the vessel during our absence, under any pretence
whatever, and to remain constantly on deck. The boarding-nettings were
up, the guns double-shotted with grape and canister, and the swivels
loaded with canisters of musket-balls. She lay, with her anchor apeak,
about a mile from the shore, and no canoe could approach her in any
direction without being distinctly seen and exposed to the full fire of
our swivels immediately.

The six men being left on board, our shore-party consisted of
thirty-two persons in all. We were armed to the teeth, having with us
muskets, pistols, and cutlasses, besides each a long kind of seaman's
knife, somewhat resembling the Bowie knife now so much used throughout
our western and southern country. A hundred of the black skin warriors
met us at the landing for the purpose of accompanying us on our way. We
noticed, however, with some surprise, that they were now entirely
without arms; and, upon questioning Too-wit in relation to this
circumstance, he merely answered that Mattee non we pa pa si—meaning
that there was no need of arms where all were brothers. We took this in
good part, and proceeded.

We had passed the spring and rivulet of which I before spoke, and were
now entering upon a narrow gorge leading through the chain of soapstone
hills among which the village was situated. This gorge was very rocky
and uneven, so much so that it was with no little difficulty we
scrambled through it on our first visit to Klock-klock. The whole
length of the ravine might have been a mile and a half, or probably two
miles. It wound in every possible direction through the hills (having
apparently formed, at some remote period, the bed of a torrent), in no
instance proceeding more than twenty yards without an abrupt turn. The
sides of this dell would have averaged, I am sure, seventy or eighty
feet in perpendicular altitude throughout the whole of their extent,
and in some portions they arose to an astonishing height, overshadowing
the pass so completely that but little of the light of day could
penetrate. The general width was about forty feet, and occasionally it
diminished so as not to allow the passage of more than five or six persons
abreast. In short, there could be no place in the world better
adapted for the consummation of an ambuscade, and it was no more than
natural that we should look carefully to our arms as we entered upon
it. When I now think of our egregious folly, the chief subject of
astonishment seems to be, that we should have ever ventured, under any
circumstances, so completely into the power of unknown savages as to
permit them to march both before and behind us in our progress through
this ravine. Yet such was the order we blindly took up, trusting
foolishly to the force of our party, the unarmed condition of Too-wit
and his men, the certain efficacy of our fire-arms (whose effect was yet
a secret to the natives), and, more than all, to the long-sustained
pretension of friendship kept up by these infamous wretches. Five or
six of them went on before, as if to lead the way, ostentatiously
busying themselves in removing the larger stones and rubbish from the
path. Next came our own party. We walked closely together, taking care
only to prevent separation. Behind followed the main body of the
savages, observing unusual order and decorum.

Dirk Peters, a man named Wilson Allen, and myself were on the right of
our companions, examining, as we went along, the singular
stratification of the precipice which overhung us. A fissure in the
soft rock attracted our attention. It was about wide enough for one
person to enter without squeezing, and extended back into the hill some
eighteen or twenty feet in a straight course, sloping afterward to the
left. The height of the opening, as far as we could see into it from
the main gorge, was perhaps sixty or seventy feet. There were one or
two stunted shrubs growing from the crevices, bearing a species of
filbert, which I felt some curiosity to examine, and pushed in briskly
for that purpose, gathering five or six of the nuts at a grasp, and
then hastily retreating. As I turned, I found that Peters and Allen had
followed me. I desired them to go back, as there was not room for two
persons to pass, saying they should have some of my nuts. They
accordingly turned, and were scrambling back, Allen being close to the
mouth of the fissure, when I was suddenly aware of a concussion
resembling nothing I had ever before experienced, and which impressed
me with a vague conception, if indeed I then thought of anything, that
the whole foundations of the solid globe were suddenly rent asunder,
and that the day of universal dissolution was at hand.












CHAPTER XXI.



As soon as I could collect my scattered senses, I found myself nearly
suffocated, and grovelling in utter darkness among a quantity of loose
earth, which was also falling upon me heavily in every direction,
threatening to bury me entirely. Horribly alarmed at this idea, I
struggled to gain my feet, and at length succeeded. I then remained
motionless for some moments, endeavouring to conceive what had happened
to me, and where I was. Presently I heard a deep groan just at my ear,
and afterward the smothered voice of Peters calling to me for aid in
the name of God. I scrambled one or two paces forward, when I fell
directly over the head and shoulders of my companion, who, I soon
discovered, was buried in a loose mass of earth as far as his middle,
and struggling desperately to free himself from the pressure. I tore
the dirt from around him with all the energy I could command, and at
length succeeded in getting him out.

As soon as we sufficiently recovered from our fright and surprise to be
capable of conversing rationally, we both came to the conclusion that
the walls of the fissure in which we had ventured had, by some
convulsion of nature, or probably from their own weight, caved in
overhead, and that we were consequently lost for ever, being thus
entombed alive. For a long time we gave up supinely to the most intense
agony and despair, such as cannot be adequately imagined by those who
have never been in a similar situation. I firmly believe that no
incident ever occurring in the course of human events is more adapted
to inspire the supremeness of mental and bodily distress than a case
like our own, of living inhumation. The blackness of darkness which
envelops the victim, the terrific oppression of lungs, the stifling
fumes from the damp earth, unite with the ghastly considerations that
we are beyond the remotest confines of hope, and that such is the
allotted portion of the dead, to carry into the human heart a degree
of appalling awe and horror not to be tolerated—never to be conceived.

At length Peters proposed that we should endeavour to ascertain
precisely the extent of our calamity, and grope about our prison; it
being barely possible, he observed, that some opening might be yet left
us for escape. I caught eagerly at this hope, and, arousing myself to
exertion, attempted to force my way through the loose earth. Hardly had
I advanced a single step before a glimmer of light became perceptible,
enough to convince me that, at all events, we should not immediately
perish for want of air. We now took some degree of heart, and
encouraged each other to hope for the best. Having scrambled over a
bank of rubbish which impeded our farther progress in the direction of
the light, we found less difficulty in advancing, and also experienced
some relief from the excessive oppression of lungs which had tormented
us. Presently we were enabled to obtain a glimpse of the objects
around, and discovered that we were near the extremity of the straight
portion of the fissure, where it made a turn to the left. A few
struggles more, and we reached the bend, when, to our inexpressible
joy, there appeared a long seam or crack extending upward a vast
distance, generally at an angle of about forty-five degrees, although
sometimes much more precipitous. We could not see through the whole
extent of this opening; but, as a good deal of light came down it, we
had little doubt of finding at the top of it (if we could by any means
reach the top) a clear passage into the open air.

I now called to mind that three of us had entered the fissure from the
main gorge, and that our companion, Allen, was still missing; we
determined at once to retrace our steps and look for him. After a long
search, and much danger from the farther caving in of the earth above
us, Peters at length cried out to me that he had hold of our
companion's foot, and that his whole body was deeply buried beneath the
rubbish, beyond a possibility of extricating him. I soon found that
what he said was too true, and that, of course, life had been long
extinct. With sorrowful hearts, therefore, we left the corpse to its
fate, and again made our way to the bend.

The breadth of the seam was barely sufficient to admit us, and, after
one or two ineffectual efforts at getting up, we began once more to
despair. I have before said that the chain of hills through which ran
the main gorge was composed of a species of soft rock resembling
soapstone. The sides of the cleft we were now attempting to ascend were
of the same material, and so excessively slippery, being wet, that we
could get but little foothold upon them even in their least precipitous
parts; in some places, where the ascent was nearly perpendicular, the
difficulty was, of course, much aggravated; and, indeed, for some time
we thought it insurmountable. We took courage, however, from despair;
and what, by dint of cutting steps in the soft stone with our Bowie
knives, and swinging, at the risk of our lives, to small projecting
points of a harder species of slaty rock which now and then protruded
from the general mass, we at length reached a natural platform, from
which was perceptible a patch of blue sky, at the extremity of a
thickly-wooded ravine. Looking back now, with somewhat more leisure, at
the passage through which we had thus far proceeded, we clearly saw,
from the appearance of its sides, that it was of late formation, and we
concluded that the concussion, whatever it was, which had so
unexpectedly overwhelmed us, had also, at the same moment, laid open
this path for escape. Being quite exhausted with exertion, and, indeed,
so weak that we were scarcely able to stand or articulate, Peters now
proposed that we should endeavour to bring our companions to the rescue
by firing the pistols which still remained in our girdles—the muskets
as well as cutlasses had been lost among the loose earth at the bottom
of the chasm. Subsequent events proved that, had we fired, we should
have sorely repented it; but, luckily, a half suspicion of foul play
had by this time arisen in my mind, and we forbore to let the savages
know of our whereabouts.

After having reposed for about an hour, we pushed on slowly up the
ravine, and had gone no great way before we heard a succession of
tremendous yells. At length we reached what might be called the surface
of the ground; for our path hitherto, since leaving the platform, had
lain beneath an archway of high rock and foliage, at a vast distance
overhead. With great caution we stole to a narrow opening, through
which we had a clear sight of the surrounding country, when the whole
dreadful secret of the concussion broke upon us in one moment and at
one view.

The spot from which we looked was not far from the summit of the
highest peak in the range of the soapstone hills. The gorge in which
our party of thirty-two had entered ran within fifty feet to the left
of us. But, for at least one hundred yards, the channel or bed of this
gorge was entirely filled up with the chaotic ruins of more than a
million tons of earth and stone that had been artificially tumbled
within it. The means by which the vast mass had been precipitated were
not more simple than evident, for sure traces of the murderous work
were yet remaining. In several spots along the top of the eastern side
of the gorge (we were now on the western) might be seen stakes of wood
driven into the earth. In these spots the earth had not given way; but
throughout the whole extent of the face of the precipice from which the
mass had fallen, it was clear, from marks left in the soil resembling
those made by the drill of the rock-blaster, that stakes similar to
those we saw standing had been inserted, at not more than a yard apart,
for the length of perhaps three hundred feet, and ranging at about ten
feet back from the edge of the gulf. Strong cords of grape vine were
attached to the stakes still remaining on the hill, and it was evident
that such cords had also been attached to each of the other stakes. I
have already spoken of the singular stratification of these soapstone
hills; and the description just given of the narrow and deep fissure
through which we effected our escape from inhumation will afford a
further conception of its nature. This was such that almost every
natural convulsion would be sure to split the soil into perpendicular
layers or ridges running parallel with one another; and a very moderate
exertion of art would be sufficient for effecting the same purpose. Of
this stratification the savages had availed themselves to accomplish
their treacherous ends. There can be no doubt that, by the continuous
line of stakes, a partial rupture of the soil had been brought about,
probably to the depth of one or two feet, when, by means of a savage
pulling at the end of each of the cords (these cords being attached to
the tops of the stakes, and extending back from the edge of the cliff),
a vast leverage power was obtained, capable of hurling the whole face
of the hill, upon a given signal, into the bosom of the abyss below.
The fate of our poor companions was no longer a matter of uncertainty.
We alone had escaped from the tempest of that overwhelming destruction.
We were the only living white men upon the island.












CHAPTER XXII.



Our situation, as it now appeared, was scarcely less dreadful than when
we had conceived ourselves entombed for ever. We saw before us no
prospect but that of being put to death by the savages, or of dragging
out a miserable existence in captivity among them. We might, to be
sure, conceal ourselves for a time from their observation among the
fastnesses of the hills, and, as a final resort, in the chasm from
which we had just issued; but we must either perish in the long Polar
winter through cold and famine, or be ultimately discovered in our
efforts to obtain relief.

The whole country around us seemed to be swarming with savages, crowds
of whom, we now perceived, had come over from the islands to the
southward on flat rafts, doubtless with a view of lending their aid in
the capture and plunder of the Jane. The vessel still lay calmly at
anchor in the bay, those on board being apparently quite unconscious of
any danger awaiting them. How we longed at that moment to be with them!
either to aid in effecting their escape, or to perish with them in
attempting a defence. We saw no chance even of warning them of their
danger without bringing immediate destruction upon our own heads, with
but a remote hope of benefit to them. A pistol fired might suffice to
apprize them that something wrong had occurred; but the report could
not possibly inform them that their only prospect of safety lay in
getting out of the harbour forthwith—it could not tell them that no
principles of honour now bound them to remain, that their companions
were no longer among the living. Upon hearing the discharge they could
not be more thoroughly prepared to meet the foe, who were now getting
ready to attack, than they already were, and always had been. No good,
therefore, and infinite harm, would result from our firing, and, after
mature deliberation, we forbore.

Our next thought was to attempt a rush towards the vessel, to seize one
of the four canoes which lay at the head of the bay, and endeavour to
force a passage on board. But the utter impossibility of succeeding in
this desperate task soon became evident. The country, as I said before,
was literally swarming with the natives, skulking among the bushes and
recesses of the hills, so as not to be observed from the schooner. In
our immediate vicinity especially, and blockading the sole path by
which we could hope to attain the shore in the proper point, were
stationed the whole party of the black skin warriors, with Too-wit at
their head, and apparently only waiting for some re-enforcement to
commence his onset upon the Jane. The canoes, too, which lay at the
head of the bay were manned with savages, unarmed, it is true, but who
undoubtedly had arms within reach. We were forced, therefore, however
unwillingly, to remain in our place of concealment, mere spectators of
the conflict which presently ensued.

In about half an hour we saw some sixty or seventy rafts, or flatboats,
with outriggers, filled with savages, and coming round the southern
bight of the harbour. They appeared to have no arms except short clubs,
and stones which lay in the bottom of the rafts. Immediately afterward
another detachment, still larger, approached in an opposite direction,
and with similar weapons. The four canoes, too, were now quickly filled
with natives, starting up from the bushes at the head of the bay, and
put off swiftly to join the other parties. Thus, in less time than I
have taken to tell it, and as if by magic, the Jane saw herself
surrounded by an immense multitude of desperadoes evidently bent upon
capturing her at all hazards.

That they would succeed in so doing could not be doubted for an
instant. The six men left in the vessel, however resolutely they might
engage in her defence, were altogether unequal to the proper management
of the guns, or in any manner to sustain a contest at such odds. I
could hardly imagine that they would make resistance at all, but in
this was deceived; for presently I saw them get springs upon the cable,
and bring the vessel's starboard broadside to bear upon the canoes,
which by this time were within pistol range, the rafts being nearly a
quarter of a mile to windward. Owing to some cause unknown, but most
probably to the agitation of our poor friends at seeing themselves in
so hopeless a situation, the discharge was an entire failure. Not a
canoe was hit or a single savage injured, the shots striking short and
ricochêting over their heads. The only effect produced upon them was
astonishment at the unexpected report and smoke, which was so excessive
that for some moments I almost thought they would abandon their design
entirely, and return to the shore. And this they would most likely have
done had our men followed up their broadside by a discharge of small
arms, in which, as the canoes were now so near at hand, they could not
have failed in doing some execution, sufficient, at least, to deter
this party from a farther advance, until they could have given the
rafts also a broadside. But, in place of this, they left the canoe
party to recover from their panic, and, by looking about them, to see
that no injury had been sustained, while they flew to the larboard to
get ready for the rafts.

The discharge to larboard produced the most terrible effect. The star
and double-headed shot of the large guns cut seven or eight of the
rafts completely asunder, and killed, perhaps, thirty or forty of the
savages outright, while a hundred of them, at least, were thrown into
the water, the most of them dreadfully wounded. The remainder,
frightened out of their senses, commenced at once a precipitate
retreat, not even waiting to pick up their maimed companions, who were
swimming about in every direction, screaming and yelling for aid. This
great success, however, came too late for the salvation of our devoted
people. The canoe party were already on board the schooner to the
number of more than a hundred and fifty, the most of them having
succeeded in scrambling up the chains and over the boarding nettings
even before the matches had been applied to the larboard guns. Nothing
could now withstand their brute rage. Our men were borne down at once,
overwhelmed, trodden under foot, and absolutely torn to pieces in an
instant.

Seeing this, the savages on the rafts got the better of their fears,
and came up in shoals to the plunder. In five minutes the Jane was a
pitiable scene indeed of havoc and tumultuous outrage. The decks were
split open and ripped up; the cordage, sails, and everything moveable
on deck demolished as if by magic; while, by dint of pushing at the
stern, towing with the canoes, and hauling at the sides, as they swam
in thousands around the vessel, the wretches finally forced her on
shore (the cable having been slipped), and delivered her over to the
good offices of Too-wit, who, during the whole of the engagement, had
maintained, like a skilful general, his post of security and
reconnoissance among the hills, but, now that the victory was completed
to his satisfaction, condescended to scamper down with his warriors of
the black skin, and become a partaker in the spoils.

Too-wit's descent left us at liberty to quit our hiding-place and
reconnoitre the hill in the vicinity of the chasm. At about fifty yards
from the mouth of it we saw a small spring of water, at which we slaked
the burning thirst that now consumed us. Not far from the spring we
discovered several of the filbert-bushes which I mentioned before. Upon
tasting the nuts we found them palatable, and very nearly resembling in
flavour the common English filbert. We collected our hats full
immediately, deposited them within the ravine, and returned for more.
While we were busily employed in gathering these, a rustling in the
bushes alarmed us, and we were upon the point of stealing back to our
covert, when a large black bird of the bittern species strugglingly and
slowly arose above the shrubs. I was so much startled that I could do
nothing, but Peters had sufficient presence of mind to run up to it
before it could make its escape, and seize it by the neck. Its
struggles and screams were tremendous, and we had thoughts of letting
it go, lest the noise should alarm some of the savages who might be
still lurking in the neighbourhood. A stab with a Bowie knife, however,
at length brought it to the ground, and we dragged it into the ravine,
congratulating ourselves that, at all events, we had thus obtained a
supply of food enough to last us for a week.

We now went out again to look about us, and ventured a considerable
distance down the southern declivity of the hill, but met with nothing
else which could serve us for food. We therefore collected a quantity
of dry wood and returned, seeing one or two large parties of the
natives on their way to the village, laden with the plunder of the
vessel, and who, we were apprehensive, might discover us in passing
beneath the hill.

Our next care was to render our place of concealment as secure as
possible, and, with this object, we arranged some brushwood over the
aperture which I have before spoken of as the one through which we saw
the patch of blue sky, on reaching the platform from the interior of
the chasm. We left only a very small opening, just wide enough to admit
of our seeing the bay, without the risk of being discovered from below.
Having done this, we congratulated ourselves upon the security of the
position; for we were now completely excluded from observation, as long
as we chose to remain within the ravine itself, and not venture out
upon the hill. We could perceive no traces of the savages having ever
been within this hollow; but, indeed, when we came to reflect upon the
probability that the fissure through which we attained it had been only
just now created by the fall of the cliff opposite, and that no other
way of attaining it could be perceived, we were not so much rejoiced at
the thought of being secure from molestation as fearful lest there
should be absolutely no means left us for descent. We resolved to
explore the summit of the hill thoroughly, when a good opportunity
should offer. In the mean time we watched the motions of the savages
through our loophole.

They had already made a complete wreck of the vessel, and were now
preparing to set her on fire. In a little while we saw the smoke
ascending in huge volumes from her main-hatchway, and, shortly
afterward, a dense mass of flame burst up from the forecastle. The
rigging, masts, and what remained of the sails caught immediately, and
the fire spread rapidly along the decks. Still a great many of the
savages retained their stations about her, hammering with large stones,
axes, and cannon balls at the bolts and other copper and iron work. On
the beach, and in canoes and rafts, there were not less, altogether, in
the immediate vicinity of the schooner, than ten thousand natives,
besides the shoals of them who, laden with booty, were making their way
inland and over to the neighbouring islands. We now anticipated a
catastrophe, and were not disappointed. First of all there came a smart
shock (which we felt distinctly where we were as if we had been
slightly galvanized), but unattended with any visible signs of an
explosion. The savages were evidently startled, and paused for an
instant from their labours and yellings. They were upon the point of
recommencing, when suddenly a mass of smoke puffed up from the decks,
resembling a black and heavy thunder-cloud—then, as if from its
bowels, arose a tall stream of vivid fire to the height, apparently, of
a quarter of a mile—then there came a sudden circular expansion of the
flame—then the whole atmosphere was magically crowded, in a single
instant, with a wild chaos of wood, and metal, and human limbs—and,
lastly, came the concussion in its fullest fury, which hurled us
impetuously from our feet, while the hills echoed and re-echoed the
tumult, and a dense shower of the minutest fragments of the ruins
tumbled headlong in every direction around us.

The havoc among the savages far exceeded our utmost expectation, and
they had now, indeed, reaped the full and perfect fruits of their
treachery. Perhaps a thousand perished by the explosion, while at least
an equal number were desperately mangled. The whole surface of the bay
was literally strewn with the struggling and drowning wretches, and on
shore matters were even worse. They seemed utterly appalled by the
suddenness and completeness of their discomfiture, and made no efforts
at assisting one another. At length we observed a total change in their
demeanour. From absolute stupor they appeared to be, all at once,
aroused to the highest pitch of excitement, and rushed wildly about,
going to and from a certain point on the beach, with the strangest
expressions of mingled horror, rage, and intense curiosity depicted on
their countenances, and shouting, at the top of their voices,
Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!

Presently we saw a large body go off into the hills, whence they
returned in a short time, carrying stakes of wood. These they brought
to the station where the crowd was the thickest, which now separated so
as to afford us a view of the object of all this excitement. We
perceived something white lying on the ground, but could not
immediately make out what it was. At length we saw that it was the
carcass of the strange animal with the scarlet teeth and claws which
the schooner had picked up at sea on the eighteenth of January. Captain
Guy had had the body preserved for the purpose of stuffing the skin and
taking it to England. I remember he had given some directions about it
just before our making the island, and it had been brought into the
cabin and stowed away in one of the lockers. It had now been thrown on
shore by the explosion; but why it had occasioned so much concern among
the savages was more than we could comprehend. Although they crowded
around the carcass at a little distance, none of them seemed willing to
approach it closely. By-and-by the men with the stakes drove them in a
circle around it, and, no sooner was this arrangement completed, than
the whole of the vast assembly rushed into the interior of the island,
with loud screams of Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!












CHAPTER XXIII.



During the six or seven days immediately following we remained in our
hiding-place upon the hill, going out only occasionally, and then with
the greatest precaution, for water and filberts. We had made a kind of
pent-house on the platform, furnishing it with a bed of dry leaves, and
placing in it three large flat stones, which served us for both
fireplace and table. We kindled a fire without difficulty by rubbing
two pieces of dry wood together, the one soft, the other hard. The bird
we had taken in such good season proved excellent eating, although
somewhat tough. It was not an oceanic fowl, but a species of bittern,
with jet black and grizzly plumage, and diminutive wings in proportion
to its bulk. We afterward saw three of the same kind in the vicinity of
the ravine, apparently seeking for the one we had captured; but, as
they never alighted, we had no opportunity of catching them.

As long as this fowl lasted we suffered nothing from our situation; but
it was now entirely consumed, and it became absolutely necessary that
we should look out for provision. The filberts would not satisfy the
cravings of hunger, afflicting us, too, with severe gripings of the
bowels, and, if freely indulged in, with violent headache. We had seen
several large tortoises near the seashore to the eastward of the hill,
and perceived they might be easily taken, if we could get at them
without the observation of the natives. It was resolved, therefore, to
make an attempt at descending.

We commenced by going down the southern declivity, which seemed to
offer the fewest difficulties, but had not proceeded a hundred yards
before (as we had anticipated from appearances on the hill-top) our
progress was entirely arrested by a branch of the gorge in which our
companions had perished. We now passed along the edge of this for about
a quarter of a mile, when we were again stopped by a precipice of
immense depth, and, not being able to make our way along the brink of
it, we were forced to retrace our steps by the main ravine.

We now pushed over to the eastward, but with precisely similar fortune.
After an hour's scramble, at the risk of breaking our necks, we
discovered that we had merely descended into a vast pit of black
granite, with fine dust at the bottom, and whence the only egress was
by the rugged path in which we had come down. Toiling again up this
path, we now tried the northern edge of the hill. Here we were obliged
to use the greatest possible caution in our manoeuvres, as the least
indiscretion would expose us to the full view of the savages in the
village. We crawled along, therefore, on our hands and knees, and,
occasionally, were even forced to throw ourselves at full length,
dragging our bodies along by means of the shrubbery. In this careful
manner we had proceeded but a little way, when we arrived at a chasm
far deeper than any we had yet seen, and leading directly into the main
gorge. Thus our fears were fully confirmed, and we found ourselves cut
off entirely from access to the world below. Thoroughly exhausted by
our exertions, we made the best of our way back to the platform, and,
throwing ourselves upon the bed of leaves, slept sweetly and soundly
for some hours.

For several days after this fruitless search we were occupied in
exploring every part of the summit of the hill, in order to inform
ourselves of its actual resources. We found that it would afford us no
food, with the exception of the unwholesome filberts, and a rank
species of scurvy grass which grew in a little patch of not more than
four rods square, and would be soon exhausted. On the fifteenth of
February, as near as I can remember, there was not a blade of this
left, and the nuts were growing scarce; our situation, therefore, could
hardly be more lamentable.5 On the sixteenth we again went round the
walls of our prison, in hope of finding some avenue of escape, but to
no purpose. We also descended the chasm in which we had been
overwhelmed, with the faint expectation of discovering, through this
channel, some opening to the main ravine. Here, too, we were
disappointed, although we found and brought up with us a musket.

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

On the seventeenth we set out with the determination of examining more
thoroughly the chasm of black granite into which we had made our way in
the first search. We remembered that one of the fissures in the sides
of this pit had been but partially looked into, and we were anxious to
explore it, although with no expectation of discovering here any
opening.

We found no great difficulty in reaching the bottom of the hollow as
before, and were now sufficiently calm to survey it with some
attention. It was, indeed, one of the most singular-looking places
imaginable, and we could scarcely bring ourselves to believe it
altogether the work of nature. The pit, from its eastern to its western
extremity, was about five hundred yards in length, when all its
windings were threaded; the distance from east to west in a straight
line not being more (I should suppose, having no means of accurate
examination) than forty or fifty yards. Upon first descending into the
chasm, that is to say, for a hundred feet downward from the summit of
the hill, the sides of the abyss bore little resemblance to each other,
and, apparently, had at no time been connected, the one surface being
of the soapstone and the other of marl, granulated with some metallic
matter. The average breadth, or interval between the two cliffs, was
probably here sixty feet, but there seemed to be no regularity of
formation. Passing down, however, beyond the limit spoken of, the
interval rapidly contracted, and the sides began to run parallel,
although, for some distance farther, they were still dissimilar in
their material and form of surface. Upon arriving within fifty feet of
the bottom, a perfect regularity commenced. The sides were now entirely
uniform in substance, in colour, and in lateral direction, the material
being a very black and shining granite, and the distance between the
two sides, at all points facing each other, exactly twenty yards. The
precise formation of the chasm will be best understood by means of a
delineation taken upon the spot; for I had luckily with me a pocketbook
and pencil, which I preserved with great care through a long series of
subsequent adventure, and to which I am indebted for memoranda of many
subjects which would otherwise have been crowded from my remembrance.



Figure 1.


figure 1

This figure (see figure 1) gives the general outlines of the chasm,
without the minor cavities in the sides, of which there were several,
each cavity having a corresponding protuberance opposite. The bottom of
the gulf was covered to the depth of three or four inches with a powder
almost impalpable, beneath which we found a continuation of the black
granite. To the right, at the lower extremity, will be noticed the
appearance of a small opening; this is the fissure alluded to above,
and to examine which more minutely than before was the object of our
second visit. We now pushed into it with vigour, cutting away a
quantity of brambles which impeded us, and removing a vast heap of
sharp flints somewhat resembling arrowheads in shape. We were
encouraged to persevere, however, by perceiving some little light
proceeding from the farther end. We at length squeezed our way for
about thirty feet, and found that the aperture was a low and
regularly-formed arch, having a bottom of the same impalpable powder as
that in the main chasm. A strong light now broke upon us, and, turning
a short bend, we found ourselves in another lofty chamber, similar to
the one we had left in every respect but longitudinal form. Its general
figure is here given. (See figure 2.)



Figure 2.


figure 2

The total length of this chasm, commencing at the opening a and
proceeding round the curve b to the extremity d, is five hundred
and fifty yards. At c we discovered a small aperture similar to the
one through which we had issued from the other chasm, and this was
choked up in the same manner with brambles and a quantity of the white
arrowhead flints. We forced our way through it, finding it about forty
feet long, and emerged into a third chasm. This, too, was precisely
like the first, except in its longitudinal shape, which was thus. (See
figure 3.)



Figure 3.        
            
            
            
        Figure 5.


figures 3 and 5

We found the entire length of the third chasm three hundred and twenty
yards. At the point a was an opening about six feet wide, and
extending fifteen feet into the rock, where it terminated in a bed of
marl, there being no other chasm beyond, as we had expected. We were
about leaving this fissure, into which very little light was admitted,
when Peters called my attention to a range of singular-looking
indentures in the surface of the marl forming the termination of the
cul-de-sac. With a very slight exertion of the imagination, the left,
or most northerly of these indentures might have been taken for the
intentional, although rude, representation of a human figure standing
erect, with outstretched arm. The rest of them bore also some little
resemblance to alphabetical characters, and Peters was willing, at all
events, to adopt the idle opinion that they were really such. I
convinced him of his error, finally, by directing his attention to the
floor of the fissure, where, among the powder, we picked up, piece by
piece, several large flakes of the marl, which had evidently been
broken off by some convulsion from the surface where the indentures
were found, and which had projecting points exactly fitting the
indentures; thus proving them to have been the work of nature. Figure
4. presents an accurate copy of the whole.



Figure 4.


figure 4

After satisfying ourselves that these singular caverns afforded us no
means of escape from our prison, we made our way back, dejected and
dispirited, to the summit of the hill. Nothing worth mentioning
occurred during the next twenty-four hours, except that, in examining
the ground to the eastward of the third chasm, we found two triangular
holes of great depth, and also with black granite sides. Into these
holes we did not think it worth while to attempt descending, as they
had the appearance of mere natural wells, without outlet. They were
each about twenty yards in circumference, and their shape, as well as
relative position in regard to the third chasm, is shown in figure 5,
preceding page.












CHAPTER XXIV.



On the twentieth of the month, finding it altogether impossible to
subsist any longer upon the filberts, the use of which occasioned us
the most excruciating torment, we resolved to make a desperate attempt
at descending the southern declivity of the hill. The face of the
precipice was here of the softest species of soapstone, although nearly
perpendicular throughout its whole extent (a depth of a hundred and
fifty feet at the least), and in many places even overarching. After
long search we discovered a narrow ledge about twenty feet below the
brink of the gulf; upon this Peters contrived to leap, with what
assistance I could render him by means of our pocket-handkerchiefs tied
together. With somewhat more difficulty I also got down; and we then
saw the possibility of descending the whole way by the process in which
we had clambered up from the chasm when we had been buried by the fall
of the hill—that is, by cutting steps in the face of the soapstone
with our knives. The extreme hazard of the attempt can scarcely be
conceived; but, as there was no other resource, we determined to
undertake it.

Upon the ledge where we stood there grew some filbert-bushes; and to
one of these we made fast an end of our rope of handkerchiefs. The
other end being tied round Peters's waist, I lowered him down over the
edge of the precipice until the handkerchiefs were stretched tight. He
now proceeded to dig a deep hole in the soapstone (as far in as eight
or ten inches), sloping away the rock above to the height of a foot, or
thereabout, so as to allow of his driving, with the butt of a pistol, a
tolerably strong peg into the levelled surface. I then drew him up for
about four feet, when he made a hole similar to the one below, driving
in a peg as before, and having thus a resting-place for both feet and
hands. I now unfastened the handkerchiefs from the bush, throwing him
the end, which he tied to the peg in the uppermost hole, letting
himself down gently to a station about three feet lower than he had yet
been, that is, to the full extent of the handkerchiefs. Here he dug
another hole, and drove another peg. He then drew himself up, so as to
rest his feet in the hole just cut, taking hold with his hands upon the
peg in the one above. It was now necessary to untie the handkerchiefs
from the topmost peg, with the view of fastening them to the second;
and here he found that an error had been committed in cutting the holes
at so great a distance apart. However, after one or two unsuccessful
and dangerous attempts at reaching the knot (having to hold on with his
left hand while he laboured to undo the fastening with his right), he
at length cut the string, leaving six inches of it affixed to the peg.
Tying the handkerchiefs now to the second peg, he descended to a
station below the third, taking care not to go too far down. By these
means (means which I should never have conceived of myself, and for
which we were indebted altogether to Peters's ingenuity and resolution)
my companion finally succeeded, with the occasional aid of projections
in the cliff, in reaching the bottom without accident.

It was some time before I could summon sufficient resolution to follow
him; but I did at length attempt it. Peters had taken off his shirt
before descending, and this, with my own, formed the rope necessary for
the adventure. After throwing down the musket found in the chasm, I
fastened this rope to the bushes, and let myself down rapidly,
striving, by the vigour of my movements, to banish the trepidation
which I could overcome in no other manner. This answered sufficiently
well for the first four or five steps; but presently I found my
imagination growing terribly excited by thoughts of the vast depth yet
to be descended, and the precarious nature of the pegs and soapstone
holes which were my only support. It was in vain I endeavoured to
banish these reflections, and to keep my eyes steadily bent upon the
flat surface of the cliff before me. The more earnestly I struggled
not to think, the more intensely vivid became my conceptions, and the
more horribly distinct. At length arrived that crisis of fancy, so
fearful in all similar cases, the crisis in which we begin to
anticipate the feelings with which we shall fall—to picture to
ourselves the sickness, and dizziness, and the last struggle, and the
half swoon, and the final bitterness of the rushing and headlong
descent. And now I found these fancies creating their own realities,
and all imagined horrors crowding upon me in fact. I felt my knees
strike violently together, while my fingers were gradually yet
certainly relaxing their grasp. There was a ringing in my ears, and I
said, "This is my knell of death!" And now I was consumed with the
irrepressible desire of looking below. I could not, I would not,
confine my glances to the cliff; and, with a wild, indefinable emotion
half of horror, half of a relieved oppression, I threw my vision far
down into the abyss. For one moment my fingers clutched convulsively
upon their hold, while, with the movement, the faintest possible idea
of ultimate escape wandered, like a shadow, through my mind—in the
next my whole soul was pervaded with a longing to fall; a desire, a
yearning, a passion utterly uncontrollable. I let go at once my grasp
upon the peg, and, turning half round from the precipice, remained
tottering for an instant against its naked face. But now there came a
spinning of the brain; a shrill-sounding and phantom voice screamed
within my ears; a dusky, fiendish, and filmy figure stood immediately
beneath me; and, sighing, I sunk down with a bursting heart, and
plunged within its arms.

I had swooned, and Peters had caught me as I fell. He had observed my
proceedings from his station at the bottom of the cliff; and,
perceiving my imminent danger, had endeavoured to inspire me with
courage by every suggestion he could devise; although my confusion of
mind had been so great as to prevent my hearing what he said, or being
conscious that he had even spoken to me at all. At length, seeing me
totter, he hastened to ascend to my rescue, and arrived just in time
for my preservation. Had I fallen with my full weight, the rope of
linen would inevitably have snapped, and I should have been
precipitated into the abyss; as it was, he contrived to let me down
gently, so as to remain suspended without danger until animation
returned. This was in about fifteen minutes. On recovery, my
trepidation had entirely vanished; I felt a new being, and, with some
little further aid from my companion, reached the bottom also in
safety.

We now found ourselves not far from the ravine which had proved the
tomb of our friends, and to the southward of the spot where the hill
had fallen. The place was one of singular wildness, and its aspect
brought to my mind the descriptions given by travellers of those dreary
regions marking the site of degraded Babylon. Not to speak of the ruins
of the disruptured cliff, which formed a chaotic barrier in the vista
to the northward, the surface of the ground in every other direction
was strewn with huge tumuli, apparently the wreck of some gigantic
structures of art; although, in detail, no semblance of art could be
detected. Scoria were abundant, and large shapeless blocks of the black
granite, intermingled with others of marl,6 and both granulated with
metal. Of vegetation there were no traces whatsoever throughout the
whole of the desolate area within sight. Several immense scorpions were
seen, and various reptiles not elsewhere to be found in the high
latitudes.

6 The marl was also black; indeed, we noticed no
light-coloured substances of any kind upon the island.

As food was our most immediate object, we resolved to make our way to
the seacoast, distant not more than half a mile, with a view of
catching turtle, several of which we had observed from our place of
concealment on the hill. We had proceeded some hundred yards, threading
our route cautiously between the huge rocks and tumuli, when, upon
turning a corner, five savages sprung upon us from a small cavern,
felling Peters to the ground with a blow from a club. As he fell the
whole party rushed upon him to secure their victim, leaving me time to
recover from my astonishment. I still had the musket, but the barrel
had received so much injury in being thrown from the precipice that I
cast it aside as useless, preferring to trust my pistols, which had
been carefully preserved in order. With these I advanced upon the
assailants, firing one after the other in quick succession. Two savages
fell, and one, who was in the act of thrusting a spear into Peters,
sprung to his feet without accomplishing his purpose. My companion
being thus released, we had no further difficulty. He had his pistols
also, but prudently declined using them, confiding in his great
personal strength, which far exceeded that of any person I have ever
known. Seizing a club from one of the savages who had fallen, he dashed
out the brains of the three who remained, killing each instantaneously
with a single blow of the weapon, and leaving us completely masters of
the field.

So rapidly had these events passed, that we could scarcely believe in
their reality, and were standing over the bodies of the dead in a
species of stupid contemplation, when we were brought to recollection
by the sound of shouts in the distance. It was clear that the savages
had been alarmed by the firing, and that we had little chance of
avoiding discovery. To regain the cliff, it would be necessary to
proceed in the direction of the shouts; and even should we succeed in
arriving at its base, we should never be able to ascend it without
being seen. Our situation was one of the greatest peril, and we were
hesitating in which path to commence a flight, when one of the savages
whom I had shot, and supposed dead, sprang briskly to his feet, and
attempted to make his escape. We overtook him, however, before he had
advanced many paces, and were about to put him to death, when Peters
suggested that we might derive some benefit from forcing him to
accompany us in our attempt at escape. We therefore dragged him with
us, making him understand that we would shoot him if he offered
resistance. In a few minutes he was perfectly submissive, and ran by
our sides as we pushed in among the rocks, making for the seashore.

So far, the irregularities of the ground we had been traversing hid the
sea, except at intervals, from our sight, and, when we first had it
fairly in view, it was, perhaps, two hundred yards distant. As we
emerged into the open beach we saw, to our great dismay, an immense
crowd of the natives pouring from the village, and from all visible
quarters of the island, making towards us with gesticulations of
extreme fury, and howling like wild beasts. We were upon the point of
turning upon our steps, and trying to secure a retreat among the
fastnesses of the rougher ground, when I discovered the bows of two
canoes projecting from behind a large rock which ran out into the
water. Towards these we now ran with all speed, and, reaching them,
found them unguarded, and without any other freight than three of the
large Gallipago turtles and the usual supply of paddles for sixty
rowers. We instantly took possession of one of them, and, forcing our
captive on board, pushed out to sea with all the strength we could
command.

We had not made, however, more than fifty yards from the shore before
we became sufficiently calm to perceive the great oversight of which we
had been guilty in leaving the other canoe in the power of the savages,
who, by this time, were not more than twice as far from the beach as
ourselves, and were rapidly advancing to the pursuit. No time was now
to be lost. Our hope was, at best, a forlorn one, but we had none
other. It was very doubtful whether, with the utmost exertion, we could
get back in time to anticipate them in taking possession of the canoe;
but yet there was a chance that we could. We might save ourselves if we
succeeded, while not to make the attempt was to resign ourselves to
inevitable butchery.

The canoe was modelled with the bow and stern alike, and, in place of
turning it round, we merely changed our position in paddling. As soon
as the savages perceived this they redoubled their yells, as well as
their speed, and approached with inconceivable rapidity. We pulled,
however, with all the energy of desperation, and arrived at the
contested point before more than one of the natives had attained it.
This man paid dearly for his superior agility, Peters shooting him
through the head with a pistol as he approached the shore. The foremost
among the rest of his party were probably some twenty or thirty paces
distant as we seized upon the canoe. We at first endeavoured to pull
her into the deep water, beyond the reach of the savages, but, finding
her too firmly aground, and there being no time to spare, Peters, with
one or two heavy strokes from the butt of the musket, succeeded in
dashing out a large portion of the bow and of one side. We then pushed
off. Two of the natives by this time had got hold of our boat,
obstinately refusing to let go, until we were forced to despatch them
with our knives. We were now clear off, and making great way out to
sea. The main body of the savages, upon reaching the broken canoe, set
up the most tremendous yell of rage and disappointment conceivable. In
truth, from everything I could see of these wretches, they appeared to
be the most wicked, hypocritical, vindictive, bloodthirsty, and
altogether fiendish race of men upon the face of the globe. It is clear
we should have had no mercy had we fallen into their hands. They made a
mad attempt at following us in the fractured canoe, but, finding it
useless, again vented their rage in a series of hideous vociferations,
and rushed up into the hills.

We were thus relieved from immediate danger, but our situation was
still sufficiently gloomy. We knew that four canoes of the kind we had
were at one time in the possession of the savages, and were not aware
of the fact (afterward ascertained from our captive) that two of these
had been blown to pieces in the explosion of the Jane Guy. We
calculated, therefore, upon being yet pursued, as soon as our enemies
could get round to the bay (distant about three miles) where the boats
were usually laid up. Fearing this, we made every exertion to leave the
island behind us, and went rapidly through the water, forcing the
prisoner to take a paddle. In about half an hour, when we had gained,
probably, five or six miles to the southward, a large fleet of the
flat-bottomed canoes or rafts was seen to emerge from the bay,
evidently with the design of pursuit. Presently they put back,
despairing to overtake us.












CHAPTER XXV.



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

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

Having completed our arrangements in regard to the security of the
canoe, we now set sail to the south southeast for the present, with the
view of weathering the most southerly of the group in sight. This being
done, we turned the bow full to the southward. The weather could by no
means be considered disagreeable. We had a prevailing and very gentle
wind from the northward, a smooth sea, and continual daylight. No ice
whatever was to be seen; nor did I ever see one particle of this after
leaving the parallel of Bennet's Islet
. Indeed, the temperature of
the water was here far too warm for its existence in any quantity.
Having killed the largest of our tortoises, and obtained from him not
only food, but a copious supply of water, we continued on our course,
without any incident of moment, for perhaps seven or eight days, during
which period we must have proceeded a vast distance to the southward,
as the wind blew constantly with us, and a very strong current set
continually in the direction we were pursuing.

March 1.7 Many unusual phenomena now indicated that we were
entering upon a region of novelty and wonder. A high range of light
gray vapour appeared constantly in the southern horizon, flaring up
occasionally in lofty streaks, now darting from east to west, now from
west to east, and again presenting a level and uniform summit—in
short, having all the wild variations of the Aurora Borealis. The
average height of this vapour, as apparent from our station, was about
twenty-five degrees. The temperature of the sea seemed to be increasing
momentarily, and there was a very perceptible alteration in its colour.

7 For obvious reasons I cannot pretend to strict accuracy in
these dates. They are given principally with a view to perspicuity of
narration, and as set down in my pencil memoranda.

March 2. To-day, by repeated questioning of our captive, we came to
the knowledge of many particulars in regard to the island of the
massacre, its inhabitants, and customs—but with these how can I now
detain the reader? I may say, however, that we learned there were eight
islands in the group—that they were governed by a common king, named
Tsalemon or Psalemoun, who resided in one of the smallest of the
islands—that the black skins forming the dress of the warriors came
from an animal of huge size to be found only in a valley near the court
of the king—that the inhabitants of the group fabricated no other
boats than the flat-bottomed rafts; the four canoes being all of the
kind in their possession, and these having been obtained, by mere
accident, from some large island to the southwest—that his own name
was Nu-Nu—that he had no knowledge of Bennet's Islet—and that the
appellation of the island we had left was Tsalal. The commencement of
the words Tsalemon and Tsalal was given with a prolonged hissing
sound, which we found it impossible to imitate, even after repeated
endeavours, and which was precisely the same with the note of the black
bittern we had eaten upon the summit of the hill.

March 3. The heat of the water was now truly remarkable, and its
colour was undergoing a rapid change, being no longer transparent, but
of a milky consistency and hue. In our immediate vicinity it was
usually smooth, never so rough as to endanger the canoe—but we were
frequently surprised at perceiving, to our right and left, at different
distances, sudden and extensive agitations of the surface—these, we at
length noticed, were always preceded by wild flickerings in the region
of vapour to the southward.

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

March 5. The wind had entirely ceased, but it was evident that we
were still hurrying on to the southward, under the influence of a
powerful current. And now, indeed, it would seem reasonable that we
should experience some alarm at the turn events were taking—but we
felt none. The countenance of Peters indicated nothing of this nature,
although it wore at times an expression I could not fathom. The Polar
winter appeared to be coming on—but coming without its terrors. I felt
a numbness of body and mind—a dreaminess of sensation—but this was
all.

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

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

March 8. To-day there floated by us one of the white animals whose
appearance upon the beach at Tsalal had occasioned so wild a commotion
among the savages. I would have picked it up, but there came over me a
sudden listlessness, and I forbore. The heat of the water still
increased, and the hand could no longer be endured within it. Peters
spoke little, and I knew not what to think of his apathy. Nu-Nu
breathed, and no more.

March 9. The white ashy material fell now continually around us, and
in vast quantities. The range of vapour to the southward had arisen
prodigiously in the horizon, and began to assume more distinctness of
form. I can liken it to nothing but a limitless cataract, rolling
silently into the sea from some immense and far-distant rampart in the
heaven. The gigantic curtain ranged along the whole extent of the
southern horizon. It emitted no sound.

March 21. A sullen darkness now hovered above us—but from out the
milky depths of the ocean a luminous glare arose, and stole up along
the bulwarks of the boat. We were nearly overwhelmed by the white ashy
shower which settled upon us and upon the canoe, but melted into the
water as it fell. The summit of the cataract was utterly lost in the
dimness and the distance. Yet we were evidently approaching it with a
hideous velocity. At intervals there were visible in it wide, yawning,
but momentary rents, and from out these rents, within which was a chaos
of flitting and indistinct images, there came rushing and mighty, but
soundless winds, tearing up the enkindled ocean in their course.

March 22. The darkness had materially increased, relieved only by the
glare of the water thrown back from the white curtain before us. Many
gigantic and pallidly white birds flew continuously now from beyond the
veil, and their scream was the eternal Tekeli-li! as they retreated
from our vision. Hereupon Nu-Nu stirred in the bottom of the boat; but,
upon touching him, we found his spirit departed. And now we rushed into
the embraces of the cataract, where a chasm threw itself open to
receive us. But there arose in our pathway a shrouded human figure,
very far larger in its proportions than any dweller among men. And the
hue of the skin of the figure was of the perfect whiteness of the snow.










NOTE.








The circumstances connected with the late sudden and distressing death
of Mr. Pym are already well known to the public through the medium of
the daily press. It is feared that the few remaining chapters which
were to have completed his narrative, and which were retained by him,
while the above were in type, for the purpose of revision, have been
irrecoverably lost through the accident by which he perished himself.
This, however, may prove not to be the case, and the papers, if
ultimately found, will be given to the public.

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

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

On one point in the Narrative some remarks may be well offered; and it
would afford the writer of this appendix much pleasure if what he may
here observe should have a tendency to throw credit, in any degree,
upon the very singular pages now published. We allude to the chasms
found in the island of Tsalal, and to the whole of the figures upon
pages 182, 183,
184, 185.

Mr. Pym has given the figures of the chasms without comment, and speaks
decidedly of the indentures found at the extremity of the most
easterly of these chasms as having but a fanciful resemblance to
alphabetical characters, and, in short, as being positively not such.
This assertion is made in a manner so simple, and sustained by a
species of demonstration so conclusive (viz., the fitting of the
projections of the fragments found among the dust into the indentures
upon the wall), that we are forced to believe the writer in earnest;
and no reasonable reader should suppose otherwise. But as the facts in
relation to all the figures are most singular (especially when taken
in connexion with statements made in the body of the narrative), it may
be as well to say a word or two concerning them all—this, too, the
more especially as the facts in question have, beyond doubt, escaped
the attention of Mr. Poe.

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

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

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

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






THE END.









Transcriber's Note: The last two chapters, Chapters XXIV and XXV were
named, respectively, XXIII and XXIV in the original publication, with,
therefore, two chapters XXIII. This has been corrected in this
transcription. The table of chapter links has been created for easier navigation.

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