Edgar Allan Poe

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket


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 suggestion of my 

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 expose 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.


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 every thing, 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 sailboat 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 toward 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 favorite 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 side 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 every thing 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 

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 fAllan 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 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 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 

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! black 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 that 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 around 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 have been 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 befAllan 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 endeavored 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 the 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.


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 color, 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 

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 intentions 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 inditing 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 every thing 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 favor, 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 recognized. 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

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, every thing 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 phosphorous match, and, placing 
the light in a dark lantern, descended with it through the opening, bidding me 
follow. I did so, and be 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 an the necessary 
windings among the lumber, to a nail which was driven into the deck of the hold, 
immediately beneath the trap-door 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 phosphorous, 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 any thing 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 awakening 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 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 in 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 
awakening, 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 meantime 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 fAllan 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 neighborhood 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 
the 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, amidst the burning sand-plains of Sahara. At my feet 
lay crouched a fierce lion of the tropics. Suddenly his wild eyes opened and 
fell upon me. With a conculsive 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 

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 demonstration 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 toward 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 it 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 state-room. The door, however, 
to my astonishment, remained steady, and I became somewhat uneasy, for I knew 
that it had formerly required but 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 state-room; but none was visible. I then 
forced the blade of my pen-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 tranquilize 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 behavior 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 toward 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.


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 endeavored 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 endeavored to 
make my way toward 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 toward 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 for 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 any 
thing 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 endeavored 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 awhile, 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 discernable 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 

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 chilly 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 

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 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 depressing 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 demeanor 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 undertone, 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 dispatch 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–missing himself upon his fore. legs 
(as I perceived by the altered position of his eyes), and displayed 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 around me as closely as possible, I made a movement toward the mouth of 
the box. No sooner did I do this, than the dog sprang with a loud growl toward 
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 fAllan 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 boldly 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 words 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 loathesome 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 waist-band 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 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.


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 be 
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 sup. ply. 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 meanwhile 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, eyeing 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 villainy. All in the forecastle 
presently signified their intention of submitting, and, ascending one by one, 
were pinioned and then 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 survivors, 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 favor 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. Peter 
himself was one of the most ferocious-looking men I ever beheld. He was short in 
stature, not more than four feet eight inches high, but his limbs were of 
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 degrees 
30' north, longitude 61 degrees 20' west, and consequently at no very great 
distance from the Bermuda Islands. Augustus therefore endeavored to console 
himself with the idea that the boat might either succeed in reaching the land, 
or come sufficiently near to be fAllan 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-humor or carelessness in regard to himself. His 
anxiety on my account be 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 deposit 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 be 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 intended by the 
phrase. The whole affair, however, proved the ultimate means of my relief, as 
will presently appear.


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 
pre. vented 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 whale-boat, 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 fAllan 
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 mate. rials for 
so doing. An old toothpick was soon made into a pen; and this by means of 
feeling altogether, for the between-decks was 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 pen-knife 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."

This 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 be 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 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 possibility 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 be 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 succor 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 be 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 boarded in the beginning of my confinement, as I 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 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, be 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 


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 reconnoiter. 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 per formed 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 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 bead 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 every thing 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 
reaching 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 precaution 
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. Toward 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 
jolly boat 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-
casks<1> 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 

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 every thing 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 be 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' 
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 sad from Nantucket.

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

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

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

July 5.–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 of the 
cook's party; the mate, whose name I never learned; Absalom party;–besides 
Augustus and myself.

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

July 7.–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 Allan, had gone over to the mate, and were 
resolved to turn pirates. He put several questions to Augustus which he did not 
then exactly understand. During a part of this evening the leak gained upon the 
vessel; and little could be done to remedy it, as it was occasioned by the brigs 
straining, and taking in the water through her seams. A sail was thrummed, and 
got under the bows, which aided us in some measure, so that we began to gain 
upon the leak.

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

July 9.–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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Having arranged our plan, we set about putting it in execution as speedily as 
possible. Peters went upon deck, and, as he had anticipated, was immediately 
accosted by Allan, 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 Allan had been placed, and with 
his back to the cabin companionway, so that, if any of the mates gang should 
come up, he might suppose it was the watch.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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' feet, he again made an endeavour to reach the 
door of the storeroom, thinking it possible that he might be able to force it 
open, provided he could get at it in sufficient time; and this he hoped to do, 
as the hulk lay much more steadily than before.

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

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

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

There seemed now to be no longer any room for hope, and I could perceive in the 
countenances of my companions that they had made up their minds to perish. The 
wine had evidently produced in them a species of delirium, which, perhaps, I had 
been prevented from feeling by the immersion I had undergone since drinking it. 
They talked incoherently, and about matters unconnected with our condition, 
Peters repeatedly asking me questions about Nantucket. Augustus, too, I 
remember, approached me with a serious air, and requested me to lend him a 
pocket-comb, as his hair was full of fish-scales, and he wished to get them out 
before going on shore. Parker appeared somewhat less affected, and urged me to 
dive at random into the cabin, and bring up any article which might come to 
hand. To this I consented, and, in the first attempt, after staying under a full 
minute, brought up a small leather trunk belonging to Captain Barnard. This was 
immediately opened in the faint hope that it might contain something to eat or 
drink. We found nothing, however, except a box of razors and two linen shirts. I 
now went down again, and returned without any success. As my head came above 
water I heard a crash on deck, and, upon getting up, saw that my companions had 
ungratefully taken advantage of my absence to drink the remainder of the wine, 
having let the bottle fall in the endeavour to replace it before I saw them. I 
remonstrated with them on the heartlessness of their conduct, when Augustus 
burst into tears. The other two endeavoured to laugh the matter off as a joke, 
but I hope never again to behold laughter of such a species: the distortion of 
countenance was absolutely frightful. Indeed, it was apparent that the stimulus, 
in the empty state of their stomachs, had taken instant and violent effect, and 
that they were all exceedingly intoxicated. With great difficulty I prevailed 
upon them to lie down, when they fell very soon into a heavy slumber, 
accompanied with loud stertorous 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. Toward night my companions awoke, one by one, each in 
an indescribable state of weakness and horror, brought on by the wine, whose 
fumes had now evaporated. They shook as if with a violent ague, and uttered the 
most lamentable cries for water. Their condition affected me in the most lively 
degree, at the same time causing me to rejoice in the fortunate train of 
circumstances which had prevented me from indulging in the wine, and 
consequently from sharing their melancholy and most distressing sensations. 
Their conduct, however, gave me great uneasiness and alarm; for it was evident 
that, unless some favourable change took place, they could afford me no 
assistance in providing for our common safety. I had not yet abandoned all idea 
being able to get up something from below; but the attempt could not possibly be 
resumed until some one of them was sufficiently master of himself to aid me by 
holding the end of the rope while I went down. Parker appeared to be somewhat 
more in possession of his senses than the others, and I endeavoured, by every 
means in my power, to rouse him. Thinking that a plunge in the sea-water might 
have a beneficial effect, I contrived to fasten the end of a rope around his 
body, and then, leading him to the companion-way (he remaining quite passive all 
the while), pushed him in, and immediately drew him out. I had good reason to 
congratulate myself upon having made this experiment; for he appeared much 
revived and invigorated, and, upon getting out, asked me, in a rational manner, 
why I had so served him. Having explained my object, he expressed himself 
indebted to me, and said that he felt greatly better from the immersion, 
afterward conversing sensibly upon our situation. We then resolved to treat 
Augustus and Peters in the same way, which we immediately did, when they both 
experienced much benefit from the shock. This idea of sudden immersion had been 
suggested to me by reading in some medical work the good effect of the shower-
bath in a case where the patient was suffering from mania a potu.

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

We passed the remainder of this night in a state of the most intense mental and 
bodily anguish that can possibly be imagined. The morning of the sixteenth at 
length dawned, and we looked eagerly around the horizon for relief, but to no 
purpose. The sea was still smooth, with only a long swell from the northward, as 
on yesterday. This was the sixth day since we had tasted either food or drink, 
with the exception of the bottle of port wine, and it was clear that we could 
hold out but a very little while longer unless something could be obtained. I 
never saw before, nor wish to see again, human beings so utterly emaciated as 
Peters and Augustus. Had I met them on shore in their present condition I should 
not have had the slightest suspicion that I had ever beheld them. Their 
countenances were totally changed in character, so that I could not bring myself 
to believe them really the same individuals with whom I had been in company but 
a few days before. Parker, although sadly reduced, and so feeble that he could 
not raise his head from his bosom, was not so far gone as the other two. He 
suffered with great patience, making no complaint, and endeavouring to inspire 
us with hope in every manner he could devise. For myself, although at the 
commencement of the voyage I had been in bad health, and was at all times of a 
delicate constitution, I suffered less than any of us, being much less reduced 
in frame, and retaining my powers of mind in a surprising degree, while the rest 
were completely prostrated in intellect, and seemed to be brought to a species 
of second childhood, generally simpering in their expressions, with idiotic 
smiles, and uttering the most absurd platitudes. At intervals, however, they 
would appear to revive suddenly, as if inspired all at once with a consciousness 
of their condition, when they would spring upon their feet in a momentary flash 
of vigour, and speak, for a short period, of their prospects, in a manner 
altogether rational, although full of the most intense despair. It is possible, 
however, that my companions may have entertained the same opinion of their own 
condition as I did of mine, and that I may have unwittingly been guilty of the 
same extravagances and imbecilities as themselves–this is a matter which cannot 
be 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 toward it. Peters and Augustus took little notice of what 
he said, being apparently wrapped up in moody contemplation. Upon looking in the 
direction pointed out, I could not perceive the faintest appearance of the 
shore–indeed, I was too well aware that we were far from any land to indulge in 
a hope of that nature. It was a long time, nevertheless, before I could convince 
Parker of his mistake. He then burst into a flood of tears, weeping like a 
child, with loud cries and sobs, for two or three hours, when becoming 
exhausted, he fell 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 
considered a sure prospect of deliverance, that I could not refrain from joining 
in with their madness, and gave way to the impulses of my gratitude and ecstasy 
by lying and rolling on the deck, clapping my hands, shouting, and other similar 
acts, until I was suddenly called to my recollection, and once more to the 
extreme human misery and despair, by perceiving the ship all at once with her 
stern fully presented toward us, and steering in a direction nearly opposite to 
that in which I had at first perceived her.

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

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


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

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

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

Finding that he was not to be moved by anything I could say in a mild tone, I 
now assumed a different demeanor, and told him that he must be aware I had 
suffered less than any of us from our calamities; that my health and strength, 
consequently, were at that moment far better than his own, or than that either 
of Peters or Augustus; in short, that I was in a condition to have my own way by 
force if I found it necessary; and that if he attempted in any manner to 
acquaint the others with his bloody and cannibal designs, I would not hesitate 
to throw him into the sea. Upon this he immediately seized me by the throat, and 
drawing a knife, made several ineffectual efforts to stab me in the stomach; an 
atrocity which his excessive debility alone prevented him from accomplishing. In 
the meantime, being roused to a high pitch of anger, I forced him to the 
vessel's side, with the full intention of throwing him overboard. He was saved 
from his fate, however, by the interference of Peters, who now approached and 
separated us, asking the cause of the disturbance. This Parker told before I 
could find means in any manner to prevent 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 immediately being carried into effect. I had 
calculated that one at least of the two former would be found still possessed of 
sufficient strength of mind to side with myself in resisting any attempt to 
execute so dreadful a purpose, and, with the aid of either one of them, I had no 
fear of being able to prevent its accomplishment. Being disappointed in this 
expectation, it became absolutely necessary that I should attend to my own 
safety, as a further resistance on my part might possibly be considered by men 
in their frightful condition a sufficient excuse for refusing me fair play in 
the tragedy that I knew would speedily be enacted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"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."


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 
hundred to three hundred and fifty tons. She should be bark-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 toward 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 thirty-one degrees west; 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 
sufferings, 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 

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 
neighborhood, 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 

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. Every thing 
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 look-out 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 toward 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 degrees 53' S., longitude 37 degrees 46' E. Two days afterward we 
found ourselves near Possession Island, and presently passed the islands of 
Crozet, in latitude 42 degrees 59' S., longitude 48 degrees 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 harbor, 
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 harbors, 
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 Francois, 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 degrees 40' 
S., longitude 69 degrees 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 lilac 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 plumage, however, 
consists in two broad stripes of a gold color, 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 sea-hens, blue peterels, teal, ducks, Port Egmont hens, shags, Cape 
pigeons, the nelly, sea swallows, terns, sea gulls, 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 

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 labor 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 thieving 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 toward 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 mainland, 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.


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 degrees 8' S, longitude 12 degrees 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 toward 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 degrees 17' S. latitude, 
longitude 12 degrees 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 sterile, nothing growing upon it except a few 
stunted shrubs.

Nightingale Island, the smallest and most southerly, is in latitude 37 degrees 
26' S., longitude 12 degrees 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 sterile, 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 is now to be met with.

In 1811, a Captain Haywood, in the Nereus, visited Tristan. He found there three 
Americans, who were residing upon the island 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 
Manillas. 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 degrees 37' 24" S., longitude 47 degrees, 43' 15" W.; the middle one 
in latitude 53 degrees 2' 40" S., longitude 47 degrees 55' 15" W.; and the most 
southern in latitude 53 degrees 15' 22" S., longitude 47 degrees 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>

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 degrees 15' S., longitude 47 degrees 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 sip of land, we continued to the westward of 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.


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 degrees S., longitude 41 degrees 20' W. In the 
event of his not discovering these lands, he designed, should the season prove 
favourable, to push on toward 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 neighborhood 
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 degrees 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 vessel 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 degrees 14' W.. 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 degrees 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 
degrees 40' he met with a strong current setting to the southward. In December, 
when the vessels were in latitude 67 degrees 31', longitude 142 degrees 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 degrees 
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 degrees 10', longitude 106 degrees 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 impassible, 
and extending about a mile to the southward. Behind it the frozen surface was 
comparatively smooth for some distance, until terminated in the extreme 
background 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 degrees 10', but we are astonished that he did attain 
that point on the meridian of 106 degrees 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 dispatched by Alexander of 
Russia for the purpose of circumnavigating the globe. In endeavouring to get 
south, they made no farther than 59 degrees 58', in longitude 70 degrees 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 degrees 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 11th 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 degrees 52' 
S., longitude 118 degrees 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 degrees 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 degrees 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 degrees 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 further progress to the westward, 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 

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 degrees 
30' S., longitude 47 degrees 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 further 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 was seen to the southeast in latitude 67 degrees 15' longitude 69 
degrees 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 
degrees 30' E. to 69 degrees 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 indifference. It was within these 
limits that Weddel 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.


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 degrees 23' S., longitude 41 degrees 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. 
Toward 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 degrees 10' S, longitude 42 degrees 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 degrees 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 degrees 15' E., 
longitude 42 degrees 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 

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 degrees 30', longitude 40 degrees 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 thirtyfour. We now sailed to the southward 
without meeting any interruption of moment until the sixteenth, when, at noon, 
we were in latitude 81 degrees 21', longitude 42 degrees 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, 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 our 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 
the 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 degrees 50' S. latitude, 42 
degrees 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 
sterile 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.


January 18.–This morning<4> 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 toward 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 flopped like the ears of a dog. The teeth were 
of the same brilliant scarlet as the claws.

January 19.–To-day, being in latitude 83 degrees 20', longitude 43 degrees 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 toward 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 word 
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 visitors 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 persuasion could prevail upon him 
to take another look; 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, around 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, of 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 color, 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 re. semblance, 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 the 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.


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 of 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 sup. posed 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 were 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, elephantfish, 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 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 

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, and 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 thereabouts 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 

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 to 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 this harangue, when Captain Guy replied 
by assuring the chief of his eternal friendship and goodwill, concluding what he 
had to say be 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 specials 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 

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 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 of 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, nor far from the bay where 
our vessel lay at anchor. We waited here for about an hour, until the four 
canoes were brought around 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 seamen 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.


The chief was as good as his word, and we were soon plentifully sup. plied with 
fresh provisions. 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 provisions, among 
which may be mentioned a species of shellfish resembling the mussel 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 palpatable 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 negotiations 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 to 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 birds' nests, which are properly made up of 
the gelatinous matter picked up by a species of swallow from the body of these 
molluscae. 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 

"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 
were nearly round, a little flattish on one side, which lies next to 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 beat of the sun. But they do not bring forth their young in 
shallow water, as we never see any of their progeny, and 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 of 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 (133 1/3 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 of both 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 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 leave-taking 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 had 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 
firearms (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 Allan, 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, is 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 Allan 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, Allan 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.


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 
last 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 position. I firmly believed 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 yet be 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, Allan, 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 the 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 soap. stone. 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 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 

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 fAllan, 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.


Our situation, as it now appeared, was scarcely less dreadful than when we had 
conceived ourselves entombed forever. 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 apprise 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–nor tell them 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 to rush toward 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 at 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 
harbor. 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, appeared 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 ricocheting 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-netting even before the matches had been applied to the 
larboard guns. Nothing now could 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 movable 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 reconnaissance 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 

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 meantime 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 iron and copper 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 as 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 thundercloud–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 upon 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 assemblage rushed into the interior of the island, with 
loud screams of "Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!"


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 penthouse 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 hilltop) 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.

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.

This figure (see fig. 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 vigor, 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 fig. 

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 fig. 3.)

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 northern 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. Fig. 4 presents 
an accurate copy of the whole.

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.


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' 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' 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 depths 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 but 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 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 fAllan 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 

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 fAllan. 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 disrupted 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.

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 fAllan, 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 to 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 toward 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. Toward 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 an the strength we could 

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 
every thing 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 fAllan 
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 
were seen to emerge from the bay evidently with the design of pursuit. Presently 
they put back, despairing to overtake us.


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 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 stern 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 fAllan 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 

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.

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 in the 
southwest–that his own name was Nu-Nu–that he had no knowledge of Bennet's 
Islet–and that the appellation of the island he had left was Tsalal. The 
commencement of the words Tsalemon and Tsalal was given with a prolonged hissing 
sound, which we found it impossible to imitate, even after repeated endeavours, 
and which was precisely the same with the note of the black bittern we had eaten 
up on the summit of the hill.

March 3.–The heat of the water was now truly remarkable, and in 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 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 whole 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 

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 presented in Chapter XXIII.

Mr. Pym has given the figures of the chasm 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 (SEE 
ILLUSTRATION) "To be shady"–whence all the inflections of shadow or darkness.

In regard to the "left or most northwardly" of the indentures in figure 4, it is 
more than probable that the opinion of Peters was correct, and that the 
hieroglyphical appearance was really the work of art, and intended as the 
representation of a human form. The delineation is before the reader, and he 
may, or may not, perceive the resemblance suggested; but the rest of the 
indentures afford strong confirmation of Peters' idea. The upper range is 
evidently the Arabic verbal root (SEE ILLUSTRATION) "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 (SEE ILLUSTRATION), "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 

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 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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