The Survivors of the Chancellor
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"No, no," she replied, half smiling; "you were quite
right. But it is a weakness of mine; I don't mind what they
do with me as long as I am alive, but when I am dead --"
She stopped and shuddered. "Oh, promise me that you will
throw me into the sea!"
I gave her the melancholy promise, which she acknowl-
edged by pressing my hand feebly with her emaciated fingers.
Another night passed away. At times my sufferings were
so intense that cries of agony involuntarily escaped my lips;
then I became calmer, and sank into a kind of lethargy.
When I awoke, I was surprised to find my companions still
The one of our party who seems to bear his privations
the best is Hobart the steward, a man with whom hitherto
I have had very little to do. He is small, with a fawning
expression remarkable for its indecision, and has a smile
which is incessantly playing round his lips; he goes about
with his eyes half closed, as though he wished to conceal his
thoughts, and there is something altogether false and
hypocritical about his whole demeanor. I cannot say that
he bears his privations without a murmur, for he sighs and
moans incessantly; but, with it all, I cannot but think that
there is a want of genuineness in his manner, and that the
privation has not really told upon him as much as it has
upon the rest of us. I have my suspicions about the man,
and intend to watch him carefully.
To-day, the 6th, M. Letourneur drew me aside to the stern
of the raft, saying he had a secret to communicate, but that
he wished neither to be seen nor heard speaking to me. I
withdrew with him to the larboard corner of the raft, and, as
it was growing dusk, nobody observed what we were doing.
"Mr. Kazallon," M. Letourneur began, in a low voice,
"Andre is dying of hunger; he is growing weaker and
weaker, and oh! I cannot, will not, see him die!"
He spoke passionately, almost fiercely, and I fully under-
stood his feelings. Taking his hand, I tried to reassure him.
"We will not despair yet," I said; "perhaps some pass-
ing ship --"
"Ship!" he cried, impatiently, "don't try to console me
with empty commonplaces; you know as well as I do that
there is no chance of falling in with a passing ship." Then,
breaking off suddenly, he asked: "How long is it since my
son and all of you have had anything to eat?"
Astonished at his question, I replied that it was now four
days since the biscuit had failed.
"Four days," he repeated; "well, then, it is eight since I
have tasted anything. I have been saving my share for my
Tears rushed to my eyes; for a few moments I was unable
to speak, and could only once more grasp his hand in silence.
"What do you want me to do?" I asked, at length.
"Hush! not so loud; someone will hear us," he said, low-
ering his voice; "I want you to offer it to Andre as though
it came from yourself. He would not accept it from me; he
would think I had been depriving myself for him. Let me
implore you to do me this service; and for your trouble," --
and here he gently stroked my hand -- "for your trouble you
shall have a morsel for yourself."
I trembled like a child as I listened to the poor father's
words; and my heart was ready to burst when I felt a tiny
piece of biscuit slipped into my hand.
"Give it him," M. Letourneur went on under his breath,
"give it him; but do not let anyone see you; the monsters
would murder you if they knew it! This is only for to-
day; I will give you some more to-morrow."
The poor fellow did not trust me -- and well he might not
-- for I had the greatest difficulty to withstand the tempta-
tion to carry the biscuit to my mouth. But I resisted the
impulse, and those alone who have suffered like me can know
what the effort was.
Night came on with the rapidity peculiar to these low lati-
tudes, and I glided gently up to Andre, and slipped the piece
of biscuit into his hand as "a present from myself."
The young man clutched at it eagerly.
"But my father?" he said, inquiringly.
I assured him that his father and I had each had our
share, and that he must eat this now, and perhaps I should
be able to bring him some more another time. Andre asked
no more questions, and eagerly devoured the morsel of food.
So this evening at least, notwithstanding M. Letourneur's
offer, I have tasted nothing.
DEATH OF LIEUTENANT WALTER
JANUARY 7. -- During the last few days, since the wind
has freshened, the salt water constantly dashing over the
raft has terribly punished the feet and legs of some of the
sailors. Owen, whom the boatswain ever since the revolt has
kept bound to the mast, is in a deplorable state, and, at our
request, has been released from his restraint. Sandon and
Burke are also suffering from the severe smarting caused in
this way, and it is only owing to our more sheltered position
on the aft-part of the raft, that we have not all shared the
To-day the boatswain, maddened by starvation, laid hands
upon everything that met his voracious eyes, and I could
hear the grating of his teeth as he gnawed at fragments of
sails and bits of wood, instinctively endeavoring to fill his
stomach by putting the mucus into circulation. At length,
by dint of an eager search, he came upon a piece of leather
hanging to one of the spars that supported the platform.
He snatched it off and devoured it greedily; and, as it was
animal matter, it really seemed as though the absorption of
the substance afforded him some temporary relief. In-
stantly we all followed his example; a leather hat, the rims
of caps, in short, anything that contained any animal matter
at all, were gnawed and sucked with the utmost avidity.
Never shall I forget the scene. We were no longer human
-- the impulses and instincts of brute beasts seemed to
actuate our every movement.
For a moment the pangs of hunger were somewhat
allayed; but some of us revolted against the loathsome food,
and were seized either with violent nausea or absolute sick-
ness. I must be pardoned for giving these distressing de-
tails; but how otherwise can I depict the misery, moral and
physical, which we are enduring? And with it all, I dare
not venture to hope that we have reached the climax of our
The conduct of Hobart, during the scene that I have just
described, has only served to confirm my previous suspicions
of him. He took no part in the almost fiendish energy with
which we gnawed at our scraps of leather; and, although by
his conduct of perpetual groanings, he might be considered
to be dying of inanition, yet to me he has the appearance
of being singularly exempt from the tortures which we are
all enduring. But whether the hypocrite is being sustained
by some secret store of food, I have been unable to discover.
Whenever the breeze drops the heat is overpowering; but
although our allowance of water is very meager, at present
the pangs of hunger far exceed the pain of thirst. It has
often been remarked that extreme thirst is far less endurable
than extreme hunger. Is it possible that still greater agonies
are in store for us? I cannot, dare not, believe it. For-
tunately, the broken barrel still contains a few pints of water,
and the other one has not yet been opened. But I am glad
to say that notwithstanding our diminished numbers, and in
spite of some opposition, the captain has thought right to
reduce the daily allowance to half a pint for each person.
As for the brandy, of which there is only a quart now left,
it has been stowed away safely in the stern of the raft.
This evening has ended the sufferings of another of our
companions, making our number now only fourteen. My
attentions and Miss Herbey's nursing could do nothing for
Lieutenant Walter, and about half-past seven he expired in
Before he died, in a few broken words, he thanked Miss
Herbey and myself for the kindness we had shown him. A
crumpled letter fell from his hand, and in a voice that was
scarcely audible from weakness, he said :
"It is my mother's letter; the last I had from her -- she
was expecting me home; but she will never see me more.
Oh, put it to my lips -- let me kiss it before I die. Mother!
mother! Oh, my God!"
I placed the letter in his cold hand, and raised it to his
lips; his eye lighted for a moment; we heard the faint sound
of a kiss; and all was over!
HUMAN FLESH FOR BAIT
JANUARY 8. -- All night I remained by the side of the poor
fellow's corpse, and several times Miss Herbey joined me
in my mournful watch.
Before daylight dawned, the body was quite cold, and as
I knew there must be no delay in throwing it overboard, I
asked Curtis to assist me in the sad office. The body was