The Survivors of the Chancellor
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frightfully emaciated, and I had every hope that it would not
As soon as it was quite light, taking every precaution that
no one should see what we were about, Curtis and I pro-
ceeded to our melancholy task. We took a few articles from
the lieutenant's pockets, which we purposed, if either of us
should survive, to remit to his mother. But as we wrapped
him in his tattered garments that would have to suffice for
his winding sheet, I started back with a thrill of horror. The
right foot had gone, leaving the leg a bleeding stump.
No doubt that, overcome by fatigue, I must have fallen
asleep for an interval during the night, and some one had
taken advantage of my slumber to mutilate the corpse. But
who could have been guilty of so foul a deed? Curtis
looked around with anger flashing in his eye; but all seemed
as usual, and the silence was only broken by a few groans of
But there was no time to be lost; perhaps we were already
observed, and more horrible scenes might be likely to occur.
Curtis said a few short prayers, and we cast the body into the
sea. It sank immediately.
"They are feeding the sharks well, and no mistake," said
a voice behind me.
I turned round quickly, and found that it was Jynxstrop
who had spoken.
As the boatswain now approached, I asked him whether
he thought it possible that any of the wretched men could
have taken the dead man's foot.
"Oh, yes, I dare say," he replied in a significant tone,
"and perhaps they thought they were right."
"Right! what do you mean?" I exclaimed.
"Well, sir," he said coldly, "isn't it better to eat a dead
man than a living one?"
I was at a loss to comprehend him, and, turning away, laid
myself down at the end of the raft.
Toward eleven o'clock a most suspicious incident occurred.
The boatswain, who had cast his lines early in the morning,
caught three large cod, each more than thirty inches long, of
the species which, when dried, is known by the name of
stock-fish. Scarcely had he hauled them on board when the
sailors made a dash at them, and it was with the utmost dif-
ficulty that Curtis, Falsten and myself could restore order, so
that we might divide the fish into equal portions. Three
cod were not much among fourteen starving persons, but,
small as the quantity was, it was allotted in strictly equal
shares. Most of us devoured the food raw, almost I might
say, alive; only Curtis, Andre, and Miss Herbey having the
patience to wait until their allowance had been boiled at a
fire which they made with a few scraps of wood. For my-
self, I confess that I swallowed my portion of fish as it was
-- raw and bleeding. M. Letourneur followed my example;
the poor man devoured his food like a famished wolf, and it
is only a wonder to me how, after his lengthened fast, he
came to be alive at all.
The boatswain's delight at his success was excessive, and
amounted almost to delirium. I went up to him, and en-
couraged him to repeat his attempt.
"Oh, yes," he said; "I'll try again. I'll try again."
"And why not try at once?" I asked.
"Not now," he said evasively; "the night is the best time
for catching large fish. Besides, I must manage to get
some bait, for we have been improvident enough not to save
a single scrap."
"But you have succeeded once without bait; why may you
not succeed again?"
"Oh, I had some very good bait last night," he said.
I stared at him in amazement. He steadily returned my
gaze, but said nothing.
"Have you none left?" at last I asked.
"Yes!" he almost whispered, and left me without another
Our meal, meager as it had been, served to rally our shat-
tered energies; our hopes were slightly raised; there was no
reason why the boatswain should not have the same good
One evidence of the degree to which our spirits were re-
vived was that our minds were no longer fixed upon the
miserable present and hopeless future, but we began to recall
and discuss the past; and M. Letourneur, Andre, Mr. Fal-
sten and I, held a long conversation with the captain about
the various incidents of our eventful voyage, speaking of
our lost companions, of the fire, or the stranding of the ship,
of our sojourn on Ham Rock, of the springing of the leak, of
our terrible voyage in the top-masts, of the construction of
the raft, and of the storm. All these things seemed to have
happened so long ago, and yet we were living still. Living,
did I say? Ay, if such an existence as ours could be called
a life, fourteen of us were living still. Who would be the
next to go? We should then be thirteen.
"An unlucky number!" said Andre, with a mournful
During the night the boatswain cast his lines from the
stern of the raft, and, unwilling to trust them to anyone
else, remained watching them himself. In the morning I
went to ascertain what success had attended his patience. It
was scarcely light, and with eager eyes he was peering down
into the water. He had neither seen nor heard me coming.
"Well, boatswain!" I said, touching him on the shoulder.
He turned round quickly.
"Those villainous sharks have eaten every morsel of my
bait," he said, in a desponding voice.
"And you have no more left?" I asked.
"No more," he said. Then grasping my arm, he added,
"and that only shows me that it is no good doing things by
The truth flashed upon me at once, and I laid my hand
upon his mouth. Poor Walter!
OXIDE OF COPPER POISONING
JANUARY 9 and10. -- On the 9th the wind dropped, and
there was a dead calm; not a ripple disturbed the surface of
the long undulations as they rose and fell beneath us; and if
it were not for the slight current which is carrying us we
know not whither, the raft would be absolutely stationary.
The heat was intolerable; our thirst more intolerable still;
and now it was that for the first time I fully realized how the
insufficiency of drink could cause torture more unendurable
than the pangs of hunger. Mouth, throat, pharynx, all alike
were parched and dry, every gland becoming hard as horn
under the action of the hot air we breathed. At my urgent
solicitation, the captain was for once induced to double our
allowance of water; and this relaxation of the ordinary rule
enabled us to attempt to slake our thirst four times in the day,
instead of only twice. I use the word "attempt" advisedly;
for the water at the bottom of the barrel though kept covered
by a sail, became so warm that it was perfectly flat and
It was a most trying day, and the sailors relapsed into a
condition of deep despondency. The moon was nearly full,
but when she rose the breeze did not return. Continuance
of high temperature in daytime is a sure proof that we have
been carried far to the south, and here, on this illimitable
ocean, we have long ceased even to look for land; it might
almost seem as though this globe of ours had veritably be-
come a liquid sphere!
To-day we are still becalmed, and the temperature is as
high as ever. The air is heated like a furnace, and the sun
scorches like fire. The torments of famine are all forgotten;
our thoughts are concentrated with fevered expectation upon
the longed-for moment when Curtis shall dole out the scanty
measure of lukewarm water that makes up our ration. Oh
for one good draught, even if it should exhaust the whole
supply! At least, it seems as if we then could die in peace!
About noon we were startled by sharp cries of agony,
and looking round, I saw Owen writhing in the most horrible
convulsions. I went toward him, for, detestable as his con-
duct had been, common humanity prompted me to see
whether I could afford him any relief. But before I reached
him, a shout from Flaypole arrested my attention. The
man was up in the mast, and with great excitement pointing
to the east.
"A ship! A ship!" he cried.
In an instant all were on their feet. Even Owen stopped
his cries and stood erect. It was quite true that in the direc-
tion indicated by Flaypole there was a white speck visible
upon the horizon. But did it move? Would the sailors
with their keen vision pronounce it to be a sail? A silence
the most profound fell upon us all. I glanced at Curtis as
he stood with folded arms intently gazing at the distant
point. His brow was furrowed, and he contracted every fea-
ture, as with half-closed eyes he concentrated his power of