The Survivors of the Chancellor
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M. Letourneur proceeded to draw out the folded strips of
paper, one by one, and, after reading out loud the name
upon it, handed it to its owner.
The first name called was that of Burke, who uttered a
cry of delight; then followed Flaypole and the boatswain.
What his name really was I never could exactly learn.
Then came Falsten, Curtis, Sandon. More than half had
now been called, and my name had not yet been drawn.
I calculated my remaining chance; it was still four to one
in my favor.
M. Letourneur continued his painful task. Since Burke's
first exclamation of joy not a sound had escaped our lips,
but all were listening in breathless silence. The seventh
name was Miss Herbey's, but the young girl heard it with-
out a start. Then came mine, yes, mine! and the ninth was
was that of Letourneur.
"Which one?" asked the boatswain.
"Andre," said M. Letourneur.
With one cry Andre fell back senseless. Only two names
now remained in the hat -- those of Dowlas and M. Letour-
"Go on!" almost roared the carpenter, surveying his
partner in peril as though he could devour him. M. Le-
tourneur almost had a smile upon his lips, as he drew forth
the last paper but one, and with a firm, unfaltering voice,
marvelous for his age, unfolded it slowly, and read the name
of Dowlas. The carpenter gave a yell of relief as he heard
M. Letourneur took the last bit of paper from the hat,
and, without looking at it, tore it to pieces. But, unper-
ceived by all but myself, one little fragment flew into a
corner of the raft. I crawled toward it and picked it up.
On one side of it was written Andr--; the rest of the word
was torn away. M. Letourneur saw what I had done, and,
rushing toward me, snatched the paper from my hands, and
flung it into the sea.
MISS HERBEY PLEADS FOR ONE DAY MORE
JANUARY 26. -- I understood it all; the devoted father hav-
ing nothing more to give, had given his life for his son.
M. Letourneur was no longer a human being in the eyes
of the famished creatures who were now yearning to see him
sacrificed to their cravings. At the very sight of the victim
thus provided, all the tortures of hunger returned with
redoubled violence. With lips distended, and teeth dis-
played, they waited like a herd of carnivora until they could
attack their prey with brutal voracity; it seemed almost
doubtful whether they would not fall upon him while still
alive. It seemed impossible that any appeal to their human-
ity could, at such a moment, have any weight; nevertheless,
the appeal was made, and, incredible as it may seem, pre-
Just as the boatswain was about to act the part of butcher,
and Dowlas stood, hatchet in hand, ready to complete the
barbarous work, Miss Herbey advanced, or rather crawled,
"My friends," she pleaded, "will you not wait just one
more day? If no land or ship is in sight to-morrow, then
I suppose our poor companion must become your victim.
But allow him one more day; in the name of mercy I en-
treat, I implore you."
My heart bounded as she made her pitiful appeal. It
seemed to me as though the noble girl had spoken with an
inspiration on her lips, and I fancied that, perhaps, in super-
natural vision she had viewed the coast or the ship of which
she spoke; and one more day was not much to us who had
already suffered so long, and endured so much.
Curtis and Falsten agreed with me, and we all united to
support Miss Herbey's merciful petition. The sailors did
not utter a murmur, and the boatswain in a smothered voice
"Very well, we will wait till daybreak to-morrow," and
threw down his hatchet.
To-morrow, then, unless land or a sail appear, the horrible
sacrifice will be accomplished. Stifling their sufferings by
a strenuous effort, all returned to their places. The sailors
crouched beneath the sails, caring nothing about scanning
the ocean. Food was in store for them to-morrow, and that
was enough for them.
As soon as Andre Letourneur came to his senses, his first
thought was for his father, and I saw him count the pas-
sengers on the raft. He looked puzzled; when he lost con-
sciousness there had been only two names left in the hat,
those of his father and the carpenter; and yet M. Letourneur
and Dowlas were both there still. Miss Herbey went up
to him and told him quietly that the drawing of the lots
had not yet been finished. Andre asked no further ques-
tion, but took his father's hand. M. Letourneur's counte-
nance was calm and serene; he seemed to be conscious of
nothing except that the life of his son was spared, and as
the two sat conversing in an undertone at the back of the
raft, their whole existence seemed bound up in each other.
Meantime, I could not disabuse my mind of the impres-
sion caused by Miss Herbey's intervention. Something told
me that help was near at hand, and that we were approach-
ing the termination of our suspense and misery; the chimeras
that were floating through my brain resolved themselves into
realities, so that nothing appeared to me more certain than
that either land or sail, be they miles away, would be dis-
covered somewhere to leeward.
I imparted my convictions to M. Letourneur and his son.
Andre was as sanguine as myself; poor boy! he little thinks
what a loss there is in store for him to-morrow. His father
listened gravely to all we said, and whatever he might think
in his own mind, he did not give us any discouragement;
Heaven, he said, he was sure would still spare the survivors
of the Chancellor, and then he lavished on his son caresses
which he deemed to be his last.
Some time afterward, when I was alone with him, M.
Letourneur whispered in my ear:
"Mr. Kazallon, I commend my boy to your care, and
mark you, he must never know --"
His voice was choked with tears, and he could not finish
But I was full of hope, and, without a moment's inter-
mission, I kept my eyes fixed upon the unbroken horizon.
Curtis, Miss Herbey, Falsten, and even the boatswain, were
also eagerly scanning the broad expanse of the sea.
Night has come on; but I have still a profound conviction
that through the darkness some ship will approach, and that
at daybreak our raft will be observed.
JANUARY 27. -- I did not close my eyes all night, and was
keenly alive to the faintest sounds, and every ripple of the
water, and every murmur of the waves, broke distinctly on
my ear. One thing I noticed and accepted as a happy omen;
not a single shark now lingered round the raft. The wan-
ing moon rose at a quarter to one, and through the feeble
glimmer which she cast across the ocean, many and many a
time I fancied I caught sight of the longed-for sail, lying
only a few cables'-lengths away.
But when morning came, the sun rose once again upon
a desert ocean, and my hopes began to fade. Neither ship
nor shore had appeared, and as the shocking hour of execu-
tion drew near, my dreams of deliverance melted away; I
shuddered in my very soul as I was brought face to face
with the stern reality. I dared not look upon the victim,
and whenever his eyes, so full of calmness and resignation,
met my own, I turned away my head. I felt choked
with horror, and my brain reeled as though I were intoxi-
It was now six o'clock, and all hope had vanished from
my breast; my heart beat rapidly, and a cold sweat of agony
broke out all over me. Curtis and the boatswain stood by
the mast attentively scanning the horizon. The boatswain's
countenance was terrible to look upon; one could see that
although he would not forestall the hour, he was determined
not to wait a moment after it arrived. As for the captain,
it was impossible to tell what really passed within his mind;
his face was livid, and his whole existence seemed concen-
trated in the exercise of his power of vision. The sailors
were crawling about the platform, with their eyes gleaming,
like the wild beasts ready to pounce upon their devoted prey.
I could no longer keep my place, and glided along to the
front of the raft. The boatswain was still standing intent
on his watch, but all of a sudden, in a voice that made me
start, he shouted:
"Now then, time's up!" and followed by Dowlas, Burke,
Flaypole, and Sandon, ran to the back of the raft. As
Dowlas seized the hatchet convulsively, Miss Herbey could
not suppress a cry of terror. Andre started to his feet.
"What are you going to do to my father?" he asked in
accents choked with emotion.
"My boy," said M. Letourneur, "the lot has fallen upon
me, and I must die!"