The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket Comprising the details of a mutiny and atrocious butchery on board the American brig Grampus, on her way to the South Seas, in the month of June, 1827.

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 77

possibly have found
means of boarding her, had not our sudden disappointment, and the
appalling nature of the discovery which accompanied it, laid entirely
prostrate every active faculty of mind and body. We had seen and felt,
but we could neither think nor act, until, alas, too late. How much our
intellects had been weakened by this incident may be estimated by the
fact, that, when the vessel had proceeded so far that we could perceive
no more than the half of her hull, the proposition was seriously
entertained of attempting to overtake her by swimming!

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


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

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