The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 143

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

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