The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 40

the next night. With this design, he proceeded to
loosen the hatch, so that he might have as little detention as possible
when he should come again. No sooner had he loosened it than Tiger
sprang eagerly to the small opening produced, snuffed for a moment, and
then uttered a long whine, scratching at the same time, as if anxious
to remove the covering with his paws. There could be no doubt, from
his behaviour, that he was aware of my being in the hold, and Augustus
thought it possible that he would be able to get to me if he put him
down. He now hit upon the expedient of sending the note, as it was
especially desirable that I should make no attempt at forcing my way out
at least under existing circumstances, and there could be no certainty
of his getting to me himself on the morrow as he intended. After-events
proved how fortunate it was that the idea occurred to him as it did;
for, had it not been for the receipt of the note, I should undoubtedly
have fallen upon some plan, however desperate, of alarming the crew, and
both our lives would most probably have been sacrificed in consequence.

Having concluded to write, the difficulty was now to procure the
materials for so doing. An old toothpick was soon made into a pen; and
this by means of feeling altogether, for the between-decks was as
dark as pitch. Paper enough was obtained from the back of a letter--a
duplicate of the forged letter from Mr. Ross. This had been the original
draught; but the handwriting not being sufficiently well imitated,
Augustus had written another, thrusting the first, by good fortune, into
his coat-pocket, where it was now most opportunely discovered. Ink alone
was thus wanting, and a substitute was immediately found for this by
means of a slight incision with the pen-knife on the back of a finger
just above the nail--a copious flow of blood ensuing, as usual, from
wounds in that vicinity. The note was now written, as well as it could
be in the dark and under the circumstances. It briefly explained that a
mutiny had taken place; that Captain Barnard was set adrift; and that I
might expect immediate relief as far as provisions were concerned, but
must not venture upon making any disturbance. It concluded with these
words: “_I have scrawled this with blood--your life depends upon lying
close._”

This slip of paper being tied upon the dog, he was now put down the
hatchway, and Augustus made the best of his way back

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