The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 60

mate tell one of the men to “go forward, have an eye upon
them, for he wanted no such secret doings on board the brig.” It was
well for us that the pitching of the vessel at this moment was so
violent as to prevent this order from being carried into instant
execution. The cook got up from his mattress to go for us, when a
tremendous lurch, which I thought would carry away the masts, threw him
headlong against one of the larboard stateroom doors, bursting it open,
and creating a good deal of other confusion. Luckily, neither of
our party was thrown from his position, and we had time to make a
precipitate retreat to the forecastle, and arrange a hurried plan of
action before the messenger made his appearance, or rather before he put
his head out of the companion-hatch, for he did not come on deck.
From this station he could not notice the absence of Allen, and he
accordingly bawled out, as if to him, repeating the orders of the
mate. Peters cried out, “Ay, ay,” in a disguised voice, and the cook
immediately went below, without entertaining a suspicion that all was
not right.

My two companions now proceeded boldly aft and down into the cabin,
Peters closing the door after him in the same manner he had found it.
The mate received them with feigned cordiality, and told Augustus that,
since he had behaved himself so well of late, he might take up his
quarters in the cabin and be one of them for the future. He then poured
him out a tumbler half full of rum, and made him drink it. All this I
saw and heard, for I followed my friends to the cabin as soon as the
door was shut, and took up my old point of observation. I had
brought with me the two pump-handles, one of which I secured near the
companion-way, to be ready for use when required.

I now steadied myself as well as possible so as to have a good view of
all that was passing within, and endeavoured to nerve myself to the task
of descending among the mutineers when Peters should make a signal to
me, as agreed upon. Presently he contrived to turn the conversation upon
the bloody deeds of the mutiny, and by degrees led the men to talk
of the thousand superstitions which are so universally current among
seamen. I could not make out all that was said, but I could plainly see
the effects of the conversation in the countenances of those present.

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