The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 71

now those of hunger and thirst, and when we
looked forward to the means of relief in this respect, our hearts sunk
within us, and we were induced to regret that we had escaped the
less dreadful perils of the sea. We endeavoured, however, to console
ourselves with the hope of being speedily picked up by some vessel
and encouraged each other to bear with fortitude the evils that might
happen.

The morning of the fourteenth at length dawned, and the weather still
continued clear and pleasant, with a steady but very light breeze from
the N. W. The sea was now quite smooth, and as, from some cause which we
could not determine, the brig did not lie so much along as she had done
before, the deck was comparatively dry, and we could move about with
freedom. We had now been better than three entire days and nights
without either food or drink, and it became absolutely necessary that we
should make an attempt to get up something from below. As the brig was
completely full of water, we went to this work despondently, and with
but little expectation of being able to obtain anything. We made a kind
of drag by driving some nails which we broke out from the remains of the
companion-hatch into two pieces of wood. Tying these across each other,
and fastening them to the end of a rope, we threw them into the cabin,
and dragged them to and fro, in the faint hope of being thus able to
entangle some article which might be of use to us for food, or which
might at least render us assistance in getting it. We spent the greater
part of the morning in this labour without effect, fishing up nothing
more than a few bedclothes, which were readily caught by the nails.
Indeed, our contrivance was so very clumsy that any greater success was
hardly to be anticipated.

We now tried the forecastle, but equally in vain, and were upon the
brink of despair, when Peters proposed that we should fasten a rope to
his body, and let him make an attempt to get up something by diving
into the cabin. This proposition we hailed with all the delight which
reviving hope could inspire. He proceeded immediately to strip off his
clothes with the exception of his pantaloons; and a strong rope was
then carefully fastened around his middle, being brought up over
his shoulders in such a manner that there was no possibility of its
slipping. The undertaking was one of great difficulty and danger; for,
as we could

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