The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 78

possible
that he might be able to force it open, provided he could get at it
in sufficient time; and this he hoped to do, as the hulk lay much more
steadily than before.

He succeeded very quickly in reaching the door, when, loosening one of
the chains from his ankle, he made every exertion to force the passage
with it, but in vain, the framework of the room being far stronger than
was anticipated. He was quite exhausted with his long stay under water,
and it became absolutely necessary that some other one of us should take
his place. For this service Parker immediately volunteered; but, after
making three ineffectual efforts, found that he could never even succeed
in getting near the door. The condition of Augustus’s wounded arm
rendered it useless for him to attempt going down, as he would be
unable to force the room open should he reach it, and it accordingly now
devolved upon me to exert myself for our common deliverance.

Peters had left one of the chains in the passage, and I found, upon
plunging in, that I had not sufficient balance to keep me firmly down.
I determined, therefore, to attempt no more, in my first effort, than
merely to recover the other chain. In groping along the floor of the
passage for this, I felt a hard substance, which I immediately grasped,
not having time to ascertain what it was, but returning and ascending
instantly to the surface. The prize proved to be a bottle, and our joy
may be conceived when I say that it was found to be full of port
wine. Giving thanks to God for this timely and cheering assistance, we
immediately drew the cork with my penknife, and, each taking a moderate
sup, felt the most indescribable comfort from the warmth, strength,
and spirits with which it inspired us. We then carefully recorked the
bottle, and, by means of a handkerchief, swung it in such a manner that
there was no possibility of its getting broken.

Having rested a while after this fortunate discovery, I again descended,
and now recovered the chain, with which I instantly came up. I then
fastened it on and went down for the third time, when I became fully
satisfied that no exertions whatever, in that situation, would enable
me to force open the door of the storeroom. I therefore returned in
despair.

There seemed now to be no longer any room for hope, and I could perceive
in the countenances of my companions that they had made up their
minds to perish. The wine had evidently produced

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