The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 83

the deck, clapping
my hands, shouting, and other similar acts, until I was suddenly called
to my recollection, and once more to the extreme human misery and
despair, by perceiving the ship all at once with her stern fully
presented toward us, and steering in a direction nearly opposite to that
in which I had at first perceived her.

It was some time before I could induce my poor companions to believe
that this sad reverse in our prospects had actually taken place. They
replied to all my assertions with a stare and a gesture implying that
they were not to be deceived by such misrepresentations. The conduct of
Augustus most sensibly affected me. In spite of all I could say or do to
the contrary, he persisted in saying that the ship was rapidly nearing
us, and in making preparations to go on board of her. Some seaweed
floating by the brig, he maintained that it was the ship’s boat, and
endeavoured to throw himself upon it, howling and shrieking in the most
heartrending manner, when I forcibly restrained him from thus casting
himself into the sea.

Having become in some degree pacified, we continued to watch the ship
until we finally lost sight of her, the weather becoming hazy, with
a light breeze springing up. As soon as she was entirely gone, Parker
turned suddenly toward me with an expression of countenance which made
me shudder. There was about him an air of self-possession which I had
not noticed in him until now, and before he opened his lips my heart
told me what he would say. He proposed, in a few words, that one of us
should die to preserve the existence of the others.


I had for some time past, dwelt upon the prospect of our being reduced
to this last horrible extremity, and had secretly made up my mind to
suffer death in any shape or under any circumstances rather than resort
to such a course. Nor was this resolution in any degree weakened by the
present intensity of hunger under which I laboured. The proposition had
not been heard by either Peters or Augustus. I therefore took Parker
aside; and mentally praying to God for power to dissuade him from the
horrible purpose he entertained, I expostulated with him for a long
time, and in the most supplicating manner, begging him in the name of
every thing which he held sacred, and urging him by every species of
argument which the extremity of the case suggested, to abandon the idea,
and not to mention it to either of the

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