The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 85

saved from his fate, however, by the interference of
Peters, who now approached and separated us, asking the cause of the
disturbance. This Parker told before I could find means in any manner to
prevent him.

The effect of his words was even more terrible than what I had
anticipated. Both Augustus and Peters, who, it seems, had long secretly
entertained the same fearful idea which Parker had been merely the
first to broach, joined with him in his design and insisted upon its
immediately being carried into effect. I had calculated that one at
least of the two former would be found still possessed of sufficient
strength of mind to side with myself in resisting any attempt to execute
so dreadful a purpose, and, with the aid of either one of them, I had no
fear of being able to prevent its accomplishment. Being disappointed in
this expectation, it became absolutely necessary that I should attend
to my own safety, as a further resistance on my part might possibly be
considered by men in their frightful condition a sufficient excuse
for refusing me fair play in the tragedy that I knew would speedily be
enacted.

I now told them I was willing to submit to the proposal, merely
requesting a delay of about one hour, in order that the fog which had
gathered around us might have an opportunity of lifting, when it was
possible that the ship we had seen might be again in sight. After great
difficulty I obtained from them a promise to wait thus long; and, as I
had anticipated (a breeze rapidly coming in), the fog lifted before the
hour had expired, when, no vessel appearing in sight, we prepared to
draw lots.

It is with extreme reluctance that I dwell upon the appalling scene
which ensued; a scene which, with its minutest details, no after events
have been able to efface in the slightest degree from my memory,
and whose stern recollection will embitter every future moment of my
existence. Let me run over this portion of my narrative with as much
haste as the nature of the events to be spoken of will permit. The only
method we could devise for the terrific lottery, in which we were to
take each a chance, was that of drawing straws. Small splinters of wood
were made to answer our purpose, and it was agreed that I should be
the holder. I retired to one end of the hulk, while my poor companions
silently took up their station in the other with their backs turned
toward me. The bitterest anxiety which I

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