The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 87

all my strength, and passed the lots to Augustus. He also
drew immediately, and he also was free; and now, whether I should live
or die, the chances were no more than precisely even. At this moment
all the fierceness of the tiger possessed my bosom, and I felt toward
my poor fellow-creature, Parker, the most intense, the most diabolical
hatred. But the feeling did not last; and, at length, with a convulsive
shudder and closed eyes, I held out the two remaining splinters toward
him. It was fully five minutes before he could summon resolution to
draw, during which period of heartrending suspense I never once opened
my eyes. Presently one of the two lots was quickly drawn from my hand.
The decision was then over, yet I knew not whether it was for me or
against me. No one spoke, and still I dared not satisfy myself by
looking at the splinter I held. Peters at length took me by the
hand, and I forced myself to look up, when I immediately saw by the
countenance of Parker that I was safe, and that he it was who had been
doomed to suffer. Gasping for breath, I fell senseless to the deck.

I recovered from my swoon in time to behold the consummation of the
tragedy in the death of him who had been chiefly instrumental in
bringing it about. He made no resistance whatever, and was stabbed in
the back by Peters, when he fell instantly dead. I must not dwell
upon the fearful repast which immediately ensued. Such things may be
imagined, but words have no power to impress the mind with the exquisite
horror of their reality. Let it suffice to say that, having in some
measure appeased the raging thirst which consumed us by the blood of
the victim, and having by common consent taken off the hands, feet,
and head, throwing them together with the entrails, into the sea, we
devoured the rest of the body, piecemeal, during the four ever memorable
days of the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth of the

On the nineteenth, there coming on a smart shower which lasted fifteen
or twenty minutes, we contrived to catch some water by means of a sheet
which had been fished up from the cabin by our drag just after the gale.
The quantity we took in all did not amount to more than half a gallon;
but even this scanty allowance supplied us with comparative strength and

On the twenty-first we were again reduced to the last necessity. The
weather still remained warm and pleasant,

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"lyre and rhyme.