The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 95

as Peters
attempted to lift it, an entire leg came off in his grasp. As the mass
of putrefaction slipped over the vessel’s side into the water, the glare
of phosphoric light with which it was surrounded plainly discovered to
us seven or eight large sharks, the clashing of whose horrible teeth, as
their prey was torn to pieces among them, might have been heard at
the distance of a mile. We shrunk within ourselves in the extremity of
horror at the sound.

August 2. The same fearfully calm and hot weather. The dawn found us in
a state of pitiable dejection as well as bodily exhaustion. The water
in the jug was now absolutely useless, being a thick gelatinous mass;
nothing but frightful-looking worms mingled with slime. We threw it out,
and washed the jug well in the sea, afterward pouring a little vinegar
in it from our bottles of pickled tortoise. Our thirst could now
scarcely be endured, and we tried in vain to relieve it by wine, which
seemed only to add fuel to the flame, and excited us to a high degree
of intoxication. We afterward endeavoured to relieve our sufferings by
mixing the wine with seawater; but this instantly brought about the most
violent retchings, so that we never again attempted it. During the whole
day we anxiously sought an opportunity of bathing, but to no purpose;
for the hulk was now entirely besieged on all sides with sharks--no
doubt the identical monsters who had devoured our poor companion on the
evening before, and who were in momentary expectation of another similar
feast. This circumstance occasioned us the most bitter regret and
filled us with the most depressing and melancholy forebodings. We had
experienced indescribable relief in bathing, and to have this resource
cut off in so frightful a manner was more than we could bear. Nor,
indeed, were we altogether free from the apprehension of immediate
danger, for the least slip or false movement would have thrown us
at once within reach of those voracious fish, who frequently thrust
themselves directly upon us, swimming up to leeward. No shouts or
exertions on our part seemed to alarm them. Even when one of the largest
was struck with an axe by Peters and much wounded, he persisted in his
attempts to push in where we were. A cloud came up at dusk, but, to our
extreme anguish, passed over without discharging itself. It is quite
impossible to conceive our sufferings from thirst at this period. We
passed a sleepless night, both on this account and through dread of the

August 3. No

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