The Sea Wolf HTML version

Chapter 37
At once we moved aboard the Ghost, occupying our old state-rooms and cooking in the
galley. The imprisonment of Wolf Larsen had happened most opportunely, for what must
have been the Indian summer of this high latitude was gone and drizzling stormy weather
had set in. We were very comfortable, and the inadequate shears, with the foremast
suspended from them, gave a business-like air to the schooner and a promise of
And now that we had Wolf Larsen in irons, how little did we need it! Like his first attack,
his second had been accompanied by serious disablement. Maud made the discovery in
the afternoon while trying to give him nourishment. He had shown signs of
consciousness, and she had spoken to him, eliciting no response. He was lying on his left
side at the time, and in evident pain. With a restless movement he rolled his head around,
clearing his left ear from the pillow against which it had been pressed. At once he heard
and answered her, and at once she came to me.
Pressing the pillow against his left ear, I asked him if he heard me, but he gave no sign.
Removing the pillow and, repeating the question he answered promptly that he did.
"Do you know you are deaf in the right ear?" I asked.
"Yes," he answered in a low, strong voice, "and worse than that. My whole right side is
affected. It seems asleep. I cannot move arm or leg."
"Feigning again?" I demanded angrily.
He shook his head, his stern mouth shaping the strangest, twisted smile. It was indeed a
twisted smile, for it was on the left side only, the facial muscles of the right side moving
not at all.
"That was the last play of the Wolf," he said. "I am paralysed. I shall never walk again.
Oh, only on the other side," he added, as though divining the suspicious glance I flung at
his left leg, the knee of which had just then drawn up, and elevated the blankets.
"It's unfortunate," he continued. "I'd liked to have done for you first, Hump. And I
thought I had that much left in me."
"But why?" I asked; partly in horror, partly out of curiosity.
Again his stern mouth framed the twisted smile, as he said:
"Oh, just to be alive, to be living and doing, to be the biggest bit of the ferment to the
end, to eat you. But to die this way."