The Survivors of the Chancellor HTML version
Voices In The Night
OCTOBER 14. -- At last we are free from the sea of vegeta- tion, the boisterous gale has
moderated into a steady breeze, the sun is shining brightly, the weather is warm and
genial, and thus, two reefs in her top-sails, briskly and merrily sails the Chancellor.
Under conditions so favorable, we have been able to take the ship's bearings: our latitude,
we find, is 21 deg. 33' N., our longitude, 50 deg. 17' W.
Incomprehensible altogether is the conduct of Captain Huntly. Here we are, already more
than ten degrees south of the point from which we started, and yet still we are per-
sistently following a southeasterly course! I cannot bring myself to the conclusion that
the man is mad. I have had various conversations with him: he has always spoken
rationally and sensibly. He shows no tokens of insanity. Perhaps his case is one of those
in which insanity is partial, and where the mania is of a character which extends only to
the matters connected with his profession. Yet it is un- accountable.
I can get nothing out of Curtis; he listens coldly when- ever I allude to the subject, and
only repeats what he has said before, that nothing short of an overt act of madness on the
part of the captain could induce him to supersede the captain's authority, and that the
imminent peril of the ship could alone justify him in taking so decided a measure.
Last evening I went to my cabin about eight o'clock, and after an hour's reading by the
light of my cabin-lamp, I retired to my berth and was soon asleep. Some hours later I was
aroused by an unaccustomed noise on deck. There were heavy footsteps hurrying to and
fro, and the voices of the men were loud and eager, as if the crew were agitated by some
strange disturbance. My first impression was, that some tacking had been ordered which
rendered it needful to fathom the yards; but the vessel continuing to lie to star- board
convinced me that this was not the origin of the com- motion. I was curious to know the
truth, and made all haste I could to go on deck; but before I was ready, the noise had
ceased. I heard Captain Huntly return to his cabin, and accordingly I retired again to my
own berth. Whatever may have been the meaning of the maneuver, I cannot tell; it did not
seem to result in any improvement in the ship's pace; still it must be owned there was not
much wind to speed us along.
At six o'clock this morning I mounted the poop and made as keen a scrutiny as I could of
everything on board. Everything appeared as usual. The Chancellor was run- ning on the
larboard tack, and carried low-sails, top-sails, and gallant-sails. Well braced she was; and
under a fresh, but not uneasy breeze, was making no less than eleven knots an hour.
Shortly afterward M. Letourneur and Andre came on deck. The young man enjoyed the
early morning air, laden with its briny fragrance, and I assisted him to mount the poop. In
answer to my inquiry as to whether they had been disturbed by any bustle in the night,
Andre replied that he did not wake at all, and had heard nothing.