AN UNKNOWN SPECIES OF WHALE
THIS unexpected fall so stunned me that I have no clear recollection of my sensations at the time. I was at first drawn down to a depth of about twenty feet. I am a good swimmer (though without pretending to rival Byron or Edgar Poe, who were masters of the art), and in that plunge I did not lose my presence of mind. Two vigorous strokes brought me to the surface of the water. My first care was to look for the frigate. Had the crew seen me disappear? Had the Abraham Lincoln veered round? Would the captain put out a boat? Might I hope to be saved?
The darkness was intense. I caught a glimpse of a black mass disappearing in the east, its beacon lights dying out in the distance. It was the frigate! I was lost.
"Help, Help!" I shouted, swimming towards the Abraham Lincoln in desperation.
My clothes encumbered me; they seemed glued to my body, and paralysed my movements.
I was sinking! I was suffocating!
This was my last cry. My mouth filled with water; I struggled against being drawn down the abyss. Suddenly my clothes were