Arthur Pym and William Guy escaped the doom of the Jane and the most of her crew. They even got back to America, how I do not know. Afterwards Arthur Pym died, but under what circumstances I am ignorant. As for the half-breed, after having retired to Illinois, he went off one day without a word to anyone and no trace of him has been found.”
“And William Guy ?” asked Mr. Glass.
I related the finding of the body of Patterson, the mate of the Jane, and I added that everything led to the belief that the captain of the Jane and five of his companions were still living on an island in the austral regions, at less than six degrees from the Pole.
“Ah, Mr. Jeorling,” cried Glass, “if some day William Guy and his sailors might be saved! They seemed to me to be such fine fellows.”
“That is just what the Halbrane is certainly going to attempt, so soon as she is ready, for her captain, Len Guy, is William Guy’s own brother.”
“Is it possible ? Well, although I do not know Captain Len Guy, I venture to assert that the brothers do not resemble each other—at least in their behaviour to the Governor of Tristan d’Acunha!”
It was plain that the Governor was profoundly mortified, but no doubt he consoled himself by the prospect of selling his goods at twenty-five per cent above their value.
One thing was certain: Captain Len Guy had no intention of coming ashore. This was the more singular, inasmuch as he could not be unaware that the Jane had put in at Tristan d’Acunha before proceeding to the southern seas. Surely he might be expected to put himself in communication with the last European who had shaken hands with his brother!
Nevertheless, Captain Len Guy remained persistently on board his ship, without even going on deck; and, looking through the glass skylight of his cabin, I saw him perpetually stooping over the table, which was covered with open books and out-spread charts. No doubt the charts were those of the austral latitudes, and the books were narratives of the precursors of the Jane in those mysterious regions of the south.
On the table lay also a volume which had been read and re-read a hundred times. Most of its pages were dogs’-eared and their margins were filled with pencilled notes. And on the cover shone the title in brightly gilded letters:
THE ADVENTURES OF ARTHUR GORDON PYM.
BOUND FOR THE FALKLANDS.
On the 8th of September, in the evening, I had taken leave of His Excellency the Governor-General of the Archipelago of Tristan d’Acunha—for such is the official title bestowed upon himself by that excellent fellow, Glass, ex-corporal of artillery in the British Army. On the following day, before dawn, the Halbrane sailed. After we had rounded Herald Point, the few houses of Ansiedlung disappeared behind the extremity of Falmouth Bay. A fine breeze from the east carried us along gaily. During the morning we left behind us in succession Elephant Bay, Hardy Rock, West Point, Cotton Bay, and Daly’s Promontory; but it took the entire day to lose sight of the volcano of Tristan d’Acunha, which is eight thousand feet high; its snow-clad bulk was at last veiled by the shades of evening. During that week our voyage proceeded under the most favourable conditions; if these were maintained, the end of the month of September ought to bring us within sight of the first peaks of the Falkland Group; and so, very sensibly towards the south; the schooner having descended from the thirty-eighth parallel to the fifty-fifth degree of latitude. The most daring, or, perhaps I ought to say, the most lucky of those discoverers who had preceded the Halbrane, under the command of Captain Len Guy, in the Antarctic seas, had not gone beyond—Kemp, the sixty-sixth parallel; Ballerry, the sixty-seventh; Biscoe, the sixty-eighth; Bellinghausen and Morrell, the seventieth; Cook, the seventy-first; Weddell, the seventy-fourth. And it was beyond the eighty-third, nearly five hundred and fifty miles farther, that we must go to the succour of the survivors of the Jane! I confess that for a practical man of unimaginative temperament, I felt strangely excited; a nervous restlessness had taken possession of me.