The Call Of Cthulhu Part 3: The Madness From The Sea
THE CALL OF CTHULHU
By H.P. Lovecraft
Part III: The Madness From The Sea
If heaven ever wishes to grant me a boon, it will be total effacing of the results of a mere chance which fixed my eye on a certain stray piece of shelf paper. It was nothing on which I would naturally have stumbled in the course of my daily round, for it was an old number of an Australian journal, the Sydney Bulletin for April 18, 1925. It had even escaped the cutting bureau which had at the time of its issuance been avidly collecting material for my uncle's research.
I had largely given over my inquiries into what Professor Angell called the "Cthulhu Cult", and was visiting a learned friend in Paterson, New Jersey; the curator of a local museum and a mineralogist of note. Examining one day the reserve specimens roughly set on the storage shelves in a rear room of the museum, my eye was caught by an odd picture in one of the old papers spread beneath the stones. It was the Sydney Bulletin I have mentioned, for my friend has wide affiliations in all conceivable foreign parts; and the picture was a half - tone cut of a hideous stone image almost identical with that which Legrasse had found in the swamp.
Eagerly clearing the sheet of its precious content, I scanned the item in detail; and was disappointed to find it of only moderate length. What it suggested, however, was of portentous significance to my flagging quest; and I carefully tore it out for immediate action. It read as follows:
MYSTERY DERELICT FOUND AT SEA
Vigilant Arrives With Helpless Armed New Zealand Yacht in Tow.
One Survivor and Dead Man Found Aboard. Tale of
Desperate Battle and Deaths at Sea.
Rescued Man Refuses
Particulars of Strange Experience.
Odd Idol Found in His Possession. Inquiry
The Morrison Co.’s freighter Vigilant, bound from Valparaiso, arrived this morning at its wharf in Darling Harbour, having in towed the battled and disabled, but heavily armed steam yacht Alert of Dunedin, N.Z., which was sighted April 12th in S. Latitude 34˚ 21’, W. Longitude 152˚ 17’ with one living and one dead man aboard.
The Vigilant left Valparaiso March 25th, and on April 2nd was driven considerably south of course by exceptionally heavy storms and monstrous waves. On April 12th, the derelict was sighted; and though apparently deserted, was found upon boarding to contain one survivor in a half-delirious condition and one man who had evidently been dead for more than a week. The living man was clutching a horrible stone idol from unknown origin, about a foot in height, regarding whose nature authorities Sydney University, the Royal Society, and the Museum in College Street all profess complete bafflement, and which the survivor says he found in the cabinet of the yacht, in a small carved shrine of common pattern.
This man, after recovering his senses, told an exceedingly strange story of piracy and slaughter. He is Gustaf Johansen, a Norwegian of some intelligence, and had been second mate of the two-masted schooner Emma of Auckland, which sailed for Callao February 20th with a complement of eleven men. The Emma, he says, was delayed and thrown widely south of her course by the great storm of March 1st, and on March 22nd, in S. Latitude 49˚ 51’, W. Longitude 128˚ 34’, encountered the Alert, manned by a queer and evil-looking crew of Kanakas and half-castes. Being ordered peremptorily to turn back, Capt. Collins refused; whereupon the strange crew began to fire savagely and without warning upon the schooner with a peculiarly heavy battery of brass cannon forming part of the yacht’s equipment. The Emma’s shewed fight, says the survivor, and though the schooner began to sink from shots beneath the waterline they managed to heave alongside their enemy and board her, grappling with the savage crew on the yacht