Click here to Download The North Water PDF Book by Ian McGuire having PDF Size 2.1 MB and No of Pages289.
Half an hour later, Sumner sits hunched over on his bunk and tongues his pencil stub. His cabin has the dimensions of an infant’s mausoleum, and smells, already, before the voyage has even begun, sour and faintly fecal. He peers skeptically into the medicine chest and begins to make his shopping list: hartshorn, he writes, Glauber’s salt, Spirit of Squills.
The North Water PDF Book by Ian McGuire
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|No of Pages||289|
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Every now and then he unstoppers one of the bottles and sniffs the dried-up innards. Half the things in there he has never heard of: Tragacanth? Guaiacum? London Spirit? It’s no wonder Brownlee thinks the “potions” don’t work: most of this stuff is fucking Shakespearean. Was the previous surgeon some kind of Druid?
Laudanum, he writes by the eggish light of a blubber lamp, absinthe, opium pills, mercury. Will there be much gonorrhea amongst a whaling crew? he wonders. Possibly not, since whores in the Arctic Circle are likely to be thin on the ground. Judging by the amount of Epsom salts and castor oil already in the chest, however, constipation will be a sizable problem.
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The lancets, he notices, are uniformly ancient, rusty, and blunt. He will have to have them sharpened before he begins any bleeding. It is probably a good thing he has brought his own scalpels and a newish bone saw. He wanders through squares and alleyways, past courtyard hovels and the houses of the rich.
He has no idea which way is north or in what direction the dock now lies, but eventually, somehow, he knows he will sniff his way back there. He has learned to stop thinking at such times and trust his instinct. Why Hull, for instance? Why fucking whaling? It makes no sense, and that is its great genius. The illogic of it, the near idiocy.
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Cleverness, he thinks, will get you nowhere; it is only the stupid, the brilliantly stupid, who will inherit the earth. Entering the public square, he encounters a legless and tatterdemalion beggar man whistling “Nancy Dawson” and knuckling his way along the darkened pavement. The two men pause to talk.
An hour later, Drax, raw-knuckled, cock-sore, and reeking of whiskey, rows a diminished party back to the Volunteer. Jones and Black are absent, Sumner is coiled in the stern groaning, and Cavendish is lying next to him snoring loudly. The sky above them is moonless and the water around is the color of ink.
If it were not for the whale ship’s lanterns and the speckled lights of the shoreline, there would be nothing to see—they would be surrounded by emptiness. Drax leans forwards and then pulls back. He feels the heaviness of the water and then its release. When they reach the ship, Drax wakes Cavendish from his stupor. Together they pull Sumner up onto the deck, then heft him down to steerage. The North Water PDF Book
His cabin door is locked, and they have to fish in his waistcoat pockets to find the key. They lay him on the bunk and pull off his boots The boy stares at him for a moment longer, then nods and leaves the room. Sumner returns the ring to his pocket, closes his eyes, leans his head against the wall, and waits. The flesh around his wound is hot and badly swollen.
The leg is pulsing with pain, and his thirst is becoming unbearable. He wonders if the boy will betray him now, if the next person he sees will be his murderer. He would be easy enough to kill in his present condition: he has no weapon to defend himself with and little strength left for the struggle even if he had one. The boy returns with a jug of water. Sumner drinks half of it and uses the remainder to rinse off his wound.
Just above the ankle, the shinbone slants backwards at an angle. The foot lolls uselessly below. Compared to the abominations of the field hospital his case is mild, but the sight fills him with fear nonetheless. He shuffles across to the stove and selects two long sticks of firewood from the pile next to it. He takes his jackknife from his tunic pocket, unlocks the blade, and begins to trim and smooth the wood. The North Water PDF Book
The boy watches him impassively. Sumner places one piece of firewood on either side of his leg, then gestures for the blanket that the boy was sleeping on. The boy brings it over to him and he tears it into strips. The boy doesn’t move or speak. Sumner leans forwards and starts binding the splints with the pieces of dirty blanket. Just tight enough, he tells himself, but not too tight.
With that, he nods a brief good-bye and steps towards the door. Sumner watches him depart, hears the clatter of his boot heels as he descends the wooden stairs and the assonant gabble of his Englishness as he issues another command. As the surgeon lies there, as the truth of his situation settles slowly upon him, he feels the defining elements of his character—eagerness, belief, cussedness, a kind of desperate, unspeakable pride—beginning to slip away.
When William Harper died and left him nothing—since everything the man owned had by then been sold or mortgaged or squandered on drink—even then he persisted; his determination didn’t flag. He could no longer afford his lectures or lodgings in Belfast, but he recognized the army as another way to rise. It would be much slower and much harder, he knew, but not impossible. The North Water PDF Book
He believed he could still do it, would still do it somehow. But now, those long-held reserves of resilience and tenacity are wiped out at a stroke. The years of effort, the years of doggedness and patience and guile. Is it possible? And if it is possible, what does it imply? He feels a hot jolt of rage at what Corbyn has done to him and then answering it.
Just as powerful but broader and more fierce, like a long, gray wave that has been gathering its force and finally reaches the shore, a chilling flood of shame. When the ice opens up, they enter the bay, but the whaling is poor. There are scarcely any sightings, and on the few occasions the boats are lowered, the whales quickly disappear below the ice and there are no strikes.
Brownlee begins to wonder whether Baxter might be right after all—perhaps they have killed too many whales. He finds it hard to believe that the vast and teeming oceans could be emptied out so quick, that such enormous beasts could prove so fucking fragile, but if the whales are still about, they are certainly learning to hide themselves well. The North Water PDF Book Download
After a week of these dispiriting failures, he accepts the inevitable, signals as agreed to Campbell, and announces to the men that they are leaving Pond’s Bay and turning north to seek for better luck elsewhere. Amongst the crew, the sense of amazement as to what had occurred in Brownlee’s cabin is soon replaced by a general certainty that the voyage itself is cursed.
They remember the gruesome stories of the Percival, of men dying, going mad, drinking their own blood for sustenance, and ask themselves why they were ever foolish or ill-advised enough to sign on for a ship commanded by a man so notable for his fearsome ill luck. Even though the ship is less than a quarter full of blubber, they would like nothing better now than to turn round and sail directly home.
They fear that worse is yet to come, and they would rather reach home with empty pockets but still breathing than end up sunk forever below the Baffin ice. Out on the ice, Black pushes charges of gunpowder down into the nearest diagonal cut and lights the fuse. After a few seconds’ pause, there is a dull thud, a high plume of water, and then a broader cascade of shattered ice. The North Water PDF Book Download
The large triangular blocks divide and break apart, and the men in teams drag the several fragments out of the dock with grappling hooks. When the dock is entirely cleared of ice, they warp the ship into it—tugging the bows in first, then swinging the stern round to straighten. They moor her to the floe with ice anchors, then climb back on board wet and exhausted.
Handfuls of coal are thrown into the cabin stoves and a round of grog is served. Sumner, who has assisted with the cutting, and feels weak and wretched from the effort, eats his tea in the mess, then takes a dose of laudanum and settles in his cabin to rest. Although he drops into sleep easily enough, he is woken intermittently by the great percussions of the ice field, the thunderous explosion of one floe meeting another one.
He thinks of artillery, of the fifteen-pounders thumping on the ridge, the sickening overhead roar of shell and cannonball, then stuffs his ears with cotton wool and reminds himself that their ship is safe enough and that the dock they have made for it is strong and secure. In the morning, the storm has abated. The North Water PDF Book Download
The day is cool and damp with gray clouds overhead and flat bands of fog concealing the floe edge and lying like layered quartz across the dark faces of the distant mountains behind. They pull back the snow-laden tarpaulins and climb out of the whaleboats. The burned and blackened fragments of the second tent and most of what it contained are strewn untidily across the ice in front of them.
Some of the spars, half sunk in pools of meltwater, are still smoldering. While the cook boils water and cobbles together a rough version of breakfast, the men pick and poke through the lukewarm embers for anything still usable and worth preserving. Cavendish strolls around amongst them, whistling and making ribald jokes.
He carries an enameled mug of steaming beef tea in his left hand. Every now and then, he bends down like a gentleman fossil hunter to pick up a still-warm knife blade or a solitary boot heel. For a man who has just seen his ship crushed, and narrowly survived an iceberg and then a fire in the night, he appears, Sumner thinks, unusually good-humored and carefree. The North Water PDF Book Free
He speaks to Cavendish and Otto, and they agree that the men should be divided into two roughly equal watches and that each morning, so long as the weather allows it, one watch will take the rifles and climb the cliffs to hunt for food and the other will spend an hour at least outside the tent tramping up and down the strand as a way of maintaining their vigor.
The men, when they are told this, show little enthusiasm for the scheme. They appear unconcerned when Sumner explains that if they remain immobile and torpid their blood will thicken and clot inside their veins and their organs will become flaccid and eventually fail. It is only when Cavendish bellows at them and threatens to reduce the rations still further if they don’t comply that they sourly give in.
Holding the file with both hands, Drax drives the spiked end into the man’s neck just below the ear; there is a spurt of hot blood and a noise somewhere between a gurgle and a gasp. He pulls out the spike and then quickly drives it in again, a little lower this time. When the younger man stirs, aroused by the noise, Drax turns, punches him twice to keep him quiet, then starts to throttle him. The North Water PDF Book Free
Being naturally scrawny and encased in a narrow, tight-fitting sleeping bag, he makes a poor fight of it and is suffocated before the elder one has finished dying. Drax pulls them both out of their bags, then strips the elder of his anorak, slits it up the side, and pulls it on over his own head. He feels around for the blubber knives and the rifle, then crawls back outside.
There is no sound or movement, no indication that anyone in the tent has heard a noise. He goes over to the sledge and gets the deerskin traces. One by one, he wakes the dogs and harnesses them. He crawls back inside the snow house, takes off the dead men’s boots, britches, and mittens and stuffs them inside one of the sleeping bags. When he comes out again, he sees Cavendish standing over by the sledge. He raises his right hand and walks across to him.