Download e-book for kindle: Israel Potter: his fifty years of exile by Herman Melville

By Herman Melville

Israel Potter is a old novel a few soldier within the American Revolution who fought at Bunker Hill, was once captured via the British and imprisoned in England, escaped, served as a undercover agent for the yank reason, used to be a sailor below Captqain John Paul Jones, and, after warfare, impoverished and not able to come to his local New England, remained in London until eventually close to the tip of his existence. as well as a whole replica of the second one printing (1855) of the radical, an intensive editorial complement is supplied, including Professor Cohen's essay "Israel Potter: history and Foreground" and line-by-line annotions to the novel's textual content.

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It was midwinter; the land was surveyed upon snow-shoes. At the close of the day, fires were kindled with dry hemlock, a hut thrown up, and the party ate and slept. Paid off at last, Israel bought a gun and ammunition, and turned hunter. , were plenty. In two or three months he had many skins to show. I suppose it never entered his mind that he was thus qualifying himself for a marksman of men. But thus were tutored those wonderful shots who did such execution at Bunker's Hill; these, the hunter-soldiers, whom Putnam bade wait till the white of the enemy's eye was seen.

Next came the door, secured luckily with only a hasp and padlock. Thrusting the bolt of his handcuffs through a small window in the door, he succeeded in forcing the hasp and regaining his liberty about three o'clock in the morning. Not long after sunrise, he passed nigh Brentford, some six or seven miles from the capital. So great was his Page 41 hunger that downright starvation seemed before him. He chewed grass, and swallowed it. Upon first escaping from the hulk, six English pennies was all the money he had.

When he thought of that horrible old hulk, his nerves were restrung for flight. But intrepid as he must be to compass it, wariness too was needed. His keepers had gone to bed pretty well under the influence of the liquor. This Page 31 was favorable. But still, they were full-grown, strong men; and Israel was handcuffed. So Israel resolved upon strategy first; and if that failed, force afterwards. He eagerly listened. One of the drunken soldiers muttered in his sleep, at first lowly, then louder and louder,"Catch 'em!

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