WHH Short Fiction: “The Heaving of the Log”

Review: “The Heaving of the Log”, William Hope Hodgson, 1988.

Cover by Jason Van Hollander

Yes, it’s another Hodgson story of about abusive mates at sea. (It was a second mate that made the life of the young Hodgson at sea a hell.)

The young apprentice seamen decide to play a joke on Second Mate Johnson one night when “heaving the log”, the process, which Hodgson interestingly describes, of measuring a ship’s speed and, hence calculate the longitude.

The apprentices are frequently called to do this while Johnson, in dereliction of his duties, sleeps, so, one night, they decide to play a joke on him and put the rope used to heave the log around Johnson’s neck.

However, the story ends with a grisly sort of revenge, and we don’t know if the apprentices are punished for it: Johnson’s neck is snapped, and he dies.

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