Are There Any Thrills Left in Life?

Jack London

Overland Monthly/May, 1917

When I lie on the placid beach at Waikiki, in the Hawaiian Islands, as I did last year, and a stranger introduces himself as the person who settled the estate of Captain Keeler; and when that stranger explains that Captain Keeler came to his death by having his head chopped off and smoke-cured by the cannibal head-hunters of the Solomon Islands in the West South Pacific; and when I remember back through the several brief years, to when Captain Keller, a youth of 22 and master of the schooner Eugenie, was sailed deep with me on many a night, and played poker to the dawn and took hasheesh with me for the entertainment of the wild crew of Penduffryn; and who, when I was wrecked on the outer reef of Malu, on the island of Malaita, with 1,500 naked Bushmen and head-hunter–s on the beach armed with horse-pistols, Snider rifles, tomahawks, spears, war-clubs and bows and arros, and with scores of war canoes, filled with saltwater head-hunters and man-eaters holding their place on the fringe of the breaking surf alongside of us, only four whites of us, including my wife, on board—when Captain Keller burst through the rain-squalls to windward, in a whale-boat, with a crew of negroes, himself rushing to our rescue, bare-footed and bare-legged, clad in loin-cloth and six-penny undershirt, a brace of guns strapped about his middle—I say, when I remember all this, that adventure and romance are not dead as I life on the placid beach of Waikiki.

The works of Jack London and other American journalists are now freely available at The Archive of American Journalism.