That's what he would have said. Hang on bravely! As opposed to just hanging on. Hang on in a cowardly fashion, and you deserve whatever Fate metes out.
You'll note that the octpuses of the 19th century had beaks.
By the way, the name of the sub in this magazine is the Octopus, for some reason. Here's the text concerning the interior: the rooms "were of the richest description, and far exceed any effort at adequate description."
Half the time, I suspect, NoName had a powerful hangover.