"That's so," confirmed the second mate, suddenly, in his slightly hoarse
voice. "She draws over twenty feet. She's the Liverpool ship Sephora
with a cargo of coal. Hundred and twenty-three days from Cardiff."
We looked at him in surprise.
"The tugboat skipper told me when he came on board for your letters,
sir," explained the young man. "He expects to take her up the river the
day after tomorrow."
After thus overwhelming us with the extent of his information he slipped
out of the cabin. The mate observed regretfully that he "could not
account for that young fellow's whims." What prevented him telling us
all about it at once, he wanted to know.
I detained him as he was making a move. For the last two days the crew
had had plenty of hard work, and the night before they had very little
sleep. I felt painfully that I--a stranger--was doing something unusual
when I directed him to let all hands turn in without setting an
anchor watch. I proposed to keep on deck myself till one o'clock or
thereabouts. I would get the second mate to relieve me at that hour.