"Yes. I've been in the water practically since nine o'clock. The
question for me now is whether I am to let go this ladder and go on
swimming till I sink from exhaustion, or--to come on board here."
I felt this was no mere formula of desperate speech, but a real
alternative in the view of a strong soul. I should have gathered from
this that he was young; indeed, it is only the young who are ever
confronted by such clear issues. But at the time it was pure intuition
on my part. A mysterious communication was established already between
us two--in the face of that silent, darkened tropical sea. I was
young, too; young enough to make no comment. The man in the water began
suddenly to climb up the ladder, and I hastened away from the rail to
fetch some clothes.