"You had better slip down into my stateroom now," I said, moving off
stealthily. My double followed my movements; our bare feet made no
sound; I let him in, closed the door with care, and, after giving a call
to the second mate, returned on deck for my relief.
"Not much sign of any wind yet," I remarked when he approached.
"No, sir. Not much," he assented, sleepily, in his hoarse voice, with
just enough deference, no more, and barely suppressing a yawn.
"Well, that's all you have to look out for. You have got your orders."
I paced a turn or two on the poop and saw him take up his position face
forward with his elbow in the ratlines of the mizzen rigging before I
went below. The mate's faint snoring was still going on peacefully.
The cuddy lamp was burning over the table on which stood a vase with
flowers, a polite attention from the ship's provision merchant--the
last flowers we should see for the next three months at the very least.
Two bunches of bananas hung from the beam symmetrically, one on each
side of the rudder casing. Everything was as before in the ship--except
that two of her captain's sleeping suits were simultaneously in use, one
motionless in the cuddy, the other keeping very still in the captain's