"The Secret Sharer"
by Joseph Conrad

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     "Your ladder--" he murmured, after a silence. "Who'd have thought of finding a ladder hanging over at night in a ship anchored out here! I felt just then a very unpleasant faintness. After the life I've been leading for nine weeks, anybody would have got out of condition. I wasn't capable of swimming round as far as your rudder chains. And, lo and behold! there was a ladder to get hold of. After I gripped it I said to myself, 'What's the good?' When I saw a man's head looking over I thought I would swim away presently and leave him shouting--in whatever language it was. I didn't mind being looked at. I--I liked it. And then you speaking to me so quietly--as if you had expected me--made me hold on a little longer. It had been a confounded lonely time--I don't mean while swimming. I was glad to talk a little to somebody that didn't belong to the Sephora. As to asking for the captain, that was a mere impulse. It could have been no use, with all the ship knowing about me and the other people pretty certain to be round here in the morning. I don't know--I wanted to be seen, to talk with somebody, before I went on. I don't know what I would have said. . . . 'Fine night, isn't it?' or something of the sort."


     "Do you think they will be round here presently?" I asked with some incredulity.

     "Quite likely," he said, faintly.

     "He looked extremely haggard all of a sudden. His head rolled on his shoulders.

     "H'm. We shall see then. Meantime get into that bed," I whispered. "Want help? There."

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