Of course, theoretically, I could do what I liked, with no one to say
nay to me within the whole circle of the horizon; but to lock my cabin
door and take the key away I did not dare. Directly I put my head out
of the companion I saw the group of my two officers, the second mate
barefooted, the chief mate in long India-rubber boots, near the break of
the poop, and the steward halfway down the poop ladder talking to them
eagerly. He happened to catch sight of me and dived, the second ran down
on the main-deck shouting some order or other, and the chief mate came
to meet me, touching his cap.
There was a sort of curiosity in his eye that I did not like. I don't
know whether the steward had told them that I was "queer" only, or
downright drunk, but I know the man meant to have a good look at me. I
watched him coming with a smile which, as he got into point-blank range,
took effect and froze his very whiskers. I did not give him time to open
"Square the yards by lifts and braces before the hands go to breakfast."