The skipper of the Sephora had a thin red whisker all round his face,
and the sort of complexion that goes with hair of that color; also the
particular, rather smeary shade of blue in the eyes. He was not exactly
a showy figure; his shoulders were high, his stature but middling--one
leg slightly more bandy than the other. He shook hands, looking vaguely
around. A spiritless tenacity was his main characteristic, I judged. I
behaved with a politeness which seemed to disconcert him. Perhaps he was
shy. He mumbled to me as if he were ashamed of what he was saying; gave
his name (it was something like Archbold--but at this distance of years
I hardly am sure), his ship's name, and a few other particulars of
that sort, in the manner of a criminal making a reluctant and
doleful confession. He had had terrible weather on the passage
out--terrible--terrible--wife aboard, too.
By this time we were seated in the cabin and the steward brought in a
tray with a bottle and glasses. "Thanks! No." Never took liquor. Would
have some water, though. He drank two tumblerfuls. Terrible thirsty
work. Ever since daylight had been exploring the islands round his ship.
"What was that for--fun?" I asked, with an appearance of polite
"No!" He sighed. "Painful duty."
As he persisted in his mumbling and I wanted my double to hear every
word, I hit upon the notion of informing him that I regretted to say I
was hard of hearing.