"I quite understand," I conveyed that sincere assurance into his ear.
He was out of breath with whispering; I could hear him pant slightly.
It was all very simple. The same strung-up force which had given
twenty-four men a chance, at least, for their lives, had, in a sort of
recoil, crushed an unworthy mutinous existence.
But I had no leisure to weigh the merits of the matter--footsteps in
the saloon, a heavy knock. "There's enough wind to get under way with,
sir." Here was the call of a new claim upon my thoughts and even upon my
"Turn the hands up," I cried through the door. "I'll be on deck
I was going out to make the acquaintance of my ship. Before I left
the cabin our eyes met--the eyes of the only two strangers on board. I
pointed to the recessed part where the little campstool awaited him and
laid my finger on my lips. He made a gesture--somewhat vague--a little
mysterious, accompanied by a faint smile, as if of regret.