"No, sir. I could have sworn I had heard you moving in there not a
moment ago. It's most extraordinary . . . very sorry, sir."
I passed on with an inward shudder. I was so identified with my secret
double that I did not even mention the fact in those scanty, fearful
whispers we exchanged. I suppose he had made some slight noise of some
kind or other. It would have been miraculous if he hadn't at one time
or another. And yet, haggard as he appeared, he looked always perfectly
self-controlled, more than calm--almost invulnerable. On my suggestion
he remained almost entirely in the bathroom, which, upon the whole,
was the safest place. There could be really no shadow of an excuse for
anyone ever wanting to go in there, once the steward had done with it.
It was a very tiny place. Sometimes he reclined on the floor, his legs
bent, his head sustained on one elbow. At others I would find him on the
campstool, sitting in his gray sleeping suit and with his cropped dark
hair like a patient, unmoved convict. At night I would smuggle him into
my bed place, and we would whisper together, with the regular footfalls
of the officer of the watch passing and repassing over our heads. It
was an infinitely miserable time. It was lucky that some tins of fine
preserves were stowed in a locker in my stateroom; hard bread I could
always get hold of; and so he lived on stewed chicken, asparagus, cooked oysters, sardines--on all sorts of abominable
sham delicacies out of tins. My early-morning coffee he always drank;
and it was all I dared do for him in that respect.