"We aren't indeed! There's nothing of a boy's tale in this. But there's
nothing else for it. I want no more. You don't suppose I am afraid of
what can be done to me? Prison or gallows or whatever they may please.
But you don't see me coming back to explain such things to an old fellow
in a wig and twelve respectable tradesmen, do you? What can they know
whether I am guilty or not--or of what I am guilty, either? That's my
affair. What does the Bible say? 'Driven off the face of the earth.'
Very well, I am off the face of the earth now. As I came at night so I
"Impossible!" I murmured. "You can't."
"Can't? . . . Not naked like a soul on the Day of Judgment. I shall
freeze on to this sleeping suit. The Last Day is not yet--and . . . you
have understood thoroughly. Didn't you?"
I felt suddenly ashamed of myself. I may say truly that I
understood--and my hesitation in letting that man swim away from my
ship's side had been a mere sham sentiment, a sort of cowardice.
"It can't be done now till next night," I breathed out. "The ship is on
the off-shore tack and the wind may fail us."