"She will clear the south point as she heads now," I whispered into his
ear. "Goodness only knows when, though, but certainly after dark. I'll
edge her in to half a mile, as far as I may be able to judge in the
"Be careful," he murmured, warningly--and I realized suddenly that
all my future, the only future for which I was fit, would perhaps go
irretrievably to pieces in any mishap to my first command.
I could not stop a moment longer in the room. I motioned him to get out
of sight and made my way on the poop. That unplayful cub had the watch.
I walked up and down for a while thinking things out, then beckoned him
"Send a couple of hands to open the two quarter-deck ports," I said,
He actually had the impudence, or else so forgot himself in his wonder
at such an incomprehensible order, as to repeat:
"Open the quarter-deck ports! What for, sir?"
"The only reason you need concern yourself about is because I tell you
to do so. Have them open wide and fastened properly."