"Now," I whispered, loudly, into the saloon--too loudly, perhaps, but I
was afraid I couldn't make a sound. He was by my side in an instant--the
double captain slipped past the stairs--through a tiny dark passage
. . . a sliding door. We were in the sail locker, scrambling on our knees
over the sails. A sudden thought struck me. I saw myself wandering
barefooted, bareheaded, the sun beating on my dark poll. I snatched
off my floppy hat and tried hurriedly in the dark to ram it on my other
self. He dodged and fended off silently. I wonder what he thought had
come to me before he understood and suddenly desisted. Our hands met
gropingly, lingered united in a steady, motionless clasp for a second.
. . . No word was breathed by either of us when they separated.
I was standing quietly by the pantry door when the steward returned.
"Sorry, sir. Kettle barely warm. Shall I light the spirit lamp?"