"The Secret Sharer"
by Joseph Conrad

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     I came out on deck slowly. It was now a matter of conscience to shave the land as close as possible--for now he must go overboard whenever the ship was put in stays. Must! There could be no going back for him. After a moment I walked over to leeward and my heart flew into my mouth at the nearness of the land on the bow. Under any other circumstances I would not have held on a minute longer. The second mate had followed me anxiously.

     I looked on till I felt I could command my voice.

     "She will weather," I said then in a quiet tone.

     "Are you going to try that, sir?" he stammered out incredulously.


     I took no notice of him and raised my tone just enough to be heard by the helmsman.

     "Keep her good full."

     "Good full, sir."

     The wind fanned my cheek, the sails slept, the world was silent. The strain of watching the dark loom of the land grow bigger and denser was too much for me. I had shut my eyes--because the ship must go closer. She must! The stillness was intolerable. Were we standing still?

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