"The Secret Sharer"
by Joseph Conrad

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     I caught his arm as he was raising it to batter his poor devoted head, and shook it violently.

     "She's ashore already," he wailed, trying to tear himself away.

     "Is she? . . . Keep good full there!"

     "Good full, sir," cried the helmsman in a frightened, thin, childlike voice.

     I hadn't let go the mate's arm and went on shaking it. "Ready about, do you hear? You go forward -- and stop there -- and hold your noise -- and see these head-sheets properly overhauled."


     And all the time I dared not look towards the land lest my heart should fail me. I released my grip at last and he ran forward as if fleeing for dear life.

     I wondered what my double there in the sail locker thought of this commotion. He was able to hear everything--and perhaps he was able to understand why, on my conscience, it had to be thus close--no less. My first order "Hard alee!" re-echoed ominously under the towering shadow of Koh-ring as if I had shouted in a mountain gorge. And then I watched the land intently. In that smooth water and light wind it was impossible to feel the ship coming-to. No! I could not feel her. And my second self was making now ready to ship out and lower himself overboard. Perhaps he was gone already . . . ?

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